Punch Shots: Favorite Reclamation Project

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 21, 2013, 12:23 am

The Barclays host Liberty National went from a landfill on the banks of the Hudson River to an exclusive members club minutes from downtown New York City. We asked our golf travel experts what their favorite golf course reclamation project is in the U.S.

Jason Deegan: Chambers Bay, Washington

The genius of Chambers Bay does not rely solely upon golf. The linksy Robert Trent Jones II municipal course was built by Pierce County in 2007 to host a major championship, such as the 2010 U.S. Amateur and the 2015 U.S. Open.

Perhaps the more impressive thing to note, though, is the 360 acres reclaimed from an old gravel quarry also includes 50 acres of parks and three miles of trails. The KemperSports-managed course is a paradise for golfers, yes, but really anybody can soak up the jaw-dropping scenery along the Puget Sound in University Park 60 minutes south of Seattle.

“Only 10 percent of the population plays golf,” Chambers Bay General Manager Matt Allen said. “A lot of other people use the park. You’ve got trails through the course filled with bikes and walkers and dogs. It’s reminiscent of the U.K. when you see people on or near the course using the facilities for another purpose.”

The firm and fast conditions of the 7,585-yard course – probably accompanied by the cloudy sky and slight drizzle known to plague the Pacific Northwest – further accentuate a Scottish or Irish flair. The trains that run along the shoreline feel distinctly Scottish as well. Due to sweeping elevation changes, Chambers Bay remains a chore to walk, although it can be done. A steady stream of renovations appear to be complete before golf’s traveling circus stop by for what will be a memorable major championship.  

Brandon Tucker: Streamsong Resort, Florida

Streamsong No. 7

Golf course development is at its best when a once desolate piece of land flourishes into something useful again.

The Mosaic Company, which owns about 250,000 acres of Florida for phosphate mining and other operations, realized recently they had a piece of mined acreage that had, coincidentally enough, formed itself into a prime spot to build a destination golf resort.

They built Streamsong Resort, which opened 36 holes and a small dormy house earlier this year and will debut a 216-room hotel soon. What's so cool about this reclamation is that when you arrive on site for the first time, the transformation seems effortless.

Mosaic brought in Tom Doak and Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw to make it an authentic 36-hole experience for design aficionados -- something the public golf scene in Florida has underachieved in. 

High sand dunes and large ponds fill each layout, and perhaps the most striking piece of the property is where one par-3 from each course, the Blue and Red, cozy up to one another on opposite sides of a huge sand hill and above a dug-out water hazard.

South of Lakeland, Streamsong is a one-hour drive from Tampa and 90 minutes from Orlando. Yet it feels like the most remote part of Florida with virtually nothing on the horizon for miles around. In addition to 36 holes, resort activities also include shooting, hiking and fishing.

Considering Mosaic has so much more land at its disposal, one wonders if, someday, we could see the company plan another development somewhere else in the state...

Mike Bailey: Bay Harbor Golf Club, Michigan

Bay Harbor

Twenty-seven hole Bay Harbor Golf Club is often referred to as the 'Pebble Beach of the Midwest' and for good reason. Many of its Arthur Hills-designed risk-reward holes ride along the coast high above Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan. Add flawless conditions, a top-notch clubhouse and perfect summertime weather, and you've got a scene so pristine that it's hard to believe much of sits atop the old Penn-Dixie cement site that was dynamited almost 20 years ago.  

But what many golfers don't realize, however, is the cost for all this, which goes way above the billion-dollar price tag of the development. Not revealed -- apparently until better testing became available -- was the presence of leachate produced by water reacting with cement kiln dust buried below the site. For years now, one of the original development partners -- Consumer Energy's affiliated CMS Land Co. (which no longer has ownership) – has covered the cost for environmental cleanup.

According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the water is currently safe, but the $250 million project continues.

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Koepka: 'Surreal' Woods waited to say congrats at PGA

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:47 pm

Brooks Koepka was moved by the respect shown when Tiger Woods waited for a half hour at scoring last Sunday to congratulate Koepka for his PGA Championship victory at Bellerive.

While Koepka stands as an example of the new athletes Woods has attracted to the game, he laughs hearing people compare his body to an NFL player’s.

Those were among the observations Koepka shared Friday on "The Dan Patrick Show."

“That was surreal,” Koepka said of Woods waiting to congratulate him. “To hang around on 18, I wasn’t expecting it. It was probably the coolest gesture he could have done.”

Koepka credits Woods for drawing him to the game.

“He’s the reason I am playing,” Koepka said.

Koepka said playing with Woods in contention was a noisy experience that went beyond the roars Woods created making birdies in front of him.

“Even when he makes contact, you know what shot he’s hitting,” Koepka said. “That’s how loud people are.

“When they are putting [his score] up on the leaderboard, you hear it three holes away.”

About those NFL player comparisons, Koepka said his parents wouldn’t let him play football when he was growing up.

“I wasn’t big enough,” he said.

Koepka said he marveled meeting former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

“To be compared to them, it makes me laugh,” Koepka said. “I’m about the size of a cornerback, maybe a free safety.”

Koepka said he’s just over 6 feet tall and weighs 208 pounds.

“I saw Brian Urlacher give an interview,” Koepka said. “It was kind of funny. He said he was impressed at how big I wasn’t ... If I stand next to Justin Thomas, I’m going to look big. Golf doesn’t really have many big guys.”

Koepka told Patrick he is impressed at the athletes just now coming into golf.

“I see the young guys coming out of college,” Koepka said. “They are bombing it past me. They hit it so far, they are leaving me in the dust. It’s hard to think of, because I’ve been one of the longest hitters on tour.”

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McIlroy skipping first FedExCup playoff event

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:19 pm

Rory McIlroy committed to playing the FedExCup Playoffs opener at The Northern Trust, the PGA Tour announced after The Open Championship last month.

But McIlroy left the PGA Championship last week saying he might need to skip the opener to regroup, and that’s just what he is doing.

McIlroy wasn’t on The Northern Trust field list published Friday on the PGA Tour’s website.

“I need to assess where I'm at,” McIlroy said leaving Bellerive last week. “I think the best thing for me to do right now is just sort of take a couple days off, reflect on what I need to do going forward.

“The best thing might be to take that first FedExCup week off and work on my game and come back, hopefully, in a better place for Boston.”

McIlroy also skipped the FedExCup opener in 2015, choosing to make his start in the playoffs at Boston that year. It appears he will do the same this year.

“Historically, the first FedEx playoff event hasn't been my best event of the four,” McIlroy said. “I've played well in Boston. I've played pretty well in the other two.”

McIlroy left Bellerive saying he would do some work on his game and see if he felt ready for the playoffs opener as part of a run of big events leading into the Ryder Cup.

“There's a lot of room for improvement,” McIlroy said. “My swing really hasn't been where I want it to be. It was pretty good at the start of the year. I had a couple of months to work on it, but it's just sort of regressed as the season went on and you start to play tournaments, you start to fall back into some of the habits that you don't want to fall back into."

McIlroy has won once over the last two seasons – at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last March – but he has given himself other chances this year with some frustrating finishes. Overall, he has five finishes of third or better in 2018. He got himself in the final pairing with Patrick Reed at the Masters but stumbled to a T-5 finish. He tied for second at The Open last month.

“Inconsistency with the swing has been the big area,” McIlroy said. “If you look at my statistics, especially with approach play on my irons, and even my driving, even though it's been OK, there's been a two-way miss, with sort of everything throughout the bag, and that obviously isn't a good thing. So that's something I need to work on.”

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Watch: Wagner saves season with walk-off eagle dunk

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 18, 2018, 2:45 am

Johnson Wagner kept his FedExCup Playoff hopes alive on Friday at the Wyndham Championship ... and he did it in dramatic fashion.

Needing a birdie on his final hole of the day to make the cut on the number, Johnson used a 9-iron from 153 yards out to dunk his approach for eagle to get inside the cut line.

Johnson's eagle at the last gave him a 66 for the day and earned him two more rounds to try and get inside the FedExCup top 125 for next week's start of the postseason, The Northern Trust.

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S.H. Park, Salas co-lead rain-soaked Indy Women

By Associated PressAugust 18, 2018, 1:42 am

INDIANAPOLIS - Sung Hyun Park relied on the same, steady style that has helped make her one of the LPGA's top players. When her putts kept rolling in Friday, she was virtually unbeatable.

Park shot a 9-under 63 for a share of the lead with Lizette Salas during the suspended second round of the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

''The best round of the year,'' the South Korean player said through an interpreter. ''My putting overall was what really helped.''

Salas, the first-round leader after a 62, had a 69 to match Park at 13 under at Brickyard Crossing. Danielle Kang and Nasa Hataoka were two shots back.

''It was going to be hard to top that 62 yesterday but I stayed patient,'' Salas said. ''This was a completely different golf course, so I had to change my mentality a little bit and I had to forget about the 62 in a way and just go back to what I was doing.''

Park has two majors and four overall LPGA victories the last two years, winning the U.S. Women's Open and CP Women's Open last year and the Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic and KPMG Women's PGA Championship this season.

Nothing rattled Park on a sticky, overcast day.

''I worked on my short game the most, especially measuring the distances,'' Park said. ''It paid off.''

After more rain drenched the already saturated layout around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Park completed the round by putting out in a downpour that forced the afternoon groups to contend with a delay of nearly four hours.

Full-field scores from Indy Women in Tech Championship

In between the showers, the world's fourth-ranked player performed like a two-time major champion.

She birdied three of the first five holes to reach 7 under, started the back nine with three straight birdies then took the lead with her ninth and final birdie of the day on the par-4 17th.

Salas took a different tack one day after tying Mike McCullough's course-record 62.

Rather than take advantage of the course's soft greens, the 29-year-old American needed patience Friday. She opened with 12 consecutive pars then made three straight birdies on Nos. 4-6. After her first bogey of the tournament, on the par-4 eighth, Salas closed out the round with another birdie to tie Park.

Salas hasn't won since the 2014 Kingsmill Championship, but she's developed a real affinity for the Indy course where she's had five consecutive sub-par rounds dating to last year's fifth-place finish.

Kang, who kept Salas composed during a 77-minute rain delay Thursday, had a 68 to get to 11 under.

''I've been giving myself a lot of birdie chances,'' Kang said. ''That was my goal this week. I just have been feeling like I was in a little bit of a funk, so I told my caddie we were just going to pick a number, play my game, forget all the swing thoughts, forget everything and just kind of play it by feel.''

Kang hasn't recorded a bogey over the first 36 holes and is in contention for her first tour victory last year's KPMG Women's PGA Championship.

Hataoka shot 69.

Angel Yin, the 19-year-old Californian who was tied for second with Hataoka after the first round, was 10 under with eight holes left. Yin was tied for fifth with Thidapa Suwannapura of Thailand and Amy Yang of South Korea, who also had eight holes to go.

Defending champion Lexi Thompson started on the back nine and birdied the par-3 12th and the par-4 16th. She was 6 under with 10 holes remaining in the second round.

And the course could change dramatically as it dries out.

Saturday's forecast calls for partly cloudy conditions with highs in the low 80s and Sunday is supposed to be mostly sunny with highs in the mid-80s.

Park promises to be ready for whatever weather arrives.

''I'm going to do really well,'' she said. ''I feel really good about my game, especially my short game. And it's just about the weather now, so hopefully the weather is good.''