Bruno's Blog

U.S Professional Hickory Golf Championship PDF Print E-mail


By Jason Bruno

Recently I was invited by my friend Mike Stevens to participate in the U.S Hickory

Professional Championship (as an amateur) at Temple Terrace Golf Club in Tampa.

Having never hit a shot with a hickory club, I stood on the first tee knowing it would be

foolish to expect that I'd have even a vague clue on how to score with authentic hickory

equipment. My goal was two fold, enjoy the experience and fight like hell to break 100.

Knowing that the best and most experienced players consider anything around 80 a

decently respectable score . . .  I knew staying in double digits would be a challenge.


Somehow, after multiple train wrecks resulting in double bogeys, I made my way into

the house-shooting 91 on the par 73 layout. An embarrassing score under normal

conditions for a scratch player, but I was relieved and better for the experience. My

appreciation for Francis Ouimet and the great Bobby Jones (and their accomplishments)

had went through the roof, especially after my first attempt to post a score using the

equipment of yesteryear. Many of the participants who play hickory equipment competitively

also play it exclusively, citing the jump back and forth from modern equipment just too

difficult to adjust to. Although I could never give up the joy of playing modern equipment,

I'd have to agree, if you wanted to be serious on the "knicker circuit" there is no way you

can dabble with titanium and graphite.


Seeing the players wearing the classic 1920's attire is a blast, love the history. Next year

my goal will be to break 80 . . .


Below is the official results and press release on the event:

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Swiss Pro cruises to victory at the United States Professional Hickory Championship

Paolo Quirici of Switzerland successfully defended his title at the fourth annual United

States Professional Hickory Golf Championship at historic Temple Terrace Golf &

Country Club. The tournament, a commemorative to the 1925 Florida Open is played

with pre-1930 era equipment and balls. Quirici, the reigning World Hickory Champion

toured the Tom Bendelow layout in one over par 74 to grab the $1,500 first prize and

the John Shippen Cup for whom the tournament is dedicated. The Swiss pro was a model

of consistency on the 6,400 yard venue considered a brute of a golf course when opened

for play in 1922. He becomes the first two time winner of the Championship. Four players

shared second place with scores of 79 – Temple Terrace host pro Jim Garrison, Richard

Bullock, Dylan Malafronte and Adam Varney.

Teresa Zamboni of Port Orange, Florida edged out defending champion Jennifer Cully to

take the Ladies title and Bruce Del Guidice of Weeki Watchi, Florida was the low amateur.

The USPHGC is open to all golf professionals, male and female and players compete for

the same $5,000 prize fund associated with the original Florida Open won by Leo Diegel.

The winner’s name is engraved on the the John Shippen Cup, dedicated to America’s first

golf professional which is on permanent display in the Temple Terrace clubhouse. The golf

course is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and one of only two in the state.

The championship is dedicated to preserving and honoring the history of early golf in America.

Top 12 Finishers and Payout:

74 – Paolo Quirici - $1500

79 – Jim Garrison, Richard Bullock, Dylan Malafronte, Adam Varney - $650

80 – Mark Harman - $300

82 – Steve Herron, Jim Giordano - $182

83- Mike Stevens, Gregor Jamieson - $87

84 – Tom McCrary - $50

85 – Clay Thomas - $50

92 – Teresa Zamboni - $200


For more info on Hickory Golf contact Mike Stevens at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it









Dave Pelz Q&A (2014) PDF Print E-mail


By Jason Bruno


Dave Pelz is one of my favorite people to sit down and talk golf with, he's brilliant,

honest and passionate about the game of Golf. Pelz is so well informed and has

created such a wealth of shortgame data, that the games most talented lean on his

expert advice on how to score. He's mentored the likes of Tom Kite and Phil

Mickelson, and if you've ever picked up an Odyssey Two Ball putter he's influenced

your game as well. We first talked back in January 2012, and to be honest, two years

was too long between chats.


Dave Pelz Jan. 2014

LinksNation: You recently signed a new equipment deal - endorsing Cleveland/Srixon,

your thoughts about the partnership?

Dave Pelz: It's exciting for me, because Cleveland/Srixon is a company that

specializes in shortgame, they have the best selection in the industry. They have

great wedges with a variety of bounces and lofts, that can fit any golfer.

LN: Cleveland also has a new putter called Smart/Square that is very unconventional,

what are your impressions?

DP: It's the first putter that I've tested that is easier to aim and putt with than my

two ball putter that Odyssey did very well with for many years, this one is testing


LN: Many people don't know that you had a hand in the design of the Two-Ball


DP: Yeah, only the patent . . . that's all (laughing)

LN: Wedge wise, will you have any special grinds or models?

DP: Just signed on January 7th, and I'm just getting involved in seeing what they're

doing . . . maybe I'll get involved in the future.

LN: Last time we talked (Jan.2012), the USGA ruling on anchored putting was eminent,

and you were adamant about your disagreement with their potential ruling - that is now

reality . . . your thoughts?

PZ: I think the USGA is making their 2nd biggest mistake, the biggest was outlawing box

grooves. They are driving away the most loyal, most dedicated and hardest working

people in the game - by making it tougher. I don't think our game needs to be tougher.

You can do anything you want with the Tour Pro's, that's fine with me, but don't make

the game tougher for amateurs. It's already very difficult, the big problem is not time or

money. People have time, people have money. Most golfers, once you get them on the

course - they wish it lasted longer not shorter . . . they want to stay out there more.

Don't tell me all this stuff about slow play, the problem with the game is - it's so difficult.

LN: Are you surprised more equipment manufacturers didn't take up the fight (on the

anchored putting issue)?

DP: I'm disappointed. I thought the PGA of America and PGA Tour would have fought

them (USGA) on it - because they have the best interest of the game at heart,

apparently more than the USGA does right now. I say that because the USGA says

all the right things, but they're not realists . . . they're in an "ivory tower". They are

thinking about things that they as kids were told by their parents, and it's just not true

anymore. Our youngest generation today is not looking for a difficult game, they have

so many choices. Soccer is bigger than it used to be . . . all sports are on TV now. You

could spend your life in front of a television and never pick up a club, that's easier than

playing golf. I think the game should be promoted and encouraged because it's a game

for a lifetime. The game is so pleasurable and fun for the average player - as long as you

don't make it too hard.

LN: Changing gears, Phil's Open Championship win at Muirfield had to be special for you . . .

DP: The truth is, he hit every shot. He has learned how to hit low shots into the wind, and

it has been a big help to him. He also has learned to not be afraid to bump and run it from

200 yards out, anything 200 and in - he's very happy to go ahead and run it up. I have

always worried the British would always be the hardest for us to win . . . because that one

takes the most self control. Last year he just kept biding his time, he waited, just kept

making pars and then he made it happen coming down the stretch.



"Team Phil" pictured a few years ago at Royal Birkdale


LN: When he talked about his win at Muirfield, he referred to his putting on the fescue

greens as being the biggest difference for him, your thoughts?

DP: He has some keys in his putting that we're not talking about, but what has happened

is, he has decided what his technique really is. There is one perfect putting stroke in his

minds eye . . . now if he misses two or three putts in either direction he isn't wondering

"Geez, I wonder which stroke I should be making, what's wrong." He knows he's not doing

what's perfect, so he goes back to what feels perfect. He committed to this in the middle

of last year and I expect he'll continue that this year. If he does that with his putter and

can keep his driver in play a reasonable amount, then he'll be considered one of the best

players that's ever been, which is an astounding statement.


LN: While were talking about Phil, let's discuss the back nine Sunday at Merion . . . it was

two wedges that really cost him his chance to win his first U.S Open Championship, but

specifically the short par 3-13th. I was just a few yards away from Phil and Bones as they

discussed the shot. The wind had picked up and the rain was enough to be a nuisance, but

what I picked up on was - they never seemed completely committed, what happened there?


DP: I talked to him about both of those shots (13th & 15th holes) that cost him the tournament.

He's not sure where the swing on 15 came from. The one on 13 he said was total indecision, he

takes full blame for that. It wasn't that he wasn't ready to make a good swing . . . he was undecided,

then he gets over the ball and he said "I should have backed off, I know better I'm experienced



LN: Was the thinking, don't plug it in the lip of the front bunker - that's the double bogey?

DP: What he did with his hands was perfect, because that would have hit on the back of the green

and stopped and then come back down to the pin . . . problem was - he pulled it. He pulled it to

the right (for a left hander) to the back edge of the green. He's thinking it's the shortest hole and

that's his strength. Hey listen, Golf is not a game of perfect. The truth is, when he won the British

Open he had about five shots that week that weren't very good . . . they were bad, but he got away

with them. In his mind, the bogey on 13 at Merion Sunday felt like a double. He gets in trouble all

the time and has the best attitude in the world. He's going to win the U.S Open at Pinehurst, and

if it's not this year, it'll be next.

LN: As the owner of a backyard synthetic green set up myself, I'd like to ask you about your

backyard golf utopia back in Texas.

DP: It is unbelievable to me, I've owned 6 homes in my life . . . I'm not an overly materialistic person,

but this is the first time I've ever lived in a home, where just living in the house is a thrill. It has the

most unbelievable backyard, I can be sitting in the living room and 38 seconds later I can be hitting

shots to the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass.



LN: How long were you planning your dream backyard ?

DP: About 15 years, I designed it. I had the concept, and my first concept was to build a home

on the back of a driving range at a conventional club. Then I realized, Im not going be able to find

a facility with enough targets. I have 8 greens and 4 target areas, I have 13 different yardages I

can hit to inside of 150 yards . . . then I have a 400 yard range in the back. I got involved with an

artificial turf company that would take my advice on how to make the turf better for golfers. I have

a green that rolls 12 (on the stimpmeter), another that rolls 11, two greens that roll at 10, and a lag

putt that rolls 9 1/2 . If you putt on my 12 green, it's like putting at the U.S Open, all of the target

greens are made with an underlayment that holds shots like real turf. My shortgame is better than

it's ever been!


Dave's backyard is a golfer's paradise



LN: What's on the horizon for you in 2014?


DP: I'm really excited, you're here with me in the Cleveland/Srixon booth. I have gone with a company

that specializes in shortgame. Their total emphasis is on scoring, and I'm excited about that.

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