Monday, March 15, 2010

Metro's new GM: Let's talk

Leon P. Gilmore II, our new general manager, is eager for your thoughts, ideas, and criticisms regarding your experience at Metropolitan Golf Links as he works to secure the financial health of the facility.

You can reach him through the pro shop at (510) 569-5555 ext. 16, or via email.

Gilmore is taking time to meet with as many Metro stakeholders as he can. He spent some time recently with the Metropolitan Golf Club board of directors for example, and plans to shoot a few rounds with club members from time to time. The club lobbied for a few parts of the course to be designated as ground-under-repair for tournaments. Gilmore and Superintendent Gary Ingram promptly investigated that issue and are studying it.

Gilmore comes to us from the PGA TOUR, where he served as executive director of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Sonoma. In that capacity he was responsible for all tournament operations, growing tournament attendance by 100% in his first year on the job.

Gilmore also worked on the staff of the Monterey Peninsula Foundation where he spearheaded business development for AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach and The First Tee of Monterey County.

He's also a pretty decent golfer, having won a golf scholarship to attend Hampton University. He captained the team his senior year.

Among Gilmore's plans are to increase business for Metro's restaurant, and evangelize the use of the facility for community gatherings and events.

"Metro is a major asset to the community and we should take advantage of that," he said.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Kendra the wonderdog

Kendra, a hard working canine, chases and harasses geese, gulls, and coots at Metro.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Superintendent Gary Ingram now blogging

Metro Superintendent extraordinaire and all-around great guy Gary Ingram is now blogging about the course. Check it out here.

I just have to brag

I can't help myself.

I shot my best round at Metro on Feb.3. Three birdies, two bogies and the rest pars for a 71. My playing partners also had great rounds -- Jerry carded a 77, Jim and 78 and Ed an 80.

What did I learn? That good rounds feel easy. That even a career round leaves you feeling you should have been one stroke better.

Most of folks probably would want to play like mad after such a round, but I feel like calling it a career and leaving on top ;) My golf career feels complete. Anyone want to buy some clubs?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hahn qualifies for full status on Nationwide Tour

Metro course record holder (along with Dong Yi) James Hahn came this close to qualifying for the PGA Tour. He needed a par on his last hole to make the number, but couldn't quite pull it off. Still, he had an incredible run and gets the chance to make some money and qualify for the PGA Tour via the Nationwide. Congrats!

Here's a little of what Ron Salsig had to say in the Alameda Sun:

Tragedy is the hallmark of Q-School, and Hahn became the poster boy for this year's event.

"I was talking a lot to myself on the last hole walking up, saying 'If it's my time, it's my time,"' Hahn said. "I'm not going to beat myself over the head about it. That's golf."

The world may think that Hahn's fate was cruel. But his story at the annual qualifying tournament for the PGA Tour was remarkably heroic, and clearly a victory.

A year ago, Hahn was selling shoes at Nordstrom, scratching out a living as a "paycheck-to-paycheck player." The former NCGA Jr. Champion considered quitting golf for good. But he qualified for the Canadian Tour, and won in Calgary. He finished third place in the Canadian Tour Championship, and earned enough money to enter Q-School.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hahn qualifies for Q School Finals

James Hahn is one big step away from qualifying for the PGA Tour.

Here's a YouTube clip of Hahn's swing at the Metro range, where you can often catch a view of his practice sessions:

The final stage of PGA TOUR q-school will be held Dec. 2-7 at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, Florida. The low 25 scores over the 108 hole event will earn their PGA Tour cards for 2010. The rest of the field will have some degree of status on the Nationwide Tour.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hahn gets 2nd win on Canadian Tour

Alameda's James Hahn, former UC Berkeley player and frequent Metro visitor, has secured his second victory of the season on the Canadian Tour.

Hahn shot a four-under 68 on Sunday to earn the win at the Riviera Nayarit Classic in Mexico. His 269 was best by three strokes.

Hahn won the Edmonton Open earlier this year. He also shares the Metro course record of 63.

Metro and OTEI featured on Golf Channel program "Golf in America"

A recent Golf in America program on Golf Channel profiled Oakland Turf Education Initiative, which introduces inner-city youth to potential career paths in sports turf & golf course management, environmental sciences, and the green industry. Participating students go on study tours and field trips, attend after school programs, and participate in internships.

You can watch the segment here.

My favorite part of the story is when the reporter asks Metro Superintendent Gary Ingram how long he will be participating in OTEI. Gary's answer: "Are you asking me how long I plan to live?"

Here is another recent story on OTEI from the GCSAA:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Win free tickets to President's Cup

Heckuva deal: BART has a contest for free VIP tickets to next month's President's Cup. From the site:

Golf lovers - you've died and gone to hole-in-one heaven. myBART is giving five lucky winners VIP tickets to The Presidents Cup, October 6 - 11. Serious golf fans only, please.

The Presidents Cup, a team match play competition featuring 24 of the world's top golfers -- 12 from the United States and 12 from around the world, excluding Europe -- is held every two years, and since 1996 has alternated between United States and international venues.

Winners will receive a pair of tickets for each day of The Presidents Cup competition, Tuesday-Sunday.

Your tickets will allow unlimited access to the grounds and Trophy Club, with full hospitality services right on the signature par-4 15th hole . This includes a continental breakfast buffet, luncheon buffet and late afternoon hors d'oeuvres each day as well as an open-bar with premium beverage assortment from 11:00 a.m. until one half hour after play each day.

Three lucky winners will also get invitations to The Presidents Cup Gala, Opening or Closing Ceremonies.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Metro regular James Hahn wins Canadian Tour event

Alameda's James Hahn, who can be found practicing often (and being very friendly and generous with golf tips) at Metropolitan Golf Links, shot a final round 66 to win the TELUS Edmonton Open.

"There is an unreal feeling about all of this," Hahn said. "I came over here last year and gave myself two or three years before I would even start contending. I didn't expect a win to come so soon although you dream about it all the time."

Hahn collected $24,000 for the win.

Hahn, who played for UC Berkeley (which makes its home at Metro) shares the course record (64) at Metro.

Congrats, James!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Congrats to winner of Metro Madness

John Rampa receives congratulations from GM Darryl Davis and tournament director Jerry Krause for his 6&5 victory in the recent Metro Madness match play tournament. Davis is showing good sportsmanship here, as Rampa defeated him in the Sweet Sixteen Round ;)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sistas on the Links featured in African American Golfers Digest

The new Metro-based club Sistas on the Links is getting some attention in the golf media.

African America Golfers Digest has a story on the 54-person club created by Janet Johnson. Here's a brief excerpt:
According to Janet, "Our home course is Metropolitan Golf Links in Oakland and our mission is to united and expose African American women to the game of golf, introduce young women and nurture their growth ... I have discovered that so many black women did not know they could play this game, or how to approach learning the game, and many had never picked up a golf club. These same women are now playing tournaments with us--it's wonderful!"

Sistas on the Links has an open enrollment period Oct. 15 through Nov. 15. For more information contat Janet Johnson at (510) 236-7118 or

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Craig Snyder helping me clean up my game

"Do you know the importance of cleaning your clubs?" asked Craig Snyder as he got a glimpse of my mud-caked Titleist 755 irons at the beginning of a recent lesson.

Over the course of the next hour, Craig persuaded me not only to scrub my clubs, but showed me how to remove some of the gunk from my swing as well. Craig, one of the members of the Rich Marik Pure Golf instruction team, taught at Nike Junior Golf Camps for 13 summers after a successful playing career at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Most recently he brought his golf expertise and easy-going teaching style to Metropolitan Golf Links. Craig believes simplifying your golf swing with the correct information can quickly and easily improve your results and enjoyment.

After watching me hit a few balls Craig instantly spotted some of my long-standing problems: sucking the club inside, getting across the line at the top, and hitting nasty hooks. Craig said many of my swing ills are caused by standing too far away from the ball, so he moved me closer, worked with me on some path and plane issues, and gave me a simple but effective drill to groove the changes.

I'm already seeing results.

Craig works with all kinds of students. I recommend him highly.
(415) 596-9499

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Creature from the deep, dark, murky waters

I snapped this photo with my cruddy Blackberry camera just off the 5th green...

Sunday, May 03, 2009

New toy for golf nuts

I've been messing around with a high-speed consumer camera from Casio. The Exilim EX-FC100 can shoot 30 images at 6 megapixel resolution in one mere second, and allows for slow-motion video shooting of up to 1000 frames per second. It's the slow-mo stuff that's interesting for golf nuts. I've found that 210 FPS gives the best results for capturing golf swings. To wit, here is some recent video that Metro instructor Gregg Thrall captured with this camera. He recorded Nationwide Tour player Dong Yi on his recent visit to the Metro driving range.

(Image quality is better than the compressed stuff you see here)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Metro junior golfer Carlos Briones wins SF City Championship

14 year-old Carlos Briones, a member of the Metropolitan Golf Links Junior Golf Program, is the youngest-ever winner of the San Francisco City Championship.


Carlos is is good company. Past winners of the championship (the country's oldest municipal amateur tourney) include 1964 US Open Champion Ken Venturi, 1999 US Women's Open Champion Julie Inkster, and 1969 Masters Champion George Archer.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

California lawmaker introduces "language rights" bill in response to LPGA

From Sen. Leland Yee, who represents San Francisco and San Mateo:

SACRAMENTO – While speaking one’s native language is protected in cases of employment and housing under state law, such protections are not provided under the state’s civil rights act, which prohibits discrimination within business establishments.

As a result, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) today introduced legislation to add the use of any language to the list of protections under the Unruh Civil Rights Act. Currently, the Act prohibits business establishments from discriminating on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, or medical condition.

The issue stems from a proposed policy announced last summer by the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) to suspend players who do not speak English. The LPGA later rescinded the proposal after objections from Senator Yee and over 50 civil rights organizations.

“Unless English is justified by a business necessity, no one should be discriminated against simply for speaking their language,” said Yee. “SB 242 will rightfully add language to the list of protected classes within California’s civil rights act.”

In September of 2008, Senator Yee led an effort to oppose a discriminatory policy by the LPGA which would have required players on Tour to be proficient in English starting this year. Despite there being no relevance to the sport, the LPGA claimed that it was important for players to be able to interact with American media and event sponsors. Ironically, many of the sponsors are international companies and a number of the tournaments are not held in the United States. No other professional sports league in the United States has such a mandate.

“It is quite disheartening that in the 21st century any organization would think such a policy is acceptable,” said Yee. “With the passage of SB 242 such discriminatory mandates will not only be unfair, but illegal.”

Under SB 242, it would be a violation of state law for an entity to adopt or enforce a policy that limits or prohibits the use of any language in a business establishment, unless the language restriction is justified by a business necessity and notification has been provided of the circumstances and the time when the language restriction is required and of the consequences.

A business necessity would be defined as “an overriding legitimate business purpose for which all of the following are true: the language restriction is necessary to the safe and efficient operation of the business; the language restriction effectively fulfills the business purpose it is supposed to serve; and an alternative practice to the language restriction that would accomplish the business purpose equally well with a lesser discriminatory impact does not exist.”

Monday, January 26, 2009

#17 fairway looking good...

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Clouds from 6

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Back 9 Sunday fun

I played a very enjoyable 9 holes with these guys: Tim Murray, Mike Brill, and Tony Overbaugh (L to R).

Golf, then NFL Championship Sunday. Good times.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Oakland's First Tee chapter kicks into gear with successful club drive

Local golfers donated about 200 golf clubs to help meet the equipment needs of Oakland's new First Tee chapter, which expects to begin working with young golfers in April.

Metropolitan Golf Links, home of the First Tee chapter, hosted the club drive Jan. 10.

"It was a complete success in contributing to junior golf in the Oakland area and raising awareness for our program," said Cliff McEnery, assistant executive director of the Oakland First Tee chapter.

Many of the donated clubs will be modified to fit kids. A few of the choice drivers are now on eBay to help raise money for the chapter.

Callaway Hyper X Tour Driver

Titleist 983K Driver

Nike Sasquatch Driver

Cleveland H-Bore Driver

TaylorMade Burner 3 Wood

The First Tee home office is also donating 50 sets of new clubs to help the Oakland chapter get off the ground.

Oakland's chapter will serve 300 kids beginning in April. It's just begun a capital contribution campaign. Those who would like to contribute or volunteer their time (lots of opportunities available, no golf experience required) to the First Tee of Oakland should see Darryl Davis at Metropolitan Golf Links, or call 510-352-2002, or visit

The First Tee of Oakland could also use some women's and children's golf clubs. You can drop them off in the pro shop at Metro, or at the Lake Chabot course, which will also host First Tee programs.

One final note: Colin Powell will be the featured speaker at a national meeting of the First Tee in San Jose in March. Here's more info on the gala dinner featuring the former Secretary of State.

The mission of The First Tee is to "impact the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf."

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Obama's golf swing

Let's just say he could use a couple of lessons from one of the instructors here at Metro ...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Short game tips from Josh Zander

Golf has a nice video featuring short game tips from Josh Zander ("Six Short-Game Solutions for Saving Par"). Zander teaches at the Stanford University course and the Presidio.

His first tip is to get Stacky & Tilty for pitch shots (although he doesn't call it S&T, that's basically what it is). The video is not embeddable, so you'll have to click on the link above.

Lack of embeddable videos on most golf sites is an annoyance, as well short-sighted. Golf sites should seek to spread their content, not keep it behind walled gardens.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A round with Sam

I had the pleasure of playing 18 with Sam Moriana the other day. At 79, he's a force of nature. The long-time Metro volunteer hits the ball solidly, talks good golf trash, and oh yeah, referees high school football games.

Sam is on the Metropolitan Golf Links Course Evaluation Committee.

In this photo, Sam is walking off the 14th tee after finding the fairway once again. He's known to call himself "Fairway Sam" at least a few times during his round.

The benefit of one lesson

I took a brief putting lesson from Gregg Thrall the other day. He showed me I was aiming left on every putt, and provided me with some drills to correct the problem.

I showed immediate improvement, but most importantly I know what to work on now. The source of my putting woes -- especially on those 3-4 footers -- was previously a mystery to me.

I also changed from a 35 inch Odyssey Marxman putter to a 33 inch Yes! club. I'm enjoying the simplicity of a blade putter, and the shorter cub seems to suit me better.

Best of SwingVision

Here's Aaron Baddeley, doing the Stack & Tilt thing. It's the swing I'm trying to emulate most.

Here's AK. Dig the alignment.

Jim Furyk. Freaky.

Sergio. Mr. Lag.

Mike Weir. Another stacker/tilter.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Good golf company

I've decided to take photos of the people I get paired at Metro and post them here (only by permission of course). My most recent outing found me playing with Tim Ogles and Chris Ingenito, board members of the Metropolitan Members Golf Club. They witnessed my terrible round, in which I put up 7 double bogeys. SEVEN. Yoiks. I went 41-47. The previous round? 39-39. Crazy.

Rounding out the foursome was my buddy Anthony Perez. Anthony and I are both messing around with the Stack & Tilt swing. It's promising, but I still start hooking the ball off the course at some point during every round.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dong Yi makes it to Q School final

Alameda native Dong Yi, who shares the course record at Metro with pal James Hahn, has secured a spot on the Nationwide Tour and could qualify for the PGA Tour with a top 25 finish in the final stage of Q School. Ron Salsig has the story:

"I knew I was close teeing off that last hole," Yi said. "Talk about Q-School pressure, that's it."

Yi hit his tee shot into a fairway bunker on the 460-yard par-4 hole. He was 160 yards to the pin, but had to hit a 9-iron to clear the lip of the bunker. His ball ended up in the right rough, short of the green, 25 feet from the hole. He chipped to five feet.

And there he was, staring at a five-footer for his life, a five-footer that meant the difference between another year on the mini-tours, or finally qualifying for at least the Nationwide Tour. When the putt dropped into the hole, he felt a life-long effort exhale in relief.

"Now at least I know I will play somewhere in the PGA Tour hierarchy next year," Yi said. "But I'm gunning for the top 25."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Metro to be home of new First Tee chapter

The Charles Schwab Cup Championship has donated $5,000 to start a new First Tee chapter in Oakland. Metropolitan Golf Links will be the chapter's base.

The First Tee, an international youth development program, impacts the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character development through the game of golf.

“As we begin our Chapter next month, clearly the generous donation from The Charles Schwab Cup makes it possible for us to help more young people reach their potential and achieve success in life” said Barbara Essig, Executive Director of The First Tee of Oakland. “These funds will play a positive role on the youth in our community.”

The check presentation took place at Metropolitan Golf Links, owned by the City of Oakland and operated by Courseco Inc.

“In cooperation with the City of Oakland, we are privileged to support The First Tee by providing the course as the programming facility for the Chapter.” said Darryl Davis, General Manager of Metropolitan Golf Links, “We hope you can join us and city officials as we celebrate the generous donation from Charles Schwab Cup Championship.”

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hahn ties course record

James Hahn tied Metro's course record of 63, shooting a 30-33 on Friday, September 19, 2008.

Hahn barely missed a 10-foot birdie putt on 18 that would have bested the course record set by Dong Yi, a fellow Canadian Tour player and Alameda native. Both Hahn and Yi played golf at the University of California Berkeley.

I ran into Hahn right after his round. He downplayed his achievement, saying that merely tying the course record is nothing to brag about. I strongly disagree. Big ups to James.

Hahn has secured his Canadian Tour card for next season, but first he'll go through Q School at San Juan Oaks next month to see if he can make the Nationwide or PGA Tours.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Metro to host first and final rounds of Bay Area Ryder Cup Challenge

The Bay Area Ryder Cup Challenge is a multi-day qualification tournament to be played at Metro and at four other courses in the Bay Area.

Six person teams will play in three separate matchplay competitions. Here's the format: Two players will play best ball, two will play alternate shot, and two will play singles. All rounds will be match play format using 80% of handicaps.

Following the familiar NCAA basketball bracket format, 32 teams will compete the first day at Metropolitan on Sunday, Sept. 28. The 16 qualifying teams will move on to play Crystal Springs in Burlingame on October 5, with the 8 winning teams moving on to play StoneTree in Novato on October 11. Semi-finals will take the remaining four teams to Pleasanton's Callippe Preserve on Oct. 16 where the finalists will match up to compete in the finals at Metro on Nov. 1.

Grand Prize winners will receive a luxury suite for the Nov. 30 Oakland Raiders game vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, free entry into next year's event, and names etched on the perpetual trophy.

Second Place - $150 per player ($900 per team) as well as golf certificates for golf at participating courses.

Third and Fourth Place - $75 per player ($450 per team) as well as golf certificates for golf at participating courses.

The entry fee is $150 per player, and includes green fees and cart fees for all rounds of golf, range balls, tee prize for entry, BBQ luncheon on the first day of qualifying at Metro on Sept. 28 as well as entry for the Captain and co-Captain of each team to participate in the pairing party Friday Sept. 26.

Click here to signup online.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Welcome Jerome Cansino

Jerome Cansino is the new food and beverage manager at Metro. He comes to us from the Wedgewood Wedding and Banquet Center at San Ramon Golf Club.

Jerome runs The Sweet Spot Cafe at Metro, and is the guy to see about weddings and banquets here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Carl Hiaasen's Downhill Lie

I have a treat for you today. I interviewed novelist and newspaper columnist Carl Hiaasen (author of delightful books such as Strip Tease and Sick Puppy) about his new book Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport. Click on the player below to hear the interview.