Saturday, December 24, 2011

Resolutions for a Happy Golf New Year

In what seems to be a lifetime ago, I considered what Tiger Woods might have added to his New Year's wish list for the 2011 season. Woods accomplished to check a few big items off of that list including making a comeback in Australia, snagging new endorsement deals and completing with a season-ending win.

Where I do not make my living from playing professional golf on the PGA Tour, my business does revolve around the sport in the realm of SEO and social media.

With the weather turning colder and twilight coming much too early each day to get in (at the very least) nine holes of golf, I turn my attention to my New Year's resolutions. I'll offer up these initiatives to get you started:

1. Play more golf! This past year, work became the center of my attention. Whereas it is important to concentrate on business, I have to admit that all work and no play makes Stacy a dull girl!

2. Help new golfers get involved and stay in the game. Of course, that is the whole reason that Golf for Beginners is in existence and since we're always learning, let's all take a suggestion from the USGA and Tee It Forward; basically pick the right tee box for your game. Your scores will drop and you'll have much more fun!

3. Practice, practice, practice! Even though I could not play as much golf as I would have liked, I should have made a more eager attempt to get to the driving range. A large bucket of balls for $6 is quite a good deal too! NO EXCUSES!

4. Play golf on at least one new course. It is easy to get into the routine of playing at the local publinks but it is also good to broaden your horizons. That being said, I intend to pick at least one new golf course within fifty miles that I have always wanted to play and get in a round. In 2011 made it to several great courses, including Bethpage Black (playing a yearly round with the MGWA) and meeting up with a few Twitter friends at Putnam National. More to come!

5. Must work on the mental game!! The mental game of golf is not only played on the course, it must also be practiced in real life situations. Not having too many highs and lows during the day, keeping steady as she goes, will certainly help me keep my head about me when the pressure is on, when Nassaus are being waged and when competition is the name of the game.

6. Go through my golf bag...out with the old, in with the new! I'm sure I'm not the only golfer who stuffs way too many golf balls, tees, markers, accessories, etc. into my golf bag. I resolve to go through my Adidas aG Strike stand bag and only keep what is necessary for that day's round. The threesome I played golf with during my last nine holes at Sprain Lake golf course all carried their bags and I felt compelled to do so (I use a push cart). Although my golf bag weighs in at just over 4 lbs, with all of the extras in my bag, I struggled to keep up.

Will I succeed? Only time will tell but resolutions are for the making, not necessarily for the fulfilling. All I can do is try.

What are your golf-related New Year's resolutions?
Voice your opinions on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and friend on Facebook.

Happy New Year to all my golf friends!

photo credit:


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Whisper it! Kaymer reveals HSBC Abu Dhabi golf secret

Germany’s Martin Kaymer returns to the UAE in January as the first of the new generation of golf stars to have both a Major title and a World Golf Championship trophy to his name. Having won last year’s renewal of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and November’s HSBC Champions he is also on the verge of an unprecedented treble. As Tim Maitland reports, there’s a good reason why he has such a remarkable record in Abu Dhabi.

Only ten players have ever won both a Major Championship and a WGC trophy. Since the World Golf Championships series was introduced in 1999, that tiny exclusive club has slowly grown, the founding member being Tiger Woods. Next in was Ernie Els in 2001. Surprisingly late arrivers were the two main challengers to Tiger at his brilliant best: Vijay Singh only claimed his first WGC in 2008, while Phil Mickelson’s 2009 WGC-HSBC Champions victory in Shanghai got him into the group.

Last November in Shanghai, Martin Kaymer, at twenty-six years of age, added the WGC-HSBC Champions to his 2010 PGA Championship.

Given how long we’ve been focused on emerging wunderkinds like Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Matteo Manassero, you’d be forgiven if you don’t immediately grasp how precocious the German’s talent is.

Rory McIlroy with Martin Kaymer Round 4 Abu Dhabi HSBC

This simple fact proves it: Kaymer is seven and a half years younger than the previous “baby” of the elite ten, Geoff Ogilvy, and just two days short of nine years junior to the next youngest in the list... Tiger Woods himself.

Just how far Kaymer is ahead of the rest of his generation is felt nowhere more strongly than in Abu Dhabi, where he is aiming for a unique sponsor’s treble. While the rest of the world can claim to have seen a trajectory to the young Dusseldorf native’s career, in Abu Dhabi, but for a missed cut right at the very start of his European Tour career, he has just been consistently brilliant.

It’s hard to believe, now that at the age of twenty, Kaymer was an amateur when he won his first event on the third-tier German-based EPD (European Professional Development) Tour in 2005. He turned professional that year, won the EPD’s 2006 Order of Merit and the chance to play on the Challenge Tour, winning his first event and again, a month later, sealing his European Tour card in just eight tournaments.

The outsider can see a logical development in his career from then on: from five top-ten finishes in his rookie season through to winning his first Major – the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits – and the Race to Dubai in 2010, and claiming the status of the world’s number one player in 2011.

The spectator whose one taste of tournament golf is the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship each year would be forgiven for thinking Kaymer just emerged from the pram that good: in four years he was won the event three times and, in an ‘off year’ in 2009, finished second.

But just as that fan would struggle to understand that Kaymer’s career has actually been one of progressive improvement, so Kaymer would have problems communicating why he now owns three trophies and has played 80-under-par over the past four years.

“It’s tough to explain, but it’s a combination of a lot of things, why I play well there. It’s just the whole package, I believe: I come from five or six weeks’ break, so first of all I’m very motivated to play golf again and to play a tournament again. Then we always stay at an unbelievable hotel at the Emirates Palace. I really like the people there; when I come to the clubhouse – I’ve known them four or five years now – we always recognize each other, we talk a little bit. It’s a very nice environment there. It’s a nice atmosphere and the way HSBC runs the tournament [with the ADTA], it’s very comfortable for us players,” says Kaymer, whose comfort levels must soar once he steps out onto the first tee.

“Every year you get to know the golf course better and better, but I think I know how to play that golf course in the easy way for me; that might be my advantage. I feel comfortable on every tee box I stand on; I really can feel the tee shot, I know where I can miss the tee shot in order to still have a shot towards the green, and another big advantage is that I can read those greens very well,” he continues, seemingly trying very hard not to use the ‘fits-my-eye’ phrase that can only really be understood by those who spend 25 weeks or more each year playing a different layout each week.

“If we compare Abu Dhabi to Augusta, for example, almost every tee shot in Abu Dhabi I stand on the tee box and can hit a little cut into the fairway or I can use a short cut over some bunkers; I just feel very comfortable. Even if I were to miss a shot, I’m still OK. My misses are fine. At Augusta I don’t feel very comfortable on a lot of the tee boxes when I stand there. The look of the hole in Abu Dhabi is very different,” he reveals.

That most temperamental of mistresses – the shortest stick in the bag – has also always behaved like an angel for Kaymer in Abu Dhabi, which probably goes without saying considering he has averaged five-under-par per round over his last four visits.

“I’ve always putted well there. I can read the greens well. I feel comfortable. I can still remember a lot of the putts that I’ve made in the past and that helped me a couple of times last year when I won again. Sometimes you have golf courses where you struggle to read the greens and sometimes you have golf courses where you go there every year and you know you’re going to putt well. It’s just one of those events where I know I will putt well.”

Though Kaymer wouldn’t say it feels like the course was made for him, given the chance, he would make it for himself.

“If I could build my own golf course it would be very close to the golf course in Abu Dhabi for sure. I just play very good golf on that golf course.”

Perfect Practice

There are plenty of theories, most of them proposed in jest, among the tour players as to why Kaymer has been so dominant at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Spain’s Pablo Martin, with tongue firmly in cheek, tested a few of those suggesting the German has no fun during the winter holiday.

“Everyone just competes for second place because Martin must not have any Christmas; he just practices. That’s why he wins by twenty-five shots! Everyone else is at home drinking and eating,” kids the two-time winner of South Africa’s Alfred Dunhill Championship, ignoring the fact that for that theory to stand up Kaymer would also have to fastidiously ignore his birthday, which falls three days later.

In joking around, Pablo inadvertently comes up with an explanation that even Kaymer doesn’t seem to have considered that much. As well as Kaymer, England’s Paul Casey has a ridiculous record in Abu Dhabi, winning in 2007 and 2009. Yes, both are long, straight hitters who can putt, but both share the same winter home, too.

“Paul and Martin both live in Arizona; either there is something in the water in Arizona or it doesn’t feel like Christmas in Arizona because it’s too hot!” Pablo Martin adds.

 “I really should get myself to Arizona next Christmas!” he laughs.

He should.

Specifically, if Pablo wants to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, he should probably get himself to the Whisper Rock Golf Club, because the more Kaymer thinks about it, the more he realises the weeks he spends preparing for the season at his winter home is the perfect preparation for the tournament.

“It has nothing to with the water! Paul and I, when we practice in Arizona, we have very similar conditions and facilities [to the course in Abu Dhabi]. It’s a very similar golf course that we play in Scottsdale,” says Kaymer of the course, which is reported to have over 30 Tour professionals as members, including the designer Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples, Geoff Ogilvy and Aaron Baddely.

Among the winners of the annual club championship there are PGA Tour regulars Kevin Streelman (a former Whisper Rock caddie), Todd Demsey, Chez Reavie and Billy Mayfair, which instantly tells you the course is set up as close to tournament standards as you can get week-in and week-out.

The similarities are endless. The Upper Course at Whisper Rock even has exactly the same yardage from the back tees as the Abu Dhabi Golf Club will have for the 2012 tournament: 7,600 yards. Right down to the desert air, Kaymer couldn’t have picked a better place to practice.

“That’s what Arizona is about; it’s got a lot of desert. It has very similar bunkers and the sand in the bunkers is very similar. The greens are a little grainy, but not too much. Everything is very similar. The ball goes a similar distance. The weather is very similar; it’s 20 to 25 degrees [Celsius] when we practice there and when we go to Abu Dhabi it’s the same. So there’s no adjustment necessary when we come from the break,” Kaymer explains.

In a nutshell, in spending his winter preparing to challenge the world’s best for the next season, Kaymer is inadvertently yet very specifically preparing to excel in Abu Dhabi in the first week of his season. 

Champions’ Boost

By his own reckoning this winter’s preparations were energised by finishing the 2011 campaign with a World Golf Championship record-setting comeback at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

“To win such a big event, the HSBC in Shanghai, a World Golf Championship event with the best players in the world participating, it definitely gives you a boost. All of a sudden you want to practice even harder, you want to win more tournaments; it gives you a little bit more motivation for the next year. I can’t wait to tee it up in Arizona when we play the next one [the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship] and when we play Doral, another World Golf Championship event, and going towards the Masters,” says Kaymer, whose nine-under-par 63 was the lowest final round by a winner in the history of the WGC stroke-play events.

“Before the win in Shanghai it was not a great season, but if you win such a big event – the year before, I won a major; last year I won a World Golf Championship – in Asia! I’ve won a few tournaments in Europe already, I won a Major in America and now I’ve won in Asia: in all three continents, I’ve done something very special. The win proved myself again. It proved …that hard work will pay off! I worked really hard in the summer time and the fall; I was practising very hard on my game and I was working out really hard in the gym and I really wanted to achieve something. I was running out of tournaments, so was really happy that it still happened and for it to be such a big event. I wouldn’t say it saved my season, but it definitely made it more satisfying.”

That season certainly had not lived up to the anticipation created by the way he opened the year. Much to his own amazement, Kaymer’s winning in Abu Dhabi had lifted him above Tiger Woods in the world rankings. Reaching the final of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, where he lost 3 & 1 to Luke Donald, took him to the top spot for the first time. What followed – including missed cuts at the Masters Tournament and the US PGA Championship, and only five other top-ten finishes between his personal HSBC double was, by the standards of his seemingly inexorable rise, a relative disappointment.

Kaymer has repeatedly said it was down to the unexpected aspects of topping the Official Golf World Rankings. The golf world, including many players, has talked about Kaymer altering his game with an eye on the Masters, something he emphatically denies.

“Everybody says I changed my swing for Augusta, which is not true. I’m not changing my swing for one golf course! With my golf swing I’ve become number one in the world; there’s no reason why I should change it! The only reason why I wanted to adjust my golf swing was because I saw room for improvement. That improvement, if I could get there, would help me in Augusta and maybe that’s why people might say ‘He changed his swing for Augusta’, but it’s not true,” he explains patiently.

What is true is that Kaymer did work hard last winter to try and improve his ability to shape the ball right-to-left to complement his natural fade. He views it as adding another weapon to his arsenal, but asserts that the fact that other people don’t interpret that way doesn’t bother him.

“To be able to hit the draw if you can add another option to your ball flight it will definitely make you into a better player. I would have more possibilities for golf shots on different golf courses of course in Augusta and I think that would make me more comfortable in Augusta if I could add a couple of things to my golf.

“I know what I need to do and I know what I do, and I talk to my coach about it and that is the most important thing. What people make out of it in the end is not in my hands. If people ask me, I will tell them the truth and what I feel about it; what they write and say after that is out of my hands. It doesn’t bother me and it doesn’t disturb me.”

Being #1

What he does admit disturbed him was the reaction to his becoming world number one. Compared to the sport’s traditional heartlands, a successful German golfer lives in relative anonymity. That changed when his Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship win and runner-up finish at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship thrust him above first Tiger and then Lee Westwood.

Looking back at that period immediately after his WGC-HSBC Champions win in November, Kaymer told a packed press conference why it was a struggle.

“It was a tough stretch of months, because it's not normal that at my age you become No. 1 in the world.  All of a sudden, you have more attention: Doesn't matter really where you go. In my own country, I became the German golf face. In America, a lot of people recognised me because obviously golf is a little bit bigger in America than in Germany. But it has been, you know, a little awkward situation sometimes, because I was just not used to be that much in the spotlight,” he said at the time.

With a little more time to consider, Kaymer says it wasn’t just how number one status affected him, but that it affected everyone to whom he was close.

“The whole thing in the beginning was very strange because no-one in my inner circle [had experienced it]: my manager had never had a player who was number one in the world; all of a sudden my family and me had more attention in Germany; and, the people I work with found it a little bit difficult to begin with. Now we know what’s going to happen,” he says, revealing just how high being number one again sits in his list of priorities.

“I will set new goals for the new year: to play well again in the World Golf Championship events and in the Majors. And for sure the goal is to get back to number one in the world, now I know how it feels to be number one; how to approach it and how to handle that position. Obviously it was fun and I learned a lot and I’d love to be back on top.”

Fearless Defender

Getting back to the top might depend on whether the current incumbent, Luke Donald, continues with his run of stunning consistency in 2012. All Kaymer can do is get back to playing at the level with which he bookmarked his 2011 season.

Of course he starts in his happiest of happy places, Abu Dhabi, where his domination could be described as Tiger-esque. Living up to such a fantastic record would eventually weigh on most players, but like Woods, Kaymer seems to react differently: wins follow wins.

If you group together his three Abu Dhabi wins as one packet, three more of his career victories came in three successive appearances in 2010, when he sandwiched a victorious Ryder Cup appearance in between winning his Major and claiming the KLM Open and the Dunhill Links, while his two wins in 2009 came in back-to-back weeks. That’s eight of his 10 stroke-play wins since earning his European Tour card neatly bundled in bursts of unbridled confidence.

When you consider all of that, it’s no wonder that once again facing all the attention that comes with defending his title at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship doesn’t bother him in the slightest.

“I don’t think it’s more pressure at all. If you’ve won a title there shouldn’t be more pressure at all. It should give you even more confidence to do it again because you know you’ve been successful at that golf course already, so it shouldn’t add any more pressure. I don’t feel that at all. I really like defending titles because if you’ve got all that good experience from the previous year I think it gives you the belief that you can win again. I can approach the tournament in Abu Dhabi with a very, very positive mindset.

“It could happen that I don’t win this year – I could not even finish top 10 there this year – but the combination that I come from a long break and am motivated to play again, that you go to a golf course where you’ve been successful and a golf course that you know very well and that you feel very good about… The last four years worked out quite well for me, but I don’t know what’s going to happen in 2012. The predictions are quite good!”

This year he will have to overcome the best field he’s ever faced in Abu Dhabi, and what organizers say will be the best ever assembled in the Middle East, as well as his own hero.

“It’s great for Abu Dhabi that Tiger Woods is coming and more international players are coming from America. Last year Phil Mickelson played and it proves how good that tournament is and how much fun it is to be in Abu Dhabi and play the HSBC tournament. It’s not making it easier to win there, but I’m not going there to pick out an easy win. It’s nice to have the challenge and see if I can win again.

“Tiger Woods, in the last couple of years maybe he didn’t play great golf, but he’s played unbelievable golf since 1996, since he first came to the Masters. He’ll always be one of the big players at any tournament he goes to. He’ll always be great for us players as well, to have him there,” says Kaymer, who was almost in awe when he learned after his Abu Dhabi triumph in 2011 that he had passed Woods in the rankings.

“It was something very special; he’d been number one in the world for around eight years and there was no-one really close, ever! Then all of a sudden you overtake the best player who ever played the game,” Kaymer marvels.

“It felt a little unreal, but it also told me that I was able to do things that I maybe thought I wasn’t able to do in the beginning.”


Martin Kaymer in Abu Dhabi

2011: 1st 264 -24

2010: 1st 267 -21

2009: 2nd 268 -20

2008: 1st 273 -15

2007: MC 144 EVEN

The 10 Major and WGC winners

Tiger Woods (USA)

b. December 30, 1975 (1975-12-30) (age 35)  

14 Majors and 16 World Golf Championships (plus 2000 World Cup)

Phil Mickelson (USA)

b. June 16, 1970 (1970-06-16) (age 41) 

4 Majors and 2 World Golf Championships

Ernie Els (South Africa)

b. 17 October 1969 (1969-10-17) (age 42) 

3 Majors and 2 World Golf Championships (plus 2001 World Cup)

Vijay Singh (Fiji)

b. 22 February 1963 (1963-02-22) (age 48) 

3 Majors and 1 World Golf Championship (2008 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational)

Geoff Ogilvy (Australia)

b. 11 June 1977 (1977-06-11) (age 34) 

1 Major (2006 US Open) and 3 World Golf Championships

Darren Clarke (N. Ireland)

b. 14 August 1968 (1968-08-14) (age 43) 

1 Major (2011 Open Championship) and 2 World Golf Championships

Martin Kaymer (Germany)

b. 28 December 1984 (1984-12-28) (age 26)

1 Major (2010 PGA Championship) and 1 World Golf Championship (2011 WGC-HSBC Champions)

Stewart Cink (USA)

b. May 21, 1973 (1973-05-21) (age 38) 

1 Major (2009 Open Championship) and 1 World Golf Championship (2004 WGC-NEC Invitational)

David Toms (USA)

b. January 4, 1967 (1967-01-04) (age 44) 

1 Major (2001 PGA Championship) and 1 World Golf Championship (2005 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship)

Mike Weir (Canada)

b. May 12, 1970 (1970-05-12) (age 41) 

1 Major (2003 Masters Tournament) and 1 World Golf Championship (2000 WGC-American Express Championship)

Martin Kaymer Profile:


Nationality: German

Born:  28th December, 1984 Dusseldorf, Germany

Height/Weight: 6ft 1/2 in/11st 9lb (184cm/74kg)

Lives:  Mettmann, Dusseldorf, Germany and Scottsdale, Arizona, United States

Other interests:  Football, basketball and go-karting


Professional wins:


WGC-HSBC Champions, Sheshan International Golf Club, Shanghai, China

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Abu Dhabi, UAE


Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, Old Course St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, Fife & Angus, Scotland

Ryder Cup, Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Wales

KLM Open, Hilversumsche Golf Club, Hilversum, Netherlands

US PGA Championship, Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin, USA

Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Abu Dhabi, UAE


Barclays Scottish Open, Loch Lomond Golf Club, Glasgow, Scotland

Open de France, Le Golf National, Paris, France


BMW International Open, Golfclub München Eichenried, Munich, Germany

Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Abu Dhabi, UAE

European Challenge Tour

2006: Open de Volcans; Vodafone Challenge

EPD Tour

2006: Hockenberg Classic; Winterbrock Classic; ; Coburg Brose Open; Habsberg Classic; Friedberg Classic

2005: Central German Classic (Am)

Other Professional Landmarks:

November 2011 Became only the 10th player to win both a Major and a WGC title with his victory in the WGC-HSBC Champions

February 2011 Moved to career-high 1st in Official World Golf Ranking after reaching final of WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship final

January 2011 Moved to career-high 2nd in Official World Golf Ranking after Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship victory

December 2010 Joint winner of Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year with Graeme McDowell

November 2010 Winner, European Tour Race to Dubai

August to October 2010 Recorded four wins in four consecutive appearances starting with his first Major and including the Ryder Cup.

January 2010 Moved to career -high 6th in Official World Golf Ranking after Abu Dhabi Golf Championship victory. First time in top 10 of OWGR.

July 2009 Won back-to-back in successive weeks at the French and Scottish Opens.

January 2009 Moved to career -high 34th in Official World Golf Ranking after Abu Dhabi Golf Championship victory. First time in top 50 of OWGR.  At the time, the only player under 25 years of age in the top 50.

November 2007 Became first German to win Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year

October 2006 Earned European Tour card by finishing fourth in the 2006 Challenge Tour Rankings, despite playing only eight events towards the end of the season

photo credit: 


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Posted via email from stacysolomon's posterous

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

BACK9 NETWORK adds Global Expertise from Inside, Outside Golf Industry

A golf industry visionary, an international technology strategist, a major college athletic director and the CEO of one of America’s oldest life insurance companies are the newest members of the Back9 Network Board of Directors.

Greg Hopkins, Chief Executive Officer of Cleveland Golf/Srixon, Michael Michigami, former divisional President of United Technologies Corporation, Paul Pendergast, Athletic Director at the University of Connecticut, and James Wehr, President and CEO of The Phoenix Companies, join Pebble Beach Golf executive Paul Spengler on the board of the world’s first multimedia golf lifestyle and entertainment network.

“Our new Directors truly understand how to build and lead great organizations,” said James L. “Jamie” Bosworth, Chief Executive Officer of the Back9 Network. 

“When you set out to build a global, technology-driven company like Back9, you need to surround yourself with people who have demonstrated how to execute growth and profitability on a world-wide scale.” 

Bosworth, a former executive with golf brands such as Ben Hogan, Callaway Golf, Cleveland Golf, Odyssey Golf and Top-Flite, leads a premier management team of media and golf industry veterans in launching the new network.

Greg Hopkins is credited with turning around Cleveland Golf when he assumed a leadership role in the late 1990’s, reshaping the company’s product line, incorporating new technology, and boosting the company’s presence on the professional tours. Sales skyrocketed 500% during the first seven years of his tenure.

Michael Michigami led the Control Systems division at United Technologies (UTX), was President and CEO of Datapoint Corporation (DPT), and Chairman and CEO of Digital Microwave Corporation (STXN). He is currently a director and consultant to global technology companies.

Before becoming Athletic Director at the University of Connecticut, Paul Pendergast served as President of the Saint Francis Foundation and the Senior Vice President of Development for Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford, CT.  Before joining St. Francis, Mr. Pendergast served as the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development at the UCONN Division of Athletics from 1998 to 2006.  He was responsible for growing the university’s donor base during its meteoric rise to national prominence.

James Wehr is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Phoenix Companies, Inc. where he was appointed in April 2009 after serving as Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer. Mr. Wehr joined Phoenix in 1981 and has a diverse background in finance and investment related disciplines.

Back9 Network will be the premier multimedia lifestyle and entertainment network for golf fans globally. It is being constructed on a multi-platform digital system, providing simultaneous distribution over the Internet and mobile devices. As much a lifestyle network as a sports channel, Back9 will differ from its competitors by focusing on the intrinsic “story” of the sport and examining the players and the world in which golf resides.  The network plans to be broadcasting by early summer 2012.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Can Morgan Pressel help unite World through golf?

LPGA star Morgan Pressel is traveling to Israel making Aliyah for the first time in her life this week to tour the country and host golf clinics for local children. Pressel will also be leading a roundtable discussion with Israeli and Palestinian youths in hopes of using golf as a medium for teaching valuable life lessons.




The 2011 LPGA Championship runner-up will take a tour of some of Israel’s most historically-rich places including a private tour of the Western Wall, a visit to Yad Vashem (Israel’s national Holocaust Memorial Museum) and the Dead Sea. Morgan will also be meeting with various Israeli signatories and leaders, including former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.


With the inclusion of golf at the 2016 Olympics, Morgan plans on leading more trips to Israel, to create additional awareness and support for the game, especially among young children and adults.


Perhaps more than just children can benefit from the lessons of the First Tee Program...?

 Recently, Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney pledged to a group of Jewish conservatives that his first trip as Commander in Chief would be to Israel. I wonder if a foursome including Iranian, Syrian, Israeli and USA leaders would improve global diplomatic relations?


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Read an interview about how Morgan Pressel prepared for the U.S. Women's Open


photo credit: @wmgllc




Posted via email from stacysolomon's posterous

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Does it matter how many golfers Tiger Woods had to beat at Chevron?

An ESPN opinion piece mentioned a few reasons why Tiger Woods may have had an easier time winning his first tournament in two years, the Chevron World Challenge, but I'm not totally buying into it.

The reasons?

Tiger Woods with his Chevron trophy


1. Tiger Woods didn't have to beat very many players.

Does it really matter how many golfers are in the field? I will concede that more players increase the chances that more than one will shine but Golfers are supposed play against par. Whether there are eighteen or seventy-five golfers, if you're playing well for four straight days, you have a chance to win.Many of the golfers in this event are already winners and/or have played well this season. They also know that Tiger Woods had won on this golf course on four previous occasions.

Every golfer in the field was itching to win against Tiger Woods on Sunday in order to add it to their resume.

2. ESPN claims that the field of eighteen golfers (some of the finest players of the 2011 season) were not as engaged because this was not an official PGA Tour event.  

Do golfers enter into an event with the prospect of not playing their best or not wanting to win? I understand that there may be a different mindset between a major tournament and all other events during the year but putting together four terrific rounds of golf takes much physical effort and mental concentration: Woods was playing on point this week.

3. Joe LaCava, Tiger Woods' caddie, was quoted in the article as agreeing with the above statements, "He knows it's not 144 guys. He knows it's not the Masters."

4. The former number-one golfer in the world was highly motivated since this event was to help the Tiger Woods Foundation. I'm not sure that more motivation stems from the fact that he's helping his charity or because he went into the event wanting to win it.

Tiger Woods said, "I'm not playing for you guys or anything like that. Just playing to get the 'W'."

To add to the above ESPN list, since this win makes number five for Tiger on the same course, I'm unsure as to why Sherwood Country Club was not added as a reason why Woods won! As Bob Harig stated, "that first victory in more than two years had to come somewhere."

When Tiger was asked how this end-of-season win compared to his other victories, a Cheshire cat smile erupted (actually, the smile could not be undone after his win), "It feels great. … I know it's been a while, but also for some reason, it feels like it hasn't."

Watching Woods I noticed that his drives were errant and he did not play his "A" game but he also got out of sticky situations with aplomb, confidently putting his ball back into play and getting back into scoring position. Tiger Woods "of old" actually peeked out from a winless two years during the final two holes where he sealed the deal but there have been shimmers of hope for some time, especially since his stretch of tourrnaments in Australia.

The only problem I see with the Woods' "progression" is that Tiger will not be playing another formal round of golf until the beginning of 2012 which leaves much time for changing the swing and overthinking; before the final round, the announcers even noticed that he was fidgeting with his putting grip, a sign that Tiger Woods still has far to go to regain the confidence of two years ago.


Although Chevron has decided to part company with this unofficial PGA Tour event, now that Tiger Woods is on the comeback trail, I'm sure a new sponsor will not be hard to find.


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Posted via email from stacysolomon's posterous

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Can the new Titleist Vokey SM4 golf wedges improve your short game?

Before deciding whether or not the new Titleist Vokey SM4 golf wedges can improve your short game, it is important to determine whether or not you need new wedges to round out your set of golf clubs. After reading a holiday email from Titleist urging me to the Vokey website, I started to think that new wedges were just what I needed (email marketing does work!)

Here are a few reasons to purchase a new set of wedges.
1. It's Christmas (insert Holiday) and you want to buy something you will actually use and enjoy!
2. Your only golf clubs were given to you as a complete set including driver, irons and wedges and your game has adapted from beginner to're hitting greens on occasion!
3. The grooves on your wedges have worn down on the clubface to the point that you can't see them anymore. (Note: Grooves create spin and help the golf ball to stop in a controlled manner when a golfer hits the ball with a descending blow.)

In my opinion, I utilize my wedges about as much as I do my putter! Not always do I put the golf ball on the green in regulation and it's up to those trusty wedges to assist when I need them.

That being said, I have always owned a set of Titleist Vokey Spin Milled Wedges. This is not an advertisement ... I love these wedges, from the weight of the club to the feel when I'm playing them. My wedges have seen better days and so, after reading that Greg Chalmers, winner of the Australian Open and Rory McIlroy (see golf bag picture above) are happily singing the praises of the Vokey SM4 wedges (SM4=Spin Milled, 4 extra grooves), I decided to check out the Vokey website to see what, if any, design changes had been made.

The new Vokey Design SM4 wedges feature 17 precise, individually cut and 100% inspected grooves that maximize groove geometry and push groove edge radius to the conforming limits, the company stated.

As you may remember, the rules change by the USGA and R&A which "limited groove volume and sharpness of groove edge radii" had golf club makers going over their designs to make sure that their clubs would conform with the new regulations.

Other technical specifications include durable grooves heat treated in the impact areas and a slightly larger teardrop profile and leading edge.

Of course, the new Vokey SM4 wedges can never take the place of my ten-year-old clubs that helped me to learn the game of golf from the sand to the rough  ...<sentimental value>...

On the other hand, "Rory was pleased with his new Vokey Design SM4 wedges," claimed the Vokey website. "The new tour extreme grooves and additional scorelines are providing him with increased spin and control on his scoring shots."

 Scoring...getting the golf ball on the green and close to the hole into my "circle of trust", is what makes this golfer come back time and time again. My Vokey wedges have always been my "go-to" clubs. Yes it's the holidays ...but no wrapping is required!

Click here to read my review of my Titleist 905T Driver and my Titleist 904F Fairway woods.

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