Former NASA Scientist to Debunk Myths of Golf

DR_STEVE_OTTOThe game of golf has always been an uneasy mixture of tradition and technology. Few sports can match the historical significance of a place like the The Old Course at St. Andrews, that could be played while using the cutting edge materials and equipment that has been the hallmark of golf equipment manufacturers.

Although the historical element of the game can always be appreciated, the actual performance part of the game that is usually affected by technology is often debated. That debate could reach new levels according to a recent article in The Telegraph, which previews an upcoming presentation about golf that will take place at the Edinburgh International Science Festival on March 30 at the National Museum of Scotland.

Former NASA scientist Dr Steve Otto, who is now the Director of Research and Testing at golf’s world governing body The R&A, will give a presentation about the fundamental physics of golf and discuss current research insights into shaft dynamics, metallurgy and ball construction. Otto has suggested claims such as hitting the ball with top spin can make it go further, have no basis in physics. Dr. Otto will use specially commissioned video evidence to help prove that golf is a simpler game than some golf equipment manufacturers present.

In “The Science of Golf from Tee to Green”, Dr. Otto will describe how at impact the golf ball accelerates from zero to 180 miles per hour in less than 1,000th of a second. In that time, where the ball will land has already been determined by the parameters of spin, velocity and the dimple pattern on the ball itself.

Otto will also argue that it is a myth that golfers today can hit the ball further than ever before. “It’s one of those things that people will rely on a single shot to make a case, that I saw this player hit the ball 360 yards. They can do that, but they don’t do it all the time and they forget to mention there was wind behind them” said Otto. “In fact, there are fewer players hitting the ball over 300 yards now then there was back in 2005.”

“Even the best golfers in the world may not fully understand the details of striking a golf ball and there are many common myths and misconceptions surrounding the process,” said Dr Otto. “Golf is a fascinating game and people are always curious about the golf swing. In this lecture I will explore some of these myths surrounding it and show what actually happens when a golfer hits a golf ball.”

Tickets to “The Science of Golf from Tee to Green” are available online at sciencefestival.co.uk.

What Golf Club in Your Bag Is Used The Most?

CLEVELAND_WEDGEIf golfers drive for show and putt for dough, where does the wedge game fit in the mix? According to a recent report by Cleveland Golf, 65% of all shots for an average golfer come from inside 125 yards. Even more importantly, 45% of all shots, not including putts, are used with a wedge.

Research from the National Golf Foundation indicates that only 22 percent of all golfers regularly score better than 90 for 18 holes on a regulation length course. 25 percent of all males regularly break 90 while just 7 percent of females eclipse that mark. According to the NGF, the average 18-hole score on a full-size course is 97 for men and 114 for women.

Therefore for an average male golfer who averages 36 putts per round, roughly 27.5 strokes per round are taken using wedges. That number increases to 35 strokes per round for women. The wedges in your bag might include a pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge and maybe even an additional wedge.

According to Cleveland golf, 13.3 is the average handicap of a player carrying three or more wedges. The average handicap climbs to 18 for avid players who use two or fewer wedges. The numbers seem to indicate that carrying more wedges might actually improve versatility around the green by giving players the option to hit a lob shot, pitch and roll, bump-and-run or even an explosion shot.

To address this issue, Cleveland Golf has introduced a new wedge fitting system that will help golfers quickly and accurately select a proper wedge set. The Wedge Fitting Application at the Cleveland Golf website, helps golfers, golf club fitters and golf shop employees identify the correct models, lofts, and bounces so the wedges can be customized for lie angle, shaft and grip.

The Cleveland Golf Fitting System also features interchangeable wedge heads that are available in a different loft, bounce, lie angle and model options, and include a variety of interchangeable wedge shafts. Cleveland said changing wedge heads and shafts is done in a matter of seconds and interchangeable wedges feature identical specifications to the wedges a player will use on the course.

“It’s no secret that a player’s wedge game is critical to scoring and performance,” said Todd Harman, President of Cleveland Golf/Srixon – U.S.A. “We’ve raised the bar with wedge innovations over the years such as multiple bounce options, Zip Grooves, cool finishes and now Rotex technology. With the introduction of our new Fitting System and Fitting Application, we’ve made it easier than ever for any player to use the right set of wedges and get the correct loft gapping throughout their entire set. This is a game-changer for us and the equipment industry. The way that golf professionals and retailers are now able to comprehensively fit a golfer for a wedge set is truly a breakthrough.”

To learn more on the Cleveland Golf Wedge Fitting Application visit the Cleveland Wedge Fitting Application.

Pinnacle Golf Going the Distance for Breast Cancer Research

PINNACLE_PINKWhat does it take to go the distance? For most professional golfers, it takes four consistently great rounds of golf and a will to win. PGA Tournaments are often decided by a single shot on Sunday afternoon with the whole world watching.

Golf ball manufacturer Pinnacle is conducting its own contest to honor those who are going the distance outside the world of golf. Pinnacle recently launched their second annual Going the Distance Awards, a program celebrating and honoring golfers who are making a difference in the fight against breast cancer. The company is soliciting nominations of everyday golfers who are going the distance in their lives to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer.

10 award winners will be determined based on four key criteria: dedication to the fight against breast cancer demonstrating a personal passion and commitment to furthering the cause (e.g., volunteer, community advocate, medical practitioner); impact on others’ lives or the community; strong tie to breast cancer (e.g., survivor or family/friend of survivor); and a passion for golf.

Nominations can be made through March 31, 2013 at the Pinnacle Golf website or Pinnacle Golf Facebook page. Nominations can be made through March 31, 2013. A judging panel that includes representatives from Pinnacle, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the golf media, as well as a 2012 Going the Distance honoree, will choose the final 10. The Going the Distance Awards and honorees will be announced in May.

“We had 10 extraordinary honorees in 2012 and we’re excited to celebrate 10 more individuals who are making a difference in breast cancer research, education and awareness in 2013,” said Mary Lou Bohn, Vice President, Golf Ball Marketing and Communications, Acushnet Company. “Breast cancer is one of the leading health issues facing women and their families today, so this disease touches golfers everywhere. By honoring and sharing stories from those in the golf community, we hope to inspire others to join the fight to find a cure.”

Each of the final 10 honorees will have a $10,000 donation made in their name to Susan G. Komen for the Cure to help fund life-saving breast cancer research at the national level. In addition, each honoree will receive custom Pinnacle golf balls imprinted with his or her name and the Going the Distance Awards logo as part of a gift package featuring Acushnet Company and Susan G. Komen products. Each individual who nominates a winning honoree will also receive a gift package from Pinnacle.

David Duval Returns to Nike Golf

DAVID_DUVAL_NIKEFormer world number one and 2001 Open Championship winner David Duval is returning to his roots by signing a new deal with Nike Golf. Duval was with Nike at the peak of his career and helped build the brand to one of the most powerful companies in golf. Although it’s been awhile since Duval has been among the game’s best, he’s working on his game for a potential return to glory on the PGA Tour.

Duval’s first event of the year was at the 2013 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He Tweeted news of his new sponsorship agreement with Nike a couple weeks earlier.

The first Nike athlete to win a major championship using Nike clubs in 2001, David Duval will be using Nike’s new high speed cavity back driver that conforms to USGA and R&A rules, the Nike VR_S Covert driver. Duval will also have the Nike VR Pro Limited Edition fairway wood, Nike VR Pro Blade irons, Nike VR Pro wedges and a Nike Method Prototype putter in his bag. For his golf ball, Duval will play Nike’s new 20XI-X, while he wears Nike Golf apparel from its Tour Performance Collection and the new Nike Lunar Control footwear.

“I could not be more excited to once again become a Nike Athlete,” said David Duval. “Nike Golf has been a major player in the success I have had throughout my career. I am thrilled to return to the Swoosh and continue my career with a brand that focuses on developing innovative products.”

During his career, Duval has finished in the top ten at all four majors. His most recent brush with major glory was at the 2009 US Open at Bethpage Black where he finished third. Duval’s best season over the past decade was in 2010 when he finished 106th on the PGA Tour money list.

Rickie Fowler Begins 2013 Caddy For A Cure Season

RICKIE_FOWLER_CADDYFORACUREIf you’re looking for a quick way to make it on the PGA Tour, there may be no better opportunity than the Caddy For A Cure program, which allows golf fans to go inside the ropes and caddy for a day with the world’s best players. Caddy For A Cure recently announced that rising PGA Tour superstar Rickie Fowler will help 2013 kick off their 2013 season at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at the TPC Scottsdale.

Always one of the most popular and well-attending events on Tour, the 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open will be played between January 28th through February 2nd, with the caddy experience taking place on Wednesday, January 30th during the Pro-am competition. The loud and rowdy Scottsdale crowds along with caddying for the popular Fowler, should make this a very popular start to the 2013 Caddy For a Cure Season.

“We love kicking off our year at such an exciting event as the Waste Management in Phoenix, especially with a player like Rickie Fowler. Fowler loves giving back from this great sport and has participated with us multiple times in the past, becoming a huge supporter of our program.” said Caddy For A Cure CEO and program founder Russ Holden. “Our caddy for the day had so much fun last year with us at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill he wanted to do it again. We are also honored to include a Phoenix area wounded warrior who will escort the group for the day.”

Caddy For A Cure has been offering PGA TOUR caddy experiences for charity since 2003, and LPGA and Champions Tour experiences since 2010, with proceeds benefiting multiple causes. Benefitting charities include the PGA TOUR Birdies for the Brave military outreach, the PGA TOUR Professional Caddy Assistance Foundation, the LPGA Foundation USGA-Girls Golf program, the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund and families, and each participating player’s and host site’s charity.

Caddy For A Cure is a great way for you to have the PGA golf experience of a lifetime while giving something back to the community and helping those in need. Participating PGA Tour players this year include Graeme McDowell, Jason Dufner, Luke Donald, Tommy Gainey and Jim Furyk. All program caddy experiences may be found on the Caddy For A Cure website.

Charitable Impact of Golf Nearly $4 Billion

CHARITY_GOLFIf you play golf, there’s a good chance you’ve been asked to participate in a charity golf event of some sort during your lifetime. Golf is a tremendously social sport that helps bring people together and golf outings can be a highly beneficial tool to help raise money for charitable organizations.

According to a recent report from GOLF 20/20, which is a collaboration of leading organizations representing all segments of the United States golf industry, the game of golf’s charitable impact is $3.9 billion. This number includes an estimated 12,000 golf facilities, 143,000 events, 12 million participants and an average of $26,300 raised per function.

The report also estimates the entire golf industry’s economic impact at $68.8 billion in 2011. This number includes several core segments such as golf facility operations, golf course capital investment, golfer supplies, tournaments and associations, charities and enabled categories such as real estate, hospitality and tourism.

According to the report, the golf business generated 1.98 million jobs in 2011, producing over $55.6 billion in wage income earned by employees of these businesses. Over 25.7 million golfer participated in the game at 15,751 traditional golf facilities.

“The economy has endured two significant recessions the past decade and golf has fared well,” says Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation, administrator of GOLF 20/20. “The health and growth of the game has a direct bearing on jobs, commerce, economic development and tax revenues for U.S. communities and industries.”

Golf’s core industries alone exceed the economic impact of spectator sports, the performing arts, and the amusement and recreation industries.

Win a VIP Pro-Am Experience With Bubba Watson in Scottsdale

BUBBA_WATSON_EBAYNearly every golf fan dreams about being a part of a professional tournament alongside the best players in the world. This year, someone’s dream will become a reality in the VIP Pro-Am Experience auction on eBay with Bubba Watson at the 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Place your bid now for this unique auction package, where you’ll get to experience a day in the life of 2012 Masters Champion, Bubba Watson at one of the most popular and entertaining events on the PGA Tour. This auction contest is drawing a lot of interest due to the spectacular one-of-a-kind experience and incredible prize package that features a spot in the Annexus Pro-Am At the 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open on Wednesday, January 30th, playing alongside Bubba Watson.

In addition, the contest winner will receive one clubhouse ticket for a guest during the Wednesday, January 30th pro-am, two clubhouse tickets for Thursday January 31st & Friday, February 1st and two VIP tickets to the rowdy Birds Nest concert for Thursday, January 31st. Along with the golf and tickets, the prize package includes a set of custom fit PING clubs and an exclusive tour of the PING facility for you and a guest as well as a room at the Fairmont Princess Resort and a complimentary dinner at the Fairmont Princess Resort. The winner will also receive a complete Oakley outfit for the golf course valued at $1000, including eyewear, hat, visor, belt, shoes, socks, pants, shirt, jacket, sweater from their Spring golf collection featuring Ohydrolics technology.

The pro-am will take place at the Tournament Players Club (TPC) in Scottsdale, Arizona on Wednesday January 30, 2013. The winner of this package will be guaranteed one of the four spots with Bubba Watson’s group. The prize winner will also receive a custom fitting for a full set of PING clubs on PING’s driving range just like Bubba Watson. The winner and guest will get to tour the company’s facility to see the custom-building process all PING clubs go through, including yours, meet “PING Man,” the robotic golfer that’s part of PING’s unrivalled testing process and visit the world-famous “Gold Putter Vault”– home to more than 2700 gold-plated PING putters.

To bid on this amazing experience visit the New Year, New You Celebrity page on Ebay. Bidding on this VIP Pro-Am Experience with Bubba Watson ends on Friday, January 11, sound don’t miss out!

College Golf Championships Coming to Golf Channel

college golfAlthough many of the top players on the PGA Tour started their careers playing college golf, very few of us were able to witness these future stars during their collegiate career. With an new agreement recently announced by the NCAA and Golf Channel, that will no longer be the case.

Starting in 2014, Golf Channel will televise the NCAA Division I men’s tournament and then the men’s and women’s events in 2015. For the first time ever, Golf Channel cameras will be on course in 2014 at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas to capture all the excitement of the men’s match play event. Then in 2015, the broadcast coverage of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships will take place at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida.

This announcement is certainly welcome news for golf fans, whose previous exposure to top college golf talent was minimal at best. Former NCAA men’s golf champions include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Luke Donald and Ryan Moore. Former NCAA women’s golf champions include 2012 LPGA Player of the Year Stacy Lewis.

“We are committed to covering all facets of the game of golf and this new partnership with the NCAA will be the centerpiece of our broader commitment to covering the collegiate game,” said Golf Channel president Mike McCarley. “We look forward to introducing our viewers to the future stars of the game and tapping into the tremendous passion collegiate fans have for their schools.”

The men’s championship includes 30 teams and six individuals competing over a 54-hole stroke-play competition, after which the individual champion will be crowned. The top eight teams advance to the final three rounds of match-play competition for the team championship. In Division I, The University of Texas Longhorns won the 2012 NCAA Men’s Golf Team Championship while the University of Alabama Crimson Tide won the 2012 Women’s Golf Team Championship.

“This is the culmination of a collaborative effort between a lot of individuals over a long period of time, including the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Golf Committees,” said Mark Lewis, NCAA Executive Vice President of Championships and Alliances. “We are excited for our men’s and women’s golf student-athletes to gain additional exposure and for the fans of the sport to be able to see up close what makes these championships so special. Partnering with the Golf Channel made perfect sense for us and we appreciate their commitment in helping to grow the audience for the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships.”

Golf Helped Raise Nearly $4 Billion for Charity in 2011

GOLF_2020The game of golf continues to give back in record numbers as was recently announced by a major golf industry organization. According to a study recently conducted by the National Golf Foundation and GOLF 20/20, the charitable impact of golf in the United States was $3.9 billion in 2011. Yes, that’s billion with a “B”.

Estimates from the study include charitable golf event participation at 12,000 golf facilities in the United States, with over 143,000 events being conducted in 2011. Those golf outings included over 12,000 million participants and averaged over $26,000 in funds raised per event.

The charitable impact findings in this study are based on qualitative calls and data collection from a coast-to-coast sampling of public and private golf facilities, and non-profit organizations producing golf events. More than 85 percent of organizations that conduct golf events find them important because, in addition to raising significant funds, they are easy to organize and provide exposure and networking opportunities among supporters. Golf event beneficiaries include health, youth, education, environmental and cultural groups across the country.

“Regardless of the economic climate, golf is a key driver of charitable giving in the U.S.,” says Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation, administrator of GOLF 20/20. “As a major focus of the golf industry, working with organizers of philanthropic events helps improve millions of lives.”

GOLF 20/20 was launched in 2000 with the goal of focusing on the future vitality of the game. The golf industry was not growing as fast as it had in the 1990s, even though interest in the game had never been greater, so golf industry leaders worked with PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem to create GOLF 20/20. The organization is a unique collaboration of all segments of the golf industry, from associations and manufacturers to golf course owners and operators as well as the media. Its primary strategic goals and initiatives are to increase participation and retention, involvement and interest in the game.

Learn more at the World Golf Foundation website.

PGA TOUR Canada Should Help Expand Golf’s Reach

CANADA_GOLF_BALLWhat started in 1971 as the Peter Jackson Tour is now becoming a coast-to-coast training ground for golfers on their way to the PGA TOUR. The Canadian Tour recently announced a new agreement in which the PGA TOUR will assume operational control of what will become PGA TOUR Canada in 2013.

PGA TOUR Canada will become the next stepping stone for golf professionals searching for access to the Web.com Tour, which is widely considered the ultimate feeder for the PGA TOUR. The top five players on tour in Canada will receive playing privileges on the Web.com Tour, while the next five will be exempt into the finals of the Web.com Tour qualifying school.

All PGA TOUR Canada events will continue to be held in Canada during the summer months. The TOUR will host at least eight tournaments in 2013 offering a minimum purse of $150,000, with the goal of eventually expanding to 12 or 13 events.

The PGA TOUR will provide its production and marketing expertise to help grow the TOUR and the game of golf in Canada. The popularity of golf in Canada is reflected in an in-depth economic impact study that showed nearly 6 million Canadians play golf, representing 21.5 percent of the population, more than double the U.S. participation rate. The PGA TOUR has experienced golf’s popularity first-hand with the annual RBC Canadian Open, the Champions Tour’s Montreal Championship and the highly successful 2007 Presidents Cup at Royal Montreal GC. Canada also consistently ranks second only to the U.S. in traffic to PGATOUR.com.

“We view this as a win-win proposition that strengthens an established Tour in a country that absolutely loves golf,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “As the Tour continues to develop and grow, charitable contributions and the value provided to tournaments sponsors will increase, as well. As for the PGA TOUR, this expands our brand in Canada and gives us geographic integration throughout the Americas in concert with PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.”

Former Canada Tour players have accounted for more than 110 victories on the PGA TOUR, including Canadians Mike Weir, Dave Barr, Dan Halldorson and Ian Leggatt. Other alumni who have PGA TOUR victories include Steve Stricker, Nick Watney, Stuart Appleby, Tim Clark, Bryce Molder, Jason Bohn, Brendan Steele, Craig Parry, Tim Petrovic, Grant Waite, Will McKenzie and Brandt Jobe, to name a few.