NAPLES — The field is shaping up for next week's 51st annual Coors Light Open at Fort Myers Country Club.
Damon Green, the caddie for former Masters champion Zach Johnson, Fort Myers' Nolan Henke, Derek Lamely and George McNeill, Champions Tour players Ben Bates, Gary Hallberg, Wayne Levi, and former Champions Tour player Mark Lye of Naples are among the professionals in the field for Saturday, Feb. 23 and Sunday, Feb. 24.
Defending champion Akio Sadakata and former champions Dustin Cone (2011) and Justin McCarraher (2007) of Fort Myers, and several area club professionals also are in. Henke (1991, 1999) and McNeill (2002, 2008) have two titles. Five-time champion Marion Heck of Fort Myers Beach is back again.
"I'm trying to fill my last two or three spots with guys who went through the (ACE Group Classic) qualifier," said tournament director Rich Lamb, whose deadline is Sunday.
There will be five qualifying spots available Tuesday.
Lamb is glad to be right behind the Champions Tour's ACE Group Classic on the calendar, especially with the tour taking a couple of weeks off before starting back up in California.
"This is what we like, where there's guys at the ACE the following week that don't have anything to do,' Lamb said. "That's hopefully going to be a nice spot for us."
The PGA Tour's stop is the World Match Play Championship, which has a limited field, allowing for a greater possibility for some PGA Tour players such as McNeill to play.
As always, there is free parking and free admission to the Coors Light Open.
Franks leads Veterans benefit: Naples resident and U.S. Army Gen. (ret.) Fred Franks hosted Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and baseball legends at Kensington Golf and Country Club on Saturday, Feb. 9.
The event benefited the Red Sox Foundation and the Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program in Boston. Baseball alumni included former Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield, Jim Perry, Lee Stange, Greg Blosser, Bill Gullickson, Howard Johnson, Joe McCabe, and Rick Miller.
Franks had a 35-year military career. After being wounded in action in Vietnam, he remained on active duty following the amputation of his left leg below the knee. Franks commanded 146,000 U.S. and British forces in the first Gulf War as part of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the coalition that liberated Kuwait in February 1991. Franks has received four awards for valor and two Purple Hearts.
GCSAA National Championship: Jim Torba of Wilderness Country Club finished fifth in the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America's national championship on Feb. 6 at Torrey Pines. Torba shot 73-76, finishing two strokes behind winner Charles Costello. Bryce Koch of Cypress Lake was ninth at 153.
Age shooter: On Friday, Feb. 9, Paul Lappetito of Talis Park Golf Club shot an 82 — his age.
Mediterra schools: Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer, founders of the Stack and Tilt method, will be at the Mediterra Golf School on Wednesday, March 20. The school will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with hands-on instruction and lunch at the clubhouse. The cost is $550. Contact Adam Bazalgette at email@example.com.
Florida Junior Tour: Naples' Andrew Potter finished 10th in Winter Garden on Sunday. Potter shot 78-71/149.
Naples Amateur Tour: Results, Hammock Bay (2-5): 1. Paul Dillon, Bethesda, Md., 70 (gross 76); 1. Walter Heesch, Setauket, N.Y., 70 (gross 76); 3. Ben Chelini, Crystal Lake, Ill., 73; Fiddlers Creek (2-7): 1. Richard Combra, Martha's Vineyard, Mass., 74; 1. Barry Mitchell, Lake Forest, Ill., 74; 3. Dillon 76; Fiddler's Creek (1-28): 1. Walter Heesch, Setauket, N.Y., 70; 2. Paul Dillon, Bethesda, Md., 71 (gross 79); 3. Richard Combra, Martha's Vineyard, Mass., 74; The Rookery (1-31): 1. Jim Gibbs, Chicago, 69; 2. Heesch 72 (gross 80); 3. Dan Marakovits, Allentown, Pa., 74; Results, Fiddler's Creek (1-21): 1. Walter Heesch, Setauket, N.Y., 72 (gross 81); 2. Billy Donahue, Duxbury, Mass., 74; 3. Ben Chelini, Crystal Lake, Ill., 75; 3. Rob Mucci, Salem, Mass., 75; Upcoming events: Thursday, The Rookery; Monday, Hammock Bay. Handicaps 0-23. Contact Rob Mucci firstname.lastname@example.org or (978) 328-9145.
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ACE Group Classic
Info: Through Sunday, TwinEagles Club. Tickets on sale. Ultimate Golf Experience Book now features complimentary parking all week, two concessions vouchers valid any day and a 10 percent discount in the TwinEagles Pro Shop, in addition to a weekly ticket.
Contact: www.acegroupclassic.com or 593-3900
51st Coors Light Open
Info: Feb. 23-24, Fort Myers Country Club. Pro qualifying, Tuesday. Entry fee, $75.
Minnesota Twins Celebrity Classic
Info: Friday, Pelican's Nest in Bonita Springs. Past participants include Joe Mauer, Bert Blyleven, Rod Carew, Paul Molitor, Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek, and manager Ron Gardenhire. Benefits programs and treatments at Lee Memorial Health System's Regional Cancer Center. Entry fee, $300, includes luncheon and dinner. Nongolfers may attend dinner auction for $50. Sponsorships available. Starts at 11 a.m.
Contact: 343-6053, email@example.com
East Naples Foundation Classic
Info: Saturday, Naples Lakes. Shotgun start, 8 a.m. Entry fee, $125, includes continental breakfast starting at 7:10 a.m., awards lunch at 12:15 p.m. Hole sponsorships start at $50. Benefits Parkside Elementary School Children's summer camp, purchase sneakers for East Naples Fire and Rescue District's Back to School Sneaker Drive, contribute to the East Naples Civic Association Scholarship Fund and its Santa Run, and Naples Lakes Memorial Fund.
Contact: 775-7029, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fiddlesticks Nichols Cup
Info: Celebrity Pro-Am, Sunday-Monday. Practice round, gala, Feb. 17. Tournament, Feb. 18. Lanny Wadkins, bunker shot clinic, 11:30 a.m. to noon. Benefits Abuse Counseling & Treatment, the Children's Advocacy Center, and Blessings in a Backpack/James Stephens International Academy.
Michigan State Spartan Pride Scramble
Info: Monday, Grey Oaks. Registration, 10:30 a.m., lunch buffet, 10:45 a.m.; Shotgun start, 11:45 a.m.; Cocktail reception, 4:30 p.m.; Dinner program, 5:30 p.m. Guests include athletic director Mark Hollis, baseball coach Jake Boss Jr., volleyball coach Cathy George, men's golf coach Casey Lubahn, and men's soccer coach Damon Rensing. Entry fee, $300 per person, or dinner only, $85.
Contact: Sarah Skilling (517) 355-7701
Red Sox Children's Hospital Celebrity Classic
Info: Feb. 21-22, The Forest Country Club, Fort Myers. Tee Party on Feb. 21 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. features former Red Sox player Mike Greenwell and South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier giving autographs. Fans can bid, starting at $500, to play with Spurrier's team in the golf tournament, which is Feb. 22 at 1 p.m. Call 343-6106 by 2 p.m. Feb. 20 to bid. Proceeds benefit Golisano Children's Hospital.
Info: Monday, March 4, Mediterra. Former tour golfer Mark Lye and his wife Lisa of Naples are starting the tournament benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in honor of their son Lucas, who is 7 and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 4. Mark Lye also has Type 1 diabetes. Event features 24 tour pros from either the PGA, Champions or LPGA tours. Lye also will host a clinic. Amateur teams will play nine holes each with two tour pros. Sponsorships are available beginning at $1,000. Entry fees are $3,000 per player.
First Tee of Naples/Collier
Info: Winter class schedule from Feb. 4-March 15. The fee is $45 for six weeks, for ages 7 to 17. Sessions for Beginners (7-11), Mondays at Moorings, and Fridays at Hideout; Beginners (12-18), Thursdays at Cypress Woods; Intermediate, Mondays, Quality Inn & Suites Golf Resort, and Fridays at TwinEagles; Advanced Intermediate, Wednesdays, TBD; Advanced, Thursdays at Naples National Golf Club. All sessions are from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m.
Contact: www.thefirstteenaplescollier.org and go under "Right Now."
Rick Smith Golf Academy at Raptor Bay
Info: After-school clinics are Thursdays from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., and cost $30 per person.
Contact: 390-4608, RSGAgolf@gmail.com.
Rodney Bungartz lessons
Info: Arrowhead Golf Club instructor has released clinic schedule for February. After School Junior Clinic — Tuesdays, 4 to 5 p.m., $13 per student per session, ages 6 and up; Middle School Junior Clinic — Tuesdays, 5 to 6 p.m., $15 per student per session, ages 12 and up. Contact: 348-5929.
TOURAcademy at Tiburon
Info: Afterschool programs — Elementary, 4 to 5:30 p.m., Mondays; Middle school, 4:30 to 6 p.m., Wednesdays. Cost, $190 for four-week session. Call 593-1111
Executive Women's Golf Association
Golf Channel Amateur Tour
Info: Merged with Tournament Players Association.
Contact: Doug Oselett, email@example.com or go to gcamtour.com.
Gulfcoast Amateur Association of Florida
Info: Members can participate in individual competitions, couples events, partner events, scrambles, pro-ams, nine-hole "Nine and Dines" plus travel events. Nonmembers are welcome to continue competing in select events with a $25 per event fee. Memberships will be $100 per person per year, and offer benefits such as member discounts at area golf courses, advanced tee times, and restaurant discounts.
Southwest Amateur Series
Info: Men's circuit through the Florida State Golf Association features 36-hole individual competitions, with $130 entry fees.
Info: 18-hole Men's League on Saturdays at 8 a.m.; Ladies League, Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m., format varies each week.
Contact: 352-0777, www.ValenciaGolfandCountryClub.com
World Golfers Amateur Tour-Southwest Florida
Info: Cost for tour, $189 per year.
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■ 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.
■ Mike Dopslaff Instruction — PGA professional Mike Dopslaff, a four-time Southwest Florida PGA Player of the Year, provides instruction. Individual, group lessons at Stoneybrook Golf Club and Eastwood Golf Club. Call 994-3442, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
■ Rodney Bungartz Lessons — The Arrowhead instructor has released his schedule for June. Summer junior clinic: 9 to 10 a.m., Wednesdays, $13 per student per session, age 6 and up. June 13, 20, 27; Get Golf Ready: Starts June 18, Mondays 8:45 to 10 a.m. Mondays; $99 for six 75-minute sessions. Call 348-5929.
■ 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, email@example.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 Talis Park 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.
■ Dennis Clark Lessons — Clark, a PGA Master Professional and Advanced Certified Instructor, is directing the Golf Academy at The Marco Island Marriott Resort. Clark is a seven-time PGA award winner, and features Trackman Golf radar Solutions as well as V-1 video analysis. Clark has private lessons, a half-day workshop, and full-weekend schools. Contact 642-2747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
■ 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 — The teaching center on Collier Boulevard on the way to Marco Island has a weekly clinic schedule — Tuesdays, ladies; Thursdays, men; Saturdays, mixed. There is a short-game class Fridays, with advanced sign-up required. All start at 10 a.m. Call 732-6900.
■ 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 email email@example.com.
■ Mediterra Golf School — Clinic on Friday, March 16 with stack-and-tilt method teachers Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett. The clinic will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and costs $550, which includes lunch in the clubhouse, and will be limited to 10 students; Contact director of instruction Adam Bazalgette at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.adambgolf.com.
■ 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 — Contact Durland at 784-2208 or email@example.com.
■ Tom Patri Golf School — Tom Patri in New York from May-December. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 — New location at the Raptor Bay Golf Club in Bonita Springs. Offering weekly clinics for adults, Mondays and Saturdays from 11 a.m.-noon, and juniors on Thursdays from 4 to 5 p.m. Clinics have a 6:1 student-to-teacher ratio. Call 390-4610 for more information and to sign up.
■ TOURAcademy Tiburon — 593-2200 for more information.
To submit an item for the golf column, send an email to email@example.com or a fax to 263-4816.