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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Crowell Exposed on NBC

I'll be glued to the TV screen this weekend, not just to watch Tiger's return to the tour in the Accenture World Match Play, but to see Brian Crowell's new program on NBC, The Golf Digest Equipment Show, which airs at 1 PM Eastern just before the Match Play finals. To show you what a fan of Brian's I am, I'll be tuning in even if Tiger doesn't make it to the final round.

Brian and his co-host, Dottie Pepper, will give us a lighthearted look at the latest in golf gear. All the newest technology--clubs, bags, golf balls, apparel, shoes, gadgets, and training devices--will get the duo's expert once-over, liberally seasoned, I'm sure, with Brian's wry wit. The 60-minute program will show behind-the-scenes footage of testing facilities at Ping, Taylormade, Titleist, Adams, Nike and Cleveland, including unprecedented access to Callaway’s operation.

Crowell is head pro at GlenArbor Golf Club in Bedford, NY. Having played a round or two with him, I can attest that his knowledge of the game is tempered by a well-grounded sense of humor about it. The man plays a mean electric bass, too. All in all, Sunday's program should be on everyone's "must see" list.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Looks Easy On TV

Golf looks so simple, doesn’t it? The player starts each hole by putting the ball up on a little peg so it’s easy to hit and ends by gently tapping the ball into a hole more than twice as big as the ball. How hard is that?

It's looks even easier on TV. Most of the players look like they never break a sweat and dress like it’s casual Friday at the office.

But golf does make you sweat—-I know.

In between that level, manicured tee and the smooth, carpeted green are nasty surprises like rough grass up over your ankles and moats brimming with water and pits full of sand deeper than the Grand Canyon. You don’t see players hit from those places very often on TV. Most of the coverage is devoted to drives and putts—-swings most average golfers know how to make even if they don’t do it right all the time.

It’s the tricky shots in between where most of us need help. The pros didn’t have a bit of trouble hitting the hardest shots in the game. I guess if you know what you’re doing, it’s easy. Come to think of it, they didn’t break a sweat, either.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Golf In Mickey Mouse Land

For a family-oriented golf vaction, where else would you go but to Orlando, home of more kid-friendly attractions than anyplace on earth. You can do the whole Disney thing (and there are some fine courses in Mickey land), but a destination worth considering is one that’s sort of under the radar in Orlando—-but it shouldn’t be. It’s Championsgate, home to two world-class Greg Norman-designed courses, David Leadbetter’s Golf Academy, a magnificent Omni Resort Hotel, and just fifteen minutes away from the Magic Kingdom et al. There are multiple dining choices, too, including my favorite, David’s Club, an upscale sports bar/steakhouse.

But first things first—-golf at Championsgate. You’ll experience two completely different style courses, both of which are worth your time and attention. The International, which plays host to the Father-Son Challenge in December, carries one of the highest rating and slope of any course in Florida, a whopping 76.8/143 from the tips, which measures 7,363 yards. It’s no pushover from the blue tees, either, stretching 6,792. Norman designed a true links course, with wind-swept, treeless fairways, run-up approaches to hard, fast greens, and a plethora of pot bunkers in truly inconvenient locations.

The National is a (somewhat) kinder and gentler parkland layout. It’s a little shorter at 7,128, but much, much tighter. Spanish-moss-draped trees, thick stands of palmettos, and ball-swallowing waste areas frame nearly every hole—none of which play very straight.

Mom doesn’t have to entertain the kids while Dad plays golf at Championsgate, either. There’s the Omni Kids Club to keep them occupied while Mom joins Dad on the links or enjoys the spa. For whole-family fun, the Omni offers the 850-ft. Lazy River tube-float, a zero-entry family activity pool, lighted tennis and basketball courts, a sand volleyball court, and a really entertaining lighted nine-hole par-three golf course, with holes ranging from 55 to 85 yards. On second thought, who needs to fight the crowds at Sea World?

(888) 558-9301
Nearest airport: Orlando (30 minutes)
Golf package: $367 per night (for two persons double occupancy) includes room and breakfast, and as many rounds on both courses as you can play in one day. After dark, the lighted par-three course is included, too.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the