Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Game of Numbers: Golf and the West Michigan Golf Show

Golf is a game of numbers on a scorecard. It has par-3s, par-4s, and par-5s. It has 130-yard holes and 600-yard holes. It has 7200 yard championship tees and 5200 yardage forward tees. It has 9 and 18 holes and of course the famed 19th hole where memories of triple bogies are often ‘washed away.’ You get the picture: numbers are essential to the game of golf. And numbers are also essential and revealing about the 23rd West Michigan Golf Show on Feb. 11-13 at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids. Let’s count the ways:

105,000 - There’s 105,000 sq. ft of exhibit space devoted to the Golf Show at DeVos Place

23,000 - The Golf Show uses 23,000 sq. feet of netting for the Indoor Par-3, the free golf lesson and demo club area.

12,000 - 12,000 sq. feet of carpeting is laid down for the Golf Show.

9000 - In the past 10 years, 9000 golfers are estimated to have tried a shot at the popular Par-3 Challenge, sponsored again by Treetops Resort and fully landscaped by Everett’s.

3200 - 3200 new Srixon golf balls will be given away at the Show for those purchasing tickets online or for the first 100 patrons at the Show each day. (3000 of them will be lost or drowned by July 4th)

2010 - The 2010 PGA of America’s Teacher of the Year is Golf Show headliner Todd Anderson, the first Michigan native to be so honored. Previous honorees include past Show headliners as Jim Flick, Hank Haney, Mike Bender, Mike Hebron, Charlie Sorrell, Gary Wiren, and Bill Strausbaugh.

100 - The 100th Michigan Amateur Championship, conducted by Show sponsor the Golf Association of Michigan, will be held this June over famed The Heather course at Boyne Highlands Resort. (Incidentally, the first Michigan Amateur was held in Grand Rapids in 1906 and won by James Wylie at Kent Country Club.)

500 - 500 golf hats will be given away, evenly divided between Friday’s Ladies Night and Sunday’s Junior Day. (Hats off to the Show!)

92 - 92% of show patrons said they enjoyed the show last year and plan to attend this year.* (The other 8% may have been non-golfers who admitted they took a wrong turn into DeVos Place.)

25 - Two of Michigan’s finest resort courses—Treetops’ Masterpiece course designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Shanty Creek Resort’s The Legend designed by Arnold Palmer—will celebrate 25 years of great golf this summer. At the Show, Shanty Creek is sponsoring Ladies Night on Friday.

77 - 77% of show patrons purchased products at the show—from socks, sweaters and gloves to booked rounds, swing aids, putters, and drivers—and spent an average of $152.* (No worry, we won’t tell spouses.)

76 - 76% of show patrons are planning at least one golf vacation this year with 82% being in-state and 52% out of state destinations.*

63 - Over 63 door prizes will be given away this year-- from rounds of golf to merchandise and equipment.

43 - 43% of patrons say their average score for 18 holes is between 80-89.* (Not much of a slogan but how about: These golfers are decent!)

4 & 1 - One (1) lucky golfer will earn a grand prize drawing for a foursome (4) winter getaway to Don Shula’s Hotel & Golf Club in Miami Lakes, FL—air, golf and rooms! Courtesy of AirTran Airways, Florida Golf, and WZZM-TV.

* 2010 Golf Show attendee survey and results

Produced by ShowSpan Inc., the West Michigan Golf Show’s hours are 4:00 pm-9:00 pm, Friday; 10:00 am-7:00 pm, Saturday; and 10:00 am-5:00 pm, Sunday. Tickets are $9 for adults, $4 for children ages 6-14, and children 5 and under are free. Sponsors currently include Treetops Resort, Golf Association of Michigan, Shanty Creek Resort, Srixon, Boyne Resorts and the Michigan PGA. Tickets will be available through www.westmichigangolfshow.com and at the door.

For more information, call 1-800-328-6550 or visit the website.

Grand Rapids Symphony Presents an Evening of Passion and Romance

Music lovers will be able to hear the musical passion when the Grand Rapids Symphony presents a special evening of romantic works close to Valentine’s on Friday, Feb. 18 and Saturday, Feb 19, at 8 p.m., in DeVos Performance Hall.

Tickets start at $18 and are available at the Symphony office, weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 300 Ottawa NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder), or by calling 616/454-9451, Ext. 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.) Tickets are available at the DeVos Place and Van Andel Arena Box Offices, weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or on the day of the concert two hours prior to the performance. Tickets may also be purchased through Ticketmaster, at ticketmaster.com, 1-800-982-2787, online at www.grsymphony.org, or in person at Ticketmaster outlets: select D&W Fresh Market, Family Fare Stores and Walmart. Student Passport tickets are available for this concert.

Guest conductor Christoph Campestrini will lead the Grand Rapids Symphony in the concerts, which will feature a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 by accomplished Slovenian pianist Dubravka Tomsic. Other musical highlights will include selections from two of the most romantic love stories ever told: “Tristan and Isolde” and “Daphnis and Chloe.” These concerts are part of the Richard and Helen DeVos Classical Series.

The first half of the program will feature Dimitri Shostakovich’s “Festive Overture” and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1. After being condemned for the second time by the Soviet regime in 1948, Shostakovich had all but given up composing. But a year later the Bolshoi Theater found itself without a new composition celebrating the 37th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, so it turned to Shostakovich. He penned the triumphant “Festive Overture” in just three days, and it has since become one of the most popular orchestral and symphonic wind overtures ever written.

Written around 1874, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 was initially dedicated to pianist Nikolay Rubinstein, but it was not well received and even rejected by Rubinstein. Scratching out Rubinstein’s name from the score, Tchaikovsky rededicated it to Hans von B├╝low, who commented that “the ideas are so original, so noble, so powerful, and the details so interesting.” To this day its thundering presence is one of the most loved and popular of any work.

The concert’s second half will feature two romantic pieces loved the world over: the magical musical stories of legendary lovers Tristan and Isolde, and Daphnis and Chloe.

Richard Wagner’s “Prelude and Liebestod,” from his opera “Tristan and Isolde,” is the opening to a tale of intense romantic yearning written while the composer was in the throes of an affair. It tells the story of Tristan, who retrieves Isolde for his king but inevitably ends up falling in love with her. The Prelude consists of never-resolving harmonies that echo the beautiful longing of the lovers, which is taken over by Liebestod (Love-death) that contains the melodic material from the famous second act duet between Tristan and Isolde.

Maurice Ravel’s Suite No. 2 from “Daphnis and Chloe” will complete the program. Originally commissioned by Sergy Dyagilev and written as a ballet, “Daphnis and Chloe” tells the story of two lovers who mime the ancient story of “Pan and Syrinx,” in which Syrinx rejects the declared love of Pan. The story ends happily with Chloe falling into her lover’s arms, and a joyous tumult and wild dance ensues. Although the ballet was not originally considered great success, the music remains some of the most beautiful and evocative of the 20th century and is a mainstay of the virtuoso orchestral repertoire.

Slovenian pianist Dubravka Tomsic gave her first public recital at age five and has since given more than 4,000 performances worldwide. She moved to New York when she was 12 and enrolled at the Juilliard School. Although considered a pianist of legendary stature in many countries, it was not until 1989, after a hiatus of almost 30 years, that she was reintroduced to American audiences. She has been performing and teaching to great acclaim ever since.