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Westchester Magazine.

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Repair Your Pitch Marks, Please

I don't know how badly the golf world needs one, but there's a new pitch mark tool on the market. It's The Twister from Pitchfix, which the company says makes repairing ball marks easy while helping reduce damage caused by some other repair tools.

The Twister’s patent pending technology features three retractable metal prongs that are safe to store for golfers. The product comes in eight different color combinations, can be custom-produced for promotional gifts and corporate branding, and retails for just under $17.

According to Pitchfix, when ball marks are repaired with traditional pitch forks, the root structure of the grass can be torn which creates an air pocket under the mark. They also can leave compacted soil at the surface, making it difficult for the grass to regenerate and heal.

Pitchfix’s patented technology allows Twister to work differently. Says the company: the golfer simply pushes it in and out of the affected area, restoring the ground and relieving compaction simultaneously.  This quick and simple procedure, according to Pitchfix, results in better repairs that recover quickly, making it virtually impossible to do damage with the tool.

“Reports indicate that the average golfer leaves about 12 ball marks during a typical round of golf,” says Bart Fokke, Vice President of Pitchfix USA and Canada.  “That can result in more than 700,000 ball marks per year on an average golf course. Add to that the players who do not repair their ball marks and the high percentage of improper repair from conventional two prong divot tools, and the potential maintenance savings with Twister could be as much as ten percent.”

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

Phil vs. Stacy?

I don't think the outcome is as outlandish as you might think.  Check out the last scene of this "match" between Phil Mickelson and Stacy Lewis:

If you want to watch the real deal, the KPMG Women's PGA Championship will have plenty of TV coverage.  Golf Channel will televise the first two rounds on Thursday, June 11 and Friday, June 12, from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. ET. NBC coverage of the final two rounds is Saturday, June 13, and Sunday, June 14, from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. ET.

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

Sun Mountain Reflex Real Space Saver

Take it from someone with rooms full of golf gear--smaller is better.  That's what makes the new Reflex golf push cart from Sun Mountain a real winner.  It folds and opens easier, has a smaller folded footprint, and weighs less than other golf carts. With its new, innovative folding process, Reflex is arguably the easiest cart on the market to fold and unfold. And at 51 cubic inches when folded and only 17 lbs., Reflex might fold the smallest and be the lightest push cart, too.

Thanks to the marvels of modern engineering, Sun Mountain Reflex folds into a small 25” x 15” x 11” footprint--about half the size of a standard golf bag.  It then easily opens into a full-sized golf push cart with a wide, secure stance. The deluxe accessory console includes a scorecard holder, two padded valuables trays, golf ball storage, and a beverage holder.

The company says Sun Mountain’s E-Z Latch System™ on the Reflex cart simplifies folding and unfolding the cart and adjusting the handle height. The handle on Reflex adjusts up and down and has individual handles with 180 degrees of adjustability for further ergonomic fine-turning. Reflex also features a handle-mounted parking brake and an umbrella mount on the handle to hold an open umbrella over golfer and clubs.

Reflex is available in four color combinations: black, silver, black/lime, and charcoal/red. Reflex carts are available now with a retail price of $259. Call 800-227-9224 or visit www.sunmountain.com to find your nearest retailer.

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

Friday, May 1, 2015

Brynwood Grows the Game

Bringing new golfers into the game isn't just the responsibility of the USGA, PGA of America, and other national organizations. In fact, it's going to happen much more rapidly when local clubs and organizations implement programs to make the game more comprehensible, enjoyable, and fun for non-golfers.  That's why the folks at Brynwood Golf & Country Club in Armonk have undertaken a comprehensive series of initiatives to get more people into the game.

One of the many steps the club is taking is to encourage play by newbies (or just those looking for some fun on the course) by adding an 8-inch cup to each green on the front nine for tee times after 12 noon one Sunday each month. It will be cut in addition to the 4.25” cup, so families and other foursomes with experienced golfers can play together.  Brynwood head pro Michael Mercadante says, "Many of our members have tried the 8-inch cup on our chipping green and found it gave them confidence and lent excitement within the game."

As we all know, even beginning golfers can get from the tee to the green in just a few shots but then their score (and frustration level) balloons when they take just as many if not more strokes to get the ball into the hole. Where's the fun in that?  The club isn't destroying any traditions here, they're just easing the way into the game for those folks who haven't yet mastered the intricacies of reading green contours, grain, and speed.

Another great initiative is the Family Course, which enables golfers of different ages to play together while giving everyone a course suited to their age and skill levels.  Brynwood is using the US Kids and PGA of America system of Level 1 and Level 2 tee plates for kids and adult beginners along with course markings and a scorecard to encourage use.  The program recently earned the club honor as a "PGA Family Course."

In addition to the regular tee boxes, there are now two additional sets of tee locations with cart path plates to show players where to go and fairways tee markers to tee from. The first hole, for example, plays as a 391-yard par 4 from the Black tees, 369 from the Silver, and 314 from the Red.  The Family Gold tee, though makes it 212 yards and the Family Blue a manageable 120.

In another move to make golf more user-friendly, Brynwood has designed three separate "short course" loops of four, six, and twelve holes in addition to the regulation nine and eighteen.  The "short course" layouts enable players with limited time (or attention spans) to enjoy some golf without devoting an entire day to it.

Mercadante points out that the short loops are great for new golfers. "Would you rather be introduced to golf by playing just a few holes," he asks, "or be faced with the daunting feat to try and conquer all 18 holes?"

Another benefit, of course, is that the "short course" encourages families to play together. Not only can they play just enough golf to experience all the wonders of the game in keeping with their age and attention span, but they can also utilize the forward tees to improve their experience. "We are allowing golfers of all levels to be exposed to the golf course," Mercadante says. "Golf is many things to many people."


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

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Crowell In-depth on The Masters

For I don't know how many years in a row, Brian Crowell will again lend his expertise to TV viewers of The Masters.  Crowell, who is the head pro at GlenArbor GC in Bedford and host of the Golf Channel hit "Lesson Tee Live," will provide commentary for CBS on two platforms:

"Masters In Depth" on Direct TV Channel 707: Thurs - Sun 1:00 - 6:00 pm

"Masters on the Range" on CBS Sports Network (check local listings for channel #)
Wed: 9-11am
Thurs - Sun: 11am-1pm

Crowell's a busy guy, but he doesn't scrimp on doing his homework, which makes his commentary some of the most insightful you'll find on the tube.

Full disclosure: Crowell also penned "Slice-Free Golf," which I had a small hand in when it was published in 2011.

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

Pound Ridge Makes April Affordable

Can't wait to get back on the course?  Here's good news to start your season: Pound Ridge Golf Club, New York’s only Pete Dye design, will continue its off-season rates of $150 before 1 p.m. and $100 after 1 p.m. through May 3.

Available seven days a week, rates include golf or pull cart, yardage book and use of the practice facilities. For players searching for a “home” course for leisure or business golf, Pound Ridge recently announced its 2015 Season Golf Plans including individual and deluxe options.

“Whether in search of the year’s first round or checking Pound Ridge off the proverbial bucket list, the off-season rates are a tremendous value and opportunity to play a world-class layout,” says Todd Leavenworth, General Manager. “Spending a few hours outdoors in total tranquility is an ideal way to shake off the remnants of a historically severe winter.”

Pound Ridge also recently launched its new website, featuring a modern, easy-to-navigate interface with embedded video and panoramic images of the course on each page. Golfers are treated to a high-definition, drone flyover providing unprecedented views of the Dye masterpiece. Optimized for mobile and tablet formats, booking tee times and gathering course information is convenient and easy.

Ranked No. 3 in-state by GOLF Magazine and No. 4 by Golfweek, Pound Ridge is a formidable challenge for accomplished players, with its 146 slope and 76.1 course rating from the back tees. However, Dye’s use of handicap differential in determining the placement of the five other sets of tees makes the golf course appealing for every type of player.

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

Monday, April 6, 2015

Golf Channel Academy Goes Live


You've watched Brian Crowell, Michael Breed, and Martin Hall on Golf Channel Academy. Now you can get live in-person lessons from teaching professionals of their caliber nationwide.  Golf Channel Academy, a dedicated network of teaching facilities and a hands-on extension of Golf Channel’s Golf Channel Academy prime time instruction programming, will begin to roll out this week with an initial 57 locations in 26 states and Canada. Five of them are within (or near) the NY metro area.

Golf Channel Academy offers a chance to receive personalized instruction from some of the game’s finest coaches. Its primary mission is to bring these top teachers together and make it easier for avid amateur golfers to experience their high-quality instruction. Each location’s teaching philosophy will be based on that coach’s particular proven methods that elevated him or her to the top of the golf teaching profession, but all will be dedicated to the philosophy that learning takes place over a period of time, and the relationship between coach and student is an on-going one devoted to long-lasting improvement.

A directory of all Golf Channel Academy locations and additional information on the facilities, programs, PGA of America and LPGA teaching credentials, and the inaugural group of more than 190 lead and staff coaches can be found at GolfChannelAcademy.com.

“Golf Channel Academy is a natural brand extension of our popular, high-quality instructional programming,” says Mike McCarley, president, Golf Channel. “Our viewers will have the opportunity to interact with Golf Channel’s brand beyond traditional media platforms as Golf Channel Academy facilities open in markets across North America. Golf Channel works closely with PGA of America and LPGA teaching professionals and values their ability to enhance golfer’s enjoyment of the game, which ultimately encourages their students to play more golf. With this goal in mind, Golf Channel Academy coaches are committed to engaging golfers through instruction to make the game more accessible, inviting and fun.”

The inaugural group of Golf Channel Academy lead coaches in our area includes:

Paul Ramee, Jr.Bull’s Bridge G.C., South Kent, CT
Jason Birnbaum, New Jersey Golf Academy, Roseland, NJ
Kelley Brooke, The Golf Academy of Randall’s Island, New York City
Anders Mattson, Saratoga National G.C., Saratoga Springs, NY
Mitchell Spearman, Mitchell Spearman Golf Academy at Doral Arrowwood, Rye Brook, NY

The Golf Channel Academy is yet another brand extension from the multimedia enterprise formed by Arnold Palmer in 1995 and now part of the NBC Sports Group.  In addition to golf programming on television and various digital platforms, Golf Channel operates GolfNow, Golf Advisor.com, and the Golf Channel Am Tour.

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