Friday, January 22, 2010

The Greats...for a reason.

by guest contributor: Don Moorhead

When I was a kid, there was only the lingering aftereffect of one of the great divides in sports history. It was still there, but only as a vestigal reminder of the past. The lines had mostly been blurred, and the sides had softened into mutual respect. But once upon a time, it was factions that made Team Coco vs. Team Leno look like nothing (actually, it already looks like nothing, but still...) battling it out for the soul of the game.

I'm talking, of course, about Jack vs. Arnie. The Golden Bear vs. Arnie's Army.

It's one of the things that makes professional golf so great. You see, most team sports are so geography dependent, they make fandom meaningless. I grew up in Cincinnati, thus I grew up rooting for the Reds, the Bengals (god help me), and the Cincinnati Stingers (of the WHA... no, really). It was predestined and predetermined, based solely on where I lived. There are a few exceptions to this, such as baseball in Chicago, where you root for the Cubs or the White Sox based on whether you're a drunken 20 year old yuppie-to-be or a drunken son of a plumbing contractor (or something like that, I'm generalizing). Also, had I been forced to pick an NBA team (the NBA did not, and in fact still does not, exist as far as Cincinnatians are concerned), it may have been the Lakers because of Kareem and eventually Magic. But it was just as likely to be the Pacers, because they were the closest team. In golf, you get to pick who you root for from the beginning. And not only that, you get to pick the criteria on which you base your choice. You can choose the crafty short-game guy, the big bomber, or the guy who wears the wacky clothes and clowns with the crowd. But back in the day, golf underwent a battle for its soul.

You know the biographies, so I won't bore you with them. Palmer was the son of the groundskeeper, Nicklaus was the silver-spoon priveleged one. Jack's swing was refined and his game was precise, Arnie gripped it and ripped it. And the rivalry was fierce. I remember my grandmother, the gentlest, sweetest woman in the entire world, who never said a bad word about anyone, calling Nicklaus "that stupid fat kid." Granted, this was in 1986, when he was in his 40s, but you get the point. Old habits died hard.

I thought of these two and their battles recently, as the whole you-know-who drama has unfolded. Jack turned 70 the other day, and was still talking about his clubhead speed and the state of his game. But he got off a great line when he said he was "still looking down at the grass" (it took me a full 5 minutes to get the opposed to looking up at the grass. Well played, sir). I laughed, and thought about his interview recently when they asked him about you-know-who and his problems. And he said, in essence, I don't care. It's none of my business, and it's none of your business. He was the first one I heard say that (other than maybe me, to myself). And then I thought about Arnie's interview a couple years back, when he got called out for endosing a club the USGA banned. Did Arnie kowtow to the powers that be? Did he put out a statement talking about the rich history and tradition and grandness of the game? No, he put up a rhetorical middle finger and said (paraphrasing) look, when most people go out an play golf, they carry 18 clubs, a couple of different types of ball, they play for $5 skins, ride in a cart, have a couple of beers, take mulligans and free drops, and they go out to have a good time. So sue us.

And then it all made sense. There's still a battle for golf's soul, and these two are still fighting it. Only now, they're on the same side. Whether we know it or not, they're on our side. Happy (belated) birthday, Jack. Keep up the good work.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

2010 - The Year Of The Beaver?

Interestingly enough given recent events involving the world's greatest golfer, 2010 is the Year of the Tiger on the Chinese calendar. While that still must play out in full theater of the PGA Tour, I prefer to take a different route...yes, a Chinese Zodiac substitute for the year 2010. For this point forward, let 2010 be known as the Year of the Beaver!

Why, you might ask, is The Beaver a suitable substitute for the Tiger? It is quite simply because this will be the year that Beaver Golf makes a name for itself, and steps up to the next level of website-dom. To that end, I ask for all of my readers support and patience as I go about tying up all the little things that need tying up before this little blog can transform into something much more interesting. My posts may be a little more sporadic for the next several weeks, but feel free to use the handful of minutes spent reading each week doing something more productive like getting yourself in better shape for the upcoming golf season.

Stop! Before you go running off to the gym to pump some iron and crunch the night away, I must ask for one more thing. I am starting a little rumor that there might be some Beaver Golf SWAG in the works, and in order to be the lucky recipient of this debut SWAG, I need a little information from all you Beavers out there.

If you are interested in some free stuff, please send the following information to as soon as you can, best if you do it right after reading the following:
  1. Your e-mail address.
  2. Your name (preferably the name other Beavers might call you).
  3. Your shirt size (Keep it to the standard letters if you would - S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL, etc.).
  4. Your mailing address.
I will not share this information with any third party without first getting your consent, it is just for Beaver Golf's exclusive mailing list. I look forward to a flood of e-mails shortly!

Finally, just for kicks, let's have a look at that Chinese Zodiac again, shall we? Tiger Woods' birthday is December 30th, 1975. This puts him in the Year of the Rabbit. According to, Tiger would possess the following characteristics:
  • Personality
    • Occupying the 4th position in the Chinese Zodiac, the Rabbit symbolizes such character traits as creativity, compassion, and sensitivity. Rabbits are friendly, outgoing and prefer the company of others. They also prefer to avoid conflict. In confrontational situations, Rabbits approach calmly and with consideration for the other party. Rabbits believe strongly in friends and family and lacking such bonds can lead to emotional issues.
    • Their serene nature keeps Rabbits from becoming visibly upset. Because they’re serene animals, Rabbits are easily taken advantage of. Their sensitive nature makes them shy away from aggressive or competitive situations. They’re overall conservative and not interested in taking risks.
    • Classy, sophisticated, expressive, well-mannered and stylish, those born under the Sign of the Rabbit enjoy learning about cultural issues and learning about people from other countries. Rabbits are most comfortable being home, and their homes are always neat and organized. Home is also where Rabbits prefer to entertain. Rabbits are conservative in their decorating tastes.
    • Rabbits should work at building more self-confidence and self-worth so they can feel more secure. The desire for remaining in safe, comfortable environments keeps Rabbits from taking risks which sometimes causes them to miss out on good opportunities. 
  • Health
    • Even though Rabbits don’t usually get visibly upset or stressed, they do tend to keep these feelings inside. When they don’t express these feelings, such feeling can cause Rabbits to become ill. Rabbits could benefit from more everyday activity which would reduce their stress levels and better their health.
  • Relationships
    • Rabbits are very sexual, but tend to give more of themselves than they should. This can lead to unrealistic expectations and unhealthy situations. Rabbits need partners who won’t take advantage of their giving nature. Such pairings will be strong.
So, do you believe in Chinese astrology, perhaps not, but some of those things sound pretty on target, don't they (especially with my clever edits, eh)?

Fairways and Greens!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside

As I sit and write my first post on Beaver Golf in 2010, I am shivering slightly as the temperature a mere window pane away hovers in the teens with a wind chill factor of five...FIVE! Holding a warm cup of Joe at Starbucks only offers temporary relief as I view the 10-day outlook only to see the warmest day reaching a balmy 28 degrees Fahrenheit.

Offering significantly greater comfort is my completed task of registering to attend the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, FL at the end of the month. I am looking very forward to my first trade show as a legitimate member of the golf industry, and to hitting the links on a warm sunny day. Perhaps we can squeeze in a couple of rounds to see if my recent fitness regimen can hold up my rusty swing over 36 holes in prime condition.

These days are truly the doldrums of golf for those of us in cold climates. With Fantasy Football culminating yesterday, and the Golf Channel showing nothing but highlights of silly events like the Tavistock Cup, and Tiger's greatest moments (why?), we are left to take a few random swings in our living rooms, endangering pets and children alike with every hopeful lash of the 7-iron. My old roommates will chuckle to remember the actual divot I took in our basement carpet several years back during one of these winter warm-up routines.

So, what are we frozen souls left to do during the horrid month of January as we longingly hope for the rare unseasonably warm day when we all storm the few courses that are open year round here in the Windy City?

There are a few indoor driving ranges that can be utilized, true. I may very well have to utilize one before my weekend jag in Florida, but those visits always leave me feeling teased and sullen knowing what those few hours could have been spent doing in a warmer climate.

Several courses in Chicago also hold cold weather tournaments such as Cog Hill's Eskimo Open which was held this past Sunday. The hard core duffers who attended (would you believe almost 80 of them?) began playing around 8:00 am on a day where the thermometer struggled to reach double digits. I have no idea how many of them actually played a full 18, but I read that the winner shot around par, for what that's worth. I have always considered myself fairly hard core myself, but that event, at least for this year, would have to be classified as cruel and unusual punishment, right? Good God! I would probably snap something on my very first swing!

Finally, there is always the activity I undertake the most...dreaming of the rounds yet to come, and the warm days "just around the corner". It is a new year, and with it comes new confidence, hope, and expectations. That game feels easier the longer you are away from it, and usually I come out in the spring playing pretty well before those old habits start creeping back into my game. In fact, I played my best round of the entire 2009 season my very first time out, shooting 3-over through 16 holes before finishing with a bogey-double on 17 and 18. I only broke 80 two other times in 2009, my worst season in years.

We can also prepare for the questionable spring weather we Yankees must endure as we get back into the swing of things. Warm weather clothing has come a very long way in recent years, now offering ultra-thin, flexible, and moisture-wicking materials allowing for freedom of motion to go with exceptional warmth. I have become an enormous fan of Addidas apparel over the last 2-3 years as they seem to be ahead of the curve when it comes to advancements in performance apparel. Some of my favorties for the coming spring are below, please click on the images to shop for them and similar products at my partner Golf Galaxy.

adidas Men's ClimaLite Warm Long Sleeve Textured Polo

adidas Men's ClimaProof Wind/Warm Jacket

adidas Women's ClimaProof Wind 3-Stripe Lined Jacket

Umbrellas are another springtime must here in Chicago, and I'm sure other places both north and south. Over the years, I have come to greatly appreciate spending a little extra on a high-quality golf umbrella that opens and closes quickly, dries even quicker, and can hold up to the blustery weather we can get from time to time up here. I appreciate them even more now that I accidentally abandoned my favorite umbrella ever in a local tavern on one of those on-again off-again stormy nights of bar-hopping. I can only hope that it is still available to purchase again, or there is something even better to offer. Quality rain gear in general can be quite valuable on the course for those so inclined to play through any weather. There is little worse than slogging through a round soaked through to the skin. Some options for assistance are below, also from Golf Galaxy.

FootJoy Men's DryJoys Tour Collection Rain Jacket

FootJoy Men's Performance Light Rain Jacket

FootJoy Men's DryJoys White/Black Shoe (Disc Style 53421)

So, if anyone else will be at the show in Orlando, let me know...I'd love to meet some of my Beaver Golf readers. If you aren't going to the show, and suffer the cold winters as I do, please take some time to do a little shopping, getting prepared might just make the spring feel a little closer than it really is!

Fairways and Greens!


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