The Americans’ comeback in the 1999 Ryder Cup at The Country Club and last year’s European rally -- anguishing as it was for U.S. fans -- were two of the most riveting days of golf I have witnessed in a lifetime of following the game.
The Ryder Cup is my favorite event in golf. The emotions are genuine and are shared by players and fans alike.
The women’s version, the Solheim Cup, comes to a conclusion today. This shouldn’t be news to anyone who follows golf, but unfortunately this week’s event at the Colorado National Golf Club has been flying way, way under the sports radar of anyone who doesn’t tune into the Golf Channel.
As someone who started as a golf writer covering LPGA tournaments -- my first event was Hall-of-Famer Amy Alcott’s first tour win as a 19-year-old about 40 years ago -- it’s really disappointing.
Watching the first two days, the passion being exhibited by both players and spectators has been every bit as electric as it was in Chicago last year. And there has been plenty of great shotmaking as well. How about Europe’s Anna Nordqvist hitting a hole-in-one on the 17th hole to close out a win in Saturday’s alternate-shot matches?
While the Asians have been dominant on the LPGA Tour in recent years, the talent level in women’s golf is at an all-time high and both of these teams have plenty of talented players capable of rising to the occasion today.
It looks like the Americans have put themselves in a tough spot, but as the European men showed last year, you never know. Even if you traditionally shun the women’s game, tune in to enjoy the drama unfold.
Giving the Berkshires a boost
Late last fall, former Stockbridge Golf Club President Tom Doyle invited me to meet a recent acquaintance of his, David Lihn, to hear of his plan to produce a golf guide for the Berkshires.
Lihn, it turns out, has produced golf guides for places like Hawaii, the Dominican Republic and Thailand. He has also worked closely with the PGA of America and PGA Tour and has done guides for the TPC courses.
Frankly, I thought the Berkshires seemed like a small undertaking for someone of that background. But, Lihn, a former lawyer, had a simple reason for launching the project.
"I have always been enamored with this county," Lihn said. "I have been visiting for decades and never tire of the quiet beauty and calm of the entire region. ... I met Tom Doyle during my annual trip last September and we collectively had the epiphany -- extol the Berkshires!"
Doyle suggested that I could help with the golf writing and in introducing Lihn to the golf community. With an OK from now-retired publisher Andy Mick, I was on board. At a time when golf is struggling and county clubs need new members, it seemed like the right thing to do.
As it became obvious that the golf courses alone couldn’t fund the guide, Lihn got the area’s lifestyle and cultural institutions and others in the business community involved and the product became Lihn’s Golf & Lifestyle Guide: The Berkshires. Without the help of The Clark Museum, Red Lion Inn, Blantyre, Burger King, the Pittsfield Cooperative Bank and clubs including Donnybrook, Wahconah and Waubeeka, it wouldn’t have become a reality.
The 64-page publication, printed locally by Oualprint, came off the presses on July 4 with limited distribution. There are copies available at the Book Loft in Great Barrington and the entire product -- with some tweaks -- can be viewed online at www.berkshires-ma.com.
Monday night, Stockbridge Golf Club will host a party from 5:30-7:30 p.m. to celebrate the magazine and build toward next year’s edition, which is expected to be expanded and have a wider distribution.
For information on the event, or to obtain a copy of the guide, email Tom Doyle at email@example.com or call (646) 438-1329.
"The aim of the guide is to enhance tourism and create awareness of this very special patch of extraordinary vacation real estate," Lihn said. "Golf, skiing, sailing, shopping, spas, theatre, dance, the symphony, Shakespeare. ... And what a location! Only hours away from Boston and New York. Culture and recreation. And foliage."