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December 15, 2006 Vol. 6, No. 50

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Traverse City-GTR&S
__/ BOOK REVIEW: "TO THE NINES" By Anthony Pioppi

Got Economic Downturn? Such is not the case at Osprey Management http://www.ospreymanagement.com/ , the firm that is in the final stages of its acquisition of The Otsego Club. We felt we were in the wrong place as limos rolled up to the entrance of the Huron River Hunting & Fishing Club to deposit foursomes and eightsomes of people dressed to the nines or in some cases the tens.

This year's gathering of over 250 people was testimony to the tremendous growth of Osprey, a diverse company with many interests including a full-service real estate company with holdings in Florida and Michigan, as well as owning and managing golf courses and resorts throughout Michigan.

They "offer professional real estate services for various Osprey holding companies and partnerships, as well as third-party clients in Florida, Michigan, and the Southeast United States. With approximately four million square feet of office and industrial property in itŐs portfolio, Osprey specializes in and directly handles all acquisitions, management and leasing internally."

Of late, they are getting more involved in their recreation division. Currently, their holdings include, Manistee National Golf and Resort Black Forest & Wilderness Valley, The Medalist Golf Club, Ridgeview Golf Course and now, The Otsego Club.

Work has already started at The Otsego Club and long time members of the club will be more than a little startled at the changes when the club opens for skiing on the 26th of this month

While golf represents but a small portion of the companies holdings, they were well represented at the Holiday Celebration. On hand were Kevin Helm, COO of the Michigan PGA, David Graham of the GAM, Dave Richards of Resort and Golf Marketing, Keith Gornick, Mark Hogan and Scott Chesley of The Otsego Club, Dave Smith of Wilderness Valley, Doug Bell of Manistee National and other members of the Osprey Management recreation division team.

Keith Gornick, who is just days away from completely turning over the keys to the resort his family has owned for decades, was in high spirits at the party. One of his goals was to turn over the resort to a quality buyer and this seems to be the case with the Osprey Management team, led by CEO Mike Bieber. Gornick, still has many holdings in the Gaylord area, and will still be an economic force in the community. However, he has a young family that he wants to devote more time to not only in Gaylord, but also in Germany, where is wife is from. He also wants to get back into another of his passions, boating.

Michigan is obviously going through some tough times with many of its resorts undergoing significant economic challenges. Into the teeth of this ill wind, Osprey Management seems to be providing a calming and hopeful presence.

Traverse City-Grand Traverse Resort & Spa
We stopped by GTR&S to do a little shopping and had a chance for a holiday chat with Mike DeAgostino. Mike indicated that Scott Hebert new winter golf school had two students show up on snowmobiles. The day the school was to open, the snow was blowing sideways and was almost a whiteout. Still, 22 students slugged there way to the golf school and their latest adventure is underway.

One Christmas card I always look forward to each year is from Renaissance Golf. This year the card has a photograph from Scotland's North Berwick and the message, "In 2006, we had the privilege of living and working in Scotland-a timely reminder of how fortunate we are to be doing something we love." The card is signed by the Renaissance Men (and woman), Tom Doak, Brian Schneider, Chad Grave, Brian Slawnik, Bruce Hepner, Don Placek, Jim Urbina and Sara Mess.

For those of us, who have seen the good times and of late, the tough times of golf, it is nice to be reminded, that we are involved with something we love. Cheers.


*Note, Tom Doak is featured in the new Traverse City CVB Guide in a story by Mike Norton.

The fine folks of Ann Arbor Media Group, a publisher that has roots through Sleeping Bear and then Clock Tower Press publishers publish ŇTo the NinesÓ. Skip DeWall, the person behind AAMG, started this latest Michigan publishing house in 1999, has focused on niche and historical reprints in the area of golf and the State of Michigan.

"To the Nines", is such a book. Anthony Pioppi, a freelance writer with some serious credentials, points out that almost 25% of the golf courses in the U.S. are 9-holes and that many of them are worthy of closer examination for their greatness. To wit, he takes us on a tour of those he found worthy of further examination; Highland Links GC in Cape Cod, Marion GC in Plymouth, Massachusetts (designed by writer and architect George Thomas), Whitinsville GC in Massachusetts (Donald Ross), Ocean Links (Rhode Island), Fenwick, Katherine Hepburn's home course in Connecticut, Rolling Rock GC in Pennsylvania (Donald Ross), Sewanee, Tennessee (co-designed by a bishop), Prairie Dunes in Kansas (Perry Maxwell) and The Dunes Club (Tim and Dick Nugent's gem) near Buffalo, Michigan, We featured the Dunes Club on one of our previous covers and it is indeed a one of a kind course in Michigan. The owner, Mike Keiser, went on to build Brandon Dunes, the emerging golf mecca on the West Coast.

Book is available online

After reading the book, I thought about Michigan's nine hole courses, and while the following is far from an exhaustive search, it is a start. Perhaps your favorite 9-hole course is not listed here, if not drop me a line.

Ann Arbor Golf & Outing Club -Ann Arbor
Beaver Island GC-Beaver Island (Matt Malidile)
Dowagiac Elks Golf Course-Dowagiac
Elk Rapids Golf Club- Elk Rapids (Donald Ross)
E.M.S. Links-Sandusky
Evergreen Hills-Southfield (W. Bruce Matthews III)
Fawn Crest Golf Course- Wellston
Golden Sands Golf Course-Mears
Gun Ridge Golf Course-Hastings
Hidden Harbour Golf Course-Caseville
Lac Vieux Desert-Watersmeet
Les Cheneaux Club & Golf Link -Cedarville
Shadow Ridge Golf Club ( formerly Ionia Country Club.) Ionia (Donald Ross)
The Dune Club-Buffalo (Tim and Dick Nugent)
Ye Nyne Olde Holes -East Jordan


Five-time PGA Champion Jack Nicklaus, whose philanthropic efforts include establishing the Barbara & Jack Nicklaus Junior Golf Endowment Fund, and elevating the role of PGA Professionals through First Tee teaching grants, headed a roster of seven inductees enshrined in the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame.

Nicklaus was joined in the 2006 Hall of Fame class by PGA of America Honorary President Roger Warren of Kiawah Island, S.C., who completed his term as the 34th president of the Association last month. The inductees also included: 2005 PGA Golf Professional of the Year Bill Eschenbrenner of El Paso, Texas; 1958 PGA Champion Dow Finsterwald of Colorado Springs, Colo.; 1986 PGA Teacher of the Year Manuel de la Torre of Milwaukee, Wis.; PGA Master Professional William Heald of Westchester, Ill., and 1987 PGA Teacher of the Year Gary Wiren of North Palm Beach, Fla.

A closer look at the 2006 inductees:

* Manuel de la Torre - Born in Madrid, Spain, and the son of Angel de la Torre, the first Spanish golf professional, Manuel de la Torre graduated from Northwestern University in 1947. He was elected to PGA membership in 1952. He became a premier golf instructor and was the recipient of the first PGA Teacher of the Year in 1986, and was inducted in 2005 into the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame. A five-time Wisconsin PGA Section Champion, he also was the first to serve as president of the Section (1955-57), and from 1959-61 was the PGA District 6 Director. During his 46 years as PGA head professional at Milwaukee Country Club, de la Torre taught more than 50,000 lessons and has presented more than 100 seminars for 15 PGA Sections throughout his career. The winner of three Section Horton Smith Awards, de la Torre has been an advocate of education throughout his career.

* Bill Eschenbrenner - A PGA Master Professional at Lone Star Golf Club in El Paso, Texas, Bill Eschenbrenner was the 52nd recipient of PGA Golf Professional of the Year in 2005, the highest annual honor bestowed by The PGA of America on a PGA Professional. A native of Fort Worth, Texas, but an El Paso resident since 1961, is a former caddie at Worth Hills Municipal Golf Course in Fort Worth, Texas, and made a career path to professional golf through his association and friendship with many of the premier players in the Lone Star State, including legends Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson. Elected to PGA membership in 1965, Eschenbrenner was the 1994 national Horton Smith Award winner for contributions to PGA education and winner of the 1984 Bill Strausbaugh Award for mentoring fellow PGA Professionals and community service. Among those guided by Eschenbrenner was the legendary Lee Trevino, who credited Eschenbrenner for helping him gain a PGA Tour berth. Eschenbrenner served 35 year s as PGA director of golf at El Paso Country Club, and five years as consultant. He developed a city-wide junior golf program in El Paso. In 1974, he founded the NCAA College All-American Golf Tournament, an event that has returned more than $600,000 in golf scholarships to participating college programs. From 1976-77, Eschenbrenner served as president of the Sun County PGA Section, was District 12 Director for the national PGA Board of Directors (1995-97), and was a past Board member of the Southwest PGA Section from 1965-74.

* Dow Finsterwald - The winner of the first PGA Championship conducted at stroke play (1958 at Llanerch Country Club in Havertown, Pa.), Dow Finsterwald also became a standout supporter of the Colorado PGA Section and the development of golf in Colorado. Elected to PGA membership in 1956, Finsterwald served more than 30 years as director of golf at Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs; and was Colorado PGA president from 1971-72. He was the recipient of the 1972 Section Golf Professional of the Year, PGA District Director from 1976-78; chair of the PGA Rules Committee; and member of the Tournament/Tour Policy Board and Section Past Presidents Committee. From 1979-81, Finsterwald was a member of the USGA Rules Committee and since 1978 has been a member of the Masters Tournament Rules Committee. He was a four-time Ryder Cup Team member and served as the 1977 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 1978 and to the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.

* William Heald - A PGA member since 1952, William ŇBillÓ Heald is a PGA Master Professional and a two-time winner (1981 and 1999) of the Bill Strausbaugh Award for distinguishing himself in mentoring PGA Professionals. Heald served as PGA head professional at Riverside Golf Club in North Riverside, Ill., for 33 years and spent a decade at the facility as general manager. He served as Illinois PGA president from 1976-77, and as District 6 Director from 1993-95, and a 1991 member of the National Club Relations Steering Committee. Among his initiatives was coordinating PGA members, Park District presidents, management companies and non-private facility amateur players for a video presentation which promoted why facilities are better served in employing PGA Professionals. During his presidency of the Illinois PGA Section, Heald established the first Section executive office with a full-time executive director. In 1997, Heald was inducted into the Illinois PGA Hall of Fame. Though retired from Riverside Golf Club, Heald remains one of the most active Illinois PGA Professionals while serving on the Section Employment and Rules Committees.

* Jack Nicklaus - Regarded by most historians as the greatest player in golf history, Jack Nicklaus also has been revered for his efforts in sportsmanship, philanthropy, respect for the game of golf and its effect upon future generations. The 2000 recipient of the PGA Distinguished Service Award, Nicklaus partnered with his wife, Barbara, to begin the Barbara & Jack Nicklaus Junior Golf Endowment Fund. Nicklaus remains honorary chair of PGA Junior Golf, and partnered with The PGA of America to create a $2 million endowment to provide teaching grants to certified Chapters of The First Tee that use PGA Professionals and Apprentices for instruction. To date, 123 of the 202 active Chapters of The First Tee nationwide have been recipients of either a PGA of America or Nicklaus/PGA teaching grant. The combined PGA and Nicklaus/PGA grants total $1,520,000. In addition to a playing career that includes 18 professional major championships, Nicklaus was a six-time U.S. Ryder Cup member and a two-time Ryder Cup Captain (1983, Ő87). In 1977, Nicklaus was credited in leading a campaign to include European players in the Ryder Cup to enhance competitive balance in what today is golfŐs ultimate spectacle. In November 2005, Nicklaus was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nationŐs highest civil award, and presented by President George Bush.

* Roger Warren - The 34th president of The PGA of America, Roger Warren has been a leader in the development of PGA education, a passion that followed an 18-year career as a high school instructor and coach in the Dundee (Ill.) School system. The president of the Kiawah Island (S.C.) Golf Resort, Warren was elected to PGA membership in 1990, and served as a member of the Golf Professional Training Program (GPTP) faculty for three years. In 1996, he served on the task force that developed CareerLinks, The PGAŐs job identification service. As PGA President, Warren has been instrumental in advancing several member-based education and research programs, including the PGA Certified Professional Program and PGA PerformanceTrak. Warren was the 1992 Illinois PGA Merchandiser of the Year for public facilities and the 1998 Illinois PGA Golf Professional of the Year. Nationally, he has served on The PGAŐs task force on governance, and was elected president in 2004. A native of Galesburg, Ill., Warren graduated from Western Illinois University in 1972 with a degree in education. He earned his masterŐs degree in 1981 from Northern Illinois University. He joined Kiawah Island Golf Resort as director of golf in April 2003 and assumed his present position in September 2005.

* Gary Wiren - A golf educator, PGA Master Professional, a Master Certified Teacher and a former national PGA staff director, Gary Wiren is a graduate of Huron University in South Dakota with a masterŐs degree from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon. A PGA member since 1966, Wiren is a PGA teaching professional at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Senior Director of Instruction for all Trump Golf Properties. The author of more than 200 magazine articles and 11 books, Wiren is a past board member of the National Golf Foundation, the American Junior Golf Association and the ChildrenŐs Golf Foundation. He has taught, privately, in groups, at seminars and in stage performances before more than 250,000 people in 34 countries. Wiren was recipient of the 1987 PGA Teacher of the Year Award. He served The PGA of America for 12 years, founding its National Academy of Golf and was director of education, learning and research.

Taken and edited from a PGA release

1. Since bad shots come in groups of three, a fourth bad shot is actually the beginning of the next group of three.

2. When you look up, causing an awful shot, you will always look down again at exactly the moment when you ought to start watching the ball if you ever want to see it again.

3. There are two things you can learn by stopping your backswing at the top and checking the position of your hands: how many hands you have, and which one is wearing the glove.

4. Golfers who claim they don't cheat, also lie.

5. It's surprisingly easy to hole a 50-foot putt when you lie 8.

6. It's not a gimme if you're still away.

7. If you want to hit a 7-iron as far as Tiger Woods does, simply try to lay up just short of a water hazard.

8. Hazards attract; fairways repel.

9. The shortest distance between any two points on a golf course is a straight line that passes directly through the center of a very large tree.

10. Every time a golfer makes a birdie, they must subsequently make two triple bogeys to restore the fundamental equilibrium of the universe.

Source: Jim McIntyre

December 14 - 6:00 PM. It started to snow. The first snow of the season and the wife and I took our cocktails and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down from heaven. It looked like a Grandma Moses Print. So romantic we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow!

December 15 - We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every inch of the landscape What a fantastic sight! Can there be a ;more lovely place in the Whole World? Moving here was the best idea I've ever had. Shoveled for the first time in years and felt like a boy again. I did both our driveway and the sidewalks. This afternoon the snowplow came along and covered up the sidewalks and closed in the driveway, so I got to shovel again. What a perfect life

December 16 - The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Such a disappointment. My neighbor tells me not to worry, we'll definitely have a white Christmas. No snow on Christmas would be awful! Bob says we'll have so much snow by the end of winter, that I'll never want to see snow again. I don't think that's possible. Bob is such a nice man, I'm glad he's our neighbor.

December 17 - Snow lovely snow! 8 inches last night. The temperature dropped to -20. The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life! The snowplow came back this afternoon and buried everything again I didn't realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I'll certainly get back in shape this way

December 18 - 20 inches forecast. Sold my van and bought a 4x4 Blazer. Bought snow tires for the wife's car and 2 extra shovels. Stocked the freezer. The wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think that's silly. We aren't in Alaska, after all.

December 19 - Ice storm this morning. Fell on my butt on the ice in the driveway putting down salt. Hurt like hell. The wife laughed for an hour, which I think was very cruel.

December 20 - Still way below freezing. Roads are too icy to go anywhere. Electricity was off for 5 hours. I had to pile the blankets on to stay warm. Nothing to do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate her. Guess I should've bought a wood stove, but won't admit it to her. God I hate it when she's right. I can't believe I'm freezing to death in my own living room.

December 21 - Electricity's back on, but had another 14 inches of the damn stuff last night.. More shoveling. Took all day. Damn snowplow came by twice. Tried to find a neighbor kid to shovel, but they said they're too busy playing hockey. I think they're lying. Called the only hardware store around to see about buying a snow blower and they're out. Might have another shipment in March. I think they're lying. Bob says I have to shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he's lying.

December 22 - Bob was right about a white Christmas because 13 more inches of the white crap fell today, and it's so cold it probably won't melt till August. Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel and then I had to poop. By the time I got undressed, pooped and dressed again, I was too tired to shovel. Tried to hire Bob who has a plow on his truck for the rest of the winter; but he says he's too busy. I think the jerk is lying.

December 23 - Only 12 inches of snow today. And it warmed up to 0. The wife wanted me to decorate the front of the house this morning. What is she nuts!!! Why didn't she tell me to do that a month ago? She says she did but I think she's lying.

December 24 - 6 inches;. Snow packed so hard by snowplow, I broke the shovel.Thought I was having a heart attack. If I ever catch the son of a bitch who drives that snowplow I'll drag him through the snow by his balls and beat him to death with my broken shovel. I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down the street at a 100 miles an hour and throws snow all over where I've just been! Tonight the wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open our presents, but I was too busy watching for the damn snowplow.

December 25 - Merry -bleeping- Christmas! 20 more inches of the damn slop tonight. Snowed in. The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil. I hate the snow! Then the snowplow driver came by asking for a donation and I hit him over the head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude. I think she's a fricking idiot. If I have to watch "A Wonderful Life" one more time, I'm going to stuff her into the microwave

December 26 - Still snowed in. Why the hell did I ever move here? It was all HER idea. She's really getting on my nerves

December 27 - Temperature dropped to -30 and the pipes froze, plumber came after 14 hours of waiting for him, he only charged me $1,400 to replace all my pipes.

December 28 - Warmed up to above -20. Still snowed in. THE BITCH is driving me crazy!!

December 29 - 10 more inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in. That's the silliest thing I ever heard. How dumb does he think I am?

December 30 - Roof caved in. I beat up the snow plow driver he is now suing me for a million dollars, not only for the beating I gave him but also for trying to shove the broken snow shovel up his ass. The wife went home to her mother. 9 inches predicted

December 31 - I set fire to what's left of the house. No more shoveling.

January 8 - Feel so good. I just love those little white pills they keep giving me. Why am I tied to the bed?

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