Dyes Pound Ridge fills high-end niche for public play in Westchester

By August 3, 2010, 11:39 pm


Pound Ridge Golf Club
The fourth at Pound Ridge is ferociously protected, with deep bunkers front, center and left, and water on the right.

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – With the Turning Stone Resort Championship returning to Verona, N.Y., we get a chance to check out the brand new Pete Dye golf course nearby. If you can imagine an eccentric sculptor working feverishly, much like a child on a beach molding sand into high mounds, long moats and deep lakes, then adding massive rock constructions until the surface resembles a moonscape of pits and peaks, then you may get some idea of what Pete Dye created at the new Pound Ridge Golf Club in Westchester County.

In fact, the picture should be clear when you reach the bunker-strewn fifth hole, aptly named 'Temptation', a 317-yard par 4.

How much you like the course will largely depend on how well you play it on any particular day. If your target game was on and you were hitting the ball pure, then you might say it's great. If you were shanking and hitting wood and rock, then you would most likely grumble and groan and think it is one of the worst tracks on the planet. Either way, there is nothing ho-hum about this one.

A master of scary holes, Pete Dye has lived up to his moniker, creating yet another 'Dye-abolical' course with enough drama for the entire state.

Pound Ridge Golf Club was a long time coming. Seems the folks in this part of New York weren't sure they liked the idea of a fancy new course in their residential midst. Getting the required permits took about nine years, while construction took another two. The states's only Pete Dye-designed golf course finally opened in 2008.

'[The town] put us through the hoops,' said Ken Wang, owner of the venue's 172 rocky acres, originally the site of a nine-hole course. 'At the end of the day, we have a better product, but it damned near bankrupt the empire.'

More than $40 million was spent building Pound Ridge Golf Club, and if you ask Wang, $39.8 million of that went towards moving granite, marble and schist.

Constructed on the bones of another course, everything you can imagine - from wetlands, rock, steep elevation drops, water, carries and length (7,171 yards from the tips) –  is wrapped up in this layout.

Greens are ferociously protected. For example on Pound Ridge Golf Club's fourth hole, a par-3 169-yard carry, you have sprawling and deep, high-lipped bunkers front, center and left, with water on the right. You just have to hit a perfect shot, that's all.

Pound Ridge Golf Club: Between rocks and hard places
It's the rocks that made it so difficult for Dye to get what he wanted and, at the end of the day, it's the rocks that created all the initial buzz.

Take the 15th hole, which features a behemoth boulder on the right side of the green.

'If you hit that rock and it bounces onto the green, you'll say this is a great hole. If it hits the rock and bounces into the swamp, you'll say this is the worst god-damned hole you've ever seen in your life,' Dye said.

The old-hand architect's son and co-designer, Perry Dye, also had a hand in things.

'When we started walking around, we encountered woods so thick it was hard to tell the high and low points. The land and topography of the woods pretty much dictated how it ran. We only changed it three times during construction,' Perry Dye said.

Michael Langkau, Dye's construction manager, said the terrain posed formidable challenge for his team.

'The holes here were the 18 toughest holes to shape in my 20-year career, because of the quantity of rock,' Langkau said.'The 14th hole definitely was the most challenging to build. 20 tons of dynamite and it came out perfect ... I think the blasters ran out of dynamite here.'

As you play around this hilly, very scenic golf course, you may do some blasting yourself - like on the 14th, one of the longer driving holes, requiring you to nail your shot over a ravine and rocks to reach the fairway.

According to Pound Ridge Golf Club superintendent Will Heintz, 'It will take a couple more years for grasses to grow in,' but already the fescue, blue grass, and bent grass on tees and fairways is giving the course its character. 106 bunkers add a tremendous feel to the course, while 14,000 feet of rock walls surround trees, wetlands and water hazards.

Pound Ridge Golf Club: The verdict
From the tips, the course measures a formidable 7,171 yards, but five sets of tees make it playable for higher handicappers.

Pound Ridge's tees are also classified by handicap. For example, the back 'Black' tees are recommended for those with handicaps of up to 4, while the forward 'Pine' tees, at 4,965 yards, are suggested for those with handicaps of 29 and more.

No housing developments are planned for this 7,085-yard track which, at $105 to $235 for the green fee with a cart, is more expensive than any other public course in the area (seasonal plans are available).

Still, Pound Ridge Golf Club fills an important niche for those seeking a high-end golf experience in northern Westchester without an initiation fee.

And what makes this one different from other Dye courses?

'It's the land,' said Dye. 'It's spectacular.'

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Top-ranked amateur wins LAAC, earns Masters invite

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 5:38 pm

Joaquin Niemann walked Augusta National Golf Club as a patron last year. He’ll be a competitor in 2018.

Niemann, the top-ranked amateur in the world, shot 8-under 63 Tuesday at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Santiago, Chile, to win the Latin America Amateur Championship.

And with the title, both redemption and an invitation to the Masters Tournament.

Full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship

Niemann finished runner-up in last year’s LAAC to fellow Chilean Toto Gana. He followed Gana around Augusta grounds, watching as his best friend played two rounds before missing the cut.

Niemann, who was going to turn professional had he not won this week, started the final round one back of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz. Niemann was sluggish from the start on Tuesday, but then drove the 313-yard, par-4 eighth and made the eagle putt. That sparked a run of five birdies over his next six holes.

Niemann was bogey-free in the final round and finished five shots clear of Ortiz, at 11 under.

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Judges Panel, Host Announced for Wilson Golf's "Driver vs. Driver 2," Premiering This Fall on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 23, 2018, 4:15 pm

‘Driver vs. Driver 2 Presented by Wilson Currently in Production; Sports Broadcaster Melanie Collins Returns to Host

Morning Drive: Driver vs. Driver 2 Judges Announced

Golf Channel and Wilson Golf announced today the panel of judges and host for the second season of Driver vs. Driver, the innovative television series that follows aspiring golf equipment designers as they compete for the opportunity to have their driver idea or concept transformed into the next great golf driver from Wilson. The show is currently in production and will premiere this fall.

Joining judge Tim Clarke, President of Wilson Golf, are two newcomers to the series: 9-time National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star and current NHL on NBC hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick – an avid golfer with a single digit handicap and a self-described golf equipment junkie; and PGA Professional, golf coach, equipment reviewer and social media influencer Rick Shiels.

“Golf is a big passion of mine, and personally I enjoy learning about new equipment and concepts,” said Roenick. “To be able to see this side of the business in how equipment is developed first-hand is fascinating. Being a part of the process in reviewing driver concepts and narrowing them down to an ultimate winning driver that will be sold across the country is a tremendous honor.” 

“Jeremy, as an avid golfer, and Rick, as a coach, equipment reviewer and golf professional, bring incredible, real world insights and different perspectives to the show and this process,” said Clarke. “I’m excited to work alongside these two judges to push the boundaries of innovation and bring a next-generation driver to golfers around the world.”

Sports broadcaster Melanie Collins returns as the host of Driver vs. Driver 2. Currently a sideline reporter for CBS Sports’ college football and basketball coverage, Collins hosted the inaugural season in 2016 and formerly co-hosted Golf Channel’s competition series, Big Break.

Production for Driver vs. Driver 2 began in the fall of 2017 and will continue through the summer, including this week at the PGA Merchandise Show. The series is being produced by Golf Channel, whose portfolio of original productions include interview series Feherty hosted by Emmy-nominated sports personality David Feherty, high-quality instruction shows School of Golf, Golf Channel Academy and Playing Lessons and a slate of award-winning films.

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Tiger Tracker: Farmers Insurance Open

By Tiger TrackerJanuary 23, 2018, 4:00 pm

Tiger Woods is competing in a full-field event for the first time in nearly a year. We're tracking him at this week's Farmers Insurance Open. (Note: Tweets read, in order, left to right)

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Wie's goal to reach goals: Just. Stay. Healthy.

By Randall MellJanuary 23, 2018, 3:30 pm

Michelle Wie’s player bio should come with medical charts.

Her caddie would be well served if he could read X-rays as well as he reads greens.

Remarkably, Wie will begin her 13th full season as a pro when she tees it up Thursday in the LPGA’s season opener at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic.

Wie is only 28, but on some days, she must feel like she’s going on 40.

It isn’t the years, it’s the mileage. Her body has too often been like an exotic sports car, a sleek and powerful machine capable of thrilling rides ... when it isn’t sitting it in the shop for weeks for repairs. There’s been one breakdown after another, spoiling her rides.

That’s why one burning desire trumps all others for Wie as she begins this new year.

“Being healthy, staying healthy, it’s my No. 1 priority,” Wie told GolfChannel.com. “I hired private physios at the end of last year, to work on my body. I’ve been working with my doctors in New York, and they’ve been doing a great job of getting me to a place where I’m pain free.

“For the most part, I’m feeling pretty good and pretty healthy. I’ve got little aches and pains from hitting so many balls over the years, but I’m really excited about starting this year. I feel really driven this year. I just want to be healthy so I can build some momentum and be able to play at 100 percent.”

Wie would love to see what she can do in an injury-free, illness-free year after all the promising work she put into rebuilding her game last year. She seemed on the brink of something special again.

“We worked last week, and Michelle looked really, really good,” said David Leadbetter, her swing coach. “It’s quite impressive the way she’s hitting the ball. She is hitting it long and feeling good about her game. So, the main goal really is to see if she can go injury free.”

After winning twice in 2014, including the U.S. Women’s Open, Wie battled through a troublesome finger injury in the second half of that year. Hip, knee and ankle injuries followed the next year. She didn’t just lose all her good momentum. She lost the swing she grooved.

Wie rebuilt it all last year, turning her draw into a dependable fade that allowed her to play more aggressively again. She loved being able to go hard at the ball again, without fearing where it might go. The confidence from that filtered into every part of her game. She started hitting more drivers again.

And Wie found yet another eccentric but effective putting method, abandoning her table-top putting stance for a rotating trio of grips (conventional, left-hand low and claw). She would use them all in a single round. It was weird science, but it worked as she moved to a more classic, upright stance.

“It’s not pretty, but it’s working,” Stacy Lewis said after playing with Wie at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship last summer.

Wie said she’s going back and forth between conventional and left-hand low now.

“I can’t promise I’ll stay the same way all year,” Wie said. “But even with different grips, I stayed with the same putting philosophy all year. I want to keep doing that.”

Leadbetter calls Wie a rebel in her approach to the game. She’s a power player, but she carried a 9-wood and 11-wood last year. She says the 11-wood will be back in her bag this week. Her unorthodox ways go beyond technique, strategy and equipment. She’ll be sporting pink hair come Thursday.

“She has never been orthodox,” Leadbetter said. “She doesn’t like to conform. She’s always liked to buck the system in some way.”

Wie looked as if she were poised to make a run at her fifth career title last season. She logged six finishes of fourth place or better the first half of the year. She contended at the ANA Inspiration, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

And then a neck spasm knocked her out of the U.S. Women’s Open.

And then emergency appendectomy surgery knocked her out for six weeks at summer’s end. It kept her from playing the year’s final major, the Evian Championship.

“I can’t list all the injuries Michelle has had in her career,” Leadbetter said. “I don’t think there is one joint or bone in her body that hasn’t had some sort of injury or issue.”

Over the last three seasons alone, Wie has played through bursitis in her left hip, a bone spur in her left foot and inflammation in her left knee. She has battled neck spasms and back spasms. There have been platelet rich plasma injections to aid healing, and there have been too many cortisone injections for her liking.

There also have been ongoing issues in both wrists.

In fact, Wie, who broke two bones in her left wrist early in her career, is dealing with arthritic issues in both wrists of late. She underwent collagen injections this off season to try to be more pain free.

“I’ve had to pull back the last couple years, restrict the number of balls I hit, not practice as much as I would like, but I was able to put in a lot of work this offseason,” Wie said. “I’m excited about this year, but I’ve been smart about things.”

Leadbetter says he has been focusing on injury prevention when working with Wie. He worries about the stress that all the torque she creates can have on her body, with her powerful coil and the way she sometimes likes to hold off shots with her finish. His work, sometimes, is pulling her back from the tinkering she loves to do.

“Everything we do with her swing now is to help prevent injury,” he said.

Leadbetter relishes seeing what’s possible in 2018 if there are no setbacks.

“Michelle would be the first to admit she hasn’t reached anywhere near her potential,” Leadbetter said. “We all know what she is capable of. We’ve had fleeting glimpses. Now, it’s a matter of, ‘OK, let’s see if we can really fulfill the potential she’s had from a very young age.’

“She’s really enthusiastic about this year. She can’t wait to get back in the mix.”