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TEE TIME: Some public courses only a short drive from here offer great golf at a great price

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By Dennis George

I often chuckle when Golf Digest releases its list of the Top 100 Golf Courses in America that you can play.

The fine print should read, “If you want to deplete your life savings doing so.”

Most of us cannot or will not fork over the hundreds of dollars to play those venues, especially when you tack on the cost of travel.

For example, Pebble Beach ranks at the top list, and you can enjoy the view along the Monterrey Peninsula while playing the course. I should note that it would only cost you $495 but it does include the cart. You can qualify for a priority tee time if you stay on the grounds. That amenity will add $790 to your tab (but hey, it’s at least for double occupancy).

Whistlin’ Straits in Kohler, Wisc., will host this year’s PGA, and let’s hope we don’t see a replay of Dustin Johnson being penalized for grounding his club in one of those hard-to-see bunker areas. It’s not as faraway as Pebble Beach and only costs $385 per round.

If you pinch pennies as I am often accused of doing, you can find some public courses you can play without selling your first child, and stay within a short drive of Bardstown.

How good are the courses?

Well, let’s just say that Gary Player won a PGA tour event and a pair of Champions Tour events on a couple of them.

Seneca Golf Course in Louisville hosted the 1958 Kentucky Derby Open that Player won, the South African’s first win on American soil. Perhaps one of the busiest courses in the state, Seneca has plush fairways and an impressive practice facility. Green fees are only $14.25 during the week and $16.25 on the weekend. Seniors can play before 2 p.m. during the week for $9.25. A cart will cost an additional $15 per person.

Kearney Hill Links in Lexington was the site of Player’s titles in the Bank One Senior Classic in 1993 and 1995. Designed by renowned architect Pete Dye (of TPC Sawgrass fame), golfers will find this course challenging but fair. Distances vary from 5,367 yards for women to 7,079 from the tips. It’s a tough walking course, so take a cart. It’s $39 during the week to play 18 holes and $49 on the weekend.

Pay close attention to the bunkering on number 13. As a joke on his friend and UK alumnus Johnny Owen, Dye created a bunker that looks like IU. They say it’s very visible when flying over the course.

Make it an overnight stay in Lexington and enjoy 36 holes at the University Club, the home of the UK golf team. An Arthur Hills layout features the challenging Big Blue course and the fun-to-play Wildcat Course. The former is $47 during the week and $55 on the weekend — seniors pay $33 during the week — while the latter rate is $38 during the week and $44 on the weekend. The weekday rate for seniors is $28.

Do you have a group that likes to take a trip and stay a few days? Golf Channel’s Matt Ginella has The Peninsula in Lancaster as one of the Top Five Best Deals in the country. They have villas on he grounds that make it a nice time for friends to play a round and then replay it while relaxing. It’s another Pete Dye design (with help from his wife Alice), with bentgrass greens and Bermuda fairways. You’ll need to call them for group pricing, but the daily rate that includes a cart is $32 during the week and $42 on the weekend. Seniors can play during the week for $25.

Next week, we’ll talk about state park courses.

Did any of you get a chance to watch any of the NCAA Championships over the past two weeks?

It was played at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., and it had a Kentucky flavor.

Caldwell County graduate and current Alabama star Emma Talley was spectacular in winning the individual portion of the tournament. Talley was a three-time winner of the Kentucky High School tournament and would have captured a fourth had she not pointed out to officials that she had signed for an incorrect scorecard after she had been declared the winner. Hunter Stewart of Vanderbilt, a graduate of Lexington Christian Academy, finished third in the men’s stroke play.

Former Nelson County golf standout Crit Reddick is working at the club and served in various positions during the tournaments. He’s a regular caddy there and has met a lot of touring pros and other professional athletes.

And my son Alan is the media contact for the Stanford golf program, meaning that he was there every step of the way as the Cardinal women captured the national title in dramatic fashion when their top player birdied the final two holes to force a sudden-death playoff that she won.

The course was designed by former golf greats Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus. Older golf fans will recall that that Nicklaus conceded a two-foot putt to Jacklin in the 1969 Ryder Cup that ended the matches in a tie, but the United States kept the cup as a result.

Hence the name of the course, The Concession.

Congratulations to Tim Gilpin. He recently aced the 172-yard 16th hole at General Burnside State Park. He used a 6-iron.

Here’s something for the women golfers.

You’re invited to Maywood any Thursday night for golf with the ladies of Bethlehem. There’s no commitment and no pressure. Different types of games will be played each week. The cost is $15. You’re asked to call the pro shop if you’re going to play.

Here’s a golf tip from Robert Gates, PGA professional at Maywood.

Do you know your strengths? Do you know your weaknesses?

It’s easy to know and remember your average score or handicap, but to truly understand your game you need to break things down in detail.

For my serious students of the game, whether they have aspirations of making their high school team, playing college golf, winning the club championship or just improving their handicap, I provide a detailed system to track their rounds.

We keep track of fairways hit, driving distance, greens in regulation, putts, distance of first putt, and saves for par. For the very serious we also keep track of Strokes Gained Putting, which has been a very popular stat you may of heard mentioned on professional golf telecasts.  I’ve also developed a short game combine that can be completed in one hour that gives a complete snapshot of how your short game really measures up.

The process for gathering all this data is really pretty simple and doesn’t take much time or effort.  But, the information it provides is priceless for really being able to evaluate your game and then develop specific practice plans. When you start to practice with a purpose you really start to see results.

If you are interested in getting serious about your game and want to take part in a player development program, come see me or one of the other PGA Professionals at Bardstown Country Club.

League Results

Boone’s Butcher Shop Morning League

First place: Tim Gilpin/Chris Gilpin (32.5 points)

Second: Joe Judson/Byron Corbett (30.5)

Third: Bruce Hey/Alex Hey

Low gross: Chris Gilpin (37)

Low net: Don Hardin (30)

Boone’s Butcher Shop Afternoon League

First place: Alan Cecil/Wally Bowling (31.5 points)

Second: Ed Ditto/Tony Edelen (30.5)

Third: Chuck Filiatreau/Randy Burba, and Tim Gilpin/Luke Porteus (tied with 30.5)

Low gross: Joe Judson and Ron Shagool (tied with 36)

Low net: Davd Vittitow, Gavin Walls, and Jon Chesser (tied with 30)

Closest to the hole: Bard Wise (#2) and Ron Shagool (#7)

Jack and Jill Couples League

Scratch: Joe B. Yates/Susie Yates (12 points)

Hook: Ron Shagool/Colette Shagool (13)

Slice: Alex/Elizabeth Hey and Randall/AJ Burba (tied with 14)

Bogey: Joe Jones/Ann Carrico (15)

Low gross: Mouse Culver/Sue Rogers (69)

Low net: Alex Hey/Elizabeth Hey and Randall Burba/AJ Burba and Mouse Culver/Sue Rogers (tied with 68)

Closes to the hole: Danny and Betty Kaye Hayden (#5) and Mouse Cluver/Sue Rogers (#8)

OKH Men’s League

First place: Richie Berry/Denny Berry (10.5 points)

Second: J.T Roby/C.P. Smith (9.5)

Third: Bob Grady/Basim Kahleifeh (9.0)

Low gross: Jim Roby (even-par 35)

Low net: Bob Grady (24)

Maywood Men’s League

First place: Willie Edelen/Logan Edelen (15.5 points)

Second: Fred McMillen/David Sparks (15)

Third: Stephen Ewing/Roger Ewing (14.5)

Low gross: Mick Spalding (2-under par 34)

Low net: Roger Ewing (30)

Closest to the hole: Rob Farrell (#5) and Tommy Reddick (#8)

Dennis George is a contributing writer for The Kentucky Standard and can be reached at dmg11854@gmail.com.