By Matt Hombach
Towson Golf and Country Club (often referred to as Eagle's Nest, for its property's namesake on the Maryland National Register) recently completed construction on a comprehensive short-game practice facility.
The facility was designed and constructed by McDonald & Sons, an industry leader in golf-course architecture and renovation. McDonald & Sons has worked on projects at several prestigious courses, including TPC at Avenel, Congressional Country Club, Beth Page State Park (Black Course), Merion Golf Club and Riviera Country Club in California.
The new short-game area boasts a 5,000-square-foot chipping green, two full-size bunkers and two approach/ tee areas. In addition, the club has installed 200 feet of artificial hitting surface, replacing driving range mats.
"Golf is increasingly becoming a game of practice, practice and more practice," club chairman Allan Riorda said. "In combination with our existing driving range and putting green, this new short-game area provides our members with an ideal opportunity to improve all aspects of their game."
The completion of the short-game facility caps off a year full of changes at Eagle's Nest, including the replacement of its original irrigation system with a new state-of-the-art system that works more efficiently and uses less water.
The club is also continuing to offer a new a la carte dues structure that allows new and existing members to customize a membership package that meets their needs and budget.
Greystone Stays Open During Winter Months
For the past several years, Greystone Golf Course has been closed during January and February. Decreased interest in golf during the coldest months of the year and snow-covered courses influenced the decision.
In 2012, the Baltimore County Revenue Authority, the group that manages Greystone, decided to keep the course open during the winter months, according to Joe Rahnis, director of golf.
"We get questions from golfers all the time about playing Greystone during the winter, so we decided to give it a shot and stay open this year," Rahnis said.
So far, the gamble seems to be paying off. A relatively mild December and early January have kept golfers on area courses, including Greystone in northern Baltimore County, one of Golf Digest's four-star places to play.
While Greystone is staying open for the winter, one course in Baltimore City is closing for the winter. Carroll Park, a nine hole, is closed until April 1, 2012. Several other city courses are offering nine-hole rates throughout January and February to accommodate Carroll Park golfers.
TIPS FROM THE PROS
Bump and Run Key to Short-Game Success
Mike Welsh, PGA -- head golf professional at Towson Golf and Country Club
The bump-and-run shot is one all golfers should learn and use on a regular basis. The shot is simple to execute, with the swing and method staying the same regardless of the distance of the shot. Only the club you use will change, depending on the length of the shot.
The goal of the bump-and-run shot is to get the ball on the green as quickly as possible, flying the ball one third of the way to the hole and letting it roll the remaining two-thirds.
A bump and run can be hit with a six iron all the way to a sand wedge. Determining how far you hit the ball with each club takes practice, but once you have your distances down, the bump and run is easy to hit and can really help lower scores.
When addressing the ball, take a narrow, open stance, with the ball back toward your right foot, with most of your weight on the left foot. The idea of the shot is to hit it almost entirely with force from your left arm, keeping your arm and wrist firm throughout the backswing, and follow through.
Just nip the grass on your forward swing. Make sure you take the club back and through the same distance one each swing, with each club in your bag. Your bump and run swing has to be consistent every time and your clubface should stay square to the target as well.
Because you are making the same swing on each bump-and-run shot, the loft of each club does all the work in determining how far the ball goes. That's the beauty of the pitch and run.
It is important to take time to practice the shot and gauge your distances. A sand-wedge bump and run may fly 12 feet and roll 24, while a nine iron may fly 22 feet and roll 44 feet. Once you figure out your distances on level ground, jot them down and help them guide you on club selection. Don't forget to take uphill and downhill into account as well when selecting a club to hit a bump and run with on the course.
With a little practice, you should be feeling confident in your bump and run ability and should be expecting to make one out of every 10 shots you attempt both in practice and on the course.
Issue 169: January 2012