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"You lose a lot more in golf than you win. So when you do win, you have to enjoy it. I'm going to go back home and enjoy it with my friends and enjoy it with my family and, yeah, I love being from Northern Ireland. I tell everyone how great it is. For me, it's the best place on earth. I'm obviously biased, but I love it back there and I love the people."



HINT: Look at the bottom of the page.


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The USGA and The R&A finalized golf’s new Rules this month after an extensive review that included a request for feedback from the global golf community on the proposed changes. Golfers can now access the official 2019 Rules of Golf by visiting or

The process to modernize the Rules began in 2012 and was initiated to ensure that the Rules are easier to understand and apply for all golfers and to make the game more attractive and accessible for newcomers.  

While the majority of proposed Rules remain intact in the final version, several important changes to the initial proposals and further clarification of many Rules were incorporated. The most significant adjustments made following review of the feedback received from golfers around the world include:

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In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, he turns to his mother and asks her, "Madam, how like you this play?" to which she replies, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." Queen Gertrude’s response was to the insincere overacting of a character in the play, created by Prince Hamlet to prove his uncle's guilt in the murder of his father, the King of Denmark. This analogy can be used to compare golf’s ongoing love/hate relationship with distance.

Some can’t get enough of it and others believe it will be end of the game, as we once knew it. This bipolar view has been in existence for a long, long time. The ruling bodies of golf, stewards of the game, are tasked with viewing the topic from a 30,000 feet perspective both from the past but also with an eye to the future. It’s a complicated matter. It also invokes plenty of passion.

The R&A and the USGA released its proprietary research regarding distance. Introduced in 2015, the annual report examines driving distance data from seven of the major worldwide professional golf tours, based on nearly 300,000 drives per year. The data from studies of male and female amateur golfers is also included. Previously the information drew very little attention, however leading up to the most recent findings it came into the spotlight by comments made by the CEO of the R&A, Martin Slumbers as well as Jack Nicklaus at the Honda Classic.

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The USGA held its annual meeting last month. Mike Davis, CEO, addressed the audience on a variety of topics. Given the recent comments made by Jack Nicklaus, it is interesting to revisit some of what Davis said last month. Nicklaus indicated through his private conversation with Davis that changes could be coming. However, if accurate, this appears to be a shift from Davis’ own words.

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While the golf ball gets all the attention in the distance debate, there are other factors that influence it. While it doesn’t get anywhere the same level of attention, it is just as important. Case in point, Jack Nicklaus, who clearly believes changing the golf ball is the way to go, acknowledged the modern driver has also been a game changer.


“When they first came out with the metal drivers, I remember the '86 Masters, I was playing that little one that Bridgestone came out, that was a Jumbo (Ozaki). It was a little tiny head metal driver. It was a good little driver. I tested it against my wooden driver and there was a yard difference,” said Nicklaus.


“So when I got to '86, I used the wood driver. Then they started enlarging the head a little bit and then it started making more sense, because I got a little bit more out of it. But then they got to the mid 90s, that's when they changed the golf ball from the wound to the composite ball, that's when you all of a sudden found out there was a big difference. Because the wood driver didn't hit it anywhere,” Nicklaus said.


“I remember going to open up a lot of golf courses and I would have a wood driver made and I would sign it and put the date on it and give to them, and I hit the opening tee shot. I said, okay, guys now I'm going to show you why we don't use this driver anymore and then I would hit the metal driver and hit it 80 yards past the other one.” 


So in an apples to apples test, using the same ball Nicklaus admitted the oversized metal driver significantly influenced the distance the ball travelled! And that is the golf ball’s fault?


As pointed out in the February 13th issue, under the BANK THE DRUM SLOWLY heading, some in the golf industry want a back to the future approach to the game. A week later and more evidence is continuing to mount that the ruling bodies of the game have hatched a plan to roll back the distance golf balls travel. “I had dinner with Mike Davis Sunday night, and Mike said, ‘We're getting there. We're going to get there.’ He said, ‘I need your help when we get there,” Jack Nicklaus revealed at the Honda Classic. “I said, ‘That's fine. I'm happy to help you. I've only been yelling at you for 40 years.’ 1977 is the first time I went to the USGA. I said, ‘I assume you're going to study for another ten years or so, though.’ He says, ‘Oh, no, no, no. We're not going to do that. I think we're getting closer to agreements with the R&A and be able to do some things and be able to help.’ I've talked to Mike a lot. Mike's been very optimistic about wanting to get something done but hasn't been able to get there yet.”

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As we all know golf is a very hard game to play. Its also a difficult business to make money in. The game doesn’t always follow a logical pattern. Explain how Jordan Spieth, #3 in the world rankings, missed the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open last week? The golf business can be just as unpredictable.


Callaway Golf provided a pleasant surprise when it reported its 2017 financial results. Sales were $1,049 million, a 20% increase compared to 2016. Anyone see that coming? A compelling argument could have made a year ago that a 20% improvement just wasn’t in the cards for any equipment business. Yet, low and behold, Callaway proved otherwise. 


In looking deeper into the results, Callaway’s improvement came from a couple of segments. First and foremost, metal woods grew by 42.5%, which equates to $91.8 million. When you divide $91.8 million by the cost of an individual metal wood (somewhere between $250-$400), its an incredible amount of volume that it picked up. What makes this even more impressive is the metal woods category was off double digits in on/off course units sales in 2017, according to Golf Datatech research.

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Polara Golf, the maker of one of the most controversial products in the modern history of golf, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The Merrifield company — whose legal name is Aero-X Golf Inc. — has less than $1 million in assets and nearly $3 million in liabilities, according to a Chapter 11 petition filed Dec. 13 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. READ MORE>>>


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