December 28, 2018
This week marks the end of this column’s twentieth year and a busy and eventful twelve months for Cape Region golf.
January – Rookery North course superintendent Mark Nauman gives a tour of the extensive tree removal and trimming he and his staff are doing as their main winter project. The United States Golf Association and Royal & Ancient issue draft rules intended to speed up the game and deal with other issues. The Sykes family opens the Out of the Sand golf simulator business at Midway. Pete and Michele Townsend acquire the former Sussex Pines golf club and have big plans.
February – I suggest an alternative to the current OB rules. A heavy putter grip works well. The Delaware State Golf Association adopts a new agreement for its handicapping and tournament management services. I discuss several items from this year’s PGA Merchandise Show and interview Ben Hogan Golf CEO Scott White.
March – Titleist’s new Tour Soft ball replaces the NXT Tour balls I loved. The USGA announces a new playoff format for its championships. I discover my Column Number 1000 ran on Feb. 16. Sawyer Brockstedt prepares for her first-ever Drive Chip & Putt Championship at Augusta National Golf Club. The Cape Henlopen High School golf team loses its first match of the season against Caesar Rodney.
April – A power lip-out on her last putt places Sawyer Brockstedt into a tie for fourth place in the Drive Chip & Putt Championship. Cape Henlopen gains its first win of the season against Polytech. RBCC head golf pro Pat Mastrian’s switch from basketball to golf turned out to be a great idea. The Vikings enjoy a post-spring break win streak, with victories over Lake Forest, Sussex Central, and Delmar. The wins continue with the matches against Sussex Academy, Laurel, and Seaford. I play The Reserve Club at Woodside during a special Masters Week opportunity.
May – Cape Henlopen keeps its streak going with wins against Indian River and Dover High. I discover what is in “birdie juice.” The Conlon Brothers annual trip to Pinehurst sees some drizzle. Cape wins another match against Smyrna, but has its second loss of the season against Sussex Tech. The Vikings then defeat Woodbridge, Concord, and Milford to go 14-2 for the season. My new book, “Hole By Hole: Golf Stories from Delaware’s Cape Region and Beyond” makes its first appearances.
June – LPGA golfer Marina Alex is proud of her Jersey Girl heritage. The Cape golf team finishes in seventh place in the state high school championship. It is the only Sussex County school to complete the team competition. The Rookery becomes serious about tree removal, with dramatic changes to the 7thand 8thholes on the North course. My book signing at Browseabout Books on Fathers Day weekend is a pleasant success. LPGA Marijo Uribe is a new convert to the joys of WaWa. Cape Region kids play well in the Philly PGA Junior Tour Series.
July – Diane Herndon and Judy Wetzel win the Senior and Super Senior divisions of the Delaware Women’s Golf Association Amateur Championships. Sawyer Brockstedt wins the 11-year old girls category of the Red White & Blue Invitational on Pinehurst’s No. 6 course. Anita Pettitt and her playing partners play an all-day fundraiser for Juvenile Diabetes. Stewart Cink reflects on his British Open win during a recent interview. Hudson and Sawyer Brockstedt move past the local qualifier round for the 2019 Drive Chip & Putt Championship.
August – Rookery co-owner Pete Oakley competes once more at the Senior British Open at St. Andrews. Jay Whitby (6th) and Chris Krueger (8th) are the best Cape Region golfers in the 2018 Delaware Open. Sawyer Brockstedt finishes 12thout of 155 in the U.S. Kids World Championship at Pinehurst No. 3. Judy Wetzel wins the DSGA’s Super Senior Championship. Area golf courses support the Patriots Day fundraisers held during Labor Day Weekend.
September – LPGA golfer Allison Lee is in a slump but is both remarkably gracious and determined to play her way out of it. The Brockstedt sisters miss out on the next level of the Drive Chip & Putt Championship. Britny Whitby competes in the USGA Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship. Out of the Sand announces it is closing down.
October – Amateurs can learn much by observing pro golfers during their practice sessions. I discuss my recent driver fitting at 2ndSwing Golf in Wilmington. The University of Delaware Women’s golf team finishes second in the 6thAnnual Lady Blue Hen Invitational at RBCC. I interview LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan.
November – I profile The Golf Channel’s Tom Abbott. The Maguire sisters jump to the pro game, but the transition from their prior high-level amateur career is not so easy. The Youth on Course initiative may be adopted by the DSGA. Many local charities benefit from Cape Region golf fundraisers.
December – This year’s collection of what I don’t want for Christmas is outstanding, and not in a good way. On the other hand, local golf gift opportunities for the holidays are very good.
Thanks for reading! I look forward to another year of writing about Cape Region golf.