Inside the Ropes – Stories & Tips

Visions of a Grand Slam

Jordan Spieth has won his second major championship of the year to become the most celebrated player in golf. At 21, he is also halfway to one of the most difficult feats in sports, the Grand Slam, first completed by Bobby Jones in 1930. While the original set included two amateur championships, it was an accomplishment so bold, so difficult and so unexpected that it lifted the spirits of an entire nation still reeling from the aftershock of the stock market crash and the dawn of the Great Depression. At 28, with thousands of good swings left, Jones retired from competitive golf. The Grand Slam had left him so spent.

In its modern incarnation, no one has ever completed the Grand Slam, and no one has come especially close. Winning the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same year has however been done seven times. The first to do it was Craig Wood in 1941. Ben Hogan first did it in 1951. He did it again in 1953 and went on to win the only British Open of his career but couldn’t play the final major because the dates for the Open and PGA Championship overlapped. That was the closest anyone has come in the modern era.

Palmer won the first two legs of the Grand Slam in 1960. He came close in the British Open that year losing by a single stroke. Jack Nicklaus did it again in 1972 but missed a win at the British Open by a stroke, losing to Lee Trevino. After Palmer and Nicklaus, it took 30 years and the emergence of Tiger Woods who won the first two majors in 2002 only to wind up tied for 28th at the British Open. Although Woods amazingly won all four majors consecutively from 2000 to 2001 it was not considered by most to be a true Grand Slam because it did not take place in a calendar year.

That brings us to Jordan Spieth, who now looks forward to the British Open at the Old Course at St. Andrews starting July 16 and the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in August. Can he buck history and win the Grand Slam? To win the Masters and the U.S. Open at 21 is an eye-opening accomplishment that will be celebrated for years to come. Some will say that he is significantly less experienced than the other golfers who won the first two legs. Woods was the youngest, at 26; the others, Hogan, Palmer and Nicklaus were all over 30. To ask Spieth to go on and win the next two majors is a tall order indeed. But that does not mean that everyone will not be watching to see if he can do it.

Inside the Ropes - Pro Golf Tips

Improve your Swing: The Finish Position

by Head Teaching Pro Norm Moote

Most golfers focus on their starting position but neglect their finishing position. The finish position is extremely important and provides feedback on the result of the shot. Dissecting your finish is a difficult habit to get into, but it is something that all good golfers do. Whether your ball hit the target or hooked into the trees, the finish position always holds the answer. My advice is to begin analyzing where your body is facing when you finish each shot. Your entire body should be facing the target including your shoulders, chest, hips and knees. As you hold your finish position you should notice that all of your weight has shifted to your front foot and you should strive to achieve this.

Eight-time PGA Tour winner, George Knudson once told me about a conversation he had with major championship winner Johnny Miller regarding the importance of balance in the golf swing. Both Knudson and Miller agreed that a great swing had everything to do with balance and that a golfer could swing as hard as they liked as long as they maintained balance, the key for consistency, accuracy and solid contact.

Many people have a vague understanding of what balance means yet good balance is the key to your golf swing. Not only do you need to finish in balance, you need to be in balance throughout the entire motion of your swing from each sequence of actions.

Many golfers tend to roll to the outside of the front foot on the downswing and think that they are in balance. George Knudson once remarked that “since people don’t walk on the sides of their feet, how can a golfer finish their swing on the side of their front foot and think that they are in balance?”

Harvey Pennick, a famous golf coach that taught many professional players, once said that teaching golf is more about subtraction rather than addition. The student needs to eliminate or take away the movements in their golf swing which are holding them back from playing better golf.

Norm Moote is the Head Teaching Professional at the Legends on the Niagara Golf Academy. Visit niagaraparksgolf.com for more information on lessons, leagues, packages and tournaments.

Celebrate Canada Day and U.S. Independence Day Holidays at Niagara Parks

Fireworks over Niagara Falls

Niagara Parks is the Perfect Place to Celebrate

What says holiday celebration better than fireworks, flowers, falls, food, & attractions? At Niagara Parks, authentic adventures are what we do, and having one has never been easier. Whether you’re here for just one day or many we have the perfect package to fit your Niagara Falls escape.

Celebrate North America’s #LongerWeekend at Niagara Parks

As a Canadian border park there is a lot we share with our US neighbours!  Among the most important is a 200 year history of peace and friendship, but among the most fun is North America’s #LongerWeekend, the dual celebration of the founding of our great nations, with Canada Day on July 1st, and US Independence Day on the 4th of July!

With an amazing schedule of events, activities, and our commemorative tee, come celebrate 200 year of peace, friendship, and North America’s #LongerWeekend with us at Niagara Parks!

Get your commemorative t-shirt at our online shop

Niagara Falls Adventure Passes

At Niagara Parks, authentic adventures are what we do, and having one has never been easier. Whether you’re here for just one day or several, we have the perfect package to fit your Niagara Parks holiday. Save up to 40 per cent and enjoy the ultimate Falls experience by obtaining the Adventure Pass Classic, Adventure Pass Nature or the Adventure Pass Plus. These passes include admission to Niagara Parks’ most popular attractions, as well as a journey on Hornblower Niagara Cruises and two day ridership on the WEGO tourism transportation system. For more information or to purchase your Pass, please visit www.niagaraparks.com or any participating Niagara Parks attractions or Welcome Centres.

Pan Am Days at Niagara Parks

Starting on July 1 and running until August 16, Niagara Parks will be the place to be to celebrate the tastes, sounds and experiences of the diverse cultures and nations participating in the upcoming Pan Am Games. As the Games are taking place, a variety of entertainment has been planned, from street performers and story tellers to dancers and musicians who will be performing at three main Niagara Parks venues: the Queen Victoria Place Stage, Grand View Marketplace and Niagara Parks’ new Falls Incline Pan Am Plaza, located near Table Rock Centre.
Niagara Parks’ culinary team will also be featuring special themed menus at Edgewaters at Queen Victoria Place and Elements on the Falls Restaurant at Table Rock Centre, to showcase the tastes of the Pan Am regions. For more information on the entertainment and programming planned during these special Pan Am Days, please visit www.niagaraparks.com.

Falls Fireworks & Concerts

As part of the holiday celebrations, special fireworks displays will be held on Wednesday, July 1 to mark Canada Day and Saturday, July 4 in honour of the U.S. Independence Day. These holiday fireworks are in addition to the regularly scheduled displays planned for Friday, July 3 and Sunday, July 5.

Niagara Parks’ popular Coca-Cola concert series will be rocking on Canada Day at 8 p.m. at the Queen Victoria Park Stage, located beneath the Illumination Tower in Queen Victoria Park (bottom of Murray Hill). Come out early and enjoy live entertainment before the fireworks begin at 10 p.m.

Long Weekend Concert Line-up

  • Wednesday, July 1 – The Pop Machine ft. Michael Shotton
  • Friday, July 3 – LP3
  • Saturday, July 4 – Monkey Cascade
  • Sunday, July 5  – Keek

NOTE: All dates are subject to change and dependent on weather conditions. Full fireworks and concert schedules are available at niagaraparks.com

Celebrate Canada Day at Laura Secord Homestead

The Laura Secord Homestead will be celebrating Canada Day with its own unique Secord Day, in honour of one of Canada’s most well-known heroine of the War of 1812. Join us and learn more about Laura and her perilous and courageous journey into history, as the Homestead comes to life with planned activities designed to enlighten and entertain us all. Admission to the Homestead is $9.50 for adults and $6.25 for children six to 12 years of age. The homestead will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and free parking is available onsite.

Old Fort Erie Ghost Tours

On Friday, July 3, visitors to NPC’s Old Fort Erie will be able to enjoy stepping back in time on guided lantern tours, as part of the Old Fort’s shockingly fun Ghost Tours, which will take place beginning at 9:00 p.m. Fun for ghosts and ghouls of all ages, admission to these 45-minute tours is $5.00 per person, with children five and under free. Reservations are recommended but not required. You may also pre-book your All Hallows Eve tours in October by calling (905) 871-0540.

Battle of Chippawa Commemoration

Niagara Parks and the Chippawa Branch 396 of the Royal Canadian Legion will honour those who served on the Chippawa Battlefield on Sunday, July 5 at 5 p.m. at the Chippawa Battlefield Monument. Fought on July 5, 1814, the Battle of Chippawa was the opening engagement of the Niagara campaign, the longest and bloodiest military operation of the War of 1812.

A memorial service is held on July 5 each year to commemorate those who fell in service of their nation – this pivotal battle cost the lives of 200 American, British, Canadian and Native warriors allied to both sides, most of whom are thought to be buried at the site.

Floral Showhouse Summer Display

During the holidays, be sure to also stop by the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse to take in the spectacular summer display. This year’s theme is a celebration of sport and the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. To welcome the athletes and their families, Showhouse staff have created athletic themed ‘features/props’ into its tropical and flowering annuals, in the colour of the Games – red, orange, yellow and blue.

The displays in the popular greenhouses are regularly changed for visitors’ enjoyment, with eight seasonal plant exhibitions that are carefully grown and professionally displayed, along with a large permanent tropical plant collection. The expanded “Shop in the Garden” also includes a café area where visitors may enjoy light refreshments and shop for unique garden gifts. Admission to the facility is $5 for adults and $3.75 for children, ages six to 12 years of age. For an additional $5, visitors may also upgrade to a Floral Showhouse season’s pass, and return as often as they like as displays are changed throughout the year. Paid parking is also available on site.

 

2016 U.S. Open Close to Home

While the quest for one of the United States Golf Association’s oldest championships has just wrapped up at Chambers Bay, tickets for next year’s U.S. Open at the Oakmont Country Club in suburban Pittsburgh are now on sale with a variety of daily and weekly ticket options for the 116th annual event available at www.usga.org/tickets or www.usopen.com.

Next year’s U.S. Open will be the record ninth for the Oakmont Country Club and the first since 2007 when Argentina’s Angel Cabrera edged both Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk by one stroke. Before 2007, it was the site of the 1994 championship where 24 year-old Ernie Els beat Loren Roberts and Colin Montgomerie in an 18-hole Monday playoff. Oakmont was also the venue for one of the greatest rounds in U.S. Open history when Johnny Miller shot a final round 63 to win the 1973 U.S. Open.

Few venues in the world of golf have the championship tradition of Oakmont, a venue that has always been one of the most demanding on the planet ranked #5 by Golf Digest on the most recent Top-100 list of courses in the United States. Founded in 1903 by Henry Fownes, a wealthy Pittsburgh industrialist who laid out the course himself, the only course he would design, Oakmont has played host to more combined USGA and PGA championships than any other course in the U.S., including eight United States Opens, five U.S. Amateurs, three PGA Championships, and two U.S. Women’s Opens. It is arguably one of the most difficult courses anywhere in the world with 210 deep bunkers (personified by the Church Pews), hard and slick greens that slope away from the player, and tight fairways, all of which are ingredients for a classic U.S. Open venue.

Over the years Oakmont has been the venue for many a tragedy in the annals of US. Open history. In the 1927 U.S. Open, Harry Cooper three-putted the lightning-fast 17th green in the final round. When Tommy Armour made a 10-footer for birdie at the last hole, he tied Cooper at 301, 13 over par, the highest winning score of modern times. Armour won the playoff, 76 to 79. The 1935 U.S. Open at Oakmont broke even more hearts. None of the 20 leaders broke 75 in the last round and Sam Parks, of Pittsburgh, won by two strokes when he shot a final-round 76.

With its reasonably close proximity to Niagara Falls and the Canada-U.S. border, Oakmont Country Club in suburban Pittsburgh is a relatively easy road-trip for hundreds of thousands of Canadian golf fans and many who have never before seen a U.S. Open. Gallery tickets provide the ticket-holder access to the grounds of the Oakmont Country Club including concession facilities and grandstands while certain other ticket plans provide access to climate-controlled pavilions for the week. Youth tickets, which can only be purchased on-site at admission gates or Will Call, are always available at the U.S Open. Those age 12 and under receive complimentary tickets when accompanied by a paid adult ticket holder. Tickets for those ages 13 to 17 are available for purchase at a reduced rate for any day when accompanied by a paid adult ticket holder or credential holder. There is a maximum of two youth tickets per one adult ticket holder.

With only 30,000 tickets available per day, it is wise to order tickets as early as possible. Questions about ordering tickets can be directed by email to ticketquestions@usga.org or by calling 1 (800) 698-0661. For more information on the USGA, visit www.usga.org.