The Findings of the Distance Report

So the powers that be that govern our great game of golf have recently released a distance report. The report filed and submitted by the USGA and the R&A have determined that gains in length has and will continue to be detrimental to the game of golf. If you’re anything like me, I would have like to have been warned before such a shocking epiphany and observation was made.

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Below is a summary of the key findings of the report.

  • There is a 100-year trend of hitting distance increases in golf, as well as a corresponding increase in the length of golf courses, across the game globally the USGA and The R&A believe this continuing cycle is detrimental to the game’s long-term future.
  • The inherent strategic challenge presented by many golf courses can be compromised, especially when those courses have not or cannot become long enough to keep up with increases in the hitting distances of the golfers who play from their longest tees. This can lead to a risk of many courses becoming less challenging, or obsolete.
  • Increased hitting distance can begin to undermine the core principle that the challenge of golf is about needing to demonstrate a broad range of skills to be successful.
  • If courses continue to lengthen, it is at odds with growing societal concerns about the use of water, chemicals and other resources.
  • Longer distances and courses, longer tees and longer times to play are taking golf in the wrong direction and are not necessary for a challenging, enjoyable and sustainable game.
  • A concern has been identified that many recreational golfers are playing from longer tees than is necessary relative to their hitting distances, and, in particular that the forward tees on many golf courses are very long for many of the golfers who play from them.

With these key findings, it further led to discussions about equipment rollbacks and discussions about agronomy. I’ll be honest. I’m almost shocked that it took a panel from these two organizations to figure this out. In a way, for them to actually have to put something like this together tells me that “they” were almost out of touch with the game. You couldn’t see this coming before it happened? Life in “Ivory Towers”.

I have long said over social media that the ongoing “distance crisis” is multi-pronged. Everything is a factor but they all have one word in common with one another. Technology. Technology as far as golf equipment, golf balls, agronomy, R&D as far as technology and how golfers are trained and the beat goes on. The issue does not really revolve strictly around golf equipment and golf balls.

But as far as equipment goes, does the massive increase in distances really apply to the recreational golfer? You know, the golfer like yourself reading this article. The consumer that walks into your average golf retailer and purchases the equipment, balls, apparel, and more? While some golfers have noted some gains in improving the distance that they hit a golf ball the majority of golfers have not. Moreover, for all of these golfers have their respective handicaps plummeted from a 15 to a 5 like a magical bean bought from a farmer?

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The ongoing distance debate and discussion of “rolling back” of the golf ball has been so tiring. It’s gotten old and yet here we are. Here I am talking about it.

The notion of golf courses becoming too long and obsolete only applies to the Top 1% golfers of the Top 1% in the world. The issue really surrounds itself around TOUR players and most notably the “guys”. Research that I conducted of the LPGA Tour (as far as driving distance goes) showed an increase of 22 yards between 1999 and 2019. Anne Van Dam led the way in 2019 at 283 yards. Anybody know who the leader was in 1999? Jean Bartholomew.

Not once, have I heard while working in a pro shop during my time working in the golf industry a golfer come in and state that he’s hitting the golf ball too far. At this point, to roll golf balls or golf clubs back for the other 99% would be both counterintuitive and counterproductive. It doesn’t apply to them. It makes a ton of sense doesn’t it to have these golfers hit the golf ball shorter distances when all of the marketing types from the majority of golf manufacturers have been touting their “longest, most forgiving ever” for years.

Dear R&A and USGA:

If you want to roll equipment and balls back… fine. But only for the elite golfers playing professional tour golf, collegiate and/or amateur golf at the highest of levels. For the rest of the golfers just leave it the way it is. Yes, recreational golfers have a certain duty and obligation to play the approrpiate tees for their skill level/distance. Nobody, wants to hit the golf ball shorter.

As far as golf courses being rendered obsolete. I hate to sound like a broken record withon my own pages but let the superintendents at these professional events have fun. Let them protect “their” golf course. Grow the rough out, narrow the fairways, water the daylights out of the fairways, and firm up the greens and let them be like lightning week in and week out.

Recreational players, you too have a duty and obligation. Play the appropriate tees for your skill level and distance that you hit your clubs.

Sincerely Yours,

Alexander Toth

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

TaylorMade Golf Company Introduces Truss™ Putters to Fit Golfers Seeking the Stability and Performance of High MOI Mallets in More Classic Shapes

RESHAPING THE WAY STABILITY IS CREATED IN TRADITIONAL PUTTER MODELS

CARLSBAD, Calif. (February 3, 2020) – TaylorMade Golf, the industry leader in technology and performance, today announced the company’s newest putter innovation in Truss. The uniquely shaped family of putters provides an answer for golfers seeking the performance of a high-MOI mallet in a more traditional shape.

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IT LOOKS LIKE NOTHING ELSE BECAUSE IT PUTTS LIKE NOTHING ELSE

The distinctive look of Truss putters directly relates to the performance of the product. At address, the topline will look very familiar to golfers. However, the face-on view reveals a compelling hosel structure that’s the defining feature of the entire family.

The design creates multiple contact points on the topline and reduces the amount of unsupported mass, which is intended to improve the stability of the putter face at impact. While traditionally-shaped putters with a single contact point on the heel are susceptible to twisting at impact, Truss putters provide exceptional torsional stability and computer modeling shows Truss twisting less on off-centre strikes (as compared to our previous generation blade).

SHAPING A HIGH MOI PUTTER

TaylorMade collected data on 40,000 putts hit by golfers of various skill levels and tracked the most common area of the face where strikes occur. Results showed that more than half of the strikes occurred on the toe-side of centre, which causes deflection and can lead to offline putts. Armed with this information, TaylorMade engineers set out to create a twist-resistant putter that offered greater torsional stability while maintaining a traditional shape.

The Truss hosel design derives its stability and strength from a geometric shaping that’s widely used across various forms of architecture, from home building to bridges, to create foundational stability. Our engineers used the same design elements with our Truss putters, adding stronger horizontal support across the topline.

Having dual contact points on the topline provides greater integrity on strikes across the face, delivering the performance of a high-MOI putter with the look of a blade or traditional mallet.

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WHO IT’S BUILT FOR

A paradigm shift occurred when TaylorMade introduced the Spider franchise more than a decade ago. Today, approximately 60% of players on the PGA Tour use mallet putters – whereas traditional blades were the majority before that time. As TaylorMade continued to refine and develop the Spider family, countless golfers expressed interest in the performance benefits of a high-MOI mallet but still preferred traditional shaping.

The perfect example is Dustin Johnson, who has enjoyed great success with both Spider and blade-type putters. While his results with the Spider speak for themselves, he also appreciates the clean look and enhanced feel a blade offers.

Four Different Shape Options

Truss will be offered in four distinct models: TB1, TB2, TM1 and TM2. TB1 is a heel-shafted blade design that most closely resembles a traditional blade putter. An additional 8g of weight was added to the toe to counterbalance the Truss hosel. TB2 is a centre-shafted blade with the hosel stretching across the centre of the face to increase stability. TM1 is a heel-shafted mallet that combines the Truss hosel with a classic mallet shape. TM2 is a centre-shafted mallet with minimal offset and the hosel stretching across the entire topline. It is the most stable putter in the Truss family.

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SPECIFICATIONS, PRICING & AVAILABILITY

Truss will be at retail beginning February 14 with an MSRP of $399.99 CAD. Available lengths include 33”, 34” and 35”. Each model has a nickel cobalt finish and features the Tour-proven Cobalt Blue Pure Roll™ insert. They come equipped with the KBS Stepless Stability Shaft and Lamkin Sink Fit Skinny grip.

More Than Golf and a PGA TOUR Event – Innisbrook Resort

When you think of Florida golf, what do you think of? For me, I think of water hazards with alligators, a lot of wildlife, Bermuda grass, and last but not least pretty flat, mundane golf courses with little to no elevation change. On these golf courses, when you see undulation in the fairways or mounding, the easy assumption is to assume that it’s manmade landmarks or features. But there is one golf course, or shall I say four on Florida’s Gulf Coast that is just a little bit different than the rest or shall I say unique. That golf property is that of Innisbrook Resort.

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It might be January. But the workers are getting the Copperhead Course ready for the Valspar Championship.

Innisbrook Resort, however, is so much more than a golf course or golf resort as I would learn during my recent trip to Florida for the 2020 PGA Show. Simply put, Innisbrook Resort is more than a venue that hosts the PGA TOUR’s Valspar Championship. It’s a self-contained property that features a bevy of amenities as I would soon learn on a very recent tour of the property. Many thanks go out to Ramona Herald who is the Director of Public Relations for Innisbrook Resort for taking the time to show me everything that Innisbrook has to offer.

 

Location, Location

Finding Innisbrook Resort is quite easy. U.S. Route 19 runs along the gulf coast that reaches to many points in and around the Tampa/St. Petersburg area and passes through Clearwater, Dunedin (Home of the Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training Camp), Palm Harbor, and Tarpon Springs. The highway extends north to Spring Hill, Florida and beyond as it’s 264 miles long (425 km). As far as Innisbrook Resort goes it is located in Palm Harbor where you will find its main entrance right off of the popular U.S. Route 19. The resort entrance is easy to see as it is appointed with well marked-out signage.

 

The Property

The property that Innisbrook sits on is quite remarkable. Sitting on 900 acres, Innisbrook Resort is one of the very few places in Florida, especially close to the coast, that features natural topography. In saying that I refer to hills. As you drive into the main entrance off of #19 or the secondary entrance off of E. Klostermann Road you’ll be greeted by friendly security staff ensuring that you belong on the property whether it’s for a weekend stay or for a day trip. Security is important at Innisbrook because as you’ll soon find out there is more to Innisbrook Resort than being a golf destination. It’s a family destination.

It doesn’t take you long to start to decompress as you drive through the property. This large, stunning resort that sits so close to the urban sprawl of Tampa/St.Pete. You cannot help but feel enamored as you take in the lush greenery that surrounds you, the cries of Osprey filling the air, and the sparkling waters that dot the resort. All pressed against a seemingly cloudless blue sky. Not to mention the gorgeous, ancient oak trees that are draped in Spanish Moss. Innisbrook Resort really feels like a refuge… A sanctuary that just beckons you to feel calm, be slow and be relaxed.

As you enter the resort from the main entrance all of the low-rises that house the accommodations are listed in alphabetical order. All named after famous golf courses. For example, “M” is for Muirfield.

 

Amenities

The amenities on the resort are plentiful, to say the least. It truly is a literal cornucopia of creature comforts. There are trams that will take you throughout the property. So if you wanted to go to Packard’s Steakhouse for an 18oz Ribeye you have that option. There is no shortage of dining options as there are five locations including The Market, Turnberry Pub, The Grill at Loch Ness, and Market Salamander Grille and Bar without leaving your parking space. That’s actually if you have a vehicle with you. If you like live entertainment (music) than the Osprey Club is where you want to be on Friday and Saturday nights. The Osprey Club seemingly flows out the convertible patio doors turning the space into a large open-air bar. A gorgeous patio is adorned with fire pits and overlooks the nearby greens of the golf course.

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The Osprey Club at the Osprey Clubhouse. (Photo Credit: Innisbrook Resort)

If you wanted to spend a day at the beach there is a complimentary shuttle that will transfer you to and from the resort to Honeymoon Island State Park. If you’ve never been here, you are missing out. An airport shuttle is available for a surcharge.

For tennis and racquet sports lovers Innisbrook Resort features 11 clay courts with 7 of them being available for illumination. Looking for a game and have nobody to play with? Let the concierge at the tennis centre know and they’ll be more than happy to find a game for you. Also, there are three indoor racquetball courts available for aficionados of that game.

On the property, there are 6 pools available for swimming including the enormous Loch Ness Monster Pool which features waterslides. It’s a great place for families as there are activities offered to keep your children/grandchildren occupied while you play golf. If you like to hike or walk through nature, enjoy one of the trails that takes you just a little bit off of the beaten path.

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A look from above. The Loch Ness Monster Pool. (Photo Credit: Innisbrook Resort)

Do you need some extra relaxation in your life? Perhaps, you need to feel a little “Zen”? Then maybe a trip to their Salamander Spa is in order. When I walked into the spa, I felt further relaxation just on account of the soft music that played and the aromatherapy that floated through the air. The spa is full-service and offers a salon, a variety of massage, facials, manicure/pedicures and a whole lot more. How about taking steam in their Eucalyptus Steam Room? Are you wanting to get some quiet time with your loved one? How about a couples massage in a room with a gas fireplace? Afterward, enjoy even more quiet time with your loved one drinking a glass of wine in their beautiful courtyard. The staff here is friendly and is there with one purpose. To make you feel welcome, happy, and relaxed.

Innisbrook Resort is a wedding destination as well. What a stunning place to exchange your nuptials. The “Wedding Tree” quickly comes to mind when I think about weddings at Innisbrook Resort.

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Rooms

There are several room types to choose from during your stay at Innisbrook Resort. Ranging from Deluxe Guest Rooms with 300 square feet, their Executive Suite with 750 square feet (with a kitchenette), their 1 and 2-bedroom suites with 1,000 and 1,200 square feet respectively (feature full kitchen) to their 2,000 square foot 2-storey Penthouse Suite.

All of the rooms here have been renovated and extensively remodeled. The rooms are tastefully decorated in modern decor and in the case where there are kitchens, they come fully-equipped with stainless steel appliances.

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The Executive Suite at Innisbrook. All of the rooms have been remodeled. (Photo Credit: Innisbrook Resort)

Golf

Alright, I know you’ve been waiting to find out about the golf at Innisbrook Resort. There are four championship golf courses at Innisbrook Resort and all of them were designed by architect Lawrence Packard who lived to be almost 102 years of age. All four are unique in their own right and all feature their own stand-alone Clubhouse/Pro Shop. There is a golf academy on the property as well. The Innisbrook Golf Institute was founded 30 years ago by its Founder Dawn Mercer.

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  • Copperhead Course – The golf course that every golfer knows at Innisbrook. This is the course that is home to the PGA TOUR’s Valspar Championship. It measures over 7,200 yards from the tips and the “Snake Pit” is where good rounds can disappear very quickly.
  • North Course – The Par 70, 6,325-yard course is no slouch. The North Course is also known as “Baby Copperhead”. Eleven holes feature water hazards while the green complexes are well-bunkered. It might be short but your accuracy has to be mighty to navigate your way around the North Course. Trees, challenging Par-3 holes and tight fairways are what awaits to “strike” you down.
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Scintillating vistas. (Photo Credit: Innisbrook Resort)

  • South Course The greens on the South Course were renovated and features the same turf as the popular Copperhead Course. Here you’ll find greens constructed of TifEagle Bermuda grass. The South is more of a links-style golf course complete with waste bunkers and 10 water hazards. The South Course is a Par-71, that measures 6,620 yards from the tips.
  • Island Course – I have two mental images that are lasting about the Island Course. Elegant, magnificent oak trees with the ever-present Spanish Moss draping them and the unbelievable topography change from the 10th tee to the approach up to the green. And I do mean up! While the Copperhead Course has notoriety amongst golfers, the Island Course has had its fair share of events. In the past, the Island Course has been home to U.S. Open Qualifiers, NCAA Championships, and the LPGA Tour chose the Island Course as the venue for the ISPS Handa Legends Tour Open Championship. Tight fairways, a plethora of water hazards and really is like playing three different courses in one round of golf. The Island Course is aesthetically appealing and pretty potent. Carnage awaits on this Par 72 – 7,194 yard gem.

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I’m looking forward to my next visit to Innisbrook Resort as it will be a chance to take in the resort itself from a guest standpoint and maybe afford me the opportunity to play a round or two of golf. Innisbrook Resort is way more than a PGA TOUR venue. It’s a frame of mind and a sanctuary. The resort is fully self-contained with a large conference meeting space, a variety of rooms, a spa, tennis courts, and four championship golf courses, and six pools. What more could you want? There is another “magical kingdom” in Florida and that kingdom is Innisbrook Resort.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee