Golf Buzz

August 17, 2012 - 1:57am
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 - 11:22pm
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 - 4:55pm
Posted by:
John Kim
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Harbour Town
John Kim's Twitter
Made perhaps the greatest bogey in Harbour Town history on this hole.

Wouldn't it be great to take some BP at Wrigley Field? Maybe take some jump shots at Madison Square Garden or do the Lambeau Leap at Lambeau Field? How about best three out of five at Wimbledon? Well, good luck with that sports fans.  Oh, but wait, in golf - that's exactly what you can do (often - not always - hello friends at Augusta National (call me maybe?))

Golf is the rare sport where you can test the cathedrals, take on the best in the world, play where the pros play.  Not only are they almost all beautiful, well-maintained and tremendous layouts - they are museums of sorts, live action testaments to some of the greatest players to ever swing a club.

Case in point: I recently had the chance to play Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  Most of us know it as home to the RBC Heritage on the PGA Tour, but it's also consistently ranked as a "Top 100" on virtually every ranking board and is located in one of the premier vacation spots in the world.  In other words, it's a course that is a "Wish List" course for many.  And it should be. As should many, many others. 

But I don't think it's enough to say "that course is on my wish list," everytime someone brings up a great course.  I think one simple act makes all the difference in actually getting out to the courses: Seeing some tangible list to remind you and encourage and motivate you - everyday. 

I track my special rounds via my own personal "Peg Board." I have the courses I want to play, I stick the peg in the hole once I've completed 18 there. Pretty simple but very satisfying. (I have 20 pegs on a top 100 board, in case you're wondering).

Talking about this with one of my playing partners (a PGA Professional), we discussed how virtually every golfer has a wish list, but very few actually write them out and set them as a goal to tackle. And that's where they fall off.  Now keep in mind, they do not have to be the world's most expensive or famous courses, they can simply be the courses that for whatever reason, are ones you want to say at the end of your golf career, "Yes, I played there."  It could have a special family meaning or be the place you got married, etc. Again, the importance is writing it down. Setting a concrete goal and being able to scratch it off a real-life list is one of the most satisfying feelings in golf.  

Thus, I urge everyone to try it.  It can be an expensive professionally crafted board of courses with actual peg holes - or a sheet of paper tacked to the garage wall.  It doesn't matter.  But for everyone I've ever talked to about such lists - the importance of having a written, visible goal makes a world of difference and makes for a world of fun. 

Good luck!

 

August 16, 2012 - 3:19pm
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

2012 Ryder Cup
European Tour
Thomas Björn, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley have been tabbed vice captains to assist José María Olazábal at Medinah.

 

Thomas Björn, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley will serve as three of the four vice captains who European Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal will take to Medinah Country Club in Chicago, Ill., Sept. 28-30 for the 39th Ryder Cup.
 
August 16, 2012 - 12:35am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Gold medal and Wienermobile
An Olympic gold medal and the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile were unique attractions in their own way at pro-ams on Wednesday.

Golfers from around the globe won't tee it up in the Olympics until 2016, but several PGA Tour players got to gawk at a gold medal on Wednesday. Former Wake Forest basketball star Chris Paul played in the Wyndham Championship pro-am, and he brought his prize possession wth him. Several players got their picture taken with the medal, and Paul even let his fellow Demon Deacon and defending Wyndham champion Webb Simpson try it on.

All the way across the country at the pro-am for the LPGA Tour's Safeway Classic, the players there got a pro-am treat of their own -- the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile was on hand. Amanda Blumenherst was one of several players who got her picture taken with it.

As much as I love all kinds of cars, seeing a gold medal up close is clearly cooler than seeing the Wienermobile. But would it be cooler to try on a gold medal or drive the Wienermobile? In that case, I'd hop behind the wheel in a heartbeat.