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Nine Holes with the Golfing Presidents

Nov. 9, 2012     By     Comments (2)

ProfilesIt's political season, and if you thought you could get away from it even in the golf world, think again. There's a long history, stemming back to the early days of golf in this country, of U.S. Presidents spending their down time on the links.

As the business community has shown us, the golf course is a great way to schmooze clients and get business done on the go, and at the very worst it's five hours of walking and staring at your phone.

From President Clinton's "footwedge" to the Eisenhower Tree, let's take a look at the most notable White House golfers.

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Five Observations From the 2012 Ryder Cup

Oct. 10, 2012     By     Comments (1)

Trap Five LogoUnless you've been living under a rock that doesn't get WiFi for the last few days, you've likely heard the story of how the United States lost the Ryder Cup. Leading the European team 10-6 going into the Sunday singles matches, the U.S. got off to a slow start, and although they did manage to knock over a few dominoes in the middle of the day, a par putt on the 18th green gave the victory in the penultimate match to former world number one Martin Kaymer.

The normal Ryder Cup formula was reversed, in that the Euros got down in team play and made it up in the singles. The U.S. team, which looked poised to clinch the Cup well before the so-called anchors of Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods came down the stretch, was set up well, with it's high-energy youngsters starting off play.

But in the end, the Stateside team was no match for, as I put it last week, Ian Poulter's fist-pumps and patriotism.

Breaking Down the 2012 Ryder Cup

Sep. 26, 2012     By     Comments (3)

Trap Five LogoGoing into the 2012 Ryder Cup, there isn’t a noticeable chasm between the two teams. The Euros have the hottest player in the world over the last two months in Rory McIlroy, but the American team has Tiger Woods and 2012 FedExCup champ Brandt Snedeker. The U.S. team has one more player in the OWGR top 10, as well as the highest average ranking, but the European team has three of the top four players. The American team has slightly more overall experience, but the Euros have a better overall record. And so on it goes.

The Americans are looking to bring the Cup back Stateside, while the Europeans hope to keep it. Let’s break it down.

TaylorMade Penta TP5 Golf Ball Review

Sep. 12, 2012     By     Comments (6)

TaylorMade TP5 Balls One BallTaylorMade has never shied away from taking chances where technology is involved. The company that brought us three different ways to adjust a driver and a slot behind the face of a fairway wood to increase the CoR is back, and continues to up their golf ball game.

Already the first company to introduce a five-layer golf ball, TaylorMade has seen their golf ball line take off recently. The TP5 is the fourth premium golf ball TaylorMade has brought to market since their entrance in the mid-2000s, and they're gaining traction on the PGA Tour as well as in pro shops worldwide. 25 million Pentas were put into play around the globe in 2011, and Darren Clarke used a PentaTP en route to his Open Championship victory.

TaylorMade's golf ball market share doubled in 2011, continuing their inroads into a business dominated by the likes of Titleist, Bridgestone, Callaway, and others, and this year they're aiming to bring their (healthy) obsession with innovation back to the golf ball. Read on to see how they did.

Posted in: Balls, Review Comments (6)

TaylorMade ATV Wedge Review

Sep. 12, 2012     By     Comments (6)

It's a testament to TaylorMade's insane devotion to innovation that just about every TM-related equipment review starts like this: "Not long after the release of their last technology-packed golf club, TaylorMade is back with another highly-touted line." This time it's wedges.

After success for a few years marketing the groove design in their wedges (Y-cutter grooves, Z-grooves), TaylorMade came out with the world's first wedge with a replaceable sole, the xFT. It was a solid wedge on a number of levels, but not exactly on the Cleveland or Vokey echelon. This year they've gone away from the replaceable route, instead opting for a radical sole design.

Bounce is the name of the game when it comes to wedges. It's invaluable in sand shots, and the most consistent short game shots are those that utilize bounce. But instead of offering copious options (like Vokey), or an extensive fitting system (like Edel), TaylorMade has gone for a one-size-fits-all approach.

Does the uniform system benefit the most golfers, or is TaylorMade leaving something on the table when it comes to individuality? Read on to find out.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (6)

Nine Holes with the Front Nine at TPC Boston

Sep. 2, 2012     By     Comments (0)

ProfilesThe Boston area is not particularly known for its golf. We have one tournament in the area per year, The Deutsche Bank Championship, and Brookline’s The Country Club has hosted the occasional major (as well as the 1999 Ryder Cup and next year’s U.S. Amateur). Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton, MA, used to host a PGA Tour event until the tournament folded in the late-1990s. That's about it.

Thankfully, the emergence of The Deutsche Bank as an important FedExCup Playoff event (and it’s tendency to produce big-name winners) coupled with New England-native Keegan Bradley has increased the stature of professional golf in the area.

Winners tend to be well into the double-digits below par, and to pull out the Deutsche Bank you generally need to get off to a fast start on the relatively easy front nine. Here’s a description of what the world’s best are facing.

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Five FedExCup Golfers to Watch

Aug. 24, 2012     By     Comments (0)

Trap Five LogoNow in the sixth year of it's FedFexCup playoff system, the PGA Tour has finally finished its tweaking, and they may have struck gold. Though it's still a little odd that Bill Haas won last year (and is fourth in total FedExCup points accumulations since its inception), the system has generally done a good job at not only awarding the player who played the best when it mattered, but showcasing great golfing talent and awesome golf courses.

The Barclays journeys to Bethpage Black in 2012, and joins TPC Boston, Cog Hill, and East Lake to form a pretty solid four-week stretch of championship golf. Several of golf's biggest stars have rounded into shape, including two-time FedExCup champ Tiger Woods and 2012 PGA champ Rory McIlroy.

But though most of the sport's biggest stars have spent time in the winner's circle this year, no one has dominated in the way we were accustomed to seeing in the mid-2000s, and the list of players still with a chance is large. Aside from the more obvious big names, here are five I in particular that I think could contend.

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The Plight of the Runners-Up From Royal Lytham and St. Annes

Jul. 31, 2012     By     Comments (1)

Trap Five LogoErnie won his second British Open and fourth career major last Sunday, but for much of the week Els was absent from the top of the leaderboard. Though I enjoyed ESPN's coverage the first three days (day four's coverage was downright horrible), the fact the we saw very few Els shots was something I pointed out in the forum and on the Sunday chat.

Els remains one of the world's great ballstrikers, and though his 72nd-hole birdie putt put the pressure on Scott, if you were to go by ESPN's coverage you would think all Ernie ever did was miss 15-footers.

Coverage gripes aside, the 2012 British Open was several times more enjoyable than last year's, mostly thanks to the guys that didn't win. First off was Adam Scott, the 18-hole, 54-hole, and 71-hole leader. Brandt Snedeker led after the second round, and matched the Lytham and St. Annes British Open course record that Scott set on Thursday.

For Tiger Woods the theme of the round was "gameplan." Tiger routinely laid back off the tee, leading to 220-yard approach after 220-yard approach and a lot of long birdie opportunities. Closing out the top five and ties are Graeme McDowell, who spent most of the final round in second place, seemingly Scott's only competition, and world number one Luke Donald, who picked up the Lee Westwood gauntlet of backdoor top tens.

The 2012 British Open will likely be remembered in large part for the players who didn't win, so here are their stories.

Tiger and the Media – Time to Cut Their Losses?

Jul. 18, 2012     By     Comments (18)

Thrash TalkA frosty relationship between Tiger Woods and the media is nothing new. Several times a week Tiger Woods walks up the microphone, does his best Bill Belichick impersonation, and spends 30 minutes speaking words devoid of meaning. He's not a Michael Jordan (despite what Michael Lusetich of Fox would like you to believe), and if he wasn't the undisputed best golfer of his generation, he would be much more comfortable being a Jonathan Byrd, the guy who only had to give an interview when he jumps out to a first-round lead before fizzling on the weekend.

I bring this up because recently, at his pre-Greenbrier press conference, Tiger called the golf media's incessant "are you back, now?" line of questioning "a little annoying." That sparked a small firestorm among media members because, well, they have been annoying. This is just the latest in a recent string of cold-shoulders given to the media by Tiger.

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