Vessel – Tour Quality Custom Golf Bags, for Your Less Than Tour Quality Game

Vessel – Tour Quality Custom Golf Bags, for Your Less Than Tour Quality Game

Post image for Vessel – Tour Quality Custom Golf Bags, for Your Less Than Tour Quality Game

Average Joes Get Treated Like Pros

Pretty much all of us who’ve reached an obsessive level with this ridiculous game of golf have dreamed…or at least thought it would be cool to get our name sewn on a golf bag. For Tour pros, it’s a given. Teaching professionals get them too as part of their staff deals.

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If you’ve got an important job like President of the United States, or really…President of just about anything, some golf company is going to be willing to give you the VIP treatment (monogrammed golf bag included).

For the rest of you…the good, the average, and the weekend hacks; if you want your name on a staff bag, the royal bitch of a reality is that you’re going to have to do it yourself. That’s where Vessel Bags comes in.

Sure, Vessel has produced bags for big golf companies like Nike, TaylorMade and Callaway. Vessel has also created the MADE FOR TV bags for the likes of Michelle Wie, Nick Faldo, Nick Price, Christie Kerr, and recently crowned PGA Rookie of the Year, Jordan Speith.

Is the Vessel-made Under Armour Staff bag the key to Speith’s tour success? No…but since this is a story about Vessel, sure…why not.

Money, it’s gotta be the bag.

Hey That’s Great for Speith, But What About Me?

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I’m glad you asked.

Vessel is already pretty much the top staff bag producer for super important people and golf companies, but now they’ve decided to provide the same tour-proven craftsmanship to less than super-important guys like me…and yes…you too. I’m talking about direct-to-the-consumer, fully customized golf bags shipped in as little as two weeks.

It’s So Damn Easy

With Vessel’s straightforward, yet reasonably robust online design tool, designing your very own custom bag is filthy simple.

Pick your style

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Choose primary, secondary, and accent colors

You can even choose the color of your zipper (though options are currently limited to black and white)

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Personalize your bag

Add your logo, some random text, or, yup…your name. Vessel’s bag builder lets you customize the panels, and even the strap.

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Pick Your Size and Pay

Vessel’s cart and staff bags are available in 9″ and 10″ tops. Choose your size and pay for your bag (yeah…the paying part sucks).

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Stand bags start at $350, while cart/staff bags are priced around $650. Absolutely, it costs more than your off-the-rack, big OEM bag (without your name on it, I might add), but for a high-quality product that’s distinctly yours…with Vessel, you get what you pay for.

Vessel Craftsmanship

VESSEL partners with one of the world’s top manufacturers of golf and sport bags. Our manufacturing partner has been producing golf bags for over 30 years, and makes bags for premium golf brands such as Nike, TaylorMade, Callaway and Adidas.

Our factory uses the latest production technologies such as laser cutting, high frequency bonding, computer sewing, and CNC machines for creating molds. Our factory leverages Lean Manufacturing techniques, and implements Total Quality Management practice company wide, and is ISO 9000 qualified.

The MyGolfSpy Staff Bags

The team at Vessel created bags for the MyGolfSpy Staff. We designed, them, Vessel made them…and not for anything, we think they turned out just awesome. Check out pics of Spy Zinger’s Custom Bag in the MyGolfSpy Forum.

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What Your Own Custom Vessel Bag?

If you’re tempted to design a custom bag of your own, or just want to buy one of the awesome MyGolfSpy Bags, Vessel has been kind enough to offer a 15% Discount to MyGolfSpy readers.

Use Coupon code is GS15. Offer is valid through Dec. 31, 2013

For more information, and/or to start designing your custom bag, visit VesselBags.com.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Ultimate Review – Fister Model I Driver

Ultimate Review – Fister Model I Driver

Post image for Ultimate Review – Fister Model I Driver

Written By: Tony Covey

My god, what an absolutely fantastic year for drivers 2013 has been. Seriously. The spring crop, which included TaylorMade’s R1 and RBZ 2, Callaway’s XHot and RAZR Fit Extreme, as well as outstanding offerings from PING, Titleist, and Nike, barely scratched the surface of the whole of what would become available. Toss in Optiforce and SLDR and for guys who needed new drivers, or just wanted new drivers, it has been a phenomenal season.

Yeah, that’s great for the big guys, but what about the smaller companies? Hireko’s Acer XS proved to be deadly accurate. Krank’s Forumla 5 is one bad mother…(shut yo’ mouth), and then, or rather…and now  there’s the Fister Model I.

The who? Model what? Seriously.

Apparently because the driver market is not already over-crowded, Three-time World Long Drive Champion, Sean Fister decided to design the Model I driver. Now I know what you’re thinking (because I was thinking it too); how does being able to hit a golf ball really far qualify one to actually design a driver?

I won a closest to the pin contest once, maybe I should start designing irons (or at least 7 irons). Don’t we have actual engineers for this sort of thing?

The last time a noted long drive guy designed a driver we ended up with The Hammer. Pow!

As it turns out, back in his competitive days, Fister spent a lot of time with Dunlop the engineers that designed the clubs he played. Over time he became more involved in the design process, so it’s not like he doesn’t have some experience in the field. Besides, I don’t much care if you’re an aerospace engineer,  rodeo clown, or former long drive champion. If your designs perform, I’m good with it.

Fister Model 1-2

The Marketing Angle

While just about everybody’s marketing sounds the same these days, there are a few things about the Fister Model I that are worth mentioning.

The body and the crown are  forged from SP700 Titanium. We get can get the metallurgists in here to argue about which titanium is the best titanium. Fister claims that forging the crown allows it to be thicker where it needs to provide support, and lighter in other areas to save weight.

The body and face feature tongue-and-groove construction for a more consistent shape.

A weight port screw helps optimize the center of gravity, MOI, and presumably swingweight as well.

The most compelling feature is what Fister calls an “Accordian Compression Channel“. The channel, which I suppose isn’t wholly dissimilar from Nike’s compression channel, or Adams/TaylorMade Speedslot redistributes impact force away from the face. The result, according to Fister, is increased ball speed with reduced spin.

The Fister Model was is available in lofts of 9.0° and 10.5°. While it’s not adjustable in the modern sense, the Model I has been designed with adjustability in mind. The hosel is designed to allow for easy bending of up to 1° in any direction.

Finally, Fister offers 3 stock shaft selections from Fujikura; the Motore F1 (low launch/spin), Motore F3 (higer launch), and FUEL (mid launch and spin). Unlike many offerings from larger companies, Fister’s stock shafts are absolutely the real deal with real Fujikura graphics. No watered-down, co-branded, nonsense here.

Fister Model 1-8

Performance

We could talk about looks and sound and feel all day long (but we won’t). We can read and quote the Fister golf website as well as the next guy too, but all that’s worth knowing is whether or not Fister’s Model I can hunt with the big dogs, or if it belongs on the K-Mart bargain rack . To find out we put the Fister Model I  to the test using the same formulas we used when we conducted our Most Wanted Driver Test earlier this year.

How did the Fister Model I Perform? Lets find out.

Fister Model 1-11

Distance

Comparing the numbers between slower swing speed players and higher swing speed players you’d think we were looking at two different drivers. The sub-100 MPH swing speed crowd didn’t launch the ball any higher or lower (in terms of general averages) than anything else we’ve tested this season, however; the slower swinging guys struggled to produce enough spin to keep the ball in the air. As you would expect, distance suffered as a result.

Low spin can be a great thing, but there are most certainly golfers who actually need more spin. Me…I love low spin…the lower the better. That’s great for me, but it’s most certainly not the ideal for everyone.

Simply put, for our slower swing speed players, the Fister Model I is not a good fit.

For higher swing speed players…well, as I said, it’s a totally different story. For those guys, launch angle was slightly down (significantly so for one tester), and spin numbers were also among the lowest ever produced by the majority of our high swing speed players. Not surprisingly given the way the numbers came together, ball speeds (again, for our +100 MPH swingers) were well above average compared to the other drivers we’ve tested this season.

When you couple those numbers with 150-160MPH ball speeds…yeah…it’s a really good thing.

Among all of our testers, it was our highest swing speed player who got the most benefit from the Fister Model I; averaging over 300 yards for the first time ever.

While the overall averages suggest a driver capable of providing average distance, this is a clear case of what in thoroughbred racing circles is known as a horse for the course.

Slower swing speed players, and guys who generally need more spin will almost certainly find more distance elsewhere. For higher ball speed players looking to cut spin, the Fister Model I is true to its creators nickname.

It’s a beast.

fister-distance

Fister Model 1-10

Accuracy
Looking purely at yards offline, and without respect to distance, the Fister Model I is the very definition of average. Unlike distance, we saw no discernible correlation between swing speed and accuracy (not that we expected there would be one). Generally speaking, slower swing speed players were no more or no less accurate than higher swing speed players.

When we look at our other accuracy-related numbers things get a little more interesting, and perhaps even slightly confusing.

As we’ve pointed out before, 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.

The other accuracy-related number we look at is Fairway% (based on a theoretical 40-yard wide fairway). In most cases, the higher the fairway percentage, the higher the TRUaccuracy score. In the case of the Fister Model I, however; the numbers provide a bit of mixed message.

While the TRUaccuracy number was slightly above average, the fairway percentage number came back slightly below average. What this suggests is that while our testers might not have been as precise with the Model I as they have been with some other drivers, they’re bigger misses were, comparatively speaking anyway, better misses.

Our takeaway is that for guys who place an absolute premium on accuracy, the Fister Model I might not be ideal. For guys who are simply looking for something as accurate as most anything else, the Fister Model I will get the job done.

fister-accuracy2

Fister Model 1-9

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.

The Fister Model I is a perhaps a bit of a unique case. It should go without saying that some drivers are more suited to one type of player than another. With the Fister Model I, the divide is more evident than with many of the other drivers we’ve looked at this season.

Overall the numbers are very good – outstanding…like Top 5 for the season to date outstanding, but that’s slightly misleading. As we’ve said, for slower swing speed players the Fister Model I is likely no better than average, but for higher swing speed players, particularly those who would benefit from a low spinning driver, the Fister Model I is exceptional.

fister-overall2

Fister Model 1-5

Performance Notes

For our golfers, the Fister Model I was, on average, the lowest spinning driver we’ve tested this season. Launch angle was ever-so-slightly below average as well, but certainly not low enough to warrant further discussion (or any concern for that matter).

As we’ve said, low spin, even with average launch isn’t for everyone, and think it’s reasonable to assume that the lack of a 12+° head, and perhaps an even higher launching/spinning shaft option would almost certainly have improved performance for our slower swing speed golfers.

The Data

Fister Model 1-1

Subjective Notes

If I were to limit myself to a single word to describe the looks of the Fister Model I it would be “Uncomplicated“. The glossy black, crown is clean (no alignment aid). There are no visible aerodynamic wings, or any of that sort of nonsense. It’s very much a traditionalist’s driver.

The face is silver, and while it could simply be a matter of visual perspective, it appears to have less bulge than most drivers we receive for testing. In that respect it reminds me of PING’s K15, albeit with a much more traditional shape.

Apart from the Accordian Compression Channel, and the weight plug, the sole is also relatively uncomplicated.

Fister Model 1-4

As far as sound and feel are concerned, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Fans of more muted drivers might find the Fister to be louder, and perhaps a bit harsh, while fans of big popping drivers (PING G25) might find the slightly higher pitch of the Fister Model I off-putting.

Center struck hits feel exceptional, and like most, it can be a bit harsh when your impact moves a bit closer to the perimeter. That’s called feedback, and many find that to be a desirable trait in a golf club.

In my estimation it’s very much middle of the road. There’s nothing truly exceptional or even noteworthy about the sound or feel, and that’s not a bad thing.

Recommendation

If you’re a high swing player, particularly one looking to reduce spin, I’d say you definitely need to check this one out. With Fister’s No Hassle 30 Day Guarantee you literally have almost nothing to lose. Given the Model I’s ability to cut spin to the lowest levels of any driver we’ve tested this year, if you can achieve anything near your ideal launch angle you could see appreciable distance gains.

Slower swing speed players (below 100MPH)  – we can’t in good faith recommend that you go out and blindly buy the Fister Model I (not that we’d suggest you blindly buy anything). If you are curious, however; I definitely wouldn’t argue against leveraging that money back guarantee program. It never hurts to try, right?

Fister Model 1-6

Retail price for the Fister Model I Driver is $399.99 with free shipping. It’s available through FisterGolf.com

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)

Mizuno’s Team JPX Gets the Pro Treatment

Mizuno’s Team JPX Gets the Pro Treatment

Post image for Mizuno’s Team JPX Gets the Pro Treatment

Written by: Jay Baker

You Play Famously, America.

Okay, I’ll admit it.  The title sounds like a rip off from Will Ferrell’s new Anchorman 2 movie if they had a golf channel bit.  What it really refers to is Mizuno Golf’s recent campaign, Team JPX, where they take average joes and turn them into everyday pros.  Does that sound too good to be true?  Well they did it and they were nice enough to invite Mygolfspy down to the culminating JPX Invitational last week in John’s Creek, Georgia.  Let me set the scene.

Mizuno JPX Invitational-1

Reality of a Tour Pro

If you’re like me, you probably sit behind a desk all day, counting the seconds left until you can sneak away and get a quick 18 holes in before dark.  To pass a day full of counting, I often dream of what it would be like to live the life of a Tour Pro.  The private jets, 5 star golf courses, luxury hotels, free equipment, playing golf 8 days a week, top-level instruction, Bentley courtesy cars, a liger named Meriwether (okay, that might be a different fantasy), and all the tees you can break.

Unfortunately, I know that my daydreams are far from reality. If you’re not  a member of the top 200 OWGR, the life is not as romantic as the picture I painted above.  Missed cuts, long rides in a smelly Winnebago, 8 people to a room at the Admiral Benbow Inn, rarely getting to see your family, and begging tour reps for a sleeve of balls is a more accurate detail of so many pros.  (Please re-read the last paragraph while playing Sarah McLachlan’s Angel, animal shelter song, in the background for full effect).

Mizuno JPX Invitational-13

 Game Improvement Professionals

Where am I going with this you ask and what does this have to do Mizuno Golf?  Well, Mizuno decided to kick off a brand awareness campaign for their JPX 825 lineup this year by taking 12 average golfers and giving them the high life of a Tour Pro from the second paragraph without all the crap from the third paragraph.  Everybody thinks of Mizuno as making some of the most buttery feeling, your words not mine, irons in the industry when in fact Mizuno also makes some of the most playable game improvement irons well.  In order to get the word out, Mizuno selected players of all ages, abilities, male, and female to create a team of “game improvement professionals.”

The selection process started with Lee Baughman who was picked by Golf Digest in a separate related casting call contest.  Lee had his first indoctrination into the life of a tour star in Florida with Luke Donald, Jonathan Byrd, Chucky Three Sticks, and Stacy Lewis.  The other 11 participants were picked through the website playfamously.com after they demoed JPX 825 equipment at participating retailers.  On the website, golfers were asked to submit feedback through essays, photos, and videos.  They were also asked to submit PED testing and give up their first child.  Okay, I may made that last part up to make myself feel better about being too lazy to go online and enter the contest.  Mizuno made it super easy and I have no excuse for not entering.

Mizuno JPX Invitational-12

The team roster includes Lee Baughman, Steve Gierer, Rob Cohen, Josh Ray, William Cuebas, JB Phillips, Michelle French, Casey Parent, Joel Harrison, Tim Gaestel, Phil Talamo and eventual JPX Invitational Champion Lynette Fitzgerald.  The aforementioned players all were added to Mizuno’s staff web page as well as receiving custom fit JPX irons, JPX wedges, JPX woods, staff bag, clothing, accessories, and teaching from master professional Gary Wiren.  Rumor is Gary used to teach President Thomas Jefferson when he was in office. [Citation needed.]

Mizuno JPX Invitational-11

 The Final Showdown

Once Mizuno assembled the final roster, the only thing left was a Royal Rumble style survivor match where 12 walk in, but only 1 walks out.  Actually they all walked out, but that seems a lot less anti-climactic.  Mizuno held the first annual JPX invitational at Country Club of the South in John’s Creek, Georgia which is near their headquarters North of Atlanta.  For those of you wondering ‘why not East Lake’, apparently FedEx and Coca Cola are holding some sort of corporate outing there this week.

The players got their first glimpse of a Tour Pro’s life as they arrived two and a half hours before they teed off.  I’ve never been at the course more than 15 minutes before I had to tee off.  The JPX Team members were interviewed and had their pictures taken for complete authenticity.  Even TMZ was at the course hanging around the fire hydrants, waiting…

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After lunch and a short presentation by Chuck Couch, the players teed off at 12:15 to see who was the ultimate Game Improvement Professional.  To keep the playing field level, handicaps were applied.  Teri Hatcher’s former classmate Lynette Fitzgerald from Reston, Virginia edged out the other 11 professionals with a score of NET 72, even par.

The event was a huge success and why wouldn’t it be?  The JPX team members are just like you and me.  With all due respect to world economics, birth of children, quantum mechanics, and bacon, nothing in this galaxy is more important than golf to us.  We are all struggling golfers trying to get better regardless if we shoot 72 or 102.  Mizuno is just trying to do their best by providing not only the most advanced players equipment, but the most advanced game improvement equipment as well.  In closing, Mizuno’s JPX team proved that we should never settle because there is a Tour Pro deep inside every one of us.  Go play famously, America. 

More from the Mizuno JPX Invitational

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Mizuno JPX Invitational-24
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Mizuno JPX Invitational-16
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Mizuno JPX Invitational-18
Mizuno JPX Invitational-19
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Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Ultimate Review – Fister Model 1 Driver

Ultimate Review – Fister Model 1 Driver

Post image for Ultimate Review – Fister Model 1 Driver

Written By: Tony Covey

My god, what an absolutely fantastic year for drivers 2013 has been. Seriously. The spring crop, which included TaylorMade’s R1 and RBZ 2, Callaway’s XHot and RAZR Fit Extreme, as well as outstanding offerings from PING, Titleist, and Nike, barely scratched the surface of the whole of what would become available. Toss in Optiforce and SLDR and for guys who needed new drivers, or just wanted new drivers, it has been a phenomenal season.

Yeah, that’s great for the big guys, but what about the smaller companies? Hireko’s Acer XS proved to be deadly accurate. Krank’s Forumla 5 is one bad mother…(shut yo’ mouth), and then, or rather…and now  there’s the Fister Model 1.

The who? Model what? Seriously.

Apparently because the driver market is not already over-crowded, Three-time World Long Drive Champion, Sean Fister decided to design the Model I driver. Now I know what you’re thinking (because I was thinking it too); how does being able to hit a golf ball really far qualify one to actually design a driver?

I won a closest to the pin contest once, maybe I should start designing irons (or at least 7 irons). Don’t we have actual engineers for this sort of thing?

The last time a noted long drive guy designed a driver we ended up with The Hammer. Pow!

As it turns out, back in his competitive days, Fister spent a lot of time with Dunlop the engineers that designed the clubs he played. Over time he became more involved in the design process, so it’s not like he doesn’t have some experience in the field. Besides, I don’t much care if you’re an aerospace engineer,  rodeo clown, or former long drive champion. If your designs perform, I’m good with it.

Fister Model 1-2

The Marketing Angle

While just about everybody’s marketing sounds the same these days, there are a few things about the Fister Model 1 that are worth mentioning.

The body and the crown are  forged from SP700 Titanium. We get can get the metallurgists in here to argue about which titanium is the best titanium. Fister claims that forging the crown allows it to be thicker where it needs to provide support, and lighter in other areas to save weight.

The body and face feature tongue-and-groove construction for a more consistent shape.

A weight port screw helps optimize the center of gravity, MOI, and presumably swingweight as well.

The most compelling feature is what Fister calls an “Accordian Compression Channel“. The channel, which I suppose isn’t wholly dissimilar from Nike’s compression channel, or Adams/TaylorMade Speedslot redistributes impact force away from the face. The result, according to Fister, is increased ball speed with reduced spin.

The Fister Model was is available in lofts of 9.0° and 10.5°. While it’s not adjustable in the modern sense, the Model 1 has been designed with adjustability in mind. The hosel is designed to allow for easy bending of up to 1° in any direction.

Finally, Fister offers 3 stock shaft selections from Fujikura; the Motore F1 (low launch/spin), Motore F3 (higer launch), and FUEL (mid launch and spin). Unlike many offerings from larger companies, Fister’s stock shafts are absolutely the real deal with real Fujikura graphics. No watered-down, co-branded, nonsense here.

Fister Model 1-8

Performance

We could talk about looks and sound and feel all day long (but we won’t). We can read and quote the Fister golf website as well as the next guy too, but all that’s worth knowing is whether or not Fister’s Model 1 can hunt with the big dogs, or if it belongs on the K-Mart bargain rack . To find out we put the Fister Model 1  to the test using the same formulas we used when we conducted our Most Wanted Driver Test earlier this year.

How did the Fister Model 1 Perform? Lets find out.

Fister Model 1-11

Distance

Comparing the numbers between slower swing speed players and higher swing speed players you’d think we were looking at two different drivers. The sub-100 MPH swing speed crowd didn’t launch the ball any higher or lower (in terms of general averages) than anything else we’ve tested this season, however; the slower swinging guys struggled to produce enough spin to keep the ball in the air. As you would expect, distance suffered as a result.

Low spin can be a great thing, but there are most certainly golfers who actually need more spin. Me…I love low spin…the lower the better. That’s great for me, but it’s most certainly not the ideal for everyone.

Simply put, for our slower swing speed players, the Fister Model 1 is not a good fit.

For higher swing speed players…well, as I said, it’s a totally different story. For those guys, launch angle was slightly down (significantly so for one tester), and spin numbers were also among the lowest ever produced by the majority of our high swing speed players. Not surprisingly given the way the numbers came together, ball speeds (again, for our +100 MPH swingers) were well above average compared to the other drivers we’ve tested this season.

When you couple those numbers with 150-160MPH ball speeds…yeah…it’s a really good thing.

Among all of our testers, it was our highest swing speed player who got the most benefit from the Fister Model 1; averaging over 300 yards for the first time ever.

While the overall averages suggest a driver capable of providing average distance, this is a clear case of what in thoroughbred racing circles is known as a horse for the course.

Slower swing speed players, and guys who generally need more spin will almost certainly find more distance elsewhere. For higher ball speed players looking to cut spin, the Fister Model 1 is true to its creators nickname.

It’s a beast.

fister-distance

Fister Model 1-10

Accuracy
Looking purely at yards offline, and without respect to distance, the Fister Model 1 is the very definition of average. Unlike distance, we saw no discernible correlation between swing speed and accuracy (not that we expected there would be one). Generally speaking, slower swing speed players were no more or no less accurate than higher swing speed players.

When we look at our other accuracy-related numbers things get a little more interesting, and perhaps even slightly confusing.

As we’ve pointed out before, 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.

The other accuracy-related number we look at is Fairway% (based on a theoretical 40-yard wide fairway). In most cases, the higher the fairway percentage, the higher the TRUaccuracy score. In the case of the Fister Model 1, however; the numbers provide a bit of mixed message.

While the TRUaccuracy number was slightly above average, the fairway percentage number came back slightly below average. What this suggests is that while our testers might not have been as precise with the Model 1 as they have been with some other drivers, they’re bigger misses were, comparatively speaking anyway, better misses.

Our takeaway is that for guys who place an absolute premium on accuracy, the Fister Model 1 might not be ideal. For guys who are simply looking for something as accurate as most anything else, the Fister Model 1 will get the job done.

fister-accuracy2

Fister Model 1-9

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.

The Fister Model 1 is a perhaps a bit of a unique case. It should go without saying that some drivers are more suited to one type of player than another. With the Fister Model 1, the divide is more evident than with many of the other drivers we’ve looked at this season.

Overall the numbers are very good – outstanding…like Top 3 for the season to date outstanding, but that’s slightly misleading. As we’ve said, for slower swing speed players the Fister Model 1 is likely no better than average, but for higher swing speed players, particularly those who would benefit from a low spinning driver, the Fister Model 1 is exceptional.

fister-overall2

Fister Model 1-5

Performance Notes

For our golfers, the Fister Model 1 was, on average, the lowest spinning driver we’ve tested this season. Launch angle was ever-so-slightly below average as well, but certainly not low enough to warrant further discussion (or any concern for that matter).

As we’ve said, low spin, even with average launch isn’t for everyone, and think it’s reasonable to assume that the lack of a 12+° head, and perhaps an even higher launching/spinning shaft option would almost certainly have improved performance for our slower swing speed golfers.

The Data

Fister Model 1-1

Subjective Notes

If I were to limit myself to a single word to describe the looks of the Fister Model 1 it would be “Uncomplicated“. The glossy black, crown is clean (no alignment aid). There are no visible aerodynamic wings, or any of that sort of nonsense. It’s very much a traditionalist’s driver.

The face is silver, and while it could simply be a matter of visual perspective, it appears to have less bulge than most drivers we receive for testing. In that respect it reminds me of PING’s K15, albeit with a much more traditional shape.

Apart from the Accordian Compression Channel, and the weight plug, the sole is also relatively uncomplicated.

Fister Model 1-4

As far as sound and feel are concerned, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Fans of more muted drivers might find the Fister to be louder, and perhaps a bit harsh, while fans of big popping drivers (PING G25) might find the slightly higher pitch of the Fister Model 1 off-putting.

Center struck hits feel exceptional, and like most, it can be a bit harsh when your impact moves a bit closer to the perimeter. That’s called feedback, and many find that to be a desirable trait in a golf club.

In my estimation it’s very much middle of the road. There’s nothing truly exceptional or even noteworthy about the sound or feel, and that’s not a bad thing.

Recommendation

If you’re a high swing player, particularly one looking to reduce spin, I’d say you definitely need to check this one out. With Fister’s No Hassle 30 Day Guarantee you literally have almost nothing to lose. Given the Model 1′s ability to cut spin to the lowest levels of any driver we’ve tested this year, if you can achieve anything near your ideal launch angle you could see appreciable distance gains.

Slower swing speed players (below 100MPH)  – we can’t in good faith recommend that you go out and blindly buy the Fister Model 1 (not that we’d suggest you blindly buy anything). If you are curious, however; I definitely wouldn’t argue against leveraging that money back guarantee program. It never hurts to try, right?

Fister Model 1-6

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)

RESULTS! – “2013 GOLF’S MOST WANTED – BLADE PUTTER”

RESULTS! – “2013 GOLF’S MOST WANTED – BLADE PUTTER”

Post image for RESULTS! – “2013 GOLF’S MOST WANTED – BLADE PUTTER”

Let’s Get to the Testing!

(Written by Golfspy Dave) Welcome to Day 2 of the “Golf’s Most Wanted!” – Blade Awards. Today we unveil the best blade putter for 2013!  Remember in this competition, like with the preceding Most Wanted Mallets, accuracy is everything. Here are the testing parameters:

  • Location of Testing:  Outdoor Practice Green at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex
  • Ball Used:  Wilson FG Tour 2014 PROTOTYPE
  • Number of Testers: 10
  • HCPs of Testers: 2-20+
  • Putters Tested: 28
  • Total Balls Rolled Per Putter:  150
  • Total Balls Rolled Per Tester: 420 over two sessions
  • Time for each tester to complete test: Approximately 4.5 hours

all Putter collage

Accuracy Scoring

Yesterday in Day 1 of the “Golf’s Most Wanted!” – Blade Test, we met the 28 competitors and also reemphasized that accuracy is the ultimate factor that matters when we have our putter on the course. Reviewing our trial conditions, we had each tester take five putts at distances of 5, 10, and 20 feet. 15 putts per putter with each tester, gives us a total of 150 putts per putter.

Once the distances from the edge of the cup were adjusted for the five and ten foot putt, the scores from all of the testers were combined to generate a total accuracy score for each putter.  “Golf’s Most Wanted!” Blade Putter, should be the most accurate, regardless of the person swinging the stick.

Based upon our years of testing & data, we selected a total miss distance of 127.5 inches from the cup as the ideal accuracy value that a putter could achieve for a given tester. This number represents the total adjusted miss score for all fifteen putts for a given tester and equates to an average miss of 8.5 inches per putt.  Individual putters were then scored against this ideal accuracy value, with the final score representing a percentage of that ideal.  All numbers were rounded off to the nearest whole number. Here is an example of how the final accuracy score is calculated:

EXAMPLE: Accuracy Score Calculation

:: Total Miss Distance (all testers, adjusted for distance)= 1686 inches
:: Average Miss Distance Per Tester (Total/12)= 140.5 inches
:: Percentage of Accuracy Ideal Value (127.5/Average Miss Per Tester x 100)= 91%

2013-blade-contestants

 

Testing Photos-3

Why Looks No Longer Matter

Some of you might be saying, “Wait a second, where is the looks category, this only shows accuracy, the looks of a putter matter!”  But do looks really matter when testing or purchasing a putter?  Most of you would say yes and so would every other knowledgeable putter expert in the industry. Both you and the industry would be wrong. Looks do catch your eye in the shop, making you buy that putter. However, liking how a putter looks is not going to make you better on the green.

Conventional wisdom states that a golfer’s views regarding the looks of a putter can have a positive or a negative impact on putting performance (accuracy).  Just like with the Most Wanted Mallet Test, our data demonstrates that liking (or disliking) how a putter looks does not actually reflect how well one putts with that putter. Just like with the mallets, we had inaccurate putters that scored near the top for “Looks & Feel”, as well as some very accurate blades that the testers judged visually unappealing. I know that many of you still believe that liking the looks of your putter will make you feel confident and thus make more putts. You are welcome to go on believing that, but the data says otherwise.

“Golf’s Most Wanted!” –  The Results

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Not All Putters Are Created Equal

As you can see from the data, not all putters are created equal.

The results do show that the putter does influence the performance of the golfer.  The construction of some putters may make it more difficult for a player to put the ball into the cup, some have a moderate impact, and a select few can help any golfer to be more accurate, regardless of his or her skill level on the green.  Those putters are definitely the best of the class, and the best of the best represents the “Golf’s Most Wanted!” Blade Putter.

The “Golf’s Most Wanted!” Blade is a putter that is more accurate than its peers, and although, like with the mallet putters, the numbers were close, a putter did separate itself from the pack. The Nike Method Core MC01w was the most accurate of the mallets tested, the Machine M1A Adjuster finished in 2nd Place, just ahead of the Byron Morgan 006 that finished in 3rd Place.

The Winners

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The Nike Method Core MC01w putter is designed with tour weighting for optimal forgiveness, roll and accuracy. Polymetal Groove technology and a lower center of gravity team up for precision control on the green.

  • Lower and deeper center of gravity for a faster roll and more precise stroke
  • Mid-size Method Core grips for durability and enhanced control
  • Tour weighting for accuracy and more forgiveness
  • Multi-material insert and Polymetal Groove technology for a more consistent roll

Congratulations to Nike Golf!

Your Method Core MC01w is the 2013 MyGolfSpy “Golf’s Most Wanted” Blade!

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The M1A MACHINE Putters begin with proven, traditional designs, and are improved with precision CNC milling, our patent pending VMG face mill pattern, and significantly broadened with new hosel, fit and finish options to suit individual performance needs and tastes. From material choice of the head, to weight adjustability, to platings, coating, custom grinds and finishes, options in modular hosels, to alignment indicator options, the M1A model line gives you the options you need to make your perfect custom MACHINE putter.

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The Byron Morgan 006 is one-piece construction, milled from billet.  Its classic lines are easy to look at and line up.  Welded in sound slot gives a cool, custom look to the pocket and changes the sound of the ball off the face. The sound slot also removes 3-4 grams of weight from the center of the putter.

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The Data Doesn’t Lie, But What Does It Mean?

This test has given us a great deal of data to analyze and decode. Does a sight line make a putter more accurate? The difference in the Scotty Cameron ranking would suggest so, but then spots 2 and 3 are both line-less putters. Was it the neck? Could grip diameter be the tipping point? At this point we are still trying to decode the results. You can look at it this way. Many talented putter makers are out there putting out high quality putters, but how many of them test against others in the market like we have? My guess is very few. We have collected a bunch of data from the blade and the mallet tests this year, and we will get even more in the future years. It is likely just a matter of time until we can come up with some data supported claims regarding what characteristics will help a putter be more accurate for the majority of golfers. Stay tuned!

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

CONTESTANTS – “2013 GOLF’S MOST WANTED BLADE PUTTER”

CONTESTANTS – “2013 GOLF’S MOST WANTED BLADE PUTTER”

Post image for CONTESTANTS – “2013 GOLF’S MOST WANTED BLADE PUTTER”

Contestants, Sharpen Your Blades!

(written by: Dave Wolfe)

You have seen the Ultimate Fairway Wood.

You have rolled the Most Wanted Mallet Putter.

You have pounded Golf’s Most Wanted Driver

Today, I present to you 28 putters, from 15 of the top putter making companies, who are all vying for the coveted title of MyGolfSpy’s 2013 Golf’s Most Wanted Blade Putter.

Each putter enters the competition on even footing. Tour pedigree, research budget, or size of company grant no favors in this competition. We are not scoring looks. We are not scoring design. Here at MyGolfSpy, we only score what counts, and with putters, what counts is accuracy. To be the best, a putter must hit the hole more than its competitors. Period.

Testing Photos-4

:: The Head-to-Head Test

The Bettinardi Signature 6 was awarded the Most Wanted Mallet Putter of 2013 honor because it was the most accurate of the tested mallets. That accuracy was demonstrated, regardless of who wielded the putter. The Bettinardi Signature 6 gave a competitive edge to low and high handicap testers alike, scoring significantly better than the other mallets in the competition.

One of the blades that you see today will add its name to the 2013 Most Wanted roster. One of these blades will be more accurate than its peers, separating itself from the pack based upon data, not opinion. There is no eye of the beholder here. To win the title, the putter must perform, and perform in the hands of all the testers.

The “Most Wanted – Blade Putter” earns its accolades!

:: How We Tested

What do we really need a putter to do for us? Since the beginning of the game, golfers, fitters, experts etc. have equated an affinity for the looks of a putter with better putting.  But is this really true?  Is it actually supported by any data?  Well, after years of testing putters we poured through the actual numbers and discovered a shocking piece of information. Not to give anything away, but some of you out there who “know” that looks influence performance will be very surprised by our findings.

:: Accuracy Scoring

For the sake of consistency, all of our testers used the same ball, the Wilson Staff FG Tour 2014 prototype.  Blade accuracy was measured by having the testers roll five putts from three distances; five, ten, and twenty feet.  The distance from the closest edge of the cup was then recorded for each miss.  Because we know that missing a five-footer by two feet is not the same as missing a twenty-footer by two feet, the values were adjusted for distance as follows:

:: 5-Foot Score = Miss Distance (inches) x 2.0

:: 10-Foot Score = Miss Distance (inches) x 1.5

:: 20-Foot Score = No Adjustment

Once the values were adjusted for distance, the numbers were added together to generate a putter’s Total Accuracy Score.

Testing Photos-1

:: Example: Accuracy Scoring Protocol

PUTTER X Accuracy Scoring, Tester #1
:: 5-foot putts: (11″ miss distance  x adjustment of 2.0) = 22″ total miss distance?
:: 10-foot putts:
(16″ miss distance x adjustment of 1.5) = 24″ total miss distance?
:: 20-foot putts:
(120″ miss distance with no adjustment) = 120″ total miss distanceTotal Accuracy Score for Tester #1 with PUTTER X would be =  166″ inches (total miss distance)

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:: The Contestants

We sent emails to putter companies inviting them to submit their best blade putter for our testing.  From those inquiries, I bring you the following twenty-eight competitors.  Some of you will ask Where is ___________? or What about _________? Let’s just say that many were contacted, and not all chose to participate. If you are not seeing your favorite brand represented, let them know, via email or twitter, that you would like to see them in our next competition. Here are the entrants in alphabetical order by company:

Bettinardi BB1

Bettinardi BB1-1

Bettinardi BB1-2
Bettinardi BB1-4
Bettinardi BB1-3
Bettinardi BB1-5

Bettinardi Signature 5

Bettinardi Sig5-1

Bettinardi Sig5-2
Bettinardi Sig5-4
Bettinardi Sig5-3
Bettinardi Sig5-5

Bettinardi Studio Stock 14

Bettinardi SS14-4

Bettinardi SS14-5
Bettinardi SS14-2
Bettinardi SS14-3
Bettinardi SS14-1

Boccieri Golf Heavy Putter EL Q2-M

Heavy Putter 1

Heavy Putter 2
Heavy Putter 4
Heavy Putter 3
Heavy Putter 5

Scotty Cameron Select Newport

Scotty Cameron NP-1

Scotty Cameron NP-2
Scotty Cameron NP-4
Scotty Cameron NP-3
Scotty Cameron NP-5

Scotty Cameron Newport 2

Scotty NP2-1

Scotty Cameron NP2-5
Scotty Cameron NP2-1
Scotty Cameron NP2-3
Scotty Cameron NP2-2

Gauge Design Classic 2013

Gauge Design Classic-1

Gauge Design Classic-2
Gauge Design Classic-3
Gauge Design Classic-5
Gauge Design Classic-4

Gauge Design G2 Devon Cu

Gauge Design G2 CS-2

Gauge Design G2 CS-1
Gauge Design G2 CS-4
Gauge Design G2 CS-3
Gauge Design G2 CS-5

Gauge Design iL Tatto

Gauge Design il Tato-1

Gauge Design il Tato-2
Gauge Design il Tato-3
Gauge Design il Tato-5
Gauge Design il Tato-4

Machine M1A Adjuster

Machine Adjuster-2

Machine Adjuster-1
Machine Adjuster-5
Machine Adjuster-3
Machine Adjuster-4

Byron Morgan 006

Byron Morgan 006-1

Byron Morgan 006-2
Byron Morgan 006-3
Byron Morgan 006-5
Byron Morgan 006-4

Nike Method Core MC01w

Nike Method Core MC01-2

Nike Method Core MC01-3
Nike Method Core MC01-5
Nike Method Core MC01-1
Nike Method Core MC01-4

Nike Method Core MC02w

Nike Method Core MC02-1

Nike Method Core MC02-2
Nike Method Core MC02-3
Nike Method Core MC02-5
Nike Method Core MC02-4

Nike Method Midnight 006

Nike Method Midnight 006-1

Nike Method Midnight 006-4
Nike Method Midnight 006-2
Nike Method Midnight 006-3
Nike Method Midnight 006-5

Odyssey ProType iX 1

Odyssey iX 1

Odyssey iX 4
Odyssey iX 3
Odyssey iX 2
Odyssey iX 5

Odyssey Tank #1

Odyssey Tank1-1

Odyssey Tank1-5
Odyssey Tank1-2
Odyssey Tank1-4
Odyssey Tank1-3

Odyssey Versa #2 Black

Odyssey Versa 2 2

Odyssey Versa 2 1
Odyssey Versa 2 4
Odyssey Versa 2 3
Odyssey Versa 2 5

Ping Scottsdale TR Anser 2

Ping Scottsdale Anser2-4

Ping Scottsdale Anser2-5
Ping Scottsdale Anser2-2
Ping Scottsdale Anser2-1
Ping Scottsdale Anser2-3

Ping Scottsdale TR Tatum

Ping Scottsdale Tatum-1

Ping Scottsdale Tatum-2
Ping Scottsdale Tatum-3
Ping Scottsdale Tatum-5
Ping Scottsdale Tatum-4

Ping Scottsdale TR ZB

Ping Scottsdale ZB-1

Ping Scottsdale ZB-2
Ping Scottsdale ZB-4
Ping Scottsdale ZB-3
Ping Scottsdale ZB-5

Radius Roll High Five

Radius Roll High Tide-5

Radius Roll High Tide-4
Radius Roll High Tide-2
Radius Roll High Tide-1
Radius Roll High Tide-3

Rife Hero

Rife Hero4

Rife Hero5
Rife Hero1
Rife Hero3
Rife Hero2

Rife Iconic Z

Rife IconicZ-4

Rife IconicZ-3
Rife IconicZ-2
Rife IconicZ-5
Rife IconicZ-1

Seemore PTM1 Platinum

SeeMore FGP-1

SeeMore FGP-2
SeeMore FGP-4
SeeMore FGP-3
SeeMore FGP-5

STX Pitch Black 1

STX PitchBlack1-3

STX PitchBlack1-4
STX PitchBlack1-5
STX PitchBlack1-2
STX PitchBlack1-1

STX xForm 1

STX xForm1-2

STX xForm1-3
STX xForm1-4
STX xForm1-1
STX xForm1-5

TaylorMade Spider Blade Slant

TaylorMade Spider Blade-1

TaylorMade Spider Blade-2
TaylorMade Spider Blade-5
TaylorMade Spider Blade-3
TaylorMade Spider Blade-4

Tour Edge Exotics DG-v1.2

Tour Edge DG Proto-1

Tour Edge DG Proto-2
Tour Edge DG Proto-5
Tour Edge DG Proto-4
Tour Edge DG Proto-3

Ready, Set, Roll!

There are the twenty-eight contestants, fighting for the title of MyGolfSpy’s Most Wanted Blade Putter. Head-to-head. Accuracy is king. Tune in tomorrow to see what putter crushes the competition and takes home the title!

You have had a chance to make a prediction about the winner based solely upon the company name. Now that you have seen all of the contenders, are you sticking to that prediction? Do you have a new favorite that you believe will rise above the competition? Leave a comment below and let everyone know which putter you are backing!

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

The Mountain Course at Bear Mountain Resort – Victoria, BC Canada

The Mountain Course at Bear Mountain Resort – Victoria, BC Canada

Post image for The Mountain Course at Bear Mountain Resort – Victoria, BC Canada

The MBP’s meet the Golden Bear.

Written By: Dan Mann

I hear it all the time… Course reviews are great but you live in a little corner of Canada that no one really pays much attention to. Well I’ve traveled, played some of the best, stayed at top five star resorts and let me tell you I easily live in one of North America’s best spots for golf. So you know what? Pay attention.

One of these great spots in my home of British Columbia is Vancouver Island, located about an hour ferry from Vancouver. Now to say Vancouver Island is beautiful would be an understatement; to say it has good golf, would be a slap in the face. The fact of the matter is that Vancouver Island is not only a visually stunning place to visit, it’s also home to some of Western Canada’s best golf period.

Recently, my beautiful wife Nidine & I were invited to spend a day at the Nicklaus designed and much heralded, Bear Mountain Resort.  Who am I to turn down an invite to experience The Mountain Course, home to the 2010 Canadian Skins featuring the likes of Couples, Goosen, Poulter, Weir and Villegas.

So with the following quote from Mr. Nicklaus himself in mind, let’s see what The Mountain course has to offer.

“I think some of the holes out there are just unbelievably fantastic… there are 18 signature holes.” – Jack Nicklaus

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Now before we go any further you may want to familiarize yourself with the MyGolfSpyCourse Review Criteria

The Review

Co-designed by Jack & Steve Nicklaus, the Mountain Course at Bear Mountain is 7089 yards from the tips set in the foothills of Mount Finlayson.

Slope & Ratings:

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Course Conditions

The Mountain Course at Bear Mountain is green where it needs to be and after a recent heat wave of roughly forty straight days of sun the greens crew should be commended. I will say though I found the overall presentation to be a little rough around the edges. Now perhaps this was a result of the heavy rain over the last day, or just part of the whole roughed in mountain course style; I just didn’t feel the entire package came off as tight as it could be. At times things were a little patchy fairway wise or a tee box that could use a little more seeding love.

However, there are a lot of elements in play here I love about a quality course. The tee boxes are flat, the greens rolled consistently smooth and I never received a bad lie in a fairway. Yes, there are some faults but really The Mountain is far better than most courses out there.

Score: 9/10

 

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Beauty/Scenery

The running joke with Nidine and I after leaving is we probably saw more deer in 18 holes at Bear then we’d seen in our entire lives combined. Seriously though, we must have seen fifteen that day. So if you’re into wildlife this place is National fricken Geographic.

To cap it off Bear Mountain gives us a 19th hole. Yes, you read that right, a 19th hole that is set on the edge of the mountain with a view of the city of Victoria below, which looks across some ocean, to stunning views of Northern Washington`s Olympic Mountains.  So, it’s got that going for it.

You would think all this plus being cut into a mountainside and other various valley views is enough to get this course a perfect score, but alas you would be wrong. Bear Mountain is not immune to the occasional house, condos, power lines and some pre-construction areas. Of course most of these are a necessary evil when it comes to resorts, but doesn’t quite put it in the once in a lifetime class of properties. Trust me though, these are things you won`t be paying much attention too during your round.

Score: 9/10

 

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* Chatting with Cheryl and Jordan as swooning MBP fans look on

Customer Service/Guest Experience

We were lucky enough to have hosts for our visit in the form of Westin Marketing Manager Cheryl Bushby and Director of Golf Jordan Ray. Of course you’re all thinking those two are just there to grease my palm and ensure they score 100 on this review. Well did they score 100?

What I did get was a guided tour of all things Bear Mountain has to offer by two really cool people, who take pride in their business they work for. You want to read a good review then I’ll need to gather all the information I can from the best people possible.

And when you have people this professional at the top, you can see there’s an obvious trickle-down effect going around Bear Mountain. You really do get first rate service from everyone starting with the club valet, to the snack shop girl and the young guy cleaning your clubs after the round. Seriously though, most people just see me coming and tell me to get lost. This wasn’t exclusive to us either, just a look around and you could tell this treatment applies to anyone and everyone who pulls in here.

Score: 10/10

 

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Amenities

Resort courses should be held to a certain standard, if you’re charging us for luxury then one would expect a certain level of pampering and amenities. Bear Mountain really steps up in this category and I was more than impressed. It starts right at arrival where you’re greeted by a club valet who takes your bag and ensures they’re on your cart and ready to go come golf time.

On the course side everything is first class. The cart girl visited often with a fully stocked selection and there’s a really good snack shack after nine. The power carts are solid and clean with one of the better GPS systems I’ve come across to date.

The clubhouse and pro shop share the same west coast styled building as the Westin Hotel which adds to the overall grandness of things. The pro shop feels very high end and I couldn’t keep track of all the brands that were in there.

You won’t go hungry here either. From The Masters lounge overlooking 18 to Jack’s Place Pub, the Bear offers a variety of dining environments and cuisines.  Nidine will note that she had some of the best Sushi she’s eaten at Jack’s.

Oh, and did I mention there’s a hotel with spa? It’s a Westin and it’s pretty fancy. For you trivia fans out there it’s hosted the TV series The Bachelor and I can only assume the looks I got when I walked in the lobby were assumptions I was there to shoot Season 2.

Score: 10/10

 

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Practice Facilities

Let’s keep this section short, but sweet. There’s a full size grass tee range with decent targets, a great short game facility and no shortage of putting greens throughout. There’s even a putting green next to the first tee which is not exactly situated near the clubhouse. Plain & simple: facilities aren’t the best ever and the conditions not truly perfect, but they still won’t leave one exactly wanting more.

Score: 8.5/10

 

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Accessibility to All Skill Levels

Golfing with Nidine is really an advantage when it comes to judging a courses overall accessibility to everyone. While she`s not ripping it up score wise yet she knows her way around; at no time did she complain about length or difficulty from up front. With the Mountain Course offering golfers five sets of tees from 7089 yards at the tips to 4814 at its shortest, no one in your group should have any problems getting around this place.

Score: 10/10

 

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Difficulty

Look… It’s got really tall trees, some pretty big elevation changes (you know, because of the whole mountain side thing), a ton of deep bunkers, water, fescue and fairly large undulated greens.  So, needless to say there’s enough trouble to make this course play really hard. Oh, uhh… Did I mention the slope rating from the tips is 152? Yah…

But, let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment and look at it from the other side of things too. As a resort course the fairways at times can be fairly forgiving width wise and the greens are really not that fast or overly difficult to read. So on a whole with some solid ball striking and smart gameplay one could traverse these slopes without pulling all their hair out.

Well what does this all add up to? We’re not all pros and don’t always put the ball in the fairway. With all The Mountain has going on out here, it’s not going to be easy at the end of the day to post a round that reflects your handicap.

Score: 9/10

 

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Variety

Right off the bat I only have one very minor complaint variety wise and that is I felt the two par 3`s on the front played as roughly the same shot uphill. Overall, the Nicklaus`s have done a great job of utilizing the natural terrain and integrating it into many of the shots out here. There`s no shortage of elevation changes, sloped fairways or forced carries. On one hole you can be faced with evading outcropping natural rock formations and the next just a big old ravine. All this constantly plays into your thought process of where you want to land the ball to take best advantage of your next shot.

Score: 9.5/10

 

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Value

Just ask my wife and she’ll tell ya I’m cheap. I prefer thrifty, but we’re really splitting hairs here. So if you were to ask me to spend more than a hundred dollars on a round of golf I’d better be playing one of the best out there. So with that said and Bear’s $129 (weekday – weekends can run up to $149) green fee including cart in question I’m going to hand this one off to NIdine this time.

“You get the full Resort experience, anywhere you can pull up to the door not in a high end vehicle and feel like you’re special then it’s worth it. I wouldn’t pay it every day, but if you want the true West Coast experience then this is it. If you’re a visitor coming to BC, more specifically the Victoria area then this is a must play.” – Nidine Mann

I’m torn… ‘cause I’m still cheap. But, let’s consider everything you get for that price compared to other resorts worldwide and Bear Mountain is actually a really good value.

It would be unfair though not to point out some of the offers Bear Mountain has in place to subsidize some of the rising peak hour costs to play our game. Island residents can play for $89, foursomes are offered a $320 group rate with $20 food credit and if it’s your birthday, you my friend can play for free.

Score: 9.5/10

 

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Memorability

Jack said it best in his quote to start this all off and I will reiterate: “there are 18 signature holes”. Although I complained about those two kinda similar par 3’s, there’s really nothing else about the golf experience that could be categorized as forgettable. Obviously, Bear Mountain takes advantage of being blessed with BC’s natural landscape making this a very memorable property. I’ll say it now, I can’t wait to get back out here and tackle all these holes over again and correct the mistakes I made the first time.

Score: 9.5/10

 

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Conclusion

Ok well then, if you’ve paid attention two things should be very clear by now; One: Canada’s West Coast is very beautiful; Two: this Course is a big part of it. If you haven’t already figured out I like this place, I like it a lot and I’m very fortunate to have it sitting in my own coastal backyard. This course is tough, fun, friendly and full of amazing scenery. If you are planning on visiting South Vancouver Island & playing some golf then Bear Mountain and more specifically The Mountain course should be at the top of your must play list.

Total Score: 94/100

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VISIT WEBSITE: The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa

 

Bonus Coverage

Not quite fitting into any specific area of the review I really must tell you about a great charitable program Bear Mountain has in place. I’ll let their own press release do the talking from here.

Jeans To Greens…Everyday on The Mountain!

Every day is Jeans Day when golfing at Bear Mountain. Jordan Ray, Director of Golf Operations for the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa announced today that for a $5-dollar donation to Children’s Hospital, golfers are permitted to tee off in jeans until December 31, 2013 on both Nicklaus-Design courses.

“Dress code can be tricky,” explained Ray. “Particularly when we are still experiencing declining golf participation numbers in Canada and the US, turning people away who want to golf in their jeans is an uncomfortable challenge. We are a blended golf operation up at Bear Mountain meaning that we have golf members, hotel guests, and we are open to the public. We absolutely want to encourage new golfers – either new to the sport or new to Bear Mountain – while respecting the traditions of golf that many of our our members and hotel guests expect. Creating an opportunity to welcome golfers every day who are seeking a more relaxed atmosphere by supporting the amazing and critical work undertaken every day at Children’s Hospital is a fabulous compromise,” said Ray. “And it has been very well received.”

Ray estimates that at golf courses across the country, thousands of golfers are denied the opportunity to play due to the enforcement of dress codes that exclude jeans. “Like it or not – jeans have become a mainstay part of a professional wardrobe for many people – particularly on the west coast. Now at Bear Mountain, you can wear your jeans on the greens.” Ray and his staff look forward to welcoming everyone who wishes to play in their lucky denims to Bear Mountain where the Nicklaus-Design Mountain and Valley courses were recently voted the two top public courses to play on Vancouver Island by SCOREGolf Magazine.

We could not be happier to be part of a year round Jeans to Greens celebration at the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa,” said Debbie Preston at BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Jordan and Andrea Ray are fabulous supporters of Children’s Hospital as their beautiful son underwent a successful Carniotomy (cranial neuro surgery and plastic surgery) several years ago. They know well the important medical care and emotional support that is delivered every day to British Columbia’s sick children and their families. For Jordan, this Jeans to Greens relationship is a genuine and heartfelt opportunity. We at the Foundation thank him and all the golfers who wish to participate year round.”

Bear mountain gallery

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