Golf Buzz

October 29, 2014 - 12:12pm
andrew.prezioso's picture
Olympia Fields pin flag
The Olympia Fields pin flag features four wings representing the original four courses at the club.

When you go to a golf event, what’s your go-to souvenir? For a lot of people, it is a commemorative pin flag.

We talked to Sam MacKenzie, director of grounds at Olympia Fields Golf Club, Olympia Fields’ pro shop and Justin Mengel, the 2015 PGA Championship director, to get more information about pin flags. And this is what we learned.

Design

Olympia Fields: There have been a few different variations of the flag featuring the club’s logo, but the ones currently in place feature the club’s original logo. The decision on which ones to use went to MacKenzie, and it came down to personal taste. The original logo features four wings to represent the four courses Olympia Fields originally had before some debt during World War II forced the club to sell some of its property, MacKenzie said.

PGA Championship: Each year brings with it a new flag design to create what Mengel called a “personalized flag” for each tournament. Part of the annual change is applied to the PGA Championship logo to keep up with the PGA’s brand strategy. For instance, this past year’s pin flag featured some argyle elements to it, which could also be seen in all the PGA Championship advertisements and other material.

Quick Nine: Golfers tell us about their wildest putts

Length of use

Olympia Fields: The club replaces the pin flags once per year. The old ones are usually a bit faded and tattered, and they get put out to the driving range. After a year there, they are usually discarded.

PGA Championship: The flags get swapped out once per tournament, usually after the second round depending on the weather. Sometimes, an extra set is used before the event for special events like media day. The used flags – except for the one on the 18th green, which is given to the winner -- are given as a gift to either PGA Championship staff, members of the host club or grounds crew.

Purchase

Olympia Fields: Pin flags are most commonly sold in nine packs, so MacKenzie will purchase three packs for an 18-hole course. Those extra flags are necessary in case any of them get stolen or damaged, or are awarded as a memento to a golfer who hit a hole-in-one on that hole.

PGA Championship: Two full sets of pin flags for the 18 holes are ordered from a its long-time supplier, a company called Standard Golf at a price of roughly $16 per flag. The order will usually be placed in the late spring for that year’s tournament.

Sale

Olympia Fields: The pro shop ordered 250 pin flags, featuring a different variation of the course logo, to sell to golfers for around $30 in 2014. So far, the shop has sold 200 of those flags. But with the course set to host next year’s U.S. Amateur Championship, the shop will increase its inventory.

PGA Championship: The average number of commemorative pin flags sold is about 10,000 per year. They are identical to the ones used on the course and are often used for collecting autographs or framing. They have always been one of the more popular keepsakes for spectators.

Related: Get your PGA Championship gear here

October 29, 2014 - 11:10am
andrew.prezioso's picture
Victoria GC
Photo courtesy of Victoria Golf Course
This is the seventh fairway at Victoria Golf Club that is said to be haunted by the "friendly" ghost of Doris Gravlin.

Who doesn't love a good ghost story? Sure, you may not believe in them but they can be pretty entertaining. 

We searched online for some popular tales and decided to do some digging to find more on the origin of these stories. See below.

Victoria Golf Club (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada)

Legend: The story goes that in 1936, Doris Gravlin was murdered by her estranged husband after a nighttime meeting on the course. Her body would not be found until five days later when a caddie noticed it along the shoreline of the bay at the seventh hole. Police deemed the crime a murder-suicide as the body of her husband, Victor, would be found by a fisherman a month later.

Now the ghost of woman in a white gown has been reported to hang around the course. As the Greater Victoria Public Library reports:

She will rush towards people, then disappear. She also exhibits a variety of other behaviour. One night, for example, a man saw her as he was out walking on the course. He turned around, and then turned around again, and she was facing him every time. After completely boxing him in, she disappeared. On another night a woman was out walking the course with a group. A wild wind suddenly sprang up, blowing at them from all directions, despite it being a perfectly calm day. Some of the group became very frightened. As the woman hung back from the rest of her group, she felt someone with a cold, clammy hand take her hand. She assumed one of her friends needed comforting. Then she noticed that all her group had moved on, and she was alone. The hand then disappeared.

Final Word: We'll let Scott Kolb, general manager at Victoria, let you know whether this course is haunted.

Yes, but she is a friendly ghost. ... Our security camera sometimes have a glow that floats around and odd things will happen that our staff will just say, “Must be Doris playing tricks on us again.” I'm not a big ghost guy but I must admit that something is out there that has fun with us. 

City Park Golf Courses (New Orleans, Louisiana)

Legend: In the early 1960s, two women were finishing their round on the 18th green when a man shot and killed one of them. Now, there are claims of people hearing a gun shot and a woman screaming on the 18th green even though there is no one there. It has been so clear that it has prompted people to call the police.

Final Word: This seemed a little vague to be true. When we reached out to the New Orleans Public Library to see if there were any mentions of the murder in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, nothing was found. The newspaper search was extended from 1950-80 and no results were found. Joseph Giorlando, director of instruction at Rabito Golf at City Park, also scoffed at the idea of the course being haunted.  

Pasatiempo Golf Club (Santa Cruz, Calif.)

Legend: We got this tip on our Facebook page. According to Gary Lynd, the ghost of Alister Mackenzie walks Pasatiempo. It does make sense that if Mackenzie were to haunt any course, it would be Pasatiempo. Although Mackenzie did design Augusta National and Cypress Point, Pasatiempo was where he decided to live and his house still sits right by the sixth hole. And according to Ken Woods, the PGA Professional and head professional at Pasatiempo, Mackenzie's ashes were spread around the course. 

Final Word: With not much to go on online, we turned to the general manager of Pasatiempo, D. Scott Hoyt, to see if he's heard any tales. Hoyt said he had not heard of any ghosts at the course. Woods also mentioned that he has not heard anything about Mackenzie's ghost being seen on the course.

Trails West Golf Course (Fort Leavenworth, Kan.)

Legend: Back in the 1880s, Catherine Sutter was traveling through Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, with her family when her two children disappeared. She spent all winter searching for them, but could not find them and died. The legend continues that the continues that Native Americans found the children and kept them safe throughout the winter. The following spring, they were bringing the children back to Sutter when they found her dead. Now people claim to see Sutter wandering around the course with a latern continuing the search for her children.  

Final Word: With the origin story dating so far back, it is very difficult the accuracy of this tale. The PGA Professional at Trails West, Keith Stilwell, said he is familiar with the story but neither he nor any of his clients have any run-ins with the alleged ghost. 

October 29, 2014 - 10:41am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Bryan Brothers
GolfDigest.com
This glow-in-the-dark special from the Bryan Brothers might give you a new appreciation of how incredible their trick-shot skills truly are.

It's been a big week for the Bryan Brothers.

Our favorite golf trick-shot artists posted their best video to date on Monday.

Today, they followed up with a special Halloween-themed, glow-in-the-dark trick video on GolfDigest.com.

Check it out:

Obviously there are a lot less shots in this video than a typical Bryan Bros. release. However, I did like the explanation on the "hit he deck" shot and how it showed us how far the ball actually traveled.

The glow-in-the-dark golf balls also answered a question I get from skeptics: Yeah, it's cool that they can pull off those shots, but where is the ball really going?

Answer: Right down the pipe, it appears.

October 29, 2014 - 9:17am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Miguel Angel Jimenez
Instagram
Miguel Angel Jimenez has a work out routine unlike one we've ever seen before.

It's safe to say that Miguel Angel Jimenez marches to the beat of his own drum.

The latest example? This Instagram post by the European Tour's physio team:

 

Spotted the legend M A Jimenez hanging around in the gym using the equipment in his own unique way!! #bmwmasters

A photo posted by ETPI (@etpi_physiounit) on

Yes, that's Jimenez, upside down, doing whatever it is he's doing.

It's still not our favorite Jimenez fitness routine though...

October 29, 2014 - 8:57am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Sergio Garcia
USA Today Sports Images
Sergio Garcia did everything but win on the PGA Tour in 2014-15. Will that change this season?

The PGA Tour 2014-15 season rolls on this week at Kuala Lumpur Golf & CC in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Ryan Moore is the defending champ after outlasting Gary Woodland in a playoff a year ago. The field includes a lot of big names, highlighted by the likes of Sergio Garcia, Billy Horschel, Jason Dufner, Charl Schwartzel and Davis Love III.

RELATED: CIMB Classic tee times | Jordan punks Bradley on Twitter | Horschel's attitude

Here are five players to keep in eye on in the fourth tournament of the new season.

5. Hideki Matsuyama
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T3 Frys.com Open
Reason to watch: I really expected Matsuyama to take off after snagging his first PGA Tour win in June at the Memorial. It's not necessarily that he played poorly after the win -- he only missed the cut once in his next nine starts and played through to the Tour Championship -- but he didn't set the Tour on fire either. Well, in just two starts this season, Matsuyama is already halfway (two) to his top-10 total (four) from last season. After a tie for third at the Frys.com Open, he tied for 10th at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. He should be refreshed after a week off. A year ago, Matsuyama tied for 25th at the CIMB Classic. He'll improve on that this time around.

4. Ryan Moore
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Missed cut at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Reason to watch: I'm not going to make a big deal out of that missed cut in Vegas for Moore. It was his first start of the new season. Shaking off the rust. He returns to Malaysia this week as the defending champ after edging Gary Woodland in a playoff in 2013. Moore's CIMB win in 2013 was one of seven top 10s he enjoyed in the 2013-14 season. He's looking to make the Tour Championship for the first time since 2012, so why not get the momentum started at a familiar place?

3. Paul Casey
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
First start
Reason to watch: In 2009, Casey was the No. 3-ranked player in the world. Due to injuries, he slipped down in recent years, but showed signs that things are moving in the right direction over the last several months. Though he didn't have a single top 10 on the PGA Tour in 16 starts during the 2013-14 season, Casey did win in the middle of September at the European Tour's KLM Open. His game is on the rise again and he'll be a player to watch throughout the season.

2. Gary Woodland
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
First start
Reason to watch: Woodland's runner-up finish to Moore at this very event in 2013 proved to be his best tournament of the season. It was one of five top 10s overall. The long-hitting Woodland has made big strides in his short game, and is regarded by many as the best athlete on Tour. Injuries have been a problem at times and that seems to be the only thing holding Woodland back. This two-time Tour winner is one of those players you can envision contending every time he tees it up.

1. Sergio Garcia
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
First start
Reason to watch: The only thing Garcia didn't do on the PGA Tour in 2013-14 is win. In 16 starts, he made the cut 15 times and finished among the top 10 on 10 occasions, including three runner-up efforts and two third-place showings. That's impressive stuff. One of Garcia's rare non-top-10 finishes was a T11 at the CIMB Classic. I like his chances this week. 

October 29, 2014 - 8:00am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rukket
Rukket
Clockwise from top left: The RukkNet Portable Driving Range, Chipping Target, Monster Cage and Range Marker.

I love to work on my golf game. A certified golf junkie, that's me.

The problem these days is finding the time to get to the driving range, let alone the course for a round.

I'm a new parent, which is incredible, and I don't want to take all that time away from home to go to the range or the course. But, I still want to work on my game.

I've tried out a bunch of golf nets from golf stores, but they don't cut the mustard. They're flimsy, a pain to set up and if the wind blows, so too will that net.

Recently, I had the opportunity to try out three products from Rukket Sports: The RukkNet Portable Driving Range, Range Marker & Chipping Target and, the ultimate, Rukket Monster Cage.

Here's a breakdown of my experience with each...

The RukkNet Portable Driving Range

I was really a big fan of how the RukkNet Portable Driving Range is so compact in its packaging. It literally folds up into a perfect circle, into a carry bag that makes it easy to bring anywhere.

And the best part? There's very little set up time. You simply unzip the carry bag, pull out the net, and it pops out like a jack-in-a-box. Hammer down a couple of stakes just to keep it steady and you're ready to let some shots rip.

The net itself is high quality, too. You don't need to worry about hitting driver and sending a golf ball through the net into an unsuspecting neighbor's window.

This could be the most practical net on the market today. It doesn't require a ton of space to set up, you can take it with you to a friend's house and -- perhaps most importantly -- it takes up less storage space than one of grandma's folded quilts. Heck, if you have the room, you can even easily set if up indoors.

Like anything new, it took some getting used to folding the net into the carrying case, but once you practice a couple of times, it's a breeze.

The RukkNet Portable Driving Range sells for $219.99.

Rukket Range Marker & Chipping Target

The ease of use on the Range Marker & Chipping Target -- much like the Portable Driving Range -- is impressive. It just pops open, you hammer a couple of stakes down and you're ready to go.

For any golfer this is a great practice companion, because it really forces you to focus on the target. I spent most of my time working with the chipping target, going as far back as 25 yards. From there, I worked on shots with all my wedges, attempting to envision which of the three holes I wanted to hit and then trying to hit it there.

Of course, I didn't hit the target I intended every time, but over the course of about 15 minutes, my misses were much closer to my intended target.

And, if I'm being honest, the net wasn't used for just practice, but also for fun. My brother has come by for a couple of visits strictly to square off against one another in chipping contests.

I also found the Range Marker to be useful. Instead of pacing off a yardage, I used my rangefinder to lock in the marker at 50 yards. It really helped to develop a feel and consistency. I tried a variety of shots with different clubs, trying to hit the marker on the fly and one-bouncing it to the marker.

I'm not sure I'll use the marker part of this tool as much as the chipping target, but for those with a bigger yard, it could certainly be useful in essentially setting up your own personal backyard, short-iron driving range (the yardage "flaps" go up to 150 yards).

The Rukket Range Marker & Chipping Target costs $43.99.

Rukket Monster Cage

Last, but not least, the mother of all golf nets -- the Rukket Monster Cage.

I'm not going to lie -- this thing was not easy to put together. It took two of us (not very handy guys, mind you) roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes to get the job done. The assembly video on Rukket.com was helpful, but we both laughed at the video when the narrator suggested it would take two people about 20 minutes.

Basically, there are just a lot of pieces. Two things about that, which I realized not long after we got it assembled though: 1. There's a reason for all the pieces; 2.This isn't the type of net you're going to keep putting up and taking down. This is a heavy, heavy duty net. So, yes, it may take longer than the estimated 20 minutes to set up (or, maybe not for you), but once it's up, it's got that "wow" factor. I mean, really.

My advice would be to set it up exactly where you want it to be located. It's certainly moveable with just two people, but it's a little awkward because of the size.

OK, now let's talk about performance after we got it set up.

In a word: unreal.

Just like its name suggests, this net is, in fact, a "monster." Like Rukket's other products I tested, the net was such high quality that there wasn't a single worry about letting a driver rip.

What also separated the Monster Cage from other nets I've tried is that it's an actual cage. There's a "ceiling" net and three "wall" nets (right, left and center). It's pretty much mishit-proof (well, you can still mishit, but it won't cause unwanted damage) to something in your yard, neighbor's yard, or house).

It's also built to last. It's the kind of net you'd expect to see in a simulator, pro shop or trade-show booth. The frame is made from three-part steel tube construction with nickel-plated fasteners and the powder-coated frame ensures long-term outdoor use. The frame tubes and corners have extended ends for greater stability and the corners have PVC base plates that won't scratch floors if you're lucky enough to be able to assemble this indoors.

While I'll get plenty of golf use out of the Monster Cage, I also love the fact that it's so much more than a golf net. The quality and sturdiness, make it perfect for a growing family like mine that will be able to kick soccer balls, hit baseballs and softballs, throw footballs, or whatever else, right in the comfort of the backyard. It's an all-sports cage.

With a price tag of $599.99, it's certainly not cheap. But trust me, you get what you pay for. This is a net for the long haul. When you think of all the money you spend on golf balls at the driving range over the course of a year (if you're a serious golfer), or the money you spend for your kids to go to the batting cages, you quickly realize that having the luxury to do both in your own backyard has the Monster Cage paying for itself in no time.

To learn more about Rukket's offerings, visit www.rukket.com