Golf Buzz

October 19, 2016 - 9:02am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
fall golf
T.J. Auclair/
For many across the country, temperatures are beginning to plunge and leaves are beginning to fall, which means golf season is winding down. The good news is, there's still plenty you can work on to stay sharp over the next several months.

For golfers in certain parts of the country, the sad reality is beginning to set in: the golf season is winding down.

In the northeast, the leaves are changing color, the temperatures are dropping and we're trying to sneak in any golf that's left to be had before the white stuff hits the ground.

It's right around this time of year, so says PGA Professional Rob Labritz, that you should start putting together a golfer's checklist for the fall and winter months.

"In fall golf, I'd spend the most time on the stuff you struggled with the most through the season," said Labritz, who recently won the OMEGA PGA Met Section Player of the Year Award for the second time in four years and the third time since 2008. "Grind on something you don't want to grind on. It might not be fun to do, but dedicating time to parts of your game that have proven to be weaknesses all season will help to make them strengths going forward and get you prepared going into the spring time."

RELATED: 12 items to try | What you like most about fall golf | Cold weather golf tips

If you're lucky enough to still be playing a lot of golf in the fall, Labritz said it's important not to get discouraged.

Why? Well, because of the conditions, you might be hitting the ball well, but not getting everything you expect out of your score.

Factors outside of your control -- colder air, which makes the ball travel a shorter distance; aerated greens that are bumpy and sandy; and leaves everywhere -- don't exactly make for the most ideal scoring conditions.

"Don't let yourself get hung up on all the stuff you're not doing out there because of the conditions," Labritz said. "You usually hit a 7-iron 160 but it's only going 145-150 right now? It's OK. Keep repeating your motion and in the spring when it warms up, you might be surprised to see that it's traveling 165-170."

With all the outside factors you can't control in the fall, Labritz says it's the perfect time for practice -- especially on the short game. 

"You don't have a lot of time left before it gets too cold or starts snowing, so work double time on the short game," he said. "When you're hitting shots around the greens with wedges, you can't be weak enough with your left hand (right-handed golfers). That counter-rotates your hands and implements bounce at impact. Hit the ball a little fat and the bounce will make it feel like you hit it pretty solid."

Also in the fall, Labritz told us, you should be seeking out a place where you can hit balls 1-2 times per week in the winter months -- a place where you can take full swings and hold your finish whether you hit a good shot or a bad shot.

"If you have a chance to get into a heated bay outside, that's even better," he said. "If you do that, work on your wedges more than anything. The sharper you are with the wedges, the more it'll translate to the rest of your bag."

Labritz also recommends investing in a 10-12 foot putting mat since, "the short game and touch is the first thing to go after a long layoff."

There are two more suggestions Labritz has for keeping your game sharp in the winter months:

1. Focus on your fitness.

2. Keep an eye on new equipment coming out at the start of the year.

"The winter months are a great time to get into your golf fitness," he said. "Even 1-2 hours a week goes a long way. Think about all the extra time you have since you're not able to play. Just 1-2 hours a week in fitness is less than a 9-hole round. You have the time for it.

"As far as equipment goes, have your eye on any key purchases you might want to make when the new season rolls around," he said. "Do your research. Learn about any new technology for wedges, drivers and fairway woods. Ask your PGA Professional about what those new technologies bring to the table for your game." 

Rob Labritz, who has played in four PGA Championships (he was low-Club Professional in 2010 at Whistling Straits), is currently the Director of Golf at GlenArbor Golf Club in BedFord Hills, N.Y. He was also the PGA Met Section Player of the Year in 2008, 2013 and 2016, as well as the Westchester Golf Association's Player of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2015. You can learn more about Labritz at and you can follow him on Twitter, @Rlabritz

Davis Love III
USA Today Sports Images
Davis Love III will be one of five inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame's Class of 2017. Love is a past PGA Champion and a two-time Ryder Cup USA captain.
What a month October has been for Davis Love III.
A little more than two weeks after captaining the Ryder Cup USA to a 17-11 victory at Hazeltine in the biennial matches -- its first win since 2008 and just its third since 1999 -- it was announced on Tuesday that Love will be a 2017 inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum announced Tuesday that its 2017 Induction Class will comprise of Love, Henry Longhurst, Meg Mallon, Lorena Ochoa and Ian Woosnam.

Those five new members will be enshrined at the World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City the week of the Presidents Cup.
Here is the write-up on Love from the World Golf Hall of Fame press release:
In a career that has spanned four decades on the PGA TOUR, Love has notched 22 victories including the 1997 PGA Championship and two victories at The PLAYERS Championship in 1992 and 2003. His quality of play has earned him a place on six U.S. Ryder Cup teams and six Presidents Cup teams. He has captained two Ryder Cup teams, including the victorious 2016 team. Love is a recipient of both the Payne Stewart and Bob Jones Awards.
"Davis is a fixture on the PGA TOUR and has been for decades. He has contributed so much to the image of the game because of who he is, and the way he handles himself. Love is extremely well-respected by the other players, so having him contribute his time and energy to making the organization work better has been a very impactful thing. It makes us all smile to see him get the recognition he deserves and be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame." -PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem

"Davis has an outstanding record not only as a player but as a gentleman. He’s been a tremendous contributor and has been an all-around man for golf. It’s terrific to see him in the World Golf Hall of Fame." -Gary Player
October 18, 2016 - 2:01pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Mathias Schjoelberg
After seeing so many incredible golf trick shots over the last few years, we're not easily impressed. However, when we saw the latest from Mathias Schjoelberg we were, well, blown away.

Golf trick shots are a lot of fun to watch, but after the last few years -- especially with the Bryan Brothers setting the bar so high -- they've pretty much been a yawn.

It's not to say they're not impressive, it's just that most of them don't have that "wow" factor anymore.

That is until I saw this from former Arizona State golfer Mathias Schjoelberg and immediately bit my tongue.

Check out how Schjoelberg incorporates some incredible soccer juggling skills into these two golf shots:



It's Sunday and it's funday @golf_gods @golfdigest @houseofhighlights @highlighthub

A video posted by Mathias Schjoelberg (@mathiasschjoelberg) on




Happy Gilmore on point @golf_gods @highlighthub

A video posted by Mathias Schjoelberg (@mathiasschjoelberg) on


I mean, are you kidding me with that stuff?

If Schjoelberg -- and others -- can pump out more trick shots like that, I'm going to have no choice but to get excited about them again.

Schjoelberg is no stranger to this site, by the way. He's had some crazy trick shots we've featured in the past also, like these:



Need to play around a bit as well! #golf #trick #golfer #pgatour #GolfGods #MyBestShot

A video posted by Mathias Schjoelberg (@mathiasschjoelberg) on




Close enough #golf #golfer #asu #asugolf #golfgods

A video posted by Mathias Schjoelberg (@mathiasschjoelberg) on




Just kidding, guess I still got it :):) #golf #golfer #asu

A video posted by Mathias Schjoelberg (@mathiasschjoelberg) on




Getting good at the shots I'll never need. #golf #golfer #asu #asugolf #sundevils

A video posted by Mathias Schjoelberg (@mathiasschjoelberg) on




Sunday funday! #golf #golfer #golfgods #golfgrinders

A video posted by Mathias Schjoelberg (@mathiasschjoelberg) on



October 18, 2016 - 11:13am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
golf mysteries
USA Today Sports Images
Golf has many intricacies/mysteries. In this piece, we set out to explain nine of them.

More so than any other sport, golf is loaded with intricacies, many of them confusing and -- in some cases -- mysterious.

With that in mind, we figured it would be fun to take a deep dig into some of the game's mysteries and try to find some clarity.

Here are nine golf mysteries explained.

1. Where does the word "golf" come from?

This may seem basic, but have you ever thought about why the name of the game we love is "golf?"

Contrary to popular belief, it is not an acronym for "Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden." That's nothing more than a myth.

Instead, it's believed that the origin of the word comes from the Dutch word "kolf" or "kolve," which means "club." According to many sources, because of the eccentricities of Scottish dialect it was pronounced “golve,” “gowl” or “gouf."

2. Where did the word "Mulligan" originate?

PGA of America Historian Bob Denney uncovered this very topic for us in detail a couple of years back, but it's worth revisiting here.

There are a couple of theories, but this is our favorite from Denney's research on the term that allows a golfer to re-do a poor opening tee shot:

John A. “Buddy” Mulligan, a locker room attendant in the 1930s at Essex Fells CC, N.J., would finish cleaning the locker room and, if no other members appeared, play a round with assistant professional, Dave O'Connell and a club member, Des Sullivan (later golf editor of The Newark Evening News).

One day, Mulligan’s opening tee shot was bad and he beseeched O'Connell and Sullivan to allow another shot since they “had been practicing all morning,” and he had not. After the round, Mulligan proudly exclaimed to the members in his locker room for months how he received an extra shot.

The members loved it and soon began giving themselves “Mulligans” in honor of Buddy Mulligan. Sullivan began using the term in his golf pieces in The Newark Evening News. NBC’s “Today Show” ran the story in 2005.

Thus, a “Mulligan” found its niche along in our culture. Its popularity thrives because of who we are – lovers of a good story and a term that somehow fits. It thrives as we are reminded in a classic line from the 1962 John Ford Western film, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.”

The "Mulligan" is also the source of one of my favorite golf jokes:

Q. What do they call a "Mulligan" in Scotland?

A. "Hitting three."

3. Why are you limited to 14 golf clubs?

For many years, it wasn't uncommon for golfers to carry much more than 14 clubs. Bobby Jones, in fact, was known to carry up to 25 clubs in his bag.

However, according to a story in Links Magazine, the USGA's Rand Jerris explained that things got serious about setting a limit to the number of clubs one can carry when a player -- Lawson Little -- showed up to the 1935 U.S. Open with a bag that contained a full set of right-handed and a full set of left-handed irons -- the theory being that should his ball come to rest against the side of a tree, he shouldn't be at a disadvantage.

From the Links Magazine article:

The first grumbling was heard in late '34 when the USGA received a letter from George Jacobus, President of the PGA of America, asking if the ruling bodies were planning to restrict the number of clubs allowed and saying that the PGA would back such a notion. "The PGA was worried about taking challenge away from the game,” says Jerris.

During surveys of the fields at the 1935 U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open, it was discovered that the average number of clubs carried was 18.

According to the article, the USGA had three concerns with that revelation:

1) "de-skilling" the game ("they actually used that term, de-skilling," says Jerris); 2) inequality between wealthy golfers, who could afford many clubs, and average players who couldn't; and 3) caddies, who were having to carry bags that weighed in excess of 35 pounds.

So, in 1936, the USGA and R&A announced that a new 14-club limit would be in place beginning in 1938. It's been that way ever since.

It remains unknown as to why the limit was set at 14, but Jerris has as good an explanation was we could find: A matched set of nine irons with one putter and the accepted four woods.

4. Why is it that a regulation round of golf features 18 holes?

Believe it or not, 18 holes didn't become the standard of golf until the early 1900s. Prior to that, most courses featured between 12-23 holes.

The birthplace of golf -- St. Andrews, originally a 22-hole course -- was the first to convert to 18 holes in roughly 1764. The reason? It came down to the fact that 18 holes were easier to maintain than 22.

Sam Groves, curator of the British Golf Museum explained the change in an article on

"In 1858, the R&A issued new rules for its members; Rule 1 stated 'one round of the Links or 18 holes is reckoned a match unless otherwise stipulated'. We can only presume that, as many clubs looked to the R&A for advice, this was slowly adopted throughout Britain. By the 1870s, therefore, more courses had 18 holes and a round of golf was being accepted as consisting of 18 holes."

5. Why do golf balls have dimples?

This is simple. It's a matter of aerodynamics. The dimples allow the ball to penetrate through the air.

The Scientific American explains:

Dimples on a golf ball create a thin turbulent boundary layer of air that clings to the ball's surface. This allows the smoothly flowing air to follow the ball's surface a little farther around the back side of the ball, thereby decreasing the size of the wake. A dimpled ball thus has about half the drag of a smooth ball.

Dimples also affect lift. A smooth ball with backspin creates lift by warping the airflow such that the ball acts like an airplane's wing. The spinning action makes the air pressure on the bottom of the ball higher than the air pressure on the top; this imbalance creates an upward force on the ball. Ball spin contributes about one half of a golf ball's lift. The other half is provided by the dimples, which allow for optimization of the lift force.

6. Where did the golf terms "birdie," "eagle," and "albatross?"

The term “birdie” comes from an American named A B Smith. While playing a round in 1899, he played what he described as a "bird of a shot," which became "birdie" over time. 

"Eagle" (2 under) and "albatross" (3 under) were also established by Smith as rarer types of birds.

7. What is a "Condor?"

It's the only thing in golf better than an albatross. A "Condor" is 4 under for one hole, or -- a hole-in-one on a par 5. Strange as it may seem, there have actually been four verified condors.

This from

The first occurred in 1962, when Larry Bruce drove into the hole over a stand of trees on the 480-yard dogleg right par-5 fifth hole at Hope Country Club in Arkansas, USA.

Another condor was achieved by "cutting the corner" of a dogleg par-5 by Shaun Lynch at Teign Valley Golf Club in Christow, England, in 1995, on the 496-yard 17th. Lynch aimed straight at the green with a 3-iron, clearing a 20-foot-high hedge and hitting a downslope on the other side, which allowed his ball to roll down to the green and into the hole.

A condor was scored without cutting over a dogleg by Mike Crean at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club in Denver, Colorado, in 2002, when he holed his drive at the 517 yard par-5 9th. This is longest hole in one on record, although it was of course aided by the altitude and thin air of 'mile-high' Denver.

The most recent condor was achieved in Australia by 16 year old Jack Bartlett on the 467 metre par-5 17th at Royal Wentworth Falls Country Club, NSW, Australia, on November 3, 2007.

8. Where did the term "bogey" come from?

This from a story written by Brent Kelley for

According to the USGA Museum, the "Bogey Man" was a character in a British song of the late 19th Century. He lived in the shadows and said in song, "I'm the Bogey Man, catch me if you can."

The USGA writes that British golfers of the era began chasing the Bogey Man on the golf course, meaning chasing after the perfect score (catch me if you can).

An aside: Sure is strange how some words develop, isn't it? Now back to the program ...

Over time, the term "bogey score" came into usage - but it denoted a good score, not a poor one. In other words, bogey was interchangeable, at that time, with the word "par."

In the early part of the 20th Century, however, par began to be applied to the ideal score of professional golfers, while bogey gradually became applied to recreational golfers. From there, it was a short leap to its current meaning of a score of 1-over par.

As "par" became the accepted term for a good score on a hole, "bogey" was applied to the higher score recreational golfers might expect to achieve.

9. When was the "stymie" abolished?

First off, have you ever heard of a "stymie" as it relates to golf? It happened when -- in match play -- you weren't forced to mark your golf ball if it was in the way of your opponent on the green.

This meant that rather than your opponent having a straight line from his ball to the hole, he also had to try and navigate his ball around yours to get to the hole by going left, right, or in some cases, chip over.

In 1920, the USGA tested a modified stymie rule for one year, allowing a stymied player to concede the opponent's next putt. The next change to the stymie rule came in 1938, when the USGA began a two-year trial in which an obstructing ball within 6 inches of the hole could be moved regardless of the distance between the balls. The USGA made this rule permanent in 1941. However, during this time, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews never modified the stymie rule.

The stymie was finally removed from the rules effective in 1952, when the USGA and R&A established a joint set of rules. 

October 16, 2016 - 2:34pm
Posted by:
Matt Craig
matthew.craig's picture
single-length irons, bryson dechambeau, cobra
USA Today Sports Images

"I've hit fliers with the four {iron}," said Kevin Costner in the classic golf movie Tin Cup. "I've hooked my five, I shank the six, skulled the eight, fatted the nine, chili-dipped the wedge, and bladed the sand." If you've seen the movie, you know that he's breaking the clubs over his knee as he's saying this.

"But then there's the seven iron. I never miss with the seven iron."

Ah, the trusty seven iron. Do you ever wish you could just hit it for every shot?

Well Cobra's new F7 irons can get you pretty close. In January of 2017 they brought first ever single-length irons to the public market, as made famous by legend Bobby Jones and brought back to prominence by Bryson DeChambeau. Every club in the set is 37.25 inches, or the length of a standard seven iron.

But the developers of the single-length irons are more than just big Tin Cup fans or superstitious golfers. Cobra believes the F7 set gives golfers of all skill levels "a simpler, easier way to play."

The Cobra website has this to say about the benefits of single-length irons:

Proper setup includes foot positioning, spine angle and ball position, and many other variables. These variables change as you switch between longer and shorter length clubs, causing more room for error. With one setup and one swing you can simplify the entire process.

DeChambeau has used the irons to win an NCAA individual title, a U.S. Amateur Championship, a Tour Finals at the DAP Championship, and most recently, the John Deere Classic. He also employs the unconventional "single plane" swing, but told that the clubs will work for any swing type.

There is a misconception that single-length irons are only for a single-plane swing like mine. That is simply not true. Regardless of how you swing and what your skill level is, you can benefit from the simplicity of a constant length set of irons.

You may get some looks and some questions from your golf buddies, but would you try out these single-length irons?


October 14, 2016 - 9:57am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Morgan Hoffman
There were plenty of fireworks during Thursday's first round of the Safeway Open in Napa, Calif., but Morgan Hoffman's albatross on the par-5 18th hole from 251 yards away may have been the best.

The PGA Tour's 2016-17 season started off with a bang in Thursday's opening round of the Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

Early in the day, rookie Jon Rahm aced the second hole of his round.

Later on, Morgan Hoffman recorded the first albatross of the new season with -- get this -- an iron from 251 yards out at the par-5 18th hole at Silverado (Hoffman's ninth hole of the day).

Here's the shot:



Three under in one hole? That will help you to make up some ground quickly.

Hoffman would go on to card a 3-under 69 that left him seven strokes behind first-round leader Scott Piercy, who opened with a course-record, 10-under 62.

So, on the first day of the new season we had an ace, an albatross and a course-record. I'd say that's an OK start.