Nine Holes with the Forty-Somethings

It happens this year. I turn 45.

ProFilesAs if 40 wasn’t enough, now I’m turning 45. Frankly, I still feel prettty young. Heck, I still sometimes get a little nervous when I buy liquor, worried if they’re going to card me. I drive the ball farther than a lot of people. Maybe not quite as far, quite as often, as ten years ago, but respectably, nonetheless. This getting older thing isn’t all bad. Heck, if I was on the PGA Tour, I might be just coming into my prime.

Over the last several years, a number of 40-year-olds have been playing some pretty good golf on the PGA Tour. Not just once in a while, but consistently. Whether it’s improved fitness (probably), better equipment (maybe), or old-age-and-treachery (undoubtedly), older players are not only competing with guys 10 or even 20 years younger, they’re winning… a lot.

This year was no different, in fact with Tiger on the DL, a 40-something claimed golf’s richest prize (at least until next year). Here are some of the “old” guys who are hanging in there with the flat-bellies. Each played some good golf in 2008, and had at least one notable moment in the spotlight to show for it.

Cleveland Golf Launches New Products for Fall 2K8

The folks at Cleveland golf have some new goodies for you to check out.

Bag DropI have to hand it to the folks at Cleveland Golf. They aren’t resting on their laurels this winter season. In fact, they’re coming out this week with a few new goodies you might be interested in checking out during your weekly pilgrimage to your local golf retailer.

Boasting something for everyone, this update includes a new driver, fairway woods, iron/hybrid-style set, a Niblick, and some putters that will leave you some extra cash for greens fees (who doesn’t like that?).

So join me as we check out the fall releases from Cleveland Golf.

Volume One Hundred Sixty Four

The Fall Finish is in full swing, with a Masters champion leading the pack.

Hittin' the LinksHello again and welcome to another edition of Hittin’ the Links. Oh, there is definitely a chill in the air. I hate to admit it but autumn definitely has us firmly in its grasp. Time to get those winter golf clothes out of the closet once again.

In this newest edition of HTL we take an early look at the European Tour’s globetrotting 2009 schedule, see what Boo Weekly was doing at a recent NASCAR event, and send our best wishes to the great Seve Ballesteros after his recent diagnosis. Also, we investigate Presidential golf, see why Philly may get a Tour event, find out what the heck diaper bingo is, and catch up on this week’s Tour winners. Read on!

Cleveland VP Mills Putter Review

Cleveland’s first introduction into the milled putter market is an impressive one. It may not look as pretty, but it performs just as well as a Cameron for half the price.

Cleveland VP Milled PutterWhen you think of Cleveland Golf, you think of a few things. Vijay Singh, the HiBore driver and some classic wedges. One of the last things you might think of is putters.

Well, maybe you think of the Never Compromise line that Vijay Singh and David Toms used for years, but Cleveland Golf has now made an introduction into the milled putter market with its line of VP Milled putters. In a space that is dominated by Scotty Cameron, Cleveland Golf has their work cut out for them.

The biggest question for Cleveland Golf is this: Can they do enough to entice players of all skills to put a VP Mills putter in their bag instead of a Cameron? Read on to find out.

Pelz Wedge Collection by Bobby Jones Review

Jesse Ortiz and Dave Pelz have cooked up a new set of wedges featuring some pretty fancy technology.

Pelz/Bobby Jones Wedge HeroNext to one’s putter, your wedges are the most important club in your bag. Considering that the majority of your golf shots occur within 100 yards, having a wedge (or wedges) you can trust is vitally important to playing good golf.

To give you an alternative to the “big boys” of the golf equipment field, Bobby Jones Golf have combined the forces of clubmaker aficionado Jesse Ortiz and short-game guru Dave Pelz and have come out with a set of wedges that are one part classic and one part science-fiction technology.

I spent a month playing the Pelz/Bobby Jones wedges and though I had to adjust my wedge game a little bit, I was pretty impressed by what Ortiz and Pelz had come up with. Read on to find out what I thought of their creation.

Kennsington Golf Club (Canfield, OH) Review

Kennsington Golf Club is a great second-shot golf course, and if you can get over the somewhat bland driving, a great bargain at a good price.

The joke Alan and I came up with when arriving at Kennsington Golf Club is that we must have passed through some sort of warp door. We made a right turn off a crowded street, right between a Wendy’s and a Panera, then passed some dentist’s offices, and bam! We were suddenly in the middle of nowhere with a golf course stretching out for miles ahead of us. The attractive cart girl (is there another kind?) drove out to grab our clubs and we were off.

Kennsington opened in June, 2006 and has the potential to be one of the top courses in the surprisingly crowded Youngstown, Ohio area. The course is lined by construction (though the interior remain free of McMansions or any other houses) as large houses are being built at a good rate, and the entire area seems to be growing rapidly.

Read on to see what we thought of the golf course at Kennsington Golf Club.

Ready for the Next Level

Which 2008 Nationwide Tour graduates will be ready to contend on the PGA Tour?

Thrash TalkThere is still a month or so left in the 2008 Nationwide Tour season, but the standings are definitely starting to firm up. The top 25 golfers on the season-ending money list earn cards for the 2009 PGA Tour season. The golfers currently in the top 15 or so are pretty safe, although there will be a lot of shifting over the next four events.

The Nationwide Tour has been a stepping stone for some of the world’s best, and it has helped the overall quality of the PGA Tour in the process. Recent graduates who have gone on to make a big impact at the next level include Camilo Villegas, Boo Weekley, and Brandt Snedeker.

The 2008 Nationwide Tour class is very talented, and there are plenty of golfers capable of having great careers on the PGA Tour starting next season. I’ve picked out a few who should make an immediate impact next year.

Sand Trap Rules Quiz Number Two

Back to the basics

USGA Rules BookHello again, and welcome to the second installment of The Sand Trap Rules Quiz. In the first quiz, I concentrated on some of the lesser known rules of golf, and we had some tricky rulings to say the least.

This time around I am going to look at some of the more basic rules that we see everyday in our struggle to get around the golf course. Hopefully everyone will come away with a better understanding of how to proceed in some of these day-to-day occurrences.

So dust off your rule books, get your pencils ready, and let’s test our rules knowledge.

Random Odds and Ends

Smaller blades, smaller driver heads and TaylorMade gets into the pre-owned club game.

Bag DropTime is short for me this week but Bag Drop is still here to provide some nuggets from the golf equipment/business field. So take a few minutes to ignore the Wall Street implosion and check out some interesting notes from the field.

Join me this week as we check out a sponsorship implosion, persimmon clubs, and an equipment giant jumps into the pre-owned club market.