No Golf In Ontario… Now it Gets Difficult

As it stands right now. Golf is allowed in many parts of North America and for that matter around the world. As far as the United States goes, reports are that roughly 50% of golf courses have opened and/or re-opened. Among those places is New York state. A paltry 10-minute drive to the Canada-USA border and another 15 minutes beyond that and I could be on a golf course. Unfortunately, the border is closed for non-essential travel. Playing a round of golf would definitely be deemed non-essential.

Meanwhile, in Canada, there are pockets around the country that sees it’s golf courses open. The various Premiers (they’re like governors) of our respective provincial governments have decided to either allow or suspend golf courses from opening. For my lucky golfing sisters and brethren in British Columbia, golfers are able to golf where courses have opened and they elect to go and play, Golf is around the corner for those in Saskatchewan as well. And then there’s my home province of Ontario.

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Beechwood’s Par-4 4th Hole.

Like it or not, our Premier (Doug Ford) declared some time ago that golf was not deemed an essential service. I agree with him because, in the grand scheme of things, golf is simply not essential. By definition, essential is defined as “absolutely necessary”. Believe me, coming into his handling of the pandemic response I was not a fan of his and I definitely did not cast my vote to elect him. But, he’s proven to be a good leader.

As far as golf being available, I wasn’t too concerned about it. The weather here is suspect at best during this time of the year. It just snowed three out of the last four days, and by all rights, our season technically just opened on the 15th of April. I always look at golf handicap season (April 15th-October 15th) as the “official” golf season in Ontario.

Even from working in golf operations in different capacities, this time of the year at every course that I’ve been involved at, you only get maybe two handfuls of golfers out per day. Some days like we had over the last two days, that number would go down to two or three golfers that were members with zero revenue being made. The course ultimately operating at a loss. Not to mention, many golf courses in Ontario are just starting to see their cart fleets arrive. I sit here chuckling to myself thinking about the brown and gold Club Car transports rolling down the highway. The words “Augusta, Georgia” emblazoned down the side.

The weather of April 25th made things just a little tougher to swallow for us golfers in Ontario. Sunny, a warm wind, and 13ºC or 55ºF temperatures are perfect golf weather early in the spring. In a way, it reminds me of maple syrup season because the proverbial “golf sap” really gets flowing for us. We’re chomping at the bit to escape our igloos, shed our layers of icy skin like a snake, and trade our snowmobile gloves for a Footjoy, TaylorMade, Zero Friction, or similar golf glove.

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A sign of the times.

So today, I’m out and about, driving a vehicle for the first time since January to take my wife to work. About 4 minutes down the street sits Beechwood Golf and Social House. Driving by, I noticed that it’s looking really good. The greens looking inviting to approach shots, the fairways stellar with their flawless mow pattern. The golf course looking absolutely tantalizing. Unfortunately, posted, is a sign that’s pretty clear and is a recurring theme around Ontario golf courses. “Course Closed… No Play”. Yet there they were, golfers parked on the road and on the course. Playing the section of golf course across the road and away from the clubhouse. These are holes 15 thru 17. Not only are they trespassing and engaging in resource theft (maybe they were Members) but they were simply breaking the law by being out there during the lockdown.

The optics are awful. It makes them and other golfers look “entitled” or to be more frank, above the law, and bigger than the issue at hand that we all face. What makes these golfers so “special”? Why should they be able to play when golfers like me and the other estimated 2M Ontarian golfers can’t play or more importantly work at the golf course? The answer, nothing!! So, I contacted the authorities and I have zero regrets about it.

Don’t get me wrong. I get it! It’s tough to not be able to play golf right now, and as the weather gets nicer, the temptation or need to “scratch the itch” will only get worse. For many golfers, golf is an addiction. Albeit, a relatively healthy addiction, unless you’re overspending your means. Seeing a golf course out there, looking that good right now is like placing a fully-stocked open bar in front of a recovering alcoholic and telling him or her not to drink.

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Just for clarification. I was on the shoulder of the road. Not trespassing.

Like you, I hate it, but we all have to abide by what the law says. Stay the course, stay safe, and stay healthy. We’ll all be golfing soon enough, although it won’t be nearly soon enough.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

 

All Things Zero Friction

Zero Friction Sports is a golf brand that was founded back in 2001 under the name Excel Golf Products Inc. After seeing some initial success in releasing innovative products they re-launched in 2005. This time under the name Zero Friction as golfers know them today.

2005 was the year that the brand introduced its “Performance Golf Tees”. This was the first time that a golf tee was looked at in the sense that a simple golf tee could make a difference for golfers. The difference being that their tees were produced with three and four-pronged designs. Thus resulting in less friction and drag which culminated in more distance. Since then, Zero Friction has trended upwards.

More than just golf tees, Zero Friction continues to bring golfers innovative products and fresh designs. From their one size fits “most” compression golf gloves to their ZF Spectra golf balls, Zero Friction provides a variety of products in a vast array of colours for prices that are very affordable.

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I spoke with Zero Friction during the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida and learned all about some of their new products for 2020. Some of the new products include their new gloves (Oh Canada, Americana, and the Ultra Feel), the Power 3 Tee, and the Stryker 2-glove pack.

Honestly, if I were a Director of Golf or a Pro Shop Manager again, I wouldn’t hesitate to carry their products in my shop. The one size fits most model eases makes fitting golfers into gloves a more streamlined selection. Honestly, it’s always a pain in the arse choosing the right number of gloves per size. These gloves are also priced in such a way where you would see excellent profit margins which is always a consideration and not to mention the variety of colours that their products come in.

There will be reviews coming soon on some of their products. These products include the Spectra golf ball (which was surprising), the Ultra Feel and Oh Canada gloves, and last but not least the Power 3 Tee. So stay tuned for those.

In the meantime, please view the video of my interview at the Zero Friction booth.

 

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

Zero Friction To Launch New Products at 2020 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando

OAK BROOK TERRACE, IL (January 9, 2020) – Zero Friction, widely known for its one-size compression fit gloves and the DistancePro™ GPS Glove, has announced the launch of several new products at the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.  Zero Friction will exhibit in Booth #2673 from January 22-24, 2020.

“We are proud of our reputation of creating high quality, cutting-edge, performance products for all golfers,” said John Iacono, President of Zero Friction. “The new products we are currently bringing to market carry on that tradition.”

Attendees at the upcoming show are encouraged to check out the following new products in Booth No. 2673:

  • The new Power 3 Tee is a 3-prong, 3-inch tee available in six neon colors (red, green, orange, blue, white and purple.)
  • The Ultra Feel Golf Glove is a Cabretta Leather Padded glove; available in men’s white and black.
  • The Americana glove shines bright with stars and stripes. This Cabretta Leather Men’s Glove is available in red, white, and navy blue.
  • The Oh Canada glove is a Cabretta Leather glove; available in men’s red or white featuring the Canadian Flag.
  • The Stryker Glove 2-pack is available in an array of colors at a price point for the budget-conscious golfer.
 
Zero Friction’s true advantage for retailers is that the universal fit means shops do not have to carry a huge inventory of sizes. Instead, the shops can offer a large selection of colors.

Zero Friction also benefits golf shops with a creative selection of packaging, including the SuperTubes, which received the 2018 ING Industry Honors Product Ingenuity award for its packaging of color-matched glove, Spectra™ distance golf balls and tees.

Zero Friction also has logo capabilities including logo golf balls, gloves, and tees, which has experienced significant growth this past year. Licensed gloves and Supertubes featuring NFL, MLB, NHL, and the top 20 collegiate teams will also have a dedicated section.

Attendees at the PGA Merchandise Show are encouraged to visit Booth No. 2673 to try the new products.  Those who are not able to attend the show, can view the entire line of Zero Friction golf products, visit www.ZeroFriction.com.

For more information, visit www.zerofriction.com, or call 630-317-7700.

About Zero Friction
Based in Oakbrook Terrace, Il, Zero Friction is known industry-wide for being on the cutting edge when it comes to introducing new products to players and creative packaging for its retail partners. Zero Friction provides high-quality, technologically advanced products for golfers worldwide, including gloves, performance golf tees, balls, and accessories. The company established the performance golf tee market, creating the first and only performance tee to ever carry the PGA TOUR logo. Zero Friction’s most recent success story is in the golf glove segment. Zero Friction’s colorful line of compression-fit gloves for men, women, and juniors takes the guesswork out of sizing.  Compression-fit technology means a universal fit within the various models and the glove that will hold its shape longer than any on the market.  To view the entire line of Zero Friction golf products, visit http://www.ZeroFriction.com.

UTNT VLOG – December 27th, 2019

Here’s a fun fact. In the Niagara Region where I live, we’ve unofficially had two winters already. We received our first winter back on Halloween and then we just came through another wintry blast. Little did I realize golfers in the region would be able to enjoy golf around Christmas in weather at or near 50*F (10*C). Among those golfers, of course, is “yours truly”.

December 27th was one of those days where golf was on the menu. Having dropped off my wife at work I made my way to Queenston Golf Club. It and its sister course (St. David’s Golf Course) were packed. Patience is a virtue and I teed off around 2:30 in the afternoon to play 9 holes.

I decided to do some “Live’ Twitter posts so here are some of the videos that I made. I discussed. I hope you enjoy.

 

Shortly after getting home. I made two changes to my WITB. Out is the TaylorMade Golf JetSpeed 3-wood which was replaced by the SUB 70 Golf Pro Fairway (15*). Also being swapped out was the TaylorMade Golf SLDR 4H and back into the bag is the Tour Edge Exotics EXS 4H. Which remains the best hybrid that I’ve ever gamed. We’ll see how the bag looks as I head down to Florida in January for the PGA Show and for some golf.

Be sure to fix ball marks. Take pride in making them by fixing them. Also, a quick blurb about a Zero Friction golf ball. The Spectra Matte. Not a bad first impression.

Some final thoughts about the round. Adjusting to eyeglasses, the Zero Friction Spectra golf ball, the SkyCaddie SX400, and Golf Gum.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

 

2019 PGA Show Teezy Awards – “Best of the Rest”

With the excitement of The Oscar’s being handed out (I didn’t watch a second of it) the time has come. The pomp, circumstance, and electricity that is the Teezy Awards. This is the best of the rest… and in anticipation of next year I am going to be doing the presentation “Olympics-style”. Instead of talking about a winner and a runner-up there will be Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals awarded. So, without further delay.

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A new year with a different angle.

The Teezy Awards… 2019 PGA Merchandise Show “Best of the Rest”.

 

Top Men’s Apparel

GOLD (Bald Head Blues) This range of men’s golf apparel has an uncanny ability. The ability to somehow transport you from the rigors of everyday life to somewhere more relaxing. Perhaps somewhere off of the Nort Carolina coast where the brand gets its name from. Apparel from Bald Head Blues is light, bright, and comfortable. The quality and attention to detail are second to nobody in the business. Look for a review in the near future regarding their 1/4 Zip Clubhouse sweater.

SILVER (Original Penguin) They have a complete line of men’s apparel. From lifestyle t-shirts to pants and everything in between. The patterns are fun and they always have a theme. In one line the theme is 50’s camping. They’re fun, bold and each print hs “Pete the Penguin” in there somewhere.

BRONZE (Columbia Sportswear) – I’ll admit it. Columbia Sportswear surprised me just a little bit. It wasn’t so much the fact that they had eye-pleasing colors nor was I surprised by their technology as far as keeping golfer’s comfortable in all elements. What really surprised me was their price point. Their range of products has a very attractive price tag attached to them. the flaw, you will only find them in Pro Shops where they have been brought in.

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Top Women’s Apparel (As chosen by Crystal Toth)

GOLD (Motherputter) – After the show, women’s’ golf contributor wrote a piece on Motherputter. The brand features cutting edge styles that are bold. Styles that take you from the course to the club or vice versa. Motherputter also happens to have a wide variety of sizing. How do I know that Motherputter is good? Crystal hasn’t stopped talking about them.

SILVER (Golftini) – You might have seen women’s apparel from Golftini in the past. On-Air personalities Bailey Mosier and Nicole Castrale raved about them. Recently, Amanda Blumenherst was on GC Morning Drive wearing Golftini fashion. They’re trendy, smart and vivid. Golftini carries women’s golf apparel (and beyond) that features everything from Polos, Ponchos, Pants, and Skorts. One of the two brands that Crystal has talked about a lot since the show.

(BRONZE Jane Fifteen Thirty) – Boasting a blend of perfect fabric and perfect fit and fashion that’ll wear well anywhere comes Jane Fifteen Thirty. The beauty of their apparel is two-fold. Their range features slimming designs and mesh accents. Crystal was a sucker for the mesh accents where it was featured in the fashion that she looked at during the show. What really caught her attention was how they approached their sizing (sizes run from 1 to 7 (4XL) and how the tops are designed with longer length in mind.

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Top Accessories

GOLD (Evolve Golf)When it comes to accessories Evolve Golf has a lot of things right. But before I get into that I just wanted to talk about their booth at the 2019 PGA Show. The same booth has been used for the last 9 years. Their booth is constructed from repurposed wood. Evolve Golf cares about nature and how we impact Earth. Their Epoch golf tees are more durable than the standard wood tee or other similar plastic tees. The tees also feature their “Sweet Spot System” ensuring that you have the ball teed up at just the right height. Evolve Golf is more than tees as they also have a series of pitch mark repair tools, ball markers, and even their Motion Wool socks. More importantly, is Project Good Woods. Project Good Woods is an initiative that saw Evolve Golf coordinate with the Arbor Day Foundation. Their goal was to produce wood tees that do not cost more than the conventional wood tee but to “give back to the environment by a portion of the sale going the Arbor Day Foundation in the clubs region and in the clubs name”. This initiative has been instrumental in the planting of 10,000 trees.

SILVER (Zero Friction) – Zero Friction. They carry a wide range of products from golf tees, golf balls and now stand bags. The two-piece Spectra Matte finished golf balls come in bright colors. Yellow, Blue, and Red to name a few. Their Spectra SuperTubes come with a glove, 3 Spectra golf balls, and 10 tees. A perfect way to test out their products if you aren’t sure about them. Their Cabretta Elite golf gloves come in a wide variety of colors (too many to list) and the real winner here is that the gloves come in a Universal Fit. One size fits most. If I were to run a Pro Shop again, there is no doubt which gloves I’m carrying and offering to golfers. Zero Friction.

BRONZE (Oliver Thomas) Another exhibitor that Crystal was pretty hyped about. She was pretty excited when she told me about her discovery at the show. Oliver Thomas has a line of tote bags, duffle bags and more. Products feature “Everyday Carry meets Modern Function”. Their range also features machine washable totes and duffle bags (with built-in “secret stash” organization pocket), backpacks, crossbody bags, cosmetic cases, and fanny packs that are lightweight and water-resistant.

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Top Electronics (including Rangefinders and GPS)

GOLD (GOLFBUDDY)GOLFBUDDY claims the top honors in the Top Electronics category. Featuring everything from laser rangefinders and GPS units. New to the range for 2019 is their uber-impressive GolfBuddy aim W10 golf GPS SmartWatch that features a full-color screen and even green undulation (where available). The W10 comes pre-loaded with 40,000 golf courses in its library, automatic course updates (GOLFBUDDY app) and 13 hours of battery life in golf mode. This last point alone I challenge because I am always a skeptic about these claims. I’ve tested similar products that boasted the same just to come up well short. The W10 would be worth a test.

SILVER (OptiShokz) – From the same people that brought you the AfterShokz Trekz Air that received a ton of praise from these pages comes OptiShokz. Or to be more precise the OptiShokz Revvez. The OptiShokz Revez are sunglasses meets headphones but with a difference. These sunglasses integrate sunglasses and headphones in one. Featuring the same Bone Conduction Technology as the Trekz Air that I reviewed in 2018 the sound quality promises to deliver while keeping you safe due to their open-ear construction. OptiShokz Revvez will come with replaceable lenses including a Polarized version that those on the water will appreciate.

BRONZE (aboutGOLF) – I never thought that I would see the day where I would put a launch monitor/simulator up for a nomination. Mostly because these aren’t what your typical golfer could afford to put in our house. After all, we all can’t be the President of the United States. But here we are. aboutGOLF is the only simulator that is endorsed by both the PGA TOUR and Golf Channel. aboutGOLF features a new platform for 2019 called “aG Links”. This platform has too many features to list including aG Balance Pro weight and balance analysis, aG Flix video analysis and in a nutshell, is a full-blown entertainment system.

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Photo Credit: GOLFBUDDY

Top Footwear

GOLD (Skechers GO Golf) – When it comes to the number of styles, colors, and price point there was no stronger product range in the golf footwear category at the 2019 PGA Show. Skechers golf footwear won’t cost consumers any more than $150 (GO Golf Pro V.4 Honors) and include the ultralight GO GOLF MAX. When I picked them up there was almost literally no weight to them. For women, the varieties are plentiful, to say the least with models of shoes like the GO GOLF Max, GO GOLF Draw and the blingy GO GOLF Shine all being available. Skechers knows feet and they definitely know shoes as well. By the way, they also do have some apparel as well.

SILVER (TRUE Linkswear)From the Pacific Northwest comes TRUE Linkswear. For those of you who have followed me for a long time, you might know that TRUE Linkswear holds a special place in my heart. In a way, I nearly avoid writing about them because some might view my feelings as partial. I’m not. 2019 has seen the launch of some great shoes from Jason Moore (PGA TOUR star Ryan Moore’s brother) and company. Headlining the list are the TRUE Major. Designed with out of the box comfort in mind the TRUE Major features a 2-year waterproof design, full-grain leather a paracord lacing system and so much more. This is their most-refined shoe in my opinion. A performer that looks great. The bar was set really high with this shoe. Also of note are the OG Premium. The OG Premium is a reconstructed version of 2018’s TRUE Orgininal but features softer leather and improved waterproofing and comfort.

BRONZE (Jack Grace USA) –  A classic saddle shoe with a twist. Or shall I say… A swap? Jack Grace USA features what the company calls “Saddle Swap Technology”. Do you get bored easily? Do you have a keen fashion sense? If so then Jack Grace USA might be the ideal golf shoe for you. Why have a bunch of different colored shoes when you can have one pair of shoes and multiple saddles that you can quickly and simply change to match your wardrobe for a day on the links? That’s the genius behind Jack Grace USA. Jack Grace also features construction from premium leather.

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Top Training Aid

GOLD (Colour Path Golf) – Already the focus of a post-show article Colour Path Golf was a product that literally went from “What’s the point?” to “Genius”. Colour Path Golf relies on different colors and shapes to help the instructor teach golf to their students. Colour Path Golf is something that I’ve never seen in the industry meaning that it allows golfers to be visual learners in a way which we’ve never seen before. Through using the pieces in the kit swing faults can be easily explained with a ton of visual cues. Say you have an issue with leaving your shot pushed out to the right (RH golfer) and you don’t understand the explanation. Now you can see what you don’t understand. I saw this product at Demo Day and I was baffled about what it does. Then I had my appointment… IT’S SO SMART.

SILVER (PuttOUT Golf) – How many times do you use the driver during a round of golf? Assuming that any given course has 14 driving holes you might use it 14 times. Sometimes, the driver isn’t the right play. In comparison, how many times do you stroke a putter? Maybe 30 times… or a touch less or dare I say a few more. The PuttOUT Pressure Putt Trainer is a product that allows you to practice your putting at home (if you have carpet), a hotel room if you’re on the road or on any green where there may not be a hole cut where you’d like. The PuttOUT Pressure Putt Trainer is a ramp that simply returns your ball on a “made” putt. The trainer folds pretty flat so it’s highly transportable and can sit in your golf bag. PuttOUT has also recently launched a putting mirror and alignment gate.

BRONZE (Acu-Strike) – Acu-Strike is a training aid that can help golfers in achieving the perfect strike. This impact training mat provides instant feedback in letting you know there where your impact was in relation to the ball. Ideally, we want our divot to be after the ball. Anything before the ball is fat and you all but guarantee a poor result. Acu-Strike identifies where the golf club bottoms out turning the area dark. Also, Acu-Strike gives feedback on club path through impact.

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Top Health and Wellness

GOLD (HempMe) – Be on the lookout for a review of HempMe Rx CBD Ointment. There’s no doubt that one of the up and coming products at the PGA Show are products that are CBD based. Having been sore both Crystal and I decided to try some of their ointment. Well, what I can tell you is that the HempMe ointment worked. The pain was relieved within 45 minutes (for me) and in the case of an area that hurt… I was no longer in pain. I used to be the biggest pride when it came to CBD or Cannabis… that has since changed because I’ve seen and experienced what some of the benefits are.

SILVER (SCNS – 1st Tee) – Nutrition bars are a massive industry in general. 1st Tee offers a wide variety of flavors including Honey Almond, Dark Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin and more. Also,  SCNS offers nutrition bars that are gluten and dairy free and beef jerky. Everything that I sampled had very good taste and I would have no issue having a bar before my round. SCNS also happens to be a partner of the First Tee Program. “The First Tee is an organization that provides positive youth development through golf. SCNS is proud to donate $0.15 from the sale of each 1st Tee Dark Chocolate Chip Trail Mix Bar and 10th Tee Cranberry Trail Mix Bar, to The First Tee®, providing positive youth development through golf”.

BRONZE (Gelliflex)The very last product that I saw during the 2019 PGA was the Gelliflex Abacus. The Gelliflex Abacus is a self-therapy massage device. We’ve seen what an abacus is. A counting device that uses beads. The built on an H-frame the Gelliflex Abacus incorporates firm gel balls (Gelliprene) to help golfers massage their hands, wrists, elbows, and forearms. Also, the Gelliflex can be used for administering foot massage as well. This was a product that I really liked… and enjoyed.

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Top New Product

Stroke of Luck – The Stroke of Luck putting matt is my pick for Top New Product of the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show. The Stroke of Luck putting matt combines a training aid (putting matt) with card games like poker. Stroke of Luck is one of those products that brought joy to people while I was in attendance at their booth during the show. You could tell people were having fun and really enjoyed it. The options of card games using Stroke of Luck are too numerous to list. Whether you’re playing poker with other golfers or by themselves the matt is a ton of fun.

The Stroke of Luck putting matt could potentially shine in the golf industry from a business standpoint. How many tournaments or leagues have you played in that were in a rain delay or canceled altogether? Instead of squawking about the rain your Pro Shop could have a Stroke of Luck Putting matt on hand. People could engage in playing poker while doing some golf-related activity while still supporting the club. 

I loved this product!!

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Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee