Tour Report: The 2018 U.S. Open Championship

Tour Report: The 2018 U.S. Open Championship

2018 U.S. Open

South Hampton, Long Island – It had been 29 years since anyone defended their title at the U.S Open (Curtis Strange 88-89), but as Brooks Koepka stated early in the week in winning at the 2018 U.S. Open – “Nobody here is more confident than me.” and this, “Someone is going to have to come and take the trophy from me.” The 28 year old from West Palm Beach (who now resides in Jupiter along with half of the PGA Tour) backed up that statement, especially after carding an opening round 75 at the 2018 U.S. Open. In fact, at one point early in round 2 on Friday, Koepka was +7 and in danger of missing the cut. He flipped Friday’s second round, shooting 66 to get back in the championship. Weekend rounds of 72-68 followed for a one-stroke victory over Tommy Fleetwood who narrowly missed a putt at the last that would have been a record setting 62. As it turned out, the missed 8 footer was the slim margin between solo second place and a playoff. Fleetwood’s 63 was the low round at any U.S Open ever held at Shinnecock Hills (also tying the championship record), breaking the previous mark of 65 that was matched by Rickie Fowler on Sunday (which was 19 strokes better than the 84 Fowler shot on Saturday).

Brooks isn’t your typical golf obsessed professional, when he missed 3 months earlier in the season with a wrist injury he found that he missed the game and the competition, but when he returned he didn’t miss a beat with his golf swing. It all came right back immediately, no rust at all “I don’t need to practice every single day. It’s the same game I’ve been playing for 24 years now. I know what I’m doing. I know how to swing a golf club. It’s just a game that I’ve been playing my entire life.”

Once again the USGA flagship event, 2018 U.S. Open, was riddled with two big controversies in South Hampton. Both occurred during Saturday’s third round. For one, the course set up once again got a bit too severe (2004 revisited) when the winds picked up during the afternoon, causing several putts and well struck shots to roll off into disastrous spots. The USGA has to find a method that allows some margin of error in its set up in case mother nature becomes a factor. Especially at seaside venues where it’s almost a certainty.

Second would be the blatant rules infraction by Phil Mickelson. First of all, it looked horrible and Phil’s explanation of how and why was even worse. Clearly it didn’t quite go down as he stated, and several witnesses within the group verified that he made statements to officials and others right after it happened (on the 13th green) that completely contradicted his well-rehearsed post round media session. Obviously, chasing after/swatting back a moving ball was an act of frustration with the set up, a meltdown. Clearly embarrassed, he contrived a story about always wanting to hit a moving ball to save further damage to his scorecard, and decided that he would do it right then and there. Sometimes trying to be the most clever guy in the room backfires, and this was the perfect example. It’s been a brilliant 26 year career, filled with generosity and giving back to the game, but somehow that moment and the cover-up that followed might be the one lasting memory for many from the 2018 U.S. Open.

With the victory Brooks Koepka has moved up 33 spots to 13th in the Fedex Cup standings, and 4th in the Official World Golf Rankings. 

Scores: https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html


Jason  Bruno
GolfLife Tour Coverage
Tour Report: Fedex St. Jude Classic

Tour Report: Fedex St. Jude Classic

Dustin Johnson St. Jude Classic

Memphis, Tennesee – Dustin Johnson’s stint as World No.2 lasted about as long as a New York minute. Heading to the Big Apple for the U.S Open at Shinnecock Hills, DJ emphatically put his stamp on winning the Fedex St.Jude Classic by holing out for eagle on the 72nd hole and a six-stroke victory over Andrew Putnam.

Johnson’s final round 66 at the Fedex St.Jude Classic capped off his second PGA Tour win of the season and 18th of his career. After 64 straight weeks atop the Official World Golf Rankings, Johnson dropped to No.2 behind Justin Thomas the week of the PLAYERS at TPC Sawgrass. Johnson’s 19 under par – 261 total, included rounds of 67-63-65 before Sunday’s final round. Tied with Johnson at the start of the day, Putnam made double bogey at the first (Johnson made par) for an early two-stroke swing and never was able to make up the defecit. Putnam shot 72, not the final round he was hoping for, but his runner-up finish was still the best of his career.

DJ’s response to his walk-off eagle (9 iron from 170 yards), “By the reaction from the crowd, I thought it might have gone in, but I couldn’t see it so it was kind of tough, what a cool way to end.”

Phil Mickelson, seeking to accomplish the career Grand Slam at the U.S Open, heads to Shinnecock Hills with some momentum after a final round 65 (finishing tied for 12th).

Scores: https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html

 


Jason  Bruno
GolfLife Tour Coverage
Reunion Resort: Plenty For Everyone

Reunion Resort: Plenty For Everyone

Reunion Resort

Reunion Resort, an AAA Four Diamond-rated property, is an exclusive 2,200-acre destination which promises a vacation wonderland and conveniently located six miles from Walt Disney World and only 20 minutes from Orlando International Airport.

Orlando is a town full of surprises and excitement around every corner. At Reunion Resort, you’re in the middle of all of it. It’s just minutes to downtown Orlando and to all the theme parks. No wonder this is a top family vacation resort year after year.

The resort’s accommodations include luxury 1 – 3-bedroom Villas and multi-bedroom vacation rental homes. No matter what you choose, they all include spacious living and dining areas, full kitchens, patios and balconies. Master Suites feature a king size bed and private master bathroom, fully equipped kitchens and flat-screen TVs and DVD/CD players in living room and bedrooms. Washers and dryers are available in most units. Some vacation rental homes include added benefits such as private swimming pools, game rooms and even their own putting greens. There’s also complimentary high-speed wireless internet and complimentary self-parking. Sit down and relax; this ain’t your average hotel room.

You’ll never run out of things to do at Reunion Resort. The fitness center offers cardio and weight- training equipment or, if you’d rather see more of the property, bike rentals are available. There’s also yoga available on Mondays and Thursdays at Heritage Crossing.

Reunion also offers an amenity that can be enjoyed by the entire family, a waterpark! There’s a one-mile lazy river where you can relax on an inner tube and just float to your heart’s content; waterslides with twists and turns, a large kid’s area with water activities, a kid’s pool area and volleyball courts. If solitude is more your style, there are 11 pools around the property.

After a day of energy-expending activities, the Boutique Spa is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Here you’ll find five luxurious treatment rooms where the staff embraces a personalized approach and offers soothing massages, signature facials, body wraps, manicures, pedicures and hair services. They use only the finest botanical products that provide stupendous results for every skin type. These services provide indulgences that enliven the senses, soothe the body and replenish the spirit.

Not all, but many of the guests at the Reunion Resort are here for golf. And why not? You’ve got three of the best courses in the area built by three of golf’s finest Champions: Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer. It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity.

 

Reunion Resort 18th Hole

The Palmer Course is built on hilly, roller coaster-like terrain and boasts dramatic elevation changes – up to 50 feet in some places, which is a lot for Florida! Short par 4s and reachable par 5s create a unique variety of risk/reward shots. The greens feature quite a bit of undulation. Many of them are oversized, some feature multiple tiers, crowns and ridges; very seldom do you find yourself with a straight putt. While it may be the shortest of the three courses, it still offers a good mix of long and shot holes that will have you hitting every club in your bag. Something else you don’t usually experience in these parts of Florida are uphill shots. There are several elevation changes whether it is hitting over a deep depression on a par three hole or trekking uphill to the green on a par 5, it is certainly a welcome change from your typical Florida round of golf. Six tee locations on each hole make The Palmer Course enjoyable for golfers of all abilities.

The Watson Course is highlighted by fast, firm and wide rolling fairways, undulating greens and a variety of strategically placed bunkers and large greens. This was Watson’s first crack at a Florida design and for my money he couldn’t have done a better job. It has more of a links style to it than its two sister courses. The one hazard absent from this course is water – you won’t find it anywhere except at the comfort stations. What you will find is sand in over 120 bunkers of varying shapes, sizes and depths. If that’s not daunting enough, there’s also a few waste areas and some fairly significant elevation changes for this part of Florida. The Watson Course is as much about strategy as it is about length and embraces a shotmaker more than a long ball hitter. Using common sense and not trying to overachieve or be heroic as you make your way around the course will go a long way to putting up a good number.

The Nicklaus Course is a parkland-style layout that will test every level of golfer from tee to green. With elevated tee boxes and greens, this Signature design by Jack Nicklaus can be as deceptive as it is beautiful. There are more than 100 bunkers on the course, as well as small, postage-stamp greens, and a few forced carries. Tee boxes are beautifully landscaped and well maintained, fairways are meticulously trimmed and groomed, and the greens deserve their own article! Many of them are elevated and surrounded by evil bunkers and waste areas. The Nicklaus course is not your typical resort course; it’s more of a “player’s” course. Scoring well here requires a significant amount of accuracy off the tee – anything hit wide left or right will either be irretrievable or in some sort of hazard – most likely a waste bunker. A player who is more of a thinker as opposed to someone who wants to grip it and rip it will prevail out here.

All three courses are in great shape year-round and the grounds crew is painstakingly meticulous. Staff is friendly and helpful, especially the starters. If you haven’t played the course before, listen to them carefully. They will give you a wealth of information. If you’re in the area, you owe it to yourself and your golf game to play all three courses at Reunion Resort. It’s the perfect destination for a round of golf on one of three fabulous courses designed by three of golf’s greatest players. It’s also a great spot for a family vacation.

Reunion Resort Forte

A world class resort needs world class dining and Reunion doesn’t disappoint. Their flagship restaurant Eleven, sits atop the Reunion Grande on the 11th floor, and is unquestionably Orlando’s unparalleled star gazing destination.

Eleven is best described as a modern steak house with a nouvelle feel. Their creative menu offerings include premium steak cuts and signature entrees. The ambiance and décor cater to today’s generation and the open-air veranda and nightly fireworks accentuate the sights and sounds of the open kitchen. Their dynamic wine list, signature cocktails and an expanded by-the-glass selection offers wine pairing for every palate. Seating is done on a first come, first serve basis.

If Italian’s more your mood, then Forte’s your answer. They are an authentic Italian Bistro, and serve up specially prepared dishes in a warm and rustic atmosphere. Their fresh ingredients are indigenous to the region of Tuscany, but also serve dishes found in all regions of Italy. The dining area is both formal and warm, with Italian music playing softly in the background. Forte features an extensive cabernet and merlot wine list as well as signature sections from different regions of Italy. No matter what your menus selection, the well-educated staff at Forte will help you find the perfect pairing. Forte is located on the main floor of the Reunion Grande.

If you find yourself famished after your round and can’t wait to bite into something, the restaurant at the Reunion Clubhouse is always a good choice. They feature regional American cuisine served in a casual and comfortable setting. The menu appeals to golfers, members and resort guests alike with selections that are simple and recognizable staples of American comfort food. Their servers provide speedy service so that you can get back to enjoying your favorite resort activity and forget about that one bad hole.

These are just some of the dining choices available to you at The Reunion Resort. If you’re planning on being in the area and are considering different resorts, why not pick the place that has it all – Reunion Resort. For more information or to book your next vacation, give them a call at 1-866-880-8563 or visit them online at www.reunionresort.com.

Reunion Resort Palmer course

DAVID THEORET | GOLF LIFE | THE GOLFIN’ GUY

Top 5 Golf Balls of 2018

Top 5 Golf Balls of 2018

Golf Life wanted to find the best golf balls of 2018 that did not include the big OEM brands. Here are the Top 5 golf balls that you should be playing right now. Maybe you have heard of them or maybe you haven’t, either way these golf balls are perfect for your Golf Life!

HONMA TW-G6

Honma is largely known for their exceptional golf clubs, but don’t fall asleep on their golf balls because they made our Top 5 Golf Balls of 2018. They have about nine different typles of golf balls. Each ball is specific for the type of golf you play. In our case, the TW-G6 is a ball that performed with fast and slow swing speeds. This ball is designed for you to have incredible spin and distance. Off the tee you can gain maximum distance and with those short iron shots you can throw darts. It is a SIX-piece golf ball with their new soft-spin urethane cover as the sixth layer. The TW-G6 is a great golf ball for all players and will definitley make your Golf Life a little bit better.

HONMA GOLF

 

CUT GOLF

Cut Golf is a unique company that claims they are the “Best Damn Golf Ball Under $20”. Given the way it performed, it would be hard to beat that statement and that is why it made our Top 5 Golf Balls of 2018. We tested two different balls from Cut. The Cut 3 is a three-piece golf ball that is made for the slower swing speeds who demand maximum performance out of their golf ball. This golf ball does not sacrifice distance for performance. You will have ideal distance off the tee without sacrificing performace around the greens. The Cut 4 is a four-piece golf ball made for the higher swing speeds. Again, with the urethane cover, this ball is designed for high balls speeds and spin without compromising control. The Cut 4 was named to Golf Digest Hot List Silver 2018

CUT GOLF

ONCORE GOLF

Next on the Top 5 Golf Balls of 2018 is the ELIXR from OnCore Golf. The ELIXR is OnCore’s most advanced golf ball. It is designed to take the golfer to the next level. This three-piece golf ball provides amazing distance off the tee, control with the long irons and spin and feel on and around the green. Of all the top OEM’s on the market, this ball was able to give our host, Colton Little, five more yards on his already long drives. The ball feels incredible off the club face and sounds just as good as well! This golf ball was also named to Golf Digest Hot List of 2018.

ONCORE GOLF

 

GOLF JET

You want to talk about smash factor? The Jet 3 and the Jet 4 are golf balls that give you crazy smash factor numbers and that is why they landed themselves in our Top 5 golf balls of 2018. If you are looking for speed after impact, these golf balls are calling your name. You can feel the speed of the golf ball increase after impact. The great aspect about Jet golf balls is that you can subscribe to a program where you will never run out of balls. Each month, Golf Jet will send you a sweet package filled with balls, a glove, a towel, tees and more. Don’t get fooled by the subscription based program, these golf balls are the real deal!

GOLF JET

 

VOLVIK

Last but not least are the Vivid Soft and the Vivid XT from Volvik. Many people know Volvik from their bright colored golf balls, but what you don’t know is these golf balls have incredible performance. The Vivid XT is a four-piece golf ball with a matte finish that will maximize your drives off the tee and create accuracy around the greens. With the Vivid Soft, you are talking huge roll outs off tee shots and the conrol and feel you are looking for around the green! Both golf balls are made with the very modern matte finish. They both feel great and look great on the ground and in the air. Don’t forget, this is what the big hitters of the Long Drive Championships use.

VOLVIK GOLF

These were the Top 5 Golf Balls that should be in your bag right now. If you haven’t played these golf balls, you are seriously missing out! It could make your Golf Life just a little bit better!

Hammock Beach Resort: Saltwater, Sand and Golf

Hammock Beach Resort: Saltwater, Sand and Golf

Hammock Beach Resort

Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast Florida offers the best of many worlds. Whether it’s a relaxing spa weekend with the girls, a playcation with the kids or, a mancation golf trip with the boys Hammock Beach Resort has got you covered.

Accommodations at this AAA Four-Diamond-rated resort range from an intimate oceanfront lodge to an array of spacious villas and suites located in their oceanfront 12-story tower. These stunning villas and suites range in size from one to three bedrooms, and feature full kitchens, washer/dryers and multiple bathrooms – making them the perfect choice for family retreats.

Ladies will love the Spa and Wellness Center at Hammock Beach. Drawing from the bountiful resources of their two miles of unspoiled beach, the Spa at Hammock Beach has aligned their product offerings to reflect just that. From thalassotherapy products rich with sea minerals to coquina-laden scrubs, their goal is to enhance your spa experience. With 12 different facial treatments and 14 massage and body treatments available, there is something for everyone.

Hammock Beach Pool

There are lots of activities to keep the kids busy too. There’s the water park, where they can fly down the water flume or float around the lazy river in the 91,000 square-foot water pavilion. There’s also skim boarding and surfing on the ocean and bicycle rentals. As if that’s not enough, there’s the 18-hole putt-putt course which isn’t necessarily just for the kids. It consists of 18 straight holes, doglegs and even a couple of bunkers, all built on real grass putting surfaces. There’s more than enough things to do to keep the kids busy for long periods of time.

hammock beach resort 9th

For guys, it’s all about the golf, and why not? You have, at your disposal, two championship golf courses built by two golf legends: Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. The Ocean Course offers some stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean while the Conservatory Course offers sand – lots of sand!

The Jack Nicklaus-designed Ocean Course shares the same property as the resort while the Watson-built Conservatory course is just a short 10-minute drive away. Both courses have incorporated vital beach elements. The Ocean Course closed in 2016 after Hurricane Matthew wreaked havoc upon it, and reopened in October 2017 as a completely redesigned golf course that is more beautiful than ever. The carnage caused by Matthew along the coastline has opened the course up to expose more of the ocean and offer up better views. Of course along with that comes more wind.

You’ll know what I mean when you play Number 18, a long par 4 regardless of the tees you play. Playing your tee shot down the left center of the fairway is best although not easily done with the wind blowing in off the ocean. If you miss your drive out to the right, you’ll leave yourself a longer approach shot which is complicated by the fact that the green is well elevated. Guarding the green on the left is a dune as well as a deep bunker front left and grass hollows on the right side and behind the green. Make a par or better here and you have accomplished something!

 

hammock beach 14th

The Conservatory is a Tom Watson design and is the longest golf course in Florida; but it doesn’t have to be! Six sets of tees let you choose the yardage that best fits your game. As you make your way around this beautiful layout you will come across some remarkable sights: waterfalls, babbling brooks and veneered field stone work. Although much of that is on the periphery, there are about 140 sand and coquina bunkers as well as three sod-faced bunkers designed to keep you honest.

Number 18 at the Conservatory is an excellent finishing hole that offers a fantastic view of the golf course from the elevated tee box. Long ball hitters need to be careful of the water on the left side off the tee. For the rest of us mere mortals, the water won’t come into play until the second shot. Even at 600+ yards from the back tees, this hole can be reached in two, by long ballers, but you’ll need enough club to carry the stone bulkhead that guards the green. Golfers need to be aware that the landing area for your layup shot gets very narrow and there are pot bunkers on the edges of the fairway. If you favor the right side of the fairway when you layup, you’ll be left with a short chip shot to a well-guarded green. Believe it or not, #18 does give up a lot of birdies!

Although you don’t have to be staying at the resort to play a round at Hammock Beach, you won’t find tee times on either the Ocean Course or the Conservatory Course on any of the online tee sheets. Golf rounds can be requested and booked through their website.

Hammock Beach Grill

Hammock Beach Resorts offers a multitude of dining opportunities, not the least of which is the Atlantic Grille. Indoor and outdoor seating is available with views overlooking the Atlantic. The Atlantic Grille features contemporary world cuisine with the emphasis being on fresh seafood.

For starters, try the Lamb Meatballs; the cucumber yogurt dipping sauce compliments the lamb very well. If you’re a seafood lover, you can’t go wrong with the Chilled Seafood Tower for Two, which includes oysters, poached shrimp, mussels, clams and seaweed salad with a variety of sauces. There’s also an option for an oyster tasting. Atlantic Grille’s She-Crab Soup is rich, and thick with plenty of crab. For salads I recommend the Baby Greens which consisted of spring greens, onions, toasted walnuts and goat cheese, served with a lemon honey vinaigrette dressing. All of the ingredients combine for an incredible one of a kind taste. For entrees, you can’t go wrong with the Seafood Cioppino or one of Atlantic Grille’s steaks, cooked just the way you like it. Everything is presented beautifully and is very tasty.

Another fine dining experience at Hammock Beach worthy of a visit is Delfinos. Delfinos features Italian favorites, as well as Certified Black Angus meat selections from the Butcher’s block and tempting seafood specialties. They also have an extensive wine list that includes many European varietals by the glass or retrieved from our cellar.

If you’re looking for something more relaxing after a long day on the golf course or at the beach, check out Loggerheads. They offer an expanded pub menu as well as comfortable and well-appointed surroundings. The drink menu features small batch bourbons, local craft beers and cocktails. There’s even a giant sixteen-foot TV screen, making Loggerheads the perfect spot to watch your favorite sports team in action.

In addition to these dining opportunities there is also the Lobby Bar & Sushi which is a morning favorite for a quick breakfast pastry and a cup of coffee. The Sushi Bar is a small. Intimate restaurant that serves the finest sushi grade fish and freshly prepared varieties of temaki, sashimi and chirashi. The Ocean Bar & Café is surrounded by six acres of multi-level pools and offers dining selections as well as refreshing libations. It’s located on the upper level of the Fantasy Pool Complex.

There are many ways to get to Hammock Beach. Most guests arrive by car, or tour bus; some of the more flamboyant will dock their boats in one of Hammock Beach’s slips. Don’t have a boat? No problem; charter services are available for a variety of activities: sport fishing, sunset cocktail cruises and kayaking.

Hammock Beach offers guests a number of special packages including summer escapes with the family or just a romantic getaway for the two of you. There are all kinds of golf packages available including an unlimited golf package which will have you playing all the golf you can handle on either championship course. If tennis is your game, Hammock Beach also offers the Ultimate Tennis Package, which includes accommodations, four hours of tennis instruction and complimentary court time.

To see all of the different packages available from Hammock Beach or to book a reservation, give them a call at 386.246.5500 or visit their website at www.hammockbeach.com.

David Theoret | Golf Life | The Golfin’ Guy

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