Golf Bucks County

By Bob Oliver

Middletown Country Club

Middletown is a compact 80 acres of challenging golf, with rolling hills and large specimen trees that have watched many golfers travel its fairways over time. It has retained its old time feel with tees and greens in close proximity, allowing golfers to walk the course if they choose.

The Traveling Golfer

With host Tony Leodora will travel both near and far to bring viewers a look at some of the most spectacular golf destinations in the world!

17 Mar
2020

Corona virus effects everyone

Written by Bob Oliver

Covid 19. 

That's the phrase of the year. Maybe decade. Maybe longer.

The "Corona virus" has affected the United States as part of the world pandemic of a new strain of flu. Measures are being considered and implemented to slow the spread of the disease, yet at this point there is no definitive solution.

This is serious.

Bars and restaurants have closed. Most sports have shuttered their areas and stadiums. Golf's Players Championship was cancelled after one round was completed and the Masters has been postponed. Things do not look good for having a PGA Championship in San Francisco in May. (Ed Note, PGA postponed).

Nobody knows what the future will bring. 

Yesterday, in Virginia, it was golf as usual at the Schoolhouse Nine, a challenging short course that is walking only. It was great to be outside and hitting golf balls.  And just like RIckie Fowler battled Justin Thomas in a friendly match in Florida, fun was had on the golf course even in these trying times.  

Around Bucks County, play is a day-by-day proposal.  Northampton Valley and Five Ponds have closed their courses.  Middletown, Bensalem Township, Neshaminy Valley and the Bucks Club as of this date remain open for play - although overnight rains have closed things down somewhat. 

"It's a jumbled time," admitted Bensalem professional Jim Bogan, who has seen a lot in his 50-plus years at the club. "We've been open for play, but our full food and beverage services are closed. We are taking all kinds of precautions, like disinfecting and cleaning carts, keys, you name it. We are aware of the situation."

Middletown has been allowing walking play, and it has been brisk at times. 

Northampton Valley communicated with customers that it will be closed "effective immediately to support public health efforts" and noted it will reopen as they are able.

"It really is a day-to-day review of the situation," added Bogan. "We discuss each day what is going on, and how we should proceed. It's truly and up to the minute set of decisions."

The Bensalem club has aerated much of the course, so that's a fact that has limited play somewhat. Besides, it is not yet golf "season". But the club historically, like Middletown, has a group of year-around players.

Those players are assured that equipment is being wiped down and measures taken to limit interactions between players.

Five Ponds in Warminster is closed until the end of the month, as is the Backyard Bar and Grille. 

Stonewall, a private club, has closed facilities although members can play the course sans carts while McCullough's Emerald Links, a public course, is open down the shore but requiring online and telephone pre-pay as pro shop entry is limited. Cash is not accepted for merchandise. 

Care is taken on the course. For instance, in a weekend round, my group left the flagstick in the hole, fist bumps were discouraged even after that great shot, and elbow bumps or pulling a competitors ball out of the hole for them strongly discouraged.

Cart attendants are not in use at many clubs, so players asked to load their own carts, and in some locations, carts are limited to a single occupant to ensure social distancing. 

A week ago, we played nine rounds in seven days, doing our best to stay away from contact with others (oh, did almost get hit my a young bomber while waiting in the fairway) and just having a swell time otherwise.  We were playing in Las vegas and Mesquite, Nevada, on great courses which were a treat (www.golfmesquite).  Hard to believe days later courses are shutting down. 

People were being smart. 

In these times, as always, it's much better to be smart!

 

21 Feb
2020

Frederick, Md. a very fine destination

Written by Bob Oliver

 

FREDERICK, MD --Everyone needs a golf road trip once in a while.  For those in Pennsylvania, we’ve penciled in trips to such areas as Myrtle Beach and Pinehurst for years. 

Those are seven-hour jaunts, however, and that time away from home extends to six or seven days in you want it to be worthwhile.

Want a shorter trip? Williamsburg isn’t out of the question, nor is the Ocean City, Maryland area. Both have a wide array of outstanding golf tests.

But while you are thinking of venues, don’t forget the Frederick, Maryland area.  Seriously! It’s a three-and-a half hour drive from Northeast Pennsylvania right down Interstate 81. If you reside in the Greater Philadelphia area, you can shave off some time.

In any event with some simple planning you can start your drive in the morning and be teeing off around noon.  No hurrying to get your round in before dark, no driving all day and hitting the first ball of the day tight as a well pulled garden hose.

Once in the area, there are a dozen wonderful tests, courses from outstanding designers, and challenges to test all levels of golfer. nestled to the east of the Catoctin Mountain, the lush farmlands of Frederick and nearby counties are ripe for superb golf courses. It won't disappoint!

A guy who knows the area inside and out is Chris Moore of GolfFrederickMd.com and the host of an area golf radio show. He’s seen the explosion of good golf in the area, and knows a thing or two about other attributes of the Frederick area.

“We have an outstanding array of golf courses which will challenge golfers of all ability levels,” explained Moore. “But we aren’t just golf. We have wonderful restaurants, lodging, attractions and experiences. Frederick and the surrounding area have a lot of great things to do when one isn’t on the golf course.”

The golf? Golfweek Magazine lists several on its places to play in Maryland. Favorites include Musket Ridge, Maryland National, Clustered Spires, Worthington Manor, Hollow Creek, Whiskey Creek and P.B. Dye, among others.

“These are fine tests of golf,” explained Moore. “You can’t go wrong playing these layouts. Courses for all levels of players about, and the challenges and views are endless."

Worthington Manor has golf chops, as evidenced by its selection as a USGA U.S. Open qualifying site and its hosting of the 98th Maryland State Open Championship. It's greens can be bedazzling. 

Designers such as Arthur Hills (Maryland National), P.B. Dye (P.B. Dye Golf Club), Ault-Clark (Worthington Manor) and Joe Lee Musket Ridge) have created distinct challenges throughout the area. Each has crafted layouts which perfectly make use of former farmlands, rolling countryside and mountain views. 

Downtown Frederick comes alive at night with a wide variety of food and beverage options. There are brew pubs, distilleries and more, all within close proximity to one’s hotel. History can be sampled both in town and nearby. Civil War buffs should know ir less than an hour from historic Gettysburg. 

Clearly Frederick Maryland is a great destination for a wonderful quick and cost-effective golf vacation

13 Feb
2020

Gov. Wolf is so very wrong

Written by Bob Oliver

 

First things first.  Golf Bucks County has, at its heart, provided information about golf in the county and in general. For 20 plus years it has reported on professional and amateur golf that affects the area, bringing everything it can to its viewers.

Sometimes it varies from golf into other arena, but only when the issue has a serious impact on the area. Today, that issue centers around Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Wolf's proposal to steal from the Horse Racing Development TRUST (emphasis intended) Fund.  Like our legislators in Washington, who have raided the Social Security TRUST fund for years, Wolf now wants to raid something that isn't his to raid. 

Fact is - and many proponents of Wolf's plan to fund higher education with money from the Trust don't understand is that robbing Peter to pay Paulette just isn't appropriate. The Trust fund established for horse racing was a deal which started when casino gambling was proposed in the state. It was negotiated that horse racing would receive a portion of slot revenues and in return the casinos were allowed in Pennsylvania.

Bottom line is horse racing - standardbred and thoroughbred - was impacted with the addition of casino games, and the two industries were tied at the hip going forward. Fact is, Parx, Penn National, Presque Isle Downs, Mohegan Sun and Harrah's Chester among others all have the combined racinos. 

The state oversees to ensure no hijinx occurs, and of course tax the businesses to the tune of nearly $70 million annually, but the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Development Trust is a separate entity. It should not be raided. That’s the law.

At West Chester University today Governor Wolf was quoted as saying he does not care the fund is a trust with a specific beneficiary. He knows all. "I't a bill I'm happy to die on," said the Democratic governor. 

Clearly misguided. Short sighted. 

Okay, he's all for raiding a trust fund. But of more importance, he's in favor of killing a thriving industry. Breeding alone has increased in multiples since the Trust was established. Horse racing generates more than $1.6 billion in economic impact to the state, employing nearly 25,000 Pennsylvanians who are not fat cats but everyday citizens. The fund helps in keeping open spaces green, protecting thousands of acres from development. 

Hundreds of broodmares have been added to the Pennsylvania roster of moms, while Smarty Jones came home to Pennsylvania, Hoppertunity relocated to the state and Uptowncharlybrown has developed into a class dad. 

All without taxpayer funding. Only generation of taxes. All from the knowledge that the Pennsylvania Horse Development Trust was safe from stink-filled swamp dwelling politicians sticky fingers. 

The Governor is willing to end all of these positives by stealing from a trust fund. What will his next attack me?

Rather than raiding a trust fund, but keeping with an idea to help higher education, he could direct the Pennsylvania Lottery to offer games which would benefit the state's higher education system. As a Bloomsburg graduate I'd support such a program. He could cut government pork. 

Heck, that would be a win-win for the state. 

Instead he wants to risk thousands of jobs and millions in tax money by crippling an industry.  Clearly, not a well thought out plan and a plan best known as Wolf's Folly. 

In golf, this would be a triple bogey of a plan.  

Hay ride - According to section 1405 of the Trust Fund act, the trust funds "are not funds of the State (of Pennsylvania). "The Commonwealth shall not be entitled to any money described under this section...Numerous breeders have been skeptical about breeding in Pennsylvania given the Governors decision to pick winners and losers. This will severely impact the industry now. 

 

 

 

27 Jan
2020

Zero Friction Bedazzles

Written by Bob Oliver

 

ORLANDO --- If there is one for sure thing about Zero Friction and its product line, it's that one knows innovation and attention to detail is at the forefront.

Oh, that's two things, but seriously, who's counting.

Zero Friction continually comes up with stellar innovative ideas and transforms them into designs that satisfies really needs of golfers. It's legendary golf gloves are not only form fitting, but it offers a wide array of styles to satisfy everyone.

A favorite is its DistancePro glove which is not only a wonderful fitting product but additionally has Bluetooth technology including a GPS devide which allows technological access to more than 36,000 golf courses worldwide.  Yes, the device and its ZF app that talks to your Spartphone provides a player everything from distance tracking to an overview of the green. 

The glove fits so well and the app is so light one doesn't know its there...unless you need information. 

The entire line of Zero Friction gloves are well thought out and feature a perfect fit. There is breathability, durability and they are comfortable as its Compression Fit technology guarantees a great fit. 

The Americana line of gloves has a patriotic spirit, and a portion of the proceeds of glove sales is being donated to the Veterans Golf Association.  Not to be outdone, there is also an Oh Canada glove for those who favor the great white north. 

It should be pointed out that Zero Friction not only has wonderful golf gloves, but also has an active wear line of gloves for those who are out int he great outdoors. These gloves mold to your hands and allow you to enjoy everything from walking for exercise or when your dog walks you!

New to the product line this year is the groundbreaking Power 3 Tees who promote less resistance and promotes more distance. This environmentally friendly product could add several yards to one's drives, and what could be wrong with that.

Based in America, Zero Friction continually accomplishes a goal of making quality products at a great price.  Check it out at www.zerofriction.com. 

 CHIP SHOTS: Zero Friction offers a wide array of products.  While it offers outstanding golf gloves and innovative tees, it also has a wonderful line of golf bags, licensed team balls and gloves, as well as an assortment of well made products that will bedazzle golfers of all abilities.