Friday, June 28, 2013

Can Youth Revitalize Women's Golf?

LPGA golf superstars like Cristie Kerr have been playing as a professional longer than the ages of many of the hottest young golfers standing beside her on the tee box. With eighteen teenagers poised to make history at the 2013 U.S. Women's Open, can youth revitalize a sagging Tour?

Golf Channel's "State of the Game" Roundtable Discussion at the U.S. Women's Open asked Kerr, Annika Sorenstam and Mike Whan about the state of the Ladies' game and whether teenagers are prepared to take on this revitalization movement.

Cristie KerrCristie Kerr mentioned that sponsorships and resources are now more available to younger players. Add to that the numerous mental and swing coaches that accompany each player and "they are a lot more equipped to play professional golf as a young age."

Annika Sorenstam believes that the younger golfers "bring a lot to the game"; they are mature and hit the ball a long way.

Mike Whan explained that, although you might see more teens competing in this event, it is because it is a USGA event as opposed to an LPGA tournament. Strict guidelines have been put into place to ensure that the LPGA is accessible to youth players, "but we kind of draw a line between access to play and be a member, because with membership, comes a lot more responsibilities and these two know better than ever."

Annika Sorenstam 1995 US Women's OpenAdvice from Annika? "Just have fun, enjoy. You have so many years ahead of you, don't rush it, because it's hard to be out there."

This week at Sebonack GC, Paula Creamer and Matt Lauer were on hand to participate in a golf clinic where over one-hundred youngsters attended, most of the kids from LPGA-USGA Girls Golf. Is this solid proof that the game is growing and moving forward for the youth of America? Jeanne-Marie Hamilton-Moore of the First Tee of Essex County said about Creamer after the golf clinic “She’s famous and she’s amazing, and I know that I can achieve that one day.”

It is inevitable that younger golfers will play a big role in the advancement of women's golf and, in my opinion, as long as teens are brought into the sport and moved along at the proper speed and with the right frame of mind, the game will continue to prosper.

photo credit: LPGA, Golfweek AP

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Friday, June 21, 2013

U.S. Women's Open Golf Preview With Annika Sorenstam

2013 U.S. Women's Open logoThree-time U.S. Women's Open Champion and fan favorite, Annika Sorenstam, recently opened up to Golf Channel about her thoughts on the upcoming major as well as the mindset and preparation needed to become the winner of this sought-after trophy. Kay Cockerill, the lead analyst for Golf Channel coverage, joined in the interview.

Golf for Beginners selected choice opinions from the Sorenstam - Cockerill interview and have posted a few notable quotes below in the hopes that it will stir up excitement in the 2013 U.S. Women's Open, scheduled for the week of June 24, 2013.

Moderator: Just an opening question, what was your mind set and preparation going into U.S. Women's Open?

Annika SorenstamANNIKA SORENSTAM:  Well, thank you, and good morning, everyone.  The U.S. Open certainly has a special place in my heart, and growing up in Sweden, I always thought it was the biggest tournament.  As a little girl, I dreamed about winning it, and like you said, I had a chance to do that a few times.

You know, certainly I think it's the toughest tournament for women's golf throughout the year.  The courses we play on are always immaculate and challenging, and it tests you in every aspect.

Moderator:  What are you hearing from the players on the anticipation heading into next week?

KAY COCKERILL:  Everyone is very excited and there have been a pretty good handful of women that have gotten out and played Sebonack already, and they are very impressed with the golf course. I think everyone is in agreement that it's certainly wide open off the tee, but it's about placement of the second shot, just enormous undulating greens.  And the greens, and the shots around the greens, are going to be very critical.

Moderator: Could you just talk a little bit about what kind of game, particular skills Sebonack might favor, and which players might there for seem to have a particular advantage or chance for this week, next week?

KAY COCKERILL: What I gather from what the players have said, there are some seaside holes.  It's a coastal type golf course, but then, pretty generous off the tees.  ...and I asked a couple players, if it's the kind of course where you can hit low shots and bounce it in.  And they said, not really, because of all the slopes on these greens and the wave like nature of the greens, you kind have to shape your shots in and it's going to be really quite a shot makers golf course.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM:  I think overall, the way the USGA has set up this course, whatever type of golf course it is, they want you to be, you know, you need to be able to fire on all cylinders.  You need to be most of the time pretty long off the tee.

You look at the previous U.S. Women's Open, and it's getting longer and longer.

Moderator: I wonder what you can tell me about...just thinking of people that might have been No. 1 at some point, about Michelle Wie's putting stance and stroke these days, and just generally some thoughts about where she stands these days.

Michelle Wie

KAY COCKERILL:  I've known Michelle Wie for a very long time.  I've watched her play since she was ten years old, and she was at the time the youngest to qualify for the women's Public Links which has now been eclipsed by Lucy Li. I personally do not like her putting stance.  I find it amazing that she can even stand in that position for an amount of time.  Maybe it doesn't bother her back very much.  I have to tip my hat to her because it takes a bit of guts and bravery to do something very different and risked being made fun of.

She has committed to this.  She seems to; I think she's been told what to do so much that if this was truly her own idea and her own experiment that she felt strongly about and she's committed to it, I applaud her for that.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Right now, she has a lot more doubt than confidence, and it's hard.  She's trying something new.  Standing the way she does, it probably stabilizes her upper body a little bit more.  She has a strong back, so good for her (chuckling).

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Credit: Golf Channel, ASAP Sports

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Mount Airy Resort Casino and Golf Course Redefines Itself

A multi-million dollar upgrade worked wonders on a tired yet "beautiful" Lodge, reinventing itself as Mount Airy Casino Resort. The former hotel, as it was told to me, had to be demolished by the owners, the DeNaples family, and with it thankfully went the days of the “honeymoon-hideaway”; red, heart-shaped tubs and Poconos 70's "kitsch". 

Mount Airy ResortOwner Lisa DeNaples’ personal touch throughout the rebuilt Mount Airy Casino Resort hits the jackpot, from glittering chandeliers and glistening glass fireplaces in the entry to pure chic d├ęcor at Gypsies Night Club (with cages tastefully surrounding the stage for the dancing girls). 

Top-name entertainment performs weekly (check the schedule) and includes a special surprise for the ladies with the Thunder from Down Under revue throughout the summer.  

The resort is clean, has all of the comforts of home and then some; super-comfy plush bedding, flat-screen televisions and digital Cisco phone systems in each room provide weather and wake-up calls at the touch of a button.

Like a phoenix from the ashes, Mt Airy sacrificed itself in order to save and reinvent itself... which was probably for the best.

Mount Airy Casino Resort Dining

Mount Airy Resort served well as a birthday destination for me: who doesn’t love a great meal served by waiters and waitresses who seem genuinely happy to assist (with piano music playing gently in the background?) My special occasion dinner was served up at Red’s, named after the owner’s patriarch. Steaks were cooked to perfection and the cheesecake was delicioso.

Mount Airy Resort Dining

I’m hard-pressed to say which restaurant served up the preferred meal during my stay but, if it was based on the quality of the Veal Marsala, I might have to choose Le Sorelle Cucina…I would journey back here just for the Veal…so tender!

There are several other options on the premises: Betty’s Diner is furnished with what else but a 1950’s theme and a Buffet where my husband and I gravitated to while waiting for our room to become available. Although we didn’t eat at the Buffet, we were impressed by the quality and with only small portions left out in order to keep the food fresh.

A Noodle Bar and Starbucks round out the dining options.

Framed in Betty's Diner was this photo of what looks to be 1970's poolside splendor at Mount Airy Lodge..and the reminder that today, all photos are digitized and in color.

Beautiful Mount Airy Lodge

Mount Airy Casino Resort and Gaming

There is a reason this Resort is called a Casino but I am disappointed to say that, for us, the machines were very tight; we hardly got any play. 

When we got tired of losing, we tried to find outdoor space to catch a bit of sunshine but noticed that there is limited seating on the premises unless you take a short stroll just across from Mount Airy Resort to the golf course. There you will find very restful outdoor seating/dining overlooking the lake. I understand that there is also a walking and bicycle path at the entrance to the Resort …but I was later warned to beware of tics and bring  bug spray (and sunscreen) for protection.

An indoor, outdoor pool is currently under construction and set to open around Labor Day which should take care of the lounging issues. The pool is located by the Spa and Fitness Center which looked like a serene place to get away from the hustle of the machines.

Mount Airy Golf CourseEighteen holes of golf were designed by architect Hal Purdy in order to recreate some of the Top Golf Courses in the Country. 

Of course, these golf holes were "inspired" by Purdy and loosely based on the top eighteen (and do not necessarily follow the numbers on this card) but there are similarities. The 18th on Pebble Beach is recreated for example, but the water is on the opposite side of the fairway. 

Whether or not you can see the similarities, you will find yourself tested from the first tee box to your final drained putt. The Palmer Golf Course at Forsgate CC, Burning Tree in Greenwich CT and Fox Hollow in Somerville are among Hal Purdy's memorable golf course designs.

Although there are currently plans on the table for a putting green and range, for now guests who arrive before 11AM can walk or drive a cart to the 18th green for a warm-up (who doesn’t want to practice on Pebble Beach GC 18th green?)

New irrigation system has been added and the course is in great condition. It is a busy golf course, and rightfully so as blind holes and twists and turns take golfers on a journey which frustrates for errant shots and rewards the player for smart play. The rough is thick, there are a number of doglegs and the greens are tricky.

Mount Airy Golf Course
Barry and playing partner pointing out best place to land the shot.

After our round of golf, although tempted to play another nine, we decided to have a snack by the lake and venture into the Clubhouse to relax and watch a bit of golf. This Clubhouse was a total redesign watched over in its entirety, I'm told, by Ms. DeNaples who gave this Clubhouse the feel of a Lodge.

All in all, I would say that Mount Airy has morphed into a present day Casino Resort with a focus on the Casino and with all of the comforts that you would expect from a Resort destination. For me, I felt as if I could stay perhaps a night or two and then be on my way to my next destination. In other words, this is a great travel stopover while passing through the Poconos. If you are a golfer, you will not be disappointed.

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Disclosure: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Can the Right Golf Shoes Really Improve Your Game?

Do golfers take their golf shoes for granted? Players may opt for style in a "tried-and-true" shoe but, what if a golfer could have it all...and more? The line of Adidas Golf Shoes promises function, style and comfort for a more natural movement.

Walking eighteen holes can take a toll on any golfer but with proper cushioning, flexibility and support, the stroll - and the recovery shots - become more bearable. Bill Price, VP of adidas Golf Footwear claims that a player will not only be comfortable out on the golf course but will walk more naturally with the new adicross design. “With this revolutionary new shoe, a golfer can freely flex and rotate from the ground up to the shoulders, resulting in a more efficient, natural swing.” 

The Adidas adicross Tour Spikeless Golf shoes promise a new ripstop nylon saddle for improved upper flexibility and lightweight FITFOAM™ PU insole which is said to provide everlasting cushioning, support and comfort. 

The limited edition Adidas adizero Tour, says, is "specially-engineered to include only what’s essential to perform, and deliver everything a golfer needs to finish strong when it’s needed most."

Adidas adiCross Golf Shoes
Here is a picture of the new adiCross Tour Golf Shoe in White/Uni Red/Aluminium found on the Function18 website. Enhanced stability, flexibility and, in my opinion (as I found was needed while playing a round of golf this weekend), improved ground contact throughout the swing, are probably three of the most important reasons to compare this shoe to what you are currently wearing out on the golf course.

The red spikeless sole also makes quite a fashion statement, don't you think?

Adidas AdiZero Golf Shoes

If you think the adiCross is a winner, take a look at the new Adidas AdiZero Tour Golf Shoes. The AdiZero is said to be thirty-eight percent lighter than its predecessor with technology that is used to create football shoes. 'SprintWeb' helps with swing support with a durable outer layer.

Adidas Adizero Sport Traxion golf shoesLooking for a bold look that is waterproof? Rainy days make these golf shoes a must! Adidas AdiZero Sport TRAXION Golf Shoes come in a stylish yellow with features such as a Triangular spikeless configuration for optimum traction, control and stability, removing heel lift for overall comfort and a 'Cloudfoam' sock liner insole for additional lightweight cushioning...ahhh.

With these selections, it's easy to look good and feel good on the golf course! One (or more) of these Adidas golf shoes would be PERFECT to add to your list of Father's Day golf gifts.

Another great golf gift idea? To celebrate the U.S. Open, designer golf clothing specialists Function 18 are now offering 15% off all orders online at To receive your 15% off, simply visit Function 18 during the US Open (13th - 16th June) and enter voucher code USOPEN15 at checkout. 

Voice your opinion right here on our golf blog, on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and on Facebook.

Disclosure: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Golf Gifts Your Dad Will Use

With so many golf blogs coming out with lists of Father's Day golf gifts, Golf for Beginners has also compiled several items which dad will love to use.

1. Quick Spikes:
I love ingenious ideas that serve a purpose and improve the game of golf in some way. I first saw Quick Spikes at the Westchester County Golf Show this year and was enamored with the thought of not having to change into my golf shoes every time I visited the driving range, or if I was at the putting/chipping area and needed some extra grip. Although I would not use Quick Spikes for 18 holes as I found I had to occasionally adjust them, they were great as a casual solution.

2. SlingerGolf InsideMove:
Perfecting two basic swing functions - correct swing plane and release of the golf club - can be a daunting task without an instructor to help guide the student. Although I just received the InsideMove golf training aid, I can see how, through simplicity of design, this easy-to-use tool can improve your swing path so that it becomes ingrained when you play a round.

I also received the Velcro Target so that Barry and I can practice our swing on the road (next stop, Mount Airy Casino.)

3. Mobitee GPS Golf Assistant - The Golf App that Settles the Score:
I use Mobitee when I am walking on the golf course and, aside from the (obvious) accuracy of the GPS, I find that it helps me to avoid bunkers and to find the front, middle and back of the green. The Father's Day promotion from Mobitee is in the form of a cute 13-year-old girl who "settles the score" with her dad during a round of golf.

The Mobitee video is original with a clear-cut message: even a technologically narrow-minded guy like Dad can learn something from his kids, in this case, his 13-year old daughter Emily. The commercial spot helps to humanize the Mobitee brand, communicates well with women and kids while proving that a golf app can be a cross-generational tool that is to be enjoyed by all.

**Mobitee Father's Day Twitter Giveaway: Tweet the hashtag #MobiteeDad to @Golf4Beginners with a funny golf story you shared with dad for YOUR dad to win a Mobitee GPS Golf App for his smart phone!** one app to give away...promotion good through Father's Day...winner will be notified via Twitter.

4. Have you walked through a sporting goods store only to see Dad drooling over the latest golf clubs? Here's your chance to show that you have listened to his by getting him one of the latest golf drivers (or wedge perhaps?) on the market. I'm not making any suggestions's YOUR job to listen to your dad!

5. This is probably the most important gift you can give your dad ...SUNSCREEN! Your dad spends four to five hours out in the sun so, chances are, he will get a pretty dark tan (except of course, on his golf glove hand) and, chances are, he will never go out and buy it for himself. That being said, show dad how much you care, read these facts about skin cancer and include a bottle of SPF 50 on your list!

For more golf gift ideas, take a look through this list of putters and accessories to remember the dad in your life!

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Monday, June 03, 2013

Could YOU Play 100 Holes of #Golf In One Day?

This Golf for Beginners blog not only provides readers with reviews of new equipment and training aids, travel updates and opinionated arguments, but we also are very interested in people making a difference in their golf communities through charitable means. 

With that said, please read the following blog written by Neil Johnston and, if you can, help him to support Misericordia through his Hundred Hole Hike , which "offers a community of care that maximizes potential for persons with mild to profound developmental disabilities, many of whom are also physically challenged."
Guest Blog Written by Neil Johnston:
The Hundred Hole Hike (HHH) is a national-network of golf marathons where participants plan to walk 100 or more holes of golf in one day in order to raise money for various worthwhile charitable causes. The Hundred Hole Hike includes events at some of the top golf courses in the country, including many courses listed in the Top 100 by the various golf publications. In its inaugural year, the HHH raised $270,000 for a wide range of charities.
100 golf holes? 1 day? No mulligans?
Among those who have seen me play golf, the feedback is unanimous: Optimistic. Impossible. Ridiculous. Dude, lose some weight.
While caddying for a friend in last year’s inaugural Hundred Hole Hike, I watched a handful of similarly skilled (and in some cases, unskilled) hikers overcome physical and mental challenges to complete 100 holes. And I thought…hey I could do that. No, I should do that.
I live in the West Rogers Park area of Chicago within a lob wedge of Misericordia’s main campus. Misericordia supports individuals in Chicago with developmental disabilities by maximizing their level of independence and self-determination. Put simply, Misericordia believes that people with developmental disabilities not only have a right to life, but to one worth living. Currently, Misericordia supports more than 600 children and adults in Chicago, from all backgrounds, with developmental disabilities.
Misericordia makes my neighborhood a better place. Hacking my way around 100 holes seems like the least I can do to thank them. As a slightly overweight, 12 handicapper, it’s going to take a lot of help to complete the hike! Please consider supporting my hike and one of Chicago’s most worthy charities, using the following link:
All Golf4Beginners on Twitter readers who make a $25 pledge will receive a signed, unwashed sock of mine from the Hundred Hole Hike....just mention that you saw my blog. This is truly a one of a kind souvenir. Alternatively, if you would prefer a hearty thank you and a tax receipt, then that can also be arranged. 

Your comments are welcome on this blog, on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and Facebook...or wherever you happento see Golf for Beginners!

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