PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Golf

October 22, 2013

West area notepad: Hogs push back Palms opening back to April

PORT ARTHUR — Plans to put in the new Mini-Verde greens on The Palms at Pleasure Island in time for a possible course re-opening in December have been scrapped because of ongoing devastation being wreaked by wild hogs. Course superintendent Bryan Jackson now says it will probably be late April before golf returns to the Island.

    “If it wasn’t for the hog problem, December was realistic,” Jackson said. “But we just couldn’t afford to take a chance on putting the greens in, them having them dug up. The hogs are continuing to do a lot of damage. We need more time to take care of the problem.”

    According to Jackson, nine hogs have been killed in the last week. Port Arthur police, wearing night- vision glasses, got five in one night and wounded several more. That was the good news. The bad news is that they spotted 28 in one pack heading toward the front nine.

    “We’re chipping away at them, that’s all we can do,” said Jackson, who is also having to deal with hog ravaging at Belle Oaks Golf Club. After doing their damage mostly in the roughs at Belle Oaks the past couple of years, hogs rooted up a significant part of the 10th fairway.

    “We’re killing hogs out there, too,” Jackson said. “But there are just so many of them and they reproduce so fast.”

    Other than not being able to put The Palms greens in when he’d hoped, Jackson is pleased with the progress being made. He says grass on both nines is now down to three inches and most of the tree trimming is complete.

    As far as erosion, he said the only area of concern is along the 10th fairway, and he thinks that is going to be addressed soon. One permanent change on the 10th hole, however, will be running the cart path down the right side of the hole, then coming back across at a point where a fairway bunker on the left used to be. That bunker, as well as several others, is being taken out.

    “Honestly, I don’t understand why certain bunkers were put where they are,” he said. “The one by the green on 18 and the one to the right of the green on 12, for example, made those holes too difficult for the average player. To be hitting a 4-iron uphill over water on 18, and having to clear a greenside bunker, was just too much. We’re putting in some new bunkers and taking out some.”

    The one thing Jackson is promising golfers at The Palms is exceptional greens.

    “They will be every bit as good, as fast and as smooth as the ones at Beaumont Country Club,” he promised. “And they will be good from the beginning. We’ll start putting them in as soon as spring breaks and the grass is ready at King Ranch Turf Farms. Six weeks after the sprigs are down, we’ll be playing golf.”

    CHIP SHOTS: Chris Stroud, after a 21-hour flight from Houston to Kuala Lumpur that included a four-hour layover in London, is ready to tee it up in his second event of the new PGA Tour season. Stroud is one of 78 players in the limited-field CIMB Classic that starts tonight (Thursday morning in Kuala Lumpur). The tourney offers a $7 million purse, plus a Masters Invitation and a two-year PGA Tour exemption to the winner. There is no 36-hole cut. Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els are some of the big names participating. The field is made up of the top 60 available players from the 2013 FedExCup standings, the top 10 from the Asian Tour of merit and eight sponsor exemptions. Round one can be seen starting tonight at 10 o’clock on the Golf Channel . . .  Condolences to the Lietzke family. Brian Lietzke, father of Beaumont Country Club pro Rob Lietzke and brother of former PGA Tour player Bruce Lietzke, was taken off life support Monday night in Round Rock. Brian’s failing health, which started with a recurring bout of pancreatitis and was compounded by a mild heart attack while hospitalized, was mentioned in this column two weeks ago. He briefly rallied but then went downhill in the past few days. “There were just too many issues with too many organs for him to be able to recover,” said Bruce, in an e-mail. Brian played on the Lamar golf team from 1968-70 with, among others, current Beaumont police chief Jimmy Singletary.  He did a stint as the head pro at Idylwild Golf Club and was a frequent caddie for Bruce on the Champions Tour . . . The team of Don MacNeil, Cole Lee, Bryan Grant and Larry Rogers won the Babe Zaharias DogFight with 20 points. Second with 19 points was the team of Gary Whitfill, Jim Mercer, Larry Johnson and Ron Overstreet. Closest to the pin winners were Buddy Sepeda (No. 2), Jim Jordan (No. 7), Richard Sibley (No. 12) and Mark Petry (No. 15) . . . The Senior Game at The Babe was played in a 4-person, 2 ball handicapped format. The foursome of David Balsano, Ray Trahan, Robert Lynch and Bob Lloyd won the front with minus 12. On the back, the Balsano team tied the team of Raymond Darbonne, Joe Cormier, Charles Leard and Bob Lloyd. Closest to the pin winners were Lloyd (No. 2), Larry Johnson (No. 7), Jim Jordan (No 12) and Balsano (No. 15)  . . . The Super Saturday Game at The Babe was played in a 2-ball format. On the front, the threesome of Paul Flores, Wes McDonald and Pete Reobroi won with even par. The back nine finished in a tie at plus 1 between the Flores team and the team of Randy Monk, Adam Noel, Charlie Huckaby and Steve Cameron . . . The 3rd annual fundraiser for the Port Neches-Groves boys golf team is set for Saturday, Nov. 2 at Belle Oaks. Entry fee is $75 per person or $300 per team. Hole sponsorships are $100. PN-G golf coach Ricky Keyes uses proceeds from the fundraiser primarily to offset travel expenses for his team. Anyone wishing to play or sponsor a hole should contact Keyes at 466-1263 or Brad Bailey at 720-9151 . . . The Bridge City Chamber of Commerce is hosting it annual fund-raising scramble Saturday at Babe Zaharais. Entry fee is $60 per player and includes greens fee, cart, beverages and food. Hole sponsorships are also available for $100. Call Gerald Robinson (735-6801, 626-1786) or Jerry Jones (735-6801, 626-1789) for more information.

    Golf news should be faxed to 724-6854 or e-mailed to rdwest@usa.net.  

  

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