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On National High Five Day, celebrating the subtle art of the golf high five

By Sam Weinman

In golf, we love the high five. Sure, we now have the fist pump, and the forearm bash, and if you're Jason Dufner, you might even get away with the occasional butt squeeze. But when all of those run their course? Mark our words: We'll be back to the high five. 

"That cop let you off with just a warning? High five! Oh, and nice putt."

In golf, the high five is kind of like the wooden tee. There will always be something newer and purportedly cooler to try to replace it. But nothing ever lasts.

Golf high fives come in all shapes and sizes. Some are subtle. Some are emphatic. Many are painfully awkward. And today being National High Five Day (yes, it's an actual day -- shame on you for not getting us a card), we figured there's no better time to celebrate the many ways they surface on the golf course.

Naturally, the most common use of the high five in golf is the "You just made a big putt and I'm pretending to be happy for you" high five.

A close second would be the "Hey, look, we're wearing the same shirt!" high five.

Once in a while, though, five just won't do.

Baby high fives are always cool.

But not quite as cool as "I just chipped in at the Masters" high five.

The only thing that would be cooler is a "I just holed out for double eagle" high five. 

But only if you make contact. 

When you miss? Not as cool.

(Photos by Getty Images)

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News & Tours

7 people who are really, really, really excited about the Masters

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

The Masters is so close!

So. Close.

We're excited, and if you're going to be among those in the crowd, we know how you're feeling. Still, you're probably not as excited as these people ...

Related: Interactive Tour of Augusta National's Clubhouse

Like this girl.

Or 1967 Masters champ Gay Brewer.

This lady looks totally awestruck by it all.

This guy is literally licking his chops.

And this guy, well, he's only slightly creepy.

Throwback excitement!

And finally, this guy, who just witnessed an Augusta National hole-in-one.

To everyone going to the 2014 Masters: travel safe and have fun!

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Courses & Travel

This piece of golf course vandalism is terribly upsetting

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

It really is an ugly sight, and one no decent human being would wish on any poor, innocent, beautiful golf course.

We can't confirm what course this is, but it's most likely Riverbend Golf Course, where a man was arrested on Monday for allegedly vandalizing the golf course. According to the report, the man allegedly drove his truck onto the course and caused about $5,000 worth of damage.

Related: A soccer golf course? Yea, it's a real thing.

Here's the picture:


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News & Tours

Bill Murray wears Pabst Blue Ribbon golf pants, continues showing the world who's boss

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

At his annual Charity golf tournament on Thursday in Florida, Bill Murray continued to rule the golfing world. He showed up wearing a pair of Pabst Blue Ribbon golf pants, which he showed off in a picture with local news reporter Lindsey Boetsch.

Related: President Obama honored Harold Ramis with the perfect "Caddyshack" reference

But that wasn't the extent of his outfit. No chance. Aside from his polka dotted sweatshirt (because what better goes with argyle than polka dots?), he wore a "big hitter" Dalai Lama t-shirt. 

The T-shirt is, of course, a reference to one of his character's lines from the movie: "I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one -- big hitter, the Lama -- long, into a ten-thousand foot crevice, right at the base of this glacier."

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News & Tours

8 golf things you can do with your now-worthless March Madness bracket

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

It's that time of year again: March Madness. If only it wasn't for those ridiculous early round upsets, you'd be cruising toward a billion dollars of Warren Buffett's hard-earned cash (on the bright side, at least you didn't pick your bracket based on the school's quality of golf).

But don't fret. Look at your bracket as an opportunity to improve your golf game before the upcoming season.

1. Start with your drives. Hit some of those, and don't hold back.

2. Sometimes angry swings lead to wayward drives. Best to practice your knockdown shots, too.

3. And plugged lies. If you're like our Web Editor Sam Weinman here, you're guaranteed plenty of those this season.

4. When your bracket's below your feet, remember to keep your spine angle the same through impact. Give that a try.

5. Your short game probably needs practice. Another handy use for your bracket.

6. On your longer chip and pitch shots, let your bracket release to the hole.

7. Be assertive on your short putts. . .it'll impress the crowd.

8. And probably the most important thing to practice with your bracket: Penalty drops.

Maybe next year.

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News & Tours

9 fascinating GIFs of Ben Crane doing strange things

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

As part of our brand new video channel, Golf Digest and Conde Nast Entertainment paired with Ben Crane to produce a series of soon-to-be released videos, "#GolfSecrets with Ben Crane." The trailer was released on Wednesday, and it featured Ben Crane in his signature helmet, goggles and red jumpsuit doing some rather interesting things. . .

Related: 13 Strangely Mesmerizing Golf Action GIFs

Like when he looked strangely satisfied with the sunshine.

Or the time he was slightly creepy.

We feel for you, man.

He had this way of making normal words sound really intense.

And slightly scary.

But not everything he said was normal.

After all that, he found time to beat-up a pool noodle.

And show off his mad skills.

And, of course, dance like some kind of angry chicken.

Here's the full video:

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News & Tours

New study finds titanium golf clubs can cause wildfires. Wait . . . what?

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

Here's the scenario: it's your second shot on a short par 5. You're feeling frisky -- you've been hitting it well all day -- and there's no trouble short of the green. You decide to go for it, and reach for your 3-wood.

That situation, or one similar to it, isn't just potentially jeopardizing your score, but could be setting the scene for a deadly and wide-ranging wildfire, according to a new study from the University of California at Irvine.

The study describes how the makeup of titanium clubs, when struck against a small, embedded rock or other hard services, produces "intensely hot sparks" that could potentially start a fire. The study added that sparks like this could have been the cause of recent golf course fires, notably the 2010 fire at Shady Canyon Golf Course in Irvine.

Related: America's courses are curbing their addiction to water

A selection from the study's release:

Titanium alloy golf clubs can cause dangerous wildfires, according to UC Irvine scientists. When a club coated with the lightweight metal is swung and strikes a rock, it creates sparks that can heat to more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit for long enough to ignite dry foliage, according to findings published recently in the peer-reviewed journal Fire and Materials

It continued:

One fire almost reached homes before they stopped it. This unintended hazard could potentially lead to someone's death, said chemical engineering & materials science professor James Earthman, lead author on the paper. A very real danger exists, particularly in the Southwest, as long as certain golf clubs remain in use.


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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:

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

In naming Jay Monahan deputy commissioner, the PGA Tour appears to have a successor in place for Tim Finchem

By Ron Sirak

There are those who like to bash PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, and for the life of me I don't get them. True, Tim is not Mr. Warmth and he can spin sentences that seem to have no beginning or end -- he is, after all, an economist, lawyer and politician by training -- but in my mind he has one of the best track records of any commissioner in sports.
In 1994, Finchem became sort of the Paul Tagliabue of golf. Tagliabue took over for Pete Rozelle as NFL commissioner and his charge was to not mess up a great product. Tagliabue didn't. He made the NFL better. And when Finchem replaced Deane Beman he also assumed a great product -- and he made it better, with purses growing from $56 million in 1994 to nearly $300 million this year.

The person who follows Finchem will have a difficult job: What's next? Where does the tour go from here? How much more can it grow? The frontrunner for that job now appears to be Chief Marketing Officer Jay Monahan, who Tuesday was named Deputy Commissioner beginning April 1 and will report directly to the 67-year-old Finchem.

Related: The Fox & The Peacock
Monahan, 43, joined the PGA Tour in 2008, serving first as executive director of the Players Championship. He graduated from Trinity College in 1993 with a degree in history and previously worked as director of global sponsorships with EMC, a Boston-area tech company, Later he was with IMG as executive director of the Deutsche Bank Championship before joining the tour.

When I first met Jay, he drove me around in a cart at TPC Sawgrass to show me all the new fan-friendly areas that had been built to increase attendance at the Players and improve the corporate entertaining opportunities for the tour's business partners. It was ambitious and impressive. Also impressive was that he knew every worker, vendor and client we crossed paths with.
As the tour's CMO, Monahan was responsible for spearheading business development, corporate marketing and partnerships, retail licensing and media sales. It's safe to say the tour has excelled in all of those areas.

Related: The Failed Coup At The USGA
"One simple goal: to be the best sports marketing organization among any league or property," Monahan told last October about how he saw his CMO job at the tour. "That means the best people, ideas and resources. If we achieve that, the business results will follow. The foundation is making sure we are best-in-class in servicing our current partners and always finding new ways to deliver value that help them reach their business goals."
If he does eventually get the commissioner job, Monahan will have a tough act to follow. In addition to leveraging Tiger Woods into several lucrative TV deals, Finchem was the man in charge when the World Golf Village was created as well as the World Golf Hall of Fame, the World Golf Championships, the FedEx Cup and The First Tee. He masterfully steered the tour through the most challenging economic times since the Great Depression, helped golf get back into the Olympics and forged business alliances with pro tours in Canada, Latin America and China, which are seen as growth areas for the game.
Finchem's contract runs through 2016 and while there is a chance he might want to continue on, the general thinking is that he will leave after the return of golf to the Olympics that year. The new commissioner will then have plenty of time to get his feet on the ground before the TV deals with CBS, NBC and Golf Channel expire in 2021. 

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News & Tours

These pictures of Bay Hill right before the tournament are actually kind of spooky

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

What does Bay Hill look like -- or any PGA Tour event, for that matter -- right before a tournament comes to town? Its actually kind of a spooky. Like an abandoned town.  

Thanks to Reddit user amineV2 for these rather eery pictures of Bay Hill, one week before the 2014 tournament. 

Related: This giant underground beach in Mexico looks more like a terrifying bunker

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