Tuesday, June 18, 2013

10 Great Golf Travel Packing Tips

Turnberry Resort in Scotland
You're finally embarking on your golf dream trip and you know you'll need to take your “A” game, right?

Be aware, golf travelers, if you don’t pack carefully you might end up with so many annoyances and hassles that playing your best is almost impossible.

Here are 10 invaluable tips I can share that’ll help your trip be full of great memories. Some of these I learned the hard way by forgetting them or foolishly disregarding advice from fellow golf travelers and writers.

1. Invest in a top quality travel cover—Absolutely, positively don’t try to save money by purchasing a cheap travel cover. You can protect your golf club investment by getting a cover from a respected company like Club Glove, Ogio or Sun Mountain.

More Tips:
·      Don’t select an all-black cover so you can avoid looking like everybody else. You’ll save time finding your bag on the carousel if it has a recognizable color treatment.
·      Use your travel cover as an additional piece of luggage by packing shoes and extra shirts on departure and dirty laundry on your return.
·      Make sure your nametag or business card is placed on the outside of the bag and the inside as well, just in case the outside card is displaced.

2. A lightweight carry Bag for the British Isles—If you’ve every played golf in this part of the world, you’ll notice that the most experienced caddies gravitate to the lightest bag in the group. Show up with one of those huge staff bags and you’ll be treated like someone with a contagious disease.

3. Microfiber clothing—These amazing fabrics were made for golf travelers. They’re lightweight, wrinkle resistant and dry quickly.

4. Quality golf outerwear —If you want to be miserable, I mean truly miserable, take a golf vacation to Scotland, Ireland or the Monterrey Peninsula in California with some ragtag, makeshift rainwear. Standing in a fairway with a thirty-mile an hour cross wind and a heavy downpour without adequate protection is not a memory you’ll treasure. Top companies, include Sun Mountain, Sunice and Zero Restriction.

5. Take some stain remover for mud--If you don’t, you might bring home a mud-splotched pair of golf slacks or khakis as a souvenir of your trip.

6. Waterproof golf shoes (with shoe trees)—You must have a dry pair available in case you get caught in a downpour. Ideally, you need to take at least two pair of waterproof golf shoes, especially on trips four days or longer.

7. Quality golf umbrella—Don’t depend on the cheap logo umbrella you received as a gift at your last corporate golf tourney. Invest in a top quality umbrella that can withstand strong winds and, more importantly, keep you dry between shots.

8. Sizeable golf ball inventory—In my experience, buying golf balls outside of the U.S. always involves serious sticker shock and a suddenly exploding travel budget.  Obviously, if you’re a high handicapper you’ll need more golf balls.  Honestly evaluate your game to calculate how many golf balls will be enough.

9. Extra items—If you’re traveling in the British Isles or just about anywhere away from the continental U.S., make sure you take extra tees, pencils and divot repair tools which aren’t as readily available at golf courses outside the U.S.

10. Healthy snacks—You’ll be glad you packed a couple of boxes of granola bars and packages of peanut butter crackers, especially if you’re playing in the British Isles. While the beef barley soup and fish and chips are treasured favorites after a around, you’ll need some healthy fortification during play.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

10 Things You Should Know About U.S. Open 2013 Merion Golf Club

The U.S. Open is going "Old School" in 2013 with Merion Golf Club (East Course), a classic layout in Ardmore, Pennsylvania opened in 1912.  This is not your typical 7,700-yard behemoth course where you "grip it and rip", then grab a wedge on par fours and go eagle and birdie hunting on par fives.

Playing from 6,996 yards (36-34-70), Merion is the first U.S. Open course under 7,000 yards since 2004.

The Merion East Course will quickly identify the contenders and expose the pretenders. Accuracy off the tee, shotmaking, and exceptional putting are necessary ingredients to score well on this layout with its deep rough, slippery smallish greens and difficult bunkers.

Here are 10 things you might not know about Merion:

1. Wicker Baskets-You won't see any flags on pins blowing in the wind. All of the pins are topped with a small wicker basket.

2. Only Two Par Fives-Yes, that's right. There are only a couple of par fives (556 yard no. 2 and 628 yard no. 4) on the entire course. In fact, the back nine has no par fives.

3. Long Time, No See--Merion has been out of the rotation for a while and has not hosted a U.S. Open since 1981.

4. The Golf Course Architect--The course was designed by Hugh Wilson, a Scottish immigrant member who had never designed a course.

5. Give Me a Yardage--There are no yardage markers anywhere on the Merion East Course.

6. Walking Only--The Merion East Course is walking only with an exceptional caddie program.

7. No Breakfast Balls--One of the strongly enforced rules for members is "No mulligans on the first tee."

8. Menacing Bunkers--The Scottish style bunkers on Merion East are known as "the white faces of Merion."

9. Hogan Legend--Merion is the site of Ben Hogan's famous 1-iron Shot in the 1950 U.S. Open.

10. Bobby Jones History--In 1930, Bobby Jones achieved the "Grand Slam" at Merion with his U.S. Amateur Victory.