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Oct 29, 2013 | 11:57 AM

Horny Superintendents

The thrifty Scots at Machrihanish Dunes GC, on the Mull of Kintyre, have found a way to hold down maintenance costs during the winter, despite hiring a seasonal staff of 40 locals. The workers began this week—a herd of 40 Hebridean sheep, enlisted as part of the celebration of the Year of Natural Scotland. The natural greenkeepers have been a hit with visiting golfers while also securing Machrihanish Dunes recognition from the British Travel Agents as the “Number 1 Eco Golf Course in the World.” Not bad for a bunch of black sheep.

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Oct 28, 2013 | 11:33 AM

A Great Short Drive

The Buzz usually doesn’t do much traffic reporting, but a new highway is destined to make life easier for traveling golfers. It’s called the La Romana Bypass, it’s in the Dominican Republic, and it’s only eight miles long. But upon opening in late November, the four-lane highway should reduce driving time between the capital city of Santo Domingo (and its airport) and La Romana—site of Casa de Campo, the top golf resort in the Caribbean and home of Pete Dye’s legendary “Teeth of the Dog” course (that’s the 15th hole, above)—to an hour, less than half what the trip takes now. The “Circunvalacion de La Romana” also will cut the drive from Santo Domingo to Punta Cana to under two hours. To meet the December deadline and the start of the winter rush, more than 1,300 workers are going 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Gracias!

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Oct 25, 2013 | 10:48 AM

Ko Is A "Go"

The last few months, there’s been no better story in women’s golf—perhaps all golf—than Lydia Ko, the 16-year-old amateur sensation from New Zealand. Last January, at 14, she became the youngest golfer to win a pro event (a record subsequently broken), then became the youngest-ever winner of an LPGA event, capturing last year’s CN Canadian Women’s Open at 15 years, 4 months. But she wasn’t done: This past summer, she repeated at the Canadian Open then finished second at the Evian Championship, two strokes behind Suzann Pettersen. Originally hinting that she’d turn pro next year, Ko has surprised the golf world yet again by announcing her plans in a charming video (click on the arrow in the box above). If you’re neither a Kiwi nor a rugby fan, you might not know that her playing partner in the video is Israel Dagg, a star on New Zealand’s famous All Blacks rugby team. And while their “match” might not be the best golf action you’ll seen this year, it presages an endearing, exciting star—and a potential powerhouse on the ladies’ tour.

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Oct 24, 2013 | 10:54 AM

Golf Boom In 'Bama

Yesterday marked the 21st anniversary of Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, which recently recorded its 10 millionth round of golf. What began as a concept to enhance the state’s image and boost its lowly public golf inventory has mushroomed to 26 courses at 11 sites throughout the state. Golf may have its naysayers, but before 1992, vacationing players only drove through Alabama on their way to Florida, and before the Trail’s debut, Alabama’s tourism revenues were under $2 billion. Last year, tourism revenues exceeded $10.6 billion, and the Golf Trail—often copied but never duplicated—was the state's top attraction. To celebrate the Trail’s success, golfers can tee it up on the Trail for $21 (cart extra; some restrictions apply) on the 21st day of each month for the rest of 2013. By the way, the photo above is from the Backbreaker Nine at Silver Lakes, located between Aniston and Gadsden: There's much more like that throughout the state.

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