My Past Year At TheLocalGolfer.com … How Time Flies!

Local-Golfer_2Local Golfer’s own, Keith Cook, takes a look at his first year at www.thelocalgolfer.com.

A GREAT YEAR . . . HOW TIME FLIES

One year ago this month, I joined LocalGolfer as a new writer on staff.  It was a great opportunity given to me and one I’ll always be grateful for. I mean, what a dream job . . . to get to write about the sport I’ve always loved, GOLF, for aLocalGolfer_Banner_300x250_01 growing and prospering website!

Growing and prospering, because in August 2013, golfers were visiting thelocalgolfer.com to find out about golf courses, write personal reviews of courses, and read course reviews from other members. The numbers for site visits (“clicks”) in 2013 were good, but looking back, the potential for future growth now seems obvious.

A year later, in August 2014, thelocalgolfer.com has now transformed itself into a site where golfers are visiting regularly, to not only read about and review golf courses, but also to read articles about amateur golf, professional golf, and the current topics affecting the world of golf. Golfers are now visiting the site more often and in greater numbers than ever before. THANK YOU!

Here’s a look at just a few of the numbers highlighting LocalGolfer’s successful year.

Courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos.net (ddpavumba)

Courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos.net (ddpavumba)

Since August 2013:

-       LocalGolfer.com’s membership growth is up 16% to over 12,000 members.

-       Big increases in site traffic, with a jump of 22% in the western United States alone.

However, www.thelocalgolfer.com is not just about tracking “clicks” or visits to the website. No, our priority is to provide you, the golfer, a reason to visit the website. Over the past year, we’ve dedicated ourselves to improving the way in which we present articles and information to the golfer. We’ve worked on our site layout, have incorporated better graphics, and have focused on providing interesting and high-quality writing on the latest topics in golf.

We will continue to strive to provide you all the best in in 2014 and beyond.

HIGHLIGHTS & MY LAST YEAR OF ARTICLES

From a personal perspective, this has been a great year in golf to write about. I have written almost 60 articles for the site in the past year, ranging from my first article discussing the 2013 Solheim Cup, all the way through to the 2014 PGA Championship. Below are my most “clicked” on articles from the past year. The subjects vary widely, but hopefully one or two sparked some interest, debate, and/or provided some enjoyment along the way.

Feel free to click on any (or all) of the articles and re-visit the topic, or enjoy them as a first read if you haven’t seen them yet.

Thank you once again, from www.thelocalgolfer.com for helping us to continue to grow YOUR website.

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.29.31 PMWhy We Yell “Fore”– And Other Golf Traditions.

-       A brief history of golf and the answers to some of golf’s most interesting questions *Why -  “Fore”, “14-clubs” and more.

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/01/yell-fore-golf-traditions/

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.33.42 PMIs “Golf” Feeling OK? I’ve Got Bad News.

-       A look at the reasons Golf is quickly becoming an isolated sport in America . . . but why we shouldn’t lose hope.

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/08/golf-feeling-ok-ive-got-bad-news/

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.31.30 PMMy golf ball hit a car/house/person: What happens next?

- It’s smart to know the basics when that awkward moment comes your way.

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/04/my-golf-ball-hit-a-car-house-person/

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.31.03 PMStriker Golf GPS-A Revolutionary Jump Forward In Golf Apps.

- Striker Golf GPS – Not just another golf app for your phone!

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/03/product-review-striker-golf-gps-just-another-golf-app-phone/

 

HistorianGolf “Experts” Are Everywhere!

- Three types of Golf’s “Experts” we all come in contact with on and off the course.

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/02/experts-everywhere/

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.50.52 PMIs It Just Me? Tiger Woods and Golf.

- Why does Tiger always seem to be the story?

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/07/just-tiger-woods-golf/

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.29.03 PMSergio’s Year? What Do You Think?

- A look at the beginning of a promising 2014 for Sergio Garcia.

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2013/12/sergios-year/

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.52.27 PMMcIlroy Connects With Fans During Flight Delay

- Rory McIlroy takes time with fans over Twitter during a flight delay.

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/02/mcilroy-connects-fans-flight-delay/

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.32.19 PM2014 U.S. Women’s Open-Tournament Wrap-Up.

- Michelle Wie wins the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open!

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/06/2014-u-s-womens-open-tournament-wrap/

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.33.14 PMTeam Spain “Crowned” Champions at 2014 International Crown!

- Country versus Country: Eight Teams started, Team Spain “Crowned” Champions after 4-days of stellar golf!

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/07/international-crown-tournament-team-spain-champions/

 

 

 

My latest:

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 9.03.33 AM Rory McIlroy, “Golf’s Next Superstar?”

- Rory McIlroy is now on the larger radar of the sports and news world as “Golf’s Next Superstar!” . . . “Welcome to the Conversation.”

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/08/rory-mcilroy-golfs-next-superstar-welcome-conversation/

 

LocalGolfer-info card

 

Editor’s Note:  Our motto, “Serving golfers with the best—Above all the rest,” is the driving force behind what we do. Keith Cook embodies that motto. When we say, “Find only the best” at LocalGolfer.com, whether it’s looking up a course, reading a course review by real golfers, like you, keeping a handicap, booking tee times, or commenting about what you see and read on the site, we strive to give it our all for our members each and every day.  Please let us know how we are doing with a comment in the comments section, or writing us at info@localgolfer.com  We’d love to hear from you. 

BIO: Keith Cook is a Writer and Contributing Editor for localgolfer.com. He is a retired 29-year US Military Veteran and Ashford University Alumnus living in Michigan. Follow Keith and Local Golfer on Twitter @_KeithCook and @LocalGolfer

Read more from Keith, Click here

Gunn Yang Wins 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship

114th U.S. Amateur Championship conducted by the United States Golf Association

(Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

(Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Gunn Yang, 20, of the Republic of Korea, defeated Corey Conners, of Canada, 2 and 1, in the 36-hole final match Sunday to win the 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club’s 7,208-yard, par-71 Highlands Course.

Gunn Yang celebrates with his caddie Richard Grice (Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

Gunn Yang celebrates with his caddie Richard Grice (Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

“I was just trying to make it to the match-play portion, really,” said Yang, a San Diego State University sophomore who had back surgery in May 2013. “That was the goal, first of all. And then when I made it to the match play, I was like, maybe I can do this. I was just trying to go through by every single match, just trying to play my game and trying to see how it goes, and I got the trophy. So, I’m really excited and really happy about it.”
Yang, who grew up in Korea and played competitive amateur golf in Australia for five years, is the second Korean-born player to win the U.S. Amateur, joining Byeong-Hun “Ben” An, who claimed the title at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., in 2009.
Conners, 22, a recent graduate of Kent State University in Ohio who lost to eventual champion Matt Fitzpatrick in the 2013 semifinals, was vying to become the first Canadian winner since Gary Cowan in 1971. He was the first player since Patrick Cantlay in 2010 (semifinals) and 2011 (final) to advance to at least the semifinals in back-to-back years.
Yang, who was playing in his first U.S. Amateur after qualifying on July 21 at Hacienda Golf Club in La Habra Heights, Calif., held a 1-up lead through the morning 18 holes. He never trailed in the match.

(Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

(Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

“I haven’t won a tournament for a long time, like maybe five or six years,” said Gunn. “I was going through my injury, also. I was just trying to play my game. Obviously, it just popped in my head that if I beat Corey, then I win the trophy. But, I was just trying to concentrate and just trying to hit balls and just put it next to the hole and make the putt.”
Conners, a member of the Canadian national team, won the first hole of the afternoon 18 to square the match and that status held until Yang won the 24th and 25th holes for a 2-up advantage.
Yang led 1 up through 28 holes when the match was suspended at 4:25 p.m. because of dangerous weather. Both players had hit their drives in the fairway on the 29th hole. Play resumed at 6:02 p.m.
“He struck the ball great,” Conners said of Yang. “He made a lot of key putts when he needed to and didn’t really have any weaknesses out there. He didn’t give me any openings to climb through.”

(Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

Gunn Yang proudly displays the trophy after winning the 2014 Men’s Amateur (Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

Yang’s sloping, 18-foot birdie putt on the 32nd hole pushed him to 2-up. Conners, the Mid-American Conference co-player of the year, missed birdie opportunities on the next three holes and Yang’s two-putt for a halving par on the par-3, 35th hole closed the match.
“Especially the second round, I had a lot of looks for birdie,” Conners said. “I had a bunch of birdie tries. I thought I hit nice putts. They just slipped by and that was kind of frustrating not to have any of those drop and win some holes.”
Yang receives a gold medal and custody of the Havemeyer Trophy for the next year. By virtue of reaching the U.S. Amateur Championship final, Yang and Conners each earned an exemption into the 2015 U.S. Open – provided they remain amateurs – and a likely invitation to the 2015 Masters Tournament. The champion receives an exemption into the 2015 British Open Championship.
All quarterfinalists earn an exemption into the 2015 U.S. Amateur at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club.

For more USGA News click here

 

The Weekend Wrap-up in Professional Golf (17 Aug 2014)

Golf Writer, Keith Cook, provides the Weekend’s Wrap-up of the Winners, Losers, and Other News from the LPGA, PGA, Champions, and European Tours!

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 8.33.16 PMWEGMANS LPGA CHAMPIONSHIP

Photo Courtesy: LPGA.com

Inbee Park // Photo Courtesy: LPGA.com

PITTSFORD, N.Y. /// The fourth Major Championship of the 2014 LPGA season, the Wegmans LPGA Championship, had its fair share of drama and suspense. Birdies, bogeys, and double bogeys all around . . . and that was just in the leader’s group. Overnight leader, and leader for the majority of the final round, American Brittany Lincicome, looked to be the favorite, but heartbreakingly three-putted the 18th hole to fall into a playoff with South Korea’s Inbee Park.

The playoff lasted just one hole with Lincicome not able to get up-and-down for par and Inbee Park sinking a 2-foot par putt for the win. With the win, Inbee Park now adds an impressive victory to her resume and a fifth Major Championship to her record.

The LPGA’s fifth, and final Major of the season, The 2014 Evian Championship, will be held at the Evian Resort in Evian-les-Bains in southeastern France, September 11-14, 2014.

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 8.38.32 PMWYNDHAM CHAMPIONSHIP

Photo Courtesy: PGATour.com

Camilo Villegas // Photo Courtesy: PGATour.com

GREENSBORO, N.C. /// Firing a final round 63  . . . perfectly bookending his first round 63, Camilo Villegas, took home the 2014 Wyndham Championship. Funny thing was, when Villegas finished his round, he felt he was one stroke shy. “I was hoping for a playoff,”  Villegas said.  “I thought I needed one more (stroke).”  Turns out Villegas didn’t need any help, and watching the rest of the tournament comfortably from the scorer’s tent, found himself once again in the winner’s circle as the rest of the field struggled to get in. With the win, Camilo Villegas is now a four-time PGA Tour Winner and captures his first win since 2010, at the Honda Classic.

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 8.40.34 PMDICK’S SPORTING GOODS OPEN

ENDICOTT, N.Y. /// I’m sure even the Champions Tour would admit, the press and worldwide attention that came with Kevin Sutherland’s  59 in Round 2, will continue to be the story of the tournament; maybe even as much as the win by tour superstar, Bernhard Langer.

Photo: Chris Condon/PGA TOUR

Bernhard Langer // Photo: Chris Condon/PGA TOUR

With the 59 in Round 2, Kevin Sutherland made golf history and cemented his name in the record books as the first golfer to shoot 59 on the Champions Tour. Sutherland was unable to follow up his amazing round with the win, shooting a +2 / 74 final round score, finishing in a tie for seventh with five others.

Tournament Champion, Bernhard Langer, always seemingly solid in the face of pressure, once again took care of business and captured the title by one stroke over Mark O’Meara and Woody Austin. Langer’s final round -6 under/66, for a -16 under total for the tournament, seemed almost effortless as he continued to make birdies down the stretch. With the win, Langer secures his 5th victory of the season and takes his all-time Champions Tour victory total to 23.

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 8.32.25 PMMADE IN DENMARK

Marc Warren // Photo Courtesy: EuropeanTour.com

Marc Warren // Photo Courtesy: EuropeanTour.com

AALBORG, DENMARK /// Scotland’s Marc Warren held off Welshman Bradley Dredge to capture his third win on the European Tour and his first win since the 2007 Johnnie Walker Championship. Warren, firing a final round -3 under/68 in gusty winds and rain said, ”It feels incredible . . . today I kept telling myself I was swinging the club really well and I was confident in what I was doing.”  The final round was really only a two-person race, with Warren and Dredge holding the tournament in their hands from the start of the round. In the end, Warren (-9) finished two strokes ahead of Dredge (-7) for the win, with Dredge finishing a full 3-strokes ahead of third place finisher England’s, Phillip Archer (-4).

 

Editor’s Note:  What do you think about LocalGolfer’s new “Weekend Wrap-up” format? Is this something you would like to see us continue in the future? Please share a comment in the comments section. We would love to hear from you. 

BIO: Keith Cook is a Writer and Contributing Editor for localgolfer.com. He is a retired 29-year US Military Veteran and Ashford University Alumnus living in Michigan. Follow Keith and Local Golfer on Twitter @_KeithCook and  @LocalGolfer

Read more from Keith, Click here

Why I Play Golf: A Case Study in Manliness–Revisited

“I’ve mellowed out on the course since then. I haven’t even broken a club in a few years. But golf remains the most clarifying thing in my life. . . . Instead of focusing my pain and anger, I focus the pressure and the love into that same ball.”
A GolfInRain pic

Golf is life.

The other day I played a round of golf. I was alone; it was cold and pouring rain. It got me thinking about what it is that drives me to play this game. To most people, golf is just a bunch of rich old white guys hitting a little ball around a park; and on the surface, I tend to think that’s pretty accurate. But for me (and for many others), it’s so much more.

I’m not exactly what most people would call an “alpha male.” I’m laid back. I go with the flow and I definitely don’t take charge. I often let my emotions get the best of me, probably to a fault. I appreciate things like music and art more than most and the physical aspects of my job makes the IT guy look like an oil rig worker.

So, it’s strange that I have about every “guy” hobby that you can have.

I watch (and re-watch) football games to see who missed a gap assignment. I play pickup basketball at the gym (even though I’m awful). Heck, for a while I even played poker as my main income. I never really found the juxtaposition of my personality and hobbies odd until somebody cracked a joke about it. However, I realized that they were absolutely right, and I wanted to know why.

My Dad is an old-school tough guy. A whiskey and beer drinking ex-cop who I’ve watched kick a couple asses. I know if you ask them, everyone thinks they have the coolest Dad ever. But mine, he was a bad-ass tough guy who acted like a big kid. He was always my idol growing up and he still is today. Almost all of my vivid and cherished childhood memories involve sports and my dad.

When I watched from his lap as the 1991 Washington Huskies won the National Title, it stuck with me. We danced in the living room when Edgar Martinez doubled down the left field line to beat the Yankees in 1995. The most vivid of all those memories is when we beamed with Seattle pride as Fred Couples won his Green Jacket in 1992.

My love of golf correlates directly with Couples’s rise to the top of the golf rankings. It wasn’t even a month before that Masters that I got my first set of clubs on my 7th birthday. I can’t even count the times I threw on my bag and rode my bike down to Lynnwood Golf Course to practice. I did that a hundred times a year, all the way until I missed the golf team (by one damn stroke) during my freshman year of high school. I finally took a break, and it wasn’t long until my break became a de facto retirement. It wasn’t long after that I gave up all sports (and machismo by extension) completely. Watching, playing, caring. I mean, hell, I was a teenager and I thought I had more important things to do.

Flash forward about 8 years. I was 22 and my dad sat me down and told me he had cancer. It was the hardest thing I’d ever had to cope with. I was angry, and confused, and sad, and all I wanted was to do was wake up from this nightmare. But I couldn’t this time.

It was those crystallizing and defining sports moments that I turned to for comfort. I started watching Husky football and Mariners baseball again. I bought a set of golf clubs and went back to Lynnwood Golf Course; the one where I played my first full round on my 8th birthday. All of these things brought me some comfort, but it was golf, specifically, that was the perfect catharsis. I could focus my anger and pain on that stupid little ball and just smack the hell out of it.

I’ve mellowed out on the course since then. I haven’t even broken a club in a few years. But golf remains the most clarifying thing in my life. I have a family of my own now, and being on the road as much as I am is pretty trying. Instead of focusing my pain and anger, I focus the pressure and the love into that same ball. I started my website because I get bored in hotel rooms and I wished there was a resource like this for me. But, I golf because some day I’m not going to be able to give any more wisdom and advice to my son.

Life is better through golf.

Life is better through golf.

I golf because I want my Son to be a better Dad than I am and will be. I think that’s all any parent wants for their kid.

My Dad beat his cancer. In fact, he’s beat it twice now (I told you he was a bad-ass). So when he had to give up golf last year, I decided to play his driver for the season, and when he’s ready, I’ll cut it down so my boy can play the same club. We don’t have any real family heirlooms, so I decided golf would be ours. I can’t think of a better one than the game that has given me so much.

As long as I can remember, my dad has been the picture of manliness; while I’m not sure if it’s a primal instinct, or just social manipulation, I’ve always gone out of my way to be “manly” because of it. However, it’s only in the past few years that everything has come into frame on what masculinity really is. It isn’t football or hunting or being strong. It’s not drinking or being a tough guy. Being manly is always striving to make things better, for everyone. For me, that’s giving the world another person or two who will always strive to make the best choice, and golf is my vehicle to accomplish this.

Author’s Update: It’s been 2 years since I published the original version of this piece and my Pops is going strong. He still can’t play golf because of his back, but I know he’s hoping to get back out there someday. My son is now 3 1/2, and he’s starting to take an interest in the game. He’s got one of my old putters and he chases around a pack of Wilson Titanium that I got for him. I haven’t cut down that driver yet, but he’s getting close and I can hardly wait to take him to the course.

Editor’s Note: We saw this on Bryan’s blog.  It was worth revisiting.  When we talked to him about reproducing it on LocalGolfer.com, we asked if he would provide an update…as noted above.  We are glad that that Pops is well, and wish him a speedy trip back out to the links.  Now, we ask why YOU play golf.  We’d love to hear from you.  Write us at info@localgolfer.com or leave a comment below.

Bryan McLeanBryan McLean is a young traveling professional based near Seattle, WA. His job takes him around the Northwest where he has indulged his affinity for golf by playing nearly 200 courses in Washington and Oregon. Sensing a dearth of honest content in the Northwest golf scene, he started his website golfbybryan.com in 2012. He can also be found ranting on twitter @golfbybryan.”