Equipment Tricks for Faster Play

We kick off a weeklong chorus at The Sand Trap to speed up the game with some equipment, gadgets, and tricks that’ll help you break the four-hour barrier.

Bag DropSlow play is slowly killing the game I love and I’ve had just about enough. Five-hour rounds are becoming the norm and six-hour rounds are all too frequent. As a result, even avid golfers are playing less often and enjoying it less when they do.

I’m sure my fellow contributors on the site will weigh in this week with more on the reasons why we’re crawling around the course at a snail’s pace and what we can do about it. But for now, it’s my mission to pass along some observations on equipment that can save time wasted on things other than thinking about the shot and hitting it.

Volume Ninety-Six

Global warming will not end civilization as we know it, the six hour round will first.

Scott Verplank won the Byron Nelson, Silvia Cavalleri held off Lorena Ochoa at the Corona Morelia Championship, and a few guys are miffed about Phil Mickelson skipping the pro-am last week.

All important, but we have bigger fish to fry: curbing the proliferation of slow play at a golf course near you. So quit pacing off your yardages, pick up that fourth putt, and remember that your pre-shot routine does not have to last longer than any of The Lord of the Rings movies.

This week we have some causes and cures and an etiquette refresher to speed up your round and make it more enjoyable.

Another Driver Recall: This Time it’s Callaway

It appears the self-policing whistle blowers in the equipment industry are on the case as a competitor has turned in Callaway just as a one did to trip up Nike.

Callaway Big Bertha 460 HeroAs of today, April 30, a specific version of Callaway’s Big Bertha 460 driver will be placed on the USGA list of non-conforming clubs. Just like the recalled Nike Sumo², the problem is the spring-like effect, which went over the characteristic time limit correlating to the USGA’s coefficient of restitution limit of 0.830.

The guilty party is the right-handed version of the Big Bertha 460 13° HT model. It’s distinguished by a raised dash in the letter “B” in the word “Big” on the sole of the driver.

Callaway has asked its retailers for information on anyone purchasing this specific model as a prelude to replacing them. It is not thought a substantial number had already been purchased. There’s no word yet on the Callaway web site as to the replacement procedure. Callaway said the issue involved a manufacturing problem with only one its suppliers and resulted in a small percentage of the shipments already made.

E. Michael Johnson and Mike Stachura – a.k.a. “Bomb and Gouge” – broke the story in GolfWorld on Friday.

Byron Nelson’s Best

This is the first Byron Nelson Championship without it’s namesake. Let’s take a look back at the greatest events in his storied career.

Trap Five LogoByron Nelson holds one of the most impressive records in the history of any sport. When you consider that golf is an individual not a team game it is even more remarkable.

He won with one of the most fluid easy swings in the history of the game. His compact swing became the template for future players. “The mechanics of my swing were such that it required no thought,” said Nelson. “If you have to think about your swing it takes that much away from your scoring concentration.”

And he did score. And win. Take a peek…

Early LPGA Talk

The LPGA Tour has had its ups and downs so far this season.

Thrash TalkThe 2007 LPGA Tour season is in full swing, but it’s been flying under the radar of many. The first major championship of the season wasn’t nearly as exciting as last year’s edition, and that has definitely hurt things a little. I was happy Morgan Pressel won the Nabisco Championship, but the way she won it wasn’t very thrilling. She basically finished her round and watched the leaders crumble coming down the stretch.

In other action on the LPGA Tour this season, a young gun returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in over a year, someone other than Annika is number one in the world, and the Korean contingent is still looking for their first victory of the year. There have been some positives and negatives so far in 2007, and I’m here to break them down.

Golf Talk [Episode 055]

Stevie may not need to break Tiger’s driver at Oakmont: he may play 3W and 5W off every tee all by himself.

PodcastNick Watney puts away his first Tour title at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans, Tiger Woods plays Oakmont (mostly with 3- and 5-woods), Phil switches coaches officially, Curtis and Hubert get into the Hall, and Lorena Ochoa reaches #1. All this and more in this episode of Golf Talk.

You can subscribe to the RSS feed for our podcasts here or download Episode 055 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.

20 Bag Drop Trivia Questions

Over the past year we’ve covered a lot of different equipment topics. How much were you paying attention?

Bag DropI wanted to do something special to commemorate an entire year of authoring The Bag Drop, so I took a peek back at some of those earlier columns for inspiration. As I did, it occurred to me just how much trivial information I’ve blathered on about week after week.

The exercise also made me curious as to whether any of this stuff really sticks with our loyal readers. So here’s a pop quiz… 20 questions to test your equipment and golf industry trivia knowledge based on The Bag Drop columns since last April.

Volume Ninety-Five

Watney wins in Louisiana, Phil adds to his coaching staff and the cure for the banana ball.

Yet another Nationwide Tour graduate takes his winning ways to the big leagues.

This week we have a recap of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Phil gets another coach, and we explore a cure for your banana ball.

Greatest Golf Courses

I’ve ranked what I believe to be the top-five greatest golf courses in existence. Put these on your “top-five courses I’d love to play” list.

Trap Five LogoRanking golf courses is a subjective exercise. Clearly, some courses are better than others, but narrowing down the very best is difficult. Like a fine bee…, er, wine, much of the decision is based on personal tastes.

Unfortunately, I’ve never played any of these courses but count it my solemn responsibility to go where only fools dare to tread. So all other ranking systems aside, here’s my choice for the greatest golf courses in the world.