The Local Knowlege

Tenuous golf connection

9 things you're only going to understand if you've worked in a bag room

By Keely Levins

1. You can unfold a pushcart with the speed and dexterity of a professional Rubik's Cuber. 

2. You kept the members' clubs far cleaner than your own.  

3. You had a lot of putting contests against yourself waiting for the last cart to come in. And  
always pretended you didn't have a life when the player apologized for playing so late. "No, no. There's nothing I'd rather be doing on a Friday night." 

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4. You always felt the need to explain your wad of singles to bank tellers: "It's tip money… From the golf course…"

5. If you didn't approve of the way a member organized their bag, you took it upon yourself to re-arrange it. 

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6. You've pushed electric carts that ran out of juice across the length of a course. And felt like the Hulk doing it. 

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7. The playing privileges were so good, you probably would have worked for free. But you would never tell your boss that. 

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8. Whenever a bag came in with head covers on every iron and hybrid, a little piece of you died. 

9. You were 90% sure you and your bag room co-workers ran the course. Until you got promoted to the Pro Shop. 


 
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Tenuous golf connection

Manny Pacquiao receives golf clubs before big fight


Manny Pacquiao is gearing up for a big fight on April 12th. So Callaway sent him some golf clubs. Chad Coleman, social media front man at Callaway and Odyssey, tweeted this photo of Manny today. The boxing phenom's bag consists of a Big Bertha Alpha driver (the same driver Phil Mickelson's playing), Big Bertha 3 and 5 woods, X2 Hot hybrids, Apex Irons, Mack Daddy 2 wedges, and an Odyssey White Hot Pro #1 putter. 


According the Coleman, the clubs were delivered to Pacquiao on April 4th in Vegas. Pacquiao is there training for his much-anticipated fight against Tim Bradley. Makes you wonder why none of the Rocky movies involved golf in the training montages… 

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News & Tours

Amanda Blumenherst's husband sent to minor league camp

By John Strege

First baseman Nate Freiman, husband of retired (or not) LPGA player Amanda Blumenherst, failed to make the Oakland A's opening-day roster, despite a fairly productive spring training, and was sent to the club's minor league camp on Sunday.

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Last year, Freiman, 27, hit .274 with four home runs and 24 runs batted in in 208 at-bats for Oakland. He spent the entire 2013 season with the American League West champion A's, who were required to keep him on the major league roster for the entire season after acquiring him with a Rule-5 selection.

There was no such restriction on the A's this year. Freiman, a first baseman used exclusively against left-handed pitchers in 2013, batted .238 this spring, with one homer, but he drove in 11 runs, only one fewer than the team leader.

Blumenherst, who met Freiman at Duke, was a three-time college player of the year there. Late last year, she announced she was stepping away from the LPGA to spend time with Freiman, though she left the door open for a return at some point.

It seems likely that Freiman will return to the A's at some point this season. "I'm sure we will see the 6-foot-8 first baseman again this season," Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote. "The A's know what he can do, and he's popular with his teammates and the coaching staff, a hard worker who is quirky and kind."

(Getty Images photo)

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News & Tours

Lose an NCAA Tournament game, win a round of golf... with Charles Barkley?

By Alex Myers

Losing in the NCAA Tournament is tough, but at least there's a silver lining for one coach. North Dakota State's Saul Phillips, whose 12th-seeded Bison upset No. 5 Oklahoma on Thursday before getting knocked out by fourth-seeded San Diego State on Saturday, couldn't help but cry in a post-game press conference. That led him to remark that analyst Charles Barkley would probably make fun of him.

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But Barkley didn't -- at least, at first. He spoke about how much respect he has for college coaches and that he knows how much losing sucks (And as one of the greatest NBA players to never win a championship, he does know). Then in typical Barkley fashion, he cracked, "I don't think he was crying because he lost, I think he was crying because he's gotta go back to North Dakota." Ouch.

Related: 8 golf things you can do with your crumpled up bracket

Barkley isn't as cold as he seems, though. On Sunday, he revealed he called Phillips and had a nice conversation. "I'm still never going to North Dakota, but if he comes to Arizona, he can play golf with Chuck," Barkley said.

Lose an NCAA Tournament game, win a round of golf with Charles Barkley? It could be worse -- especially if you've just spent a long winter in North Dakota.

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News & Tours

A golf ball through a beer bottle caps what might be the greatest trick shot video ever

By Alex Myers

The dudes in Dude Perfect, a YouTube trick shot group that also created a hysterical golf stereotypes video, have topped themselves once again. This time, the five guys pull off nine consecutive trick shots involving five different sports in one unedited clip.

Related: You'll watch this two-man golf trick shot over and over again

The ninth and final trick involves one of the guys hitting a golf ball through a beer bottle being held by another member some 20 yards away. We'll let you judge if it's all real or not, but it sure looks impressive. Oh yeah, don't try this at home. . . 

(h/t SB Nation)

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News & Tours

We filled out a March Madness bracket based on quality of golf. And your winner is . . .

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

Whatever the year, whatever the formula, whatever the indications or the seedings, every year millions of people fill out "March Madness" brackets, and millions are proven wrong.

We took a slightly different approach this year. Carefully balancing our various rankings and the general (often biased) opinions of those around the Golf Digest office, we generated the definitive bracket based solely on the quality of golf around the competing schools. This doesn't account for how good the college golf teams are, but rather students' potential access to good public courses, golf weather and a few other factors.

Here's how the bracket turned out:

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Early Round Heroics

A No. 16 seed has never topped a No. 1 seed in the history of the tournament, but with good golf the determining factor, it will happen twice in 2014. Boasting all of Myrtle Beach's top golf courses, Coastal Carolina in neighboring Conway, S.C., topped University of Virginia while Texas Southern, located in Houston, the eighth best city in the U.S. for golf, breezed passed Wichita State. No. 7 Texas against No. 10 Arizona State was the game of the day, but we gave it to Texas in a thrilling overtime victory. University of Texas' superior golf course -- plus its location near a TopGolf -- proved key.

Related: 10 Best Golf States

A Mostly Western Final Four

Three from the east and one from the west. The juggernaut Coastal Carolina strolled passed Stanford after casting aside the U.S.'s third best golf city, Cincinnati, in the sweet 16. Meanwhile, Arizona's nice weather and three 4.5 star-rated courses gave it the edge over Wisconsin (also in overtime), but couldn't hold up against Texas. Texas had a bit of an easy run compared to some of the other teams, but there's no denying its golfable weather and location near Barton Creek's spectacular Fazio Foothills course gave it a worthy final berth.

Related: Compare Golf Courses

The Much-Anticipated Final

Never mind how it will fare in the basketball tournament, Coastal Carolina would run the tables in our competition. University of Texas may have TopGolf, nice weather, good surrounding courses and a deadly college football-golf atmosphere, but golf is synonymous with the Coastal Carolina culture. With one five and 27 4.5 star public courses all within 50 miles of the university, and the school itself offering a PGA Golf Management program, it's the clear winner.

You heard it here first.

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News & Tours

Rickie Fowler takes batting practice at St. Louis Cardinals facility

By Stephen Hennessey

We knew Rickie Fowler was a huge motocross fan. But the 25-year-old might have a bit of baseball fever, too.

Fowler posted a photo on Instagram of him taking batting practice at a St. Louis Cardinals/New York Mets spring training game in Jupiter, Fla. this afternoon.

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Check out that swing! Those are strong upper-body swing positions for golf -- the straight left arm into impact with the lower right shoulder. Not so much for baseball. (To be fair, looks like that pitch is coming in a little low and outside.)

Related: Fowler's run at WGC-Match Play feels like a "stepping stone"

Fowler credits Butch Harmon for some recent strides in his golf swing. He has him cleaning up his backswing and spine angle, which Fowler parlayed into a semifinal appearance at the WGC-Match Play last month.

But as for baseball? Looks like it's clearly just a hobby for the Jupiter-based Fowler.

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Celebrity

Pinehurst invites Darius Rucker to play No. 2 and he says yes. Obviously

By Keely Levins

It's just another Tuesday for Darius Rucker. He wakes up knowing he has the sweet voice of an angel, and then gets an invite to play Pinehurst No. 2 from the resort itself via Twitter. Life is good. 



We're not surprised Darius said yes. He's an avid golfer with a solid swing. In fact, here's a pic he Instagrammed of himself leading up to the Masters last year. Nice finish.

But his involvement with golf doesn't end with his own playing. On Friday, his annual golf event, The Darius Rucker Intercollegiate Golf Tournament, starts at Long Cove Club on Hilton Head Island. Seventeen women's teams will compete over the weekend, and the players, coaches, and guests get to go to a private Darius concert -- which definitely never happened at any of my college tournaments. 

Apparently, Pinehurst likes country music as much as Darius likes golf. As Pinehurst mentions in its tweet, he's set to play in Fayetteville, N.C., on April 18 (with the Eli Young Band!). According to Mapquest, it takes an hour and six minutes to get from Fayetteville to Pinehurst, which is definitely doable. And two months out from the U.S. Open, the greens should be manageable. Tee it high and let it fly, Darius! 

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Celebrity

LeBron James scores 61 points, makes a golf analogy

By Alex Myers

On Sunday night, a talented celebrity golfer won an Oscar. On Tuesday night, an aspiring celebrity golfer made some basketball history and referenced his newest sport.

Related: Photos of our favorite golf-crazed celebs

Miami Heat superstar LeBron James scored a career-high 61 points in a win over the Charlotte Bobcats. When asked what it felt like to be in such a shooting zone (he made his first eight three-point attempts!), he responded, "It felt like I had a golf ball throwing it into the ocean." The highlights back it up.

Maybe it's a stretch, but perhaps the comment indicates LeBron has golf on his mind these days -- in addition to winning a third-consecutive NBA title and a fifth MVP trophy, of course. After all, Nike recently released a commercial in which comedian Kevin Hart is giving James golf tips on the range and the course.

LeBron's a bit busy with his best sport right now, but we hope he keeps working on his golf game -- especially if he enjoys reaching scoring milestones.

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Celebrity

9 classic Beatles songs you didn't realize were actually about golf

By Alex Myers

On Sunday, the U.S. celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' famed first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. It got us thinking about some of the band's best-known songs and the true* golf meaning behind them. Here are 10 we picked out:

Related: Golf Digest's ranking of the best musician golfers

(*By true, we mean totally made up. Despite the pictures below, it appears The Beatles weren't big fans of the game. But we can imagine, right? It's easy if you try.)

"Eight Days A Week": In an ideal world, wouldn't we all play golf this much?

"We Can Work It Out": Penned when Paul took John under his wing to help him with his struggling short game.

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"Here, There and Everywhere": Written by John during a phase in which he had no clue where his driver was going.

"Here Comes the Sun": This song came to an optimistic George while waiting out yet another rain delay in Liverpool.

"Drive My Car": Little-know fact: The original title was "Drive My Cart," but cart didn't rhyme as well with "star."

Related: How Babe Ruth paved the way for celebrity golfers

"The Fool on the Hill": Doesn't this describe how all hackers look trying to hit a ball off an uneven lie?

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"Help!": Inspired by Ringo's decision to take lessons from a golf pro -- and not just from anybody -- for the first time.

"Norweigan Wood": Paul laments losing a magical fairway wood he discovered while touring the Scandinavian Peninsula. 

"I Am The Walrus": How big of a legend is Craig Stadler? He was the first golfer to be given an official theme song.

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