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What Your Clubs Are Saying About You

May. 16, 2008     By     Comments (47)

Trap Five LogoWhen you get paired with a stranger on the first tee, do you ever casually check out the contents of his golf bag to learn a little something about the guy? Sure, it's superficial. And yes, there are always exceptions. But you can often learn something about people by what they choose to put in their golf bags.

There are danger signs that you should be aware of. Slow play and other irritations could foul up that round you've been waiting for.

Titleist AP1 Irons Review

May. 9, 2008     By     Comments (126)

AP1 HeroTo say the buzz about the AP1 and AP2 irons from Titleist is loud is an understatement of quite some size. I cannot recall a product release in the last couple of years that generated the amount of interest, comments, feedback and questions from Sand Trap readers and forum members as these groundbreaking, technology-infused irons from the traditionally traditional Titleist.

Between our announcement of the 2008 lineup, Erik's field test and his AP2 review, we've received well hundreds of comments and questions. Add this to the amount of discussion and buzz in our forum and it's really quite remarkable the excitement these irons have generated.

We're going to focus on the AP1 irons for this review, which Titleist says is for the "skilled and aspiring" golfer. What is an "aspiring golfer"? While I would say all golfers are aspiring to some degree, I think the AP1 are designed for those of us who are in the double-digit handicap range. We show flashes of our golfing potential, but still have an evolving golf swing that could use a little forgiveness while still providing feedback to help us improve. Thus, perhaps we "aspire" a wee bit more than the guy who plays once a month.

Read on to find out this aspiring golfer thinks about these "sure-don't-look-like-Titleists" irons.

The Pornification of Golf

May. 1, 2008     By     Comments (10)

Thrash TalkOne of the most talked about aspects of the last two Masters tournaments has been the effect of the recent, dramatic architectural changes on the nature of the competition. Golf fans, like those of any sport with perhaps the exception of boxing, aren't generally thrilled to see their champion determined in a war of attrition, stumbling over the corpses of their competition and limping across the finish line.

So it is no surprise that with the last two Masters Sundays (and perhaps the last several years' worth of "toonaments") featuring very few birdies and heroic charges among the eventual winners, many have concluded that the Augusta National Golf Club course has been changed for the worse. I'm not sure if there's any merit to that argument, but I do know I'm pretty sick of hearing the whining. So for this week's Thrash Talk, I decided to take a few vital signs on the tournament and today's golf fan.

Titleist Forged AP2 Irons Review

Apr. 25, 2008     By     Comments (186)

Titleist AP2 HeroThere have been few reviews as eagerly anticipated by Sand Trap forum members and readers as this one and our upcoming review of the Titleist AP1s. Our Bag Drop article announcing these clubs has well over 50 comments and my follow-up field test will likely reach 50 before this review is published. In the forum, people are being fitted for, buying, and asking questions about the AP2s and AP1s left and right. Titleist VP of Golf Clubs Chris McGinley feels that this is "the most technically advanced forging ever made" and adds that "demand for this iron is unprecedented in the forged category. Not since the Hogan edge has there been this much buzz and demand for a forged iron."

Titleist, always at or near the top in the "player's irons" category, has in 2008 simultaneously simplified its product lineup and broadened its target market. Though their ZB and ZM models are still available for those who like player's cavity and musclebacks, the AP1 and AP2 are intended to cover pretty much everyone from the PGA Tour golfer to the "aspiring" golfer.

Turning Up My Collar to Honor a Great Champion

Apr. 16, 2008     By     Comments (12)

Thrash TalkAs I read my last Thrash Talk it occured to me that maybe it would be interesting to focus on the historical standing of a player other than Tiger Woods… or Jack Nicklaus, or Arnold Palmer, or Ben Hogan. It is a common theme in all sports to view the retired generations of stars as the gold standard of excellence, their career achievements standing like monuments on the top of a hill. Monuments which remind us of the great moments, ignoring the failures along the way.

Active players, in contrast, have incomplete careers, and generally no monuments. We are far better acquainted with both their successes and their failures, often causing us to rank them below the illusory image of the flawless champ of yesteryear. Certainly this is not true of all players; anyone watching Tiger Woods, or Roger Federer, or Michael Phelps, cannot escape the historical significance of their achievements, even in young, incomplete careers. But what about Tiger's top competition? Could Tiger's domination lead us to perhaps miss something truly great, right under our noses?

Bunker’s Dozen: April 2008

Apr. 9, 2008     By     Comments (0)

Thrash TalkThe Bunker's Dozen is making its long-awaited return after being absent for the past year. Right now, there are two dominant forces in golf. Tiger Woods is on another great run on the PGA Tour and Lorena Ochoa is completely dominating the LPGA Tour.

Tiger has won four of the five events he has entered in 2008, and Ochoa has won three of the four she has entered so far this season. These two battle for the top spot in this month's ranking, but who else will find a spot in the April edition of Bunker's Dozen? Read on to find out. If you have anything to add, please comment below or discuss it in the forum.

Nine Holes with the Masters

Apr. 4, 2008     By     Comments (5)

ProfilesThe Masters Tournament is upon us again, and anticipation is running high. Most of us will spend at least a portion of the Masters sitting in front of our TVs, making many of the same comments we made last year about how pleasing to the eye an immaculately kept golf course is when set against azaleas and pines. We'll marvel at putts that seem to roll forever. And we'll dream of seeing the course in person (to play it might be too much to even hope).

It's not a perfect place, though. Such places don't exist. At Augusta, there's the inherent stratification of society made obvious by an elite country club, not to mention issues of color and gender, both past and present.

But for all of that, the tournament is an annual rite of Spring, promising warmer days and brighter skies to those in colder parts of the world. And it's arguably the most popular tournament of the year.

With all its history and tradition, I'm continually learning new things about the Masters Tournament and Augusta National. For instance, did you know that there's only one hole on the course that doesn't feature a bunker? Chinese Fir, #14, is a beachless stretch of perfect turf. Or that the first Masters included four international players: two pros from England, one Canadian, and one English amateur? Did you know that alterations to the course have been taking place for its entire history?

LPGA Tour Questions for 2008

Apr. 3, 2008     By     Comments (3)

Thrash TalkThe 2008 LPGA Tour season is in full swing, and things are off to a great start. There have only been five events so far, and Lorena Ochoa, Annika Sorenstam, and Paula Creamer each have at least one win already. That's a great sign for the LPGA Tour because all three are among the most marketable in the women's game.

The season's first major championship, the Kraft Nabisco, starts today. This event was very exciting the past two seasons, and it should be highly competitive again this year. With the first major on the horizon, it's time to ask a few LPGA Tour questions for 2008. Keep reading to find out what I have to say about Lorena Ochoa, Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie, and more.

The Streak is Over, but the Beat(ing) Goes On

Mar. 27, 2008     By     Comments (31)

Thrash TalkAs I reckon most of you already know, The Streak (the latest one, anyway) is officially over. Someone beat Tiger Woods, finally, by two whole strokes, at last week's CA Championship at Doral, ending his run of official PGA Tour victories at five. Past Tiger streaks have ignited fiery discussions over Sir Eldrick's historical standing in golf, so to extend the Tiger theme of last week's Thrash Talk, I'd like to give you a few additional things to chew on. Read on to get my take on the matter.

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