Jan 29, 2011

Ice Tee in the Poconos & Polar Bear Golf in Connecticut

My trip to Orlando yesterday was little more than a turn-around,  giving me barely a glimpse of bright skies, green grass and palm trees as I rushed to the Convention center... and back. Here in CT, the ground has been snow-covered since Christmas... and the skies have been mostly gray, so the landscape looked almost foreign to me.

The PGA Merchandise Show was as bustling as ever and it's always great to actually see...in person... some of the people I communicate with virtually throughout the year. I missed a lot of people too, unfortunately, due to the rushed schedule.  I'll be writing (and posting pics) about what I saw in my hectic explorations over the next few days.
For now,  however I'm back in the icebox we call Connecticut,  and to be perfectly honest with you,  I've actually been alright with winter this year... wintery as it's been... and I've even managed to appreciate its stark, subtle beauty... and I've found some pretty fun ways to keep my golf life alive too.  

Persian carpet putting has long been a part of my indoor practice sessions, but this year... as illustrated above... I discovered that parallel snow banks can be a pretty effective outdoor training aid for defining swing path and perfecting ball trajectory.  Popular You Tube golf instructor Shawn Clement has even devised a practice drill based on snow shoveling!  That's got to be the definition of taking lemons and making lemonade, right?  It's pretty awesome isn't it.

There's also snow golf.  It's an activity that's been around since the middle ages, Hendrick Avercamp can testify to that... or he could back in 1500s when he painted A Scene on the Ice. These days, if you live in an area where winters are white,  chances are you'll find tournaments or events taking place somewhere near you.

Intrepid travel golf blogger, Brandon Tucker wrote about the Ice Tee Golf Tournament, which takes place tomorrow on the frozen fairways of Lake Wallenpaupack in Hawley, PA.  It’s an annual event held in the Pocono Mountains on a nine-hole course carved out of a frozen lake.  Golfers are allowed to use three clubs, one of which must be a putter.  Last year the Ice Tee Tournament drew more than 200 golfers and this year it celebrates its 20th anniversary.  Info can be had via the Pocono Lake Region Chamber of Commerce. 

Then, a bit closer to my home base, at the Burlington Golf Center, there's the awesome event they call The Polar Bear Open. Ironically, for the first time in its 16 year history, the tournament was postponed this year due to... too much snow!

January snowfall accumulations of over 30 inches... covered with a coating of ice... times two caused the unprecedented delay, but the tournament is now on track to take place in two weeks on February 13th... and we're playing.  You see, this nine-hole event features hot mulled cider and snacks... and wood-burning stoves to warm oneself by... so yes, I think I can handle the cold.  ~ Chet Dunlop, Connecticut PGA Teacher of The Year, founder of the Burlington Golf Center and Director of The New England School of Golf, conceived this frosty event and additional info can be had on the center's website.

As it happens one of most consistent trends I noticed at the show yesterday fashion-wise was the preponderance of layering pieces: compression mock turtlenecks and light jackets... vests, and sweaters and windshirts.  It seemed all the apparel makers were showing them, in a vast array of colors and styles, all perfect for winter golf, but more about that later.  For now, if you're one of the many lamenting the cold winter this year... why not try to turn things around and have some fun with it.