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Aug 07, 2014 | 06:12 AM

Date Changer

Whether you are for or against golf returning to the Olympics in two years, it’s already having an impact on tournament schedules. The PGA of America has confirmed that the 2016 PGA Championship, to be held at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey (above), will be moved up a week to July 28–31. “We think an end of July date in that part of the country and the major metropolitan area just outside of New York makes a lot of sense,” said Pete Bevacqua, PGA of America CEO. “Less people are on vacation, more people are in town, and we think it will work out as a real benefit to the 2016 PGA Championship.” Sounds good, but it wouldn’t have happened without the Olympics, which take place August 5–21 in Brazil. The change also means there is just one week, rather than two, between that season’s last two majors. While players will likely moan about the condensed 2016 schedule—only 47 days separate the beginning of the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club and the end of the PGA Championship, not to mention a Ryder Cup the following month at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota—diehard golf fans should be rejoicing.

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Aug 05, 2014 | 02:15 PM

Double The Fun

Get ready for the world’s first reversible golf course. Forest Dunes Golf Club in Northern Michigan has commissioned Tom Doak to design and build a layout that can be played either clockwise or counterclockwise, each of its 18 greens attackable from two directions. Doak has some familiarity with this concept, having spent one of his college years in St. Andrews studying the Old Course, which was played “left- and right-handed” for a century. At Forest Dunes, Doak’s associate Brian Slawik has drafted a layout from one direction while Doak has done the other. “It is not a super dramatic site, but that’s better for this concept,” says Doak. “If you were playing over ravines in one direction, you’d probably have to play blindly out of them the other way around. You can’t have woods behind the green, or you’d have to play over the trees from the other direction.” For the same reason, the greens will lack the severe slopes that some of Doak’s other courses feature. Shaping begins next month and the double-dip course should be ready for play in 2016.

 

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Aug 04, 2014 | 06:57 AM

Play Golf, Do Good

One week from today, on Monday, August 11, the “World’s Largest Golf Outing” will be held at 120 golf courses around the country. It will be the fourth annual outing, and as in years past, funds go mostly to the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), which has been helping injured veterans for 10 years. This year’s goal is to raise $1 million for WWP; last year, 10,000 golfers participated and raised $735,000. The main sponsor of the tournament is Billy Casper Golf, the largest owner-operator of courses, clubs, and resorts in the U.S. with more than 150 properties in 28 states. Other sponsors include Nike Golf, which will be giving away a trip for four to company headquarters in Oregon for custom-fitting and other merchandise, and the top fundraising team will win a trip to Pinehurst Resort. But the big winners, of course, are the more than 50,000 veterans and 7,000 family members being helped by WWP’s programs. There are still tee times available, and spots are open to all golfers regardless of skill; a USGA handicap is not required. All the important information is on the outing website.

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Aug 01, 2014 | 11:26 AM

Fox’s New Voices

Fox Sports, which will begin broadcasting the US Open and a host of other national championships next year, has added to its golf-broadcast team. Joining Joe Buck and Greg Norman, whose anchor positions were announced last year, will be PGA Tour player Brad Faxon (above left, as lead studio analyst and hole announcer), former USGA Executive Director David Fay (above right, Rules analyst), and Holly Sonders (reporter/host), who left Golf Channel to come to Fox, where she’ll also cover the NFL and more. When Fox won the USGA contract last year, the network’s co-president/COO Eric Shanks (we hope his name isn’t a bad omen) promised “a new energy and innovation that will make every championship the best golf event on television.” Give Fox credit for bringing excitement and technological magic to its coverage of NASCAR and other sports. The pressure will be on its announcers to be similarly new, energetic, and innovative.

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