Turning Stone is a full-fledged resort sitting on the Oneida Indian Reservation.
What started as a smoke-filled gambling joint, has prospered into a resort with three tournament-ready courses, and a par-3 course that would challenge Augusta in scenery.
Oh yeah, there is still the smoke-filled casino....no booze though.
This is the tournament where teaching pros from all around the county mix it up to see who has braggin' rights for the trophy, but the most inspiring part of the event, is to see who makes it into the top 20.....Those guys get automatic entry into the '06 PGA Championship at Medinah.
This years tournament was won by Ron Philo Jr, an FSU alum, who is the pro at Metropolis CC in White Plains NY. The name doesn't automatically roll off the tongue, but if I told you his lil' sister is LPGA pro Laura Diaz, that would probably make it easier to remember him.
Coming in at #20 this year was Tim Weinhart from Buford GA. He is the teaching pro for St Marlo CC in Duluth, outside of Atlanta.
St Marlo is a semi-private enclave and sits about a 3-wood away from The Athletic Club, home of the '01 PGA Championship.
I've played St Marlo numerous times, and the feeling I get is that they are more interested in your money, than enjoying yourself. I play at a pretty good clip, but the rangers on the course do there best to make you feel like you're inconveniencing them. You've heard of Sienfeld's Soup Nazi?...Well, these guys are Golf Nazi's...."What?! You're stopping for a hot dog?! NO GOLF FOR YOU!!!!"
They are more interested in jamming people on the course at 5 minute intervals, than cutting it back to 10 minute tee times. But, alas, it's their course, they can do what they want.
St Marlo, faults aside, is a beautiful layout, and is the last course I broke 80 on. I intend to revisit this haunt next month in a local shin-dig....pictures will follow from that event.
So, congrats to Tim Weinhart! Georgia is stoked to see someone representin' the 'hood.
Thanks for reading. Keep it in the short-grass,