MARCH 2, 2017

First of a two-part series

By John Gordon

Golf is a simple game, right? Just look at the first words in the rule book. Unless you, like seemingly 99 percent of the world’s 60 million golfers, don’t have a rule book. Let me assist.

“Play the ball as it lies, play the course as you find it, and if you cannot do either, do what is fair.”

But as Shakespeare famously wrote, there’s the rub. (Not to be confused with “rub of the green” as defined on page 29 of the 209-page rule book.)

By Alex Miceli

All golf commissioners must create playing opportunities for tour members and continue to grow purses if they want to keep their jobs.

At the LPGA, the schedule has been a big focus for Mike Whan since he became commissioner in January 2010. In the ensuing seven seasons, the tour has grown from 24 tournaments awarding $41.4 million in 10 countries to 35 events this year paying a record $67.35 million in 15 nations.

In the news

Short notice: The PGA of America will allow competitors to wear shorts during practice rounds of section and national championships conducted by the association, president Paul Levy announced. The 2017 PGA Championship on Aug. 10-13 at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., will be the first event on the PGA Tour schedule to be affected by the policy. The move follows a similar change made last year on the European Tour. The PGA Tour, citing the importance of its weekly pro-am on Wednesdays, said it will maintain its dress code that requires players to wear pants when competing or practicing in a sanctioned event.

Keeping score


Percentage increase in U.S. rounds played in January 2017 compared with January 2016, according to the January National Rounds Played Report released by industry researcher Golf Datatech. Play at public-access courses rose 4.4 percent for the month, and rounds at private facilities were up 7.7 percent, according to the report. New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) led the surge, with a 148.8-percent bump. Favorable weather helped drive the increases. Only the Pacific-region states of California and Washington experienced declines, with higher rainfall and lower temperatures cited as contributing factors.


From the industry

Bridgestone Golf has introduced the BFIT golf-ball fitting app to help players and instructors determine the most suitable ball. BFIT is available for iOS devices and will be ready for Android use soon, Bridgestone Golf said.

Harrell’s, a distributor of customized agronomic products for turfgrass, pledged $250,000 to the Environmental Institute for Golf, the philanthropic arm of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, the GCSAA announced. The money will help support environmental advocacy, programs and best-management practices.

Bloodline introduced its RG-1 Mallet putter, which is available for a 20-percent discount exclusively on, the company announced. Bloodline will make the product available in golf retail stores by May. 

The Sports & Fitness Industry Association, a trade representative for manufacturers, retailers and marketers, called for quick passage of the Personal Health Investment Today Act. The legislation, known as the PHIT Act, would allow consumers to use pre-tax medical accounts to offset costs related to sports, fitness and other qualified physical activities. The bill was reintroduced by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.).

February 28 - March 2
Philadelphia Golf Merchandise Show
Embassy Suites Valley Forge, Chesterbrook, Pa.
February 28 - March 3
Scottish International Golf Course Architects Conference
Inverness, Scotland
March 2-5
European Tour: Tshwane Open
Pretoria Country Club, Waterkloof, South Africa
LPGA: HSBC Women’s Champions
Sentosa Golf Club (Tanjong), Singapore
PGA/European tours: WGC-Mexico Championship
Chapultepec Golf Club, Mexico City
March 3-5
National Golf Expo
Seaport World Trade Center, Boston
March 7-8
Mid Atlantic Golf Merchandise Show
Marriott Residence Inn, Gaithersburg, Md.
March 9-12
European Tour: Hero Indian Open
DLF Golf and Country Club, New Delhi
PGA Tour: Valspar Championship
Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead), Palm Harbor, Fla.

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