THURSDAY, MAY 18, 2017
by Gary Van Sickle

You probably missed this at the recent Masters: Sergio Garcia became the first player to win a major championship using the “claw” putting grip. The claw would’ve been a winner even if Garcia had lost the playoff because his opponent, Justin Rose, also clawed it on the Augusta National greens.

During recent decades, revolutionary changes in golf equipment – especially in drivers, shafts and golf balls – have been introduced. Putting has evolved dramatically, too. We’ve seen the rise of belly- and long-shafted putters, followed by their fall when golf’s governing bodies banned them starting in 2016. 


Wasted time slows pace more than wasted shots

I disagree that the biggest cause of slow play in recreational golf is bad play (“Bad golf amplifies slow play, and you’re likely at fault,” May 17, I know lots of 18-plus-handicappers who get around in less than four hours.

The biggest issue in pace of play with recreational golfers is time wasted between shots. The simplest of acts can speed play. Do not put clubs away in your cart until you reach your next shot. I am going to oversimplify things, but, if you take 100 shots per round, about 50 will entail changing sticks at your cart. This excludes short-game shots during which a player is around the green and away from the cart. Even at 20 seconds to put clubs away and clean them, that is nearly 17 minutes saved on the course. That's the low-hanging fruit right there.


In the news

Landed: On the first tee at Kingsmill Resort’s River Course for her pro-am round Wednesday in Williamsburg, Va., Lexi Thompson, after her first parachute jump. Thompson made a tandem jump with a Navy SEAL to herald her partnership with the SEAL Legacy Foundation. She intends to wear blue camouflage on tournament Sundays as a sign of her support via her Lexi’s Legacy Challenge.

Joined: Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Va., by former President Barack Obama, according to CNN. Citing reports from two members, the cable-news channel said that Obama, who left the White House in January after eight years in office, has accepted a membership at RTJ, which sits along Lake Manassas and is about 45 minutes from the nation’s capital. The club has hosted four Presidents Cup matches.

Keeping score


Number of tournaments on the developmental Tour, beginning with this week’s BMW Charity Pro-Am in Greenville, S.C., that will be testing distance-measuring devices. The other events, in successive weeks: Rex Hospital Open, June 1-4 in Raleigh, N.C.; Rust-Oleum Championship, June 8-11 in Ivanhoe, Ill.; Air Capital Classic, June 15-18 in Wichita, Kan. Testing also will be done on the Latinoamerica and Mackenzie tours.


Number of years that the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship will have been played in Irving, Texas, with this week’s event at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas. Next year, the tournament, which dates to 1944 in the Dallas area, will move to Trinity Forest Golf Club, a links-style course designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, located 10 minutes south of downtown Dallas.


Arrowhead Golf Club in Littleton, Colo., has been ranked No. 1 in three categories by Colorado Avid Golfer magazine, according to Arcis Golf, which operates the club. Arrowhead was recognized as tops in the categories of best on-course views, best après golf experience and best par-3 hole, for its 173-yard, downhill 13th, in the magazine’s annual CAGGY Awards for readers’ best-in-state honors.


KOVA Golf Management has been created to provide strategies and solutions to golf-industry clients. The company, based in Naples, Fla., is an affiliate of KOVA Partners, a real-estate firm and investment-fund manager in Naples. KOVA is an acronym for Knowledge, Opportunity, Vision, Accountability.


Youth on Course, a nonprofit that provides youngsters with access to affordable golf, employment and college scholarships, has announced a partnership with RBC Royal Bank and City National Bank. Selected Youth on Course members will be part of a putting clinic with PGA Tour winner Brandt Snedeker at Green Hills Country Club on May 22.


Aline, creator of the Foot Suspension System, has selected The Duran Group to lead sales and marketing efforts in the U.S. golf market. Duran will represent Aline to pro shops, specialty retailers and major golf chain stores.


May 18-21
LPGA: Kingsmill Championship
Kingsmill Resort (River Course), Williamsburg, Va. Tour: BMW Charity Pro-Am
Thornblade Club, Greer, S.C.
Champions Tour: Regions Tradition
Greystone G&CC, Birmingham, Ala.
PGA Tour: AT&T Byron Nelson
TPC Four Seasons Resort, Irving, Texas
European Tour: The Rocco Forte Open
Verdura GC, Agrigento, Italy
May 19-24
College women: NCAA Division I championship
Rich Harvest Farms, Sugar Grove, Ill.
May 21-25
Industry: ING Spring Conference
World Golf Village and Hall of Fame Museum, St. Augustine, Fla.
May 25-28
Champions Tour: KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship
Trump National GC, Potomac Falls, Va.
LPGA: LPGA Volvik Championship
Travis Point CC, Ann Arbor, Mich.
PGA Tour: Dean & DeLuca Invitational
Colonial CC, Fort Worth, Texas
European Tour: BMW PGA Championship
Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, England
May 25-31
College men: NCAA Division I championship
Rich Harvest Farms, Sugar Grove, Ill.
May 26-29
Junior: AJGA Thunderbird International Junior
Grayhawk GC (Raptor), Scottsdale, Ariz.
May 27-31
Men’s amateur: U.S. Amateur Four-Ball
Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort Nos. 2 and 8 courses
Women’s amateur: U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball
The Dunes Golf and Beach Club, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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