Golf Buzz

October 28, 2012 - 1:04pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Augusta National clubhouse
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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
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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.

October 24, 2012 - 7:11pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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IJP Design's autumn/winter 2012 collection
Courtesy of IJP Design
The Thunderbird shirt from IJP Design offers a unique color-blocked design, while the Diamond In The Rough sweater is a new take on the traditional Argyle outerwear.

Ian Poulter’s IJP Design is billing its Autumn/Winter 2012 collection as its most advanced to date. The collection, which is available now, offers a variety of golf apparel from classic tartans in hues both subdued and vibrant to more modern form-fitting European styling.

"We know we make clothes that 'look good' and feel good,' and more importantly, for those who want to 'play great,' our Autumn/Winter 2012 Collection has technical and functional elements designed expressly for golfers and their distinctive movements," said Poulter.

Four different colored tartans are created for each seasonal collection, all of which are licensed under the Scottish Tartan Authority and unique to IJP Design. These tartans are the foundation on which the IJP collections are developed and the basis for which "IJP leads with the legs."

The new collection is the first to promote interchangeable color palettes, enabling golfers to create their own unique outfits by using any combination of styles.

The Poulter Tartans offer a stylish and functional choice with a straight leg shape, signature side splits, internal waistband fastening and bias cut trimmed pockets. The trousers are half-lined in a soft anti-static lining for comfort and are available in Cornflower Blue, Porcelain and Fuchsia.

The Diamond In The Rough sweater offers a new take on the traditional Argyle outerwear. Fashioned from soft, durable merino wool, the sweater's distinctive patterning is available in Grey Cloud, Ink or Ox Blood. Also made from 100 percent merino wool, the slim fit Roll With It roll neck is a distinctive yet understated take on the classical roll neck sweater. Available in stylish Black Watch, it features turn back cuffs.

The IJP Design Tour polo shirt uses Scotchguard technology to wick away moisture and provide lasting softness and breathability. Combined with a slim-fitting design, a long four-button placket and IJP Design branding, the Tour shirt offers a contemporary take on the classic club tour shirt.

Available in the same three colors as the Diamond In The Rough sweater and made from a lightweight, comfort stretch fabric, the Thunderbird shirt offers a unique color-blocked design guaranteed to catch anyone's eye on the course.

The classic golf chino is given a new twist by IJP Design's Performance Slacks. Incorporating a comfortable straight leg fit and IJP Design branding throughout, the trousers are made from a lightweight, water repellent, stretch fabric, ensuring that traditional style is fused with cutting-edge performance, comfort and technical features.

IJP Design has also included in its Autumn/Winter collection a range of items specially designed for the seasonal conditions. The F-1's bonded fleece fabric (available in Pillar Box Red, Jet Black, Midnight Blue and Onyx) is both water repellent and windproof, and comes with a shaped collar to protect against the elements.

The lightweight Aqua-Tech trousers feature an elasticized waistband, Velcro adjusters and full-length side zips, allowing the wearer to suit up without removing his golf shoes. Aqua-Tech shields against harsh conditions and are fully waterproof. And IJP Design's Bionic Base long-sleeved base layer, available in black or white with colored body mapped seam features, ensures comfort and warmth.

For more information, visit

October 23, 2012 - 8:50pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade RocketBladez irons
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The TaylorMade RocketBladez (upper left) irons have more of a cavityback than the RocketBladez Tour models (upper right). The Speed Pocket, as shown in bottom view and side view, helps the face flex to provide more springiness upon impact.

TaylorMade Golf made a huge splash earlier this year with the release of its RocketBallz line of clubs. The company did it again on Tuesday, unveiling its new RocketBladez irons with a marketing push so successful that the number of people trying to watch its live webcast briefly knocked TaylorMade’s servers out.

TaylorMade officials are hoping the new RocketBladez and RocketBladez Tour irons are a knockout, too. The irons’ signature feature is the Speed Pocket, which TaylorMade is billing as ''that little thing'' but which they believe will make these clubs the next big thing.

The Speed Pocket is a 2-millimeter-wide slot cut in the sole of the 3-iron through 7-iron that permits the face to flex farther and more easily upon impact, particularly when a golfer hits the ball low on the face. The improved flex, says TaylorMade, promotes increased Coefficient of Restitution – or springiness – up to the USGA limit for high ball speed. In fact, TaylorMade says, these irons are as hot as many drivers, and could help most golfers add two to five yards per shot.

The Speed Pocket is sealed with a specially formulated polyurethane developed by 3M that keeps grass and other debris out. More important, it dampens vibration for better, more solid feel upon impact. The Speed Pocket, combined with a shorter hosel, also helps TaylorMade to redistribute 17.5 grams of weight to lower the Center of Gravity, promoting a higher launch angle, higher peak trajectory and a steep, quick-stopping descent.

Higher-lofted clubs like the sand wedge and lob wedge don’t include the Speed Pocket, but have redesigned cavities to improve their feel, and feature TaylorMade’s ATV (All-Terain Versatility) sole for improved workability around the greens. In addition, these clubs come equipped with heavier steel shafts to promote better rhythm and control in shorter swings.

Careful management of the RocketBladez’s face thickness, Center of Gravity location and the Speed Pocket help enlarge the effective sweet spot, which makes for more consistent shotmaking – and therefore more consistent distance gaps throughout the set.

The RocketBladez irons will be available at retail in December, and come standard with 85-gram ''Rocketfuel'' steel shafts for $799.99 per set or $899.99 per set with 65-gram ''RocketFuel'' graphite shafts.

The RocketBladez Tour irons will debut next February. They boast the same attributes as the standard RocketBladez models, but are tuned a little hotter. The heads are more compact, with a squarer toe, a thinner topline, minimal offset and a shallow cavity. There is also a slight camber on the sole, which also features what TaylorMade calls a ''tour-designed'' leading edge.

For more on the RocketBladez and RocketBladez tour irons, visit

Categories: RocketBladez