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Volume Three Hundred Eighty-Three

Apr. 21, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksHarbour Town Golf Links is a good choice for the week after the Masters. Instead of the miles-long and beautifully manicured Augusta National, we get a slightly shorter, but still lovely tract that seems to burrow through the trees rather than part them with a sea of impossible green.

While the pros play most shots above the trees, the course seems to beg for low shots that bend this way and that to avoid trees, water, and alligators. While Augusta National requires precision shots into the green so that one actually has a chance to make the putt, at Harbour Town players must make precision shots into the fairway, just to have a shot at the green. Of course, the greens at Augusta are much more difficult and faster, the field is far deeper and more talented, the audience is immense, and the stakes are career changing. So it's not at all the same, but it is cool in its own right.

Let's hit the links.

Volume Three Hundred Eighty-Two

Apr. 14, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksWhat a week Augusta gave us! The weather cooperated to provide fast, firm greens and all the pageantry that Augusta National promises every year.

The field too gave us a great show. In one of the most wide open Masters in years, a 20-year-old rookie could easily have won, but so could have any of several players in their fifties. Early on Sunday, it looked like youth would prevail, but it was 35-year-old Bubba Watson who took the honor. Watson made some minor history himself by becoming the fastest to his second jacket, winning it in just his second attempt after his initial win. Dare we now call him "Double Bubba."

Let's hit the Masters-ful links!

Volume Three Hundred Eighty-One

Apr. 7, 2014     By     Comments (1)

Hittin' the LinksThe azaleas must be blooming. Are you ready for plenty of Condoleezza sightings and to hear "A tradition unlike any other" about a ka-zillion times this week? It will all be worth it come Sunday and the most famous back nine in all of golf.

The weather this week in Augusta looks good after Monday. With a little luck we might get treated to a hard and fast Augusta National, which is almost always to most exciting setup. We'll be watching coverage all week, and DVRing the Par Three Contest and opening rounds. Cannot wait!

But first, let's hit the links.

TaylorMade SLDR Fairway and Rescue Review

Apr. 4, 2014     By     Comments (2)

The TaylorMade SLDR FairwayOne of the most hyped family of clubs currently out there is the SLDR from TaylorMade. First came the driver with its signature movable weight that (yes) slides toward the toe or heel to adjust ball flight. This was not a new idea, as Mizuno and others had used a slide-able weight in the past. No, the real breakthrough technology in the SLDR family is the low-and-forward center of gravity (CG). And unlike the slider weight, the low-and-forward CG is found throughout the line, including in the fairway and rescue woods.

TaylorMade claims that the low-and-forward CG will let many players increase loft to achieve a higher launch with lower spin to promote maximum distance. This is a tantalizing prospect. In most parts of the U.S., golf remains an aerial game. Bandon Dunes and other truly firm and fast courses aside, players are almost always better off getting maximum carry rather than trying to run the ball along the fairway. Higher shots will land softer, giving us a better chance to hold the green and less chance of it running into trouble.

The SLDR Rescue looks all business at address.

There is no denying that SLDRs are generating a lot of buzz. You can spot the chrome accent all over every PGA Tour broadcast, and probably at your club, as well. The rumor is that several manufacturers will be moving weight forward and low in upcoming models. Will this be the next big thing? Let's take a look.

Volume Three Hundred Eighty

Mar. 31, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksDATELINE: Two Weeks Before the Masters--How will the Masters draw without the two biggest current names in the sport? We may have to find out. It will still likely command more eyes than virtually any other tournament could hope to. The Masters, after all, is not just a major, for the majority of us in North America it marks the end of winter and the beginning of golf season.

The TOUR is in Texas for the final tune-ups before the season's first major. Next week's Houston Open has a pretty solid field as all those players who like to play their way into the majors will be getting ready for Augusta. Are you getting as excited for the Masters as we are?

Let's hit the links.

Volume Three Hundred Seventy-Nine

Mar. 24, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksDid you take a break from NCAA basketball to play or watch golf this weekend? After Saturday's round at Bay Hill, we were thinking that Adam Scott had weathered his "bad round" of the week and would surely play better and win on Sunday. We were wrong.

The conventional wisdom about anchored putters is that they are better at shorter putts than traditional putters. That did not seem to be the case for Adam Scott Sunday. One stroke back with his ball laying two on the 16th green, Scott three-putted from about 15 feet for a par. On the 17th he missed a shortish par putt. Sunday on the PGA TOUR again looked like the players were just trying not to throw up on themselves rather than win. While the suspense level remains high for viewers, we'd rather see players make birdies to win than bogeys to lose.

Here's more about Sunday at Bay Hill and eight-plus other interesting items from the week. Let's hit the links.

Volume Three Hundred Seventy-Eight

Mar. 17, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksThe Copperhead Course at Innisbrook is a tough course on a normal day. Throw in some gusty wins and the best golfers in the world struggle to make pars let alone birdies, especially as they navigate "The Snake Pit."

Though it featured a B-list field, the difficult conditions bunched the leaderboard and made the Valspar a good watch (though we admit to frequent flipping away to the various conference championship games). There also seemed to be a lot of odd side stories this week, from Sabbatini's sneeze to Daly's 90. And that was just at one tournament. Elsewhere, plenty more was happening in the world of golf.

Take a quick break from filling out your brackets, and let's hit the links.

Volume Three Hundred Seventy-Seven

Mar. 10, 2014     By     Comments (1)

Hittin' the LinksThe WGC-Cadillac Championship had a bit of everything, a stellar field, a wicked wind, a bad back, and 318 golf balls in the drink. What a week!

After the craziness of the WGC last week, we could use a breather. Lucky for us, the PGA TOUR is heading to the Innisbrook Copperhead Course next week. Sandwiched between Doral and the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bayhill, means that the Valspar Championship gets a bit of a second tier treatment, with many of the big names taking the week off. The Senior Circuit is off to California for the Toshiba Classic and the Euros are playing in Morocco. The LPGA has the week off.

Let's hit the links.

Volume Three Hundred Seventy-Six

Mar. 3, 2014     By     Comments (3)

Hittin' the LinksAnd the winner is… the TV audience. If you missed the final round of the Honda Classic, you missed quite a bit of drama not usually seen in a March tournament not held at Doral or Bay Hill. There was a premature departure, one of the best three-wood shots under pressure that we've ever seen, and more than smidgen of major-caliber puckering. Still it wasn't the Honda Classic that gave us the most compelling golf moment of the weekend. That occurred in Singapore while most of us slept. Do yourself a favor and watch the video of that moment in the first link.

Next week, we get our first look at Doral-by-the-Donald and the third WGC event of the year. If that's not enough, you can round out your weekend golf watching with the Puerto Rico Open. But first, let's hit the links.

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