Golf Buzz

November 4, 2013 - 4:33pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Edwin Watts Golf
Edwin Watts Golf Shops expects that many of its stores will remain open after the bankruptcy reorganization.

Edwin Watts Golf Shops LLC, long one of the most prominent golf retailers in the United States, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  

The Fort Walton Beach, Fla.-based chain, which is owned by the Sun Capital Partners private equity firm, is seeking a court-supervised auction of its assets by Dec. 6, according to papers filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware. The company estimated its liabilities and assets of $100 million to $500 million, according to the court filing.

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PNC Bank, which Edwin Watts Golf Shops owes $50 million under a secured financing agreement, will lend the company $38 million to keep it operating until the sale is completed, according to a Reuters report. "A significant number" of its stores – there are about 90 currently operating, most in the Southeast – are expected to stay open, though no specific number has yet been finalized, the company said in a statement.

Edwin Watts, a 22-year-old golf professional at the time, opened his first store in Fort Walton Beach back in the 1960s, and built a chain of stores that thrived for many years. Watts sold the business to private equity firm Wellspring Capital Management in 2003, and Wellspring Capital sold it to Sun Capital in 2007. The company also operates a prominent website.

 

 

 
 
 
November 4, 2013 - 2:36pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Ernie Els
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Ernie Els, not happy with a new playing requirement by the European Tour, will skip the season-ending tournament in Dubai.

South Africa's Ernie Els, a four-time major champion and former world No. 1, is so incensed by the European Tour's increased playing requirements that he's decided to skip next week's flagship season-ending event in Dubai.

In a report by Reuters, Els expresses his discontent with the European Tour's new regulation that its members must play two of the three events leading into Dubai to be eligible for the $8 million season finale.

From the report:

"I don't think they really care," Els said wearily when asked how the tour had reacted to the news that their most celebrated veteran member would not play in Dubai.

"Why would they make a decision like that and expect guys to play? It's farcical. In my view it's an absolute joke."

Els, who is also a member of the U.S. PGA Tour, said he understood why the European Tour wanted to coax its top players into contesting more of the big-money Asian tournaments.

"I can see (the tour's point of view) but it's crazy," he said. "I've been playing both tours since 1994 and it's been no problem but for some reason now the European Tour expect us to play a full schedule.

For nearly two decades, Els was the non-European face of the European Tour, where he's collected 28 victories.

The new two-out-of-three rule, Els said, may force him to pick between the PGA Tour or the European Tour instead of playing both as he's done for years.

"Now we have to make a decision where we never used to do that," he said. "Guys are not going to keep doing that. We've got families and schedules to keep."

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 

November 4, 2013 - 1:32pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture

Are you tired of hitting clunky, inconsistent pitch shots around the green?

PGA Professional Rob Labritz has just the drill for you in today's golf tip to ensure you hit crisp, consistent pitch shots.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair

November 2, 2013 - 6:31pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Gus Wortham Park Golf Course
Gus Wortham Park Golf Course in Houston is the oldest 18-hole golf course in Texas.

Like too many historic city golf courses, Gus Wortham Park Golf Course in Houston needs a little help. Fortunately, some significant assistance might be on the way.

Built back in 1908 as the Houston Country Club, Gus Wortham is the oldest 18-hole golf course in Texas. It became the Houston Executive Club in 1957, and the city bought it and renamed it in 1972. The course winds through a wooded green space along Brays Bayou only a few miles south of downtown.

Like many government-owned courses, Gus Wortham has struggled to stay in good shape in recent years, and there has been talk of repurposing the course for other non-golf activities, including relocating a botanic garden there.

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But a group called the Friends of Gus Wortham is petitioning the city to prevent that from happening. More important, the group has formed a non-proft corporation, and now can accept donations to help save the course and improve it.

The group is raising money for short-term improvements, according to The Houston Chronicle, and is talking with architect Baxter Spann about revamping the driving range and installing lights and automated ball machines to allow golfers to practice after sunset. In addition, Houston philanthropist Preston Moore Jr. has donated an undisclosed amount of money to the project, the paper said, and might kick in some more as the process continues. 

Eventually, the Friends of Gus Wortham would like to renovate the entire facility. According to the group's website, an estimated $9.2 million makeover would include fixing up the course; creating a new entrance to the facility and renovating and adding to the parking area; and building a new clubhouse, along with a new restroom and maintenance facility.

Joe Turner, the city parks director, is on board with at least part of the renovation effort, according to the Chronicle. But the group is still actively seeking golfers to sign a petition to prevent non-golf development on the site.

 

November 1, 2013 - 1:24pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Titleist
Titleist
From now through Dec. 31, 2013, Titleist is offering free personalization on each dozen golf balls sold.

Titleist has announced that from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, 2013, the company will offer free personalization on every Titleist golf ball dozen sold.

During this two-month period, personalization charges will be waived on all orders of Titleist Pro V1, Pro V1x, NXT Tour, NXT Tour S, Velocity and DT SoLo golf balls. Free personalization is also available on custom orders of Pro V1 and Pro V1x with double-digit play numbers (00 and 10-99).

Personalization includes up to three lines of block text (17 characters per line) imprinted on each golf ball in black, blue, green, red or pink ink. Titleist says that popular choices include names, nicknames, initials, holiday greetings, congratulations and inspirational messages. Twitter usernames (i.e., @Titleist) and hashtags (i.e., #TeamTitleist) are also growing in popularity.

READ: A golf club fitting at the Titleist Test Facility

On Pro V1 and Pro V1x models, the combination of a single- or double-digit play number (1-9, 00 and 10-99) with personalization is often used to commemorate a holiday, birthday, anniversary or other significant date or event. Lucky or favorite numbers and athlete jersey numbers are also popular options.

Individual numbers are also available on NXT Tour and NXT Tour S (1-4); Velocity (1-4 or 00, 11, 22, 33); and DT SoLo (1-4) models.

The minimum order for free personalization is just one dozen. Orders can be placed by visiting any authorized Titleist golf shop. To locate a local Titleist golf shop, click here.

For custom individual and double-digit play numbers, an additional charge may apply.

Here are all the details on the holiday promotion:

- U.S. customers only.

- Offer: Free personalization (single pole personalization only).
- Products: All Titleist golf ball models.

- Imprint: Black, Blue, Red, Green or Pink ink.
- 1 color per personalization.
- Maximum 17 characters per line, up to 3 lines of personalization.

- Minimum: 1 dozen (packaged in standard dozens).
- Dates: An order must be placed between Nov. 1-Dec. 31, 2013.
- Orders received by Dec. 10, 2013 are guaranteed to arrive by Dec. 24, 2013 via normal ground freight. Orders requesting Fast Forward Service must be received by Dec. 18, 2013.
- December 3, 2013 is the last day that orders will be accepted for Double Digit Play Numbers, with guaranteed delivery prior to December 24, 2013.
- Orders for individual and double-digit play numbers may incur an additional charge.
- Individual play numbers: Pro V1 and Pro V1x (1-9); NXT Tour and NXT Tour S (1-4); Velocity (1-4 or 00, 11, 22, 33); DT SoLo (1-4).
- Double-digit play numbers (Pro V1 and Pro V1x only): 00 and 11-99.

To learn more, visit www.titleist.com.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.