September 4, 2016 - 3:54pm
Posted by:
Matt Craig
matthew.craig's picture
european tour, hickory clubs, lee westwood, danny willett
YouTube / European Tour
Lee Westwood, Danny Willet, and Miguel Angel Jimenez faced off with Paolo Quirici, 2013 World Hickory Champion, using the old wooden clubs in a two-hole exhibition.

A lot has been made about the advancements in technology in golf, and the impact they have had on the relative talent level of today's players. Allow me to summarize: modern technology helps.

Many people have imagined what would happen if we had today's players play with hickory clubs of the past. Well imagine no more, thanks to a European Tour event celebrating the 70 year anniversary of the European Masters.

The event included a two-hole exhibition using hickory clubs, with four of the tour's best: Lee Westwood, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Danny Willet, and 2013 World Hickory Champion Paolo Quirici.

Personally, my favorite part of the event were the retro outfits.





Watch European stars face off with hickory clubs
September 2, 2016 - 9:08pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Phil Mickelson
@PGATOUR on Twitter
Phil Mickelson is known for many things, including his incredible touch when it comes to the difficult flop shot. But what he managed to do Friday in the Deutsche Bank Championship could arguably his best effort yet.

Phil Mickelson has long been the undisputed "King of the Flopshot."

That said, what the five-time major champion did on the 18th hole at TPC Boston in the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship on Friday was just absurd.

Over the green and just outside a lateral hazard in two shots on the par 5, Mickelson faced an incredibly delicate third shot over a bunker with virtually no green to work with.

Check out what he did with it:

Are you kidding me?

Just a ho-hum up-and-down for birdie 4.

Mickelson shot a 4-over 75 in Round 1 and he's currently T93 in the 97-man field. Even on a day when he struggled, it's amazing to see the shot he pulled off on his final hole.  

Phil Mickelson pulls off insane flop shot at TPC Boston
golf ball
USA Today Sports Images
Would changing golf balls for particular shots improve your score? Brian Mull polled some experts and the results may surprise you.

Imagine this scenario: On a 510-yard par-4, Jordan Spieth tees off with a high-launching, low-spinning golf ball. For his approach shot he replaces the ball with a lower-launching, higher-spinning golf ball more likely to land soft near the pin.

The USGA Rules of Golf prohibit such switching in the middle of a hole, of course. Rule 15-1 clearly states that a player must hole out with the ball used from the teeing ground.

The logic behind the rule is clear. Changing balls mid-hole would harm the integrity of the game, eliminating the ability to play the ball as it lies. Attempting to recreate lies in the rough or, say a bunker, could slow the game to a snail’s pace and in some cases require supervision or advice from a playing competitor.

The PGA Tour, like most organizations that run tournaments for skilled amateurs or professionals, takes the rule a step further by enacting the “One Ball Condition” -- which states players must use the same brand and type of golf ball throughout the round.

But for the sake of discussion, let’s assume the governing bodies tweaked the rules. Would allowing Tour pros to switch balls in the middle of a hole automatically lead to lower scores? And if so, how many strokes lower would they shoot?

The consensus from industry experts is most pros would try it. All players are looking for a competitive edge within reason. But those who play, teach and build equipment for those at the highest level also agree that eventually all would return to playing the same golf ball for all shots.

“There’s not enough difference in the golf balls for it to make any difference,” said Paul Dickens, PGA professional at Raleigh (North Carolina) Country Club.

Dickens played college golf at N.C. State with Carl Pettersson and Tim Clark, who have enjoyed successful PGA Tour careers. During those college days in the 1990s, the answer may have been different.

CBS sports announcer Gary McCord played the PGA Tour in the 1970s before the one-ball condition was in effect. According to a source, McCord kept a Pinnacle, Top Flite or similar hardcover golf ball in his bag in case it was needed to reach the green on a long par 3. At the time, a Tour player with average swing speed hit a hardcover ball 15-20 yards farther.

But when the Titleist Pro VI hit the PGA Tour at the Invensys Classic in Las Vegas in October 2000, it changed golf-ball technology forever.

It was the first solid core golf ball to receive widespread use on the Tour. Most pros hit it 10-20 yards farther than whatever wound core ball they were playing without sacrificing the soft feel. After 100 Titleist pros tested the ball, 47 put it in play in Las Vegas and shortly thereafter the rest followed suit. Not only did the ball fly farther with the driver and irons, it spun slightly less on wedge shots, giving the Tour players supreme control rather than violent backspin.

Billy Andrade used the ball to shoot 28-under par and win the Invensys Classic. According to, six of the top 11 finishers played the ball the first week.

Pretty soon, every golf ball manufacturer had a product similar to the Pro VI. The gap between all golf balls on the market has narrowed significantly in the last 15 years as technology has grown.

Data backs up Dickens’ assessment.

Gene Parente is the president of Golf Laboratories, an equipment testing company in San Diego, and is also a member of the Golf Digest Technical Advisory committee. His robot has hit thousands of shots with every club and ball manufactured since 1989.

“Based upon testing data my opinion is the overall scoring would not change, there are too many negatives that would mitigate any potential negatives,” Parente said.

Besides, pro golfers have to trust their golf ball. They choose a brand and type based on how it performs from the green backward and are unwilling to sacrifice performance on approach shots or around the greens. Also, once they make the choice they use that specific ball at home with friends, on the range at Tour events, everywhere.

Gaining similar confidence with a new golf ball would be difficult, especially if the reward is only 5 to 7 yards off the tee (for a golfer with a 120 mph swing speed) and accuracy is sacrificed.

The many variables in golf would also deter pros from wanting different balls for different portions of their game, one PGA Tour equipment representative said. What if a player put a high-spinning ball into play and then three inches of rain softened the greens overnight. Or the wind direction changed unexpectedly? Tour players and their caddies chart distances and details in meticulous fashion. Throwing even more variables into the mix would complicate matters and lead to six-hour rounds.

Todd Anderson, the director of golf at Sea Island, works with a number of Tour professionals. He sees little room for improvement with the modern ball and minimal difference from brand to brand.

"I could see where maybe if you could have a ball for each club, where it was designed for that club's loft, spin and launch conditions it might get a little bit better," he said. "But the ball we have now is unbelievably good."


Would changing golf balls for particular shots improve your score?
PGA of America
On Thursday, the PGA of America named Constellation ‘Official Energy Provider and Sustainability Partner’ for the PGA and its Major Championships, including the Ryder Cup.

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (Sept. 1, 2016) -- In a transformative, multi-year agreement, PGA of America has named leading competitive energy and services company Constellation its “Official Energy Provider and Sustainability Partner.” Constellation will work with the PGA to conduct energy efficiency analyses and recommend an actionable sustainability strategy and energy management program in an effort to reduce the environmental impact of the organization. To kick off the partnership, Constellation will minimize the carbon footprint of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club.

Constellation will become an energy and sustainability partner of the PGA of America, PGA Championship, KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup, when based in the United States. As part of the agreement, Constellation will minimize the environmental impact of these signature events, as well as PGA of America properties through Green-e® Energy Certified* Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)*.

“This is a historic day for the PGA of America, as our partnership with Constellation will bring us into the next generation of energy conservation and environmental awareness,” said PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua. “We are absolutely delighted that Constellation has partnered with the PGA to deliver their transformative expertise on clean energy, in order to establish a groundbreaking, impactful green signature throughout our iconic major championships and facilities, as well as educate PGA members and the golf industry on state-of-the-art green initiatives.”

Constellation, a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), serves approximately 2.5 million residential, public sector and business customers, including more than two-thirds of the Fortune 100. Constellation maintains energy provider relationships with professional sports organizations including the NHL, numerous MLB, NBA, and NFL sports teams.

"Constellation is proud to partner with the PGA of America to achieve its energy and environmental goals and to increase awareness of responsible energy use among its members and the golf industry," said Joe Nigro, CEO of Constellation. "Their commitment to energy conservation serves as an example for the sports industry, fans and communities. We look forward to working together toward a more sustainable future."

The PGA of America and Constellation will also work together to promote responsible energy use and increase awareness around green initiatives in the golf industry, through communications that educate PGA Professionals and fans on the impact of the partnership.

“With over 25 million players annually, golf plays an important role in our efforts to leverage the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities where we live and play,” said Justin Zeulner, executive director and co-founder of the Green Sports Alliance. “We commend the PGA of America for their commitment to sustainability and are proud that they have chosen Constellation, an inaugural GSA member, as their official energy and sustainability partner.”

This agreement builds upon the PGA of America’s and the golf industry’s commitment to green energy and conservation. 77 percent of 18-hole golf facilities in the United States have already taken steps to conserve energy, while 66 percent of golf course facilities have completed upgrades to irrigation systems in the past 10 years. In addition, more than 90 percent of acreage on an 18-hole golf course is considered green space that provides benefits to the eco-system.
Similarly, golf’s use of water, frequently among the largest contributors to courses energy use, continues to improve. As an industry, a new Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) study shows courses reduced water use by nearly 22 percent from 2005-2013. As well, increased use of recycled water supported usage reductions from other sources, such as municipal or potable water.

Golf courses account for more than 2 million acres of green space in the United States. 

PGA of America names Constellation ‘Official Energy Provider and Sustainability Partner’ for the PGA and its Major Championships
August 31, 2016 - 3:35pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Patrick Reed
Golf Digest
Check out this video of Ryder Cup USA team member Patrick Reed knocking a drone out of the sky with his golf clubs.

Isn't it fun to break stuff on occasion? Especially expensive stuff that you don't have to replace?

In a recent video produced by our friends at Golf Digest, Ryder Cup USA team member Patrick Reed is tasked with attempting to knock a drone out of the sky armed with a golf club and a ball.

If you remember, Bubba Watson did the same thing a year ago.

As Reed notes at the start of the video, Watson's was a "wing-shot." For Reed's try, he said he would do a lot more damage.

Check out this video of Reed ripping shots at the drone while getting peppered with questions:



I had two favorite quotes from the video. The first was when Reed was asked how hard it is to win on the PGA Tour: "It's easier than hitting this drone."

Such a Patrick Reed response. I loved it.

And then after he absolutely tattooed the drone from close range: "The weapon of mass destruction was a Callaway Forged 4-iron."

While knocking a drone out of the sky like Reed and Watson have done is impressive, for my money it still doesn't touch the time that Brandt Snedeker went skeet shooting with a 4-iron:



Patrick Reed destroys drone with golf shot