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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Jul 16, 2015 | 06:43 am

Telly Tee Times

If you’re reading this, you’ve already missed some of the first round of the Open Championship on television, live from the Old Course at St. Andrews. All four rounds are being broadcast on ESPN, but given the time difference between our shores and Scotland, coverage begins very early—and even then, programming doesn’t begin until about 2-1/2 hours after the first players tee off each morning. Here are the times:

Thursday, July 16: 4 a.m.-3 p.m.

Friday, July 17: 4 a.m.-3 p.m.

Saturday, July 18: 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 19: 6 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Remember, all times are Eastern, so if you’re on the West Coast, our advice is stay up all night and sleep during the day. Your boss will understand. And for a full list of pairings on the first two days, check out the official Open Championship website.

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