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36 Reasons to Love Golf Now -- plus 10 bonus items!

David Feherty and Brandel Chamblee
Angus Murray
David Feherty and Brandel Chamblee.

No. 7: GOLF CHANNEL’S DYNAMIC DUO
We can count the number of great TV analysts on one glove. Happily, two of them sit shoulder-to-shoulder on Golf Channel. David Feherty fuses effortless wit with deep insight, and he conducts some of the best TV interviews of any kind on Feherty. Not only is Brandel Chamblee willing to sling zings and arrows at players (he’s been merciless on Tiger’s swing changes), the bookish former Tour player is as likely to quote Lord Byron as Byron Nelson. When the two trade astute, cliché-free observations during the network’s major coverage, it’s must-see TV.

No. 6: OUR GOLFER-IN-CHIEF
We choose our next president in November. No matter how you feel about Barack Obama’s policies, his love of the links—he played his 100th round as Prez in July—places him alongside Eisenhower, Kennedy and Clinton on the Mount Rushmore of golfers-in-chief.

No. 5: ANYONE CAN MAKE A "1"
We sent an intrepid reader to see a major winner, in hopes of finally carding an ace. Read the story here. Plus, read three hole-in-one tips (Nos. 4, 3 and 2 on this list) from PGA Tour pro Hal Sutton, who has made 10 aces in competition:

No. 4: GET ALIGNED
“It sure as heck helps to line up where you want the ball to go.”

No. 3: TRY NOT TO TRY
“I don’t want to sound too mystical, but the harder you try, the less likely it is you’ll make it.”

No. 2 BACK IT IN
“It helps if you have a backstop and know how to spin it. That way you’ve got two chances of making it—one on the way past, another on the way back.”

AND FINALLY ... THE NO. 1 REASON TO LOVE GOLF NOW: READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

BONUS REASON No. 1: NEW GOLF STYLE
Not long ago, you could wear anything to play golf, as long as it was khaki or white. Now bright is the new white. Thanks, Rickie.

BONUS REASON No. 2: IT'S OFFICIAL: GOLFERS ARE ATHLETES
To say otherwise is to ignore Tiger's iron arms, the newly-ripped Rory McIlroy, and the uber-flexible Yani Tseng. Golfers aren't athletes? That argument is so 1985.

BONUS REASON No. 3: HAUTE HARDWARE
With the possible exception of NHL's Stanley Cup, we have the coolest damn trophies in all of sports.

BONUS REASON No. 4: THE NEW AND IMPROVED PINEHURST NO. 2
As we reported last month, Pinehurst No. 2 climbed to third place on Golf Magazine's latest Top 100 Courses You Can Play. You can thank Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore's $2.5 million restoration for breathing new life into one of the world's best public-access courses. In 2008, C&C completely removed the rough. Now, stray drives are punished by sandy soil, native wire grass, and massive pine trees. Wider fairways bring back strategic options that were lost after previous redesigns, yet the iconic turtle-back greens were mostly untouched. This brawny beast is now better than ever.

BONUS REASON No. 5: THE FIRST TEE
Since its inception by the World Golf Foundation in 1997, the First Tee has helped millions of young people learn more than how to play golf. They're taught life skills needed to succeed in the classroom and beyond. Under the tutelage of volunteers, participants learn to abide by the foundation's core values, which include honesty, sportsmanship, confidence and-something every golfer must summon- perseverance. With over 750 chapters around the country, the First Tee looks to double that number by 2015. As Johnny Miller has said to Golf Magazine: "Golfers are usually good citizens." Thanks for making the world a better place, on and off the course.

BONUS REASON No. 6: RANGE FINDERS RULE
I confess. I'm hooked on rangefinders. I own three-three-and-a-half counting my Bushnell Hybrid, which has a laser AND a GPS function, the latter for out-of-sight targets. I carry only one with me per round. The GolfBuddy Voice [$199, Golfbuddyglobal.com] is great entertainment. It's matchbox-sized and clips to my hat or belt. I push a button and bingo, The Voice announces yardage to the middle of the green. People are amazed. Some even talk back to it. Really. When I play a course for the first time, I use a SkyCaddie GPS [$349.95, Skycaddie.com]. On its handheld screen, I get yardages to hazards like bunkers or lakes, so I can try to avoid them. It's like a caddie in your pocket. My Bushnell [PRICE, $399.99, Bushnellgolf.com] Tour V2 laser is for courses I know and all I want is exact yardage to today's pin. Click. Got it in two seconds! Do I miss searching for sprinkler heads and half-hidden yardage markers? Get serious. Click. -Gary Van Sickle

BONUS REASON No. 7: THERE'S SUCH THING AS A PERFECT DRIVE
Only a privileged few will ever ride up Magnolia Lane at Augusta National, but that isn't the only sublime, otherworldly entrance to a great course. At Caledonia Golf and Fish Club (pictured, and recently ranked No. 27 on Golf Magazine's list of Top 100 Public Courses in America), in Pawleys Island, S.C., rows of moss-drenched live oaks usher you to an antebellum clubhouse perched atop the Waccamaw River. (888-483-6800, Fishclub.com)

BONUS REASON No. 8: GOLF IS GOING FOR THE GREEN
Courses around the world have stepped up their efforts to preserve and even improve the environment, from recycling water and eliminating fertilizers, to protecting native species. And Mauna Lani Resort on Hawaii's Big Island boasts a three-acre PowerLight photovoltaic system that allows the property to generate more solar power than any resort in the world. Now that's eco-friendly.

BONUS REASON No. 9: GOLF HAS NEVER BEEN COOLER
Mark Wahlberg. Hugh Grant. Halle Berry. The game has never drawn more high-wattage A-listers. Is there anyone cooler than Vegas Tour-event host and Callaway-pitchman Justin Timberlake?

BONUS REASON No. 10: HYBRID CLUBS GET BETTER AND BETTER
A reader's love letter to his Taylor Made Hybrid:
"I've been playing hybrids since they came into vogue several years ago, and they've improved by leaps and bounds. I can't stop hitting my 22-degree Taylor-Made Rescue 11. Sure, the white crown looks sleek, but all I care about is the forgiveness. On one hole, I made a fat swing. I hit a 2 inches behind the ball, off the tow. It felt terrible. I didn't want to look. My ball flew 170 yards, just 10 yards short of my normal distance. I wish I could take credit, but it was the club. I may never use a middle iron again." -Dick Purcell, Troy, N.Y.

Special Section: No. 1 Issue

This article first appeared in the October 2012 issue of Golf Magazine, which is on newsstands now. Subscribers can download the issue on their tablets at golf.com/allaccess.

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