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The Dream Season

Feb. 22, 2008     By     Comments (6)

Trap Five LogoIt's dream season here in Ohio. By that I mean the only golf we're getting to play right now is in our dreams. But it's also close enough to spring (just over a month away) that we can start thinking about playing. One of these days, the snow is going to melt and the mercury's going to rise into the 40s, 50s, and (dare we hope?) 60s.

Unlike many years when it's possible to play at least a few times during the winter, it just hasn't worked out this year (my wife and I even left the clubs at home on a weekend trip to Florida last month… What were we thinking?). Most of the warmer, dry days this winter have fallen during the work week. On the one or two weekend days that have been playable, I've been tied up with other commitments. So, needless to say, now is the winter of my discontent.

ClubGlider Rolls Out for 2008

Feb. 19, 2008     By     Comments (14)

Bag DropIf you watched Golf Channel's Fore Inventors Only show last year, you would have seen some "interesting" ideas that the contestants were hoping would be "the next big thing." While some of the ideas were strange, impractical, or just plain stupid in my opinion, there were a few that were of particular interest to me. The ClubGlider belonged among the latter.

ClubGlider inventor Gary Sherrell signed a licensing agreement with Sun Mountain in 2007 to "perfect, manufacture and distribute the ClubGlider golf travel bag." That's a pretty sweet gig as Sun Mountain has been around for over 20 years and the Missoula, Montana company has been pretty innovative when it comes to bags, carts, and outerwear. The ClubGlider and Sun Mountain seem like a perfect fit.

Modern Marvels

Feb. 14, 2008     By     Comments (14)

Thrash TalkIn his February 8 Globe and Mail Column, virtuoso golf writer Lorne Rubenstein makes an interesting observation about televised golf: there is very little attention paid to architecture.

While I am not sure this characterization is accurate in the literal sense - every telecast of big tournaments I can remember has at least some segment on the course, either with flyovers and commentary, or the omnipresent telestrator commentary - I would certainly agree that compared to, say, swing analysis, golf viewers are indeed starved for good content on architecture. Is there anything to be learned from this sort of thing, other than the difference between tifdwarf bermuda and zoysia? I think there is, although I suspect the expert commentators would reach different conclusions than would I.

Read on to learn what I think you'd be missing.

Field Testing the Titleist AP1, AP2, ZB, and ZM Irons

Feb. 2, 2008     By     Comments (68)

Titleist AP2 IronWhat do Adam Scott's final-round 61 and three-shot victory at the Qatar Masters and 2007 European Tour Rookie of the Year Martin Kaymer's first win a week earlier have in common? Both were fired with new Titleist irons. Adam Scott won with the Titleist Forged AP2 irons while Martin Kaymer played the Forged ZM irons in taking the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship by two.

The existence of these irons (and their two siblings) has been official for a few days now, but the details were made known in our Bag Drop "Titleist Introduces New Irons for 2008" of a few weeks ago. Titleist is replacing every iron in their set with the new AP1, AP2, ZB, and ZM irons. Gone are the well-liked 695 (in CB and MB variations). Gone is the 735.CM. Gone are the 755s and the 775s. Five models are being replaced by four, three of which are forged, and one of which aims to bring incredible feel and performance to the "aspiring golfer" crowd.

Though no Acushnet company (Titleist, FootJoy, Cobra, Pinnacle) has displayed at the PGA Merchandise Show in several years, Titleist was nearby prepping sales representatives and their vast club pro network on the changes coming in 2008. For many of the sales reps, that meant familiarizing themselves with the 2008 irons lineup.

The Sand Trap was there, and I've hit all of the irons. What follows are my quick observations. As a quick teaser, I will tell you this: you cannot judge a book by its cover.

Kelly Tilghmangate: A Seventy-Eighth Look

Jan. 31, 2008     By     Comments (22)

Thrash TalkWhile I'm sure most people would be happy to have heard the last of the Kelly Tilghman Affair, after mulling the situation over for several weeks I've decided I would be remiss not to give it the once over in The Sand Trap's op/ed space. Let's face it, January is a slow news month in golf (Tiger romps at Torrey Pines… why am I not surprised?), and this is a political issue in an election year (here in the U.S., anyway). Pass up reading this and just visit the forum if you will, but if you read on I can promise to give you a thing or two to chew on.

To briefly review, Golf Channel's team of Kelly Tilghman and Nick Faldo were engaged in some light-hearted repartee on the subject of Tiger's dominance of professional golf. Faldo asked rhetorically what other players might do to possibly compete with golf's version of a Superhero, said "gang up on him for awhile." In the joking vein of their exchange, Tilghman suggested that other top players "lynch him in a back alley." The racist overtones of this comment were too much for Golf Channel executives, who suspended Tilghman for two weeks, after which the anchor issued a public apology and resumed her duties as lead anchor.

The Five Most Frustrating Shots in Golf

Jan. 25, 2008     By     Comments (14)

Trap Five LogoGolf is often called the most frustrating of sports. There are layers after layers of complexity to learn. Each time we think we've got it down, something new rears its head.

When we begin to play, most of us struggle to hit the ball at all, let alone hit it where we want to. After awhile we learn to advance the ball to the green without too much trouble along the way. Sure we still hit tee shots into the woods and approach shots into the water, but eventually we reach the green. But then there are all those individual skills to acquire around the green that help us shave strokes off our usual round. We have to learn to stop the ball on the green, to get it out of a bunker, to chip it close from a tight lie, to pitch it reasonably close from the lettuce, to hit it high and have it land soft, to hit it low so it runs, to get the speed of a putt right&ellip; Suffice it to say, golf ain't easy.

For those of us in colder climes, winter might well be the most frustrating time of year. But when it comes to playing the game, we've probably all had rounds where our game has so deserted us that we're ready to quit on the spot, to wrap every club around the nearest tree and throw the bag in pond.

That's our topic today: those golf shots that afflict us and sometimes make us to contemplate taking up another sport, any other sport. The best way to cure these maladies is to see a PGA professional. But barring that, I offer some totally unauthoritative swing band-aids that I've used from time to time. Use them at your own risk.

Scotty Cameron Introduces New Studio Select Line

Jan. 22, 2008     By     Comments (28)

Bag DropScotty Cameron has made some changes over the years to his Newport-style heads, whether it's using various finishes like the Oil Can Classics, inserts made from Teryllium and German Stainless Steel, or even adding them to his Detour line last year. This year, Scotty is raising the customization bar with his new Studio Select line of putters.

What makes these so different from Newports of the past? Options, options, and more options with the highlight being the addition of removable weights that will give you the putter weight you desire without having to add unsightly lead tape.

Come join me as we take a look at the latest incarnation of the Newport.

Golf on Ice, 2008

Jan. 17, 2008     By     Comments (7)

Thrash TalkAt the risk of alienating those readers from tropical climates (lousy, spoiled, warm-weather wussies playing golf on 70° January days…), I thought this week's Thrash would be a good place to give you an update on how the long, dark winter is progressing. If you're similarly frozen out of golf, perhaps the following can give you a constructive suggestion or two on how to survive the final few months before the spring thaw.

Titleist Introduces New Irons for 2008: AP1, AP2, ZB, and ZM

Jan. 15, 2008     By     Comments (64)

Bag DropFor a few months now we've been hearing about Titleist's new irons. Early reports were that Titleist was going to re-enter the "aspiring golfer" market as they've tended to call it, as well as to overhaul their low-handicap level irons.

We've managed to track down a bit more information, and it appears that the early rumors were correct. Titleist plans to launch four new iron sets in 2008. And while you may still be able to claim that the forged musclebacks we're about to share with you are evolutionary, the cavity-back irons represent a distinct new beginning in iron design at Titleist.

The new musclebacks are named the ZB and the ZM, while the cavity-back models are named the "AP" for Advanced Performance and come in two models: the AP1 and the AP2. The latter of these represent the "new beginning" and are "multi-material, dual cavity designs."

Let's have a closer look at Titleist's iron lineup for 2008.

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