Apr 30, 2015 | 11:35 am

Judging Chambers

Golf course architects love to get in the heads of players and judging by the comments of some tour players who've made U.S. Open scouting trips to Chambers Bay, Robert Trent Jones II has succeeded mightily. Ryan Palmer told USA Today that the massive greens aren't championship caliber because they'll bring plenty of luck into play. "Put a quarter in the machine and go for a ride," he said, while Ian Poulter tweeted on Tuesday that some players were calling it a "farce," given that many of the tee boxes present uneven lies (Jones designed it that way so players could use the slope to help shape the shot). The Buzz reached out to Jones for his reaction. "I believe that pros who see the golf course as a beautiful fast-running puzzle, a field of unlimited opportunity rather than a layout that asks them all to hit the same shots, will embrace the course and do well," he says. "Those who wish to hit every shot long and straight and high in the most direct line to the pin may come away frustrated. After all the U.S. Open Championship is the sternest test of a player's mettle. The course provides great flexibility, and we look forward to the USGA's set up. Perhaps the real winners will be golf fans worldwide who will get to watch the greatest players in the world stepping outside their comfort zones and having to envision their shots, and make them up as they go, before they swing the club."

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Apr 29, 2015 | 09:13 am

Speed It Up!

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but a new survey conducted by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews says a round of golf takes too long. More than 56,000 golfers from 122 countries responded, and while 70% said the time it takes to play 18 holes is generally okay, 60% said it would be better if their rounds were quicker. But that was for the entire survey population. When numbers for those who were unhappy with pace of play and ages 25-44 were pulled out, time became a much greater issue, with 21% saying the only way they’d get out on the course more often is if they could play in 90 minutes or less. In that same age group, nearly a fifth said playing 9 holes was a good idea for them. And what were the two major factors keeping people from playing? Again, not much surprise, with work at 34%, and family at 29%. The R&A will continue to study pace of play and said it will hold a forum later this year on the subject.

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Apr 28, 2015 | 11:09 am

Tiger's Other Comeback

Tiger Woods may be struggling to regain his competitive form but his golf course architecture business seems to be back on track. After a couple of early flops, he recently opened his first course, El Cardonal in Mexico, and has Bluejack National in Texas set to open this fall. Recently he became Donald Trump’s latest design partner for a $55-million project course in Dubai, and this week he announced his first project in China, Pacific Links National Golf Club in Beijing, which will become the centerpiece of the Pacific Links network, an international club membership that offers access to more than 100 courses around the world, including several in California and Hawaii. 

see course rendering here. 


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Apr 27, 2015 | 06:29 am

Do Good For Dad

We know it’s a little early, but if you’re looking for a Father’s Day gift that your old man is sure to love and that you’ll love giving, check out the “Els for Autism Box,” a limited-edition collection of golf-related products associated with Ernie Els and the Els for Autism Foundation. Put together by BirdieBox—which packages premium golf and lifestyle gear individually or by monthly subscription—the gift packages are available at three price points, $80, $150, and $250, with each guaranteed to be worth more than double that in balls, apparel, accessories, and more (full details of the packages are on the website). Ten percent of the proceeds from each sale will go to Els for Autism, the foundation founded in 2009 by Els and wife Liezl after their son Ben was diagnosed with the disorder. Donations will go toward the funding of a state-of-the-art autism center and operations center for the foundation. Dad, or whoever you want to gift, will get a terrific present, as will the foundation.

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