Golf Buzz

October 29, 2012 - 10:01am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Courtesy of Grand Cypress Resort
The renovation work at the Villas at Grand Cypress Golf Resort will proceed one block of villas at a time.

The Villas of Grand Cypress Golf Resort in Orlando, Fla., has begun a four-month, $14 million renovation that will result in completely new interiors as well as upgraded furniture, fixtures and finishes and enhanced in-room technology in all of its guest accommodations. In addition, the resort will add a new fitness center.

The work will proce,ed with renovations of one block of villas at a time, with no interruption to reservations or resort operations, Grand Cypress officials said. The project is expected to be complete in February.

"Upon completion of this renovation, the Villas of Grand Cypress will once again be at the top of the list as one of Florida's leading luxury resorts," said Steve Mills of the resort's ownership group. "We are not just changing out the soft goods and refreshing the paint. We are innovating through design and elevating the guest experience."

The new 650-square-foot club suites and one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom villas with full kitchens, living and dining rooms will feature a transformative aesthetic that references a tranquil balance of contemporary and classic styles, Grand Cypress said.

The villa kitchens will receive a complete makeover with slate-tiled entrances, top-of-the-line GE stainless steel appliances, walnut cabinets, quartz countertops with stainless steel sinks and polished chrome fixtures. The five-piece baths will feature wood and stacked stone, crisp white porcelain, polished chrome and glistening glass tile. They’ll also include a deep-walled bathing vessel and custom quartz counters with double sinks, polished chrome faucets and an illuminated mirror integrated with a 19-inch television.

In addition to its 45-holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature-designed golf, the resort offers the Grand Cypress Racquet Club; in-room spa services; Lake Windsong and marina; two pools, and more. The Grand Cypress Academy of Golf is rated as one of the "Top 25 Golf Schools in America" and has received Golf Magazine's Silver Medal Resort Award (2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012).

For more information, visit

October 28, 2012 - 4:56pm
Posted by:
Steve Eubanks
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New Titleist 913 driver
Every season a product separates itself and becomes the new big deal in golf. This October, it's the Titleist 913 drivers.


Of course his picture-perfect golf swing and natural athleticism had a lot of do with it. But if you watched Rory McIlroy eagle the 15th and birdie the 16th at Lake Malaren Golf Club in the final round of the BMW Masters in Shanghai, you saw some towering tee shots that flew stupid long. 


While Rory could play with almost anything, he has recently put the new Titleist 913 driver in the bag, one of the sleekest and hottest clubs in this fall’s equipment offering.  


With a forged insert in the face, ball speeds are maximized over a wider hitting area. That helps amateurs who don’t always hit it in the pinpoint center of the face, but it also helps the professionals who can go after their tee shots harder knowing that a slight off-center hit won’t cost them.  


Every season, a flood of new products enter the area. And every year, one stands out. This October it’s the new Titleist driver. 


October 28, 2012 - 1:04pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Augusta National clubhouse
Getty Images
Augusta National wants to tear down the kitchen area of its clubhouse and replace it with a large, two-story structure.

Augusta National Golf Club has filed plans with the city of Augusta for a big makeover of a portion of its clubhouse.

The site plan shows that Augusta National proposes to demolish the portion of the clubhouse that contains the kitchen area as well as a nearby structure, according to The Augusta Chronicle. In their place, the paper said, a large, two-level structure would be built, with the lower level sitting below grade.

Augusta National spokesman Steve Ethun didn’t provide any details to the Chronicle, noting that the club doesn’t comment on improvement projects.

Augusta Planning and Development official Bob Austin said the plans didn’t specify the square footage of the proposed structure but that it appeared to be substantial. And Marshall Masters of Augusta Licensing and Inspection said that no building plans had been filed, nor had any permits been requested.

Among the changes to the Augusta National clubhouse over the years are the 1946 addition of a bachelor wing, suites building, trophy room and kitchen; a 1953 addition of a golf shop; and the construction of the grill room in 1962. The 2003 remodeling of the grill room and locker room were the last big changes, the paper said.

October 27, 2012 - 9:36pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Teeth of the Dog course at Casa de Campo
Courtesy of Casa de Campo
The spectacular Teeth of the Dog course at Case de Campo has been regarded as the best course in the Caribbean virtually since it opened.

The temperatures are dropping, and that means the Casa de Campo Resort in the Dominican Republic is rolling out its fall/winter 2012-13 packages.

The 7,000-acre resort is offering four-day and seven-day "Golf Lodge" packages that combine rounds on the 63 holes of Pete Dye-designed courses with accommodations, meals, and unlimited use of some of the resort's most in-demand amenities. Both the four-night and seven-night packages include:

--Unlimited golf on The Links, an 18-hole Dye design with spectacular views of the Caribbean

--One round on the world-famous Teeth of the Dog course, long considered the best in the Caribbean

--One round on Dye Fore, the wide and windy 27-hole layout located high above the Chavon River (for seven-day-package guests only)

--Shared cart for 18 holes daily, unlimited range balls and club storage

Off the course, the deals include:

--a Golf Lodge room with complimentary wireless Internet access
--Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner
--Unlimited drinks by the glass at resort bars and restaurants
--Unlimited use of the gym/fitness center

Both Teeth of the Dog and The Links were recently renovated under Dye's guidance. In addition, Casa de Campo spent more than $40 million to upgrade many other parts of the resort, including restaurants, public areas, and the main pool deck.

Golf Lodge packages begin at $1,128 per person for four nights and $1,997 for seven nights. They are available Nov. 1-Dec. 20 and then again from Jan. 4-April 30, 2013.

Along with its golf courses, the resort features a variety of dining options in restaurants such as The Beach Club by Le Cirque and La Cana by Il Circo; the 13-court La Terraza Tennis Center; a shooting center; equestrian center; polo club; marina for deep sea and river fishing and a separate yacht club. Also at the resort are private beaches; the Casa de Campo Spa; and the Altos de Chavon artists village with museums, art galleries, boutique shopping, a church and Greek-style amphitheater.

For more information, visit

October 25, 2012 - 8:27pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Titleist via Twitter
The 712U irons from Titleist will debut for tour staff, but could be rolled out to the public if the response is positive.

Who says this is the slow season in golf? On Tuesday, TaylorMade unveiled its new RocketBladez irons. On Wednesday, we showed you the first look of the 2013 X Forged irons from Callaway. And to complete this week's titanic trifecta, here is a peek at Titleist's new prototype 712U utility iron, which Titleist Canada teased on its Twitter account.

“On the worldwide professional tours, some players prefer a utility iron over a hybrid club as an alternative to traditional long irons,” said Titleist on its tour blog. “The 712U delivers increased playability versus a traditional long iron while providing enhanced spin and trajectory control versus a hybrid.”

The prototype 712U clubs – from photos we’ve seen, there are 2-irons, 3-irons and 4-irons – are being sent out to Titleist’s tour staff for what the company is calling “performance validation and feedback.” Titleist is also planning to bring the clubs to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic at Disney World, the final event on the PGA Tour schedule, the week of Nov. 5-11, for their players to check out.

The 712U clubs are intended as a tour-only product for now. However, says Titleist, the feedback the company receives will influence the clubs’ final design as well as their place in Titleist lineup.

There are no guarantees, of course, but I suspect there’s a lesson to be learned from Callaway's recent introduction of its X Utility irons. Callaway seeded the clubs among its tour staff last summer, and players from Phil Mickelson to Branden Grace put them in their bags – and then Ernie Els won the British Open with three X Utility clubs in his bag. Not long after, Callaway announced that they would be sold to the public, and they're scheduled to be available at select retailers beginning in December.

Hybrids are great for a great many golfers. But many elite players prefer that precision that advanced utility irons can provide, and I’ll be surprised if the 712U irons are anything but a big success.


October 25, 2012 - 1:24am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Callaway Golf 2013 X Forged irons
Callaway Golf via Twitter
The 2013 X Forged irons from Callaway Golf have a distinctive muscleback, while maintaining the "X" design as well.

TaylorMade dominated the headlines in the golf equipment world in the early part of the week with the unveiling of its new RocketBladez irons. But TM isn’t the only company with new gear to tout.

Callaway Golf hasn’t made a formal announcement, but the company has been teasing its 2013 X Forged irons in a big way on social media over the past few days.

"Crafted by our Chief Club Designer, Roger Cleveland, the 2013 X Forged irons combine 1025 Carbon Steel and our Triple Net Forging process to offer unmatched feel and extreme precision," said Callaway on the company’s Facebook page on Wednesday. "A new face design, sole profile and optimized CG Height Progression through the line delivers distinct performance advantages, including distance, with an incredible (and somewhat drool-inducing) look."

Without knowing much more than that about them, these new irons are among the cleanest looking clubs that Callaway has issued in recent years. They have a distinctive muscleback, while maintaining the "X" design as well, and – to my eye, anyway – resemble Callaway’s RAZR X musclebacks more than the recent RAZR X Forged models.

Callaway officials, we understand, believe that these new clubs will quickly become popular among their tour staff, and there seems to be a chance that Phil Mickelson will put a set in play next week in the WGC-HSBC Championship in China.

These new X Forged irons are expected to carry a suggested retail price of $999.99 per set, and are expected to be available in late January of 2013.