TIGER WOOD’S DISCUSSES CHANGES TO GOLF

I enjoyed reading this article the other day – it discusses some future ideas for the game and what can be done to make golf more enjoyable and potentially engaging for the average golfer. Tiger takes a view that many will find favourable and interesting.

https://golf-site-previews.si.timeincapp.com/special-features/2017/04/27/players-new-orleans-arent-only-ones-who-are-receptive-shaking-tournament-formats-so-tiger-woods

The article discusses equipment changes, game formats and the future of golf. What direction should golf be headed in?

PERSIMMON WOODS

Tiger played a lot of his junior golf with persimmon woods. He mentions how the difficulty of playing them gave so much of a reward to the better players and influenced strategy so much.

In a way he is saying quality ball striking alone would allow you to separate yourself from the field. But is that just a reference to the weaker fields of yesteryear? What is interesting here is the gap between leaders and the cut mark – would equipment effect that?

He also laments the lack of creativity in the game today. Less spin from both club and balls reduce the number of effective shot options. What do you think?

The video above is a fun watch to see todays players give them a go – albeit with modern balls. I first tried golf with a blue wooden 3 wood in 2001 – I was behind the times a little 🙂 but I havent tried one since. I would relish the opportunity. This would also mean ditching light weight and easy to swing 45 inch graphite shafts!

BALATA BALLS

A source of long running debate and research, the modern golf ball is condemned by many for being too versatile – better spin rates and massive distance gains!

Would we have seen players like Seve Ballesteros succeed in the modern ball and club era?

Extra spin means extra curve and lift on the ball. A help in hitting firm greens or creating extra shape it would also be of benefit around the greens – more spin and a very soft feel. But any poor shots were heavily penalised.

This difficulty removed the reward that longer hitters recieve in todays game. They are arguably less penalised for their miss hits.

The modern ball has a forgiveness on miss hits and in difficult conditions that older golfers find hard to fathom. Check out the difference on Trackman here with renowned coach Andrew Rice:

http://www.andrewricegolf.com/andrew-rice-golf/2011/08/evolution-of-a-golf-ball

GAME FORMATS

The article asks whether a half set or even four club competition could make it as a prime event on the PGA tour.

Tiger points out that in principle, the lowest score still wins. It is still normal in every other way…there is simply a greater demand on the golfer to adapt and be creative. Surely this could be a good thing?

In Scotland on the Tartan Tour there has been a well renowned one club challenge event after the Pro Am at the famed Skibo Castle for years. There are rarely fluke winners – it still rewards the best players!

FUTURE OF GOLF

What was so interesting to read in the article is to hear a player of Tiger’s calibre posses a strong desire to grow the game.

Personally I don’t believe foot golf or anything too far removed from the traditional game will work. It’s too much of a gimmick.

Golf doesn’t have to be the easiest sport to play. It’s difficulty is its appeal. The fact that you can never master it is the addictive element to the game.

But I do think some things should change at most courses. Of course private courses or very popular courses have little need or desire to change.

DIFFERENT RULES FOR AMATEURS

Many rule changes are on the horizon for 2019. It will be a topic for another blog post, but in summary, I agree with most of them.

There definitely needs to be a reduction in their complexity. But some rules should disappear for the amateur golfer. The harshness and precision of some rules are unnecssary. My best example would be the broomstick and belly putter “anchoring” ban. It has simply destroyed putting for some amateurs.

BEGINNERS GOLF

Here in Norway the VTG or “Road to Golf” scheme provides a fantastic grounding in the basics to help you enjoy and understand the game. I have heard that previously it placed far too much emphasis on the rules and driving range tests.

But now it seems to have found the right balance…it provides guidance but also mixes you in with other fellow beginner golfers. This is so important for helping beginers stay with the game….it is impossible to enjoy as a solo pursuit for many.

Perhaps courses could have beginner times, a bit like juniors have their set times. This will give the beginners some breathing room on the course and hopefully remove some of the trepidation of heading out there.

 

 

9 OR 6 HOLE GOLF

A lot of modern courses are built with the 9th hole coming back to the clubhouse. This is fantastic and these clubs could perhaps go further and create certain periods where you can only book 9 hole tee times.

The time “cost” of 18 holes at full size course is substantial….many cannot afford half a day away from work or the family.

Taking the idea a step further, perhaps 6 hole loops would work well. I know growing up and playing after work as the darkness drew in 6 holes of golf was perfect and we made our own mini course up. One hour of golf and social chat can be very rewarding!

Thanks for reading and would love to hear what you think!

 

THE PROFESSIONALS ESSENTIAL SURVIVAL KIT: PART 2

KEEPING HYDRATED!

The bain of a non tour player. Carrying enough water to last 4-5 hours in a 90 degree heat feels like training to be a commando. A neat solition can be electrolyte solitions. Rather than expensive energy drinks these hydration tablets from Nuun are popular for tour players. Despite having access to a drinks cooler on every tee they would prefer to consume less water where possible. Its just one less thing to worry about when $1million is on the line.

nuun new box

FOOD

When preparing for a weeks golf on tour you must think ahead. Having an on course food plan is key to maintaining your energy and focus. A sugary chocolate bar after 9 holes? Only if your diabetic. Why not buy a multi-pack of foodstuffs for the course? (Check out our experts article on nutrition here). This saves time and prevents you from running out of gas at a crucial point in your round. When has there ever been an unimportant shot?

DRILL STIX

Prominently poking out of most tour bags these sticks serve a rather simple yet essential purpose. There are a multitude of ways to employ them but alignment is the key. Used in a train track fashion for face aim and body alignment, a ‘T’ setup is another popular option which focusses on ball position. If your working on a grass range you can stick one into the ground beside you as a guide for your swing plane.

Carousel_TourSticks

YARDAGE LASER

Although not allowed for use during PGA and European Tour events the majority of smaller tours allow for their use as they tend to speed up play. Their accuracy and ability to pick up trees and other hazards make them a no brainer. If you don’t have access to a pin sheet like a tour player then this prevents you from guessing if the pin is at the front or back of that slightly raised green in the monthly medal. There is no loading of courses as in some GPS devices and a laser can be useful on a driving range also.

BUSHNELL

PENS, PENCILS AND ALIGNMENT AIDS

Sharpies are essential for the tour player – how else are they to satisfy that long line of autograph seekers? Another little tool that hides out in those large tour bags is an alignment aid. It helps the pro put a perfectly straight line on his ball for putting alignment – not always an easy with those first tee nerves and jitters. Proponents of this aiming line say that it frees them up to think of speed – they dont doubt their aim or second guess themselves nearly as much.

BALL MAR

PITCHFORK AND MARKERS

A lot of pro’s tend not to bother with clunky pitchforks in their pockets simply breaking tee after tee. Others like to do a really good job after their 190 yard seven iron leaves a crater of a mark following a rain delay! What players will take great care in and place superstition in is their marker choice. A lucky coin has a place in everyones bag.

SUNGLASSES

There are a few top manufacturers of sport orientated sunglasses in the market but currently Oakley leads the way. The combination of quality, durability and style make them very desirable. Many players including Adam Scott have changed to protect themselves from the harsh sunlight they face for up to six hours a day. Many players report a greater ability to perceive the slope of the greens, and a general increased focus that a reduced glare provides. If you needed one more reason to make this an essential in your bag, just think of the style points you will receive from playing partners!

OAKLEY LENS

AIMPOINT CHART

More and more amateurs are now familiar with AIMPOINT, the system that involves measuring exactly how a putt will break. The new express method of reading putts doesn’t require the use of the chart but it is still used for backup reference, a form of double checking a complex read. Learning the gradient of a particular difficult slope at your home course can help you aim better through using the aim point chart. Not for everyone, aimpoint does remove a lot of guesswork that is currently used in reading greens.

AIMPOINT

YARDAGE BOOK HOLDER

Want to avoid destroying your yardage chart? Then try one of these. Phil Mickelson uses alligator skin, traditional leather may be a little more understated.

yardage-book-covers-full

SPIKES

They tend to have a habit of dislodging themselves, so its good to always keep a few spare in the bag. Quite a few players are comfortable on the new spikeless shoes like Fred Couples and his Eccos while most remain on the soft spikes. It is interesting to note that a couple of the games longest hitters still use metal hybrid spikes, the stingers. Woods and Mcilroy create so much force in their swings this must aid their stability, especially in softer conditions.

MCILROY

RULES BOOK

Yes, yes, they are supposed to know it all but the game is a complex. With so much at stake they would rather be safe than sorry and who could blame them. Only at major’s does a referee accompany every group so an ability to reference a rule book at a lonely part of the course is a time saver that everybody appreciates.

RULES

WINTER PROTECTION

Pobably not an essential throughout the ‘Florida Swing’ but those in more northern areas of the hemisphere should all carry these. The winter hat or beanie is a popular look in the Dunhill Links (St Andrews, October) whilst Martin Kaymer’s use of a ‘snood’ drew plenty of attention. More stylish than a neckerchief though? The final accessory is the arm warmers commonly seen in running and cycling. Great when playing in the low sun of an early morning or late evening tee time.

WINTER

CIGAR HOLDER

Idolized Miguel Angel Jimenez? Enjoy a cigar on the course like him? This is his essential accessory!

CIGAR

THE PROFESSIONALS SURVIVAL KIT: PART 1

It is essential to personalise your bag! Tiger’s headcover even had his own advertising campaign at one stage. Rory has a dog and Sergio a Spanish bull.

eqsl10-sergio-garcia-bag

 

TEES

The tours generosity knows no bounds with a plentiful supply available on the first tee. However some are very superstitious and bring their own variety. Perhaps a visual reminder of past success (ie course name on tees) or some national loyalty.

TEES

BALLS

It is highly unlikely that tour players will lose their ball in the trees with the TV networks and numerous spectators present. It sometimes happens though and we must also think about the water hazards. A bigger concern is the effect sharp lofted wedges have on a balls cover, sometimes destroying a few dimples in one shot. Pro’s tend to use 3 to 6 balls per round in the more durable modern era. The much softer balata balls used pre-millennium were infamous for their small window of peak no performance.

PROV1

GLOVES

The excessive rate of glove use may shock the average amateur. A fresh batch of pristine leather avails itself to the locker of every player, every week. But over 100 holes a week and more than a few hundred balls on the driving range will take its toll. Colin Montgomerie was known to use a new glove for every hole of a particularly hot US Open one year. Rising in popularity in recent years is the rain glove. Previously an inferior product the current models retain a very acceptable level of feel and with a felt style texture provide phenomenal ability in the rain. Swinging conservatively in the rain can now be a thing of the past.

GLOVES

RAIN COVER / HOOD

Even on tour where a full time professional caddy (who charges upwards of $1000 a week) looks after the equipment, these are invaluable in the rain. Most use a simple cover provided with the bag but in particularly bad weather some employ a full bag cover, unaffectionately known in the industry as ‘the condom’! If you are not a tour pro and would like to play hassle free Titleist have a nifty solution pictured here.

RAIN

titleist-rain-cover.2

TOWELS

PGA Tour caddies love a big towel. Not quite beach size, but big enough for one wet side and one dry side. In the heat of the USA and Asia, caddies can be seen cleaning grips more frequently than clubheads. For the amateur bigger is not always better….

CLUBGLOVE

 

RAIN CLOTHING

If you are reading this in the UK it sounds rather obvious. The investment in gore-tex was made long ago – it was an easy decision to purchase something that you would probably wear for the majority of your golf! Gore-tex can withstand anything mother nature can throw at you, its light and will take up very little space in the bag. Rejoice in the freedom that great rain gear brings to your swing.

RAINTOP

UMBRELLA

Even the most ardent golf writer would struggle to tell you something that piques your interest in an umbrella. Just don’t leave home without it.

UMBRELLA

 

 

 

 

TITLEIST 915 REVIEW

EQUIPMENT REVIEWS: TITLEIST 915 LAUNCH

Since Titleist tour staff began putting the new 915 range in play around the PGA Championship, the anticipation for one of their most innovative products has reached a crescendo. The dedicated following they have amongst the better players has ensured a constant focus on traditional style and genuine performance gain rather than excessive innovation and gimmickry. Continue reading “TITLEIST 915 REVIEW”