The Local Knowlege

Courses & Travel

Bandon's Mike Keiser keeps building golf courses when others are shutting them down

By Peter Finch

Like a lot of people I know, I got home from a recent trip to Oregon’s Bandon Dunes Golf Resort and immediately began dreaming about my next visit. Developer Mike Keiser has created something extraordinary, reflected not just in the accolades (it has four courses in our ranking of America’s 100 Greatest) but in the satisfied smiles you see on golfers all over the property.

One knock on Bandon is that it’s hard to reach, especially if your trip doesn’t begin in the western U.S. But Keiser has a couple of other projects in the works that, if everything goes as planned, will bring the Bandon experience to the East Coast and the Midwest. The former is the Cabot Links Resort in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, and the latter is Sand Valley in Rome, Wisc.

How can he keep building all these courses when news about the golf economy is generally so dour? The difference is the sand, he says.

“As you know, these are links golf courses built on sand and using fescue grass,” Keiser explains. “Most U.S. courses are built on dirt. People love the links courses. They always have. They’ve flooded over to Ireland and Scotland for decades, for that reason. The Wisconsin courses won’t be links because they’re not on the ocean, but they will be virtually treeless and links-like.”

Here are updates from Keiser both of these projects, as well as a third one near Bandon.

Cabot Links
 
loop cabot links.jpgKeiser bought an existing course here (pictured) and is adding a second 18, this one designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. "We're in the last two months of completion," Keiser says. "By sometime in September we'll have everything seeded, then we’ll get through the winter and as early as next August, we'll probably have limited preview play for our hotel guests." He imagines an official opening for this second course, known as Cabot Cliffs, in 2016.

For the moment, getting to Cabot Links is every bit as tough -- if not tougher -- than Bandon Dunes. You fly into Halifax, then drive three and a half hours north. But Keiser is "95 percent confident" the government will build an airport nearer to the resort, with direct flights likely from Toronto if not New York and other U.S. cities eventually.

Right now there are 48 rooms on property. Keiser is building “at least” another 24 in time for the opening.

Sand Valley

For this 1,500-acre site, set about an hour and 45 minutes north of Madison, Wis., Keiser imagines multiple courses. "We're near the final 18-hole routing" on the first, also designed by Coore and Crenshaw, Keiser says. "It will be final after a mid-August trip with Bill and Ben and my son, Michael, and me. We'll also nail down a final clubhouse site, at which point we’ll begin grading the course. Next year we’ll put in the irrigation, do the fine grading in September 2015, and by 2016 we'll have some founder play."

Founder play? Keiser rounded up 155 investors -- "friends who wanted to be part of a golf-course project" -- to help finance the development. It was a sort of Keiser Kickstarter. "They get all kinds of freebies," he explains, including a chance to play the course first.

He’s already talking about starting a second course there. "My philosophy is 1 plus 1 equals 3," he says. "One course is a curiosity, two is a destination."

Who will design the second course? "Well, it's known that I think highly of the boy genius Tom Doak and also Gil Hanse," he says. "Bill and Ben's two key guys are Dave Axland and the Canadian architect Rod Whitman (who designed Cabot Links). They work as a team. So I'd say those three are all contenders." Keiser says he expects to have an announcement about the architect by November. 

Eventually he'll build some lodging on site, but for the time being he expects guests will stay at the nearby Lake Arrowhead and Northern Bay resorts. "We want to help the existing economy," Keiser says.

Bandon Links

This is a separate project, located a few miles down the road from Bandon Dunes. It's a 36-hole municipal facility that's to be designed by Hanse. Keiser has gotten approval from the state parks department to do a land swap that will make the project viable for him, and now he’s waiting on federal Bureau of Land Management and Coos County approvals. "I estimate we'll get all that done in two years and then Gil Hanse can go to work," he says.

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Gear & Equipment

An app that can track your stats like you're on the PGA Tour

By Stephen Hennessey

The interest in stats and their application in golf is bigger than ever. Arccos -- a game-improvement app with technology developed by Callaway -- offers real-time, automatic stat-tracking on your smartphone.

loop-arccos-accessories518.jpgHere’s how it works: Tiny plugs with sensors are inserted into the butt end of each of your grips to track every stroke. That information is then sent to the app, which shows relevant stats on every club.

The app comes with 16,000 courses and uses Google Maps software. Industry veteran Tim Reed, Callaway’s senior VP of product strategy and management, has worked closely with Arccos the past two years to develop the app. It’s available for pre-order at a reduced price ($299), and at retail in August for $399.

For more: arccosgolf.com.

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Instruction

#HelpMeGolfDigest: Bob Kramer tackles fundamentals and the mental game

By Matthew Rudy

Pennsylvania instructor Bob Kramer has spent 25 years teaching a raft of top LPGA, amateur and AJGA players in metro Philadelphia. He's a two-time Philadelphia PGA section teacher of the year and has been on Golf Digest's list of top Pennsylvania instructors since 2000. This week he reviewed three hashtagged swings submitted by readers through our #HelpMeGolfDigest campaign.  

The first comes from @KinleyLee, who bills himself as a "normal hack" on Instagram. Kramer likes his action, which would improve with some adjustments to the first move back. 

"At address, your wrists are cocked upwards and arched out of line with your forearms, which causes your hands to hinge downward at the beginning of your swing," says Kramer, who is based at Bent Creek Country Club in Lancaster County, Pa. "That increases the width of your swing too much and will lead to heavy iron shots. You have to match that move with a late hinge at the top of your swing or at the beginning of the downswing, which is hard to time consistently. You obviously hit the ball well with that idiosyncrasy, but you'd be more consistent with a more easily repetitve move."


The second swing comes all the way from Finland, from 16-year-old Mikael Reijonen. A weightlifting fanatic, Mikael has a strong, technically sound swing and should focus his attention on his mental game.
 

"Mikael might not have sent in the right video, because he looks great in this one," Kramer says. "You have a rock-solid swing that should stand up in competition, if your mind will let it. I just love it. I do have a strong feeling that maybe I should be looking at your ability to go low when you play. Maybe we should be addressing your green reading, speed control or aim, or improving the control of the trajectory of your chip shots."


The last swing, from reader @kyrazzy77, shows influences from several different flavors of golf instruction.  

"I love watching swings developed with some of the more modern ideas of how a pivot or backswing should work," Kramer says. "Your swing looks like a hybrid between a centered turn and the Stack and Tilt idea. Either way, you have a good foundation, but you need to develop a setup that matches your swing style. A more forward ball position would let you be less in front of the ball at impact, and you wouldn't have to stop your body motion and release the club early. I bet you fight the occasional block or pull hook. Either move your ball forward or coil more over your rear hip so you can be more centered at impact."

Keep submitting your #HelpMeGolfDigest hashtagged videos and watch for your swing in this space in the coming weeks.

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Tenuous golf connection

Michigan man allegedly impersonates a golf pro, runs up $16,000 tab at posh resort

The concept of seeking a "comp" at a golf resort isn't a new one. Free range balls, perhaps. Or if you've got the right connections, maybe even an entire round. 

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A Michigan man recently took that to an extreme when, according to police reports, he constructed an elaborate scheme in which he secured $16,146 in "goods, services and lodging" at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in outside of Pittsburgh in Farmington, Pa. According to a story in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Jeffrey Paul Cochran of Scottsville, Mich., called Nemacolin and identified himself as Dan Renyolds, a doctor who was seeking to set up a stay for another doctor who was interviewing for a job at a local hospital. The story continues:

Cochran told Nemacolin the visiting doctor is a golf pro, and the resort made arrangements for him to stay at its Falling Rock hotel, police said. Renyolds was to pay for a house account the resort opened to accommodate the fictitious golf pro's expenses, according to the affidavit.

According to the story, Cochran stayed at the resort, which features rooms ranging from $509 to $709 a night, for 13 days, played multiple roundsand made a number of charges in the golf shop.

Pennsylvania state police charged Cochran with theft by deception and theft of services. 

There is no Jeffrey Cochran in Michigan listed in the GHIN system, so we can't say whether or not he posted some suspect scores as well.

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Gear & Equipment

A way to make sure your cellphone doesn't die on the course

By Brendan Mohler

loop-plusblue-518.jpgCellphone battery life is a problem for almost everyone, and with the ever-increasing number of apps available to tech-minded golfers, it can be all the more frustrating. PlusBlue Solutions, a Cincinnati-based startup, is trying to combat the problem with a line of customized, portable chargers for use with any USB-powered mobile device, including phones, tablets and cameras.

According to company officials, the charger ($65) works faster than a wall outlet and can give three full charges at a time for an iPhone and at least two for any Samsung Galaxy, Android, Windows or Blackberry phone/tablet. The lightweight device takes only four hours to charge itself.

Also cool: PlusBlue will etch your name or logo on the matte black aluminum case.

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Celebrity

5 things to talk about with your buddies on the course this weekend

By Alex Myers

From sports to TV to politics (OK, so mostly the first two), we offer five hot topics that are sure to liven up your round of golf:

1. Rory McIlroy: It's been a few days since his British Open win, but there's still a buzz around the 25-year-old Northern Irishman. How many majors will he end up winning? Did he really drink Jagermeister from the claret jug? How many girlfriends does he have? It's McIlroymania in golf right now. 

Related: Rory and Jagermeister: An unauthorized history

2. NFL training camps: People always make a big deal when pitchers and catchers report to spring training, but what about quarterbacks and wide receivers reporting to training camp? The start of these practices indicates the start of the actual season is about a month away. Get excited! Unlike in baseball, in the NFL your team actually has a chance to be good every year.

3. "Fifty Shades Of Grey": Has there ever been more hype for the release of a movie trailer? I haven't seen it yet, nor have I read the books, nor do I care about any of it or have I even heard of the movie's co-stars, Jamie Dornan or Dakota Johnson (below), but it doesn't matter. Having it come up in conversations seems almost unavoidable at this point.

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4. Charles Barkley: We all know he's bad at golf, but he might have reached a new low last week. Barkley competed participated embarrassed himself in the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, making a total of zero pars or birdies in 54 holes. He made five bogeys and 49 double bogeys, and before you go, "Well, he didn't make any triple bogeys, at least," know this: There were no triple bogeys in the modified Stableford format. While Tiger Woods' post-Hank Haney struggles have made the instructor look good, Haney's inability to cure the game's worst celebrity golfer leaves a blemish on his teaching resume. When you're hacking it around this weekend, just think of this scorecard and know things could be worse:

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Related: Notable NBA stars who love playing golf

5. Old golfers: We'll end with a thought that should be much more uplifting to amateur hacks all over the world: you can play great golf as a geezer. In fact, the Champions Tour should change its motto to "These OLD guys are good." Tom Watson leads this charge having recently made cuts playing with the young guys at the Greenbrier and the British Open. For the week at Hoylake, Old TW shot a final-round 68 to dust Young TW by five shots. Imagine a 50-year-old Michael Jordan being able to hang with today's NBA players? OK, bad example since MJ probably could, but you get the point. Keep playing golf -- and keep your fingers crossed that equipment keeps improving.

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News & Tours

Weird Golf News of the Week: A big green dinosaur was stolen (then returned) to a mini-golf course

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

It's been a strange week for golf news. First, a man was attacked by an alligator for a second time and wants to go back for more, and then a big green dinosaur was held for ransom.

"Ransom" might be a big strong, but according to the Springfield News-Leader, a beloved six-foot green dinosaur that lives on Fun Acre Mini Golf's sixth hole in Missouri was stolen on Wednesday. The dinosaur cost about $2,000, according to the report, and had remained at the course since 1987.

But not to worry. After a $3,000 reward went unclaimed, police found a man wandering around with the dinosaur (it matched the description, apparently), and returned the prehistoric beast to its rightful home. The police have yet to arrest the suspect, who claims he bought the dinosaur from somebody else. 

Here's a picture of the dinosaur pre-theft, courtesy of KY3:

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News & Tours

The New Yorker just unlocked its archive. Here's why that's good for golfers

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

The New Yorker announced earlier this week that it was giving the public free access on its website for all of its archived articles published since 2007. What does that have to do with golf? Well, it may not happen as much as longform articles about global politics, but the New Yorker does write about golf on occasion. And when it does, it's almost always worth reading.

So, if you have some time this weekend and fancy digging into a longer golf article from the past, here are some of our favorites you can now access through the archives:

FORE! By Larry David

Comedian Larry David confronts the fact that he isn't very good at golf -- and is strangely liberating by it.

The Ghost Course, By David Owen

Owen, a Golf Digest Contributing Editor, describes the far-flung scene he finds at Askernish Golf Club in South Uist, Scotland.

Rip Van Golfer, By John McPhee

This one might be considered slightly too long for some tastes, but McPhee travels to Oakmont for the week 

The Yips, By David Owen

Owen takes a coldly analytical look at the thing that golfers everywhere dreads the most: The yips.

Linksland and Bottle, By John McPhee

McPhee's story about the soul of St. Andrews also features a stunning photograph from Golf Digest Senior Staff Photographer Dom Furore.

Branded a Cheat, By James Surowiecki

Surowiecki runs through what made Tiger such a marketing phenomenon, and what his infidelity scandal changes means for that.

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Health & Fitness

Fitness Friday: Pure it with your pecs

By Ron Kaspriske

fitness-friday-rickie-fowler-300.jpgYou need strong and pliable chest muscles (pectoralis) in order to control the motion of a golf club, particularly as you swing your arms up to the top of the backswing and then back down and across your body during the downswing. The lowering of the arms toward the sides of your torso—known as shoulder adduction—might seem effortless since gravity does most of the work. But what isn't effortless is lowering your arms with enough speed and power to deliver a golf club into the impact zone and smash a golf ball. That's where the pecs come into play. If they are elastic enough to expand effectively at the top of the swing, and strong enough to contract powerfully as you swing down into the ball—you're going to pick up some noticeable yardage on your shots. I recently spoke with golf-and-fitness expert Joey Diovisalvi (@coachjoeyD) on this topic. The pecs are often overlooked in golf-fitness training, he says, because most people think the core muscles are more important to generating power. But the chest muscles are crucial not only for power when you swing, but also for maintaining good form. Diovisalvi, who trains a number of PGA Tour pros including Rickie Fowler (pictured) and Dustin Johnson, demonstrated a couple of great chest exercises for golfers. Click on the video below to learn how to train your pecs for golf.



Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.



(Photo by Dom Furore) ... Read
News & Tours

Thanks a lot, Jack! Nicklaus paints Watson into corner, says Tiger should "absolutely" be on Ryder Cup team


Are you ready for the ad nauseam discussion over whether Tiger Woods deserves to be on the U.S. Ryder Cup team? No? Too bad, because it's already well under way.

After Woods himself chimed in on Sunday at the British Open to say he would contribute to captain Tom Watson's team, Jack Nicklaus said on Thursday a Woods wildcard pick is essentially a no-brainer. But hey, no pressure, Tom!

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"Oh, absolutely," Nicklaus said on a conference call Thursday with reporters to promote the PGA Championship. "I couldn't imagine [Woods] not being on a Ryder Cup team, unless he does absolutely nothing in recovering from his game between now and then."

The endorsement can be parsed a bunch of different ways -- what's the definition of doing "nothing in recovering"? -- but it's clear Nicklaus believes the U.S. team is better off with Woods than without him. If Woods does not play his way onto the team in the next two weeks -- he probably needs a win in either the Bridgestone or the PGA -- he would have to rely on one of Watson's three captain's picks Sept. 2. And to hear Nicklaus put it, his old rival would be crazy to pass on the 14-time major winner.

"I don't care what he does between now and then. If Tiger wants to play, I would certainly choose him," Nicklaus said. "My guess is that Tom feels pretty much the same way. Tom would certainly like to have Tiger on his team and I think anybody in their right mind, unless he just doesn't want to play or doesn't think he could play, would not choose him."


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