Whistling Straits Hosts 2015 PGA Championship

Midwest venue offers links-Style course, jaw-dropping scenery.
 
The 2015 PGA Championship returns to our neck of the woods: the Straits course at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, August 13-16. The site has held numerous professional tournaments, including the 2004 and 2010 PGA Championships and the 2007 U.S. Senior Open. In 2020, it is scheduled to host the Ryder Cup.
 
Befitting its status as one of this year’s four PGA Tour majors, the Straits will challenge every aspect of the pros’ games.
 
“This is a very challenging golf course. It’s long, close to 7,800 yards from the tips, with fast greens. We have a number of 500-yard-plus par fours that will be even tougher depending on the wind,” said Mike O’Reilly, head professional at Whistling Straits.
 
Situated nine miles north of the village of Kohler, the course has numerous holes that feature Lake Michigan as a backdrop and the look and feel of a links course, with plenty of bunkers and dunes to capture errant shots.
 
Favors the Straight and Long
 
As one can imagine, a course such as the Straits favors players who hit their shots – especially tee shots – long and straight. Since the Ryder Cup last year, few have hit it truer than the world’s number-one golfer, Rory McIlroy. He is averaging over 305 yards on his drives and is hitting nearly seven out of 10 fairways. A lot of the credit belongs to his Nike Vapor Pro driver. It wasn’t even supposed to be a commercially available driver. After hitting it a few times, however, Rory decided he wanted it in his bag.
 
I’d say that was a great decision. As of the middle of May, Rory had two wins and five top ten finishes for the 2015 PGA season, which began last October. He is ranked number one in total driving and ball striking.
 
The Vapor Pro is one of three lines of drivers Nike introduced last year. Popular with golfers of all levels is the company’s Vapor Speed driver. It’s designed to deliver optimal distance and low aspin by combining FlyBeam technology with a NextCor face and spreading the weight across the head and toe. It further features the company’s FlexLoft 2 for 15 different launch options.
 
I tested it at my local Dunham’s Sports and found it to deliver consistent distance, even on off-center hits. Assisted by the store’s golf expert, I was able to dial in a launch option that maximized carry distance and minimized spin. Unlike drivers of even a few years ago, today’s version come pretty close to being considered custom-fit. That’s why it’s important to work with the golf professional at your local Dunham’s Sports to make sure the driver is specifically tuned to your swing.
 
Play Where The Pros Play
 
If you want to play where the pros play, Whistling Straits and its sister course, the Irish, are available to the public (excluding August 1-18). Also available are two other world-class courses: The River and The Meadow Valleys at Blackwolf Run. Their diversity ensures an enjoyable playing experience for golfers of various levels.
 
Whether you decide to test your mettle at the Straits or any of the three other courses, O’Reilly offers the following suggestion: “When Pete Dye designed the Straits, he wanted to test the best players while making the course playable for average players. The result is a course that is visually intimidating, but playable, with generous fairways. The key is to make sure you are playing the appropriate tees.”
 
O’Reilly recommends the blue tees for better players (5-10 handicap) and the green or white tees for those with a 15 handicap.
 
For information about playing any of the courses mentioned or attending the 2015 PGA Championship, visit www.americanclubresort.com/golf.
 
Wear What the Pros Wear
 
If you’re going to play where the pros play, it only makes sense to dress like they do. Thankfully, Dunham’s Sports has you covered with a wide range of products, styles and colors for men and women.
 
Most of us can’t hit a ball like Rickie Fowler, but we can wear the same Puma shirts. Be sure to also check out the company’s shorts and skorts. Dunham’s Sports also carries clothing from PGA Tour, Nike, Callaway, Canyon Creek, Under Armour, Greg Norman, Taylor Made, Adidas and many more.
 
Some come with a built-in Ultraviolet Protection Factor to help protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays and nearly all feature patented technology to wick moisture away, keeping you cooler.
 
No matter which manufacturer you choose, we’re certain you’ll be a hit on and off the course.
Nick Lico has dual passions: writing and golf. An avid player for 30 years, he has spent the last six years teaching golf at various after-school programs in Metro Detroit.
 
-Par Shooter
 
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Hooked on Fishing

This summer activity puts the entire family in touch with nature and each other.
 
My dad was a great parent in every way, but he was an immigrant, and some of the things most dads and sons shared — like baseball and football — were unknown to him. But there was one activity that we enjoyed together, and that was fishing, a sport practiced worldwide and one he had shared with his father many years ago on Sweden’s Lake Mälaren, Dad taught me to fish when I was about 8 years old on Wisconsin’s Lake Puckaway, helped me land my first fish, a plump lake perch of about 8 inches, and then taught me to clean it and cook it. We fished together for many summers thereafter on lakes throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. A passion for fishing was something we embraced, and it kept us close and communicating well into my teen years.
 
Kids and fishing are meant for each other. And there’s no better way for an adult and a child — or an entire family — to bond than on the water, away from distractions. You don’t need a lot of gear, but having the right equipment helps ensure success. When I was a wee one, a fishing kit had to be purchased piece-by-piece. Today, rod and reel combos provide everything one needs to land that first fish in one inexpensive package. And Dunham’s has a range of choices in stock, right now.
 
Rod and Reel Combos
 
The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Combo is a great choice for your sons and daughters. With a tough rod, your choice of spinning or spincast reel, spooled line and a 7-year warranty, it’s perfect for the up and coming angler.
 
For the young ladies, Dunham’s offers a Shakespeare combo that pays homage to the Disney “Frozen” movie. The fully spooled reel is a spincast design that is easily mastered. A practice casting plug is included so basic skills can be taught in the backyard.
 
Consider also the range of Abu Garcia Max series bait-cast combos and reels. Meant for serious fishing, they are as tough as the biggest fish in the pond.
 
South Bend Ready2Fish combos are engineered and designed to provide everything you or your youngster needs to start fishing today. In addition to a spooled reel and split grip 5 ½-foot rod, each spincast combo comes with floats, brass snap swivels, a hook assortment, jig heads, a 1.4-ounce red and white spoon, 3-inch grubs, a shad dart, and easy-to-read instructions. Various other Ready2Fish models, including some with spinning reels and a pink set for the ladies, are also available at Dunham’s.
 
Dunham’s carries South Bend’s Microlite S Class Combos as well. Great looking and ultra sensitive, a Microlite spin or spincast combo is perfect for mom, dad and junior. With a handsome cork-handled rod, a Microlite outfit delivers performance and value.
 
Essential Gear
 
Augment your youngster’s fishing kit with a South Bend Worm Gear tackle box. Available in various colorful hues, the durable box comes with a removable tray and 88 gear essentials, including a hook remover, stringer, sinkers, swivels, floats and hooks.
 
Speaking of tackle, the Mepps Aglia spinner, available at Dunham’s, is a critical piece of equipment. This type of spinner doesn’t imitate minnows, worms or any of the other critters game fish like to eat. What it does is call attention to itself and prompt a fish to think something is invading its territory. Mepps spokesman, Jim Martinson, says spinners and trout go together like peanut butter and jelly. Jim recommends matching the size of the spinner to the size of the trout. The #00, #0 and #1 Aglias are perfect for small brook, rainbow or brown trout. Large trout may strike more often on a #2 or #3 Aglia.
 
Basic Skills
 
Before taking your youngster out to the water, have them practice casting in the backyard. If your combo outfit came with a hookless practice plug, attach that to the end of the line. If not, use a metal washer or nut.
 
Demonstrate the correct technique, guide your child’s arm on the first few attempts, and keep encouraging. My five-year-old granddaughter got the hang of it in five minutes or so.
 
Another important skill you can teach is knot tying. If your offspring can’t tie a hook onto a line, they won’t be able to manage on their own. And it’s important that they quickly learn to handle the basic gear prep chores. Too much reliance on dad or mom will take the fun out of fishing and diminish the sense of accomplishment that youngsters so enjoy.
 
The improved clinch knot is probably a slip-proof knot that can be mastered in minutes. To tie it, simply pass the line through the eye of the hook. Then leaving a small loop at the eye, wrap the line around itself four or five times, pass it through the loop you left at the eye, pull tight and trim the end. Simple and effective.
 
Nothing beats fishing for family fun. Strength and athletic skills aren’t really a factor, so everyone can do it. Success breeds togetherness and happiness, and few things in life are more pleasing than smiles all around.
 
-Hook, Line & Sinker
 
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What’s Up with the SUP?

Enjoying the lake or ocean, until recent years, had been limited to the usual suspects: boats, kayaks, canoes… you know, your typical vessels. However, there’s now a new way to get out on the lake and get you standing up at the same time.
 
The stand-up paddleboard, or SUP for short, it’s like a combination of a kayak and surf board. Paddlers stand up on the board and use a regular paddle to direct around the water. But not every board is the same for every paddler. They range in weight, weight capacity, material and flexibility, just to name a few. But just like purchasing a canoe or kayak, customers first need to decide what they want to use the SUP for.
 
Different Strokes for Different Folks
 
“There are different types of boards on the market, but most paddlers are either using an ‘all-around’ board or a “touring or cruising” board,” explains Nöel Basque of Pelican International. All-around boards are more stable, perform well, but tend to be slower than a touring board. Paddlers should consider, weight, and capacity on the boards, and depending on where they will be using the board, flexible fin or rigid fin.”
 
The width of the board is crucial when selecting an SUP. The wider the board, the more stability is offered, which is important for a new paddler. If you’re new to stand-up paddle boarding, it might be wise to select a wider board until you get the hang of it.
 
“Stability and width go hand and hand,” says Ken Harris of KL Outdoor. “A minimum of 30 inches in width is recommended for anyone up to 200 pounds. The bigger the person, the wider the board. The Seaquest 10 offers 33 inches in width. Generally 10-to-12-foot boards are truly a multi-purpose board from yoga, fun with the kids and exercise.”
 
So once you nail down what you’ll be using the board for, the next step is to make the right selection. But where do you begin? With so many new technological advances and added features, it can be complicated to make the best choice. But thanks to Pelican’s Vibe, Flow and Rush along with KL Outdoor’s Sun Dolphin Seaquest 10, it’s tough to go wrong.
 
With the Pelican line of SUPs, they’re made from HDPE (high density polyethylene extract), which makes them extremely durable. Also, all Vibe models come with a stomp pad, tie-downs for stowing gear and are built for all-around use. With the Sun Dolphin Seaquest 10, you’ll get a non-slip pad, carrying handles, storage compartment with shock cord and even a recessed cooler!
 
If it seems like these boards are getting more and more advanced in terms of both features and construction, it’s because they are. Brands like KL Outdoor and Pelican are constantly innovating their products, making them more fun, safer and more durable.
 
“The technology of stand-up paddle boards has evolved to be more of an all-around board offering maximum stability and width,” explains Harris, “giving all skill levels the confidence they need to experience the trending activity.”
 
Basque of Pelican International adds in that their Twin Sheet Technology adds to Pelican’s product construction.
 
“Technology has enabled manufacturers like Pelican to bring boards to the consumer that perform well, are as tough as nails, and affordable,” says Basque. “Pelican manufactures in TST (twin sheet technology) using the best materials to ensure this.”
 
Safety is Key to Having Fun
 
Safety comes first with stand-up paddleboarding, as it would with any new aquatic activity. Paddlers should also ensure they’re getting the right safety equipment along with the board as well as make note of a few tips to make sure the experience is as fun as it is safe.
 
“New paddlers should always wear a personal flotation device (PFD), start using the board from the kneeling position, and when comfortable, get up on their feet, keep legs bent and back straight,” says Basque. “When paddling, use the whole of the paddle blade in the water and enjoy the ride!”
 
“All you need is a paddle and a life jacket for safety,” explains Harris. “Where you stand affects mobility. Place feet shoulder-width apart in the middle of the board. Keep the paddle straight while paddling.”
 
While paddlers should always be sure to wear a PFD, another accessory that’s a must when getting out on the water is an ankle leash. This will make sure if you’re to fall off the board and into the water, the board stays near you at all times. You can even make your SUP perform as a kayak!
 
“An ankle leash to ensure the board stays with the paddler can be useful in faster moving water, and some boards can also be equipped with a seatback and used as a sit-on-top kayak,” says Basque.
 
Summers are meant to spend outside getting in the water as much as you can. And while the old reliable kayaks and canoes are still great ways to navigate your favorite waterway, the SUP is a fun, innovative way to not only get exercise, but to get the best of what summer has to offer. And thanks to Pelican and KL Outdoor, it’s never been easier.
 
-Paddle Bum
 
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Pitch a Tent, Not a Fit

Today’s Camping Equipment is Light Weight & Easy to Set Up.
 
There is little that compares to the great experience of camping: Fresh air, food cooked on a grill and a break (hopefully) from our always-connected world. My family and I were regular campers for about 10 years, immensely enjoying evenings around a campfire, with the only sounds being the chirping of crickets and tree frogs. After a seven-year hiatus, we are considering camping again and a number of recently introduced products have garnered our attention.
 
Coleman
 
Rather than another pop-up camper, my wife and I are considering tents. As with nearly every consumer product, technology is constantly evolving, making everything easier, lighter and more efficient. One such offering is the Coleman Cold Springs Tent with Porch.
 
“This is a porch like at your home,” explained Coleman’s Sharon Scott. “It’s seven-feet long and both sides zip up, making it a great place to store your gear.”
 
The sides roll up for maximum lighting or you can roll them down to block morning or evening sun. The entire porch area also zips off, leaving you with an optimal four-person tent. Like all Coleman tents, it’s wind- and weather-resistant and features the company’s patented welded floors and inverted seams to help keep water out. Anyone who has ever tripped on guy lines in low-light conditions will appreciate that they are reflective on this tent.
 
“This tent can be set up in as little as 10 minutes and includes the Coleman rainfly feature for extra weather protection,” Scott said.
 
Another interesting Coleman offering is the Moraine Park Tent. Available in either four- or six-person configuration, it’s part of the company’s Fast Pitch TM line of products that are specifically designed to be set up with minimal effort and minimal time.
 
“Moraine Park Tents use pre-attached poles and hub, fast-fit feet and a snag-free Insta-Clip suspension to let you set up your tent 40%-60% faster than a comparable Coleman tent with the conventional setup,” Scott said.
 
The six-person version is large enough to accommodate two queen-sized air mattresses and both models feature a Murphy Shelf that folds down and includes a pocket to organize items. It’s removable and zips up, so you can take your phones, keys and other valuables with you when you leave the tent.
 
Westfield Outdoors
 
Also easy to set up are two offerings from Westfield Outdoors. Ideal is the 11-foot x 9-foot dome tent. It accommodates six and is designed for maximum interior space and easy setup and teardown.
 
“This tent features a center height of 72 inches; that’s more headroom than what you’ll find in most tents. It’s easy to set up: cross two shock-corded fiberglass poles in the middle and the tent is up,” said Michael Bryant, Westfield Outdoors.
 
If you require even more space, check out the company’s 15-foot x 15-foot cabin tent. In addition to all of the features found in the dome tent, the cabin tent includes a room divider, allowing you to comfortably accommodate two families of five or to divide the sleeping area from the living area. Both tents include a gear loft and mash pockets to organize small items.
 
Alps Mountaineering
 
For a cozier camping experience, check out Alps Mountaineering’s 10-foot x 10-foot RimRock 6 tent. It features two shock-corded fiberglass poles for easy setup and a polyethylene tub-style floor for optimal durability.
 
The RimRock 6 tent offers 100 cubic feet of usable space and a six-foot center height. It features a polyester fly that resists UV damage and stays taut. The fly is sealed at the factory for best weather protection.
 
This tent is designed with two zippered windows (one in the door, one in back) and large side mesh panels for optimal ventilation. The zippers on the door are large for greater convenience and durability. As with many tents nowadays, this tent features mesh storage pockets and a gear loft to keep items and valuables organized.
 
What’s Cooking?
 
A day of fresh air and outdoor activities tends to work up an appetite; you’ll want a grill that is effective and convenient to use and transport. We like the Coleman RoadTrip X-cursion model.
 
The collapsible steel scissor legs and low-profile design make it easy to move the grill around the campsite and the off-road wheels mean you don’t have to stay on pavement to enjoy this grill.
 
“With 20,000 BTUs and 285 square inches of porcelain-coated, cast iron grates, the RoadTrip X-cursion can pretty much take anything you can throw at it,” Coleman’s Kit Childers said.
 
Coleman took cleanup into account when designing this grill and incorporated a water pan to catch all the grease. When you’re done cooking, simply wipe the pan down with a paper towel to clean it. The pan is also dishwasher-safe.
 
“Thanks to the racetrack burner, you can do focused cooking, such as boiling a pot of water on one side and slower-cooking meat or vegetables on the other side,” Childers added.
 
Because it folds flat, we’ve seen these grills at picnics, tailgate parties and other outdoor events.
 
With summer finally here, get out and enjoy our great outdoors with camping products designed to make your camping experience pleasurable and hassle-free.
 
-Happy Camper
 
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