Wednesday, September 7, 2016

2016 USGA Mid-Amateur:Doak, Hanse Courses A Wedge Apart

Just 140 yards.

That’s the distance from the 12th hole at French Creek golf club in Elverson, PA (my home course) to the 12th hole at Stonewall (the site of this week’s USGA Mid-Amateur for men).

Pretty cool.

While I haven’t been able to play much at all since my traumatic accident on Dec. 27, 2015 I continue to work daily on returning to some semblance of fitness along with appreciating the fact that I AM ALIVE. And presently, that includes enjoying the fact that a serious amateur golf championship is in “my” neighborhood.

As you probably know, French Creek was designed by Olympic Course designer Gil Hanse, who was recently at the club to check out his latest improvements. Hanse also had a hand helping Tom Doak design the North Course at Stonewall, where the green complexes are everything.

Doak designed the Old Course at Stonewall, a top-100 layout of amazing beauty and simplicity. Truly a masterpiece.

This week’s competition begins when the Mid-Amateur field plays Saturday and Sunday, one round on each course, attempting to make the 64-player field. Then it’s the round of 64 on Monday, two more match play rounds on Tuesday and the same for Wednesday, breaking down the field to two finalists.

An interesting note is that the 36-hole final will be played over both courses, very unusual for an event of this nature. Talk about being prepared… we’re talking about 36 different holes.

Of course, the personal experience makes this extra fun in that I’ve played both courses a number of times over the past 10 years (my sister and brother-in-law belong to Stonewall). 

Most recently, I ventured out with nephew Michael and husband John Siipola and played the North Course (of course, I didn’t last very long due to a slow recovery from the accident). Still, always enjoy playing with the boys Mike and Johnny!

Grounds staff working hard on pre-tournament course
preparation in anticipation of MidAmateur Championship

USGA measuring green speeds on Stonewall's North Course
par 4 10th hole on Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Nephew Michael Leasure tees of par 3 6th hole
at Stonewall's North Course 

Post-accident "punch-swing" to par 3 6th hole
at Stonewall's North Course.

Teeing off North Course 6th hole with
par four uphill 7th fairway in background

Practicing a "putt to win" at Stonewall's North Course
 with nephew Michael Leasure on !8th green

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