The Local Knowlege

My Usual Game

Better golf, in Fizzies form

I played football in junior high school and for a little while in high school, in the late 1960s and very early 1970s. We had two-a-day practices each August, before school began. This was in Kansas City, where summertime temperatures occasionally reached a hundred degrees, and the humidity was so high that the air felt like a swimmable liquid, and the droning of cicadas gave the heat an aural dimension. 

My school’s locker room had a salt-tablet dispenser. We were encouraged to help ourselves before practice but weren’t supposed to drink much water, which was said to cause cramps.
Taped to the wall near the salt dispenser was a large photograph, labeled “Johnny Condition,” of someone throwing up into a toilet -- probably a water guzzler. There was a drinking fountain behind home plate on the baseball diamond; we were allowed to visit it once or twice each morning and afternoon, but were encouraged not to swallow. Then, midway through a practice one day in 1970, our coaches gave us each a paper cup containing an orange liquid, which they had produced by stirring powder into a big plastic tub. The powder had been invented by scientists at the University of Florida, and the liquid was called Gatorade. It was the dawning of the Age of Hydration. 

Nowadays, of course, there are people who won't attend a thirty-minute office meeting without a big bottle of something to sip on. But overdoing it is undoubtedly healthier than underdoing it. And I’ve observed, over the course of many summers, that not drinking enough water on a hot day has a major impact, late in a round, on my ability to swing a golf club. Drinking water also gives me something soothingly self-distracting to do while my opponent dithers over a shot in a tense match.

The problem with Gatorade and other sports drinks is that they’re loaded with sugars or artificial sweeteners, and if you drink them like water they’re also expensive. Recently, I’ve discovered an excellent workaround: “Active Hydration” tablets made by a company called Nuun. 
They contain the good stuff in sports drinks, including electrolytes (whatever those are) and various other things, and they don’t contain sugar. They come in plastic tubes, which you can safely keep in your golf bag, and when you drop one of the tablets into your water bottle it fizzes. Do you hear me? It fizzes.

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Gear & Equipment

David Edel rethinks weighting in putters with his E-Series line

Puttermaker David Edel believes traditional putters can make the golfer work too hard to control the way the face rotates open or closed. He thinks unlike traditional face-balanced or toe-down designs, the best weighting places the putterhead in a toe-up position, what he calls "torque balanced."

loop-E-1-Iso-Cavity-518.jpgHis new Torque Balanced E-Series putters feature a cavity in the sole's toe. "It eliminates a lot of the hidden element of face rotation that people suffer with," Edel says. "Whether you're a straight-back, straight-through putter or an arc putter, the face on this putter mimics the path."

loop-E-1-Bottom-Face-518.jpgThe E-Series ($295) includes mallet (shown), back-radiused blade and parallel-backed blade designs. A weight screw in the heel allows for three possible head weights (359, 365 and 374 grams).

Interested in more stories on equipment? Signup to receive Golf Digestix, a weekly digital magazine that offers the latest news, new product introductions and behind-the-scenes looks at all things equipment.


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News & Tours

Missing Links: Rory McIlroy a marked man, and ‘hurrah...for the doughty members’ of Royal and Ancient Golf Club

Stories of interest you might have missed...

Is stopping Rory McIlroy the key to the U.S. hopes in the Ryder Cup? Some think so, including, possibly, U.S. captain Tom Watson. “Rory McIlroy knows he will be the man with a target on his back at the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles next week… and he can’t wait,” Derek Lawrenson of the Daily Mail writes. “The world number one was responding to American captain Tom Watson’s comments that he wants his team to ‘take down the top dogs,’ a reference to McIlroy and Ian Poulter.”

(Getty Images photo)

Missing the cut at the Wales Open a week before can’t be a good sigh for a Ryder Cup rookie, yet Stephen Gallacher apparently is not bothered by it. “I will be positive the moment I step on Gleneagles turf,” the Daily Record’s Euan McLean reports. “I don’t think you need to get up for that. That’s what I’ve been looking forward to. I’ve done my preparation for it already. Now I just want to get up there and get involved.”

“Hurrah then, for the doughty members [of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club], who voted by an overwhelming majority of 85 per cent to end the men-only rule,” Rowan Pelling writes in the Telegraph. “I like to think that they weren’t just acting under pressure from the Open’s sponsors, but that they found the right answer to: “Hmm, who would I rather sit next to - Justin Rose, Colin Montgomorie, or La Stupenda, Clare Balding?”

“Detroit was good; Valderrama was great,” Lee Westwood said in this Scotsman story on Westwood’s passion for the Ryder Cup. “At that time, I was 24-years-old and I am sat in a room with Bernhard Langer, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo - all my heroes I had watched growing up - and they are jumping about like schoolboys because they had won the Ryder Cup.”

Blayne Barber heretofore has been known for being disqualified from tournaments, notably when he disqualified himself from the second stage of PGA Tour qualifying in 2012 for having assessed himself only a one-stroke penalty for a violation that called for a two-stroke penalty. Now, he’s on the verge of joining the PGA Tour. Gary Smits of the Florida Times-Union has the story.

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Marriott is offering college students discounted green fees

College students don't have much income but do have plenty of expenses: tuition, books, food, beverages, etc. Paying fat green fees can be a budget-buster.

loop-marriott-camelback-518.jpgScottsdale's JW Marriott Camelback G.C. (13th hole at the Ambiente Course, shown) is among the courss offering discounted rates to college students. (Lonna Tucker)

Marriott's College Links program is designed to give students a break. The program allows college students to play at the nearly two dozen participating Marriott Golf properties nationwide from now through June 1, 2015.

Students showing their college ID after 3 p.m. will be charged a discounted twilight rate ($29-$69) plus a twilight voucher for a future round.

Go to for the complete list of participating courses.

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Ryder Cup

Predict the final score of the Ryder Cup, win a Cleveland Wedge

The Ryder Cup is famous -- or infamous -- for all the swag handed out to players, captains and other assorted dignitaries. Now it's time for you to get in on the act. The way for you to get your hands on one of these Ryder Cup Edition Cleveland wedges is by predicting who's going to win the Ryder Cup and by how much. But before you start throwing out random numbers, take a look at the stats Cleveland compiled…usclevelandwedge.jpg
The guys at Cleveland predict that 65 percent of shots hit will be from 125 yards and in.
Next, they analyzed each player's stats for putting from 3-5', strokes gained putting, scrambling, sand save, greens in regulation within 125 yards, and approach distance from 100-125 yards. They took all these numbers, and averaged the U.S. team members' scores and European scores separately. From these numbers, the American team has a solid advantage.

Here's where you come in: Look at the graphic that illustrates the breakdown of stats, and calculate what the final score of the Ryder Cup will be.  
You can enter on social media by using the hashtag #Score4theCup, or you can enter online at All of the correct answers will be entered to win a 588 Forged RTG with Rotex face wedge, styled for either the US or Euro Team.


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

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. Adrian Peterson: Another week, another controversy/crime involving an NFL star. This time, Adrian Peterson -- one of football's all-time great running backs -- was indicted on child abuse charges. And just like that, his prolific career with the Minnesota Vikings is probably over. Good.

2. The Ryder Cup: It's almost here! Next week, 12 of the best American golfers will take on 12 of the best European golfers at Gleneagles Golf Club in Scotland. Although, by the way the event has been built up, you'd think America was sending over a bunch of 12-handicappers. Yes, the U.S. will be a decided underdog, but let's not forget what happened in 2008. The U.S. actually won one of these things. And it did it with guys like Boo Weekley, J.B. Holmes, Chad Campbell and Ben Curtis.

Related: NFL stars who love to play golf

3. Anthony Kim: Speaking of U.S. Ryder Cup glory, this guy was a big star at Valhalla in 2008. Now we don't know when he'll return to competitive golf, although we're told he might be better off -- at least, financially -- if he doesn't. Alan Shipnuck's Sports Illustrated story highlighted a hefty insurance policy Kim could cash in on if the injuries he's sustained are determined to be career ending. Most people retire to play more golf. Kim might do the opposite. What a conundrum!


4. America's Got Talent: I've never watched this popular show (maybe Tom Watson could have found another captain's pick on it), but I managed to hear two pieces of news from it. 1.) co-host Nick Cannon wore diamond-covered shoes in the finale that reportedly cost $2 million. Sensible! And 2.), Mat Franco, a magician, was named the winner for his array of tricks. I bring this up because it reminds me of Will Arnett's character in "Arrested Development," GOB Bluth, who was constantly looking for respect for his tricks, sorry, "ILLUSIONS."

Related: Rory and Jagermeister: An unauthorized history

5. Billy Horschel: Perhaps, Horschel will play in $2 million pants the next time we see him after collecting his FedEx Cup windfall of $13.5 million in the span of three weeks. And two days after his win at the Tour Championship, his wife gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Skylar. Has anyone ever had a better week in golf history? Billy, hold onto the money and save it to hire GOB Bluth as a magician for Skylar's third birthday party.

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News & Tours

Amanda Dufner is a lot more popular on Google than Jason Dufner

It's a shame the Dufners aren't going to be at the Ryder Cup (Jason Dufner would have qualified, but was forced out through injury), because its been a good few years for them both. Jason captured his first major -- the 2013 PGA Championship -- made his first Presidents and Ryder Cup teams, and, of course, he was featured on the cover of Golf Digest.

There's no denying Jason Dufner has become one of the stars of the game, which has also helped boost the popularity of his wife, Amanda. How much, you ask? So much that people actually search for stuff on Google about Amanda more often than they do about Jason. Google ranks search volume on a scale of 0-100, and as you can see from the charts below, Amanda's ranking is off-the-charts compared to her husband's. I wonder why? 


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Health & Fitness

Fitness Friday: Get wide and stay wide

fitness-friday-josh-zander-large.jpgThe width of your swing at impact is probably the single-biggest determinant of whether you'll hit the ball solidly on the clubface. If it's nearly identical to the width of the swing arc you started with at address, there's a good chance you'll powder the ball. Many golf instructors will tell you that failing to maintain the width of your swing comes from poor mechanics, such as the instinctive notion to try and help the ball in the air with a bending of the arms through impact.

Actually, in many cases, it's the result of poor shoulder mobility. This ball-and-socket joint, and the muscles that surround it, play a huge role in swinging the club correctly. Poor flexibility forces many golfers to let their arms collapse at the top of the backswing or let the left elbow jut toward the target during the through-swing. How do you know if you have good mobility? Dr. Greg Rose and Dave Phillips of the Titleist Performance Institute (@mytpi) demonstrate a test you can do to check both your shoulder mobility and your scapular stability (we'll save that discussion for another week). Check out their 90-90 test here.

If you find that your shoulders are holding you back, click on the video below for two exercises, and a pre-round warm-up move that can help.

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.

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Lifestyle Looper: 3 simple ways to look thinner without losing weight

In a perfect world we would all eat healthier and exercise more. But the world isn't exactly perfect, and the stresses of daily life mixed with the ebb and flow of your social schedule can make getting down to your fighting physique challenging to say the least. (Plus, how many of us are actually built like Adam Scott anyway?) Whether you're trying to drop a few LBs or just look your best with what you've got, how you dress can have a major impact on the guy you see in the mirror no matter what the scale says.

Angel Cabrera looks a lot more like most of the guys I see on the weekend-warrior tours than Adam Scott. During the 2014 season, Cabrera's weight fluctuated five to 10 pounds, but he looked better than in years past thanks to some simple style choices.

Angel Cabrera Summer 2013


Throughout his summer swing in 2013, Cabrera rocked some typical tour pro looks: a solid polo, white belt and a pleated trouser.

Angel Cabrera Summer 2014

By 2014 a few minor fit and fabric adjustments made for quite the dapper Duck …

1. Shorten The Sleeves -- A slightly slimmer and shorter sleeve on even the most classic cuts makes for a more modern look and adds shape to the torso.


2. Ditch The White Belt -- A white belt with a dark shirt and trouser bisects your body and attracts attention to your midsection. No matter what color your strap is, make sure to match it to your shirt and/or your trousers to smooth out a longer, leaner look.


3. Pass on the Pleats -- Here's an area where Cabrera can still improve. Those pleats just add fabric around his waist and legs that make him look bigger than he is. 


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Not even Peyton Manning is allowed to play from the tips at St. Andrews

NFL superstar Peyton Manning's umpteenth interview with NFL reporter Peter King actually produced a brand new nugget of information -- even if it had nothing to do with football. King asked Manning "What's the best round of golf in your life?" and got this response:

Related: NFL stars who love playing football

"I shot even par, 72, at St. Andrews. Me, Cooper and Eli, and my dad went three summers ago. But, we were playing from the 'up' tees -- because they made you. They get so much play. Everybody wants to go and play where the pros play. They'd be six-hour rounds. So they say, 'Hey, this is where you're playing.' It's probably 6,400 yards. Not a long course at all. I like to say that even if I was all the way back there, I had it dialed in that day. So it was fun. Obviously, that's my favorite golf foursome of all time."

Perhaps the greatest quarterback in history playing golf's most historic course? Pretty cool. And pretty crazy that even Manning, whose golf resume also includes a 77 at Augusta National and two holes-in-one, wasn't allowed to play from the set of tees he wanted. Although, we're not sure if the leader of the Denver Broncos put up much of a fight at a place that's known for running a pretty tight ship.


Among the "10 things you need to know if you are playing the Old Course" listed on the course's website are the requirement that golfers bring their official handicap certificate and that fairway mats -- mats that you bring with you to hit balls off of in the fairway and rough -- are to be used from November to March. Even the use of pull carts is limited to help maintain the course's condition.

Related: How Peyton Manning and Tom Brady stack up on the golf course

So, sorry, Peyton. Apparently, not even football's first family is above the law at the "Home of Golf."

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