Jul 22, 2015 | 12:19 pm

Dye Hard

With Harbour Town and Long Cove, Pete Dye's name is closely linked with Hilton Head Island, but there's another Dye course just off island that is every bit the equal but flies a lot more under the radar: his namesake course at Colleton River Plantation Club. Dye fans can get their first look at the course this Friday and Saturday from 2–4pm when Fox Sports 1 broadcasts the quarterfinal, semifinal, and championship rounds of the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. The beguiling design is a tale of two nines: The front nine winds through gnarly live oaks, while the back is completely open and features beautiful views of Port Royal Sound, as well as a fair amount of wind. Set up at 7,366 yards, it's the second longest layout in U.S. Junior Amateur history (Martis Camp Club high in the Sierras near Lake Tahoe was the longest at 7,740 yards two years ago). The scoring average during the first two rounds of stroke play at Colleton was 75.84, making for a difficult exam for the high schoolers. School is back in sesssion a little early, apparently.

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Jul 21, 2015 | 08:42 am

Putting Green Energy

Hundreds of American golf courses have closed down in the last several years, and many of their owners have not found a viable alternative use for the land. Now comes a possible solution: solar farms. Multinational company Kyocera has just started construction on the first such farm on a golf course outside Kyoto, Japan. The farm is expected to produce enough electricity to power 8,100 local households. Solar technology is fast improving and golf courses, being wide open and sun-drenched, are ideal sites for such generators. U.S. According to the British newspaper, The Independent, U.S. companies are also starting to take a hard look at this idea. 

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Jul 20, 2015 | 06:49 am

Scotland Calling

If you’ve never played golf in Scotland—or if you have but not recently (say in the past, oh, six months)—don’t let the wind and rain evident the last few days at St. Andrews scare you off. We can think of dozens of reasons to make the pilgrimage, but we’ll let the members of SIGTOA, the Scottish Incoming Golf Tour Operators Association, give you their top five: 1) Scotland is The Home of Golf; 2) It’s the Birthplace of the Open Championship; 3) All Those Classic Links Golf Challenges (“Links golf is for many the game in its purest form and Scotland has seaside courses to spare”); 4) Scotland’s World Class Hospitality; and 5) Scotland’s Larder (“It is more recognized than ever that Scotland’s Food and Drink is one of its greatest assets”). Other than arguing that food and drink are two assets, we can’t disagree with any of these reasons. Care to add your own? Please comment below. And make the trip.

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Jul 17, 2015 | 03:21 pm

Flights of Fancy

One of the coolest things about watching The Open Championship is ESPN's use of Protracer technology. Without any trees on the course, it would be next to impossible to follow the flight of the ball against the pewter skies that hover over the Old Course. For the ribbons of blue we have the long, dark Swedish winters to thank. Protracer founder Daniel Forsgren had recently taken up the game and became addicted, but the only way to satisfy his urge in Stockholm during the winter was by watching the pro tours on TV. He was frustated, however, by the fact that it was difficult to follow the flight of the ball, so the software engineer developed a image-based program (as opposed to radar) in 2006 to track the a ball's flight in a camera feed. The replay-graphic debuted the following April at a European Tour event and in the U.S. at the 2008 Masters. But it was ESPN that became the first network to use it in live shots five years ago at The Open Championship at the Old Course, albeit on one camera. Today, every network uses it on half-a-dozen cameras or more to enhance the production. Sure makes watching golf a lot more fun.

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