Category: The Crowne Plaza Invitational

Stories from my visit to the Crowne Plaza Invitatational at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth to play in the Pro Am and watch the Tournament.

Hogan Shrines At The Colonial Country Club

While exploring the clubhouse at the Colonial during my visit to the 2010 Crowne Plaza Invitational, I discovered several Ben Hogan shrines.

Just outside the clubhouse, of course, is the famous Hogan statue:

Crowne Plaza (14 of 60)


Then, on the first floor, just off the pro shop is a replica of his office.

Crowne Plaza (58 of 60)

The other, on the second floor, is a sort of mini museum, with trophies, and other memorabilia. Two video tours (not mine) of that room follow:

 

 

May 22, 2014 |  Category: The Crowne Plaza Invitational
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Crowne Plaza Invitational Colonial Course Map

I have a special interest in this tournament because I played in the 2010 Pro-Am as a guest of Crowne Plaza. Too much fun.

May 22, 2014 |  Category: The Crowne Plaza Invitational
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Plaid Jackets At The Colonial

imageWhile eating the traditional quail breakfast at our 2011 trip to the Crowne Plaza Invitational, Mrs GolfBlogger and I were treated to a talk by Tournament Director Chuck Scherer, who spoke on the history of the club, and of the signature red plaid jackets.

Members’ jackets extend back to the Colonial’s beginnings in 1936, when founder Marvin Leonard decided the club needed a jacket such as those worn by the members at Augusta. The original jacket was blue, but Leonard switched to a plaid, which he said reminded him of when he had played in Scotland. The fabric is a real Scottish tartan, and has SEVENTEEN colors in it.

The members wear them for the tournament (and I assume on other important occasions) and they’re not nearly as garish in person as they seem in many photos.

The plaid has been continuously in use, and awarded to tournament winners with one exception. The club went back to the blue for one year in honor of the tournament’s 30th anniversary.

May 21, 2014 |  Category: The Crowne Plaza Invitational
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The Hogan Statue At Colonial Country Club

Hogan Statue

I shot this photo during my 2010 visit to play in the pro am at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

It was without a doubt one of the best vacations Mrs. GolfBlogger and I have ever had. The folks at Crowne Plaza treated us like rock stars.

May 21, 2014 |  Category: PGA TourThe Crowne Plaza Invitational
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Crowne Plaza Colonial Invitational History and Winner’s List

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History and Past Winners Past Results of the Colonial Invitational

Unlike Arnold Palmer and Byron Nelson, there’s no tournament named for Ben Hogan. But if there was one, it would be The Colonial. Hogan won here at the Colonial Invitational five times (1946, 1947, 1952, 1953, 1959) and considered the Colonial Country Club his home course.

The genesis and inspiration for the Colonial Invitational was the 1941 US Open, which was held at Colonial Country Club. It was the first US Open held south of the Mason-Dixon line, and was thought a huge success. Local organizers hoped to capitalize on that goodwill, and in 1946 launched The Colonial Invitational.

Much of the appeal of the Colonial is that it has been played on the same classic course since its inception. Indeed, it’s impossible to imagine the tournament not being held there. The club, which dates to 1936, was designed by John Bredemus and Perry Maxwell and has among its memorable vistas holes that extend along the length of the Trinity River.

The Colonial National Invitational had no title sponsor until 1988, when it became the MasterCard Colonial Invitational. In 2003, it was picked up by Bank of America. In 2007, it became the Crown Plaza Invitational At Colonial. The current purse is $6,200,000, with $1,116,000 going to the winner.

The Colonial winners’ list looks like a Hall of Fame roster. In addition to Hogan, there’s Palmer, Snead, Casper, Bolt, De Vicenzo, Stockton, Crenshaw, Nicklaus, Price, Watson and Mickelson (Tiger is curiously absent). The strength of the winners’ roster is in part due to the strength of field: The Colonial is an Invitational, with only the top 80 players on the previous year’s money list guaranteed a spot.

A unique tradition at the Colonial is the “Champion’s Choice.” Each year, former Colonial Invitational Champions select two young players to join the field who otherwise would be ineligible. Among the Champions Choices were Al Greiberger, Tom Weiskopf, Craig Stadler, Curtis Strange, Mark O’Meara, Paul Azinger and Davis Love. Dave Stockton won the tournament in the year he was selected.

While the Masters has the Green Jacket, the Colonial offers a Scottish tartan plaid jacket for its champions and committee chairmen. The tournament and Colonial Golf club also is marked by the engraved marble Wall of Champions near the first tee, which features the name and score of each of the tournament’s winners.

A random note: In 2003, Annika Sorenstam played the Colonial Invitational, becoming the first women to play a PGA Tour event since Babe Zaharias entered the Los Angeles Open.

Continued...

May 19, 2014 |  Category: HistoryPGA TourThe Crowne Plaza Invitational
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The Eighth At Colonial

Crowne Plaza (55 of 60)

From my trip to play in the Crowne Plaza Invitational’s Wednesday Pro-Am in 2011:

The par 3 eighth at Colonial measures 194 yards. I think the tees were more like 170 at the Pro Am. I hit a five wood and fell short into the bunker on the right. There’s a little peninsula of grass that extends from the left into the bunker’s center (you can barely make it out in this photo). My ball was nestled right up against that tuft. I hit at the ball as hard as I could with my wedge and it popped up to the far left side of the green. The flag was front right, about forty feet away. When I got behind the ball, however, I saw the line perfectly. It was almost like it was drawn in the grass. I made a smooth stroke and it tracked right into the center of the hole.

My compatriots all cheered and I did a little fist pump.

“I don’t know what you’re cheering about,” Appleby said in a deadpan. “It wasn’t THAT great.” He laughed.

I think Stuart Appleby and I would get along if we had more time together. He’s got the same dry sense of humor that gets me into trouble with people who can’t tell if I’m serious or not.

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May 23, 2013 |  Category: The Crowne Plaza Invitational
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The Fourteenth At Colonial

Crowne Plaza (35 of 60)

Here’s a photo from my 2011 trip to play in the Crowne Plaza Invitational Pro-Am at Colonial Country Club. My pro partner was Stewart Appleby.

Colonial’s Fourteenth is a 464 yard par 4. What you don’t see in either the photo or the hole illustration is that there’s a rather imposing (oppressing) grandstand very close to the tee boxes here. I couldn’t tell you how many people were in it, or even how many people were following us a t the time, although Mrs. GolfBlogger reports that there were more than a few. I had thought that playing in front of people would make me incredibly nervous, but by the third or fourth hole we played, I had tuned them out. I was thinking only about the fairways and the greens. I now think I have a sense of how the pros handle the crowds.

This hole was a disaster for me. I put my tee shot over near the tree you see on the right. My second ended up in the rough left. My third was into the right bunker. It took me two shots to get out of that. The shot that cleared ended up on the back side of the green. I was going to putt it back on, but by that time, one of my teammates was in the hole with a net par, and following the rules, I picked up.

This hole actually was an adventure for a couple of us. One of my teammates ended up along a fence line behind the trees right. His second shot didn’t improve the situation. Nor did his third.


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“Like” the Crowne Plaza facebook page to support Birdies for the Brave

May 23, 2013 |  Category: The Crowne Plaza Invitational
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