Wednesday, June 8, 2011

You Can Feel It.

Spring turning into summer, with the hope of great golf weather to come. This spring has been wildly inconsistent, with one week of gorgeous weather followed by a week of showers and downpours, leading to more than a few postponed outings and rounds with your buddies. That’s why we need to make every nice golf day count. And what better way to do it than with free greens fees.

In this issue, we profile the 10 Long Island golf courses that are a part of this year’s Golfing Magazine ‘Free Golf’ program. With words and glorious photos, we give you a taste of these varied and terrific courses, all of which offer unique challenges for enjoyable rounds of golf. There’s still time to subscribe and get in on the action. If you’ve played these courses before, no doubt you’re eager to return… and if there are courses on the list you’ve never tried, this is a perfect opportunity to experience a new venue.

Also in this issue, we have our cover story which spotlights someone who has become synonymous with Bethpage State Park. The longtime director of the park, Dave Catalano, has retired after 45 years with State Parks and a list of accomplishments that includes hosting two U.S Opens at Bethpage Black. For the tens of thousands of us who, in person, watched golf’s best try to tame the Black on two separate occasions, along with all of us who’ve tried to do the same ourselves, we owe a large debt of gratitude to Dave for all his incredible work over the years. We caught up with Dave at his recent retirement party which was held – where else – at Bethpage’s Carlyle on the Green.

As for YOUR golf game, you’ll find information in the pages ahead that are designed to sharpen your skills, with instructional tips for the physical, mental, and even nutritional aspects of the game.

When it comes to equipment, it might just be time to look at the clubs in your bag, and think about getting some new ones. Many of us have thought about doing it the ‘right way’ – to actually be custom fit for a new set – and in our “Breakfast Ball” column, our own David Weiss shares his own custom-fitting experience with us. David calls it an ‘eye-opening, educational and somewhat sobering experience.’ Yes, the monitors and computer read-outs will tell you where your deficiencies are, but you also learn how new, custom-fit clubs can make a substantial difference. Listen… if this can help David, it can help anyone.

This issue also includes our updated ‘golfing planner’, with a list of upcoming Charity Outings and recaps of some successful outings already played. Don’t forget about the important information from the Executive Women’s Golf Association, also known as the EWGA, with the largest chapter on the country thriving right here on Long Island.

So, we’re off and running. We’re well into the 2011 golf season, with many great rounds ahead of us, and much to do. As always, we’re here to help, because any day you can get out there to play is indeed a day to remember.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring is here… and it’s about time!

By any measure, it was a miserable winter. The Christmas weekend blizzard kicked it off, and led to the snowiest January on record; nearly three feet of snow in January alone, erasing all thoughts of playing any winter golf until the snow cover melted – and that took more than two months.

Those of us who didn’t sneak away for a warm-weather golf trip have waited patiently. But now, the new golf season is here. And we’re ready to hit the ground running, with our bag of clubs resting on our shoulders.

Despite a harsh winter, many of our area golf courses are in superb shape to start the season. The credit goes to the unsung heroes of courses public and private: The golf course superintendent. In the cover story in our first issue of 2011, we hear from four course superintendents who are among the best – not only on Long Island, but anywhere in the country. They share their expertise and philosophy on how they manage to meet the challenges and ever-changing conditions each season. For a superintendent, there really is no ‘down time.’ And these four ‘course magicians’ also pass along some advice on how to take care of our own lawns – even if we don’t have a finely manicured putting green in our backyard.

Getting courses in shape is one part of the equation. We also need to get our swings in synch. Our team of local professionals provides tips on everything from swing speed to putting to how to handle defeat in a match – something we hope is only a rare occurrence for you.

In this issue, we also lay out your ‘golfing planner’ for months to come; a comprehensive Charity Outings calendar will take you from spring to summer with a multitude of events to choose from, all for a good cause. You’ll also find the season calendars for the Met PGA and LIGA, as well as important information for those of you considering membership in the EWGA (Executive Women’s Golf Association), of which the largest chapter in the country is right here on Long Island.

On the lighter side, our own ‘resident hacker’, David Weiss, sprinkles in some random thoughts on heading back to the golf course as he confronts the most intimidating sign posted on any course in the world - and that sign is right here in our own backyard.

A final few words to those of you who may face a delay in returning to the golf course as you rehab from off-season surgery. I literally feel your pain. The numbers on back pain are staggering: 80% of all working Americans will be affected by back pain at some point in their lives. Last year, back pain sufferers spent $86 billion dollars looking for relief. In my case, I opted for the ‘last resort’ of surgery to deal with severe disc problems, with four screws and two rods inserted into the bones of my spine.

Recovery is slow, and physical therapy is a must. My goal is to start playing again on July 4th. To all of you who are working hard to swing that club again, here’s hoping we meet on the golf course this summer. In the meantime, let’s keep our heads in the game by doing all we can to prepare for our return – and to a great degree, that’s what this issue of Golfing Magazine is all about.

There’s a phrase commonly used during spring training in baseball: ‘Hope springs eternal.’ In fact, that expression can apply to nearly everything in life as the winter turns into spring… and for us golfers, it means the new season is here.