Feeling Short-Changed Playing a Short Course? Don’t!

There are far more benefits for your game playing these “shorties” than you think

Some time ago, I posed a question over Twitter to gauge how golfers felt about executive-length golf courses. As you can see, from the Tweet below, it was actually nearly a year ago. Up until recently, I left it pinned at the top of my Twitter profile. The question was simple really. Basically, it went something like this. Do you like executive-length golf courses or do you prefer something a little more, “beefy”?

As you can see below, based on a small sample size of respondents 77% thought that executive-length golf courses were kosher. With 22% feeling that maybe a golf course under 6,400 yards might be either bad for your game or for some, maybe there isn’t a real challenge playing a short golf course. If you feel the latter, I respect that but, I beg to differ.

There really isn’t a right or wrong opinion on this topic or any other for that matter. Wouldn’t the world be a dull place if we all agreed on everything? In my opinion, I think executive-length golf courses are great and maybe some of the 22% should reconsider their feelings. Especially, if you’re a golfer in the mid to high handicap range who were in the 22%..

Personally speaking, I like them and I actually developed more of a fondness of them late last-season. For all intents and purposes my 2020 golf season was a total joke and a total train wreck. It was the worst season that I had from a scoring standpoint. The reasons for it were for several all of them stemming from nagging health issues. More often than not, the pain was so bad that I couldn’t stand to be in my own skin. I was unable to make a turn resorting to picking up the golf club in what was a horrible compensatory move, just to play golf. Even my hips were all locked up, so, enter the sway and slide into impact. Ewwww!! Gross! Even my range sessions were lousy and thinking back, I don’t really remember having a good one until very late in the season.

Brock Golf Course. Small greens that make you focus.

Another cause of my poor play was the little issue of lots of practice into a net in the backyard that we had at the time (thanks COVID Lockdown numero uno) where I was reinforcing feels. I’m not a technical or mechanical player, and when I do focus on that sort of stuff my swing lacks fluidity or rhythm (I’m no Els or Couples by any means). But there I was, focusing on the strike and working on really delaying my release. By the time golf courses and ranges were allowed to re-open, I was in a heap of trouble.

In the Niagara Region, there’s no shortage of executive-length golf courses. Without trying too hard, there’s Brock Golf Course, Eagle Valley, Heritage Woods (11 Holes), Garden City Golf Course (literally down the street), Fort Erie Golf Club, Cardinal Lakes – Sparrow Course and Legends on the Niagara – Chippawa Course which is run by the Niagara Parks. For something a shade longer Waterpark Golf Club and Long Beach Country Club sit. Four of these golf courses are where I really played golf for the first time and made me realize that I really liked the game. Basically, the point being that, there’s no shortage of this genre of golf courses where I live.

The pros to playing these types of golf course generally outweigh the cons. No matter what golf course that you’re playing, it’s you versus the golf course architect first and foremost. Secondary to that are the other golfers in your group. So, whether it’s a Par 29, 34, or 36 you have to beat par. In a time and era where every minute counts in our hectic lives rounds on these golf courses don’t take as long a a round of golf on a regulation golf course. There are exceptions to the rule though as I played one golf course in Florida called Southport Springs where the pace of play was, lethargic. From a cost standpoint, these golf courses also may not hurt the wallet as much if you’re a golfer on a strained budget. Not to mention, you can get out for a round if you’re feeling a little, infirm.

Tunnel vision needed down this Par 4 at Southport Springs.

But the benefits from a game-improvement point-of-view are a virtual cornucopia If you were to examine your game as you read along, think to yourself and assess your golf game. If you’re a player shooting in the 90’s or 100’s where are you losing most of your strokes? Could it be that your chipping, pitching, and putting are holding you back? For those that shoot in the 80’s this is likely you too. 70’s gang, maybe it’s course management more than anything. Believe it or not, your issues may not be the driver or full-swing related.. Typically, on a regulation length golf course you might pull a driver out of the bag how many times? 12 or 13? Now, how many strokes striking an iron show up on your scorecard? Now, factor in missed greens in regulation and having to scramble to save par or… “hack-hack” bogey. Executive-length golf courses are a terrific place to “iron” out your game. Putting on the other hand, that’s nothing that you can’t work at home or a practice green.

Other than a driving range, I strongly feel that executive-length golf courses are a terrific place to build your confidence. Sometimes these executive-length or Par 3 golf courses have smaller greens that cause you to focus just a little bit more. When you start hitting those greens, suddenly the larger green complexes at a Par 70-72 golf course look massive. Confidence goes a long way in this game. Oh, the oft-talked about mental side of the game cannot be ignored.

Darts.

My game finally rounded into form in 2020 on the heels of a round of golf at Brock Golf Course. It was October. This particular facility is great for the entire family. It’s family-operated and features a driving range, short-game practice area, a mini-putt golf course, a dedicated Foot Golf course, and a golf course that measures a staggering total of just over 2,900 yards from “the tips”. Three holes are >250 yards in length. But, the greens are small and you have to hit golf shots to score, like anywhere else. Prior to playing on this day, I had a nice range session so I thought to myself, “You should go play here and see how it translates onto the golf course”. So I did. Right then and there I made my tee time from the driving range.

I’ll save you the recap of the entire round, but, my striking was the best that it had been all season, I was hitting accurate shots tight to the pin (I didn’t tee it up on all Par 3’s), and I scored fairly well. I managed to post four birdies onto my card and my scorecard was clean. I felt GREAT going home that night.

The closing hole on the 9-hole executive-length Chippawa Course at Legends on the Niagara in nearby Chippawa.

I ended up riding the momentum from that round throughout the remainder of the late fall golf season. From that point forward, I was scoring anywhere from E to -3 for the duration of the season. I was on my way back. Fast-forwarding the clock to 2021, it seems like the momentum has carried over into 2021 as well. I’m feeling great about the results that I’m seeing with my swing. My striking is on point and I’m hitting my spots. Ultimately, all because of a teeny-tiny golf course.

Are executive golf courses worth the money? In my opinion… without a doubt. Don’t discount the benefits of an executive-length golf course because of their diminutive nature. These golf courses could be the “whetstone” to sharpen your golf game.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

A Neurotic Mess

A look into the hot mess that my head is, and how it relates to my golf game.

Is matching golf equipment or being brand agnostic necessary? The short answer is no, you don’t need to have matching golf equipment. The truth is that we all know how much this game of ours is mental. At any given time, there is so much going through the 6″ between our ears that it’s hard to fathom.

Everything is there flipping around like hamster inside of a hamster wheel. We’re thinking about so many variables like a 1970’s “supercomputer” (although mine happens to be from “The Flintstones” era) where we are computing and translating so much information in such a short period of time, that, it sort of makes you marvel. Many of us have seen the diagram below, but on top of all of these swing thoughts there are other considerations. Golf course conditions, factoring in uphill or downhill slopes, the wind, the temperature, are we playing at sea level (crap, better club up) and the list goes on and on. When about it, it can be an uncomfortable and unpleasant feeling. Overwhelming perhaps?

Recently, I had an epiphany of sorts. It was documented about 20 years ago that I have an “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder” (OCD) among many other ailments as I release the scroll. The OCD is something that I’ve really thought that I’ve ignored. As far as I’m concerned, it isn’t the debilitating type that you see with “Sheldon Cooper” on “Big Bang Theory” (knocking three time for Penny) nor is it the variety of OCD where I obsessively wash my hands or flick a switch so many times before leaving a house. Instead, I have an issue where once I start thinking about something I fixate or if I start something I can’t do it halfway and leave it to sit for another time. No, it has to be done and done now. As much as I credit my mom and dad while growing up teaching me “Son, if you start something you either finish it or you don’t start it at all”. It really is me and not them so much, I think. In a way, it’s sort of a blessing as I’ve appeared diligent in my various occupations.

Recently though, from a golf standpoint the OCD rose to the surface. What I once had written off as being a quirk has actually affected me more than I initially thought. It happened the one day recently at the driving range during a practice session. I was at Niagara Golf and Batting Cages and I was very casual. I was wearing a pink t-shirt that I made (Until The Next Tee Lifestyle), a grey fitted Titleist cap with pink writing, grey shorts, and a pink sock that may or may not have had white marijuana plants on it. I’ve been wearing an off-loader to help a diabetic foot ulcer heal and because I can’t wear matching shoes, I like to have a little bit of personality so colourful socks it is.

The day of the “Eureka Moment”. My wife told me the shirt was purple and didn’t match the pink. I was screwed.

My wife then pointed out to me that the pink didn’t match the shirt because it was in fact, purple. I was paralyzed. As I gathered my bucket of balls, coffee, golf clubs, and made my way to the far end of the range to set up, there was a “buzzing” in my ears. I could NOT get my mind off of it. It bugged me the whole session. And that’s when the real “Eureka Moment” happened. OCD.

When it comes to buying and wearing golf apparel I have to wear clothing that matches. No, not just colours but brands. I feel so uncomfortable if my polo doesn’t match my bottoms, to the point where I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin. For example, I can’t wear an Adidas polo with a Nike Golf pair of shorts. If the shoes don’t match brands I’m okay with it. Yet, I don’t feel right when I wear grey, black, blue or any other colour of golf shoes. They don’t look right on my feet or so I think. Instead, they have to be at least 90% white. I think it’s why I continue to wear white belts even though at some point those that are “woke” have determined that white belts are gauche. I’ll put on a black belt and determine that it doesn’t look right. I won’t leave the apartment until there’s a white belt on.

I mentioned earlier about golfers being “brand agnostic”. This is something that I’ve been adamant about explaining to people about the golf equipment that they play. I’ve always been an advocate of “you always play the best equipment for your game”. Don’t worry about having a full 14-club setup unless you’re being sponsored by a certain brand or you sign an agreement. Heck, we’re seeing less of that on the professional tours worldwide. Back when I was playing Min-Tour’s what many of you don’t know is that I was a Titleist staffer. Of course, I had the agreement that I played nothing but Titleist golf balls (Pro V1 of course) and all golf clubs in the bag were Titleist. That was it. So having a totally matching set was a snap and my head never played tricks on me. But things got a little murkier recently for what seems to be a totally unjustified reason.

Judgement Day. Just to match the new golf bag, Tour Edge Exotics or TaylorMade Golf? Making a decision was painful.

Getting ready to resume golf after our second or third lockdown (I’ve actually lost track) I was trying to get my starting WITB set-up in a way that if I were teeing it up in competition again it’s what I’d be rolling with. Before continuing on, my metals do not match my SUB 70 Golf 699 Pro irons. Nor do they match the wedges either (testing Edison Golf Forged Wedges for review). The putter is almost always an outlier and only matched when I played a Scotty Cameron Phantom Futura with Titleist. But the metals have to match. If one is say a Tour Edge Golf Exotics the all have to be. So, as I’m sorting out my bag I have a conundrum. What shouldn’t be an issue, turned into a mess.

I had won a TaylorMade Golf Stand Bag from Steam Whistle Brewing around The Masters. So, I placed my irons, wedges and putter into the bag. Now, my OCD takes over. So, I start to thinking, and that never ends well. Well Alex, you have a TaylorMade Golf Bag and TaylorMade Golf caps. Shouldn’t you be playing your TaylorMade SLDR driver, JetSpeed fairway metals, and SLDR Rescue? Even though, the results are great with the Tour Edge Exotics I felt like I had to switch everything up. Now, I’m at the range with no less than 9 metalwoods determining what the best set-up for me is and I’m trying to make a decision where my brain and OCD in particular are running the show.

For the life of me, I cannot combine the clubs with each other. It has to be one or the other. I suppose that with all of the counsel that I’ve given in the past to so many that this is, somewhat hypocritical. Play what’s best for your game. But what if you can’t get past the brain?

As it stands right now, Tour Edge Exotics are in the top end of my WITB, but lurking in my peripheral as I type this story are the TaylorMade clubs, almost talking to me. Is it a matter of time before they go back in, just because? Speaking of Tour Edge. The new Exotics C721 that I’m setting up to write a review on is a juggernaut!

My name is Alex, and I am, a neurotic mess.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

Blue Tees Enters Agreement With Read The Greens, Golf Media

-Read the Greens, GOLF Media was selected to further brand exposure, reach new growth initiatives, and promote the Blue Tee Golf line of technically advanced and competitively priced rangefinders-

SAN FRANCISCO, CA. (June 15, 2021) – Blue Tees Golf, a rapidly growing producer of golf rangefinders and accessories, named California based Read the Greens, GOLF Media as the company’s public relations agency. The agreement with Read the Greens, GOLF Media is to develop and manage a comprehensive public relations campaign and communications plan which will support the brand, sales, and product.

“We are excited about this newly formed partnership. Blue Tees Golf is a relatively new company in the golf space, but we are quickly becoming one of the fastest growing golf rangefinder companies online and at retail. Vanessa and her team have been in the golf industry for years which will be instrumental to us. Their collective experience, relationships, and advice, like with the upcoming PGA Show, will be proven to be a real asset. I know this is going to be a rewarding collaboration,” said Chris Markham, Co-Founder and CEO of Blue Tees Golf.



Blue Tees Golf Rangefinders perform at the highest-level possible. Created internally by the company’s industrial designer, they feature a unique design with the latest technology and software. The modern styling is unlike any other rangefinder on the market and their entire line is affordably priced, at a fraction of the cost of their competitors. This attributes to their vast success online and at retail.

“I am so looking forward to working with Blue Tees Golf. The team is filled with energy and passion. Their philosophy is refreshing. Design a golf rangefinder with innovative features but at a price more accessible for the everyday golfer, inclusive. Love it. I can’t wait to get my media samples field tested for feedback,” said Read the Greens, GOLF Media Founder, Vanessa Marie Price. 

About Blue Tees Golf:

Blue Tees Golf is different than traditional brands. By utilizing a consumer first strategy and their industrial design expertise, they can cut out complex operations to create high-quality, high-performance golf products at a fraction of the price of the competition. All Blue Tees Golf products come with a 60-day money back satisfaction guarantee, and a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty. The Blue Tees Golf motto, “Save your money & have fun when you play more rounds with Blue Tees Golf on your bag. For more information, visit www.blueteesgolf.com.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bdFruuumfA


About Read the Greens, GOLF Media:

Read the Greens, GOLF Media is a boutique marketing and communications consulting agency that specializes in golf. We employ marketing elements that include public relations, marketing, advertising, and event support. Our passion and our purpose have propelled some of golf’s largest brands as well as launched smaller and burgeoning brands.
Our extensive knowledge in the golf industry is a key component to your successful pursuit in golf. We can advise, direct, and guide your golf idea or golf product to influential people within the industry as well as to the influential golf media. We have spent over 25-years developing relationships with the golf media. Our team, our relationships, and our databases provide the perfect platform for your success.

For more information on Read the Greens, GOLF Media, please visit the company website: readthegreensgolfmedia.net/

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