Volume Two Hundred Twenty Seven

South Park takes on Tiger, Lefty changes his schedule, and Finchem is looking for a little heads up

Hittin' the LinksHello again Sand Trappers and welcome to another volume of Hittin’ the Links. How about Ernie Els? Just when I thought he might be washed up, he comes storming back. Maybe there is hope for John Daly… nah!

In this edition of HTL, we start off with a peek at Lefty’s revamped schedule, them find out what Finchem is hoping for, and look at Tiger’s happy home. Also, we investigate South Park’s next victim, check out an unlucky woman’s golf injury and do a wrap up of the week’s events. Read on!

Five Major Courses You Can (Afford to) Play

I get just as tired as you do of seeing lists of famous golf courses I’ll never get to play, so here’s a list of the ones you can play – inexpensively!

Trap Five Logo2010 marks a landmark year in the world of golf. For the first time, the three major championships that rotate host venues will all take place on courses that are open to the general public. Pebble Beach Golf Links will host the U.S. Open this June; The Open Championship will be contested at the Old Course at St. Andrews in July; and the season’s Grand Slam will conclude with the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in August.

However, while anyone can theoretically enjoy a round at any of these courses, it won’t come cheap. At $495 per round, Pebble Beach’s green fees are the most expensive in the world — and that doesn’t include the two-night resort stay required to book a tee time. A round at Whistling Straits during peak season, plus the required caddy, costs $400. Compared to those two, St. Andrews’ going rate of £130 (roughly $200 using current exchange rates) is a relative bargain; but its lottery system of allotting tee times means access can be very hard to come by, especially for golfers making a trans-Atlantic pilgrimage.

My Dough is On Tiger Woods, Even if My Heart Isn’t

In the land of legal sportsbetting, now’s the time to plunk down a few bucks on 2010 being the Year of Woods afterall

Thrash TalkAs I prepare for a week in Las Vegas and the chance to place a wager on just about anything, I’ll be on the lookout for golf in the sports book. As if this sport isn’t maddening enough, why not combine it with another completely futile hobby – handing over my hard-earned cash so they can buy another chandelier for the lobby.

Nike MachSpeed Irons and Hybrids Complete 2010 MachSpeed Lineup

In part two of our Nike MachSpeed roundup, we take a look at new game improvement irons and hybrids from the guys at The Oven.

Bag Drop Rounding out Nike’s new MachSpeed lineup is new for 2010 irons and hybrids. Like the drivers and fairway woods, game improvement and forgiveness are the main priorities with these clubs.

When we think of game improvement, concepts such as stability, MOI, and forgiveness come to mind, but assistance in achieving a faster swing speed might not. Don’t you think it would be safe to say that if you’re improving your swing speed, your game is improving? That very concept is another key to the encompassing design of the MachSpeed clubs.

Volume Two Hundred Twenty Six

Freddy goes back to back, there’s still no Tiger, and Daly’s Tweeting with anger

Hittin' the LinksGreetings golf fans and welcome to yet another volume of Hittin’ the Links. The weather is beginning to change in many places, can you smell that, it’s spring just around the corner! Have faith all you guys up north, the golf season is coming. But until then you will just have to read about it.

In this volume of HTL we begin with John Daly getting even, then we investigate Tiger turning down a lot of money, and an old guy does good. Also, we listen again to Stevie, find out if Tiger is playing again anytime soon, and do a wrap up of the week’s events. Read on!

Taly MIND Set Review

The #1 imperative to playing good golf may very well be a flat left wrist at impact. The Taly helps you to achieve that position.

Taly HeroThe world of golf training aids is vast. Sometimes it seems as though every serious instructor has his name on some gadget or another. Some work. Some work really well. Others do not.

Then there are the guys who don’t teach golf for a living. Sonic Golf comes from a scientist. And the item pictured just above/to the right, the “Taly MIND Set,” comes from a slightly better than average golfer named Taly Williams. He’s also not an instructor.

Does that make the “Taly” (even the inventor prefers to call it the “Taly” instead of the official “MIND Set” name) better or worse than the others? Let’s find out.

Five Reasons to Play Nine

We don’t always have the time to play eighteen. Here are the top five reasons why you should consider playing nine-hole courses.

Trap Five LogoNine hole golf course are an endangered species, except in smaller towns where the quaint venues are the only game in the area.

Studies of golf operations suggest the most efficient set-ups cover 36 holes The additional maintenance equipment you need for 36 holes vs. 18 is negligible; a few additional workers is all you need. This assumes you can get enough green fees to keep both 18s busy. So, nine-hole operations fall on the wrong end of economies of scale.

Also, nine-hole tracks are often family operations. When the owners get ready to retire, the children often got enough of working at the course during high school and don’t want to take over. A 60-acre tract with rolling hills and trees can make a nice subdivision plot, and pave the way for nice retirement for the couple. Among municipal courses, most of the closures in southwest Illinois the past three years have been nine-hole operations. Too much work for too little revenue if larger venues exist in the area.

I’ve Got an Addiction, and the Blisters Simply Confirm It

With the first tee (and my car) buried under two feet of snow, I’m left to the Internet to fill my golf needs. It’s not scratching that itch, and everyone around me is paying the price.

Thrash TalkFor years it’s been clear that I love golf. Love playing it, love reading about it, love watching it on TV. But it’s finally time to admit my passion has crossed the fine line into obsession. The snowiest winter the Northeast has seen in years and a dip into the deep, never-ending world of golf message boards has sunken me to new lows.

Nike Adds SQ MachSpeed Drivers, Fairway Woods to 2010 Lineup

Following hot on the heels of the Victory Red drivers and fairway woods is the SQ MachSpeed drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, and irons, which aim to increase distance by optimizing aerodynamics.

Bag DropAs the new year progresses, the new equipment comes out in full force. The problem is that more often than not, we see what’s being dubbed as the latest and greatest really ends up being just a few improvements over last year’s models. Not that there is anything wrong with that! By all means, if a clubmaker has a good thing going, why mess with it? Nike, on the other hand has been known to push the technological limits with every release and this year is no different.

Sometimes, though, we see a company change their lineup dramatically in terms of both aesthetics and function. Out with the old and in with the new. It looks like Nike has done just that this year with their new drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids. First we saw the Victory Red drivers, which I called the most traditional looking driver Nike (who has been known to make quite a bit of not-exactly-traditional-looking stuff) has ever produced. At the opposite end of the spectrum, we now have their new MachSpeed line. As we all know, appearances can be deceiving though, so lets take a look at these new, aerodynamically enhanced clubs from Nike.