Tiger and Phil – 40 is the new 20

I was working on this blog post and then the unexpected happen — Jack Nicklaus tweeted exactly what I had been thinking.

Jack Nicklaus Tweet

Jack Nicklaus Tweet after the Valspar Championship

I almost decided not to publish this post but then I thought, “great minds think alike” and my take on this is slightly different from Jack’s tweet.

In the last few years, as a golf fan who loved watching Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods for so many years, it was both fun and sad watching the changing of the guard as Jordan Spieth and other young players won majors and began making their mark on the sport I love.  I do enjoy the young guns. Jordan Spieth is my favorite but it seemed odd to me to think of Phil and Tiger as “old” and to hear so many golf analysts write them off.  After all other professionals won in their forties. In fact, Jack Nicklaus won the 1986 Masters at the age of 46.

So as a fan of Phil Mickelson, I was thrilled to see him play so well in February and early March. As you can see from the chart below, he had a great run and won the World Golf Championship in Mexico.

Phil 2018 Record

Phil’s finishes in the last four PGA Tour events

Everyone knows about the turmoil (on and off the course) that Tiger Woods has faced the last few years. I will admit that although I was amazed by Tiger’s talent, I was never a Tiger fan. I was always a Phil fan. I guess it was partly because Phil seemed more approachable and nice to his fans but mostly I loved “Phil the thrill” because you never knew what golf shot Phil would try when he got into trouble.  That being said, I have now become a golf fan that hopes Tiger does achieve success in his comeback because it appears he is a changed man and everyone deserves a second chance. In his 40’s, Tiger appears grateful to be healthy and able to play golf again.

So my hope for the rest of the 2018 golf season is that 40 is the new 20! I hope Phil and Tiger contend at the majors and win. I would love to see Tiger win The Master and Phil Mickelson win The U.S. Open (the one that Phil has yet to win).

And let the summer of 2018 be a reminder to all of us that “age is just a number” and “golf is a game for life!”



Women of the Golf Channel (2018 Edition)

I find it interesting that my post Women of the Golf Channel is always a top visited page (even though it was written back in 2012). A lot has changed with the on-air talent so I thought I’d write an update.

From my post on March 8 2012:

Only two of the six women I highlighted in my previous post are still with Golf Channel. They are Kelly Tilghman and Lauren Thompson.

(1) Kelly Tilghman has a bio on the Golf Channel site but to be honest I watch a lot of Golf Channel and golf tournament coverage and I don’t see her that much except for “Life From” during major championships.

(2) Lauren Thompson is a co-host on Morning Drive. Back in 2012 she seemed to be a fill-in on-air talent for Holly Sonders (who left Morning Drive and went to FOX in 2014). Now Thompson is a key member of the morning team. You can read her full bio on the Golf Channel Website.

More Great Women on Golf Channel:

If you go to the bio page for TV personalities for Golf Channel you will see 11 women listed which is wonderful. I would break the list into two groups: On-air TV show personalities (e.g., Morning Drive, Golf Channel, etc.) and golf tournament coverage talent that do the on-air analysis for the tour coverage on Golf Channel.

As I did in my 2012 post, I am going to list just a few of the 11 women. At the end of the post is a list of links for the bios of all the women on Golf Channel’s website.

chantel-mccabe-golfchannel(1) Chantel McCabe is my new favorite on-air personality and seems to be the “go to person” for golf channel. By that I mean, McCabe is on Golf Central, Morning Driving, does interviews at PGA and LPGA tournaments, and does digital work for their website. It makes sense to me that the leadership at the golf channel would tap her for so many jobs because she is great on air. I like her style, her voice, she asks good questions, and she has a good sense of humor.

She is a seasoned reporter with experience working for FOX sports prior to joining the Golf Channel and was a reporter for a local television station in Springfield MA. She also scores points with me because she is a New England Patriots fan.

paigemackenzie_320x400(2) Paige Mackenzie is a co-host on Morning Drive. She joined Morning Drive while she was still on the LPGA Tour. The reasons I really like her is because she is very down to earth and relatable! For example, she chooses on-air outfits that any woman might wear. What I mean by that is sometimes (not always) other women, like Bailey Mosier, are so into fashion that their outfits seem over-the-top for a golf morning show.

I also enjoy Mackenzie’s tips when she does the “Watch and Learn” segments on Morning Drive. In these segments she reviews a player’s swing or a specific shot of a player from yesterday’s golf tournaments and explains what we can learn from it.

karenstupples_320x400(3) Karen Stupples is an on-course reporter and analyst for LPGA tour coverage. Stupples played on the LPGA and LET (Ladies European Tour) for 15 years and is the 2004 Women’s British Open Champion. She had an albatross (a 2 on a par 5) which you can watch in this Golf Channel video flashback.

I always find her insights interesting and her personality comes through even though you only hear her voice during coverage. She is funny and I often enjoy the banter with the other on-air analysts.

Golf Channel Bios

This would be a long blog post if I reviewed every women so below is a convenient chart with each woman’s name linked to their official bio on the Golf Channel website.

On-air Personalities Golf Tournament Coverage
Cara Banks Kay Cockerill
Lisa Cornwell Judy Rankin
Paige Mackenzie Karen Stupples
Chantel Mccabe Social Media Host for Tournaments
Bailey Mosier Alexandra O’Laughlin
Kelly Tilghman
Lauren Thompson


Book Review: “The Making of the Masters” by David Owen

If you are looking for a book that is specifically about the course architecture of Augusta National, this book is probably not the one to read. However, chapter five does provide hole-by-hole descriptions and contains great photos. All photos are pre-1999 when the book was published. So for example, there is a photo of the Eisenhower tree in the book which was removed from the 17th hole in 2014.

The book is a biography. The history of Augusta National and The Masters are revealed by examining the life of Clifford Roberts, Chairman of Augusta National from 1931 to 1977.  I love biographies and found the life of Clifford Roberts to be very interesting. For example, Robert’s early life was depicted as happy but also shaped by his mother’s depression (and her suicide when he was 16). He struggled early his professional life which is not surprising given he started an investment firm in the 1920s (and faced financial ruin during the crash).

Roberts achieved great success as the chairman of Augusta National. He certainly had fascinating aspects of his life including his friendship with Dwight D. Eisenhower. Surprisingly Roberts had his “own room” at the white house while Eisenhower was president. Roberts is also portrayed as a very difficult man (labels such as “tyrant” and “dictator” were used in the press). As with all human beings, he was complicated and the book states that his friends and people that he helped experienced another side of Roberts. I found the end of his life rather sad, but I won’t spoil the book by revealing how his life ends.

The book details the impact Roberts had on what The Masters is today. And, many of his decisions also had an impact on how golf championships are run (e.g., tournaments equaling four rounds of golf, the way golf is televised, the importance of creating good “stadium” views for spectators, etc.). The limited commercial breaks during The Masters was a requirement placed on CBS (by Roberts) in the very early years of the tournament. Roberts also insisted that the television cables be buried on the course.

Roberts also had to manage the ups and downs of the founding of Augusta National golf club. It will shock most people to know that they had trouble getting members! It’s a great example of perseverance and a reminder of how things that are famous today could just have easily had a very different outcome if not for someone like Roberts at the helm.

If you like biographies and golf then definitely get a copy of this book at your local library (or by it on Amazon) and read it!

The Author: David Owen

If the name David Owen sounds familiar it may be that you read the New Yorker or Golf Digest. Mr. Owen also has a blog, “My Usual Game: Adventures in Golf.” His most recent non-golf book is “Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River.”

Golf Channel Coverage of The PGA Merchandise Show: Three Cool Products

The PGA Merchandise Show, tagged “The Major of Golf Business,” is not open to the general public. However, thanks to the favorite TV channel of all golfers, Golf Channel, viewers got to see a lot of products on Morning Drive broadcasting from the convention floor.

Watching the PGA Merchandise Show on Morning Drive, I saw three products that I thought were really cool.

Weatherman Umbrella

Even if you are not a golfer this is a great looking umbrella. It appears to be really well constructed and can withstand 55 mph winds. And the golf umbrella has a pocket in the top of the umbrella to keep your glove dry. The really cool factor is the technology – the umbrella has a tracker so if you leave it at the course (or somewhere else) you can find it!  The Morning Drive Segment is fun to watch or view the product video below.



Transrover is not available yet and the owner/inventor is using Kickstarter to launch/fund the product and I hope he does well because the idea that you can have a golf bag that transforms into a pushcart is amazing. You can watch the Morning Drive segment or view the product video below.


Fat Tire Golf Scooter

According to the Fat Tire Golf Scooter website you can buy your own scooter for $2,399. That’s not an investment I am likely to make but I am hoping I play a golf course one day that has the scooter. It just looks fun!


So from the comfort of my own home I had fun watching the coverage of the PGA Merchandise show on Morning Drive. I may buy the Weatherman umbrella. I will watch with curiosity to see if the Transrover becomes available to all golfers for a reasonable price. And maybe one day I will see a Fat Tire Golf Scooter available to ride on a golf course near me.

Thanks Golf Channel!

Lifestyle Ship Sticks Ads Get My Thumbs Up

It’s amazing how commercials really can shape your view of a product, service, or company. I have always thought that Ship Sticks (a service that will ship your golf clubs so you don’t have to lug them through an airport) was a great idea but I hated their commercials. In fact, I hated them so much that it tarnished my view of their brand.

Ship Sticks anywhere

The first one that really bothered me was an ad with a beautiful women at her door talking to a ship sticks delivery man picking up clubs. The joke of the ad was a male voice coming from inside a golf bag asking “Honey, are we there yet?” My reaction to this ad was that it was insulting to men. And I wondered if male golfers found the ad funny? Also, I have no problem with beautiful women selling product but I think the overt exposure of the woman’s cleavage in this ad is gratuitous and using this tactic is just plain lazy. If you haven’t seen it, you can view the “Ship Sticks Anywhere” for yourself.

Ship Sticks LarryThe next ad that seemed to run a lot on TV was called “Larry” which featured three co-workers giving a man a hard time for not having his clubs at the airport. Again, I thought to myself, do men really want to be portrayed as idiots (the three men questioning their co-worker)? At least “Larry” looked at the three men like they were idiots. Both these ads try to use humor but to me the ads are sophomoric and annoying.

I assume the ad agency presented the leadership of Ship Sticks all the demographic data that would indicate these commercials would be successful. Perhaps they are but I always thought the #1 Rule in advertising was don’t insult your customer; and 80 percent of golfers are male. Of course, I am a woman and have no idea if men find the portrayal of the man hiding in the bag and three co-workers insulting or funny.

Anyway, I am not writing because of the ads I dislike. I am writing because of the new direction of their commercials with two ads I recently saw on TV that I like.

The new ads use what I believe is a lifestyle approach focusing on things that golfers actually can relate to in their own golf lives. First is “Challenges” (see below) which shows images of bucket list golf destinations (with a voice over about ship sticks service). It might be viewed as boring or basic but if you are a golfer it catches your eye and makes you day dream (even if only for a few seconds) of playing those courses.


The other new ad that I like is “4 Buddies” (see below). Every golfer loves a great golf trip with their friends. Obviously, the reason I like this one if because women are the “buddies’ in the ad. Too many times I have seen golf commercials, online articles or print ads that are written as if only men take buddy trips. Not true! Yes, the majority of buddy trips are taken by men but I know many women golfers that take buddy trips. Now I think the ad will also catch the eye of male viewers because the women are young and beautiful (nothing wrong with that but I would surmise that most women taking golf buddy trips are a bit older).


Bottom line, I’m just one woman golfer but a smart marketer knows the “power of the purse.”  Personally, my opinion is that these ads appeal to a much broader customer base and improved the brand image of Ship Sticks; and I might even try their service when I take my next golf trip.


Music on the Golf Course

Remember the funny Caddyshack music scene?

In 1980, when Caddyshack was released, music on the course would have been unheard of but now with smartphones and portable mini-speakers music is an option some golfers embrace.

And as I was writing my blog post and watching the QBE Shark Shootout on the Golf Channel there was Greg Norman promoting his business, Shark Enterprises, that has a new technology product to transform the golfer experience with “web-connected golf carts that enable streaming music and entertainment.”

I love music! I listen to music in my car, while working out, and in my home. However I am not one of those golfers that wants to listen to music while I play golf. In general, I enjoy the sounds of nature and the conversation with the other golfers in my foursome.

I have no problem if other golfers want to listen to music as long as they are respectful of others but that’s the crux of the matter. Just as in other aspects of life, there are those that are considerate of others and those that are clueless when to comes to being a considerate individual.

I have had one good experience and one bad experience on the course. The good experience was with a player that liked music and wore ear buds. He enjoyed his music without the rest of us in the foursome having to listen to it. He also had the music low enough so that he was aware of what was going on in the group and on the course.

The “bad” experience was in a work golf event. It was an after work nine-hole scramble and one group had music blaring. Another person in my group yelled at them to turn it down but of course they could not hear him. Apparently my foursome was not the only group annoyed because the next day a co-worker sent a very funny email to staff making the case, using The Rules of Golf, for the foursome to return their prize and be disqualified (yes, it was a competition).

So who determines if the music is too loud on the course? My opinion is if another golfer asks you to turn the music down, that pretty much indicates that your music is too loud. But this is my opinion and so I decided to search the internet to look for “official” data on how loud is “too loud.” I was not surprised that I could not find any volume standards. I did find the following advice in a Golf Digest article from 2014, “Take 15 paces from your cart. If you can still hear the guitar riff from “Welcome to the Jungle,” you should probably reduce the volume.” Sounds like great advise to me!

Now if you want official rules you can go to the USGA website to search the Rules of Golf and in section I (which covers etiquette and behavior on the course) it clearly states, “Players should ensure that any electronic device taken onto the course does not distract other players.” Or if you are a Rules geek then an FAQ on Rule 14-3a is more up your alley because it reads:

“A player may not use any artificial device or unusual equipment that might assist him making a stroke or in his play. Listening to music or a broadcast while making a stroke or for a prolonged period might assist the player in his play, for example, by eliminating distractions or promoting a good tempo. Therefore, the use of an artificial device to listen to music or a broadcast, whether or not through headphones, while making a stroke or for a prolonged period of time during a stipulated round is a breach of Rule 14-3…”

What’s a golfer to do? I prefer the simple answer — be considerate of other golfers on the course. Unfortunately not all golfers are considerate of others. It’s sad to say but as music becomes more popular on the course, golf courses operators may need to consider posting a music policy at the first tee. You may be thinking, we don’t need another policy that inconsiderate golfers won’t obey. My response, it’s not the policy that is the issue, its how the policy is implement that has an impact on experience. For example, if a golf club has a four hour pace of play policy then good courses have rangers out on the course evaluating pace of play and moving slow golfers along.

Here’s an idea for golf course managers to decide if they need a music policy. For one week have starters ask the question “Do you listen to music while playing golf?” It won’t burden the starter to keep a tally of a yes/no answer. The starter may even get some interesting anecdotes he can pass along to his boss. The value to the course manager is data about your customers! Maybe based on the answers the course decides they need a music policy. Or maybe the course manager decides to embrace the music loving golfers and offers a “music golf nine-hole party” after work on a night where business is slow. I might even try a music golf party! But I digress.

As a golfer, I want to enjoy my time on the course and I want other’s to enjoy their round of golf; and golf courses with great starters are the first step to making everyone’s round enjoyable. Would it be so hard to train starters to talk about music when the give their spiel on pace of play, carts on the course, or any other course specific policies they doll out?

Finally should traditionalists worry about Greg Norman’s web-connected golf carts coming to their course? No, in a Golf World article about Shark Enterprises it states, “The best feature of the cart are two speakers whose cones are designed and angled to project sound directly at the center of the bench. The tone is loud and rich, but diminishes to a point of near inaudibility 40 feet from the cart. Which is a key feature to respect the sacred space of golfers who want only birdsong and babbling creeks.”

My Golf Journey – Overcoming my fear of playing with strangers

Golf is Hard

It is common knowledge that golf is hard and anyone who plays the game knows that anxious feeling on the first tee. New or less skilled golfers often describe golf as intimidating and pray they avoid cringe-worthy moments in front of other golfers. And for women golfers add the crap shoot factor of possibly being paired with men who do not hide the fact their round was just ruined by your presence in their foursome. For me the anxiety created from feelings of intimidation often felt overwhelming. And, for years I let my anxiety of playing golf with strangers keep me from enjoying the sport I love.

Source of My Fear

As a young girl I watched golf on television but it never occurred to me that I could play golf because I didn’t know anyone that actually played the game. In my late-twenties I met my ex-husband, a golfer with an eight handicap, and my golf journey began.

My ex-husband went on a business trip to Japan. He was gone for a month so I got clubs and took lessons. Besides teaching me swing basics, the golf pro gave me tips for playing with my husband (e.g., play fast, pick up your ball after your hit your drive and hit your second shot from where your husband’s drive lands) and for my last lesson he took me on the course to teach me golf etiquette.  Above all the pro told me “Don’t be that golfer that plays slow, takes too many swings, or is clueless about what is going on around them.” I knew exactly what he meant because my ex-husband would complain about “that golfer” when he talked about players in his Tuesday night golf league. All the tips were great but the message “don’t be that golfer” was probably not the best thought to put in someone’s head who already had a tendency to care too much about what other people think.

In the beginning I only played with my ex-husband and he was very supportive when we played alone. I played fast, ready golf and I had excellent golf etiquette. However, when we were paired with other golfers, my ex-husband made me feel uncomfortable. On the first tee, he would excessively reassure the other golfers that I wouldn’t slow them down, or he would pick up my ball even if I was not slowing anyone down. I have one clear memory of a golfer whispering to me, “Don’t let your husband pick up your ball. You’re doing fine and not holding us up. Play your own game.” Instead of feeling grateful for his support, I just felt embarrassed. Of course, these experiences sewed the seeds of my fear of playing with strangers.

After my marriage ended, I only played golf with two female friends. My fear kept me from playing golf when my friends were not available. At one point I joined a women’s golf association hoping for the opportunity to play golf in a less intimidating environment. Unfortunately the few times I played, the women in my foursome were seasoned players and not very welcoming. Instead of finding women in the chapter that were more welcoming, I just felt stressed and went back to only playing with my two best friends. Even with my friends, if a stranger joined our group my anxiety went through the roof.

I moved to a new state for a job and did not know anyone. I knew if I wanted to play golf I had to address my fear. I knew “getting out of my head” was part of the solution but telling myself not to worry wasn’t going to cut it.  I needed something tangible to focus on to improve my game which would boost my confidence and hopefully reduce my anxiety. My tangible issue, a reason I felt I could work on, was the lack of distance in my game.

Create and Work a Plan

My plan was simple. (1) Find a good teaching pro and I defined “good” as someone I felt comfortable with and who taught in a way that fit how I learned. (2) Practice what I learned in my lessons. (3) Force myself to play with strangers.

I found a great pro, Mike Havay at Quail Brook Golf Course in Somerset New Jersey. I knew from my first lesson he was a great fit for me because he was honest about the work it would take to meet my goals. As we worked together that first day he explained the first swing change he wanted me to work on in four different ways, after which Mike said to me “you are a very visual learner.” Bingo!

Basically. we had to completely rebuild my swing. I was not offended when Mike described my swing as a “typical beginner women’s swing” (even though I had been playing golf for a number of years). My swing was over-the-top, steep and all arms. My driver and woods went about the same distance (and not very far) because I wasn’t creating any power.

I worked hard at rebuilding my swing. After each lesson with Mike I would sit in my car and put notes into my phone. I would go to the range after work to practice before my next lesson. In the off season I would swing a club in my house. By the end of the second golf season Mike told me it was time for new clubs! I was so excited because I knew that meant my new swing was consistent.

During the time I was rebuilding my swing I joined the local chapter of Executive Women’s Golf Association (EWGA) which was the golf association I had joined but never really participated in while living in Boston. I played in the Tuesday night league and attended a few weekend outings. I also joined the golf club at work and forced myself to play in work golf outings which was very stressful because many of the staff played college golf. Playing in my first work golf outing I was paired with a woman that played from the back tees, hit her drive 230+ yards and had a 0.7 handicap. I hit my drive about 130 yards (with roll) and my handicap was 34. Talk about triggering anxiety!

You would think that after two years I would be completely cured of my fear. I had made great strides! I had no stress playing with golfers I did not know at work or in my EWGA chapter. I even played competitive golf (e.g., EWGA championship events and work championship events). But the reality was I still could not get myself to signup for a tee time as a single.

Every week in my lessons, Mike reassured me that I was a good golfer and I just need to go play with strangers. He said you may get paired with guys that don’t want to play with you but that’s not about you (they’re just jerks) so don’t let them get in your head. He told me to remember every golfer has a bad shot, a bad hole or even a bad day. That’s just golf and no one is judging you. If anything, most golfers just hope they don’t catch a struggling player’s bad mojo and find their own game going south. The only thing golfers hate is the same thing you hate – slow players or players that display bad golf etiquette. After his mental coaching, I took the leap and booked my very first tee time as a single.

Weeks later I was taking a lesson with Mike, two men in a golf cart (making the turn) stopped and said “Hi Catherine! Remember us? We played a few weeks ago.” Then they said to Mike “She’s a lot of fun to play with but don’t make her any better or she’ll beat us!”  They drove off and Mike said to me “In all my years of teaching I have never had any golfers stop and make comments about one of my students. And certainly not male golfers about a female student. You need to realize how big this moment is for you.” I just laughed. Looking back at that moment, I now recognize it was a big deal.


As golfers we always look at our numbers. I track greens in regulation (GIR), putts and other parts of my game to discover areas to improve but how I play (my score) is really the ultimate measure. I typically shoot in the mid-to-low 90s but twice this year I broke 90 (breaking 90 was a goal I set for 2017).  I also set a goal to get my handicap to 18 this golf season and I exceeded that goal (handicap chart below).  I am thrilled with my numbers but overcoming my fear is my greatest result!

My Handicap History 2017

This year, four years after I made my decision to address my fear, I have no anxiety going to the course and playing as a “single” or being paired with men to fill out a  foursome. Sure I have the first tee jitters that most golfers feel but that’s normal. I have bad days and feel a bit embarrassed (and frustrated) when I play poorly but I know all golfers have those feelings when their game leaves them.

The overwhelming anxiety is gone. I feel excited to get to the course. It saddens me that I still have to face the “cold shoulder” when I get paired with some men but I don’t let it get in my head. After a few holes the guys usually get very chatty with me trying to make up for the blatant disdain they displayed on the first tee. And, playing more as a single I have experience more nice guys that like playing with women then men that jump to conclusions about playing with me just because of my gender.

One last important metric – rounds played. The active golf season for where I live is April 1 to October 30 or approximately 30 weeks. In 2013, I only played 12 rounds of golf compared to 2017 in which I have played 40 rounds of golf. My 2017 rounds could be inflated because of the great weather this year – playing golf in November and the handicap season was extended to November 15. The point is, I played!