Golf Buzz

October 12, 2012 - 5:57pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Oakhurst Links
Many players don period clothing to tackle the old-time challenge at Oakhurst Links.

In what seems like the best possible result to what had become a painful situation to anyone interested in the preservation of golf history, the Greenbrier Resort is buying Oakhurst Links. Greenbrier owner Jim Justice confirmed the deal on Friday, saying the price was less than $1 million but more than the throwback layout was set to sell for at auction over the summer.

Oakhurst Links was built in 1884 just a few miles north of the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va. The 30-acre course, museum and clubhouse are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and are filled with photos of visits from golfers such as Sam Snead, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson.

The facility has been owned for decades by Lewis Keller, who is now 89 and has been struggling to find a buyer in recent years. A Richmond, Va.-based group had planned to take over the course last year, but couldn't raise the $2.5 million to close the deal. Then in July, Keller hoped to auction the course off, but financing for the $410,000 winning bid fell through and he feared a Virginia bank would foreclose on the property.

At the nine-hole Oakhurst Links, which was built in 1884, players rent hickory-shafted clubs and hit gutta-percha balls off tees fashioned from sand and water the way it was done more than 130 years ago. The National Hickory Championship has been played there since since 1998.

Justice said he plans to keep the course intact and even make some improvements if needed.

''To be perfectly honest, I don't know that it's going to be a great thing for the Greenbrier,'' said Justice, who also bought the Greenbrier out of bankruptcy in 2009. ''But I know it's a great thing to do.''

He’s right and he’s wrong, in my view. The Greenbrier’s purchase is absolutely a great thing to do, both for Keller and for golf historians everywhere.

But I also believe that this could also be a great deal for the Greenbrier, which is already one of America’s great golf destinations and the home of the PGA Tour’s popular Greenbrier Classic. With a little creative marketing, I bet the Greenbrier can integrate Oakhurst Links into its recreational offerings and generate enough publicity – and income – to make this transaction a win-win.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this post.


October 12, 2012 - 2:01pm
Posted by:
Steve Eubanks
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Ballybunion Golf Club
Buffalo Communication
Heroes and their families enjoy Ballybunion Golf Club during a trip to Ireland coordinated by the Folds of Honor Foundation.


Golf has long held a healing bond. Since the Spanish American War and through to present day, those who have come back from battle and the families of those who haven’t, have found solace and escape in the game – the peace, the beauty, the rich nuance that makes golf so special.

Now, organizations like the Folds of Honor Foundation, founded by PGA professional and combat fighter pilot, Maj. Dan Rooney, are using the game to help our heroes and their loved ones.

Recently, Folds of Honor sponsored an 11-day trip through Ireland for 20 wounded U.S. servicemen and their spouses. On Thursday of this week they played the Old Course at Ballybunion, one of the best links courses in the world and a favorite of none other than Tom Watson.

"We were quite humbled by the invitation to host these incredibly brave men and women,” says Vari McGreevy, Ballybunion General Manager. “Their perseverance over tremendous odds offers lessons for all, and their visit to our country exemplifies the close bond shared by the American and Irish people."

Scores didn’t matter. When it comes to the cathartic aspects of the game, they never do.

The Irish are among our greatest allies. And they are some of the friendliest people on earth. Their hospitality to these heroes went above and beyond.

For those who know them, it was no surprise at all.

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
tj.auclair's picture
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 --