Proper Golf

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ballyneal Member (Jim Colton) Invites Others (YOU) to Join 108-Hole Fundraiser

Below is a copy of a press release that our friends at Ballyneal sent out about The Ben Cox 108:
HOLYOKE, CO -- On June 20th, Ballyneal Golf Club member Jim Colton will set out on a mission to walk 108 holes of golf in one day to raise money for the healthcare of Ben Cox, a Ballyneal caddie who was paralyzed from the chest down following a downhill skiing accident in March.

In addition to collecting lump-sum and per-hole pledges, Colton is offering the opportunity for others to take an active role in the event. Colton has pledged to pay the Ballyneal guest fees for up to 16 non-members who raise at least $500 for the cause and commit to the "half-marathon" of 54 holes or more on the 20th. Cox, a 2006 graduate of Haxtun High School, grew up about 25 miles from Ballyneal in northeast Colorado. He attended Wayland Baptist University in Texas before transferring to Texas Tech, where he was studying civil engineering at the time of the accident. Cox hopes to return to school in January 2012 to complete the last two semesters needed for his degree. He is expected to be discharged from Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo., on June 14th and hopes to be at Ballyneal six days later to greet Colton and the other golfers as they finish their rounds.

Ben's mother, Melinda Cox, doesn't know the total amount of the medical bills resulting from Ben's care, but related that just one surgical bill was $330,000. Cox is expected to have additional medical needs moving forward. "I get real emotional talking about the support shown by Jim Colton, Haxtun residents, Wayland Baptist, Ballyneal and others," said Melinda Cox, a teacher's aide in Haxtun who has remained with her son in Denver since the accident. "I thank God each day. It's amazing how people have rallied around us." "I've definitely had more good days than bad," Ben said. "You've got to keep a good attitude about it. It is what it is. You can either look at it that you can't do this or that, or you can figure out what you can still do."

Colton resides in Wheaton, Ill., and is known for being a golf fanatic through his blog, and his 2009 book entitled, "One Divot at a Time: Diary of a Full-Fledged Golf Addict." He has received pledges of more than $20,000 and hopes the chance to play Ballyneal will raise even more money. "The Coxes are a great family with a positive attitude and tremendous faith in the face of this life-changing injury," said Colton. "As soon as I heard about the accident, I knew I had to do whatever I could to help."

Thanks to June 20 being one of the longest days of the year, Colton plans to tee off for his first round at 4:45 a.m. and golf until dusk at 8:45 p.m. "Although the event is called 'The Ben Cox 108,' I view 108 holes as the starting point instead of the finish line," Colton said, relating that numerous contributors have creatively structured their pledges with bonuses for playing more than 108 holes. "Knowing that each extra hole will be worth hundreds of additional dollars to the cause will motivate me to keep going."

As an additional incentive to donate to the cause, Colton is collecting prizes that will be awarded by raffle to those who pledge more than $100. The grand prize is a threesome of golf and lunch at a golf course scheduled to host a future U.S. Open. To date, other raffle prizes include:
  • Two foursomes of golf at Ballyneal
  • One foursome of golf at Dismal River in Mullen, NE
  • One foursome of golf at The Kingsley Club in Kingsley, MI
  • One threesome of golf at Hudson National Golf Club in Croton-on-Hudson, NY
  • Two nights accommodation at the Fairmont St Andrews and one round of golf at The Torrance or The Kittocks
  • Two pairs of TRUE Linkswear golf shoes.
  • One threesome of golf and caddies at Skokie Country Club in Skokie, IL

    To learn more, call Ballyneal at 970/854-5900 or e-mail head pro Matt Payne at
    Ballyneal is a private golf club located in the sand hills of northeastern Colorado, 2.5 hours from Denver. The Ballyneal land is referred to by locals as the "chop hills," due to the unique characteristics of its dunes. Ballyneal was Travel + Leisure Golf's Best New Course of 2006 and currently is ranked No. 6 Best Modern by Golfweek, No. 48 in the U.S. by Golf Magazine, and one of Golf Digest's America's 100 Greatest Courses. Ballyneal includes the golf shop, a fine-dining restaurant and three lodges with private suites. For more information, visit or call 970/854-5900.

    Saturday, May 21, 2011

    The world is ending in 11 minutes...

    ... you can find me here when its over.

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    "Its gotta be fun" - Peter Jacobsen

    "Its gotta be fun... It's a game isn't it?!"
    - Peter Jacobsen

    During todays broadcast of The Players Championship on NBC which is annually played at TPC Sawgrass' The Stadium Course, Peter Jacobsen had a brilliant comment.... Johnny Miller was commenting about how great Pete Dye's The Stadium course is because of the hard and fun combination that it has when "Jake" interjects, cueing on the word fun, as Miller is looking for words to describe the "whatever it is" feeling that Dye has designed into the place. "Its gotta be fun... It's a game isn't it?!"

    Its such an obvious statement, yet for some reason it always needs repeating to masses. Maybe it comes from watching the pros on tv or just some stigmatism the golf tends to come with, but I find many people forget that golf is game and rather focus on it being some kind of a test or exercise in skill and consistency. To much of the general golfing public gets wrapped up in the difficulty in hitting the little white ball, and forget golf is game and fun should be the overriding goal of every golf experience. Even architects forget this a lot of the time and make changes for a variety of reasons that doesn't always increase the "fun" of the course.

    In my view if your are not going to make the course play in a way to make the overall experience more pleasurable then you should probably think twice about whatever changes you are about to make. Having a difficult golf course or set of holes on your course that are more difficult is great, but 99% of the time making something more difficult probably wont make it better or as good as it could be.

    So lets set the record straight...

    Golf is game, and its played for fun. Nobody ever said golf was also a fair game. Don't get fairness confused with difficulty. There is much more to difficulty than green speed and length.

    Thank you Pete Jacobsen for that beautiful interjection. As it says in the first words on my homepage PEOPLE PLAY GOLF FOR FUN

    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    Duffers Headache

    While at Quaker Ridge early this morning I was explaining one of the most important concepts in understanding A.W. Tillinghast design theory and style. Perhaps its worth repeating here...

    The Duffers Headache is a term coined by Albert Warren Tillinghast referring to the bunkers and cross hazards often placed in the 100-150 yard range from the tee to collect and punish poor drives and other topped balls (remember it was even harder to get golf balls air born in these days). In the early 1900's this super penal style of architecture was fairly common on many of the early courses built in the US. Tillinghast himself even admits to building a few of them himself early in his career.

    As part of his work for the PGA and his enormous list of renovations/consulting visits, most of which occurred on a cross country drive pre-interstate highways, these duffers headaches or "DH's" were a significant target at many of his stops, including on some of his own courses. He wrote plenty on the subject in Golf Illustrated, where he often wrote articles.

    Bunkers like this and the over use of cross hazards in general can really take the fun and pleasure out of the game for beginning, less skilled and older golfers. While they offer virtually nothing to a good golfer who wont need to pay attention to it, a golfer who struggles to keep the ball in the air for long distances will be less prone to keep playing the game if he/she is continually beaten up. Duffers headaches are mostly features of the past, but in these days where renovations and historical restorations are in vogue, it is important to make sure this form of hazard stays out for good.