Golf Buzz

 

NEW YORK -- Americans are spending an average of 500 to 1,400 more hours at the office per year than their parents did. Most people have seen time for leisure activities shrink to two hours per day, maximum. But even a two-hour window of free time can be a chance to play nine holes of golf. In its June 2013 issue, Golf Digest, the bible of the avid golfer, is launching a campaign to support and encourage more nine-hole rounds. Many golfers can play nine holes even when they are busy—and a little golf is always better than no golf at all. 
 
With promotional support from the United States Golf Association and the PGA of America, Golf Digest will create a list of nine-hole-friendly golf courses that will appear at golfdigest.com. The Time for Nine list comprises courses that allow and promote nine-hole play for men, women, juniors and families on layouts that make it easy to do so. Golfers are encouraged to submit qualifying courses to editors@golfdigest.com or 9isfine@pga.com or Timefor9@usga.org and the list will be published at golfdigest.com. 
 
“We think golfers will play a whole lot more if they join the growing number of golfers who have come to love nine-hole rounds,” says Golf Digest Chairman & Editor-in-Chief Jerry Tarde. “The real message is, don’t let the inability to play 18 pull the game away from you. Eighteen is great. But nine is fine.”
 
In addition to serving as President of the PGA of America, Ted Bishop is the general manager and PGA director of golf at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin, Ind. Thus, he understands the time constraints that many people are under and is a proponent of nine-hole rounds, both as an industry leader and a golf-facility operator.
 
“We are very pleased to support Golf Digest and the ‘Time for Nine’ initiative,” says Bishop. “Golf can be experienced in many different ways, and I’m proud that PGA Professionals across the country are encouraging people to have fun by playing nine holes. This new effort shows the commitment that Golf Digest has for the long-term well-being of the game, and I am confident that PGA Professionals will embrace it.”      
   
The USGA’s support for the “Time for Nine” campaign is part of a multifaceted program that was announced in February to identify challenges and solutions regarding pace-of-play issues in the game of golf. This USGA-led set of initiatives includes: an analysis of key factors known to influence pace of play; the development of a pace-of-play model based on quantifiable data; improvements to the USGA Pace Rating System; on-site assistance at golf courses to help managers assess and improve pace of play; and the creation of player-education programs.  
 
“Five-hour plus rounds of golf are incompatible with the compressed time that many of us have available for recreational activities,” said USGA President Glen D. Nager. “Time for Nine is a fun and creative start to promoting the nine-hole round of golf as a complete and enjoyable experience that is consistent with the traditions of playing the game.”
According to the USGA, nine-hole rounds of golf are fully compatible with both the Rules of Golf and the USGA Handicap System.  For more information on how to calculate a nine-hole handicap, visit www.usga.org/play9.
 
About Golf Digest
Golf Digest, the world’s foremost authority on how to play, what to play and where to play golf is part of Golf Digest Companies and is published by Condé Nast. Condé Nast is home to some of the world’s most celebrated media brands. In the United States, Condé Nast publishes 18 consumer magazines, four business-to-business publications, 27 websites, and more than 50 apps for mobile and tablet devices, all of which define excellence in their categories. The company also owns Fairchild Fashion Media (FFM), whose portfolio of brands serves as the leading source of news and analysis for the global fashion community. Condé Nast has won more National Magazine Awards over the past ten years than all of its competitors combined.  For more information, visit condenast.com or follow us on Twitter @CondeNastCorp.
 
About the USGA
The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, Equipment Standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA’s working jurisdiction comprises the United States, its territories and Mexico.
 
The USGA is a global leader in the development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and funds an ongoing “For the Good of the Game” charitable giving program. Additionally, the USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents in more than 50 countries.
For more information about the USGA, visit www.usga.org.
 
About the PGA of America
Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has maintained a twofold mission: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, The PGA enables its professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry. By creating and delivering world-class championships and innovative programs, The PGA of America elevates the public’s interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. As The PGA nears its centennial, the PGA brand represents the very best in golf.
April 22, 2013 - 10:56am
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John Holmes
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Dustin Johnson
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Dustin Johnson played the Ballantine's Championship in 2011, while Zach Johnson was scheduled to make his first visit.

Dustin Johnson and Zach Johnson had been scheduled to play in this week's Ballantine's Championship, which is set to return as usual to Incheon, South Korea, near Seoul. But early this morning, event organizers announced that the two PGA Tour stars had decided to stay home.

"They have reached this decision following perceived unrest on the Korean peninsula," the tournament said in a statement, reiterating that the event would proceed on schedule. "Ballantine's has been kept fully up to date on relevant issues and the European Tour has also been liaising with key decision makers, including the Foreign Office, who have not warned of any increased risk to those travelling to or within the country."

Tensions have risen in that part of Asia in recent weeks after the United Nations imposed further sanctions on North Korea for planning to go ahead with tests involving its nuclear program and its rocket program.

On Sunday, a South Korean news agency reported that North Korea had moved short-range missile launchers to its east coast, apparently indicating it was pushing ahead with preparations for a test launch, according to Reuters.

It would be "a stupid idea" to play at Ballantine's Championship, Spanish star Alvaro Quiros said earlier this month, announcing the change in his plans.

"I'm not going to play in Korea," the six-time European Tour winner said at the time. "I don't think it's a good moment to go there – it would be a stupid idea with the way things are. I don't want to mess with my life just to play in a golf tournament."

Dustin Johnson played the Ballantine’s in 2011 but missed last year with a back injury. Zach Johnson would have been playing his first pro event in Asia.

As things stand now, world No. 7 Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa will be the highest-ranked player in the field. Former PGA Champion Y.E. Yang, 1999 British Open winner Paul Lawrie and former European Ryder Cup player Paul Casey are also still scheduled to play.

 

April 20, 2013 - 8:45pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Poppy Hills Golf Course
Courtesy of Poppy Hills Golf Course
Work is already well under way on the third hole at Poppy Hills.

Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif., has begun an extensive makeover under the direction of the Robert Trent Jones II architectural firm. Jones designed the course – perhaps best known as part of the rotation for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am from 1991-2009 – almost 30 years ago.

Jones is working closely with the Northern California Golf Association, which owns the course, to bring it up to modern standards, improve its playability and help it conserve water. 

"The renovation will also help the golf course blend more naturally into the site rather than appearing to sit on top of the land," said RTJ II Chief Design Officer Bruce Charlton. As an example, he notes that new areas of pine straw combined with sand will bring to mind the visual appeal of such courses such as Pinehurst No. and Pine Valley.

The yearlong makeover will reduce the area of irrigated turf by 14.5 acres while simultaneously lengthening the course from 6,857 to more than 7,000 yards – a modern standard for championships, which the NCGA hopes to attract. The course also will go from its current par-72 configuration to a par 71.

As part of the refurbishment, all the teeboxes will be rebuilt and the bunkers completely repositioned and renovated to make the sand more uniformly playable. The fairways will be widened and the angles of many of its doglegs softened, and the green complexes will be remade with softer putting surface contours to accommodate faster green speeds. The hollows and slopes around the greens also will be reconstructed to serve as either a defense or an aid to players.

In addition, the entire course will be sandcapped to play firmer and faster and to improve drainage. Naturalized sandy areas that tie into the surrounding Monterey Pine forest will be added, and the cart paths will be realigned to be less obtrusive.

Finally, the yardages on many holes will be altered to lend more flexibility for daily play, to provide a wider range of club selection and to enhance tournament set-up. A natural creek buried during original construction will be restored and will serve as a hazard on the ninth hole, and a forest management program will be developed to allow more sunlight to improve turf health.

The course is scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2014.

 

April 19, 2013 - 8:44pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade Daddy Long Legs putter
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The TaylorMade Daddy Long Legs putter contains 16 different pieces made of eight different materials. It features a PureRoll face insert, a white leading edge and a single black alignment line.

One reason golfers miss putts is because they can't keep their putter completely steady and on line throughout their stroke. One way TaylorMade is trying to solve that problem is by counterbalancing – adding weight to the grip end to counter the weight of the clubhead. 

"We started researching ways to keep the head from wavering from the intended swing path during the stroke," said Brian Bazzel, TaylorMade's product category director for putters and wedges. "We recognized that if we could make it easier to swing the putterhead on-path, we could help players roll the ball down their intended line. Counterbalance helps solve that problem."

As a result, both the new Daddy Long Legs mallet and the forthcoming Spider Blade are counterbalanced.

Adding weight to the grip end changes how the putter behaves when the golfer swings it. The grip on these new putters weighs in at 130 grams, more twice the normal weight of a grip. And properly adding that weight increases the Moment of Inertia (MOI, essentially a measure of stability) of the entire club, which makes it easier to keep the head on path during the stroke. 

In fact, says TaylorMade, counterbalancing these putters makes them 60 percent more stable than a putter that isn't counterbalanced.

To get the most out of counterbalancing, you should keep about three inches of the top end of the grip above your top hand when you assume your normal stance, posture and grip, says TaylorMade. To make that possible, both the Daddy Long Legs and the Spider Blade come in two lengths: 38 inches (for players who favor a 35-inch length) and 35 inches (for players who favor a 33-inch length). Players who favor a 34-inch length putter could select either longer length, the company says.

Speaking of MOI, the Daddy Long Legs features the highest MOI of any putter TaylorMade has ever made, measuring in at 8500+ MOI. By contrast, the original TaylorMade Spider and Ghost Spider boast an MOI measurement of 6800, with the Ghost Spider S coming in at 6038 and the Itsy Bitsy Spider measuring 5375 MOI.

Blade putters, because of their rectangular design, have a lower MOI, but counterbalancing can help increase their stability as well. The Spider Blade has a 5200 MOI measurement, says TaylorMade.

"The higher the head's MOI, the more resistant it is to twisting on off-center hits, helping you roll the ball your desired distance, and on your desired line, on mis-hits," said Bazzel. "The exceptionally high MOI of the Daddy Long Legs and Spider Blade heads makes them a terrific choice for golfers seeking forgiveness in a putter."

To elevate the MOI, the head of the Daddy Long Legs consists of 16 different pieces made of eight different materials – stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum, titanium, tungsten, polycarbonate, Surlyn and TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane). The Surlyn is included in the PureRoll face insert, which is designed for enhanced feel. In addition, the Daddy Long Legs features a white leading edge and a single black alignment line running perpendicular to the face to make aiming easier, along with a heel-mounted, one-bend steel shaft.

It is available at retail now, with a suggested retail price of $199. 

The Spider Blade's head construction consists of 11 parts made of eight materials – 304 stainless steel, 17-4 stainless steel, aluminum, 3M Foam, tungsten, polycarbonate, Surlyn and TPU. It will be available at retail on June 1, also with a suggested retail price of $199.

 

April 18, 2013 - 6:16pm
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John Holmes
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James Driscoll
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James Driscoll carded four birdies, worth $4,000 to his fundraising efforts for the victims of the Boston bombing.

PGA Tour player James Driscoll grew up in the Boston suburb of Brookline, Mass., and lives in downtown Boston – about two blocks from where the twin bombs went off during the Boston Marathon.

Driscoll wasn't home on Monday; he was practicing down in Florida. He had thought about going home for the Patrriots’ Day festivities, but decided not to.

And now he's raising money for those affected by the bombing. Driscoll has pledged $1,000 for each birdie he makes this week in the RBC Heritage and at the Zurich Classic next week.

He got off to a nice start on Thursday, carding four birdies in an opening round of 3-over 74.

"I'll be happy to write a big check for this," he said on Thursday at Hilton Head. 

"It was pretty traumatic a day or two after," Driscoll said. "A lot of my friends are still shaken up by it. It really hits home when it's that close to where you live." 

The money he raises will go to the Boston One Fund, an organization set up by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino. 

Driscoll says he appreciates the support that people everywhere are showing for Boston and its citizens, and he has no doubt the city will recover. 

"Boston people are strong and they're for sure going to bounce back," he said. 

He hasn't asked his fellow PGA Tour players for donations, just to help get the message out about raising funds. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

 

April 17, 2013 - 8:36pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Antigua summer 2013 collection
Courtesy of Antigua
Antigua's Summer Performance Golf Collection for men and women continues the bolder and brighter color stories introduced this spring, and uses these trending pop colors as subtle details in the summer line-up.

If you're looking to put some pop into your golf wardrobe this summer, Antigua might have just the clothes for you.

The Arizona-based company's Summer Performance Golf Collection for men and women continues the bolder and brighter color stories introduced this spring, and uses these trending pop colors as subtle details in the summer line-up.

"For Summer 2013, the focus of pop accent colors on less conspicuous fabrications throughout the collections shows off the styling and design features of the individual garments," said Sean Gregg, director of product development for Antigua. 

This season, Antigua developed new performance fabrics with finer yarns to create ultra-lightweight knits in textures and in flat jerseys and interlocks that update the appearance of the traditional polo. And by using the finest denier yarns available, the company has achieved super-soft, super-lightweight fabrics that provide the same coverage as other polyknits but with faster wicking, more breathability and less restriction in movement. 

The men's color palette includes such creatively named hues as Lapis, Margarita, Apple, Melon, Phlox and Zest, with Light Melon, Kiss, Pansy, Fountain, Margarita and Light Apple in the women's line. All the summer clothes incorporate Antigua's proprietary Desert Dry and Desert Dry Xtra-Lite moisture management technology to keep golfers as cool and dry as they are colorful.

In the men's collection, Antigua has added a pair of hybrid pullovers, known as Style Flare and Style Omega, which have the design lines of mid- to lightweight outerwear while utilizing the short-sleeve styling found on performance polos. They also feature a ¼-zip placket with a stand-up collar. The Style Flare comes in neutral colors such as Smoke, White, Black, Silver and Steel, and feature pop color contrast stitch detail. Style Omega features pop color contrast on the shoulder and polyester jacquard side insets.

Other new men's styles include the Style Balance and the Romeo. The Balance is a moisture management jersey polo with contrast printed engineered stripes, while the Romeo two-color jacquard polo comes in the entire range of this season's colors.

New styles for women include Style Gem, a short-sleeve geometric pattern jacquard polo with a five-button placket, and Style Reflect, a striped shortsleeve polo with pop color contrast underarm and on the cover stitch detail at the princess seams. In addition, the Style Escape is a lightweight interlock polo with an open V-neck placket and pop color contrast cut and sew color block details. 

Two new sleeveless polo shirts join the women's collection for summer. The Jive pique sleeveless polo has a dyed-to-match flat knit collar and contrast piping detail. And for a blast of color, the Utopia sleeveless polo comes in every color of the women's color palette, and features a solid pop color on the front and a white jacquard contrast back panel that wraps around the shoulder.