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

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.

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.