Jan 23, 2016 | 04:15 pm

Let The Show Begin!

The PGA Merchandise Show opens its doors on Wednesday at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. This annual get-together—which is not open to the public, sorry—will gather more than 40,000 members of the golf industry including PGA pros, media, association officials, and manufacturers. There are seminars and roundtables, the PGA Youth & Family Golf Summit, and the kick-off to the PGA of America’s celebration of its Centennial. But for most visitors, the highlight is seeing the brand-new equipment and trying it out at a mammoth Demo Day held on Tuesday. Among the companies known to be introducing new clubs and balls are Ping, Titleist, TaylorMade, Callaway, Cobra, Nike, Ben Hogan, Wilson, Bridgestone, Srixon, TourEdge, and Cleveland, plus many others. There also will be new shoes, rangefinders, bags, rain suits, gadgets, and everything else that makes playing the game easier and more fun. The March issue of our digital magazine HOTLINKS will feature a special round-up of the new equipment: If you aren’t already receiving HOTLINKS, click here to sign up for free. We’ll also have new-product coverage in the Spring issue of LINKS and continuing throughout the year.

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Jan 22, 2016 | 06:11 am

Shorts Story

This weekend, the European Tour is playing in Abu Dhabi, where temperatures can get very hot. And while it’s only in the 80s this time of year, the venue still produced a rarely seen sight—pro golfers in shorts. Not caddies, who are allowed to wear shorts almost everywhere, even on the PGA Tour (as shown above), but players. As of this week, the Euro Tour allows competitors to don shorts during practice rounds, and a number of them did, including Ernie Els, Lee Westwood, and Darren Clarke. But nobody told Jordan Spieth, who is competing in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, or, as he told the media afterward, “I would not be wearing pants right now.” Despite golf’s long tradition of, well, traditionalism, we have to believe that shorts will eventually be allowed everywhere. So what do you think: Should it be okay for pros to wear shorts?

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Jan 21, 2016 | 06:58 am

Private, First Class

Looking for a special golf vacation? Tired of flying commercial? Magellan Jets—a leader in private-jet travel—and three Four Seasons Hotels have the trip for you. Their Private Jet Tropical Tee and Golf Tour is “a seamless runway-to-fairway” excursion with golf in three countries, luxury accommodations, dining, parties, and unique experiences, with private jet service connecting it all. The week-long escapade starts at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami and includes rounds at Crandon Golf Course on Key Biscayne, a private cabana, and special dinner. Then fly private to the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, teeing it up on the Arnold Palmer-designed course with post-round relaxing and dining. From there, Magellan jets the group to Four Seasons Resort Nevis and its Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed course (shown above), with more dining and diversions before a return flight to Miami. Available beginning in April, prices begin at $132,000 for a group of eight for all travel, transfers, accommodations, golf, and more. The itinerary can be customized for as many as 12 travelers. Contact Magellan Jets at (844) 228-8796, or check out the website.

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Jan 20, 2016 | 10:44 am

Does it damage the game?

“Most Beautiful Women in Golf,” “Sexiest Tour Wives and Girlfriends,” scantily clad non-golfing models on golf magazine covers… Does it damage the game?

The move to digital has forced changes in the golf media business. Many magazines and media outlets have all but forgotten their core audience in an effort to reach an ever younger set of millennial eyes and increase digital advertising revenue.

Coverage of female golfers actually playing golf is difficult to find. You are more likely to find a gallery of the “Hottest Instagram Photos” than the results of that week’s LPGA event. If you look at the most popular story on a certain golf magazine’s website, you’ll find the “22 Hottest Pictures of Paige Spirinac,” an Instagram star who, while she was a college golfer, isn’t a professional player. Of those twenty-two photos, only three are related to golf.

Some call it click-bait while others call it damaging to the game, particularly the women’s leg of the sport. Is it golf media’s fault for creating this content or is it simply creating content where there is demand? After all, the Spirinac story is the most viewed on their site.

What do you think? Leave us a comment and we’ll start a discussion!

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