The Course Report
The Course Report is a chance for you to find out more about regional golf, golfers and courses with staff writer Bob Jarzomski.   Read more about this blog.
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Posted: July 15th, 2014

The WNYPGA Lake View Pro-Am Invitational, originally scheduled for early June, is slated for Wednesday, Aug. 6, at Lake View Country Club.

Because of the extreme weather that severely damaged 9 exposed greens on the North East course that had t0 go under intensive repair, the popular pro-am that has raised more than $250,000 since 1990 had to be pushed back into August.

The greens, several of which reopened in late June, are almost back to their normal, and very quick self, according to several members. Veteran superintendent Gordie Seliga and his crew worked at a fever pace to restore the greens.

Lake View will also host the EDGA Amateur the weekend of Aug. 1-3.

– Bob Jarzomski

Posted: July 10th, 2014

Want to take on a college course for free?

Since Penn State Behrend purchased the property when Gospel Hill Golf Club closed down about three years ago, the short front nine had remained open and well-maintained for students or anybody who visits the course off of Station Road, and costs nothing to play.

Joe Callari can attest to that.

On July 3, Callari, playing with two other fellows, aced the 127-yard No. 4 hole with a 9-iron, the third for the 47-year-old.

“I got my first at Gospel Hill years ago, and my second in DuBois at Treasure Lake,” Callari said. “I guess luck was with me again when I got my third.”

Callari said Gospel Hill, which was a unique par 33-37 that was short and tight on the front with three par-3s and long and wide open on the back with three par-5s, is in great shape.

“To be honest, it’s in better shape now than in the last several years when it was open. The greens are nice and the fairways are cut,” he said.

And, the price is right.

– Bob Jarzomski

 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 7th, 2014

Brett Rinker of Slippery Rock, the 2012 District 10 Class AAA golf champion, who had an outstanding freshman year at Bowling Green State University, has been named the recipient of the Frank Fuhrer, III, Award given annually to the area’s outstanding collegiate golfer.

The Western Pennsylvania Golf Association recently  announced the award.

Rinker averaged 73.3 strokes for 31 competitive rounds with five top ten individual finished. He had four rounds in the 60’s, and finished the season  with a 9th place finish in Penn State’s Rutherford Intercollegiate and a 5th place in the Mid-American Conference Championship. He was selected the Division I Mid-American Conference’s freshman of the year. Also under consideration was last year’s recipient, Joshua Stauffer, of Bradford, a sophomore at St. Bonaventure, Olean, NY, and Garret Browning, Coraopolis, who will be a junior at Robert Morris University.

Rinker won the D-10 AAA tournament at Grove City Country Club, then finished second in PIAA Class AAA play by one shot in the state finals played at York’s Heritage Hills Country Club. In 2010, he took third in PIAA, which was open class at the time before switching to two classes.

The award is named after Frank Fuhrer, III, whose collegiate career at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, included All ACC and All-American honors and membership on the 1981 Walker Cup team.

- Bob Jarzomski

Posted: June 27th, 2014

Jim Walker, a longtime softball umpire who keeps himself in excellent shape, shot better than his age for the second time in 2 years at Crab Apple Ridge Golf Course in Waterford.

Walker, 76, who was a standout softball pitcher in the 60s and 70s and still umpires A.S.A. and PIAA games, shot 75 at the par-72 course on Tuesday (June 24).

“I have to like this place, because I did it again,” Walker said.

In 2012, he shot his age or better for the first time when at 74, he carded a 72 at Crab Apple, a course on Route 19 that opened in the mid 1990s and is  owned by Louis ‘Rusty’ Tracy III.

 

– Bob Jarzomski

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: June 17th, 2014

Former Erie softball star Ralph ‘Dusty’ Dunton recorded his first hole-in-one Monday while visiting with buddies at the Links at Firestone Farms Golf Course in Columbiana, Ohio, just south of Youngstown.

Dunton, who lives in Richmond, Va., knocked a 3-iron into the cup from 165 yards out on the par-3 17th hole at Firestone Farms. Dunton, a top catcher in the City Rec Fastpitch League in the 1980s when softball was still in its heyday, was playing with Al Baumann, another Rec Fastpitch star, Jack D’Andria and Ryan Hasek.

– Bob Jarzomski

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 30th, 2013

Retired Erie attorney Dennis Williams said his son-in-law, Jeffrey Barton, is not much of a golfer. But Barton, a former San Diego Padres minor leaguer who married Leah Barton seven years ago, was not even playing in a golf outing at PAA-Ko Ridge Golf Club near Albuquerque, N.M. on Aug. 22, when his name was pulled out of a hat to take a swing for $1 million with five other players who shot well enough to qualify for the chance from 150 yards away.

Barton was in a clubhouse bar with his boss from a hospital machinery distributor when his name was picked, and did not have his clubs with him. So he had to borrow a left-handed 8-iron.

After the first four players hit the green, the fifth guy hit it into the water, and, according to Williams, Barton was relieved.

“He said  ‘I can’t embarrass myself any more than that guy’, then his boss handed him a beer and told him to chug it, then swing away,” Wiliams said. “You can see that the guy taking the video was trying to follow the ball in the air, then it lands on the green and starts rolling toward the hole. The people are cheering for it to go in, and everybody goes crazy when it does. It’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen.”

Barton earned an annuity of $25,000 a year for 40 years.

The brief video of the moment has naturally gone viral.

– Bob Jarzomski

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: June 27th, 2013

June 28, 1971 Morning News

June 28, 1971 Morning News

As the first round of this year’s U.S. Women’s Open begins at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., Thursday, it brings to mind when Erie’s Kahkwa Club played hosted JoAnne Carner’s runaway win in the 1971 open.

Forty-two years ago to the day, Carner’s even-par 288 bested the field by seven strokes thanks to her one-over-par final round of 73 that she finished before nearly 5,000 fans on Kahkwa’s 18th green. A total of 14,716 fans attended the four-day tournament and 45 million more watched on a national television broadcast on ABC.

Carner’s humble cash prize of $5,000 illustrates how times have changed in women’s sports and sports in general. By comparison, this year’s winner will earn nearly $600,000.

In another reminder of days gone by, check out this excerpt from the following day’s edition of the Erie Morning News, which repeatedly referred to the “strawberry blonde” and summed up Carner’s win in a way only vintage sports writing can:

The hard-hitting lass didn’t even raise a sweat – despite the humid 88-degree weather yesterday – on the course. After the round had ended, however, happiness just oozed out of her.

Carner returned to Erie and to Kahkwa to play in the now-defunct Erie Charity Classic in the 1990s.

- Joe Cuneo

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: June 26th, 2013

Last Friday, June 21, marked the first day of summer. And, in typical Erie weather fashion, a switch was seemingly flipped, bringing hot and humid summer days with it.
But it was a long time coming for some area golf courses, which had to deal with double the usual amount of rain in May. Some courses had to shut down for several days and encouraged players to “lift clean and place” and play winter rules in the fairways.
Erie Golf Course was one of the clubs that had to deal with the inclement weather.
“We had to do cart path only for a while,” said Colin, a clubhouse attendant at Erie. “It was slow for a while, but we were lucky that we didn’t have to shut down.”
Erie, which relies on business from leagues Monday through Thursday, did have to cancel three days of leagues, however. But it was a small casualty when compared to other courses that were flooded thanks to the numerous downpours.
Needless to say, the rain (or lack thereof) is a “fluid” situation.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 28th, 2011

The Facts:

Green Meadows Golf Course

Address: 2451 North Brickyard Road, North East, PA 16428

Phone: (814) 725-5009 ‎

Par: 72

Yardage: 6307 (Blue), 5881 (White), 5177 (Red)

URL: www.greenmeadowsgolfcourse.com

The Best:

1. The change of pace between the front and back nine

2. The paved cart paths

3. The price

4. The driving range and putting green

5. The owners (Everyone I talked to was very nice)

6. The flat course caters to beginners as well as those with some experience

Before/After

1. The Clubhouse

2. Townline Tavern

3. The Ruffled Grouse Bar & Grille

Alcohol

Golfers can bring their own alcohol. Alcohol cannot be purchased at the clubhouse.

I knew I was getting close to Green Meadows Golf Course when I suddenly found myself surrounded by the grape vines that define North East so well.  The course is located among countless acres of farm land just off of Buffalo Road.

The overall flatness of Green Meadows Golf Course helped me realize that a farm was once located there, but I was able to speak with Adrienne Hassenplug to find out more.

Green Meadows was opened to the public in 1975 by Robert Boyd Sr. (Adrienne’s grandfather) and the rest of his family.  The course was built simply because the Boyd family had a passion for the game of golf.  During the early years of the course’s existence, the Boyds continued to manage the farm they owned.

But golf courses and farms can be difficult to manage – even individually.  I imagine that worrying about both at the same time could be a nightmare.  It wasn’t long before the Boyd family decided to sell the farm and fully concentrate on the course for which they had so much love.

Many people may not realize that Green Meadows was only a nine hole course until it became an 18 hole course around 1989.  The front and back nine seem to have completely different personalities due to the time difference in their construction.

The front nine was built exclusively on farm land and is very flat.  This, combined with the layout of the trees, created a very open front nine.  It isn’t as important for golfers to have straight tee shots when faced with the wide holes.

In order to make accuracy more valuable, the greens on the front nine are quite small.  It may take an extra shot or two to find the green (yet this makes putting easier).

The back nine is much more scenic due to the amount of trees and the land that borders the course.  The last nine holes appear to have been cut right out of some woods, so there are plenty of trees for golfers to run into.  A small creek also runs through five of the nine holes to give the course another dimension.  Also, grape vines literally border the 14th and 15th holes.  They look great up until you lose a ball within them.

The owners at Green Meadows strive to give golfers everything they might need while out on the course.  Benches are located at the tee boxes to give players a place to rest.  There are two bathrooms out on the course that the owners constructed themselves.  These restrooms also serve as rain shelters.

The entire course benefits from paved cart paths and an irrigation system.  The cart paths offer a smooth ride as well as a place for your cart when it is a bit too wet outside.  But the irrigation system constantly works to try and prevent the course from any sort of flooding.

In addition to the course itself, Green Meadows owns a driving range across the street.  The driving range opens as early as February, when golfers hit from a sheltered area out into the open.  The course also features a small putting green right behind the clubhouse.

Green Meadows’ current clubhouse was built in 1997 and is apparently a great improvement on the original clubhouse.  Inside, golfers can find a pro shop to stock up on anything they need to.  A banquet room is located upstairs for parties and other types of get togethers.  Green Meadows also features a small concession stand where snacks and hotdogs can be purchased.

At the moment, Green Meadows does not sell alcohol, but they allow golfers to bring their own.

 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 18th, 2011

The Facts:

Downing Municipal Golf Course

Address: 1351 Troupe Road, Harborcreek, PA 16421-1032

Phone: (814) 899-5827 ‎

Par: 72

Yardage: 7092 (Blue), 6653 (White), 5829 (Gold), 5568 (Red)

The Best:

1. Downing is open all year (weather permitting)

2. Paved cart paths

3. The price

4. The flat terrain for easy walking

5. The specials and deals

6. The putting green, chipping green, and nearby driving range

7. The friendly staff

Before/After

1. The Clubhouse

2. Lake Erie Driving Range (right next door)

3. Buffalo Road – plenty of places to eat, drink, or shop

Alcohol

Alcohol can be purchased in the clubhouse. Players cannot bring their own alcohol.

At the request of a friend, I chose Downing Municipal Golf Course for this week’s profile.  Downing is one of two municipal golf courses in the Erie area (with J.C. Martin being the other).  I hadn’t been out to Downing in a year or two, so it was fun to discover the course again,

Downing opened in 1962 and gets its name from Charles “Bus” Downing, who was a member of City Council.

The golf course was built on mostly flat land, which makes for an easy trek.  The holes are tightly packed together, but the fairways remain wide open for golfers to approach the greens.  Numerous trees define the holes to make sure the course isn’t too forgiving.

I found that some of the holes had sand traps, while others did not.  Downing also has two ponds and a creek, which come into play on three holes total.  Even with the lack of consistent hazards, Downing still finds ways to infuriate golfers.

As I drove a cart around the course, I started to remember the holes.  I also remembered the troubles I had on them.  Downing is a deceptively long course and the hazards the course does have were cleverly placed.

A giant putting green is located directly behind the first tee box so golfers can warm up while waiting to play.  Chet Widowski, who works at the course, told me that Downing also has a chipping green that they like to call the “Bullpen.”

I was surprised to find out that Lake Erie Driving Range (owned by Dan Steen) is not associated with Downing even though the parking lots connect to each other.  At one point in time, the driving range was a part of Downing, but that is no longer the case.  Either way, the range’s proximity to the course cannot be beat for those looking to hit some extra golf balls.

Downing has a lot of big things to offer golfers, but it is also important to make note of the little things.  I was happy to find paved cart paths all across the course (something that is a rarity among Erie golf courses).  I also noticed that benches were located on all of the tee boxes and there were even a few rain shelters.

A restroom is also located on the course that can be accessed from both the sixth and 13th holes.  A concession stand sits between the front and back nine, so golfers can grab a snack if they are craving something.  Downing also has a few vending machines and tables around the clubhouse.

Downing’s clubhouse is unique in appearance.  After the original clubhouse burned down, this one was built in its place.  It is made of a white stone and looks a little too artsy to be found on a golf course.

A pro shop can be found on the first floor along with both men and women’s locker rooms.  The second floor of the clubhouse is usually reserved for parties and other gatherings.

I was impressed by all that Downing had to offer golfers, but one thing stood out from the rest.  I was told that Downing is open all year around as long as the weather permits.  I had never heard of something like that considering the fact that Erie gets pummeled with snow every year.

But apparently Downing opens on the nicer days of the cold months and people actually go and play.  I have never golfed in the winter before, and I’m willing to bet that is the case with most people (golfing down south doesn’t count).

I’m sure many Erie golfers get the itch to play some golf while waiting for spring to arrive, so this seems to be a perfect solution.

Posted in: Uncategorized