The Local Knowlege


Make the switch to spikeless golf shoes and you might not go back

I live in Manhattan, and toting my sticks on and off subway cars and in and out of cabs has turned into a real pain in the butt. In an effort to lighten my load I bought a small Sunday carry bag and tried my best to get rid of all the excess crap I'd accumulated over the last few months in my old bag. The change helped, and after discarding a banana peel, some scuffed golf balls, five of my six divot tools and a pair of boxers (don't ask) I was on the right track.

That said, the biggest loser ended up being my shoes. Whether I knotted the laces and slung them over my 3-wood, or stuffed my two FJ classics in the side pouch, my kicks were by far the heaviest piece of equipment I was hauling.

My options:
A. Carry a separate shoe bag. That didn't seem to make any sense as I maintained the weight and lost a free hand by carrying another bag.

B. Shelf the trusty classics and add a set of spikeless shoes I could wear to, from and, of course, at the golf course.

So, I picked up a pair of FJ Contour Casuals, and I've been wearing them all over all summer! They look and feel awesome. The full-grain leather and simple suede detailing mirror the minimalist designs coming out of some big-name sneaker companies. Meanwhile, they feel just as stable as my wood-soled classics on the course. I'll even wear 'em to the office if I'm gonna try and duck out early to play nine, and no one seems to be the wiser.

These types of soft, spikeless shoes are all over the tours and have started taking over a sizeable section of the classic golf-shoe market for good reason.

Here are six sweet hybrid hook-ups to check out.

FJ Contour Casual, $115


True Linkswear True Oxford, $100

loop-True-Linkswear-True-Oxford-518.jpg Ecco Street Retro, $140


G Fore Patent Leather, $265


Kikkor Micro Print, $120


Nike Lunarlon, $100


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Deal of the Week: Fall savings at Southern California's La Costa

The weather in San Diego is ideal any time of year, but fall is especially nice. Daytime temperatures sit in the mid-70s and "drop" to the high 60s at night. It's the perfect time to enjoy a quick getaway to La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad. 


La Costa's sports pedigree is nearly unmatched. Its Champions course was the site of the PGA Tour's champions-only Mercedes Championships from 1969 to 1998, seven editions of the WGC-Match Play from 1999 to 2006 and the LPGA's Kia Classic in 2010 and 2012. Its tennis center has hosted a women's professional event since 1971. 

To celebrate the recent $10 million renovation of the Champions course, the resort is offering a variety of discounts on its popular stay-and-play packages. The $199-a-night Experience package includes a room for two and $90 in credit toward green fees or $45 in credit toward spa treatments per person. The Golf package starts at about $430 per night and includes room, breakfast, unlimited golf for two and a $50 credit toward lessons at the practice center. 

After playing the new 493-yard, par-4 14th, you might need that lesson -- if only to rebuild your shattered confidence. The same creek protects the left side of the hole off the tee and threatens your lay-up when you inevitably realize you won't get home in two. 

Book either package by Aug. 24 to get the best deal.

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News & Tours

Tiger Woods didn't think he could win a point if he played in the Ryder Cup

Tiger Woods looked like he had a bunch of fun with Rory McIlroy and Jimmy Fallon on Monday, but for all the Ryder Cup-junkies out there, the 14-time major champ did take a moment to explain why he decided to withdraw his name from consideration for Tom Watson's three captain's picks.

"Physically I just couldn't do it. I wouldn't be ready and not being ready for my teammates, for the captain, assistant captains and everyone who's involved in the event, I just wouldn't be ready and I just couldn't help the team. Every time your name's called -- and when you're on that team your name could be called five times and trust me, I've played all five sessions, some guys have played one -- but when your name's called, your name's called and you need to be able to go out there and get a point. And I just didn't feel like I could be ready enough where I could get a point, and with that being said, it was time to shut it down, get stronger and get more explosive again and get back for next year."

It's a somewhat surprising admission from Woods, who is usually pretty guarded about his health with the media. But in most people's mind, it seems he's come to the right decision for all parties.

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News & Tours

The Grind: Villegas shows his age, Lindsey shows her strength, and 2014's most unlikely champ

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we may have underestimated the excitement the week after the PGA Championship could generate. We saw an improbable run at one of the game's oldest events, a playoff at an LPGA major, history made on the Champions Tour and a crazy finish on the PGA Tour—plus two golf superstars appearing on late night TV together. In other words, we better wrap up our opening monologue and dive right in.


Camilo Villegas: A final-round 63 was good enough for a one-shot win at the Wyndham Championship as others faltered late. For Villegas, the victory ended a four-year drought. How long has it been since he won? The 32-year-old Villegas doesn't even do the Spiderman thing when reading greens anymore. I know what you're going through, Camilo. I'm 32 also.


Related: Pictures of PGA Tour wives and girlfriends

Gunn Yang: Move over, Francis Ouimet, golf has a new underdog hero. Yang, a redshirt sophomore at San Diego State who had lost his scholarship and was No. 776(!) in the world amateur golf ranking somehow won the U.S. Amateur. Just making it to match play would have been a nice accomplishment for the 20-year-old South Korean. Instead, he won six straight matches to claim one of golf's most prestigious titles and earn a spot in next year's Masters, U.S. Open and British Open. Just a guess, but he probably earned his scholarship back as well.

Inbee Park: "Winbee" was back this week in a big way, beating Brittany Lincicome in a playoff at the LPGA Championship. Park now has four majors in the past two seasons and five overall among her 11 career wins. WINBEE!

Tiger Woods: First came the announcement that he's taking himself out of consideration for a Ryder Cup captain's pick to rest. Good move for his back, his ego and for Tom Watson, who didn't need that situation hanging over his head in addition to the slim pickings he's already having to deal with. Then, Woods and Rory McIlroy appeared on "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon. Woods had a few good lines, although his tight shirt seemed to draw most of the attention.



Kevin Sutherland: How do you shoot 59 with a bogey on the last hole? How do you shoot 59 and not win a three-round tournament? These are questions Sutherland has to be asking himself after going 71-59-74 to pick up one of the oddest T-7s you'll ever see at the Dick's Sporting Goods Open. Perhaps the better question is how was this the first 59 in Champions Tour history? In any matter, Bernhard Langer wound up winning. Stop us if you've heard that before.

Brittany Lincicome: The 28-year-old American played great at the LPGA Championship, but bogeyed the 18th hole in regulation to go to a playoff and then bogeyed the hole again minutes later to finish runner-up. Lincicome hasn't won in nearly three years and her lone major remains the 2009 Kraft Nabisco. She wasn't the only golfer stumbling down the stretch, though. . .

Related: The best and worst from 2014's major championships

Greensboro heartbreaks: While Villegas celebrated, many others left Sedgefield CC in the dumps. Brad Fritsch, playing in the final group, only managed a 70 to drop to T-8 and end the regular season at No. 151 on the FedEx Cup list, meaning he has no status on the PGA Tour next season. Heath Slocum bogeyed the final two holes to blow his chance at a win and lose his tour card. Kevin Foley missed a four-footer on the last hole that dropped him to No. 201 and from the PGA Tour into the second stage of Tour Q School. You get the point. Even playing golf for a living has its rough moments.


The PGA Tour heads to New Jersey and Ridgewood CC for the Barclays and the start of golf's (sport's?) ultimate four-week money grab, the FedEx Cup.

Related: Defining moments from the PGA Championship

Random tournament fact: Here are the last 10 winners of this event: Vijay Singh (twice), Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington, Steve Stricker, Heath Slocum, Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Nick Watney and Adam Scott. Which one doesn't belong. . . ?


-- Gunn Yang will win the 2015 U.S. Amateur: 1 million-to-1 odds

Related: 15 signs you watch too much golf on TV

-- Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will appear on Letterman together: 1 billion-to-1 odds 

-- Someone will make a ridiculous amount of money playing golf in the next few weeks: LOCK


This is what can happen when you get hit in the head by a stray golf ball:


Try to avoid getting hit in the head by a stray golf ball.


"It looked really bright on TV, though, from my couch." -- Tiger Woods discussing Rory McIlroy's PGA Championship win with Jimmy Fallon. Woods managed to take a small jab at Rory, a bigger dig at himself and not rip through that shirt. Impressive.


More Tiger and Rory shenanigans! This time, they participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS:

Ice Bucket Challenge from Rory McIlroy on Vimeo.

What's next? A tandem bike ride?




Ted Scott took to Twitter to post these generous bonus gifts from his boss, Bubba Watson.


We'd tee up a ball for someone in the rain for a lot less than that. . .



Even a hulking Tiger has to be impressed by his girlfriend in the gym.



Steve Stricker is taking a few months off to rest a bad hip and back. Even the U.S. Ryder Cup assistants aren't safe from getting hurt! . . . Vijay Singh finished 12 shots behind at a tournament in Fiji. On a course he designed. Ouch. . . . Arnold Palmer had pacemaker implant surgery Monday to correct an abnormal heartbeat. Get better soon, Arnie! . . . Speaking of kings, I'm declaring Noodles & Company "The King of Casual Dining." I could eat there every day, and I probably would if there was one within 80 miles of where I live. Sigh.


What will Rory McIlroy's caddie get as a bonus?

Does a hole-in-one on a par-3 course count?

How much does it cost to open a Noodles & Company?

-- Alex Myers is an Associate Editor for Feel free to email him and please follow him on Twitter since he has self-esteem issues.

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News & Tours

Because they're BFFs now, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy did the Ice Bucket Challenge together

The Tiger Woods-Rory McIlroy lovefest kicked into full gear Monday, and the duo took their relationship to a new level when they did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge together.

Look we made a GIF!

And here's the full video:

It must be said: Rory may be winning more majors nowadays, but Tiger Woods owned him in the Ice Bucket Challenge. Just look at the intensity in his eyes.

In any case, Tiger nominated Phil Knight and Rafael Nadal after he completed his challenge.

Rory went a slightly different route. He nominated former President of the United States George W. Bush, soccer star Wayne Rooney and Meghan Markle, a model and actress for the show "Suits". Just in case you can't quite remember her. . .

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News & Tours

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy were on The Tonight Show, and people on Twitter thought it went pretty well

In case you missed it, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy appeared Monday on "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon, and good fun was had by all. Tiger was Jimmy's coach as he took on Rory for a game called "facebreakers." Despite a few good shots from Fallon, Rory, as you might expect, won.

All three of them also appeared together at a Nike event to launch the company's new Vapor irons. In all, everyone seemed to agree the three made a good team.

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Golf instruction

Make The Turn Challenge #23: Shift Your Perspective

One of the more confusing aspects associated with putting is green reading. The most common problem I see golfers make is significantly under-reading the break. This is always evident when I play in a scramble tournament with a few amateurs. During a scramble, the group plays collectively as a "team" from the position of the group's most favorable shot. As it relates to putting, the "team" aspect really kicks in as players strategize to find the perfect line. Without fail, the amount of break or "read" is often very minimal. I hear a lot of "right edge," "left edge" or a "cup" out. The reality is, putts break a lot more than the eyes naturally see. In fact, research has shown most golfers tend to under read putts by up to 75 percent.

I learned a lot about reading greens during my years coaching for Dave Pelz. Part of the learning process was demonstrating just how far off a person's read actually was. I always loved setting up a test putt for a big group. I'd pick a putt with about three to four feet of break and then let each individual offer their best guess. In the hundreds of times doing this exercise, I don't believe a single person ever nailed the exact break. Like the research suggests, most were at or below the 25 percent line.


Does being a lousy green reader make you a terrible putter? Not necessarily. In order to make putts, you simply have to be able to compensate to maneuver the ball to the proper line. As it turns out, some people are just better at compensating than others. During my time at the Pelz school we tested a number of tour players who didn't read greens much better than the average Joe. Still they putted pretty darn good. One player, after learning how far off he was, remembered how as a kid he would play the course early in the morning before the greens had been mowed. He said he would make putts, but would then be surprised at how the ball's track mark through the morning dew was always way higher than he had intended. I found this to be a pretty cool point that I remembered experiencing as well.

So what's the best way to improve your putting? For the majority of my clients, I start with learning how to create a quality roll that lends itself to reasonable distance control. Next is learning how to better understand the slope for a more accurate read. The final step is tuning up issues associated with direction. Why is direction last? If you're not consistently seeing the proper line, a repeatable directional pattern is of no use.

Putting will always be a combination of art, science, emotion and adjustment. As it relates to finding a better read, there are even some cool new strategies, such as "AimPoint," you might want to check out that are actively getting players more engaged with developing this vital skill.

Spend a little time trying this week's exercise and you can count your green-reading challenge as complete.

Improve Green Reading Skills
Increase Confidence
Make More Putts

Jeff Ritter is the CEO/Founder of MTT Performance. The program operates out of Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif. Follow him on Twitter at @mttgolf
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How He Hit That: Bernhard Langer's ageless swing

The testament to Bernhard Langer's dominance on the Champions Tour isn't that he has five victories this year and an almost $800,000 lead on the money list over No. 2 Colin Montgomerie. It's that his name is being inserted into the conversation as a candidate to be one of Paul McGinley's captain's picks for the European Ryder Cup that will play next month. 

The 56-year-old Langer probably won't make the team, but he still looks -- and plays -- like the guy who was a stalwart of the 1990s European squads.

At the Dick's Sporting Goods Open, Langer shot rounds of 67-67-66 to brush away Woody Austin and Mark O'Meara by a shot. It was his 24th win as a senior, and the fifth win of his 2014 season, tying his personal best for victories in a year set in 2010. Langer is on his way to winning his sixth money title in seven full years on the Champions Tour, and he's doing it by leading the tour in greens hit and converting on an average of 5.18 birdies per round -- also tops on tour. 

"The signature of Bernhard's swing is balance and coordination," says ESPN swing coach Jerome Andrews, who is based at Spring Creek Golf Club in Charlottesville, Va. "He has the club, arms and body all turning through impact together. There's not a lot to go wrong, and he's never going to hit the ball very crooked."

Add in the fact that Langer has once again solved the yips with an unconventional stroke and he's taking advantage of all the extra birdie looks he gets. 

"To be that precise, he doesn't use a lot of leg action," Andrews says. "The clubhead, shaft, hands and left arm swing together and track up an imaginary line in front of his toes to a controlled, three-quarter arm swing. The club comes back on an inside path to the target line, which gives him an ideal mix of distance, accuracy and balance."

Langer was never one of the longer hitters on the PGA Tour, but his fanatical fitness routine and efficient swing have proven to age well. He's 10th on the Champions Tour in driving distance at just under 280 yards -- almost 20 yards longer than he hit it during his regular-tour career. 

"A good start to getting some of what Langer has in your swing is to be in position from the start," Andrews says. "Get your upper body balanced on top of your lower body at address, and position your weight on the balls of your feet. If your shoulders are tilted or your weight is back on your heels, you're going to have to compensate with big body movements and lose that precision."

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News & Tours

Swedish man gets hit in the head with a golf ball. The size of the welt on his head is absolutely ginormous

We've all been there -- walking or standing peacefully on a beautiful golf course when the shrill of the word "fore" from a neighboring group sends us running frantically in the opposite direction.

But, sometimes, you just can't get out of the way in time. This man learned that the hard way, but thankfully, he looks OK (all things considering). According to, Joakim Boden was playing with a few friends when a golf ball came hurdling towards him and hit him directly on his head. "It sounded like a gun shot," he said.

Boden's friends rushed him back to the clubhouse, where he sat with ice on his head until he was given the OK to drive home by a local health clinic, according to the article. He didn't escape fully unscathed, though. Just look at the size of the welt on the poor man's forehead:

On a side note, here are some tips about how to avoid getting hit by a golf ball on the course.

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News & Tours

Missing Links: 'Will people still be interested' in golf post-Tiger? Will Euros be over-confident in Ryder Cup?

Stories of interest you might have missed...

“Let’s see if people watch it,” Paul Azinger, in this New York Post story by Brett Cyrgolis, said regarding a post-Tiger Woods era. “Tiger brought more people to the game than ever before,” Azinger said. “As that era slips away, in his absence, will people still be interested?”

Post Tiger.jpg
(Getty Images photo)

Will the European Ryder Cup team trip itself up with over-confidence, the way it did in 2008 with Nick Faldo as captain? Not likely, James Corrigan says in this story in the Telegraph. “The team of underdogs prevailed and Faldo was leashed by his lethargy...So beware Europe — do not dare be too big for your spikes. Except a few things are different this time around. [Captain Paul] McGinley is not Faldo and [Rory] McIlroy is not [Padraig] Harrington. The former is as likely to take anything for granted as the latter is to take a measly half-point from four matches.”

Next up for Rory McIlroy is the Barclays this week. “The world’s No. 1 player is bringing his surging game and meteoric profile to Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus [N.J.],” writes columnist Tara Sullivan in the Record. “For a sport in need of new faces, McIlroy is making his case as the first Woods replacement in years. He won’t ever match Woods’ mass appeal and cross­over popularity, but for the golf purist and traditional fan, he’s a very welcome sight.”

“As the final group on the final day of the final LPGA tournament scheduled for Rochester walked up the 18th fairway, the applause grew for Brittany Lincicome and Suzann Pettersen. And in these final emotional moments, nearly four decades of history and tradition seemed to be marching with them.” Leo Roth of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle writes about the end of an era, 38 years of LPGA tournaments in Rochester.

Gunn Yang’s victory in the U.S. Amateur on Sunday was this unexpected: “So steep and sudden was Yang’s rise from the depths of amateur golf he should have had at least a small nose bleed while accepting the Havemeyer Trophy Sunday evening,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Steve Hummer writes.

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