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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I Find These Links Sometimes...

Ah yes, it's time for another collection of interesting links I've either found or had brought to my attention by some of you, my loyal readers. This batch is all over the place, including a link sent to me by a famous author. (Really!)

First of all, I guess most of you know that Golf Channel has been redoing its website. This link goes to their LPGA Tour home page. Being a huge LPGA fan, I was interested to see this baby! It's got scoreboards for the various tournaments -- and since some of these weren't up last week when I first checked it, they must be working pretty hard on the site -- stats pages, tournament lists, and so on. My favorite part of this page is -- not surprisingly, I suppose -- the "air times" page, which lists upcoming LPGA telecasts on GC. Right now it looks like they're listing the next 5 telecasts which, because of the sparse LPGA schedule this year, stretches into the latter part of the month. All-in-all, this looks like it's going to be a really nice page for us LPGA fans to bookmark.

Next up is a new page called golfburn.com. The good folks who started it up tweeted me and asked if I'd take a look at it, and it looked good enough for me to pass it on to the rest of you. In their own words, golfburn.com "enables groups of friends to share scores and connect with their favorite courses." You can either create a login just for golfburn.com or you can use your Facebook ID to sign in. And in a lot of ways it's just like Facebook. You can sent messages to friends to set up games, post scores, check with pro shops, and all kinds of things. It looks like a convenient way to coordinate schedules and, if you have a lot of friends who like to play together but you can't all hit the course at the same time, you could probably even run your own little wannabe "mini-tour" with it!

Of course, you're going to need courses to play. Arizona, where my blogging friends Dexter and Doc live, has a huge number of golf courses and is a frequent travel destination because of it. This link goes to arizonagolf.com's Phoenix golf page. It's not just a list of the courses or a page that lets you book rounds on line -- although it is both of those things. What I liked about this page is that you can find a course you're interested in, click on the "...details >>" link at the end of the course's entry, and it will take you to a page with all kinds of information about the course like:
  • the type of grass used on fairways and greens
  • number of tees, along with pars, yardages, and slope ratings for each
  • available facilities
  • greens fees
  • course policies (ex.: can you use metal spikes or wear jeans?)
Some of the courses even have extra articles about the course and pictures. Overall, this is a really useful site if you're planning a trip to Phoenix.

Finally, I have a link sent to me by author Lawrence Block. I know lots of you see my list of non-golf blogs; I include it because golf isn't everything and it's a cool but non-intrusive way to share some of my other interests, like woodworking and webcomics and the like. Of course, I'm obviously interested in writing and I try to keep links to some of the sites I really like... and when I discovered that LB had finally started a blog just a few weeks ago, I had to add it.

In case you don't know who LB is, let me name a couple of movies made from his books that you might recognize: Eight Million Ways to Die, based on his book of the same name about alcoholic detective Matthew Scudder, and Whoopie Goldberg's comedy Burgler, based on his Bernie Rhodenbarr books. LB also writes lots of material to help budding writers; for many years he wrote a column in Writer's Digest magazine. He's got a neat sense of humor that comes through in his teaching -- I've referred to his book Spider, Spin Me a Web for inspiration many times.

Anyway, some of you are obviously fans, saw the link and popped over to check out his site... and as a result I got an email from him. I figured it would be an automatic trackback email, but he actually took the time to write me a thank you note for linking to his site! He also told me a little about his golf history -- he wrote "I haven't played golf since high school, and I was lousy then" -- and mentioned that he's always loved golf stories and even written a few for collections. He sent me this link to a $0.99 short story he recently self-published at Amazon and I thought I'd pass it along in case any of you are interested. The story's called "Welcome to the Real World" and it stars his hitman Keller. (I wonder if any of his shots ended up stone dead...)

That's a real mixed bag of links, isn't it? The Web is nothing if not eclectic. Let me know if you find anything you think will be of interest to other weekend golfers out there.

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