Exercises to Improve Flexibility and Golf Swing from Trainer Anthony Renna of Five Iron Fitness in White Plains, NY

0

A good golf swing requires flexibility and range of motion, but unless your body has the stability to control all that movement, your swing will be erratic. And stability starts from the ground up, according to Five Iron Fitness trainer Anthony Renna, whose White Plains studio is devoted solely to golf — and regularly attracts outstanding local pros including Craig Thomas, Mike Diffley, and C.J. Reeves, not to mention LPGA Futures Tour pro Nannette Hill.

As with all exercise, warm up first with a few minutes of aerobic activity and don’t force your body to do anything that causes pain. Start slowly and build up your performance gradually. Renna suggests holding each position through one deep breath, then repeat three to five times in both directions.

Five Iron Fitness
188 E. Post Rd. (inside Key Bank)
White Plains. 914-948-3549; www.fiveironfitness.com

(Click on the gallery of images below to see our favorite moves)

» Return to Hudson Valley/Westchester Golf Guide 2012

Historic Golf Gear and Memorabilia of Golf Collectors in the Hudson Valley and Westchester, NY

0

Garth Bishop, Hopewell Junction

Garth Bishop, 12 years old at the time, was caddying at Mount Kisco Country Club when he saw a golf ball floating in the pond near the 10th green. Since golf balls normally sink like stones, he knew he was on to something. He fished it out, and sure enough, it was a novelty ball labeled “floater.” That golf ball is still in the 57-year-old Bishop’s collection of books, autographs, clubs, balls, novelties, figurines, tournament programs, trophies, toys, and much more that fills a spare bedroom and overflows to bookcases and cabinets throughout his home.

“I have no idea how many items are in the collection or how much it’s worth.” Bishop says. “If I see an article or artifact that helps me understand the game, I add it to the collection.”

golf clubs

The watercolor map on Bishop’s wall is of the Mount Kisco Golf Club, which was in a different location from the current Mount Kisco Country Club and disappeared before World War II, replaced by houses, some office buildings, and a gas station, although one of the tee boxes still exists near Route 117. The map is a plan for lengthening the course prepared by A.W. Tillinghast in 1920.

Bishop started his serious collecting with putters, although he has plenty of mashies, niblicks, cleeks, brassies, and driving irons as well. Two of the earliest clubs in his collection have screw-in shafts and date to 1894. He talks easily of spring-faced clubs and dual-faced irons, none of which would be legal on the course today.

One of the most interesting items in Bishop’s collection is a 1959 vinyl LP with golf lessons recorded by Arnold Palmer, complete with an instruction book bound into the cover. Who said multimedia is a new idea?

» Next: Meet golf collector Lowell Schulman of Purchase, NY

 

 
lowell schulman

Lowell Schulman, Purchase

“The ‘find’ is the big thrill,” declares Lowell Schulman, who at 85 is still finding remarkable treasures in the world of golf. The inveterate collector of golf art — and famed real estate developer noted for creating the Platinum Mile along I-287 in Harrison — has been assembling collections of art, glassware, silverware, ceramics, and other golf-related objects almost since he got hooked on the game as a 14-year-old caddie at Winged Foot Golf Club. That was when, he says, “I became smitten with the whole world of golf.”

Much of Schulman’s golf art hangs in his offices and home. On the wall behind his desk is his most valuable piece, The Drive, by C.E. Brock, painted in 1894. Schulman paid $52,000 for it 12 years ago and thinks it’s tripled in value since. “There were a series of three paintings, The Drive, The Bunker, and The Putt,” he explains. “I got this one, bid on the second one but it went to double what I’d paid, so I stopped bidding. I get joy just looking at these pictures every day.”

Golf artwork is only one of his passions. Schulman is now working on a singular collection of Amphora golf figures made from 1880 to 1910. It is basically his fourth collection. At one time, he had 200 ceramic pieces related to the sport. “The collection got bigger and bigger and bigger so I gave it to the USGA,” he says. “In my house, I enjoyed it, but there, everyone who walks through can see it.” The collection is in the main lobby at USGA headquarters in Far Hills, NJ.

» Next: Meet golf collector Bill Smittle of Valhalla, NY

 

 
bill smittle

Bill Smittle, Valhalla

You may find an electronic range finder in Bill Smittle’s hand, but you probably won’t catch him reading an e-book. The head pro at Scarsdale Golf Club is addicted to books, specifically golf books. And he’s partial to the real thing. “There’s something about holding a book in your hand,” he says. “Smelling the mustiness and imagining where it’s been.”

Smittle, 51, has more than 3,200 golf books in his collection, most of them published before 1950. The oldest is a history of a course in Scotland that doesn’t exist anymore. The book was published in 1852. “I’m fortunate to travel to Europe every fall with some of the members at Scarsdale,” he says, “and I often go a day or two early to hunt through the bookshops in Scotland and England.”

golf books

The first collectible book Smittle acquired was an autographed copy of The Walter Hagen Story, a gift from his boss at Oakland Hills Country Club, the storied club in Michigan where Smittle worked before he came to Scarsdale 24 years ago. Hagen, one of the legends of the game, was the first golf professional at Oakland Hills.

“At one time I thought I might be a golf course architect,” Smittle says, “so much of my collection pertains to either course construction or design.” For other golf architecture aficionados, he recommends Eighteen Stakes on a Sunday Afternoon: A Chronicle of Golf Course Architecture in North America by Geoffrey Cornish. The most useful instruction book in his collection is Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf by the golf great himself. Though published in 2005, Smittle considers Fearless Golf: Conquering the Mental Game — a “golf psychology” book written by Gio Valiante — a classic.

» Next: Meet Maury Povich of New York, NY

 

 
maury povich

Maury Povich, New York

TV viewers know Maury Povich as the star of numerous programs over the years including A Current Affair and two iterations of The Maury Povich Show (now just Maury). Golfers, though, know Povich as a longtime member of Century Country Club in Purchase, a perennial competitor in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and a devoted collector of historical golf equipment and memorabilia. The 73-year-old got hooked some 20 years ago and has bought, sold, and traded some fascinating items, especially clubs dating as far back as the 17th century.

“The clubs are remarkable,” Povich says. “They’re handmade and there was an artistry to it. I was really taken aback by how intimate the individual golfers were with their clubs.” Povich has several long-nosed clubs made around 1820 by Hugh Philp, the first official club maker for the Society of Golfers at St. Andrews. He also has a “Schenectady” putter, made famous by Walter Travis when he used it to win the British Amateur in 1904. Travis was not only the first American to win that tournament, but was also the designer of Westchester Country Club’s West Course.

Two of the few 20th century items Povich owns are programs to the first Masters Tournament in 1934 and for the 1930 U.S. Open at Interlachen, where Bobby Jones won the tournament on his way to capturing the Grand Slam.

» Return to Hudson Valley/Westchester Golf Guide 2012

 

4 Best Daily Fee Golf Courses 2012 in the Hudson Valley, Upstate NY

0

Putnam National Golf Club

Mahopac, NY
845-628-4200; www.putnamnational.com
• 6,804 yards • Par 71

If you haven’t been to Putnam National since RDC Golf Group took over management of the Putnam County-owned course, you’ve missed a much-improved golf experience. Greens are fast and true; fairways are in the best shape they’ve ever been thanks to a new irrigation system; and all the amenities you’d want — including a full range, short game area and putting green — have been upgraded in recent years. Best of all, Putnam National’s greens fees yield some of the best golf value in the region.

The golf course is the thing, though, and at 6,804 yards, Putnam National has plenty of it. All three of the par fives are well over 500 yards and three of the par fours are over 450. The course also passes one of my personal tests of good architecture: variety in the par threes. At 152, 180, and 215 yards, the one-shotters at Putnam National will keep you on your toes.

The accommodating nature of Putnam National is revealed in the course rating and slope. From the blue tees, the rating is 72.8 — high enough for just about anybody. The slope, though, is an entirely manageable 128, meaning that it’s not particularly punitive for the bogey golfer. There are also three other sets of tees, too, ranging from 5,789 to 6,365 yards, so there’s no reason not to have a good time with a course that fits your game.

The three finishing holes at Putnam National will put some starch in your socks. The 16th is a 530-yard par five that rewards a power fade off the tee with a chance to reach in two. The 17th, a 470-yard par four, calls for just the opposite, a precise draw that catches the downslope and puts you in position to go pin hunting. The closing hole is shorter, only 454 yards, but plays longer since it’s uphill. Oh, and it helps to shape your shot here with a slight fade, too.

Weekday greens fees $40, weekends $69, with substantial savings at non-peak times or with a season pass.

» Next country club: The Links at Union Vale, Lagrangeville, NY

 

 
links at union vale

The Links at Union Vale

Lagrangeville, NY
845-223-1000; www.thelinksatunionvale.com
• 6,646 yards • Par 72

It’s not Ireland, but it’s close. Darn close. Not only is the Links at Union Vale an excellent approximation of a true links course, it’s 3,000 miles closer to home — and available for daily fee play at quite reasonable rates.

Great swaths of the course are links-like, with wide-open treeless vistas, rolling fairways dotted with pot bunkers, and fescue rough that will teach you to keep your ball on the short grass where it belongs. Many holes, though, are laid out in traditional parkland style with trees and elevated greens. The result is a great mix, where you may play a bump-and-run approach on one hole while flying a wedge into the next.

Regardless of how you get to the green, you’ll want to pay attention when you take the cover off your putter. The Links at Union Vale may be a daily fee course, but the greens rival the best of the Hudson Valley private courses. They are not only huge and well contoured, but typically run around 10 on the Stimpmeter, so careful, precise strokes with the flat stick are a must.

The front nine is the shorter and easier of the two, although shot placement is crucial: there are several blind landing areas and many fairways are littered with pot bunkers. The course turns cruel after the turn. The 14th hole is a brutal 587-yard par five where bunkers line both sides of the fairway and there’s a hazard 350 yards out that forces either a strategic lay up or a heroic second shot. The green is a monster, too. Watch out for the shelf that falls away from front to back — it’s not very receptive to long, hot approach shots.

Weekday greens fees $49, weekends $76, with substantial savings at non-peak times or with annual membership.

» Next country club: Spook Rock Golf Course, Suffern, NY

 

 
spook rock golf course

Spook Rock Golf Course

Suffern, NY
845-357-6466; www.ramapoparks.org
• 6,806 yards • Par 72

Its name notwithstanding, there’s nothing scary about Spook Rock — as long as you can shape your shots, manage your distance, and own a putter that never misses. Do all that and you have nothing to fear from this Rockland County course that’s regarded as one of the best layouts in the area — public or private.

“Spook Rock rewards the strategic player,” says Howie Munck, a member of the course advisory board. “There are a lot of holes like the first where you can cut the corner of the dogleg but have to be careful not to drive through the fairway.” The 538-yard sixth is another thinking player’s hole. If you stay to the right side off the tee, you may have a shot at the green — if you want to challenge the water in front.

Spook Rock underwent a major renovation in recent years, but it’s been a championship-caliber course since its creation in 1969. Over the years it has hosted seven MGA competitions, most recently the MetLife Public Links Championship in 2010. The course is mostly flat, which makes it an easy walk, but the fairways are tree-lined and there are more than 50 bunkers to keep you honest. During the renovation, spearheaded by noted golf architect Stephen Kay, a new irrigation system and driving range were installed, trees were trimmed to improve air circulation and turf conditions, and bunkers were upgraded. New tees stretched the course to 6,806 yards from the tips and new bunkers and redesigned hazards brought the course into the 21st century. The result of the multiyear project is a golf course that will challenge scratch golfers while giving high handicappers a fun day on the links.

Greens fees $65, with substantial savings at non-peak times or with a Ramapo resident ID.

» Next country club: Garrison Golf Club, Garrison, NY

 

 

Garrison Golf Club

Garrison, NY
845-424-4747; www.thegarrison.com
• 6,497 yards • Par 72

Many clubs in the Hudson Valley are proud of their views, but few have more to brag about than the club at Garrison, where the setting 800 feet above the river yields jaw-dropping vistas of the Hudson Highlands and West Point. In addition to stunning views, the course features varied topography with demanding elevation changes, steeply canted fairways, and challenging greens.

The front and back nines have distinctly different characters, although both demand precise shot making and reward bold play. The front nine is tighter, with tree-lined fairways and some intimidating carries both off the tee and into the greens. The sixth hole, 404 yards, has a blind tee shot where a draw is perfect but a straight ball won’t hurt too much. The second shot is all carry over water, but the pressure is more mental than physical. The seventh, a 449-yard par five, looks like a pushover, but a creek runs all along the narrow fairway on the right side, then turns 20 yards in front of the green to make you think twice about being a hero with your second shot.

The back side is set on a shelf among the hills and opens up a bit. The short holes are the most interesting, especially the 343-yard 12th, a dogleg left with a bunker in front of the green that eradicates any advantage for the long hitter. The 14th, a 215-yard par three, is all carry over water, while the 202-yard 17th hole has everything — trees, sand, and water, not to mention an undulating green.

Weekday greens fees $50, Weekends $75, with substantial savings for twilight times.

» Return to Hudson Valley/Westchester Golf Guide 2012

 

4 Best Golf Courses and Country Clubs 2012 in the Hudson Valley, Upstate NY

0

Quaker Hill Country Club

Pawling, NY; www.quakerhillcc.com
• 6,010 yards • Par 70

Many clubhouses in the Hudson Valley are blessed with fascinating artifacts from the early days of the game. Only one, however, can boast a fragment of limestone from the palace of Sargon II dating to 700 BC; a tilefrom Jamestown, the first English settlement in Virginia; and a stone from the Peary Monument that stands 1,500 feet above the Polar Sea in Greenland. These are just a few of the wonders built into the fireplace of the Quaker Hill Country Club, founded by adventurer, traveler, broadcaster, and bon vivant Lowell Thomas in 1940.

Thomas was also an avid golfer, so he brought his friend Robert Trent Jones, Sr., to the fertile farmland of Dutchess County to lay out a nine hole course on top of a plateau where the views never end. Sam Snead, Gene Sarazen, and Jimmy Demaret were among Thomas’ friends who played the course, as were New York Governors Thomas Dewey and Nelson Rockefeller. So was Babe Ruth, who is pictured in a clubhouse montage arriving on a motorcycle.

The course continues to challenge golfers today with tiny undulating greens and two full sets of tee boxes that allow for a complete 18-hole round without repetition. Even though you cover the same ground twice, you never play a hole the same way due to vastly different shot angles introduced by the distinct tee boxes. Even the par threes aren’t just longer or shorter — the fourth/13th hole, for example, makes you approach the green from two completely different directions. The number one handicap hole, the 403-yard par-four fifth, becomes a short but treacherous 455-yard par-five the second time around as the back-nine tee box brings out of bounds into play on the hole.

Probably the most striking thing about Quaker Hill, though, isn’t the 19th-century barn converted into a clubhouse and museum full of history, or even the delightful and perfectly maintained golf course. It’s the casual, friendly atmosphere of a small family club without pretensions.

» Next country club: Manhattan Woods Golf Club, West Nyack, NY

 

 

manhattan woodsManhattan Woods Golf Club, Hole 7

Photograph by Jim Krajicek

Manhattan Woods Golf Club

West Nyack, NY; www.manhattanwoodsgc.com
• 7,109 yards • Par 72

Rolling hills, protected wetlands, and devilish greens are the hallmarks of Manhattan Woods, although a view of the eponymous skyline to the south helps define the club as one of the metropolitan area’s finest golf experiences.

Gary Player designed the course, which opened in 1998. He carefully fit 18 holes into the wooded terrain, squeezing fairways between marshy wetlands and hillsides covered with knee-deep fescue while carving bunkers into the most challenging places. Five sets of tees stretch it from 5,090 yards to a championship-caliber 7,109. Choose your launching pad carefully. From the blues it’s less than 6,400 yards, but the course rating is a hefty 72.2 with a 141 slope.

You’ll also want to look before you leap on several holes, since many of the natural features can suggest strategies that aren’t wise. Several forced carries aren’t as long as they look, and many of the hazards have bail-out areas that are actually good strategic choices. On the other hand, sometimes there really is trouble everywhere you look, like on the 13th hole, a short (508 yard) par five where the bunker that lies between your second shot and glory is every bit as menacing as it appears. And the oh-so-innocent-looking par three seventh hole, just 168 yards downhill, can make club selection a nightmare when the wind is whirling and swirling around. Miss that green in any direction, and a five or six is entirely possible.

The Manhattan Woods greens are among the most difficult in the Hudson Valley. Not only are they strongly contoured, they have exceptionally pronounced grain that add an entirely new dimension to reading breaks. If you are trying to putt cross-grain your ball will break more or less than you think, while going down-grain is like rolling your pill on the hood of a Mercedes. You can’t rely on your eyes, either. If your caddie says your putt breaks uphill, believe him—he’s reading the grain.

Another thing you’ll notice the first time you play Manhattan Woods is what happens when your ball finds the hole. You won’t hear the usual satisfying rattle that comes when you hole out, but rather a distinctive “ping” that comes from the unique cups designed to let your playing partners know you didn’t give yourself that little two-footer while they had their backs turned.

» Next country club: The Sedgewood Club, Kent Lakes, NY

 

 

sedgewood golf clubThe Sedgewood Club, Hole 9

The Sedgewood Club

Kent Lakes, NY; www.thesedgewoodclub.com
• 6,010 yards • Par 70

When you cross the rustic wooden bridge that brings you into Sedgewood it’s like entering another place and time. Hidden among 1,200 acres of protected woodlands is a community of getaway homes, spring-fed lakes plied by quiet fishing boats, Tilden-era red-clay tennis courts, and an 80-year-old golf course that’s still fun and funky.

Because the golf course is laid out on the hills above a lake, there are plenty of twists and turns, elevation changes and sloping, slanting fairways and greens to contend with. The first hole, for example, is a short but severe dogleg left. The second climbs relentlessly uphill, so you can be faced with a blind second shot into the tiny green if you’re a little short off the tee. The tee box for the 453-yard par-four fourth hole sits high, offering beautiful vistas of the surrounding country. At 267 yards downhill, the sixth hole is eminently driveable — as long as your tee shot is laser guided. You’ll be teeing off through a narrow chute of trees even the slightest fade will put you in a place you don’t want to be.

The course is just perfect as a nine-holer, although two sets of tees change the lengths and, in some cases, the shot values for several holes, making an 18-hole round possible if you absolutely must. For a quick, challenging game, though, it’s hard to beat a good nine-hole layout like this one.

» Next country club: Otterkill Golf & Country Club, Campbell Hall, NY

 

 

otterkill golf and country clubOtterkill Golf and Country Club, Hole 17

Otterkill Golf & Country Club

Campbell Hall, NY; www.otterkillcountryclub.com
• 6,860 yards • Par 72

Looking for a Hudson Valley golf challenge? Try Otterkill. It’s long, it’s tough, and it’s got more trouble than just about any two courses you can name.

“You’ll use every club in your bag,” says head professional John Schmoll. “Fifteen through 18 are known as ‘Amen Corner’ around here, and if you can get around there in par, you’re definitely beating the golf course and your competition.” Water, mostly from Otterkill, the creek from which the club gets its name, comes into play on 12 holes, while strategically spotted fairway bunkers, demanding carries off several tees, and large, undulating greens add to the fun. Just to make things more interesting, landing areas on several fairways are less than 20 yards wide.

The number one handicap hole is the 438-yard par-four fifth, which demands both length and accuracy off the tee, since the fairway turns a full 90 degrees left. Assuming you make the dogleg from the tee, you’re faced with an approach over water to a sharply contoured green. The hardest hole for many players on the front nine, though, is the 196-yard third hole, a par three that plays at least one club — maybe two — uphill. The odds of short-siding yourself are tremendous, too, since the green runs away on three sides.

The real heartbreakers at Otterkill are the last four holes. Fifteen is a dogleg right par-four. Your approach has to avoid water right and short, sand on both sides of the green, and even out of bounds near the green (one of the largest on the course) so you should double-check the pin position before you fire. Sixteen is a short (324 yard) but nasty par four with water, water everywhere. During the 2008 MGA Ike qualifying tournament, it played as the hardest hole on the course.

Seventeen looks like an easy par three at only 189 yards, but short is wet, left leaves an impossible up and down, and even getting on the severely sloped green in one shot doesn’t guarantee a two-putt par. Your tee shot on the closing hole, a 412-yard par four, is key to making par. It’s easy to drive into the trees on the right, but don’t even think of trying to cut the left corner unless you brought your scuba gear.

» Return to Hudson Valley/Westchester Golf Guide 2012

 

Golf Course Travel Destination: Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, NC

0

When Peter Allen wrote “Everything Old Is New Again,” he could have easily been talking about Pinehurst Resort, where the recent restyling of famed Pinehurst No. 2 has breathed new life into the venerable North Carolina must-visit golf destination. Today, you won’t find men playing golf in ties and top hats, nor many women wearing bustles and shoes with a dozen buttons, but you will be able to play a unique and exciting golf course, much the way it was originally envisioned. And the experience will delight you.

You’ll also find an enchanting village with a host of amenities and activities ranging from stellar restaurants to lawn bowling, croquet, and horseback riding; tours of historic homes; and a festival of some sort nearly every weekend. But golf is the main attraction. The Pinehurst Resort is home to not just one course, but eight, each one distinct and providing golf fun for players of every level. If those eight aren’t enough to scratch your golf itch, there are dozens and dozens of other courses within easy driving distance.

The big draw, though, is Pinehurst No. 2, fabled for its turtle-back greens and as the site of countless championship tournaments, including two U.S. Opens (1999 and 2005), the PGA Championship (1936), and the Ryder Cup (1951). Walking the same fairways trod by Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Payne Stewart, and other luminaries of the game adds a whole other dimension to your round on No. 2. In 2014, today’s stars will light up the course as it sets another record, becoming the first venue to host both the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open Championships within a week of each other.

payne stewart memorialPayne Stewart memorial near No. 2’s 18th green

The course the pros tackle will be completely different from the one where Payne Stewart punctuated his win of the U.S. Open in 1999 with an iconic fist pump that’s memorialized by a statue overlooking the 18th green. Today’s No. 2 has been restored so that it plays the way Donald Ross intended in the mid-1930s. Architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw (who also managed the rebuild of Wykagyl Country Club in New Rochelle) took a long hard look at photographs of the course from that era. They discovered that the modern course, with its lush fairways; even lusher Bermuda grass roughs; and sharply-defined bunkers, greens, and tees, was nothing like Ross’s original design. The duo kept the routing and the basic green contours, but changed — for the better — just about everything else.

There is no more rough on Pinehurst No. 2, but before you start celebrating, take a close look at what replaced the 35 acres of thick but boring grass off the fairways. Now you’ll find sand, pine needles, hardpan, and hundreds of thousands of wiregrass plants, spiky tufts of toughness that will eat your errant ball and maybe even the club you used to hit it. Bunkers that had been covered by turf over the years were reclaimed, while some of the existing ones were tugged further into the fairways to squeeze landing areas and torment those who dare challenge the layout. The characteristic Pinehurst No. 2 greens were restored to profiles that more naturally tie into the surrounding grades, although they remain distinctly turtle-backed and can be devilishly cruel. The result: there’s simply more to deal with on every shot.

The course not only plays differently, it looks different, too. The number of sprinkler heads was cut by more than half so that water reaches only the center of the fairways, which in turn blend into the sandy soil the way nature (and Donald Ross) originally intended. Tee areas, fairways, and even the aprons around the green are all mowed to the same height, making for a visually stunning and unique golf experience.

(Continued on next page)

 

 

no. 2 14th holeContending with a bunker on No. 2’s 14th hole

The second hole, which played as the most difficult in the 2005 U.S. Open, represents everything the restoration was meant to accomplish. As a 503-yard par four, it’s obviously long. What’s not so obvious from the tee, though, is exactly where you’re supposed to hit the ball. Aim straight for the green, and you’ll end up in the hardpan or in a clump of wiregrass. And plan your approach carefully, too, since this is the first of the true turtle-backs on the course. More than one golfer has rolled off, chipped over, bounced back over, and more — all before getting a chance to putt.

It’s tempting, but don’t spend all your golf time on No. 2. There are seven other courses at Pinehurst that are well worth exploring. More than 140 pot bunkers will complicate your round on No. 4, a 6,658-yard par 72 Tom Fazio redesign that was the site of the 2008 U.S. Amateur. It’s definitely a must-play. Traditionalists should also play No. 5, designed by Ellis Maples, where you’ll encounter more water than on any other course at the resort. No. 6 was renovated in 2005 with new bunkers and faster greens, making it a real test. Hudson Valley golfers will feel right at home on No. 7, where elevation changes, wetlands, and large, undulating greens add to the challenge designed by Rees Jones. Tom Fazio built many traditional dips and swales around sloping greens to daunt players on the 6,698-yard No. 8, which commemorated Pinehurst’s centennial in 1996.

With so much golf to play and so many other things to do, Pinehurst is a place worth more than a three-day weekend. Available accommodations include the historic Holly, a boutique hotel with charmingly decorated rooms and public areas; the original grand copper-roofed Carolina; the Manor, a sportsman-style lodge; and numerous condominiums to handle groups of all sizes and budgets. Complimentary shuttle service throughout the property is responsive and efficient.

1895 grille at the holly hotel1895 Grille at the Holly Hotel

For lunch and/or libations, the Ryder Cup Lounge is hard to beat. Combine a Carolina Peach Tee (vodka, gin, rum, tequila, peach schnapps, and sweet tea) with a Pretzel Panini stacked with chicken breast, bacon, and Monterey Jack and slathered with aïoli mayonnaise, and you’re set for the day. For dinner, the best choice is the 1895 Grille at the Holly Hotel, the only Four Diamond restaurant in the area. The lobster mac and cheese with broccolini is not to be missed — it’s the perfect accompaniment to prime filet mignon.

One other thing not to miss at Pinehurst is the Carolina’s extensive display of artifacts and photos chronicling the resort’s history. The team pictures from the 1951 Ryder Cup with Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Jack Burke, Jr., et al. is fascinating. The wide-angle shot of Payne Stewart pumping his fist on the 18th green just months before his death will send shivers up your spine. But there are fun displays, too, like the photos of Annie Oakley, who ran the Pinehurst Gun Club from 1916 to 1920 and gave exhibitions at the hotel twice a week. Makes you wonder what kind of golfer she was, doesn’t it?

Pinehurst Resort
80 Carolina Vista Dr., Pinehurst, NC
855-235-8507; www.pinehurst.com

Fly to Raleigh-Durham International Airport (75 miles from the resort) Shuttle — $65 each way
The Classic Golf Package, as of spring 2012, starts at $241 per person with overnight stay, one round of golf (on course No. 1, 3, or 5), breakfast, and a sleeve of Titleist golf balls. (See Web site for 30-percent-discount applicable dates.)
The Pinehurst Golf Package, including accommodations, one round of golf per night (choose course No. 1, or from courses 3 through 8), breakfast, use of practice range, club storage, and a sleeve of Titleist golf balls starts at $361 for double occupancy at the Manor, and $466 for single occupancy.

» Return to Hudson Valley/Westchester Golf Guide 2012

 

Shopping for Golf Clubs, Gear, and Instruction Books in Hudson Valley, Upstate NY

0

Click on the gallery of images below to check out our favorite golf gear this year:

» Return to Hudson Valley/Westchester Golf Guide 2012

 

People to Watch 2012: James Gagliano, Orange County FBI Agent, Newburgh, NY

0

James Gagliano has been quite the media darling lately. And rightfully so. As the FBI agent in charge of the biggest gang busts in Newburgh history — a May 2010 raid netted 78 arrests and dismantled the leadership of both the Bloods and the Latin Kings — he was noticed by everyone from the New York Times to New York magazine, which just months ago ran a long feature on Gagliano with the provocative headline, “Welcome to Newburgh, Murder Capital of New York.”

The raids are certainly a feather in Gagliano’s professional cap. But while this 46-year-old former Army brat and West Point grad already has an illustrious career, his current assignment is intensely personal. That’s because for many years the Cornwall-on-Hudson resident has been coaching basketball to Newburgh’s inner-city kids. And while he enjoys the sport, he admits that “really it’s just the carrot that gets them in the door. Because if we don’t give these young kids an opportunity to be part of a basketball league or something structured, something with discipline, the Bloods and the Latin Kings will provide them with a different outlet.”

Gagliano should know — he has already arrested dozens of extended family members of the kids he coaches. And he admits that the explosive collision of his business and personal lives can be tough. “When someone catches a bullet on Friday night and I get a phone call from the PD, I have to hold my breath. I have to say to myself, ‘a homicide is a homicide’ — but I just don’t want it to be somebody I know.”
It’s happened before. Gagliano once coached Jeffrey Zachary, a good kid who was later killed by a couple of Latin King gunmen in 2008 in a case of mistaken identity. “That really resonated with me,” says Gagliano, who keeps Zachary’s picture on his office desk in Goshen. It’s also made him more determined than ever to press forward on these dual fronts.

Inspired to become an FBI agent “after reading Donnie Brasco,” Gagliano landed his current post overseeing Orange, Dutchess, and Sullivan counties in May 2008, right around the time when Newburgh’s long-standing gang and drug problems were coming to a head. And when the gritty city landed in the top spot for per capita murders in the state several years in a row, he got the go-ahead to do a “surge strategy like the military did in Iraq and Afghanistan.” The resulting task force, composed of many state and federal agencies, “is probably the greatest collection of investigative talent that I’ve ever seen assembled.”

But despite the historic 2010 arrests, “I don’t think we can do any celebrating yet,” says Gagliano, who orchestrated two more major busts in 2011 that took down another 50 gangbangers. “We’ve taken out a heavy percentage of [the gangs’] membership, but unfortunately there are young kids that are still eager to fill their ranks. We’ve got to keep the pressure on.”

The father of two college-aged kids, Gagliano tries to take the pressure off himself by riding his Harley, taking his beloved pit bulls for a romp in the woods, or running. “I’m strictly a treadmill guy now; my knees and ankles took a pounding jumping out of airplanes,” he says.

And in what Gagliano calls “the most delicious irony of ironies,” Newburgh’s formerly vacant National Guard Armory building, which he had used to round up and process the suspects in the May 2010 case, has since been transformed into a vibrant community center. Gagliano can be found at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center most Saturday mornings coaching basketball to 50 kids, who range in age from four to 11 years old. “They get a chance to get yelled at by me,” says Gagliano. “Some of them are so desperate for father figures, desperate for attention. They mostly don’t realize I’m the guy in the paper; I’m just the bald-headed guy with tattoos who coaches.”

He shrugs off his commitment to the kids as “the least I can do. If you are in the position where you can write a check, like Bill Gates, you do wonderful things with your largesse. If you don’t have that, the minimum you can do is donate your time, because that’s just as important.” Of course he’s speaking from hard-earned experience. “I’ve had men who — when they got out of jail — brought their kid to my practice. I’ve also had a number of guys I coached come back when they’re 21, 22, 23 to help. That’s one of the things I’m most proud about. I think they get it.”

» Return to People to Watch 2012

 

9 People to Watch in the Hudson Valley in 2012

0

Lee Price, Dutchess County Artist, Beacon, NY

Meet Beacon artist Lee Price, one of our people to watch in 2012

 

 

lee price
judith acosta

Judith Acosta, Ulster County Therapist, Gardiner, NY

Meet Gardiner therapist Judith Acosta, one of our people to watch in 2012

 

 

mike hein

Mike Hein, Ulster County Executive, Hurley, NY

Meet Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, one of our people to watch in 2012

 

 

peter gregory

Peter Gregory, Orange County Entrepreneur, New Windsor, NY

Meet Orange County entrepreneur Peter Gregory, one of our people to watch in 2012

 

 

james gagliano

James Gagliano, Orange County FBI Agent, Newburgh, NY

Meet Newburgh FBI Agent James Gagliano, one of our people to watch in 2012

 

 

connor kennedy

Connor Kennedy, Ulster County Guitarist, Saugerties, NY

Meet Saugerties guitarist Connor Kennedy, one of our people to watch in 2012

 

 

melissa everett

Melissa Everett, Ulster County Environmentalist, Kingston and Rosendale, NY

Meet Ulster County environmentalist Melissa Everett, one of our people to watch in 2012

 

 

lissa harris

Lissa Harris, Ulster County Journalist, New Kingston, NY

Meet New Kingston journalist Lissa Harris, one of our people to watch in 2012

 

 

decora sandiford

Decora Sandiford, Orange County Social Activist, Newburgh, NY

Meet Newburgh activist Decora Sandiford, one of our people to watch in 2012

Everything You Need to Know About Quilting in the Hudson Valley

0

Quilts are more than just a means of keeping someone warm or decorating a wall. They tell stories, whether the story is actually stitched right into the fabric or into the meaning of a gift. “My favorite quilt is the one that I made for my mom and dad for their 50th anniversary,” says Bob Silverman, co-owner of the Joyful Quilter in Glenville. “As my mom got sicker later, that quilt would become her comfort blanket.”

Janna Whearty, the executive director of the Dutchess County Bar Association, remembers visiting Pennsylvania Amish country as a teenager and waiting for her mother to buy a quilt she had been saving for. Whearty looked around at the handmade treasures and thought, ‘I can do this.’ “I’ve never had that reaction to something before,” she says now. She returned home, attended a weeklong quilt camp, and soon had completed her very first quilt — a log cabin pattern starting as a center square, which is a popular pattern for beginners. She hasn’t stopped quilting since then; about five years ago, Whearty began selling her creations at craft fairs. “I probably make between 100 and 250 pieces a year, mostly wall hangings, table runners, place mats, bags, and other accessory-type items,” she says.

All around the country — and the Valley — folks of all ages and both genders (yes, men too) are gathering together, picking fabrics, taking classes, and creating quilts

The origins of quilting remain a bit of a mystery, although some clues suggest that it started in ancient Egypt. In the 1800s, the art of quilting flourished with the American pioneers, who used quilts for warmth, to give as gifts, and to keep as family heirlooms. Quilting has always been a social pastime; in those days, women organized quilting bees (in the same way that the men planned barn raisings) as a way to jointly create a quilt and to socialize. In recent years quilting has seen a resurgence — both as an activity and as a well-respected art form. Quilts made it back onto our cultural radar in 1971 when New York’s Whitney Museum took the art world by storm by exhibiting antique and vintage quilts; several years later, quilts made to celebrate the American Bicentennial helped cement the popularity of this type of folk art. This fall, many PBS stations are screening Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics, a nine-part documentary series that delves into many facets of quilting, from how quilts have empowered women to how they have changed through the years.

sunfower quilt
blue quilt

All around the country — and the Valley — folks of all ages and both genders (yes, men too) are gathering together, picking fabrics, taking classes, and creating quilts. “It’s gotten so much more popular. People can’t afford to vacation as much anymore, so they’re nesting and looking for things to do,” says Kathy Joray, who opened the Quilters Attic in Pine Bush in 1994. “I see a lot of professional working women, because quilting is a good stress reliever, but recently the younger generation has become interested, too. I think that’s because of the show Project Runway.”

Of course, much has changed since the quilting bees of the 1800s. While the basics remain the same — creating a top, a filler, and a backing — “sewing is very computer-oriented now,” says Joray, who notes that many sewing machines today have USB ports, which can stitch out patterns created on a computer. “There are so many different techniques now,” she says. “You can capture memories with the use of photo transferring and stitching T-shirts right into the quilt. There is painting and beading on fabric, and a lot more embellishment. It is not as utilitarian, but more decorative.”

Joray offers four-week beginner quilting classes, where students learn to cut fabric with a rotary cutter (“it’s like a pizza wheel with a razor blade,” says Joray) and to machine-stitch it together. “They buy their own supplies, but they use our machines. They can try out all of the different features, and at the end they have a quilt to take home.”

Whearty attributes quilting’s rise in popularity, in part, to handbag designer Vera Bradley. “Their bags have upped the ante for fabric designers,” she says. “The difference in the fabric between when I first started and now is night and day, in both selection and quality. It makes quilting more trendy.” But there is a downside to that too, warns Whearty. “This is not a cheap hobby. Even cheap fabric costs between $8 and $10 a yard.” Whearty’s solution: she travels to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, every other year so she can stock up. “Their prices are more in the $4 to $5 range, so I go as often as I can. Last time I was there I spent about $2,500 in one shot, and I saw my husband’s jaw drop. He couldn’t fathom it, but it was definitely worth it.”

Next: More about the Joyful Quilter and local quilters

 

 
man sewing quilt

It’s a Guy Thing

Noel Montgomery says he’s never been teased about quilting. “In fact, most people are fascinated with the fact that I do this,” says the Hyde Park resident who’s been quilting for 12 years.

“My mom passed away and I found the quilt she had done, and the block and a pattern. I wondered if I could do it,” he says. Additional stress from a relative’s health scare was the catalyst he needed to actually buy the fabric and give it a shot. “I needed to keep my mind busy,” says Montgomery. “It’s become the activity for this retired man to do while watching hockey games.”

Montgomery’s first quilt had a six-pointed star that incorporated fabric from dresses his sisters wore when they were little girls. “I didn’t know what I was doing but I just started.” Today he quilts both by hand and machine, making approximately seven quilts a year, many of which have won awards. “People have an appreciation for what I’ve done,” he says. “In the last 30 years, there’s been a great revival of quilters because the quality of the fabrics got better. I just wish more men would quilt.”

Bob Silverman and his partner Jim Helmes are co-owners, with Susan Pettengill, of Joyful Quilter in Glenville. After buying a home in Woodstock, they shopped for a quilt to fill an empty wall. It was this excursion that ultimately lead to the life-altering decision to open their store several years later. “We decided we wanted to make our own quilts and it just took over,” says Silverman, who previously worked as a bead buyer in the fashion industry.

Silverman admits that their first quilt, a nine-patch, was filled with mistakes, so the pair started taking workshops and buying books on quilting. Since then their quilts have been in traveling exhibits and they also teach quilting classes and have led retreats — some for men only. “The first one that we held at our old shop in Woodstock was fantastic,” he remembers. “People stayed at local B&Bs and we made all the food for them. We’d quilt until midnight each night.”

 

 
quilt

Local Quilters and Sewing Centers

Quilter’s Attic Sewing Center, Pine Bush
This roomy shop features the complete line of Pfaff and Babylock Sewing Machines, as well as a large selection of fabrics, books, and patterns. Classes for quilting, sewing, and embroidery, including summer sewing programs for children ages eight and up, are also offered.

The Joyful Quilter, Glenville
Located in the Capital District, the Joyful Quilter is a source for batting, fabric, gifts, patterns, and more. Classes and programs, such as sit-and-sew Tuesdays, Quilts for Kids charity project, finishing school, beginning quilting classes, T-shirt making, and weekend retreats are also available.

The Patchwork Co., Windham
This Green County company offers an eclectic mix of quilting fabrics and is also a Pfaff dealer.

Quilt Basket, Wappingers Falls
Celebrating 22 years in business, the Quilt Basket features 4,000 bolts of cotton fabrics, along with books and patterns. Quilting classes and retreats are also offered.

The Foofsique Quilting Emporium, Chatham
This full-service shop carries fabric lines such as Moda, P&B, and Marcus Brothers, as well as batiks from Tonga, Hoffman, Blank, and others. A full line of sewing machines, patterns, and books are also available. Programs include Sunday Breakfast club, UFQ (unfinished quilting) classes, and evening open sews.

First Dutchess Quilters, Poughkeepsie
100-plus member organization that meets the third Wednesday of the month in Poughkeepsie. Speakers, workshops, and community service projects.

new england quilting museum

Road trip! If quilts have caught your attention, you may want to check out the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts, 30 miles north of Boston. Through the end of this month, you can catch a special exhibit featuring products made by women in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, who are taking care of their families by creating one-of-a-kind quilts for sale abroad.

 

Best Of Hudson Valley 2011

0

It’s here! Our compendium of the crème de la crème of Valley life celebrates its silver anniversary with this issue. For 25 straight years, you — our loyal readers — have cast your vote for the region’s finest. Now, there are more than 200 categories: B&Bs and bakeries, pizza joints and plant stores, upscale restaurants and urban-chic boutiques. Rounding out the list are our editors’ picks, which showcase new and notable people, places, products, and trends that (in our humble opinion) deserve your attention. So turn the page to discover exactly why living in the Hudson Valley is so darn wonderful.

best food

Food & Drink

Best of Hudson Valley 2011: Best Restaurants, Food & Drink in the Hudson Valley, Upstate NY
PLUS: Readers’ Picks, including Best Restaurants (by county, cuisine, and atmosphere)                                                                  
best shopping

Shopping

Best of Hudson Valley 2011: Best Shopping, Boutiques, and Stores in the Hudson Valley, Upstate NY
PLUS: Readers’ Picks, including Best Bargain Shopping, Furniture Store, and Boutique
best health and beauty

Health & Beauty

Best of Hudson Valley 2011: Best Salons, Spas, Health and Beauty Stores in the Hudson Valley, Upstate NY
PLUS: Readers’ Picks, including Best Day Spa, Manicure/Pedicure, Beauty Salon, and Health Club
best kids and pets

Kids & Pets

Best of Hudson Valley 2011: Best Kids Programs and Pet Stores in the Hudson Valley, Upstate NY
PLUS: Readers’ Picks, including Best Toy Store, Baby/Children’s Boutique, Pet Store, and Place to Eat with Kids
best fun

Fun

Best of Hudson Valley 2011: Best Concerts, Fairs, and Fun Things to Do in the Hudson Valley, Upstate NY
PLUS: Readers’ Picks, including Best Fair, Scenic Hike, Bike Trail, Place for a Picnic, and Outdoor Venue for Plays and Concerts
best people

People

Best of Hudson Valley 2011: Best Actors, Chefs, Musicians, and People in the Hudson Valley, Upstate NY
PLUS: Readers’ Picks, including Best Actor/Actress, New Band, Author, Morning Show Personality, and Politician

 

Our Excellence in Nursing Awards take place on May 1!

Our Best of Hudson Valley ballot is open through March 31!

Unveiled: A Boutique Bridal Brunch is February 25!

Holiday flash sale ... subscribe and save 50%

Limited time offer. New subscribers only.