Saturday

Summer Golf Season - The Best Is Yet to Come

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.
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Friday

Golf's Intimidating Island Greens - 5 to try in Connecticut.

With its massive purse and unofficial "fifth major" status, THE PLAYERS championship is a perennial favorite of golf fans.

However, it's surely the iconic 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass that allows this tournament to transcend golf and capture the attention of the masses.

There's just something about an island green. The prospect of a sudden watery demise can play on the nerves of even the most experienced golfer, and high drama will often ensue.

It's a good bet there's not a golfer anywhere who's watched THE PLAYERS Championship without imagining themselves poised on that 17th tee, aiming for the island.

If a trip to Ponte Vedre Beach isn't currently in the cards for you, chances are you may be able to find a island green right in your own home state because, contrary to popular belief, island greens aren't all that rare.

Though they're not a traditional feature of golf course architecture, they've become quite popular since the mid-20th Century.  In fact here in my home state of Connecticut... without doing much research... I've already discovered five!

So check out your state's course listings, you may find an island green or two.  Meanwhile for those living in, or traveling to, the "Nutmeg State" this summer, here's what I've found:




Vineyard Valley Golf Course • 34 Brayman Valley Road • Pomfret, CT - It used to be a vineyard, now it's a 9 hole golf course... and the finishing hole on this scenic, steeply sloped course is an island green.
"The ninth hole is what Gus Loos, the designer of the course, considered to be eastern Connecticut's answer to the famous island green at the 17th hole at Sawgrass in Florida. Playing anywhere from 120 to 160 yards, the green is fronted by a watery marsh that has been and will continue to be the graveyard of many a good score."  
Chanticlair Golf Course • 288 Old Hebron Road • Colchester, CT 06415 - The 9 hole Chanticlair Golf Course has been in operation since the early 1970's in the scenic town of Colchester.  The island experience greets golfers on the 4th hole here.  • • MORE CT ISLAND GREENS

Thursday

A Women's Golf Wear Preview: Bobby Jones® Apparel, Clover Collection

Spring is in the air... and on the golf course... with the Bobby Jones Apparel Clover Collection for women.

Springtime is all about renewal. 

As the monochromatic winter wanes, we seek out color. In our homes, at work or on the golf course, when we think Spring, we tend to take our cues from nature. The acid greens of the season's first foliage and the bright hues of our favorite solstitial flowers. 

I've got to admit, the first thing that attracted me to Bobby Jones Apparel's 2016 Clover Collection for women were the colors... as pure and fresh as the nascent Spring. Functionality, was a close second. 

When it comes to golf apparel, functionality can make a marked difference: Strategically placed pockets, with non-slip zipper pulls and innovative, multi-tasking textile blends... how about polos with single-button closures and adjustable sleeves. These are some of the functional features that impressed me in the Bobby Jones Golf Apparel pieces I tested. They ensured maximum comfort, while adding adaptability and ease of use.



Then there are the intangibles. What a brand represents is a subtle but significant part of how it feels, and Bobby Jones Apparel is a legacy brand if ever there was one. Inspired by the golden age golf legend, known for his style, grace, humor and humility. 

Born on Saint Patrick's Day in 1902, Bobby Jones remains the only player in history to win the Grand Slam, and in the women's golf apparel collection, Clover by Bobby Jones, his legacy is represented by the four-leaf clover charm that Jones consistently carried with him. 

A nod to that lucky talisman can be found in understated clover accents -embroidered and embossed - throughout the collection. There's even a small four-leaf clover seal on each Clover collection hang tag. I've decided to use one of these as my own good luck charm this season. 

Initial Impressions

The golf season hasn't officially gotten underway here in CT, however some area courses have opened their fairways to impatient players, and a couple of days ago I grabbed my favorite golf partner - who also happens to be my twin - and we headed over to one such course to play a few pre-season holes. 

Though our golf skills were decidedly rusty... and the course not quite ready for primetime... our initial impressions of the Clover Collection were resoundingly positive. The fabric blends favor flexibility without sacrificing fit, and each piece we tested features distinctive styling details that set the line apart. Cathleen and I have agreed to play a full round in our Bobby Jones apparel next month and at that time we'll share a detailed review. As you may have guessed, we're looking very much forward to it. 


Women's Mitered Cable V-Neck Sweater in Cornflower *  Women's Supreme Cotton Polo in Amethyst
* Tech Burnout Hoodie in Green Apple * Sleeveless Tech Lace-Panel Polo in Melon * Tech Burnout Skort in Geranium


In the meantime check out Clover by Bobby Jones. The collection can be found at the finest golf clubs and resorts and on line at at bobbyjones.com . 

Sunday

That Magical Place Where March Madness Meets Golf Fashion

March Madness at the golf range


If you're not that into college basketball, and brackets just leave you baffled... or broke... this probably isn't your favorite time of year.

The fact is, March Madness can be extremely annoying for those who don't partake. For two weeks, you find everything from your local sports bars to your social media feeds overrun by legions of loudmouthed basketball people. They're often disgruntled and endlessly lament their ill-fated picks.

For golfers however, there's a bright side to these gray, late-winter days, and it can be found at your local driving range or golf practice center. Because... coincidentally... the perfect time to get your game in gear just happens to be the ideal moment to to enjoy relative solitude at the range. With many of the most egregious, self-appointed, swing critics otherwise occupied, an aspiring golfer can finally practice in peace.

To that end... and with a playful retro hoops nod to the bracket obsessed masses... I've styled the perfect outfit for ladies who wish to spend March Madness at the golf range and it's centered on the Women's Nike Blazer golf shoe. Created for LPGA champion Michelle Wie and inspired by basketball great George "the iceman" Grevin, this hybrid hightop is both functional and fashion forward.  It comes in several colors, but I chose the girly/badass hot pink/camo version and paired it with an Under Armour hoodie, camo leggings and a Bridgestone cap.

So there you have it, from Selection Sunday through the Final Four, you too can use March Madness to improve your golf skills, and with a bit of creativity, you can do it in style.



Monday

TEEBOX - Portable Power Source Keeps Golfers Fully Charged & Focused

Teebox - the golf accessory product that keeps you in charge... whether you walk or ride. Now on Kickstarter.

Golf, more than most sports, is a game of focus and concentration; a stray thought or minor distraction can easily sabotage a stellar round.

Whether you're on the cusp of clinching the club championship, or playing a casual nine with friends, it's always advantageous to eliminate those elements that take your mind off the task at hand... and for today's golfers there are many such elements.  Take, for example, technology: though we have a myriad of innovative apps... GPS range finders, game trackers and scorecards... easily accessible on our phones and devices, the challenges of keeping them charged adds a layer of distraction no golfer needs.

That's were Teebox comes in. Now available for funding on Kickstarter, this sleek golf accessory product serves as your golf organizer & portable phone charging station. Whether you're driving a cart or walking the course, Teebox keeps you powered up and focused. The thing is, it sits perfectly in your cart cubbies, but also fits easily in your bag... or in the basket of your push cart.  Pockets for golf tees and divot repair tools... snacks, sunscreen, cigars and more... means no fishing around in your bag wasting time and focus.  Best of all, this awesome golf organizer has a built in phone charging station. And its portable, so you can keep your device powered up no matter how you want to play... walking, pulling or riding (gas or electric). It's great for the range as well. 

There are tons of golf accessories out there but this really resonates with me. You see, I play with a variety of golfers, but whether it's the competitive ladies league or my husband and his hacker friends, our golf carts always seem to become a confusing jumble of... stuff.  Very distracting. Then there was the time my phone found itself on the receiving end of an extra spicy Bloody Mary. Not good. 

The Teebox will keep your cart cubbies under control and your devices high and dry... and fully charged, without fuss.   Have a look at Teebox in action on their Kickstarter video below and visit the Teebox Kickstarter page to support this fun project. I think you'll agree, it's a simple solution whose time has come.



Friday

National Hat Day, An Occasion to Celebrate A Golf Fashion Accessory




It's one of those days... again. A "national" day most of us never knew existed, celebrating something most of us would never have thought to celebrate.

Today is National Hat Day, and I must admit it took me by surprise this morning even though I've spent more than a decade in a town known as Hat City.  Yes, Danbury, CT was the hat making capital of the world for the first half of the 20th century, when hats...for both men and women... were de rigueur, As fashions changed, the industry declined, and these days hatting is just a memory in Danbury, Nonetheless, it remains a proud part of the city's identity.

Once I was reminded of today's special significance, talk of it got me thinking of golf hats. The ubiquitous billed ball cap pretty much dominates the fairways these days, however "golf hats" actually have a rich history, and there are contemporary golfers... both professional and amateur... who manage to buck the billed cap trend and make distinctive style statements with their on-course headgear.

Consider the case of Vicky Hurst. The popular LPGA player began wearing a flat newsboy cap as a tribute to Payne Stewart and is now widely known for the distinctive style. There there's Michelle McGann; the seven-time LPGA Tour winner often wears wide brim straw hats and has become so indelibly associated with the style that fans sometimes complain when she switches to a billed cap... which she does on rainy/windy days.  The oversize straw sun visor is a style many associate with glamorous, Australian golfer/model/MBA Candidate Anna Rawson. It's an ultra-feminine style and definitely wouldn't work for everyone but the beautiful Aussie certainly wears it well.

The guys, of course, have some their own golf hat heroes: Kirk Triplett has multiple wins on both the PGA and Champions Tours and is universally known as the "Man in The Bucket Hat", while Greg Norman's signature straw hat is as much a part of his image as the shark embroidered on its band. Jesper Parnevik had his heyday in the early 2000's and spent 38 weeks in the top 10, but is probably better know for his sartorial eccentricities which include an odd upturned-bill baseball cap and the occasional porkpie.

I'm quite sure the baseball-style billed golf cap will continue to rule for the foreseeable future, but hopefully there'll always be a few golfers willing to take stylistic risks and commit to a unique personal style...and an unconventional lid.

Monday

Golf Fashion Inspired by Rose Quartz & Serenity, 2016 Color(s) Of The Year,

2016 Color(s) of the Year - A Perfect Pairing for Golf Fashion


A change is in the air... one that'll be seen in golf shops and on golf courses as the new year gets underway.

A couple of days ago, PANTONE, the world renown authority on color, announced the 2016 Color of the Year. Their choice took many by surprise... on a couple of levels.  After several seasons of decidedly assertive tones, PANTONE has chosen not one, but two rather sedate shades as the year's chosen color... or should I say colors.  They're "Rose Quartz", a pale shade of pink and "Serenity", a baby-ish blue. Each is pretty on their own, but the two together bring to mind something like... a nursery for designer twins.

The winning colors are based on PANTONE's yearly poll of designers and manufacturers, and in principle, we can expect to see them with some frequency in upcoming collections of apparel, accessories and home decor. The response to these two sugary shades from the fashion and home decor press, has been somewhat skeptical. Though it's been suggested the colors are calming. I suppose that's a good thing.

Looking at Rose Quartz and Serenity in terms of ladies golf apparel and accessories, i believe that for segments of the golf population, they'll present a welcome return to the feminine women's golf fashion of the past.

Golf Fashion Inspired by  the 2016 Color(s) of the Year
Golf Fashion Inspired by the 2016 Color(s) of the Year by thegolfgirl 
Information on all of the above items can be found -> HERE