Issues Facing Golf

The game of golf is stronger now than it’s ever been. Here are some of the biggest issues in the game today.

Trap Five LogoThe state of the game is good. 2007 has been an enjoyable year already. Zach Johnson’s Masters victory was a feel-good story for most folks, even if the tournament itself was brutal to watch. Angel Cabrera joined Johnson as players who survived the final day of a major with Tiger on the prowl.

Despite relative health, there are some big issues in golf this year. Some are reoccurring, others are recent developments, but all may have an impact on the game in coming years. I’ve distilled the biggest issues to five. See what you think…

The USGA and Grooves: Grumpy Old Men or Guardians of the Game?

What if the USGA threw an accuracy party, and nobody showed up?

Thrash Talk In 1989, Mark Calcavecchia hit a remarkable golf shot into the 18th green at Royal Troon, setting up a birdie that lead to an eventual victory in the (British) Open Championship. Almost 20 years later in the Tiger era, we have become awash in so many remarkable golf shots that Calc’s 5-iron is almost forgotten today. But it is a very important shot historically, and it’s worth recounting today. Especially as the USGA is about to embark on the biggest rule change in the last 30 years.

Golf Talk [Episode 062]

Pine Needles may be a better course for top female and average male golfers than Pinehurst #2. It certainly has more character.

Golf Talk PodcastTiger Woods has a kid, but that’s not nearly as exciting as the finish on the PGA Tour this week as Jay Williamson and Hunter Mahan battled it out. Also this week, Lorena Ochoa, drug testing on the PGA Tour, golf course real estate, and Michelle Wie opting out of the the John Deere. That and more in this week’s episode of Golf Talk.

You can subscribe to the RSS feed for our podcasts here or download Episode 062 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.

Mizuno Offering Hybrid Fitting System

With hybrids now well recognized as effective replacements for long irons the questions become how many and which ones to carry. Here’s one answer.

Bag DropPlaying with a couple golf writer buddies the other day, a couple incidents led to this week’s column. The first was when our fourth, the son of one of my friends (and an exceptionally strong player), asked me what iron his 20° hybrid corresponded to. I suddenly realized how difficult a question that is to answer.

While 20° is generally the loft in a 3-iron, the answer really isn’t that simple. The graphite shaft in most hybrids, varying club lengths, and a hybrid’s ability to launch the ball higher means the distance difference between a 3-iron and a 3-hybrid can be significant. Add to that the fact that hybrid manufacturers give different lofts different numbers and it gets even more confusing.

The second thing that happened was that Chuck Stogel, who writes an equipment column for, told me about a new hybrid fitting system that Mizuno is rolling out. Voilá… this week’s Bag Drop. Thanks, Chuck.

Volume One Hundred Three

Better golf equipment technology becomes the scapegoat yet again.

Hitting the LinksHunter Mahan and Jay Williamson provided some great entertainment as well as some bonus coverage on Sunday as they battled down the stretch at the Travelers Championship.

This week we have a recap of the Travelers Championship, the Wegmans LPGA, and a reversal by Mr. Finchem of the sudden need for drug testing on the PGA Tour.

Darby Creek Golf Course (Marysville, OH) Review

Darby Creek is a great example of a small diamond in the rough, except by “rough” I mean “nowhere near signs of modern civilization” and by diamond I mean “a moderately priced venue that exceeds expectations.”

Darby Creek LogoTo get to Darby Creek, you drive through a few towns the likes of which you’ll be surprised still exist. You’ll hang a right at a driving range in the middle of nowhere, drive another few miles, then take another right. A golf course appears, and suddenly you’ve arrived at Darby Creek.

The course takes its name from a stream which is two miles from the course itself. Designed in 1993 by the design tandem of Brian Silva and Geoff Cornish, Darby Creek blends a bit of the old and a bit of the new, just like the designers themselves (Silva graduated from college in 1973, Cornish was born in 1914).

Tour Edge Exotics CB2 Fairway Wood Review

The Tour Edge Exotics CB2 not only could kick your current fairway wood out of the bag, it may also be gunning for your driver as well.

Tour Edge Exotics  CB2You may have seen the Tour Edge advertisement for their new Exotics CB2 fairway wood that boasts of a guarantee that you will gain an additional 20 yards compared to your old fairway wood. It’s a pretty bold statement and one that is sure to grab golfers’ attention as we all strive to add additional yardage to our game.

I had the opportunity to test the CB2 to see if this small company from Batavia, IL might have the best fairway wood you’ve never heard of.

To be fair, my current fairway wood is a Titleist 904F with a True Temper Dynamic Gold steel shaft, so I was bound to gain some additional distance just by switching to a lighter head and a graphite shaft. Just how much distance was a bit surprising. Did it make me reconsider my steel-shafted ways? Read on to find out.

Calming the Wie Storm

It is time for Michelle Wie and circus to make some significant changes in her approach or she’ll be burned out in a few months.

Trap Five LogoMichelle Wie is among the most promising young female athletes we’ve seen in a while. Nike knows this and that’s why they put their logo all over her new wardrobe. About a year ago we were talking about her potential and how she would fit into the new LPGA mix. Unfortunately things have changed a tad in the last year. She seems to have lost her way. And who can blame a 17-year-old kid for not knowing quite what to do.

Erik J. Barzeski recently explored the Wie fiasco in The Continuing Michelle Wie Saga. It sparked some thought. Here’s what I think Michelle Wie could do to right the ship…

Oakmont Brings (Some) Monsters to their Knees

Can we dispense with the golf Armageddon talk? In the end, it was precision, or lack thereof, as much as power that won the day.

Thrash TalkWhile the metal filings left over after engraving the name “Angel Cabrera” on the U.S. Open trophy have probably yet to be swept away, the mad choruses of the distance obsessed have already started their wailing. It sounds like Verdi’s “Dies irae” and has all the warm fuzziness of a requiem mass. I just hope they get it over with quickly this time, so that maybe there will be a chance to hear some of the real stories from one of the best golf championships I can remember.