Chris BaldwinThis Week at July 11, 2007

U.S. Senior Open gladiators are gone, Midwest again safe for golf travel

It's finally safe to travel to the Midwest again. Sure, almost everyone's heard about the wildfires and crazy high temperatures that have wreaked havoc in the West recently.

But the good old American heartland's been under an even more insidious assault.

The guys who wear Depends, have entourages schooled in early-bird specials and swing golf clubs for a living descended on normally peaceful Kohler, Wis. This motley crew came for the U.S. Senior Open, otherwise known as the tournament that good odors forgot.

Now, normally Kohler is a fine place to visit, especially if you're looking for a spot to golf - and, well, golf. My colleague Brandon Tucker recently left buzzing over more than just the famous Whistling Straits course.

Tucker wasn't crazy enough to be anywhere near Herb Kohler's playground when the seniors were in town, though.

Faced with a choice of seeing the Hell's Angels roar down your main street, or the senior golf pros amble down it very, very, very slowly, you should take the motorcycle gang every time. They might bust up a few bars, steal a few women and leave you choking in tailpipe fumes, but at least you won't be subject to geezers who make Danny DeVito look athletic trying to call themselves Champions.

At least, the United States Golf Association calls the Never Have Beens on this hypocrisy. They're "Seniors" in USGA events, not Champions. Too bad the title doesn't come with more dignity.

Know how this year's latest legendary U.S. Senior Open winner, Brad Bryant, celebrated?

He went to a sports bar with 20 friends from that hip hoping senior town of Lakeland, Fla. and chowed down on chicken wings. Is that not how all world-class athletes do it?

Lance Armstrong surely hit the neighborhood wing joint after every Tour de France.

This is how it goes on this tour of beer truck drivers and failed used-car salesmen.

"I'm not in their league," Bryant said on joining the fraternity of U.S. Senior Open winners.

No, really, sadly you are, Brad. With this "champion" moving on to chicken wings, Kohler and its four Pete Dye golf courses are safe plays again. Though personally, I prefer a great town with outstanding golf like San Diego rather than a town that only has golf.

As always, welcomes your comments.

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Ardglass Golf ClubArdglass Golf Club: A hidden gem in County Down, Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has two renowned giants in links golf: Royal County Down, which will host this year's Walker Cup, and Royal Portrush, the isle's only British Open venue. But just north of Newcastle sits a can't-miss hidden gem: Ardglass Golf Club. Sitting on a rocky perch overlooking the Irish Sea, Ardglass Golf Club is a must play. If you leave Northern Ireland without seeing this unique links course, you haven't really seen all the north has to offer.

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