Saturday, November 22, 2014

Brynwood Markets Memberships for Future Course

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Members at Brynwood Golf & Country Club in Armonk got good news recently: the club's owners are moving forward with plans to develop the property and rebuild the course.  Brynwood Partners, the club's owners, submitted a revised development plan to the North Castle Town Board on November 5th and the Town Board has accepted the submission for review, a major step in getting final approval for the project.

For current and prospective Brynwood members, that means the course will be in full operation next year and memberships with valuable discount rights for the future are available now.  All members who joined from 2010-2014 are Founding Members and can earn up to $20,000 in initiation credit for phase 2 at Brynwood. The Founding Member category is now closed, but all new members for 2015 will become Legacy Members with following benefits:

 • Legacy Members will receive a $10,000 credit toward any future initiation fees that may be charged for Phase 2 at Brynwood.  In addition, each new member will receive an additional credit of $1,000 for each consecutive year of membership, (up to a maximum total of $15,000) ending when the club begins accepting applications for Phase 2.
 • A Legacy Member who refers a new member to Brynwood for the 2015 season will have a credit posted to the referring member’s account equal to 10% of the new member’s membership dues, earned upon the new member being accepted and their payment of dues.

The innovative club is also offering a a new membership category for 2015.  It's called the Friends & Family Membership and offers these features:

 • To qualify, a minimum of three NEW golf members must join as a group.
 • A 25% dues discount is available for the first three golf memberships.
 • A further 5% dues discount is available for additional members, up to maximum of 40%. 
 • Current members may participate in the Friends & Family Membership, and receive the dues discount, if they recruit a group of three or more new members who join at the same time. 

Sounds like a good time to round up your foursome and plan for the future with one of the most innovative golf clubs in Westchester.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

Friday, November 21, 2014

Face-On Putting Solves Anchoring Rule Dilemma

As someone who has tried just about every putting method (legal and otherwise), I can attest that there's a lot to be said for face-on putting, especially as it's done using the GP Putter.

The GP Putter is entirely legal now--and under the USGA prohibition of anchoring to go into effect in 2016--because of the way it is designed and the method recommended for its use.  As I see it, face-on putting has two big advantages:

1.  You are using both eyes to align your stance and the putter with the ball and your intended target line instead of just your dominant eye, which traditional putting relies on.

2.  The motion of the putter stroke is forward, not sideways, so a twist of the wrist is almost impossible, making for a truer club path.

But don't just take my word for it. This video https://vimeo.com/90035278 with Pat Dionne, the inventor of the GP, tells a lot more about it than I can.

You can find all the technical details, more videos, and ordering information at www.face-on-putting.com.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Get an Insider's Look at KPMG Women's PGA Championship

An army of volunteers as big as the event itself is needed for the inaugural KPMG Women’s PGA Championship to be held June 9-14, 2015, at Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y.

"We’re looking for about 1,800 volunteers," says Championship Director Bob Jeffrey. "About half of those are marshals we get through local clubs who are great supporters.  The rest serve on volunteer committees that handle admission sales and will call, contestant transportation, leaderboards and thru boards, and walking scorers."

It sounds like a lot of work--and it is--but the opportunities to experience the tournament are big, too. "Volunteers work three or four shifts depending on their committee assignment, so they have plenty of time to attend and enjoy the tournament the rest of the week," Jeffrey points out.  "Marshals and walking scorers are inside the ropes and are close to the players. Some jobs, like transportation, get opportunities for even more personal contact."

Adult volunteers, ages 22 and older, are required to work four shifts and contribute a minimum of 16 hours total, while junior volunteers, ages 16 to 21, are required to work three shifts and contribute a minimum of 12 hours.  Shifts will last between three and four hours.  For details on positions available, visit www.kpmgwomenspgachampionship.com/volunteer.  You can also contact Jenna Boyce, Volunteer Operations Manager, 914-595-6801 or jboyce@pgahq.com.

"We’re absolutely looking for men as well as women," Jeffrey says, "and we even have junior positions for young people 16 to 21. There’s no fee for them. We want to get as many juniors involved as we can."

Adult volunteers pay $96 to participate. In return, Jeffrey explains, "they get items with a much greater value. The package includes a Polo Ralph Lauren shirt, headwear, a credential they can use to access the course anytime whether they’re working or not, meal and water vouchers for on-course concessions, a program, complementary parking, and a discount for merchandise."

Not sure you know enough about golf to hold a responsible position at a professional tournament?  Not to worry.  "Not every job requires a lot of golf knowledge," Jeffrey says. "Transportation, admissions, and office volunteers don’t need any golf knowledge at all."  He adds that there will be training and orientation offered in late April and, the weekend prior to the tournament, volunteers will visit the course to see what they will actually be going before they start their first shift.

The Championship will offer a purse of $3.5 million, among the highest in women’s golf.  The event is a collaboration of KPMG, the PGA of America, and the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). Continuing in the tradition of the LPGA Championship, which was first played in 1955, the event will rotate annually among prestigious courses in major metropolitan areas.

Throughout Championship Week, KPMG will spearhead an on-site women’s leadership summit bringing together top women leaders in business, politics, sports, and society to network, learn, and give back. KPMG also will manage the ongoing community initiative to provide today’s top women leaders the opportunity to cultivate the next generation of female leaders and equip them with the leadership skills, networks, and confidence through scholarships, training, and internship and mentoring programs.

The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship will be broadcast on NBC and Golf Channel

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Go Into Winter With a Full Swing (Simulator, that is)

Have you put away your clubs for the winter?  That's a big mistake, especially if you live in New York City or the vicinity.  For one thing, you can hone your game indoors at Chelsea Piers on the Full Swing Golf Simulators--or even put one into your home as hundreds of dedicated golfers and fun seekers have done.  Forget the old, clunky simulators you may have experienced a few years ago. Today's technology is remarkably close to the real thing and, better yet, equipped with game-improvement tools that can make a huge difference in your score.

That's why so many top players like Hunter Mahan and Ian Poulter have put Full Swing Simulators into their homes.  You can, too, for a remarkably reasonable price.  More on that later.

I checked out a Full Swing Simulator with rep Matt Cook recently.  It happened to be located in the offices of a law firm in Manhattan, which demonstrated just how flexible the installation can be. It was also the first time I ever willingly spent time visiting a lawyer.  The demonstrations showed just how advanced the units are, providing instantaneous feedback on every swing with proprietary technology that puts Full Swing far ahead of the competition.

Full Swing Simulators actually use two types of viewing devices to provide accuracy and responsiveness.  One is infra-red tracking provided by two windows in the floor of the installation that track the actual flight of your ball.  Other simulator (and launch monitor) technologies merely project what's happening in flight using algorithms based on your swing speed, launch angle, and other factors.  The infra-red system also means you don't need to use specially-marked balls to get accurate readings.

The other viewing device is Ion2 Vision technology, an all-new camera-based system that focuses on club head and ball flight behavior.  It's a thin-profile unit that mounts almost flush with the simulator ceiling and uses high-speed cameras to measure your results.  Most competing camera solutions require that you hit from the same 4-6 inch spot on the mat but the Ion2's field of view is an 18-inch diameter, so Ion2 finds your ball and automatically adjusts the target line within the software.  You'll get instant feedback on back spin, side spin, spin axis, club head speed, face angle, and club path.  All Full Swing Simulators come with E6 Software, that, coupled with the vision technology, gives you the most realistic motion graphics available.

The Swing Catalyst is an option you'll love. It provides video of every swing you make along with stats that measure things like the rhythm of your swing (the ratio of time taken for your back-swing to your through-swing).  Want to know why your approach shot on Pebble Beach's eighth hole fell into the ocean instead of landing on the green? You can check out the actual swing you made to find out.

The Full Swing Simulator provides up to 86 courses to play and practice as well as scoring for numerous games and wagers for up to eight players.  Want this in-home golf course for yourself?  They start at just $45,000 for a system with a custom design and training person to make it work for you.

One of the many cool features of the Full Swing Simulator is the "boost" setting, which allows your kids to hit the ball as far as you do--or vice versa!  Sounds like a great way to get the whole family involved in golf, doesn't it?  And for those times when pasture pool isn't on the agenda, the system provides a powerful gaming computer with high definition projection that will "wow" even the hardiest gamer.  Great family Christmas present? You bet!

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

Monday, November 17, 2014

Golf's Best Behavior Manual

Shouts of "Baba Booey" notwithstanding, golf has always been a game remarkable for its civility. The USGA rulebook doesn't cover politeness, however, except in rather general terms. If you've ever not been sure what to do in certain circumstances, you need a new booklet called "Golf Etiquette Quick Reference. A Golfer's Guide to Correct Conduct." by Yves C. Ton-That, a rules official and best selling golf author.

This new pocket-sized guide supplements "Golf Rules Quick Reference", Ton-That's first guide that sold more than one million copies and is the best selling golf book in the U.S. It has been translated into more than twenty languages and according to Golf Digest is "the best effort yet to decipher the Rules of Golf." The new booklet covers everything golfers of all skill levels need to know, so that you can play any course in the world with confidence. It includes sections on topics like preparing for the round at home and enjoying a drink at the 19th hole as well as safety, courtesy, and fixing divots. The guide is also extensively illustrated in color and is the perfect complement to the Golf Rules Quick Reference.

"Etiquette on and around the golf course is crucial, and is just as important as the rules of play to ensure that you play the game in the proper spirit," says Ton-That, who also penned "Trouble Shots and Quick Fix Guide" in his career as an author. "When you're in the company of seasoned golfers, or invited to play a private club, saying or doing even one thing incorrectly can make the difference of not being invited back. And with a little preparation and knowledge, you can avoid most any potentially embarrassing situation."

The 48-page, spiral-bound and plastic-coated book is now available in golf shops and at www.golfrulesmadeeasy.com, for $12.95 (ISBN 978-3-909596-77-5, Artigo Publishing International, 1st edition 2014).

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hilton Head Winter Bargains


Hilton Head Golf Island, a collection of 31 of the Lowcountry’s premier golf courses, announces an assortment of warm weather winter escape stay-and-play packages at the area’s marquee resort and golf destinations.  With average temperatures in the 60s and 70s during its coldest months, Hilton Head offers a welcome respite from the freezing weather found in most of the country. The perfect destination for golf enthusiasts seeking year-round play, the winter months welcome incredible value and plentiful tee times.

Ranked top 10 in seven categories by Golf Digest including “Best Courses” and “Best Weather,” Hilton Head Golf Island has a variety of seasonal vacation packages available:

  • The Heritage Golf Collection – “Couples Winter Golf Escape” includes five nights in an ocean-view room at the newly-renovated Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa and five rounds of golf at any of seven Heritage Collection courses including Port Royal Golf & Racquet Club, Shipyard Golf Club, Palmetto Hall Plantation Club and Oyster Reef Golf Club. Package also includes daily breakfast at The Westin, 10 percent off spa services at The Heavenly Spa by The Westin, complimentary range balls and a $100 card for use at the golf shop and clubhouses. Based on double occupancy, packages start at $155 per person, per night. Valid through February 2015. For package and reservation information: 843.681.1706, vcastaneda@heritagegolfgroup.com.
  • Palmetto Dunes – “Unlimited Golf Vacation Package.”  Stay four days and three nights in a resort view villa and play two days of unlimited golf at each of the resort’s championship courses, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Arthur Hills and George Fazio. Guests also enjoy two hours of complimentary tennis court time (daily), preferred rates on all other resort activities as well as dining and merchandise discounts. Rates start at $140 per golfer, per night and include all taxes and resort fees. Valid through Feb. 28, 2015. For package and reservation information: 877.567.6512, www.PalmettoDunes.com.
  • Old South Golf Links – “Par 5 Package.” Just over the bridge in the charming mainland town of Bluffton is the acclaimed Old South Golf Links. Package includes four nights at the Hilton Garden Inn with complimentary breakfast, and five rounds per person including one round each at Old South Golf Links; Hampton Hall Golf Club, The Country Club of Hilton Head or Bear Creek Golf Club (choice of two); Palmetto Dunes Robert Trent Jones, Arthur Hills or George Fazio (choice of one); and Sea Pines Resort Heron Point or Ocean Course (choice of one). Starting at $675 per person in a double occupancy standard room, price includes sales and accommodations tax. Valid through Feb. 2015. For package and reservation information: 843.837.2610, www.OldSouthGolf.com.
  • The Sea Pines Resort – “Stay-and-Play Villa Golf Package.” Experience three nights in private villa accommodations and one round each at Harbour Town Golf Links, Ocean Course and Heron Point by Pete Dye. Offer is full of extras including complimentary green fees on afternoon replays on the Ocean Course and Heron Point (cart fee not included), range balls and 10 percent discount on retail merchandise and food and beverage at the resort's pro shops and restaurants. Packages start at $177 per golfer, per night, inclusive of all taxes and fees, based on quad-occupancy. Rate valid through Feb. 28. 2015. For package and reservation information: 1.800.SEAPINES, www.SeaPinesGolf.com.

“The comfortable temperatures and lower humidity in the traditionally off-season months of December, January and February make the island a popular destination year-round,” says Cary Corbitt, President of the Lowcountry Golf Course Owners Association and Vice President of Sports and Operations at Sea Pines Resort. “These stay-and-play packages from the area’s finest resorts and courses are offered at an incredible value this time of year, and we encourage everyone to come enjoy the Lowcountry sunshine.”

As one of the nation’s foremost golf capitals, Hilton Head Island is the preferred vacation destination of golfers seeking a high-concentration of world-class quality courses, an unspoiled natural environment, beautiful resorts and inns, and old-fashioned Southern hospitality The legendary coastal Carolina destination has invested more than $200 million in upgrades in the past two years that are already finished, or under construction, transforming Hilton Head Island into the freshest resort town in America.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Will Big Brother Be Watching Your Pace of Play?

Like just about any problem, it's almost impossible to solve pace of play without accurate measurement.  The USGA announced this week at the Pace of Play Symposium that they're going to try out a clever monitoring system early next year that will allow real-time measurement of the time it takes players to navigate a course.


The system is based on technology installed in flagsticks that will allow a course operator to spot bottlenecks and (hopefully) correct them before they back up and entire course.  Bottlenecks have a terrible ripple effect and are considered the worst single problem in pace of play.

The device from Spectrum Technologies (who also worked with the USGA to develop TruFirm technology that measures the firmness of greens) includes a magnet in the bottom of the flag that tells when the stick is pulled from the cup and replaced and a processing and communications unit that communicates with a central data collection point and/or to hand-held devices like cell phones or tablets in the hands of rangers on the course.  Measuring the time between flagstick "transactions" lets you see anomalies that can be attacked immediately.

"At the end of the day, I always say that a golf course is like a factory that is producing rounds of golf," says the USGA's Matt Pringle. "DuPont doesn’t try to run a chemical plant without measurement and control. We shouldn’t be running golf factories without measurement and control, either. Even if just basic measurements are taken, I think the golf course operator will realize a lot of improvement."

Test units are expected by early spring and will be de-bugged in an on-course trial, possibly during a USGA event or two.  Then they'll be sent to state and local golf associations for wider testing.

Sounds like a great idea to me, although I hate to think of disturbing all those rangers during their naps.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf