October 2011

Today was supposed to be the last day of operations for Hillandale Golf Course in Durham, NC.  The long-time area staple planned to shutter operations as of today, but late last week, Sun Trust bank, the trustee of the course’s operating foundation, announced that it was extending the closure indefinitely so that a possible deal could be reached with the city of Durham to take over the course.

The course lost money for the last 3 years in a row despite getting 35k rounds played last year.  How did they manage that?  Well, the pro shop owner Zach Veasey has (had?) what I’m told is one of the best deals in golf.  The foundation receives revenues from the modest greens fees.  This money is used to cover all of the maintenance costs for the course.  Everything else including food and beverages, equipment sales, lessons, etc goes to Veasey.  Admittedly, he runs a great pro shop, but it does seem like it would almost impossible for a golf course to make money (or at least break even) when all of your profit generating revenue streams are going to somebody else.

Veasey’s contract to operate the pro shop runs until March of 2012.  The deal that looks to be coming together is that the city will take over ownership of the course from Sun Trust’s foundation.  Then former Hillandale pro Karl Kimball’s newly formed management company will then lease the course from the city and take over all of the operations, including the pro-shop, F&B, course maintenance, etc.  This will effectively eliminate the city’s risk in the deal.  The city had previously been hesitant to take over the course if they were going to have to inherit and continue with Veazey’s operating contract.

The plans for the course will be discussed at the city’s Nov 10 council work session.  Hopefully they’ll be able to come up with an agreement that keeps the course open and available to the residents of the Durham area.  It’s really a nice little course with very affordable rates.  It’s also walker-friendly, which is really nice these days when many (if not most) new courses are cart-only.

Review: Hirzl Gloves

by Derek on October 28, 2011

in Equipment,Reviews

Hirzl Trust Control, Trust Feel, Soffft Flex

I first came across Hirzl gloves back in January at the PGA Merchandise Show.  Hirzl claims that the gloves maintain or even improve their grip when wet and demonstrated this by spraying the glove down with water and then having you hit a few iron shots.  The gloves seemed to work and I was impressed.  So of course I jumped at the chance to conduct a longer-term review.  What did I think?  Click on continue to find out.

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Use your iPhone to improve your golf swing

by Derek on October 25, 2011

in Equipment

Mosoro has just released their new Bluetooth LE 3D Sport system.  You attach the sensor to your golf club (or really just about anything else) and it beams data back to your phone where your swing is re-created in 3D.

Mosoro 3D-Sport – a miniature USB thumbdrive sized motion capture product that contains an accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, and Bluetooth LE. 3D-Sport works by physically attaching the hardware to a piece of sports equipment and, over Bluetooth, the hardware “pairs” to a smartphone app that records how the piece of equipment moves in 3 dimensions during use (for example the ability to monitor how a golf club moves precisely during a swing). This data is then overlaid on a 3D model within corresponding smartphone app that shows the equipment moving.

Pretty cool, huh?


Meet the Jetson’s putting green mower

by Derek on October 25, 2011

in Equipment,Video

If George Jetson had a putting green mower this would be it.  Made by Precise Path, with ultrasonic transducers and an infrared receiver, the mower uses 5 beacons placed around the green to determine location and cut the grass to the proper height.

There are several benefits.  First, it doesn’t damage the greens when turning, like conventional mower can.  It’s also pretty quiet and frees up maintenance staff to do things like repair ball marks, rake bunkers, and mow the rough. At $30k, these mowers aren’t cheap, so don’t expect to see them at your local muni anytime soon.  But give it a few years and who knows, these things could become the norm at courses around the country.

Check out the video of the mower in action after the break:

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Google’s golf carts drive themselves

by Derek on October 23, 2011

in Equipment,Video

This is a pretty cool video showing some of Google’s self-driving golf carts.  They’re showcasing it as a cheaper alternative to their autonomous Priuses that could be used to move people around corporate campuses for example.

Google engineers have actually been using this system to travel between buildings at the Googleplex.  Once the carts arrive, they can either drive the carts to the final destination themselves, or sit back and enjoy the ride while HAL the completely friendly and benevolent golf cart takes you to your meeting.


hard arnold palmer

You will now be hearing that phrase at golf courses around the country.  Arizona tea is releasing a “hard” version of their classic Arnold Palmer drink (1/2 lemonade and 1/2 iced tea).  It will come in 12 oz. six-packs, 24 oz. cans and 32 oz. jugs, and will contain 5% alcohol by volume.  My only question is why no 40?

I may have to go pick up a few… strictly for research purposes of course :-)


I guess this really shouldn’t be that surprising coming from a guy with this golf bag, but apparently MJ decided to poke a little fun at Bill Clinton when they were on the golf course:

Clinton loves playing golf with athletes whenever he can. He’s played with Greg Norman, Adam Scott, Luke Donald and Michael Jordan, among others. Jordan coaxed him from the white tees to the championship tees by saying, “You’re going to play from the little girls’ tee?” Jordan’s challenge was for Clinton to break 100; he did.

The guys over at Yahoo Sports seem to think that MJ went too far and this was just another example of his general jerkiness.   I can’t speak to Jordan’s personality, but honestly the quote above just sounds like good-natured banter out on the golf course to me.  I am wondering what the bet was for though…


Ben Crane gets his first victory of 2012

by Derek on October 17, 2011

in PGA Tour

Ben Crane Video still Capture

My favorite slow-as-molasses but good humored golfer, Ben Crane, fired a final-round 63 to force a playoff with a red-hot Webb Simpson yesterday at the McGladrey Classic.  Crane won on the 2nd hole when Simpson missed a short putt.

I’m surprised Crane was able to focus given that his wife is scheduled to deliver their 3rd child today… but talk about having a couple of really great days!

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Meet the man behind Wienergate

by Derek on October 12, 2011

in Tiger Woods

Brandon Kelly Tiger Woods

This is Brandon Kelly, a 31-year old native of Petaluma, CA, but perhaps better known as the man that threw his [hot dog] wiener on the 7th green last weekend while Tiger was putting.

His explanation for the act?  Pure awesomeness:

“I threw the hot dog toward Tiger Woods because I was inspired by the movie ‘Drive,’” Kelly said. “As soon as the movie ended, I thought to myself, ‘I have to do something courageous and epic. I have to throw a hot dog on the green in front of Tiger.’”

I haven’t seen Drive yet, but I’m assuming from the trailers I’ve seen that there aren’t a whole lot of hot dogs featured in it.

Kelly posted on his Facebook page Sunday morning a photo of a hot dog in his hand in front of his vehicle’s steering wheel and speedometer. It was taken at about 7:15 a.m. Sunday as he drove from his home in Sonoma County to the golf tournament at CordeValle Golf Club south of San Jose.

If this guy isn’t a candidate for an involuntary 72-hour hold… well…

While at the Frys.com Open, he posted to Facebook: “Just got a bloody Mary. About to watch Tiger Woods play 18 holes.”

Ok, maybe this is starting to make a little bit more sense.  Well, not really, but at least we can assume he was well lubricated by the time he threw the hot dog heard round the world.

Press Democrat

Tiger Hot Dog Incident

I’m sure you’ve heard all about Tiger’s by now. Amazingly, it didn’t involve Tiger throwing his wiener around a Perkins restaurant.

Instead a fan yelled out to Tiger while he was putting and threw his [hot dog] wiener on the green, apparently in homage to his hero(?). Now we have video of the incident after the jump so you too can say that you saw somebody throw a hot dog wiener at Tiger.

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