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Here’s how to play more golf in 2020

Most golfers resolve to play more golf in 2020, and some local organizations can make that easier and more enjoyable.

The Southern Nevada Golf Association — the local arm of the United States Golf Association — ended 2019 with 11,416 members and organized 68 days of tournament golf during the year, spending $252,334 in green fees at 30 Southern Nevada golf courses.

More than 2,600 golfers participated in gross, net, and varying age and gender divisions.

Much of the 2020 SNGA schedule is available at SNGA.org and officially begins with a social series event Jan. 13 at Las Vegas Country Club, which features food, drink and prizes. The Tournament of Champions for all SNGA, Women’s Southern Nevada Golf Association and club champions is Feb. 3, 2020 at DragonRidge.

The first WSNGA team play event is Jan. 27 at Bear’s Best.

The Golf Channel Tour annually holds several events including the Duel in the Desert (sold out) at Las Vegas Paiute Jan. 29-31. Also announced is the Las Vegas Players Championship July 31 at TPC Las Vegas.

For juniors, the Boulder Creek Classic Jan. 25-26 is the first Recruit Look Tour event in 2020 and the Palm Valley Amateur Feb. 16-17 kicks off a busy Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association schedule.

Former LVCC pro dies

J.L. Lewis, before winning twice on the PGA Tour and playing on the PGA Tour Champions, was an assistant professional at Las Vegas Country Club, working with fellow pros Bill Farkas and Joe Kelly. Lewis died last week at 59. He was the rare combination of successful tour player and PGA of America professional.

Lewis won the 1999 John Deere Classic and 84 Lumber Classic in 2003, and played in 626 tournaments on the PGA Tour, Korn Ferry and PGA Tour Champions from 1999-2012.

Just prior to his death, Lewis wrote the following:

“In the past 52 years, I’ve been playing or teaching golf to all levels and ages. What I love most about teaching is that I’m always learning … helping the student know his or her best swing is the number one priority. This is the essence of golf.”

Master PGA pro short game tip

Mike Davis, a PGA of America master professional and DragonRidge director of Instruction, said it is key to know how far the ball goes around the greens to improve scores.

“The most important part of the short game is controlling distance,” Davis said. “This is true for putting, chipping, pitching and bunkers. I recommend ladder drills with a rehearsal swing. Feel needs to be a subconsciously-controlled activity. The rehearsal is key to creating feel. Take several practice strokes from next to the ball, looking at the hole, to feel the swing for proper distance. Then hit the shot and see how you do. Vary the distance and the slope. Do this regularly for 30 minutes and distance control will improve quickly.”

The golf notebook appears Wednesdays. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at bhurlburt5@gmail.com or @LVGolfInsider.

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