December 27, 2019
December 31 marks the end of this column’s twenty-first year and an eventful twelve months for Cape Region golf.
January – Rookery North course superintendent Mark Nauman uses a new chipper machine to address long-needed tree removal and trimming needs. Changes to the Rules of Golf go into effect for 2019, with flagstick rules perhaps the most noticeable. Rehoboth Beach junior golfer Sawyer Brockstedt outlines her practice and performance goals for the upcoming season. Kings Creek CC is partway through a major renovation project for its course and its clubhouse.
February – The 2019 Golf Writers annual tournament at Hammock Dunes Resort in Palm Coast, FL provides my first exposure to Paspalum turfgrass. Kings Creek CC Director of Instruction Chris Krueger resigns his head coaching position at Cape Henlopen High. Rick McCall, Jr. chats about his new role as the women’s golf team coach for Delaware State University. William “Bill” Barrow is out as executive director of the Delaware State Golf Association, as the DSGA announces it is going in a “different direction.”
March – The PGA Merchandise Show features hundreds of new items, including special golf shoes that measure the downward pressure points made during a golf swing. The shoes by Albartross, on the other hand, emphasize high-end style. Cape Henlopen High School Teacher of the Year Robert Harrod takes on a new role as the head coach for the golf team. I become one of his volunteer coaches and learn about some of the protections in place for the players. The golf team loses its first match of the season against Caesar Rodney.
April – The Viking golf team wins against Polytech and Sussex Central in cold conditions, loses to Sussex Academy under tie-breaking rules, and gains a forfeit victory against Seaford. Club Champion opens its first store in Delaware. Cape loses to Indian River and wins against Lake Forest. My book, “Hole By Hole: Golf Stories from Delaware’s Cape Region and Beyond,” wins national and state awards. The Delaware State University women’s golf team competes at the Naval Academy golf course.
May – Cape beats Dover, loses a close match to Sussex Tech, but wins against Smyrna. They finish the regular season 11-4 with wins against Woodbridge, Milford, and Delmarva Christian. The Vikings play their way into the State Tournament on the strength of their performance in the Henlopen Conference Championship, and finishes 9th in the States. Seasonal local club competitions begin in earnest. I begin a multi-part series about club fitting with a piece about a demo day at Rookery South. Annie Park discusses how close she came to quitting before she won the 2018 ShopRite LPGA Classic.
June – The Mizuno shaft analyzer uses three swings with a 6-iron to develop recommendations for shaft choices. Dane Palmer of Rehoboth Beach earns a Delaware State Golf Association college scholarship award. I attend a happy and kid-filled 25th anniversary celebration of day care on the LPGA Tour.
July – Several Cape Region golfers play well at the Women’s Amateur and Delaware Amateur Championships. Paul Boehmer, the LPGA’s sole clubfitter, is a friendly and informative subject of a two-part profile. South Jersey’s Shore Club shows private clubs how to attract and retain new members.
August – LPGA/PGA teaching pro Becky Dengler has some definite ideas about the right kind of putters. Cape Region junior golfers test their skills in the Drive Chip & Putt competitions. Anita Pettitt of Rehoboth Beach wins the DSGA Super Senior Championship. Sarah Lydic, Hannah Lydic, and Sawyer Brockstedt play at DuPont CC in the first AJGA tournament held in Delaware.
September – A near miss on the practice range at the ShopRite LPGA Classic leads to a fun chat with LPGA Tour rookie Robyn Choi. Sacks Parente’s new putters are not cheap, but appear to be remarkably effective. Local club champions are crowned. Rookery South course superintendent Greg Thomas discusses how he and other Cape Region greens keepers are fighting goose grass.
October – LPGA veteran Ayako Uehara shows me what’s in her bag, and it’s a lot more like us amateurs than you might expect. Stenger’s Shamrock Par 3 holds its annual Night Golf tournament. Sawyer Brockstedt wins her last tournament as a 12-year old, just before her 13th birthday. A new nickname for golf, the Dolly Parton, comes from an odd run of scoring at the Rookery club championship.
November – I go through a full fitting at Club Champion for new irons, and add hybrids to my bag for the first time in many years. The new World Handicap System goes into effect Jan. 1. Kendall Dye’s charitable work with Golf Fore Africa shows that we are not just the sum of our mistakes. Cross country golf returns to the Cape Region. Dozens of charity golf tournaments fill the Cape Region calendar for a variety of great causes.
December – This year’s collection of what I don’t want for Christmas is outstanding, but not in a good way. On the other hand, golf gift opportunities for the holidays are very good.
Thanks for reading! I look forward to another year of writing about Cape Region golf.