August 20, 2012 - 8:29am
Posted by:
PGA of America
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Junior Ryder Cup

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- An elite group of junior golfers representing seven states will host their European counterparts in the 8th Junior Ryder Cup, Sept. 24-25, at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club.
 
The 2012 U.S. Team includes reigning Junior PGA Champion Robby Shelton of Wilmer, Ala., who captured boys' title in the 37th Junior PGA Championship presented by Under Armour and Heritage Food Service Group, Aug. 3, at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind.
 
Cameron Champ of Sacramento, Calif., and Samantha Wagner of Windermere, Fla., the respective runners-up in the boys' and girls' divisions of the 2012 Junior PGA Championship, also earned automatic spots.
 
The United States Team, comprised of six boys and six girls who are U.S. citizens and graduating high school in 2013, or younger, will face a European squad of junior golfers in the biennial competition.
 
For more information, click here.
August 20, 2012 - 1:22am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Golf ball in hole

One hole-in-one just isn’t enough for some people.

Twice in the last two weeks – that we know of – a golfer has carded not one but two aces in a single day.

First up was 67-year-old Rich Akin of Houston, who made both of his during a Men's Golf Association event at the Quail Valley Golf Course in the suburb of Missouri City. Akin plays to an 8-handicap, but even so, the odds of making two aces in the same round, according to the National Hole-In-One Registry, are 67 million to 1.

Making his two aces even more special is the fact that Akin used the same ball on both shots. He saved the ball after his first one, according to The Houston Chronicle, but then lost his replacement ball in a water hazard, so he put the original back in play. That, it turned out, was a pretty good move.

The aces were the fifth and sixth of Akin’s life and they all have come at Quail Valley.

But if he was feeling special, he quickly got some company when Jim McCulley carded two aces in the span of five holes in Edmonton, Canada, last week.

Playing in the annual Irish Open at Gull Lake Golf Course in Rimbey, Alberta, McCulley got his first hole-in-one on an uphill par-3 hole that The Edmonton Journal describes as protected by a huge sod wall bunker known as “Big Daddy.” Soon thereafter came ace No. 2, when McCulley knocked his shot onto the green of another par 3, and watched his ball spin eight feet to the left and duck into the hole.

Because his first one came on an uphill hole, McCulley didn’t see it go in. But he and several other people saw the second one all the way. He now has four aces for his career.

McCulley, like Akin, is an avid golfer – he plays to a 2.9 handicap – and has even more of a golf connection. He's the northern Alberta rep for Callaway Golf.

He’s also the latest in a string of golfers to record amazing aces in the Edmonton area this summer -- back-to-back groups got holes-in-one (and the second one was by an 8-year-old) at the Edmonton Petroleum Club, and two golfers in the same group made holes-in-one back-to-back at Blackhawk Golf Club.

August 17, 2012 - 8:00pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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four team trophies
Rebecca Hudson via Twitter
"Together at last," commented Rebecca Hudson of this rare exhibition of golf's top four team trophies.

The ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters on the Ladies European Tour is being played this week at Buckinghamshire Golf Club in England. And while the golf has been pretty good, the real attraction is inside the clubhouse.

Check out this photo that LET player Rebecca Hudson tweeted on Friday – on display are (from left to right): the Walker Cup, the Ryder Cup, the Solheim Cup and the Curtis Cup. This year is the first time that teams from Europe and Britain/Ireland have possessed all four of these trophies at the same time, and this week at Buckinghamshire GC is the first time that I’m aware of that the four trophies have been in the same place.

August 17, 2012 - 12:57am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Floating golf course in Maldive Islands
Waterstudio
The world's first floating golf course will have -- obviously -- ocean views from every holes, say its developers.

Once upon a time, gimmick balls were about the only things in golf that floated. Then came the famed floating par-3 14th hole at the Coeur d’Alene Resort. Next up: an entire floating golf course.

Seriously. The government of the Maldive Islands is working with the Dutch Docklands International architectural firm to build the world’s largest series of artificial floating islands, according to The Daily Mail newspaper in Great Britain. And one island complex will contain a regulation golf course.

The motivation for the project is that the Maldives – a chain of 1,192 beautiful but isolated islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean – have an average elevation of only about five feet above sea level. Thanks to the rising seas caused by climate change, Maldives officials believe their entire nation could be swallowed up sooner rather than later, and they’re embarking on a massive plan to replace some of their disappearing islands with a series of manmade, floating ones.

The course (including the islands it’ll be built on) is expected to cost as much as $520 million, and will be created by Troon Golf and the Dutch architecture firm Waterstudio. Not many specifics of the layout have been released yet, but it's likely that the islands containing the course will be built in India or the Middle East, then towed into place about a five-minute speedboat ride away from Male, the Maldivian capital. After the course's infrastructure is in place, the grass, trees and other features will be added.

Plans call for the course to be the first part of the artificial island complex and to be powered by solar energy.

"This will be the first and only floating golf course in the world -- and it comes complete with spectacular ocean views on every hole," says Dutch Docklands CEO Paul van de Camp. "And then there's the clubhouse. You get in an elevator and go underwater to get to it. It's like being Captain Nemo down there."

August 16, 2012 - 10:22pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Phil Mickelson
Getty Images
Phil Mickelson is now officially a part-owner of his hometown San Diego Padres.

Major League Baseball has formally approved the $800 million sale of the San Diego Padres to a group that includes Phil Mickelson and is led by the family of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley. The sale was completed after the other 29 teams gave it the thumbs' up at an owners meeting in Denver on Thursday.

As we mentioned in this blog on the Monday of the PGA Championship, the O’Malley-Mickelson group had finalized its negotiations for the team with previous owner John Moores and MLB approval was expected to happen soon. Their group was one of five trying to buy the Padres.

More on Mickelson and the Padres:

--Mickelson teams with O'Malley group in effort to buy Padres

--Mickelson group finalized Padres purchase

--Mickelson promises he won'teddle in Padres

August 16, 2012 - 2:19pm
Posted by:
Joh Holmes
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As Tee It Forward hit the one-year mark in July, the National Golf Foundation conducted a survey of 700 golfers about their familiarity and perceptions of the program.

For those not aware, Tee It Forward is a national initiative to encourage golfers to play courses at lengths better suited to their game – meaning at shorter yardages than they typically play. Tee It Forward wants golfers to be able to hit their approach shots into the greens using a similar club to what elite players might use in the same situation, which for most of us means moving up to forward tees to hit or drives.

About two-thirds (66%) of what the NGF designates as “Core Golfers” are aware of the Tee It Forward program, according to the survey, and among them, 40 percent have actually tried Tee It Forward. The demographic group most aware of the program and most likely to have tried it, the NGF says, is golfers age 60 and up.

As you might expect, the more committed golfers are more aware of the program – 73 percent of what the NGF calls “Golf Nuts” know about Tee It Forward, while 63 percent of “Hooked Golfers” are aware and 42 percent of “Casual Golfers” know about it.

The program also has had more success at private clubs than at public facilities, and that makes sense seeing as how club members are more likely to be avid golfers.

More than half (55 percent) of the surveyed golfers who had tried Tee It Forward said it made their round more fun – and of the women who were surveyed, 61 percent said it made their day more enjoyable.

Judging by this survey, Tee It Forward is off and running, especially at private facilities. The big challenge ahead is getting it implemented at more public courses and reaching less-than-avid golfers. The good news is, those casual golfers are likely the ones who could most benefit from playing from forward tees.

Have you tried Tee It Forward yet? What did you think? I'd like to know.

More on Tee It Forward:

--PGA and USGA step up to new set of tees

--Adams knows how to make golf more enjoyable

--Golfers move up, have fun teeing it forward

--PGA and USGA urge golfers to Tee It Forward in 2012

--Nicklaus, Johnson and Creamer encourage golfers to Tee It Forward

--Golf Association of Philadelphia enjoys success with Tee It Forward

--Steve Eubanks: Tour players make the case for Tee It Forward