Quiz: Which State Has Hosted the Most US Opens?

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Answer: New York. The Empire State has hosted a total of 18 championships. Next week, the 113th US Open kicks off at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. This year’s event puts Pennsylvania in second place with a grand total of 16 championships. Illinois rounds out third place with 13 championships. An average of 200,000 people attend America’s golf championship. There are forecasts that show US Opens generate an economic impact of $160 million for the host city and state.
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Here is a break down of the states and how many times they have hosted the US Open:
New York 18
Pennsylvania 16
Illinois 13
California 12 – Even though it seems more often
Massachusetts 9
New Jersey 8
Ohio 7
Michigan 6 – Thought it would be more with so many great courses
Maryland 5
Minnesota 4
Colorado 3
Oklahoma 3 – Hot time of the year to host an event
Texas 3
Missouri 2
North Carolina 2
Georgia 1 – They get the Masters every year so I don’t feel bad for them
Rhode Island 1 – Hosted the first US Open in 1895 and it has never returned
Shinnecock Hills Clubhouse by Eric J. von Hofen

Most frequent venues:
8 Opens: Oakmont Country Club – 1927, 1935, 1953, 1962, 1973, 1983, 1994, and 2007
7 Opens: Baltusrol Golf Club – 1903, 1915, 1936, 1954, 1967, 1980, and 1993
6 Opens: Oakland Hills Country Club – 1924, 1937, 1951, 1961, 1985, and 1996
5 Opens: Winged Foot Golf Club – 1929, 1959, 1974, 1984, and 2006
Pebble Beach Golf Links – 1972, 1982, 1992, 2000, and 2010
Olympic Club – 1955, 1966, 1987, 1998, and 2012
4 Opens: Myopia Hunt Club – 1898, 1901, 1905, and 1908
Inverness Club – 1920, 1931, 1957, and 1979
Merion Golf Club – 1934, 1950, 1971, and 1981
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club – 1896, 1986, 1995, and 2004

From 1942 – 1945 the Open was cancelled due to World War II. It was also cancelled from 1917 – 1918 due to World War I.

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Countries with the most winners:
United States 79
Scotland 14
England 5
South Africa 5
Australia 2
Northern Ireland 2
Jersey 2
Argentina 1
New Zealand 1

Just some fun facts to think about and to use with your buddies in the 19th Hole.

One more for you – Donald Ross has designed the majority of the courses that have hosted the US Open.

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New Streamsong Resort In Florida Makes A Big Statement

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Streamsong, a new 36-hole resort project in Polk County, Florida, is open for business. The resort is owned and operated by the Mosaic Company. Streamsong is located between Tampa and Orlando. Three big time architects got the tap for this job. Tom Doak designed 18 holes called Streamsong Blue, and Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore designed the other 18 holes called Streamsong Red.

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With this powerful design team at the helm, this project was guaranteed for greatness. The designers had an absolute one-of-a-kind piece of land to work with.

Streamsong Resort under construction
The two courses are built on a 16,000 acre site formerly mined for phosphate.


The resort is slated to have 140 guest rooms and a spa with enough land to build more rooms and golf courses if needed. The Walking Rate for 18 holes is $175 and for Florida Resident’s the rate is $135.00.

I can’t wait to see how the project turns out longterm.

I feel these two courses will receive great reviews in the 2013 rankings.
Let me know what you think.

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The Next Generation of Tee Lines

Installing new Turfhound Mats by Eric J. von Hofen
When it comes to practice tee surface area, size does matter. Sometimes there is no other option when the practice area turf does not meet the requirements of the afternoon driving range junkies. You have to something to hit off of and Turfhound has what you need.

Removing old range mat material by Eric J. von Hofen
I look at it like this, Turfhound has developed the 5th generation of synthetic practice area material. Twenty five years ago, I remember hitting off of small pieces of Astro Turf at driving ranges in Northern Ohio. It worked and we didn’t know any better. Then we had the continuos roll of Astro Turf and we thought was great. One day someone thought to add sand and ground up tires into the Astro Turf. That didn’t work. Then developers looked at Nylon as a better surface to hit off of and it was for about six months until the sun and heavy use compacted the material. Polyester was next in line and that worked for about a year and a half. Polyethylene, the main ingredient in PVC, is the latest and greatest. In the picture above, we are removing a two year old tee line made of polyester.

The Turfhound mat is installed in interlocking pieces by Eric J. von Hofen
The TurfHound’s modular design makes it easy to add or remove turf panels and frame to adjust length as desired. I really like this option because we can spread out the wear and tear throughout the entire tee line.


This unique design allows the golfer to have three different options to hit from. Off the deck, off a tee and out of the rough. The moment you step on a TurfHound Tee Surface, you can feel the amazing difference compared to a conventional golf mat. It’s just like you’re standing on natural turf. Swing a club, hit a ball and the sensation continues. There’s no club-head bounce as you swing down and through the ball. No painful shocks to your wrists, elbows and shoulders. We installed this product three days ago and have received an incredible amount of positive feedback. If you are looking for another option to solve your tee line problem contact Rick Reynolds at Turfhound. His number is 877.377.3100.

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The North Carolina Golf Season Ends on a High Note

Wildcat Cliffs in Highlands, NC by Eric J. von Hofen
I recently had the opportunity to visit a few golf courses in Highlands, North Carolina. Highlands is located about a two hour and forty five minute drive from Atlanta. The small golf towns of Cashiers and Highlands are perched on a plateau in the southern Appalachian Mountains, within the Nantahala National Forest. There are only 960 full time residents that call Highlands home. During the summer golf season, which starts in March and ends in early November, the area swells to 10,000 to 15,000 people. This vacation spot draws large numbers of Southerners from the oppressive summertime heat and humidity found throughout much of the region. The elevation of 3,832 feet provides cool days and perfect weather to grow Bentgrass.

Fall color change in North Carolina by Eric J. von Hofen

The golf courses I visited reported that they experienced an increase in rounds and revenue this summer. Two courses even reported an increase in membership sales and a increase in home sales. Could this be a sign? The course conditions and weather were perfect while I was there. I see why people migrate to the Highlands. This area is one of the best spots in the Country to enjoy the Fall explosion of color that sweeps across the mountain landscape. This weekend should be the peak of the viewing season

My top five courses in the Highlands/Cashiers area are as follows:
1. Wade Hampton Golf Club
2. Highlands Country Club
3. Mountaintop Golf Club
4. Cullasaja Golf Course
5. Old Edwards Golf Course

Some of these courses are super exclusive and you can only play with a member. I have attached links to each one of these courses for your viewing pleasure.

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Light Up Your Golf Course

Landscape lights at work in Miami by Eric J. von Hofen
Are you missing an opportunity to show off your Club’s number one asset? How many times have you attended an event at your Club where you found yourself looking off the balcony into a sea of black? Well we realized what we were missing and did something about it.

I hired Vernon Daniel Associates, a landscape illumination company, who specializes on bringing landscape to life. Luis Castro of Vernon Daniel, came to my golf course three times to review the area and identify key trees to light up.
Vernon Daniel Lighting Design by Eric J. von Hofen
He designed a theme using a mix of lights to show off the lay of the land. We had strict requirements that we needed to be able to see the entire fairway on #18 while sitting at the bar inside the clubhouse.

1000 watt light installed in a oak tree in Miami, Fl
Luis installed three 1000 watt lights, in the oak trees, that illuminate the turf on the fairways. This gives you the depth of the property and the most bang for your buck.
250 Watt light for a landscape design by Eric J. von Hofen
They installed thirteen 250 watt lights at the bases of some of the larger oaks and then added the same hardware to the top of the trees shinning down. This process creates a moon lighting effect that can be seen hundreds of yards away.

LED LIGHT installed on a Date Palm by Eric J. von Hofen
Luis used seventeen, high intensity, custom LED lights to soften his design but still show off the mass of the tree trunks. The light in this picture brings this $15,000 Date Palm to life every night. We have received great feedback from our members and have seen increase of business on the balcony at night. Give Luis at Vernon Daniel a call for your next project. His office number is 561-586-2538.

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Giant African Land Snails Invade South Florida

Photo Credit: Andrew Derksen, Florida Cooperative Pest Survey Program

First we had snowbirds and alligators, then nematodes and mole crickets, followed by grubs and white flies and now giant african snails. Yes, that is right, snails. And they are eating everything in sight. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has positively identified a population of Giant African land snails in Miami-Dade County. The Giant African land snail is one of the most damaging snails in the world because they consume at least 500 different types of plants, can cause structural damage to plaster and stucco, and can carry a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis in humans.

The Giant African snail is one of the largest land snails in the world, growing up to eight inches in length and more than four inches in diameter. When fully grown, the snail’s brownish shell consists of seven to nine whorls (spirals) that cover at least half the length of its long and greatly swollen body. They can live as long as nine years and contain both female and male reproductive organs. After a single mating session, each snail can produce 100 to 400 eggs. In a typical year, every mated adult lays about 1,200 eggs.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says, “Enlisting the help of the public in the early detection of these pests and diseases is critical to containing and ultimately eradicating them in our state.” Anyone who believes they may have seen a Giant African land snail or signs of its presence should call the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services toll-free at 888-397-1517 to make arrangements to have the snail collected. To preserve the snail sample, Floridians should use gloves to put the snail in a zip lock bag, seal it and place it in a bucket or plastic container. They are advised not to release or give these samples away.

Keep your eyes open for the African Snail and if you find one call the toll-free number.

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Country Club Capitalization – Are You Doing it Right?

Cooling Tower [Read more…]

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GOLF COURSE CONSTRUCTION STILL WEAK IN FLORIDA

Eric von Hofen and Riviera CC #14 bunkers

Looking at the numbers of projects going on in the state paints an interesting picture.
There are only three new course construction projects under way in Florida: Streamsong Resort, Bonifay at The Villages and Ocala Meadows.

Streamsong Resort under construction
Streamsong, a 36-hole resort project in Polk County owned by Mosaic, is a 16,000 acre site formerly mined for phosphate. Streamsong is located between Tampa and Orlando. Three big time architects got the tap for this job. Tom Doak is designing 18 holes, and Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore are designing the other 18 holes. With this powerful design team at the helm, I can’t wait to see how the project turns out.

The resort is slated to have 140 guest rooms and a spa with enough land to build more rooms if needed.

Bonifay at The Villages, also in Central Florida, is adding 27 holes to their portfolio. This project will be part of their “Play for Life” membership program.

Not too far down the street is an 18-hole project called Ocala Meadows. This course is scheduled to open in the fall.

Renovation’s are picking up however, are still down from last year. 25 to 30 courses are doing touch ups to their tracks this summer.

Tom Fazio has been busy redesigning Emerald Dunes and The Floridian. Jim Fazio is doing work at Boca Grove and Trump International. Bobby Weed has blown up Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club in Tampa and, from what I hear, has put a new face on the course. Many courses are re-grassing fairways, greens or tees. The trend continues with courses changing greens to a new ultra dwarf bermudagrass such as mini-verde and tif-eagle. A few courses are installing tif-grand on their tees and I must say, after having this grass for the last two years, I understand why…It performs. Fairways are being converted at a record pace to celebration bermudagrass, with many clubs using the no till method with great success.

New palms on the golf course
Bunker projects are still going on and a few new irrigation systems will be wrapping up by September. I just finished the first phase of my master planned landscape project this week. We did our bunkers last summer and added a few new tees the summer before. Just enough work to keep the members excited about the course that they play every day.

Let’s see what happens in the summer of 2012. If I missed one, please let me know.

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COLLIER’S RESERVE PUTS WATER WHERE IT’S NEEDED

Collier's Reserve irrigation project
Irrigation system deterioration and reliability issues have really given Collier’s Reserve Country Club in Naples, Florida something to think about over that last few years. After 19 years of operation and weekly repairs of PVC pipe and replacing Pierce fittings, the membership stepped up and unanimously voted to replace the entire irrigation system. This 130 acre, Art Hills designed course is getting a much needed state of the art irrigation system this summer. The Club hired irrigation design consultant A. S. Altum to deliver a new system design to them. President Tony Altum had quite the task in front of him laying out a system that will help the Club maximize their water sources. The Club receives effluent water on a daily basis and it currently can’t use what it has contracted because of poor system performance. With that part of the system not working up to par they have to make up the difference with their surface water pump station. The blending of these waters with high pH, high bicarbonates and high Na gives golf course superintendent Nicholas von Hofen a challenge on a daily basis, and then throw in a few massive irrigation breaks a week and poor water quality and Nicholas stays a very busy man at Collier’s Reserve.
Colliers Reserve irrigation project
During the Spring, the Club hired Leibold irrigation to install the new system. Leibold will be responsible for installing 37,000 linear feet of main line HDPE piping, 65,000 linear feet of lateral piping, 1.2 million linear feet of copper wire and 2,237 sprinkler heads. They will be working over environmentally sensitive areas by attaching 2,100 feet of pipe to bridge crossings around the course and 4,000 feet of directional borings through easements. Nicholas selected the new Toro Lynx controllers and a Flowtronex pumping station with two 60 HP motors that will provide 1,200 gallons per minute.
Collier's Reserve new pump station
The project started in March and will be completed by September. The course is open while the work is being done. Bill Berutti, General Manager and Nicholas decided to close only one hole a day so the contractors can get the work done without having to wait for golfers. Both Bill and Nicholas tell me that the members are extremely happy with the progress and they already see improved turf quality on the holes that have been completed. When this system is done, Collier’s Reserve will have the latest technology for irrigation systems and will surely know where every drop of water is going.
Misting heads at Collier's Reserve

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A LOOK AT ELYRIA COUNTRY CLUB

ELYRIA COUNTRY CLUB by Eric J. von Hofen
The club and course first opened in 1905 with only a few holes. In 1925, famous golf course designer William Flynn rebuilt the course and added 9 more holes. Flynn went on to design a hand full of courses in Ohio and also designed Cherry Hills (Englewood, CO), The Country Club (Brookline, MA) and Shinnecock Hills (Southampton, NY). In 1975, golf course architects Jack Kidwell and Michael Hurdzan updated the course and added some new tees. Today the course is a mature beautiful 18-hole course that plays to 6,750 yards from the championship tees. Massive Oak trees line many of the fairways and the clubhouse area. Water is in play on 10 holes with the Black River providing a interesting views on 6 of these holes. The Bentgrass greens, tees and fairways are some of the best around.

Elyria has had only 5 golf course superintendents since the doors opened. It many areas of the country, this is unheard of. I was the superintendent of a course in Naples, Florida that had 12 supers in 5 years. This tells you how special Elyria CC really is and how crazy I was to take the job in Naples. In 1988 and 1989 I worked at Elyria, under CGCS Frank Feck, as a foreman and learned how to maintain bentgrass from a master. It was great to return 22 years later and see that the course is still on track and better then ever. Current superintendent, Pat Rodgers is the one calling the shots these days and he differently has his finger on the pulse of the operation. Congratulations to the member’s and staff for keeping a piece of Ohio history alive and well.

This HD video takes you on a tour of one of the oldest golf courses in Northern Ohio.

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