Golf Buzz

November 30, 2013 - 7:56pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Golfers, as we all know, are huge sports fans, and a whole bunch of them were tweeting while they watched the incredible end of the Auburn-Alabama game Saturday afternoon. Here is a selection of some of the best tweets from tour players, PGA Professionals and even a few golf media folks as Auburn ran back Alabama's last-second field goal try for an improbable victory:



































































November 30, 2013 - 1:49pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Lucas Glover in front of Ailsa Craig
With the Ailsa Craig looming in the background, Lucas Glover lined up a putt during the 2009 British Open at Turnberry.

One of the most famous sites in the world of golf is the Ailsa Craig – that big dome-shaped rock that dominates the Firth of Clyde about 10 miles off the southwestern Scottish coast near Turnberry. The uninhabited island, covering 220 acres and the result of an ancient volcano, is a staple of photographs whenever the British Open is played at Turnberry – on the Ailsa Course at Turnberry, to be precise.

And despite having ''no inhabitants, no electricity, no fresh water and no arable land,'' according to The New York Times, the Ailsa Craig is making news for not one but two reasons:

--First, it is the source of the distinctive strain of microgranite used to make most of the stones used in the Olympic sport of curling. In fact, all the stones used in every Olympics since 1924 (and including the 2014 Games in Russia) have been made from granite mined on the Ailsa Craig. The Ailsa granite – prized in curling circles because the melting ice can't penetrate it – is transformed into 44-pound curling stones at a factory in Mauchline, about 25 miles away. 

WHAT TO GIVE? WHAT TO GET? Check out John Kim's 2013 list of 'Ultimate Golf Gifts'

Second, the Ailsa Craig is for sale. And what a bargain – the asking price is a mere $2.4 million.

The rock has been controlled by the same landowning family for more than 500 years, but – in true "Downton Abbey" fashion – its current owner, the eighth Marquess of Ailsa, has been dealing with dwindling financial resources for several decades. The family actually put the craig up for sale in 2010 with an asking price of $4 million. But nobody has bitten, so the price now has been reduced to $2.4 million.

Ailsa Craig is a Scottish icon – it's been featured on Scottish bank notes (just like Jack Nicklaus), was memorialized in a sonnet by Keats and now serves mainly as a seabird sanctuary. And, the newspaper story explained, ''with Scotland approaching a referendum on independence from Britain next September, it remains an icon in the country's national consciousness, redolent of the rugged, stand-alone character many Scots pride as their birthright.''

The Times story has much more on the craig's colorful history and the efforts to sell it. The paper also had one another item somewhat related to golf and the Winter Olympics. Did you know that the U.S. Winter Olympics community not only includes Tiger Woods' girlfriend, skier Lindsey Vonn, but also a ski jumper named Lindsey Van?


November 30, 2013 - 12:22am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Natalie Gulbis
TaylorMade Golf Experience via Facebook
Natalie Gulbis signed a poster of herself during the grand re-opening festivities at the TaylorMade Golf Experience in Las Vegas on Friday.

Most golfers who live in or have played in Las Vegas are familiar with the Callaway Golf Center – the popular nine-hole-course/practice facility at the south end of the Strip. On Black Friday, it began a brand-new chapter of its life.

After a multi-month makeover that cost more than $1 million, it's now known as the TaylorMade Golf Experience. Brothers Ron and John Boreta – who have owned the complex since it opened in 1997, along with a pair of Las Vegas Golf and Tennis locations – didn't renew their sponsorship agreement with Callaway when it expired last summer. 

TaylorMade, obviously, has taken over the title sponsorship, and the company marked the grand re-opening with TaylorMade staffer and Las Vegas resident Natalie Gulbis on hand to mark the occasion. Gulbis is known to drop by the center for practice sessions, and has even tweeted from there.

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''We are very excited to be expanding our long-running partnership with TaylorMade/adidas Golf," Ron Boreta told "We have a long and positive history of working with TMAG and our Las Vegas Golf and Tennis stores that we anticipate will continue in this partnership at the Golf Center. The renovation efforts that have been undertaken are unprecedented in the golf industry. Our customers can expect great things."

The renovated facility – which still boasts its impressive views of the Strip – now includes around 4,500 square feet of retail – roughly double what existed before. The number of indoor hitting and fitting bays was expanded as well.

The nine-hole par-3 course remains open for both day and night play, and the practice range is the largest in Las Vegas, with 113 stations featuring synthetic or natural turf. There is also a restaurant on-site along with the retail area, which is now stocked with gear from TaylorMade and its sister companies incuding adidas and Ashworth.


November 29, 2013 - 7:16am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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In golf, the clubs you hit from 100 yards and in are referred to as your "scoring clubs."

They're the clubs you hit most often (which is why the best players spend the abundance of their practice sessions with these clubs) and have the biggest impact on your score. Wouldn't it be great to be a lot better with these types of shots -- especially those touchy pitch shots?

In today's golf tip, PGA Professional Chip Sullivan shows you how simple it can be to hit those pitch shots.




Categories: Chip Sullivan, PGA
November 29, 2013 - 7:03am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Nike Golf
Nike Golf
Nike Golf's new VRS Covert 2.0 driver.

Nike Golf has introduced the new VRS Covert 2.0 family of drivers, promising to be bigger, faster and longer than last year's industry game-changing VRS Covert drivers.

The new driver -- the world's first to feature conforming High Speed Cavity Back technology -- delivers more forgiving distance, faster ball speed and simple, intuitive customization to meet the swing needs of every athlete. High-Speed Cavity Back technology redistributes weight to the heel and toe allowing for increased distance and more stability across the face of the driver.

"We re-engineered the VRS Covert 2.0 with enhancements to our High Speed Cavity Back technology that allow athletes to experience more forgiving distance than ever before," says Nate Radcliffe, Nike Golf Director of Engineering. "The new VRS Covert 2.0 driver features a redesigned cavity with Fly-Brace technology that ties the sole to the crown. By stiffening the rear portion of the club, more energy is transferred to the face at impact. The end result is even greater ball speed and up to six yards of distance gain over last year's model."

RELATED: Nike RZN ball franchise gets four new models with improved core

"It's similar to an automotive frame design," Radcliffe adds. "Fly-Brace technology reinforces the rearward portion of the club head to focus impact stress, flexing and subsequent energy transfer to the point of impact."

Several Nike athletes, including Rory McIlroy, Kevin Chappell and Nick Watney, have put the VRS Covert 2.0 driver into play in 2013.

"We work very closely with our athletes and the new VRS Covert 2.0 drivers deliver on the shape, stability, and speed they have asked for," Radcliffe says. "The added stability and speed realized by our athletes with VRS Covert 2.0 allows for an aggressive approach off the tee which is essential in the modern game."

The VRS Covert 2.0 drivers feature two additional proprietary technologies: A larger, re-engineered NexCOR face for increased ball speed and distance, and FlexLoft adjustability, which allows athletes to easily customize loft and face angle positions for 15 drivers in one.

The redesigned NexCOR face incorporates variable face thickness for a faster, hotter face and as a result, more speed at impact. It is 15-percent larger in the VRS Covert 2.0 Tour driver and seven-percent larger in the VRS Covert 2.0 driver.

Nike Golf's patented FlexLoft system offers the same, intuitive adjustability system featured in the VRS Covert driver. Athletes can adjust lofts from 8.5 to 12.5 degrees while independently modifying for three different face angle positions to optimize launch and spin conditions for maximized distance and accuracy.

The second generation of Mitsubishi Rayon's Kuro Kage shafts are the standard graphite option for both models. In the VRS Covert 2.0 Tour, the Kuro Kage Silver 60 graphite, featuring Titanium Nickel fiber in the tip section, creates more stability and lower spin. The VRS Covert 2.0 utilizes the Kuro Kage Black HBP Graphite 50 shaft with a higher balance point, allowing for higher swing speeds without adding shaft length.

Both drivers will be available for pre-order on on Jan. 6, 2013. The VRS Covert 2.0 Tour driver and VRS Covert 2.0 driver will be available on and at select retailers on Jan. 31, 2014 for a suggested retail price of $399 and $299, respectively.

VRS Covert 2.0 Tour Driver Specifications: 8.5-12.5 degrees, RH/LH: R, S, X

VRS Covert 2.0 Driver Specifications: 8.5-12.5 degrees, RH/LH: A, R, S, W

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

November 27, 2013 - 7:58pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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John Solheim and Louise Solheim
Courtesy of Ping Golf
John Solheim celebrated his induction into the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame with his mother, Louise Solheim, who was inducted in 2004.

We're hoping you all are having a great Thanksgiving Week. Someone we know is having a great week is Ping Chairman and CEO John Solheim, who was inducted into the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame on Monday.

Solheim's induction makes the Arizona hall a real family affair. John's father, Ping founder Karsten Solheim, was inducted posthumously in 2000, while his mother, Louise Solheim, who turned 95 in June, was honored in 2004. 

''I am delighted to join my parents in the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame,'' said Solheim, 67. ''In more than a half-century of doing business here, we're proud of the role we've played in helping contribute to the growth of Phoenix and communities around the state. 

''As a family-owned business, we get our greatest satisfaction from creating jobs for the more than 800 employees who make us the success we are today,'' he added. ''And because golf is so important to Arizona's vitality, Ping will always play a key role in sponsoring efforts to promote the game and grow participation at every level.''   

John Solheim was accompanied by his mother at the ceremony, which was held at Gainey Ranch Golf Club in Scottsdale.

He got his start in the family business when he was 13, working alongside his dad on early putter designs in the family garage. He aspired to be an architect, but as the business expanded, he began designing golf clubs and helping Karsten grow the privately held entity into one of the most influential golf companies in the world.    

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''Thinking back to my years working with Karsten, we still run the business with a hands-on approach,'' Solheim said. ''Even though we've grown beyond what Karsten and I could have imagined, we've always focused on the same principles – performance, innovation, and custom fitting – as the foundations for engineering products that make the game easier for golfers of all abilities.''   

From 1961 to 1966, Ping operated out of the family garage north of Phoenix. Since then, the headquarters have been located in North Phoenix, where the company occupies 27 buildings spread over 52 acres. Karsten Manufacturing Corporation and its subsidiaries employ approximately 1,200 people worldwide and conduct business in more than 70 countries.     

Solheim was among four inductees. The others were:

--PGA Professional Shelby Futch, who has owned and operated several golf course properties in the Phoenix area and across the country, as well as a chain of golf retail stores in addition to a successful clubfitting and manufacturing company. While serving as an instructor for the Golf Digest Schools, he founded the world-famous John Jacobs' Golf Schools, and for years has been ranked among golf's top instructors.

--Bill Huffman, a longtime golf writer for The Arizona Republic and then for The East Valley Tribune. Among his other accomplishments, Huffman served as the national president of the Associated Press Sports Editors Association in 1995-96, and was a member of the executive committee of the Golf Writers Association of America from 1996-98.  He is currently the editor-in-chief for the AZ Golf Insider.

--Barbara Simmons, who for many years worked with Arizona courses to incorporate the USGA's Course Rating System after the USGA introduced the Slope rating. She also holds positions on several USGA regional and national committees, and served as president, vice president, treasurer and secretary during a decade on the AWGA Board of Directors.