Golf Buzz

July 1, 2013 - 11:22pm
Posted by:
John Kim, Coordinating Producer
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Foursomes
Photo credit: Joann Dost
Four golfers, four rounds, four time zones - all in one day.
Is it possible to play too much golf in a day?  Most golfers would say "no."  David Woods, the PGA Director of Golf at The Vintage Club in Indian Wells, California and three club members set out to find out in a most remarkable and incredible way.
 
On Tuesday June 25th, Woods along with two members of his club, Ric Kayne and Larry Sheakley and a friend Al Rabil decided they would play four rounds of golf. Not just play, mind you - but walk four rounds of golf. And at four different locations - in four different time zones.  Wait, what?
 
Yes, you read that right. The quartet embarked on an amazing trek across four golf courses in four states in four times zones - all in one day.
 
How is that possible?  Well, you need some friends with strategic memberships, some accommodating and understand golf professionals at each course, some private transport, some masseuses willing to travel and a whole lot of endurance and golf skills. 
 
The story starts early on Tuesday. Very early.  4:15 wake up call early for a 5:30 tee time at The Golf Club just outside of Columbus, Ohio.  The foursome, each with a caddie, teed off in the dark. The players obviously had some game because no one could see where the balls landed (even the caddies as they went out to the fairway).  But they were determined to play away - and they did.
 
Woods explained that the rules for the day were simple. "Play each hole out and play fast. After you hit, get moving. Nevermind the golf ball that may sail over your head."
 
The first round took the group one hour and forty-five minutes to play.  
 
After putting out, the group hustled to a nearby car and flew by private plane to Chicago, where a helicopter met them at the airport to take them directly to Butler National.  And by directly, I mean, they landed on the range at Butler National!  Woods estimated it was less than two minutes between the time they landed and the first ball was in the air.  
 
Again, they walked the course with caddies, at least until the 17th hole. On the 17th, the weather/lightning horn sounded.  They knew they could not afford a delay so they played through - taking the risk and without caddies (who were required to come in with the horn).  They trudged through and finished the round in one hour and fifty minutes.
 
Then it was back to the plane where they took off on a three hour flight to the Tom Doak course in Rock Creek, Montana.  The Rock Creek facility has its own runway and the group was able to land and tee off in expedient fashion once again.  The group arrived at 1pm local time (MT) and again was able to play in under two hours. However, the hilly terrain (not to mention, the third round of golf of the day) meant that some muscle soreness and fatigue were starting to set in.  Still, the group persevered.
 
Finally, the group set off to Bend, Oregon where they finished their journey with a quick 18 at the famed Fazio course at Pronghorn Club & Resort. Though they were running (almost literally) ahead of schedule, the group managed to keep up their pace of play and finished again in under two hours. In fact, based on the itinerary they had set, they actually finished an hour-and-a-half ahead of schedule - in other words, they had time for one more round (though no one suggested it as they finished.) 
 
In total, the group calculated they had walked 23.4 miles of golf course (and that's a straight line distance) and had been awake 23 straight hours by the time they were back home in Southern California resting and recovering. Scores were not important nor a goal - but it suffices to say that you can't play one round of golf in under two hours without some great golf talent  - much less four - and all participants were happy with their play.
 
"It's amazing to look back on it now," said a still sore Woods almost a week after the 'longest day'.  "We really set out to do it just to see if it could be done. Obviously, we needed a whole team of folks to make this happen and they were all vital to pulling this off. The PGA Professionals and Directors of Golf at the courses - their help and assistance were invaluable. At The Golf Club, the Head Professional Joe Regner started us out. At Butler, Bruce Patterson the Head Professional there kept us going. Fred Nadeau, the Director of Golf at Rock Creek was a star for us and we finished with Joey Pickavance at Pronghorn, who could not have been more accommodating.  These guys aren't just colleagues and friends, they are tremendous ambassadors for our game and industry."
 
As the foursome recovers from a day they will never forget, it's important to note that there was no goal to inspire other golfers to try and replicate this feat. (Unless you happen to have the connections and the transport - than by all means try...and call me).  The goal was to show that golf was fun; that promoting the game and playing the game can be fun and that unique experiences are part of what make golf more than a game, it's a lifestyle. Additionally, it doesn't hurt to show that you can walk and get a round in all under two hours (4 times!).  
 
"I'm incredibly fortunate to have the type of members at our Club who not only enjoy this great game of golf, but are kind enough to include me on an adventure like this." Woods says. "The Vintage Club is a special place and this is just another reminder that I have the best job in golf!".
 
Categories: David R Woods, PGA
July 1, 2013 - 2:20pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Bushnell Golf
Bushnell
Bushnell Golf's new NEO-X GPS Rangefinder Watch.
No matter what level of ability you possess on a golf course, the game is always a little easier when you know how far you need to hit your golf ball.
 
Thanks to all the great technology out there these days, there's no reason or need to walk off your yardages from sprinkler heads. Not too mention, walking off yardages takes time. Do you really want to add time to your round?
 
Bushnell has the solution with the introduction of its NEO-X, a Golf GPS Watch that will give all golfers with precise yardage to provide the confidence needed to become the golfer you want to be.
 
With a battery life lasting up to 16 hours, Bushnell promises that its NEO-X outperforms its nearest competitor with two-times the battery life.
 
Unlike handheld devices, there's no need to worry about remembering to bring the NEO-X along for your round of golf -- just keep it on your wrist.
 
The NEO-X comes preloaded with over 30,000 worldwide courses, and can be used as an odometer on the course or while exercising off the course. The NEO-X is an easy-to-use GPS rangefinder, with instant measurements for golfers in a simple, lightweight form-factor.
 
To learn more about the NEO-X, visit www.bushnell.com.
 
You can also find Bushnell Golf on Facebook, or on Twitter, @BushnellGolf.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
June 30, 2013 - 11:49pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Justin Perry's scorecard
Justin Perry via Twitter
The scoreboard at Olde Stone told the tale of Justin Perry's big victory on Sunday.

Sunday was a great day for Kenny Perry, who won the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship for his long-awaited first major championship at any level. 

And about the same time as Perry was wrapping up his come-from-behind victory over Fred Couples and Duffy Waldorf, his son Justin was putting the finishing touches on a big victory of his own – the club championship at the Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, Ky.

''Wow, what an awesome weekend! Club Champ at #oldestone and it feels great!! Daily Double for Team Perry!,'' Justin tweeted after his victory.

Justin, who's a Realtor in Bowling Green these days, played college golf at Western Kentucky just like his father, and has caddied for his father on multiple occasions. In fact, Justin also tweeted on Sunday that he ''can't wait to caddy'' at the Greenbrier Classic on the PGA Tour, where Perry is scheduled to play this week.

No doubt the upcoming reunion of the First Family of Kentucky Golf at the Greenbrier will be an extra-happy one.

One final note: Kenny's victory earns hm a spot in the 2014 Players Championship next May, while Justin's earns him a spot in the Kentucky Open in August.  

 

 

 

June 30, 2013 - 11:07am
Posted by:
John Kim
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Rory McIlroy vs. Robot
European Tour video
Rory McIlroy does his best to defeat a trash-talking robot golfer.

This is simply outstanding.

World No. 2 Rory McIlroy is known to be a good sport with a strong sense of humor. He's also a mega-talented golfer.

But how can that compete with a perfect swing robot who also talks a very mean game? ("Tiger Woods would have been home with his feet up by now.")

Check out this video from the European Tour to find out. 

 

You can follow John Kim on twitter at @johnkim_10

June 29, 2013 - 8:04pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Jessica Korda and Johnny DelPrete at the U.S. Women's Open
Getty Images
Jessica Korda and her boyfriend-turned-caddie traded a high-five after he took over for her regular caddie on Saturday.

Caddies get hired and fired on a regular basis in professional golf, but the transaction usually doesn’t happen in the middle of a round in a major.

It did on Saturday, though, when Jessica Korda got so fed up with caddie Jason Gilroyed in the third round of the U.S. Women’s Open that she fired him on the 10th hole. Fortunately for her, her boyfriend Johnny DePrete was following her, and she drafted him to finish out the tournament.

Here’s the full story from Rachel Cohen of the Associated Press:

Jessica Korda turned to her boyfriend and said, "Johnny, grab the bag, let's go." 

The 20-year-old American fired her caddie midway through the third round of the U.S. Women's Open, and Johnny DelPrete instantaneously went from spectator to participant. 

Korda said she and Jason Gilroyed had several disagreements over the first nine holes Saturday. 

"It's a U.S. Open. It's a big week for me," she said after the round. "It's one of the most important weeks for me of the year. I was just not in the right state of mind." 

The switch seemed to work: After shooting 5 over on the front nine, Korda was 1 under the rest of the way. She finished with a 76 and was tied for sixth at 1 over, 11 strokes behind leader Inbee Park. 

"The first few holes I was very shaky, but my boyfriend/caddie kept me very calm out there and kept it very light," Korda said. "And it was kind of funny seeing him fumble over yardage." 

DelPrete is a professional golfer, playing on the Web.com Tour in 2012, but had never caddied for Korda before. He'll be back on the bag for Sunday's final round. 

Her father, 1998 Australian Open tennis champ Petr Korda, is the caddie for Jessica's 14-year-old sister Nelly this week. He caddied for Jessica when she was an amateur, but she said she wouldn't even consider asking him to switch from one child to the other Sunday. Nelly, the youngest player in the tournament at 14, was tied for 61st at 13 over. 

Gilroyed has caddied for Korda for about a year. Asked if they had issues before Saturday, she said, "I think everybody has problems every week." 

She's not sure what will happen after Sunday, but DelPrete isn't a long-term option. 

Korda had never fired a caddie mid-round before, or seen a playing partner do it -- though she'd heard stories of it happening. 

"I care about Jason a lot. He is a great guy," she said. "That's just how it happens sometimes in life. That was one of those things today that it just unfolded. It was very hard for me to do. I'm not that type of person to take these things really easily." 

 

 

 

 

June 28, 2013 - 11:40pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Bob Vokey and Rob Labritz
Vokey Wedges via Twitter
Wedge designer Bob Vokey (l) and PGA Professional Rob Labritz worked on Labritz's wedges a few months before Labritz used one of them to earn a spot in the PGA Championship in very dramatic fashion.

Without a doubt, the highlight of the week has to be PGA Professional Rob Labritz canning a 95-yard wedge shot in sudden death at the PGA Professional National Championship to earn a spot in the PGA Championship. Heck, it was even No. 1 on ESPN's top plays.

As happy as Labritz was with his fantastic feat, someone else pretty satisfied, too – Bob Vokey, the namesake of Titleist's Vokey Wedges and the man who designed the wedge that Labritz used to hit what he called ''the shot of my life.''

On Friday, the Vokey Wedges Twitter account tweeted out a photo from April, showing Vokey and Labritz working on the bounce of Labritz's wedges. ''How'd those wedges work out Rob?,'' Vokey asked in the tweet, and I think we all know the answer.

In case you missed it, you can click here to see Labritz's walkoff wedge as well as his joyous reaction to it. And you can click here to relive all the action from the PGA Professional National Championship.