Fun Facts About Golf

I decided to dig up some interesting and fun facts about golf. With all the record breaking plays lately on Tour I wanted to check out a little bit more about golf’s history. Also I recently learned that August is National Golf Month, that’s right this whole month is dedicated to the game we all love…Golf.

  • Originally golf balls were stuffed with feathers. The tighter packed the feathers, the further the ball would fly. This type of ball was used until 1848.
  • Golf was banned in Scotland from 1457 to 1502 to ensure citizens wouldn’t waste time when preparing for the English invasion.
  • Between 1990 and 2003, developers built more than 3,000 new golf courses in the United States, bringing the total to about 16,000.
  • There are 336 dimples on a regulation golf ball. A dimpled golf ball can travel up to four times farther than smooth-surfaced golf balls.
  • The term birdie comes from an American named Ab Smith. While playing in 1899, he played what he descried as a “bird of a shot”, which became “birdie” over time.
  • Tiger Woods made his first ace at the age of eight years old
  • When golf was first played professionally there were only 13 rules. Now there are 34.
  • There are currently 2 golf balls sitting on the moon.
  • About 25% of golfers are women.
  • The world’s highest golf course is the Tactu Golf Club in Morococha, Peru, which sits 14,335 feet above sea level at its lowest point.
  • The odds of making a hole-in-one are 3,000 to 1 for a tour pro, 5,000 to 1 for a low-handicapper and 12,000 to 1 for an average player. (According to a study by Golf Digest in 2000)
  • The youngest player to score a hole-in-one was Jake Paine in 2001; he was 3 and aced a 65-yard hole in Lake, Forest California.
  • 1947 was the first televised golfing event at the U.S. Open in St. Louis.
  • The most expensive course to play a round of golf at is Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, Nevada with a price tag of $500 per round.
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It Feels Like Golf Christmas in July (August)

First Adams showed us their new Speedline Driver the 9088 UL, another addition to their lightweight crew. Then Ping did a phenomenal job with their Twitter announcement of the G20 series. Then TaylorMade let their CEO introduce the R11 irons, the final piece to their R11 series. All these manufacturers have announced these clubs in the past few months. Is it just me or does it feel like Christmas in July(August)? Either way I think those golf manufactures have had just kept us golfers going drooling over new equipment at the peak of the season. With the last major right around the corner and Tiger Woods back in the game I think it has us golf nuts a bit in the buying mood or at least in the looking mood. Any of you readers buy any new clubs lately? It’s a great time to get some of those clubs that were brought out last year, have now been price dropped, if you get any newsletters from any of those online golf retailers I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Either way it’s great to see what new technology manufacturers are bringing to the table to try and help us golfers who can use all the technology we can get our hands on to help our game.

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Weekend Golf Glory

With all the Tiger Woods news it was hard to remember that there was actually a PGA tournament going on this weekend. Just in case you haven’t turned on the TV to a sports channel since Thursday, Tiger Woods announced that he would be returning to competitive golf. If you remember the last time he played he walked off the Player Championship with an injured knee and achilles tendon. Stating he wouldn’t play again until he was completely healed, he says he is ready to come back to his game. So we can expect a lot of Tiger talk leading up to the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

If you did catch a bit of golf this weekend ( it was finally sunny here so I must admit I took advantage of the good weather a played a few rounds) Scott Stallings made his first PGA tournament win at the Greenbrier Classic in a playoff. Big news Yani Tseng at the young age of 22 won her 5th major (impressive I know) while she defended her title at the Women’s British Open. Of Course now everyone is compering her to Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam. So far she has done just fine with all the pressure though. A big next 2 weeks in PGA tournaments this week WCG-Bridgestone and next week is the last major of the year the PGA Championship. Then I will have officially concluded my first year of covering all the PGA Tour major tournaments, let me tell you so far none of them have disappointed me yet.

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Ping 2012 Golf Clubs

Hopefully some of you were able to join or catch a few snipits of Ping’s 2012 sales meeting. In a great marketing move they live tweeted the entire meeting, including live video, pictures, and a branded hashtag to follow #PING2012. From what I can tell from the information they gave us consumers it’s going to be a pretty impressive line up.

First they took a look at the new G20 driver. An interesting new design element for this driver is the external weighting pad that will optimize the drivers launch conditions for better balance and lower spin. The driver is made from an improved Titanium material that has a ratio of Ti 8-1-1. This accounts for better clubhead strength and a more manageable weight ratio. The new shape for the clubhead is a more aerodynamic and balanced than it’s predecessor. You can expect this golf club to hit retail stores August, 11.

The G20 hybrids were next on the discussion plate. The improvements here were a few design changes that made the clubhead a more compact shape. Also, the topline has been flattened along with increasing the bounce and sole camber.

The G20 irons were crafted with all types of golfers in mind regardless of their handicap. A fun new feature is their multi-material badge on the back cavity. They also enhanced the hosel transition to help capture the golf ball better.

The Anser line up was next. First they discussed the Anser milled wedges. Specifically designed to compliment the current line of Anser forged irons made from 8620 soft steel. Reinforced with a cavity design and stabilizing bar. The new Anser putters series lines up with their 3 stroke categories found on their iPing app. Offering 7 different models for the new season they have got a putter for every golfers stroke. They didn’t lie when they said something for everyone; one model has serious alignment help while another has an extremely high MOI design.

The Scottsdale Series of putters actually got a new upgrade as well; added 7 new models to the series. Each putter is incorporated with a thermoplastic elastomer insert (someone must have had fun naming that one) that adds a softer feel to the putter.

All in all looks like a great line up, I don’t think Ping club fans will be disappointed with all the new changes. If you want to check out the complete summary of the meeting check it out here.

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Iconic Golfers

Inspired by a thread on The Sand Trap entitled “Iconic Tour Player”. I thought it might be fun to list a few of the highlights from this thread. A while ago I did a post on Golf’s Heroes but this is a fun spin on that.

  • Miguel Ange Jimenez: golf shoes and cigars
  • Tiger’s Sunday outfit: red shirt and black slacks
  • Anthony Kim: belt buckles 
  • Greg Normans: ugly hats
  • Gary Player: all black ensembles
  • John Daly: outrageous pants
  • Robert Garrigus: tiny putter
  • Adam Scott: made belly putters cool
  • Bubba Watson: unconventional swing
  • Phil Mickelson: unusual equipment tinkering: carrying two drivers in his bag and carrying no drivers in his bag
  • Rickie Fowler: monochromatic orange outfits
Any players you think should be added to the list and what makes them iconic ? (the term iconic being used very loosely here obviously Fowler is not really an iconic player-well maybe for his fashion taste I suppose). 
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Darren Clarke 2011 Open Championship Winner

Great weekend and end to the 140th Open Championship. Darren Clarke found his first major victory in his 20th attempt at this tournament. This also marks the 3rd major championship win for a player from Northern Ireland in the past 2 years (Graeme McDowell 2010 U.S. Open, Rory McIlroy 2011 U.S. Open). Clarke’s extraordinary consistency at the Royal St George Golf Club was really what saved his game. While the weather wasn’t very consistent an excuse other players used as their folly. Clarke finished 3 strokes ahead of Americans Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson to win 5 under 275.

Many people didn’t think an American would be anywhere in contention for the win leading up to the Open but they didn’t give up. With six players in the top 10 they almost break the loosing streak for American players at a major. Let’s not forget about Tom Watson’s incredible playing at the age of 61 he was in contention by the end of Saturday but ended up at T22. Phil Mickelson who usually has a tough time on links courses managed to have a better grasp on this year’s Open, only his putting seemed to be a little off. Dustin Johnson had his third regretfully tough major failure and Fowler finally had a Top 5 finish at a major.

The win went to an extremely deserving player and I’m glad to see he finally found a victory his 20th try (guess the saying try, try, try again is definitely true).  Did you expect to see an American win?

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A Tale of Two Toms

If your name was Tom you were having an excellent day at today’s Open Championship. The two co-leaders after the first round of this historic major was Thomas Bjorn and amateur golfer Tom Lewis. Fun fact about Tom Lewis was that he was actually named after his playing partner Tom Watson. He said he was just thrilled to be able to play with his namesake but I bet you he was pretty ecstatic to see his name at T1 on the leaderboard at Royal St. George.

Tom Lewis already has a victory at Royal St. George, he won the 2009 British Boys title there. This may have added to his knowledge and confidence of a course his has already concurred. Of course this Open Championship is on a much much larger scale with an extremely talented field of player vying to take him off the top of the leader-board. Lewis’ final score for the day was 5 under 65 which made his score the lowest score in the Open history by an amateur to share/have the lead. Unlike Lewis, Bjorn is a seasoned pro at 40 years old he was wondering how much longer he could compete at this high of a level.

Whatever happens tomorrow it was a great opening round for a major which I didn’t think was getting enough buzz prior to today. Maybe it was because there was no Tiger but I sure hope that wasn’t the case. In any case it was a great start to what I know will be a great winner. Any dark horse picks going into the weekend? Who thinks Lewis has what it takes to stay at the top of the leaderboard?

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British Open Week

This week we embark to the British Open so let’s take a look back at where this tournament started. First played in 1860 at Prestwick Golf Clubs in Scotland it marked the 3rd of 4 annual major championships to be played in golf.

What’s neat about this tournament is it’s the only major played outside of U.S. Ever since it’s induction to the golf schedule it has been hosted by various courses and won by some very surprising players. One of the most surprising was the Ben Curtis an American who won the tournament the last time the Royal St. Georges course hosted the Open Championship. It was his first appearance to any major championship. He was ranked 396th in the world going into the tournament and came out with winning and moved to the 35th position (highest move in history of OWGR). This year people are just as skeptical of an American winning even Hank Haney doesn’t think that the field of American players have the talent this year.

Here’s a List of The Most Recent Champions
2010: Louis Oothuiven, St. Andrews
2009: Stewart Cink, Turnberry
2008: Padraig Harrington, Royal Birkdale
2007: Padraig Harrington, Carnoustie
2006: Tiger Woods, Hoylake
2005: Tiger Woods, St. Andrews
2004: Todd Hamilton, Royal Troon
2003: Ben Curtis, Royal St. Georges
2002: Ernie Els, Muirfield
2001: David Duval, Royal Lytham and St. Annes
2000: Tiger Woods, St. Andrews

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A 1st Time Winner and A Guy Who Really Likes John Deere’s

Today marked the final round for the LPGA U.S. Women’s Open. During the playoff round it was South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu who defeated Hee Kyung Seo by 3 shots in the 3-hole playoff to win the U.S. Women’s Open. She is now the 5th South Korean to win the Open and the 4th in the last 7 years. Enduring through storm delays it was a great showing of women’s golf.

Steve Stricker showed golfers he really likes his tractors, well at least John Deere’s. Finishing out the John Deere Classic he picked up his 3rd consecutive win at the tournament, Steve had a roller coast win going from birdies to bogeys on the back nine. He finished with an incredible bunker shot and putt to give him a one stroke victory over 23 year old Kyle Stanley. Don’t feel too sorry for Stanley just yet his 2nd place finish earned him a spot in the British Open. This was Strickers 2nd win this season adding to his career highs.

It’s time for another major this week! The British Open is all set to start Thursday and they have already posted the pairs pairing for the first round. We will get to see McIlroy play for the first time since his unbelievable win at this year’s U.S. Open. He will be paired with Ernie Els and Rickie Fowler. Defending champion Louis Oothuizen will be paired with Phil Mickelson and Martin Kaymer.

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Are Golfers Getting Too Old?

(Story originally published by the author on The Golf Writers)

With the recent withdrawals from some of golf’s most prominent members due to injuries it only begs the question: Are golfers getting too old? The golf world was up in arms when Tiger decided not to play at the U.S. Open due to his nagging knee injury and an Achilles tendon issue. They were even more up in arms when he stated he wouldn’t be playing in the British Open, further showing that he’s not the young Tiger who bounces back from injuries any more.

This weeks John Deere Classic will not see two prominent players on the field due to injuries.  Robert Garrigus withdrew stating a bad back as the issue while David Toms blamed a bad hip. On the upside Garrigus is getting help from another players injury. After Thomas Levet took a celebratory jump into the lake after his victory at the French Open and broke his shin Garrigus will be his replacement in the field at the British Open.

Any golfer knows that the sport is tough both mentally and physically. It can eventually take its toll on your health, which is inevitable in any sport. For this years Tour players it’s merely opening up the field to a number of younger players ready to make their mark in golf history. Players like Rory McIlroy who proved he was ready to take on golf’s best winning the US Open by record proportions.

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