TaylorMade Custom Halloween Daddy Longlegs Putter
TaylorMade has a contest to win one.
TaylorMade Custom Halloween Daddy Longlegs Putter
TaylorMade has a contest to win one.
Club Report: Nike Method Modern Classic Putters
By Dave Wolfe
When I first read the release for the new Nike Modern Classics putter line, my initial response was “OK, here it comes”. Without even looking at the photos, I knew that the mere concept of the Modern Classics line was going to rub some of people the wrong way.
I could see the flame war on the horizon, stoked endlessly by members of the “that’s just a copy of ________” clan. As unpleasant as I find those debates, this time I thought that the naysayers could have a point. How could Nike’s new putter line strategy be based upon the copying of old putter designs? Granted, this has gone on for a while in the industry.
You’ve likely read through threads about, or even chimed in on the Anser vs. Newport debate. I guess that the real question is why would Nike so blatantly call attention to the fact that they are just rolling out copies of old putter designs?
Simply put, it’s because the new Nike Method Modern Classics are not just copies of old putters.
Think of it this way. Not too long ago, Dodge released new, modern versions of their 70′s muscle cars, and they have been a big hit. Many can justifiably argue that the old 70′s Challenger has the nostalgia and character that the new version can’t touch. However, one could also point out numerous features in the modern Challenger that are improvements on the original.
Call me crazy, but I like airbags.
Regardless, I think that Dodge did a great job of keeping the parts of the original challenger that made it a classic, while inserting modern elements that just flat out made it a better car than its predecessor.
That’s Nike’s plan for the Modern Classics; keep the tasty flavors of the originals, while incorporating current era ingredients.
“We were able to take a range of classic designs and make them perform like modern putters. We incorporated Polymetal Groove technology, which allows athletes to lift the ball, launch it and turn it forward as quickly as possible for a truer roll. We removed weight from the center, placing it in the heel and toe instead for a lower and deeper center of gravity. It’s Nike’s interpretation on classic, familiar shapes.”
David Franklin, NikeGolf Master Modelmaker
I think that one of the interesting things about designing the Nike Modern Classics line would have come early on when they were selecting the classic putter models. If you were going to label only four putters as classic, which ones would you select? Ping Anser, check. John Reuter Jr. Bullseye, check. Zebra mallet, maybe. TP Mills Spaulding 14/Odyssey #9, OK. I’m not sure I’d gone with the Zebra over the Rossi as the classic mallet, and it feels like there should be a Wilson 8802 in there somewhere. Regardless, these are definitely in the classic category, even if they would not be picked in every golfer’s top four.
So did Nike really pick classic designs? Yes they did.
Let’s take a look at the modern components that Nike has incorporated into the Modern Classics line.
Polymetal Groove Technology
Nike’s Polymetal Groove Technology has been around for a while now and I dare say that Polymetal Groove technology is a classic component of Nike putters. The Modern Classic line parallels the premium Nike Method line, as opposed to the less expensive, yet excellent (i.e. Most Wanted Blade Winning) Nike Method Core line that features the red insert along with the Polymetal Grooves. Unofficial studies (i.e. watching people putt) leads me to the conclusion that the grooves really do put a crisp roll on the ball; one without much skid, hop, or pop. When Nike unveiled the Method line, they had some great slow motion capture videos of the way the grooves work. The ball just came off rolling.
Heel and Toe Weights
Weights have been an integral part of the Nike Method line since its first incarnation. Replacing metal with polymer created a weight loss issue that Nike rectified by incorporating tungsten weights into the heads. Weighting took a different form in last year’s Core Weighted line, with the inclusion of weights that screwed into the sole of those putters. While these weights were not intended to be adjusted by the consumer, they did allow for the fine tuning of head weight. The Method Modern Classic line incorporates the Core Weighted weight scheme rather than the tungsten ones of their predecessors.
I assume that this gives the designers, and maybe fitters, more control over swing weight through the versatility of the swappable rather than permanent weight. They don’t come with additional weights like we saw with Odyssey’s ProType iX line this year, but that option seems like a natural inclusion down the road. Fingers crossed.
It’s not included in the Nike press release, but I think that the advances in machining since the first incarnations of these putters is worth mentioning. I would be proud to own one of the original Ping Ansers that Karsten Solheim rolled out of his workshop back in the 60′s. It would be such a cool piece of history, but it would not likely be constructed with the same precision of the modern CNC milled putter. The precision of Computer Numerical Controlled Milling just was not obtainable at that time. Don’t for a second that I don’t appreciate the human touch in my putters, I absolutely do, especially in customs. But if you are going to make a production line of putters to sell worldwide, having tight computer controlled tolerances represents an huge modern advantage over the classic methodologies.
I was not prepared for the prevalence of high-toe design in the Modern Classic line. It’s not mentioned on the product pages, and I didn’t pick up on it in the press release photos. I love box-opening surprises, and I definitely got one when I popped open the Nike package. All four of the models have high toes, even the MOD 00 mallet. I love the way that the high toe looks in profile, and also at address. The curvature of the putters’ soles are still within the traditional geometries, but there is no denying that exaggerated top line curvature. It’s curious that Nike doesn’t mention the ideas behind this design in any of the literature on the putters. There must be some Method to their high-toe madness.
Simple Fitting System
One of the purposes of these Club Report articles is to give you an idea about which putter or putters in the line would fit your stroke. Odyssey did a real service to the consumer when they went to their eyeFit Mirror System. The Nike Modern Classics line continues this consumer friendly fitting trend by offering four models with progressive toe hang with the names of the putter based on that design feature.
As Much as I love the looks of a Wilson 8802, I don’t really know what those numbers mean in terms of the putter. With the Nike MOD 30, I know that the head has a 30° toe hang and should fit a slight-arc putting stroke. Do you have a shallower arc or SBST stroke? Then go with the MOD 00 (0°). Deeper arcs can be served by the deeper hang (60°) on the MOD 60 and the toe down (90°) MOD 90. It’s a simple fitting system that should help golfers to correctly grab the right putter off of the rack.
When you check out the following model specific photos, I am sure that you will see that Nike has not just rolled out old designs, banking on previous innovations to sell their putters. Instead, these putters really do represent modern updates to classic designs and they are loaded with lines, designs, and style elements that are all fresh creations from The Oven. As you look at the following photos, keep an old vs. new tally in your head and I bet tally will have quite a bit of new when you are finished.
Toe Hang: Face Balanced (0°)
Stroke Fit: Straight Back Straight Through
Toe Hang: 30°
Stroke Fit: Slight Arc
Toe Hang: 60°
Stroke Fit: Strong Arc
Toe Hang: 90°
Stroke Fit: Strong Arc
A discussion of feel is included in every putter review we put up here at MyGolfSpy, but many will argue that feel is in fact subjective. While I agree to some extent with feel’s subjectivity, I also believe that there is a serious difference between a soft feeling and a firm feeling putter.
The Nike Method Modern Classics line gives you a great chance to create a “feel” reference scale, and also to learn a bit about how a putter’s construction plays into feel.
All of the Method MOD putters are made from the same 303 stainless and polymetal materials, but the model-to-model feel is very different. When these hit your local shop, take the MOD 30 and the MOD 90 out to demo on the practice green. In close (sub-10′), they feel a bit different, but it’s not a huge difference. Now go and roll 30 footers. From distance, there is a HUGE difference in feel, with the MOD 90 being the quintessential representative for a firm feeling putter.
Even with the polymetal grooves, the MOD 90 has a whole bunch of thick metal behind the face, significantly so when compared to the MOD 30. The MOD 30 gives you a soft pop from distance, the softness created by the large cavity behind the sweet spot. The MOD 90 has no such cavity, and it’s sound and feel from distance reminds me more the impact feel of a well struck iron than a putter. Go try this out on your own. You will be amazed.
Nike could have easily marketed this line without ever calling attention to the fact that these are all based upon classic putter designs. Golfers are used to seeing companies covertly borrow successful designs and ideas. Examples of this abound.
Instead, Nike has overtly stated that these are classic designs that we are modernizing them, i.e. making them better. It’s a bold move that will bring much more scrutiny to the line than if they had called the putters something else. Having spent some time with these putters, I think that the boldness of Nike’s marketing may be a masterstroke. But it could be a risky venture.
Many of us remember the ultimate vice presidential debate burn when Lloyd Bentsen said to Dan Quayle “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy”. The key there was that Quayle, of course, was no Kennedy, and his previous suggestion that they were similar was insane. Nike has opened themselves to similar criticism by calling these Modern Classics, but this will not bite them like it did Quayle. What if Dan Quayle actually had been like JFK? In that case, comparing himself to that classic statesman would have been a political masterstroke rather than mistake.
Nike Golf is no Dan Quayle. They knew what they were doing by calling these putters Modern Classics. Golfers and other putter companies should be very aware of what Nike is bringing to market in 2014. I don’t know if these will be the new benchmarks for the classic designs, but I do know that the Nike Method Modern Classics are damn fine putters.
The Scariest Hole I’ve Played …
In a Halloween mood, I’ve been thinking about the “scariest” golf hole I’ve played … and the…
PGA Golf Lesson: Scoring Zone (Chipping & Pitching Tips) – May 2013
https://www.youtube.com/user/PGAGOLFACADEMY Becoming a more confident player in the golf scoring zone is an easy way to knock strokes off your score, which m…
Video Rating: 4 / 5
Titleist Brand Survey – The Results
Last week we asked you to provide your feedback on Titleist as a brand. I think it’s reasonable to assume that we all (myself included) have a tendency to believe that the majority of people see things the way we do, so we thought it was important to learn what you really think.
These brand surveys (this is the first) will provide all of us with a better understanding of how the larger community of golfers views the various golf companies and the their products.
It’s probably fair to say that from my perspective as golf media guy, Titleist hasn’t always been the easiest to work with. They’re not as progressive as some, tighter with product than others, and haven’t always been the best communicators.
Equally as fair a statement is that over the last year or so things have changed (from my perspective, I’d call it improved). Titleist has been more responsive, and far easier to work with. From my narrow media perspective, they have progressed.
From the consumer perspective they’ve stepped up their Social Media efforts, hired some interesting new talent (James Patrick Harrington), and have continued to do what they do best; make quality equipment that always remains true the Titleist tradition, and seemingly never fails to appeal to a certain segment of the golfing population.
You can bet that every time we publish one of these surveys, we do so with our own expectations of how the results will shake out. Some of the responses we got were basically exactly what I expected. That said, I’d be lying if I told you that some of my perceptions of how others see Titleist have proven to be almost total misconceptions…at least compared to how the majority of you view the company.
The data we share comes directly from our survey results. It’s what you told us. We’re about to show you what your fellow golfers think about the Titleist brand, and because that’s just the kind of thing we do, we’re going to draw our own conclusions about what it means in terms of the outlook for Titleist.
The answers to this question were largely as we expected. We had a reasonable belief that most of you associate the Titleist brand with things like quality and performance. In fact a full 38% of you chose Quality as the single most positive differentiator for the Titleist brand.
If there’s a negative in all of this it’s that less than 1% of you chose innovation. Of course, the results could simply mean that when you think Titleist you think of quality before innovation, but not necessarily to the exclusion of it.
That Other line…those who wrote in chose positive terms like “tradition“, “reputation“, and “history“, while those who chose to express a less positive opinion of the brand chose words like “boring“, “arrogance“, “elitism“, and “nothing“.
As with the first question, the top tier results aren’t particularly surprising, and most certainly have to be viewed as a positive for the brand.
68.49% of you chose listed Professional, while another 61.83% selected Quality among your choices.
Once again, the lack of perceived Innovation (less than 12% of you made that association) could be viewed as a negative.
In happier news, negative words like Uninspired, Stale, Irrelevant, and Junk were largely ignored by our survey takers.
These results could be cause for concern at Titleist. Despite the fact that the majority of you quite clearly hold the brand in high regard (Quality, Professional, etc.), less than 50% of you have so much as a single Titleist club in your bag.
The clubs that you do carry (Wedges – 35.38%, and Putter – 24.29%) are perhaps more associated with their designers (Vokey and Cameron) than the company itself. They are more driven by the individual than the brand.
The driver number (22.95%) is probably comfortable, but it goes without saying that Titleist would prefer everything be higher.
Here’s the real positive. Less than 13% of your opinions towards Titleist have changed for the negative in the last 3 years. Better news for Titleist yet, while a slight majority (51.31%) have maintained consistent opinions, those of you whose opinions have changed for the positive (35.88%) greatly outnumber those sliding towards the negative.
Another real positive for Titleist. The majority of you believe their products are manufactured to tight tolerances, and you believe that as a brand they honor the traditions of the game.
The potential cause for concern here is the fact that so many of you (48.88%) believe that Titleist products target a narrow range of golfers. While Titleist has certainly built a reputation as a brand for the elite player, ultimately that perception could be hurting their bottom line.
Is the belief that their products aren’t for everyone (middle to high handicap golfers) the reason why less than 50% of you actually carry Titleist products?
There’s nothing here not to like if you’re Titleist (again). A majority of our survey takers (51.54%) view Titleist as a leader, while a healthy percentage of you (42.31%) believe Titleist is unconcerned about what others in the industry are doing.
In my opinion, unconcerned is probably the most accurate. If I’m Titleist, what I really love is that only 6.14% view me as a follower.
We asked you to compare Titleist’s equipment to its competitor’s, and frankly the results are a little puzzling. In every category, you told us that Titleist clubs are better than the competition’s. In fact, if we aggregate Far Superior and Slightly Better, we get this:
Once again, I ask: If the majority of you think very highly of Titleist products, why don’t you have more of them in your bag?
The ball number is astounding. 62.52% of you believe the Titleist ball (presumably the Pro V1) is Far Superior to everything else on the market. When we isolate the younger demographic (30 years and younger), that number actually climbs to almost 70%.
Let me point something out: 60% of you believe that Titleist makes a Far Superior golf ball, yet only 14.72% of you associated the Titleist brand with the word “Marketing“.
Guys…that’s a huge disconnect from reality on both ends. Even if we all believe that Titleist makes the best ball in golf, the leap to Far Superior is a huge one, and there’s no way you get otherwise intelligent golfers to make it without being heavily invested in marketing that proposition.
Green is good on this slide, and for Titleist there is plenty of it. Only for value did the negatives outpace the positives – and that’s reasonable given Titleist’s above average price point and their tendency to maintain it.
There are always less expensive options.
Once again, innovation raises a red flag. While the majority of you do rank Titleist above average for innovation, 31.44% of view Titleist as below average for innovation while another 8.72% believe Titleist is significantly behind on the innovation front.
More good news for Titleist. While Stagnant (36.15%) isn’t ideal, having a a majority (48.88%) believe you’re moving forward is definitely a positive. Toss in another 9.1% percent for improving rapidly, and it’s basically all good.
73.8% of you believe Titleist products are above average. Another 19.66% told us that Titleist makes the best products in all of golf.
So here we go again…93.46% of you have, to one degree or another, a warm and fuzzy feeling towards Titleist products, but less than half of you have so much as a single Titleist club in the bag.
Do you have a greater affinity for the golf ball? Where is the disconnect?
There’s no denying that it’s a new world. Social Media is almost certainly here to stay, and it’s most certainly become a part of nearly every golf company’s Social Media strategy. Some are absolutely killing it, some are being killed by it, but almost everybody is trying.
So how is Titleist doing with Social Media, and to what degree is their Social Media influencing your decisions at the register?
Here’s what you told us.
I see these results as generally negative for Titleist. Yes…55.08% of golfers who follow other golf companies on Social Media follow Titleist.
55% is a solid number. Of course, it also means that 44.92% of golfers who follow other golf companies on Social Media are not following Titleist.
44.92% is a huge number too, and one Titleist must certainly want to see decrease.
Why aren’t more golfers following Titleist? It turns out, most of them (38.76%) didn’t know Titleist was on Social Media. That’s bad. If golfers are finding your competitors, and not finding you, it’s really bad.
Other big numbers 22.62% (not relevant) and 20.28% (not a fan of Titleist) are to be expected.
As a guy who follows every golf company on the planet (or so it seems), my personal evaluation is that Titleist is significantly less engaged than its competitors. Only 8.43% agree with me, so that’s a plus for Titleist, I suppose.
To me, engagement is all about interaction, and Titleist simply doesn’t do it.
Quite frankly, for those of you who find Titleist much more engaged (10.37%) than others, I’d suggest you’re following the wrong others.
The bulk of you (32.08%) find Titleist to be slightly more engaged, while 28.38% find Titleist slightly less engaging.
The results of these question and the one that follows beg for two additional questions:
Is Titleist simply not doing Social Media well? Or..Is Social Media just a giant waste of everybody’s time?
A staggering 75.73% of you said that Social Media had no influence over how you perceive the Titleist brand.
On a more positive note, 17.44% report that Titleist’s Social Media efforts have improved your perceptions of the brand, while less than 3% feel the efforts have diminished perceptions.
Here’s your headline: 80.37% of Titleist follows say Social Media effort has not influenced their purchasing decision.
Now it’s possible you have been influenced and you just don’t realize it. Failing that, please refer to the two questions under the previous chart and get back to me.
Once again, a few of you (16.65%) report that Titleist’s Social Media efforts have made you more likely to buy Titleist products, but seriously…80.37% no impact.
It makes one wonder…
Once again, I just don’t see it, but I’m in the minority (albeit only a slight minority). I can give you a handful of mid to large sized golf companies who I think are doing a better job at Social Media than Titleist.
Quite frankly, I think below average is a fair evaluation.
I’m also inclined to believe that No Opinion isn’t good for business ever. Indifference is almost never good for business.
On a more positive note 29.18% of you believe Titleist’s efforts are above average, while another 2.44% of you might actually believe Titleist Social Media is the best in golf.
You want to know the most astonishing thing about these survey results?
In a word, consistency.
I presumed that as we sorted the data by age and handicap we’d see a fundamental shift. Older more accomplished golfers would account for the positive feedback, while younger and/or higher handicap players would have a slightly more negative view of the brand.
That’s not reality. While the bars may shift by a few percentage points here or there, the general sentiment towards the brand remains constant. Golfers of all ages and ability levels associate the same words, with almost identical frequency – and those words are overwhelmingly positive.
The one interesting shift is that while older golfers, and the majority of you as a whole, see Titleist primarily as an industry leader, the younger demographic largely views them as unconcerned about the rest of the industry.
Either way, it’s a plus for Titleist.
There is no age range, income level, or handicap group that views Titleist as a follower.
What we don’t know is how you view Titleist compared to other brands. We’ll learn a whole lot more as we release more brand surveys.
For now, it’s hard to look at the results and conclude anything other than this:
A substantive majority of golfers hold the Titleist brand in high regard and generally view it favorably versus its competitors.
What do you make of what your fellow golfers told us about Titleist? We want to know what you think about the results. What makes sense, and what completely blows your mind?
EA, Tiger Part Ways
Electronic Arts is not renewing its contract with Tiger Woods for the production of future “Tiger Woods PGA TOUR” video games. Over the fifteen years of the arrangement, EA had…
Leslie Park Golf Course and The Traver Creek Restoration
Ann Arbor’s Leslie Park Golf Course has undergone some quality updates recently related to the Traver Creek restoration. Here’s a nice blog post
First Look – 2014 Cobra BiO Cell (Woods and Irons)
You’ve seen their new Tour Trusty wedges. You’ve seen the super game-improvement Baffler XL series, and yeah, some of you have seen some of Cobra’s New BiO Cell Lineup as well. While we’re still a couple weeks away from the Official release, somebody (I swear it wasn’t us) took the liberty of posting the entire 2014 Cobra catalog online.
For Cobra the early leak a bit of a gasoline enema; an uncomfortable surprise as they gear up for the official launch of what I can tell you is a pretty big (and important release for them). Last year was a bit of a proof on concept for Cobra. While white worked (for TaylorMade anyway), for a company the size of Cobra, releasing an entire flagship line with red, blue, silver, and orange crowns (while not offering traditional black), was definitely a bit of a gamble.
While I’m not going to lie and tell you that Cobra was a dominating force at retail, the AMP Cell sold reasonably well, and more importantly, what I saw anyway, was that golfers off all ages were receptive to Cobra’s unique take on aesthetics.
The goal for Cobra golf in 2014 is to build on whatever momentum carries over from 2013, and to further convince golfers that the cool stuff they make really does work. The team at Cobra is anything but delusional. They know that competing with TaylorMade, and Titleist, and Callaway isn’t as simple as painting a driver blue, but the Cobra team strongly believes that if they can be part of the discussion…if theirs is one of the 3 drivers you take with you into the hitting bay…if golfers are willing to give their products a serious look, Cobra believes they’re going to win more often than they loose.
BiO Cell Driver Notes
Taking the bold colors out of the discussion for a moment, BiO Cell is a relatively traditional-looking driver. The BiO Cell pattern is visible towards the rear of the crown (some golfers do love visible technology). The hosel adapter has been updated with a new 8 position cog (sorry, not backward compatible), and SmartPad technology is a holdover from the AMP Cell.
For those who don’t love bold colors, BiO Cell Driver is also available in glossy black.
Street Price: $299
BiO Cell + Driver Notes
While BiO Cell + is the replacement for the AMP Cell Pro, this time around it’s fundamentally different from the standard model. The 440cc model features a Venollum alloy crown. What we’re talking about here is really next generation composite, which I suppose could make BiO Cell + the next generation ZL (which is going to make a lot of Cobra fans very happy).
Golfers are obviously going to notice the unique crown design. It’s slightly reminiscent of our own Callaway Versa Driver mock-up. The idea is to call attention to that Venollum crown. My gut tells me it’s going to be a polarizing feature, but thus far, among the golfers I know who have seen it, the response to the design is largely positive. It’s grown on me, but I’m interested to hear what you think.
This year’s model is adjustable from 8° to 11° (AMP Cell is adjustable from 7.5° to 10.5°) and AMP Cell’s Fade settings have been replaced with draw options. 8.5° is very intriguing for me. The shaft is a “real” Matrix 6Q3 (Red Tie), however the custom white graphics are a Cobra exclusive designed to better match the 5 different crown colors.
We’ll tell you more about Cobra’s own CG story when BiO Cell is official and everything. Stay Tuned.
Street Price: $399
BiO Cell Fairway Notes
As they did last year, Cobra is releasing two models, a 3-4 and a 5-7. The MyFly8 adapter allows for 8 settings for each model, which gives the AMP Cell fairway the capability to cover what we’d call a strong 3 wood, all the way up to what some would consider a 9 wood.
While we have to hold the specifics for a little while longer, sufficed to say, Cobra is confident they can hold their own with the other big name fairway woods on the market.
BiO Cell Hybrid Notes
What can you really say about a hybrid? The models (2-3, 3-4, and 4-5) are available. There is some overlap in the loft range which will allow more savvy golfers the freedom to choose their model based on things like shaft length and ideal face angle.
The design is reasonably compact (it won’t easily be mistaken for a short-shafted fairway wood), and looks really sweet. What can I say…I love the idea of blue hybrid to match my driver.
Like the drivers and the fairway woods, BiO Cell hybrids are available in red, blue, silver, orange, and black.
Street Price: $189
BiO Cell Iron Notes
What we’re really talking about is Cobra’s answer to SpeedBladez and XHot/X2Hot, and whatever else you want to throw into the emerging distance iron category. The key for Cobra is the perimeter undercut that allows for BiO Cell’s unsupported (fast) face. There’s actually quite a bit of interesting technology built into the BiO Cell iron design (check back after we’re official), but we’re not sure how they’ll fair up against more streamlined designs.
Like everything else in the Cobra lineup, color is a part of the BiO Cell iron story. You can order these game-improvement irons with orange, red, blue, or silver cavity badges.
Street Price: $699 steel/$840 (give or take)
BiO Cell Combo Notes
For those who prefer hybrids over long irons (and I think most of us do these days), Cobra’s BiO Cell irons will also be available in a combo set. “Real” BiO Cell hybrids can replace 3, 4 and/or 5 irons.
Street Price: $799 Steel/$899 graphite
Up Bill Cap Notes
I might be the only one who cares, but Jesper’s signature Up Bill Cap has made its way into the Cobra accessories lineup. The one-size fits all cap is available in white, black, and tradewinds (how Cobra and PUMA will say “grey” in 2014). Retail price is $26.00
For the ladies out there, Women’s versions of the BiO Cell Driver, Fairway, Hybrids, and Irons are available in more female-friendly colors.
Two year life-cycles are the norm for forged player designs, so not surprisingly, the more player-centric AMP Cell Pro iron will carryover for the duration of the 2014 season.
Tell us (and anyone who happens to be reading) what you think of what you’ve seen so far. We know Cobra’s clubs will perform, but as far as the designs are concerned, what works for you, what doesn’t?
Most importantly, what will it take for Cobra to become part of your own internal discussion when it comes time to buy your next driver, fairway, hybrid, or iron set?
Peter Millar Collegiate Wear
Peter Millar Collegiate Apparel Onward Reserve, located in…
Fall Color On The Golf Course
Photo of fall color from Stonehedge North GC, Augusta, Michigan
Vote Now! Golf Pics of the Week (It’s Getting Cold Edition)
Well, it’s that time of year again. Guys like me who live in stupid places are waking up to temps in the 30s and frost delays on the golf course. Can somebody please help me remember why I live here?
At this point all I can hope for is an abundance of late season travel to much warmer climates with golf courses that are never delayed.
The golf companies must be feeling the cooler air too (even if most of them are in Southern California) because the availability of quality pictures has been suspect. They practically took the week off.
It’s bad, but rest easy my friends. No matter how severe the image drought, I’ll never post a pick of Zac Efron hitting driver in his skinny jeans. Instead, we’re going just a little heavy on the putters.
Mizuno Divot Tool and Market Set
Hogan’s Five Lessons Still Number One In Golf Books
I was browsing the Amazon golf books tonight, and when I sorted it all by popularity, Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf
Golf Lesson How To Hit Your Long Irons
iPhone app http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/golf/id456035227 http://www.4golfonline.com Hit your long irons with power and control with this great video got le…
Video Rating: 4 / 5
GolfBlogger’s Michigan Golf Bucket List
I got into a discussion with some friends about which courses are on my Michigan “bucket list.” I’ve thought about it, and and as it turns out, the entire list…
Tell Us What You Think – Titleist Brand Survey
We know that golf companies have some pretty lofty ideas about themselves. And while we also know that some of you have some pretty interesting (that’s a nice way of saying insane) ideas about some of the golf companies, it’s absolutely clear to us that very often there’s a strong disconnect between how brands view themselves, and how you, the consumer, view those same brands.
With that in mind, we think it’s going to prove exceptionally interesting to learn exactly how our readers perceive the biggest names in golf, how you think each brand compares to the competition, and because this is the world we live in, how you think each brand is doing doing with Social Media.
Once we’ve gathered the data, we’re going to share some of the more compelling results with you, and with any golf company who stops by to read.
While there will be more surveys to come, we’ve decided to start with Titleist. Why Titleist? No particular reason…seriously. Why not Titleist?
You have to start somewhere, right?
One survey taker (you have to complete the survey) will be randomly selected to receive a MyGolfSpy Prize Package containing, among other things, a really cool MyGolfSpy Headcover from Stitch Golf (pictured above).
The survey is only 21 (short) questions long, and the first handful is all about you. That’s not so bad right?
As I said, we’re going to be publishing the results of these surveys. Be sure to check back soon to find out what other MyGolfSpy readers truly think about the biggest names in golf.
Fall Golf In Michigan
Here’s another photo from a beautiful fall golf day at Eagle Crest Golf Club in Ypsilanti, Michigan.…
Gadget Review: Laser Putt
Written By: Dave Wolfe
There is a pretty good chance that you are a visual learner. The last time I did some research into educational methodology, students who learned best through visual input made up about 65% of the standard classroom, with the auditory and kinesthetic learners combining to make up the other 35%.
Those who thrive on visual content definitely have an advantage too since 90% of the information that enters our brain is visual, with 40% of all nerve fibers connected to the brain coming from the retina. We are definitely visual beings. Perhaps that explains our seemingly universal fear of the dark. That anxiety seems justified after getting cut off from our main sensory source. Plus, we know that the dark hides monsters…
You can win a Laser Putt of your very own. Once lucky commenter below will be chosen at 8:00PM Eastern on Friday, November 1st. All you need to do is to watch the Laser Putt instructional videos and leave a comment about which drill you think will help your putting the most. You can earn one bonus entry if you follow Laser Putt on Twitter at @laserputt.
We rely upon our eyes to help us process the world around us, with our binocular, facing-front eyes really helping us to align ourselves in our three dimensional world, additionally assisting us with perception of depth. That is, until we decide to take up golf.
I don’t think that it is a novel declaration when I say that alignment is important in golf. We can even ignore ones physical posture alignment issues, and focus upon how miss-aligning to the target creates issues in targeting and even swing mechanics. This is true for the full swing as well as the putting stroke. As an eyes front creature, our perception of the world gets a bit distorted when we turn 90° from the target.
Let’s focus on the putting green. We all have a pretty solid gauge of distance and line when we face the target, but when we turn sideways and address the ball we lose some of that orientation. Many of us have tried to use the line on the ball to aim our putts at the target, only to feel that our aiming must have been wrong once we turn and address the ball. It’s natural to feel this way and it speaks to the frequent contradictions (hit down to make the ball go up) found in our golf mechanics. Basically, our eyes are set in such a way that we are better suited for beer pong than putting.
So what do we do to be sure that we are processing visual information accurately on the course?
The simple answer is visual aids. The line on the ball is one visual aid, as are the various alignment aids on your putter. We look for visual clues on the putter that will help us be confident that we are correctly aligned to target. Think about the hoopla about Cleveland’s new Square-ball putter. In my interpretation, their design is all about how squares are more conducive to correct alignment than balls. For some golfers, I bet squares will be. Different alignment and design components on a putter impact aiming differently for different people. I am sure if you had a chat with putter maker David Edel he could talk at length about visual clues and aligning your putter.
We have all been there, standing over a putt, questioning our alignment. What if there was a way to be sure that where you think you are aiming and where you are actually aiming are the same thing? You could drop a chalk line, or run an elevated string, but both of those techniques alter the putting environment and create visual crutches that do not directly reflect the dynamics of our swinging club. The line and the string end up being a just another part of the topography.
What we really need is a way to have a “chalk line” or “string line” visual aiming and alignment aid correlate with the position of our swinging club. At the same time, we need the line or string not to physically interact with the club or the ball. What we need is a laser.
What we need is Laser Putt.
Laser Putt represents a different take on the new category of high tech putting trainers. Most of those trainers have a sensor that attaches to your club, and then the data is recored on your smart phone, necessitating a lag between the stroke and the feedback about the stroke.
Laser Putt gives you immediate visual feedback; before, during, and after the stroke. Check out this overview video, showing what Laser Putt is all about:
I was very impressed when I saw that intro video. But hey, I’m a sucker for lasers in general. I dove a little deeper into the Laser Putt site and watched the longer instructional videos as well. The Laser Putt really seemed to be a training aid that could help golfers with their putting alignment issues, as well as one that could provide immediate feedback about stroke mechanics. The Laser Putt definitely warranted further exploration.
The Laser Putt is a high tech training aid. Remember, it has lasers. However, it is not complicated to use. The lightweight unit easily attaches under the putter grip with a simple clamp and tension knob closure. One of the potential issues with any alignment aid is how easy is it to actually align it with the putter. Unlike the iPing cradle and some of the other mount-to-club sensors, the Laser Putt can be easily adjusted after mounting to be sure that it is correctly aligned. Above the clamp, the laser unit is attached by a ball and socket type joint. This allows you to change to orientation of the laser by moving the head of the unit while keeping the clamp attached. Laser Putt is easy to get aligned correctly.
The unit has a total of two buttons, one for the green laser line, and the other for the red laser pointer. Both of them have auto shutoff features to save battery life, but they do not shut off so frequently that it becomes bothersome.
Laser Putt also includes a vinyl template that is used for some of the drills. One of the cool features of this tool is that it has copies of the drill instructions printed upon it. You don’t need to find the manual to remember what you are supposed to do. You roll out the guide, and then look down.
Although the Laser Putt website is not part of the product package, it does contribute to the ease of use category. Laser Putt definitely put some time into the site prior to launching the unit. They give you explanations of the drills, along with very detailed videos about how to use the device. It’s obvious that they want you to use the Laser Putt correctly, effectively, and with ease.
There are really two main components to the Laser Putt drills: Alignment and Distance Control
One of the greatest thing about this drill series is that it can be done in the comfort of your own home. You don’t even need a practice green, or even a ball. After you attach the Laser Putt and make sure that it is squared to your putter, you just need to swing it over the Alignment and Calibration Guide. If you have watched the video, you have witnessed the general procedure for this drill.
If you didn’t watch the video, what you are doing in this series of exercises is using the green laser line to groove your path, making sure that you are square to the target line, and the ball, through the critical hitting zone on the guide. Be yours a straight stroke or arcing stroke, the green laser allows you to track your progress through the process. There are additional drills to be sure that your stroke is balanced overall.
For me, the alignment drill identified a new found tendency to roll the face shut through impact. I was practicing on my green in my garage, missing almost everything with a bend left immediately before the cup. I even got out the level to see if the garage floor sloped that way. Nope on that slope.
A little bit of green laser time and it was obvious manipulating the head and adding draw to the ball. Visually, it was very easy to tell when I made this error, or not. The immediate feedback was very helpful. Moreover, after practicing with the Laser Putt, I could really feel the fixed stroke’s presence on the course. While some of the content in Laser Putt’s third instructional video on Laser-In-The-Hole-Confidence gets a little sappy for me, the reps with the green laser off the course did pay dividends on the course. Admittedly, I felt more confident putting.
Distance Control Practice
You may remember that back in my article about Vacation Lessons at Kapalua, one of my putting lessons centered upon knowing how distance of backswing equates to distance of putt. We focused on 20″ backswings and gauged distance from there. I liked the idea, but my stroke felt awkward when I tried to line it up with the yardstick on the turf. The green and red laser combo for this drill is fantastic.
All you need do is twist the Laser Putt until the red laser is in front of the ball 10″, make your backswing, then when the laser hits the back of the ball, swing forward and hit the ball. No numbers. No yard sticks. Instead you have a bright visual cue telling you that you have gone 10″ so hit the ball now. I have typically resisted the change the backstroke length to change the putt distance putting methodology. I admit it, I’m one of those putt by feel guys for distance. I think that one reason for this is that before using the Laser Putt, I didn’t have a way to really visualize the length of the backswing. Laser Putt makes it easy.
It has been a fun testing process to see just how far a 10″ putt swing equates to distance wise once we start varying slope and stimp. This does represent a potential putting mechanics overhaul for me, but I think that I could be successful switching to this kind of distance system by using Laser Putt.
There is one elephant in the room that must be addressed with the Laser Putt and that is how it performs in full sun. Very simply, it doesn’t perform well. The hard fact is that under bright conditions, the lasers of the Laser Putt get washed out by the ambient light. The people at Laser Putt know this, and in no way do they try to hide it. They suggest using it indoors, on overcast days, at dusk, and at other less than full sun times. It’s a limitation of the technology and the rules about laser usage. I addressed this concern to Laser Putt and this was the reply:
We can also look at using the Laser Putt this way:
The take home lesson on when to use the Laser Putt is anytime that it is not super bright where you are putting. Did you notice that I put darkness as one of the conditions? In general, lasers are never more fun than at night.
I was in my garage practicing on the artificial green and I decided to turn the lights out to see what the lasers looked like. Super bright. So I tried the drills without the ball. The laser totally illuminates the alignment and calibration guide enough so you can see it in the dark. Then I ditched that plan and started putting balls, while still in the dark. All I really focused on was the lasers and the sound of the ball hitting the cup, or not. Again, it was a very powerful visual image. I loved using it in the dark. However, I make no claims for this being bad for your eyes or not. Eye doctor I am not…
I always equate longevity in a couple of ways with things like this. First, will the product last? Although we are dealing with potentially delicate electronics here, I get the feeling that the Laser Putt should hold up to normal usage. Think of it like your cell phone. If you do bad things to it, it will break. If you take care of it though, it will hold up for quite a while.
The Laser Putt designers have definitely put some thought into its design, and I think that too bodes well for it lasting. They specifically used a lighter weight plastic for the housing so that the impact of attaching the unit to the club would be minimized. For all of the coolness of the iPing app and cradle, there is no way that my putter feels the same with a heavy iPhone attached to it. The design of Laser Putt is well thought out, and I would be shocked if durability was not part of the design conversation. They do offer replacement or repair for the first 90 days should anything go wrong other than you being a brute with it.
The other part of longevity is usage. You have one, but will you break it out and use it? I think that the indoor, ball-free usage helps in this area. Soon, many of you will be racking the golf bag for winter. This little unit may be just the thing to keep your golf spirits up through the dark winter months. If all of your putting practice comes in the sunny outdoors on your lunch break, this unit is not going to help you much. However, if you hit the green after work, you could definitely be using this on an every session basis. I see myself using the Laser Putt as a part of my putting practice regiment as a way to fight the blahs of overcast winter days.
Laser Putt currently costs $109 (+shipping). That is a special discounted launch price down from the normal $157 MSRP. It has lasers; it’s going to have some cost associated with it. Is it expensive relative to other training aids out there? Not really, especially if you compare it to the traditional putting aid, consisting of a mirror and some tees, some of those low tech options will set you back a c-note. The price gets more competitive when you compare it to the new crop of high-tech sensors and devices out there.
Some of you will be immediately turned off by the price. I get that. You will probably leave a comment below about how its too expensive, and how you could do the same thing with two pencils, a stick of gum, and a dental mirror. Awesome. Bully to you.
In all fairness, I’m a little gun shy about pulling the trigger on any purchase from a new company. Things that give me confidence in Laser Putt as a company though are the quick and open communications about the product, the comprehensive website that was up and working at product launch, and the quality of the associated videos. If you putt with it on a daily basis for a year, it comes down to about a quarter a session. What’s the value then? After two years?
You can also take some fiscal solace in the fact that Laser Putt runs on two AAA batteries.
For me, the Laser Putt represents nearly everything that I would want in a training aid for putting. It gives you immediate visual feedback and can be used to address multiple swing issues that are faced by the majority of golfers. I think that it is very possible that after spending some time with the Laser Putt, you will figure out even more putting applications for the device. Can you use it in direct sunlight? Nope, but there are quite a few conditions when it works just fine. The strong visual signal that is associated with the putter, rather than the putting surface makes the Laser Putt unique in the market. Plus it has lasers, and that is just super cool.
You can win a Laser Putt of your very own. Once lucky commenter below will be chosen at 8:00PM Eastern on Friday, November 1st. All you need to do is to watch the Laser Putt instructional videos and leave a comment about which drill you think will help your putting the most. You can earn one bonus entry if you follow Laser Putt on Twitter at @laserputt.
Reasons Why You Should Walk When You Play Golf Number 123
Michigan Course Reviews
Here you’ll find a list of some 80 Michigan golf courses that I’ve played, photographed and…
Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa
This is a beautiful golf resort in Texas. They’re running…