Thursday, January 12, 2017

10 Fearless Predictions for Golf in 2017


No, I didn't pick the Cubs to win the World Series. No, I didn't pick Clemson to beat Bama for the NCAA National Championship. And I certainly didn't pick Danny Willett to win the 2016 Masters...

I did pick the U.S.A. to win the 2016 Ryder Cup, so I guess I have some credibility, right? Don't answer that, please.

That said, here are some of The Guru's best predictions for 2017:

--The future is now. More golf courses will finally wake up and start pricing green fees by the hour or by the hole. Recently, the Lodge at Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, Missouri started pricing by the hour. They're hoping it will speed up play and allow golfers who only want to play a few holes to "pay for what they play". Hey Millennials, you asked for it, you got it.

--The U.S. dollar will stay strong and golf travel will surge this year. Biggest benefactors will be Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and New Zealand.

--The most exciting new courses debuting in 2017 will be Mike Keiser's Sand Valley in Wisconsin, Streamsong Black in Florida and Trinity Forest in Texas.

--Young studs Hideki Matsuyama and Justin Thomas will make a huge impact on the PGA Tour in 2017.

--Green will be the popular color choice for golf apparel in 2017. Who says so? The Golf Travel Guru, that's who. No, not just me. Various golf clothing companies are pushing all shades of green this year from olive to fluorescent to Masters green.

--The U.S. Open will be a great one at Erin Hills Golf Club in Wisconsin. Set on rolling terrain formed by glaciers, the course designed by Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry and Ron Whitten, has dramatic ridges, contours and panoramas. Erin Hills is located 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee and 115 miles from Chicago.

--More people will experience golf outside traditional golf courses at venues like Topgolf, Flying Tee and driving ranges. Uh, let's not forget golf simulators, too.

--Major championship winners will be Rory McIlroy (Masters), Dustin Johnson (U.S. Open),  Sergio Garcia (British Open) Patrick Reed (PGA Championship

--Topgolf will continue to soar in popularity with those who love golf and cocktails and others who don't know a golf club from a tennis racquet. In fall 2017, Topgolf Orlando (Florida) will debut. Coming soon are Topgolf's in Miami Gardens, Florida, Nashville, Tennessee, El Paso and Fort Worth in Texas and Birmingham, Alabama.

--Tiger Woods will experience some minor back issues before he wins a minor tournament at the end of the year.

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