Golf Buzz

January 31, 2014 - 3:32pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Kristen Stewart
E via YouTube
Kristen Stewart of "Twilight" fame learned to play golf with her dad, and teed it on the set of her latest movie.
I was at the PGA Merchandise Show most of last week, so I'm still behind on my Sundance Film Festival news. And as I was catching up on the happenings from Utah, I ran across a tidbit I had no idea about: Actress Kristen Stewart of ''Twilight'' fame is apparently quite the little golfer. 
 
In fact, she proudly proclaims that she ''can spank a golf ball.''
 
In an interview at Sundance, where her new movie, ''Camp X-Ray,'' premiered, Stewart explained that she learned to play golf with her dad. In keeping with her slacker persona, though, she called golf ''a dorky activity'' and recoiled at the suggestion that she might wear golf outfits. 
 
''No,'' she said, ''I'm way too cool for that.''
 
In a subsequent interview, her ''Camp X-Ray'' co-star Lane Garrison confirms that while Stewart is a good basketball player, she's an even better golfer. And, he noted, the cast and crew built a little driving range on the set so everyone could blow off some steam in between filming some of the more intense scenes.
 
''She's got an amazing swing,'' said Garrison. ''She needs to do a golf movie.''
 
That got me thinking what kind of golf movie she'd be most suited for. Given that by far her biggest success has come from her ''Twilight'' role, I'd suggest that her golf movie should have a similar theme. But instead of having the conflicted heroine Bella choose between vampire Edward or werewolf Jacob, in a golf movie she'd have to decide between vampire Tiger or werewolf Phil.
 
Oops, my wife reminds me that the youthful moviegoing audience might want younger male leads. So, okay, how about vampire Rory and werewolf Rickie?
 
There you go. That, I believe, would be box-office gold. Or maybe not. Either way, here's the video of the interview with Stewart and Garrison:
 
January 31, 2014 - 11:36am
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
TaylorMade Speed Police
Courtesy YouTube/TaylorMadeGolf
TaylorMade has created an ad for the Speed Police, the latest in a long line of great golf ads form the industry

One of the great advances in golf over the past few years has been....in their marketing. Ads specifically, those awesome, fun, viral ads that companies such as Nike, Callaway, PING, Titleist and TaylorMade have been putting out in hopes that they invade everyone's Facebook and Twitter feeds. And guess what? They're working. People love them.

Certainly, commercials have always been important - but the way companies have "stepped up their game" in the last few years has shown the importance of the "earned media" impression. Hoping an ad catches the public fancy enough for them to "like, retweet or share" through their various social channels.

TaylorMade's lastest video, titled "Speed Police" is a great example of such an ad. From a first person perspective, it leads the viewer through a typical clubhouse, course, range and back to clubhouse via the eyes of a (mini) police car. The point? Actually, trying to enforce the need for speed (in clubs). (Perhaps a bit counterintuitive with police demanding speed, but it works here.) And, can't lie, the cameo by Miss Paulina Gretzky will probably help drive some social shares too, right?

 

 

 

 

Last year, Nike Golf led the way with their "Sorry Mr. Tiger" and "No Cup is Safe" ads. This year, you can expect to see a whole slew of similar ads - all more creative, clever and engaging than the last. And the winner of this blitz? Us, the consumer. We will laugh, smile and discuss them for months to come. Whether it directly leads you to the nearest pro shop to make a purchase or not, it will get you talking about a particular brand. And then, they are winners too.
 

 

Tell us, what's your favorite golf ad ever? Share with us on our Facebook page.

Follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim

January 31, 2014 - 8:12am
Michael.Benzie's picture
Phoenix Open
Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images
Bubba Watson tosses gifts into the crowd on the 16th hole during the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on January 30, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona. ()

As the Waste Management Phoenix Open enjoys another raucous and enthusiastic crowd, I posed a question as to whether the fan experience at the annual party at TPC Scottsdale was actually a better "fan experience" than the uber-hyped Super Bowl.

It got me thinking. What are the best fan experiences in golf?

This seemed easy - or so I thought.

A fan experience can take many forms. Is it seeing top players (Hello Augusta!)? Is it being able to be loud and rowdy (Goodbye Augusta!). Is it seeing a beautiful course (Hello Augusta again!). Let's just define it as: something you'll enjoy, remember and treasure.

Here are five of my most notable, listed by date. But we want to know yours, as well. Join the conversation on our Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

The Waste Management Phoenix Open. Jan. 30-Feb. 2. It's a combination of Mardi Gras, a college pep rally, a Friday night bar crawl - oh, and some of the world's best players. All the attention (rightfully) is on the 16th hole where the crowd is always the star of the show, but the entire tournament, course and city is pretty much one carnival for the largest crowds in golf. If you believe that beer, sundresses and sunshine make for a good time - this is your event.

The Masters. April 10-13. What's the complete opposite of the Waste Management Phoenix Open? This. Meticulous grooming of the course, sweet tea and lemonade is often the drink of choice. Lots of blazers (look for the green ones!) walking the fairways. Great prices on food. You know virtually every hole on the course. And every golfer in the world wants to be there. There are more rules in place here (no running ... ever. No laying down, no cameras/cell phones on tournament days, etc.) but virtually every golf fan in the world is happy to abide. It's that awesome.

The Players Championship. May 8-11. Here it all boils down to one hole - the famous 17th. The island green has become more than a favored viewing spot, it has become a Shakespearean tragedy - being played 145 times (for two days at least), and again 140+ times on the weekend. The crowd sits on the bank and "ooohs" and "ahhhhhs" at every shot. The shot is so simple, and yet, no lead is safe. For sheer lump in the throat and kick in the gut intensity, watch a few groups come through this hole on Sunday. You'll remember it the rest of your life.

PGA Championship. Aug. 7-10. Albeit a bit biased (this is PGA.com, after all), how can you argue with the major championship that was the first to allow fans to bring phones to the course and set up wifi for them? Already billed as the strongest field in golf, it has a host of Your Game golf-related activities on site and even allowed fans to pick a hole location for the Sunday round of a major!? The emphasis on the fan experience, from the merchandise shops to the walkway layouts are the hallmark of the final major of each season and the fans have responded in kind.
 
The Ryder Cup. Sept. 23-28. As someone who has been to Ryder Cups both here in the U.S. and overseas - I can state for certain that this is the most unique and probably passionate event in golf, maybe all of sports. It's hard to describe the emotion involved, from the fans to the media to the players themselves. Think SEC football meets WWE - and we all go silent over a four foot putt and half the crowd goes nuts depending on what happens. Now multiply that by 10. That's how I feel at every Ryder Cup.
 

 

January 30, 2014 - 7:38pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
TaylorMade Tour Preferred golf balls
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The Tour Preferred (l) and tour Preferred X golf balls take over as TaylorMade's flagship models.
The 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, held Jan. 22-24 in Orlando, showcased thousands of new products great and small from hundreds of vendors. After walking the 10 miles of aisles in the Orange County Convention Center for two days, I've come up with a list of 10 products that caught my eye, and I'm rolling them out over a 10-day period. Here is the sixth one:
 
A lot of us in the golf industry got our first look at the new Tour Preferred and Tour Preferred X golf balls from TaylorMade at the PGA Merchandise Show last week.
 
So, you ask, are they any good? 
 
Well, TaylorMade replied with an emphatic yes last weekend, when Sergio Garcia won the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and Jessica Korda won the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic with Tour Preferred X balls. That gave TaylorMade wins in two of the three big events played around the globe last week.
 
I'd say that's not a bad debut, except that Garcia also used a Tour Preferred X to win the Thailand Golf Championship in December. But you get the point. 
 
''Golf ball innovation doesn't just happen overnight. Rather, it is a series of ongoing conversation with our Tour players,'' said Dean Snell, TaylorMade's vice president of golf ball R&D. ''These conversations have led to the introduction of breakthrough technologies including low drag aerodynamics for ultimate wind resistance, a five-layer construction for superior control throughout the club set and now our softest and most durable cover.''
 
 
These two new spheres take over as the flagship balls in the TaylorMade line, and the company calls them tour-caliber balls that provide complete tee-to-green performance. As a result, they say, they expect most of their staff players to join Garcia and Korda in switching to them over the next few months.
 
One new technology in the new balls is what TaylorMade calls Soft Tech, the company's softest and most durable cover to date. Made of a cast urethane, the new cover provides an even softer feel around the greens than previous TaylorMade offerings. The Soft Tech cover also lasts longer and will provide higher resistance to shearing, while the 322-dimple pattern is designed to minimize distance loss on low-spin shots and maintain a penetrating ball flight into the wind.
 
Inside both models is a REACT Core for greater ball speed on all shots, along with a Spin Mantle designed to deliver precise and consistent spin rates on shots throughout the bag. What separates the two models from each other is their spin characteristics.
 
The Tour Preferred is designed for players looking for more spin in their mid- to long-iron shots. This additional spin also will promote a higher trajectory on approach shots. The Tour Preferred X generates less spin and a more boring trajectory.
 
Both the Tour Preferred and Tour Preferred X will be available at retail on March 1 with a suggested retail price of $45.99 per dozen. 
 
Previously:
 
January 30, 2014 - 5:36pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Wilson golf bags and Odyssey putter covers
Courtesy of Wilson Golf and Odyssey Golf
Wilson Golf is marking the Phoenix Open with some retro golf bags, while Odyssey has come out with eco-friendly putter covers.
If you can tear your eyes away from all the fun at the wacky 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale, there are a couple of interesting things to keep a look out for at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
 
First off, Odyssey has created special putter covers that reflect the tournament's green spirit – in fact, the exterior of the covers is made of recycled material, and the brown color was inspired by paper grocery bags. The inspiration, according to Scott Goryl of Odyssey parent Callaway, is Waste Management's push to create a greener, more sustainable world.
 
The covers, for both mallets and blades, will be found on the putters of several Odyssey staff players. Only about 100 were produced and none will be sold at retail, though Odyssey is giving a few away via social media.
 
Also, Wilson Golf is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and is marking the big occasion this week by outfitting its staff players with retro golf bags styled after those that its ambassadors – including Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead – used during the company's glory days. The red and white bags also feature the vintage Wilson Staff shield and retro branding.
 
Padraig Harrington, Kevin Streelman, Ricky Barnes and Jim Herman are using the bags in Phoenix, while Paul Lawrie, Anthony Wall and Marcel Siem are doing the same at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The Wilson Staff ambassadors are expected to use the bags for most of the year as well.
 
Here is a better look at the bags and covers, courtesy of Wilson's and Odyssey's Twitter account:
 
 
January 30, 2014 - 1:47pm
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
golfer and gator
Courtesy My Sun Coast News
North Port, Fla., golfer Jack Dupre has some interesting decisions to make.

Play the ball as it lies!

Unless...it's on an alligator.

(Tip of the cap to my friend @ryanballengee for finding this gem (via mysuncoast.com).)

North Port, Fla., resident Jack Dupre was playing out at Myakka Pines golf course when he hit a somewhat wayward shot. A shot that could have very well ended up in the hazard ended up - well, in a different kind of hazard. Pretty sure it's a free drop (if you can get the ball).

His playing partners did what all good playing partners would do. No, not consult a rule book, call the pro shop, caution their friend about safety....no, they grabbed their phones and started taking pictures.

Flashback: Golfer loses fingers to crocodile in Cancun