Nov 24, 2015 | 09:31 am

Play Alone? No Handicap For You

America may have a golf-playing population of 25 million but only about twenty percent of us—roughly five million—have bona fide handicaps, and now that number is about to shrink even further. Yesterday the USGA announced six changes in the their handicapping system. They cover a variety of areas (including handicaps for the handicapped) but the key change is this: Golfers who play alone will no longer be allowed to post scores for handicap purposes. Peer review—the opportunity for golfers to observe and attest to each other’s level of play—is a central concept of the USGA system, and solo rounds do not allow for peer review. So starting next year, when you play alone, you don’t post your score. 

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Nov 23, 2015 | 10:44 am

Thanks, Mate!

Remember that bloke we told you about earlier this month who asked Rory McIlroy for a new driver on Facebook? Well, McIlroy was good to his word. The driver arrived last week, along with a signed Nike cap, and Barry Edwards (pictured above with his prized possession) still can't believe it. "Very exciting times in the Edwards household," the 40-year-old builder from Blackpool, England, tells The Buzz. "I'd love to thank Rory personally." The 22-handicap took the Nike Covert driver, which McIlroy won two majors with, out this weekend for a test drive on the range and flushed it. "The driver feels beautifully balanced and strong, which possibly made my swing a little smoother," he says, adding that it's also improved his status about town. "I seem to have become a bit of a local celebrity, which is quite comical."

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Nov 20, 2015 | 01:00 pm

Death Valley

After losing more than a $1 million last year, the city of Tucson is thinking of closing one if not all of its five courses, according to a KOLD-TV, the CBS affiliate. There's been talking of shutting down some of the courses for a couple years now, but after the city brought in OB Sports to manage them, there was hope that they could turn things around. While the've increased rounds by nearly 9,000 in the past year and revenues by more than $1 million, it's still not enough. The question is, will the city give them enough time to break even, which city policy requires. City Manager Michael Ortega said closing golf courses to make them parks, baseball or soccer fields adds costs to the city budget and they may be much greater than the golf subsidy. "We have to know how much it costs to close them," he said, adding that golf courses provide a public service to local high school golf teams and the First Tee program. "Is that worth giving up?" Sure would be a shame to close the courses, considering the munis rich history which dates back to the 1920s. Randolph North (pictured above) opened in 1925 and was the site of the P.G.A. Seiko Tucson Match Play Championship, the P.G.A. Joe Garagiola Tucson Open, and the PING/Welch’s LPGA Championship. The city council will meet on Dec. 15 to discuss the future of Tucson City Golf.

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Nov 19, 2015 | 06:20 am

Northern Light

While great attention is being paid to the new Cabot Cliffs course on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, a historic neighbor is preparing for a milestone anniversary with a significant upgrading. For its 75th birthday, Cape Breton Highlands Links golf course, a brilliant example of Canadian architect Stanley Thompson’s design genius, will be treated to some much needed tree clearing—opening up spectacular water views while giving golfers room to stray—and other maintenance improvements, while the clubhouse will be modernized. The next-door Keltic Lodge also will be renovated and updated, while also adding new rooms (including executive suites perfect for golfers). More than $2 million is being committed to the project by GolfNorth Properties, which recently took over management of the resort. At last, one of Canada’s golf gems is getting the polishing it deserves.

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