The 2013 MyGolfSpy Vancouver Open

The 2013 MyGolfSpy Vancouver Open

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Intro By: Tony Covey

I wanted to take a moment to share some information about an event that’s going to be kicking off in the very near future.

As Golf Spies, the staff here lives in the shadows…or at least that’s the mythology of what we’ve created. It’s reasonable to say that some of that has changed as the site has grown, but we’ve never been much for organizing trips, golf outings, or any of that other let’s get people together kind of stuff. Sure, we’ve talked about it, but we’ve never actually done anything.

The website is where we do our thing, the forum is for our members – and to the extent we reasonably can – we stay the hell out of it. When it comes to getting our growing community together physically to play the game that binds us together…well, frankly, we suck. We’ve done nothing.

So given our total lack of initiative, It’s absolutely amazing that a few members of the growing MyGolfSpy Forum Community, with no prompting, no participation, and honestly no help whatsoever, took it upon themselves to organize an inaugural, 5-day long event that we hope is destined to become the Annual MyGolfSpy Tour. I could not be more proud of what our community has done.

The full story isn’t mine to tell (because again…we had nothing to do with it), so we asked one of the primary organizers (Manbearpig) to tell you about the 2013 MyGolfSpy Vancouver Open.

Written By: Dan Mann

The Story

Last December, forum member RP Jacobs II had a dream to visit his new friends the Manbearpig’s at their home in Vancouver, BC.   Meanwhile, there had been talk on the forum of having an annual gathering of MGS forum members so that we could all get together for socializing and for playing golf.   MBP seized the opportunity and combined both into one gala event.  So the trip was opened up to the entire membership of MyGolfSpy.

As planning for the trip grew the MyGolfSpy Tour was born. The idea is to hold an annual event hosted by a member in his or her home town or place of his choosing and give the MyGolfSpy community an opportunity to get together and play golf.   After much debate and compromises, the first annual event; The MyGolfSpy Vancouver Open will be played on June 2-7 in Vancouver British Columbia.  Participants are arriving on June 1st and leaving on June 8th.  This will be a 6 day adventure showcasing the courses, beautiful scenery and great people that Canada’s west coast has to offer.

You can read the Original Forum Thread HERE.

Although not everyone who would like to is able to attend the inaugural event, even those who won’t be making the trip have added their input to make the experience better for everyone.  For all of you not able to make the journey, we are going to provide a commentary, if you will, of what is happening, and we hope that in future years more people are able to come to the Annual MGS Tour.

To keep the community here informed you may follow us on:
:: Twitter

:: Facebook

The Gear

The MyGolfSpy community forum is made up of a wide variety of people from many walks of life.  Some members are also sponsors of the forum.  One such example is BestGrips. We approached them about creating special “Schwag” to commemorate the trip.  He became so involved in the process and the forum itself that he is attending the Vancouver Open as a participating forum member.  We are ecstatic to have him as member, sponsor and participant.  He has created hats, visor, towels, Puttershoes, hat bands and many more great commemorative items.  Bestgrips offers non-trip related MyGolfSpy products as well.  The gear is not exclusive to just trip participants however; any MyGolfSpy member can purchase these items as well.  Details HERE.

The Courses & Itinerary

With all that said let’s get to the good stuff. Where are we playing?

June 2: Cove Links meet & greet followed by BBQ at the Manbearpig’s

June 3: Furry Creek Golf Course in Furry Creek, BC

June 4: Pagoda Ridge Golf Course in Langley, BC

June 5: Riverway Golf Course in Burnaby, BC

June 6: Cove Links in Ladner, BC

June 7: Riverway Golf Course in Burnaby, BC

The Award

And finally what would a golf tour be without a prize?  As mentioned earlier, forum member WalkerJames, wanted to attend but could not.  He still wanted to do his part and used his skills to create the now much coveted “Distinguished Gentlemen” award.  Since MyGolfSpy is about community you the members will decide who takes this bad boy home. The following is the required point system criteria for the DG award winner.

Distguished Gentlemen Award Scoring

:: 0.5 points for each social and forum posts maximum 10 points per day
Official MGS Trip Live Thread forum posts
Tweets @MGSVancity2013
Posts on MyGolfSpy Facebook Page or MGS Vancouver Trip Facebook Page

:: 1-8 points net score daily: Based on Callaway Scoring System
:: 1-8 points: Best outfit – forum voted each day
:: 1-8 points: Best photo forum voted each day
:: 1-8 points: Favorite voted WITB picture
:: 1-8 Points: Picture of the week

You Can Still Participate

While there are only a small number of people who are actually going to be playing in the Vancouver Open that does not mean that the rest of you forum members cannot participate. The above mentioned point system and who will take home the coveted Distinguished Gentlemen plaque is based on your say.   There will be a forum live thread which will go up right before the trip starts, so be sure to follow, join in on the conversation and even cast a vote…..

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Hidden Gems: Odyssey ProType 4HT

Hidden Gems: Odyssey ProType 4HT

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How many different putters get overlooked each season?

(by Dave Wolfe)  Think about it for a second.  The number of putters that come to market each year is staggering.  I don’t even really know the ballpark figure for the number of putters produced worldwide.  One million putters? Two million?  I think that it is safe to say that a lot of putters are produced each year. How about the number of different models made each year?  That number is not as huge, but still quite large.  Small companies may roll out a new model or two, while the larger ones may make a few dozen new putter models.  It’s a lot to keep track of, even for the greatest of putter-philes.

With so many new putters coming to market, it is possible, if not probable, that some really exceptional putters will get lost and overlooked in your shop’s putter corral.  With this in mind, today I bring you the first installment of the P-Files: Discovering The Unknown Flatsticks.

Just because a putter slips by the masses doesn’t mean that it is not worth investigating.  In the words of FBI Agent pro golfer Bryce “Fox” Molder, the truth is out there1.  With this in mind, let’s take a look at today’s P-File putter: The Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT.

 

How Did We Miss It?

So far, 2013 has been all about the Versa and the White Hot Pro putter lines, with the soon to be released ProType IX line making a name for itself with it’s adjustable sole weights (Included, BTW.  How about that Mr. Cameron?).  The ProType Tour line made a big splash in 2012, if for no other reason than it included the first 2-Ball with a fully-milled, insert-free face.  Odyssey later in the year expanded the line to include the ProType Black putters, whose ninja-black 2-Ball crushed many a competitor in the Most Wanted Mallet Competition.

Odyssey definitely made a statement in the milled putter arena last year, and then came the Versa.  It’s no wonder that much of the 2013 Odyssey energy went in to the Versa line.  It represented a new idea in alignment and included thirteen different models, plus some sneaky Tour-Only variants like the Versa Sabertooth.  The soon to follow White Hot Pro line jumped the putter model count up by another sixteen models.  That’s almost thirty different putters that Odyssey needed to promote over the two lines.  Some things needed to be pushed aside and not promoted as much.

But some of us out there are putter seekers.  We go looking for stuff.  We already know that Odyssey has released new cigar themed grip and headcovers.  We know that some of the Versas now come with a SuperStroke Grip option.  Even the most dedicated putter seeker may have missed the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT though.  It arrived on the Odyssey website with no fanfare, and has since disappeared from their site.  Did you see it?  Did you notice when it left?  Sightings of the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT are now viewed with the same skepticism as the Jersey Devil and the Chupacabra.

Why Is It Worth Looking For?

While a cryptozoologist may come up with numerous, nebulous answers to that question, the fact that the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT is a mighty fine putter is answer enough.  Let’s take a look at some of its alleged characteristics.  People who have allegly seen, and supposedly used the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT report the following:

Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT Specifications

  • Material: 100% 1025 Milled Carbon Steel
  • Weight: 350g
  • Toe Hang: about 4:00
  • Length Tested: 34?
  • Finish: Satin
  • Grip: Lamkin 3GEN Pistol

Looks

The Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT is reported to have the same rich, yet non-reflective finish that is found on the other Odyssey ProType Tour models.  Its face milling is deep and precise, with simple red and black paint accents complementing the finish and the Lamkin 3GEN grip.

Those who have only caught a quick glimpse of the 4HT have reported that it is a Zing/Laguna-style head with a pumbers neck.  Further investigation has revealed something more unique and peculiar; the 4HT features a High Toe.  This high toe feature must have been taken into account when the crypto-puttologists added the “HT” descriptor to its official name.  If we study the photos, we can see that the toe end of the putter is definitely higher than the heel.  From the side, the elevated toe region is quite pronounced.

 

Feel

Few golfers have ever seen the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT, and fewer still have ever rolled one.  The consensus though is that the deep milling and 1025 carbon steel combine to produce one of the softest rolling putters in the line.  Some have reported that the thicker face does produce a more muted feeling at impact than found in the ProType blade-type models that feature deeper cavities.  The sweet spot is fairly tight on the 4HT, with off-center strikes producing a dull impact.  While missing the center of the face is seldom intended, some will welcome this feedback as a pathway to improving.

 

Alignment

The markings on the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT are minimal, with only a single small sight line facilitating targeting.  Our reports do say that the high toe also plays a role in the targeting process.  The high toe gives the illusion of an upright lie angle, while actually staying flat to the putting surface.  As with many visual features, this will be welcomed by some, and dismissed by others.  The high toe does blend nicely into the overall body at address, only really showing its extreme geometry in profile.

 

Who Should Think About Bagging this Recluse?

I think that the Odyssey ProType Tour HT4 is a bit of a fitting enigma.  The plumbers neck and toe hang put it into the slight arc putting realm, what Odyssey would likely call Two Lines in their new eyeFit system.  The high toe morphology may put a wrench in this system though.  The high toe promotes a comfortable address position with the eyes more over the ball.  This takes us into one line eyeFit territory.  It’s a bit of a conundrum on the eyeFit mirror, but course experience supports the placement of the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT into the hands of the slight-arcing putter.

 

Have You Seen It?

By all accounts, the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT was an excellent and unique addition to the ProType Tour line of putters.  We may never know the reasons why it vanished from the Odyssey line-up, but I am confident that the tenacious putter seeker, whose use of the powerful Google tool runs unimpeded, can still find it.  For the whole story though, we need to hear from you.  Have you seen the 4HT in the wild?  Were you lucky enough to roll it?  What did you experience?  Leave a comment below and let us know your experiences.  Remember, I want to believe!

1.  For the record, I do not know for sure that Bryce Molder has ever said this, but I think that it is possible.  I also do not actually believe that he has ever been an agent of the FBI.  Pro golf and FBI training do not seem to have much overlap.  For all I know, he hates the X-Files.  I do want to start referring to him as Spooky Molder though.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

TaylorMade’s New Driver is Back in Black

TaylorMade’s New Driver is Back in Black

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Written by: Tony Covey

Today TaylorMade, in introducing the R1 Black Driver, made what some will see as as one of the least significant announcements in company history.

The R1 Black isn’t a new driver. It’s the R1, except it’s black, and…and…well, that’s basically it.

It’s the same damn club.

The performance of the head is the same. The shaft is the same. The price ($399/$499 TP) is the same.

The difference…the only difference is that it’s black. And for what it’s worth, so is the wrench.

I should probably also mention that while TaylorMade isn’t calling the R1 Black a Limited Edition model, they certainly aren’t doing a full production run either. It seems pretty clear the intent is to all but guarantee there will be more demand than supply.

At least it has its own predictable, hashtag (#backinblack). I guess that’s better than #black-IER.

In fairness, the R1 Black (available June 10th) is exceptionally well done. While I’m sure some would have preferred a matte finish, PING more or less owns that right now, and integrating TaylorMade’s classic high-gloss finish with highly muted R1 graphics strikes a perfect balance that pays deferential respect to the traditional without compromising TaylorMade’s modern approach to crown graphics.

The truth is it’s beautiful.

It would be easy, at least it should be easy, to be mostly dismissive of the R1 Black. Check out the paint, and move along. There’s nothing to see here.

I’m a cynical bastard by nature, but I’ll cop to feeling a little nostalgic when I saw the white TaylorMade logo set against glossy black paint. It’s practically impossible not to think about your first TaylorMade driver, or at least the last one you loved..the 580, the SuperQuad, or the SuperDeep. You know…before all this white nonsense started.

But this is still just paint. Some would call it lipstick on a pig.

If this were anybody else in any other year, painting what was once black, white… and then painting it black again, wouldn’t be any kind of story, but this isn’t anybody else, it’s TaylorMade and it’s 2013, which why all of this is worth discussing further.

Why Black?

It’s almost comical that the golf industry has reached the point where we have to ask why any company would make a black driver, but we do. So at this risk of making a horrible, yet obvious pun, I’ll start by saying that over the last three years TaylorMade has basically painted themselves into a corner.

When the release the R11, TaylorMade put a lot of effort into selling the consumer on the idea that a white driver was better than a black one. They called it The Science of White.

If it’s science it must be real, right?

The story of white wasn’t in the paint itself, it was about the contrast between black and white, the illusion of a larger head leading to more confidence, and that confidence translating to faster ballspeeds.

White is better. It’s that simple. Ditch your Titleist, and your Callaway, and your PING, and your everything else. White is where it’s at. There’s no reason to ever play a black driver again.

If you don’t have white, you don’t have white.

So if white performs better… if white really is, as we’ve been told for 3 seasons now, better, why the hell would TaylorMade release a black version of the R1?

The answer, as I see it anyway, is actually pretty interesting.

The Perfect Storm

It’s reasonable to assume that TaylorMade has kept the black driver in their back pocket since the R11 was released. If it doesn’t work we can always paint it black. And if R11s didn’t work, paint was an option then too. And if R1 – the riskiest of all TaylorMade flagship designs – didn’t work, yup…we’ve still got that bucket of paint in the corner.

And so here we are. The R1 Black is officially scheduled for release, and the natural assumption is that some of what you’ve read in the golf forums is true; The R1 was an unmitigated failure. The graphics didn’t work, and TaylorMade is desperately scrambling to fix the biggest disaster in company history.

For those what have been (im)patiently waiting for TaylorMade to jump the shark, this is the absolute fantastic, feel-good story of the year.

The problem is it’s only half true.

I have it on pretty good authority that the black option has been on the table since before R11s. That’s almost certainly 100% accurate. That other stuff…R1 being a failure, a giant disaster for TaylorMade…it’s a great story, particularly if you’re not a fan of TaylorMade, but it’s not one that’s even loosely supported by reality.

Here’s what is real…

Winter Was An Unmerciful Bitch

Talk to anybody at almost any golf company and they’ll tell you what TaylorMade and others have told me. The unusually long winter took a huge chunk out of the retail market. A good portion of the country got a late start, guys in Minnesota and New York’s Adirondacks are still shoveling snow, and even those of us who have it pretty good, are still dealing with 50 degree temps and occasional frost delays. Did I mention it’s almost June?

Somebody get Al Gore on the phone. Global warming, my ass.

So yeah…everybody, including TaylorMade got off to a slow start at retail.

Unsustainable Momentum

This time last year TaylorMade owned more than 52 percent of the metalwoods (drivers, fairways, hybrids) category.

FIFTY TWO FREAKIN PERCENT

Think about that for just a second. Titleist, Callaway, PING, TourEdge, Mizuno, Nike, Adams, Bridgestone, Cobra, and everybody else…these are all companies that make a perfectly good metalwood, and despite quality products, and the whole strength in numbers thing, TaylorMade sold more metalwoods than all of those companies…COMBINED.

That my friend is the very definition of unsustainable, and I can assure you that there’s not enough Kool-Aid in in all of Carlsbad for the guys at TaylorMade to think that FIFTY TWO FREAKIN PERCENT would be the long term reality.

R11s more than held its own, the Rocketballz fairway wood was a retail juggernaut, and the rest of the TaylorMade lineup (RBZ driver and RBZ hybrid) rode its coattails to phenomenal, and let’s be honest, unrepeatable success.

Declining Market Share

This year, predictably, TaylorMade’s share of the metalwoods market is down. That’s not in dispute. And it’s not just down; TaylorMade is double-digit down in the category. It sounds bad, really, really, bad right?

Let me be really definitive about this: It is bad…and it isn’t.

If it had been my call to make, I wouldn’t have gone all-in with crown graphics. Go crazy with one, but diversify – leave the other normal. That said, I’m probably not as smart as I think I am, and it probably wasn’t paint that hurt TaylorMade this season.

“Everybody’s stuff is just a shitload better this year” – Highly-placed industry insider

The reality is that 2013 is an absolute banner year for metalwoods. It’s almost certainly the best I’ve ever seen.

Callaway gained ground with Xhot, Cobra made a statement with AMP Cell, PING and Titleist are steady as ever, and even Nike made some early season noise with Covert. And that’s just the beginning of what’s out there this year. Basically everyone took a page out of the TaylorMade playbook, and actually finally built some product buzz of their own.

It’s not that TaylorMade has bad product, or is performing poorly. As one highly-placed industry insider explained it to me, “Everybody’s stuff is just a shitload better this year”.

For the first time in recent memory, TaylorMade is being challenged – and according to TaylorMade’s Product Evangelist, Tom Kroll, that’s actually a good thing.

“They’ve closed the gap…it’s going to drive us to run faster, run harder, and get better ourselves” – Tom Kroll

Early Season Desperation

While I’m sure there were some uncomfortable days, nobody at TaylorMade is going to use the term desperate, (I tried…they didn’t bite), or convey that there was any sense of panic inside the walls at HQ when metalwood sales got off to a slow start.

What TaylorMade has been upfront about is that in the interest of jump-starting sales, they did some things they would have preferred they not have to do.

They went absolutely full Wal-Mart in April; rolling-back prices on the entire RBZ Stage 2 lineup. We’re talking about a brand new club line with less than 2 months of shelf time. Everybody cuts prices…eventually. Nobody does it in April.

You never go full Wal-Mart…not when you’re the biggest name in golf…and definitely not in April.

But that’s exactly what TaylorMade did. And sure, there was plenty of forum chatter about both R1 and RBZ Stage 2 not selling. Desperation was the buzzword and the story we heard from retailers is that TaylorMade was doing some very un-TaylorMade-like things (larger sales incentives, discounts on wholesale pricing, relaxing new product pricing policy, and not forcing retailers to take on more inventory to offset price drops) to hopefully get their 2013 product moving.

It’s certainly not the position you want to be in when you’re the number one company in golf – not in April (did I mention it was only April?).

It’s bad, but, it’s not.

Whatever early ground TaylorMade gave up with metalwoods, they’ve mostly made up for in other places. The big picture includes tremendous success in the iron category (up 35% on the strength of RocketBladez), gains in the ball category (up 21%), and the best-selling shoe (adizero) in the history of adidas golf.

So while stiff competition and declining market share in the metalwoods category does suggest a down year for TaylorMade, the fact of the matter is that right now, TaylorMade still enjoys a comfortable lead. The R1 driver is the best-selling driver in golf, and the RBZ Stage 2 is right behind it at #2. All that and they’re diversifying. The beast might actually be getting stronger.

It’s enough to make a TaylorMade hater give himself a swirly.

More importantly as the season has progressed, the numbers suggests that going full Wal-Mart (FYI, in case there is any doubt, that’s my phrase, not TaylorMade’s) absolutely paid off. They now have the two best-selling drivers in golf, and the anecdotal evidence suggests that while TaylorMade’s competition is losing momentum, TaylorMade is actually gaining steam.

When Callaway announces a $50 price drop on 2013 drivers, you’ll have all the proof you need that TaylorMade has rebounded but good.

Demand and Supply

I know what you’re thinking…if everything is really rainbows and unicorns at TaylorMade, why would they go against their own science and release a black driver? It looks desperate.

TaylorMade isn’t oblivious. They do market research. They read things. They know there’s a pent-up demand for a black driver – and TaylorMade believes that demand will produce an over-sway of sorts to the black model.

Simply put, the damn thing is going to sell…and sell fast.

We can talk about science, and performance, and one-hundred other things, but regardless of anything that’s quantifiable, golfers simply want what they want, and there’s a segment of the market that just wants a black driver. There’s no need to go super-special limited edition, paint it black, and it’s gold.

When we put up our Black vs. White post, a staggering 87% of people who voted told us they prefer black over white. Now granted…the R1 Black we used wasn’t the actual TaylorMade version (that one was matte black, the real TaylorMade is traditional high-gloss). Nevertheless, the results are compelling.

TaylorMade’s Tom Kroll told me that the company “spends a great deal of our time with our finger on the pulse of the 0 to 4 golfer”. TaylorMade’s own research has shown that a measurable percentage of that group is never going to play anything other than a black driver.

TaylorMade isn’t about to abandon those guys. Kroll made it clear that TaylorMade wants all golfers to experience the performance of R1.

“We didn’t want paint color to be the barrier for those guys never to try this club” – Tom Kroll

I’d be remiss if I didn’t continue to point out the ongoing disconnect between some of what TaylorMade says and some of what TaylorMade does. We continue to hear about TaylorMade’s focus on the 0 to 4 market, and yet the huge majority of their products are clearly designed with the average golfer in mind. The R1 Black is no different.

You can’t fault them for it. Zero to four is the performance story nearly every golfer wants to hear, but the money will always be in the middle.

The Timing Is Right

If you look at what has happened with the golf equipment market so far this season; a brutally long winter and stronger competition leading to a double-digit drop in metalwood market share, it’s easy to look at the R1 Black and see it as TaylorMade’s desperate (there’s that word again) attempt to right the ship.

They’re getting killed, right?

Like I said, it’s a good story, but the latest retail sales data suggests that TaylorMade has weathered the worst of it. While some of its competitors remain strong in areas where they traditionally perform well (Titleist, for example, continues to dominate the ball market), amazing as it may be considering the slow start, TaylorMade has perhaps the industry’s only real momentum right now.

The R1 Black isn’t about saving TaylorMade’s season, or even getting them back to where they were. The R1 Black is the lead foot on the accelerator. It’s TaylorMade full-steam getting back to the business of being TaylorMade.

The bail-out worked, and now they’re refocusing on growing their lead..again.

As simple as the concept is (paint it black), the TaylorMade R1 Black driver is almost without question the most compelling product that any manufacturer has in its near-term pipeline.

The demand is certain. It’s a guaranteed can’t miss.

Begun, The Price Wars Have

What’s coming next is a full-on price war. TaylorMade’s biggest competitors are going to cut prices too, and they’re going to do it very soon. They’re going to do whatever they can to steal back the momentum from TaylorMade.

It’s not going to work. It might have before the R1 Black was announced, but it won’t now. Unfortunately for the industry it is going to take a bloodbath to prove it.

We wondered how TaylorMade would respond when somebody finally stepped up to challenge them. This time around the response was swift, effective, and plenty strong-enough keep TaylorMade comfortably in the number one spot for at least another season.

For those looking for the competitive upside, the proverbial chink in the armor; the difficult start to the season forced TaylorMade to use the biggest weapon in their arsenal. They can do black again next year…maybe even as an out-of-the-gate alternative to white, but the impact will never again be what it is today.

This year, as it was 3 years ago, paint will be the story. Next year they’re going to have to innovate.

TaylorMade R1 Black Driver

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Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

JAMES PATRICK GOLF CUSTOM WEDGE GIVEAWAY!

JAMES PATRICK GOLF CUSTOM WEDGE GIVEAWAY!

Post image for JAMES PATRICK GOLF CUSTOM WEDGE GIVEAWAY!

A few months back, I brought to life, The Art of James Patrick to MyGolfSpy readers. I introduced Mr. James Harrington, the man behind James Patrick Golf, and walked you through one man’s life passion. Harrington is true artist and craftsman that has redefined the custom wedge marketplace. It’s been said by many readers that the only other thing in the modern game that surpasses a JP Wedge in beauty, elegance, and precision, is SPY ZINGER himself (Saternus, et. al., 2013).

THE UPDATE – WHAT’S NEW AT JP GOLF?

Last month, I had a chance to play a round of golf with JP at Stone Ridge Golf Club in Stillwater, Minnesota.  I gave him a delightful beating, and absolutely outscored him…on one hole.  Anyway, after asking me how it feels to be the best looking man in golf, he gave me an update on some projects he’s been working on since we published the original article.

The latest project is the James Patrick Golf Channel Grind.  The JP Channel is cut into a the sole of a traditional higher or low bounce wedge.  The fitting principles are the same. If you need high effective bounce in your wedges, then you would need a high effective bounce with the JP Channel Grind.

The JP Channel is designed with a series of channels that activate depending on your unique swing path towards the golf ball.

The golf swing can be broken down into three unique paths.
:: Square to the target line.
:: Inside to outside of the target line (typical draw/hook swing).
:: Outside to inside of the target line (typical fade/slice swing).

“As golfers, especially in our wedges, we need the versatility to be able to hit a multitude of shots.  We may need be able to open our stance and the face for a green side flop or bunker shot…or we may even need to hood the face and come from the inside depending on the shot you need to hit.  Your natural swing path may cause you to come into the ball at a certain angle in relation to the swing path or you may need to manipulate your golf swing to be able to hit all the shots that you need to hit during a round of golf.” – James Harrington

This unique channel system allows for the channeling of turf, sand, and dirt through impact with less resistance while enabling the wedge to track more efficiently with your unique swing path through impact.  For example, if you come across the target line from outside to inside for a green side bunker or flop shot, the correct set of channels will activate creating more efficiency through impact while simultaneously restricting the other channels that are not conducive to that particular path.  This is a result of the channels that were cut into the the traditional sole which acts like a bridge restricting flow through the channels that do not match up with the unique swing path.

JP said, bounce angle alone  is only one element of effective bounce or how the wedge interacts with the ground through impact. The other two elements are Sole/Bounce width and camber.  The wider the sole/bounce width, the more surface area there is to resist digging through impact. He states, “I could make two wedges each having 10 degrees of bounce, but by simply varying the sole/bounce width I could create a low bounce wedge that cuts like a knife into the ground at impact… or I could make it resist digging like an extremely high bounce wedge.  The other element is camber, which is the curvature from the leading edge to the trailing edge of a golf club. Enhanced camber effectively increasing the bounce of a wedge.  I like to talk Effective Bounce which is the resistance to digging at impact. Effective Bounce encompasses all three of the elements that create digging or the resistance to digging when coming in contact with the ground through impact.”

The Channel can be fit directly to your unique angle of attack, be it high or low effective bounce. Once ideal contact between the sole of the wedge and the ground is established, the channels will engage depending on your unique swing path through impact creating less resistance will complimenting the effective bounce maximizing its’ consistency and forgiveness.

THE GIVEAWAY

Harrington was excited to be a part of MyGolfSpy, and wanted to do something special for the readership. James Patrick Golf is giving away this 56 degree wedge, custom built to your exact specs by Mr. Harrington himself at The Grind House in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The wedge is a FIFTY6 with Mid-Effective Bounce.  Black Chrome Scraped with a Baby Blue StampBack with Tour Conforming Grooves.

The contest is relatively simple and has 2 easy steps:

1. Visit the James Patrick Facebook Page and select your favorite JP Wedge design.  Come back here and leave a comment telling us why you love the wedge.

2. For a bonus entry, Retweet the following (the Retweet button is the one with two arrows that form a square):

Contest Rules

* Contest runs through midnight Eastern time on June 7th
* Open to residents of the USA and Canada only
* Winner selected at random from all eligible entries

The Winner’s James Patrick Wedge

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Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Hidden Gems: Odyssey ProType 4HT

Hidden Gems: Odyssey ProType 4HT

Post image for Hidden Gems: Odyssey ProType 4HT

How many different putters get overlooked each season?

(by Dave Wolfe)  Think about it for a second.  The number of putters that come to market each year is staggering.  I don’t even really know the ballpark figure for the number of putters produced worldwide.  One million putters? Two million?  I think that it is safe to say that a lot of putters are produced each year. How about the number of different models made each year?  That number is not as huge, but still quite large.  Small companies may roll out a new model or two, while the larger ones may make a few dozen new putter models.  It’s a lot to keep track of, even for the greatest of putter-philes.

With so many new putters coming to market, it is possible, if not probable, that some really exceptional putters will get lost and overlooked in your shop’s putter corral.  With this in mind, today I bring you the first installment of the P-Files: Discovering The Unknown Flatsticks.

Just because a putter slips by the masses doesn’t mean that it is not worth investigating.  In the words of FBI Agent pro golfer Bryce “Fox” Molder, the truth is out there1.  With this in mind, let’s take a look at today’s P-File putter: The Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT.

 

How Did We Miss It?

So far, 2013 has been all about the Versa and the White Hot Pro putter lines, with the soon to be released ProType IX line making a name for itself with it’s adjustable sole weights (Included, BTW.  How about that Mr. Cameron?).  The ProType Tour line made a big splash in 2012, if for no other reason than it included the first 2-Ball with a fully-milled, insert-free face.  Odyssey later in the year expanded the line to include the ProType Black putters, whose ninja-black 2-Ball crushed many a competitor in the Most Wanted Mallet Competition.

Odyssey definitely made a statement in the milled putter arena last year, and then came the Versa.  It’s no wonder that much of the 2013 Odyssey energy went in to the Versa line.  It represented a new idea in alignment and included thirteen different models, plus some sneaky Tour-Only variants like the Versa Sabertooth.  The soon to follow White Hot Pro line jumped the putter model count up by another sixteen models.  That’s almost thirty different putters that Odyssey needed to promote over the two lines.  Some things needed to be pushed aside and not promoted as much.

But some of us out there are putter seekers.  We go looking for stuff.  We already know that Odyssey has released new cigar themed grip and headcovers.  We know that some of the Versas now come with a SuperStroke Grip option.  Even the most dedicated putter seeker may have missed the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT though.  It arrived on the Odyssey website with no fanfare, and has since disappeared from their site.  Did you see it?  Did you notice when it left?  Sightings of the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT are now viewed with the same skepticism as the Jersey Devil and the Chupacabra.

Why Is It Worth Looking For?

While a cryptozoologist may come up with numerous, nebulous answers to that question, the fact that the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT is a mighty fine putter is answer enough.  Let’s take a look at some of its alleged characteristics.  People who have allegly seen, and supposedly used the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT report the following:

Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT Specifications

  • Material: 100% 1025 Milled Carbon Steel
  • Weight: 350g
  • Toe Hang: about 4:00
  • Length Tested: 34?
  • Finish: Satin
  • Grip: Lamkin 3GEN Pistol

Looks

The Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT is reported to have the same rich, yet non-reflective finish that is found on the other Odyssey ProType Tour models.  Its face milling is deep and precise, with simple red and black paint accents complementing the finish and the Lamkin 3GEN grip.

Those who have only caught a quick glimpse of the 4HT have reported that it is a Zing/Laguna-style head with a pumbers neck.  Further investigation has revealed something more unique and peculiar; the 4HT features a High Toe.  This high toe feature must have been taken into account when the crypto-puttologists added the “HT” descriptor to its official name.  If we study the photos, we can see that the toe end of the putter is definitely higher than the heel.  From the side, the elevated toe region is quite pronounced.

 

Feel

Few golfers have ever seen the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT, and fewer still have ever rolled one.  The consensus though is that the deep milling and 1025 carbon steel combine to produce one of the softest rolling putters in the line.  Some have reported that the thicker face does produce a more muted feeling at impact than found in the ProType blade-type models that feature deeper cavities.  The sweet spot is fairly tight on the 4HT, with off-center strikes producing a dull impact.  While missing the center of the face is seldom intended, some will welcome this feedback as a pathway to improving.

 

Alignment

The markings on the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT are minimal, with only a single small sight line facilitating targeting.  Our reports do say that the high toe also plays a role in the targeting process.  The high toe gives the illusion of an upright lie angle, while actually staying flat to the putting surface.  As with many visual features, this will be welcomed by some, and dismissed by others.  The high toe does blend nicely into the overall body at address, only really showing its extreme geometry in profile.

 

Who Should Think About Bagging this Recluse?

I think that the Odyssey ProType Tour HT4 is a bit of a fitting enigma.  The plumbers neck and toe hang put it into the slight arc putting realm, what Odyssey would likely call Two Lines in their new eyeFit system.  The high toe morphology may put a wrench in this system though.  The high toe promotes a comfortable address position with the eyes more over the ball.  This takes us into one line eyeFit territory.  It’s a bit of a conundrum on the eyeFit mirror, but course experience supports the placement of the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT into the hands of the slight-arcing putter.

 

Have You Seen It?

By all accounts, the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT was an excellent and unique addition to the ProType Tour line of putters.  We may never know the reasons why it vanished from the Odyssey line-up, but I am confident that the tenacious putter seeker, whose use of the powerful Google tool runs unimpeded, can still find it.  For the whole story though, we need to hear from you.  Have you seen the 4HT in the wild?  Were you lucky enough to roll it?  What did you experience?  Leave a comment below and let us know your experiences.  Remember, I want to believe!

1.  For the record, I do not know for sure that Bryce Molder has ever said this, but I think that it is possible.  I also do not actually believe that he has ever been an agent of the FBI.  Pro golf and FBI training do not seem to have much overlap.  For all I know, he hates the X-Files.  I do want to start referring to him as Spooky Molder though.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Club Testers Wanted

Club Testers Wanted

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The team at Cobra Golf has asked us to round up 6 MyGolfSpy Forum Members to test their latest game-improvement iron, the AMP Cell.

The 6 readers chosen by the MyGolfSpy Staff  will receive their very own set of Cobra AMP Cell irons. Those same 6 readers will be asked to provide other MyGolfSpy readers with a comprehensive review of Cobra’s latest game-improvement iron.  Thorough is what we do, and we ask the same of our readers. Please don’t apply if you’re not willing to do the work.

Cobra has made some pretty bold claims about the AMP Cell. They’re promising “explosive distance and pinpoint accuracy“.

Does the AMP Cell iron deliver?

I don’t know. It’s your job (at least it could be) to find out.

Requirements

:: Must be a resident of planet earth (women must be right-handed)
:: Must be a MyGolfSpy Forum Member in good standing
:: Must be able to string sentences together in a coherent fashion (wit and humor are a bonus)
:: Must be capable of producing quality photos of golf equipment
:: Must have willingness, time, and ability to thoroughly test a set of Cobra AMP Cell Irons
:: Must embody the spirit of Cobra-PUMA Golf

How To Enter

Check out the AMP Cell Irons on Cobra’s Website. If you think the AMP Cell Irons could help your game, visit the Official Cobra AMP Cell Iron Testing Thread in the MyGolfSpy Forum and enter to become a MyGolfSpy Club Tester.

To enter, leave a comment that contains the following:

  • Your current handicap (or your average 18 hole score)
  • An original photo of something (anything) golf-related
  • In no more than 2 paragraphs, tell us how you meet the last requirement (how do you embody the spirit of Cobra-PUMA Golf?).

:: ENTER HERE ::

COBRA AMP CELL IRONS

Cobra AMP Cell Irons-14
Cobra AMP Cell Irons-13
Cobra AMP Cell Irons-12
Cobra AMP Cell Irons-11
Cobra AMP Cell Irons-10
Cobra AMP Cell Irons-9
Cobra AMP Cell Irons-6
Cobra AMP Cell Irons-5
Cobra AMP Cell Irons-4
Cobra AMP Cell Irons-3
Cobra AMP Cell Irons-2
Cobra AMP Cell Irons-1

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

F*** Golfers and the Stupid Carts They Ride In On

F*** Golfers and the Stupid Carts They Ride In On

golf instructional videos

Image by misterlevel

Hawk Porn. Explaining the title: These are Red-Shouldered Hawks, the same kind of hawk that a "professional" golfer killed in Florida because its noise was interfering with the making of his instructional video, "How to be A Completely and Utterly Irredeemable Jerk, by Tripp Isenhour""

Bushnell Tour V3 Laser Rangefinder – REVIEW

Bushnell Tour V3 Laser Rangefinder – REVIEW

Post image for Bushnell Tour V3 Laser Rangefinder – REVIEW

(Written by Golfspy_Dave)

A Screen Door on a Submarine?

There is nothing better than a classic burn, “You are about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.”  Burn!  To help those of you out there who don’t get it, a screen door would not be a useful addition to a submarine.  You see, submarines go under water, and a screen door would let that water inside of the boat.  And water in a boat, as you well know, leads to sinking.  As a result, screen doors are not typically found on submarines.

There is a point to the non sequitur above.  The point is that adding new features to something does not always equal improvement, especially if what you are improving is already an excellent product.  Case in point, the critically acclaimed Bushnell Tour V2 laser rangefinder.  The Tour V2 is an outstanding rangefinder.  In fact, most of the people that I talk to consider it to be the go to rangefinder in the Bushnell line.  But the V2 is also yesterday in the market, and yesterday just doesn’t sell, especially when talking about technology.  New and improved grabs dollars, provided the “improvements” are actually improvements.

Enter the Bushnell Tour V3 laser rangefinder.  Right away by the numbering, we can see that the V3 is one better than the V2.  Kidding aside, what does the change in the model number actually represent?  Are there new features?  Yes there are, but do they really make the V3 better than the V2?

Looks + Feel

Cosmetic improvements are immediately apparent when we compare the V2 to the V3.  The most obvious of these is the change in color scheme.  Gone is the utilitarian gray and black.  The Bushnell Tour V3 sports a much flashier red/black/white scheme.  Personally, I view this as an improvement, though in the area of aesthetics, you are always welcome to your own I-prefer-the-boring-one opinion.  If nothing else, this new color pattern does match the colors of the other recent Bushnell lasers, the Pro 1M and the Tour Z6.  It’s a nice marketing tool to let consumers know which lasers are Bushnell lasers.

Ignore the colors for a moment and look a little closer at the case geometries.  The case of the Tour V3 has been redesigned to improve the ergonomics of the unit, allowing it to fit more precisely into your hand during use.  The Tour V2 didn’t feel awkward by any stretch, but the Tour V3 definitely feels better, more comfortable.

Looks + Feel Score: 20/20 Points

Performance

Here are the Bushnell Tour V3 Specs:

  • PinSeeker Technology with JOLT Technology to zero-in on the flag
  • Accuracy within 1-yard
  • 5 yards – 1,000 yards ranging performance. 300+ yards to a flag
  • 5x Magnification
  • Ergonomic design provides a stable grip
  • Posi-Thread™ Battery Door
  • 3-Volt Battery and Premium Carry Case included
  • Rainproof Construction
  • 2 Year Warranty

Ease of Use

Quick and accurate.  Press a button to turn it on, press it again to measure.  I realize that all lasers work the same way these days, and that seemingly all of them could be classified as easy to use.  Some company will break this paradigm eventually though.

On the Course

OK, let’s take a look at the Tour V3‘s performance.  Is it really one better than the Tour V2?  Here are some of the specific details:

High Points for the Bushnell Tour V3:

  • It’s fast:  On and lasing in moments
  • Improved Case: Bushnell has gone away from the magnetic closure found on pervious cases and moved to a zipper + bungee closure.  It’s not a huge change, but I definitely trust the bungee to keep the case closed more than I did the magnet.  Plus, who wants magnets next to electronics.
  • Ranges Non-Flags: Shoot whatever you need, the Bushnell Tour V3 will give you the number.
  • Range:  The Tour V3 can pick up targets from a long way away.  No need for intermediate targeting with this one.
  • PinSeeker Technology: The Tour V3 had no issue picking up targets, even when there were other targets behind the flag.  PinSeeker Technology still works like a champ, and this year there is a little extra in the mix…

JOLT Technology

The Bushnell Tour V3’s JOLT Technology was something that really caught my eye when I first read about it.  The Tour V3 vibrates just a bit when you lock onto target.  Just a bit of bzzzzt.  To me, this was the potential screen door.  Is the JOLT Technology really necessary?  Could it actually detract from the usage of the unit?  While I don’t know if it is truly necessary, I do think that it enhances the use of the unit.  When you feel the short vibration, you know that you have the number.  I found myself warming more and more to the JOLT Technology, happily anticipating the buzz when I read distances.  It’s a cool extra that does separate the V3 from the V2.

Concerns with the Tour V3

The JOLT Technology is also the source my only bit of trepidation with the Tour V3.  It is totally possible to get a quick, accurate reading without the JOLT Technology triggering and buzzing your mitt.  My concern is that people could end up taking longer to read targets as they wait for the JOLT to fire.  On the whole, I think that lasers make for very quick range finding, leading to improved pace of play.  This could change though if one is taking more time by waiting for the JOLT.

Performance Score: 59/60

 

Value

The non-slope Bushnell Tour V3 comes in at just under $300, with the slope version adding about another hundred.  You can also add a bit of value and social consciousness to your purchase by going with the Patriot Pack.  Compared to the other lasers offered by Bushnell, and the other lasers in the market with similar features, this price point is excellent.  It’s not inexpensive, but it is definitely competitive.  Shave off another $25-$50 and the Tour V3 could likely be the dominant rangefinder in the 2013 market.

Value Score: 19/20 Points

 

Summary

The Bushnell Tour V3 laser rangefinder is the unit to beat in 2013.  The redesigned case is excellent, and the JOLT Technology adds a new layer to Bushnell’s already excellent PinSeeker technology.  I have a couple of other lasers that I will be testing over the next month or so and all I can say is that the Bushnell Tour V3 has set the bar for comparison very high.

Purchase a Bushnell Tour V3 Laser Rangefinder HERE

Overall Score: 98/100

 

Enter the Bushnell FaceBook Contest and Win a Tour V3

Head over to the Bushnell FaceBook page HERE to enter.  Ends May 15th, 2013.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)