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By Bruce Meadows
golf 707333
SSU golf program continues to improve
The golf program at Sonoma State University keeps getting better, under the guidance of popular local longtime golf pro and head coach Val Verhunce.
The men’s team, which started up in 2004, and the women’s team, which began in 2007, have shown steady progress, including an NCAA Division II championship for the men in 2009.

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Jarin Todd, two-time NCAA Division II Player of the Year for Sonoma State.

One of the standouts was Jarin Todd, from Woodinville, Wash., a two-time National Player of the Year and twice the winner of the Jack Nicklaus Award. Verhunce said the only other NCAA player to make that claim has been PGA pro Phil Mickelson.
Todd, 26, has struggled as a pro and at one point took time away from golf to try to qualify as a Navy Seal before a medical condition closed that door. He is now playing on the Asian Tour with hopes of someday making a living on the PGA Tour.
“He’d love to play on the PGA Tour,” said Verhunce. “The experience he is getting on the Asian Tour should help him.”
The women’s team, which won two events this past season, also has a player in pro golf, Spencer Heller, a four-time Academic and Athletic All-America starting in 2009 who is now competing on the Cactus Mini-Tour in Arizona.
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Spencer Heller, four-time academic and athletic All-America for the Sonoma State women’s golf team.

Verhunce said Heller, from Turlock, “has the potential” to play on the LPGA Tour, adding that the 5-8 “very lean” Heller is working on improving her length off the tee.
“The gap between Division I and Division II women’s golf has decreased dramatically,” said Verhunce. “We have D-II players who are among the best in the nation, and we have four players on our current team who are capable of winning a tournament on any week.”
Schmuhl teams up with Rhodes for NorCal PGA win
Windsor Golf Club pro Jason Schmuhl and Windsor club official Ken Rhodes captured the 2014 NorCal PGA Pro-President competition at Claremont CC in Oakland.
Schmuhl, with 18 years teaching experience, was NCPGA Player of the Year in 2008 and 2010 and has competed in nine PGA Tour events, including the 2010 PGA Championships and the 2013 Reno-Tahoe Open.
Schmuhl, who holds three course records, including a 62 at his home course, teamed with Rhodes to shoot 8-under-par 60.
Other local pros placing include Mark Wotherspoon of Buckingham, third; Chris Gay of Petaluma G&CC, fourth, and Wayne Clark of Hidden Valley Lake, 11th.
Piner girls show improvement
Sierra Sanchez and Ana Stephenson were MVPs, and Emily Pippin Most Improved Golfer for the Piner High girls’ team this season.
Sanchez, in only her second year of golf, played well enough to make it to the North Coast Section Qualifier at Blue Rock Springs GC. She is just the third Prospector girl to advance that far.
Thanksgiving Shotgun special at Green Tree
Green Tree GC in Vacaville is offering a Thanksgiving Shotgun special starting at 8 a.m.
Green fees are $44, which includes a cart and warm-up bucket of balls.
Call 707-448-1420 or go to for details.
Check with your local golf for similar holiday offers.
Turkey Shoot for Fairgrounds GC members
Members of the Fairgrounds Golf Club will be involved in a Turkey Shoot on Saturday, Nov. 22.
The Turkey Shoot is a low-net event with full handicap. The tournament, open to club members onlly, will be called off it it rains.
The club is seeking new members so check with the Fairgrounds Pro Shop for information. Call 284-3520.
Vintners selling annual passes
Vintners Golf Club in Yountville is offering 2015 annual passes, and reminding golfers about their Twilight Rates.
Yearly passes are $500 for range balls, $1,000 for golf and $1,500 for golf with a cart. Twilight 18-hole rates, which start at noon weekdays, are $15 for Vintners members, $20 for NorCal residents.
Call 944-1992 for information.
Getting the word out
Thanks to all of you who have emailed me with golf information so far. This notebook is here for you to get the word out — on yourself, your course, your business, your tournament or whatever. If you aren’t sure your item qualifies, send it anyway and I will make the determination.
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The practice green at Bennett Valley Golf Course in Santa Rosa

In addition to items for the notebook, we are also looking for good feature stories, similar to the one we did recently on Daryl Rossi. Hope you read it, but if you haven’t, you can find it on GOLF 707 at
Check with your pro and your favorite course and let them know we are here to get items of interest to local golfers. We are also interested in the possibility of golf courses and golf business advertising on our site.
Contact us if there is an interest and we can take it from there. As we’ve said before, newspaper advertising is a one-time shot while advertising on our web site can keep your information in front of the golfing public. Go to our web site at and let us know.
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