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Grouchy Golf Blog



Irreverent golf observations. A weblog not afraid to opine or offend about that ridiculous game called golf.



Last Build Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2018 16:04:08 +0000

 



Jack Dirkin, One Of The Best Golf Swings?

Mon, 03 Aug 2015 01:23:00 +0000

Now, more than ever before, we see near-perfect "textbook" golf swings being televised from the world's professional golf tours. Names such as Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Ernie Els, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, Rory McIlroy and Michelle Wie come to mind when we think about the game's best swings. But there are many similarly great swings from the amateur ranks that are unknown simply due to their limited exposure. One of them is Jack Dirkin. But even if Jack follows Tiger's march to the PGA, it'll be well over another decade before you get to see his swing on a pro tour. That's because Jack is only 5 years-old! Is it crazy to think that a 5 year-old possesses one of the best golf swings in the world? Take a look at his swing below and let me know what you think!

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="344" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FFKIIMg1Htg" width="459">



The First Back-To-Back Female Champion at Augusta National?

Tue, 03 Mar 2015 14:23:00 +0000

Kelly Xu became the first female champion ever at Augusta by winning last year's inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at the age of 9. She now has the opportunity to be the first back-to-back Drive, Chip and Putt Champion as the only returning champion this year. You can watch her attempt to complete this historic feat on April 5, 2015 live at Augusta or on TV at 9AM ET on the Golf Channel. The Golf Channel is also broadcasting profiles of some of the competitors during their shows "Golf Central" and "Morning Drive". While I haven't seen it, I know that there's one on Kelly because I was on the Penmar golf course when they filmed it! Below is my "behind the scenes" video. Look out for this special talent!

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NMvsHVsxv4c" width="480">



Thorlos for (Almost) Free!

Tue, 29 Jul 2014 23:04:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/_mHcW8z98dU?list=UUkN-pRWu_-u7A0kmvtQ8Gpg" width="480">When I was growing up, my sport du jour was tennis. I started playing sometime in elementary school and became good enough to play on the high school tennis team. I still play to this day, albeit much less frequently. During most of this time, I've heard about the comfort wonders of Thorlo socks from countless tennis players. However, I never tried Thorlos because of sticker shock. I had become accustomed to buying the generic bulk pack white athletic socks at Foot Locker that averaged $1 per sock. So whenever I considered Thorlos, I asked myself, "can these socks be worth 10x the cost of normal socks?" My answer was always, "No friggin' way!"

But I recently discovered that Thorlo is running a promotion for a free pair of socks. While the socks are free, there is still a $4.90 shipping and handling fee so it isn't totally free. Nonetheless, this is a really good deal for socks that are normally $13.99. I submitted the order form for the padded golf socks and around a week later I was in possession of the socks that I had waited almost 30 years to try. I was eager to try them out and wore them for my next golf outing several days later. After 9-holes of walking, I can say that they are indeed the best athletic socks I have ever worn. The toe seam had always been a source of irritation for me but not so with the Thorlos. It's too early to tell whether these socks will reduce the occurrence of blisters, corns and other foot ailments, but I'm hopeful that they will. So, are these Thorlos worth $13.99 a pair? I'm still not sure since that still seems like a lot of moolah for athletic socks. But they are sure worth $4.90 a pair! Try them and see for yourself.



Think Hockey When Playing Golf

Mon, 23 Jun 2014 15:04:00 +0000

Watching my LA Kings' amazing march to the Stanley Cup this year was a revelation to me. Not about hockey nor the will of champions, but about the golf swing. I noticed that the hockey slap shot is quite similar to a full golf swing. The key is that a properly executed slapshot requires that the hands are slightly ahead of the puck at impact. This is the same principle that applies to the golf swing. It's no wonder that so many hockey players are great golfers, including Happy Gilmore!

They are so similar that I find it helpful to visualize a slap shot when I setup and swing a golf club. I imagine that the golf club is just a disproportionate hockey stick with a longer shaft and shorter blade. First, I picture that the leading edge of my golf club is the blade of a hockey stick and I align it square to the target. Second, I make sure that my hands are slightly ahead of the ball with the shaft leaning back to the ball like a slapshot. Lastly, I pretend that I'm Anže Kopitar blasting a slap shot past the goalie into the net for the win!



Golf Tips - The Proper Golf Grip II

Sat, 31 May 2014 23:08:00 +0000

The golf swing is such a finicky thing. One day you may be striping the ball as pure as Adam Scott and the very next day you may be $hanking it like a rank beginner. WTF? Since the golf swing requires so much precision, the reason is often a breakdown of swing fundamentals. Even an infinitesimally small change can throw a monkey wrench into a golfer's swing. The fact that these changes are frequently unnoticed by the afflicted golfer in turn leads to disbelief and frustration.

I think that the most important, but also the most overlooked fundamental is the grip. I've already posted Butch Harmon's proper grip technique, but I recently came across another excellent video on the topic below. It covers some important elements that Butch does not. After viewing and fully understanding both of these videos, there's no excuse for not gripping the golf club correctly every time!

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/mDNQ_hwQc3w" width="480">



Congrats Kelly Xu!

Wed, 23 Apr 2014 05:23:00 +0000

Penmar's very own Kelly Xu won the Girls 7-9 Division at the inaugural Drive, Chip & Putt Championship held at Augusta National Golf Club. She was among 8 kids to beat out over 17,000 other competitors from around the nation. Since her division was the first girls championship to finish, she was also crowned Augusta National's first ever female champion. Somewhere Martha Burk must be smiling.

Here at her home course, Penmar by the Sea, all the locals are thrilled and proud of her. Anyone who has had the pleasure of knowing this exceptional 9-year-old girl knows that her personality and character matches her talents on the golf course. Unlike some other junior golfers who take brat to the extreme, Kelly is sweet, smart, happy and humble. All of these qualities are readily apparent in her interview with the Golf Channel's Michael Breed. It is just priceless!



Good Luck Kelly Xu!

Tue, 01 Apr 2014 03:23:00 +0000

As a single dude without children, I normally wouldn't watch the Golf Channel's coverage of the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday, April 6. It's basically the biggest golf competition for kids featuring the top 88 junior golfers from across the U.S. and Canada. However, I actually know one of the competitors so I'm excited to watch it. Her name is Kelly Xu and we share the same home course, Penmar by the Sea here in sunny Los Angeles. I've blogged about this 9 year-old wunderkind before and at this point in her development, she can probably beat me straight up!

All the Penmar regulars are very proud of her and we gave her a gift and this card pictured above to wish her luck. Good luck Kelly, all your Penmar friends will be watching and rooting for you!



A Picture of Frustration

Sat, 01 Mar 2014 04:23:00 +0000

The adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" is always true. On a recent outing to my 9-hole home course, I came across a curious sight at the 7th hole. I just had to snap a picture of it with my iPhone to share it here. To someone who doesn't play golf, they probably have no idea what happened. But to any golfer who has played the game a reasonable amount knows exactly what happened. Here's the picture translation in a thousand words:

A golfer played (or tried to play) golf. The golfer played poorly, or at least below their expectations. The poor play continued and the frustration level of the golfer built up like the steam in a pressure cooker. Finally, at the 7th hole, the golfer blew a gasket from hitting an awful shot with an iron. The golfer took the iron and broke the club out of anger and frustration. The rest of the thousand word description are all swear words spoken by the golfer!



Put Backspin on a Golf Ball!

Sat, 01 Feb 2014 00:23:00 +0000

One of the things that fascinates golf viewers is the backspin that professionals can impart on the golf ball. Oohs and aahs are usually heard when a ball lands on the green, skips to a momentary stop, and then rolls back as if on a yo-yo string. Amateur golfers struggle to replicate this impressive feat largely because they don't know that there are several necessary conditions for it to happen.  Here are some of the things to maximize your chances of spinning the ball back on the green:

  1. Use a premium golf ball:  The primary benefit of a premium ball over it's lower-cost brethren is that it is composed of multiple layers of different materials.  The outermost layer is made of a soft yet durable material that is designed for maximum grip.  This makes a premium ball spin much more with irons.  A Top Flite rock just wont cut it.  If you want to suck it back up on the green, you're going to have to suck it up and spend some green.
  2. Use a high-lofted iron:  The combination of high trajectory and high spin makes the ball spin back on the green.  The higher, the more it will roll back.  When it comes to golf clubs, the higher the loft, the higher the trajectory and higher the spin.  It's simple physics.
  3. Swing hard:  The higher the swing speed, the higher the spin.  Again, simple physics.
  4. Make proper ball contact:  With irons, the clubhead should make contact with the ball on the descending part of the swing path.  This minimizes interference from grass and debris and maximizes spin.
  5. Have a clean lie:  When there is grass between the ball and the clubface, it becomes vaporized upon contact.  This grass juice reduces the grip and consequently the backspin.  This is why it is nearly impossible to back it up on the green from the rough.  There's just too much grass getting between the ball and the clubface.
  6. Have clean and deep grooves:  Much like the grooves in tires channel away water to allow clean contact with the road, grooves in irons allow clean contact with the golf ball to maximize backspin.  The greater the groove volume, the more grass juice it can whisk away.  That's why it's important to clean grooves before every shot and play with the deepest and widest grooves allowed.



Golf Enjoyment Depends on Your Expectations!

Wed, 01 Jan 2014 04:04:00 +0000

I have played golf long enough to know that the level of enjoyment that you derive from this godforsaken game is highly dependent on the expectations that you place upon yourself. If you set a high level of expectation for your golf game, you are more than likely to disappoint yourself. In fact, the Golf Gods will make this a certainty. There's no enjoyment in that.

In other sports, it's perfectly fine to set lofty expectations and actually have a reasonable chance to exceed them. These are rational sports where there is a low variability in one's performance. For instance, I'm an accomplished tennis player. Sure I can play poorly on a given day. But I would never play as badly as a beginner or even an intermediate level tennis player. Playing poorly in tennis is just a slight negative deviation from normal. Not so in golf. When I play badly in golf I can be mistaken for a rank beginner. It's simply amazing how easily one can lose one's golf swing. But I'm not alone. I've spoken to countless other golfers who experience the same phenomenon. I suspect that it is a major reason why so many golfers quit the game altogether.

So the key to long-term enjoyment of golf is to recognize and accept it's uniquely irrational quality. Lower your expectations and you'll raise your enjoyment!



I Finally Broke Par!

Sun, 01 Dec 2013 07:42:00 +0000

After golfing for almost 20 years, I finally achieved one of my life goals. I broke par this month and below is the scorecard. Yeah, I know it wasn't a full 18 holes, but it is only a 9-hole golf course. Baby steps, right? At just a hair under 2,500 yards, you might also think that it too short to count. But I play this course without woods, so I think that it evens things out. For example, the 6th hole is a 423-yard par-4 that I almost never reach with two whacks from my trusty 3-iron.

On this historic day, I was playing well, especially my short game. After 7 holes I stood at par and was excited at the prospect of shooting par for the first time in my life. But a great tee shot on the par-3 8th hole led to an unexpected tap-in birdie. My nerves started acting up on the 9th hole knowing that I had the opportunity to break par, let alone shoot it. I hit the fairway but my approach shot came up short in the rough. My chip left me a tricky 7-footer for par. Sinking it would mean breaking par so it was easily the biggest putt of my entire life. Knowing that my nerves could easily get the best of me if I let my mind think, I didn't take any more time than normal. I figured the worst that could happen is that I shoot par, a great accomplishment. But the Golf Gods smiled on me for once and I sank it! I've been on Cloud Nine ever since.
(image)



Keegan "BaBaBooey" Bradley

Thu, 31 Oct 2013 15:04:00 +0000

The days of the polite "golf" clap being the loudest sound heard at PGA events are long gone. Like foreign Asian carp crowding out native fish in the Great Lakes, shouts of ridiculous phrases are increasingly drowning out the pleasant applause. It started years ago, presumably when Tiger's immense popularity drew in casual fans who previously wouldn't be caught dead on a golf course. The man who first coined the term "You da man!" and yelled it after a Wood's swing sparked an irreversible chain-reaction. He broke a long-standing and unspoken rule to not speak. When people realized that shouting after swings doesn't automatically boot you off the course, it encouraged other non-traditional golf fans to participate. "You da man!" and "get in the hole" were popular for a time, but it eventually got old and was replaced by more nonsensical phrases such as "mashed potatoes" and "bababooey".

Needless to say, the expanding shouting phenomenon is troubling to many traditional golf fans. Even golf announcers are starting to express their dismay during broadcasts. Can you imagine what the PGA golfers must think? Anyone who plays the game knows that maintaining focus and concentration are keys for performance. One would think that these things are easily disrupted by an idiot yelling "Chewbacca" for attention. I would think most PGA pros side with Ian Poulter who has publicly expressed his disdain for the annoying interruptions. He wants the PGA Tour to take action:

No matter what you think of Poulter, I think we can all support him in this regard.



Muscle Back Blades Are Swing-Improvement Irons

Mon, 29 Jul 2013 15:23:00 +0000

Almost a decade ago I wrote this post about how I changed my irons from so-called "game-improvement" cavity back irons to muscle back blade irons. Basically, my golf swing had worsened while playing cavity back irons and became better with muscle back blades. I've concluded that "game-improvement" is clearly a marketing coined term designed to sell clubs to golfers. It's not a stretch for the consumer to assume that such clubs will improve their golf swing. Heck, that's what I thought at first. But in reality, "game-improvement" clubs are designed to simply improve the results of a bad golf swing. That's a big difference.

Now that I've played with blades for virtually the last decade, I believe that they are the best type of irons to improve your golf swing. I recently came across this promo video for the new Mizuno MP-4 forged muscle back irons where PGA Tour Pro Charles Howell III expresses a similar sentiment at the 4:47 mark:

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/PeEkuYDdWoI?" width="480">

Howell explains:
If my son decides he wants to play golf...I would start him off in a set like this [muscle back blade irons]. You can tell right away when you hit is solid. You can tell right away how to draw the ball [and] fade the ball. This iron right here, if you play golf with this every day, you'll actually get better. It will make you a better player.
So, if cavity back irons are the "game-improvement" irons, then muscle back blades are the "swing-improvement" irons!



Match Play Upsets Ruin The NCAA Championship

Sun, 23 Jun 2013 13:23:00 +0000

Match play is an exciting golf scoring format. It turns golf into a mono y mono contest where the winner is determined solely by the number of holes won. There's no bonus for the margin of victory on each hole, just one point is awarded for each hole won. As a result, it is "the great equalizer" and has proven to produce far more upsets than the standard stroke play format. In basketball, the NCAA Basketball Championship is known as "March Madness" due to the crazy number of unexpected upsets. But it can't hold a candle to match play golf. The Wall Street Journal compared the winning percentages of higher seeds in golf's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship to March Madness. They found that the higher seed in basketball won 72% of the time compared to only 60% in golf.So it's fairly obvious that the match play format sacrifices a bit of fairness for excitement and suspense. It's rare that the player hoisting a match play trophy is truly the best golfer in the field. Perhaps that's the reason there's only one match play tournament on the PGA Tour. But it also makes you wonder why the NCAA added match play to the Men's Golf Championship in 2009. Isn't this the final tournament of the year with the sole purpose of identifying the best team in college golf?The tournament's current format is 54 holes of stroke-play followed by a match play playoff among the top 8 teams. As one might predict, the format is producing unpredictable results. Of the five tournaments so far, four of the #1 ranked golf teams have been upset. But this year's 2013 NCAA Championship featured the biggest upset of them all. Cal was the best college golf team this year and perhaps all-time. Just check out these fun facts:After winning its first two events, the team was ranked #1 and held that spot all season.The team set a modern-era NCAA record with 12 victories in 14 stroke-play events.Every starter won at least one individual title this season.Each starter finished the season with stroke-play averages under 71.00The starters finished the season ranked individually #1, 11, 12, 13, and 19 by Golfweek.Three starters were first-team Ping All-Americans, the other two are on the second-team.The head coach, Steve Desimone, was named national coach of the year for the last two years.So it was no surprise that Cal crushed the competition in the 54-hole stroke-play portion of the 2013 NCAA Championship by six shots. Entering the match-play portion seeded #1, it was also no surprise that they would be upset by lowly Illinois, the #20 ranked team in the nation.If this doesn't cast a bright spot light on the deficiencies of the match-play format, nothing will. It's simply not fair for a team that has proven all season it is the best by a wide margin to have it all come undone over several hours of random heads-up golf. Under a conventional 72-hole stroke-play format, Cal would have rightfully run away with the title. Every competitive golfer knows that stroke-play is the best overall test of golf. Heck, it worked for the NCAA Championship for the 44-years prior to 2009. It's clear that the NCAA's effort to spice things up with match-play has been a failure and diminishes the legitimacy of the title. After Illinois upset Cal, Desimone said, “All today does is demonstrate again that this is not the best way to crown the national champion.” It's just a shame that arguably the best college golf team of all-time will fade into obscurity due to a poorly conceived championship format. In this regard, match-play is truly upsetting.[...]



Sergio Garcia Needs a Pacifier

Sun, 26 May 2013 03:04:00 +0000

When a 19 year-old Sergio Garcia first burst onto the worldwide golf stage at the 1999 PGA Championship, many thought that this young upstart could be one of the "young guns" to finally challenge Tiger Woods for many years to come. Alas, he never panned out to be the rival to Tiger that many had hoped. In fact, most view his career to date as a disappointment. While he has won 20 tournaments worldwide, none have been majors. A balky putter and a shaky mental game are the major reasons why Sergio hasn't occupied a place in the game's elite echelon. But what's most disappointing to me about Sergio is not his career but the manner that he has carried himself over his career. Sergio has been one of those guys who always finds someone else to blame for their woes. It was easy to dismiss this as immaturity early in his career, but now at age 33, it no longer holds water.At the 2013 Players Championship Sergio complained that Tiger interrupted his back-swing. It was a curious complaint, to say the least, because Tiger was out of view clear across the other side of the course surrounded by a sea of people and could not have intentionally timed an interruption. Sergio's complaint would carry some merit if Tiger had swung out of sequence or during Sergio's swing. But that didn't happen. It seems the unforgivable offense that Tiger seems to have committed in the eyes of Sergio is that he pulled a club from his bag. The crowd reacted with approval at the club Tiger pulled and this interrupted Sergio. If it seems ridiculous to be upset at a playing partner for pulling a club during your swing, you are not alone. I already called a wahmbulance.But this incident didn't die as it normally should. Instead, Sergio used it as a springboard to vent his frustration at the World's #1. He clearly doesn't like Tiger and made it known that his main beef is over honesty. In response to Tiger's explanation of the incident, Sergio replied, "That's fine. At least I'm true to myself. I know what I'm doing, and he can do whatever he wants." A week later Sergio said, "He called me a whiner. That's probably right. It's also probably the first thing he's told you guys that's true in 15 years. I know what he is like. You guys are finding out."Like him or not, Sergio isn't afraid to speak his mind. Many applauded Sergio for calling out the false persona known as Tiger Woods. But wasn't that already revealed after the 2009 Thanksgiving Day Massacre? Regardless, Sergio's praise and goodwill among the Tiger-haters quickly evaporated after he was asked if he planned to have dinner with Woods at the U.S. Open. Sergio joked, "We will have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken." Yup, he went there and at that moment Garcia went too far. Sergio apologized for his comment explaining that "in no way was the comment meant in a racist manner." But such a comment is clearly racist. How do you use a racist comment not meant in a racist manner? I find it highly suspect that Sergio conjured up "fried chicken" just randomly. It's clear that Sergio was trying to make a humorous comment by using a racial stereotype. If Sergio were really true to himself, as he has claimed, he would own up to his action and apologize for making a racist comment instead of claiming the comment wasn't racist. Ironically, it is now Sergio's honesty that is put into question.[...]



Improving Golf and Other Sports

Tue, 30 Apr 2013 15:04:00 +0000

(image) I love virtually all sports. However, no sport is perfect and over the years I’ve thought of some ideas to improve specific sports:

In baseball, reduce the number of fielders by one. I find that baseball can be excruciatingly boring. I attribute it to an imbalance between offense and defense. In my opinion, there are just too many fielders. Simply reducing the number of fielders by one would open up the game and introduce much more strategy. For instance, do you take out an infielder or an outfielder? If you only have 2 outfielders, do you position them favoring the left field or the right field? These are decisions that will really make baseball managers earn their keep.

In basketball, make shooting fouls optional. If a team is fouled and they are awarded free throws, they should have the option to instead take the ball out of bounds. This would avoid the common situation at the end of games where teams use fouling as a weapon and the game turns into a free throw shooting contest. Can you think of another sport where teams intentionally commit penalties? Allowing teams to inbound the ball instead of shooting free throws would eliminate the ridiculous and embarrassing “Hack a Shaq” strategy.

In football, make the extra point kick attempt a little more difficult. In its current state, it amounts to little more than a gimmie. How about extending the length of an extra point attempt by 10 yards? It would make the game much more interesting and dramatic.

When it comes to golf, there's almost too many things that I'd like to change. But most of all, I find it tremendously unfair that you must play the ball as it lies even if it happens to land in a sand-filled divot. How many times have you celebrated a great drive in the middle of the fairway only to have it replaced with disappointment from a random divot? The fairway is supposed to reward you for a quality shot by providing the best lie for your next shot. I most certainly would rather play out of the first cut of rough than a mini-sand bunker of a divot. I say that this is ground under repair and that you should get a free drop. If I really had it my way, I'd take it one step further and rule that all players are allowed to lift, clean, and place balls that land in the fairway. If all players are allowed to do this, isn't it fair for all? After all, isn't that why they call it the "fairway"?



That's a Repeatable Swing!

Sun, 31 Mar 2013 15:42:00 +0000

There are uncountable differences between amateurs and pros. One of the main ones is that pros have repeatable swings developed over years of mashing the rock.

Here's a cool Sport Science video analysis of the repeat-ability of Lexi Thompson's swing:

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/fSjkfwmzMIE" width="480">



Slicefixer Reveals the Secret of Golf?

Wed, 20 Feb 2013 16:08:00 +0000

I played golf the other day with a guy who claimed to have just figured out golf. After struggling with this god-forsaken game for so long, I cautioned him to watch the words that sprang from his mouth. I explained to him that the purpose of golf was to drive us crazy. For some unknown reason, the Gods wanted to punish us mortals with an impossible to master game that would appear to be just the opposite. They called it golf and appointed the Golf Gods to maintain the game’s devilish deception. Anytime a mortal threatens to quit the game out of frustration, the Golf Gods will offer a tiny glimmer of hope to draw them back into the game. On the other hand, the Golf Gods are quick to strike down any golfer who becomes the least bit overconfident.

Dismissing my warning, my playing partner explained how he came to figure out golf. He said that he discovered the teachings of a golf instructor by the name of Geoff Jones who goes by the alias “Slicefixer” on the Internet. I was told to simply Google “Slicefixer” and all would be revealed.

Well I did, and I found a lot. Basically, Geoff was a teammate of Fred Couples on the University of Houston golf team. Geoff was an accomplished junior golfer who was the top dog in his hometown. But he soon realized that things were different in Houston after witnessing Freddie easily outdriving him to the tune of 50 yards. Geoff believed that he had to hit the ball farther to compete at the next level. Unfortunately, this quest for distance led him down a path of destruction that left his swing in complete disarray. He spent years to relearn the golf swing and return to his former glory. He has shared his findings for free in the SliceFixer’s Encyclopedia Texarkana.

Also, here's a video of Geoff's story and his concepts:

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/lozIcHtFPTM" width="480">

I have reviewed Geoff’s teachings and they sound valid to me. I plan on working on his concepts and hopefully they’ll get me closer to figuring out golf.



Nike Anoints Rory As Its Future Golf Hero

Tue, 22 Jan 2013 00:04:00 +0000

Many people noticed the chummy relationship Tiger was forging with Rory last year. Some speculated that Tiger was buttering him up to join Team Nike. Well, the rumors and speculation were true as Nike announced last week that it signed Rory to a mega 5-year $100 million endorsement deal.

Rory is now bathed from head-to-toe in Nike apparel. Like a superhero donning a costume to shield his identity, Rory wears a costume covered in swooshes. But the surprising aspect of Rory's deal is the equipment. Usually a golfer of Rory's stature adopts a new manufacturer's equipment gradually so it doesn't adversely affect the golfer's performance on the course. After all, nothing is worse for a golf company than a golfer playing worse with its equipment for all the world to see. Tiger has followed that path with his deals with Titleist and Nike.

However, Rory has dived right into the Nike armory replacing all of his 14 clubs and ball with Nike's offerings. Whether it's supreme confidence or young naïveté, his move is certainly a bold one. It remains to be seen whether it was the correct move, but Rory's first outing with the new gear at last week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in many ways was a bit of a stumble. This is a tournament that he finished in the top-3 for the last 3 years. This year, Rory misses the cut due to wayward shots and putts. Predictably, he attributed his poor performance to lack of practice. However, the fact that Rory bailed out on his Nike METHOD putter in favor of his old Titleist Scotty Cameron after only one round of play is not a sign of confidence in his gear.

I hope that Rory figures out his new equipment soon and returns to his #1 in the world form. If he doesn't, he may join Johnny Miller, Nick Price and Corey Pavin on the list of great golfers who have had their careers derailed due to equipment changes.



Re-Grip Golf Clubs With Air!

Thu, 27 Dec 2012 16:42:00 +0000

Playing golf with grips in good condition is important for your golf swing. Worn grips become slick and require greater than normal grip pressure to hold adequately. In turn, this can add tension throughout your golf swing causing all sorts of problems.

The average golfer should regrip their golf clubs at least once per year. Aside from the cost of the grips, most golf shops will charge around $3 per club in labor cost. With 14 clubs in the bag, that cost can quickly add up over time. However, regripping is something that can be done quite easily at home with the right tools and equipment. The traditional method utilized nasty solvents that can be quite messy and cause pangs of guilt to the average tree hugger. An alternative method uses compressed air. Check out this video for the gripping details:

allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/qd3Qzz3m4cg" width="420">



Golf GPS on Your Phone?

Fri, 23 Nov 2012 00:08:00 +0000

My first experience with GPS technology for golf occurred a little more than a decade ago. I was playing a nice but long-forgotten golf course with some friends. We had opted to splurge on a motorized golf cart and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it contained a magical video screen that displayed your current location on the golf course and yardages to important landmarks. I was amazed at the amount of accurate and useful information provided by this technology.The only problem with golf GPS technology was access to it. At first it was only found in golf carts. Eventually, it made its way into handheld units. However, I found these units too costly to be worthwhile. While technological advancements and market forces over time have greatly improved the value proposition of these devices, I still never felt comfortable dropping several Benjamins on one.But having recently joined the modern age by buying my first smartphone, I discovered that its embedded GPS receivers can transform it into a golf GPS device. With several golf GPS iPhone apps available, I hit the Internet to find the best one. I read through many relevant threads on the main golf message forums and one name kept cropping up: the $19.99 Golfshot: Golf GPS. I installed it on my iPhone 5 and hit the course!Golfshot is a full-featured golf GPS app that replicates the primary features of a dedicated unit. The company has over 40,000 worldwide course maps available for download without a subscription fee. There are two main screens that are easily toggled while playing. One is the aerial screen that displays your location on an overhead map of the hole with basic yardage information. There's a target reticle that you can drag with your finger to pinpoint a location on the map to discover the distance to that point and the distance from that point to the middle of the green. The second screen is the GPS list view and displays detailed yardages from your current location such as distances to hole landmarks and the front, middle and back green locations. Both screens have access to a sub-menu where you can take notes, snap photos, and, most importantly, track club distances. Once you finish playing a hole, you can enter your score on the electronic scorecard.After playing several rounds with Golfshot, I'm thoroughly impressed. Initially, my main concern was accuracy. However, I compared the Golfshot yardages alongside those from golfers in my foursome who used dedicated laser and GPS handheld devices and found that they were always within a few yards of each other. While the aerial screen is nice visually, the GPS list view is the most useful. In fact, if you're already familiar with a course, you probably won't ever need to access the aerial screen. The swing tracking function is an easy way to track your true club distances and accuracy. Golfshot will store this data and give you valuable statistics on your clubs. Be sure to only track full swings, otherwise you'll skew the data lower. In any case, don't be surprised if your true club distances aren't as far as you think. Try as I might, those 300 yard bombs in my mind never quite registered much more than 250!I didn't expect much from Golfshot's electronic scorecard, but I ended up pleasantly surprised. It asks for your score, putts, the club used on the tee, location of the tee shot, sand shots, and penalty strokes for each hole. Once I became familiar with the input screen, I found it faster and more convenient to use than the old-school p[...]



Yelling "Mashed Potatoes"?!

Wed, 24 Oct 2012 23:04:00 +0000

The term "polite golf clap" arose from the type of applause that golf fans traditionally showered onto golfers during a live tournament. It was a light clapping of the hands meant to show appreciation for a golfer's shot while at the same time not disrupting the quiet serenity thought to be needed for the golfers to play at their best. However, "polite golf clapping" is being increasingly drowned out by "rude golf yelling".

All the way up through the Hogan era, anything louder than a light applause was considered verboten on the golf course. With the emergence of Arnie's Army and Jack Nicklaus, respectful cheers were added to the mix. But the floodgates really opened up when Tiger Woods grabbed the torch from Jack. He seemed to attract a much broader audience and that audience brought a different element to the golf course. Words shouted from the gallery began being heard distinctly within television broadcasts. It started with words of encouragement such as "get in the hole!" and "be the ball!". Soon yelling "you da man!" became the hip thing to do after every golf shot. That remained the norm for a good decade or so.

However, over the last year, yelling utter nonsense has reigned supreme. Sometimes it's an inside joke. For example, "Baba Booey!" is a calling card for shockjock Howard Stern fans and it's often heard after Stern superfan Keegan Bradley hits a shot. But more times than not, there are yells that make no sense whatsoever. One that keeps cropping up is "mashed potatoes". WTF? Why the heck would someone yell that at a golf course, let alone anywhere for that matter? At first I thought that it must refer to some creative marketing campaign. But I looked all over the Internet and found zilch. Maybe the yeller believes he is yelling something creative, witty or funny? For the life of me I can see none of those qualities in "mashed potatoes". After thinking about it for far too long, I've concluded that the only logical reason for someone yelling "mashed potatoes" is that they are a potato farmer trying to boost demand for his crop. Nothing else makes sense! Listen to it for yourself and let us know your theories:

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Random Ryder Cup Thoughts...

Mon, 01 Oct 2012 05:42:00 +0000

Here are some of my random thoughts after watching this year's Ryder Cup:An American Cop won the Cup - Rory McIlroy barely made it to his teetime on Sunday. Apparently, overzealous Golf Channel watching the night before caused him to confuse his local time zone and he left his hotel an hour late. But lucky for him, there was an Illinois State Police officer at the scene that gave him a police escort to the golf course. WTF? Do you think that if the roles were reversed and an American golfer was late to a Ryder Cup in Europe that some doughnut dipper would rush him through traffic with lights flashing and sirens 'a blazing? If I were that Smokey Bear, I would have taken Rors straight to Gino's East and told him, "You just f*cked up the Ryder Cup. Be happy that you can drown your sorrows in the world's best deep-dish pizza."The Ryder Cup produces the best golf of the year - I know that it's not scientific, but it just seems that there are more great golf shots produced during the Ryder Cup than any other golf tournament. It's really amazing considering all of the pressure and crowd distractions.Ryder Cup singles match play is the best golf day - If I could only watch one day of golf, it would have to be the final day of the Ryder Cup. It seems that no lead is safe entering the final day. Unlike other golf events where only a handful of golfers really matter during the final round, every golfer matters at the Ryder Cup. Normally when I watch a golf event, I fast forward to just my favorite players and contenders. But for the Ryder Cup, I only fast forward through the commercials. Golf and excitement are two normally mutually exclusive terms. The Ryder Cup is one of the few exceptions.The Ryder Cup brings out the passion - Not since David Duval has there been a more stoic persona on the PGA Tour than Jason Dufner. He rides the emotional roller coaster of a golf tournament like it's Venice canal ride. But at the Ryder Cup, the guy was pumping his fists, shouting to the crowd and even smiling! Seeing that kind of passion is what's so great about the Ryder Cup.I don't understand European team pride - Don't the Germans hate the Italians, the Italians hate the Spaniards, the Spaniards hate the Brits and everyone hates the French? As an American, it's easy to understand American pride and cheering for your country. But I think I'd have a hard time feeling that way for a general region that my country happens to reside. The European team shares a common currency (for now) but I don't think much more. That's why it's puzzling to me why they care for the Ryder Cup as much as they do.Ryder Cup Uniforms are Uniformly Awful - I have yet to watch a Ryder Cup where the outfits matched the coolness of the event. I sometimes wonder if the costume designer for "Caddyshack" found a second job dressing the Ryder Cup teams. Maybe when he dies the uniforms will improve.Pros hit shanks too - Webb Simpson hit a hoseltoved shank iron shot off the tee earlier this month at the BMW Championship. Well he did it again on the final day of the Ryder Cup at Medinah’s par-3 8th. It seems that September is shank month for Webb since he hit a shank during the 1st round at last year's BMW Championship. According to Simpson, "I probably shank one every other day on the range because one of my focuses in my swing is that I try to put as much force as I can on my downswing trying to get my weight through the ball," Simpson said. "A lot of times that cl[...]