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Feb 16, 2015 | 10:27 AM

Coke Is It

If you need an excuse for a failing golf game, blame coke. Not cocaine, but cola, soda, pop. Irishman Peter Lawrie (above), a European Tour player since the late ‘90s, says that giving up Coca-Cola was responsible for his game losing its fizz. According to numerous reports, Lawrie—who fell from around 160th in golf’s world rankings two years ago to 726th this week—realized that he was drinking too much soda and when he gave it up, his golf suffered. “I was addicted to it and I tried to stop it,” Lawrie told a golf show in Ireland. When he started working out in 2013, going cold turkey affected him dramatically. “I went from such a high on sugar to a dramatic low. And I never recovered from it… I lost all confidence in myself… It was just very difficult to deal with all of the situations that were coming at me.” Lawrie said Coke is back in his diet, but a few cans a day rather than liters, and his game seems to be coming back, as well. Last week, a T16 in the Maybank Malaysian Open was his best finish since June 2013. Perhaps things go better with Coke after all.

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Feb 13, 2015 | 10:10 AM

Putting On The Prairie

An old golf idea is getting new life: putting courses. The most famous is the Himalayas in St. Andrews, Scotland, in operation since the 1860s and costing only a few pounds to play today. A number of American clubs have built their own putting paradises, which are good for both practice and fun. Bandon Dunes had architects Tom Doak and Jim Urbina lay out the 100,000-square-foot Punchbowl that takes about an hour to roll all 18 holes. Now The Prairie Club in north-central Nebraska is constructing a 12-hole putting playground, called “The Old Wagon” in honor of a pioneer-era wagon trail that ran through the property, along the rim of Snake River Canyon. (The photo shows the some of the terrain the course will be routed over.) This is the latest innovation at the semi-private Prairie Club, which along with two dramatic 18-hole courses has a 10-hole par-three layout called “Horse Course,” designed by Gil Hanse, that because it has no set tee boxes, is as challenging as the golfer’s imagination allows. More than just great fun for experienced players, such shorter, less time-intense options could help introduce the game to the uninitiated. Good idea, good business, good fun.

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Feb 12, 2015 | 03:24 PM

Millennial Network

To reach young fans, the PGA Tour has begun a joint venture with Bedrocket, a digital entertainment company, to create an online network called Skratch TV, The New York Times is reporting. The goal is to capture the tour and its stars—particularly younger ones like Rickie Fowler, in short, sharable ways, like the one above. “We’ve had a healthy anxiety that we weren’t going to reach this generation with our traditional platforms,” Rick Anderson, the tour’s executive vice president for global media, told . “If we’re not producing content and putting our sport out there on platforms in ways that they’ll consume it, are we going to miss them?” The site will launch in a few months.

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Feb 11, 2015 | 02:04 PM

Up the Creek

The Great Recession may be over but the shakeout of private clubs continues to reverberate. One of South Carolina’s nicest clubs, The Golf Club at Briar’s Creek near Kiawah south of Charleston, filed for bankruptcy yesterday. The club listed assets of $1.56 million and liabilities of $37 million, though that doesn’t include unsold home sites and the Rees Jones-designed course, which Golf Digest named “Best New Private Course” when it opened in 2002. Briar's may be up the creek, but there's a paddle on the way as a group led by founding member and Houston Texans owner Robert McNair is seeking to buy the assets for $11.3 million. McNair said in a statement that Briar’s Creek “is a business and sometimes in order to be successful, a business must reset.” If the sale is approved, members will get back just a fraction of their six-figure initiation fees but will be offered memberships in the new club.

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