Historic Ponce Announcement – The Ponce Matches

April 10, 2019

Fellow Poncers:

I have been waiting for a number of months to share this news.

There is no better time than the eve of the 83rd Masters, and just two days after UVA’s historic NCAA Basketball Championship.

The Ponce de Leon is now unveiling another golf component, separate and apart from the annual Invitational.

This is a natural next step in the Ponce Evolution, and will do nothing to diminish the significance, scope, and foundation of the annual Invitational (both domestic and international).  It will actually enhance it.

Please see the attached letter. (PDF)

Mr. Morton’s proposal for Ponce Matches is hereby approved, effective immediately.

I will be working with 2019 Chairman Bird closely on the Match Approvals for this year, as referenced in the letter.  Additionally, I will be working closely with Mr. Battle on implementing the appropriate tabs and Match record-keeping on our website.

I sincerely hope you are as excited as I am for this next chapter.  The Ponce is perpetual; the Ponce is a golf lifestyle.  

Without further ado, please see attached:



Chairman Emeritus

April 10th, 2019

To: Neil Thomson, Chairman Emeritus, Ponce De Leon Invitational Tournament

From: Isaac Morton
Re: Ponce Matches

Dear Neil,
I’m writing to expound on our conversations related to the prospect of a Ponce Match Series.

On the way home from this year’s Ponce at Sea Island I asked you, tongue firmly in cheek, “what are your three strategic priorities for the Ponce in the future”. Your response was unequivocal, “The Ponce is now a lifestyle Ike.” I should have expected such a definitive response. Your 2019 Chairman’s letter said as much when you wrote,

“The Ponce is more than an annual invitational tournament – it has become a lifestyle.”

I trust that your conviction in this declaration was shaped by our trip to Royal St. George’s and Sunningdale in last year’s International Ponce, and more recently, our visit to Seminole for the Revolutionary Matches. As a fortunate participant in both events, I wholly agree that the Ponce
is a lifestyle…and a good one at that!

During these fantastic trips we’ve enjoyed the company of other golfers, shared stories from our tournament, and made new friendships with hosts whose generosity has been limitless. These friendships, our competitive spirit, our golf games, and the Ponce are already stronger for it.

But while carrying the banner each year to our chosen venue is the nucleus of a Ponce lifestyle, it is yet, not enough. The Ponce spirit is more than a single invitational tournament. The friendly competitive spirit of the Ponce shadows us each time we play golf even though the last bottles of wine have long since been poured from the prior year’s closing ceremonies.

And so while the Ponce De Leon Invitational literally came to you in a dream, and while that dream has been realized with each thumping tee shot on either side of the Atlantic, the next shot across the Ponce’s fairway comes to us by celebrating the Ponce lifestyle throughout the
entire golf season.

We do this with the Ponce Matches .

The Ponce Matches, as they are proposed, will be a series of optional matches played by Poncers with other golfers on their own schedules. The Matches are an opportunity to celebrate the Ponce lifestyle when the official tournament is not in session. The Matches are also an opportunity to play golf with Poncers you may not see regularly. Ponce Matches will not be routine weekend games, but “special affairs” where an equal number of Poncers (ideally 2) compete against an equal number of guests in a friendly match.

A Ponce Match requires approval by the acting Chairman. Prior to participating, a Poncer must submit to the Chairman a written request summarizing the proposed participants, format, and location. The Chairman may accept, deny or modify the Ponce Match request. Once accepted, he will inform all Poncers of the upcoming match details and ensure that the results are published in the official record books of the tournament.

As I’ve mentioned, the intent of the Ponce Matches is to celebrate the Ponce lifestyle throughout the year. It will keep us connected and our games sharp, while exposing new friends and family to the Ponce spirit. In 50 years I fully expect a “Ponce Match” to be a known experience in
clubs across the world.

I look forward to seeing the Ponce Matches develop and continuing to carve new holes into our Ponce lifestyle. Onward, to the tee box.

Kind Regards,
Isaac J. Morton

The 2019 Ponce Returns to January roots. McManamy will Chair.

Chairman – Patrick McManamy

The Ponce returns to its January MLK date for the first time since 2009. The Ponce was held in January for its first seven years from 2003-009.

The site will be announced soon.

Follow the Ponce from Pinehurst!

For Up-to-the-Minute Updates from the 15th Annual Ponce at Pinehurst, May 3-6, visit:

Twitter: @PDL Golf

Instagram: @Poncedeleongolf

Pinehurst Primer

1) 8 things you must do when visiting Pinehurst (beyond the obvious stuff, like playing No. 2) Golf Digest

2) Who is Putter Boy? Golf Tripper

3) Ask Matty G  (Video)

4) Golf Advisor: The Carolina Sandhills in May

The weather in May potentially could be quite nice. According to weather.com, the average low (55 degrees) and high (79 degrees) are just about perfect for golf. Not too cold. Not too hot. May is also second only to April for the lowest average of precipitation in the area (3.1 inches of rain to 3.0).

Bob Farren, Pinehurst Resort’s director of grounds and golf course maintenance, indicated through a spokesman that the resort’s nine courses are in “optimal shape” at that time of the year.

“Fairways are firm and fast,” Farren said. “Greens are in great shape. The Bermuda grass has had time to come in appropriately. And the weather is ideal — warm but not hot as in the summer months.”

Farren added that aeration shouldn’t be an issue: Bentgrass greens are done in November and Bermuda greens in late July/August.

5) Splurging in North Carolina’s Sandhills: The five must-play golf courses of Pinehurst and Southern Pines  – Golf Advisor

6) Pinehurst #2 – Golf Club Atlas

7) Pine Needles  – Golf Club Atlas

8) Mid Pines – Golf Club Atlas

9) Golf Digest Top 100 Courses in America – Pinehurst #2 is #30.

John Dunn Tucker (9 1909)/Donald Ross & Walter Travis (A.9 1907)/Donald Ross (R. 1923, 1935)/Richard S. Tufts (R. 1950, 1961)/George Fazio & Tom Fazio (R. 1978)/Jack Nicklaus (R. 1987)/Rees Jones (1998)/Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2010)

In 2010, a team lead by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw killed and ripped out all the Bermudagrass rough on Pinehurst No. 2 that had been foolishly planted in the 1970s. Between fairways and tree lines, they established vast bands of native hardpan sand dotted with clumps of wiregrass and scattered pine needles. They reduced the irrigation to mere single rows in fairways to prevent grass from ever returning to the new sandy wastelands. Playing firm and fast, it was wildly successful as the site of the 2014 men’s and women’s U.S. Opens, played on consecutive weeks. Because of its water reduction, the course was awarded a Green Star environmental award by Golf Digest that year.

100 Greatest History: Ranked since 1966. Highest ranking: No. 9, 1995-02. Previous ranking: No. 28

Panelist comments:
“A true thinking-man’s course. Donald Ross demands shot-creation. Off the tee, there are great lines for shot visualization but it can also trick you if not careful or exact.”

“Though I had seen the restoration on television, the actual experience of playing the course and seeing the changes up-close was better than expected. There is tremendous atmosphere and history surrounding Pinehurst, which makes it feel like an incredibly special place to play a round of golf.”




Palmore Remembers The King

Georgia Palmore, age 5

Georgia Palmore, age 5

By Michael Palmore

September 26, 2016

Many people have “an Arnold Palmer” story.  That was his magic.  He made everyone feel that they were the only people that had that experience. That is just one reason why he was “The King”.  Over the next few days many of these stories will be shared over many golf platforms.

We were fortunate enough to have a few of our own.  We decided (and still recommend to anyone!) that when taking our kids to Disney World we would stay at Bay Hill.  Traditionally from November to May, Arnold would live at Bay Hill.  He would spend his summers in Latrobe.  We went to Bay Hill in mid-November 2011 for our first family trip to Disney World.  Before going to an evening Christmas Spectacular at the Magic Kingdom, we swam in the pool and hit golf balls at Bay Hill.  Everywhere around the resort you see images of Arnold.  After spending the afternoon walking around the resort, our children began to become interested in meeting him.  They knew that for me meeting Arnold was like them meeting Mickey.

While we were getting ready to go over to Disney for the evening, we stopped by the main lounge at Bay Hill.  Sure enough, Arnold was in there holding court.  Henry and I waited patiently as he finished talking to a golf group.  Having written my business school application essay about Arnold and worked at one of his golf resorts, I had a few things to bring up with him.  As he recognized us and waved us over, Henry (after seeing legendary photos of him all day) walked up and perfectly said, “Are you the real and famous Arnold Palmer?”  Well, there was no need for me to say anything as that was the perfect introduction.  Arnold graciously got in a picture with Henry.  We got a drink in the lounge with him and before we left for the real purpose of our trip, the three of us got in another photo.

Here is one of my favorite photos on a different trip where once again we got to hang out with Arnold before heading over to Disney World.  It is too long of a good story, but he signed this photo for us during The Masters 2016.   Needless to say, we think he is the best.  Our family trips to Bay Hill/Disney were obviously very special for the Palmore Family.

P.S. Notice the shirt he is wearing – looks identical to our American team shirts in the 2014 Sea Island matches vs the U.K.

Bandon Primer – 10 Tips

  1. Dream Golf – Must Read for All Making the Pilgrimage to Bandon Dunes. Order it from Amazon here.

Bleacher Reports’ Will Leivenberg: “The book’s author, Stephen Goodwin, dissects the key figures who brought the Bandon vision to fruition, as well as the history of links golf. It’s an excellent resource before playing each course, mainly because you will grasp how Bandon ultimately represents a pioneering feat in the U.S. of an ancient Scottish tradition.

It’s also a unique glimpse into everything from the arguments among course designers to the elation among the first golf writers to play at Bandon’s inception. The book would’ve served as a comprehensive foundation for my experience, which is why I highly recommend it for every golfer headed to Bandon.”

Dream Golf










2.  All About My Annual Buddies’ Trip to Bandon by Matt Ginella

“Yes, the resort itself is not easy to get to, but unlike any trip to Scotland or Ireland, once you’re at Bandon, you’ll never need a rental car. You’re walking or shuttling to four championship courses, two short courses, a massive driving range, a two-acre putting course, multiple dining options, massage rooms and fire pits. Not to mention a solid wine menu and service with a smile.”

@fisherjemail: “Bandon is a special place because it’s as close to going to Scotland/Ireland as you will get in the U.S. You have four championship courses that every player in your group will pick a different one as their favorite.”

@andrewpienovi: “Because it’s Disneyland for grown men.


3. 10 things you must know about golf at Bandon Dunes in Oregon by Mat Ginella

“Locals will tell you September is the best month to go to Bandon…

Even in the summer, I pack my best rain gear. I always bring two pairs of golf shoes (in case one gets wet or they’re causing blisters). And never, ever, break in a new pair of shoes at Bandon Dunes.

With all the walking you’ll be doing, there are secluded parts of your person that will appreciate the regular application of BodyGlide and Band-Aids. Some guys will force shorts, but I generally wear pants, golf shirt and a sweater, even in the summer.”


4. Golf Digest’s Top 50 Most Fun Public Courses

#2 -Old Mac, #3 Bandon Preserve, #4 Pacific Dunes, #6 Bandon Dunes, #27 Bandon Trails


5. Bandon Preserve Review – BreakingEighty

“Under normal conditions, I’d imagine Bandon Preserve  is the ultimate drinking course. Grab three friends, some beers, and come up with some wild bets,  and I guarantee you’ll have one of the most memorable rounds of your trip to Bandon.”


6. Teeing off at Bandon Dunes, the best US golf course – Boston Globe’s Michael Whitmer

“Even the experts agree on the quartet’s strength: In the most recent Golf Digest rankings of the top 100 courses in the country — public and private — all four Bandon courses placed 74th or better: Pacific Dunes was 18th (one spot ahead of The Country Club in Brookline), followed by Bandon Dunes (No. 37), Old Macdonald (No. 55), and Bandon Trails (No. 74, one spot in front of Boston Golf Club). In the magazine’s listing of the top 100 public US courses, all four Bandon courses were inside the top 15, with Pacific Dunes No. 2, trailing only Pebble Beach.”


7. 11 Things You Might Not Know About Bandon – Golf Magazine


“If you’re flying in, chances are you’ll be making a connection that your golf bag might miss. Avoid that risk by shipping your sticks instead. It costs only slightly more than airline baggage handling fees (for $60, ShipSticks will send your babies from New York to Bandon via 6-day ground), and your well-rested clubs will be waiting for you when you arrive.”


8. Top 10 Essentials for a Bandon Dunes Golf Trip – Bleacher Report’s Will Leivenberg

Golf Balls: Better Safe than Sorry / Comfortable Shoes and Extra Socks / Warm Layers for Chilly Mornings / Take Caddies

“There’s no such thing as a flat lie, where the wind is relentless, where pot bunkers are preferable to gorse and where greens are commonly more than 50 yards in length.

If you plan on going to Bandon Dunes and hitting sky-high iron shots or chipping with a sand wedge from the thinly cut grass in front of greens, guess again. Bandon is a true test of links golf and, as a result, golfers looking to score need to adapt to the links style and emphasize course management, which caddies can be especially helpful with.”


9. Bandon Confidential: 10 Insider Tips For Your Bandon Golf Trip – Andy Bigford

“Arrive In Shape: It’s normal to train for marathons and mountain climbs, not golf outings. Ditch the cart and walk several rounds in the leadup to your Bandon trip, while also increasing your fitness regime in general, and it will pay dividends.”

Forget the Score: Set your bar at a reasonable level. Only about 10 percent of golfers will play to their handicap. Tight lies, no two bunkers alike, heavy air and swirling winds will add to the challenges. Play a best-ball game in your foursome and focus on that, rather than on your gross score.

Play the Bump-and-Run: Bandon’s greens are more receptive to low-running shots than ones with higher trajectories, so spend time practicing your run-up shots before the trip. Find a patch of hardpan at your home course and hit a few hundred balls to get in the groove.


10. Questions for … Bandon Dunes developer Mike Keiser – Golf Magazine

“George Peper, the former editor-in-chief of Golf magazine, is the ultimate authority on links courses. I believe in his definition, which is sandy soil with little or no agricultural value, close to the ocean and relatively few to zero trees and fescue grass.”

The only four courses in the United States they say are “true links” are Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, and Old Macdonald (all at Oregon’s Bandon Dunes Golf Resort) and Highland Links on Massachusetts’ Cape Cod.”




Senior Open at Sunningdale G.C. Old Course

item13.rendition.slideshowHorizontal.golf-clubhouse-architecture-03-sunningdale-berkshire-englandPotential 2018 PDL site: Sunningdale Golf Club is hosting this weekend’s Senior Open Championship .

Senior Open Championship July 23-23, 2015.

Pine Valley is a U.S. homage to Sunningdale.

In addition to having the best halfway house I have ever experienced in golf, ESPN produced a great piece:

Dogs Welcome at Sunningdale

I wish more U.S. courses allowed dogs.

Currently, Golf Digest’s #41 course in the world and #12 outside the U.S.

Sunningdale G.C. Old Course, Ascot, Berkshire, England / 6,627 yards, Par 70
A Willie Park Jr. design that dates from 1901, it’s perhaps the most advanced design of its day. Chopped from a pine forest but designed like a links, with the ninth at the far end of property, it plays like a links, too, for there’s a sand base beneath the turf. The Old has big greens, as Park put a premium on approach putting, and artful bunkers, with both angled cross bunkers and necklaces of sand hampering direct routes to some greens. To American visitors, the look of Sunningdale brings to mind Pine Valley or Pinehurst.
(Ascot)The Old Course was designed by Willie Park Jr, a leading player and twice the winner of the Open Championship. He was engaged by the original committee of the Club in 1900 and the course opened for play in 1901. It retains a high ranking in courses around the world as a fine example of a heathland course. It was here in 1926 that Bobby Jones played his legendary round of 66, 33 out and 33 back in qualifying for the Open Championship which he went on to win.
Virtually every hole is played in splendid – and beautiful – isolation, and in harmony with nature…….There is subtlety here, a measure of drama, and a wealth of that one indispensable ingredient, pleasurable excitement……No wonder it may be the most beloved inland course in the British Isles. 
All that being said, there are those who like the New Course, which opened in 1923, at least as well…The New is perhaps a bit more rugged than the Old, a bit more masculine, if you will…… This is rich and handsome and challenging golf, Harry Colt in top form. 


Follow the Ponce For Live Updates Throughout This Year’s Tournament: July 15 – 19!

The-Greenbrier-Golf-CoursesSocial Media Links:

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18 Of the Most Misunderstood Rules in Golf

As Ponce XIII week is upon us, it is good to brush up on some rules that are commonly misunderstood.


1. Red Lateral Hazard Option 1 – Play it from the hazard Option 2 – Replay the shot from the original position incurring a stroke and distance penalty Option 3 – Draw a line from the hole to where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard and drop anywhere behind that point keeping the point between you and the hole incurring a 1 shot penalty. Option 4 – go to the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard and drop within 2 club lengths, no nearer the hole, on either side of the hazard incurring a 1 shot penalty.

2. Yellow Water Hazard Option 1 – Play it from the hazard Option 2 – Replay the shot from the original position incurring a stroke and distance penalty Option 3 – Draw a line from the hole to where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard and drop anywhere behind that point keeping the point between you and the hole. You would incur a 1 shot penalty

3. Lost Ball or Out-of-Bounds After looking for a maximum of 5 minutes, you must go back to where the shot was originally played from, and replay, incurring a stroke and distance penalty.

4. Unplayable Lie Option 1 – Take 2 club lengths relief no closer to the hole and assess a 1 stroke penalty Option 2 – Replay the shot from the original position incurring a stroke and distance penalty Option 3 – Take the ball back as far as you want keeping the point where the ball lays between you and the hole incurring a 1 shot penalty

5. Improving Your Swing Path You cannot bend, break or hack anything growing or fixed if it improves you lie, your stance, or your area of intended swing. The penalty for doing so is loss of hole in match play, or a 2 shot penalty in stroke play.

6. Unplayable Lie in a Bunker Option 1 – Take a drop of no more than 2 club lengths no closer to the hole, but still in the bunker incurring a 1 shot penalty Option 2 – Replay the shot from the original position incurring a stroke and distance penalty Option 3 – Go back as far as you like in the bunker and drop keeping that spot where your ball laid between you and the hole. This incurs a 1 shot penalty.

7. Removing Objects in a Bunker You may not move or remove any loose impediments in the bunker unless they are foreign to the area. Example – you may remove a candy wrapper but not a pine cone or tree branch

8. Number of Allowed Clubs You are only allowed to carry 14 clubs in your bag. The penalty for carrying more than 14 clubs: Match Play – Loss of hole – maximum of 2 holes Stroke Play – 2 strokes per hole up to a maximum of 2 holes or 4 shots

9. Casual Water Find your nearest point of relief no closer to the hole where neither you or your ball lie in water that can be seen without pressing your feet up and down. You may then drop your ball within 1 club length from that point no nearer to the hole at no penalty

10. Grounding Your Club in a Hazard Practice swings may be taken inside a hazard as long as you don’t touch the ground, sand or water with your club. The top of the grass may be touched during a practice swing. The penalty for grounding your club is loss of the hole in match play or a 2 shot penalty in stroke play.

11. Accidentally Moving Your Ball There is a 1 stroke penalty for accidentally moving your ball and it must be replaced in its original position before hitting. There is another 1 stroke penalty for hitting the ball from the wrong place if it is not replaced. There is no penalty for accidentally moving the ball when on the tee.

12. Removing Loose Impediments If, in moving loose impediments, you accidently move your ball, you must return the ball to its original position and penalize yourself one stroke

13. Asking for Advice It’s against the rules of golf to ask an opponent what club they have hit. The penalty for this breech is loss of hole in match play, or a 2 shot penalty in stroke play.

14. Ball on a Cart Path You are entitled to free relief. Step 1 – Determine the “nearest point of relief”. This is the point where the ball would lay affording the player both swing and stance from the cart path. Step 2 – you are entitled to 1 club length relief from the point where the ball would lie once full relief is taken. Step 3 – After dropping, the ball may roll up to 2 club lengths no closer to the hole.

15. Changing Club Characteristics Clubs may not be altered in any way once play has begun. If a club is altered during the normal course of play, such as bending it after hitting a tree while attempting to hit the ball, the club may be taken to the shop for immediate repair and a replacement club may be used until the original club is repaired. If the club is modified outside the normal course of play, such as breaking or bending it in a fit of anger, it must be taken out of play for the remainder of the match. Should it be used again the penalty is disqualification, whether match or stroke play.

16. How to Drop the Ball After determining the nearest point of relief, you may stand outside the drop area, no closer to the hole, and extend your hand to the side dropping the ball from shoulder height. The ball may roll up to 2 club lengths no closer to the hole. If the ball rolls farther than that you must re-drop. If after dropping 2 times the ball continues to roll past 2 club lengths, you must place the ball where it first touched the ground.

17. Repairing the Line of your Putt You may repair any ball marks in your line and removed any pebbles or foreign objects in your line, provided you do it with your hand or club. You may not fix spike marks or fan the ground with a towel or cap to remove sand or foreign objects. The penalty for doing so is loss of hole in match play or a 2 shot penalty in stroke play.

18. Hitting the Wrong Ball The penalty for hitting the wrong ball in match play is loss of hole. If both players hit the wrong ball, only the first player to do so would be penalized as that would be the end of the hole. The penalty for hitting the wrong ball in stroke play for either player is 2 strokes and the original ball must be replayed from its original position.

U.S. Open to The Greenbrier?


Justice Lures Golf Legends to Build Mountaintop Course Near Greenbrier

By Doug Smock, The Charleston Gazette

“And now, Justice has brought the four kings of golf of the 1960s and 1970s (Palmer, Nicklaus, Player & Trevino) together to build a championship-caliber golf course in the West Virginia hills….Justice said the project, which will include a modest private ski facility, will break ground in the next 30 days. He hopes to have the first ball teed in the fall of 2016…The course will be another amenity for the exclusive Greenbrier Sporting Club, the resort’s real estate arm. One members-only course opened in 2004, the Snead Course.”

“What do we have left to do in life?” Justice asked. “If we can do something that’s fabulous for our state, we could bring a U.S. Open here someday, we could do all this stuff, my goodness gracious!”

Read Full Story here: http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150621/GZ02/150629839/1115