Nicklaus, Norman, & Player Competing Once Again

No, they’re not competing on the course like we’ve all seen so many times before.  They are three of the eight finalists competing to design the 2016 Olympic golf course in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.  This will be the first time golf is being played in the Olympics since 1904.

The eight finalists will make their final 45 minute presentations to the selection jury on Tuesday and Wednesday with the hope of winning the contract for what will be one of the most important golf courses ever made.  Golf’s ruling bodies pushed extremely hard to get the game back into the Olympics and must have an absolutely perfect golf course.

The powers to be are banking on this re-igniting a global audience.  The game’s growth has stalled in the US and Western Europe.  They see potential for expansion in the burgeoning middle classes of Asia, South America, Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for October and has a two year time frame for completion.  A test tournament will be mandated in 2015.

Tips From the Pro – Short Putts Doesn’t Mean Gimmies

Chris Oleson, is the head golf pro at the University of Maryland Golf Course in College Park, MD.  He contributes to a monthly column on TheLocalGolfer.com called Tips from the Pro.

Short putts are very important, get in the habit of making them.  I watch many amateur golfers’ pickup short putts that are too long to be gimmies.  I also watch good players miss 2 and 3 foot putts.  Here are a couple of tips to make more short putts.

Remember to use an interim point that is closer to your ball as your target rather than the hole.   Try to hit your target, the ball may or may not go in, your job is to hit the target you establish.   Take a range ball and line the stripes up at your target.  Practice getting that range ball to roll so it looks like it has one stripe when it is rolling.  When you can do that, one stripe means the ball is rolling straight.

Distance (speed) control with putting is also critical.  Remember that the hole is the biggest the slower the ball is rolling when it arrives at the hole.  Mark O’Meara used to practice making short putts perfectly, so the ball would not touch the sides of the hole.  Go roll 3-5 foot putts and try to get the ball to fall perfectly to the bottom of the cup.  Combine these exercises of rolling the ball straight at your target with the correct speed and you will make more short putts.

If you have any questions please visit my site golfclubmd.com or email me at golfclubmd@gmail.com

NFL Pro Bowl Week – Golf in Hawaii?

As you can imagine, it’s been a tough week to be a Baltimore Ravens fan.  The two-week stretch between the NFL Championship Games and the Super Bowl could have meant so much more!  But alas, I’m forced to swallow my anger and turn my focus to, well, jealousy, as NFL All-Stars and Media have arrived in Hawaii for Pro Bowl Week.

I certainly understand that Greed is one of the Seven Deadly Sins, but then again, I’m dealing with 30-degree weather in the Washington, DC Region, and they are in Hawaii!  What hurts most of all is that they have access to some of the greatest golf courses in the world, while I’m trapped in Winter with my next round months away from being able to play locally — well, it does not hurt as much as the Ravens loss, but still a very harsh reality for a golf enthusiast.

Just a couple weeks ago, Johnson Wagner won the PGA Tour Sony Open held at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.  Wags turned in a final round 67 en route to taking home the $990,000 winning share of the $5.5 million purse. 

In the past, Waialae CC has also been host to the Pro Bowl NFL Charities Celebrity Golf Classic pairs Amateur golfers with current and former NFL stars, including current and former Pro Bowl players as well as members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  I could not confirm whether or not this NFL Golf Event will take place this year, but was able to locate information for the Seventh Annual NFL Charities Super Bowl Celebrity Bowling Classic, which will be held during Super Bowl Week at a local bowling alley in Indianapolis.

Don’t get me wrong, the Ravens loss stings — it stings badly — but it helps to learn of these wonderful fundraising events, and certainly facilitates the transition from football season to golf season.