The $200 laser rangefinder you’d pay double for.
The debate between GPS systems and laser rangefinders hasn’t ended, and probably won’t for some time. GPS is convenient for a quick glance, and the course mapping is nice, but I always feel a little dissatisfied whenever I use a GPS unit. The touchscreens are generally poor, the distances take a few precious seconds to update (particularly annoying when you’re driving in a cart), and you’re still at the whim and mercy of whoever mapped the course in the first place (not to mention GPS accuracy, cloud cover, etc.).
The GPS systems in use for golf simply cannot match the accuracy of a laser rangefinder, and I’ve yet to come across a GPS unit constructed as well as even an entry-level laser rangefinder. (And that’s without mentioning smartphone app GPS systems, which I find virtually unusable due to the massive amounts of cellular data and battery they gobble up.)
Oh, and did I mention membership fees? What about battery charging? Or course data syncing?
Continue reading “Leupold PinCaddie 2 Laser Rangefinder Review”
Nike gives us a taste of what’s cooking at The Oven.
What do you want from a driver?
Great looks? Check.
The best sound and feel I’ve ever experienced? Check.
The Nike Vapor Flex driver reflects not what a driver should be, but what a driver can be. It’s an insane concoction of technology that builds on the innovations Nike has brought to market over the past half-decade, all packaged into one sleek clubhead.
Amazingly, when you actually take it for a spin, it all seems to make sense. It’s a better-player’s club that, despite the lime green and wild esthetics, produces a muted sound and a boring trajectory.
Let’s dive in.
Continue reading “Nike Vapor Flex Driver Review”
We talk to Shane Ryan about his new book covering the 2014 PGA Tour season, examine a few of the Tour’s outsized characters, and ask just how many Geoff Ogilvys is your golf game worth?
Shane Ryan has written about golf for Golf Digest, Grantland, ESPN The Magazine, and Deadspin, and writes about entertainment for Paste.
Ryan hosts a podcast, Friends of Tiger, and spent 2014 driving around the country from Tour event to Tour event. His first book, Slaying the Tiger: A Year Inside the Ropes on The New PGA Tour, is available today. Slaying the Tiger is an in-depth look at the present and future of the PGA Tour, with profiles of rising PGA Tour stars like Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, and Patrick Reed.
We sat down to chat via email to talk about the book, the PGA Tour, and Matt Every’s wife’s middle name.
Continue reading “Talking to Shane Ryan, Author of “Slaying the Tiger””
An all-Masters Hittin’ The Links. (Well, almost.)
We’re now three and a half months into 2015, and one major championship into the golf season. Jordan Spieth, runner up a year ago, outlasted charges from major winners Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson, and Rory McIlroy to win his first green jacket (possibly one of many to come).
Spieth was dominant early on, and was able to coast to a record-tying final score of -18. He’s the second-youngest Masters winner even, trailing only Tiger’s 1997 victory, and he broke or tied just about every record his age didn’t disqualify him from.
Woods himself joined in on the low scoring for a few days before Spieth dominance, and Tiger’s own shoddy play on Sunday, knocked him out of contention.
We also take a look at great tournaments by Phil and Rory, a new limited edition shoe from Nike, bask in a bit of ’90s nostalgia, and check in on old friend Anthony Kim.
Let’s hit the links.
Continue reading “Volume Four Hundred Twenty Eight”
Tiger makes his return at Augusta National.
I’ve started to question recently if I’m truly a golf fan.
Every now and then we’ll get a TST forum member who decides that no one is a “real golf fan.” They believe themselves to be, apparently, the sole member of this rare species. The rest of us are Phil fans, or Tiger fans, or Joost Luiten fans. Maybe they’re right.
I think I’m a real golf fan. I still love playing golf, and I love following it, but there are a lot of ancillary aspects of the sport that grate at me. Golf isn’t a particularly mainstream sport, and I think part of that owes to the general attitude of many golfers. Because allegiances aren’t (grain flow) forged at birth, golf fans tend to pick their favorite golfers irrationally, and that boils over into their general golf fandom. Black-and-white opinions bug me in general, but especially in the golf world, a sport built on a foundation of black-and-white rules, they tend to be the norm. Nuance is lost. Outrage and sensationalism wins out over enjoyment. It stops being entertainment.
Golf has always been entertainment for me. If it ever ceases to be, I’ll move on. Everyone keeps telling me hockey is great.
Continue reading “On Tiger Woods and Augusta”
Spieth wins at Innisbrook, Tiger remains sidelined, and golf rap video you’ll probably want to skip.
Jordan Spieth, who has managed to kick away a few solid leads over the past few years, finally notched another victory at Innisbrook, toppling the red hot Patrick Reed and a hard-charging Sean O’Hair. It took two insane flop shots on the last two holes of regulation and a bomb of a birdie putt in the playoff, but Spieth did manage to close out the Valspar Championship. Spieth now has a two PGA Tour wins, not too bad for a guy who was in first grade when Sean O’Hair turned professional.
This week we also got a check-in on Tiger Woods by Notah Begay III, we heard Patrick Reed attempt to dig himself out of the weeds, and were all witness to the mashup of rap and golf (R.I.P. to both).
Before I get too excited about the prospect of Rory McIlroy and Tom Brady playing Augusta National together, let’s hit the links.
Continue reading “Volume Four Hundred Twenty Four”
Another playoff at Riviera, Lydia Ko notches a victory, and an NFL kicker wants a shot at Tiger.
This week we saw James Hahn get his first PGA Tour win at the Northern Trust Open, Lydia Ko win her 17th event this month (still fact-checking that one), and Scott Piercy get lost in an ocean of sand traps.
Tiger Woods was ruled out of the next few events, and Josh Scobee wants in.
All that, plus an antsy Michael Jordan, a second dose of DLIII, and a bit of manufacturing innovation from PING.
Let’s get into it.
Continue reading “Volume Four Hundred Twenty One”
Trying to sort out if the “hot hand theory” applies to golf.
“He’s on a hot streak.”
“Rory just can’t miss right now.”
“You want Webb Simpson on your fantasy team this week, he’s been playing great the last few months.”
The hot streak. Long defended by athletes, denounced by statisticians. It pops up in discussions about three-point shooting, batting titles, and blackjack, but I want to talk about golf.
I don’t really care about putting hot streaks, and it would have taken me a decade to comb though the data to chart individual rounds, but there was one thing I could check out: tournament finishes.
I wanted to see how a player’s finish in one tournament (“event A”) could be used to predict their finish in the next tournament (“event B”).
My hypothesis going in was, with some reservations, that there must be something to the hot-hand theory. We’ve all seen the kind of streaks Tiger and Rory have gone on where they seemingly can’t miss a putt, and we’ve all had our own streaks where nothing seems to go straight. I figured most pros would go through the same thing.
But the results told a largely different story.
Continue reading “How Does Today’s Finish Predict Tomorrow’s?”
TaylorMade mixes old and new with the AeroBurner and R15 lines of metalwoods.
TaylorMade got away from their core audience last year, and new CEO Ben Sharpe knows it.
The SLDR was released with less fanfare than they expected, and it took TM too long to realize that the “Loft Up” features of the club were more important than the moving weights. They tried to rescue that later in 2014 with the SLDR-S, but that line’s overlap with the underwhelming JetSpeed just gave TaylorMade a muddled lineup.
The familiar “R” and Burner lines were no where to be found, and the RocketBallz line with which TM had so much commercial success was similarly jettisoned. The entire lineup was blue and grey, and they never quite decided whether they wanted the club crowns to be white, black, or somewhere in between.
TaylorMade’s new lineup brings back some of the old standbys, while incorporating the technology that got lost last year.
Continue reading “TaylorMade Unveils New AeroBurner and R15 Lines of Woods”