Celebrating 22 Years in the west, Now iN the Northwest! • www.golfTodayNw.com • Number 2 • april 2009
Bend’s New Golf Resort Community
A World Apart, Just 4 Miles From Downtown Bend — See Page 19
InsIde ThIs Issue
Seattle Golf Show ImpreSSeS • mount SI Golf CourSe how Golf Saved Ben wItter’S lIfe they don’t make ‘em lIke they uSed to! the Golfer’S GuIde to fItneSS • CluBGlIder StealS the Show and muCh, muCh more
“Helping people receive more enjoyment from the game of golf” www.hiltongolfacademy.com
Hilton Golf Academy - Starting at $999* per person! “Playing Weekend” golf school for 2 people. Package includes: • Two days of personalized instruction with afternoon playing lessons • Three rounds of golf • Three nights' suite accommodations • Food and beverage: three breakfasts, two lunches • Adidas® golf shirt and a pair of Adidas Golf Shoes • Hilton Golf Experience Instructional Manual • Mention Special Code: GTNW • 1-800-945-6478
*Rates are per person based on double occupancy. Rates vary depending on location. Offer is valid through December 31, 2009 and based on availability. Minimum of 2 people must register together to receive this offer. Offer is not valid to groups of more than 8 people.
2 GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
You don’t have to wear a kilt to book a tee time. If you haven’t yet experienced Tetherow Golf Club in Bend, it’s time to tee off. You’ll feel like you’re in the Scottish Highlands a this phenomenal course that is receiving nation recognition from Golfweek Magazine, T&L Golf, Links Magazine, and more. Ranked as the #1 Best New Course of the Year by Golf Magazine for 2008, Tetherow is Oregon’s shining star to golf enthusiasts. It is the creation of David McLay Kidd, who is also the design mastermind behind Bandon Dunes and the Castle Course at St. Andrews. Come take a swing at Oregon’s high desert terrain. Your tee time is waiting.
#1 Best New Course You Can Play for 2008 Golf Magazine
One of The Top New Courses In The Country Golfweek Magazine 2007- 2008
Top 10 New Courses In The Country T&L Golf
Links Magazine Premier Properties 2008 - 2009
Audubon International Certified Signature Sanctuary Audubon International
FOR TEE TIMES AT TE THEROW GOLF CLUB CALL:
877-298- CLUB (2582) HOMESITE INFORMATION 866.234.4848 • TE THEROW.COM THE GOLF COURSE AT TETHEROW HAS BEEN CERTIFIED AS A SIGNATURE SANCTUARY BY AUDUBON INTERNATIONAL.
WARNING: THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF REAL ESTATE HAS NOT INSPECTED, EXAMINED, OR QUALIFIED THIS OFFERING. No federal agency has judged the merits of value, if any, of this property. Access to amenities may be subject to payment of fees, membership requirements and other restrictions.
GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
Put yourself in this picture this May!
For only $1,495 per player you get... • • • • •
All the golf you can play in a week Your own condo in a gated community Sun - Fun & Camaraderie Spas - Pools - Restaurants 5-day Tournament
• Over $20,000 in COOL prizes! • Saturday Horse Race & lots of daily competitions • “Little Break” Skills Challenge • Sunday Mixer Competition
ACT NOW! Only 10 team spots remain You will play and enjoy these great courses. (From upper left) - PGA WEST™ Norman Course, La Quinta Dunes, PGA WEST™ Stadium, La Quinta Mountain.
All of this at the world-renown La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA WEST™ Championship golf courses!
un Golf Vacations
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206.285.2899 • owe n @PNWGT.com F u l l i t i n e rary at pnwgt.com 221 1st Ave West - Suite 400, Seattle, WA 98119
4 GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
Palm Springs Golf Fling May 2-8, 2009
GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
talking technology We have been working with the Nickent Evolver driver for three months now. In that time, over 200 Golf Lab customers have tested it with every shaft you can think of. It has proven to be a good performer on the course – and an exceptional performer for helping players figure out what shaft suits them best. n A Golf Lab Driver Fitting will determine the best shaft weight, flex, length, and overal flex profile. There will probably be several shafts that could be “the one.” The only way you can know for sure is to take the Evolver to the course and hit the balls you normally hit, side by side with your current driver. n Then, in a minute, you swap shafts so you know exactly how the Rombax compares to the Fubuki and the Matrix Altus. The only way you can know that for sure is to only change one variable at a time. With the Evolver, that’s the head. n We offer extended trial programs. You can test any combination of shafts – two at a time for up to 30 days. Swap all you want. Test different lofts with different shafts. If you really want to find the shaft that absolutely, positively is best for you, that’s the way to do it. Month long Evolver testing sequence: $150.
The Very Best Shaft Fitting System
Once in a while a company emerges as an “ovemight success.” That’s just what happened with Miura. They became an overnight success because they’ve manufactured forged irons in Japan since 1957. n The Miura forging process is complicated and painstaking. Their attention to detail is beyond any company that we know of. Their head weights are precise and their finishes are pertect. n Your set of Miuras – completely decked out with a premium shaft, set to flex, swingweight and SST PUREd – is $220 per club. Where else can you buy the best in the world for such a price?
Miura – Forged Classics
6 GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
Jesse Ortiz has designed custom golf clubs his whole life – learning from his father Lou Ortiz at Orlimar Golf – where he first shaped persimmon woods by hand. n Today, Jesse is the head designer at Bobby Jones Golf – located in Hayward, California. His designs are unique – driver, fairways and utilities all in natural organic shapes. You can recognize a JesseOrtiz design a mile away. n In 2008, partnering with Dave Pelz, Jesse designed a set of wedges based on the theory that maximum spin shouldn’t wear off in a week. Bobby Jones wedges come in multiple bounce angles in 52, 56, 60 and 64 degree lofts. n If you’re interested in testing any Bobby Jones clubs paired up with high performance shafts that are not available stock – or in custom lengths with custom grips you can do that at the Golf Lab. For a limited time, check out a complete set of Bobby Jones wedges for a weekend to see for yourself how they can help bring down your own score on your own course. No charge but a reservation is required.
Bobby Jones Golf – A Bay Area Legacy
Recession Strategies: Brand New 2008 – $1800 “Near New” 2009 – $599
Here’s an example of the great custom clubs you can buy at the Golf Lab that can’t be beat for quality and value: last year, a brand new set of Bridgestone J-33 cavity backs sold for $110 per dub at “street price.” If you wanted to deck them out with high performance Graphite Design GAT shafts that would cost you another $90 per club for the upgrade. That was a great set of clubs for $1800. n In 2009 you can buy that exact same set of clubs—we bought the heads on eBay with a few scratches and that’s the only difference. The GAT shafts are brand new—the ultra premium iron shaft now being discontinued by Graphite Design. We were able to buy the “Iast of the breed” for a bargain price. n Passing the savings along, we’ll build out a set of lightly used Bridgestone J-33’s with GAT shafts for $599. You can have them SST PUREd™ for $30 each. If you can find a better set of custom irons, you should buy that set. If you can’t, buy this one. Also available: Mizuno, Miura, MacGregor, Adams, Tour Stage and KZG at similar savings.
Free Fittings At The Golf Lab
Get The Clubs You Want For The Clubs You Have
Juniors: The Golf Lab has built a great record working with juniors. Golf Lab custom clubs have helped juniors win multiple AJGA titles and the San Francisco City. Our mission is to help juniors get started right. All fittings for juniors are always free. Appointment is required. n BEGinnErs: And why not help beginners get started right as well? Most beginners buy their clubs in a “bubble pack” that they never open. It’s more important for beginners to get a first set that helps them learn and helps them get to the next level. In addition to free fittings, we offer starter sets from $199. There’s no reason for a beginner to buy their first set of clubs at Costco. n CountErwEiGhts: The easiest way to improve your distance and consistency with the clubs you already have is to re-balance them with counterweights—located at the top of the shaft under your hands. We use the Balance-Certified Stabilizer with your driver and fairways and the Tour Lock counterweights with your irons. A fitting is required to determine the weight that performs the best. For a limited time, counterweight fittings are free. Appointment required: (650) 493-1770.
Don’t let your old golf clubs waste away in your garage until they’re worthless. Sell them on eBay. We handle the transaction for you and you get immediate credit to buy the custom clubs that will be fun to play. If you want to know what your clubs are worth, log into eBay and search for your model. Then, click on the “completed transactions” button and you’ll see what the world market is paying. eBay collects 15% by the time you add up all of their fees. To manage the transaction and handle shipping, Heather Hughes earns a 10% commission. The rest is yours to spend as you please. n It that’s too much trouble, drop your unused clubs off at the Golf Lab and we’ll do the research for you and let you know the market value within one day. n Used golf clubs are not a good investment. Turn yours into something that you want.
2103 St. Francis (Highway 101 at Embarcadero) • Palo Alto, California Mon - Fri, 10 am to 6 pm • Sat 10 am to 1 pm or by appointment (650) 49301770 www.calgolftech.com April 2009
GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
The Best in the West for 22 Years, 12 issues per year! Now in Washington & Oregon! on tHe Cover • aPrIl 2009: CENTRAL OREGON GOLF COURSES continue to impress. Located four miles from Bend, in Central Oregon, The David McLay Kidd-designed, Tetherow Golf Club opened to rave reviews in July of last year. Boasting a par 72, 7298 yard layout, Tetherow provides plenty of variety and challenge for golfers of all abilities. Yet open for only it’s second season, Tetherow continues to reap in numerous awards and accolades, including “One of the Best New Courses for 2008,” by GolfWeek. In addition, Tetherow was also the very first course in Oregon to become a Certified Audubon International Signature Sanctuary by Audubon International. Please see pages 3 and 19 for more on Tetherow’s superb course! –Cameron Healey, Publisher/Editor
inSiDe THiS iSSue:
9 10 11 11 12 13 14 14 14 15
MY TWO CenTS: SeATTLe GOLF SHOW iMPreSSeS!
by Cameron Healey
GOLF eQuiPMenT CHrOniCLeS
by Leith Anderson
THe reSOrT AT POrT LuDLOW PLACeS PriOriTY On MOre POPuLAr TiDe AnD TiMBer GOLF COurSeS; nine HOLe TrAiL COurSe CLOSeD PALOuSe riDGe DeBuTS AT nO. 2 in STATe THe GOLF eXPLOrer
by Hal Gevertz
inDuSTrY’S LeADinG reSeArCH FirM CAPTureS iMPOrTAnT FeeDBACK FrOM WOMen GOLFerS FreD COuPLeS TO SerVe AS HOnOrArY CHAirMAn OF 2010 u.S. SeniOr OPen AT SAHALee C.C. LiFe in THe TrAP
by Rick Newell
WOrLeY iDAHO’S CirCLinG rAVen GOLF CLuB reVeLS in THe ACCOLADeS THe GOLFer’S GuiDe TO FiTneSS
by Pritam Andreassen, NSCA-CPT
8 GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
16 17 17 18 20 21 21 24 24 25 32
CLuBGLiDer®, One YeAr AFTer GOLF CHAnneL’S FOre inVenTOrS OnLY TOM WeLLS: THeY DOn’T MAKe ‘eM LiKe THeY uSeD TO! enJOY CASuAL COMPeTiTiVe GOLF ! HerOn LAKeS GOeS Green! HOW GOLF SAVeD Ben WiTTer’S LiFe DO THeSe GirLS STiLL rOCK?
by Bob Fagan
niLe GOLF COurSe CeLeBrATeS 40TH AnniVerSArY MuCKLeSHOOT CASinO BeCKOnS! GOLF, THe nO eXCuSeS SPOrT
by Don S. “Snoshu” Thompson
TY Ter LYe WATCHeS THe MASTerS WiTH HiS Muni BuDDieS
by Ty ter Lye
My Two Cents
by C a m e ro n H e a l e y
Seattle Golf Show Impresses! If you combine a poor economy and downright wet and stormy weather, you would think that a consumer golf show’s attendance might be adversely affected, right? Not to be intrepid Northwest golfers! Held last month over three days, local golfers who braved the elements were treated to a Qwest Field Exhibition Center filled with vendors plying their wares. Yes, the sun shone brightly as it was evident that despite the weather and hard times, golfers were ready and willing to try new products, buy new clubs, and talk about everything golf. Congratulations to owners John Tipping and Owen Hoskinson who orchestrated a quality show that many of my friends, who had booths at the show, all agreed that the Seattle Golf Show is now one of the best, if not the best, consumer golf show on the West Coast. Golf Today Magazine had a tremendous show; in fact, we handed out close to 4000 copies of the March issue to show goers, many of whom came to our booth to congratulate us on our monthly magazine and to offer feedback and even story ideas. Thank you to all that did so. Yes, we have enjoyed 22 years of publishing in the West Coast, and look forward to being in the Northwest for another 22 years! Now with any trade show, the variety, quality, and relevance of those who invest in having booths varies greatly; however, the products on offer all have one goal in mind: To help the average golfer become even better and, in the process, hopefully appreciate and enjoy the game of golf that much more. Now will all of these new “gadgets” and “miracle cures” guarantee an invitation to the Boeing Classic or help you achieve parity with Mickelson or Adam Scott? Maybe, may be not; however, there were a few vendors who caught my eye and warrant mention. LO PA K A G OLF PUTTERS are unique. April 2009
Designed to reduce or eliminate side-spin and back-spin which often occurs during the putting stroke, the Lopaka Cylinder Putter head is nearly the same diameter as the ball where the equator of the cylinder is making contact with the equator of the ball creating almost instant forward roll. I’ve tried it and love the results. See page 12 for details… THE STICK was a welcomed personal discovery. After hours of working away at the computer, I am often left with tired and tight muscles in my wrist and shoulders. Not conducive to a smooth and pain free swing, right? The Stick is a simple but effective 6 inch tool with a small wheel that rolls over your muscles. The physiology behind it is a little north of my understanding, but in a nutshell, the rolling motion locates and relaxes tight muscle bundles that cause stiffness and pain. This easy to perform movement rapidly calms and relaxes your muscles resulting in improved range of motion and pain relief. I even keep my “Stick” at my desk and use it daily. Please visit www.thestick.com… GOLFNOW.com is the largest online tee time retailer in the United States. Operating in 25 states, and partnering with more than 1,500 courses across the nation, GolfNow offer northwest golfers affordable pricing, 24 hour tee time bookings, and excellent customer service to manage more than 1.5 million registered golfer accounts. Please visit www.golfnow.com for details… HILTON GOLF ACADEMY offer golfers the opportunity to escape to one of four locations in Phoenix & Tucson, Arizona, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. All four schools offer all-inclusive, stay & play packages along with commuter schools, private lessons, and corporate outings.
In fact, Hilton Golf Academy is offering Golf Today Magazine readers a special “Playing Weekend” golf school for 2 starting out at only $999 per person. See page 2 for details… The CLUBGLIDER Travel Bag was a consistent draw card at the show generating large crowds during their demos. It virtually eliminates sore shoulders and back resulting from lugging golf clubs from the parking garage through the airport check-in co u n t e r and to the hotel. The integrated set of legs with in-line caster wheels retracts into the bag making ClubGlider safe and secure for travel. At baggage c l a i m s i mply extend the legs and glide to your destination. This is great for the traveling golfer. Golf Today readers receive a $30 discount and free name embroidery by using Promotion Code GTNW at www.clubglider.com … NORTHWEST BURN FOUNDATION is holding their 5th Annual Golf Classic on Monday, May 11th at the Druids Glen Golf Course, Covington, WA. Registration includes 18 holes of scramble golf, cart with GPS, practice range balls, raffle, silent auction, awards ceremony, and a delicious Mexican Buffet Dinner. Golf Today will be there; make sure you are too. For more information, please call Kelly McHugh at 206789-6838… FLINT MENS
GROOMING, located in Bellevue, WA is my kinda store. Whether it is before or after a round, this is the place where you can get away, relax, and tune up. Their motto is “We’ll send you back into your world looking and feeling your absolute best.” Flints offers men complete hair care, skin care, a straight razor shave, hand and foot detailing and relaxation services using topshelf men’s products. Call 425-453-1445 to make an appointment… PREMIER GOLF CENTERS was established in 2001 and currently manages 10 golf courses for five municipalities in the Puget Sound region including the city of Seattle. Become a member of their Premier Golf Club and enjoy discounts on green fees, range balls, and golf carts at any of their 10 courses. Please visit www.premiergolfcenters.com for more information… GOLFINGMYWAY. COM while not present as exhibitors, have created an online forum providing golfers with an opportunity to communicate online about everything golf. The brainchild of two young entrepreneurs, GolfingMyWay. com is a social network site (think Facebook), but for golfers. Whether it’s connecting with golf friends, analyzing your game with the MyStat feature, equipment ratings, or shopping for new gear, GolfingMyWay has something for everyone. Stay tuned… MounT SI GOLF COURSE is one of those courses that is just plain fun to play. Located in Snoqualmie, WA, Mt Si is a beautiful backdrop to a course headed by long time Head Professional Matt Campbell. Mt Si is offering golfers terrific coupons such as “Two for Ones”, “Pay for Nine, Play 18,” and “50% off Breakfast and Lunch”. Please see page 15 for details. n
For reviews of golf products, contact Cameron Healey, Publisher/Editor, at 425-941-9946 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Golf Today Magazine, now in its 22nd year, publishes 12 times per year, and is expanding to other states. Interested in being part of this expansion? GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
Golf Equipment Chronicles
by L e i t h A n d e r s o n
A Brief History of Balancing Golf Clubs Where do new ideas come from? Cynics snarl that there are no truly new ideas in golf equipment, only reinvented and recycled old ideas. But one way that reinvented old ideas make it back into the mainstream is when they become easier to understand and to adopt. That is exactly what has happened with balancing golf clubs for an individual player’s swing in the last several months. The term “counterbalancing” is a popular way to describe adding weight to the butt end of a golf club. I prefer to take a broader view, including shaft weight, head weight and now weight that can be located at the butt of the club or at any point down INSIDE THE SHAFT in the discussion. Most of the historic conversation about balancing golf clubs is hearsay. Hogan’s clubs were said to be extremely stiff and heavy. Nicklaus reportedly counterweighted his clubs by applying lead tape under the grip but maintained swing weight by increasing head weight. Does that mean extra heavy clubs work? Arnold Palmer became a club maker and
collector. Bobby Jones acquired his tournament set one club at a time but apparently could never find the perfect eight iron to match the rest of his clubs. Now Tiger is reputed to have a complete club shop in his basement and test his new irons a dozen
10 GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
sets at a time. With all of the interest in the equipment used by the “Greats” to
achiever their success there is very little published information about their equipment. Maybe that’s why Tiger Woods—who studies at the feet of the masters—decided that he should keep what he knows about how golf clubs work to himself. Who would know better that “magic” golf clubs, if you can find them, lend a competitive advantage? Ask yourself: are your golf clubs helping or hurting your game? In the early days if you wanted to tinker with your clubs you had to develop your club making skills. Some players searched far and wide for their clubs or retained a personal clubmaker. Jack Nicklaus relied on Jack Wulkotte in a relationship that
spanned over thirty years from MacGregor in Cincinnati to Nicklaus Golf in Palm Beach. Tools were primitive. The most advanced gizmo on the bench was a swing weight scale and that was invented in 1922. Trial and error was the rule. “Feel” and “ball flight” were paramount. Head Weight, Shaft Weight and Balance Today’s golf industry is based on standards that allow the equipment manufacturers to assemble a “one size fits all” product and sell it efficiently through mass distribution. Iron heads are based on a standard weight range of a 255 gram 5 iron with each successive iron increasing or decreasing 7 grams through the set. The standard shaft weight is 125 grams—True Temper Dynamic Gold. The standard length is based on a 38” five iron, increasing or decreasing by half an inch. If you put the standard set of irons together and add a 52 gram rubber grip, you will end up with a set of irons that weighs D-1 on the swing weight scale. If you are a 5’9” standard American golfer, with standard length continued on page 27 ❱
The Resort At Port Ludlow Places Priority On More Popular Tide And Timber Golf Courses; Nine Hole Trail Course Closed The Resort At Port Ludlow announced that the Port Ludlow Golf Course will become an 18-hole course effective immediately. Due to the current economic climate, the Resort has made a judicious decision to close the nine-hole Trail course indefinitely, while vowing to keep the more popular Tide and Timber 18 holes open for members and guests. “We looked at our three nines separately and decided to close the Trail nine,” said Diana Smeland, president of Port Ludlow Associates. Built in the 1970s, the original 18-hole golf course, designed by Robert Muir Graves, consisted of Tide and Timber. In the 1990s, the course was expanded to include the 9-hole Trail course, making it the first 27-hole golf course west of Seattle. The Resort At Port Ludlow’s PGA rated 18-hole, par 72 was lengthened in 2008 to over 7,000 yards. “Closing the Trail course will allow us to devote attention to the more popular Tide and Timber courses,” said Smeland. “Our strategy is to ensure a high standard of course maintenance and value to our members and guests.” The executives at Port Ludlow are taking proactive strides to continue operating the Port Ludlow Golf Club course prudently
while upholding its consistent, highly rated reputation. With its unique beauty and diverse playing style, Port Ludlow is time and again listed as a must-play course by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine and recently made Golfweek’s list of top Washington courses open to the public. Both remaining nines, Timber and Tide, showcase fantastic views and offer various playing styles and scenery; guests will enjoy playing through flat stretches encompassed by conifers on the Timber course and challenged by fairways with expansive views of the Puget Sound and Olympic and Cascade moun-
tain ranges on the Tide Course. Finally, Resort officials further state that consideration will be given to reopening the Trail nine in future years, when an improved economy warrants such a move. The Resort At Port Ludlow is the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsula’s resort destination of choice boasting a range of great amenities including the top- rated golf course outlined above, a 300 slip marina, the quaint and comfortable Inn At Port Ludlow, gourmet dining, and outdoor recreation galore. Recently, The Inn At Port Ludlow
received high accolades, making the esteemed Conde Nast Traveler’s 2009 Gold List of the world’s best places to stay. The Resort At Port Ludlow is located just 10 minutes from the Hood Canal Bridge and less than 90 minutes from Seattle. In addition to The Resort, Port Ludlow is a master-planned resort community with real estate options ranging from waterfront town homes and estates to single-family residences nestled among towering evergreens. n
Palouse Ridge Debuts At No. 2 In State Palouse Ridge Golf Club, the spectacular new daily-fee golf course located on Washington State University’s Pullman campus, has been ranked No. 2 in Washington in Golfweek’s 2009 State-by-State guide. The magazine’s comprehensive ‘Best Courses You Can Play’ roundup is devoted to the nation’s finest daily-fee and resort facilities. The recognition by Golfweek is the latest in a long string of accolades for the new course, celebrating its first full season this spring and slated to host the 2009 Washington State Men’s Amateur in June.
From the time it opened for play in August, 2008, national golf publications have heaped praise on the rugged layout. The unanimous consensus of the game’s leading magazines is that Palouse Ridge is one the finest newcomers in the nation. In a LINKS online feature posted in January, Palouse Ridge claimed the #3 spot on the magazine’s ‘Best New Public Courses of 2008’ list. “Palouse Ridge is a windswept, linksstyle layout that offers a graduate-level test of shotmaking,” the report states. The
LINKS commendations were preceded by a handful of major awards garnered by the university-affiliated club. In its ‘Best New Courses of 2008’ feature in January, 2009, GOLF Magazine placed Palouse Ridge on its roster of the ‘Top 10 New Courses You Can Play.’ “In tough economic times, you need to know what courses are really worth your money,” GOLF Magazine reported. “With a green fee structure ranging from $39 to $89 for non-residents, Palouse Ridge…. continued on page 12 ❱
GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
The Golf Explorer
by H a l G e v e r t z
Cancun, State of Quintana Roo, Southeast Mexico
If you are looking for a vacation destination that has everything you want it to be Cancun is the place to go. It’s located on the Yucatan Channel that separates Mexico from the island of Cuba in the Greater Antilles it’s designed for luxury and comfort with a bay where the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea lap sparkling whitesand beaches. It’s a paradise for every kind of water sport imaginable during the day and the beat from fabulous discos and bars goes on all night. The city of Cancun resulted from a 1967 study by Banco de Mexico to determine the feasibility of capturing more dollars and other foreign exchange through tourism. The development began in 1970 with the first nine hotels financed by the Mexican government. Today there are about 150 hotels in Cancun with more than 24,000 rooms and 380 restaurants. The 14-milelong Hotel Zone of Cancun is shaped like a “7” with bridges on each end connecting to the mainland. They offer a broad range of accommodations ranging from inexpensive motel=style facilities to high-priced luxury hotels. There is also more than 100 miles of coastline that shelter some of the state’s
most spectacular natural attractions including day tours to the ancient Maya ruins of Chichen Itza, one of the 7th wonders of the world. This part of the Yucatan peninsula is also renowned for its beautiful cenotes (natural sinkholes) formed when the limestone bedrock breaks through to the underground water source. It was also a pirate haven for the likes of Morgan and the Lafitte brothers who fought alongside General Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. Chicle, the base for chewing gum was born in the Yucatan Peninsula. It is said that after his defeat by Sam Houston, Mexican Gen. Santa Ana introduced a combination of chicle resin, cinnamon and sugar to his jailer at Galveston, a man by the name of Adams, the originator of “Chiclets” chewing gum. The fishing waters of this region are fabulous and fisherman fish for anything that swims but their prize catch is the spiny lobster. The county of Isla Mujeres encompasses a large part of the northern coast of Cancun including Chacmuchue Lagoon. This side of the Caribbean is protected by the
beginning of what is the second largest barrier reef in the world with a half mile canal between the coral reef and the fine sand of Isla Blanca’s beaches. There is also a rustic road bordered by chit trees and Australian pine trees where beautiful, popular butterflies run the length of the coastline heading towards Isla Blanca. Cancun’s aquatic activities are the foundation of their water sports. They include parasailing, kayaks, snorkel, Scuba diving without tanks, and an underwater walk with helmets where you will see some of the most magnificent views imaginable. You can also cross under full sail to Isle Mujeres on a high speed catamaran or a more sedate Spanish Galleon where you can view the beautiful transparent, turquoise Caribbean Sea. It’s a coincidence that I made reservations at the Hyatt Cancun Caribe and found out that it was the first resort constructed at their hotel zone and is renowned for its pleasant and welcoming service. It’s an AAA four Diamond award gem that overlooks the crystal clear wa-
The putter head is almost the same diameter as the ball and creates forward roll by contacting the ball just above the equator. Available with either a straight or offset shaft. Lengths 30 to 36 inches. Mention this ad and receive a free sleeve of balls with your order.
$ Price: 89.95 Free shipping in the U.S.A. Conforms with the rules of golf.
IT GETS THE BALL ROLLING!! 12 GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
They are elegantly designed with modern contemporary decoration creating a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. There’s also an exclusive Regency Club section on the resort. Superb Spa and exercise facilities are also available to keep you active and refreshed. For elegant dining The Hyatt’s Blue Bayou is one of the most romantic restaurant restaurants in Cancun featuring Cajun and Creole specialties from New Orleans in a lush Bayou setting with live Jazz music. It’s the only restaurant in Cancun with the distinguished DiRoNa award since 1998. What makes the Hyatt such a great continued on page 27 ❱
(877) 4-LOPAKA (877) 456-7252
ters of the Caribbean enhanced by white sandy beaches, lush gardens and tropical landscapes. Hotel accommodations include 296 remodeled and upgraded rooms and suites.
❰ continued from page 11
represents exceptional value for dollar.” While noting that “Palouse Ridge belongs in the upper echelon of college courses” and “boasts panoramic views of mountain peaks in Idaho and Oregon,” the story playfully suggested that “Palouse Ridge has proven to be the perfect excuse to cut class” by WSU students. In keeping with the University motto, the facility provides “World Class” golf, and “Face to Face” service. Palouse Ridge also offers opportunities for learning and research to students and faculty. Several research projects are ongoing at the facility and numerous departments use the facility for field study on a variety of subjects. The championship-caliber course,
stretching to 7,308 yards from the Crimson tees (par 72), while playing 5106 from the Green tees, offers an enjoyable experience for all levels of players. The epic, grand-scale layout follows the lay of the land as it weaves through the giant Palouse hills. With firm, fast-running fairways, it is arguably one of the finest courses in the Inland Empire. “It’s very exciting to be included on the prestigious lists of these major publications,” said Bruce Perisho, PGA General Manager. “It’s amazing we’ve gotten this much attention in such a short period of time. Then again, the golfers who’ve played here have raved about the course and enjoyed it immensely. n
Industry’s Leading Research Firm Captures Important Feedback From Women Golfers Golf Datatech, LLC (www.golfdatatech.com), the industry’s leading independent research firm for consumer, trade and retail golf trends and performance, recently unveiled its first-ever Women’s Golf Market Study. An independent, non-commissioned study designed to capture important feedback on the female perceptions and experiences from one of golf ’s most significant growth segments, the Women’s Golf Market Study is the most comprehensive report ever developed which details a wide range of attitudes of serious women golfers about the game, the equipment, and the apparel they wear. “In today’s challenging economic climate, where growth in the game of golf is stagnant, the potential to grow the women’s market is a higher priority than ever before, and efforts to cultivate and expand this segment are being considered and executed widely across the industry,” said Tom Stine, Partner, Golf Datatech, LLC. “As a result of the need to grow the game, we undertook this extensive study so that companies both in and out of the industry can truly understand the percep-
tions, experiences and buying habits of the all-important serious women’s golf sector.” Adds Stine, “While women’s golf presents a major growth opportunity for the industry, this study makes it clear that significant roadblocks must be overcome to consistently increase women’s participation in the game.” In developing the Women’s Golf Market Study, over 1,000 female golfers from Golf Datatech’s exclusive database of Serious Golfers (a minimum of 12 rounds per year) participated in a survey regarding their golfing habits and perceptions, which was conducted in November of 2008. While a majority of female respondents to this study live active lifestyles and boast an average household income of six figures, an equal majority cited cost, time and family constraints as reasons preventing them from playing golf more frequently. Beyond those factors, which inhibit play, almost
one in three female respondents considered the average golf course to be “a very male oriented place” which inhibits more frequent play. “While over 50% of the U.S. population is female, less than 25% of total golfers are women,” said Stine. “Combine the cost, time and family pressures with their overall perception of the male orientation at the golf course, and it’s not surprising that women leave the game as often as they enter. This is ultimately the basis for the women’s golf population to be at a near standstill.” Among the key findings of the study were the following, which were related to women’s golfing habits, spending on golf, marketing and media habits: Golfing Habits • Respondents were asked what they enjoy about playing the game and 91% said they like being outdoors, while 82% enjoy the time with friends, 80% are always trying to improve and 79% enjoy the challenge of the game. • When asked to identify the single factor they enjoy best about playing the game, 32% chose the challenge of the game as their primary motivation, while 18% said being with friends is most important.
• One in three respondents thinks it “costs too much,” while almost half of all respondents said they would be likely to play more golf if it cost less. • 21% of respondents disliked the fact that a round of golf takes too long to play, while 40% are constrained by limited leisure time, and 31% work too much to play as much as they would like. Spending On Golf • The average female respondent estimates they spent slightly less than $700 in the past year on golf equipment, with 18% saying they spent over $1,000. They also estimate they spent an additional $515 on golf apparel, with 14% spending above $1,000. 74% of respondents believe that the technology in golf club designs can significantly improve their play. • When it comes time to purchase new golf clubs, 63% of females take the golf clubs out to a driving range or onto a golf course to try them out prior to purchase, while 58% gather information from their golf professional, 44% research products and trends online, and 43% read golf publications to get information on equipment trends. continued on page 25 ❱
GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
Fred Couples To Serve As Honorary Chairman Of 2010 U.S. Senior Open At Sahalee C.C.
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The United States Golf Association recently announced that Seattle native Fred Couples has been named the Honorary Chairman of the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, to be held at Sahalee Country Club, July 26 - August 1, 2010. Couples was asked to serve in this capacity by the championship’s local organizing committee, headed by Chris Falco, and the Sahalee membership led by club founders Gene Lynn and Mike Jonson. “We approached Fred to serve in this capacity because we wanted to honor his lifelong commitment to the game of golf and his connection to Seattle and the Northwest,” said Falco. By serving as the Honorary Chairman, Couples will aid in the promotion of the championship by appearing in a ticket sales advertising campaign. He will also host an exhibition during the week of the championship, in which he will provide swing tips and give demonstrations to the spectators. Couples will become eligible for the Champions Tour on Oct. 3, 2009, when he celebrates his 50th birthday. Couples has earned a one-time exemption into the 2010 U.S. Senior Open by virtue of being a Masters Champion. It will be his first U.S. Senior Open and the first time playing competitively at Sahalee since the 1998 PGA Championship. “It is an honor to serve in this capacity for the U.S. Senior Open and the USGA,” said Couples. “Add to that the opportunity to play my first Senior Open in my hometown in front of the Seattle fans, and it will truly be a great week.” Tom Couples, Fred’s father, worked at the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department and introduced him to the game at the city-owned Jefferson Park Golf Course. Fred played on the O’Dea High School golf team and, upon graduating, was awarded a golf scholarship by the University of Houston.
Couples began playing golf professionally in 1980 and has recorded 15 victories on the PGA Tour, including the 1992 Masters Tournament. More recently,
Couples was named captain of the 2009 USA Presidents Cup Team. For additional information about the championship, visit n www.2010ussenioropen.com.
Worley Idaho’s Circling Raven Golf Club Revels In The Accolades One could make a good argument that the best golf course development underway in the United States is in Indian Country. It’s happening everywhere, from coast to coast. One could make an even better argument that Indian Country’s best golf course is Worley Idaho’s Circling Raven. Accolades include “Top 10 Best New?” “No. 1 Tribal Course in the U.S.?” and “Top 100 Courses You Can Play?” Not bad, right? The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has created one example after another of grand success and unique enterprising. Circling Raven, rolling and winding among 620 acres of serene wetlands, grasslands and woodlands, is the latest jewel in the crown and it’s a maximum challenge for the best of players. With a course rating of 74.9 and the slope at 140, it can bring the biggest of egos down to earth. At the same time, Circling Raven’s five sets of tees offer a welcome reprieve to players of all ages and all talent levels. No, this course won’t break your heart. It will, however, steal it. The Gene Bates design, only five years in play, is already bringing players from all over the country and, for that matter, from around the world. Movie stars, sports icons and even PGA Tour players seek tee times, right next to the local who doesn’t so much as blink at the reasonable greens fees which run $65.00 to $95.00 dollars. “The Coeur d’Alene Tribe is committed to providing great golf and first cabin
customer service,” says Circling Raven Director of Golf Tom Davidson. “The tribe is equally committed to making it an experience that the regular player can afford, and do so more than a few times. The demand is considerable, but the pace of play remains comfortable, with tee times spaced at every 10 minutes.” Since opening in August of 2003, Circling Raven can claim a list of accolades that likely exceeds that of any golf course ever built in Idaho. But, more importantly to the player, it offers an experience that is seldom matched anywhere. You won’t see a real estate development over a wall on the right side of a fairway. You won’t see a condo. You won’t even see a man-made fountain or waterfall. You will see what Mother Nature laid out across this achingly beautiful stretch of Idaho ground and the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation. On the back side, the only hole you’ll see is the one you’re playing. The gallery is likely to include a Great Blue Heron, a doe and fawn, or even the occasional moose, which we recommend that you allow play through. One of your great challenges here is to finish. No, not the game, but the course. It is a challenge because the experience grows on you with every hole, whether you’ve been here or not. This is a round you don’t want to finish; don’t want to end. For more information, please visit www.circlingraven.com or call 1-800-523n 2464.
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14 GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
The Golfer’s Guide to Fitness By Pritam Andreassen, NSCA-CPT
Golfers are finally starting to take their level of fitness as seriously as they do equipment and instruction when it comes to playing their best golf. Consider the ease with which clubs, balls, bags, shoes, golf attire, and instructors are replaced. Unfortunately, the body is the most often ignored and non-maintained piece of golf equipment that a golfer utilizes in his or her golf game — yet it is the only piece of equipment that is irreplaceable. Many more golfers still have not included a fitness program in their ongoing game improvement routine. The benefits of incorporating a consistent and effective golf-specific fitness program are many: the disadvantages are few. Lower scores, lower index, longer drives, more accurate putting, less aches and pains, less occurrence of injury, less fatigue, and greater focus are just some of the benefits — a number of studies have been done that support these results. The disadvantages might include lack of time or lack of money for a trainer or pre-existing physical limitations. However, everyone — golfers and non-golfers alike — all know how important exercise is for overall health and well-being, so there are really no viable excuses left. If you are able to golf, you are able to participate in
What makes it a “golf fitness” program? Look for full-body, multiple-plane movements utilizing dumbbells, weighted medicine balls and cables or bands. Any type of core-oriented exercises involving frequent rotation with the hips and waist some type of exercise program. Effective is going to be good. Medicine ball throws strengthening and stretching can be done are very important for power development. Include leg strengthin a small amount of ening exercises — the time each day with legs are the foundaminimal equipment, tion of the golf swing or can be done in a and are crucial for that fully equipped fitness all-important endurfacility with a trainer. ance to avoid backIf consistent, as little nine fatigue. Other as 10 minutes a day equipment to look for will produce measurincludes foam rollers/ able results. Programs half foam rollers, balcan and should be taiance discs and stability lored for each golfer’s balls. If your program physical limitations, mostly consists of trabut there is always a ditional weight-lifting fitness program that can benefit your golf exercises, find another program and/or game. trainer. How to find a A golf-specific fitness good program? Start program is a combinaby asking for refertion of exercises that if rals from other golfers performed consistently Pritam Andreassen, NSCA-CPT or your favorite golf will improve the body’s strength, flexibility, endurance, coordina- professional. The Internet is also a great source, either to find a trainer or a book, tion, and balance capabilities.
DVD or just a couple of exercises to incorporate into your daily routine — it’s all there. Do a search for “golf fitness” or “golf strength” or “golf flexibility”, and include the name of your town for more specific results. Make sure it’s a realistic endeavor — that you can start it and stay with it without being overwhelmed. It’s always a good idea to start small and add to it as it becomes a habit. How often to get results? No less than 10 minutes, three times per week. For maximum flexibility benefits, stretch every day. It varies, but most golfers see a difference on the course in 2-6 weeks. Will these exercises compromise my finelyhoned golf technique? No. One last thing to keep in mind — the most effective golf fitness program requires commitment and consistency, just as playing golf twice a week will improve your game more than if you play twice a month. Ultimately, the most effective program is one you incorporate into your life for the long term — ideally forever. Or at least for as long as you plan on playing golf! n Pritam Kirstine Andreassen is the owner of The Strength Connection, LLC. She can be reached at 206-579-8927 or please visit www.strengthconnection.com
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GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
ClubGlider®, One Year After Golf Channel’s Fore Inventors Only Since placing third from over 1000 entrants on the Golf Channel’s Fore Inventors Only, ClubGlider has signed a licensing agreement with Sun Mountain Sports and has taken the Golf World by storm! Many of you probably remember the insane to the really cool products introduced to us via the reality show Fore Inventors Only. One local inventor has been very busy since the show building a brand known as ClubGlider. The ClubGlider Travel Bag eliminates your sore shoulders and back resulting from lugging golf clubs from the parking garage through the airport check-in counter and to the hotel. The integrated set of legs with in-line caster wheels retracts into the bag making ClubGlider safe and secure for travel. At baggage claim, simply extend the legs and glide to your destination. ClubGlider was invented by Gary Sherrell from Maple Valley, WA. After lugging his heavy, hard case through the airport and hotel, he figured there must be a better way. On the plane home, ClubGlider was born on an airline napkin. With some engineering ingenuity from Sherrell’s father-in-law, Bill Pangburn, a prototype was created. Fore Inventors Only aired and the rest is history. Golf Editors and Users can’t get enough
of ClubGlider. Some of the accolades that ClubGlider has received are: Sports Illustrated – Best of the PGA Show Golf Digest selected ClubGlider “Hot List Gold” The Golf Europe Show in Munich awarded ClubGlider the Gold Medal for 2008! Bob Oliver reviewed products at the 2009 PGA Show “. . . the best thing in the Sun Mountain arsenal of products is its travel bag. It’s simply outstanding…”. Actual customer comments include: “. . . these are the best travel bags we have ever used! Not only do they work as advertised, they are better than I imagined.” “I received my ClubGlider on a Friday and the next Monday morning I was heading to Jacksonville with my new ClubGlider. The ClubGlider travel bag worked perfectly and I was amazed how effortlessly it performed in the airport” Due to the demand from pros and intermediate golfers alike, ClubGlider has expanded the line by adding two more models: the ClubGlider Pro and Club-
Glider Cascade. The ClubGlider Pro is designed to accommodate a Tour staff bag or two carry bags (while staying under 50 pounds) optimizing the groundbreaking ClubGlider technology. The entry level ClubGlider Cascade utilizes the same back saving technology in a slightly smaller version of the ClubGlider Meridian for those wanting a more compact travel bag. The original ClubGlider Meridian comes in
five colors and is available with personalization. ClubGlider is sold nationwide and locally at Puetz, ProGolf Discount, and Jorgensen Golf. Golf Today readers will receive a $30 discount and free name embroidery by using Promotion Code GTNW at www.clubglider.com . n
Pro Golf Discount Tacoma Store Manager Cal Gran stands with Kevin Zold, the recipient of a brand new TaylorMade Burner Driver. Kevin guessed correctly the number of tees in the Golf Today Magazine “Guess How Many Pink Tees Are In the Container Competition,” held in conjunction with Pro Golf Discount.
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Tom Wells: They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To! Tom Wells grew up as a member of Sand Point Country Club Seattle, Washington in the early 1960s. He caddied, played junior golf, and started preparing golf clubs as a teenager. Repairing clubs for members enabled him to generate enough income to cover entry fees for the local tournaments, and he soon became one of the best amateur golfers in the Pacific Northwest winning the British Columbia Amateur. Tom received a full ride golf scholarship to Seattle University and competed against the likes of Johnny Miller, Tom Watson, and Hale Irwin in college tournaments. I think those names are familiar! After college Tom contemplated turning pro and competing on the PGA Tour, but back “in those days” the tournament purses were very small. “If you won a tournament back in the early 70’s it might get you $8,000,” says Wells. According to Tom, there were only about seven top players (Palmer, Nicklaus, Casper, etc.) who were making a decent living at the time. Tom went looking for work and nobody would hire him so he decided to open a golf pro shop in 1974. He instantly created an inventory when he negotiated a deal for the salvage rights on the burned up club remains from the Fircrest Country Club fire in 1973. Most of the woods (persimmon),
grips, and shafts were totally destroyed; however, the 350 sets of iron and putter heads were restorable. He took the heads and refinished them to nearly new condition, then shafted and re-gripped them. It took Tom 3 ½ days of hard work, but he
was out only $125 for the dumping fees. He was in business for a very small capital expense, and happier than a “clam in butter” to be his own boss. Along with selling the restored sets, Tom offered golfers club repair and wood refinishing. Back in the 60’s and 70’s all the wood clubs were persimmon, dogwood, or laminated maple. “It was truly an art that died 25 years ago when the metal woods
became popular,” laments Tom. The reality dawned on Tom that spending countless hours refinishing wooden clubs would net him little or no money from each job. His goal was to do his best to make the club sparkle like new and enjoy watching the customer’s reaction when he turned his battered wood into a work of art. This proved sufficient reward for him. But with continued on page 20 ❱
Enjoy Casual Competitive Golf ! The Men’s Club at Echo Falls is starting their 2009 season on March 28th and 29th. They are a group of dedicated players who love the game of golf. Their goal is to have fun, meet new golfers, and compete in a relaxed tournament atmosphere. With a variety of tournaments (39 total) available throughout the season, the formats vary from individual stroke play, to scrambles, to two man combined scores. USGA rules apply in all our tournaments. This is a great opportunity to improve your game, learn the rules, and make new friends. • Optional Match Play Competition with four different brackets to match your skill level. • Wednesday night shotguns between 5:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M. Dinner service is available following the events
• 12 Weekend events, some shotguns, some tee times • Club Championship in September • $50 Membership Fee • $10 Competition Fee for Wednesday events ($5 Skins) • $25 Competition Fee for Weekend events ($10 Skins) • Pre Pay your Competition Fees for $225 before 4/15/09
• Gross and Net Golf Shop credit awarded • Over $11,000 in Golf Shop credit awarded in 2007 The Golf Club at Echo Falls is a public Oki Golf Property and is located five Minutes east of Woodinville, just off 522. For more information, please contact the Golf Shop at (360) 668-3030 ext. 1. n
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GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
Heron Lakes Goes Green!
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“My students just love the ability to have a shaded area when it’s hot outside and they’re even a little excited when it rains, because they know they are still going to have the lesson.” —Joe Plecker, PGA Director of Instruction, Baltimore Country Club, Baltimore, MD 2007 Middle Atlantic PGA Section Teacher of the Year
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Heron Lakes Golf Club is one of 19 Certified Cooperative Sanctuaries in the State of Oregon, and one of only a handful in the Portland Area. Audubon International bestows the designation upon golf courses around the globe that make concerted efforts to reduce their environmental impact. Heron Lakes joined the program in 1992 and was officially certified in 1996. Heron Lakes was the fourth to be certified in Oregon and just the 68th to be recognized in the nation. Audubon International’s program is intended to “help golf courses protect our environment and preserve the natural heritage of the game of golf.” The program focuses on key areas where courses must adhere to strict standards. Environmental Planning, Wildlife and Habitat Management, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, Water Quality Management, and Outreach and Education are the six areas that all courses must comply with. One visit to Heron Lakes and you will immediately see the impact of the program. Waterfowl and wildlife abound in the property’s many ponds, but the true attractor is the course’s namesake bird. There are countless Great Blue Herons on the property, nesting just off the Greenback Course’s 7th tee. “Last year we counted 56 nests in the rookery,” noted general manager Stewart Koch, “That is highest number we have ever seen. The most interesting part is the herons were not present on this property before the course was built.” Indeed, the birds arrived after Robert Trent Jones Jr. laid out his first course on the property, which was then named West Delta Park Golf Course, in 1972. When Jones Jr. returned in 1992 to open his second championship layout, the property was filled with herons. At that time, the original course was renamed the Greenback Course. The newer, the Great Blue, and the entire 36-hole facility became known as Heron Lakes Golf Club. The course is owned by Portland Parks and
Recreation and managed by Northbrook, Ill.-based KemperSports since July 2008. Both parties have a track record of commitment to the environment and will surely continue the practices that Heron Lakes has established.
Great Blue Heron “Environmentally, we are in a very unique position,” said course superintendant Jesse Goodling, who has spearheaded the Audubon Certification process from the beginning. “We comprise this tremendous ‘green space’ located within the city. We are flanked by two major rivers and are essentially located on their delta. It is vital that we maintain our courses in an ecologically responsible way. The program has allowed us to cut our water usage and chemical applications drastically, and each year we reduce more.” In an era where most businesses are forced to ‘go green’ because of political or social pressure, it is refreshing to see a course take the initiative on their own merit. Both Heron Lakes and the Portland Parks and Recreation should be commended for their efforts as they are not just sustaining the environment, but actually n enhancing it.
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18 GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
“If you’re afraid a full shot might reach the green
while the foursome ahead of you is still putting out, you have two options: you can immediately shank a lay-up or you can wait until the green is clear and top
a ball halfway there.
#1 Best New Course In the Country, Tetherow Golf Club is yet another reason to tee it up in Central Oregon. The David McLay Kidd-designed, Tetherow Golf Club in Bend, Oregon opened to rave reviews in July of last summer. Golf aficionados will recognize Kidd’s name as he is the same world renowned architect who designed Bandon Dunes and the new Castle Course, the seventh course at St. Andrews, Scotland. The visually striking Tetherow boasts a par 72, 7298 yard layout that is located just minutes from the vibrant downtown Bend in the heart of the Central Oregon ‘golfscape’ The club which is open for only it’s second season has been decorated with awards and accolades. For starters, Tetherow was honored by Golfweek as one of the Best New Courses for 2008, ranked as one the Top 10 New Courses in the country by T&L Golf and recognized as one of Links Magazine’s Premier Properties. In addition, Tetherow was also the very first course in Oregon to become a Certified Audubon International Signature Sanctuary by Audubon International. This signature certification is awarded only to new developments which are designed, constructed, and maintained according to Audubon International’s precise planning standards and environmental disciplines. Most recently Tetherow was honored by Golf Magazine as the #1 Best New Course You Can Play in The Country in their January 2009 issue. “We are extremely excited that Golf Magazine would bestow their highest new course honor to Tetherow and are equally excited to open our doors for our second season,” stated Martin Chuck, general manager at Tetherow Golf Club. “We have already gotten calls from around the country (and a few outside of the US) from golfers who are headed to Central Oregon to tee it up at the #1 Best New Course You Can Play in The Country,” added Chuck.
2009 Golf Fees at Tetherow Golf Club for non-member play will be $115 per player during the opening month of April, $135 in May and $175 June through September. Lower rates are offered in the afternoon for “twilight” play and to OB Sports-affiliated members and cardholders. “The course is very ‘walk able’ and walking is encouraged” added Chuck. “We have also gotten a ton of great feedback about our forecaddy program (forecaddies are required for non-member play and are included in Tetherow’s golf fees). Our forecaddies are very well versed on the many subtleties of the course and certainly create a truly memorable Tetherow experience. Located minutes from downtown Bend, Tetherow is Bend’s new golf resort community. The community meanders over 700 acres of stunning high desert terrain and includes 379 homesites, ranging in price from mid $300s to the mid$700s with acreage of 1/3 acre to over an acre. In addition to custom home sites, Tetherow boasts a striking 18-hole course managed by Scottsdale-based OB Sports and designed by award winning architect David McLay Kidd. The 18,000 square foot Tetherow Clubhouse features a well appointed golf shop, restaurant, members Grille and expansive patios with spectacular views of the golf course and surrounding Deschutes National Forest. Other amenities at Tetherow include a complete practice facility, practice putting greens and short game learning center. Tetherow is just minutes from the vibrant restaurants, cafes and culture of downtown Bend, and is situated in close vicinity to Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort, miles of hiking and biking trails, world class fly fishing and white water rafting on “the Deschutes”, and more. For more information on the Tetherow community, view their website at www.tetherow.com or call toll free: (866) 234-4848.
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For more information on Tetherow Golf Club email email@example.com call 541-388 CLUB (2582) or visit www.Tetherow.com Tetherow Golf Club is professionally managed by OB Sports Golf Management. Prior to opening, OB Sports managed the construction, grow in and pre-marketing of the club. OB Sports is a diversified, golf-oriented company with a long history of success who currently manages 30 premier golf courses and country clubs throughout the United States. Known for its comprehensive and personalized services since 1972, OB Sports has become widely acclaimed as the leader in boutique-style golf course management. For more information on OB Sports, visit www.obsports.com or call (480) 948-1300.
GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
How Golf Saved Ben Witter’s Life Golf is one of Ben Witter’s earliest memories. At the age of three, Ben’s father and grandfather introduced him to the game and like many young men he grew up with visions of playing in the PGA. By the time he was a collegiate player, Ben had racked up a number of impressive accolades, including three NCAA All American Honors and two NCAA National Long Drive Titles. He entered the national circuit as a long drive champion and was featured in national publications the likes of Sports Illustrated and Ripley’s Believe it or Not. By all accounts Ben’s life was on an upswing. By the age of 23 he was a newlywed, on the cusp of his lifelong dream of playing in the PGA and enjoying national attention for his killer drives. But fate had other plans for the young golfer. That same year, Ben
found himself in the hospital, diagnosed with a rare form of mouth cancer. Day after day Ben fought a grueling battle against the cancer ravaging his body; eventually losing his jaw and more than 40 pounds. Though he survived, Ben wished on a daily basis he were dead. He would spend hours pushing the bedside morphine drip over and over to deal with the pain. After watching her son sink into debilitating despair, Ben’s mother entered his room one day with a sand wedge and a single golf ball. “She set the wedge and the ball on my bed, and said ‘You need to figure out your life’ and left,” said Witter. “That sand wedge and ball are what gave me my start.” To distract himself from pressing the morphine drip, Ben began tracking how
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20 GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
many times in a row he could tap the ball off of the wedge. Eventually, he began trying out different tricks from bed and before long had built up an arsenal of tricks to delight the line of nurses and oncologists who stood outside his room daily. “That was a
turning point,” Witter said, referring to the nurses’ interest.” The nurses helped turn the tide. They would come by my room and ask for tricks every day. They gave me a reason to want to get out of the hospital bed and continued on page 21 ❱
Tom Wells ❰ continued from page 17
change often comes improvements in the game and the clubs golfers wield. Tom believes that the most important improvement with the new state of the art golf clubs is personalized fitting. He provides free custom fitting to all and his factory direct performance grade golf clubs are guaranteed to improve golfers of all levels. He uses top quality club building components and one club maker builds each set from start to finish. Most major manufacturers use a production line to assemble their clubs in order to speed up the process. Although Tom’s system takes more time, he is convinced it produces a more precise and
accurate product, and his factory direct custom clubs can save the consumer up to 70 % over the major brands. Who doesn’t want to save money, right? Golf club repair has changed over the years, yet Tom is still regarded as the man to see for value and quality. His work is guaranteed and he specializes in re-gripping, re-shafting, re-heading, loft and lie adjustment, and club length alteration. Many a Northwest golfer has benefited from his 45 years of experience and has him to thank for their improved game. For more information, please visit www.tomwellsgolf.com or call 888-4678344. n April 2009
Do These Girls Still Rock?
by Bob Fagan
The LPGA has a saying about its member touring professionals saying, “These Girls Rock!” Unlike some of you, it has been a handful of years since I last spent time watching the LPGA Tour in person. With a recent two-week swing with the Samsung World Championships in Half Moon Bay and the Longs Drug Challenge at the Blackhawk Country Club in Danville, California I got a rare opportunity to watch lots of great golf up close and personal as they say. Beyond the obvious drama of Annika Sorenstam about to retire and Lorena Ochoa arriving as her heir apparent, I was anxious to see what
changes may or may not have transpired with their tour. Here is what I found. These women have not missed a beat— they still rock! The look is different in more ways than one. First, like all the tours, the overall level of really good play is deeper than it used to be. There are fewer bad scores littering the leaderboards. In other words, there are more players capable of winning and fewer ones that shouldn’t be playing. However, like the men’s game, I don’t think that there are any more truly “great players” than in the past, but there are a lot more good ones. Secondly, the Americans don’t even
come close to dominating play as I had always previously experienced. There are now 120 active International players on the LPGA Tour with 45 of them being South Korean. In the elite Samsung field of the year’s twenty best, only 3 Americans were qualified, Pleasanton’s Paula Creamer. Angela Stanford, and Cristie Kerr. (The always popular local LPGA Hall of Famer, Julie Inkster, was extended a special invitation and finished tied for 3rd). The remaining sixteen golfers hailed from outside the United States. Besides South Korea - Sweden, Australia, and Canada continued on page 23 ❱
Nile Golf Course Celebrates 40th Anniversary The Nile Shrine Golf Course, located minutes from Downtown Seattle and Everett in Mountlake Terrace at the intersection of Interstate-5 and the King / Snohomish county line (exit 177, 205th Street), celebrates its 40th anniversary on April 30 with a 8:00 am shotgun tournament followed by lunch and awards. First opened on May 1, 1968 as a nine hole layout, the course expanded to 18 holes in 1996 and opened to the public the same year. Characterized by gently rolling
fairways, challenging greens, beautiful firs, water hazards, and wildlife, the Nile at 5000 yards and a par 67, is a ton of fun to play and will not stretch your wallet nor
severely test your cardiovascular fitness level. Owned and managed by the Shriners, a dedicated and terrific organization synonymous with helping children, Nile Golf Course is open to the public and offers a well-stocked pro shop and a full luncheon menu at the Oasis Restaurant & Bar. Yes, takeout food and beverages are always available between the “nines.” For more information on upcoming events, including the Lets Play For The Children tournament, Nile Junior Golf Camp, and Armed Forces Day Tournament, look for details in next month’s issue of Golf Today Magazine or call Randy Puetz, PGA Golf n Professional at 425-776-5154.
How Golf Saved Ben Witter’s Life ❰ continued from page 20
do something else.” One oncologist took a particular interest in Ben and invited him to a tournament he was attending after Ben’s discharge. Ben accepted and found himself performing his tricks for a group of over 140 golfers during the rained-out event. The stunned players watched in awe as Ben wowed them with his tricks, many of them asking him to come to their next tournament to show off his unique talents. “I played at tournaments for a few years and more and more people began showing up to see my performance,” said Witter.” One tournament paid me $500 an hour and that’s when it sunk in that I could get paid for my shows and turn this into a career.” April 2009
Over the next several years, Ben gained notoriety by using his foundation and knowledge of the ins and outs of golf to create incredible trick shots. As word of his amazing drives spread, Ben began teaching the fundamentals of golf to amateurs and pros alike. “Every trick shot has its foundation in re g u l a r golf. If a person is not able to stay on a swing plane, I’ll pull out a balance ball and use it illustrate the swing plane, “said Witter. “All tricks have their origin in tradi-
tional golf instruction.” Since the low of his life in that hospital bed more than 20 years ago, Ben has since redirected his mission into mastering the fundamentals and skills necessary to create extraordinary trick shots and is known the world over for his amazing drives. He has since become a golf pro, has been nominated for PGA teacher of the year, holds the long drive record of 406 yards, stars in his own instructional video, RipIt300 (www.ripit300.com). He travels the nation to attend shows, share his knowledge of the game and, of course, wow the audience with his amazing shots. He and his wife, Ann, have stayed together though it all and today celebrate 22 years together including raising five children: Samantha, Alexandra, Maggie, Gabrielle and Nicholas – all powerhouses on the golf course, just like dad. “All in all, I’ve had an amazing experience,” said Witter. “I wouldn’t change it for the world.” n
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GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
22 GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
Vacation On the Greens!
Do These Girls Still Rock? ❰ continued from page 21
along with a plethora of other countries now compose what is truly an international flavor—definitely not an American tour. Interestingly, I passed by the putting and short-game area at Blackhawk during the day while half the field was still playing. There were seven players putting and one working on her sand game. All eight happened to hail from South Korea. Maybe there is a lesson there! I have always maintained that we amateurs can learn more from watching the women than by watching the men play. While the men hit more spectacular shots, their physical capacity far exceeds what the women can do, or male amateurs for that matter. The women, on the other hand, swing smoother and still pop the ball out there further than most amateur men players do. While you may never have the strength of the male professionals, you certainly could take a page out of the women’s play book of course management and smooth swinging. Indeed, the ladies really do make it look easy. More women also really do hit the ball on the sweet spot more than I remember previously. That said, no one really hit the ball anywhere close to the men distancewise, and I suspect a bit of exaggeration in some of the stories I had heard about different women hitting beyond the 275plus yard range without good firm turf and other favorable conditions. What was impressive is that Lorena Ochoa is really “sneaky long” for having such a slight build, and Laura Davies can still hit a driver off the turf with authority! What surprises many, however, is the comparison between the LPGA and PGA player’s short games. While improving, the women’s short game and putting still suffer when compared to the men’s. Specifically, the women’s putting distance control appeared to me to be very suspect, and not nearly as aggressive as the men’s. In eight days of watching, I witnessed many more substandard putts with balls consistently rolling well short of the hole. Secondly, there is also much more reliance on the
part of the women on their caddies for alignment. The women as a group just don’t impress me as being nearly as confident and self-reliant as the men. Many of them appear more mechanical. In golf, the great players are artists, not mechanics, and they must be confident! Two bright areas for the LPGA are the upbeat, friendly attitudes exhibited by a good many of the players together with the improved dress and appearance of many. The vast majority of women, regardless of body-type, now are more apt to really dress sharply—I was impressed. One other thing had not changed. The LPGA players seem to be very conscious and appreciative of their fan support, and are quick to smile and provide an autograph. That makes for a fun environment and a good show! While people were talking about Sarah
Palin, the Alaskan Governor, a public woman with responsibilities and young children, the LPGA is full of mothers with children There are thirty current or expectant mothers on the LPGA Tour! There are, however, very few active players with children over ten and that feature does tend to limit the women’s careers. That said, Susie Redman has four children ranging from one to seventeen in age! Obviously, these women can do more than hit a golf ball, and they are also likely blessed with supportive spouses! Of note also were the two very different venues that hosted the LPGA during their Northern California swing. The newer Ocean Course designed by Arthur Hills at the 36-hole Half Moon Bay Resort can be downright easy when the wind takes a vacation, especially for player of tour caliber. However the wind can quickly change that. Ocean breezes usually attend a round of golf there on this largely treeless links course. Nearly all of the holes are within view of the ocean and there are no homes in the midst of this engaging layout—only adjoining golf holes. Whether for players or spectators, continued on page 26 ❱
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Muckleshoot Casino Beckons! Sometimes after a day on the links, whether playing at local courses or further a field, you just want to go have a meal with your golfing buddies, take in a show or even try your luck at the tables. Muckleshoot Indian Casino in Auburn, Washington conveniently located between Tacoma and Seattle celebrates its 14th Anniversary this month offering patrons a Scratch Card and Cash Treasure hunt, over 2600 machines,
100 table games, and the largest poker room in the state. If you love to dine out, Muckleshoot offers 7 restaurants that will tempt your palate with cuisine from Asia,
the Pacific Northwest, Italy and of course, the good ole U.S. of A.. Yes, the New York Steak at Kookaburras is terrific, and the warm towelets at the table a nice touch! And if you are
looking for entertainment during the month of April, the Club Galaxy is featuring Defending the Caveman, which holds the record for the longest running solo play in Broadway history and runs from April 7-19. Admission is always free at Muckleshoot and you can be guaranteed a good time! Please visit www.muckleshootcasino. com for details! n
Golf, The No Excuses Sport by Don S. “Snoshu” Thompson
When a golfer misses a putt, hits into the woods or has any other embarrassing
action, what excuse does he/she make? Blame the referee for a bad call? Sorry
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dude or dudess, you are the sole proprietor of the error. Major sports have it so EASY. It’s the bottom of the ninth, a man on third, and the outfielder drops the pop up, game over. In the locker room the pitcher blames the outfielder who says to the pitcher “if you had struck him out…”. Three seconds left on the shot clock. A two pointer wins the game, she misses the lay up. She rationalizes “if Sally hadn’t missed those free throws…”. A field goal wins the game. It is blocked. “Lousy blocking, low snap, bad hold…” You name it. I’m not condemning team sports. They are to build character. Like the line backer
that smashes the quarterback. Does he help him up? No, he parades around smashing his chest yelling “Hail Caesar”. It’s not Detroit against Green Bay, it’s more like the “Lions vs. Christians” mentality. How many golf team members have been arrested for drugs, rape, robbery, penalized for violating team rules and sit out a match or pay a hefty fine. So golfers, take pride. You are in charge of your own destiny. Make no excuses, take responsibility, toughen your resolve, strengthen you own character. Learn to rely upon the one person you can, yourself. It is stories like this that prevent me from getting a seat in the press box. n
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WE Work WoNdErS WiTh our MouSE To ProMoTE your BuSiNESS 24 GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
Ty ter Lye Watches The Masters With His Muni Buddies Getting into the Masters is nearly impossible unless you’ve got big bucks and a gambler’s spirit. Which leaves television, where you see a lot more than if you were peeping over thousands of shoulders. So what to do? Watch it with your buddies—all of whom freely do commentary on the action— when their mouth isn’t overflowing with popcorn. It took place something like this: In attendance are Abraham “Log” Lincoln, “Frig” Frog, who doesn’t give a friggin damn about anything or anyone, and makes his feelings known. Loud and clear, especially loud. Joe Doakes, who is a big, good ol’ boy who has manners—which amazes me constantly, and Tootie, the good time girl from the Muni, who just wants to be “in the action.” Tootie’s job is to feed the hungry maniacs that will sprawl over the couch and the floor in my home. My job is to buy the beer. Joe’s job is to play policeman in the event the party gets rowdy. Frig’s assignment is to shut his friggin foul mouth, and try really hard to act intelligent for a few hours. Log’s job is to clean up later.
Everybody showed up before the first tee shot. They wanted to see the flyover of the course so they could criticize this year’s changes to the course (an annual sink hole for megabucks). No surprise that Frig was the first one to bitch. “I hate the way they gang mow the place, using a staggered fleet of Toros to make the grass look like striped jailbird clothes.” Joe Doakes replies, “I like the Muni better, the grass grows here and there, but hardly ever needs cutting ’cause it’s so worn out.” Log is sitting there with his mouth hanging wide open. “Would ya look at that fairway bunker at #10!!! Looks like Florida after a hurricane washed up Cuba on the south end of Miami. The action starts: Players are seen to be mumbling (cursing) on #1 as their drives careen left to an uneven lie needing a long iron to get to the green. Then they cuss out loud as they bury their approach shots in the lip of the front bunker. Or they hit the green and bounce 20 yards off the back into deep doodoo. I say, “Welcome to a shotmakers course!” Frig says, Like you would know—you’d
b y T y t e r Ly e still be two shots away from the green! Laughs. From everyone Next, there is a cutaway interview with, who else? The Lord and Master, Tiger Woods. He is asked about his wife and whether she has taken up playing golf. Ever diplomatic, Tiger responds, “Well, I keep Elin pretty busy—all of us roar. Tiger says, but I’ll let you in on a secret… Sam has a heck of grip on her plastic club! No one laughs at that—it’s a peek into the future. At the third hole, Lefty hits it so far off line they have to send for the Mounties. Log Lincoln sums it up nicely, “At least it wasn’t on the 18th! Joe Doakes cuts in, “better he does it on the 18th, there’s a parallel fairway there!” I go “Yea. Who needs another beer?” Like an angel without wings, Tootie comes in with a huge bowl of popcorn. The timing is good because everybody grabs for the bowl and a popcorn fight starts when Frig tosses some at Log, who, thinking that he’s the designated clean up man, takes offense. A hole-in-one almost takes place when
the US Amateur champ putts a forty footer that does a double helix at the hole and the crowd goes bananas. Hard to settle down after that. The Muni guys start B-ssing about the economy, the price of a round of golf anywhere but at the Muni—where the price has stayed nearly the same since the depression—not the recession—and it isn’t until the fourth beer that they resume watching the television— but this time they are bitching about the announcer who, according to them, is missing the action left and right, and then they start taking bets on each shot; hit the fairway, hit the green, sink the putt, get out of jail in the azalea bushes behind #12. They are keenly interested in how many under the leader is, and then they start betting on where their favorite players are on the leaderboard, like two-back, three-back, and out-of-it. I am getting bored, and I am the one who thought up this TV-watching party. Finally it ends for the day, but there’s always tomorrow, when for sure our favorites will come through and surge into the lead. Guaranteed! n
Feedback From Women Golfers ❰ continued from page 13
Media Habits • 55% of respondents said they watch golf or golf related programming on television at least once per week, while 14% watch it three to four times per month. Also, of the respondents who watch golf or golf related programming on television, 94% said they frequently watch the PGA Tour and 80% watch the LPGA. • 94% of the respondents use the Internet to look at golf related websites while 80% use it 25% of the time or less to look for golf related content. Among those respondents who use the Internet to gather information about golf and golf related products, 58% use it to get information on golf courses and/or for directions, while 55% get golf equipment pricing, 50% check on equipment specs, 49% get weather information as it relates to golfing, and 42% use the Internet to make tee times. • Among those who are members of at least one online community, 45% are members of Facebook, 34% use LinkedIn, 22% are on MySpace and 15% use April 2009
YouTube. While the above represents just a sampling of the survey results from the Women’s Golf Market Study, Golf Datatech concludes that, overall, female golf enthusiasts have many of the same needs, wants and desires as their male counterparts, embracing the challenge of the game and the camaraderie created by spending quality time on the links with friends, family and business associates. At the same time, both females and males alike say their frequency of play is constrained by the cost of the game and the time it takes to play. “To effectively tap into the women’s market, golf courses, golf professionals, equipment manufacturers and all other engrained constituencies must make the game more accessible and welcoming to the female player,” adds Stine. “This study shows that the women’s golf market remains underdeveloped and underserved.” For more information on the Golf Datatech Women’s Golf Market Study, please contact Suzie Phillips at sphillips@ golfdatatech.com or 407-944-4116. n
GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
Do These Girls Still Rock? ❰ continued from page 23
this is an easily walked golf course. From a spectator perspective it was easy to follow a group or simply camp out and catch shots on multiple holes while enjoying a world-class ocean view! While the women found docile scoring conditions there the first round, the course proved a bit more challenging the last three rounds. The Lakeside Course, the older of the two 18-hole courses at the private Blackhawk Country Club offers some terrific holes, very hilly terrain, and some gorgeous
vistas of the oak-studded hillsides. That said, it winds through housing and may be one of the more disjointed layouts in America. The layout was once included as one of the “Fifty Worst Golf Courses” in America, which is perhaps an unjust label. It is a viable test of golf, but the bad feature is that it was nearly impossible to follow your favorite players around as they were carted between from greens to tees over severe terrain and long treks leaving their gallery far behind. Secondly, three of the more isolated holes were off-limits to
spectators, something I have never heard of before except in very rare and usually temporary conditions—making the Lakeside Course “unusual” I suppose you would say. The driving range was also “off-limits” to spectators, which is a very sad feature to anyone who really wants to learn by watching. To the positive, the lavish Blackhawk clubhouse occupies a gorgeous lakeside location from which to watch players finish their rounds to the attractive island eighteenth green. The course simply doesn’t showcase the play as easily as most tour venues do. So what happened in the two events? Overall, the weather was fairly pleasant though breezes occasionally visited both events. Former Pleasanton native, Paula Creamer, held on to win at Half Moon Bay with a nifty 9-under par, one-stroke victory over South Korean, Song-Hee Kim—her first local LPGA title. At Blackhawk another South Korean, In-Kyung Kim, positioned herself near the top of the leaderboard from the beginning and then pulled away with a birdie-birdie finish to best Angela Stanford by three shots at 10-under par in gaining her first-ever LPGA win. Finally, at both events there appeared to be more energy and more spectators than I had previously experienced during a couple of visits to the Champions Tour season-
finale Charles Schwab event in Sonoma to the north! That was a surprise and should bode well for the LPGA in the future, because the ladies delivered. Yes, these girls do, indeed rock! n
Congratulations to Mario, winner of this month’s Golf Today Magazine random draw. Mario is pictured in front of his local course Kayak Point Golf Course in Stanwood, WA, sporting his new Clicgear 2.0 pushcart, SWAMI 1500 GPS, and copy of Golf Today Magazine
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Sa v a d e s i g n 26 GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
The Golf Explorer ❰ continued from page 12
location is that within walking distance of the hotel you’ll find an incredible variety of outstanding restaurants like Limoncello Ristorante and Lorenzillo’s live lobster House & Seafood that’s been hanging around since “1683”. They even have a rowboat full of lobsters where you can choose the pick of the litter. If you have a restaurant that old there must have been a few pirates enjoying some of their specialties. And with all the sightseeing and special activities going on I forgot that my main reason here was to check out the golf courses and play one of them during my stay.. There are a total of 10 courses in the vicinity with four of them residing in Cancun. They are the Hilton. Riviera, Moon Spa and Golf Club and the Cancun Golf Club at Pok ta Pok which I played. Designed in 1976 by Robert Trent Jones Jr, The Pok ta Pok is the oldest Golf Club in Cancun. Their 18 holes of 7,051-yds of championship golf is the perfect combination of beauty and challenge and a viable test for golfers of all abilities. There is also 1,000 year-old Mayan ruins of luminous sandstone which serves as a natural, historic hazard along with panoramic views of the Nichupte Lagoon and turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea in the heart of the
Cancun hotel zone. The course is definitely flat and fairway forgiving with a wide separation of short height palm trees. There is a variety of level sand trappings around the course. That includes like the top-rated 450-yd par four 4th. It has a continuous sand field on the left side to an undulating green with hardly a break on the putting surface.
It’s followed by the their signature par three 210-yarder that hugs the Nichupte Lagoon with acres of sand on the left and fronting the rest of the fairway. Behind it is a kidney shaped green that requires some though and patience to capture the bottom of the cup. Not every hole is straightaway as the dogleg left 504-yd par five eighth enjoys
great trappings surrounding a small contoured green. The 438-yd left angled 10th abruptly turns left near the end of the fairway where an undulating, med- size green breaks from right to left. The sharp dogleg left 400-yd par four 12th is quite unusual at the end of the hole where the approach shot has to make its way over fronting sand and metal and cement fencing in the back. It can end up in the water if too much too much length overshoots the green that falls away from back to front. Of all the holes where sand trappings are the most productive on both sides of the fairway, the 375-yd 16th fills the bill. A tilty green without a visible break ends the proceeding Speaking of greens most of them including the double green (number one and eight) don’t’ show hardly any breaks or movement. It’s just a matter of speeding up your putts because of their slowness. Cancun’s Pok Ta Pok course is rated as in just fair condition. It all comes about because of difficult weather problems that sometimes mess up the course and where bunkers and greens have to be continually worked on. Changes and improvements are a year around club investment but as they n say, “it just comes with the territory.”
Golf Equipment Chronicles ❰ continued from page 10
arms, standard strength, standard tempo and a standard setup, the standard set might be quite OK. The same goes for drivers. Driver heads are targeted to 200 grams, shafts to 65 grams and shaft length to 45”. Swingweight? The old familiar D-1. The big difference between irons and drivers is that 45” and longer drivers are very difficult for even standard American golfers to control. That’s what for sale in the golf stores. The “One True Fact” If there is one specification that golfers think they understand, it is swing weight. In light of the very limited ability to test golf clubs with known characteristics, and the fact that most standard golf clubs are practically identical, it is no wonder that most golfers think that they like golf clubs with D-1 swing weight. Why wouldn’t that be true? They have probably never hit anything else in their lives. And neither have their ancestors. The swingweight April 2009
scale was invented in 1922 and never changed. Swing weight “measures” the relative balance between the handle of a golf club and the head. Swing weight is described as measuring “heft” or “head feel”. In launch monitor testing at the Golf Lab, we very rarely find a player who performs best with standard, off the rack specifications in his golf clubs. If you try to find your “perfect” swing weight by gradually adding weight to your iron head and watching ball speed increase, you are likely to find that your own best swing weight is heavier—in the D-4 or 5 range. The absurdity of the obsession with swing weight is evidenced by some manufacturers who build their iron sets with graphite shafts an inch longer than their steel shafted cousins so that the swing weight will come out the same. Rather than obtain heavier weight heads, the manufacturers take the easy way out using the same heads with the lighter shaft— just longer. That inch of extra length continued on page 28 ❱
GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
Golf Equipment Chronicles ❰ continued from page 27
brings the swingweight up six points— enough to compensate for the lighter shaft. I think that’s a serious mistake. The right club length for a player is the same whether the shaft is steel or graphite. Players would
be better off playing the correct length at a lighter swingweight. But the Manufacturers know one important fact: the clubs wouldn’t sell. My generalization about swing weight only holds true for relatively strong men in good condition. Seniors, women and especially junior tournament players do better
with swing weights in the high C range. Seniors, women and juniors have the most to gain from radically different golf clubs. It is relatively common for a junior tournament player to increase swingspeed ten miles per hour by moving to a driver with a lighter weight, shorter shaft and a very lightweight head— in the 192 gram range. Th e s w i n gweight of that “featherweight” driver might be C-2 or C-3—a measurement that any traditionalist would scoff at. That’s why hundreds of custom golf shops are in business around the United States—serving clients who are hoping to improve their performance by tweaking their clubs—pursuing their desire to at least improve their game a little if not “buy the game of their dreams”. The old days of tedious trial and error are over—today
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comparing club performance with a launch monitor is relatively painless. If you want to experiment with swingweight yourself, you can buy a roll of lead tape and head to the range. Hit a few shots, add a couple of strips of lead tape and hit a few more. That’s a popular method with Tour Professionals. If you peek into bags on the range, you’ll see a lot of lead tape, applied, scraped off and applied again. Sometimes you can’t tell the brand of irons under all of the layers. Be sure that you use enough tape. A single swing weight point requires four inches of tape. Most do-ityourselfers don’t use enough tape to make a difference. The Wonderful Ubiquitous Launch Monitor There is true technology in the golf industry—supplied by the real high technology industry—a wide range of relatively inexpensive launch monitors. The launch monitor is the true hero in customizing golf clubs to an individual player’s swing. The reason? If you try to compare the performance of golf clubs by hitting range balls and relying on what you see, feel and remember, you are trying to discern differences that you cannot possibly see, feel or remember. The effort is futile without your electronic buddy and the organized memory of the computer that drives it. The launch monitor is a friendly assistant. You can make small, incremental changes and detect differences in performance measured by ball speed, swing path, face angle at impact and indicators of consistency. Most of the time, improved performance comes a little at a time. A couple of MPH for shaft length, a couple more for shaft weight, a couple more for head weight, a couple more for center contact and the last increment from back weighting. We’ve been using a succession of launch monitors with ever increasing accuracy to make changes in head weight, shaft weight and balance to achieve surprising improvements in golf club performance. Backweighting, an Introduction Golf folklore gives credit to Jack Nicklaus as the early “true believer” in back weighting his golf clubs—with the help of Jack Wulcotte. Who knows how many times Wulcotte stripped the leather grips off of Jack’s irons and replaced a few strips of lead tape under the grip? Tedious experimentation. The modern champions of back weighting are a trio known as the “Balance Boys”—two former NASA engineers—
Jeff Lindner and John Cranston—joined by John’s son Michael who handles back office operations—doing business as Balance-Certified Golf. They’ve been in the game for six or seven years that I remember—starting with a weight installed in putters to make it heavier. The putter counterweight was quickly followed by lighter weights that could be installed in irons, drivers and fairway metals. The first Balance-Certified counterweight required a club maker to install. It consisted of an aluminum sleeve, supplied in several sizes that was fitted to the internal dimension of the shaft. The sleeve then accepted an interchangeable weight which also came in several sizes. Installation required wasting the grip, cutting the shaft half an inch, gluing the insert, selecting the weight and then regripping the club. Overall, it took half a day to install a complete set of counterweights. The operation was irreversible. If you decided that you didn’t like the weights, your shafts were half an inch too short. Out of luck. That wasn’t exactly a user friendly experience. If you wanted a complete set of counterweights in your irons, it cost you about $70 per club. There weren’t many golfers who were willing to add that much to their investment in golf clubs—especially because the weights were difficult to reuse in another set of irons. We were “early adopters” of counter weighting at the Golf Lab. With our Achiever launch monitor we could “prove” that performance for most players got better. Improvement was measured by ball speed and indicators of better consistency. Unfortunately, proving that counterweights worked was one of those activities that cost a lot more to fit than it was worth in profit. Testing a driver for the perfect weight required a return visit to the shop by the player because of the tedious installation. We needed at least a half hour on the launch monitor. All that for a $20 profit on the weight. When we were hungry and thirsty, we convinced our clients that the effort was worth the result. Sometimes we were just happy to make a driver sale and move on. The first big breakthrough in “ease of use” was the invention of the “drop in” weight by the Balance Boys. Now, all it took to test for performance improvement was a special saw to cut a neat hole in the top of the grip. The B-C counterweight “dropped in” to the top of the shaft and was secured by a few twists of an allen wrench. That innovation made it possible to install and test counterweights in a player’s own continued on page 29 ❱
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Golf Equipment Chronicles ❰ continued from page 28
clubs in a single visit and brought the cost of counter weighting a set of irons down to about $50 each. It became a relatively simple operation to test different weights in a single session. It was no longer necessary to make irrevocable modifications to the golf club. Even so, testing and adding counterweights to a golf club was still “spendy”. Even at the lower price, not too many amateur golfers were ready to add $500 in counterweights to their investment in golf clubs. About two years ago, a new player entered the game. John Johnson, a former Mini Tour player, founded a company he named Tour Lock. He invented a much simpler and cheaper weight. The Tour Lock counterweight did not have the engineering elegance and sophistication of the B-C competition, but it did have a price advantage. It was now possible to counterweight a set of irons for $20 each. The Tour Lock system became the “best seller” for players who were motivated by cost. At the Golf Lab, we added a “free weight fitting” to our services—relying on the near certainty that a player who tested counterweights would understand and be satisfied by the improvement in his performance measured by the launch monitor. Tour Lock also became the system of choice for most of the distributors due to the price advantage. The key to effective counter weighting a set of irons is careful testing to find the weight that “works” the best. We focused on ball speed, swing path, face angle at impact and indicators of consistency. Counterweights come in 8, 12, 16, 20, 25 and 30 gram weights. Working through a complete test with each weight still took upwards of half an hour. With improved efficiency and lower cost, the price of counter weighting a set of irons came down to $20 per club—including testing. That was enough of a difference to open the flood gates. Since the counterweights are reusable and there’s nothing to wear out, there’s not much downside. I follow the online posts about club making daily. I think that most do-it-yourselfers who try counter weighting without the benefit of easy to install weights and launch monitor verification choose weights that are too heavy. In our experience, if you feel the weight it is probably too heavy. I have read a lot of online posts suggesting that 40 and 50 gram weights—even up to 100—are the way to go. I have seen weights up to 60 grams produce good results in drivers but iron performance is rarely improved with weights more than April 2009
16 grams. Balance-Certified struck back with another invention at the end of 2007. They named it the “Stabilizer”. It was similar in concept to the drop in weight design except that it was extended to 7” long with half of the weight positioned at the bottom. That put more of the weight under the player’s lower hand. WOW!! The concept was an engineering and performance breakthrough. For some reason, distributing the weight down the shaft was much more effective than locating weight at the butt end of the grip. Once we understood how effective the Stabilizer was in increasing ball speed and helping a player control his driver, we included a Stabilizer fitting with every driver fitting. The Stabilizer almost always produced significant improvements in ball speed, consistency and feel. In a small shop we were amazed to look at our sales records and find that we have sold almost 400 stabilizers in less than year. Virtually every driver that leaves the Golf Lab is fitted with a Balance-Certified Stabilizer. In a “satisfaction guaranteed” world, you have to look at returns. Only one or two players decided that they liked the feel of “natural” clubs better. At the beginning of 2008, Johnson responded with his own new invention— the “Opti Vibe”—a weight that could be located at any point down the shaft and combined with a butt weight to give the same performance improvement as the Stabilizer, but with a little advantage in that more or less weight could be located wherever the player felt was right. He paired the Opti Vibe with a unique extra gizmo that permitted locking the weight in place instead of relying on a force fit for position. Tour Lock regained the lead in customization.
For a while, that was good for the lead in the race. It was not long before Balance-Certified responded with an improvement to their Stabilizer. The new version, named the AMT, now included to moveable weights on the Stabilizer rod to permit moving the weight up or down the shaft. They recommended ways to position the weights to influence ball flight. Move the weights up to fight the “lefts” and down to fight the “rights”.
Balance-Certified and Tour Lock— neck and neck. The ball moved back to the Tour Lock court. Johnson cut a deal to put his name on a Tour Van and take it to the Champions Tour. The first week out, he installed his Opti Vibe system—aimed at putters - in over twenty player’s putters. You can find a complete list of those players by logging into the Golf Lab website. The list is complete: Name, weight installed, position installed and model of putter used. www. calgolftech.com. It’s not like Balance-Certified has no Tour presence. John Cranston has spent seasons working with players on all Tours and the company has even attracted Scott Hoch as company spokesman. At this point in the great counterweight race I think that the “technology” has reached a peak. Balance-Certified can be described as selling “counterweight systems”. They package a nifty kit that includes the weights and the tools to install them. For golfers who want to “do it themselves”—the Balance-Certified system is much easier to use. Tour Lock is still more experimental. You need a special tool to locate the weight in the shaft and another to secure it. There are many more options with weight and continued on page 30 ❱
GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
Golf Equipment Chronicles ❰ continued from page 29
position but not too enough actual experience with positioning the weights to draw conclusions on the “best” configuration. Players who want to test the limits with Tour Lock will probably require the help of a clubfitter. Overall, despite the tense competition between the two companies, this is just the kind of competitive innovation that makes breakthroughs. Both companies deserve to prosper. For any readers who haven’t tried balancing their clubs—you’re missing out on one of the biggest breakthroughs in history. For a few bucks and a little time you’ll hit better shots and have more fun. Mark my words: this is just the beginning of a trend that will become dominant in the golf equipment industry. A Detour to Heavy Putters Counterweights have been utilized for multiple purposes. The pioneer company on the putter side of the business is the Heavy Putter Company. The brainchild of Steve Bocciari, Heavy Putters are—
HEAVY. Bocciari jammed almost a pound of weight into the shaft of his putters. He also provided the option to increase the head weight. His goal was to make his putters heavy enough so that players would have to use their “big muscles” to make their putting stroke. Players who were inclined to get a little bit “wristy” loved the Heavy Putter. Alas, despite giving away hundreds of Heavy Putters to Tour Players with the hope that they would catch on, Bocciari was left with a single poster child, Troy Matteson, who made it out of the Nationwide Tour and on to the PGA Tour with the Heavy Putter. Even though Heavy Putters haven’t exactly swept the PGA Tour, over the years I have recommended them as a good alternative for amateurs who were having trouble with their putting stroke. I have never experienced more strangers coming up to me at golf courses, tapping me on the shoulder and thanking me for recommending the Heavy Putter. The Heavy Putter has helped a lot of ordinary amateurs
improve their putting statistics. This year, Bocciari brought out a new model: the “Not So Heavy Putter”. The weight was cut down by half and it proved to be a little more popular with golfers. If you’re thinking of trying extra weight in your putter without a lot of rigmarole, the Not So Heavy Putter could be the way to go. On the other hand, a lot of golfers are going to prefer modifying their own putter—the one that has produced fond memories of rare victories.
If you want to give modifying your own putter a try and want to see if you can feel the difference in locating the weight at varied positions up and down the shaft, you can’t beat the Balance Certified AMT Putter weight as an option. And, if you want to get into more extreme experimentation, you can acquire a set of Tour Lock weights and installation tools. So What’s the Science? This is the most difficult question. Why
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30 GOLF TODAY Magazine – Northwest Edition
MANY YEARS’ worth of archives of columns by the Guru of Golf Club Making, Leith Anderson, can be found on our website...
G olf T oday M aGazine . coM April 2009
Golf Equipment Chronicles ❰ continued from page 30
does counter weighting golf clubs work? After spending a lot of time discussing the scientific principles with the inventors, I can say with certainty that no one knows. There are some theories. Extra weight in the putter is the easiest. Heavy (or heavier) putters require a player to use more of his “big muscles”. A heavier putter makes it more difficult to get “wristy”. For amateurs, extra weight almost always improves results. Figuring out why counter weighting works in drivers and irons is much more speculative. The best theory is that moving the weight up the shaft toward the handle raised the balance point of the club which gives a player more control over the club. There is some evidence that counter weighting works in irons by simply redistributing shaft weight upward. The success of the KB Tour shafts is case in point. There is a lot more experimentation to be done with results documented. Today, we have performance improvement for reasons we don’t exactly understand. It is a sure thing that in the future we’ll figure out why certain configurations work better than others. Why are Tour Players Laggards? It is axiomatic that avid golfers look to the PGA Tour for their inspiration about what golf clubs they should buy and how those clubs should be fitted out. The old saw goes “What wins on Sunday sells on Monday.” That has been the marketing mantra for the golf equipment companies since the PGA Tour started paying union wages. (Not that long ago. Remember
that Tiger Woods routinely exceeds Jack Nicklaus’ lifetime tournament winnings in a single year.) Times were not always so good. What motivates a PGA Tour Professional to make a change in his equipment? He has already reached the pinnacle of accomplishment. He’s already a multi-millionaire with lifetime riches— and free golf - assured unless he turns into some kind of sociopath. He has been using his current clubs with extraordinary results for a long time. Why change? No good reason. That’s why Johnson’s success in his first week on the Champions Tour is so extraordinary. How was it that twenty Senior Tour Professionals modified the balance of their putters and immediately took them to the course? Who ever heard of that? Average amateurs are always looking for some miracle that will help them do a little better the next time they have to write their score on the wall for all their friends to see. Not so the professionals. The gist of this argument is to dissuade amateur golfers from thinking that they have to continually copy what’s happening
on the PGA Tour. You might as well think about what life is like on Mars as imagine yourself playing the same game that the Tour Pros are playing. When it comes to adopting a new idea, it is much more likely that a desperate amateur will give it a go than a fat and happy Tour player. So to heck with all that circular argument, the Tour Players are adopting counter weighting so you should too. What to Expect If you are looking for the most cost effective way to install counterweights in your irons, you’ve got to go with Tour Lock. At $20 installed at most custom shops, you can do a complete set including wedges for under $200—in most cases including launch monitor testing. The Tour Lock counterweights are reusable. We still favor the BalanceCertified Stabilizer for the driver. It is easy to install. The verdict is still out on the new B-C AMT system. It’s not obvious to me that there is a lot of difference moving a little weight six or seven inches. We haven’t had sufficient time for launch monitor testing since the new product came out. Stabilizers cost $50 and up. Most players can expect to increase swing speed from 2-4 MPH after installing counterweights. But increased ball speed is not the most interesting improvement.
Most launch monitors have the ability to “see” the swing in one form or another. We use the Achiever which records swing path, face angle at impact, trajectory and area of face contact. After a series of shots, averages are presented. Most of the time we see improvement in all of the indicators of consistency—swing path steadies, face angle at impact tightens up and the launch angle shows less variance. It is not unusual for a player who hits the ball on the center of the club 50% of the time before counter balancing to improve to 100% immediately. The measurable improvements tell only part of the story. Most players also report a “more solid” feel to their shots. And if you’re wondering about distance, you should gain one club with your irons and 10 yards of carry distance with your driver. Your control of both distance and direction should improve. If that sounds preposterous, the only way you’ll ever know for sure is to take the test. If you live in Northern California, there’s no better place to take that test than the Golf Lab. In other regions, consult the Balance-Certified and Tour Lock websites for locations of their certified dealers. I’ll be back next month with a report on the Nabisco LPGA Championship. We’ll see what the best women in the world are n playing. Leith Anderson is a partner in the Golf Lab, Palo Alto, CA. He will answer any and all questions about club fitting and club making. Contact: Leith@calgolftech.com.
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