Category: golf

Julia Engstrom of Sweden during the first roun…

Julia Engstrom of Sweden during the first round – Ladies European Tour 2019. Investec South African Women’s Open, Westlake Golf Club, Cape Town, South Africa. 14-16 March 2019. Credit: Tristan Jones #golf #sports #travel

Carly Booth, Karolin Lampert, Julia Engstrom a…

Carly Booth, Karolin Lampert, Julia Engstrom and Olivia Cowan with a penguin at Boulders bay – Ladies European Tour 2019. Investec South African Women’s Open, Westlake Golf Club, Cape Town, South Africa. 14-16 March 2019. Credit: Tristan Jones #golf #sports #travel

Monday After the Players

Monday After the Players

By ED TRAVIS

This year as for the past several the media talked interminably about whether The Players should be designated the “fifth major.”  To some this is a pointless exercise since the players themselves consider it to be very important tournament with far and away the strongest field, even the de facto holder of the title “major.” Most fans could care less and file the discussion in the same folder as doing something about slow play.

And speaking of the bane of all golf, winner Rory McIlroy made the latest in his series of comments about his fellow toursters’ slow play, “Honestly, I think they should just be a little tougher and start penalizing shots earlier, and that would be an easy way to fix it.” However, it’s common knowledge the PGA Tour does not insist players adhere to a reasonable time standard so nothing will be done.

The Players is the first important/major event effected by the changing of the season schedule so the finish will be before the start of football season. This starts a run of one-a-month biggies continuing with the Masters in April, the PGA Championship in May, U.S. Open in June, the British Open in July and in August the Tour Championship.

The two-month earlier date showed the TPC Sawgrass course at its best giving the field all they could handle with Sunday temperatures in the 50s and winds up to 20 mph. Just what everyone was hoping for when the March dates were penciled in with added problems created by the over seeding of rye grass.

Europeans dominated the top of the leaderboard. McIlroy is from Northern Ireland (Happy St. Patrick’s Day!) leading the list of 10 non-Americans in the top 15 finishers. The best we could do was a second place by 48-year-old Jim Furyk, last year’s Ryder Cup team captain. This doesn’t bode well for U.S. international teams, either for the Presidents Cup matches in the fall nor the 2020 Ryder Cup against most of these same Euros but with my record of predictions don’t take this warning too seriously.

We relearned the 17th island green is tough to hit even by the best players in the world dunked 45 balls for the four rounds. The question whether 17 would play harder in March than May you can decide for yourself. The previous five years of water balls on 17 when play was in May: 2018 (54), 2107 (69), 2016 (36), 2015 (45), 2014 (28).

Tiger Woods’ performance was uninspiring and not, to take Gary Koch’s famous call from 2001, “Better than most.” Woods ho-hum game could be illustrated with his quadruple bogey on the island green in round two and on Sunday coming down the par-5 16th at 3-under par for the round hitting at 15-handicappers iron shot 30 yards right of the green into the water. His response however was professional and classy with a very nice up and down for par.

Woods never looked like he could be a contender all week and with the Masters a month away he needs a lot more game to even be in the mix at Augusta much less have a realistic chance for a win. Fans were heartened though by no sign of any physical problems including the neck which caused his withdrawal at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The question remains. Should we looking at Woods as a 43-year old former great with some physical issues marking time for the PGA Tour Champions or the dynamic previously dominating player on his way to full recovery?

The Rules of Golf again leapt up and bit one of the players with Harold Varner III taking a two-stroke penalty for replacing a cracked driver head with a new one on the course rather than putting an entirely different driver in play. Not a new rule but still a shame it even had to be applied.

Finally, in case you missed it Friday, the reuniting of Paul Azinger now with NBC and Nick Faldo working for the Golf Channel the first two rounds with sportscaster Mike Tirico was a pleasant reminder of the trio last heard together over two years ago.

Stroke Lab from Odyssey – Control Distance

Stroke Lab from Odyssey – Control Distance

By ED TRAVIS

Distance control, not aim, is the key to becoming a good if not great putter and consistent distance can only come from a consistent repeatable stroke. Rather than concentrate on a new way to do alignment lines or making a new face insert to improve the ball’s roll why not figure out a design that will improve distance control?

That’s what Odyssey, Callaway Golf’s putter division, did with their solution coming to market as the Stroke Lab putter line.

According to Sean Toulon, Callaway’s senior vice president and general manager of Odyssey, “These new putters epitomize what Stroke Lab is all about. Questioning the norm for the purpose of developing putters that perform substantially better to help golfers make more putts.”

With the speed of putting surfaces increasing due to advance in agronomy it’s not unusual for even recreational players to face with a Stimpmeter reading of 10 or 11 during a weekend round. On the PGA Tour 11 and 12 are the norm and 13 or 14 are not uncommon.

In response makers have made putter heads heavier and heavier, often more than 350 or 360 grams, the thinking being that when greens are fast the stroke doesn’t have to be as big. Part of this trend is the popularity of relatively lightweight larger grips which means putter swing weights have gotten extremely high sometimes as high as F3–a typical driver has a D2 swing weight.

Steel putter shafts usually weigh in the range of 115 to 120 grams but with heavier heads the typical shaft is relatively weaker allowing both more flex and torque.

The critical factor in the Stroke Lab design was to make the shaft from graphite with a steel tip section which Odyssey says reduced shaft weight by 40 grams. To keep the overall weight constant, 10 of the 40 grams were moved to the head distributed in two sole weights. The remaining 30 grams went to the grip end with a 40-gram end weight (shaft plug) and a stock grip weighing 10-grams less. The shaft at 75 grams is lighter but with a much higher MOI (resistance to twisting) and the weight distributed to encourage a free and consistent stroke. Odyssey says testing of Stroke Lab putters showed a 25% improvement in backswing length consistency which makes the stored energy more reliable. The design helps to raise the consistency of the face angle at the end of the backswing by almost 20% so the amount of face rotation needed to be back at square at impact is more predictable.

“You feel the difference immediately,” said Luke Williams, senior director of putter marketing. “The putter head moves freely, smoothly and on a sound path, helping you roll the ball accurately while giving you greater speed-control.”

All the Stroke Lab models have Odyssey’s White Hot Microhinge face insert, a hit since its initial introduction in 2016.

On the course there no doubt the shaft of a Stroke Lab putter is different looking and different feeling. The balance of the head, grip and graphite/steel shaft are great. The Tuttle model was tested extensively on and off the course and it was one of very few putters in my experience didn’t required a “break-in.” There was no time wasted “getting used to it.”

From the first it was simply a case of picking the line and making the stroke.

Instant confidence.

Did every putt go in? Of course not, but three putts are almost a thing of the past because if the first putt missed the second is close enough to be makeable…even a tap in. Phil Mickelson fans will recognize the #9 Stroke Lab as being the putter he used to win “The Match” against Tiger Woods and Francisco Molinari putted lights out in with a Toulon Madison model winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational making a 43 foot birdie on the 72nd hole.

Brand & Model:

Odyssey Stroke Lab Putter

Key Features:

Graphite/steel combination shaft

Lower torque and flex

White Hot Microhinge race insert

Retail Price & Availability:

$250 in shops now

Need to know:

Controlling distance by redoing weight distribution including a graphite shaft with a steel tip improves stroke consistency. Most popular Odyssey mallet and blade shapes: #7, #7S, Marxman, Marxman S, 2-Ball Fang, 2-Ball Fang S, Red Ball, Red Ball S, Tuttle, Tuttle Flow, VLine, V-Line ang S, V-Line CS, #2, #3; #9, Double Wide and Double Wide Flow.

Inside Striker – @insidestriker – A portable g…

Inside Striker – @insidestriker – A portable golf training aid designed to reinforce proper swing plane, eliminate your slice and provide  instant feed-back as you practice.  Practice with every club in your golf bag.   Ideal for driving range, putting green or at home allowing you to practice with a purpose.  http://www.insidestriker.com

This afternoon, Team TaylorMade’s Sung H…

This afternoon, Team TaylorMade’s Sung Hyun Park captured her 6th career LPGA victory at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore with a thrilling final round performance. #golf #sports #travel

lucky escape from the rough    @ Ballybunion C…

lucky escape from the rough

    @ Ballybunion Cashen Course, Ireland

Anne Van Dam of Holland celebrates her 4th win…

Anne Van Dam of Holland celebrates her 4th win on the Ladies European Tour – Ladies European Tour 2019. ACTEWAGL Canberra Classic, Royal Canberra Golf Club, ACT, Australia. 1-3 March 2019. Credit: Tristan Jones #golf #sports #travel

hit and hope    @ Royal Dornoch Golf Course, N…

hit and hope

    @ Royal Dornoch Golf Course, North Scotland

almost no way to find your ball

almost no way to find your ball

     @ Brora Golf Links, North Scotland