Golf Buzz

Barton Creek Resort
Courtesy of Barton Creek Resort
The Barton Creek Resort in Austin, Texas, is the biggest of the five resorts that Omni is buying from KSL.

Omni Hotels & Resorts has reached an agreement to buy five well-known golf resorts from KSL Capital Partners, LLC, the two companies have announced.

The resorts are Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin; La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, Calif.; Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif; The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C.; and The Homestead in Hot Springs, Va.

The deal adds 12 golf courses along with nearly 2,400 rooms, more than 30 restaurants, three water parks, a ski facility and five spas to Omni's Resort Collection of nearly 60 luxury hotel complexes.

Omni, which is based in Irving, Texas, did not disclose a purchase price, but The Dallas Morning News said this is Omni's biggest acquisition since billionaire Robert Rowling's TRT Holdings bought Omni in 1996. Omni plans to rebrand its new properties on July 1.

''Each of these properties is unique in its own right — rich in heritage and distinctive in their elegance and charm. We would be fortunate to own and operate any single one of these celebrated resorts,'' said Omni President Mike Deitemeyer. ''By purchasing all five of these properties, Omni has significantly enhanced our growing Resort Collection in terms of scope, scale and prestige.''

The new acquisitions join an Omni golf portfolio that includes Omni Tucson National in Arizona, Omni Championsgate in Orlando, Omni Amelia Island Plantation near Jacksonville, and Omni Interlocken Resort & Golf Club near Denver. 

 

 

 

June 13, 2013 - 6:25pm
john.holmes's picture
16th hole at Merion
Courtesy of Linda Hartough
Linda Hartough's depiction of the 16th hole at Merion is the 24th painting in her annual U.S. Open series.

Every year, golf-landscape artist Linda Hartough creates a painting of a prominent hole at that year’s U.S. Open venue. This year's creation features the 16th hole at Merion Golf Club.

"The rest of the course looked wonderful in the spring air, and it was really hard to limit the choice to one hole," said Hartough of her decision to paint the 16th hole. "But the sight of the Quarry Hole ablaze with yellow-flowered scotch broom did it for me."

This is the 24th painting in Hartough’s U.S. Open series, which is commissioned by the U.S. Golf Association. Offered in a limited edition of 850 prints and an additional 85 artist proofs, each is signed and numbered by the artist.

In this rendering, Hartough captures Merion on a beautiful spring day. The panorama invites inspection of the dramatic undulations, stone ledges and elevations marking the difficult approach shot to the two-tiered green.

"Linda has done a wonderful job capturing the drama of Merion's famous Quarry Hole -- the 16th," said Merion PGA Head Professional Scott Nye. "The vibrant yellow scotch broom in the quarry and the famous orange wickers provide eye-catching pop that brings out the scenic beauty of the hole.

"The long afternoon shadows across the fairway coupled with the clubhouse in the lower left remind golfers that they are truly fortunate to walk where the legends of the game have played over 100 years of championship golf at Merion," he added. "The pencil sketch depicts the original farmhouse and barn, reminding players that the land was a farm long before Hugh Wilson's gem was created."

Hartough painted the first of her U.S. Open series in 1990, when Hale Irwin won at Medinah Country Club. In 1984, Augusta National commissioned her to paint its famous 13th hole, an event that propelled her toward specialization as a golf-landscape painter. Since then, her work has achieved a distinguished status, displayed in the permanent collections of such legendary clubs as Augusta National, Laurel Valley, Pinehurst and Pine Valley, as well as in the personal collections of such golf notables as Jack Nicklaus and Raymond Floyd.

For more information and to buy your print, visit www.hartough.com.

 

June 13, 2013 - 12:57pm
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy
@offtheballNT on Twitter
Just a couple of past U.S. Open champions having some fun

At every major championship, there is a champions dinner where past champions get together for a group photo, a big meal and a lot of laughs (or so I'm told - curiously, I've never been invited.)

The atmosphere is almost always looser than the dress code, as was brilliantly illustrated by a photo now making the rounds on the Internet - one of Tiger Woods having some fun at the expense of Rory McIlroy (or rather, Rory's ear.)

Great find by @offtheballNT for sharing one of the more fun moments from the U.S. Open at Merion. 

You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim_10

June 13, 2013 - 9:35am
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
While We're Young
The USGA
The USGA's "While We're Young" uses humor to take on a serious golf challenge
Kudos to the USGA for tackling one of golf's most frustrating challenges - slow play.  Their "While We're Young" campaign is not only clever and fun, it has enough high profile cameos to give it a real potential for evangelizing an important message. 
 
Everyone has theories as to why it's a problem and how best to solve it. I read one account that compared it to traffic. It's always the other guy's fault. Maybe every other car is at fault. Certainly not you (or me). Regardless, I like that analogy. It certainly won't be a miracle cure - but it's a step.  That step is important.
 
For those that haven't seen them, here they are.  And let's all agree to be more conscientious about pace of play the next time we get out.  You'll appreciate it from the group ahead of you. And I promise, the group behind you will appreciate it too. 

You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim_10
Rickie Fowler paint-splattered gear from Cobra Puma
Courtesy of Cobra Golf
Rickie Fowler himself created the the paint-splattered pattern on these new limited-edition cap, belt and shoes from Cobra and Puma.

We see plenty of professional golfers wearing special clothes for special events these days, but we saw something new from Rickie Fowler today.

The Shaggy One showed up for his Wednesday U.S. Open practice session at Merion in all white – mostly. His cap, belt and shoes carried a paint-splattered look, as if he'd stumbled into one of those Jackson Pollock drip paintings (that are worth millions but I swear look like you or I could make them. OK, the art critic's corner is closed; let's get back to golf…)

Specifically, Cobra Golf tells us, Fowler replaced his usual Puma Monoline cap with a limited-edition Paint Splatter Cobra 110 Snapback cap, and wore a Paint Splatter Cobra Fitted Belt and Paint Splatter Puma Faas Lite shoes. While obviously not for everyone, the splatter look works, to me, because it is an accent and not the dominant visual feature.

But the cool part is the way the splatter designs were created. Fowler himself took golf balls covered with different colors of paint and chipped them at blank canvases. White hats were placed between him and the canvases, so the paint splattered all over them as he hit the balls. The splatter patterns that Fowler created are used on these products – as well as on the shafts and headcovers of some of Cobra's AMP Cell clubs earlier this year.

Rickie's creations are now available to the public in limited quanities. You can get more info on them and order yours at www.cobra.com and shop.puma.com.

 

Hao-Tong Li (left) and Xin-Jun Zhang
Courtesy of Nike Golf
Hao-Tong Li (left) and Xin-Jun Zhang will represent Nike golf in clubs, ball, footwear, glove, apparel, headwear and accessories.

It's not on the level of signing Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy, but Nike Golf has taken a potentially big step in the world of golf sponsorships. The company announced Monday that it has signed its first head-to-toe endorsement deals with two players from China who aren't yet known around the globe.

Hao-Tong Li, age 18, and Xin-Jun Zhang, 26, have signed multi-year agreements and will represent the Swoosh in clubs, ball, footwear, glove, apparel, headwear and accessories.

Li, from the Hunan Province, turned professional in 2011 at age 16. As an amateur, he won nine gold medals and six silver medals in the Asian Games in various cities in China. Before turning pro, he tied for 21st in the 2011 Nanshan Masters on the OneAsia Tour, and was named Best Amateur Player. 

He also represented the Chinese National Team as an amateur in 2010 and 2011.  More recently, he tied for 39th in this 2012 Australian PGA Championship and tied for fifth in the 2013 New Zealand PGA Championship on the PGA Tour of AustralAsia. He has won $6,664 by making two cuts in five starts on the 2013 OneAsia Tour.

From the Shanxi Province, Zhang turned professional in 2010 at 23. In 2007, he was selected to the Chinese National Team for several international tournaments. He won two gold medals and one silver medal in Chinese Professional Tournaments in 2011 and 2012. He also tied for 13th in the 2011 HSBC Champions in Shanghai, an event won by Martin Kaymer.

''We are excited to welcome these two young and talented athletes to the Nike Golf family,'' said Mark Thaxton, Global Director of Sports Marketing Operations at Nike Golf. ''Hao-Tong and Xin-Jun are our first head-to-toe athletes in China and they will make great additions to our stable of athletes at a global level.'' 

Nike's siging of these two players reminds me a bit of Major League Baseball teams signing amateur teenagers from the Dominican Republic or Taiwan in that you're often betting on potential. But it seems more likely every year that the next wave of raising golf stars will emerge from Asia, and these deals help Nike show those young players that the Swoosh is serious about helping to cultivate their talent. And signing a couple of the higher-profile players in China sure can help Nike broaden its exposure over there.

And speaking of young Chinese golfers, Guan Tianlang remains an amateur unbeholden to any specific equipment company. During his foray in the United States this year, he's been playing a TaylorMade R1 driver, a Callaway X Hot 3-wood and two X Hot hybrids, Nike Pro combo irons, Scratch wedges, an Odyssey White Hot Pro #7 putter, and a Callaway HEX Black ball.