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Dec 23, 2015 | 11:28 am

Tiger Pride

Located just 16 miles north of Clemson University, The Reserve at Lake Keowee has close ties to the school. Not only is it head football coach Dabo Swinney's home club (that's a perk that comes with the job), but many of the members are alums, as well. So it only seem fitting that the community would pay homage to the No. 1 team in the nation as it goes after its second national football championship (the first was in 1981) starting Dec. 31 in the Capital One Orange Bowl semifinal playoff. The Reserve grounds crew staff was able to commandeer the same stencil used at Memorial Stadium to create a mini "Death Valley" on the Great Lawn at the lakeside retreat, which also features a superb Jack Nicklaus course that will play host to the Clemson Invitational next spring. "We have such a strong relationship with the university and we wanted to find a unique way to show our support while the football team is on a truly historic run," says Director of Sales Rutledge Livingston, who played for the Tigers in the mid-1970s. "We think this is a pretty cool way of doing that. We’ll definitely be hosting a post-Christmas game of two-hand touch."

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Dec 22, 2015 | 05:23 pm

A New 12th

It’s not often we see a hole shortened just for the pros, but that’s about to happen at the TPC Sawgrass. In what will be the most extensive change to a single hole since the course debuted in 1980, the Tour has announced they'll shorten the 358-yard 12th to 300-320 yards for the 2017 Players Championship, essentially playing it from the current members tee. A large mound currently fronting the left side of the green will be leveled and replaced with a water hazard while the new green will allow for bounce-on approaches, in the hope of converting one of the course’s dullest holes into a thrill producer. The change will be part of a major renovation that will also include resurfacing the greens and upgrading the practice area.

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Dec 21, 2015 | 04:23 pm

The Force Awakened

On the one hand, the golf year is ending as it should—with relative quiet as the pro tours take a break other than giving out “best of year” awards and the like. But in other ways, this is a December to remember. Unusually warm temperatures in the North and Northeast—Christmas Eve probably will be warmer in New York City than in Phoenix—are keeping courses busy. Last weekend, golfers were playing in shorts in Maine, while in Florida, resort bookings are down as snowbirds stay home. Experts say this is the result of an “El Nino” winter, which is likely to bring lots of rain to the West (the Pacific Northwest has already been deluged) as well as other climatic anomalies. A disturbance in the force, perhaps? Blame it on the recent opening of the new Star Wars movie. If you don’t think there’s a connection, check out this video from SkratchTV of Jordan Spieth.

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Dec 18, 2015 | 11:14 am

Play More, Pay Less

If you like to save money on tee times—and who doesn’t—check out Digital Golf Pass, a six-month-old discount membership plan that will soon offer more than 5,000 deals at 1,900 courses in 20 states. The pass, which costs $45 to $60 a year, gives golfers the chance to receive discounts on tee times, merchandise, range balls, food and drink, even lessons, and extends to off-site golf stores like Golfsmith. Unlike most other tee-time services, which limit sign-ups to a single foursome, DGP allows deals for as many as a dozen members at a time. When the new states come on line by Spring 2016, discounts will be available in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, Minnesota, South and North Dakota, Tennessee, Iowa, Georgia, and Texas. DGP has grown quickly thanks to relationships with PGA Sections and state golf associations; in return, a significant portion of DGP revenues are returned to the regional golf associations to support local, grow-the-game initiatives. And as to the photograph above, that’s GMPL, the DGP mascot: GMPL stands for Golf More, Pay Less. Good idea.

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