Golf Buzz

November 22, 2012 - 9:18pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Sara 'No H' Brown's Thanksgiving spread
Sara 'No H' Brown via Twitter
Sara 'No H' Brown and her pals produced an awe-inspiring spread. Not surprisingly, her final Twitter hashtag was : #CantMove

In our house, we do Thanksgiving a little different than most. And by that, I mean we eat Thanksgiving dinner at dinner time.

This is mainly because we know that if we dined at mid-day, we’d end up eating all day long and would pack on a few thousand more calories than we need to. By eating in the evening, we get the full Thanksigving experience, and then when the inevitable tryptophan coma kicks in, we can just call it a day and fall into bed.

Also, my wife prefers to curse at her beloved Cowboys while she’s cooking instead of while she’s eating. And boy, you shoulda heard her in the first half …

Anyway, while I was shielding my eyes from the horror unfolding at Jerry World, I took a look at social media to see how the world of golf was commemorating Thanksgiving. The short answer is: a lot of heartfelt, 140-character declarations of thanks, and even more pictures of food.

I’ve collected some of the best Turkey Day photos from some of golf’s most prominent players -- from Arron Oberholser to Paula Creamer to Ben Crane to Kevin Streelman -- and put them into a photo gallery. You can see it here.

We’re thankful that you chose to drop by PGA.com today, and we wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving.

November 22, 2012 - 1:59am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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golfers
The PGA of America
Issues of interest to the golf industry ranging from immigration reform to environmental regulations could be addressed by Congress in the coming months, says GCSAA consultant Robert Helland.

What does the recent national election mean for the golf industry? Robert Helland, an adviser with the law firm Reed Smith and lobbyist for the Golf Course Superintents Association of America, recently offered his analysis to the GCSAA.

With the Democrats keeping control of the Presidency and the Senate, and the Republicans remaining in control of the House of Representatives, members of both parties are talking about finding common ground on the fiscal cliff and other major financial issues. That makes it more likely that a compromise on spending and taxation matters will occur by the end of the calendar year as part of a lame-duck session of Congress, he said.

It also means that action might occur on a number of other matters of interest to the golf industry, including disaster assistance for Hurricane Sandy, immigration reform and environmental matters, either during the lame-duck session or when the next Congress begins in January. And, he warned, all revenue increases are on the table, including those that could hurt the golf industry.

The industry has been following the Farm Bill, which sets spending levels for farm commodities, said Helland, as a vehicle for removing the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Pesticide General Permit, which regulates how golf courses handle certain pesticides that leave a residue. And with a disaster relief bill, he said, the industry wants to make sure that golf courses are included – that hasn’t been the case in previous disaster relief measures dating back to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Resolution of environmental issues affecting air and water are also possible in the next Congress, Helland predicted. It isn’t clear, however, what other environmental issues could pass a Democratic Senate and a Republican House, but he expects, at the least, for there to be some additional pressure to address climate change issues, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

There are those in Congress who object to any assistance being provided to the golf industry at all, said Helland. Some on the left think that golf shouldn’t get financial assistance because it has the means to pay for – or deserves – any burden placed upon it. And on the right, he noted, some believe that helping any industry that caters to a leisure activity is wrong.

We have seen in the past that members of Congress can move a bill either on their own or as part of a broader omnibus measure. Unfortunately, Helland said, this can be done very late in the process, when opposition cannot be registered effectively. It is important, he stressed, to stay close with golf’s allies and, perhaps more importantly, to do the same with its adversaries. To best serve golf's interests, he recommends that the industry keep an ongoing relationship with both local elected representatives and other members of Congress who have leverage over the issues that affect golf the most.

Face-to-face meetings with senators and representatives, and their staffs, help drive home the message that golf is both a driver of the economy and a steward of the environment, as do emails and phone calls. This communication also make legislators and regulators aware that their decisions have an impact on the millions who live, work and have a passion for the game, he concluded.

Among the golf industry’s efforts to maintain a strong presence in Washington is National Golf Day, when representatives from the GCSAA, PGA of America and other associations and industry partners meet with dozens of members of Congress to share stories and data about golf's diverse businesses, employees, tax revenue creation, tourism, charitable benefits and environmental leadership. Over the past five years, the industry has brought casts of storytellers to Capitol Hill to discuss what golf has meant to them, and continually shares data about golf's economic contributions to cash-strapped states around the nation.

For more information on National Golf Day, click here.

November 21, 2012 - 1:52pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Getty Images
Rory McIlroy says he hasn't really started getting seriously acquainted with the clubs he'll use next season.

Rory McIlroy has used Titleist clubs since he turned pro five years ago and achieved so much at such a young age. He'll use them for the last time this week, when he plays the European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, but he says he’s not worried about switching to a new brand starting next season.

"I think all the manufacturers make great equipment nowadays and it's all very similar -- a lot of them get their clubs made at the same factories," he said in Dubai. "I don't think it will make any difference."

Interestingly, McIlroy says he hasn’t even really started getting seriously acquainted with the clubs he’ll use next season.

"I've started the process of trying a few new things," he said. "I'm still playing with my Titleist clubs -- this is the last week -- but I've tinkered about a little bit with the new ones, enough to feel comfortable going into next season."

McIlroy has yet to formally announce which company he has signed with, but there are widespread reports that he's inked an agreement with Nike Golf worth as much as $20 to $25 million per year for 10 years.

November 21, 2012 - 1:48am
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John Kim
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One of the greatest things about golf is that there are always great stories to be shared - and strangely, most of them very true.  A friend of mine , the PGA Director of Golf at Mystery Valley Golf Club, recently sent me this nugget about an incident that happened a few weeks ago at his course near Atlanta.  Just awesome. 
 
One would think that if you are lucky enough to make a "Hole-in-one" in a round when playing with a bunch of fellow players, that you just made the ultimate "skin" on a hole, and the proceeds from this momentous event will help off-set the "bar tab" that you will encounter buying everyone a round of drinks at the end of play.  Such thoughts could be said of Tommy Norwood, when on October 31st, on the 2nd hole at Mystery Valley Golf Club, while playing in their weekly Wednesday game, hit his 7-iron shot from 120 yards, into the hole on the 2nd hole.  However those thoughts were "short lived" when his fellow playing partner, Robert Vanderboom, duplicated his feat with the same club, a 7 iron, on the very next swing.  Can you imagine that!  What are the odds?   Well, I don't know it exactly, but I have heard that it is somewhere in the neighborhood of 170,000,000 to 1.  Now, because this happened on the 2nd hole, this duo had the remainder of their round, only to contemplate their expenses for this unusual event when they run their "bar tab" for all their friends and fellow competitors.    
 
Don't know about you guys - but if I ever made an ace on the 2nd hole of my round - I'd have a hard time putting up any kind of score that day.  And if someone topped my ace with one of their own?  I'd call all bets "off" for that day since it was obvious God wanted me to win no money on this given round. 
November 20, 2012 - 10:49pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Kristin Stape and Graeme McDowell
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Kristin Stape and Graeme McDowell have kept their relationship pretty low-key, but she has accompanied him to several high-profile golf events over the past year, including the Ryder Cup.

Graeme McDowell has gotten engaged to his long-time girlfriend Kristin Stape, he announced on Wednesday in Dubai.

G-Mac took Stape up to the helipad – 656 feet off the ground – at the spectacular Burj al-Arab Hotel in Dubai to propose two weeks ago, he said, then played the Australian Masters before returning to Dubai for this week’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship on the European Tour.

"I did it properly, getting down on one knee," said the 33-year-old Northern Irishman. "She was very shocked and had no idea what was going on."

McDowell first met Stape several years ago when he contacted her Orlando interior design business to decorate his home. Coincidentally, he is responsible for Darren Clarke getting together with his new wife, former Ms. Northern Ireland Alison Campbell – McDowell set them up on a blind date.

November 20, 2012 - 11:27am
Posted by:
John Kim
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Missing three footers giving you fits? Ready to snap your driver because you can't find a fairway? Relax, it's just a game - it's supposed to be fun.  The joy of the game is the challenge.  It's not like your efforts are going to put you in a mental institution -- well, unless you're this guy.