Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Golfers Library – 10 Golfing Books You Should Have On Your Shelves

 

via Gorilla Golf Blog - Golf News, Videos, Reviews, Tips & Lifestyle


You may not think of golfers as a particularly literary bunch, but over the years there have been some magnificent tomes written about this marvellous game. Whether it is biographies of the great and good, books about golfing strategy or psychology or about individual golfing tournaments or performances, there’s a lot of top notch golfing books out there.

So whether you are still a fan of flipping the pages of the latest tome, or you are more techno-savvy and prefer to do your reading on your Kindle, iPad or similar, here, in no particular order, are ten of the best golf books you should have in your library.

 

  1. Inside the Bear Pit & After the Bear Pit by Mark James

Mark James “Inside the Bear Pit” caused a huge controversy when it was released post-Brookline ’99, when the Ryder Cup reached its Nadir. Partisan home support spilled over into blatant gamesmanship and cheating and James authoritative tome painted a less than seemly picture of events during that competition.

It was compelling reading for its drama, and its sequel After the Bear Pit brings readers nicely through the events that happened after the release of the first book. Both are essential reading for any Ryder Cup fan.

  1. Seve: The Official Autobiography by Seve Ballesteros

I can count on one hand the number of top class golf biographies I have read so far and Seve’s effort is without doubt the most memorable. A fascinating tale that has been recently brought to life in a major motion picture, but read the original autobiography first before seeing the film.

  1. Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons The Modern Fundamentals of Golf by Ben Hogan

For many, this is without doubt the Magnum Opus of golf instruction books. Hogan’s simple five lesson approach to the game may seem somewhat simplistic, even outdated, but the principles he displays in astonishing detail have stood the test of time.

If you want to learn about golf having never picked up a club before, or if you want to improve your game almost immediately, this is the book to turn to.

  1. Four Iron in the Soul by Lawrence Donegan

Life on tour as a caddie may seem somewhat exciting to the outsider, but for every caddy plying his trade with Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods or Adam Scott, there are hundreds more struggling to make a living with a player well down the rankings.

Writer Lawrence Donegan attempted to live just like that as a caddy for 400+ ranked in the world Scottish golfer Ross Drummond. This brilliant story of life as a caddy offers a very different insight into the game through the eyes of the man carrying the bag.

  1. Bring me the Head of Sergio Garcia by Tom Cox

A superbly funny book about Tom Cox’s attempts to survive for one year as a professional touring golfer. As a teen Cox was a talented aspiring golfer, but in the end walked away from the game.

However as he got older, he dreamed of turning professional and despite being over 30 years of age, he decided to give his dream one last chance, with the aim of qualifying for his dream event. The British Open.

  1. Inside – One Man’s Experience of Prison – by John Hoskison

How can this be a book about golf? Well prior to 1994, John Hoskison was a fully paid up member of the European PGA Tour. While never in the upper echelons of the game at European level, Hoskison was a golfer of undeniable talent.

However in 1994, he accepted a drink following a game of golf, breaking a discipline he had kept up for 20 years. He jumped into his car to drive home afterwards and on that short journey, hit and killed a cyclist.

Sentenced to prison, this is his story of how he survived prison and began to try and make amends.

  1. The Inner Game of Golf by W. Timothy Gallwey

I am often very scathing of books about the mental aspect of golf, but of all the ones that are available today (and there are a huge amount of them) W. Timothy Gallwey’s book certainly strikes the most resonant chord with me.

There is a huge amount of simple, yet practical advice in the book that even the most limited of player can use to their advantage, yet what is most impressive is how Gallwey explains some genuinely complex psychological thought process, in a rational and easy to follow way.

  1. The Phantom of the Open: Maurice Flitcroft, The World’s Worst Golfer by Scott Murray and Simon Farnaby

The fantastic story of a former crane driver and comedy stunt diver Maurice Flitcroft who managed to get himself a place in the British Open. This despite never having played a real round of golf in his life.  He scored 121 and the British Open organisers banned him for life.

This is Maurice’s story of how he battled against the R&A to be allowed to enter the tournament he loved, without possessing a single ounce of golfing talent. A truly hilarious read.

  1. My Life In And Out of the Rough by John Daly

Brutally honest, painful to read at times, John Daly’s life story is a tale of extremes, from feeling on top of the world at one moment, to the bottom of the barrel the next. He details his extraordinary career with a candour and honesty that is refreshing.

Daly’s tale is a cautionary tale of how seemingly having everything, sometimes isn’t enough.

  1. ‘Dream On’: One Hackers Challenge to Break Par in a Year by John Richardson

Perhaps the most relevant book for the weekend hacker ever to have been written. John Richardson couldn’t break one hundred and worked in a full time job. However, John Richardson also had a dream: to break par at a local golf course within 12 months, while remaining in full time work and trying to remain a father and husband.

Sam Torrance said he should “dream on”, Darren Clarke suggested three years may be more appropriate to achieve his dream. Everyone he spoke to said it couldn’t be done.

This is his story.

 

Tiger is hitting full shots again

via Compleat Golfer


Tiger is hitting full shots again, according to USA Today.

The former world No 1, whose last competitive round came in the PGA Championship in August, got the nod from his doctors last week and has been camping out on the range ever since. He reportedly has been chipping and putting for at least a few weeks now.

“The doctors said he could hit golf balls again, and he’s listening to his doctors and to his body,” Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, told USA TODAY Sports on Monday. “He will keep listening to his doctors and body.”

“…He’s feeling pretty good.”

After Woods withdrew from the PGA, he said he needed to work on strengthening his core.

“Obviously by playing, you can’t burn the candle at both ends,” he said. “I need to get stronger physically and be back to where I was.”

The 38-year-old, who won five times in 2013 and started the season as the world No 1 (he is now No 17), hopes to make his return to competitive golf in the Hero World Challenge from 5 – 8 December. At a recent press conference to promote the tournament, Woods said he had not yet touched a club. He was enthusiastic, however, about the gains from his gym work.

“We have our goals and benchmarks, but it’s also day‑to‑day,” Woods said. “Some days I’m making bigger gains than others. Some days I’m backing off a little bit. But, we’re pretty much past the strength phase now, and I’ve got my strength where I want to have it, now I just need to get my fast twitch going and get my speed back, and that’s going to take a little bit of time.

“That’s part of our second phase of training, and that’s coming up now.”

 

Ian Poulter Joins Titleist. Official Confirmation On Twitter

via GolfCentralDaily


Don't say I didn't tell you a few days ago  that Titleist were favourite to sign Ian Poulter after he announced earlier this week he was leaving Cobra Puma.

Poults tweeted earlier 

Seriously pleased to announce I will be a full staff @Titleist @FootJoy staff player for 2015 season. So excited. 

 And posted this pic of his new Titleist bag.

Join the GolfCentralDaily community on Twitter for loads more comment on and off the course.

 

VIDEO: The splash-sand drill

via Compleat Golfer


PGA professional Grant Hepburn shows you a drill that helps you get the feeling of moving sand out of the bunker and how the club reacts with the sand – without focusing on the result.

Leaked: Cobra’s new Fly-Z Pro irons

via GolfWRX - Golf news, equipment, reviews, classifieds and discussion


by    |   October 22, 2014

Check out the photos of Cobra’s new Fly-Z Pro irons that were leaked on our forum. The biggest change from their predecessor, Cobra’s AMP Cell Pro irons, is the addition of tungsten to their toes to boost forgiveness.

 

 

 

How TaylorMade’s marketing slayed Callaway and saved golfers money

 via GolfWRX - Golf news, equipment, reviews, classifieds and discussion


 

I’m going to start this one with a disclaimer. Understand that I have no motive outside pr

Presenting an accurate historical accounting.

Back in March of 2012, TaylorMade-adidas purchased Adams Golf. At the time, Adams was a public company and the decision to sell had been made by a sufficient number of shareholders that a positive vote to a good offer was decided in advance. At the time I was a minor shareholder, so my votes had no impact on the decision and I voted with the majority. Further, I had no relationship with TaylorMade and to this day I have never met any executive within their organization.

Now the story.

Back in the early 1980′s, the golf equipment industry was all about Ping. The company had effectively replaced the old guard — Wilson, McGregor, Spalding and Powerbilt — as the hot brand. Ping’s EYE-2 irons became the best-selling iron in the industry and the introduction of investment in casting and perimeter weighting led the way for thinking about designs far advanced of blade irons and persimmon woods.

In the mid 1980′s, a marketer with a passion for golf by the name of Ely Callaway acquired a company called Hickory Sticks, which in 1988 became Callaway Golf. He attracted investors, brought out irons with no hosels and eventually released an oversize titanium driver called the “Big Bertha” after the famous German howitzer.

Here’s a bit of insider history. When tested, the first Berthas didn’t perform as well as hoped. They tended to go low and right (not unlike the infamous oversized Bridgestone “J” driver designed for Jumbo Ozaki) when folks finally got them. The Callaway folks noticed that their 11-degree driver worked fine; it was the 9-degree model that was giving golfers problems. The fix? When the clubs made it into production, the 9-degree driver actually had about 11 degrees of loft and the 11 degree had about 13 degrees of loft. Aided by strong marketing, the clubs were a huge success spawning line extensions that went on for years.

Here’s another digression: The reason the 9-degree Big Bertha driver (and the J driver) didn’t perform very well was that its center of gravity (CG) was too close to the face. That made it very low spinning compared to what golfers were used to and also very hard for average golfers to square the face. Does the low-spin, high-loft story sound familiar in today’s marketplace?

I started in the golf equipment business in 1987 and registered somewhere below obscurity until a club called “Tight Lies” became popular in the late 1990′s. Along the way, I got to know Ely Callaway. In fact, we had an informal exchange of phone calls on Friday afternoons.

Ely told me that when he entered the golf industry he was not impressed with the marketing he saw. Further, he discerned that more distance was the great elixir to the public and that a combination of a strong tour staff, creative marketing and innovative product would allow his company to dominate. And boy did it ever. All respect to Ping (one of my all-time favorite companies), it became an also-ran with everyone else as Callaway set new standards for sales volume at previously unheard of high retail prices, generating margins held in envy. Cleveland and Cobra had some good numbers, but nothing close to Callaway.

Now ask yourself a question. You have just been given the CEO job at a competing company. Your dream comes true. You face this 400-pound gorilla called Callaway that has more money, huge market momentum and unheard of market acceptance. How do you compete? Do not say that you’ll make great product and sell it cheaper. The product can’t be just cheaper. It will have to be much cheaper — like half — and you’ll have to spend a ton of marketing money to convince the public that it’s as good. That’s not exactly a thrilling message. This is a recipe for going broke, as history teaches.

That CEO’s name was Mark King. He was the vice president of golf ball sales for Callaway and he got recruited to TaylorMade as CEO. He had Adidas money behind him and a seemingly impossible challenge. He came up with a unique strategy — speeding up the new product release cycle — and figured that Callaway couldn’t react to his speed, or at least by the time Callaway did TaylorMade would have already shifted momentum. He got Addidas to underwrite a huge presence on Tour because without it, no strategy would have worked. It takes big money as it becomes a bidding process for faces on television.

The strategy succeeded beyond most people’s dreams, maybe even King’s. He not only disrupted Callaway; he disrupted all the companies. The low-price market disappeared, and consumers could now buy discounted product that was only a few months old. This was highly preferable to buying products from low-price brands. TaylorMade became the volume and innovative leader and along the way attracted millions of loyal customers. You see, without this strategy everything would probably still be full retail price like it was before.

The problem is that the strategy can’t endure forever. Every year, the market inventories increased and along came the storm. We have to realize that since 2000 golf has lost some 40 percent of the folks who pay 71 percent of all expenses including equipment. Retailers sniffed the impending adjustment and dumped inventories, cut back personnel and reduced buys. Some decided golf equipment was a lousy business and looked to other products.

Momentum shifted, business magazines wrote stories about the fall of the golf industry and nobody was optimistic. They still aren’t.

And you, Mark King, took heat as TaylorMade’s sales dropped significantly and got “promoted” upstairs. Members of the golf community including consumers and internet readers made you out to be a bad guy. The truth? One can argue that the speeded up cycle had to crash that there was no other way to stop it. Maybe, maybe not, but King did a great job fighting the Callaway juggernaut and saving consumers money along the way.

For those who complain about equipment prices, here’s a bit more history. In 1995, three woods and nine irons from Callaway retailed for $2325! Now assume that King hadn’t been successful with his strategy, factor in normal price increases and consider what golf equipment retail would be like today. The long-term strategy may have been flawed and the drop in play hurt, but over the years Mark King saved consumers a lot of money.

 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tiger back to hitting full shots

 via GolfWRX - Golf news, equipment, reviews, classifieds and discussion


by    |   October 20, 2014

Tiger Woods is on the mend and has resumed hitting full shots, according a story from USA Today.

“The doctors said he could hit golf balls again, and he’s listening to his doctors and to his body,” Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, told USA Today Sports on Monday. “He will keep listening to his doctors and body.”

According to reports, Woods has been chipping and putting for at least the last several weeks. He last hit a golf shot in competition at the PGA Championship in August, where he played through pain on the way to a missed cut. It was the end of a disappointing 2014 for Woods, which saw him undergo back surgery on March 31. That caused him to missm the first two major championships of the year, The Masters and the U.S. Open.

Woods returned from back surgery in late June, but continued to struggle through poor play and pain before removing himself from consideration for the Ryder Cup and deciding to skip the rest of the 2013 PGA Tour season. According to Steinberg, the former No. 1 golfer hopes to play in the Hero World Golf Championship at Isleworth in Orlando on Dec. 4-7, which benefits his foundation.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Titleist Announces 915 Product Line

via The Sand Trap


Each year, Titleist alternates between releasing woods and irons. This time around, it is the 915 line; the most advanced woods the company has ever produced.

While some golf companies go the route of bombarding the customer with release after release, Titleist takes the opposite approach and sticks to a two year product cycle with woods and irons alternating years. While that means that there is often a product from a competitor with more current technology, it gives Titleist the opportunity to do its due diligence and figure out what technologies work, which don't and then bring debut a lineup that will hold its own for a couple years. It wasn't until the 910 line of clubs that Titleist added an adjustable hosel, which was quite a while after competitors such as TaylorMade and Callaway had done so; however, Titleist took the time to do it right and the hosel they created is regarded by many to be the best of the bunch; an opinion which is further supported by the fact that four years later the company is still using the same one and is no essentially being used by Callaway (just a minor tweak to their version).

With the 915 woods, Titleist has its most featured packed set of clubs. While most of the technologies are ones that we've seen in one version or another from the company's competitors, you can be sure that the company has done it the right way. At the forefront of the new 915 line up are two new drivers. Sticking to the naming that Titleist clubs have used since the 907 series, there is the larger, more friendly, D2, and the more compact D3. In addition to the big sticks are new fairway woods, and like the 913s, they come in both the F and Fd (deep) models. Rounding out the new 915 line-up are new hybrids.

 

 

The mantra for the new line of drivers is "Distance Without Compromise," something that the company believes it has achieved through new some new technology. The first of which is the Active Recoil Channel, which is a long, wide and deep channel found on the clubs sole towards the face. The channel actively flexes at impact and recoils helping the golfer achieve a higher launch with less spin. The company also understands that faster ball speeds lead to more distance, and its Radial Speed Face helps with this as well. This high-speed forged face insert has a radially thinner perimeter in the heel and toe, and in conjunction with the Active Recoil Channel helps to increase ball speed on those not-so-perfect strikes.

 

 

The club also has a high-MOI which is achieved through a center of gravity that is low and deep in the club. This further aids in the forgiveness department by delivering more stability and preserving ball speed on off center hits. According to Titleist, the trend lately has been to create club that spin less, but often times that comes at the price of forgiveness; especially when it is achieved through moving the weight low and forward. With the new Active Recoil Channel and Radial Speed Face, the club achieves the low spin that many are looking for, but the MOI remains high by keeping the weight low and back. Doing so was a challenge for the engineers at Titleist, but it was done by using an ultra-thing crown and body made from 8-1-1 titanium which provides the same strength and resiliency as the 6-4 titanium used in the prior generation 913 clubs, but at a lighter density. At just 0.5 mm, it is the thinnest constant crown thickness in the industry. Things like tapering the top line and leading edge, as well as adding pockets in low stress areas also helped to cut weight.

As mentioned above, the club, like previous generations, come in two different versions; the D2 and the D3. Each model is designed to provide different performance characteristics, especially with regards to spin and flight. The D2 is the larger version, and features a 460cc head with a full pear profile. The club has a higher peak trajectory than the smaller D2, and also spins about 250 rpm more. The D3 is described as being more workable than the D2, while still maintaining forgiveness. While it is the same 440cc as the 913D3, the 915 version sports a face that is 3mm deeper. The club produces a more penetrating ball flight compared to the D2 and has no draw bias.

 

 

Both the D2 and D3 are available in 7.5°, 8.5°, 9.5°, and 10.5° models while the D2 has an additional 12° offering. As expected, the club can then be fine tuned through the use of the SureFit hosel, which allows for a total of 16 unique settings. The club is also available with a number of stock shafts. Both the D2 and D3 can be had with the Aldila Rogue Black 70 (S), Aldila Rouge Silver 60 (S, X), Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 70 (S, X), and the Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Blue 60 (R, S). The D2 is also available with the Diamana M+ Red 50 (A, R, S) and 40 (L).

Also on the way to accompany the new drivers are new fairway woods and hybrids. Like their big brother, the woods and hybrids also feature the company's new Active Recoil Chanell as well as an ultra thin face and high MOI design. Like with the drivers, the Active Recoil Channel helps to create a launch with less spin and higher speed. This is especially important with the fairway woods and hybrids since those clubs are often hit off the ground and impact lower on the face. Shots struck low on the face tend to spin more and the channel helps to counter act this.

 

 

Both the fairway woods and hybrids feature a standard and "d" model. The 915F has a full pear profile and comes in at 175cc, giving max forgiveness. The 915Fd is slightly smaller, coming in at 160cc and is more workable. The standard model is available in 13.5°, 15°, 16.5°, 18°, and 21° versions, while the Fd can be had in 13.5° and 15° versions.

 

 

With the hybrids, the 915H has a subtle pear profile and comes in at 118cc. It is the fuller, rounder model of the two and gives the most forgiveness as well as a bit more spin and higher launch. It is available in 18°, 21°, 24°, and 27° models. The 915Hd is slightly offset and is smaller (107cc). It is available in 17.5°, 20.5°, and 23.5° models.

According to Titleist, if you consider yourself a sweeper and would rather play a hybrid over a fairway wood, the 915H is probably a better match for your game; if you tend to be more aggressive and like to have a bit more turf interaction than the smaller, slightly offset 915Hd is the way to go.

 

 

Both the fairway woods and hybrids come with the same shaft options as the driver, minus the Adila Rouge Silver option.

The entire line of clubs will be available in stores starting November 15th. MSRP for the clubs is as follows: drivers - $499, fairway woods - $299, hybrids $269.