New York City golfers: Brooklyn's Marine Park Golf Course enjoying a resurgence

By Jason DeeganDecember 10, 2013, 5:21 pm

As a lifelong New York City resident, Rich McDonough takes great pride in the recent resurgence of the Big Apple’s public golf scene.

Donald Trump will open his Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point Park in 2015. Closer to his heart, the Marine Park Golf Course in Brooklyn continues its rebirth under Michael and Adam Giordano, the father-son ownership team that took over in 2009. The duo has launched a long-term master plan to enhance the original Robert Trent Jones Sr. design. A number of holes have already been altered, the clubhouse revamped and new practice facilities built.

McDonough, the club’s director of golf operations, calls Marine Park “the gem of New York City.” The 6,866-yard course will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2014.

"On the scale of 1 to 10 (grading the changes), it is a 10,” McDonough said. “I’ve played at Marine Park through the years. It was so dilapidated from the lack of maintenance and care. People were accepting that nothing was going to change. Slowly but surely, the golf course came alive."

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Marine Park was originally designed by architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. 

With an improved emphasis on conditioning, Marine Park wants to become known as a tournament venue. In October, top area professionals and amateurs played in the inaugural Brooklyn Open Championship at Marine Park.

McDonough estimates roughly 30 percent of the renovation work by architect Stephen Kay is complete. Kay shaped berms and mounds on holes 1-5 and holes 11-14 to give the flat linksy layout better definition and character. The Manhattan skyline, including the Empire State Building and the Freedom Tower, frames the backdrop.

"These berms have given each hole their own private feel," McDonough said. "They change the entire feel. Even with the wind, it changes those patterns. It’s quite unique."

Reworking bunkers and the construction of new tees will continue. An indoor training studio equipped with a TrackMan launch monitor and simulator will open upstairs in the clubhouse in January.

Marine Park looking at innovative pace of play solutions

The Giordanos are analyzing every detail of course operations to improve the customer experience and increase rounds. They’re looking into a shuttle service to bring in golfers from Manhattan. McDonough indicated Marine Park might experiment with off-peak tee times next year that charge for "time played" instead of the traditional nine or 18-hole model. The course routing makes shorter loops possible.

Consulting with Three45Golf Association Inc. brought in ideas to speed up play. Clocks spaced out to three key locations on the course keep players aware of their pace. Additional employee training and new signage provide constant reminders about the issue.

"We are looking forward to people playing faster and still getting a great golf experience," McDonough said. "We have difficult greens. We will make sure pin positions will not bog down play. We are being very proactive."

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.