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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.

Five Fearless Predictions for ’08

Dec. 14, 2007     By     Comments (20)

Trap Five Logo2008 is almost here. What will it hold for the world of golf?

I put that question to a few friends and came up with a couple ideas of my own. The farthest fetched prediction: one friend again predicted that this would be the year he scores a hole in one. He was there when I had mine two years ago, so I'm rooting for him. Of course, he's been predicting the same thing for several years now.

Pros and Cons of Amateurism

Nov. 29, 2007     By     Comments (10)

Thrash TalkOther than maybe Byron Nelson or Gene Sarazen after their 90th birthdays, can you think of a professional golfer with a double-digit handicap index? Well, I know one.

Me. Sort of, anyway.

It may well prove to be the high water mark of my life in golf. It was a cool, rainy Sunday in February, 2005. The location was the Dallas Convention Center. Perhaps the good karma was foreshadowed by how easily I obtained the Kitchen Pass from my wonderful wife to leave the house, the unfinished homework projects, and the bulk of my "honey-do" list to attend the Dallas Golf Expo. I figured it would be a way to kill a few hours, maybe check out some new equipment, and otherwise obtain a much-needed winter golf fix. It turned out to be much more than that.

All the Same CoR to Me

Nov. 27, 2007     By     Comments (2)

Bag DropAnd now all is right in the world. The R&A reminded golfers on November 11, 2007 that a new rule would go into effect on January 1, 2008 that would align themselves with the USGA to have a limit to the "spring-like" effect of drivers and establish a world-wide coefficient of restitution (COR) limit of 0.83 for all drivers, down from their previous limit of 0.86.

While this ruling doesn't mean much to most golfers (especially those under the rules of the USGA) it will have an effect on the rest of the world as some previously legal drivers will now need to be replaced in order to fall under the new limit.

Golf Rant: Assorted Mythology and Nonsense

Nov. 15, 2007     By     Comments (19)

Thrash TalkBefore I can settle into hibernation mode, it's necessary to blow off a bit more steam. Join me this week as I rant a little.

Equipment Companies
Don't get me wrong, I love golf equipment. I love fondling it in the stores, ogling over it in catalogs, and wasting my kids' college money buying it for no reason other than it's obviously better than the crap already in my bag, even if that crap is last year's signature model. I am also a technophile, and believe today's golf equipment is the best in history and contributes significantly to my enjoyment of the game. Rock on, men. There are, however, a few minor things for which I'd like to, oh, maybe gore the equipment manufacturers in the eye. To wit:

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