Mar 20, 2015 | 06:19 am

Train Like The Pros

Tour pros are spending serious time in the gym and with personal trainers in their endless quest to improve. One of the top providers they turn to is EXOS Athletes Performance Institute, which has partnered with Troon Golf, the course-management company, to offer three days of elite training to amateur golfers at their facilities in Phoenix. After an in-depth evaluation that covers movement, flexibility, risk of injury, and other body issues, each participant undergoes a high-tech swing and body-motion analysis. That’s followed by working with EXOS trainers and golf instructors led by Tim Mahoney, a top 100 teacher and director of education for Troon Golf, who says the EXOS Golf Experience “provides a different way of working out with an emphasis on muscles involved in golf-related movements.” When finished, each golfer receives a customized plan for exercise and improvement; the program also includes physical therapy, culinary and nutrition services, and a round at Troon North Golf Club. The next session is April 24-26, with other dates throughout the year. The price is $4,995 per person; special rates at the outstanding Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North are available for participants. For more information, check out the EXOS website or email them at

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Mar 19, 2015 | 09:23 am

Masters Odds

It's exactly three weeks till the first round of the Masters, so it's a good time to take stock of who has the best chances at Augusta. in the UK lists all the major gaming companies and, no surprise, Rory McIlroy is the clear favorite, with odds ranging from 7/2 to 11/2. Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, and Dustin Johnson round out the top five at roughly 11 to 16-1. Other notables include Adam Scott at 16-1, Phil Mickelson 25-1, and Rickie Fowler 28-1. Tiger Woods? He's at 45-1, although Las Vegas books have him as high as 50-1. Here's a bet you could have made a lot of money on: Woods not winning another green jacket in the next ten years after his last victory in 2005.

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Mar 18, 2015 | 12:55 pm

R.I.P. Jim Finegan

LINKS was very sorry to hear about the passing last week of author Jim Finegan, who contributed many eloquent pieces to our pages over the years, mostly on courses in Scotland and Ireland. He was 85. Finegan, who grew up and lived in Philadelphia, also wrote a number of beautiful travel books—all on a typewriter—on the UK and Ireland, including Emerald Fairways and Foam Flecked Seas, Blasted Heaths and Blessed Greens, and All Courses Great and Small. "No one loved the game and its myriad pleasures more than Jim, or knew better how to describe the joy golf can bring," says LINKS editor George Peper. "And he was a fine player, despite being slight of build with self-described "wrists the size of a sixth-grade girl's." I recall watching him shoot 79 at Pine Valley, never having hit a shot of more than 200 yards. Jim never adapted to the computer but that was a blessing to all of us who had the frequent pleasure of chatting with him on the phone. I will miss those chats very much."

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Mar 17, 2015 | 10:25 am

Irish Eyes are Smiling

It's St. Paddy's Day and surely the golf fans of the Emerald Isle have ample reason for celebration. During the past year they've seen their beloved Royal Portrush restored to the Open Championship rotation, Rory McIlroy become the dominant world number one player, Darren Clarke chosen as captain of the 2016 Europen Ryder Cup Team, and just this month Padraig Harrington return to the winner's circle on the PGA Tour. Slainte!

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