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USGA Revises Rules of Amateur Status

Aug. 27, 2005     By     Comments (5)

USGA LogoThe USGA recently revised their rules of amateur status. Starting January 1, 2006, amateur golfers of all ages will be able to accept reimbursement for tournament expenses from sources outside of their family. Tournament expenses include transportation (airfare, rental car, extremely over-priced gasoline), hotel, meals, the entry fee, and caddie fees. This is a major change from the current section of the USGA's Rules of Amateur Status that only allows junior golfers to accept help from outside sources for tournament expenditures.

Titleist Introduces 735.CM Irons

Aug. 5, 2005     By     Comments (4)

As predicted in February and expanded upon in March (and discussed in our forum), Titleist is going to be introducing a new line of irons on August 15. The 735.CM blends the forgiveness of a cavity-back in the longer irons with the control of a muscle-back in the short irons. Aimed at skilled players who are looking for a little more help in the long irons than a full muscle-back set provides, this is Titleist's first off-the-shelf "combo" set.

As with all Titleist equipment, the 735.CM has been extensively used on tour this year by an impressive list of Titleist staff members, including: Davis Love III, Brad Faxon, Frank Lickliter II, Bill Haas, Tom Kite, Tom Byrum, Lucas Glover, Steve Stricker, Rob Rashell, Hunter Haas, Dudley Hart, Jason Hartwick, Chez Reavie, Craig Perks, Kip Henley, and others.

Titleist 735 Irons Small
Click for a larger image. See the March story for more images.

The Titleist 735.CM ("CM" stands for "cavity to muscle") irons are going to be available in two different alloys - forged stainless steel and chrome plated forged 1025 mild carbon steel. The first will resemble the existing 704 irons, while the latter will look like the image above. Titleist says that the Forged 410 stainless steel will provide a soft, solid feel with a rich, non-glare satin finish. The Forged 1025 mild carbon steel, the primary choice of tour players, provides an even softer feel with traditional chroming for a stunning appearance. The stainless steel forging will offer a few more custom options than the carbon steel irons.

USGA Sued by Glove Maker

Aug. 3, 2005     By     Comments (4)

The Bionic Golf GloveIf the glove doesn't fit the guidelines, then you must deem it non-conforming. Sure, that may not be as catchy as Johnny Cochran's famous slogan, but that's what the USGA has been preaching to Louisville Slugger. Hillerich and Bradsby Co., manufacturer of the Bionic Glove line and Louisville Slugger baseball equipment, has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court against the United States Golf Association involving the Association's approval of the Bionic Golf Glove.

The Bionic Golf Glove was designed by Louisville hand surgeon Jim Kleinert and advertised as an aid to golfers with arthritis due to it's ergonomical design. The glove has neoprene between the fingers and on the flexpoints of the hand as well as padding placed throughout the palm and fingers. The glove's padding is the culprit when it comes to seeking the USGA's approval. Rules state that the glove be "plain" and meet 12 of the USGA Equipment Standards Committee's guidelines such as "[the glove] shall not have features such as any other contrivance or device that might assist the golfer in making a stroke."

Range Finders: Legal Soon?

Aug. 1, 2005     By     Comments (7)

Bushnell Pinseeker 1500In last week's issue of GolfWeek, James Achenbach breaks the news that the USGA and the R&A are set to bust up one of the dumbest rules in modern-day golf: rule 14-3b, the "range finder rule."

The rule currently prohibits a player from using "any artificial device or unusual equipment for the purpose of gauging or measuring distance or conditions which might affect his play." This includes range finders, which are artificial measuring devices.

The stupidity of this rule was, of course, not always evident. Golf existed long before yardage markers and yardage books. However, with many courses publishing yardage books or marking sprinkler heads, the rule has become long in the tooth.

The Distance Debate: Just the Facts

Aug. 1, 2005     By     Comments (0)

This article, like its sibling "The Distance Debate: Which Side are They On?" is an evolving document. We'll list the changes at the bottom and add to it or edit it when new information becomes available.

The distance debate is raging in the world of golf. Though 99.5% of golfers may be unaware of the debate, the USGA, the R&A, former players like Jack Nicklaus, touring professionals, and members of Augusta National are all involved, and any precedent they set is going to cause quite a ripple throughout the golf world.

Gary Player: Officially Senile

Jul. 28, 2005     By     Comments (1)

He's back. I'm telling you these former golfing gods just can't let it go. He said it back in May and in an article earlier this week, Gary Player states again that governing bodies need to pull back modern clubs and balls and that they are making a mockery of the sport. "What they have to do, and it's unanimous among the pros that play golf and understand the game, is they have to cut the ball back."

Sigh.

The Big 24?

Jul. 18, 2005     By     Comments (2)

The Big Five? They don't exist. It was a myth. It expanded in March or April or so to include Retief (remember "The Big Four?"), but it should have shrunk to "The Terrific Two" or "The Winning One" as Phil Mickelson has faltered, Ernie can't win anything with a top-50 player in the field, and Retief falls apart whenever his calendar says "Sunday." Vijay Singh hasn't holed a putt for a month or two now.

A Quick Nine With ‘The Ball Jack Wants You To Play’

Jul. 12, 2005     By     Comments (5)

There's a rumor that's been going around the equipment biz that a major golf ball manufacturer has crafted a unique response to Jack Nicklaus' continued complaints about how far today's balls travel. The company - which hasn't been positively identified, but I'm 99.9 percent sure it starts with a "T" and ends with "itleist" - made a limited run of golf balls manufactured to mid-1980s specs. The balls are stamped "RIP Distance" on one side, with the inscription "This is the ball Jack wants you to hit" on the other.

In the name of due diligence, Lawrence Donegan of The Guardian newspaper in the U.K. came across some of these rare old-school golf balls and had PGA European Tour player Gary Orr try one side-by-side with the new Pro V1. Read on to find out what happened.

Norman, Nicklaus, and Watson on the Ball

Jul. 11, 2005     By     Comments (5)

They may not be "on the ball" in terms of playing well, but that doesn't stop them from talking about "the ball." Specifically, the golf ball and how far it flies these days.

Greg Norman
In the latest edition of T&L Golf, Greg Norman authors an article called "A Ball Just for the Best?" In short, Norman proposes bifurcation - having different rules for different classes of players. A shorter ball for pros and the ball we all enjoy today for the rest of us:

In my opinion, the game of golf should have two standards for balls: One for professionals and another for amateurs. Sure, there would be some gray areas (which ball would top amateurs, including college players, use?), but the powers that be could sort out those questions.

The devil is in the details, and Greg Norman is far too saintly to tackle those. Greg, whose career is best summarized by a "c" word that rhymes with "poker" has added another title to his repertoire: blathering talking head, complete with unsubstantiated assertions like "The distance that pros hit the ball now is affecting the long-term vitality of the game." Or try this on for size: "And lengthening and toughening courses is adding to the expense and time required to play the game." Proof of either statement? Nowhere to be found.

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