Aug 03, 2015 | 10:06 am

Best Laid Plans

If you’re making plans for next year and need to work around key golf events, get out your calendar and a pencil with an eraser. Seems there have been some changes. Since 2016 is the year of both the Ryder Cup and the Olympics—where golf will be played for the first time since 1904—the rest of the PGA Tour schedule had to bend a bit. Here’s when, and where, you’ll find the key events:

Masters, April 7-10 (Augusta National)

The Players Championship, May 12-15 (TPC Sawgrass)

U.S. Open, June 16-19 (Oakmont)

Open Championship, July 14-17 (Royal Troon)

PGA Championship, July 28-31 (Baltusrol)

Olympics, August 11-14 (Rio de Janeiro)

Tour Championship, September 22-25 (East Lake)

Ryder Cup, September 30-October 2 (Hazeltine National)

The PGA Championship to July is the most notable shift, thanks to the Olympics. Other events affected are the Travelers (now August 4-7) and John Deere (August 11-14, same as the Olympics). Also, the Quicken Loans National will be June 23-26 and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is June 30-July 3. A few other moves. The World Golf Championships Match Play, now sponsored by Dell, moves from May to March 21-27 in Austin, Texas, and the McGladrey Classic moves to November 19-22, 2015. FYI, some of these changes will change again in 2017.

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Jul 31, 2015 | 11:11 am

Thanks, Zach

Zach Johnson’s victory at the Open Championship was good news not only for those smart enough to bet on him, but for anyone who wants to enjoy the golf and good life at the Inn at Sea Island on St. Simons Island, Georgia. What’s the connection? Johnson—along with Davis Love III, Matt Kuchar, Harris English, and Brian Harman—live and train at Sea Island, and play on its three courses, including Seaside, home of the Tour’s McGladrey Classic. In honor of this fivesome, the Inn is offering a special preferred rate of 15% off when any one of them finishes in the top 10 of a PGA Tour event for the rest of the season. You have to be quick: The “Top 10 Rate” is available only for 48 hours after the tournament ends and you have to ask for it when making a reservation. But how nice to be able to share in their success.

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Jul 30, 2015 | 12:35 pm

Smash Factor

Perhaps Golf Channel should start a show called "Funniest Golf Videos" because this one would surely qualify. It's a high-handicapper's first shot with his new $400 GoPro camera. It's also his last. You have to be really good or really bad to pull off a shot like this. Given that he shot 90 that day, you be the judge. The upshot? GoPro noticed the video (it's already garnered more than 155,000 views on YouTube) and is sending him their newest model. "Hey Corey! Rad shot, bummer about your GoPro though. We're going to hook you up with a new HERO4 Session! You'll love it, it's a much smaller target." Warning: explicit language at the end!

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Jul 29, 2015 | 10:59 am

Time for Nine?

Let's face it, the only reason we play 18 holes is because that's how many holes there are at the Old Course in St. Andrews. But there's no reason we have to be hung up on playing 18 or nothing, so last year the USGA introduced the "Play9" initiative. The second annual Play9 takes place today, so grab your sticks after work and head out to the course. Here are the USGA's nine reasons why:

1. Nine-hole golf has an impeccable pedigree. The First U.S. Open in 1895 was played on a nine-hole course: Newport (R.I.) Golf Club. Arnold Palmer and Pete Dye, among other golf luminaries, learned the game on nine-hole courses. 

2. The majority can’t be wrong. According to the National Golf Foundation (NGF), 90 percent of U.S. golf facilities offer nine-hole rates – and 4,200 nine-hole courses dot the U.S. golf landscape. From coast to coast, playing nine is an easy way to enjoy the game.

3. It’s an excellent way to start the day. Early risers can make the first footprints on a dewy fairway. You can get a round in and still make it to work or school on time.

4. It’s a great way to end the day with others. Grab friends and co-workers for a post-work round to shake off the stress.

5. Because it’s what you have time for. Would you rather play nine frequently or wait until the moon and stars align to play 18? Keep your game fresh by playing nine.

6. It’s a wonderful way to learn the game. An NGF study shows 86 percent of beginners start with nine-hole rounds. You can more comfortably develop your game and learn Rules and etiquette without the stress and time commitment of 18 holes.

7. It’s the best way to support someone who is learning how to play. You already love the game. A study by Sports & Leisure Research Group revealed that 60 percent of golfers believe a nine-hole round is an outstanding way to introduce a non-golfer to the game. Give back to the game and get a friend or family member hooked.

8. You can do it forever. Golf is a game for a lifetime. Playing nine holes is the perfect way to keep players of all ages and abilities engaged in friendly competition.

9. Your nine-hole round is legit! The USGA’s Golf Handicap Information Network® (GHIN) showed a 13 percent year-over-year increase in nine-hole scores posted in the two months following the program’s launch last July. You can post a nine-hole score to maintain your Handicap Index.

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