Warm up West Michigan; annual Golf Show coming this weekend

Pardon me for not presenting original copy today, but this one is for all you golfers out there.

Local meteorologists are forecasting perfect weather inside DeVos Place for the West Michigan Golf Show. For 28 consecutive years the show has never missed a tee time for winter-weary golfers needing a touch of spring — even if it’s indoors. With that as an intro, here’s a helpful FAQ (frequently asked questions) guide for new and returning patrons headed for the show on Feb. 12-14 at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids

  • For people never attending the show, what can they expect?
  • With hundreds of exhibits and dozens of interactive areas, the show covers every aspect of the game—from equipment and clothing to resorts and golf courses to seminars and skill contests. As one attendee said last year, “The Show gets me excited about golf—where to play, what to buy and how to lower my score.” And for those thinking about getting into the game, this is a great place to start.
  • What about the seminars? Do they cost extra?
  • All seminars and golf lessons are free with the price of admission. Golf Channel’s Michael Breed, host of the popular weekly TV series The Golf Fix, will conduct free seminars on Friday and Saturday at the Applied Imaging Stage. His energetic, entertaining sessions are aimed at anyone who wants to play better and have more fun. Other presenters include Jason Guss, Michigan’s 2013 PGA Teacher of the Year, and Joe Charles, Treetops’ Director of Instruction.
  • What are some of the fun elements of the Show?
  • There are putting and long drive contests, closest to the pin events using a golf simulator, free golf tips provided by PGA pros, a new club testing area, and the ever-popular Par-3 Challenge. Of course, to many bargain hunters, you can’t beat the show for its retail offerings of new equipment, apparel, shoes, gloves and accessories. Maple Hill Golf, a Show staple for 27 years, will have over $1 million dollars of inventory.
  • Explain the Par-3 Challenge.
  • Expertly constructed by Everett’s Landscape and sponsored by Treetops Resort, an actual par-3 golf hole is a major attraction of the Show. For a modest fee, patrons hit shots—raising money for the Patriot Golf Day & Folds of Honor charities providing assistance for military families—and compete for prizes including a chance to win $25,000 on Sunday. Balls and clubs are provided as well as lots of support from spectators and friends alike.
  • What’s new at the show?
  • Besides a sensational headliner in Michael Breed, one of the best known teachers in America, there’s 14 new exhibitors including golf courses, amateur and junior golf tours, and the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame. Also, the new Ferris State PGA Golf Management Club Testing Area where patrons can test such leading equipment brands as Adams, Cleveland, Cobra, PING, TaylorMade, Titleist, Tour Edge and U.S. Kids Golf.
  • Are there door prizes and raffles?
  • Multiple door prizes—equipment, accessories and free golf rounds—are awarded every hour of the Show. Many exhibitors also conduct added drawings at their booth—so bring personalized mailing labels. At the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame booth (#1214), its limited edition $20 raffle ticket buys a chance at “Bucket List” rounds at exclusive Crystal Downs CC, Oakland Hills CC, and Forest Dunes GC—all world-class courses.
  • Any incentives for showing up early?
  • The first 200 people entering the Show each day will receive a 2-pack of Bridgestone e6 golf balls. The Show opens on Friday at 2 pm, well ahead of the busy afternoon drive. Friday is also Ladies Day at the Show with special gift bags for the first 500 women. On Saturday morning starting at 9 am in the Grand Gallery, there’s a pancake breakfast to benefit The First Tee of West Michigan at $6 for adults/$4 for kids.
  • How much does it cost and where can I purchase tickets?
  • $10 for adults; $4 for children ages 6-14; children 5 & under free. Tickets at the door at DeVos Place or in advance online at www.westmichigangolfshow.com


See you there, OK?


More on the W. Mich. Golf Show

For Day 2, I’m still being lazy. This came directly from the publicist via my e-mail, but it has all the necessary info:

The 27th West Michigan Golf Show on Feb. 13-15 in downtown Grand Rapids is an opportunity for area golfers to get in the spirit of the game without an embarrassing four-putt. Void of ice and snow and inside the spacious and warm confines of DeVos Place, winter-weary patrons will walk the Show’s aisles and receive a vicarious spring-like boost from all of the exhibitors, events and seminars. Here are some of the highlights about this largest winter gathering of golfers in West Michigan:
• Widely acclaimed for its headliners, the Golf Show welcomes the Kathy Gildersleeve-Jensen, the current National PGA Teacher of the Year, and Brian Manzella, a Golf Digest Top 50 Teacher. Both will provide free seminars.
• Ladies’ Night is Friday and offers special events, seminars and giveaways just for women. The first 500 women on Friday receive a goodie bag.
• The most popular attraction of the Show remains the Treetops Par-3 Challenge where patrons will compete for prizes at a fully landscaped par-3 and with a chance to win $25,000 while raising funds for Patriot Golf Day.
• “Try before you buy” at the demo club area where many top club manufacturers will have the latest equipment for patrons to hit inside the huge hitting net.
• Stop at the Bridgestone Golf Ball-Fitting Challenge booth and find out the best ball for your swing speed and game. The Science Eye Launch Monitor allows Bridgestone to enhance your performance in a free fitting session.
• Check out the new “Mizuno Iron Shaft DNA” fitting booth where patrons will quickly discover the best shaft and shaft flex for their swing. Only taking 5-10 minutes, the fitting process results in five key metrics about each participant’s “shaft DNA.”
The top golf courses and resorts in Michigan as well as destination courses in Indiana, Kentucky and Florida will offer pre-season values and tee times.
Got Kids? Get ‘em excited about golf in the PGA Family Fun Zone where they can take a swing at Golfzilla, and clinics from The First Tee, or play a round of Putt-Putt golf! Plus great info on PGA Jr. League Golf and the Drive, Chip, & Putt Championship.
Thanks to the Michigan P.G.A. and Boyne Resorts, golf pros are giving free lessons all weekend, providing patrons with golf tips to start the season right.
Sponsored by Gun Lake Casino, the $10,000 Longest Putt Challenge will also raise funds for the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.
West Michigan is also known for quality & affordable golf and 26 local courses have booths.
Benefitting First Tee of West Michigan, there’s a Saturday morning pancake breakfast (for only $5) starting at 9 AM in the Grand Gallery at DeVos Place.
Sunday is “Junior Golf Day” with the first 100 kids receiving a free golf glove and a voucher for a free bucket of range balls— every day of the year!—from Maple Hill.
Produced by ShowSpan Inc. and sponsored by Treetops Resort, Gun Lake Casino, Golf Association of Michigan, Boyne Resorts and the Michigan PGA. West Michigan Golf Show’s hours are 2:00 pm-9:00 pm, Friday; 10:00 am-7:00 pm, Saturday; and 10:00 am-5:00 pm, Sunday. For more information, visit http://www.westmichigangolfshow.com

Let’s keep politics out of bowling!!

I was reading a story culled from USA Today about possibly making bowling an Olympic sport. Hey, cool, I thought, until I read the entire story. Seems some committee wants to change bowling to make it more viewer friendly and, subsequently, easier for viewers to understand.
Before you read the clip I’m about to cut-and-paste, let me make a comment. Bowling has NEVER been that popular with television audiences; if it was, we might be seeing more PBA events on the tube on Saturdays or Sundays instead of things like baseball, college and/or pro football, hockey, tennis, whatever. As far as the popularity of bowling, however, call any bowling place on a weeknight during “bowling season” and try to get a lane or lanes before 10 p.m. Not gonna happen, folks.
OK, so here’s what the International Olympic Committee is proposing. To avoid any suggestion of plagiarism, I repeat, this has been cut-and-pasted from USA Today via Facebook:
In a move that is ultimately aimed at grabbing the attention of the International Olympic Committee, a new scoring system is being tested at this weekend’s World Bowling Tour finals. If it sticks, it could change the face of the game.

“We have had an image problem,” said Kevin Dornberger, president of World Bowling, the sport’s international governing body. “Not enough people understand the way the game is scored and that can make it boring for them to watch.”
So, for (the first weekend of November) at least, it is out with the old formula of 10 frames and an accumulated score up to a maximum of 300, and in with a new set of rules that borrows heavily from the kind of golf scoring used in events such as the Ryder Cup.
In the Tour finals, held at the South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas on Sunday, matches will effectively become a frame-by-frame showdown, with each bowler initially rolling a single ball per frame.
If a player outscores their opponent, they win the frame and go “one-up”, like in match-play golf. If both hit a strike, each gets a half. If both hit, for example, an eight, each competitor would attempt to complete their spare, with the higher scorer taking the frame. Matches tied after 12 frames continue until there is a winner.
The format is designed to increase suspense, speed up the game and offer greater broadcast appeal, all factors seen as vital to have a shot at Olympic inclusion.

Match Play bowling, eh? Sounds intriguing, but if some of the comments posted along with the article are indicative of the feelings of bowlers, Olympic Bowling is going to get some horrible ratings. But then, people might watch just to see how it works.
My take on it: Keep politics out of sports. (Yeah, right.) What I see here is an attempt to turn a popular sport into a sort of Electoral College. It’s easy to see in golf where a guy could, in Match Play, win a round, but have a higher score than his or her opponent, if, of course, the actual score is kept. The only trouble is, if one guy gets a birdie and the other guy is still in the bunker, he just picks up instead of taking a bogey, double bogey or worse.
The same thing is going to happen in bowling. Bowler No. 1 gets a “Big Four” split and bowler No. 2 gets a strike: Frame over. Strike guy gets 1 point, Split guy doesn’t. But down the line, Split Guy might get a consistent run going while Strike guy goes up and down and they “halve” most of the frames.
It’s kind of like government voting where a guy could win the Electoral College vote with voters in the bigger states, but lose the popular vote.
For me, bowling ain’t broke, so why are they trying to “fix” it?

Fremont’s Water’s Edge Golf Club; Water, edgy and a lot of fun

Dear Waters Edge Golf Club.

My friend, Geoff, and I enjoyed our visit to your place a little over a week ago. Since the state has scrapped my job plans for the summer — I teach special education in Grand Rapids and Lansing apparently sees no need for our students to get a continuing education — I decided to check out things like golfnow.com, groupon and the ever-popular Golf Discount book to try out courses I’ve never played before.

My parents grew up in Fremont, so it was fun to “go home.” And since your description of your course on both facebook.com and in the golfnow.com advertisement sounded intriguing, I was. Intrigued, that is.

First the compliments.

We loved the layout. It was great that the lakes around which the course are built so came into play on Nos. 9, 10, 11 and 12 … what a great signature turn for this beautiful course.

We believe your course is fair and challenging, but not difficult, which is one of the reasons we had so much fun.

We REALLY like heading away from No. 12, going out into the nether reaches of your course and playing the next six holes. I mean, sandwiching the No. 18 handiap — the 120-yard, par-3 16th in between the No. 2, No. 8 and No. 4 finishing holes? Brilliant!!

Now the complaints, though they are few.

First, when I play new courses, I love to take a logo ball home with me as a souvenir to add to the display case hanging on my “Man Cave” wall. Unfortunately, you had none, but the girl at the counter did explain “they cost money.” True, but I kind of feel when you buy and renovate a business, no matter what kind of business it is, you pay the money up front and recoup the losses later. But then, I’ve never owned a business, so maybe I’m full of it.

As for the course, we liked the thickness of the clover rough, but in many places it wasn’t cut quite short enough and with the dandelions going to seed, it was difficult to find our golf balls in that thick grass. But that was partly our fault for straying from the fairway.

I don’t know if some of the following was posted in the clubhouse, but it should be on the scorecard for any other newbies who venture your way.

• What is the distance to the edge of the swamp on No. 9? That would have been nice to know. We thought we were hitting toward a flagstick directly down the middle, but it turned out to be the out-of-bounds stakes at the far edge of the weedy area and we both lost our balls.

• Also, what is the exact distance to the creek crossing the No. 11 fairway? I tried to do the math based on the white (150-yard) stake, but that didn’t work out at all.

• Perhaps because it’s early in the season, but many of the holes did not have stakes at the 150-yard marks … or at 100 or 200 yards either. That’s important for me. I believe it’s important for most golfers, especially out-of-towners.

• The scorecard — which has not been upgraded from your “Ramshorn On The Lakes” days — designates Blue, White and Red tee markers. When we played, we saw markers of four different colors which were badly in need of being painted the proper colors.

All in all, Geoff and I loved your course. Most of my issues are probably because we’ve never been there and we’re not familiar with distances to the green and off the tee. I’m still trying to figure out how, while trying to lay up on No. 11 with an easy 4-iron, I hooked the ball all the way across No. 10 and into the lake.

We will be back. And we will, no doubt, enjoy ourselves.