Best Wishes to Casey Martin – I Hope There’s Been Change

Casey Martin. If you’ve never heard of him he’s the former PGA TOUR player that was best known for needing to ride a golf cart. He fought with the PGA TOUR and eventually took his fight before the United States Supreme Court. Martin sued the PGA TOUR for the right to use a golf cart during competition under the Americans With Disabilities Act. He would ride a cart for one season in 2001 on the PGA Tour. There was also another situation, this time with the USGA during a U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier. Currently, he is the coach of the University of Oregon Ducks Men’s Golf Team.

The reason for the battles listed above was ultimately caused by a birth defect that Martin was born with. Casey Martin was born with Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome, a vascular condition that causes vein malformations, the overgrowth of bones and soft tissue, glaucoma, chronic pain resulting from complications of infections, and vein problems. In 2019, while going outside to retrieve garbage bins at night, with roadwork going on outside of his house, one unfortunate step broke his leg.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JUNE 13: Casey Martin of the United States drives a golf cart during a practice round prior to the start of the 112th U.S. Open at The Olympic Club on June 13, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Ever since, Martin has been going through treatments in an attempt to save his right leg. For golfers, that would be the trail leg for a right-handed golfer. These treatments included injections, injections that are most commonly used on Osteoporosis patients. Osteoporosis is a condition that causes the body to become weak and brittle. Someone with this condition could have a trip and fall, bend over, or even cough which could cause a fracture of the bones. Typically, Osteoporosis causes fractures in the hip, wrist, or spine.

Unfortunately, the injections failed to work and after seeing the broken tibia (the tibia is part of the lower leg) regress, the decision was made to amputate his right leg. So, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota on October 15th, surgeons amputated his leg. According to research that I’ve done, the prognosis is good. After the site heals he may be able to wear a prosthetic leg. As someone who is somewhat familiar with amputations, to get to that point will take a lot of rehab and physical therapy.

My thoughts are with Casey Martin and I hope that he heals and recovers soon. Hopefully, the golf community can do what they did after Tiger Woods’ car accident and show an outpouring of support for Martin and his family.

With well-wishes out of the way it just makes me think about the golf community at large. Upon reflection, following the infamous car accident that Tiger Woods had earlier this year, the outpouring of support shown was special. It was great to see. I’m very hopeful that the golf community, once again, will come together again over social media to do the same for Casey. Sure, he hasn’t done nearly what Tiger has, but, he’s put the spotlight on golf in a different way. He was a voice for others like him. For people like me. He stood up to the PGA TOUR and fought.

Denying him an opportunity to have a career over a stupid rule about carts, was wrong. Perhaps this is a bad take on my part, and I can live with that. I think that the rule is/was tone-deaf in the first place. For those that aided the PGA TOUR against Casey (Jack Nicklaus was said to have “reluctantly testified” against the use of carts) now knowing what happened to Casey Martin in the end, I hope that you feel good. May you never have to go through anything like that where your dream or career is taken away. To that end I have to ask. Does riding a cart offer that much of an advantage? Especially to somebody that has a bona fide, documented health problem where it effects the ability to walk a golf course?

Coach Casey Martin. He’s made the University of Oregon Ducks Men’s Team a national power. (Photo Credit: Golfweek)

Based on my personal experiences between Peripheral Artery Disease, Peripheral Diabetic Neuropathy, and a constant stream of infections and Diabetic Foot Ulcers, I can relate in many ways to what Casey Martin has gone through. In 2014, I faced an amputation of the same limb. The pain is often unbearable from these health issues. There’s seemingly no relief from it, as it’s always just sort of there. Playing golf does get your mind off of it just a little bit. So, it’s good as far as mental health goes.

Riding in a golf cart to be able to play golf is often the only way that I can play. Unless I’m walking a short course or nine holes. I hate riding and I would love to be able to walk a championship course. Personally speaking, I score better when I walk. I think that riding a cart is actually detrimental other than from a fatigue standpoint. Which was the argument the PGA TOUR used during their battle. Looking at the brief of PGA TOUR INC v. Casey Martin, the PGA TOUR alleged that the use of the cart would “fundamentally alter the nature” of the tournaments. I will always contend that you don’t “feel” the golf course when you ride and not to mention that there’s an unconscious feeling of being rushed.

A few years back when I did Local Qualifying for the U.S. Open I thought about applying to the USGA for a special cart exemption. I never did apply and the reason was because of the fight that Casey Martin had. If he had to fight that hard, then what were the odds of them saying yes? Also, I didn’t want to have the stigma at the qualifier as being “the guy with the cart”. I just figured that the USGA would have declined the request. I should have applied though. My cardiac issues struck as I had a pretty serious angina episode on the 8th hole and it continued on and off until well after the round.

I sure hope that Keith is right. That hindsight will allow golf’s governing bodies to see and start to view things differently. He’s absolutely correct in his assessment of the situation. I’m so glad that the PGA TOUR Champions (Champions Tour) made it possible for their player’s to ride in events on that circuit. I can’t believe that it’s been 15 years since that decision was made.

It’s just too bad that an unwillingness to change and evolve and truly see something for what it truly was happened in the first place. All of it directly pointing in the direction of the governing bodies. As golfer’s, fans, industry professionals we’ve all seen the game get in its own way. It’s a game that, historically has been resistant to change. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say and if faced with another situation like that of Casey Martin, it would be handled much differently. And it will be, with many thanks to Casey Martin’s fight. Since diversity, accessibility, and inclusion is all of the rage these days, hopefully leadership at the top will push for change.

If there’s a silver lining to the loss of Casey Martin’s playing career, it’s that it resulted in him acting as a recruiter, mentor and a coach to many young men. He’s also developed the Oregon Ducks into a national golf power. PGA TOUR winners Aaron Wise and Wyndham Clark played under Coach Martin.

My thoughts are with Casey and his family. I sincerely hope the healing and recovery go as well as it could. Every day will get better. Hang in there Coach!

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

Review – Edison Forged Wedges

Forgiveness and Consistency in a Player-Friendly Profile

The Set-Up

As intimate as the putter in your golf bag is to the individual golfer, wedges are what I would consider a very close second. While you may use the putter 25-30 times, missed greens make the wedge ultra-important. Good wedge play can salvage an otherwise rough day on the links.

Often, I’ve thought about wedges. Not necessarily mine but wedges in general. wedges can be a tricky club to master, especially in higher lofts, and I’ve wondered why wedges can’t be designed clean while offering forgiveness. Another thought that I’ve had over the years is if the majority of golfers elect to play cavity-back irons, why is it that they play a wedge with a blade-like design? Enter Edison Golf.

Terry Koehler is the Chairman/Director of Innovation for Edison Golf. Mr. Koehler has a wealth of knowledge in club design and he’s also been referred to as “The Wedge Guy”. Having been involved in the industry for four decades you might know him from other brands in the past. Past brands including Eidolon, Reid Lockhart Golf, Scor Golf, and the reboot of Ben Hogan Golf Equipment from 2014-2016 where he designed the Fort Worth irons and TK Wedges respectively. After a brief hiatus (retirement) in 2017 he started to develop what would become Edison Forged Wedges.

A key difference between Edison Golf Forged Wedges and wedges from other golf manufacturers and their designers is that Edison Golf focuses on recreational players, not paid Tour players. Which is where this story and review really take off.

Have you ever been out on the golf course, pulled out a 56* wedge and struck a ball. The head slid under the golf ball a tad and now you’re ball lands well short of your intended target. Consequently, now you have a similar shot later on in the round and that ball comes out of the rough and lands exactly how you envisioned it. What gives? The answer is in the the design.

When looking at conventional wedge design, often we have a head shape that is inspired by blades and they feature a flange above the sole of the golf club. The flange is the thick part where much of the mass is placed that helps to get the golf ball elevated out of the rough. Unfortunately, with this design there is a lack of balance in the head, meaning there isn’t much in the way of mass up higher in the head. That’s why your shots from the rough can be very inconsistent.

Conversely, when it comes to Edison Golf Forged Wedges, weight has been taken from other areas and placed higher into the head. This concept and design can be seen in the two cross-section illustrations below to help give you more of an understanding. The weight that is placed higher in the head allows the golfer to be more consistent as the strike will be consistent off of the sweet spot or higher up on the face. Also note, that because of this mass up into the top part of the face the head takes on a bit of a cavity-back personality, without turning the head into a bulky shovel.

Below are three exploded diagrams that shows two wedges (Titleist Vokey SM8 and a Cleveland Golf RTX ZIPCORE) sandwiching an Edison Forged Wedge. The Vokey has the most weight in the hosel section while the RTX ZIPCORE has the least. The weight distribution in the top and the bottom of the head is pretty much balanced. The Edison Forged Wedge on the other hand, features more weight in the top section of the head, while there is a 34-gram differential from the top of the head to the bottom. This is the genius of the design of Edison Forged Wedges and why these wedges are touted to be more consistent and simply, better.

The heads themselves are crafted and forged from 1025 Carbon Steel and typically come in a swing weight of D2-D4. The “Koehler Sole” is unique as it features two distinct bounce angles, something that other brands do not do. “The main rear portion of the sole has a low bounce so it can handle tight lies, firm turf and shallow swing paths.  But the leading portion of the sole has a high bounce so that the same wedge can handle softer lies and steeper swings”. For example, a 57° features bounce angles of 30° along the leading edge and 3° towards the rear.

The Transition

Before continuing, I feel that I should extend many thanks to Mr. Koehler whom I spoke with personally in arranging this review opportunity. Terry, thank you!

Through our conversations, we determined what I would be testing. Initially, I thought that it was going to be one wedge, so I was surprised when I received a set of three to review. The wedges that I received were 49°, 53°, and 57° respectively. While Edison Wedges have the option of being custom-built with either the KBS Tour 120 or KBS Tour 105, I elected to go with the KBS TGI 80 in Regular flex. Dating back to my days of being on Titleist Staff and being fir there, I always play a flex less in my wedges. The Mid-Size grip was worked up with two additional wraps, and my lie angle was set to 2° Flat.

Aesthetics – In a word, the Edison Forged Wedges are what I would describe as being clean. Examining the head during the unboxing, I really appreciated the simple elegance. The satin chrome head with a smattering of classic red and black paintfill. On the hosel, I love the inclusion of Mr. Koehler’s signature being present. I really admired the face with it’s CNC-milling from toe to heel. The higher lofts features an “X Pattern” between the grooves. From the address position it’s a wedge that is very easy to look down upon. You feel really good over them.

Feel -If you’ve struck golf balls with a forged iron or wedge, you know that it’s nearly a given that the feel will be “buttery” as cliché as it is. Well, seeing that these wedges are forged from 1025 Carbon Steel these wedges feel soft. The golf ball feels smooth off of the face whether it’s a full swing from the fairway or a greenside chip. It is said that there’s no discernible difference between a cast wedge head and a forged one. I beg to differ. The Edison Forged Wedges feel great.

Performance – This is what matters right. A club can look great, or feel great but if the performance is less than adequate, then what difference does it make?

These wedges are true performers that truly produce as advertised. One of my first conclusions dating back to the winter while we were in lockdown is that from lies that I described up above the consistency of these wedges was undeniable. Strikes towards the top of the face were just as good as strikes off of the sweet spot. Moreover, as easy as it was to elevate the golf ball and the ball did have a nice apex, I found that the trajectory flattened out a little bit more than you might expect. Again, this is a by-product of the design. As the season has wore on and as I’ve played golf and had several range sessions with the Edison Forged Wedges it’s become more apparent that they are everything that they are said to be when it comes to forgiveness and consistency. Part of the consistency is also aided by great gap control. The lofts all have a separation of 4°.

The spin is very good with the Edison Golf Forged Wedges. Bear in mind that your choice of golf ball can play a significant role in this facet of the performance. Generally speaking, this season I’ve played with a variety of golf balls. Sometimes it’s been the Srixon Q Star Tour DIVIDE, Wilson Staff DUO Optix, TaylorMade Tour Response, Soft Response, TP5 and TP5x. Last but not least the Titleist Pro V1 has also been included in the testing. Greenside spin has proven to be very good throughout the testing no matter the green conditions. You might expect more rollout with a DUO but it was still very admirable. With other models of golf ball it gets a little better yet.

Pitches and approaches from the fairway are rewarded with plenty of spin and stopping power whether the golf ball was a 2-piece distance ball or a tour-level golf ball. From the rough there is less spin than from a fairway but the spin is still quite high.

The Finish

Terry Koehler IS “The Wedge Guy” and for a very good reason. Nobody has researched wedge design and recreational golfers as much as Mr. Koehler. The design of these Edison Forged Wedges are the first true breakthrough in wedge design over the last 50 or so years. While all of the R&D across the industry has been focused on driver, metalwoods, and irons it’s the wedge that needs more focus. Mr. Koehler has addressed this.

The Edison Forged Wedges are true performers that perform just like they’re described. At Edison Golf there is no marketing hype or fluff, just tested results. I highly recommend Edison Golf Forged Wedges.

If you’re interested in learning more about Edison Golf Forged Wedges, please click here.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

Construction Officially Begins on New Clubhouses and On-site Amenities at Osprey Valley

Ground-breaking ceremony officially launches start of exciting new era

Caledon, Ont. – TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley marked the beginning of an exciting new era on Thursday, holding a ground-breaking ceremony to officially commence construction of two new clubhouses and on-site accommodations. The ceremony marks a watershed moment in the transformation of one of Ontario’s top golf destinations, with new amenities paving the way for Osprey Valley to expand its capacity to host events, stay-and-play trips, tournaments and more.

“This is a transformational moment in Osprey Valley’s history and part of a long-standing vision our family has had for the property for more than 30 years,” said Osprey Valley President Chris Humeniuk. “We have always envisioned Osprey Valley as a destination for more than just great golf, and we look forward to the exciting new era ahead.”

The Humenuick Family

Hicks Design Studio, one of Canada’s leading architectural design firms for custom residential homes and clubhouses with over 60 golf clubhouses across Canada in its portfolio, will lead design and development of the project, which aims to bring the best of modern amenities to Osprey Valley while retaining the property’s signature natural, relaxed atmosphere.

The new facilities aim to increase TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley’s appeal as one of Canada’s top golf destinations for a wide array of golfers and visitors, increasing the property’s allure for a diverse set of events from destination golf trips to corporate events, gatherings and weddings.

Construction will continue throughout the 2021-22 offseason and into the 2022 golf season, with minimal impacts expected on golfer experience for the duration of the construction project.

For more information including building renderings and construction updates, visit the all-new 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.

Teed Off About Being Teed Off On

The situation. You’re enjoying a lovely day on the links. You’re admiring the view, you’re taking in the scenic golf vistas while enjoying your current company. It’s been a great, albeit, long day on the golf course ,when, all of the sudden your enjoyment of the day has come to a screeching halt. A golf ball from the group behind you come screaming past you. If this has happened to you, then I can totally relate and I sincerely feel your pain.

This is a situation that presented itself and reared its ugly head very recently.

You see, on Monday, I had the absolute pleasure of playing a golf course that I never thought that I’d ever play on. Yet there I was. Recently, I had a golf outing with golf media professionals at the absolutely spectacular Devil’s Pulpit at The Pulpit Club in Caledon, Ontario. A private facility that features two 18-hole golf courses which are consistently ranked inside the Top 30 golf courses in Canada (The Paintbrush is the other).

The 12th Hole on The Pulpit. (Photo Credit: Alexander Toth, Until The Next Tee)

I was paired with a nice grouping and we were enjoying a great day on the course. The reality is that we were quite fortunate to play golf that day just because the rains that fell absolutely saturate the golf course. The Superintendent an his crew did yeoman’s work to give us a playable golf course. So, the round was cart path only making the day a long one but quite honestly, I didn’t want to see come to an end. The autumn splendour and the wildlife was remarkable. I can only imagine what the golf course would have looked like under a sliver of sun and cobalt blue skies.

We were on our second to last hole of the day in this shotgun (play your own ball) event. The 10th hole of the The Pulpit is called “Escarpment” for a reason. This golf hole tees off right beside the clubhouse and the tee shot measures 416 yards (tips) or in the case of where we were playing from 360 yards. The tee shot is very elevated with a clear view of the Niagara Escarpment omnipresent. There are no blind spots from the tee looking down (refer to the picture below). Because of the amount of slope I would suggest that this golf hole plays closer to 300 yards.

Aptly named “Escarpment”. The 10th Hole at The Pulpit features an elevated tee. (Photo Credit: Alexander Toth, Until The Next Tee)

The guys in our group played nothing more than a three wood even though the group in front of us had just about vacated the green. With all of us gathered in the fairway to strike our respective shots, all of the sudden a golf ball whizzes past at head height from the group behind. The group behind us gave no warning (FORE!) that we were in imminent danger until the golf ball had landed. We were in shock and we stared back towards the tee box. To be precise, I was glaring and my blood boiled. I was heated. At least had I died there, there is a small cemetery on a hole called “Memorial” (pictures below). I can think of many worse places to be laid to rest, yes the facility is that pretty.

There was some debate as to what to do with the golf ball. One was a popular choice on Twitter, in response to a Tweet that I posted yesterday. Pick it up. Another suggestion was to stomp it into the ground. Yet another popular suggestion in this poll that wasn’t. Of course, there was the thought to unceremoniously deposit the spherical projectile of death into the woods. I liked the originality of one particular Tweet.

As it turns out, we took the high ground and did none of the above. After several minutes we move on to the green. We only waited around to see if there was movement by the group to come down the cart path to make an effort to apologize. There was no movement. Even after we had vacated the 10th green and drove off to #11 our 18th hole, there was no movement. The group made no effort to apologize. Total class. So we finished our day and made our way back to the parking lot to take our clubs back to our vehicles ahead of an exquisite dinner. Parked right behind my partner were two players from the group behind us. Nothing. No acknowledgement, no apology. Crickets. I wasn’t even going to stay for dinner at this point. (Editor’s Note (October 7th): A player from that group has since reached out over social media to apologize on behalf on the player who did it. Thanks Rich!)

The gent that I was paired with inquired with the starter who was playing behind us an we found out. One name was recognized in the group and upon the conclusion of the evenings ceremonies we approached him. When approached, he stated who the individual was whom as it turns out works for a golf equipment manufacturer. Instead of apologizing, he first made excuses that bordered on condoning what had happened. “Yeah that wasn’t cool. He hit the drive of his life there”. He came off as borderline smug. Come on! Seriously?!

First, you work as what I assume is at least in an “Experiential Representative” role if not marketing and communications. I’m sure that he’s been fit an carries 14 clubs from that manufacturer and I almost guarantee that he’s an accomplished player so he knows how far he hits each club. I also guarantee that he (or they) knew that the hole plays shorter than advertised because of the amount of slope. There was no way that they couldn’t see us, the sightlines are as clear as it gets. It was just a piss-poor, negligent, irresponsible decision to strike the golf ball when he did. I hold that entire group responsible. you work in the industry, BE BETTER!

Had there been ample warning at the time of the strike to allow up to protect ourselves, I’m not angry. Shoot, in that case one got away from him and I may even offer up a “nice tee shot”. Had there been at least some sort of apology or acknowledgement then I’m tolerant. But, there was none of the above.

PSA: If you’re out on the golf course an there’s a group in front of you. If there’s any doubt that someone might be in harm’s way or a golf ball goes errant. Yell FORE!! As golfers, it’s our duty, obligation, and responsibility to keep other golfers safe.

If anyone reading this has been hit by a golf ball you know that it hurts. I’ve been hit twice by a golf ball while playing. Once on the inside of my right knee that ended up being bruised and made me unable to walk for two weeks. The other time was on the upper arm. Neither time, fore was called.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

Longridge Partners announces Escarpment House, the ultimate Stay-and-Play opportunity for The Pulpit Club

CALEDON, ON/Oct. 4, 2021 —The Pulpit Club, Canada’s leading year-round private member facility, introduces Longridge Partners’ Escarpment House, a 14,000-sq-ft countryside estate located between the club’s two Top 25 golf courses as luxury opportunity for stay-and-play guests.

“Escarpment House is another truly unique offering for members and guests of The Pulpit Club,” says Mackenzie Crawford, President of Longridge Partners, the ownership group of The Pulpit Club. “Longridge is invested in nature, with an established portfolio of prestigious properties.

The synergies between The Pulpit Club — focusing on time well spent together in the outdoors — and the luxurious Escarpment House presents an incredible stay-and-play opportunity for guests who want to experience our two Top 25 golf courses and all the club has to offer.”

Escarpment House accommodates up to 12 guests in four separate suites. While staying, guests will enjoy full membership privileges, with complete access to all amenities of The Pulpit Club, including The Pulpit and The Paintbrush, its two courses that are both ranked in the Top 25 in Canada.

The house, which resides on 150 acres of spectacular landscape with Toronto in the distant skyline, has three separate living areas, a remarkable kitchen for in-house or catered dining, 14 bathrooms, a media room, and workout space. Behind the house is an incredible sitting area with a pool and hot tub featuring majestic vistas. Additional photos and features of the property’s amenities can be found at escarpmenthouse.com.

October, 4th, 2021 – A golfer tees off of the 10th Hole (“Escarpment”) on the Devil’s Pulpit. (Photo Credit: Until The Next Tee)

Reservations at Escarpment House are exclusively available to members and invited guests of The Pulpit Club. Inquiries for bookings by members for themselves and guests are made directly to The Pulpit Club, and the club will also extend limited opportunities for non-members to use Escarpment House and have the privilege of membership during their stay.

“For PGA professionals bringing members or corporate guests staying at the Escarpment House in the summer and playing the Old World golf at The Paintbrush, or testing themselves against the modern grandeur of The Pulpit, this is an unrivalled Stay-and-Play experience,” says PGA Ontario’s 2020 Executive of the Year and The Pulpit Club’s General Manager, Rob Roxborough.

“There’s truly nothing else like the combination of the Escarpment House and The Pulpit Club in Canada.”

The Pulpit Club offers year-round opportunities for members and guests, from golf with its two award-winning courses through to hiking, biking, swimming, and fishing in the summer, and skating, snowshoeing, and other outdoor activities in the winter.

For more information or to inquire about Escarpment House contact:

April Baird, Member Engagement & Special Events, 519-927-3001 ext. 234, abaird@thepulpitclub.com

 

About The Pulpit Club:

With two Top 25 golf courses in Canada, and numerous outdoor activities for members through the year, Caledon, ON’s The Pulpit Club offers a distinct private club experience. In 2020, the club was purchased by a member-based group of investors managed by Longridge Partners, and was rebranded The Pulpit Club in 2021.

About Longridge Partners Inc.:

Helping connect with the very best of nature through its portfolio of recreational and residential properties designed for outdoor enthusiasts, Longridge Partners is a real estate investment management company pursuing long-term value creation for institutional and high–net worth investors.