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Dec 12, 2014 | 11:14 AM

Blown Away

File this under “good news, bad news.” After about five years of severe drought, California is finally getting some relief as a huge storm pounds the west coast, bringing torrents of rain. And that’s the good news. The bad is that yesterday’s deluge claimed a notable victim, one of the two cypress trees that sit about 300 yards off the tee on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach. You know the two: A big one in the middle of the fairway, a small one just in the right rough, perfectly guarding the landing zone on one of the game’s most recognizable holes. Perhaps surprisingly, it was the small tree (to the left in the photo above) that was “the only casualty of the day,” according to Pebble Beach officials, coming down in 40-mph winds. It will be interesting to see if a new specimen is planted, Augusta National-style, before the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in mid February. And, as the storm moves south, if other Golden State courses suffer significant damage. But at least they got some much-needed rain.

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Dec 11, 2014 | 09:09 AM

Super Young

Most golf course superintendents don’t get their first head job until their 30s. Not Rhys Munro. The 17-year-old takes the helm next month at Aberfeldy Golf Club in Perthshire, north of Gleneagles. Munro, a local resident who grew up playing the 18-hole layout, recently completed a greenkeeping course at the Scottish Rural College Elmwood Campus in Fife. Although he will be supported by a group of volunteer Senior members, Munro (pictured above with cub president Chris Thomson) impressed during the interview process. “He answered all our questions maturely and offered some very sensible suggestions as to how we could improve the course,” said Anne Beeson, Lady Captain of Aberfeldy Golf Club. “His proposed approach to work planning and communication with members was refreshing. Although he is young, we felt he was ready to take the responsibility.” 

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Dec 10, 2014 | 11:05 AM

Olympic Hurdle

There's a growing cadre of tour players who are less and less excited about playing in the Olympics given that their schedule is already jam-packed with more majors, mini-majors, playoffs, and team events than you can shake a 5-iron at. The lastest to voice his disinterest is world No. 3 Adam Scott. The Olympics are supposed to be the pinnacle of sport, but when you already have four majors that supersede Olympic golf, as tennis does, too, the Olympics seem like an afterthought. Scott thinks the solution is to make the Olympic tournament just for amateurs. “People watch us (as pros) play 45 weeks a year,” Scott told The Courier-Mail in Australia, where he's competing this week in the Australian PGA. “If you really wanted to grow the game you’d have the Olympics for amateurs.” What are you thoughts on whether pros should play?

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Dec 09, 2014 | 09:04 AM

Golf Ball Bandit

Lost balls are a fact of golf life, but not, generally, if you’re the proprietor of a practice facility. The folks at the Golfport driving range near St. Louis began to  scratch their heads when, over the last several months, tens of thousands of range balls began to disappear. Turns out, they were stolen,  by 27-year-old Nathan Brown, who on three occasions looted the range under cover of darkness, bagging a total of 42,000 balls (over $20,000 worth). Acting on a tip, police apprehended Brown who admitted to his theft. To date, only 2,000 of the hot balls have been recovered.

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