Jeju-Island. A golfer’s true paradise

Have you heard of Jeju-Do

 

I had the opportunity to teach English in Gwangju, South Korea in 2001-2002 when I was 29 years old. I went there with my then 7 year old son and a friend who was also interested in teaching abroad.

It was there that I learned about Jeju Island off the Southern tip of Korea. ‘Jeju-Do’ as the locals call it, means ‘jewel’ of the yellow sea. My Korean friends also referred to it as the Hawaii of Asia, whereby it is honored for its majestic natural beauty, temperate climate, hiking trails, loving people and brilliant food.

On my very first break from teaching (and we seldom had a break), with my boy and friend in toe,  I  took a bus to the coast to catch a ferry to the island. Unfortunately, unlike the ferry service in BC that I am accustomed to, which might have one wait for a few hours before a next available sailing, the ferry to Jeju-do had to be booked months in advance, especially on Chuseok, a special holiday weekend. We hadn’t realized the significance of Chuseok in the Korean culture because we were so new there. It literally means ‘autumn eve’ and is the most important and festive holiday of the year. It is the Korean thanksgiving. We ended up boarding a different ferry and sailing off to a different island of much lesser known stature called Toch’odo, where upon arrival we were treated like royalty perhaps due to the fact that very few foreigners ever consider visiting it and because we were without family on Chuseok. It was an amazing and memorable time that included net fishing, drinking Soju by the bottle on the beach, traditional food, and lots of Karaoke. My only regret is that we never made it to Jeju-do or any of the other 3,300 islands in Korea.

 

Fast-forward 15 years. I turn on the golf channel one morning (a few weeks ago) and see that Korea is hosting a PGA event at Nine Bridges Golf Club on Jeju Island. The inaugural event called the CJ Cup attracted top PGA players and boasted one of the largest prize pots on the PGA tour. The lucky winner was Justin Thomas. The course is the only one in Korea to be named to the honored “top 100” list of golf courses worldwide and it soon became apparent to me why. Challenging winds and weather conditions paired with innovative golf course design made this course a perfect challenge for its world-class participants. It was also a pleasure to see that many Korean domestic players were allowed to gain entry into the tournament and participate on the world stage. These included 5 golfers from the Korean PGA tour, 2 players from the Asian Tour, the top 3 South Korean players as rated in by the world rankings and one local amateur player. K.J. Choi, Bae Sang-moon and 8 lesson known professionals were invited as sponsor exemptions as well as An Byeong-hun, who qualified by his world rankings. In a field of 80 or so players, South Korea was well represented and should be very proud of its talented golfers and growing golf legacy.

I have wanted to return to Korea again to look up old friends and to revisit a place that holds a unique place in my life. Now that I am older and wiser, and a little more familiar with the Korean ferryboat culture, I hope to successfully make it to Jeju Do, with my clubs in toe. I have absolutely no doubt that it is just as beautiful now as it was then.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Unsettled History of Shinnecock Hills, U.S.Open site for 2018

The unsettled history of the U.S. Open’s next venue; Shinnecock Hills.

Despite being a historic golfing institution as one of the oldest golf clubs in the U.S. (1891) as well as having hosted numerous U.S. Open tournaments and other notable tournaments of the past, little is known about the true history of the land, the logo and the name behind this majestic place… Shinnecock.
The gorgeous Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, in Southampton, New York, sits on land that the Shinnecock Indian Nation have laid claim to in a serious and credible lawsuit filed in 2005. The nation is seeking the return of 3,500 acres in Southhampton, New York, near the nation’s existing reservation as well as billions of dollars in reparations due to what they claim to be an illegally annulled agreement that deprived them of their tribal lands in 1859. The agreement, originally created in 1703, granted them the rights to all and more of the now stripped lands, making up what is now much of the South Hamptons. In 1859, European settlers and developers annulled the agreement in pursuit of this attractive land, that is notably popular today amongst New York’s elite vacationers. Currently, the Shinnecock Nation have tiny holdings in the area of only 750 acres. The Shinnecock Hills Golf Club is located right in the middle of the original land agreement territory, on grounds that are considered by the nation as ‘sacred’ still.

The current lawsuit may take years but one significant victory occurred for the tribe in 2010 whereby the tribe itself was finally and officially recognized by the U.S. government. This recognition is already helping the morale and resurgence of the area’s first people as it grants them more autonomy and rights. Despite not knowing what this means for their future, or for that of the area, including the golf club, it is in my opinion that healing, justice and reparation is critical in these situations. Generally, as it often happens, ‘great things’ come from honorable actions. Perhaps the membership of this exceptionally fine club, as well as the broader professional golfing community that it serves, can become involved in a positive and productive way too. Please share your comments and ideas on how you think this can be achieved.

 

Deep thoughts for golf!

Deep thoughts

Chipping Vs. Pitching – Super helpful short game tips!

Bryson DeChambeau Wins John Deere Classic, Qualifies for The Open | Golf Channel

Congratulations to Bryson DeChambeau.

Bryson DeChambeau rallied with a back-nine 30 at the John Deere Classic to edge Patrick Rodgers and notch his first career PGA Tour victory.

Source: Bryson DeChambeau Wins John Deere Classic, Qualifies for The Open | Golf Channel

AN INTERESTING REVIEW OF WHO TO WATCH FOR AT THE BRITISH OPEN 2017 by Kyle Porter ( CBS sports)

I found this article online this morning and thought to pass it along to my bloggers. Carolyn Sharp

 

The major season is halfway over, and this time next week, after The Open Championship is all wrapped up, we will be 75 percent done with just one major until the 2018 Masters. But first, Royal Birkdale will host its first Open since 2008 and just its second this century. The last one was won by Padraig Harrington who is (improbably) a contender again.

Every major has great storylines going in, but which are the easiest to root for this week? Who should the casual golf fan who maybe only watches on Sundays or only tunes into the major championships be pulling for this week at Royal Birkdale? I have some names of legitimate contenders for you to look at. We’re exlcuding the obvious ones like Mark O’Meara winning in what will probably be his last Open because, let’s be honest, Mark O’Meara has no chance of winning this week.

So here are nine golfers with a real chance to win and why they’re going to be so easy to root for in Southport, England, this weekend.

1. Rickie Fowler: The American is still looking for his first major, and this might be his best chance to grab it. Fowler finshed in the top 10 at the U.S. Open in June and played great last week at the Scottish Open. He’s likable, thrilling to watch and tough as haggis in bad weather. He’ll be a fan favorite on both sides of the pond this week.

2. Lee Westwood: Poor Westwood is nearing his 80th major start without ever notching a single win. This week’s would be particularly savory coming in his home country of England. He has contended so many times here over the years (three top-three finishes since 2009), it would be incredible if he could finally get it done at age 44.

3. Tommy Fleetwood: His story is almost too easy. Fleetwood grew up in Southport, is playing the best golf of his life and is coming off a win at the French Open. Can you imagine the emotion of winning an Open that close to your hometown? That’s the dream for every golf-playing child in the United Kingdom.

“It’s obviously going to be an amazing experience support-wise,” said Fleetwood. “I think looking at it and people wishing me good luck and people talking about it, it’s going to be an experience that I’ve never had in my life. I think very few people get the chance to have a home crowd that’s massively in your favor and play a tournament where, however many people will be watching me, will all want me to do well.

“So I mean, good or bad, whatever the draw is, however I play, it’s going to be an experience that I’ll never forget just for the sheer support I think that I’m going to have, which is exciting in itself to look forward to.”

4. Sergio Garcia: The Spaniard has come up close at this event so many times, it’s incredible (even for him). He has an incredible 10 top-10 finishes, including each of the last three years. The Masters was massive for him, but you get the feeling an Open would mean even more. As we’ve gone over innumerable times, Garcia has gone from being a petulant, sometimes-unlikable kid to a tragic hero as an adult. He’s actually fun to root for now.

5. Jordan Spieth: The 23-year-old comes into this event off one of the great shots of his career at the Travelers Championship. For those looking for a Tiger Woods replacement on the American side of things, Spieth is your best bet (although he won’t come close to touching Tiger’s career). But for him to get three-quarters of the way to the career Grand Slam at this age would be pretty amazing.

6. Rory McIlroy: The Ulsterman has missed three of four cuts, but he can still make history this week at Royal Birkdale. His sits T20 all-time with four major championships in his collection. He can move to T14 with a win this week and join Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Bobby Jones as the only golfers with five of them before age 30. Greatness is fun to root for, especially when it’s wrapped in a dynamic personality like McIlroy’s.

7. Matt Kuchar: After a solid Scottish Open, Kuchar returns to a tournament where he only has one top 10 ever. Kuchar is as likable as professional athletes get, though, and it would be spectacular to see him get major No. 1 this week at Birkdale. Especially if he dropped some language in the process.

8. Justin Rose: Another Englishman returns to the site of his first Open start way back in 1998 as a 17-year-old. Rose once said he thought he was going to win the Open that week as a teenage amateur. It would be some nice symmetry if he was actually able to do so two decades later as one of the most accomplished Englishmen of his generation.

9. Padraig Harrington: The Irishman is the defending champ here; he’s also coming off neck surgery and played great at the Scottish Open last week. For him to win this week and get major No. 4 after a season of injuries and a constantly-tinkered-with swing would be spectacular. His would be an easy bandwagon to hop on this weekend if he’s in the thick of it.

Feelin’ the Masters

I love the feeling, for spectators and players alike, of the build up to the Masters. Golf fans worldwide appreciate that no matter what they do this weekend, they will have a lot of enjoyment in watching 4 days of the best golf, by the best players, at one of the best courses in the world. In fact, I am certain that millions feel this way.

Have you a personal favorite player that you hope to see take home the coveted green jacket? Is it someone that has done so before or will it be a ‘first time’ winner?

There are certainly a large group of favored contenders to keep an eye on and an equally solid field of accomplished players who could come from the sidelines and do what Willet did last year.

First off, one can presume that Jordan Spieth will be back to claim something that slipped away from him so unfortunately last year. With a solid record of T2- First- and another T2 over the last 3 years at Augusta, it would be impossible not to include him as a contender.

Secondly, there is Dustin Johnson, who is currently holding the rank as world number one and is playing the best golf of his life. One cannot ignore him as a viable threat out there.

Then there are Matsuyama and Justin Thomas. Matsuyama has the entire Asian continent rooting for him to become the first Asian born player to wear the green jacket. He has had several top 7 finishes at Augusta before and is playing exceptionally well this season. He definitely has the talent to win. Thomas too has kicked off the season with an outstanding winning streak and is seemingly more confident than ever.

What about Rory? Desperate to complete his grand slam, playing solid golf, with the maturity, perseverance and experience required for getting the job done.

And let’s not forget to mention the young Spaniard, Jon Rahm!

We at Go Pac Golf will take it all in with pure joy. Good luck to the players and their families. May the best player win.

 

 

Lexi Thompson talks playing golf with President Trump | Golf Channel

LPGA star Lexi Thompson opens up about her efforts to sharpen up her short game, and teeing it up alongside President Trump and Bryson DeChambeau, and the benefits of team play both for building her own game and for the joy of the fans.

Source: Lexi Thompson talks playing golf with President Trump | Golf Channel

Finding a healthy sunscreen that works

Parabens is a term used for a group of preservatives used in mainstream body products for the purpose of increasing shelf life and reducing the occurrence of fungus growth in the product. They are found quite liberally in the ingredients of creams, sunscreens, shampoos and deodorants. Parabens are man made chemicals that have been in use for over 100 years. They can be labeled as methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and one or more can be used in a single product.

While the FDA has repeatedly stated that there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the topical use of parabens, scientists and other independent researchers continue to study and review studies on their safety with increasing skepticism. Currently, there is a growing concern in both the scientific and consumer communities. Parabens have been conclusively found in a high percentage within the human body, notably present in malignant breast tumors (Phillipa Darbre, 2008) and in the gastro intestinal tract (Soni, 2005). Darbre’s studies have found that parabens act as xenoestrogens, agents that mimic estrogen in the body, which again is a concern for cancer. In general, they are easily absorbed through the skin.

As an avid golfer and outdoorswoman, I have taken to carefully reading the labels on my sunscreens. Most sunscreens are laden in chemicals; parabens making up just a small percentage of these. Because golfers spend hours and hours out in the sun, they are big consumers of sunscreen and aught to be aware of their long-term effects. There are many paraben free options available in today’s market and one should consider trying them out. Even without having to go out of your way, look for newer products made my ALBA, BADGER, The Honest Company and even some Neutrogena product that are on the shelves of most mainstream drug stores and grocery stores. Read the labels. At the very least, look for paraben free and sulfate free products. If you are looking for an even more pure product, one that is absent of all chemicals beyond just the parabens that we have addressed in this article, there are quite a number of outstanding and innovative companies offering such product online, at local Health Food Stores, Whole Foods Markets and other such stores. For a comprehensive list of 20 such brands, refer to Liz Thompson’s annual Consumer Guide. Liz is an organic beauty product researcher and frequently shares great information on health products. To read her recent article on sunscreen, follow the below link.

http://www.organicauthority.com/22-best-natural-sunscreens-2016

Taking the time to choose a good sunscreen, one that is also good for you, is worth it! The ones that are good for you are typically much better for the planet too. Reef degradation is a serious concern worldwide and sunscreens are now being looked into for their role in reef safety but let’s save that discussion for another time!!

 

A Parent’s guide to College Golf

Helping a child prepare for becoming a NCAA college athlete takes time, patience and careful research. Regardless of the sport, proper guidance for your hopeful college athlete is necessary and often underestimated. You don’t want to over do it, or under do it either, and the timing of your actions is also important. Go Pac Golf has put together a list of advice for parents that might soon be navigating the college golf path.

First of all, it is important to note that NCAA rules allow prospective students to visit college campus at their own expense at any time. We would highly suggest doing so with your child in the 9th grade to learn more about a variety of schools, golf programs, coaches and so forth. Parents and students may call coaches in advance of their unofficial campus tours although the coach is not allowed to return calls and initiate contact with prospects until September of your child’s junior year. Basically you are politely calling to give the coach a head’s up that you and your child will be around on a particular day versus showing up unannounced. Keep it casual. It is often an important first introduction as the coach may now take note of the player and likely look into their Junior Golf career up to date and then follow the player over the next two years prior to making official contact with the player in September of their junior year of high school.

Junior Golf

Encouraging your child to establish a Junior Golf career by playing in AJGA events is critical. This is by far the best place for junior golfers to be discovered by college coaches. Look into how your child can earn AJGA PBE status in your state. Players need to build their competitive golf resumes and set themselves up to gain exposure to prospective golf programs.    As a parent, it is important to help set this up for your child without solely focusing on the scouts. We would suggest you focus on the fact that it will be helping your child gain experience in competitive golf to see if this is really what they want. It is also important to not feel that your child has to play for the top ranked schools. There are many great college golfers that have done well in college golf that have come from the lesser-ranked NCAA schools. Help your child choose a school that is the best fit for them based on academics, athletics, social needs, location, cost and so forth. If your child ends up in a great program that really suits them, their golf will surely benefit.

International Student-Athlete requirements.

Over 20% of NCAA Division 1 golfers are foreign students. The NCAA has specific guidelines for international athletes who wish to participate in NCAA programs. Although foreign students and US have the same recruiting guidelines, foreign students must meet certain additional eligibility criteria. The NCAA Clearinghouse is the governing body that reviews each student’s academic records. See www.ncaaclearinghouse.net for more details. Familiarize yourself with the requirements for your child. They are straightforward but important.

Generally, for the golf component, we would suggest helping your child establish a junior golf career in his or her country of origin at the highest possible level as would the American born applicant. NCAA golf coaches will be familiar with equivalent junior golf programs in your country as are used to having foreign golfers come to them. We would also suggest visiting the as many college campuses in the US as you can with your prospective NCAA golfer. Have your child play in some US tournaments. Try to connect with other foreign athletes on campus and ask them how they did it.

Most of all, good luck to you and your child in this wonderful pursuit. It is a long road but so exciting for you and your child. Enjoy each curve and turn!

 

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