Tag Archives: golf

Dreaming Of Golfing And Spring? CT Author Has A Book for You!

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colandro (2)It’s that kind of “rags to riches” kind of story we all like, boy loves golf, boy starts to caddy, boy pursues his dream and becomes a professional golfer. But what followed has been a challenge for now 60-year –old Mike Colandro, a 1972 Newington High School graduate who has Type II diabetes and is legally blind. Colandro, who recalls meeting Arnold Palmer as child at the former
Insurance City Open, had a successful career as a pro on the PGA tour, racking up wins including the New Zealand Open, the West Australia PGA and the Victorian Open. And he has chronicled his decades of success in a new autobiography called “Almost An Aussie.” Colandro, who still manages to get out on the links, explained his book is about golf and something much more when he Spilled the Beans with Java.

Q: The obvious question is how did you end up playing golf as a career?

A: I always loved the sport and the story is in 1956 my parents took me to the Insurance City Open, the predecessor to the Greater Hartford Open, and I sat on Arnold Palmer’s lap. And he won the tournament that year. I loved the game and began caddying at places including Rockledge in West Hartford. It was good because caddies got to play for free on Mondays. I grew up playing at the Goodwin Park course, too. I graduated from high school and went to Arizona State and knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to play golf.

Q: After quickly looking at your book, it looks like you did. Were you good?

A: It was great. I played all over the world, New Zealand, Scotland, Japan, Canada, Australia. I was pretty good overall, ranked 76th and was considered a very steady player. I loved Australia and that is why the name of the book. I was engaged to an Australian women but she was killed in a car crash in 1986. I competed in the Australian tour for many years. Q: Who are some of the pros you played with?

A: I have played with Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Steve Ballesteros, a lot of great golfers, some of the best.

Q: Who do you think is the best these days?

A: Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson and a Swedish golfer named Henrik Stenson.

Q: You have diabetes and some related medical issues so golfing is limited for you these days. Why write the book?

A: Friends encouraged me to do it. I had been wanting to do a book about my experiences and figured no one can write a book about me as well as I could. It took 15 years and was a journey for me. I met so many great people and the professional golfing was such a wonderful life. But it was more than just about that.

Q: What else?

A: I think the unique part of the story is that despite everything I kept going forward. I’d like to think that those with disabilities will read it and see that even after a successful career I didn’t give up, I pressed on with life. You need to go forward no matter what life hands you.

Q: But oh this time of year you know golfers are counting down the days until March. What is the appeal of the game do you think?

A: You never master it. No matter how much you play, no matter how much money you have, no matter what breaks you get in life, it is Always a game to be conquered and in that way, it is the same for everyone, no matter what you do for a living and no matter what you do or don’t have. It is always a different challenge. When you get out on the course, you are never sure what is going to happen that day.

Q: I know you are doing some limited golfing, despite the handicap, but know you have some other endeavors keeping you busy. Tell me about them?

A: I do a little program on my golfing experiences and add a little entertainment, some songs and stories about golf, just a little fun. I still give golf lessons and write for golftips.com, too. I am doing book signings on the “almost an Aussie” and there is also a 2014 calendar too with pictures from the book and golf tips and more.

Q: Where do proceeds from the sales go? And when is the next book signing and where can people go to find the book and calendar?

A: I have a passion for charitable groups. In 2013, Food Bank Inc., Survivors of Homicide, Pancreatic Cancer, Ct. PGA Junior Program and Chip In for a Cure were among the beneficiaries. My plan is to continue that in 2014.  My next book signing is on Jan. 22 at 6:30 p.m. at Enfield Public Library with more in March.

For more information on Colandro’s books, appearances and book signings go to almostanaussie.com

Swag Is Top Shelf At Travelers Championship

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trav3 (1)The 2013 PGA Travelers Championship officially tees off Monday and that means a week of professional golf, parties,  national exposure, celebrity sightings, and for the lucky ones who play in Monday’s Aetna Tournament Players and Wednesday’s Travelers Celebrity Pro/Am, swag, wonderful swag.

No run-of-the-mill swag for these participants with the respective $3,250 or $8,000 entry fee at the Travelers. No, this signature Connecticut championship, managed by The Greater Hartford Community Foundation, has stepped it up when it comes to the freebies the elite amateur players will take home. Forget mere golf balls, wind breakers and tees for this group. At these special events at the TPC River Highlands course in Cromwell, players enjoy a very personal experience, the chance to “shop” for first-class loot.

Before play each day, the 250 amateurs who pony up the big money to play on either day trav1receive 1,200 “points” that can be used for “purchases” from a tent full of top shelf stuff ranging from fine jewelry and sunglasses to luggage and golf clubs.

“We started this a few years ago,” said tournament director Nathan Grube, noting that the committee wanted to do something a bit different from the mass-distributed “swag bags” that are usually given out at most tournaments. “Most of our charity dollars from these two days are raised from the pro/am play,” he said. “We talked about how to make the experience better and more unique and the idea of the more personalized shopping was developed.”

And personal it is. The array of choices go beyond golf clubs and parkas, and include something for everyone.

Amtrav3 (2)ong the items featured this year, a $200 Tiffany “Infinity” sterling silver pendant, a Kindle Fire, a $250 Club Glove rolling duffle and $200+ Maui Jim sunglasses.

But if you insist on golf products, also featured this year is a $300+ Taylormade R1 driver and $100+ Summitt Golfwear.

And the list goes on.

Late Sunday and early Monday vendors will bring boxes of their loot to a special tent at the course and then open it up to the amateur players where the perusing begins. One point does not equal one dollar, Grube noted, explaining that vendors determine the number of points an item will “cost.”

For those who are doing the shopping,

“Actually I have already kind of made a list,” said amateur player and Travelers veteran Ryan McDonald, who works for IDS, a technology company in Jacksonville, Fla.

“I love the way they do this because you can pick what you want instead of ending up with stuff you give to your brother-in-law or store in a closet somewhere,” he said as he prepares to travel to Connecticut to play.

And one of the other perks when it comes to swag shopping, Travelers-style?

“It’s not all golf stuff and it’s not all for men,” he said. “I have brought my wife some nice jewelry from here. I mean I’m going out of town for a few days to play golf, it is pretty nice to bring something nice back to her.”

Grube notes that the concept is great for the shoppers. But it does carry some risk for vendors because no one really knows what the popular items will be until the shopping begins.

“We didn’t want a situation where there would be sample items and players would choose and then items be shipped to them,” explained Grube. “We wanted it to be tangible.”

Vendors are paid a negotiated price for the items they give away based on the number of points they accumulate from shoppers.

The upside is vendors think long and hard when they decide what to bring to entice the players.

“This system means they have to have their stuff here and take the risk of whether it is going to move or not, “ said Grube. “So every vendor puts his or her best foot forward.”

“It is a risk but we do our best to put out something that will move,” said one vendor, who asked not to be identified. “This is not just about handing out stuff, this is about advertising for us at a premiere tournament. “We want people to chose our stuff not only for the immediate exposure, but with the hopes that when it comes time to make future retail purchases, they will come to us.”

“We try to keep it fun and light,” said Grube about the unique shopping experience.

“I play in a lot of tournaments and by far this is one of the best and much nicer than most when it comes to the gifts you walk away with,” said McDonald. “I can’t wait to go shopping.” 


“Fore” Tom Altmann’s Memory

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Final-Final 2010027It is that time of year again golfers and/or fans  of Tom Altmann, Hartford’s late, beloved restaurateur.

The 8th annual  “Final Final Open,”  an annual tournament honoring Altmann and benefiting “The First Tee Connecticut,” will be held on June 10 at Glastonbury Hills Country club. Proceeds from the event for to “The First Tee,” a world golf foundation that helps young people develop through golf and character education.

Cost is $250 a person or $900 for each foursome for the all-day event with reservations accepted to June 3.

For further information, contact Dan Keller at DISH, 860-249-3474.