Indoor Golf Options
• Go indoors to a sports center like the Golf Dome at Turning Stone where they offer facilities like hitting stations and golf simulators where you can “play” a number of world class courses such as St. Andrews and Pebble Beach. TS also has a fantastic new Short Game Practice Facility. There is also Jack Conger’s CNY Golf Academy with a training studio at the Links at Erie Village.
• Carve out some space in your garage, attic or other area in your home and install a putting green, driving net and other training aids. There is a huge range of products available for outfitting a home practice area including: OptiShot’s Golf in a Box. You get OptiShotz Golf Simulator connecting to your computer so you can play golf on some legendary courses plus you get a hitting mat and golf net.
• Full-length mirrors are great for checking things like your club takeaway, face angle and back swing.
Artificial grass turf can create your own practice putting green. There are many putting aids available including matts, “grass” strips and devices that return your putts.
• Driving nets come in all shapes and sizes to fit whatever space you have. Rukkert pop-up nets are
adaptable for use inside and out. The nets “pop up” into various sizes and shapes and can be collapsed in a flash into a very small package, a very clever idea for those who want to practice their shots in small spaces.
• Try a swing analyzer app like SwingTip. You attach a small gizmo to your club, then the app you’ve launched on your smart phone or tablet, analyzes your swing and even tracks and charts your swing history. Armed with all this knowledge, you can then understand what you need to do to improve your game. Sweet.
• Check out your local schools for golf lessons offered by adult education programs.
Or, of course you can Head South!
CNY Golfer shows you ways to keep your golf swing going over the winter months.
Travelling the RTJ Golf Trail in Alabama
(Cont. from home page)
Bronner's brilliant idea culminated in one of the most amazing set of golf courses in the world: the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.
Bronner commissioned Robert Trent Jones then in his early 80s, to design the courses. Much of the work fell to Jone's senior design associate, Roger Rulewich to take over the mind-boggling task. "It became our lives, almost 24 hours a day," said Rulewich. "If we thought about how many golf courses we were designing, building, and opening within a three-year period, our heads would have exploded."
After Magnolia Grove opened in 1992, other courses followed in an astonishing clip until, less than three years later, there were 26 courses, 468 holes at 11 sites spanning the state from South to North making up The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. None are farther away from another than two hours driving time; none more than 30 minutes off an interstate highway.
To put it all in perspective, Mark Fagan,has written a comprehensive 400-page book documenting this behemoth undertaking. Fagan describes in fascinating detail the entire process visually enhanced by photos of the courses, people involved and the construction process.
Fagen discusses the development of the golf complexes as well as the hotels, spas and hous-
ing around the golf facilities. He talks about the investment value and boost to the tourism infrastructure and cites numerous stats relating to the economic picture.
Note: Playing the RTJ Trail in Alabama could be the perfect golf winter high. All courses on 11 sites are purpose-built to make it easy for you to drive from north to south in Alabama, play designer courses and stay at fine lodgings as you go.
RTJ courses are generally considered excellent tests for better golfers requiring a lot of carries to elevated big undulating greens — not your classic bump and run greens. But each course has multiple tees making it playable for all levels.
There are eight highly-rated hotels and resorts affiliated with the Trail and all are Marriott-branded such as the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa where balconies overlook the third longest golf course in the world at 8,191 yards. There is the restored historic Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa named as one of the 500 “Top Hotels in the World” by “Travel & Leisure.” And on Mobile Bay, you’ll love the elegance of the gracious waterfront Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa in Point Clear close to Lakewood Golf Club’s Dogwood and Azalea courses on the Trail. (KD)
If you plan to go, we highly suggest you get a copy of Mark Fagan's book. The chapters are thoughtfully organized with highly, easy- to read, descriptions of each of the 11 sites. The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Its History and Economic Impact is available in bookstores, Amazon and other outlets. (384 pages; Kindle version also available)
Tillinghast's courses in CNY are revered
Among the revered golf course architects of the early 1900s who spun their magic on the land, A.W. Tillinghast (1894-1942), a disciple of the legendary Old Tom Morris in Scotland, has held up over time as one of the best. His first course, Shawnee on Delaware in Pennsylvania, has been restored to his original plan.
Other Tillinghast courses across the country like Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, NY; Baltusrol Golf Club’s two tracks in Springfield, NJ; Omni Bedford Springs Old Course in Bedford, PA; the West Course at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, NY; and the San Francisco Golf Club only become more treasured as time passes. About 50 of his courses have been the venue for major competitions.
In Central New York, Tillinghast (or “Tillie” as he was called) designed the Binghamton County Club, Elmira Country Club, Grossinger Country Club’s Vista (named one of the “Top Ten” Tillinghast courses by Golf Advisor) and Big G courses (Liberty), Oswego Country Club and Rochester Golf & Country Club.
A master of routing and subtlety, he did not rely on water hazards or even trees to frame his holes. “A round of golf should present 18 inspirations—not necessarily thrills, for spectacular holes may be sadly over- done,” he wrote. Rather he likes to challenge a golfer’s intellect with clever routing and unique greens.