#GolfOatmealSucks

For some time now there’s been a debate about “what’s wrong with the golf industry”? So much in fact that while I was at the PGA Show the PGA of America held a panel of “who’s who” to discuss where the problem lies. A recent comment made by Lee McCoy I will not discuss much at this time but I will say this. Lee remember one thing young man. Karma is a bitch and it’ll bite your ass one day. Your approach with those young fans was beyond reproach. (If you aren’t wanting to read… please see the video that I recorded at the bottom of this post.)

I sat there listening in just for a little bit and they tossed around a variety of theories. All of them coming close to saying it but never wanting to “jump on the grenade”. I was hoping that someone… anyone would have the “testicular fortitude” (see balls) to say it. Nobody did. Here’s the problem. It’s the “old boys network” themselves.

Is the issue directly associated with the PGA of America? No but it’s the older generation of golfers that presents the issue. It’s these antiquated dinosaurs that still play the game whom are so stuck in their old, miserable ways. Never really open to change or accepting any sort of notion of change. Just think about it for a second. Let the stereotyped image of Caddyshack’s Bushwood Country Club sink into your mind for a minute. That clean, sterile, posh country club lifestyle. It was one of these types of places that kept me away from playing the game in the first place decades ago. I was interested in playing the game but one day while riding my bicycle home from the beach flying out of the driveway at a course came a car. Minding my own business I was ejected off of my mountain bike and ended up in a ditch. He slurred after getting out of his car “Fucking stupid kid… what are you doing?”. He was some kind of drunk and reeked like a brewery. Irony would prevail years later as I was the Director of Golf of that course in 2016 and to this day I swear he was one of my member’s. Ultimately, that course was mired in the ways of 1985 and when I approached someone on the board about new ideas… basic things like “Twilight Rates” or “Course Rangers” it was met with a simple “we’ve never done that before” mindset.

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Travis Mathew booth set-up at the 2018 PGA Show.

 

Why is golf like that? Why is the industry so stuck in their old, stale ways? Golf oatmeal!!  Golf oatmeal is simply the fact that people tend to walk, talk, teach, swing, and doing everything golf in the same old beleaguered manner. A world where everything is bland, looks the same, is flavourless and is slowly bubbling away eventually sticking to the bottom of the pot. The majority of the industry is not willing to accept new ideas or fresh ideas. New approaches are met with so much skepticism and cynicism that it melts the mind. Whether it’s equipment, instruction, apparel or ways to get people to participate in the game and show up at golf courses worldwide. The game isn’t dying but without an influx of new blood it will die a slow painful death.

So many older golfers point at millenials because well… they have a label of being a spoiled, no good, “I want it now” generation. I thought this way until recently but then I had an epiphany of sorts. Don’t these “old boys” realize that they too were once young bucks and that one day the younger generation will inherit the Earth. It’s this younger generation that IS going to save the game. How? Because of the ideas now will move forward because eventually the old dinosaurs become fossils. In other words… they’ll die.

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The game needs more fun. The LPGA has nearly an entire roster that gets it… they really do but the support that they receive from the average golf observer (fan) isn’t what it should be. On the PGA Tour guys like Rickie, Jordan, Justin et al understand. These guys are tremendous for the sport. The game needs brands like Travis Mathew to be bold and fresh. They were always a golf brand first and a lifestyle-brand second. Their booth is to the PGA Show what “Al Czervik” was to “Judge Smails”. They’re all about fun! A brand like Chippo is a fresh approach to an old game. Great in the backyard, the beach or a tailgate situation Chippo still puts a golf club into someone’s hands. Brands like Loudmouth Golf, are important because not everyone wants to wear khakis. People like to express themselves. I do and the best thing that I ever did was walk into the Travis Mathew booth 2 years ago. Vertical Groove Golf brought a new approach to golf club design. I could go on… but I won’t.  I made a video to support this article.

I have a secondary mission. Not only is Until The Next Tee about educating golfers on the latest in the golf industry. I’m also here to add some flavor to a world full of bland oatmeal. No longer should this game look, sound and feel the same.

Until The Next Tee!!

Staying True To The Next Tee

The winds of change have been blowing since before the dawn of humanity. It’s a fact! That’s never changed nor will it ever as far as I can see. When I think about the landscape that is the golf industry I really feel that this holds true. Think about it just for a short second. The advancements in golf technology, fabrics for apparel, golf shoes and how your course superintendent maintains your precious fairways. The same can be said for business models in the golf industry as well.

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Over the last couple of days I’ve seen over social media some much “bigger fish” than Until The Next Tee (in a somewhat passive-aggressive manner) lash out at certain company’s choosing not send product for testing. Which is fine and it’s their prerogative to do so.  After all that’s the beauty of free speech. When it comes to the manufacturers it’s great for these company’s to support golf forums and blogs but it’s also their perogative to decline sending out product. There’s many reasons for this decision. It could be a change in a business model or maybe they feel like they might be “above” doing such because quite frankly they’re (in their own minds) too big for that. Either way, no matter what side of the fence you’re on you’ll always have a choice. Some people may support the choice and others will oppose.

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It comes as no shock to anyone that Until The Next Tee doesn’t have the resources or tenure as some of the bigger fish in this “golf website ocean”. The truth is this. In fact, I was a very active participant in their respective schools and decided to go off on my own for a number of reasons and I’m glad that I did. But when you’re a sardine trying to compete against a barracuda it’s all about trying to find a way to survive. Stay close to the reef right? It’s tough to get support from company’s when you’re small and I understand and respect that. You have to develop street credibility because you’re an unknown quantity and company’s can’t just send products to any person trying to pass themselves off as something. You have to “earn your stripes” as my parents would often tell me. So to survive… I’ve been resourceful.

I’ve found ways to survive and provide a service that I’m damn proud of. While trying to earn my stripes I’ve never had golf clubs sent to me for testing other than Miura (on two occasions) and Cleveland Golf. Having been mostly ignored I’ve used demo days to produce my “organic reviews”. Whether it’s the colossus that’s the PGA Show Demo Day, a local golf show like when I stumbled upon PXG (and reviewed them) or local demo days like the one last year to test out Cobra Golf I get the job done. When you love doing something you find a way.

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So no matter what company’s choose to continue to support testing and reviews please know that I’ll stay true to who I am and what Until The Next Tee was founded upon. If there’s a will… there’s a way! No matter what the company is from Yonex to Fourteen. From Wilson Staff to TaylorMade or Bridgestone Golf to PXG and everything in between I’ll do my best to test and share my opinions with you… my readers. #SeeUOnTheNextTee

Until The Next Tee!!

This and That!!! (Volume 3)

According to my calculations this is the third installment of an article that I simply titled “This and That”. I honestly don’t remember what said article was about but I do know that something cheesed me off so I wrote about it. In this installment I’m going to get a few things off of my chest.

Recently, I was asked why is it that I’m so hard on Tiger Woods bordering on the point of hate. The greatest player to have ever played the game. I feel this is the best outlet and time to discuss it. First and foremost I just wanted to clarify that I don’t hate Tiger Woods. I have never had a talk with him and therefore I don’t know him. Yes, he really comes off as arrogant and elitist but that is what I see and I am entitled to my opinion.. I don’t how he interacts with children or elderly people. But there is a certain air about him isn’t there? Is he the kind of guy that would give you the shirt off of his back? I’ll never know. I get it… to his legions of fans that fact doesn’t even matter… or at least I assume that it doesn’t.

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Photo Credit: cbssports.com

But there are some things about Tiger that I do hate. The first thing is that I hate the choices that he’s made. I spoke about that before within these pages. There’s absolutely no excuse for driving under the influence whether it’s prescribed medications or alcohol and there is no explanation that forgives it. To be honest, I don’t care what he did or didn’t do during his marriage to Elin Nordgren. Of course, I am referring to his act of indiscretion (or two), Hey, it’s his life right? The media and how they handle/treat him. This really bugs me. Especially the  Golf Channel most notably and how they gush about him. I get it…. Tiger did a lot for golf  but not in the sense of what Mr. Palmer did. What Tiger has done for golf was bring people to the golf course or driving range who otherwise may not him. He had his name on a very popular game for consoles further immersing youth and old alike in golf. Viewers and broadcasts love him and in particular the ratings that he brings. Ratings that  in all likelihood Golf Channel wouldn’t have. But we don’t need to hear about every time he swings a golf club or what he has for breakfast and so on. Did you know that tere were other players in the event? Did you know that Kevin Chappell was leading? When Tiger is involved directly with the game or an event there is a certain buzz that envelops said event. Look no further than the recent President’s Cup. Tiger is great for the golf industry and he brings attention to a game that is much maligned.

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Photo Credit: golfweek.com

As everybody and their uncle knows Tiger teed it up this week at his event (Hero World Challenge). An event with a field of 18 players most of which are among the game’s elite. In typical fashion during the days leading up to the event all that you saw was Tiger here… Tiger there. It’s understandable… because it was huge. It was a comeback and one that felt different and the masses soaked it all in. Heck, there were some pictures circulating on social media that bordered on creepy. Pictures taken from behind bushes. you know the typical stalker-type. Pictures that were ominously close to being labeled as sociopathic. As I said, this time around the comeback felt different. His swing didn’t look hesitant like in other returns from injury etc. He looked good and I’m the first to say that and give Tiger credit where credit is due. He played well.. real well in fact. He was right there near the top of the leaderboard for a bit. That in itself is great to see and love him or hate him you never want to see a guy struggle or be a shell of their former selves. Whether you’re a “golf fan” or a “Tiger fan” (and there is a difference) it can only be good for our struggling sport. It’s sort of strange for me to see him playing TaylorMade Golf equipment and Bridgestone Golf Tour B XS balls. I don’t even look at the 75 that he shot on Saturday when looking back at his return. He played well period! All that I say now is just let him play golf when he decides to play and nature will take its course.

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My GOAT (Photo Credit: arnoldpalmer.com)

A couple of other things real quick. A reference has been thrown around a ton. The reference of which I speak is a type of livestock. Goats! Otherwise known as the greatest of all time. Many say that Tiger is THE G.O.A.T. and to me I feel that he isn’t. I feel that Tiger is by far the greatest of my generation without question but he isn’t the G.O.A.T. Many factors weigh in to somebody being the G.O.AT. For me it just isn’t about stats or victories. There’s more to being a champion on the course, the field or the rink. Maybe to a rabid Boston Bruins fan Wayne Gretzky isn’t the GOAT when it comes to hockey. Maybe to that fan it’s Bobby Orr.  To me there’s a hidden variable to being a GOAT. That variable is how someone was or conducts themselves in life. Everybody has an opinion and that’s what makes debate fun. Each individual has a reason why (to them) somebody is the GOAT. To me when I look at the greats Tiger is there. But then again so are Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus seeing that his statistics speak for themselves. For me the greatest of all time was Arnold Palmer. Not just for his 93 total victories which included 7 Majors. But he was a champion at life. He was a champion off of the course. To me that makes him THE G.O.A.T!

Another thing that has my hackles up. Golf balls! This entire bifurcation thing”. It isn’t going to work and unless you’re playing on the PGA Tour you don’t really need to worry about it. I’ll stick to my guns and what I wrote last week or whenever it was. Water the crap out of the fairways, narrow the fairways, grow the rough out and firm up the greens. I know there’s a crusade about water conservation. But again my idea only affects Tour courses and the weeks leading up to an event. Sure the member’s at courses that host an event would have it tough for a bit but it’s an easy payoff to lessen the chances of making your 7,300 yard golf course look like a pitch ‘n’ putt and yielding mini-putt scores. Protect the architects!

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Photo Credit: Golf Digest

Long putters! People are bashing Bernhard Langer, Scott McCarron and Adam Scott. Scott because he’s reportedly going back to a long putter.  Langer and McCarron because people feel that they’re breaching the rule (anchor ban) and cheating. I hate long putters and I’ve tried them. They aren’t for me. But if they were automatic everybody would use them. When it comes to the Tour. I think it should be clear. No use… period! Which gets me to the equipment and golf balls for the run of the mill hack… like me! Use whatever you want. Use what makes the game fun for you and gives you the best results. Use a 53″ long driver or a belly putter. Use irons that don’t conform to the groove rule if you wish. If you aren’t playing in a sanctioned RCGA, USGA or R & A event then don’t worry about it. These rules affect only a miniscule percentage of the world’s golfers. If the curmudgeon that you’re paired with on the first tee gets their knickers in a bunch about your equipment… Screw ’em! Just get on the course, play golf and have fun!

Until The Next Tee!!

Love Fore The Game?

Much can be said of appearance fees. Many a tournament have used them as initiative to bring golfers to play in events. Events that top players would otherwise balk at playing in. I have no doubt that appearance fees were used to a much lesser extent through the history of golf. What exactly was $4000 worth in 1932 compared to 2017? This topic is a bit random but what would make me write another editorial about love for the game and appearance fees?

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Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Before I continue I feel that I must state the obvious. Everything is about money for nearly everyone nowadays. Especially for athletes playing professional sports around the world. Whether it’s the NHL, MLB, NFL, NBA or any of the Premier Futbol leagues in Europe it’s business first. After all, all of these athletes have to pay agents for their services and of course their expensive toys. Often I’ve wondered if Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Joe Montana or Pele kept playing their sports professionally out of sheer love for their game?  A game in which their parents once paid for them to play in order to participate. Or did they continue playing in order just to keep the fat paychecks  rolling in? Of course, they were all inspired to keep playing at least partly due to their competitive desire.

Golf… a game that seems much maligned these days. A game where so much focus has been directed towards “growing the game”. A game where there’s a drive to develop new fans from the younger generation of golfer. Maybe American kids look towards a Rickie (Fowler) Lexi (Thompson) or Jordan (Spieth) to emulate. In some country’s where golf isn’t as prevalent like Bangladesh maybe by going to an event and watching Siddikur Rahman and young boy or girl would want to play golf and who knows maybe find an education through playing the game. In Australia there are a slew of golfers to choose from that may capture the imagination of young golfers to be… maybe it’s Jason Day or Adam Scott.

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Siddikur Rahman (Photo Credit: Asian Tour)

For any young Australian golfers out there looking to the latter as inspiration to play golf seriously they’ll be disappointed this year. Adam Scott… the sweet swinging Australian decided to withdraw from the Emirates Australian Open this week. Not because of an unbeatable affliction like “CSS” (Chronic Shanks Syndrome) or an injured wrist, back or in-grown toenail. Nope! How about because of his issue with an appearance fee ([ardon me while I sarcastically applaud Adam’s decision). Scott, who in 2015 had an estimated worth of about $40 million skipped out on his National Championship because he didn’t receive enough money in appearance fees! His first time missing the event in a decade. Really Adam? Not enough of an appearance fee? Sure his nose might be out of joint because Spieth was set to make $1 million before striking a golf ball. If Spieth is receiving that kind of  money it makes me wonder what the fee was going to be for Scott… a native son? No doubt it was more money than I have seen or will ever see in my bank account. I think that it’s shameful and disgusting that he or anyone would skip a tournament because they never received enough money just to show up.

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Show me the money… or Scottie don’t! (Photo Credit: Golf Digest)

As I pause my writing and think to myself for a second I wonder even further. If Spieth didn’t get an appearance fee as compensation would he play? We all know that the likes of Tiger, Phil and Rory have received huge appearance fees for showing up at tournaments in the past. Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia have each received an estimated $1.5 million in appearance fees for playing the Hong Kong Open. Combined the fees are worth more than the purse itself (such is the case with Spieth).

Have the appearance fees gotten out of hand? Maybe. But as long as the sponsors are willing to shell it out and the players have coffers to line they’ll gladly collect the fees. I would! But it makes you wonder in retrospect too. If the sponsors weren’t willing to cough up the “dineros” would the golfers be playing in the events? A game that “we” pay to play and through buying equipment from their respective equipment sponsors indirectly help pay their endorsement deals. Golf seems so much like the other professional sports leagues doesn’t it? It’s “us” the fans buying tickets and merchandise that line their wallets and support their families.

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What the game is truly about.

For guys and gals out there playing events on the various worldwide professional tours it’s fine for you to withdraw. Nobody with a soul would dispute sitting out an event because of illness, injury, or a family emergency. But sitting out of a tournament because you didn’t receive enough “thanks for being here money”? Quit being such petulent primadona spoiled brats. You truly forget what this game is all about.  £ove for the game? #whatever

Until The Next Tee!!

A Season of Change

It’s been a while since I wrote a small blurb or editorial so here we go…

Much can said about the bad fortune that us… “People of the North” suffer from. Us poor souls (as hearty as we are) that have to hang up our golf clubs as “Old Man Winter” steadily approaches. Eager to get us into his cold clutches and drive us indoors. A term that we effectively call the “off-season”. Our southern friends taught us with cell pictures of them suffering in tropical temperatures playing golf as we go into a “golf hibernation”. Laugh at us all you want but there is a silver lining to our black cloud full of snow.

I have been adamant in declaring that there is simply #NoOffSeason for those of us in the northern climates. As a matter of fact it’s not an off-season at all as it’s more like a “season of change”. This time of the year is perfect for us to “recognize and react” to deficiencies in our game. This can mean a number of things. Perhaps our putting is woeful so maybe we get a putting mat and try a change of stroke. Perhaps a new grip to hold that flat stick. Maybe that Vardon Grip hasn’t been working for you… so maybe it’s the right time of the year to experiment with a switch to an Interlocking or a 10 Finger Grip.

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LOL… no David. There is no “gun show”. It’s more like a gun convention.

Personally speaking, this year I’m making a number of changes. I’ve committed myself to a change in eating and fitness. I’ve decided to cut the carbs which does two things. The first is to lower my blood glucose levels and the second reason is to cut weight. All in all the changes are mostly due to recent test results of my arteries and I really need to make some serious changes since surgical intervention is not currently on the table. The results thus far have seen a reduction in weight. I started my fitness regimen at 223 lbs and I am now . under 210 lbs for the first time since 1996. Also, I am needing to inject less insulin which is a great feeling to help control my blood sugar. Not to mention that I’ve been feeling a little better lately.

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Seeing things with a different perspective.

Other changes that I’ve made recently are to benefit my golf game. Coupled with working I have re-introduced myself to SuperSpeed Golf. More clubhead speed is always good. On the whole I’ve been struggling with my golf game and part of the reason is my vision. I decided to try wearing glasses while I play golf. I played a round recently with a friend (Randy) who also wears glasses when he plays and wearing the glasses caused me issues. My depth perception changed… so it seemed like the ball wasn’t where I thought it was in my stance. Or from a lie standpoint. The ball seemed closer and as Randy pointed my brain was having a hard time believing what it was seeing. It will take time but it did pay a dividend. I can see the greens better and I think it really solved why my putting was so poor this year. I thought that I was seeing breaks when I wasn’t.

In the meantime, as long as the snow isn’t flying and the courses are open think like an onion and layer”. I guess the main purpose of this article can be summed up. Truthfully, there is #NoOffSeason. Make a change… the time is now. It’s officially the “season of change”.

Until The Next Tee!!