Lake of the Woods Golf Course boasts recent upgrades

By July 8, 2010, 7:05 pm


Lake of the Woods Golf Course
The green at the 534-yard 15th hole is the most receptive of all the par 5s at Lake of the Woods Golf Course in Mahomet.

MAHOMET, Ill. – As the PGA Tour John Deere Classic makes its stop at TPC Deere Run, golf in Illinois becomes the topic of conversation. Lake of the Woods Golf Course is a rarity in east-central Illinois golf, in that it features lots of mature trees and a surprising number of elevation changes for this basically flat part of the state.

As part of the Forest Preserves of Champaign County, this municipal track, a Robert Bruce Harris design, can still be played for well less than $30 plus cart, even on peak-season weekends. But don't let the low rates and relatively benign length of 6,578 yards deceive you –  the course is not only an excellent challenge, it's also emerged from a set of major renovations that have improved the facilities tremendously.

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Making play better at Lake of the Woods
Beginning in 2007, the course began rebuilding all the tee boxes, the driving range, and the bag-drop and practice green areas. This meant a somewhat painful year of playing from temporary tees and no practice range for the course's loyal members, but by all accounts, it was worth it.

'Everyone I've talked to has been very positive about the changes,' said Dave Huber, golf pro at Lake of the Woods for the past 20-plus years. 'Although it took a few of them a little while to get used to the new traffic flow.'

The driveway to the parking lot now circles around the practice green, making for better and safer cart and foot traffic flow to and from the pro shop and the first tee. And the back end of the driving range, which used to slide downhill out of view, has been raised so that all but the longest shots can be seen as they land. The teeing area on the range has also been elevated, graded and resodded.

Most dramatic, though, are the rebuilt tee boxes. Where once golfers were often greeted with scarred earth and uneven lies, now they'll find level footing and soil that doesn't break tees as they are being pushed in.

The one upgrade that seems to still be missing is a set of steps up the side of the steeply elevated tee box at the 343-yard fifth hole. As one regular player put it, 'If I were a personal injury lawyer, I'd just set up a table right at the bottom of that tee box and wait for old guys to slip.'

This one shortcoming aside, the improvements have made a good course even better. Despite the relative shortness of the layout, Huber is eager to point out a perplexing fact. 'In the 20-plus years I've been here, the tournament record is still only 67,' he stated.

Huber cannot quite explain the relatively high score, which, as he notes, is made all the more curious given that, 'a lot of these high school kids who play out here are so long that they can drive many of the par 4s, and can reach all the par 5s in two. Guys have told me that they've shot or seen lower, and I tell them to bring in the scorecards. I've never seen any lower scores, though, at least not in competition play.'

'It must be the greens,' Huber speculates with a wry grin. 'There are a bunch of putts out here I still can't figure out.' Indeed, the last time I hosted a group of golfers here, one of them commented that they were the trickiest greens he'd played all year.

Needless to say, there's no plan to renovate the greens.

-- by Kiel Christianson

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.

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Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

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“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.