Friday, August 20, 2021

New Clubs!


Well, I went and did it! Back in  May of this year, I bought a new set of irons. The new irons were not bought out of need - they were bought more out of curiosity with a bit of desire for something new and different. I must say that I am pleasantly surprised with how much I truly like the new iron set, especially since they didn't set me back a ton of money. This fact kept me out of the dog house with the spousal unit as well!

So what did I buy? 

After reading a bunch of reviews and examining the cost of new irons, I discovered a little company called "Sub 70." Through my investigation of the company, they were reported to be building custom-fitted clubs that were selling at about half the cost of the name-brand companies, with great performance. Everything I watched and read stoked my curiosity... Since I had just sold my old muscle-back (MBs) irons, I thought this just might be a place to find a replacement set at a reasonable price. 

The model I selected was the 639 MB/CB Black combo set which allows you to select how far into the set you want to play MBs before transitioning into a more forgiving cavity-back (CB). I chose to go Pitching Wedge through 7 iron in the MBs and 6 through 4 iron in the CBs (more on what I'd do differently in just a bit). 

Since I am not exactly a spring chicken anymore, I decided to change a couple things in my specs. I chose to go with a regular shaft for stiffness with a different kick point as well. The shafts on my new clubs are the "KBS Tour V-90." I have got to tell you, I love these shafts for a couple different reasons: First off, they are produced up in Boulder, Colorado (a somewhat local company), and second, they are light and feel amazing. I actually picked up a couple of miles per hour in clubhead speed with this transition. Everything else stayed pretty much the same with my spec - plus 1/2 inch in shaft length and plus 2 degrees upright. I told you Sub 70 customizes to customer's wants, needs, and desires! They even have a demo program if you want to try them out before buying. I kind of wish I had demoed the set before buying them, but I just went with what I knew and trusted that I would like the results (more on this in a bit...). 

I ordered the clubs in black because they just look so great in black! I have never owned a set of black irons and this was a great opportunity to right the ship on that account. The MBs are absolutely stunning in black! The CBs look great as well, but they are not my favorite part of the set, and here comes what I wanted to discuss about what I would have done differently... but before I go there, let me tell you about the ordering process and customer service.

It could not have been any easier to order a set of golf clubs. If you know your fitting specs, just log into Sub 70s website, read through their list of clubs to find the type and style of club you like to play. Once you have made this decision select the shafts and grips that you want and place your order. Bam, you are done! Mine delivered in about 21 days! One more comment on the ordering process... If you think you need help with something, definitely call Sub 70's customer support, they are more than happy to put you in the right club for your game, with the right fit. 

Ok, here it comes... What I would have done differently and why? 

Let me start by saying this - This is a great set of irons! They actually feel as good and approach exceeding my old set of Mizuno irons. The 639s are forged irons and this should be expected of forged irons. What I really like about the set is the PW thru 7 iron MBs. They are workable, forgiving for an MB, and they are long. The MBs gap perfectly at 10 to 15 yards between clubs and I couldn't be happier with this portion of the set. The CBs are a bit different for me and my game... The gap between my 7 iron and 6 iron (the transition from MB to CB) turns out to be a bit different, more like 15 to 20+ yards with the occasional explosive - "Where did that come from shot?" The CBs are hot, to say the least!

Additionally, the CBs are a bit bigger than the MBs. If you are a CB player and you like a bit larger head in your irons, these will fit the bill. To me, they remind me of an oversized Taylormade 300 from the early 2000s. A club that I loved because of the scale of the clubhead size (smaller). In retrospect, I wish I had demoed the CBs before going with the combo set... I think I overthought where I was in my game, thinking that I was getting a bit older and could use the help of the CB. I really am an MB player and should probably stick with that style of iron. Yes, while the Sub 70 CB iron is a great club, if I had it to do all over again, I would have just ordered the 639 MB set through 4 iron. 

Now, for the final thing I would have done differently... I would not have ordered the clubs in black! The black is not wearing well. My go-to iron, the 7 iron is beginning to look a bit tattered after five months of play. While the black finish is awesome at first, you'll find that scuffs and face marks become noticeable fairly quickly. While the finish deterioration is a fact of life, the clubs still perform fantastically!  You could do a lot worse than buy a set of Sub 70 irons! And pay a lot more for them as well! I'm keeping mine! However, I probably will be putting in an order for the 6 thru 4 iron in the MB soon to replace the CBs. 

To sum up my experience... I would highly recommend that you give Sub 70 a look if you are in the market for a great set of clubs that won't set you back a ton of money! Use their demo program to get things correct, and have no buyer's remorse - You will be getting a great playable set of irons! Ciao!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Trust But Verify


Ok, here's a funny story for you...

Every new golf season I take my own advice and get the loft and lies checked on my forged Mizuno irons. Like clockwork! Well, this year was no exception only this year has a twist. 

After having my lofts and lies done I began playing fairly regularly. I noticed that I began to pull hook the ball or I would end up hitting the ball out of the toe that went nowhere! It wasn't every shot but on occasion, this was definitely occurring. I started thinking that maybe during the long layoff I had from the game over the winter, I just needed more practice or a tune-up lesson from the local pro. And indeed I did begin a more regimented practice routine to fix the problem. I even had the local pro take a look at my delivery, which was of no help! 

During my third round of league play, everything seemed to be going great. I was on track to shoot par when on two back-to-back holes I managed to find the club's toe. I'm talking toe when I say toe! Two shots that went straight down the middle of the fairway and very short of my intended target. I looked over at one of my playing partners on the second occurrence and asked if I did something different in my swing. He said no, but when was the last time I had my forged iron's loft and lies checked. I told him about three weeks ago. He said really? How were you hitting your clubs before you got them re-lofted? Straight down the middle with a slight draw was my response. Hum, is all he said in response. This definitely got me thinking about what was done to my clubs in the Pro Shop. 

Now here's the twist... 

I took my clubs to a trusted friend that happens to work in the golf department at Dick's Sporting Goods. I told him what was happening with the toe strikes and also told him that I had just had my clubs checked to be two degrees up, which is my spec. When we got the clubs on the machine and started measuring them, to my surprise, every club was two degrees flat. When I went in to get my clubs adjusted the last time I just dropped them off and then went in and picked them up afterward. I thought I was in good hands with the Pro Shop Wrench. Big mistake! I didn't ask any questions. I didn't go to the range to test them out. I just trusted that the guy would perform the task as required. Never again! I chalk this up as my mistake! 

The moral of this story is as the title of the post suggests - "Trust But Verify" that you are getting what you requested done to your clubs. Don't take for granted that the guy who's been repairing clubs for forty years always gets it right. People have been known to make mistakes no matter what their level of proficiency is. I'm sure he made a simple mistake when he read the service order. This is another lesson learned in my golf adventures. Next time I'll definitely make sure that what I requested to have done is done correctly. After spending money and time figuring all this out, my clubs are in great shape for the new season. 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Ramblings Of An Old Golfer

 Have you ever questioned why you play the game of golf? I have, especially now that have officially become a senior golfer. I have this impending fear that I'm slowing down. I don't hit the golf ball as far as I once did in my youth. While this may be true, my golf IQ is as high or higher than it has ever been. On a good day, I can still play with the younger crowd but I sometimes hang my head when I'm reaching for the six iron and the kid that I'm paired with is pulling his nine. Is this ego or hubris talking to me? I don't know? 

I work hard at playing the best golf I can. Noticing that my distance is dropping off just a bit, I went out and bought a golf launch monitor to help in my practice sessions to improve my swing, especially my swing speed. The thing I enjoy most about the monitor is it reminds me that I have a solid swing when in tempo, displaying a very good smash factor for the speed that I do produce. Am I overanalyzing my ability to play the game of golf? Am I concentrating on the correct areas of the game to maintain and improve my golf game? 

When I was younger I got a good lesson in the game of golf. I was taught that if I could be good from the green out to a hundred to one hundred and fifty yards that I could play with anyone. The short game focus is truly the way the game was meant to be played, in my humble opinion. Lately, my focus has been on how much my drive distances seem to be comparatively speaking to my playing partners. Why should I care? I still have the ability to get up and down and play par golf. 

Today there is so much focus on stokes gained in the distance game. Statics show that the closer to the green you can place your ball, the lower your scoring should be. But is it a realistic goal for the average golfer to hit the ball as long as you humanly can? I'm not sure. But it is nice to watch a perfectly struck drive get out there, isn't it! The sad part of this equation is that over swinging to achieve this goal usually puts you in the trees or the deep stuff that leads to a layup anyways! 

After writing these few paragraphs I think I've made a breakthrough. While I will continue to use the launch monitor to eke out a little more swing speed and distance, I'm going to go back to concentrating on what truly makes my game enjoyable, the short game. I think accepting what I produce off the tee box and then working out a strategy to getting up and down is probably the right way to play the game, at least for me. I'll concentrate on swinging in tempo, hitting fairways, and getting the ball in the hole once I'm on the green. In the words of David Byrne of the Talking Heads, "Same as it ever was!"

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Purchased With Skepticism - My New Launch Monitor

 Well, I finally did it! I bought myself a new launch monitor. The reason is simple, I needed something to train with. It seems that the old swing has been slowing down a bit. I've noticed that I've been losing a bit of distance lately and I needed a way to monitor a couple things like swing speed, ball speed, distance info, and smash factor (swing efficiency). 

I know the things that I listed are fairly basic but if you don't have access to a home simulator or GC Quad, these are the basic bits of information you need to work on improving your game. The other factor for my buying the device I bought, with just the basics, is the old home front budget. I don't think the spousal unit would be up for me spending thousands of dollars on a simulator or a very expensive launch monitor. 

After reading several reviews and pricing out different devices, I came across just what I was looking for... for the best price I could find. What I settled on was the PRGR Portable Launch Monitor. It sells for under 200 dollars! I got a really great price, well below the number I just mentioned through my search efforts. Drop me a line and I'll tell you where I got it. 

Now, I can't tell you how happy I am with the PRGR. It does exactly what I was hoping it would do and it does it very well with a couple of exceptions. The exceptions are minor but they do exist. While hitting into my home net, to get an accurate distance measurement I find I must be hitting at least 10 to 15 feet from the net. I don't know why, but that is the way it works. The other glaring shortcoming of the device is on the short end of the bag. It does not cope well with full wedge shorts. I don't know if it has to do with launch angles or what but it just doesn't cope well with full wedge shots. Other than these two items, I can't say anything truly bad about the device. It does what it was built to do and does it very well. 

One of the things I like most about the devices is that it is compact, lightweight, and it fits nicely in my golf bag or my pants pocket. It's about the size of my iPhone SE which is very compact. Another thing I like about the PRGR is the fact that I don't need to be hitting golf balls to work on my swing speed. It reads the speed of the clubface using Doppler radar and provides the actual speed of the club. I find this to be very cool and convenient!  I can work on swing speed without ever reaching for a golf ball. 

The PRGR is not just a one-trick pony. You can use it to provide speed measurement for sports other than golf. It has a baseball mode as well. You can measure the speed of a baseball bat, a pitch, or even the speed of a soccer ball if you like. For my purposes though, I think it will be primarily for golf, but you never know! 

To sum things up, if you are looking for a portable launch monitor that you can take with you to the course, the practice range, or your home training net - I highly recommend you give the PRGR a try! For the price, you just can't beat it! Thanks and happy fairways! 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

An Affordable Laser Range Finder


Well, I finally found what I was looking for - An affordable golf laser range finder and I think I've fallen in love with it! I've always relied on GPS data from the likes of Golfshot and Garmen to give me my yardages. However, I've always admired the range finders that my playing partners were using, along with the fact they could nail down yardages a bit more precise than my GPS device. The biggest drawback in my acquiring a range finder is the fact that I had already invested in GPS and that they appeared to be a bit pricy for my liking. So, I went on a search for a highly recommended device at an affordable price for under $150 US. To my amazement, I found what I was looking for, a simple yet very highly rated device.

During my search, I shopped just about all the big box stores and almost pulled the trigger at a couple of them, to buy what they had, but I was on a quest. I was on a quest to find the best laser range finder I could get that had great reviews as well as a couple of features that I felt I couldn't live without. Let me explain...

I needed something with a minimum of 4x magnification and stabilization. Since I tend to play golf in any kind of weather and any time of the year, I needed it to be water-resistant and have vibration control, especially for those cold days that I'm freezing with hypothermia and shaking all over the place. I didn't care if it displayed slop or not because I think most golfers, or at least, I can tell if I'm dealing with any slope, the degree well that's another matter. I simply add or subtract a couple yards using the TLAR method (that looks about right!) when dealing with slope. As long as I know the front, back, and middle distances I feel fairly comfortable. 

Here's what I found:

  • A premium product, measuring up to 650 yards.
  • Premium, ultra-clear, easy read, through the lens display with distance and low battery indicator, and continuous measurement mode for fast and convenient measurements.
  • Lightweight, portable, and durable, weighing just 1lb with a rain-resistant, durable body, perfect for carrying while golfing or hunting or for measuring and surveying without extra weight or bulk.
  • Full package, Complete rangefinder package for quick setup, including premium carrying pouch, wrist strap, microfiber cleaning cloth, and an additional magnetic strap to attach to any buggy, and an easy-to-read quick start guide. Note: uses two AAA batteries that you can get easily at any shopping center.
  • Two years VIP warranty and lifetime customer support
  • I found nothing but positive reviews on the device.

Below is a picture of the device:

DNC Golf Laser Rangefinder, 6X Magnification, 650 Yards, Target Lock, Continuous Scan,Vibration Alert, Noise Filtration, IPX5 Water Resistance

Since acquiring my range finder I have used it on multiple outings and I'm very happy to say, it works great! I verified all my measurements the first couple of times out by comparing them with GPS data. It seems to be tight! The thing I like best about the device is its size and the way it feels in the hand. I love the adjustable viewfinder which allows me to correct for my vision, as do I wear glasses. All in all, I would rate this little device very high, especially for the price. Oh yes, the price, I haven't told you what I paid for it have I? Well standby, and don't fall over! I paid $69.99 for it over on Amazon. 

If you are looking for a nice very affordable laser range finder to help you improve your golfing performance, you need not look any further than the DNC Golf Laser Rangefinder. 

Friday, March 12, 2021

Ability To Play MB Blades - Who Can Play Them?

 Ok, since all the craziness in the world has happened, i.e., Covid 19 and the fact that we've all been spending more time at home, I've been spending a bit of time watching YouTube videos. As evident by this blog page, I am consumed with golf - any and everything golf. With this being the case, I have been watching a lot of reviews on golf clubs as I may be in the market for a fresh set of custom clubs soon. I'm am particularly interested in a fresh set of bladed/muscle-back irons and to my dismay, I've come across many videos discussing how only pros or top ams can/should play them. After watching all those videos discussing  "should/can mid-handicapper play blades," my conclusion is - there is a lot of opinions on the topic that I just don't agree with. 

Up until the mid to late 70s when Ping/Kristen introduced the cavity-back iron, no one knew of any golf club other than a blade/muscle-back (MB) iron. We all had to learn how to hit a golf ball using a bladed iron. Did that keep anyone with a mind to play golf from learning how to hit them? No! Many weekend warrior golfers have played golf with blades to great success and enjoyment. I think there is a lot of emphasis on farther, faster and higher going on in the golf industry today, catering to an audience that has bought into it, hook, line, and sinker. It's no longer about course management and short-game improvement. "Let's all just bomb it down there and see what happens" is the new game. 

I have tried to get on the bandwagon of easier clubs to hit but I just can't make the shift to game improvement irons, even player forged distance irons, which I own a set of, feel unwieldy to me with their hotter face, larger sole, and cranked lofts.  Personally, I find the new generation of golf clubs unappealing. They mask imperfections in my swing and make mishits an even bigger issue than they are with my MBs. 

Everyone seems to fear blades/MB irons -why? On one of the coldest days of the year that I've played golf in a while, I decided to take my 20-year-old set of MBs to the course. All I heard from the guys in the clubhouse was how miserable I was going to be playing the MBs in the weather. I hear all the time how unforgiving the MBs are and how there just isn't any distance in them compared to modern designed clubs. All I have to say in response is - "you've never tried to play them, have you?" Oh, I almost forgot to tell you, I had my best round in months. 

So, getting to the topic of this post... Who should/can play blades? I think anyone can play them regardless of handicap. If you have a developed swing that allows you to hit the ball fairly consistently you should give them consideration. If you are looking for more consistency in dispersion from front to back carry of your ball, you should absolutely give them a go. If you are looking to improve your swing, you can find no better place than MB blades to find what you are looking for... If you are a beginner, I say this, if you can learn the game on blades and hit them consistently, there is not a club in the world you will not be able to hit! Blades are sweet little chunks of metal at the end of a stick that send the ball where you aim it. 

As you can tell, I'm in love with the shinny MB bladed iron. I have no problem stepping up to any tee box with my buddies, most with their strong lofted clubs and pulling the numbered club in my bag that matches the loft of theirs and hitting with ease. The number on the bottom of the club is not important to me. I do not need an 8 iron that travels 180 yards. I rely on the consistency of the clubs that I play, not the loft to stroke my ego, fooling me into thinking I can hit the ball like Tiger. With blades, if you need more distance, pull a higher numbered club. If you gap them in properly, I think you will find that each club is about 10 to 15 yards further down the fairway than the next lower club. That is called consistency. 

Well, it's all out of my system now... All the things I wanted to say to the guys in the video have been said. The biggest thing about golf is to enjoy the game no matter what clubs you are playing. But please, don't buy into all the rhetoric that the average golfer can't or should not play Blades/MBs. Most of the people espousing this opinion are addressing their own fears. Play the clubs you want and I'll see you on the course, the average guy playing his most forgiving MBs. Until the next time... Play well. 

Monday, March 8, 2021

Getting Ready For A New Season!

Well, the weather has been getting a bit nicer here in Colorado; and it's time to start putting things together for the new golf season. The question is, have we given consideration to what equipment we are putting in the bag? Like many of us, some of you may not be planning on gaming new clubs this year. This is understandable considering the cost of new equipment these days.  Well then, if you're not considering new clubs, are your tried and trusted older clubs in good enough shape to face this year's golf season? What needs to be accomplished to ensure your clubs are ready to go? 

The first place to start is where the connection between the human and the golf club begins. In a previous post to this blog, we described in great detail the ordeal of replacing grips so we won't get too much into the details of the physical aspects of grip replacement. But a great starting place in the determination of whether your clubs are ready to go is the grips. Are they getting a bit shinny and slick? If so, you might consider a small investment into new grips - something you can do it yourself if you have enough bandaids lying around... However, if you think you might be able to salvage your existing grips, you might want to try a good bathing of the grips. This might bring some tack back into them. Another thing the old-timers used to do, especially if you are playing cords, is a very light sanding of the grip with some very light sandpaper. Cords love to get roughed up a bit. 

The next recommendation comes from personal experience. If you play forged irons, and you played them for more than one or two seasons - It may be time to get the lofts and lies checked to see if they are still in spec. Yes, lofts and lies are set at the factory or by your fitter but they can be worked out of spec, especially if you are a range rat pounding them into submission on the mats. If you are a fairly consistent striker of the ball and all of a sudden you find that you are toeing or healing your iron shots, it may be time for checking the lofts and lies of your clubs. Lofts and lies can easily be taken care of at any professional golf shop or clubhouse where there is a guy known as a fitter. The cost isn't all that expensive and having your clubs back in your spec will make the game a lot more enjoyable. 

A couple of final comments on getting and keeping your clubs in good shape include examining your groves, cleaning your clubs, and periodic polishing to keep them in great shape. Have you ever join a group or another individual and noticed that you couldn't see the face of their clubs. What was your impression? Do you think the club works as efficiently as it should when it's covered in muck? Probably not. To extend the life of a golf club you must maintain it. Have you ever played with guys that have a couple of clubs in their bags that they have been gaming for over 20 years? Imagine, 20-year-old clubs well maintain and cared for, what a return on investment. With the cost of equipment these days, why would not want to care for the equipment that you own? 

Hopefully, we've presented a couple of useful ideas for getting your golf bag in shape for the new season. May the 2021 golf year be your best golfing year ever... Until next time - Hit um well!

Friday, February 19, 2021

Make Your Clubs Feel New Again!

Since my last trip to the golf course, the weather has been rather cold and snowy. With not much to do because of Covid, one spends a great deal of time online visiting club reviews and researching new equipment. There sure is a lot of eye candy out there! 

Well, I keep my clubs back in our home office... I just appreciate having them around. The old blades are starting to look a little tattered with the worn grips from hours of time at the practice range and my net setup outback. Even my newer set of clubs are starting to look a little tired. And yes, I started thinking about replacing one or the other set of clubs, all because they aren't new any longer. They still perform well however and I think I was just looking at all the nice neat new stuff! Not because any new equipment is really going to improve my game much. So, I got to thinking about why I was even looking at new equipment. "Isn't there something I could do to make the equipment that I currently own new and exciting again?" The answer is certainly yes... So I began a quest to make my old stuff look and feel new again! 

The first thing I did was give all of my clubs a thorough cleaning. I'm not talking about setting my clubs in a bucket of water and hoping they come clean. I'm talking toothbrush clean! This gave me a chance to really examine my clubs up close and personal to make sure every grove looks its best and is its sharpest. I even polished them for the first time in some time. Then I set them aside for a day or two... Mistake. I went right back to club reviews... 

This time however I started watching reviews on club refreshing, including grip maintenance and replacement. Grip replacement is something I use to do religiously! Yearly as a matter of fact. Easy enough, I ordered new grips, not just any grips, grips that I had wished I'd bought when I originally ordered my clubs and never had put on even with other grip changes (I'm a bit cheap at times I guess). I've always loved cords and that's what I ordered. 

It took a better part of a week for the new grips to get here and this gave me a chance to get all my regripping equipment put together, including a new hook-bladed razor knife for cutting the grips off my clubs Be careful with razors my mother use to tell me! There's a story here that I might share in a moment... 

The day the new grips arrived was like Christmas! Twenty-six new grips, a thirty pack of grip tapes, and some solvent - what more could a boy ask for! Now it's been a while since I've done my own regripping, done lots in the past but it's been a while. I still have my technique and everything, but it's been a while... and my new hook-bladed razor knife, well it's new. The last thing my wife said to me before I got started was and quote "Bob, you should wear gloves while working with that knife!", to which I totally ignored. Bad mistake, I should have listened. With the first cut to remove the first grip, I managed to slice my finger to the bone. I totally don't know how my finger got in the way of that knife? Anyway, the next thing I did was to humbly run into my wife's women's cave with my hand spewing blood and politely asked if she could help me out with a couple bandaids!

The moral of the story is - always listen to your wife and, always wear gloves when cutting off grips!

Once I got patched up, I continued and think I regrip every club we own. Yes, including the wife's clubs and yes, with a sliced-up finger. 

So, where was I? Oh yes, making my clubs feel fresh and new again... I can honestly say that all the work and enjoyment of refreshing my golf clubs have worked in giving me a fresh opinion of the equipment I already own. I don't think either set of my clubs is going anywhere except the golf course for some time to come. The look and feel of my equipment are great. I saved a ton of money and appreciate what I already have more than ever. Until next time... Don't attempt to cut your finger off and try a refresh instead of giving in to that urge to buy new equipment. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Make A Change Instead Of A Large Purchase - That IS The Question

I have been struggling with consistency with my driver for about six months now. What I'm struggling with most is locating the center of the club. The difficultly lies in not having a good feel for where the head of the club is in relation to body movement and rotation. I just don't have any feel for the clubhead. Actually, this has been going on ever since I was fitted for a new 46-inch driver. 

Rather than going into the name brand of the driver, I'll just list the physical characteristic of the problem child (I don't want anyone to think it is the manufacture's fault or that I think it's a bad driver). I think the problem lies in the fit of the club to the operator. I've always had my driver fit at exactly 45-inches at 9 degrees and D8 for as long as I can remember. In my excitement to get a new driver, I was convinced that a 46-inch driver might provide a little more distance. I'm not convinced that this true any longer. But hey, I got a great price on this piece of experiment. Anyway, the specs on the longer driver are as follows: 

        - 46-inch shaft 

        - 59-gram weight UST Helium Stiff Shaft

        - 460 composite head

        - Lamkin Crossline Superlite Grip

        - Swing weight D2 (I think? I could not prove it with the feeling I get. Horrible! Way too lite. I should weigh it for myself, just to know the real numbers) 

What I'm finding is that on occasion, when I find the middle of the club I can carry this club about 275 yards (about 5 yards longer than my old dependable driver) but the dispersion consists of pull hooks, push draws, and in an attempt to control it - fades! With my old 45-inch titanium-headed Cobra driver, my stock shot was about a 3-yard draw. My old Cobra always just felt great, an old friend and someone I could depend on. But now, with the longer and lighter driver, I find myself pulling a 2-iron or a 3-wood when one or the other is in the bag due to the poor performance with the driver. I've tried a couple of other drivers recently and true them when set to my old spec. It's not the driver, it's the fit and the inability of the operator to adjust to the increased length and lighter weight.


I really don't want to buy another driver this year! But riding the Dragon with this driver is not fun! Since I sold the old Cobra I'm thinking of modifying what might be a super driver in someone else's bag! Looking at my options here, I could cut down the 46 by an inch but this would make the club swing weight even lighter. For every quarter inch I take off the shaft I'm reducing swing weight by about 2 swing weights, making this an even more unwieldy monster! The big issue here is, I'm looking at having to add 16-20 grams of weight to the bottom of a club that has no adjustable weight port on the bottom of a 460 head - just to get it back to the original swing weight. Ouch! Can I put that much lead tape on the bottom of the club? It would be a messy-looking mutt, to say the least. 

Rather than using the lead tape, I probably should pull the head and go the weight insert route. I could also probably find a super, super light grip to reduce bottom-weight requirements.  Looks like this money-saving idea of mine is turning into a project! The only saving grace to the project is, I have all the equipment to do it. I can do all the work myself but do I want to? I just don't want to invest another $300-500 dollars on a new driver! I don't know what the expense and time requirement of sending it to the manufacturer for a refit is, but this might be an option as well. 

I guess there is a moral to this story. Don't get caught up in the latest and greatest trend. It will cost you money and enjoyment of the game. I should have gone with what works for me, not the recommendation on the fitter who worked with me for a couple hours. Let me know what you think? 

Monday, February 15, 2021

Novo's Golf Adventures: Review of the Top Flite Gamer Golf Ball

Novo's Golf Adventures: Review of the Top Flite Gamer Golf Ball: The Top Flite Gamer golf ball is marketed to provide a good distance with the driver, feel soft off the wedges with a decent spin around the...

Do Muscle-back Irons Have Relevance Today?

Although my gamer irons have the name Mizuno affixed to them, they are not bladed muscle-back irons. While still a forged iron, my Mizuno's are packed with distance, forgiveness, and technology.  While not the longest irons they are a modern golfer's iron.

Flashback, imagine that your only options in golf equipment are a huge cavity back offset iron or a hunk of metal at the end of a stick - referred to as the blade or muscle-back,. Which way would you go in selecting a club? For me, it's the muscle-back blade that holds all the beauty and memories of rounds past. 

My old Golfsmith IR 600b Muscle-back Irons / Circa 2005

With all the advancements in technology in golf, why would anyone want to play a bladed iron? I still own a set of blades from about 15 years ago. They are a complete set of 3-GW irons with very traditional lofts. The six iron is 32 degrees with little to no offset to give you a proper example. I've seen modern clubs where the 8 iron had as much loft. When I compare my blades with my Mizuno JPX 900 Forged irons, the blades seem tiny! The sweet spot on the blades is somewhat of a mystery to me when I'm not on my game. But still...

There is something special about blades, almost romantic. If you've ever played blades and you managed to find them out of the middle, you know there is no greater feeling. And the clubs themselves are so damn sexy. Nothing compares to a new shiny bladed iron, nothing! 

So, my question at the onset is, "Do bladed muscle-back irons have relevance in today's golfing world?". Perhaps I can make a case for blades in the world of farther, faster, crazy distance and technology. 

The simple bladed iron is the Purest's answer to a world gone mad. It requires mastery at a pace that today's modern golfer may not have time for. But there's hope... The bladed iron when played well offers the ability to work the ball with a bit more ease than the modern high-tech iron. While it may be a bit intimidating to play a blade, what it offers above all else is consistency, both in distance and dispersion. It may not go as far as today's powerful clubs, but what you don't get is the surprising jump in the distance that modern clubs sometimes give you. And who cares if you can hit a strong lofted 8 iron 180 yards if goes out of bounds or flying over the green. I know for a fact that the distance between each of my bladed irons carries about 10 yards of distance give or take a couple of yards. With my modern cavity back clubs, the ball can jump as far as 20 yards or more at times. I consider the loft and presumed weakness of my blades a consistent friend... When playing with my modern irons, I still have bladed wedges in the bottom end of my bag for this very reason! 

So, do blades have a place in the modern game of golf? I advocate they do! I think a lot of golfers would benefit from using them, at least in the bottom end of the bag, say GW thru at least 8 iron where they are easier to manage. I'm sure the consistency of the blade would bring down some handicaps. Another place that blades could offer some game improvement is on the practice range. Learning to find the center of a blade would improve many a swing. 

Once again, I'll drag out my old and trusted blades for another golf season. They'll probably see a good portion of my play this year. I'm trying to embrace the modern club, but my heart still pulls me to the blade. In preparation for a new season on the links, new grips are going on the worn blades. Still beautiful even with the scars of battle throughout the years. 

Review of the Top Flite Gamer Golf Ball

The Top Flite Gamer golf ball is marketed to provide a good distance with the driver, feel soft off the wedges with a decent spin around the greens. In addition, this ball is said to have excellent durability, unlike the previous model ball. The ball is advertised as a premium golf ball competitor at a price point the average golfer will enjoy and can afford. 

Looking at the construction of the golf ball, we can see that it is a three-piece golf ball consisting of an outer soft isomer cover over an enter layer Dupont HPF mantle to reduce driver and long-iron spin, and a low compression high energy core to create a soft feel and create distance. A unique feature of the ball is the outer cover dimple within a dimple design, an aerodynamic design stated to enhance carry distance (see picture below). Overall, it is a great looking golf ball. 

Let me start out this review by saying I have no monetary interest in Top Flight, i.e., I'm not sponsored by anyone. What led to this review is that several years back I played what I believe was the original Gamer. That ball fit my game perfectly giving great distance and a soft enough feel around the greens. Then the manufacture of the ball changed and while the Gamer retained a soft feel, it did lose its distance characteristics. I switched over to a different ball, playing different versions of the Titleist Pro V. An expensive venture, to say the least. I also experimented with varying versions of Srixon's offerings. As a matter of fact, the Srixon Z Star up to this point in time is probably one of my favorites. Still in the bag and still a bit expensive for a guy on a budget. 

Based upon other favorable reviews, I played my first full round with this new Gamer ball today to gauge for myself this golf ball's merits. I found that drives were consistent in both distance and accuracy when compared to my current golf ball. It felt good off my long and short irons, wedges, and what struck me the most was how soft it felt off the putter. I had a really nice time with this ball on the greens with its soft feel. As a matter of fact, around the greens is where I enjoyed this ball the most. It has a good spin when chipping and is workable as well. Off the putter, the ball feels like butter and rolls consistently toward where it is sent. 

For a durability test, I used the greenside bunker where I hit 10 shots with the same ball. All I can say is, I was impressed! The cover of the ball experienced only minor scuffing. Nothing that would cause me to take the ball out of play. So yes, this ball is durable in my opinion.

To sum it up -This is a great golf ball for the price point!  Forget price point, this is just an all around great golf ball for the average golfer. You can't beat it, especially when you consider the cost of other competitor's three and four-piece golf balls. I think I've found my new gamer! 

At the time of this review, one major retailer was selling two boxes of 12 golf balls for around $32.00 dollars. Normally, you'll pay somewhere in the neighborhood $23.00 dollars for a box of 12. I think you can find a good deal on these balls on Amazon as well. 

 If you are looking for a new gamer you might want to check it out. The Top Flite Gamer a solid performing golf ball!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Stop Trying To Hole Putts!

- Do This Instead... Stop trying to hole putts. Isn't that what you're meant to do? Well, yes and no. When you're putting your goal should be for the ball to go in the hole. But here's the thing... 

Have you ever hit a putt that you thought was perfect but for some reason, the ball didn't fall in? So what happened -- didn't you try hard enough? Maybe if you tried a bit harder the ball would have gone in. 

Obviously, that's stupid thinking. But when I watch a lot of people putting, they are trying really hard! I'm not pointing fingers either, because recently I've been guilty of this too. Everyone knows with putting that there's luck involved. You can hit a perfect putt and the ball may not go in. You can hit a putt that you swear was going to miss and it goes in. So why do we steer putts? 

When you watch the pros on T.V, very rarely do you see them steer putts. They put a nice stroke on the ball, hold their finish, and watch the outcome. But most "average" golfers stroke the ball, never hold their finish, and are trying to guide the ball into the hole with their putter and body. Or in other words, trying too hard. 

Look, when you putt you shouldn't overemphasize that you are trying to hole the putt. You shouldn't say things like "I need to hole this" or "come on, try really hard to hole this". That sort of thinking creates tension. And when you're tense while putting, for some reason the ball does not fall in. Instead, here's what you should do. 

Pick a line and pace for each putt and focus on hitting the putt along the line you've chosen with good speed, then let the outcome take care of itself. Instead of trying to hole the putt, you should be trying to do the task of putting as well as you can. Then, again, let the outcome take care of itself. 

What I'm talking about is focus. Focus on something you can control, e.g. your putting routine, your putting stroke, your mental attitude, your line, your speed. Don't focus on something you can't control, i.e. trying to hole the ball. Do this the next time you putt and you will hole more putts without trying. 

The concepts of tension and focus relate to every shot you play. For example,  if you're overly tense and steering your putts, you're more than likely going to be overly tense on your drives, your iron shots, your pitch shots, your chip shots, bunker shots, etc. 

If as you're reading this and thinking about your golf game, you may see yourself steering your shots and feeling tense at the end of your swings, then this is a major problem for you. And the only way you're going to improve your golf game is by learning how to hit shots with ONLY the necessary amount of tension. 

The Excessive Tension Test 

If after your shots you feel really tense or are moving your body around trying to steer the ball, then you've swung with too much tension. You will never enjoy playing golf or play up to your true potential if you continue to do that. 

The Golf Swing

The golf swing.

It's probably the most analyzed, dissected and debated movement of any sport.

One person likes Tiger Woods' swing, another person hates it.

One person likes Sergio Garcia's swing, another person hates it.

One person likes Ben Hogan's swing, another person hates it.

So is there ONE perfect golf swing?

Well, it depends on how you define a perfect golf swing.

If you look at the aesthetics of a golf swing then no, there is no perfect golf swing, because everyone has a different opinion.

So let's look at this in a different way.

Imagine this if you will...

You go to the PGA Championship driving range, which has arguably the best field in golf. And you go to the practice range to watch the best golfers in the world hit balls.

If you did that you would quickly notice that all of them hit it great.

You could have Jim Furyk hitting shots next to Rory McIlroy, and although Rory will no doubt be hitting it further than Jim, you'd notice that Jim hits it straight, far and consistent.

So would you swap your golf swing for Jim Furyk's?

If you just looked at the swing without seeing the result, most people would not swap their swing. But when you see the result of the swing, any amateur golfer would happily swap their swing with Jim's.

What I'm saying is that the results matter, not the way the swing looks.

But here's the problem for the average golfer when it comes to the golf swing.

Jim Furyk has hit thousands of balls to groove his unorthodox swing so that he hits the ball long and straight. Equally, so has Rory McIlroy.

There would NOT be a player on the PGA Tour that hasn't hit thousands of balls. So you could reasonably say, to hit the ball consistently long and straight then you need to hit thousands of balls.

That's a fact (but there is a shortcut, stay tuned for that).

The amount of balls pro's hit is common knowledge. And sadly a lot of amateur golfers wrongly think they need to just hit more golf balls too. But they're wrong. Because if you were to just hit more balls you would not get better, and in fact, you would probably just get worse.


Because by practicing more you would just make your bad habits even more ingrained.

You see, for the pro's, even though some of them have funny looking swings, they have figured out what it takes for them to return the club to a good impact position time after time.

If you haven't figured that out yet, then just beating balls is not going to help you.

Instead, if you really want to improve your ball striking you need to change your swing and then practice more (again, I have a shortcut).

To change your swing you need to.....

1. Have a clear idea in your mind as to how you want to swing, and

2. Groove that swing over and over again.

The fact is, if you want to improve your ball striking you need to change your swing, so that you get to impact consistently in a great position so the ball goes long and straight,


Then you need to groove that new swing over and over again, so that out on the golf course you just automatically swing great. So there is a perfect swing for you, you just need to find it. Everybody is an individual and every swing is individual. A perfect swing for someone else will not necessarily be a perfect swing for you. So there's not 'one' perfect swing, but there is a perfect swing for you.

I'm sure this all makes complete sense to you, but there's a couple of big problems.

The first is how are you meant to change your swing so it's perfect for you? And the second is how are you going to find the time to hit thousands of balls in order to groove that swing into a habit?

Well, I've discovered a massive shortcut to both of those problems. And I have put together a new program to teach you how to find the perfect golf swing for you, and then groove that golf swing over and over again in the minimum amount of time.

There is nothing out there like this new method of improving your golf swing. It's a revolutionary breakthrough in golf instruction. So if you want to FINALLY hit the ball longer, straighter and more consistently without the need to hit thousands of balls, go here to find out more.

Friday, February 12, 2021

 Reflections on a Golf Season!

Where to begin? 2020 was a difficult year for us all  - Covid 19 bashed many a dream. The plans that were made and not kept were immeasurable. The only bright side to any of 2020 for me personally was the fact that the golf courses remained open... 

The golf course served as a refuge for many of us. Sanity and fellowship with other human beings was a godsend. Now to say the fact that I was able to get out on the course made me a better player in 2020 would be a stretch, My handicap actually climbed about 4 strokes in 2020. Sure, I had some great rounds but there were those really bad ones as well. There were times when I was on the course just for the simple fact that there was nothing else to do. This is not how I wish to approach the game. There were other things that lead to the poor rounds that I endured. Things like losing my comfort in hitting certain clubs, injury, and general lethargy in my approach to the game I love so much. 

Well, the 2021 season has begun and I for one have set myself a couple of goals. Firstly, I want to continue to enjoy the game. Secondly, I truly intend on getting back in touch with the clubs that I struggled with at times last year. Third, I want to get the handicap back down a couple of strokes. I do have a plan...  

I've decided to practice with intention, paying a bit more attention to the short game. Additionally, I think I'll seek out the advice of a professional. It's been a while since I last had a lesson! I'm also going to take a good long look at my equipment.

I know for a fact that my grips on either set of my clubs are not in the best of shape. The attachment of the hands to the golf club can make all the difference in the world. Besides, I have corded grips on one set and dry tacks on the other. I really prefer the cords over the dry tacks, so why don't I have to on both sets of my clubs? I'm almost positive that the consistency of the grips will make an improvement. I'm thinking of changing my putter grip as well. The old Ping is begging for a regrip... 

One more thing that I have to do before we get too far down the road is getting the loft and lies checked. I beat the crap of many a golf mat last season. I'm sure that the loft and lies of my forged clubs are nowhere near the spec that they were built to are true. 

Enough rambling... What are your goals for the 2021 season? Do you want to lower your handicap? Be more consistent? Have you given it a thought? Setting goals can be fun and may bring about the change you are looking for. Until next, cheers!