My… RBC Canadian Open

There was no way that I was going to let this week’s Tour stop pass by without writing about it. Sure I didn’t write about the Open Championship last week but what was there to really say? Two words? Jordan Spieth. That pretty much summed it up… his “hootspa” is borderline legendary or better yet special. I really felt bad for Matt Kuchar. But enough about last week and it’s time to write about this week.

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Welcome To “The Abbey”

Our National Championship is on a very tough place on the schedule and I really wish something could be changed. There is prestige and a rich history when it comes to Canada’s Open. However as it stands it’s right after The Open Championship and right before The WGC – Bridgestone Invitational so many notables tend to sit out. This year the RBC Canadian Open was held in nearby Oakville, Ontario which serves as a home to Golf Canada headquarters, the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, and the Jack Nicklaus designed Glen Abbey Golf Course. The site of this year’s RBC Canadian Open. This year was the 28th time that “The Abbey” has hosted the illustrious event. #OurOpen is uniquely Canadian with goalie mask tee markers and chairs that say “Quiet Eh?!” on the back of them.

 

 

 

I was at the venue to get a feel for what the course was like this year after last year’s tough conditions. In 2016 our entire region was mired in a drought of epic proportions and even Glen Abbey fell victim. I arrived at the course shortly after 8 a.m. on Tuesday to take in some practice rounds. As I arrived at the site and walked through the main entrance I caught a glimpse of Hole#8 where Charley Hoffman was hitting a few shots. It was completely obvious that the weather had been much better than last year and as a result the grounds crew at “The Abbey” had a course well-prepped. After taking in some of the Opening Ceremonies which saw legends gather for the newest inductions into the Canadian Hall Of Fame I walked the golf course. By the way some of the names on hand included Lorie Kane, Mike Weir, Bob Vokey (whom until recently I never knew was a Canadian) and Mr. Jack Nicklaus.

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Greatness and a Legend. Mr. Nicklaus and Mr. Vokey.

As I strolled across the 16th fairway I finally realized how lush and pristine Glen Abbey truly was. The course was immaculate!! A job well done to the superintendent and the crew. Upon looking at the course I knew that we were going to be seeing some low scoring rounds. Upon finishing my walk around “The Abbey” (I have never played it) I decided to watch the guys on the range. From the long hitting Bubba Watson, the young gun Smylie Kaufman to the wiley veteran (and former RBC Canadian Open Champion Vijay Singh) to last year’s champion Jhonnotan Vegas whom I casually said “Go get it again” to in passing. Little did I realize that my semi-prognostication would turn out. Honestly, I was disappointed to not see Ian Poulter, Matt Kuchar or Brandt Snedeker whom were apparently at another local course for a corporate outing. I managed to get a few failed selfies (tough with DSLR cameras) with Shane Lowry, Ollie Schniederjans, Nick Watney and Ben Crane to name a few. By the way… Ben is a pretty cool cat.

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The author and Ollie Schiederjans

So the tournament was played and as I figured we saw some real low scoring throughout the tournament. The weather was comfortable, the winds were pretty much benign all week and from I could ascertain the greens were receptive. Robert Garrigus tied a course record with a 62. Hudson Swafford fired a -7 (65). Martin Flores had back to back 66’s, Charley Hoffman was the 54 hole leader after a -7 on Saturday getting him to -17 overall. Then came Sunday.

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Bubba Watson unleashing on the range.

A leaderboard that was loaded with scores that would win nearly every tournament on Tour. With many big names not in the field (more on that later) there was still some star power on the front page of the leaderboard. Consistent low rounds were shot all week by the rain-softened Glen Abbey. On Sunday Gary Woodland, Ian Poulter, Tony Finau were all right there. Lurking not too far behind them was World #1 Dustin Johnson. But after carding four round totals of -21 a playoff consisting of Vegas and Charley Hoffman would determine the winner. After both players hit poor drives on the first playoff hole Charley Hoffman left the door open for Jhonny Vegas. Vegas took advantage of a clear shot while Hoffman had to lay up. Vegas would sink a birdie putt and become the first winner to win back to back titles since Jim Furyk. (Fun Fact: Furyk’s back to back wins were won on two different courses)

With the re-cap out of the way I just wanted to touch on a few other topics very briefly.

All of these crazy low scores. Are they good or bad for the game? What is the cause of these lower scores? Better player development… better technology… better equipment or does the ball need to be dialed back like Mr. Nicklaus has suggested? Are the superintendents doing too good of a job?

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The 18th at The Abbey.

To those not in the know Glen Abbey has been on life support for what seems an eternity. Before I get into that I want to say that it would be shame if the Jack Nicklaus course would fall victim to real estate. While this isn’t a Golf Canada issue it is a ClubLink Enterprises Limited owned golf course. The CEO K. Rai Sahi confirmed in 2015 that The Abbey was going to be developed into high-end housing. But how did the course get to here? Makes you wonder about the pricing (current peak Green Fee $236) and quite possibly a tee sheet that is more empty than full. That said… Glen Abbey WILL once again be the host of the RBC Canadian Open in 2018.

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#TheRink Oh what could be???? The Par 3 7th.

As far as Golf Canada this inquiry is for you. Glen Abbey sees the course get reconfigured from its everyday configuration to an altered configuration for the tournament (For example… Hole #1 is a Par 5 every day. For the Canadian Open it’s the Par 4 8th hole). This year #TheRink was a terrific idea. Potentially this hole could be as exciting as #16 at the Waste Management Open. We are a fanbase that consists of raucous hockey fans… wouldn’t it be fun to figure out a way to see #TheRink come into play late on Sunday? Somewhere in the last few holes? The drama and atmosphere would be spectacular! It would be a great way to get the fans (and their wallets) out there in full force. Think outside of the box. You can do it!

Until The Next Tee!!

 

 

Srixon Announces Newly Redesigned Q-STAR Golf Ball for Better Balanced Performance

Srixon Golf has been on a huge run with their golf ball offerings. Earlier this year I had the chance to test and review their new range of tour level golf balls. All of them tested very well and you can check out the review here https://untilthenexttee.blog/2017/03/13/review-srixon-golf-balls-2017/

Recently the Huntington Beach, California company sent out a press release announcing a new version of the two-piece Q-Star. The original Q-Star was an intriguing golf in its own right so it should be fun to see what the new and improved recipe delivers. Spin Skin Technology, lower compression, an attractive price point and a dimple pattern  that allows the ball to be easier to control are some of it’s features. Below is the press release that Srixon Golf Marketing Communications Specialist Noelle Zavaleta shared with me.

This ball sounds like it’d be a fun golf ball to put to the test. What say you?

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Photo Credit: Srixon Golf

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — July 17, 2017 — SRIXON® announces launch of the newly redesigned Q-STAR® golf ball for golfers who demand balanced performance from a more durable, two-piece ball offering. The Srixon Q-STAR is available in Pure White and Tour Yellow and officially launches in North America on August 18, 2017.

Srixon is a tour-proven golf manufacturer with premium golf balls and club offerings popular with golfers around the world. The Q-STAR golf ball utilizes the same premium technologies found in Srixon’s higher-priced tour balls but offers them in a 2-piece construction that is more durable and affordable.

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Photo Credit: Srixon Golf

The new Q-STAR features a lower-compression Energetic Gradient GrowthTMCore, a new third generation Spin Skin™ coating, and a new, more efficient 338 Aerodynamic Speed Dimple™ Pattern. These three technologies combine to deliver balanced performance: longer, more accurate driving distance, better iron control, and improved greenside spin.

“The Q-STAR’s built-in tour technologies should help golfers see great performance in every aspect of their golf game,” said Michael Ross, Senior Product Manager at Srixon. “This is the golf ball for players who seek maximum playability from a more durable, 2-piece design.”

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Photo Credit: Srixon Golf

The key technologies inside the new Q-STAR include:

·         Lower-Compression Energetic Gradient Growth Core. Q-STAR’s core technology uses variable stiffness to deliver better feel and exceptional distance on every shot.

·         Third Generation Spin Skin Coating. This latest iteration of Srixon’s proven ball coating is more elastic with less bonding points so it produces more consistent spin from any lie — especially the rough.

·         Aerodynamic 338 Speed Dimple Pattern. Along with more control in the wind, this dimple pattern reduces drag to maximize distance.

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Photo Credit: Srixon Golf

The Srixon Q-STAR golf ball officially launches in North America on August 18, 2017, at a MAP of $24.99 per dozen.

Review – SwingOil

Over the course of time I have tried various remedies to cure pain and stiffness. Ailments suffered both on and off of the course. The facts are just that. I’m getting old(er) and ever since the morning of my 36th birthday when I pulled my hamstring climbing out of bed it’s been a tough go. Years of playing sports (most notably as a hockey goaltender) has wreaked havoc in my elder years. Oh the joints and inflammation. Has this scenario ever happened to you?

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Rocco Mediate… Looking sore (Photo Credit:injuryrehab.com.au)

It’s the wee hours of the morning and your alarm goes off sounding the beginning the start of another beautiful day. The birds are chirping as you sip on your coffee (or other elixir) and as you finish reading the latest headlines your attention shifts focus to your 7 a.m. tee time. You shave, shower or whatever the case may be and you put on your golf apparel. After placing your golf bag in the trunk you head to the course. You;re envisioning the round… birdie start of course. Arriving at the course you check in and head to the range. You start stretching and uh-oh your stiffer than that tall oak tree by the first tee. You make your first swing and you feel like your body just broke in half. Could be a long round.

I know that I’ve been in that situation and it has been all too often. A while back I was asked by Mary Beth Lacy of golf marketing firm Mary Beth Lacy Inc. to check out a product from one of her clients. A product that can assist with those periods of time when your body isn’t feeling quite up to snuff. Introducing SwingOil. The tagline for the brand is “Get Loose… Swing Smooth”. SwingOil is the brainchild of creator Tom Healy who also happens to be the COO of the brand. Mr. Healy is an avid golfer and as I learned at the 2017 PGA Show also has a background in packaged consumer goods (Vitamin Water… a favorite of mine).  Mr. Healy had a goal of providing a product for golfer to help golfers. About the product.

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SwingOil is a golf supplement (I also used it for driving long trips) that is a beverage that comes in a 3 oz pouch. They key to the product are the 7 ingredients that composes the recipe. Each ingredient in SwingOil is specifically for helping certain ailments (or limitations). For example, there is Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate. The two of these ingredients can be found in pill or caplet form at pharmacies etc. These two elements are known for their “lubing”Turmeric is another of the ingredients and as far as I’m concerned it is the proverbial “star”. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. For a brief time I was using turmeric as a daily supplement and I have to say that it seemed to help. Taurine can be found in many “energy drinks”. Taurine is a better alternative to caffeine and is low-calorie and sugar-freeCitrulline Malate is present in SwingOil. While I admit I have no idea what it is or does exactly it has to do with recovery. All I can do is paraphrase what it says in the write-up at www.swingoil.com about the ingredient. You love the game too much to take days to recover. Be glad this is in here”. As we all know the ability to focus while playing golf can sometimes waver. This is where Ginseng Extract enters the fray. Rounding out the ingredients is Rhodiola Rosea Extract. This ingredient comes from a plant from the Arctic. Rhodiola Rosea is known for it’s anti-fatigue properties during stressful occasions. SwingOil comes in three flavors. Lemon-Lime, Orange and Strawberry-Banana.

My initial testing of SwingOil was a live-fire exercise on the floor of the PGA Show. I met Mr. Healy at the SwingOil booth and after talking at length with him I helped myself to a couple of samples. The first flavor that I tried was Orange. Not knowing what to expect from both flavor and sweetness I tore open my pouch and ingested the beverage supplement. I was impressed on both accounts. the taste was fantastic with no bitter aftertaste. Also, the sweetness was definitely not overpowering as the glycemic index isn’t nearly as high as it is with some other products on the market. While I’m talking about the nutritional information a little bit it’s also worth noting that each pouch is only 45 calories. One concern that I had moving forward with this exercise was “placebo effect” taking place. In a nutshell placebo effect is when you have something that says it will help you… say sleep. Unbeknownst to you what you took was merely a sugar pill. Just because it said it would help you… your brain made you think it was working. By the time I had my first pouch I was already in significant pain. As I continued to walk the floor for various meetings i noticed that I wasn’t quite as sore. Was I merely loosening up or was the SwingOil working? I wasn’t too sure so I started fresh the following morning. I started out my day by sipping a Lemon-Lime pouch and again the drink was very tasty. Mr. Healy wanted to get the flavors “right” and so far he was 2/2. I walked the floor stopping at the Demo Range to make a swing or two along the way. Again there seemed to be positive things happening. Alertness, less pain and a little less hobbling around. As the day wore on I reached into my bag and tried the third of the three flavors. In the past I have hated every drink that I’ve tried that was Strawberry-Banana. It always seems to taste off and bitter or something. Not the case with this product. The taste was “top of the shelf”. As the show concluded and I continued to ingest SwingOil I came upon the conclusion that there might be something to this product.

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The testing found its way on the road back home from Florida. The drive is about 21 hours on the road not including pit stops so stiffness and fatigue are a killer. On the way home I decided to occasionally drink a SwingOil to keep me loose and focused. The results were positive once again. I seemed to have made the drive in less pain than on the way home. Florida sun or SwingOil? Something helped me.

So Mary Beth Lacy arranged for a sample pack to be shipped to me so I could try it on the course. This was the biggest part of the testing that I wanted to test out. I attended a Cobra Golf Demo Day and included a SwingOil testing at the same time. As I got out of the car I grabbed a SwingOil out of the trunk. I ripped and sipped. Initial swings with wedge were somewhat tight but then I seemed to start loosening up. I was certain that it was the SwingOil. Consequently before every range session or round I have had a SwingOil and each time I found that the “said” benefits seemed to be true. On one occasion I had a SwingOil before and during my round. It was a tidy 72 that I shot which has been my best round to date this year with having only played 8 rounds. Coincidence?

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It is my conclusion that SwingOil does what it claims to do. It really does seem to help with staying loose, swelling and focus. Perhaps there is a reason why former World #1 golfer Jason Day swears by SwingOil as do a host of guys on PGA Tour Champions. There’s something to it and it. Actually more like 7 things. For the record my favorite is Orange much like Mr.Healy. Which reminds me… Mr. Healy recommends freezing a pouch and then drinking it like it’s a slushie. It’s fantastic when you do! Personally, I would love to see a Blue Raspberry or Grape flavor. Give it a try.

Until The Next Tee!!