Friday, November 30

Baboon Crashes Nedbank Golf Challenge



DURING GOLF CHANNEL’S SECOND-ROUND COVERAGE of the Nedbank Golf Challenge on Friday, cameras spotted a baboon stealing food and hopping on a golf cart near the 15th green at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa.

The brazen primate broke from a small gallery of baboons near the 15th hole and unashamedly loped across the green. Where is the respect for the game, I ask?

Golf Channel’s weekend coverage of the Nedbank Golf Challenge continues on Saturday at 9 a.m. ET and Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET.

Thursday, November 29

An Exhaustive Resource on Long Putter Controversy

THETEESHEET.COM HAS COLLECTED QUOTED MATERIAL (The Long Putter Resource) on the ongoing long putter controversy, which now includes the new rule proposed by the R&A and USGA that bans anchoring. You’ll find what’s been publicly said by current players (including Champions Tour players), retired players, the governing bodies, the media and others. It’s considerable.

I found this candid quote from Johnny Miller:
“I was glad to be able to be away from the long putter because I had developed just a hint of guilt, maybe, in the back of my mind. The rules are cut-and-dried. It’s legal. But emotionally it may not be so black-and-white ... It was slightly embarrassing for me. I remember going into the officials’ room and showing them my putter and asking, ‘Is this thing legal by you?’”
I will see Johnny next week at Pebble Beach and expect to chat with him. I’ll probably ask him for his latest thoughts on the anchoring hubbub.

TheTeeSheet.com also includes this link to a New York Times blog that I found interesting:
A Short History of Long Putters

Did you know that a patent for a “body-pivot” putter was issued way back in 1965? I had no idea.

For the record, leaning toward being a golf traditionalist, I’m not in favor of anchoring. At the same time, this should have been addressed long ago. I know that’s certainly easy for me to say, but this horse has been out of the barn for more than a quarter century. I mean, c’mon governing bodies. Did you not envision the day that anchored-putting wizards would win majors?

Honestly, I’m already tired of this issue and, of course, we’ll be hearing about it for years to come. In the near term, however, it will be extremely interesting to find out more about how the PGA Tour will deal with the controversial new rule.

Wednesday, November 28

A New Day and Chart for Putting

“The only club in the bag specifically designed to get the ball in the cup is the putter. Why not learn it first?”
–Jack Burke Jr.

Or, if you’re a long- or belly-putter user, you might need to relearn it. It’s now official. As announced today by the R&A and USGA, the modern technique known as “anchoring” is in the process of being banned.

“The player's challenge is to control the movement of the entire club in striking the ball, and anchoring the club alters the nature of that challenge. Our conclusion is that the Rules of Golf should be amended to preserve the traditional character of the golf swing by eliminating the growing practice of anchoring the club.”
–Mike Davis, USGA Executive Director

Below is a chart on new Rule 14-1b. If it looks rather complicated, don’t worry. You have until January 1, 2016 to study it and learn it.

Learn more at USGA.org:
The R&A and USGA Announce Proposed Rules Change to Prohibit Anchored Strokes

Tuesday, November 27

The Road to Pebble Beach, Part 3

Editors note: I’m going to Pebble Beach next week for the Lexus Champions for Charity. I’m a guest and Lexus is sponsoring my trip. This is another installment in an ongoing series. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Pebble Beach Golf Links (Conway)
I STALLED ON THE ROAD TO PEBBLE Beach last week—at least in terms of preparation. That wasn’t surprising since it was a holiday week. I wasn’t expecting to hit balls or play or do anything else to ready myself for my early December trip to the Monterey Peninsula.

I also wasn’t expecting to have my first root canal, but I did on Tuesday. And just in time since we were on the road to Indiana on Wednesday for Thanksgiving with relatives.

Last Monday afternoon my tooth started hurting. It didn’t stop. I hardly slept that night, called my small-town dentist first thing on Tuesday morning and, quite fortunately, got an early afternoon appointment. The doc took a look and told the assistant, “I’m going in.” No kidding, he really said that. I’ve never been so thrilled to receive a novocaine shot.

On the drive to and from Indiana, all I did, from a golf standpoint, was look at any courses visible from I-64 and the other roads we traveled. I’m always impressed by those dedicated golfers out on chilly November days. That used to be me in a past lifetime.

I’ve managed to throw together a few outings to my local golf club over the last several weeks. I’ve hit balls and spent some time on the putting green. I’ve played 23 holes (two separate nine-hole rounds and a five-hole round). I’ve updated my equipment, thanks to my brother, and I’ve acquired a new travel bag. I’m about as ready for this golf trip as I can be. As I said in Part 1, I’ve played little golf this year, just a few rounds. That’s my reality.

Seven days and counting. We fly out of Charlotte next Wednesday.

TO BE CONTINUED.

Monday, November 26

Rory McIlroy, King of DP World and Golf World

Rory McIlroy
WITH A REMARKABLE SEASON-ENDING VICTORY at the DP World Tour Championship, Rory McIlroy walks off with five titles, including one major, an obscene amount of money (to reportedly soon include the Nike “lotto”) and all the acclaim the media can heap on his curly head.

So, I’m wondering at what point do we collectively say this guy is Tiger 2.0, or the next Jack Nicklaus? Not that anyone is in a big rush. Well, actually some people are, which is par for the course in our brave new media world.

Longtime observer Alistair Tait of Golfweek is extremely impressed.

“Rory McIlroy is right where he belongs,” Tait wrote after the world No. 1 wrapped up his latest conquest in Dubai, “in a league of his own. That’s the way it’s always been.”

Tait has watched Rory since the talented Irishman was 14. He had heard the hype about young McIlroy and wasn’t a true believer at the time, but he became one and can’t help but gush about golf’s new king. “What surprises me most about McIlroy’s climb to the top of the world pecking order is the way he has left others in his dust,” Tait said.

Another thing that sets Rory apart, noted Tait, is his approach to coaching. He has stuck with Michael Bannon from the beginning and takes an evolutionary approach to his golf swing, arguably the best natural golf swing to come along in a long time.

Tait also conceded that the media-hyped McIlroy-Woods rivalry “might just be a pipe dream.” Tiger might end up wheezing in Rory’s dust.

Are you ready to put Rory in the same exalted category as Tiger or Jack? Or even a Ben Hogan or Sam Snead?

I’m cautious about next-great proclamations. I think Rory is a great player, and can continue to be great, piling up majors—if there are no major slips or falls. But there is still a very long road ahead for this 23-year-old, no?

Friday, November 23

Donald, McIlroy Tied in Dubai

Luke Donald (Allison)
FIRST-ROUND LEADER LUKE DONALD, WORLD NO. 1 Rory McIlroy and Scot Marc Warren are tied at 133, 11-under par, at the halfway mark of the Dubai World Championship, the season-ending event on the European Tour.

After an opening 65, Donald shot a 68 on Friday. McIlroy and Warren have carded rounds of 66 and 67. Warren is ranked 189 in the world.

Branden Grace and Louis Oothuizen are one back at 134. Sergio Garcia tied the course record on Friday, shooting a 64.

Tuesday, November 20

The Road to Pebble Beach, Part 2

Editors note: I’m going to Pebble Beach in two weeks for the Lexus Champions for Charity. I’m a guest and Lexus is sponsoring my trip. This is another installment in an ongoing series. Read Part 1.

BESIDES A TOTALLY UNANTICIPATED WAY for me to fulfill my bucket-list item of playing Pebble Beach, what is the Lexus Champions for Charity?

I can tell you this much: It’s a sweet deal for people fortunate enough to earn the golf trip to the Monterey Peninsula by participating in Lexus charity events in their local communities. In addition to playing Pebble, there are also rounds at Spyglass Hill Golf Course and The Links at Spanish Bay.

More importantly, it’s a longtime charity event that has raised a lot of money for a lot of great causes for more than 20 years. Here’s a short description from the Lexus website:
The Lexus Champions for Charity is a series of golf tournaments hosted by Lexus dealerships in their communities to help support local charities. Lexus has been committed to this program since Lexus was established in 1989.

These tournaments give local golfers the opportunity to compete and raise money for their charity. They also have the opportunity to bid at the charity’s auction for a place in the National Championship event at the historic Pebble Beach Golf Links®.

On a nationwide basis, Lexus Champions for Charity has generated more than $200 million for charities through more than 3,800 events. Last year, more than 30,000 golfers participated in 190 Lexus Champions for Charity tournaments across the country.
That’s pretty impressive, actually.

Some of the well-known charity organizations the event has benefited through the years include Boys and Girls Club of America, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Ronald McDonald House Charities, American Diabetes Association, March of Dimes, American Cancer Society and the YMCA.

Johnny Miller will be there. So will Peter Jacobsen. I’m looking forward to meeting both of them.

TO BE CONTINUED.

Monday, November 19

Ol’ Man Jimenez Keeps On Rollin’ Along

Miguel Angel Jimenez became the oldest winner in the history of the European Tour. (SN#1)
By Brian Keogh
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF

Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.

HONG KONG OPEN WINNER MIGUEL ANGEL JIMENEZ jumped 39 spots to 59th in the world golf ranking as he replaced Des Smyth as the oldest winner in the history of the European Tour, beating the Drogheda man’s 2001 Madeira Islands Open record by 284 days to set the new mark at 48 years, 10 months and 13 days.

“Well, this is maybe the olive oil in my joints, and the nice Rioja wine and those things keep yourself fit and flexible, no?” JimĂ©nez said of the secret of his success.

“Well, the most important thing, I say I do what I like to do in my life, and golf has given me all of this pleasure. Winning now, as you say, the oldest winner on the Tour, 48, my goodness, 24 years I’ve been on the Tour, I’ve been around; next year will be the 25th.”

As for Hong Kong, he said: “This is a great place, and I love to come here every year. Since 2004, I haven’t missed a year. I like the city, and especially I like the golf course. It’s a golf course where length is not the most important thing. I just feel very comfortable out here, and that shows in my results.”

Smyth, who will be 60 in February, was seriously impressed by a win that leaves the Malaga man 11th in all-time list of European Tour winners with 19 wins.

“That’s my 11-year record down the drain,” Smyth joked on Sunday as Jimenez official became the oldest winner on tour. “It was good while it lasted but all good things come to an end and Miguel was fantastic.

“When I saw he was going well this week, I said, I think it’s going to go this time.

“I got up at about 7.30am and watched the last four or five holes. He played like a stallion. He played flawless golf and dropped two shots in the 72 holes and did drop a shot in his last 54 holes. You don’t get much better than that. He’s an incredible player.”

Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.

Friday, November 16

Paul Lawrie Reveals Hurt in ‘An Open Book’

Paul Lawrie (camflan)
IF YOU WON THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP and sipped your favorite beverage out of the Claret Jug, do you think you would ever live to regret it? Paul Lawrie has.

The 1999 Open winner triumphed over Jean van de Velde (who famously took a triple bogey on the final hole of regulation play) and Justin Leonard in a playoff at Carnoustie. Since then there have been times Lawrie wished he hadn’t won. He even suffered with depression three years after the major victory.

Martin Dempster of the Scotsman recently caught up with Lawrie as the golfer was promoting his new book, An Open Book:
“Understandably, the immediate focus, post-Open, was on van de Velde. I didn’t have a problem with that,” says Lawrie, who is signing copies of the book tonight in his home city. “But I did feel quite strongly that I should get some acclaim for playing so well on the last day and winning the play-off in, I felt, some style.

“I certainly felt [a] lack of respect and I can’t tell you how often I said to myself, over and over, ‘I wish I had never won that tournament’. I read a story recently and one of the comments on the website said that I was ‘one of the top-three worst major winners of all-time’. I thought that was harsh and it is disheartening to think people think that of me. But it is motivating, too. I’ll be trying very hard to become, in some minds at least, the worst-ever major winner in history.”
Add to that people constantly getting your name wrong.

Lawrie said his name has often been mispronounced to sound like “Lowry” in the United States, which has bothered him. And when the Open champion showed up at Buckingham Palace to receive an MBE for his services to golf, officials announced him as “Peter Lawrie,” the name of an Irish player who, at that time, wasn’t competing on the European Tour.

You can win the trophy, but winning the recognition can be another thing altogether.

(Visor tip: Global Golf Post)

Thursday, November 15

2012 CME Group Titleholders TV Schedule and Tournament Notes



THE 2012 CME GROUP TITLEHOLDERS, the LPGA Tour finale, is underway at the TwinEagles Club in Naples, Florida. Seventy-three players who qualified at 26 LPGA Tour events this season are in the field. Sun Young Yoo is the early leader after firing a 6-under 66. The first round is still in progress.

Purse: $1.5 million
Defending champion: Hee Young Park
Course: TwinEagles Club, Par 72

2012 CME Group Titleholders Leaderboard

Tournament overview
Final field
Pairings
Course information
Tournament news
CME Group Titleholders on Facebook

TV SCHEDULE

TV coverage of the 2012 CME Group Titleholders is on Golf Channel. All times ET.

Thu, Nov 15
1:30 PM-4:00 PM

Fri, Nov 16
1:30 PM-4:00 PM

Sat, Nov 17
1:30 PM-4:00 PM

Sun, Nov 18
1:30 PM-4:00 PM

(Image: Courtesy of LPGA.com)

Wednesday, November 14

Christina Kim’s Battle With Depression

Christina Kim (LPGA.com)
IT’S A TOUGH BUT WORTHWHILE READ. Raw, painful and frightening. In “Tears of a Clown” in the December issue of Golf Digest, Stina Sternberg writes about Christina Kim, the fun-loving LPGA Tour winner and Solheim Cup player, and her slide into depression.

It started with a back injury in the fall of 2010 that hampered her powerful ballstriking. Kim’s golf game suddenly went downhill, and, over time, so did her mental health.
Christina the jokester was disappearing as fast as the world-rankings points attached to her name. She struggled to make cuts, and thoughts of suicide crept into her head. “I’d be driving down the road and think, All I have to do is steer my car into the oncoming traffic, and I wouldn't have to go through this; I wouldn't have to deal with it.” But details like fearing for the person in the other car, or feeling bad about leaving her parents with her house payments, always stopped her.
Kim is doing better now. “Hopefully I can have a wonderful ending to this chapter and give hope to others,” she told Sternberg. John Daly also discusses his demons, therapy and recovery in the story.

I admire Kim for her courage, being so transparent in public about her struggles. I wish her the very best. Sure, on the golf course, but, more importantly, in her life.

(Visor tip: Geoff Shackelford)

Tuesday, November 13

The Road to Pebble Beach, Part 1

Pebble Beach Golf Links (Conway)
IMAGINE A GOLFER WHO RARELY played the game he wrote about. This particular person, a golf blogger and author, was so wrapped up with work, family and life that he habitually failed to get out to the golf course. At least that was the choice he made. He figured in a future golf season—or life season—he would get back to playing more than just a few times a year.

Then came the bucket-list invitation. A trip to the Monterey Peninsula to play Pebble Beach and perhaps Spyglass Hill, too. A chance to sit down and talk to Johnny Miller and Peter Jacobsen. And much, much more.

That person is me. I’m going to the Lexus Champions for Charity in a few weeks. I’m their guest. Lexus is sponsoring my trip. Boy, are they ever.

The golf clubs are out of the basement. I’ve hit some balls, played 14 holes, updated the equipment. Ready or not, here I come, Pebble. It’s taken me such a long time to get there.

TO BE CONTINUED.

In the meantime, the following is from the archives.

Be Mine, Pebble Beach

(Originally published on Valentines Day 2011.)

D.A. Points and Bill Murray won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Yeah, whatever.

The real question on this Valentine’s Day—and as I stared longingly at Pebble on my TV screen on Sunday—is this: When am I going to play America’s majestic golf sweetheart? When will Pebble Beach Golf Links be mine, if only for a day?

I had a goal. The goal was to play Pebble by my 40th birthday. I talked to my pop about it. He would be 70. I lived in Seattle. He lived in Southern California. We could meet in between on the Monterey Peninsula. It didn’t happen. Several birthdays have since passed. Now I live on the East Coast.

At the time, I could get my head around $250 green fees. Now Pebble is up to $495 for 18 holes, among the highest green fees in the galaxy. A caddie runs $75. The suggested gratuity is $50. On the other hand, you can ride a cart for only $35.

I realize my chances of playing Pebble are not improving. Distance and dough are coming between us. Maybe I need to rethink this item on my bucket list.

In an article at PGA.com, PGA professional Danny Elkins wrote, “Pebble Beach is the type of course that every golfer should aspire to visit. It’s not about your score when you play there, it’s more about the experience of playing there. The scenery and setting, the history and the challenge will last you a lifetime.”

I’m a sometimes golfer. So, yes, Danny, I still aspire to get there. I haven’t lost hope.

And if I do make it to Pebble, I promise, promise, promise I won’t spit on the greens—or anywhere else, for that matter. I’ll drool uncontrollably. And there’s a very good chance I’ll pee my pants. But I would never spit. ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Monday, November 12

The Tale of Charlie Beljan



CHARLIE BELJAN, THE MAN WHO SHOT 64 last Friday, and who thought he was going to die, and who was taken in an ambulance to the hospital, and who slept just one hour that night (wearing his golf shoes), he won the tournament on Sunday, by two shots, his first victory on the PGA Tour, which moved him into the top 125 on the money list, which means he will not have to go back to Q-School, but will instead go to Maui in January to play in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

The End

Saturday, November 10

Wounded Veterans Enjoy Irish Golf Nirvana (Conclusion)

Wounded warrior B.J. Jackson tees off at Ballybunion in Ireland. (Photo: Caroline Quinn)

By Kevin Markham
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF

Copyright © Kevin Markham. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

(This is the second of two parts. Read Part 1.)

THE DRIVE BEHIND THIS TRIP CAME when Linton Walsh, CEO of Golf Digest Irish Tours, encountered the Folds of Honor Foundation on a trip to the United States. He met Major Ed Pulido, US Army (Ret.), and Vice President in the foundation, which is an organisation set up to look after wounded servicemen, the education of their children, and the care of those whose parent or spouse did not make it home.

Walsh got to see a small part of the trauma that US veterans had to live with, following their war experiences in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. These men and women fought for their country and, quite literally put their bodies on the line, both for the United States and the free world—something greatly appreciated and respected by the Irish people. There were plenty of people against the wars, but not against the soldiers fighting them.

Once on Irish soil, the veterans were in much demand, with regular interviews and radio appearances. They made the front pages of newspapers and they were wined and dined by pubs, clubhouses and five-star hotels. It was an open-armed welcome as the Irish people took these wounded warriors to their hearts. I was honoured and lucky enough to meet a few of these remarkable figures at one of the world’s acclaimed links courses, towards the end of their trip.

I watched Lieutenant Colonel Carolyn Fota hitting her way slowly and methodically down The European Club’s 3rd fairway. Carolyn has been playing golf for a year and it forms part of the rehabilitation process following a traumatic brain injury she received after being hit in the head with a rifle butt, in Haiti.

Marine Sergeant Tim Lang lost his right leg and had his back broken in four places following a bomb blast in Iraq that threw him 75 feet into the air, while Danielle Green was awarded a Purple Heart for bravery after helping her fellow soldiers despite having her arm blown off by a rocket-propelled grenade on a rooftop in Iraq. Reading deeper into their stories is truly inspiring as well as heart-wrenching. But here, in Ireland, they were playing a game they had been encouraged to take up to help them find some peace and recuperation.

I discovered later that after only four years playing the game, Tim Lang is an 8-handicapper as well as a long drive champion, regularly hitting drives over 300 yards. If that isn’t inspiring, I don’t know what is.

When I asked them for their favourite course, Old Head of Kinsale took the honors, but they were also keen to stress what a great time they’d had in Ireland, and how wonderfully friendly the people had been.

Linton Walsh summed it up from the Irish perspective:

“You can talk about the warmth of an Irish welcome all you want, but this takes it to a whole new level. There is such genuine concern for these brave service members and their families; it makes me very proud to be Irish.”

Kevin Markham is the author of Hooked: An Amateur’s Guide to the Golf Courses of Ireland and writes about Irish golf courses at his blog.

Thursday, November 8

Wounded Veterans Enjoy Irish Golf Nirvana

By Kevin Markham
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF

Copyright © Kevin Markham. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Tim Lang (Markham)
“WHAT’S MY LINE?” TIM LANG ASKED ME as we stood on the 5th tee box at The European Club, in County Wicklow.

I asked him how far he was hitting the ball.

“Into this wind, about 270,” he replied.

I pointed to a distant spot and took a photograph as he bombed it to the exact point I had shown him.

It’s not something you expect from a one-legged man who had his back broken in four places. But that is the determination and inspiring story of a group of 11 wounded US servicemen and women, who found themselves enjoying some of Ireland’s finest hospitality in October.

It started out as a simple public relations campaign to the United States of America for a new luxury golf travel company, but it snowballed into what might well be one of the biggest golfing publicity coups that Ireland has ever seen.

Linton Walsh, CEO of Golf Digest Irish Tours, was visiting the US to promote the company. By the time he’d finished, 11 seriously injured US servicemen and women, along with family members, were on their way to Ireland to play some of the island’s best golf courses.

Some 40 Irish travel organisations ensured that flights, accommodations, green fees, balls, clubs, clothing and a whole lot more, were complementary for everyone. On offer was some remarkable Irish hospitality, not to mention October weather that saw golf played in almost constant sunshine. Add in 10 top courses, including Royal County Down, Old Head of Kinsale, Ballybunion, Tralee, Waterville and The European, and it doesn’t get much better than that.

Golf odyssey aside, there was a deeper purpose behind the trip: one that is both inspiring and heart-warming. The objective was to give these servicemen and women, and their families, two weeks away from the stress of their daily lives.

“I realised that a golf trip to some of the greatest, most spectacular courses in the world would not only showcase Ireland and its warm and welcoming people, but would also highlight the game of golf as totally inclusive, regardless of age, ability, or disability,” said Walsh.

TO BE CONTINUED.

Kevin Markham is the author of Hooked: An Amateur’s Guide to the Golf Courses of Ireland and writes about Irish golf courses at his blog.

Wednesday, November 7

4.5 Stars: Golfmagic.com Reviews ‘THE LONGEST SHOT’

ANOTHER REVIEW OF MY NEW GOLF BOOK from the eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean is in. Golfmagic.com, a top UK golf website and community, has published a review of THE LONGEST SHOT: Jack Fleck, Ben Hogan, and Pro Golf’s Greatest Upset at the 1955 U.S. Open.

Giving THE LONGEST SHOT 4.5 stars out of 5, Golfmagic.com called the story “a fascinating insight into an improbable champion.”

Following are excerpts from their review and write-up:
The result of expert research and analysis from golf blogger Neil Sagebiel, THE LONGEST SHOT tells the fascinating tale of Jack Fleck—a journeyman club pro who beat Ben Hogan in a playoff at the 1955 US Open, still regarded as the biggest upset in golf history. Golfmagic has read the book and we thoroughly enjoyed it....

[The book] also gives a fascinating insight into Hogan’s character, avoiding death by inches in a [1949] car crash to become one of the game’s great icons....

For many reasons the book is particularly poignant.
Golfmagic.com also wrote “more images would be nice.” I understand and agree. (This was my first book. There were circumstances and constraints that prevented me from putting together a better photo insert.) Golfmagic.com also said “but the author’s imaginative narrative more than makes up for it.”

I hope you’ll consider picking up and reading THE LONGEST SHOT. Please also tell others.

Book Availability

For those of you in the United Kingdom, Golfmagic.com is holding a book giveaway. It’s actually a fun and creative competition. Find out more

THE LONGEST SHOT is also available on Amazon UK. Or, in the United States, you can pick it up at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and elsewhere. More information, reviews and links are in the right-hand sidebar.

Tuesday, November 6

Top 10 Presidential Golf Clubs

LINKSMAGAZINE.COM HAS PUBLISHED AN ELECTION DAY article by Tom Cunneff. “The Top 10 Presidential Golf Clubs” lists the exclusive clubs where U.S. presidents have played through the years.

“Bipartisanship might be at an all-time low,” writes Cunneff, “but golf is one sport that both Democrats and Republicans can get behind.”

Definitely true. As Cunneff points out, 15 of the last 18 presidents were golfers. While all were adept in politics, their golf skills varied greatly. Most, actually, were hackers.

Following are the golf clubs and the president(s) who played them.

1. Augusta National Golf Club
Augusta, GA (Dwight Eisenhower)

2. Baltusrol Golf Club
Springfield, NJ (Richard Nixon)

3. Burning Tree Club
Bethesda, MD (Richard Nixon)

4. Cape Arundel Golf Club
Kennebunkport, ME (George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton)

5. Congressional Golf Club
Bethesda, MD (Calvin Coolidge, William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Bill Clinton)

6. Cypress Point Golf Club
Pebble Beach, CA (John F. Kennedy)

7. Indian Wells Country Club
Indian Wells, CA (Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton)

8. Los Angeles Country Club
Los Angeles, CA (Ronald Reagan)

9. The Courses at Andrews
Andrews AFB, MD (Dwight Eisenhower, Barack Obama)

10. Trump National Golf Club 
Briarcliff Manor, NY (Bill Clinton)

Mitt Romney doesn’t play golf.

Monday, November 5

Tom Lehman Wins One for Jim Flick

Jim Flick, 1930-2012.
JIM FLICK, THE LEGENDARY GOLF INSTRUCTOR who died on Monday at the age of 82 after battling pancreatic cancer, had three words for one of his pupils a day earlier: Be Tom Lehman.

Lehman then went out and played his best golf when he needed it most. His final-round 65 gave him a 22-under total and a remarkable double victory: the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship and the season-long Charles Schwab Cup points race, with Lehman slipping by Bernhard Langer on the final weekend.

John Schwarb of PGATour.com wrote:
Lehman couldnt get away from the memories of two-plus decades with Flick, though he tried to push them to the back of his mind while competing.

The now-seven-time Champions Tour winner first contacted Flick in 1990 while on the Hogan (now Web.com) Tour, looking for help on his wedges. Flick, having no idea who Lehman was, first called pros Andrew Magee and John Adams to see if the Minnesotan was worth his time. Yes, fellow pros told Flick, he was worth spending some time with.

So they did over Flick’s lunch hour, kicking off a long and fruitful relationship. Lehman went on to win five times on the PGA TOUR, including the 1996 British Open.

Lehman remembers many times wearing out the back of the range at the Renegade Course at Desert Mountain, where Flick was the longtime PGA teaching pro.
This past week the Champions Tour star burned up the par-70 Desert Mountain Cochise Course. In addition to the closing 65, Lehman had rounds of 68, 63 and 62. He went 47 holes without a bogey.

The last hole, Lehman said, I know that he was probably watching today. I felt quite certain that that was probably the last driver he was ever going to see me hit and I wanted to make it a good one. And the last 7-iron he will ever see me hit, and I wanted to make that a good one.

They were both very good ones. So was Flick, who also coached Jack Nicklaus, and who spent his final Sunday telling a student to believe in himself.

Friday, November 2

Secrets to Playing Exclusive U.S. Golf Courses

By Dan Croop
Golf Vacation Insider


I WANT TO INTRODUCE YOU to a free guide to getting on private top-100 golf courses. You can find it on a website that has information on everything from golf vacations to course tips. It’s called “Secrets to Playing America’s Top-100 Golf Courses” from Golf Vacation Insider.

Cypress Point: Impossible to get on? Hardly. (ryascolot)
Golf Vacation Insider is a great source for lots of valuable golf knowledge in various fields. Managing editor Craig Better is a golf travel veteran who has contributed to many publications, from Golf Magazine to Travel and Leisure Golf.

Few people realize there are ways of playing every top-100 golf course in America— even the so-called “fortress” clubs like Augusta National, Pine Valley, Cypress Point, and Seminole—without a member connection.

For example, at Cypress Point (ranked 2nd by Golf Magazine and 5th by Golf Digest), you merely need to know a club employee. Everyone from the cooks in the kitchen to the pros in the shop are allowed to bring one guest per month. Better explains that while this is still a long shot, the ultra-exclusivity of Cypress Point and a handful of others is actually the exception, not the rule. In fact, once you look beyond the top-5 or so courses, a lot more opportunities open up.

For example, “Secrets to Playing America’s Top-100 Golf Courses” explains that you can often play Michigan’s Crystal Downs Country Club (ranked 12th by Golf Magazine and Golf Digest) by first playing the nearby Kinglsey Club, which welcomes visitors.

“Secrets to Playing America’s Top-100 Golf Courses” combines Golf Magazine’s and Golf Digest’s lists of America’s top-100 golf courses. With a lot of research completed on different ways to get on their courses, you won’t be thinking about giving up on playing your dream course.

There is an extensive list of charity outings at top-100 private courses. It covers more than half of the courses on the top-100 list. Many more of the private courses can be played by using one or more strategies from their “21 Secrets” in the back of the guide. For the remaining few courses, which are public courses and resorts, they include insider tips learned first-hand by visiting and playing those courses.

Golf Vacation Insider also publishes guides to many destinations, which include researched and tested discount options, exact course details and experience on them, where to stay (or where not to), and other important details that you may not realize you need to know before booking a vacation.

Check out Golf Vacation Insider and sign up for the free email tips. They aren’t daily, so they won’t bombard your inbox. They will be worth your time.

Thursday, November 1

VIDEO: Tom Lehman on Long Putter Controversy



(Note: Long putter talk begins at about the one-minute mark in video.)

TOM LEHMAN HAS PUTTED WITH THE SHORT putter, the long putter and, currently, is back to the short putter. Lehman says, for himself, there’s not a dramatic difference; it just depends on how he’s rolling the ball. Sometimes a change helps.

As for other tour players and the expected ban by the USGA and The R&A, Lehman starts out sounding diplomatic. But then he stakes out a position:

“The horses are way out of the barn by now. How do you call them back in? I’m personally not in favor of outlawing. I don’t think it makes that big of difference.”

What do you think? Ban anchoring or not? Or ban it for pros only and leave the poor amateurs alone?

From a pure spectator standpoint, I could enjoy the ban just to see how the anchoring boys adapted. I think it would be fun to watch. Is that wrong?