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15 Year Old Qualifies for US Open

belal-el-atari-cole-hammerIf you hadn’t heard the breaking news yet, a 15 year old boy has qualified to play in this year’s US Open. It seems that every year that goes by there is a new phenomenon when it comes to the golfing community, whether it’s a new young superstar, a groundbreaking round, or the best trick shot ever seen.

Cole Hammer of Houston, Texas is the newest addition to the US Open amateur qualifiers. Cole shot 64-68 in Dallas, Texas to slip his way into the spotlight. Cole has already committed to the University of Texas when he was only 13 so he can compete with other golfers at a collegiate level when he finally joins the University in a few years.

Cole was quoted in saying, “This means the world to me. I’ve dreamed about it my whole life. It’s going to be awesome. This gives me a lot of confidence. I was coming in thinking I was a bit of a long shot, but why not? Just give it my best shot.”

Cole will be going head to head against professionals like Jordan Spieth, Cody Gribble, and more when he tees off June 18th, 2015. Cole joins some other young amateurs in his debut at the US Open like Andy Zhang, Tadd Fujikawa, and Tyrell Garth as being an excellent young golfer that has made international headlines.

Even though Cole has never won a national championship, or large junior amateur tournament he has won several local junior tournaments in Texas. The pressure will be high but I am personally rooting for Cole to make as much of an impact as possible. Best of luck Cole!

 

Thank you for reading,

Belal El-Atari

Tiger Woods Addresses Bullying

Although a lot of people may still view Tiger Woods as a bad guy, he has made some improvements and manages to help out where he can. Tiger recently wrote a letter to a troubled teen that has been the victim of bullying.

Golf Digest’s very own Ron Sirak has been working with LPGA touring pro Sophie Gustafson, who battles a severe stutter daily. Gustafson works and mentors people who have the same or similar issue as herself.

Gustafson has been working with a high school student named Dillon, who has been the victim of relentless bullying at school. Dillon’s torment almost drove him to drastic actions a few weeks ago, his mother reported. Gustafson has been in correspondence with Dillon’s mother who wrote this email:

“Wanted to give you update. “Things had been going well for awhile. He played football for the first time this year, however, he was teased about his stuttering and quit the team. He has really been struggling lately, feeling lonely due to the really does not have any close friends. On the week of April 16th, he had a bad week, he had been teased about his stuttering. That evening, he attempted suicide. He yelled downstairs ‘Good bye, I love you.’ Me and my husband immediately ran upstairs, his bedroom door was locked, we busted down the door and he was sitting on the window and was getting ready to jump. We were able to grab him and keep him from going head first onto the concrete below.”

Dillon’s mother told Gustafson that Dillon is still a huge Tiger Woods fan and he loves to watch Tiger play. She asked if there was any way that Tiger could be made aware of Dillon’s love and support for the player, as well as Dillon’s story.

The Bronx Receives Trump Style Luxury Golf Course

belal-el-atari-bronx-golfAfter a many years of planning, setbacks, re-organizing, and every other type of speed bump possible, the Bronx in New York finally received  luxury golf course. The Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point are located near the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge in the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx. The new urban golf course location will provide countless golfers with an opportunity to play the 18-hole course throughout the rest of Spring, all Summer, and even into the Fall.

belal-el-atari-donald-trumpGiven that the course is more well kept and offers high amenities players will be paying more to play. Being just outside Manhattan, thats also an expected piece of playing golf. The greens fees are almost triple that of the other courses in the city. City residents will pay $169 for weekend play whereas a non-city resident will pay $215. Golf carts are permitted on the course and are state of the art with top of the line GPS systems. There is also an interactive screen for players to use that will allow them to order food and beverages directly to their location on the course.

As many may recall, Donald Trump company won the bid to run the course, but what others may not know is that the course is built on a former landfill that was shut down in 1963. Although there are vents on the course for releasing methane gas, the grounds remain exceptionally clean and well tended.

The course is bordered by residential buildings on one side but the course offers beautiful views and wonderful geography attributes. The slightly hilly course has impeccable views of the Manhattan skyline and the East River.

Ruben Diaz Jr. the Bronx borough president, played this past Wednesday for the grand opening and was quoted in saying, “I’m out here on Day 1, letting people know that we have a world-class, P.G.A. links-style golf course right here in the boogie-down Bronx.”

Players are so excited to play on the new course that reservations for April have been booked extremely fast and far in advance. Ronald C. Lieberman, an executive VP of the Trump Organization said “Within 15 minutes all the prime time slots had sold out for every weekend,” when referring to the April reservations.

belal-el-atari-golf-club-houseWhat’s Next For The Course?:

Construction on a brand new $10million clubhouse will soon begin. For the meantime there is a temporary clubhouse with a pro shop and a grill. Donald Trump and his organization also hope the course will feature major tournaments with the P.G.A. and the even the Ryder Cups.

Top 5 Best Golfing Video Games

5. John Daly’s ProStroke Golfbelal-el-atari-John-Daly's ProStroke-Golf

John Daly’s ProStroke is first golf game to take advantage of the PlayStation 3’s Move controller and does some great things when it comes to motion-sensing controls. Other than that, there isn’t much else to hold your interest.

4. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13belal-el-atari-Tiger-Woods-PGA Tour-13

Absolute Swing Control is probably the most meaningful addition to the PGA Tour series. “Left stick” movement has complete control of how a shot behaves. What was once called a Pre-set shot type and shot meters do not exist anymore. Each gesture during a swing will affects where the ball goes, so the fate of the ball literally relies on the players hands.

3. Mario Golfbelal-el-atari-Mario-gold

Mario Golf makes hitting a ball as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. However, the more skillful route reaps more rewards. The game gives you the option to either line up the ball normally and just hit for power, or you can switch to the manual mode, and use various combinations to achieve a fancy shot.”Mario Golf has an excellent balance of risk and reward”.

2. Links 2003belal-el-atari-links-2003

This hall of fame game is a must have for every PC gamer. Not one does this game fulfill every golfers need to remain interested in golfing online but also warrants the $40 dollar purchase. Overall this game is excellent. The game has more than enough features to keep a newcomer interested. The Real-time Swing is implemented well and the whoever designed the courses for Links 2003 gives advanced gamers a  reason to stick around.

1.Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004belal-el-atari-Tiger-Woods-PGA Tour-2004

Golf history fans will love the new mode, but most young gamers today probably prefer to play the game as a teenage Tiger Woods as teenage Tiger Woods. However, While PGA Tour 14 might not be the most “exciting”  game as the previous versions, it is way more technically proficient preferred for the “i love a challenge” gamer. PGA 14 grants access to the more exciting features of the game. For the online golfers, the Country Clubs and Tournaments allow PGA 14 to be the best series out.

Olympic Golf Course Finished!

belal-golf

Some important news for all golfers and fans of golf has just been released. As you may know love to golf and am a huge supporter and fan of golf, so when I heard his news I knew I had to mark down some future dates on my calendar.

belal-golf-courseThe Olympic golf course in Rio de Janeiro is officially finished. Gil Hanse, lead designer for the golf course in the 2016 Olympics, reported on Monday the course finished construction. He also added that the team is in “full grow-in mode.” After numerous setbacks due to lawsuits and various other delays regarding the land and environmental concerns, the team has plowed forward and delivered a great course.

Hanse is extremely optimistic for the outcome of the course and has told sources the project is now running smoothly. After numerous setbacks it’s relieving to hear the course will be ready for the first tee-off of the 2016 Olympics.

Hanse is also very proud of the design. A sprawling and challenging course will not only test athletes but also change the way they play. The course’s last tees were sprigged in early December and the only thing that needs touching up is the driving range with new grass. Neil Cleverly, golf course superintendent has officially taken over this project.

He believes it will be a great addition to the games as golf makes its triumphant return to the world stage. The last time golf was included in the Olympics was in 1904 and has been long overdue for a return.

Top 4 Golf Gifts

CLUB-GLIDER-TOUR-SERIES-black-white

ClubGlider Bags:

Anyone who takes an airplane and travels to play golf, even if it is only once or twice a year, will greatly appreciate a high quality travel bag. A traveling golfer needs a strong and protective bag to protect their expensive and clubs and equipment.

The ClubGlider bags have retractable legs with wheels, which makes it roll very easily.

The Tour Series ($320) will hold a pro-sized cart bag, and there is the standard Meridian ($290) model to carry just about any bag, shoes and accessories. It also comes in three different colors.

GOLF_CLUB_OPENER

Golf Club Bottle Opener:

This one speaks for itself. It is extremely useful and is a great conversation piece. Be the envy of all your friends and pick up one of these from one of many online vendors. And hey, who knows you may need to use it in a sticky situation to get out of a sand trap.

golf-watch

Garmin Approach S1 GPS Watch

If you usually wear a watch on the course this product is for you. The Garmin Approach S1 GPS Watch combines a high-sensitivity GPS receiver with a lightweight, flexible sport watch. It has the ability to show precise yardage information to the front, back, and middle of greens, while also measuring individual shot distances. The sunlight-viewable screen features easy to read numbering for high-visibility. For players who enjoy to walk, there’s the S1 odometer to tell you how far you traveled – on and off the course.

Titleist 915 D2 Driver

Looking to hit more fairways and outdrive all your friends? Of course you are! The Titleist 915 D2 Driver is your number one club on the tee. The club features a 460cc pear profile and provides confidence and stability. The club also delivers a higher trajectory and more dynamic face closure versus the 915D3. Here some of the other notable features of the new Titleist 915 D2 driver:

golf-driver

  • Active Recoil Channel: This particular feature allows for more distance due to the flex of the club at impact with the ball. Clubs with ARC technology creates active deflection in the crown and sole at impact which produces more speed and less spin
  • Radial Speed Face: The high-speed face insert with a thick center and radially thin perimeter in the heel and toe delivers more distance on off-center hits.
  • High MOI Design: Reduced thickness up front allows weight to be strategically placed in the back, resulting in a low and deep center of gravity (CG) that provides ball speed while preserving forgiveness.
  • SureFit Tour Hosel: 16 unique loft and lie combinations deliver the most precise fit available.

 

Pinehills Golf Course

Pinehills Golf Club

What could be better than the Fall weather and changing of the leaves in New England. The answer, golfing in that changing weather with Fall foliage all around you. If you are in Massachusetts or feel like driving a bit longer to play on one of the best public golf courses in New England, then look no further. Pine Hills Golf Club is located in Plymouth, Massachusetts, which is a very short distance to both Boston and Cape Cod.

Pinehills Golf Club was founded on the idea of providing top notch golf and a wonderful experience to golfers without having to be a part of an overly expensive club. The club was opened in 2001, so it is relatively new, however the course has made great strides in attracting a lot of attention. The course sits on 300 acres of beautiful green grass. Featuring two 18-hole courses, a massive driving range, full dining and shopping amenities, and lavish grounds to walk upon, Pine Hills Golf Club is my weekend pick for public golf courses to play. The two courses are named after Rees Jones and Nicklaus Design.

Rees Jones CourseNicklaus Design Course

The Jones course takes after Rees Jones’ signature style. This would be challenging to play, enjoyable and fun for experts and novices, while also being respectful of the land. There are built in subtleties that offer a new challenges each time. The course has four sets of tees which allows this golf course to play from 5,388 yards to 7,175 yards.

Nicklaus Design CourseRees Jones Course

The Nicklaus Design course offers a completely different experience compared to the Rees Jones course. This one is an amazing course enclosed by big trees and highlighted by tough green complexes and gently rolling fairways. This course can be played from 5,185 yards to 7,243 yards due to the four sets of tees.

Honorable Mentions

Pinehills is very well decorated as it has won awards and honorable mentions from world class publications like Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, and Travel & Leisure Magazines. the specific awards are listed below.

  • “The number one course in Massachusetts”2009 Zagat Golf Guide
  • “Top 10 You Can Play” Golf Magazine
  • “The only two 5 star courses in New England” 2008 New England Golf Guide
  • “4.5 stars” Golf Digest
  • “Number 1 rated public course in Massachusetts” 2007 GolfWeek
  • “Top 100 Golf Communities in America” –Travel and Leisure Golf Magazine

Nike Golf President Cindy Davis Announces Retirement

According to reports, Cindy Davis (52), announced her retirement as president of Nike Golf Tuesday afternoon. She is the first woman to be named president of a major golf equipment company and still remains the highest ranking female executive in the world of golf.

The person that will be filling her shoes will be announced at a later date according to Nike.

“We thank Cindy for her leadership throughout the years as she has led the development and growth of Nike’s golf business worldwide. Under Cindy’s direction, Nike Golf has steadily delivered profitable growth year after year since 2009,” said Jayme Martin, vice president and general manager of Global Categories, in a statement regarding her retirement.

According to Golf Digest, In Davis’s six-plus years at the helm, Nike Golf has seen its sales hold relatively steady and the company remain one of the game’s leading brands yet still trail TaylorMade-adidas Golf, Callaway Golf and Acushnet. Sales were $725 million in May 2008, and $789 million through the fiscal year ended May 2014. The 2014 numbers were about equal to 2013’s figure of $792 million.

Since 2008, the year Davis took over, Nike staffers have won more majors with their endorsed players than any other company with seven. The list includes Trevor Immelman (2008 Masters), Woods (2008 U.S. Open), Lucas Glover (2009 U.S. Open), Stewart Cink (2009 British Open), Charl Schwartzel (2011 Masters), McIlroy (2014 British, 2014 PGA Championship).

Phil Mickelson Leaves BMW Championship and Other PGA Tour News

The BMW Championship has been in full swing but the race for the 8 million dollar grand prize has come to an end for Phil Mickelson. Mickelson recently withdrew from the BMW Championship after shooting 70-76 in the first two rounds and sitting in 63rd place.

“My primary goal is to rest and prepare for the Ryder Cup,” Mickelson said in a statement. “Without a chance to contend at the Tour Championship, the most important thing for me now is to prepare for the Ryder Cup.”

Phil Mickelson, 44, said that his poor standing in the tournament and the upcoming Ryder Cup are his reasons for skipping the final two rounds of the $8 million FedEx Cup playoff tournament. This will be the first time since the start of the FedEx Cup that Phil Mickelson will not be playing. It will also be the first time in 10 years that he has gone winless throughout an entire season.

It’s clear that some players are okay with forfeiting and some are making money while doing nothing as in the case with Dustin Johnson. Dustin Johnson has been on a personal leave of absence from the PGA Tour for the last month yet will still collect $175,000 in prize money for his “efforts”. I guess this is the professional sports version of getting an A for effort. If so count me in. Johnson finished 30th in the FedEx Cup points race even though he didn’t play a single playoff event and thus qualified for this week’s Tour Championship.He’s entitled to $175,000 for that finish but he will not recieve the $128,000 the last-place finisher at the Tour Championship would earn.