Chances are, wherever you’re reading this, it’s cold. So think about warm places to play, such as The Abaco Club, on Great Abaco Island in The Bahamas (above), where the forecast calls for high 70s the next few days. The 10-year-old private sporting club recently changed ownership, and has been acquired by Southworth Development, owner of Virginia’s Creighton Farms, Machrihanish Dunes in Scotland, and other private clubs and residential communities. Southworth will invest millions in renovating The Abaco Club, which already boasts a Donald Steel-Tom Mackenzie-designed golf course that plays along Winding Bay on the front side, on a ridge on the back, and is regularly rated among the region’s best. Speaking of the islands, for more about great golf in the Caribbean, check out the newest edition of HotLinks, the all-digital magazine from the editors of LINKS. It’s available now—for free—and includes a section on the Caribbean. Signing up for HotLinks also means you’ll receive all the other issues planned for 2015, including our big equipment special coming soon. Stay warm.
In his yearly state of the game on Golfchannel.com, Arnold Palmer says reports of golf's death are greatly exaggerated. He concludes that we're seeing a normal "churn" of participants that are in line with historical standards and that equipment sales are only down two percent quarter to quarter, not the free fall that Dick's Sporting Goods layoff of 500 PGA pros would have us believe. "Golf has had a couple of tough years, but we’ve had them before," the King writes. "In fact, all sports go through cycles. Think of the NBA before Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. Think of boxing after Muhammad Ali. Finally, before we bury golf, we might want to note that Golf Channel's ratings last year were the second best in its 20-year history. The fact of the matter is that golf is alive, well and booming worldwide."
At last it’s here. Yes folks, we’re talking about the just released compilation of the Bryan Brothers’ Top 10 Trick Shots of 2014. George and Wesley Bryan are a couple of young South Carolina golf pros who, when not trying to play their way onto the PGA Tour, produce some of the game’s most mind-boggling videos. We’re not sure which is more entertaining, their shots or their celebrations. You decide.
The fact that their shots are less about being tricks and more about actual golf skill. Both George, 26, and Wesley, 24, are professional golfers who were previously standouts at the University of South Carolina, boasting the school's best and sixth-best career scoring records, respectively.
"We pride ourselves on the fact we center it around real golf," said George, who was a PING All-American three times.
"Every shot is a great golf shot that we pulled off and you could hit on an actual course," said Wesley, a former All-SEC selection who can hit a straight 275-yard drive out of the air. "So the reactions are authentic."
The brothers' main goal remains making it onto the PGA Tour. But both acknowledge their new hobby has helped with their actual day jobs.
"It's taken some pressure off and eased my mind," George said. "Pro golf is all I've thought about for four years so it's nice to have a little outlet."
"It definitely helps with creativity," said Wesley, who added it's changed how he's viewed certain pressure shots. "I'll have a tee shot and I'll think if I threw the ball up and hit it, I'd have no problem hitting the fairway. If you can't hit a fairway when the ball is just sitting there on a tee, you might as well go home."
This year, George IV has been helping his father, George III, run his George Bryan Golf Academy in Chapin, S.C., while playing mostly one-day Carolina Mountain Tour events. Previously, he mainly played on the eGolf Professional Tour, where Wesley has spent much of this year. The two have been making videos during their free time, but now, they plan on turning the pro golf off-season into trick shot prime season.
"We're going to be pumping out stuff," said Wesley, who alluded to an upcoming NASCAR-themed video being in the works and that the two have been in talks to partner with some bigger names. And yes, they know who the Bryan brothers of men's tennis doubles fame are and hope to do a video with them as well.
"There's no group like us that's primarily doing golf shots . . . that's why we wanted to push it so hard," George said. "Golf is trying to get younger and hip and we can fit that mold by bringing entertainment and fun."