Expand The Brand

The 2019 PGA Merchandise Show is getting closer and with it my excitement is building. It’s going to be fun as it always is networking with like-minded individuals and golf manufacturers. But there is a real sense of change in the air and it’s a change that I’m excited about.

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In 2019, I’m going to be expanding the brand. This year in Orlando I will be accompanied by my wife Crystal. Crystal has been my biggest supporter through my golf journey and through the last 20+ years of my life for that matter. Whether it was playing professionally on Mini-Tours, working long hours and work weeks while I served as a Director of Golf or putting up with my lack of attention while she talked as I wrote.

Earlier this year (after the 2018 PGA Show) I said to Crystal that she could come as long as she was a good girl. I admit, that while I travel to Florida every year for the show I do use it as a chance to get away and have some special “Me Time”. I promise that it isn’t as selfish as it sounds. The idea of me being accompanied this year really came to fruition because there was no way that she’d be comfortable with me attending the PGA Show by myself after my stroke.

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Not sure where I’d be without her. Crystal and I earlier this year in Vermont.

Crystal is going to be there assisting in several ways. Quite frankly, the show has gotten to be too busy for me by myself. So being the skilled photographer that she is she will be my photographer and videographer. More importantly, as a way to cover more show she’ll be visiting with Women’s Apparel brands etc and contributing with some writing about those brands that she discovers. It’s time that we (golf blogs etc) start paying more attention to women’s golf. After all, it is a massive portion of the golfer demographic.

Building on a lot of momentum in 2018 there is more to come. Coming in 2019 is a change in the plan that I use here at WordPress. At the moment, I’m using a plan that doesn’t allow me to do what I would truly love Until The Next Tee to become. An upgraded plan will allow for more video coverage, a forum format (I want this to become a Golf Community) and I’ve recently considered attempting a podcast as well.

So stay tuned. 2019 is going to be fun.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

REVIEW – FlightScope mevo

Prior to starting this review I just wanted to take the time to thank Kaleigh DeHart and Jaclyn Bertrand of Uproar PR for giving me the opportunity to conduct this testing. Without these ladies and their patience this review would never have happened.

Technology… no matter where you look it’s all around us. When you really think about it… golf and technology have really come to the forefront of the golf industry. It’s not just about golf clubs, golf balls, golf shafts and materials used to manufacture these goods. It goes so much deeper than that. Technology has done a lot when it comes to golf. It’s aided golfers in becoming longer and faster.

One of the trends that I’ve noticed in Orlando, Florida at the last few PGA Merchandise Show’s is that more and more tech gadgets are rising to the surface. From GPS units to wearable technology. However, technology to help golfers become longer and faster is useless unless you can optimize your numbers. This is where launch monitors enter the fray.

Launch monitors have become very instrumental in helping golfers find the right heads, shafts or golf balls for their individual needs. Most of the time this involves going to a fitter with a launch monitor that costs tens of thousands of dollars. After hitting a variety of shots you find out a lot about your game. Important metrics/data like launch angle, backspin, club head speed and smash factor to name a few. But what if you didn’t need to book an appointment to find out this information? What if you could go to the driving range and get this data with a piece of technology so small that it fits into the palm of your hand? Or better yet… if you can’t make it to a driving range you disappear into your backyard and make some strikes into a net achieving the same thing? That’s exactly what the personal launch monitor FlightScope mevo does.

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The FlightScope mevo is a piece of technology that I first learned about prior to the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show. While at the golf show in January I made an appointment to learn more about the FlightScope mevo. It was a device that I thought was so impressive and had so much to offer that I awarded it a Teezy Award in the Top Technology category. But what is the FlightScope mevo?

FlightScope has long been an industry leader when it comes to sports technology. FlightScope was founded in 1989 by its Inventor and CEO Henri Johnson. Mr. Johnson fell back on his background in defense and sports markets to create what became FlightScope as we know it. Since then, for the last 16 years golfers worldwide have entrusted products developed by FlightScope to not only perform better but to track and provide important golf ball data. The FlightScope mevo was developed to allow golfers to “practice with a purpose” at the range or at home.

The FlightScope mevo in actuality is a multi-sport device that can be used not only for golf but for baseball and soccer as well. The mevo employs a simplified version of the Doppler found in some of FlightScope’s larger units like their X3 model. Through the use of 3D Doppler Technology, golfers can gather essential data like Clubhead Speed, Ball Speed, Smash Factor, Ball Spin, Carry Distance, Launch Angle, Height and Time (spent in the air). Everything that you’d need to help you improve and shoot lower scores. Not only does the mevo unit capture and track this data the mevo also goes one step further in capturing video as well.

 

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As far as setting up and using the FlightScope mevo the process is pretty simple to do. When you unbox the mevo inside you’ll discover the radar unit, a carry pouch, metallic stickers, a USB cord for charging the unit and the instructions. Even for someone like myself that isn’t the most tech savvy person in the world. Once you’ve purchased your FlightScope mevo you download the free mobile app to your iOS or Android device. Most cell phones now come with the minimum requirements so compatibility issues shouldn’t be much of an issue. The app is a pretty quick download and doesn’t take up a lot of your device’s memory. In my case the app that I downloaded was version 1.3.2 and it’s taking up just over 100 MB on my device. So now that you’ve installed the app you’re nearly ready to go. The FlightScope mevo and its app use Bluetooth technology to track and store the data to/from your device so ensure that your Bluetooth with the paired device is turned “On”.

The FlightScope mevo can be used indoors and/or outdoors. For the purposes of this testing and review the testing was done mostly outdoors but it was used on the range, on the course (make sure it’s quiet with nobody behind you) and in my backyard into a hitting net (I did not use it indoors due to low ceilings). Prior to use go into “Settings”. It is here where you set up your device for use. There are three radar settings.

  1. Pitching (20 yards or less)
  2. Indoor (40 yards or less) and
  3. Outdoor (flight that is not interrupted)

*Please note that if using indoors you need 8 feet in addition allow for room to safely swing the club for proper readings. Also you need to set the mevo approximately 4 feet directly behind the ball and on your intended line .

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Also of interest in the settings menu are a couple are information to be input like is “Distance to tee”  (4 feet recommended) and “Altitude”. The latter being important if you live at altitude or plan a trip to a golf course at altitude. This way it gives you proper readings. I live at 528’ above sea level and set it accordingly. Also in the settings screen you’ll find the “Capture Mode” (data or video) and the number of blocks for the data to be displayed in (1 to 6). Generally, I used 5 blocks because it was this data that I was most interested in. I chose Clubhead Speed, Ball Speed, Launch Angle, Carry Distance and Smash Factor predominantly. However, in some cases I did elect to add Spin numbers to my data.

When it came to the testing of the FlightScope mevo I used it for a wide variety of purposes. When it came to greenside practice I used the mevo for a couple of purposes. The first thing that I used it for was to test the spin rates of different golf balls. By affixing one of the “metallic stickers” that come with the mevo I was able to differentiate the spin rates between “Ball A” and “Ball Z”. Important information to know when selecting a golf ball. Also, I used the mevo to show people the difference in spin when it came to greenside chipping and pitching with the focus being on the effects of flipping the club at impact. For the record, I did use the mevo to check my spin rates going into greens on full approaches as well. Also imperative for choosing a golf ball.

 

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But spin numbers aren’t what most people would want a launch monitor for. most golfers want to know how fast and far they hit the golf ball. My understanding at the PGA Show from one of their representatives was that it was within +/- 2 to 3 yards of their larger units at a distance of 250 yards. From my experiences, I would have to say that the irons were pretty darn accurate on the range and course thus translating into effective practice in the backyard. In saying that, it’s my opinion that the carry distance and club head speeds recorded were pretty accurate across the board. If anything it might have been a little shorter/slower by a shade than what I typically see in the “real world”. Bear in mind that the distance recorded with the mevo is strictly carry distance and does not look at total yardage (like units thousands of dollars more).

Smash Factor is the ball speed divided by the club head speed.The average PGA Tour player has a Smash Factor of 1.50 when they swing a driver (LPGA Tour is 1.49). A 15 handicap golfer (male) has a Smash Factor of 1.44 while his female counterpart has a Smash Factor of 1.41. Ultimately, Smash Factor is about the efficiency in which you apply the clubhead to golf ball. Say you have two golfers that swing their driver 100 mph. Player 1 has a Smash Factor of 1.50 and Player 2 has a Smash Factor of 1.40. There is a difference of 20 yards between the two golfers. The FlightScope mevo can help golfers improve on this front as well. Work towards consistency and that will equate to efficiency. You may not have to swing harder to go further. Instead, you just have to be more efficient with your swing to pick up an extra 10-20 yards.

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Launch Angle is relative from one golfer to another. For my purposes when I swing driver I’m looking for something around 11.5 to 13* of launch angle. The FlightScope mevo seems to track launch angle quite effectively with the results being right around what I’ve seen using other launch monitors. Also, it gives you the opportunity to see how much the launch angle changes from a full swing (imagine a 6-iron) to a knockdown shot. Think “stinger” and “flighting” the golf ball.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on the effectiveness of the FlightScope mevo when it comes to solving “gapping” issues. Say you hit your PW 130 yards. A situation that is certainly not out of the question considering the stronger lofts of iron sets nowadays. Unfortunately, your GW only flies 110 yards. That means that you have a discrepancy of 20 yards. Thus you have a “gap” in your set. By utilizing the FlightScope mevo you can learn how far you hit each club and take the necessary steps to fill in gaps. These issues can occur with your longer clubs as well. Or perhaps, you could even eliminate clubs of similar distances and replace them with other clubs that would “bridge a gap” elsewhere. Maybe an extra hybrid or wedge?

Now are there any negatives with the FlightScope mevo? There are and they are quite minor. Personally speaking, if it were me I would trade a metric like time spent in the air for Angle of Attack (AoA). I really wish this was a metric that the FlightScope mevo tracked. I just feel it’s more important in the grand scheme of things. Also, I wouldn’t mind if the mevo had the ability to show side spin. Simply because, you can track clubface path through impact in doing so. I would also love to see ball flight so I wish the app had a “Driving Range” feature. Other than that I can’t really think of anything. I know that this device doesn’t cost thousands of dollars like so many others (maybe I’m asking for too much). Occasionally, you do get “no reads” but I’ve also experienced this on “commercial” launch monitors too. So in my mind it’s no big deal.

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Conclusion

The first thing that I need to say is that the FlightScope mevo offers a lot of bang for your golfer buck.  This launch monitor costs only $499. Quite frankly before I’d consider buying a new driver I’d purchase a FlightScope mevo with the same funds. There’s no doubt in my mind that the FlightScope mevo is THE best launch monitor at this price point. It’s pretty accurate and gives you all of the essential data that you need. Does it have all of the accuracy AND “bells and whistles” that monitors costing thousands more have? Perhaps not but I’m quite happy with that. Almost any discerning golfer with a tight budget could afford to own one. It’s lightweight and uber-portable. The FlightScope mevo makes practice even more fun.  The FlightScope mevo does allow you to “practice with a purpose”. I liked it in January… I love it more now. For more information on the FlightScope mevo please visit their website www.flightscopemevo.com

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

 

Review – Clicgear Model 3.5+

Before I start my writing of this review I just wanted to take the time to thank Todd Hansen. Mr. Hansen is the National Sales Manager of The ProActive Sports Group. The latter oversees brands like Clicgear USA and Alphard Golf to name a few. I was fortunate to sit down and talk with Mr. Hansen (Todd) at the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show this past January. Through that discussion, I was very fortunate to receive the opportunity to test and review a golf push cart. The first time that I’ve had such an opportunity. Thank-you Todd!!

As one might gather from the title of this review the chosen cart was the Clicgear Model 3.5+. While not being new to 2018 the Model 3.5+ is very much relevant in the golf industry. As a matter of fact when I look at a golfers that walk using a push cart the Clicgear Model 3.5+ is the cart that I see most often. And why not? It’s packed with high quality components and features. More on that later.

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Photo Property of Until The Next Tee.

Depending on what publication you read, research indicates that golfers can burn approximately 720 calories walking 9 holes while using a push cart. If you walk at a moderate pace for 18 holes that’s roughly 1400 calories burned. Thus the health benefits appear to be pretty obvious. Of course there’s weight management but looking at the benefits just a little bit deeper walking a golf course can help with cardiovascular health, improve circulation (walking breeds lateral vessels in your legs according to my Vascular Surgeon) and it can help control blood glucose levels for diabetics.

So I received my Clicgear Model 3.5+ when the snow was still falling during the endless winter of 2018. The more that I stared at the box the more I couldn’t wait to get started on the testing and review process. As far as colours go the options available are numerous including Pink, Yellow, Black, Arctic White, Lime and more.  In my case, we decided on Orange as the colour really matches the color scheme of my site. Before I continue on with the testing process and observations lets look at some of the highlights of the Clicgear Model 3.5+.

  • It’s rugged construction is durable. Thanks to the use of high-grade oversized aluminum tubing.
  • Tires are airless. Unlike tires that use tube these tires are low-maintenance. Clicgear employs a rubber compound that is long-lasting.
  • Sliding mechanisms first used in their original model remain the norm with the 3.5+. This makes folding and unfolding the 3.5+ push cart easy.
  • Bag Straps that are easy to adjust. Ultimately fitting golf bags of various sizes.
  • Storage net. It makes holding your valuables in a convenient location a snap. Also, this storage net is 80% bigger than the previous model.
  • The 3.5+ includes a new improved lever that helps reduce cable wear.
  • Umbrella Holder.
  • Drink holder.

Upon looking at some of the highlights listed it really doesn’t come as much of a surprise that this is the push cart that I’ve seen most. Those highlights don’t include the high quality brake used (not the cable and handle), the storage compartment just below the handle of the push cart or the fact that there are a bevy of accessories that you can get for the Model 3.5+. Options like a seat, shoe brush, cooler bag and even wheel kits. So if you really wanted to “pimp your ride” the opportunity is there.

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Small and compact. The Model 3.5+ in its folded form (Photo Property of Until The Next Tee)

When time came for the unboxing it was early April and the snow finally had melted. So outside I went and unboxed the Model 3.5+. Of note right away was how compact the 3.5+ folded in the box that it was shipped in. Also of note was how light it actually was. While I’m not suggesting in any way that the Model 3.5+ is featherweight what I can say is that it’s light enough to make it pretty easy to place into and remove from the trunk of your car or whichever vehicle you use. In fact, the stock Model 3.5+ weighs 18 pounds. How this overall weight compares to others push carts on the market I don’t know. Quite frankly, until this testing I had no experience using a push cart. I had an older electric cart and that cart is a behemoth. Totally cumbersome. Speaking of cumbersome that is something that the Model 3.5+ simply is not. At the moment I drive a Chevrolet Sonic which I wouldn’t describe as a large vehicle. The Model 3.5+ lifts into a trunk easy and rests easier as the compact designs sits in the trunk with room to spare. I can fit my stand bag (when I use it) and the 3.5+ in the trunk at the same time.

My first time or so unfolding and folding the Model 3.5+ was something right out of a comedy sketch. I was sort of looking around at it trying to figure things out and on one or two occasions I may have tripped over it or my feet. Having said that, once you fold/unfold the 3.5+ a few times it gets really easy. The cart does come with instructions and there are videos available at the www.clicgearusa.com website to assist.

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A good-looking cart. Built with the highest quality. (Photo Property of Until The Next Tee)

As far as the on-course testing I don’t even know where to begin. I guess the first thing to say is that the 3.5+ is an “easy push”. Pushing the cart is easy and smooth including walking up inclines. Never at any time did there feel like friction. The large storage net is handy for holding a cell phone, keys, wallet or any other item that you might need quick access to. The scorecard holder is effective and the convenience of storing a few tees a couple of inches away from the handle is nice. A small feature but nice nonetheless. I like the storage compartment in that it securely holds 3 golf balls and other necessary items. Extra tees, pencils, anti-inflammatories etc. Golf bags of various sizes fit on this cart with its easy adjustments. Everything from a stand bag to my custom staff bag will fit securely on the Model 3.5+.

As far as the design goes I really liked how wide the wheel base was (rear wheels). This wide wheelbase guarantees stability and when I parked the 3.5+ sideways on a hill my golf bag never wandered off. Which I think says a lot for the quality of the brake components. As mentioned earlier the wheels are maintenance free and void of tubes. The wheels spin nicely which again point to great components (bearings). In fact, there is only one minor issue that I have with the Model 3.5+.

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Accessories and features to burn make the Model 3.5+ a must look if you’re in the market for a push cart. (Photo Property of Until The Next Tee)

If the Clicgear design team sees this review I would love them to address the front wheel. There HAS to be a way to make the front wheel of the Model 3.5+ swivel. The fixed wheel is sort of a pain in the arse when it comes to maneuvering the Model 3.5+. IMG_20180503_143210.jpg

No bridge is too far to cross while using a Model 3.5+. Enjoy the walk!! (Photo Property of Until The Next Tee)

Regardless, of my comments in the last section the Model 3.5+ from Clicgear is a must look. If you’re looking to transition from riding to walking (without lugging your clubs on your back) then this could be worth your investment. An investment to your health and your game. Honestly, if I has a cart like the Model 3.5+ it’s quite possible that I would have been walking instead of riding all of the times I rode. Honestly, I play better when I walk. I’m not as rushed, I take in more of my surroundings and I simply enjoy golfing more. If you’re looking for more information on the Model 3.5+ from Clicgear then please visit www.clicgearusa.com

Until The Next Tee!!