Golf Buzz

March 13, 2015 - 9:26am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rory McIlroy, Tom Brady, Augusta National
Rory McIlroy Facebook
Four-time major champ Rory McIlroy and four-time Super Bowl champ Tom Brady met on Thursday evening and will play Augusta National together today.

On Thursday night, world No. 1 Rory McIlroy posted a photo to his Facebook page that just oozed with greatness.

The four-time major winner posed arm-and-arm with arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time, four-time New England Patriots Super Bowl champ, Tom Brady (By the way, there's no "arguably the greatest" in regard to Brady when it comes to this writer, who is filing this post from his home, 25 short miles from Gillette Stadium).

RELATED: Over the top golf celebration | Va. Tech golf coach gets two aces in three holes

Here's the post:

 

 

How good is life for these two? Just a casual round at Augusta National on tap for Friday. That's a great way to get the weekend started early. 

Courtesy of Todd & Associates
A new 10,000-square-foot clubhouse will cap off an $8 million renovation of Maryvale Golf Course in Phoenix, Arizona.
Phoenix is hopping this time of year – the NBA's Suns and NHL's Coyotes are in full swing, 15 Major League Baseball teams are in the heart of spring training and, of course, all the golf courses are packed with golfers enjoying the gorgeous spring weather.
 
All the golf courses but one, that is.
 
The Maryvale Golf Course in west Phoenix is quiet this spring – but for a great reason.
 
The 54-year-old municipal facility – it's owned by the City of Phoenix – is closed for a significant renovation, and will reopen in the fall with an entirely new identity: the home course of the men's and women's golf teams at Grand Canyon University, whose campus is a few miles away.
 
 
Grand Canyon, whose teams play NCAA Division I golf in the Western Athletic Conference, is funding the $8 million facelift as part of a 30-year agreement with the city. The course, which was built in 1961, is set to reopen in October under a new name that the school will select, and the school will manage the course and pay all its operating costs.
 
The renovation is being done by Scottsdale-based course architect John Fought, whose renovation of Phoenix Country Club a decade ago impressed both the City of Phoenix and Grand Canyon.
 
"At Phoenix Country Club, he put a premium on preserving its old-school styling," said Jesse Mueller, the course's new director of golf. "John is very well known for his classic style, and we're all very excited to work with him to create a golf experience that everyone can enjoy, while also making it challenging for the collegiate players."
 
 
The renovation is all-encompassing – it entails a complete renovation as Fought will transform the course from a 6,500-yard par 72 to a 7,200-yard par 71. A 10,000-square-foot, two-story clubhouse with golf shop and locker rooms also is being built.
 
Among the most notable of Fought's upgrades are elevating the greens, adding some undulation to the flat fairways and rebuilding – and sometimes relocating – the course's 80 bunkers. The original routing by William F. Bell (perhaps best known for his design of the South Course at Torrey Pines) will be retained.
 
Even as it aged, the course maintained its popularity as a public golf facility and one of the most affordable and walkable course in the Phoenix area. Green fees, which are set by the City of Phoenix, will remain unchanged (fro $16 to $3) after the renovations, and GCU plans to launch an extensive youth program at the course.
 
"We want to make west Phoenix a golf destination," Mueller said. "This will just give people another reason to come to this side of town. … Our intent is to make Maryvale Golf Course a tremendous community asset as well as a tremendous university asset."
 
March 12, 2015 - 10:46am
mark.aumann's picture
Morton Madsen
European Tour/YouTube
Morton Orum Madsen celebrates after his ace.

Denmark's Morten Orum Madsen had a two-hole closing stretch Thursday at the Tshwane Open that he won't soon forget. He recorded back-to-back eagles -- one a hole-in-one -- at Pretoria Country Club to finish with a 63.

ACES APLENTY: Virginia Tech golf coach makes two in three-hole stretch

On the par-3 eighth hole -- playing about 135 yards -- Madsen hit this perfect wedge shot that landed behind the hole and then made a beeline for the cup:

 

 

Some golfers might have a letdown on the next hole. Not Madsen. The 26-year-old native of Denmark promptly eagled the 549-yard par-5 ninth to close out a great day at the office.

SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS: Share your hole-in-one story on social media with #PGAace

If a bogey on the last hole of your round may make for a sleepless night, imagine how restful you'll feel after going eagle-eagle.

March 12, 2015 - 9:14am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
golf celebration
YouTube
We all love a good celebration after holing an important putt, but this might be a bit over the top.

On of the great things about golf is that there's always a shot or putt to get excited about no matter your level of ability.

But this? This celebration for what looks like nothing more than a 10-foot putt might be a bit much (h/t Golf.com).

The video was posted to YouTube on March 8 and is said to have happened at The Dragon's Tooth golf course in Fort William, Scotland.

 

RELATED: Va. Tech golf coach snags two aces in three holes | Monster alligator

My best guess is that the course was closed that day due to rain -- note the overflow of water in the bunker. And that guy? I'm just going to assume he's Dragon Tooth's version of Carl Spackler in Caddyshack (he certainly has the look down) and was sneaking in a few holes because he didn't think "the really heavy stuff's comin' down for quite a while."

We're used to seeing winners of the LPGA's Kraft Nabisco Championship take a plunge in Poppie's Pond... but at least that's a pond -- and that's after they win the tournament.

So, all around, strange but funny celebration from Scotland's Spackler.

Here's a look at some of the otherwise stunning views that sweep across Dragon's Tooth, which -- according to its website -- was named No. 1 in Scotland's Best 9-hole Golf Courses by Bunkered Magazine in 2013. 

 

Carol Robertson
Carol Robertson had five career holes-in-one until Monday – when she made two more in quick order.
We've featured several memorable hole-in-one stories here on PGA.com lately, and we're always looking for more. Here's another feat that belongs in the pantheon of the unforgettable.
 
On Monday, Carol Robertson, the women's golf coach at Virginia Tech, was playing at Celebration Golf Club near Disney World in Orlando, Florida, when she made not one but two holes-in-one. And, according to Dan Steinberg at The Washington Post, she did so in the span of a mere three holes.
 
The first one came on the par-3 third hole, but no one – she was playing with Assistant Coach Russell Abbott and two of her Hokies players – saw the ball actually go into the hole because the cup was obscured from their view. 
 
The group got to stage a true celebration at Celebration two holes later, on the 162-par, par-3 fifth hole. Making the occasion even more memorable was that Robertson joked about making another one before she hit her shot.
 
 
"I play par 3s pretty fast," she told her playing partners. "I'll just go ahead and make a 1 on this one, too."
 
Even she didn't think it would actually happen, though. And when it did, the entire foursome erupted. 
 
"I just kind of dropped my club and hit the ground," Robertson said. "Everybody's just high-fiving, getting their cameras out, taking pictures."
 
And while her two-aces-in-a-three-hole stretch is obviously a once-in-a-lifetime feat, Robertson is no stranger to stellar golf.
 
 
She came to Virginia Tech from Old Dominion in the summer of 2013 to start the women's golf program after an outstanding playing career that included winning the 2006 Virginia State Amateur Championship and reaching the finals of the 2010 U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur. She was a two-time Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year at James Madison, and won the conference championship in 2003.
 
In addition, her father, Charles Green, is a past president of the Virginia State Golf Association. Her older brother Chuck played collegiately at Washington and Lee, while her younger brother, Garland was a four-year letter winner on the Hokie men's golf team.
 
Even so, she still hasn't gotten over her amazing accomplishment
 
"You just know they're so rare to begin with, but for it to happen two times in one round?," she told Steinberg. "You just never give up, because you never know when they're coming."
 
TaylorMade Aeroburner iron and mini driver
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The small-headed TaylorMade AeroBurner Mini Driver is for players who'd rather tee off with a 3-wood, while the AeroBurner irons are designed to create more distance.
 
TaylorMade unveiled its new AeroBurner driver and fairway woods back last fall – and the driver won three PGA Tour events in the last two weeks (Dustin Johnson at Doral, Alex Cejka in Puerto Rico and Padraig Harrington at the Honda Classic).
 
So the timing is perfect for the company to roll out the rest of the AeroBurner family – a Mini Driver, irons and two versions of an AeroBurner ball. 
 
The AeroBurner Mini Driver follows the successful launch of the SLDR Mini Driver, and is designed for players who prefer to hit tee shots with a 3-wood instead of a traditional driver. It also can serve as a replacement for the 3-wood.
 
"The SLDR Mini Driver captivated golfers on all skill levels by delivering better 3-wood performance from the tee," said Brian Bazzel, TaylorMade's Senior Director of Metalwood Creation. "With AeroBurner, we've now designed a metalwood that delivers even more speed and forgiveness to this new, popular club type."
 
 
The AeroBurner Mini Driver has a 253cc head (as opposed to the full-size 460cc heads on most drivers) and a 43.5-inch shaft, and TaylorMade's engineers say the club builds on everything they learned in creating the SLDR Mini. 
 
It's got a new aerodynamic shape with a shallow face designed to help get the ball up in the air, as well as a low-forward center of gravity to launch the ball on a boring trajectory. The head has a raised center crown and a hosel has a new fin to help maximize clubhead speed during the downswing. 
 
And like the rest of the AeroBurner metalwoods, the Mini Driver features the biggest open channel Speed Pocket of any TaylorMade metalwood in company history, which helps increase the size of the sweetspot while reducing spin. The club also has a new matte white finish, a black PVD face and linear crown graphic.
 
The Mini Driver will be available in both standard and TP models; the TP edition, for better players, is designed with a longer hosel, flatter lie angle and more open face angle. The standard version comes in three loft options (12, 14 and 16 degrees), while the TP comes in 12- and 4-degree options.  
 
The standard Mini will have a suggested retail price of $279 with a lightweight Matrix Speed RUL-Z 60 shaft, while the TP will have a suggested retail price of $349 with a Matrix Ozik White Tie 70X4 shaft. Both will be available at retail on March 27.
 
AeroBurner Irons
 
TaylorMade calls its AeroBurner irons "the ultimate distance iron," and explains that its engineers have optimized loft and center of gravity placement for consistent, powerful shotmaking from any lie. And by incorporating Speed Pockets, the long-bladed heads can promote higher launch angles and more ball speed on well-struck shots while also protecting ball speed on shots hit low on the face for more consistency on mis-hits.
 
 
Aesthetically, the AeroBurner irons feature a dark, matte head finish like that on TaylorMade's recent SpeedBlade irons. The darker finish reduces glare off the clubface while delivering a sleek look. 
 
The new irons will be available at retail on March 18. A standard eight-piece set (3-iron through pitching wedge) equipped with stock REAX 88 High Launch steel shafts will have a suggested retail price of $699, while a set with REAX 60 graphite shafts will have a suggested retail price of $799 in stiff, regular, senior or ladies flex. 
 
AeroBurner Soft and Pro Golf Balls
 
Created for the majority of golfers with mid to high handicaps, the AeroBurner Soft golf ball is TaylorMade's softest two-piece ball and was engineered to deliver distance with stopping power. The company calls the AeroBurner Soft "a distance balls that actually stops," and says it delivers high greenside spin to help amateur players where they need it most.
 
The keys to its performance are its new, softer REACT Core for greater ball speed on all shots and Low-Drag Performance Aerodynamics 342 high-lift, low drag dimple pattern, which was designed to launch high and sustain flight. 
 
 
By contrast, the Aeroburner Pro is a three-piece ball engineered for high ball speeds off the clubface – like the speeds generated by elite players. Its spin control and soft feel come from the interface of TaylorMade’s Sin Mantle and proprietary Iothane cover. 
 
Both balls are available at retail now. The Aeroburner Soft carries a suggested retail price of $19.99 per dozen, while the Pro model carries a suggested retail price of $26.99 per dozen.