Golf Buzz

Annika Sorenstam
Getty Images
Annika Sorenstam's new tournament for college women, the ANNIKA Intercollegiate, will feature 12 top teams in a high-profile kickoff to the college golf season.

Few people in the world of golf have had a better – and busier – couple of weeks than Annika Sorenstam.

On April 19, she was elected to PGA membership. And now she is creating her own tournament for NCAA Division I women.

The ANNIKA Intercollegiate, as it will be called, will debut Sept. 27-30, 2014, and will feature 12 of the nation's top women's squads in a high-profile kickoff to the college golf season. The 54-hole, stroke-play tournament will be played on the Watson Course at the Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla. Reunion, of course, is also the home base of Sorenstam's ANNIKA Academy.

The highlight of the tournament weekend will be a gala reception in which Sorenstam will present the inaugural ANNIKA Award to the nation's top female collegiate player. The ANNIKA Award is the female equivalent of the Haskins Award, which for 42 years has been given to the most outstanding Division I male golfer. Selection is governed by the Haskins Commission of Columbus, Ga., which will oversee the vote of players, coaches and media for both the Haskins and ANNIKA awards.

''This event offers a fantastic platform to expand my foundation's mission to establish greater playing opportunities for junior and college golfers alike,'' said Sorenstam, the 1991 NCAA Champion and co-player of the year. ''We hold our AJGA invitational on the Watson Course at Reunion every year, so I am excited that many of the girls who competed here as juniors will be able to come back and play with their college teams.''

Sorenstam created the ANNIKA Foundation as a way to teach children the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition, and offer aspiring junior golfers opportunities to pursue their dreams. The foundation has partnered with such organizations as SPARK, Florida Hospital for Children in support of its Healthy 100 Kids initiative and The First Tee in development of the Nine Healthy Habits curriculum for children.

It annually conducts four major golf events for junior girls, including an award-winning AJGA tournament, ANNIKA Invitational at Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla.; the ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills, the first all-girls junior tournament in China; the ANNIKA Invitational in Europe; and the ANNIKA Cup, a team event for the top juniors in Sweden. The Foundation awards SPARK grants to schools, is a financial supporter of Healthy 100 Kids and has endowed an ACE scholarship with the AJGA.  Other key initiatives include ANNIKA Junior Day, the ANNIKA Inspiration Award and scholarships for aspiring Swedish juniors.

 

Nike Verdana women's golf clubs
Courtesy of Nike Golf
The Nike Verdana set of women's golf clubs is a "total game solution" that includes 11 lightweight clubs that takes distance gapping, trajectory and spin profiles into account.

Designed from the grip down, the new Verdana line is the lightest women's set Nike Golf has ever produced. 

Nike describes the Verdana set as a "total game solution" that includes 11 clubs: a driver, 3-wood, three hybrids, 7-iron through pitching wedge, sand wedge and putter, along with a matching carry bag. This full-set design takes distance gapping, trajectory and spin profiles into account, producing a set engineered just for women.

"The set was designed specifically for female athletes looking to maximize distance and control," said Tom Stites, Nike's director of club product creation. "With this ultralight set, slower swing speeds can now gain more distance without sacrificing control the course demands."

The Verdana driver features a full-sized 460cc head with additional loft for higher trajectory. The 18-degree 3-wood features a low center of gravity in a large-breadth profile for more forgiveness and easier ball striking. 

The hybrids – a 4-hybrid with 24 degrees of loft, a 5-hybrid with 27 degrees of loft and a 6-hybrid with 30-degrees of loft – feature wide soles and deeper iron-like faces with a slight offset. These characteristics, Nike explains, allow more forgiveness from a variety of angles and lies.

The irons and wedges include a wider sole design and larger face profiles to help improve contact. The faces also are of variable thickness, which helps to improve shots even when mis-hit. And the Verdana putter is a classically shaped blade with a 33-inch shaft.

The Nike Verdana carry bag boasts a lightweight ergonomic design for ease of use, even weight distribution and improved comfort. The bag is designed to be used on a cart but includes a stand and dual straps for easy carrying.

The clubs are available in standard and petite (minus 1 inch) lengths, and are available now. They carry a street price of $899.99 per set.

For more information on Nike Golf clubs, visit www.nike.com or see the Nike Golf brand pages on pga.com.

 

 
Slice, slice, baby
YouTube
Slice, slice, baby by PGA Professional Marty McCurry is funny and helpful.

 

Some things just speak for themselves... Like this YouTube video entitled, "Slice, slice, baby!"
 
Marty McCurry, a PGA Professional from Tennessee, put the Vanilla Ice, "Ice, ice, baby!" parody together. If you suffer from slicing the ball, hopefully this video will help.
 
 
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
Padraig Harrington
Getty Images
Padraig Harrington used a regulation-length putter as recently as the Masters, but put a long model into play on Thursday at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Few people tinker with their games more than Padraig Harrington – this is the guy, after all, who won three majors and then decided to rebuild his swing. And this year, of course, he has begun to wear eyeglasses on the course.

On Thursday, though, Harrington did something few would have expected – he used a long putter in the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship.

Why is this a big deal? Here's the scoop from Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press:

Padraig Harrington will try anything that makes him play better golf, even a method of putting he believes should be outlawed. 
 
Despite his support of a proposed rule that would ban anchored strokes, Harrington switched to the belly putter Thursday in the Wells Fargo Championship. It didn't appear to help him much -- he made only one birdie in a round of 80 -- but he plans to stick with it. 
 
"I took it out last week, and mechanically, everything I do with my putting stroke is better with the belly putter than without it," he said. 
 
Harrington is a "Working for Golf" ambassador for the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, which along with the U.S. Golf Association proposed the new rule last November that would ban the anchored stroke. [The PGA of America and the PGA Tour have spoken out against the proposed rule.] A final ruling is expected by the end of the month. 
 
Switching to the belly putter hasn't changed Harrington's mind. He still thinks it should be banned. Then again, this is an Irishman who wears glasses even though he has 20/20 vision. 
 
Harrington, though, was quick to point out that it's within the rules at the moment, and will be until 2016 even if the governing bodies adopt the proposed rule on anchoring. 
 
"If something is going to help me for the next three years, I'm going to use it," he said. "It's the same as the box grooves. It's hurt me deeply having the box grooves banned, but I knew it wasn't for the good of my game. It was the good of their game." 
 
Harrington has only one official win since the last of his three majors in the 2008 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills. He has struggled mightily with his putting, and in recent months has been using "SAM PuttLab," which analyzes 28 parameters of the putting stroke. 
 
"I've been working on that for a good while, and my putting stroke has been coming around," Harrington said. "I was bored last Monday and I was like, `Oh, I wonder what that looks like.' And I was surprised to see everything was better. In terms of mechanics, it was a far better stroke." 
 
He used the belly putter in his pro-am round Wednesday and said it went great. 
 
"It wasn't very good today, but I will use it again tomorrow, no doubt," he said. "I just wasn't quite as comfortable, which I kind of knew was coming. The grip of my normal putter is open and the grip of this is square, so I'm not quite used to it yet. There was a bit of resetting when I was over the ball, which, obviously I prefer not to have. But that's just familiarity. It will be interesting to give it another go tomorrow." 
 
Four of the last six major champions have used an anchored putting stroke, starting with Keegan Bradley at the 2011 PGA Championship and the most recent Adam Scott at the Masters, using his broom-handled putter. 
 
Harrington compared the anchored stroke to the change in box grooves, or square grooves, in the 5-iron through wedges. Changes to the dimensions of those grooves went into effect in 2012, and the Irishman said it affected his game. He believes it has cost him at least one shot per round because he hasn't adjusted to the change.
 
Harrington said last year after the British Open -- won by Ernie Els, who used a belly putter -- that he hoped the R&A didn't wait until he was 50 to outlaw anchoring. 
 
Now, he might be on borrowed time. The 41-year-old figures he'll be more competitive before 2016 than after the ban might take effect. 
 
"It's not such a big issue," he said. "But then again, I might use it for the next three years. As I said, I have no problem using something within the rules of the game. If somebody wants to give me a couple of shots handicap, I'll take that, too." 
 
No one was more surprised than Harrington that he went to the belly putter. He messed around with it in recent years and never liked how it felt. Only when he saw the results from his putting analysis did he decide it was worth a shot. 
 
"That encouraged me to get over the `I don't like the feel of this' because I accelerate better, and I do so many things better with it," he said. "Before it was a feel thing. Now I'm saying, `Well, I can get through the feel thing.' If it's going to be a better putting stroke, why not?" 
 
 
World Golf Hall of Fame, Fred Couples
Ashworth Golf
Here is a sneak peak at the limited-edition golf shirt Ashworth Golf will be releasing in honor of Fred Couples' induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

 

On Monday, May 6, the eyes of the golf world will be focused on St. Augustine, Fla., where the induction ceremony will take place for the 2013 class of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
 
Among those being inducted is everyone's favorite golfer (right?), Fred Couples.
 
To honor Freddie's induction, Ashworth Golf is releasing a commemorative, limited-edition golf shirt featuring Couples' favorite elements.
 
Ashworth Golf provides the details in this press release:
 
CARLSBAD, Calif. (May 2, 2013) – Ashworth Golf, an authentic golf brand dedicated to bringing modern style to the golf course, has announced the release of a new, limited edition golf shirt called the Fred Couples Signature shirt – 300 individually-numbered pieces designed to commemorate Couples’ induction into the World Golf Hall Of Fame on May 6 at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, FL.
 
One of the game’s most popular players, Fred Couples is most recognizable for his laid-back, picturesque style both on and off the course. He has worn Ashworth on the professional stage since the brand’s inception 25 years ago and has always played a big role in the brand’s advertising. His celebrated career thus far includes 15 PGA Tour Wins, eight Champions Tour wins, a member of five Ryder Cup teams and four Presidents Cup teams. He won the Masters in 1992 and went on to captain the winning U.S. Presidents Cup team in 2009 and 2011, and will once again lead the Americans at Muirfield at the 2013 Presidents Cup.
 
“When you think of Ashworth, you immediately think style and of course Fred Couples,” said Susan Bush, VP of Ashworth Apparel. “We are very excited for Fred to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame and are extremely honored to create a special shirt that truly reflects his personality and favorite elements.”
 
Each shirt in the Fred Couples Edition collection will be uniquely numbered inside the placket, with Fred receiving the first 1/300. The shirts are in Fred’s favorite color of blue (azure) and feature double-knit, EZ-TEC2 performance fabric, which is his go-to for performance fabric.  Also exclusive to each shirt is Fred’s signature in green on the inside back neck and green thread on the top button of the placket to pay tribute to his 1992 win at the Masters.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
Bonobos, Maide Golf
Maide Golf
Maide Golf by Bonobos is a hip new apparel line great for on or off the golf course.

 

As is usually the case, I was spoiled with loads of great gifts for my recent birthday by my loving family.
 
My sister and her husband got me a pair of khaki pants by a company out of New York called, "Bonobos."
 
I liked the pants so much that I went on the company's website a few days later and was delighted to see it had just launched a new line of golf apparel called, "Maide."
 
The hip, casual look of the Maide brand is perfect for the younger crowd on or off the golf course with offerings that include pants, shorts, polo shirts, sweaters and t-shirts.
 
I was intrigued, so I did a little more research.
 
Here's the press release sent out by Bonobos introducing Maide: 
 
Bonobos Inc. (www.bonobos.com), the apparel brand renowned for great fitting clothes, excellent customer service and a fun approach to menswear, announces the launch of Maide golf apparel, available at www.maidegolf.com starting today.
 
The first brand incubated by Bonobos since the debut of their namesake brand in 2007, Maide, which is the Gaelic word for “club,” blends golf’s traditional fashion with modern silhouettes and fabrication to create the first contemporary heritage golf brand.
 
“There’s an authentic passion for the game of golf among members of our company that inspired this product. Like Bonobos, Maide was launched to fill a void in the marketplace; it’s the answer to what we see missing in the golf world as it relates to fit, style and functionality,” states Andy Dunn, CEO and founder of Bonobos Inc. “It’s our intention to deliver the same quality and service that Bonobos’ customers have come to know and expect while entering into a new venture that we hope will redefine the golf apparel category in a big way.”
 
“Maide is for the golfer looking for classic golf style with a modern fabrication,” says Kevin Kelleher, Brand Lead for Maide. “Many mass brands miss the fit component of clothes, while others nail functionality but with an extreme sport look. We are bringing back the lifestyle element to golf apparel, striking the perfect balance of style and performance. We strived to create a brand that is understandable in that it blends the modernity of functional fabrics with a look inspired by the game’s greatest players from years past.”
 
Maide debuts with a Spring & Summer (SS13) collection consisting of pants, shorts, polos, knits, sweaters, and branded accessories. All Maide apparel has a stylish aesthetic that incorporates Bonobos’ famous better-fit design and signature pop detailing, but it is also functional and constructed specifically for the sport.
 
With a curved waistband, tailored thigh, and a shortened rise, Maide golf pants ($108) and shorts ($88) provide a made-to-order look off-the-rack in athletic-wear. Available in six color-ways from basics (grey, black, khaki, navy, and white) to bolds (green and red), Maide bottoms feature contrast embroidery of the brand’s trademark script “M”, contrast back pockets, and a scorecard design on the interior pant pocket liner. Maide bottoms are constructed with performance poly fabric that is breathable, and also include a gel waistband inset to keep shirts tucked. Pants have a zipper at the hem for a clean break over golf shoes while shorts have a comfortable and performance-appropriate ten-inch inseam.
 
SS13 knits include eight short-sleeve polos ($78) in a poly-cotton blend that wicks away moisture. Polos are available in five solid colors (black, navy, red, khaki and white) and three novelty striped polos ($88). Keeping in swing with blending lifestyle with function, Maide’s SS13 includes three jersey cotton graphic tee shirts ($38) including a white and grey shirt with “Maide Country Club” screen-print on a retro front pocket, a grey tee with “Sunday Swinger” screen-print, and a white and grey shirt stating “Let’s Par Tee.”
 
Sweater offerings include classic cuts and patterns inspired by legendary golf icons who influenced the style of the game. Cotton V-neck sweaters ($78) in two solids colors (dark cobalt blue and yellow) and an engineered striped sweater ($88) in navy with fuchsia are versatile pieces that work on and off the course. A novelty cardigan ($88) in navy with multi-color stripes rounds out the category with form and function. Signature elements are carried throughout the category with a contemporary take on retro detailing such as the embroidered brand logo on the cuff of the sleeve.
 
Maide apparel is available at www.maidegolf.com which offers free shipping and a 365-day return policy. The brand is also available to try on in person at Bonobos’ owned and operated e-commerce showrooms, called Guideshops, currently located in five cities across the country. To experience Maide in person visit www.bonobos.com/guides for a fitting appointment.
 
ABOUT MAIDE: Maide is a contemporary heritage golf apparel brand focused on delivering performance clothing with great fit, style, and functionality. The brand, which launched in March 2013 by parent company Bonobos, Inc., offers a full assortment of apparel for golfers including pants, shorts, polos, sweaters and tee shirts. Maide, which comes from the Gaelic word “club,” evokes the classic style of the old-world golfer but is designed with thoughtful functionality and a modern silhouette for contemporary players. For more information visit www.maidegolf.com.
 
ABOUT BONOBOS: Bonobos is an e-commerce-driven clothing brand focused on delivering great fit, a fun approach to style, and superb customer experience. Launched in 2007 on the Internet with better- fitting men's pants, Bonobos is now the largest apparel brand ever built on the web in the United States. In 2011 Bonobos extended offline, launching e-commerce showrooms called Guideshops, tobring personalized, one-to-one service to those wanting to experience the brand in-person. In 2012, Bonobos expanded its distribution to a partnership with Nordstrom, offering Bonobos apparel at select doors nationwide and to Nordstrom.com. Across channels, Bonobos is focused on delivering a well-targeted brand promise: world-class fit, an innovative and easy shopping experience and an energetic brand spirit. Bonobos was named “One of America’s Hottest Brands” by Advertising Age, “Best Men’s Pants” by New York Magazine, one of Inc. Magazine’s “20 Awesome Facebook Pages” and was awarded Crain’s “Best Places to Work in New York City”. Visit www.bonobos.com.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.