Golf Buzz

December 11, 2012 - 11:12pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
Courtesy of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
The Links Golf Club is one of three courses included in Sandestin's pre-Christmas bargains.

The Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, Fla., is making a unique offer for the week leading up to Christmas – that's next week! Guests who book a round on one of Sandestin’s three participating courses will receive a free night stay in either the resort's Luau or LeCiel communities.

Green fees for that week at the Links Golf Club, Raven Golf Club and Baytowne Golf Club are $89, with replay rounds going for $79. Carts and unlimited range balls and use of the practice facility are also included.

"This promotion is our way to give people the gift of travel and the opportunity to experience all Sandestin has to offer, including the enjoyable game of golf," said Sandestin Vice President of Operations Robert Schamber.

There’s more than golf going on at Sandestin over the holiday saeson, though. The more than a dozen events and activities include the Santa Tuck-in and Santa Skype programs, Village outdoor skating rink, holiday movies under the stars and the festive "12 Nights of Lights" light show.

Spread through 30 neighborhoods and over 2,400 acres with 1,300 vacation rentals, condominiums, villas, town homes and hotel accommodations, Sandestin features seven miles of beaches and bayfront, four championship and resort golf courses, 15 tournament-caliber tennis courts, 19 swimming pools, a 113-slip marina, fitness center and spa.

The pedestrian-friendly Village of Baytowne Wharf is the heart and soul of the resort, where guests enjoy a mix of boutique shops and restaurants, bars and nightlife. Family-friendly entertainment options include the Adventure Landing Playground, Adventure Zone with the Florida Gulf Coast's only zipline, Carousel and the Blast Arcade and Laser Maze.

For more information, visit

December 11, 2012 - 1:37pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Batu Bay Golf Club site
Courtesy of Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design
The windswept site of the forthcoming Batu Bay Golf Club is covered in low-lying natural scrub and contains almost no trees.

In a true case of east meets west, golf course architects Dana Fry and Jason Straka have signed on to design a rare course in the Inner Mongolia region of China that will have hints of iconic American courses like Bandon Dunes and Sand Hills.

The course at Batu Bay Golf Club will be perched on a bluff populated by sand dunes and overlooking the immense Batu Bay reservoir. Owned by the Inner Mongolia-based Oriental Holding Group, Batu Bay will have a Banyan Tree Hotel on site, and the course will be open to the hotel's guests.

"Batu Bay has the chance to become one of the world's great courses due to the excellent soil conditions, natural sand scrub vegetation and awesome views of the reservoir," said Fry. "It has a Sand Hills (Nebraska) or Bandon Dunes (Oregon) feel to it."

Though isolated – like Bandon Dunes and Sand Hills in that respect – the site contains hundreds of acres of sand dunes on a hill above the large reservoir. Native scrub covers the entire site, but there are virtually no trees anywhere on the property.

"We will move very little earth," Fry told Golf Course Architecture. "Because of the wind, we will make the turf areas around 50 percent wider than normal. Tees will be treated as if they are desert tee boxes with native scrub around them, and the scrub will border both sides of the holes, except in areas where we connect the turf between holes. Bunkers will have a wild and woolly look. We will plant fescue everywhere except the greens. It will be special."

Course construction is scheduled to begin next May, with the layout slated to open in late summer 2014.

The venue is three hours from the regional capital of Ordos, and the closest airport is in Yulin City, about a one-hour drive away. The region, however, is a growing tourist destination known for its natural beauty.

The Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design firm takes the word 'global' in its name seriously. The company – which was formed earlier this year – is based in Dublin, Ohio (where Straka is), but also has offices in Brazil and Hong Kong (where Fry lives).

December 10, 2012 - 11:56pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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the Original John Daly Cocktail
Courtesy of the Original John Daly Cocktail
The Original John Daly Cocktail will debut in bottles and cans at BevMo stores in California, Nevada and Arizona.

Almost everyone who's ever swung a golf club knows that an 'Arnold Palmer' is a (delicious) blend of iced tea and lemonade. But did you know that a 'John Daly' is an Arnold Palmer with a shot of vodka?

A lot of people do know that, and a lot of bars and restaurants have been serving them for several years -- and Daly didn't like that. He even accused some of these establishments with trademark infringement, and asked his Twitter followers to let him know when they ran across places were serving the drinks without his permission.

Now, though, Daly -- who doesn't drink anymore -- is doing something about it.  

Daly is coming out with the Original John Daly Cocktail, which features a shot of vodka in either sweet tea lemonade, peach tea lemonade or raspberry tea lemonade. The best part about this 30-proof refreshment might be its tagline: Grip It & Sip It.

John Daly cocktails will debut in BevMo stores throughout California, Arizona and Nevada, Daly said on Twitter. And, according to the Original John Daly Cocktail page on Facebook, they are also "coming soon to a beverage cart, restaurant, bar and 19th hole near you!"

Golf buddies who partake more than me say that some people who drink John Dalys like to add a splash of orange juice to give it a little tang. And if you make a John Daly but use Everclear instead of vodka, that's called a 'Happy Gilmore.'




December 10, 2012 - 1:38pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade RocketBladez iron, Nike VR_S Covert driver
Courtesy of TaylorMade (left) and Nike Golf
TaylorMade's new RocketBladez irons registered their inaugural competitive victory in Florida, while Nike's VR_S Covert driver got its first tour win in South Africa.

The week just concluded was the next-to-last week of competition in 2012, but it produced a couple of firsts in the world of equipment.

Over at the Nelson Mandela Championship in South Africa, Scott Jamieson of England chalked up the first competitive victory for the new VR_S Covert drivers from Nike Golf. And in the Franklin Templeton Shootout in Naples, Fla., Sean O'Hair (teaming with Kenny Perry) earned the first victory for the new RocketBladez irons from TaylorMade.

"Believe in your driver," tweeted Nike Golf after Jamieson's victory in the first event of the 2013 European Tour season, noting that Jamieson gained seven yards in carry distance with his new driver.

The VR_S Covert driver is the first to bring high-speed cavityback technology to a conforming driver, Nike says. The High Speed Cavity Back leads to more stability at impact, and is visible only from the sole – hence the name VR_S Covert. And by incorporating this new hidden geometry into the driver, Nike is able to move the weight of the club to the heel and toe, increasing Moment of Inertia (MOI) to increase forgiveness and add even more distance to off-center shots.

The VR_S Covert and Covert Tour drivers will be available in North America and Europe on Feb. 8, 2013, and the rest of world starting Feb. 15, 2013.

Meanwhile, "the first PGA Tour professional to play RBladez Tour irons (Sean O'Hair) became the first to win with them," tweeted TaylorMade, who also noted that Rory Sabbatini, who finished runner-up with teammate Charles Howell III.

The secret of the RocketBladez' success is their Speed Pocket, a narrow 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 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.

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-Terrain 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.

RocketBladez irons are available now.

December 10, 2012 - 9:48am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Peter Senior
Australia's Peter Senior, 53, became the oldest Australian Open champion by 10 years, as the previous record holder was Peter Thomson, who won the title at age 43.

In case you missed it this weekend, Australia's Peter Senior pulled off an amazing feat Down Under, winning the Australian Open at the age of 53, to become the tournament's oldest winner. It was the second Australian Open title for the appropriately named Senior, but the incredible thing about it is that his two wins came 23 years apart -- also a record.

As reported by Martin Blake of

He is the oldest winner of any top-level Australian tour event, having set the previous record himself when he won the Australian PGA at Coolum in 2010 at 51.

"It doesn’t get any better than this," said Senior, a profoundly popular figure in the Australian golf industry over three decades.

Kudos to Senior. It seems all we talk about lately is the supreme talent of players at such a young age. For instance, New Zealand's Lydia Ko became the youngest LPGA winner earlier this season when she captured the Canadian Women's Open at 15 years, 4 months and 3 days. More recently, Guan Tianlang of China -- just 14 years old -- became the youngest player ever to qualify for the Masters after his win at the Asia-Pacific Championship in November.

While it's fantastic to see that the future of the game is in great hands with the performances of these young players, it's also nice on occasion to see someone like Senior get the job done.

To read more about Senior's victory, check out our Australian Open recap here.

December 9, 2012 - 2:34pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Tom Watson
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Tom Watson led the U.S. Ryder Cup team to victory at the Belfry in England in 1993, and now wants to return at Gleneagles in 2014.

Tom Watson has just wrapped up playing at the Australian Open for the first time since he won it in 1984. Now he's got another "back to the future" target on his mind.

Watson said Sunday in Sydney that he'd love to captain the U.S. team at the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland -- 21 years after he led the Americans to victory at the Belfry in England in 1993.

"It would be a great honor if I got tapped on the shoulder," said Watson, who stressed that he hasn’t been approach about the job. "’93 was the last time I've been to a Ryder Cup. I'd like to go back as captain. That would be cool."

Watson, 63, played on Ryder Cup teams in 1977, 1981, 1983 and 1989.