Showing posts with label when to change golf clubs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label when to change golf clubs. Show all posts

Monday, February 15, 2021

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. 

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. 

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!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Novo's Golf Adventures: The Stress-Free Golf Swing - Excerpt I Want To S...

Novo's Golf Adventures: The Stress-Free Golf Swing - Excerpt I Want To S...: Here is a small sample from The Stress-Free Golf Swing... First I want you to imagine... - Swinging without a million and one swing tho...

Novo's Golf Adventures: What's in Your Golf Bag?

Novo's Golf Adventures: What's in Your Golf Bag?: Having played golf for at least 40 years, one can only imagine all the different clubs that have been in the bag. Clubs ranging from Pin...

Do You Know How Far Your Clubs Carry?

Knowing how far your clubs carry may sound trivial, but it could make a difference in your game!

Have you ever watched a tournament on TV and heard the Caddy and the Player going over the distances for the next shot? It probably went like this... 151 front, 157 middle, 172 back. We need to hit a carry of 153 with the wind. How do the player and caddy know what club to hit? 

Every year the player goes through a process known as gapping. They know exactly how far each club carries and what most likely will be the roll-out of the ball as well, depending on the type of shot they hit. This process takes a lot of doubt out of the game for them... 

Below is an example of my gapping chart. While not as extensive as a pro's chart, it does give me insight into how far the ball will carry for me on a set of known conditions. It allows me to adjust to conditions such as temperature, wind, and rain. I know that when I'm playing into the wind or downwind what my perfect carry is based on known factors and how to adjust.  

Knowing your distances can save a lot of strokes in any round. The process of gapping does not take up a great deal of time. A couple of practice sessions at the driving range or on an indoor monitor is all it takes. But here's the deal, you have to be honest with the numbers to get true benefit out of the process.

If you notice in my chart, I have recorded three different categories - Normal, Weak, and Strong. I am not looking for the best number that I can hit the ball for each club. For example, I know for a fact that on a perfect day and with a perfect swing I can carry (actually fly minus rollout) a driver 285 yards. But how many perfect days and perfect swings do I have in the bag?

What I want to know is my true distances on average. This helps me decide what club to pull when there is a bunker or a creek setting out there!  I also want to base it on how I feel and how I'm swinging on any given day as well. This is called decision making and course management!

I can honestly say that since I started being true with myself on how far I can hit a ball on average, I pull the correct club more often, I swing the club better, and my scores have decreased. I would highly recommend that everyone go through the process.

If you want more information on the process, drop me a note in the comments section. I'll be happy to send you a bit more detail.

Friday, February 21, 2020

What's in Your Golf Bag?

Having played golf for at least 40 years, one can only imagine all the different clubs that have been in the bag. Clubs ranging from Ping irons, Ping Eye 2s, Wilson Staff Blades, TaylorMade 300s, Adams a2OS, Mizuno MPs, and my latest Mizuno JPX 900 Forged. Surely there is a couple of sets that I missed along the way, but you get the idea. A lot of clubs have been in the bag! This begs the question - Why do we change clubs, especially when the ones we currently have in the bag are probably working just fine?

Is it that we are doing it to keep up with our buddies?

Are we seeking the newest technology that we think will finally get us to where we want to be?

With all the hype on Game Improvement Irons and the Player's Irons, is there a stigma attached to a certain category and we are buying clubs to meet an ideal?

Do we need the latest and greatest to promote who we are?

Knowing what I know and seeing what I have seen - I can tell you for a fact that I know some old-timers, who play clubs that are older than some of the guys I run into on the course, play an incredible round of golf! They are not concerned in the least with how far they hit the ball. They manage the course and let the game come to them. Their equipment is good enough for what they are trying to accomplish - enjoying the game.

Now I am not advocating that you should not buy new equipment from time to time. But I do have to ask - When is the right time to buy new equipment?

Speaking from my own experience, I have looked at changing equipment when I felt my game was changing. There were periods of time that I had time to practice a lot and there were periods in my life there was no time at all. When I practiced and played consistently, I could handle the Wilson Staff Blades I mentioned earlier.  I absolutely loved them! During the time period in my life when I was raising a family and had heavy work commitments, I needed clubs that would give me max forgiveness, i.e., Adams a2os and the Taylormade 300s (best club Taylormade ever produced IMHO). I always tried to match the club to my swing and the game that I was trying to play, and no they weren't always the latest and greatest.

Today, I find myself not hitting the ball as far with the irons as I once did, its an ego thing I guess to have really noticed enough to care. The clubs I play are a generation or so back. It actually took me twelve years to pull the trigger on a new set of irons when I did put them in. I changed for two reasons... First, the swing is slowing down, and second, I wanted the experience of the feel you just can't get outside of forged irons. So what's in the bag now?

Here's my humble bag starting top to down...

Driver: Wilson Staff D7, 9 degrees, UST Mamiya Helium Stiff Shaft (This club went in my bag in 2019 after an unfortunate episode of the head cracking on its predecessor.)

3 Wood: TaylorMade RBZ, 15 degrees, Stock Stiff Shaft ( In the bag for 8 years now, no need to change something that works great!)

Strong 7 Wood: Adams Tight Lies, 24 degrees, SuperShaft Stiff mid-flex ( In the bag since 1998 and will probably be three until it finally dies. Regripped to many times to count! Best rescue club ever!)

2 Iron: TaylorMade 300 Forged, 19 degrees, True Temper Rifle Shaft S flex (In the bag since 2002, partly because most more modern iron sets don't come with a 2 iron. Partly because I just can't part with it, and mostly because it goes for miles in windy conditions.)

4 Iron thru GW: Mizuno JPX 900 Forged: Strong lofted 21 degrees to 50 degrees, N.S. Pro 105 shafts (In the bag since 2018, the feel and accuracy of these irons cannot be overstated. The strong loft on these clubs puts the 19 degrees TaylorMade 2 iron in play nicely.)

Sand Wedge:  Pursuit s510 True Forge: 56 degrees. Bought it because I was curious and it turned out to be a great purchase.

Putter: I own a bunch of them, just ask my wife! But my favorite is still my old PING B60, Circa 1986.

With the exception of the wedges, I really don't see myself upgrading any of this equipment anytime soon. I do see myself hitting the range and getting a short game lesson or two in the near future. The handicap went up a bit last season - Mostly due to the short game. Putting has been the biggest challenge, working on it, and no it's not the equipment (I've tried many a putter!). I am currently playing to an 11.2 handicap. Perhaps with good weather here in Colorado and consistent time on the course, I'll get it back into single digits this year. If it comes to fruition, it certainly won't be because I went out bought the lastest and greatest equipment.