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Gear & Equipment

Live scoring for your weekly grudge match? Oh yeah!

By Ryan Herrington

We're all for the entertainment that arises when gathering with your buddies after a round, adding up your scores and figuring out who beat who in the myriad of games that were being played. What if, though, all those calculations took place in real time, allowing for the drama to play out on the course over the last final few holes?

Blog-Vpar-scoring.jpgVPAR, a London-based company, offers a phone app that can create a live-scoring experience for anything from match- or stroke-play tournaments to your regular four-ball grudge match. The app's latest version can track up to 32 golfers and monitor multiple games simultaneously. (The company also offers a tournament management system for clubs hosting larger events.)

You can share live leader boards on Facebook and Twitter to keep others away from the course up-to-date on all the action.

The VPAR app, available on iTunes, has a $8.99 yearly subscription fee, but also offers other features, notably GPS distance measuring capabilities and stat tracking functions. For more information go to VPAR.com.
 




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Gear & Equipment

An easy way to manage your golf leagues

GolfLeagueGenius.jpg

By John Strege

Those who manage golf leagues (and suffer the headaches associated with doing so) might want to pay attention to this: A sophisticated, but simple solution called GolfLeagueGenius.com

It is the latest offering from Golf Genius Software, which previously introduced GolfTripGenius.com, designed to help organize buddies trip.

"We wanted to create a platform for league organizers and golf profedssionals, whoever takes on the role [of managing leagues]," Billy Condon, director of marketing for Golf Genius Software, said. "It's making their job easier. Instead of two or three hours it's reduced to 15 minutes."

Related: Planning a buddies trip? Start here

GolfLeagueGenius.com is set up to handle tournaments played in any format or even multiple formats (say, a Stableford scoring event that includes a skins game), pairings, standings, scoring (with handicap indexes) and payouts.

"With a couple of clicks, you have a season-long schedule optimizied to your preferences," Condon said. "Our mission is to make sure everyone plays with everyone else before there's a repeat. We have a league in Florida that wants every foursome with handicaps as close as possible to all other groups. Say a foursome's handicap indexes add to 60.2. We might have a range of, say, 59.5 to 61.4."

A free mobile app is available, too, allowing each group to input its scores (provided cell phones are allowed on the course), producing a live leaderboard. A custom member website also is included.

The cost is $12 a golfer for the season, an introductory offer. On April 1, the cost will go to $15 a golfer for the season.


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Gear & Equipment

Planning a buddies trip? Start here

GolfTripGenius Tee Sheet.jpg

It isn't often that a unique product comes along, but we came across one at the blog, Golf Stuff We Like, that, for those who take buddies trips, might prove indispensable.

It's called GolfTripGenius.com, and the emphasis, perhaps, belongs on genius. There was no shortage of brainpower used in developing this product. The founder is Mike Zisman, who has a degree in chemical engineering from Lehigh, a Masters in systems engineering from Penn, and a PhD in decision sciences from Penn's Wharton School. He's also a member at Merion Golf Club and Saucon Valley Country Club.

GolfTripGenius.com is described this way at its website: "An easy-to-use, online toolkit that helps you take care of all the details (like pairings, tournaments, the trip book, expenses) so you can have more fun planning your trip and more time playing golf once you're underway."

"I enjoy golf trips and spent many years organizing them," Zisman said. "But it was frustrating putting together a schedule. I thought, 'you know what? I know how to do this, to make golf trips a lot easier.' We started with mathematical optimization for the scheduling, then added tournament software and trip accounting software.

"You'll spend, honest to God, 30 to 40 hours planning a trip for eight or 10 people, from organizaing pairings, tournaments, tracking group expenses. With our software it takes a couple of hours."

Zisman used an example of a trip involving 16 players, playing five rounds. "Ideally, you should play with everyone once," he said. "If all 16 play with everyone once, we call that the perfect pairing." The software will deliver the perfect pairing for you (a sample tee sheet is shown above).

It has a Tournament Manager, too, to accommodate any kind of competition, including multiple Nassaus, skins games, even Ryder Cup-type formats, and will accommodate betting, providing instantly a payout summary at the end of the round.

Another feature is its Trip Logistics, which contain the golfers' travel arrangements, cell phone numbers, handicaps, emergency contact information, a group message board, and access to housing arrangements.

GolfTripGenius offers two levels of service. The cheaper one, $1 per player, per round to a group maximum of $49, offers Perfect Pairings and Trip Logistics. The other, called the Genius Trip, includes the Perfect Pairings, Trip Logistics, Trip Tournament Manager, Trip Accountant (to track expenses and allocate them accordingly), and a Trip Book (a personal album that provides details and photos from the trip). The cost of the Genius Trip is $3 per person per round up to a group maximum of $249.

Zisman also has developed, but not yet released to the public, a product to handle golf leagues. "There the scheduling is unbelievable," he said. "Its 100 guys playing over 25 weeks. The guy who has been using our product the longest, Thursday is the 14th week. He still has not had a single case of a guy playing with the same player twice.

"[GolfTripGenius.com] is a unique product. There truly is no product in the world that does the kind of scheduling we do with our breadth of tournaments."

-- John Strege

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Gear & Equipment

You, too, can have a mental golf coach

Golf, a wise man once said, is played on a five-inch course -- the distance between the ears.

The wise man was Bobby Jones, who had to overcome a bad temper and a loss of focus before his talent was allowed to flourish. This speaks to the importance of the mental side of the game that many professional golfers now address by employing sports psychologists.

But what about the rest of us?

"At the PGA Center for Learning and Performance," PGA professional Joe Hallett said, "we had seen every training aid known to man, the neatest stuff. But there was this wide open area of the mental side of the game."

Enter Brain Center International, a scientific society specializing in the field of neuroscience. Based in Quebec City, Canada, BCI has developed a brain training program for golfers, Pro Mental Coach, that has been embraced by the PGA Center for Learning and Performance at PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

ProMentalCoach.jpg

Pro Mental Coach provides a personalized training program that is done in the comfort of your home. If stress management is a weakness and focus a strength, the program will provide more brain exercises for the former and fewer for the latter.

"These guys came with something that's doable, fun, short-time segment, chunk learning, whatever you want to call it," said Hallett, who counts LPGA star Stacy Lewis among his students. "It's interactive. It's always changing."

It begins with an assessment test that includes questions about your latest rounds of golf from which a personalized mental-game profile is developed and a mental coaching program is recommended. It features what BCI calls "exergames" that replicate on-course situations that heighten stress. These exergames exercise different areas of the brain that are said to help in these areas, among others: mental endurance, focus, stress management, how to get in a zone, and how to recover mentally from a bad shot.

The time commitment, BCI said, is 20 minutes, three times a week. The cost of the program is $139.95.

-- John Strege

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