Golf Buzz

February 13, 2013 - 7:00pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Here's some very welcome news: The number of rounds played nationwide in 2012 was up 6.4 percent over 2011, according to PGA PerformanceTrak. That represents the largest single-year percentage increase in rounds played since 2000.

And along with growth in rounds played, golf fee revenue increased by 6.6 percent last year, based on reports from the facilities participating in the monthly surveys. Some details:

--48 states showed an increase in golf fee revenue for 2012
--17 states showed golf fee revenue increases over 10 percent
--24 states had golf fee revenue increases ranging from 5.0 to 9.9 percent
--Seven states had golf fee revenue increases from 1 to 4.9 percent

Additionally, the PGA PerformanceTrak report indicated that merchandise revenue was up 8.9 percent, food and beverage revenue was up 5.9 percent and total facility revenue was up 4.3 percent last year as compared to 2011.

These increases were enabled in part by the weather, the report said. According to the National Climatic Data Center, 2012 marked the warmest year on record for the United States, and that led to a 6.5 percent increase in the number of days the average facility was open throughout the year.

"While the increase in rounds played in 2012 was supported by favorable weather conditions, consumers made the choice to play golf, rather than participate in other recreational activities," said PGA of America President Ted Bishop. "It's not an aberration that golf facilities that are offering player development programs to support Golf 2.0, are driving more consumers to the course, while positively impacting the bottom lines at their facilities. We continue to build momentum, and I’m confident that these programs, complemented by the favorable weather conditions, are leading to the increase in rounds played."
PGA PerformanceTrak, a joint venture between the PGA of America and the National Golf Course Owners Association of America, is the golf industry's leading rounds and revenue data collection and benchmarking service. More than 3,000 golf facilities contribute to the PerformanceTrak reports on a monthly basis.

February 13, 2013 - 2:23pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture's Sam Weinman put together a hysterical slideshow of most annoying golf partners, including, "The Volcano," pictured above.


Cool piece I stumbled upon today on by Sam Weinman.
Weinman put together a funny slideshow of the most annoying golf partners you can have -- he highlighted 36 in all!
Among the beauties -- and I know I've played with all of them -- Weinman points out:
Unsolicited Swing Advice Guy
Defining characteristics: Knows exactly how to fix your swing even though you didn't ask. Employs a vast array of swing jargon that only confuses you further.
Favorite expression: "Wait, try this!"
The Cart Girl Schmoozer
Defining characteristics: Convinced he's got a shot with the cart girl. Would be crushed to learn she offered the same flirty laugh and bag of nuts to foursome of geeks up ahead. 
Favorite expression: "We'll take four beers and one more smile, darlin'."
The Air Counter
Defining characteristics: Can't remember his score without reliving every shot in detail. 
Favorite expression: "One in the pond, two drop, three back in the pond. Four I had that funky lie in the bunker and left it in the bunker ... "
Oblivious Guy
Defining characteristics: So preoccupied with his own game never looks for anyone else's ball. When driving a cart, always blows past your ball and heads directly to his. 
Favorite expression: "But enough about me. What do YOU think of my swing?"
The Volcano
Defining characteristics: Has unique ability to allow even the most pleasant days to be soured by any bad swing, bounce, or lie. Relies on Ball Retriever Guy to occasionally fetch clubs out of lake. 
Favorite expression: "[Not printable]"
If you're looking for a good laugh, check out the rest of Weinman's list here.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
February 13, 2013 - 2:01pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Riviera may be one of the shorter courses on the PGA Tour, but it's also one of the most special.


What should you be looking out for this week as the PGA Tour heads to legendary Riviera Country Club for the Northern Trust Open? featured columnist Mike Dudurich has you covered.
Dudurich wrote:
Going back to 1929, when the Los Angeles Open was first played at Riviera Country Club, the early-season stop on the PGA Tour quickly grew into a must-play for the best players in the world.
In the middle of the century, Riviera became known as Hogan's Alley after Ben Hogan won two Los Angeles Opens and the 1948 U.S. Open on the course.
The PGA Tour comes calling this week to Riviera and the course will provide one of the compelling storylines throughout the week.
Among the storylines Dudurich highlights is the fact that stars Luke Donald, Adam Scott and Ernie Els are all making their PGA Tour season debuts this week.
To check out all of Dudurich's storylines, click here.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
February 13, 2013 - 7:33am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Daniela Holmqvist
Daniela Holmqvist Twitter
Daniela Holmqvist of Sweden (center) finished an LPGA qualifier after being bitten on the fourth hole by a back widow spider on Tuesday.


Have you ever gutted out a round of golf while fighting blisters on your feet? Maybe you've fallen ill on the course, but sucked it up and plugged along to finish?
If you have, LET (Ladies European Tour) rookie Daniela Holmqvist of Sweden probably never wants to hear your lame, pathetic story.
Holmqvuist was playing in a pre-qualifier on Tuesday for the LPGA's ISPS Handa Australian Open in Yarralumla. After hitting her second shot from the rough on the fourth hole, Holmqvuist was bitten by a black widow spider on her ankle.
She felt a sharp stab in her ankle. When she looked down, she saw a large, furry, black creature with a red spot on its back just above her sock line. After quickly swatting it away, she doubled over in pain.
"When I told the local caddies in my group what had happened, they got very upset and said it was a Black Widow, and immediately started looking for their phones to call the medics," Holmqvist told Karin Klarstrom of Svensk Golf.
As Holmqvist's leg started to swell and the pain became intense, she made the quick decision to take matters into her own hands (she'd just been informed that a Black Widow bite can kill a child in as little as 30 minutes). She pulled a tee out of her pocket ("it was the only thing I had handy," she told Svensk Golf) and used it to cut open the wound so she could squeeze out the venom and keep it from spreading inside her body.
"A clear fluid came out," she said. "It wasn't the prettiest thing I've ever done, but I had to get as much of it out of me as possible."
As it turns out, the quick-thinking Holmqvist helped her cause in a big way with the self-surgery. 
Playing through severe pain and anxiety, Holmqvist miraculously finished her round and shot a 74 -- which left her out of the tournament. 
Holmqvist gave post-round updates via her Twitter page, @DHolmqvist:
"So I went to see a doctor... On a double dose of antibiotics and some other stuff 4 times per day. Also the wound needed some attention."
"I asked the doctor if I could do a workout today... Her response "the death-stare"."
The moral of the story: next time you want to whine about some ailment on the course, think of Daniela Holmqvist who played 14 more holes after a black widow bite and ensuing do-it-yourself surgery with a golf tee!
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
February 13, 2013 - 1:00am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Luke Donald and Michael Jordan
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Luke Donald believes Michael Jordan's love of golf and success in basketball's most pressure-packed situations can help him earn a breakthrough major title.

Luke Donald is ranked No. 3 in the world, won three times around the globe in 2012 and in 2011 captured the money list titles on both the PGA Tour and European Tour. Still, he's feeling unfulfilled because, despite all his success, he's yet to win a major.

So he's made what can only be described as an unusual – but possibly inspired – choice for help with his mental approach.

Donald, an Englishman who has lived in Chicago since his college days at Northwestern, has turned to his fellow Windy City resident: Michael Jordan, who won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s. The introverted 5-foot-9 golfer and the extroverted 6-foot-6 hoopster didn't get close, however, until both relocated to South Florida and started spending time together at the Bear's Club.

"Michael's a really nice chap who I’ve got to know really well recently," Donald told the Daily Telegraph newspaper in England. "His fiancée [Yvette Prieto] is good friends with my wife [Diane] and we've begun to play a lot together. I'm always happy to empty his wallet."

Jordan, as we all know, is also an accomplished golfer – if occasionally a fashion scofflaw – who, as the paper points out, is good friends with Tiger Woods and America's biggest cheerleader at the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup.

"He's good for the mind. He's been making sure I'm ready mentally," Donald said, not revealing the specifics of what they've talked about. "It's been good to pick Michael's brains and find out what he was thinking about when he was playing basketball. He's always trying to play mind games, he doesn't like to lose."

Donald's last tournament was the DP World Championship in Dubai almost three months ago, and he took a five-week break from golf over the winter. He's been working on his game for the past six weeks, though, and makes his 2013 competitive debut this week at the Nothern Trust Open.

"Although I was content with how I played last year – I won three times on three different continents – I was once again disappointed with how I performed in the majors," said Donald who at age 35 is feeling more urgency to finally capture a major title. "I've got to figure out a way to be competitive at the majors – that's the main aim this year."

February 12, 2013 - 6:36pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Odyssey White Hot Pro putters
Courtesy of Odyssey Golf
The face of the new White Hot Pro putters from Odyssey Golf features an upgraded insert, wwhile the sole includes a series of dashes to be used with the new EyeFit fitting system.

Odyssey putters with a White Hot insert claimed more than 30 victories on tours around the world in 2012, so the company has expanded its White Hot offerings.

The new line of White Hot Pro flat sticks represents the next step in Odyssey's development of putter face inserts, as these new ones are better formed to match the shapes of the faces on which they’re installed. This is done, Odyssey says, with a new laser milling cutting process that helps make the inserts fit more perfectly and provide more consistent sound, feel and reaction across the face.

"The White Hot insert was pivotal in catapulting Odyssey to No. 1 in wins, top-10s and usage across the world's professional tours,'' said Odyssey Golf Principal Designer Austie Rollinson. ''At Odyssey, we are always striving to give the elite and amateur golfer more ways to sink putts more often, so we took our most popular insert on tour and engineered it for better overall performance and consistency. The result is the White Hot Pro line of Odyssey putters.''

A full line of styles is available, including Odyssey's #1, #7, #5, #2 Center Shaft, #9, 2-Ball, D.A.R.T. and Rossie. The Odyssey team also has developed new head shapes for 2013, including a high MOI mallet – with a modified High Definition alignment system called V-Line – and a smaller version of the D.A.R.T. putter called D.A.R.T. Mini.

The White Hot Pro D.A.R.T. and D.A.R.T Mini models, along with the 2-Ball – which, incidentally, is Odyssey's best-selling model – feature an adjustable weighting system that allows golfers to change the headweight of the standard-length putter from 350 grams to 360 or 370 grams. The weights and a wrench are included in the headcover for these models.

All the new White Hot Pro putters come with a Gun Metal PVD finish that creates a non-glare look. These new putters carry a suggested retail price starting at $129.99 for most models. The 2-ball and D.A.R.T. puttersretail for $179.99, while belly and long models of the 2-Ball and CS mallet retail for $189.99.

And in conjunction with the release of the White Hot Pro putter line, Odyssey has introduced a new retail fitting system called EyeFit that helps golfers select a proper head shape based on their general setup to the ball. EyeFit is based on the premise that your set-up dictates the shape of your putting stroke, and uses mirrors to help you see where your eyes set up to the ball.

The closer a golfer is to the ball (eyes over the ball), the more likely he will have a straight back-straight through stroke, Odyssey says, while the farther away a golfer is from the ball, the more likely he will have an arced stroke. Each White Hot Pro putter has a series of dashes on its sole that correlate to the fitting system. Odyssey’s new Versa line of putters features the EyeFit fitting system as well.