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Sep 02, 2016 | 08:52 am

Golf is Just for the Elite?

The media storm of PXG – Parsons Xtreme Golf – set the tone for the high end golf market. Founder Bob Parsons told the world a full set of his clubs would cost around $5,000, and he didn’t mince his words. When Golf Magazine asked Parsons why he doesn't list prices, he said, “I just tell people they’re expensive. Unless you expect to be spending some long green, these clubs aren’t for you.” Titleist then followed up a few months later with an announcement about their C16 driver and irons, which will likely cost $1,000 and $3,000 respectively. Miura, another club manufacturer from Japan, has always made clubs for the high-end market, with a set of irons running anywhere from $3,000 on up. And in the midst of all of this, Nike, whose products sat largely at the lower end of the market, announced that they will no longer produce clubs, balls, or golf bags.

Our Senior Editor James A. Frank wrote about this topic and said, “Face it: Rather than trying to position golf as a game for the masses, we need to accept that it’s more like polo, another activity that requires large amounts of time, specialized staging areas, expensive equipment, hours of practice, and manic devotion. We can, and should, do what we can to expose diverse segments of society to golf, but I’m fairly certain the game will remain the pursuit of an elite leisure class.” The high end of the golf market seems to be doing great while the “B” level clubs and equipment companies struggle.

Is it okay for golf to just be a sport for the wealthy? What about all of the efforts to grow the game? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic in the comments below!

 

 

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Sep 01, 2016 | 12:36 pm

She Shot it out of the Sky

Drone photography is a great way to capture the features of a golf course, but maybe not the practice tee—at least not when Ruby Kavanagh is working on her game. The eight-year-old Australian golf sensation was hitting balls on the range of the Magenta Shores Golf Club in New South Wales recently when she unleashed a tee shot that made direct contact with a drone that had been filming her session. The drone didn’t survive but this entertaining footage did: 

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Aug 31, 2016 | 05:41 am

Water Hazard

Another course bites the dust—literally. Vandenburg Air Force Base's Marshallia Ranch Golf Course is the latest California course to close because of the drought and the high cost of water in the state. Located on terrific terrain north of Santa Barbara, the little gem of a course, which has been popular with military golfers for nearly 60 years and public players since 2005, will cease operations tomorrow. Water costs have risen to several hundred thousands of dollars a year, putting the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Fund in danger of going bankrupt. "I feel like I'm saying goodbye to a very dear friend," Bill Prenot told the local ABC affiliate. "I've been playing this course since January of 1997 and it's been my home course. This was the course I looked forward to playing every year, every weekend if possible and this is where a lot of friendships were formed and this is really where I cut my teeth on the game of golf." Marshallia joins a host of other California courses that have closed in recent years, including four L.A.-area courses, two Pete Dye designs at Lost Canyons, the Mountain Course at Robinson Ranch, and Empire Lakes. The drought has also forced courses in the Bay Area and Palm Springs to shut down.

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Aug 30, 2016 | 06:20 am

Ryder Cup Trophy Tour

With the Ryder Cup Matches starting precisely one month from today, on September 30, yesterday was the beginning of the Ryder Cup Trophy Tour, a 5,000-mile, 15-stop, 12-city excursion for the 4-pound, 17-inch-tall statue. Along with visits to noted golf facilities such as Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, the trophy also will appear at a number of college-football and major-league baseball games before arriving at the match venue, Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, on September 23. In kicking things off, Team USA captain Davis Love III appeared on the “Today Show” yesterday morning—putting with host Carson Daly, who is John Daly’s cousin—as well as unveiling the Ralph Lauren-designed Team USA uniforms and conducting a press conference at New York’s midtown Hilton Hotel (above). Fans who show up at Trophy Tour stops will be able to take their picture with the cup, putt on a replica of Hazeltine’s 7th hole, and take a Ryder Cup trivia test as well as play other games. And along with a website, there is a special Twitter hashtag, #WeAre13, so named because Team USA wants the fans to be their “13th man.”

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