Golf Buzz

February 10, 2014 - 2:39pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Kevin Stadler at the Waste Management Open
USA Today Sports Images
Kevin Stadler will defend his Waste Management Phoenix Open crown at a renovated TPC Scottsdale in 2015.
Now that the PGA Tour circus has vacated TPC Scottsdale for another year, the Stadium Course – home of the Waste Management Phoenix Open – will get a serious facelift. The course was built 27 years ago by architects Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, and Weiskopf is handling the makeover. 
 
Much of the work will focus on the green complexes – all the greens and tees will be resurfaced, six greens will be recontoured and three will even be repositioned. A total of 70 yards will be added to the course's length, the landscaping will be upgraded and the clubhouse will be renovated. 
 
''TPC Scottsdale was part of former PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman's vision for a chain of Tournament Players' Clubs,'' Weiskopf's manager Chris Roderick told Golf Course Architecture Magazine. ''The site was a retention basin for the city, and totally flat. It was very stark, and there was a shortage of cash for landscaping at the time, so it isn't as visually attractive as it might have been.”
 
Among the holes getting the least amount of attention are the 15th, the enclosed par-3 16th and the 17th. The lake and the green on the closing hole will remain the same, but Weiskopf plans to tuck the rough in closer to the left side of the fairway to make the fairway narrower.
 
The work is scheduled to be finished before the PGA Tour circus rolls back into town in early 2015.
 
 
February 8, 2014 - 10:15pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Best Pee Wee Golf Swing
Courtesy of Little Linksters
Sophia DiPaolo of Dublin, Ohio, was crowned champion in the Age 7-8 Division.
The judges have spoken.
 
For the fourth year, the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development, in partnership with The Littlest Golfer Inc., has crowned the winners in four age categories as having the best ''pee wee'' golf swings in the world. And we mean world. There were a record number of entries this year, from 14 nations around the globe.
 
In this event, the kids competing were in age groups not very typical in the world of junior golf – the divisions were 7-8 years, 5-6 years, 3-4 years and even an under-3 age group. Parents were encouraged to send in videos of their Little Linksters and have them evaluated by an elite panel of judges including Gary Player, LPGA Tour star Brittany Lincicome, Frank Nobilo and Holly Sonders of the Golf Channel, Top 100 PGA instructor Chuck Evans, 2013 LPGA & PGA Junior Golf Leader Nicole Weller and PGA of America Honorary President Allen Wronowski.
 
''In this, our fourth year, we were extremely happy with the outcome. It was extremely difficult for our judges as there were many, many kids that entered that had amazing swings,'' said Little Linksters founder and multiple award-winning PGA Professional Brendon Elliott. ''It is always so cool to see the entries as they come in. 
 
''The point of this contest, however, is not solely about finding the best swings but rather letting a younger demographic have fun with golf and to prove to those that don't believe in starting golf at such young ages that this is something we as an industry should focus on.''
 
The winners in each age group are (clicking on the links will take you the videos of their swings):
 
Under 3 Division:
 
 
Age 3-4 Division:
 
 
Age 5-6 Division:
Hannah Pearson, who won last year's Age 3-4 division, says thank you to the judges and Little Linksters
 
 
7-8 Division:
 
 
 
The winners in each age group will receive a prize package including the following items:
--The Littlest Golfer gift pack
--U.S. Kids Golf full set of clubs and other accessories
--Exemption into and entry fee paid for 2014 FCG International (Formally San Diego Junior Masters)
--EyeLine Golf training aids package
--The Golfer’s Footprint swing trainer
--MoRodz alignment sticks
--Almost Golf play anywhere pack
--Swingfix online lessons
--Star Putter training aid
--Kwik Golf gift pack
--My Mini Golf gift pack
--Swinggait Swing Trainer
--Stick to Sports ''Let's Play Golf'' Book
--Little Linksters coloring book and prize pack
 
''It was a great deal of fun to judge these swings from the kids,'' said Nobilo, a judge for the first time. Weller added that it was "an incredible honor … to observe such amazing entries from youngsters having fun with golf from around the world [and to help] introduce the concept of golf at a very early age."
 
Since July of 2008, the Little Linksters Golf program has brought the game to a typically non-traditional segment of the golfing population: the "Pee-Wee" golfer (ages 3-8). The program is taught in a fun and interactive way using a combination of both traditional golf instruction methods and very non-traditional ways, and the bottom line is fun. For more about the program, click here.
 
February 7, 2014 - 9:51pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Brad Faxon
Getty Images
Brad Faxon was a two-time All-America player at Furman in the early 1980s.
Furman University, long a college golf powerhouse, will drop men's golf as a varsity sport after this spring season, school officials announced Friday. 
 
The Greensville, S.C., school's Board of Trustees made the decision after concluding that Furman's money and athletic department resources could be better used elsewhere. They said several factors – including public visibility, attendance, competitiveness and overall costs – figured in the decision. 
 
"Our Board deliberated at great length over this decision, and it was made after considerable discussion and analysis of our university resources and our priorities in Division I athletics," Interim President Carl Kohrt said in a statement posted on the Furman men's golf team page. "It is always difficult to limit opportunities, especially for young men who want to compete in a sport about which they are passionate, but just like every enterprise we have to constantly evaluate where to strategically allocate our resources."
 
No other sports will be discontinued, school officials said, adding that any money saved won't go to other sports. Furman will honor scholarship commitments to current players and those who've signed to play starting next year. 
 
The Furman golf program dates back to 1930, and the Paladins own 13 Southern Conference titles. Brad Faxon was a two-time All-America player for the school in the early 1980s, and has gone on to earn eight PGA Tour victories and two Champions Tour titles.
 
Needless to say, the reaction on Twitter was not positive. Here are some examples:
 
 
Dottie Pepper, of course, is a prominent product of the Furman women's program.
 
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
 
 
February 6, 2014 - 5:09pm
Posted by:
John Kim
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Coeur D'Alene Resort
Courtesy Coeur D'Alene Resort
The famous 14th hole at Coeur D'Alene Resort features a floating green and a boat ride to get to it.

One of the "hottest" items at the recent PGA Merchandise Show was the Golf Board, a new and unique futuristic device designed to whisk golfers around the course in a more fun way than walking or in a cart.
 

 

I have to admit, it does look fun. But I'm not sure that I agree with the "new" necesarily. I mean, after all, golfers have been getting around golf courses in pretty innovative ways since Old Tom Morris put on rollerblades to scoot around St. Andrews. (Wait, that didn't happen, did it?). But seeing some online 'buzz' about the transport device got me thinking. What are some of the most unique ways golfers have made their way around a layout?

I've seen old photos of golfers using trolleys, shuttles and even horses to get from one spot on the course to the next.

Today, some golfers can choose to bike their way around a course. Some run - really fast.

Famously, at the Couer D'Alene Resort in Idaho, golfers travel from tee to green at their famous 17th hole by boat.

 

Bubba Watson showed us that we can even use hovercrafts to get around a course.

So yes, the Golf Board is awesome. I want one. But give golfers credit. Where there's a will, there's a way. And they've been finding ways for a long time with the most innovative methods to get from 1 tee to 18 green for as long as there's been golf. That's pretty cool.
 

February 6, 2014 - 3:48pm
Michael.Benzie's picture
Dennis Walters
PGA of America
Dennis Walters, then of Lake Worth, Fla., in a photo from PGA of America archives

We came across this compelling image today in the vast PGA of America archives looking for our somewhat regular #throwbackthursday image for our Instagram account. We wanted to know more, and all we had to go on was the following caption:

HOT SHOOTER -- Dennis Walters of Lake Worth, FL, the world's only paraplegic professional golfer, recently conducted "The Dennis Walters Golf Show" at Ferris State College's Katke Golf Course in Big Rapids, MI. Walters' clinic and trick shot exhibition was presented following the second annual PGM/Amputee Pro-Am Golf Tournament hosted by Ferris' Professional Golf management Student Association with members of the Michigan Amputee Association. Here Walters hits his "death-defying swing through fire shot," driving a ball covered by a burning newspaper. An outstanding collegiate golfer at North Texas State University, Walters was crippled from the waist down in a golf cart accident in 1974. He has perfected hitting shots from a swivel seat mounted on the side of a golf cart, providing a touring show which has been viewed by millions either in person or on TV. Walters was awarded the Ben Hogan Award in 1977 from the Golf Writers' of America for his remarkable comeback.

We then contacted Bob Denney at PGA of America to see if he knew anything more about the photo, and turns out, he knows Walters. Here is Bob Denney's report:

"PGA Honorary Member Dennis Walters first learned the game of golf at his hometown Jumping Brook Country Club in Neptune, N.J.

"On July 21, 1974, Walters’ life changed forever after a freak golf cart accident left him a paraplegic. Walters overcame the odds to play golf again, and in 1977 began a trick shot exhibition career that has taken him to all 50 states, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

"In the photo above, taken in the spring between 1979 and 1981; Walters performed what became his signature “death defying swing through fire” shot. He has since added many new and spectacular shots to his repertoire.

"Walters had never seen the photo, but added, 'Hopefully, my game and my wardrobe have improved. I recognize my old PowerBilt clubs, my Byron Nelson 3-wood and MacGregor woods. My pants are so tight they are sneaking up my legs, with my old braces exposed.' 

"Walters was born in Neptune and now lives in Jupiter – Florida – where he begins the 37th season of the Dennis Walters Golf Show Saturday at the PGA Center for Golf Learning & Performance in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The 2008 PGA Distinguished Service Award Recipient has performed more than 3,000 inspirational programs to audiences of all ages and golf abilities. 'I always encourage others to reach for a dream, and if that doesn’t work out, get a new dream,' says Walters."

---

 

 

February 6, 2014 - 12:47am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki
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Who's faster in a footrace, Rory McIlroy or fiancee Caroline Wozniacki? The answer is ... it depends.
Rory McIlroy was sitting in the airport on Wednesday, getting ready to fly from, well, somewhere to somewhere else, when his flight got delayed. To fill the time, McIlroy hopped on Twitter and said he’d do a quick Q&A with his 1.8 million followers.
 
Within minutes, he was flooded with questions ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. But he was game, and answered a couple dozen queries on everything from fiancée Caroline Wozniacki to Manchester United to his favorite movies and TV shows – even some asking for golf advice.
 
I didn’t ask any questions, but I did enjoy many of his answers. I’ve gone through his prodigious output and culled some of his most interesting responses. Here they are in text form:
 
@nkeyser3: are you serious with this whole engagement thing? Because I am single and available!
@McIlroyRory: Haha yes very serious! ☺
 
@JCraw4991: who would win in a 100m dash? You or @CaroWozniacki?
@McIlroyRory: Me but she would kill me at endurance 
 
@jameshunt96: favourite films?
‏@McIlroyRory: Batman dark knight, Superbad, old school, anchorman 
 
@whodeani12: What are your favourite tv shows?
@McIlroyRory: Scandal and breaking bad
 
 
@min19991: who should united sign in the summer?
@McIlroyRory: Sir Alex?
 
@realbuckles10: favorite NBA player
@McIlroyRory: D-Wade
 
@adam_mates: what other sports do you play?
@McIlroyRory: Tennis (mediocre), football (mediocre)
 
@xSilentSt0rmx: How often do you go to the gym?
@McIlroyRory: Try to get there 5-6 times a week
 
@davepiercefield: Rory You are a great role model for my 3 boys. Who do you attribute your character to?
@McIlroyRory: My parents
 
@emily_runs: What has been your favorite tournament you've ever played in? 
@McIlroyRory: Masters followed by Open at St Andrews
 
@gavo_1980: if u were to choose a major in 2014 to win, what would it be?
@McIlroyRory: Any of them!!!
 
@AaronBradley31: How do you fancy your chances at this years majors?
@McIlroyRory: I like them, excited for them to get here!
 
@FinnMcK95: Are you playing the WGC-Match Play?
@McIlroyRory: Yep I'll be there!
 
@Ro_Fril: when's the next time you'll be playing back home here in Ireland?
@McIlroyRory: Irish open at Fota Island
 
 
@peatree18: best thing about being a pro?
@McIlroyRory: Doing what I love for a living!
 
@PastyMalone: should I spend money on new clubs or lessons?
@McIlroyRory: Lessons
 
@jhaste76: Rory what's the main thing about hitting your woods off the deck?
@McIlroyRory: Maintain height and spine angle
 
@PaulHobartGolf: What goes through your mind on your best putting days?
@McIlroyRory: Nothing! Visualize the putt going in and hit it
 
McIlroy tied for ninth in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday, and is next scheduled to play at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship the week after next. To follow him on Twitter, click here.