Lack of snow has been good for golf
Unseasonably warm winter has meant an early start to the golf season
Published on Friday, Feb. 17, 2012 09:12AM EST Last updated on Friday, Feb. 17, 2012 09:15AM EST
SNOW IS GOOD FOR GOLF: The lack of snow in the U.S. Northeast has been a boon for golf courses this winter, according to Mason Levinson of Bloomberg News.
Without snow in metropolitan areas, Northeast golf courses have capitalized, drawing players throughout the winter and doing maintenance and renovation months earlier than normal.
The Mattawang Golf Club, a semi-private course in Belle Mead, New Jersey, hosted almost 1,000 rounds in January, including one 60-degree Saturday on which the course drew 190 golfers, said Mahlon Dow, the club’s head professional and manager.
“That’s a good number in June,” Dow said in a telephone interview. “It looks like October out there.”
Putnam National Golf Club, a 53-year-old public course in Mahopac, New York, that’s usually under more than a foot of snow at this time of year, stayed open in January and February for the first time, doing about 1,100 rounds since late November.
Golfers here in Canada are also taking advantage of the mild weather. As we reported earlier this month, the course in Picture Butte north of Lethbridge, Alberta has been open for the season since February 1. Golf pro Chris Dipasquale says the golf club doesn't usually open until late April, but abnormally dry and warm weather has changed that.
MOVING ON: Dick Zokol has stepped down as the chairman of Sagebrush Golf & Sporting Club located just north of Merritt, B.C.
Zokol tells Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun he left following a diasgreement over the future direction of the club with the four other principal owners.
"There are serious challenges in the golf business," Zokol said Thursday. "Needless to say, it has been a very tumultuous time in golf, we all know that. I have some thoughts on how it should go and I think I have been instrumental in keeping it together during this time. The direction they are choosing to go in is their choice. It's not my choice, it's their choice."
"There was a division and I felt it was best to move on," he said. "I'll just leave it at that. . .I did pour my heart and soul into it, but I am happy with the decision I made."
BELLY BROUHAHA: The belly putter debate showing no signs of going away soon. Lorne Rubenstein writes that the discussion now seems to be focused not so much on the length of the flat stick but does the fact it is anchored to a player's body provide him with a distinct advantage.
Comments from players show there is no real consensus on the issue and while we will let the pointy heads at the R&A and USGA figure this out, we leave it to Keegan Bradley - who ignited the controversy last year by becoming the first player to win a major tournament using a belly putter - to illlustrate just how hard it will be to get the genie back in the bottle.
UN-SOCIAL: Don't bother looking to friend Patrick Cantlay on Facebook or add the UCLA golf star to your Twitter followers. Unlike most college kids his age, Cantlay says he's not a user of social media as a way to reach out to his fan base.
"I don't really like it, to be perfectly honest. I just like doing my own thing. I'm fine if no one knows what I'm thinking or no one knows what I'm doing on Friday afternoon at 1:57. I'm just cool with being myself and kind of doing my own thing."
When asked what he would be doing at 1:57 on a Friday afternoon, Cantlay replied, "I don't know. That's a good question."
A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS: Jason Gore is playing for the first time this year, thanks to a sponsor's exemption and a little help from his social media friends. Gore, who spent most of last year recovering from shoulder surgery and just came up short in his bid for a Tour card at q-school, talked about the Twitter campaign that played a role in landing a spot at this week's tournament.
"I wish I could tell you I set the bar and was smart enough to figure all this stuff out. But that's far from the truth," he explained. "I was actually just sitting in my hotel room with my wife in Hawai'i getting ready to Monday qualify. I kind of asked her, 'do you think I should just Tweet that I just signed up and say how stoked I'd be to get a sponsor's invite?' And she goes, 'why not?'"
"I was just trying to let somebody know that, hey, I'm thinking about you, and you have no idea how excited I'd be to get a spot and basically how crappy Monday qualifying is. A couple guys just jumped on it, and then a whole bunch of people later just writing in, Tweeting into Northern Trust. ..it was incredible to watch."
"I wish I could say I set ablaze thinking my brilliant social media networking skill, but no, I was just an idiot in a Hawai'i hotel room wanting to let somebody know that I was thinking about them."
SO THAT’S WHERE IT WENT:
ATTENTION CALLAWAY SHOPPERS: For the second time this year, a golf manufacturer has decided to push up the date one of its products is available to the general public.
Following Brandt Snedeker’s dramatic comeback win at the Farmers Insurance Open a couple of weeks ago, Bridgestone announced it was making its new B330 golf balls available immediately to consumers rather than making them wait until March 1st.
Now, on the heels of Phil Mickelson’s win at Pebble Beach, Callaway has decided to push up the release date of its highly anticipated RAZR Fit Driver by a few days.
“I've never really been in that position where I had to try and qualify for it because I've been fortunate enough to basically glide through and get in there. So I've got to do some work, and I think it's good for me. It will keep me focused -- get me trying. I think that's a good thing.” -- Ernie Els on the possibility he might not qualify to play in this year’s Masters