Bruno's Blog

A Day with Links Friends at Winter Park 9 PDF Print E-mail



By Jason Bruno


On Tuesday Jan.22nd we fulfilled our media Demo Day obligations at

Orange County National and proceeded to make the trek east across

Orlando to the quaint urban setting that is Winter Park, Florida. Matt

Ginella sent over an invite just days before, so Master Club Builder

Dirck Storm and I ramped up our enthusiasm on day 3 of our PGA Show

week that began on the Dye Course at PGA Village just two days earlier.

Returning to "WP9" for me personally was long overdue (we experienced

the Riley Johns/Keith Rhebb creation for the first time two years ago shortly

after the redesign by the boys from Integrative Golf Design was completed).






Tardy as usual, we pulled into the packed parking lot just as groups were

walking out to their assigned hole locations for the 3pm shotgun start of

alternate shot team play. The event, a gathering of golf industry folks put

together by Akbar Chisti of Seamus Golf (and Ginella) included colleagues

and friends from virtually everywhere. Linksoul's John Ashworth (who is the

force behind Goat Hill Park in Southern California) was on hand providing

some outstanding swag along with Seamus.


Upon checking in, we were assigned to hole 9 where nearly every hole had

an A & B group based on field size. With two groups of 8 player teams each

(we had 6), it made for quite the scene. Our group consisted of four lads from

Ireland, Stormy and yours truly. The elder of the group was Liam Murphy

from County Louth, John Lawler from The Island Golf Club in Dublin, Jeff Fallon

from Royal Dublin, and Mark Byrne from Carr Golf. Paul Schmidt also of Carr,

was the lone Central Florida local taking the stroll sans his sticks, but offered

up some witty commentary and provided proper on course local knowledge. It

was a chamber of commerce 65 degree late afternoon playing the fast n firm

contours of Johns and Rhebb. After Stormy and I collaborated on a birdie on

our first hole (the short par 4 ninth), we had earned instant turf cred from the

boys of the Emerald Isle. At the turn we caught up with host Matt Ginella and

Golfer/Musician Jay Horowitz, a fellow "Apple" native who I learned had won

the NYC Am years ago on a course that my Dad and I went toboggan sledding

on (the 10th at La Tourette GC) 46 years ago. It's a small world for sure . . .





A great idea, this imprint sign in the sand "Thanks for Raking" sends a subtle

message to be considerate to your fellow golfers. A team up & down for birdie

was the result here on the par 5 fourth.






Dirck Storm, John Lawson, Mark Byrne, JB, Liam Murphy and Jeff Fallon





Our golf performance as a team was mediocre, but the camaraderie was off

the charts. The score was far less important than it usually seems to be and

it felt right. There were some brilliant shots like Jeff's carved low cut around

a large stand of trees on the par 5 third. It was a classic links strike, low punch

with just the right amount of fade spin that trundled up onto the green perfectly,

even he knew it was special. We finished in the gloaming and enjoyed the

casual fare and music by Jay Horowitz with the nearly 100 links friends on hand.

It was great to see Katie Ginella and little Bandon out there, and catch up with

many I hadn't seen in awhile like Brad Klein and Mike Bailey. There are many

invites during PGA Show week, choosing which ones to attend can be tough, but

this gathering will be an annual staple - a must attend.






We said thank you to the hosts and farewell to the gents from Ireland,

promising to make the journey across the pond to visit them on their home

turf. Before we headed out, I looked over at my partner in crime, Stormy

had this big smile on his face, he had soaked in the vibe. It was PURE fun,

like being a kid with your buddies all over again, and what's better than that?





If you're in Central Florida, Matt Ginella often hosts a Friday 3pm Skins Game.



To check out the 9 holes of splendor that is Winter Park 9:















Jupiter Hills Club Set to Host USGA Four-Ball Championship PDF Print E-mail



By Jason Bruno

Tequesta, Florida - On Monday, the United States Golf Association hosted

the media at the site of the 2018 U.S Amateur Four-Ball Championship -

Jupiter Hills Club. The two man team competition takes place May 19th-

23rd on George Fazio's Hills Course and Tom Fazio's Village Course, Jupiter

Hills is practically unknown to the golfing public when compared to the three

preceding host venues (Olympic, Winged Foot and Pinehurst) that have all

hosted multiple U.S Opens over the last century.





In the late 60's, Jupiter Hills was founded and created by George Fazio

along with William Clay Ford, Bob Hope and William Elliott. The Hills Course

opened in 1970 (renovated by Tom Fazio in 2006), Tom Fazio's Village layout

opened for play in 1982 (Fazio completed a renovation in 1999). In 1987,

Billy Mayfair captured the U.S Amateur at Jupiter Hills.







On Feb.11th, 2013 the creation of U.S Amateur Four-Ball and the U.S

Women's Four-Ball was announced, thus eliminating the U.S Amateur

Public Links Championship and Women's Am Pub-Links in favor of a new

team format competition. In doing so, the dream of many public golfers

of winning that national championship and playing in the Masters had

gone away. I've stated on the record that I'd much preferred they left

the Amateur Public links events as they were (and found another way to

add this team event), but by bringing this team format to many of the

best venues in the country, the USGA has done a nice job of getting the

new event off to a roaring start. In fact, the USGA accepted 2.234

entries into the inaugural U.S Am Four-Ball championship in 2015. Not

bad for a start-up (2,279 entries this year).






Jupiter Hills signature hole, the par 3 ninth




The Hills Course will play 3,641 yards front/3,612 yards back = 7,253

(par 70), while the Village (which will serve as a stroke-play co-host for

the first two rounds) will play 3,264 yards front/3,364 yards back =

6,630 yards (par 70). The Hills routing normally plays 6,998 yards from

the tips, but an additional 255 yards will be available to the competition

staff to make a few holes even more stout than usual (the ninth pictured

above has a range 108 yards (red tees) to 192 yards (gold tees), but

a secluded tee on the north east side of the property creates a 211 yard

"white knuckler" that will likely turn up the tension in any match. Although

it's team competition and players will have a partner to lean on, the Hills

course will challenge all comers with a brawny 76.6 rating/150 slope for

the Championship.






It had been 12 long years since our last visit to Jupiter Hills, and if anything

was clear after a glorious day on the Hills course (with club President Jeff

Harris, SFPGA Professional Geoff Lofstead and longtime veteran golf scribe

Jeff Babineau), it was the worthiness of George Fazio's grand design that

sits along the same dunes/sand ridge that Donald Ross' famed Seminole

Golf Club shares just a few miles south in Juno Beach.





The view of the driving range and practice green from the clubhouse terrace.

The Par 5-first hole is on the right.





The view of 491 yard first, converted into a par 4 for the championship

(it plays as a 515 yard par 5 for the members  - white tees)



The Four-Ball field of 128 teams (256 players) will play one round of stroke

play on May 19th & May 20th, the low 32 teams will advance to match play.

Five rounds of match play will determine a champion on Wed. May 23rd.

Admission is free to the public and tickets are not required. The USGA and

the Jupiter Hills Club encourage fans to attend.


Future Four-Ball sites include: 2019 Bandon Dunes, 2020 Philadelphia Cricket

Club, and Chambers Bay in 2021.


For more info on the U.S Amateur Four-Ball Championship:















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