A MESSAGE FROM NICK BORRO + MIKE BURKE
Mike and Nick practicing social distancing in the Atlantic City pro shop which is scheduled for new carpet. Six feet is a great length to practice your putting!
First and foremost, all of us at Ottinger Golf want to wish you and your families all the best during these troubling times. These unprecedented circumstances have forced the entire hospitality and entertainment industries to close across the state. For us, that means our entire business including the golf course, driving range, golf shop, restaurant and banquet facilities. While we can all agree the safety and health of all of us is more important than anything, most of us would love nothing more than to get back to business as usual and of course get back on the golf course. While we don’t know when the current restrictions will be lifted, rest assured we will have the golf course ready for play when it does as our superintendents and their staffs are still hard at work maintaining the course.
That being said, we are taking advantage of this time with no golfers present on the course. All three courses are being aerified from tee to green at the same time instead of staggering them like we normally do. On top of that, we are effectively “doubling-up” on our aerfication efforts in an attempt to skip fall greens aerification this year so this time is not lost in terms of playable days for all of us. Practices like deeper and tighter spacing between aerification holes as well as verticutting and heavier topdressing, all of which take longer to heal but have great long-term benefits. We are also finishing projects such as the 4th tee at Atlantic City and the seeding/sodding of the areas of tree removal at Scotland Run.
Lastly, an appeal has been made to the Governor by all the major state golf associations on behalf of all golf courses including the Professional Golfers Association, National Golf Course Owners Association, New Jersey State Golf Association, Philadelphia Golf Association, Superintendents Golf Association and the Club Managers Association. Most of us as golfers know the sport of golf is inherently a practice of “social distancing” in and of itself. With the proper precautions in regards to the golf course, golf shop and golf carts, the game we all love can truly be enjoyed safely during this time. When we hear back on a decision, you will be the first to know, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.
Also at this time, all restaurant and clubhouse events are postponed until further notice. We fully expect our Mother’s Day Brunches at Scotland Run and Atlantic City, along with entertainment, cooking classes, and more to be in full swing by May, but until we know what’s to come we will hold off on scheduling.
MEMBER GOLF EVENTS
We have had to cancel several early member events this spring but are planning on still holding other upcoming events with the assumption the golf courses will be open. In the event we are still closed as these dates approach, we will look to reschedule at another time. You can register for any of these events by emailing the professional staff. You can also call the Member Services Extension and leave a voicemail as the staff is only in the building during limited hours currently.
All golf events in April have been cancelled including The Masters Par 3 Contest at Atlantic City, Better Ball of Partners at Scotland Run and the GAP Team Matches at both Atlantic City and Scotland Run. The following events are still on as scheduled as of now:
We are constantly working to improve our course conditions and re-invest in our courses. The grounds crews’ have all been busy this offseason working on various projects on each course.
Newly renovated #4 tee complex at Atlantic City Country Club.
Some additional words from Mark Beaumont, Superintendent of Atlantic City
I don’t recall anyone telling me last fall, that the Farmer’s Almanac was predicting a mild winter. Fact of the matter is, I never hear someone tell me it’s going to be a mild winter. I always seem to hear, “we are expecting higher amounts of snow, ”A brutal February!” At least that’s what I remember hearing. Well this past fall our team decided that we would try to push forward through the offseason and rebuild the 4th tee, and if the weather cooperated, we would attempt to put a cart path in on the 3rd hole as well.
As the guy tasked with making sure it gets done, I was a bit nervous. What happens if the weather gets bad right in the middle of these projects and we get stopped in our tracks? What if we get snow covered for a month? What happens if the temperatures stay in the single digits for a month? Yikes!!!!!!!
But guess what? The weather stayed mild! We were able to accomplish more than we expected. We got lucky! We had decided to rebuild the 4th tee because we were having a difficult time (in midsummer) keeping it healthy and providing the proper tee space for you, the member. We decided to do a few things.
1) Let’s create better air movement by removing as many trees to the right of the tee . . . Check!
2) Let’s remove the “shelf” on the tee, and extend the tee, so we have more teeing area to play with. Now the tee measures about 165 yards from the tips, vs. about 140 before . . . Check!!
3) Let’s put about 6-8 inches of fresh “mix” on top as better growing media . . . Check!!!
We have already sodded the tee top and the rough surrounding the tee this week, with hope of getting open in beginning of May. The key word being “hope.”
We were also able to create the cart path down the right side of #3 to insure play (with carts) on wet days. We are very excited about what we’ve accomplished this winter and look forward to all of you enjoying the course this season. And I learned not to take The Farmer’s Almanac too seriously . . . Hit em straight!!!!
PROFESSIONAL STAFF & GOLF SHOPS
Member Services Extension
You may have noticed a different greeting the last time you called the golf shops for a tee time. We sent an email in early March letting you know that as members, to now press 4 for our Member Services Extension when calling any of the golf shops. We have added a call center to handle all non-member calls, so we can free up the golf shop staff to be able to better serve our members.
Keep Your Game Sharp
Our Golf Professionals have put together a few tips to help keep your games sharp during this time. So just because we can’t get out on the course, doesn’t mean you should let your game lapse! Utilize these tips to give you that edge over your friends the next time you head out.
More Driver Distance
Sean Furman, Ballamor Head Golf Professional
There are 3 key things you to want to do to achieve more distance off the tee. Everything you are going to do is in your set up. First, tee the ball slightly higher than you normally would. Second, instead of having the ball off the inside of your front heel, move the ball position to the middle of your front foot. Lastly, tilt your shoulders back away from the target which allows you to shift your weight from back to front generating more speed through the hitting area. In steps 1 and 2 you are trying to launch the ball higher which will generate more carry distance. To complete this, make your normal swing, no need to swing harder, and that should help you gain about 8-13 more yards with your driver. Remember, we‘re doing this at home for now so make sure you‘re using a whiffle ball!
Barry Shewalter, PGA, Atlantic City Head Golf Professional
Many golfers are pretty good on the range, especially once they are warmed up and are in a groove hitting the ball, getting some good rhythm and timing working in the swing. But I always hear, “Why can’t I hit the ball like I do on the range” or “I wish I hit it like this on the course.” Well one reason… it’s your nerves coming into play which leads to bad timing, by swinging too fast, having too strong of grip pressure, etc.
Some tips to help when you’re on the course when things go astray.
1) Loosen the grip - if you’re going to have pressure then let it be in the thumb and first two fingers, stop strangling the grip, your losing all your feel. You should be able to feel the club head, imagine you’re holding a baby.
2) Half-length and slow paced back swing - back off the ball and do some practice swings half-length and with a slower paced back swing. Stop trying to crush the ball, the faster you swing the worse it gets.
3) 50-yard shot - practice over and over the 50-yard wedge shot, the clubs I use the most are my wedges when I’m the range, not the driver like most I see. We hit the 50 yard and in shot way more than we do drives, hell you may only hit 10 drives at Atlantic City Country Club with five par 3s and a few short par 4s.
4) Keep the shaft in front of the body - players tend to take too big of a turn, then the shoulders, arms and body turn much too fast coming down and through the ball which makes the shaft lag. Take a shorter back swing, with the key being a much bigger follow through, then release the club up and over the shoulder and hold your pose like the pros do. That will help you finish your swing in balance and if you lose that balance, chances are you are swinging too fast.
Anti-Yip Putting Drill
Brian Hecker, Scotland Run Head Golf Professional
For right-handers, take your left hand and place it lower on the grip than usual (closer to the bottom of the grip) so that the very top of the putter handle is pressed into your upper wrist area. For those true golf fans, this we can call a “Matt Kuchar” grip. Keep it so that it stays constantly connected to your hand and upper wrist. The club and its entire grip is in the left hand and up into the wrist flat against the skin, and then position your right hand. Now practice your putting stroke as normal. KEY POINT, do not release the club head so that the top of the putter grip gets disconnected from your upper wrist area. It must stay in contact with the skin and wrist the entire time to ensure your anti yip and stabbing motion. Try and imagine you are putting with the back of your left hand and your right hand is simply for aiming purposes. For left handers simply reverse the hand instructions. Right hand chokes down on grip, etc.
WELCOME NEW MEMEBERS
The grounds crew aerifying #17 fairway at Scotland Run.
Hole #6 irrigation added and finished with new sod at Scotland Run.