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Travel

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 collegegolflinks.com 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 clevelandgolf.com. 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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Celebrity

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!

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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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Style

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

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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.

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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.

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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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Celebrity

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.

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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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News & Tours

What to take away from the Royal and Ancient vote allowing women members

The Sept. 18 announcement that the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews had approved a bylaw change allowing women to become members for the first time in the organization’s 260-year history seemed inevitable ever since news that a vote would be held surfaced six months ago.

Peter Dawson, the retiring chief executive of the R&A, had helped make possible a postal vote of the roughly 2,500 members rather than require them to be present at the annual Autumn Meeting. And instead of a two-third vote in favor of a bylaw change, all that was needed was a simple majority. As it turned out, this latter measure wasn't necessary, as the R&A revealed the bylaw passed with an 85.5-percent approval (1,581 voting yes, 268 voting no).

While certainly historic, exactly what does the Royal and Ancient's decision mean for the organization -- and golf -- moving forward? Here's are some takeaways:


Why now?
For several years external pressure on the golf's governing body outside the United States and Mexico to allow women members had grown more vocal. In turn it moved beyond merely disappointment over the unseemliness of not allowing women into the Royal and Ancient clubhouse to larger, financial implications. In January, Gil Morgan, global head of sponsorship and events for HSBC, one of the biggest corporate sponsors of the Open Championship, stated that his company was "very uneasy" with the Royal and Ancient's all-male membership policy. 

"We would like to see it solved so we don't keep talking about it," Morgan said at the time. "When you are showcasing one of the world's greatest tournaments it would be much more palatable if it were played where there was not a sense of segregation."

Meanwhile, with Augusta National G.C. having admitted its first female members in 2012, the Royal and Ancient's position seemed to lose even more credibility.

How big a factor was Dawson in this?
The timing of the membership vote and Dawson's retirement, which he announced last April and goes into effect in September 2015, are hardly coincidental. Having overseen the R&A for 16 years, Dawson had guided the organization toward becoming a more progressive operation, helping with the creation in 2004 of "the R&A" as a separate entity from the Royal & Ancient Golf Club to oversee the administrative operation of the Open Championship. Dawson (below) had seen the membership issue as the final significant hurdle in his tenure, hoping to have it be a part of his legacy as well as to have the matter put to rest when his successor takes over. 

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What does this mean practically?
While women work for the R&A and are involved in the day-to-day operation of the governing body, committee and board roles are filled by Royal and Ancient Golf Club members. Opening up the membership to females allows women to begin to take leadership roles in the organization, which previously had not been the case.

What's next?
In addition to voting on adding female members at all, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club also agreed to allow the club to let in as many as 15 to join as Ordinary Members. The timing for when specifically first female members would join is expected to be within the next few months.

Who might be among the first female members?
loop-Louise-Richardson-.jpgVarious names have been speculated, including Condoleezza Rice, Annika Sorenstam, Carol Semple Thompson and Lady Angela Bonallack (wife of former R&A secretary Sir Michael Bonallack). Louise Richardson, the principal of the University of St. Andrews, also would seem a logical choice to be among the first to join. THe last two principals (or presidents) at the school has been extended honorary membership into the Royal and Ancient, and Richardson (shown) has publicly criticized the club for not having female members

"The first women members," Dawson previously said, "are likely to have made a significant contribution to the development of our sport." 

So all clubs that host the Open Championship will now allow female members?
No. The Sept. 18 vote applied only to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. All-male memberships remain at Royal Troon, which hosts the 2016 Open, Muirfield and Royal St. George's.

Dawson has said previously that the membership practices at these clubs would not impact their status on the Open rota. However, with the Royal and Ancient having changed its stance and presumably sponsors such as HSBC still looking unfavorably toward being associated with clubs that don't have female members, this stance might potentially change. 

Isn't there some other vote going on in Scotland?
On the same day of the Royal and Ancient vote, all Scots go to the polls to decide whether Scotland should leave United Kingdom and become an independent nation. Suffice it to say, the outcome of that measure is far more unclear.

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Gear & Equipment

Mizuno touts thin faces for faster ballspeed in its JPX-850 irons

Forged irons have long been what Mizuno is known for, but its greatest sales success recently has been with flexible-face cast irons.

loop-mizuno-jpx850-cast-iron-518.jpgThe new JPX-850 is the company's next step in pursuing a distance iron in a compact shape. "This is our thinnest multi-thickness iron face ever," says David Llewellyn, Mizuno's golf R&D manager. "But we've also saved weight with the acoustic badge while maintaining our standards for feel."

Other upgrades include thinner pockets inside the topline and sole for better off-center hits.

Like all its new irons, Mizuno offers any custom steel shaft at no extra charge. The JPX-850 retails for $800.

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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Health & Fitness

5 pictures of Lee Westwood before and after he lost 23 pounds

Lee Westwood has an interesting way of preparing for the Ryder Cup. He decided to hit the gym, hard. So hard that he shed 23 pounds from his physique in six weeks. 

"I've been doing double gym sessions," he said at the Wales Open, "so I've been doing a cardio session in the morning and weight session in the morning and watching my diet."

That's not wholly unprecedented for Westwood -- he did something similar before the 2008 Ryder Cup -- but to celebrate his new figure, we thought we'd celebrate with some before and after pictures. The befores are on the left; the afters are on the right.

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