Plans… Travel and Show Coverage

Alright… I’m officially excited. I admit that I’ve been excited for some time about attending the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show but now that it’s this close I can taste it. For a while, it really looked like I wouldn’t be going. From health to other unforeseen circumstances (money).

But, it all worked out and travel plans have been made. Actually, it wasn’t until I sold off a few clubs and managed to get things worked out yesterday. So… how about the plans?

In an attempt to get some semblance of a golf swing going I’ve been working nearly daily on it. In my backyard, I have a hitting net that’s been instrumental in getting me back into golf. It’s where initial testing has been done involving the Tour Edge Golf Exotics EXS hybrid, R-Motion and most recently Ben Hogan Golf Equalizer wedges. Quite honestly, I don’t remember what MY swing is supposed to feel like or the swing keys. I mean, I’ve worked on so much over the last 5 years and my memory now stinks. Muscle memory seems to be even more important now.

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Pretty consistent striking today.

Over the last couple of days I think that I feel something that’s carrying over day to day. From what I think I recollect… this latest dramatic recreation of my former swing is nothing like my old swing or the swing that I had 4 days ago. All in all I’m pretty happy.

For the first time since the Stroke and resuming golf activity I felt my left side fire through the ball. More importantly, it was leading the downswing. I was at a dome today with my coach and he said that it’s looking good and that there’s power at the bottom. I sold my TaylorMade Golf M2 (2016) yesterday to raise funds for the trip down so I went back to a driver that I bought two years ago for $40 CAD. It’s a Cleveland Golf Classics XL Custom with an X-Flex Miyazaki JDL 7 shaft in 7.5* of loft. I don’t have a wrench so it’s stuck there. In the past, the results have been okay with it… but today’s session was very good. Launch was terrific and there was a lot of “stank” on it.

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This was the first time that I used this club. It still looks like this.

All in all, I feel like whatever swing this is it’s trending the right way which means I should be able to provide my planned coverage. Coverage will be often and early. I’ll be aggressively posting “First Impression Reviews” as early as Tuesday night. Coverage will be “in print”, video and some audio too. To say that coverage will be plentiful is a huge understatement. I’m excited to be hitting everything that I can but after today that excitement really built. I’m really amp’d to swing Mizuno Golf (ST190) and my appointment is at 2 pm. Everything begins with Wilson Golf at 9 am and even though I am interested in the Cortex the new D7 metalwoods have my attention. It just looks right! The simplicity is the genius of the design. I really hope that Callaway Golf got the Epic Flash right. It’s one thing to be Phil or Xander Schauffele but it’s another to be a 10+ handicap. Lynx Golf seems to be real proud of their product this year. What they have said about their launch is that it’s “never been seen in the industry”. I’m intrigued but I no longer look at them as an “underdog” type. OMG… I cannot wait!!! I’m going nuts inside as I type this.

***I will be posting a schedule of my Demo Day itinerary at a later time

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The genius here is the simplicity. (Photo Credit: Wilson Golf)

Travel Itinerary  January 19th

The travel day is going to be a long day. First the first time in a few years I’m not driving down as I still haven’t medical clearance to drive. So… into the wild blue yonder we go. Oh and busses. Lots of busses.

  • 0530 – Wake-up
  • 0700 – Catch Thorold South bus.
  • 0715 – Transfer onto Pen Center/ Downtown Bus
  • 0730 – Arrive St. Catharines Bus Terminal
  • 0815 – Depart St. Catharines via Megabus (no golf clubs allowed)
  • 1000 – Arrive Buffalo/Niagara International Airport
  • 1723 – Depart Buffalo via Frontier Airlines
  • 2040 – Arrive Orlando International

Ouch… 7 hrs in the Buffalo airport. That’s the drive from here to Morgantown. Oh well at least I can drink if I want. Bottoms up… Wheels up!

Time to pack!!!

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee

 

Odds ‘n’ Ends

Sitting here.. I’m reflecting on several things from the last week in golf. Some of my thoughts are about the upcoming 2019 PGA Merchandise Show, some of it is about the recent equipment releases while some of it is about what we witnessed this past week in professional golf. Much like when you go out to the grocery store with no list you’re merely picking up odds ‘n’ ends. So that’s what this article is going to be titled. It might even turn into a regular piece. Who knows?!

The Sentry Tournament of Champions was a fun event to watch. Yes, it left me dreaming of going to the Hawaiian Islands as it’s always been on my “Bucket List”. Since I was 10 years old. I’ve always dreamed of seeing sea turtles, volcanoes, visiting Pearl Harbor and since I started my foray into golf.. playing Hawaiian courses and experiencing the “Tradewinds”. In a script perfect for a product launch Xander Schauffele won with the new Epic Flash and Apex Pro 19 irons in the bag. His closing round (62) was remarkable but I want to look at a couple of other things. Bryson DeChambeau proclaimed the new knee height drop to be “a bit absurd”. No arguments here. I’ve mocked it enough recently. But it’s as stupid an amendment to the rules of golf as an amendment can be. While it isn’t hard to bend over at the waist to execute the drop (Bryson was a bit over the top) what are the benefits? In one video I made demonstrating my need for “muscle memory” the ball rolled forward from knee height and rolled back into a divot. Does it really make a difference? If anything, nothing has changed. Am I missing something? Heck, why don’t we just place the ball. Screw integrity.

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Photo Credit: Golf Channel

Sticking with the Sentry Tournament of Champions we saw a first. Under the new rules of golf we had our first penalty assessed. Dustin Johnson has the “dubious” distinction. DJ was assessed a two-stroke penalty when a pulled tee shot went into the long grass… where the wild things are. A marshal on the course had marked the area that they had believed DJ’s golf ball had come to rest. Locating a golf ball with a (TaylorMade Golf logo on it) Johnson promptly chopped it out. After hitting his shot he continued his walk and found HIS ball. There’s a lesson here folks. Stay loose for that knee height drop. Bend over and move the grass and identify your golf ball. Besides, there’s no penalty for the moved ball. Or at least that’s the way that I translate it.

This past week we saw plenty of product launches. In particular, those from the “marketing mammoths” of the industry. During these launches there was no shortage of marketing buzzwords. TBRAR, Speed Bridge, Triple Track, “our longest golf ball”, AI, Flash Face Technology and so on. They do marketing and they do it well.

TaylorMade Golf announced their 2019 range of products. From the newly designed TP5 and TP5x golf balls to their new M5 and M6 range of products. The irons have incorporated “Speed Bridge Technology”. There is something there that sort of reminds me of the Nike SlingShot irons. I know… it was horizontal as opposed to vertical. Upon posting pics on Twitter (@UntilTheNextTee) my “Tweeps” were definitely not sold on the looks. Nor was I. After all… how can you kiss a girl (or guy) if you can’t look at them? Maybe their performance outweighs the aesthetics.

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I beat the tar out of the pricing in articles so we will not beat that “dead horse” again. Or at least for now.

Callaway Golf also announced their product range. Featuring the Epic Flash metal woods, Big Bertha 19, Apex 19 and Apex Pro 19 irons and lastly the ERC Soft golf ball featuring “Triple Track Technology”. I’ve seen this sort of thing before and I commented on it back around 2015. Kick X Golf has/had their Tour-Z golf ball (who consequently got sued by Acushnet and I’ve held a secret for a long time about that) and while technically different the alignment aid on those golf balls were the same as the newly introduced Triple Track Technology. I said then that it was the best alignment aid on the market for putting and now that distinction clearly goes to Callaway Golf. The three lines do significantly improve alignment on putts as Callaway Golf demonstrated during the launch. With that said, I am very intrigued by many things about the ERC Soft golf ball. In particular, their hybrid cover which takes the feel of urethane and combines it with the durability of surlyn. Consider the cover a “love child” of the two materials. For $39.99 USD this sounds like a decent offering. Color me intrigued.

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The 2019 PGA Merchandise Show is coming up quick and my booked appointment schedules are full. Demo Day is crammed full of interviews with the likes of Wilson Golf at 9 am and a company called Eagle Rebirth at 3. In between are appointments with Callaway Golf, Bridgestone Golf, Cleveland Golf/Srixon/XXIO, Cobra Puma Golf, Jack Grace USA and many others. The mix is absolutely eclectic. I’m also going to be visiting with others that are unplanned. Epon, Miura, Knuth Golf, Fourteen and Lynx Golf are high on that list. I have no doubt that there will be some surprises and hidden gems. There always is.

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee

 

2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions

Doesn’t it feel great? The 2019 PGA Tour season has officially begun. As the season starts where the sky meets Pacific blue the long road to the season’s playoff finale at East Last began this week in Maui. The home of Kapalua Golf and its Plantation Course. The site of the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

This weekend saw a field of 34 players (make that 33… as Kevin Na had to withdraw due to a fractured finger) all with hopes of punching their ticket back to paradise in 2020. This week was a little different as we watched players contend with the new modernized rules of golf. We watched Bryson DeChambeau putt with the pin in. We also watched him execute a drop from knee height which if you ask me looked awkward as heck and called it “a bit absurd”. We also saw a player or two take advantage of being able to ground a club in a hazard.

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The event marked a “sort of” end to a quasi “free agency” market. For example, the previously mentioned Kevin Na formerly a Titleist staffer is now with Callaway Golf (he was a free agent during 2018). Also with Callaway Golf is defending Champion Golfer Of the Year Francesco Molinari who was also an equipment free agent in 2018. Paul Casey was observed with a Honma utility iron so who knows perhaps he joined Justin Rose on Team Honma. Troy Merritt previously of Wilson Golf was seen this week wearing a Titleist cap. Speaking of Wilson Golf, Gary Woodland who in 2018 had a buffet in his bag is now with the Chicago, Illinois-based golf manufacturer. He’s playing a V4 utility iron, Staff Proto blades and at last check he’s testing the Driver vs Driver 2 winner (Cortex).

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Photo Credit: Golfweek

As I write this article, there’s a tie atop the leaderboard as Woodland and Xander Schauffele are in a share for the lead at -22 after Woodland sunk a clutch putt on 17. Schauffele who is playing in the group ahead missed an Eagle putt on 18 however he would make birdie to get to -23 (a final round 62).  Woodland in the meantime hit his second shot (a layup) to just in front of the green. He left himself a make-able putt to force a playoff but just missed.

Congratulations go to Xander Schauffele on his win in Maui. If this is any example, it’s going to be an exciting year on the PGA Tour. Next stop for 2019 is the first full field event for 2019. The Sony Open.

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee