04/19/15 12:00pm
04/19/2015 12:00 PM
Embracing the moment: Hall of Famer Ben Crenshaw hugs his longtime caddy, Carl Jackson. Crenshaw played in his 44th and final Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. (Credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Embracing the moment: Hall of Famer Ben Crenshaw hugs his longtime caddy, Carl Jackson. Crenshaw played in his 44th and final Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. (Credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Years ago I would have early-morning phone chats with my good friend, Wayne DePetris. We talked about everything. Wayne was a golfer, so, of course, many of our conversations centered around golf. Wayne passed away 15 years ago. I miss him.  (more…)

12/06/14 12:00pm
12/06/2014 12:00 PM

One of my favorite holiday tunes is the Andy Williams classic, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Thanks to the commercialism that has stepped all over the real reason for celebrating the holiday, this “wonderful time” seems to be getting longer and longer with decorations and holiday sales showing up long before Dec. 25. And now we have “Gray Thursday.” Give me a break.  (more…)

10/04/14 1:00pm
10/04/2014 1:00 PM
The Cedars Golf Club professional Jimmy McLaughlin with two members of the Cedars Kids Club, Aiko Fujita, left, and Michael Wineberger. (Credit: Jay Dempsey)

The Cedars Golf Club professional Jimmy McLaughlin with two members of the Cedars Kids Club, Aiko Fujita, left, and Michael Wineberger. (Credit: Jay Dempsey)

Conversation overheard this past summer around the North Fork:

Matilda, age 10: “I’m so bored this summer. There’s nothing to do around here.”

Gus, age 12: “I know. All we ever do is go to the beach, go boating, swim, fish and go sailing.”

Clancy, age 11: “ I can’t wait to go back to school.”

Say what??!!  (more…)

08/16/14 7:00am
08/16/2014 7:00 AM
Chet Zelenski, 91, of Greenport has been a member of Southampton Golf Club for 71 years. (Credit: Jay Dempsey)

Chet Zelenski, 91, of Greenport has been a member of Southampton Golf Club for 71 years. (Credit: Jay Dempsey)

I have a bad case of senioritis. No, not that senioritis. Your golf guy is more than a few decades past cutting classes, pulling pranks, and tossing his tassel. I’m talking about enjoying life as a senior citizen. Ah yes, the golden years.  (more…)

07/26/14 7:00am
07/26/2014 7:00 AM
Riverhead, Vineyards Golf Club Head Pro Louis de Kerillis on 1st Tee Box Par 5. (Credit: Joseph DeMaria)

Vineyards Golf Club Head Pro Louis de Kerillis on the first tee box. (Credit: Joseph DeMaria)

Ladies and gentlemen, the game of golf is in need of some help. Yes, Houston, we do, indeed, have a problem.

According to the National Golf Foundation, golf has lost nearly five million players in the last decade. The number of rounds played, along with club memberships, are down at most courses. And golf courses around the country are shutting their doors. (more…)

04/06/14 8:00am
04/06/2014 8:00 AM

Keeping fun in the game is part of the plan for the owners of Cedars Golf Course, Tim McManus, left, and Paul Pawlowski. (Credit: Jay Dempsey)

When I was in seventh grade back in the 1950s, it was my dream to own a transistor radio and a new set of golf clubs. The modest earnings from my Long Island Press newspaper route put my wish list items on hold.

Paul Pawlowski had a dream when he was in seventh grade of one day owning something far more grand than a radio and a set of golf clubs.  (more…)

06/10/11 4:47pm
06/10/2011 4:47 PM

The lords of the links must be rolling over in their graves. Let me tell you why.

Lately, there has been some relaxing and neutering of the hallowed and time-honored rules of golf. For instance, there is a new ball on the market that helps to prevent golfers from slicing. It’s illegal, but many players have indicated they intend to use it — illegal or not. I suppose it’s not a bad idea. Less time spent looking for wayward shots should help to speed up the game, something most of us would like to see. However, a golf instructor’s livelihood can depend on trying to cure the dreaded slice, so don’t expect to see these golf balls being offered in many pro shops.

In Oakland, Calif., there is a group of well-healed businessmen who have taken things into their own hands, so to speak. Not only do they allow the tossing of buried balls out of bunkers, but they also permit teeing-up your ball in the fairway. This creative bunch have given themselves a name. They are known as Flogton, which is “not golf” spelled backwards.

A spokesman for Flogton said the intent was not to challenge the rules of the game, but rather to increase participation, even if it means bending or breaking some rules.

Another rule modification the group practices is to allow the use of illegally altered wedges, which tend to create more spin on the ball. One such club has been made with a cheese-grater inserted onto the face of the club. Pat Gallagher, a founder of Flogton, said, “You’re not cheating, you’re just playing a different game.”

Some players looking for more distance and accuracy off the tee have been using cooking spray on the face of their drivers. A Flogton devotee said, “We don’t want to antagonize anybody, but we think there is room for change.”

This year marked the debut of the WIDE Open, a golf tournament inspired by executives from Golf Digest Magazine and TaylorMade Golf. Instead of using the familiar 4 1/4-inch cup on the greens, the hole size was increased to 15 inches. Not only did the usual four-hour round turn into a three-hour jaunt, but the players also made more birdies and rarely three-putted. “This experience gave us amateurs a chance to play like the tour pros,” said a happy tournament participant.

One PGA Tour veteran, Tom Watson, has suggested that many golfers should play from closer tee boxes, meaning, for example, teeing off from the white tees if you normally tee it up from the blues. The USGA is initiating “Tee It Forward” this July, a program encouraging golfers to play the course at a length aligned with their average driving distance. I recently gave the gold tees a shot and really enjoyed myself. It’s fun making pars and birdies.

Being old school, I won’t be resorting to most of these new and novel tactics. The cooking spray, however, does sound interesting. Just because your golf guy is an old fuddy-duddy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try something new. If it will get you to enjoy the game and play more, go for it. Statistics show there were 24 million fewer rounds of golf played in the United States in 2010 than in 2005. Maybe it’s time.

Oh, do me a favor, please. Don’t say anything if you see me on line at the IGA with a can of Crisco.

TEE TIMES Henry Stasiukiewicz of Cedars Golf Club reported the club’s first hole-in-one of the season. Friday, May 13, was not unlucky for Peggy Bowles, a member of the Cedarettes. She aced the seventh hole at the Cutchogue course that day. Peter Cowan checked in with the first hole-in-one of the year at North Fork Country Club. Joe Deerkoski found the cup on the 140-yard, sixth hole. Also at North Fork, Harry Shields aced the 13th hole. Congratulations Peggy, Joe and Harry.

19TH HOLE One of golf’s most entertaining figures recently passed away. Seve Ballesteros was a magician on the course. Learning to play the game with only a 3-iron, Seve could execute shots that others would watch in disbelief. Ballesteros could beat almost anyone using, simply, one club. He did just that in a tournament at St. Andrews in Scotland, shooting a 68 with his trusty 3-iron. I can’t think of any of today’s players with the style and creativity of Seve Ballesteros. He will be missed.

OUTINGS Calverton Links will be the site of an outing benefitting RSRT (Rett Syndrome Research Trust). The event will be held on Monday, July 11. For information, contact Greg Wayrich at (516) 818-5783 or Steve Garms at (631) 786-2249.

[email protected]

02/07/11 1:49pm
02/07/2011 1:49 PM

“Are we there yet?”

You asked your parents that every five minutes while sitting in the backseat during those deathly, never-ending family jaunts. “No dear, we still have a ways to go,” was the answer you received for the umpteenth time.

That question has been on the minds of many this winter. The query, however, does not pertain to arriving at a physical destination. What we would all love to know is how long it will be until we see the arrival of spring. So far, the only hint I’ve seen is the spring edition of my L.L. Bean catalog.

Show of hands if you’re going stir-crazy. I sure as heck am. So much, in fact, that I’ve had to resort to something totally out of character.

Let it be known that your golf guy is a dinosaur when it comes to today’s technology. Yes, I have a cell phone but rarely use it. I know nothing about Facebook or Twitter and have no clue how to send a text message. I’ve been told by many that I need to get with it and get connected. I don’t wanna get with it and I don’t wanna get connected. I’m perfectly happy the way things are and I’m doing just fine, thank you very much. A hi-tech moment for me is watching reruns of “Leave It To Beaver” on my VCR.

However, at the prodding of one of my golf partners, I’ve given in — just a little. To keep from rearranging my sock drawer every other day, in order to fight the doldrums this winter, I’ve signed up for an internet on-line game. “Yahoo Fantasy Golf” has hooked me.

Initially I was a bit apprehensive. Would this open me up for unwanted e-mail solicitations? You know the kind. I’m happily married and not at all interested in meeting singles from Southold, among other things. But so far, so good. Just the familiar regulars are finding their way to my in-box.

I must admit, I’m having a great time picking my PGA golfers each week and it’s simple. It has to be if I can figure it out. Fantasy golf has become a welcome ray of sunshine in this cold and snowy winter of 2011. But don’t get any ideas. You won’t find me on Facebook or catch me sending a text message. Not this Brachiosaurus. And don’t bother asking for my cell phone number.

TEE TIMES I’ve received word from the head golf professional, Eileen McCaffrey, about this year’s leagues at Cherry Creek Golf Links and The Woods at Cherry Creek in Riverhead. The Woods will host three women’s leagues this season. Thursday mornings will have the Women’s 18-Hole League. Contact Pat Murphy at (631) 369-2920. The Thursday Afternoon Women’s 9-Hole Casual Play group should call the pro shop at (631) 506-0777. Also at The Woods on Thursdays will be the EWGA 9-Hole League. Contact Ellen Cohen at (631) 835-9285. At Cherry Creek the men will have a Tuesday Morning Men’s 18-Hole Senior League. Call Ron Murphy at (631) 734-7405. On Friday afternoons, Cherry Creek will host the Men’s 9-Hole Club. Contact Wink at 631-369-6500, ext. 6.

19TH HOLE Special thanks go out to Jake Rajs for updating my mug shot. Amazing how a professional photographer can perform magic and make even the most difficult subject look respectable.

I enjoy watching the Golf Channel, but I’ve got a problem. They do an outstanding job with great programming, talented and informative announcers and offer terrific instruction. Here’s my gripe. This winter, the Golf Channel has programs featuring two of the most self-centered, boring and obnoxious blowhards on the planet, Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh. Give me a break. Don’t these bozos get enough air time? Do we really need them on the Golf Channel? You can bet I won’t be watching.

“When you take a lesson, the reason the pro tells you to keep your head down is so you don’t see him laughing.”