One in a weekly series of stories about golf gear to run each Wednesday.

By Gary Van Sickle 

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – Rocky rolled the scooter off its kickstand so that I didn’t have to. No rider should admit such an uncool fact, but I’m not proud.

He held the bike up while I mounted it. “Here’s the throttle; here’s the brakes, just like on any bike,” Rocky assured me. 

Safely aboard, I twisted the throttle open with my right hand and roared off on the Phat Golf scooter in what was my highlight Tuesday at the PGA Merchandise Show’s Demo Day at Orange County National. Roared may be too strong a word for how it looked to others. But in my head, the iconic Steppenwolf song started playing the moment the scooter started moving.


by Steve Elling

Two hall-of-fame players will be eyeing the results from Torrey Pines this week for more than just the obvious reasons.

Sure, former world No. 1 Tiger Woods is staging his latest comeback on a venue where he has won eight times as a pro, but for Lanny Wadkins and Lee Trevino, there is a commonality regarding their many sutures and futures, too.

After all, the trio come from exactly the same place.


A long drive that comes up short

My wife and I made a trip to Torrey Pines a couple years after Tiger Woods won the 2008 U.S. Open there. We were full of excitement and anticipation to play an Open course. Bummer. It was the total muni experience, at five times the cost. Unmotivated city employees, poor-quality driving range, bring-your-own towels. They even had mismarked some items in the pro shop and refused to honor the advertised price. Never again (“Golf’s growth key: Retention over outreach,” Jan. 22).

More recently, I played the TPC Stadium Course at Sawgrass. I have played this course many times but not in the past few years. It was always very difficult but fun nonetheless because I can see the professionals play the same holes on TV.



Tee time on Thursday (Pacific time) for Tiger Woods, who will be paired with Charley Hoffman and Patrick Reed on No. 1 at Torrey Pines’ South Course for the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego. It will be Woods’ first start in an official event on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut at last year’s tournament at Torrey Pines, where he has won eight of his 79 titles.


Announced: By the U.S. Golf Association, that Kinloch Golf Club in Manakin-Sabot, Va., will play host to the 2020 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. Independence Golf Club in nearby Midlothian, Va., will serve as the stroke-play co-host for the Sept. 12-17 event. Kinloch, a 2000 Vinny Giles III-Lester George design, played host to the 2011 U.S. Senior Amateur.



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Kizzire on top 

Patton Kizzire's playoff victory in Hawaii, the ballistic-missile scare, a preview of the CareerBuilders Challenge and a quick look at Rory McIlroy's return to competition in Abu Dhabi. In Groove Up with Vertical Groove Golf, it's all about the new Vertical Groove 3-wood. In the Feature Interview with Morning Read's Alex Miceli, Bob Bubka and Alex discuss the new tax implications in 2018, with a little Tiger Woods talk for good measure.


Cleveland Golf introduced three new putters in its Huntington Beach Collection, the company announced. The 2, 8 and 11 models expand the Huntington Beach Collection to nine putter models. The new putters, priced at $99.99, will launch Feb. 16.


Golfzon will display its new Vision Compact simulator and the Arcade gaming software during this week’s PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla., the company announced. The Vision Compact offers consumers a smaller version of Golfzon’s hardware, at a lower price.


The Ben Hogan Equipment Co. announced the success of its factory-direct model of distribution and pricing, which launched in mid-2017. Hogan, based in Fort Worth, Texas, sells to consumers via


Weatherman introduced its Golf Umbrella model at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla. The product, available in 62- and 68-inch sizes, features Teflon-coated fabric and a mesh pocket on the inside of the canopy for dry storage.


January 21-24 Tour: Bahamas Great Abaco Classic
Abaco Club, Great Abaco, Bahamas
January 24-26
Industry: PGA Merchandise Show
Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.
January 25-28
PGA Tour: Farmers Insurance Open
Torrey Pines GC (South), La Jolla, Calif.
European Tour: Omega Dubai Desert Classic
Emirates GC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
LPGA: Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic
Paradise Island, Bahamas
January 26-28
Men’s amateur: Jones Cup
Ocean Forest GC, Sea Island, Ga.

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