Apr 22

Seven simple things golf courses (and you) can do to help the environment

Golf might be the sport that brings us the closest to nature, but is it really that Eco-friendly? On Earth Day, we decided to look at some simple ways that golf courses, and you the golfer, can change the way we do things to help the environment, trying to find things that aren't overly complicated to help the game we love sustain the planet we inhabit.

Make recycling available everywhere — When I got out of college back some years ago, I went to work at a high-end golf course that prided itself on the golfer's experience. That was all well and good, but one of the things that bugged me the most was that the course didn't recycle. Think about the trash in your golf cart anytime you finish playing 18 holes. It's beer cans, water bottles and cardboard sleeves for the golf balls you used or lost. The majority of things we golfers want to throw away after 18 holes on the golf course can be recycled, but we shouldn't just stop when people finish their rounds. Have recycle bins on the golf course, so when people do want to clean out their carts, they can do so while not tossing away things that don't need to be in the trash.

Electric golf carts over gas carts — The easy solution to all of this is walking 18 holes instead of taking a golf cart, but I'm trying to be realistic here as we still live in the United States and golf carts are available at pretty much any golf course you visit.

Gas carts give off a ton of emissions, even being banned in some parts of California because of this issue. Sure, the batteries in an electric cart have to be replaced, but they are better on the environment than gas and would help to curb unnecessary pollution on the golf course.

Don't overseed the rough — I live in Arizona, and right when the weather starts to turn in the fall every golf course goes under major overseeding. The problem here is, while beautiful, overseeding forces courses to use tons of water. No course is going to stop overseeding, especially during their most lucrative seasons, but why not leave the rough dormant for the winter? It would allow the course to use a lot less water, a lot less electricity to power those sprinklers, and if you hit it in the rough, you probably deserve a gnarly lie.

Xeriscaping as much as possible — Again, in Arizona there is benefit to not having a lavish lawn, because growing grass here is not the easiest of propositions. Target golf is a perfect example of growing, and maintaining grass, only where you need it, and xeriscaping around a golf course means using rocks and natural vegetation over the troubles of growing grass everywhere.

Push Dixon golf balls on beginners — A beginning golfer could care less about what type of golf ball they play. They've probably heard of a Titleist once or twice, but as long as it's round they are good. Why not push Dixon golf balls on beginners, as these golf balls are biodegradable and could drastically cut down on the litter that errant golf shots cause?

Bring your own bottle to the course — Sure, golf courses don't want you stuffing a six-pack of beer in your golf bag to avoid the inflated concession pricing, but I've never had anyone tell me I couldn't bring my own water bottle with me on the course. Bring your own (preferably one you can reuse), and fill it up with the water that the golf courses provide between holes. This cuts down on waste, and also cuts down on how much you're spending while you play.

Be more like Justin Timberlake — Just check out all the stuff his golf course, Mirimichi, does to be as green as possible.

Now your turn ... what are some simple solutions you think could help keep our game as green as possible?

Apr 21

Matt Kuchar has earned more money in the last four weeks than some notable athletes do all year

Matt Kuchar has had a dream April that was capped off on Sunday by a bunker shot on his final hole of the RBC Heritage that disappeared for the unexpected birdie and the seventh PGA Tour win of his career.

But the win wasn't his only large earning over the last month. Kuchar has had an incredible last four weeks, finishing T-4 at the Valero Texas Open, losing in a playoff at the Shell Houston Open, finishing T-5 at the Masters and then the win this past weekend at Harbour Town.

How good has it been for the fifth ranked golfer in the world? The $2.35 million he's pulled in since March 30 is more than the base salary of the following notable professional athletes (based solely on their 2014 base salaries):

  • Robert Griffin III ($2.3 million)
  • Trent Richardson ($2.25 million)
  • Bryce Harper ($2.15 million)
  • Klay Thompson ($2.31 million)
  • Rey Maualuga ($2.25 million)
  • Nate Robinson ($2.01 million)
  • Darren Collison ($1.9 million)
  • Mike Miller ($1.39 million)
  • Al Harrington ($1.39 million)
  • Shaun Livingston ($1.27 million)
  • Matt Carpenter ($1.25 million)
  • Paul Goldschmidt ($1.08 million)
  • His four week total is more than the current money leader on the NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series (Jeff Gordon at $2.03 million)
  • And Kuchar's $2.35 million is 3.8 times more than the leading money winner on the LPGA Tour (Michelle Wie)

So yes, a quick reminder that being a professional golfer and going on a hot streak can do very, very good things for your portfolio. Sadly for Kuchar (and his accountant), he is not in the field this week at the Zurich Classic, meaning his streak will finally come to an end.

 

Apr 21

Lexi Thompson threw out the first pitch at a Marlins game and it was ugly

There are plenty of compliments one could give Lexi Thompson. At just 19, Thompson already has four LPGA wins including the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship, her first major title, and she seems to be on a track for super-duper stardom.

But, I'm not sure Thompson will go the route of Michael Jordan and give up her first love of sports for a chance at professional baseball. Lexi threw out the first pitch at the Marlins game last week, and while it was great to see a professional sports team acknowledge the talents of Thompson, it wasn't exactly a first pitch that will be making highlight reels for years to come.

Thompson's throw barely got off the ground, causing her to have a laugh and even send out this tweet after the game.

Apr 21

Winners and losers from RBC Heritage week

This past weekend saw a lot of great story lines and we are here to give you the good and the bad of it. Here are our winners and losers from the past week in golf.

Winners

Matt Kuchar — The past four weeks have been an interesting stretch for Kuchar, who continued to get in the hunt over the weekend at each event but couldn't close on Sunday and was searching for his first win in 2014. This time, on Sunday at the RBC Heritage, it was Kuchar who was forced to chase the leaders, and his Sunday 64 was highlighted by this incredible bunker shot he holed on the 18th hole for the birdie and the eventual one-shot victory. 

Michelle Wie — It might have been a disappointing conclusion two weeks ago for Wie at the opening major of the LPGA season, but it didn't take her long to bounce back and show just how incredible she is playing this season. Wie's final round 67 was good enough for a third LPGA win over the weekend in Hawaii, showing that all the work she has put in her game is really paying off in 2014.

Ben Martin — It has been a really interesting last few months for Martin, who has either missed the cut on the PGA Tour or had a fantastic week. At Harbour Town it was another good one for Martin, who in his last nine starts on the PGA Tour has seven missed cuts, one third and one tie for third. His Sunday 67 left him two shots back of Kuchar, but it was another fine showing for a man looking to earn every dollar he can to be around for the 2015 season. 

Pablo Larrazabal — He made news over the weekend when he got attacked by hornets on the golf course, eventually taking his clothes off and jumping in a lake to avoid getting stung. He ended his weekend with a Sunday 67 at the Maybank Malaysian Open and a top-10 finish.

Losers

Charl Schwartzel — After a missed cut at the Masters, it looked like the former green jacket winner was going to have a great week at the Heritage, but his Sunday 72 dropped him nine spots on the leaderboard and outside the top-10. Schwartzel, a man that redefined clutch with his four closing birdies to win that 2011 Masters, still sits at one PGA Tour win over his career, a disappointment if you look at the way he won that lone major title.

Hunter Mahan — Struggling with his game, Mahan has now broke 71 just once over his last 16 rounds on the PGA Tour. Mahan missed the cut at the Heritage and now has gone over two years without a PGA Tour win.

Apr 20

Matt Kuchar’s holed bunker shot on the 72nd hole won him the RBC Heritage

Matt Kuchar has made a habit of falling short in PGA Tour events this season, but that all changed on Sunday at the RBC Heritage thanks to an incredible shot on his final hole of the tournament.

Just two weeks removed from a pitch shot that won the Shell Houston Open for Matt Jones, Kuchar faced a bunker shot on the 18th hole on Sunday at Harbour Town Golf Links that will be in the running for golf shot of the year.

Kuchar, who made six birdies on his way out on Sunday for a front nine 30, made his first bogey of the day on the 17th hole, and it looked like that shot could ruin his chances of a seventh PGA Tour win. But after his second shot on the 18th hole found the greenside bunker, it was up to Kuchar to try and get it up and down for a final round 65 and an outside chance at a playoff.

He did himself one better, knocking that bunker shot in the hole for the unexpected birdie and a 64 for Kuchar, who had to wait out the rest of the guys on the course to see if he could finally win in 2014.

Luke Donald, who was leading before the day started, made two early birdies on his back nine, but couldn't add another one over his final five holes, meaning a one-shot victory for Kuchar and a bunker shot that will be played on the highlight reels at the end of this season.

Apr 20

Watch the highlights of Michelle Wie’s final round 67 at the LPGA Lotte Championship

If you have been keeping up with the LPGA this season you know that Michelle Wie has emerged as not only one of the best players on tour, but one of the most consistent.

The 24-year-old has been on fire in 2014, finishing in the top-16 in every tournament she's played, nearly winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship earlier this month for her first major, showing even without the win that she has become a force on the LPGA Tour.

That elusive third LPGA title came this weekend in Hawaii thanks to a final round 67 from Wie at the LPGA Lotte Championship, and we have the final round highlights above.

Wie was solid all week, as usual, but it was her putting that really helped her take the lead on Sunday and never look back, and if you don't think this win in her home state of Hawaii means a lot, look what Wie sent out on Twitter immediately following the victory. 

 

 

Apr 18

Pablo Larrazabal gets stung by hornets, jumps in lake, makes birdie immediately after

Being a professional golfer has plenty of perks, but on Friday at the European Tour's Maybank Malaysian Open one of the players in the field ran into a situation that was anything but desirable.

Pablo Larrazabal, a 30-year-old professional golfer from Spain, was playing his round when hornets came after him. Larrazabal tried to get the hornets off with a towel, but it wasn't enough as he was stung nearly 20 times, eventually jumping in a nearby lake to get the critters off him.

Larrazabal eventually got out of the lake, dried off, got a new shirt and went to hit his shot on the par-5 5th hole, knocking it up there to about 15 feet and rolling in the putt for a very unexpected birdie.

"Like 30 or 40 of them started to attack me, big time," Larrazabal said after his round. "Maybe the scariest moment of my career by far."

The video of the attack is below, and make sure to check out his post-round interview to hear what he had to say about the crazy happenings at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

 


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Shane Bacon is the editor of Devil Ball Golf and Busted Racquet on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shanebaconblogs@yahoo.com or