With October firmly in its second half, the days are decidedly getting shorter. Our New England foliage is beginning to feature some lively licks of color, and the morning chill no longer allows for a sleeveless stroll to the mailbox. That the official end of summer is still several days off is of little solace to those lamenting the approach of winter.
I used to be one of those lamenters. I'd get all gloomy at the first hint of fall; pumpkins depressed me... so did chrysanthemums and cornucopias. Especially cornucopias. An irrational dread of what the winter might bring had left me unable to appreciate the unique awesomeness of fall.
It was a desire to extend the abbreviated Connecticut golf season that finally led me to stop sulking and embrace Autumn. Once I did, I found myself looking forward to this season on steamy summer days. I now relish the last months of each year; for the spectacular changing colors, the cooler temperatures... and the less crowded golf courses. There's also the prospect... once Autumn is well underway... of an Indian summer, bringing us a final taste of warmth before winter takes hold for good. This endearing weather singularity is quite common in New England, and it's the inspiration behind a unique drink I developed for our annual fall golf classic. It's a blend of the season's most delightful ingredients and the end result is both sweet and savory, just like the special season that inspired it: The Watermelon Gazpacho Cocktail --> Get the Recipe.
|DIY Halloween costume: Lady golfers of the 20s Via Polyvore|
There was a time, not long ago, when "sexy" seemed to have become a prerequisite on Halloween.
Young ladies... and not-so-young ones... were choosing costumes consisting of little more than lingerie. The commercial Halloween costume industry had discovered that virtually any outfit could be made sexy by just paring down the clothing, while exaggerating the accessories. They took the concept well beyond it's early iterations; the French maid, the sexy nurse, the sexy pirate wench... to such unlikely subjects as the sexy goldfish and the sexy squirrel. There were even some sexy golfer costumes which we wrote about in detail several years ago.
This year however, the whole "sexy" costume thing may not be quite so ubiquitous. The Donald Trump "scandal du jour" has focused the nation's attention on the objectification of women. Though this will probably be short-lived, the scrutiny may make sexy costumes awkward for both the wearer and the observer. There's also the "Take Back Halloween" movement which has been encouraging female to select more "empowering" costumes this year, costumes that represent strong, successful women... figures from history and the world of sports. That brought to my mind the great lady golfers of the early 20th century; Glenna Collett, Alexa Stirling, Edith Cummings, Joyce Wethered. They were strong and their style was distinctive.
|Channeling Glenna Collett on Halloween|
I found the pieces for the four looks above at various on-line stores
Pictured at left is my own version of the Golden Age Golfer costume from a couple of years ago, sourced entirely from our local thrift shop.
It's a fun theme for Halloween, especially if you have a group, like we had that year. And it did feel empowering to dress like a historical golf champion. Unfortunately I didn't manage to channel any golf skills. Maybe this year.
In Gee Chun... Dumbo to her friends and fans... is extraordinary on so many levels, and her impressive wire-to-wire win at the Evian Championship yesterday was just the latest example.
The victory was record breaking, at 21 under, the lowest score ever in a major... men's or women's. In addition, this win made Chun only the second player in LPGA history to clinch her first two LPGA wins at majors (her iconic compatriot Se Ri Pak being the first).
In fact, In Gee Chun seems to have an affinity for big wins. She'd already won majors in Japan and Korea when she clinched the 2015 US Women's Open last year... on her first try.
The multiple major winner is ultra-impressive off course as well. According to her bio she's something of a math prodigy with a genius level IQ, and based on her performance in a commercial for the PING Rhapsody driver... she's also a stellar Barbie impersonator. Have a look at the video and I think you'll have to agree.
|Connecticut Golf at Mohegan Sun - Photo credit: Mohegan Sun|
It's an idea whose time has come, a global golf competition between the world's top caddies.
Stellar players in their own rights, these men spend most of the year supporting the likes of Jim Furyk, and Bubba Watson, but this coming Monday they'll be taking part in the World Caddie Matches at Connecticut's Mohegan Sun Golf Club.
It'll be Americans vs Internationals, and the one day/two round event will feature both alternate shot and singles matches. The public is welcome, and the gallery is expected to include a tour player... or several.
Proceeds from the World Caddie Matches will go to K9s for Warriors, a non-profit whose mission is to provide service dogs to veterans.
I'm guessing this unique, first ever world caddie tournament might just become an annual tradition.
Additional information: World Caddie Matches Presented by Beckmen Law at Mohegan Sun Golf Club
|We celebrate National Golf Month annually at the O'Shea Open, a fun, family golf tournament|
We're two weeks into August which for some signals the waning days of the golf season... and inspires feelings of melancholy. Personally, I don't see it that way at all, and I'm guessing you don't either.
Most of the golfers I come in contact with, even here in CT where winters are often long, welcome the prospect of Autumnal golf with almost the same enthusiasm they reserve for those first Springtime rounds. With the oppressive heat and humidity behind us and fall colors beginning to show their splendor, golf can be be sublime in September, and in these parts the luster often lasts through Thanksgiving. So... nothing to be morose about right now.
In fact, let's get back to mid-August, because August is National Golf Month and we're only half way through it.
It's a month to share and celebrate golf, in any which way you want... from playing a round, to attending a tournament, to introducing a friend to the game. It's all good, and there are myriad suggestions, promotions, tips and trivia to be found online and in communities around the world, that will inspire you.
I'm happy to say, I've done a bit of everything so far this month; I spent a couple of days at both the PGA Championship and the Travelers Championship, played several twilight rounds with friends and introduced our 9-year-old nephew, to the game at our local par-three.
|The O'Shea Open - Players of all ages & ability levels, 9 holes, with a family course setup.|
Then, this past weekend was the O'Shea Open, an annual event that, to my mind, totally captures the spirit of National Golf Month. It's players of all ages and ability levels, 9 holes, with a family course setup. Best ball and teams of teams of 10... with a couple of cheerleaders along for the walk/ride. Yes, there are walkers and riders on each team and it's somewhat chaotic, but always fun. There's even a trophy, and we won it back this year, in a playoff. Exciting stuff. A quintessential American cookout follows the tournament in the shady picnic area beside the putting green.
The thing is, I've seen many of these young, first-time players come back to the tournament over the years, having improved from taking lessons, practicing and playing regularly. From their first exposure to golf at this casual, quixotic outing these kids have clearly developed a love for the game.
That right there is the spirit of National Golf Month.
|The Impressively Swinging Mel Reid|
Combine British wit, an astute eye for design and an unyielding dedication to sustainable golf and what do you get? You get Peter Gorse, the outspoken founder of "Golf Refugees".
Peter spent last week at the Ricoh British Open and wrote the following dispatch from the media center at Woburn Golf Club, especially for us.Golf Media Mannerisms
On arrival you receive a gift. Only the British would consider giving an umbrella for a major sporting event in mid-summer. Each journo is allocated a desk facing a manually updated scoreboard, fortunately the door between the food hall is left ajar and the waft of the cooking keeps you on your toes.
There’s an itinerary of set media events, from press conferences with leading players, to a Championship photo call with the imaginative theme of a traditional English tea party. I didn’t want to be a party pooper, but as an Englishmen it was all new to me. Obviously they’ve never seen The Royle Family TV show by the late great Caroline Ahern
You can never guarantee sunshine in the UK, hence the modestly warm and dry start to the week was a golden opportunity to be out and about in the field, taking pictures of the world’s best female golfers. With a media pass you’re allowed inside the ropes to capture the best possible images. And here I came across my first issue with the Ladies European Tour police. It’s never a easy situation for a bloke to be told ‘you’re not big enough’. In spite of all the correct paperwork my camera lens just wasn’t up to scratch in the ‘length’ department. To appease officialdoms, I simply stated, "size isn’t everything, it’s what you do with that counts". Alas, this didn’t wash, especially when other seasoned media bods were carrying around their massive male egos. My next line of defence was to quote from the late great photographer, Jane Brown, whose attitude was a stark contrast to her mostly male peers. Jane was supremely uninterested in camera equipment. She bought all of her cameras secondhand, and preferred working with a single lens setting, conspiring to make the environment fit the setting. All this fell on deaf ears and I was forced to seek a bigger lens. READ MORE --->
|SUMMERTIME GOLF, LAST WEEK AT RICHTER PARK|
All of a sudden... we're half way through summer.
For those of us in "continental" climate zones this is the heart of golf's high season... and here in the northeastern United States, the season's been pretty sublime so far; lots of warm, sunny days with uncharacteristically low humidity.
I suspect I'm not alone in feeling a tinge of regret for not having played more these past few weeks... that sentiment seems to be a yearly ritual among the recreational golfers I know. Now comes the yearly commitment to get out there much more often during summer's second half. Well, I'm on it! Despite the ill-timed heat wave due to descend upon us this weekend.
|OK, CALL ME CRAZY - MY GROWING COLLECTION OF VINTAGE GOLF SHOES|
In addition to playing lots more golf, I intend to get back to writing about it... with regularity. You see, `I've been on a bit of a blogging break while attending to family matters and focusing on creative projects in the non-golf world. The thing is though, my enthusiasm for golf... particularly its fun, flirty, fashionable side... hasn't waned one bit and happily, that side of the game finally seems to be coming into its own.
A tsunami of innovative technology is allowing players and fans to engage with golf on a whole new level, across multiple platforms. Meanwhile draconian dress codes have all but vanished, yielding fairways and greens to more casual, fun and fashionable styles. A diverse crop of young players has added flair to the professional tours while new formats and updated attitudes are aiming to make golf more accessible and family-friendly for recreational players.
So instead of lamenting the lost opportunities of the past couple of months this seemed like the perfect time to focus on golf again with a renewed sense of what makes the game so great. To that end, I hope to be playing watching and writing about it tons in the months to come. Here's just a bit of what I'm working on:
|THE FINAL MAJOR - WE'LL BE AT BALTUSROL FOR THE 2016 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP|
The PGA Championship! I'll be there next week with plans to focus on the fan experience, including a close up of Baltusrol... the course and the club house... as well as an inside look at the championship shops, and their vast selection of merchandise. Meanwhile, across the ocean the Ricoh Women's British Open will be taking place at Woburn Golf Club where the outspoken Peter Gorse of Golf Refugees will be our honorary correspondent, providing us with exclusive stories and unique visuals from this great event. I'll also be sharing a fun story about my rapidly growing collection of... vintage golf shoes.
And that's just next week. Beyond that there's the Travelers Championship, here in CT at TPC River Highlands, and later in August I'll be sharing my experiences at an unusual annual tournament that fully embraces the concept of family friendly golf... often with unexpected results. Oh, and there's the innovative new putter I've been playing with of late. It's a totally unique design... approved by the USGA... that's really working for me.
So, check in regularly. There's still a lot of summer left, let's make the most of it.