MAMARONECK, N.Y. (AP) _ There may be no better 36 holes of golf than the West and East courses at Winged Foot Golf Club. And the amazing thing about the West course is that the layout played in the PGA Championship in August is essentially the same one created by A.W. Tillinghast in 1923 and on which Bobby Jones won the 1929 U.S. Open.
The notorious trees may be taller and some may have succumbed to nature and are no longer there, but very little needs to be done to Winged Foot to make it tournament ready.
``It’s one of the great courses we really don’t have to do anything to,″ PGA of America chief executive officer Jim Awtrey said Monday at Winged Foot. ``It lasts throughout time,″ he said. ``No matter what group of players in what era, it will be the same test of golf.″
Awtrey said the greens will putt at ``in excess of 10″ on the Stimpmeter for the PGA and that the rough will be about 4 inches, but that no changes will be made in the fairways.
Mark Brooks, the defending champion, called Winged Foot a ``real shotmaker’s course″ and said it’s challenge was in placing iron shots carefully on the putting surfaces.
``This has a very interesting and difficult set of greens,′ Brooks said. `You try to keep the ball below the hole.″
WOMEN IN GOLF: According to a new study, the typical female golfer in the United States is 35 or older, well-educated, tends to be married with no children at home, is generally employed as an upper-level manager, executive, professional or business owner and has an average family income of $103,000.
The nationwide survey of 902 women golfers was part of an extensive study by The New York Times Magazine Group Research Center in conjunction with FerrellCalvillo Communications, a New York-based group.
According to Ric Calvillo, chairman of FerellCalvillo, women are ``less concerned with equipment technology and seek more personalized service when making golf-related purchases.″
The study defined five categories of female golfers:
Traditionalists (23 percent) _ Primarily private club members who play to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with their families.
Hobnobbers (21 percent) _ Women who consider golf an image or career-building activity. They are most-likely to take lessons and buy expensive equipment.
Golf Nuts (20 percent) _ Those who play the most often and have the lowest handicaps. They are not satisfied with the availability of good equipment.
Party Putters (19 percent) _ Those who play golf purely as a social activity. They don’t choose their own equipment and don’t care about technology.
Escape Artists (17 percent) _ Play to get away from the job or other daily responsibilities. Somewhat interested in equipment.
For more information on the study, call Steve Green at (212) 366-5060.
STAYING FIT I: Neil Chasan a physical therapist who has treated golf-related injuries for 15 years, developed an exercise program specifically for golfers designed to increase power and lessen the chance of injuries.
The 20-minute Swing Reaction System program, recommended twice a week, emulates the physical demands of the golf swing, does not require any equipment and can be done almost anywhere.
A 50-minute video outlines the exercise program, including an analysis of the biomechanics of the swing. The final 20 minutes of the video is a complete Swing reaction System workout led by Chasan.
STAYING FIT II: The subtitle to the new book ``The Fitness Approach to Power Golf″ by John Carrido tells it all: ``How to build strength, increase flexibility, and improve your swing by making your body part of your equipment.″
According to Carrido, the 179-page book will help with strength and flexibility and offers tips on nutrition and cardiovascular health that can stave off fading late in a round.
STAYING FIT III: Another video with an exercise program promising to ``tone the body, as well as improve strength and endurance″ is ``17 Pros & The Secrets to Golf Fitness with Paul Hospenthal.″ Hospenthal is physical therapist who operates the Desert Institute of Physical Therapy in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Tom Lehman, Phil Mickelson, Mark Brooks and Steve Elkington are among the PGA Tour players who use the system.
DIVOTS: David Feherty, the quick-witted CBS announcer, got in this zinger at Brooks at the Winged Foot news conference for the PGA champion. ``The only reason I’m here is because I thought it was Garth Brooks,″ Feherty said, referring to the country-western singer. ... The National Golf Foundation’s annual ``Golf Participation in the U.S.″ report for 1996 said the number of golfers (25 million) and number of rounds played (477 million) remained pretty much where they’ve been for the last six years. The good news was that the aging of Baby Boomers will work in golf’s favor in the year’s ahead. The senior segment (those 50 and over) has grown by 16 percent since 1991 to where it now represents 26 percent of all golfers. ... American Brands, the parent company that owns Titleist, Cobra, Pinnacle and Foot-Joy, changed its name to Fortune Brands. ... The inaugural Palmer Cup to be held July 10-12 at the Bay Hill Club in Orlando, Fla., is a Ryder Cup-style competition featuring an eight-man team from the United States against Great Britain-Ireland. Nearly everyone in the competition plays college golf in the U.S. Selected for the U.S. team were Brad Elder (Texas), Robert Floyd (Florida), Brian Hull (USC), Joel Kribel (Stanford), Ted Oh (UNLV), Bo Van Pelt (Oklahoma State) and Chris Wolman (Ohio State). The eighth selection will either be the NCAA winner or a captain’s choice.
Selected for the Great Britain-Ireland team were Richard Coughlan of Ireland (Clemson), Andrew Laurence of Scotland (Alabama-Birmingham), Peter Laurie of Ireland (University of Dublin), Martin LeMesurier of England (Minnesota), Allan MacDonald of Scotland (Alabama), Keith Nolan of England (East Tennessee State), Neil Stevens of Ireland (Edinburgh) and Andrew White of England (Emory).