The Local Knowlege

Tenuous golf connection

This is probably the bravest/stupidest thing you'll see today

Darren Maule is a television host in South Africa, and last week, he concocted a cunning plan. He decided to hire a stuntman and hit a golf ball directly at him from a few yards away. After trying but failing a few times, he made an adjustment and struck the decisive blow directly into the stuntman's inner thigh -- a few inches away from his strategically well-placed hand.

All things considered, being hit in the thigh probably isn't the worst place considering some of the other options. Nevertheless, it probably really, really hurt.

We salute you, South African stuntman.

UPDATE: After this post was published, one of our loyal Golf Digest readers illuminated us to this even more brave/stupid probably-fake-but-still-amazing GIF that floated around Twitter on Monday. 

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Tenuous golf connection

Here's that Kim Kardashian golf angle you've been looking for

By now you may have heard of Kim Kardashian and Paper Magazine's efforts to "Break the Internet," all based on a series of revealing -- and disturbingly shiny -- photos of the reality star that surfaced this week.

What does this have to do with golf? Actually, something!

At Golf Digest, one of our favorite photographers to work with is the talented and slightly unbalanced Cy Cyr, who, among other projects, we collaborated with on the popular Most Annoying Golf Partners series. 

When Golf Digest made national headlines last spring for its controversial Paulina Gretzky cover, Cyr constructed a reimagining of the cover featuring he and several of his Orlando-area friends as the "Gretzky Boys." That rendition got nearly as much attention as the real cover, even getting Cy a mention on the "Today Show".


So now comes the Kardashian cover, and what does Cy do? 

You guessed it.  

For the record we're giving you the PG version here. If you want the full Monty, well, you've been warned.

If you must know, that's Cyr next to Kim in the top row. And there's another golf connection! One spot over from Cy is David Byrnes, a professional golfer who was the winner of Golf Channel's Big Break: Indian Wells. As you know, the Big Break is a revealing test of aspiring golfers looking to ascend to the next level. At least we used to think of it as revealing. This sort of takes it to a new level.

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Tenuous golf connection

Here are the endless ways the new Google app can help you with golf

Google has a new version of its search app, and its capabilities go well beyond answering bet-settling questions like, "What's the capital of North Dakota?"

Most impressive is the enhancement of Google's voice search, which means you can mumble some semi-coherent query into your phone while driving, and it will come back with a worthwhile answer. This is true for a lot of things -- movie times, for instance, or stocks -- but we were most interested in how it applies to golf. 

So using only voice recognition, we gave it a whirl.

First, we started with the weather, since we needed to know if it was at all playable this week.


OK, not great, but we're a hardy bunch, so we'll give it a go. Then we needed to nail down where.

And how to get there.


Perfect. Now, we needed some inspiration.


Very cool, but that's not really my reality. This is. 


Or this. 


And when things get a little sideways, I sometimes need help with the math.


And yes, I'll admit, I need better ways to deal with my frustration.

Eventually I realize I just need to relax.


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Tenuous golf connection

Video: New NSFW music video called "Tiger Woods" is oddly catchy

Tiger Woods' sex scandal is nearly five years old, but that hasn't stopped a rapper from using the 14-time major winner's highly publicized off-course activities as the topic of a new song. Maxxx Flair (clever) has released a track titled "Tiger Woods," and it's about a guy who is going to have sex with a woman in a relationship.

The Grind: Jessica Alba plays golf and John Daly plays Bob Dylan

We think Mr. Flair has the details backward, but we'll chalk that up to artistic license. Check out the NSFW -- just for the lyrics since Flair is the only person to appear in the low-budget production -- music video in which he says "Tiger" or "Tiger Woods" about 768 times in less than two minutes. And yet, we can't stop listening. . .

(h/t Ryan Ballangee, Golf News Net)

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Tenuous golf connection

Meet Mike Pickett, a golf club pro who also creates pumpkin masterpieces

Mike Pickett says he's always been good at reading greens. That same keen eye has helped the golf pro in his side business -- where he expertly wields a knife instead of a putter. 

Pickett, the Director of Golf at the private Stonewater Golf Club in Highland Heights, Ohio, has gained notoriety in recent years for his stunning pumpkin carvings. So much so that he has extra time off during the fall written into his contract and he's set up a website to start selling his Halloween creations called "Illuminated Carves."

Here are his takes on Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods: 


See? We told you they were good. So how did it all start? A friendly competition.

Related: Our Halloween costume suggestions


"I've always been artistic and Halloween is my favorite time of year. I was in a contest with a friend and he was beating me. And then I found out how to carve a face," Pickett said.

The technique Pickett discovered took him two hours to complete and used two kinds of knives. With plenty of practice, he has shaved half the time off the process and has switched to using pumpkins made of foam.

"When someone buys a pumpkin, it's about the time it takes me," said Pickett, who stays busy through the holiday season fulfilling orders. "No one's going to spend money on something that's going to rot. It's a really nice piece and it lasts forever."

Being based in Ohio, Pickett says his most popular sports carvings are of LeBron James, Ohio State, and the Cleveland Browns, "since they're actually playing football this season." Of non-sports figures, Pickett says John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe and Heath Ledger's "The Joker" (Pickett's personal favorite carve) are best sellers.


People can choose from pumpkins Pickett has already carved or have one custom-made. He typically charges $80 to $100 and the orders have really started to pick up in 2014 thanks mainly to being a feature vendor at Ohio's annual Circleville Pumpkin Show and having a month-long display at the Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland. You may have seen his work on Golf Channel sets at last year's Presidents Cup and on recent episodes of "Morning Drive" and "Golf Central."

"I never in a million years thought it would get this big," said Pickett, who estimates he'll sell 350 pumpkins this year, up from 162 in 2013. "I love seeing people's reactions to what I do."

The Grind: Jessica Alba plays golf and John Daly plays Bob Dylan

He'll get to see more reactions when he carves for three hours at Quicken Loans Arena leading up to the Cleveland Cavaliers' home opener on Thursday night. The pumpkins he carves will be raffled off during the game.

"I enjoy every carve I do," Pickett said. "It's very independent. Just like going out to play golf by yourself. It's very pleasing and entertaining."

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Tenuous golf connection

The iPod was introduced 13 years ago, and golfers may have benefited most of all

Thursday marked the 13-year anniversary of Apple's debut of the iPod, and surely your life hasn't been the same since. Remember trying to run with a Discman? It was like carrying around a manhole cover. The Walkman was a little better, but that required you to listen to cassettes, and sometimes your idiot sister taped over your favorite mix with some awful Depeche Mode album.

But the iPod changed all that. It was personal, powerful and, most importantly, highly portable.

"With iPod, Apple has invented a whole new category of digital music player that lets you put your entire music collection in your pocket and listen to it wherever you go," the late Steve Jobs said when introducing the iPod in 2001.

As it turned out, sometimes that place was the golf course. While the idea of practicing or playing while listening to music was not born with the iPod -- Richard Zokol earned the nickname "Disco Dick" in the early 1980s when he listened to a Walkman during tournament play -- the iPod opened the idea up to the masses. Now golfers everywhere could tune in/out, while at least practicing (Zokol was an extreme in listening while competing). The notion of the ideal golf "playlist" was introduced. Eventually in 2007 came the iPhone, which in most cases rendered the standalone iPod obsolete, but the same concept endured.

And golfers have taken advantage ever since, if no other reason, than as a means of avoiding interactions with pesky reporters. 


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Tenuous golf connection

If you don't like the crummy weather forecast, it's probably because you're checking the wrong one

I've long suspected that an inordinate amount of traffic to weather websites comes from golfers with upcoming tee times. This is what we do. You're playing Friday, you check the weather. If you don't like the forecast, you check again later. And if you STILL don't like the forecast, you do what I do and check a different website.

If this seems like delusional behavior -- people trying to ignore the harsh percentages staring them in the face -- you could make the case golf's popularity is pretty much based around the same premise.

But back to weather websites. The one thing I've noticed is that's forecast is almost always a little brighter than the one put out by counterpart If says it's going to rain on Tuesday, says there's only a chance -- and it should clear up by noon. If Weather says it's going to be partly sunny, AccuWeather says pack your sunscreen because it's going to be gorgeous.

Consider, for instance, a recent sampling from this week. This is the forecast for my hometown of Rye, N.Y.

weather-rye.jpgAnd here's the Rye forecast from AccuWeather.

As you can see, considers Thursday pretty much a washout. But AccuWeather, says it's only supposed to drizzle in the morning. Things are already looking up!

Just to make sure this was not just a local phenomenon, I checked a bunch of other forecasts around the country. Here's the forecast for Des Moines, Iowa, according to

And here's what AccuWeather says.

Or how about the weekend in San Francisco. Again, this is Weather's forecast.

And this is AccuWeather's:

In my mind, I've attributed the disparity between the two weather services to just different outlooks on the world. The folks at are realists, the AccuWeather people are optimists. At, they're monitoring satellites from a row of cubicles under depressing fluorescent lights. At AccuWeather, they're piecing together forecasts in between games of Ping-Pong and impromptu birthday parties in the conference room. 

Is any of this true? Of course not. In reality, both AccuWeather and Weather build their forecast models around data: relies on its own patented technology called TruPoint while draws from a number of sources, including the National Weather Service. 

So as much as we'd like to think these forecasts are at the whims of temperamental individuals who may or may not have had a few drinks at lunch, it's essentially just one algorithm versus another.

As for which one is better, that may be more a question of what you're looking to hear. 

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Tenuous golf connection

There is a serious flaw in "Gone Girl" and it has to do with golf

The novel "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn was a runaway best-seller, and now the movie starring Ben Affleck is taking off at the box office. All understandably so. It's a riveting story about marriage, crime and small-town America that we won't get into here in case you want to see it for yourself. Plus, if you're on the fence, the movie supposedly features a brief shot of Affleck in a compromising light (in case that's your thing -- no judgments).

But there is one problem with "Gone Girl" and it has to do with golf. Without giving too much away, there is a moment in the story when the main character, Nick Dunne, discovers a series of egregious charges to his credit card bills. We'll let Dunne as narrator take over from here:

"'I mean, freakin' look at some of this stuff: I don't even golf.' Someone had paid over seven thousand dollars for a set of clubs. 'Anyone can tell you: I really don't golf.'"

We will put aside the objectionable use of "golf" as a verb -- another tell-tale sign of a non-golfer -- and instead focus on the concept of a $7,000 set of golf clubs. Seven thousand dollars? The number sounded high, so we decided to take a closer look at our 2014 Golf Digest Hot List of the best new clubs, and from there, construct the most expensive set of golf clubs we could.

We started with a Callaway Big Bertha Alpha driver ($500), two Tour Edge CB Pro Limited Edition fairway woods ($500 each), and two Adams XTD Ti hybrids ($300 each). That got us to $2,100. There are several sets of irons on the market -- from Nike, Mizuno, and Titleist -- that go for $1,100. So now we're at $3,200. Then we added three $150 wedges from Scor Golf and a $400 Bettinardi Studio Stock putter, which brought the total to just $4,050. OK, fine, but you still need a bag. On our 2014 Bag Hot List, the most expensive option was the $360 Ogio Chamber. 

So now we're at $4,410, which is still well short of $7,000. Throw in balls, some fancy handknit headcovers, maybe a rangefinder and a personally-engraved divot repair tool, and we're still not close.

Are there other variables to consider? Always. The clubs in question could be from a high-end Japanese manufacturer like Honma, which in fact offers a set of irons alone at $7,000. But it's highly unlikely someone who doesn't play golf (or is supposedly buying for someone who doesn't play golf) would know such clubs even exist. For what it's worth, in the movie, a TaylorMade SLDR driver is clearly visible, so we're also thinking they stuck to mainstream brands.

Of course, there's always the chance the character in question bought more clubs than in a regulation set. That's one theory we're willing to entertain. The people in "Gone Girl" do all kinds of things wrong. Breaking the 14-club rule could very well have been one of them.

Update: Thanks to astute reader Michael McEwan, who pointed out another golf-related "Gone Girl" flaw: The events of the film take place in the summer of 2012, and the SLDR wasn't released until the next year. "At that point, I was done with that film!" McEwan writes.

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Tenuous golf connection

The Back9 Network's newest personality once gave the most mystifying beauty pageant answer ever

Why does the name Caite Upton sound familiar? No, not KATE Upton. We're talking about one of the upstart Back9 Network's newest personalities, who will be co-hosting a new show, "Off Par", with comedian and actor Matt Blake.

In addition to now having a remarkably similar name as America's premier supermodel (and a former Golf Digest cover girl), Caite Upton is herself a model who used to go by Lauren Caitlin Upton. She was the Miss Teen South Carolina who in 2007 may have delivered the most regrettable answer in the long history of regrettable beauty pageant answers.

It's a winner.

And for those who prefer it in text form, there's this:

In fairness to Ms. Upton, she has never hid from her viral moment. She went on the Today Show shortly after the Miss Teen USA pageant to revisit her answer (she said she was "overwhelmed"). And her Facebook profile proudly owns up to her past.

"I'm a Model/Host/Actress, former Miss South Carolina Teen USA (Yes, I'm THAT girl) AND Amazing Race finalist!"

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News & Tours

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. Ray Rice/Roger Goodell: A heinous, indefensible act seems to have led to an embarrassing cover up. Ray Rice, Roger Goodell and the entire NFL all look bad right now. We'll leave it at that.

2. Apple: The tech juggernaut had a live-streamed "release event" Wednesday in which it unveiled new products that are set to hit the market soon: two iPhone 6s, a touchscreen watch, and a payment system that probably has Paypal a little nervous. Despite the Twitter frenzy and the standing ovations, I have no plans to rush out and buy either of the first two, but you should (they can even help your golf game!). Sincerely, Guy who owns shares of APPL stock.


This guy looks SUPER pumped for the release of the iPhone 6.

Related: NFL stars who love to play golf

3. Billy Horschel: He's not the best player on the PGA Tour, but he might be the most honest. After winning the BMW Championship, Horschel said, "If I were a betting man, I'd put a little money on me" at this week's Tour Championship. Then he said that even if his wife went into labor with the couple's first child, he wouldn't leave Atlanta and pass up a chance to win the FedEx Cup's $10 million bonus. Before you get all high and mighty and take Horschel to task, would you really not do the same thing if you had a chance to more than double your career earnings in one day?

4. Fabrizio Zanotti: If you don't know the name, just know he was a European Tour player who got hit in the forehead by an errant tee shot Thursday during the KLM Open. Fortunately, Zanotti, who was rushed to a hospital, is OK. More so, we'd like to highlight two other players, Felipe Aguilar and Ricardo Gonzalez, who withdrew from the tournament to go to the hospital with their friend. The moral of the story? Keep your head on a swivel when you're out on the course, always yell "Fore!" and play with friends who aren't going to keep playing if you get hurt.

Related: Rory and Jagermeister: An unauthorized history

5. "Breaking Bad": After years of saying I'd give this highly acclaimed TV show a chance, I finally did. Less than three weeks later -- and after signing up for a free one-month Netflix trial -- I finished the entire series, showing about as much control as the Meth Heads in it. One word: MASTERPIECE. "The Wire" remains my No. 1 drama of all-time (is there anyone who has watched that show and said otherwise?), but "Breaking Bad" might have supplanted "The Sopranos" as my No. 2. Agree? Disagree? More importantly, does anyone have any other TV suggestions? I'm going through Walter White withdrawal. . .

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