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A Rivalry is Born

Jul. 26, 2015     By     Comments (2)

Thrash TalkThe one thing that makes sport great is rivalries. Baseball has series like the subway series. Football has divisional games which inferior teams can rise up and beat some of the best teams just because of the familiarity. I have been to an English Football derby and the electricity in the stadium is fantastic! Everyone - even the players - can understand the necessity of having someone against whom you compete. Someone who drives you to play better.

Golf has had its share of great rivalries. Consider Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson. These two guys grew up in the same caddie yard and then went on to compete on the PGA Tour. Hollywood couldn't have scripted a better story. There was the big three for a while with Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player. They were the foundation for the modern golf rivalry. Each golfer to a man says they were constantly watching what the other guys were doing. As Arnold began to fade with age, Tom Watson became a worthy competitor to Jack and provided one of the best mano e mano fights that golf has ever seen in The Duel in the Sun. Jack Nicklaus has always stated that Tom made him a better competitor. Jack won more but Tom would rise up and challenge Jack, and very often beat him.

2015 British Open Staff Predictions

Jul. 15, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Thrash TalkThe 2015 British Open comes to us from the home of golf, St. Andrews, with all sorts of fantastic story lines. Tiger has shown improvement since is terrible showing at the U.S. Open. Jordan Spieth, on a Grand Slam watch, just finished a successful defense of his title at the John Deere Classic. Lastly, not to be outdone 2015 Players Champion, and don't call him overrated, Rickie Fowler just won the Scottish Open. The only downer is defending champion Rory McIlroy is out with a leg injury after a soccer accident. The field is set and everyone is playing their best and it is setting up to be an epic showdown at St. Andrews. If you aren't excited about this years British Open you just aren't that into golf.

With that lets hear what The Sand Trap staff is expecting at this event.

Wilson D200 Driver Review

Jun. 30, 2015     By     Comments (6)

WilsonWilson has been around the golf industry for more than 50 years. During my introduction to the game all most guys would talk about were Wilson clubs. During the late nineties and early 2000's the brand lost its way a little. Very nearly fell off the map completely. In the last few years Wilson has made a comfortable home for itself just below the brands spending much more than itself on marketing but just above the bargain clubs. Now they are making a play to move up again into the higher end segment and spending more on marketing and club design.

So when I tell people that I am using a Wilson driver the first look is sort of precious. "Why?" is the typical question. I wanted to try the new Wilson D200 driver, to see how Wilson as a club making company was progressing. How would this driver stack up against many of the other drivers that flood the market today. I am particularly intrigued by this driver because it is priced just below the other high end driver on the market and I am always on the lookout for a good deal. I started this review hoping to answer the question can a club company with a great clubmaking history make a driver perform at a similar level to the other entrants to the market. Let's see if I could answer that question.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (6)

U.S. Open Drama

Jun. 25, 2015     By     Comments (4)

Thrash TalkMissing a short putt to win a major sucks. As a golf fan with whom the outcome is neutral, watching a player miss a short putt is painful. "I am in shock" was the comment from Jordan Spieth who was the beneficiary of the miss. My heart was in my stomach as Dustin walked up to tap in his par. I did not want to see him three putt from less than fifteen feet to lose the U.S. Open.

Spieth has now won the first two majors of 2015 and he is a worthy winner. I am happy for him. I would just have rather him won it in an eighteen-hole playoff on Monday as he should have. Not because Dustin missed that putt. The drama of the U.S. Open was incredible. Even Dustin's storyline of being the clear leader, to then a story of him losing it, to then an incredible birdie on 17, to then the deflation of the three putt. It was an emotional rollercoaster.

2015 U.S. Open Staff Predictions

Jun. 18, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Thrash TalkIf you asked most golfers to describe the U.S. Open in a single sentence you would likely hear a great deal about thick rough and tree-lined traditional golf courses. Well, not this year. The U.S. Open is heading to my new home state of Washington in the Pacific Northwest to play at Chambers Bay not too far from Seattle. The venue is getting lots of people talking as well as the new broadcast team from Fox of Joe Buck, Greg Norman, and old favorite Holly Sonders.

With Tiger struggling to find his game and Rory coming off two straight missed cuts in Europe there are no clear favorites to get behind. Even recent Masters champion Jordan Spieth has not played that well since donning the green jacket. So you could call the U.S. Open truly an open competition because just about anyone has the chance to win.

With all these great storylines to discuss let's see what the staff's expectations are for this year's event.

Is Rickie Fowler Overrated?

May. 12, 2015     By     Comments (8)

Thrash TalkThe term overrated is overused. It has become a common terms used by sports talking heads when they feel that someone has been given credit they don't deserve. I am not saying that some teams or players have not been given more credit than they've earned, but we overuse the term.

Rickie Fowler was recently rated as one of the PGA Tour's most overrated players. He answered his fellow anonymous touring professionals by winning The Player's Championship. Even putting this most recent win aside, voting him the most overrated golfer was misguided at best. I honestly don't know if they watch the same tour that I do. How could they rank a guy with the highest finish in all of the majors last year overrated. I simply don't get it.

Mizuno MP-15 Irons Review

May. 12, 2015     By     Comments (5)

MP-15When you talk with most golfers and you ask them who has the best irons, Mizuno will come up at some point in the conversation. Mizuno has consistently delivered great irons for decades. The MP line of irons from Mizuno is traditionally dedicated to "player" irons. My regular set of irons before doing this review is the MP-4 which was reviewed here. There are days when the MP-4s tend to be on the demanding side for a golfer of my caliber. So when the opportunity came to review the MP-15 I was extremely excited to give them a whirl.

The MP-15 are designed for the golfer like me. A golfer who is looking for just a little bit more forgiveness than the MP-4 but remaining loyal to the forged iron and the feel that they provide. The recommended handicap range for golfers using the MP-14 is zero to eight which I fit in nicely. In addition to the classic look that Mizuno typically provides the designers threw in some very cool bells and whistles to help your ballstriking. With that lets get into the review.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (5)

An Interview with The Dan Plan

Apr. 15, 2015     By     Comments (12)

Throwing DartsDan McLaughlin is the man behind The Dan Plan, a golfer striving to "test" the "10,000 hours to become an expert" theory espoused by a few. His goal? Become a PGA Tour golfer after 10,000 hours of dedicated practice.

I have obsessed over the Dan Plan right from the beginning. Well, maybe obsessed is a strong word, but I have definitely given it a great deal of thought. I was introduced to the idea by a friend who was a member at Dan's first club Columbia Edgewater Country Club. He told me there was this guy out there practice putting everyday. His goal was to put the 10,000 theory of deliberate practice to the test. As an engineer, I was immediately drawn to the experiment.

Recently, Dan was introduced to the outstanding book Lowest Score Wins by Erik J. Barzeski and David Wedzik and as luck would have it I had an extra copy and was in the Portland area. I offered it to Dan and also the opportunity for an interview with questions coming from the forum members here on The Sand Trap. He happily agreed. Opinions on Dan here on the forum are mostly leaning toward the pessimistic side, primarily because his stated goal of playing on the PGA Tour is lofty. Calling it "lofty" is probably being nice. Perhaps Dan's goal is closer to fantasy. As such, many of the questions target not only why he chose such a nearly impossible final target as well as why he started with one-foot putts and hit them for so long.

2015 Masters Preview and Picks

Apr. 7, 2015     By     Comments (2)

Thrash TalkThe dogwoods are in bloom and Tiger's jet has been spotted in Augusta's private airport, it must be time for the Masters. Tiger is playing so the "will he or won't he" discussion is over and we now anxiously wait for him to miss a green to see if he flubs, shanks, or skulls his chip. Tiger always brings a buzz to the game and this year is no different. Traditionally The Sand Trap staff loves to pick Tiger but something tells me this Masters is going to be different.

Even with the all the buzz around Tiger there are a number of other story lines to talk about in the 2015 Masters. Is Rory going to complete the career grand slam and get the third leg of a grand slam? What about the defending champion Bubba Watson? Which rookies will you be looking out for this year? With that let's dive into the questions.

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