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Dec 01, 2016 | 06:51 am

Olympics Course: One And Done?

Three months ago, it was the hottest thing in golf. Today, the Gil Hanse-designed Olympics course in Rio is golf’s equivalent of a ghost town. The plan was always for the course to be open to the public after the games were done, but as reported by the news agency AFP, golf has only a small following in Brazil and few locals want to pay the $74-$82 green fees (foreigners are charged $192). As a consequence, the company that built the course and now maintains it hasn’t been paid for two months so is thinking about cutting its losses—estimated at $82,000 a month—and leaving town. Should that happen, an unidentified source said, “the course will die. It could take four weeks, three weeks.” In the same article, the president of the Brazilian Golf Confederation said some 40 people a day are playing the course, but onsite staff said that number is inflated. Furthermore, the course has no website, there is neither a pro shop nor a pro, and no road signs point the way in. Which may be the most telling sign of all that this once-lauded course is on its way out.

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Nov 30, 2016 | 08:00 am

Yacht Rock

Any fan of Caddyshack knows that "it's easy to grin when you're ship comes in." Well, for fans of the 1980 movie, your ship has come in—literally. The yacht Rodney Dangerfield's character owned in the comedy is for sale for $129,000 on yachtworld.com. (It doesn't look exactly like the one in the movie, but we'll have to take the website's word that it's authentic.) The 1979 Striker is 60 feet long and has 1,300 horsepower, though it looks like it's in a little bit of disrepair judging from the photos on the site. Located in Annapolis, Md., "Big Dog" (not "Seafood" like in the movie) comes with three cabins all with showers, a flatscreen TV, a good-size galley, and a host of electronics. "Hey, Smails," Rodney yells, "my dinghy is bigger than your whole boat!" The ad reads in part, "If you are in the market for a fabulous rough water fishing boat with a bit of movie history thrown in, this is your boat!" If you've "got the stock market beat," this might just be the toy you've been waiting for. 

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Nov 29, 2016 | 09:54 am

Sphere Wars

We’re not sure what this indicates about the direction the golf market is heading, but in the past couple of months two new golf balls have debuted—at the polar opposites of the price range. First came the Clear ball from Clear Sports—the world’s first members-only ball. That’s right, you have to join the Clear Club, at $950, and for that they’ll send you 12 dozen balls—that works out to $79 a dozen (Titleist's Pro V1, the market leader, goes for about $48). The makers claim their ball has the highest coefficient of restitution (rebound effect) of any ball on the market, and that translates into more distance. They offer two models—the Black (a firm four-piece) and the Red (a softer two-piece). And now, in what could be a game changer, comes the Kirkland Signature ball from wholesale giant Costco. A four-piecer made in Korea, it has been getting rave reviews even in side-by-side tests with the Pro V1 and the best thing about it is the price: $15 a dozen. The balls have been so popular, Costco has had trouble keeping them in stock. 

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Nov 28, 2016 | 06:10 am

Bubba For Mayor

As if this year’s political news hasn’t been strange enough, we have another candidate potentially throwing his golf cap into the ring. Bubba Watson is thinking about running for mayor of Pensacola, Florida. Not immediately, but according to numerous news reports, the 38-year-old Watson told the media that he “had a dream. I moved back in the city limits of Pensacola so one day I can run for mayor.”

The two-time Masters champ—who is from nearby Bagdad, Florida—already is part owner of the local baseball team, the Blue Wahoos, a Double A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, and he recently opened a candy shop in town called Bubba’s Sweet Spot where his mother works. Plus he’s involved in a local car dealership, a robotics company, several golf courses, and an apartment complex.

“The other businesses are fun. Golf is fun,” Watson said. “The golf is great. But there are other things I want to do. I have other dreams… The city of Pensacola realizes I love them. They brought me everything I have now. They took time to sponsor sporting events that I participated in. That’s the same thing I’m doing. I’m trying to help the community grow.”

When asked what he would do as mayor, Watson said, “It all starts with education.”

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