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2010 Predictions

Jan. 14, 2010     By     Comments (6)

Thrash TalkIt's a touch of déjà vu. Tiger is MIA, and his return is the biggest story of the season. Geoff Ogilvy is off to a hot start with his season-opening win in Hawaii, and John Daly is about to steal the stage.

Wait, what?

Sure, 2009 set the bar high in terms of drama. Name a year with four better major Sundays, and a group of four less likely winners. And that paled in comparison to the Woods family drama that made the Silly Season all the sillier. Well, 2010 has a lot to live up to, but there's no telling just how wacky it'll get. Long John is leading all of Golf Channel's current promos, after all.

aboutGolf and the 3Trak Launch Monitor

Jan. 13, 2010     By     Comments (18)

Throwing DartsAnyone who watches PGA Tour golf on TV enough has seen a launch monitor in action, often describing the launch statistics of a player on a long par five or a tricky par three. Almost anyone who has been fitted with a driver or a new set of irons in the past few years has used a launch monitor to check their statistics before plunking down several hundred dollars.

The biggest name in the launch monitor market these days is TrackMan, with others like Flightscope and Zelocity coming in further back. A relative newcomer to the market is aboutGolf, long known for their simulators, who have developed a camera-based launch monitor they've dubbed the 3Trak, ideal for use indoors or out.

Titleist 710-Series AP1 Irons Review

Jan. 8, 2010     By     Comments (6)

Titleist AP1 HeroLike a sports car (or any vehicle for that matter, I guess) evolves as model years pass, so has Titleist's Advanced Performance irons. The newer models might look pretty similar at first glance, and in some ways, they are, although there are loads of significant updates that shouldn't be overlooked. As you know, more weight here, less offset there, and some added horsepower under the hood can make a world of difference.

In 2008, Titleist broke their own mold a bit with the release of the AP1 and AP2 irons. Never before had the (in Alan's words) "traditionally traditional" Titleist released irons with more visible technology and with that they stirred quite a buzz. Fast forward to August of 2009 where we learned that Titleist had done some fine-tuning and enhancement to both the AP1 and AP2 irons. Luckily, I had the chance to give the Titleist 710 AP1 irons a spin.

TaylorMade R9 Iron Review

Jan. 7, 2010     By     Comments (42)

TaylorMade R9 Iron HeroTaylorMade seems to have made it its mission in recent years to reinvent what the phrase "classic golf club" means. For example, they have taken the pear-shaped driver and morphed it into a geometrical tinker toy that looks both modern and classic at the same time. Now, their researchers and designers have turned their attention to creating a classic/modern iron.

Given the success of the r7 line, the expectations for the TaylorMade R9 line could not be much higher. Is it possible for a club to gain 10% of distance over the already long r7? Can the R9 improve its forgiveness while incorporating several characteristics of a classic golf club? Can a game-improvement club have a soft feel? Since the initial announcement, the forum has been buzzing with golfers interested in whether the R9s can truly live up to those expectations. Read on to see some the answers that I found to those questions.

“The Stack and Tilt Swing” Book Review

Dec. 11, 2009     By     Comments (36)

Stack and TiltI'll plainly admit it (and have, a few times, in the forum): when Stack and Tilt first came out in Golf Digest in 2007 I said things like "I don't know much about it, but it seems like they're trying to sell it pretty hard and I'll wait a little while to see if it's still around in a few years before I really devote much thought to it." I didn't look into it, I didn't seek understanding, and I kept tinkering away at my own "conventional" swing.

Ooops. My bad.

Earlier this year I hooked up with a Stack and Tilt instructor in my hometown - and given that there are only about 20 truly qualified instructors, I am fortunate to have one nearby - and my opinions about Stack and Tilt changed as I gained insight into the swing pattern built by Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer.

Throughout the summer, my instructor applied a few "pieces" of the Stack and Tilt pattern to my golf swing. The more instruction I got the more the information made sense to me, and the closer I got to "full conversion." Any objections or disinterest I had regarding Stack and Tilt slowly dissolved away in the face of information and consideration.

The Instructor Quiz: Nine Questions You’ve Gotta Ask

Dec. 9, 2009     By     Comments (42)

There are a lot of golf instructors out there. Many of them are qualified, intelligent instructors with the best of intentions. They want to help you, they want to see you improve, and they enjoy doing it.

Unfortunately, intentions don't always translate into ability, and there are a good number of instructors out there who may not be helping their students as much as they'd like.

Over the last few years I have become increasingly frustrated with feedback I have received from students who have taken lessons from seemingly "qualified" instructors. In this era of the Internet and YouTube, I have also had the chance to view a large number of videos and read many instructional articles online and, again, it seems that much of the information is misleading at best. Because of this I took the time to devise a short nine-question "test" for golf instructors.

I would like to point out upfront that I, and all the instructors at my academy, teach based on the 5 Simple Keys®… but all of the questions and answers are the same for any efficient method of swinging the golf club.

Tiger, You’ve Crossed the Line

Nov. 15, 2009     By     Comments (51)

Thrash TalkAustralia wisely invested $3M to lure Tiger Woods to the JBWere Masters, and they were treated to nothing less than Tiger's best effort in a two-shot victory.

Fortunately for Tiger and those same Australians, nobody was treated for an injury caused by a flying Nike driver, which only moments earlier had let the world's best golfer down with a poor tee shot on the thirteenth hole Saturday.

I've excused Tiger's verbal outbursts in the past. Ben wrote an article about them and largely supported Tiger as well. I continue not to care about Tiger's verbal outbursts, and will point out that he seems to have improved both in volume and content in recent years.

But tossing a club into a crowd of people? Well, now, that's well across the line.

TaylorMade Releases R9 and R9 TP Irons, Raylor Returns

Nov. 4, 2009     By     Comments (13)

Bag DropTaylorMade has for years been synonymous with innovation and progressive thinking, and though they may catch a hard time due to the frequency of their releases, no one can say that they do not push the limits of playability. That's why it may come as a surprise that they resurrected a club that was first released back when Michael Jackson first purchased Neverland Ranch and the song that would years later become the subject of the infamous (and played out) internet prank known as the "Rickroll" was a number one worldwide hit.

Of course, I would be referring to the TaylorMade Raylor, which for those of you that may be too young to remember, was a very popular fairway wood back then. The Raylor name has been brought back for their newest hybrid club, and as you can imagine, there is a bit of difference between the old and the new. Along with the Raylor, Taylormade has also brought us their latest irons, which share the name with their very popular line of woods from 2009.

Birdies on the PGA Tour

Oct. 16, 2009     By     Comments (2)

The Numbers GameLet's talk about everyone's favorite topic: birdies, who makes them, and how much it helps your round. I remember the first time I shot under 40 for nine holes: I shot a 38 that included two birdies. Take away those and I don't break 40 that day. Over a year before that, I birdied the 17th on my way to breaking 90 for the first time with an 87. A bogey instead would still have me breaking 90 that day, but the bird makes me sound clear and focused (the truth is that I had no idea where I stood on the 17th tee).

Most professionals aren't concerned with looking cool, and if they're worried about breaking 40 or 90, we probably aren't seeing them in the winner's circle on a regular basis. But they are concerned with birdies.

This week we take a look at birdies on the PGA Tour.

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