Thursday, May 31, 2012

Nike TW '13 Golf Shoes Available June 8


When Tiger Woods began playing this year, one thing I noticed immediately was how cool and comfortable looking his golf shoes looked. They looked more like sneakers than standard golf shoes. One thing I have been complaining about after my rounds is how bad my feet hurt - my home course is fairly hilly, and at the end of the day I feel like I need to pry my shoes off with the Jaws of Life.

I started poking around and found out that (of course) Tiger was wearing a brand new shoe Nike designed and it was not available to the public yet. Well, Nike has announced that the new TW 13 shoe will be available on June 8 and will retail for $220.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Enjoying Success!

Last Monday was the qualifier for my club's match play championship, which takes place throughout the summer.  Ever since missing the cut last year by a single shot, I was focused on this date because I wanted to make it in so badly.  Every time I practiced since my near miss, I thought about this round.  Going in, I know I needed a net 72 or better to qualify.

It felt like it was 110 degrees out there on Monday, and it was a major grind.  After a bad bogey on 1 (I was 10 yards short of the par 5 in two), and a good par on 2 (a tough par 3), a pulled tee shot on the 3rd led to a lost ball and a triple.  So I was standing on the 4th tee already four over par.  But I am very proud to say I pulled it together, made thee birdies on the final fifteen holes and came in right on the number - a gross 83, which my 11 handicap turned into a net 72.  I did it!

The point of this semi self-aggrandizing little tale is to let you in on a couple of things that I learned out there that I wanted to pass along to all of you, my fellow footsteppers in the fairways:

1) Grinding it out like that under pressure when you need to make good shots under tournament conditions is actually pretty fun.  It is a great challenge.  Seek out competitive situations - it will make you a better player.

2) When you hit your goal, celebrate!  Enjoy the success.  In this game, success is fleeting, so when you have it, grab on tight!  Have a couple beers afterwards with your friends.  Bore the daylights out of your significant other as you march them shot by shot through the pivotal final holes. You earned the reward of savoring the victory!

3) Don't forget to review your round to see what went well and what you can do better.  For instance, I am very proud of how I did not let an early bad start derail my round, and I finished strong when I needed to play the last two holes even.  But I still did not putt as well as I should have (I had 4 three putts) and my on course decision-making needs to be better (I tried to be too aggressive on a bad lie and ended up making a double, and took too much club on a couple of tee shots that put me in a bad spot).

Qualifying was just the first step - I hopefully have a long run ahead of me in the match play tournament.  But getting into the dance was a fun first step, and I am relishing it! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pro Golfer Rhein Gibson Shoots 55

Australian professional golfer Rhein Gibson had a pretty good day on the links on May 12.  How good?  How about a 55?

I heard an interview with Gibson on the Matt Adams show this morning on the PGA Tour Network on Sirius/XM radio, and had to share this with all of you.

Here is Gibson's card.  He recroded 12 birdies, 2 eagles and 4 pars.  Not a bad day at the office.

Gibson, who is spending the year playing one of the mini-tours here in the US, carded the 16 under round on the par 71 River Oaks Golf Club in Edmond, Oklahoma, during a little money game he had going with two of his buddies.  And get this - he didn't even make them pay.  He was happy enough with the 55 that he let them skate on settling up at 18, although Gibson said his partners did pay for drinks.  Sounds like they got off easy.

Gibson seemed to be pretty down to earth in the interview, and is looking to continue to hone his game so that he can go to Q-School and try to make it on the Nationwide Tour and then, ultimately, the PGA Tour.  Suffice it to say that a 55 is going to look pretty good on the Q-School resume! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Marquee Pairings For THE PLAYERS

Tee times are out for THE PLAYERS championship this week (yes, I have sipped from the PGA Tour branding kool-aid) and here are some noteworthy groups to watch on Thursday and Friday:

8:18 am: Brandt Snedeker, Ben Crane and Nick Watney
8:29 am:  Louis Oosthuizen, Jason Day and Ian Poulter
8:29 am (#10):  Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley and Matt Kuchar
8:39 am (#10):  Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan and Tiger Woods (this is AWESOME)
1:28 pm:  Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer and Adam Scott
1:28 pm (#10):  Graeme McDowell, Zach Johnson and Ernie Els
1:39 pm:  Luke Donald, Bill Haas and Lee Westwood
1:39 pm:  Jason Dufner, Ben Curtis and Kyle Stanley
1:49 pm:  Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker (this is EQUALLY AWESOME)

Great field, great golf course - should make for some great TV this week!

Off To Chambers Bay!

Tomorrow I head out to Seattle to attend the wedding of my roommate from Notre Dame.  I have never been to Seattle, and as I have heard great things about the city, I am really looking forward to seeing the sights.   We are going to catch a Mariners game tomorrow night and do a winery tour on Friday.  But what I am most looking forward to (besides the wedding and general carousing with my college buddies) is Thursday morning - when me and three of my friends will be teeing off at Chambers Bay, host of the 2015 U.S. Open.

Chambers Bay will be the third Open course I have played - I have previously knocked it around at Bethpage Black and Torrey Pines.  So stay tuned for the full report - I will be sure to tweet pictures from the course on Thursday, and then next week will put up a full report on the experience! 

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Benefit Of Using A Larger Golf Grip

After my recent club fitting experience, which resulted in me purchasing a new set of Titleist AP1 irons, I have thought more and more about the size of my golf grip and the effect that grips have on your swing.  It is common knowledge that newer grips will help you swing the club better (you should consider changing your grips every 1-2 seasons).  But what I did not know before the fitting is that making small changes to the size of your grips can help address some swing problems you may be having.

The biggest problem I have in my golf swing is getting too "handsy" at impact; I occasionally flip my hands over early which leaves me hitting snap hooks deep into woods, marshes and the occasional cow pasture.  Jim, my new favorite clubfitter, suggested adding some thickness to the grips Club Champion put on the new irons to reduce my tendency to flip those wrists.

Think of it this way - when the grip is thinner, it is easier for your hands and wrists to maneuver it, and thus flip it over during the swing.  When the grip is thicker, the opposite is true - your hands and wrists are a bit more restricted, thus decreasing the chance of flipping at impact.  If you want to get this feeling in an exaggerated way, take a golf swing first with a club that has a standard size grip, and then take a golf swing using a baseball bat.

After playing three rounds with the thicker grips on my irons, I do believe that it has made a positive difference. My misses are closer to the target line, and those big captain hooks are far less frequent.  I was so impressed with the results that I went out and had an extra wrap put under the grips put on my woods, and had the same positive results - I can actually now hit a fade off the tee on purpose!

So if you are having a similar problem, consider your grips!