The new age of golf has become a melting pot of tradition, performance, and modern style. Clothing and shoe companies have always been front and center when it comes to new trends, but there are other trailblazers in the equipment game, too.
Jones Golf Bags is one of those trendsetters, staying on the cutting edge of performance and design with a nod to the game’s traditional style. The company began out of the trunk of a cab, from which founder George Jones sold is hand-sewn bags. More than 40 years later, the company produces some of the most durable and stylish bags we’ve ever carried.
When shopping Jones’ lines it’s apparent the company holds traditional designs close to heart. This means sleek, compact bags with fewer but larger storage compartments, and built to be carried. Jones’ carry bags (ranging from $139.95 to $169.95) top out at under 4lbs, and the sturdy, plush shoulder straps make for an easy trek no matter the model.
The Jones Original is the most traditional of the designs. It’s simply beautiful — literally and figuratively — with a classic unstructured body, 3-way top divider, and a single shoulder strap. This is the bag that started it all, as the web description notes.
Jones graciously sent CGB a pair of customized Utility Bags, among the company’s stand bag offerings (ranging from $174.95 to $229.95). After the gitty-ness of the unboxing wore off, the quality of the bags stood out. The water resistant nylon has proven to withstand an ample amount of fall and winter golf in Colorado without wear and tear, and the sturdy, smooth zippers make access to storage quick and easy. The Utility also sports the new “draw string” pouch for even quicker access to on-course essentials.
Jones calls its patented stand system the “gold standard,” and that sounds like a safe bet. Not matter the lie, the legs hold the bag steady and fold back into place smoothly when picked up, rivaling only one other bag I’ve ever played. During my high school career — when my love/hate relationship with walking the course began — our hand-me-down Ping Hoofer 2s were among the most coveted equipment. The reliability of the stand system and the simple design brought solace to our agonizing practice rounds, and no one wanted to return them at the end of season. I later switched to Ogio, and while durable and convenient I always struggled to find a design that wasn’t too modern for my taste, or didn’t have a bunch of features I didn’t need.
At capacity, the Utility is a cinch to carry (about 5lbs when empty) — I usually pack a couple sleeves of balls, range finder, water, snacks, tees and markers, and extra layers, along with the standard number of clubs. The standard single strap is more than enough to keep this bag comfortable on my shoulder, though it does come with an additional strap if you prefer the backpack-style carry. It feels strange to note how comfortable a golf bag is, but in this case it’s hard not to.
In all, we’re blown away with Jones’ offerings and believe we’ve found a new benchmark to which we’ll compare the rest. Golf has always been a game of style, class, and tradition, and it always will be. Companies like Jones Golf Bags exude that aesthetic, finding a perfect balance between the then and now, and setting the standard for the game’s next generation.
One of Colorado’s most-lauded municipal courses, Pueblo’s Walking Stick Golf Course (4301 Walking Stick Blvd., walkingstickpueblo.com) should be on the must-play list for anyone visiting the area.
The course has made plenty of other “best” lists already, being named “Colorado’s best golf value,” and second “best in state,” by Golf Digest in 1993, and included in the magazine’s 1996 “America’s Top 75 Affordable Courses” list.
The par-72 course borders the CSU Pueblo campus — serving as the home course for the college — with sweeping views of the front range and the southern face of Pikes Peak. The course landscape screams southwestern Colorado, with cacti, yucca plants and desert wildflowers dominating the native areas, and a stunning arroyo housing the high desert wildlife (lost balls beware).
Despite some intimidating looks from the tee box, Walking Stick is very inviting. Landing areas are fairly wide, and reachable for players of any length, and the rough is very playable — even the native hazards yield playable lies in most cases, but beware of snakes! Aside from and handful of tee-to-green challenges, Walking Stick can facilitate low scores, but don’t sleep on this course.
Starting with a wide, straight and short par 4 at no. 1, the layout gets you thinking low scores, especially long hitters, but Walking Stick’s real challenge is its greens. Though fairly large, tiered greens with multiple breaks, false fronts and slopes are a factor here, and the pin placements don’t make things any easier. While the fairways offer the chance to get aggressive on your approach, strategically placed bunkers and fairway undulations also come into play.
One of most challenging holes on the course is the 544-yard par 5 at no.4. The long, arching dogleg left hugs the gorgeous arroyo and keeps the green — and a sneaky pot bunker — from view until your second or third shot. Playing the right side is a must here, and your only chance of reaching the green in two. If you’re left from the tee, a layup is all but guaranteed.
According to the course guidebook, we should note, no.7 is the most difficult hole at Walking Stick. The 462-yard par 4 begins with an intimidating tee shot over an expanse of native area. Again, favoring the right side in your approach will yield the best results, as a miss right will keep you out of a greenside bunker on the left.
No.12 has to be considered one of Walking Stick’s signature holes. The 160-yard par 3 is intimidating from the tee, if you can even see the green. It may as well be an island green, playing in the middle of the arroyo with a small bailout area front left of the green. Too short, left, right or long means trouble from the tee, but if you’re lucky with your miss you may find a play from below the green, or in the right greenside bunker.
While finishing the back 9 it’ll be evident Walking Stick deserves all the credit it’s given as a one of the state’s best municipal courses. From tee to green, the layout is playable for players at all levels yet challenging enough to keep low handicappers on their game. The practice facilities include a full driving range, chipping and putting greens, though space can be limited at times just like any other muni — all the more reason to kill some time at the full restaurant and bar.
We’ll be keeping Walking Stick near the top of our best municipal courses list.
Robin Horvath (left), Martin Borgmeier (center), Jordan Brooks (right), are the top three finishers in the 2018 LDET season (Photo: Long Drivers European Tour)
It was not the way anyone wanted to end the 2018 Long Drive European Tour season. Torrential weekend rains battered Panorámica Golf in Spain. According to the LDET, area roads were blocked with up to 50 centimeters of flood water on the pavements, electrical power was lost, and the grid itself saw spots of standing water and sand deposits. And while some say conditions remained playable, the tour made the difficult decision to pull the plug on the event.
That capped off an amazing year for Germany’s The Beard Borgmeier, having won 3 other events and securing his new title as the 2018 LDET Champion. “What happened this year with Long Drive was a U-turn in my life,” Borgeier says in a post-event address.
But the Beard wasn’t the only LDET player with a standout 2018. The Hungarian Hulk Horvath also notched 3 wins, hit the season’s longest drive (443), and was a mere 400 points short of Borgmeier in final ranking points. “It was an amazing season for me,” he told the crowd. “I’m very happy for everything.”
Though England’s Jordan Brooks didn’t get the chance to strut his stuff in the season finale either, he finishes the season, with one win, 4,500 points, and the no.3 LDET ranking. “I’ve gained a lot of confidence going through the season,” Brooks said. “I feel like I belong amongst the top players.”
“2018 was an amazing season,” Xavier Eusebio, LDET CEO, says. “The tour visited 9 countries, and the competition level has been very high, with a lot of competitors from around Europe, and also US, Canada, South Africa, and more.”
Though the LDET’s 2018 season finale was marred by weather and drama, it shouldn’t take away from the landmark season the tour had. A debut in Russia and a first-of-its-kind Nations Cup event, exceptional players and exciting competition all speak to more good things to come in 2019.
Whales’ Bry Roberts (left) and England’s Jordan Brooks (right) are your LDET Nations Cup champions. (Photo via Long Drivers European Tour)
Tiger Woods wasn’t the only big winner in the world of Golf this past weekend. Before the Big Cat teed off on Sunday, two big hitters hoisted the Long Drivers European Tour‘s inaugural Nations Cup trophy on Saturday, September 22. Jordan Brooks and Bry Roberts were the last men standing after battling against two-man teams of some of the best players the LDET has to offer in a first-of-its-kind event.
The morning began with the qualifying round to advance to the afternoon finals. Along with Brooks and Roberts, repping England and Whales, respectively, 5 other teams were assembled by players and fellow countrymen: Martin “The Beard” Borgmeier and Robin “The Hungarian Hulk” Horvath made for one of two all-German teams, Timo Petrasch and Daniel Kleiner being the second; Dewald Lubbe and Christo Pretorius made up the South African team; Alex Lange and Matthieu Moraschetti represented Germany and France, respectively; and Chris Latta of Scotland and José Quilis of Spain made up the final team.
The qualifying format was pretty straight forward, one set per match with an aggregated distance of the team — the best two teams automatically advanced to the quarterfinals. First up was The Beard/Hulk’s formidable team facing off against the South Africans (Lubbe/Pretorius) in what some would have thought was a lock for the Germans. But Lubbe and Pretorius combined for 696 yards, besting Borgmeier and Horvath’s 669. Soon after, Brooks and Roberts began their day against Latta and Quilis, easily advancing 363 to OB (0 yards). Petrasch and Kleiner also made quick work of Lange and Moraschetti 695 to 561.
Borgmeier and Horvath had a chance for redemption in the 4th match of the qualifiers, failing to hit the grid (0 yards) against Brooks and Roberts’ 361 while still clinging to a quarter final position. And Lubbe and Pretorius got some momentum going in the 6th match against Lang and Moraschetti, taking it 371 to 270.
The quarterfinals format brought individual player scores and aggregated distances (for the third set) into the mix. Borgmeier and Horvath once again found themselves facing Brooks and Roberts, and upped their game accordingly going 357/378/706. But it was too little too late to overcome Brooks and Roberts’ 358/351/709, and the number 1 and 2 ranked LDET players made an early exit from the competition. Petrasch and Kleiner continued their run against Lange and Moraschetti, advancing to the semis 337/365 to 316/OB.
The inaugural LDET Nations Cup competitors and sponsors/volunteers. (Photo via Long Drivers European Tour)
Team Brooks/Roberts seemed to hit the after burners in the opening semifinal round, topping Latta/Quilis 382/364/717 to 340/365/690 for a spot in the finals. Lubbe/Pretorius were up against a hot Petrasch/Kleiner team, but the Germans failed to hit the grid in the quarters (OB/OB) and paved the way for the South African team to advance (350/325).
And so the stage was set for the final round of one of the most anticipated events of the 2018 LDET season. Brooks and Roberts dropped two on the grid in the finals, 316 and 351, while the South Africans’ hot stick, unfortunately, cooled, going OB/346 and claiming the 2nd position on the Nations Cup podium. With the win, Brooks finds himself back in the no.3 spot of the LDET rankings with 4,500 points, trailing Horvath (no.2, 5,300 points) and Borgmeier (no.1, 5,700 points). Roberts is sitting in the no.5 spot with 3,000 points.
After strong showings of their own, Pretorius (no.7) and Latta (no.8) have punched their tickets to next month’s LDET Masters Cup as well, surely making their respective countries proud. Joining Pretorius and Latta at the Masters CUP are the tour’s top six players — Borgmeier, Horvath, Brooks, Lubbe, Roberts, and 2017 LDET champion Matt Nicole. If that’s not reason enough to tune in (Saturday 20th October, at Spain’s Panorámica Golf Resort), this year’s Masters Cup will also mark something of a milestone for the LDET, becoming the 50th event in the tour’s 6-year history. With 1,000 points on the table for the Masters Cup winner, who will claim the title of 2018 LDET Champion is still anyone’s guess.
One wouldn’t have guessed that the Long Drivers European Tour‘s Italy Championship would be one of the most-anticipated and pivotal events at the beginning of the season, but the storylines of 2018 collided at Terre Dei Consoli in Rome last weekend.
Martin “The Beard” Borgmeier faced a slim 200 point deficit in the LDET rankings behind Robin “The Hungarian Hulk” Horvath after Horvath notched another 2018 win last month in his home country of Germany. The two have been exchanging wins seemingly all season long, leaving it up to anyone’s guess at who’ll be no.1 at the end of the year.
The Italy Championship quarter finals began with a number of familiar names and competitive matchups — and rain. Dewald Lubbe and Christo Pretorious went head-to-head in a tight South African showdown with Lubbe squeaking through to the semis 346/OB/346 to OB/360/344. Scotland’s Chris Latta bested England’s Tyler Dangerfield in another close match 356/388 to 335/332. Hope for a marquee match up between Horvath and Borgmeier in the semis held on the other side of the bracket for a while, but the number 1 and number 2 ranked players had to face off against Wales’ Bryan Roberts and Belgium’s Tanguy Marionex, respectively.
Roberts proved the spoiler, ousting the top-ranked Horvath with two 400+-yard bombs (406/403) which were too much for The Hulk’s 390/388 showing to overcome. Horvath’s exit would pave the way for The Beard to claim the no.1 spot in the 2018 LDET rankings, and despite the elements, he made quick work of Marionex 397/382 to 345/312 to advance to the semis.
After his impressive showing in the quarters, Roberts seemed poised to give Borgmeier a run for a spot in the finals, but The Beard survived a close matchup in the first semifinal, going 342/365 to Roberts’ 340/353. Third ranked Lubbe struggled to find the grid a little bit, but so did Latta, and Lubbe’s 360/OB/OB/332 was enough to advance him to the finals over Latta’s OB/340/OB/330 effort. Roberts and Latta then went to battle for the 3rd podium position, with Roberts’ 339/354 easily overtaking Latta’s 293/326.
The question on everyone’s mind heading into the big final was if Borgmeier could close on another victory and add to his outstanding 2018 season, and put himself at the top of the rankings. That soon proved to be an inevitability with The Beard’s strong 352/344/357 showing in the final matchup, cruising past Lubbe for the title. Lubbe’s second-place finish and 333/349/OB effort cemented his no.3 spot in the rankings as well.
Borgmeier, with 5300 points, now holds a 400-point lead over no.2 ranked Horvath. Lubbe sits in the no.3 ranking with 3600 points, and England’s Jordan Brooks and Matt Nicolle round out the top-5 rankings (at 3500 and 2400 points, respectively).
Next on the LDET schedule is the very much anticipated and first-ever Nations Cup. Most certainly one of the season’s marquee events, international teams will compete for glory at the Château de Taulane in La Martre, France, September 21st-22nd in a first-of-its-kind competition. The top-8 ranked LDET players after the Nation’s Cup will be qualified for the Masters LDET Cup, which will be held Saturday, October 20th at Panorámica Golf in Spain.
Follow LDET online and on social media for up-to-date tournament information and live posting during events, and CGB for recaps of the 2018 season’s big final events.