New courses added for the summer

We’ve been busy getting you the best deals out there for the summer months. In the past week we’ve added tons of new courses to ACCESS. Check out a few of them:

Coldwater Golf Club – Play for $25 weekdays and $33 weekends and holidays through May 31.
Crooked Tree Golf Course – Play for $30 anytime weekdays or after 10 a.m. weekends and holidays through May 31.
Golf Club at Vistoso – Play for $44.95 after noon through June 3.
Las Colinas Golf Club – Play for $18 weekdays and $25 weekends and holidays through Sept. 30.
Pine Shadows Golf Course – Two ACCESS members can play for the price of one through Aug. 31.
Sundance Golf Club – Play for $18 before 10 a.m. and $14 after 10 a.m. through Sept. 24.
The Phoenician – Play for 25% off rack rates through May 31.
Verde Santa Fe Golf Club – Play for $30 anytime through Dec. 31.


PRSC honored

PHOENIX – The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission was named the 2012 Large Market Sports Commission of the Year last week in Hartford during the annual symposium of the National Association of Sports Commissions. “We are honored to be recognized by our peers for the work we are doing to make Phoenix the premier location for sports tourism and events,” said Phoenix Regional Sports Commission President Jon Schmieder. “We won this award through the support of our local partners and the first-rate tourism and event infrastructure here in the Valley. By putting these elements together, we have had success in creating significant economic development through sports.” Schmieder was also recently honored with the 2012 Community Partnership Award by the Organization for Nonprofit Executives (ONE). He was recognized for developing community partnerships with the Sports Commission and for fostering a collaborative organization. The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission’s mission is to bring national and international events to Arizona, promote area sports teams and enhance youth sports programs. The Sports Commission’s largest fundraiser, the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, was held in late March. The next event for the Sports Commission is the Arizona Sprints Showcase, June 22 – 23, at Chandler High School, which will feature the country’s elite high school sprinters. For more information on the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission, visit


Superstore hosts junior golf fair in May

The PGA Tour Superstore’s Chandler location (corner of Warner Road and Arizona Avenue) will host a junior golf fair Saturday, May 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attendees include The First Tee, Junior Golf Association of Arizona, LPGA Girls Golf, US Kids Golf, Junior Golf Championships and Golf Academy of America. Equipment will be demonstrated by Tour Edge, US Kids Golf, Puma, Adidas and Nike, and food will be provided by Chick-fil-A. Call 480-214-4370 for more information.


Uniting Nations Cup 2012

Scottsdale amateur Patrick Gravelin was in the middle of a match in last year’s inaugural Uniting Nations Cup when he suddenly got caught up in his surroundings. Gravelin was representing his country in the Ryder Cup style competition against Mexico, but he was having a hard time focusing on golf. He found himself transfixed on the Sea of Cortez, which nearly splashes against Peninsula de Cortez golf course in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico. “I just caught myself standing and watching that sea,” he said. “It was the bluest blue I’d ever seen and it was so quiet and calm. It was awesome.” Gavelin and 47 other U.S. amateurs return to the picturesque Mayan Palace golf resort in Puerto Peñasco, May 17-20, for the second Uniting Nations Cup. Gravelin and his partner, Don Raley of Phoenix, didn’t win either of their team best-ball matches, but the U.S. team of professionals and amateurs fared better—winning the overall competition from their neighbors to the south, 56-44. The UNC was dreamed up a few years ago to highlight the alliance between the U.S. and Mexico beyond the countries commercial and cultural ties. In its first year, tournament director Vito Berlingeri said the UNC exceeded all expectations. “We utilized golf as an ambassador,” he said. “What developed was way beyond our expectations. Golf brought the two countries together.” Last year’s opening ceremonies were attended by several dignitaries, including Guillermo Padres Elias, Governor of Sonora, Mexico and Bob Walkup, Mayor of Tucson. This year’s tournament, organized by the Arizona Golf Assn., won’t include professionals. But despite a lackluster economy, the tournament has been thriving–adding sponsors almost daily. Bose, Zagas, Johnson Controls and the Puerto Peñasco Tourist Board are just a few of the big names to have signed on. The Mayan Palace’s Peninsula de Cortez course has landed a few big tournaments since it opened six years ago, including the Pac-10 women’s championships in 2009. Vidanta Golf, which operates the Peninsula course and four others in Mexico, plans to have the UNC on its calendar every May. “Our strategic plan is to lift the tournament’s profile in each subsequent year,” said Jesus Torres, director of Vidanta Golf. “We have high hopes that the Uniting Nations Cup tournament will be entrenched in the future as one of the most desirable events in the region.” The course, co-designed by Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II, is 7,100-yards long and the par-72 layout is one of the most challenging and breathtaking in Mexico. In typical Nicklaus fashion, golfers will see the good in seven seaside holes, the bad in sloped greens, uneven fairways and thick rough and the ugly in blind shots, pot bunkers and stiff breezes. Raley almost didn’t see any of Peninsula de Cortez last year. A week before the UNC, he was in a hospital bed with intestinal blockage, awaiting an operation. “I told myself there was no way I was going to miss playing for my country and missing a chance to play this course,” said Raley, who plays out of Pinewood Country Club near Flagstaff. “Somehow, things cleared up and I was able to play without having to go through an operation.” Raley and Gravelin described the three days of matches against their opponents from Hermosillo as friendly, but intense. “It could have been even friendlier, but neither of us spoke Spanish and they didn’t speak much English,” Gravelin said. “That’s a shame because I would have liked to learn more about what they do for a living.” While there were plenty of laughs and calls of “bueno” when a good shot was executed, Gravelin said the goodwill didn’t extend to short putts. “We didn’t give any and we didn’t get any,” he said. Tournament notes: For current tournament information, visit The Mayan Palace resort offers three nights lodging, four days of unlimited golf and all meals for under $400 per person. A two-night package is priced under $300. For more information and details, please email: [email protected]


Kim tops Wog for AZ Stroke Play title

C.J. Kim of Chandler came up big when it counted Sunday, a clutch performance that earned him the Arizona Stroke Play Championship and kept alive an uncanny streak in this tournament that dates back to 2007.

Kim, whose one-over-par 71 was good enough to edge Scottsdale’s Michel Wog by a single shot, became the sixth straight Hamilton High School student or alum to win this major championship sponsored by the Arizona Golf Association. He follows his former Huskie teammates Andrew Yun (2007, 2009) and Chan Kim (2008, 2010), as well as Peter Koo, who was a 15-year-old freshman at the Chandler school when he prevailed last year.

“I’m proud to keep it going, to win the sixth in a row for our school,’’ said Kim, who turns 21 in two weeks. “I had some great putts (to save par) there at the end. But, man, I missed a lot of putts, too.’’

So did everyone else, with scores that were unusually high for the final round, as well as most of the tournament in general. In fact, there were only eight sub-par rounds recorded at the TPC Scottsdale’s Champions Course for the entire week, as blustery conditions and demanding pin placements had the state’s top amateurs playing a guessing game.

Kim’s winning total of 7-over-par 288 was believed to be the highest aggregate since this tournament moved permanently to the TPC five years ago. But the former University of Denver player didn’t seem to mind, especially after he made a brilliant save for par out of the woods on the 17th hole followed by what would normally have been a knee-knocking 10-footer for par on the 18th.

“I didn’t know that putt on the last hole was to win,’’ confessed Kim, who had shared the lead going into the last 18 holes, with Wog four shots back.

“(In retrospect) I’m probably glad I didn’t know.’’

For Wog, it was a third consecutive runner-up finish in an AGA major. Earlier this year, he was the runner-up in the Arizona Publinks Championship, and last summer he was the runner-up in the Arizona Amateur.
“This seems to be a recurring theme in my life,’’ quipped Wog, 30, whose final-round 68 was the day’s best score by two shots. “Hey, that’s three near-misses in a row. One more and maybe I’ll get the ‘runner-up grand slam.’ ’’

Four shots off the pace in a tie for third place were Mesa Red Mountain High teammates Brett Wilson (74) and Kolton Lapa. (75) Lapa had been tied for the lead with Kim entering the final round.

Another shot back was Arizona State freshman Cameron Palmer (75) followed by Koo (70), who rallied for sixth place.

The final round came down to basically the top four finishers. But Lapa was gone from the get-go as he made double bogey on his first hole and four more bogeys on the front side before righting the ship on the back.
Wilson actually took the lead briefly with his second birdie of the day at the 10th hole. But it was short-lived as a double bogey at the 13th sent him into a tailspin that included bogeys on four of his last five holes.

That boiled it down to Kim and Wog, and while both players missed a lot of potential birdies coming down the stretch, Kim made the putts when it counted most. He also had one other thing working for him, an intangible that is often critical to any victory.

“I got lucky on the 17th when she (Lapa’s caddie) found my ball,’’ Kim said of his errant second shot at the par 5 that disappeared into the brush and eucalyptus trees that run along the TPC’s creek bed.  “Otherwise, that could have been real trouble.’’

Kim, who plans to turn pro in the fall when he’ll enter PGA Tour qualifying school, said he felt there were two other factors that helped him extend Hamilton’s dynasty and capture “my biggest win so far.’’

“(Saturday) was key, because I shot 69 in some bad weather, and that turned out to be huge,’’ said Kim, who played on four straight high school championship teams for the Huskies beginning in 2007, twice winning Division 1 medalist honors.

“And today, well, it was not so much my score but the fact that I avoided making any really big mistakes. That helped a lot, too.’’

No kidding. As it turned out the 2012 Arizona Stroke Play Championship was like the TV series “Survivor,’’ and nobody did it better than Kim.