Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tip of the Week - hitting the fairway on the first tee

Bryan Bush - a teaching professional from Charlotte - talks about a drill that will help you take hitting the ball straight on the driving range to hitting the ball straight on the first tee.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Golf balls and tees giveaway

Here's my first giveaway. I'm starting out small to see how this works. The winner gets a sleeve of two Titleist golf balls with Ford's Colony logo and tees. You don't have to sign up to leave a comment to be eligible for the prize. Just leave a comment, and you're in.

I'd like to try this once a week, but we'll see. If it works out, the prizes will get larger, such as a Michael Jordan multi-function golf tool, a golfer's cooler for the course and plenty of hats with logos of golf clubs from across the country. And these are virgin hats. You know me, I only wear UNC hats.

Anyway, here's what you're playing for. Good luck.

OK, here are the rules. Leave your favorite golf joke - or just favorite joke - on the post about the giveaway. Let's keep it semi-clean, please. No profanity. And make sure it’s not just a lame comment, like “Hi,” Love this” or “good job.” Those will be disqualified.

Please leave some way of me contacting you.

Winners will be picked by an Internet random generator.

At this point, U.S. addressees only are eligible.

Contest ends at midnight Eastern time Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009.

Disclaimer: Second Golfer and its author assume no liability for damages associated with any prizes awarded here or contents contained therein. Prizes lost in the mail or those not delivered by sponsors are not the responsibility of Second Golfer or its author. Prizes not claimed within two weeks of notification to the winner will have to be forfeited.

Entrants must be 18 years of age or older to enter, and entrants must follow state and local laws concerning sweepstakes.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sea Scape Golf Links

It makes sense that this course has links in its name. Much like Nags Head Links, Sea Scape Golf Links in Kitty Hawk features a Scottish links-style layout because of its proximity to both the sound and the ocean. But unlike Nags Head Links, no holes skirt the water, but you can see the Atlantic from a couple of the holes.

That brings wind into play, and I'm using that as an excuse on a couple of holes in which my shots came up short of the pin. And I know I hit good shots.

Regardless, I had the best round of my life. Even with three triple bogeys, I managed to finish with a 91. Granted, the par 70 Sea Scape is a short course - 6,131 yards from the tips - and features six par 3s and and two of its four par 5s are in the high 400-yard range. But I had six pars, including three in a row on the front nine.

Putting, I think, was the key. I was up and down six times on the front for a 44. Putting once on a green is pretty special, and several were from at least 6 feet or better. Putting on the back nine was not as good, but still not terrible.

The fairways are pretty wide open, but there's plenty of uneven lies along the way. And the waste bunkers full of sea grass and sand make it fairly challenging.

The picture of me is on No. 18 just after the round.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Nags Head Links

The name is dead on. Links style for sure.

The highlight of playing Nags Head Links today definitely was the back 9. With the bulk of the holes passing along the Roanoke Sound, the vistas are much better than the houses that you have to navigate on the front 9.

Nags Head Links is a shot-makers' course. With fairways that often narrow in the middle, plenty of forced carries and tall grass that reminds me of the heather in the U.K., accuracy is more of a premium than the long ball.

And the 360-yard par 4 No. 8, with its extreme broken dogleg, has several blind shots. In fact, in lieu of fore caddies, I think playing the course at least two or three more times would be the way to go.

I played the course with three new friends, Louie, Dave and Rick. And it's a good thing, too. If not for them, I wouldn't have heard such jewels as "That shot was either good or bad" and "If you hit it in the middle, then the fairway is wide enough." Thank goodness for new friends.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

OBX charity golf tournament

I just discovered another charity golf tournament that I'd like to let people know about. It's called the Mulligans Golf Classic, and it's set for Oct. 5 at Nags Head Golf Links in Nags Head. The tournament, a fundraiser for the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Virginia, is a best-ball format and is limited to 25 teams.

The owner of Mulligan's Bar and Grille, Gus Zinovis, started the tournament three years ago because his grandson spent a month there after he was born prematurely. Gus said he wanted to give something back to the hospital after the care his grandson received.

So if you're in the Outer Banks area in October, try to make it out there. To play, call Shannon Moody at 252-207-5391.

Here's a link to Mulligan's Web site:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tip of the Week - Irons - the downswing

This is the long-awaited next installment of golf tips from Bryan Bush, a teaching professional from Charlotte - the downswing.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Charity golf tournament

I'll be playing in a charity event in October at Northgreen Country Club. It's a fundraiser to help raise money so Tommy Ivey, a Rocky Mount pastor, can start a new homeless shelter in the city.

I'll have more information later, but I wanted to go ahead get the word out so you can save it on your calendars.

Oct. 16 at Northgreen Country Club
Noon registration
1 p.m. shotgun start

$50 per person; $200 a team
Mulligans will be available for sale, and prizes will be given for longest drives and closest to the pin.

For more information, call Bryan Bush at 704-302-4774

Thursday, August 6, 2009

More Buick Open Pro-Am

This is a story in the Rocky Mount Telegram about my experience in the pro-am.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

TGX Golf Radio

I was on a radio talk show today with host Ed Wanambwa, a golf guru/journalist/broadcaster/entrepreneur from Atlanta. We talked about the Buick Open, my recent trip to Europe, the Phil Ford Golf Classic and golf in general.

Plus, he had some other guests that brought up some interesting points about Tiger Woods, faith and golf and other interesting tidbits. It was a good show.

No more Buick Open

Well, it's official - Buick pulled it sponsorship from both the Buick Open a Warwick Hills in Grand Blanc, Mich., and the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines in San Diego, citing financial woes.

The Buick Open has been a staple on the PGA Tour for the past 51 years, so it's pretty sad. I know times are tough for General Motors, and I guess it was inevitable that this would happen.

The PGA said it was "very interested" in keeping a tournament in Michigan, so all is not lost for the area right now. But rumors are that the Greenbrier in West Virginia will be the site of a new PGA Tour event next year to replace the Buick Open slot.

The Flint/Grand Blanc/Detroit area is suffering through some tough times, and the Buick Open seemed like an oasis in their expanse of economic woes. And it's good that people remember and recognize this. The players certainly do.

Here's what a few of them said while I was in Michigan covering the first two days of the tournament when the rumors were flying and GM had yet to officially confirm that this would be the last Buick Open.

Tiger likened it a little to the Masters, in that the same volunteers show up year after year.

"It would be unfortunate," said Tiger Woods, who won his third Buick Open on Sunday. "Obviously this area's been struggling a bit, and as I said, I think the atmosphere, all the players have really enjoyed playing in front of the fans here. It is very intimate. You see the same people at same holes each and every year, and it is a venue that we don't get to play in front of very often. It's much more personal here.

"I think it's just how the people are. It's a smaller town. I think, as I said, you see the same people on the same greens, on the same tees each and every year. You kind of get to know them, say hi to them, how's everything going. You don't get to say that in any other tournament, except for maybe the Masters because some people have been going to the Masters for 50-plus years in the same seat. But that's basically the only tournament I've ever experienced that in."

Steve Lowery, who led after the first round, said he's been playing the tournament for the past 20 years, and he's disappointed.

"I think a lot of the players look forward to coming here," Lowery said. "The people are really nice. The golf course is enjoyable. I think guys look forward to it. I've been doing this out here for 20 years, and it's a place that I look forward to coming.

"You know, and it's just enjoyable. It'll definitely be missed. It's a great community, great place to play golf."

Jim Furyk talked about even seeing some of the same fans every time he came back.

"A lot of the same marshalls on a lot of the same holes," Furyk said. "Yeah. I've seen the fans. Definitely one, maybe two or three different places where the same fans, a lot of the same marshalls on the same holes, same rowdy people on 17."

Woody Austin said the longevity of the Buick Open is a testament to its quality.

"It's such a great event," Austin said. "An event can't be at a place for 51 years if it's not a good event, so there's obviously a lot of support in the community. There's obviously good people. Obviously Buick's been a great sponsor. So it's sad to see that it could possibly go away because it wouldn't have been here this long and be this popular if it wasn't."

And he also talked about the fans on No. 17 - the party hole. They added bleachers this year, and a beer tent was close by.

"I guess it was my first - since it was my rookie year, it was kind of my first experience with a rowdy crowd on 17," Austin said. "And I'd been playing with Freddie Couples the first couple days and having to hear 'Freddie, Freddie' always.

"So on Sunday when they were yelling 'Woody, Woody,' that was my first really good feeling of having a big crowd yelling my name. So I thought that was really cool. So I'll never forget that."

And I don't think anyone who had any connection with the Buick Open - whether they be fans, players, marshalls, standard-bearers or any other volunteer, official or reporter - will forget the Buick Open.

Monday, August 3, 2009

MNM Celebrity Golf tournament

I found out about this when I was talking to David Noel this weekend at Phil Ford's event. Looks like a good cause.

What a week

Actually, it's more like: "What a month."

In June, I was in Europe, playing golf at some very nice courses, particularly the ones near London.

Then, I was fortunate enough to play in the Buick Open Pro-Am tournament with K.J. Choi. I also covered the first two rounds of the Buick Open, watching Tiger Woods go for nearly worst to nearly first. He eventually won the tournament by three strokes, his 69th PGA win.

On Saturday, I spent the day, covering the Phil Ford Golf Classic, hanging around former Coach Bill Guthridge, Phil Ford, Walter Davis and David Noel.

Pretty nice month for me.

W.Va. Golf Hall of Fame opens

Phil Ford Golf Classic photo gallery 3

Phil Ford Golf Classic photo gallery 2

Phil Ford Golf Classic photo gallery 1

Phil Ford Golf Classic

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Phil Ford Golf Classic

I spent the day at the Phil Ford Golf Classic in Nashville, and now I'm writing a story for the Rocky Mount Telegram. I'll post some pictures later tonight.