Golf Buzz

Jack Nicklaus at the Bear Trap at PGA National
Jack Nicklaus via Instagram
Jack Nicklaus has made the "Bear Trap" at PGA National even more daunting with his renovation of the hole leading into it.
The Honda Classic took a big step up in stature when it moved to PGA National a few years ago, primarily because of the quality of the Champions Course. And a big reason for the Champ's reputation is "the Bear Trap" – the three-hole stretch encompassing Nos. 15-17.
 
The Bear Trap gets its name from its creator – Jack Nicklaus, who ratcheted up raised the course's competitiveness during a makeover back in 1990, especially its closing stretch. And now the Golden Bear has turned up the difficulty factor yet again on the course that is statistically the toughest non-major layout on the PGA Tour.
 
This time, he focused on the 465-yard par-4 14th hole, which leads into the Bear Trap – and now might be scary enough to become the fourth member inducted into the vaunted collection of back-nine terrors.
 
 
Specifically, Nicklaus moved the green 17 yards to the right, which brings the greenside lake much more into play. Bunkers also were added in front of and behind the green, the tee was moved back 10 yards, and an additional 20,000 square feet of spectator mounding was added to improve the sightlines during the Honda Classic.
 
"It seemed a shame not to have the water nearer to the green," said Nicklaus, who attended a "grand reopening" ceremony at the big bear stature between the 14th green and 15th tee on Friday. "It produces a little more freedom and it produces a very strong par 4 going into the Bear Trap. I honestly believe it will be more exciting."
 
In addition, Nicklaus expanded four greens – on Nos. 1, 9, 15 and 17 – back to their original size, and the tees, fairways and areas surrounding the greens were converted to Celebration Bermuda grass. The regrassing means the course won't have to be overseeded anymore, and should play firmer and faster.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Courtesy of Titleist Scotty Cameron
All three new Scotty Cameron Futura putters from Titleist are designed to be extremely stable through the putting stroke.
If you say "trick or treat" to puttermaker Scotty Cameron on Halloween this year, he'll most assuredly reply, "treat."
 
Why? Because Oct. 31 is the launch date for the three latest additions to his Futura family of putters – the X5, X5R and X5 Dual Balance.
 
The new putters join 2013's original Futura X and Futura X Dual Balance to form the most stable line of putters that Cameron offers – Adam Scott won the 2013 Masters with a prototype of the original Futura putter.
 
The X5 model is angled in the back, while the X5R features a more rounded shape. The counterbalanced X5 Dual Balance combines the X5 head style with Cameron's Dual Balance technology to provide maximum stability for golfers who struggle to make a consistent stroke with a conventional length putter. 
 
 
The X5 Dual Balance contains a head weighing in at 400 grams (whereas the X5 and X5R both have standard 350-gram heads) as well as a 50-gram counterweight in the butt of the shaft. Dual Balance putters have a standard length of 38 inches with a 15-inch grip that allows the player to grip down below the counterweight for a more stable stroke.
 
All three models feature a multi-material design with a precision-milled 303 Stainless Steel body and high-grade 6061 aluminum soleplate. A lighter aluminum center section also extends down the wings, and the body features a soft Silver Mist finish contrasted by the anodized black aluminum sole plate and center.
 
By using aluminum, Cameron could hollow out the area under the soleplate and redistribute the weight to the wings to help provide extra stability. It also allowed for a thicker face and topline for better feel and sound. Heel-toe weights directly under the face also contribute to solid feel while increasing forgiveness.
 
 
All three putters come with a new single bend shaft with a higher bend point that Cameron says produces a true face-balanced configuration, and one shaft of offset. The X5 and X5R putters include 10-inch Matador Red Midsize grip that weighs in at 77 grams, while the Dual Balance model features a 15-inch Cameron Dual Balance grip.
 
"The Futura X5 mallet is for someone who likes the stability of a bigger head, the feel of a bigger grip, and likes to look down and see more lines for alignment purposes," said Cameron. "X5 is more of a mechanical shape where the X5R is a softer, rounder shape. 
 
"There’s no right or wrong. Same performance, same weight, same feel," he added. "It all depends on what you like to look at."
 
The X5 and X5R models carry a suggested retail price of $375, while the X5 Dual Balance has a $425 suggested retail price.
 
Here is a video from Titleist introducing the new putters:
 
 
October 20, 2014 - 10:40am
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T.J. Auclair
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Rory McIlroy
YouTube/USA Today Sports Images
What do you think about this pumpkin carving? Is there any resemblance to Rory McIlroy?

Fall is here, which means it's pumpkin-carving season.

Who doesn't love a good jack-o'-lantern of a zombie, a monster, or a four-time major champion?

Wait, what?

That's right, someone decided to carve four-time major winner Rory McIlroy's face into a pumpkin. You can see the whole process in the video below:

 

If we're being honest, that pumpkin looks like McIlroy about as much as this tattoo looks like Ernie Els:

 

This pumpkin carver and that tattoo artist need to step up their game... like the corn-maze artist who rendered this awesome work of Bubba Watson:

 

Now that's how you do it.

h/t Golf News Net

Ben Martin
Ben Martin lines up a 46-foot left-to-right bender for the eagle that gives him his first PGA Tour victory.

You're trailing for the first time all day. You've reached the par-5 16th hole in two, but are still 46 feet away. And a win would give you your first PGA Tour victory.

No pressure, right? Well, if Ben Martin felt any lack of confidence Sunday with the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on the line, he didn't show it when he lined up to make the shot of the weekend:

 

 

Perfect speed, perfect line, perfect execution -- and an eagle to cap a perfectly great weekend of golf for the Clemson alumnus.

SHRINERS HOSPITALS OPEN: Martin tops Streelman for first career victory

Sure, he still had two holes to play, but with a one-stroke lead and Kevin Streelman already in the clubhouse, all Martin had to do from that point on was keep it in the fairway. And he did that and more, making birdie on the final hole for a two-stroke win.

October 19, 2014 - 2:40pm
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Growling Frog Golf Course
appix29/Instagram
North of Melbourne, Australia, Growling Frog Golf Course has the typical hazards -- bunkers, water and the occasional marsupial.

Sorry, we're just suckers for animals on golf courses. Eagles stealing golf balls? Check. A bear cub dancing with the flagstick? Got it. Snakes at the China Open? Yep.

We've even seen elephant tracks on the greens in Malaysia. (Good luck fixing those spike marks.)

WILD GOLF STORIES: Readers share some unusual tales

So we've pretty much seen it all when it comes to "animals on golf course" photos. Or we thought we had, until appix29 posted this shot on Instagram for the #PGA365 reader-submitted photo gallery.

It's from Growling Frog Golf Course in Yan Yean, Australia, on the north side of Melbourne. And yes, those are kangaroos. And no, they didn't show good etiquette by raking the bunkers afterward. (And yes, Growling Frog is an awesome name for anything, and probably worthy of a story in its own right.)

 

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Only in Australia... Growling Frog GC. #teamtitleist #mytitileist

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Birdies, eagles, albatrosses and now marsupials. "Reckon you can put me down for a Joey on that hole, mate."

'ROOS ON THE LOOSE: Kangaroos interrupt LPGA tournament

After that, finding photos of golf balls landing on alligators is almost routine.

Dom DeBonis
Dom DeBonis/Facebook
Dom DeBonis is surrounded by his golfing buddies after an amazing week on the links.

Every golfer dreams of making at least one hole-in-one. Many golfers dream of taking a trip to the golf mecca known as Myrtle Beach. But the idea of making aces in three consecutive rounds at Myrtle Beach? That happened to 81-year-old Dom DeBonis this week.

This amazing feat comes courtesy of an article in Saturday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, written by Gerry Dulac.

ACES WILD: Man makes two aces in one round

Here's the background: Mr. DeBonis is a Pittsburgh native who now resides in The Villages, Fla. A former college golfer at Duquesne, the 14-handicapper made his first hole-in-one some 45 years ago, and then had another last month at his home course.

So when he had the opportunity to go to Myrtle Beach with 11 friends on a golfing trip to the Grand Strand, he couldn't resist. On Oct. 6, Mr. DeBonis carded an ace at Farmstead Golf Club in Calabash, N.C. He used a 9-iron from 112 yards out on the seventh hole.

The next day, he added a second hole-in-one at the Thistle Golf Club in Sunset Beach, N.C., using a 7-iron at the 129-yard sixth hole.

And the topper came on Oct. 8 at Blackmoor Golf Club, where Mr. DeBonis added his third ace in three days with an 8-iron at the 118-yard fourth hole.

CONSECUTIVE ACES: College golfer makes holes-in-hole on two par-3s

“There was a tree in front and a shadow over the green, but I said, ‘Oh, my God, I think it went in,’ ” Dulac quoted Mr. Debonis as saying. “We couldn’t see it. One of the guys said, ‘I think it’s in.’ So we walked up to the hole and there it was. I just couldn’t believe it. It was the most memorable week.”

A retired clothing buyer, Mr. DeBonis is considered the "kid" in his golfing family. According to the Post-Gazette story, brothers Nick DeBonis (97) and Al DeBonis (93) still regularly play golf -- and not surprisingly, shoot their ages on a routine basis. And a fourth brother, John, was 84 when he died in July.

In case you're wondering, the streak ended for Mr. DeBonis the following day at TPC at Myrtle Beach.

Still, the opportunity to buy drinks for the house on three consecutive days far outweighs the alternative.