Ladies Welcome

For the first time in centuries, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews is a mixed club, meaning male AND female members, a result of a recent vote which was overwhelmingly in favor of adding women members. Previously the club was only open to male members.

Photo courtesy of Tony Korologos at HookedOnGolfBlog.com

Photo courtesy of Tony Korologos at HookedOnGolfBlog.com  © 2013 – Used by permission

The changes are effective immediately.

“I can confirm that The Royal & Ancient Golf of St. Andrews is now a mixed membership club.” ~R&A secretary Peter Dawson

The vote was 85% for and 15% against in a club which has some 2,500 members. Yes, that does mean slightly over 300 members voted against allowing women into its membership.

The club is also fast-tracking as many as 15 women to join in the next few months.

Clarification

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club should not be confused with the Old Course at St. Andrews. They are two separate entities. This vote does not relate to whether or not women can or cannot golf on the Old Course, which welcomes female players.

Love Can Hurt, But Please Don’t Hurt the Golf Course as a Result

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the logic here, but then again in the cases of love and relationships sometimes logic is not possible. A 23-year-old man in Orchard Park, New York broke up with his girlfriend and was so distraught that he decided to destroy parts of a golf course with his vehicle.

The man drove up the 18th hole toward the 18th green, but then decided to head for the 9th green where he did 3-4 donuts. Damages to the course exceeded $50,000.

Fortunately the golf course was equipped with a very good video surveillance system and was able to identify the vehicle and get a license plate number. They traced the vehicle to the owner and found his vehicle, complete with grass from the golf course on his tires.

This is a very unfortunate event for the course and its ownership, especially in a time where the golf economy is struggling. All our best to the unfortunate golf course and its ownership. They have a temporary green setup while they implement repairs. Certainly this situation will not help their business.

Tuesday Tip – Gravity

Kris MoeFrogger resident pro Kris Moe has some great videos on YouTube, both part of the Frogger Golf offerings and his own golf schools/instruction.

In the video below Kris shows us how we can use gravity to our advantage to help with the golf swing.

First, gravity can help us “drop” the club and hands down properly through the impact zone.  This motion is crucial and helps us generate club-head speed, power, and thus distance.

Second, by using a weight we get the feel for our natural instinct to clear the body and hips.  If a weight is coming down toward us we are naturally inclined to “get out of the way.”  Getting the hips to release and getting the body out of the way for the swing is important.  Doing so can help us release the club on the proper line.  Improper lines produce slices and hooks.  Getting the hips and body out of the way also helps us generate even more speed and thus more distance.

The gravity drill is simple and very effective.  It can be done with or without a weight and can help get the proper feel for the downswing, even moments before you hit your first tee shot.

 

Weekend Wrap – $10,000,000 Style

Golf BetsPGA Tour
Tour Championship – FedEx Cup Playoff Final Round
East Lake Golf Club
Atlanta, Georgia

The Tour Championship is the final event on the PGA Tour and the last of four playoff events. In the Tour Championship there is much on the line, primarily deciding the winner of the FedEx Cup and the huge $10,000,000 prize. Second place is nothing to sneeze at either, a cool $5,000,000.

On top of the possibility of winning the $10,000,000, the event itself has a first place prize of $1,400,000. Some player situations could mean they would win the event and the $1.4 million, but not the Cup. Other player situations were setup where the player could win both. Such was the case for Billy Horschel, Bubba Watson, Chris Kirk, and Hunter Mahan.

Last week’s BMW Championship winner Billy Horschel started the final round tied with FedEx Cup favorite and world #1 golfer Rory McIlory. Many press and fans had already anointed McIlory the prize. Horschel had not.

Horschel fired a tremendous final round 68, separating himself from second-place finisher Rory McIlory.

“It just gives me so much confidence, so much thrill to accomplish something like this, especially with the guys I was going up against. “

There’s no doubt that Horschel is currently the hottest golfer on the planet. Ironically his play this season was not good enough to earn himself a spot in the upcoming 2014 Ryder Cup. The hot play came after the qualification period, and after the captain’s picks were made. That’s fine with Horschel. He’s got $11.4 million more in the back today than he did five days ago. If he’s bored during the cup, he can count his blessings.

The next stop for Horschel on tour is the 2014 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas. One might think the local casinos will be rolling out the red carpet for a chance at a piece of the $11.4 mil?

Rounding out the top five finishers in the FedEx Cup are Chris Kirk (2nd), Rory McIlroy (3rd), Jim Furyk (4th), and Bubba Watson (5th).

Killer Course – Gunsan Country Club, Korea

To qualify as a Frogger Killer Course, a course needs to be… well, killer.  What makes a course killer?  There are many qualities or features we consider like the design, location, history, aesthetics, or perhaps having a 1004 meter (1098 yard) par-7 hole will do the trick.

The latter would be Korea’s Gunsan Country Club, home of a 1098 yard par-7 hole.  For perspective, that’s well over half a mile long.  Gunsan Country Club is an 81 hole facility which covers a 1,060 acre area which was once a salt field.  18 holes on the course are private for club members and the remaining 63 are public.

gunsacc2

Signature a.k.a. Killer Holes

As mentioned, the par-7 third hole of 1098 yards is one of the longest golf holes in the world.  Imagine the play: driver, fairway metal, fairway metal, hybrid, wedge!

Right.  But not to be outdone, the course also offers a par-6 hole which measures 661 meters (723 yards).  What a combination.  In fact, that combination is 200 feet longer than one mile!

Lakes

Aside from the killer long holes, 380 acres of the course is water.  That’s more water acreage than the entire 360 acres which makes up Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament.

gunsacc.1

There are so many lakes in fact, that it takes 26 bridges to connect all of the landing areas.  You might want to bring a few extra balls.

Amenities

After a long day of navigating 380 acres of lakes and literally miles of golf holes, one can enjoy the restaurant, clubhouse, and pick up a logo ball in the pro shop to commemorate the golf conquest.

Contact

Gunsan Country Club
1685, Namgunsan-ro, Okseo-myeon, Gunsan-si, Jeollabuk-do
South Korea

Tuesday Tip – Loft Down in the Short Game

Image courtesy Cleveland Golf

Image courtesy Cleveland Golf

We can learn some great techniques from links golf. Golf in Scotland is played on the ground for the most part, especially with regards to the short game. The ground is so hard and smooth that putting from even 50 yards from the green is not unusual. Unlike golf on the typically soft courses in the USA, links golf seldom involves high lofted wedges. 60 degree lob wedges may only be used in very limited situations like getting out of pot bunkers.

Amateur golfers almost always grab the lob wedge when around the greens chipping or pitching. The extra loft can be more of a detriment than an advantage though. More loft means less control of distance and less margin for error. Amateurs need a bigger error margin! We are not Phil Mickelson and trying to be is like punching a ticket to bogey-land.

Loft Down

Whenever possible we should choose a lower lofted club around the greens. Sure there will be times where a high lofted club is the only option, like having to carry a bunker and stop the ball on a short-sided pin. But in most other situations it is a better choice to pick a lower lofted club and try to get the ball rolling as soon as possible. It is not uncommon to use mid-irons or even long irons with a putting stroke to get the ball airborne for a very short distance and then rolling after that.

Rule of Thirds

A great rule to use when deciding what club to hit and what distance to carry the ball is the rule of thirds. The best chips will be airborne for 1/3 of the distance, and roll the other 2/3 of the way. The intention is for the ball to be rolling like a putt when it gets to the hole.

Conclusion

We always want to hit the hero shot, but typically hero shots do not work out very well. The safest and most accurate way to get the ball closer to the hole in the short game is to loft down and get the ball rolling as soon as possible.

Weekend Wrap

HPBNC_2011_SU_067PGA Tour
BMW Championship
FedEx Cup Playoffs – 3rd Segment
Cherry Hills
Denver, Colorado

And then there were 30.

The BMW Championship marks the third of four FedEx Cup playoff events for the PGA Tour.  By the conclusion of the BMW Championship, the field is narrowed down to 30 participants who will have a chance at the $10,000,000 first prize in the final event of the playoffs, the Tour Championship.

Billy Horschel recorded his second PGA Tour victory and the biggest in his professional career this past week at the BMW Championship.  Horschel carded a final round 69 to claim a two-shot win over the nearest competitor, surging Bubba Watson.  Watson made it interesting by firing an excellent final round 66.

A few big names have not made it to the final round of 30, including Phil Mickelson and defending champion Henrik Stenson.  Strangely, those players expressed relief that they would miss the final event and be able to rest for the Ryder Cup.

Imagine being in a position where you are relieved that you missed out on an opportunity to win $10,000,000.

In the “something you may never see again” category is the plight of world #1 golfer Rory McIlory.  On Saturday McIlory 4-putted (yes you read that correctly) the 12th green from only 24 feet.  See the video below.

If that was not crazy enough, McIlory 4-putted the same hole on Sunday.

This confirms what most of us already knew:  golf is hard.

The Tour Championship Final 30 Field

Day, Jason

Fowler, Rickie

Furyk, Jim

Garcia, Sergio

Haas, Bill

Henley, Russell

Hoffmann, Morgan

Horschel, Billy

Johnson, Zach

Kaymer, Martin

Kirk, Chris

Kuchar, Matt

Mahan, Hunter

Matsuyama, Hideki

McIlroy, Rory

Na, Kevin

Ogilvy, Geoff

Palmer, Ryan

Reed, Patrick

Rose, Justin

Scott, Adam

Senden, John

Simpson, Webb

Spieth, Jordan

Todd, Brendon

Tringale, Cameron

Walker, Jimmy

Watson, Bubba

Woodland, Gary

Friday Fun – The Train

ChambersBay_05-1867088292Here’s a fun golf game to try this weekend called The Train.  The Train is typically a side betting game, but could also be the primary game of the group.  The Train promotes and accentuates good play, but bad play can wipe out the good.  Lets take a look.

Positive

Accentuating the positive parts of the game, The Train rewards good play with points in the following fashion, similar to a Chicago style points system:

  • Par = 1 point
  • Birdie = 2 points
  • Eagle = 5 points

Depending on the playing ability level of the competitors, points can be awarded for gross or net scores.  For instance, a group of 20+ handicappers are not going to score many points with their gross scores, so basing points off of net is the best option.

Negative

Points continue to accrue through the round.  However if the golfer was to score two bogeys or worse in two consecutive holes, ALL points are erased and the golfer starts over at zero points.

Bets

A predetermined betting amount per point, like $1 per point, can be determined at the beginning of the round.  Another option is to have each contestant put in a fixed dollar amount into the pot and the golfer with the most points collects the pot at the end of the round.

Posted in Fun |

Anger Management Revisited

We joke about the frustrations of golf and our video below called “Anger Management” certainly captures the humor in golf’s frustrations.

For those who may not be emotionally stable, the frustrating game may be enough to push them over the edge. Case in point is a terrifying story of a man in Palm Beach, Florida who simply lost it and began using his putter to attack the strangers he was paired up with. After breaking the putter head off he then was then using the broken shaft as a “sword.”

From the West Palm Beach news website:

“In all the time I’ve been golfing, I’ve never seen anything of this magnitude happen on a golf course,” said Nazzaro.

Nazzaro said because it was crowded on Labor Day, the golf pro paired him and his friend, Roy Hall, with two other golfers. He said Rich was immediately unfriendly, refusing to shake hands, ride in the same cart or talk to the others.

On the 7th hole, as Nazzaro tended the pin for Rich’s shot, he said Rich complained that Nazzaro didn’t move his ball and mark it.

“I said, ‘What, is this a $100,000 putt or something?’ It was a joke,” said Nazzaro.

Nazzaro said Rich became enraged and started using his cleats to dig up the green, saying “I’m walking in your line, I’m walking in your line.”

That’s when Nazzaro pulled out his phone to call the golf pro.

Deputies said Rich used his putter to slam Hall in the back of the legs, taking him down. The blow was so hard the head of the putter sheared off, and Rich began threatening the others with what was now “a sword,” said Nazzaro.

“I’m going to stick you in the (expletive) eye, I’m going to stab you in the liver,” Nazzaro said Rich told him.

When Nazzaro told Rich he was calling police, he said Nazzaro knocked the phone out of his hand with the sheared off putter, slicing his arm.

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By the time deputies arrived, Rich had left the course, but returned and was arrested.

“They asked me if I wanted him arrested, and I said no,” said Nazzaro. “But I told them, he belongs somewhere. This guy is crazy.”