Tour Confidential: Are you concerned about Tiger Woods?

Every Sunday night, the Sports Illustrated Golf Group conducts an e-mail roundtable with writers from Sports Illustrated, GOLF and (with the occasional special guest). Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation by tweeting us @golf_com.

1. Tiger Woods fired a birdieless 77 in the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic, said his back wasn’t an issue, then withdrew less than 24 hours later, citing back spasms. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being he’s done), how concerned are you about Woods?

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@AlanShipnuck): 10. How long can he keep doing this to himself?

Josh Sens, contributing writer, GOLF (@JoshSens): 10, though I wonder if the mental issues aren’t just as big of an obstacle as the back. Only Woods knows the depths of his confidence issues, but I can’t help wondering whether this isn’t the Seve warning coming true: once a golfer loses his nerve …

Joe Passov, senior editor, GOLF (@joepassov): 5. I’m not convinced that there’s enough evidence to rule at this point, though Josh’s Seve reference could prove very prophetic. I don’t want to state that Tiger’s done, because I don’t want to admit to myself that he’s done. Twenty-four birdies in 72 holes at the Hero tells me he’s not yet done. But I do remember how swift and tragic Seve’s plunge was. To see Seve’s genius reduced to having to scramble on every hole merely to remain competitive was dispiriting. I’ll wait until after the Honda to alter this number.

Jeff Ritter, digital development editor, Sports Illustrated Golf Group(@Jeff_Ritter): 9 — Any chance he has at coming all the way back to competitive golf hinges on staying healthy long enough to put in the work. Also, why take a commercial flight halfway around the world with a balky back?

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: 1. I have so many other worries right now, Tiger’s golf struggles do not register.

2. The big names surfaced on both the PGA and European tours. In Dubai, Sergio Garcia beat Henrik Stenson by three, while Hideki Matsuyama won the Phoenix Open in a playoff for the second straight year (with Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler all having their moments). The Masters is two months away. In you had to make a wager today, who on this list would you put your money on?

Shipnuck: Spieth. He’s been solid every time he’s teed it up the last few months but has yet to hit a hot streak. I think he’ll peak at just the right time for a course that suits him like no other.

Sens: Matsuyama. He’s been as hot as any golfer in the world, and he’s had the crucial experience of being in position before. This time he gets over the hump (assuming the putter holds up).

Passov: I’ve been on the Matsuyama bandwagon since 2014, and the ride is really smooth right now. He was only a solid darkhorse pick these past few years. Now, he’s soaked in confidence. Until he can break through with a top five (or several) in majors, there will be question marks, certainly, but he’s where my money is going right now.

Bamberger: I’m on the HBW, too. (Hideki bandwagon.) When it’s all said and done, Augusta is about power, about playing 8, 13 and 15 in five or six under over the four rounds. Plus, winning begets winning. Hideki for me, but it could be the Pizza 51 talking.

Ritter: Hideki quietly has back-to-back top 10s at Augusta, and he’d be my first wager. Two other guys I’m watching: Rose and Kuchar.

Hideki Matsuyama, now with four PGA Tour victories, could be a favorite at Augusta National.
Hideki Matsuyama, now with four PGA Tour victories, could be a favorite at Augusta National.

3. TPC Scottsdale attracted record crowds, and the 16th hole was quite the circus. But it begs the question: Is the novelty of the rollicking par-3 wearing off? Or would you like to see more of the same on Tour?

Shpnuck: Way more! Why is the Tour allowed to have fun only one week a year? Lighten up, guys.

Bamberger: If anyplace else did it, it would look forced, like putting up a Green Monster at another ballpark. Leave it as is.

Sens: I love the 16th at Scottsdale, but scarcity is a big part of its success. A little goes a long way. Try to replicate it in too many places, and you wind up watering down the experience, or with an experience that is simply trying too hard. Like watching grandma dance.

Passov: Being a Scottsdale resident, who was around for the birth of this phenomenon, I’m partial to its existence and to its popularity. Now that the world has discovered it (well, Golf Channel), the 16th at the WMPO has to be careful to avoid being a victim of its own hype and expectations. Hey, it’s not for everybody. We couldn’t get Tiger or Jason Day or Dustin Johnson among others to come to our tournament this year. Yet, it’s what distinguishes this particular non-major–and the resulting charity bucks justifies it all. Keep it in Phoenix–and that’s it.

4. David Duval got a turn as the lead analyst in the Golf Channel booth. Give him a grade.

Shipnuck: I was in Dubai all week so I missed it. But he couldn’t have been as good as Sam Torrance on Sky. The prickly Scot was in rare form and the zingers were flying fast and furious all week — I haven’t laughed that much at a telecast in a good long while.

Sens: B+. I’m biased. I’ve always liked Duval. I don’t look to him for laughs. But he’s smart, succinct and not afraid to be frank. Or maybe I just think he’s smart because he wears those cafe intellectual glasses.

Passov: So Josh, are you saying that Duval is the Rick Perry of golf broadcasting, due to his choice in eyewear? Anyway, count me as a fan as well. Yes, there are times I wish he were a little more animated, but I do appreciate his candor and his introspectiveness. A solid B.

Bamberger: Didn’t catch enough to grade and even if I did I wouldn’t want the highly literate David Duval grading my typing. I pass, while noting his deep knowledge of the game.

5. For The Knockdown, Alan Shipnuck did a deep dive with his profile on Paige Spiranac, whose young career hasn’t been without controversy. What did you take away from the feature?

Shipnuck: It was a spectacular piece of work! Oh wait, I should probably recuse myself from this question.

Sens: It reminded me of how sharp an edge you have to have to compete in any sport at the highest level. Given her success in multiple sports, Spiranac obviously has the athletic tools. She now seems caught in a bit of a vicious cycle–dependent on her place in the public sphere that she’s not entirely comfortable with.

Passov: Alan, you did a marvelous job with the Phil Mickelson interview.

Bamberger: That women’s golf needs to be covered much more closely.

6. The Tour heads to the Monterey Peninsula for the game’s most-celebrated pro-am. Who’s the best celebrity you’ve crossed paths with during your journey in golf, and if the folks from the Clambake called and offered you a spot in the field, which pro would you like to be paired with?

Shipnuck: I’ve watched John Smoltz play a little in person and he’s a stud. When Tiger was still Tiger he used to give him only two a side, which tells you all you need to know. As for pros, it’d have to be Phil. He’s won the tournament a bunch of times, he’s a preeminent storyteller and all week long he gets invited to the best dinners and cocktail parties, so it’d be great fun to be his wingman.

Sens: I followed Rick Rhoden a few times in the era when it seemed like he was either winning or threatening to win the celebrity event at Edgewood every year. It wasn’t an eye-popping game. He has a hand-made looking swing, across the line at the top, not especially powerful. But the guy could score. Anyone can put up a low number when they bomb 350 down the middle. I like watching players I can relate to. For pros, I’d take one of the older guys with a sense of humor. Stadler would be good. He’s funny. Self-deprecating. And refreshingly honest. You don’t always get that from the media-groomed, sponsor-pleasing younger guys.

Passov: I’ve enjoyed a few good pairings in my time, from U.S. presidents to Rock-and-Roll Hall of Famers. If you’re asking for best celebrity, as in most highly skilled golfer, it’s a close call–mostly due to my fading memory. I played in front of actor/singer Jack Wagner at Bel-Air once and played behind saxophone star Kenny G at Spyglass Hill a few years after that. Both were pretty superb sticks. For my pro, given our common interest in fast-food roast beef sandwiches, I’d take a spot alongside Andrew “Beef” Johnston.

Bamberger: Best, as in most interesting to watch? Bill Murray. I’ve watched him, as most of us have, up-close-and-personal. I’ve been awed by the quickness of the wit and (now and again) have also been struck by the meanness of his spirit. The deep reserves of cool are a good and convincing act, until the shot means something to him, and then the great Murray is just like the rest of use. I’d like to be paired with Vijay. I caddied in groups with him in Europe in ‘91 and have always liked him.


The post Tour Confidential: Are you concerned about Tiger Woods? appeared first on Bahle Farms.

Only Game In Town: The Most Remote Golf Courses You Can Play

An interesting trend has arisen in the construction of new golf resorts in recent years.

Seclusion. Privacy. The sense of being surrounded by wilderness.

That’s the feeling that Mike Keiser capitalized on when he built the first course at Bandon Dunes. Keiser took the middle of nowhere and he put it on the map for all passionate golfers.

Some years later, he did it again, with Cabot

But he was neither the first nor the last to take the risk of building golf where there previously was none for many miles around.

If you like to wander to the most isolated places to play golf, you’ve got to check out some of these super-remote golf courses and resorts:

The World

Lofoten Links – Gimsøysand, Norway

Lofoten Links – Gimsøysand, Norway

There’s scenic golf, and then there’s Lofoten. (Jacob Sjoman)

Located 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Lofoten is one of the hardest-to-get-to golf courses on the planet. But the Jeremy Turner design manages to draw visitors from all over the world because of its utterly spectacular setting, with half a dozen holes perched on cliffs overlooking the Norwegian Sea. The course’s extreme northerly location enables summer golfers to play at all hours, and at other times, the Northern Lights dance across the sky.

Cape Breton Highlands Links Golf Course – Ingonish, Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia’s northern Cape Breton Island has become famous in the golf world lately because of two courses built on the aforementioned Mike Keiser’s if-you-build-it-they-will-come philosophy: Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs. But the new presence of these layouts doesn’t make the classic Stanley Thompson layout much less remote, as it’s located a little over two hours northeast of Cabot and more than an hour from the nearest golf course of note.

Whalsay Golf Club – Skaw, Scotland, United Kingdom

(Whalsay Golf Club)

If you think Aberdeen and Dornoch are far north in Scotland, then Skaw, on the Shetland Islands, is on another level altogether. The rugged, beautiful Shetlands lie some 600 miles north of London and nearly 300 miles north of St. Andrews. Bottom line: it’s not a part of the world you get to by accident, but rather by plane, ferry or both. But if your wanderlust takes your to Whalsay, the northernmost golf course in the British Isles, you’ll be rewarded with some amazing scenery – the North Sea surrounds the course on three sides – and the opportunity to play unlimited golf for a week for a mere £70.

Laucala Island – Fiji

Private Island Resort in Fiji

(Laucala Island Resort)

On the other side of the coin – and the world – is Laucala, which, in addition to being one of the most remote golf courses in the world is also part of one of the highest-end resorts in the world. Its parent Laucala Resort is part of the Leading Hotels of the World network, with nights at the tropical paradise reportedly costing thousands of dollars a night. The course is an environmentally sensitive David McLay Kidd design which, according to a Luxury Travel Magazine piece from 2015, can be rented out, along with the rest of the island, for $150,000 per night.

The United States

The Rock Golf Course at Drummond Island Resort – Drummond Island, Mich.

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is a gorgeous, sparsely populated place, marked with tiny towns rather than big cities. At its extreme eastern end lies Drummond Island, surrounded by Lake Huron, with the town of Drummond Island’s population just topping 1,000. There’s no bridge to the island from the mainland UP, but there is car ferry service from nearby De Tour Village. There is also a small airport, so small that the paths on the island’s rudimentary nine-hole course cross the runway twice.

Drummond Island is quiet, but it is home to a small, rustic resort whose long list of activities includes golf: The Rock Golf Course, designed by Harry Bowers, a disciple of Robert Trent Jones. With the resort recently under new ownership, extra attention and work is being put into the golf course with an eye on raising its profile. The out-of-the-way setting certainly has our attention.

Black Jack’s Crossing Golf Course at Lajitas Golf Resort – Lajitas, Texas.

There are all types of wilderness in the United States, and some of the most spectacular wilderness scenery is found in deep southwestern Texas at Big Bend National Park. Just west of the park, cozy with the Mexican border is the town of Lajitas, home to Lajitas Golf Resort and Black Jack’s Crossing Golf Course, a Lanny Wadkins design that opened in 2012 and ranks among the top accessible courses in the vast Lone Star State. The course’s pro shop operates out of the historic Lajitas Trading Post, which dates back to the 19th century. That there are no other golf courses around for dozens of miles is not a bother; Black Jack’s Crossing is engaging enough to enjoy multiple times consecutively.

Isle Dauphine Golf Club – Dauphin Island, Ala.

This aerial was taken while Isle Dauphine was closed, but it’s open again under new ownership. It’s easy to see the potential inherent to the site. (Google Maps)

The northern Gulf Coast of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi is a popular winter hangout for thousands of golfers. Dauphin Island is centrally located relative to the region, but is a little tough to get to, about 40 miles south of Mobile across a long causeway. Ferry access is also available from Fort Morgan at the western end of the Gulf Shores area.

Isle Dauphine Golf Club was built in the 1960s, and was at one point a top-100 course. It fell by the wayside over the ensuing decades, ultimately closing down in 2012. But it is open again under new ownership, who have been marketing the course more aggressively in order to attract visitors to the beachside layout on a spit of land that calls itself the “Sunset Capital of the World.” If you want inexpensive golf and awesome water views, Isle Dauphine is right up your alley.

Madeline Island Golf Club – La Pointe, Wisc.

Madeline Island lies among the Apostle Islands just off part of Wisconsin’s slim Lake Superior shoreline. Like Drummond Island, Madeline is accessible by car ferry or plane. The golf course was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and opened in 1967. In addition to its sylvan setting, it is noteworthy for the way Jones routed it, using of seven double greens and a number of shared tee areas in order to place an 18-hole course onto a smaller than usual piece of land.

The course is nominally private, but it does take outside play through a direct call to its pro shop or via advance tee-time bookings on its website,

Just down the street is the quaint Inn on Madeline Island, which serves as a wonderful jumping-off point for a vacation in this secluded, scenic northerly corner of the Midwest.

Sea Ranch Golf Links – Gualala, Calif.

The California coast sports hundreds of miles of wonderful scenery, with the more northern windswept cliffs regarded as some of America’s most beautiful places. This is the area where Sea Ranch Golf Links lies, at the extreme northwestern corner of Sonoma County, more than an hour from the next nearest course. The master-planned Sea Ranch community is famous for some environmental battles between the original ten-mile site’s developers and the state of California, which ultimately led to the creation of the California Coastal Commission.

For its part, the golf course lies close to the sea, but mostly stays away from the clifftops, with only a few holes offering water views. Nevertheless, the cool breezes give the Robert Muir Graves-designed course, built in stages (nine holes opened in 1974 and the other nine opened in 1995) something of a linksy feel. Building architecture buffs are drawn to the area by the interesting look of the homes and other structures that dot the property.

The Prairie Club – Valentine, Neb.

(Prairie Club)

Likely the most famous name on this list, the Prairie Club was built under the aforementioned that the quality of golf and the intrigue of journey will inspire visitors to visit. And things have gone well since the 2010 opening of the facility, which functions partially as a members’ club and partially as a resort, with two 18-hole courses and the charming, 10-hole Gil Hanse-designed short “Horse Course.” The newest golf amenity is a rollicking putting course called “Old Wagon.”

As with the private Sand Hills and Dismal River clubs that have put Nebraska on the map as a special golf destination, beyond the excellent courses themselves, the Prairie Club charms its members and guests with seemingly endless rolling natural beauty and an ocean of long grass swaying in the wind. It’s an all-golf, all-the-time retreat in the middle of nowhere.

Source: Golf Vacation Insider

The post Only Game In Town: The Most Remote Golf Courses You Can Play appeared first on Bahle Farms.


Golf prides itself as a “gentleman’s game.” En the masse, golfers take this mantra to heart, adhering not only to the rules, but towards standard etiquette on the golf course and to their fellow hackers. Unfortunately, due to bad habits or general ignorance, there remains a multitude of breaches of etiquette. We’re all guilty of some fallacy; it’s simply a matter of understanding proper procedures. Here are the 14 manners of golf etiquette that are commonly violated. Click through and see if you know them all

Showing up less than 15 minutes before your tee time

Putting with too many balls on the practice green

Failing to pick up the flagstick

Cart-path only? Carry more than one club to your shot

Talking to someone’s ball

Standing behind someone as they putt

Walking in a player’s “through line”

Placing bag on a tee box

Walking across the green with your bag

Lack of divot pattern on the driving range

If you’re terribly behind on a match play hole, pick up

Checking your phone too much

It’s one thing to check a score or send a text between holes. But continually attached to your phone goes against the spirit of being with friends or one with nature. Even if not causing an audible disruption, you’re telling your group that you find them tedious and boring.


Source: Golf Digest

The post 14 RULES OF GOLF ETIQUETTE YOU ARE PROBABLY BREAKING appeared first on Bahle Farms.

Holiday Golf Gift Idea: Stogie Holder

The Stage V Clinger – Golf

Cigars and golf go together like peanut butter and jelly. One of the biggest challenges for the cigar smoking golfer is proper placement while hitting a shot or putting on the green. Golf course superintendents warn golfers not to lay cigars on the ground as the stogie will come into contact with hazardous pesticides and fertilizers. The Stage V Clinger solves the problem with a magnetic clip that holds your cigar while you golf.

The Stage V Clinger is a must own for the regular or occasion cigar smoker.

How To Use:
The Stage V Clinger is flexible and attaches easily to golf carts and bags and will keep lit cigars intact in a sophisticated way. The sleek design allows cigar smokers to attach the holder to any vehicle or vessel that a magnet can mount to or a Velcro strap can wrap around. The ribbed handle is easy to grip and the light pressure spring keeps cigars and cigarillos of any size in place without a pinch or tear to the cigar.

More Information:
Colors: Red, Orange, White, Blue

The cigar holder can be purchased as a single unit ($12.99) or as a pack of four ($44.99) through the Stage V Clinger website:


Source: Golf Guide

The post Holiday Golf Gift Idea: Stogie Holder appeared first on Bahle Farms.

Henrik Stenson named as the 2016 European Golfer of the Year

Henrik Stenson has been named the 2016 European Tour Golfer of the Year, winning the award for a second time after an impressive year once again.

The 40-year-old produced an impressive 11 Top-10 finishes on the tour on his way to winning the Race to Dubai title for the first time since 2013. The formidable Swede finished ahead of nearest challenger and Masters champion Danny Willett in the Order of Merit, in a season which also saw Stenson gain a silver medal at the Rio Olympics and represent Europe in the Ryder Cup.

If you enjoy placing bets on the big golfing events on the European Tour, there is a great free bet calculator for working out your bets, which is particularly handy for multiples and exotics.

A re-tear of the right knee saw Henrik Stenson fail to qualify for the PGA Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship, giving the Swede more time to recover for the Ryder Cup, where he played all five matches for Darren Clarke’s side, where victory in the Friday fourballs alongside Justin Rose and a Sunday singles triumph over Jordan Spieth was not enough to stop Europe falling to a 17-11 defeat to the USA.

To bolster his position as the most revered golfer on the continent, Henrik Stenson also won the Golf Writers Trophy for the second time in 2016. This particular award is voted by members of Association of Golf Writers and is awarded to the European player that has made the year’s “most outstanding contribution to golf”. Few would argue Stenson hasn’t earned it.

Having claimed his first major at the Open at Royal Troon by winning a thrilling duel with Phil Mickelson, Stenson won this award with an overwhelming majority in the voting, despite facing stiff competition from the Masters champion Danny Willett, Olympic Gold Medallist Justin Rose and Alex Noren, who collected four European Tour titles in 2016.

Esteemed company, but Stenson is riding the crest of a wave at the moment and he is a man to watch in 2017. Staying injury free will be the most important factor in how the next few seasons play out for Stenson, a knee injury can be very tricky especially under the strain of professional golfing. Provided he stays in one piece though, the confidence and experience gained in 2016 can only propel his game forward again.



The post Henrik Stenson named as the 2016 European Golfer of the Year appeared first on Bahle Farms.