Sunday, April 20, 2014

Lots of Twitter Love for Michelle Wie's Hawaii Win from Fellow LPGAers

There was a time when Michelle Wie was strongly disliked - resented might be the better word - by golfers on the LPGA. At least those who didn't know her well. Those who took the time to talk to the young Michelle in her days as a teen phenom - players like Natalie Gulbis, Beth Daniel and Meg Mallon - always had nice things to say about her. But Wie was often followed by controversy (most of it manufactured by others) in those early years, and it hurt her with the LPGA rank-and-file.

But that was a long time ago. Wie has long since become one of the most popular players on tour with her peers, who respect her friendliness, her sense of humor, her respect for fans and the way she interacts with fans, and all the hard work she puts in trying to get better at golf.

The fondness so many on the LPGA have acquired for Wie is obvious in the Twitter reactions by fellow players after Wie's win in the 2014 Lotte Championship. Here is a sampling:

Friday, April 18, 2014

Golf Balls Raining Down on Small Airport

Here's something weird: A small airport in Carter County, Tennessee, has recently encountered a mysterious problem: a plague of golf balls. Golf balls started showing up on the airport property, including the tarmac, only within the past month. They've found up to 100 of them. Where are they coming from? The closest golf course or driving range is seven miles away!

The report from WJHL-TV states:

To ensure the safety of employees and travelers, officials conduct daily inspections, and several times this month they've found golf balls scattered across the runway. Tuesday was no exception.

"Over the last 30 days we have been finding golf balls," said Dan Cogan.

Cogan is not at a local golf course, he's about seven miles away at the Elizabethton Municipal Airport.

"Four different occasions we found golf balls out there and the total is well over 100 golf balls," Cogan said.

Cogan is the airport manager. He said they're finding the golf balls along the east end runway, where planes take off and land.

There's a golfer in Tennessee who needs to stop being a dumbass.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Drape Yourself In Balls with this Golf-Themed Onesie

Do you like to immerse yourself in golf? Now you can do it even when relaxing at home. And you don't even have to wear clothes! But you do have to wear the golf ball-themed onesie pictured at left.

It's the Classic Zooop Fleece Golf onesie from a company called Zooop It Up! They are makers of "luxury adult onesies."

The product page on the Zooop It Up! website suggests "Wear anywhere: beach, dancing, poker games ..." But hey, why not wear it to a golf course that doesn't have a dress code! Or at least wear it on your couch as you watch golf on TV.

The Zooop Golf Onesie is 80-percent cotton/20-percent polyester; it is hooded and footless; it has two front pouch pockets and two zippered pockets. And it's fleece.

"This ZOOOP iT UP Classic ZOOOP onesie unisex fit is perfect for him or her. Your search for the Ultimate Comfy Wear ends now. Once you've put on your ZOOOP you'll never want to part from it!"

So says the company. And who are we to argue? I want one, and if I get one I plan on blogging in it.

View the website

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fun History Note about Patrick Reed

Patrick Reed has three wins in 51 starts on the PGA Tour. But none of those starts have come in a major championship. Reed won't make his debut in a major until the 2014 Masters.

Is there anything unusual about that - about having so many wins before you've played in a major? Yes. Quoting a PGA Tour email:

Patrick Reed is believed to be the first player with three PGA TOUR wins before his first major championship appearance since Sam Snead won three times (1936 West Virginia Close Pro, 1937 Oakland Open, 1937 Bing Crosby Pro-Am) prior making his major debut at the 1937 Masters. Reed has played in 51 TOUR events entering this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard but has yet to compete in a major.

Monday, March 10, 2014

This Is One of the Coolest Golf Trick Shots Ever

These are just a couple kids at the driving range one night, and they manage to pull off a fantastic trick shot. And it only takes 8 seconds:

"Oh my gosh, that was cool," one of them says. And he's right!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Would You Eat a Divot for $500? Two Idiots on 'Wahlburgers' Did

Have you seen the A&E show Wahlburgers? It's a "reality" TV show following the Wahlberg family - which, of course, includes Donnie Wahlberg and Mark Wahlberg - as they expand their burger restaurant beyond Boston. It airs on A&E.

In a recent episode Mark took a bunch of his pals to the golf course. That scene began ominously with Donnie telling viewers that Mark likes to pay people to eat disgusting stuff. Sure enough, on the golf course Mark begins collecting large, thick divots.

After the round, he offers two of his golfing companions $500 if they eat one of those divots. Actually, it's a race - he who eats the divot, and finishes first, wins Mark's $500. So these poor schmoes plop their divots between two buns (one of them adds Dijon mustard) and dig in.

Here is the setup:

And here they are actually chowing down their "divot burgers":

Disgusting. Would you eat a divot for $500? I wouldn't. I guess these two guys were either desperate to be on TV or desperate for $500 ... or both!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

10 Great Golf Etiquette Tips from the TPC Network

I think all golf etiquette boils down to this: Don't be a jerk. Whatever seems rude, obnoxious, inconsiderate on the golf course - whether in relation to other golfers or in relation to your effect on the golf course itself - should be avoided. Keep that in mind, and your golf etiquette is unlikely to be questioned.

There are plenty of circumstances that are specific to the game of golf, though, with which newbies might not be familiar. So the TPC Network recently surveyed its head pros for good golf etiquette tips. You could do far worse in summarizing golf etiquette than in quoting the resulting Top 10 list:

1. “Play from the tee box where you'll have the best chance for success. Don't be shy or embarrassed. Playing the ‘tips’ when your ability level isn't suited for them will be frustrating not only to you, but to those around you as well.” – Rob Nader, TPC San Antonio

2. “There is no need to rush shots – efficient play consists of getting ready to hit every shot without wasting time. Take several clubs to your ball and hit a provisional ball if you feel you need to.” – Brian Riddle, TPC Sawgrass

3. “Respect your playing partners; talking and playing music at an appropriate volume should be taken into consideration. Ask others in your group if music is welcome. Players should always be aware that it relaxes some and disturbs others. These distractions could not only delay your group but also the play of all other golfers behind you.” – Michaelyn Bradford, TPC Southwind / Jim Calhoun, TPC Craig Ranch

4. “Silence your cell phone. Nothing is more of a nuisance to a golfer than a ringing phone while in mid-swing. In some cases calls are unavoidable; if one needs to be answered – or made – do so away from the group.” – Tom Smith, TPC Harding Park

5. “Allow staff to do their job, including carrying clubs, giving out information, etc. The great majority of people want to do their job well and they take pride in their work. Let them make your time on the course enjoyable.” – Greg Wolf, TPC Scottsdale

6. “Always be aware of your pace and never be the slowest player in the group. The best way to remedy slow play is to play ‘ready golf’: be prepared to play your shot when it's your turn – whether you're on the tee, fairway or green.” – Brian Long, TPC Louisiana

7. “Always take care of the course you're playing. Repair your ball mark and at least one other on the green, replace divots (or fill divots with seed mix if supplied), and rake bunkers after every shot. Care of the course will make the round much more enjoyable for the golfers behind you. Also, if you have decided to pick up or not play a hole, speed up play by taking it upon yourself to rake bunkers for others playing the hole.” – Andy Stoterau, TPC Deere Run

8. “Presentation is key on the course. Take pride in your appearance. Arriving with a shirt un-tucked, hat turned backwards or attire meant for jogging is no way to dress on the golf course. A golfer's attire or appearance leaves a lasting impression – make certain it's a positive one.” – Chris Weinhold, TPC Twin Cities

9. “Observe the good habits of seasoned golfers. Those that play often will know when it's their turn to play a shot, where to stand when others are hitting, and how to take care of the course throughout the round. Following their lead and learning from them will form good habits for the less experienced golfer.” – Mike Messner, TPC Summerlin

10. “Always enter and exit bunkers at the lowest point, never climbing the face of a bunker. Although it’s very temping to jump in, every bunker is shaped in a manner specific to its course; if the sand is dis-positioned it could alter the lay of the course.” – David Corrado, TPC Boston

Friday, February 28, 2014

Check out the Bear Trace's Eagle Cam for Real Birdies

Hey, golfers, want to enjoy some birdies? Then check out the beautiful bald eagles viewable every day thanks to a Tennessee golf course's "eagle cam."

Back in 2010, a pair of bald eagles - since named Eloise and Elliot - showed up at the Bear Trace at Harrison Bay golf course in Harrison, Tenn., and built a nest. They've been there ever since. The first aim of course superintendent Paul Carter, after he noticed the eagles, was to figure out how best to protect the birds, which are, after all, our nation's symbol. And his second thought was, "how can I show off these magnificent creatures?"

He turned for advice to the USGA Green Section, and a story on USGA.org details how Carter and the USGA combined their heads to both protect the birds and to allow people to watch the pair. That article notes:

Carter and his staff wanted to get a closer look at the nesting activities of Elliot and Eloise and also share it with the public. The USGA echoed Carter’s enthusiasm when asked for help with the project.

“It was an absolute no-brainer from our end,” said Jim Moore, the director of education for the Green Section. “We’ve been interested in birds on golf courses for a long time, so it was an easy decision. Every penny has been worth it.”

Carter and his staff installed a camera in the tree in 2011 and provided a live Internet feed at harrisonbayeaglecam.org. After receiving positive feedback the first three years, Carter wanted to give Elliot and Eloise’s fans a better viewing experience this year.

Again with the USGA’s assistance, Carter was able to install a pan/tilt/zoom camera to follow the eagles outside of the nest and zoom in on the eggs, as well as a microphone to pick up their verbalizations and infrared capabilities to observe them at night.

And right now is an exciting time for the eagles: chicks are expected soon. I checked in on the webcam just before writing this and Eloise (I assume - they aren't wearing nametags) was sitting on eggs while making adjustments to her nest. Eggs are expected to begin hatching sometime around March 11, the USGA says.

How can you check out the eagle cam? Well, we've embedded it right here:

If the player above isn't working for you, go to harrisonbayeaglecam.org.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Behold the New Sport of 'Footgolf'

What other kinds of golf are there, besides real golf? Well, there's miniature golf. There's frisbee, or disc, golf. There's something called Power Play Golf. And now there's footgolf. I just heard of footgolf thanks to a post by Golf Digest, which notes that "instead of golf balls and clubs, there are soccer balls, and extra big holes to accommodate them."

That's really all you need to know about how to play footgolf: It's exactly the same as golf in most ways - you start play from the teeing ground, propel your ball down the fairway, toward a green, and into a hole; it uses golf rules and can be played on either a real golf course (with much larger holes cut on or adjacent to the greens) or a purpose-built course. The larger cups are obviously needed to accommodate a soccer ball.

The website of the American FootGolf League says this about it sports' genesis:

FootGolf does not "compete" with Golf. FootGolf does not "compete" with Soccer. FootGolf can be as fun or as competitive as you want.

FootGolf is a game on its own and it has been played since forever around the world in farms, parks or streets, under different names and rules. As a sport, it is played on golf courses and is regulated worldwide by the FIFG. The first tournament was organized in Europe in 2009 and it was introduced in North America by the American FootGolf League in 2011.

As of today, the American FootGolf League has established and accredited 66 FootGolf Courses throughout the Continent.

The AFGL pitches footgolf as a second income source for traditional golf courses, noting that the 21-inch cups can be cut in areas of rough adjacent to the regulation golf green, rather than on the green itself. That saves golf courses from having to close holes to golfers in order to accommodate footgolfers.

A map on the AFGL website shows there are currently 60 golf courses in the United States that allow footgolf, three in Canada, two in Mexico and one in Puerto Rico.

The world footgolf governing body - FIFG (Federation for International FootGolf) - was established only 2012. FIFG shows that footgolf is represented by country organizations such as the AFGL throughout western Europe and also in Australia, South Africa and some South American countries.

In other words, footgolf is a very young sport that is already surprisingly available, and is already - surprisingly - having some success in getting traditional golf courses to set up footgolf "cups" on or next to their greens.

Here's a Trans World Sport report on footgolf:

The advantage to footgolf is obvious: It requires nothing but a soccer ball. That makes it much more affordable than real golf to play. Things like this make me wonder if the real threat to traditional golf is not from competing sports or unrelated activities, but rather from alternate versions of golf itself.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bigz and Smallz

Here's the photo of the day, taken at the LPGA's HSBC Women's Champions pro-am party:

That's Karrie Webb and Michelle Wie. And Karrie is not a short woman - she's 5-foot-7. It's just Michelle is tall, and is wearing high heels. Check out the hashtag Karrie used when tweeting the pic: