Golf Buzz

November 1, 2013 - 8:00am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Gary Player
Getty Images
Nine-time major champion Gary Player turned 78 years old on Nov. 1.

The Black Knight, Gary Player, celebrates his 78th birthday today.

One of the game's biggest legends, Player is a 9-time major champion and -- even at his advanced age -- could probably still beat many of the PGA Tour's younger stars in a sit-up contest. Player does 1,000 crunches per day (how does that donut taste?):Here's a brief look at some of Player's amazing accomplishments through the years:

 

 

- 24 wins on the PGA Tour
- three-time Masters champion (1961, 1974, 1978)
- 1965 U.S. Open winner
- three-time Open Champion (1959, 1968, 1974)
- Two-time PGA Champion (1962, 1972)
- 73 wins between 1955 and 1981 on South Africa's Sunshine Tour
- World Golf Hall of Fame member
- Voted "Sportsman of the Century" in South Africa in the year 2000
- Part of the "Big Three" which also includes legends Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, with whom Player is an honorary starter at the Masters

Player is also the self-proclaimed "most traveled" athlete in the world. You'd be crazy to argue against him there, as he estimates he's flown over 15 million miles.

There's nothing that isn't cool about Player. And there's also this -- he's embraced Twitter. Give him a follow, @garyplayer. Each Monday, Player makes it a point to send out a congratulatory tweet to the winners of golf events all over the world. How cool is that?

Happy birthday, Mr. Player!

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair

October 31, 2013 - 10:15pm
Posted by:
John Kim
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Toby Keith golf
Photo courtesy ShockInk
Country music star Toby Keith says he plays golf every day
Toby Keith sings about his love of country, horses, trucks, and the occasional drink or two.  Could a song about his driver be far behind?
 
It was recently reported by Country Weekly that the country music icon is a serious golf nut - even owning his own course, the Belmar Golf Club in Norman, Oklahoma.  
 
Keith has no problems espousing his love of the game. 
 
"Golf every day. Get up, eat breakfast and play golf every single day. I live, two miles from the gate of my ranch is my golf course, and every day we play golf.”
 
And if it rains?
 
Well, it's not bad to be one of the highest-paid entertainers in the world. Keith simply fires up the jet.
 
“If the weather’s bad, we fly somewhere we can play golf,” he says.
 
Everyone say it together...."Must be nice."
 
Excuse me while I go get some guitar lessons.
 
You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim
October 31, 2013 - 7:49pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Onion Creek Club flooding
Photo from KENS-TV helicopter
At least part of the golf course at the Onion Creek Club was underwater after south Austin received as much as a foot of rain Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

October is the rainiest month of the year in Austin, Texas, and this October will go down in history as the rainiest October ever after Central Texas was swamped by rain late Wednesday and early Thursday. Some parts of the Austin area reported a foot or more of rain, and many areas were flooded.

Among those who got the worst of the weather was the Onion Creek neighborhood in south Austin, where the historic Onion Creek Club was at least partly underwater after the rain finally abated on Thursday.

Onion Creek Club, which was built by three-time Masters champion Jimmy Demaret, owns a special place in the annals of golf as ''the birthplace of the Champions Tour.'' Back in 1978, the club hosted the first edition of the event now known as the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf. Sam Snead and partner Gardner Dickinson won that inaugural tournament when Snead birdied the final three holes for a narrow victory over the Australian team of Peter Thomson and Kel Nagle. 

The event proved so popular that it was staged again in 1979, and soon thereafter the Senior PGA Tour (as it was first known) was born. Onion Creek hosted the Legends of Golf annually through 1987 before the event began moving around the country.

There were no reports on the course's condition late Thursday, but some of the heaviest flooding was in the area near Onion Creek, which reached a record high of 41 feet Thursday morning and continued to rise, local officials told The Austin American-Statesman. Across the area, more than 100 people were rescued from the flood waters across Central Texas, and more than 1,100 houses in the Onion Creek neighborhood area were evacuated.

 

October 31, 2013 - 12:54pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Nike Golf Sport Lite golf bag
Nike Golf
The new Nike Golf Sport Lite golf bag is the company's lightest bag to date at just under 4 pounds.

Nike Golf announced the release of a new golf bag Thursday -- the Nike Sport Lite.

The Nike Sport Lite, weighing in at less than four pounds, is Nike's lightest carry bag to date.

Features on the Sport Lite include Nike's proprietary EquaFlex revolving double strap system, which distributes bag weight evenly across the shoulders through an ergonomic design that brings more comfort to the often tiring task of carrying a bag around the course for hours at a time. A five-way, two full-length divider system with putter well maximizes club visibility and organization.

Six fleece-lined functional pockets, including a full length apparel pocket, provide enough space for athletes to be prepared on the course without creating extra bulk. The Sport Lite also has an integrated GPS loop, pen sleeve and glove patch; custom grip leg end-caps; and a matching rain hood.

The Nike Sport Lite comes in six different color schemes and will be available at retail Nov. 1 at $155.

For more information, visit www.nikegolf.com.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 

October 31, 2013 - 10:59am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Simon Dyson
Getty Images
England's Simon Dyson is facing the possibility of stiff penalties from the European Tour for a rules violation at last week's BMW Masters.

According to a Reuters report, six-time European Tour winner Simon Dyson faces possible expulsion from that Tour for a violation of the rules last week in Shanghai at the BMW Masters.

The 35-year-old Englishman was disqualified from the BMW Masters after TV viewers notified officials that Dyson tapped down a spike mark in his putting line with his golf ball.

READ: Chamblee talks controversial Woods column on Golf Channel

A spike mark -- unlike a ball mark -- cannot be repaired when in the player's putting line.

Here's video of the incident:

 

 

The European Tour has announced that a disciplinary hearing will be held to decide Dyson's fate.

"If, following the hearing, the panel decides that a breach of the code (of behaviour) has been established, it shall impose a sanction that it considers appropriate having regard to the circumstances," the tour said in a statement.

"Such sanctions may range from a reprimand, a censure, a fine, a suspension of Membership, a suspension from participation in one or more tournaments or for a given period, or expulsion from The European Tour, or otherwise as the panel shall determine."

For his part, Dyson maintains he in no way "deliberately broke the rules."

"My action was in no way a deliberate act with the intention of breaking the rules," he said in the Reuters report. "It was simply an accidental mistake."

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 

October 31, 2013 - 10:43am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
TaylorMade Golf
TaylorMade
TaylorMade Golf's SLDR fairway woods and rescue clubs, will be available Nov. 15. The SLDR driver is available at retail now.

TaylorMade Golf has long been a leader when it comes to golf club innovation.

Most famously, the company took the golf world by storm with its introduction of the white-headed R11 driver in 2011.

It was a risk, but -- as it turns out -- a wildly popular one.

The latest innovation by TaylorMade has the golf world buzzing yet again.

RELATED: SLDR driver features sliding weight on sole

This summer, the company introduced the SLDR driver -- built to help a player hit longer/straighter drives by promoting a high launch angle, lower spin-rate and faster ball speed. That, the company says, is what makes SLDR its longest driver ever.

In addition to the driver, TaylorMade recently announced the SLDR fairway woods and rescue clubs, which will be available at retail on Nov. 15.

SLDR fairways woods and rescue clubs combine two of TaylorMade's most recent innovations: Speed Pocket technology and an exceptionally low-and-forward center of gravity (CG) location.

The company says smaller is better; so the new Speed Pocket is smaller (introduced in the RocketBallz fairways and Rescues), which actually makes it more efficient at increasing how fast the face flexes at impact, promoting faster initial ball speed across a wider portion of the face, helping a player get consistently long distance on every swing.

RELATED: SLDR fairway woods, rescue clubs join TaylorMade line

Of course, the most distinguishable feature of the new SLDR driver, is the blue, sliding weight on the sole.

"The SLDR weight slides on the track and never comes loose from the clubhead," TaylorMade says. "To slide the weight to any of the 21 positions on the track, simply loosen the screw, slide the weight, then tighten the screw. It takes as little as 10 seconds. And the sole is marked with the words 'fade' at the toe-end of the track and 'draw' at the heel-end of the track to make it clear where you should position the weight to promote the shot-shape you want."

I had a chance to test out samplings of the SLDR family this week, including a driver, 19-degree 5-wood and a 19-degree 3-rescue.

"We learned with the SLDR driver that a low-forward CG location allows many players to increase their loft to achieve the right combination of high-launch/low-spin that promotes maximum distance," TaylorMade says. "The same thing goes for SLDR fairway and Rescues, which is where our Loft Sleeve technology serves such an important purpose, by allowing you to adjust the loft 1.5 degrees up or down to dial in their optimal launch conditions."

The first thing you feel with the SLDR offerings, is that difference in the center of gravity. The head itself feels slightly heavier than others. And, speaking of the clubhead, it's one of the prettiest you'll ever lay eyes on at address.

RELATED: TaylorMade shows off new SpeedBlade irons

The shocking white was fantastic in previous models, but the SLDR family is more of a classic look -- a pretty charcoal-gray crown with traditional shaping. With its dark crown color and silver-colored clubface, the SLDR family is easy to align accurately at address.

Like most amateurs, it took a few swings to get used to the driver. The natural reaction of holding a beautiful new driver that's advertised as TaylorMade's, "longest yet," led me to swing out of my shoes for those first few range balls.

Once you settle in and realize you can let the club do the work, the results are incredible. At impact, the SLDR is as solid as any driver I've tried previously. You can truly feel that low-and-forward center of gravity the company describes.

At least for my game -- about a 10 handicap -- I typically find the fairway woods and hybrids to be the most difficult clubs in my bag to hit. This becomes particularly frustrating for me when all I ever read about is how easy a hybrid is to hit.

Well, if this SLDR test is any indication, my issues with fairway woods and rescue/hybrid clubs are a thing of the past. The ball absolutely flew off the clubface with ease from a variety of lies. Like the driver, slight misses with both the fairway wood and rescue club were extremely forgiving. Most importantly, the misses stayed in play.

I don't consider myself a big tinkerer. The standard settings on all three clubs worked for me. However, it is nice to know that there are products available out there today (not just from TaylorMade) where -- if you're a little off -- rather than go spend hundreds of dollars on new equipment, you can use a special tool to make an adjustment.

The SLDR driver retails for $399.99. There's also a Tour-Preferred (TP) model (with more customizable options) that sells for $499.99. The SLDR fairway woods (available for shipping Nov. 15) go for $249.99 and the TP version retails for $349.99. The rescue clubs -- also available for shipping Nov. 15 -- are $219.99 for the regular SLDR version and $289.99 for the TP version.

To learn more about the SLDR family and all of TaylorMade's offerings, visit www.taylormade.com. You can also find TaylorMade on Facebook and on Twitter, @TaylorMadeGolf.

 

 

THE VERDICT: TaylorMade isn't kidding with its "longest driver we've made yet" billing -- the SLDR driver is the longest I've ever hit, flying roughly 15-20 yards past where my usual driver lands.

The look you get at address on the entire SLDR family -- at least for me -- just feels right. I don't feel like I'm swinging a frying pan at the ball. These clubs are as forgiving as they are pretty.

For me, longer isn't always better. But, when the misses stay in play, I'm all for a few extra yards with the longest clubs in my bag.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.