April 25, 2017 - 1:28pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Topgolf
Topgolf
Topgolf gave 2,251 free lessons on National Golf Day in 2016 and is hoping to surpass that this year.

Wednesday, April 26, is the 10th annual National Golf Day -- a day where a coalition of golf’s leading organizations heads to Washington, D.C., to educate our country's lawmakers about the game's significant impact.

As part of the National Golf Day celebration, popular Topgolf has announced that it is attempting to break a company record for the most lessons taught in a single day.

To hit that mark, Topgolf is offering a free, five-minute lesson to any guest who visits a Topgolf venue on April 26. In 2016, Topgolf venues gave 2,251 free lessons on National Golf Day.

“We are proud to celebrate the game on National Golf Day by offering our guests a free and easy way to improve their swing,” said Topgolf Entertainment Group Co-Chairman and CEO Erik Anderson. “Thanks to our Topgolf U instructional program, Topgolf is doubling down on our commitment to help grow the game by introducing our guests to the sport in a high-energy, fun and laid-back environment.”

What gets covered in the five-minute lesson is entirely up to you. The Topgolf website says, "That’s five minutes of fix-whatever-you-want-to-become-the-incredible-golfer-you-were-destined-to-be. If you’re looking to take a closer look at your swing, slow-motion video analysis through the Topgolf U instructional program will also be available."

"Topgolf has exhibited great interest in helping the golf industry with its growth of the game efforts, so partnering with them once again for National Golf Day is natural as we celebrate the event's 10th anniversary," said Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation. "In the last decade, the awareness of National Golf Day has grown significantly, and free lessons at Topgolf's venues in major metropolitan areas will help us continue reaching and engaging new audiences." 

Topgolf to offer free lessons for National Golf Day
April 25, 2017 - 11:24am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Lexi Thompson
USA Today Sports Images
A few weeks after Lexi Thompson incurred a four-stroke penalty at the ANA Inspiration due to a video review, the USGA and R&A announced new rules on Tuesday that limits the use of video in a review.

If you recall, it was just a few weeks ago that Lexi Thompson lost in a playoff at the ANA Inspiration -- the LPGA's first major of the season.

After completing the 12th hole in her final round, Thompson was informed that she was receiving a four-stroke penalty for an infraction that occurred a day earlier in the third round.

Thompson improperly replaced her marked ball -- on a 15-inch putt -- and was assessed a two-shot penalty for not returning the ball to its original spot. She was then assessed an additional two-stroke penalty for signing for an incorrect score.

A fan emailed the LPGA to make officials aware of the infraction the day of the final round and after review, informed Thompson.

The decision sent social media abuzz, questioning: 1. Whether viewers should be allowed to call in violations; 2. How much time should be allowed to pass between an unknown infraction and when it's enforced; and 3. Are these call-in/email infractions fair to the top players who receive most of the televison coverage?

RELATED: Thompson accessed four-stroke penalty day after infraction | Social media reacts

Under the new rules, call-ins will still be allowed, but players who receive the bulk of the TV time will not be held to a higher standard than the rest of the field. For example, "a player who unknowingly touches a few grains of sand in taking a backswing with a club in a bunker when making a stroke."

Under the new rule, "If the committee concludes that such facts could not reasonably have been seen with the naked eye and the player was not otherwise aware of the potential breach, the player will be deemed not to have breached the Rules, even when video technology shows otherwise. This is an extension of the provision on ball-at-rest-moved cases, which was introduced in 2014."

The second rule comes into play when a player determines a spot, point, position, line, area, distance or other location in applying the Rules, and "recognizes that a player should not be held to the degree of precision that can sometimes be provided by video technology. Examples include determining the nearest point of relief or replacing a lifted ball."

That one applies to Thompson.

"So long as the player does what can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted, even if later shown to be inaccurate by the use of video evidence," according to the press release issued by the USGA and R&A.

Here is the complete statement:

New Rules of Golf Decision Limits Use of Video Review

FAR HILLS, N.J., USA AND ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND (April 25, 2017) -- The USGA and The R&A have issued a new Decision on the Rules of Golf to limit the use of video evidence in the game, effective immediately.

The two organizations have also established a working group of LPGA, PGA Tour, PGA European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America representatives to immediately begin a comprehensive review of broader video issues, including viewer call-ins, which arise in televised competitions.

New Decision 34-3/10 implements two standards for Rules committees to limit the use of video: 1) when video reveals evidence that could not reasonably be seen with the “naked eye,” and 2) when players use their “reasonable judgment” to determine a specific location when applying the Rules. The full language of the Decision can be found here.

The first standard states, “the use of video technology can make it possible to identify things that could not be seen with the naked eye.” An example includes a player who unknowingly touches a few grains of sand in taking a backswing with a club in a bunker when making a stroke.

If the committee concludes that such facts could not reasonably have been seen with the naked eye and the player was not otherwise aware of the potential breach, the player will be deemed not to have breached the Rules, even when video technology shows otherwise. This is an extension of the provision on ball-at-rest-moved cases, which was introduced in 2014.

The second standard applies when a player determines a spot, point, position, line, area, distance or other location in applying the Rules, and recognizes that a player should not be held to the degree of precision that can sometimes be provided by video technology. Examples include determining the nearest point of relief or replacing a lifted ball.

So long as the player does what can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted, even if later shown to be inaccurate by the use of video evidence.

Both of these standards have been extensively discussed as part of the Rules modernization initiative. The USGA and The R&A have decided to enact this Decision immediately because of the many difficult issues arising from video review in televised golf.

The standards in the Decision do not change any of the current requirements in the Rules, as the player must still act with care, report all known breaches of the Rules and try to do what is reasonably expected in making an accurate determination when applying the Rules.

Video-related topics that require a deeper evaluation by the working group include the use of information from sources other than participants such as phone calls, email or social media, and the application of penalties after a score card has been returned.

USGA Executive Director/CEO Mike Davis said, “This important first step provides officials with tools that can have a direct and positive impact on the game. We recognize there is more work to be done. Advancements in video technology are enhancing the viewing experience for fans, but can also significantly affect the competition. We need to balance those advances with what is fair for all players when applying the Rules.”

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “We have been considering the impact of video review on the game and feel it is important to introduce a Decision to give greater clarity in this area. Golf has always been a game of integrity and we want to ensure that the emphasis remains as much as possible on the reasonable judgment of the player rather than on what video technology can show.”

The USGA and The R&A will consider additional modifications recommended by the working group for implementation in advance of Jan. 1, 2019, when the new code resulting from the collaborative work to modernize golf’s Rules takes effect. 

USGA, R&A introduce new rules regarding review
April 25, 2017 - 8:28am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
alligator
YouTube
It's not uncommon to stumble upon alligators while playing a round of golf in certain parts of the country. But two gators rumbling? That doesn't happen every day.

The list of things I hope not to encounter on a golf course isn't very long. But, among the highlights are these three, in no particular order:

1. A score worse than bogey (pretty much unavoidable, so I've learned to live with it)

2. Snakes

3. Alligators

The topic for this piece is entry No. 3: alligators.

I can't stand the people who say, "If you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone." Guys, those things are like water dinosaurs!

Last week on the 18th hole at Panthers Run at Ocean Ridge Plantation in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., YouTube user derekreed36d captured video of two gators all-out rumbling in a body of water that skirts the fairway of the hole.

Here it is:

Those gators were huge. No, thank you. 

Two, huge gators duke it out on North Carolina golf course
April 23, 2017 - 2:31pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
summer golf goals
Dan McDonald/PGA.com
Setting golf goals for the summer ahead -- big or small, it doesn't matter -- will give you something to shoot for when you get out on the course and something to look back on when your season ends.

There's no such thing as "too much golf," right?

Chances are if you're playing a good bit of golf, you're doing it for many reasons, two of which are: because you love it; because you're trying to shoot the best round you can every time you get out there.

With an emphasis on that "trying to shoot the best round you can every time you get out there" reason, we asked the 414,000+ in PGA.com Facebook Nation to share with us their golf goals for this summer.

RELATED: Fond memories shared from times spent on public golf courses

As usual, you did not disappoint with nearly 400 replies.

Here's a collection of our favorite responses and good luck to all of you in meeting your goals:

"Break 80 at my new local course. Beautiful but difficult." -- Sam Nord

"Shoot par! Been close, hopefully this is the year." -- Shannon Holt

"To have the family break 50 on nine holes." -- Jake Busbia

"Get my 13 handicap to single digits... and make my first hole in one." -- Todd Evans

"To be able to play twice a month." -- Michael McKinnon

"Work to get to 80. Started playing at age 52, now 68. Still learning." -- Dave Hake

"Improve my short game." -- Mark Davidson

"Be consistent, patient, and not get mad about a bad shot!" -- Gerald Adams

"Same as every year. Play more and lower my handicap." -- Phil Nykamp

"Pass the PAT in June. Feeling pretty good about it." -- Chris Shearer

"To play 40 rounds." -- Jim St Pierre

"Just keeping it in the fairway would be nice." -- Dave Harvey

"Helping my 12 year old break 80." -- Josh Spangler

"Cut down on the number of houses I hit." -- Lou Madray

"To see more golf tournaments." -- Joe O'Malley

"Reach 76 or lower. Lowest as of now is 80 I think it's reasonable." -- Matt Duider

"Win one of the 3 tournaments I play in with my friends, and break my best score of 76." -- Mike Nash

"Play twice a week. Shoot in low 80s. Get one birdie each week. Six pars each round. Nine bogeys each round." -- Mark Budahl

"Win some tournaments. Plus get my index from 12 into single digits. I have a good PGA instructor." -- Phillip Nahkai

"Completed my goal last summer. Moved to Florida, now I play all year." -- Lou Berlingeri

"Since I'm still a newbie...my goal now is to break 100. Absolutely love the game!" -- Michael Barnett

"Get out as much as I can. Enjoy where I'm at and who I'm with. And beat my last score." -- Brent Ruark

"Win my first Amateur tournaments and play at least 100 rounds this year." -- Mayur Patel

"I'm the living definition of the weekend hack, my goal is to play twice a week, and break 90 on my home course." -- John Golinsky

"It's always to play more, but this year I want to introduce my kids to the game I love so much and to get my handicap down to below 6." -- Rob Hampton

"I want to have fun and laugh a lot." -- Henry Velasquez

That last one is our favorite. No better way to end this piece. 

Your golf goals for this summer
April 23, 2017 - 12:08pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Bud Cauley
@PGATOUR on Twitter
Ugh. Whether you're a weekend worrier or a PGA Tour player, that pretty much sums up the feeling when you inadvertently double-hit a golf shot like Bud Cauley did on Saturday.

An overwhelming majority of the time, PGA Tour players make the game look ridiculously easy.

But, every now and again, they hit that one shot that the rest of the world can relate to -- the kind where, as you stare at the television in disbelief, you say, "Hey! I've done that!"

And that, friends, was the fate of one Bud Cauley on Saturday during the third round of the Valero Texas Open.

RELATED: An explanation of the rule for a 'double-hit' during a golf shot

Playing the par-4 12th hole at the TPC San Antonio Oaks Course, Cauley just missed the green with his approach shot.

Playing a delicate chip from some sticky rough, Cauley made contact with the ball not once, but twice -- once when he intended to strike it and a second time on the follow through:

Unlike the majority of us, Cauley cleaned up his bogey from the fringe to limit the damage. He would shoot a 2-over 74 for the day and enters the final found tied for fourth, just two off the lead.

For those wondering, Cauley incurred a one-stroke penalty for the double hit, under Rule 14-4: if a player strikes the ball more than once during a stroke, the player must count the stroke and adds a penalty stroke for two strokes in all. The player would play the ball as it lies. 

Bud Cauley double hits short chip shot
April 23, 2017 - 10:34am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
golf ball, hash browns
If that big, usually delicious, heap of hash browns you just ate tasted a little weird, it may be because it contained pieces of golf balls. No, seriously.

What do you love with your Sunday brunch? Perhaps a coffee, some eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage and a side of hash browns?

After hearing this story, you might want to think twice about the hash browns.

Frozen hash browns by the Harris Teeter and Roundy's brands -- sold in nine states -- have been recalled because the potatoes might contain pieces of golf balls.

Yes, you read that correctly.

From CNN.com:

McCain Foods USA's recall notice on the US Food & Drug Administration site says the hash browns could be "contaminated with extraneous golf ball materials" that "may have been inadvertently harvested with potatoes used to make this product."

"Consumption of these products may pose a choking hazard or other physical injury to the mouth," says the notice of the voluntary recall.

McCain Foods is recalling 2-pound bags of Roundy's Brand Frozen Southern Style Hash Browns from Marianos, Metro Market, and Pick 'n Save supermarkets in Illinois and Wisconsin.

It is also recalling 2-pound bags of Harris Teeter Brand Frozen Southern Style Hash Browns sold in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia and Maryland.

There's not much else to add, folks. Just be careful at your favorite brunch place, whether that's at home or at a breakfast nook.

Frozen hash browns recalled -- may contain 'pieces of golf balls'