By Matt Hombach
The first of several local professional tournaments will be in the Baltimore area soon. The Melwood Prince George’s County Open will be played May 19-25 at the Country Club at Woodmore in Mitchellville.
Maryland native and PGA Tour fan favorite Fred Funk will serve as honorary chairman for the second annual event.
"Golf fans that come out to this event will see some great players who will compete on the PGA Tour in the very near future,” Funk said. “The tournament also benefits Melwood, a great organization in the region that helps a lot of people [with disabilities].”
A new wrinkle for this year’s event aimed at boosting attendance and offering broader support to the community is the Tickets for Charity program. The initiative allows local non-profits to sell tickets to the tournament and keep 100 percent of the proceeds for their organizations.
Charities interested in selling tickets or golf fans looking to buy them can call 301-599-2732 or visit www.melwoodgolf.org.
Smothers Brother Tees It Up at Hayfields
The Smothers Brothers were recently in the area for a show at Rams Head Live in Annapolis. While in Maryland, Tommy Smothers took advantage of the spring weather to tee it up at Hayfields Country Club in Hunt Valley.
Smothers played with Towson University president Dr. Robert Caret, who became friends with the famous comedy duo when he was president of San Jose State University, where the brothers attended.
Rounding out the foursome were two Towson alumni -- Mike Gill, executive chairman of Bluefire Security Technologies and David Nevins, president of Nevins and Associates, a local public relations firm.
Both brothers were active in athletics. Tommy Smothers was a standout in track and field in his high school days and has been an avid golfer for many years, regularly teeing it up in televised Pro-Am events. He brings his light-hearted approach from the stage to the golf course, wowing fans and playing partners alike with his ability to sink putts from a fair distance away armed with not a golf club, but a yo-yo.
Free Intro to Clinics
Gunpowder Falls, an executive style golf course just north of White Marsh, is offering free beginners clinics Thursday afternoons starting May 1.
The hour-long clinics begin at 3 p.m. and will run each Thursday until June 19. Topics will be geared toward intermediate and beginning golfers and will include basic stance and swing, short-game technique and an overview of etiquette and rules of play.
"Since Gunpowder Falls is a course ideally suited for golfers who are just starting to learn the game, I felt the need to offer these clinics as a low pressure, no-cost way for adults to get a taste of the game of golf,” said Frank Blind, head pro at the course.
Gunpowder Falls and Baltimore County’s other five public facilities offer Junior Academies throughout the summer months, but this program is the first formal offering to older children and adults to try golf. If the program is a success, they may duplicate it at all of their courses throughout the spring and summer according to Blind.
Class size is limited, and registration is required. Call 410-592-9165 to register or visit www.baltimoregolfing.com for more information.
Local Courses Announce
Masters Contest Winners
A number of local courses ran promotions in conjunction with the Masters. Renditions Golf Course, which contains a replica of the grouping of holes referred to as Amen Corner at Augusta National, held a unique “Play with the Pros Challenge.” Teams signed up in advance to play the course during one of the four days of the Masters.
The scores of each team member, and the pro they were randomly paired with for the three Amen Corner holes, were combined to determine the team’s total score for the competition.
A winning team was declared for each of the four days of the Masters. The team with the lowest total score on Amen Corner each day won free golf at Renditions for the remainder of April. The winning teams from each day were then entered into a drawing with one lucky foursome winning the prize of a free year of golf at Renditions.
The grand prize-winning group consisted of Gary McDonald, Rick Nelson, Sean Delaney and Comcast SportsNet anchor Chick Hernandez. The foursome was randomly paired with Retief Goosen when they won the day Thursday with a combined group score of 70 for Amen Corner.
Baltimore County Golf ran an online Masters Challenge where entrants chose the top five finishers in the tournament. Point totals were allocated for each finishing position. The person with the highest point total for five picks was the winner. Thomas Grazio of Columbia didn’t pick Trevor Immelman, but his five picks were good enough to make him the winner of a new Nike Sumo driver and a dozen Titleist Pro V1xs.
ON HOT STREAK
By John Stewart
The high-flying University of Maryland Golf Club continued to cut a swath through the Washington section of the MSGA Team Matches Saturday, beating two-time defending champion Breton Bay Country Club, 11 1/2-6 1/2, setting up an area final Saturday with 11-time champion Columbia Country Club.
Maryland, which had previously knocked out former champions Congressional CC and Argyle CC, collected 8 1/2 points at home to clinch the victory.
Columbia dominated at home (7 points) and away (6 1/2 points), in stopping Beaver Creek CC, 13 1/2-4 1/2. For the Chevy Chase club, the last-off pairing at each site registered 3-0 wins, as Marty West-Mike McCarthy won at home, and Henri deLozier-Mike Mitchell won in Hagerstown.
In the Baltimore section, Baltimore CC defeated Mountain Branch, a finalist last year, 10 1/2-7 1/2, and Green Hill Y&CC rallied to get past Nassawango CC, 11 1/2-7 1/2. The two winners will play Saturday, with the Washington and Baltimore survivors playing for the championship Sunday.
Baltimore CC got points from all six teams, highlighted at home by 5 1/2 from the first two pairings, Joe Plecker-Bob Kaestner and Brandon Luckett-David Carroll, and away, the first side of Justin Klein-Brett Chottiner, 2 1/2 points.
TIPS FROM THE PRO
The Swing Doctor
By Jamie Watson
Each golfer’s swing challenge is unique. However, whether the problem is lack of distance, lack of direction or short game woes, progress comes by mastering the fundamentals. Proper weight distribution and transfer, correct body mechanics and accurate swing path produce longer, straighter shots every time.
As you get the kinks out this spring, remember these basic tips:
· A strong left hand grip enables a one-piece takeaway with unnecessary rotation of the left forearm.
· Initiate the takeaway with your shoulders, arms and hands moving as a unit.
· A hands-only takeaway creates problems at the top of the backswing.
· Begin the downswing with the legs and hips driving toward the target.
· If the upper body is ahead, you blow your swing path and lose power.
· Hands and hips arrive at impact at the same instant. If hips are ahead, shots tend to go right, if hands are ahead, ball tends to go left with little power.
· Balance is key. If you are balanced, you can hold your finish position with the club between horizontal and vertical until the ball hits the ground.
Jamie Watson has 33 years of playing experience, 11 years of teaching experience and was a member of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Division for five years.
Issue 3.17: April 24, 2008