4 Seasons Sassss

Golf Course Facts

  • QUICKFACTSThe World's Longest Golf Course is the International Golf Club in Massachusetts, a long par 77,  8325-yards, from the tiger tees.
  • The World's Highest Golf Course is the Tactu Golf Club in Morococha, Peru, which sits 14,335 feet above sea level at its lowest point.
  • The Longest Hole in the World is the 7th hole (par 7) of the Sano Course at the Satsuki Golf Club in Japan.  It measures a long 909 yards.
  • The World's Largest Bunker is Hell's Half Acre on the 585-yard 7th hole of the Pine Valley Course in New Jersey.
  • The World's Largest Green is that of the 695-yard, 5th hole, a par 6 at the International Golf Club in Massachusetts, with an area in excess of 28,000 square feet.

Golfing Feats

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  • The Lowest Recorded Score on a long course in the UK is 58 by Harry Weetman, the British Ryder Cub golfer, for the 6170-yard Croham Hurst Course in Croydon, Surrey, on January 30, 1956.
  • The Lowest Recorded Score in the world is a 57 shot by Wayne Meyers of Easley, S.C. back in 1994 at Southern Oaks golf course in Powdersville, South Carolina in the USA.
  • The Lowest Recorded Score by a Woman in a professional tournament on an 18-hole course of more than 6,000 yards was a 62, first recorded by Mickey Wright on the Par 71, 6,286 yard Hogan Park Course at Midland, Texas, in November 1964.  The score was equaled by Laura Davies in the 1991 Rail Charity Classic.
  • A Score of 59 The first professional to record a 59 on the US Pro Tour was Al Geiberger on June 10, 1977, in the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic at the Colonial Country Club.  It included 11 birdies and an eagle and just 23 putts.  The score was eventually equaled by Chip Beck, and more recently David Duval.
  • The Record for 36 Holes is 122 by Sam Snead in the 1959 Sam Snead Festival on May 16-17, 1959.
  • The Most Holes-In-One in a year is 28 by Scott Palmer in 1983.  All were on par 3 and par 4 holes between 130 yards and 350 yards in length at Balboa Park in san Diego, California.
  • The Most Holes-In-One in a career is 68 by Harry Lee Bonner from 1967 to 1985, most of them at his 9-hole home course of Las Gallinas, San Rafael, California.
  • The Longest Hole-In-One ever recorded is the 10th (447 yards) at Miracle Hills Golf Club at Omaha, Nebraska, by Robert Mitera on October 7, 1965.  A 50mph gust carried his shot over a 290-yard drop-off.
  • Drive of 2,640 Yards across ice was achieved by an Australian meteorologist named Nils Lied at Mawson Base, Antartica, in 1962.
  • The Longest Recorded Drive on an ordinary course is one of 515 yards by Michael Hoke Austin of Los Angeles, California, in the US National Seniors Open Championship at Las Vegas, Nevada on September 25, 1974.  Austin drove the ball within a yard of the green on the par 4 450-yard 5th hole of Winterwood Course.  It rolled 65 yards past the flag aided by an estimated 35mph tailwind.
  • On the Runway at Baldonnel Military Airport in Dublin, Liam Higgins drove a Spalding Top Flite ball 634.1 yards on September 25, 1984.
  • The Longest Holed Putts in a major tournament were both 110 feet - Jack Nicklaus in the  1964 Tournament of Champions and Nick Price in the 1992 PGA.
  • Robert Tyre "Bobby" Jones, Jr. was reputed to have holed a putt in excess of 100 feet at the 5th green in the first round of the 1927 Open at St. Andrews.
  • A Putt Measured at 140 feet and 2 3/4 inches on the 18th at St. Andrews was sunk by Bob Cook in the International Fourball Pro Am Tournament on October 1, 1976.
  • The Greatest Margin of Victory in a major tournament is 21 strokes by Jerry Pate in the Colombian Open with 262 on December 10-13, 1981.  Cecil Leitch won the Canadian Ladies Open Championship in 1921 by the biggest margin for a major title - 17 up and 15 to play.

Golf Oddities

  • golf_car_123Floyd Satterlee Rood used the United States as a golf course, when he played from the Pacific to the Atlantic from September 14, 1963, to October 3, 1964, in 114,737 strokes.  He lost 3,511 balls on the 3,397.7 mile trail.
  • The Greatest Number of Rounds played on foot in 24 hours is 22 and five holes - a total of 401 holes - by Ian Colston, aged 35, at Bendigo Golf Club in Victoria (a par 73 6,6061-yard course) on November 27028, 1971.
  • Seventy-Seven Players completed the 18-hole 6,502-yard Kern City Course in California in 10 minutes, 30 seconds, on August 24, 1984, using one ball.  Score - 80!
  • The Lowest Recorded Score for throwing a golf ball around 18 holes (more than 6,000 yards) is 82 by Joe Flynn, ages 21, at the 6,228-yard Port Royal Course in Bermuda on March 27, 1975.
  • The World One-Club Championship was won by Thad Daber using a 6-iron at the 6,037-yard Lochmore Golf Course in Cary, North Carolina with a 73 on November 10th, 1985.
  • The Longest Delayed Result in any national open championship occurred in the 1931 US Open at Toledo, Ohio.  George von Elme and Billy Burke tied at 292, then tied the first replay at 149.  Burke won the second replay by a single stroke after 72 extra holes.
  • A Record 321,779 Competitors - 206,820 men and 114,959 women - played the 1984 Volkswagen Grand Prix Open Amateur Championship in the UK.
  • The Slowest Strokeplay Tournament round was one of 6 hours 45 minutes taken by South Africa in the first round of the 1972 World Cup at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia.  This was a four-ball medal round, everything holed out.
  • Steven Ward Took 222 Strokes for the 6,212-yard Pecos Course in Reeves County, Texas, on June 18,1976 - but he was only 3 years and 286 days old.
  • Jacqueline Ann Mercer won her first South African title at Humewood Golf Club in Port Elizabeth in 1948 and her fourth in Port Elizabeth Golf club on May 4, 1979, 31 years later.

Fact or Fiction

Flex Ratings Are All The Same

True or Not true. Why does an 'S' shaft from one manufacturer feel so different to that of another? Each shaft company has their own designs for shafts. They grade their shafts in accordance to their own flex ratings so an 'S' shaft from one company could in fact be an 'R' or 'X' from another. Even within a company different ranges of shaft designs will show different flex readings. It is very hard to compare apples to apples without a Frequency Analyser. Table 1 below shows the results of three different manufacturers 'R' flex's tested as raw full length 40" shafts.

Two of the companies manufacture two 'R' shaft designs however I have not indicated which these are or what materials the shafts were made of. The pairs from within the same company were both either steel to steel or graphite to graphite.

Raw Shaft Flex in Cycles Per Minute
40" Raw Shaft CPM 
1 318 
2 313 
3 318 
4 306 
5 295

The Higher A Golf Ball Bounces, The Further It Will Fly

True or Not true. Have you ever been in a golf shop and noticed a fellow customer bouncing a golf ball on a hard surface, judging which brand bounced higher and basing their purchase decision on that test? Possibly, as it happens often. The compression stress placed on a golf ball, even when bounced on a hard surface, is minimal compared to stress placed on the ball when it is being hit by a clubhead at speed. 800-1000kgs of crush versus gravity's pull. Different types of ball construction (Fig. 1), two-piece, three-piece, wound balls, number of cores and construction materials will all have an influence on how a ball will fly.

The only way to find the best ball for your game is to try a variety out at the driving range or on the golf course. Or better yet, find a launch monitor and experiment with a variety of golf balls until you discover the correct one for your swing and club.

The Lines On The Putter Are The Sweet Spot

Not necessarily true. If a manufacturer has put sightlines on the top of a putter then they have to line up with the sweet spot. Well they should do, however each clubhead is built with mass quality tolerance levels so these sightlines may not always correspond with the sweet spot.

To find the sweet spot hold your club between two fingers up high in front of you and tap the clubface with a pencil on the toe or heel of the club (Fig. 2). It will twist around. Keep tapping toward the middle of the clubface until the clubface stops twisting and moves only back and forth rather than to the side. Your last point of contact is your sweet spot and should be marked as such.

Face Grooves Create Backspin

This one is common and one of the great myths of golf. The backspin is created by the balls compression on the clubface. This occurs between the time of impact and the moment of separation from the clubface. The clubs swing path and type of head rotation sees the ball mashed into the clubface. The loft presented to the ball distorts it in shape and gives us the launch angle and all of its backspin. The ball does not actually ever ride up the clubface, instead it gets imbedded in the face where the groove lines reside. High-speed photography has proved this. The more loft the greater the backspin.

Therefore, the grooves have zero influence on the launch angle or backspin on the ball. Well known club designer Ralph Maltby built a set of irons with no face groves at all and played with them extensively to prove this point to disbelievers.

Also, in the mid 1980's the USGA undertook extensive groove type testing and concluded that in dry conditions it was loft, not grooves that put backspin on the ball.

So what good are grooves then? Rather like car tyres which work perfectly in the dry, we need them to work in the wet as well. Clubfaces without grooves work fine in dry conditions but with water and grass in the way, the grooves allow some of the trapped materials to be moved from the collision zone. Without groves you may get a high flyer with less spin and in this instance the ball does in fact run up the face ‚œ it actually skids up the face on the lubricating water and/or grass.

5 Irons Have The Most Backspin

This is an old wives tale. Following on from the face grooves myth above it is pretty obvious that the more loft we have on a club the higher the backspin rate will be.

Topspin Creates More Ball Roll

‚Å“I hit that drive with a lot of topspin. Look at it roll way out there‚. To get the ball airborne we have to hit it with backspin. The backspin creates the lift the ball requires to stay up there. If we did hit a ball with topspin it would just knuckle ball into the ground. These days with the advent of launch monitors we see players trying to optimize the backspin on the balls being played so that they can improve length off the tee.

The perceived topspin is actually a ball that has been hit with a counter-clockwise turning clubhead through the impact to separation zone, a draw spin. In this case the ball has been presented a clubface that has a little less loft shown than a shot where the clubface has been left open and opening further, a clockwise increase in backspin if you like, a high slice.

Forged Irons Feel Softer Than Cast Irons

Many players think a forged club feels sweeter to play than an investment cast head. Indeed at an atomic level the grains in a forged club are a little farther apart in comparison to an investment cast iron. But in a blindfold test hardly anyone can tell the difference. It is probably more a case of most forged clubs look really good and this mental image adds to the mystique of the real feel.

Golf Shafts Lose Their Stiffness

Many people surmise that if you keep using your clubs over a long period of time the shafts will 'wear out' and lose some of their stiffness and become weaker. This is not the case at all, even with steel shafts. The reason for this is that the loads put on the shafts never get anywhere near the break straining points which would be required to cause metal fatigue in steel. If you have kinked a shaft or there is rust present then this is a different matter but a good quality shaft, whether steel or graphite, will keep its flex.

7 Woods Are For Women & Seniors

Whilst in the US last year I walked by up to 200 golf bags a day on the driving range and I was actually surprised at how this old view just does not exist over there in comparison to Australia and the UK. A 7 wood flies higher and lands softer than a 3 iron for players with slower swing speeds. Many slower swingers cannot hit their 3 iron any farther than their 4 iron as the backspin they place on the ball is not high enough to keep it airborne. Learn to use a 4 iron from under a bush and the 7 wood becomes one of your best friends on course.

The History of Golf

No one knows the precise origins of the game of golf.  Some think it really began in medieval times, with shepherds hitting pebbles around the hillsides with their crooks.

Another suggestion is that the game derived from the ancient Flemish pastime of chole, which was already known about and played in England by the mid-14th century.

Perhaps the most likely forerunner was the Dutch game of kolf, documented as early as the end of the 13th century and portrayed in many Dutch landscape paintings by the 16th century.  "Golfers" certainly played cross-country with a stick and ball, not into a hole but to certain landmarks, usually doors on specific buildings.

It was in Scotland, however that the game really developed.  Up and down the east coast, it apparently became so popular a pastime that in 1457 King James II, in an Act of Parliament, banned golf - and soccer too - because they were interfering with archery practice.  Skill with the bow and arrow was crucial to keeping the English out of Scotland.  The game remained uniquely - perhaps with its Dutch counterpart of kolf - until James VI of Scotland also became King of England and took the game south with him.  At Blackheath in South London, the Scottish noblemen laid out a seven-hole course so they could continue playing their beloved game.

The early courses in Scotland bore little resemblance to those of today.  The game was played over public land - as in places it still is - with natural hazards and obstacles to negotiate   Not only were walls and ditches part of the game, but players often had to thread their way through others out enjoying their various recreations - horse racing, cricket, picnicking and so on.

Caddies were hired by the golfers, not just to carry the clubs - golf bags were not invented until around 1870 - but to help make a way through the other activities on the links and presumably to watch out for the ball.

Courses were natural, manicured only by sheep and rabbits.  There were no formal tees as such; players simply teed up a few feet from the previous hole.

Rules, of course, developed over the years, and golf clubs were formed.  The oldest of these, the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers - now based at Muirfield - was founded in 1744, while ten years later the Society of St. Andrews' Golfers was created.

The rules of various clubs and courses were standardized, following St. Andrews' lead in using 18 holes.  Before 1764, the course at St. Andrews consisted of 22 holes, others had as few as 6 and as many as 25.  But by 1858 it had been agreed.  the Society of St. Andrews Golfers, having become the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews in 1834 now ruled that a round of golf should be 18 holes.  And so it has remained.

The game developed rapidly and began to be played professionally in the mid-1800's.  Allan Robertson, the first great professional golfer, died in 1858.  Some say that his death prompted the first professional championship at Prestwick in 1860 to find a new national champion.  This competition was opened to amateurs in 1861 to become the first Open Championship.  In 1863 it attracted prize money for the winner of just 10 pounds.   And from there, the game of golf developed to the game we now know today.

One less Excuse!

Hot Humid Air Won't Slow Your Ball Down

Worried that humidity hampers ball flight?  Think that the ball has a harder time pushing its way through dense air?  If so, you're all wet.  Hot humid air actually is lighter than cold, dry air.  And water vapor is lighter than dry air, so on a humid day the air is actually less dense, providing less resistance.  That means a golf ball will fly farther on a humid day - but not enough that you'll notice a difference. Our conclusion: Don't sweat it.

Dog Days of Summer

In ancient times, when the night sky was unobscured by artificial lights and smog, different groups of peoples in different parts of the world drew images in the sky by ‚Å“connecting the dots‚ of stars. The images drawn were dependent upon the culture: The Chinese saw different images than the Native Americans, who saw different pictures than the Europeans. These star pictures are now called constellations, and the constellations that are now mapped out in the sky come from our European ancestors.

They saw images of bears, (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor), twins, (Gemini), a bull, (Taurus), and others, including dogs, (Canis Major and Canis Minor).

The brightest of the stars in Canis Major (the big dog) is Sirius, which also happens to be the brightest star in the night sky. In fact, it is so bright that the ancient Romans thought that the earth received heat from it. Look for it in the southern sky (viewed from northern latitudes) during January.

In the summer, however, Sirius, the ‚Å“dog star,‚ rises and sets with the sun. During late July Sirius is in conjunction with the sun, and the ancients believed that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather. They named this period of time, from 20 days before the conjunction to 20 days after, ‚Å“dog days‚ after the dog star.

The conjunction of Sirius with the sun varies somewhat with latitude. And the ‚Å“precession of the equinoxes‚ (a gradual drifting of the constellations over time) means that the constellations today are not in exactly the same place in the sky as they were in ancient Rome. Today, dog days occur during the period between July 3 and August 11. Although it is certainly the warmest period of the summer, the heat is not due to the added radiation from a far-away star, regardless of its brightness. No, the heat of summer is a direct result of the earth's tilt.

Is 42 The Perfect Age to Play Golf?

I recently received an article from a friend of mine about the perfect age of golfers.  She was quite upset as the age was mentioned as 42 and being that she was 83 and still playing golf she thought the perfect age would be 83 as long as you are still playing 18 holes 3-4 times a week. :-) 

As Joan's article states that many football or hockey players may burn out in their late twenties, or early 30's but good old golfers have a much longer shelf life. According to their research and expert opinion by the Quinn Insurance Company, that the best age for men and women to play golf is age 42. 

They say that for you to perfect your swing and with experience, stamina, confidence on the course, patience and technically should put them in the front of their game. Research recently shows that 42 is the average ideal age for precision and accuracy on the course. It seems they check with over 200 of the world's top golfers on their average score over 18 holes and that the 40-45 age group topped the list leaving the 20-25 years old behind.

This test was done by sports physiotherapist, Cornel Driessen who works with the top European Tour golfers. It is quoted as saying many might be looking to Tiger Woods as top physical condition for golf. They state that there is an ideal golf specimen within each and every one of us playing this game, so mater what level, gender or age.

Driessen believes that peak golfing performance is down to physical conditioning and training the body and mind to perform. If we keep practicing and gaining the edge our body will respond which means a great deal of practice to make us successful. If we are to compete with the younger ones our game has to be in top performance. Mr. Dreissen explains that for those he works with to stay at high standard of physical conditioning program has to be tailored to their body's individual needs throughout the years.

Lee Westwood was mentioned in this article as he hit the headlines here in America when he enjoyed his best performance at a major in the US Open. I remember watching him in the open and thought how much he improved himself as he has slimmed down and his game was in top form. Lee Westwood remarked that all this work he was doing now in 2008 will help him say in 2018 when he will be only 44 years old.

Another golfer was mentioned Nigel Ellis when he said that his performance on the golf course has improved massively with age, as he has cut his handicap down from 28 to 18. He believes that older players are more relaxed and patient on the course and all that practice sure is paying off as you get older.

I found this article very interesting as all it proves that the more you practice the better your golf game will become. I can't say that I have lowered my handicap much, nor has Joan as she states she was scoring in the 90's when she was at age 45 and is still scoring in the 90's at age 83. However, she says she does practice a lot before each time she plays 18 holes.  She claims to have had many golfing lessons throughout her 50 years of playing golf. Some days my game is better than others she said and I think the mental game has a lot to do with that she claims.  Outside distractions can cause any golfer to lose that edge. Slow play bothers me the most as some players are never ready when it is their time to hit the ball. Some stand over their putt for longer than is necessary and when we are playing in 90 degree heat with the sun bearing down on those hot greens it gets to me. We have some players who are oblivious as to what is going on around them never pay attention to where everybody has hit the ball. I try to keep my cool as it is all part of the game.

Your age should not have anything to do with your game unless you have not taken care of yourself as you aged. Eating right, exercising and keep yourself mentally alert should go with you into old age. I know many of our golfers have aches and pains, some have diabetes, heart problems and corrective knee surgery but they are still out there because the love of the game of golf.  Age is just a number and with golf you can play at almosy any number you like.

Labour Day

Labour Day or Labor Day is an annual holiday to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers. Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.

Canada
Labour Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September in Canada since the 1880s. The origins of Labour Day in Canada can be traced back to April 14, 1872 when a parade was staged in support of the Toronto Typographical Union's strike for a 58-hour work-week.  The Toronto Trades Assembly (TTA) called its 27 unions to demonstrate in support of the Typographical Union who had been on strike since March 25.  George Brown, Canadian politician and editor of the Toronto Globe hit back at his striking employees, pressing police to charge the Typographical Union with "conspiracy."  Although the laws criminalising union activity were outdated and had already been abolished in Great Britain, they were still on books in Canada and police arrested 24 leaders of the Typographical Union. Labour leaders decided to call another similar demonstration on September 3 to protest the arrests. Seven unions marched in Ottawa, prompting a promise by Canadian Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald to repeal the "barbarous" anti-union laws.  Parliament passed the Trade Union Act on June 14 the following year, and soon all unions were demanding a 54-hour work-week.

The Toronto Trades and Labour Council (successor to the TTA) held similar celebrations every spring. American Peter J. McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was asked to speak at a labour festival in Toronto, Canada on July 22, 1882. Returning to the United States, McGuire and the Knights of Labor organised a similar parade based on the Canadian event on September 5, 1882 in New York City, USA. On July 23, 1894, Canadian Prime Minister John Thompson and his government made Labour Day, to be held in September, an official holiday. In the United States, the New York parade became an annual event that year, and in 1894 was adopted by American president Grover Cleveland to compete with International Workers' Day (May Day).

While Labour Day parades and picnics are organised by unions, many Canadians regard Labour Day as the Monday of the last long weekend of summer. Non-union celebrations include picnics, fireworks displays, water activities, and public art events. Since the new school year generally starts right after Labour Day, families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer.

An old custom prohibits the wearing of white after Labour Day. The explanations for this tradition range from the fact that white clothes are worse protection against cold weather in the winter to the fact that the rule was intended as a status symbol for new members of the middle class in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

A Labour Day tradition in Atlantic Canada would be the Wharf Rat Rally, while the rest of Canada is watching Labour Day Classic, Canadian Football League event where rivals like Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts, and Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers play on Labour Day weekend. Before the demise of the Ottawa Renegades after the 2005 season, that team played the nearby Montreal Alouettes on Labour Day weekend. Since then, the Alouettes have played the remaining team in the league, the BC Lions.

Labour Day parade in Grand Falls-Windsor Newfoundland started in 1910 and still continues today, 100 years later. The celebrations go on for three days with the parade on Labour Day Monday.

Worlds Most Unique Golf Courses

Golfing holidays have become increasingly popular over the past decade and are a perfect way to unwind and catch a tan, and unwind in your cheap hotels bar after being sorely embarrassed by your mulligan at the 9th. If you're thinking of booking such a sporting vacation, you'll be pleased to know that golf courses are popping up at a steady rate in pretty much every country you can name. However if you're looking for something a little more unique, there are also a number of golf courses which are bizarre enough to become talking points in their own right, even before you've managed to buckle your first club.

To help you in your quest, here are just some of the world's strangest golf courses and holes.

Brickyard Crossing Golf Course

Indy_Course

Boasting a ridiculously vast seating capacity of 257,000+, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is comfortably the world's highest capacity sports facility on Earth and is host to a number of high profile racing events throughout the year due to it's world-famous 2.5 mile track. What many people fail to realise however, is that within the confines of said track sits four holes of Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort, an 18-hole course designed by Pete Dye which has itself been home to various golfing events over the years. The backstretch of the track separates the four-hole loop from the remaining 14 holes, and there's even a water hazard within the track in the form of a lake.

Legend Golf And Safari

Golf_safari

Should you choose to holiday in the vicinity of the 22,000 hectare Entabeni Safari Conservancy in South Africa, make an effort to play at least one round of golf at The Legend Golf Resort, surely one of the most beautiful courses yet to be created. If the surrounding scenery isn't enough to guarantee your attendance, just take a look at the aptly named ‚ËœExtreme 19th Hole' in the photographs above and reconsider. The good news: it's a par 3. The bad news: you need to jump in a helicopter to reach the tee, which is situated nearly half a kilometre above the green, near the tip of Hangslip mountain.

This is how it should be tackled:


Safari

The Movable Floating Green

moveable_green_1

When designer Scot Mills unveiled the stunning Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course in Idaho it was obvious that sooner or later his work would win an award, and Golf Digest soon presented it when naming the course top in the category ‚ËœBeauty and Aesthetics'. But beautiful golf courses aren't unique. What is unique though, is the course's 14th hole, pictured above. This is, according to its owners, ‚Ëœthe world's only par 3 floating movable island green' and due to its location is only reachable via its charming, dedicated Putter Boat shuttle.

Truly International Golf

International_Golf

There are couple of reasons to take a golfing vacation at the Green Zone Golf Club. First of all, due to the course being located in Lappi, Finland, it's possible to play a round at any time during the day or night in golfing season, as the sun doesn't go down for months. Couple this with the fact that 9 holes are in Finland, the other 9 in Sweden and you have the ability to play a round of golf in two countries at 2am whilst the sun is still shining. If that isn't a unique golfing experience, I don't know what is.

Coober Peddy Opel Fields

dusty

 

Coober Pedy is a small mining town in Southern Australia, famous due to the majority of its inhabitants living underground to avoid the unbearable heat which bears down on the area throughout the year. It's a surprise there's a golf course at all. However it's not a surprise to learn that the golf course which does exist above ground in Coober Pedy is without a single blade of grass, golfers choosing instead to carry a patch of turf around the course from which to tee-off. Also, due to the aforementioned heat, the majority of the golfing takes place at night using glowing balls.
Some dusty golfing takes place at 1:43 in the following video.

The Longest Round

Longest_Round

 

While you're in Australia, why not have a quick round at Nullarbor Links? The 18 hole course only stretches 1,365 kilometres along the coast of South Australia after all. Officially the world's longest golf course, Nullarbor Links opened in recent months to a flurry of disbelief, mainly due to the fact that the average distance between holes is a whopping 66 kilometres. In fact, two of the course's holes are separated by approximately 200 kilometres of land, meaning you'll need something more powerful than a Golf Cart to cover the 18 holes in anything less than a few weeks.

Clashing Rocks

Clashing

 

Although now not as bizarre following a redesign, special mention must go to the original layout of ‚ËœClashing Rocks', the 7th hole at Stone Harbor Golf Club in New Jersey. The course's designer, Desmond Muirhead, was asked to design 18 unique holes back in the late 1980s and whilst all were certainly interesting, none confused as many people as the 7th; a par-3 whose green sat alone in the water, flanked by two jagged bunkers supposedly inspired by Jason and the Argonauts. Unfortunately such a green proved problematic, hence its current modified appearance.

 

Jim Furyk wins The Tour Championship, FedEx Cup - What Would You Do If Money Was No Object

Jim Furyk had an $11.35 million day Sunday as he took The Tour Championship in Atlanta, giving him a $10 million bonus for winning the FedEx Cup.


ATLANTA ‚ On a wet, dark and difficult Sunday, it all came down to making a par at the last hole. A mere par, from the deep greenside bunker at East Lake Golf Club, and Jim Furyk would win it all ‚ The Tour Championship, the FedEx Cup, all the money, his career-best third PGA Tour title of the year and, perhaps, the player-of-the-year award.

If ever there was a task that matched the man, this was it: a tough, blue-collar day at The Tour Championship, with rain falling and grips slipping and throats tightening and players faltering. And there was Furyk, having stoically fought the elements all day, a man who was disqualified from the first playoff event for missing his pro-am starting time because an alarm didn't go off. He was standing on wet sand with a 60-degree wedge and needed to get up and down to win $11.35 million.

That was what he did. With slightly more than 18 yards to the hole, Furyk's shot from the sand came out low and spinning. It bounced twice, grabbed the wet green and skidded to a stop 2 ½ feet past the hole, leaving him a tap-in the 40-year-old would call "just about dummy proof."

A soaked Furyk, his cap spun backward, brushed in the putt and let out two whoops.

Furyk's par round of 70, anything but easy, gave him a total of 8-under-par 272 and a one-stroke victory over Luke Donald, who also shot a 70. Furyk got $1.35 million for winning the tournament and a $10 million bonus for clinching the FedEx Cup.

Donald, who holed a 100-foot birdie pitch at the 17th hole to give himself a chance, couldn't sink a 48-foot birdie putt on No. 18.

Ryan Moore (69) of Puyallup tied for ninth and was 21st in FedEx Cup points, a combination worth a total of $428,125.

What Would You Do?

Imagine you are Jim Furyk and just won 11 million, or better yet you are Tiger Woods and you were independently wealthy and did not have to work to support yourself and your family, what would you do with your life? How would you spend your time?

For those of us who don't know what we want to do in life, who aren't sure whether we have a passion or a calling, the answer to this question might provide a clue. If money were no object what would you do?

I know my answer. I'd do all the things I do and enjoy now; I'd just do them more often.  Spending time with my Girls (Wife and Two Daughters), Bass Fishing, Playing Golf, Collecting and Racing Slot Cars etc.  I'd build a log house on the end of a lake in which I could create a sanctuary for myself and my family to enjoy.  I would relish the opportunity to be able to focus more on my kids and to watch them grow up, become educated and independent and eventually have a loving spouse and a family of their own that I could call my grandchildren.   I'd continue to watch my health and continue to try to get into better shape so that I am around long enough to enjoy the things I just described.  One day I'd go back to university and continue my studies so that I continue to build the wisdom they say comes with age.

There's more of course. One can see all sorts of possibilities when money is not a worry or an issue. I'd probably want to find a place down south to escape the winter months and weather when I desired and to have a place to fish and play golf when Canada is frozen over.  Travel a little more often. Visit the local humane society and adopt some pets. And find ways of contributing to the community. The philanthropic possibilities when you're filthy rich would be simply endless.

What would you do? Would you start a business of your own if there were no risk of financial failure? Would you move to Hawaii for a permanent surfing holiday? Maybe you would throw over your position as a high-powered executive to open a daycare for children. Or decide to travel around the world studying history and trekking through ruins.

If there were no limitations what would you do with yourself? How would you spend your days? Where would you find meaning in your life?

Maybe your answer would surprise you. Maybe you love what you're doing right now and couldn't imagine doing anything else. If so, you're lucky. You've found your 'thing', your calling already.

But for those of you who haven't, this kind of dreaming might give you a glimpse into the life you really want. Think big, think outrageous, think no bounds. How would you express your talents and gifts? What desires are at the very core of your being? What fond wish have you never dared reveal to anyone?

Something you may discover when you dream like this, and especially when you write it down and can review it in black and white, is that it's not all that outrageous after all.

It's OK to Dream!!

The Bad

Being a public player, it is nice to read an article with many good choices for great golf courses at a fair price.  I decided to take a suggestion from you list of the Best Bang For The Buck and went to play Hidden Lake on August 25th and was completly disappointed.  The first issue is that the golf course was $67.50 to walk and the group that paid in front of me got a discount with their round of $55 dollars with cart.  (I'm not sure how this discount was available for some but not others).

The second issue is that the first three greens of the Old Course were unplayable and I feel this should have been explained to me beforehand as it took six holes for the greens to run consistently.

The last issue I had was the terribleservice, which was terrible from the start to the finish.  The pro shop seemed to want nothign to do with us, and we did not see a beverage car throughout the entire round, which was upsetting as it was a sunny and warm day.

Overall, I enjoy you magazine immensely and I have played more than half of your :\"Best Bang" list and will continue to pick golf courses from this list. But I feel that if I do not say anything, I would not be helping others in the future for OG.  Thanks and please continue to produce an amazing magazine.

 

Celebration of Christmas Around The World

Christmas is one of the biggest celebrations for the people belonging to the Christian faith. But it would be wrong to assume that it is only celebrated among the Christians. With the world becoming a global village, Christmas is now celebrated in many countries around the world. Caroling, feasting, and gift-giving along with the prayers and wishes - Christmas is celebrated with high spirits in various parts of the world. Though the mode of celebration, the dates and the traditions vary, the spirit remains the same everywhere. While most of us celebrate it as a festive season spreading over a week, for some it is a month long festival that starts with the Advent on Sunday next to November 26 and ends on January 6 with the feast of Epiphany. Read on to have a glimpse over the different ways in which it is celebrated in different countries of the world.


For a glimpse over the different ways it is celebrated in different countries, click on the country link below.  For a complete list with many more countries being shown go to the original article by clicking here:

Argentina

Christmas Day in Argentina is observed every year on the 25th December.  During Christmas the weather is warm in Argentina. But that in no way lessens the fun of the season. Preparations for Christmas Day begin much earlier than in many other parts of the world. Every house is decorated beautifully with lights and flowers. Living rooms of individual homes are adorned with wreaths of green, gold, red and white flowers. Red and white garlands are hung with an aesthetic touch on the doors of houses. Artificial or live trees are used to create the Christmas tree and embellished with laces, balls, Santa Clause figures, candles, colored lights, ornaments, small gifts and even "Papai Noels". The Nativity scene or “pesebre” is an important part of the Argentine Christmas decorations. Many set up a creche in their homes during the season, setting up Christ's manger with great care. The “pesebre” is placed close to the Christmas tree. A wonderful custom practiced be many people here is applying cotton balls on the branches of the Christmas tree to simulate snow throughout the nativity. 

Christmas here is an occasion for a get together with extended members of the family. On Christmas Eve, people go to local churches with their family to attend religious services. Thereupon, they visit each other's home. There are joyous family reunions in every Argentine home. Everyone relishes a savory meal followed by a toast(for adults only). Grown-ups usually spend time dancing on Christmas songs while kids indulge themselves in fireworks to commemorate the birth of Christ. At midnight on the 24 of December, sounds of fireworks can be heard from everywhere. Opening of presents, placed under the Christmas tree from beforehand, is a must at midnight. Then family members and friends are kissed goodbye and everyone goes to bed. Many may prefer to spnding the night away chatting or playing games. A wonderful tradition here is to light "globos", colourful paper baloons that take off into the sky when lit from inside. If you visit Argentina during Christmas, you will be spellbound by the beauty of the numerous "globos" flying in the night sky. 

On Christmas day, everybody is greeted 'Feliz Navidad', meaning 'Merry Christmas' in Argentina. 
About 92% of the Argentine population comprises of Roman Catholics and hence, religious services take up much of the day here. Family members sing carols to the accompaniment of the piano. Many people form groups and go from house to house singing carols on this day and receiving small gifts or goodies in return. 

Christmas dinner is served here on the night of 24th December. The traditional Argentine Christmas dinner may be served in a garden area and consists of delicious dishes like roasted turkey, roasted pork, stuffed tomatoes, mince pies, Christmas's bread and puddings. The main dish may be a suckling pig or a roasted peacock. A hot favourite here is "Ninos envuettas", made of steak cut in square pieces of 3 inches, stuffed with minced mean mixed with onions, hard-boiled eggs, and spices. The toast is usually a drink prepared with different kinds of fruit, cut into pieces, and mixed with juice and cider.

In Argentina, children recieve their presents on January 6th, known as "Three Kings Day". On the eve of January 6th, Argentine kids place their shoes outside the front door of their homes to be filled with the Magi and also leave hay and water beside for the horses of the Magi as they journey towards Bethlehem for the Christ Child. Many also keep their shoes underneath the Christmas tree or under their bed. 

Bethlehem

Bethlehem is the town where Jesus Christ is said to have been born. Naturally, Christmas here is a major event and the festival is celebrated in a grand manner. 

Here, Christmas Day is observed not on a particular day. Bethlehem consists of people of different Christian denominations - Catholics, Protestants, Greek Orthodoxes, Ethiopians, Armenians and more. 
While Roman Catholics and Protestants celebrate Christmas Day on December 25, Greek, Syrian and other Orthodox Christians observe it on 6th January. For Armenian Christians, Christmas Day is on January 18. Hence, Bethlehem witnesses a longer Christmas celebrations than many other places. 

In Bethlehem, Roman Catholic services begin on December 24 and take place in St. Catherine's Church , a Catholic church adjacent to the Orthodox Basilica of the Nativity. Protestants hold their services in a different way. While some of them may attend special Christmas services in their local churches, others may arrange excursions for special services in the Shepherd's Fields or the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Some of the popular Jerusalem chuches such as The Anglican Cathedral of St. George, the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer and the YMCA organize travel to Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations. Orthodox Christians(Greek Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Romanian Orthodox and others) celebrate the birth of Jesus by taking out numerous religious processions and holding special services mainly at the Basilica of the Nativity. Most Armenian Christmas services are also held in the Basilica, albeit a little later, on January 18. The Christmas processions usually pass through Manger Square, believed to be situated on the traditional site of Jesus' birth. 
The general Christmas traditions in Bethlehem are similar to the Europeans and North American customs observed during the festival. From a few days before 25th December, the town is decorated with flags and other items of adornment. Streets are strung with Christmas lights. A Christmas market comes up and Christmas plays are performed. A cross is painted on the doors of every Christian home and Nativity scenes are displayed in every household. 
On Christmas Eve, annual Christmas processions are taken out. Residents of the town as well as tourists crowd the doorways and the roof of the Basilica to get a view of the parade. Galloping horsemen and police mounted on Arabian horses lead the procession. The procession is led by galloping horsemen and police mounted over Arabian horses; followed by a man riding over a black steed and carrying a cross. After him comes the churchmen and government officials. The procession quitely enters the doors and puts an ancient effigy of the Holy Child in the Church. The visitors are then taken through deep winding stairs leading to a grotto where a silver star marks the site of the birth of Jesus.

China

Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays in the world. Both Hong Kong and Macau designate Christmas as a public holiday on December 25. Both are former colonies of Western powers with (nominal) Christian cultural heritage. But in China, December 25 is not a legal holiday. The one percent of Chinese citizens who consider themselves Christians unofficially, and usually privately, observe Christmas. But with the world becoming a global village, Christmas has now become a festive occasion for an increasing number of Chinese as well. It is worth noting how commercial Christmas decorations, signs, and other symbolic items have become increasingly prevalent during the month of December in large urban centers of mainland China, reflecting a cultural interest in this Western phenomenon, and, sometimes, as part of retail marketing schemes. Arrival of winter marks the celebration of Christmas in China. People decorate their homes with dazzling Christmas lights, beautiful Christmas tree and mouth watering Christmas recipes. Christmas trees are called "trees of light" and are also decorated with paper chains, paper flowers, and paper lanterns. Children hang up muslin stockings in hopes that Dun Che Lao Ren (China's Santa) will visit and fill them with presents. Stores have men dressed as Santa Claus handing out candy and waitresses with Santa hats. The booming commercialism which has spread outward from Beijing has been called a Chinese phenomenon. It started out as a friendly gesture or business ploy aimed at Christian visitors.

Giving gifts is an integral part of the Christmas celebrations, and it is no exception in China. People exchange beautiful Christmas gifts with each other. These Christmas gift are the ideal way to express your love and care to the loved ones. Christmas celebrations signify spreading and happiness to the loved ones. In China, people begin their Christmas celebrations with beautiful Christmas decorations. Christmas decorations usually incorporate lighting houses, using beautiful paper lanterns, paper flowers and lanterns. Another major highlight of Christmas celebrations are the local festivals in China. People participate in this festival. According to Chinese tradition, people go to Church. In China, the most important winter festival is Spring Festival. During this festival, children are gifted new clothes, mouth-watering meal, small toys and firecracker. Worshipping ancestors is the major part of this festival.

Although Christianity is unofficial in China, there are an estimated 10 million baptized Christians (about 1 percent of the population) who celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas time. The popularity of midnight mass has grown so swiftly over the past few years that most Catholic churches can not hold the numbers who come out Christmas Eve. While Christmas Day is not a public holiday, Christmas celebrations are becoming more popular in China itself. Particularly in urban areas, one can find Christmas trees, lights, and other decorations on the streets and in department stores. Attendance at Christmas Eve mass has also become more popular in recent years. With each passing year, the Chinese public is becoming more conscious about the significance of Christmas, and more and more people are beginning to participate and immerse themselves in the spirit of Christmas celebrations.

Denmark
In Denmark, the Christmas celebrations begin with Advent. In each Sunday in Advent, each one of the four candles are lit on the Advent wreath, that is traditionally made here out of fine spruce twigs and cuttings. On each Sunday in Advent, guests are invited to join in the lighting of the candles on the Advent crown. Drinks are kept for all, though alcoholic beverages are strictly for adults who usually have a warming mixture of red wine, spices and raisins. Kids may drink the juice of some sweet fruit, such as strawberry. Also kept are small cakes of batter usually baked in special pans, and dusted with icing sugar. This is something that everybody loves to have. 

In the weeks leading to the Christmas Eve, Danish families set up Christmas trees in their homes and decorate them in the most beautiful manner. The trees, commonly spruce, are usually decorated with a silver or gold star on the top (never an angel), national flags, cornets with fruit, candies or cookies, small toy music instruments, tin foil strips and the like. Children help their parents in decorating the Christmas tree and also the interiors.

Here, the main Christmas celebration is on December 24(Christmas Eve). But the festive atmosphere is quite apparent even on the day before, i.e 23rd December. In Denmark, this day is popularly called "Lille Juleaften" (Little Christmas Eve) and is a time for family get-togethers and meeting with friends.

Adults relish a cup of hot glögg (hot wine boiled with raisins, nuts and spices) while children munch on “æbleskiver” (a special kind of doughnut with icing sugar, jam or maple syrup). The "Lille Juleaften" menu typically includes the delicious “risengrod” (rice boiled with milk and cinnamon) and “hvidtol” (malt beer). Gifts are often exchanged on this day.

On Christmas Eve, the get-togethers continue and so does the feasting. Cookies and hot chocolate are lapped up by kids while adults pour glogg down their throats. One of the main attractions of Christmas Eve is the lighting of the Christmas tree. The Christmas Eve dinner traditionally includes such dishes as 
roast pork, roast duck or roast goose with potatoes, red cabbage and gravy. Dessert is usually rice pudding served with a cherry sauce. Traditionally, an almond is hidden inside the dessert which one has to find to recieve a small gift. The meal over, family members gather around the Christmas tree to sing Christmas carols and dance hand in hand around the tree. Then one of the assembled children is chosen to select the wrapped presents, that are already kept under the Christmas tree, and hand them over to the other family members - one at a time - so that everyone may have the pleasure of watching what the others got. 

Christmas Day(December 25th) is a rather quiet time and is usually a day to be spent in the company of close friends and family members. The Christmas lunch typically includes dishes consisting of cold cuts and different types of fish, along with Aquavit for the adults. Everyone wishes "Glaedelig Jul"(Merry Christmas in Danish) to each other on Christmas Day. 

Germany

In Germany, preparations for Christmas begin before December falls. But the real celebration starts from 6th December, St. Nicholas Day, known here as "Nikolaustag". On the night of 5th December (St. Nicholas Eve) children put their shoe or boot outside the door, a tradition practiced in many other European countries. According to a German legend, the spirit of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, goes from house to house on this night carrying a book of sins in which all the actions of the year of all children are written. It is said that St. Nicholas fills the shoes of all good kids with delicious treats and places twigs in the shoes of all naughty children. 

During Advent, advent wreaths (made of Holly flowers) are placed on a table and four red candles are placed in the center of it. One of these candles is lit on each Sunday preceding Christmas and the last one is lighted on Christmas Eve. Advent calendars, containing pictures beneath each window, are used by kids to count the days until Christmas. 

The Christmas tree is an integral part of German Christmas celebrations. It should be kept in mind that the Christmas tree actually originated in Germany. A unique aspect of the German Christmas decorations is that, kids can not take part in the beautification of the Christmas tree. It is believed that the tree has some mysterious spell for all young eyes that rest on it before Christmas Eve. Hence, the 
Christmas tree is decorated on Christmas Eve, prior to the evening feast. The father usually keeps the children in a seperate room while the mother brings out the Christmas tree from a hidden place and decorates it with apples, candy, nuts, cookies, cars, trains, angels, tinsel, family treasures and candles or lights. The gifts are kept under the tree. Nearby, beautiful plates are laid for each family member and filled with fruits, nuts, marzipan, chocolate and biscuits. The decorations finished, a bell is rung as a signal for the children to enter the room. The Christmas story is usually read during this time and carols are sung. Often, sparklers are lit and gifts opened too.

The Christmas Eve dinner menu traditionally comprises of delicious dishes such as suckling pig, white sausage, macaroni salad, "reisbrei" (a sweet cinnamon) and many regional dishes. The Christmas Eve is popularly called here as "Dickbauch" (meaning "fat stomach") because of the myth that those who do not eat well on Christmas Eve will be haunted by demons during the night. So everyone tries to stuff their belly to the fullest on this day.

The feasting continues on Christmas Day with a banquet being held on this day. Traditional Christmas dishes consist of plump roast goose, "Christstollen" (long bread loaves stuffed with nuts, raisins, citron and dried fruit), "Lebkuchen" (spice bars), marzipan, and "Dresden Stollen" ( a moist, heavy bread filled with fruit).

From the beginning of Advent, booths and stalls are set up on the market-places in all cities where you can buy everything you need for Christmas: decorations for the tree and candles, crib figures and gingerbread (which is mainly baked and consumed at Christmas), Christmas trees, and presents for Christmas Eve. Walking through such a market really is an exceptional experience. Children enjoy this most of all. The smell of fir resin and roasted almonds intermingle. Then there are all the lights from the stalls and the little stoves where sausages are fried and chestnuts roasted. Songs and the sounds of music fill the air. The most famous Christkindlmarkt takes place in Nuremberg and attracts lots of visitors every year. 

St. Nicholas Eve. This happens on Dec, 6 an all of the children leave one shoe out for St. Nicholas to either leave candy if they are good or twigs if they are bad.

The Advent calendar
While children in Canada have Christmas parades to assure that Santa is on the way, in Germany the magic of Christmas starts with the December arrival of the advent calendar. Advent starts on the first Sunday after November 26th. This time is devoted to preparations for Christmas. After the four Advent Sundays are over, there follow Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Advent calendars with their bright Christmas pictures hang alongside children's beds. If you look more closely, you discover small numbers in this picture. One, two, three, and so on up to 24. Wherever the numbers are, there are small paper windows. When you open these windows you find a little picture on transparent paper: a candle, a ball, a snowman-whatever children like. The children open a new window every morning, and then they know that there are still twenty three days to Christmas, twenty two, twenty one, and so on. Every day Christmas Eve, so much longed for and charged with wishes, comes a little closer.

Apart from the Advent calendar, families also have an Advent wreath. The wreath is made of bound fir twigs to which four candles are attached. One more candle is lit for each of the Advent Sundays. In large houses, shops, and in churches, these Advent wreaths hang from the ceiling, adorned with four fat red or yellow candles. This looks particularly splendid when the wreath is also decorated with red or violet ribbons. No one knows when the Advent wreath came to Germany and where it originated. It does not date back very far as a Christmas Custom but has already firmly established itself. Before the first Sunday in Advent you will see many, many Advent wreath in flower shops and nurseries. Pine and fir cones, little red mushrooms, or red and yellow ribbons are also attached to the green of the wreath.

The Christmas tree
The undisputed focal-point of the entire Christmas period, in the community and in the family, is the Christmas tree. A German Christmas without the green fir tree is simply inconceivable. The tranquil splendor of Christmas tree lights is an essential aspect of the festival for both the individual and the population as a whole. It is the symbol of Christmas for all Germans, who have to have their Christmas tree on December the 23th (not a day before!) even if they live abroad in distant countries. Trees are also found in churches and public squares. They are used in shops as decoration, and in offices to please staff and visitors. The giant trees that stand in public are especially grown for this purpose and carefully looked after in municipal wood. They are often up to 25 metres. Decorating the treeIn earlier times, candles were perhaps enough in the eyes of children and adults. Today everyone wants a well-decorated tree in their home. You can even say that there have been areas-such as Rhinish Hesse and the Spessart-where the sweets on the tree have been more important than the lights. People there spoke of a Sugar Tree rather than a Christmas tree, and this was hung with edibles and decorations. Some families with children maintain this custom up to the present day.

Music for Christmas
Christmas is a time for singing and music making. There is a constant mention at Christmas of the mysterious sounds of bells and other musical instruments, present in all households. This starts with the first Sunday in Advent and reaches its peek on Christmas Eve, the Holy Evening, when the silent night should be filled with sounds that seem to come from celestial spheres. The most famous of all German language Christmas songs , "Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht! was first heard during Christmas 1818 at the small church of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf (Austria), which is near Salzburg and the German-Austrian border. The writer of the text, Joseph Mohr, was assistant priest from 1817 to 1819. Franz Yaver Gruber, the composer, had been the teacher and organist at nearby Arnsdorf since 1807, and he also filled the latter function at Oberndorf, when no one was available. Just before Christmas 1818, Mohr suggested to Gruber that they should produce a new song for the festival. On the 24th of December he gave the musician his six verse text, leaving only a few hours till the moment the song was due to be presented. The organist's melody pleased the poet though, and the song was performed with great success. Today this famous song is translated into 44 other languages and is known all over the world.

Xmas feast:
It is said that the tradition of serving boar's head at the Christmas feast originated because the German god Frey, who was responsible for the well-being of livestock, was symbolized by the boar. Therefore boar was often sacrificed in hopes of a prosperous spring herd. Eventually, the boar's head custom as a part of German Christmas feasting became impractical. Boars were increasingly hard to find and dangerous to catch. It also took a week of cooling and preparation to make the boar presentable. In more modern times, the boar was replaced by pork, roast beef, turkey, and goose.

India

India is a secular nation and houses every community. Christians are a minority here and form nearly 2.3% of the population. But the fact that there are only about 25 million Christians in India, in no way lessens the observance of the festival. Moreover, the occassion is celebrated not only by Christians but by people of other religions as well. 

The tradition of Christmas observance was introduced here with the colonisation of Europeans. Though the country gained its independence in 1947, many European customs and festivals stayed on. The fact that there is the presence of a Christian community in India, helped the maintaining of these traditions in no less a way. Today, Christmas is the biggest and most-loved festival of Indian Christians. The festival is also enthusiastically celebrated by people of other religions residing here. 

Like in many other countries, Christmas is observed in India on 25th December. Everyone gears up for the festival from nearly a week before. Business stores are decked up for the occassion with every gift shop packed with Christmas trees, presents, ornaments and other items of decoration that are bought by millions of enthusiastic celebrants of the festival. 

For Indian Christians, especially the Catholics, the Midnight mass on Christmas Eve is a very important service and holds great religious significance. Every year, on the night of 24th December, all members in Christian families visit their local churches to attend the Midnight mass. On this night, churches in India are decorated with Poinsettia flowers and candles. The mass over, everyone relishes a mouthwatering feast of various delicacies, mostly consisting of curries. Thereupon, presents are given to one another and "Merry Christmas" is wished. India being a multicultural nation, many different languages are spoken here. In Hindi and Urdu, Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Bade Din ki Mubarak'; in Sanskrit it is 'Krismasasya shubhkaamnaa'; in Bengali 'Barodiner shubhechha janai'; and in Tamil it's 'Christhu Jayanthi Nalvaalthukal'. 

Nativity plays are staged in many schools(mainly the Christian ones) and churches on Christmas morning. The perfomances by young children depict the birth, life and actions of Jesus Christ and usually end with the singing of hymns and carols and the visit of a person dressed as Santa to distribute candies/toffees to kids. In the metros a smiling Santa Claus, entertaining children at departmental stores with toys and gifts, is not an uncommon sight. Caroling processions on streets and thoroughfares can also be seen on 24th night.

A sizeable population of the Christian Community reside in Mumbai of the Indian state of Maharashtra and are mainly Roman Catholics. It is a delight to watch their homes during Christmas. Every Christian home creates a nativity scene, often display a manger in the front window. Giant star-shaped paper lanterns are hung between the houses so that the stars float above you as you walk down the road. There is a provision of sweets, mainly home-made, in every household to welcome visitors during the occassion. In Southern states, Christians often light small clay oil lamps and place these on the flat roofs of their homes to show that Jesus is the light of the world. In the North-western states of India, the tribal Christians of the Bhil folk take out caroling processions during the whole Christmas week and often visit neighbouring villages to tell the Christmas story to people through songs.
In India, Father Christmas or Santa Claus is held to be the giver of presents to children from a horse and cart. As in the U.S., he is believed to deliver presents at the house of every kid who behaves well during the whole year. Santa Claus is known as 'Christmas Baba' in Hindi and 'Christmas Thaathaa' in Tamil.

Mexico

Christmas in Mexico is celebrated annually on the 25th of December, as in many other parts of the world. 

Mexican Christmas traditions are not influenced by the American way. Rather they are homegrown and based mainly on Mexico's form of Roman Catholicism. Popular cultural traditions in Mexico, called "posadas", have also given rise to several traditions observed here during Christmas. 

Mexican Christmas celebrations begin on December 12, with the birthday of "La Guadalupana" (Virgin of Guadalupe), and end on January 6, with the Epiphany. Children usually do not attend school on January 6. They wake up early in the morning to find gifts or toys kept in their room and figures of the Three Magic Kings at "El Nacimiento". Like Santa Claus in the US and other western nations, the 
Three Wise Men are the ones believed to bring gifts not only to baby Jesus but also to millions of Mexican children who have placed written requests in their shoes. Also unlike in the US where children get presents on 25th December, most Mexican kids recieve their gifts at Epiphany (January 6th). 

The construction of the "Nacimiento" or "El Nacimiento"(Nativity scene) is a popular custom here, as in many other countries. During the festive season, almost every family creates a Nativity scene in their home. At midnight on Christmas, a figure of baby Jesus is placed in the nacimientos to commemorate the birth of the Lord. This is a symbolic representation of Christmas in Mexico as a whole.

On Christmas Eve another verse is added to the Ave Marias, telling the Virgin Mary that the desired night has come. Small children dressed as shepherds stand on either side of the nativity scene while members of the company kneel and sing a litany, after which the Christ Child is lulled to sleep with the cradle song, "El Rorro" (Babe in Arms).

At midnight on Christmas Eve, dazzling fireworks, ringing bells and blowing whistles announce the birth of Christ. The bell-sounds beckon families to the Midnight Mass. Thousands flock to the churches to attend the well-known "Misa de Gallo" or "Mass of the Rooster." It is called the "Mass of the Rooster" because it is said that the only time that a rooster crowed at midnight was on the day that Jesus was born. The Mass over, families return home for a sumptuous Christmas dinner of traditional Mexican foods. Though the dishes vary from region to region, common foods are "tamales," rice, rellenos, "atole" (a sweet traditional drink) and "menudo".

Russia

In Russia, Christmas is annually celebrated on January 7th, thanks to the Russian Orthodox Church that has made it an official holiday in the country. Previously the occassion was observed on December 25th in much the same way as it was in the rest of the world, complete with Christmas trees and Christmas gifts, Saint Nicholas and the like. But after the 1917 Revolution, Christmas was banned throughout Russia, along with other religious celebrations. It was much much later, in 1992, that the holiday began to be openly observed again. However, the church in Russia still uses the old Julian calendar which is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar used in the Western nations. This is why, Christmas is celebrated in Russia on January 7th. But these days, a few Russians have begun to celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December. 

Today, Christmas is celebrated in the country in a grand fashion, with the faithful participating in an all-night Mass in Cathedrals. The main religion in Russia is called Russian Orthodox. The Russian Orthodox Church is more than one thousand years old and most of the Christian population in the country belong to it. In Russia, many people don’t eat meat, eggs or milk from a few weeks before Christmas and it is customary to fast until after the first church service on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve dinner is meatless but festive. The menu usually depends on the wealth of the families. A typical Christmas dinner however, includes delicacies such as hot roast Pirog (Russian pies made out of meat or cabbage), and Pelmeni (meat dumplings). The most important ingredient is a special porridge called kutya. The traditional ingredients that go in its preparation are wheatberries (or other grains which symbolize hope and immortality), and honey and poppy seeds which ensure happiness, success and peace. The kutya is eaten from a common dish to symbolize unity. 

A Christmas ceremony of great significance here is the blessing of individual homes. During Christmastime, a priest visits every home accompanied by boys carrying vessels of holy water. A little water is sprinkled in each room, which is believed to usher in happiness and fortune to them. Another popular custom here is that of young children going from house to house on the first day of Christmas carrying a star and singing carols and getting sweets from adults.

Russia celebrates a white Christmas what with the weather being very cold and snowy during this time and the temperature always dropping to minus degrees. .

United Kingdom

Christmas Day is celebrated in the United Kingdom on December 25. 

In most of the countries of the UK, the festive season begins at Advent. During this time, holly wreaths are made with three pink, one white and one purple candle. Shops however, start selling Christmas decorations from mid-November to enthusiastic Christmas shoppers who prefer to have a one-upmanship over their friends and neigbours. In England as well as in most other nations of the U.K., the beautiful Christmas Trees are an essential part of traditional Christmas decorations. In England, the decorating of Christmas trees has been widely popular since around the 1850s when Prince Albert had a Christmas tree set up in Windsor Castle for his wife Queen Victoria and their children. In modern times, the Christmas decorative items last until 6 January (Epiphany). It is considered bad luck to have these at home even after this date.

The tradition of Christmas observance is believed to have begun in England in 596 AD, when St Augustine landed on her shores with the message of Christianity on his lips. The present day Christmas festivities here sees the celebrators adorning their homes with Christmas trees, lights, tinsel and other decorative items in the days counting to the festival. The traditional Christmas dinner in England is a mouthwatering affair with the main dish being roasted turkey with vegetables and sauces. The dessert is usually a rich, fruity Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. For English kids, Christmas is the time to have fun with family and friends and recieve gifts from Father Christmas, a Santa Claus-like figure, who is pictured as wearing a long red or green robe. This lover of children is said to leave presents for them in their stockings(or pillowcases that they hang at the end of their bed) on Christmas Eve. The gifts are usually opened on Christmas Day, though not until afternoon. 

The festive spirit can be discerned all over Britain with most public places such as departmental stores, gift shops, town halls and restaurants decorated beautifully with electric lights and festoons for the occassion. Churches and Cathedrals all over the country hold masses, with many people attending the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, or a service on Christmas morning. For Catholics, it is one of the main Holy Days of Obligation. In London and the provinces, a number of theatres traditionally organise for kids a special Christmas pantomime based not on Biblical tales but on such popular children's stories such as Little Red Riding Hood and Aladdin, with a subtle connection to the festival being made deliberately.

In England the day after Christmas is called Boxing Day, named so because young boys used to go go around on this day collecting money in clay boxes. The boxes were smashed open, when they were full. The Boxing Day is still celebrated in the UK. It is a bank holiday in England. If it happens to fall on a weekend, then a special Bank Holiday is delared on Monday.

Vietnam

Christmas is one of the four most important festivals of the Vietnamese year, they being . Although the Christians observed the religious rituals of Christmas.

In Vietnam, Christmas is one of the four main annual festivals (other than the birthday of Buddha, the New Year and the mid-autumn festival). It is celebrated as the birthday of Jesus Christ, known here as "Kito". The fesival is observed here with great gusto despite the fact that Buddhism is the dominant religion in Vietnam and Christians form only a minority. 

Catholics originally formed a small population in the country but they used to celebrate Christmas quite peacefully right from the days of the French rule. But all that changed when the Communists came to power in 1975. Being atheists, they could never get along with the Church and Christmas began to be celebrated privately. However, liberalist policies adopted since the 1980s saw Vietnam get influenced by the western influences and ideals. This helped in the comeback of Christmas in the country. 

Today, Christmas is one of the major festivals in Vietnam and celebrated with much enthuisiasm by people of almost all religious communities. In Ho Chi Minh City, Christmas is a big event and celebrated quite in the European tradition. The Christmas decorations here are more or less similar to the Western Christmas beautifications. 

On Christmas Eve, devout Christians attend a midnight Mass. Thereupon, they return to their homes for the Christmas supper. The Christmas supper is the most important meal of the Vietnamese Christmas. The menu for the common people traditionally consists of chicken soup, while the well-heeled have turkey and Christmas pudding. For Vietnamese Catholics, Phat Diem (a city in North Vietnam) holds a special religious significance. Hundreds of Catholics congregate here for Christmas Eve. Children stage a nativity play in the church to celebrate the birth of Jesus. 

Children in Vietnam believe in the existence of Santa Claus and put their shoes in front of their doors on Christmas Eve. On the morning of 25th December, they wake up to find their boots filled with treats and presents laid under the Christmas tree. 

Canada

In Canada, Christmas Day is celebrated on 25th December. 

The Christmas festivities here are quite similar to the American observance of the occassion. 

Pantomiming wearing masks is a popular tradition in Canada and comes from Newfoundland. In places like Labrador and Nova Scotia, local people wear masks and visit houses during the twelve days of Christmas, miming and making rude noises and actions, ringing bells and asking for candy or other treats. The mummers remove their disguise and stop behaving riotously if the hosts guess their identities correctly. They also quiz the children to check whether they have been good in the past year, and if they are satisfied, the kids receive candy as reward. 

Christmas decorations start here from several days before 25th December. In Quebec, elaborate nativity scenes are displayed in individual homes as Christmas decorations. Labrador City in Newfoundland organises an annual Light-up Contest at this time of the year. People deck up the exterior of their homes with lights and often create big ice sculptures in their front gardens. Christmas is truly a white one here, with about 12-14 feet of snow covering the ground during this period. 

On December 24, Christmas Eve, extended family members get together for a fun-filled celebration. In places such as Labrador City in Newfoundland, many households hold Christmas cookie-baking parties, where every participating family bakes their own kind of cookies and then exchanges them with the other members of their family. A variety of different cookies are to be taken home by each family at the end of the party. A mass service is held at midnight and attended by many. In Canada, tourtiere or pork pie is served to everybody who attends the Midnight Mass. After participating in the Christmas Eve Mass, many Canadian families(especially those of French descent) have a grand dinner that lasts well into the early hours of Christmas morning. The traditional Canadian Christmas dinner is known as 'Reveillon' and includes a delicious dish of roasted turkey with vegetables and sauces. A popular Christmas dish is "Boulettes" (small meatballs). The dessert is often a rich, fruity Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. Local candy companies also make special sweets for Christmas, known as Barley Candy and Chicken Bones! These are a great hit and eaten during Christmas, not only by kids but adults too. 

In Canada, children hold Santa Claus to be the bringer of their presents. Many of them hang their stockings to be filled by him with gifts and goodies. Many Canadians open their gifts on Christmas Eve, while others choose to unwrap only one gift on this day and open the rest on Christmas Day.

Chile

The Chilean Christmas celebrations are quite similar to the U.S. observance of the occassion, though the weather is quite unlike the temperature Americans experience during December. Naturally, Chileans have a really "warm" Christmas celebration as opposed to cold weather festivities in most Western nations. 

The Chilean Christmas celebration is a spiritual affair and is held much in accordance with the true Christian way. Church services are held on a daily basis throughout the entire Christmas season but the actual holy observances begin from nine days before Christmas Day, when Chileans begin a special prayer service along with spiritual preparation known as "Novena" - a Roman Catholic ritual. For the entire nine-day period leading to Christmas, prayers are observed by every pious Christian in the country. A visit to the local churches are made, carols are sung and passages related to the nativity are also read from the Holy Bible. On Christmas Eve, Catholics attend the Midnight Mass followed by a sumptuous dinner with the extended members of their family. Christmas is a time for family reunions and many Chileans seize this opportunity to visit their relatives in distant places and be with them during the festive days. 

Prepartions for Christmas start nearly a month prior to the actual festive day. Chileans love adorning their homes with brilliant lights and balloons on Christmas. The Christmas tree is set up one or two days before the festive day and decorated with tiny clay figures known as 'pesebre'. Elaborate scenes from the nativity are put up and clay/wooden figures are used to represent the Holy Family and other religious characters. 

The Christmas festivities are incomplete without good food and a plethora of mouthwatering dishes form the items of the Christmas menu. The Christmas Eve dinner traditionally delicacies like "Azuela de ave" (a special chicken soup), "Pan de pasqua" (bread stuffed with candied fruit). "Rompon" and "Cola de Mono", a.k.a. Monkey's Tail are the customary drinks to have on Xmas Eve. 

The Chilean version of Santa Clause, "Viejito Pascuero" (Old Man Christmas), is believed to visit every house in Chile on Christmas Eve, riding his sleigh pulled by flying reindeers. As per popular legend, he isa small-sized man who goes down through chimneys or enters through windows to leave goodies inside the stockings of good children and nice presents for them under the Xmas tree. 

This is also the day when many people enjoy the nature. The warm climate makes it possible for most to take a break at the beaches, go on rock-climbing or surfing, or even making a short trip to the nearest holiday spots. Everyone wishes another 'Feliz Navidad' (meaning Merry Christmas) on this day!

 
 

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Opinion Poll

Of the choices below, which is your favorite golf movie?

Caddy Shack - 46.2%
Dead Solid perfect - 0%
Happy Gilmore - 46.2%
Follow the Sun - 7.7%
Tin Cupappy Gilmore - 0%

Total votes: 13
The voting for this poll has ended on: 26 Mar 2013 - 05:13