Golf Buzz

November 29, 2013 - 8:16am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture

In golf, the clubs you hit from 100 yards and in are referred to as your "scoring clubs."

They're the clubs you hit most often (which is why the best players spend the abundance of their practice sessions with these clubs) and have the biggest impact on your score. Wouldn't it be great to be a lot better with these types of shots -- especially those touchy pitch shots?

In today's golf tip, PGA Professional Chip Sullivan shows you how simple it can be to hit those pitch shots.




Categories: Chip Sullivan, PGA
November 29, 2013 - 8:03am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Nike Golf
Nike Golf
Nike Golf's new VRS Covert 2.0 driver.

Nike Golf has introduced the new VRS Covert 2.0 family of drivers, promising to be bigger, faster and longer than last year's industry game-changing VRS Covert drivers.

The new driver -- the world's first to feature conforming High Speed Cavity Back technology -- delivers more forgiving distance, faster ball speed and simple, intuitive customization to meet the swing needs of every athlete. High-Speed Cavity Back technology redistributes weight to the heel and toe allowing for increased distance and more stability across the face of the driver.

"We re-engineered the VRS Covert 2.0 with enhancements to our High Speed Cavity Back technology that allow athletes to experience more forgiving distance than ever before," says Nate Radcliffe, Nike Golf Director of Engineering. "The new VRS Covert 2.0 driver features a redesigned cavity with Fly-Brace technology that ties the sole to the crown. By stiffening the rear portion of the club, more energy is transferred to the face at impact. The end result is even greater ball speed and up to six yards of distance gain over last year's model."

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"It's similar to an automotive frame design," Radcliffe adds. "Fly-Brace technology reinforces the rearward portion of the club head to focus impact stress, flexing and subsequent energy transfer to the point of impact."

Several Nike athletes, including Rory McIlroy, Kevin Chappell and Nick Watney, have put the VRS Covert 2.0 driver into play in 2013.

"We work very closely with our athletes and the new VRS Covert 2.0 drivers deliver on the shape, stability, and speed they have asked for," Radcliffe says. "The added stability and speed realized by our athletes with VRS Covert 2.0 allows for an aggressive approach off the tee which is essential in the modern game."

The VRS Covert 2.0 drivers feature two additional proprietary technologies: A larger, re-engineered NexCOR face for increased ball speed and distance, and FlexLoft adjustability, which allows athletes to easily customize loft and face angle positions for 15 drivers in one.

The redesigned NexCOR face incorporates variable face thickness for a faster, hotter face and as a result, more speed at impact. It is 15-percent larger in the VRS Covert 2.0 Tour driver and seven-percent larger in the VRS Covert 2.0 driver.

Nike Golf's patented FlexLoft system offers the same, intuitive adjustability system featured in the VRS Covert driver. Athletes can adjust lofts from 8.5 to 12.5 degrees while independently modifying for three different face angle positions to optimize launch and spin conditions for maximized distance and accuracy.

The second generation of Mitsubishi Rayon's Kuro Kage shafts are the standard graphite option for both models. In the VRS Covert 2.0 Tour, the Kuro Kage Silver 60 graphite, featuring Titanium Nickel fiber in the tip section, creates more stability and lower spin. The VRS Covert 2.0 utilizes the Kuro Kage Black HBP Graphite 50 shaft with a higher balance point, allowing for higher swing speeds without adding shaft length.

Both drivers will be available for pre-order on on Jan. 6, 2013. The VRS Covert 2.0 Tour driver and VRS Covert 2.0 driver will be available on and at select retailers on Jan. 31, 2014 for a suggested retail price of $399 and $299, respectively.

VRS Covert 2.0 Tour Driver Specifications: 8.5-12.5 degrees, RH/LH: R, S, X

VRS Covert 2.0 Driver Specifications: 8.5-12.5 degrees, RH/LH: A, R, S, W

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

November 27, 2013 - 8:58pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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John Solheim and Louise Solheim
Courtesy of Ping Golf
John Solheim celebrated his induction into the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame with his mother, Louise Solheim, who was inducted in 2004.

We're hoping you all are having a great Thanksgiving Week. Someone we know is having a great week is Ping Chairman and CEO John Solheim, who was inducted into the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame on Monday.

Solheim's induction makes the Arizona hall a real family affair. John's father, Ping founder Karsten Solheim, was inducted posthumously in 2000, while his mother, Louise Solheim, who turned 95 in June, was honored in 2004. 

''I am delighted to join my parents in the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame,'' said Solheim, 67. ''In more than a half-century of doing business here, we're proud of the role we've played in helping contribute to the growth of Phoenix and communities around the state. 

''As a family-owned business, we get our greatest satisfaction from creating jobs for the more than 800 employees who make us the success we are today,'' he added. ''And because golf is so important to Arizona's vitality, Ping will always play a key role in sponsoring efforts to promote the game and grow participation at every level.''   

John Solheim was accompanied by his mother at the ceremony, which was held at Gainey Ranch Golf Club in Scottsdale.

He got his start in the family business when he was 13, working alongside his dad on early putter designs in the family garage. He aspired to be an architect, but as the business expanded, he began designing golf clubs and helping Karsten grow the privately held entity into one of the most influential golf companies in the world.    

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''Thinking back to my years working with Karsten, we still run the business with a hands-on approach,'' Solheim said. ''Even though we've grown beyond what Karsten and I could have imagined, we've always focused on the same principles – performance, innovation, and custom fitting – as the foundations for engineering products that make the game easier for golfers of all abilities.''   

From 1961 to 1966, Ping operated out of the family garage north of Phoenix. Since then, the headquarters have been located in North Phoenix, where the company occupies 27 buildings spread over 52 acres. Karsten Manufacturing Corporation and its subsidiaries employ approximately 1,200 people worldwide and conduct business in more than 70 countries.     

Solheim was among four inductees. The others were:

--PGA Professional Shelby Futch, who has owned and operated several golf course properties in the Phoenix area and across the country, as well as a chain of golf retail stores in addition to a successful clubfitting and manufacturing company. While serving as an instructor for the Golf Digest Schools, he founded the world-famous John Jacobs' Golf Schools, and for years has been ranked among golf's top instructors.

--Bill Huffman, a longtime golf writer for The Arizona Republic and then for The East Valley Tribune. Among his other accomplishments, Huffman served as the national president of the Associated Press Sports Editors Association in 1995-96, and was a member of the executive committee of the Golf Writers Association of America from 1996-98.  He is currently the editor-in-chief for the AZ Golf Insider.

--Barbara Simmons, who for many years worked with Arizona courses to incorporate the USGA's Course Rating System after the USGA introduced the Slope rating. She also holds positions on several USGA regional and national committees, and served as president, vice president, treasurer and secretary during a decade on the AWGA Board of Directors.


November 27, 2013 - 11:42am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture

Course management -- or, limiting mistakes -- starts from the tee box.

In today's golf tip, PGA Professional Danny Balin gives advice on how to manage your game starting on the tee box. Recognize where the trouble lies and try your best to play away from it.

November 27, 2013 - 10:42am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Phil Mickelson
Getty Images
Phil Mickelson might be cutting back on his playing schedule in 2014, but he has announced that he will return to Scotland to defend the Scottish Open one week before trying to defend the Open Championship.

Admittedly, Phil Mickelson struggled for years to figure out how best to play the demanding links-style golf that's required to contend in the Open Championship.

This past summer, Mickelson traveled to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean a week early to play in the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart -- a true lins test, unlike recent Scottish Open's at the beautiful, but inland and tree-lined, Loch Lomond.

During this particular tournament, something clicked for Mickelson. He won a playoff that week over Branden Grace and then went on to win his fifth major overall -- and first Open -- the following week at Muirfield.

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Mickelson birdied four of the last six holes in an incredible final round of 66 to win the Open by three strokes.

"I played arguably the best round of my career, and shot the round of my life," he said then. "The range of emotions I feel are as far apart as possible after losing the U.S. Open. But you have to be resilient in this game."

Late in 2013, Mickelson announced that he'd be cutting back his competitive schedule in an effort to be ready for the majors. One tournament that won't be cut, however, is the Scottish Open.

The 2014 Scottish Open will be held at Royal Aberdeen one week before the Open at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England.

"Winning the Scottish Open was a huge factor in my success the next week at the Open Championship," Mickelson said in a release. "I was able to acclimate myself to the time change, the weather, the wind, the links conditions and all in the heat of serious competition, which itself was a big added plus."

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

November 26, 2013 - 3:07pm
Posted by:
John Kim's picture
Patrons at Augusta National
Photo: Getty Images
Patrons at Augusta National will get more parking opportunities close to the course soon.

The large crowds that flock to Augusta National each April may be getting some help on their treck to the Masters. 

Bloomberg news is reporting that the club recently purchased some real estate off famed Washington Road with plans to convert was was "The Greens" apartment complex into a parking lot for the patrons.

The club did confirm it had plans to use the space for a parking lot but would not confirm any other speculation about future use of the land.

You can read the entire article about the land purchase here.

As someone who has been fortunate enough to attend a number of days at Augusta National during Masters Week, I can certainly confirm that the only downside of the trip is the traffic & parking.  Anything that can be done to alleviate the time spent in the car looking for a spot means more time on the course enjoying the awesomeness that is the Masters.  

Here's hoping this is a move that only adds greater enjoyment to what is already one of sports' greatest and most enjoyable events.


You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim