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North Carolina Golf Still Impresses

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Pinehurst #4 (110) bw

Back and forth I have sprinted through North Carolina many a time in the last few years, only occasionally taking the time for a golf game – or several. With almost 600 golf courses I have to admit that it ranks highly among my favorite states to visit when golf is concerned.

Years back I was fortunate to play all eight golf courses at Pinehurst Resort in a single 5 day golf frenzy – it still stands as a highlight of my golfing life. I longed to return there in a better time – that stint was just days after the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and it was a somber time for all. So, along with my buddy Jeff, we vowed to make a return to the venerable resort someday and in Mid-October this year we did just that.

To round out the trip (it will be the subject of a major travel feature that will appear next year in Flagstick Golf Magazine) we added in a few other destinations. The final itinerary found us playing nine courses in total with just one day that we would play twice – leaving lots of flexibility to check out other attractions, golf shops, and even a NASCAR race. For golf junkies it was a classic road trip.

I’ll say the weather was less than perfect although my true choice of words at the time would basically be unprintable. Early tee times resulted in near freezing temperatures by the time we teed off most days. Thankfully a warming trend on the last couple days left a much better impression although only be able to comfortably wear shorts for just nine holes was a bit of a letdown. I take solace in knowing that is unusual weather for them at this time of year.

To give you a framework for what we took on here is a list of the layouts we managed to play on the journey, in order: Pinehurst #1, Pinehurst #4, Pinehurst #8, Pinehurst #2, Little River, Anderson Creek, Lonnie Poole at NC State, UNC (University of North Carolina)- Finley, and The Preserve at Lake Jordan.

Lonnie Poole was the youngest of the courses (it opened just this past June) proved to be the weakest for us – mostly due to early condition and anomaly holes like a 550 yard, uphill PAR 4! But in time this near 7400-yard beast should improve as far as condition and playability as adjustments are made.

For the topper, well, how can you argue with Pinehurst among our selection? My second look at #8 left me even more impressed and this picturesque Tom Fazio layout pushed its way up on my favored Pinehurst list. #2 is still the grand pappy, the enigma you just try and figure out each time you play. Not the most aesthetically pleasing of the courses at the Pinehurst complex, nevertheless you can’t help but be drawn into its grasp. There are few better second shot courses on the planet. Bang it all you want off the tee but strategy for the last half of each hole is a priority unless you have a Houdini-like short game.

I am want for the space and time to lay out opinions of each and every course; that I will save for the Spring Feature but let’s just say there was nothing you could complain about as far as golf was concerned.

Spanning the Sandhills, Fayetteville, and Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill regions like this proved once again why North Carolina is a leading golf state.

And the deals? Just too much. When John Meroski, CEO of the Fayetteville Convention and Visitors Bureau, said he could put us on a course like the Davis Love III designed Anderson Creek with a room for less than a $100 a night I just couldn’t do much more than chuckle. At about $45 for a green fee this time of year with a cart the course would be equivalent to a $100 plus offering in many towns across North America.

So eight years after we made that last Pinehurst journey, by the time we arrived home we felt we had experienced the trip we had hoped for. In one 36 hour stretch we managed to play Pinehurst #8 then attend the NASCAR Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s near Charlotte, followed by an early morning tee time on Pinehurst #2.

I mean, really, if we hadn’t been impressed by those happenings alone it might just be time to give up the game.

So if you haven’t been to North Carolina for golf then I suggest it might be about time you made the trek. I can tell you from my own experiences that it will never leave you disappointed. And surely it will leave you with something to talk about for a long time to come – just as it continues to do for us.

To check some images from our trip you can view them here.

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Pro golfer Hosung Choi has the most ridiculous golf swing you’ll ever see

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Professional golfer Hosung Choi, playing in the third round of the Kolon Korea Open at Woo Jeong Hills Country Club, has set the golf Internet on fire with his wildly entertaining golf swing. And while it may look ridiculous, he’s currently sitting at 8-under for the event through three rounds, only two shots back of the leader. It’s worth noting that the top two finishers in the Korea Open will earn a spot in the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie next month.

Enjoy the videos of his golf swing below!

Top-100 swing instructor and GolfWRX’s resident swing expert Tom Stickney has this to say about Choi’s golf swing: “The club goes up and away with a nice rerouting motion from the top into a perfect delivery and impact position. It’s obvious that this guy can play from those two positions, however, I’m not sure about the dismount. Nor can I even guess why he does it…I’m betting he was self-taught and made that move from day one. Great lesson to all the “golf swing” centric people playing today, why change it if it brings you to the dance?!?!”

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Marty Jertson, Ping’s Director of Product Development, qualified for the PGA Championship

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The top 20 professionals from the PGA Professional Championship–contested last weekend at Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Courses in Seaside, California–are heading to the PGA Championship later this year.

Perhaps you saw Ryan Vermeer, at 5 under, was the medalist. What you may not have seen however, is something particularly cool for golf equipment geeks: Ping’s Director of Product Development, Marty Jertson, qualified–and he did so in spectacular fashion: the 37-year-old birdied the last three holes to finish T9.

Not bad for an engineer!

Also noteworthy: Ping confirmed Jertson played the company’s yet-to-be announced i500 irons in his 3, 4, and 5-irons, which will reportedly be available mid-summer. Yes, they confirmed that the rumors are true; Ping’s new iron will be called i500.

Related: We did a podcast with Jertson at the PGA Show, we also interviewed him back in 2017.

 

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Reddit AMA alert: Anthony Taranto, Callaway’s wedge art maestro, on his favorite designs, WITB

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If you’ve been around GolfWRX for any period of time, you’ve seen Anthony Taranto’s work. The Callaway wedge specialist is tasked with designing some of the coolest wedge decorations in the game.

Taranto did a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) yesterday, and The Wedge Art Wizard (as he introduced himself) didn’t disappoint.

Here are a few highlights (edited for spelling)

Remoolg asked: How did you start working at Callaway and get into this specific position?

AT: Back in 1999 Callaway had a job fair for their new golf ball plant Mr. Callaway was opening. I made it though many layoffs and reorganization. I was good at building clubs and I was placed in the pro tour department about 12 years ago. About 4 1/2 years ago I discovered this technique for sandblasting art onto wedges and now here we are.

Loudshorts asked: What’s the most odd art request you’ve put on a wedge and what’s the most common?

AT: Most odd: Probably Michelle Wie’s Harry Potter-themed wedges

I didn’t know anything about Harry Potter at the time so I had to do some research. Accio birdies!
Most common would just be old fashioned stamping of players initials.

Bunny said: Billy Idol, never pictured him as a golfer. What kind of design did he want on his clubs?

AT: He asked for his logo, which is this cool crown with a lightning bolt:

Iamrobert_paulson asked: What wedges are in your bag? Can we see pics?

AT: I’m gaming MD4’s: 45° (46 bent to 45), 50°, 55° (54 bent to 55), and 60°. Design wise: Skull & Crossbones and lots of stars.

Dr. Troutman asked: What is your favorite custom set you’ve ever done?

AT: Putting me on the spot! It might be these that I just recently made. Figured out how to evolve the sand blasting technique and start doing layers. Really happy with how these came out:

You can check out the full AMA here.

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