Saturday, April 01, 2006

Masters Golf Tournament May Not Be In Ames' Future

The Masters Tournament for a lot of pros is their favorite major. Some players build their whole schedule around trying to get an invite.

So it's always surprising to hear when a golfer gets the coveted invitation and decides not to atte nd.

Ames is weighing his options right now. IC Wales has a good article on Ames and his quandry:

Stephen Ames shocked the golfing world last night within an hour of capturing the sport's richest event.

The 41-year-old said he might turn down the invitation to next week's Masters that was part of his reward for winning the Players Championship in Florida.

'I would rather go on vacation, to be truthful,' commented Ames.

With his two sons on spring holiday from their school in Canada and his wife Jodi still recovering from the surgery last July that removed three-quarters of one lung after the discovery of cancer, Ames had planned to take them back to his home in Trinidad for the next two weeks.

'My priorities have always been my family first and if it comes down to that it's probably going to be a two-week vacation,' he added.

'The Masters was not on my schedule, now it is obviously, so I have got to sit down and talk to them about it.'

He's unbelieveable, a chance of a lifetime and he doesn't care, wow.

Golf Times

Friday, March 31, 2006

Myrtle Beach Golf Courses Reaching Saturation

It seemed every year Myrtle Beach would claim more and more new courses opening. I first noticed when they were claiming sixty courses then a couple years later it went up to eighty. Finally, they boasted over 100 courses.

Now some of the courses are being closed and the land used for housing.

Tim Mcdonald of had the following to say about it:

Angels Trace Golf Links in Brunswick County, N.C., in the norternmost reaches of the Grand Strand, is closing its North course for renovation April 17, but club officials said they can't say how long it will be closed.

Director of Golf Bill Long said he didn't believe the course would be closed for good, though a source told the North course would close permanently to be redeveloped.

"We're going to re-do all the greens and all the sand traps," Long said. "It's an on-going process. As far as the final outcome, nobody really knows what that's going to be."

A number of Grand Strand courses have sold out to devlopment the last few years, as profits in the golf industry have dropped and the value of area real estate have soared.

North Carolina developer Mark Saunders bought the course earlier this year, to go with his earlier purchases of the Ocean Ridge Plantation and the Ocean Isle Beach Golf Course.

Saunders bought the Ocean Isle Beach Course last summer and quickly closed it with plans to build a housing development. He also owns other housing developments in North Carolina.

Ocean Ridge Plantation, home to three highly-regarded courses, flirted with foreclosure in 2004. The Gore family, long-time owners of the courses and undeveloped land at the site, broke up their holdings and sold the three courses. At roughly the same time, Saunders bought the undeveloped portion of the land from Sunset Beach, N.C. city councilman Ed Gore.

The owners of the golf courses defaulted on a loan, according to the Myrtle Beach Sun newspaper. Saunders reportedly purchased the loan from RBC Centura and initiated foreclosure proceedings.

The courses were due to be auctioned in Brunswick County, with Saunders expected to be the only bidder, but the auction never took place, director of golf Tom Plankers told

"All I can say is that Mark has 100 percent control of Ocean Ridge Plantation now," Plankers said. "He has the courses, the real estate and everything. The auction didn't take place."

Saunders did not return phone calls from

Angels Trace has two 18-hole courses designed by Clyde Johnston.

You better get to Myrtle Beach and play your favorite courses, you never know if they'll be there the next time.

Golf Times

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Against All Odds

If you're looking for inspiration, look no further than Calvin Peete's story.

When he was knee high to a grasshopper he fell from a tree and broke his elbow. As a result he was never able to straighten his arm. As an additional set back, he didn't have the money for lessons so he had to teach himself how to play. I think we all know the perils of being left to ourselves to figure out something as complex as a golf swing, let alone do it well enough to play on a professional level.

If all that wasn't enough, he didn't decide to start playing until he was 23. That's not a mistake, I said twenty three.

Despite these handicaps, Peete went on to win 12 tournaments on the PGA Tour.

Nicely done Calvin, nicely done.

Golf Times

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Take The TaylorMade R5 For A Test Drive

Below, The Golf Blog has a good review of the TaylorMade R5:

As previewed here, The Golf Blog is to begin reviewing clubs on occasion starting now with TaylorMade's R5 dual driver. I had a chance to use the driver through four rounds last week in Myrtle Beach, which I think provided me with enough experience to share my thoughts. First a little background: I am a single-digit-handicap golfer who hits the ball fairly straight and not all that long. When I am swinging well, I tend to hit a power fade off the tee; when I am not swinging well, that power fade can become a weak slice. I have long wondered whether the right drive might help keep my slice in check and also add a few extra yards. I think the R5 might be that driver.

I was skeptical about the R5 at first: it has a big head (though perhaps not unusually big for the latest breed of drivers), and I struggled when trying out a big-headed driver a few seasons ago. Also, on my first few swings with the R5, I was surprised to discover I was often pulling the ball left. However, after I got used to the look and the feel of the R5, I started hitting the ball pretty straight and pretty far on a consistent basis. And, excitingly, even when I felt I made a swing that should result in a weak slice, the R5 helped keep the ball very much in play.

Because I was playing unfamiliar courses, I cannot say with certainty whether the R5 added distance. I do not think the club added a lot of length, but I was pleased that the club seemed to deliver a lot of very good misses when I did not make my best swing: even when I felt I hit the ball a bit off the toe or the heel, my drives flew pretty straight and pretty far. (Indeed, when I felt I really smoked a drive, I was disappointed to discover that the ball did not go much farther than my good misses.) I was using the "Type N" version of the driver, which has a square face, with a 9.5 degree loft. I tended to hit the ball a bit higher with the R5, which also pleased me because my launch angle has always been too low with other drivers.

Interestingly, the TaylorMade's R5 dual driver website suggests that the "Type D" version of the club would be even more forgiving for players who struggle with a slice because it has a closed clubface. But, as suggested above, I found even the "Type N" version helpful in this way. The website about the R5 has a lot of additional information about the club, although the site does not directly compare the R5 to its big brother, the R7 quad driver. (The R7 has the adjustable weight system, while the R5's weights are preset and fixed.)

I could go on, but let me sum up with a simple thought: I want to keep the R5 in my bag.

Sounds like a winner if you can't afford the R7.

Golf Times

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I Tacked This Note On My Caddie's Locker

"Real golfers, no matter what the provocation,
never strike a caddie with the driver.
The sand wedge is far more effective."

He's been much nicer to me ever since.

Golf Times

Monday, March 27, 2006

Sergio Garcia's Sunday Round Faded Faster Than A Cut Six Iron

Another significant tournament has come and gone with Sergio, in position to win, going home empty handed. When it comes down to crunch time he continuely comes up small.

There's no reason to think the same thing isn't going to happen at the Master's. I guess eventually he'll break through like Mickelson did but it could be a long time coming.

Maybe he needs a few sessions with the same short game guru, Dave Pelz, that Phil used.

At least he finished ahead of Tiger Woods, he's got that going for him.

Golf Times
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