Golf Travel

The eclipse

The first time I played golf was the afternoon of the partial eclipse in Nashville, Tennessee. I had just returned from school with my degree, and my father chose to acknowledge my maturity by standing me drinks at the close of our nine-hole round.

My golf game is a loss of memory, a stroke sliced so far wide, my eye can’t follow; I hear the pond gulp. But I remember the one o’clock eclipse, how when I stepped from the house the clear sky unexpectedly darkened. The air turned cool in the animal silence.

And I noticed under the tall shrubs where shadows of the oval leaves met and parted, a thousand dancing moon-shaped suns shifting and dividing as the air shuffled the stiff leaves and a thousand foci blinked and stared. I called the others out to show them.

Moments after the display had vanished, I remember I remained entranced. I saw eclipses everywhere. My car eclipsed the family car, the house across the street eclipsed the hill that stood above it, tall irises eclipsed the box, and every object rose to obscure another.

My father joined me carrying his clubs, and we went. But on the way, all buildings, cars, trucks, signs, and trees, held orbits that met and overlapped. The golf swing, too, caused an eclipse, and the sinking ball eclipsed the cup. Nothing seemed safe, that afternoon, from apparent loss.

Golf Travel

How Golf Ball Are Made ? The Core War

The Core War

In the design and engineering of the golf ball, the chief considerations are the core, cover, and dimples. The cores it the source of energy and differences in its construction affect many important performance characteristics: spin rate for control, initial velocity for distance, and compression for “feel.”

Primary core constructions are solid (two pieces) and wound (three pieces). A two-piece ball consists of a solid rubber core with a durable thermoplastic (ionomer resin) cover. The three-piece ball consists of a smaller solid rubber or liquid-filled center with rubber thread wound around it under tension, and an ionomer or balata rubber cover. The solid center gets an ionomer cover and the liquid center a balata cover. With its larger solid core, a two-piece ball generally travels father than a three=piece wound ball, particularly on the roll (more than the airborne carry). Golf ball design and production involve tradeoffs, however, and the extra yards usually come at the expense of control and feel.

Nonetheless, the extra distance and tougher covers have resulted in two-piece balls now making up 70% of all golf ball production. Spalding champions two-piece balls, which it introduced in 1968 and which is all it produces. Titleist dominates in three-piece balls, the choice of most touring pros and other expert golfers. This year it joined the two-piece trend with its new HCV ball. The company already had been making the Pinnacle brand two-piece ball.

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Golf Travel

Play a round: get goofy in the wacky world of mini-golf courses

Miniature golf has gone in and out of style more times than blue and orange plaid golf pants.

If you weren’t playing goofy golf in the 1920’s and 50’s, you were as uncool as a square golf ball. Other years, people would have rather been hit on the head with a putter than caught at a mini-golf course.

Today, miniature golf is back.

Where else can you hit a golf ball into a crocodile’s stomach and not get eaten yourself?. Or enter an eerie cave and not worry about attacks from humongous snakes?

Nowhere else, and that’s part of the easy to learn sport’s fun.

“Mini-golf has themes that keep anyone from age 8 to 80 interested,” says 16 year old putting fan Kevin Carlyle, an Eagle Scout with Troop 374 in Liberty, Mo.

Those themes are becoming more realistic every day. Course owners practically have to feed the computerized animals and water the artificial turf!

Another World

Ever wanted to vacation in the Australian outback? Explore a haunted cemetery? How about becoming a part of a movie?

Builders of miniature golf courses think you have. That’s why “theming,” where each hole relates to the subject of the entire course, has become the way the ball bounces.

Take Fantasia Gardens at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. One hole has an electronic mushroom popping out of it. Another: musical notes you have to maneuver around, just like the crazy world in the classic movie “Fantasia.”

Then there’s Boomer’s Family Entertainment Center in Boca Raton, Fla. The creaky Australian mine shafts and cave paintings take you on a goofy golf walk about Down Under.

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Golf Travel

Golfing fantasy world

Last week, I really felt that I had arrived. The world recognized me as a man of substance. Doors were opening – the high life was mine for the taking.

I had received junk mail of an altogether higher class than usual. No gaudy, get-rich-quick or save-money offers, just a discreet address in the bottom left-hand corner of the envelope and, inside, the opportunity of a lifetime. The letter was headed with a gold-embossed eagle. I was not invited to buy a timeshare, but seasonal ownership at Gleneagles.

The same postbag offered appropriate transport to my new holiday home. All I had to do to land my Jaguar car was fill in a questionnaire (oh, and just happen to win a prize draw).

My usual response is to snort and add such offers to the recycling box. However, I could not just throw away photographs of Gleneagles – the moors, the lochs, the imposing turrets of the hotel itself, flag flying on the eighth hole, lumps of meat, bathroom taps (why taps?), women having massages.

All were mine for the taking. There was an offer to go for an inspection visit: one night’s dinner, bed and breakfast, and all for no more than I would usually spend on renting a cottage for a week.

Living the good life

I owe my suspicious nature to my Scottish heritage. I had to check that the rate was per room, not per person. Mercifully, I heard an answering machine and declined to leave my number. They called back, anyway, just a few minutes later. I put the receiver down half an hour later, poured myself a dram, and ruminated on the good life that I was clearly living.

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