Saturday, October 31, 2015

FORE Georgia Reports on Horseshoe Bend Country Club's transformation in its upcoming Fall 2015 Issue

(MARRIETA, GA) - FORE Georgia (, the "Official Golfers' Magazine of the Georgia PGA", will be showcasing the comeback and transformation of Georgia's historic Horseshoe Bend Country Club in its upcoming Fall 2015 issue.

During its early years in the 1970's and 80's Horseshoe Bend Country Club was considered among the top handful of private clubs in the Atlanta area. The club hosted national level events in golf and tennis, was the site of the original home of the American Junior Golf Association, and was recognized throughout the metro area for the quality of its ALTA and junior swim teams.

But the AJGA outgrew its home in a small building near the Horseshoe Bend Country Clubhouse and moved to more spacious surroundings at Chateau Elan, a Senior (now Champions) Tour event left after three mostly weather-plagued years and the pro tennis tournament, which featured many of the game's greatest players of the time, also switched sites to a nearby club.

In the late 90's, with its marquee events gone, Horseshoe Bend Country Club's status began to decline at about the same time as a boom in the construction of upscale private clubs in the North Fulton area was occurring. The club fell into financial distress as conditions of both the clubhouse and course continued to spiral downward, but all that changed in March of 2011.

The article reports on the 25 million dollars that oil executive and entrepreneur Ben Kenny spent over the past 5 years to transform the Roswell club and return Horseshoe Bend to the top level of the highly competitive upscale private club market in metro Atlanta.

For more information on FORE Georgia, visit or contact

McMahon Elected To NENY PGA Section Board Of Directors

(LENOX, MA) – Kay McMahon, president of eduKaytion golf and creator of the Golf 8.5 teaching approach, has been elected to the Northeastern New York PGA Board of Directors. McMahon and fellow PGA members John Souza, Noel Gebauer and Josh Hillman were sworn in for two-year terms at the NENY PGA annual meeting by PGA of America President Derek Sprague.

McMahon, an LPGA Hall of Fame instructor, has been active in the NENY PGA Section for many years, and was named the 2015 Horton Smith Education Award winner back in March. That award recognizes golf professionals for their outstanding and continuing contributions to developing and improving education opportunities for the PGA golf professional.

McMahon, creator of the teaching made simple concept, Golf 8.5, has served on the Education Committee for five years and previously served as a Section Board Director from 2010 - 2014.  

McMahon developed Golf 8.5 through 30 years of playing, learning and teaching the sport. The concept eliminates the mind clutter that traditional teaching methods can create.

“I believe that the traditional way of teaching golf leads to too many things to think about during the swing,” said McMahon. “There are really only four things to think about before the swing, and 4.5 things to do during the swing. It really simplifies the thought process in learning the golf swing.”

With partner Eloise Trainor, founder of the FUTURES Tour (now the LPGA Symetra Tour), McMahon created eduKaytion golf, through which they teach groups and individuals using the Golf 8.5 method.

eduKaytion golf offers year-round golf lessons, custom golf schools, corporate golf days, corporate golf events, golf classes and workshops, kids golf lessons and much more inside Studio 1-K., located at Cranwell Spa & Golf Resort in Lenox, MA. Studio 1-K is a 3700 sq. ft. year-round practice facility, equipped with five indoor hitting stations, three putting machines, mirrors, training aids, heat and music.  McMahon offers complimentary video and computer swing analysis with every lesson.

“We have a very high success rate,” she said. “People can actually learn and/or change rapidly. Everyone comes away saying, ‘But it’s so simple.’”

For more information, visit, or call 518.669.1551.

BioMech’s AccuLock ACE Putter: Still Longer, Still Legal

After the Rules of Golf change in January, the longer ACE will still conform — and still result in better, more accurate, and healthier putting

(Warwick, RI) - On January 1, 2016, most forms of anchoring a long putter will be illegal according to the Rules of Golf. But just because these methods of anchoring are illegal doesn’t mean golfers will have to use a shorter putter. BioMech’s AccuLock ACE putter—which is available in standard lengths from 39 to 47 inches —will still be allowed under the Rules of Golf.

Engineered by scientists to produce a more natural and consistent putting stance and stroke, the ACE features a long shaft (allowing golfers to stand up straighter), that is angled slightly forward to put the golfer in an anatomically optimal position.  Once in that position, the grip rests against the inside of the leading forearm, a position that remains legal under the new Rules.

But more than legal, the ACE putter is the simplest and most accurate putter on the market. Optimizing physiology and physics, it simplifies the putting motion by getting the golfer to stand taller; set up in a consistent, natural, and balanced athletic position; align properly to the target; and make the stroke with the larger, more accurate muscles of the body’s core. As a result, the ACE gives golfers better control of the stroke, rolls putts that stay on the target line, facilitates dramatically improved distance control, and reduces the back problems and pain often associated with traditional putting.

But it isn’t only golfers looking for an alternative to illegal long putting who will love the ACE. All golfers, no matter what method or model they currently use, will find the ACE a better, more accurate, and easier to use putter.

Unlike traditional putters and putting methods that focus solely on engineering and mechanics, the ACE was designed to optimize the putting motion based upon the body’s physiology and the physics. The AccuLock Core Putting System provides these advantages to all golfers:
* Standing taller and more open gives the golfer a better view of the target throughout the stroke.
* The forward angle of the shaft and innovative Optical Alignment System position the golfer’s body in the same position every time.
* The putter facilitates a “true pendulum” stroke, straight back and straight through, with the clubface remaining square to the target line
* The stroke is controlled by the golfer’s core; the hands, wrists, and forearms remain totally stable and quiet. The result is significantly improved distance control.
* The combination of stance and stroke significantly reduces the lower-back strain and off-balance movements associated with traditional arc putting
* Regular use of the ACE trains the body to make a better stroke, one without the hands, arms, and small muscles that can produce mis-hits, mistakes, and misses

Several PGA Tour players have put the ACE in play at PGA Tour events and its presence is increasing on other professional tours around the world.  Golf Magazine features the ACE in an article, “7 Ways to Raise Your Game,” in the November 2015 issue.

The BioMech AccuLock ACE putter is available directly from the manufacturer at, as well as through select green-grass retailers. Retail price is $279.99.

For more information, go to the company’s website,

Friday, October 30, 2015

Dead Zero Putting Disk in for Review

Testing the Dead Zero putting disk today. In theory, practicing with a small, above-ground target will build confidence. Review to follow.

This reminds me a bit of Paul Azinger's bottle drill we shared over the winter and spring.

In the meantime, check out to learn more for yourself.

TGA Premier Junior Golf Franchises Acquired in Raleigh, NC

Former technology executive invests in youth sports business to grow golf in local schools, community centers and at golf courses

Wake County, NC - TGA Premier Junior Golf (TGA), ensuring golf’s future as the nation’s leading introductory and recreational golf program, has become a strong investment and career opportunity for those who have a passion for sports.

Maryann Von Seggern, a former executive for Riverbed Technology, Cisco Systems and IBM, is the latest entrepreneur to invest in the TGA franchise model in Wake County, North Carolina that encompasses Raleigh. She acquired the franchise business (two golf franchises) from Paul Maskill, who has joined the corporate headquarters at TGA.

Maskill first launched the franchise business in 2011 and since has successfully grown and expanded with additional TGA golf franchise operations generating $325,000 of revenue. Von Seggern recognized the success of the business model and quickly made the career change.

“I have worked for 30 years in corporate America and have had some great careers, but was looking for the next big thing, and an opportunity to own my own business and give back to the community impacting youth, was just perfect for me,” Von Seggern said.

“Paul built a fantastic business, and after doing my due diligence I believed it was an excellent investment and career opportunity. I felt that with my skill sets in business, sales and finance operations, along with being a mom and a golfer, I could continue growing TGA and take it to a new level in Wake County.”

Von Seggern is very familiar with getting youth involved in the game. Maryann and her husband introduced the game to their two children at age seven, with one of them becoming a PGA Professional.

TGA of Wake County is already one of the top TGA territories in the country having more than 6,000 youth to date going through its golf programs. Von Seggern will continue to grow TGA and impact youth through the areas 174 public schools and 79 private schools having access to over 175,000 students.

TGA (Teach Grow Achieve) is scaled throughout the United States through a unique franchise business model. It introduces youth (ages 3-13) and their parents (ages 25-45) to the game of golf through a before- and after-school multi-level enrichment program that incorporates educational subjects like math, language and history, as well as character building, life skills development, health and physical fitness. TGA is also the first youth golf program to include STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) in its curriculum.

The success of the model is two-fold: First, introductory golf programs are brought directly into schools and community centers and put on a level playing field with other mainstream sports by placing it on the menu of activities for elementary and middle school students. Second, following the introductory programs, TGA ushers students and their families to golf courses to participate in recreational programs such as camps, leagues and parent-child events.

“Bringing the game of golf directly onto school campuses and community centers make it convenient for working parents and fun for the kids as they can take the programs with their classmates,” Von Seggern explained. “In addition, camps and leagues where kids actually play golf in a fun, structured, and non-competitive environment was a key differentiator to me versus other youth golf programs in our market.

For more information about TGA Premier Junior Golf, visit or follow @TGAJuniorGolf on Twitter.

Poll Results: Replace or Sand Your Divot? Or Leave It for Someone Else???

Warning: There’s going to be a Leslie Neilsen Airplane reference in approximately 13 seconds.

You've taken a divot ... What do you do next?

If you’re Marc Dumbleton, there are various factors.

“Surely that depends on the course and which country you are playing in,” he said. “In England most courses replace divots.”

What do you mean, Marc? And don’t call me Shirley.

In all seriousness, I've never played in England. Was he saying the courses' maintenance crew takes responsibility for replacing divots - leaving the golfers to move on to their next shots?

“No. You replace your own divots,” Dumbleton clarified. “But I know some courses ... mainly the better ones ... have sand to fill divots on tee boxes.”

That makes sense and is a relief. Having served as an editor of a golf industry publication in the past (and writing on the topic these days), I’ve gotten to know a lot of superintendents and know how hard their jobs can be in the best of situations. Having hundreds ... thousands ... of golfers tearing up their courses and not replacing their divots would make the job nearly impossible.

So, this brings me to the most recent poll ... What do you do when you take a divot?

The surprise doesn’t come in the 79 percent who said they replace it. That’s what I was taught to do as a kid. It doesn’t surprise me that 20 percent fill the divot with sand. Many courses have sand/seed mix on the par 3 tee boxes and attached to golf carts.

No ... What alarms me is that 2 percent of the golfing population does neither, instead, electing to leave it for the maintenance staff to address the situation. Ugh! And we all know that if 2 percent admitted to leaving it, there are a lot more who leave it and don’t admit to it.

A J Taylor said “it's a feel good scenario to replace [divots],” but has been told not to on Canadian courses.  

“Either leave it for the maintenance crew or use the sand/seed containers on the carts if there,” Taylor explained. “They told us the divots never take and the mowers just tear them out.”

Katherine Cornelius has heard the same.

“That's true, A J Taylor, which is why I said ‘fill it with sand.’” she said “Have been told the same thing. The sand contains seed which will have that divot filled with new grass in a short period of time, and until then, it creates a flat surface for golfers and mowers.”

Taylor took it another step further ... quoting the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America: "Because grass varieties differ from course to course, and from fairways to the rough, the best rule to follow in replacing divots is to check with the golf course superintendent for the particular policy. As a general rule, replace any divot on the course unless there is a sand or sand/seed mixture provided in a container on the golf car. Typically, the divot is replaced on any course with bentgrass or bluegrass fairways. If you are playing on a course with bentgrass fairways and bluegrass rough, you must pay particular attention to the materials in the container. If just sand is provided, then fill the divot hole and tamp down the sand with your foot. If a sand/bentgrass seed mixture is provided, divots in the rough would not be replaced so as to not contaminate the bluegrass with bentgrass seed. In bermudagrass fairways, generally sand is just used."

In France, Axel Roques said you need to replace the divot.

Keith Bricknell said, “If it's on the fairway, replace it. If it's on the tee, fill it with sand.”

For Vipul Gidda, location of the country, not just course, comes into play.

“Depends on the part of the country/world,” Gidda said. “Down here in Texas the Bermuda just explodes so sand is the only way to go. Up in Indiana, where my dad is, I replace in the fairway and sand the box.”

With the exception of the 2 percent, I think we can all agree with Jeremy Black’s take on a golfer’s responsibility.

“ANY & ALL things to repair it correctly,” Black said. “Fix the ones around you, as well, but don't hold up play. Do the same with ball marks on the dance floor.”


Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company Unveils the WedgeFit Wedge Selector Tool

(FORT WORTH, TEXAS) – The Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company announced the launch of its proprietary WedgeFit personal wedge selector tool.  The simple and quick online engagement draws from an extensive database of iron model specifications to precisely recommend the Ben Hogan TK15 wedge arrangement that will ensure optimum distance gapping for any golfer.

Created for golfers, PGA professionals and custom club fitters, the innovative WedgeFit system brings a new level of precision to the process of fitting golfers for matched wedges.  Designed for players of all abilities, the WedgeFit system helps players and fitters determine the proper ‘prescription’ of wedges, including the right lofts, shafts and specifications to better optimize scoring range performance. WedgeFit can be found at

“Very few golfers have the right combination of lofts in their scoring clubs,” said Terry Koehler, President/CEO of the Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company. “And even fewer are playing the proper shafts to optimize feel and performance to improve their shotmaking in the ‘money range’.  The WedgeFit™ System enables golfers to put the right tools in their bags to lower their scores.”

Since its re-introduction to golf earlier this year, the ‘new’ Ben Hogan Golf Equipment company is acutely focused on innovative solutions to help golfers improve their performance with their scoring clubs, and the WedgeFit System represents the most accurate way to achieve that goal.  “With the WedgeFit System, golfers now have the technology to ensure just the right set of wedges that will deliver improved trajectories, better distance control and optimum forgiveness,” added Koehler.

The Ben Hogan TK15 wedges are the only high performance wedges in the industry that are designed to seamlessly integrate with any full set of irons.  Through the new WedgeFit experience, and Ben Hogan’s PreciseLoft system of offering every single loft from 48 to 63 degrees, golfers of all abilities will now be able to precisely blend their irons and wedges to ensure optimal gapping across the entirety of the set like never before.  By having the ability to choose from 16 different lofts and an extensive shaft and grip selection, the Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company can provide the most accurately custom-matched, custom built set of wedges set in golf.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Loudmouth Golf Introduces New Holiday Designs

Loudmouth Golf has introduced two new holiday designs - "Deck the Halls" and "Golfin' Santa."

Golfin' Santa
The festive Deck the Halls pattern features colorful, embroidered Christmas ornaments on a rich, red fabric. It will have you singing fa, la, la, la, la all season long!

This season Santa decided to play golf in warmer climes. The Golfin' Santa design features Santa and his reindeer partying in the Caribbean - Loudmouth style!

What better way to lighten up the parties between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve! Available for men and women. The kids will love it!

Shop HERE.

Billy Casper Golf to Manage The Meadows Country Club in Sarasota, FL

(RESTON, VA) – Billy Casper Golf (BCG) – one of the largest owner-operators of private, public, resort and residential club properties – has been selected to manage The Meadows Country Club in Sarasota, FL, a gulf-coast oasis with outstanding amenities, plentiful social activities and varied dining experiences.

With its holistic approach, BCG will direct membership sales, tennis, sports and fitness programming, golf course operations, restaurant services, merchandising, staffing and “ACE the Member Experience” training; and financial management.

The company’s BCG Private division will oversee every facet of club operations.  They include three golf courses, an award-winning tennis program, state-of-the-art fitness center, junior Olympic-sized pool and restaurants.

“Partnering with Billy Casper Golf was a no-brainer; its professionalism and attention to detail are unmatched,” says Gordon Cummings, President of The Meadows.  “We look forward to the repositioning and revitalization of The Meadows so it is once again recognized as one of the premier private clubs in Sarasota.”

Led by industry veteran Frank Denniston, the BCG Private team will leverage the company’s lifestyle-focused platform – considered the most proactive and powerful in golf, leisure and hospitality – to develop winning strategies for The Meadows.  Dedicated national and local sales forces will inject new programs and special events to increase amenity usage, enhance group interactions, boost engagement and fuel membership growth.

“Our team is eager to take this respected Country Club and mold it into a ‘must-join’ for Sarasota residents,” says Denniston, Senior Vice President of BCG.  “Here’s to returning the club to its glory days, instilling fun and making it even more attractive as a social hub.”

About The Meadows Country Club
Just minutes from Sarasota’s burgeoning residential, commercial and arts districts, The Meadows is one of the area’s most expansive private country clubs.

Tennis at The Meadows is second to none in the area, featuring 17 Har-Tru, lighted courts, including a stadium court with viewing areas for special events.  Led by Florida Division USPTA “Professional of the Year” Don Caprio, expert private instruction and clinics are for all ages.  Members and their playing partners enjoy pre- and post-match refreshment in the hip Center Court Lounge.

Three distinct, 18-hole golf courses meet with rave reviews:

The 6,716-yard, par-72, members-only Meadows Course was re-designed in 2004 by renowned architect Ron Garl and is one of the state’s most enjoyable layouts.  A mix of dramatic water features, unique bunkering, undulated greens and six sets of tees test players of all abilities.

The 6,669-yard, par-72 Highlands Course was designed by Francis J. Duane and is now open to the public.  The old-Florida style routing meanders through mature oaks and massive pines while tight fairways and generous greens emphasize accuracy.

The 3,852-yard, par-63 Groves Course was designed by the legendary Arthur Hills and features nine par-4s and nine par-3s.  Despite the shorter length, narrow fairways and small greens make it especially challenging and charming.

Rounding out golf experiences is a large grass-and-mat driving range and putting green.  PGA lessons are popular among individuals or groups, as is a “Kids Play Free” program for aspiring young golfers.

The 5,000 square-foot fitness center houses a collection of free weights and exercise machines.  Weekly yoga, cardio and flexibility classes are augmented by the area’s first Titleist Performance Institute Certified Golf Fitness Program.  The pool complex is perfect for laps, water aerobics and lounging with family and friends.

Dining and special event options include the elegant Regency Room with a formal atmosphere, permanent dance floor and intimate cocktail area; the Fountain View Lounge, a casual bar and restaurant serving lunch and dinner six days a week; and the Fountain View Deck with a gas fire pit and relaxed patio seating.

More information:, 941.371.6000.

Fore information about Billy Casper Golf:, 703.761.1444.

Tom Doak/Renaissance Golf Design’s Innovative Reversible Course Taking Shape at Forest Dunes

(Traverse City, MI) - Tom Doak has been thinking about building a fully reversible 18-hole design for more than twenty years.  Once Forest Dunes Golf Club owner Lew Thompson committed to the concept last year, he had to start thinking about not just how to make it work, but how to make the two options equally interesting for golfers.

After all, he borrowed the concept from The Old Course at St. Andrews, and there’s not much demand to play The Old Course backwards these days.  Holes like the famous Road hole [the 17th] and the par-3 11th are so iconic that no one wants to miss them.

So did that mean he had to dumb down his design?  “No,” Doak smiles, “we just had to make sure that the best of the holes are distributed relatively equally between the two loops, so that one version of the course doesn’t trump the other.”

Now that the full 18 holes in Roscommon, named The Loop, are completed with the grass growing in, Doak said he’s confident that the course works well both ways.

“I’m really pleased with it,” he said. “I’ve taken a few people out in the last month or two to walk through it in both directions, or play a few holes.  Whichever way you’re playing, it never feels like you are going the wrong way.”

In the end, the success of the design rests with the greens.  “It’s almost like they have to be approachable from 360 degrees around them, which limits how crazy you can make any contours,” says Doak’s lead associate for the project, Brian Slawnik.  “But when you build a really interesting green, both of the holes playing into it become outstanding.”

Two of the best holes, according to Doak, are the sixth and seventh playing in the counterclockwise direction. “The sixth is a very short par-3 with a wide and shallow green, and the seventh is a short par-4 with a long and narrow green that has a dip in the middle of it.  But those are also two of the best holes playing clockwise.  That seventh green lays out across the line of play from right to left, with the dip separating the two hole locations, and a big pine at the back right corner of the green really guards the right half.  Then you play a short par-4 down to the sixth green, approaching on the long axis.  So you get one wide green and one skinny one whichever way you’re playing, but in either case, the short par-4 is one of the better holes out there.”

Doak said the reversible format also gave him the opportunity to experiment with designs of famous or favorite holes he incorporated in some of his courses.

“I will occasionally build a hole to pay homage to something I’ve seen somewhere else,” he said. “For instance over the 35 courses I’ve built, I think I’ve built a version of the Redan hole from North Berwick Golf Links four or five times. This course has a green somewhat like that too, the 4th hole in the counterclockwise routing.”

“Clockwise, that green comes at the end of the longest par-4 on the course.  Most of it slopes toward you on the second shot, but it also tilts pretty strongly from left to right.  If you bail out to the left on your approach, it will be a very tricky little shot to keep it on the green from over there because of the tilt.”

“There are probably two or three greens when you are playing them in one direction you will think, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve seen some version of this green somewhere before,’ but part of the reason I used those greens is because I realized they would be interesting if you played them from a different direction,” he said.

Doak’s view is shared by the one observer who counts the most in this instance, owner Lew Thompson of Huntsville, Ark., Thompson said he is impressed with how well the course turned out after playing holes on both routes.

“I was excited to see how good it is, playing both ways, and how different it is playing both ways,” he said. “Everybody I’ve taken up there to play it had a perception in their minds so different than when they see it. They couldn’t believe that the a green they played one way was the same green they played again coming in from the side because it has such a very different look.”

He said higher handicap golfers will especially appreciate the wide fairways that will keep stray shots in play. Thompson said he expects some holes to be ready for play early in the summer with both directions open by August to limited preview play. The Loop will alternate the course routing on a daily basis allowing golfers to play each direction on back-to-back days.

“We got the best of Tom, and I don’t say that to offend people who have used Tom in the past, but we got Tom at a time when he didn’t have so many projects going, and with this one (near his home) he was able to devote much more of his time to this project and it is really showing,” Thompson said.

Doak said designing greens at Forest Dunes was easier than locating tees since he had been mulling the reversible concept for so long he has a playbook in his head of ideas that would work and ones that would not.

“There are certain kinds of greens that we would not build at Forest Dunes because it would be harder to make them work from two directions at the same time,” he said. “When you are shaping and thinking about two directions it does make it trickier but we already had ruled out the things that would get us in trouble.”

On half of the holes players will approach the greens from straight in one way and then from 90 degrees or 120 degrees rather than straight in from the back of those greens.

Constructing tees took more thought, he said, because his routing has multiple changes in direction.

“You will be playing one hole, say west, and you will turn and play south for the next hole,” he said. To make that seamless, some tees, are in fairways or just on the edge of fairways.  It’s still efficient, because the tees only need to be half as big for each direction -- the sizes are based on the amount of traffic they have to handle.”

Doak said a big factor in how the course turned out was the contributions of his three top associates at Renaissance Golf Design, Brian Slawnik, Brian Schneider, and Eric Iverson, who normally are scattered around the globe working on multiple Doak projects.

“Brian Slawnik ran the job and was there most of the time and Brian Schneider and Eric Iverson took turns coming in to shape,” Doak said. “There were only about three days when all four of us were on site but generally two of them were there whenever I was there. When we only have two projects going at a time that’s how it works.”

Doak said having that many eyes on this particular project was a big boost.

“It would have been harder to tackle this idea if I were doing it just by myself,” he said. “Having different guys looking at it instead of just one of them you get some fresh ideas, and you don’t make any mistakes. It took some of the pressure off me. I could think more about being creative than making sure we don’t make a mistake.”

For more information about Renaissance Golf Design, visit

For more information about Forest Dunes, visit or follow them on Twitter @forestdunesgolf.

Getting to Know: Jason Straka, Golf Course Architect

Hole No. 3 at Georgian Bay in Collingwood, Ontario
American Golfer: When did you start playing golf?
Jason Straka: My father started me when I was about 6 years old.  I have a large extended family and golf was, and is, a big part of our lives. We even have an annual family tournament called the Straka Cup.  Every 4th of July weekend we compete for a large, engraved, silver family trophy.  If you win, you get your name engraved on it and you get to keep it for the year.  Golf is one of the activities that keeps our family very tight knit.

AG: How did you become a golf course designer?
JS: I started off by working as a greenkeeper for three years, essentially to learn the aspects of maintaining a course and how design impacted it.  I chose to study landscape architecture at Cornell University, in part due to its lineage of successful golf course designers such as Robert Trent Jones, Tom Doak and Gil Hanse.  I actually completed a senior design thesis under Tom back in 1994.  I also worked in golf course construction for several years, spent a summer on environmental research and putting greens, completed a masters in agronomy and environmental design under Dr. Norm Hummel, and finished my masters thesis on the development of Widow's Walk Golf Course in Scituate, MA, under Dr. Mike Hurdzan, which is widely regarded as the United States first environmental demonstration golf course.  That is how I ended up working for Mike for nearly 20 years.

AG: Why did you choose a career in golf course design?
JS: I grew up loving the outdoors ... golfing, fishing, camping, canoeing, hunting, and I also loved the creativity of design.  The combination of golf, being outdoors and using my creativity is what drew me to golf course design.  I chose my career path early on and have never looked back, now some 26 years later.

AG: In your opinion, have any design trends hurt the game?
JS: The overall push to make golf courses long, and many of them difficult have certainly hurt the overall game.  I used to be one of the guys that wanted to 'see the whole course', played with 'one foot in the rough' but when I had children of my own, watched as my extended family aged, and even as I have grown older, the need for golf courses which are just fun became very apparent.  There has been more attention given to this in the past decade by many of my colleagues and a realization by our clients that long and difficult golf courses only serve a very small portion of the golfing public.

AG: How can we grow the game of golf?
JS: I don't think there is one silver bullet, but rather a host of methods.  For a father who travels a lot for work, when I am home it is family time.  I don't spend time at the course when I am home unless it is with my family.  This is a lifestyle unlike years past when guys would have their usual weekend games.  The more family friendly courses are, in design and programming, the better.  Affordability is another key.  Golf is just one activity my kids participate in so discretionary funds are spread thin.  When I was a junior in northeast Ohio, Yankee Run Golf Course sold yearly junior passes for just $150.  I could play anytime on the weekday other than during leagues or outings and on weekends after 2 p.m.  I played with all my friends there and got hooked on the game for life.  I know that was a long time ago but the McMullin family who owned the course did so much good for the game by treating juniors that way.  We need more of that.

AG: Do you have a specific design philosophy?
JS: Sure, to provide a great golf design that fits my clients needs which is also safe, fun to play, built technically correct for a reasonable cost and can be maintained for a reasonable cost using the least amount of inputs given project and site constraints.

AG: Of all the holes you’ve designed, do you have a favorite (why)?
JS: The par 3 third hole at the Georgian Bay Club in Collingwood, Ontario.  It's a spectacular hole but it's my favorite for another reason.  When I travel I usually will call my family to check in and talk, including my parents.  One time I happened to get a call from my father when I was sitting on that particular green site during construction after work one day, watching the sun set over the bay.  My father asked where I was in the world that day and I told him on one of the most spectacular green sites that I had seen.  I told him that one day I'd bring him there to play the finished hole. We did it a year or so later and those two precious days shared with my father will be etched in my memory for as long as I live.

AG: What’s your “dream foursome” (living or dead, golfer or non-golfer)?
JS: My father, son and hopefully some day my grandchild.  It would be very cool to play with four generations together.  For now, my father, son and I make a great threesome.

AG: Is there a “bucket list” location in/on which to design?
JS: I've come to have a great affinity for links golf.  I've worked on many sites with links type characteristics but I'd love to actually design a course on true linksland, out on the water somewhere.

AG: What is the future of golf course design?
JS: Design trends will always come and go but I think we'll have some consistent staples such as the use of emerging technology.  Just as fast as computer technology changes so does technology in the golf business.  Just think of what is now becoming commonplace that was not in use just a few short years ago, such as the use of drones and drone technology, GPS trackers to study golf course traffic and use patterns, and maintenance efficiency. Environment design will be a constant too, as will safety issues.  Another reality, at least domestically, is the fact that not many new courses are going to be built.  Much of golf course design for the foreseeable future will be based on refurbishing our existing courses.  While complimentary, it does take a whole extra set of design and communication skills for that type of work.

To learn more about Jason and his work with partner Dana Fry at Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design, visit

Major practice facility upgrade for PGA Catalunya Resort

(Girona, Spain) - PGA Catalunya Resort, the 2015 European Golf Resort of the Year*, continues to assert its reputation as one of the continent’s foremost golf venues, by enhancing its acclaimed practice facilities.

The award-winning resort and Spain’s official candidate host venue for The 2022 Ryder Cup has upgraded its double-ended, natural grass driving range by extending its top teeing area to 250 metres wide, doubling its capacity, to now accommodate 100 bays. Along with the existing 30 bays of the lower teeing area, PGA Catalunya Resort’s expanded driving range can welcome up to 130 players at any given time.

The European Tour Destination, which has hosted the Open de España on three occasions and the European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage since 2008, has also created a new putting green made with Poa grass, which is used on golf courses throughout the world, including Pebble Beach Golf Links, USA.

The new putting green means the four main grass types, Bermuda, Bent, Paspalum and Poa, can all be found within the 2,000 square metre short game area – the largest in Spain – alongside its five bunkers containing a different sand type from courses around the world, including Augusta National supersand, St Andrews links, Hawaii volcanic, Pebble Beach and PGA Catalunya Stadium Course sand.

Extensive development over the last few years has enhanced the venue’s reputation as one of Europe’s leading integrated golf and residential resorts, with the practice and coaching facilities providing the location for the Sergio Garcia Junior Academy and Dave Pelz’s Spanish Golf School.

Miguel Girbes, Director of Golf at PGA Catalunya Resort, said: “The aim is to always provide the most memorable experience for those visiting PGA Catalunya Resort, whether they are an elite tour player, or are taking their first steps in the game.

“The upgrades we continue to make to our world-class practice facilities, ensure that golfers are able to hone their game in optimum conditions, which is why we have established ourselves as a preferred winter training facility for many tour professionals, as well as the Danish, Norwegian and Finnish national teams.”

The expansion of the practice facilities at PGA Catalunya Resort is designed to complement the resort’s two highly acclaimed Tour and Stadium courses, the latter ranked as Spain’s No.1 by influential golf course ratings website,

*As voted by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators

For more information about PGA Catalunya Resort visit

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Golf Channel Notes: Stenson, Matsuyama Headline the Field at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia

(ORLANDO, Fla.) – The PGA TOUR shifts to Malaysia for the CIMB Classic, with a field of 78 players competing in a 72-hole no-cut event. Henrik Stenson, Hideki Matsuyama and Sergio Garcia headline the field.

CIMB Classic
Dates: Oct. 29-Nov. 1
Venue: Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (West Course), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
- Wednesday 10:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Live) / 2-6 p.m. (Thursday replay)
- Thursday 10:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Live) / 1-5 p.m. (Friday replay)
- Friday 11 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live) / 1-5 p.m. (Saturday replay)
- Saturday 11 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live) / Noon-4 p.m. (Sunday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Tournament format: The field consists of 78 players including 60 players from the 2014-15 FedExCup standings, 10 from the Asian Tour Order of Merit, and eight sponsor’s exemptions, competing in a 72-hole no-cut format.

Moore defends: Ryan Moore won by three strokes over Gary Woodland, Kevin Na and Sergio Garcia to successfully defend his 2013 title.

Headlining the field: Henrik Stenson, Hideki Matsuyama, Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Ernie Els, Patrick Reed, Anirban Lahiri, Daniel Berger, Justin Thomas, Branden Grace and Kevin Na.

Golf Channel Broadcast Team:
- Play by Play: Steve Sands
- Analyst: Frank Nobilo
- Tower: Phil Blackmar / Dom Boulet
- On-Course: Arron Oberholser

The European Tour kicks off the first of four events in its Final Series, as World No. 3 Rory McIlroy leads the field at the top of the current Race to Dubai standings. Each of the four events features a field of 60-78 players with no cut, totaling a combined purse of $30.5 million.

The Champions Tour stages its final event of the season prior to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship next week, with three players still in the running to win the Charles Schwab Cup: Colin Montgomerie (No. 1); Jeff Maggert (No.2, trailing Montgomerie by 39 points); and Bernhard Langer (No. 3, trailing Montgomerie by 66 points).

The LPGA Tour is in China for the Blue Bay LPGA, as Lydia Ko makes her first start since returning to No.1 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.

And the inaugural East Lake Cup gets underway on Monday, Nov. 2, a collegiate match play championship featuring the four semifinalist teams from the 2015 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Division I Golf Championships. The semifinals are scheduled for Monday, Nov. 2 and the finals and consolation matches will be contested on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

The Rest of the Story: New SC Mountains to Midlands Golf Partnership

Spanning four regions that offer outstanding sporting endeavors, history and plenty of entertaining nightlife, the new “Mountains to Midlands” golf alliance will shine a brighter spotlight on the heart of South Carolina

(UPSTATE, S.C.) — In the rankings of the country’s best states for golf, South Carolina regularly checks in high on the list. When one thinks about teeing it up in the Palmetto State, however, usually only the coastal area comes to mind — particularly well-known golf getaways such as Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head.

“People don’t realize that the upstate and non-coastal areas of South Carolina have great golf, too,” says Strauss Moore Shiple.

Shiple was instrumental in helping form the new “Mountains to Midlands” golf marketing alliance that represents a partnership of four regions extending from the center of the state to the extreme northwest tip — the Olde English District, where Shiple has been the longtime Project Manager, along with The Upcountry, Lake Murray Country and the Old 96 District.

Mountains to Midlands (M2M) cover a scenic and historic area of that south, where numerous interstate highways make travel easy and the golf courses accessible. Considering its close proximity and impressive supply of outstanding layouts — as well as the area’s temperate climate allowing the game to be enjoyed year round — little wonder Mountains to Midlands is fast becoming renowned as a wonderfully satisfying and surprisingly affordable golf destination.

Most of the golf in the Olde English District or “The OED,” as it is more popularly referred — a land where the famed golfing Sandhills to the north meet the Lowcountry to the south and east — is situated along the stretch of Interstate 77 from Rock Hill to Columbia, S.C. The OED also extends east to a golf gem at the Tom Jackson-designed Cheraw State Park Course (, built around 309-acre Lake Juniper. Located along the banks of the Pee Dee River, Cheraw previously served as a major shipping port to Charleston and Georgetown and a strategic commercial and military staging area, littered with famous battles and conflicts of allegiance centuries ago.

But the undisputed “capital” of The OED is Rock Hill/York County, located a swift and easy 30 minutes south of Charlotte Douglas International Airport, where golfers discover a number of outstanding layouts such as the timeless design at Springfield Golf Club in Fort Mill, the Fuzzy Zoeller lake and golf community at Edgewater Golf Club and Carolina Lakes — a pristine setting of natural streams and ponds with the Catawba River meandering through it.

Just a bit further south toward Columbia is Cobblestone Park Golf Club in Blythewood — home to the University of South Carolina Gamecock golf teams and a Top 30 Palmetto State stalwart. That takes us to Lake Murray Country portion of the Mountains to Midlands alliance. Located in the heart of the Palmetto State, Lake Murray Country is centered in the state’s capital city, Columbia, and on Lake Murray. Surrounded by three gorgeous rivers, Lake Murray (“the jewel of the south”) features 650 miles of picturesque shoreline — one reason it was named by Boating Magazine one of the “Top 10 Places to Live and Boat.”

With 33 championship golf courses in the area, not to mention outstanding dining and entertainment, Lake Murray Country is known for other sporting exploits as well. Among the Lake Murray area’s must-play layouts are The Windermere Club, a private (public access is available through Golf Packages of SC), Pete & P.B. Dye-designed facility that will provide a unique and truly memorable experience, along with Oak Hills Golf Club, a Steve Melnyk and Davis Love III masterpiece that has been recognized in Golf Digest’s “Best Places to Play.”

Moving west you can transport your sticks to Old 96 District, which may just be South Carolina’s best-kept golf secret. This region takes you from north of Augusta along the Georgia border approaching I-85, where just north is the booming Greenville-Spartanburg corridor — which also includes a number of golfing gems.

Among the most renowned layouts in Old 96 are The Patriot Golf Course at Grand Harbour Golf & Yacht Community, another Davis Love III stunner on Lake Greenwood voted “Best New Course” in South Carolina in 2004; Mount Vintage Plantation Golf Club, a 27-hole, semi-private facility that Golf Magazine has likened to nearby Augusta National; and The Links at Stoney Point, a picturesque links design situated on Lake Greenwood that includes first-class amenities. Hickory Knob ( is a Tom Jackson design located in McCormick, S.C., bordering the Georgia State line.

Last but certainly not least, abounding with natural resources and recreational opportunities, The Upcountry portion of the M2M alliance also includes a number of outstanding golfing experiences.

The Walker Course at Clemson University is the home course of the vaunted Clemson Tiger golf team and offers up a spectacular collection of finishing holes along the shores of Lake Hartwell, while The Preserve at Verdae is a William Bird design carved out of the Carolina Forest located in mid-town Greenville. Of course, The Upcountry also includes the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains, which frame Woodfin Ridge Golf Club in Inman. Jacob’s Creek winds its way through the golf course that was designed adjacent to scenic Lake Bowen.

Mountains to Midlands not only allow golfers to either mix and match their golf within the regions or stay within the regions of their choice, this bourgeoning alliance transports golfers to a place where small towns, medium prices and big-name golf course architects harmoniously blend together.

For information or to book your personalized Mountains to Midlands golf and travel package, contact Ricky Saucier at (888) 501-0954, email or visit for additional details about special offers.

Heritage Bag Company will Sponsor Wednesday Pro-Am at the Sanderson Farms Championship

(JACKSON, Miss.) - The Sanderson Farms Championship announced that Heritage Bag Company is the presenting sponsor for the Wednesday Pro-Am for the second consecutive year. The Heritage Bag Pro-Am will be November 4 at The Country Club of Jackson.

Heritage Bag Company is the largest commercial can liner manufacturer in North America. Based out of Roanoke, Texas, the company is one of Sanderson Farms’ vendors.

“Heritage Bag Company is proud to be involved with the Sanderson Farms Championship,” said Carl A. Allen, President, CEO and Owner of Heritage Bag Company. “Working with the PGA TOUR, Century Club Charities and Friends of Children’s Hospital has been a wonderful experience and we look forward to the great things that can be accomplished through our partnership with these outstanding charity organizations.”

“We are happy to have Heritage Bag Company on board again and grateful to them for stepping up and sponsoring the Wednesday Pro-Am two years in a row,” said Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., CEO and Chairman of the Board of Sanderson Farms.

“Pro-Ams are a unique aspect of the PGA TOUR sponsor experience, as they give amateurs the opportunity to play alongside some of the best professional golfers in the world,” said Steve Jent, Executive Director of the Sanderson Farms Championship. “We greatly appreciate the support from Heritage Bag in that it allows us to create a first-class experience for everyone involved.”

This year’s Heritage Bag Pro-Am will be played in a walking, shamble format, and the Pro-Am teams will be comprised of three amateurs with one PGA TOUR professional.

Of the 48 Pro-Am teams, only a limited few are still available for purchase in the Wednesday Pro-Am. Those interested in purchasing a team and participating in the Pro-Am can sign up at

The 48th Sanderson Farms Championship is set for November 2 – 8, at The Country Club of Jackson in Jackson, Miss.

GCAA interview with Grant Leaver, 2015 Woodcreek Classic Champion

(RELEASE) - The Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA), in cooperation with its long-time corporate partner, the Swing Thought Professional Golf Tour (formerly the NGA Hooters Tour), features a monthly Q&A with former collegians who have played on or are currently playing on the Swing Thought Tour. Long considered the premier developmental tour in the United States, thousands of former college players have started their professional careers there with hundreds going on to play on the PGA TOUR.

This month we spoke with former Austin Peay golfer Grant Leaver, a three-time All Ohio Valley Conference player and winner of the 2015 Woodcreek Classic on the Swing Thought Tour.

GCAA: At what age did you start playing golf? At what point did you realize you wanted to play golf professionally?

Leaver: I started playing at age 11. I would say it was around the age of 14 that I knew I could play professionally if I worked hard.

GCAA: You played collegiately at Austin Peay. What about your time playing in college do you think has helped you the most as a professional?

Leaver: College was a grind for me. I was avery good ball striker but I was good at putting a round together. That’s probably the best thing I learned…that even if it isn’t pretty I could still compete.

GCAA: Is there something you know now that you wish you had known when playing collegiate golf?

Leaver: I wish I knew how to practice putting and how to use wedges properly. I was pretty good in college but no where close to where I am now with short game and that’s largely in part to knowing how to practice and what to practice on.

GCAA: What was your favorite part of playing golf in college?

Leaver: Going on the road to compete was much more fun having a team. I would say that was the best part of college golf and much like every other sport- the friendships that were built.

GCAA: Earlier this fall you picked up a win at the Swing Thought Tour’s Woodcreek Classic in a sudden death playoff. Is your approach to the way you play any different when you are in a sudden death situation like that?

Leaver: Yes but no. You must still make decisions that you are comfortable with but at the same time not shy away from hitting the shot that will win the hole.

GCAA: What are some of your best memories of your time on the Swing Thought Tour?

Leaver: The wins stand out of course. But looking back and recognizing what you do in order to play the game you love is humbling. They may not be the best memories all the time but they define part of who I am.

To read the Full Interview, click HERE.

For more information on the GCAA, visit

For more information on the new Swing Thought Tour, visit or call 800-992-8748. Follow on Twitter @SwingThought and on Facebook at

Ak-Chin Southern Dunes to Host Ping SW Section PGA Event

Championship Venue Continues its Tradition of Hosting Premier Championship Golf Tournaments

(Maricopa, Ariz.) – Ak-Chin Southern Golf Club, located in Maricopa Ariz. and ranked among the five best courses in the state by Golf Magazine and Golfweek, is pleased to announce that it will serve as the host site of the PING Southwest PGA Section Championship from 2016 through 2020. Previously played at Reflection Bay Golf Club in Las Vegas, Nev., the highly contested event features a 54-hole individual stroke play tournament with the winner earning a spot to play in the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“We are pleased to continue the tradition of hosting world-class events here at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club,” stated Brady Wilson, general manager, Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club. “We are appreciative of the support and commitment of the Ak-Chin Community that helps make our facility one of the greatest championship golf venues in the state of Arizona.”

"We’re excited for the opportunity to partner with Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club to host our PING Southwest PGA Section Championship over the next five years,” said Michael Miller, executive director for the Southwest Section PGA.  “To have the chance to conduct our premier member-championship at a facility the caliber of Ak-Chin Southern Dunes for an extended period of time, fits well with our long-range objectives for the event and is a commitment our members can be very proud of.”

Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club continues to uphold its reputation as a premier competitive tournament host and is fresh off the heels of a major renovation and enhancement project. In the span of just eight weeks, the club hosted five highly competitive tournaments that put championship amateur and professional golf on display. This Troon Golf-managed facility kicked of this season of tournament golf playing host to the state’s top amateurs hosting the Arizona Amateur Championships in August 2015. Then in September, the club hosted the section’s top club professionals during the Southwest Section PNC. At the end of the September, Ak-Chin Southern Dunes hosted a number of local professionals as the host of a Gateway Tour event. That event was immediately followed by the Wyoming Men’s Southern Dunes Invitational in early October. This flurry of competitive events cumulated with Ak-Chin Southern Dunes recently playing host to a number of notable professionals with tour aspirations during the Tour 1st Stage Qualifying School.

For more information on any of the programs above or Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club, visit or call 520.426.6827.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Nexbelt Staff Professionals Capture T-2nd Place Finish at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

(RANCHO CUCAMONGA) - Nexbelt Tour Staff Professionals Kevin Na and Jason Bohn grabbed second-place finishes respectively last week at the Open and were at the top of the leaderboard and in contention again this week at the second event of the 2015-2016 PGA TOUR season, the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, held at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.

Na and Bohn finished just one stroke off the lead and captured T-2nd Place Finishes. Each collected $355,733.00 and 154 Fed Ex Cup Points. Kevin Na is now ranked 3rd on the Fed Ex Cup Points List and 21st in the Official World Golf Rankings and Jason Bohn is currently 4th on the FedEx Cup Points List and 64th in the Official World Golf Rankings.

When asked how he felt about Kevin Na and Jason Bohn's start to the 2015-2016 PGA TOUR season, Nexbelt Co-Founder Eddie Rowland had this to say, "They're incredibly talented and they're great ambassadors for the Nexbelt brand on the PGA TOUR. But more importantly, they're great people. I got the chance to spend some time with Kevin and Jason and one of our other team members, Jarrod Lyle, in Vegas this past week. What a great group of guys. We're very fortunate to have them on our team."

Nexbelt is known for their innovative technology and providing golfers with the maximum comfort and minimal adjusting. The unique ratcheting system called PreciseFit allows the wearer to adjust the belt in ¼ inch increments, providing the golfer with the best fit, feel, and fashion.

Nexbelt is 100% committed to offering its customers superior customer service and the most innovative and technologically advanced products available.

Nexbelt's DRIVE Vision ...
Deliver what we Promise with Integrity.
Retain the Human touch
Invest in Good People generously.
Value our Customers Unconditionally.
Embrace Change with Innovation.

Company Founders, Tom Hunsucker, and Eddie and Francis Rowland started Nexbelt in 2010 with a vision to reinvent the way Americans buy, sell and wear their belts. Tired of the old outdated pin/buckle system, they set their sights on creating a belt that would be both adjustable and highly fashionable at the same time. Out of this passion, Nexbelt, "The Belt With No Holes" was born.

For more information about Nexbelt, visit

Insider Knowledge: Top 5 Tips for Booking 2016 Trips

The experts at offer their most time-tested tips for booking an international golf trip, including the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon

(CHARLESTON, SC) — With a new PGA Tour season underway, golf fans are again watching the world’s best compete at the game’s most storied venues. In July 2016, golf’s oldest major championship, the Open Championship, returns for the ninth time to Royal Troon Golf Club in Ayrshire, Scotland. For those interested in attending this historic event, the golf travel specialists at are well versed in not only booking trips to Scotland and many of the world’s other fine golf destinations, they can also assist with packages to the Open Championship - are the experts in UK & Ireland golf travel, and here are their “Top 5 Tips for Booking 2016 Trips”:

1) Book now: At least 6-12 months in advance in order to secure tee times at the more prestigious courses. Also, many accommodations offered in the hot spots of Scotland and Ireland are relatively small and traditional B&B’s, which don’t have many rooms, so you need to book early for the peak summer months. Finally, flights from the US to the UK become available 11 months in advance, so now is the time to get the best flight deals for next spring and summer.

2) Use a specialist golf travel company: With established relationships on the ground and specialist knowledge, they will get you the best bang for your buck while also removing the stress of organizing such a trip. And consider hiring a car to have a real sense of adventure. There are many moving parts to organizing a successful golf trip across the pond, so it’s important to get accurate, impartial advice and the inside scoop on where to play and when. Equally important is to have the additional support on the ground, to take care of any questions, hiccups and itinerary changes along the way.

3) Don’t try and do too much in one trip: Seven nights with five rounds or 10 nights with 7-8 rounds are perfect, while staying in one area or two neighboring areas. Although distances are not great in the UK & Ireland — packages are created with a maximum one-hour drive time to any course from base typically — often roads are slow and travel times longer than expected. Trying to fit too much in and cover whole countries in a short space of time can be stressful.

4) Best time to go is April-October: Although the British climate is mostly mild with temperatures reaching 70F or more in the summer months it can also be unpredictable. Therefore come expecting all seasons on a trip and pack accordingly. To enjoy British golf you need to be dressed for it. Bring lots of layers as you can often find yourself playing in four seasons in just one round. A spare pair of golf shoes is also recommended in case you get caught in a shower the day before. It’s good fun, but make sure you are dressed for it and prepared all occasions.

5) It's not all about the big names: There are so many wonderful golf courses to play and most visitors just want to play the big names. This becomes quite expensive. So we would advise a mixture of big names with hidden gems … Open Championship qualifying courses for example. Some of your most memorable experiences will be at the truly authentic local courses as opposed to the more “corporate” big names.

For example:
- St Andrews Old Course plus New, Jubilee, Crail, Elie -
- Ballybunion plus Killarney, Dooks, Dingle -
- Birkdale plus West Lancs, Southport & Ainsdale, Hesketh -
- Royal Troon plus Western Gailes, Dundonald Links, Irvine Bogside -

Now, anyone booking a golf vacation to the United Kingdom and Ireland for themselves and at least three others will receive a free Callaway Big Bertha Driver. All that participants need to do is inquire for the vacation by November 30 by contacting one of’s expert sales advisers via the phone or through the website ( If you then go on to book the trip to the UK or Ireland for four or more golfers, you will receive a free Callaway driver.

Learn more about 2016 golf packages and the free Callaway Big Bertha Driver at (855) 699-5853 or

RTJ Golf Trail Launches Winter Program Nov. 1

(Birmingham, Ala.) - As Old Man Winter approaches, golfers can now rejoice. Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is launching a new RTJ Winter Membership this Sunday featuring unlimited golf November through February at nine RTJ locations. Golfers may purchase Winter Memberships in monthly increments for up to four months. Winter Memberships are $150 per month per person or $225 per couple per month. Tee times are scheduled within seven days of play. Carts are not required but are available for an additional fee.

"When snow starts to fall, snowbirds head down I-65 toward Alabama's beaches," said John Cannon, president of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. "Snowbirds and other golfers have a great reason to pack their clubs and experience some of the best golf on earth playable all year long," said Cannon.  "RTJ has recently been named one of the best buddy trip destinations by Golf Channel's Matt Ginella and this Winter Membership encourages golfers to come experience it for themselves. The Alabama courses played by the PGA TOUR and the LPGA are included in these offerings," he said.  "You can play four months of unlimited golf on the RTJ Golf Trail for roughly the same price as one round at Pebble Beach, Trump National Doral or TPC Sawgrass. Golfers looking for great courses at affordable prices, come play RTJ this winter. Between the variety of golf courses, great BBQ and local craft beers, you might need to extend your stay."

The RTJ Winter Membership offer runs between Nov. 1, 2015 and Feb. 29, 2016. Memberships can be purchased in one month increments and are available at the individual RTJ locations. RTJ Ross Bridge and the Lakewood Club are not part of this Winter Membership promotion, but will be available for play at discounted rates for all Winter members. Please make tee time reservations directly with the individual sites within seven days of play.

For more information on the Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail visit

Poll Results: Nearly 80 Percent Agree on How to Handle a Ball in a Fairway Divot

Let’s set the scene: You’re playing a round of golf by yourself. You’re keeping score, but there’s nothing on the line. You hit a nice drive in the fairway, but your ball has come to rest in a divot. What’s your next move?

According to the results of a Google+ Golf Community poll, 77 percent of us will grin and bear it ... playing it as it lies. Unfortunate, yes, but part of the game for those who follow the USGA Rules of Golf by the letter of the law.

Victor Calderon is in the majority. “If the ball comes to rest in a divot, then that's just bad luck,” he said. “This game comes with trouble so I'll play it as it lies. With a shorter iron than intended, I'll change my intended distance from center green to front side, if at all possible.”

Excellent advice considering there’s a good chance the ball will come out without any backspin, causing it to run out.

Keith Bricknell and Sarmad Qureshi agree.

“Play it as it lies,” Bricknell said. “The only person you cheat is yourself, otherwise.”

Qureshi said, “Play it as is lies. Toughens up your competitive edge.”

Mark Hainsworth echoed Qureshi’s forward thinking. “If you're playing alone, you're only practicing, so practice hitting the shot from the divot hole. Someday you'll need to know how to play that shot.”

For skpknight, overall course conditioning plays a factor in the decision. “Playing alone or not, we improve our lies on most of the courses in our area because the fairways are not as well manicured as some areas of the country. There are a lot of dried patchy areas and, frankly, a lot of the locals don't seem well versed in replacing their divots. We also have some greens on a couple of courses that need reseeding and have bald patches. We therefore allow a player to move his ball. Regardless, however, it's never no nearer the hole.

“This is particularly true on our city courses or underfunded semi-private courses,” he added. “Of course, in captain’s choice matches or other matches we play as it lies.”

That makes sense - keeping in line with rules of competition. Skpknight added that he and his playing partners generally agree to play winter rules before teeing off.

Victor Enlow presented an option that would satisfy both sides: “Play that one, then hit another.” 

Good suggestion when outside competition.

Jason Thompson presented an interesting point, so I’ll leave you with this to ponder on your own.

“Take winter rules out of calculation ... Do you cheat by moving it or try to improve your game by playing it?”

Answering a question with a question leaves a lot of food for thought. Well done, Jason. 

Smylie Kaufman Wins Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

(HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA) – Srixon and Cleveland Golf congratulate staffer Smylie Kaufman for his victory at the 2015 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open held at TPC Summerlin Golf Club, in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The 23-year-old rookie from Birmingham, Alabama, rallied from seven shots back to card a 10-under 61 in the final round to capture his first PGA Tour victory in just his fifth PGA Tour start.  Kaufman had an eagle and seven birdies in the last 11 holes of the tournament to finish with an overall score of 16-under 268, just one stroke ahead of six other competitors.

“I was just hitting it so good the last few days and just wanted to give myself a chance to post a number, and that’s what it came down to,” said Kaufman.  “It feels unbelievable.  A lot of hard work and dedication has gone into this, and I’ve had family and friends that have been supportive the whole way.  For me to have a group of people that believes in what I do, it just makes it that much easier and this moment that much more special.”

Kaufman’s victory at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, which is the second tournament on the PGA Tour’s 2015-16 schedule, earned him a winner’s check of $1,152,000, while also securing him trips to the 2016 Masters, Players Championship and PGA Championship.  Kaufman finished tied for 10th at last week’s opening event, the Open.  Kaufman earned his way onto the PGA Tour this season by finishing sixth on the money list in last season’s Tour.  

Kaufman played with Srixon’s new 4th generation Z STAR XV ball with SpinSkin Technology, a Cleveland Classic 290 driver (9.0° / Miyazaki Indigo 61X shaft), a Srixon Z-H45 hybrid (19° / Miyazaki C. Kua 83X), Srixon Z 745 irons (#4-9), and Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 wedges (48°, 52°, 58°, 62°).  Kaufman wears a Srixon hat, a Srixon glove, and carries a Srixon bag.
For more information on Smylie Kaufman and the Journey to Better, visit:

For additional information on Srixon, Cleveland Golf, and XXIO, products or staff players, visit:, and

Monday, October 26, 2015

Nike Golf: Putting Gets Personal

Innovative CounterFlex technology allows golfers to custom calibrate their club’s weight balance

(RELEASE) - Putting is a balance of rhythm and tempo, dependent upon distance control and a smooth, consistent stroke. To help golfers achieve their ideal equilibrium, Nike Golf has engineered the Nike Method Converge putter featuring CounterFlex technology: a 75-gram moveable weight system inside the grip that can be adjusted on a 15-inch slide.

“Our research tells us that only 30 percent of golf athletes found his or her best match of rhythm and tempo when the weight was locked in the top of the slide, as is the case with most fixed mass counter-balanced putters. The remaining 70 percent played better when the 75 grams were located in the middle or bottom position,” explains David Franklin, Nike Master Modelmaker. “With CounterFlex we have infinite positions for the weight so athletes can actually tune it to get their delivery and timing smoothed out and perfect at impact.”

Direct from Nike’s golf research and design facility, The Oven, CounterFlex technology changes the club’s moment of inertia and the overall swing weight, ensuring anchor-like stability, adjustable to any stroke.

“One of the key components to putting is a stable stroke and delivery at impact,” Franklin confirms. “Whether you’re a tour player or an amateur, CounterFlex offers adjustability to tune the putter to get the most stable delivery at impact.”

The Nike Method Converge putter with CounterFlex is available at and select retailers.

Garb Bolsters Leadership Team with Hiring of Industry Veteran Lindsay Browder as Vice President

Golf’s Premier Junior Apparel Brand Tabs Former PGA Professional for Executive Post

(Denver, CO) – Garb, the leading and original junior golf apparel brand, announced that it has hired Lindsay Browder as vice president, effectively immediately.    

Lindsay Browder
Browder, a 10-year veteran of the golf industry and former PGA professional, undertakes the vice president role at Garb after serving most recently as director of women’s design and merchandising at Peter Millar.  As Garb continues to flourish in both its golf and collegiate licensed divisions the addition of Browder is expected to bring structure, experience, and guidance to the growing brand.

“There’s so much opportunity within Garb to grow the brand and develop the product offering,” said Browder.  “We will continue to evolve what golf apparel looks like for the game’s next generation of players and provide our customers with a product offering and level of service that is unequivocally the best in the industry.  There’s so much more to Garb then just golf; we have a lot up our sleeve in the way of licensed apparel and young adult offerings.  Right now is an ideal time for growth and building within the company, and that’s really exciting to be a part of.”

Garb has been at the forefront of the junior golf apparel industry since the company’s founding, and is widely recognized as the original junior golf apparel brand, having created the category in 1996.  In 2006, Garb expanded into the collegiate licensed market with their “Team Apparel” for kids.

“We are thrilled to have Lindsay join our executive team here at Garb,” said Joe Silva, the founder and president of Garb, Inc.  “She brings a wealth of design knowledge and proven apparel category leadership to our company. Her ability to think strategically and execute on innovative tactics is an unbeatable combination, and I have no doubt that our customers will soon learn just how valuable of an addition she is.”

For nearly two decades, Garb has provided premium golf apparel to both competitive and recreational junior golfers, including polo shirts, shorts, pants, sweaters, outwear and headwear for a stylish look on and off the course.  For more information about Garb’s full offering, visit

#MonstaSighting at American Golfer

There's been a #MonstaSighting at American Golfer. It's a safe bet that these beauties will find their way down to Mississippi next week for the Sanderson Farms Championship Pro-Am.

Stay tuned for a review.

To learn more about Monsta Golf, visit or check out our "Getting to Know …" feature HERE.

TaylorMade Golf Company Announces New Tour Preferred, Tour Preferred X and Project (a) Golf Balls

Tour Proven Tee-to-Green Performance Makes ’16 Lineup Best Performing in Company History

(CARLSBAD, CALIF.) – TaylorMade Golf Company, the number two golf ball brand played on the PGA TOUR with three tour staffers currently in the top ten in the Official World Golf Ranking, today announced the release of its ’16 golf ball lineup, highlighted by the new Tour Preferred X, Tour Preferred and Project (a). With these three models, TaylorMade’s new lineup provides exceptional feel, performance and spin around the greens.

Tour Preferred
TaylorMade’s Softest Tour Ball

The new Tour Preferred ball (4-layer construction, 80 compression), features TaylorMade’s next-generation SpeedMantle inner layer, comprised of a material that is more than 65% softer and more flexible than the previous generation’s mantle. The development of the new mantle has allowed engineers to create a softer feeling ball, while still maintaining the performance characteristics of the original Tour Preferred golf ball. The new Tour Preferred golf ball provides higher launch and more spin for long irons while maintaining the same distance off the tee and greenside spin as the Tour Preferred X but with a softer feel. The new Tour Preferred still features TaylorMade’s proven Soft Tech cast urethane cover, the company’s softest and most durable cover to date, and Low-Drag Performance Aerodynamics (LDP), (a 322 dimple pattern that provides distance off the tee and a penetrating flight through wind that tour players prefer. The new Tour Preferred is designed for players of all swing speeds looking for a softer tour performance golf ball.

Tour Preferred X
TaylorMade’s Tour Ball with the Most Control

The new Tour Preferred X ball (5-layer construction, 87 compression) features a new thicker re-engineered Soft Tech cast urethane cover for more greenside control and the same LDP 322 dimple pattern found in the Tour Preferred. Similar to its predecessor, the Tour Preferred X delivers low spin off the tee, low iron ball flight but with more greenside spin, as preferred by the best players in the world. TaylorMade Tour Professionals who play the Tour Preferred X include Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose and 2015 PGA Champion Jason Day, along with dozens of others.

“We developed forty three Tour Preferred X prototypes throughout our exhaustive pursuit to engineer a better golf ball and put them in the hands of our Tour players,” said Eric Loper, TaylorMade’s Director of Golf Ball Development. “They were unanimously drawn to the ball that produced more control around the greens, and that was the new Tour Preferred X. We’re excited by their initial reactions to its performance and look forward to their transition into the new models for the ’15-’16 PGA TOUR season.”

Choosing Between Tour Preferred & Tour Preferred X
With Tour Preferred and Tour Preferred X, TaylorMade offers two distinctly different performance golf balls with tour-caliber performance. What separates Tour Preferred and the Tour Preferred X from a performance standpoint is feel and spin. Tour Preferred, TaylorMade’s softest-ever Tour ball, is the lowest compression tour ball the company has ever offered and is designed for players who prefer softer feel in a tour-caliber golf ball and more spin in the mid-to-long iron shots. This spin will also promote a higher trajectory on approach shots than the Tour Preferred X. On the contrary, the Tour Preferred X is designed for players looking for a more penetrating flight with their irons and more feedback (firmer) on shots into and around the green.

Pricing & Availability
Both Tour Preferred and Tour Preferred X will be available at retail on November 6 at an MSRP of $47.99 per dozen.

Project (a)
A Softer Tour Ball for Amateurs

TaylorMade’s 2016 lineup also features the bolstered Project (a), designed specifically for the competitive amateur player to promote more spin and improved performance where needed most: 30 yards and in. The new Project (a) has an overall compression of 70 (versus 88 in the original model), which was achieved by dropping the core compression 33%. The core compression has been reduced from 60 to 40 by way of a REACT Core with a new speed optimized formulation. As amateur players generate nearly 50% less spin than players on tour, Project (a) is specifically designed to deliver more spin on mid irons, short irons and shots around the green, resulting in enhanced control and increased scoring opportunities.

The new Project (a) features many of the same technologies as featured in the original model, including REACT core technology for more distance on long shots. The new Project (a) also retains the proprietary Soft Tech cast urethane cover, TaylorMade’s softest and most durable, to provide higher greenside spin, softer feel and improved durability. Soft Tech is the same cover used on both Tour Preferred models.

Pricing & Availability
Project (a) will be available at retail on November 6 at an MSRP of $34.99 per dozen.

To learn more about Tour Preferred, Tour Preferred X and/or Project (a) golf balls, visit

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Justin Rose Wins UBS Hong Kong Open with M1, PSi & Tour Preferred X Golf Ball

Rose Blooms in Hong Kong; Captures 8th Career European Tour Victory with M1, PSi Tour Irons & Tour Preferred X Golf Ball

What You Need To Know:
· Rose’s win is the third worldwide for TaylorMade’s new M1 driver (Day & Korda). He switched into the M1 460 at the BMW Championship after testing both the 430 and 460cc models. His current shaft is a Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei, which he put in play at last week’s Open.
· With 55 drivers in play (36 of them being M1) and 37.9% of the field, TaylorMade was the #1 driver brand at the UBS Hong Kong Open. Additionally, there were 68 TaylorMade fairway woods (37.6% of total) in play, also securing the #1 brand count at the tournament.
· Rose’s win is the first worldwide victory for the new PSi Tour irons, which he added to his bag just last week. After testing them during the brief offseason, he put the 4-7 irons in his bag while playing the Tour Preferred MB irons in the 8-PW. He plays KBS C-Taper 130s in all of his irons.
· Rose’s Tour Preferred EF wedges have been a mainstay in his bag since first testing them and putting them into the bag last season. His 52, 56 & 60 degree wedges are each bent 1 degree strong. He plays a 52* & 56* in the ATV grind and the 60* in a Tour grind.
· Rose recently switched into (and was the first TaylorMade Tour staffer to do so) the new, soon-to-be-released Tour Preferred X golf ball, which he first played last week in Napa en route to a T6 finish.

In Rose’s Bag:
- M1 460 Driver – 8.5* (Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei)
- AeroBurner TP Fairway – 15* (Matrix Ozik 8M3)
- M1 Fairway – 19* (Matrix Ozik 8M3)
- PSi Tour Irons - (4-7) (KBS Tour C-Taper 130)
- Tour Preferred MB Irons - (8-PW)
- Tour Preferred EF Wedges – 52* & 56* (ATV Grind) & 60* (Tour Grind) (Dynamic Gold S400)
- Ghost Tour Black Monaco Prototype Putter
- Tour Preferred X Golf Ball
- Tour Preferred Glove
- New Era TM 39Thirty Headwear
- adidas Golf adicross Gripmore footwear
- Ashworth PRIMATEC Cotton Solid Golf Polo
- Ashworth Synthetic Stretch Flat Front Pant
- adidas Golf adicross gripmore footwear