The Mythical ‘Ball Boost’

The USGA dips its toe into the ongoing debate over whether players with super-fast swing speeds gain an “extra boost” of distance.

Fred Funk, one of the shorter hitters on the PGA Tour (which, at 49 years of age and 5’8″, is not altogether shocking), is feeling left out these days. He believes that the modern golf ball gives players who swing 115 or 120 MPH a “boost.” More specifically, as he said in a recent interview, “You just get this huge gain hitting the ball a certain speed.”

Unfortunately, despite what Fred and others believe, the facts on this issue have recently been made quite clear. The USGA, on April 11, dispelled some commonly held beliefs in an article called “Myths About Golf Equipment and Performance.” The first myth was “Golfers with faster swing speeds get disproportionately greater distance benefits from new golf balls that have been introduced after 2000.”

Adams a2 OS Hybrid Review

Hybrids are making a splash on not only the Champions and PGA Tours, but on local golf courses as well. Should a forward-thinking golfer consider the Adams a2 OS?

Adams a2 OS IronsHybrids were once known as golf clubs for the elderly. My how times have changed. Not only do Champions Tour golfers swear by them but now even the PGA Tour pros are choosing these easier-to-hit clubs in exchange for their longer iron counterparts.

Tom Watson is the most famous face associated with the Adams a2 OS hybrids. Every time I watch a Champions Tour event on The Golf Channel there he is with his graceful swing along with the statement claiming that these are the easiest to hit hybrids in golf. I had already taken my long irons out of my bag and stashed them in my “holding bag” in the basement. These clubs were heading for the trade-in bin at the local golf store but they needed replacements. An Idea? How about giving the Adams a2 OS a try?

It was almost twenty years ago that Barney Adams created the Tight Lies fairway wood. If you look around, many golfers still have these woods in their bags today. The phenomenon of the original lower center of gravity “upside-down” design changed the way clubs were created. Could it be that as recently as 2002 Adams’ earnings and stock prices were declining with naysayers claiming the hybrid as a “fad”?”

Sophomore Slump

Sean O’Hair and Lucas Glover came straight out of Q-School last year and not only won, but had superb years as well. This year it is more of the same for Glover but a different story for O’Hair.

The Numbers GameLast year we had a couple of rookies that burst onto the scene. Sean O’Hair and Lucas Glover both got onto the Tour last year by going through and surviving the rigors of Q-School. Both won over $2 million and made the Tour Championship in 2005… not too bad in your first year.

So, how are they faring this year? Looking at how they performed last year, one would think that they are going to have nothing but more success. Read on to find out who is struggling and who is continuing their great play.

Shell Houston Open Preview

We’re all looking to see if Vijay can win for a fourth time and third in a row at this weeks Shell Houston Open.

Shell Houston OpenVijay Singh goes into this year’s Shell Houston Open with history on his mind. Not only has Singh won the past two Shell Houston Opens, but should he win this year, he’ll accomplish something only Tiger Woods (The Memorial, Bay Hill), Tom Watson (Byron Nelson Invitational), and Stuart Appleby (Mercedes Championship) have accomplished: back-to-back-to-back wins in the same same tournament.

Last year we saw Vijah Singh defeat John Daly in a playoff with a par.

Tiger vs. Lefty

Is Phil Mickelson better than Tiger Woods? The distance between the two isn’t as much as you think.

Thrash TalkI want to start this week by congratulating Aaron Baddeley on his victory at Harbour Town. Baddeley took advantage of a sluggish Jim Furyk on Sunday to earn his first PGA Tour win. Most of the golf media expected “Badds” to win a long time ago, but a win is a win any way you slice it. I hope this win helps elevate the young Aussie to new heights on the PGA Tour.

Now to the topic at hand. I’ve read a couple articles in the past week comparing Tiger Woods to Phil Mickelson. We even had a thread in our forum discussing the two excellent golfers, both on and off the golf course. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a big fan of either. I would enjoy it much more if Retief Goosen was the top golfer in the world. Better yet, I would love to see Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, and Luke Donald all making headlines at the top of the world rankings.

Home on the Range (Finder)

Distance measuring devices are now legal if all they do is measure yardage. So what are some options?

Bag DropFirst were the bushes planted at 150 yards. Then came the 150-yard stakes. Then the yardages engraved on sprinkler heads. Then colored circles and lines painted on cart paths. And of course, finally, detailed yardage books. Now technology has come to the rescue with amazingly accurate laser range finders and GPS systems.

With the “information age” of golf yardages decidedly upon us, the USGA and R&A relented last year and agreed to make modern distance finders legal for handicapping and tournament play subject to the enactment of local rules permitting them. Huzzah! But wait… they quickly followed up with an “Oh, by the way…”

Volume Fifty-Five

This week, it’s all about cool.

Hittin' The LinksThe explosion of youth in the golf world has done wonders for the game. Golf is now cool. Thanks to the young guns, golfers are now athletes and golf is considered a sport. This newfound level of awesome is unprecedented in our realm and we can all try to look the part, no matter our handicaps. This week is dedicated to cool equipment, cool apparel, and cool accessories.

Golf Talk [Episode 019]

Phil Mickelson and Karrie Webb win the first majors of 2006 and Tiger putts like a “spaz.”

PodcastThe Masters and the LPGA’s first major are in the books. We discuss Phil Mickelson’s victory, Karrie Webb’s win, Michelle Wie’s mistakes, Fred Couples’s inability to putt, Tiger Woods’ “spazzy” putting, comments from Ernie Els regarding Phil and David Toms regarding Augusta National security. It’s a very rousing week on the Golf Talk Podcast, so join us for this and a whole lot more.

You can subscribe to the RSS feed for our podcasts here or download Episode 019 as an MP4 file. For those who want to subscribe to us in iTunes, click here.

For this week’s Show Notes – links to articles we discuss in the show and additional information – just read on.

Nine Holes with Corey Pavin

A regular feature in the winners circle through the 80’s and 90’s, Corey Pavin is looking to win for the first time in ten years.

ProFilesThere is so much attention given to those who can hit the golf ball a country mile that guys like Corey Pavin are largely left in the dust. Pavin was one of the best players on Tour through the 80s and 90s after having quickly established himself as a contender by winning a PGA Tour event only two years after turning professional.

Once a centerpiece in golf’s elite, we haven’t heard much from Corey Pavin in the last few years. But he is still scratching a living out of the game as he remains one of the world’s top players. A lot of us would gladly have taken his 108th place on the 2005 PGA Tour money list.