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

*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail program at www.dunhamsrewards.com

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

*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail program at www.dunhamsrewards.com

Why Do Golf Balls Have Dimples?

Accidental discovery is why golf balls travel farther than any other ball.
Last fall, we asked you, our readers, to submit sport-related questions you wanted answered. Out of the many responses, we chose one from Alex Wheatley of Flushing, Michigan. Alex wanted to know why golf balls have dimples. The simple answer is that they keep a golf ball in the air longer. Because every golfer wants their golf ball to fly farther, dimples are critical design aspects. Let’s take a deeper look at dimples.
As the United States Golf Association (USGA) points out, the first golf balls were hard, wooden balls. As one can imagine, they did not go very far. In the 17th century, the “featherie” was created by stuffing a leather pouch with goose feathers and sewing it up. They flew better than wooden balls but were expensive to make and very fragile. The next golf ball revolution took place in 1848, when Robert Adams made golf balls out of gutta-percha, a rubbery sap from tropical trees. They were more solid and more resilient than featheries. They could fly longer, bounce higher and last longer. Toward the end of that century, Coburn Haskell created the first multilayer ball; it had a solid rubber core that was wrapped in rubber bands and covered with a layer of gutta-percha. Today’s golf balls have as few as one and as many as six layers; generally, the more layers, the more expensive and better performing the ball.
Aerodynamic Efficiency
Getting back to why golf balls have dimples, in the 19th century, golfers discovered that old, dented balls flew farther than new ones. Soon, they were deliberately hammering dents into their golf balls. What they likely didn’t understand, and what an aerodynamic engineer will appreciate, is that the dimples were creating turbulence in the airflow around the moving ball, which makes its wake (the air behind the ball) thinner and reduces drag, enabling the ball to travel farther. The dimples also increase spin.
When struck by a club, all golf balls have backspin. It’s what gets a well-struck iron shot to land and stop on the green, and too much of it off the driver reduces distance. Without dimples, golf balls would travel half as far.
Choices Abound
Today’s golfers have a wide selection of golf balls at their disposal. All are designed for optimal aerodynamic efficiency, durability and consistency. Generally, the less-expensive options tend to be distance balls, but they have little stopping power on the green. Premium balls, because of their multilayer design, can deliver distance and stopping power. Even newer golfers can benefit from playing a better ball. And remember, for optimal performance, clean the ball at each tee box, and replace it as soon as you notice a nick or cut. For additional assistance, please see one of our Dunham’s Sports golf enthusiasts.
We wish to thank the USGA for the golf ball historical primer. Visit USGA.com for other interesting golf-related information.
-Par Shooter
*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail program at www.dunhamsrewards.com

A Better Game Awaits

New Equipment From Leading Manufacturers Can Help You Improve Your Score.
For golfers, there’s nothing like the prospect of spring. After hours in the gym and the indoor range, studying golf magazines and watching instructional videos, we’re ready to take the game to the course. To help you improve both your score and your enjoyment, consider the following equipment from some of the leading golf brands.
The big news from Callaway for 2017 is the introduction of two Great Big Bertha (GBB) drivers: GBB Epic and GBB Sub Zero. Both feature the company’s Jailbreak Technology, which includes two titanium rods behind the club face to ensure the face, crown and sole work more efficiently.
“With either club, golfers will see more ball speed across a larger area of the face, resulting in increased average distance,” explained Callaway’s Jason Finley.
For golfers who like to work the ball (or are looking to overcome an issue), Finley suggests the Epic driver. Thanks to its perimeter-weighted technology, it can be customized to deliver 21 yards of shot shape.
“If, instead, you’re looking to control the ball’s trajectory, the Epic Sub Zero is the way to go because it features two weights in the sole,” Finley added.
Consider pairing up either driver with Callaway’s new Chrome Soft X ball. It’s slightly firmer than the company’s Chrome Soft and is designed to deliver more spin from the mid- to short-irons.
“Players will note that Chrome Soft X will deliver a more piercing, more workable ball flight,” Finley said.
Golfers are always looking for feedback: how far and how well did I hit that drive? That’s why I’m anxious to get my hands on the new Cobra F7 drivers; they include Arccos sensors in the grip that, when paired with the company’s app, provide a wealth of analytical data.
“It’s the future of golf,” said Cobra’s Brian Dameron.
That’s not the only innovation found in the F7 drivers. As Dameron explained, the faces are thinner, so the ball launches faster.
“We’ve expanded the sweet zone, so golfers will see more forgiveness for off-center hits and a lot more speed,” he added.
The King F7 has the larger profile of the two drivers and is available in lofts ranging from 9 to 12 degrees. Better players will likely migrate to the King F7+. It features a smaller profile and lofts that range from 8 to 11 degrees.
Visit any golf course and you’ll see most golfers playing TaylorMade clubs. In 2017, expect these golfers and others to add one of the company’s new golf balls – TP5 and TP5x – to their bag.
“Both balls feature five-layer technology, versus three or four layers from competitors. We believe that five layers means more performance with zero compromises. That’s why we call them the most complete Tour Balls,” said TaylorMade’s Tim Ulrich.
Ulrich explained the five layers in these balls deliver the perfect combination of distance for all shots without sacrificing spin and control around the green.
The TP5 has a softer compression core – 83 – and, as with other ball manufacturers, the x model has a higher compression core of 90. This means the TP5x will launch higher and spin less, making it slightly longer than the TP5.
“We believe these are among the longest in the competitive set with the driver and, especially, with irons,” Ulrich added.
Be sure to also check out TaylorMade’s Project (a) ball. We’ve liked its performance and soft feel with every club in the bag, including the driver and putter. Ulrich described Project (a) as delivering, “Tour performance for amateurs, with tour-like spin around the green.”
Last fall, I was one of 80,000 golfers around the world who were asked to test Titleist Pro V1 or Pro V1x prototypes. What my fellow testers and I discovered is that both balls are better than the previous versions.
“The new Pro V1 is significantly longer than its predecessor, thanks to innovation in core technology. Golfers will experience more ball speed and less spin, resulting in a distance advance. Historically many players have chosen Pro V1x for its longer distance characteristics; that really has changed with the 2017 models. Pro V1 is now every bit as long as Pro V1x and both models continue to deliver exceptional greenside control, so golfers should focus their decision based on flight, feel and spin,” said Michael Mahoney, Titleist vice president of golf ball marketing.
If you’re looking for a ball that flies lower and feels softer, go with the Pro V1. If you’re looking for a ball that launches higher, feel slightly firmer and spins more with the mid-irons, give the Pro V1x a try.
Both Pro V1 and Pro V1x also feature new dimple patterns which produce even more consistent flight, particularly into the wind.
“We believe it’s worth investing in either Pro V1 or Pro V1x because they deliver a total performance to every golfer. The ball performs on every shot,” Mahoney added.
Golf has been described as a pastime that takes a lifetime to master. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of advancements in technology, be it in clubs or golf balls. Outfit yourself with equipment from these manufacturers to help ensure more pleasant, more rewarding rounds this year.
-Par Shooter
*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail program at www.dunhamsrewards.com

Olympic Golf

It’s Merits and Detriments.
Golf does not have a storied past in the Olympic Games. Introduced at the 1900 Paris Games, it featured 22 players from four countries (France, Greece, Great Britain and the U.S.). It was last featured four years later in St. Louis, when the U.S. fielded 77 players and Canada, the only other country participating, fielded three, including the winner, George Lyon. After a 112-year hiatus, it returns to Rio de Janeiro this year. A great deal has been written about its inclusion, both for and against it. Here we present a synopsis of both viewpoints.
The Olympics, both summer and winter versions, are among the most watched TV events in the world, with some estimating the audience in the billions. That can certainly bode well for the game as viewers from many countries where golf is not currently well-known may be intrigued enough to give it a try. The course being built in Brazil is scheduled to be used afterward as “a public facility with the chief purpose of promoting golf in Brazil,” according to the International Olympic Committee. Translation, it will be a public course for 10 years and its future unknown after that period. Golf’s entry in the Games also gives some of the world’s best golfers an opportunity to win something new: an Olympic medal.
Unfortunately, there are many reasons why golf has been missing from the Olympic Games for over a century and why its inclusion this year has drawn a great deal of criticism, beginning with the format. Unlike the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, this will not be a team event. Like nearly all golf tournaments, this will be a 72-hole individual stroke-play competition. How will it differ from Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day going head-to-head at dozens of other events this year?
It’s a small field, with only 60 players participating. Qualification is a bit convoluted. The top 15 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the men and Rolex Ranking for the women will automatically qualify, as long as there are no more than four players per country. After the 15th-ranked player, the rankings will be used to determine the rest of the 60-player field, with no more than two players per country beyond the top 15 able to compete.
As of February 7, 2016, the U.S. would be represented by Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson on the men’s side and by Stacie Lewis, Lexi Thompson and Christie Kerr on the women’s side.
Rankings change constantly as one player wins and another misses a cut and it’s conceivable that a player who gets hot after the qualification deadline will not be eligible to compete. It’s also conceivable that the number one ranked golfer in the world could be pitted against one ranked 600. While anything can happen, this competition would be as fair as the U.S. going up against Jamaica in bobsledding.
The appeal of the Olympic Games has been national pride and the ability of the some of the world’s best athletes to represent their country. However, both the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup provide this opportunity for American golfers.
The addition of the Olympics has further compressed a schedule that is crowded. On the PGA Tour, for example, there is an 11-week stretch where 8 of 11 events are majors, Olympics, Fed Ex Cup or the Ryder Cup. Many players will have to choose which events to play and which to skip.
One last concern and one that may well influence athlete participation at the 2016 Summer Olympics, and not just by golfers. Brazil, along with many South and Central American countries and a handful of U.S. southern states, is seeing a significant increase of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects. We would not be surprised if many golfers, especially women of child-bearing age, choose to opt out of this competition. Considering that golf is played outdoors in areas where mosquitos love to congregate, this situation could have dire effects for years to come unless precautions are taken to minimize exposure to this virus.
In addition to the 2016 Games, golf is scheduled for 2020 in Tokyo. Depending on feedback, the format may well change before Tokyo, though the point may well be moot as the game’s future beyond the 2020 Olympics is up for a vote next year.
-Par Shooter
*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail or text message programs (or both). Sign Up Now

Simply The Best

Here’s who we think will be #1 at the end of the 2016 PGA Season
This is an exciting time for professional golf. We have a crop of golfers in their 20s who are affable, approachable and possess all the tools to be considered the best golfer in the world, as noted by their Official Golf World Ranking. Here are the players we believe are likely to finish the 2016 PGA season ranked number one. The first three have held the number one position at some point in their career. They are presented in order of their Official Golf World Ranking as of February 7, 2016.
Jordan Spieth
The current number one, Jordan Spieth, has held this position for 14 consecutive weeks and for a total of 20 weeks. Spieth was voted PGA Player of the Year in 2015, winning the first two majors (The Masters and The U.S. Open) and coming within a shot of a playoff for the Open Championship (British Open). He won five times last year and came in second just as many times. We like the 22-year-old’s chances at remaining number one based on the following superlatives: In 2015, he led all PGA players in scoring average, finished second in number of birdies per round and third in overall strokes gained. He is also absolutely deadly with the putter, making putts from distances near and far.
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy was the #1 ranked player until he hurt his ankle last year and ended up missing a good portion of the season. He has held the number one spot for a total of 95 weeks and appears to be poised for golf stardom for many years to come. Just look at his statistics for 2014: third in total driving distance with drives of over 310 yards, first in strokes gained tee to green, first in birdie average and first in scoring average. He finished that year as the money leader and is a force to be beckoned with whenever he enters a tournament. With the ankle healed and his personal life in order, we fully expect McIlroy to challenge for the top spot.
Jason Day
Jason Day could have just as easily been named 2015 Player of the Year. Like Spieth, he won five times, including the PGA Championship, the RBC Canadian Championship and the Barclays. In a two-month stretch, no one was hotter than Day last year. Like McIlroy, Day is long off the tee (313+ yards). He’s also much straighter, hitting nearly 71% of his fairways. This combination is rewarded with a lot of birdies and eagles. As long as he keeps his vertigo under control, there’s no reason why Day can’t reach golf’s pinnacle.
Rickie Fowler
Don’t let the boyish looks or edgy apparel fool you, Rickie Fowler has game. All he did in 2015 was win The Players Championship, The Scottish Open and the Deutsche Bank Championship. He followed that in 2016 with a win in Abu Dhabi and a heartbreaking second-place finish at the Waste Management Open. He gets a lot out of his small frame, averaging just under 300 yards per drive. Put all of the various aspects of the game that the PGA Tour measures, and Fowler is second overall. We believe he is determined to prove the naysayer who said that he was more style than substance wrong by reaching for the top spot.
Henrik Stenson
The elder statesman of the group at nearly 40, Henrik Stenson was ranked third in 2013 and second in 2014, so he’s familiar with the pressure and trappings of being tabbed the best player in the world. Another long hitter, Stenson has a steady, unflinching aspect to his game, which was in evidence when he won the FedEx Cup in 2013 and finished in second place in 2014. He also finished in second place five times last year, when he led the field in greens hit in regulation, total driving and total ball striking. The Swede is cool under pressure and his total game will make it easy for him to ascend to the number one ranking.
We mentioned that Rory held the number one spot for 95 weeks, which is impressive. However, it pales in comparison to Tiger Woods. He holds the record for the most consecutive weeks at number one (281), as well as the most total weeks in the position at 683. That’s a record we believe will never be beaten.
-Par Shooter
*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail or text message programs (or both). Sign Up Now

Lower Your Handicap

With Equipment from Nike and TaylorMade.
If the predictions of warmer-than-average temperatures through April are correct, we could well be hitting the links shortly. For many of us, we want to see affirmation that all we have worked on over the winter – hitting range balls in the dome, golf-specific exercises, poring through countless books and magazines and viewing just as many videos – have paid off. This is also a great time to check out new golf equipment, perhaps to overcome a weakness that makes you the par shooter in your foursome. Here’s what’s new and exciting from two of the top brand names in golf.
“We have a lot of new products in a lot of categories for the 2016 season,” said Nike’s Chris Coffman.
For those looking for a premium golf ball that delivers both excellent distance off the tee and optimal spin around the green, Coffman suggests checking out Nike’s RZN Tour line. It’s available in Platinum or Black and it’s ideal for those with moderate to high swing speeds. These tour-level balls are designed with Speedlock Technology that optimizes energy transfer for faster ball speed and longer drives.
The main difference between the two is that the Black line spins a little less. If you want your ball to check more quickly when it hits the green, go with the RZN Platinum. Conversely, if you want it to roll a little more, go with the RZN Black.
“Tour players are raving about how soft and long the RZN Tour golf balls are. It’s a heck of a product that will likely win majors,” he added.
Other golf balls worth checking out from Nike include the RZN Speed, the Hyperflight and the Crush. Dunham’s Sports and Nike are partnering on a special promotion this spring, enabling you to stock up on Hyperflight and Crush golf balls without breaking the bank. Be sure to check them out.
The other hot news from Nike this year is their new Vapor Fly line of drivers. It features distinctive Photo Blue finish.
“These drivers deliver a higher launch angle for maximum carry and reduced weight in the crown for higher ball speeds. It’s even more forgiving than our Vapor Speed drivers. Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau are bombing these drivers,” Coffman said.
Three options are available: the Vapor Fly delivers maximum launch angle, the Vapor Fly Pro delivers a little less spin for greater distance and the Vapor Flex 440 allows you to fine tune it to your desired ball flight.
Hot on the heels of its M1 driver, TaylorMade just launched the M2 driver. They feature similar construction, including an ultralight carbon composite crown. Any time you see a PGA or LPGA professional tee up a driver with the black and white paint scheme, you know it’s either an M1 or M2.
“With the M1 and M2, we wanted to tell a family story. You can tell right away that they belong in the same family. We like to say that M1 is about personalization and M2 is about maximization,” said TaylorMade’s Jeff Nielander.
The M1 personalization is evident in the ability to alter launch angles, ball flight and loft. If you like to customize a club to your particular specifications, this is the driver for you. On the other hand, if you don’t need or want to adjust anything other than loft, the M2 is definitely fit for your game. I had an opportunity to try it at my local Dunham’s and was pleasantly surprised to discover it could deliver an extra 15 yards compared to my current driver.
“Both drivers feature a highly aerodynamic design and low center of gravity for maximum club head speed and carry distance. Both are also offered with a choice of over 30 shafts with no upcharge,” Nielander added.
I plan on comparing the new M2 irons to my current set as well. They promise more distance and a higher launch angle, ensuring more greens in regulation. On my wish list for Father’s Day is a new 3-wood. Mine is 9-10 years old and technology has advanced a great deal since then.
“The M2 fairway wood is the best TaylorMade fairway wood ever. It’s even better than RocketBallz fairway woods and those were pretty good,” Nielander added.
Like the driver, the M2 fairway woods feature the carbon crown that reminds one of the accent pieces found on many sports cars. They also feature a speed pocket for dramatic, driver-like distance and a shallow head design to make it easier to power through the rough.
If you are looking to lower your handicap, I strongly recommend the equipment mentioned in this article. From the high handicappers to the scratch golfers, there’s something for everyone. Be sure to speak with a knowledgeable Dunham’s Sports sales professional to ensure the equipment is ideally suited to your golf skills.
Nick Lico has dual passions: writing and golf. An avid player for 30+ years, he has spent the last seven years teaching golf at various after-school programs in Metro Detroit.
-Par Shooter
*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail or text message programs (or both). Sign Up Now

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
*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail or text message programs (or both). Sign Up Now

Horses for Courses

Pair Your equipment to the Course for Optimal Performance
For serious golfers living in the Midwest, winters and early spring are simply too long. We pass the time reading golf magazines, practicing indoors and watching The Golf Channel. If you are getting the itch to head somewhere warm to put into practice what you’ve learned and worked on, consider the Carolinas.
Pinehurst, with its nine courses, is on many golfers’ bucket list. You can find top-ranked North Carolina golf courses with breathtaking mountain views or with the Atlantic Ocean as the backdrop.
In South Carolina, Hilton Head and Kiawah Island are frequent PGA Tour stops and for variety, it’s hard to beat Myrtle Beach. If that’s your destination, consider two terrific courses in the area. We played and enjoyed them immensely. Both are in North Carolina, just minutes from North Myrtle Beach. If you’re going to be in the area, be sure to check them out.
Thistle Golf Club and TaylorMade Drivers
The first course was the Thistle Golf Club. Situated in Sunset Beach, it features three very challenging 9-hole layouts with plenty of water, natural areas and sand bunkers. Its five sets of tees enabled each member in our foursome to play at his or her level. In addition to pristine conditions, we were duly impressed with the service, the friendliness of the staff and the 12-minute tee times. It felt like we had the course to ourselves for the most part.
Accuracy is extremely important at Thistle, so I recommend the new TaylorMade R15 or AeroBurner drivers. The R15 continues TaylorMade’s approach of reducing ball spin off the driver by increasing loft and moving the center of gravity toward the front of the club.
“To maximize driver distance, the golf ball must be launched at a higher angle and with very little backspin. A number of PGA Tour players are playing 12-degree drivers and they are among the longest on tour,” explained TaylorMade’s Jeff Nielander.
The R15 features even more adjustability than last year’s SLDR model, with two sliding mechanisms that can be adjusted to offset hooks, slices, maximize distance or consistency.
“We’ve also made the speed pocket longer and placed it a little closer to the clubface,” Nielander added. The speed pocket increases the clubface’s trampoline effect for greater distance.
For those who don’t need – or want – the R15’s adjustability, TaylorMade offers the AeroBurner driver. According to Nielander, it’s the company’s most aerodynamic driver ever made, resulting in increased club speed, which means more distance.
Crow Creek Golf and Nike Vapor Speed Driver
We also played and recommend Crow Creek Golf in Calabash, NC. It stretches to 7100 yards from the tips, though even good players will find the next sets of tees challenging enough. For average golfers, I recommend the white tees (just under 6100 yards). Like Thistle, there is plenty of trouble to be found at Crow Creek, though our group felt that there were fewer bunkers and more generous landing areas – if you choose your tee box wisely.
To give you a better chance at being on in two on some of the par 5s, I recommend the new Nike Vapor Speed driver.
“This is the line of drivers played by the number one golfer in the world, Rory McIlroy,” said Nike’s Chris Coffman.
As Coffman explained, Vapor Speed is designed to deliver optimal distance and low spin 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.
“Vapor Speed delivers consistent distance, even on off-center hits. It’s ideal for anyone who wants to hit it farther. In other words, pretty much every golfer,” Coffman added.
Callaway Chrome Soft Ball
Whether you play Thistle, Crow Creek or your favorite course, there is a new ball I recommend to players of all levels: Callaway’s new Chrome Soft. As the name implies, it’s soft (65 compression), enabling you attack fast, undulating greens and greens that require accurate approaches.
“This ball is going to change the category; it’s a paradigm shift for the industry,” explained Callaway’s Steve Conley. “It used to be that you had a soft ball that didn’t go far or a hard ball that would not spin on the green. Chrome Soft eliminates that compromise.”
Callaway believes most players will see increased distance with the driver and irons. Plus, the may get their ball do what we see pros do every weekend on TV:
“The low compression will allow average players to compress the ball like the pros. They’ll see the ball land and stick … maybe even back up,” Conley added.
Just as a good meal is truly complemented by an excellent wine, pairing your clubs with a ball that is ideally suited to your game and skill level will greatly enhance your golfing pleasure.
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
*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail or text message programs (or both). Sign Up Now

Improve Your Score

With Golf Balls Specifically Engineered for Your
It’s common knowledge that, on average, a woman’s golf swing is slower than a man’s. Smart players (and manufacturers) recognize this and in recent years have replaced lower-lofted irons with hybrids. Frequently, however, that additional assistance is mitigated by playing a ball whose optimal performance is achieved by those with faster swing speeds.
The good news is that you don’t have to play the same ball as your male partner, because a number of golf ball manufacturers are offering balls designed specifically for you and your swing speed.
“Probably one of our most popular golf balls for women is our PD (Power Distance) Women. It features a soft ionomer cover with a modified 314-dimple pattern for longer carry. Its low-compression core delivers both longer distance and softer feel around the greens,” said Nike’s Chris Sullivan. These golf balls are available in both white and pink.
For the mid-handicap women players I like the Nike RZN Red and the RZN White. Both are designed for moderate to slower swing speeds. If you’re looking for more distance, try the RZN Red. Those who want a ball with more feel, resulting in more spin around the green, will find the RZN White better suited to their liking.
“The RZN Red and White golf balls feature a three-piece construction. The RZN core is 10 percent lighter than the conventional rubber core, allowing for heavier outer layers for optimal distance and stability,” Sullivan said.
Lower-handicap players are advised to consider the RZN Black and the RZN Platinum; the former delivers more distance while the latter delivers more feel. These four-piece golf balls are specifically designed for players with higher swing speeds.
“It’s important that all golfers – not just women – play a ball that is matched to their swing speed,” Sullivan added. “If they don’t swing fast enough to compress a higher-compression ball, they don’t get the desired trampoline effect, which maximizes distance and performance. On the other hand, if they’re playing a ball with not enough compression, the ball will almost feel like a marshmallow on the clubface.”
Be sure to check out the Ball Recommender on the Nike site. Simply by answering a few questions you’ll have a better idea of which ball is right for you. Of course, you may also consult with one of our knowledgeable sales professionals; they’re always eager and willing to help.
With the right ball in your bag, you’ll soon find yourself shooting better scores and beating your playing partners.
Nick Lico has dual passions: writing and golf. An avid player for 30 years, he has spent the last five years teaching golf at various after-school programs in Metro Detroit.
-Par Shooter
*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail or text message programs (or both). Sign Up Now