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Gear & Equipment

More Waffles Please: Nike's next RZN balls

By Mike Stachura

From the Nov. 27 edition of Golf Digest Stix:

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No syrup: An illustration of Nike's new core design.

New materials usually bring new ideas about design, but at Nike they also brought about something old. Over the past few years, Nike's golf-ball line has been driven by the use of a lighter-than-rubber, injection-molded polymer resin in the core, what the company calls "RZN." Its new balls for 2014 will feature an RZN core with a waffle shape to better interlock with the ball's mantle layer. (Traditionally, golf-ball cores are smooth spheres.) Nike golf-ball guru Rock Ishii says the pattern grew from thinking about the turn-of-the-century Haskell ball, the first to use tightly wound rubber windings around a core.

"Tightly wrapped material pulls more energy through the layers and converts that energy into additional ball speed," Ishii says. The waffle-core design is part of four new balls: The RZN Platinum and RZN Black (less spin) are multilayer designs with urethane covers that already have been played by Rory McIlroy and Paul Casey ($46 a dozen). The RZN Red and RZN White (softer feel and designed for swing speeds of less than 100 miles per hour) are multilayer designs with Surlyn covers that emphasize distance ($30 a dozen).

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News & Tours

This week in weird golf news: Was a golf club used to commit a double murder?

By Alex Myers

Nearly five and a half years after a highly-publicized double murder was committed in India, a verdict has been reached. Of all things, it was golf that had a major part in the final outcome.

Related: Golf's biggest turkeys of 2013

The Times of India reports that dentist Rajesh Talwar and wife Nupar were found guilty of killing their 14-year-old daughter, Aarushi, and servant Hemraj Banjade at their Jalvayu Vihar home in 2008. The decision upheld a theory by India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that Mr. Talwar's golf clubs were used to commit the crime.

With the case seeming to have stalled, the CBI introduced the idea, which medical examiners concluded was a possibility based on the injuries of the deceased. Mr. Talwar, a member of the Noida Golf Club, was asked to turn over his clubs.

Related: Crocodiles keep attacking at Cancun course

Although forensics weren't able to find blood or DNA from the victims on any of the clubs, they discovered two of the clubs were much cleaner than the others. The CBI was also suspicious of Mr. Talwar hiding a club in his loft after the crime occured. That was enough for a judge to uphold the theory and add an obstruction of justice charge. Sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday.

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Gear & Equipment

Storm The Store: Black Friday, golf-style

By Keely Levins

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Here they come: Shoppers rush toward the discounted merchandise. Photo: Brian Davies/AP Photo

Black friday mania isn't huge in golf, but that might be changing. Sacramento retailer Haggin Oaks is luring early birds with gift baskets for its first 400 paying customers. Freebies include a Wilson backpack, Presidents Cup beanie, Callaway shoe bag and golf shirt. At Dick's Sporting Goods, the TaylorMade R11S driver will sell for $200, a $50 savings. Golfsmith has Odyssey ProType Tour Series putters for $100 ($35 off). Joe & Leigh's in Massachusetts is giving away a dozen Srixons with the purchase of a Cleveland 588 wedge. Carl's Golfland in Michigan has Taylormade Burner 2.0 and Cobra AMP drivers for $99, a $50 savings. Casey Baker, GM of Carl's Golfland, says Black Friday is increasingly becoming an important day for golf retailers.

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Health & Fitness

Fitness Friday: Fix your swing in the gym

maar06-fitness-fix-swing.jpgBy Ron Kaspriske

If you keep hitting the same bad shot over and over, there's a good chance your body is preventing you from fixing the problem. Golf Digest fitness advisor Ben Shear (@Ben_Shear), who trains Luke Donald and Jason Day on the PGA Tour, says slicers often lack the hip mobility to initiate the downswing with the lower body. Hookers typically lack stability in their shoulder girdle, so they struggle to control their arms when swinging. And players who routinely top shots usually lack lower-body strength and/or upper-body flexibility.

Shear says these exercises will help fix common swing faults >


Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor for Golf Digest.



(Illustrations By Brown Bird Design)
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Style

5 Golf Style Gems We Are Thankful For

style-blog-holmes-thanksgiving.jpgBy Alex Holmes


This Thanksgiving, we clasp our hands, look heavenward and reflect on five great golf style images.
 

1. Thanks Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, your style and flexibility are models to us all.


2. Thank you Ryo Ishikawa, you're a walking style slideshow. You are the future young Jedi. Keep up the good work.




3. Thank you Geoff Ogilvy for reminding us week in and week out that our golf clothes can look just like, well, the rest of our clothes.
 



4. Thank you Jesper Parnevik, you were rocking slim pants and volleyball hats long before these youngsters upped their game! You are one of the forefathers of the modern style movement and we salute you.



5. Thank you Billy Horschel for having the tentacles to rock the Octopus pants at this year's U.S. Open. You are a reminder to us all that clothes are a great way to add a little levity to your game, no matter what the stage.


(Photos by Getty Images

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News & Tours

Dufnering can't be stopped, now found on mud flaps.

By Keely Levins


Back in March, Jason Dufner was photographed at the Salesmanship Youth and Family Center in Dallas sitting comfortably, leaned back, hands tucked under his legs, wearing an expression that fell somewhere between dazed and bored. This picture, as with most excellent things that find their way onto the internet, sparked a pretty big response.

The pose became a verb, and PGA and LPGA Tour players like Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, and Paula Creamer posted pictures of themselves 'Dufnering.'

Dufnering has been documented pretty much everywhere: in hotel lobbies, in front of personal trophy cases, on golf courses, and now: on mud flaps.

 

This photo was tweeted out by '@Evil_Cam_Newton,' who claims to be the Panther quarterback's sinister evil twin (a different issue, for a different time). The mud flaps were spotted on an RV parked in Auburn, home of Dufner's beloved alma mater.

To say the least, it's been a solid year for Dufner. He won the PGA Championship, and now he has an accidental franchise building before his eyes. Keep it up the good work.


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News & Tours

Augusta National outdoes itself once again, spends $8.3 million on a parking lot

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

Augusta National; the most iconic golf course, the most prestigious golf tournament, the most expensive. . .parking lot?

Yup.

News came through Tuesday that the Augusta National Golf Club purchased an $8.3 million, 9.8-acre apartment complex in Augusta that it plans to raze and replace with a parking lot. To put that in perspective, $8.3 million is more than any PGA Tour player made in 2013 except Tiger Woods, who won a little more than $8.5 million.

Related: $425k Augusta Home Goes For $3.65 Million

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The move is just the latest expansion made by club chairman Billy Payne since assuming the role in 2006. Paine previously oversaw the $13 million construction of a series of cabins and corporate entertainment facilities inside the grounds.

Although that $8.3 million figure may seem startling, the rational is relatively simple. Augusta National has money to spend, and it needs more room.

"When you're landlocked and the tournament continues to improve every year and you have deep pockets, why not?" said one local real estate agent to Bloomberg News.

It's true this land may one day become the most awe-inspiring parking lot in the history of golf, but there's no escaping that for the other 51 weeks of the year, the space will sit empty. That makes us think back to an idea put forward by Geoff Shackelford last April: turn the land into a course specifically for the children of Augusta.

Just think about it. A multimillion dollar parking lot that also inspires the next generation of golfers. Only at Augusta.

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News & Tours

Did a golf analogy propel Tony Romo and Dez Bryant to victory over the New York Giants?

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

On Monday, we learned that playing golf was helping Bruce Jenner through his divorce, but apparently that's not all golf can help with.

After Dez Bryant committed an early fumble and dropped a catch that led to an interception in the Cowboys' game against the New York Giants last Sunday, quarterback Tony Romo took his star receiver aside to offer some golf-themed words of encouragement.

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Related: Why you should root for the NFL's worst team

Here's what Romo told Bryant, according to the Dallas Cowboys website:

"You just have to have that mental approach to come back. It's just like a quarterback who throws an interception, or a golfer who makes a double bogey, you just have to figure out the game isn't over."

And that wasn't the end of it:

"You didn't play all 18 holes yet," Romo said. "If you're still in it, you've got to be able to say, 'Alright, I'm pissed, but I'll worry about that later tomorrow and figure that out and get better."

Apparently that did the trick. Bryant went on to catch two key passes, both on third down, that eventually set up Dan Bailey's game-winning field goal for a 24-21 win.

I mean really, is there anything golf can't do?

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News & Tours

The Grind: Jason Day wins, Justin Timberlake still loves golf & the hottest golfers

By Alex Myers

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we want to take this opportunity to wish you a happy Thanksgiving/holiday season and to thank you for your support. We really appreciate you taking the time to check us out each week -- even if you're just stopping by to check out the latest Paulina Gretzky photos. So come for the dressing and stay for the turkey. We've got a full plate as usual.

WE'RE BUYING

Jason Day: In the aftermath of a family tragedy, Day somehow managed to earn his first win since the 2010 Byron Nelson. For the rare player who contends in major championships more often than regular events, just taking home a trophy had to feel good. We don't expect Day's next gap between wins to last nearly as long. Also, did anyone notice Day collected $1.5 MILLION for his World Cup triumph? In addition to the individual prize, he split the $600,000 for first place in the team competition with Adam Scott. Aussie, Aussie!

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Adam Scott: Speaking of Scott, he only finished third, but he'll be trying to win for a third time  in a month Down Under at this week's Australian Open. Whatever happened to that reduced schedule of his? Not that golf fans, especially female ones, are complaining. PLUG ALERT: Scott is the No. 1 seed in GolfDigest.com's second Hottest Golfers Contest. That's right, it's our second time doing this. So you know it's legit. And the lovely lady below is Maria Verchenova, the top seed on the woman's side. Yeah, we're buying her as well.

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She's a real golfer. At least, we think so...

Related: GolfDigest.com's second Hottest Golfers competition

Shanshan Feng: The Chinese golfer only has three LPGA titles, but she certainly knows how to make them count. Feng's first victory was a major at the 2012 LPGA Championship, then she won last month with one of the luckiest shots of all time, and now her third triumph saw her take home the richest prize in women's golf. Feng's victory at the LPGA Titleholders earned her $700,000. By stacking the prize money for the winner (runner-up Gerina Piller only took home $139,000), the LPGA added excitement to its season finale. And we're not done praising that tour. . .

Mike Whan: The LPGA commissioner's masterful job continued when he announced the tour would have 32 tournaments on its schedule in 2014, up from just 23 in 2011. The PGA Tour might have 87 events per year if Whan were running the show.

WE'RE SELLING

Stuart Manley's letdown: Did you hear the one about a tour pro following up a hole-in-one with an 11? Amazingly, it's a true story. Adding a layer to the unlikely, Manley believed he had won the shiny, new Mercedes on display at Royal Melbourne's third hole. Then he was informed that only players making an ace on that hole on Sunday would win the car. Tough break, Stu. Can we call you Stu? And wait a minute, World Cup! You can dole out $1.5 MILLION to your winner, but you're going to be stingy on hole-in-one prizes? That's a bad job.

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Not so fast, Stu...

European Tour: We made fun of the PGA Tour for starting the 2013-14 season 18 days after the conclusion of the 2013 season, but that seems like an eternity compared to the European Tour. Its season kicked off this past week at the South African Open (Some guy named Orum Madsen was the big winner) just FOUR days after the previous season's finale in Dubai. This just seems silly.

Related: 11 PGA Tour players ready to break out in 2013-2014

Luke Donald: It's rare that we knock someone for winning a tournament, but sometimes a win can remind us, "Oh yeah, that guy is supposed to be really good." That's the case with Donald's victory the Dunlop Phoenix. The former World No. 1 has won twice in the past year and a half, with both of those titles coming at, you guessed it, the Dunlop Phoenix Open. We expect more.

Natalie Gulbis: Look, we didn't expect her to win the LPGA finale -- even after she grabbed a share of the 54-hole lead with a Saturday 66. But an 82 on Sunday? C'mon, Natalie! And she didn't even qualify for our Hottest Golfers competition. Tough times, indeed.

ON TAP

We'll tell you what's not on tap, the Skins Game. Once a Thanksgiving tradition, the most hit-and-giggle event of the silly season disappeared after the 2008 edition. You know, because the golf world has really been cutting back on tournaments during this time of year. . .

Related: PGA Tour courses in 2013 by the numbers

Random tournament fact: The Skins Game was awesome. That is all.

THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE-PAULINA GRETZKY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION

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Look out for JT, DJ! Actually, the superstar entertainer nodded to the golfer after accepting his latest honor from Paulina at the American Music Awards and made a golf swing with his trophy. Very cool.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK

Remember the Presidents Cup streaker, Kimberly Webster? She's taken some new photos her fans might be interested in:

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Related: The week in golf Instagrams

Want your own signed copies of these? You're in luck! The savvy businesswoman is selling them online for $25 a pop. What a steal!

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

-- Tiger Woods will have Sergio Garcia over for Thanksgiving dinner: 1 Million-to-1 odds

-- Justin Timberlake will write a love song about Paulina Gretzky: 50-to-1 odds

-- Whoops. We forgot Timberlake is married to Jessica Biel, so we'll rephrase. Odds he WON'T be writing a love song about Paulina: LOCK

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Cheyenne Woods is becoming a weekly figure in this column. This time, she does the moonwalk. In her driveway. Respect.

VIRAL CRAZY/CHEAP GOLF AD OF THE WEEK

While we're giving thanks, we want to thank Mike Mixson for creating this gem of a "commercial" that you have to see to believe:

Perhaps Golf Digest should copy the tactics of this guerilla marketing genius. We print golf magazines. We print golf magazines! WE PRINT GOLF MAGAZINES!!!

THIS AND THAT

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Current Golf Digest cover girl Kate Upton and boyfriend Maksim Chmerkovskiy have reportedly broken up. We're waiting for the Upton/Arnold Palmer rumors to start. . . . Steve Williams announced he'll go to a reduced schedule after the 2014 season. How will Adam Scott go on?!!! . . . In more important news, congrats to Stephen Hennessey for winning Golf Digest's annual Turkey Putt. We're expecting him to wear that hat around the office until at least Christmas.

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

Is Adam Scott looking for a fill-in caddie?

Who is the best cook on the PGA Tour?

Are you actually still reading? Or did we lose you after the Paula/Cheyenne/Verchanova/streaker stuff?

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

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News & Tours

First Tee CEO Joe Louis Barrow suffers stroke, expected to recover

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

First Tee CEO Joe Louis Barrow suffered a hemorrhagic stroke while on a business trip to West Palm Beach on Saturday, November 23 and remains hospitalized, although doctors are optimistic he will make a full recovery.

According to the PGA Tour, Barrow is fully responsive and communicating clearly at St. Mary's Medical Center, but will remain hospitalized until at least Wednesday so his condition can continue to be evaluated. The First Tee will not make any changes to its organization as a result of Barrow's stroke, according to Vice President Jen Weiler.

"He's walking, talking, eating, drinking," Weiler says. "We don't know when he'll be back in the office, but he will be soon."

PGA Tour spokesperson Ty Votaw says commissioner Tim Finchem, who chairs The First Tee board, spoke with Barrow this morning and that he is doing well.

"We're encouraged with both Joe's recovery and his doctor's prognosis for a full recovery," Votaw says. "We look forward to getting Joe back and leading the first tee." 

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The First Tee seeks to use golf to educate young people by promoting a series of "core values" like honesty, integrity and sportsmanship. 

Since joining the organization in 2000, Barrow, who is the son of the boxing legend Joe Louis, has grown The First Tee into a multimillion dollar organization with more than 200 chapters across all 50 states, with an additional six overseas. Since 1997, The First Tee has reached an estimated 7.6 million young people, according to its website, including two-time PGA Tour winner Scott Piercy.

Related: Scott Langley a First Tee success story

In 2004, Barrow oversaw the creation of The First Tee Open, a Champions Tour event held annually at Pebble Beach which pairs Champions Tour players with junior golfers.

Barrow was awarded the Gold Tee by the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association in 2010 and was inducted into the National Black Golf Hall of Fame the following year.

"He's been a great leader for The First Tee, has been and will continue to be," Votaw says. "You can't have the growth it has had and the number of young people's lives positively affected without the leadership that Joe has provided."

Weiler says under Barrow's leadership The First Tee will continue forward with its goals, which include getting 10 million more people into the game by 2017, Weiler says.

"He's a visionary leader; he leads every aspect of what we do," Weiler says. "We can't wait to get him back."

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