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.

byrn

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.

topdress

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.

ryder

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

LAMKIN HITS THE TOP AT BMW CHAMPIONSHIP

SAN DIEGO, 11 September 2018 – Lamkin Corporation – the original manufacturer of premium golf grips – would like to congratulate the winner of the BMW Championship on his victory this week.  The incredible performance in testing weather conditions marks a return to form for the long time Lamkin user, with his final round 64 finishing off a score of 260, or 20-under, the lowest 72-hole score in tournament history.

lam

The Crossline Full-Cord used by the winner combines Lamkin’s iconic Crossline pattern with full cord coverage to deliver maximum control and shot feedback, perfect for the often volatile weather conditions in Philadelphia. Lamkin’s Crossline pattern, which has delivered over $200,000,000 in Tour earnings, features a distinctive, densely spaced pattern that promotes light grip tension and provides superior lateral traction. Lamkin’s proprietary rubber compound adds tackiness and durability, while the grip’s firmness delivers excellent torsion control.

Crossline-Full-Cord-Midsize[4210]

In a weekend of top spots for Lamkin, brand ambassador Justin Rose hit #1 in the official golf world rankings by virtue of his second place finish at the BMW Championships.  Rose has been a Lamkin user since his teens and the fact that he has trusted the brand throughout his golfing journey is something that Bob Lamkin, CEO of Lamkin grips is incredibly proud, “Justin has trusted Lamkin grips right from the start of his career so to see him sat on top of the world rankings for the first time makes all of us at Lamkin very proud. Justin is an outstanding representative of the Lamkin brand, both on and off the course, and this achievement is well-deserved for the hard work and dedication he puts into his game.”

U.S. Open - Round Three

For more information on all Lamkin grips please visit www.Lamkingrips.com or Get social @LamkinGrips

 

Rrrrroll Back??

Alright! Right up until this moment I’ve been very quiet about the hot topic that has come up lately. No it isn’t Tiger’s comeback at the Hero World Challenge but he is involved in this article. Then again so are legends of golf Mr. Jack Nicklaus and Mr. Gary Player. Of course I am talking about the latest talk of rolling back the golf ball.The reason is simple and I totally understand their concern. The fact is that Tour players are making certain golf courses obsolete. Most notably, some of the courses in the rota for the Open Championship. Imagine a world where there is no Open Championship on the Old Course at St. Andrew’s. When you think about it… it isn’t far-fetched at all.

The talk of rolling the golf ball back is not a new idea. Mr. Nicklaus has stated this in the past so his suggestion about a uniform golf ball is nothing new. I remember going back to 2015 during the week of the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay the timeless legend Mr. Player stated that golf courses were “getting too long” and that the “mismanagement of the golf ball” is leading to the demise of golf courses. Even more recently, Mr. Player stated that it was “sad” to see the Old Course being defeated by today’s golf ball. He actually expressed concerns in 2005. Tiger Woods joined the “campaign” on dialing the golf ball back very recently as well. Of course, there were those who follow the game that said he wants the golf ball rolled back because he is no longer the longest guy out there. But there he was clearly stating that “We” need to do something. So if this is a concern than why has nothing been done?

pl

While evolution and progress can be a great thing in some cases it isn’t. In a world of checks and balances something has to give. I have a hard time seeing the likes of the major brands in the industry saying yes to having a uniform golf ball. After all, in the case of Titleist their marketing model has nothing to do with their golf clubs or their mid-range golf balls. It’s all about the Pro V1 golf ball. Play what the best in the world play! Of course, the Pro V1 will almost certainly continue to live for the masses.  But getting back to giving a new meaning to “the one ball rule” how would that process occur? Bids by the likes of Acushnet, Srixon Golf,  Bridgestone Golf, Wilson Golf etc with the winner being selected and to the victor go the spoils? Seems hardly fair right? If all company’s had to adhere to the same criteria that would theoretically work. But then I get this eerie premonition.

Just like when rolling and shaving softball bats was a thing when I was still playing softball. To make composite softball bats more lively guys at all levels of softball would shave the inner walls of the bat and roll the bats to make them “pop” reducing their break-in period which made the bats hot!!!. The result… pitchers dreaded lobbing up every pitch because of the balls exit speed coming back up the middle. Trust me.. it was deadly!   The governing bodies at Provincial Championships had x-ray machines to check for any suspected bats breaching the rule. Remember my premonition? Imagine the eventual winner of a tournament won a tournament that we’ll call ‘The Masters”. The winner was  hitting the “rolled back” golf ball long. Meanwhile, up in The Butler Cabin  by the fireplace sits an x-ray machine. Right before the Green Jacket presentation they examine the golf ball… or all of the golf balls in the golf bag of the winner. Somehow, there was one ball that magically slipped through quality and control at Plant#3 and there’s an illegal golf ball. Disqualification.

sgh

Photo Credit: scottishgolfhistory.com

 

The reality of the game and rolling the golf ball back only is a concern for such a low percentage of golfers around the world. For everyone else (mere mortals) this debate doesn’t or shouldn’t really effect them. With all due respect to Mr. Nicklaus, Mr. Player and Mr. Woods the problem really stems back to my entire baseball bat scenario. Sure the golf ball is long. Maybe it doesn’t spin as much. But those baseball bats started to launch the ball out of the ball park 375 feet  at will. One league I played in had houses built right behind the sports complex. Segments of 50′ mesh nets were strung up in a vain attempt to protect the houses against incoming “mortar shells”. It sort of worked but yet windows were still getting smashed. The league brought in a flight restricted ball and sure the instances of baseballs being hit off of the roofs of neighboring houses decreased but not by much. So what was the correlation and why was it still a problem… other than poor city planning? The bats and athlete’s themselves.

I personally think that the issue with golf and this entire “rolling back crusade” is with the golf clubs themselves. Let’s face it… when you’re an arthritic 70-year-old man you shouldn’t really hitting the ball further than when you were 50. But you are! If there’s an issue with too much length look at the new equipment that’s being constructed from space-aged materials. If it’s anything it’s the equipment causing the issues.  Not just drivers and irons but the turf equipment too. Bear with me for a second regarding the latter. But again, this only pertains to a small percentage of golfers. Have scores dropped significantly among amateurs over the last 5 years with all of the advances in technology? The answer is no! Look at the technology in place for these guys playing on television on Sunday afternoon’s. Sure it’s out there for amateur’s as well  but the technology goes far outside of having the right shafts installed into your set. Who saw Rocky IV? Remember the technology that “Ivan Drago” had? Technology that actually makes the athlete with much advanced workout programs. Golfers at the collegiate and professional levels like their NHL, NFL, and MLB counterparts are quite simply bigger, faster and stronger. So… is the answer having 8,500 yard long golf courses? My thought is no! How the heck does that help and what is a solution?

daily mail

The course of the future now. (Photo Credit: Daily Mail)

I never thought that I would say this but maybe.. just maybe the USGA has had it “sort of” right all along with their set-ups. Maybe the superintendents at said courses would take an issue to this but maybe growing out the rough, making fairways narrower and the greens firmer and faster is the answer. Moreover, water the living “bejeezus” out of the fairways. Drench them… and forget about these guys getting 50+ yards of roll. My Lord… most of the fairways that these guys play on roll faster on a “Stimp” than the greens at most Semi-Private golf courses. The machinery that superintendents have at their disposal has come a long way since the era of “Caddyshack’. I’ve said for too long that golf has become hard to watch. Seeing these guys posting combined -24 scores for a tournament is hurting the game and making the game boring to watch. Many people go to car races for the “wrecks” and that’s why I love the carnage at the U.S. Open. High scores and punishment for wayward shots. Many of these courses also feature fairways as wide as the eyes can see… or they should be considering their width. Look at Erin Hills… wow! Heck, even Glen Abbey site of the RBC Canadian Open has massive fairways where the bombers can bomb away at will. If they miss… no big deal because there is no rough. If you want to roll anything back… roll back the course conditioning.

shin

2004 U.S. Open Shinnecock Hills (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Maybe my solution is too simplified. You aren’t going to be able to roll back the athlete (force them to be obese) and you might be able to do something about rolling back the ball and/or equipment. But the one thing that golf needs to do is preserve the game and preserve the likes of Tillinghast, Thompson, Nicklaus, Palmer, Robert Trent Jones and Ross. Make these guys “golf the ball” around the course. Screw “bomb and gouge” and make these guys hit golf shots. Make them work the ball and penalize a miss.

Until The Next Tee!!