Pine Valley has been the top-ranked course in the U.S. for 16 years, but since the club's opening in 1922, only its members, who these days number about 1,200, and their guests have had the chance to play the George Crump-designed course and enjoy a bowl of the club's renowned turtle soup. That will change on successive Mondays, Oct. 15 and 22, when the exclusive men's club in Clementon, N.J., will be open to the public for the first time.
On Sept. 25, Pine Valley announced that to raise money for the Twin Towers Fund of New York City, which benefits the families of the firemen, policemen and other uniformed personnel who died in the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center, the club would allow 140 golfers to play the course on Oct. 15 for a greens fee of $1,000 each, with the proceeds going to the fund.
The club was overwhelmed with almost 2,000 requests from around the world, and less than 24 hours later all the spots were filled. When Pine Valley member Barney Adams found out the news on the following day, he immediately speed-dialed the main number for an hour. "It was like trying to get front-row tickets to the Eagles. I wanted to participate, but I couldn't get through," Adams said from his house in Dallas. "I heard one of the members drove to the course and wrote a check for $5,000 and then told the club to give his spots to someone else."
Because of the heavy response, Pine Valley added the second day, permitting 124 more golfers to play a round. "I've been a member at Pine Valley for 20 years, and I've never been more proud to be a member there than I am now," said Adams, founder of Adams Golf. "You talk about a bastion of guys in funny clothes and poke fun at the exclusiveness of the club, but in a difficult time this first-class organization has come through to do a first-class job."
C-Thru Grip a Clear Winner
The future of golf grips is clear, and saying so is not a transparent attempt to hype the most unusual equipment innovation of the year: the C-Thru grip (c-thruputters.com). Manufactured by Percise Golf in Pomona, Calif., and distributed by Mickey Novak, a veteran clubmaker based at the David Leadbetter Academy in Orlando, the C-Thru is made of Vulcathane rubber and is transparent.
Available only in putter grips, the C-Thru is soft, tacky and water repellent. Almost as important to marketers, a logo put on the butt end of a shaft is visible through the grip. The grip is already being seen on Tour. Charles Howell used one at the Greater Milwaukee Open, in which he finished second. John Cook played with a C-Thru over the logo of his alma mater, Ohio State, when he won the Reno-Tahoe Open last month. Mike Hulbert opted for the Stars and Stripes at the Texas Open. 'As long as I keep one-putting, I'm leaving it on," Hulbert says. Semiretired Tour player Brad Bryant, who's helping Novak by promoting the grip among his peers, used C-Thrus tinted with various colors and emblazoned with his nickname, Dr. Dirt, on his irons at the B.C. Open in July. "I got a lot of comments," Bryant says. "Everybody thought they were cool."
Novak says he's adding two putter-grip designs and hopes to come out with Tour-caliber grips for irons and woods. "The first ones were good for amateurs who don't swing too hard," he says, "but the grips were a little too spongy for better players."
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