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Friday, July 30, 2010

Greens Need TLC in the Summer's Heat!

Bouts column: With extreme heat, greens need a little more TLC

A punishing start to the summer has made survival extremely tough for some golf course turf, not to mention the golf course superintendents charged with producing quality conditions.
That's why last week the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America put out a press release under the heading: Heat Wreaking Havoc on Golf Courses Nationwide.
Many of the current turf problems center on bentgrass, a fine-bladed grass that is great for putting on but is best-suited to temperatures far less than the kind of heat that has dominated here since early June.
Coupled with those familiar afternoon thunderstorms, that heat practically boils sensitive root systems dramatically reducing the plant's ability to withstand punishment from mowing, foot traffic and ball marks.
So weakened, the plant is also much more vulnerable to disease and pests.
That is the major reason bentgrass - more prevalent in the Upstate and northern states - is a minority turf along the Grand Strand.
Most of those courses that retain bentgrass in Myrtle Beach only manage to do so because they have the budget and manpower to deliver the extensive TLC the grass demands in the peak of summer.
That is why, at courses like those at The Dunes Club, Crow Creek, Barefoot Resort and Grande Dunes, golfers may well encounter hose-wielding course maintenance staff during a round.
Timely, light hand-watering - known as syringing - means the difference between life and death for bentgrass greens when it's brutally hot.
So golfers should exercise patience, and yes, even a little gratitude, when they have to wait three or four minutes before hitting their approach shots onto a green being syringed.
Because without the cooling effect that evapotranspiration provides after syringing, those greens would soon become browns.
Giving up a few minutes can help prevent weeks or even months of severely compromised putting greens.
Some courses might also raise their mowing heights to give plants more breathing space, which may result in slightly slower green speeds.
As Clark Throssell, Ph.D., pointed out in the release from GCSAA, golfers must appreciate that what works at one course may not be the right answer at another.
"Golf courses are like snowflakes," he said.
"No two are alike. Some courses may be able to withstand the challenges of Mother Nature better than others because of better drainage and soil conditions, better air flow due to the placement of trees, less traffic or the presence of greater financial resources.
"We know the weather conditions will become more agreeable. What is important right now is to manage the golf course in a manner so that turf can be kept alive until that point."
Even on the majority of courses in Myrtle Beach, which use the more heat-tolerant bermudagrass on their greens, golfers may come across staff spraying water, or sprinklers running, for a few minutes to keep greens healthy.
Historically, bermudagrass was regarded as an inferior putting surface to bentgrass.
But newer ultradwarf varieties have alleviated many of the drawbacks of the older, broader-bladed bermudagrass which is why courses like True Blue made the switch away from bentgrass earlier this decade.
Even so, at the low heights that greens are mowed today bermudagrass too can become stressed if its needs are ignored.
The same can be said of golf course staff who have to spend many hours in the sun to keep courses at their best.
Alan Jarvis, certified golf course superintendent at Pine Lakes Country Club, is one who makes a point of encouraging his workers to find shade, drink plenty of water and get inside on a regular basis.
"Heat exhaustion can be an issue no matter what kind of grass you have," Jarvis said.
"It can take a toll on equipment operators just like it does the turf."
TRENT BOUTS edits Carolinas Green magazine for the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association and consulted with members of the Palmetto Golf Course Superintendents Association for this column. His monthly column for The Sun News appears the last Tuesday of each month.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Our Trip's Story

Our group featured on the official Myrtle beach Golf Web Site and On The Greens Magazine!



Golf Group of the Week: Who is the King of Myrtle Beach?

The King of Myrtle Beach golf trophy
So you want to be crowned the King of Myrtle Beach? If you are hanging with the VB Golf Crew, it’s going to require a superlative effort, on and off the course.

Sure, it helps to go low, but with John Barry and his buddies you better not go to bed early if you plan to return home with the hardware. The fun-loving bunch from Virginia Beach has known each other since high school, and they come to the Grand Strand to relieve old memories and create new ones.

The winner of the three-foot tall King of Myrtle Beach trophy is as likely to be the guy who excelled after hours as it is the player with the lowest score. The VB Golf Crew always comes in the summer – there are (gulp) school teachers in the group – and performance is rated on multiple criteria, including golf, worst dressed golfer day attire, beverage consumption (they drive down in a Budweiser van, so use your imagination!), and the always nebulous who is having the most fun category.

(For the record, the VB Golf Crew isn’t just a cool name they made up. It’s an official Virginia State Golf Association golf club)

Barry ranks players on a scale of 1-5 in each category and the person with the highest point total gets the trophy, which is adorned by a Captain Morgan’s pint glass.

Despite the revelry, this gang of 12 takes its golf seriously. They even brought their own instructor this year. Jamie Smith, owner of, you guessed it, Jamie Smith Golf Instruction, joined the group and provided pointers throughout the week.

“This is a getaway, a no pressure situation,” Smith said. “These guys bring me along for free lessons and I don’t mind giving them. It’s a fun thing for sure … I don’t even have to play well here; I just have to have fun with the rest of the guys.”

The group plays together throughout the year, so fun isn’t a problem for the VB Golf Crew. Meet the group’s leader:

Name: John Barry

Handicap: 16

Favorite Club: 3-wood

Courses Played On This Trip: Tiger’s Eye, Leopard’s Chase, Lion’s Paw and Maples Course at Sea Trail

Years Coming to Myrtle Beach: 10

How did the King of Myrtle Beach competition get started?

It got started nine years ago. We wanted to make an informal bragging rights type of trophy. The first trophy was crafted from wood and guys that work for Budweiser (used) Bud paraphernalia (to decorate it). Unfortunately it fell apart because it wasn’t really well made. This year we started with a new trophy.

The competition is scored in several categories, but can players have points deducted for poor performance?
Yes. You can lose points by going to bed early and not completing the night out. You lose points by not dressing out for the day. You are going to have to do well in all five categories (to win).

Who was crowned King of Myrtle Beach this year?

Edgar Castillo

What is your favorite Myrtle Beach restaurant?

El Burro Loco. We love the restaurant. During the year we all bet birdies when we play together, and whoever has the most birdies before we go on the trip, everybody has to pay for his Donkey Feast at Burro Loco.

Why Myrtle Beach for your trip?
Myrtle Beach was an easy choice. The first time we did the trip we were brought in by the (golf) package. Everybody was amazed by the price, the value. When we got down here we started having so much fun. We discovered how many courses were down here. Every year we tried to get a little bit better courses and to not play the same courses. Our goal, as a group, is to play every course down here. We are getting close to halfway.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Saturday Group Lesson at Bow Creek

Good afternoon,

Some how we made it through the long iron, hybrid, 5 wood class last Saturday. It was hot!!!

I will need to know who will be at what class   0930-1100 or 1130-1300.

We are at the end of this series and will be going big with the 3 wood and Driver, so take your Motrin.
Sometime next week I will send out a blast to see who wants in a the final stage of the series. The Playing Lesson.

Don't respond to that on this email. Please wait for my request.

See ya Saturday,
Jamie and Rick

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sandpiper Bay is Myrtle Beach's Course of the Year

Sandpiper Bay is the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course of the Year

Myrtle Beach  Area Golf Course of the Year, Sandpiper BayThe 2010 Course of the Year is Sandpiper Bay Golf Club. It was chosen by the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association during their July meeting.
Course conditions, contributions to the community, quality of ownership and management, and efforts to improve the growth of the game are all factors that go into selecting the course of the year.
Sandpiper Bay has undertaken several renovations over the past three years including the changing of all 27 greens to Mini-Verde Bermudagrass and work on the clubhouse, cart paths and drainage.
General Manager Tim Tilma has a Master's degree and won the Carolinas PGA's Bill Strausbaugh Award for distinguished service in mentoring other PGA Professionals, integrity, character, and outstanding involvement in charity and community service.
Myrtle Beach Golf Courses of the Year, Sandpiper Bay clubhouseHead pro Richard Kascsak was mentored by Rick Murphy, the 2008 CPGA Professional of the Year and a two-time CPGA Teacher of the Year. Superintendent Jay Varallo has grown in several courses including the Maples Course at Sea Trail Resort, Aberdeen Country Club and the Bay nine at Sandpiper Bay.
Sandpiper is a neighborhood country club with more than 350 members with multiple events in the clubhouse and on the course for members, and including dinner-dances and innovative ideas such as a Murder Mystery tour on the course. The club has a volunteer activities director.
Head pro Richard Kascsak runs complimentary instruction for juniors from 5-7 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays in July. More than $20,000 worth of golf rounds at Sandpiper Bay were donated for charitable golf events last year, and the course hosts several charity events, including the Susan G. Komen Rally for a Cure Tournament with a pairings party and auction. The event has raised $28,000 in the past two years, and they hope to raise more than $20,000 Sept. 29-30, 2010, aided by the addition of a men's division this year.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Cip Cup Trip Review

I am going to start off with some observations then get into the review. This is my second group golf trip in 6 weeks, and 3rd time down in 6 weeks (1 family trip) I could never get enough of Myrtle Beach, and even as hot as it was Saturday and Sunday, in Virginia Beach where we are a from, it broke records, it was a legit 105 each day. That  does not include a heat index that was over 110 each day. That's Vegas hot!

The Cip Cup is a another group of guys who have been coming down for 13 years, anywhere from 24-82 guys. This year it was 32, and ages ranged from teenage looking Steve (who turned 29 Saturday) to the God Father's of Myrtle, George and Donald Bryant, 82 and 77 respectively. The two elder Bryants have been coming down for over 30 years, and their two sons I grew up with, were both on the trip. Handicaps ranged from -1 to 30, this is a diverse group, and being so, everyone kind of does there own thing on the nights, but most hang out together.

Crow Creek Condos, these are very, very nice condos, maybe even better than the Grande Villa's at World Tour my group usually stays in. If your staying up North, do yourself a favor and stay and play here.

This group I was with is not a huge GC group, they are hardcore go to Broadway at the Beach and party till 2-4am every night. Long ride from up there, but using DD's was the smartest move we could do, and the DD's get their dinner's paid for, and you can't do it again for another 2 trips, so no one get's stuck.

Trip leader is my buddy from high school, Joe Cippolini, Italian Stallion. The man looks like he is wear a fur coat, but is a great trip leader with a heart of golf, the guy can't say no to anyone.


Wednesday Morning 7:00am July 21st, 3 cars take off, some folks went down the day before, and about 15 of the people are due to arrive Thursday the 22nd.

7:03 I crack my first Natural Light and proceed to drink like a mad man for the next 2 hours. The breakfast stop in the middle of the drive was needed, and I slowed it down to 2 beers an hour for the rest of the trip down.

I felt fine by the time we arrived at Farmstead. I didn't get to see Mac, but was told he was around somewhere, he still maybe a made up person or a super computer, but who or what ever he is, he runs a first class operation. From bag drop, to club house, to grill, everyone was very nice. The course was in great shape from tee boxes to greens, and I felt like we were robbing the course by paying the little amount we did to play here. You guys should really raise your prices, the course is an great play, with great service and conditions.

Tee Boxes-4
That night was spent at Broadway, Senior Frogs for dinner and drinks, and Fat Tuesdays for 1.00 Busch Lights! Drank many yards of beer, and felt horrible the next morning.

We had a 12:48 starting set of tee times at Sandpiper Bay Golf Club and again, what a under rated course. Man, this course gets no love, and it has a good layout, fair, and again, maybe the best conditions and greens of the trip. The people in the club house were great, the starters were funny, and the day was hot, the hottest of the trip, but a very enjoyable round. We played the Piper and the Sand 9's, and the Bay was having the greens worked on. I looked at them, man, they looked even more perfect, I would have loved to play all 3 9's.

Tee Boxes-4

That night was Poker night, and most of the 32 people played. A large wild game, which a player like me should dominate on a regular basis. I came in 3rd, and got put out by a case 3 for trips vs my 2 pair. Poker and some sleep, we had a morning tee time.

Friday Morning finds us driving .9 miles to the Crow Creek Club House for a 8:02 tee time. It's 85 when we tee off, and I am in the first group out, with vets George and Donald. They play fast, they don't want to be in the heat for a minute longer than they have to. If we didn't have 2 other groups in front of us, we would have been done in 3 hours maybe. Donald has a Barkley Swing, and score like him, George has a very short swing and is 175 yards straight down the middle, a wicked short game, and putts like a pro. He was very impressive to play with, I hope I can play like that when I am 82! I waited in the club house for all the other groups to come in, sat at the bar, had a great burger, a awesome bartender and great service. We had a free lunch and 2 beers, but I didn't know, but the bartender let me use the voucher way after I found about it. Loved the AC, it was the coldest of the trip!

Tee Boxes-4

Friday night, after a pit stop( about an hour) at the Gold Club, mainly for me, back to Broadway, where I drank myself under the table. I don't really remember leaving, but the DD took care of me, and lot's of BC powders before sleep, and waking up in the middle, and in the am, I made it up for the round on Saturday. 3 others never did.

Saturday, 8:46 tee time at Ocean Plantation's Leopard's Chase. I played this course and Tiger's Eye and Lion's Paw on my trip at the end of June, they have gotten worse. The staff is great, the starter was very, very funny and nice, the tee boxes are great, the fairways are lush and perfect, and the greens are like playing on a parking lot. They have to replace those greens, and this was supposed to be the best greens out of the 3 (Panther's is still closed but looked great). Lot of people in the group were not happy for sure, I tried to Tell Joe to get off of all the courses, he listened and got off Lion's and Tiger's, but really wanted to play Leopard's, he will listen to me next time. I really feel bad for them, they have great courses.

Tee Boxes-4

Saturday night, after another 2 hours in the pool and with coolers full of beer, I was just too tired and worn out to go out. Most folks stayed in, for our 7:38am tee time the next morning. I needed the sleep for sure.

Sunday morning, 7:38 tee times at Thistle, glad to play this course again, did so 5 years ago before the club house was built or the shrub and grasses were grown in. Forgot what the new names of the 9's were, but if you at the bag drop, we played the far left and center 9's. The bag drop and getting us out was hectic, but the guys hustled and did a great job, as another group of 20+ was there also. The new Club House was impressive, beautiful and a great edition to a course that has matured into a must play in North Myrtle. I can find 1 single bad thing to say about this course, staff and club house, they are great. I love this course, and if I am in NMB, this and Oyster Bay are my two must plays.

Tee Boxes-4.5
I ranked the courses as follows:

2. Crow Creek and Sandpiper Bay
3. Farmstead
10. Leopard's Chase

The Cip Cup pays out 11 places on Thursday, Friday and Saturday each, they use a modified Callaway Scoring System, so everyone has a shot at the money. 11th place is 10.00 and 1st for a day is 60.00, the entry fee was 25 points. then total modified scores are added, and the winner is engraved onto the huge Cup Trophy and yours to hold for a year. This year, Big George Bryant, 82 years old, was the winner by 1 stroke, proving you don't have to hit the ball 300 yards to play golf. His unmodified scores were 80, 80, 84, 81 from the senior tees.

This is a great bunch of guys, from all over the country, a lot of active and retired Coast Guard and Navy, and friends of friends. Michael Jordan even made, he is actually a middle aged white guy named Michael Jordon, and takes a lot of heat for the name for sure. Nick names are everywhere, George and Donald are in bed at 8pm and making breakfast for anyone and everyone at 6am each day.

I saw some great golf, some horrible golf, but one thing remains constant, Myrtle Beach is Heaven, even when the temps make it feel like Hell.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Jamie Smith Golf Clinic This Saturday at Bowcreek


This Saturday we will be going into the longer irons and hybrids. We may even get to the Fairway woods.

This will require a good balanced full rotation and good finish to be done well. It will also as always, require a descending blow.

Rick will be out of town, so I need a good count for both time frames to see if I will bring in help.

Email me back for the time slot you will attend.

0930-1100    or     1130-1300


New Calloway Driver and Cleveland Wedges (From My Golf Spy)

 Some My Golf Spy pictures of the new conforming CG16 Wedges from Cleveland Golf:

Also the new Callaway Diablo Octane Driver with a fresh new look:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Myrtle Beach Trip III (The Quest for the Cip Cup)

 I will be heading back to my second home again this Wednesday at 6:30am, along 31 other golfer's who went with us last year, to compete for the Cip Cup. What a weekend, extended, it will be. 5 rounds of golf, 1 round of par 3 night golf at the Cane Patch, Joe with his usual Speedo appearance at the Pool. Drinking, poker and eating. here is what the line up looks like:

Wednesday afternoon, we have a 3 group tee time for the warm up( not a play on works, mid 90s the whole time) round at Farmstead. The home of the famous par 6, and run my Myrtle Beach Legend, Mac Hood!

Thursday is the opening round of the Cip Cup, a modified Callaway Scoring System, at Sandpiper Bay. Great news here, a local report has this course from tee to greens, in tip top shape!!

Friday's round takes right outside the door of the Crow Creek Condos to the Crow Creek Golf Club. Easy to make those early tee times. Another course, according to local reviews that is great shape, even with the heat.

Saturday's round brings me back to a favorite, Leopard's Chase. Now I played here during my trip in June, it was about 105 with heat index, but the course was one great layout. The greens were a little burnt, but the rest of the course sure makes up for it.

 Sunday's round on the way out, and the finish of the Cip Cup is being held at one of my all time favorite courses we have played in Myrtle Beach, THISTLE! Known for the conditioning, friendly, northern feeling staff and great new club house, this is a fitting place to end the chase for the cup.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Saturday group Lesson at Bow Creek

It's that time again, to let me know what class you would like to participate in.

We will be covering the High to Mid iron approach shot theory. This will be on the Bow Creek range and will run the usual $15. All the descending blow and swing plane through rotation will apply here.

If any of you saw some of the Golf Fix on Monday, they talked a lot of how Paula Creamer not only maintained her spine angle, but her head also moved lower through or just after impact with the Driver.

Very important, 

Reply back to me for the time slot you prefer.

0930-1100 or 1130-1300

Jamie and Rick

Thursday, July 15, 2010

GOLFSHOT GPS/ Golf GPS at the Poor Man's Price

GolfShot GPS for the IPhone is my newest golf purchase. Instead of a Golf GPS unit and spending 200-400 dollars on the unit then paying a fee yearly or for each course, I went with this highly rated IPhone App.

Golf GPS, Statistics and Scoring for the iPhone and iPod touch

You can now score your rounds, view statistics and share with friends on the world’s most-popular smartphone. View aerial images of your course and get distances to any point. Welcome to your new rangefinder!

Here is the biggest draw for the APP, it's a  ONE TIME FEE OF 29.95, no monthly, yearly or per course fee to pay! You can go right to their web site and see the course list, I haven't found a course in my area or Myrtle Beach they don't have full coverage and aerial views of the course.

You can set lay up clubs, club distances, drag on screen to places you want to hit and see the distance. Tee boxes, pin placements, score cards with all the stats included like Greens in Regulation, Fairways Hit, misses left or right, number of putts, then all converted into stats and graphs. There is nothing this thing won't do, it's actually two devices in one, a GPS and a Score Card System.

There is one negative, it eats battery life. They include a handy guide on how to maximize your battery power, but I suggest going to Best Buy, and buying their Rocket Fish Power case for the IPhone. It's a case with a built in back up battery, so there is no chance to run out of juice.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tee to Green Series Part 1 by Jamie Smith

Bow Creek Golf Course

Green to Tee Series
Jamie Smith Golf Instruction

The Green to Tee Series is a step by step learning process conducted weekly. This process helps golfers of all levels learn or refine there skills starting at the Putting Green and working our way up to the final stage in which we take all we have learned and apply it to the Driver, ( the most difficult club in the bag ).

This program started at the end of winter 2009 with around 6 participants and has now grown to as many as 30 participants each week. Each session runs for an hour and a half, 0930-1100 on Saturday mornings. I bring in other PGA Professionals from around the Tidewater area to assist and to let the students see different teaching styles.

The series covers some intense focus on the grip, posture, alignment, and some real focus on the descending angle of attack at impact. This is covered from first day of the series and carried on throughout.


  1. Cover green etiquette, ball mark repair
  2. Grip, posture, stroke
  3. Read of green, grain effect, wind effect
  4. Practice procedure, pre-shot routine, distance control
  5. Work on maintaining spine angle through stroke and turn head to see ball roll, not lift and turn head
  6. Explain importance of a properly fitted putter

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Family Time is Golf Time?

 Family time can be many things, a trip to the beach, a movie with the family, game night, a day at the pool, or an afternoon on the golf course.

Golfing is an outdoor activity that can be shared with everyone in the family. The First Tee Program introduces golf to juniors and teaches them valuable life lessons along with the game of golf itself.

 Making a memory on the course with a Son or Daughter  is priceless, and a lot easier than you might think. My daughter Addison has taken lessons and classes at the First Tee Program, and even though it cost money, I am richer for it. She loves to go to the range to just hit balls, to spend time with Dad and pursue something we can do and enjoy together. As she gets older, and we get older, trips will start where the kids come with the fathers, and then we get older, and we hope they take us with them on their golf trips!

( Addison Barry with her New Clubs last Summer and Practicing in the backyard hitting net )

What we also need to remember is golf is not only a sport, but a community, and being such, we must continue to grow it. It's a living, breathing entity that can die without support. As this Recession continues, and courses close, and golf companies close, and less rounds are played, we must look towards the future. What would our lives be without golf, the exercise, the relaxation, the competition, and the life lesson's a real "Gentleman's" sport teaches us?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Grande Dunes Golf and Country Club/Myrtle Beach

Had the pleasure of playing Grande Dunes Golf and Country Club this past Friday with Brian Noblin, from The Golf Desk, whom I book our golf packages with. Brian is a scratch golfer, and we were joined by two other locals I know from Brian's web site.

To even get to grande Dunes, you have to go through security and then a bridge to the property. There are some amazing houses in the area, including the awesome 4 level house of the owner of Hawaiian Tropics.

Top notch bar and grill where we ate Kobe Burgers, a couple beers, and then to the range, which is included with every green fee. The carts were loaded with ice and bottled water, GPS, and cold towels.
I hit from the left side rough on the first hole, hence the power box. the guarded green, elevated would become a theme of this tough but fair course. We played the Blacks, just what my game needs, but everyone with me was scratch golfers, so I just soaked in the free playing lessons.

Didn't mind being on the left side here, as water ran all over the right side of this long par 5, with, you guessed it, a guarded green.

Brian showed great form on number 10, which was along the waterway. Great views. Note the high finish and nice divot, how in the heck does he make it look so simple?

Number 13 I think, a Par 3, with water on the right, and down hill. A devilish pin placement, yes I somehow got a par here! Brian hit it out over the water and drew it to 6 feet from the hole. Nice to be able to work the ball!

Number 15 on the back, this is from the front of the tee box, you have to carry over the water of this long par 5. WOW, was a 180 yard carry but was my best drive of the day, some 260 yards right in the middle.

The 17th I think, a bit of a dog leg left, guarded by a huge tree down the middle, but reachable, for someone like Brian who can snap off a drive 340 yards! That's not a misprint!

I really wish I would have take more pictures, this was an impressive day of golf, on a well maintained course, with the upper levels of service. If you ever have a chance to play here, please do, you will not be disappointed in the least.

Thank you Brian for taking me out golfing, this is a course that is normally out of my price range when down on the buddy trips.