The Pandemic HAS Created A New Golfer

It’s been a trying time over the last few months. Of course, there’s the COVID-19 pandemic. Really, that could have gone without saying. It’s been a real downer for everyone. Golfers, boaters, and of course our healthcare workers who’ve had an extremely heavy stress load forced upon them. The doctors, nurses, and lab technicians. All of them, legitimate, bonafide heroes who should be making the money that professional athletes make. But I digress.

Now, we have “Murder Hornets” too!  is that, it’s only May! Now that I pause and think about it, 2020, you really suck!

Anyways, it’s amazing what light can come out of a situation like we’ve all been facing. As many people that have been infected and unfortunately passed away worldwide from COVID-19, there are also those that have beaten the infection and recovered. One day, we’ll win this war, and THAT to me is a light at the end of the tunnel. Speaking of rays of light in a dark time, I want to talk about my son Alex.

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A proud papa moment. Alex seen here after graduating from a Junior Ceremonial Drill course when he was in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.

My son, Alex, is a great kid or shall I say, young man. He’s a gentle soul, very respectful, and I guess that I should mention for the purposes of this story that he’s on the “spectrum”. Alex has Autism and in particular, he has Asperger’s Syndrome. He’s very comfortable in his “bubble” that is his bedroom. He has a bit of a social disorder because of the Autism Spectrum Disorder. Because of this, he keeps to himself in his room and like most youth or young adults nowadays, Alex is heavily immersed in the life of electronics and video games.

Well, yesterday, he surprised me and gave me a real “Proud Papa” moment.

Upon arriving home, after driving my wife (Crystal) home from work, I walked my Labrador Retriever (Muskoka). After the walk, I walked in the door and went to my bedroom and looked out my window. Lo and behold, who’s outside on the UTNT Practice Centre for Deprived Golfers? Alex! I mentioned to Crystal that he was out there, and my wife assumed that it was me because she heard the sound of a golf ball being struck by a club. So, in an instant, out the door, I go, with no shoes on my feet and I start watching him.

In the past, I have introduced Alex to golf, fishing, and fly fishing. Criticize me if you like but, I’ve never been the kind of parent that “force-feeds” their kids to do anything. I’ve always been of the ilk to let them decide to choose and like what they do (within reason). Alex was first introduced to golf at about age 5. Since, he’s been on a driving range a smattering of times (like in 2014 on a trip to Ottawa/Quebec), played in a 4-Person Scramble with me in Maine (2015), and worked at a golf course (2016). That’s it! So for all intents and purposes, he’s a newcomer to the game and a new golfer. Looking back at pictures of the past, perhaps it was I that dropped the ball by not approaching him. For that, I’m sorry son.

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On the range in Ottawa in 2014.

As I’m outside observing him, he’s trying to figure things out on his own and I just let him go. After a few minutes, I offered him a couple of quick tips. But first, I tried him with a couple of different irons from a couple of sets. He was trying to use my one old set, which was too long for him so I put him into another set that’s closer to standard length. Next, I examined the “Fundamental Four” as I call them.

  • Grip
  • Posture
  • Ball Position
  • Addressing the Ball (which ties into BP)

Having examined that, I moved on to a couple of other things. He was making two common mistakes that many seasoned golfers make. He was “flipping” at impact and he was “picking up the club” as opposed to making a “turn”. So we focused on his bottom hand (wrist angle) and the turn. Taking baby steps, I had Alex make only 1/4 to 1/2 to get him started resulting in him showing signs of instant improvement. And then I thought, let’s try one other club since he was using a muscleback.

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Alex walking off of the green in 2015  on a trip to Maine after making a putt for his team.

I went to my bag with some of my tested equipment and pulled out the 699 9-iron that I received from SUB 70 Golf for review last year. He made a swing and my eyes bulged out of my head. Suddenly, he was making crisp contact at a 4 out of 5 clip. My excitement level was peaked!! Even my speech sped up while explaining things to him. My feet were wet from standing on the wet carpet and grass (mud) so finally as a chill cut through me, I succumbed and went back into the apartment while Alex remained outside and continued to work.

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One picture can say a lot. There’s a lot of good happening here. Trail shoulder down and through. His hips have gotten through the impact zone. The navel is getting towards the target line. Alex is extending down the line. Lastly, he’s transferred nicely to the lead leg and he’s posted up. 

Some time passed and he wrapped things up for the night. There was a twinkle, no, a spark in his eyes. He was happy and excited. He then said something that I never thought I would hear. First, he asked “Dad, is 7 am too early to hit golf balls?” to which I said yes, out of respect for our neighbours. Then he informed me that instead of playing video games tomorrow, he was going to go into the backyard and hit golf balls. I was literally beaming all night.

As bad as this pandemic has been, there’s just a glimmer of positivity. The pandemic and the consequential lockdown have seemingly created a new golfer. My son!

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

 

 

Team TaylorMade’s McIlroy, Johnson, Fowler and Wolff Headline TaylorMade Driving Relief

Ladies and gentlemen. Live golf will be back on television.

TaylorMade Golf has announced that four of its stars will be teeing it up in a charity skins match. Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, and young phenom Matthew Wolff will be taking part in “TaylorMade Driving Relief”.

TaylorMade Driving Relief

The PGA TOUR, NBC Sports, and Sky Sports made the announcement. The match to be played on May 17th is a “$3 million charity skins match supported by UnitedHealth Group to raise money and awareness for the American Nurses Foundation and CDC Foundation, two organizations helping to lead COVID-19 relief efforts”.

Unlike “The Match”, I for one, will be tuning in to this event. And I cannot wait. New televised golf and I guarantee that with the guys playing, this will be entertaining. For more details, please see the press release below as shared by Nick Obritsch. Nick is the Senior Marketing Manager for TaylorMade Golf Canada.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

 

Carlsbad, Calif. (May 4, 2020) – The PGA TOUR, NBC Sports and Sky Sports today announced the return of televised golf with TaylorMade Driving Relief, centred around a $3 million charity skins match supported by UnitedHealth Group to raise money and awareness for the American Nurses Foundation and CDC Foundation, two organizations helping to lead COVID-19 relief efforts.

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On Sunday, May 17, from Seminole Golf Club, TaylorMade Driving Relief will feature two-time FedExCup champion and World No. 1 Rory McIlroy and 20-time PGA TOUR winner Dustin Johnson, teaming up against two Oklahoma State University alumni: PGA TOUR superstar Rickie Fowler and 2019 first-time TOUR winner and 2019 NCAA National Champion Matthew Wolff. The competition will follow strict CDC social distancing guidelines, local mandates and will utilize appropriate testing measures to help protect the health and safety of the golfers, production crew and others on site.

Additionally, Farmers Insurance® has pledged $1 million to back a birdies-and-eagle pool to benefit Off Their Plate, a charitable organization helping COVID-19 healthcare workers and impacted frontline shift employees.

Building upon this initial fundraising of $4 million, PGA TOUR Charities will announce a Text-To-Donate activation and online donation platform powered by GoFundMe to allow viewers to make additional contributions and raise funds for COVID-19 relief.

EVENT INFORMATION:

  • Players: All four golfers will donate their time for the 18-hole, two-man team skins competition, with McIlroy/Johnson playing for the American Nurses Foundation and Fowler/Wolff playing for the CDC Foundation.
  • Location: Seminole Golf Club (Juno Beach, Fla.) A majestic Donald Ross design with a clever routing on a rectangular site, each hole at Seminole encounters a new wind direction. Seminole has long been one of America’s most-revered clubs and this marks the club’s first ever golf event broadcast. No fans or spectators will be permitted on site.
  • Date/Time: Sunday, May 17; live coverage will air from 2-6 p.m. ET
  • Television Broadcast: NBC, GOLF Channel, NBCSN, Sky Sports and other PGA TOUR global media partners.
  • Digital: Unauthenticated streaming of the entire event available via PGA TOUR LIVE (NBC Sports Gold and Amazon Prime Video), GOLFPASS, GolfChannel.com and GOLFTV powered by PGA TOUR. Pre-match coverage as well as the first two holes of the event also will stream on Twitter.
  • Safety measures: PGA TOUR will follow all guidelines, executive orders and mandates issued by the state of Florida, Palm Beach County and the city of Juno Beach.

We are excited about the safe and responsible return of live golf and the opportunity to raise significant funds for those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic through the TaylorMade Driving Relief event. With four of the PGA TOUR’s top stars in Rory, Rickie, Dustin and Matthew of Team TaylorMade participating and UnitedHealth Group serving as the foundation of charitable giving, and Farmers Insurance providing an additional bonus pool, golf fans around the world can look forward to a unique, interactive and entertaining event that will help those in need.

Jay Monahan, PGA TOUR Commissioner

BROADCAST

PGA TOUR Entertainment will produce live coverage, which will feature commentary from NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico from his home in Michigan, as well as analysts Paul Azinger and Gary Koch and play-by-play with Rich Lerner from an off-site production facility. On-site at Seminole Golf Club will be on-course reporters Jerry Foltz and Steve Sands.

NBC Sports is proud to raise awareness for these charities that are directly making an impact on COVID-19 relief. We’re grateful to the four exceptional PGA TOUR players for donating their time, as well as all the sponsors for helping elevate this unique fundraising event, which will feature the first worldwide broadcast of a golf competition from Seminole Golf Club.

Pete Bevacqua, President, NBC Sports Group

Seminole Golf Club is honored to host this charitable event and welcomes all golf fans and sports enthusiasts to tune in to the broadcast to see these world-class players take on our course. This match is a pure public service, with all money raised providing COVID-19 relief to those most in need in Florida and around the country, and Seminole is thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to such a worthy cause at this difficult time.

Jimmy Dunne, President, Seminole Golf Club

FUNDRAISING AND IMPACT

Thanks to a pledge from UnitedHealth Group, the primary charitable component will see the teams compete in a $3 million charity skins match as each team will compete for one of two charities, the American Nurses Foundation and CDC Foundation.

The 325,000 people of UnitedHealth Group continue to work tirelessly every day to support the health and safety of the people we are privileged to serve and to contribute to the resolution of this pandemic. This additional financial support for the American Nurses Foundation and the CDC Foundation advances our commitment to take care of those who care for us by helping to meet the clinical, emotional and mental health needs of our frontline heroes, doctors, nurses and all health care workers. We’re pleased to be a part of this event designed to bring attention to and encourage further financial support for those on the leading edge of fighting this pandemic.

David S. Wichmann, CEO, UnitedHealth Group

Additionally, Farmers Insurance also kicked off fundraising efforts with a $1 million pledge, to back a birdies-and-eagles pool to benefit Off Their Plate, whose work creates a conduit for local communities to provide nutritious meals to the hospital teams we depend on and economic relief to local restaurant workers who have been most affected by COVID.

For more than 90 years, serving our customers and helping communities impacted by disasters around the country has been in our DNA, and that remains true now more than ever. On behalf of everyone at Farmers, we’re proud of first responders and frontline workers for what they continue to do every single day during this unprecedented situation. It’s a privilege to support this event alongside our brand ambassador Rickie Fowler, and provide much needed funds to Off Their Plate, so they can continue to help those most impacted in this uncertain time.

Jeff Dailey, CEO, Farmers Insurance

 COMPETITORS

TaylorMade brings four of the world’s best and most exciting players to the event, and all are donating their time to be a part of the COVID-19 relief effort.

While all of us navigate through the impact of this pandemic, we wanted to do our part for first responders and nominated COVID-19 charities. After speaking with our Team TaylorMade athletes, we are thrilled to make this TaylorMade Driving Relief event happen with our partners at the PGA TOUR and NBC Sports. The return of live golf and the opportunity to raise money for those affected is simply fantastic.

David Abeles, CEO, TaylorMade Golf

RORY MCILROY, TAYLORMADE AND UNITEDHEALTH GROUP AMBASSADOR

The reigning FedExCup champion and 2019 PGA TOUR Player of the Year is currently ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. McIlroy has 18 PGA TOUR victories and an additional nine wins worldwide including four major championships, the 2019 PLAYERS Championship, three World Golf Championships and the 2019 and 2016 FedExCup titles.

It’s been difficult to witness what so many are enduring over the last several weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m excited and thankful to TaylorMade and UnitedHealth Group for making this event possible and providing us with the opportunity to show our support of those on the frontlines. I hope that we can provide some respite and entertainment for those tuning in across the globe. Dustin and I will have a lot of fun together and our games will fit well as we push to raise funds and awareness on May 17.

Rory McIlroy

DUSTIN JOHNSON, TAYLORMADE AMBASSADOR

Johnson, a 20-time PGA TOUR winner, is currently No. 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Johnson’s 20 victories include the 2016 U.S. Open, six World Golf Championships events and four FedExCup Playoffs events.

I’m really excited to team up with Rory and to get back out on the golf course. Seminole is a great venue and it will be cool to show it to the world through this event. I’m sure Rickie and Matthew will be ready for us, but hopefully Rory and I can take them and help generate a lot of money and support for charities and those affected most by COVID-19.

Dustin Johnson

RICKIE FOWLER, TAYLORMADE BALL AND FARMERS INSURANCE AMBASSADOR

Fowler owns nine victories worldwide, including his memorable win at THE PLAYERS Championship in 2015 when he played the finishing stretch of holes 15-18 in a 5-under total of 11 strokes.

When I heard about this event, I couldn’t get involved fast enough. It’s special to be able to have an impact and raise charitable contributions through our sport and to do it with Matthew as a partner. I know how much I have missed sports and golf, especially, so to be one of the first events returning to television is very exciting and I’m proud to have Farmers, one of my sponsors, be a partner of this event as well. Playing aggressive has never been a problem for Matthew and me so we should have no issue testing the birdies-and-eagles bonus pool that has been backed by Farmers Insurance $1 million pledge.

Rickie Fowler

MATTHEW WOLFF, TAYLORMADE AMBASSADOR

Wolff turned professional last June and by July, he earned his first career PGA TOUR victory at the inaugural 3M Open. Playing on sponsor exemptions, he needed just four starts to capture that first title and earned his PGA TOUR card at age 20. Wolff became the third player to win the individual title at the NCAA Championships and a PGA TOUR event in the same year, joining Ben Crenshaw and Tiger Woods.

I’m fired up to play alongside Rickie and raise money to benefit COVID-19 relief efforts. Rory and DJ have welcomed me to team TaylorMade with open arms and become great friends so I can’t wait for a fun competition against us Cowboys. Rickie and I are ready to bring our best and more importantly help the frontline heroes getting us through this extremely difficult time. Special thanks to the PGA Tour, NBC, TaylorMade and all our partners for the opportunity. See you at Seminole!

Matthew Wolff

Women’s Golf Day Announces Revised Date and Virtual Celebration

(WEST PALM BEACH, FLA, 30 March 2020) In light of the escalated response to the global Coronavirus pandemic, the Women’s Golf Day leadership team is announcing a new approach to this year’s 5th anniversary event planned to take place worldwide on June 2, 2020. This year, WGD is adapting the event to bring the industry together to engage and empower women as part of a virtual WGD celebration on June 2nd. The health and well-being of WGD partners and guests are paramount, so the events that take place worldwide as part of the world’s largest single-day celebration of women’s golf will move to the 1st  of September, providing that there is clearance from the WHO and governing bodies.  By making this change, WGD is providing two opportunities for engagement.

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By setting a new date, which is provisionally September 1st, Founder of WGD Elisa Gaudet hopes to offer the industry something positive to focus on at this challenging time. She explains: “The global community finds itself in an unprecedented situation and we need to respond appropriately. Women’s Golf Day is in a unique position because we have the flexibility to react quickly to the changing landscape whilst also giving the industry something positive to aim towards. Our mission and platform is that of a global unifier. We will continue to monitor the situation very closely, but we are hopeful that the September date is realistic.”

In the meantime, plans are in place to create a virtual celebration of Women’s Golf Day on the original June 2nd date. Just as in previous years, the day’s celebration will start as the sun rises in Australia and ends as the sun sets in Hawaii. Expect to see video content from famous faces and inspirational stories from across the world shared across the campaign’s social media platforms. Social media has always played a significant role in the success of the event, delivering a staggering 47 million global impressions to nearly 25 million people in 2019 and it is hoped that the 2020 campaign will be a catalyst to support a post-pandemic resurgence of the industry.

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To help more locations join the community in time for the September date, WGD is offering free basic registration on the website http://www.womensgolfday.com with the code WGDUnites. Any golf facility can take part with participating venues in the past including golf clubs around the world, retailers such as PGA Superstore, TopGolf locations, and driving ranges – essentially anywhere you can swing a club!

Elisa concludes: “We will support our locations around the globe by bringing the industry together and using our shared voice to get golf back on its feet. June may be too early to hold an event, but it will be a great opportunity for people and organizations to share their inspirational stories around golf. In the meantime, we encourage people to sign up to our platform and register their venues because we will be hosting Women’s Golf Day again and intend to come back united and stronger than ever.”

Please visit our website ( http://www.womensgolfday.com ), tab #WGDUNITES, for ongoing digital content and updates as to how you can participate with the global community.

#WGDUNITES women

Women’s Golf Day Supporters
The World Golf Foundation, International Golf Federation, PGA America, European Tour, WE ARE GOLF, European Tour properties, LET, LPGA, TPC properties, Golf Channel, Sky Sports, Golf Now, ClubCorp, Troon, Billy Casper, PGA TOUR Superstore, TopGolf, NGCOA, EGCOA, NGCOA Canada, LPGA Amateur Golf Association, The California Alliance for Golf, Annika Foundation, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, The First Tee, Gallus Golf, Ahead, All Square, Chronogolf, SwingDish, Modest Golf Management, Women &Golf,
and more.

ABOUT WOMEN’S GOLF DAY
Women’s Golf Day (WGD) is a single-day event scheduled the first Tuesday of every June to introduce new female participants to golf and celebrate existing players by joining them together irrespective of race, religion, language, ethnicity, or location. WGD has become a global movement and celebrates women and girls learning golf skills that last a lifetime and being part of a larger global community. WGD strives to Engage, Empower and Support women and girls through the event and platform. The one-day, four-hour event, has now taken place at more than 900 locations in 52 countries since its inception in 2016, and has introduced thousands of new golfers to the sport. WGD created an incredible global community in four years and has the support of almost every major golfing governing body and organization.

It is the fastest-growing female golf development initiative. WGD’s primary hashtag, #WomensGolfDay, received more than 47 million global impressions to nearly 25 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, and geography.

To learn more about Women’s Golf Day and its upcoming events on Tuesday, June 2 & September 1, 2020 visit http://www.womensgolfday.com

@womensgolfday

#WomensGolfDay #WGDUNITES

COBRA GOLF AND ARCCOS ANNOUNCE 2020 SINGLE CLUB UPGRADE PROGRAM

Carlsbad, Calif. (March 5, 2020) Cobra Golf®, a leader in golf club innovation, today announced the extension of its partnership with Arccos Golf, providing purchasers of any COBRA CONNECT™ driver, fairway wood, hybrid or wedge with a special offer to receive free Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors for the rest of their set.

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The 2020 Single Club Upgrade Program allows COBRA CONNECT customers who are not already Arccos Caddie users to download the Arccos Caddie app, create an account and pair their smart club. This unlocks the free sensor offer plus a 90-day no-cost trial of the Arccos Caddie platform, followed by a $99.99 annual subscription. Shipping and handling fees may apply.

“The constant pursuit of innovation, led COBRA to introduce the world’s first smart golf club, one year later, the first smart irons set,” said Dan Ladd, Executive Vice President, GM – COBRA PUMA GOLF. “Now we’re extending our partnership with Arccos, delivering even more value to purchasers of COBRA Golf clubs equipped with COBRA CONNECT who seek to harness Arccos Caddie on-course data to inform their practice sessions, lessons, club fittings, and on-course decision making.”

 

Arccos Caddie helps players of all skill levels make smarter, data-driven decisions to shoot lower scores. Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors are embedded into each club grip and paired with the app to automatically track and analyze every shot on the course.

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The average Arccos Caddie user who played at least five rounds in 2019 lowered their handicap by 4.2 strokes. This remarkable improvement was fueled by real-time club recommendations, strategy advice and outcome predictions powered by artificial intelligence Arccos developed with Microsoft. Extending these benefits in 2020 is the newly-launched Arccos Caddie Rangefinder. It’s the world’s first A.I.-powered GPS rangefinder –providing adjustments for slope, wind speed, wind direction, temperature, and humidity, as well as a personal altitude adjustment based on each user’s home course. This gives golfers the Arccos Caddie Number, the most precise yardage in the game.

COBRA CONNECT clubs include the entire 2020 KING SPEEDZONE family. In developing these award-winning products, COBRA Golf engineers optimized specific zones throughout each club’s construction that works to deliver the best combination of power, speed, and distance. Highlights include the KING SPEEDZONE Driver – offering a traditional shape profile with front to back CG adjustability allowing better players to work the ball with ease and fine-tune launch and low spin without sacrificing forgiveness. This is complemented by the KING SPEEDZONE XTREME Driver – perfect for golfers seeking a consistent, straight trajectory with maximum forgiveness on off-center hits.

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Alongside these drivers are the acclaimed KING SPEEDZONE Fairway, KING SPEEDZONE Tour Fairway, SPEEDZONE Big Tour Fairway, KING SPEEDZONE men’s Hybrids (17, 19, 21 and 24 degrees ), KING SPEEDZONE Women’s Hybrids (21, 24 , 28, and 31 degrees) and KING SPEEDZONE ONE Length Hybrids (19, 21, and 24 degrees). KING SPEEDZONE Irons and KING Forged Tec Irons also come standard with COBRA CONNECT.

SAMI VALIMAKI CLAIMS MAIDEN VICTORY AT OMAN OPEN USING 14 TAYLORMADE CLUBS AND TP5X GOLF BALL

In just his sixth start on the European Tour, and in his Rookie Season, Sami Valimaki claimed his maiden European Tour victory with a playoff win at the 2020 Oman Open

 

Carlsbad, Calif., (March 1, 2020) – Team TaylorMade’s Sami Valimaki won the Oman Open using a full bag of TaylorMade clubs and ball including the new SIM Driver, SIM Max fairway wood and Spider X putter. In blustery conditions during the final round, Valimaki finished on -13 by holing a crucial birdie putt with his Spider X putter on the 72nd hole to force a play-off, going on to claim victory on the third extra hole.

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© Getty Images

After joining Team TaylorMade this year, Sami secured his European Tour card at Qualifying School Final Stage to start his rookie season on tour and is now a winner in just his sixth European Tour event. The victory also gives Team TaylorMade back-to-back Oman Open’s after Kitayama’s victory in 2019.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  • This is Sami’s maiden European Tour victory, in just his sixth start
  • Valimaki led the field this week in stroke average (68.75) and strokes gained total (+3.16)
  • Valimaki plays TaylorMade’s new shape-inspired SIM driver 9.0 degrees and steel SIM Max fairway wood 15.0 degrees
  • Sami plays the popular P790 UDI 2 iron and P750 irons
  • His iron and approach play were clinical this week as he made a total of 22 birdies, joint highest this week of any player
  • He plays the RAW Face Milled Grind 2 wedges in 50 and 54 degrees plus a Milled Grind Hi-Toe lob wedge in 58 degrees
  • Putting was where Sami excelled the most this week equipped with his Spider X putter leading the field in strokes gained putting (+2.87)
  • Sami’s ball of choice is the TP5x
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© Getty Images

SAMI VALIMAKI WITB:

  • SIM 9.0 Driver
  • SIM Max 15.0 fairway wood
  • P790 UDI 2 iron
  • P750 4-PW
  • MG2 50° and 54°
  • MG Hi-Toe 58°
  • Spider X Copper
  • TP5x Golf Ball