Which Golf Courses to pair with your wine?

This is the first of many WINE AND GOLF Travel posts from Golf Soup with Sole. 1. Napa/Sonoma Counties, California, USA. This is a no brainer.  Napa and Sonoma boast more than 800 wineries and several high quality golf courses. Here are some suggestions by Tim Gavrich. Wine and Golf               There are some things that just go together. Peanut Butter and Jelly. Abbott and Costello. Lemonade and iced tea. Golf and wine? Absolutely. Golf’s oldest trophy is called the “Claret Jug,” after all… Am I suggesting that you stuff a decanter in your golf bag the next time you tee it up? Not exactly (although that would look hilarious—please send us a picture if you try this), but if you like and/or want to learn more about wine, should you plan a golf trip that features some wine tastings? Again, absolutely. The only question is: where? Here are our favorites in the U.S.: Napa Valley               Napa/Sonoma Counties, California This is the obvious choice. Napa and Sonoma are home to more than 800 wineries, so if you visited one a day, you’d need more than two years to see them all. As for golf, the choices are not as broad, but they’re plenty juicy. In Napa County, we like Chardonnay Golf Club and Eagle Vines Golf Club, both located in the southern-Napa town of American Canyon. Both courses have holes that play over and around active rows of wine grapes. Silverado Resort & Spa, host of the Frys.com Open, is also an excellent choice. If you want a bit of adventure, we direct you farther north in the county, to Pope Valley’s Aetna Springs Golf Course. It’s a nine-holer that claims to be the oldest golf course west of the Mississippi. Tom Doak restored much of the course’s rustic charm a few years ago, and it’s such fun that we would gladly play 27 holes in a day there. In Sonoma County, don’t let Sonoma Golf Club’s technically “private” status deter you; stay at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and you can arrange to play this classic and favorite of the late Sam Snead. For a more low-key public golf experience that is a true bargain, hit up Windsor Golf Club near the hip small city of Santa Rosa. Winery suggestions: Napa: Beaulieu Vineyard, Domaine Chandon, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars; Sonoma: Hanzell Vineyards, Lancaster Estate, Seghesio Family Vineyard   Source : Golf Vacations Insider    Tim Gavrich Pictures : flickr  Jitze Couperus Udo Schroter   L.C. Nottaasen  

Family Golf Trips for 2015.

This will be an ongoing series of Great Value Golf Packages.  Let Golf Soup with Sole be your total resource for HOT deals in South Carolina.

13th at Pawleys Plantation - a par 3 that you either absolutely love (like me) or absolutely hate.

A par 3 that you either absolutely love (like me) or absolutely hate.

Stay 3 nights in a 2-bedroom Villa at Pawleys Plantation and play 3 great tracks, all for $599/person!

Package includes:

  • 3 Nights Lodging at Pawleys Plantation – 2-bedroom Villa (quad occupancy)
  • Daily Breakfast
  • Golf with cart at:
    • Caledonia Golf and Fish Club
    • True Blue Golf Club
    • Pawleys Plantation Golf and Country Club
18th at Caledonia Golf and Fish Club.

18th at Caledonia Golf and Fish Club.

                This package is valid from March 19th through April 1st, 2015 Call 800-929-7300 to book your reservation. **Additional dates also available For more great deals visit golfzoo.com   Source : golfzoo.com Caledonia Picture : Todd Wickersty  

Do weighted clubs improve clubhead speed?

Many golfers are under the illusion that swinging a weighted club ( or using one of those “donut rings”)will help increase clubhead speed.  Research now shows this is a total misconception.  First using baseball as an example, and then using golf, science has proved without any doubt that feel and reality are two different things. A former World Long Drive Champ Dave Mobley who is a friend of mine, swings the Orange Whip every day to help him create more club head speed.  “Swinging a heavy club will cost you distance” said Dave.  
Driving the ball along way requires high club head speed.

Driving the ball along way requires high club head speed.

 In 2011 The Wall Street Journal reported a study from the University of Hawaii that showed using a bat doughnut actually decreased a batter’s speed at the plate after warming up with a baseball doughnut. Researchers claim the use of a baseball doughnut can change the muscles recruited and therefore creates inefficient hitting mechanics. A study conducted by California State University, Fullerton found that recreational baseball players warming-up with a light and normal weight bat produced faster bat velocity compared to weighted bat warm-ups.  Most research studies have found that the weighted bat doughnut has a positive mental effect yet negative physical effect. The “kinesthetic illusion” created by the bat doughnut makes players believe they are swinging the standard bat post warm-up with the bat doughnut when the subsequent swings are in fact, slower.  This effect influences batters hitting mechanics and timing of swing. Click on the link below to see how science proves this theory. The science of speed! Source : The Sandtrap.com  Wikipedia Pictures  US Army

What an incredible year for the LPGA!

I think 2014 was the very best year for the LPGA.  Excitement with a new star (Not Lydia Ko but Lucy Li), excitement for an old star (Julie Inkster)and a  confirmation of a predicted star! (Michelle Wie)  I really enjoy watching the LPGA tournaments and these ladies can play!  Here are the top 10 moments of 2014 as described by golf writer Beth Ann Nichols.   Michelle Wie 1. MICHELLE WIE WINS THE BIG ONE: The fact that Wiesy triumphed at a historic U.S. Women’s Open where men and women shared the same stage for the first time only made her maiden major all the more perfect. Watching Wie bear hug that trophy was special for all those who have shared her journey for the past 15 years.       Stacy Lewis 2. STACY LEWIS SWEEPS THE POSTSEASON: The gritty Texan became the first American since Betsy King in 1993 to win the Vare Trophy, Rolex Player of the Year and money titles. Lewis’ ability to put herself in contention week in and week out has filled an important void at a critical time for the LPGA.         Lydia Ko 3. LYDIA KO WINS THREE TIMES AND A MILLION: At age 17, Ko is on pace to put together an unprecedented career on the LPGA. She won three times as a rookie (giving her five total LPGA titles) and took home $1 million at the end of the inaugural CME Race to the Globe.         Christina Kim 4. CHRISTINA KIM’S EMOTIONAL VICTORY IN MEXICO: One of the LPGA’s most beloved characters, Kim’s comeback victory at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational was, for many, the season’s most fulfilling moment. Kim wrote a revealing blog in 2012 about her battle with depression and suicidal thoughts. We won’t soon forget that smile she wore in Mexico, nor the sombrero.       Lucy Li   5. WE LOVE LUCY: The early star of Pinehurst No. 2 was Lucy Li, the 11-year-old prodigy who melted our hearts with her patriotic ruffles and grown-up game. She was a media darling, answering questions about her round in between licks of an ice cream bar.       To see the next 5 of the top 10 moments on the 2014 LPGA Tour click here. Source : GolfWeek Beth Ann Nichols Pictures : flickr  Keith Allison  

Golfing Presidents – Where does Barack Obama rank?

Has Barack Obama played more golf than any other President outside of Dwight Eisenhower?  The answer might surprise you!  I’ve done some research using both Golf Digest and Links Magazine, and have come up with a distinguished list.   15 of the last 18 Presidents have played golf and Barack Obama ranks in the middle at best of that group as far as the number of rounds played, while serving in office. * See which President played the most rounds. * See who is rated as the best in ability on the course and who is second best.  (the latter was a surprise to me!) Check it out! Golf Obama 1  
President Barack Obama is the 15th of the past 18 American presidents who has played golf. He doesn’t play often, but he did during a vacation in Hawaii in August. Vice President Joe Biden, who discovered golf less than 10 years ago, has a Handicap Index of 8.2. Here’s our ranking of the golfing presidents, with an assist from Don Van Natta Jr., author of the book, First Off the Tee: Presidential Hackers, Duffers, and Cheaters from Taft to Bush. 1 John F. Kennedy Despite chronic back pain, averaged 80. 2 Dwight D. Eisenhower Had a green outside the Oval Office. 3 Gerald R. Ford Clumsy, but was a legitimate 80s-shooter. 4 Franklin D. Roosevelt At 39, polio robbed him of a powerful golf swing. 5 George H.W. Bush Once got his handicap down to 11. 6 George W. Bush Outgoing prez is a capable 15-handicapper. 7 Bill Clinton Can break 90, especially using his “Billigans.” 8 Barack Obama The lefty plays more hoops than golf. 9 Ronald Reagan Didn’t play often or well (best was low 90s). 10 Warren G. Harding Struggled to break 95. 11 William Howard Taft As hapless a golfer as he was a chief executive. 12 Woodrow Wilson Played more than Ike but almost never broke 100. 13 Richard M. Nixon He shot 79 once and quit the game. 14 Lyndon B. Johnson Played with senators to secure votes for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 15 Calvin Coolidge When he vacated the White House, he left his clubs behind. Best Presidents by ability:
Gerald Ford in his Golf Cart,

Gerald Ford in his Golf Cart,

                  1. John F. Kennedy 2. Gerald Ford 3. Dwight D. Eisenhower (pictured) 4. Franklin D. Roosevelt 5. Bill Clinton 6. George H.W. Bush/George W. Bush 7. Barack Obama 8. Ronald Reagan 9. Richard Nixon 10. Woodrow Wilson
  Sources : Golf Digest  Links Magazine Pictures : Boston Public Library   Don Graham

The Big Story – Golf's Supposed Demise!

What is your opinion of the biggest story in golf for the past few years?  Well, Tiger’s struggles were certainly a hot topic, Rory’s split from his girlfriend was another.  But the Golf Medal goes to the media’s coverage of golf’s supposed demise.  Golf is dead, they are saying.  In my humble opinion, the economic downturn in the USA is the main reason, not that people don’t want to play golf anymore.  If families are struggling to put food on the table, golf is the last thing on their mind!  Golf is a discretionary income  activity.  As soon as the economy returns, golf will be back with a bang!  Well, NGF Dashboard has a different take on the subject.  Read on!  
The year in golf could perhaps be summarized by two high-profile relationships that went south. The first one is that of PGA TOUR superstar Rory McIlroy and his then-fiancé, Caroline Wozniacki. Immediately upon their breakup in May, Rory won his first event in 18 months at Wentworth and then proceeded to capture The Open Championship, The Bridgestone WGC, the PGA, and regained his world #1 ranking. His return to form has been extremely popular.  
Rory McIlroy.  The future's so bright he has to wear shades!

Rory McIlroy. The future’s so bright he has to wear shades!

Unfortunately, 2014 was also the year when the relationship between the media and golf took a turn for the worse. Press coverage took on a sharply negative narrative about the recreational game and business of golf. Hundreds of non-golf media outlets decided that the so-called “demise of golf” was a popular story worthy of their airtime, ink and pixels.   Closing Down Sale   For complete coverage of this article from the NGF, click here.
Source – NGF Dashboard Pictures – Ed Balaun (supergolfdude)        

Calling recreational golfers!

How would you like to play golf where you can move your ball out of a divot, unraked sand in a bunker?  Any commercially available equipment and you can carry more than 14 clubs?  Out of bounds is only a 1 shot penalty? Well now you can.  Join the U.S. Recreational Golf Association, a non-profit organization working to grow the game  and make it FUN!  FREE Membership and only 13 simple Rules of Golf.   Rules   The Game of Golf is an ancient sport with rich history and traditions.  Golf should be fun!  Unlike most sports the player is ultimately responsible for his or her own behavior, following the Rules and showing consideration for other players.  Deviating from these traditions is discouraged.  The Rules of Golf were originally created in 1744 in Scotland by the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.  Over the years the original 13 Rules have been amended continuously and today the USGA has 34 sometimes confusing Rules of Golf that are appropriate for organized competitions for skilled players.  The United States Recreational Golf Association has created 13 simple Rules of Golf designed to make the game more fun and less intimidating for recreational golfers.  These Rules are a direct reflection of how the majority of golfers play the game in the United States.
A round of golf should be completed in approximately four hours.  Players should be aware of their position on the course at all times and should attempt to keep up with the group in front of them. Letting faster players play through is a recommended courtesy.  Players are encouraged to use the most forward tees and to tee the ball up in the fairway to speed up play.  Golfers are encouraged to play “ready golf.”  Whoever is ready to hit should hit.  Putt out; don’t mark once you’ve started putting.  Players should be careful that no one is standing close or in a position to be hit by the club or a ball.  If a player hits a ball that may hit another player it is customary to shout “fore” in the direction of the player.  Players are encouraged to show respect for their fellow players and not cause distractions (talking, rattling clubs, etc.) that will disturb them.  On the putting green players should not step or stand on another player’s line to the hole. Players are encouraged to fix ball marks on the putting green; their own as well as those of other players.  Replace divots in the fairway or fill with sand.  After hitting a shot from a bunker the player should carefully rake the sand and smooth it for other players.  Players may enlist the aid of a caddie to help them with their equipment or raking bunkers.
For the complete list of Rules and Etiquette go here Source: LinkedIn – US Golf Leaders and Dave Felker Pictures : Steve Snodgrass   Steve Collis  

Top 10 European Tour Momentsof 2014.

There is no doubt Rory McIlroy was the dominant player not only on the European Tour but throughout world golf.  Here are the top 10 Highlights.  
Ernie Els putting out in a European Tour Event.

Ernie Els putting out in a European Tour Event.

1. “THIS ONE’S FOR YOU, MUM”: Rory McIlroy’s Open Championship victory at Hoylake was the highlight of the European season. He was simply peerless at Royal Liverpool. Even though he grew up in Northern Ireland, McIlroy isn’’t really a big fan of links golf. This win proved beyond doubt, if there even was any, that he’’s the complete player. Oh, and that he’’s also a mummy’s boy. 2. HO HUM, EUROPE WINS ANOTHER RYDER CUP: Europe winning the Ryder Cup is becoming as routine as it was when the United States had a stranglehold on Samuel Ryder’s prized chalice. This time there was no miracle needed. The Europeans had this one in the bag thanks to domination of the foursomes. 3. McGINLEY’S MASTER CLASS: Quite simply, Paul McGinley is the best captain ever to lead a European side. His attention to detail was outstanding, and he fully deserved all the accolades thrown at him. He’s going to be a tough act to follow. 4. KAYMER’S DEMOLITION JOB: The German probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves because golf is still a relatively minor sport in his homeland. He’d garner major headlines if he were British or American. He deserved plenty of column inches for the way he took the field apart at the U.S. Open to win his second major. 5. RORY WINS PGA CHAMPIONSHIP: McIlroy punctuated his season with his second PGA Championship victory. Just when we thought he’d stumble short of the finish line after leading for each of the first three rounds, he goes 5 under for the final 12 holes to prove why he’’s the world’s best. Oh, and that 284-yard 3-wood to the 10th hole that set up an eagle wasn’t bad either. To see the other Top 5 European Tour Moments, Click Here. Source – Alistair Tait – GolfWeek Picture – South Asia Golf