Sitting here thinking about the events that unfolded on October 9th, 2019 I am both happy and disappointed thinking about them. You see, something took place tonight that never happened to me prior although I had my fair share of close calls.
Upon completing a 9.5 hour-long shift in the pro shop at Scenic Woods Golf Club (a GolfNorth Properties facility) I flip-flopped back and forth on whether to go golfing. Against my better judgment, I decided to play golf even though I was tired, not feeling well, and quite frankly I was in a world of pain. So after deliberating I decided to play a few holes.
The other day I wrote a piece titled “Rising in the Fall” where I talked about playing golf this time of the year. It’s my favorite time of the year to play. Less work means that there’s more time to play. Anyways, I made my way to the first tee. After driving my tee shot down the right side of the fairway and hitting a nice second shot I settled for a routine Par on a Par 5. Not a bad way to start. After settling for a Par on the 2nd Hole I would card a birdie on the third hole. Lately, I’ve been striking the ball fairly well and my game has been rounding into form. Having walked away with another birdie on the 4th hole and back to back pars on the 5th and 6th holes respectively, I made my way to the Par 3 7th.
The temperatures have dropped and with a cold, hurting north wind I stood on the tee. Where the tee blocks were set and where the pin was tucked towards the back of the green the hole measured around 130 yards. However, with the cold wind, I figured that the hole was playing 140-145 yards. Having settled on a New Level Golf Equipment 1031 Forged 9-iron I settled into my shot. The strike on the TaylorMade TP5x was pure (look for the recently posted review of those golf balls within these pages). I felt my eyes widen like they have on so many approach shots in the past as the golf ball tracked towards the pin. The flight saw maybe 10 feet of right to left curvature. I watched the golf ball land and one short hop later… the ball disappeared into the cup.
My first Ace! A hole-in-one!!!
I executed a massive fist pump and screamed “Oh my fucking Godddddd!!” (sorry kids). And then as quick as my jubilation happened it disappeared. There was nobody there suddenly giving me the feeling that this Ace was tainted and that it didn’t count. It was without a doubt the “best worst shot” that I’ve hit in my life. There was nobody to celebrate the moment with me. As I walked to the hole to pick up my TP5x it actually began to feel more like a “walk of shame”. I mean I know it happened but nobody else saw it. Does it count???
I would make the long drive to the 8th tee where I would walk away with a routine par. I would finish my evening by carding another birdie as I hit my tee shot to within 10″ to a temp green on the 9th. All in all a great evening and a 9 hole score of -5. So I have a question for everyone.
What’s the “best worst shot” that you’ve hit?
Until The Next Tee!!
Well, I made it. After being in Florida back in January for the PGA Show and a planned trip that I canceled two weeks ago I’m in Florida. A 3 hr bus ride to Buffalo, NY and a wonderful flight once again on Frontier Airlines and I’m basking in the Tampa sun. A trip that will see me go fly fishing, practice golf, hopefully, go home with a swing and of course play and conduct several testings. Most of the golf ball variety. All of this before I resume working at the same golf course that I worked at in 2018 until I had my Stroke. Scenic Woods Golf Course which is a GolfNorth Properties facility. God! I can’t wait!
Today was without a doubt the most gratifying day of golf that I’ve experienced. I just couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face. I was just elated to be back doing what I love. I spent the majority of my day at Terrace Hill Golf Center in Temple Terrace, FL. At any rate the product testing.
So what are the products that I’m testing down here in Florida? The most important of the bunch is the Equalizer wedges from Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company. Up until now, testing of these wedges has amounted to basing everything on feel and/or limited ball flight in a golf dome. Getting these clubs outside and seeing them perform as they were intended to do so was worth the wait. These Equalizer wedges are even better than I thought. The feel, the ballflight (these wedges penetrate) and some clear stopping power on firm greens that were/are dried out by the wind. I am beyond impressed. I’ll finally be able to write this review sooner than before later. If you need wedges… Look no further. These wedges are the best bang for your golfer buck!
Another product that I was sent for testing were tees by ZoomTee USA. The premise of these tees is to give golfers the option of playing tees that are extremely durable, a tee that’s designed to produce less drag which is said to result in longer, straighter drives. Also of note here is the addition of a height guide for getting the golf ball teed u at just the right height and a tip that’s used for cleaning your grooves and repairing ball marks. I used only one tee and there was no sign of breakage thus far and ZoomTee USA was also very easy to locate after the shot. No scanning the ground looking for your pesky golf tee. It’s a minor thing, but it is a way to help maintain the pace of play. I also found ZoomTee USA was easy to get into the ground. Although, the soil here in Florida is quite sandy. It’ll be interesting to see how they penetrate the clay-based soil at home.
Balls, balls and more balls. I am testing golf balls ‘o’ plenty while I’m down here. No less than 6 different models. Testing has officially begun of…
- TaylorMade Golf (TP5 and TP5x)
- Srixon Golf (Z Star)
- Wilson Staff DUO Professional
- Bridgestone Golf (e12 Soft and e12 Speed)
It was an interesting first day of testing and with that, I have a few thoughts.
- The TaylorMade TP5 and TP5x seem to really have a penetrating ball flight as advertised. Early indications are that this golf ball is a strong golf ball in the Tour ball market. All-around great feel (TP5 a little softer) and I can see why Rickie Fowler switched from the Titleist Pro V1. There’s a reason why the ball is hyped.
- Not that it’s a bad thing. I wasn’t blown away through Day One of testing of the 2019 Srixon Z Star. To me, this iteration of the Z Star is solid. I’ve always liked the Z Star and have a lot of familiarity with it. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t blown away. It felt too familiar.
- Where I wasn’t blown away by the previous ball if there was a ball that I was very impressed with thus far it HAS to be the Wilson Staff DUO Professional. This golf ball was long with irons (albeit downwind) and the short game spin of this golf ball was extremely impressive. This ball STOPPED on greenside chips and pitches. I didn’t have it in play for any driving holes.
- Bridgestone Golf developed the e12 with 12 years of golf ball data taken from their ball fitting data. What they came up with were the e12 Soft and e12 Speed. Just from a putting standpoint (this was the first part of the testing) I wasn’t enamored with the “firmer” e12 Speed. It felt too clicky or too firm. But then all of that suddenly changed. This ball actually felt pretty soft and responsive on full iron swings. Into a hurting wind, I was able to find the green pin high from 182 yards away with a 5-iron. Judging by the flags and wind I figure it was a 1.5 to 2 club wind. Never be too hasty in being judgmental folks! The e12 Soft I liked right away. I liked the feel of the e12 Soft when it came to putting, my first drive of 2019 was with the e12 Soft (Red) and it just carried down the fairway into the wind and it penetrated. My approach into the firm, wind-swept green resulted in no severe rollout (settling 8′ from the pin) and greenside chips and pitches I thought it performed better than the e12 Speed and as good as one of the tour-level golf balls.
Today was just the beginning of what I have planned down here. So stay tuned for more information as I test products, write reviews and enjoy some March golf in sunny Florida.
Until The Next Tee!!
This past weekend we crowned a new champion for #OurOpen. The top-ranked golfer in the world claimed his third victory of the 2018 PGA Tour Season. Dustin Johnson claimed his hat-trick this past weekend at the RBC Canadian Open joining Bubba Watson as the only players on Tour with three victories this year.
johnson an RBC Brand Ambassador and long-time TaylorMade Golf athlete powered his way to victory on the heels of the M4 driver and TP5x golf ball. With his distance Johnson brought the Jack Nicklaus Signature Design (Glen Abbey Golf Club) to its trembling knees. Below is a press release shared by Nick Orbritsch (Marketing Manager TaylorMade Golf Canada) that outlines what DJ had in his bag that led him to victory.
Photo Credit: TaylorMade Golf Canada via Getty Images
Johnson’s 3rd win of the season is 19th in his PGA TOUR career and the 15th for TaylorMade’s M3 & M4 Drivers in 2018
- TaylorMade’s 2018 M Drivers featuring Twist Face Technology now have victories in 10 tournaments on the PGA TOUR this season and 15 worldwide, outpacing any other manufacturer this season.
- Having found success with both the M3 & M4 drivers this year, Johnson played the 10.5° M4 driver this week, which has been his go-t0 of late. After tinkering with another shaft, he has it equipped with a Fujikura Speeder Evolution 661 X Tour Spec 2.0, a shaft he’s most comfortable with and has found much success using. For the week, he averaged 322.8 yards off the tee with a long of 392 yards (2) with an accuracy of 66% (37/56). He was also #1 in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (7.54), as well as Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (14.22) and Strokes Gained: Total (16.45) for the week as well.
- Johnson’s three-stroke victory is his third PGA TOUR title this season and the 19th of his career.
- Earlier this season, Johnson made the switch into the P730 DJ Proto Irons. As he has for most of his recent career, DJ has them equipped with True Temper’s Dynamic Gold X100 shafts.
- Johnson has praised the performance of the TP5 golf ball since he first put it into play at the Tournament of Champions last year. It’s the 9th win on the PGA TOUR this season for TP5(x), with DJ adding his third win along with Day, Rahm, Rose and McIlroy.
- Johnson, along with many other players – both on staff and non-contracted – once again made the Spider Tour putter the most played model this week at the RBC Canadian Open, a testament to the performance of Pure Roll technology. After testing out a few other putter shapes, Johnson has predominantly played the Spider Tour Black model with no sightline, the same putter that elevated him to #1 in the world.
Dustin Johnson’s Winning Bag at the RBC Canadian Open:
M4 Driver | 10.5° | Fujikura Speeder Evolution 661 X Tour Spec 2.0
M4 Fairway | 3HL 16.5° | Project X HZRDUS Black 6.5 95 X