The young guns are coming!

Many golf writers and commentators have said recently that they expect that some of the “elders’ on tour like Ernie Els, (45) Phil Mickelson(44) and Tiger Woods (39) will still contend for wins on the PGA Tour and maybe even win a Major or two. And then there is the LPGA Tour.  again pundits are predicting good years for Christy Kerr, Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis. But not if the “25 and under” group have anything to say about it. Michelle Wie             Here is my list of the most promising 25 and under golfers on both the PGA and LPGA Tours for 2015. In no particular order : PGA.                                                                                           LPGA 1. Rory McIlroy (25)                                                             1. Michelle Wie (25) 2. Harris English (25)                                                          2. Lydia Ko (17) 3. Bud Cauley (24)                                                               3. Arioya Jutanugarn (19) 4. Matteo Manassero (21)                                                  4.  Lexi Thompson (19) 5. Danny Lee (24)                                                                5. Mika Miyazato (25) 6. Ryo Ishikawa (23)                                                          6. Cheyenne Woods (24) 7. Patrick Reed (24)                                                           7. Ashleigh Simon (25) 8. Carlos Ortiz (23)                                                            8. Charlie Hull (18) 9. Blayne Barber (25)                                                        9. Amy Yang (25) 10. Justin Thomas (21)                                                     10. Alison Lee (19) I will revisit this list at the end of the season and see how well I did. What are your choices for golfers 25 and under that you think will do well this year.  If you have picks that are  not on my list, please post them in the comments below and at the end of the year we will see how we all did! Pictures :  

Golfers who Give back!

Avid golfers have a passion for the game but also often share the desire to help those who can benefit from the game. I think you’ll find the stories of golfers who give back to the game from diverse people such as Kristy Kerr to George Bush, Michael Fox and Morgan Freeman and even Johnny Manziel both interesting and inspirational.
Gary Player Legends of Golf in Savannah, GA April 19, 2010                 Gary Player “The Black Knight”     Golf’s Man in Black has distinguished himself among The Big Three with his global approach to philanthropy. Founded in 1983 to address the needs of impoverished children living near his farm in South Africa, the Player Foundation has raised more than $50 million to help needy kids around the world. Six years ago it expanded into China’s Yunnan Province to help children with HIV-AIDS. An early advocate for fitness, Player does much more than participate in golf-event fundraisers: Not only does he visit schools, including the first one he established, he gets out to play in soccer games, participates in sports days and loves to sing and dance with the kids. In London he rode a bike from an impoverished school to 10 Downing Street to raise awareness of students’ needs.
To read more about those game changers like Arnold Palmer, Kristy Kerr, Johnny Manziel, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els who use high profiles to help the needy, go here.   Source : Golf Digest Picture : Keith Allison

What do Jimmy Fallon, Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan and YOU have in Common?

It is GOLF!   You all love getting away from your normal routine and competing against yourself or others, in a beautiful and natural environment of a golf course. The media has caught celebrities playing since 1933 when Clark gable was spotted playing golf with wife Carole Lombard at various California golf courses. Lombard & Gable                   Gable & Lombard And, since 1960 when the Bob Hope Classic was founded, (now called the Humana Challenge) movie stars, singers, politicians and non-golf sports celebrities have played golf to relax, to challenge themselves and to donate to worthy charities. I love one of Jimmy Fallon’s quotes in his June 2014 interview with Golf Digest Magazine where he says “We want to see people we love react to doing not so well when they are out of their element.” Michael Phelps recently sais “It’s the most humbling sport I’ve ever played in my whole life.” Michael Phelps               However, Wayne Gretzky has indicated that he loves that it’s a great family sport.  He and his wife and kids spend time together and enjoy being competitive with each other on the golf course. Gretszky Golf           Wayne Gretzky   My New Years wish is that you and your family and friends hit the links more than ever in 2015 and create long lasting memories! Sources : Golf Digest   pga.com  Craig Bestrom  Sam Weinman Pictures : flickr  Marco Pakoeningrat  Ken Lund  Steve Garfield  

Do you like the new or the old Pinehurst #2?

There was much talk about the “new” Pinehurst #2 when the USGA hosted back to back Men’s & Women’s US Opens.  Do you like the lush green courses we are all used to in the US, or do you think the time has come to recognize that water is a limited resource and we should conserve, thus making the courses more “brown”? Pinehurst #2               Here is Tim Gavrich’s view on the matter for golfvacationinsider.com  
This year’s back-to-back U.S. Opens were two of my favorites ever. Yes, Martin Kaymer sucked most of the drama out of things with his brilliant play–and Michelle Wie added a bit back–but for golf course architecture nerds like me, Pinehurst No. 2 was the star. Why? Because I’m down with brown. If you watched coverage of the men’s and/or women’s U.S. Opens, you probably noticed that Pinehurst No. 2 was a lot less green than in past years. Contrary to what we’ve grown accustomed to here in the USA, I think that’s a great thing. Let me explain: When Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw worked on Pinehurst No. 2 in 2010 and 2011, they were not adding their own marks to the course so much as peeling away the last few decades of architectural neglect that had compromised some of the brilliance of a course that Donald Ross spent the last third of his life refining. No. 2 had always had its trademark green complexes, where the putting surfaces often drop off on all sides to fairway chipping areas, but thick Bermuda rough and overwatering had slimmed the fairways down to a fraction of their intended size. Not only did Coore and Crenshaw remove more than 30 acres of rough—replacing it with the sandy scrub you saw—they cut the number of sprinkler heads in the fairways by more than half, despite dramatically increasing fairway acreage. That’s why you noticed the fairways were brown up the sides and only a pale green up the middle. That’s by design—the USGA’s, Coore and Crenshaw’s, and Donald Ross’. In other words, Pinehurst No. 2 now plays a lot more like the great links courses of Great Britain and Ireland, where golf was born. So why did so many golfers think Pinehurst looked “ugly” and “awful”? Blame Augusta National. Augusta is known as the most immaculately maintained golf course in the world. And it’s no wonder—they have the biggest maintenance budget of any golf course in the world by such a large margin it’s scary. And yet, many public course players and private club types demand that their courses emulate Augusta because they think that’s “how a golf course is supposed to look.” So superintendents have been commanded to overwater courses, producing excessively soft conditions that kill the opportunity for bump-and-run in favor of the much less interesting “flop-and-splat.” That’s no fun and, what’s worse, it’s expensive. In a world where water is going to be more and more important to conserve, golf courses that learn to live on less will thrive. Pinehurst No. 2 will be one of them, having cut their annual water usage from 55 million gallons pre-restoration to just 15 million gallons. Not only does this have both a positive financial and environmental impact, it allows golfers to play the type and variety of shots that makes the game so endlessly intriguing. Next month, the golf world will watch as another lovely blonde, Royal Liverpool Golf Club, hosts the Open Championship. Tiger Woods won the 2006 Open there during a summer drought when the entire course was browned out and the fairways were running almost as fast as the greens. Woods’ display of shotmaking that week was one of the best in history, as he cruised to a two-shot victory employing all sorts of punch and bump-and-run shots at the course known as Hoylake. Again, this is what I’d like to see more of here in North America. But what do you think? Do you enjoy courses that are a little brown on the edges, rather than green and lush throughout?
Source : golfvacationinsider.com   Tim Gavrich Pictures : Mike Renlund

Tom Wishon, the Father of American Clubfitting.

After I had read Tom Wishons book “In search of the perfect club”  I finally understood how complicated clubfitting is.  In the years I was a club pro in South Africa ( from 1966 to 1983) clubfitting was taking a student out on the range letting him hit a few balls and saying “You need a “R” Shaft and a D2 Swingweight.  If the student was very tall I would say “Lets add an inch”  That was as technical as I ever got.  Todays club fitters use sophisticated technology to measure club head speed, toe down, kick factor, smash factor, ball spin and launch angle, just to name a few of the measurements. Here is an insight into the Father of American Clubfitting, Tom Wishon done by golfdashblog.com Tom Wishon          
This months not so “Quick 9″ is with master clubmaker, Tom Wishon. Tom discusses club design, golf club myths, getting properly fitted, future technology and much more. You’ll learn a ton. I promise. I’m so thankful to Tom for agreeing to do is and put this important (and often VERY misunderstood) information out there for you. First: Who exactly is Tom Wishon? With more than 35 years of experience in the field, Tom Wishon Golf Technology is recognized as one of the industry leaders in the research of golf club design, performance and clubfitting technology. Our R&D has been at the forefront of the golf industry including the development of more than 50 golf club design technology firsts as well as countless discoveries in the science of golf club performance for golfers. Having begun his golf equipment career in 1972, Tom Wishon has designed over 300 original and innovative clubhead models, more than any other single person in the 500 year history of the game. His clubhead designs represent more than 50 different technology firsts. Tom Wishon is the only designer from the custom clubmaking side of the golf industry whose clubhead designs have been used to win on the PGA Tour, the Champions Senior Tour and in Ryder Cup competition. He has designed and custom built the golf clubs used in competition by Scott Verplank, Bruce Lietzke, Ben Crenshaw, as well as the last set of clubs played by Payne Stewart before his tragic accident in 1999. Tom is the also the author of 9 books within the field of golf club design, performance and clubfitting, in addition to hundreds of equipment related articles written for virtually every golf publication in the golf industry. As Terry McSweeney, Director of Communications for the PGA of America states, “Tom has the unique ability to communicate technical issues about golf equipment so non-technically minded people can easily understand and follow the subject” Two of Wishon’s books, The Search for the Perfect Golf Club and The Search for the Perfect Driver qualified for best-selling status and won successive Book of the Year awards in 2006 and 2007 from the International Network of Golf, the oldest and largest organization of golf industry media professionals in the world. Shortly after they were published, both books became a part of the curriculum for membership training in the PGA’s of Sweden, Great Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands. He is considered the ‘go-to guy’ by the equipment editors for many of the major consumer golf publications in their search for honest, marketing-free explanations about the technical performance of golf clubs. Jim Achenbach, equipment editory for Golfweek magazine has said, “Tom is the smartest person in the golf industry when it comes to golf clubs.” As Tom stated in making his decision to establish his own company in 2003: “I completely respect the product design work of the large golf equipment companies. But my three decades in golf club R&D has proven without question that the best set of golf clubs any golfer will ever play will be a set of professionally custom fit golf clubs, and not a set of standard made clubs simply bought off the shelf. I am committed to educating golfers about the tangible, game improvement benefits of being professionally custom fit because I know this is the only way any golfer can hope to play to the best of their ability and benefit the most from swing instruction.” Click here for the rest of the interview. Source : golfdashblog.com Picture: wishongolf.com  
 

The best 8 new courses built or renovated in 2014.

 

I think it is always fun and exciting to go out and discover new courses that you have never played.  Whether it is a golf course that has been on your bucket list for years or a course that has just recently opened, the thrill of stepping onto the first tee for your first round on a course is always an experience that jumps the heart rate up a few beats.

Medinah is #8 on the list.  Who is #1?

Here is the 2014 list prepared by Joe Passov of Golf.com

Medinah 2

#8 Medinah Country Club (Course One)

BEST U.S. PRIVATE RENOVATION: Honorable Mention Medinah Country Club (Course One), Medinah, Ill.

Always well respected but never in the same league as Medinah Course Three (its brawnier, Ryder Cup- and major championship-holding sibling), Course One has emerged from the shadows thanks to an inspired renovation by Tom Doak. With an original mandate to address flooding issues, Doak started work 13 hours after the Ryder Cup ended. He removed 770 trees and opened up the middle of the property for new holes that could be routed diagonally through the old corridors. That portion of the course is now open, in contrast to the previous narrow back-and-forth routing between the trees. Twelve of the 18 holes remain in the existing footprint, although they sport a completely new character and sequencing. What’s more, the club elected to add a mix of bluegrass rough and fescues, providing a more natural look to frame the fairways. Course Three will always be the torchbearer, but Course One is now a very worthy alternative.

To see the other 7 top new courses of 2014 click here

 Source: Golf.com  Joe Passov Pictures : flickr    Dan Perry

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
        CALEDONIA AND TRUE BLUE – BOTH COURSES ARE ON GOLF MAGAZINE’S “TOP 100 YOU CAN PLAY!)  
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