Archive for the ‘Golf Equipment’ Category

Junior Golf: How Far Is That?

In this Monday Mulligan we will take a look at the #1 question asked during a round of golf. Yes, of all the talk that may or may not take place on the golf course, this question or 1 very similar is by far, the most asked: How far is it to the pin? How many yards to clear the hazard? What’s the distance to the fairway bunker? Distance, distance, yards and more distance makes up the context of the most asked question when your daughter is playing.image

Golf courses are measured in yards or meters. Did you ever wonder why distance is important? How far it is from point A to point B is crucial to the sport. Golf course designers used yardage in virtually every aspect of their work. Where to put or not put a design element such as a bunker, water hazard, turn in the fairway, a slope to the green or whether to leave or remove a tree.

Your daughter must know distances so she can properly plan her approach to the whole course, then her strategy for each hole and of course, plan her next shot. So how do you figure out distance on a golf course? Well, there are several ways. There’s the old fashioned way of reading sprinkler head yardage or using trees or rocks placed at specific yardages on holes or there may be yardage on the paved cart path.

In reality, this only works to a point and then your daughter is basically estimating distance. So how do you improve accuracy? You buy 1 of the many digital yardage devices. They come in many shapes and sizes from a number of reputable makers. Now Dad and Mom beware: nearly 100% of the tournaments your daughter will play in allow devices which give ONLY distance. The device you buy cannot give wind or slope readings. Every now and then you may hear that it’s ok to use a device which is capable of giving slope and wind readings, but these functions must be turned off during play. I would never risk it.

imageWhat do you buy? I had a GolfLogix GPS that that I used for years and it worked well. Our good friend Gordon has a Garmin GPS watch that he loves. Over the years however, there is 1 distance-measuring device which is far and away the one we have seen the most in junior golf and college golf tournaments. It’s your everyday golf rangefinder. Why are they so popular? They are relatively inexpensive. They have no annual fee. And like every golf shot is different, every reading on a rangefinder is different. In other words, they are infinitely able to give custom yardages on each shot, which makes them the most similar the sport where no 2 shots are the same. There are no limits to which landmark you can get a yardage to.

S3 has a Bushnell Golf Range Finder and it has been great. It’s at least 5 or 6 years old and it has always worked perfectly. Even with all the golf S3 plays, he only changes the battery about 1x per year. I mean folks, this is great. There are several brands to choose from but I think if you look around or ask your daughter’s swing coach, Bushnell is likely be the most prevalent brand. Whatever brand you buy, make sure it only reads distance. Competitive golf is hard enough without risking a penalty or disqualification for illegal equipment.

See you on #1 tee knowing how far to hit your 1st shot… Sam

Junior Golf: Mark This Gift

In today’s Monday Mulligan we are taking a look at more fun gifts. This item is 1 that all golfers, including the pros use at least 20 times or more during an 18-hole round. And there are a bunch of styles from plain to fancy to bling and all varieties in between. (Photo jennleforge.com)image

Your daughter will use her putter at least 20 times during each 18-hole round. Less than 20 putts is rare, even for the pros, and I think 26-27 putts is about average for the PGA Tour players. So what am I talking about here? It’s a ball marker. That thing you notice most when a player in your daughter’s group doesn’t have 1.

How many times have all of us seen a golfer ask somebody for a coin or mark their ball with a tee, which is awkward and ugly at best. College golfers have asked me more than once if I had a coin or ball marker, before they teed off, of course. On the tournament day checklist please put ball marker prominently on it and even twice if necessary. I mean come on.image

Your daughter’s ball should only be sitting on the green when it is her turn to putt. While I’m not a rules expert, I don’t think there is a requirement to mark the ball on the green, unless perhaps it impedes another player’s ability to execute their next shot, but it is certainly 1 of the most common forms of etiquette. And if your daughter asks a another player to mark her ball I believe she is pretty much required to do so. Check the rules if you wish. The point is your daughter should not have to look at somebody else’s ball on the green when it is your daughter’s turn to putt, and vice versa. The 1st thing your daughter should do when she gets to the green is mark her ball, then repair her own ball mark plus 1 more.

Frankly I can’t stand to see a player leave their ball unmarked when it is someone else’s turn to putt. But enough of this, let’s go to the fun. There are a plethora of ball markers out there. Today’s photos will enlighten you a bit. Please put several quarters in a baggie and put it in her golf bag and leave it. And remind your daughter that it is there.image

The most popular ball markers we have seen over the years are coins, the magnetic round markers that usually sit on a magnet clipped to the bill of your daughter’s cap and some really big commemorative medals or even poker chips. A tip: use something with 2 different sides and make 1 side the always use side. Turn it over to the other side only when she needs to move her mark. This serves as a reminder to move her mark back to its original position.

Please note that the sample we are showing here are only a tiny bit of the offerings for ball markers. School logos, names, golf course logos, butterflies, bling, animals, the variety is as big as human imagination. These essential items are very inexpensive so why not get a couple of different ones, because they are relatively easy to lose.

See you on #1 tee with a really cool ball marker… Sam

Junior Golf: Even More Gifts

In this Friday Flop Shot we are sticking with our gift mode. Yes, there are so many fun items available for junior golfers this time of year, we want to keep introducing you to some off them.image

On a recent excursion to 1 of our area’s big golf stores, Linda and I found a ton of unexpected goodies. We talked about head covers a few posts ago but we soon found out that we were totally unaware of some additional really cool ones that may only be around for a relatively brief period. In the 1st photo you see the pink unicorn and brown chipmunk. And in the 2nd pic you see a Star Wars trio of Yoda, Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper. Perhaps your family and young golfers are not Star Wars fans and that’s fine. I can tell you however, that there are a bunch of college golfers that would love a Star Wars head cover and there are some female college golfers who would be thrilled to have that unicorn on their driver. So please don’t think these are only for the very young junior golfers. They are fun, even relaxing to some. What the heck, just buy one! You can always return it.

Now when all the excitement of opening presents is starting to wind
down, here’s a gift that, depending on your and/or your son’s state of mind, will provide hours of entertainment or drive everybody crazy! It’s called the Golf Ball Water Globe. This is a clear globe, filled with fluid. A tee is mounted to the bottom and a golf ball is free-floating as well. The object is of course, to get the ball on the tee. Well, I can tell you that Linda and I and a couple of folks in the checkout line were not able to do so. It’s 1 of those things that looks so simple, but really isn’t. Perhaps once you figure out the plan, getting the ball on the tee is easier. Hey, it’s great fun and it can look good on a shelf or mantel when you’re not playing with it. Come on, let your fun flag fly!

You’re probably doing some shopping this weekend anyway, so plan a trip to your closest big golf store and see what they’ve got that is just plain different from the everyday golf nut’s and bolts. If you can’t physically go to a big golf retailer, go online. Maybe you get free shipping and maybe no sales tax. The point is do something unexpected. Your junior golfer will love it.

See you on #1 tee with a new head cover… Sam

Junior Golf: More Fun Gifts

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we are looking at even more fun gifts to give your son during this holiday season. Linda and I recently spent some time at our nearby Golfsmith store and found some more very nice, useful and even whimsical gifts.image

Memories are such a big part of the time you and your son will spend together during his junior golf and even college golf years. The obvious answer to capturing memories is with photos or videos but there is another way that we really like. Almost every golf course in America has its own logo golf balls and they make a great souvenir. Buy 1 from each course your son plays whether it’s in a tournament or not. Then buy a golf ball display rack. They are available online and from the big golf stores like Golfsmith, Golf Galaxy, Edwin Watts Golf, tgw.com and more. We have the 25-count displays just because they are easy to move around on the wall. Sizes range up to about 60 balls and prices run from $29-$69.image

To increase the variety of balls and memories, we have asked other teams for 1 of their logo balls, remembering the competition. And we have displayed S3’s and my hole-in-one balls. You can also go online and order logo golf balls from Augusta National, home of the Masters Tournament and from other legendary golf venues as well. Your son is playing golf and golf balls provide a ton of memories. It’s just remembering to get them when you have the chance.

Something else just a little bit different is some new tees that S3 and a bunch of his college golf buddies have really starting using. These are the No Resistance Tees by Z-TECH. They promote a 5-point suspension system for the golf ball that is supposed to mean less resistance at impact.Well, I’m not sure the guys will tell you they are getting more distance, but they will tell you they like these tees because they just don’t break very often. Yes, it may seem like a small thing but I’ll tell you that the more your son really likes and appreciates every single item he uses on the golf course, the better off he will be.

See you on #1 tee with a logo ball and some No Resistance Tees… Sam

Junior Golf: Buy A Fun Gift

In today’s Monday Mulligan we will consider buying something different for your daughter, something fun and unexpected. The nuts and bolts routine of buying white golf balls, white golf gloves and tees is just taken for granted. Well, Mom and Dad, this is the time of year to get a bit more creative with your golf purchases for your girl.image

Christmas shopping is in full speed ahead mode and stores already have plenty of discounts and sales going on. This is 1 of those times to buy an off-the-wall gift or 2 for your daughter. So what are things you could buy that would be at least half-way useful and not totally embarrass your daughter out in public? Those of you with teenage daughters know that they very well may believe that a parent’s sole goal in life is to publicly embarrass her. That being a given, let’s proceed.

Think about what she wears and uses on the range and on the golf course. Here are some easy suggestions: buy a new crazy or animal head cover for her driver. I mean if you look you can find at least a half-dozen different animal heads, plus a couple of bird heads, including roosters. There are college mascot head covers as well. And there are some head cover designs you would never have imagined in your wildest dreams. So this is just fun.

Also there are now a couple of golf glove makers who offer colors in addition to white. You know what her favorite colors are, so buy her a couple of gloves in bright colors and surprise her. Also be certain, and we have mentioned this before, to buy some of the wet or wetter is better gloves and tell her to keep them in her bag and remember that they are in there. Most major glove makers have these and most are sold in pairs, as in a right and a left hand glove, and are black. Just buy these and put them under the tree. If she already has a paired wet gloves, buy her another pair from a different maker so she can decide which brand she prefers. These gloves are absolutely essential in damp or wet weather.

Now, it’s time to really get crazy. Linda, my dear wife, just loves to play with colored golf balls. I mean if there’s a yellow, orange, hot pink or purple golf ball handy, she’s teeing it up! Frankly those purple balls are hard for me to see and I think for us that color slows down play. And of course, I can’t say to her if she would just hit it in the fairway and on the green it would be much easier to see!!! Linda and I were playing recently and I found 1 of those Callaway Truvis Chrome Soft White red and white golf balls. They are quite striking to look at. Linda immediately put it in play. I’m not sure if for me, those 2 colors make it harder for me to focus at 1 spot on the ball. And then maybe with my golf game it doesn’t really matter.image

For those of you with sons instead of daughters you can still use this information. Just consider what your son likes, or what would embarrass him in your buying decisions, just kidding, well maybe. I mean, if Tom Watson can wear beautiful and colorful golf gloves, your son can too. The point here is to break out of your normal buying habits without breaking the bank. A sleeve of colored golf balls and a colorful golf glove might be $35.00 total at most. Head covers range from inexpensive to ridiculous.

Have fun. Show your fun self to your daughter or to your son. They’ll love it!

See you on #1 tee looking colorful and fun… Sam

Junior Golf: Clubs, Clubs, Clubs

imageIn today’s Wednesday Waggle we are looking at clubs, clubs and more golf clubs. This is an amazing time of year and the sheer number of different makes and models of golf clubs that are available can be overwhelming.

Dad and Mom there are a few new golf clubs that trickle onto the scene throughout the year, but now is when the old clubs, new clubs and used clubs are all for sale. And the good news is that you and your daughter can get a great education. Learn the terminology of golf clubs. There are club heads called cavity backs, muscle backs, blades and more. Shaft stiffness from less stiff to more stiff are: ladies, senior, men’s regular, men’s stiff, men’s extra stiff and more. Golf club grips come in undersize, standard, midsize and oversize. An putter grips are another world all unto themselves. (photo golfdigest.com)

So what is a parent to do? If you already have a go-to PGA Professional, go see her and ask her to explain some of these parts of a golf club and the different designs and terminologies and how your daughter can try different clubs to see which ones are best for her skill level, which ones she likes and which ones she hits the best. In other words, there is a style of club that looks good in theory, but hitting balls with different clubs is the only real way to home in on what club design is the best fit for her.

Soon you daughter will have some time off for Christmas break. If geography is an issue and you are in an area with a limited selection of golf clubs, this is the time to plan a day or overnight trip to a city that has at least 1 or more of the big golf retailers. We’re talking about Edwin Watts Golf, Golf Galaxy, Golfsmith, and Dick’s Sporting Goods to name a few. While these stores will not have any used clubs they may very well have some of last year’s discontinued models on sale and the brand new latest and greatest clubs likely not on sale, but looking very tempting.image

Finding used clubs so that your daughter can hit them can be a challenge. When you know which city you will be visiting, do a search for used golf clubs for sale. There are usually several stores which specialize in selling used golf clubs. Have an idea of what you are looking for before you go and know that they may or may not have a hitting area or driving range. Once you have some clubs in mind, check prices online before going to the used club store. (photo 2ndswing.com)

Couple of tips: never buy golf clubs until your daughter has hit that specific make and model. Buying used anything is risky and golf clubs are not different. Only buy used from a trusted friend or a source that can be vetted. 3 Balls Golf is a great online source that always has thousands of used golf clubs for sale.

See you on #1 tee with some nice looking golf clubs that you can hit… Sam

Junior Golf: Planning Ahead-Weather

imageIn today’s Wednesday Waggle, we will look at how to properly plan ahead for weather and specifically for changes in weather. Since golf is an outdoor sport, the weather is always a major factor in pre-tournament preparation.

Every serious junior golfer will play in so many different weather conditions, it will make Mom and Dad’s head spin. Tournament play continues when the players safety is assured, the course is playable and there is adequate visibility. What this means is that you must have your daughter’s clothing and accessories available for several different weather scenarios at each event. And you’ll know what to bring when you check the weather in advance and have an idea of what the realities are on the course for the whole day.

Here’s a classic example. This will happen at least 1x every year, perhaps more. Your daughter tees off at 9:00 am and it is 60-degrees, partly cloudy with light winds out of the south. A pretty nice day really. On about hole #6 clouds start rolling in and the wind dies and then starts to come out of the north. Well, here in Texas we know what this means: find something warm and waterproof in a hurry! A front is hitting, a cold front or norther as we call them. Winds will likely increase to the 2-3 club level and some showers may be in store. So the temperature drops 25-degrees in 30 minutes and those that aren’t prepared are miserable, at least more miserable than those who were prepared because now everyone is dealing with strong winds, much cooler weather and perhaps some rain.

So how do you prepare for this? One way is to be totally unaware and unprepared and thus completely miserable once and then you will pack half of your house when you head to the next tournament. The best prep starts with checking the weather at least several days before the event and then keeping a close eye on the weather until you walk out the door. There are a million weather sites and apps and I am sort of a weather app junkie, but my go to iPad app is The Weather Channel. They have plenty of accurate, up-to-date weather. And today we’re talking about dramatic temperature changes which are fall, winter, and spring events, at least down here in Texas.

Your first consideration is for your daughter. To keep bag weight down put these “must have” items in her bag before she tees off: a beanie or insulated band to cover her ears, a cap/visor to keep rain out of her eyes, a waterproof windbreaker and 2 large hand-warmer packs. You may consider adding an umbrella but they are useless in high wind and frankly, most kids can’t stand them and don’t want the extra baggage and weight. Waterproof pants are also a great item if there is room in the bag. We have seen time and time again that many boys and girls will leave their rain pants on long after they have removed their rain jacket. Part of this is to free up their swing and part is that pants can be a pain to take off, but the legs seem to be very comfortable with rain pants left on. They don’t add any weight really. Remember: in most tournaments you cannot give your daughter anything once she tees off.image

Now for the spectators, Dad, and Mom, et al: if you are in a cart, simply put all the above items for each of you, plus a blanket or 2 in the cart and you are set. Leave them in the car and you’ll find yourself driving full speed to the car to grab your gear once the front hits. You may want some gloves or mittens since you are not moving your body and really not getting your blood flowing, so your extremities may get cold. And for you Moms who love to wear flip flops on the golf course: you better have some real shoes somewhere because your feet are going to get cold. And some good socks, not cotton. Walking spectators need basically the same items as the junior golfers.

See you on #1 tee, well prepared… Sam

Junior Golf: A Must Have-Waterproof Golf Shoes

imageIn today’s Wednesday Waggle we are going to look at some wet weather tips. There are always wet spots on golf courses even in the middle of the summer in a drought. There’s a creek, pond, hazard, leaky sprinkler or pipe so water is something you have to deal with in golf. Some days the moisture is just on the ground and other days it’s in the air too.

I think for the purposes of this post we’ll focus on golf shoes. There are plenty of additional wet weather tips for future posts. So, our family believes that next to properly-fitted golf clubs, quality waterproof golf shoes are a seriously important piece of gear. We have always bought name -brand waterproof golf shoes. Yes, children’s sizes can be hard to find and expensive so the thought process is: learn how to find bargains on the desired shoes and be patient as you wait for your junior golfer’s feet to get big enough for adult sizes, which makes this process easier and cheaper. (photo golfdigest.com)

Wet feet are horrible for any golfer, much less your daughter who may try to gut it out and tell you she’s fine, even when her wet socks and shoes are chewing her feet up. Yes Mom and Dad most of our kids are tougher than we give them credit for and they don’t want to disappoint us. This means there are times they just won’t fess up when they are hurting.

Here’s how to buy quality golf shoes without breaking the bank. Sign up for free emails from the big golf online stores: The Golf Warehouse, Golfsmith, Golf Galaxy, Edwin Watts Golf and more.
While you can go on eBay or Amazon, we find that dealing with the stores themselves is easier if there is an issue. Most golf shoes have a waterproof warranty as follows: No Warranty(no protection from water), 1-year Waterproof Warranty and 2-year Waterproof Warranty. S3, Linda and I have worn many pairs of Adidas, FootJoy and now TRUE Linkswear golf shoes and every pair has had some waterproof warranty. And to this point over some 16 years we have never had any pair of any of these brands leak. Folks there are some good golf shoes being made.image

If you can be patient, some store always has some golf shoes on sale. Check them out. I don’t mean to play favorites, but The Golf Warehouse seems to always have golf shoes on sale. They may be close-outs of lasts year’s styles, but so what they are still great shoes, now at a really great price. (photo tgw.com)

Parents, you can keep water from coming in from the soles, seams, fabric/material of your daughter’s golf shoes. Buy quality as recommended above. Now keeping water from coming in over the top of the shoe or from running down the clothes or leg into the shoe is a matter for another day.

See you on #1 tee, with dry feet… Sam

Junior Golf: Cool Weather Tips

imageIn this Monday Mulligan we will look at some cool weather tips that will help your daughter when temperatures start dropping. The pros deal with this throughout the year and it is critical to understand how the game is different when the weather changes. (photo jennleforge.com)

1st I will encourage you to be prepared. Put these items on your pre-practice/pre-tournament checklist. Gloves are #1. If she can’t hold the club, she can’t play well. Have 2 extras of her regular glove in her golf bag at all times. And buy 1 pair of the “wetter is better” gloves and keep them in the bag as well. These are the black gloves, a pair, 1 for each hand, that work super good in damp/wet weather. Phil Mickelson wears these more than nearly anyone else on tour. He doesn’t wait to put them on if there is moisture in the air. Footjoy and TaylorMade are 2 brands that we have here. Note for gloves: open every package and try on every glove before you buy it. It seems gloves are notorious for having the wrong size in the packaging.

Buy some of the hand warmer hot packs and keep a couple in her bag as soon as the weather cools off. Cold hands mean no grip, no feel, no good shots. These are an inexpensive item that is worth a million bucks if your daughter gets caught in a really chilly situation. There are at least 2 major brands and they are sold in most big box stores, sporting goods stores and golf stores. Buy a few of each brand and see which 1 works best. You’ll likely see that there is a difference. And buy the bigger size. The little ones don’t get as hot or last as long as the big ones.image

Remember, most heat loss occurs through the top of the head. Find a mid weight beanie/pullover/stocking cap in a neutral color that your daughter likes and put it in her bag now. For golfers, it really works in chilly weather to have a couple of lightweight upper layers and put a beanie on. The beanie comes down over the ears and keeps them warm while decreasing the heat loss through the top of the head. A couple of weeks ago at a college tournament in Dallas we had a 55-degree, sunny, beautiful morning with light winds and about1/3 of the college golfers had something covering their ears. This enables them to wear less on their upper body so they weren’t encumbered by so much extra clothing. S3 has a gray UnderArmour beanie that is his absolute favorite! Also try these on before your buy because there are youth and adult sizes and some beanies do not have the stretch that regular stocking caps have. A beanie that is too tight is unwearable.

Mom and Dad, we’re not talking much money here and all these items add very little weight to her golf bag and they don’t cost very much at all. Make it a point to buy these essentials this week and get them in the bag.

See you on #1 tee, looking warm… Sam

Junior Golf: A Links Golf Tale

imageIn today’s Friday Flop Shot, I am telling a story about a recent links golf experience our family had. It will give you some insight into the intricacies involved in links golf. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

When your son heads out to play a links course, the 1st thing you both need to pay attention to is the weather. Dry means the course will play as designed and wet means lower scores because the only defense the course has is wind, terrain and hazards when it is wet. It does not play as designed, it plays much easier.

S3’s college team has played in a tournament this year and the previous 3 years at the excellent Tribute Golf Club in The Colony, north of Dallas on the shores of Lewisville Lake. When the course is dry and hard, it plays as designed with lightening fast fairways and greens. Your son would not dare put an approach shot above the pin as his downhill putt would likely roll off the green if he didn’t make it. The Tribute is a tribute to 18 of the most legendary links holes in Scotland and each hole has a plaque telling its history and it is most interesting. Folks, this is a great golf course, a wonderful golf course and if you are in the DFW area I heartily recommend your son and you too, play it.

In Texas, we don’t complain about rain because we never know the next time we’ll get some. As fate would have it, it has rained cats and dogs every year just a few days before this event. What does that mean? It means the course is pretty much defenseless and there will be some low scores. Players can shoot right at the pin because the greens are holding and are way slower than they are supposed to be. So links golf creativity is reduced and taking dead aim at the pin is in play. Really, the guys like to make birdies, but I know they were relishing the challenge of playing on a true links course with it’s fangs bared.

So let’s look at S3’s final round last Tuesday. It’s a beautiful day with temps in the 60’s at tee time and rising to the mid-70’s, mostly sunny with light winds. And the course is still wet. So this means the guys can treat this round as a regular US-type golf course rather than a links course and shoot at the pin. Now there are some intimidating holes on this course, 1 particular stretch on the front 9 comes to mind, so there aren’t just gimme pars because it’s wet.image

S3 starts on #10 and blocks his drive into a native area. Well, he did this yesterday and made a good bogey so I expect he’s not thrilled, but thinking bogey and move on. Well, he ends up with a 3-putt triple and is not happy because his team was in 5th place not that many strokes out of the top 3. But everybody needed to play at or under par. Moving ahead in his round he hit so many great shots and after missing a bunch of short putts in his 1st 9-holes, he adjusted for less break and started making putts. Now in his 1st round he had no 3-putts and was 100% on putts 7-feet and less. So in what was 1 of his wildest rounds in a long time, S3 had a 3-over par 75 with a triple on his 1st hole. So a triple, a double and 4 3-putts and 4-birdies. 4 of the putts he missed were less than 5 feet and remember, he made all of those the day before. (photo thecolonyedc.org)

Welcome to links golf, sort of. S3 had his chances to be under par. If he had putted as he did the day before he would have been at least 1-under. Dad and Mom this is golf. This is for college golfers, junior golfers and us adults too. What worked yesterday may not work today. And some of what worked yesterday may be even better today. I mean, S3 in his round of 75 hit 11 of 14 fairways (78%) and 15 of 18 greens (83%). These are great numbers! Really the difference between this 75 and being under par is 1 poor drive, 1 poor chip, 4 3-putts and 2 additional missed short putts. Ya gotta love this sport!

See you on the links, looking Scottish…kilts anyone… Sam

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