Pebble Beach

Jul 23, 2015 | 07:32 am

Golf = : )

We always knew that playing a round of golf made us happier. Now there's science to back it up. According to an interesting new Stanford University study, a walk in nature can improve our mental health. A number of studies have shown that city dwelllers who don't regularly visit parks are at a higher risk for increased mental illness like depression and anxiety. But just how a walk in nature improves our disposition from a neurological point of view intrigued Gregory Bratman, a graduate student at Stanford who's been studying the psychological effects of urban living. He and his team decided to see what a walk might have on a person's tendency to brood, which is defined as morbid rumination where we just can't stop thinking about what's wrong with our lives. After doing brain scans of the area strongly assoicated with rumination and determining normal levels of morbid rumination through a questionnaire of 38 people, they had 19 volunteers walk through a leafy section of campus and the other 19 walk a busy, four-lane highway in Palo Alto. Bratman then repeated the scans and questionnaires. The volunteers who took the natural stroll showed slight but measureable improvements in their mental health and weren't dwelling on the negative aspects of their life as much. These results "strongly suggest that getting out into natural environments" could be an easy and almost immediate way to improve moods for city dwellers, Bratman told The New York Times. So for your own mental health, go play golf!

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Jul 22, 2015 | 12:19 pm

Dye Hard

With Harbour Town and Long Cove, Pete Dye's name is closely linked with Hilton Head Island, but there's another Dye course just off island that is every bit the equal but flies a lot more under the radar: his namesake course at Colleton River Plantation Club. Dye fans can get their first look at the course this Friday and Saturday from 2–4pm when Fox Sports 1 broadcasts the quarterfinal, semifinal, and championship rounds of the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. The beguiling design is a tale of two nines: The front nine winds through gnarly live oaks, while the back is completely open and features beautiful views of Port Royal Sound, as well as a fair amount of wind. Set up at 7,366 yards, it's the second longest layout in U.S. Junior Amateur history (Martis Camp Club high in the Sierras near Lake Tahoe was the longest at 7,740 yards two years ago). The scoring average during the first two rounds of stroke play at Colleton was 75.84, making for a difficult exam for the high schoolers. School is back in sesssion a little early, apparently.

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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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