Golf Buzz

December 5, 2012 - 2:52pm
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John Holmes
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Nike Golf 20XI golf ball, 2013 edition
Courtesy of Nike Golf
The larger RZN core in the new Nike Golf 20XI balls improves feel on all shots while maintaining driver distance, while the added RZN mantle produces longer shots off irons while providing a softer short-game feel.

More is better, at least when it comes to what's inside Nike's 20XI golf balls.

The current iterations of the Swoosh's flagship spheres begin with a core made of a material called RZN (pronounced 'resin'), which is lighter and less dense than the rubber found in many other balls. Using RZN allows for more of the balls' weight to be placed out closer to its perimeter – which, Nike says, makes them more stable in the air and helps them maintain their spin on the way down from the apex of their flight.

For 2013, Nike is adding even more RZN material to the core and mantle of its 20XI balls – in fact, there is two times as much RZN in the new balls compared to the previous generation. This larger RZN core, Nike engineers say, improves feel on all shots while maintaining driver distance, while the added RZN mantle produces longer shots off irons while providing a softer short-game feel.

"The added RZN mantle provides faster speed off irons and, therefore, more distance," said Rock Ishii, Nike Golf's product development director for golf balls. "Not only did we increase speed with 20XI, but we added softness for improved feel around the greens, creating a balanced tour model golf ball."

Internal tests with Nike Golf staff players showed an average of two or three miles per hour in ball speed, Nike said, and each mph gained equated to an additional two or three yards' worth of carry distance.

The lighter RZN core and heavier outer layers produce the kind of perimeter weighting that creates stability and forgiveness in many golf clubs. This stability, often referred to as MOI (Moment of Inertia), helps to reduce ball spin off the driver and to maintain spin as the ball is coming back down toward the ground, In fact, Nike says, the new 20XI has the highest levels of MOI in a golf ball to date.

The 20XI will be available in two versions, the 20XI and the 20XI X.  While both balls deliver faster speed and high levels of MOI, the 20XI ball is designed for improved feel and enhanced short game control. The 20XI X, meanwhile, delivers maximum distance and reduced spin for greater accuracy off the tee, making it the longest tour model Nike Golf has ever created.

Both models will be available on Feb. 1, 2013, and will carry a suggested retail price of $58.00 per dozen and a street price of $45.99.

December 4, 2012 - 10:41pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Rickie Fowler at the World Challenge
Getty Images
His Vibrant Orange driver was one of 12 clubs from the 2013 AMP Cell line of clubs from Cobra Golf that Rickie Fowler played last week at Tiger Woods' World Challenge.

The fourth quarter of the year is a time when many players begin seriously checking out new gear to see what they might put in play next season. Rarely, however, does a player field-test a whole new bag of clubs in tournament play.

Rickie Fowler, however, did just that at Tiger Woods' World Challenge last week. A total of 12 of the 14 clubs in his bag at Sherwood Country Club came from Cobra Golf's brand-new 2013 AMP Cell line.

"Rickie and I have been working together with the R&D team all year," said Cobra Puma Golf Tour Manager Ben Schomin. "Rickie has been giving feedback on shape, design and performance, and he was extremely excited and pleased with the final results."

According to Cobra, here's what Fowler played:

--AMP Cell Pro driver, 7.5 degrees of loft in Vibrant Orange with MyFly
--AMP Cell 3+ fairway wood, in Vibrant Orange with MyFly
--AMP Cell 3-hybrid, in Vibrant Orange with MyFly
--AMP Cell Pro MB 4-9 irons
--Prototype Tour Trusty Rusty Wedges in 47-degree, 51-degree and 55-degree lofts

MyFly, by the way, allows golfers to change between six different trajectory settings. The driver, fairway woods and hybrids come in a choice of four different colors, and it’s no surprise that Fowler selected Vibrant Orange. The AMP Cell line will be available in the United States next February, though some clubs in the line are already out in Australia now.

Fowler tied for fourth at 9-under 279, deadlocked with Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk, at Sherwood. He makes his final start of the year this week at the Franklin Templeton Shootout, where he will pair with fellow youngster Bud Cauley in the three-day, two-man competition. Presumably, he'll give those dozen sticks another workout.

For more on the AMP Cell line, visit www.cobragolf.com

December 4, 2012 - 11:57am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Adam Scott at the Australian Open
Getty Images
Adam Scott practiced his putting Tuesday at the Australian Open using a claw grip with his bottom hand but keeping his top hand separated.

Adam Scott is playing the Australian Open this week, and he spent part of Tuesday practicing with a "normal" putter.

Scott was spotted on the practice green working with a traditional putter that had a slightly extended shaft, according to British news service PA Sport, and then used it during his practice round.

As you can see in this photo from Getty Images, Scott used a claw-style grip with his right hand, but kept his left hand slightly separated toward the top of the grip to produce a stroke similar to the one he's used with his broomstick putter for the past 18 months or so. However, there was a clear gap between the end of the putter and his body, meaning the stroke would be legal under the anchoring guidelines proposed by the USGA and R&A last week.

Judging by the photo, the putter appears to be a shorter version of the Titleist Scott Cameron Studio Select Kombi he usually plays.

Scott – who won the Australian Masters on Nov. 18 with his broomstick putter -- had said that he planned to keep using his long putter next year, but now looks to be changing his mind. We haven't heard from him yet, and it'll be curious to see if he uses the shorter putter during the tournament itself.

December 4, 2012 - 1:12am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Tom Watson
Getty Images
When Tom Watson thinks of the Olympics, he says, he doesn't think of golf.

Who’s against golf in the Olympics? Apparently Tom Watson is.

''I still think of Olympics as track and field and not golf, to be honest with you,'' the eight-time major winner said Tuesday in Sydney, where is playing the Australian Open. ''I don't want to pour cold water on it, but I don't think it should be in the Olympic Games.''

Golf has its four major championships, Watson added, and they should remain its pinnacle events.

Golf was played in the 1900 Paris Olympics and the 1904 St. Louis Olympics, but then was dropped. It will return at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics after a huge effort from golf organizations around the globe.

December 3, 2012 - 11:33pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Graeme McDowell at the World Challenge
Getty Images
Graeme McDowell became the seventh member of the European Ryder Cup team to pick up a trophy in the past two months.

Is there such thing as a Ryder Cup bounce? It sure looks like it.

Since the European team made that miraculous comeback to retain the golden chalice at Medinah a little more than two months ago, seven members of that victorious squad have gone on to win tournaments. They are:

--Graeme McDowell at the World Challenge in California on Dec. 2
--Martin Kaymer at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa on Dec. 2
--Rory McIlroy at the DP World Tour Challenge in Dubai on Nov. 25
--Luke Donald at the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan on Nov. 18
--Ian Poulter at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China on Nov. 4
--Peter Hanson at the BMW Masters in Shanghai on Oct. 28
--Justin Rose at the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final on Oct. 12

And on top of that, Vice-Captain Miguel Angel Jimenez won the UBS Hong Kong Open on Nov. 18 

Meanwhile, no member of the U.S. team has managed a victory since the Ryder Cup.

Golf clap for Kelly Tilghman of the Golf Channel, who pointed this out. You can follow her on Twitter at @KellyTilghmanGC

December 3, 2012 - 10:08pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Courtesy of Golden Horseshoe Golf Club
Golf at the Golden Horseshoe in Colonial Williamsburg is a father-son affair, thanks to the course-design genius of Robert Trent Jones Sr. and his sons Robert Trent II and Rees.

Few names in golf course architecture are as recognizable as that of the Jones family: The late, great genius Robert Trent Jones and his equally renowned sons, Robert Trent Jones II and Rees Jones. Together, the three industry giants have designed or remodeled nearly 1,000 courses around the globe.

Now, golfers can play the Robert Trent Jones-designed Gold Course and the Rees Jones-designed Green Course at the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club, and also stay onsite at Colonial Willamsburg's Woodlands Hotel. In addition, they can add a round at the nearby Rees Jones-designed Club at Viniterra, for a two-night, three-round package starting at $399 per person.

The Jones Collection package is available through the end of 2013 – yes, 2013.

Fittingly for a family destination, golf at Golden Horseshoe is a father-son affair. Trent Jones Sr. designed the Gold Course in 1963 and Rees came along to build the Green Course nearly 30 years later. The Gold Course is both an enduring example of traditional golf course architecture -- walkable and free of surrounding real estate development – and an excellent counterpart to the Green Course, which at 7,120 yards plays a little tougher than its sibling.

Located just off I-64 in New Kent toward Richmond, the Club at Viniterra opened in late 2009 as an amenity to help sell real estate, and once the golf course fully matured, the developers elected to open for public play earlier this year. Built on nearly 1,200 acres of wooded and rugged terrain, Viniterra can stretch to nearly 7,800 yards from the tips and flies against the grain of your typical Tidewater design.

With massive fairways and run-ups to nearly all of its green complexes, combined with the strategic placement of various grass, sand and water hazards -- Viniterra is enjoyable for golfers who select the proper set of tees, as some holes offer up to a dozen different teeboxes. Viniterra's routing incorporates many of the site's diverse natural features, including frequent elevation changes, multiple wetland areas and sections of mature, deciduous forest.

For more information, click here.