The do's and don'ts to removing golf balls from cups

We were playing golf a couple of weeks ago and happened to be following a foursome of elderly gentlemen.
My playing partner and I became a little frustrated with our putting after rimming the cup on two of the first three holes. And then I discovered why. At least two of the fellows in front of us were removing golf balls from the cup with the heads of their putters.
I understand our knees and back get old and it becomes increasingly difficult to bend and remove a golf ball from a cup in the normal, proper manner using your fingers. However, there are better ways.
One way is to ask one of your playing partners to remove the ball from the cup. Another way is to buy a specially designed suction cup that goes on the end of the putting grip. My late father had one and it worked extremely well.
Ripping the ball out with the head of the putter not only takes the enjoyment away from players following you, it also causes unnecessary work for maintenance crews, who must cut new cups.
Keith Stoll, PGA professional and general manager at Forest Hills Golf Course in La Crosse, provides an insight into this issue in our latest video. Check it out.
Remember, golf is a "gentlemen's game." Let's keep it that way.


ShoeTips helps golfers with swing thoughts

Do you think too much on a golf course?
I do. It's only natural. As golfers, we are exposed to so many swing thoughts through TV, videos, social media and even our playing partners.
Now I found a product that helps me narrow my swing thoughts down to a pair of things each time I walk onto the first tee. If you haven't tried ShoeTips, you should! I like them.
ShoeTips is simply a swing thought reminder system designed to help golfers of all skill levels master their mental game while they play. Oh, by the way, it was considered on of the hottest new products introduced at the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show in January.
Using ShoeTips is easy. Before you play, select two swing thoughts you want to remember from the 18 tips provided. Insert the labels securely into the two base clips and slide the clips easily, and snugly, over your shoelaces. The reminders will be in full view on your shoes as you address the ball. I prefer to use them on my on my golf bag instead. A BagTag comes with the set of tips and clips. You simply select your two most important thoughts for the round and insert the base clips through the slots on the BagTag. Every time I select a club, I look at the BagTag for an instant reminder about what I'm trying to accomplish.
According to company literature, "ShoeTips' 18 familiar swing thoughts were chosen based on input from golf pros and sports psychologists. The labels are easy to change and organized into three categories - focus, relating to your mind, feel, to your body, and technique, to your swing mechanics."
The six tips under each category are:
FOCUS
Back and Thru.
Breathe/Focus.
Stay Down.
Impact.
Commit/Trust.
Visualize.
FEEL
Soft Hands.
Tempo.
Balance.
Smooth.
Posture.
Feel.
TECHNIQUE
Turn.
Finish.
Ball Position.
Alignment.
Hit Down.
Swing Plane.
If you prefer a different tip from the 18 most popular, you can jot your own custom tips on the reverse side of the labels with an indelible marker.
Incidentally, notified ShoeTips Golf received formal notification from the USGA recently that their revolutionary, new swing thought reminder system is now "permitted under the Rules of Golf.
"We couldn't be more excited by the USGA's decision," said Steve Lewis, Founder & CEO of ShoeTips. "We felt from the start that using ShoeTips would help golfers maintain their focus so they could achieve peak performance, lower their scores and enjoy the game more. This decision allows any amateur or pro golfer, including those posting scores for handicap purposes or competing in a USGA sanctioned tournament, to use ShoeTips during any round. That's huge, and great news for golfers worldwide!"
ShoeTips retails for $19.99 and is available on Amazon.com.
For more information on ShoeTips visit www.ShoeTips.com.  

Flextone's Ol' Faithful belongs in every turkey hunter's call bag

"Silence" is a word turkey hunters frown upon.
It's happened to all of us. The only sounds we hear are squirrels or blue jays.  
"What's up with the turkeys? I can't get anything out of hens or gobblers. Do they have laryngitis?" we ask ourselves.
Well, I found a box call that will not only get gobblers gobbling, but hens clucking and yelping, too. It's the Flextone Ol' Faithful box call. Trust me. It works.
I live in a great turkey zone in the Greater La Crosse Area. Our condo in the valley borders super turkey hunting habitat as well as many turkeys. It's a rare day when I don't see hens, poults and gobblers in the huge alfalfa and waste grain field bordering our property.
I always keep my turkey call bag handy in our garage and use several different calls to try and get the critters to call back. However, once they turn "silent," nothing seems to jumpstart them again.
Two days ago, I saw a group of 22 birds, including three huge gobblers in the field. I stood near my garage and made a few strokes on one of my box calls. I also tried a slate call and diaphragm call. Nothing. It didn't surprise me. The birds are "henned up" at this time of the year.
That's when I turned to the Ol' Faithful call I agreed to product test for Flextone. There were no agreements for a positive review... simply an honest review.
I made a few yelps with the call, but thought they were way too loud. However, the hens began clucking while the three toms displayed among them. I stopped and listened. The hens eventually went back to feeding while the gobblers continued to strut their stuff.
I called a few minutes later. One of the gobblers returned my call loudly. The hens began to cluck. The same thing happened again and again.
The two things that surprised me the most were how loud the call is and the high-pitched sound it produces.
My huntin' buddy, "Texas" Terry Stuart, agrees. He tried the call on the farm where we hunt turkeys and was very impressed, too. Indeed, this mini boat paddle box call really works.Eddie "The Turkey Man" Salter is also impressed, according to a Flextone news release.
“It’s the ideal call to create the sharp, loud cutting sounds necessary to fire up gobblers – especially over longer distances or in noisy conditions,” says Salter, who makes the Ol’ Faithful Box Call his go-to call for locating and runnin’ and gunnin’.
“Despite its locating ability, the Ol’ Faithful isn’t a one-trick pony.” Salter added. “It’s got that raspy low end of an old, yelping hen which makes it a great all-around call.”
The release also states the Ol" Faithful box turkey call features:
* Mini boat paddle design.
* Custom eucalyptus lid and base.
* Exceptional volume for locating and long-distance calling.
* Two-sided design for multiple hen tones.
* High front-end with exceptional backside rasp.
* Handcrafted and hand-tuned.
* Made in the USA.
* MSRP: $29.99.
To learn more, check out our product test video right here at boblamboutdoors.
For more information, visit www.FlextoneGameCalls.com.


Wisconsin unveils turkey donation program

Like you, I enjoy helping others.
I give lots of fish to friends, especially older folks, who can't get out and enjoy the outdoors anymore. I'll even clean and fillet fish for my closest friends, relatives and elderly people, knowing full well that some day I will need a helping hand, too.
Our family is usually fortunate enough to get one deer for the freezer each year, although some years we get skunked. When we are lucky enough to get two deer, we manage to make room in our freezer. We do share venison burger with family, friends and the elderly, but we haven't donated any deer to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Deer Donation Program.

I quit turkey hunting when I retired seven years ago. To this day I really don't now why. I still enjoy calling the critters. Yet, my heart isn't in it anymore.
If I did hunt turkeys, I wouldn't get involved with the new turkey program offered this spring and next fall.  
You see, hunters now have the option of donating their harvested turkey to needy families through the new Turkey Donation Program.
I'm sure it will develop into another worthwhile program to help the needy, and I applaud the DNR for offering it. However, I'm a little selfish. I enjoy wild turkey as much as venison. I shot many wild turkeys through the years and they were always delicious on the grill. Family members agree.
For those of you heading to the turkey woods and fields this spring and fall, have safe, successful hunts. And if you wish to donate your turkey, be sure to follow the instructions below.
Donated turkeys will be processed free of charge and meat will be provided to local food pantries. For the spring 2017 turkey hunt, three pilot counties, Dodge, Fond du Lac and Jefferson, were chosen. This program will be expanded for the fall turkey hunt later this year.
Participating locations are as follows (additional locations may be added after the start of the spring season; a list of participating locations can be found on the DNR’s website: dnr.wi.gov, keyword search Turkey Donation):
* Dodge County: Pernat-Haase Meats, N4202 Hwy M, Juneau, 920-386-3340;
* Fond Du Lac County: Loehr's Meat Service, 523 E Main St, Campbellsport, 920-533-4513; and
* Jefferson County: Pernat’s Premium Meats, 312 Milwaukee St, Johnson Creek, 920-699-6990.
Hunters can follow four simple steps to donate a harvested turkey to a family in need. Turkeys must be taken to a participating location by May 31:
* Prior to donation, field dress the turkey, complete registration, and validate the carcass tag.
* Contact a participating processor before drop-off to verify the processor has space to accept a turkey.
* Donate the entire turkey to receive processing for free (the feet, beard and feathers may be removed prior to donating). A bag of ice placed in the cavity will help preserve the carcass in warm weather.
* Complete the log sheet and indicate desire to donate the turkey. The donated turkey will be processed and the ground turkey will be distributed to charitable organizations to help feed families in need.
Those interested in supporting the Deer and Turkey Donation Programs can voluntarily donate $1 or more to the Deer and Turkey Donation Programs to help cover meat-processing fees. To donate, visit any license sales location or donate online through a Go Wild account at GoWild.Wi.Gov
For more information about the DNR’s turkey donation program and more on how you can help, visit and search keywords “

Player input remains backbone of County Amateur

How does that go again?
Throw something against the wall. If it sticks, great!
In late 1990, then La Crosse Tribune publisher, the late Sanders "Sandy" Hook, asked an overweight, baldheaded golf writer about starting up the "old County Amateur" again.
I agreed. The La Crosse County Amateur Golf Championships were re-born in 1991.
The Men's tournament blossomed to 200 entries. A Women's County Amateur, Seniors County Amateur and Juniors County Amateur followed. Through the years, the County Am had lots of peaks and a few valleys, but some how, some way, it survived.
The Men's tournament has a long, storied history. It began in 1932, discontinued during the war years of 1943-1945, and then was dropped again from 1976-1990 before the Tribune stepped up to the plate.
The County Am appeared dead in the water again when the Tribune withdrew its title sponsorship in 2012. However, a small group of course owners and former County Am officials assumed control. Pepsi-Cola Bottling of La Crosse jumped on board instantly as the new title sponsor.
Yes, the County Amateur Golf Championships remain alive and well.
As County Amateur historian/board member/tournament director, I reminded Board members at our recent annual meeting that the County Am actually was a 54-hole tournament from 1932 through 1950. I also brought up the idea to start a 54-hole Men's County Amateur for Championship Flight players only on a trial basis this summer.   
Board members suggested we gauge interest by surveying the 34 Championship Flight players from the 2016 tournament. I did. However, after reviewing the survey results, I recommended to the Board that we maintain a 36-hole event for all Men's Flights.
My recommendation was based on the fact of lower than expected player response. Those who did respond, favored a 54-hole tournament by a 2-to-1 margin. However, to me that wasn't enough.
When Sandy Hook and I began this journey 27 years ago, we pledged to always listen to players before reaching a decision.
That is why we are keeping the Men's County Amateur format just like it is.
As for the Seniors County Amateur, there has been a growing chorus of support for a "Super Seniors Flight" for players age 70 and older. Again, overwhelming support by aging players allows the new, low net flight.
We continue to value player input. We always have, we always will. Player input will forever stick on our County Am wall.