#TeeBoxChatter – There’s A Bigger Picture Here

The golf season here in Ontario and in other parts of Canada has been put on hold. Why?! Well, it’s due to the COVID-19 pandemic of course. For the most part, I’ve been reluctant to discuss the Coronavirus outbreak here. We all know that this is a serious situation and that it doesn’t need to be reinforced here. But, I feel that I needed to talk about it. Perfect for #TeeBoxChatter.

I love working in the golf industry and the biggest reason for it is that I love to interact with the public. Especially, when it involves banter with members. As bad as golfers want to play golf, there’s a bigger picture here.

Any golf being played right now (in Canada at least and I’m sure in other countries around the world) is bonus golf. As “important” as it might seem for golfers to get rounds in this time of the year, this time of the year is far more important for golf course operators and their staff. We’re seasonal, and we rely on these hours for the off-season.

Some states in the U.S.A. are fortunate enough to have a year-round season. To those of you that have this luxury, I am green with envy. I happen to wear the colour green very well. Other states have an Active Handicap Season. That link is here (USGA Active Handicap Season).

Here in Canada, this is the Active Handicap Season list by the province as per Golf Canada.

BC = Mar. 1 – Nov. 15
AB = Mar. 1 – Oct. 31
SK = Apr. 15 – Oct. 31
MB = Apr. 15 – Oct. 31
ON = Apr. 15 – Oct. 31
QC = Apr. 15 – Oct. 31
NS = Apr. 15 – Oct. 31
NB = May. 1 – Oct. 31
NL = May. 1 – Oct. 15
PE = Apr. 16 – Nov. 14

For a lot of us, the season hasn’t even begun yet. Pump the brakes, we’ll get through this and we’ll flood the golf courses before you know it. Stay patient and stay safe.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

 

 

Club Champion Partners With Arccos Golf

 

Custom golf club fitter adds AI-driven brand to their expansive roster

 

Willowbrook, IL — The nation’s #1 golf club fitter, Club Champion, recently pioneered the category of “smart fitting” by partnering with Arccos Golf. In addition to the company’s existing 2,000 grip options, Arccos’ smart grips and smart sensors will be available through all of Club Champion’s 70+ locations, with or without a club fitting.

As Club Champion’s official on-course data partner, Arccos will provide on-course data that allows fitters to better understand their clients’ game and track their progression even after a fitting appointment. This relationship will see all Club Champion fitters trained and certified as experts in the Arccos Caddie performance tracking platform and the Arccos Dashboard. The latter allows fitters to access rich insights and data visualizations for each client’s shot-by-shot history, Smart Distance club averages, club gapping, club usage, dispersion patterns, miss tendencies and more. It also showcases Strokes Gained Analysis for driving, approach, chipping, bunker play and putting.

“Having access to our clients’ Arccos on-course shot data allows us to fully understand each player’s unique golf DNA,” said Nick Sherburne, Club Champion founder. “The data is golden. It helps golfers and our fitters better track performance while gaining an unbiased understanding of where they excel and what they need to improve. This will further solidify Club Champion as the leader in fitting and helping people get better at the game of golf.”

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Club Champion is no stranger to employing technology in fittings, but this will be the first platform of its kind to be added to their systems. Arccos Caddie is golf’s first AI platform and is used worldwide – with more than 300,000 registered users who have played 3.8 million rounds and taken over 200 million shots using the system.

“With Arccos Caddie, every Club Champion fitter can get a contextualized picture of their clients’ games,” said Sal Syed, Arccos CEO and co-founder. “This can be a huge positive for the fitter-client relationship before, during and after each studio session.”

Thanks to the insights provided by Arccos Caddie, users improve faster than with any other system. In 2019, the average Arccos Caddie user who played at least five rounds lowered their handicap by 4.2 strokes.

 

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Club Champion fits, sells and builds custom golf clubs using brands like Callaway, TaylorMade, PING, Titleist, Cobra, Fujikura, Golf Pride and many more. The company delivers a Tour-quality fitting that produces longer, more accurate shots with a nearly 100% satisfaction rate for golfers of any ability level.

Ranked by Golf Digest as one of the 100 Best Club Fitters 10 years running, Club Champion hires experienced fitters who then receive an additional 150+ hours of training, which is unmatched in the golf industry. The company has a unique coupling system used to combine any head and shaft together, so golfers hit the precise combination to be custom-built for them. They are the only fitter in the country to offer 45,000 interchangeable head and shaft combinations on-site,

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Learn more about the Arccos Caddie system at www.arccosgolf.com. More information about the nation’s top club fitter and builder can be found at www.clubchampiongolf.com or by calling (888) 340-7820.

STITCH® Launches Enhanced SL1™ Golf Bag

The Perfect Caddie Bag

 

(APEX, NC, March 23, 2020) —STITCH Golf is pleased to release the enhanced SL1 carry golf bag incorporating a brilliant blend of design and function to meet the needs of today’s serious golfer.

“We’ve made updates to our best-selling golf bag to elevate the style and performance of this unparalleled caddie bab,” stated Brad King, CEO of STITCH. “When redesigning the SL1 we focused our efforts on form and functionality without sacrificing style. By focusing on unique features and keeping the bag sleek, we were able to create a bag that is truly the perfect caddie and cart bag.”

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Designed using STITCH® Touring Fabric, a proprietary product used in STITCH® bags that has the strength of leather, but is more durable, lightweight and water-resistant, the SL1™ is sleek in design and weighs only 57 oz., making it “The Perfect Caddie Bag.” The SL1 has two side saddle pockets on either side for larger items, allowing one to carry on either the right or left shoulder. It also features two top vent pockets for valuables and a beverage. A single cushioned strap provides comfort for carrying, while also featuring the convenience of a stand. The SL1™ combines style and functionality in what customers have called “the sleekest bag on the market.”

If you are a “traveling golfer” who plays the best caddie courses, but also enjoy the occasional walking round (or may even take a cart for a quick 9), the SL1 is ideal. The SL1 provides a vintage feel with classic bag attributes:

  • Superleggera “super light” weighing only 57 oz
  • Water and stain-resistant with sealed zipper
  •  Attachable matching rain hood
  • STITCH® signature single divider fits 14 clubs
  • Personalize your SL1 by adding your initials with our Signature Ingot (1.5” x 1.5”)
  • Gunmetal hardware & finishes

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Updated features:

  •  Wider feet for added stability
  • New comfort strap
  • Tonal legs and bottom
  • Durable pocket configuration
  • Four new colors: blue, black, white and gray

“Like all STITCH products, the SL1is engineered to help golfers perform their best,” continued King. “By focusing on details and unique features, we created a carry bag that provides unparalleled style, function and comfort making it the perfect caddie bag.”

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About STITCH

Founded in 2011 as a headcover company, STITCH is known for designing and creating products with precise attention to detail, all the way down to the last stitch. Based in Apex, North Carolina, STITCH gives a unique experience, whether it’s the high-quality leather used in our headcovers, the durable waterproof fabrics in our bags and gear or the fashionable color schemes seen in our apparel. STITCH products are designed to be effortlessly fashionable, allowing you to create a stylish, comfortable and color-coordinated look-on and off the course. Designed with details that perform, our line of golf bags and gear, travel bags and apparel combine function and fashion with three themes in mind: DRESS YOUR GAME™, ARRIVE IN STYLE™ and FROM WORK TO PLAY™. STITCH products are available at leading golf, country clubs and select retailers around the world and at: http://www.stitchgolf.com

2020 Teezy Awards – Equipment Edition (Top Equipment Manufacturer)

All of the Teezy Awards winners have been handed out for the individual categories. Congratulations go out to all of the winners and the finalists. The 2020 PGA Show taught me something very important. It was a lesson that I learned in 2019 and it seems to be even more true in 2020.

There’s a ton of parity in the golf equipment industry and it makes me wonder how much more the equipment industry can stretch the envelope in R&D terms, to bring us even better equipment as the product cycles progress year-in and year-out. Sometimes, just a shaft can make a difference to a golfer from a product being a winner or a loser. Look no further than my Callaway Golf MAVRIK driver experience. If you aren’t familiar look for the review or the “Top Driver” Teezy Awards here (MAVRIK Review).

The time has come for me to name the “Top Manufacturer” Teezy Awards medal winners from the 2020 PGA Show Demo Day. How did I determine the winners? I looked at a lot of factors. Factors that included…

  • Teezy Award winners. Did they win awards this year?
  • Did they have a full product range of golf equipment? Driver down to putter (not including golf balls)
  • Variety of products. Irons sets etc for all skill levels
  • Price point

The Teezy Awards are never a popularity contest. The Teezy Awards is and always will be about what gave me the best performance no matter how big or small a  manufacturer is. So, without further delay, these are your Teezy Award medal winners for the Top Manufacturer from the 2020 PGA Show.

 

Gold – Tour Edge Golf

Tour Edge Golf is coming off of their best year ever. 2019 was massive for the Batavia, Illinois golf equipment manufacturer. Tour Edge’s Exotics EXS 220 product range for all intents and purposes blew their ECS range from 2019 out of the water. The brand is gaining more and more traction on professional golf tours. The EXS 220 driver has found its way into a number of players’ bags and that trend will continue as the season wears on. The Exotics 220 range won medals in the Top Driver, Top Fairway Metals, Top Hybrid, Top Utility-Iron, Top Game-Improvement Irons and Top Putter categories. Winning 5 Gold Medals in the process. As I was adding up and determining the winners for each category, I was actually shocked to see it unfold the way that it did. Their price point across the range sets them apart from everybody else. If there’s a knock against Tour Edge Golf and their EXS 220 product range, it might be the lack of “Lefty Love”. There is no doubt in my mind that Tour Edge Golf lives up to its tagline. “Pound for Pound… Nothing Comes Close”.

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Silver – COBRA Golf

Taking home the Silver for “Top Manufacturer” is COBRA Golf. In 2019, as much as I liked their range, they generally came up short for Teezy Award consideration. KING F9 was a really good stick but it wasn’t enough to see a podium. 2020 is much different. COBRA Golf won multiple awards this year including Gold for the Top Fairway Metal. The KING SPEEDZONE metalwoods are extremely strong and as far as I’m concerned are a definite upgrade over the F9. The Forged Tec are irons that were everything that I thought that they would be and more while the SPEEDZONE irons are worth a serious look for golfers looking for a new GI iron set. The T-Rail Hybrid Iron set which is an ultra game-improvement set is stupid easy to get the ball elevated with. Recently, I made swings with these irons. I began the undertaking of swinging left-handed and these were the first irons that made swings with from the left side. I feel like I could have gone right out to the course with them and played some golf. That day, was my first day hitting balls from the “wrong side of the golf ball”. I’ve said that COBRA Golf is one of the biggest “movers and shakers” in the industry. 2020 just further cemented that sentiment.

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Bronze – Callaway Golf

Callaway Golf as everyone might expect brought some great products for 2020. It’s almost to be expected from the golf equipment manufacturing giant. That sort of expectation can be both a blessing and a curse. Callaway Golf has set the bar extremely high for themselves which I admire. They strive for the best. Starting with the MAVRIK metalwoods, the offerings are solid. They have 3 different driver models (MAVRIK, MAVRIK Sub Zero, and MAVRIK Max) all with their own characteristics. I would say that consumers will generally gravitate toward MAVRIK seeing that it’s a “happy-medium”. I’ve written ad nauseum about my experience with the MAVRIK driver. Had I suspected for one second that I needed an X-Stiff 70-gram shaft the MAVRIK might have won the “Top Driver” category. Honestly, I had been deliberating on the MAVRIK driver and my feelings with it since standing in an empty Orange County National Golf Resort and Lodge field.  Callaway has a buffet of iron options ranging from the APEX Forged down to the super game-improvement MAVRIK Max. The MAVRIK Pro irons won the Gold for the “Top Player’s/Player’s Distance” category. These were a player’s set of irons that seemed like they were an SGI iron set. The JAWS MD5 wedges were also award winners and rounding out their line-up is a bevy of puters from Odyssey Golf.

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Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

2020 Teezy Awards – Equipment Edition (Hidden Gem)

Hidden Gems. This category can see products that are everything from the driver down to putters. It seems like every year that I’ve been in attendance at the PGA Show I seem to find that “Hidden Gem” or “diamond in the rough”. The 2020 PGA Show was no different.

I found golf equipment that I never knew existed or at least, equipment that I wasn’t familiar with. Here are this years “Hidden Gems”.

 

Gold – Black Hole Putters

For the same reason that the Blade Edition won the bronze medal for Top Putter. This small Michigan-based independent putter company offers golfers two models of putters. A Blade and a Mallet edition respectively. They offer their putters in sets. One putter, used for training can be used on the course during practice rounds. There’s a button located on the grip. When you press the button two lasers light up and emit from the face. These act like “railroad tracks” for alignment purposes. The laser beams also disappear when you don’t have the putter head soled properly. In terms of feel, there is no difference between the training version or the on-course model which is great from a practicality standpoint. Both the Blade and Mallet editions feature high MOI characteristics, good feel, and roll the ball very well. Black Hole Putters, both a training aid and a very effective putter. $399.99 USD per set

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The author rolling the Blade Edition from Black Hole Putters.

 

Silver – Knuth Golf High Heat 257+ TGS

During past PGA Show Demo Days, I’ve seen Knuth Golf. the only thing is, I’ve never stopped to swing their products. Leading into the 2020 PGA Show, I shared a couple of their press releases talking about their new High Heat 257+ TGS fairway metals and hybrids. TheTGS stands for “Turf Glider Sole” Technology is a simple technology that does not allow their clubs to dig. The 257+ TGS hybrid was a finalist in the “Top Hybrid” category. This hybrid is almost guaranteed to help golfers. I made swings with this club from off of a tee, the deck, out of rough, a divot, and eventually a hole. The results were eye-opening. The launch and flight of the ball was a little high for my liking but Knuth Golf designs golf clubs with the intent of “Helping Amateurs Play Better Golf”. Based on my experience at Demo Day, I’m convinced that this golf club can be played from any lie and could definitely help golfers save strokes. The looks are not for everyone though as the offset and view at address may be off-putting. If there was a Teezy Award given for the “Most Abused” golf equipment, this club is your winner. Somebody “El Hoseled” the hybrid I used. The High Heat 257+ TGS hybrid took a pounding on Demo Day as did their tee deck at Orange County National. $254.00 USD

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Bronze – Lynx Golf Prowler VT (Driver)

I’m not sure how much buzz or fanfare this driver received from Lynx Golf at the 2020 PGA Show. I admit, I thought that this driver was released at the 2019 show when I saw it. Well, it was brought to my attention that the driver in 2019 wasn’t a finished product. It was very much a prototype then with a veil of secrecy cast over it at the 2019 Demo Day.  I liked the feel and launch based on what I saw on the ETC in 2019. The Prowler VT driver is a finished product in 2020. The Prowler VT is a  460 CC driver that retains a traditional pear-shape profile. The Prowler VT sits very pretty in the address position. It offers a penetrating flight and pretty darn good feel. I struggled with control on Demo Day until I went with a heavier shaft (UST Mamiya Recoil). I would assert that it’s a low/mid spinning head and is pretty forgiving too. This driver is adjustable, but not in the sense that you may think. Instead of having an adjustable hosel, you switch out faceplates to change the loft. Thus, giving its moniker for this technology (Switch Face Technolgy). $479.00 USD

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

2020 Teezy Awards – Equipment Edition (Putters)

Putters. The piece of equipment that is the most intimate in our golf bags. Putters can be the great equalizer when other parts of our game falter. They’re a piece of equipment that we need to trust because that trust goes a long way in giving us confidence.

I had the opportunity to roll a lot of different putters while down in Florida for the PGA Show. The reality is that there’s almost too many to choose from. A company like Odyssey Golf, for example, has a cornucopia of designs which is good. Variety is the spice of life and it almost guarantees that anybody can find a putter in their stable that works for them.

When it came to the “Top Putter” category judging was based on the following with a maximum of 10 points being allocated for each of the following.

  • Performance
  • Aesthetics
  • Feel
  • Innovation
  • Pricepoint

This is a “free for all” category with mallets and blades competing head to head against each other. Here are your 2020 Teezy Award medal winners for 2020.

 

Gold – Tour Edge Golf Exotics Wingman (46/50)

I recently wrote a “First Impressions” Review on this putter. Prior to the PGA Show, I didn’t even know that this putter was in existence. I found out at Demo Day and my rolls there made a very long-lasting first impression on me. The Wingman is a mini-mallet and is an excellent performer. The feel is near-perfect (in my opinion) and much of that has to do with the Surlyn insert. The designers at Tour Edge went above and beyond in finding the correct durometer hardness for the insert. A combination of “wings” and weights towards the back of the Wingman make this a very forgiving putter boasting a high MOI (resistance to twisting). I struck putts off of the heel and toe and I observed no drop-off in terms of performance. The feel was still stable and I didn’t feel any discernible difference. Their “Lock-On Technology” ensures that the lie angle is correct ensuring a square face every time at address. The roll is very true thanks in part to the “MicroGroove Technology” in the face. It just helps to get the ball rolling without skid. Oh, the price tag. It’s very attractive too!! $199.99 USD

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Silver – Bloodline Golf R1-J Slant Neck Blade (45/50)

It’s a brand of putter that may not be a household name. It’s a stand-alone putter meaning, it stands up by itself so you can stand behind the putter and golf ball to line up your putts. Golf fans on social media, you might have seen some “flack” about this putter when former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz won the “Celebrity Division” during the LPGA Tour Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. The question was asked. “Is it legal?”. Yes, it’s legal otherwise, Ernie Els wouldn’t be using it on the Champions Tour where he just secured his first Champions Tour victory. The R1-J Blade Slant Neck unlike other stand-alone putters that I’ve used this blade-style stand-alone putter isn’t excessively heavy. It has a headweight of 395-grams which I am a fan of. Constructed from anodized aluminum that is CNC machined the golf ball feels soft off of the face which lacks an insert. A round grip (50-grams) and a carbon-fiber shaft help to keep the overall weight down. When I first held it in my hand I was “a little weirded out” because I expected the R1-J Slant Neck to be heavier. In-hand it feels much lighter than you may think. I like the looks of the red-headed blade and how the ball sets up at address. An Ultra-Low Balance Point contributes to the feel/stability of the putter. When I didn’t use the stand-alone feature I missed on the low side. When I used the stand-alone feature I couldn’t miss with this putter.  $499.99 USD

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Bronze – Black Hole Putters Blade Edition (44/50)

Here’s a putter company that I never knew that existed. Black Hole Putters were unveiled at the 2020 PGA Show. I only found these putters by happenstance walking the show floor. I passed by their booth on the way from one appointment to another. This putter could really be the “Hidden Gem” of the 2020 PGA Show for me. The Black Hole Blade Editon putter comes as a set. A set you ask?! Yes, because you have two putters. For practice purposes, one putter comes with infrared lasers. By pressing down a button in the grip a laser beam shows up and tells you a couple of things. Maybe you’ve de-lofted or added too much loft to your putter at address. It’ll help you in training yourself to have the correct lie angle. Secondly, the lasers act as “railroad tracks” reinforcing your line on the practice green. You could use it on the course during practice rounds. The non-laser version feels exactly like the “trainer” version. This blade feels nice in the hands, better through the impact zone. For a blade-style putter, I felt that there is a pretty High MOI seeing that there was not much difference in the way of pure strike vs off-center strikes. I asked about the MOI numbers and at the time, they (Owner Alan Johnson) stated that they were not sure. A terrific putter!! $399.99 USD per set

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Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee