Golf Buzz

July 10, 2013 - 4:12pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Tiger Woods golf course Dubai
Getty Images
Only a few holes of the Tiger Woods-designed golf course in Dubai have been completed.

Construction on the golf course in Dubai that Tiger Woods designed was stopped almost before it started a few years ago. And now comes word that Woods' partnership with the project's owner, Dubai Holding, has been formally dissolved.

Dubai Properties Group, a division of Dubai Holding, said the Al Ruwaya Golf Course project would ''continue to be monitored and a decision will be made in the future when to restart the project,'' according to ArabianBusiness.com. Woods, however, is no longer connected to the development.

When it was announced back in 2006, the development was to include a championship golf course surrounded by residential real estate – including villas, mansions and sheik-styled palaces – a hotel, golf academy and other amenities. The $1.1 billion project was originally scheduled to open in 2009. According to reports, Woods was paid $55.4 million in two installments to design the course and promote the resort around the time he signed onto the project.

Work began on the course after a lengthy delay, but was halted after only a few holes were shaped. The developer, part of a conglomerate controlled by Dubai's debt-squeezed rulers, said ''market conditions'' were behind the decision to suspend construction, and that they hoped to resume work at some point.

The course was to have been part of a larger leisure and living master planned community, which also largely came to a standstill after Dubai's fiscal crunch. An 18-hole course designed by Colin Montgomerie opened in Dubai in 2006, and another by Ernie Els opened in 2008.

The website for Tiger Woods Design has a page dedicated to the Al Ruwaya project, which says that Woods' vision ''is to transform the blank canvas into a unique golf course that rivals any in the world.'' Woods envisioned Al Ruwaya as ''a respite from the desert and the pace of the city'' and a place that ''will welcome all cultures, all backgrounds and skill levels from new to experienced golfers.''

According to Tiger Woods Design, Woods remains involved in design projects in western North Carolina and both Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

 

July 10, 2013 - 2:42pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Troon North
Courtesy of Troon Golf
Troon North Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., is one of the facilities implementing Troon's pace-of-play initiatives.

The golf industry is exploring many options to ewncourage golfers to pick up the pace of play. Troon, which manages dozens of courses around the globe, has launched one of the most ambitious efforts yet with its "Troon Values Your Time" program.

"With time being such a precious commodity today, slow play on the golf course remains one of the industry's major impediments of growth," said Ryan Walls, senior vice president, operations, sales & marketing. "This is why we are implementing standards at Troon-managed facilities that define pace-of-play expectations to ultimately remove a barrier that exists in the game and improve the experience of our guests and members."

As part of the program, Troon communicates a pace-of-play standard to all its golfers before they get out on the course. And because no two courses are the same, Troon can tailor its pace-of-play expectations for each facility it manages.

There are three main elements to the program:

Time Par: Each Troon facility has calculated its own Time Par – the appropriate length of time a golfer should comfortably play and enjoy the course – and informs its golfers before they tee off. Troon informs its golfers about the Time Par when they book their tee time over the phone or online and puts it in their tee-time confirmation email; on displays in the golf shop; on scorecards, yardage books and signage throughout the property; and even on staff uniforms.

Pacesetter Times: Troon facilities are implementing Pacesetter Times, which are designated morning tee times reserved for players committed to playing quickly in at least 20 minutes under the facility's Time Par. This creates options for those looking to play in less time and also helps create a steady pace-of-play for tee times throughout the day.

Pacesetter Tips: Troon has come up with a series of suggestions to help golfers manage their own pace of play. They include:

--Play Your Tees: Choose a set of tees with a rating of 142 minus your handicap index. Or Tee It Forward.
--Play Ready Golf: When a player is at his ball or on the tee box and ready to play, he should go ahead. No one should take more than 45 seconds to hit a shot.
--Be Cart Smart: The cart driver should drop off his partner and drive to his own ball. The golfer leaving the cart first should take three clubs, not one. Also, the driver should park behind the green.
--Use Rules with Discretion: Take no more than three minutes to look for balls and take relief.
--See It, Read It, Hole It: While others are putting, each golfer should prepare for his putt. Once each golfer putts out, he should go to the next tee.
--Be Accountable: Recognize that slow play isn't just the fault of other players. 

For more information, visit TroonGolf.com.

 
July 9, 2013 - 12:57pm
Posted by:
Bob Denney, The PGA of America
john.kim's picture
Craig Stevens
The PGA of America
PGA Professional Craig Stevens, from Dallas, Ga., leads a field of 26 PGA Professionals to Omaha.

Of the 26 PGA club professionals competing this week in the 34th U.S. Senior Open, Craig Stevens registered one of the most dramatic turnarounds that he can recall in his career. It was just enough to earn him a trip this week to Omaha, Neb.

Stevens, a 52-year-old PGA teaching professional at Brookstone Golf & Country Club in Acworth, Ga., saw his chances fade early June 17, in a USGA Sectional Qualifying Tournament at The Standard Club in Johns Creek, Ga. Stevens opened his round 2-over-par through three holes.

“I decided not to let it get to me and to just play golf,” said Stevens. “I didn’t want to put a lot of pressure on myself. That wouldn’t do me any good.”

Stevens recovered by finishing 6-under-par from there, collecting birdies at 6, 7, 9 and 11. He spiced that sizzling streak with a hole-in-one on the par-3 eighth hole, his first in competition and the fifth ace of his career. He used a 9-iron from 142 yards.

“We saw the ball go in,” said Stevens. “It hit about 1½ feet short and right and then rolled in like a putt. That was a great way to keep my spirits up.”

Stevens earned his first U.S. Senior Open trip with a 4-under-par 68, sharing medalist honors with amateur Jeff Belk of Marietta, Ga. They will be part of a 156-member field that begins play Thursday on the 6,711-yard, par-70 Omaha Country Club.

Stevens, a resident of Dallas, Ga., won the Georgia Senior State Open in May and missed the cut last month in the 46th PGA Professional National Championship in Sunriver, Ore. He is a veteran of three PGA Championships and one Senior PGA Championship.

“You know I am playing pretty good golf now, and it took just 52 years for me to grow up,” joked Stevens. “I played a practice round today with Robin Byrd (of Satellite Beach, Fla.). Would you believe it, he had a hole-in-one in his Sectional in (Mascoutin Golf Club in Berlin, Wis.), which allowed him to get in. He got his on the 17th hole. Pretty amazing that we both would be talking about the same thing here!”

Stevens is among a talented PGA club professional delegation, featuring PGA Professional National Champions Jeffrey Roth of Farmington, N.M. (1993) and Bruce Zabriski of Jupiter, Fla. (1997). Mark Mielke of East Norwich, N.Y., makes his debut in the Senior Open, and shared low PGA club professional honors in May at the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid.

Of the 26 PGA club professionals entered this week, Roy Vucinich of Moon Township, Pa., has enjoyed the best major finish among the delegation. Now a 66-year-old PGA Life Member, Vucinich tied for fourth in the 2002 Senior PGA Championship at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.

 

The senior PGA club professionals competing this week in the 34th U.S. Senior Open:

David Carich, Noblesville, Ind.
Kevin Coombs, Camas, Wash.;
Mark Costaregni, Miami Beach, Fla.
Dennis Dolci, Sharon, Pa.
George Forster Sr., Villanova, Pa.
Steve Gotsche, Great Bend, Kan.
Kevin Hayashi, Hilo, Hawaii
Lee Houtteman, Glen Arbor, Mich.
Bill Israelson, Staples, Minn.
Bill Loeffler, Castle Rock, Colo.
Nelson Long Jr., Bedford, N.Y.
Ken McDonald, Houston, Texas
Mark Mielke, East Norwich, N.Y.
Bruce Nakamura, Vista, Calif.
Kirk Nelson, Kihei, Hawaii
Doug Rohrbaugh, Carbondale, Colo.
Jeffrey Roth, Farmington, N.M.
Mike San Filippo, Hobe Sound, Fla.
Troy Schleicher, The Woodlands, Texas
Jim Sobb, Barrington, Ill.
Craig Stevens, Dallas, Ga.
Bruce Stewart, Molalla, Ore.
Roy Vucinich, Moon Township, Mich.
Steve Wells, Niles, Mich.
Jeff Whitfield, Weldon Spring, Mo.
Bruce Zabriski, Jupiter, Fla.

July 9, 2013 - 10:02am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Appalachian Leather Works, golf, yardage book
Appalachian Leather Works
Appalachian Leather Works is producing high-quality scorecard holders, yardage book covers and more.
Every now and again you come across a special golf accessory. It's one that every golfer could use, but not many have (unless you're playing at the Tour level).
 
Before we detail this accessory, take a few seconds to think about this question: How do you store your scorecard during a round of golf?
 
The answer to that question probably varies from one of the following: the steering wheel on a golf cart; the scorecard holder on a push-cart; the scorecard pocket in your golf bag; or, in my case, your back pocket.
 
There's no question that all of those are great options for storing your scorecard. But, if you're like me -- particularly when playing golf on those dog days of summer -- you might find that scorecard looking more like oatmeal by the end of a round. Maybe this is an issue that plagues only me, but I also find that I go through multiple pencils over the course of the round because they somehow fall out of my pocket.
 
So what's the solution?
 
A man by the name of Chris Ashley is glad we asked.
 
Ashley, a United States Air Force veteran, is the founder of a company called Appalachian Leather Works based in North Carolina. Appalachian Leather Works produces beautiful, high-quality yardage books, scorecard holders, head covers and cash covers made from a variety of materials, including leather, gator, ostrich and stingray. 
 
Obviously, not all recreational golfers take their game seriously enough to need a yardage book holder (those who are serious enough will love Ashley's offerings). But, everyone can use a scorecard holder, which easily fits your scorecard, has a pencil holder and is the perfect size to slip in and out of your back pocket with ease.
 
The best part about Appalachian Leather Works is that its great products won't break the bank. Prices range from as little as $42 to as much as $120 -- a small price to pay for a great accessory that will probably last you for life.
 
So how did it all get started?
 
"I have a collection of yardage books from courses I've played throughout the years, and I've always wanted to buy a yardage book cover to use while walking the course," Ashley said. "However, the ones I liked were really out of my price range. And then there are the cheapies that I wouldn't trust to even play 18 holes, so I thought, 'Hey, I'm a pretty creative guy. I'll just make one.' So I did. After I finished mine, I realized that people like two things: quality and at a fair price.
 
"I may also have a sick addiction to putters," Ashley added. "I'm at the point that I can admit that today. So let's just say that I have a few putters and I wanted to make some quality putter covers made out of leather for them. After tinkering with that for a few weeks I had the design that I liked and so I began making putter covers for friends and family to try out. After rave reviews we started the site and it has grown from there."
 
Appalachian Leather Works officially opened for business in February 2013. 
 
"It seems like it was so long ago since it began," admits Ashley. "A lot has been improved upon and new products added as we believe that a golfer somewhere may want it. We have always strived to be one of the most customizable golf accessories companies out there. With all of our options offered online, we have taken several custom orders for jobs for things that range from embroidery for golf events or business outings to custom stamping on the new executive line of leather products."
 
Even with customization, the turnaround time for products produced by Appalachian Leather Works is incredibly impressive -- just about 10 business days for yardage books, scorecard holders and cash covers and about 10-14 days for putter and wood covers.
 
"Everything is made by hand," Ashley said. "For yardage book covers, cash covers and scorecard holders, we hand-cut each piece of quality Hermann Oak leather, then dye each piece of leather by hand. After it dries, we assemble the item by hand, punch the holes, and hand-stitch. The stitching is where the most time is spent, but it is the most important in the piece's durability. Each piece is finished with a burnished edge and then applied with Aussie leather conditioner to help seal out moisture for hot days on the course. These pieces take anywhere from 2-4 hours to complete."
 
Attention to detail is what truly makes Appalachian Leather Works so special. Ashley, you could say, is well-versed in attention to detail -- while in the Air Force (and also a Firefighter/EMT in Tucson, Ariz.), he was on the Air Force Shooting team where he won the 2005 Armed Forces Skeet Shooting Championship. 
 
Now, Ashley resides in North Carolina with his wife, Jill, and two boys, Brett and Grant. Ashley is balancing the growth of Appalachian Leather Works while also studying Economics and Mathematics at Appalachian State University.
 
"Jill is a Registered Nurse and wonderful wife for letting me have my addiction to golf," said Ashley. 
 
For now, Ashley's work is available through his website, www.appleatherworks.com.
 
"We do have future plans to expand our yardage book covers and scorecard holders into golf courses," he said. "We are working on including new designs and more options in both our putter covers and wood covers. The future changes for the putter covers will include options for leather stripes instead of the current ribbon or even genuine gator stripes as an option. We also take custom orders of many types; all someone has to do is email us (through the website) and we will do our best to bring their idea to life."
 
If you're looking for a fantastic, high-quality accessory that any golfer in your life -- including you -- can use for years to come, Appalachian Leather Works has just what you're looking for... even if you didn't know it until now.
 
You can also check out Appalachian Leather Works on Facebook and follow them on Twitter, @AppLeatherWorks.
 
You can follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
 
 
July 9, 2013 - 1:33am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade SLDR driver
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The SLDR driver from TaylorMade gets its name from the sliding weight on the sole.

The new product introductions, or at least sneak peeks, continue their relentless pace this week as TaylorMade shows off its latest creation. At the John Deere Classic and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, the company is giving its staff players their first look at a brand-new driver known as the SLDR (''slider.'')

The club, as you can see in the photos, gets its name from the sliding weight on the sole. Golfers can slide the weight along a rail to easily create the specific draw or fade bias they desire. Recent TaylorMade drivers like the R1 are adjusted by using a wrench to screw weight ports in and out of the head.

One area in which the SLDR is similar to some of its TaylorMade kin such as the RBZ Stage 2 is its adjustable hosel, which golfers can use to select their loft. 

Another thing that stands out on first look is that the SLDR also features a black crown. TaylorMade, of course, recently came out with a black-crowned R1 driver after making nothing but white-headed models for the last couple of years. There's no indication yet as to whether a white-crowned SLDR might be in the works as well.

In any case, the initial reaction to the new driver is quite positive. Boo Weekley tweeted that ''it's awesome,'' while Lucas Glover described it as ''#sillygood.'' And TaylorMade's Dave Cordero said the company brought 20 SLDR heads to the John Deere Classic on Monday, and they were all spoken for by day's end.

 

July 8, 2013 - 9:35pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Ian Poulter at the 2012 Ryder Cup
Getty Images
The Odyssey White Hot XG #7 putter that Ian Poulter used to such great effect at the 2012 Ryder Cup is headed for Poulter's trophy case.

It's the end of an era – Ian Poulter is retiring the putter he used to fuel Europe's shocking comeback victory against the United States at the 2012 Ryder Cup.

''I am sacking my putter, I will use a new putter at the Open,'' Poulter tweeted on Sunday about the Odyssey White Hot XG #7 that he says ''needs a rest in my trophy cabinet.''

Poulter stressed that it's not the putter's fault that he's underperformed this season – he's yet to win on the PGA Tour, has two top-10 finishes and is 87th in the FedExCup points.

''I'm not blaming the putter, I'm saying I want to use a new one,'' he explained on Twitter. ''Every time I change, I've had big success with a new look. Just some times you just need to look down on something new.''

As every golf fan in America most likely remembers all too well, Europe was looking down and out on Saturday afternoon at Medinah before Poulter and Rory McIlroy rallied against Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson in the afternoon four-balls to pull out an unlikely 1-hole victory on the 18th green. And though McIlroy made a crucial birdie on the 13th hole to begin the turnaround, Poulter transformed defeat into triumph by making birdie putts on each of the last five holes – including a 12-foot sidehiller on the final green to clinch a full point that would prove crucial.

That turnaround victory made the Saturday night score 10-6, and gave Europe just the glimmer of hope it needed to mount its record-setting Sunday rally. Poulter won his singles match on Sunday to go a team-leading 4-0-0 for the week as Europe pulled off the 14/5-13.5 shocker.

After announcing his decision, Poulter invited equipment companies to send him putters to try out, and apparently he's getting quite a response. It'll be very curious to see what he turns up with next week at Muirfield – and how long it stays in the bag.

Meanwhile, Steve Stricker expressed sentiments no doubt shared by Poulter's opponents at Medinah and American golf fans everywhere.

"I wish you would've put that putter in your trophy cabinet before last years ryder cup!," he tweeted to Poulter, adding the hashtag # madeeverything."