Nov 27, 2015 | 06:04 am

The Nick Of Time

Like many top golfers, Nick Faldo has become a course architect, and—no surprise—one who isn’t afraid to voice his opinions. At Laguna Lang Co Golf Club in Vietnam, one of newer Faldo’s designs, he suggested that resort courses think outside of the box to help grow the game, specifically by creating 12-hole layouts. “We have to break down the mentality and design courses, especially around hotels, that enable people to get out for two or three hours,” he said at last week’s Laguna Golf Classic. “Obviously, full courses with length are necessary for tournament golf, but there has to be a change of thinking for people who want to go and have some fun.” Faldo’s comments echo those of fellow player-turned-designer Greg Norman, who has said golf needs to “develop different concepts,” as well as others who have proposed everything from bigger holes to “family tees” and shorter loops—three, six, and nine holes—to give novices and those with limited amounts of time a real golf experience that better fits their schedules and wallets.

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Nov 26, 2015 | 10:56 am

More To Be Thankful For

As golfers, we have much to be thankful for, great gifts that we all get from the game. Here, according to the internet, are a few of note:

  • A round of golf burns, on average, about 900 calories. And if you walk, it’s about five miles for 18 holes.
  • No matter how badly you play and even if you lose the match, golf is a great stress reducer. Yeah, really.
  • It’s social, and we need to spend time with others—even if we won’t concede them a six-inch putt.
  • According to Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, playing golf can increase life expectancy up to five years.
  • Golf is good exercise for your eyes, making them shift between close and far focus.
  • You’re constantly practicing visualization, focus, and other cognitive skills, good for keeping the brain active and healthy.
  • And face it… win or lose, golf is fun, and we can all use more fun in our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Nov 25, 2015 | 10:53 am

Trumpeting History

Donald Trump is playing fast and loose with the facts again. No, not on the campaign trail. At Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va. According to a story in today's The New York Times, he's errected a memorial to the Civil War soldiers who died there between the 14th and 15th holes on one of the two courses. The flagpole with a big stone base overlooks the Potomac and contains a black plaque with gold lettering and the title "The River of Blood" beneath the Trump family crest. "Many great American soldiers, both of the North and South, died at this spot," the inscription reads. "The casualties were so great that the water would turn red and thus became known as 'The River of Blood.' It is my great honor to have preserved this important section of the Potomac River!" But according to four Civil War historians, including club member and former House speaker Newt Gringrich, there was no battle there. The closest one was 11 miles up river where several hundred Union forces died in The Battle of Ball's Bluff in 1861. To be fair, though, a lot of bloody battles involving balls do take place on the two courses, which reopened this summer after a $25 million renovation.

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Nov 24, 2015 | 09:31 am

Play Alone? No Handicap For You

America may have a golf-playing population of 25 million but only about twenty percent of us—roughly five million—have bona fide handicaps, and now that number is about to shrink even further. Yesterday the USGA announced six changes in the their handicapping system. They cover a variety of areas (including handicaps for the handicapped) but the key change is this: Golfers who play alone will no longer be allowed to post scores for handicap purposes. Peer review—the opportunity for golfers to observe and attest to each other’s level of play—is a central concept of the USGA system, and solo rounds do not allow for peer review. So starting next year, when you play alone, you don’t post your score. 

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