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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

10 Things We Love About The Game Of Golf (Part 1 - The First 5)

This is our 100th post of 2010 and it's time for a little reflection about the great game of golf. What makes it so great? Why do we play? What do we really love about this infuriating game? Here's our Top 10. Let us know what you would add to the list...

1. Playing with friends. What other game allows you to spend a few hours in the company of great people. It's ideal for business to develop new relationships and foster existing ones and there is nowhere like the golf course for seeing someones real personality.

2. A Game for the Whole Family. Boys, girls, even grandma. All are welcome and with golf handicaps all can play a game together and on any given day anyone can win. Did you ever try and play tennis against someone who is way better than you? It's no fun for either of you, even with a 5-0 start!

3. The Rules. Respect them and play what is in the rule book. That said, if everyone agrees, play laterals, give putts...have fun! We're not on Tour!

4. Playing Ready Golf. Hit it, walk after it, find it and hit it again. That's the way to play the game. The obsession in American golf with putting everything has got to stop. Play matchplay - it's more fun and quicker!

4. The Equipment. We are serious equipment junkies - Scotty Cameron putters, Roger Cleveland (for Callaway) Wedges, Jan Craig headcovers, Mackenzie leather golf bags  and more, much more! We love it all!

5. The Venues. Is there any doubt that the best golf courses are the premier venues in all of sports. The view from the 16th tee at Cypress, the atmosphere on the 1st tee at Merion, the ocean on the 18th at Pebble, the amazing vista on the 11th tee at Pacific Dunes.."nuff said!

* and yes, that is the 10th hole on one of the Top 10 in the World, The Old Course at Sunningdale, Surrey, England.

Part 2 (the next 5 to follow shortly)

Friday, October 22, 2010

ANNIKA - The hardest working non-golfer in the business

We thought Annika Sorenstam had retired? You know, living in Florida with her feet up watching the ocean waves roll in. That couldn't be further from the truth as she circumnavigates the world this month promoting her businesses, speaking at conferences, accepting awards, promoting fitness for kids through her foundation and also looking after her toddler, Ava! She is one busy lady. You can read the latest ANNIKA e-News here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

5 Great Holiday Gifts - For Golfers

What do you mean... for golfers - isn't this a golf site? Well, these are actual golf gifts that will be appreciated by the golfer in your life - not the sponge ball cleaner, the combination spike mark/shoe horn/groove cleaner, you know the ones I'm talking about. Those are well meaning gifts that no real golfer would be seen dead with on the first tee. Here are five great gifts that you will actually want. My advice - leave the blog open on your computer, forward to your significant other, tweet it, FB it, anything you like to get it into the hands of whoever is buying you a gift this holiday season.

1. Tin Cup. Okay, fair warning, they are a client. That said, this is one of the coolest customizable golf gifts out there. The Tin Cup ball marker allows each player to mark their own ball with a unique design. The website has about 50 standard designs available immediately or you can get a custom cup made with your initials or company logo - customs take about 3 weeks and really makes a big impression!

2. Scotty Cameron Headcovers. Pure golfers use Scotty Cameron putters and real golf geeks (including me!) collect the putters AND the headcovers. Scotty releases about 10 different covers each year and they come in many colors to match your golf bag. The best place to find them is on ebay - Scotty's site is almost always out of stock of the really cool stuff - it goes fast.

3. Anything from Iliac Golf. You think I like headcovers! It's true and Iliac make the best classic leather headcovers. They come in a myriad of colors and are 100% totally retro and very cool. The owner of Iliac, Bert Lamar is a former professional skateboarder and most of Iliac's products are RAD. His 2011 range is beautifully handcrafted and contemporary but with a classic twist. You can see them here.

4. Dream Golf by Stephen Goodwin. This is the updated version of the book that includes the Old Macdonald back story that led to the creation of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort's fourth course. Mike Keiser changed the face of golf in America with his amazing foresight to build Bandon - here's the true story behind the best golf resort in the world. Buy it here.

5. Joshua C F Smith Golf Course Prints. Josh is one of the foremost golf landscape artists in the US. His work adorns many Top 100 clubhouses and his prints on canvas and fine art paper are now available in limited editions. His courses include Pebble, Bandon, Ballyneal and Royal County Down and are priced from $225. You can see them here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Fall Vanish, I mean Finish

Is there anyone out there? Watching golf that is. NFL is in Week 6, the baseball season is in the real playoffs and the PGA Tour is at the Fry's.com Open. Don't get me wrong I love the Fry's Electronic stores AND I love professional golf, I just wonder how many people are actually tuning in to watch the end of the golf season and a bunch of guys trying to keep their cards for 2011. Having been the manager of players in that very position I understand the need for this season ending torment (for the players grappling for Top 125) - one just has to wonder about the value the sponsor gets from the TV package that is an integral part of the sponsorship buy. The Pro-Am is therefore even more critical for the sponsoring company to entertain clients - this week they have 2 Pro-Ams, which is telling.
Messrs Finchem and the 76 VPs are in a tough position - they need to provide these season ending events - it's just a shame no one is watching.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pinehurst - Great town, Great golf

No town in America says "Golf" quite like Pinehurst in North Carolina. About 4 1/2 hours from Washington D.C it is a must for any serious golfer. A group of us have just returned from playing in and around Golf Town, USA.
If you are looking for the best deal in town stay at the Pine Crest Inn. Once owned by renowned golf architect Donald Ross it is a haven for all things golf. The bar is frequented by locals and gets pretty rowdy on a Saturday night, but that's all part of the fun of the place. The old tradition of chipping into the fireplace continues, albeit with a new astroturf version to preserve the picture above the fireplace that was regularly in need of reframing.
Breakfast and dinner are included in the golfers package and represent incredible value, particularly when compared to the overpriced and understaffed Pinehurst Resort that sits 500 yards away. The Pine Crest's Pork Chop is the stuff of legend. Right up there with the hamburger at The Tap Room at Pebble Beach (in CA), the milkshakes at Castle Pines (in CO) and the meat loaf at Mckee's Pub at Bandon (in OR).
We played at 4 courses and the unanimous group vote was

1. Dormie Club - Crenshaw and Coore's latest private club - tough to get on but call everyone you know to try and experience golf as it is meant to be. Exceptional.
2. Pine Needles - Designed by Donald Ross and wonderfully restored by John Fought it is a must play.
3. Tobacco Road - Designed by Mike Strantz it is "Sand Hills golf on LSD" It's crazy, fun, maddening but one of the most enjoyable golf courses you will ever play. I guarantee you have never seen anything like it. Now, if only they could get those rangers to do their job and kick people off who can't play golf. 
4. Mid Pines - Also owned by the Bell family (like Pine Needles) it's clear where the budget is allocated and that's to Needles, not Pines. That said it's a very playable, though somewhat mundane layout and when we played had suffered from the summer of 2010.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Charles Blair tells it how it is....

"Viewing the monstrosities created on many modern golf courses which are a travesty on Nature, no golfer can but shudder for the soul of golf. It would seem that in this striving after ‘novelty and innovation,’ many builders of golf courses believe they are elevating the game. But what a sad contemplation!"

What a wonderful quote from the great Charles Blair Macdonald, considered by many to be the father of American Golf Architecture. Is he talking about Ryder Cup venues, Celtic Manor or The Centenary Course at Gleneagles, the simply awful venue for the next RC in Europe. No, he died in 1939, but he sure saw it coming!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tin Cup E-News Published Today - with Free Shipping Code

We published the October Tin Cup e-News today. You can read it here. Included is a coupon code that you can use for free shipping on 2 or more Tin Cups. The code is FREESTC and you can use it on the Tin Cup site to save $5.95. It's a great time to start the Christmas shopping!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Ryder Cup: Drama until the end

Well, we reached the finish line. And what an end it was with the Cup eventually going to the Euros by a single point. Mahan was beside himself at the press conference, but he isn't to blame for the defeat - his was just one point amongst many that could have been won by the US. As for his duffed chip, I would defy anyone reading this to even hit the ball under that pressure. I have been at several Ryder Cups representing team members and they make it look easy, but their heart rates are double the norm and they still get it done 95% of the time...remarkable.
After PlaneGate, (when the US plane left 3 caddies short), RainSuitGate, (when Sun Mountain weren't able to produce a rain suit that lived up to its name), and finally BagGate, (when the Belding bags let in water) all will be forgiven after a superb ending to the match. It is interesting to note that the Europeans didn't seem to have any wardrobe malfunctions - only the Americans. I wonder why that was?
No doubt the TV viewing figures were decimated by the 3 a.m starts on cable stations, but it didn't stop me or I'm sure many others switching on the coffee maker early and then flipping through all sorts of nonsense before finding USA Network. Johnny Miller was on form and by that I mean upsetting as many people as possible, including his suggestion that if Phil couldn't chip and putt he would play like a SoCal used car salesman - Phil was not amused and his win today was one in the eye for Johnny.
Watching golf in the US still requires an inordinate amount of patience after decades of watching golf on the BBC with no ads. The producers here have their favorites, like Tiger and they insist on showing more putting than actual golf shots, which is painful. Also, with an ad break seemingly every 5 minutes, it's tough to get into the flow of the game. Golf shot, putt, putt, ad, putt, putt, ad is not the way to watch our great game.
An epic 3 day event forcibly spread over 4 days with so many great story lines and wonderful golf. We couldn't have wished for more.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Calling George Costanza...white courtesy phone

Do you remember when George Costanza had the brilliant idea to outfits the Yankees in cotton uniforms? (if you don't then you are either very young or missed one of the classic Seinfeld episodes) Well, Captain Pavin and The Captainess followed George's lead and made a pretty awful decision with their choice of baseball style rain suits made by Sun Mountain. Sun Mountain make great golf bags...Rainsuits, not so much.
So, not only are the SM suits ugly, they don't do the one thing that a rain suit needs to do - keep out the rain! The picture show the new ProQuip jacket that the PGA of America bought from the Merchandise Tent as a replacement. I really like the European Flag on the sleeve, as I'm sure will the US team. The weather continues to rain on the Welsh Tourism Board's parade, which is a real shame, but at least it has provided a great story.