Saturday, April 29, 2017

Linda Hartough Golf Landscapes to be Exhibited at the Regency Parkway Art Show in Omaha, Nebraska

(HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C.) – Linda Hartough, a world-renowned golf-landscape artist (www.hartough.com), will have some of her work featured May 4-6 during the Regency Parkway Art Show, to take place at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar in Omaha, Nebraska. The exhibit will be held in conjunction with the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting, with a projected attendance of over 18,000.

“I appreciate the chance to have my art shown at this unique exhibit,” said Hartough, who was inducted into the Lowcountry Golf Hall of Fame last month, on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. “Golfers and non-golfers alike will have the opportunity to view a few of my golf landscapes depicting some of the most iconic golf holes in the world.”

Hartough will be one of six well-known artists – and the only golf artist – whose work will be on display during this special inaugural event.

The pieces Hartough will exhibit at this Regency Parkway Art Show include: Holes #11, 12, 13 and 15 at Augusta National Golf Club, and the Augusta National clubhouse; 7th Hole, Pebble Beach Golf Links; and Swilcan Bridge, the Old Course, St Andrews, Scotland.

For more information, see www.hartough.com.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Introducing the Harmonix Live Head Putter

(RELEASE) - Dorn Beattie, inventor of the Harmonix Live Head Putter, announced that after three years of research and development, the first limited production run model of Harmonix Live Head Putter is available by invitation only. This unique putter is the biggest innovation in putting since 1959 and it will change the game of golf forever. Golfers who use the Live Head putter report that the unique twin rail design has shaved up to seven strokes off their game. The accuracy is incredible! It’s a putter designed for golfers who are eager to revolutionize their short game.

What’s different about the Harmonix Live Head putter? Everything!

Everything from the milled brass, the twin rail head and hosel to the triple laminated exotic wood shaft that is milled to the most unique shaft design in the history of golf is different. To top that off the company inserts a pure titanium rod the entire length of the shaft to mechanically fasten the hosel to the shaft to enhance the “feel” of the putt.

Both the 350 and 400 gram models have been through countless consumer trials over the past two years. Every time the live head putter is on the course it draws a crowd. People are not sure what to make of the unusually shaped head and sound - then they try it. Amazing accuracy from the first putt. Amazing balance before and after impact. Natural follow through.

What golfers don't notice or understand right away is when they strike the ball, there is NO BACK SPIN and RAPID PURE ROLL. They just know their putt was accurate. Period. Golfers have reported up to seven strokes shaved off an average game with comments like, "The accuracy is incredible."

From Scotty owners to die hard Ping users, just about everybody who has tried a Live Head putter wants one. Based on current and anticipated demand the Harmonix Golf Corporation is producing 1,000 limited edition, ‘First Run’ putters and making them available by invitation only.

This is your exclusive opportunity to request an invitation to reserve a Harmonix Live Head Putter with a $100 discount code. Link to the invitation form so you may have an opportunity to receive a limited edition Harmonix Live Head putter custom built for you at a $100 discount.

Your personal invitation is waiting for you at: http://woobox.com/np3diw.

For more information, visit www.harmonixgolf.com.

NCAA Announces 2017 Division I Women's Golf Regional Selections

(INDIANAPOLIS) - The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Committee has announced the teams and individuals selected to participate in the 2017 NCAA Division I Women's Golf Regionals.

Four regional tournaments will be conducted May 8-10 to determine the championships field. Regional tournaments are considered preliminary rounds of NCAA championships competition and all national championships policies apply.

A total of 384 participants have been selected for regional competition. Of these players, 132 will advance to the championships finals. Six teams and three individuals will advance from each regional.

The national championships will be May 19-24 at Rich Harvest Farms, in Sugar Grove, Illinois, hosted by Northern Illinois University. The final three days of the championship will be televised live by the Golf Channel.

The regional sites and the selected teams and individuals are listed below.

Albuquerque Regional Site
The Albuquerque regional will be played at The Championship Golf Course at UNM in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and will be hosted by the University of New Mexico. Conference automatic qualifiers are indicated in parenthesis next to the institution.

Teams:
1. Stanford University
2. University of Southern California
3. Duke University (Atlantic Coast Conference)
4. University of Miami (Florida)
5. Oklahoma State University
6. North Carolina State University
7. University of California, Berkeley
8. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
9. Pepperdine University
10. University of Washington
11. Southern Methodist University
12. Campbell University (Big South Conference)
13. University of Denver (The Summit League)
14. New Mexico State University (Western Athletic Conference)
15. California Polytechnic State University (Big West Conference)
16. California State University, Sacramento (Big Sky Conference)
17. Houston Baptist University (Southland Conference)
18. Texas Southern University (Southwestern Athletic Conference)

Individuals:
1. Martina Edberg – California State University, Fullerton
2. Bianca Pagdanganan – Gonzaga University
3. Jess Yuen – University of Missouri, Columbia
4. Gudrun Bjorgvinsdottir – California State University, Fresno
5. Paige Lee – University of California, Davis
6. Kristin Le – Santa Clara University

Athens Regional Site
The Athens regional will be played at University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Georgia, and the University of Georgia will host. Conference automatic qualifiers are indicated in parenthesis next to the institution.

Teams:
1. University of Alabama
2. University of Georgia
3. Northwestern University
4. University of Arizona
5. Baylor University
6. Wake Forest University
7. University of Central Florida (American Athletic Conference)
8. University of Tennessee, Knoxville
9. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
10. Clemson University
11. Augusta University
12. Auburn University
13. Kansas State University
14. Michigan State University (Big Ten Conference)
15. Troy University (Sun Belt Conference)
16. Princeton University (The Ivy League)
17. University of North Florida (Atlantic Sun Conference)
18. Quinnipiac University (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference)

Individuals:
1. Chieh Jessica Peng – Mississippi State University
2. Laura Fuenfstueck – College of Charleston (South Carolina)
3. Lisa Pettersson – East Carolina University
4. Vanessa Ha – University of San Francisco
5. Alexandra Farnsworth – Vanderbilt University
6. Anna Redding – University of Virginia

Columbus Regional Site
The Columbus regional will be played at OSU Golf Club-Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio, and will be hosted by The Ohio State University. Conference automatic qualifiers are indicated in parenthesis next to the institution.

Teams:
1. University of Florida (Southeastern Conference)
2. Florida State University
3. University of South Carolina, Columbia
4. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
5. University of Colorado, Boulder
6. Texas A&M University, College Station
7. Purdue University
8. The Ohio State University
9. University of Michigan
10. San Jose State University
11. University of Houston
12. University of Louisville
13. University of Wisconsin-Madison
14. University of Kentucky
15. Old Dominion University (Conference USA)
16. University of Delaware (Colonial Athletic Association)
17. Missouri State University (Missouri Valley Conference)
18. Cleveland State University (Horizon League)

Individuals:
1. Loy Hee Ying – East Tennessee State University
2. Camila Serrano – Florida International University
3. Michaela Fletcher – University of Memphis
4. Emma Albrecht – University of Notre Dame
5. Kate Smith – University of Nebraska, Lincoln
6. Emie Peronnin – University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Lubbock Regional Site
The Lubbock regional will be played at The Rawls Course in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech University will serve as the host institution. Conference automatic qualifiers are indicated in parenthesis next to the institution.

Teams:
1. University of California, Los Angeles (Pac-12 Conference)
2. Arizona State University
3. Furman University (Southern Conference)
4. Kent State University (Mid-American Conference)
5. University of Texas at Austin (Big 12 Conference)
6. University of Oklahoma
7. Brigham Young University
8. San Diego State University
9. Texas Tech University
10. Texas Christian University
11. University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Mountain West Conference)
12. University of Oregon
13. Iowa State University
14. Oregon State University
15. Murray State University (Ohio Valley Conference)
16. Georgetown University (Big East Conference)
17. University of Richmond (Patriot League)
18. Sacred Heart University (Northeast Conference)

Individuals:
1. Caroline Nistrup – Louisiana State University
2. Malene Krolboll Hansen – Coastal Carolina University
3. Lois Kaye Go – Boston College
4. Alivia Brown – Washington State University
5. Jakeishya Le – University of California, Riverside
6. Katrina Prendergast – Colorado State University

Getting to Know: Greg Thorner, Owner of Get Golf Schools

American Golfer: When did you start playing golf?
Greg Thorner: I started when I was 5. Growing up in Detroit my father got me hooked. By the time I got to 7th grade I was riding my bike 3 miles to the course, playing all day and then riding home. No way I could do that now!

Greg Thorner
AG: How did you become a golf professional?
GT: Just fell into it. After college, golf was all I knew and wanted ... So I started working at the local muni. So glad nothing else came knocking on my door!

AG: How did you come up with the concept of #Break30?
GT: Just looking to create a way to measure results. It is not the best barometer because it is so influenced by how many greens hit in regulation. But for the average golfer it is a solid way to measure your game from 50 yards to the hole.

AG: What’s your favorite thing about being a golf professional?
GT: I love the game, love the business, love people. So this is a great fit.

AG: What’s the most common mistake amateur golfers make on the course?
GT: I stress three things in our playing schools:
  1) Know your yardage. So many players think they hit it further than they do.
  2) Play more break in putts than you think. I see so many under-reads on the green.
  3) Learn random practice. Less (Not zero) block practice. We see golfers hit 7 irons for 30 min. We like switching clubs every three shots.

AG: How can we grow the game of golf?
GT: Look at the Topgolf model. I walked in the door and they hit me with a pass from 20 yards with a nerf football. Nothing stuffy about Topgolf! Make it fun and affordable.

AG: Is there a shot you dread?
GT: Any long iron shot. Teaching mainly short game stuff I work hard on that part of golf. Full swing, not as much. So I have a bag full of fairway woods and hybrids.

AG: What’s your “dream foursome” (living or dead, golfer or non-golfer)?
GT: Anything with my dad and son. I would probably add my late uncle Tom Bower to this as well. If I were to select no relatives - Woods, Hogan and Nicklaus. Best three ever!

AG: What course tops your “bucket list” to play?
GT: Played most of the best. Been very fortunate. It would be repeat, but Sankaty Head is my favorite in the world!

Find Greg Thorner on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

USGA Accepts More Than 9,000 U.S. Open Entries for Sixth Consecutive Year

More than 9,400 will attempt to qualify for 117th championship at Erin Hills in Wisconsin

(FAR HILLS, N.J.) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) has accepted a total of 9,485 entries for the 2017 U.S. Open Championship at Erin Hills, in Erin, Wis. The U.S. Open will be held in the state of Wisconsin for the first time on June 15-18.

The number of entries is fifth-highest, behind the record of 10,127 accepted for the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2. Among this year’s total are 51 players, including 11 past champions, who are fully exempt into the field (see list below).

The USGA accepted entries for the 117th U.S. Open from golfers in all 50 states, including 150 from Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia and 66 foreign countries.

“The number of entries received underscores the worldwide interest in competing in the U.S. Open Championship and on golf’s grandest stage,” said Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman. “We look forward to conducting local and sectional qualifying and to hosting the U.S. Open at both Erin Hills and in Wisconsin for the first time on June 15-18.”

To be eligible, a player must have a Handicap Index® not exceeding 1.4, or be a professional. Local qualifying, which will be played over 18 holes at 113 sites in the United States and one in Canada, will take place between May 2-18.

Sectional qualifying, played over 36 holes, will be conducted on Monday, May 22, in Japan; on Monday, May 29, in England; and on Monday, June 5, at 10 sites in the United States, ranging from New Jersey to California. This will be the 13th year with two international qualifiers, which were established in 2005.

Dustin Johnson, the 2016 champion, and 10 other champions are fully exempt from having to qualify for the championship. They are: Angel Cabrera (2007), Ernie Els (1994, 1997), Jim Furyk (2003), Lucas Glover (2009), Martin Kaymer (2014), Graeme McDowell (2010), Rory McIlroy (2011), Justin Rose (2013), Webb Simpson (2012) and Jordan Spieth (2015).

In addition to being the first U.S. Open hosted in Wisconsin, the championship returns to the Midwest for the first time since 2003 when Furyk won at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club. Erin Hills is hosting its third USGA championship, including the 2011 U.S. Amateur when Kelly Kraft defeated Patrick Cantlay, 2 up, in the 36-hole final. This year, Erin Hills will be the first par-72 U.S. Open course since 1992 and the ninth since World War II.

For the seventh consecutive year, only online entries were accepted. The USGA received 561 entries on the last day applications were accepted (April 26), including 125 applications in the final hour. Lance Richards, a 40-year-old professional from Saratoga Springs, Utah, submitted his entry just 11 seconds before the deadline of 5 p.m. EDT. David Zeisse, a 38-year-old professional from Milwaukee, Wis., who works as a caddie at Erin Hills, was the first entrant when entries opened on March 8.

The number of fully exempt players will increase with the inclusion of the top 60 point leaders and ties from the Official World Golf Ranking, as of May 22 and June 12. The winners of The Players Championship (May 11-14) and European Tour BMW PGA Championship (May 25-28) will also earn exemptions.

In 2017, the USGA accepted more than 9,000 entries for the U.S. Open for the ninth time overall and the sixth consecutive year. The first time was in 2005, when 9,048 entries were accepted for the championship at Pinehurst No. 2. A total of 9,086 golfers entered the 2009 championship at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course, in Farmingdale, N.Y. In 2010, 9,052 golfers entered the championship at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. The USGA accepted 9,006 entries for the 2012 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club (Lake Course), in San Francisco, Calif., and 9,860 for the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club, in Ardmore, Pa. The 9,882 entries accepted for the 2015 championship at Chambers Bay, in University Place, Wash., is the second-most behind the 2014 championship at Pinehurst No. 2.

More information about the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills, including local and sectional qualifying, is available at www.usopen.com.

For more information about the USGA, visit usga.org.

LPGA Tour Legend Nancy Lopez to Join Feherty, Monday at 9 p.m. ET

(ORLANDO, Fla.) – World Golf Hall of Fame member Nancy Lopez will join David Feherty on his self-titled, Emmy-nominated “Outstanding Weekly Studio Show” – Feherty presented by Farmers Insurance  – premiering Monday, May 1 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.

The 48-time LPGA Tour winner and Emmy-nominated television personality cover an array of subjects over the course of the interview, including:
· Lopez’ relationship with her father, and his influence in her taking up the game.
· Navigating around a previous regulation in place that would have kept her from participating on her high school boy’s golf team, and ultimately helping the team win the state championship.
· Her decision to leave college early to turn professional, and the relatively immediate validation in the decision through success on the LPGA Tour right away.
· Recalling her first encounter with Arnold Palmer, at age 15.
· Why captaining the 2005 Solheim Cup became what she considers to be the “best win” of her career.

Scheduled airdates for upcoming Feherty episodes – premiering Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET – include fellow World Golf Hall of Fame member Hale Irwin (Monday, May 8) and All-Star point guard for the Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry (Monday, May 15).

Rave Reviews Continue to Pour in for High Heat Family of Metalwoods

(BONITA, CA) – One writer calls Knuth Golf’s High Heat family of metalwoods “the Lexus of Amateur Clubs.” One magazine says the High Heat fairway wood may be “the greatest 3-Wood ever made.” And another calls High Heat’s clubs among “the most significant clubs of 2017.”

As has been the case since Knuth introduced its first golf club in 2015 – the High Heat Driver – impressive media reviews continue to pour in. These reviews add credence to what one writer calls fact:
“High Heat performs as advertised, and with having titanium faces in its fairway woods and hybrids Knuth Golf has solidified High Heat as the leading brand in properly addressing the hitting needs of the amateur golfer," said GolfTalk Live host, Tony Leodora.

Former USGA Senior Director Dean Knuth was the only club designer named on the “Top Innovators In Player Development” list by Golf Inc. Magazine in 2016. He designed the High heat clubs with performance needs of amateurs in mind. The magazine mentioned that the deeper and lower center of gravity combine to make High Heat clubs easier to hit, especially for amateurs who don’t always hit on or near the center of the clubface.

Says Tim Branco, publisher of New England Golf Magazine and GolfGearWeekly.com:
"The Lexus of Amateur Clubs does it again with their new High Heat fairway woods and hybrids. They offer amateurs better playability and are game-changers like the High Heat driver, 3-Wood and 3-Hybrid. They use the same innovative designs and technology and they are much easier to get up in the air than other brands. With a beta titanium face instead of steel faces, they provide extra distance, especially on off-center hits and made me feel like the entire face is a sweet spot."

Links Magazine calls the Knuth Golf High Heat fairway woods and hybrids among the most “significant” golf clubs of 2017 in its Spring issue, because they “include the award-winning technology of the High Heat driver and they have titanium faces which provide additional distance and more forgiveness.” The High Heat clubs were the only fairways woods and hybrids chosen for the article.

High Heat is the only brand that offers titanium faces in its fairway woods and hybrids. This not only provides additional distance on center hits but it enables golfers to perform much better on off-center hits. Major brands only offer steel faces in their fairway woods and hybrids.

That led Colorado Avid Golfer Magazine to ask the question, “Is High Heat The Greatest 3-Wood Ever?” The story was written by renowned golf writer and president of the Golf Writers Association of America Gary Van Sickle, who found that “it is as easy to get the ball as high as a 5 wood and it is as long as a 2 wood.” He ended the article by saying “My High Heat 3-wood analysis in a nutshell: I’m a believer.”

Knuth, inventor of the USGA Course Rating and Slope System, has been very appreciative of the support his clubs have received, but not surprised. His clubs are the result of years of research on the performance of amateur golfers.

"The massive sweet spot in my fairway woods and hybrids affords amateur golfers optimum performance," said Knuth. "With our deep and low CG, they are designed so the amateur golfer gets the ball easily in the air. But our titanium faces are critical to provide amateurs with the forgiveness they need on off-center hits so they obtain more greens in regulation and lower scores.”

At KnuthGolf.com, an online fitting is conducted to properly address the loft for the driver and which weight and flex is needed for the club shaft for any High Heat fairway wood or hybrid they purchase.

For more information about Knuth Golf, visit www.knuthgolf.com or call 410-353-0446.

Redesigned usopen.com Features Exciting Enhancements for Fans

(FAR HILLS, N.J.) – With an emphasis on user experience, data visualization and video, the USGA today launched the new usopen.com, the official website of the 117th U.S. Open Championship, which will be contested June 15-18 at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis.

The site incorporates articles, videos, photo galleries, infographics, live updates and social media into a scrollable timeline consistent with modern content consumption habits and industry trends. Visual shot-by-shot data and increased statistical integration highlight the enhancements to the usopen.com experience.

With more than half of usopen.com visitors in 2016 viewing the site on mobile devices, the new usopen.com provides these users with a more robust experience through its mobile-responsive design.

Pre-championship website visitors will be treated to exciting features and video content, including:
- Interviews and video excerpts with defending champion Dustin Johnson
- Time-lapse footage of championship preparations at Erin Hills
- Hole-by-hole flyover videos and descriptions
- Revamped history section with vignettes from all 116 U.S. Opens
- Expanded player bio section with complete U.S. Open records

As excitement builds for the championship, the site will feature content focusing on “The Road to Erin Hills,” including:
- Insights and analysis of the venue from those who know it best
- Schedule and results from local qualifying as hopefuls from 114 sites around North America chase their U.S. Open dream
- Full coverage, including live scoring, recaps and photos, from the 12 sectional qualifying sites as hundreds of players battle for spots in the field at Erin Hills
- Details on how players earned their spots in the championship through qualifying or exemptions

During championship week, usopen.com will bring audiences inside the ropes at the U.S. Open with unprecedented access, including:
- Live scoring
- Exclusive live streaming coverage
- Visual shot-by-shot data and hole insights
- Player highlights, including video recaps customized for players’ rounds
- Integration with USGA social channels, including live walk-and-talks with players during practice rounds and behind-the-scenes features

“Our digital products continue to evolve to meet the needs of golf fans around the world, reflecting the content that interests them delivered where they want it, when they want it and how they want it.” said Navin Singh, USGA head of global content and media distribution. “Featuring a cleaner design that brings content to life through stunning imagery and video, usopen.com will allow visitors to experience the U.S. Open in a powerful way befitting golf’s ultimate test.”

For more information about the USGA, visit usga.org.

WE ARE GOLF Celebrates National Golf Day's 10th Anniversary on Capitol Hill

Record 175 Congressional Meetings, Nearly 200 Attendees from 35 U.S. States Showcase the Game's Benefits in D.C.

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – WE ARE GOLF – a coalition of the game’s leading associations and industry partners – today visited Capitol Hill for the 10th annual National Golf Day to discuss the game’s nearly $70 billion economic impact, $4 billion annual charitable impact, environmental value to local communities and fitness benefits. A record 175 Congressional meetings were scheduled and nearly 200 attendees from 35 U.S. states participated.

Industry leaders met with Members of Congress, the Executive Branch and Federal agencies to highlight the two million jobs impacted by golf and the nearly $4 billion raised for charitable causes through 143,000 philanthropic events annually. Throughout the day, participants shared stories about the game’s 15,000-plus diverse businesses, tax revenue creation, accessibility, tourism, ecological value and the fact that one in 75 U.S. jobs is impacted by the industry.

New for 2017, more than 100 golf industry leaders participated in a community service initiative on the National Mall the morning of April 25. The initiative focused on beautification, preservation and helping the National Park Service with turf deferred maintenance.

“I look forward to National Golf Day every year. It’s a chance to visit with the folks at WE ARE GOLF here on Capitol Hill to talk about the positive impact the game has on our economy, worthy charities and personal fitness," says Congressman James E. Clyburn, Assistant Democratic Leader (D-SC). “I especially appreciate the opportunity to discuss expanding diversity throughout every aspect of the game of golf.”

This year’s event also included Mike Davis, Executive Director of the United States Golf Association (USGA), the PGA TOUR's Billy Hurley III, and Olympic gold medalist Dan Jansen.

“The influence of the game continues to grow. Golf continues to lead the way, in terms of not just physical strength but also mental strength and character,” says Senator John Barrasso (R-WY). “Golf is a worldwide, growing global activity.”

Organizations participating were the Club Managers Association of America, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), Links to Freedom, National Alliance for Accessible Golf, National Golf Course Owners Association, PGA TOUR, Salute Military Golf Association, The First Tee, U.S. Golf Manufacturers Council, USGA, World Golf Foundation and several others.

“Celebrating our 10th anniversary was an historic moment and significant milestone for the golf industry,” says Steve Mona, CEO of World Golf Foundation and administrator of WE ARE GOLF. “The game's economic, charitable, environmental and fitness benefits echoed throughout Capitol Hill as we shared golf's contributions, both locally and nationally, with our country's decision-makers."

National Golf Day featured a day-long exhibit in the Rayburn Foyer with live lessons for Congressional Members and staff from 2012 PGA Teacher of the Year Michael Breed, host of “The Golf Fix” on Golf Channel and LPGA Teaching Professional Karen Palacios-Jansen, founder of Cardiogolf, a golf-specific fitness system. Special exhibits and activities included a “Closest to the Pin” contest on an aboutGolf simulator; state-of-the-art swing analysis from GolfTEC; a Republican vs. Democrat “Putting Challenge;” and interviews with attendees on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.

Across America, Topgolf partnered with WE ARE GOLF to offer free five-minute lessons at each of its 27 U.S. locations with slow-motion video swing analysis through its Topgolf U instructional program.

Visit the social media hub to continue following the action. Through April 30, be sure to use #NGD17 and tag @wearegolf on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to show your support for the golf industry.

For more information, visit www.wearegolf.org.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Golf Pride TOUR SNSR Earns First PGA TOUR Victory at 2017 Valero Texas Open

(SOUTHERN PINES, N.C.) - Eaton announced that its Golf Pride Grips Division developed the TOUR SNSR putter grip used by the winner of the 2017 Valero Texas Open. The TOUR SNSR Putter grip series debuted in spring of 2016, and has won events on every professional golf tour worldwide; including the PGA, LPGA and Web.com tours. This victory on golf’s biggest stage continues the momentum for Golf Pride’s oversize putter grip technology. The TOUR SNSR Straight 104cc was trusted by the winner as he sank a thrilling 8-foot putt on the 72nd hole on Sunday to clinch the title by one shot.

In addition to providing the winner’s putter grip, Golf Pride was also the preferred swing grip, used by 27 players who finished in the Top 30.  Each week, Golf Pride is the leading grip played from tee-to-green on the PGA TOUR with an average of 80% of pros choosing Golf Pride swing grips in each event, without any paid endorsers.

Golf Pride’s TOUR SNSR putter grips feature large TOUR-proven shapes that are engineered with innovative SNSR material to deliver unsurpassed feedback into the hands to improve players’ distance control. The soft-tuned rubber formulation gives these grips extraordinary feel, and encourages lighter grip pressure that golfers seek in creating a smooth stroke.

Players can dial in the feel that fits them best with two TOUR proven shapes, the TOUR SNSR CONTOUR and the TOUR SNSR STRAIGHT.

TOUR SNSR CONTOUR is an evolution of the classic tapered pistol profile that is the shape preference of over 75% of Tour players. The pistol allows golfers to “lock in” their upper hand for consistent hand placement that translates to more confidence in every stroke.

TOUR SNSR STRAIGHT offers a contemporary, non-taper shape promoting a consistent hand pressure and feel. The straight taper design features soft, rounded edges that are strategically beveled for palm and finger pad comfort.

All four TOUR SNSR models feature a wide paddle front, sculpted to promote lighter grip pressure and consistent hand placement. Additionally, they are each finished with a traction-textured design that provides heightened feel and moisture control. Each shape is available in two oversize options, 104cc and 140cc.  The TOUR SNSR Series is currently available at retail features a street price of $24.99. For more information on the TOUR SNSR and the entire 2016 Golf Pride product offering, visit http://www.golfpride.com.

Rocco Mediate Makes 2017 PGA TOUR Debut with Innovative Vertical Groove Driver in His Bag

(Boston, MA) - 2016 Senior PGA Champion, Rocco Mediate, who has been teeing off with the Vertical Groove Driver on the PGA TOUR Champions this season, will make his 2017 PGA TOUR debut at this week’s Zurich Classic, with the innovative driver in his bag.

Mediate will team-up with Spencer Levin in the new format 72-hole team event, which features foursomes (alternate shot) and four-ball (best ball). With 80 teams competing, the field will be cut to 35 teams after the 2nd round.

Mediate, along with acclaimed long driver and two-time Major Champion John Daly, have been using the Vertical Groove Driver exclusively during tournament play in 2017. Moreover, the first-ever driver with vertical groove technology on its clubface continues to gain usage on the PGA TOUR Champions,  as several high profile players use the club in competition each week.

“When Rocco tested the driver for the first time, he told me he was going to hit it once, and if he didn’t like it, he was going to hand it back to me” said Jeff Barry, CEO, Vertical Groove Golf. “He went on to hit 40 drives on the range, and after hitting it so pure, he wanted to take the driver out on the course. He was hooked from his first shot, and has been hitting longer and straighter drives on tour ever since.”

The Vertical Groove Driver, which conforms to the Rules of Golf, is designed to reduce spin at impact, forcing tighter dispersion and leading to, on average, up to 40% straighter ball flight and up to 10 yards further in driving distance.

The 450cc Vertical Groove Driver, which is available in both right and left handed models, is offered in 8, 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degree lofts (right) and 9.5 and 10.5 degree lofts (left), while featuring a full range of Aldila premium grade, tour-proven aftermarket NV2K series shafts as standard.  The available flexes include: 45 gram L (Ladies), 50 gram A (Senior), 55 gram R (Regular), 65 gram S (Stiff) and 65 gram X (Extra-stiff).   At a length of 45.5 inches, the Vertical Groove Driver provides an optimum launch angle while maximizing carry distance and ball speed for many players. It is equipped with Golf Pride Tour Velvet grips in standard, midsize and oversize models.  Alternative shaft options from Fujikura, Mitsubishi and Aldila also will be available. Suggested retail price of the Vertical Groove Driver is $399.99.

More information on the Vertical Groove Driver is available at www.vertgolf.com or via social media profiles on Facebook and YouTube at Vertical Groove Golf, and @vertgolf on Twitter.

Lexus Powers U.S. Open Trophy Tour

U.S. Open Trophy Begins Trip to Erin Hills Aboard 2017 Lexus LX

(FAR HILLS, N.J.) – Following media stops in New York City, the USGA today officially launched its U.S. Open Trophy Tour, powered by Lexus.

Transported in style in a 2017 silver Lexus LX, the revered trophy will be on the road for 47 days en route to Erin Hills, site of the 117th U.S. Open Championship from June 12-18, 2017.

Located 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee in the Kettle Moraine region of Wisconsin, first-time U.S. Open host Erin Hills is a public-access course that features one of the most dramatic landscapes in the game.

With a focus on the Midwest, the U.S. Open Trophy Tour will provide the opportunity for fans to admire the inspirational trophy and learn about the championship’s prestigious history.

Now in its fourth year, the Trophy Tour includes stops at ballparks, public parks, tourist attractions and community events, including Brat Fest, the Milwaukee Art Museum and Topgolf venues in Edison, N.J., and Naperville, Ill. The tour will also make stops at Lexus dealerships throughout Wisconsin.

An up-to-date schedule and more detailed information about the U.S. Open Trophy Tour, powered by Lexus, can be found at usopen.com.

“The U.S. Open is golf’s ultimate test as well as a celebration of the communities that host our championships,” said Sarah Hirshland, USGA senior managing director of Business Affairs. “Fans in the Midwest have waited a long time for the championship to return to the region and Wisconsin’s love for the game and civic pride has been on display since we announced the championship in 2010. The enthusiasm is growing as we approach the U.S. Open. The ability to bring the trophy to the fans provides a great opportunity to celebrate the championship’s arrival at their doorstep.”

The U.S. Open Trophy injects energy into every place it is displayed, allowing fans to experience the symbol of the U.S. Open. Golfers and non-golfers alike enjoy reading the names of the champions and admiring the trophy’s craftsmanship, including artwork that depicts the game’s ideals of camaraderie, competition and enjoyment.

“So many golf greats have held the U.S. Open Trophy in victory,” said Brian Bolain, general manager, Lexus Product & Consumer Marketing. “As the LX drives across the country, golf fans will have the chance to see the trophy at some amazing venues and community events. We hope it continues to build excitement for the U.S. Open as it returns to the Midwest for the first time since 2003.”

For more information about the USGA, visit usga.org.

Product Review: EZTee by Synthetic Turf International

I love spending time at the driving range, but don’t enjoy hitting off carpet. It’s just not realistic and doesn’t provide the same feedback as natural grass. And using those rubber tees is ridiculous. They’re never at the right height.

That said, we’ve all been to the range when the ground is rock hard or you struggle to find any actual grass from which to hit ... It’s all been dug into dirt!

Enter EZTee by Synthetic Turf International. Their tee line system offers the best of both worlds ... the look and feel of grass with the durability of synthetic turf. Our prayers have been answered.

Not only can you hit off the surface and receive feedback similar to grass, but you can also insert an actual wooden tee into it. No more rubber tubes!

While golfers enjoy the benefits, it’s golf course management or driving range operators who reap the rewards. They are able to keep their ranges open while natural grass areas are closed for the winter months or during periods of inclement weather, while maintenance is being performed, or while the grass is simply trying to heal after heavy use or regular wear and tear.

For operators, EZTee allows for increased range rotation flexibility and reduced maintenance costs. For golfers, the look and feel of natural grass and ability to use an actual wooden tee. That sounds like a win-win. I may look into resurfacing my entire yard with EZTee by Synthetic Turf International!

Learn more at synthetic-turf.com.

Golf Channel Tournament Airtimes & Notes: PGA, LPGA and European Tour

PGA TOUR Staging Innovative Two-Man Team Format at Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Led By Duos of Day/Fowler, Rose/Stenson & Berger/Pieters

(ORLANDO, Fla.) – The PGA TOUR moves to Louisiana this week to unveil an exciting new format at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. 80 two-man teams will compete in a 72-hole event that will feature a stroke play, alternate shot format in the first and third rounds, and a better ball format in the second and final rounds. Notable duos in the field include Jason Day/Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson, Daniel Berger/Thomas Pieters and Ryan Palmer/Jordan Spieth.

The LPGA Tour this week boasts a field that includes the entire top-20 in the current Rolex Women’s World Rankings, all convening at the Volunteers of American Texas Shootout. World No. 1 Lydia Ko will make her first start since it was announced that she would team up with Peter Godfrey as her new caddie, and Lexi Thompson is set to return for the first time since finishing runner-up at the ANA Inspiration in April.

The European Tour will stage the Volvo China Open in Beijing, as Haotong Li is set to defend his 2016 title.

PGA TOUR
Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Dates: April 27-30                                                                    
Venue: TPC Louisiana, Avondale, La.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 3:30-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-10:30 p.m. (Replay)
Friday 3:30-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-10:30 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 7-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 7-11:30 p.m. (Replay)

Golf Central (On-Site) Pre and Post Round Coverage on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 3-3:30 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-7:30 p.m. (Live)
Friday 3-3:30 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-7:30 p.m. (Live)
Saturday Noon-1 p.m. (Live) / 2:30-3 p.m. (Live) / 6-7 p.m. (Live)
Sunday Noon-1 p.m. (Live) / 2:30-3 p.m. (Live) / 6-7 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Event adopts new team format: The field consists of 160 players competing as 80 two-man teams. The format features a stroke play, alternate shot format in the first and third rounds, and a better ball format in the second and final rounds, with the low 35 teams (and ties) making the 36-hole cut. Both players from the winning team will be credited with an official PGA TOUR victory and receive the normal two-year exemption on TOUR, though there will be no world ranking points allotted for those competing in the event.

Golf Central on-site Thursday-Sunday: Originating from on-site at TPC Louisiana, Golf Central will provide the latest news and storylines beginning Thursday and continuing through Sunday’s final round. Cara Robinson will host, while Brandel Chamblee and David Duval will offer analysis, and Heather Cox will provide reports and conduct interviews with players in the field.

Notable Teams: Jason Day/Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson, Branden Grace/Louis Oosthuizen, Ryan Palmer/Jordan Spieth, Daniel Berger/Thomas Pieters, J.B. Holmes/Bubba Watson, Kevin Chappell/Gary Woodland, Bud Cauley/Justin Thomas, Steve Stricker/Jerry Kelly, Brooks Koepka/Chase Koepka and Patrick Cantlay/Patrick Reed.  

Golf Channel Broadcast Team:
- Play by Play: Rich Lerner
- Analyst: Frank Nobilo
- Tower: Curt Byrum / Craig Perks      
- On-Course: Arron Oberholser

Golf Central Broadcast Team:
- Host: Cara Robinson
- Analyst: Brandel Chamblee / David Duval
- Reporter: Heather Cox

LPGA TOUR
Volunteers of America Texas Shootout
Dates: April 27-30
Venue: Las Colinas Country Club, Irving, Texas

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

Broadcast Notes:
Ko leads elite field that includes entire top-20 of current Rolex Women’s World Rankings: World No. 1 Lydia Ko leads a stout field that will feature the entire top-20 in the current Rolex Women’s World Rankings. Lexi Thompson is among those in the field, as she is scheduled to make her first start since finishing runner-up at the ANA Inspiration in April.

Format: This week’s shootout format is unique in that there is a cut to low 70 and ties after 36 holes and then an additional cut to low 50 and ties after 54 holes.

Korda to be profiled in “Rookie Spotlight” during Friday’s second round coverage: LPGA Tour rookie Nelly Korda (sister of LPGA Tour winner Jessica Korda) will be showcased during Friday’s second round coverage as part of Golf Channel’s “Rookie Spotlight” feature.

Shin defends: Jenny Shin finished two shots ahead of Amy Yang, Gerina Piller and Mi Jung Hur to claim her first LPGA Tour victory.

Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, So Yeon Ryu, Ariya Jutanugarn, In Gee Chun, Lexi Thompson, Shanshan Feng, Inbee Park, Ha Na Jang, Amy Yang, Anna Nordqvist, Michelle Wie and Brooke Henderson.

Golf Channel Broadcast Team:
- Play by Play: Steve Sands
- Analyst: Judy Rankin
- Tower: Tom Abbott
- On-Course: Jerry Foltz / Kay Cockerill

EUROPEAN TOUR
Volvo China Open
Dates: April 27-30                                                                    
Venue: Topwin Golf & Country Club, Beijing, China

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Live, Wednesday overnight) / 2:30-5:30 a.m. (Live)
Friday 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Live, Thursday overnight) / 2:30-5:30 a.m. (Live)
Saturday 6-10 a.m. (Tape delay)
Sunday 6-10 a.m. (Tape delay)

Broadcast Notes:
Li defends: Haotong Li finished three strokes ahead of Felipe Aguilar to earn his first European Tour win.

Headlining the field: Ross Fisher, Bernd Wiesberger, Thongchai Jaidee, Thorbjorn Olesen, Edoardo Molinari, Thomas Bjorn, Y.E. Yang, Chris Wood, Haotong Li and Jeunghun Wang.

Golf Channel Broadcast Team:
- Play by Play: Dougie Donnelly
- Analyst: Dom Boulet / Jamie Spence
- On-Course: Jay Townsend

Quaker Ridge Golf Club to Host Inaugural Quaker Ridge Challenge to Support the 2018 Curtis Cup

(Scarsdale, NY) - Quaker Ridge Golf Club announces the inaugural Quaker Ridge Challenge tournament on July 10 to support the 2018 Curtis Cup, which the iconic club will host next June. Quaker Ridge in Scarsdale, New York, is one of the country’s most historic courses and is rated consistently in the U.S. top 100 lists. Designed in 1916 by legendary architect A.W. Tillinghast, Quaker Ridge is considered one of his finest creations.

Co-conducted by The R&A and USGA, the Curtis Cup is a biennial competition between top women amateur golfers from the United States and Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I). Quaker Ridge Golf Club will welcome the 2018 teams for the matches that are scheduled June 8-10. In 1997, the club hosted the prestigious Walker Cup Match for amateur men representing the USA and GB&I teams.

The Quaker Ridge Challenge gives area golfers the rare opportunity to play the heralded course, which celebrated its centennial in 2016. Participants may choose to play for either the USA or GB&I team and can register as an individual, a twosome or foursome. The tournament format is best ball of the foursome, net and gross. There are a limited number of playing spots, so early registration is encouraged to enjoy a day of exceptional golf and hospitality to support the 2018 Curtis Cup. The Quaker Ridge Challenge also has designated the 501 © (3) MGA Foundation as the event’s charitable partner.

The cost to play is a $1,500 donation per player or $6,000 for a foursome. To register or for additional information about the Quaker Ridge Challenge, please call (203) 454-0232. Also, a presenting sponsorship and other sponsorship packages are available.

Major Series of Putting Announces Additional Qualifiers

Additional Qualifiers Added as the Search for the Greatest Putter in America Continues

(LAS VEGAS) – Major Series of Putting (MSOP) today announced more than 250 additional qualifiers across the country and internationally for the MSOP Championships to accommodate the continued growing interest in the tournament.

The first qualifying event begins April 28 in Jacksonville, FL and surrounding cities and will be followed by 250 more qualifiers in the U.S. and Canada leading up to the first-ever MSOP Championship to be held in Las Vegas beginning October 27.  For additional details and to reserve a spot, visit www.msop.com/qualify. Qualification prices start at $10.

In addition to Jacksonville, qualifiers will also be hosted in the following cities:
· Chicago
· Las Vegas
· Montreal, Canada
· New York
· Oklahoma City, OK
· Toronto, Canada

Specific dates for qualifiers as well as additional cities are to be announced soon.

“We’re thrilled with the overwhelming response we’ve received for additional qualifiers,” said Guillaume Béland, president and general manager for MSOP. “The search for the greatest putter in America now reaches more cities than ever before. Golfers from all across the country now truly have a chance to participate in the main tournament in October.”

Players in each of the newly-added markets will enter a three-stage competition which includes local, regional and final events. Throughout the qualifying events, 10 players will earn their way to the 2017 Las Vegas MSOP Championships in October. Four players will qualify for the Stroke Play Championship and the opportunity to win $250,000, while the remaining six players will qualify for the Turbo Single event and the opportunity to win $50,000.

MSOP collaborates with industry leaders Nicklaus Design, Southwest Green and Populous. Brad Faxon, PGA TOUR professional, also serves as senior advisor for the event. The MSOP temporary sports venue will be located at 110 E. Harmon Avenue, adjacent to Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. The MSOP Championship events will begin on Oct. 27.

The event will offer a wide variety of putting tournaments including singles and team events in stroke play and match play formats with exclusive events for amateurs and professional golfers with various entry fees. The updated schedule now features 20 events including tournaments with direct entry fees as low as $250. An exciting High Roller Invitational is now featured and will surely get the fans overexcited. All the details regarding the new schedule are now available at www.msop.com/championships.

For more information on MSOP and/or a qualifier event, visit www.msop.com.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Srixon Earns Gold Medal for Every Ball Entered on 2017 Golf Digest Hot List

(HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA) – SRIXON, a global leader in high-performance golf equipment and a brand Dedicated to Improving Your Game, proudly announces that the 2017 Golf Digest Hot List has awarded a coveted Gold Medal to every Srixon golf ball model entered for testing.

That includes all five premium models in the current Srixon golf ball lineup:
· The new Z-STAR and Z-STAR XV ($39.99/dozen), which earned “5 Stars” for Performance and “4.5 Stars” for Innovation and Feel.
· The new Q-STAR TOUR ($29.99/dozen), which earned “5 Stars” for Performance, Innovation and Feel.
· The Q-STAR ($24.99/dozen), which earned “4.5 Stars” for Performance and Feel.
· The new Soft Feel ($19.99/dozen), which earned “5 Stars” for Feel.

Srixon is also the only brand on the 2017 Golf Digest Hot List with all three of the following achievements:
· Five of its golf ball models recognized with Gold Medals.
· Only Gold Medals for all of its golf ball entries.
· A Gold Medal winner in all three award categories (“Over $35”, “$26 to $35”, “$25 and Under”).

“These incredible results from the Hot List show how strong the full lineup of Srixon golf balls is, with a high-performance model available for every type of player,” said Mike Powell, President of Sales & Marketing for Srixon/Cleveland Golf/XXIO, North America. “To have every one of our entries be recognized with Gold – five models in total – with at least one model in all three categories, this proves we have the most complete lineup of golf balls on the market today. Without question, Srixon delivers total performance.”

While world-class PGA TOUR professionals like Hideki Matsuyama (Z-STAR XV) and Russell Knox (Z-STAR) use Tour Performance offerings from Srixon, moderate swing speed amateurs and core recreational players can gain enhanced distance, accuracy and consistency in their games from playing lower-compression offerings like the all-new Q-STAR TOUR, the Q-STAR, and the new Soft Feel, also available in Soft Feel Lady.

For more information, visit srixon.com.

Veterans Golf Classic, One of Myrtle Beach’s Most Popular Events, is Accepting Entries

Current and Former Members of Military to Flock to Myrtle Beach for 54-Hole Event

(Myrtle Beach, S.C.) – The Veterans Golf Classic, which will be played June 5-7 on nine of the Myrtle Beach area’s best courses, is accepting entries through May 13.

A 54-hole, two-man team event, the 17th annual Veterans Golf Classic is open to all current and former members of the military and their friends. The tournament is expected to attract more than 300 people from across the nation.

Entry, which includes three rounds of golf, a gift bag, welcome reception and awards banquet, is $280.

The event features a different format of play each day – better ball, combined net team score and scramble – and each team must include at least one current or former member of the armed forces. Players are placed into one of four flights – Eisenhower, MacArthur, Nimitz and Franks – based on their handicap.

The host courses for this year’s event are: Shaftesbury Glen, the Norman Course at Barefoot Resort, Wild Wing Avocet, Prestwick Country Club, International Club, The Witch, Thistle and Long Bay Golf Club. All nine host courses earned at least 4 stars, according to Golf Digest’s Best Places to Play Guide.

Participants will also enjoy a Sunday welcome reception and a Wednesday night awards banquet, in addition to receiving a Veterans Golf Classic hat and shirt and an assortment of goodies in a tournament gift bag.

The Wednesday banquet is one of the event’s highlights. The colors of each service branch – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard - are presented and the atmosphere is the perfect blend of festive and respectful.

The competition extends beyond the standard two-man team event. The Branch Challenge pits the five branches of the U.S. Military against each other. Participants are entered into the contest and at the end of the tournament the branch with the lowest score is crowned champion.

The Carolina Cup, which matches members of the VFW against the American Legion, is another popular tournament within the tournament.

For more information, go to http://veteransclassicgolf.com/.

Chileno Bay Resort & Residences Debuts as a Contemporary Beach Getaway

Auberge Resorts property offers exclusive access to Tom Fazio-designed golf course

(Los Cabos, Mexico) - Chileno Bay Resort & Residences, a beachfront hotel and residential villa complex managed by Auberge Resorts Collection, brings “a new expression of contemporary luxury” to Los Cabos with its recent debut.

The family-friendly resort, fronting one of the destination’s best protected swimming beaches, occupies the site of the former Hotel Cabo San Lucas, a legendary retreat patronized by Hollywood stars in the 1960s.  Accommodations and amenities at the 92-key resort (60 hotel rooms and 32 multi-bedroom villas), nestled in the sheltered cove and marine reserve of Chileno Bay, offer guests a casual beachfront lifestyle. The new resort complements award-winning Esperanza, an Auberge Resort perched on the bluffs of Punta Ballena outside of Cabo San Lucas.

“Chileno Bay Resort & Residences becomes our second exceptional resort in the dynamic destination of Los Cabos,” said Dan Friedkin, chairman of Auberge Resorts Collection. “We are particularly excited to be collaborating with another premier luxury brand, Discovery Land Company, to introduce a boutique resort to its exclusive private community of Chileno Bay. This is a pioneering move for both companies, one that will create a truly distinctive experience for Chileno Bay club members and resort guests.”

Guests of Chileno Bay Resort & Residences enjoy exclusive access to the club’s splendid Tom Fazio-designed golf course. Under the guiding hand of Discovery Land Company, the 7,260-yard, par-72 layout, reopened in November 2016, has been treated to numerous enhancements, including a new landscaping scheme. Bougainvillea, oleander and other colorful ornamentals have been planted beside the emerald-green fairways. To provide contrast, the rebuilt bunkers were filled with bright white sand. The layout’s native tawny bunkers, Fazio noted, “blend into undisturbed vegetation and contours, while new landscape areas visually enhance the overall aesthetic of the golf experience.”

Manicured to perfection, the golf course, framed by sandy arroyos, features a sea view from every hole. Displaying his trademark artistry, Fazio created graceful flowing landforms intended to simulate rolling ocean waves. Wide fairways and generously turfed areas create strategic options for good players while enhancing playability for average golfers. Seven sets of tees are available at Chileno Bay, with three sets of tees course- and slope-rated for women.

Fazio, who returned last year to put the finishing touches on a course that first opened in 2013, described the layout as “visually stunning,” noting that hole elevations range from 100 to 350 feet above the ocean, with several prominent natural pinnacles rising steeply above the fairways. “Golfers are in for a unique and fun golf experience that is matched by the quality of the rest of the development,” he said.  

A well-balanced layout, Chileno Bay features an eclectic pair of back-to-back par 5’s at Nos. 6 and 7 as well as two “drivable” short par 4’s at Nos. 8 and 11. The back nine builds to a crescendo at the long par-4 18th, which measures 521 yards from a new back tee and tumbles downhill to an infinity-edge green backdropped by the Sea of Cortes. The two complimentary comfort stations on the course, serving Kobe beef sliders, homemade tamales, beer on draft and an array of sweets, are exceptional.

The resort, which is located five minutes from the golf club, is characterized by clean lines, natural wood and hand-cut local stone accented by traditional Mexican design elements. A 450-foot-long, three-tiered swimming pool that resembles a river flowing to the sea is the hotel’s focal point. Private poolside cabanas are available, while the H2O Watersports Activity Cave offers snorkeling gear, glass-bottomed kayaks and other high-performance watersports equipment.

Dining experiences at Chileno Bay Resort & Residences celebrate the cuisine of Latin America. COMAL, a three-tiered open space, is helmed by internationally renowned chef Yvan Mucharraz and features a raw bar at its center. TnT, a casual beachfront eatery, serves street-style tacos, artisanal tequilas and freshly crafted cocktails.

Rounding out the resort’s amenities is the Auberge Spa at Chileno Bay, a tranquil haven that offers 10 indoor and outdoor treatment facilities, a purification garden, reflexology pool, salt inhalation room, ice fountain and more. chilenobay.aubergeresorts.com.

New Rules of Golf Decision Limits Use of Video Review

USGA and The R&A Prioritize Working Group to Assess Role of Video in Applying Golf’s Rules

(FAR HILLS, N.J., USA AND ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND) -  The USGA and The R&A have issued a new Decision on the Rules of Golf to limit the use of video evidence in the game, effective immediately.

The two organizations have also established a working group of LPGA, PGA Tour, PGA European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America representatives to immediately begin a comprehensive review of broader video issues, including viewer call-ins, which arise in televised competitions.

New Decision 34-3/10 implements two standards for Rules committees to limit the use of video: 1) when video reveals evidence that could not reasonably be seen with the “naked eye,” and 2) when players use their “reasonable judgment” to determine a specific location when applying the Rules. The full language of the Decision can be found here.

The first standard states, “the use of video technology can make it possible to identify things that could not be seen with the naked eye.” An example includes a player who unknowingly touches a few grains of sand in taking a backswing with a club in a bunker when making a stroke.

If the committee concludes that such facts could not reasonably have been seen with the naked eye and the player was not otherwise aware of the potential breach, the player will be deemed not to have breached the Rules, even when video technology shows otherwise. This is an extension of the provision on ball-at-rest-moved cases, which was introduced in 2014.

The second standard applies when a player determines a spot, point, position, line, area, distance or other location in applying the Rules, and recognizes that a player should not be held to the degree of precision that can sometimes be provided by video technology. Examples include determining the nearest point of relief or replacing a lifted ball.

So long as the player does what can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted, even if later shown to be inaccurate by the use of video evidence.

Both of these standards have been extensively discussed as part of the Rules modernization initiative. The USGA and The R&A have decided to enact this Decision immediately because of the many difficult issues arising from video review in televised golf.

The standards in the Decision do not change any of the current requirements in the Rules, as the player must still act with care, report all known breaches of the Rules and try to do what is reasonably expected in making an accurate determination when applying the Rules.

Video-related topics that require a deeper evaluation by the working group include the use of information from sources other than participants such as phone calls, email or social media, and the application of penalties after a score card has been returned.

USGA Executive Director/CEO Mike Davis said, “This important first step provides officials with tools that can have a direct and positive impact on the game. We recognize there is more work to be done. Advancements in video technology are enhancing the viewing experience for fans, but can also significantly affect the competition. We need to balance those advances with what is fair for all players when applying the Rules.”

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “We have been considering the impact of video review on the game and feel it is important to introduce a Decision to give greater clarity in this area. Golf has always been a game of integrity and we want to ensure that the emphasis remains as much as possible on the reasonable judgment of the player rather than on what video technology can show.”

The USGA and The R&A will consider additional modifications recommended by the working group for implementation in advance of Jan. 1, 2019, when the new code resulting from the collaborative work to modernize golf’s Rules takes effect.

For more information, visit www.usga.org and www.randa.org.

One-of-a-Kind Social Golf Experience Opening Doors in Santa Ana

(RELEASE) - A new golf facility unlike anything seen before is opening its doors to the public via an open house at 208 N. Broadway in downtown Santa Ana from 6 to 10 p.m., May 6.

The NextLinks facility promises real indoor golf in a fun, entertaining and social environment for golfers and non-golfers.

“We are opening the doors to our golf development laboratory and showcasing our future products,” NextLinks founder Dave Shultz said. “This will be golf’s version of the Willy Wonka Factory.”

The state-of-the-art facility has undergone a half million dollars in renovations over the last five weeks.

The complete golf experience is accomplished with a high-tech golf simulator and a real-life putting area.

“You can hit your tee box and fairway shots at golf courses around the world using the simulator, then finish out your holes on our indoor putting green,” founder Dave Shultz said.

The idea is similar to Shultz’s REALiTEE Golf, a two acre social golf complex that will also house a full restaurant and large sports bar. The complex is under development in partnership with the Lummi Nation Indian Tribe at Silver Reef Hotel Casino and Spa in Ferndale, Washington.

“Golf needs a way of becoming more relevant to the next generation,” Shultz said. “With this physical venue, the light bulb is going to turn on for a lot more people.”

The open house coincides with the popular Santa Ana Artwalk.

NCAA DI Women's Golf Championships Selections to be Announced April 27 on Golf Channel

(RELEASE) – The 2017 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships selections announcement will be April 27 at 11 a.m. ET, on Golf Channel and streamed live on the Golf Channel website. Seventy-two teams and 24 individuals will be selected to compete at one of four regional championships, each featuring 18 teams and six individuals, May 8-10.
             
The four regional sites include Scarlet Course/OSU Golf Course, in Columbus, Ohio, hosted by The Ohio State University; The Rawls Course, in Lubbock, Texas, hosted by Texas Tech University; the University of Georgia Golf Course, in Athens, Georgia, hosted by the University of Georgia; and the University of New Mexico Championship Course, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, hosted by the University of New Mexico.

From each of these four regionals, the low six teams and the low three individuals not on those teams (for a total of 24 teams and 12 individuals) advance to the national championships, May 19-24, 2017, hosted by Northern Illinois University at Rich Harvest Farms, in Sugar Grove, Illinois.

This year’s women’s championships will be broadcast for the third consecutive year by Golf Channel with more than 100 news and tournament hours planned again for the men’s and women’s golf championships.

Rockwind Community Links Makes Golfweek’s Best Public Access Courses List

Celebrated Hobbs Municipal Golf Course Ranked No. 9 in New Mexico

(Hobbs, NM) - Golfweek Magazine released its annual Best Golf Course Rankings in the April issue and Rockwind Community Links in Hobbs, New Mexico, was listed at No. 9 in the state as one of the Best Courses You Can Play.

The Andy Staples design, which opened in May 2015, has received numerous accolades from leading industry publications including: one of Golf Digest’s Best New Courses of 2015; a Top Five New Golf Development in the World by Golf Inc. Magazine; and a 2016 Best Courses You Can Play recognition by Golfweek. The United States Golf Association singled out Rockwind for breaking the mold and being more than just a golf course with a special video entitled “A Model Muni: Rockwind Community Links.”

The facility is considered a trailblazer in uniting golf with the local community. “Community Links” is a concept introduced by Staples where the focus of the entire project was to link the golf course to the fabric of life in Hobbs.  A special feature is a surrounding trail system complete with multiple trail heads, various outdoor seating areas, picnic spaces and scenic viewing points, including access to the site’s five acre lake that overlooks the golf course.

PGA TOUR star Fred Couples, who learned to play golf on a public course and visited Rockwind during its grand opening celebrations, said “you’re not going to see many public facilities like this in the country—it’s just phenomenal.”

Newport Country Club Awarded 2020 U.S. Senior Open Championship

Historic club will host its fifth USGA championship and first U.S. Senior Open

(FAR HILLS, N.J.) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) announced Newport (R.I.) Country Club as the host site for the 41st U.S. Senior Open Championship. This will be the fifth USGA championship to be held at the historic venue, which hosted the inaugural U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur championships in 1895. The dates of the championship are June 25-28, 2020.

“Newport Country Club and its membership helped to lay the foundation upon which the USGA was built more than a century ago, and we are pleased to continue our rich history with the club,” said Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman. “The U.S. Senior Open is senior golf’s most prestigious championship and we look forward to awarding the Francis D. Ouimet Memorial Trophy at Newport for the first time in 2020.”

William F. Davis designed Newport Country Club as a nine-hole layout in 1894, and the course was expanded to 18 holes five years later. In 1923, A.W. Tillinghast remodeled the course, which sits on the southern end of Newport. Ron Forse supervised a restoration in 2005. The Beaux Arts-style clubhouse, which was designed by architect Whitney Warren, overlooks Brenton Point.

“On behalf of the Newport Country Club, we are thrilled to be the host club for the 2020 U.S. Senior Open Championship,” said Barclay Douglas Jr., club president. “The state of Rhode Island, the city of Newport and the club are most pleased to have the USGA return to Newport. Our ‘City by the Sea’ will be enhanced by having the world’s best senior players compete on our historic Tillinghast course.”

Newport Country Club is one of the five founding members of the USGA, which was formed on Dec. 22, 1894. Theodore A. Havemeyer, the co-founder of Newport Country Club, was the Association’s first president,and the Havemeyer Trophy is annually presented to the U.S. Amateur champion.

Newport Country Club was the site of the first U.S. Amateur and first U.S. Open in 1895. Charles Blair Macdonald, who is considered the father of American golf course architecture, defeated Charles E. Sands, 12 and 11, to win the inaugural Amateur. One day later, Horace Rawlins, an English professional, posted a two-stroke victory over Willie Dunn to claim the U.S. Open over 36 holes, four trips around the original Newport course.

In 1995, the U.S. Amateur returned to the course as part of the USGA’s centennial celebration. Tiger Woods won the second of three consecutive U.S. Amateur titles by defeating George “Buddy” Marucci, 2 up, in the 36-hole final. Woods, who has won nine USGA championships, including three U.S. Opens, was 3 down in the morning round but took the lead for good by winning the 30th hole.

Annika Sorenstam shot a 1-under-par 70 to defeat Pat Hurst by four strokes in an 18-hole playoff that decided the 2006 U.S. Women’s Open Championship at Newport. The two players were tied at even-par 284 following 72 holes. Sorenstam recorded her third U.S. Women’s Open victory, which ties her for third for most wins behind Betsy Rawls and Mickey Wright, who each won four times.

By hosting the 2020 U.S. Senior Open, Newport Country Club will become the sixth club to have held a U.S. Open, U.S. Amateur, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open. The other clubs to have hosted the four USGA championships are Cherry Hills Country Club, in Cherry Hills Village, Colo.; Hazeltine National Golf Club, in Chaska, Minn.; Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club; Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, in Village of Pinehurst, N.C.; and Winged Foot Golf Club, in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

The 2020 U.S. Senior Open will be the 10th USGA championship hosted in Rhode Island and the fourth Senior Open in New England. This year’s U.S. Senior Open will be played at Salem Country Club, in Peabody, Mass., on June 29-July 2. Salem also hosted the 2001 Senior Open, while Brooklawn Country Club, in Fairfield, Conn., hosted the 1987 championship.

The U.S. Senior Open was first played in 1980. The championship for golfers age 50 and older is open to any professional and any amateur with a Handicap Index® not exceeding 3.4. The 2018 championship is scheduled for June 28-July 1 at The Broadmoor Golf Club (East Course), in Colorado Springs, Colo. In 2019, Warren Golf Course on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, in Notre Dame, Ind., will host from June 27-30.

For more information about the USGA, visit usga.org.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Product Review: Leupold GX-5i3 Rangefinder

With the PGA Tour considering the use of rangefinders - and testing on three tours this summer - we took a look at the GX-5i3 from Leupold.

First thought ... This is not your father’s rangefinder. The GX-5i3 is like having a caddie at your disposal. While it won’t carry your clubs or provide a read on the green, it will give you an accurate distance to 1/10 of a yard and even help you select the correct club. How does it do that?

Club Selector
This is where it helps to know (relatively) how far you hit a few clubs in your bag. Because I’m closer to a hack than a professional, the range varies significantly due to contact. I can, however, say that my 8-iron travels approximately 150 yards. I enter that into the GX-5i3 and do the same for my 6-iron and 4-iron. The rangefinder now has a baseline from which to recommend proper clubs.

True Golf Range
Leupold takes this another HUGE step. True Golf Range (TGR) compensates for uphill shots that play longer than the actual distance and downhill shots that play shorter. Brilliant! Combine line-of-sight distance with incline or decline and your club selection could change. For example: You are 150 yards from the pin, but the green is 6 degrees above your ball. Taking that into consideration, you should play the shot as if it were 164 yards. Play to the line-of-sight distance and you’ll come up short.

This is where I run the risk of sounding like a cheesy infomercial. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. This rangefinder also takes temperature and altitude into consideration when recommending a club. As you know, the ball travels further in warm weather and at higher altitudes. All this combines to make the GX-5i3 the smartest, most intuitive rangefinder on the market.

As for pace of play ... Using a rangefinder is going to speed up the average round. You no longer have to find an in-ground marker and pace off the distance. Just point and shoot for the correct yardage. The same could hold true for the pros, but I really see benefit when a shot is way off line. Good luck walking off a distance anywhere near correct when you’ve hit a banana ball through the trees and into the next fairway.

Also, golf courses provide distance to the center of the green, but not many have yardage books that tell the daily-fee player how far out a fairway bunker or water hazard is. Again, point and shoot the GX-5i3 and you’ve got the number down to 1/10 yard.

The Leupold GX-5i3 is next-level technology - far superior to any other rangefinder we’ve tried. Learn more about this, and other products, at www.leupold.com.

Tiger Woods, Johnny Morris Partner to Create First TGR Design Public Access Course in America

(RIDGEDALE, MISSOURI) - Noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris today announced a collaborative partnership with 79-time PGA TOUR winner Tiger Woods and the Payne Stewart family that includes plans to create the first-ever public access golf courses designed by TGR Design, a world-class championship golf course and a family friendly short course at Big Cedar Lodge, further establishing the resort as "America's Next Great Golf Destination."

The partnership grew from a vision to connect more people to nature by growing the game of golf and outdoor recreation with premier golf, angling and shooting experiences unlike anywhere else in the world. Beyond the championship course, the expansive partnership includes plans for a future Woods-designed par-3 "short course" on Big Cedar property.

World-renowned golf in the center of America
Scheduled to open in 2019 and named in honor of the late Payne Stewart, the new "Payne's Valley" Golf Course will be the first completed fully public-access course in the world designed by Tiger Woods' design firm TGR Design. Being built to showcase the region's natural beauty, the championship course will feature an extraordinarly dramatic 19th hole, "The Rock," that can be used to settle unfinished wagers. The hole was envisioned by nature-loving Morris, and is set in one of the most dramatic geological features imaginable. The challenging but player-friendly walkable course will have an unforgettable finish where golfers will actually traverse through a breathtaking natural cavern system to return to the clubhouse after completing the 19th hole.

"I couldn't be more proud to partner with Johnny Morris to debut my first public-access courses at Big Cedar Lodge," said Tiger Woods. "Johnny's incredible passion for connecting people of all ages and walks of life to nature is truly inspiring. Together we're tremendously excited to create a publicly accessible world-class golf experience in the center of America."

The friendship between the noted conservationist and championship golfer began on the water 20 years ago.

"Shortly after Tiger won his first Masters Tournament in 1997, Tiger actually ended up buying one of our Bass Tracker fishing boats. My son and I had the opportunity to deliver his boat and spend the day bass fishing with him... you really get to know a person when you're able to spend quiet time on the water fishing together. My boy and I were both very impressed by how down to earth and engaging Tiger was, and by how much he loved to fish," said Johnny Morris.

"When we contemplated building another golf course at Big Cedar last year, my son John and I visited Tiger's new Bluejack National course in Texas and we were both blown away! It is a truly breathtakingly beautiful place very reminiscent of Augusta National. After spending more time with Tiger and his team, it became apparent to us that Tiger is extremely dedicated to applying his worldly knowledge of golf to develop great courses. His aim is to design and build only a select number of courses that are of extraordinarily high standards, with an emphasis on width and playabilitiy creating a fun and enjoyable experience for all. We quickly became excited about Tiger's design philosophies and the three of us began to dream together about creating a world-class golf course in our stunning Ozark surroundings. We are very proud to align with Tiger to create an unforgettable golf experience that players of all abilities will be able to enjoy again and again."

Honoring the legacy of Payne Stewart
The "Payne's Valley" Course will pay tribute to the legacy of the late Payne Stewart, a friend of both Morris and Woods as well as an Ozarks native who won 11 PGA TOUR events, including three Major championships. Stewart and his father Bill Stewart were instrumental in helping to establish golf in the region and nationally. To further honor Stewart's legacy, Morris, with the help of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, is also creating The Payne Stewart Learning Facility, an extraordinary practice facility that will contain a tribute museum displaying Stewart's personal trophies, scorecards, apparel, equipment, photos and more.

Morris will also honor Stewart by expanding support to a number of charitable initiatives linked to the course. 2017 marks the third year Big Cedar Lodge will host the American Junior Golf Association for the Bass Pro Shops Payne Stewart Junior Championship. The AJGA is dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The new course will serve as a future home for the event.

Both the Morris and Stewart families are long-time supporters of Kids Across America Leadership Initiative (KAA), a nonprofit sports and outdoor youth camp based in the Ozarks. KAA's mission is to serve underprivileged urban and minority youth through camping, boating and outdoor educational and recreational activities. At Kids Across America, the vision is to transform urban youth to impact their communities. The new course will be made available for KAA campers, free of charge, as part of their camp experience and from time to time host special events to raise funds and awareness on behalf of the organization.

Payne was deeply committed to his own family, and as a family we are committed to supporting organizations like Kids Across America and the AJGA that are seeking to provide transformational opportunities for children of all ages," said Tracey Stewart, widow of Payne Stewart. "Johnny Morris' contributions to the game of golf and America's youth are widely known and we are thrilled to partner with him and the TGR Design team to introduce kids from all backgrounds to the game of golf. It's the perfect way to continue to honor Payne's legacy and his dedication to making a difference in the community where he grew up."

Connecting everyone to the outdoors
A driving force in the vision behind the partnership with Johnny, Tiger and the Stewart family in expanding golf amenities is a desire to help families - and especially youth - spend time enjoying nature and the great outdoors. For Morris, whose childhood fishing experiences with his family helped define his lifelong passion for nature, it represents a gift to pass down and share with future generations. Bass Pro Shops is known as a national leader in connecting families to the outdoors.

"Our entire philosophy as a company and my personal passion is about connecting people to nature through fishing, hunting, boating, golf and other outdoor recreational activities," said Morris. "We need to do everything we can to get kids outdoors at an early age so they can discover the lifelong gift that nature provides us - plus they'll have a whole lot of fun!"

In conjunction with the new course, Morris will open a local chapter of The First Tee, a nonprofit youth development organization that provides educational programs to build character, instill values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. The new chapter will include ongoing youth programming at the course to ensure kids of all ages and skill levels have the opportunity to develop their golf skills while enjoying the outdoors.

America's Next Great Golf and Outdoor Adventure Destination
Payne's Valley Course will be a fitting complement to the overall diverse golf, angling and shooting experience at Big Cedar Lodge, which is emerging as America's next great golf destination. The new course will be located adjacent to a new 13-hole short course designed by golf legend Gary Player (opening in 2017) and "Ozarks National," an 18-hole championship course designed by acclaimed architects Coore & Crenshaw (debuting in 2018). The courses will join Big Cedar Lodge's existing golf offerings, the 9-hole par-3 course designed by Jack Nicklaus, Top of the Rock, a 16-hole practice facility by the late Arnold Palmer, a 6,000-square-foot Tom Watson "Himalayan" putting complex, and the 18-hole championship course designed by Tom Fazio, Buffalo Ridge, hosts of the annual Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf. Each course combines the natural beauty and stunning views of the surrounding Ozark Mountains with challenging play for golfers of all ages and skill levels. When combined with both future Tiger Woods courses, Big Cedar Lodge will offer guests access to world-class golf cementing its reputation as one of the premier golf and outdoor recreation destinations in the United States. Big Cedar Lodge is located on the shores of majestic Table Rock Lake and only ten minutes from a world-class jet center.

Learn more at bigcedar.com and tgr.design.