Sports Columns

June 20, 2014

Fairways and Greens: Storm alters local course’s appearance

Golf course superintendents and course designers make changes to their layouts all of the time.

From adding a new set of tees to a particular hole to filling in that bunker off to the left near the middle of the hole that is just not worth all of the maintenance time, changes on golf courses are bound to happen.

But the one thing that changes the layout of a course the most is mother nature.

That was shown again recently as one of the most iconic views at Dalton Golf and Country Club was slightly altered.

Looking from the tee box at the par-3, 9th hole, a golfer has the view of the green across the water framed by two oak trees with the clubhouse in the background. With a bunker fronting the green and fountain in the middle of the pond, the view from the elevated tee is one familiar to most area players.

But Wednesday afternoon’s storms changed that view, as the winds from the rains that swept across Cleveland Highway took down a huge portion of the tree to the left of the green. Nearly half of the top-heavy oak landed on the green. Longtime club pro Lowell Fritz said this is the second time that mother nature had changed the appearance of No. 9. Fritz said that the oak that currently stands on the right side of the green is a replacement for another tree that was brought down by a storm “25 or 30 years ago.”

GOLF IN THE DARK: One of the most unique tournaments in the area will be held on July 12 at Indian Trace Golf Club in Chatsworth. The course will host its fourth annual Night Lite Tournament.

The three-man select shot (scramble) format will begin with nine holes of play on the back nine of the course starting at 4 p.m. After that, the fun begins.

The participants will have a dinner at the course’s pavilion until the sun goes down. Then, with the full moon rising in the background, the groups will tee off into the night. With glow-in-the-dark balls, the course will be outlined in glow sticks with the greens and flag sticks illuminated.

In addition, several little extras will be thrown in as course pro Tracy Spurlock said he tries to make things as fun as possible. For instance, on some of the holes, there may be more than one hole on the green. Spurlock said last year he made a green with three holes in a triangle shape with about four inches between each hole.

“You wouldn’t believe how many people told me they putted between them and never hit the cup,” Spurlock said.

Registration will begin at 3 p.m. and the cost is $60 per player. Early registration is encouraged since Spurlock said he expected to have a full field. Cash prizes will be given in two flights with other prizes for closest to the pin.

“It is always a lot of fun, and something a little different,” Spurlock said.

GSGA GANG: After Chatsworth’s Savannah Satterfield finished 22nd at last week’s Georgia State Golf Association Girls Championship, several other players will be participating in events with both statewide and national implications.

Dalton’s Gator Fouche will play in the sectional qualifier for the 2014 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship on Monday. Fouche will play at The Frog Golf Club at the Georgian in Villa Rica along with 43 other players. The 36-hole competition is for two spots and two alternate positions in the Public Links field. The Frog Golf Club will play to 7,018 yards and a par of 72.

Also on Monday, the University of Georgia Golf Course will play host to 85 players vying for four spots and two alternate positions for the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship.

Rocky Face’s Ethan Hayes and Dalton’s Allen Behr will compete in the 36-hole event. After 18 holes of play, the field will be cut to the low 26 scores and ties, and all players within eight strokes of the 18-hole leader.

Dalton High School’s Carson Roberts will compete in the 33rd playing of the Georgia Top 60 Women’s Classic on Tuesday and Wednesday at Rivermont Country Club in Johns Creek. Roberts is playing in the fourth flight of the 36-hole stroke play event. The field is made up of the top 60 women who registered flighted by their handicap. Rivermont Country Club will play to 5,991 yards and a par 72.

FCA CHAMPS: The North Georgia Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ 18th annual Golf Classic was played recently at Dalton Golf & Country Club.

Gross Divisions winners were Werner Braun, Lee Smith, Wayne Woolfall and Brian Milligan with a 52. Winners of the Open Net Division with a 55 were Pete Wilson, Sr., Beau Bray, Stacy Parker and Ron Kennedy. GHIN Net Division winners were Tiger Wagner, Jason Raughton, John Patterson, Todd Nelson with a 56.

Fairways and Greens is a regular column on the area’s golf scene written by sports writer Chris Whitfield. If you have golfing nuggets to share, tips on how to hit the perfect 3-iron from the rough or any other news and notes, email

Text Only
Sports Columns
  • Larry Case: Camping a sure cure for the big city blues

    In case you haven’t noticed, we are looking right down the gun barrel at winding down on another summer.

    July 25, 2014

  • Chris Whitfield's Fairways & Greens: Nob North prepares for 'big date'

    Like anyone getting ready for a big date, golf courses get dressed up when it is time for a major event. But while a woman may put on a little makeup and a man may add a spray of cologne, Nob North Golf Course in Varnell is getting something more akin to Botox.

    July 24, 2014

  • 7on7 day 2 '14 17 mlh.jpg Devin Golden: Friday signals gridiron days’ official start

    Seven-on-seven football was a good placeholder, but it’s time to begin talking about the real thing.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Loran Smith: Golf now in era of McIlroy after Open

    Royal & Ancient officials, under whose auspices the Open championship is conducted each year, were blessed with a sun-kissed start of the final round of the 143rd playing of this historic event.

    July 21, 2014

  • Loran Smith: McIlroy at his peak at Hoylake

    HOYLAKE, England — It’s the setting which enraptures those who appreciate the things that accompany a championship, The British refuse to let a downpour or two, intermittent and inconvenient, to make them fret.

    July 20, 2014

  • Loran Smith: Change is needed for major titles

    HOYLAKE, England — This is a good time to be Bubba Watson — long off the tee which brings golf aficionados through the gates, two Masters titles which puts him in the pantheon of the greats at Augusta, deal-makers hovering about, more perks than a palace prince, exempt status to the end of the decade and a cash flow that resembles a raging river.

    July 19, 2014

  • Loran Smith: Harman is living his childhood golf dream

    HOYLAKE, England — One thing about golf that has remained constant since Young Tom Morris won his fourth Open in a row in 1872 — when Ulysses Grant was president of the United States and Brigham Young was arrested for bigamy (he had 25 wives) — is that a little man can play the game.
    Football players are becoming bigger — often illegally — and basketball players are growing taller, but a golfer can excel at any dimension if he hones his skills enough to get the ball in the hole in the fewest strokes. Golf is not a behemoth sport; there are no concussions, no strikeouts and no fistfights. Let the game prosper.

    July 18, 2014

  • Loran Smith: Brits know how to hold classy affairs

    HOYLAKE, England — Summertime is a royal time for the British, who have more sporting options in a six-week period than some societies have in a lifetime.
    If you think the U.S. is keen on sport — with the NBA finals lasting into June and baseball and golf dominating the scene — consider what takes place in the land of our forebears. Wimbledon gets underway the last week in June for a fortnight of resonating excitement. Wimbledon is like Augusta National or Churchill Downs — a memorable experience regardless of who walks away with first prize.

    July 15, 2014

  • A Look Ahead: State golf coming to Nob North

    My history as a golfer can be summed up with some well-known words from 17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes — “nasty, brutish and short.”

    July 14, 2014

  • CharlesTodd.jpg Devin Golden: Todd leaving a legacy of success

    To many, Charles Todd is known as “coach Todd.” Some of the divers, swimmers and water polo players who have been on his teams in the Dalton area over the years shorten that to simply “coach.”

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo