Can Volvik Golf Make 2013 The Year of the Colored Ball?

Can Volvik Golf Make 2013 The Year of the Colored Ball?

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Volvik Giveaway – Details Below

Want to win a dozen Volvik balls? Check the end of the article for details.

Hi, my name’s Dave and I play a colored golf ball.

(by Dave Wolfe) That’s right, I said it. I prefer to play golf with a non-white golf ball. No, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the increased visibility or maybe the color just improves my mood. All I know is that I just really like playing colored balls. Right now it’s the yellow Wilson Staff Duo, but I have also dabbled with the Yellow Callaway Hex Chrome and Srixon’s yellow Z-Star. I know that some of you white-ball-purists are already tuning out, but you get to like what you like. For me, it’s color.

For the past few years it seems like the golf ball makers have figured out that there are quite a few of us who like the non-white on the course. They have also realized that while we want color, we also still demand a ball that performs.

As much as I like colored balls, I am not going to play one if it ultimately hurts my score.

Head to the shop and look at the ball selection.  You will find colored offerings, mainly yellow, from Wilson Staff, Titleist, Srixon, Bridgestone, and Callaway. Those are some big names in the ball industry. Many of us remember when Srixon introduced the yellow Z Star, promoting it by somehow getting some of the PGA guys to play it for a tournament or two. I loved seeing those yellow balls being played on TV. Their tour play didn’t last, but it did seem to help keep the colored balls on the shelf, even if there are only one or two colors to pick from.

Look at those colors!

As a lover of colored golf balls, my attention is usually drawn to new ones that I see in the shop. That’s how I first became aware of the Volvik brand. The bright colors caught my eye. However, at the time, I didn’t know anything about Volvik, and as a result, I didn’t buy any. I found the bright colors appealing, but without some more information, I was not going to risk my golf money on them.

As fate would have it, a bit later I ran into one of the Volvik reps at a local golf expo. It became immediately apparent during that conversation was that the colored Volvik ball was not just a cosmetic novelty, but rather a high-quality ball that came in different colors.

What made me think the Volvik ball was high quality?

Data is king is the golf industry. If you make performance claims, you had better be able to back them up. If Volvik says that their balls outperform others in the market, they had better have some numbers that support that claim.

Here are some of the Iron Byron test numbers that Volvik’s uses as the basis for its performance claims:

Volvik Crystal

Crystal Specs
Crystal Core

 

Iron Byron Data: Volvik Crystal

3 PC Test – Driver Test 95 MPH w/ Taylor Made R11S with Aldila RIP Phenom Shaft and 8 iron test 95 MPH w/ Adams A2 Idea 8-iron with a True Temper shaftVolvik Crystal vs. Titleist NXT Tour S vs. Callaway Diablo Tour vs. BridgestoneE6  vs Nike PD Soft vs Taylor Made Penta TP3 vs  Srixon TriSpeed

  • Volvik Crystal tested #1 in Total Driver Distance, beating everyone
  • Volvik Crystal tested  #1 in Driver and 8-Iron Ball Speed, beating everyone
  • Volvik Crystal tested #1 in Total Driver and 8-Iron Distance combined, beating everyone
  • Volvik Crystal tested #1 in Yards after Landing, beating everyone
  • Volvik Crystal tested  #2 in Driver Spin, beating Bridgestone, Callaway, Nike, Titleist and Srixon
  • Volvik Crystal tested #2 in Total 8-Iron Distance, Beating Bridgestone, Callaway, Nike, Titleist and Srixon
  • Volvik Crystal Beat Titleist in Total Driver Dispersion
  • Beat Titleist by 3.7 yards in Total Driver Distance

 

 

Volvik Vista iV

Vista Core
Vista Specs

 

Iron Byron Data: Volvik Vista iV

4 PC Test – Driver Test 95 MPH w/ Taylor Made R11S with Aldila RIP Phenom Shaft and 8 iron test 95 MPH  w/ Adams A2 Idea 8-iron with a True Temper shaftVolvik Vista iV vs. Titleist Pro V1 vs. Callaway Hex Black Tour vs. Bridgestone Tour B330 RX  vs Nike 20XI S vs Taylor Made Penta TP5 vs  Srixon Z-Star XV

  • Volvik Vista iV tested tied for #1 in Total Driver Distance, beating Bridgestone, Callaway, Nike, Taylor Made and Titleist
  • Volvik Vista iV tested #1 in 8-Iron Spin, beating everyone
  • Volvik Vista iV beat Titleist by 508 RPM and Bridgestone by 1323 RPM in 8-Iron Spin
  • Volvik Vista iV tested #2 in Yards after Landing, beating Bridgestone, Callaway, Nike, Taylor Made and Titleist
  • Volvik Crystal tested  #2 in Driver Ball Speed, beating Bridgestone, Callaway, Nike, Taylor Made and Srixon
  • Volvik Vista iV beat Bridgestone and Callaway in Total Driver Dispersion

 

 

What Do Those Numbers Mean?

There were two things that I looked at in their testing. First, what balls did they test against, and second, what were the conditions of the test? I think that the choice of competitors seems appropriate for each of the balls. The Volvik Crystal was pitted against the quality, but second-tier balls from the other companies while the Volvik Vista iV challenged the big name tour balls.

The “compared to what” part of the test seems solid. The testing parameters seem appropriate as well. All of you “ask the robot” guys will appreciate the Iron Byron part of the test, although many on the other side of the robot argument don’t think that Mr. Byron gives real world golfer type swings. Driver and 8-iron swings are fine for comparison, although I would like to see wedge scoring as well. My only real question comes from matching driver swing-speed with the 8-iron. Odds are that the person who swings a driver at 95 mph is also not swinging the 8-iron at that speed.

These concerns aside, lets look at the results. Iron Byron testing shows that the Volvik Crystal and the Volvik Vista iV ranked first or second in every category. Spectacular colors, supported by performance.

 

Tell me more about Volvik Golf Balls

You can see why this colored ball intrigued me. I needed to know more about Volvik and their Crystal and Vista iV lines so I posed these five questions to John Claffey, Volvik’s National Director of Sales and Marketing.

 

What is the common golfer’s perception of the colored golf ball?

“In the past I believe there has been two misconceptions that exist with color golf balls. One is that they are not high performance. The other is that color golf balls are only for women or seniors. We have recently come to market with our current line up to shatter these misconceptions.  Golfers are more open to color than ever before and it’s following a global pattern. I truly believe that with the Baby Boomers coming to a point where visibility in the air and knowing where you are on the golf course trumps following a traditionalist mindset that colored golf ball sales will climb as high as 25% in the US market.  It helps that the youth has embraced color in golf and that it’s considered cool again, but the reality of it is that color golf balls can make the game more fun to play, speed up the game and bring a little personality back to a segment of the game that has been geared towards a low-end, price point market for far too long.”

 

Where did this perception come from?

“The perception or misconceptions of colored golf balls came from years and years of color golf balls being made without the core golfer in mind. No one was focusing on a tour quality color golf ball and trying to get tour players using different colors other than a few instances. The way to change a perception in golf is always to do it through tour play. If they do it out there, it’s OK for other golfers to try it. It happens all the time in our sport. We saw an open niche in the golf market being the highest quality and performing color golf balls and also noticed an uptick in colored golf ball sales and ad dollars. But still people were holding onto the traditionalist mindset that they had to play a white golf ball. Just years and years of conditioning at work there. It’s still a hurdle, but we’ve seen a major sea change in a very short amount of time to people wanting to bring color to their game.”

 

Why is the Volvik colored ball different?

“We are very proud of the performance of our golf balls, regardless of color. We spend a lot more money on the manufacturing process and we feel we utilize different materials no one else has thought to use.  We combine a solid inner core encased in a softer casing that provides the optimal spin separation and optimizes the balance of both distance and control. Optimal spin generated by the more solid inner core creates longer distance off the driver and long irons the spin increases closer to the green due to the firm outer core, producing higher spin for total control and the ability to stop on a dime on the green.

Most other companies feature a soft inner core with a harder outer layer. Our secret is we do the opposite, a solid inner core combined with a soft outer layer. The dual core optimizes distance by transferring the power from the more solid inner core to the softer outer layer instead of transferring inertia from a soft inner core to a solid outer layer like the competition.

The outer layer also reduces excess driver spin, increasing the moment of inertia and centrifugal force, leading to more distance and more roll.  The outer core of the golf ball that contributes a great source of power, Bismuth, is compressed in a high temperature heating treatment. Unlike normal metal, Bismuth expands 3-3.5% in volume, leading to greater energy transfer.   Zirconium is the base material for ceramic and improves durability of a golf ball cover without sacrificing spin control. This is all our own technology, most of the dimple patents and everything else do. We’ve been making golf balls for 30 years, so we feel we are leading the way with this soft outer cover and solid inner core technology and not just following the leader so to speak.”

 

Will we see more colored balls on tour?

“By getting 4 different colors on play on the professional tours this year, we have the most different colors in play by a golf ball manufacturer in the history of golf. Regardless of color, Volvik has been as high as the #3 most played golf ball on the LPGA Tour this season and our stats have been very impressive. In the last 13 LPGA Tour events, players using Volvik colored golf balls have earned one Victory, 11 Top 10 finishes (including eight Top 5′s) and 23 total Top 25 finishes.

We also have 20 players using us on the Symetra Tour, where we are the official golf ball. We still need to penetrate more of the men’s professional tours, which we have started doing through the Web.com Tour this year. Three-time All-American from UCLA Erik Flores, our first male professional to sign a deal in the US, hit a 349-yard drive with an orange Vista iV ball the other week for the longest drive of the BMW Charity Pro Am on the Web.com Tour. So we are definitely breaking down barriers. We have several players on PGA, Web.com and Champions currently testing the ball. Our plan is to continue what we are doing with the LPGA and to expand on the Web.com and Champions and to evaluate we are with the PGA TOUR.”

“I did extensive testing with the golf ball and I found it to be an extremely high performance golf ball that does everything I need it to do,” said Flores. “I enjoy the strong flight of the ball and the heavier feel off the club face due to the solid core of the ball, as opposed to the soft core of other golf balls. This also adds more control to my approach shots. I am excited to be a part a company that is bold in their use of new materials and is not afraid to break the paradigm of the white golf ball. Finally a golf ball that contributes to my game and my style.”
Erik Flores, Web.com Tour Player

 

How does a smaller company like Volvik plan on competing with the giants in the market like Titleist, Callaway, Wilson Staff, and the others?

“The golf ball market is a tough and competitive arena. For us, it’s our performance that is leading the way. There are a lot of good golf balls out there, but because we make ours so much differently, we feel we have a good technology story to compete with. You add color to that mix and you have a company doing things much differently than the competition.

We know we have a golf ball that will stand up to the other great balls on the market and we feel we have all the earmarks to be the next new big brand in golf: we have the tour story, we have the #1 claim, we have the performance, we have the right golf ball for every skill level and we have the fashion and increased visibility golfers are looking for today. We also have the brightest colors in golf, which helps us stand out on the tour telecasts, so we have a nice buzz going and the word only spreads more when new golfers try our product and see what performance benefits we bring to their game.

We are doing very well with the better golfer. Some of them are better players in the region who are playing our Pink Vista iV for the mere reason that they like bombing a Pink golf ball past their buddies. We’re currently the only 4-piece tour ball being offered in Orange, Green and Pink. We also specialize in high performance, color, low compression, 3-piece golf balls for slower swing speeds, and no one else is catering to this specific market like we are. People have told me that people in the colored golf ball market don’t care about performance and that they only care about price.”

“If you get them 15-20 extra yards, greater durability and a ball that’s easier to see, that kind of thinking goes out the window. Everybody wants greater performance, that’s why they are out there.”- John Claffey, National Director of Sales and Marketing for Volvik.

 

Did you play them Dave?

I have had a chance to take both balls out on the course for some “testing”. I put testing in quotes because I am not an Iron Byron, and I don’t have a spare Flightscope lying around. Think of my testing parameters more like your buddy’s when you see him playing a ball and you ask him how he likes it.

The short report is that I enjoyed playing both balls. The colors really jump out at you on the course. The pink is crazy bright, allowing you to easily track ball flight from start to finish. You can find them rapidly, and I could see the simple change to playing colored balls speeding up pace of play. I prefer the putter feel of the Vista iV over the Crystal, but both performed similar for me in other areas.

Here’s an example of my play:

On two different occasions, one with the Crystal and one with the Vista iV, I found myself putting for eagle. I missed both putts because I had that “this is for eagle” thought before putting, but that’s not important. You see, those two eagle putts brings my total eagle putt count to three. One in my previous four years of playing, and then two in the past six weeks, both with Volvik balls. It’s not controlled, scientific experimentation, but I know that these balls have game in them. Buddy-trials have elicited similar results. Most guys start skeptical, and then flat-out refuse to give me the ball back after they play it.

Volvik Shot of the Day

Have you tried Volvik Balls?

I am curious if any of you have tried the Volvik balls and what your experiences are with them. If you haven’t tried them, you should. They are bright, long, and spin well. Price-wise, these come in at the same price-point as the balls they compete against.

You can get a dozen Volvik Crystals for $32.99, with the Volvik Vista iV retailing for $47.99. If you’re unsure about buying a whole box, see if your shop will sell you a sleeve. Check out the variety packs as well so you can try out the colors. I am a fan of the orange and the pink, but the green and yellow also jump off of the turf. Give them a shot and let me know what you think.

 

Win A Dozen Volvik Golf Balls

Two separate mygolfspy readers will win his or her choice of a dozen Volvik Crystal or Vista iV balls. To be eligible, just leave a comment below about which ball you would select if you win.

*Winners selected at random from eligible entries. Contest ends August 14th, 2013 at 5:00PM Eastern Time.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Hitting “D” Road: Planning the Buddy Golf Trip

Hitting “D” Road: Planning the Buddy Golf Trip

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Written By: Dave Wolfe

So you want to plan a golf trip.  On the surface, this seems like a simple task consisting merely of getting golfers together and going some place to play.  You blissfully embark on the planning, but soon realize that a whole lot more goes into planning a golf getaway than you first thought.

The planning ball was simple to get rolling, but then you quickly realized that this was not a little ball of a process, but rather a huge ball with the potential to crush you well before you and your newly snatched golden idol can escape the cave.

Don’t fret Professor Jones, even the most careful of plans can be improved with a bit of additional information, decreasing the likelihood that Short Round will eventually need to rescue you.

Digression aside, planning a golf trip can be complicated, but shouldn’t drive you away from your initial motivation for planning the trip: FUN!  You are planning a trip to play golf, not work golf, stress about golf, get pissed about golf, or wish you had never started playing golf.   Although planning and executing a successful golf adventure will involve significant effort, don’t let it wreck the trip for you.  You can set up the exact trip that you want and still enjoy being a part of it.  All you need to do is Keep Calm and Follow these D’s.

 

The 5 D’s of Golf Trip Planning

1.  Dudes

Obviously, all of your golfers don’t have to be dudes.  Many of you dude-ettes out there beat the ball far better than I do.  Anyway, if you want to get a group of people to go on a group golf trip, you need to figure out who is going to be a part of that group.  Is this a trip for you and some buddies?  Would you classify the trip as open to all comers?  Are spouses invited? What about non-golfers?  Kids?
It’s obvious, but what will affect the success of your trip the most will be the people who attend.  We all enjoyed reading about the MGS forum members who made the trek to Vancouver for the 2013 MyGolfSpy Vancouver Open.  What made it fun to read about, and likely to attend, was the people who were there.  Most of the potential trip pitfalls (bad courses, bad food, intestinal distress, and etc.) can be overcome and ultimately ignored if the group is solid.

As this is your trip, you get to make the call.  I suggest you visualize how you want the days on and off the course to progress.  Are you looking for fierce competition, where the guy who shotguns a beer after a bogie would not be welcome?  Or, are you looking for a beer-a-hole trip where the teetotaler linkster would feel unwelcome?  Casual players or sticks?  Do you invite your buddy who is super fun off the course, but can’t play worth a lick?  Will your brother’s propensity for fourth hole nudity be OK with the rest of the group?  Well that one is not really OK with anyone, but watching him hit bunker shots in the buff is pretty funny…

Is this a small group trip, or a large one?  Is it a one-time golf adventure, or do you want this group of golfers to make the trip year after year.  It matters.  Most times, we can handle someone once, but knowing that an unwanted person now has the clout to come back each year could undermine the fun of the whole trip.  Remember, though it may not start with D, what we are looking for from this trip is FUN!

 

2.  Dates

Dudes and dates really need to mesh for the trip to happen.  You may first select the dates and then see who can attend, or instead, get the dudes and then figure out the dates.  Regardless, selecting the dates for the trip will likely be the most complicated part of the process.  Successful trip dates will somehow dodge graduations, weddings, births, deaths, circumcisions, home remodels, and that ever-present annoyance, work.

The probability of successful date selection is inversely proportional to the number of people going on the trip.  You may be inclined to try and meet the scheduling needs of everyone, but that will probably prove impossible.  I suggest that you get some group availability information and then propose a tentative date, adjusting if it proves undoable for the majority of players.  Once you establish the trip as an annual occurrence, scheduling should prove easier as people will work diligently to adjust their schedules so that they can attend.

There are some other things to consider about the dates of the trip though.  Are you traveling in high season?  That can impact the price of the trip and also the availability of tee times and lodging.  Coupled with that is the weather present during your trip time.

There is a lot of great golf in Scottsdale, AZ, but your experience on the course will be very different if you schedule your trip for beautiful March or hell-esque July.  Dates also come into play if you are looking for non-golf entertainment and activities.  Take that Scottsdale destination as an example.  If you travel there in March, you can play golf in the morning and then catch some pre-season Cactus League MLB games.

In July, there is no baseball, only scorching emptiness on the diamond.  The best thing to do though is to be patient and flexible.  Think about how it can be a struggle to get four guys together to play golf any given week.  Expect that date planning for a larger trip with more people will be that struggle, and then some.

 

3.  Destination

So my novice planner, you have your dudes and your dates.  That’s great!  But where are you going to go?  We all have our list of “want to play sometime” courses, but many of those, like the Old Course at St. Andrews, are not necessary ideal locations for buddy trips.  So how do you decide where to go?  Although this article is all about the 5 D’s, destination planning really comes down to three P’s:  Price, Players, and Plan.

Price

We have all imagined our ultimate golf vacation.  Is it St. Andrews?  Pebble Beach? Kapalua?  All three of those destinations have the deep-pocket requirement.  If your group is all about taking the Lear to play fancy golf courses for the weekend, this article may not be for you.

Feel free to tell your minion to stop reading it for you.

For the rest of us, price is a huge deal.  A trip that can’t be afforded can’t be attended, period. For example, one of our forum members, John Barry, runs an annual trip to Myrtle Beach that looks like a blast.  I would love to tag along, but the cost to get there from my California home is prohibitive.  We all know that travel costs get expensive in a hurry.

The price to stay can also quickly get very expensive.  Let’s say that you are looking at a long weekend trip.  That’s two, maybe three, nights in a hotel.  Flea bags motels with dead hookers under the bed aside, lodging costs will likely set you back a good chunk of coin each night.  This must be taken into account when thinking about where to play.  I would love to play Pebble Beach someday, but the high price of lodging at the Pebble Beach resort, or in the equally costly adjacent Carmel, CA can rapidly dwarf the significant greens fee at the course.

And speaking of greens fees…

Are you looking to play bucket-list courses all week at $200+ a pop?  Is this trip more about the people and the course is almost secondary?  How much you pay for golf will, of course, depend upon how much golf you want to play and where that golf is going to be played.  Ideally, you can strike a balance between quantity and quality of golf.

One of the greatest things that you can uncover in your searches is the Stay-and-Play package.  A quick Internet session will uncover numerous deals where you pay for the hotel room and then play unlimited or discounted golf at the adjacent course.  Obviously, locking yourself into such a deal can limit your golf experience, but this option is a true winner if it includes quality lodging and links.  Spend a little time searching online, and you will find some amazing deals out there.

For example, Golfspy Tim and myself just spent a few days staying and playing at the Running Y Ranch GC in Klamath Falls, OR.  They are running a special that includes two days of unlimited golf and a hotel room for $159 per night!  It’s a Golf Digest Top 100 course that’s designed my Arnold Palmer.  Having stayed and played there, I’ll tell you it’s a smoking deal.  Tim and I will have a full report from our Running Y Ranch adventure in the near future.

Players

The players attending should definitely influence your destination choice.  Once again, it really comes down to what trip are you trying to put together.  Is this a tight buddy trip where you want to check off the elite courses on the Monterey peninsula?  Instead, is this about the people getting together, enjoying each other’s company, with golf being the chosen activity for interaction.  My suggestion is to simply pick a place that will be fun for your golfers.

If you are all scratch players (studs!), then you will probably need to pick a destination that has courses that will provide you with enjoyable challenge.  These same tough tracks though could invoke a lost-ball nightmare for the average player.  As a double-digit guy myself, I can appreciate the challenge presented by some courses, but my enjoyment of play rapidly evaporates when that challenge punches me in the gut over and over again.  In other words, not everyone will walk away from a TPC-type course with positive memories.

On the other hand, this guy likely won’t enjoy your local muni or appreciate repeated use of the foot wedge.

 

Plan

The Plan is actually the most complex of the destination components.  We are talking about all of the on course and off course activities that you want the trip to include.  If this trip is all about golf, then it comes down to the simple questions of Is there enough variety in the courses here?

If you goal is to play 36/day for four days, you will want a destination that won’t leave you bored after the front nine.  Is there a facility with multiple tracks?  Are there multiple courses in the same area?  Is it OK with your group to re-round on the same course in the afternoon?

The golf plan is likely the central facet of your trip, and as such, it needs to be planned correctly.  As the designer of this trip, you can choose to plan the golf by decree or committee.  However you plan it though, get it right.

The other component of The Plan is your non-golf time.  If you are not planning on a schedule of breakfast->TONS OF GOLF->bed, then what are the plans away from the course?  Do you want the group to have access to nice restaurants in the evening?  Are you thinking trout fishing in the AM, followed by afternoon golf?  Will your last beer of the night occur simultaneously with your first beer of the morning?  The destination will dictate what is possible.

 

4.  Dynamics

How do you want your trip to play out, both on and off the course?  Dynamics is a broad term that really takes into account all of the occurrences that will be going on during the trip and overlaps quite a bit with The Plan.  The trip dynamic includes the mundane topics such as transportation, who is bunking with who, food options, and such.  Planning out the trip dynamics is critical though if you want to actually see the trip that you are planning manifest correctly.  The trip Dynamics component definitely overlaps with the Dudes and Destination categories.  The people making the trip and the location of the trip will largely influence the dynamics.

Daily Dynamics

Do yourself a favor and set a daily schedule before the trip.  Set arrival times, tee times, dinner reservations, and whatever else you can before the trip happens.  Part of the motivation for this detailed scheduling is that by presenting a schedule to the attendees, you take the pressure off of yourself to be the group leader.

The schedule lets your group know what is happening, and when, thus removing the need for you to tell them what’s happening next.  Hopefully this takes enough responsibility off of your plate that you can actually enjoy the trip.  Make the schedule, even if you are making the trip with a bunch of mellow dudes who are “open to whatever”.  Think about this, if you don’t make tee times, you may not be playing golf.  Set up as much as you can beforehand.  Your blood pressure will thank you for it.

The Daily Dynamics planning also includes the golf vs. “other activities” scheduling.  Maybe your plan is to go fishing in the AM, and then golf in the afternoon.  If so, then set the plan accordingly.  Once again it comes down to who is going on the trip and what do they want to do.  It could be a sunlight=golfing type trip that some yearn for.  Others would be very satisfied playing golf in the morning, with the afternoon then spent lounging by a pool with a tasty adult soda.  Think about this, some of the best memories from a golf trip may in fact be the ones that come from spending time with your friends off of the course.

 

Golf Dynamics

This is a golf trip, but what kind of golf are you looking for?  Casual golf?  Competitive golf?  Handicaps or not?  Betting?  Games?  Golf Potpourri for $500 Alex?

Whatever you choose to do, again, be sure you set it up ahead of time, but remain flexible enough to change the plan if it goes sideways once you are in the middle of it.  Creating the successful Golf Dynamics will rely heavily on the other aspects of your trip, more so than any one other factor.  Think about how group scoring changes if your group consists of single-digit players who have known each other for years as compared to a bunch of loosely connected players whose abilities on the course run the gambit between awesome and awful.

Ultimately, as the planner, you get to decide how the golf gets played and scored.  I suggest that your edict be empathetic, lest your trip be pathetic.  High cappers playing straight golf for big dollars are not going to have fun, nor are your low cappers going to appreciate donating dollars to the sandbaggers.  Just remember that people play golf for many reasons.  Let’s use this shot of the 7th at Pebble Beach as an example:

How will your group approach this hole?  Will they think:

A: Holy crap!  I’m playing Pebble Beach!  Look at this ocean view!

B: 98 yards downhill.  Who comes up with this garbage?  How will I make birdie to win the skin.

C: Whoa this hole is short! I had better shotgun this one if I’m going to keep my beer-a-hole pace.

 

I mentioned this before, but I really believe that hard tracks punish the novice golfer more than the accomplished one.  Let me explain.

A course that has safe areas to miss around the greens is much more playable for the novice than angular greens moated in sand and water.  The good player should be hitting the green, while the novice misses then recovers.  Not even a score adjusted for handicap can make losing money after hours in the sand palatable for that novice.  Your friends taking your money while the track takes your lunch is not a fun combination, and could in fact prove to be fun-fatal for the golf part of the trip.

Don’t stress though grasshopper, as the big cheese, you also have the chance to make the trip fun-tastic in other ways!  Search the Internet for different games to play on the course.  Mix it up.  New ways to play and keep score can spice up the round even if the players have been playing together for years, or if it is the third time through a track that day.  Maybe day one is singles handicap play, with day two being nothing but games of wolf.

Just Google golf games and you can find all kinds of different options.  If you want, you can even make up a game just for the trip.  Here are the rough details of a game I call The Bag.

 

The Bag

The Bag is a simple game that modifies the parameters of the traditional golf game.   To play this game, you will need the following:

The bag/chip relationship should be obvious; you put the chips in the bag.  The majesty of this game actually comes from creativity of The List.  Whoever is the Keeper of The Bag is responsible for generating the twenty rules alterations found on The List.

At the beginning of the round, each player draws a chip and looks up his or her number on The List.  They then play the round of golf under the flag of this new rule.

What are these rules?

That’s up to the Keeper of the Bag.  You get to decide.  You can tailor The List to your group, or make it more general.  The new rules can be helpful, hurtful, silly, or anything else you come up with.  Here are some examples:

  • You score bogey on all Par 3 holes.
  • Play only odd numbered clubs on odd numbered holes.
  • Swap your drive with another players once per side.
  • Quiz the cart girl about physics to change your high hole to a par.
  • Perform a song and dance on a Par 3 to play it from the front tee.
  • One putt per side is an auto-make.
  • Play a hole one tee back to play the next one tee forward.
  • You always putt/tee off first.
  • Trade rule chips with someone, making him draw another from The Bag

You can quickly come up with a whole bunch of rules for The Bag.  They don’t need to be in good taste, but you should probably stick to things that will keep you from getting kicked off the course and/or arrested.

You can also make up additional general rules for the game.  You could let someone buy a different/additional chip for $5, have everyone draw a new chip at the turn, have the overall winner take the cash from The Bag, and so on.  The only rule that I tend to stick to is that whoever “loses” gets to take The Bag home and develop The List for the next round.  How you define “losing” is up to you.

 

5.  Did it work?

Reflection is the cornerstone of improvement.  Feel free to borrow that for the next commencement address you give.

Anyone who plans on improving at anything must include objective reflection in the process.  What worked and should be saved?  What didn’t and should be discarded, yet remembered?

Was the Nude Golf=Par The Hole rule from The Bag a bit over the top for your mom’s play group?  Lesson learned.

Your next golf adventure should always be better planned and more enjoyable than its predecessors, and it will be, as long as you take the time to reflect.  Listen to your Dudes.  What did they like?  What could be improved?  Were the rates of the chosen course great, but the conditions as playable as a Target parking lot?

Do you want to stay in a place with electricity next year, or in a town with less nightlife so you can actually make morning tee times?  Should morning tee times be avoided all together?  Nurture your trip.  Encourage it to grow and improve, but don’t be afraid of swatting it on the nose with a newspaper here and there should it prove rambunctious.

If you were not happy with the lodging this year, remember that so you don’t accidentally stay there again next year.

Just Do It

There I go, quoting Nike.  You see though, that is the real key component for a successful trip.  Just do it.

Maybe you initially planned on four people for three days, and now it is twenty people for two days, or two people for a week.  It doesn’t matter.  Just come up with your best plan and run with it.  Odds are, you will have overlooked something, but you will likely have a great time, regardless of the details.  Then when you have one trip in the books, you can begin planning the next one, capitalizing on the knowledge gained from the initial trip to make the next one better.  With a little planning, and maybe more than a little effort, you can make something special with the potential to be an event that many people look forward to year after year.  Just mind your D’s.

 

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Shocking News! TaylorMadeGolf SLDR Driver Isn’t Just a Tour Prototype

Shocking News! TaylorMadeGolf SLDR Driver Isn’t Just a Tour Prototype

Post image for Shocking News! TaylorMadeGolf SLDR Driver Isn’t Just a Tour Prototype

Written By: Tony Covey

Here We Go Again

3 weeks to the date after the first pictures showed up, the mostly poorly acted charade of the golf season has come to its predictable conclusion. Not that there was much doubt this day would come…and quickly, but TaylorMade just killed whatever suspense there was with the announcement that the “Tour Prototype” SLDR Driver would be available for retail purchase on August 9th.

Did anybody not see this coming?

From Tour Prototype to scheduled release in 3 short weeks?

This SLDR thing must really be something.

A New Flagship Driver

Before I talk about what SLDR is, I have to tell you what SLDR isn’t.

SLDR isn’t like when Callaway released an ultra-lightweight, semi-niche driver where they can argue they’re not flooding the market; they’re just trying to round out the lineup.

Nope. SLDR ain’t that.

SLDR is TaylorMade setting sail with a new flagship driver right in the middle of the damn golf season.

In case any of this is the least bit unclear to you, let me spell it out.

The TaylorMade SLDR is the direct replacement for the TaylorMade R1 (released 6 months ago)…and by extension the R1 Black (released 2 months ago).

Wow…just wow. In fact, holy shit!

It’s one thing to release a larger head, a smaller head, a head with upgraded adjustability, a head with a glued hosel, a head with a new paint job…TaylorMade has done that sort of stuff in the past, but a mid-season, new line replacement for their flagship model?

It’s weird. Frankly, I’m not entirely sure what to make of it.

What Can I Tell You About SLDR?

I’ve spent the last several days banging away at my keyboard trying to tell you the story of the SLDR driver. No exaggeration, I’ve written nearly 10,000 words on the subject, and haven’t found 2000 that I’m happy with.

Here’s the issue; apart from the most hardcore TaylorMade fanboy, I can’t find anyone who is legitimately excited about this driver. The wow factor, for a multitude of reasons is almost zero.

I love a new driver, as much as…hell, more than anybody, and even I’m struggling to muster any excitement.

That’s a big problem for me.

Not Another TaylorMade Driver

I know what you’re thinking…This is just TaylorMade being TaylorMade and releasing 10 drivers in a season. This is just more of the same.

Factually, if we’re counting Tour, and Tour Issue, and new paint jobs, it’s really only the 6th, which is still a lot (some would say too many).

The only emotion SLDR seems to be stirring is anger. That’s no audience for a new driver.

I’ve heard plenty of theories as to why TaylorMade would release the SLDR now instead of waiting until next February. To one degree or another, most of them make sense.

Metalwoods market share is down. Callaway took a chunk. Nike got one too.

Revenue is down.

Some would say TaylorMade is desperate.

TaylorMade has an answer for all of it.

The market share drop was expected, and TaylorMade’s cut is still more than 2 times that of their nearest competitor.

Revenues are down, but percentage-wise it’s just a couple of ticks, which isn’t bad when you consider the brutal winter that hurt everyone’s bottom line.

Desperation is a stretch when you have the number one selling driver in golf.

TaylorMade would say they’re releasing SLDR now because innovation can’t wait – not because Callaway just released a new driver too.

The Truth of the Matter

As with most stories where viewpoints diverge, the real story of the apparently early release of the SLDR driver almost certainly lies in the middle.

Absolutely, competition is stronger than it has been in years. TaylorMade is being pushed, and when you take an objective look at their post R11 driver releases; it’s hard to argue they’ve released anything of real consequence. It’s all been solid, but none of it revolutionary.

Absolutely Callaway has gained momentum, and it stands to reason that even if we’re only talking about a couple of percentage points, TaylorMade would rather not finish behind last year’s numbers.

But despite a multitude of factors that suggest that SLDR is as much about putting new product on the shelves as anything else, I’ve come to believe that TaylorMade actually believes SLDR is a special driver.

All Releases are Not Created Equal

Ask anybody at any golf company and they’ll say the same thing:

“Everything we make is really good” – Everybody at Every Golf Company

And yet, despite the stench of perpetual awesomeness, deep down these guys know that some products are actually better than others – and it comes across when they talk about them.

When the MyGolfSpy staff was at Callaway last winter, they stepped us through their entire product line. It was all really (really, really) good – best ever kind of stuff (even the RAZR Fit Xtreme fairway wood), but the XHot fairway was special. They didn’t just tell us they had there answer for RocketBallz, they believed it.

Look…maybe I’m gullible, even stupid, but certain releases just come across differently. R11s, R1 that was business as usual. In fact, it’s been business as usual for every TaylorMade driver release I’ve covered since R11.

SLDR is different. I can’t tell you why I believe that, because I don’t fully understand it myself, but my gut is telling me that behind all the hype, and fluff, and the “this is the longest driver we’ve ever created” stuff; inside of TaylorMade, they absolutely believe that SLDR is their best work in the driver category in years.  I think they think it’s the kind of driver you build a franchise around.

And that’s a problem for TaylorMade because I think when golfers see SLDR they aren’t seeing anything special. It doesn’t look the part of a flagship TaylorMade driver, and that means golfers aren’t nearly as likely to take it off the rack to find out how good it really is.

But, But, But . . . Mizuno

Right about now is where the clever crowd starts chiming in with, “Of course it doesn’t look like a TaylorMade driver. They stole it from Mizuno”.

We’ve covered it before, but in the interest of helping you not go through life all ignorant and whatnot, let’s get a few things sorted out right quick.

Any resemblance to Mizuno’s FastTrack system which first appeared on the MP-600 is superficial at best. Mizuno’s system was designed with the goal of moving weight around the rear perimeter of the golf club.

TaylorMade’s SLDR weight system is forwardly placed, and the weight is relocated parallel (as opposed to around) to the face. That may sound like a small detail, but as far as the performance implications are concerned they’re worlds apart.

The other key thing to consider and this is the part you’re really going to want to pay close attention to; we did some extensive research on patents pertaining to sliding, rail-based weighting systems. As it happens, TaylorMade’s patent pre-dates Mizuno’s by over a year.

Your Mizuno argument is invalid and uniformed…please move along.

What We’ve Got Here Is . . .

TaylorMades’ marketing team would almost certainly tell me that this SLDR thing is just getting started and that I should sit back (probably shut up), and watch them do what they do. Before they’re done, the golfer is going to believe what they believe (SLDR is really, really, really good).

I don’t see it happening.

The excitement level feels low. And what’s worse, this isn’t about converting the “I’d never put that in my bag crowd”, it’s a battle against early indifference – and that’s a problem for TaylorMade too.

Worse yet, I believe a lot of golfers are going to see SLDR as nothing more than something TaylorMade threw on the shelf to kill time until the spring.

If this is what TaylorMade says it is…the flagship driver for a new generation of TaylorMade product, they could find themselves in a difficult position this spring when their competitors are putting new product on the shelf next to TaylorMade’s six month old relative relic.

Then again…the can always release the next generation SLDR.

According to TaylorMade’s Tom Olsavsky; when it comes to the number of drivers TaylorMade can release, there is no limit. “The golfer is always looking to buy better performance”.

The R1 Black Fail

I’m not positive why, despite tour player tweets, and launch monitor photos, and all the other pre-release stuff TaylorMade did to build buzz, there isn’t the same level of eager anticipation there usually is for a new TaylorMade driver.

Absolutely the timing sucks. It’s not even August. There might even be a TaylorMade driver hangover of sorts, but more than anything else, the issue is that SLDR, I believe, simply doesn’t have any real wow factor.

Even if you hate all of it, what’s more interesting to you – all lofts in a single head, an adjustable sole plate that looks like a compass and a bold crown graphic or a shiny piece of blue anodized aluminum on an otherwise ordinary looking driver?

Now let me ask you this – What if Back in Black (or Back in Charcoal) was part of the SLDR story?

What if in addition to the re-invention of moveable weights, the SLDR was the first black driver TaylorMade released since the R9 series?

SLDR is a whole lot more interesting if R1 Black doesn’t exist. It might even look like the game-changer I think TaylorMade thinks it is.

“This is a magical, magical golf club” – Tom Kroll, Product Evangelist, TaylorMade-adidas Golf

A Boring Performance Story

From a performance perspective, TaylorMade is saying some pretty compelling things about SLDR. While they are calling SLDR the longest driver they’ve ever made, TaylorMade won’t be making any specific distance claims (contrary to the popular myth, TaylorMade hasn’t made a specific driver distance claim in years).

What they are telling me personally, however;  is that compared to R1, most players will pick up 2-3MPH of ball speed, and decrease spin by up to 400RPM. According to TaylorMade Product Evangelist, Tom Kroll, TaylorMade staffers are picking up between 6 and 10 yards.

That’s pretty bold. R1 is no slouch.

While the numbers sound great, the story behind them is much less compelling.

For years every new release has included a blurb about how extra distance was achieved through a relocation of the center of gravity.

For the better part of the last decade it was all about moving the COG lower and further back. Now it’s about moving it low and forward. It’s different, and that should matter, but for most golfers, the center of gravity story, no matter how new, or how different from the one that came before it, is basically played out.

Like I keep saying, I think TaylorMade believes they have something special, but so far it hasn’t come across that way. I know…it’s early.

Better Adjustability

While the sliding rail system provides the eye-candy, and plays a substantial role in the previously mentioned center of gravity placement thing, functionally not much is new.

The new system features 20 grams of re-positional weight (compared to 9 grams (excluding additional weights) under the old system). The 30 yards of lateral change in ball flight TaylorMade claims it offers is actually only 2 yards more than the 28 yards offered with 2007’s R7 SuperQuad.

Nearly 6 years has netted us 2 yards. And that’s if you believe 20 grams is enough weight to shift the center of gravity and fundamentally alter trajectory.

That’s fine though. The sliding weight…that’s the eye-candy. It’s cool, but it’s not the real story.

Low and forward…that’s the real story.

As far as the updated adjustability goes, the real selling point for the SLDR weight system is that it’s easier for the average golfer to understand, and takes far less time to adjust the weights.

Nearly every golf company talks about doing a better job of enabling the golfer to adjust his own club. On paper SLDR does just that, but in the real-world, I don’t think it will change much of anything. Those who want to adjust already do, and those that don’t probably never will.

For fitters, and compulsive tinkerers, however; TaylorMade has cut the time it takes to reposition the weights down to about 10 seconds. That’s actually a huge improvement.

Obligatory SLDR Specifications

As is the case with most TaylorMade shafts, the stock non-TP shaft offerings are “designed for variants”, while the TP model is a “real” Fujikura Motore Speeder TourSpec 6.3.

Swing Weight Woes

For compulsive tweakers, there are some issues with tuning the weight to work with a variety of shafts. With the old system you could buy additional weights allowing you to basically hit your desired swing weight with any shaft.

While TaylorMade estimates those guys (guys like me) represent less than 10% of the market, because of some issues with the USGA, TaylorMade was forced to put a barely removable plug over the access hole for the weight cartridge. The USGA felt the opening could provide an aerodynamic benefits, and for whatever reason they haven’t yet allowed TaylorMade to use a screw to secure the cap (the opening is threaded, so maybe the USGA will come around).

The result is that while adjusting the weight is easy, swapping it isn’t. TaylorMade is looking into making aftermarket kits available, but as of right now, guys who constantly experiment with different shafts are going to have some issues.

Putting SLDR to the Test

I’m told it’s going to be a few weeks but as soon as we get a complete set of samples of the SLDR driver we’re going to be putting them to the test. Once again, here’s what TaylorMade is saying:

Compared to R1 SLDR offers:

  • 2-3 MPH Ball Speed
  • 400RPM less spin
  • More Distance (6 to 10 yards)

As soon as we can, we’re going to bring back the 6 testers from our Most Wanted Driver test and have them hit SLDR vs. R1. head to head.

Just because TaylorMade thinks they have something special, it doesn’t mean that they actually do.

If SLDR is the real deal, we’ll tell you. If it can’t measurably outperform TaylorMade’s own R1, you can bet we’ll tell you that too.

In the meantime, would it kill you to show a little excitement?

TaylorMade SLDR Tidbits

I spoke with members of the TaylorMade team about the SLDR for nearly an hour. Not everything made it into the story, but I did want to share some of the more interesting notes from my conversation with Tom Kroll (TaylorMade Product Evangelist), and Tom Olsavsky (Senior Director of Product Creation for Metalwoods).

  • On the flurry of Callaway Trademark Applications: TaylorMade won’t comment specifically on Callaway’s recent run of Slider-Like trademark claims, but Olsavsky did say that they’re not surprising, and that it’s to be expected in a competitive environment.
  • And speaking of Callaway (loosely), Olsavsky claims that that while a 15% improvement in aerodynamics yields only one additional yard, moving the CG 10% lower produces 7 more yards. What this means as that aerodynamics offer the most benefit to higher swing speed players, while CG improvements benefit everyone.
  • On rumors that TaylorMade pilfered the SLDR design from Adams:  Olsavsky and Kroll told me in no uncertain terms that TaylorMade has been working on SLDR since 2006. It is, they say, an original TaylorMade design.
  • On market saturation: There is no limit to the number of products. The important thing is to cover difference segments and assist retail partners by controlling volume and helping manage inventory.R1 is the best-selling driver of 2013 and has sold roughly 300K units.When you consider that there are 6.6 million avid golfers and 15 million total golfers when if you include recreational golfers; despite its success, R1 reached less than 5% of the avid golfing population and only 2% of the population as a whole.

    That’s obviously a comparatively small number on both accounts. If you have the opportunity to reach more golfers, why wait? Olsavsky pointed out that R1 is still a great driver. “If you’re happy and playing well”, said Olsavsky, keep doing it.

  • On the disappearance of ASP: While TaylorMade absolutely believes the technology was effective, the ASP design requires a raised sole. When you raise the sole, you raise the center of gravity. With SLDR the goal was to place the COG as low as possible, which meant ASP had to go.
  • On moving away from 8°-12° in a single head: TaylorMade says 98% of golfers fit into a head with a face angle between 3° open and 3° closed. With a 4° range like R1 had you get extreme face angles on either end. By moving back stamped lofts, TaylorMade can better fit high and low loft golfers.
  • On the difference between the V1 and V2 head: It’s purely cosmetic. The same casting tool was used. Only the engraving is different. As of now there are no plans for a smaller T-serial head. Players haven’t asked for one, and the suggestion is TaylorMade is looking to move away from creating distinct products for tour players. Curiosity point – only about 30 of the V1 heads were produced.
  • On Sound and Feel: TaylorMade believes the SLDR is the best sound and feeling driver since the R510.
  • On Performance: TaylorMade’s Tom Kroll believes SLDR is the best driver on the market.
  • “I have my product and I will stand it up against anybody. I have zero apprehension about taking on anyone.” – Tom Kroll

TaylorMade SLDR Driver

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TaylorMade-SLDR-Driver-10

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Golf Swing Lessons – Beginners Basic Golf Swing Tips: Master Teacher on YouTube Sifu Richard Silva

Golf Swing Lessons – Beginners Basic Golf Swing Tips: Master Teacher on YouTube Sifu Richard Silva

www.csquaregolf.com Golf Swing Lesson. Sifu Richard Silva Black Belt and Master Teacher shows beginners golf swing tips in this simple golf swing lesson. In …

Video Rating: 3 / 5

Titleist – Hires James Patrick (The Scotty Cameron of Wedges)

Titleist – Hires James Patrick (The Scotty Cameron of Wedges)

Post image for Titleist – Hires James Patrick (The Scotty Cameron of Wedges)

Written By: Tony Covey

Last night, James Patrick Harrington of James Patrick (JP) Golf posted the following statement on his website:

“I’m joining Titleist Acushnet to further advance my passion and creativity in the world of wedges. Titleist is providing the resources needed to continue to explore the unending pursuit of creating the world’s finest wedges.

This is the next step in the journey of my life’s work. This opportunity would not have been possible without the support of you… Team JP. Thank you for helping to build the foundation of the JP brand.

I look forward to what the future brings and picking up where we left off… Stay tuned.”

Most MyGolfSpy readers are already well aware of JP’s work (featured here…and here), and will be no doubt excited to see what comes of his arrangement with Titleist.

While nobody is saying much of anything right now with respect to how JP fits into the big picture at Titleist, here’s what we’re being told:

  • For now, Bob Vokey remains the man at Titleist.
  • The Vokey SM5 series is about to hit the tour, and Da Voke is already working on what will someday become the 6th generation of the Spin Milled Wedge.
  • There are no immediate plans for a JP line of Titleist wedges (zero reason to deviate from what works right now).

Drafting Your Next Quarterback

The reality is that Mr. Vokey isn’t going to be around forever. He’s 74 years old, and it’s reasonable to assume that at some point in the not to distant future he might want to step away from the daily grind (horrible pun not intended).

If you’re looking for an analogy, this is the Green Bay Packers drafting Aaron Rodgers. Brett Favre still had some game left in him, but The Pack knew they would eventually need a replacement, so when the opportunity presented itself, they took the best guy on the board. Look how that worked out.

That’s exactly what Titleist is doing now. By bringing JP into the fold before they absolutely have to, they’re all but assuring the continued success, if not the dominance of their wedge line.

As of right now, we don’t have the details of JP’s initial role at Titleist, but given his extensive portfolio, his reputation, and the fact that Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein flew to Minnesota to meet with James personally, it’s a pretty safe assumption that Titleist plans on leveraging JP’s undeniable talent to the fullest extent possible.

Some day in the not too distant future, JP will be the man at Titleist’s Wedge Works.

Once again…for those looking for a frame of reference, JP to Titleist looks a whole lot like Scotty Cameron to Titleist.

The Scotty Cameron of Wedges

It’s all but a given that at the most basic level Harrington was brought on to be the next Bob Vokey, but the Harrington hiring creates a unique opportunity for Titleist to further expand their wedge offerings.

The Vokey line already includes a production line, as well as limited release, and custom putters available through Wedge Works. That’s admittedly a fairly robust lineup, but here’s the thing; while Mr. Vokey’s wedges are generally regarded as among the best in the game, the functional performance they offer lacks any real sex appeal.

For some people…they guys who pay $300+ for a single wedge, that matters.

If you look at what distinguish the Cameron brand from the multitude of CNC milled putters on the market today, it’s the polish. Scotty makes putters sexy like few others. JP does that and more with wedges.

If Titleist gives JP enough room to be JP (and they’d be foolish not too), I expect you’ll eventually see a brand and a business model that almost exactly mirrors the Cameron brand. While that could mean premium prices for JP’s finer creations (is a $3000 wedge out of the question?), the newly formed relationship looks like a huge win for both Titleist and JP…and it doesn’t look too bad for the rest of us either.

Like the rest of you, I’m anxious to see what the end game looks like.

While the thought of JP wearing Titleist’s signature white blazer at next year’s PGA show is admittedly strange, we wish him nothing but success in his new role. He’s worked his whole life for this opportunity, and we’re sure he’s going to make the most of it.

 

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Ultimate Review – Acer XS Driver (Hireko)

Ultimate Review – Acer XS Driver (Hireko)

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Written By: Tony Covey

You may have noticed that the golf equipment industry is a lot like your average kindergarten classroom. The kids that make the most noise get most of the attention. And in case you haven’t noticed; lately Callaway and TaylorMade have been making a lot of noise. By the time you work your way through Titleists, PINGs and Nikes, well…let’s just say the quiet kid in the corner barely gets any attention at all.

While occasionally you may cross paths with a socially disruptive genius, being the loudest doesn’t always translate to being the smartest, or in the case of golf equipment, the longest, the straightest…or the best.

Golfers of all ability levels should understand that there are legitimate options far beyond what the big name labels you find on the shelf at your barely-local narrow-minded big box store. While their numbers aren’t what they used to be, there are still a number of smaller companies churning out some really great stuff at prices that put those marketing-heavy big boys to shame.

Case in point, the Acer XS Driver from Hireko Golf.

We had hoped to included the Acer XS in this season’s Most Wanted Driver Test, but what I suppose you could call an “inventory situation” didn’t allow us to to include the driver. Now that the Acer XS is more readily available we decided to put it to the test to see how it stacks up against the rest of the 2103 field.

The Marketing Angle

The Acer XS is the evolution of the Acer XF series.

The new model is taller and wider than it’s predecessor. Designers were able to retain the 460cc size by making the XS shorter from heal to toe, which the company claims provides faster club head rotation, which in-turn makes it easier to square the face.

By utilizing a lightweight crown, Hireko was able to keep the center of gravity location for the Acer XF low for optimum launch conditions.

Finally, a new face construction allows for greater ball velocity over a wider area of the face.


*MyGolfSpy’s samples were built with SK Fiber Lite Revolution Shafts

Performance

We can talk about looks and sound and feel all day. We can quote websites and marketing notes word for word, but at the end of the day all that’s worth knowing is whether or not is whether or not the club in question actually performs as advertised. To find out we put the Acer XS to the test using the same formulas we used when we conducted our Most Wanted Driver Test earlier this year.

How did the Acer XS stack up? Let’s get to it.

Distance

For each and every one of our testers the Acer XS ranked at or near the bottom of the list for total distance. In some cases the difference was minimal (1 or 2 yards on average), while in other the yardage gap was substantial (10 or more yards). Not surprisingly given those type of results, the Acer XS is the first driver we’ve tested this year to score below 90 in the distance category.

So why is the Acer XS shorter?

It all boils down to ball speed. As with distance itself, with the Acer XS the majority of our testers produced ball speeds measurably less (2-3 MPH) on average than they did with even the lower ranking drivers we’ve tested in 2013.

Curiously, our highest swing speed tester actually produced his highest ball speed of the season with the Acer XS, however; the combination of comparatively high launch (really high launch) and mid-high spin resulted in distance numbers that are, quite frankly, below what we’d expect to see.

It’s also possible (likely) the shaft played at least some role in our results. While the SK Fiber Lite Revolution is described as an ultra-lightweight shaft, specs on the Hireko site list the weight of the X flex in the 70g+ plus range. This is our first experience with this particular shaft, so again, it’s hard to provide any sort of real analysis of the role it played in the sub-par distance results.



Accuracy
Looking purely at yards offline, and without respect to distance, the Acer XS is nothing less than a standout performer where accuracy is concerned. With an average miss of 10.66 yards offline, the Acer XS landed on average closer to the centerline than any other 2013 driver tested.

With the exception of perfectly straight balls, and balls that draw or fade towards the center line; the more a ball travels up the fairway, the more offline it also travels. When you consider accuracy, you absolutely must consider it’s relationship to distance.

So as you may know, when MyGolfSpy looks at accuracy we do so with consideration for distance. We call it TRUaccuracy.

When we did that we found a driver that’s outstanding when it comes to hitting the centerline…or at least getting it close. While the yards offline number is slightly inflated (in a positive way) due to the driver producing less total distance, the Hireko Acer XS posted the highest TRUaccuracy number we’ve seen this season. That’s kind of a big deal, especially if you’re a guy who struggles to find the short grass.

The other important accuracy-related number we look at is the percentage of fairways hit. In that respect, the Acer XS’s performance was slightly above average. While a couple testers missed only slightly more fairways than they normally do, others hit a slightly higher percentage.

When we tallied the various components of accuracy together, in the Acer XS, we found one of the more accurate drivers we’ve tested in 2013; trailing only Callaway’s XHot and Titleist’s 913 (#1 in the category) at the time of this writing.



Overall
Our overall driver scores are based on what the PGA Tour calls total driving. Total driving is what you have left after you subtract the yards offline from the total distance. In addition to being a pretty solid indicator of overall driving performance, Total Driving helps us make specific recommendations about who should consider purchasing a given driver.

For guys focused on distance, we can tell you if the driver has enough pop to offset any distance issues. For guys smart enough to put a premium on accuracy, we can tell you whether or not an accurate driver is still long enough to keep you close to your buddies.

In the case of the Acer XS, we’re hard-pressed to say that the accuracy gains are worth the distance penalty (8+ yards on average). The overall score, despite an exceptional accuracy score, is the lowest we’ve seen thus far. The numbers suggest that there are clubs out there that will give you as much accuracy without sacrificing nearly as much distance.



Performance Notes

While we’ve already discussed distance issues, worth nothing is that the Acer XS / SK Fiber Lite Revolution combo easily qualifies as a high launch/high spin setup.

Our testers produced an average vertical launch angle of 13.42° (highest of 2013) and an average spin rate of 3318 (only the Wilson D-100 produced more spin). For guys who struggle to get the ball in the air and keep it there, this particular combo could prove compelling, for the rest of us there are serious fitting concerns.

Finally, while the spec sheet suggests the 9.5° model has a face that’s 1° open, the driver looks to be closed by at least that much. For guys who struggle to start the ball anywhere but left, the design (whether real or imagined) could potentially make it more difficult to start the ball straight, or even out to the right.

Conversely, for guys who habitually start the ball more right than they’d like, the apparently closed face design could offer some benefit.

The Data

Subjective Notes

Cincinnati Bengals fans (all 3 of you), have I got a driver for you.

As you can probably see, the Acer XS features a couple of interesting design elements that warrant further discussion. First, the crown is a deep burnt orange with a semi-gloss finish. That orange is set against a black PVD sole and face. Quite frankly, I’m a bit surprised nobody told me they hated it. Instead the guys told me that either liked it, or at worst, they didn’t mind it. Keep in mind these are the same guys who tested the 17 drivers we included in our Golf’s Most Wanted Driver Test. They’ve basically seen at all at this point. Green crown with a pink face…no problem…at least not anymore.

The 2nd interesting design choice was to basically extend the face 1/4″ or so onto the crown. Not only does the contrast of the matte black against the burnt orange provide an alignment aid of sorts (Versa-style), the additional spacing gives you a margin for error should you decide to smack a few off the leading edge of the crown. I know…it happens to the best of us.

Where sound and feel are concerned, there’s basically nothing not to like about the Acer XS. It’s a very safe, middle-of-the road design. It’s not as loud as a TaylorMade R1 or Adams Super S. It’s not as soft and muted as the Cobra AMP, and it doesn’t have the crisp pop of the PING drivers we test. While fans of the extremes might not be impressed, most will be perfectly content with what it offers.

Recommendation

There’s no doubt that the Hireko Acer XS is a serviceable driver that is actually an intriguing option for golfers who place an absolute premium on accuracy.

Distance hounds will obviously want to look elsewhere, as will golfers who have a legitimate need to reduce launch angle or spin rates. Even with something that’s generally regarded as a low spinning shaft (Matrix m3, Oban Kiyhoshi Black, etc.) it’s highly unlikely that spin numbers would be reduced substantially enough to provide the desired launch characteristics for the guys who need a little extra help.

The lack of 8° or 8.5° head is also a disqualifying factor for those at the end of the fitting spectrum that actually benefit from less loft.

Finally, it’s important to note that with the SK Fiber shaft installed, retail price for the Acer XS is in the ballpark of $150.

For do-it-yourselfers with shafts lying around, the cost of the head alone ($69.95) could make it worth taking a chance.

When you consider that at the time of publication every driver in our larger test came with a sticker price of $300 or more, it’s not unreasonable to ask how much more 8 yards is worth, especially if those extra yards come with more missed fairways.

Tell Us What You Want to See

Is there a driver (or other club, I suppose) you want to see reviewed on MyGolfSpy? Leave us a comment an let us know.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Review – Dynamic Gold DG Pro Iron Shafts

Review – Dynamic Gold DG Pro Iron Shafts

Post image for Review – Dynamic Gold DG Pro Iron Shafts

Introduction

By: Matt Saternus

The shots of a tour pro, whether with a driver or a wedge, all share approximately the same apex.  The shots of Joe Hacker…not so much.  Gopher-killing long irons and wedges that threaten airplanes are more the norm at your local muni.

To help us amateur players hit our shots more like the pros, True Temper has released the Dynamic Gold DG Pro iron shaft.  The goal of the DG Pro is to bring the flight of the short irons down while getting the long irons up.  The result should be that all of shots apex at about the same height, just like the pros.

Does the reality line up with that plan?

I dusted off my 3 iron to find out.

Specs, Price, and Manufacturer Notes

According to True Temper, the DG Pro offers golfers “progressive optimized peak trajectory from long irons to short irons.”  They also feature variable wall technology for ultimate feel and control.

DG Pro is available in R, S, and X flex, in weights of 109-113, 118-122, and 125-129 grams, respectively.

DG Pro carries an MSRP of $40 per shaft.

Looks, Feel, and Miscellaneous

When you first pick up the DG Pro, it feels – surprise surprise – like a Dynamic Gold.  Nice and heavy, more head-heavy than counter-balanced.  No adjustment needed in that department.  During the swing there’s more “life” in the DG Pro than your standard DG, but nothing extreme.  At impact, the DG Pro offers a feel that is largely familiar, but slightly crisper.  On the spectrum of steel shafts, it isn’t quite at that uber-clean Nippon level, but it hints at it.

Unlike most steel shafts, there is a very interesting visual note about the DG Pro.  As you can see in the pictures, True Temper has utilized “double steps” in the design of the DG Pro.  They’re noticeable at address, but not distracting.  What’s interesting is that these double steps vary in location from shaft to shaft (I assume that’s how they create the different trajectories).  This varied step pattern is important to keep in mind as you build your set of DG Pros so you don’t have a heart attack thinking that you installed them improperly (I speak from experience).

On a more frivolous Looks note, I like the switch to the vertical shaft band as opposed to the traditional wraparound label.

 

Performance

For the Performance testing, I installed the Dynamic Gold DG Pro shafts into a set of Wilson FG Tour V2 heads.  They were tested against a set of Dynamic Gold S300 shafts that were installed in the exact same heads.  Testing was done on a FlightScope X2 launch monitor.  All shafts were gripped with PURE Grips.

Testing was done at Golf Nation in Palatine, IL, one of the best indoor golf facilities in the country.

 

FLIGHTSCOPE DATA

:: Tighter dispersion with 9 iron and 6 iron. Nearly identical with 3 iron.
:: Significantly closer to the center line with DG Pro 3-iron. 2 yards closer with 6-iron. Identical with 9-iron.
:: Carry Yardage: +3 yards with 3-iron, +6 yards with 6-iron, +1 yards with 9-iron.
:: Launch Angle: Identical across the board
:: Spin rates: Identical across the board
:: Peak Heights (Apex): Identical across the board.

ANALYSIS

Let’s first address the question “Did these shafts help you hit your 3 iron higher?”  Answer: It depends how you look at it.  In absolute terms, no, FlightScope showed that the peak heights for DG Pro and DG were identical.  BUT, to get my standard DG to that height, I have to hit cuts or pushes.  The DG Pro allowed me to hit the ball straight (I heard that’s a good idea) and still get some air under it.  So, to me, the DG Pro absolutely showed the ability to help me get more height on my long irons.

Now on to the thing I wasn’t expecting: a significant improvement in both measures of accuracy.  With the DG Pro, I cut my dispersion by 1/3 with my 9 iron and made a marked improvement with the 6 iron.  Switching to Offline, I improved my 3 iron by 80% and got my 6 iron 2 yards closer to center.

Finally, there was a small, but measureable distance gain in switching to DG Pro: +3 yards with the 3 iron, +6 with the 6 iron, and +1 with the 9 iron.

Conclusion

While I went into this test with high hopes (anything that promises higher long irons has my attention), the DG Pro exceeded my expectations.  Not only did it deliver on the promise of raising the flight of my long irons, it helped me to hit the ball much more accurately.  Importantly, it did all of this without my having to adjust to a new weight or feel.

If, like many of us, you need a change of trajectory with your irons, see your local True Temper fitter about DG Pro.

 

VISIT WEBSITE: HERE

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: HERE

FOLLOW ON FACEBOOK: HERE

 

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

PING nFLIGHT Fitting – Find Your Dot and Play Your Best

PING nFLIGHT Fitting – Find Your Dot and Play Your Best

Post image for PING nFLIGHT Fitting  – Find Your Dot and Play Your Best

Win A Ping Driver or A Ping Scottsdale TR Putter!

Answer the three questions posed in the article to win your choice of Ping driver or Scottsdale TR putter.

Details at the end of the article.

It’s Time to Get Fit!

(by Dave Wolfe)  Hopefully you have been reading mygolfspy long enough to know the benefits of playing golf with fitted clubs. Golf equipment can be both the boon and bane of our play. If a club fits, we have real chance to hit the shots that we want. However, if your gear doesn’t fit, only blind luck and a bad swing will sync up man with miss-fitted metal. Don’t believe me? You right-handers can go and try to cut paper with left-handed scissors. Cutting paper with scissors isn’t difficult, but when the tool doesn’t fit, even the simplest task becomes arduous. I think that we all agree that hitting that silly little white ball is simple in concept, but anything but simple in execution. Fitted gear helps.

If you want to get a new set of fitted clubs, where do you start? If you are like me these days, any purchase likely starts with sitting down at the computer and researching options. I read reviews, just like you. I look at the choices from different manufacturers, and I really try to learn as much as I can about a product before I ever hit the store. Unlike other more common purchases, buying fitted golf clubs can make us a bit nervous because we don’t really understand the parameters that are being customized.

Let’s digress a moment and look at your pants. Do they fit you? Of course they do, because when you bought them you made sure that they had the correct waist and length configuration. You understand pant fitting, knowing exactly what the effect of a too small or a too large waist would be. You are a veteran in the pants fitting game, fully understanding the correlation between pant construction and pant performance. But what about with fitted golf clubs? Do you know the effect of lie angle on ball flight? What about club length? Grip diameter? For many, these fitting parameters are total unknowns, and as such instill potential anxiety into the fitting process, again motivating us to do some online research.

Thankfully, Ping is here to help us out.

 

Ping May Know Something About Club Fitting

Ping has been custom fitting clubs for 40 years. Do you know that Ping sells fitted clubs? I know you do, also likely being fully aware of their colored dot system. Did you know that Karsten Solheim developed that dot system in 1972? I didn’t realize it was that long ago. He created the colored dot system with the intention of using the dots to educate the golfing public about the effect of lie angles, and the benefits of custom fitting.

Dial it forward a few decades and you now have Ping’s nFlight web fitting system where, from the comfort of your home or office, you can input some simple physical information, along with some of your play tendencies, and get a preliminary list of clubs fit to you. If you have not heard of nFlight before, it’s Ping’s totally online static club fitting system. nFlight represents a great first step when you are looking for a new fitted set of clubs. Now you have something to take with you when you go to the club pro for the in-person fitting.  The nFlight static fitting fits right into Ping’s five-step fitting process.

Ping’s 5-Step Fitting Process

  • Interview Process
  • Static Fitting
  • Dynamic Swing Test
  • Ball Flight Analysis
  • Monitoring Performance

 

I bet many of you have already played around with the nFlight web fitting system. Like you, I was curious about the clubs that nFlight would suggest for me. I put in my info and honestly entered my play information. Honesty is the key. If you are getting fit to play better, it makes no sense to inflate your abilities. I will never withhold information from my doctor, or from my club fitter. In this case, the nFlight fitter is a computer.

Be honest, it won’t judge you.

First you enter your physical information.

Next you enter information about your game. How far do you hit a driver? What about your seven iron? What’s your typical ball flight? What do you want it to be? What’s your typical wedge divot pattern? How many wedges do you play? What’s your stance when you putt? Miss tendency? Do you have an alignment preference?

Ping nFlight iron trajectory
Ping nFlight wedge divot
Ping nFlight iron number
Ping nFlight wedge number

Once you enter all of the information, the nFlight web fitting software comes up with a prospective set of clubs for you. Here are the clubs that nFlight came up with for me.

Ping nFlight AnserMilled
Ping nFlight G25 Iron
Ping nFlight AnserX
Ping nFlight driver

 

Scavenger Hunt Question 1

Head over to the Ping website and go through the nFlight static fitting process.

What iron set did the nFlight web system say was right for you? Include the model and specs.

 

Off To The Fitter

I am sure that you noticed that I used the terms “potential” and “prospective” when I was talking about the set of clubs that nFlight selects for you. Ping doesn’t see nFlight as a way to replace an in-person fitting, but rather as one part of their five-part fitting process. A Ping-trained club fitter is definitely part of the process. The club fitter looks at the nFlight suggestions and then makes the final fitting decisions based upon what he or she observes during the dynamic fitting (aka you swinging the club). nFlight data in hand, I met up with a Ping-certified fitting professional at a local pro shop to see what alterations to the nFlight set would occur once I had to actually swing a club.

Let’s take a look at the results of the dynamic fitting:

 

Driver

Ping G25 Driver3
Ping G25 Driver4
Ping G25 Driver5
Ping G25 Driver2

After warming up, we went straight to the driver fitting. I was surprised, as my previous three fittings had always ended with driver. The fitter said that he likes to fit driver first, before the person getting fit gets tired. According to nFlight, I should be playing an 8.5° PING G25 driver with the stock stiff shaft, so we started there. After looking at distance and dispersal numbers, the fitter could tell that this set-up was likely dead on.

Out of curiosity, he adjusted the driver to the (+) setting, increasing loft by 0.5°. Immediately my performance fell off. The same thing happened when we switched to the tour version of the shaft. It was just too heavy for me and the numbers definitely showed it. 8.5 non-tour stiff was the call.

nFlight vs. In Person Results: Identical


Fairway

Ping G25 Fairway5
Ping G25 Fairway3
Ping G25 Fairway2
Ping G25 Fairway4

I usually play one fairway metal, so I can bag an extra wedge. The nFlight fit said that I should play a stiff-shafted PING G25 3W. I thought that I would be better served playing a 4W, with the increased loft providing a bit more forgiveness than the 3W with a slight loss of distance. I hit the stock stiff 3W well, and then couldn’t make flush contact at all with the 4W. The fitter was surprised. He thought my 4W idea was a good one, but something in the switch from 3W to 4W had a negative impact on my swing. Things got even better when he dropped the length on the 3W by a ½”.

How did nFlight know that I was 4W impaired?

nFlight vs. In Person Results: Identical club, with length dropped ½”

 

Hybrids

Ping G25 Hybrid3
Ping G25 Hybrid1
Ping G25 Hybrid2
Ping G25 Hybrid4

I am currently only playing one hybrid, having found that I hit a 4i much better than a 4H. The nFlight suggested a 20° PING G25 hybrid, and the swings in the fitting supported that suggestion. It is worth noting that the G25 hybrid looks miles better than the G-Series predecessors. I love the shape of this head and the matte black finish of this, and all the woods, just kills.

nFlight vs. In Person Results: Identical

 

Irons

Ping G25 7 Iron 5
Ping G25 7 Iron 1
Ping G25 7 Iron 4
Ping G25 7 Iron 2

The nFlight web fit put me into PING G25 irons, black dot, and stock stiff CFT shafts. I became a bit concerned when my dispersal pattern with this suggested set-up looked very sprinkler-like. The fitter asked what shafts are in my current set. He then put that shaft, DG S300, into the G25 head. The difference was immediate and somewhat astounding. I was way more accurate, and distances were much more typical. The fitter’s response was, “Well, that’s your shaft.” I guess I can take comfort in knowing that I have found my “it” iron shaft. Score one for the dynamic fit as nFlight would have no idea that I need a heavier iron shaft.

Next we got to work on lie angle. I have previously been fit into irons at standard lie, but also at 2° Up at a different fitting. We started the process this time by hitting an impact-taped 7i on a lie board. It was interesting to see the difference with the different dots. Based on the impact tape, we were looking at either blue or black dot.

The fitter then had me alternate between the two dots to see which one produced better shots. During the process, I actually became a bit depressed as balls were flying left and right as often as they were on target. I didn’t think we would have a winner. As it turned out, my fitter was actually having me hit four different dots, swapping in green (up) and orange (flat) dots as controls in addition to the black and blue dots. My awful slices actually were expected from the orange dot lie; so too the hooks from green. It was sneaky, but then when he said that black was the way to go, I felt very confident in his assessment. nFlight and sneaky fitter agreed on the black dot.

nFlight vs. In Person Results: Change the shafts from stock CFT to DG S300, same black dot

 

Wedges

Ping Tour 60 Wedge 2
Ping Tour 60 Wedge 5
Ping Tour 60 Wedge 1
Ping Tour 60 Wedge 3

nFlight asks you about your typical divot during the wedge fitting process, along with how many wedges you typically play. nFlight put me into three PING Tour wedges (52, 56, and 60°), all with the standard sole width. Initially, I thought that the sole width characteristic was just another way to denote bounce. A

fter looking at, and playing with the different wedges though, I learned that there more than bounce to that width characteristic. As soon as I swung a 60° with the wide sole, I knew that I was a wide sole guy. I felt far more connected to the heavier WS head than the SS. Performance on full and partial wedge shots was significantly better with the wide sole option. It made me wonder if I had miss-entered my divot info into nFlight. The other change that my fitter suggested was to take the G25 irons through U (50°) wedge since that is mainly a full swing club for me. Two wide sole Tour wedges (54° and 60°) finished out the set. Watch out pins!

nFlight vs. In Person Results: changed from three SS Tour wedges to a G25 U wedge and two WS Tour Wedges


Putter

Ping Anser X 4
Ping Anser X 2
Ping Anser X 5
Ping Anser X 3

nFlight suggested three putters: the Anser 5, the Scottsdale Nome TR, and the Karsten 1959 Anser X. For once I didn’t need the fitter to assess the web fit because I own, and putt well with the first two of the putters on that list. Being the putter addict, I went with the Anser X because I didn’t have one of those yet. Someday I will learn that putters are not like Pokemons…

nFlight vs. In Person Results: Identical

 

But What About the Dots

Karsten Solheim set up the colored dot system so golfers could learn to associate his or her best fit with a particular color. I think that this was a brilliant move, as it is far easier to remember a color than a numerical value for lie. Purple is a whole lot easier to remember than 1.5° flat. Even if you know your dot color, do you really know what that dot is doing for your game? What happens to ball flight when you bend a club flat or boost the grip by 1/8”?

You may be happy to leave that information in the brain of your fitter, but if you are curious, you can learn about this stuff by watching the fitting videos on the Ping site. I was stoked to find these. I spend a lot of time on the computer looking at golf stuff, and I had never run across these videos. If I didn’t know about them, then I figured you may not have either. And so, rather than me writing about the effect of the dots, I’ll refer you to Ping’s Fitting Videos page. There you can learn about their fitting history as well as all kinds of stuff about the fitting process, including the effects of those pesky dots.

 

Scavenger Hunt Question 2

Which of Ping’s fitting videos did you find the most informative?

 

The Lighter Side Of Ping

What initially brought me to the Ping site was the new Ping commercials that ran during the online coverage of this year’s US Open. If you have not seen them yet, they feature Hunter Mahan, Lee Westwood, and Bubba Watson playing (and goofing around with) the new Ping equipment. They are clever, campy, and memorable commercials. Lee’s wooden delivery makes me laugh. His comedic timing and delivery reminds me a lot of the gal on the Orbit commercial. You need to check these out. Click HERE to watch.

Scavenger Hunt Question 3

Which Ping commercial is your favorite?

 

Playing my best with Ping

 

Overall, I was very impressed with the Ping fitting process. The nFlight assessment was much closer than I expected it to be. Maybe that’s not typical, but it really was nice to walk into the fitting knowing where to start. Custom fitting is really the way to go. Mr. Solheim was definitely on to something back in the 60′s and 70′s. Although the process has modernized with the addition of nFlight, the fitting system still retains the core features developed more than forty years ago. Longevity like that only comes with quality. If this system didn’t work, it wouldn’t still be in use.

Getting the right bag of clubs definitely still comes down to the trained fitter, and I had a really good one. The great thing is that there are thousands of Ping-trained and certified fitters out there. You can do exactly what I did. Start with nFlight and then head to your local Ping fitter. If you are not convinced that the Ping fitting process is exceptional, look at it this way. I am around golf gear all of the time, probably more than is healthy for any one person. Even with that volume of golf exposure, I still walked away from the Ping fitting impressed and confident that the new clubs ordered after the fitting will indeed help me to Play My Best.

 

Ping Find Your Dot Scavenger Hunt Rules

How To Enter

  • If you have not done so already, Subscribe to the MyGolfSpy Mailing List (You must be a current subscriber to win).
  • Head on over to the Ping website to find the answers to the three questions posted in the article.
  • Post your answers in the comment section below.

Rules

  • We will randomly select two winners from the qualifying answers
  • The first person selected will win his or her choice of a current model Ping driver (stock shaft options only).
  • The second person selected will win his or her choice of Scottsdale TR putters, including the Nome TR.
  • Contests Ends at 5:00 PM Easter Time on Friday August 2nd, 2103
  • Limit one entry per person.
  • Void where prohibited.

Any “copy and pasting” of other entries will not be validated. Go to the site, do your legwork, and have a shot at a couple of cool prizes.

Good Luck!

 

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Vote Now! Golf Picks of the Week

Vote Now! Golf Picks of the Week

Post image for Vote Now! Golf Picks of the Week

It Can Always Be Worse

Despite not being able to play in my Member/Guest. And despite not being able to drive 30 minutes down the road to watch Blair O’Neal play in the Symetra event at Capital Hills, I survived the weekend. The little guy that showed up on my dinner plate last Saturday night…he wasn’t so lucky. It just goes to show things could always be worse.

While I lamented my miserable life, you guys were busy voting for last week’s Golf Pic of the Week. Quite frankly, I don’t know what it says about you that a picture of a bare-assed 77 year-old man was only narrowly beaten out by a picture of what looks like a flaming ear. Sure…that flaming ear is a new Mizuno iron, but still.

While we can’t ignore the Open Championship completely, this week we’re mostly staying away from TaylorMade and Callaway products. Instead, we’re focusing on some actual prototypes, smaller brands, and what are just some really cool pics.

But First. . . Here’s Last Weeks’ Winner

The Golf Pics of the Week (Click to Enlarge)

Xenon Has a High Polish Old Skool Blade
Titleist is ready on the range at Murifield.
Somebody has a new driver in his bag...finally. Not that he'll need it this week.
SAQRA Released the INB Utility Iron
Callaway posted this epic photo bomb from Gary Player's 1959 Open Championship Victory
PING Putters have won 17 Open Championships. Will 2013 make for #18?
Piedmont Leather made an awesome Stingray Cash Cover.
Fujikura has a new prototype shaft. You might have already seen it. It's very hard to miss.
Bettinardi LTD has a beautiful copper plated long neck Jam.
Charles Barkley holed out from 160 (8-iron). Charles Barkley...really?

Vote Now! – Golf Pic of the Week

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)