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Guest Post: 2017 Can-Am Cup

Can Am Cup 2017

Another Guest Blog Post by Jim LaBuda, Assistant Golf Pro, recapping last week's Can-Am Cup . . .

Terry Hills hosted the 11th Annual Louie and Richie Can-Am Cup on Monday, September 25th, 2017.  The match play style tournament consisted of a Canadian team and an American team with 41 players on each.  The teams were made of up ladies, men and couples at all skill levels.   The Canadian team has been the defending champions for the last 3 years. On this beautiful fall day with temperature in the mid 80’s, the American team was looking to upset their winning streak.

Myself and fellow Terry Hills employee, Eric Holliday, partnered up for the American team.    Eric was matched up with Canadian opponent Smokey and my opponent was Wayne, a member of the Canadian PGA.  We started on the 10th hole, playing the North course first.  On our first 9 holes, Eric bested Smokey to earn a point for the US side. I ultimately lost to Wayne on the 9th hole earning him a point for the Canadian team.  We set our sights on the east course for the next 9 holes.  Both matches came down to the 18th hole. Smokey was victor over Eric this time to earn a point for the Canadians and I was, once again, defeated on the 18th hole.  Although I was disheartened by not winning a point for the American team, I enjoyed the friendly nature of the competition with our neighbors to the North.

The overall final results had the US Team with 45 ½ points and the Canadian team with 39 ½ points.  After three years, the US team finally broke the streak of the Canadian team and emerged victorious!  No matter if you won or lost your match, it was a good time for all and new acquaintances and friendships were made. Many players told me that they had such an amazing time playing in this event that they are already looking forward to next year!

I would like to personally thank Bill Cooper and Ralph Biamonte from the Canadian team for all their work in recruiting Canadian players, arranging their 2 person teams, and taking care of the logistics to come to Terry Hills for this event.  

In closing, this event is named in honor of Louie Fiorella and Richie Melrose. Before their passing, both men were avid golfers that played in the Can Am Cup for years. All who play continue to do so in their memory.

“As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round” ~ Ben Hogan

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Guest Post: Solheim Cup Recap

Now that we've introduced you to our new Assistant Golf Pro, Jim, we wanted to give him the reins from time to time with our blog.

Here's his first Guest Blog Post, recapping this past weekend's Solheim Cup, a Europe vs. USA-style match, which parallels our upcoming Can-Am Cup! 

In dramatic fashion this past weekend, Team USA defeated Team Europe by a score of 16 1/2 -11 1/2 at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines, IA to retain the Solheim Cup.  This marks the 2nd consecutive victory for captain Juli Inkster who also led Team USA to victory in 2015 at the biennial matches held in Germany. 

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                Team USA wanted to start off strong this past Friday so in the first match of morning foursomes (alternate shot) they sent out the team of Lexi Thompson and Cristie Kerr to face Team Eurpoe's Mel Reid and Charlie Hull.  Team USA could not have asked for a better start!  Lexi Thompson led off the match hitting her tee shot on the 306 yard opening hole and driving the green!  She didn't hit a driver, but instead hit a 3 wood on the opening hole and the ball stopped 9 feet short of the hole.  Cristie Kerr then made the 9 foot eagle putt to give Team USA an early 1 UP lead in this match. 

                I have to give credit to the team of Mel Reid and Charlie Hull.  This was Reid's 2nd appearance in a Solheim Cup and Hull's 3rd appearance.  To be matched up against the team of Lexi Thompson and Cristie Kerr in the opening match of the 2017 Solheim Cup on US soil had to be extremely intimidating.  Then to see Lexi drive the green with her 3 wood and have Cristie make the eagle putt, I can't imagine what might have been going through their minds at this point.  Team USA wanted to set the tone for these matches and let Team Europe know that they were going to come out and play aggressive golf.  They weren't going to sit back and let Team Europe hand them the Solheim Cup; Team USA was going to go out and make sure that they controlled their own destiny.  They wanted to retain the Cup and win the matches on US Soil which they went out and did.  However, after 9 holes of this first match, Team Europe battled back to hold a 1 UP lead over Team USA.  The matched ended up being halved with both teams earning 1/2 point.

                Sunday's singles matches also showed us some excellent golf and taught us a valuable lesson that we can all use to help our golf games.  In the first singles match on Sunday, Team USA's Lexi Thompson was playing  Team Europe's Anna Nordqvist from Sweden.  Team Europe was down at the start of the day but a score of 10 1/2 to 5 1/2.  If Team Europe was to come out victorious in the Solheim Cup they would need to have a record setting comeback.  Anna Nordvqvist started out with 4 straight birdies on the first 4 holes and opened up a 4 UP lead after 9 holes in this first match.  However, Lexi Thompson wasn't going to be defeated so easily.  She stuck to her game plan of playing aggressive and birdied the 10th and 11th holes to win these holes and bring the match to a 2 UP lead for Team Europe.  Lexi them played the next 7 holes in 3 under par and ended up having the match with Anna Nordqvist.  This gave both Team USA and Team Europe a 1/2 point and started Team USA's victory run. 

                Golfers today can learn a valuable lesson from both team's from this past Solheim Cup.  On Friday, the team of Mel Reid and Charley Hull could have been emotionally down after the 1st hole with Team USA making an opening eagle in such dramatic fashion.  Lexi Thompson, one of the LPGA's stars and longest hitters drivers the opening hole with a 3 wood and then Christe Kerr, an LPGA star and veteran of the Solheim Cup, calmly walks up and knocks in the eagle putt.  The USA crowd was going absolutely crazy when this putt went into the hole!  However, Team Europe didn't seem to be bothered by this.  Then on Sunday, Anna Nordqvist starts off with 4 straight birdies in her singles match against Lexi Thompson.  Lexi was 4 down after 9 holes but then rallied to change the tune of the match and eventually halved the match with Anna.

                As a golf instructor and psychology coach, I work with players of all skill levels.  One of the most important lessons is to "stay in the present."  This means to circumvent feelings of intimidation or discouragement when an opponent out plays you on a hole.  You need to focus on the mental side of the game as much as the physical playing aspect.  Both Team Europe on Friday and Lexi Thompson on Sunday could have easily felt deflated after the first hole Friday and 9 holes on Sunday respectively.  However, there was still a lot of golf to be played, they knew anything could happen and stuck to their original game strategy.  This is something that all golfers can learn from.  A great shot on one hole could easily be followed by a misstep on the next. The fundamentals for any golfer is to not over think that last bad shot. You can’t change the past and successful golfers know staying in the present and focusing on the shot going forward is how they ultimately succeed in the end.  As golfers, we need to have very short memories and put what happened in the past behind us.  We are in control of our own golf game and we should all play within ourselves.  Play to your strengths.  If you aren't the longest driver of the golf ball don't try to reach the par 5 holes in 2 shots just because your playing partners are.  Don't try to hit an iron on a long par 3 if hitting a hybrid or a fairway wood is a more comfortable shot for you.  On Friday, Charley Hull didn't try to hit a 3 wood to 9 feet on the first green just because Lexi Thompson did.  She played within herself and hit the golf shot that she knew she could hit.  Yes, she was down after the first hole but they stuck to their game plan, stayed within themselves and ended up halving the match with Team USA.   

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Meet our NEW Assistant Golf Pro!

We are very excited to welcome you to the newest member of our golf team! Meet Jim LaBuda, our new Assistant Golf Professional.
Jim Labuda1
 
Jim has lived in the Buffalo, NY area his entire life, with more than 20 years of experience in the golf industry. In high school, he began working as an attendant at a retail golf store. He then played Division I golf for Canisius College while pursuing a degree in Finance. Upon graduating, he followed his degree to a career in Finance, but didn't let his love of golf fall by the wayside.
 
He completed the courses necessary to become a golf teacher as part of the USGTF, and passed the written exam and the Playing Ability Test to become a Certified Golf Teaching Professional. Eventually, he left the realm of Finance, and took up his passion for golf as a full-time career, which in his words is a "dream come true!" 

Beyond having another golf professional to assist with the day-to-day operations, we're also excited to be able to now offer Certified Golf Lessons to our customers. Jim is not only USGTF Certified, he's also a Certified Golf Psychology Coach and a RST Swing System Certified Instructor. He offers lessons for every skill level, as well as individual, group, and junior lessons. For more information, click here. 

Want to get to know Jim even better? We took care of that, too. Read more of our candid interview with him below:

 

Favorite Hole at Terry Hills?

My favorite hole would have to be the 18th hole.  I love the challenge and reward potential of the par 5.  Your drive is key for getting to the green in 2 shots. It's not an easy up and down to save par.  It's a great finishing hole for those 9 holes.

Favorite Vacation spot?

My family and I love Walt Disney World. We have been there for every season at least once. Our favorite times are around Halloween and Christmas because everything is lit up and decorated for that holiday. The decorations and displays are quite extravagant and it’s an amazing sight to see.  We also enjoy the time around the Food and Wine festival in EPCOT. It’s a world culinary experience all in one place.

What is the best dish you make?

I love making anything on the grill, but my wife tells me that my best dish is my Vodka Pasta.

If you had to pick any TV show to binge watch, what would it be?

I love adventure so I’m currently hooked on Expedition Unknown. Otherwise, anything on the Travel Channel works for me.

Biggest challenge facing the golf industry?

I believe the biggest challenge facing the golf industry right now is attracting younger players to the game, especially in an area that is seasonal with very cold Winter months. It’s evident that with the emergence of smart phones and technological advances in gaming that kids have moved from active lifestyles to more sedentary.  There just aren’t as many junior golfers playing as there have been in years past.  We need creative and affordable programs to introduce the younger players to the game to show them that while golf can be a challenging game it is also fun and rewarding.  

What are you most excited for in your new role at Terry Hills?

I'm excited to have the opportunity to work at WNY’s number one public golf course.  I always enjoy meeting new people that love the game as much as I do.  The learning experience is invaluable and the dedication of every staff member here at Terry Hills to their customers is unmatched to other places I have been.

 

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Recapping the NY Restaurant & Foodservice Show

It was 4:45am on Sunday, March 5th when my alarm went off. Six of us were meeting at Terry Hills, bright and early, to embark on a little restaurant journey. Danielle (Restaurant & Banquet Manager), Chris (Assistant Banquet Manager), Mike (Head Chef), Kelli (Bar Manager), Casey (Head Golf Pro) and I (Darcy, Director of Marketing) piled into a minivan, and headed off to NYC for the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of NY.
 
 
Over 500 Vendors. Over 12 hours of education sessions. Cooking demos. Samples. You name it, it was there. But I'm getting ahead of myself... 
 
Day 1: Early-morning flight into NYC.
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The show kicked off this morning as well, so we arrived around 11am, got our badges, and headed into restaurant mecca. The show was held on the bottom level of the Javits center, Manhattan's largest convention center (which, to hep our golfers visualize, is approximately the size of our front 9). Lanes upon lanes upon lanes of restaurant and foodservice vendors. 
 
So, needless to say, when we first arrived, we needed to catch our bearings. We literally just explored up and down the aisles to see everything there was to see. And that alone, took all day. Tasted samples. Saw different displays, products and technologies.
 
IMG 7068so. much. chocolate <3 

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checking out the sights to see, like this Barbie in a meat dress...  
 
Around lunchtime, our education classes began, so we split up to attend various presentations for the remainder of the afternoon. 
 
A few favorite items from the day:
  • Wood Fired Pizza ovens (on wheels -- hello, Terry Hills patio?!) which made the most delicious pizzas in just 90 SECONDS. Day made. 
  • Soft-Serve Gelato
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Clearly excited.
 
  • Taste NY: a dedicated area for NYS food & beverage producers. Cider, maple syrup, specialty oils, breweries, distilleries... all the yum.
 
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The other highlight was posing with this Sausage Mascot
 
At the 5pm conclusion, we headed back to our hotel to check-in, followed by dinner, drinks and of course, exploring NYC.
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Day 2: Now that we had settled in and learned the ropes, it was time to get down to specifics.
 
We started the day off in our respective education classes: "Develop the Right Hospitality Management Team" for Danielle & Chris, "Food Transparency in the age of Fake News and Alternate Facts" for Darcy, and a culinary demonstration by celebrity chef, Donatella Arpaia for Mike, Kelli and Casey.  Mike was one of the few people who actually got to try one of the meatballs she made, so I'm sure he will tell you that was his highlight of the trip. #chefcrush
 
Next order of business: seeking-out specific products/services that we came to see.
 
  • Chris and I were on the hunt for new menus (got some great ideas!) and just in general, brainstorming ideas for our own restaurant & banquet facility tradeshow booth.
  • Chef Mike/Danielle had their own wishlist: pretzel rolls, pizza logs, gluten-free options, and/or any & all new menu items/equipment that sparked their interest.
  • Casey ultimately wanted to learn more about the inner workings of a restaurant, but also had one very important goal: finding a solution for credit card sales on the beverage cart. And BINGO, we think we may have found it!
  • Kelli was on the lookout for specialty cocktails, bloody marys, and basically, anything alcohol-related to stock her bar with. 
 
By the end of Day 2, information overload was a real thing, and we were brimming with new ideas. The good news was that it wasn't even over. We left the conference, quickly freshed up at the hotel, and headed straight to a networking cocktail party, sponspored by the NYS Restaurant Association. We got to chat with other restauranteurs and industry professionals while also saying a big "cheers" to a couple of well-spent days. 

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 IMG 7103Networking FTW
 
 
To sum everything up, the show was the perfect mix between education, a showcase of new products, with a little (read as: a lot) of fun thrown in. Here's everyone's main takeaways:
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Chris: 
I think this trip brought together an already good management team and made it better to serve our customers in the best way.
 
Mike
David Scott Peters was an amazing speaker and I was really able to learn a lot from his two presentations, "How to Avoid 3 Deadly Mistakes in Labor Cost" and "Cost Saving Strategies" 
 
Casey: 
"The Restaurant Expert" by David Scott Peters was a great presentation. This was also just a great bonding experience for the entire team.
 
Kelli: 
I learned the importance of understanding food allergies and the danger to customers if a mistake is made.
 
Darcy: 
Came away with so many new ideas for menus, tradeshow displays, and general restaurant practices to attract new customers. (also, sidenote: losing your voice while attending a tradeshow is NO fun)
 
Danielle:  
 
 
And... a handful of exciting items we're bringing back with us: 
  • Pretzel Rolls
  • New appetizers and sandwiches
  • New Menu Design
  • Credit Card sales on the Beverage Cart
 
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5 Things We've Never Had to do in February.. Until Now.

When you think of February in WNY, you generally think of snow. Plain and simple. Snowy, cold, blustery, wintery weather. Right…?

Wrong.  Not if 2017 had anything to do with it.

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We’re going to hop aboard this global warming train and say that this February was one for the record books. Sure, we had snow here and there but almost nothing about this past month was typical. From the amount of accumulation, to the temperatures, there’s a lot of “Never Have I Ever”s being thrown around.

Here’s our Top 5 Reasons Why February Threw us for a Loop:

1. Week-Long High Temps

There’s always been a high-temp here or there throughout the winter. Maybe even, if we’re lucky – a 2-day stretch. But we honestly can’t remember an entire week of February that could pass for Spring, let alone on some days, Summer.

We would like to accept the award for Best February Weather on behalf of our tee sheet.  

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2. Changing Cups

And speaking of a week-long stretch of beautiful weather, and a week-long stretch of sold out golf, comes the course maintenance.  

Changing out cups (a.k.a holes for you non-golfers) is something we do every day throughout the season, going into December, even early January. You know, before the ground freezes, and there’s no convenient way or logical reason to do so. But when there’s a 5-day stretch of 60+ degree weather, you better believe the grounds crew was all over it.

So we wanted to go on the record and say that 2017 was the first and only time cups have been changed in February.

3. Putting out Garbages

Yes, you read that right. Part of winterizing the course is taking all the garbages in (which I’m sure most of you never even realized was a thing), but we jinxed ourselves this year. We had to put them back out for a week because, well, 1,000+ golfers may have needed them. Another “first time ever” for February.

4. Refraining from Travel

The #travelban is on… at least for the months of April-December for those of us who work on a golf course in WNY. So come January, we are packing our bags and heading to… pretty much anywhere south of NYS.

But again, not if 2017 had anything to do with it.

Our travel plans were majorly upended by Mother Nature. From vacations to trade shows, the weather had us questioning every move. Not to mention, for an industry that plans the vast majority of its tradeshows for these months, it was a fun change of events to try to coordinate who went to what show, while who stayed back to operate the facility (and sometimes, whether or not we even had enough staff to do so).

5. Outdoor Wedding

A February wedding in itself is not bizarre at all. Some couples prefer a snowy backdrop, or an off-season affair to cut costs.

This particular couple got the opposite of a snowy backdrop: a 70 degree day. And luckily, the snowy backdrop was not something they were after. 

Just like if it rains on your wedding day; is it a good omen to have summer weather during your winter wedding? 

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Celebrating the beautiful weather, or a "Bird Seed Send Off"? You decide. 

 

What crazy February happenings did you experience?

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