Wanna know where to play golf in Chicago? Heres my two cents:

I cannot count how many times I am asked the question:  Where should I play golf when I’m visiting Chicago?  My answer… well it changes from time to time, depends on who has a good deal, and what courses are in exceptionally great shape.  I wanted to give a more concrete answer, and to do so we really need to have a three pronged approach.  I call it the EAGLE, BIRDIE, and PAR packages.

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The Eagle package is for those of you who can make it rain, money is no object, and you have never heard of GolfNow.com  The Birdie Package is for the golfers out there that have saved a little spending money for a rainy day and this trip is that rainy day (metaphorically speaking, we really don’t want it to rain while you are in Chicago).  And finally the Par package: you are on a golf vacation but we are still clipping coupons, and make sure we stretch our vacation dollars.

EAGLE PACKAGE:
All of the Eagle package courses are $100+, the courses that are mentioned below are always in great shape, the greens are fast hard and fun to play.  These are some of the top public courses (money wise as well as enjoyability) that Chicago has to offer:

  • Cog Hill Course #4 Dubs Dread
  • The Glen Club
  • Cantigny
  • Harbourside

Other Chicago stuff to do after your round of golf.  Since money is no object enjoy the best of Chicago’s restaurants.  Eat at places like Joe’s Stone Crab, The Chophouse, Alinea, Charlie Trotter’s, Moto (a must go for Top Chef lovers).  These are just a few of Chicago’s best and brightest restaurants, with the highest tabs.  Don’t worry about a reservation you’ve got money just slip the guy a hundie and you got yourself a seat for you and your golfing buddies.

BIRDIE PACKAGE:
Most of the birdie package golf courses are in the $50-$100 range. These courses are typically in very good shape, mabye a little rough around the edges, but all in all very good shape.  I am a big believer of good greens, and all of these courses typically have good greens.  When the greens are good I can deal with almost anything else. 

  • Seven Bridges
  • Bowes Creek
  • Willow Crest
  • Cog Hill Course #2
  • Prairie Landing
  • Pine Meadow
  • Ruffled Feathers
  • Thunder Hawk
  • Highlands of Elgin
  • Orchard Valley
  • George Dunn
  • Mistwood
  • Klein Creek
  • St. Andrews Golf Course
  • Blackberry Oaks

All of these courses are in the $50-$100 range, and all of them are on GolfNow.com  So you can easily plan on short notice with any of these courses, and 9 times out of 10 have a great round with good greens and very good conditions.  Be prepared though that most of these places are going to be slow,  5+ hour rounds.  The birdie courses are going to have lots of play, and it could be a bit of a death march.  So bring something to do while waiting on each tee box: a book, a deck of cards, magazines, horseshoes, or possibly bags/cornhole whatever you call it.

PAR PACKAGE:
DO NOT MISTAKE THESE COURSE’S AS THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL, they are anything but.  These are just courses that are inexpensive.  The conditions can vary throughout the summer, sometimes the greens are sweet, and other times they can be a little slow.  I would recommend these courses if you are adhering to a strict budget.  These are courses that are going to run you under the $50 range, and are also on GolfNow.com (sometimes you can get a hot deal and pay next to nothing for these courses).  Plus with GolfNow.com hot deals you can always find other players to play with, if you are on vacation with the family and want to sneak out to play golf.

  • Sydney Maravitz
  • Jackson Park
  • Carriage Greens
  • Fox Valley CC
  • Odyssey CC
  • Wedgewood
  • Innwood

What to do in Chicago after golf (when real money counts, meaning you actually look at the bills you get and have some kind of budget when on vacation).  Here is the Chicago Golf Guy’s top 5 things to do in Chicago that doesn’t involve golf:

  1. Go To Portillos.  If I had one meal left on earth, and I’m talking Death Row, Dead Man walking, I would get my last meal from Portillos.  Everything on the menu is great.  From Hot Dogs (yes they come Chicago style automatically), to Italian Beef, to Cheese Burgers, to the salads, to the pasta, and if you are there on Rib night then you might have just died and gone to heaven.  Portillos is the one restaurant that I would consider eating at every day for the rest of my life.  I do not know what more I can say besides that.  There are locations all over Chicago, so no matter where you are staying you can find a Portillos that is close.  Remember that in Chicago, we do not put Ketchup on our hot dogs. So when you get a Hot Dog, know that Chicago Style is: Neon Green Relish, Onions, a Dill Pickle, Tomato slices, yellow Mustard, Sport Peppers, Celery Salt, on a Poppy Seed bun.  There are no other ways to get a hot dog while in Chicago.  Wanna make sure everyone knows your a tourist… ask for Ketchup.
  2. Go to a Cubs game.  Wrigley Field is quintessential Chicago.  When someone says “hey Im from Chicago” the first thing people ask back is are you a Cubs fan?  The most beloved team in all of baseball, despite their record.  If you are in Chicago, and you are going to spend an afternoon not playing golf, this is the place to be.  Get an Old Style, sit in the bleachers, and drink among the greatest fans of baseball.  If Baseball is America’s past time, then Wrigley Field is Chicago’s most notorious tourist attraction.  Just be careful of any home runs hit by the other team, you are going to throw that ball back on the field… like it or not!
  3. Check out the Sears Tower:  No matter who owns the Sears Tower it will always be the Sears Tower to me.  For example.  Currently  Willis, owes the Sears Tower.  So if you are outside the building, it says Willis Tower.  Yes as in What cho talking bout Willis, Willis Tower.  Anyways, the Skydeck which is new for us Chicagoians (a few years old, but still really cool).  It is a glass elevator on the observatory deck at the Sears (Willis) Tower. What the heck is a glass elevator?  Well, you walk into a glass box, that is outside the 1300 foot tower with nothing below you but glass.  It is a Vertigo and a half feeling when you step out into nothingness.  Trust me, you will not mind the airport like security by the time you get to see Chicago’s best view from 1300+ feet.
  4. Check out the festival of the week:  Depending on the time of year, there is some kind of fest going on in Chicago, no matter what time of year it is.  If it is the Old Town Art Festival, or the Taste of Chicago, or the Gay Pride Parade (it doesn’t matter to me what your into), Chicago’s Jazz Fest,  or the countless other neighborhood festivals that run all summer long.  There is always something going on that will tickle your fancy.  Not to mention that there is great street food, and drinks to be had at every one of Chicago’s very own little street festivals.  I promise that you will have a good time at any of Chicago’s Street Fests.
  5. My favorite bars in Chicago: This was a tough one, to find a bar that every one likes is difficult to say the least.  Some like the down and dirty dives, some like the club experience, and others just like a good place to drink with no frills.  Here are my favorite bars to check out while in Chicago, the (—) indicates what neig:
    1. The Bedford (Wicker Park/Bucktown)
    2. John Barleycorn (Lakeview~the one on Clark by Wrigley)
    3. Hotel Cedar (Viagra Triangle???)
    4. but don’t trust me check out this link of Chicago’s best Bars…

These are some of my favorite things to do in Chicago, when I cannot play golf.  I hope that you enjoy them, and if you find something that you loved while in Chicago (or if you are a native) please send me an email, and you never  know your thing to do just might end up on my list of things to do in Chicago when on a Golf Vacation!

The Ryder Cup Playing Captain…should we try it again in 2016?

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Wait you can play and be the Captain? Most teams have a captain on the field: The Blackhawks have Jonathan Toews (who loves golf), the Bears have Lance Briggs on defense, and some guy named Jay when we attempt to play offense. So why not a playing captain on the Ryder Cup?

The Ryder Cup is a little different than a Blackhawks game. Toews does not pick what lines go out, or which lines will match up well with the opposing team. The Ryder Cup Captain is responsible for all team mates and the matches, picking the last members of the team, and ultimately the Hero or the Goat of the team. But why not give it a shot??? We haven’t done very well in the past 15 years, and certainly couldn’t do worse… so why not.ryder cup facts2

Arnold Palmer was the last US Ryder Cup playing captain in 1963.  The 15th Ryder Cup Matches were held October 11–13, 1963 at the Atlanta Athletic Club, at the site now known as East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. The United States team won the competition by a score of 23 to 9 points. The U.S. did not lose a single match in the afternoon sessions.
from Wikipedia

Not too bad for a guy playing in his second Ryder Cup and 23-9 is an ass kicking, which is what the American’s would like to do to the next European team.

So who would we pick for a playing Captain?  
I believe there is only one choice.  Typically the Americans have picked a 40 something player who has at least one Major victory and Ryder Cup experience.  Think David Toms, 40 something with a PGA Championship win, and played in a handful of Ryder Cups (probably the guy who got passed over for Tom Watson when Ted Bishop changed the rules, but I digress…)  Phil Mickelson would be the next logical choice given the normal Captaincy requirements.  He is in his 40’s, he has plenty of Major Victories, and he is the American’s most experienced Ryder Cup player.  Plus he’s Phil freaking Mickelson.

Phil would be a great playing Captain.  He has plenty of game to play with the world’s best, and he will more than likely qualify on his own.  The younger players look up to him.  The older players respect him as a hardened competitor.  He is the second most winnigest player in our generation next to Tiger Woods.  He went toe to toe with the media saying that Tom might not have been the right choice. He even took the blame for the American’s loss at Glen Eagles.  Who else would we want to be the Ryder Cup Captain?

I hope the PGA of America and the Ryder Cup Committee take this into consideration.  How else can we win a Ryder Cup if the Captain is not able to get in the fight and get his hands a little dirty.  Id love to see Phil the Thrill knock heads with Team Europe while Bones (an assistant Capt for sure) gets on the Walkie to find out how el Tigre is doing in the match behind him.  #Phil~4~2016

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Whats wrong with the American Ryder Cup Team?

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Whats wrong with the American Ryder Cup Team?
This seems to still be a pertinent subject even 4+ months after the American Team lost the Ryder Cup…again.  But why do we always seem to loose?  I have watched every Ryder cup since the mid 90’s and I am sad to say that I can vividly remember the two we have won… TWO… Seriously there are only two? 1999 and 2008?

Did Ben Crenshaw and Paul Azinger have some kind of secret formula that made winning possible? Was the 99 and 08 US teams that much better than the others?  Maybe its Tiger Woods? I know, lets form a committee on why the Americans cannot win, and hopefully after making a Pro’s and Con’s list we can formulate a plan for Hazletine in 2016? After all, committees and sub committees have worked for almost 200 years in congress, so thats a thing right?  Form a committee, and BAM #USARyderCupVitctory #REDWHITE&BLUE2016

Committee or No Committee I have a theory on why we will always be the underdog in the Ryder Cup: MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIPS!  American Players have always coveted Major Championship Weekends, rather than one weekend in September every other year.

Think about it:  Who are the people we think of when we think of the Ryder Cup?  What are the faces that come to mind? My bet is you came up with a list that looks like this:

  • Colin Montgomery
  • Seve Ballesteros
  • Sergio Garcia
  • Ian Poulter

Needless to say not one American Player comes to mind when we think of the Ryder Cup, and besides Seve, not one of those players has a Major Championship.  My point being? European players put more emphasis on the Ryder Cup, and are comfortable being known for the Ryder Cup.

As soon as American Players put more emphasis on Team USA rather than the Masters, the US Open, the OPEN Championship, and the PGA Championship, I think it is save to say that the Ryder Cup committee can just go ahead and pick a captain and hope that  Team Europe decides to throw us a bone in 2016.  OR convince the US players that a Ryder Cup is as important on their resume as a Major.

I will always watch the Ryder Cup, and I will never stop believing that we can win, but in all honesty Team USA has as much chance to win the Ryder Cup as the Cubs have of winning a World Series… maybe next year guys…

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The importance of Match Play to the Amateur Golfer

I find that the younger group of golfers in America only play golf in stroke play tournaments, and are not exposed enough to the tradition of match play.  There are so many differences in strategy when you are playing match play then when you are playing in a stroke play competition.  Typically when playing stroke play it is you against the course, even when you are in the final holes of a tournament, and it is down to you and one of your playing partners… you are still playing against the course.  Now you might have some differences in strategy when you are playing against one or two players rather than a full field event, but there are huge differences in match play.  Match play the course doesn’t matter, your score doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is finishing the hole in less strokes than your opponent and winning the hole.

The Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup use to be the only match play events that the professionals played in.  Now with the WGC playing a top 64 players in the world match play event every year and the Brits have their own match play event now, we can see that match play is becoming more popular in professional golf.

But where can amateurs play match play? Well the CDGA and the USGA both have plenty of Match Play events, most club championships at private clubs are match play events and some public courses still have club champions that have won through the art of match play.  Many city championships (such as Naperville City and the Aurora City Golf Tournaments) have a match play tournament.  The 2012 US Amateur is the most important and prestigious match play event for the amateur player.  The US Am is what all young golfers aspire to reach.  However the US Am is typically for collegiate players who are aspiring to become PGA Tour players, so the average 30 something guy (namely the Chicago Golf Guy) who has the competitive bug really doesn’t stand a chance with those young guns or does he?

The US Mid Amateur is for amateur golfers over the age of 25.  What the USGA created the Mid Am for is the amateur golfer, who wanted to compete at the highest level but never has an aspiration to turn professional.  Most golfers after the age of 25 don’t turn professional, therefore the Mid Am is the best way for older amateur golfers to compete.  The US Mid Amateur this year is being played right here in Chicago at the beautiful Conway Farms in Lake Forrest, IL.  The US Mid Am has competitors qualify over a few stages: a regional qualifier, a grueling stroke play tournament at Conway Farms to decide on the top 64 players who will go to match play, and then the actual match play tournament where players must win their match in order to advance.  Once you reach the match play portion of this event…all you have to do is beat the best Mid Amateur players one by one (six total matches) until you are the last person standing (literally standing because you cannot take a cart).  Piece of cake.

The winner of the US Mid Am will earn a spot into the Masters tournament, as well as eternal golf and Wikipedia glory as the Mid Am champion, and a spot in the Masters.  Did I mention the Masters?  How else does the normal guy get a chance to play in the Masters Tournament?  No other way for an amateur to get into the Masters than to win their way into the event by playing in one of the many match play events that the USGA hosts.

Chicago Golf Guy’s 2 Cents:
Next time you are out with your buddies try a new gambling game that is as old as golf itself.  Don’t have a stroke play game, play 18 hole match play for $5 or drinks after the round.  Go all out when you play match play as well.  For example you cannot tee off first if you did not win the previous hole or the last hole that was won.  You cannot play out of turn in match play (if you do your opponent can ask you to replay the shot, and that only happens when you play out of turn and hit a good shot…so be aware of who is away…when in doubt ask).  You can coincide putts to your playing partner, and he can coincide putts to you.  Learn some of the strategy of going for a par five in two after your partner has gotten close on his second shot. Or maybe you lay up a shot that you would normally go for only because your opponent has hit one in the water off of the tee.  Why try to make that par putt when a two putt wins the hole.  Remember that match play is not a total score, but who has won the most holes.

Match play is truly the only way to measure your self against another golfer (that is besides by height).  For Match Play is you against your opponent in the thunder dome of all golf.  Two men enter but only one man can leave victorious.

Top Putters of all time… Clubs not Players:

I thought it would be nice to go over some of the most important putters in history (what I think at least).  I thought we would start with some of my favorites, as well as important putters in history (both in design and actual famous putters), unique and ground breaking putters, and then just some wacky stuff that would be fun to talk about.

If you have a favorite putter, that is not listed here, then please contact the Chicago Golf Guy and we will review your favorite putter.  OR Are you a writer? Send us your own review, and if we like it we will post it.

Chicago Golf Guy’s Top Putters of All Time:

Dave Pelz’s Three Ball Putter

Top Golf Gambling Games:

Are you still playing Bingo Bango Bongo?  Are you stuck playing the same game because you don’t know any other golf games to play?  Don’t worry the Chicago Golf Guy has got you covered.  Gambling Games, Variations on your favorite golf games, or just wild and wacky new games.

The Skins Game 2.0~

The Scotch Game~

The Nine Point Game~

Ten Great Golf Gambling Games~from Golf Digest

Don’t be fooled by these normal golf gambling games, be sure to check out each one for Chicago Golf Guy variations.  I cannot claim that I invented all of these games, or any really, but the variations sure do make any Sunday golf game a lot more fun.

Wolf ~ The Five Person Golf Gambling Game

wolfWolf is one of the most classic and commonly known (but hardly ever played) golf bet or wager.  I personally only play wolf when we have a fivesome and there is really no other way to play a good “team game” otherwise.  You cannot play a scotch game or partner match with five guys, and we do not want to leave one guy out as the third or more appropriately the fifth wheel.

Definition of Wolf the Golf Gambling Game:
Pig / Wolf is one of the classic golf betting games for foursomes. Players rotate as the “Wolf.” On each hole, the player designated as the Wolf tees off last.  After each of the other 3 golfer’s tee shots, the Wolf has the option of choosing to team up with that player (let’s say they bomb one down the middle) or to pass (maybe they shank one into the trees.) Once the next player hits, the Wolf cannot go back to choose a previous drive / playing partner.  So if the Wolf passes on the first two drives, his only options left are to take the 3rd player as his partner or if he’s feeling lucky (and the first 3 drives are all in trouble), go it alone and call ‘Wolf’ (hence the name.)

Whenever ‘Wolf’ is called, all bets are now doubled.  If the wolf manages to beat the best score of the other 3 golfers, then he wins double points.  But if any one of the other 3 golfers (The 3 Little Piggies) manages to beat the ‘Wolf’s’ score, then the Wolf pays double points.

What the heck does that mean?  A simplified definition of wolf…
Wolf can be played with four or five players.  Each person in the group will get to be the wolf in rotation.  The biggest key to wolf is keeping the same order on the tee despite any honor system.  This means that player 1 tees off first on the first hole, player 2 second and so on and so forth.  The last guy is always the wolf, in this example player 5.  On the next hole the person who was the wolf on the previous hole now tees off first followed by player 1 and then 2 and then 3…you get the point.  As long as you keep the same rotation then the game is easy.  Each person accumulates points and for each hole.  If the wolf on hole #1 picked player 3 to be his partner, #3, and #5 (the wolf) would play that hole against players 1, 2 and 4.  Lets say player number 2 makes a par and is the low score for that hole everyone on his team wins a point.  So on the scorecard you would give everyone on player 2’s team a point, and no one else.  If the wolf were to make a par and win the hole, only him and his chosen partner would get points.  Make sense.

How the betting works:
At the start of the round you choose the order of players and the bet itself.  Each point is worth a dime, quarter, dollar, $5 or up if you are playing in a big time money game (be careful of those guys they always seem to have a great round when the bet gets higher!).  At the end of the round you add up all the points and each player has to square up with anyone who has more points than they do.  For easy math lets say the following happens:

  • Player 1 has 18 points
  • Player 2 has 10 points
  • Player 3 has 25 points
  • Player 4 has 12 points
  • Player 5 has 24 points

Player 2 has the least amount of points, therefore he would owe each and every person in his group the difference.  Meaning if you were playing each point was worth a dollar then player 2 would owe player 1 $8, player 3 $15, player 4 $2 and player 5 $14.  The nice thing about wolf is if you finish in the middle of the pack, you are collecting from the non winners (hate to use the word looser, but cannot think of a better term) and you are paying only a few winners.  The key to wolf is to finish no worse than the middle.  Collect from two players and pay out two players, but it is always nice to finish first.

When the points double:
The points in wolf double when two events occur: when someone wins the hole with a birdie and when someone goes wolf.  You would have a double multiplier if a wolf won the hole with a birdie (1 point won x 2 for the birdie and then x 2 again for the wolf… 1 for 2 for 4 points total won).  Players can also play a form of press/repress when playing wolf.  Just like in the nine point game, only the man with the lowest total of points can press the hole (before anyone hits), and only the wolf can decide to repress (before players leave the tee but after everyone has hit).

Wolf is a great gambling game to play with your regular foursome, but probably not a game y0u are going to find when you just pick up a group on the first tee.  The betting is a little tougher, you have to know your opponents pretty well and there is some strategy when playing wolf.  For example we all know Freddie hits a big fade, so on the dog leg left fourth hole with tons of trees right you know Freddie is going to be a risk factor and that might be a good spot to press if your on the bottom.  You will never have that kind of great information when you are playing with strangers.

A little pulp fiction nod to the baddest wolf around…Winston Wolf.

What does a good golfer look like? Part 2

The Scratch Golfer and what he looks like part deux:

bad-golferWhen we ended part one of the two part series of what a good golfer looks like, we ended up with the players putter.  I wanted to go over a few terms of what a good player can be described as.  A Scratch Player is someone with a .9 handicap or better.  I apologize to anyone who says they are a scratch player and do not qualify by my definition, but in order to be a scratch you have to be a 0 handicap.  I’ll give you a .9 variance on that handicap, but you have to be a .9 or better.

Someone who is described as a stick is anyone who is a 1 handicap to roughly a 5.9.  Again this is just my belief, and I personally fall into this category, but I am technically not a scratch player.  The Chicago Golf Guy carries a 2.2 handicap, my goal is to get lower this year, but that is another blog post.  A “stick” is a made up term, but I like it better than people lying and saying they are a scratch player, and they don’t qualify, however they are better than the single digit handicapper definition.  Which brings us to the definition of a single digit handicapper.  The single digit handicap is any golfer who carries a 6 handicap to a 9.9.

Please do not take offense to these terms.  They are just definitions that I have come up with, and anyone who carries a single digit handicap or lower is someone who should be feared on the the golf course, and looked up to by younger players and anyone new to the game.

But enough definitions of the good player what do they look like?
A good golfer will have some sort of either hybrid or fairway wood combination.  Every good player is going to play a 3wd, but will they have a 5wd or 7wd? How about a hybrid or will they stick with the long irons?  I am happy to say that if Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy choose to play a 5wd, then any good player can have one in their bag.  A lot of touring pros now play with hybrids instead of those pesky long irons.  Now don’t get me wrong if you see a guy sporting a 2 iron, I would tread lightly when deciding how much to play per point in your friendly match.

Now that we have discussed the players clubs themselves and what kind of bag that they will play, what about other accessories?
What a player brings to the course, besides his clubs is very important to each and every player.  The good player will have some kind of specialty head cover.  If that is a dog head cover on their driver, or a Rocket Tour or Jan Craig pom pom head cover on the 3wd, or possibly a expensive limited edition Scotty Cameron putter cover.  The head covers a good player puts on his sticks is typically not the factory head cover for their R11 driver.  This is not a definitive statement, but more often than not, you will see some kind of specialty head cover.

What you will not see in a good players bag?
Plastic Tees:  I am a firm believer in this, you will not see a plastic tee in the hands of the scratch player.  You are definitely not going to see a plastic tee that is suppose to perform better.  A brush tee, or a cup on one side is something that the good player is not going to take much stock in.  Stick with wood, and try to find some that are white.

Iron Covers: This is a capitol offense for golfers in my opinion.  I am going to apologize right now to anyone with iron covers, and I am not poking fun (your friends will do that enough for me), but there is no reason to have iron covers.  They get lost, they are not functional, and they just scream I got suckered into buying these by some crappy salesmen at my local golf store.  This is the golf equivalent of the rust undercoating for used cars…don’t buy it.

Pull Carts:  The player who uses a pull cart is a touchy subject.  Typically you must have some kind of physical ailment if you are going to rock the pull cart.  Old age is one of them, bad knees or possibly a bad back would be an excuse for the pull cart.  Just remember Old Tom Morris never used a pull cart, Bobby Jones never used a pull cart, Jack Nicklaus…Arnold Palmer…the list goes on and on…no pull carts.  If you are past your prime or are unable to walk the course and carry your bag, take a caddy or ride.  Or put your clubs on your partners cart, and then walk the course yourself.  I am not saying that you cannot use a pull cart and be a good player, but you are going to have to have some sick game to bust out your own pull cart out of the trunk and not get at least a little ribbing.

Ball Washing Machines:  Use your towel.  There is no reason to use the ball washer.  Use your head covers if you have to or your partners shirt tail, but under no circumstances should you be using the ball washer.  Just think of this, have you ever seen a ball washer on the PGA Tour?????

Any type of stroke counting machine or those little clickers that umpires use:  If you are a good player there is no need to count past 6.  My feeling is if you cannot count the shots you are hitting then you are in no way shape or form worried about how you look to other players.

Chicago Golf Guy’s Two Cents:
This golf blog post is meant to be a little funny and a little educational.  As in every joke, there is some truth in the punch line, but it is not definitive.  I just wanted to put some of these things out there, and help the hackers of the golfing world be able to look like a player even if they cannot always play like one.

What does a good golfer look like? Part 1

The Scratch Golfer and what he looks like:

Harry Vardon the original Scratch Golfer

Harry Vardon the original Scratch Golfer

I think about this all the time, what does a really good player look like?  Golf is one of those funny games where players come in all different shapes and sizes.  The quintessential fat old white golfer is no longer the norm.  Golf has become a sport.  Golfers are now athletes, and the players on TV look younger and are in better shape.  The days of a fat Golden Bear are long gone, now are the days of the trim and fit golfers of the world.

We know that the best golfers on the PGA Tour are slim and fit work out buffs who hit it a ton, and have incredible short games (I know not fair right?).  But when you look at the best players at the local public golf course, what do those players look like?  What does the average Joe at the muni-course look like when he is winning the club’s tournaments/outings.

I would like to transcend the idea of what a “player” physically looks like, but focus on what their golf equipment looks like.  After countless days in my youth washing golf clubs at several different golf courses, both for the members and regulars, as well as the whack a moles that pop up once a year during their corporate outings.  In all of those bags, you can almost instantly tell when a guy is a “player” and when he is a “hack”.

The players bag will be a carry bag.  Typically a Ping or possibly a Titleist stand bag, and the occasional Sun Mountain or Ogio thrown in.  The players bag will not have 14 dividers (one for each club), and the bag will be slightly faded due to all the time spend on the range out in the sun.  A cart bag does not mean that someone cannot be a player, but the golfer who is a stick is typically a purist.   The purist or traditionalist likes to walk and enjoys the game with a caddy not a cart.  Anyone who takes a caddy while using a cart bag is definitely someone who has never caddied before…but that is a different blog post.

The clubs themselves will look used or somewhat damaged.  I like to think of my blades as having beauty marks, not dents and dings.  The tools of a good player will be used and beat up from all the play they get.  New clubs typically means someone is trying to buy themselves a game rather than working it out in the dirt.  Dirt causes dings.  Dings means your out there working on your game.  The good players find a set of sticks and keep them for years.  Drivers and putters may come and go but a good iron set can last longer than most marriages.

Wedges.  This is a tough call.  Wedges are typically not of the same set as a players irons.  Wedges can be from Vokey or Cleveland or Scratch or some crazy Japanese brand.  The brand is not as important as the make up.  Typically you will see 2-3 wedges besides the PW of a players set.  Either a 52,56 and 60* or possibly a 50, 54, and 58, or another combination of degrees, but the point is that the players set has a slew of wedges.  Those wedges were hand picked to help the players game improve.  A scratch golfer knows exactly how far his 1/2 swing 52* wedge goes, and the difference that his 3/4 swing 56* goes in trajectory and distance.  Wedges are the scoring clubs, and a player cannot be left wanting when it comes to their scoring clubs.

The players putter.  The putter is one of those clubs in the bag that can be priceless, worthless, mallet or blade, beat up or in museum condition.  If you only see a players putter, you may not be able to tell if they are a player or a hack.  Good players will subject themselves to some crazy putters to sink more putts, and the hacks out there can buy a great looking putter but not be able to use it.  Bottom line is you cannot judge a player by his putter.  Your better off sizing up your opponents by checking out their bag in its entirety or watching him or her hit balls on the range.

Stay tuned for part two of what does a good player look like where we get into the difference in the players big dog, fairway woods and hybrids, plus the most important difference in the player vs hacker debate…the accessories.

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP ~ Major Golf Fantasy League

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The last major of the year is this week, The PGA Championship at Oak Hill, and when its major championship time ~ its golf fantasy league time brought to you by Chicago Style Golf. Same rules as the US Open Fantasy League, pick six players, no more than four major champions, who ever wins the most money with their six guys wins the Fantasy League and a $250 Gift Certificate to Chicago Style Golf, good for anything in their fabulous golf store…and they have a lot of stuff.

What are the Rules?
No rules in Golf Fantasy, except that you can only choose six players, and that only four of those six can be major champions.

What can I win?
A $250 Gift Certificate good at Chicago Style Golf. You can take the cash value of the Gift Certificate which is $120 cash money, but we suggest you check out Chicago Style Golf and get yourself something nice, they were willing to give you free money after all.

When will I know if I won?
We like to make sure that everything is correct, and I don’t email the wrong golfer that he won, and then send him the Whoops email…so typically the Tuesday after the tournament ends the winning email will be sent out.

How will you come up with the winner?
Take your six players total money earnings for the 2013 PGA Championship and the player whose team has won the most amount of money will be determined the winner of the Chicago Style Golf 2013 PGA Championship Pick Six Fantasy League.

How do I sign up?
Fill out the contact form below, and you are good to go. Good Luck!

Official Rules:
PICK SIX PGA CHAMPIONSHIP FANTASY LEAGUE with a $250 Gift Certificate to be given away to the winner. Any and all ties will be determined by the closest player to the winning score with out going over*. Remember you can only pick four major champs for your team, so be sure to double check that you only have four major champs on your team and not six… this was a problem during the Masters Fantasy League. The last and final rule is that you are only allowed one entry. Any violations of these rules will result in your disqualification and forfeiture of any winnings.

*if both players go over, then the closest to will be declared the winner even though he has gone over the winning score. In the case of a tie, and the tie breaker cannot determine a winner the reaming teams will split the winnings evenly.

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