Tuesday

August Is National Golf Month, Consider A Fun Family Golf Event

We celebrate National Golf Month annually at the O'Shea Open, a fun, family golf tournament

We're two weeks into August which for some signals the waning days of the golf season... and inspires feelings of melancholy.  Personally, I don't see it that way at all, and I'm guessing you don't either. 

Most of the golfers I come in contact with, even here in CT where winters are often long, welcome the prospect of Autumnal golf with almost the same enthusiasm they reserve for those first Springtime rounds.  With the oppressive heat and humidity behind us and fall colors beginning to show their splendor, golf can be be sublime in September, and in these parts the luster often lasts through Thanksgiving. So... nothing to be morose about right now. 


In fact, let's get back to mid-August, because August is National Golf Month and we're only half way through it. 


It's a month to share and celebrate golf, in any which way you want... from playing a round, to attending a tournament, to introducing a friend to the game. It's all good, and there are myriad suggestions, promotions, tips and trivia to be found online and in communities around the world, that will inspire you. 


I'm happy to say, I've done a bit of everything so far this month; I spent a couple of days at both the PGA Championship and the Travelers Championship, played several twilight rounds with friends and introduced our 9-year-old nephew, to the game at our local par-three.
 

The O'Shea Open - Players of all ages & ability levels, 9 holes, with a family course setup.


Then, this past weekend was the O'Shea Open, an annual event that, to my mind, totally captures the spirit of National Golf Month. It's players of all ages and ability levels, 9 holes, with a family course setup. Best ball and teams of teams of 10... with a couple of cheerleaders along for the walk/ride. Yes, there are walkers and riders on each team and it's somewhat chaotic, but always fun. There's even a trophy, and we won it back this year, in a playoff. Exciting stuff. 
A quintessential American cookout follows the tournament in the shady picnic area beside the putting green. 

The thing is, I've seen many of these young, first-time players come back to the tournament over the years, having improved from taking lessons, practicing and playing regularly. From their first exposure to golf at this casual, quixotic outing these kids have clearly developed a love for the game. 


That right there is the spirit of National Golf Month.



Monday

An Exclusive Dispatch From The Women's British Open

The Impressively Swinging Mel Reid



Combine British wit, an astute eye for design and an unyielding dedication to sustainable golf and what do you get? You get Peter Gorse, the outspoken founder of "Golf Refugees".

Peter spent last week at the Ricoh British Open and wrote the following dispatch from the media center at Woburn Golf Club, especially for us.

Golf Media Mannerisms
On arrival you receive a gift. Only the British would consider giving an umbrella for a major sporting event in mid-summer. Each journo is allocated a desk facing a manually updated scoreboard, fortunately the door between the food hall is left ajar and the waft of the cooking keeps you on your toes.

There’s an itinerary of set media events, from press conferences with leading players, to a Championship photo call with the imaginative theme of a traditional English tea party. I didn’t want to be a party pooper, but as an Englishmen it was all new to me. Obviously they’ve never seen The Royle Family TV show by the late great Caroline Ahern

You can never guarantee sunshine in the UK, hence the modestly warm and dry start to the week was a golden opportunity to be out and about in the field, taking pictures of the world’s best female golfers. With a media pass you’re allowed inside the ropes to capture the best possible images. And here I came across my first issue with the Ladies European Tour police. It’s never a easy situation for a bloke to be told ‘you’re not big enough’.  In spite of all the correct paperwork my camera lens just wasn’t up to scratch in the ‘length’ department. To appease officialdoms, I simply stated, "size isn’t everything, it’s what you do with that counts". Alas, this didn’t wash, especially when other seasoned media bods were carrying around their massive male egos. My next line of defence was to quote from the late great photographer, Jane Brown, whose attitude was a stark contrast to her mostly male peers. Jane was supremely uninterested in camera equipment. She bought all of her cameras secondhand, and preferred working with a single lens setting, conspiring to make the environment fit the setting. All this fell on deaf ears and I was forced to seek a bigger lens. READ MORE --->

Saturday

Summer Golf Season - The Best Is Yet to Come

SUMMERTIME GOLF, LAST WEEK AT RICHTER PARK


All of a sudden... we're half way through summer.

For those of us in "continental" climate zones this is the heart of golf's high season... and here in the northeastern United States, the season's been pretty sublime so far; lots of warm, sunny days with uncharacteristically low humidity. 

I suspect I'm not alone in feeling a tinge of regret for not having played more these past few weeks... that sentiment seems to be a yearly ritual among the recreational golfers I know. Now comes the yearly commitment to get out there much more often during summer's second half.  Well, I'm on it! Despite the ill-timed heat wave due to descend upon us this weekend. 


OK, CALL ME CRAZY - MY GROWING COLLECTION OF VINTAGE GOLF SHOES



In addition to playing lots more golf, I intend to get back to writing about it... with regularity.  You see, `I've been on a bit of a blogging break while attending to family matters and focusing on creative projects in the non-golf world. The thing is though, my enthusiasm for golf... particularly its fun, flirty, fashionable side... hasn't waned one bit and happily, that side of the game finally seems to be coming into its own. 

A tsunami of innovative technology is allowing players and fans to engage with golf on a whole new level, across multiple platforms. Meanwhile draconian dress codes have all but vanished, yielding fairways and greens to more casual, fun and fashionable styles. A diverse crop of young players has added flair to the professional tours while new formats and updated attitudes are aiming to make golf more accessible and family-friendly for recreational players. 

So instead of lamenting the lost opportunities of the past couple of months this seemed like the perfect time to focus on golf again with a renewed sense of what makes the game so great. To that end, I hope to be playing watching and writing about it tons in the months to come. Here's just a bit of what I'm working on:


THE FINAL MAJOR - WE'LL BE AT BALTUSROL FOR THE 2016 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP


The PGA Championship! I'll be there next week with plans to focus on the fan experience, including a close up of Baltusrol... the course and the club house... as well as an inside look at the championship shops, and their vast selection of merchandise. Meanwhile, across the ocean the Ricoh Women's British Open will be taking place at Woburn Golf Club where the outspoken Peter Gorse of Golf Refugees will be our honorary correspondent, providing us with exclusive stories and unique visuals from this great event.  I'll also be sharing a fun story about my rapidly growing collection of... vintage golf shoes. 

And that's just next week.  Beyond that there's the Travelers Championship, here in CT at TPC River Highlands,  and later in August I'll be sharing my experiences at an unusual annual tournament that fully embraces the concept of family friendly golf... often with unexpected results. Oh, and there's the innovative new putter I've been playing with of late. It's a totally unique design... approved by the USGA... that's really working for me. 

So, check in regularly. There's still a lot of summer left, let's make the most of it.
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Friday

Golf's Intimidating Island Greens - 5 to try in Connecticut.

With its massive purse and unofficial "fifth major" status, THE PLAYERS championship is a perennial favorite of golf fans.

However, it's surely the iconic 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass that allows this tournament to transcend golf and capture the attention of the masses.

There's just something about an island green. The prospect of a sudden watery demise can play on the nerves of even the most experienced golfer, and high drama will often ensue.

It's a good bet there's not a golfer anywhere who's watched THE PLAYERS Championship without imagining themselves poised on that 17th tee, aiming for the island.

If a trip to Ponte Vedre Beach isn't currently in the cards for you, chances are you may be able to find a island green right in your own home state because, contrary to popular belief, island greens aren't all that rare.

Though they're not a traditional feature of golf course architecture, they've become quite popular since the mid-20th Century.  In fact here in my home state of Connecticut... without doing much research... I've already discovered five!

So check out your state's course listings, you may find an island green or two.  Meanwhile for those living in, or traveling to, the "Nutmeg State" this summer, here's what I've found:




Vineyard Valley Golf Course • 34 Brayman Valley Road • Pomfret, CT - It used to be a vineyard, now it's a 9 hole golf course... and the finishing hole on this scenic, steeply sloped course is an island green.
"The ninth hole is what Gus Loos, the designer of the course, considered to be eastern Connecticut's answer to the famous island green at the 17th hole at Sawgrass in Florida. Playing anywhere from 120 to 160 yards, the green is fronted by a watery marsh that has been and will continue to be the graveyard of many a good score."  
Chanticlair Golf Course • 288 Old Hebron Road • Colchester, CT 06415 - The 9 hole Chanticlair Golf Course has been in operation since the early 1970's in the scenic town of Colchester.  The island experience greets golfers on the 4th hole here.  • • MORE CT ISLAND GREENS

Thursday

A Women's Golf Wear Preview: Bobby Jones® Apparel, Clover Collection

Spring is in the air... and on the golf course... with the Bobby Jones Apparel Clover Collection for women.


Springtime is all about renewal. 

As the monochromatic winter wanes, we seek out color. In our homes, at work or on the golf course, when we think Spring, we tend to take our cues from nature. The acid greens of the season's first foliage and the bright hues of our favorite solstitial flowers. 

I've got to admit, the first thing that attracted me to Bobby Jones Apparel's 2016 Clover Collection for women were the colors... as pure and fresh as the nascent Spring. Functionality, was a close second. 

When it comes to golf apparel, functionality can make a marked difference: Strategically placed pockets, with non-slip zipper pulls and innovative, multi-tasking textile blends... how about polos with single-button closures and adjustable sleeves. These are some of the functional features that impressed me in the Bobby Jones Golf Apparel pieces I tested. They ensured maximum comfort, while adding adaptability and ease of use.



Then there are the intangibles. What a brand represents is a subtle but significant part of how it feels, and Bobby Jones Apparel is a legacy brand if ever there was one. Inspired by the golden age golf legend, known for his style, grace, humor and humility. 

Born on Saint Patrick's Day in 1902, Bobby Jones remains the only player in history to win the Grand Slam, and in the women's golf apparel collection, Clover by Bobby Jones, his legacy is represented by the four-leaf clover charm that Jones consistently carried with him. 

A nod to that lucky talisman can be found in understated clover accents -embroidered and embossed - throughout the collection. There's even a small four-leaf clover seal on each Clover collection hang tag. I've decided to use one of these as my own good luck charm this season. 

Initial Impressions

The golf season hasn't officially gotten underway here in CT, however some area courses have opened their fairways to impatient players, and a couple of days ago I grabbed my favorite golf partner - who also happens to be my twin - and we headed over to one such course to play a few pre-season holes. 

Though our golf skills were decidedly rusty... and the course not quite ready for primetime... our initial impressions of the Clover Collection were resoundingly positive. The fabric blends favor flexibility without sacrificing fit, and each piece we tested features distinctive styling details that set the line apart. Cathleen and I have agreed to play a full round in our Bobby Jones apparel next month and at that time we'll share a detailed review. As you may have guessed, we're looking very much forward to it. 


Women's Mitered Cable V-Neck Sweater in Cornflower *  Women's Supreme Cotton Polo in Amethyst
* Tech Burnout Hoodie in Green Apple * Sleeveless Tech Lace-Panel Polo in Melon * Tech Burnout Skort in Geranium


In the meantime check out Clover by Bobby Jones. The collection can be found at the finest golf clubs and resorts and on line at at bobbyjones.com . 

Sunday

That Magical Place Where March Madness Meets Golf Fashion

March Madness at the golf range


If you're not that into college basketball, and brackets just leave you baffled... or broke... this probably isn't your favorite time of year.

The fact is, March Madness can be extremely annoying for those who don't partake. For two weeks, you find everything from your local sports bars to your social media feeds overrun by legions of loudmouthed basketball people. They're often disgruntled and endlessly lament their ill-fated picks.

For golfers however, there's a bright side to these gray, late-winter days, and it can be found at your local driving range or golf practice center. Because... coincidentally... the perfect time to get your game in gear just happens to be the ideal moment to to enjoy relative solitude at the range. With many of the most egregious, self-appointed, swing critics otherwise occupied, an aspiring golfer can finally practice in peace.

To that end... and with a playful retro hoops nod to the bracket obsessed masses... I've styled the perfect outfit for ladies who wish to spend March Madness at the golf range and it's centered on the Women's Nike Blazer golf shoe. Created for LPGA champion Michelle Wie and inspired by basketball great George "the iceman" Grevin, this hybrid hightop is both functional and fashion forward.  It comes in several colors, but I chose the girly/badass hot pink/camo version and paired it with an Under Armour hoodie, camo leggings and a Bridgestone cap.

So there you have it, from Selection Sunday through the Final Four, you too can use March Madness to improve your golf skills, and with a bit of creativity, you can do it in style.



Monday

TEEBOX - Portable Power Source Keeps Golfers Fully Charged & Focused

Teebox - the golf accessory product that keeps you in charge... whether you walk or ride. Now on Kickstarter.

Golf, more than most sports, is a game of focus and concentration; a stray thought or minor distraction can easily sabotage a stellar round.

Whether you're on the cusp of clinching the club championship, or playing a casual nine with friends, it's always advantageous to eliminate those elements that take your mind off the task at hand... and for today's golfers there are many such elements.  Take, for example, technology: though we have a myriad of innovative apps... GPS range finders, game trackers and scorecards... easily accessible on our phones and devices, the challenges of keeping them charged adds a layer of distraction no golfer needs.

That's were Teebox comes in. Now available for funding on Kickstarter, this sleek golf accessory product serves as your golf organizer & portable phone charging station. Whether you're driving a cart or walking the course, Teebox keeps you powered up and focused. The thing is, it sits perfectly in your cart cubbies, but also fits easily in your bag... or in the basket of your push cart.  Pockets for golf tees and divot repair tools... snacks, sunscreen, cigars and more... means no fishing around in your bag wasting time and focus.  Best of all, this awesome golf organizer has a built in phone charging station. And its portable, so you can keep your device powered up no matter how you want to play... walking, pulling or riding (gas or electric). It's great for the range as well. 

There are tons of golf accessories out there but this really resonates with me. You see, I play with a variety of golfers, but whether it's the competitive ladies league or my husband and his hacker friends, our golf carts always seem to become a confusing jumble of... stuff.  Very distracting. Then there was the time my phone found itself on the receiving end of an extra spicy Bloody Mary. Not good. 

The Teebox will keep your cart cubbies under control and your devices high and dry... and fully charged, without fuss.   Have a look at Teebox in action on their Kickstarter video below and visit the Teebox Kickstarter page to support this fun project. I think you'll agree, it's a simple solution whose time has come.