by Steve Elling

When boiled down to the coffee grounds, golf is a game consisting of a few simple, spherical imperatives. Use a rounded shaft to smack a circular ball into a round hole. Even the planet is roundish.

But with regard to golf fandom, it’s the tiny circles on the calendar that matter most, because during a global season that seemingly never ends, the high points merit highlighting, lest they become lost in the deluge of inconsequential trophies. As 2018 unfolds this week at the winners-only Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, and the sport begins its annual meander toward meaningful events and majors, even the players are excited about what the year portends. 


Simple suggestions

There are simple ways that will take 30 minutes off of a round, amateur or pro. Play ready golf; no waiting around, especially when your opponent is on the other side of the fairway. Get to your ball, get a quick distance and hit. Next, stop marking after every putt. The ball isn’t dirty, and you take up time. Last, continuous putting should be the rule. Try not to step on your opponent’s line, but keep moving.



Number of players entered in the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which begins today at Kapalua (Hawaii) Resort’s Plantation Course, who were multiple winners on the PGA Tour in the 2017 calendar year. Justin Thomas, who won five times last year, will be joined by Dustin Johnson (4), Jordan Spieth (3) and two-time winners Hideki Matsuyama and Xander Schauffele.



Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Co. has launched a demo program to allow golfers to try clubs before they might buy them. The program comes a few months after the Fort Worth, Texas-based manufacturer implemented a factory-direct distribution and pricing strategy. The demo program allows customers to try Ben Hogan products for 14 days from the date of order for a $20 roundtrip shipping fee, with no obligation to buy.


Cleveland Golf has added Jamie Sadlowski to its professional tour staff, the Huntington Beach, Calif.-based equipment manufacturer announced. Sadlowski, a two-time World Long Drive champion, played 10 events on PGA Tour Canada last season and made his PGA Tour debut at the Dean and DeLuca Invitational.


Reserva Conchal Beach Resort, Golf and Spa will play host to the PGA Tour Latinoamerica’s Essential Costa Rica Classic on May 10-13, the resort announced. The second annual event at the Pacific Coast resort in Playa Conchal will be held on Reserva Conchal Beach’s Robert Trent Jones II course.


Three days of fitness, wellness and instructional presentations will enhance the program at the PGA Merchandise Show on Jan. 24-26 in Orlando, Fla., organizers announced. The Golf Fitness, Wellness and Instruction Stage will be positioned next to the TPI and Life Fitness booths in the No. 1,000 aisle of the Orange County Convention Center. More than 75 golf fitness, sports performance and instruction companies are scheduled to exhibit in the area.


Peter Millar has announced the addition of 13 brand ambassadors for 2018. Scott Brown, Branden Grace, Chesson Hadley, Si Woo Kim, Davis “Dru” Love IV, Matteo Manassero, Brett Quigley, Chez Reavie, Sam Saunders, Shawn Stefani, Hudson Swafford, Johnson Wagner and Chris Wilson will represent the Peter Millar brand and wear the clothing line. They join Bill Haas, Brandt Snedeker and Bobby Wyatt as touring pros affiliated with Peter Millar.


Troon and Troon-managed facilities will be honored with a Player Development Award by the National Golf Course Owners Association, the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based management company announced. The award will be presented Feb. 8 at the NGCOA’s Golf Business Conference in San Antonio.


Mission Inn Resort and Club will play host to NCAA regionals in 2019 and 2020, extending the club’s streak to 24 consecutive seasons of college postseason play. Mission Inn, in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., will be the site of a 2019 Division II men’s regional and a 2020 Division II women’s regional. This spring, Mission Inn will play host to the NCAA Division II women’s national championship.


The Annika Invitational USA girls tournament will be played next week at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., organizers announced. The AJGA event will be held Jan. 12-15 and feature 72 girls ages 12-19, representing 15 countries.


Antigua Group has announced its brand ambassadors for 2018, headlined by five teammates from the winning American side in the Solheim Cup. Other LPGA players, plus veterans from the PGA and Champions tours, will be wearing Antigua gear this season.


January 3-6
Women’s amateur: Harder Hall Women’s Invitational
Harder Hall GC, Sebring, Fla.
January 4-7
PGA Tour: Sentry Tournament of Champions
Kapalua Resort (Plantation), Kapalua, Hawaii
Men’s amateur: New Year’s Invitational
St. Petersburg (Fla.) CC
January 10-13
Women’s amateur: South Atlantic Amateur
Oceanside CC, Ormond Beach, Fla.
January 11-14
PGA Tour: Sony Open in Hawaii
Waialae CC, Honolulu
European Tour: BMW SA Open
Glendower GC, Ekurhuleni, South Africa
January 12-14
European Tour: EurAsia Cup
Glenmarie GC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Celebrity: Diamond Resorts Invitational
Tranquilo GC at Four Seasons Resort, Orlando, Fla.

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