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

WOMEN’S GOLF DAY 2021 SETS NEW GLOBAL RECORDS

A WEEK OF FUN, STARTING WITH RINGING THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE OPENING BELL AND CULMINATING WITH THOUSANDS ATTENDING LIVE EVENTS

(WEST PALM BEACH, FL, June 2, 2021) – Now in its 6th year, Women’s Golf Day (WGD) kicked off with an early start yesterday with its first ever event in New Zealand, one of the three new countries to join the WGD Community in 2021. The famous red & white of WGD was everywhere to be seen on social media continuing the tradition that has brought the event to over 1000 officially registered locations in over 80 countries. With #WomensGolfDay reaching 72.4M unique users, generating 87M impressions across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter the June 1st numbers simply speak for themselves!

Women’s Golf Day is unique; a one-day sporting and community celebration event, uniting women and girls through golf across the globe for 24 hours straight transcending race, religion, language, geography or economic status. This capped off an exciting week that started with the ringing of the opening bell at the NYSE and WGD Palooza, an online event everyone could attend.

“From the first event in Papakura, New Zealand to the last in Princeville, Hawaii, women and girls have been sharing really special moments because of golf,” explains Elisa Gaudet Founder of Women’s Golf Day. “WGD has increased in popularity year after year by engaging men and women and brands. This year we have really seen the power of partnership and what we can accomplish collectively. I am truly humbled by the individuals, locations, partners and organizations who continue to be committed to Women’s Golf Day and thank them for everything that they bring to the game and our events.” Japan and Argentina were also new host countries for 2021. Golfers still managed to join in the fun, even in places still restricted by COVID-19, joining people around the world showing their love of the game by posting photos using the hashtag #womensgolfday. 

2021 has seen another milestone smashed as the total number of participating venues reached 941, exceeding previous records. A staggering number of facilities including PGA TOUR Superstores, Topgolf venues, driving ranges, and traditional golf courses have now hosted Official WGD events. The diverse range of opportunities to learn and play golf offered through WGD undoubtedly contributes to its success.

Elisa explains, “Golf is not a one-size-fits-all sport anymore.  Women want options and thanks to our retail and brand partners, as well as the locations who host our official events, we can showcase golf at its very best. Women who have never played golf are beginning to see that in the 21st century it is a sport for everyone.  This is a really exciting time in golf’s evolution, and we are proud of the role we continue to play in making golf more accessible.”

Each year WGD experiences impressive growth in participation figures, and location numbers as well as its social media exposure.  This, combined with increasing industry support, indicates the gathering momentum for WGD, so if you have thought about joining this global movement do not delay!

Sponsorship opportunities are open for Women’s Golf Day VIP Program and the team is already preparing for the 7th year of this amazing event which will take place on June 7, 2022.

ABOUT WOMEN’S GOLF DAY:

Women’s Golf Day (WGD) is a global movement that strives to Engage, Empower, and Support women and girls through golf. The one-day, four-hour event, has now taken place at more than 1,000 locations in over 80 countries since its inception in 2016, and has introduced thousands of new golfers to the sport. WGD is the fastest-growing female golf development initiative around the globe.

In 2020, WGD’s primary hashtag, #WomensGolfDay, received more than 59 million global impressions to nearly 37 million people viewing WGD content. Women’s Golf Day is unique, there is nothing like it in sports, a one-day sporting and community celebration event that unites women through golf across the globe for 24 hours straight transcending race, religion, language, geography, or economic status.

Visit www.womensgolfday.com @womensgolfday, #WomensGolfDay #WGDunites
 
Women’s Golf Day Supporters:

Partners and supporting organizations of WGD are:  Ahead, All Square, Annika Foundation, ASIAN GOLF, Callaway Golf, The California Alliance for Golf, Chronogolf, ClubCorp, EGCOA, European Tour, European Tour Properties, PGA of America, FootJoy, The First Tee, Gallus Golf, The Golf Channel, GolfNow, Golf Town, International Golf Federation, LET, LPGA, LPGA Amateur, Modest Golf Management, NGCOA, NGCOA Canada, PGA of America, PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Superstore, Players 1st, The R&A, Sky Sports, Titleist, Topgolf, TPC Properties, Troon Golf, Troon International, USGA, WE ARE GOLF, Women & Golf, The World Golf Foundation and more.

New Arm Lock 2-Ball Ten Putters + Supersoft Play Yellow Balls Announced

Stay tuned for more details to come on these two new products from Callaway Golf and Odyssey Golf respectively.

Odyssey Arm Lock 2-Ball Ten Putters

Arm Lock is the hottest alternative putting method on Tour, and we’re providing all of these performance benefits along with our 2-Ball Ten shape. The elongated shaft and 7 degrees of loft allow the shaft to rest against the inside of the golfer’s left arm without anchoring to your body. The sole of these Arm Lock putters is designed with adjustable weight screws to enhance stability for a more consistent stroke, and this new line is available in 40” and 42” lengths.

Pricing: $299.99

Product At Retail: 6/17

Supersoft Play Yellow 

For every dozen of these golf balls sold, Callaway is proud to donate $1 to the Play Yellow Campaign benefiting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Supersoft features a new Hybrid Cover made with a PARALOID™ Impact Modifier from Dow, for a dynamic design that promotes long distance, exceptional spin, outstanding feel, and short game control. Our Soft Compression Core maximizes energy transfer to increase ball speeds, while also promoting high launch and low spin in your longer clubs for more distance. To complete this performance package, our HEX Aerodynamics pattern reduces drag for enhanced launch and optimized trajectory.

Pricing: $22.99/dozen

Product At Retail: 6/3 (available today)

Give Dad An Unforgettable Experience With A Club Champion Gift Card

Limited-time Father’s Day offer is active now

Willowbrook, IL – Shopping for Father’s Day gifts is tough — what do you get the man who has almost everything? The answer: a gift card to Club Champion, the nation’s top club fitter, builder and retailer of the best brands in golf. They offer more than 50,000 hittable head and shaft combinations, and a professional-level fitting experience for golfers of any ability. For a limited time, get $75 toward Dad’s equipment purchase when you buy a gift card for $150 or more!

Ranked by Golf Digest among the 100 best club fitters eight times in a row, Club Champion’s unique coupling system allows them to combine any head and shaft together. The equipment available for testing is far more expansive than what’s offered at other fitting venues, and the variety allows their master fitters to find the perfect combination to optimize a golfer’s swing. Dad won’t have to wait to test the suggested clubs; he’ll get to hit the exact club that will be custom built for him.

“Our studios are candy stores for golfers,” said Club Champion founder, Nick Sherburne. “We go above and beyond what some PGA Tour professionals have access to. Dad will enjoy the data-driven fitting process and absolutely love the lower scores that come out of it.”

In addition to providing fittings from highly trained master fitters, Club Champion builds clubs in-house, unlike most other fitters. Variables such as swingweight, length, lie and flex alter performance; the experience and know-how combining these intricate parts together is what separates Club Champion from its competition.

Whether Dad is an avid golfer or a casual player, a gift card to Club Champion can help improve his game this Father’s Day. Don’t miss out on $75 toward Dad’s equipment purchase — that offer ends 6/20/21. Gift cards can be purchased online at http://bit.ly/CCFathersDay21.

About Club Champion

Established in 2010, Club Champion is a national club fitting and building company headquartered in Chicago, IL. There are currently more than 80 Club Champion fitting studios in major markets across the country, with plans to expand further in 2020. The studios carry all the top golf club, shaft and grip manufacturers in the industry, which are used to build test clubs in real-time. Studios are equipped with advanced analysis technology, along with highly trained certified fitters and builders who must complete an extensive training program. Services include club fitting and building, repair services, personalization, and highly engaging corporate and personal entertainment events. For more information about Club Champion, visit http://www.clubchampiongolf.com.

The Comeback

2021. What can you say? So far it’s been the year of the comeback.

A year where we’ve seen past champions capture glory while seemingly, turning the clock back. Winners like past Major Champions Jordan Spieth and the LPGA’s Lydia Ko. Say what you will about those golfers that turn 50 that set their sights towards the PGA TOUR Champions (or Champions Tour if you prefer). Former Masters Champion and fellow Canadian Mike Weir also won recently for the first time in what must have felt like an eternity. coming to think of it, that was a move that has paid dividends for Phil Mickelson too.

The same Phil Mickelson who just did amazing things this past weekend at the second major championship of the year. The PGA Championship held at the lovely, serene, and pure Kiawah Island Golf Resort – Ocean Course. What can you say about the man lovingly referred to as “Lefty”. If there was a tournament that was geared towards a player like Phil Mickelson, it was THIS PGA Championship which consequently had the feel of a New York City area U.S. Open.

Photo Credit: PGAChampionship.com

This was the first tournament since COVID reared its ugly head where we saw anything resembling a real gallery. An event where fans do what fans at golf tournaments do. Cheer. Sure, there was the usual stupidity yelled from the galleries and quite honestly I didn’t miss that. At one point I thought to myself maybe no fans in attendance is a good thing. But, the atmosphere that this tournament created was something that we haven’t seen in such a long time. It felt so different as if there was a “sort of” hope and everything in the world was okay again. Utter mob scene notwithstanding.

Hope. Thinking about that word, Hope was one of two things that my mother wisely once told me gave you a reason or a purpose to wake up every morning. The second thing were dreams. These two things can give you drive and motivation. Mom knew it too and she epitomized this thinking. She left Hungary in 1956 s a 17 year old, escaped soldiers of the former Soviet Union through a minefield, found her way to Austria and then England afterward. Eventually making her way to Canada where she met my father, While teaching herself how to speak English she also went to nursing school and became a nurse. All of this fueled by hope and a dream.

Watching Phil Mickelson this weekend was so much fun, it was entertaining, and quite frankly it was good for the game of golf. As I sat here and reflected on this past weekend I got to thinking about several aspects of this particular championship. The fans were great even though the mob scene in the 18th fairway of the 72nd hole was admonished by so many. There really was a “Happy Gilmore” vibe to it. Moreover, it reminded me of a by-gone era when galleries followed closely behind the final pairing. I think of the final scene of the movie “The Greatest Game Ever Played”. Or past episodes of “Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf”. Albeit less reserved and perhaps a bit more inebriated. It seemed so intimate. Granted, the potential of this gallery growing ever-so raucous was there. Very easily Phil or Brooks Koepka could have been on the receiving end of a fluke injury. Something that the aforementioned Mike Weir knows all too well. There was crowd control, but you have to ask yourself, was it sufficient? Was their the over serving of alcohol? Some thing may need to change or maybe this was some sort of anomaly, and people were just happy to be back.

Photo Credit: Golfweek

Watching Phil engage with the fans the way that he did was very “Phil-like” in every way. After missing the 11th fairway a spectator in the left hand rough picked up his golf ball. Phil being Phil joked around, making comical and witty remarks was unphased by the fans actions. It was just like he was out there playing a casual recreational round, sipping beers with a buddy on a muni somewhere in San Diego. Folks, if you go to a professional golf tournament and an errant shot lands near you, please don’t touch the golf ball.

There’s one thing that I would love to know. Call it speculation if you want. Am I the only one that feels that the fans really put the wind into Mickelson’s proverbial sails? Would we have seen him grind it out the way that he did if the only spectators were shorebirds on the beaches of South Carolina? Had the spectators and atmosphere not been there, would the Mickelson gas tank (presumably filled with Coffee For Wellness) have emptied thus opening the door for Koepka to steal a victory?

Speaking of Koepka, there are a lot of people (maybe people that placed bets on him to win) suggesting that he took a fall for Mickelson. If you believe that for a second, than may I suggest that you’re gullible and naïve. If you think for a second that an “Alpha” personality type like Brooks would step aside in a tournament, let alone a major championship you’ve got another thing coming. There is no way that happened! To that end, I feel that Koepka made several unforced errors during the final round. On numerous occasions I said out loud “What is he doing?”. His second shot trying to go over the sandy area on 11 cost him a stroke for sure. Coming out of that sandy area I thought that he didn’t take enough club (he didn’t). There’s a lesson here. Just go for the fairway (landing area). Especially into the wind when you’re 300 yards out. There were a couple of putts that were awful efforts including a short miss. Koepka could have won but he didn’t.

Photo Credit: GOLF.com

Phil winning at 50 makes him the oldest Major winner ever. A stat that we’ve heard endlessly and I’m okay with it. It’s a heck of a milestone. It was historic and fun to be a part of or at least watch unfold. Heading into the U.S. Open Mickelson was looking at getting into the field via an invite from the USGA. Phil said that he would love to get in on his own merits and this victory did exactly that. Not to mention the 5 year exemption that came with the victory.

Usually, I don’t spend much time watching the PGA Championship as I rank it dead last among the Major Championships and behind THE PLAYERS. I admit that the only reason why I had any interest was mostly because of the venue itself and Phil being in contention with a shot at making history. I am so thankful that I watched it.

It really felt different. It was historic, it offered hope and in a way it felt like COVID was gone and a thing of the past. Especially seeing that there was not a mask in sight that I saw amongst the gallery. Hope is on the horizon and watching Phil was inspiring. Time to dream.

Phil winning this past weekend wasn’t the only comeback to happen. Golf here in Ontario has once again resumed after our lockdown. We’re back baby!! I had my first range session of the re-start and we’re clicking. Next stop, the golf course.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee