Happy New Year – 2018

Initially, my original thoughts were to wait until tomorrow to say Happy New Year to all of my readers. But then it dawned on me that in some parts of the world it already is 2018. Sooo… Without further delay Happy New Year!!!

2018

As I reflect on 2017 and my website I have so much to be grateful for. Firstly there are the manufacturers that have taken a chance to give me the opportunity to test and review their products. Srixon Golf, Cleveland Golf, VICE Golf, Lateral Line Putters, OnCore Golf, TPT Golf, Loudmouth Golf, Rosemark Golf, Swing Wizzard, Skechers Golf and so many other great companies both big and small. Companies that have also given me their time during hectic and chaotic times for an interview. Dave Neville (Callaway Golf), Brian Bassel and Tomo Bystedt (TaylorMade Golf), Noelle Zavaleta (Cleveland/Srixon Golf) and Laurent Sirois (Skechers) are just a few who quickly come to mind. All gave me some time at the 2017 PGA Show and I appreciated every second of it. Marketing company representatives like Mary Beth Lacy, Holly Geoghegan and her former assistant Irlianna Samsara who also provided me with review opportunities and press releases. Thank-you!!

DSC_0051.JPG

Most importantly, I have to thank all of you. My readers! My reach was worldwide and saw readers from countries all over this great world of ours. Readers from the United States were my biggest supporters in numbers but seeing readers chiming in from Canada, Great Britain, South Korea, China, Australia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Netherlands, Indonesia, Singapore, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates and countless others. Readers from countries like Gibraltar and Brunei… You educated me! Because I have to admit that I never knew that your respective countries existed. Everyone one of you have proven that Until The Next Tee is in fact worldwide. Last January, I took a chance with a re-brand and it really has turned out to be a terrific gamble.

earth

I look forward to 2018 both personally and from a website standpoint. I really hope on returning to playing competitive golf in some capacity. Maybe not in a true health standpoint but as far as playing condition I’ve never felt this strong or fit since I started playing golf. My website.. well I just want it to grown and further my reach and grow my audience. Improve my website as best as I can. No matter what I can guarantee that I’ll continue to be whom I am and what I’ve been. Genuine, unbiased, proud, honest and sincere in every thing that I write and share.

Happy New Year everyone. Please be safe and responsible if you drink… please don’t drive! May all of you have a happy, safe and healthy 2018. #SeeUOnTheNextTee

Until The Next Tee!!

 

TPT Golf Expands Leadership Team

For more information on these shafts please check out my review on the 15 Series shaft from TPT Golf.

15 Series Shaft Review

 

 tpt

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 20, 2017

TPT Golf Expands Leadership Team to Support Rapid Growth

 

RENENS, SWITZERLAND – TPT Golf has expanded its leadership team with multiple hires that fill key roles for the upstart, Switzerland-based golf shaft manufacturer. The new team members will support both the rapid growth the company achieved in its first year as well as its long-term vision.

 

“We took our time in making sure we found the perfect fit for each position,” said Sebastian Sebayang, Director of TPT Golf. “These hires are not only highly qualified to fill their roles, but they’re committed to our mission of revolutionizing the golf shaft industry so that golfers can finally achieve their full potential.”

 

Joining TPT Golf as Technical Director is Jeff Meyer, a golf industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience with high performance composites. Meyer previously worked at Titleist, Aldila and G Loomis, where he played instrumental roles in product development and testing. With TPT Golf, Meyer will ensure the continued innovation of its product offerings.

 

“Five minutes into my first meeting, I understood the advantages of the TPT material processes,” Meyer said. “Our design and manufacturing processes are both different and superior than industry methodologies. The Swiss engineering is so fined tuned. With our technology, we can engineer any shaft parameter we want.”

 

Jon Sinclair, Owner and Director of Instruction at Sinclair Golf in Euless, Texas, joins TPT Golf as its U.S. Technical Advisor. Sinclair is one of the most sought-after experts in capturing and interpreting cutting-edge golf swing data. Along with his experience fitting the best golfers in the world, Sinclair brings TPT Golf the latest tools for quantifying performance, including how different design parameters change a golfer’s motion pattern.

 

“The consistency with which we can produce a shaft – TPT is going to change the game of golf,” Sinclair said. “The stability of the shaft is allowing golfers to increase their potential speed.”

 

To oversee marketing and communications, TPT Golf has joined forces with Rooted Solutions, a Detroit-based firm led by former GolfWRX Editor-in-Chief Zak Kozuchowski. At GolfWRX, Kozuchowski created a news division that earned the respect of golfers worldwide for its engaging content and keen insight into the areas of golf equipment and instruction.

 

TPT Golf has also retained public relations firm Mary Beth Lacy Inc. The firm, led by Mary Beth Lacy, has played in influential role in the growth of several golf industry notables including Antigua, Adams Golf, aboutGolf, Ashworth, Butch Harmon, David Leadbetter, Fairway & Greene, Miura, Sunice, Terry Jastrow’s movie “The Squeeze” and Tom Watson’s Instructional DVD.

 

 

 

Until The Next Tee!!

Review – VICE Golf

Over the past several years of blogging and writing golf reviews I’ve had the pleasure of testing various golf balls from independent golf ball manufacturers. While some of these company’s have come and gone (for various reasons) others have had the staying power to not only survive but expand. VICE Golf falls into the latter of these groups. For those unfamiliar with VICE Golf they’re an independent golf ball company that was founded in 2012 in Germany. The brand slowly started to expand across Europe and eventually made landfall hitting the market in the United States in 2015.

Furthering the evidence regarding the growth and expansion of the brand I need to point out a little story while at a practice round for the 2017 RBC Canadian Open. As groups were coming through (this was the group with Luke List) one of the caddies saw the VICE golf hat on my hat. He asked me if I’ve played them and I said that I sure have. We had a brief conversation and I ended up asking him if he’s tried their new Pro Soft. He said he had not and my response was… you may want to.

20394436_1953435161598843_185732068259397632_n.jpg

Its founders Ingo Duellman and Rainer Stoekl wanted to develop premium golf balls without the hefty price tag associated with golf balls of this genre. To accomplish this the founders decided to attack the golf industry by selling their golf balls over the internet direct to the consumer thus resulting in the effective elimination of any “middle man”. The other method that VICE Golf employs to keep the price of golf balls down is by offering consumer discounts with bulk pricing. The more dozens that you buy… the cheaper the price is per dozen.

vice1.jpg

In the past I’ve had experience with VICE Golf and that experience was phenomenal. That review started with the initial contact with the Director of Marketing Helge Meyer and continued throughout the testing process. All of their golf balls proved to be as good if not better than golf balls of similar characteristics offered by their higher priced competitors. Back then I tested their range which included two models of the VICE Pro (Neon and Flamingo), the VICE Pro Shooter and the VICE Drive and they were good… every one of them. In 2014 my favorite of the VICE Golf stable was the Pro Flamingo.
I think one of the fun parts of writing reviews and testing golf products from company’s that are “under the radar” is that you get a chance to watch them develop and grow. While the production of golf balls is the focus of VICE Golf’s vision it’s only fair to point out that they seen growth in terms of headwear and accessories. There’s a stunning array of caps and toques (Beanies), golf gloves, towels, umbrellas and golf bags which pairs nicely with their main focus… golf balls.

vice2.jpg

The VICE Golf stable is composed of golf balls that are all designed and engineered in Germany. The models that are current in their line-up includes the VICE Pro, VICE Pro Soft, VICE Drive and the VICE Pro Plus. The collection provides an option for all levels of golfers looking for a certain of golf ball best-suited to their individual games. Below is a breakdown of their golf balls and how they performed.

VICE Pro – The VICE Pro is offered with two additional sub-models (Lime and Red). VICE recommends this golf ball for golfers with swing speeds that are medium to high. They feature a 3-piece construction which includes a Cast Urethane cover for soft feel and a 318 dimple pattern which is great for providing a stable trajectory. Also rounding out the construction is the HESC (High Energy Speed Core) which increases ball speed. To help golfers around the green is their S2TG cover which is great for stopping the ball on those pesky greenside chips and pitches. Also of note is their putting alignment aid which they dub the “Keep In Line” putt line.

The VICE Pro range tested very well in all facets of the game. Drives were met with a solid, authoritative feel that was not too firm in any way shape or form. Drives were as long with the Pro when compared to similar golf balls on the market and in some cases a shade longer. The feel off of the irons was smooth but what I liked was the approach spin. Any approach shots were received well into the greens and at the time of testing I was really struggling with my game. Greenside shots were predictable and the check and stop characteristics being on full display. When buying these golf balls 5 Dozen will cost $24.95 each/dozen. One dozen will cost consumers $34.95/dozen. Considerably less than others on the market.

vice3.jpg

VICE Pro+ – Much like the VICE Pro the Plus model also comes in a Red and Lime version and features S2TG for short-game spin and the KIL putting line. But that is where the similarities end. The Pro+ is a golf ball that boasts a 4-piece construction. The cover is cast urethane and features a few more dimples (336) than the Pro. The dual casing (cover) is for a lower ball flight and longer distances. VICE employs a special coating called “BJ13” which maximizes the pearl white of the golf ball and also makes it “UV Resistant”. VICE recommends players with medium to higher swing speeds.

Let’s not mince words shall we?! The VICE Pro+ straight out performs and performs well. The trajectory was somewhat flatter with the Pro+ than its Pro brethren and it did result in some “booming” drives. The feel was similar to the Pro model when it came to the driver where you knew you hit it… and hit it well. Shots with metalwoods were pretty much the same where the ballflight was a tad lower . I found this ball tracked very well in a crosswind. Greenside chips and pitches were soft and the cover provided much needed spin to control shots. Putting felt soft and the golf ball never had that “jumpy” feeling. Cost per dozen when ordering 5 dozen is $24.95.dozen while purchasing 1 dozen is $34.95 USD.

18646228_437134953321569_8502729945389203456_n(1).jpg

VICE Pro Soft – The VICE Pro Soft is a golf ball which features a multi-layer construction. It’s 3-piece construction features a durable 336 dimple cast urethane cover and it’s core is a soft compression. The result is feel!! The cover itself is different as it has a matte finish which is accomplished by adding tiny silicate particles to the formula. The Pro Soft is designed for long distance, with great feel and optimized spin around the greens through the use of their S2TG cover technology. Golfers will find the KIL putting alignment aid on this golf ball to help them on the greens. Golfers with a medium speed looking for extra soft feel is the recommended market for the Pro Soft.

The golf ball of the range that I was the most intrigued by. The Pro Soft was without a doubt my favorite golf ball of the testing process. This was a golf ball that I knew that I was compressing to maximize the most out of my swing. I’ve never been shy about admitting to being an advocate of soft golf balls and the Pro Soft furthers that feeling. The Pro Soft ended up being longer than the Pro and Pro+ and perhaps that was just the softer compression or maybe it was the dimple pattern the VICE team came up with. Notice the dimple pattern is right in between the two other models already discussed? Where this golf ball really shines when compared to the others tested it’s the feel. Iron shot whether a full approach with a 6 iron or a wedge felt “buttery smooth”. In the past I’ve used the term “addictive” and that’s exactly what the Pro Soft is…. addictive. Approach shots exhibited full “drop and stop” characteristics and the furthest I found my ball away from the pitch mark was approximately 8 feet. Those greens were “next level” firm. Putting felt great with the Pro Soft and I feel that I should touch on the cover. I loved the matte finish of this golf ball. It gives it a unique look that when other golfers looked at it… they really liked it! Cost for 5 dozen is $24.95 USD/dozen or $34.95 for one dozen. I would love these balls in the Red and would tee them up in competition without regret.

vice4.jpg

VICE Tour – The VICE Tour is recommended for golfers of all skill levels. This golf ball while being a 3-piece construction sees its cover being constructed from highly durable DuPont Surlyn. The Tour features a 392 dimple design designed for a stable trajectory, control and long carry distances. As found on the Pro models the Tour also features the KIL putting alignment aid.

As we get into the VICE Tour the first thing that we need to remember is that the cover is Surlyn where the others are cast urethane. That said, it doesn’t mean that this golf ball feels harsh because it doesn’t. I found the feel/sound when swinging driver was “sharp” meaning the cover makes a difference in the feel as one might expect. But this ball is about the same length as what I generally play. I actually found this golf ball to fly a little bit higher which can be both a blessing and a curse. Unfortunately, I did see evidence of this golf ball being a tad too “spinny” but that isn’t to say that it doesn’t go anywhere. All around the distances were the same with the irons as what I generally play and the control on approach shots was there. The Tour was a little more “clicky” off of the putter but ultimately I look at the material of the cover. When ordering 5 dozen you can have these at a very cost effective $15.95 per dozen or when purchasing just 1 dozen the Tour costs $21.95/dozen.

VICE Drive – The VICE Drive is the 2-piece construction model of the VICE Golf ball range. It’s cover is constructed from DuPont Surlyn and features a 368 dimple. Designed primarily for golfers with slower swing speeds this golf will yield more rollout in the fairways. Designed to be durable and long the Drive also features the KIL putting alignment aid.

The VICE Drive. What can I say about this golf ball? I think if I could use a one word adjective to describe it that word would be an “enigma”. A total mystery! The Drive had me scratching my head at times during the testing and that was because I was astonished. Yes… it is a Surlyn covered 2-piece golf ball so we’ll assume that the cover is harder and with the putter putts emitted the click. But, short game testing was bizarre in a good way (as memory serves me this happened in 2014 as well). When I was testing the range when it came to heads up, blind testing (I had no glasses) there were times that I thought that my closest chips and pitches were the Pro model golf balls. I’d strike a chip or pitch and they’d stop dead. Much to my surprise many times it ended up being the Drive that was closest to the pin. Personally, from a short game standpoint I feel that the Drive thinks it’s a tour ball. I was blown away at times by how good it performed in close. Notice I said “at times”?! Other times there was the expected rollout that one might expect with a 2-piece golf ball. That said, the Drive flies straight and true and it is long. In 2014 it yielded some of my longest drives and in 2017 it’s plenty long again. Iron approach shots were about a half a club longer than what I’m accustomed to and in my advancing years this isn’t a bad thing. I wonder if the Drive could also be done with a cast urethane cover because with its length and general short game spin this ball in a softer form could be deadly!! The price point when ordering 5 dozen is $10.95/dozen and when ordering 1 dozen the Drive will cost $14.95 USD/dozen. This ball provides bang for the golfer buck.

vice5.jpg

At the end of the day I recommend VICE Golf products to anybody that either wants to play a great golf ball or play something a little different. I have no doubt in my mind that there is a golf ball in this line-up that somebody will like. As mentioned my all-around favorite was the Pro Soft. VICE golf offers high quality, high performance golf balls at a very reasonable price. one thing that I should be quick to mention is that VICE does not skimp on the packaging. The golf balls from VICE come to you in terrific, eye-pleasing packaging that really stands out from the crowd. Head to VICE Golf and use their ball selector tool to find out what ball is your best fit. I took it and my recommendation was the Pro+.

Until The Next Tee!!

 

Christmas and the Holiday Season

‘Twas the night before Christmas,

and all through the course.

Not a creature was stirring,

not even in the gorse.gorse

The golf clubs were hanging with such tender and care.

With hopes that The Masters was coming with some spring air.

The golfers were nestled, away in their beds.

While visions of birdies and eagles danced through their heads.

Clad in my CHASE 54 and TRUE Linkswear,

There was a chance that when it came to trick shots

I too might even care.

When out on the course came such a flurry of thwackin’,c54

I had soon realized it was all about Jack’s action.

Then suddenly he appeared all grey-haired and smiling,

It was Arnie himself  with eight mighty golfers,

All famous and many a champion.

He called out their names,

On Justin, On Jordan, On Rory and Dustin.

On Rosie, On Lexi, On Rickie and Brookie.

Off to the tee they went to swing, swing away

Every one of them no less hitting the fairway.rosey

Pounding their drives out of sight.

Then I heard Arnie say to all 

Happy Christmas and good night.

 

To my dear readers. May all of you stay safe and enjoy your time with you loved ones. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

 

Alex

IMG_20171218_152142

 

 

 

 

Press Release – Imperial Headwear New Products and Announcement

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of testing one of the many hats from Imperial Headwear at my former website. The model that I tested had the moniker “The Kaldur” which featured new technology to the headwear industry. That technology was called “Coolcore” and this was a “game changer” because it was a fabric that cooled “up to 30% cooler than skin temperature when wet”. The fabric used “wicks and transports moisture, then regulates evaporation for cooling effect” as pictured below.

 

wet-wave-wear

Photo Credit: Imperial Headwear

The 2018 PGA Merchandise Show is fast approaching. With that came an announcement from Imperial about new products and a special guest that they’ll be hosting during the week of the show. If you find yourself down there during the show… stop by the booth and meet Kenzie O’Connell. The press release below has more details about Imperial Headwear and Kenzie.

   Imperial to Host Kenzie O’Connell at 2018 PGA Show 

kenzie

BOURBON, MO – Imperial Headwear, the #1 headwear brand for Private and Resort golf facilities as reported by the Association of Golf Merchandisers (AGM) in their Member Survey, the last 3 consecutive years, announced celebrity golf instructor and model Kenzie O’Connell (http://kenzie-oconnell.com) will make an appearance in their booth during the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show.

O’Connell, who is also an Instagram sensation (@kenzie.oconnell) with 100,000 followers, will be available to meet and take pictures with guests of Imperial at booth #4473 during the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show taking place January 24th-26th at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

“I am very excited to represent Imperial at the 2018 PGA Show,” said Kenzie O’Connell. “They definitely understand the role social media plays in the marketplace, as well as the influence it can provide for a brand. @ImperialHats is one of the best Instagram profiles in golf.”

“Kenzie will be a tremendous addition for us in Orlando this year,” said David Shaffer, vice president of sales & marketing at Imperial. “Show attendees will have the opportunity to meet her in person, and our combined fan bases of over 120,000 Instagram followers will enjoy great content all week-long.”

In addition to hosting Kenzie O’Connell, Imperial will also be showcasing their 2018 product line at the PGA Show featuring the best-selling headwear styles like the X210P, innovative technologies such as ONE TOUCH®, and the new state-of-the-art decoration technique 3D Insignia.

To view Imperial’s Instagram profile @ImperialHats, please click here: https://www.instagram.com/imperialhats

To view Kenzie O’Connell’s Instagram profile @kenzie.connell, please click here: https://www.instagram.com/kenzie.oconnell

For more information about Imperial Headwear please visit ImperialSports.com, contact your local sales representative or call (800) 950-1916.

About Imperial Headwear

Founded in 1916, Imperial Headwear is the leading manufacturer and marketer of premium quality headwear for the golf market. Imperial is committed to style, functionality and perfection in fit and comfort. It is this commitment that has allowed the creation of a wide variety of headwear with quality that is second to none. Renowned for its superior customer service and art customization capabilities, Imperial offers its products using the most innovative fabrics and designs, as well as logo and embroidery technologies. For further information please visit imperialsports.com .

 

 

 

Until The Next Tee!!

REVIEW – Wilson Staff FG Tour V6 Irons

Before I start writing I feel that I should let some of my new readers in on something that isn’t much of a secret. For others that already know what I’m about to say I apologize. The secret… I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Wilson Staff/Golf. My first set of “legit” irons were a set of Wilson Pro Staff irons… circa 2004. Those irons really got me on my way to truly loving this game. A couple of years later I would upgrade those irons to a set of Wilson Staff Pi5 irons which would still be in the bag had it not been for the 2010 “Groove Rule”. I haven’t been the same since separating from those irons. 

Wilson Staff. The name really does speak for itself when it comes to the history of the game. The Chicago-based golf manufacturer was born in 1914 and has the most Major victories for any one brand… 61 victories in fact. Some of the legends that have played the brand include Gene Sarazen (he had a 75 year-long relationship with the brand), Sam Snead, Walter Hagen, Arnold Palmer and Payne Stewart just to name a few. In more recent times Brendan Steele, Padraig Harrington, and Kevin Streelman continue the legacy of flying ‘The Shield” the symbol that embodies Wilson Staff. The latter (Streelman) just renewed a 2-year contract that will see him continue to play the brand to 2019. The irons that are currently in his bag are the Wilson Staff FG Tour V6.

sarazen

Photo Credit: PGA Tour

 

When the calendar flipped to 2017 there were several products that I was excited about trying. The Wilson Staff FG Tour V6 ranked very high on said list. Most of the reasoning was simply because there was something that I didn’t like about its immediate predecessor (FG Tour F5). As a matter of fact I couldn’t get down to Orlando fast enough to try them.

DSC_0027

The FG Tour V6 irons from Wilson Staff are a forged iron that’s geared towards better players. That said, you don’t need to be a Tour player to play them (more on that in a bit). The V6 is forged from 8620 Carbon Steel which offers golfers terrific feel and feedback. The blade-length is relatively compact and this is just merely the beginning. In the long irons 20 grams of tungsten  is split between the heel and toe. This provides perimeter weighting giving the V6 a degree of forgiveness. Meanwhile, in the mid-irons tungsten is placed in the middle of the head. Like its long iron brethren the mid-irons feature forgiveness and a lower center of gravity. The V6 irons also have what Wilson called “impact area mass” which gives the V6 irons the feel of a muscle-back with the forgiveness of a cavity back. Stock grips are Lamkin Crossline while the stock shaft is the impressive True Temper Dynamic Gold AMT.

My experience swinging the FG Tour V6 irons started out very early. like every other year the Wilson Staff booth was my first stop during Demo Day at Orange County National. After warming up with a few swings with an FG Tour PMP Oil Can wedge I reached for a FG Tour V6 8 iron. Starting with the aesthetics. There was only one other iron that would come close to rivaling the sheer beauty and elegance of the FG Tour V6. this is one of the prettiest irons released in 2017 and it’s for a number of reasons. The cavity itself is void of any graphics thus cheapening the look of the V6. The shield is prominently on display in a down-stated way with makes the irons look classy. There is just a hint of color with the “gold’ detailing (paint-fill). Towards the toe is where the iron model is identified as the “V6” is there to be seen. I love the high-polish chrome finish of the heads and then there’s the look from the address position. I would describe the offset as “minimal” and the top-line is one that gives you the feeling of confidence. It isn’t blade-thin but there really isn’t a whole lot there to distract you from the golf ball or the beauty that sits in your eyes. Not that it really matters even how the shaft/ferrule/head seemingly blend together is very eye-pleasing.

V61.jpg

Performance of the V6 iron is superior all the way around. Remember when I said that you don’t need to be a tour player to play these irons? It’s true and much of that has to do with the tungsten weighting that Wilson Staff incorporated into the construction of the head. Strikes were well-rewarded with  a ballflight that was high and long. More importantly the feedback was the “best feeling” that I’ve ever had in my hands with an iron. I loved the feel through impact and the impact mass area was something that I could really feel and looked forward to feeling with each pass. Divots were crisp and I had no issue with the leading edge (I overheard someone explaining that it dug too much). Shot-shaping was a breeze with draws and fades easily being hit at will and flighting the ball was no problem. The 4-iron was more of the same and this is where I felt the heel and toe tungsten placement work its magic. I wasn’t too far off of the center at any time with the V6 irons in my hands but those misses were enough for me to know that my “gamers” would be inferior with a similar miss.

V62.jpg

In my opinion, these Wilson Staff FG Tour V6 irons were the best at Demo Day and are my pick for the “Best Irons in 2017”. Superior feel, looks that are second to none and performance to match. I really feel like there’s nothing else to add. If you’re a “Feel” player and you haven’t made swings with them… please go out and find a set to swing.

Until The Next Tee!!

 

 

 

Mini-Tours

Many golfers have the dream of playing golf professionally. While a tiny number of golfers succeed others don’t quite “make the cut”. In a massive understatement you could say that I fall into the latter category. I’ve made a few decisions lately with some counsel from my coach but more on that later. What’s life like chasing the dream while playing Mini-Tours?

There are several ways that golfers approach this dream. For many, the chase begins at a very young age where most often a golf club is much larger than the little golfer themself. As they get older, the parents put their children into golf lessons under the watchful eyes of a coach. From there the “cookie-cutter” process begins and eventually the child is introduced to competition through the likes of U.S. Kids Golf or associations like the AJGA or CJGA. No matter what the development has begun much like a 7 year-old hockey player playing Novice hockey at a Triple-A level. They have a goal of playing in the NHL. Most of these young golfers do as well with their eyes focused on the PGA or LPGA Tour. A little further down the road they play high school golf and if all goes well coaches from different college and university golf programs have taken notice. Inevitably, they graduate high school and pursue post-secondary education while playing golf at a college level. With collegiate play under their belts they focus to life as an adult and maybe just maybe they make it to the professional tours. Through playing golf at their club the membership base supports their endeavors by raising tournament fees or sponsors enabling them to enter tournaments. Perhaps a star is born and they turn into the next Jordan, Rickie, Justin, Lexi, Lydia or Brooke. In some cases it’s not quite as glamorous and I can tell you first hand that it isn’t.

aj

Photo Credit: AJGA

 

In my case, my approach was as unorthodox and off of the grid as you can get. Regardless, I played and all of this was done while battling a swing change. Playing through a swing change is tough enough. You have doubts if something doesn’t feel right and then you revert back to what you were doing before. Playing in competition while doing so is sadistic. Playing through health issues while all of that is going on is even worse. When compared to the pressure of playing while spending grocery money on entry fees knowing that you’re taking food out of your family’s mouth is by far the worst kind of pressure that you can face. This was the kind of pressure that I placed onto myself every time that I teed it up and I’m sure that didn’t help matters. Nobody made me do it as I simply did it to myself. I’ve always been private about finances and I’ll continue to be but I will say that without some sort of financial backing chasing the dream is damn near impossible. In a case like the GLT in order to have any hope of getting your money back you had to finish Top 5 (roughly) otherwise you were simply a donor. I only teed it up as a professional because I wanted to get my money back. The payouts in a word suck at this level. For a one day event in 2012 on the Great Lakes Tour here is a rundown of the costs….

  • Tour Registration Fee – $300 (whether you play in 1 or 10 events… nothing massive)

  • Tournament Entry Fee – $230 (low-end of the scale)

  • Practice Round – $100 (more with cart)

  • Hotel Accommodations – $100 (low-end… most events were about 2 hrs away with 7:30 tee times)

  • Fuel and Food – $75

So if you were to add up each event it’s easy to see that per event it roughly costs $500/event. In the grand scheme of things it’s nothing when compared to other Mini-Tour’s like the Florida Pro Golf Tour. Their entry fee alone is $575 USD for a Non-Member. A Mini-Tour like the SwingThought Tour is $1400+ USD for registration and another $700 USD per event. Unlike the Great Lakes Tour (when I played) these other tournaments at least offer a two or more day tournament. Basically, if you’re paying out of your own pocket you need those pockets to be very deep. Supporting yourself to play is high stakes gambling in a nutshell. To play in these Mini-Tour’s not only do you need game, experience and decent health. You need the money!!

glt

Remember this pic. Tee shot on the GLT… #9 at Tarandowah. Two holes later I was carted away by ambulance.

My decision under the advice and counsel of my coach. Over the last couple of years I haven’t played much golf and none of it was competitive. Between being a Director Of Golf in 2016 (50-60 hour weeks led to a total of 53 holes played that year… not rounds) and of course many health issues in 2017 all  led to a lack of play. Although, I did get out a fair amount in 2017 my game simply declined and it wasn’t until November/December when I finally felt things start to click again. With my lack of play and age being a factor (wrong side of 45) I’ve decided to take a step back from playing against the kids out there. These kids coming out of college and university pipelines are long and good. As a soon to be 46 year-old looking at a kid 20 years younger you know when “the time” comes. It’s something that I experienced when I was playing hockey and baseball. While you can’t worry about what they’re doing and you aren’t playing directly against them it does get into your head when they blow by you by 50 yards and have a wedge left to the green and you have a 5-iron left into the same green. It also doesn’t help when your caddy is stammering on about their drive.

IMG_20171117_102555 (1).jpg

Focused on new goals.

What I’m not saying is that I’m finished pursuing competitive golf. In fact, I’m now turning my focus onto bettering myself and my game. It’s the reason why I’ve been a diehard about getting into the gym and working out. I have a checklist of goals and I am proud to have reached some already…

  1. Lose weight √
  2. Get stronger √
  3. Identify and correct where my struggles on the course are √
  4. Play more golf (I need much more though) √
  5. Quit tinkering with my swing
  6. Play competitive golf again
  7. Get back to enjoying the game more

My plan over the next 4 years is what the plan was all along. It’s always been about when I received my golf vasectomy and turned 50. Anything between then and now was a very expensive learning experience. I’m going to play tournament golf as an amateur and develop a playing resume over the next 4 years through a couple of avenues. Perhaps focus on the Mid-Am and/or Mid-Master Divisions. But if there is one thing that I do know it’s that I’m not finished yet. #golfvasectomy

Until The Next Tee!!