Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Wickenburg Rach Golf & Social Club Collects Top Golf Advisor Honors

(Wickenburg, Ariz.) – Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club’s Big Wick Course recently collected top honors from Golf Advisor in the website’s listing of best courses of 2017. Golf Advisor, the leading source of golf course ratings and reviews by golfers, for golfers, voted Big Wick No. 1 in the United States for Course Conditions, the No. 1 Golf Course in Arizona and No. 9 overall in a ranking of the Top 50 Courses in the U.S.

According to Golf Advisor, course scores are based on their overall rating and subcategory average as voted on by Golf Advisor readers. Courses need a minimum of 10 reviews over the calendar year to be considered for their Best-of rankings. Golf Advisor is the leading source of golf course ratings and reviews by golfers, for golfers. Golf Advisor’s community of golfers share their first-hand experience at thousands of courses worldwide to help other golfers decide where to play their next round.

“We are honored that Big Wick is ranked on these Golf Advisor lists,” said Bill Brownlee, partner of M3 Companies, development partner in Wickenburg Ranch, and a co-designer along with Wendell Pickett of the Big Wick. “We artfully designed both courses to ensure that Wickenburg Ranch is among the state’s most enjoyable and elite golf experiences, and our presence on these lists is proof of that.”

The Golf & Social Club is the centerpiece of the Wickenburg Ranch community. The club’s 18-hole par 71 course, known as Big Wick, opened in 2015. Since opening, Big Wick has received numerous accolades including being named No. 4 on Golf Digest’s list of “Top 10 Best New Courses in North America” in 2015, named a “Top 5 Best Courses to Play in Arizona” by Golfweek in 2017 and No. 94 on Golfweek’s 2018 list of “Best Residential Courses in the U.S.”

Wickenburg Ranch, an active lifestyle resort community in historic Wickenburg, Arizona, is in a class by itself. Developed by Phoenix-based M3 Companies, the resort community offers a one-of-a-kind lifestyle, with beautiful homes from three feature builders. The dramatic desert surroundings and first-class amenities invite you to come outside and play.

Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club will ultimately become an exclusive private club reserved for members and their guests. For a limited time as the community builds out, the spectacular club will be open to a controlled amount of unaccompanied non-member play.

Troon, the leader in golf course management, development, and marketing, manages the golf and club operations at the award-winning facility located just outside of Phoenix.

For additional news and information, visit www.Troon.com.

Golf’s New World Handicap System Designed to Welcome More Golfers

USGA and The R&A Release Key Features

(LIBERTY CORNER, N.J.) -  The USGA and The R&A announce key features of the proposed new World Handicap System (WHS), designed to provide all golfers with a consistent measure of playing ability globally.    

The idea for a new, unified system was conceived by the USGA and The R&A and developed following an extensive review of systems administered by six existing handicapping authorities: Golf Australia, the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) in Great Britain and Ireland, the European Golf Association (EGA), the South African Golf Association (SAGA), the Argentine Golf Association (AAG) and the USGA.

The new system will feature the following:

     •  Flexibility in formats of play, allowing both competitive and recreational rounds to
     count for handicap purposes and ensuring that a golfer’s handicap is more
     reflective of potential ability

     •  A minimal number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap; a
     recommendation that the number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap be 54
     holes from any combination of 18-hole and 9-hole rounds, but with some discretion
     available for handicapping authorities or national associations to set a different
     minimum within their own jurisdiction

     •  A consistent handicap that is portable from course to course and country to
     country through worldwide use of the USGA Course and Slope Rating System,
     already successfully used in more than 80 countries

     •  An average-based calculation of a handicap, taken from the best eight out of the
     last 20 scores and factoring in memory of demonstrated ability for better
     responsiveness and control

     •  A calculation that considers the impact that abnormal course and weather
     conditions might have on a player’s performance each day  

     •  Daily handicap revisions, taking account of the course and weather conditions
     calculation

     •  A limit of Net Double Bogey on the maximum hole score (for handicapping    
     purposes only)

     •  A maximum handicap limit of 54.0, regardless of gender, to encourage more
     golfers to measure and track their performance to increase their enjoyment of the
     game

Quantitative research was conducted in 15 countries around the world, through which 76 percent of the 52,000 respondents voiced their support for a World Handicap System, 22 percent were willing to consider its benefits, and only 2 percent were opposed. This was followed by a series of focus groups, in which more than 300 golf administrators and golfers from regions around the world offered extensive feedback on the features of the proposed new system.
This feedback has helped shape the WHS, which has been developed by the USGA and The R&A with support from each handicapping authority as well as the Japan Golf Association and Golf Canada.

Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA, commented, “For some time, we’ve heard golfers say, ‘I’m not good enough to have a handicap,’ or ‘I don’t play enough to have a handicap.’ We want to make the right decisions now to encourage a more welcoming and social game. We’re excited to be taking another important step – along with modernizing golf’s Rules – to provide a pathway into the sport, making golf easier to understand and more approachable and enjoyable for everyone to play.”

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “We are working with our partners and national associations to make golf more modern, more accessible and more enjoyable as a sport and the new World Handicap System represents a huge opportunity in this regard.

“We want to make it more attractive to golfers to obtain a handicap and strip away some of the complexity and variation which can be off-putting for newcomers. Having a handicap, which is easier to understand and is truly portable around the world, can make golf much more enjoyable and is one of the unique selling points of our sport.”

The tenets of the new system focus on three main objectives: to encourage as many golfers as possible to obtain and maintain a handicap; to enable golfers of differing abilities, genders and nationalities to transport their handicap to any course globally and compete on a fair and equitable basis; and to indicate with sufficient accuracy the score a golfer is reasonably capable of achieving on any course around the world, playing under normal conditions.  

Given worldwide alignment towards a single system, all parties will now embark on a two-year transition period targeting implementation in 2020.  When adopted, the World Handicap System will be governed by the USGA and The R&A and administered locally by the six existing authorities and national associations around the world, with safeguards included to ensure consistency as well as adaptability to differing golf cultures.

The six handicapping authorities represent approximately 15 million golfers in 80 countries who currently maintain a golf handicap.  

The announcement is the latest step in a multi-year collaboration between The USGA and The R&A, as well as handicap authorities and national and regional golf associations around the world to introduce one set of Rules of Handicapping, aimed to support modernizing, growing and improving accessibility of the sport.

As an extension of their support of the Rules of Golf worldwide, Rolex has made a commitment to support the USGA’s and The R&A’s efforts to implement a World Handicap System.

To provide feedback to the USGA on the new World Handicap System, email us at whsfeedback@usga.org, or see usga.org/whs. Golfers are encouraged to follow and join in the conversation on social media by using #golfwhs2020.

For more information, visit www.usga.org and www.randa.org.

Academy of Golf Art Member Artists to Attend Opening Reception for Exhibition in Augusta, Georgia

(WESTHAMPTON BEACH, New York) – The Academy of Golf Art (www.academyofgolfart.org) announced that several member artists will be in attendance at the official opening reception March 8, 2018, for The Academy of Golf Art: Artists of the Game, an exhibition to take place Feb. 24–May 13 at the Morris Museum of Art, in Augusta, Ga. Dr. Robert Jones IV, grandson of legendary golfer Bobby Jones, will be the reception’s featured speaker, at 6:00 p.m. Jones is a clinical psychologist in private practice in suburban Atlanta.

“Artists at the opening reception will be available to talk with those in attendance at the opening reception before Dr. Jones begins his presentation,” said George Lawrence, president of the Academy of Golf Art, “in a casual meet-and-greet format.”

Academy artists who plan to attend the opening reception include: David Coolidge, Glenn Davis, Linda Hartough and George Lawrence.

The opening reception will be open to the public. Admission is free for Morris Museum members, or $5.00 for non-members. There will be no reserved seats; seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Jones’s presentation will include stories about the founding of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, as well as anecdotes about his father, grandfather and longtime Augusta National Chairman Clifford Roberts. His talk will last 45-60 minutes and will be followed by refreshments.

The Academy of Golf Art will mark its fifteenth anniversary with The Academy of Golf Art: Artists of the Game, a special exhibition which will encompass Masters week.

Featuring the Academy’s member artists only, The Academy of Golf Art: Artists of the Game will be the Academy’s first-ever comprehensive exhibition, with every member artist represented. Works to be displayed include sculpture; paintings in oil, pastel, watercolor and casein; and photography. Standard museum admission prices will apply.

“We invite everyone to join us to experience the game through our eyes and hands at one of the most respected museums in the South,” said Lawrence.

A total of 27 works will be on display by member artists Richard Chorley – Hertfordshire, England; David Coolidge – Naples, Fla.; Glenn Davis – Hurst, Texas; Leslie B. DeMille (deceased, 2017); Dom Furore – Traverse City, Mich.; Linda Hartough – Okatie, S.C.; George T. Lawrence Jr. – Westhampton Beach, N.Y.; Brad Pearson – Holdrege, Neb.; and Noble A. Powell III – Port Hueneme, Calif.

The exhibition will coincide with the 25th annual Morris Museum Gala.

For more information about the Academy of Golf Art, see www.academyofgolfart.org or email info@academyofgolfart.org.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Headlines New Courses Offering StrackaLine Greens Guides

Golfers Can Use Same Greens Guides Professional Golfers Are Using to Aid Putting

(SAN DIEGO, Calif.) – The Ocean Course at Hammock Beach, a highly acclaimed Jack Nicklaus design in Palm Coast, Fla., headlines a quartet of courses recently scanned by StrackaLine that now offer professional greens guides to golfers.

Winter Haven (Fla.) Country Club, The Club at Savannah (Ga.) Harbor, and Onion Creek Country Club have also joined the StrackaLine family.

The Ocean Course, which reopened in late 2017 after completing a renovation in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, is a consensus top 100 public layout. Winter Haven is one of Central Florida’s most prestigious private clubs, Savannah Harbor, a Troon managed course, plays through the historic city’s tidal wetlands, and Onion Creek is one of Central Texas’ most storied clubs.

“We are delighted to offer StrackaLine Greens Guides for the Ocean Course, Winter Haven Country Club, the Club at Savannah Harbor, and Onion Creek Country Club,” said Jim Stracka, president of StrackaLine. “All four courses offer a premium experience, and our StrackaLine Greens Guides will help golfers play their best. The StrackaLine library now includes more than 700 courses and it’s growing.”

StrackaLine scans courses for $1,500 and that includes 100 greens guides for resale. The scanning process takes five hours to complete and is unobtrusive to the golfer experience.

StrackaLine’s quality and accuracy have led to widespread adoption on the PGA, LPGA and Web.com tours, in addition to their use by more than 300 Division I college teams.

The greens maps, which feature easy to read arrows, allow players to view contour and fall lines, in addition to slope percentage, anywhere on the green.

StrackaLine now has 700+ courses scanned, including some of the nation's most prominent layouts. Use of the greens guides at the highest levels of the game surged throughout 2017, and the company now counts nearly every Division I golf program, including last year’s national champions, among its users.

Professional usage has helped drive interest in the StrackaLine Greens Guides, and the technology is just as valuable to "regular" amateur golfers hoping to improve their score.

For golf course owners and operators, the technology can be used to improve pace of play and help ensure quality course conditions. StrackaLine offers hole location software that allows superintendents to utilize a proprietary algorithm to help set hole locations.

StrackaLine will continue to add to its library of golf courses throughout 2018. It takes just eight minutes to scan and capture an entire green and the StrackaLine team can complete an 18-hole course and practice green in five hours without disrupting play.

For more information on how to order a greens guide or have a course scanned, go to www.StrackaLine.com.

Entry Forms Available for 45th Annual Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships

(RELEASE) - Entry Forms are now available for the 45th annual Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships, an international junior event for boys and girls aged 3 through 18.

Play will be at two golf courses in Quincy, Illinois, with competition in seven age divisions for boys and seven for girls (3-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15 and 16-18).

Little People’s is a ranked tournament for Junior Golf Scoreboard for boys and girls 10-18, a ranked event for Global Junior Golf Rankings and boys and girls 5-19, and is a ranked tournament for GolfWeek/Sagarin for boys and girls 14-18.

Boys and girls 5 through 14 can try to qualify during Little People’s for the 2018 IMG Academy Junior World Golf Championships. Players can also win exemptions to the 2019 Future Collegians World Tour, and can qualify for the Future Champions Golf National Championship, the Little Master Junior Golf Tour of India, the 2018 and 2019 GM Junior Tour European Championships, and 2018 PLAY Junior Golf Tour events in Canada.

Entry forms and information on the tournament and associated events can be found at www.littlepeoplesgolf.com, under Registration.

For any questions, contact Tournament Director Nan Ryan at jrgolfer@littlepeoplesgolf.com, or call or text 217-257-5718.

USGA Announces 2018 U.S. Women’s Open Sectional Qualifying Sites

Schedule features 25 qualifiers, including four international sites, between May 2-17

(LIBERTY CORNER, N.J.) - The United States Golf Association (USGA) announced sectional qualifying sites for the 73rd U.S. Women’s Open Championship, which will be contested May 31-June 3, 2018 at Shoal Creek in Birmingham, Ala. It will be the first U.S. Women’s Open conducted in Alabama.

Sectional qualifying, conducted over 36 holes, will take place at 25 courses, including four international sites, between May 2-17. The championship is open to female professionals, and female amateurs with a Handicap Index not exceeding 2.4.

“The U.S. Women’s Open is the ultimate test in women’s golf, and sectional qualifying is the first step in that journey,” said Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman. “Our partners at allied golf associations throughout the country, as well as several international organizations, play an important role in helping determine a worthy champion. We thank them for their efforts and look forward to the 73rd playing of the U.S. Women’s Open this May.”

Online player registration begins on Wednesday, March 7 at champs.usga.org. The entry deadline is 5 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 25.

For the fifth consecutive year, Women’s Open sectional qualifying will be conducted in England, Japan, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Korea. Two courses return as international sites: Buckinghamshire Golf Club in Buckinghamshire, England, on May 14, which will host for the fourth consecutive year, and Ohtone Country Club in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, on May 8, which also hosted a sectional qualifier in 2016.

Dream Park Country Club in Incheon, the Republic of Korea, and Shanghai Qizhong Garden Golf Club in Shanghai, the People’s Republic of China, will host their first Women’s Open sectional qualifiers on May 14 and May 16, respectively.

Industry Hills Golf Club, near Los Angeles, Calif., will host Women’s Open sectional qualifying for the 10th consecutive year on May 3. The club was also a sectional site in 1980 and 1982. Additionally, Industry Hills’ Eisenhower Course is scheduled to host U.S. Open local qualifying for the 11th consecutive year on May 16. La Purisima Golf Course in Lompoc, Calif., and Ka’anapali Golf Course in Lahaina, Hawaii, will also host both U.S. Women’s Open sectional qualifying and U.S. Open local qualifying.

Two past USGA championship sites will host Women’s Open sectional qualifying: Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, N.J., on May 2 and Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas, on May 14.

Two U.S. Women’s Open champions advanced through sectional qualifying: Hilary Lunke (2003) and Birdie Kim (2005). Lunke advanced through local and sectional qualifying.

The USGA accepted 1,709 entries for the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., which was won by Sung Hyun Park of Korea. The record of 1,873 was established for the 2015 championship at Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club.

Considered the world’s premier women’s golf championship, the U.S. Women’s Open is one of 14 national championships conducted annually by the USGA. The championship was first contested in 1946 and its winners include Betsy Rawls (1951, 1953, 1957, 1960), Mickey Wright (1958, 1959, 1961, 1964), Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1948, 1950, 1954), Susie Maxwell Berning (1968, 1972, 1973), Hollis Stacy (1977, 1978, 1984), Annika Sorenstam (1995, 1996, 2006), Juli Inkster (1999, 2002), Karrie Webb (2000, 2001), Inbee Park (2008, 2013), Se Ri Pak (1998), Cristie Kerr (2007), Paula Creamer (2010) and Michelle Wie (2014).

For 2018 Women’s Open information and tickets, visit uswomensopen.com.

2018 U.S. Women’s Open Sectional Qualifying Sites (25)

Wednesday, May 2 (2)
- Canoe Brook Country Club (North Course), Summit, N.J.
- Indiana (Pa.) Country Club

Thursday, May 3 (1)
- Industry Hills Golf Club (Eisenhower Course), City of Industry, Calif.

Friday, May 4 (1)
- Sugar Mill Country Club (White/Red Course), New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

Sunday, May 6 (1)
- Ka’anapali Golf Course (Royal Course), Lahaina, Hawaii

Monday, May 7 (2)
- Dunwoody Country Club, Atlanta, Ga.
- Elgin (Ill.) Country Club

Tuesday, May 8 (2)
- La Purisima Golf Course, Lompoc, Calif.
- Ohtone Country Club, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan

Thursday, May 10 (1)
- Locust Hill Golf Course, Charles Town, W.Va.

Monday, May 14 (11)
- Arizona Country Club, Phoenix, Ariz.
- Contra Costa Country Club, Pleasant Hill, Calif.
- Deerwood Golf Club, Kingwood, Texas
- Hermitage Country Club (Sabot Course), Manakin-Sabot, Va.
- Las Colinas Country Club, Irving, Texas
- Rainier Golf & Country Club, Seattle, Wash.
- Stillwater (Okla.) Country Club
- The Ranch Country Club, Westminster, Colo.
- TPC Prestancia (Stadium Course), Sarasota, Fla.
- Dream Park Country Club, Incheon, the Republic of Korea
- Buckinghamshire Golf Club, Buckinghamshire, England

Tuesday, May 15 (1)
- Bermuda Run (N.C.) Country Club (East Course)

Wednesday, May 16 (2)
- Cape Cod National Golf Club, Brewster, Mass.
- Shanghai Qizhong Garden Golf Club, Shanghai, the People’s Republic of China

Thursday, May 17 (1)
- Seagate Country Club, Delray Beach, Fla.

Sectional qualifying sites and dates are subject to change. For the most up-to-date list, visit champs.usga.org. For more information about the USGA, visit usga.org.

Combine Golf with Gastronomy & Wellness at Argentario Golf Resort & Spa in Tuscany, Italy

(Tuscany, Italy) - A relaxing combination of golf, gastronomy and wellness is on offer this Easter (March 30 to April 2) at the mesmerizing Argentario Golf Resort & Spa located on the Monte Argentario promontory in the picturesque Maremma region of Tuscany in Italy.

The luxurious Argentario offers all the charm, tranquillity and beauty of a Tuscan hideaway with sleek, modern design, state-of-the-art facilities and exceptional service.

The resort’s Easter breaks, which start from just over Euros 1,000 for two people, include three nights sleeping in one of a range of spacious junior suites that feature sophisticated black furnishings with contrasting light oak floors, each with their own private wooden terrace overlooking the golf course and Tuscan landscape beyond. If booked before February 28, guests receive a 10% discount.

Whilst staying at the well-appointed resort, guests can enjoy golf over the par 71, 6,218 metre course that provides panoramic views over the Orbetello Lagoon, the Tyrrhenian Sea and the surrounding rugged hillside as the golf course weaves in and out of olive groves and natural Mediterranean vegetation.

Off the course, there is an Espace Wellness Centre and MediSPA where guests can unwind. The 2,700 m² spa includes a fitness centre with Technogym equipment, bio-sauna with chromotherapy, Kneipp circuit, heated indoor swimming pool with saline water, six massage cabins and tanning showers plus numerous other services.

Guests can then indulge themselves in a gastronomic Easter Lunch, created by chef Riccardo Cappelli, in the stylish Dama Dama Restaurant, named after the fallow deer that occasionally roam the resort. The cuisine is based on the flavours and colours of the local terrain with dishes prepared using authentic produce from small, carefully-selected local farms and, at certain times of the year, directly from the hotel’s vegetable garden and orchard.

Other facilities available in the Easter package include access to the golf practice area, tennis courts, jogging paths that skirt the golf course and edge of the forest and a small football pitch.

Argentario is easily accessed from Rome Fiumicino Airport by car in just an hour and a half whilst Rome Ciampino and Pisa are just over two hours away.

The Argentario Easter packages for two people start from Euros 1,132 – book before February 28 and enjoy a 10% discount - and include:
· 3 nights in a design junior suite
· Easter Lunch (water and coffee included)
· Daily buffet breakfast
· Spa access with use of pools, gym, fitness courses, sauna, Kneipp circuit, Turkish bath, thalassotherapy
· Use of golf driving range, tennis courts, jogging paths and small football pitch
· Garage Parking
· Wi-fi internet

If you book by 28 February 2018, a discount of 10% is offered:
· 1,020 Euro (instead of 1,132 Euro) in a Tuscany or Gallery Junior Suite
· 1,263 Euro (instead 1,402 Euro) in a Travel Club Junior Suite

For more information & reservations: T: +39 0564 810292 | E: booking@argentarioresort.it