Apr 25, 2013 | 08:40 PM

The New In Golf News

This week, the “world’s fastest-growing television network”—known as Golf Channel—unveiled a slick new studio as part of an expansion that has seen its headquarters triple in size. By contrast, Time Inc. recently decided to “spin off” its magazine division, which includes Golf Magazine and Sports Illustrated, after talks with potential buyer Meredith broke down. The number of traditional, ink-on-paper golf books published annually has dwindled steadily in the past few years, but new golf apps seem to appear every week. Only a handful of newspapers continued to provide dedicated golf coverage, but there's no shortage of golf news websites and blogs. And while actual golf participation continues its two decades of doldrums, TV golf viewership is setting records and virtual golf is booming as evidenced by record sales of Tiger Woods’s latest video game. The times they are a changin'.

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Apr 24, 2013 | 06:02 AM

Sky High

An exclusive mountain retreat in the Italian Alps, a region renowned for its alpine skiing and technical climbing, has opened a private golf club at an altitude of 1,200 meters. Nicknamed "A green in heaven," the course—laid out by Ron Kirby, who worked with Dick Wilson and Robert Trent Jones Sr. early in his career—sits high in the Dolomite Mountains beside San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge, a converted 16th-century hunting lodge. Given the severity of the steeply sloped site in the Pusteria Valley, Kirby incorporated a flat helipad area in his design. The course has nine flag positions and six tees, with three flags of different colors positioned on the green. The green itself is a replica of the Valley of Sin found on the 18th hole of the Old Course at St. Andrews.

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Apr 23, 2013 | 08:08 AM

Carrying a Lot of Baggage

Ever wonder how PGA Tour pros get all their clubs and clothes—not to mention strollers and cribs—to the next stop? It’s just not practical to check it all if they’re traveling commercial, or fit it all on a private jet, most of which are pretty small. That’s where Steve and Mary Hulka come in. Here they are in Hilton Head Sunday evening (Steve’s in the brown shirt, Mary’s in green) as Brian Davis (blue shirt) was dropping off his things. They were putting the final pieces in their 28-foot trailer before driving it to this week’s tour stop in New Orleans. Hulka, who started as a caddie on tour and still caddies part time, started the business after 9/11 when it became much more arduous to travel through airports, especially with a lot of luggage. His wife, Mary, joined him six years ago when the last of their three children left home. They call it Hulka’s Overland Players Express (H.O.P.E.) and they log about 45,000 miles a year in a one-ton Chevrolet Silverado pickup with the trailer attached, typically driving through the night on Sunday.

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Apr 22, 2013 | 06:28 AM

They Drive By Night

It’s no secret that the South Carolina lowcountry is a hotbed for golf, with lots of courses and an easy-going lifestyle that attracts vacationers and retirees who want to drive the ball all day and relax at night. Now it seems locals want to drive at night, as well. Not lighted golf courses (although we wouldn’t put it past them), but permission to drive personal golf carts on local streets after dark. South Carolina’s legislature is studying a bill, sponsored by the representative from Bluffton, near Hilton Head Island, that would allow carts with headlights and rear lights to travel on roads with a speed limit of 35mph or less. According to the Island Packet newspaper, a bill was passed last fall that allows carts to drive up to four miles from home—doubling the previous range—but a night-driving provision didn’t make it. So local residents launched a call-in campaign and it’s getting another shot. By the end of the year, the legislature should decide if it’s a bright idea or dim thinking.

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