Rose v. Garcia April 16 2017

Many people have longer memories than me and many people in my home town of Basingstoke seem to remember Garcia 'the idiot years'.  They remind me of how he once spat in the hole and also when he threw his footwear at an abusive fan.  Go google it - these things really did happen.  

I think they just really found themselves wanting Rose to do it.  He of the longest run of missed cuts and the living embodiment of hard work.  Local lad done well - or rather local boy done unbelievably well.  I get it.  I too wanted Rose to win and the last few holes I was really pulling for him.  But it wasn't to be. One bad tee shot and Garcia closed him out.

But I love Garcia too as he wears his heart on his sleeve.  Gives honest interviews - I will never forget the 'I don't know if I will ever win a major - I don't know if I have what it takes' interview - it was just so raw.  I loved him for admitting he had doubts - because that was human.  

But I know one thing.  Rose and Garcia respected each other and their love for the game burned through.  They both gave this their very best and accepted totally the outcomes that came their way.  I have no doubt that Rose didn't want to lose but he immediately acknowledged the champion in front of him.  That's how all sport should be.  Seve and Arnie would surely have approved.

That's a a great question...... April 05 2017

The other day a 12 year old boy asked me a question that just blew my mind.  The question was how should I practice?

I will leave that there for you to mull on.  I am sure you are answering it in a million ways. Few of the more cocksure of you will be think what a silly and obvious question.....

But thats not what rocked me - what took my breath away - was the realisation how few times I have been asked that.  

This blog entry will not answer the question because there are so many different ways to answer but lets be clear if you don't have a simple view and a plan you are just hitting balls and wasting range time.  You won't improve at all.....

My advice is when you next encounter your pro ask him.  Ask him this:-

'when you made your game strong enough to turn pro how did you practice?'  

Matchplay - please bring me more matchplay March 22 2017

So the PGA Tour and the best in the world are off to Austin Texas for the Matchplay at Austin Country Club.....  YAWN.

Errr. NO.

This weekend will be awesome - this is matchplay.  Seven over can win and ten under can lose.  Play the man not the course.  Last years final McIlroy v Woodland is first up.

I cannot stress enough this week will produce more entertainment than any other WGC event and is the absolute best thing short of the masters.  There is two reasons why I love matchplay:-

1.  The tv guys have to show the full round - or as close to it as you will ever see - instead of just watching a putting competition.  You will see the players from many many different situations too.  Remember Dubuisson - you may not have seen those shots in any other strokeplay event.

2.  You get to bet on the head to head outcome.  I love a little flutter on the outsider.  Because believe me the world's number 25 can easily beat the world number 1 on his day.  These are sprints and not marathons.  I would happily bet that an outsider will reach the later stages as they always do.  I just wish I knew which one.  

You can be pretty sure of one other thing becoming very evident this week.  The commentators love to typecast our players.  You suddenly find that the long hitters only hit it about 10 yards past the tour short guys.  

Enjoy this weekend and miss it at your peril.

Leisure time should be fun March 15 2017

Look I love golf.  I love the game in all the ways possible.  It is impossible to express just how much I long to play every single day.  I know I am not alone.

But do you know what?  Its not just about playing in solid silence and with the utmost concentration. Some of my best times on the course are with friends and a couple of cans.  Just kicking back and having great fun.  

This article from the guys at mygolfspy totally sums it up.  

I don't like to recycle other peoples blogs but I loved this because it makes such a great point.  Too many people take golf far to seriously and force that view down other peoples throats.

The next time you are dragging the bag out of the car facing another tiresome medal event think "why am I doing this".  Take a break, grab a couple of cold ones and invite a few friends.  You may just have more fun.  Yes your score will be higher and yes you will need a lift home but you may just find the magic returns.

Is he really that good? February 21 2017

Many people have asked me over the past few weeks if DJ is as good as we are being told by the TV crews.  They remember him failing to cross the line and the times he went out of bounds on important holes.   I remember him smashing one so far of line at Sandwich that I honestly thought it was going to decapitate a fan.

It seems we fans have longer memories than Riley and Harmon.  So is he the real deal?

I hate to break it to you but he really is.  At his best he is unplayable.  Look at what he did this weekend.  The reason why the TV guys know this is true is twofold:-

1.  They can see how in control he now is whilst still hitting it miles and miles.  In the flesh you can feel how on the edge of the limits someones swing really is.  I remember watching Paul Casey live and realising that he hit the ball incredibly hard - but that if he wanted to he could have hit it harder.  Yep much harder.  He was at 120mph club head speed and was within his limits.  Conversely I once followed JB Kruger round Wentworth and I swear he was literally hurting himself trying to keep up.  Great player and fearsome competitor but the athletes like DJ have a lot in their favour.

2.  Every play fails before the succeed and they know that.  It's a rite of passage and frankly our long memory fails to spot that most of the top players have gone through a similar route to the top.  Typically Woods is probably the only exception to that.  But then isn't that often true.  GOAT for a reason.  

What can mere mortals learn from this?  

Speed under control is dynamite and gets it done.  Practice the fast swings but dont play them.  The ball needs to stay on the course.  But so much more importantly......

Go out there and fail.  Fail a lot.  Bogey the last when a par would win that monthly medal.  Fail to get up and down, miss a 4 footer, who cares just keep competing and learning.  And when some one says they never choke - that player is deluded...  

As for the gambler in you back those that get to within 18 holes of a big win then blow it.  My outside pick for this year is Wiesberger, Reed and Fowler.  They have served their apprenticeship.  

I love this week...... February 01 2017


well the waste management open in Phoenix of course.  Its the Superbowl fuelled event with a par three entirely surrounded by stands.  Heavy drinking abounds and bad tee shots are jeered and sneered at as much as brilliance is celebrated.

Most of the players express a love for this event and I can personally see why!  

Its golf for the people - it's golf amidst noise - it's an event where unlikely people become rockstars.  Francesco Molinari's hole in one propels the mind mannered Italian to the forefront for all the right reasons.

Golf should never forget that we do not solve the worlds problems.  We are an entertainment business that needs a jolt.  

This year sees Beef on this tee for the first time. ........   Don't miss it.

Rory part 2 January 17 2017

If you love golf you simply have to read the second part of this 3 hour interview.  Turns out Rory is an extremely competitive guy and wants to beat everyone on the golf course!  Surprised?  No me neither.

Read it here

If you ignore the odd expletive most of this is on the face of it common sense.  Rory didn't make it to the top of golf without being very very driven.  He thinks he is the best in the world and he thinks his game can win against anyone at anytime.  Can't see many people disagreeing with him.......

Well apart from Graeme Storm?  

Okay so thats a bit tongue in cheek as I for one see Rory as finishing 2017 as World no1.  But the weekend did illustrate how great golf is as a sport.  Imagine Andy Murray losing to a qualifier or the England rugby team getting beaten by Canada.  Mind other sports do have upsets Iceland v England or Wimbledon v Liverpool etc...

But back to Rory.  I suspect that level of confidence preceded winning Majors.  I suspect his belief in his ability and game is what allowed him to succeed.  Many a young golfer needs to read this interview and see that players at this level had an arrogance that allows them to go for it.  Yes they hide it well and are polite and respectful but they still have it.

The Rory interview - revealing? January 12 2017

So this week has seen the publication of this interview.

If you are even slightly interested in what it takes to be a great golfer in the modern era you must read this.  It is simply the best interview with a leading sportsman published for a long long time.  Kimmage deserves all the plaudits as does Rory.  

So many sports people talk in cliches.  Trotting out exactly what we want to hear. Giving us nothing new and certainly protecting almost everyone in their sport.  This interview gives us insight and like all the best pieces of journalism makes you look upon the subject from a different perspective.  It is so good you will almost certainly read it twice.

One thing that comes over loud and clear is that it is a ridiculous simplification to write 'Rory resents the olympics'.  I think it is impossible to judge how a Northern Ireland born Catholic views representing team GB or Ireland unless you have the same background.  I can imagine it's quite a complicated set of emotions.

For me Rory comes across as honest, open and intelligent enough to know he doesn't have all the answers.  You get to see a young man making his way in life.  An amazingly attractive life for sure but not one that is free of challenges.  

Can golf learn from Darts? January 03 2017

Okay so lets be honest here very few old club secretaries are going to read this and be supportive.  In fact a few may spill their gunners on their lambswool - but I think golf can learn from the PDC.  PDC is the Professional Darts Corporation and every year puts on a smorgasbord of drama, excitement, high thrills and exceptional sporting ability in the World Championship of darts.  

If you look down your nose at Darts as easy, or not a proper sport go and give it a try.  Promise me you won't leave the board until you hit a 180.  Get comfy you could be there for some time.  Then you should realise the players in the final did that 40 times between them in about 95 minutes.

It's a highly skilled discipline that requires dedicated practice and the ability to perform under pressure.  That's not where the similarities end either.  The combatant throws at a board which his opponent cannot move or influence in anyway.  In fact if he plays well it really doesn't matter what his opponent does.  The top players talk about playing the board and blocking out what others are doing.  Advice Jack Nicklaus give the world 30 years ago.

But where the sports diverge is on the coverage.  Darts players perform with crowds literally baying, chanting, drinking and having an absolutely great time.  This years crowds included none other than Danny Willet and 'Beef' Andrew Johnson.  Stewards don't walk around trying to get silence and players enter the arena to a boxing style walk on.  In all my time watching it no player has ever growled because he got "put off by a camera clicking".  Last night a man (idiot) ran on to the stage right in front of the players.  Gary Anderson's response when he had been captured was to throw a 140.

As a result of the atmosphere the crowds are younger and much more diverse.  As a result this is a sport that continues to grow and engage youngsters.  

Barry Hearn owns and runs the PDC and obviously his flair for entertainment cannot be questioned.  His company Matchroom actually runs a golf tour - the EuroPro Tour - and to a man the players love this mini tour but until he and his team get to advise and help grow the bigger tours all of this is in vain.  But he should consulted and given two weeks of the season.

The darts recognise the following so well:-

1.  Fans love player v player match ups.  Jason Day v Henrik Stenson would get me tuning in.  In the early rounds Day v Daly would be intriguing.

2.  In the early rounds the format is much shorter.  Means a bigger field but also a much greater risk of an upset.  Fans love an underdog.  Daly toppling the world number one seems crazy to us but why?

3.  Virtually none of the commentators talk about technique.  They talk constantly about the battle - what the player needs to do.  The closest we have to that in golf is Claude Harmon or Wayne Riley.  At least they give us an idea of where the player is trying to get the ball to.   

4.  In darts as players have got better they haven't moved the board further away.  Fans love to see excellence that they can directly compare.  In our sport we read the stats from tour and think - oh that's not so much better than me.  And then someone points out the courses are setup so we couldn't even break 90.

It's unlikely that anyone will ever seriously change our formats and for the traditionalist thats a comforting thought as we hurtle toward more course closures and fewer and fewer players teeing it up.  Sometimes it seems we are actually happy to run a game that's slowly falling off the nations conscience

When's your sale going to start? December 31 2016

At this time of year people are always asking when does your sale start?  It seems the whole world expects an online retailer to have a big clear out in January.

But here is the thing.  We don't.  And why?

Because after the xmas rush we basically have very little to put on sale and our prices are always low.  We don't indulge in the practice of inflating prices for 30 days so we can then offer a 50% off coupon.  You can rest assured that we always have the best prices.

What we do see is a huge increase in people looking to sell us clubs.  And we LOVE this.

Click here to get your valuation 



Are premium balls worth the money? November 09 2016

Any golfer who follows social media will have noticed that there is something of a ball revolution going on right now.  Is the ProV's days numbered?

I think we have to step back from that to fully appreciate the market.

First and foremost most golfers play the wrong ball.  Nearly every mid to high handicapper we see is definitely wasting their money on the ProV.  Without a shadow of a doubt all the extra spin from that ball does is rob them of distance and make their misses bigger.  Its no co-incidence that the long drive specialists use pinnacles.  Less spin means less slice and less hook.  It also means more carry and more margin for error.  On our GC2 machine a ball like the Callaway warbird flies 9-10 yards longer with a driver.  In short don't play Pinnacles but do try the Srixon AD333 or the Callaway SR1 balls.

The low handicappers we see can get good value from the ProV.  its gives them the ability to spin the ball from 160 and in but many of them don't need to do that given our conditions. Those players would be well suited to a ball like the AD333 or the Titleist NXT Tour.  Frankly the Titleist NXT Tour is a superb ball and if the tour players played in our winters I am confident many of them would play these.  The NXT Tour on the GC2 covers good distance and spins only 1000 RPM less than a ProV1 with a PW.  Its only when your course gets really dry that you would see the difference.  

So first off don't automatically reach for the expensive ball.  

But that's not the revolution.  No the revolution comes from sudden new entrants in the market.  Snell golf, Bombtech and Costco have all started to make balls.  Meanwhile a German business Vice have started to get known overseas.  Four new names in a segment that hasn't seen anything new since the ProV.  Now these balls are also cheaper - around £28 a dozen. 

We have tested three of these (costco balls are US only) and you know what?  They are good.  Very good.  

All of these balls so far have performed well.  But here is the shocking news.  They don't spin like the ProV.  They perform like the NXT Tour.  Which is a very very good ball and like we said earlier well suited to the vast majority of players.

But here is the big news - the NXT Tour is £28 a box already.  So you save nothing really. 

Perhaps these balls may do enough to make people pull away from the ProV.  If they do Titleist only have themselves to blame since they under market the NXT and have never really helped players choose the right ball.  

The best advice?  Go see your pro and ask him what ball he recommends for your game. 

Post Ryder Cup blues..... October 19 2016

After the best three days golf I could ever imagine watching we are plunged back into the complete tedium of 4 round strokeplay dross.  I guess we need to have the lows to appreciate the highs but seriously.

When will the people that setup top level golf realise that we want more matchplay.  MUCH MORE MATCHPLAY.  We need matchplay events on normal length courses with accessible pin positions.  

Please don't get me wrong the UK Masters is not a bad event.  Sky tried really hard to get us closer to the action - interviews with palyers mid round should be here to stay but it just felt flat.  I feel sorry for Noren who played superb golf but I just couldn't get excited.

From now until the Masters I can't really see an event that gets me going.  Am I the only one?


The saddest of days... September 26 2016

It is inevitable that the great golfers of previous generation will pass away.  Seve was way too young and the loss was so great but today we mourn the passing of the father of modern golf.  No one employed in this business can ignore the impact that The King had on today's game.  We all owe a huge debt to the man and his legacy will live on and on.  Our duty is to honour his memory and to strive to live up to the standards he set.

Two parts of his impact must be remembered.  One he fought like a lion and played as hard as anyone but he never allowed his desire to win get in the way of his sportsmanship.  Not once.  He and his biggest rival became the very best of friends.  That is the mark of both men.  

The second is the amount of support he gave to the game and those in it.  So many handwritten notes sent to players.  Some congratulating them on a win and others consoling them on a loss.  And these missives were not just to the world top ten - no amateur golf, junior golf and lady golfers all received his support.  In this area no one will ever fill his shoes.  

So it is fitting that the tour finale came to a climax that surely he would have approved of.  Arnie at his best was so very similar to McIlroy its remarkable.  Maybe its just me but that final nine from the young Irishman is a tribute of its own to the man that never backed off.....

It falls now to the two teams at the Ryder Cup to honour the man that made them what they are.  

Olympic golf - a flop? August 15 2016

Overall the run up to the 2016 Olympic golf event could not have been worse.  We heard constantly about players who were not going.  We heard of players that didn't know what the format was and we heard about how disappointed legends were about the attitudes of today's players.  It was insipid poor journalism because at exactly the same time equally strong players were gearing up to play at Rio.  Willet, Stenson, Reed and Rose expressed both their pride and their excitement at going and constantly they were being asked about players who had decided not to go.  I am not saying that the coverage of this issue was unfair it was what it was but we lost a lot of the normally positive build up to a major event.  

But the great thing about golf is all the coverage matters not a jot (that includes the commentators).  Send golfers out onto a fair test and they will produce excitement.  Put two major winners onto a back nine within a couple of shots and just stand back.  The control and power required to win though is amazing and shows the world that golfers are indeed athletes.  Rose's after round interviews also shows how much this means to him.  I would bet a large sum that many golfers will envy him this title.

And yes I do see this as a major event.  It happens once every four years, the winner gets an gold medal and a place in their nation's hearts.  When it is all said and done Justin Rose's gold will add to a great medal total for GB just as Andy Murray's has.  He will be remembered for creating that sporting legacy and will also hold onto this title for four years not just one.  If I were Justin Rose I would have the gold medal embroidered onto my staff bag and I would wear my GB shirt to play in everyone of next years majors.  

Mind in many respects Matt Kuchar's charge for Bronze may be worthy of a movie of its own.  To medal from where he started the day shows how much can change over 18 holes.  Team USA will rightly celebrate this bronze and isn't it great that in this event we don't see third place as losing?  Can anyone remember who has finished 3rd in the last three majors?

I hope that golf as a sporting community learns from this.  The change was resented more than welcomed and too many people seemed oblivious to the scale of the Olympics in terms of world sport.  Justin Rose and the field have just elevated our sport onto a global stage and taken our sport into households who previously would never have considered watching golf.  

Iron shafts - does anyone care? July 26 2016

It never ceases to amaze me that people will debate driver shafts for hours and hours.  They spend hundreds on one club and sweat over 3 grams difference.  But then they just grab whatever shafts the manufacturer sticks in a set of irons.

Now don't get me wrong the major makers do not choose bad shafts - they actually fit premium shafts as standard these days - long gone are the days of own label uniflex shafts.  What they do always fit is a very middle weight shaft.  This is so they appeal to the vast majority of golfers.  Then they offer regular and stiff and off you go.

Just in case you missed it there has actually been a revolution in iron shafts. The trailblazers are KBS and Project X.  They have quietly set about altering shafts by making them lighter and lighter but somehow still retaining the stiffness.  The PXi shaft from Project X and the Tour 90 shafts from KBS are amazing things.  These shafts really add massive distance and height gains to the average golfer.  Its one of the reasons why the XR Irons from Callaway go so very far.  

At the other end of the scale the KBS Tour 110 in X flex is probably the first time real tour stiff tour trajectory shafts can be had by the average player.  These shafts are not for the weaker player as to some the feel like a scaffolding pole.  But if you are strong enough and discipled enough nothing produces such a consistent flight.

I am not advocating any one of these shafts above any others.  Its just like the driver shaft debate - its about what suits the player.  In short be aware of them and go and try them.


Why would I buy used equipment I can afford new? July 11 2016

I was playing with a couple of guys the other days and they seemed to think the idea of buying used golf equipment was crazy.  To them buying new was the only option and they saw it as a sign that they would be seen as mean if they even looked at used stuff.  They were desperate to avoid appearig as if they needed to save money.  They had both recently bought new drivers and they had litterally every possible golf accessory in their bags.  They told me at length that they had both been to see a custom fit expert to ensure that their clubs fitted their swings and game.  Now you would think that I scoffed at their idiocy and would find their views offensive given what we do.

Well no.  They make their own choices and without them the market falters and the supply of nearly new drivers collapses.  If each buy held onto their equipment for its full useful life then our game and my business would be in a right mess.  This business needs people to think £399 for a driver is a reasonable amount to pay.  We need players to believe that the G30 driver will be 100 times better than the G25 or that M1 is so different to R15.  

However we also need players to look at the facts about equipment.  To look at the real impact of technology on each version and take a calculated decision on what they play and how their resources get spent.  

One recent experience illustrates excatly what I mean.  At last months Jamega Tour event what do you think the most used driver was?  I hear M1, M2 and perhaps the odd Ping G30 Ltec.  No.  The most used driver in that event was a SLDR.  Yep 2 year old technology.  Why is that?  Well because it works and the newer clubs dont justify the extra spend.  Is M1 better than SLDR?  Yes - it definitely is but if you're scratching around trying to make it on tour the additional money it costs just doesn't make sense for the slight imporvement.

You have heard me say on many occasions that a £100 saved on the cost of the driver and then spent of tuition would save far more shots than the new turbulators ever will.  These two also confirmed that they had never had a lesson in their lives.  And boy it showed.  Get on the right track at the outset get linked into a PGA pro that can show you how to play.  You might not look as good in the car park but you will on the 18th green. 

Football's not coming home.... June 30 2016

England being beaten by Iceland is an amazing headline and I was asked the other day what the golfing equivalent would be.  Now that got me really thinking:-

Its hard to imagine an event where a player would come head to head with one of the games super powers one on one.  Usually the fields are big but extremely talented right down to the lowest ranked player.  Yes you get amateurs playing but they are often top top players about to embark upon a career in the big game.  DeChambeau beating Speith or Day will happen and Rahm has just demonstrated how good these new players can be.  

So I would vote for a player coming through from the pro ranks - a teaching pro - like Mark Hooper at the 2014 BMW Championship at Wentworth.  Read his story here.

But sadly he didn't go on to win Shane Lowry did.  

Which leads us to the amazing story of Billy Mayfair playing a final round in 1998 against Tiger Woods.  Woods hit the ball so much further and so much better than Billy nobody gave him a hope.  Especially when they found out that the play off hole was to be a long par five.  But the underdog had his day.  Read about this round here.

That's as close as I can get and brings me to the most important part.  Well done Iceland.  You have my support for the rest of this tournament.  What you have done is amazing and long may that continue.  

Sport produces these stories week in week out.  That's why we love it....


respect for the fans and respect for the game.... June 30 2016

Let's be clear here I am not a rules official and I am not experienced in playing on the US PGA tour but surely as a fan of golf I deserve much more respect than I was shown by the USGA last night.

Seems to me that people forget that my money, your money and the money of millions of golf fans pays for this massive junket.  Golf is a great game but it is a game and it exists to entertain.  Trust me if no one watched the game then it would wither and die.  As it is the game continues to contract in the developed world.

Dustin Johnson deserves credit for playing on etc.  While I personally feel more sorry for Lowry, Garcia, Piercy etc.  How the hell are they supposed to know what they are playing toward?  Disgusted that such a major event is marred by complete incompetence.  If this happened in the monthly medal it would be funny but not on this stage.  

To recap - don't spoil the entertainment of 100+ million fans by suggesting that you may review the score after the round has finished.  Don't question the integrity of the competitors, their playing partners and make it even more likely that every player will now be scared senseless of rules officials.  Oh and while your on - don't send a ref with each group - empower him to give a ruling and then revise it later on.  

Imagine this in another sport.  France score and then after the game the ref of refs changes the score.  

It makes our game seem stupid to those that don't play.  Makes it seem like its basically a game played by fat middle aged lawyers that want to spend their days arguing over a ball that moved less than 1 cm.  As I was asked by a good friend who doesn't play how did the ball moving backwards 1 cm make Johnson better off in anyway?  Difficult one to explain that!!!

But earlier in the same round a tower 80 yards away that the player subsequently hit the ball over was deemed to be blocking his shot so he moved from long rough to a perfect lie which he even got to place....... 

The best players in the game see how stupid this whole affair has been.  The tv audience has their tournament ruined and then the USGA give and interview and say -

"we are happy with the process we followed"   


If you were comedy writer you couldn't make this up...





The importance of putting.... May 31 2016

Yet again events from the tour remind us that for all the massive drives and huge towering long iron shots its the shots with the flatstick that matter the most.  Yes I am talking about Jordan Speith's back nine - 9 putts.  Some for par (2), some for bogey (1) and plenty for birdie saw the young Texan hole an incredible number of putts.  Admittedly his chip in on 17 improves his stats to this sensational level.

Many of the players I talk to know more about their swing speed and driver distance than they do about their putting stats and this shows me they are totally buying into the manufacturers hype.  Just the other day I had a 40 minute call about switching from an M1 to an M2 driver.  Different clubs and worthy of some thought but the same player has used the same old putter since 1997.

That same player seems to take no pleasure from putting.  To him it is a chore and although a good single figure golfer he seems to accept that when he is outside of 6 feet a two putt is his best outcome.  I personally cannot fathom why someone would choose a hobby such as golf if the most important 40% of the game bores him.  

Great players love to play and they all love to putt.  Tiger Woods was the best putter I have ever seen.  Jordan would have to putt this well for another 9 years before he can hold a light to the great man.  Our current world number one Jason Day rolls it about as good as anyone.  It surprises a lot of people when the realise he is ranked 1st for putting on the tour.  

So if its important for them why would it not be important to you?

Inconsistent? May 16 2016

Rarely does a week go by where we don't have a golfer come to see us seeking a new driver because his golf is "so inconsistent".  Sometimes we can see a fault in his/her game and help him but most times we spend our effort "realigning his expectations".

I bet you are think "what's thats supposed to mean?"  

Well here goes.  And trust me we get lots of people trying to disagree with this assessment.    ALL GOLFERS ARE INCONSISTENT.  In fact inconsistency is the only seeming constant thing in the game - at all levels.  Its a feature of the game and can be best illustrated by looking at the recently concluded Players Championship.  

Lets take the scores of the player that finished tied 9th Daniel Berger.  He went 66-72-73-69.  So very consistent in most amateur golfers eyes.  But lets look at those numbers again and roll the same percentage variance into the average 16 handicappers game.  In round 2 Daniel was 9% worse than round 1.  He was 10% worse in round 3 and 4.5% worse in round 4.  Lets remove the 3 round because of the ridiculous course set up and concentrate on rounds 1 to 2.  Berger took home a cheque for $304,000.

If we roll those changes to the 16 handicapper he shoots 88 round 1 and then 96 in round 2.  In short as an your average golfer you had a cut round followed by the dreaded up 0.1.  Can you see that these scores are actually within the same variance as a top ten player in arguably the strongest field in golf?  But enough to send many players I know into a tailspin of despair.  

And here is the real issue - what right do you have to think that you will be a Daniel Berger in terms of consistency.  

Spare a though for Nick Taylor he went 67 - 79 to miss the cut.  Thats a massive 18% variance which would have the average player shoot 98 second round and probably contacting us to sell all his golf gear.


Wentworth - just shut up about Rory and go watch it May 05 2016

So news has broken that Rory fancies a week off.  Like an accountant at the local council he has submitted his holiday form and it has been signed off.  I have to say I am surprised.  This is Europe's flagship event and it is a big blow that he will not be there.  He says its inevitable because otherwise he will have played too much golf prior to the US Open.  I am sure he and his advisers know that they are doing but it is a massive shame.  The PGA is the closest thing we have to a local golf event and it is extremely well ran.  So many youngsters get to go and see him there.  Most of the juniors in my groups would choose watching Rory above all other players.

It maybe that a few are less inclined to make it to Wentworth.  But believe me that would be very foolish indeed.  There will still be some great golfers on show including Danny Willett our newly minted (we all saw his tweet about going to visit a supercar showroom) Masters champion and I can recommend watching his golf.  He plays without fear and is very good ball striker.  Surprisingly long he is a compact player that is super efficient.  

Alternatively go and see Paul Casey.  Not universally liked on tour he can be abrasive but he is a powerful player who knows Wentworth very well.  I expect him to play well at the PGA.  He is the living embodiment of the new breed of hyper fit and hyper strong golfer.  The youngsters will see that he really does hammer the ball but still has a very very good short game.

I also fancy Shane Lowry.  He played very well at Wentworth two years ago and I love to see him play.  He shapes the ball more than most and if you watch him for more than four holes you are certain to be entertained.  Then get out and see the course specialists Simon Khan and Eddie Pepperrell.  These two rarely slip up round what they both should list as their favourite course.  They come with the added benefit that frankly on Thursday or Friday you will probably be watching them on your own.

The big groups pull the crowds but if you take your youngster out a bit further and watch a few of these guys you will have a world class view.  

So it could just be that Rory not going allows you to broaden your view and see a bit more of what the European Tour has to offer.



Driving distances - facts not fiction April 23 2016

Every week we get contacted by the golfer who claims that he hits the ball 300 yards through the air.  It happens so often I was becoming paranoid because I can see on a GC2 machine that I clearly cannot.  What is also strange is that in my time of club selling I have only seen it twice!  Both players are elite playing pros.  

So with the help of a little bit of science lets look at the numbers behind a 300 yard carry.  First we need to get the backspin rate down to what we now know to be an optimal rate.  around 1800 rpm gives the ball the flight we all love to watch.  Looks like a tracer bullet and doesn't balloon.  We need to connect that to a good launch angle.  Lets say 14-15 degrees.  That by the way is the launch that Stenson gets on his preferred driving club (the one that commentators insist on telling us is a 3 wood).  The rest of us get this from our 10.5 degree driver.  

So far so good.  With a little bit of help most players can get somewhere near these numbers.  Hit a little up on the ball and use a modern driver and we are set.

To get the 300 yard carry I now need to generate a ball speed of 173 mph.  Yep that's fast.  

We get this by doing a combination of two things.  One swinging the club fast and two hitting the middle of the clubface.  Most golfers know this.  Either because they have read about it or because they can feel the good ones.  We all know when we get it sweetly.  What they don't seem to grasp is that this in fact the most important factor of the two. More on this in another blog but suffice to say that assuming you do get it sweet how fast then does the club have to be travelling?

To calculate this we need to assume a smash factor.  This is a way of measuring the effectiveness of our strike.  It is calculated by measuring the club speed and ball speed and dividing the later by the former.

A sweet strike is basically going to produce a smash factor of around 1.45.  Lets put this in perspective Trackman confirms that on the PGA tour the average driver smash factor is 1.49.  So that tells us (Ball speed divided by smash factor) that you young sir or madam have to get that club head travelling at around120 mph.  Now lets be blunt here the only way my club head goes that fast is when its in the hold of a 747 on the way to Portugal.

So  science seems to doubt that my customers do in fact carry the ball that far.  But so what I hear you say.  Who cares?

Well if you are a player trying to maximize their performance it may be helpful to know what is and what isn't achievable.  Frustration can be seen in so many golfers I know and it is a major hindrance to improvement.  

If you are an good player and can carry the ball 265-275 then you are doing mighty fine. Go put your efforts into the short game.

If you doubt any of these numbers go look here.

Junior golf equipment - what a mess? April 18 2016

Every couple of weeks we get contacted by someone trying to get golf equipment for their son or daughter.  The email usually reads as follows:-

"...I would like to know at what age you recommend he/she starts using full size clubs?"

As a parent of a 12 year old left handed golfer I feel for these parents I really do. but here is the thing.

Your golf equipment does not care about your age.  The golf ball doesn't wait until someone reaches 14 to start behaving.  Look at your kids school year and look at the disparity in sizes.  I have seen five foot 8 year olds and 16 year old four footers.  

There is a great line in the Wishon fitting bible.  It says there is no such thing as a junior golfer, senior golfer or lady golfer.  They are all just golfers and we fit them using exactly the same process and using exactly the same information.  That information relates purely to the speed they swing the club and the correct length that club needs to be to get a consistent repeatable motion.  We then adjust it to ensure the lie is correct and try as hard as possible to ensure that the club is never (I cannot stress this enough) too heavy. 

Now the only way for you the general public to get this information is to work with a professional.  Most clubs have them and they do the most amazing unheralded work helping juniors navigate the game.  They don't work for free and do get a bit annoyed if you ask them a million questions to then go and buy elsewhere but in my experience they are dead keen to help.  They love to teach youngsters (so much easier than middle aged men who expect to get better from youtube videos and no practice) and they will transform your offsprings golf in short time.

Oh but the expense.  Seriously say no to the new driver from american golf for birthdays and get the money spent with the pro.  A 4 year old driver that fits will always be better than the brand new one that looks nice but was made for a different type of player.

In praise of a great game April 13 2016

Well the 2016 Masters definitely delivered more than anyone could possibly expected when Jordan Speith was walking to the 10th tee.  I reckon about half of the audience in the UK decided that they could safely turn in.  It even caught some very famous golf personalities out as they confessed the next day.  While I wouldn't wish collapses on any golfer the sport needed this.  We needed to see just how hard and cruel this game can be.  Maybe a few of us can accept that double bogey finish in the club championship with a bit more understanding now?  Maybe we can all see just how hard it is to play well for 72 holes in these events.

That's not to say that the signs weren't there.  Speith had struggled to hit the ball well all week.  Truthfully no one else in golf could have competed as he did if they were hitting it like that.  All credit to him - he is a fighter and were it not for one very poor swing - we would have a Masters champion who had played well below his level.  Speith will be back and lets not forget that while Nicklaus won 18 majors he also tasted a huge number of near misses,  Speith is a great player and he will bounce back from this stronger than ever.  

One little thing though. What was his caddie doing?  When they faced that wedge why oh why isn't the caddie slowing Speith down and making him think more about the drop.  Bones nor Fluff would have allowed their charges to make such a silly choice.  It is a small point though as you can hardly fault them as a team until then.  It seemed to me that they both showed their youth in that one moment.

But wasn't youth shining through elsewhere?  Willett rode his luck and frankly believed he could and should have a proper go.  His tee shot on 16 was everything that Speith's duff wasn't.  It said I want to try for this.  I want to see how close I can get to winning this thing.  To be fair Westwood was having a crack too but just didn't quite pull it off.  

If every major is played by men trying to win and accepting what happens the TV ratings and participation in this game will rocket.  And that's what this result tells the other players.  If they are five back at the start of play - have a go.  It could be your day.  I have always felt that players like Johnson, McIlroy, Day, Mickelson and Watson go all out but I am not so sure the rest of the fields do and maybe now they will.

For the rest of us its back to normal golf.  Golf for mere mortals where tops and fats happen and leads are sometimes thrown away over the last 6 holes instead of these boring clinical exhibitions of steely nerves

 oh wait a minute