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News & Tours

The golf ball that Rory McIlroy threw into the crowd at the British Open is for sale

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

You know that ball? The one Rory McIlroy threw into the 72nd hole crowd seconds after winning the 2014 British Open -- what ever happened to it?

Well, it was caught by Leeds, England resident Lee Horner, who kept it for a few days before Green Jacket Auctions -- the same company that sold a set of Ben Hogan's clubs from 1953 earlier this year -- tracked him down and acquired the ball for an undisclosed sum. Green Jacket Auctions documented Rory's custom Nike RZN Black "Rors" ball and then quickly put it up for auction.

Bidding started last Wednesday and is slated to end on August 9th. By the start of the day on Monday, 13 bids had been lodged on the site, the highest standing at $2,852.

"Memorabilia like this is usually lost forever," Ryan Carey, one of the co-founders of the site, said, "so we're very excited that we quickly tracked down the guy who caught it."

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Gear & Equipment

Winner's Bag: What Tim Clark used to win the RBC Canadian Open

By E. Michael Johnson

loop-tim-clark-celebration-290.jpgThere was something apropos about the pictures of Tim Clark fist-pumping in celebration Sunday at Royal Montreal G.C. In his other hand was the club that the new winner of the RBC Canadian Open has become most associated with: an Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball Long putter.

Clark has used a long putter since his days playing college golf at N.C. State in the 1990s. The South African was among the more vocal players arguing to keep the USGA and R&A from outlawing the anchored stroke when the governing bodies proposed the rule change in 2012. The 38-year-old uses the long putter out of what he says is necessity; a congenital problem with his arms prevents him from supinating his wrists and causes discomfort while using a short putter.

With the anchoring ban having been approved and set to be implemented in January 2016, several players who use belly or long putters have begun to experiment with other shorter models. Clark, however, is among a dozen or so players who remain anchoring holdouts.

Here are the rest of the clubs and ball Clark played in picking up his second PGA Tour title.

Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Driver: Titleist 913D3 (Accra M4 55), 9.5 degrees
4-wood: Titleist 913Fd, 18 degrees
5-wood: Callaway Steelhead Plus, 18 degrees
Hybrid:
TaylorMade Rescue FW Dual, 19 degrees
Irons (4-9): Titleist CB; (PW): Titleist Vokey SM4
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM4 (56 degrees); Titleist Vokey SM5 (60 degrees0
Putter: Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball Long

Photo: Getty Images

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How He Hit That

How He Hit That: Tim Clark's precision short irons

By Matthew Rudy

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Tim Clark is never going to overpower a golf course. 

In fact, he's next to last out of all the players measured for driving distance on the PGA Tour in 2014, at just under 270 yards per tee shot. 

So if Clark is going to contend, he has to make the most of of his opportunities when he has short irons in his hand. He did that in Montreal, finishing with five birdies on the back nine Sunday to steal the RBC Canadian Open from Jim Furyk by a shot. 

The 12th hole, a 570-yard par-5, was a two-shot hole for a lot of players in the field. Clark hit his tee shot 260 yards, then laid up to 91 yards. From there, he hit his sand wedge to five feet to set up the birdie that would pull him within two shots of Furyk. 

"Tim Clark knows there's a premium on hitting very accurate short iron shots for him," says 2012 New York Metropolitan PGA Section Teacher of the Year Michael Jacobs. "He hits more downward with his wedges than any of his other clubs, and you can see by his setup that he understands this downward strike will skew the path of his club to the right of his initial aim. He sets up well left of the target."

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Jacobs uses GEARS three-dimensional imaging software to show exactly what Clark--and any amateur who comes to his X Golf School at Rock Hill Country Club on Long Island--does with his body during the swing. 

"His initial aim and downswing control the path of the clubhead, but the unwinding of Tim's body during the downswing keeps him from prematurely closing the clubface and spoiling the shot with a miss to the left," says Jacobs. "He actually starts shifting towards his left foot late in the backswing, and then uses the ground to help open his hips and shoulders well ahead of the strike." 

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The result? Clark is third on tour in greens hit from 75 to 100 yards, at just under 92 percent, and his average proximity from the hole on those shots is 14 feet.  

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Gear & Equipment

Nike's Lunar Adapt shoes will have women wanting to wear them off the course

By Keely Levins

Nike has added the athletic, spikeless Lunar Adapt to its women’s golf shoe line. The two-tone, waffle-pattern bottom is designed to keep your feet close to the ground to help maintain traction. The emphasis is on comfort and the idea that golfers like the flexibility of wearing their shoes on and off the course.

loop-nike-lunar-adapt-518.jpgThe shoe, which features lightweight cushioning on the inside midsole to absorb shock during your swing, comes in three color combos: pure platinum/hyper pink-cool gray (left), light ash/hyper grape-ivory and fuchsia force/light ash-medium ash.

The Lunar Adapt is available now at retail for $100.

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Golf & Business

What they said, what they meant: Royal & Ancient voting-statement edition

By Geoff Shackelford

loop-royal-and-ancient-clubhouse-518.jpgThe Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews issued a statement late Friday afternoon, in tribute to its infamous, late Friday acknowledgement of making design changes to the Old Course in 2012. This time, the issue was the vote on admitting members to the club, which is legally separated from the R&A, governors of golf's rules outside of North America.

Here was the statement:

"A postal ballot among members of the Club on a motion to admit women as members will be conducted prior to the announcement of the result on 18 September 2014. This replaces the vote that was previously scheduled to take place at the Club's Business Meeting on that day. By taking this decision all members can take part in this historic vote."

Our finely tuned What They Said What They Meant algorithm can handle anything, including the most tightly worded statements:

"A ballot is to be sent by mail because many of members of the Club still do not use email. The motion to admit women as members, a portion of the population we still rather unbelievably do not allow in our club. The vote will be announced on Sept. 18, 2014. Not coincidentally, that is the day Scotland votes on its independence, ensuring this embarrassing situation is tucked deep into the Empire's newspapers the next day. This postal ballot replaces the potentially disastrous vote that was previously scheduled to take place at the Club's Business Meeting on Sept. 18 and which might have only been attended by those still hoping for a big, all-things 19th century comeback. By taking this decision to all members, including those preferring the 20th century and even the handful who have faith in this new 21st century, all members can take part in this embarrassingly historic vote."

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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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July 28, 2014

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