Tuesday, December 11

Golf Central: Golf's Biggest Disappointment in 2018

I LIKE TO KEEP IT MOSTLY POSITIVE, but this clip caught my eye.

Matt Adams and Geoff Shackelford share their biggest disappointment in golf this year. I'm with Matt on this one.

Friday, December 7

The Golf Ball Guide: Golf Ball Construction

GOLF BALLS CONSIST OF A CORE, in some cases layering, and always a cover with dimples.

© Incursion Voyages
Often made of rubber, the core determines compression rating, which is expressed as a number such as 74, 88, or 105. (A denser core has higher compression.) The higher the number, the more force that’s required to compress (squash) the golf ball at impact. As a result, high-compression golf balls are normally used by golfers with faster swing speeds. Lower-compression golf balls are preferable for golfers with slower swing speeds, making it easier to compress the ball and generate more distance.

Located between the core and the cover, layers (found in multi-piece golf balls) add playability features such as spin, distance control and accuracy.

Golf ball covers are made of ionomer (a polymer material containing ion) or urethane (a synthetic compound). Created by Dupont and known for its durability, Surlyn® has been a popular ionomer golf ball cover for a half century. Urethane covers are used in premium golf balls and are often favored by golfers who value softer feel and more spin.

The dimples on golf balls help create flight. Varying in shape and pattern—and usually numbering 300 and up per golf ball—dimples affect spin rate, distance and accuracy.

Put simply, think of the core as the engine of the golf ball and the dimples as the wings, as a Titleist senior project manager explained.


The Golf Ball Guide: Introduction

Tuesday, December 4

Joe Passov to Receive ASGCA Donald Ross Award

Award-winning golf writer has had more than 2,000 articles published in nearly 100 publications in North America, the U.K. and Asia

BROOKFIELD, Wis. – Joe Passov, Golf Writers Association of America-award winning golf journalist, has been chosen as the 2019 recipient of the ASGCA Donald Ross Award. The award, given annually since 1976, is presented to a person who has made a significant contribution to the game of golf and the profession of golf course architecture. It will be presented to Passov in May as part of the 2019 ASGCA Annual Meeting in Phoenix-Scottsdale, Arizona.

"Joe is among a small group of true golf writers--in contrast to the scores of golf critics--who are communicating about golf courses today. He's the rare journalist who understands the history, culture and strategy of the game and is producing thoughtful pieces that help the golfing public understand what golf course architects do," said ASGCA President Jeff Blume. "Joe's insight and creativity stand out in today's quick-hitting news cycle, and ASGCA wants to recognize his commitment to his craft."

Passov specializes in writing about golf travel and golf course architecture. He has researched and written more than 300 articles on classic courses and architects, including features on Alister MacKenzie, A.W. Tillinghast, Perry Maxwell and of course, Donald Ross. He has interviewed nearly every top modern architect, and has had the pleasure of teeing it up with more than 40 ASGCA members. Perhaps best known for his popular "Travelin' Joe" and "Eye on Design" columns in GOLF Magazine, Passov has had more than 2,000 articles published in nearly 100 publications in North America, the U.K. and Asia.

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of LINKS Magazine and prior to that appointment, a senior staff editor at three other major national golf publications, Passov has written about golf and related topics for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Sports Illustrated and Men's Health, among other publications. He has also served as Contributing Editor at Golf Travel China and Golf Travel Korea.

Passov graduated from the University of Arizona in 1984 and received his law degree from the University of Nebraska in 1988. He lives in Cave Creek, Arizona, with his wife Betsy, whose favorite courses are Cypress Point and Ballybunion. Passov's sister Lori is married to fellow Arizonan Ken Kavanaugh, ASGCA.

The Donald Ross Award is presented by the ASGCA Awards Committee, co-chaired by ASGCA Past Presidents Steve Smyers, ASGCA, and Rees Jones, ASGCA Fellow (the 2013 Donald Ross Award recipient). For more information on ASGCA, visit www.asgca.org, call (262) 786-5960 or e-mail info@asgca.org.

Past Donald Ross Award Recipients
2018    President George Herbert Walker Bush, U.S. president
2017    Alice Dye, ASGCA Fellow, golf course architect
2016    Michael Bamberger, golf writer
2015    Bradley S. Klein, golf writer
2014    Maj. Dan Rooney, founder, Folds of Honor Foundation
2013    Rees Jones, ASGCA, golf course architect
2012    Bill Kubly, golf course builder
2011    James Dodson, golf writer/editor
2010    Tim Finchem, PGA Tour Commissioner
2009    Ron Dodson, sustainable golf advocate
2008    George Peper, golf writer
2007    Dr. Michael Hurdzan, ASGCA, golf course architect
2006    Jim Awtrey, chief executive officer, PGA of America
2005    John Singleton, irrigation pioneer
2004    Thomas Cousins, philanthropist, urban golf developer     
2003    Bill Campbell, president, USGA, captain, Royal & Ancient Golf Club
2002    Byron Nelson, professional golfer
2001    Jack Nicklaus, ASGCA, professional golfer, golf course architect
2000    Jaime Ortiz-Patino, owner and president, Valderrama Golf Club
1999    Arnold Palmer, professional golfer
1998    Judy Bell, president, USGA
1997    Gene Sarazen, professional golfer
1996    Ron Whitten, golf writer
1995    Pete Dye, ASGCA, golf course architect
1994    James R. Watson, agronomist
1993    Brent Wadsworth, golf course builder
1992    Paul Fullmer, ASGCA executive secretary
1991    Michael Bonallack, secretary, Royal & Ancient Golf Club
1990    John Zoller, executive director, Northern California Golf Association
1989    Dick Taylor, editor, Golf World magazine
1988    Frank Hannigan, executive director, USGA
1987    Charles Price, writer, Golf World magazine
1986    Deane Beman, commissioner, PGA Tour
1985    Peter Dobereiner, London Observer columnist, author
1984    Dinah Shore, sponsor of women’s golf tournaments
1983    Al Radko, director, USGA Green Section
1982    Geoffrey Cornish, ASGCA, golf course architect, historian
1981    James Rhodes, governor of Ohio
1980    Gerald Micklem, captain, Royal & Ancient
1979    Joe Dey, executive director, USGA
1978    Herb and Joe Graffis, founders, National Golf Foundation
1977    Herbert Warren Wind, The New Yorker columnist, author
1976    Robert Trent Jones, ASGCA, ASGCA founding member

Saturday, December 1

The Golf Ball Guide: An Introduction

THE GOLF BALL IS THAT ONE INDISPENSABLE piece of equipment needed to play this joyous and maddening game.

© Incursion Voyages
Through the centuries this small ball has undergone dramatic changes in size, construction and performance. And the golf ball has likely generated more talk and emotional outbursts while airborne or rolling than any other ball in any other sport.

Today, for golfers of all abilities, the golf ball is game-improvement equipment. That's right, the golf ball can actually make you better. There are golf balls that can fit your swing speed and match your skill level, helping you minimize your weaknesses and maximize your potential.

Modern golf balls, measuring 1.68 inches in diameter and weighing 1.62 ounces, can be broken into two basic groups. The first group are golf balls that produce less spin and go farther and straighter for the less-skilled golfer. The second group are golf balls that spin more for greater control, geared for the more-skilled golfer.

Distance-oriented golf balls typically have a firmer feel. Spin-oriented golf balls usually have a softer feel.

There are also differences in trajectory. Some balls fly higher. Some lower.

Due to ongoing advancements, there are now many performance variations in golf balls, no matter how they're grouped or categorized. This is great news for anyone who plays golf.

Next time: Golf Ball Construction

Thursday, November 29

Happy 91st Birthday to Vin Scully and Scully Golf Anecdotes from Golf Digest's Mike O'Malley


It's easy to forget that the longtime Dodgers announcer also anchored golf broadcasts for CBS Sports. Golf Digest Executive Editor Mike O'Malley shared these Scully anecdotes.

Tuesday, November 27

VIDEO: The Highly Unorthodox Winning Golf Swing of Ho-sung Choi

I DOUBT IF ANYONE WOULD TEACH the golf swing of Ho-sung Choi. But that doesn't mean it's not highly effective. Choi won on the Japan Golf Tour and his unique action has gone viral, in a golf sense.

I'm not sure what to say about it. Let me just say that Choi has flair. He is a golf ... artist?

Others on social media said ...

"Walking through is always better than falling back"

"All that matters is where the club is at impact. Hope for all duffers"

"Dude stole my swing and won with it"

Monday, November 26

The Match Doesn't Deliver


The only thing I really wanted to know was who won, Tiger or Phil.

We all know Mickelson won on the 22nd hole. Now Lefty will have some measure of satisfaction that he beat the greatest of his generation in a head-to-head, made-for-TV match. And, as he made clear, Phil will needle Tiger about it for the rest of their days.

But what was in it, this hyper-marketed match, for the rest of us, that being the golf world and viewing public?

Not much, according to the reports I've read and skimmed. The aging titans played like aging titans. The banter wasn't that interesting, or was drowned out by the broadcast team. The pay-per-view technology was apparently a shank.

The Match had some people fondly reminiscing about the Skins Game, which died a natural death about a decade ago. The Skins Game was telecast over the Thanksgiving weekend and had some memorable moments, both of the tense and fun variety.

A week ago Golf Digest published "11 things you probably don't remember about the Skins Game."

One of those 11 things: the Skins Game was a ratings hit, as Golf Digest reported:
The Skins Game didn't just promise big bucks, it delivered big TV ratings. In fact, it was the highest-rated televised golf tournament in 1986. Yep, even higher than a certain sixth green jacket win by a certain Golden Bear that year at the Masters. And for its first 10 years of existence, the Skins Game's average weekend rating (5.65) topped that of the U.S. Open during that time. Why was this the case? Well, getting superstars to participate—Was that 1983 foursome of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Tom Watson any good?—was a start. But yes, there was also the money, which leads us to …
The Match is over and I'll give golf credit for trying something new. But in the end I think this was mostly about Phil. After all, it was his idea. There may be some redemption for him in beating Tiger Woods, something for his "mantle."

For the rest of us, not much.

Monday, November 19

VIDEO: Charles Howell III Ends Long Winless Drought at RSM Classic in Georgia

AT THE RSM CLASSIC AT SEA ISLAND RESORT in St. Simons Island, Georgia, Charles Howell III shot a final-round 67 to finish 19 under and get into a sudden-death playoff with Patrick Rodgers. Howell III defeated Rodgers on the second playoff hole.

His third PGA Tour victory ended a winless drought of more than a decade.

"Sometimes you wonder, well, maybe you just don't have it in you," Howell III said. "Maybe today is just not the day. More than likely I won't be winning the golf tournament."

He added, "Quite honestly, I didn't know if I would ever win one again. I had come up short so many times."

A runner-up 16 times on tour, this time he got it done. Howell III sank a 15-footer to win the playoff, then fought back tears and hugged his wife and kids.