The annual Haggin Oaks Golf Expo is billed as “America’s largest demo days.”
“Disneyland for golfers” is another way to go.
The theme park in Anaheim has Mickey, Donald and Goofy. Haggin counters with Hank, Dave and Johnny this weekend, helping make the intersection of Interstate 80 and Fulton Avenue the happiest place on earth for people who like to chase a little white ball around.
Teaching icons Hank Haney and Dave Pelz, along with playing and broadcasting legend Johnny Miller, give the 41st expo a big-name component like never before.
“By far and away the biggest lineup of special guests we’ve ever had,” said Haggin’s Ken Morton Jr.
Frank LaRosa, Sacramento’s preeminent golf emcee, will host each in hourlong Q&A sessions – Haney on Friday at 11:30 a.m., Pelz on Saturday at noon and Miller on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Game improvement will be the focus, LaRosa said, but expect each to be asked their thoughts about Tiger Woods’ impending return to competition, Jordan Spieth’s Masters aftermath and America’s chances at the Ryder Cup and Olympics.
LaRosa said his secret is to go with the flow.
“I really don’t go in with 12 questions I want to ask,” he said. “All of them have a story they want to tell. I just get them going, get out of their way and let them tell it.”
By far and away the biggest lineup of special guests we’ve ever had.
Haggin Oaks’ Ken Morton Jr.
LaRosa will also host the induction ceremony for the 2016 Sacramento Golf Hall of Fame on Saturday at 3 p.m. This year’s inductees are Carole Jo Whitted (Callison), Alice Miller, Carol French (Slane), Noni Schneider, Judy Ghilarducci, Rene Mondine and Mike Macaluso.
The expo will have 180 manufacturers/booths. Qualifying for the Sacramento City Putting Championship in men’s, women’s and junior’s divisions will take place Friday and Saturday ahead of Sunday’s match-play finals. Cleveland will sponsor a chipping competition in which the qualifying winner will be get a chance to chip for $25,000.
The expo is open Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
Up the hill
Most of the Truckee-area courses are at least two weeks from opening for the season.
In Graeagle, Whitehawk, Plumas Pines, the Dragon and Graeagle Meadows are open.
At Grizzly Ranch in Portola, where superintendent Mike Baty said the snowiest winter since 2011 has given way to ideal spring conditions, May 6 is the target date.
“The grass has just exploded,” said Baty, who has been at Grizzly Ranch since it opened in 2005. “It’s hard to keep up with.”
Baty said dry winters necessitated that he fertilize the grass by this point over the past four years. This year, he’s not planning to fertilize for at least another three weeks.
“There’s more moisture,” he said. “Instead of me pushing the grass, it’s pushing us this year, and it’s pushing hard.”
Grizzly Ranch is at 5,200 feet.
180 Manufacturers and booths at the Haggin Oaks Golf Expo
▪ UC Davis’ Paige Lee (Folsom), the medalist at last week’s Big West Conference women’s championship, has been selected to compete as an individual at next week’s NCAA Stanford Regional. UCD’s Andrea Wong also was selected.
▪ El Macero’s Scott Raber won the Davis City Championship at Davis Muni. Carmichael’s Herb Jensen won the senior division.
▪ Roseville’s Ash Patel won the Roseville City Championship at Diamond Oaks and Woodcreek. Acampo’s Mitch Harrison won the senior division.
▪ Gold River’s John Catlin tied for third in the Sherwood Hills Classic in the Philippines on the Asian Development Tour.