Golf Buzz

November 7, 2014 - 3:20pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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longest usable golf club
Michael Furrh
Michael Furrh, of Arlington, Texas, is now a three-time Guinness World Record holder for longest "usable" golf club -- a 20-foot, 6-inch driver that he hit 63 yards in the air.

Earlier this week, we brought you the story of Michael Furrh, the Arlington, Texas, man who set the new Guinness World Record for longest "usable" golf club with a 20-foot, 6-inch driver.

Furrh, a Caddie Master/Event Director for Caddie Club Golf, actually held the Guinness Record in 2013 with a 14-foot, 2 1/2-inch driver that he hit over 146 yards.

In September, Karsten Maas of Denmark achieved a new record for longest "usable" golf club with his 14-foot, 5-inch driver that went just over 180 yards.

Naturally, Furrh was looking forward to reclaiming his record and that's what he did on November 3 at Rolling Hills Country Club in Dallas. See the official video from the Guinness World Record feat below:

All told, Furrh's shot carried 63 yards. We caught up with him to learn more about the world-record setting club.

"I build all my own clubs," Furrh told us. "I used steel shaft extentions to lenghten the club, and it weighed a total of 52 ounces."

That's a 3 1/4-pound golf club -- heavy stuff. On top of setting the record, Furrh -- a golf professional since 2002 -- wanted to maintain the integrity of the golf swing. He explained to that people who have attempted the record in the past have done so with a hockey-style swing.

"I was making a great effort to swing the club in a conventional golf method taking a full backswing," Furrh said. "I broke two ribs in an accident two weeks before the record so it was extra special to bring this Guinness World Record back to Rolling Hills Country Club, Rolling Hills Membership and all of Texas."

Furrh tells us the new record club length of 20 feet, 6 inches was actually a surprise to the 30 or so family, friends, media and members that were in attendance.

His first attempts of the day were with a 19-foot, 5-inch graphite driver weighing 36 ounces.

The existing record was broken with a shot that carried 89 yards, as measured by Mike Rausch of Golf Ect with a Foresight Sports GC 2 Launch Monitor.

After that, Furrh pulled out the 20-foot, 6-inch club that he built in the cart barn at Rolling Hills, which he says takes up five parking spaces.

On the first swing, he hit the ball 45 yards on the fly to establish another record. After a few more shots, his longest carried 63 yards.

"I've had this club built for quite a while and I've been waiting for someone to hit a long club," he said. "Now everyone sees my response with this 20-foot monster. Just wait and see what I have lined up for my next swing." 

November 7, 2014 - 12:31pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Adam Scott
USA Today Sports Images
Adam Scott was 4-under through six holes on Friday in the HSBC Champions before playing two holes in 6-over par.

Typically, players like Adam Scott absolutely devour par-5 holes.

On Friday in the HSBC Champions, however, it was a par-5 hole that feasted on Scott.

Scott was cruising along with four birdies in his first six holes at Sheshan International in Friday's second round before hitting a huge speed-bump at the par-5 eighth hole.

RELATED: Miguel Angel Jimenez cards a 13 with four water balls

First, Scott sent a tee shot left of left and into the trees. He took a drop on a forward tee box, and -- with a 3-wood for his third shot -- found the fairway. Now, playing his fourth shot, Scott found the rough short of the green behind a hazard.

From there, Scott chunked his chip and it rolled back into the hazard. He took a second drop on the hole and was shooting seven. Scott's seventh shot found the green and he two-putted for the quadruple-bogey 9.

Here's video of Scott's adventure.

The next hole wasn't all that pretty for the world's No. 2-ranked player either. He made a double-bogey. So, after going 4 under in his first six holes, Scott was then 6-over in a two-hole stretch.

He also bogeyed the 11th hole, but bounced back with an eagle at the par-5 14th hole and a birdie at the par-4 16th hole to finished with an even-par 72. He'll head into the weekend at 2 under, eight shots behind 36-hole leader Graeme McDowell. 

Michael Lucas
Michael Lucas was the head professional at a number of clubs, most recently at the now-closed Marsh Harbour.

Mark Mease didn’t let the fact that Michael Lucas wasn’t his biological dad prevent him from calling him his father. And he credits Lucas for life lessons that extend well beyond the golf course, highlighting what can also be a special relationship between a PGA Professional and a student. Even when related.

Lucas was Mease’s grandfather, but Mease called him dad “because he raised me,” Mease said. “My biological father was in the hospital for schizophrenia when I was growing up.”

MORE: Golf terms and golf glossary

And when Lucas died Sept. 16 at the age of 75, Mease wanted to make sure the world knew more about Lucas’s lasting impact.

Lucas, a head professional at a number of golf clubs, most recently at the now-closed Marsh Harbour at Myrtle Beach, helped raise Mease from when he was 4 months old.

From that point on, Lucas taught Mease both life lessons and golf lessons. Sometimes the two mixed, other times they took the form of poetry -- one of Lucas’ favorite hobbies.

“He just taught me to never give up,” Mease said. “That was the main thing, just don’t give up. Keep trying and trying until you get it done.

“I remember being stuck in the sand trap for hours and hours on end because he wanted to make sure I got the right swing down while growing up.”

Possibly Lucas’ biggest impact came while Mease was at Paris Island for Marine boot camp. Lucas would send Mease letters and poems and Mease credited those for giving him the motivation to get through the tough times.

Mease kept everything that Lucas sent and recently came across a poem whose final lines brought a strong flood of emotions.

“When he passed away, I knew there was so much more to learn from him,” Mease said. “Every visit with him was him teaching me something new or a try-it-this-way kind of thing.”

That brought an end to a life that was filled with lessons, especially on the golf course. His father, Michael Lucas Sr., had been a professional golfer, and the junior Lucas soon adopted the game and was captain of the Furman University golf team in 1965.

After graduation, Lucas went on to be a professional golfer, and also became a PGA Professional.

However, a stroke in 2010 left Lucas paralyzed on the left side of his body and confined him to a wheelchair. At the time, Mease was serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan with the Marines.

“I just remember talking to him one weekend and he didn’t sound normal but I didn’t know what was going on,” Mease said. “The next thing I know, I get an American Red Cross message saying he had a stroke.”

Though Lucas wasn’t physically able to play golf the final few years of his life, it did not diminish his love of the game.

In fact, at a ceremony after Lucas’ death, the Richard Campbell Veterans Nursing Home announced it would install a putting green and name it after Lucas.

“He carried the game of golf everywhere he went,” Mease said. “It didn’t matter who he saw, it was always the topic.”

Mease said that a brick at the World Golf Village Memorial Park in St. Augustine, Fla., would be dedicated in Lucas’ honor some time next month.

Although Lucas isn’t around to teach Mease any new life lessons, Mease said he was living every day to try and live up to Lucas’ lessons.

Plus, Mease’s 3-year-old son, Jayden, allows him to pass on Lucas’ lessons to the next generation.

“I’m hoping to instill in him the discipline and motivation as far as setting your mind to something and getting it done,” Mease said. “Just not giving up.”

November 6, 2014 - 1:14pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Jason Dufner
USA Today Sports Images
Jason Dufner was assessed a one-shot penalty on Thursday after instinctively picking his ball up out of the 18th fairway at the HSBC Champions.

Jason Dufner is in the field this week at the WGC-HSBC Champions. It's his second start in as many weeks -- his first two starts on the PGA Tour since being forced to withdraw with injury at the PGA Championship in August.

So, naturally, there was going to be a little rust.

Dufner had a respectable T26 last week in Malaysia at the CIMB Classic and is hoping to improve on that this week in Shanghai.

RELATED: WGC-HSBC Champions leaderboard | Trick shots with a stunt car | 2-year-old John Daly

On Thursday, however, Dufner was his own worst enemy. The rust was more of a mental variety than swing related.

Playing the back nine first, Dufner committed a big no-no from the 18th fairway when he bent over and picked up his golf ball. Almost instantly, he realized he'd made a mistake.

You see, last week in the CIMB Classic, the lift, clean and place rule was in effect. Dufner had a momentary brain lapse Thursday and thought he was playing under the same rules and instinctively picked up the ball. Oops.

"Just one of those things," Dufner told Associated Press golf writer Doug Ferguson.

The infraction meant a one-stroke penalty for Dufner, who shot an even-par 72 instead of a 1-under 71. 

November 6, 2014 - 11:18am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Bryan Brothers
In their latest trick-shot video, the Bryan Brothers get all Dukes of Hazzard on us.

Just when you think the Bryan Brothers have run out of ideas for incredible trick shots, they go and do something like this:


That's George Bryan tossing the ball from the car to brother Wesley who sends it into orbit.

Perhaps the most refreshing part of this video is that we finally got to see that George and Wesley don't nail it on the first take every time.

That said, when the pressure is on -- as in, "the engine of this car is going to blow up if we don't do it right this one last time" -- the showmen get the job done.

We wonder who's picking up the tab for the car repairs on that '69 Mustang. 

Bubba Watson
Getty Images
Bubba Watson says criticism from the media and people close to him makes him want to improve.
While the first round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai was being played Wednesday night here in the United States, I was reading through some of the pre-tournament player interviews. One that caught my attention was a Q-and-A with Bubba Watson and media official Royce Thompson that took a personal turn.
Thompson began by asking some typical questions about the tournament and Shanghai. Then – noting that Wednesday [the day of the interview] was Watson's 36th birthday – he asked the two-time Masters champion how close he thinks he's come to reaching his potential.
"I don't think I've come that close," Watson admitted. "I expect better from myself, but it comes down to the mental focus and getting over the bad shots or too high of expectations. 
"I believe I can perform at a better level," he continued. "I think I scratched the surface a little it last year, still had my hiccups, still had my bad moments, still had my bad press. … if I keep grinding away, I can improve a lot."
A couple questions later, the questioning returned to the topic, asking: "Is there any legitimate criticism that you're referring to [Watson's 'bad press' reference] and that you want to improve on or not?"
"Well, yeah, all of it," Watson said. "Any time that somebody writes bad press, the only way I'm going to improve as a human being, improve as a husband, improve as a dad, is when you get people that call you out. 
"When I make mistakes, when your friends call you out, when the media calls you out, when my wife calls me out, when my mom calls me out, when these people call you out and tell you you're doing something wrong, it's not to punish you or get on to you. It's about to help you improve later in life.
"So any time there's bad press where I show anger on a golf course, the media that calls me out and says something about it, that's the only way I'm going to improve. If everybody said I was great all the time, then I would never improve as a human being," he explained. "So I love it, I love that the media calls me out. I love when my friends call me out. My mom calls me out a lot, and I do love it. So that's the only way I'm going to get better as a person."
"You can't love it at the time," said the questioner.
"Well, I'm a human being, so I know when I do wrong," Watson said. "The Bible teaches us right from wrong, so I know. I'm a sinner. I mess up a lot."
What, then, does his mother get on him about?
"She tells me that I'm not being good (laughing). I need to smile more," Watson said. "I try to explain to her on the golf course I'm focused and not trying to smile and make everybody laugh. I'm trying to play good golf. She tells me I should smile more and not be so angry. Pretty much what the media says. I guess she could write for the media, too."
As one of golf's most high-profile players, Watson is in the spotlight – and thus subject to extra scrutiny – far more than most of his competitors. It's encouraging to learn that he's listening – to those closest to him as well as to his critics. 
Watson – like all the rest of us – shouldn't be expected to be perfect both on and off the course. He sounds sincere about wanting to keep improving both as a man and a golfer, and I give him credit for talking so openly about such a personal topic. It's not the kind of thing you usually hear in your routine pre-tournament interview.