Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Caddie Magazine



It is rare that there is something new and exciting in the world of golf. Usually you have variations on a theme, a driver is new and better than the old driver and gets you one more yard of distance. You like golf podcasts and subscribe to 12 of them? Get ready to hear the same guest cycle through them over the course of a week.

So when I heard about Caddie Magazine I thought, do we really need another golf magazine? The answer is yes, most definitively YES! This magazine is so different from your typical golf magazine it is like a breath of fresh air. No swing tips, no club reviews that you have a vaguely sneaky suspicion are a lot more glowing that true, no fawning puff pieces of golfers or the tour.


Instead you have contemplative pieces about golf in New Zealand. You have a travelogue about playing golf in Nepal and Afghanistan. You have an interview with the new face of golf rather than the faces you have watched a million times.

What the magazine really reminds me of is Surfer Magazine. Rather than rehashing the latest and greatest in surfing, the magazine takes a more introspective journey into the nature of surfing and what a surfer's place is in the wider world. Caddie magazine seems to be seeking out a similar headspace in golf which is sorely needed.

Golf need more soul and substance and Caddie gives it to you in spades. Sadly it only comes out twice a year and costs twice as much as any other golf magazine but it is twice as valuable and I will be a lifelong subscriber. 



For more information on Caddie Magazine check out the link: http://www.caddiemag.com/

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Countdown To Sand Valley Post 1


I am so stoked to report that I will be visiting Sand Valley this summer as part of a marathon Midwest golf trip and as I don't have a lot of golf experience in  Wisconsin, Illinois, etc. I thought I would fill you guys in on my preparations for the big trip!

Getting There:

I am flying into Chicago and Sand Valley is way up there in Northwestern Wisconsin near the small town of Nekoosa. One thing you can count on with Mike Keiser golf resorts (like Bandon) is that they are going to be OUT of the way and you have to earn your tee time just getting there.

Personally, I can't wait for a roadtrip and I am already planning on hitting courses in Wisconsin (Lawsonia) and in Illinois (Black Sheep or Harborside) on the back and forth.

Weather:

The first thing I always research for any golf trip is the expected weather when I am going to be there. Deep in the heart of August, Wisconsin has some crazy weather highs and lows. The max temp seems to be 93 and the low is 45 and August looks to be in the middle of the pack regarding rain.

Given all of this, I think I am definitely packing light (shorts, lots o' sunscreen not so much jackets) and maybe a few light layers if it cools off at night.

Food:

I am really interested in the food philosophy of the resort as once you make the trek there, I hear the food prices are not just reasonable but at a low cost. Outside of the resort, I have been hearing about these Supper Clubs in Wisconsin. Supper Clubs are a relic from the era just after Prohibition where liquor licenses were granted to restaurants outside city limits. I really would like to go to one of these!


Bon Mot About SV:

You don't think of the desert when you think of Wisconsin but due to the geologic process over millions of years, yup there is sand in Sand Valley!


I will be fascinated to see just how sandy it is there is Wisconsin (just as long as there is no sand in my cheese I will be happy!).

For more information on Sand Valley, check it out here: http://www.sandvalleygolfresort.com

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Fighting The Judge


As many of you may know, I occasionally write golf articles for the great Twitter Hashtag Chat #GolfChat. I have a new article up today regarding the stuffy attitude golf has about clothing on the course. Check it out and let me know if you agree with it (or not)!

http://www.golfchat.org/smails-mindedness/

Any copyrighted material in this or the GolfChat article are used for review and commentary purposes only. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

David L Baker Golf Review


Most golf courses have names that paint a picture in your mind. Rustic Canyon, Hidden Valley, Cypress Point. I am always intrigued by courses that go in the opposite direction, naming a course after a specific person. So I was interested in playing the David L. Baker golf course in Fountain Valley the other week.

As you can see from the plaque above, the course is named after David due to his efforts of making the Mile Square project happen (which also includes another golf course and recreation areas for the residents.


The course opens up for a short par 3 then a straight ahead par 4 and continues on with a few par 3s in a row followed by a par 4. The par 3s often have water protecting them which requires a greater level of precision than most executive courses demand.


The course is a pretty straightforward affair, it is all laid out ahead of you but there are bad sides of the holes to be on and the course can bare its teeth if asked. Perhaps the best hole on the course is the par 4 9th which is 310+ yards with netting to the left and water to the right. It is a real tester of a hole.


I had been told in advance that the real slow down in the course happens between holes 12-15 and boy was that ever the case. You have a driveable par 4 followed by a short par 3. Rinse and repeat again and you have a 4 hole stretch where I saw groups peeling off to replay other holes on BOTH the front and back sides rather than playing that 4 hole stretch.

Now I really liked these holes but I also see from an architectural perspective how they completely kill the momentum of the course and I am not quite sure what the solution is. Modern technology and a golfer's overinflated sense of skills contributes to everyone thinking they can drive the green. If you combined some of the holes and say reduced it to a 12 hole course, you would get a tremendous amount of interesting holes and still keep the pace of play to 3 hours or so.

While I doubt DLB would reduce their holes, overall the course IS a really nice executive course that let's you stretch most of your golf muscles. Despite holes 12-15, the pace of play was still 3 hours for 18 holes, which you can't beat with a stick. If you are looking for a quick round near Huntington Beach, DLB is the course for you.

For more info on David L Baker check out this link: http://www.davidlbakergc.com/


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Pacific Gales Is Coming


I have been following the Pacific Gales project for some time and now that the environmental permits have been secured, it is full speed ahead on one of the most intriguing new course projects in North America. The project came about due to Jim Haley who saw potential in a ranch on the Pacific coast when he was working at Bandon Dunes. Nothing is created overnight and Jim has been hard at work on getting this off the ground for decades.

With the gang up at Bandon going crazy with acquiring and developing, Oregonians were understandably concerned about the environmental impacts of the development. However, the people at PG has taken great pains to minimize the environmental impact of the project.

The course is also taking a rather unique trip down the financing river as it is pre-selling memberships to "Founders" and once they have enough Founders signed up, they will break ground. Often golf course owners have a dream, spend a lot of money to build and then hope. PG wants to make sure the interest is there for before truly getting going. I have explored the perks of membership and it's pretty sweet. Unlimited golf for life with no dues, preferred tee times and significant discounts and other perks, being a Founder ain't cheap but its a good deal if you can swing it.

Don't worry, Founders won't get all the fun. The course will be open to the public so you will get to play this baby once it is up and going!


As a budding golf architect aficionado (I'm currently on a quest to play all the Coore/Crenshaw courses: http://www.coorecrenshawquest.com/),  I was interested how the mechanics of designing a golf course in the far reaches of Oregon. I have heard rumors about Pacific Gales like a double green for the ninth and eighteen holes and am genuinely curious about what its like to design a course in such a remote part of the country. Luckily I was put in touch with one of the club's founders and architect for the project Dave Esler.

Dave is the architect behind the under-the-radar Black Sheep course outside of Chicago which is creating a lot of buzz in golf circles and has designed and renovated several other golf courses around the country. I had a Q&A with Dave that I hope gives you a sense of what its like to work on Pacific Gales:

ReGripped: Looking through your design portfolio, it seems that you have been mostly involved with designing or renovating inland golf courses. I imagine designing a seaside course like Pacific Gales allows you to work with new types of grasses, weather patterns and other on-the-ground elements. Has there been something site-specific that has particularly affected your development of Pacific Gales' layout so far? 
Dave Esler: More than any other factors, the physical site and the local environment needs to drive the design decisions for a project to develop a unique character or sense of place, and that's certainly important to me on every project. The seasonal wind shifts, soil types and exceptional views at Pacific Gales have got the team thinking about a lot of design opportunities that may not present themselves on other sites. We always strive for "par-fluidity” throughout a routing, and at least half the holes at Pacific Gales will be "par and a half” to instill a sense of fun and adventure to make the golf course unique among its peers.

RG: Do you have any architectural flourishes that you like to incorporate into your courses (similar to Pete Dye's railroad ties)? I really like what you did at Black Sheep and Twin Orchard incorporating islands/ribbons of grass into bunkers (at least in the few pictures I have seen). Can we expect to see anything similar at Pacific Gales? 
DE: I think you'd see that those two properties could not be more different. Everything I try to design (new, remodel or restored) is site, client, market, and owner specific. I'm sure we all have tendencies, or proclivities, but I rarely try to repeat myself, though I'm sure it happens. I think I would go nuts if I did the same thing over and over again. Part of the appeal of the game of golf is the uniqueness of each playing field, and I really strive to explore and develop the genus loci at each project.

RG:Will the golf course be walking only or will there be golf carts available to golfers? Relatedly, are you going to have greens and tee boxes relatively close together in a Scottish style or will the course be more spread out over the 200 acres? 
DE: With or without carts, we plan to develop a vibrant caddie program for walkers, and requiring forecaddies for groups who may take carts. Having seen the life-changing benefits of programs like the Evans Scholars, Daniel Murphy Scholarships, Francis Ouimet programs, et al, we absolutely plan to give back to the community in that regard. I grew up caddying, so the final decision regarding carts is a tough one. Having said that, paths are very easy to camouflage and would provide a unique benefit for our clientele. I think (Gulfweed’s) Brad Klein told me that our Black Sheep routing had one of the shortest green-to-tee walk distances he'd ever measured, and that was certainly intentional. I've always liked the intimacy of tees being proximate to the previous green whenever practical. That self-imposed tendency really forces the routing to be very carefully thought out. In the end the quality of a golf hole will almost always win out, but disjointed routings tend to be a crutch, particularly on housing-free projects.



RG: What was the inspiration for the double green for the ninth and eighteenth holes?
DE: Symmetry, serendipity, hard work? The routing took a while to coagulate (it is still solidifying a bit, and will certainly get tweaked even through construction), but I discovered No. 17 pretty early on and that helped set the finishing holes as well as the clubhouse location. We also knew pretty early that we needed to be different in many ways from Bandon and allowing both nines to finish on the ocean with the clubhouse overlooking the cliff, sunsets and 9th and 18th greens was a pretty terrific find and an easy decision to stick with. The fact that there is mild promontory at just the right location was very fortunate (just like Pete Dye has noted about Casa De Campo having several concave shorelines rather than convex ones made all the difference at Teeth of the Dog — but knowing what to do with it requires some creativity, experience, and in his case, genius). The double-green finish at Pacific Gales, is *not* a wink to St. Andrews or anything like that. It is just a function of the amount of space provided by the site at that particular place for that unique desired use; two large greens on an outcropping on about a half acre means that they need to be proximate to one another — and in this case absolutely breathtaking.

RG: Are you anticipating more holes being built above and beyond the initial 18? How many courses could potentially be built on the property?
DE: Nearly everyone asks about the additional courses on site now, probably because Mike Keiser has made the multi-course project almost an assumption now with Bandon Dunes, Cabot and Sand Valley. The property is certainly large enough to accommodate more golf at Pacific Gales, but at this point we are focused on creating the best golf course and destination golf experience possible.

RGFinally, all the best new North American courses seem to be in ultra remote locations like Bandon Oregon, Mullen Nebraska, Inverness Nova Scotia, etc. Pacific Gales is following in that mold with its construction near Port Orford Oregon. Are there any particular challenges in building a course in such a remote part of the country? 
DE: Most new projects are "off the grid" a bit and require fuel, materials, equipment to be shipped in. But unless you're on an island or significantly remote so as not to have paved roads, the logistics are not too bad.  

Thanks Dave for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it!

I am stoked about Pacific Gales. There are so many distractions in today's world. If you want to experience golf in its natural, wild state, you need to travel a few miles to get to the special clubs. Pacific Gales has the chance to be one of those special places and I can't wait to see what they do up there. I will let you know if I hear any updates about this track!

For more information on Pacific Gales, check out the link: http://pacificgales.com/
For more information about Dave Esler's design projects: check out this link: http://eslergolf.com/



Photos Courtesy of Pacific Gales- all rights reserved to them

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Live Masters Blog Day 4 - Sunday



I am not sure what is better, a packed leaderboard or a leaderboard full of stars? Today starts off with Rickie, Justin, Jordan and Sergio all firmly in the mix. Who will win? Let's find out together below!

4:30pm PST: There it is, the unbelievable has happened. After kicking ass on the front 9 and completely falling apart on the back 9 but somehow coming back from the dead Sergio birdies the first playoff hole and wins the MASTERS!!!!

There are winners and losers of the week but recaps seem beside the point given what we have just witnessed. All the props in the world to Sergio.

Thank you everyone for reading this live blog and following my tweets over the last 4 days. See you next year!

4:10pm PST: Welp both missed those putts below meaning we are heading to a playoff. Who knows who is going to win this thing. Sergio has hung tough all day but does he have enough to dig deep for the next hole? We will see.

4:00pm PST: Are you kidding me?



3:40pm PST: Justin makes a birdie and Sergio, who is closer, misses! Justin ahead by 1 although now Sergio just outdrove Justin. Sergio is running out of holes and it probably will all come down to 18. #pinsandneedles

3:30pm PST: INSANITY! First part of the day Sergio could do no wrong. Then the wheels fell off any Justin Rose was totally in control. Sergio battled back, Justin (maybe?) hurt his back and Sergio snags and eagle and a share of the lead heading into 16. Craziness!


3:05pm PST: Potentially Lexi Part Duex? Geoff Shackleford and other commentators have maybe pointed out some potential rules violations from Sergio.

https://twitter.com/GeoffShac/status/851191491011768320

Did anyone else notice these instances? What did you think, penalty strokes and do we need any more Lexi situations in golf?

[UPDATED] Augusta National has said NO PENALTY, strokes and score remain the same.

2:50pm PST: The only thing holding Sergio back in majors was his mental makeup. He has admitted time and time again he is either over it or can't hack it. Here he was, kicking butt on the front 9 and then blammo he runs into a wall of his own doing, Justin makes a few birdies and Bob's your uncle Justin is going to win the Masters. It happened just that quickly.

2:30pm PST: Freddie ends his day with a 72 and +1 for the tourney. Yet ANOTHER Top 20 finish for my favorite of all time. In all honesty I don't think he has 4 rounds in him to contend in the tourney but boy what excitement in wishing and hoping he could. He will always have 92 and all of our hearts!

2:05pm PST: One of the nice things about watching the Masters has been the civility of the fans. Through three days it has been about the golf but on Sunday, for some reason, the patron's voices are starting to be heard. Someone just said on the telecast "ham and cheese" after a Rickie Fowler shot. Early someone had a "babba booey" on the first tee. Honestly, the tournament is not about YOU as a fan, it is about THEM as a golfer. This narcissism absolutely infuriates me.

1:30pm PST: As the Masters is starting to turn into the Sergio show, I have been finding some other cool Masters stuff from around the webs. Exhibit A, a great photo of Augusta's layout to give you a real sense of the property.


Here is a great article from Golf Monthly about the speed of Augusta's greens.

http://www.golf-monthly.co.uk/tour/us-masters/augusta-blog/127020-127020

12:55pm PST: Sergio continues to pour on the gas and no one in the other 4 are either making a charge or are too far back. This is Sergio's tourney all the way.

12:20pm PST: I would like to point out that 4 of the 11 names on the leaderboard are former winners of the Masters. Clearly experience counts for a lot here.

12:00pm PST: Golf like all sports is about momentum and I would argue Jordan's momentum was stopped yesterday with a bogey on 16. Meanwhile with a birdie on 1 Sergio has all the momentum in the world and it's his tourney to lose at this point.

11:15am PST: CBS has gotten a lot of flack recently for not producing a quality golf product where they used to be the standard bearers of golf coverage. Lack of ProTracer, too many commercials and too much in-round filler, indifferent commentary. It sounds like they have listened to many of the complaints starting out of the gates with a lot of golf shots, then the schmaltzy intro then more golf shots. Coupled with the fact that the Masters limits the amount of commercial time then CBS does much better working within constraints.


That being said, AGNC has to loosen up and allow for shot tracking technology. CBS should also keep the lessons born from constraints and apply it to the rest of the year. Still though, its the Masters and CBS gets through it and delivers us golf fans the fix we need.



11:00am PST: The Masters is the highest rated golf tourney of the year so of course CBS wants to milk that for as long as they can but at 2pm in the East and the leaders are 45 minutes away from even teeing off? The pace of play this week has been slow (due in part to the abnormal conditions on Thursday and Friday) but whew is it going to be a long day with a such a late start.


10:25am PST: So word on the street is that Danny Willett is playing at Forest Hills Golf Club prior to the green jacket ceremony and got me thinking, what other courses are in Augusta and ones that you can play during Masters Week?

Forest Hills Golf Club: About as close as you can get to ANGC on a public track, Danny picked a great course to play at today. Their Masters Week special of $160 is a spicy meatball and I imagine event at that price point the course will be packed.
Augusta Muni: On the other side of the street from Forest Hills, the Muni has a very reasonable $50 fee for non-residents. It also seems like a really friendly course having followed them on Facebook.
River Golf Club: Just across the state line in Hammond's Ferry the Riv looks like a classic river course with nice amenities. The course offers an "all in" package with greens fees carts lunch, etc. although rates aren't on the website.
Jones Creek Golf Club: A little bit further away from ANGC, Jones Creek also has a Masters week package but is the most expensive of the options so far, $225 a golfer. That is a spicy Georgia peach.
Gordon Lakes Golf Course: Further afield on a military base is Gordon Lakes. It has 27 holes and a low civilian rate of $27. I am not sure how hard it is to get on given that it is a military base but during Masters week it is cheap and close and worth trying to figure it out.

9:55am PST: Kyle Porter announced that won the lottery to play Augusta National on Monday, one of the few media members who get the chance to after the tourney. Considering how exclusive the course is, I think I have to start looking into getting a press pass (this live blog will get me there right?).

If you want a great write up about media members playing the Monday after, check out this link. http://www.espn.com/golf/masters07/columns/story?id=2838289&columnist=diaz_jaime

9:35am PST: When you think about, can you name someone who has had a more disappointing Master than Hideki Matsuyama?


The guy rocketed up the World Rankings, won a BUNCH of tournaments and then over the last month has slowly been getting worse and worse. Still thought, he was a huge favorite at Augusta but he never was in it and currently us at +4 and just going through the motions. If his game is on, he is unstoppable but if he has to grind (a la Jordan), I am not sure if he has the game to compete at Augusta. That being said Hideki is super young and he has plenty of time to figure out the course.

9:25am PST: Good morning live blog readers! It is yet another Masters Sunday and I am yet again blogging my crazy musings to the world. As always the features groups are off first including the ever ageless Steve Stricker. I swear this guy is going to be playing until he is 90. I have yet to get my Masters setup fully in swing but that will happen before the leaders tee off!


All photos, screengrabs and intellectual property are used herein for news and commentary purposes only.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Live Masters Blog Day 3 - Saturday

Here it is moving day. Who will move into the first page and who will move out? Who will give me Masters tickets for next year? Who? Who? Who? Find out below!

4:00pm PST: Ok Masters Recap Time, Saturday Edition.

They call Saturday "moving day" for a reason and with Justin Rose going five under, Jordan going four under and Schwartzel at four under, a lot of guys made big moves to put them into the conversation.

Meanwhile Rickie, Sergio and Hoffman didn't have quite the same type of days but all did just enough to stay either tied for or near the lead. So what is store for tomorrow?

I think looking at it from a momentum perspective everything is coming up Justin at this point. The guy has the game and he played the most solid of the top guys. Jordan is dangerous when he is chasing but his mistakes on the back 9 keep happening. At this point I think its Justin or bust but really anyone on that first page has a shot. See you tomorrow for more live bloggin!

3:10pm PST: Sergio and Rose are playing super solid golf. Super solid. It will be interesting to see who Hoffman is paired with tomorrow and how that effects his round.

Jordan meanwhile just can't get through the last 3 holes without some sort of mistake. Last year when he was down to Willett and pressing he needed birdies and couldn't convert on the last 3 holes. I think if Jordan is going to seriously challenge tomorrow he needs to go out in 4 or 5 under on the front side.

2:45pm PST: When there were only a few TV channels everyone had a shared experience of watching events like the Masters. Everyone remembers Jack's charge in 86, Freddie staying up in 92 or Tiger in 97. Now with multiple feeds on multiple platforms, my Masters experience is much different than yours (maybe). For example, I have been staying off the main feed for most of the day and switching back and forth between Amen Corner and Featured Group action.

I have barely seen any of Hoffman or Garcia or Rose. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the flexibility that multiple channels affords but at the same time I don't have the same sense of the tournament this year. I am in a CoupleofRahms/Spieth land but I have vowed for the last hour to follow the main feed to see what everyone else is up to.

2:30pm PST: We are watching something special right now with Jordan Spieth and that just goes to show you that no one knows what is going to happen at this tourney. It has been hours since I blogged about CoupleofRahms and Hoffman/Garcia aren't exactly lighting the tournament on fire. But who is?

Jordan, Jordan Spieth. Mr. Masters. Had a terrible Thursday, almost completely out of it but he is charging up the leaderboard and is currently one back. I learned this awhile ago, NEVER bet against Jordan at this course.

2:00pm PST: Jordan has been watching a lot of TV, to his benefit:

Before his 2nd shot off the straw at 13, Spieth said to Michael Greller "What would Arnie do?" Answered himself "Hit it to 20 ft." Close.

1:45pm PST: One of the things golf commentators often remark about Jordan Spieth's game is that he knocks it around the park and is all over the place and yet grinds hard and is more often than not is in red numbers. He never gives up despite the odds and just grinded out two amazing back to back par saves on holes 10 and 11.



1:25pm PST: CoupleofRahms are both back up to -2 and are inching closer to the lead as Hoffman and Garcia are both stuck at -5. Golfers are threatening to go low but no one has really broken out of the pack with a sub-68. Jordan meanwhile has an amazing up and down to stay at -3. He is turning into Amen Corner now which he hasn't exactly excelled at this week. Jordan doesn't have many flaws in his Masters game but the back 9 has been much crueler than the front 9 that's for sure.

1:07pm PST: Jordan stuffs it close for another birdie. If there is one guy who knows this course inside and out and has the game to go low its Jordan. Before the tourney Jordan had this to say:

“I think we know, and the other players that are playing next week know, that we strike fear in others next week,”

It will be interesting see if Jordan is only a few shots off come Sunday if the field does feel fear a la the heyday of Tiger Woods. There are horses for courses and Jordan is quickly joining Freddie has that type of horse.



1:00pm PST: Jordan must have been listening to me as he just birdied a par 5 and even had a great look for eagle. What about everyone else?

The leaderboard at the moment looks like a repeat of Thursday with Hoffman and McGirt on top. Rickie and Sergio really haven't made any moves and Pieters is going in the other direction. Paul Casey, yet another pre-Masters darkhorse is blitzing the field and is currently -4 for the day. If Casey is near the lead come Sunday, he has got the game to challenge anyone.

12:45pm PST: Aside from CoupleofRahms, I am a huge Jordan Spieth fan. Jordan is always a threat to win at this tourney but he is 4 strokes back of the lead. The key for him today is to go super low on the par 5s where he has been horrible this week. A quadruple birdie coupled with a bogey has left him cumulatively +1 on the par 5s for the week. If he wants to make up strokes on the field he has to birdie the last three par 5s (he parred the first one today).


12:35pm PST: CoupleofRahms Update 2: Rahm falls back to -2. Two birdies and a boegy he is a bit feast or famine. As I mentioned on Friday's wrap up, once Rahm figures out this course, watch out.

Couples stays steady at -2. That is not to denigrate what Freddie is doing. He has had several birdie putts not fall so far. If his putter catches fire then he could really go on a run. Of course, he has to stay away from the par 3s which he butchered yesterday. Time will tell.

12:25pm PST: Every year I add one item to my Masters collection. I have never attended a tourney (anyone want to give me a ticket to 2018?) and I can only imagine once I get there how much stuff I am going to buy in person. I hear that they provide you lockers for your schwag and even shipping services. Until that glorious gluttonous day happens I take a sip out of my Masters Cup!


12:15pm PST: First CoupleofRahms update. Rahm is pulling an early Rory by going 2 under for the first three holes. Freddie is hanging in there with a -1 under. Of the two I have to confess that Rahm has the game at this point to go really low and Freddie hasn't played 4 rounds in awhile. Still you hope that they feed off each other.



12:00pm PST: Ok FINALLY DirecTVs feed is on the air. DirecTV basically mirrors the internet feed but brings it to you in HDTV. At this point in our modern era, with a million channels and bandwidth, there is no reason not to offer fans as much coverage as possible on as many platforms as possible.

That being said, every April I fall down on my knees and thank the Golf Gods (TM) for partnering with DirecTV because it is the best way to experience the Masters that I know!

11:45am PST: Almost everyone is on the course at this point except the lead dogs. Rory must have read my post below because he is already 2 under for his round. Freddie and Rahm are holding steady at 1 under. Jordan isn't making up any ground at the moment and while he has plenty of holes, he has to get going.

Can anyone really make a move a post a sub-68 today? If so, they will be in prime position for later today.


11:05am PST: Rory tees off.


It will be interesting to see if he takes my "advice" and stop pressing so much. He has all the talent in the world but I think you can want something too badly it severs as a detriment to your goal. Of course, watch him go out and shoot 65 today to shut me up but at 11:05 I am standing by it.

10:45am PST: Ooof seeing the scores of some of the guys I picked this week scroll across the screen makes me question my golf fandom. I thought for sure Kevin Kisner and Daniel Berger were trending in the right direction and would do something this week but that was not to be.

It looks like it is heating up there in Augusta. The patrons are wearing shorts. The golfers aren't wearing jumpers. Does this mean scores will be lower today? The announcers seem to think not given the flag locations but looking at the early morning groups I think many of the positions are gettable.

10:15am PST: I played a bunch of golf in Virginia but not much in the Carolinas-Georgia region of the country. Certainly the South has a lot of trees (at least many more trees than SoCal) and the courses tend to be narrower in those regions. However the Carolinas-Georgia courses have an added feature of pine straw to help golfers.

I always think about pine straw when I watch the Masters because I see golfers hit it WAY off line only to be bailed out because the trees aren't thick and the pine straw holds up the ball a bit. Sure you have to learn how to hit off pine straw but I think you have a lot more leeway with a straw course.

#lookatthatstraw

9:45am PST: Yea, yea, yea featured groups, big names but only the Amen Corner Coverage has Jeff Knox. Knox is now a local legend (and even has a Swing Juice shirt!) and you can catch him live and direct on the Amen Corner feed right now!


9:20am PST: A Tradition Unlike Any Other here on the blog is bringing you the best in Masters schwag each year. Look back to my Thursday and Friday posts for Masters-specific gear you can rock for 2017. This morning Golf.com posted a subsection of schwag, the Masters-inspired schwag that you can rock.

http://www.golf.com/equipment/photo/2017/04/06/masters-2017-best-augusta-themed-golf-gear

None of this is particularly exciting to me and I think the inspiration for this stuff has steadily gone downhill each year. That being said, I am a HUGE fan of Swing Juice shirts (I have several) and I am glad to see them included in the list!

8:55am PST: What is really interesting about watching two golfers play AGNC is that you really feel like you are following them on the golf course. You see them wait, you see them judge yardages, hit shots, everything that goes into a round of professional golf. TV gives you the impression it is shot, putt, repeat but there is a lot of waiting and walking and judging that goes along with it.

#waiting

8:35am PST: Ok, our first featured group is Brandt Snedeker and Matthew Fitzpatrick. I really like these guys for very different reasons. Brandt is a super solid guy who put together one of the best rounds of the last 5 years winning the rain-soaked Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Matthew is a super young gun out of Europe who seems like he has a bright future ahead of them.


That being said, each is +5 (of course Brandt rolls a birdie in as soon as I type that) and while not technically out of the tourney are so far back they will be having peach ice cream sandwiches way before Jordan or Rickie or Sergio tee off. What I get out of these early groups is a sense of where the pins are and how the course is playing for when the later groups come through. Grist for the mill as it were.

8:15am PST: Ok while Masters coverage is currently blacked out, you can use the Masters shot tracker to follow your favorite golfers who are back of the pack. The only downside? There is no Jeff Knox tracker.

To help fill in the blanks, I thought I would list some great sites/social media accounts you should follow over the course of this weekend:

1) Augusta Chronicle. This newspaper brings it every year with great articles and content and is a MUST follow during the tourney. You can check out their Twitter account or website.

2) Kyle Porter: When you think Masters you think CBS. Sure ESPN has Thursday and Friday but CBS gives you the meat and potatoes. The CBS golf bench is deep but one of the best sure is Kyle and you can check him out on his Twitter account.

3) Humorists: These guys bring the funny and you should be following them to get a good laugh when things get too serious on the telecast:

NoLayingUp
WrongFairway
(Not)JeffKnox
RaeRaesCreek

7:55am PST: It is Saturday and the day I think things really shake out on the leaderboard. They call it moving day for a reason and it will be fascinating to see where we are at the end of the day.

Of course, I am SUPER excited that Jon Rahm and Fred Couples are playing together. If they are a featured group, I might just focus on them the entire time but don't worry, I will focus on EVERYTHING Masters this weekend ;).


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