When It’s Time For a Golf Trip, I’m Flying Solo

Give me peace, quiet, and meeting new people over reminding my buddies each night that our 8 a.m. tee time will make staying until last call all the more painful.
Find more info on http://www.thegolfshoponline.co.uk here.

Thrash TalkI made my long awaited (in my mind) return to the golf course last week. No press conferences. No media stakeouts. Just me, my clubs, and a balky putter. At some point there will be apologies to my wife and family since the next eight months I'll be sneaking off with my other loves (all 14 of them, with a few substitutes depending on my mood). I'd like to blame the layoff for by abysmal start to the year, not the distractions caused by my infidelity this winter (demoing irons and drivers for hours on end, leaving my current player-club relationships in serious jeopardy).

Unlike a certain big name golfer, I couldn't possibly wait for the Masters. But I did choose a controlled environment to kick off my season, and got away from my familiar surroundings, heading across the country for a solo golf trip in Nevada that reintroduced me to the joys of traveling and playing alone, with strangers, and (unfortunately) the rigors of being joined by my buddies after three days by myself.

Leupold Releases New GX-3 and GX-4 and Updates GX-1, GX-2

How do you make a great accessory even better? Shrink it, add more features, and make it even more accurate and durable - which is exactly what Leupold has done with their new GX-3 and GX-4 laser rangefinders.

Bag DropMaybe you're not a GPS guy. Some of you prefer obtaining your distances from laser rangefinders instead of their GPS-based counterparts. GPS units in the past have had issues with satellite acquisition times, which can lead to frustration for you, the group you're playing with, and potentially groups behind you, whereas the laser rangefinder is point, shoot, and done!

If the laser rangefinders are more to your liking, then hopefully you've considered Leupold's offerings. If you haven't, maybe you should check them out. For starters, we've reviewed previous models from Leupold, and even given a few rangefinders away! Leupold's optical systems can be found in a number of applications, some that require even more pinpoint accuracy than our precious knowledge of distance to the pin. Wouldn't you trust the makers of the same optical systems used by expert marksmen world wide? I know I would.

Read on to find out more about how Leupold's latest rangefinders might just be able to help take a few strokes off of your scorecard.

Volume Two Hundred Twenty Eight

Ogilvy does some unexpected traveling, John and Tony hang out, and Tiger talks again

Hittin' the LinksHello golf fans and welcome again to Hittin' the Links. Lots of Tiger stories again this week as his return grows closer. Everyone wants to talk to Tiger. Everyone, that is, but CBS.

In this edition of HTL we begin with a traveling story involving Geoff Ogilvy, then find out whats wrong with David Toms, and take a peek at Tiger's interviews. Also, we see who passed on a Tiger interview, find out who is hanging out with John Daly, and do a wrap-up of some of the week's events. Read on!

PING i15 Fairway Wood Review

PING's new offering in the fairway metal market gives the lower handicap and professional a solid option that has little to no drawbacks.

PINGThe newest line of PING woods comes in the form of the i15 line. The sleek design and profile of the i15 fairway metal is right in line with the current trend you see in the bags of professionals on tour.

I've sampled many fairway metals over the past few years. Going from a Callaway Steelhead to a TaylorMade r7 before settling on my current Callaway X-Hot. I even tested other Callaways and a Titleist during that time. None could really shake the Callaway X-Hot as it did a great job off the tee, which is where my fairway metals get the most use.

So now comes the PING i15. With some specific design features that intrigued me I was eager to put it to use. Whether or not it could supplant the X-Hot was the big question. Read on to find out.

The Cast of Characters Makes Any Driving Range a Colorful Place

The familiar, friendly, and not-so-friendly faces you'll find on the practice tee.

Thrash TalkFinally, the weather in most of the country is starting to break, which means cabin fever is spreading at epidemic pace. Reports from driving ranges all over included 45-minute waits for a stall and range pickers running non-stop to keep the buckets full.

Heck, just last week I saw something for the first time in my long golfing life. With a full gallery of players blasting away, two workers made their way to the 150-yard green. I paused, wondering if they had a death wish. Then it dawned on me they were out there to rake up the balls plugged in the mud. But no worries, they were prepared. They were wearing what looked like a panel of fence on their backs like backpacks. The things others will do so we can hit a little white ball.

So while even a range veteran is bound to see something new ever once in a while, some things never change. So while many of us already recognize the characters who set up shop in the land of fake grass, vinyl divider walls and rubber golf tees, range neophytes can use a guide. Of course for range mainstays, you might just find yourself described below.

SkyGolf Annouces New SkyCaddie SGX with SmartClub Technology

Tired of manually keeping track of your stats or not knowing your exact distances? Maybe you've also had problems with habitually forgetting your clubs on the course. Though you're wondering how these two different problems are related, the new SkyCaddie SGX might be the all-encompassing solution for you.

Bag DropWhile most of us have one or two places that we frequently play, a lot of players like to venture out every once in a while to a course that's unknown and unfamiliar. I know that I'm pretty familiar and comfortable with the yardages at my home course, but along with the excitement that comes with playing somewhere new is a certain degree of unfamiliarity which can lead to a few issues, the biggest being second-guessing club selection.

Since we aren't lucky to have a Steve Williams or Fluff Cowan by our side every weekend, yardage book in hand, devices such as laser range finders and GPS units have found their way into a lot of bags, and it seems like they're improving with every product release. Sometimes, though, these new features leave you scratching your head, thinking "Why didn't I think of that first?"

One such product is SkyGolf's new SkyCaddie SGX with SmartClub Technology. What improvements am I talking about? Well, you'll just have to read on to find out more!

Volume Two Hundred Twenty Seven

South Park takes on Tiger, Lefty changes his schedule, and Finchem is looking for a little heads up

Hittin' the LinksHello again Sand Trappers and welcome to another volume of Hittin' the Links. How about Ernie Els? Just when I thought he might be washed up, he comes storming back. Maybe there is hope for John Daly… nah!

In this edition of HTL, we start off with a peek at Lefty's revamped schedule, them find out what Finchem is hoping for, and look at Tiger's happy home. Also, we investigate South Park's next victim, check out an unlucky woman's golf injury and do a wrap up of the week's events. Read on!

Five Major Courses You Can (Afford to) Play

I get just as tired as you do of seeing lists of famous golf courses I'll never get to play, so here's a list of the ones you can play - inexpensively!

Trap Five Logo2010 marks a landmark year in the world of golf. For the first time, the three major championships that rotate host venues will all take place on courses that are open to the general public. Pebble Beach Golf Links will host the U.S. Open this June; The Open Championship will be contested at the Old Course at St. Andrews in July; and the season's Grand Slam will conclude with the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in August.

However, while anyone can theoretically enjoy a round at any of these courses, it won't come cheap. At $495 per round, Pebble Beach's green fees are the most expensive in the world — and that doesn't include the two-night resort stay required to book a tee time. A round at Whistling Straits during peak season, plus the required caddy, costs $400. Compared to those two, St. Andrews' going rate of £130 (roughly $200 using current exchange rates) is a relative bargain; but its lottery system of allotting tee times means access can be very hard to come by, especially for golfers making a trans-Atlantic pilgrimage.

My Dough is On Tiger Woods, Even if My Heart Isn’t

In the land of legal sportsbetting, now's the time to plunk down a few bucks on 2010 being the Year of Woods afterall

Thrash TalkAs I prepare for a week in Las Vegas and the chance to place a wager on just about anything, I'll be on the lookout for golf in the sports book. As if this sport isn't maddening enough, why not combine it with another completely futile hobby - handing over my hard-earned cash so they can buy another chandelier for the lobby.

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