Golf Buzz

Paramount Country Club
Paramount Country Club
Paramount Country Club, founded by movie mogul Adolph Zukor, entertained the stars of both Broadway and Hollywood.

Paramount Country Club in suburban New York City has reopened its A.W. Tillinghast-designed course after a two-year renovation at the hands of course architect Jim Urbina.

The club was created in 1920 by movie mogul Adolph Zukor on his private retreat 30 miles north of New York City. Zukor, the founder of Paramount Pictures, entertained the stars of both Broadway and Hollywood on the course, which rolls across heavily wooded terrain high above the Hudson River. For years, it was known as Dellwood Country Club, before recently taking on the Paramount name to more strongly link it to its glamorous past.

"The course is fantastic," said PGA head professional Steve Scott. "Jim has created a modern version of years past."

Tillinghast, one of golf’s greatest and most prolific course designers, created a number of other prominent courses in the metropolitan New York area roughly a century ago. They include Winged Foot, Bethpage, Quaker Ridge and Baltusrol.

"In his book 'The Course Beautiful' – which I used as my 'playbook' for Paramount – Tillie said that courses should offer people coming from the city the chance to get into nature, see the wonderful views, and enjoy the outdoors," said Urbina, who has restored a number of prominent older courses. "To do that, the course should be simple, not busy, a place to get away into the open air. Paramount delivers that."

Working off of Tillinghast's original plans and old photographs, Urbina renovated every hole at Paramount. He brought back the flashed-up, organically shaped bunkers for which Tillinghast was famous, and also enlarged greens that had shrunk over the years. He removed numerous trees and some stretches of cart paths to help restore the property’s wide vistas from a century ago.

"When I first came up two years ago, I knew it was all here," said Urbina. "But you had to peek around trees to see it. Now Paramount is back in the spirit of Tillinghast."

The course renovation was part of a multi-million-dollar effort to upgrade many aspects of the private club. Other improvements were made to the clubhouse, public areas, tennis courts, pool, member's cottage and other areas indoors and out.

"Early on, I asked if they understood the historic significance of this golf course," said Urbina. "They absolutely did and wanted to bring it back to Tillinghast's original concept. As a result, the course is more open, more playable, and more fun. That's the foundation, the artistry and the genius of Tillinghast."

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YNN Austin
Klein Klotz of Lake Travis High School was mobbed by his teammates after making his walkoff ace.

Watch the sports highlights on TV for more than a few minutes, and you're likely to see a game-winning home run in baseball, and maybe even a buzzer-beater in basketball. 

But I can pretty much guarantee you've never seen this – a walkoff hole-in-one. Not only that, it was the final stroke of the Texas 5-A high school tournament.

The super shot was struck a few days ago by Klein Klotz, a senior at Lake Travis High School in the Austin suburb of Lakeway, Texas. Lake Travis wrapped up its third straight state championship at Moris Williams Golf Course in Austin, but Klotz was tied for second in the individual standings – one shot behind the state medalist – with two other players.

So the three teed off in sudden death to decide the silver medal. The playoff hole was the 191-yard, par-3 12th. Klein took his cut, the ball soared toward the green, bounced softly – and rolled right into the cup.

The ace made Klotz the state runner-up for the second straight year, and was also the final swing of his high school career. Next fall, he'll join the golf team at Sam Houston State University.

You can see the video replay of his ace right here.

And by the way, the Lake Travis girls also captured their state title.



17th hole at TPC Sawgrass
The Players Championship via Twitter
The famous island green at TPC Sawgrass really is an island, after the course was drenched with five inches of rain.

The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass is set for next week, but Monday's activities at the facility have been curtailed, the PGA Tour announced this afternoon.

The Ponte Vedra Beach area of northern Florida has received more than five inches of rain in the past 36 hours, flooding parts of the course, including the walkway out to the green on the famous par-3 17th hole. The Players Championship's official Twitter account tweeted out the photo shown above, with this caption: ''The 17 #islandhole is officially an island! Good thing the forecast is clear next week! #3days.''

The Monday washout will mark the first time since the Players Championship moved from March to May in 2007 that a full day of tournament week will be lost to the weather.

The decision was made ''to allow the course to drain properly, minimize any damage that would affect the competition and give the course maintenance team as much time as possible to prepare the golf course once the storm conditions subside,'' said the PGA Tour. Several activities planned for Monday have been rescheduled or cancelled, and officials said all fans with Monday tickets can use them on Tuesday. 

Annika Sorenstam
Getty Images
Annika Sorenstam's new tournament for college women, the ANNIKA Intercollegiate, will feature 12 top teams in a high-profile kickoff to the college golf season.

Few people in the world of golf have had a better – and busier – couple of weeks than Annika Sorenstam.

On April 19, she was elected to PGA membership. And now she is creating her own tournament for NCAA Division I women.

The ANNIKA Intercollegiate, as it will be called, will debut Sept. 27-30, 2014, and will feature 12 of the nation's top women's squads in a high-profile kickoff to the college golf season. The 54-hole, stroke-play tournament will be played on the Watson Course at the Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla. Reunion, of course, is also the home base of Sorenstam's ANNIKA Academy.

The highlight of the tournament weekend will be a gala reception in which Sorenstam will present the inaugural ANNIKA Award to the nation's top female collegiate player. The ANNIKA Award is the female equivalent of the Haskins Award, which for 42 years has been given to the most outstanding Division I male golfer. Selection is governed by the Haskins Commission of Columbus, Ga., which will oversee the vote of players, coaches and media for both the Haskins and ANNIKA awards.

''This event offers a fantastic platform to expand my foundation's mission to establish greater playing opportunities for junior and college golfers alike,'' said Sorenstam, the 1991 NCAA Champion and co-player of the year. ''We hold our AJGA invitational on the Watson Course at Reunion every year, so I am excited that many of the girls who competed here as juniors will be able to come back and play with their college teams.''

Sorenstam created the ANNIKA Foundation as a way to teach children the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition, and offer aspiring junior golfers opportunities to pursue their dreams. The foundation has partnered with such organizations as SPARK, Florida Hospital for Children in support of its Healthy 100 Kids initiative and The First Tee in development of the Nine Healthy Habits curriculum for children.

It annually conducts four major golf events for junior girls, including an award-winning AJGA tournament, ANNIKA Invitational at Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla.; the ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills, the first all-girls junior tournament in China; the ANNIKA Invitational in Europe; and the ANNIKA Cup, a team event for the top juniors in Sweden. The Foundation awards SPARK grants to schools, is a financial supporter of Healthy 100 Kids and has endowed an ACE scholarship with the AJGA.  Other key initiatives include ANNIKA Junior Day, the ANNIKA Inspiration Award and scholarships for aspiring Swedish juniors.


Nike Verdana women's golf clubs
Courtesy of Nike Golf
The Nike Verdana set of women's golf clubs is a "total game solution" that includes 11 lightweight clubs that takes distance gapping, trajectory and spin profiles into account.

Designed from the grip down, the new Verdana line is the lightest women's set Nike Golf has ever produced. 

Nike describes the Verdana set as a "total game solution" that includes 11 clubs: a driver, 3-wood, three hybrids, 7-iron through pitching wedge, sand wedge and putter, along with a matching carry bag. This full-set design takes distance gapping, trajectory and spin profiles into account, producing a set engineered just for women.

"The set was designed specifically for female athletes looking to maximize distance and control," said Tom Stites, Nike's director of club product creation. "With this ultralight set, slower swing speeds can now gain more distance without sacrificing control the course demands."

The Verdana driver features a full-sized 460cc head with additional loft for higher trajectory. The 18-degree 3-wood features a low center of gravity in a large-breadth profile for more forgiveness and easier ball striking. 

The hybrids – a 4-hybrid with 24 degrees of loft, a 5-hybrid with 27 degrees of loft and a 6-hybrid with 30-degrees of loft – feature wide soles and deeper iron-like faces with a slight offset. These characteristics, Nike explains, allow more forgiveness from a variety of angles and lies.

The irons and wedges include a wider sole design and larger face profiles to help improve contact. The faces also are of variable thickness, which helps to improve shots even when mis-hit. And the Verdana putter is a classically shaped blade with a 33-inch shaft.

The Nike Verdana carry bag boasts a lightweight ergonomic design for ease of use, even weight distribution and improved comfort. The bag is designed to be used on a cart but includes a stand and dual straps for easy carrying.

The clubs are available in standard and petite (minus 1 inch) lengths, and are available now. They carry a street price of $899.99 per set.

For more information on Nike Golf clubs, visit or see the Nike Golf brand pages on


Slice, slice, baby
Slice, slice, baby by PGA Professional Marty McCurry is funny and helpful.


Some things just speak for themselves... Like this YouTube video entitled, "Slice, slice, baby!"
Marty McCurry, a PGA Professional from Tennessee, put the Vanilla Ice, "Ice, ice, baby!" parody together. If you suffer from slicing the ball, hopefully this video will help.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.