Who Introduced You to Golf?

There are many memories that all of us treasure, your introduction to golf is likely one you will never forget.

Thrash TalkFor many golfers, the answer to this question is their father. Likely your father was a semi-serious golfer who enjoyed the game and taught you to enjoy it as well. Of course there are many of you who like me had another family member do the introduction. For some, maybe it was a friend even a friend’s dad. Maybe you found the game on your own. Whoever it was, the day you finally beat that person is something that sticks in your memory bank forever.

My father didn’t play golf. My mother sold his clubs a few months after I was born and she told me she did it because he never used them. He came home one day from work and they were gone. To many of you this is an unforgivable sin, but my dad shrugged it off and later said she was right, he never used them. Much later on in my golfing career he joined me a few times for scramble events. He liked to play in scrambles because there was no pressure and he could enjoy himself. He did not swing much past his waist and did not hit it very far. Looking back, though, he was in his sixties and not doing much stretching at the time. He claimed he was a good putter, but I never actually saw that.

Cleveland Golf Goes Classic With New Drivers, Irons, and Wedges

Cleveland Golf goes old school with retro looking drivers and the reintroduction of the 588 series of wedges.

Bag DropCleveland Golf has long been a company that many golfers have turned to, especially when it came to wedges. The original 588 wedge was regarded as one of the best ever made and many of those wedges stayed in the bags of their owners until there were no more grooves left on the face. Since the time of the original 588 many things have changed at Cleveland Golf, such as the namesake of the company, Roger Cleveland, moving over to Callaway Golf. During that time Cleveland has continued to make high quality clubs and have been very successful with the CG line of wedges as well as their jump into the world of super light drivers.

Now the company has brought back the 588 wedge as well as introduced new irons to go along with them. In addition to that, they have taken their drivers and given them a classic look.

Five Stories from Olympic

Recapping the 112th U.S. Open.

Trap Five LogoAnother major championship is in the books and you know what that means. Another Lee Westwood backdoor top-10, another Tiger Woods weekend mini-meltdown, and another drunk lunatic hauled from the trophy presentation by Mike Davis.

The Lake Course at Olympic Club put up a pretty tough test, producing the highest winning score since Oakmont in 2007. In fact, if you look past Oakmont and Winged Foot (2006), Webb Simpson’s +1 would be the highest winning score since Andy North won at Cherry Hills in 1978. After Rory McIlroy took advantage of moisture en route to a -16 last year, firm and fast was the name of the game this year, especially from Thursday through Saturday. A thick layer of fog blanketed the course on Sunday, and though players could stop the ball a bit easier, some of them struggled to actually take advantage of that fact (Tiger Woods being the most obvious example).

Though the three golfers who were really in it late (Simpson, 54-hole leader Jim Furyk, and 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell) aren’t the most jovial cast of characters, the last few holes were some of the most exciting of the year. We got to see two golfers play the 18th hole, a hole that doesn’t require particularly high stakes to produce good television, needing a birdie. Three shots from 341 yards could have forced a playoff, but in the end Webb Simpson held them both off.

Here are five of the most interesting story-lines form the 2012 U.S. Open.

Volume Three Hundred Nineteen

Hey you, hiding clubs in the bushes is against the rules!

Hittin' the LinksIt was a little steamy in Connecticut this week when play began at the Travelers Championship. High nineties with humidity over 50% wore out several players including Bubba Watson who admitted he was a tad tired during his second-round 71. Hot beats cold though as far as I am concerned; I hate playing golf in a parka.

In this edition of Hittin’ the Links we begin by looking at why 87 players made the cut at the Travelers Championship, then find out what made Hunter Mahan’s Sunday so special, and investigate what love’s got to do with it. Also, check out the caddy banned from the European Tour, see why Webb Simpson will be absent from the British Open, and do a wrap-up of the events from around the world. Read on!

In the Zone… Whatever that Means

Professionals talk all the time about being in the zone, what does that really mean?

Thrash TalkIt always seems that when we hear a golfer talk about playing well they will sometimes say that they were “in the zone.” Sadly for me I can honestly say that when it comes to golf I have never been, “in the zone.” I think if there were a zone, for me to get in over the course of the 4+ hours it takes to play golf, I doubt I could stay in that zone for all 18 holes. This likely explains why I am such a lousy golfer.

We hear this description as sometimes an athlete describing the game slowing down so that they could see each action sometimes before it even happened. Or we often hear it described as the athlete getting out of their own way. I have heard golfers explaining that they could see the line of the putt before they hit it. Whatever your description, the funny thing about golf is that it rarely lasts for long. We may be able to play a few weeks or a few months well but that bad round is out there waiting for us on the horizon. We all know it. I heard it described by a friend of mine as “when you are playing bad you think it is never going to end, and when you are playing well you are just waiting for it to end.”

Volume Three Hundred Eighteen

Webb Simpson – 2012 U.S. Open Champion!

Hittin' the LinksWow, what a finish to the U.S. Open! Webb Simpson comes from behind to steal the trophy away from the crowd of golfers behind him that were gagging their way into the clubhouse. And what was up with Jim Furyk? That drive on 16 was left of Nancy Pelosi! One would believe that with one U.S. Open under your belt already the nerves would hold up, but that certainly wasn’t the case. Anyway congrats to Webb Simpson, even if the leaders did collapse over the final round, the kid shot a pair of 68s in the U.S. Open and that’s pretty good in anyone’s book.

In this U.S. Open edition of Hittin’ the Links we begin with a look at another golfer-guru relationship on the skids, then check out an idiot in a hat, and see what records were broken at the 2012 U.S. Open. Also, we look at a long Hole-In-one, find out who is turning pro, and do a wrap-up of the 2012 U.S. Open Championship. Read on!

2012 U.S. Open Final Round Chat

Join us for a live chat about the 2012 U.S. Open from Olympic Club!

We’re on right now!

2012 U.S. Open at Olympic: Top 18 Facts and Observations from My Week Inside the Ropes

I was able to spend the practice rounds inside the ropes, watching the best players in the world. Here are my most interesting insights.

The 112th U.S. Open returns to The Olympic Club in San Francisco this week. The Olympic Club is America’s oldest athletic and social club, established in 1860. With 5,000 active members competing in 19 sports, it is the home of many national and international champions.

Small, undulating greens, tight fairways, fairways that slope opposite of the hole’s dogleg direction, severe elevation, and lengthened holes make The Olympic Club’s Lake Course a brutal test for the golfers. Add deep rough, wind and possible fog and the players will be challenged from all sides.

2012 U.S. Open Tiger 18

Five Pairings for the U.S. Open

Exploring my dream pairings for the U.S. Open.

Trap Five LogoThe 2012 U.S. Open begins right about now, and though I have no say in the makeup of the USGA’s official pairings, there are some I’d like to see coming down the stretch on Sunday. Whether it’s the old guard of Tiger and Phil, the young guns Rory and Rickie, the veteran Brits Donald and Westwood, the streaking Americans Dufner and Mahan, or the early-season big-tournament winners Watson and Kuchar, this year’s Open is full of solid match-ups.

Every player currently in the top 13 in the world has won since last November, many in convincing fashion. Tiger, Dufner, and Mahan have all won twice, while Bubba Watson (The Masters) and Matt Kuchar (The Players) have won the year’s two biggest tournaments to date.

The USGA likes to mess with the pairings, and come up with a few each year that are outside the box. Though these aren’t as creative as the “guys with hyphens in their names” group or the “group of guys with initials for a first name,” the way I see it, there are about ten players from the early season that stand out, and they make up five pretty great pairings.