November 16, 2016 - 10:23am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth
USA Today Sports Images
You want to play golf up until the first snow fall but don't want to freeze while doing it? Here are some great tips on how to layer up without being uncomfortably bulky.

In many areas around the country, golf season is quickly winding down.

Colder weather is moving in and, before we know it, our favorite courses will most likely be covered in snow.

Before that happens, you're going to want to sneak in as much last-minute golf as you possibly can. But what about those dropping temperatures? Playing golf in a snowsuit sure doesn't seem like it would be any fun.

Thanks to advances in the fabrics used for cold-weather gear these days, you don't have to get dressed like Ralphie Parker's little brother, Randy, from A Christmas Story.

RELATED: Playing in cold weather tips | Preparation makes it a breeze

When it comes to playing golf in cold weather, PGA Professional Rob Labritz insists there are two major factors to keep in mind:

1. It's all about being comfortable -- make sure you're warm, but your gear isn't bulky.

2. You shouldn't worry about making a fashion statement in the cold.

"The thinner you go and the more treated, the more expensive it is," Labritz said. "You can go all sorts of routes. The internet is your best friend when it comes to this stuff for research. There are really some great deals to be had if you're looking in the right places."

For between $30-$50, Labritz said, you can find yourself items for a solid base layer from a company like Under Armour or Tommie Copper.

"It's a thin, tight, base layer that isn't giving off any kind of thickness, but it's warm," he said. "I recommend Under Armour, but if you want to spend a little more money, Lululemon has some great options to consider as well."

Not getting "bulky," obviously requires as few layers as possible. That's why Labritz fetches for either a sweater or a long-sleeved shirt that's a polyester blend.

"It's just easier to wear than cotton in the cold because the polyester is just stretchier than cotton," he said.

Now that your base- and mid-layers are covered, it's time to move into the outer layers. That, Labritz said, is where it can really get expensive... particularly if you're concerned about "looking good" rather than just "being warm and comfortable."

"Of course there's fantastic, expensive stuff out there that you can find out there that will keep you warm and you'll look great in it," Labritz said. "But, as we touched on earlier, there are deals to be had. Keep in mind that you're likely only going to be wearing this stuff a couple of times per year and it's not something you're going to be replacing on an annual basis."

While Gore Tex is king for the outer layer, there are cheaper offerings that are effective.

"They have high-end fabrics that are treated with a rain repellent that makes it warmer and water resistent," Labritz explained. "It's not Gore Tex stuff, but it will repel a little bad weather. Those are your three layers and they're all thin. They're made for golf. Now you're swinging like a champion. You get used to the tightness, but it's not bulky."

Through a quick internet search, Labritz actually found a waterproof John Daly Rain Suit for $79.99 -- for the jacket and the pants.

For $149, you could have Labritz's go-to pants for playing in cold or wet weather -- the all-weather pants from Galway Bay Apparel.

"I love them because they're light and the fit just like a regular golf pant," he said. "It's a very cool pant. It's a lined pant with a rain-pant outside with almost like a thin rubber on the inside, but it looks like a pant and is super warm. I wear it when it's below 60 degrees."

If you're looking for a little more and have the extra cash, Gore Tex is the answer. It can range in price from the hundreds and even into the thousands.

"When you get into the Gore Tex, it's a fabric -- a membrane that contains over 1.4 billion microscopic pores per square centimeter," he said. "These pores are 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet but 700 times larger than a water vapor molecule. That makes Gore Tex completely waterproof on the outside, but it breathes on the inside. If you find Gore Tex for under a couple hundred, you're doing well, but you want to be sure it breathes. It'll just get too hot and nasty."

So, if you're looking for some great cold weather gear, know what you want ahead of time and then do your research on the internet.

While you might live by the old adage, "You get what you pay for," just remember that in this instance -- if you're looking in the right places -- what you pay for doesn't necessarily have to mean you're breaking the bank. 

Rob Labritz, who has played in four PGA Championships (he was low-Club Professional in 2010 at Whistling Straits), is currently the Director of Golf at GlenArbor Golf Club in BedFord Hills, N.Y. He was also the PGA Met Section Player of the Year in 2008, 2013 and 2016, as well as the Westchester Golf Association's Player of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2015. You can learn more about Labritz at www.RobLabritz.com and you can follow him on Twitter, @Rlabritz.

Golf tips: Layer up for cold weather without hindering your swing
November 15, 2016 - 11:01am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Patrick Reed, Ian Poulter
USA Today Sports Images
Could you imagine a team consisting of Ryder Cup legends from each side of the pond in Patrick Reed and Ian Poulter at the Zurich Classic?

In case you haven't heard, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans has announced a format change for the 2017 tournament. It's a change that's sure to give the event a huge boost of adrenaline too.

Unlike the typical week-in, week-out, stroke-play format that crowns a champion after 72 holes, the Zurich Classic will now be a 72-hole stroke play format featuring Foursomes (alternate shot) during the first and third rounds and Four-Ball (best ball) during the second and fourth rounds.

From the Associated Press:

The starting field will consist of 80 teams (160 players). Each of the top available players from the PGA Tour Priority Rankings who commits to the tournament will choose his partner, who in turn must have PGA Tour status unless he is chosen as a tournament sponsor exemption.

Following the conclusion of the second round, there will be a cut to the low 35 teams and ties at the 35th position. In case of a tie after 72 holes, there will be a sudden-death playoff using the Four-Ball format.

Sounds pretty cool, doesn't it? Two pairings have already been announced: World No. 1 Jason Day will team up with Rickie Fowler, while major champions Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson will make up another pair.

With that, here are five other pairings we'd love to see with reasoning for each.


5. Bubba Watson and Tony Finau.
Why?:
Remember when Chris Paul went to the L.A. Clippers and that video surfaced with the reaction from dunk specialist Blake Griffin when he said, "Lob City!" With this duo at the Zurich Classic, it would be, "Bomb City!" Two of the longest drivers in the game today just blasting it out there from both the right and left side of the golf ball off the tee. Wouldn't that be fun to watch? It would be especially fun to take in in the Four-Ball format since both players would have the chance to absolutely unload off the tee on the par 4s and 5s.


4. Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
Why?:
It's well-documented that this is a friendship that goes back years and years. A pairing featuring Spieth and Thomas could also serve as a preview for Presidents Cups and Ryder Cups for years to come. Since they're so comfortable with one another and so familiar with each other's game, this could truly be a duo that just ham and eggs its opponents to death. But what about Spieth and Patrick Reed, you're wondering? Fair question... but we've got a partner for Reed later on this list.


3. Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson.
Why?:
Two of the best -- and highest-ranked -- players in the game today, this would look on paper to be an unbeatable force. Are there any two players in the game over the last five years (not named "Spieth" or "Day"), who are more dominant when firing on all cylinders? When they're "on" there's not a weakness in either player's game. Plus, when facing a pair of rank-and-file Tour players in a match, we'd have to assume the intimidation factor would be pretty serious.


2. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Why?:
Didn't we already see this fail miserably at the 2004 Ryder Cup? Yes, we did. But, at that time, Woods and Mickelson were at their absolute peak individually. After wanting to beat each other's brains in every other week of the year, they were suddenly asked to play nice and play together. It was a fascinating recipe for disaster. Even though many knew it could never work, they'd all be lying if they said they weren't at least intrigued at the time... Things are different now. They're older. They're not winning with the frequency they once did. Guys aren't as intimated of this pair as they once were. And, from all indications of what we can see at Ryder Cups, it might not even be so far-fetched to say they're actually enjoying one another's company at this stage in their careers. A pairing in the Zurich Classic would be more fun than pressure cooker (Ryder Cup). Give it to us!


1. Patrick Reed and Ian Poulter.
Why?:
The two biggest Ryder Cup villains paired together as a team? Are you kidding me? Yes, please. Poulter has been a thorn in the side of Ryder Cup USA and their fans for years with his uncanny ability to play absolutely out of his mind and pull off whatever shot is required whenever it is required. Reed, meanwhile, has been that same thorn for European fans in the last two Ryder Cups played. The two guys that fans on both sides of the pond love to hate, together as one? Oh. My.  

5 pairings we'd love to see at the Zurich Classic
November 13, 2016 - 4:29pm
matthew.craig's picture
golf clichés, cliche, cliche day
USA Today Sports Images
Golf is a sport full of clichés. Here's 25 reader-submitted clichés that we hear all the time on the golf course.

If you've played or watched golf for any amount of time, then you've heard more than a handful of clichés.

Some are true, some helpful, some funny. Some get really annoying. But it's as much a part of the sport as packing wacky headcovers or making excuses for bad shots.

November 3rd was Cliché Day, and we reached out to our readers on Facebook to ask, "what is your favorite cliché on the golf course?"

Here were your responses:

1. "Drive for show and putt for dough."  -Margaret Rhodes

2. "If I only hit that one straight it woulda been perfect."  -Richard Albano

3. "That was a brilliant shot, right up until the moment it wasn't."  -Benjamin Butterfield

4. "I kept my head in the game, took it one shot at a time, was seeing the breaks, and rolled in a few good ones."  -Jim Bergeson

5. "I know exactly what to do, I just can't do it every time."  -John Kasper

6. "Plenty of green to work with."  -Eileen Clark

7. "If I would've hit that putt, it would've been in."  -Erik Watson

8. "A shot is only as good or bad as the next one."  -Jeff Schauer

9. "You pulled your head up."  -Todd Thomas

10. "They don't ask how, they only ask how many."  -Lou Beisel

11. "Aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time."  -Will Nottell

12. "Be right!"  -Mike Jones

13. "Bite like a bad dog."  -Mark Snover

14. "That's about as good as he could do from that lie."  -Tyler Johnson

15. "Hit a house!"  -Kevin Smeltz

16. "Never up, never in."  -Steve Stalock

17. "Now that's 'cart golf.'"  -Jared Burke

18. "Hit it Alice."  -Rob Barnes

19. "One shot at a time."  -Brian Wetzel

20. "Trees are 90% air."  -Chris Wright

21. "That was par for the course."  -Jimmy Wood

22. "Don't give up the hole."  -Paul Nush

23. "One time!"  -Frank Pasquale

24. "I'm just out here to relax and unwind."  -Tommy Brooks

25. "It's in the hole!"  -Andrea Skaar Rott

 

25 golf clichés we all love to hate
praying mantis, golf, thousand islands country club
Twitter / BMPayments
We got the story behind a wonderfully unique photo by a reader as part of the #PGA365 series.

You never know what you're going to find on the golf course. The key is to always have your camera ready.

Sam Charbonneau was playing a round at The Old Course at Thousand Islands Country Club in Wellesly Island, New York, with his parents and brother when he came across a photo opportunity he couldn't pass up.

The picture was a pretty spectacular addition to our #PGA365 collection of the best reader-submitted photographs. So we reached out to Sam, to see if we could hear the story behind this timely meeting between man and bug.

We were on the 15th hole, the best par 4 in the state, I hit the green in regulation which is an accomplishment on its own. I was with my parents and my brother. I noticed the praying mantis on the green and had my brother take the photo with my iPhone and me in the background. It was a gorgeous day and I have never seen an insect like that around there. We are surrounded by wildlife up there but this was pretty unique. I 2 putt and got out of there. Lol. I think I shot a 72 or 73. Its a par 71.

Sam can't be blamed for missing the putt, considering someone walked in his line. Someone has to teach the Praying Mantis community a lesson in golf etiquette. Thankfully it didn't stop him from carding an excellent round.

We would love more stories like Sam's. Submit your photos by taging them with #PGA365 on social media!

 

Behind the camera: How one golfer got an incredible Praying Mantis photo
November 10, 2016 - 2:05pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Jack Nicklaus
USA Today Sports Images
Not wanting to miss his grandson's NFL game on the Sunday of Ryder Cup week, Jack Nicklaus (right, with Tony Jacklin at the 2016 Ryder Cup) went to Gillette Stadium for the Patriots-Bills tilt and streamed the Ryder Cup on his phone throughout.

NEW YORK -- Jack Nicklaus is considered by many to be the greatest golfer who ever lived. Given his 73 PGA Tour titles, including 18 major championship victories, it'd be hard to argue otherwise.

He's also regarded as one of the all-time greats when it comes to putting family first.

During the 2016 Ryder Cup, Nicklaus was in town at Hazeltine National to be a part of the Opening Ceremony and then spent two of the competition days there at the request of Ryder Cup USA Captain Davis Love III to bestow some words of wisdom on the team.

Nicklaus was happy to oblige... but had to get out of town before the singles matches began on the final day to fly to Massachusetts with wife, Barbara, for that day's Buffalo Bills-New England Patriots game at Gillette Stadium.

RELATED: Levy ready to be PGA President | Q&A with Lynn Swann | Annual Meeting coverage

The reason?

Nicklaus didn't want to miss the chance to see his grandson -- Nick O'Leary, a tight end for the Bills -- play.

But just because he was taking in the 16-0 Bills win over the Patriots (the lone blemish on the Pats schedule this season) didn't mean the Golden Bear was in the dark on the happenings back at Hazeltine.

"We had our cell phones right there with us and we streamed the Ryder Cup on the app all the way through the whole football game," Nicklaus said in New York City on Thursday, where he dropped in for a visit at the PGA of America's 100th Annual Meeting. "So we got to see most of the golf, as well as the football game. Nick [O'Leary] played a good game and the Bills won. So it was a fun day to watch the U.S. team play well and come out victorious."

While many believed a U.S. win was incredibly important this year given its dismal 2-8 record in the previous 10 Ryder Cups, Nicklaus wasn't necessarily on board with that line of thinking.

"Was the win important for the U.S.? I don't know," he said. "There's always going to be an ebb and flow in an event like that. You're going to go through times when the Europeans are going be strong and times when the Americans are going to be strong. There are good golfers on both sides of the pond and that's what makes it a great event. You never know who's going to have the best team until you get there. They're going to have to go out and play the best golf. That's what it all boils down to."

As the PGA of America celebrates its centennial Annual Meeting this week, Nicklaus scratched his head at the reality that he's been a PGA member himself for half that time.

"The PGA has been the backbone of what has grown the game of golf," he said. "I've been a member for half of that time, which is a little hard to believe. Fifty years.

"The PGA of America was certainly the start of professionals promoting and growing the game of golf -- teaching the game of golf," he added. "It started out as guys who played the tour in the winter time and went to the clubs in the summer time or vice versa, depending on where their club was. It evolved into becoming tournament players and club players. The club players are still pretty good players."

Nicklaus celebrated another anniversary recently too -- 55 years since he made the decision to leave amateur golf for the professional ranks. It was a decision that came with a little regret at the time as it meant he wouldn't be able to defend his U.S. Amateur title in 1962, but based on his resume, it's safe to say everything turned out OK.

"I've had a great time in this game," he said. "I didn't turn professional for financial reasons. I turned professional because I wanted to be the best golfer I could be and the only way you're going to be the best golfer you can be is to play against the best. The only place to do that was on the PGA Tour. That's why I did that." 

Jack Nicklaus watched the Ryder Cup on his phone at NFL game