Charlie Sifford: The Man Who Never Quit

One all-time champion pauses to recognize the incredible courage in another.

One day in 1959, Charlie Sifford had pounded his drive up the center of the 17th fairway. His swing was as sweet as ever. A swing that had already cut through so many years of hate, resentment and anger.
As we walked up the fairway, I caught a glimpse of something I had never seen on a golf course, despite growing up in apartheid South Africa, where you could be jailed for simply supporting a black man. A few spectators ran to Charlie’s golf ball and kicked it into the rough. Right there in front of everybody. I know Charlie felt that kick as if they had delivered it right to his gut. My blood boiled, but my heart ached. It was a message of pure hate, one following a racist slur shouted at Charlie just a one hole earlier.
This was more than 60 years ago, but I can still see Charlie walking into the scorer’s tent and slamming his hands on the wooden table. I can see the little piece of lead from the tip of his pencil breaking off and hurtling to the floor. I can see Charlie’s shoulders drop and hear his heavy exhale as he tried to find words.

NEW CARTS HAVE ARRIVED!

We have leased 44 brand new 2020 carts for the course
and just in time for the NEW PHASE…
we are now able to have two people ride in a cart at a time.

Come on over and tee it up at Down River

Our weekly specials are amazing!  And our wide variety of beer on tap is just what you need!

NEW HOURS OF OPERATION

Monday – Closed
Tuesday – 2 pm – 7 pm
Wednesday – 2 pm – 7 pm
Thursday – 2 pm – 7 pm
Friday & Saturday – 12 pm – 7 pm
Sunday – 12 pm – 5 pm

50% occupancy during this PHASE – we will keep you updated as new guidelines are released.

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Contact us to reserve the best available dates & times

814 – 652 – 5193

OPENING FRIDAY, MAY 1st

  • All tee time MUST BE MADE ONLINE OR BY PHONE PRIOR TO ARRIVAL, if you do not have a tee time made prior to arrival, you DO NOT play.
  • Tee-times are split to 20 minutes apart. This will maintain fewer people waiting to tee off #1 and in the Pro shop.
  • We encourage all players to remain in their vehicle until 10 minutes before their tee time. Again, to keep fewer people at #1 tee box and in the Pro shop.
  • Only one player per cart. NO Exceptions.
  • Every cart is thoroughly sanitized and washed before and after every round
  • The cups have foam inserts that will not allow the ball to go in the cup, eliminating the need to touch the cup or the flag (hit the foam, it’s a make).
  • All sand rakes are removed from the bunkers. (Lift clean and place out of all bunkers)
  • We encourage all players to maintain a 6ft gap between each other at all times including tees and greens

NOTICE TO ALL PLAYERS

We must maintain these guidelines to stay open. These are guidelines approved by the government and they have the right to close us down if we do not abide by them. We understand that these guidelines seem extreme but we must follow them not only to stay open but to slow the spread of this virus.

OPEN FOR CARRY OUT ONLY

Our temporary hours for Fairways Bar and Grill during this time are as follows:

Tuesday-Thursday from 3:00-7:00

Friday & Saturday from 2:00-7:00

Sunday from 12:00-5:00

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A master plan: Exclusive look inside the days that led to Tiger Woods’ 2019 Masters victory

Tiger Woods started talking about the importance of taking “baby steps” even before he won his first Masters, in 1997 by 12 shots when he was 21. He was lifting from the Earl Woods playbook. Improvement is incremental. It requires time and effort. You gotta walk before you can run.

In 2017, Tiger’s back was so bad that not only did he sit out the Masters for the second consecutive year, he told Gary Player at the Champions Dinner that his days as a competitive golfer were likely over. But one year and one spinal-fusion surgery later, he played his 21st Masters.

At that 2018 Masters, parts of his game were good and parts were works in progress. He had moved beyond baby steps, but he was riding a bike with training wheels. He finished in a tie for 32nd.

The good news for Tiger, by the end of that week, was that he knew what he had to do. He wasn’t happy with his driving game. He wasn’t happy with some of his equipment specs. He wasn’t happy with his strength and stamina. Tiger Woods with a list of things he’s unhappy about is a happy man. He lives for what it takes.

By April 2019, he liked the 14 clubs in his bag, right down to their shafts. (Critical.) He liked his driving game. He was stronger and fitter. A window was open. He could see that. When you’re 21, you think that window will stay open forever. When you’re 43, you know better.

SOURCE: GOLF.COM

6 Tips For Taking Your Kids Out On The Golf Course

How to keep your kids and the groups around you happy on the golf course

The thought of taking a group of kids out on the golf course is a lot more daunting than taking them to the driving range. But don’t let that fear deter you. There’s a way for kids to get around the course in a completely acceptable amount of time and not bother other groups in the process.

We spoke to Erika Larkin, one of our Golf Digest Best Young Teachers and the Director of Instruction at The Club at Creighton Farms in Aldie, Virginia.

Larkin not only teaches a lot of juniors, her two young children are also golfers. If anyone has some strategies on how to successfully navigate a group of juniors around a course without making the group behind you antsy, it’s her.

Here are Larkin’s 6 tips for taking kids out on the golf course:

Looks for lulls in the action

When you contact a course, be clear and tell them you’re coming with junior players and are looking for a quiet time. “The staff should know the ebbs and flows of traffic and be able to tell you a good time so you won’t be too rushed when playing with your kids,” says Larkin.

Keep it short

There’s no harm in walking off the course before 9 – in fact, it can be the best thing you can do. Larkin says, “Depending on the age of your golfers, 5 or 6 holes may be plenty. Finish when it’s still fun and it leaves your kids wanting more.”

Again, keep it short

But this time, keep the yardage short. Create your own course and tees as needed in the fairway. Larkin suggests, “6 to 8-year olds should play from 50-150 yards out on any given hole. Nine-11 year olds maybe 180-250 yards, and 12-13 year olds play from forward tees.” There’s no need for kids to go out and play full length courses. Making their own course for them within the larger course gives them the thrill of being on a course, while keeping it manageable.

Shawn Thorimbert @shawnthorimbert

Put your own game aside

As the adult, don’t plan on being able to think about your game. “Instead of focusing on your play, focus on setting a good example in attitude and etiquette,” says Larkin. “You’re filling the job more of a caddie than of a player for this round.”

Create time-saving games

“Add in fun twists like a “hand wedge” from the sand if they don’t get it out after two swings,” says Larkin. Or if they’re struggling on the green, instate a “magic putt.” Little things like this will keep it light and limit frustration for your group, and the groups around you.

BETTER WITH AGE

Don’t make it purely individual

Play a scramble or shamble. Introducing kids to the course doesn’t mean they have to play their own ball. “Playing a scramble will keep everyone moving and make the experience more team oriented,” says Larkin.

SOURCE: GolfDigest

Learn how to turn back, not sway.
Let’s talk about hip turn. James Kinney, one of our Golf Digest Best Young Teachers and Director of Instruction at GolfTec Omaha, says that from the data GolfTec has collected, they’ve found lower handicap golfers have a more centered lower body at the top of the swing. Meaning, they don’t sway.
If you’re swaying off the ball, you’re moving yourself off of your starting position. The low point of your swing moves back when you sway back, so you’re going to have to shift forward to get your club to bottom out where the ball is. That takes a lot of timing, and is going to end up producing some ugly shots.
So, instead, Kinney says you should turn.
“When turning your hips, you are able to stay more centered over the golf ball in your backswing and the low point of your swing stays in the proper position, resulting in consistent contact.”
To practice turning, Kinney says to set up in a doorway. Have your back foot against the doorframe. When you make your lower body move back, your hip will hit the door fame if you’re swaying. If you’re turning, your hips are safe from hitting the frame.
Remember that feeling of turning when you’re on the course and your ball striking is going to get a whole lot more consistent.
SOURCE:  GolfDigest

Simple steps for getting your hands on right

I see a lot of amateurs approach the golf grip with a lot of tension. Many are holding the club too tightly. I notice it most when they try to waggle. The movement looks stiff and short.
To swing correctly, the right amount of grip pressure—and where you apply it—is important. You should feel the club being supported by the last three fingers of your left hand (above, left). Those fingers should grip the firmest. My longtime teacher, the late Stan Thirsk, used to remind me to keep the club in the fingers of my left hand and never let it slip into the palm.
In the right hand, the middle two fingers do most of the work. The forefinger and thumb of the right hand should feel relaxed. In fact, I’ve seen many great players, including Ben Hogan and Fred Couples, practice with those two fingers clear off the club (above, right).
Back to waggling. With softer grip pressure, your waggle will be looser and will help relax your hands and arms. During the swing, the right hand should be free enough to fire the clubhead through the hitting area.
When it comes to your golf grip, how tight is too tight? Here’s an exercise: Next time you practice, try backing off with your grip pressure until the club is almost falling out of your hands. Then firm it up just enough so you can control the club. That likely is your ideal grip pressure. Will it feel lighter? I’m guessing it will.
Tom Watson is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional.
SOURCE:  GolfDigest

Matthew Wolff, Joaquin Niemann, Cole Hammer among 20 golfers to follow in 2020

It’s obvious that Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm and Tiger Woods are five of the best golfers on the planet. Anyone who casually follows the game or engages in the sport can tell you that much. But what about when you step outside the star and superstar realm and get a little past the most obvious contenders in this sport?

What do you find at No. 50 in the world or No. 100 or even past that? With 2020 quickly approaching and another calendar year of golf on deck, I thought it would be fun to throw 20 names at you to watch in 2020. These are in no particular order in terms of ranking, but they’re 20 guys who have a chance to take a leap (or two leaps) into stardom in professional (or amateur) golf at the start of the new decade.

Let’s jump in.

1. Matthew Wolff: Probably the most famous of this group, and he already has a win. It might be unfair to include him on a list of folks you need to know more about because I don’t know how much you already know about him. But his intangibles are off the charts and probably more impressive than anyone else on here. I could not be more in.

2. Xinjun Xhang: Blew away the competition in the Korn Ferry Tour regular season this year. He’s already earned significantly more money in the fall than he did in his entire previous season on the PGA Tour combined.

3. Ben An: This is all you need to know about Ben An and his game.

Most golf beginners would begin their journey with a mid-iron or wedge, but An was the opposite as he started with one of the hardest clubs – the 1-iron. “I liked the 1-iron, that was the first club I used,” An said. “I remember it was a club with an old-school green colored grip. It just felt fun for me. I still remember it although I was very young then.” [PGA Tour]

4. Tom Lewis: The former stud amateur came over and won the Korn Ferry Tour Championship by five after his highest-ever finish at a major championship (T11 at The Open). Currently No. 53 in the world, which is his highest ranking ever.

5. Abraham Ancer: Stole the show at the Presidents Cup, but the reality is that he was playing quality golf long before that. Starred for a while at the 2019 Players Championship, finished second at The Northern Trust and top 10 in his last PGA Tour events of the fall.

6. Joaquin Niemann: Just turned 21 and has almost matched his age with his tee-to-green ranking on the PGA Tour. Certified stud.

7. Sungjae Im: The real breakout star of the Presidents Cup. Im might be a superstar, and he has the kind of game that’s going to go on and on and on and on. All the way up to 34th in the world, and I could see him in the top 20 this time next year.

No Laying Up

@NoLayingUp

Sungjae Im is an assassin. That guy might make $50 million on tour.

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8. Scottie Scheffler: There’s a little Spieth in there in terms of the amateur career and walking in the same footsteps. He doesn’t get the same shine Spieth ever did though, but he’s going to have a good, long career.

9. Corey Conners: The best ball-striker you’ve never heard of. He was ninth (!!) from tee to green last season.

10. Bernd Wiesberger: Did you know that Bernd Wiseberger is ranked ahead of Rickie Fowler in the Official World Golf Rankings? I bet you did not know this factual information.

11. Jazz Janewattananond: Introduced himself at the PGA Championship this spring, and likely played himself into the Masters by rising into the top 50 in the OWGR by Dec. 31. He’s currently No. 45 with two weeks to go (the top 50 on Dec. 31 get in).

12. Collin Morikawa: Elite iron player. I don’t know that he has the juice to hang with Wolff and Hovland long-term, but I’m extremely excited to watch him try and play his way into that.

13. Erik Van Rooyen: Come for the joggers, stay for one of the 50 best in the world.

14. Harry Higgs: Won on the Korn Ferry Tour last season and finished second at the Bermuda Championship this fall. He made $540,000 in the fall and is getting close to earning his 2021 card.

15. Robert Macintyre: Finished sixth (!) at The Open at Royal Portrush and had four other top-10 finishes to close out 2019. Still just 23 years old.

16. Takumi Kanaya: The No. 1 amateur in the world and the No. 222 player in the world overall. It’s not often you see that combination, but the 21-year-old is winning legit pro events and nearly even took the Australian Open a few weeks ago.

17. Viktor Hovland: Vegas shouldn’t even offer odds on him winning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. Would be like letting Kyler Murray be a rookie next year.

18. Cole Hammer: Another Texas stud. Took down Wolff in the match-play portion of the NCAAs earlier in 2019 and is currently the No. 2 amateur in the world. Right amount of swag, tons of game and a great pedigree. Here for it.

19. Victor Perez: He’s won an official event in each of the last four calendar years. His fall was outstanding as he took the Dunhill Links and then nearly won in China (WGC event) and Turkey (European Tour Rolex Series event). Might be a Ryder Cup threat.

20. Justin Harding: He was the “one of these things is not like the other ones” golfer in the top 15 at Augusta in April. Last year was the first time in his career that he’s played all four of the majors in a calendar year, and he made the cut at three of the four including that impressive T12 at the Masters.

SOURCE:  CBSSports

Wet lie? Here’s how to play it (and when to drop)

Use your bunker technique to escape almost any sloppy condition

Everybody has seen the tour player roll up his pant legs and get down into the hazard to try to play a ball that’s partially submerged.

Luckily, most situations aren’t quite that dire — but you do need to know how to account for a wet, muddy lie around the green. If you don’t, you’re going to hit more than your share of fat or bladed shots.

The secret? Don’t let the leading edge of your sand wedge get caught up in the muck, says short-game guru and 50 Best Teacher Stan Utley.

“Out of fear, a lot of players swing too easy, which will usually cause you to duff it,” says Utley. “From these lies, you should be thinking about playing a standard bunker shot.”

To do it, you need to unhinge your wrists aggressively on the downswing while keeping your right palm pointed upward — the key to keeping the bounce on the bottom of the club aimed at the ground. If you swing too slowly or let your wrists turn over, you’ll catch the leading edge in that wet muck and you’ll probably move the ball ten feet.

The feel? Like you’re skipping a rock across the surface of a pond.

Speaking of wet, how deep is too deep when the ball is partially submerged in water? If a quarter of the ball is above the surface, it’s possible to get it out–but you’re going to get wet. Wear rain gear, and swing hard.

SOURCE:  GolfDigest

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