Golf Buzz

October 11, 2012 - 9:23pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Ninth hole at Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course
Courtesy of Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course
With five sets of tees and wide, inviting fairways, "the Max" can be configured from a tournament test of more than 7,200 yards to an ideal challenge for beginners at less than 5,000 yards.

Seems like almost all the news surrounding golf course construction in the United States in recent years has been downbeat – courses closing, new development projects postponed or cancelled. But there’s great news down in the border town of Laredo, Texas, where a new city-owned course is set to open next weekend (Oct. 19).

The Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course – already nicknamed "the Max" -- is the first city-owned golf facility in Laredo, as well as one of only a handful of new courses to open in the United States this year.

Designed by Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects, the par-72 layout is routed along bluffs overlooking the Rio Grande and winds through 270 acres of sandy terrain. Encompassing almost a mile of riverfront property, the course presents four holes that play adjacent to and high above the water as it traverses deep arroyos and navigates through 30-foot tall mesquite woodlands and open farmland.

With five sets of tees and wide, inviting fairways throughout, the course can be configured as a tournament test of more than 7,200 yards, yet is still a perfect fit for golfers who desire a more manageable challenge of less than 5,000 yards. The routing creates "courses within the course" with the closing nine presenting returning loops of three holes and six holes flanking the practice facility.

This concept allows for play of three, six, nine or 18 holes as well as maximizing the facility’s ability to provide instruction. Each hole also integrates "family tees" to encourage parents and children to play together.

Green fees for Laredo residents range from $33.50 to $46, while non-residents – including the flocks of snowbirds who winter in south Texas – will pay between $46 and $56. There are also discount rates for seniors and juniors.

The $6.6 million project – which includes the course, clubhouse, maintenance facility and roads – was made possible through the donation of 390 acres north of the city by the family of the late Max Mandel, a Laredo bank executive who was involved in a variety of civic issues over almost half a century.

"We understand how an exceptional new golf course like this can enrich a community," said course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., who has created more than 270 courses in more than 40 countries on six continents.  "The impact reaches beyond just those who play golf.  It reflects upon the identity of Laredo, which may now be seen as an even more inviting place to develop businesses and raise families."

For more information, visit


October 11, 2012 - 12:08pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Orlimar Montego putter
Courtesy of Orlimar
The Montego mallet from Orlimar contains two separate alignment aids for proper stance and aiming.

Orlimar has rolled out its new Montego putter, a milled mallet with a unique 360-degree alignment and aiming system.

"The Montego will appeal to golfers of all ability levels," said Orlimar Product Development Manager Nigel Matthews. "The milled putter face provides a soft feel and visual cues not only to help the golfer align the putter head to the target but also to ensure proper positioning over the ball. Consumers who have tested the putter find the alignment technology easy to use and very effective."

To achieve proper stance and alignment, the golfer simply aligns the three-dimensional array of circles on the mallet head. The circle closest to the face is a cutout with a round inset alignment aid beneath it – looking down, the golfer centers the inset inside the cutout to ensure a proper stance over the putter.

The second circle on the head -- farthest from the face -- is a more standard alignment aid. Golfers can line it and the cutout up with the line of the putt, giving the putter both linear and spherical visual cues for proper aiming.

The Montego is a face-balanced, heel-shafted mallet constructed of 304 stainless steel with a head weight of 345 grams. The CNC milled-face putter is perimeter-weighted, comes with a loft of 3 degrees and lie of 72 degrees, and includes a 35-inch shaft.

It carries a suggested retail price of $149.99, comes in right-handed models only and is available now.

For more on Orlimar, visit


October 11, 2012 - 2:14am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Spencer Levin
Getty Images
Spencer Levin's belly putter has been beneficial to his career -- until now.

File this item under freak golf injuries. PGA Tour player Spencer Levin is out for the remainder of the year after tearing a ligament in his left thumb – simply by mishandling his belly putter.

While practicing three weeks ago, Levin tweaked his thumb while holding his belly putter, according to The Sacramento Bee. He tried resting a couple weeks, but his thumb wasn’t improving.

"We got three opinions," Don Levin, Spencer's father, told the newspaper. "One guy said more rest, two guys said surgery."

So into the operating room Levin went on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

He’s scheduled to be out for four weeks, which includes the remainder of the PGA Tour’s Fall Series. That’s a bummer for Levin, who counts last week’s Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals Open and this week’s Open among his favorite events of the year.

He's expected to be able to start hitting balls again the first week of December, according to The Bee, and he should be able to start fresh when the 2013 season rolls around. Most important, Levin already has comfortably locked up his 2013 PGA Tour privileges – he’s currently 62nd on the money list with no chance of being knocked out of the top 125, regardless of what happens the rest of the way.

October 10, 2012 - 2:36pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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AUR Golf
AUR Golf
Here's a sneak-peek at some of AUR's 2013 Spring Collection.


Your 2012 golf season isn't over just yet, but it isn't too early to start thinking ahead to 2013 -- especially when it comes to golf fashion. 
AUR, which stands for, 'All that you Are,' has just introduced its 2013 Spring collection. It comprises of three distinct categories -- AUR Active, AUR Authentic and AUR Aware -- and now includes the AUR Stormpack outerwear line.
"We are delighted to present our Spring 2013 collection and are confident that this is the finest collection in the history of AUR, presenting a very tech-driven and fashionable offering," says Mark Fletcher, President of AUR. "They've got a great look and hand feel, and the overall styling is a bit more European-influenced than what U.S. buyers might be familiar with, but at a much more reasonable price and with a more relevant, current fit. Our customers get great value for the fashion and quality we offer; our products are very fashion-forward for the price point. We have had an incredibly good presence on Tour in the past year with some of our Players finishing in the top 4 at several tournaments and we were able to get some great feedback on our line from Tour players to bring the best style and performance to golf." 
The Spring 2013 color palette for men has an assortment of cool grays and black mixed with additional bright blasts of color: Pool, Crimson and Slate are the highlight colors for Men. For women, distinctive style, fine quality and an aura of sophistication lends itself nicely to a golf collection that is current and on-the-ball. Fashion driven Sweet Praline features a stylish Geo print paired with classic plaid bottoms. Pretty in Pink features Passion Pink with subtle grey accents to provide a sporty, fun look. Purple Haze is all about bright trendy colors. Wisteria and Emerald green are base for this group with a cool diamond inspired print. 
To learn more about what AUR has to offer, visit its website --
October 10, 2012 - 2:02pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Jose Maria Olazabal and Darren Clarke
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Darren Clarke's time to take over the Ryder Cup reins seems to be coming. The question, it appears, is when.

Whoa up there, Ryder Cup fans. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

That was the message from Darren Clarke on Twitter today after reports began circulating that he had been offered the job as European captain for the 2014 Ryder Cup in Gleneagles, Scotland.

"To clarify..I have not been offered the Ryder Cup captaincy," Clarke tweeted. "It's not decided by the committee until January. Would be a huge honour if asked."

The committee Clarke is referring to is the European Tour’s Tournament Committee, which makes the decision as to who will lead the Ryder Cup charge. The meeting to determine the next captain is indeed set for January.

A few days after Europe retained the Ryder Cup at Medinah, Jose Maria Olazabal confirmed that he would step down, and threw the door open to a number of potential successors.

"There are a lot of players who should have the opportunity to be in my spot," said Olazabal. "We have at least eight or nine guys that have the chance and there only a certain number of Ryder Cups."

Clarke and Paul McGinley, two of Olazabal's four assistants at Medinah, are the early favorites to take over – and, interestingly enough, both are current members of the Tournament Committee, which is chaired by Thomas Bjorn, another of Olazabal’s assistants.

"I think these two (Clarke and McGinley) deserve a chance, but I think Thomas deserves a chance and also Paul Lawrie," Olazabal said. "Once those guys do it, we have Lee (Westwood), Padraig (Harrington)."

McGinley, who sank the winning putt for Europe in 2002 at the Belfry, was widely considered the 2014 front-runner. He has been groomed for the job by serving as a Ryder Cup assistant in both 2010 and 2012 as well as captain of the Britain-Ireland squad in the Seve Trophy (a Ryder Cup-style match between teams from Britain-Ireland and Continental Europe) in 2009 and 2011. 

But talk of a Clarke captaincy began swelling in recent days, prompting the former British Open champion to tweet his clarification.

Lee Westwood has come out in favor of Clarke – his former Ryder Cup partner – for 2014, but Rory McIlroy has said he thinks Clarke’s popularity in the United States might make him a better fit for the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National in Minnesota.

If it were up to me, I’d follow Rory’s advice – McGinley in 2014, Clarke in 2016. Clarke is extremely popular over here, and the goodwill he is sure to engender could be a big boost for the Europeans at Hazeltine.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Tournament Committee agrees – when the time comes, of course.

October 10, 2012 - 10:28am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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A magician who goes by the name of, "DMC," recently amazed stars of the European Tour with some incredible tricks. 
Among other mind-blowing stunts, DMC stands just a few yards in front of 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie on the driving range. DMC then instructs Lawrie to strike the ball with his 3-iron. Lawrie does so and, DMC -- right in the line of fire -- somehow manages to catch the ball.
Crazy? Absolutely. You really need to see it with your own eyes. 
The video also features some fantastic card tricks with European Ryder Cup Captain Jose Maria Olazabal as a stunned onlooker.