by Gary Van Sickle

The business of golf has a buffet of problems. I’m going to add one more to the list: sticker shock.

Prices for top-of-the-line golf equipment have sneaked up to levels that make me and my wallet uncomfortable. (My wallet is a cheapskate.) Meanwhile, the number of avid golfers is declining. That’s not how supply-and-demand normally works. If demand slumps, prices typically fall, to increase demand. Is this going to end well for golf? We’ll see.


A local solution to the divot quandary
I would bet that most of us would be unfortunate enough to land in only a handful of real, bare-dirt divots in a year. Where the ball sits in the divot and how deep the divot is will determine whether it is a true penalty or just one that requires a little more concentration and execution of the shot.

But if the divot issue really bothers some players, they should go to their Greens Committee chairperson and request that the playing condition be changed to lift, clean and place. That would “...protect the field and make it a fair challenge to all,” as reader Dave Richner noted (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 7).



Number of times in the past 35 weeks that the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking has changed hands. England’s Justin Rose replaced American Brooks Koepka at the top, despite Rose having not played last week while Koepka finished 24th at the elite 33-man Sentry Tournament of Champions.


Elected: Marvol Barnard, as president of the LPGA Teaching & Club Professionals division, and Alison Curdt, as vice president, in a vote by members.



The PGA Show Golf Travel Pavilion will feature the game’s top destinations, resorts, tour services and travel products at the PGA Merchandise Show, organizers announced. The show will be held Jan. 23-25 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.


Caddy For A Cure will host its 12th annual Liberty Mutual Invitational on Jan. 14 at Parkland (Fla.) Golf and Country Club, organizers announced. The scramble tournament, which will benefit wounded military service members, will feature retired Army Maj. Gen. James Myles as the guest speaker.


Sun Mountain Motor Sports will introduce a single-rider electric golf cart at the PGA Merchandise Show on Jan. 23-25 in Orlando, Fla. The FinnCycle will be sold to golf courses via a revenue-sharing model designed to reduce buyers’ upfront costs. Sun Mountain Motor Sports, an affiliate of Sun Mountain Sports, will exhibit at booth No. 1787 at the Orange County Convention Center.


Planet by Lauren G will exhibit its country club and resort apparel for women at the PGA Merchandise Show on Jan. 23-25 in Orlando, Fla. Planet by Lauren G will feature its Effort-less Dress-up Casual line of clothing.


Sports psychologist Richard Trammel will attempt to answer one of the most perplexing questions in the game: Why do golfers choke? He will be available at 1 p.m. Jan. 24 in booth No. 1595 at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla.


T-Shotz, a golf and entertainment complex, will be coming to metro Kansas City, officials announced. The new 52,000-square-foot facility, which is expected to open in spring 2020, will be part of the Metro North Crossing Redevelopment. T-Shotz will feature 66 hitting bays on three levels.


World Emblem will exhibit at the PGA Merchandise Show on Jan. 23-25 in Orlando, Fla., company officials announced. World Emblem provides custom-embroidered patches, striping and other decorations.


V1 Sports, which produces video-instruction platforms for golf instructors, will team with OptiShot Golf and exhibit during the PGA Merchandise Show on Jan. 23-25 in Orlando, Fla. V1 Sports and OptiShot will provide professionals and consumers with real-time video swing demonstrations of its V1 Pro HD studio and V1 Pro App mobile platform. The companies will be located in booth No. 1259 at the Orange County Convention Center.


Golf Life Real Estate, a technology-services company devoted to connecting customers with golf-lifestyle real estate, will start its business on Jan. 20. GLRE, which is based in Boston, intends to help retiring baby boomers find a second home in a golf community.


January 9-12
Women’s amateur: Harder Hall Women’s Golf Invitational

Harder Hall CC, Sebring, Fla

January 10-13
PGA Tour: Sony Open in Hawaii

Waialae CC, Honolulu

January 13-16
Web.com: Bahamas Great Exuma Classic

Sandals Emerald Bay GC, Great Exuma, Bahamas

12700 Sunrise Valley Dr, Suite 300, Reston, Virginia 20191
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