The Search to be Saved

It’s amazing when you pause and reflect on how much golf technology has changed over the last several decades. We’ve seen woods go from the ever classy persimmon to being constructed of space-aged materials like carbon-fiber and titanium. From an aeronautics standpoint, titanium was used in the 1950’s to develop the infamous Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft. Just think what was once a classified material is now commonplace in the manufacturing of golf clubs.

The original “Baffler Sole” from Cobra Golf. Who knew what it would become?

Of course, technology doesn’t stop there. From golf components, golf balls, launch monitors, and apparel technology is at the forefront. The endless endeavor of helping golfers play their best golf is a focal point for golf manufacturers throughout the golf industry. Investments into research and development (R&D) to make a challenging sport just a little bit less taxing is never-ending pursuit. To this end, long gone are iron sets that are composed of tiny and compact heads with sweet spots the size of pinhead like the Spalding Blades of yesteryear. Instead, we see improved weight distribution such as perimeter weighting and larger sweet spots in sets considered to be “Player’s Irons”. As the game has evolved, players of the highest handicaps and tour professionals alike have seen the value of hybrid or rescue clubs.

The history of the hybrid dates back to the 1970’s when Cobra Golf introduced their Baffler fairway wood which featured a patented sole design. The “Baffler” design is still employed by the company today half a century later from when the golfing world first learned of the Baffler sole (the Baffler LP launched in 1998). Soon after, more golf companies followed suit. TaylorMade Golf launched their Rescue in 2003 and Adams Golf is often thought to be a pioneer in this genre of golf clubs. I’ll circle back around to Adams Golf in a little while.

As it turns out almost every golf original equipment manufacturer (OEM) has a rescue, hybrid, or utility iron in their stable. Whether it’s a company like New Level Golf Equipment, Sub 70 Golf, Fourteen Golf (HI-877 Hybrid seen below) Wilson, PING, Callaway Golf et al they all offer them. Because they work and help.

In a way, the hybrid, rescue or utility iron has become a necessity in the majority of golfers bags worldwide. These staples are used for many reasons. First of all, they are simply easier to strike vs a low-lofted club (1-3i). Even more importantly is the fact that these golf clubs are easier to elevate due to so much weight being distributed low and back near the trailing edge, although some “pro models” (Tour Edge Exotics EXS Pro) do offer the weight a little more forward in order to help golfers (usually higher-swing speed players) achieve a flatter trajectory. Not to mention these golf clubs offer tremendous versatility around greens and they are easier to hit out of long rough than a long iron.

Personally speaking, my foray into the world of rescue clubs didn’t start off, swimmingly. I had a hard time buying into them and to be totally frank, much of it had to do with my stubbornness than anything else. Jut the appearance alone I disliked. They were the proverbial “Ugly Duckling” in my eyes. I didn’t like looking at them and whenever I tried to strike one at a demo day more often than not, resulted in a poor, flubbed shot. Ironically enough, I had no issue striking high-lofted fairway metals (I gamed a 7-wood) and a 2 or 3i, was no problem. But, eventually, I warmed up to these… abominations. The ugly duckling was in fact, a swan.

The Adams Golf A3 Boxer. The one that made see the light.

So what won me over to see the ways of the hybrid? Well, there were several factors. Much of it had to do with sensory things of course. It wasn’t until Adams Golf launched the Boxer A3 hybrid and little known MA-Nine Golf (Kick X Golf) launched the MA-Nine Hybrid that I bought into hybrids. These particular clubs had the right feel, sound, and performed duties how I needed them to be performed. Going into greens the golf ball elevated, flew high and landed soft with nary a release. They were bailing me out from trees and the rough. After initially balking at using hybrids it became quite apparent that hybrids/rescues were “bona fide stroke-savers”.

Ever since, I’ve had a revolving door of hybrids/utility irons that have included but are not limited to Titleist 503.H and 910H, and 913H, TaylorMade Golf SLDR (still play it on occasion), Miura Golf HB3, Tour Edge Exotics EXS and EXS Pro, Callaway Golf X Hot, PING Rapture Utility among others.

This Miura Golf HB3 hybrid came in for review. It ended up in the bag.

Choosing the Right Style of Hybrid/Rescue/Utility Iron For “Your” Game

When it comes to picking out the right variation of these clubs for your game, you need to really examine yourself as a golfer. What kind of golfer are you? Are you a high-handicap golfer? Do you have a discerning eye? Do you hate offset? Do you need offset to help you fight a slice? The variables are really too much to list. Make no mistake about it, when assessing yourself you have to be totally honest with the person looking back at you in the mirror. Otherwise, it’s all moot.

When I look at drivers, hybrids, irons, etc there really is a set of parameters that I use. Most of it, is used when I award my annual Teezy Awards at the annual PGA Merchandise Show Demo Day. Of course performance stands for a lot, but other factors like esthetics, sound/feel. and value mean something too. But here are some considerations.

Utility irons like this Lynx Golf Prowler Stinger VT Driving Iron. Highly practical on tight par 4’s.
  1. What is the main purpose for the club? For example, am I a better player looking to use the club on tight fairways and short par 4 holes. Links golf for example. Maybe a Utility Iron is the better choice.
  2. Looks matter. Do you feel more confident looking down at something with a larger footprint? The larger the footprint perhaps there’s more forgiveness to be gained. While Utility Irons offer the smallest footprint, pro models will offer something in tween the Utility Iron and Game-Improvement hybrid.
  3. Sticking with looks. Does it appear clean or is there too much going on? Offset, maybe you need the help or maybe it bugs your eye. Either way, life is about “checks and balances” and choosing the right golf equipment for your game is no different. You might gain a lot by giving up a little.
  4. Sound and feel often are associated with each other. To me feel is often almost as important if not moreso than how it performs. When you like how a golf club feels you look forward to swinging it. Confidence oozes out of your pores The psychological impact of this variable is more important than you might think.
  5. Budget. What’s an acceptable price point for you? Is there good value for your consumer dollars? Maybe due to fiscal issues you can’t afford the newest and latest offerings of the calendar year.
  6. Technology. Is the technology legit or is it “smoke and mirrors”? Maybe you prefer adjustable heads for tinkering with launch conditions. When it comes to components most of the manufacturers offer great stock offerings for shafts that were not long ago, up-charged products. But, do you need to upgrade the shaft after you purchase it.

To find out the correct answer isn’t really “rocket science” per se. More importantly no matter what major golf websites or I say, there isn’t a best “Be All… End All” correct club for you. All we do, and I say this with the most objectivity and honesty is that we can only offer a baseline. Products for you to consider. Much like a therapist or counselor.

The Tour Edge Exotics Pro hybrid. Smaller footprint, weigh is placed a little more forward, designed to be anti-hook.

If you’re looking at a new hybrid swing as many products as you can. Hopefully, there’s an outdoor demo day that offers the luxuries of both real-time ballflight and launch monitor information. There’s no substitution for the real thing. I’d be remiss if I also failed to mention a trusted clubfitter.

I hope this help and enjoy your search for a rescue. I love being saved.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

Celebrate Women’s Golf Month with Products from Zero Friction

OAKBROOK TERRACE, IL (June 10, 2021) –This being the month of Women’s Golf Day, Zero Friction wants to help women look great while improving their game on the golf course!  The company known for delivering cutting edge products to golf enthusiasts of all skill levels has a wide variety of products available for the lady golfer in your life.

  • Zero Friction™ Ladies Compression Golf Glove:  The original compression fit glove is an All-Weather synthetic glove with a digitized palm and patch, which holds shape longer.  The Ladies Compression Fit Glove is available in six colors in both right- and left-handed gloves.  ($13.99)
  • Ladies Cabretta Elite Golf Gloves:  Zero Friction’s unique Compression-Fit technology is also available in a 100% authentic cabretta leather glove with matching Lycra colors. This glove molds with your hand for a guaranteed fit.  Best of all the leather provides a solid grip in wet or humid weather, and works with smart phone & touch screen devices. Available in five colors. ($17.99)
  • ZF Storm Golf Gloves Ladies:  This superior All-Weather (Rain & Cold) Golf Gloves has all the great features of the original ZF Compression Fit technology golf glove with added warmth and durability for the colder months.  They are knitted from a unique hollow core polyester yarn plus spandex that makes them warm, light weight, breathable and guaranteed to fit. The outer premium microfiber suede of the glove provides a non-slip grip for wet and humid conditions. Available in black. ($24.99)
  • ZF Spectra Golf Balls.  Zero Friction Spectra matte finish golf balls are a two-piece distance golf ball with a soft Surlyn durable cover available in 5 neon colors plus matte finish white.  Large super-fast core provides explosive distance, high launch and longer roll off the tee. ($19.99/dozen)

Women’s Golf Day is celebrated annually on June 1st. Now in its sixth year, WGD is a one-day event uniting women and girls through golf across the globe. Over 1,000 officially registered locations in over 80 countries participated this year.

Zero Friction is currently offering free shipping on orders $75 and above. For more information, see the Zero Friction catalog, visit www.zerofriction.com, or call 630-317-7700.

About Zero Friction

Based in Oakbrook Terrace, Il, Zero Friction is known industry wide for being on the cutting edge when it comes to introducing new products to players and creative packaging for its retail partners. Zero Friction provides high-quality, technologically advanced products for golfers worldwide, including gloves, performance golf tees, balls and accessories. The company established the performance golf tee market, creating the first and only performance tee to ever carry the PGA TOUR logo. Zero Friction’s most recent success story is in the golf glove segment. Zero Friction’s colorful line of compression-fit gloves for men, women and juniors takes the guesswork out of sizing.  Compression-fit technology means a universal fit within the various models, and the glove that will hold its shape longer than any on the market.  To view the entire line of Zero Friction golf products, visit www.ZeroFriction.com

The Hill Academy Joins in Support of The Road to TPC Toronto


Prestigious Caledon-based independent school becomes event series partner of The Road to TPC Toronto presented by COBRA PUMA GOLF 

Caledon, Ont. – TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley announced on Tuesday that The Hill Academy, a premiere independent school for dedicated student-athletes in grades 5 to 12, has added its support for The Road to TPC Toronto presented by COBRA PUMA GOLF as an event series partner.
 
The Hill Academy, which recently added to its list of unique athletic programs with a Golf Program based out of TPC Toronto, will provide support for each qualifying event on The Road to TPC Toronto. The Hill’s unique combination of high-level academics and elite athletic training helps prepare student-athletes for success at the next level in education and sports.
 
“We’re thrilled to have the support of The Hill Academy in launching The Road this summer. This series of tournaments is all about providing junior athletes with opportunities to compete and improve their games, something The Hill Academy has been specializing in with student-athletes since launching in 2006,” said TPC Toronto Tournament and Programming Director Brad Parkins.
 
Each qualifying event will feature an information booth about The Hill Academy’s athletic and academic programs along with on-site representatives to provide more information on their program. “With high-level tournaments taking place all across Ontario this summer, we look forward to introducing some of the province’s best junior golfers to The Hill Academy’s outstanding program and elite training opportunities,” added Parkins.
 
“The growth in popularity of junior golf over the past several years has been remarkable to see, and we’re thrilled to support The Road to TPC Toronto alongside our newly-launched Golf Program,” said Brodie Merrill, Director of Athletics for The Hill Academy. “We look forward to meeting junior golfers across Ontario this summer and providing more information on how The Hill’s unique blend of athletics and academics can help to achieve success at the next level on the course and in the classroom.”
 
The Road to TPC Toronto presented by COBRA PUMA GOLF gets underway later this month with the first of six 36-hole regional qualifying tournaments for girls and boys, each with the chance to earn a spot in the season-ending finale at TPC Toronto in August.
 
Regional qualifying tournament fields will be open to girls and boys, aged 18 and under. The top six boys and three girls from each regional qualifier will advance to the finale at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley, in Caledon, Ontario, August 16-17, 2021. At The Finale, 60 of the province’s best junior golfers will compete in the 36-hole finale, with prizing for top finishers. 
 
COBRA PUMA GOLF will provide equipment and apparel prizes for outstanding junior golfers at each event, with the boys’ and girls’ champion following the finale at TPC Toronto earning a prize pack, including a custom fitting for a new KING RADSPEED driver.
 
Competitions will be operated with detailed COVID-19 safety protocols in place in accordance with each host facility’s established practices.
 
Online registration for tournaments is now open at theroadtotpctoronto.com.
 

 
For more information contact:
 
Brad Parkins
Tournament and Programming Director
TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley
bparkins@ospreyvalley.com
 
About TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley

TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley is one of Ontario’s premier golf destinations and the only TPC facility in Canada, located 45 minutes outside of Toronto and featuring three Doug Carrick courses – the Heathlands, Hoot and North – all ranked in SCOREGolf’s Top 100 Courses in Canada.
 
About The Hill Academy
 
The Hill Academy was founded in 2006 in order to provide optimal academic and athletic programming for dedicated student-athletes.
 
Located in Caledon ON, just 45 minutes north of the GTA, the Hill campus sits on 134 acres of beautifully forested land. The campus offers students a state of the art athletic training experience, with new gym facilities, running and hiking trails,  turf field, exclusive off-site rink access, and an expansive boarding complex.
 
Hill graduates have been placed in some of the most prestigious academic and athletic institutions in the world, and many have gone on to become premier professional athletes in their sport. The Hill Academy is an institution for students who are committed to striving academically, and who would like an opportunity to take an in-depth exploration into their respective sport.
 
For more information, visit http://www.thehillacademy.comand follow on social media: Instagram (@canadacuplax / @thehillacademy / @thehillacademylacrosse), Twitter (@canadacuplax /@TheHillAcademy / @Hill_Lacrosse), Facebook (@TheHillAcademy1845) and YouTube (@HillAcademy).
 
Photo Credit: The Hill Academy

TaylorMade Golf Company Introduces Premium Collection of TP Hydro Blast Putters

With a focus on craftsmanship, the new collection combines classic designs with a new Hydro Blast finish to deliver premium performance and aesthetics

CARLSBAD, Calif. (June 11, 2021) – TaylorMade Golf Company, the industry leader in innovation and technology, today announced the all-new TP Hydro Blast Putter collection – providing golfers a selection of seven traditionally shaped putters that feature a renewed dedication to performance and aesthetics.

Crafted with the purist in mind, each putter speaks to the golfing zealot that lives within us all. From the soft flowing curvatures of Soto and Chaska to the sharp geometric lines of Bandon, the collection offers a variety of fully milled putters to fit the vast spectrum of golfers and putting strokes.

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The new Hydro Blast finish provides a rich, premium and cohesive look to the family. This durable yet beautiful surface is achieved by applying a high-pressure stream of water to 303 stainless steel. As an unquestioned industry standard for premium putters, 303 stainless steel was destined for milling. The soft yet strong metal delivers a superior feel and artisan aesthetics.

Each model is equipped with the same White Pure Roll™ Insert that’s helped propel Spider X to more than a dozen Tour victories since 2019. It features grooves at a downward 45° angle, designed to optimize roll characteristics by producing enhanced topspin to help the ball start rolling end over end sooner. 

Putters in the TP Hydro Blast collection are named in honour of iconic golfing regions and destinations around the globe. Further differentiating factors include hosel types, sightlines and toe hang. With such variety, there is a TP Hydro Blast putter for every putting style and stroke.

We relied on precision milling and the new Hydro Blast finish to deliver an artisan look to this family of premium putters. Through clean aesthetics, time-honored shaping and superior feel, we’ve blended the modern with the traditional to create a new class of classic.Bill Price, TaylorMade Product Creation, Putter & Wedge

SOTO & DEL MONTE

Soto is a classically shaped blade that features flowing, rounded edges. A clean build with a single sightline on the back cavity, this time-honored shape is meant to inspire confidence and produce exceptional feel putt after putt. Equipped with an L-Neck hosel, the traditional blade shape produces 40° of toe hang, resulting in a putter that best fits players who create maximum face rotation throughout the putting motion.

With a shorter blade length and a wider area from front to back, the Del Monte has a squattier profile that translates to a more mallet-like feel while maintaining the characteristics of a blade. It comes in two models, one with an L-Neck and the other a Single Bend hosel. With 29° of toe hang, the L-Neck best fits players who create moderate face rotation throughout the swing. The Single Bend hosel delivers a more face-balanced outcome (only 8° of toe hang) that better aligns with golfers who have a straight back and straight through putting motion.

BANDON

This Tour-inspired double wing design helps frame the ball at address and encourages forgiveness via optimized perimeter weighting. With sharp geometric lines that reflect the technical precision of this classically made mallet, the Bandon was the first TP Hydro Blast model to appear on Tour. 

Tommy Fleetwood first put the L-Neck version in the bag at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina, after spending hours with TaylorMade’s Tour team and testing numerous configurations. He ultimately elected to use Bandon 1 because it improved the centeredness of his strikes – with his prior putter, he tended to have heel-ward mis-hits.

Fleetwood has a long history of using blade putters, and because this model features 22° of toe hang, it made the transition to a mallet-style head seamless.

For Tommy, the centeredness of strike was a big reason for his switch to the Bandon. The heel-side miss is something he battled with his blade, and we’ve helped him develop a little more consistency with this one. Beyond that, he’s very comfortable with the shape of the putter and has said that it helps him with alignmentAdrian Rietveld, TaylorMade Senior Tour Representative

The Bandon 3 is the second iteration of this model. It features a short slant hosel with increased toe hang (32°) for even more blade-like performance within a mallet design.

DUPAGE

As a modern take on the traditional mallet design, the DuPage relies on unique visual alignment cues and a dual-slot cavity to help frame the ball at address. This face-balanced putter features a single bend hosel and is better suited for players with a straight back and straight through putting motion.

CHASKA

The Tour-proven Chaska revisits the original TaylorMade Corza Ghost design with the familiar circular alignment aid in the back of the putter and three sightlines on top. With rounded contours, adjustable sole weights, and three forward sightlines, the design provides exceptional stability and simple alignment features. This face-balanced putter features a single bend hosel and is better suited for players with a straight back and straight through putting motion.

PRICING & AVAILABILITY  

TP Hydro Blast Putters are available at retail starting today, 6/11/2021, with each model carrying an MSRP of $269.99 CAD. To learn more about the collection of TP Hydro Blast Putters, visit TaylorMadeGolf.ca.

College Golf’s Top-Ranked Player, John Pak, Signs with TaylorMade Golf Company

With Talent, Poise and Pedigree, Pak is the Latest Addition to an Already Talented Roster of Team TaylorMade Athletes 

CARLSBAD, Calif. (June 10, 2021) – TaylorMade Golf Company, an industry leader in innovation and performance, today announces the signing of John Pak – adding to an already impressive roster of PGA TOUR talent. 

Pak, 22, is scheduled to make his professional debut at this week’s Palmetto Championship at Congaree, with a second invite confirmed for the Travelers Championship. After claiming the top spot on the PGA TOUR University rankings, he will receive immediate membership onto the Korn Ferry Tour. 

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© PGA TOUR / Getty Images

Pak enters the pros as one of the most celebrated collegiate players in recent history, coming off a clean sweep of the three most prestigious awards in college golf. He won the 2021 Jack Nicklaus Award for the national college player of the year, the 2021 Fred Haskins Award for the outstanding collegiate golfer as voted on by players, coaches and media, as well as the 2021 Ben Hogan Award Presented by PNC Bank, recognizing the most outstanding male amateur and college golfer of the year. 

In addition, Pak was named to the Walker Cup in 2019 and 2021, as well as the Palmer Cup team in 2020. He was the low amateur at the 2020 U.S. Open. 

To this stage, his career has been a model of consistency, evidenced by his eight college wins and finishing in the top spot among the PGA TOUR University rankings. The points-based system rewards players for collegiate and Tour performances. He topped the list by nearly 200 points with only a single Tour start, which is a testament to his ability to perform week after week. 

He has been one of Division I golf’s most accurate drivers and possesses strong ball striking skills, a combination that led to a scoring average of 69.76 his senior year. 

I wouldn’t be shocked if John was a top 10 ball-striker after his first full season on Tour; that’s the type of game he has. The accuracy, his ability to repeat his swing and how solid he hits it, we’re excited to add him to the team. Beyond the course, he has a great personality and is genuine to his core. He’s the kind of person that everyone wants to be around. He’s a perfect fit for the culture of Team TaylorMade.Ryan Ressa, TaylorMade’s Player Development Manager

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© PGA TOUR / Getty Images

The native of Scotch Plains, New Jersey, now resides in Orlando after graduating from Florida State University, where he majored in Social Science, was a four-time All American and the 2021 ACC Player of the Year.

I’ve had TaylorMade equipment in my bag for a long time, and to now officially be a member of Team TaylorMade as I start my professional career is an amazing feeling. I have loved every minute of my time as a Seminole and am very grateful to my coaches, teammates, and the whole Florida State community for helping me reach this moment, but now I can’t wait to get started. I chose TaylorMade because I know their commitment to performance and people is second to none. I’m looking forward to being on the team for years to come.John Pak

Here’s a current look at his bag:

  • SIM2 9.0° driver
  • SIM2 Max 15° fairway
  • Tour Preferred UDI 19.0°
  • P•7MC Irons (3-9)
  • Milled Grind 2 wedges 48°, 50°, 54° and 58°
  • Spider X putter
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© PGA TOUR / Getty Images