Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Week That Was, november 25, 2012

You can add Bill Clinton’s name to the list of VIPs itching to play Donald Trump’s golf course in Scotland. The Scotsman reports that the former Democratic president and the Republican presidential

pretender have “forged an unlikely friendship in recent years” and that a tee time in Aberdeenshire has been penciled in for next summer. “I love playing golf with him,” Clinton told CNN earlier this year.

Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority is investigating one of the nation’s premier golf properties for the unlawful use of banned herbicides and pesticides. The EPA has targeted suburban Sydney’s Lakes Golf Club, the home of next month’s Australian Open, for actions it took two years ago to prevent nematodes from destroying its turf. The club is said to be cooperating with the inquiry.

What’s the significance of a Chinese teenager getting an invite to play in the Masters? “It’s the latest example of what might happen should China embrace golf other than superficially,” argues John Strege of Golf Digest. There’s a little too much conditional word usage in that statement for my tastes, but Strege helpfully notes that Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old in question, trains in Florida.

The members of Butler National Golf Club in suburban Chicago, Illinois have overwhelmingly voted down a motion that would have allowed women to become members. The vote was less a blow to the female gender than it is to the members’ immediate financial interest, for it will surely lead to resignations and dues increases to offset the resulting loss in revenue. As far as the club’s future is concerned, a member has concluded that“we’re in a death spiral.”

While women can’t get in the door at Butler National, the members of Redlands Country Club have elected a woman as their president. “This is a terrific honor,” said Carole Beswick, who becomes the first-ever female president of the Redlands, California-based club.

In an effort to preserve its open space and a consistent water supply, the town of Belleair, Florida has agreed to buy Belleview Biltmore Golf Club. The price: $3.5 million. As a bonus, the town gets an 18-hole, Donald Ross-designed golf course that dates from 1925.

A renovation by Ron Forse has helped to put Rolling Green Golf Club back into the limelight. The club, in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has been selected to host the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship in 2016. Forse restored the club’s course, co-designed by William S. Flynn and Howard Toomey, in a multiyear project during the mid to late 2000s.

Bandon Dunes’ 13-hole Preserve course has given Scott Michaux an idea for what the city of Augusta, Georgia can do to generate more play at its municipal golf course. His modest proposal: The city’s 18-hole track should shrink to fit the times. “Even without the panoramic views of the Pacific,” writes Michaux, a writer for the Augusta Chronicle, “a fun and challenging collection of par-3 holes would be inviting to newcomers to the game and give people a recreational option that doesn’t eat up four to five hours of the day.”

Bowing to the wishes of their customers, the three municipal golf courses in Vancouver, British Columbia may soon begin to sell beer on their fairways. “Those three golf courses are already seeing people consume alcohol illegally,” notes a councilmember. “If you’ve ever golfed there, you’ll see that people sneak their beer on anyways.”

Palms Mawson Lakes Golf Course, a nine-hole track in suburban Adelaide, South Australia, is about to get a makeover. The reconstruction, which has been in the works for three years, begins in February 2013.

If you’re willing to take vacation advice from Forbes, the magazine has five wintertime golf destinations for you to consider. Tops on the list: the Kapalua resort on Maui, because the editors are “bewitched by the Bay course.” Then come the soon-to-open Streamsong resort in Florida (the Tom Doak- and Coore & Crenshaw-designed tracks will provide “a golfing experience unlike anything in Florida”), the Villingili resort in the Maldives (its nine-hole course offers “sweeping views of the ocean that just can’t be matched elsewhere”), and the Apes Hill resort on Barbados (“a walk along the fairways is almost surreal”). Last but certainly not least is Barnbougle Dunes in Tasmania, where the Doak- and Coore & Crenshaw-designed tracks are “part nod to Mother Nature and part challenge to the mind and body.”

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