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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Casa de Campo Stages Inaugural Dye Hard Cup

Could you overdose on Pete Dye golf? Most of us would jump at the chance to try. Add a $90,000 prize and put the event at one of the Caribbean's premier destinations, Casa de Campo, and the only question you'll hear is "where do I sign up?" (for the answer, see below)

Welcome to the inaugural Dye Hard Cup.

Teeth of the Dog
Casa de Campo's Teeth of the Dog

From Nov. 10-15, 2013, 90 contestants will pit themselves against the 90 holes of golf at the Casa de Campo Resort in the Dominican Republic, playing for a winner-take-all prize of $90,000.

Dye Hard, indeed!

Along with Teeth of the Dog—the number-one course in the Caribbean according to Golf Digest—the Dye Hard Cup will be played on the three breathtaking nines at Dye Fore, spread along cliffs high above the Chavon River, and The Links, featuring spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea. Also included is the resort’s private course, La Romana, another of Dye’s devilishly beautiful designs.

Just as exciting is the format, which is open to both professionals and amateurs: 90 holes played as an individual gross stroke-play competition with one contestant pocketing the whole $90,000.

The number of holes in each round will correspond to the number of holes at each Casa de Campo course: The opening round is 27 holes on La Romana. The second round at Dye Fore is also 27 holes. Round three is 18 holes on The Links. And the final 18 is on Teeth of the Dog, the ultimate test. But there’s more to the Dye Hard Cup than just great golf. Players also get five nights’ lodging and all food and beverage at Casa de Campo.

“We are looking forward to hosting some tremendous golfers for six days of great competition and camaraderie,” said Peter Bonell, Chief Marketing Office. “Their talents will be challenged by the beautiful but difficult tests that Pete Dye has blessed us with at Casa de Campo.”

The festivities kick off on Sunday, Nov. 10, with a welcome reception at The Beach Club by Le Cirque, the resort’s leading restaurant and lounge, nestled against the Caribbean Sea. (Early arrivals can play practice rounds on any of the courses that day.)

Also included in the contestant’s package:

  • Five nights’ accommodations in a newly renovated elite-class room at the resort
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily
  • Unlimited drinks in all resort bars and restaurants, including Oasis bars and beverage carts on the golf courses
  • Unlimited use of the driving range
  • Complimentary use of a personal golf cart on property throughout the stay
  • Complimentary use of the resort’s Sports Fitness Center
  • VIP treatment for arrivals at La Romana airport (10 minutes from resort) and at hotel check-in
  • Airport transfers, resort taxes, and service charges

The all-inclusive registration fee for contestants is $5,000. Non-golfers are $3,000, and instead of golf have unlimited access to horseback riding, tennis, and non-motorized watersports at the resort’s private Minitas Beach.

If you ever wanted to Dye Hard, this is the way to do it.

For more information, call the golf reservations office at (809) 523-8215 or visit www.casadecampo.com.do/dyehardcup2013.

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

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Amazing Wedge Puts Rob Labritz in PGA Championship

In one of the most exciting finishes of his career, GlenArbor Director of Golf Rob Labritz holed out a 95-yard wedge in the second playoff hole to earn a spot in the field for the PGA Championship. The video shows this amazing shot

Labrtiz had edged into the playoff at the PGA Professional National Championship at Sunriver Resort in Oregon with a one-over 288. He was one of six vying for three spots in the major to be played at Oak Hill in Rochester this August. Danny Balin, of Burning Tree in Greenwich, made the playoff as well. Balin dropped a birdie putt on the first playoff hole, as did Bob Gaus, leaving four contenders for the last spot in the major.

On the second playoff hole, the 457-yard par four eleventh on the Crosswater Club course, Labritz had pulled his tee shot into an ugly bunker where he was left with a difficult lie. He gouged it out into the fairway while the other three players put their second shots on or close to the green.

Left with 95 yards, Labritz called on hours spent working on wedge shots with his swing coach Tom Willson, head pro at Bonnie Briar, and took dead aim with a 52-degree wedge for the uphill shot to a pin placed precariously on the upper tier. His hope was to get close enough for a one-putt par to stay in the playoff. The video shows what happened instead.

Standing ready for the post-shot interview was Labritz compatriot at GlenArbor Brian Crowell, head pro at the Bedford club, who was providing on-course commentary for the Golf Channel coverage of the event.

This will be the fourth PGA Championship for Labritz, who was the low club pro at Whistling Straits in 2010.  Oak Hill may be a particularly memorable tournament for another big reason: Labritz and his wife Kerry are expecting a baby girl to be born about that time.

Two other Met Section pros made the cut in the tournament, but finished just outside the line for the championship. St. Andrew's Greg Bisconti was tied for 24th. Metropolis assistant John Guyton finished in a tie for 59th.

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

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Videos for the Golf Nerd in You

Golf videos abound online. Lessons, tips, bloopers, course tours....the list is endless. Add to that now a series from NBC News' educational arm, NBC Learn, which teamed up with the USGA and Chrvron Corporation to release the “Science of Golf," an informative 10-part video series narrated by NBC Sports’ lead play-by-play anchor Dan Hicks.  The series explores Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) topics through the lens of the game that brings out the nerd in all of us.

The videos were made especially for students and teachers to use in the classroom but are also available to the public cost-free on NBCLearn.com/Golf. In addition, the three organizations announced they are providing the award-winning “NBC Learn K-12” learning resource to more than 500 middle and high schools in 14 districts across the country. The gift grants schools two years’ worth of access to the rich collection of NBC News videos, primary source documents, images, and resources specifically designed for use in the K-12 classroom. Students and teachers will see how the principles of science affect everything about the game—from a player’s golf swing, to the anatomy of a golf ball, the math behind golf scoring, and the evolution of the golf club.

“In partnering with the USGA and NBC Learn we have been able to develop what we think is a truly unique series of videos – taking a peek behind the scenes at the science of golf and hopefully inspiring the next generation of engineers and scientists,” said Glenn Weckerlin, Director, Programs and Partnerships of Chevron. “We have made ‘The science of’ videos as well as the entire portfolio of NBC Learn resources available, to provide innovative content that might not otherwise be available to the schools.”

For each piece of the series, an expert from the USGA scientist explains the selected scientific principle, while the golfers describe how these principles apply to their game. The science is broken down by capturing the golfers’ movements with a state-of-the-art, high-speed Phantom camera, which has the ability to capture movement at rates of up to 10,000 frames per second. These dynamic visuals allow for frame-by-frame illustrations of specific scientific principles such as displacement, buoyancy, kinematics, acceleration and velocity. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) will provide lesson plans for teachers that accompany the videos created by NBC Learn.

"We are proud of our collaboration with Chevron and NBC Learn to use golf as a way to bring education to life,” said Sarah Hirshland, the USGA’s Senior Managing Director of Business Affairs. “The new video series showcases the STEM principles that play a key role in a variety of USGA functions, including equipment testing, environmental research, and scoring.  We hope these videos inspire students of all ages, whether they are enjoying the game or learning in the classroom.”

In addition to its subscription resources, NBC Learn also produces original video collections that are made available for free on NBCLearn.com. These include the Emmy Award-winning “Science of NFL Football,” and “Science of the Winter Olympic Games” collections, as well as “Changing Planet” and “Chemistry Now.”

“Building on the innovative ‘Science of Sports’ franchise, we’re thrilled to partner with the USGA and Chevron to expand the series to include golf, as well as create strategic partnerships that enable our award-winning digital learning content to be used free of charge,” said Soraya Gage, General Manager of NBC Learn. “These one-of-a-kind videos have set a new precedent for teaching science in the classroom, by breaking down difficult STEM concepts and illustrating their real-life application through sports.”

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

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Plan Your Golf Week Around the US Women's Open

It's a great week for golf on Long Island. Tickets for the 68th U.S. Women’s Open Championship at Sebonack Golf Club on June 24–30 are still available. You can get them online at www.2013uswomensopen.com.

Ticket options range in price from $20 to $200. All tickets include free parking and free shuttle transportation to and from the admission gate. Daily grounds tickets are also available for practice and championship rounds. Championship-round tickets are $40 per day (Thursday–Sunday) and practice-round tickets cost $20 per day (Monday–Wednesday).

Priced at $100, the 4-Pack includes four good-any-one-day grounds tickets. This is the most flexible option, allowing for tickets to be divided up throughout the week or all used on the same day.

Nicklaus Pavilion tickets provide access to the championship grounds and to an air-conditioned tented facility between the first and second fairways with upscale food and beverages available for purchase. The pavilion is named for Jack Nicklaus, 18-time major champion and co-designer, along with Tom Doak, of Sebonack Golf Club. Daily tickets to the Nicklaus Pavilion are available for $65, while a Nicklaus Pavilion package, which includes seven individual daily tickets (Monday–Sunday), is priced at $200.

Also available is the Weekly Ticket Package, which includes one ticket for each day of the championship (Monday–Sunday) at $125, with access to the grounds and grandstands.

Practice rounds will be held Monday, June 24, through Wednesday, June 26. Tee times will begin at approximately 6:45 a.m. and play will continue through the early evening, with admission gates opening at 6:30 a.m.

First- and second-round play will begin at 6:45 a.m. on Thursday, June 27, and Friday, June 28, with the gates opening at 6:30 a.m. Third- and fourth-round play will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 29, and Sunday, June 30, with the admissions gates opening at 7 a.m. Play will continue until approximately 6 p.m., followed immediately by the trophy presentation on the 18th green.

Throughout championship week, youths 17 and under will receive free admission when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Youngsters will also receive front-row seating in all on-course grandstands.

There will be two special junior clinics during championship week. On Tuesday, June 25, a clinic hosted by 2010 U.S. Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer and Today show host Matt Lauer will be held at 2 p.m. on the Sebonack Golf Club practice range. Creamer and Lauer will discuss their backgrounds and love for the game of golf, followed by a display of trick shots and challenges.

On Wednesday, June 26, the Dennis Walters Golf Show will take place at 3 p.m., also on the Sebonack driving range. Paralyzed from the waist down, Dennis Walters dazzles with an array of trick shots while sitting in his wheelchair. His dog, Bucky, also plays a prominent role in the show, as he barks out the correct answers to Dennis’s golf trivia questions. Admission to both clinics is free to all ticket holders.

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

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Manhattan Woods Rewards The Thinker

Manhattan Woods Golf Club
Call me a golf snob, but I like strategic courses. Tracks where you have to use your brain more than your brawn to make a par. That's probably why I've always felt refreshed rather than depleted after a round at Manhattan Woods, the Gary Player signature course in West Nyack, NY, which celebrates its fifteenth anniversary this year.

Every hole presents a different challenge from the one before it. A few holes reward a long drive off the tee; most others demand precision. Bomb and gouge won't get you very far here. In fact, most players should hit a driver on only about half the holes if they want to stay out of the fescue, bunkers, or water that pinch many landing areas. Greens are invitingly spacious but yield low scores only to the player who lands his or her approach in the perfect spot. In other words, you have to think your way around the course.

While you're doing all that cogitating, though, don't forget to enjoy the full Manhattan Woods visual experience. Player fit the course into 200 breath-taking acres, which gives plenty of room to make each hole a world of its own. Mature trees, brilliant bunkering, and fescue rough define the route to the green on nearly every hole and water is used judiciously to both challenge your game and please your eye. As the name implies, the Manhattan skyline is visible from several spots on the course, a reminder that the club is just 20 minutes from the George Washington Bridge.

Manhattan Woods offers five sets of tees, well-spaced from 5,090 to 7,109 yards (par 72) so that players of every level can find significant challenge. The slope is high--141 from the blue tees at 6,381 yards--so matches should be carefully handicapped to avoid blowouts. On the other hand, the way Manhattan Woods punishes a blind bomber can give a thoughtfully patient shorter hitter a distinct advantage. Maybe that's why I like the course so well!

Head pro Dick Smith, Jr., points to the fifth hole as an example of a thinking player's hole at Manhattan Woods. It's 384 from the blue tees and still the number one handicap hole. Why? Because there are so many ways to go wrong on the hole. The perfect tee shot is a fade over the yawning bunker that guards the gentle dog leg right. A driver pounded without the proper shot shape, however, will put you in a bunker through the fairway or worse, in the woods behind it. Only a perfect tee shot gives you the right approach line up the hill to the two-tiered green.

The amenities of the club perfectly complement the golf course. Locker rooms are spacious and well-attended. The caddie program provides excellent, experienced loopers whose advice should be heeded even by players with their own solid knowledge of the course. The Grille Room, Oak Bar, and other dining facilities are well-appointed with attentive servers and fabulous cuisine well above the usual boring country club fare.

In need of a lesson or two? How about a few tips from the Golf Channel's own Michael Breed? He opened the Michael Breed Golf Academy at Manhattan Woods this year, so even non-members can book a private session with the energetic, enthusiastic 2012 PGA of America Teacher of the Year right at the club's excellent practice facilities.

Manhattan Woods draws a significant number of members from New York City, but it's just a stone's throw from the Tappan Zee, so it's convenient to Westchester golfers as well. Given the quality of the experience and ease of access, it's no wonder the club continues to grow.

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

Friday, June 21, 2013

Antigua Brightens Summer With Bold, Bright Colors

Antigua Men's Performance Golf Collection
The Antigua Summer Men's Performance Golf Collection continues the bolder and brighter color stories introduced in Spring 2013. These trending pop colors are used as subtle details created to appeal to a wide age demographic of male golfers. The color palette includes invigorating pop colors such as Lapis, Margarita, Apple, Melon, Phlox, and Zest, for the Men's Collections.

"For Summer 2013, the focus of pop accent colors on less conspicuous fabrications throughout the collections shows off the styling and design features of the individual garments ," said Sean Gregg, Director of Product Development for Antigua. "The collections are current in both color and design trend, and are additionally embellished with performance enhancing features by incorporating Antigua's proprietary Desert Dry™ and Desert Dry™ Xtra-Lite moisture management technology to produce collections that are both merchandised appropriately for the season while offering performance functionality", Gregg added.

New for the Men's Collection is the addition of two New Hybrid Pullovers, Styles Flare and Omega. They're Hybrid in the sense that they have the design lines of mid-to-light weight outer while utilizing the short sleeve styling found on performance polos. Both hybrid pullover styles feature Desert Dry™ moisture management technology and a ¼ zip placket with a stand up collar.

Antigua Women's Performance Golf Collection
The Antigua Women’s Collection color palette was developed based on only the most current trends, and for 2013 the overall market is screaming for color. The new women’s color palette has been expanded with a total of six hues ranging from hot pink to a soft purple called “pansy”. Other color names such as ‘fountain’ and ‘kiss’ inspire memories of slow summer days and nights in the Caribbean. A great addition to any essentials golf wardrobe is a Desert-Dry™ polo available in numerous styles and color combinations.

“We’ve had great success with our white & black groups over the years, so by expanding our offering of fashion color with neutrals, the customer can purchase one or several items from the collection and mix it with their current wardrobe,” said Danielle Dellios.

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

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lamberti Wins Bambino Invitational

Leewood Golf Club

Leewood Golf Club in Eastchester, NY, held up under the onslaught of some of the Metropolitan area's best pros during the club's Bambino Invitational yesterday.  Brian Lamberti took the championship trophy by defeating Anthony Aruta in a sudden death playoff with a birdie on the second hole.  The two pros finished regulation play with 71s, a stroke over Leewood's par of 70.

Like Merion, the site of this year's US Open, Leewood is noted more for narrow fairways and tight landing areas than length. The course played 6,420 yards for the tournament, yet the field failed to break par.

Here's the final leader board:

Champion:     Brian Lamberti   (71)
2nd:               Anthony Aruta    (71)
T3rd:             Shaun Powers    (72)
T3rd:             John Stoltz          (72)
T5th:             James Ondo        (73)
T5th:             Phil Rusnack       (73)
T7th:             Steve Scott          (74)
T7th:            Andrew Giuliani    (74)
T7th:            Andrew Duvall      (74)
T7th:            Larry Rupp            (74)
T11th:          Joe Christianson   (75)
T11th:          Kirk Oguri              (75)
T11th:          Corey Baubault     (75)
T11th:          Trevor Sahn          (75)
15th:            Will Fenn               (76)

The Bambino Invitational is named after Leewood's most famous member, Babe Ruth.

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

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues Launch in Parks

The new Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues, powered by SNAG, were introduced at select local park and recreation facilities in Queens, NY, and  four other pilot cities around the country last month. The Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues (JNLL) marks the first time that golf will be made available to youngsters as a team sport through local parks and recreation facilities.   The innovative concept, combined with SNAG’s well-established, first-touch development program, will provide a golf learning experience for children, ages 5 through 12, in a safe, affordable and accessible environment.

"We are excited to partner with Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues, which we think will complement the free, park-based junior golf program we offer to thousands of NYC kids each year," said Mike Silverman, Director of Sports for the City Parks Foundation. "The fun, team-based curriculum and unique equipment by SNAG designed for young players should help us attract even more kids to the game at an earlier age."

City Parks Foundation is offering Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues, powered by SNAG in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, New York.

“There are so many sports—team sports—played in the park system today,” Nicklaus said. “Kids start playing athletics when they are as young as 4 or 5 years old, and by the time they are just 7, 8 or 9 years old, many of them have picked the two or three sports that they might want to play in the different seasons.  If golf is not part of the sports introduced and available to them at their local park and recreation facilities, they will play other sports and not golf.  So we need to get golf in their local parks and have them play our sport, and I think the team concept is the way to do it.”

“The idea is to bring kids into the game, keep them into the game, have them learn, let them have fun, have fun with their friends, and then they can advance to the next level where they get on a golf course and develop.  I just hope these leagues create the same enthusiasm for golf that I discovered at their age.”

Some 100 Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues are planned for 2013 and an estimated 300 are projected to launch in 2014.

Terry Anton, founder and CEO of SNAG Golf, is enthusiastic about the leadership position of Jack Nicklaus in the establishment of the Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues.

“Jack Nicklaus’ vision to bring golf to the same venues where other organized sports thrive will make it easier to develop our future golfers,” Anton said. “These leagues will introduce millions of new players to the sport and will help nurture children developing their motor skills and do it in a fun way.  Our task is to make his vision a reality by implementing SNAG’s programming in the parks and directing this feeder system into all on-course golf programs.  This is an important stepping stone for the industry to capture interest in golf early so that youngsters will transition with confidence to play with actual golf equipment on a traditional course.  The more fun we make golf for children, the more chance they have to play the game for a lifetime.”

The use of parent-coaches and turning soccer and other playing fields into venues for this golf competition will be pivotal to the implementation of the Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues, through the auspices of the National Recreation and Park Association.

“Local parks and recreation are the go-to places where children can learn to play sports and develop a connection to healthy activities,” says Barbara Tulipane, president and CEO of the National Recreation and Park Association.  “We are so proud to be bringing the Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues and SNAG to park and recreation agencies across the country, because not only is it a great program but it means more children will have the chance to participate in the sport of golf in a fun and unique way and develop a connection to a healthy activity that will last them a lifetime.”

The Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues are separated by age groups:  5-6 and 7-8-year-olds with the intention of expanding to 9-10 and 11-12 in the near future.  Each league will have a set number of children per team and incorporate a specialized, age-appropriate format and learning curriculum.

The NRPA will administer grants to park and recreation facilities across the U.S. to underwrite the costs associated with providing Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues equipment, coaching and programming.  A 501©3 entity, G.O.L.F. (the Global Outreach for Learning Foundation), is being established to raise the necessary funds.  G.O.L.F.’s mission is to help people develop golf skills and have fun through developmentally appropriate programs.  The goal is to ensure retention and provide a sustainable model for transition to other programs at golf facilities, in order to increase participation for current and future generations. (For information on G.O.L.F. visit www.thegolffoundation.org.)

In addition to New York, the Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues will be starting up in pilot locations of Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and Columbus, Ohio this month.

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

Monday, June 17, 2013

Golf School for Ladies Only

Golf school for women is an idea whose time has definitely come. A great place to experience it is the Troon Golf Academy Lake of Isles, which will be hosting its popular Ladies Golf School on June 22 and 23. The golf school is designed for women looking to learn the game or improve on specific skills. The golf school schedule has four sessions, two each day, and women can select to attend one, two, three of all four sessions.

The Ladies Golf School is conducted by Sue Cart, head teaching professional at Lake of Isles, and Dawn Mercer, director of instruction at Innisbrook Golf and Spa Resort, Tarpon Springs, Fla. Class size is limited to five students per instructor to ensure maximum one-on-one time.

Session Schedule

Saturday, June 22
Session I: 8:30 – 11:30 a.m., Chipping and Putting
Session II: 1 – 4 p.m., Pitching and Full Swing

Sunday, June 23
Session III: 8:30 – 11:30 a.m., Maximum Distance
Session IV:  1 – 4 p.m., Take It To The Course

The fee per session is $130 or a special price for all four sessions for $430. Lunch at Matches Tavern in Lake of Isles Clubhouse can be added for $20. Hotel accommodations can be made at Foxwoods Resort Casino, located adjacent to Lake of Isles.

To reserve a space in the Ladies Golf School, call (888) 475-3746 or visit lakeofisles.com for information.

Lake of Isles, a 36-hole Rees Jones designed golf club located in North Stonington, Connecticut, opened in May 2005. Owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and located across the street from Foxwoods Resort Casino, the two courses wind their way through 900 acres of wooded Connecticut countryside and around a 90-acre lake. Amenities include a 50,000 square foot clubhouse, and a state of the art indoor and outdoor practice facility.

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

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Lucky Local Girls of Golf

Several young ladies from the local area participated in this week's LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Team Championship at Kiawah Island. No one brought home a first place trophy but all of the participants won a trophy case full of good memories and exciting entree into the sport. Their participation was made possible by the Executive Women's Golf Association of Westchester County (EWGA Westchester) in partnership with Girls Golf of Rockland/Westchester who co-sponsor fundraising events and by provide volunteers and mentors.

Alice Hodge, 11 yrs old from Larchmont, NY, played in the two-person team tournament with a Girls Golf friend from Tennessee to place 4th in their flight, and Oliviia Stepper, 8 yrs old from Nyack, NY, participated in the Academy and was thrilled to be taught the physical and mental game of golf by wonderful LPGA/PGA professionals. Martha Kemp-Neilson from New Rochelle teamed up with another Girls Golf participant from Minnesota to place fourth in their division.

The program was introduced by the LPGA in 1989 to bring 7-17 year-old girls in to the game. The Rockland/Westchester chapter was formed in 2012. The program runs from May through August and includes educational clinics, organized practices, and mentored on-course play with EWGA volunteers. PGA teaching professionals Paula Slivinsky at the Fairwview golf Center and Sharon McQuillan at the Westchester Driving Range run clinics that teach participatns safety during play and proper mechanics of the golf swing. The mentors help out by teaching the rules of golf, etiquette of the game, and how to get around a golf course while having fun.

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

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fenway Puts the "Class" in Classic

Fenway Golf Club
Third hole at Fenway Golf Club. Photo courtesy of the club.
Among all the doom and gloom about the supposedly inevitable decline of the sport of golf, it's always heartening to see a club that belies the tales of woe. Fenway Golf Club in Scarsdale, NY, one of the shining stars on the Westchester golf stage, is thriving. The reason? The Fenway membership didn't retreat into a bomb shelter during the tough times with their hands clamped on their wallets, but instead invested in the course, made adjustments to policies to fit modern lifestyles, and made a major commitment to improving the golf experience for new and existing members.

Gil Hanse was hired a couple of years ago to revisit the classic Tillinghast design and the completion of his work this spring really shows on the course. Numerous bunker complexes were expanded, a couple were added, and all of them were completely rebuilt to meet modern drainage and maintenance standards. In addition, some air-choking trees were selectively removed to improve circulation on a few greens with the additional benefit of opening some excellent vistas across several fairways.  Superstorm Sandy took care of a number of other monster trees that had out-grown their usefulness, resulting in improved play-ability on several holes.

Fenway is one of the most strategically complete golf courses in the area. At 6,714 yards, par 70, it truly tests every facet of your game. Eight of the par fours are over 400 yards (the #1 handicap fifth hole plays 480--uphill!), but there are some devilish short holes as well. The fairways are generous but extremely well-bunkered (see the picture of the third hole above). Greens vary in size according to the length of the approach shot, but all are strongly contoured and typically very slick. When I play Fenway, I literally use every club in my bag at least once.

Brand new this year is a fine new short game practice area designed by Hanse to help members hone specific shots that pester them on the course. Included in the complex is a huge kidney-shaped green complete with a false front on one lobe that would warm the cockles of Tilly's heart. There's also a nasty, narrow greenside bunker similar to the ones around the seventh green, an extra deep one just like the ones to the right of the ninth green, and a creatively designed bunker with a long tongue that allows practice of long bunker shots in one direction or holds up to six players at a time facing sideways for group lessons. Pitch and chip shots as long as 65 yards can be practiced from all sorts of lies in fairway or rough.

Membership has grown accordingly, including an influx of younger members with kids, which bodes well for the future of the game at Fenway. So does the attitude of the club's membership, which is dedicated to growing the game the right way: by providing an excellent golf experience.

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

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Let's Pick Up the Pace of Play...While We're Young

Addressing an issue that's near and dear to my heart--not to mention one that gives me a major case of heartburn, the USGA today unveiled a new public education campaign around the theme of “While We’re Young,” a new positioning to raise awareness across the golf community of the challenges and solutions to the pace-of-play issues in the game of golf. Borrowing the iconic line from the character played by Rodney Dangerfield in the classic 1980 film Caddyshack®, the campaign takes a lighthearted and comedic approach to encourage golfers of all skill levels and golf course facilities to join a movement to improve pace of play and reduce the time it takes to play the game.

The USGA will debut a total of five public service announcements, featuring three-time U.S. Open champion Tiger Woods, 1960 U.S. Open champion and golf icon Arnold Palmer, Academy Award®–winning actor/director Clint Eastwood, three-time U.S. Women’s Open champion Annika Sorenstam, 2010 U.S. Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer, and famed American golf instructor Butch Harmon. The series of PSAs can be viewed at www.usga.org/whilewereyoung.

According to industry research, the time that it takes to play golf is a principal driver that adversely impacts enjoyment of and discourages participation in the game. In a recent study by the National Golf Foundation (NGF), 91 percent of serious golfers are bothered by slow play and say it detracts from their golf experience; more than 70 percent believe pace of play has worsened over time; and half acknowledged that they walked off the course due to frustration over a marathon round of golf. USGA research shows that the golfer is just one component within a complex, integrated system that determines pace of play in the game. Golf course design, course setup and player management also contribute to longer playing times.

“Pace of play has become a strategic priority for the USGA, and part of a larger leadership agenda to address the issues that threaten the long-term health of the game,” said USGA President Glen D. Nager. “Our new campaign underscores a commitment to educate golfers and golf facility managers in a fun and engaging manner about all the factors that contribute to pace of play and the role they can have in implementing practical solutions to the problem.”

“We’re losing a lot of players because it takes too long to play, and it’s something we have to address,” said Harmon. “This campaign is going to have a great impact on the game. We made it a lot of fun, but slow play is not funny. It’s a serious issue and I hope the golfing public gets the message.”

The campaign will debut at the 2013 U.S. Open Championship, and will air throughout the summer on broadcast network and national cable channels during coverage of the 2013 U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Amateur on NBC, ESPN and Golf Channel. The TV spots will also run during broadcasts of non-USGA golf events, thanks to promotional support from the LPGA and The PGA of America.

Each PSA will direct people to a newly created microsite where golfers and facility managers can sign a pledge to take personal measures to improve pace of play. Those who take the pledge will be enrolled in the USGA Pace of Play Education Program, which includes videos, quizzes and other resources that cover the fundamental causes and solutions to slow play from both a player and golf course facility perspective. Once the education program is completed, participants will receive a downloadable certificate acknowledging their role as a USGA-certified pace of play ambassador.

In addition to the campaign, the USGA has introduced a new online Pace of Play Resource Center on www.usga.org for golf facilities and players. The Resource Center serves as an authoritative repository for educational information about pace of play, including case studies and best practices on ways golf course facilities can address factors such as hole length, routing, green speeds, rough height, and operations to improve pace of play. The site also provides tips for individual golfers seeking to expand their knowledge of the issue and improve their own playing habits, including information on alternative formats like nine-hole rounds that take less time to play.

“Although our industry has tried to address pace of play for decades, we believe the issue can only be addressed successfully if we collaboratively pursue solutions that consider the full set of factors that influence pace – the actions of golfers, the ways we design and manage golf courses, and the influence of the elite competitive game,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. “This new campaign illustrates the USGA’s energetic and action-oriented approach to pursuing worthwhile endeavors that serve the best interests of the game moving forward.”

The USGA campaign is part of a larger, multifaceted initiative that was announced in February 2013 to identify the causes and solutions regarding pace-of-play issues in the game. This USGA-led program includes: an analysis of key factors known to influence pace of play; the development of a pace-of-play model based on USGA-led research and quantifiable data; improvements to the USGA Pace Rating System; on-site assistance at golf courses to help managers assess and improve pace of play; and the creation of player- and facility-education programs.

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

FREE eBook Celebrates US Open at Merion

Get ready for the U.S. Open by downloading Grand Slam, A Tale of Weird Golf.  Today it's FREE!

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

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

More Father's Day Gift Ideas

If Dad likes to walk when he plays golf, the TriSwivel push cart from Bag Boy is perfect for his game. The push cart features a front wheel that swivels 360 degrees for effortless maneuverability on the course. The swivel wheel can be locked in place by engaging the remote Swivel Lock Out when walking hills or long distances. The TriSwivel is fully loaded with golfer-friendly features. The cart has a one-step handle adjustment, handle mounted parking brake, oversized storage bag, scorecard, umbrella and integrated beverage holders and is cart bag and stand bag compatible with upper bag bracket. The TriSwivel has oversized wheels that roll easily through the grass. The simple three-step folding process allows for compact storage. The TriSwivel is available in four colors for a suggested retail of $269.95.

If Dad walks and carries his bag, the GO-LITE 14 stand bag from Datrek is perfect. The sleek design of the GO-LITE 14 stand bag weighs only 5 pounds, making toting the bag easy.

Made of durable nylon material, the GO-LITE 14 features 
a 14-way mesh-padded top with full-length individual dividers and an ergonomic handle integrated into the top. There is ample storage room with five pockets, including a large garment pocket, fleece-lined valuables pocket, insulated beverage sleeve and an ove
Datrel F-15rsized ball pocket. The GO-LITE 14 has a padded double shoulder strap to make walking and carrying easy and comfortable. An additional feature of the GO-LITE 14 stand bag is a cart-friendly base, adaptable for push carts and riding carts. GO-Lite is available in six color patterns for a suggested retail of $149.99.

If Dad likes to ride or use a push cart, the sporty looking F-15 cart bag is a good choice. The F-15 cart bag features a 15-way top with an integrated oversized putter well, full-length dividers and soft grip handles for easy loading. Made of durable nylon fabric, there is also ample storage room for all of Dad's belongings with 10 pockets that are all easily accessible when the bag is on the cart. The F-15 cart bag comes in five colors with a suggested retail of $199.95.

Every golfing Dad loves the movie Caddyshack and Devant Sport Towels has a series of Caddyshack towels that Dad would love to sport on his golf bag. Devant, known in the golf industry for its high quality towels and innovative designs, has taken two of renowned pop culture artist David O'Keefe's famous paintings from Caddyshack, Bushwood - A Tribute to Caddyshack (pictured left) and A Cinderella Story (pictured right) - and showcases them on Devant's popular Hi Def Edge™ towel. The Caddyshack artwork is reproduced in a high definition image on the 16-x-25 inch terry cloth towel. Devant is the only company that uses a patented Image Dye™ process to produce the highest quality image on a towel. The process produces a sharp image of a piece of artwork or photograph while keeping the towel soft and fully functional.
The Hi Def Edge™ towels feature a Lock Clip™ solid brass attachment for use on golf bag or cart. The towels are sold at golf retailers for a suggested retail of $24.95.  

Orlimar has introduced a new line of milled face putters that will help Dad lower his scores this season. The putters are made from 304 stainless steel, and each features a dee
Makena Milled-Face Putterp milled face for a soft, consistent roll every time. Also the putters have two 5-gram heel and toe weights to help with stability on off-center hits. There is a series of five putters available. Montego is a large mallet with three dimensional circles that aid in the proper stance and alignment; Miramar is a triangle shaped mallet with a center alignment line; Malibu is a toe-downed flanged mallet that is a 3-bend, heel-shafted putter; Manly is mid-mallet belly putter that comes in 41 or 43 inches; and Makena (pictured right) is a classic toe-down blade putter with a plumber-neck hosel. The suggested retail of the Orlimar milled-faced putters are $149.  

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

Monday, June 10, 2013

It Ain't the Same, But It's Fun

Didn't have foresight to order your US Open tickets the day they went on sale (and bascially sold out)? check out the US Open Experience at Independence Mall in Philadelphia.  You may not get Tiger's autograph, but then, you probably wouldn't get that at Merion, either!

The U.S. Open Experience at Independence Mall opens today, Monday June 10, featuring interactive educational exhibits, an official U.S. Open merchandise store, and other unique opportunities for fans in the Independence Visitor Center.  Plus, all activities are free! You won't find that at Merion, either.

The action moves outdoors for the weekend of June 15 and 16, with live big-screen golf coverage, authentic USGA bleacher seating, and simulated playing opportunities where fans can create their own memorable golf shots. Weekend hours of operation are from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. both days. All activities are open to the public and are complimentary with the exception of concessions, merchandise and parking/transportation.

“Philadelphia’s fans hold a special place in their hearts for the game of golf and the U.S. Open, and this newly developed experience is meant to recognize that incredible passion and loyalty,” said Sarah Hirshland, USGA Senior Managing Director for Business Affairs. “We hope that in creating this downtown celebration we are providing fans with an opportunity to be a part of the spirit and excitement of the game’s finest championship.”

Independence Mall is a three-block section of Independence National Historical Park (INHP) in Center City Philadelphia bounded by Chestnut, Race, 5th and 6th Streets. Buildings on the Mall include the National Constitution Center, the Independence Visitor Center, and the Liberty Bell Center.

24-hour fully enclosed parking (not free) is conveniently located underneath the Independence Visitor Center, providing access to Independence Mall and other area attractions. The site is also accessible via SEPTA and by PHLASH - the purple trolley system offering an easy and affordable way to visit many of Center City’s key points of interest.

It's all made possible by the USGA and its partners American Express, Chevron, and Lexus. For more information about The U.S. Open Experience and the upcoming U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club visit www.usopen.com.

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

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Dad Deserves Cool Golf Gifts

Treat Dad to a pair of the Jet-A or Panorama Composite Hybrid from Scheyden Precision Eyewear. They're perfect for golf, fishing, boating, hunting or any outdoor activity where absolute clarity is a must. Also features: repellant coating, scratch-resistant finish and thin arms that tuck comfortably beneath headwear. $259-309 www.Scheyden.com

Club Glove’s TravelRX was inspired by a classic doctor’s bag, making it great for the on-the-go Dad. He will love the TravelRX vintage design updated with modern features for optimal use. Whether headed on a work trip or weekend getaway, the extremely space-efficient upper and lower compartments create separation when packing or adjust into one large bag. $399 www.clubglove.com

From the brand that pioneered the hybrid golf shoe, ECCO offers Dad an array of non-cleated styles for wear on or off the course. A classic wingtip pattern, Tour Hybrid, transitions nicely from the office to first tee. The BIOM Hybrid and Golf Street offer sport-driven and casual looks. All feature the ECCO E-DTS outsole with more than 800 traction angles for superb grip on any surface. $140-$190 www.eccousa.com

Fila Golf For the average Joe or avid golfer, tops, bottoms and accessories from Fila Golf will make your Dad stand out on the first tee, because of his style, not just his swing. The latest developments from this heritage sportswear brand feature UV-protectant, eco-friendly, wrinkle-resistant and moisture wicking fabrics that will him cool, dry and comfortable all summer long. $16-130 www.ShopFilaGolf.com

Dad can create a personalized ball mark by tracing a design from the 100 existing patterns from Tin Cup Golf Ball Marking Stencil. Tin Cup is 100% made-in-the-USA stainless steel cup construction and comes with a lifetime guarantee. Models also include Bombs Away, Jolly Roger (skull and cross bones), Luck of the Irish (shamrock) and Five O’Clock Somewhere. $19.95 www.tin-cup.com

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

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Doral Nine is Divine

This year, I'm enjoying more golf and spending less time doing it. How? By playing nine holes instead of the usual eighteen. When you do that at a splendid facility like the Doral Arrowwood in Rye Brook, NY, it's one of the great  pleasures of golf.

Doral Arrowwood

The Doral has everything its longer Westchester brethren have--a variety of playing challenges, spectacular views and picturesque layouts, fabulous bunkering, and greens that will break your heart with their strong contouring and slick conditioning. It was designed by Robert von Hagge, the master who created the Blue Monster at the Doral in Miami. Hagge not only took full advantage of the naturally rolling terrain, but sculpted the fairways for maximum visual appeal. The shadows in the morning and late afternoons are wondrous. Hagge also makes you play over water on seven of the nine holes, so bring plenty of ammunition.

As you might expect for a course that tips out at 2,924 yards (par 35), precision counts more than length, but there are certainly opportunities when you can pull the driver and let her fly. The first hole, in fact, is 392 yards and rewards a long, straight drive with a short approach to a really small, difficult green. If you can hit a 20-yard-wide landing area, you may also  want to let the big dog hunt on the 440-yard par 5 third hole and certainly on the 493-yard par 5 fifth.

To score on Doral, though, you really need accurate iron play. A prime example comes at the sixth hole, a visually delightful 345 yards with an approach over water to a wide but very shallow green. Short is wet, long is dead, and if your ball doesn't land on the same side of the green as the cup, you'll have an impossible putt. The 340-yard eighth hole really requires two accurate irons--one off the tee to avoid the pond pinching the fairway at 185 yards and the second to place your ball on the right tier of the large, strongly contoured green.

The par threes are truly delightful. The fourth hole plays at 140 yards, but pin positions can add or subtract 15 yards from that number and it's all carry over water, so check the wind, too. The seventh hole, at 190 yards, is the easiest of the three even though the green is set in a virtual bowl of bunkers.

A real challenge at Doral is the 211-yard second hole, one of the most visually intimidating par threes you'll find anywhere. From the tee, all you see is water--that's because there is about 180 yards of it to carry before you reach dry land! There is no bailout area, either, so hitch up your britches, take a deep breath, and aim for that pin.

While the course is a fine test of golf that you can enjoy round after round, the Doral offers a host of other amenities. There's an excellent practice facility with both a full range and short game area. Golf instruction is provided by the Mitchel Spearman Golf Academy, which offers a range of programs including computer video analysis, group and personal lessons, and an extensive array of junior golf programs. Hot Stix Golf is located at Doral, too, so expert, in-depth club fitting is readily available. And what would any good golf course be without a 19th hole? Mulligan's, an excellent outdoor bar and grille, overlooks the ninth green at Doral.

Greens fees start at $50 including mandatory cart. There are also memberships available for individuals, families, and corporations.

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

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Simple, Effective Putting Drills

Putting drills...yech! But the next time you wobble a three-footer past the hole instead of into it, you'll wish you'd practiced with this simple, effective putting exercise from Paul Kenney from Rockrimmon CC and Jason Caron, from Siwanoy CC. It's another episode of "Golf Tips from Around the Met" produced by Five Iron Fitness.

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

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Who's Who Of Golf Honored By Met Golf Writers

The Metropolitan Golf Writers Association National Awards Dinner is just a few days away. Tuesday, June 18, marks the date and the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown is the spot for this 62nd annual event. Just in case you're not aware of its impact, watch this short highlight video from past dinners.

MGWA - National Awards Dinner - Sizzle Reel from sportybear on Vimeo.

For tickets, visit www.metgolfwriters.org. Profits from the dinner support the MGA Foundation as well as the Caddie Scholarship funds of Westchester/Fairfield, Long Island, and New Jersey.

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

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Rough Road to Merion Through Century and Old Oaks

Jesse Smith on the first tee at Century CC
(Copyright USGA/Michael Cohen)
Jesse Smith of Dover, NH, was the medalist during yesterday's damp and daunting US Open Sectional Qualifyier held at Century CC and Old Oaks CC in Purchase, NY.  Smith captured one of four treasured slots in the field for the US Open at Merion. 79 players competed.

The top finishers were:
Jesse Smith, Dover, N.H. - 70-67--137
Geoffrey Sisk, Marshfield, Mass. - 68-69—137
(a) Gavin Hall, Pittsford, N.Y. - 70-67--137
Jim Herman, Palm City, Fla. - 70-68—138
Not making the cut were popular PGA Tour pro Brad Faxon, who posted 140, local am standout Max Buckley, 140, and two leading local pros, Greg Bisconti of St. Andrew's, 144, and Rob Labritz of GlenArbor, 145.

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

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Paul Azinger To Receive Met Golf Writers Gold Tee Award

Paul Azinger
Paul Azinger
Former PGA champion and winning Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger has been selected to receive the 2013 Gold Tee Award from the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association.  The award will be presented at the MGWA’s 62nd National Awards Dinner on Tuesday, June 18, at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown, NY.

The Gold Tee is the MGWA’s highest honor and is awarded to an individual whose career achievements exemplify the best spirit and traditions of the sport of golf.

Past winners of the Gold Tee include Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Nancy Lopez, Patty Berg, Phil Mickelson, Annika Sorenstam, Tom Watson and Ernie Els.  A complete list of Gold Tee Award recipients can be found at www.metgolfwriters.org.

A 12-time winner on the PGA TOUR, Azinger is currently an ESPN golf analyst and is one of the most respected voices in golf.  He won the 1993 PGA Championship in a playoff over Greg Norman and competed on four Ryder Cup teams.  Azinger captained the victorious U.S. Ryder Cup team in 2008 at Valhalla.

Azinger is the author of Cracking the Code: The Winning Ryder Cup Strategy: Make it Work for You, which tells the story of the first U.S. team to win the event since 1999. He also authored Zinger, which details his golf career and his successful battle with cancer following the 1993 season.

In 2010, Azinger released an iPhone app called Golfplan, designed to help golfers improve their game.

The MGWA’s National Awards Dinner is the longest running and often the largest golf dinner held annually in the U.S. All of golf’s governing bodies actively support the dinner — USGA, PGA of America, LPGA and PGA TOUR — and up to 700 industry leaders, local golfers and golf groups attend. Proceeds benefit the caddie scholarship programs of Long Island, New Jersey and Westchester/Fairfield, and the MGA Foundation. More than $1.3 million has been raised over the years for these charitable endeavors.

For tickets, visit www.metgolfwriters.org

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