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2013 Year in Review – Part Uno

2013 was quite a year for Hooked On Golf Blog and me, Tony Korologos. This article is part one of two (part two tomorrow), looking back at 2013 from at HOG viewpoint.

Rory McIlroy NikeJanuary

Ah the beginning of a new year and the hopes that my short game would improve. There’s always 2014…

Rory McIlory switched to Nike Golf. Personal issues, business issues, and perhaps the equipment switch would contribute to a less-than-satisfying year on the course for Rory.

Attended the PGA Show for the billionth time. Orlando hates me and my body. Had a great time seeing the new gear, meeting old golf friends and battling in the Battle of the Golf Blogs.

Mike and Kevin Foley & MeFebruary

February I posted a bunch of golf videos from the PGA Merchandise Show.

Asher Golf’s James Roundy, a local friend, passed. Sad.

The Hooked On Golf Blog World Tour traveled to Bogota, Colombia. What a fantastic trip! I got to play golf with Web.com Tour star Kevin Foley in the Web.com Tour Colombia Championship Pro-Am. Kevin would later gain his PGA Tour card for 2014! He must have learned from my dual chicken wing granny over the top swing.

La Cima Club de Golf - Click to enlarge

March

While in Colombia I played golf at La Cima Golf Course, 10,000 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains. Wow. Ball go far.

Met Web.com Tour player Dusty Fielding. Nice kid.

A fun blog post was “Filtering Out the Noise: Golf Social Networking’s Top 10 Overused Status Updates.

I reviewed the Cobra Amp Cell driver.

Cobra Amp Cell Irons - click for more

April

Bubba’s Hover was the video rage. Bubba Watson released a golf cart hovercraft!

Of course, April is Masters month. Not a month is busier for me or HOG. Lots of Masters related articles. Adam Scott won the Masters in dramatic fashion. Angel Cabrera hit what I consider the shot of the year with his approach on the final hole to about two feet. That shot resulted in a birdie to tie Adam Scott and force a playoff.

I reviewed the Cobra Amp Cell irons.

Ecco Tour Hybrid Wingtip Golf Shoes - click to see more

May

Ecco Golf came out with hybrid wingtip shoes. Some of the coolest crossover shoes ever.

Tiger Woods won THE PLAYERS (always write “The Players” in ALL CAPS, it is what they do). Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods had a little tiff which the media went into a feeding frenzy over. Sergio eventually apologized for some not-so-nice comments.

HOG poll results told us that Delta Airlines is the worst airline for golf travel.

Good thing Adam Scott won the Masters when he did. The USGA and R&A announced the ban on anchored golf clubs, beginning January 1st, 2016. Bye bye belly.

Eric/Tom sent in some great fan mail, calling me an “asshole who sucks at golf and couldn’t break 100” all because of a golf bag I reviewed. Thanks Eric/Tom!

I fell down a volcano and suffered volcanic road rash. Thankfully my Nikon survived.

Sand BagJune

I played in the Salt Lake Amateur golf tournament. I was right in the mix through 27 holes until my back went out on the 10th tee.  I finished, but the last nine was not pretty. Bugger. Kill me.

HOG readers voted Southwest Airlines as the best airline for golf travel by a landslide.

I reviewed a very cool book: An American Caddie in St. Andrews: Growing Up, Girls, and Looping on the Old Course.

Posted an article on golf CHEATERS. That’s what sandbaggers are.

Justin Rose won the U.S. Open in amazing fashion. That was one of the best ball striking displays I’ve ever seen.

On June 30, I boarded an airplane bound for St. Andrews, Scotland.


Historic Golf Discovery: Old Tom Morris’s First Golf Shop in St. Andrews

Written by: Tony Korologos | Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
Categories: Golf CoursesMiscellaneous
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Tom Morris Golf Shop - St. Andrews

Tom Morris Golf Shop – St. Andrews

I love to keep close tabs on the “Auld Grey Toon” of St. Andrews.  It is my home away from home, even though I’ve only been there twice…

Good friend and Old Course caddie John Boyne tipped me off about a very neat and historic golf discovery by Roger McStravick.  Mr. McStravick has been researching in the University of St. Andrews for an upcoming book, “St. Andrews, In the Footsteps of Old Tom Morris.”

The discovery was found through the reading of manuscripts from the Golf Collection in the University of St. Andrews Special Collections Department.  In statements written by Old Tom Morris was information pertaining to Tom’s building of his first golf shop next to the 18th green of the Old Course in 1878.

I hope to get in touch with Mr. McStravick and do a small interview about this discovery, and also pick his brain for other great information about Old Tom, the Old Course, and the Old Gray Town.   Stay tuned.

For more information check out this article in Golf Business News.


Hooked On Golf Blog World Tour Visits Coral Cliffs Golf Course in Kanab, Utah

Written by: Tony Korologos | Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
Categories: Golf CoursesHOG World TourMiscellaneousSite NewsTravel
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The Hooked On Golf Blog World Tour was rolling this past few days in northern Arizona and southern Utah, with stops at Bryce Canyon National Park, the north rim of the Grand Canyon, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park and Kanab, Utah.

Coral Cliffs Golf Course - Kanab, Utah

Coral Cliffs Golf Course – Kanab, Utah

Home base this week was at a pal’s place in Kanab, Utah. Kanab is just on the Arizona/Utah border, about 1.5 hours north of the north rim of the Grand Canyon,  This small town of about 5,000 is in a fantastic location with the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park all from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours away.

Kanab has a small and relatively unknown 9-hole golf course called Coral Cliffs.  Of course, the name comes from the red rock cliffs which serve as a beautiful backdrop.  The fine managment at Coral Cliffs allowed me to ride the course on a cart and bring my photo gear, including my aerial imagery rig (toy helicopter).  Here’s one shot of the 5th, 6th and 7th holes from above.  I’m still working on processing the rest of my images, but for now enjoy this one.

For more on Coral Cliffs, visit the Kahab page at Utah Golf Guru, a Hooked On Golf Blog sister site.  Utah Golf Guru provides a list of every course in the state of Utah with photos, course details and even playing tips from yours truly!


Aerial Photos & Videos of Golf Courses Improving

Written by: Tony Korologos | Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
Categories: GolfGolf CoursesMiscellaneousSite News
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I’m only a few weeks into piloting my toy helicopter aerial imagery setup.  I’ve been working on building up my flying skills and also working on my photo/video setup so that I can capture higher quality images and video.  There are still some big pieces to the puzzle like a new camera and some stabilization gear.  Below is a photo video from last night’s flight around sunset at one of my home courses, River Oaks.

hole5-110513

River Oaks GC, Sandy, Utah – Hole 3 (right) and Hole 5 (left)

One item I’ve ordered and am anxiously waiting for is a camera “gimbal” which will keep the camera level, even when the copter is pitching any direction.  This will make the flyover videos of the golf holes much more stable and pleasurable to watch.


Obnoxious American in St. Andrews

Written by: Tony Korologos | Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
Categories: GolfGolf CoursesHOG World TourMiscellaneous
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It is July 2, 2013 and I’ve arrived in one of my favorite places in the world, St. Andrews, Scotland. Though my Greek genes are dominant, I’m actually half Scottish. Greek mixed with Scot. That means I love links golf and feta cheese, often at the same time.

After checking in at the hotel in St. Andrews the first place my pals and I went was to the Old Course to get on the waiting list. The good news was that I’d be playing the Old with my good friend and caddie John Boyne, and my best friend Al Nelson.

While waiting, John and I were watching players coming home on the 18th hole. Our vantage point was directly behind the green. There’s a small fence there where locals hang out and watch the “gophers” come in.

Behind the 18th Green - Old Course - St. Andrews, Scotland

Behind the 18th Green – Old Course – St. Andrews, Scotland

A ball goes through the green, a “wee bit” hot and settles in some long grass behind the green and about five feet in front of us. The grass is long enough that it has gone to seed. In comes the group, obviously Americans, to survey their shots. The player who hit the long shot is loud and obnoxious. This guy epitomizes the opposite of what I wished we Americans portrayed in foreign countries.

When Mr. Obnoxious American gets to his ball he surveys the situation. He’s presented with 10 inch long grass behind and around his ball and a very tricky, fast shot with a ton of break in it. He reaches down, presumably to move a few loose impediments, but that’s not what he did. Instead, he started pulling the grass right out of the ground. It was no accident. He was improving his lie.  John and I were, as they say in the UK, “gobsmacked.” We looked at each other in silent disbelief.

Mr. Obnoxious then walked his line, checking out the break. Upon returning to his ball, as if to confirm to John and me what we weren’t sure we just saw, he started pulling grass again! By now his lie isn’t too bad. He hits quite a good shot which ends up about 14 inches from the cup.

We thought we had seen it all at that point but to our horror, we had not. Mr. Obnoxious then went up to tap his putt in. He stood over it for a second, concentrating, then took a huge swing at the ball and knocked it off the green, nearly to The Links road and the Tom Morris golf shop. Laughing proudly at himself he looked at his group and sarcastically shouted “oops!”

John and I were astonished.

I couldn’t help thinking to myself, “you spend thousands of dollars to go on the golf trip of a lifetime to the Home of Golf. You’ve waited your whole life to get to this place. You are playing the 18th green of the most famous and historic golf course in the world, where every one of the greatest golfers in the history of the sport have played. You then cheat twice by pulling grass from your lie and then sarcastically and intentionally miss your 14 inch finishing putt, in front of the ghost of Old Tom Morris. You never bother to finish the final hole, or the round.”

I know Americans in St. Andrews are a double edge sword. The caddies love us and hate us at the same time. They hate us because of obnoxious jerks like this guy who make us all look bad. They love us because, well, we are the biggest tippers of all the tourists who go to St. Andrews.

I can’t imagine the agony this obnoxious American’s poor caddie had to endure, and the wee tip he probably received for his services. Surely the prior 17.5 holes must have been a nightmare. Who knows what other asinine things this guy did or said. Somehow I wish I could buy the caddie, hell, the rest of this guy’s group, a wee pint to kill the pain.

To my friends and caddies in Scotland: we’re not all like that.


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