Things are happening at the Pleasant Valley Country Club in Connellsville.
And, as a matter of fact, things continue to happen there.
Since Tuffy Shallenberger purchased the club last year, there has seemingly been constant activity on the course, which opened in 1922.
But the centerpiece of much of the activity has been the creation of a new signature hole, an island green on the 17th hole known as Graben Valley. Shallenberger, with the help of Tom Baxter and Doug Goodwin, put nine months work into the construction of this new hole.
“This is the first step to a higher quality golf course. We are just getting started and looking forward to celebrating even more exciting updates and renovations to the course,” said Shallenberger. “Planning, construction and manual labor resulted in one of the area’s only island green complexes.”
As explained by Ken Ivory, director of golf at PV, the nearly eight-acre pond is the centerpiece of the entire project.
“It surrounds 17, creates a peninsula green on No. 14, a ‘loading dock’ tee on 15 and even pokes out into the fairway on the tee shot on 7,” he said.
The island green on 17 creates a great dilemma with the tee shot on that hole. It’s either a forced carry of at least 250 yards to clear a creek, leaving an approach shot of 100 yards to the green or a layup off the tee, leaving 180-190 yards to the island green encircled by pot bunkers.
On the scorecard, No. 17 measures 372 yards for men and 221 yards for women.
Additional renovations at PV include paved cart paths, more bunkers and tee box updates. Carts equipped with GPS have also been added.
The clubhouse features a fully stocked pro shop, large ballroom for private parties, two restaurants serving cocktails and American cuisine, two state-of-the-art golf simulators and an outdoor patio with gas fire pit.
On Aug. 4, a ribbon cutting to celebrate the new hole was held at the club.
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After the impressive performance of Murrysville’s Palmer Jackson in the U.S. Amateur last week (falling one match short of making the semis), this week’s western Pennsylvania golfer in the spotlight is Sean Knapp.
He’s competing in the U.S. Senior Amateur at Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham, N.C. The event started with 36 holes of stroke play Saturday and today to cut the field to 64 players. Six rounds of match play follow starting Monday. Knapp won the U.S. Senior Am in 2017 for his first USGA title.
The championship match is scheduled for Thursday.
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Eleven players who didn’t win a PGA Tour event this season are playing in the Tour Championship at East Lake this weekend. Twenty-two who did are not at East Lake.
Such is the world of the FedEx Cup playoffs.
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Here’s a random thought about the issue that will never go away on the PGA Tour.
One of the reasons that gets little attention in the slow play debate is the size of fields for events. For the most part, it’s 144 players, sometimes as many as 156 and as few as 120.
Cutting down the number of players who compete on a weekly basis would definitely help the problem, but players balk at that, citing the reason that such a decision would decrease playing opportunities for young players.
Perhaps, but if the Korn Ferry Tour was actually more of a developmental tour than a rest home for older players desperate for one more shot at the big time that might be a valid point. Make that tour strictly for young players again, as it was originally designed many years ago.
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Do you have an interesting story about your club or course or an individual who has done something special, let me know? Send your story ideas to email@example.com.
Mike Dudurich is a freelance golf writer and hosts The Golf Show on 93.7 The Fan, Saturday mornings from 7-8 during golf season. Follow Mike on Twitter at @Mike Dudurich.