Posted Dec 04 2012, 12:39 PM by Cathy Erickson
Well, it's the day after the FINAL Q-school process as we know it, and while I failed to keep up to date here (sorry about that!), I did try to follow along when I had a chance (darn work has kept me busy!). Is it okay if I just get to the giddy parts right now?
As you know, I'm a fan follower of all Minnesota Q-school participants - there have been some moderate successes, but since I've been following Q-school, no Minnesota golfer has made it into the Top 25 to earn their card...that's not to say no Minnesota golfer has ever made it (think Tom Lehman!), but we've had dry spell for awhile. Last year, Clayton Rask was looking poised to make a move after successfully passing through the first 2 stages, but the best he could do was get some status on the Nationwide (not Web.com) tour. But in what feels like a little golf gift to me, a Minnesotan has broken through and will have a PGA Tour card in 2013.
Posted Jul 03 2012, 01:14 PM by Cathy Erickson
Wow…it’s been a busy few weeks in my world and one thing I’ve really missed is doing my weekly golf writing therapy. There’s a lot on my mind so I’d better get to it!
First of all...congratulations to Webb Simpson on his US Open win!! Honestly, I didn't see that one coming. He had been under the radar for most of the year but he played steady, solid golf with the fewest mistakes. Great guy, great champion.
Rumor has it that Sam Johnson went on vacation and didn’t take his golf clubs. This girl, on the other hand, has clocked quite a few miles on the Callaway travel bag, most recently on a trip to Nashville, TN, just 2 weeks ago. Back in 2010, I wrote about my first time to Nashville and the courses I played there. I was excited to be back, but not super excited to arrive to average temperatures of 95+ degrees – this Minnesota girl is not used to that kind of heat!
Posted Mar 01 2012, 12:11 PM by Cathy Erickson
We have begun to hear the battle cry for helping improve the sport of golf on a few different fronts lately. When I Googled "Golf Industry in Trouble" one thing I noticed was that the first couple of pages of hits were from articles posted back in 2008, and one interesting one was from 2005. So I guess this idea isn't a new one, but from what I browsed through, the good news is that even back in the mid-00's, those involved in the "golf world" were already identifying potential issues and finding ways to deal with the challenges in front of them.
Every golfer, not just golf equipment manufacturers or golf course owners, are stakeholders in the sport. It's imperative that we all consider what we can bring to the table, especially on a local level, to continue to assure that golf is available not only to us but to all fellow golfers, in particular, the generations to come.
This has really hit home for me because our golf course is struggling. I wrote about it last year, and the end result was that revenues were down significantly. Since the course I play at is municipal, there is always the threat that it won't be a priority anymore. And with our current economic culture it's something that worries me.
The good news is that most of our City leaders see the value in having a golf course in our community. Since I'm in one of the "snowy states" our season is at best about 6 months long, so we need to cram a lot of activity to get the needed revenues to operate and improve our course. What I have learned is that some things are in our control and others are not. The weather played a large factor in less playable days in 2011 compared to 2010 and it also impacted the spring growth and summer maintenance.
But what I also realized is that each one of us that shares a passion, or just appreciates the opportunity to play golf in our town, can be a part of improving our financial condition. It's not easy. A change in mindset might be needed. From my experience, there can sometimes be the attitude that golfers aren't vested in their course...they come and play, maybe have some food or drink, but that's often where the relationship ends . Many golfers have no idea (or maybe no interest) in knowing about the challenges and struggles the course is going through.
A sense of ownership or a sense of pride as a community member can really make a difference in people caring about the success and future of the course. Sometimes a trust may need to be rebuilt, especially if golfers have expressed concerns or suggestions for improvement and their voices landed on deaf ears.
Late last fall, after the season was over and it was apparent that we didn't have a prosperous season, I had some great conversations with a few people who share a common passion for golf. From there, a small group was formed with the purpose of seeing a better golf course and finding ways to increase revenue. I can't tell you how inspiring it is to sit at a table with people that want to see better things and are willing to do something to help.
One of the things I'm focusing on is our own community golfing base. While one of our main industries is tourism, I know our golf course can become better by both engaging our membership to share in thet mission of a better course and to introduce (or welcome back) community members not currently playing golf. When you're a small town golf course with a scrappy operating budget, sometimes you must rely on the time and talents of other folks who care. Without that, there may be no more golf.
I believe that golf on every level, whether it's a local municipal course or a private country club, needs each member to see golf with a new set of eyes...to see the opportunity share the game and appreciate all of the positive things it can bring. I read last fall that a beautiful Tom Lehman designed golf course in Minnesota closed. It had lots of things going for it, but apparently it just couldn't cover its costs. If things are great where you are, take a look around and see if you can share your golf passion at other courses or in other programs that might need help. Golf needs you!
As I look ahead with anticipation to our upcoming golf season, it's my goal to bring a positive energy into our golf course community and encourage not only golfers, but our community and City leaders to be partners in making our golf course a success. That means dispelling the notion that "only golfers benefit from a golf course". It also means that long-range planning and a closer look at operations could help find more money for improvements. I'm focusing on looking at ways to increase play, so if anyone has ideas, I'd love to hear them!
PS...after going this most of this winter thinking we were going to get a jumpstart on the golf season, we had a blizzard yesterday! That Mother Nature...funny gal.
Filed under: Minnesota, passion, Golf, Cathy Erickson, municipal course, increasing play
Posted May 09 2011, 07:01 AM by Cathy Erickson
One of my favorite times of year is coming up. It's US Open Qualifying! It's the shorter and more inexpensive version of the Q-school format, and while not playing for a Tour Card, you're still vying for the chance to tee it up with the best in the world.
According to a USGA press release, 8,300 golfers registered to start the US Open Championship entry process. Sixty-five of those guys are already exempted straight into the championship...and there could be more by the time June rolls around and all of the exemption criteria come into play. A whole bunch more can exempt themselves into the sectional event if they meet any one of 34 exemption criteria, including, the Top 10 on the Canadian Tour money list, the Top 20 on the Sunshine and Challenge Tour money lists, and certain members of past Walker Cup teams. Want to know all of the exemptions? Just click here: https://champs.usga.org/EntryForms/usopen_2011.pdf
Posted Aug 12 2010, 06:59 AM by Cathy Erickson
I read somewhere that what makes a professional golfer better than the rest of the golfers out there is concentration. Somewhere in the depths of our brains we need to find that iron curtain and block out the rest of the world when we decide to tee it up in a match that means something. I recently found out that my curtain is in need of serious repair!
But I also found out that if you're not carrying around confidence in your golf bag it's like playing without your "go to" club.
Posted Mar 24 2010, 02:31 PM by Cathy Erickson
I took a walk on our golf course yesterday afternoon. While visions of dull yellow dormant grass and creamy colored straw covering the greens catch my eye first, when I took a moment to look closer I could see a few blades of fresh green grass popping through the mix of soil and clay.
My spirits rose and it didn't take long for my mind to recapture memories of sunny skies, carpets of green, and a warm breeze on my cheeks. As I slowly released the deep breath I had just taken, I felt the golf course welcoming me back for another season.
I know it's still a bit too early to get excited, but aside from a few water logged areas on a few holes (which I assume are from plugged drains), the course is as dry as I can ever remember for March. I remember a few years back we had no snow on the ground at the end of February and my face lit up just thinking that if it got just a little warmer we could be playing in March!! It was just a week later when we got a storm that dumped 2ft of snow. It was a crushing blow to my spirit, and would be another month and a half before my clubs made to the back of my car that year.
This year though, having a few streaks of unseasonably warm weather, the only snow that remains are scattered patches under the shadows of trees or along a few creek banks. As I was walking along yesterday I could hear water racing through the woods, so I made my way into the trees to catch a look. Leafless branches and brush exposed the meandering creek bed, and I found myself awed by the strong current. I hardly give this creek a second thought during the golf season, but I'm glad I did today.
As I worked my way out of the brush and back onto the course I noticed that some of the dead birch trees had been cut down. The landscape looks different, but I'm sure there was some fear that they might just fall over. I don't know much about trees, but birch seem very fragile. As I wandered along I picked up some birch debris that had made its way to the rough and tossed it back in the woods.
I was surprised to see that some of the stationary ponds are still trying to melt their coating of ice, but I wasn't surprised to see sand traps full of animal tracks. I only saw 1 deer, but the "evidence" that they are around is all over the place. I also appreciated the chirping birds and 2 squirrels I saw racing around.
As I walked a couple of holes backwards I was reminded about how different something can appear when you look at it from a different perspective. Walking back up #12, I didn't realize how downhill it was going forward...I mean I knew it was, but seeing it, and walking it, I'm really glad we don't have to play it backwards! And it was as I was walking up that last fairway I decided to renew my goal of trying to break par for 18 holes this year.
Before I got back in my car I took a few deep breaths and then took a moment to be grateful that in just a few weeks I'll be able to bring my clubs with me to the course. Yellow or green, warm or cool, the golf course is where everything is beautiful to me. I can't wait!
PS...Two weeks until the Masters...woo HOO!!
Filed under: Spring, goals, Golf
Posted Mar 10 2010, 06:37 PM by Cathy Erickson
In last week's post, Sam Johnson talked about the 10 best golf courses in the world and in the US, and it was full of good information. I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't know a thing about the Pine Valley Golf Course...which has been ranked number 1 for several years. After a bit of searching I now know why...it's a private facility, has really not ever been used for professional golf events, and only guests of members can play. I googled the price and it's no where to be found.
Posted Jan 14 2010, 08:00 AM by Cathy Erickson
I can't tell you how much fun I had watching golf last weekend, even if it was just for one day. I headed down to the Twin Cities last weekend to visit my brother and his family, and along with that came a big screen TV and the Golf Channel (if it's possible to be in love with a big screen TV I definitely am!)! I watched a re-run of part of Friday's round and then got to see Saturday's round later that evening. Hawaii is a beautiful place!
Posted Oct 29 2009, 12:44 PM by Cathy Erickson
Due to yet another unexpected home improvement crisis this week (I swear this is all a ploy by my bank to force me into a home equity loan!), I wasn't able to get on the course yesterday. We played 18 holes on Tuesday (a two-ball scramble so we're calling it 36 holes!), and as we were getting done I automatically started hoping there will be another chance for me to play...I could see rain in the forecast, so now there's a pretty good chance I missed my final opportunity to play with flags in...our course is closing on Friday.
Posted Aug 10 2009, 09:58 AM by Cathy Erickson
When I talked to my brother this morning he said that Tiger Woods has already practiced at Hazeltine this morning - flew in from OH last night and was on the tee at 6:45am today. The PGA Championship has officially started! Up until this morning I didn't think I would be heading down to the Championship, but I was lucky enough to get some tickets by entering a contest online (Thank you Ryan & Waggle Room!).
So now it looks like I'm going to head down for 2 days...YAY!!
When I found Tees2Greens website and forum I found a happy place. There were great people there and in 2009 they asked me if I wanted my own blog space. It was a dream come true!! The site is down now, but I was able to get all of my posts to be able to post here. I will always be grateful for all of the Tees2Greens folks!!