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Rounds Played Surge in July

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ROUNDS UP IN JULY: More people were playing golf as summer reached its peak, especially in New England and the Middle Atlantic states. But rounds are still down for the year to date.
 
Top regions in the United States were New England and the Middle Atlantic.
 
New England (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut) rounds jumped 5.5 percent for July, according to the monthly rounds played report, developed by Golf Datatech in cooperation with the National Golf Course Owners Association. Year-to-date rounds are down 4 percent in New England, though. The Middle Atlantic states (New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) enjoyed a 5.9 percent jump; year-to-date rounds are down 1.1 percent.
 
The only July losers: Florida, down 1.4 percent (too darn hot) and the Pacific, measured without California (Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii), down 1 percent.
 
In Canada, the ocean breezes must be calling the golfers. July rounds in the Maritime Provinces jumped 8.9 percent. Ontario was up 5.6 percent for the month; Saskatchewan and Manitoba were up 5.1 percent.
 
Overall, rounds in the United States are down 2.4 percent compared to 2000.
 
MORE NEW PRODUCTS FROM SPALDING: Its a busy loading dock at Spalding Sports Worldwide headquarters in Chicopee, Mass., with so much new stuff going out the door. The latest is the Top-Flite XL 3000 golf ball. Spalding claims the ball is seven yards longer, thanks in part to a dimple technology called S.O.A.R. (Scientifically Optimized Aerodynamic Reaction). Among other things, the dimples are closer together, which creates more surface turbulence, says Tom Kennedy, Spaldings research and development chief .
 
Suggested retail for all four varieties of XL 3000s will be $25 per dozen. Theyll be available Sept. 24.
 
Feel Golf Stealth SeriesINCONSPICUOUSAND INEXPENSIVE: And you thought the premium golf equipment market was all there was. There are bargains out there for those who cant shake loose four big digits to the left of the decimal for a new set of clubs. Case in point: Feel Golf of Salinas, Calif. offers a set known as the Stealth Series. It includes a titanium driver and 3 wood, 3-PW irons and a putter, all in a dual-strap stand bag. Tariff: $599.