I heard a rumor that the Sarasota Golf Club was not in good shape. Well, just in case you've had some negative comments whispered in your ear, ignore them.
The course, originally designed by Wynn Treadway in 1960, received a face-lift quite recently, with most of the work involving resurfacing the greens. And the investment has paid off. In fact, this facility, inclusive of a full practice range, complete pro shop, and informal grillroom, is attracting low-handicap players who enjoy the challenge of playing the course from the back tees-all 6,585 yards of it-while middle- and high-handicap players usually prefer the course from the white tees, since it only measures 6,061 yards. Take it from me, wherever you hit from you will enjoy the challenge of this old-style course and putting the ball across the smooth "true" greens.
What else is so nice about the course is that it's aesthetically pleasing. The beautifully green rolling fairways and manicured greens contrast with the 2,000 mature oak, pine, and palm trees that wind through the layout featuring a well-balanced mix of short and long holes. The new cart-paths help the look of the place, too.
The course, located just east of I-75 on North Leewynn Drive, is not crowded or expensive, but play is steady; so it's best to call for a tee time a week in advance at (941) 371-2431.
Sarasota Golf Club
7280 N. Leewynn Drive, Sarasota
Pro shop: 371-2431
I THINK WE CAN CUT THE LINGO THIS TIME.SEEMS TO ME HE DID THESE VERY WORDS BEFORE NOT SO LONG AGO.KAY
True golfers, as opposed to casual players, speak the language of golf-speak on the course. Just in case you get paired with more experienced players, let me enhance your vocabulary regarding equipment terms. That way, you can feel comfortable joining in the conversation.
Clubface: The hitting portion of the club-head, featuring grooves.
Flange: The additional surface that protrudes at the bottom or sole of the club-head, and is more exaggerated on a sand wedge.
Heel: The part of the club-head nearest the shaft.
Hosel: The hollow part of an iron club-head, in which a shaft is fitted.
Lie: The angle the club's shaft makes with the ground, when the club is soled or sitting in its natural position.
Loft: The degree of pitch built into the club-head, designed to lift the ball into the air.
Shaft: The part of the club that is not the club-head. Shafts usually come in medium flex (Regular), firm-flex (Stiff), and senior flex (Whippy).
Toe: The part of the club-head farthest from the golfer.
At present, I'm working on updating a book, Grip It And Rip It! that I wrote in 1992 with power hitter John Daly. The reason: Daly has made a great comeback on the PGA Tour.
When I lived in Orlando, I had "J.D." out to my club, Lake Nona. Now that I reside in Sarasota, I'm going to try and get him down our way. Until that day arrives, and I hope it's real soon, let me share with you a power tip involving the grip that this golf superstar gave me.
"A critical point I'd like to make about the grip, and a secret to generating power in the golf swing, involves the position of my right index finger. I call it my trigger finger because it is separated from the other three on that hand, and extended down the shaft. This is sort of a personal idiosyncrasy, I guess, because it feels as though my trigger finger gives the club-shaft a little more snap coming through impact. Actually, at the top the backswing my trigger finger comes off the shaft. While I don't do this consciously, I do think that this reapplication of my trigger finger on the downswing adds a touch more speed to the club-head at impact."
You can sure make legitimate excuses for shooting high scores. However, there's no excuse for not knowing the rules of golf and losing strokes unnecessarily, due to rule-breach penalties incurred.
Here's a rule you'd better know, should your ball land in an area marked "Ground Under Repair" and you choose to take a free drop and play the ball outside the marked area.
Situation: Player A hits his ball in a ground under repair area and decides to take a drop.
Common mistake: Player A drops the ball over his shoulder, hits his next shot onto the green, and then completes the hole by two-putting.
Because Player A dropped the ball incorrectly, according to the criteria set down in Rule 20-2, he is penalized one stroke.
Correct procedure: When dropping the ball, stand erect with one arm fully extended at shoulder height. Next, let the ball fall gently out of your hand onto the ground. You are not permitted to manipulate the ball with your fingers to impart spin on it.
CUT THIS SINCE SUMMER, LEO SIGN, IS OVER
Ben Hogan, the legendary golfer born under the sign of Leo, loved Donald-Ross-designed golf courses. His favorite was Seminole in Palm Beach, though I'm sure he would have been in heaven coming to our area, where he could have shown off his great swing at courses such as Sara Bay and Bradenton Country Club.
Hogan was a genius with a golf club in his hands, and kept many of his swing secrets close to his chest; so even the best players in the world can't swing like he did during his heyday of the early 1950s. Not to worry, as the Brits put it. You can improve your game another way -by listening to the advice of Mark Oman in the book Golf Astrology - provided, of course, you are a Leo, like Hogan.
Tip One: "With the sun such a part of your life force, you will be an even more powerful golf force when wearing the high energy hues of gold and yellow and the hot orange glow of the setting sun."
Tip Two: "Because you view your performance on the course like that of an actor on stage, you must not let your need for satisfying the rest of your foursome, or a gallery, wear out your Leo heart. Believe in the natural attributes you bring to the game, and you won't need to seek acclaim from others."
Tip Three: "When looking to put together a foursome, by having three golfers join you, understand that the Libra player will bring peace to your round, the Sagittarius player adventure, and the Pisces player will allow you to enjoy yourself to the maximum."
When not writing about golf or playing it with friends, I escape by reading about artists, namely the French Impressionists and Hudson River School painters. At all costs, I avoid reading golf books, much like an employee of an ice cream shop rarely licks a scoop-delight atop a sugar cone. Nevertheless, I could not resist the temptation to read They Called It GOLF Because FLOG Was Already Taken, by Frank Fenton and David Grimes, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune columnist (Pineapple Press, Inc., Sarasota, Florida: $8.95).
I'm glad I made this choice. The practical advice on equipment from Fenton, who formerly was in charge of club design for the Ben Hogan Company, was superb. I particularly liked Chapter 11, entitled: Shafts: Kick Point, as you will, because he explains things in a highly informative, yet easy-to-follow manner.
And I just laughed my way through the writings of co-author Grimes, most notably Chapter 15: It Is Time To Ban Golfers Who Walk The Course. Here's a taste of that chapter that will give you a good idea about where this book is going to take you.
"Almost all golfers, with the exception of PGA TOUR pros, ride around the course in a battery-powered golf cart, which is the way God and Jackie Gleason intended the game to be played. The few remaining fitness freaks who insist on walking are a major source of irritation to the rest of us who, thanks to on-course beers and ham-and-cheese sandwiches, actually manage to gain weight while playing."
Great job, guys. The maximum five stars.
SARASOTA'S JOHN ANDRISANI, the former senior editor of instruction at GOLF Magazine and the author of more than 25 books, including The Tiger Woods Way and Think Like Tiger, is the former winner of the World Golf Writers' Championship. Send questions to John at email@example.com