Mar 04, 2014 | 10:32 AM

Schnitzel And Tee

Austria, heretofore best known for Mozart, strudel, and waltzes, now has a new distinction—an all-weather golf course. Near Graz, the nation’s second largest city, a club called Modern Golf has opened a nine-hole course with all-synthetic greens and tees along with a training center with 36 heated and covered tees, two covered bunkers, and covered pitching and putting greens. Four of the holes are also floodlit for evening play. The course was installed by Huxley Golf, a UK firm that produces highly authentic synthetic surfaces for practice mats and pathways, but this is their biggest project to date. Given the growing depletion of water resources and the ever-rising costs of maintenance, who knows, this could be the future. Meantime Austria’s Modern Golfers have a place to play and practice all year-round—or at least until the next major snowstorm.

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Mar 03, 2014 | 11:23 AM

Ryder Return, And Return, And Return…

The last time the U.S. side won the Ryder Cup was in 2008 at Valhalla Golf Club near Louisville, Kentucky, a club owned by the PGA of America, which conducts the Cup Matches when they’re on this side of the Atlantic. Keeping that fact in mind, maybe it wasn’t too strange that PGA of America President Ted Bishop, talking to the Louisville Rotary Club last week, hypothesized bringing the matches back to Valhalla every four years rather than switching venues. The obvious comparison is Augusta National and The Masters, both of which have benefitted from the public’s familiarity with the course. (Although we’re certainly not the first to say that Valhalla is no Augusta.) Yes, there are advantages to establishing a permanent infrastructure for conducting the tournament. “Think what you could do here if you knew they were going to play the Ryder Cup here every four years,” Bishop was quoted by the Louisville Courier-Journal. And advantages to the club: “Look at the ability to take the Valhalla membership and expand it to an international membership and how exciting that might be.” But note that the PGA Championship is returning to Valhalla this coming August and Bishop didn’t talk about bringing that annual event back every year. Bishop labeled a Valhalla annuity “out of the box” thinking; the rest of the golf world probably just thinks he is out of his mind.

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Feb 28, 2014 | 10:52 AM

Big Cheeses In Cheese Country

The Midwest might be blanketed by snow and buffeted by freezing winds, but a brutal winter isn’t stopping plans for new golf courses, especially in Wisconsin. A few months back, we reported here in The Buzz that Mike Keiser, who developed Bandon Dunes, is working on a new resort called Sand Valley, near Wisconsin Rapids in the middle of the state, with a first course designed by Coore/Crenshaw. Now—possibly in reaction to Keiser’s project—there’s talk of a new Pete Dye track for Herb Kohler's American Club, which already has four Dye creations. According to Golf Channel,  the 88-year-old Dye is looking at land that “Herb’s been sitting on” for a number of years, not far from Whistling Straits (above). “There would be four holes along Lake Michigan,” Dye said. “I wish I could have more along the water. That’s always the case.” Nothing like dueling millionaires to keep the golf-construction business humming.

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Feb 27, 2014 | 10:40 AM

Seve's Florida Shot

On the final day of the 1983 Ryder Cup at PGA National Resort & Spa in Florida, Seve Ballesteros created one of the shots on which his legend was built. Tied in his match with Fuzzy Zoeller, the Spaniard faced a 245-yard bunker shot on the 18th hole (above) after two poor strokes. Using a 3-wood, he cleared the lip of the bunker and carved a draw over a lake and onto the green before making the par to halve the match. Jack Nicklaus, who captained the victorious U.S. team, later called it the greatest shot he had ever seen. Maybe because it was the first match of a highly competitive final day, but there appears to be no way to see a replay of it. Other than some still photos in a rather ominous sounding and grammatically incorrect YouTube video, there's no live recording of the shot. Unless you have it tucked away somewhere. Then send it in for the world to see. 

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