Joe Logan 
My favorite round of 2013
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
By Joe Logan

My hopes and dreams of a balmy December came to a screeching halt over the past 10 days, as we got hit once, twice, three times with snow.  It’s snowing as I write this.   My 2013 golf season, I’m afraid, is over.


That leaves me no alternative but to fill some of my idle time by banging out a series of end-of-the-year blogs about my Year in Golf.  Today, I start with:


Favorite Round of 2013:  Let’s face it, this was not a banner year for me in golf.  Thanks to two surgeries (see previous blog post), I only played about two dozen rounds, and three of those were 9-hole outings that I mostly hobbled through.


I did team with my longtime friend and regular golf partner Jack McMahon, the well-known defense attorney, in a couple of early-season club tournaments, shortly before the pain in my hip became unbearable.  We didn’t win jack----, owing mostly to the fact that I limped and whimpered and generally stunk up the joint.  I was so bad that Jack was embarrassed for me, which is saying something, if you ever saw Jack play. 


In April, I played a very enjoyable round at Glen Mills with Jeff Silverman, a golfer writer pal; Eric Stake, a mutual friend and gentle soul who is a psychiatrist; and Gil Hanse, another pal and international superstar golf course architect.  Here is a video I shot that day of Gil discussing the 2016 Olympics golf course in Brazil that he is designing.


But for my favorite round of the year in 2013, I’m going to go with the day I spent playing with my son Travis, my daughter’s boyfriend Quinn, and Quinn’s dad, Mike.  It was a lazy Sunday morning in September.  The weather was ideal, and so was the company.  Travis and I were guests of Quinn’s at Philadelphia Cricket’s Militia Hill course.


Travis, who has never taken golf as seriously as I do, was just back from a year-long deployment in Kuwait, with the Pennsylvania National Guard.  It was my first round with Quinn, who enjoys golf, but, like Travis, doesn’t seem lose any sleep over a bad shot or a lousy round.  Other than one dinner together, it was the first chance I’d had to spend any time with Mike, a partner at a big Center City law firm.   Travis and I rode in one cart; Quinn and Mike rode in the other.


None of us played all that well, and none of us seemed to care.  Travis was rusty; I was still recovering from hip replacement surgery.  I’m sure Quinn and Mike would have plausible excuses, if I asked them.


Of course, the day wasn’t really about golf; it was about spending time together, about getting to know each other better and about appreciating the hands that life has dealt us.  The older I get, the more those become the reasons I enjoy golf so much.


I couldn’t tell you what I shot that day.  I had a birdie on a par 5, and a handful of pars, but I also had an "x" or two on my card.  Travis must’ve lost a half-dozen balls, which is not easy to do on the wide-open Militia Hill course.  Did he care?  Not a bit.  He’ll drop one and hit a mulligan in the blink of an eye.  If Travis, hits three or four good shots during a round, he’s happy.  Over in the other cart, Quinn and Mike were having just as much fun.


After the round, we headed to the clubhouse for a beer and to watch the tail end of the Eagles loss to the Chargers.  We must’ve talked for an hour or more and I don’t think the round we had just played ever came up.  Mike told us all about how he got drafted out of law school and sent to Vietnam.  Travis regaled us with tales from the front lines in Kuwait, where his shift in a guard tower began at 4 a.m., but he did find time to win a ping pong tournament.  Quinn and I mostly listened.  


When it was time to part ways, Mike was off to his home in Chestnut Hill.  Quinn and Travis left together for Center City, where they both live, and I headed home to Ambler.  As I drove, I remember thinking, hey, that was one great day of golf, even if I didn’t play well.


Before I could get home, my cell phone rang.  I was my daughter, Kelly.  "Sooo?" she asked.   "How did it go?  Did you have fun?"


Yes, Kelly, yes I did.

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nikebrandsells[7/31/2014 11:28:30 PM]

My golf season ain’t over til it’s over
Monday, December 2, 2013
By Joe Logan

I don’t know about you, but I am watching the weather forecast very closely these days.   Please, please, golfing gods, grant unto us another day of decent golfing weather.   Or two.  Or three, at the risk of getting greedy.


Here in the Northeast, December is the month that can go either way.  We’ve all seen Decembers that were extensions of late October and November – cool and crisp, but also clear and completely golf-able.  We’ve also seen Decembers that were snow-covered and frozen and of no use whatsoever to any golfer with designs on sneaking in a few more rounds.


I hate those Decembers, and I’m hoping this is not going to be one of them.  As of this moment, I’ve got my eye on Thursday, Dec. 5, when for now the forecast says it’s going to be  cloudy, with a high of 57.  I can work with that.




I’m particularly antsy to get in another round or two this December.  I’ve got some serious testing to do.  Regular readers of this blog know that I underwent my second hip replacement surgery in June, making for a 2½-month layoff from golf.


With great fanfare – at least in my own mind, if not in the minds of my golf buddies – I made my return to in late September/early October.  I felt good and invigorated, even if my swing didn’t look good or invigorated.  Thing is, I was healed, more or less, but it’s hard to trust your swing when you know you’ve got titanium parts clanking around inside you, even if they don’t make a sound.


The ugly reality was a slow-motion swing with a hip turn that groaned like the raising and lowering of a drawbridge at a Medieval castle.  I didn’t so much turn on the ball as I made some pathetic swaying motion, like a grandpa trying to dance with the bride at her wedding.


"You’re all arms, you’re not turning," my golf buddy Tim pointed out one day.


I sighed with resignation.  "I know."


The net result, of course, is that I couldn’t hit the ball out of my shadow.  I’d bust a drive as well as I could bust it and I’d still be 40-50 yards behind where my tee shots landed only a year ago.  On approach shots, I was coming up at least a club short, sometimes two clubs.  Clearly, I’d lost swing speed.  The question was, would I ever get it back?


More surgery?  What??


That question was still hanging in the air when a visit to my family doctor confirmed what I already suspected:  I had a hernia.  He sent me to a surgeon.


I was standing there in the surgeon’s examining room, trying to maintain my dignity with my trousers down around my ankles, when he announced his findings:


"You don’t have a hernia," he said.  "You have a double hernia.  Both sides."


Fabulous!  Two hips, now this!


My final round.  Or was it?


I played what I figured was going to be my final round of the year on Sunday, Nov. 3, the day before hernia surgery bright and early the following morning.  Despite the horrifying videos on YouTube that I never should have watched, hernia surgery turned out to be a piece of cake compared to the hips.  There was almost no pain (a nod here to something called a "pain pump" and to Vicodin) and in little time at all, I was up off the couch and swaying around the house like grandpa rockin’ out to a Barry White CD.


Still, any kind of serious exertion was out of the question, so for my golf fix I had no choice but to gorge myself on Golf Channel and take to the internet.  It was during one of my marathon internet surfing sessions that I stumbled across a set of irons I had fancied a year ago -- on sale, $400 off the original price.  True, they were last year’s model but then, so am I.


It was easy to rationalize the purchase.  For one thing, even if I didn’t really need a new set of irons, they were $400 off.  I mean, c’mon.  But the main reason, the real reason, is I had decided it was time for me to downgrade from the stiff shafts I’ve played for 45 years to regular shafts.   Why deny the obvious?  My swing speed, like the newspaper industry I worked in for 35 years, simply ain’t coming back.


Four days later, I had a new set of irons that I could admire and grip but couldn’t swing just yet without doing serious damage to my nether regions.


A new day, a new December


But that was a lifetime ago, even if, technically, it was only three weeks ago.  Now I have clearance from my surgeon to make my triumphant return to golf for second time in a single season.  Again, with my pants down around my ankles, he announced his findings: Looks good, very good.  He meant the surgery.


I was cleared to resume normal physical activity, including golf, so long as I wasn’t a dumbass about it.


"Go slowly," he counseled.  "Listen to your body."

Okay, my body is telling me I need to break in those new irons.  My body is telling me that the golf season is not over.  My body is telling me it is ready to sway like a grandpa until the bride begs off to take a breather.


We’re talking about golf, people.  We’re talking about life.  Onward and upward.  Just don’t be a dumbass about it.






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50 years ago today
Friday, November 22, 2013
By Joe Logan

I am one of those people who is old enough to remember where they were and what they were doing 50 years ago today, when President Kennedy was assassinated.   I was 12, in the 7th grade at Bridgers School in Tarboro, N.C.


We were in the middle of class when the principal appeared at our classroom door and somberly told us what had happened.  He only offered the barest details because that’s all he knew.  We sat there dumbfounded, silent, scared, the teacher included.  Nobody knew what to think.


Moments later the bell for recess rang and we all filed out the door, headed for the playground.  Instead of the usual organized activities, we stood around, talking in small groups, wondering what it all meant for us kids and for the country.  The only other time in my life I have felt remotely like that day was on Sept. 11, 2001.  The look on my daughter’s face when I picked her up from school was a reminder of the uncertainty and fear I felt on Nov. 22, 1963.


In those days, there was no CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Facebook, Twitter or internet, for that matter.  The news and every possible spin on it wasn’t in your face every moment of the day.  Times were simpler.  I don’t think I even knew the difference between a Democrat and a Republican, a liberal and a conservative.  I just knew that the president of the United States had been shot and killed and that the entire nation was grieving.


I hope we never have to go through anything like that again.

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At MyPhillyGolf, traffic is up
Thursday, November 14, 2013
By Joe Logan

When MyPhillyGolf first launched in July 2009, I used to nervously check the traffic stats every day, sometimes two or three times a day.  Were people finding us?  Were they coming back?  Were we growing?


It eventually became clear that we were developing a loyal, if smallish, audience.  We weren’t growing by leaps and bounds, but we were growing steadily and surely.  In 2011, I can remember wondering if we had a chance to reach the benchmark of 500,000 page views, then 750,000 page views.  Last year, in 2012, we hit a new all-time high for us, 1.2 million page views.


I went into 2013 with my fingers crossed that we’d reach 1.5 million page views, a respectable increase.  By mid-summer, it became clear we would surpass that, thanks to the bump in traffic around the U.S. Open at Merion.   In the past couple of months, when post-Open traffic didn’t plummet, I began to hold out hope that we’d reach 2 million page views by the end of 2013.


We didn’t have to wait that long.  Last night, when I took one of my occasional peeks at the traffic stats, MyPhillyGolf had logged 2,080,116 page views, 541,743 visits and 4.2 million hits – an all-time record for us, with six weeks left before 2013 is in the books.


For a regional, niche website, devoted to golf in and around Philadelphia, those are significant numbers.  I’m happy, proud and grateful to the regular readers and advertisers of MyPhillyGolf.


Thank you.

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The Muni Golfer[11/15/2013 8:31:19 AM]
People are starting to realize the quality of your site Joe. Congrats and keep up the great work.
steve8x[11/14/2013 7:23:35 PM]
Congratulations! Those are great numbers.

Meet Joe Bausch
Monday, October 28, 2013
By Joe Logan

If you have ever taken a photo tour of one of the 175 golf courses (and counting) in the Bausch Collection, you must have wondered how Joe Bausch manages to play a round of golf and shoot upwards of 140 photos of every hole, from every angle.


I’ve got your answer right here, in a video I shot Saturday, when Joe and I played Trump National – Philadelphia, along with Bill and Renee Vostinak, from Allentown, who are fellow course raters for Golfweek.  Bill, an orthopedic surgeon, and Renee, rode in one cart.  Joe and I rode in the other – well, I mostly rode while Joe shot photos from tee to tree.


There is a minute or so montage of Joe doing his thing, followed by a four-minute interview at the end.




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Sean O’Hair 
Encouraging early signs for Sean O’Hair
Monday, October 21, 2013
By Joe Logan

It’s good to see Sean O’Hair making some noise again.  In his first two tournaments in the new wraparound 2014 season, O’Hair has made two cuts, finishing T-26th ($35,500) at the Open and T-15th ($87,150) this past week at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open.


Just a few weeks ago, it wasn’t at all clear that O’Hair, who lives in West Chester with his wife and four kids, was even going to be on the PGA Tour for the 2014 season – not after a dismal ’13 that left him 170th in the FedEx Cup standings, a tumble that potentially could have cost him his PGA Tour card.  O’Hair was so low, so lost, he told the Global Golf Post that he wasn’t sure he wanted to continue playing the Tour.


To keep his card, O’Hair, the 2005 Rookie of the Year and a four-time winner on Tour, was forced to play in the four-tournament Tour playoff series that has replaced Q-School as the ticket onto golf’s big stage.

O’Hair began that quest by asking his father-in-law, Steve Lucas, to return as his caddie.  It was Lucas who was on the bag when O’Hair made it through Q-School in 2004.  He stayed on for O’Hai’s stellar rookie and beyond, before eventually returning home to run his small insurance agency.  Nobody knows O’Hair or his game better than Lucas, who is a member of the Executive Committee of the Golf Association of Philadelphia.


At the first tournament of the ’14 season, two weeks ago the Open, AP golf writer Doug Ferguson caught up with O’Hair, writing:


He lost confidence in his swing. He suffered what he called an identity crisis on the golf course.

''I forgot myself as a player, how I swung and how I played,'' O'Hair said. ''And then taking that on the golf course, I almost forgot how to act and how to think. I really just got to a point where I just kind of was blank out there and lost my fight. Anything you could possibly do wrong, I did wrong this year. I just had to take a step back and had to first ask myself, 'Do I really want to do this anymore?'''

So far, the results are promising with Lucas by O’Hair’s side.   At the, he shot 65 on Saturday.  Last week at the Shriners, O’Hair shot 66 on Thursday and 63 on Saturday.  Equally important, there were no blow-up rounds, which had become a problem for the past year.


At the Shriners, after his 63, O’Hair was asked about having Lucas back on his bag:


Yeah, he just makes me real comfortable out there.  Every round of golf I play away from the PGA Tour, I play with him.  He knows my game better than anybody out there.  It's just comfortable.  He talks to me when I'm playing bad, and he kind of gets me pumped up and ready to do.  When I'm playing really well, he keeps me calm.  That is what you need out here.  I think a good caddie is more of a psychologist than anything.  He has been a great help for me and I wouldn't‑‑ I definitely wouldn't be here, I wouldn't be back on Tour, without him.






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Is all fair in love and golf?
Monday, October 7, 2013
By Joe Logan

At a golf dinner a few nights ago, I sat next to a guy who runs a daily fee golf course at the Jersey Shore.   We touched on a couple of topics that I thought you might find interesting:


            -- When a course has recently aerated its green and/or fairways, what obligation does it have to give golfers a heads-up before a round.


            My dinner companion believes that it’s not necessary to post a warning, front and center, on the course’s website, or at the cash register in the pro shop.  But if somebody asks point-blank before plunking down their credit card if the course has recently been punched, he believes honestly is the best policy. 


In other words, no need to go out of your way, but don’t lie or mislead.   Same thing applies when a course has, say, lost a couple of greens is or undergoing a significant maintenance project that might affect the enjoyment of a round.


Personally, I agree with everything he said, but I think courses ought to go one step further.   On the phone, or in-person for walk-ups, tell them about aeration/maintenance projects, even if they don’t think to ask.  Just a friendly oh-by-the-way mention is plenty.  If a course has a monthly newsletter, let regular customers know that way, too.


To me, the logic is obvious and simple:  If a daily fee course fails to give golfers fair warning, they absolutely have it coming if those golfers march into the pro shop after the round and announce, "Don’t expect to see me back here anytime soon.  And I’m telling my friends why."


With private clubs, the same rules don’t quite apply.  For one thing, the pro shop is more likely to give members a heads-up in its regular emails.  Members of a club also tend to be more familiar with the rhythms of the annual course maintenance, plus they are less likely to go play elsewhere during an aeration.   


Bottom line: There is no such thing as too much information.


--  That same course operator was unsettled recently when a golfer, hot under the collar, came into the pro shop after his round and began to complain about the pace of play out on the course.  


The course operator apologized and even offered to give the guy a replay for a later date.  But that wasn’t enough for the angry golfer and he began making demands that the course operator found unreasonable.   That’s when the angry golfer began to threaten to go on the internet and trash his course on golf websites.


"Can he do that?" the course operator asked.


Yes, he can, rightly or wrongly -- at least he can on many websites. 


The internet has given us all the ability to weigh in an virtually every topic and every issue in the world, but it has also created something of a lawless, Wild, Wild West in certain corners of cyberspace.  Unfair, unsubstantiated, revenge reviews (and overly gushy ones) by readers have been around for a while on websites that review restaurants, hotels and travel destinations; now they are coming to the comparatively civilized world of golf websites.


In the case of MyPhillyGolf, I’ve been lucky. When somebody posts a comment or review, I get an automatic email alert.  I can give it a quick read and if I decide it is distasteful or profoundly unfair, I can nix it.  I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve had to do that since we launched in July 2009.


The problem is far worse on websites with millions of daily visitors, where reader reviews/comments are coming in by the hundreds, even thousands.  At dinner that night, a woman at the table knew of an angry traveler who exacted revenge on a hotel by going on a major travel website and accusing them of having bed bugs. 


 Lately, I’ve been reading that websites such as Yelp, the giant of the restaurant industry, are stepping up their policing of reader reviews/comments.  Good, they need to.  Personally, when evaluating reviews/comments, my rule of thumb is to toss out the highest highs and the lowest lows.  Go for the averages. 




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