Local golf column: Langer to defend ACE Group Classic title

Two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer has committed to defend his title at The ACE Group Classic, Feb. 13–19 at The TwinEagles Club.

This year will mark the 25th anniversary of Champions Tour golf in Naples, and a return to TwinEagles for the first time since 2006.

"We're excited to start building momentum toward our 25th anniversary with the announcement that our champion will return," Tournament Director Lesley Baker said in a press release. "Langer is eager to recapture the success of his record-setting performance last year and we are thrilled to showcase many of golf's greatest players in a fantastic setting at The TwinEagles Club."

Langer's 2011 ACE Group Classic wire-to-wire victory was nothing short of spectacular, as he posted scores of 64-66-66 to finish four shots ahead of Fred Funk, and set a tournament record for lowest score (20-under par). The win was Langer's 14th on the Champions Tour.

Shortly after his win in Naples, Langer underwent surgery on March 23 to repair an injury to his left thumb suffered during a biking accident. He was out of commission for nearly three months before returning to action in mid-June. The injury derailed his quest for four consecutive Champions Tour Player of the Year awards. Langer competed in 10 tournaments on the tour after recovering from injury, and finished in the top 25 all but once.

From 2008-2010, Langer become the only player in history to win both the Jack Nicklaus Trophy (Player of the Year) and the Arnold Palmer Award (Money List Winner) for three straight years.

Tickets to the 2012 ACE Group Classic are on sale at www.acegroupclassic.com, by calling (239) 593-3900 or in the Naples' PGA Tour Superstore. Children 17 and under are admitted free all week with a ticketed adult.

The tournament also will have its pre-qualifier on Friday, Feb. 10, and qualifier on Tuesday, Feb. 17 at Old Corkscrew Golf Club in Estero. The South Florida PGA Section will conduct both.

Professionals and amateurs age 50 or over, or who turn 50 by the pre-qualifier date, are eligible. Amateurs must give up their status if they advance from the pre-qualifier and enter the qualifier. The top five from the pre-qualifier will advance to the qualifier. A maximum of seven will advance out of the qualifier to the tournament field.

The entry fee for the pre-qualifier is $220. Players advancing to the qualifier will not be subject to another fee. The deadline for registration for the pre-qualifier is Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. Go to www.sfpgagolf.com to register.

Pisarri third at IMG Tour: Naples' Josh Pisarri finished third in the IMG Junior Tour's event at The Founders Club in Sarasota over the weekend.

Pisarri tied for third with a 73 and a 72, six strokes behind IMG Leadbetter Golf Academy student Meechai Padungsiriseth.

Mediterra free clinics: Merrill Lynch is sponsoring a pair of free clinics by Mediterra instructor Adam Bazalgette.

The first will be Thursday, and involves using the Titleist Performance Institute's body screening tests, as well as filming swings. The next will be Thursday, Feb. 23 involves the TOMI computer analysis of putting strokes, and fitting a putter. It will be preceded by lunch at 1 p.m.

There will be short presentations on the Arbitrage Fund and the tax-free municipal bond market by local experts from Water Island Capital and Lord Abbett. For more information, contact Bazalgette at adamb@clubmediterra.com or go to www.adambgolf.com.

Adaptive Golf Expo: The NCH Healthcare System and the Adaptive Golf Foundation of America are co-sponsoring the Adaptive Golf Expo on Wednesday, Jan. 25 from 10 a.m. to noon at Arrowhead Golf Club on Immokalee Road.

The Expo is designed to encourage individuals who have stopped playing golf due to illness, injury, or other physical challenges to return to the game or learn a new sport. Compensatory instruction is given by certified Adaptive Golf Foundation of America instructors, including on the grip, stance, swing, and weight shifting to accommodate range of motion.

Licensed physical and occupational therapists from NCH's Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging and Rehabilitation, and the Outpatient Rehabilitation Centers will accompany current and former patients on practice greens.

Southwest Women's Tri-County Association: Results, Stableford at Collier's Reserve (1-9); First Flight — 1. Ann Bain-Cathy Wright 34 points; 2. Julia Rickets-Susan Geller 34; 3. Valerie Klosterman-Christine Steadman 31; Second Flight — 1. Ruth Halperin-Gena Carlozzi 32; 2. Nancy Bradley-Connie Good 29; 3. Eileen Golden-Lois Adams 28; Third Flight — 1. Betty Frank-Marisol Myers 29; 2. Lorraine Houlihan-Joanne Rose 29; 3. Ruth Ann Verell-Patsy Zalokar 28; Fourth Flight — 1. Diane Ladaley-Peggy Tsaggaris 31; 2. Barbara Oddo-Carol Rhodes 28; 3. Linda Reeves-Elaine Madej 25.

Naples Amateur Tour: Results, Hammock Bay, Jan. 10 — Denny Vincent, Columbus, Ohio, gross 79, net 73; Win Headley, Naples, 75; Billie Donahue, Duxbury, Mass., 77; Jim Gibbs, Chicago, 78; Fiddler's Creek, Jan. 12 — Denny Vincent gross 78, net 72; John Achiangi, Mystic, Conn., 75; Walter Heesch, Long Island, N.Y., 75; Barry Mitchell, Lake Forest, Ill., 77. Upcoming events — Thursday, The Rookery; Monday, Hammock Bay; Jan. 26, Fiddlers Creek. Players must have a 0-23 handicap. Contact Rob Mucci at 978-328-9145 or robandsig@earthlink.net.

Pfeil shoots course record: Naples National member Dick Pfeil shot a course record 63 from the blue tees at Gateway Golf & Country Club in Fort Myers. Pfeil won a senior event at Gateway by seven shots with scores of 72-73-63. He finished fourth in the Old Corkscrew senior tournament, and is the No. 1 ranked senior on the Golfweek list.

SNAG Golf: The South Florida PGA Section has partnered with SNAG Golf (Starting New At Golf), a development program designed for new learners of all ages.

SNAG will provide 5 percent of all sales within the Section back to the South Florida PGA Foundation.

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PROFESSIONAL EVENTS

ACE Group Classic

Info: Feb. 13-19, at TwinEagles. Tickets are on sale. Golf books on sale, $99, includes golf vouchers at 31 courses and weekly ticket. Hospitality access to the Zig Zag Lounge, a skybox with an open bar and lunch buffet on the 18th hole, $100. Weekly tickets, $50; Daily tickets, $25.

Contact: 593-3900, www.theacegroupclassic.com, or go to PGA Tour Superstore

JUNIORS

First Tee of Naples/Collier

Info: The Winter Life Skills and Golf program is from Feb. 1 to March 19. Elementary school: Mondays at Moorings, 4 to 5:30 p.m., $25 for six weeks; Fridays at Quality Inn Golf Resort, 4 to 5:30 p.m., $25 for six weeks; Middle school: Wednesdays at Quality Inn Golf Resort, 4:30 to 6 p.m., $25 for six weeks; High school: Wednesdays, 3 to 4:30 p.m., $25 for six weeks. Applications are posted on www.thefirstteenaplescollier.org under Programs.

Contact: 825-4851, www.thefirstteenaplescollier.org

Rick Smith Golf Academy

Info: Afterschool programs — Elementary school: Mondays, 4 to 5:30 p.m., $190 for four-week session; Middle school: Wednesdays, 4:30 to 6 p.m., $190 per four-week session; Junior Champions Golf Program: Thursday, 4:30 to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 3 to 6 p.m.; $200 twice a week; $150 once a week per four-week session.

Contact: 593-1111

Rodney Bungartz clinics

Info: At Arrowhead. After-school junior clinic — 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, $13 per student per session, ages 6 and up; Middle school junior clinic — 5 to 6 p.m. Mondays, $15 per student per session, ages 12 and up.

Contact: 348-5929

Valencia Afterschool Junior Camp

Info: The club will have its camp from Jan. 17 to March 8 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. for ages 7-15. Cost, $150

Contact: 352-0777

RULES OF GOLF WORKSHOPS

Info: Florida State Golf Association workshops, Jan. 26 at Kensington, Feb. 22 at Fiddlesticks, March 9 at Eagle Creek. From 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and include indoor classroom instruction with a video presentation and outdoor hands-on sessions. FSGA committee members are admitted for $10, $30 for others. Golf professionals can earn four continuing education points for attending. Admissions includes a lunch buffet and a 2012 rules book.

Contact: www.fsga.org, 813-632-3742

FREE CLINICS

Lessons for charity

Info: Arrowhead Golf Club and teaching pro Wes Smith are inviting the public to take a lesson from Smith every Saturday, and write a check for a donation directly to a designated charity. There will be a charge of $6 for range balls.

Contact: 289-7994

Mapother clinics

Info: Jim Mapother of RJM Golf is providing free clinics Friday afternoons from 3 to 4:30 p.m., through May at Lely Resort’s Flamingo Island and Mustang driving ranges. Short-game work, then full swing. Registration limited to eight.

Contact: 208-755-7644, rjmgolf@comcast.net

AREA ORGANIZATIONS

Executive Women’s Golf Association

Contact: Lori Drumm (loridrumm@hotmail.com) 304-0579, www.naplesewga.com

Gulf Coast Gold Senior Tour

Info: For golfers 50 and over. Tee times will begin each week in midmorning. The entry deadline is Mondays at 11 a.m. Entry fee, S20 per event, including the rate for golf at each club. Stableford scoring system.

Contact: tpagolf@msn.com, 458-0754

Southwest Amateur Series

Info: Men’s circuit through the Florida State Golf Association features 36-hole individual competitions, with $130 entry fees.

Contact: www.fsga.org

Tournament Players Association

Contact: www.tpagolf.com, tpagolf@msn.com, 458-0754

Valencia Leagues

Info: 18-hole Men’s League on Saturdays at 8 a.m.

Contact: 352-0777, www.ValenciaGolfandCountryClub.com

World Golfers Amateur Tour-Southwest Florida

Info: Cost for tour, $189 per year.

Contact: www.wgatusa.com or email Jim Stockman at jim@worldgolfersusa.com

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INSTRUCTION, ETC.

■ APEX Golf — State-of-the-art training studio combining the skills of a golf pro and a physical therapist to improve the body and golf swing. The studio has a high-definition golf simulator, a K-Vest golf swing analyzer, video, and strength and flexibility testing software. APEX offers a free 30-minute analysis of the body and swing. Call 337-2739.

■ Arrowhead Golf Academy — PGA professional Mike Dopslaff, a four-time Southwest Florida PGA Player of the Year, provides instruction. Individual, group lessons. Call 596-1000.

■ Jon Butler Golf at West Bay Beach and Golf Club — Offering 2 and 4 day Golf schools, short game schools, clinics, private lessons and on-course playing lessons. Call 239-821-8447, jonbutlergolf@gmail.com, www.jonbutlergolf.com

■ Mike Calbot International Golf Studio & Triad Golf Schools — At Old Corkscrew Golf Club in Estero. Full and half-day schools are offered. Instructional packages are one, two or three days. All instruction is by appointment only. Private instruction and playing lessons also available. Thirty-five years of instructional experience. Call 482-0900 or visit www.golfdoctorusa.com.

■ John Carroll Lessons — Former Club Pelican Bay professional John Carroll is at Tuscany Reserve Golf Club in North Naples. Carroll was at Pelican Bay for 29 years. He is available for instruction Tuesdays through Saturdays. To make an appointment, call 597-3561 or 860-8470.

■ Concierge Service of Naples — An off-site service free of charge to the customer. The service can make tee times year-round at private country clubs in Southwest Florida up to 60 days in advance. The fee is the normal guest rate, and golfers are not required to play with a member. Call 285-7457.

■ Coral Isle Golf Center — Ladies clinics each Tuesday and Wednesday, men’s clinics each Thursday, a mixed clinic each Wednesday at 2 p.m., and a mixed clinic each Saturday. All clinics are at 10 a.m., other than the Wednesday mixed clinic. Junior clinics also are offered from 3:45 p.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays and 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. on Saturdays. Call 732-6900 for more information.

■ The Golf Institute — Club fitting program includes evaluation based on series of tests, including frequency check and lie and loft angle. Putting evaluations also are available. Call 643-5895.

■ Phil Grear instruction — Forest Glen’s Phil Grear is offering the Get Golf Ready program sponsored by the World Golf Foundation. Sessions Tuesday through Friday, 8:30 to 10:15 a.m. Each weekly program is $99 per person. Call 354-1898 or 595-1120.

■ Kim Hilbert Lessons — Windstar on Naples Bay assistant pro Hilbert earned honorable mention as a U.S. Kids Golf Top Kids Teacher. Hilbert is an LPGA teaching professional, and also teaches at Able’s Golf Facility in Dublin, Ohio. Hilbert offers numerous youth programs, including multi-day schools, camps, clinics, private lessons, tournament coaching, and afterschool golf programs. Her programs can be found at www.teachingu2golf.com.

■ John Jacobs Golf School — at Lely Resort. Staffed by local PGA and LPGA professionals. School offers 5-day week and 2-day weekend sessions, plus corporate days and private instruction. Discounted rates for junior golfers. For more information, call 1-800-472-5007 or visit www.jacobsgolf.com.

■ KISS Golf For Women Golf Schools — At Royal Poinciana Country Club. LPGA teaching professionals Lorie McCabe and her staff offer two- and three-day golf schools for women. Private instruction also is available. Call 1-888-451-KISS or 354-3633. The school’s Web site is www.kissgolfforwomen.com.

■ David Leadbetter Golf Academy — At LaPlaya Beach & Golf Club. Leadbetter is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher. Academy programs include three-day golf schools and players’ schools, and a one-day mini-school. Private instruction and playing lessons also are available. Call 592-1444.

■ Jim Mapother instruction — Call 431-5315 or e-mail rjmgolf@comcast.net.

■ Dennis Meyer’s Golf School — at Quality Inn Suites & Golf Resort in Golden Gate offers two-, three- , and four-day schools. Playing lessons included in full-day golf schools. Half-day options are available as well. Private lessons available. Call 1-800-445-4554 or 267-4652.

■ Naples Golf Academy — Located at the Hibiscus Golf Club. Lauri Travers leads a team of instructors that offers private lessons, golf schools, clinics and playing lessons. Specialty programs geared toward women and beginner golfers are available year-round. Visit us at LearningGolf.com or call 239-732-9944 for more information.

■ Naples Grande Golf Schools — Call 784-2208 or e-mail mark@durlandgolf.com.

■ Tom Patri Golf School — Tom Patri back at The Quarry from Dec. 1 through April 15. Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher in America. South Florida Teacher of the Year. Met (NY) PGA Teacher of the Year. Available to all skill levels, and juniors. Private instruction by the hour, half and full day sessions also. Short game specialist. Visit www.tompatri.com, email tpatri@mindspring.com, or call 239-404-7790.

■ Bob Prange Lessons — Estero Country Club at The Vines is the winter home of Prange, who is a teaching professional at The Bridgewater Club in Carmel, Ind. Prange previously has been a head instructor, staff member and golf school coordinator for John Jacobs Golf Schools. He has been 2004 Teacher of the Year in the Indiana PGA Section, and a Top PGA Instructor by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. Call 267-7003 for appointments and schedules.

■ Rick Smith Golf Academy — Offering weekly 90-minute clinics Saturdays at 3 p.m. for $90 per person with a 6:1 student-to-teacher ratio. Clinics alternate between full swing and short game with the first being a full swing clinic. Call 593-1111 for more information.

■ The Rookery at Marco Golf Academy — Includes a 14-acre practice facility. Director of instruction Jan Wivestad. For more information, call 642-2747

To submit an item for the golf column, send an email to sports@naplesnews.com or send a fax to 239-263-4816.

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