Spring is Sprung: Prepare Now!

Spring is here, and with the blossoming of trees comes our guide to preparing for the oncoming golf season. Get ready!

Spring BlossomsI live in Erie, PA. After yet another long, cold winter, spring has finally arrived! Sure, I kept busy putting on my indoor putting green and hitting balls in a nearby golf dome, but nothing compares to the feel of real grass beneath your feet, the breeze in your face, and an actual green in front of you.

Of course, you don’t just leap out into spring. You can do a lot in the first week or two of spring to ensure you have a successful season. Here, for your enjoyment, is the Official Sand Trap Guide to Spring.

Tiger’s “Secret” Ball: The Platinum

Tiger’s been tricking the Darrell Survey and playing a new ball: the Nike One Platinum.

Nike PlatinumBogeyLounge points us to the Detroit Free Press and a story about Tiger’s “secret” ball: the Nike One Platinum.

We’ve known about the Nike One Platinum for awhile now, or suspected it, but now it’s in the news. Good enough for us, eh? Tiger’s “Platinum” ball has been stamped “Gold” for as long as six to nine months. The “Gold” stamp “hides” the new ball from the Darrell Survey – and industry insiders and competitors.

Throw Me A Life Ring!

The PGA “Rain” Tour continues as play is halted yet again because of inclement weather.

Bellsouth RainTPC at Sugarloaf couldn’t take what nature dealt it Thursday as tournament officials cancelled play because rain fell for nine straight hours during the morning and early afternoon. Phil Mickelson said “What a surprise. We’ve had such great weather all year.” The “good weather” Mickelson spoke of could very well delay the tournament further as the forecast is calling for more thunderstorms on Friday. About the only good news is that Saturday’s forecast is clear.

The Players Championship may have finished on a Monday, but a Monday finish for the BellSouth Classic could be deadly: The Masters is next week, and Mickelson and others are certainly going to want to be well-prepared.

Be a PGA Tour Caddy for a Day!

PGA Tour professionals are helping charities by auctioning off practice rounds on their bags this season. You could tote the bag for World #1 Vijay Singh!

bernhard_langer_with_caddy.jpgCEO and veteran PGA Tour caddy Russ Holden describes Caddy For A Cure as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for golf enthusiasts to be “inside the ropes” with their favorite Tour player, one-on-one.” What a great idea! You can spend an entire day with a famous Tour pro, help with their club and shot selections, and walk a famous course during an official event! Imagine assisting worthwhile causes while watching the best golfers on tour, up close… and everybody benefits!

Kyle Bugge, recently on the bag for Bernhard Langer (photo at right), had this opportunity. As he wrote recently after a day of caddying for Langer “thank you for giving me the chance to live my dreams.”

2005 Masters Invitations List

The invitations to the 2005 Masters have been sent out, and we know who will be checking their mailboxes.

The MastersThe 2005 Masters invitations have been sent out, and we know who should be checking their mailboxes. Players qualify for the Masters in one or more of seventeen unique ways. Though technically an “invitation-only” tournament, The Masters has published the criteria it uses for determining who should get an “invitation” for the past 20 or more years.

For example, if you win the Masters you’re welcome to come back and play as long as you’re alive. Winning another major earns you five years of invitations, and winning The Players Championship nets three yearly passes to Augusta. The current US Amateur, the runner-up, the British Amateur, the US PubLinks, and the US Mid-Amateur champion are all invited, along with the top 16, 8, 4, and 4 players from the previous year’s Masters, US Open, British Open, and PGA Championship, respectively. The final spots are reserved for folks who are ranked highly on money lists or Official World Golf Rankings.

BellSouth Classic Preview

Players look to fine-tune their golf games one last time before heading to Augusta National next week.

bell_south_classic.gifWith the first major of 2005 looming, the players coming to the BellSouth Classic are hoping not only to win the golf tournament but also to get one last boost of confidence before The Masters! The top three ranked golfers in the world are not in the field this week, but that does not mean there aren’t any guys in the field that can’t get the job done. Phil Mickelson and Retief Goosen, ranked fourth and fifth in the world respectively, have both won this tournament in the past five years. Mickelson won here in 2000 and Goosen won here in 2002. They’ll be teeing it up come Thursday.

Estoril Open de Portugal Preview

Sam Torrance, Paul Lawrie, and a handful of first time winners head up a field for the Estoril Open de Portugal Caixa Geral de Depositos.

european_tour_logo.gifAfter recent trips to Asia, Africa, and Australia, the European Tour returns to its home turf for the Estoril Open de Portugal Caixa Geral de Depositos (aka “Estoril Open”). The Estoril Open is first event of the 2005 International schedule and is one of the Tour’s longest running National Opens, dating back to 1953.

This year’s event is being held at a new venue, the Oitavos Golfe in Quinta da Marinha, Portugal, which has hosted both the European Challenge Tour and the European Seniors Tour in the past two seasons.

Tavistock Tie

The second annual Tavistock Cup has ended in a draw after a three-hole sudden death playoff in which nobody died. What an exciting day of golf!

Tavistock Tiger  WoodsThe Tavistock Cup went 21 holes and ended in a tie. The excitement was palpable as Tiger Woods and Lee Janzen, representing Isleworth, battled in extra holes against South Africans Ernie Els and Retief Goosen of Lake Nona. The 8½ to 8½ tie is the first in the short history of the event and follows Isleworth’s 14½ – 9½ victory at Lake Nona last year.

Tiger Woods earned low medalist honors with a -6 (66) which included two sixes on the front-nine par fives but an incoming 31.

ProAim Putting Training Glasses

The ProAim has been widely touted as a great training aid. I fail to see why: it’s a waste of sixty bucks that may in fact impair your putting far more than it helps it.

Pro Aim Side“Drive for show, putt for dough” they all say. “Straight back, straight through” others say. The ProAim is the Professional Golf Teacher’s Association’s “Training Aid of the Year” and a Golf Digest “Top 10 Training Aid.”

The product is endorsed by Butch Harmon (hardly a short game guru), Natalie Gulbis (who’s yet to win on the LPGA Tour), Mark Calcavecchia, Craig Parry, and the most respectable man of the bunch, Irishman Darren Clarke. They all love it.

I have no idea why.