Topgolf Coming To Phillips Arena...

What an interesting move for Topgolf and the Atlanta Hawks even if it's stated as a blatant millennial play. But hey, the M's love their Topgolf! Yay!

However, I'm not sure sports fans need something else to distract them from the game on top of their phones. (That's precisely what two of them are looking at in the demo image of the Hawks Topgolf bay.) More encouraging though is the re-imagining of the amenities available at an arena, and that golf is being included.

For Immediate Release:

- Sports fans and concert-goers seeking pre- and post-event entertainment will soon be able to play Topgolf® once renovations of Philips Arena are complete for the 2018-19 season. The Topgolf Swing Suite – Topgolf's first permanent amenity in a major sports arena – will feature two Topgolf simulators, comfortable lounge seating, HDTVs and food and beverage service.

"As we began to discuss transforming our arena into a premier sports and entertainment venue for next generation Atlantans, we realized there was no better potential partner than Topgolf," said Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club CEO Steve Koonin. "They provide a one-of-a-kind experience that appeals to millennials and people of all ages. We are thrilled that they will have a home in our arena."

Topgolf launched its first Swing Suite at the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston, where it can be rented by the hour for groups of up to 15. The Swing Suite will complement other new additions to the Philips Arena, including Zac Brown's Social Club, a restaurant by the Atlanta native and leader of Zac Brown Band, and The Swag Shop, a barber shop owned by Atlanta rap artist Killer Mike.

"Basketball is my first love, but Topgolf has quickly become one of my favorite hobbies," said Atlanta Hawks Forward Guard Kent Bazemore. "Having a Topgolf Swing Suite inside the Arena will be incredible for the fans and will add to the already amazing atmosphere at Hawks games."  

Video: Should Golf Have A Year-End Awards Gala?

The first ever NBA Awards included fan votes, glamor, fashion, star power, some mild disagreement and plenty of season highlights.

Naturally this made John Feinstein and I agree that a season-ending awards for golf--with all major tours involved--would be a good thing. If nothing else it might tell us when the golf season begins and ends, but more importantly as tacky as awards shows can be, this would be a grand way to recall great moments from the season. Such shows also allow the stars to convene, talk shop and look good.

From Wednesday's Alternate Shot on Golf Channel's Golf Central:

Web.com Tour Event Uses Yardage Books Made By 10-Year-Old

Royce Thompson reports on Adam Schenk’s playoff win in the Web.com Tom’s Lincoln Land Charity Championship, but it was the story of 10-year-old Seth Damsgard that got my attention.

Ryan Mahan reports that the little lad not only created the drawings used by players at Panther Creek Country Club, but he's started a business with Precise Yardage Books.

The drawings for all 18 holes of the course are a combined effort. Seth, of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, takes satellite images of courses from Google Earth and graphically designs its layout.

Scott Brady of Precise Yardage Books visits each course in person to walk the entirety of it, measuring things like slopes of greens, depth of bunkers, manhole covers and changes in elevation.

Those measurements are then sent to Seth, who completes the drawings. Then the yardage books are printed.

Before Seth teamed up with Brady, he was making the books for courses he would play in junior golf tournaments.

“I wanted to get tips from another yardage book maker,” Seth said. “We called Scott Brady with Precise Yardage Books. We wanted to get some tips from him. We told him how we did our graphic designing. He was just drawing them by hand, so he hired us.”

You Can't Make It Up Files: Golf Cart Chop Shop Seized In The Villages Drug Raid

No doubt hunting for the world's largest stash of ED and VD pills at the wild and crazy Villages, authorities instead stumbled on a golf cart chop shop. Five arrests were made. (Thanks to reader Steven T. for this beauty.)

Myrt Price and Mark Boxley report for WFTV on the raid, where the elderly homeowner was unaware of the rogue stolen cart parts operation helmed by his niece. What a lovely young lady she must be!

Once a search warrant was served, deputies said they found evidence that an illegal golf cart chop shop was also operating out of the residence.

“We actually found some golf cart parts, as well,” Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Robert Siemer said. “There have been some golf carts stolen in the neighborhood in The Villages here, and we’re trying to tie some of the parts to some of the stolen vehicles.”

The full WFTV report includes a sense of the golf cart traffic in the background...

Video: Golf Course Bear Steals Lunch!

It's hard to pinpoint the best part of this bear strolling out onto the course...

Is it the fascination with the flagstick that another bear famously enjoyed?

Is it the golfer panicking that he has an orange in his bag and prompting him to put his foot down?

Is it the bear's casual stroll after committing the theft?

Either way, such simple pleasure viewing for a Monday...(H/t Alex Myers): 

 

Video: HS Golfer Wins Arizona Sports Moment Of Year Award

You may recall Richard Obert story on Sandra Day O'Connor High School's Amy Bockerstette, one of the starting five in Arizona's Division I girls championships last fall.

Bockerstette became the first golfer with Down syndrome to compete in the championship. Since then she has  won the AZCentral Sports Moment of the Year award for her play and accepted with a thank you speech you won't want to miss:

Special For GeoffShackelford.com Readers: Discount On New Athletes Collective 1/4 Zips

ShackHouse listeners and readers of the site know I'm high on Athlete's Collective's no-logo, ideal-fitting, and absurdly well-priced athletic gear. And because so many of you took up the offer from last Christmas on long sleeves perfect for winter golf or workouts, they're offering a special on their new 1/4 zip front pullovers.

I've been practically living in my grey Conway 1/4 zip when working out in this long, cruel Santa Monica winter that we managed (again) to survive.

Okay, so our worst winters are like most springs. That is precisely why I can attest to how ideal the Conway is for spring!

The AC 1/4 zips are fitted enough that you feel like a modern athlete who can swing a golf club but not so tight that people will think you're paying homage to a certain golfers' circulation-straining pullovers.

AC's spring golf-friendly 1/4 zips are super lightweight, breathable and tough, featuring just enough design touches to look distinctive. Roll it up in your golf or gym bag and it'll look just fine whenever you need to put it on.

Personally--TMI warning here--I'm not a fan of most long sleeve sweaters and pullovers for golf since I like to swing a club with the sleeve pulled up just a little bit. So I love how you can manipulate the sleeves and not do any damage to your clothes.

The Conways come in heather grey and a very Masters-friendly heather green. At $34 a piece they're a bargain, but for $60 in the 2-pack bundle, a true steal. 

With the 10% discount, that's $54 (US) dollars for the pair.

Even if you used the first time buyer code HOUSE with prior promotions on shorts and long sleeves, you can still get the 10% first-time buyer discount with the new SHACK promo code. That gets you 10% off your order along with AC's great customer service that many of you wrote to me to note even when you had sizing questions.

Thanks again to Athlete's Collective for the discounts and more importantly, cost-effective and efficient athletic gear!

Nine Days Of Christmas: Seamus Tartan Ties And Special 20% Off Discount Code

As we near Christmas day the gift recommendations are now strictly about buying yourself something Rusty the dog, who drew you in the family pool, would never buy.

Last year the craftsmen and women of Seamus Golf kindly offered a Christmas discount to readers of this site. And after noticing their dapper new ties I reached out to company co-founder Akbar Christi who kindly offered a holiday discount for all purchases. Enter code RUSTICCANYON to get 20% off.

Everything by Seamus is made with care, thought and class, but I'm digging their new ties in fabrics sourced from the best (Loch Caron, House of Edgar). They come in both skinny and regular sizes and the website notes the lineage of the patterns so that you can do your best Smails impersonation at your next cocktail party.

Personally, I love a good tartan tie because nearly all look good with a navy blazer, they are guaranteed to liven up an otherwise cookie-cutter outfit, all while giving you a fun story to tell about the tie's inspiration.

Pictured to the right is the granite, cream and black Dornoch Tweed Tie that harkens to the ancient days of the Scottish Highlands, home of the great Royal Dornoch (whose club tartan is a colorful design invoking all colors of the course in its gorse-blooming days).

So head to Seamus and scoop up a few ties or headcovers at 20% off (code: RUSTICCANYON) and encourage them to keep making cool stuff.

Also, this way I can lobby for a much-needed Musselburgh tie!

Nine Days of Christmas: The "Swing The Club" Glass Tray

After listening to Sam Weinman and Marty Hackel discuss the classification of gifts on the Golf Digest podcast, procrastinators may have a little more last-minute holiday gift buying-clarity.

I was especially glad to hear Marty single out a multi-purpose gift from Digest.com's annual slideshow of products: the Golf Sketch Swing The Club Decoupage Glass Tray from BensGarden.com.

Besides the cleverness, originality and versatility of this tray subversively laden with every swing thought imaginable, this classy piece could serve as an intervention tool. A glass tray that saves lives!

Hear me out.

We all know the golfer who carries a list of swing thoughts in their back pocket. Or, in more 21st Century fashion, typed into a Notes file on their mobile phone. These troubled souls wils stop total strangers and ask them to record a swing. Or worse, ask the stranger to analyze before putting headphones back on to listen to Bob Rotella.

But who wants to tell these sufferers that they need help? Especially when you can do it passive-aggressively in the form of a gift?

This six-by-six-inch decoupage tray is a tad steep at $56, but this could save lives! Or paper clips.

Nine Days Of Christmas: Links Candles

Yes, Saturday Night Live did their best two weeks ago to ruin the candle as a gift, even throwing in a little jab at 1980s music and hair to scare you into gifting something besides fine-smelling wax.

But let's ignore that classic bit of satire and focus on the product of 12-year-old, Shark Tank-inspired entrepreneur Lily Green. She has created a line of golf candles evoking scents based on the game, including a special edition sold by Seamus Golf, and her candles are all lovingly packaged with Josh Smith-art of Cabot Links' 16th hole.

So in maintaining the annual Christmas gift guide theme here, buy yourself a golf candle or be bold and gift a collection of candles at a better price. And support a young entrepreneur.

Nine Days Of Christmas: Best Layering Option For Golf

While the kids love their compression shirts and pants, there is a reason most golfers are not flocking to some of the amazing tech fabrics on the market: they are too tight for golf.

There is a fine line between snug and cutting of circulation. Over five hours on the course, golfers need breathability, a little give, just enough support, and a layer that will cover their arms.

We used to have turtlenecks for that but I think most would rather suffer frostbite than join the fleeting movement to make them cool again.

That's why you should treat yourself to Athletes Collective's $25 Long Sleeve.

If you've heard me talk about them on ShackHouse, you know I love their stuff because it's logo-free, ridiculously-priced, well-made, great-fitting and perfect for many uses. I wear the large Long Sleeve for working out and the more snug medium as an undershirt to still freely hit a golf ball in.

So go to AthletesCollective.com and enter the promo code HOUSE to receive 15% off your first order. Throw in some gym shorts while you're at it. Or you can get three of the long sleeves for $66 thanks to their bundling option.

All orders include free shipping and returns to the US or Canada. And 100% satisfaction is guaranteed, as a few ShackHouse listeners have confirmed in emails reporting great follow up service from the AC folks.

Arizona Golfer With Down Syndrome Plays In High School Championship

Richard Obert catches up with Sandra Day O'Connor High School golf coach Steve Casey about Amy Bockerstette, one of his starting five before last week's Division I girls at Aguila Golf Course in Laveen, Arizona.

Bockerstette is a 4-foot-9-inch junior with Down syndrome who has inspired her teammates by moving into the lineup.

This is her second year competing in high school matches.

Bockerstette was granted allowance from the Arizona Interscholastic Association to have a caddie during match play.

She has qualified with the team to compete in the state tournament, which runs Wednesday and Thursday for Division I girls at Aguila Golf Course in Laveen. Bockerstette is the team’s fifth golfer, shooting a best nine holes of about 50 this year.

Her swing coach, local pro Matt Acuff, who works with some of the top local juniors, will be on her bag and in her head as he steers her through the biggest tournament of her life, a journey that nobody but Bockerstette, her coach/caddie and those closest around her ever thought possible.

“It’s awesome,” she said.

The story goes on to detail how she got into golf and it's pretty inspirational stuff. Enjoy!