Hit the Links

Are you ready for warm weather yet? If you’re a golfer, the answer is probably “Yes!” One of the great things about playing golf is that there are great courses no matter where you go! Planning to travel this season? Or maybe you want to make a special trip to try out a new course? Whatever the case, pack up your clubs and hit the road this Spring. Here is a list of some great public courses to try out.

Whistling Straits – Haven, Wisconsin

The course that is set to host the 2020 Ryder Cup has over 1,000 bunkers, so watch your step. It is set on Lake Michigan on an abandoned air base. There is a second course at Whistling Straits called the Irish Course, which is further inland.

Erin Hills – Erin, Wisconsin

Erin Hills hosted the first U.S. Open for the state of Wisconsin in 2017. In fact, modifications were made to the course in a bid to host the event. It also hosted the 2008 U.S. Women’s Public Link and the 2011 U.S. Amateur.

Arcadia Bluffs – Arcadia, Michigan

Located in the Michigan mitten’s northwest corner, Arcadia Bluffs offers a lakeside links-style course complete with deep bunkers, long grasses and challenges at every turn. Oh, and of course, picturesque views of Lake Michigan, which you can see from every hole on the course.

French Lick Resort – French Lick, Indiana

Beautifully located in Indiana’s Hoosier National Forest, the French Lick Resort went under a massive restoration a decade ago. Complete with hills at every turn, crater-like bunkers and greens that would make the pros shiver, this midwestern track is one of the best.

Cog Hill – Lemont, Illinois

Nestled in the suburbs of Chicago, Cog Hill has a relatively straightforward track, but not void of challenge. The “Sierra of the Midway,” as it’s been nicknamed, will give players an “up north” feel just outside from the hustle and bustle of the Windy City.

GreyStone Golf Club – Dickson, Tennessee

Had enough of Broadway, the Grand Ole Opry and city life in general while visiting Nashville? A short drive from the city and easily accessible to the rest of central Tennessee, GreyStone golf club pops up year after year on lists of not only the best public golf in Tennessee, but in the country.

The Harvester – Rhodes, Iowa

Rolling hills may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about the state of Iowa, but The Harvester course will make you think twice. The course takes advantage of an 80-foot elevation change and features a 60-acre lake to make it a picturesque Midwest course.

-Par Shooter

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Cover Your Bases: A Guide to Baseball Gear

As the snow melts and the trees begin to bud signaling the end of a long winter and start of a new spring, it’s time to break out the ball bag and make sure the baseball player in your family has everything they need for the upcoming season. Pants can get worn out, gloves can somehow shrink (even if you just bought one last year!) and even bats can be outgrown in just a season. But fear not, as all of the bases can easily be covered in one trip.

From the Ground Up

First and foremost, make sure last year’s spikes fit. Depending on your child’s age, it’s entirely likely they’re too small and a new pair will be needed. Or, if the cleats are molded, they may have worn down. When shopping for cleats, make sure you check the league rules to see if the cleats can be metal or have to be molded or plastic. From there, ensure that you have the correct team-colored socks, pants and belt (if needed). Check with the league or coach if you’re unsure of this step.

Like a Glove!

Once the uniform is taken care of, it’d be wise to take an equipment inventory to make sure everything both is still the proper size or weight for your player and they fall within the league rules. For gloves, make sure your player’s hand still fits in the glove comfortably. For more competitive leagues or the more seasoned player, make sure the glove size its best suited for the position. For example, if you have a blossoming first baseman, make sure they have a first baseman’s glove if needed. Or, a smaller glove for an infielder and larger for outfielder.

Tools of the Trade

In order to make sure your player’s bat is good to go, see if the bat’s drop weight – which is the bat’s length minus it’s weight – is appropriate. You’ll find in youth bats, that value typically ranges between -8 and -13 ounces. Stronger, more developed players will be able to swing more weight easily while smaller players might need something lighter to ensure proper bat speed.

As far as length, there are a couple ways to ensure it’s the right size. One is to have the player set the bat barrel-side down and let their arm hang palm out. If the bottom knob of the bat sits in their palm, the length is good. Another way is to have the player stick their arm out to the side. Line up the end of the bat in the center of the chest. If the player is able to easily touch the other end, the length is still OK.

Taking an early inventory of baseball gear can help make sure your player has everything they need for the upcoming season. With so many items to consider, don’t hesitate in dusting off the ol’ bat bag while there’s snow on the ground while you prepare for pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training!

-Home Run Hitter

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Get to Work (At Home)

Finding the Right Exercise Equipment for Your Home Gym

First there is Halloween candy, then comes the Thanksgiving turkey and fixings and finally of course there’s the Christmas cookies. All these treats are delicious, but they might get you thinking about how you’ll shed your winter weight. That’s where the right piece of exercise equipment comes in!

There are several options to choose from for both cardio and weight lifting exercise routines. Each has their own benefits and drawbacks. Find the right one for your lifestyle and you’ll find a fitness regimen you can stick with!

Treadmills

A treadmill is a classic piece of exercise equipment for your home. One upside is that they can be used for all levels of fitness. You can use it to walk at a slow pace or to train for a marathon. Treadmills can be the most basic cardio equipment all the way through to models that have pre-set programs with a video screen. For someone with balance problems, though, a treadmill may prove tricky. And the impact on joints may be too much for some people. As with any exercise equipment, be sure to follow safety guidelines.

Elliptical trainers

Elliptical trainers are great for people with joint problems. The foot paddles move without impact to give you a smooth, yet effective, cardio workout. Of course, the movement may take some getting used to, especially if you haven’t exercised in a while. But if you want a routine that’s easy on your joints, ellipticals are a great option.

Stationary Bikes

Another great low-impact option is a stationary bike. You can choose a spin bike, air bike or recumbent model. Be sure you select a bike with a wide, comfortable seat and one that is the correct height to get the most from the workout. These machines are great even for beginners or those with movement limitations. It’s as easy as, well, riding a bike!

Weight equipment

Cardio is a key component to any exercise program. But it’s important to mix in weight training as well. Weight bearing exercises keep your bones strong and muscles toned. And you don’t need a bulky piece of machinery to do weight training at home. There are many options to choose from to complete your home gym. You can get an adjustable set of dumbbells, which will allow the whole family to take advantage of the equipment without needing each individual weight. Medicine balls and kettle bells are other weight training options. Choose the right weights for you to keep at home, and you won’t need to head to the gym!

Don’t go out in the snow this winter. Stay home and get your exercise in! You can get just as great a workout as you could at the gym. You just need the right pieces of equipment!

-Fitness Fanatic

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Handling a Handgun Purchase

There are various handgun options available to give you personal protection and peace of mind, when on the road or at home. However, if you’re new to the handgun purchase process, the options can be a little overwhelming.

The first step to take is to determine what the firearm will be used for: concealed carry or at-home protection. If the weapon is for concealed-carry, it would be wise to look for something on the smaller and lighter side so it doesn’t become cumbersome for travel. For at-home protection, a larger, heavier option would work since it will likely be stored.

From there, you’ll need to look at whether a revolver or semi-automatic handgun would work best. A semi-automatic -also known as self-loaders – utilizes the pressure release from a fired round to load the next. Also with a semi-automatic, you’ll get a load size of anywhere from six to 20 cartridges, however this type can be a bit more complicated to operate than a revolver, so additional training might be required. Revolvers, conversely, have a round, spinning cylinder that is released to the side of the firearm, where the rounds are loaded. Most revolvers have a standard capacity of five or six rounds.

Once the firearm type has been selected, the very important choice of caliber comes into play. Caliber is the size of cartridge the handgun will fire, and with that comes also the amount of recoil – or kickback – the gun will produce. This choice should come with a discussion with your firearm salesman, as they’ll be able to provide guidance on this based on your size, strength and experience.

After finding what you think is the best handgun, the decisive step is to test it at a firing range. This can be a very exciting part of the process, but safety is paramount and priority. If the buyer is new to firearms, a basic handgun training course will help provide some initial information. From there, examining the weapon and how it fits the user is key. Checking where the trigger finger sets on the trigger, location of the safety, and if it fires reliably are all factors to consider when testing. Consult an expert if you have any questions or concerns about the firearm.

By answering some decisions, like purpose, firearm type and caliber, new firearm users can successfully – and most important, safely – purchase the best firearm. With so many options and types available, research is your best friend, so choose wisely!

-Deer Abby

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Take a Hunting Road Trip

If you’re a hunter, you probably have your favorite spots to camp out. Or maybe you are new to the sport and you’re not sure where to start. Either way, it’s always fun to go out and explore new ground. So where are the best places in the country to go for a hunt?

 Midwest

The Midwest has some great spots for hunting deer. Game and Fish magazine names Kansas, Iowa, Ohio, Nebraska and Indiana as the best midwestern states for hunting deer. The article looks at both hunting license regulations and deer populations to determine the best of the best.

Kansas was at the top of the list with its large public land space where hunting is available.

Wide Open Spaces, however, named Kentucky as its best state in the Midwest for deer hunting. That’s thanks to its accommodating regulations, public land and a large, healthy deer population.

 West

Want your pick of several kinds of game? Head out west. Moose, deer, elk and bears are just some of the options.

If you want elk, Wyoming is the place to go according to Brad Fitzpatrick from Outdoor Life magazine.

“The plains in the east-central and northeastern portions of the state are prime antelope hunting areas,” Fitzpatrick wrote.

California is a great spot for waterfowl hunting according to Tripping.com. Both the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge and the Delevan National Wild Refuge will provide the opportunity for ducks, geese, coots and pheasant.

 Northeast

Field and Stream lists several specific places in the northeast United States on its list of 100 great hunting and fishing spots. Included in that list is Region B in Maine where turkey populations are high. If turkey isn’t your cup of tea, bears are in abundance in the Charleston-Beckley Corridor in West Virginia.

Outdoor Life also names Sebago, Maine, as a great fishing town where salmon can be found in the state’s deepest lake, Sebago Lake.

 South

There are several cities in the south that made Outdoor Life’s list of the best hunting and fishing towns. Included in the list Toccoa, Georgia, which is just 15 minutes from the Lake Russell Wildlife Management Area. There you can find deer, turkeys, bears, squirrels, rabbits and hogs. There is also a stocked lake for fishing.

There are a great hunting and fishing spots all over the United States, and probably closer than you think! Do your research to find the best game and license regulations in your state. Grab your gear and your best hunting buddies for a trip this fall!

Barringer, Bernie. “Best Trophy Deer Hunting States in the Midwest,” Game & Fishhttp://www.gameandfishmag.com/deer-zone/mw/best-trophy-deer-hunting-states-in-the-midwest/

Bond, Chris. “10 Best States to Hunt Whitetail Deer,” Wide Open Spaces. https://www.wideopenspaces.com/top-10-places-hunt-whitetail-u-s-pics/

Chan, Pamela. “The Top 7 Places To Go Hunting In The West,” Tripping.comhttps://www.tripping.com/explore/the-top-7-places-to-go-hunting-in-the-west

Fitzpatrick, Brad. “Where to Hunt: Guide to the 8 Best Big-Game Hunts in the West,” Outdoor Lifehttps://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/hunting/2013/08/where-hunt-guide-8-best-big-game-hunts-west

“The 35 Best Hunting and Fishing Towns in the US,” Outdoor Life. https://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/newshound/2012/04/35-best-hunting-and-fishing-towns-us

“The Official 100 Next Best Places to Hunt and Fish in the US,” Field & Streamhttps://www.fieldandstream.com/articles/hunting/2014/05/official-100-next-best-places-hunt-and-fish-us

-Deer Abby

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Back To School

As the calendar flips to August, a parent’s three favorite words can finally be spoken: Back-to-school! That’s right, moms and dads, it’s time to stock back up for the kids’ return to the classroom in a few short weeks. The selection can be a little overwhelming, though. Aside from the normal stuff like pens, pencils and a crispy new calculator, the bigger stuff – like shoes, clothes and backpacks – are often in need of replacing prior to the new school year.

Available at Dunham’s, the Adidas Prime IV and Excel IV are great options and come loaded with features to keep everything organized while looking great as well. With the Prime IV, students will be able to utilize five zippered pockets and an internal laptop sleeve. Also, parents will love the lifetime warranty. The Excel IV also comes with the same warranty as well as a few other bells and whistles.

“This pack has tons of great storage and features to keep you organized all year long,” explains Carrie Najera of Agron Backpacks.   “[It has] four outside zippered pockets, internal zippered organization pockets and soft lined 15.4-inch computer and tablet pockets in addition to LoadSpring shoulder straps for added comfort.”

Once the backpack is taken care of, parents can move onto shoes. And with the amount of time kids spend on their feet, be it walking to the bus stop or running around in gym class, footwear isn’t something to be overlooked. Thankfully, there are plenty of options and tools available to help make the choice easier, including a tool from ASICS to check your child’s foot pronation.

With the variety of ASICS found at Dunham’s, the features are endless. You’ll find their trail running, performance running, casual, volleyball and wrestling shoes to suit almost any need. And with rearfoot GEL cushioning, removable sock liners and AHAR High Abrasion Outsoles, kids will get both comfort and durability.

Another brand with an unbeatable reputation for quality, stylish footwear is New Balance. New to the catalog is the Fresh Foam line, which is a great mix of aesthetics and comfort. And what kid won’t love that?

“The smooth tuned cushioning of Fresh Foam has merged with sleek street styling to deliver a functional yet versatile trainer for the runner seeking comfort and all-day wear-ability,” explains Joel Koviak of New Balance.

While it can seem a little overwhelming when trying to find the right backpack or footwear for your child’s new school year, keep in mind some of the great quality and value that can be found in Adidas backpacks, ASICS and New Balance. With the selection and available features for back-to-school products, parents will undoubtedly make a great decision for their kids at Dunham’s.

-Fitness Fanatic

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Getting Started with Archery

Archery is one of the world’s oldest sports. According to the International Olympic Committee, archery can be traced back to the beginnings of civilization. But it is still accessible today. And it can be a great sport to get involved in.

Not only can archery be a fun hobby, it can also be useful when hunting. And if you’ve never tried it before, you don’t need much equipment to get started.

Bob Ransom of Primal Treestands said that what you really need to start is a bow, arrows, a release or finger tab and a target. And there are many kinds of bows on the market. You could choose a recurve bow, which is the type of bow used in the Olympics. Other kinds include compound bows, traditional bows and crossbows.

Joe White of Rinehart Targets said that the kind of bow you go with will determine what other equipment you may need. For instance, if you choose a compound bow, White said a you’ll also need an arrow rest and a bow sight. An arrow rest would also be beneficial when using a recurve bow. And an armguard is a good tool for either bow.

Be sure to choose the right kind of arrow for the bow you’re using. That will help ensure accuracy of your shot. Choose arrows matched for weight and draw length.

As far targets, White said Rinehart’s most popular types are bag or foam targets.

Once you have all your equipment, then what? Get practicing! Lessons are a great way to learn the fundamentals and develop your skill.

“Lessons will start you out with the proper form so you don’t develop any ‘bad’ habits,” White said. “The more successful you are, the longer you’re likely to stay with it and have the experience be more enjoyable.”

If lessons aren’t an option for you, Ransom suggested finding a friend or someone near you with experience to learn from. And a great place for that is an archery club near you. There are many across the country.

“Not all clubs are the same, but I’ve found most of them have a core of great people who love the sport and are more than willing to help newcomers out,” said White.

An archery club can offer you exposure to equipment and resources you may not be able to access otherwise.

You can find clubs and other archery programs near you by visiting teamusa.org. And you can get all the gear you need at your local Dunham’s Sports!

-Deer Abby

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Practice Gun Safety

We all know that gun safety is extremely important. But do we really know what it means to practice gun safety? Perhaps you’re considering a firearm, or you’ve had one (or more) for years. It’s never a bad time to brush up on gun safety to keep yourself and your loved ones safe in your home and in the field.

You should know the ins and outs of your firearm. Be sure you know how to properly fire it, and that you know what ammunition is appropriate. Check to see when it was last cleaned and serviced. Not only will this keep you and those around you out of harm’s way, it will also prolong the life of your gun.

Keeping your gun clean will ensure proper functioning. Your gun should be cleaned regularly to avoid moisture, dirt, grease or oil from building up and causing issues. The gun should also be inspected to be sure all parts are in good working order. You can have it checked out by a professional gunsmith.

One important safety measure we hear time and again is to make sure firearms are kept locked away and unloaded. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, any firearms should be unloaded unless you are actually using them. Don’t store guns loaded. It is your responsibility as the gun owner to keep your firearms from being used improperly.

Your firearm should be kept locked away or otherwise stored in a place that unauthorized users will not be able to access it. There are several options available, according to the National Rifle Association, including devices that directly attach to your gun to prevent it from being fired.

The locking mechanism on your gun should be used, but it isn’t perfect. Don’t count on your safety keeping you or the people around you out of harm’s way. You should always keep the muzzle of your gun pointed away from people and keep your finger off the trigger unless you are firing.

Wearing the right gear can also keep you safe around firearms. Wear eye and ear protection when shooting.

Of course, when firing, you should always know what you are actually firing at. Don’t just check your target. Look all around and beyond your target to be sure nothing in the area poses a danger. Bullets can travel far, even if they are ricocheting off another object.

Finally, if your gun does not fire properly, use caution. Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. The NSSF suggests carefully opening the action, unloading the firearm and disposing the cartridge. Of course, care should be taken when performing all these steps.

When used properly and safely, you can enjoy your gun for many years. Always follow safety precautions and you can keep yourself, your family and all those around you safe.

-Deer Abby

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Golf Balls Galore

How to find the right golf ball for you.

The golf ball wall can be a pretty intimidating place if you’re not sure what to look for in the perfect ball. There are the varying prices, distances, densities and materials in the plethora of golf balls available, and it can be very difficult to find the right ball on the first try.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be quite as daunting as it may seem. With golf balls coming in the right fit for any golfer, be it TOUR pro or newer joe, Bridgestone has all the tools needed to help you find the perfect golf ball. To get started, Elliot Mellow of Bridgestone Golf Marketing suggest getting a golf ball fitting. And it’s as easy as downloading the Bridgestone B-FIT app on your smartphone.

“We are different than our competitors because we don’t market that our TOUR balls are for everyone,” explains Mallow. The fact is that the ball Tiger Woods uses (TOUR B XS) likely isn’t a great fit for recreational players. The only way to know for sure is to go through the fitting process.”

For beginners, Bridgestone has recommended three different ball types that are perfect for maximizing both accuracy and distance off the tee: Extra Soft, e6 SOFT and e6 SPEED. While a TOUR ball, like the TOUR B XS that Tiger uses, is great for pros who are adept at spin control, but maybe not for the average player.

“It is important to help newer golfers maximize their distance and accuracy off the tee, as that sets up quality approach shots,” said Mallow. “It is critical that newer players not fall into the trap of trying to play the same balls they see TOUR pros using on TV, as the features that professionals use to their advantage, such as added spin, can actually have a negative effective on beginning golfers who aren’t as skilled in control spin rates.”

When researching and shopping for your next dozen of Bridgestones, it is also helpful to keep an eye out for some of the newer technological features available, which include:

  • Gradational Core: Added distance and forgiveness attributed to higher initial ball speed and lower side spin.
  • SlipRes: Added feel and control attributed to increased friction from the urethane cover.
  • Dual Dimple: Extra distance and enhanced aerodynamics for more efficient ball trajectory and less drag when the ball is in flight.
  • Seamless Cover: Consistent flight and performance thanks to a perfectly balanced dimple pattern.

With the ease and accuracy delivered from the revolutionary B-FIT app, to the variety of balls fit for any player and finally to the technological features that set Bridgestone golf balls apart from the others on the course, players from Average Joe to the TOUR Pro are able to easily find the perfect ball for the next round.

-Par Shooter

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Choosing the Right Kayak for You

Kayaking is a great way to get out and enjoy the summer. Whether you’re using it to cast for your favorite catch, get in some exercise or just take in the warm air, there’s a kayak for you!

The most important aspect of your kayak purchase to consider is what you’ll be doing with it. Will you be cruising through calm, open water? Or will you be storing all your fishing gear? Are you planning a short, morning paddle or a day-long adventure? Answering these questions is the key to finding the right boat for you.

If you are going to be towing a lot of gear, fishing or otherwise, look for a kayak that is longer and has several compartments. Fishing kayaks also come with rod holders and offer more stability, so you can even stand up on them.

A wider kayak will offer you more stability, but a narrow model can be easier to paddle and will stay more straight in the water. Longer kayaks will also stay straight, but a short style can be lighter and easier to move.

Choosing the right paddle makes a difference as well. Consider the width of the kayak you’re purchasing when looking for paddles. You need paddles that can reach the water with ease and won’t knock against the sides of your boat. In addition to considering your kayak’s frame, you’ll want to think about your own frame.

“Two people that are 6-feet tall may not use the same length paddle. If it was a SUP [stand up paddleboard] paddle, it would be the same—but since you sit when paddling a kayak, the most important distance is the length of your torso,” said Tracy Lamper of KL Outdoor. “Likewise, a 6-foot person who’s very active and physically fit may be more ready to handle a more aggressive paddle than someone just starting out or not very physically fit.”

Lamper also said that the material a kayak is made from can offer perks. Thermoformed kayaks are a lightweight and cost-effective option. While a rotational molded kayak may be a little bit heavier than thermoformed kayaks, they can often be more impact and abrasion resistant and offer unique color blends. This style is best for rougher waters and longer trips.

You can find kayaks by KL Outdoor, Future Beach, Perception, Pelican, Old Town and other top brands and your local Dunham’s Sports. You’ll also find all the accessories you need and any other gear for summer fun.

 Don’t get stuck up a creek without a paddle. Visit your local Dunham’s to get the kayak and the paddles that fit your needs this summer!

-Paddle Bum

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