Archive for the ‘Golf Equipment’ Category

Junior Golf: 3 Fast Spring Cleaning Tips For Better Scores

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will address some spring cleaning issues. These are excellent tips that will help your daughter feel more confident with her game and help her achieve better scores. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

Spring cleaning, wow! Depending on your exact circumstances those words can strike fear and stress into Mom and Dad’s hearts. Not to worry, these suggestions are fast, easy and effective and really are things that should become a part of your girl’s regular routine.

Clean the grips. Time required: 15-30 minutes. Repeat at least once a month or more often depending on frequency of use and weather conditions. Sweat, dirt, mud, grass and who knows what else can find its way onto the grip of a golf club. Proper texture, feel and softness of the grip are critical to hitting good shots. Clean grips give your daughter the desired feel when she takes the club in her hands. Put some non-abrasive detergent/dish soap in a bowl of warm water. Use a mildly abrasive and clean terry cloth rag or towel or a soft bristle brush and gently scrub the grips until they are clean and regain their correct feel. Rinse and dry.
Clean the clubface and grooves. Time required: 15-30 minutes at home. Repeat after every shot during practice and play. I can’t tell you what age S3 was when he decided that a clean clubface was a good thing. It may have been while we were watching a tournament on TV and a player hit a shot with a ton of spin and handed his club to the caddy who promptly cleaned the face and grooves. It was at this moment that S3 said, “So that’s what those grooves are for!” A clean face and clean grooves give the ball and clubface the opportunity to interact in the manner that was intended and will result in better shots. Correct friction between the 2 is critical. Some soap, water and a brush are all that is required. Scrub the face and grooves to remove all dirt and wipe off with a towel. Having a clean clubface at the start of a round means it’s easier to clean during the round when all that’s available is water and a brush. (golfshake.com)

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Clean the golf shoes. Time required: 30-90 minutes depending on time for soaking. I know that the tops of golf shoes being clean doesn’t technically impact your daughter’s swing but if they look nice it will help her feel better about herself and that’s a positive thing! So clean and polish the tops. Now turn the shoes over and look at the bottom. Is there some rock-hard gunk caked on in some spots? Are all the cleats there? Do they need to be replaced? Great tip: put the shoes in a shallow pan with just enough water to cover the bottoms. Let them soak for an hour. This should be enough to loosen the caked-on mud as well as the threads on the spikes if they need to be replaced. A brush and perhaps a screwdriver to dig out the really difficult junk are all that you should need once you have soaked the shoes as described. Scrub ‘em clean and deal with the spikes as needed.

Congratulations, Dad and Mom you have just set your girl up for success. These simple tasks are extremely important and should now be a regular part of your junior golfer’s regimen.

See you on #1 tee all cleaned up… Sam

Junior Golf: What Is Wearable Technology?

In this Wednesday Waggle we will have a look at wearable technology and what it is. These 2 words will show up more and more in clothing, accessory and footwear items and it is a good thing to have a basic understanding of these 2 words.img_0102

Wearable technology definition from Dictionary.com: a small computer or advanced electronic device that is worn or carried on the body. While there are some more specific and slightly different definitions, this 1 is perfectly adequate for our junior golfers. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)

With the rapid advances in digital technology and also the new materials and techniques being used in clothing and footwear, this amazing tech is appearing in more and more places. Perhaps the most common items we all notice are the golf watches/GPS systems that are made by a number of quality companies such as Fitbit, Apple Watch, Garmin, Suunto, Callaway and more.

The next big offering will be smart golf shoes. Under Armour’s smart golf shoes come with a built-in accelerometer that tracks your steps, calories burned and game duration. Sounds pretty neat to me! They are based on the UA Drive One shoes that Jordan Spieth has been wearing and are expected to be on the market sometime this year.

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Now let’s get really crazy! Samsung’s spinoff company, IOFIT makes a smart golf shoe that analyzes your golf swing and provides instant feedback through a mobile app to improve your game. Coming soon! Learn more at this link: IOFIT Smart Shoes.

Dad and Mom all this tech is coming to you and your junior golfer at warp speed. At some point this subject will come up. In the not so distant future all our clothes will be talking to each other. We will have the opportunity to be monitored from head to toe, 24/7, scary, actually. Oh, and there is some money involved. Currently few, if any of these items are less than $100.00. Get informed.

See you on #1 tee wearing rules compliant devices… Sam.

Junior Golf:Tiger’s Return And More Gift Ideas

In this Friday Flop Shot we will look at the much anticipated return of Tiger Woods to the pro tour and since it is that time of year we’ll also offer up another gift idea.img_0106

It’s been talked about for months. It’s been on again and off again, but he has finally teed off in a PGA Tour event. Tiger finished his 1st round in competition in more than a year with a 1-over par 73 at his event, the Hero World Challenge. This is a field of 18 top players and no cut, so Tiger gets to play 4 rounds against tough world-class opponents. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

After 4 birdies in the 1st 8 holes, he was out in 33. The back 9 was less productive as he came in with a 40, totalling his 73. His swing looked good and he seemed to be healthy and pain-free. Glimpses of the old Tiger showed up, but so did a bit of short game rust and some errant tee shots. Tiger’s not back yet, but he is on his way. The Hero World Challenge continues through Sunday.

Hey Dad and Mom, another excellent gift idea for your daughter! Push carts! http://www.amazon.com has them from around $50.00 and up. We bought a Clicgear 3.5 a couple of years ago and really love it. It is absolute top quality with desirable features for $219.00. You can literally push it with 1 finger. Linda, S3 and I have all used it at 1 time or another. No negatives, none. (image the pro shop )image

A couple of things to keep in mind. 1st check how much room you have in your car. While most models fold up smaller than you’d expect, they still take up space. Buyer beware! Also, your young man, once he gets into high school, may not wish to continue to use the push cart. It’s not manly! Ok, that frees it up for other family members to use. A tip, always buy the best quality you can afford. Quality pays for itself in the long run.

See you on #1 tee with that new push cart… Sam

Junior Golf: Great New Gift Ideas

In this Wednesday Waggle we will introduce you to some wonderful new items that your junior golfer will likely be totally surprised by and will totally enjoy!img_0102

Sometimes it’s tough to find a new, different and useful gift for our young golfers. Gag gifts were not our thing as we wanted our golf budget to be spent on something of value that could benefit S3’s golf game. (photo golfdigest.com)

Here are a few very cool goodies. Let’s start with a high-ticket item. The Arccos 360 Performance Tracking System: Low-profile sensors attach to clubs and record every shot, generating swing analytics and providing live shot-tracking among an assortment of features. www.arccosgolf.com / $250. Yes, this is pricey, but if you are not close to a major golf facility that has this or similar equipment, this could be a bargain for the feedback it will provide.

There are a couple of things that can immediately shut down your son’s good round of golf and turn it into a nightmare. Cold hands are 1 of these things. The chemical hot packs have been around for years, are legal in events and work pretty well for keeping hands warm. Our guys always preferred the larger size for more and longer heat. And they’re inexpensive. The giant mitts are good too but the idea is to keep the hands warm, not let them get cold and have to warm them up again. We always carried both the chemical packs and mitts.

However, there’s a new wind blowing in the hand warmer world. It’s the G-Tech Apparel hand warmer used by both Patrick Reed, in this year’s Ryder Cup, and by LPGA star Lydia Ko. This is state-of-the-art technology and seems to be beyond everything else in its ability to keep hands warm in a comfortable and convenient fashion. While it’s not cheap at $99.00, you should get years of use for your money and it’s not player specific so it can be used by anyone and everyone in your house. Check it out at www.gtechapparel.com. (image: the warming store)image

Now this item may be my favorite of all of these. It’s the JBL Clip 2 Speaker with 8 hours of battery life. Clip it onto the bag and let the music fly. Not usable in most tournaments, of course, but S3 and his buddies always had music playing during practice rounds and non-sanctioned events. This Bluetooth speaker is perfect for walking, push carts or riding carts. Music relaxes all of us and our kids in particular. This is $60.00. Go to www.jbl.com. Love it!

Parents, your junior golfer will be totally surprised and amazed by finding any of these items with his name on it. Have at it!

See you on #1 tee looking hi-tech… Sam

Custom Clubs: A Brief Recap

imageIn this Friday Flop Shot we will do a brief recap of our custom club posts. Really every junior golfer, every golfer for that matter should have golf clubs that are in some way, specifically fitted to them. Each person’s shape, size, strength and skill level has its own criteria.

Begin the custom club process by asking your son the purpose for every club in his bag. Start with the driver or longest club and end with the putter. The goal here is for your son to get the concept of what clubs should really be in his bag and his clubs should cover the gaps between each one. If he has less than 14 total clubs, what club(s) should be added to take care of any gaps? If he has 14 clubs should any be switched out? Should the makeup of clubs in his bag be changed? Remember that S3 went from 4 wedges to 3 wedges so he could add 2-iron/driving iron to close the gap between his 3-wood and 3-hybrid and broken 4-iron. He had quit hitting his hybrid so his gap was huge, from 3-wood to 5-iron. It was obvious and we both knew it existed but didn’t do anything about it. His new custom clubs take care of that beautifully.image

Now that you know what should be in the bag, how do you begin customizing the clubs. Again, every golfer, including your son, must have clubs the proper length, weight and grip. Parents please confirm these things with your son and his swing coach. Oh, and before you go adding too many clubs to a very young junior golfer’s bag, make sure he is strong enough to carry the extra clubs for a whole round of golf. If not, you should wait before adding them.

Going from basic customizing or actually proper fitting, let’s go to truly making these clubs extra special for your son. Again, start with his driver, wedge or putter. Ask around and try to find a location or PGA pro who is known for getting their junior golfers great custom clubs. It may take more than 1 fitting or session to figure out his specific needs. That’s OK, better to be accurate than in a hurry.

The choices and options seem endless, but some advance research helps clear things up a bit. Start with the club heads. What make/model feels good and flies a decent distance? Then look at shafts like KBS, Fujikura, Aldila and True Temper. Steel or graphite? Now for grips. What feels good? Does he need an extra small or junior grip or is a regular grip OK? There is more fine tuning that can be done, but this should get you started.

See you on #1 tee having fun with those custom clubs… Sam

Custom Clubs: Let’s Buy One

imageIn this Wednesday Waggle we will look at how to get started in custom golf clubs for your daughter. A conservative approach is best when you venture into new territory so that’s how we will approach this. Let’s buy one!

If your daughter is like our son, she will be very excited when you even mention custom golf clubs. New equipment is always fun, but Mom and Dad must maintain a sense of reality. There is not any household budget that the game of golf cannot easily exceed. So to have a plan and maintain a bit of sanity we are going to begin your girl’s adventure in custom golf clubs by purchasing just one club. (golf digest.com)

How do you decide which club to get? If you adhere to the legendary Harvey Penick’s philosophy that the 3 most important clubs in the bag are the driver, wedge and putter, you now have 3 great options. Depending on the age, strength and skill level of your daughter, she may use something other than a driver on the tee.. So you can consider customizing her main club she uses to tee off with as an option.

Ask your daughter what she considers to be the strongest part of her game. Is it driving (again maybe with a 3 or 5-wood instead of a driver), approach shots, chipping or putting? Once the 2 of you have agreed on her strongest suit, go that direction. If you’re not sure or your junior golfer is at the beginner skill level, go the putting or chipping route. The fastest way to lower any golfer’s score is around the green, chipping and putting.image

Please remember that parents of beginner level golfers can customize any and all clubs just by having them the correct length, weight and grip size. This is all you need to do for now. Maybe you could put a new grip on her putter, perhaps just a more fun color or different style. This is quite inexpensive and could have a very positive effect. It may just make putting more fun, but that means she enjoys practicing more and hopefully more balls go in the cup.

Intermediate and advanced players may take a different approach. If your girl is a good putter and chipper but is having trouble off the tee, you might want to address her weakness so she can be more competitive with her driving stats. Your family golf team will need to decide which approach is best for your daughter’s current situation. Addressing strengths or weaknesses?

S3 and our whole family got completely customized putters 2 years ago and they have made a world of difference. We all make more putts than we ever had before. These putters are totally worth the expense! So for your girl to change every other club in her bag, including what clubs are in her bag at 1 time is a big bite and not for the faint of heart. If you customize everything she will play much better, but needs to accept that it takes lots of range time to get used to the new clubs, not to mention the $ investment.

Have the family meeting today. What will the golf budget allow? Is 1 club the best path for now or can your daughter handle and will the budget support more than 1 club? The cost for doing 1 club could be from $10-15 for a grip change to $200 or more for a state-of-the-art new shaft, grip, etc. Parents be aware of the costs. It can be a ton of money and you must have a commitment from your daughter before moving forward. Customizing for beginners is basically length, weight and grips while customizing for intermediate/advanced players can mean dozens of options. It’s all fun!

See you on #1 tee looking customized… Sam

Junior Golf: Custom Clubs, The Remaining Ones

imageIn this Wednesday Waggle we will look at the remaining custom clubs in my bag. Previously we discussed my driver and 4-P. Now let’s look at what’s left. (golfdigest.com)

My TaylorMade Rocketbalz 3-wood, factory stiff shaft, was untouched except for a new Lamkin grip with an extra wrap of grip tape under my low (right) hand. This was more of a function of time and not really needing to do much to it since I already was hitting the club quite well. This club may end up competing with my new driver. This 3-wood goes 250-270 yards when I catch it on the screws. Yes, I like this club.

Next is S3’s and my favorite “shared” club of all time, our 10-year old Nike Ignite 5-wood with factory stiff shaft. We would move this from my bag to his depending who was playing next. There is something about 5-woods. They tend to be sweet and easy to hit. This club goes about 210-225 for me. I heartily suggest taking your junior golfer and hitting some 5-woods. This stick can easily become a comfort club that is always helpful to have in the bag.image

Now to my driving iron. It’s a tour edge exotics CB ProH head, which is a cavity back design that allows for the manufacturer to thin out the face for more rebound (speed). Full steel construction. The shaft is a Nippon NS Pro, a Japanese shaft maker that generally makes the best lighter weight shafts. It’s about 100 grams and has constant wall thickness. Basically it is a 21-degree, specialized 3-iron. I love the way it feels and just need to hit it some more to get comfortable with it. 200-220 yards looks about where the distance will fall. Driving irons are in the golf bag to provide a dependable, easier to hit club when confidence in driving accuracy is required rather than maximum distance.image

Wedges, my Cleveland wedges. Until I got S3’s previous set of Cleveland’s, I had never picked up a Cleveland wedge. Well, it was love at first sight! Immediately I knew why they had such a great reputation in the wedge community. They just feel so good to hold! Mine are REG 588, 56-14 (56-degree loft, 14-degree bounce), bent strong to 54-degrees, for more distance and the 60 CG 16 (60-degree loft and 12-degree bounce). Adam will bend this to 59-degrees when he has the opportunity. Since I now have 3 instead of 4 wedges, the strong bending helps cover the distance gaps between the clubs. Both have the matt finish to help reduce glare and both have Lamkin grips with the extra tape under the low hand. I hit the 54 about 85-95 yards and the 60 about 60-75 yards. S3 is helping me hit down and compress the ball better with these clubs which will certainly add distance. It’s fun!

That’s my bag, except for my putter. See you on #1 tee looking customized… Sam

Junior Golf: CustomIrons For Slower Swing Speeds

imageIn today’s Monday Mulligan we will look at the bulk of my custom golf clubs, my irons 4-P. Strategically Adam helped me totally reconfigure my golf bag. His initial question asking me to justify the presence of every club in my bag led to some revealing observations.

My main iron set went from 4-A (A being a wedge of higher loft than a pitching wedge but less loft than a sand wedge, usually around 52-degrees). So I had 8 clubs, TaylorMade Rocketbalz. After talking with Adam we decided to go to 4-P, 7 clubs.

My previous bag was: driver that I basically never hit, 3-wood, 3-hybrid, 4-A, 56 and 60 degree wedges and putter, 14 clubs. My new custom bag is : driver which I love and am getting used to, 3-wood, 5-wood, 21-degree driving iron (3-iron loft), 4-P, 56-degree bent stronger to 54-degrees, 60-degree and putter, 14 clubs. The main reason for the new lineup is to better cover the gaps between my clubs. For my game and S3’s game for now, 3 wedges is adequate.

 

As I get used to these wonderful customized clubs there are a couple of scenarios which may play out. 1 is that as I get used to hitting my driver, how much will I use the 3-wood off the tee?Also how much will I hit our beloved Nike Ignite 5-wood as I learn to hit the driving iron?image

Ok, my Titleist 714CB Irons feel like an extension of my arms. I truly don’t believe I have ever had many, if any, clubs that feel as good and natural as all these clubs that Adam touched. The irons are a dream to hit. I’m still getting used to them, but once I loosen up on the range they really feel sweet. The shafts are KBS Tour which gives shot versatility with a mid-trajectory. All of the iron shafts were frequency matched, which basically means the flex runs constant throughout the set with no outliers, each weighing about 110 grams raw. All of the irons were MOI matched, which basically means that the amount of inertial force required is constant throughout the set as per Newton’s second law. This is really cool stuff!image

The grips are Lamkin and we put a second wrap of grip tape under my low (right) hand. These grips feel great! I went with Lamkin for 2 reasons: first we have never had a Lamkin grip on anything in our house so it is a good time to try them and second, when you go to the Lamkin website, there’s Arnold, Arnold Palmer on the home page. Well, Arnold is my all time favorite athlete and if he is a Lamkin spokesman, I’m trying them! I love these grips! The sensitivity and feel is excellent and having that extra wrap of tape under my low hand actually allows me to grip the club with my right hand more naturally and frankly, easier.

So the question is how am I hitting them? I hit some good shots, but I am still working on getting my swing back and getting used to these clubs at the same time. There’s quite a bit going on. The main criteria was to have a mid-trajectory 7-iron go 150-160 yards. Hopefully this will be the case. These irons are wonderful to swing and beautiful to look at.

See you on #1 tee ready to stick that approach shot right by the pin… Sam

 

Junior Golf: Custom Irons

imageIn today’s Monday Mulligan we will take a look at S3’s custom irons. He’s only had them since January 17, so he is still getting used to them. And everything about them is very different from his previous set. (photo jenlefforge.com)

Adam, our club designer, has a very clear and organized thought process as to exactly what clubs should be in a given player’s bag and once he has a grasp of a golfer’s swing and type of game he has, Adam can come up with a specific plan to customize what’s in the golf bag and again, today we are talking about S3’s irons. Sammie (S3) is about 5’ 11” and 160 lbs. As a college golfer he is strong, in great shape and has way above average flexibility. His swing speed is in the 105-110 mph range. His GHIN is basically 2, a 2 handicap. These factors and his style of play determined the selection and customization of his irons.

imageLet’s start with his main iron set. S3 bought some Mizuno MP14 blades, 3-P, from a good friend of ours. The shafts were replaced with TrueTemper Dynamic Gold S400’s built to current standard length. These Mizunos were adjusted to 1-1.5* upright on standard and are also adjusted to 1* weaker lofts than modern standard. Being more upright allows a better fit to S3’s body and swing and having a weaker loft means less distance which in this case is not a bad thing. 1 of Adam’s goals is to have specific distances between each club. There is a great method to all this.

Please keep in mind that Linda and I are not PGA professionals and we are passing along our experiences to hopefully help you and your junior golfer in this wonderful journey. Now here’s something really cool that I had never heard of: frequency matching. As I understand it, when you buy a new set of clubs the shafts are not frequency matched from the factory. And to do it to those clubs would mean removing the head and grip, perform the frequency matching on each shaft and then replace the head and the grip. Well this would be crazy expensive. The time to most cost effectively do frequency matching is when the shafts are bare. Shafts within a set of clubs can vary greatly as to their flex. Frequency matching allows a skilled clubmaker to get every shaft within a set to flex the same, meaning it feels the same and gives the player confidence and consistency. So S3’s Mizunos with the Dynamic Gold S400 shafts are frequency matched, very cool!image

As of this morning, Sammie is still getting used to these Mizunos. The change from his previous irons is massive. He went from semi-beginner clubs, RocketBladez, to traditional blades which are for very highly skilled golfers. And the new clubs are shorter, more upright and don’t go as far. But they are consistent from one club to the next because they are frequency matched! Oh well, he’s young and can handle it! (photo eBay.com)

See you on #1 tee with a consistent set of irons… Sam

Junior Golf: Custom Clubs Part 2

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will begin S3’s evaluation of his completely custom golf clubs. He and I both had our clubs totally redone with the exception of our 3-woods (new grip tape and grip only) and our putters which were custom made for us by Adam in 2014, and they are amazing putters, by the way! (offcoursegolf.com)image

So on Tuesday, S3 played 18-holes with these club without ever hitting 1 range ball. Ah, to be 21 again! I asked him, “How was golf today?” His words: “Golf was okay! Shot 76 with totally new set. The driver was crazy good! And the wedges were pretty cool as well. Driver has lower flight but very minimal movement and goes a mile! Driver competes with Travis (1 of his college teammates) 315 (as in 315 yards) roughly.”

Adam believed that S3 was too strong for his old driver, a TaylorMade R-1, stiff shaft, 10.5 degrees and the shaft was flexing too much resulting in too much ball movement and every now and then an errant tee shot. Frankly over the years, S3’s fairway hit stats have been very good, but his infrequent poor tee shots cost him too many strokes. So the goal with the new driver was 1st to reduce the movement and improve accuracy. Increased distance would be a bonus.image

imageWell folks, it’s party time for the new driver! For years, S3 has averaged 285-302 yards with his driver and this is very competitive in high school and college golf. If this 315 yard average holds up over time, and there’s every reason to expect it should, this is a huge increase in distance! And it means Adam was exactly correct. I’ll say it again folks, Adam, AJ, is a true genius at this stuff. Once he has a grasp of your swing and your game he can recommend what clubs you should have in your bag.

What is S3’s new driver and how is it different from the old 1? I’m so glad you asked! OK sports fans, it’s a TaylorMade SLDR 10-degree head with a Fujikura Exotic X-stiff shaft, shortened ½ inch from his R-1 shaft. The head was pre-owned and the shaft, tape and grip are new.

So the new driver is a big hit! Looks like S3’s fairway stats will be going up! And he’ll have shorter approach shots! We’ll talk about the new irons on Monday.

See you on #1 tee and I’ll show you some custom clubs, oh yeah…. Sam

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