THE MISTWOOD GOLF DOME on Rt. 53 in Bolingbrook is home to Callaway Day this Thursday from 2-8 Pm, register to try out the Callaway Smoke-Line. (R) Mistwood Director of Golf Andy Mickelson recently did a video of himself going through a fitting. So if you have ever wondered what it’s like and the questions you should be asking, see the video online or at Mistwoodgolfdome.com. PLUS RIGHT now Andy has a Callaway Golf Ball Special for you-Buy 3 Dozen personalized Callaway Chrome Golf balls, and the get the fourth dozen and personalization for free. The-in the Shell Bar is open, so is McWethy’s Sports Bar, Toptracer golf is ready to test you. Bring your clubs and your appetite. Mistwood Golf Dome-call the dome at (630)-739-7600 Book your bay today.
THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or connect on LinkedIn and Instagram.
RORY SPEARS at Cabot Citrus Farms in Brooksville Florida. One of the new golf properties in America. Photo by John Billiter-Heritage Oaks-IPGA
THE SOCIAL MEDIA discussion last night, was on all the course closings, and nobody building new courses to replace them.
Well that’s not exactly right-because in 2024 the most new courses opening in the course of a year, will be higher this year. Than in the last 15 years or so.
Closing courses-well I haven’t heard of any, but I am sure there are some. Because every year a new housing developer gobbles up needed land for more houses. Unfortunately that includes golf courses.
WILMETTE IL. based Links Capital Partners-Principal Chris Charnas (who has brokered the sales of numerous courses) told me some years back (even before Covid), that most courses close because the owners can’t keep them going. Older owners of public courses sell when they are ready to retire, and they’re kids don’t want to take over the family golf business. NOT BECAUSE people aren’t playing golf.
The new simulators are open at The Shack Golf Club in Glenview 1717 Chestnut Ave. There was 4, now there are seven simulators and a putting green. (847)-924-2905 TheShackGolfClub.com
CHRIS KING of Kingfish-PR in the golf hotbed Myrtle Beach South Carolina will tell you the same thing. King told me that at one time Myrtle Beach had close to 120 golf courses. But now that number is in the mid-90’s. So that’s not because golfers aren’t trekking down to the Low Country of the Grand Strand.
In fact they are coming down in record numbers (over 3,200 golfers from every state in the union-are expected to play the 2024 Myrtle Beach World Amateur in August). The Myrtle Beach area and the surrounding county, is one of the fastest growing area’s in America. Golf is one of those reasons.
King explained that again developers bought up older public courses from owners, that didn’t have family in place to take over. Plus housing developers can offer a larger buyout, than from people who just want to buy a golf course.
the Dome is open at Willow Hill-but summer is coming with outdoor play not far away. WillowHillDome.com WillowHillGolfCourse.com (847)-480-7888.
COSTS are a reason some courses close. IF YOUR A GOLFER who is going to complain that your green fee went up a buck or two this year. Please save it. In the last week, two area Director of Golf professionals hit me with the reality of the amount of money it takes to keep a golf course in great playing shape.
THINK ABOUT THIS…Fairway mowers that were just over $40K about 4 years ago, now run in the Mid-$70’s. Plus the gas to run them is way up from four years ago. Try replacing your sand, fertilizer, and things that get sprayed over the course. Because many of those products have seen jumps of up to 40%. Some private clubs can write the check when the superintendent comes calling, some public muni’s can’t. So when the guy or gal at the counter of your favorite course says the rates have gone up $1 or $2 bucks this year. Consider it a deal and go play.
Schaumburg Golf Club has reopened from facility improvements, so all three simulators are running. So bring your game over 401 North Roselle Road in Schaumburg. You can play the Schaumburg Golf Club on the simulators, get a head start on the outdoor 2024 golf season today. Before-during or after golf, Chandlers Chophouse right upstairs is open. (847)-885-9000 or visit SchaumburgGolf.com.
HOWEVER THE GOOD NEWS IS-younger people with deep pockets who enjoy golf are finding land and building their own golf courses. Because they don’t want to sit on a waiting list for 3 or 4 years to get into a club they like. Better news is the quality of land that people are finding to build golf courses. They have water views, mountain views, elevation change. Add some that still have plenty of trees to give a course that old parkland style look.
IN THE CASE OF THE NEW CABOT CITRUS FARMS in Brooksville Florida, the first project in America by Ben Cowan-Dewar and the Cabot Group.
This property in my eyes will be nothing but a home run in the eyes of golfers. But to start with, I took along three Illinois PGA professionals to media preview day, to give me their opinion of this new property, from the professionals point of view. Yes I consider CCF new, even though it’s built on the site of the old Worldwoods golf courses.
(L-R) John Billiter head professional Heritage Oaks GC, Greg Baron Director of Golf Heritage Oaks GC, Jim Billiter Director of Golf The Ivanhoe Club.
GREG BARON-Director of Golf, Heritage Oaks GC. Northbrook.
“I’m reflecting on three decades of cherished golfing memories, from my inaugural round at Worldwoods in 1994, to witnessing a preview of the breathtaking transformation to Cabot Citrus Farms. The remarkable effort to reimagine and enhance the property is a testament to the visionary leadership of Ben Cowan-Dewar and his team of talented architects. Their dedication has elevated an already remarkable property into something truly exceptional.”
JOHN BILLITER-head golf professional, Heritage Oaks GC.-Northbrook. “The Layout of the Karoo was fun. The landscape was visually intimidating in some places, but in reality the fairways were generous and green to tee was very playable. Green complexes are severe and challenging, but in a good way. They keep you engaged and creates variety if your going to play the golf course a few times.”
John Billiter sticks one close on a back-nine hole of the Karoo course at CCF.
“The Squeeze was interesting. I enjoyed the rolling terrain, perfect place to get a quick 9 in before dark.” I’m really impressed with the social area between the putting green and the Wedge. Very cool spot to hang out in-between rounds or to wrap up your day. Great view from the top of the hill over the courses and range.”
“The Wedge was great under the lights. I love the greens with the dramatic slopes and bowls, provides opportunity for an ace or a challenging up and down. Great spot for a friendly wager with your foursome either way. Presentation of the facility overall was off to a good start, with plenty of work to continue. The rental properties are in an amazing location, and I appreciated the attention to detail throughout the day.”
Ivanhoe Club Director of Golf Jim Billiter hits one down the middle on the Karoo Course at CCF.
JIM BILLITER-Director of Golf-The Ivanhoe Club.
“Cabot Citrus Farms spared no expense when it comes to staffing levels and training. All day it seemed like someone was around every corner waiting to assist you and help with anything you might need.”
“The golf course was great, it gave me a Sand Valley feel. It seemed playable for all skill levels and really gave you some interesting visuals off the tee. Some holes looked narrow off the tee box and then ended up having a massive fairway. So the bunkering and the hills did a great job messing with the minds of the golfer.”
“I think it will become one of the best guy’s or gals destinations in the country. The cabins are in the perfect spot, and the Squeeze course and Par 3 course are exactly what is needed to attract trips of 8-16 golfers, and will keep things going until after dark. So far the Cabot Group seems to have thought of everything. So it will be exciting to see how big Cabot Citrus Farms will get, and much more will get added to the property.”
CABOT CITRUS FARMS brings 4 new courses to golf in 2024, 1 to 2 more likely down the road. Pinehurst Resort opens the new Course #10 on April 3rd. The Streamsong Resort in Florida is opening “The Chain” is stages this year. The Coore and Crenshaw Course is really fun with currently 13 holes, and few more will open shortly.
2024 should be a fun year for golf, with several new locations to tee up the golf ball.
RED IS DEAD… Maybe Yellow is the new Sunday color. The new TW logo is really not getting much support. I hope Tiger feels better, but it’s now evident it’s time for the ceremonial golfer to retire. Unless he starts taking a cart on the over 50 circuit. But I think that since Sunday is payday-green might be the new color for final round play on the various tours. RS