Magicians on the European Tour

Promo video for the European Tour with some amazing tricks (I’m still not sure how he catches that ball) but perhaps the most impressive one was hitting an approach off the back of the club to within 15 ft of the hole. (Click here if you don’t see the player below).

There have been magicians on the pro tour for some time – check out this highlight of Seve Ballasteros putting magic at a 1984 exhibition match. (Click Here if you don’t see the player below).

Shot of the Year?

Another contender for shot of the year.

Bubba Watson is known for his distance and for his skill with a driver. But at this year’s Masters, he became known for his shot shaping.

After Watson and Oosthuizen recorded final rounds of 68 and 69, respectively, the two golfers found themselves deadlocked at -10 for the weekend. On 2nd playoff hole against Louis Oosthuizen, Bubba found himself in the trees with no direct shot at the green. What does a 40 yard hook with a 52 degree wedge look like? The picture to the right shows the flight of his ball, to within 5 feet of the hole.

What did the shot look like live? Check out the video below. Amazing.

Holiday Reading – “The Swinger” by Alan Shipnuck & Michael Bamberger

“The Swinger” by long-time golf reporters Alan Shipnuck and Michael Bamberger, tells the story of Herbert X “Tree” Tremont. Tremont was a golf prodigy who became the best golfer on the planet, a billionaire athlete recognized all over the world, and the center of a maelstrom when life came crashing down after his secret life of extreme infidelity and use of performance enhancing drugs was exposed. Sound a little too familiar?

Shipnuck and Bamberger don’t try to hide the fact that this “fictional” novel is thinly disguised as the Tiger Woods story we all know. But with their combined four decades of covering the PGA Tour, the authors provide a really great look at life behind the ropes of the PGA Tour – and definitely have a lot of fun with the story.

The first person narrative gives the book an easy flow and makes it easy you to put yourself in the shoes of the narrator. Just like the real Tiger story, after the scandal most fans seem to welcome “Tree” back with open arms and want to see him succeed. Tremont looks for redemption, has a renewed enjoyment of time the fans and his fellow players, and from the experience emerges as a much more humble and human person. I think most of us are still waiting and hoping for the real Tiger to perhaps take that cue.

Overall, “The Swinger” is a fun read, especially for anyone who is a fan of golf and the PGA Tour. It is a little bit like reading the book after you’ve already seen the movie, but the story keeps you on your toes with twists and turns as Tree’s life starts to fall apart all around him. It can be seen as a hopeful story for those that are waiting for Tiger to return to form, and emerge as the person many of us hope he can become.

@ Good Walk Spoiled

Top 100 Courses: #7 Merion Golf Club (East Course)

Merion Golf Club (East Course)
Location: Ardmore, PA
Architect: Hugh Wilson
Year Constructed: 1912
Played: June 20, 2008

Merion Golf Club . . . so much history has happened here that a book could be written on that alone. With a current count of 17 USGA events having been contested over Merion’s East Course that is more than any other course in the United States. Bobby Jones’ first major was the 1916 US Amateur played here, he won the US Amateur here in 1924 and of course his historic US Amateur win for the Grand Slam in 1930. Ben Hogan executed a miraculous comeback to the game here at the 1950 US Open after a near death automobile accident just 1 year earlier. Lee Trevino defeated Jack Nicklaus in a dramatic 18 hole play off to become the US Open champion in 1971. As much great history as there is, the story is far from finished for Merion. The USGA will be coming back to Merion for the Walker Cup in 2009 and the US Open will return in 2013.

Until 1941 when the club changed it’s name to the current version the club was known as the Merion Cricket Club. There are two courses here, the West and the more famous East. The club was originally founded in 1896 and played on the original golf course in neighboring Haverford. In 1910 the members decided to build a new course and sent member Hugh Wilson, a Scottish immigrant, to Scotland and England for 7 months to study golf course design. He returned with a head full of ideas and proceeded to layout the East Course which opened in 1912 and then the West Course which opened in 1914. That is a pretty incredible turn around time for getting courses built considering that it was done without the help of modern machinery in those days. Another amazing feat is that the East Course covers just 126 acres which is nothing compared to other golf courses. Augusta National covers almost triple that acreage at 365. If you want to get a chance at playing a Hugh Wilson course you have very few options. The only other courses he designed besides Merion’s East and West are Cobb’s Creek and the last 4 holes of Pine Valley.
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Now you really won’t ever get out of that bunker

This one is a bit over the top. If you’re a die hard golfer near Bellvue, WA, you can now spend eternity buried in a bunker at the Sunset Hills Memorial Golf Park.

Yes, you read that correctly. Sunset Hills has built a replica golf course/cemetery. This gives new meaning to being “dead” in a hazard. Be warned though, sand traps are reserved for cremated remains only.

The course will naturally feature a leaderboard where your name will be listed if you’ve reserved a “future tee time.” I guess you’re winning if you’re still upright?

Derek @