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!


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18 Oct
2014

Courageous Brentz blasts to paralong drive title

Written by Bob Oliver

 

MESQUITE, NV --- The world is complete with folks who have a diverse set of views on just about anything. To some, the glass is half full, while others believe it’s half empty.

Jared Brentz is generally an optimist. But after his final round at “The Grid” here at the ParaLong Drive World Championships the 26-year-old Murfreesboro (near Nashville) resident had the look generally associated with defeat.

“I just felt I hadn’t done it, I didn’t think I’d hit the ball where I wanted to hit it,” said the highly competitive and internally motivated Brentz, who last May cranked a paralong drive world record 409 yards in winning a third national title and regularly bombs 350-yarders. “I know I didn’t hit it as far as earlier in the day, I wasn’t sure I’d hit the winner.”

A small smile appeared shortly after when it was announced his drive of 340 yards was good enough to win the world championship over a field which included nearly 50 inspiring competitors.

Brentz clipped runner-up Tim Herrmann of Minnesota by six yards in the world finals.

In long drive competition, players get less than three minutes to hit six drives that must come to rest on the grid to be counted. Competitors are hitting two or three to a group in the same timeframe, so one doesn’t really watch what others are doing.

“But, we can hear others, we can here the crowd when someone cranks one,” commented Anthony Netto, the paramobile 2-arm champion who claimed his division with a 289-yard blast. “You have a sense of what’s happening while you are hitting.”

In a sport where each of the competitors has a severe physical condition, Brentz has never been one who says “why me” or simply “why”, choosing instead to say why not. He’s faced more challenges than can be imagined, and while not always successful he knows deep down he tried his best.

Born with a condition known as arthrogryposis and club feet, he lived with that condition - and three surgeries along the way - until just after his 12th birthday. Then came the enormous decision: continue the pain and struggles of the disease with the alternative of amputation of both legs below the knees.

Wise and confident beyond his years when his parents and doctors described the alternatives, Brentz selection Option B and began a new life that, after extensive rehabilitation resulted in his playing for the high school varsity wresting and golf teams.

“There’s just something about me, when someone says I can’t do something, I turn it around and tell them to watch me. I love a challenge,” said the world champion paralong driver. “Today, well, this is really something.”

It was something as the assembled fans and media – The Golf Channel had a team to chronicle the event – can attest. Competitor after competitor entered the grid a smoked drives that would embarrass most of us. These guys and gals are long, uber long, ultra long.

And to a person they not only have a competitive spirit but are generally at rest with their physical challenge. 

Champions were crowned in 20 divisions, and overall champion Brentz found himself interviewed in prime time on The Golf Channel.

“That’s kinda cool, but the big story here isn’t me it’s all the competitors,” said the champion, who also won his division (two leg amputated below knees) with a 360-yard poke.

True, but he can’t deny his performance was not only stellar but inspiring.

“This trophy obviously means a lot to me, it’s a great accomplishment and I am proud to have it in my possession. Yet I know the real winners are all the competitors. They are all special in what they do.”

Assembled and competing were wounded warriors, victims of accidents of all kinds, from both sexes and ages. There was a blind division, a paramobile grouping and long drivers who blasted 300-yard pops with one arm by itself or with the aid of a second arm device.

Courage was the key word of the event, as each and every competitor displayed the guts that spring boarded a sense of optimism. Being there and competing made everyone a winner, clearly, but the bottom line was that these guys and girls are really good too.

Not a lot of woe is me in the group. Rather, as Brentz said, a sense of we can do this. We can accomplish goals.

Watching the ParaLong Drive Worlds wasn’t just watching a golf event. It was an inspirational story about dedication, desire and courage.

ParaLong Drive Blasts: Three-year-old Tommy Morrissey started the final day activities at the Mesquite Sports and Entertainment Complex with a ceremonial first drive. The one-arm youngster recently appeared on the “Ellen” television show and is quite a character…Bryce Brantz, Jared's twin brother, plays professional baseball including 9 games this year with the Boston Red Sox...Josh Williams won the one-leg below knee division with a  322-yard blast…The Casablanca and Eureka Resorts were among the stellar Mesquite businesses hosting the event…Ten countries were represented at the championships.

 

10 Oct
2014

Smeraglio, Timby team for title

Written by Bob Oliver

Glenn Smeraglio and Tom Timby are no strangers to the winner's circle or the pressures of competition. Both have competed in numerous USGA championship events.

They teamed to claim the Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association Fall Classic at the Donald Ross designed Jeffersonville Golf Club in Norristown, scoring a 4-under-par 66 on the strength of five birdies against one bogey on the par-70 layout. The competition featured six holes of better-ball, modified alternate shot and scramble play. The Bucks County twosome defeated Chris Thude, the PPGA Match Play champion out of Torresdale-Frankford, and Steve Owens by two shots.

Yardley's Terry Law teamed with Roy Gagne for the Super Senior Championship after a 70, while Chris Terebesi and Steve Lieber claimed the Senior Championship with a sparkling 65.

Notes: Congrats to Pennsbury's Jackie Rogowicz for her victory in the PIAA District One Girls Championship.

15 Sep
2014

Radick claims 5th NVCC championship

Written by Bob Oliver

One thing is certain these days at Northampton Valley Country Club: If the club championship is going on, Jonathon Radick will be in the thick of it. The 2014 season was no exception, as Radick claimed his fifth NVCC men's club championship with a strong effort in the finals beating Matt Kothe.

Radick set up his three-peat by storming to a six-up lead after 18 holes of their 36-hole finale. Kothe, however, didn't led down. He cut the lead in half before Radick won the 33rd and 34th holes of the day to claim the championship. He also won the 2004 and 2009 championships.

Dave Drabot captured the First Flight championship, defeating J.J. Johnson, 3 and 2. "Dave was a par machine today," stated Johnson.

Mike Conway claimed the Second Flight championship over Eric Green, 5 and 4, while in the Senior D Flight Dr. Edward Betof nipped Henry Vogt in a tight match, 2 and 1.

"As always, the competition was tough," explained head golf professional Vin Ciarlone. "This is the highlight event of the summer."

Drabot, incidentally, claimed a golfer's dream shot on NVCC's 15th hole recently. Playing from the 161-yard tees the 11-handicapper watched his tee shot find its way into the hole for an ace. He used a 5 iron for the shot.

In other action, Jonathon Radick teamed with uncle John "Buff" Radick to capture the NVCC Member-Member championship with a sparkling 4-under-par 31-35--66 effort. John Schikal and Brian Bohlman teamed for the net division title with a 72-112--net 60.

NVCC Notes: The annual Fall Classic is slated for November 9. Details available from the pro shop...Long-time member and champion Herb Rolland retired from competitive play on his recent 90th birthday. He was honored recently at the home of Paul Edwards, last year's senior flight champion...In Pinehurst, NC, the NVCC duo of Jeff and Kevin Hilton claimed their division of the Pinehurst Member-Guest. At Pinehurst No. 5, they combined for a gross 71, while at Pinehurst No. 6 they scored a 73. With handicap their net team total was 31-30--61.  

 

02 Sep
2014

USGA Sr. Am to Hidden Creek

Written by Bob Oliver

 

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, NJ --- The 61st annual United States Golf Association’s Senior Amateur Championship will be played just more than a year from now at Hidden Creek Golf Club. The event will feature the best amateurs in the world ages 55 and above battling the sparkling Coore-Crenshaw design over a week of stroke qualifying and match play.

It seems so easy, but holding a major championship is anything but as simple as hitting the easy button and opening the gates.

While the course is superb, it has to be in great shape. And the logistics surrounding the event, from registration to the championship ceremony, requires an attention to detail and a lot of luck.

“This will not be an easy assignment,” explains David Goddard, who is co-General Chairperson of the event along with Edwina Hansen. “There is so much to be done, and we will need a whole lot of help from the community to make this happen as a seamless, superb event.”

Goddard estimates more than 400 volunteers will be required. Many will be needed to help marshal and forecaddie during tournament play at the Egg Harbor Township layout, but of critical importance is the work that needs to be done prior to the event.

“The opportunities for volunteers are endless, and any help whether in person or financial will be appreciated,” added Goddard.

“We believe it will require about $300,000 to ensure a superb championship event,” stated Hansen at a kickoff meeting for the event. “There is a lot at stake. We believe the course is of championship quality, as does the USGA, but the behind the scenes efforts to make it happen will be voluminous.”

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Greater Atlantic City Charities First Tee DRIVE program.

The event will be staged September 26 through October 1, 2015. There will be 156 of the best players over age 55 from around the world in the field who will play 36 holes of stroke play qualifying with the top 64 advancing to the match play component.

One local player who knows a thing or two about USGA events and the Senior Amateur in particular is George “Buddy” Marucci, who earned his first and only USGA championship with a 2008 Senior Amateur victory. Marucci has competed in 50 USGA events over the years, with the highlights being his championship run at Shady Oaks GC in Texas over New Yorker George Zahringer and his winning captaincy of the US Walker Cup team in 2007 and 2009.

“The Senior Amateur is a unique championship,” said Marucci, a four-time Pennsylvania State Amateur Champion. “We all have jobs and families. Many have grandkids. But the thing that knots us together is our love for championship golf. This is an outstanding event and a sort of marathon. You advance through stroke play, but then have to win six times in match play.”

Marucci, a long-time Merion Golf Club member who was instrumental in directing the successful 2013 U.S. Open there, spoke at the kickoff to the Senior Amateur at Hidden Creek and implored those assembled to take advantage of the opportunity.

“Of course there will be great golf, no question about it,” said the former champion. “But seriously, it does not happen without a lot of work over the next year. If you can get involved, to any degree, it will help. I know first-hand that being involved with a USGA event will get you a wealth of satisfaction from that involvement.”

For Edwina Hansen, co-owner of the stellar layout with husband Roger Hansen, even a year of preparation is short.

“There is just so much to do in preparation for the tournament, we are so proud to be the venue,” said Hansen. “The USGA will help – they’ve sent us pages of guidelines – but we know the tasks are endless to have a great tournament.”

Hidden Creek Golf Club is “on the clock” for the 61st USGA Senior Amateur.

Senior Am notes: Marucci holds the distinction of losing to one Tiger Woods in the finals of the 1995 United States Amateur Championship…Hidden Creek, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, is ranked as the 71st best Modern course in the United States by Golfweek Magazine...The Delaware Valley has seen four of its players earn the USGA Senior Amateur Championship: J. Willard Platt (1955), William Hyndman III (1973, 1983), O. Gordon Brewer (1994, 1998) and Marucci….Interested in volunteering for the event? Contact: Volunteer Chairman, 61st US Senior Amateur, Care of Ole Hansen and Sons Inc., PO Box 1020, Cologne, NJ 08213…The Hansens owned nearby Blue Heron Pines when it hosted the US Amateur Publinks Championship, won by now PGA Tour standout Brandt Snedeker...Hidden Creek has hosted qualifying tournaments for the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open in recent years.