Review – GelTees

Is there a sport (other than hunting and fishing) that is more in touch with nature than golf? For the sake of argument we’ll say no (although rock-climbing and surfing come to mind). When you think about the beauty that is golf much of it has to with the fact that for 4 hours we’re outdoors. The smell of freshly mowed grass, the sights like new magnolia blossoms, the sound of the birds chirping. Golf is quite simply organic and in a sense in touch with Mother Nature.

The golf industry has become increasingly more conscious of its effect on our planet. Slowly but surely golf courses are dropping the ways of gas-powered carts and moving to efficient electric golf carts. No longer are carts spewing out blue smoke from their exhausts and of course you have golf courses that get listed as being Certified Audubon Co-operative Sanctuaries. The industry truly has become Planet Earth aware. So what better product to write about on this “Earth Day Eve” than “the world’s only 100% bio-degradable golf tee”?


Photo Credit: Capsuline

GelTees are the brainchild of Capsuline CEO and President  Jonathan Gilinski. Mr. Gilinski founded GelTees in 2009. While in Orlando for this past January’s PGA Merchandise Show I was informed by Irlianna Samsara and Holly Geoghegan of Golf Marketing Services about an exciting new product called GelTees. Upon learning of what the product was it really intrigued me as I am conservation minded. So I went to pay their booth a visit. While visiting the booth I learned a few things. GelTees are the end result of five years of research by Pompano Beach, Florida based company Capsuline. Capsuline is involved in the pharmaceutical company and if you’ve ever swallowed a capsule you might have swallowed their products. With Capsuline’s extensive knowledge in gelatin and the material’s ability to biodegrade Capsuline set out to make use of leftover by-product of the manufacturing process. The end result was the first ever true 100% biodegradable golf tee.


Photo Credit:

The premise behind GelTees is quite simple. By producing the tee out of the gelatin that dissolves when you swallow medication the golf tee simply dissolves after it breaks. Within a few days GelTees simply decomposes and disappears thus leaving no evidence of the tee being there in the first place. Through literature received through a press release from GelTees I learned some significant information. The production of 2.8 billion wooden golf tees (in the U.S.A. alone) comes at the cost of 70,000 trees per year. The production of wooden tees also represents an astonishing 1,600 tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the Earth’s atmosphere annually. Moreover, wooden and plastic are responsible for taking away from the budgets of superintendents as more time and money is spent on repairing mower blades and of course cleaning up tee boxes that have been littered by broken golf tees. Eyesores really.


Florida testing.

After reading the information behind GelTees the product truly sounds like they are a “green” golf product to the “nth degree”. But there really is only one way for me to pass judgement and that’s to test them. I was able to get my hands on a few at the PGA Show Demo Day and then again while on the floor of the show where representatives of GelTees gave me a box of golf tees to try. I actually used a couple as I visited different booths hitting product until I turned blue in the face. The first thought that I had as I used them was that I likes the profile of them (the top in particular is streamlined) and that the GelTees were easy to stick into the ground. However, with those pro’s came a con. The breakage. Even though I understand the reasoning behind GelTees I wasn’t sure how the golf consumer would view them. Post-show I played some golf before returning home and I would also use them more back at home for winter golf and again in March on a second trip to Florida. While using them in January I readily admit that I became somewhat irritated by the fact they broke so consistently… but this is by design. Upon breaking, a quick step on the leftover fragments breaks down the GelTees even further which potentially speeds up the decomposition time. By the time I had gotten through my March trip to Florida and consequently a round upon arriving home I was sold on GelTees. From “hate to love”. Believe it or not… the tees will last more than one shot when using driver. As a matter of fact, I had one GelTee last 9 tee shots (driver) recently until it flipped up in the air and got lost in the grass. On the plus side… that tee will not leave a footprint behind. Will some consumers balk at purchasing them? It’s totally possible because some golfers may not like the idea of always replacing a tee so frequently.


The dissolvability of GelTees. (Photo Credit: Capsuline)

In a separate news release that I received came some impressive news. To celebrate Earth Day GelTees is launching “an extensive sampling program across the country inviting private and public golf courses and resorts to test the eco-friendly tees”. Among some of the golf courses taking part in the Earth Day celebrations is the very well reputed Cog Hill Golf & Country Club located out of Chicago, Illinois. An honor that is well-deserved for GelTees and its CEO Tiger Summers. GelTees retails $1.99 USD for a pack of 20.

Golfers… the time has come to help Mother Nature one drive at a time. Hit it and crush it! Also, GelTees “mission is not only to lower the environmental impact of the game, but to help fund charitable organizations that improve lives through the game of golf. We’re changing commodity into community”.

For more information check out their website at Happy Earth Day!!

Until The Next GelTee!

Remembering Harbour Town

I know that for most golf fans the week after The Masters can be a sort of “lunchbag letdown”.  Especially when you look at this years edition of The Masters and the fact that it will go down in golf history as one of the best ever. This week the PGA Tour leaves behind the majesty of “Magnolia Lane” and heads 2.5 hours southeast towards Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. The home of Sea Pines Resort and Harbour Town Golf Links. This weeks stop on the PGA Tour.

For me, it’s one of the tournaments that I look forward to the most every year. This is the one stop each year where I watch the event and I can “relate” to the golf course and the players. Right on the heels of what I describe as “our worst family trip ever” we were traveling home when we saw a sign for Hilton Head, SC. My wife asked me if that was the place where the one tournament is played (she also knew it from Tiger Woods on Playstation) I said yes and we decided to check-in to a hotel on the island. I was curious to see what the green fees and availability was like (July) and much to my surprise they had an opening or two towards the end of the day. So I made the reservation to play golf.

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A Nicklaus/Dye creation. (Photo Credit: Crystal Toth Photography)

I love this golf course as the co-designers Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus built a golf course that was intended to be “played”. Meaning you simply have to play golf and hit golf shots. Bomb and gouge need not apply when playing Harbour Town. As I sit here writing memories of that round come flooding back to my mind. On this particular day I was informed that because I was the last one to tee-off I would not need a Forecaddie or Caddie. I was going to be playing by myself which was the perfect elixir after a stressful trip.

Upon checking in for my tee time I took in some of the sights around the clubhouse. I took in the champions plaque listing all of the Heritage Classic’s past champions. Names like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Payne Stewart. Names where the word “greatness” quickly comes to mind. After striking range balls on their very spacious driving range I headed over to the first tee to commence my round. While the golf course isn’t beastly from a yardage standpoint the tips (Heritage tee) still offers golfers a golf course that’s 7,099 yards. The Dye tees (Blue) offers a very fair 6,681 yards. Of course, playing the tees that best suits your ability is highly recommended. As I stood on the first tee I actually stood in awe that I was playing a course that was on my “Bucket List”. I sort of shook my head and proceeded to drive my yellow Srixon Z Star down the right side of the fairway into a cluster of trees just off of the fairway. There it sat… nestled in the pine straw. Having only one option I hit a punch shot that escaped the trees and ended up just short of the green. From where my ball lied I had an option on the false front. The first was to take a wedge and chip it close or I could take a putter and play a “Texas Wedge”. I opted for the second option and holed out for birdie.


From the 9th fairway. The heart-shaped bunker.

One thing became apparent as my round continued. Harbour Town is a golf course that allows the player to use his or her imagination and a huge credit goes out to Mr. Dye and Mr. Nicklaus. I loved the green complexes at Harbour Town. On the front nine there is one green complex that sticks out for me. At the end of the short 332 yard Par 4 9th hole awaits a heart-shaped green that’s guarded by a bunker in front and three smaller bunkers in the “crevice” of the heart that await any shots long. I played the hole smart as I selected hybrid off of the tee and a wedge for an easy green in regulation. This hole although not being much of a hole from a length standpoint was one of my favorites at Harbour Town.

Something must be said for the customer service that I received at Harbour Town. As mentioned, it was a day in July. I remember walking out of the hotel earlier that day and the weight on my chest from the heat and humidity at 8 a.m was mind-blowing. I don’t recollect which hole I was on at the time but I do remember the moment when one of their Player Assistants (Ranger) approached me. He asked me if I would like a water and a cold towel which I graciously accepted. As great as the water was it was the cold towel that struck me the most. The feeling of pulling out that ice-cold towel from the cooler full of ice water was magical. That might not seem like much of a big deal to most but for someone like me who had never dealt with that sort of service before on a golf course… It was big! Honestly, it blew me away. To that end, everybody that I had encountered during my time at Harbour Town was enthusiastic, kind and you could tell that they loved their job.


You might see the steps going into the bunker far right. That was where my ball rested. (Photo Credit: Sea Pines Resort)

While, I won’t give a shot by shot replay of my round what I will do is give a re-creation of sorts of the last several holes. In front of me was a foursome with a forecaddie and caddies so as a single I really sat back and took my time to absorb the experience. On Hole 13 there is a massive bunker that guards the green. I really screwed up my approach shot and not only left it short and right (in the bunker) but right against the timber that lines the wall of the bunker. There was about 8 inches from my ball to the wall. My friends, it was then that I hit the best bunker shot of my life and as far as I’m concerned it involved no skill but pure luck. I executed the perfect blast and landed my ball inches from the pin. Likely, the best up and down I have made in my life. A caddie for the group in front of me witnessed the shot and he came back to where I was and said “I’ve worked here a long time… that shot you hit there is the best that I have seen from that bunker” . I neglected to tell him that it was luck. The Par 3 14th is by far the prettiest Par 3 that I have played… ever. Water is in abundance here and it is a forced carry over water with a bail-out left. I was enamored with this hole and it is said to be one of the toughest holes year-in and year-out on Tour. I remember teeing off of the 16th hole (a Par 4 dogleg left) and landing my ball in the middle of the dogleg. When I arrived at my ball I had a clear look at the green and beyond that the Par 3 17th and my first look at Calabogie Sound. It was at this moment when I realized that my round was coming to an end. I made my way to the 17th and just stared. The sun setting to the west. As I walked off with par I slowly walked to the cart and drove towards the 18th tee.


The Par 3 14th. Take a little more than you think. Trouble front, right and long.

I hesitated a long time before I was able to tee off #18. Part of the story that I left out earlier was that it hadn’t been much time since my mother had passed away. This was in 2010 (my father passed away in 2004) and even though my siblings and I knew that our mother wasn’t selfish, we just began to realize how selfless she was after her passing. Ultimately, it was because of her that I had this opportunity to play this round at Harbour Town. As I started thinking about my mom and dad and how atrocious the vacation had been I took it in. Staring at the lighthouse down the fairway there I stood… driver in hand…crying. Thanking my parents. As I did this I saw some Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins frolicking out in the sound. The scene was perfect… setting sun. I remember this massive yacht sitting in the marina. So I hit my drive… tears streaming down my face. My drive went right… real right! Off of a house that lined the fairway. Of course there was somebody there and I drove over to apologize to the woman who sat on her back deck. She merely laughed it off and told me not to worry about it. She then told me that I got a lucky bounce and pointed at my golf. There it sat just off of the fairway. I laughed, hit my approach and landed it perfectly into Calabogie Sound. Yes the tide was in and I took the penalty. I walked off of Harbour Town with a double-bogey to end my round and a total of 77.


The perfect 18th Hole. The sights, sounds and smells make everything right.

If you’re ever in the area of Hilton Head than consider trying to get onto Harbour Town Golf Links. It’s where the PGA Tour plays and you can play there as well. Maybe in a way… you might find it cathartic.

Until The Next Tee!

The Master of The Masters

So I was going to follow suit with what I was doing earlier in the week. After doing a re-cap for the first two rounds I decided not to write a round three re-cap. Admittedly, I was too enthralled watching my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs clinch a playoff spot last night. Something they haven’t done in an extremely long time. After watching the Third Round though all I could think about was how exciting the Final Round would be. Then again, when it comes to The Masters is there ever a Final Round that isn’t exciting?


I got distracted. (Photo Credit: National Post)

We’ve seen a lot of fireworks this week from Augusta. Blistering rounds turned in by Rickie Fowler and Charley Hoffman with the latter being in contention from day one. High winds and cooler temperatures made themselves a part of the event this year but Masters Sunday looks to be a little more like it. So speaking of fireworks what about journeyman and the man with 73 starts in a Major without having won a Major?


Winless in 73 Major starts. (Photo Credit:

Sergio Garcia. The brash Spaniard whom people have loved and utterly hated over the years. A man who it seems has been on Tour since the beginning of time. We’ve seen Sergio at his immature worst and now a more refined, sophisticated Sergio. Actually, while those two adjectives don’t fully describe the current version I think that many can agree that he has matured… just a little. but here it is Sunday at The Masters and he currently sits -8 and in the lead as he tees off on number 8. Today is a day where it just seems like he can do no wrong and maybe just maybe he will get his Green Jacket and the “Major Monkey” off of his back. As he has been in “cruise control” we have seen other contenders after “Moving Day” start to fall back. Jordan Spieth has dropped a few strokes and at the moment Justin Rose has bounced back after losing ground and Rickie Fowler just got back to -5 after a recent birdie. If there is one thing that we can say about Augusta National a lead of 2 or 3 is definitely not safe. One minute you’re ahead by four and then you blink and you could suddenly find yourself down 1. Then of course there is the aptly named “Amen Corner” which is always magical and full of drama on Sunday. What I’m trying to convey is that at the moment there is a ton of golf to be played. With that said… Justin Rose now sits tied at the top of the leaderboard with Sergio Garcia as they head to the ninth. Lots of golf left indeed!!! Suddenly I heard Chubbs’ voice (Carl Weathers) singing “We’ve Only Just Begun”


We’ve only just begun. (Photo Credit: Happy Gilmore)

So speaking of Justin Rose. What can be said of him? Yes he won the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion. Last year in Rio he won the Olympic Golf championship by hoisting the Gold Medal for Great Britain. Justin has definitely shown the wherewithal proving to the golf world that he can win on any stage. Who remembers his first Open Championship? In 1998 as a 17-year-old he finished the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in 4th place. You knew then that major things were going to happen then. Here we are 19 years later and he’s alone in first place on the 13th exiting “Amen Corner” clear of Garcia by two strokes.


Rosey makes a move (Photo Credit:

As I sit here and watch I made a comment on Twitter (@UntilTheNextTee) just recently. Watching these two (Garcia and Rose) is like watching a heavyweight fight. Both become rubber-legged after absorbing a heavy blow from their opponent and then they show nothing but raw intestinal fortitude and resilience while bouncing back. Rose who looked like he hurt something on 15 tee and Garcia hit a great shot into 15 getting an Eagle. As the two of them walk off of the 15th green here they are deadlocked at -9. Writing, I am thinking to myself that it’s a shame that one or the other will not win this tournament. Yes only one jacket will be awarded to the winner but I cannot help but think that millions are winning on this “Sunday at The Masters”. Golf and its fans are winning and are the winners on this day.


Sudden Death. (Photo Credit:

As the round is finishing up both players sit on 18 in regulation tied at -9. Rose hit an approach shot that looked to be errant just see a terrific bounce. His putt just missed and just as the door was opened for Garcia to win with a birdie putt… Garcia missed as well. Truth be told over the last three holes Garcia’s putting stroke has looked tentative… at best. His putt on 18 never stood a chance. Sudden Death playoff it is. The nerves that both players must be feeling I cannot even imagine. Based on putting alone… at this point “Advantage… Rose”.

In the end, the 2017 edition of The Masters is going to go down as an “instant classic”. Two of Europe’s most popular players slugging it out for Major glory. Huge congratulations to the victor… Sergio Garcia on winning your first Major and The Masters. Something my mother always said comes to mind. “It pays to persevere”.


Photo Credit: SportCenter

Until The Next Tee!

The Masters – Round Two

Friday at The Masters…. what a great way to enter the weekend! The only way that it could be greater is if we were in attendance to catch the tournament. On the heels of my Round 1 recap I thought… what the heck. How about a Round Two report. So here we go.

For those that read my lead in to the week I made a few picks… or at least guys to look for. I admit that I never gave the name William McGirt a thought and to be totally frank I never considered Sergio Garcia to be at or near the top of the leaderboard. But, lo and behold it’s “Moving Day Eve” and there sits Garcia atop the leaderboard in a four-way tie with Round 1 leader Charley Hoffman whom was nice enough to answer my question from my Round 1 recap. He came back to the field. This isn’t to take away from the fact that the rounds turned in by Thomas Pieters, Garcia and Rickie Fowler  were impressive.


Sergio… in contention. (Photo Credit:

Fowler would card the low round of the day with an impressive -5 (67) as he surged towards the top. Over and over again I have become more and more impressed with Rickie. However, it isn’t for his play but for the class he has shown over and over again. Apologizing to fans for not signing autographs, then signing autographs after a recent victory into darkness and lastly yesterday. There he stood in attendance with all of the patrons taking in the Honorary Starter’s tee shots and tribute to our “Dear King”. Rickie… Arnie is watching down on you and he’s loving everything that you’re doing. It seems that you are truly embodying Mr. Palmer. In a time in the world where there is so much strife and people only care about themselves you’re a breath of fresh air. Karma can be a great thing.


The surging Fowler (Photo Credit:

Speaking of great things. Also in my Masters lead-in I mentioned a couple of other names to watch out for. I mentioned Jon Rahm as being a name to watch this week and he’s coming through. While Bernhard Langer missed the cut as did Patrick ReedJason Day snuck in as the last player to make the cut and Rory McIlroy and Hideki Matsuyama are in striking distance. But my boldest pick was that we would see magic out of Fred Couples. Today the former Masters Champion at age 57 came through with my prognostication. After two rounds one of the field’s elder statesmen sits T-6. Can you only imagine? I know that if he’s in the hunt after moving day the grounds would be utterly electric. Turn back the clock Freddie!


Freddie turning back time like Cher. (Photo Credit:

The leaderboard is stacking up and the weather this weekend is looking ideal. Masters Sunday magic… it’s coming. you can already hear the roars echoing through the pines, dogwoods and azaleas.

Until The Next Tee!

Mastering Augusta – Day One

Hasn’t it been an interesting start to the season’s first Major of the year? I mean who could have possibly predicted that what has transpired so far was in fact going to happen?

If there was a Masters Tournament that had a serious plot twist before the action begun in 2017 than I have no idea what it was. Like every year the Par 3 Contest was played (sort of). Unfortunately, Mother Nature had found it within herself to interfere forcing a cancellation after 55 minutes of play due to an unstable weather system. Marking that for the first time in 56 years it was not contested. But there is a silver lining to that massive cloud. At least none of the player’s will be a victim of “the curse”. Nobody has ever gone on to win The Masters after winning the Par 3 Contest. Oh… speaking of massive clouds to darken an event.


Par 3 Tournament… cancelled. (Photo Credit: Golf Channel)

I have never been to Augusta National but I have long wondered if it smelled like I imagine it to through the television screen. I remember watching the telecast from a hospital bed in 2004 in Hamilton, Ontario while recovering from an infection that led doctors to believe I had Meningitis. But while laying there in the bed there were all of the sprawling colors that is Augusta National in front of my eyes. I can’t imagine any weather or dark clouds ever making this event dreary. Unless of course you happen to be playing a Masters pool with a bunch of people and you just watched your favorite… the favorite to win fall down some stairs. As the reports of a fall involving World #1 Dustin Johnson surfaced on social media outlets The Masters took the biggest plot twist that I have seen. While at his rental home in Augusta, Johnson took a fall that injured his lower back. According to his agent the fall was significant and it’s reported that he landed hard on his elbow and side. Treatment was started right away with Dustin having hopes of still playing but after warming up prior to the first round Thursday Johnson was forced to withdraw. He was quoted as saying that the backswing was fine but coming down and through impact he felt his lower back “catch”. DJ has been playing the best golf he has played in his career and will have plenty of chances to win a “Green Jacket”. just that it won’t be this year. DJ… don’t rush it and give it time to heal you aren’t as young as you used to be (32).


The Round 1 leader. Charley Hoffman (Photo Credit:

The beautiful part about life is that when one door closes another door opens. With DJ’s withdrawal a door the size of an airplane hangar opened for the field. High winds plagued the first round and some players like Adam Scott stated that it was “borderline unplayable”. I know for the rest of us golfing “Minions” there isn’t a huge paycheck and a Green Jacket waiting for us with a victory. But… can I please see a show of hands from everyone who would complain about playing Augusta National in 30 mph winds? Thanks. I know a 3 to 4 club wind is an inconvenience and it can suck when it comes to putting. But seriously, on the Great Lakes that in gentle zephyr. More so I imagine in Texas or the Mid-West (Prairies). My point being that it’s the same course for everyone in the morning wave and that’s on the course at the time. Just luck of the draw right? But as some like Scott struggled (I’ll leave Jordan Spieth’s 9 on 12 alone). Nice cards were turned in after Round 1 by Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, and William McGirt. But did Charley Hoffman ever have himself a round. A -7 for a 65?! Master class right there folks. It’s unknown how that first round will hold up come Sunday but what a start. Hoffman is currently on the course and E thru 1. The weather looks pretty nice today (less wind) and looks to be even better come the weekend. So will the field catch him or will he come back to the field? Time will tell.

2017 masters

An emotional tribute (Photo Credit: Golfweek)

In closing, I just wanted to state that it was tough watching the Honorary Starters kick off the tournament yesterday. Of course Mr. Nicklaus and Mr. Player were there to strike the opening tee shots. But it was surreal to watch the Opening Ceremony as Chairman of Augusta National Billy Payne escorted Mrs. Arnold Palmer to the first tee while carrying one of Mr. Palmer’s Green Jackets then folded it ever so delicately and placed it on the chair there. Mr. Payne’s address to the patrons was emotional and heartfelt and accurate. If I may quote Mr. Payne “The almost unbearable sadness we all feel at the passing of Arnold Palmer is surpassed only by the love and affection for him, which will forever reside in our hearts.”

Until The Next Tee!