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PGA Junior League
PGA of America
Programs like the PGA Junior League are often attractive to Generation X parents, who want to provide their children with opportunity and include them in the sport.

INDIANAPOLIS – A strong understanding of exactly how each generation was introduced to both life and golf, then applying that to how courses, PGA Professionals and the entire industry talks to those people will help grow the game.

That was the key message from Anna Liotta, who spoke to a large group of PGA Professionals at the PGA 2014 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis Thursday.

Liotta is one of 19 children and grew up in a household of six generations. Her passion for the sport is evident in the name of her dog – “Golfing.” As a child, she dug up golf balls from the frozen dirt of a driving range.

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Liotta outlined four key -- and familiar -- generations, but defined how those generations came to golf and what they typically want from the sport. The result: Try to find out “what makes each generation tick, and what are we doing on the golf course that’s pushing them away.”

Interim PGA President Derek Sprague said Liotta’s perspective on this generational disconnect can help PGA Professionals lure people to the game. “We need to translate,” Sprague said simply.

The Traditionalists, born 1927-1945
A familiar player in his or her 60s and 70s, and entered the game in hard times, so golf was a privilege, a “huge accomplishment,” Liotta said. The golf leaders – such as Arnold Palmer – were legends. And those legends were emulated. They have strong feelings about the tradition of the sport.

Baby Boomers, born 1946-1964
A huge part of the population and golf population, estimated at 80 million born. Liotta calls this group incredibly competitive, based on what they faced in the workplace with so many peers. Golf matched their life well. “They could schmooze and make business contacts,” she said. Golf was status and golf was access. “Baby Boomers weren’t just good,” she added. “They were great.” Liotta cited Jack Nicklaus and Nancy Lopez as player examples. Another interesting thought: This group doesn’t like words that make them sound old. So this group likely is intent on staying competitive on the course.

Generation Xers, born 1965-1977
Now in their late 30s and 40s, this was the first wave of kids of Baby Boomers and Liotta says that shaped their entry to the game as well. Their parents were busier, and they weren’t introduced in the same way to the sport. More generally, this generation was subject to divorced parents and fending for themselves after school, Liotta said. Because of that, they look for ways to include their families when they play golf. They want their children to be seen, heard on the course – and programs like First Tee and PGA Junior League golf are crucial to this group, she said. Players in this generation – Tiger Woods, for example – started enjoying rock-star status.

Millennials, born 1978-1999
A group larger than the Gen Xers at 76 million, this generation is represented by players such as Rory McIlroy and Michelle Wie. They are global athletes (see this Rory example), and they share everything (see this Wie example). Liotta said these players are sometimes “mulligans”, a later generation of kids to Boomer parents, shaping their outlook and access. Because the parents were further along in their careers, and maybe had the benefits of a first crack at parenting, they are far more involved. On the golf course, this is a group that wants to be seen as athletes, and they want inclusion because they want to share all experiences with everybody. Also competitive, and perhaps because of its size, Liotta calls this group a hot target for the growth of the game.

November 20, 2014 - 10:19am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Justin Rose
After seeing Rory McIlroy's incredible leg workout on Wednesday, Justin Rose decided to share his own leg workout with the world -- to tease McIlroy.

Friends like to give each other a hard time. It's what being friends is all about, isn't it?

Well, top golfers who are also great friends are no exception. The only difference is that when they bust chops, it's out there for the whole world to see thanks to social media.

In some cases, a player will post something and it seems he's almost begging a friend to call him out.

That's precisely what happened yesterday.

My colleague, John Holmes, blogged last night about world No. 1 Rory McIlroy lifting a ridiculous amount of weight. You can see Rory's initial tweet here:

Very impressive and a nice inside look for fans on just how committed McIlroy is to fine-tuning his body off the course.

That said, it was only a matter of time before a friend chimed in to bust chops.

Enter Justin Rose, who posted his own leg workout to Instagram taking a playful jab at McIlroy (and probably envious of McIlroy's lifting ability):


@rorymcilroy I'll see your 400lbs and raise you 10! #Poker #GoBigOrGoHome

A photo posted by Justin Rose (@justinprose99) on

Love the note on Rose's post too: "@rorymcilroy I'll see your 400lbs and raise you 10! #Poker #GoBigOrGoHome" 

Great stuff. 

Rory McIlroy lifting weights
Rory McIlroy via Twitter
Rory McIlroy tried to get a leg up on his opponents in his leg workout in Dubai.
One of the reasons that Rory McIlroy has shot up into the golf stratosphere in recent years is because he's become downright prodigious off the tee. In the PGA Tour season that ended a few weeks ago, the guy who used to be called "Wee Mac" finished third in driving distance at (310.5 yards per drive) – behind only Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson.
So how does McIlroy mash so mightily? Well, he gave us a pretty serious clue today, when he tweeted out a couple photos of his workout ahead of the European Tour's DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
I'm not sure how much weight is on that bar, but I do know this – McIlroy has embraced physical fitness with Tiger-like intensity, and it's clearly paying off for him, seeing as how he's become the world No. 1, captured two straight majors and clinched the Race to Dubai money title in the last few months alone. Competitors, take note.
November 19, 2014 - 9:11am
mark.aumann's picture
Pete Dye
Blake Crosby/Ford Plantation
Legendary course architect Pete Dye surveys his redesigned Ford Plantation Golf Club.

If not for a fortunate military transfer, Pete Dye might have stayed an insurance agent and amateur golfer. And golfers worldwide wouldn't have had the pleasure of playing some of Dye's most diabolical course designs.

But while stationed at North Carolina's Fort Bragg during World War II, Dye not only played regularly at Pinehurst No. 2, he met Donald Ross, the father of American golf architecture. That relationship eventually led Dye to switch careers in his mid-30s. And razor-sharp -- and sharp-witted -- at 88, Pete Dye is still designing golf courses, more than 80 at last count.

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We recently sat down with Pete at his newly redesigned Ford Plantation Golf Club in Richmond Hill, Ga., to see if he'd share anecdotes about some of his more famous courses, and how they came about:

Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head

"I built Harbour Town on a real shoestring. We finally got the course done, and I can remember it was in August and Joe Dey, who was then with the PGA of America, called me and said, 'I hope you have all the sand in the bunkers.' I thought they were talking about having the tournament at Sea Pines in November. I said, 'Well, OK. I'm sure the sand will be in.' But there wasn't any sand in any of them. I sent my wife, Alice, out to finish the 13th hole with a crew and a bulldozer.

"But the day the tournament started, I was on the 13th hole. It was real early and I was out there with a crew, trying to put the sand in. The first guy was coming down the fairway just as we finished. So I walked behind him and two men were standing behind the green and said, 'Isn't this a lovely hole that Jack Nicklaus built.'

"I was standing behind them, all dirty from raking the bunkers, and said, 'Jack Nicklaus has never seen this hole. A lovely young lady designed it.' I walked away, and heard one guy say to the other, 'There goes an early-morning drunk for you.' "

Whistling Straits, host of the 2015 PGA Championship

"Herbert Kohler came down to Oak Tree in Oklahoma and got me to go back and look at the land. I could tell that he'd never played golf. Finally, he convinced me to build the course. I started out and the next thing I knew, he had a national women's open scheduled.

WHISTLING STRAITS: Take a course tour | Home of the 2015 PGA Championship

"He wanted to put the 17th green about a mile and a half away from the 18th tee. And I kept saying, 'Mr. Kohler, you can't do that.' So he said, 'I'll be down there at 5 o'clock.' Well, he didn't show up, so I grabbed the equipment, knocked down all the trees and put the green where I thought it should be and put everything on fire. And I thought, 'The best thing I can do is get the hell out of here because he's going to have a heart attack.'

"He came there and saw the smoke and everything burning. He called me and told me to get back there, because he was going to kill me. He did everything but kill me, but I finished the golf course. The next thing I knew, he wanted me to build two more courses. And it's been successful. Every time I go back, he wants to know what I'm doing -- and I never tell him."

Ford Plantation Golf Club, Richmond Hill, Ga.

"When I first built this golf course, it was about 30 years ago. Anyhow, I thought I knew everything, but I didn't know anything. They called me back and I told them it'd take five or six million dollars to fix it back up. Tim Liddy was working with me and he went through all the processes to get the permits, and then he put a few bunkers out where the high handicap players would hit.

COURSE REVIEW: Ford Plantation Golf Club

"I must have made 30 or 40 trips down here, and we finally got the golf course worked out. We changed a few holes. I remember moving No. 1 way out to the right, and we cleaned up the whole area so you can see the water. We put in all new greens and bunkers, and added new irrigation.

"But it's amazing to me, when I come here to see this course, you play Nos. 1 through 9 and it's in a wooded area. Then bang, you're out in the open. There's only four trees out there someplace on the outward nine."

Casa de Campo Resort, Dominican Republic

"They wanted me to build a course in Santo Domingo. But there was no land there. I said, 'Do you own anything else?' They said, 'Yes, but nobody would go there.' They owned about 500,000 acres about 50 miles from Santo Domingo, and I thought, 'Well, there's got to be somewhere in there to put a golf course.'

"But the road stopped at this river, and it took all day to get out there. They were going to build an industrial park right on the ocean, and I said to them, 'This is where the golf course ought to go.'

"Now there's five golf courses out there, 3,500 homes worth an average of two to three million dollars, and people will come from Italy and France to stay there. Since I started down there, the whole country's tourism has grown. Now there's a four-lane highway that'll get you there in 45 minutes."

November 19, 2014 - 8:34am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Henrik Stenson
Henrik Stenson is quite the showman. He put a little spin on his recreation of Rory McIlroy's tournament-winning birdie putt from 2012.

The 2013-14 European Tour season wraps up this week with the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

Early this week, Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose went out on the Earth Course at the Jumeirah Golf Estates for a unique challenge.

All three players have hit memorable shots in the tournament -- Stenson a three-wood on the par-5 closing hole that set up a tap-in eagle to win the tournament and the Race to Dubai in 2013; McIlroy a 12-foot birdie putt to win the event in 2012; and Rose a monstrous putt on the final hole that -- though it didn't drop -- was amazing.

In the video below, the players take turns recreating the memorable shots of the two others.

We have to say, while McIlroy's recreation of Stenson's fairway wood was incredibly impressive, Stenson is the winner of the challenge for the unique spin on recreating McIlroy's winning putt. How good was that?

Henrik Stenson
Getty Images
Henrik Stenson is defending his DP World Tour Championship crown in Dubai this week.
Here's a look at the tournaments on tap this week (and here are the TV times):
PGA Tour: Off this week
Next event: Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Jan. 9-12, 2015, at Kapalua Resort in Kapalua, Hawaii 
European Tour: DP World Tour Championship
Site: Dubai, United Arab Emirates 
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday 
Course: Jumeirah Golf Estates, Earth Course (7,675 yards, par 72) 
Purse: $8 million. Winner's share: $1,333,300 
Last year: Sweden's Henrik Stenson won the season-ending event to become the first player to sweep the PGA Tour's FedExCup and European Tour's Race to Dubai. 
Last week: American Brooks Koepka won the Turkish Airlines Open for his first European Tour title, beating England's Ian Poulter by a stroke. 
Notes: Top-ranked Rory McIlroy clinched the Race to Dubai title on Sunday when none of his closest pursuers won in Turkey, earning $1.25 million. He also won the season title in 2012, birdieing the final five holes to win the finale. McIlroy is making his first start since the Dunhill Links last month. He won the British Open in July and PGA Championship in August. ... The field is limited to the top 60 in the money-based Race to Dubai standings. 
PGA Tour of AustralAsia: BetEasy Australian Masters
Site: Melbourne, Australia 
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday 
Course: Metropolitan Golf Club (7,682 yards, par 71) 
Purse: $875,000. Winner's share: $157,500 
Last year: Australia's Adam Scott successfully defended his title, beating American Matt Kuchar by two strokes at Royal Melbourne. Scott won at Kingston Heath in 2012. 
Last week: Australia's Anthony Brown won the NSW Open, topping New Zealand's Josh Geary with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff. 
Notes: Scott won the Colonial in Texas in May for his 11th PGA Tour title. ... Jarrod Lyle is in the field. Last year, he returned to play in the event following a 20-month layoff because of a recurrence of leukemia. He played two tour events last month. ... The Australian Open is next week at The Australian in Sydney. 
LPGA Tour: CME Group Tour Championship
Site: Naples, Florida 
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday 
Course: Ritz Carlton Golf Resort, Tiburon Course (6,540 yards, par 72) 
Purse: $2 million. Winner's share: $500,000 
Last year: China's Shanshan Feng won the season-ending event. She closed with a 6-under 66 for a one-stroke victory over Gerina Piller. 
Last week: Christina Kim won the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico for her first LPGA Tour victory in nine years. She beat Feng on the second hole off a playoff after losing a five-stroke lead in the final round. 
Notes: The winner of the inaugural Race to the CME Globe will earn $1 million. Points leader Stacy Lewis, second-place Inbee Park and third-place Lydia Ko are in position to win the bonus with a tournament victory no matter where the other players finish. No. 4 Michelle Wie, No. 5 So Yeon Ryu, No. 6 Feng, No. 7 Anna Nordqvist, No. 8 Chella Choi and No. 9 Karrie Webb also have a chance to take the season title with a victory. ... The second-ranked Lewis leads the Vare Trophy and Rolex Player of the Year standings and tops the money list. The top-ranked Park is second in all three races – 0.095 behind in scoring average for the Vare Trophy, three points back for Player of the Year and $292,849 behind on the money list. They share the tour victory lead with three. 
Japan Golf Tour: Dunlop Phoenix
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday
Course: Phoenix Country Club
Site: Miyazaki, Japan
Asian Tour: Manila Masters
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday
Course: Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club
Site: Manila, Philippines
Champions Tour: National Qualifying Tournament
Schedule: Monday-Friday
Course: Orange County National, Panther Lake Golf Course
Site: Orlando, Florida
Ladies European Tour: Xiamen International Ladies Open
Schedule: Friday-Sunday
Course: Xiamen Orient Golf Country Club
Site: Xiamen, China
Japan LPGA Tour: Daio Paper Elleair Open
Schedule: Friday-Sunday
Course: Elleair Golf Club
Site: Ehime, Japan