Miss Georgianna Bishop, The Connecticut Golf Girl Who Won at Merion

Georgianna Bishop
In just a few weeks the 2013 U.S. Open Championship will tee off at one of the country's most iconic golf courses.

Merion Golf Club is a National Historic Landmark and its East Course... where a hand-woven, red wicker basket tops each pin... has hosted the Open four times.

The scene of some of golf's most memorable moments, fans of the sport tend to associate Merion with names like Hogan, Jones, Trevino and Nicklaus. Few, however, connect Merion with Georgianna Bishop.

Miss Bishop, who can be observed in photos wearing ankle length skirts and swinging hickory shafted mashies, was a native of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and in 1904 she won the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship at Merion.

Yesterday, the USGA launched usopen.com, the official website of the 113th U.S. Open.  The site contains myriad interactive features to provide live video, real-time scores, news and highlights throughout the championship. In addition there's a wealth of content on the rich history of Merion  and its past champions. That's where I encountered Georgianna Bishop for the first time, because despite my own Connecticut origins and my interest in women's competitive golf, I was unfamiliar with this inspiring lady golfer until now.

Georgianna Millington Bishop was born in Bridgeport in 1878 and played for Brooklawn Country Club.  Having taken place before there was an LPGA... before the advent of professional golf for women... Bishop nonetheless managed to carve out an impressive place for herself in CT golf history. Though she never again won the national championship, for a period she dominated women's golf in the nutmeg state. Winning the Connecticut Women's Amateur four times between 1920 and 1927, Georgianna Bishop was inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame in 1959.

The USGA's Rhonda Glenn has written a wonderfully evocative account of Bishop's win at Merion, that I'd highly recommend to anyone interested in golf history and the early days of what was then known as Merion Cricket Club.


Meeting Wendy Byrne, Top Dog at Global Golf Apparel Brand "Poodle Golf"

With Wendy Byrne at Golf Girl Media World HQ
A couple of weeks ago... as the Masters was getting underway in Augusta... Wendy Byrne was traversing New England.

On a whirlwind trip from her adopted home in the Netherlands, Wendy was visiting family and friends in Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut, and by the time she pulled into my driveway she'd covered hundreds of miles.

Wendy grew up in New Milford, CT just down the road from my home here in Danbury. A transfer to Holland to manage operations at an international language academy took her across the Atlantic over a decade ago for what was meant to be a temporary stint, but additional opportunities presented themselves.

These days Wendy lives in Amsterdam where, in 2008, she founded Poodle Golf, which has quickly become a leading independent provider of ultra-stylish, highly functional women's golf apparel.

I first wrote about Poodle Golf when the company was a sponsor at the 2010 Tenerife Ladies Open. That's when I got to know Wendy... virtually... and found out about her CT origins. Since then Poodle has been present at LET events all over Europe and beyond. They proudly... and tirelessly... support women's golf with tournament, team and player sponsorships. Recently in a multi-year agreement with the Russian Golf Association Poodle Golf became the apparel sponsor for the Russian National Team.  

Then there's Dogleg Media. Wendy's husband, Robin, is a stellar photographer who shares his wife's commitment to the global growth of women's golf.  Together they created DogLeg Media to promote and provide targeted, high quality media coverage for professional and amateur women's golf.  Their archives contain thousands of extraordinary photos from tournaments and events, that they provide to businesses and publishers at very reasonable fees. Both Wendy and Chris are extremely skilled in graphic arts and content creation, and they've created  a unique, highly engaging brand.

My Poodle Golf Ivy is Perfect for Spring
Needless to say I welcomed the opportunity to have Wendy visit Golf Girl Media World Headquarters on her recent trip stateside, and when she arrived that chilly spring morning it was quickly clear that we had more in common than the shared geography of our childhoods and our mutual affinity for golf and fashion.

We consumed multiple cups of coffee in front of the fireplace that morning. Wendy shared some of Poodle's latest designs as well as some of the marketing initiatives she's planning.  Expect to see ice blue and lemon yellow, plush outerwear, and some unique customer events, among other things. As far as expanding Poodle Golf's distribution in North America, that's something that's in the cards as well... and something that'll make golfing ladies in these parts very happy.  Wendy's stay was brief, as she had to catch a flight back to Amsterdam that afternoon, but I have little doubt I'll be seeing her again soon, and in the meantime I look forward to keeping up with her... and her stellar global golf brand... where we originally met, on the internet.

Poodle Golf on Facebook • • • @poodlegolf • • •  Poodle Golf on Pinterest
DogLeg Media on Facebook • • • @DogLegMedia • • • DogLeg Media on Pinterest 


Golf Ball Therapy - The Hidden Healing Power in a Small Dimpled Sphere

Golf Balls for Breakfast - photocredit: schoeband via photopin cc
The modern golf ball is an amazing feat of science and engineering.  Composed of an array of different polymers layered, in varying strengths, around a rigid core, their current form is the result of decades of extensive research.  And that research has paid off in added yardage for golfers.

So stealthy are today's balls, there have even been calls to "slow them down" and impose limits on their performance. Otherwise... the reasoning goes... even the mega-long courses that have become standard in the US will be too short for the long hitter.

Meanwhile, away from the fairways and greens, innovative individuals have discovered and developed some interesting off label uses for the dimpled orbs we chase so relentlessly.

A recent post in Men's Journal suggested there might be some value in standing on golf balls, the premise being that this excruciatingly painful rather uncomfortable activity will train your body to tolerate discomfort, and will stimulate nerve endings.  The description of said activity made me hope I never need to develop my tolerance for discomfort... and for the time being my nerve endings appear to be sufficiently stimulated.



The Queen of Golf - Alluring Arm Candy and A Gorgeous Golf Score Keeper

Having grown up in the 20th Century, I  clearly remember when the wristwatch was an essential accessory for just about everyone.

It was the way we kept track of time and as such, a powerful symbol of productivity and professionalism.

I received my first watch when I was six. It had a red leather strap and featured a diminutive Mickey Mouse who marked the hours and minutes with tiny gloved hands.

These days kids get a cell phone at six and it instantly becomes their go-to timepiece.  Most never develop the wristwatch habit. Adults are relying on their electronic devices for time-telling  more frequently as well.

Fortunately for watch makers, a smartphone doesn't make much of a style statement, and style is what today's watches bring to the party... and the workplace. Over the past couple of years, fashionable folks of all ages have made the wristwatch into an indispensable fashion accessory.  More than any other wearable item, a watch reflects the personality of its wearer. From the basic Timex to a bejeweled Swiss chronograph there are watches to fit every budget. In addition, a vast park of designers ensure styles to meet a myriad of individual tastes... and from April 25 - May1, the best of them will be on display at Baselworld 2013, the World Watch and Jewelery Show.

As a collector of watches... married to a watch-obsessed man... I found myself perusing the Baselworld website recently, and that's where I discovered the Queen of Golf, a beautiful and innovative timepiece created by Swiss watchmaker Jaermann & Stübi. Handcrafted and individually numbered, each watch the company produces is not only an exquisite timepiece, but also an elegantly discreet golf stroke counter.  Jaermann & Stübi was founded when a passion for golf met up with an expertise in watchmakeing. Urs Jaermann is the golfer and Pascal Stübi the watchmaker, and together they've created an extraordinary range built around the tradition and culture of golf. The entire line (Gents' Collection, Ladies' Collection and Special Edition) can be seen on their website, and in their opulent online catalog. A Jaermann & Stübi watch blends luxury and utility in a way that allows a passionate golfer to make a stellar style statement while ensuring focused scorekeeping accuracy.

To that end I've added the Queen of Golf to my list of golf goals... and it's right up there with breaking 90 and playing Pebble Beach.


Economy, Environment, Health & Charity - Golf's Expansive Impact

Golf's Impact on the United States       We Are Golf
Springtime golf in New England is often... inconsistent.

A bright, balmy spell in late March or early April gets the season off to a stellar start and we enjoy a couple of warm rounds on our reawakening courses, reveling in our collective conviction that winter is finally over.

Some of us...me, for example... are quick to transition our closets; moving any reminder of cool weather to the farthest reaches of the armoire and exchanging racks of somber colored sweaters, slacks and windshirts for a colorful display of shorts, skorts and sleeveless shirts.  This timely transformation makes us inordinately happy.

That's when the backdoor cold front inevitably arrives. A cool, damp Atlantic air mass moves in replacing the warmer continental air we'd so quickly embraced and leaving us back where we were in early March, playing and practicing in dank, dreary conditions.  And to add insult to injury some of us now have to dig all the way to the back of the closet (or attic or storage unit) to get dressed.   

So goes the Spring of 2013... in New England and many other areas of the US... and as a result many of us can count the rounds we've played thus far this year on one hand. If we're lucky. And while a late Spring can be frustrating for golfers it's beyond frustrating for area golf courses which are seeing their rounds way down, particularly when compared to the exceptionally mild winter of 2012.

This probably all seems quite trivial to those who don't play the game but, it really shouldn't.  An infographic look at Golf's Impact on the United States clearly shows how the benefits of the game goes way beyond the fairways and greens.  Golf is a major industry, one that brings value to individuals and communities in ways many don't consider.  For golfers... for me, anyway... this makes those wet chilly April rounds seem a bit warmer.


Pick Your Players... for the LPGA Lotte Championship Presented by J Golf

OK, my Masters picks weren't exactly stellar... 150/367 - Golfradar Fantasy Golf Challenge and 46/115 - Back9Network Fantasy Golf Challenge... but they 
certainly could've been worse considering my unorthodox  selection methods and my past propensity for a DFL finish. In fact, I'm quite encouraged... because the week before the Masters I actually managed a 13/53 for the Kraft Nabisco Championship with Ladies Dream Golf the new LPGA fantasy site I told you about recently.  

So, now's the time make picks for the LPGA Lotte Championship. You see, the tournament... which is taking place at the Ko Olina Golf Club on the Hawaiian island of Oahu... begins tomorrow, April 17.  Rather than the standard Thursday - Sunday schedule this event will run from Wednesday - Saturday, so the pick period actually expires Wednesday morning. 

That means you need to head over to Ladies Dream Golf Make Picks page ASAP.  I'm heading there now to make my selection... in hopes I can continue to improve my standings. DFL is not a place I like to be. 


Mastering the Masters - An Infographic Overview in Vintage Style

I received word of this Masterful infographic via Twitter.

Created by the folks at American Golf Corporation, it presents Augusta National and the Masters in a delightful vintage style.

Mastering the Masters... in vintage style                     American Golf Corporation


Thirty Years Ago on This Date... Seve Ballesteros Won His Second Masters

The Springtime of a Dashing Young Spaniard

Originally published April 7, 2011 ~ Golf meant nothing to me growing up, which may seem strange when you consider that my first twenty years were spent in Greenwich, CT, where cloistered country clubs... and the golf courses within them... are almost as ubiquitous as the fine restaurants and expensive emporiums that line the town's main shopping street.

However, Greenwich is a coastal community too, and I spent my summers sailing on Long Island Sound.  Sailboat regattas, with their splashing, speed and billowing spinnakersm, always seemed more exciting than the deliberate-looking game that took place beyond the trim hedges of those back country bastions.

I never thought of golf as a spectator sport either.  In fact the only memory I have of televised golf as I was growing up, is the yearly right-of-spring that was the Masters,  and I don't think there's anyone who grew up in the US who doesn't have some such memories. The intense, velvety green, the bright pink azaleas and the evocative Masters song were all unmistakable and memorable.

Even those who didn't follow the sport, inevitably caught bits and pieces of the Masters spectacle each year... on some TV screen, somewhere... and I'm quite sure the memories resonate with many to this day,  as they do with me.

But my most vivid golf memory of that era... the seventies and eighties... is of glancing up at the family television one random Friday in early spring and seeing the most implausibly handsome man I'd ever seen.  It was Seve Ballesteros of course.  He'd just turned 23 and was on his way to winning the 1980 Masters.  I remember thinking that he didn't look like a golfer... though I don't suppose I really had much of an idea what a golfer looked like.  I do know I made a point to watch the tournament for the remainder of the weekend, which must have seemed extremely odd to my family.  I also absconded with the next issue of Sports Illustrated, the one that featured "The Youngest Master" on its cover.

I developed a major crush that long ago springtime, on the man sports writers everywhere were describing as dashing.  He was sexy and exciting in way that seemed out-of-context on the trim fairways of staid country clubs.  Back then they didn't use the word hot, but in retrospect, Seve was the epitome of hot

His appeal of however, went way beyond his physique.  Despite my disinterest in golf at the time, I noticed the way he played; the unbridled, scrambling way.  When I read, not long ago, that he had defended that wild Friday round in 1980 by saying, "...it doesn't matter where you put the drive if you make the putt" and then adding, "it's very boring to go fairway, fairway, fairway," my continued infatuation made more sense.

Seve seemed very foreign too.  In the much more insular world of the early eighties, he was exciting and magical in a way that suddenly made golf compelling, and made me a nascent fan of a sport I'd never had the least bit of interest in before.

Over the year's that followed I watched the ups and downs of Señor Ballesteros: a second Masters, three Claret Jugs and his prolific Ryder Cup partnership with fellow Spainard Jose Maria Olazabal were all brilliant, though they were sometimes overshadowed by the injuries and altercations.

Memories of Ballestero's brilliance will always be associated with The Masters, with the lush fairways and brilliant azaleas as a backdrop... and tomorrow as the first round gets underway, there'll be many watching... and playing... who were inspired to take up the game by the unique and charismatic person he was.

Photos: Seve Ballesteros 1980 via Bleacher Report, The Youngest Master John Iacono/SI, Second shot on hole 10, Hugo Costa, Canal+Golf


Women in Green Jackets - How to Master an Augusta-Inspired Look

A couple of days ago, AP golf writer Doug Ferguson posted one of the first photos of Condoleezza Rice in her green jacket. The accompanying tweet read, "Condi looking rather dapper in green."

I don't think there are many women out there... and correct me if I'm wrong... who'd take kindly to being called dapper. To me it's a word you'd use to a describe stylish elderly gentleman, and quite frankly the basic green jacket that corresponds to Augusta National and the Masters IS somewhat boxy and quite masculine looking.

That said, there are many other ways to wear a green jacket, and with a bit of inspiration from Pinterest and Tumbler you'll be on your way to one of this year's hottest trends: the color green. Yes,  Pantone's color of the year for 2013 just happens to be Emerald 17-5641.

The Masters of Golf Infographics: Tiger Woods Edition

Remember the Masters data visualization challenge I mentioned a few days ago? Well, I haven't designed my own Masters Infographic... yet... but I have received several impressive submissions including the presentation above featuring World Number One, Tiger Woods.

It came to me today via sports betting communications consultancy Square in the Air, who designed it for Sporting Index , and while there's not a huge amount of data, the important stuff is all there.  And the design is very powerful. As it should be when the number one player commands so much of the media spotlight.

I'll present additional Masters Infographics as the week progresses and as they're submitted.  Hopefully I'll even come up with my own. In the meantime enjoy the continuing pageantry of Masters week.


Champions Dinner 1952-2013: Infographic of Memorable Masters Meals

Dinner is Served, Masters - 20 Years of Menus from the Masters Champions Dinner

On Tuesday evening, the anual Champions Dinner will take place at the 2013 Masters Tournament.  As tradition dictates, the menu will have been selected by the previous year's winner; in this case, 2012 champion Bubba Watson, who has chosen to keep the contents of his selection under wraps till serving time, leading some to surmise that it might include a few... um... exotic regional specialties.

Well, we'll soon see if there's any substance to that speculation but in the meantime, I recommend you check out Masters Champions Dinner, an awesome infographic I received yesterday.  It features winner selected menus from the past 20 years.  BTW, you may not want to click on an empty stomach.


The Most Definitive Guide to the Masters Pimento Cheese Sandwich Ever

photo credit: palmetto cheese sandwic                                 via photopin cc
Each year in early April, a simple sandwich consisting of basic white bread with a somewhat lumpy orange filling enjoys a week of uncustomary attention.

On the iconic green coattails of the historic golf tournament it's come to be associated with, the Pimento Cheese Sandwich rides into our collective consciousness.

No other golf tournament... as far as I know... is so closely associated with a food item as the Masters Tournament is with the Pimento Cheese Sandwich, and for that one week in Spring the two enjoy a mutually beneficial alliance that allows each to transcend its customary audience:  golf fans who've never set foot in Augusta... or anywhere in the southern United States... attempt to replicate this regional specialty in their kitchens, while foodies with zero interest in golf suddenly find themselves drawn into game's world by the hundreds of Pimento Cheese posts, articles, videos and television news features that appear each year at this time.

I've consumed much of this content over the years (not to mention quite a few of the soft gloppy sandwiches). This year however, I came upon what's probably the most definitive piece ever created on the yearly Masters/Pimento Cheese partnership.  It's well written, ultra-engaging and covers all you'll ever need to know.  The source of this comprehensive guide is theteesheet.com, a relatively new entry to the golf media world, and one that's well worth checking out for great writing and unique perspectives.

Meanwhile I'm heading to the supermarket to pick up some ingredients... I've got sandwiches to make.


Ladies Dream Golf - A Full-Schedule LPGA Tour Fantasy Golf Site

Kelley Shaw is an IT exec and an avid golf fan. 

For years she'd enjoyed playing fantasy golf based on the men's tours, but dreamed of a fantasy game that would allow her to exercise her expertise in picking female winners. The expansion of Golf Channel's Fantasy Challenge to include the LPGA Tour's five majors was a welcome development, but Shaw saw something a little more... comprehensive. And that's how Ladies Dream Golf was born.

LDG is a full-featured, full-schedule fantasy league for the LPGA Tour, and includes all 28 tournaments of the 2013 season, as well as the Solheim Cup. The website features leaderboards and current stats along with engaging posts on players and tournaments.  There's a message board as well, where members can gloat when they win exchange ideas and information. Ladies Dream Golf is free and easy to play, and it's never too late in the season to start. 

I met Kelley today through her postings on G+... and I'm glad I did.  It's an exciting time for the LPGA right now; with a newly minted #1 in Stacy Lewis and a wealth of fiercely competitive, ultra-talented players vying for the chance to dethrone her. Thanks to rising ratings the amount of television coverage the LPGA is getting is higher than ever ...and you've still got time to get in on the action for this week's Kraft Nabisco Championship! It's the first major of the 2013 season so a great time to begin. I'll be playing with both the LDG and the Golf Channel, though I must admit I have a terrible record at fantasy sports. You see, I tend to select my players based purely on emotion, and that's probably not the most effective way to pick winners. But when it works, it's awesome... and that's just my somewhat wacky methodology.  To see what you can do, sign up make your pics ... and good luck!

Ladies Dream Golf

Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge
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