Odds ‘n’ Ends

Sitting here.. I’m reflecting on several things from the last week in golf. Some of my thoughts are about the upcoming 2019 PGA Merchandise Show, some of it is about the recent equipment releases while some of it is about what we witnessed this past week in professional golf. Much like when you go out to the grocery store with no list you’re merely picking up odds ‘n’ ends. So that’s what this article is going to be titled. It might even turn into a regular piece. Who knows?!

The Sentry Tournament of Champions was a fun event to watch. Yes, it left me dreaming of going to the Hawaiian Islands as it’s always been on my “Bucket List”. Since I was 10 years old. I’ve always dreamed of seeing sea turtles, volcanoes, visiting Pearl Harbor and since I started my foray into golf.. playing Hawaiian courses and experiencing the “Tradewinds”. In a script perfect for a product launch Xander Schauffele won with the new Epic Flash and Apex Pro 19 irons in the bag. His closing round (62) was remarkable but I want to look at a couple of other things. Bryson DeChambeau proclaimed the new knee height drop to be “a bit absurd”. No arguments here. I’ve mocked it enough recently. But it’s as stupid an amendment to the rules of golf as an amendment can be. While it isn’t hard to bend over at the waist to execute the drop (Bryson was a bit over the top) what are the benefits? In one video I made demonstrating my need for “muscle memory” the ball rolled forward from knee height and rolled back into a divot. Does it really make a difference? If anything, nothing has changed. Am I missing something? Heck, why don’t we just place the ball. Screw integrity.

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Photo Credit: Golf Channel

Sticking with the Sentry Tournament of Champions we saw a first. Under the new rules of golf we had our first penalty assessed. Dustin Johnson has the “dubious” distinction. DJ was assessed a two-stroke penalty when a pulled tee shot went into the long grass… where the wild things are. A marshal on the course had marked the area that they had believed DJ’s golf ball had come to rest. Locating a golf ball with a (TaylorMade Golf logo on it) Johnson promptly chopped it out. After hitting his shot he continued his walk and found HIS ball. There’s a lesson here folks. Stay loose for that knee height drop. Bend over and move the grass and identify your golf ball. Besides, there’s no penalty for the moved ball. Or at least that’s the way that I translate it.

This past week we saw plenty of product launches. In particular, those from the “marketing mammoths” of the industry. During these launches there was no shortage of marketing buzzwords. TBRAR, Speed Bridge, Triple Track, “our longest golf ball”, AI, Flash Face Technology and so on. They do marketing and they do it well.

TaylorMade Golf announced their 2019 range of products. From the newly designed TP5 and TP5x golf balls to their new M5 and M6 range of products. The irons have incorporated “Speed Bridge Technology”. There is something there that sort of reminds me of the Nike SlingShot irons. I know… it was horizontal as opposed to vertical. Upon posting pics on Twitter (@UntilTheNextTee) my “Tweeps” were definitely not sold on the looks. Nor was I. After all… how can you kiss a girl (or guy) if you can’t look at them? Maybe their performance outweighs the aesthetics.

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I beat the tar out of the pricing in articles so we will not beat that “dead horse” again. Or at least for now.

Callaway Golf also announced their product range. Featuring the Epic Flash metal woods, Big Bertha 19, Apex 19 and Apex Pro 19 irons and lastly the ERC Soft golf ball featuring “Triple Track Technology”. I’ve seen this sort of thing before and I commented on it back around 2015. Kick X Golf has/had their Tour-Z golf ball (who consequently got sued by Acushnet and I’ve held a secret for a long time about that) and while technically different the alignment aid on those golf balls were the same as the newly introduced Triple Track Technology. I said then that it was the best alignment aid on the market for putting and now that distinction clearly goes to Callaway Golf. The three lines do significantly improve alignment on putts as Callaway Golf demonstrated during the launch. With that said, I am very intrigued by many things about the ERC Soft golf ball. In particular, their hybrid cover which takes the feel of urethane and combines it with the durability of surlyn. Consider the cover a “love child” of the two materials. For $39.99 USD this sounds like a decent offering. Color me intrigued.

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The 2019 PGA Merchandise Show is coming up quick and my booked appointment schedules are full. Demo Day is crammed full of interviews with the likes of Wilson Golf at 9 am and a company called Eagle Rebirth at 3. In between are appointments with Callaway Golf, Bridgestone Golf, Cleveland Golf/Srixon/XXIO, Cobra Puma Golf, Jack Grace USA and many others. The mix is absolutely eclectic. I’m also going to be visiting with others that are unplanned. Epon, Miura, Knuth Golf, Fourteen and Lynx Golf are high on that list. I have no doubt that there will be some surprises and hidden gems. There always is.

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee

 

TaylorMade Golf NOT Attending the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show

A day ago or so I saw a rumour floating across the internet. The rumour was that TaylorMade Golf would not be attending the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida.

Instead of opting to go by what I saw over social media I decided to go to the source. So I reached out to Nick Obritsch who is the Marketing Manager for TaylorMade-adidas Golf (Canada) to confirm or debunk the story. It has been confirmed that TaylorMade-adidas Golf will not be attending the PGA Merchandise Show in January.

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This is a bit of a “black eye” for the event that features all of the latest and greatest that the industry has to offer. An event that seems to have lost a little bit of its lustre when talking to other media outlets or attendees alike.

TaylorMade-adidas Golf is obviously one of the industry “David’s”. The brand has never shied away from having a tremendous representation at the PGA Merchandise Show. The brand used to take up a large segment of one end of the Orange County Convention Center. One year in particular they had an area that felt like you were at a lavish South Beach nightclub. In the past TaylorMade-adidas Golf has made huge announcements at the annual show. The largest of the bunch was in 2017 when the brand announced that Tiger Woods would be playing TaylorMade Golf equipment.

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Below is the official statement from TaylorMade Golf regarding their reason for not attending. Thanks go out to Mr. Obritsch for providing the official statement. One way or another I will provide coverage on the 2019 product range from TaylorMade Golf. That I guarantee.

David Abeles, CEO, TaylorMade Golf:

“In the coming years, TaylorMade plans to broaden its investment in the PGA of America, pursuing growth initiatives we believe create even greater value for the game of golf. As a result of the additional spend and following significant discussions with key stakeholders, including many of our TaylorMade PGA staff professionals, the decision was made to not attend the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show.”

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

Fall Golf, Course Set-up’s on TOUR and The 2018 Ryder Cup

It’s a great time of the year. Pumpkin Spice is en vogue (although I get tired of it by the second week of September). Members of golf clubs that I’ve worked at are already thinking of their annual “Snowbird migration”. Meanwhile, the residents of regions affected by the annual influx are also thinking about it…For different reasons.

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Fall golf at Byrncliff in 2014.

With a show of hands.. who loves fall golf? I know that I do and it sucks that stroke recovery is likely going to prevent me from partaking in playing this fall.. The weather is fantastic with the temperatures being near perfection. Gone are the days of oppressive heat. The fairways aren’t nearly as busy and getting in 18-36 holes is a breeze. Of course, there’s the added benefit of fall foliage. Is there a prettier time of the year to go golfing? The reds, oranges and yellows make you feel like you’re golfing amongst a fire. Even the smell in the air is just a little different. Fall is also the time when superintendents are aerating, top-dressing and fertilizing their greens. Yes, it might be a pain in the arse putting on those surfaces but just remember. A little misery now means that your greens will survive the winter and be ready for you in the spring. Thank your superintendent and greens staff today.

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A necessary part of golf.

The 2018 Ryder Cup was just contested this past weekend and a huge congratulations goes out to Team Europe. The European side played some beautiful golf and their victory was convincing to say the least. While I will refrain from using the term “bloodbath” it wasn’t close. The Europeans (Captained by Thomas Bjorn) cruised to a 17.5 to 10.5 victory powered by the likes of Tommy Fleetwood, Francesco Molinari, Ian Poulter, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Alex Noren et al. The European team simply looked like that… a team. Something that the American team failed to achieve especially amid the aftermath of the defeat. Patrick Reed was busy pointing fingers and while I love the fact that he’s not a “spit and polish” kind of guy you never point fingers. Win and lose as a “team” right?! Finger pointing at the Ryder Cup is not unprecedented. Who remembers when Phil Mickelson pointed his finger at Captain Tom Watson in 2014? Wasn’t that also the year when “The Panel” was set up after an embarrassing defeat to ensure that it never happened again? Maybe I’m mistaken. Also, there were reports of an apparent incident between Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson.at the after party where they had to be separated. Either way, there are bigger things to get into a huff over and in the grand scheme of things. Say what you will… the Euros dominated in every facet of the competition. Namely, hitting fairways and greens. Which brings me to my next point.

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Photo Credit: CBS Sports

All over social media I’ve seen it said. The difference was in how the golf course was set up. On the PGA Tour golf courses are generally set up too easy. Everything is lush and pristine. A missed fairway simply isn’t penalized. While the American side was “chock full” of the sort of player referred to as “Bomb and Gouge” the Europeans were not. Accuracy was the name of the game as it always is and should be. The American team was ill-suited to succeed at Le Golf National. Sure there was a ton of talent and “big boppers” on their team. However, if you’re unable to score from the thicker, graduated rough when you miss the narrowed fairway the battle is already lost. Here’s a news flash. If you’re new to my site I have long said that the answer to the insanely low scores on tour is not the golf ball and rolling it back. Protect the integrity of the game by protecting the golf course architect and the golf course itself. Let the superintendents of host venues on TOUR have “fun”. Grow the golf course out! Make the fairways narrow, punish a missed fairway with thicker rough, firm up the greens and by all means water the living Hell out of the fairways to eliminate roll. These guys will torch a “resort course” all day long and that’s how these courses are set-up. Wake up PGA Tour and the USGA. If you truly want to compete and win the Ryder Cup and not be lambasted… make your tournament courses tougher.

Until The Next Tee!!

#seeuonthenexttee #fightandgrind