Scottsdale Where golf travel and fitness collide

By Mike BaileyDecember 28, 2010, 12:43 am
If the Phoenix/Scottsdale area isn't golf Nirvana, I don't know what is. Not only are there more than 200 golf courses in the area, but there are dozens of resorts and spas where you can rejuvenate your game and your well being, too.

Spa treatments are often the best part of golf travel. And while massages, especially after golf, are great, there are other treatments available, like facials and pedicures and some that are even less obvious. For example, the Golden Door Spa at the Boulders Resort, one of the greatest spas of the Southwest, offers acupuncture for golf. It's called the 'Pin to Pin' treatment, created exclusively for golfers. The 80-minute procedure blends acupuncture, hot stone therapy and therapeutic massage with a concentration on the golf muscles.

'I believe in core and arm rotation to deliver the clubhead smoothly from a fluid swing,' said Donald Crawley, director of golf instruction at the Boulders.  'Any muscle restrictions can be eased and relieved by acupuncture treatment, and the Pin to Pin service helps increase and improve your range of motion. This can help you feel the swing more easily and perhaps increase your clubhead speed.'If this sounds like voodoo, consider that Fred Couples uses the technique to ease his chronic back pain, and he had a pretty good year last year.

Of course, if acupuncture isn't your style (or the $270 fee is more than you'd like to spend), you can never go wrong with a massage, and Scottsdale has plenty to great resorts and spas such as the Phoenician, the Four Seasons at Troon North, the JW Marriott Camelback Inn, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess or the Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch, just to name a few.

Or if you're in Scottsdale for a week or so, starting a golf fitness program like the Westin-Kierland's ForeMax workout isn't a bad way to get into 2011. Although it seems innocent enough, Fore-Max is pretty intense. My fantasy for my golf game and overall health would be to take a month off and spend it going through Fore-Max, which is sort of like a golf boot camp.

Run by the Western Kierland Director of Wellness Steve Heller, a typical Fore-Max training session lasts about 90 minutes and includes stretching, core-strengthening exercises, cardiovascular work and weight work. Combine it with a diet regimen, and you've really got something.

A number of tour players have gone through the program, and ordinary golfers have not only reported increased distance and a better golf game, but have they have lost weight and gained significant strength as well. Plus, even if you only have a few days, Heller can set you up with a DVD and a program to continue at home, which would make for a pretty good New Year's resolution.
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Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.

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Beef's beer goggles: Less drinks = more wins

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 6:07 pm

An offseason spent soul searching is apparently paying quick dividends for Andrew “Beef” Johnston, who is in contention to win Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Johnston acknowledged he was “burning the candle at both ends” last year, playing both the PGA Tour and the European Tour, but he told reporters Saturday that it wasn’t too much golf that hindered his efforts.

It was too much “socializing.”

“I'm a social person,” Johnston said. “If you go out with friends, or you get invited to something, I'll have a beer, please. But I probably had a few too many beers, I would say, to be honest. And it reflected in my golf, and I was disappointed looking back at it. I want to turn that around and have a good season.”

Johnston posted a 6-under-par 66 Saturday, moving into a tie for sixth, three shots off the lead. He said he arrived in Abu Dhabi a week early to prepare for his first start of the new year. It’s paying off with a Sunday chance to win his second European Tour title.

“Last year was crazy, and like getting distracted, and things like that,” Johnston said. “You don't know it's happened until you've finished the season. You’re off doing things and you're burning the candle at both ends. When I got back from last season, sort of had time to reflect on it, I sort of said to myself, 'You've got to keep quiet and keep disciplined and get on with your work.’”

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Johnston finished 189th last year in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings. He was 116th in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.

Johnston’s fun-loving personality, his scruffy beard and his big-bodied shape quickly made him one of the most popular and entertaining players in the game when he earned his PGA Tour card before the 2016-17 season. Golf Digest called him a “quirky outlier,” and while he has had fun with that persona, Johnston is also intent on continuing to prove he belongs among the game’s best players.

His plan for doing that?

“Just put the work in,” he said. “I didn’t put enough work in last year. It’s simple. It showed. So, just get down, knuckle down and practice hard.”