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      Visit FlagstickRule.com   03/13/2017

      Visit the site flagstickrule.com to read about and sign a petition for the USGA/R&A regarding the one terrible rule in the proposed "modernized" rules for 2019.
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About this blog

All the right words, in all the right places?

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Reddit rant

Commenting on a post of a before and after video, one redditor asked what was the difference. Apparently he/she saw none. This was the before and after top of backswing positions. And the guy got upvotes.  :doh: The place is ADD.

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No one at the ranges I go to make use of video, and if they do, they're doing it wrong, I'm one of the rare few who brings a tripod. Looking at the Facebook page of a popular instructor today, and it's the dead of winter, there are tons of people jury rigging whatever they have to practice indoors - school gyms, basements, backyards - from all over the place, US, UK, Canada. They're all using video, some high frame rate, although their angles could be better. So maybe I'm just in an unrepresentative area but it seems from this little keyhole I'm looking through people are more and more comfortable using video. Watching all these people working at their game is inspiring.


Justin Thomas, Charles Howell, LeeMcCoy. How do they hit the ball so far? Yes, there's this video among others. You look at Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland you'll go, oh, okay, I see why they bomb it. Intellectually, I know the answer - talent, maximizing impact conditions like angle of attack, lots of hard work and good info, but if someone who's relatively shorter and weighs less than his counterparts, although probably taller than the average male but not by that much, can drive the ball 300 yards on average, why do golfers who are intently trying having problems carrying 250? I have no answers, to me, it just reenforces how talent is a major differentiator. Otherwise, I have nothing. Thoughts?


Golftec (disclaimer - don't know anyone working there) was something I never looked into, probably confirmation bias or the social media out there about the hard sell to buy lesson packages. After trying out its video setup, the benefits of having both face on and down the line views simultaneously was intriguing, and a screen where you can see yourself live although you still have to manipulate your head to see the screen, VR goggles not available yet but you can bet that will be a thing in the near future, could be useful for some I thought.

Winter was a time where practice wound down, don't know anyone with a large relatively warm space (Hey buddy, you have so much photography/music studio loft space you could easily fit in a net there and we could practice during winter! Whadday think? :-D) where I could plop a net, and paying for a simulator when I wasn't using the simulator, just videoing myself, plus groups using simulators tend to be noisy, just didn't work - too limiting and expensive. Places w/simulators can be cramped spaces too, so you may not get a face on or down the line camera view. Practicing during the winter outdoors was getting more and more to be a drudge - it's one thing to swing, futzing with a camera when it's cold is the dealbreaker, even with touchscreen gloves.

So finally the plunge into a 1/2 year practice plan was made. If you go 2-3 times a week, the cost per visit goes down considerably compared to simulators. What I didn't anticipate is that dual video cameras has been more beneficial than I imagined, the connect between what I'm doing and what really happens is much more immediate, even though I've been using video, "only" one camera - and I think I'm making better progress because of it and now that plunge is looking like a great deal. So if you're looking for a place to practice in the cold winter, take a gander into any company/facility with dual cameras and multiple locations. You might get in some considerable swing work done during the offseason. 

Better at shallowing from A4 and better at knowing the whys because cameras because instructor with a big assist from cameras:



The Cable Stayed Bridge

The cabled stayed bridge. When done right, it can really transform a skyline and especially look dramatic at night. Under certain conditions, it costs less to build and maintain than a suspension bridge, something to do with maximum road segment length. But it seems many of these projects are plagued with cost overruns. Rusted supports, salt water eating away. If they're supposed to save money, you wouldn't be able to tell based on news headlines. See eastern segment of the Bay Bridge.

If you travel around the world and return home only to see none, you wonder where are my taxes going? Why isn't the infrastructure being updated? Of course it makes no sense to tear down an old bridge and put up a new one just for the sake of it, but NYC, for example, has some pretty old, ugly looking bridges that must cost a pretty penny to maintain. The pigeon droppings alone costs a substantial amount to clean. The Williamsburg. The Manhattan. They just look... old.

The first cable stayed bridge in the US was built in Washington in the late 70s. Tampa has a stunning one. Boston's was finished 13 years ago. The one in Delaware is over 20 years old. Oakland has a new bridge to rival the GG. There are about 30 in the US. There are at least 60 in China alone and there are some stunning ones around the world. One of the bridges below is Calatrava's, but his projects tend to go over budget.




The NYC metro area is finally getting two. There are currently two in existence, but they're pedestrian bridges, at Rockefeller University and the Intrepid, that's it. You have the new Goethels and the Tappan Zee replacement, which 44 fast tracked because the TPZ was literally falling apart with holes and way over its 50 year shelf life and built to bear a lighter load than it does now. I guess that's not uncommon, we wait until the last minute or an accident to do something.

Who knows how much the final tally will be, but at least it's a sign we're updating our infrastructure. The new TPZ (The New NY Bridge? Hope it gets a more original name) has a pedestrian roadway, you'll finally be able to cross the Hudson on foot or bike from Nyack to Tarrytown. For 4 billion, there better be one.







The C&D


Cooper River Bridge


On a totally unrelated note since we're speaking about infrastructure:



I used to believe impact is king. Lots of pros, announcers and good players say this, but it's more nuanced than that. Impact is important. Your shaft should have some forward lean, your hands should be ahead of the ball, you should hit the ball first, divot should be in front of the ball. These are musts.

But it's not the whole picture. How you arrive at impact and where your path and face are headed just after it are just as important. You could be coming into the ball way "dumped under" and have a path that's like +8. That's hard to control and subject to blocks and hooks. I might have seen myself on video face on, with perfect impact conditions, with a driver, bowed wrist, forward leaning shaft, hands ahead of ball, a look I used to die for, but I've hit a low bullet that would just barely clear an NBA center.

This is just one of so many common cliches to "simplify" learning the game. It's all about impact, hit it to right field, keep your head down, hit down on the ball, etc... Have they really helped golfers learn the swing, or have golfers learned in spite of them? Imho, it's time to dispense with these one liners along with that mystical golf pro that charges $30/hour and will fix you in 5 minutes.


Is golf an art?

Jimmy Walker on Charlie Rose, 13:52. Is golf an art? Yes. 


I agree. With all the technology and more technically oriented talk about the swing (you can listen to Walker get into technique in the middle of the interview), I must bang this into my head. Golf imho, is ultimately, a form of art. On the course, it's a flow, no?


Don't know the exact model of the car I rented, an Octavia 4 door sedan, rental guy (who looked and sounded like one of the assassins in a Jason Borne movie said it was equivalent to a VW Passat or Jetta.

  • In stop and go traffic, the engine auto shuts off when at rest. Radio and A/C stay on. When you engage the shifter or clutch, turn the wheel, car auto turns on. In the US, I sometimes did this manually, shut off the car when I knew we were going to be at a complete rest for a bit. Great gas and environmentally friendly feature. I wonder about the wear and tear on the starter though.
  • Car recovers from stall outs much quicker. If you let go of the clutch while the car is in gear, not as much lurch.
  • Love the yellow and red lights on simultaneously to indicate green is coming.
  • Road closures in London are crazy, plays havoc with GPS directions.
  • The only step up to an automatic is 75 pounds a day, a Mercedes Benz, what a way to extract money. No thank you, please don't buy me a Mercedes Benz Janis.
  • Rest stops (called Services) on the major highways have a motel, like a Days Inn, for example, attached to them.
  • There's a dichotomy, between saving gas - manual transmission and people cruising around 80-85mph, some going much faster, on the fast lane on your motorways. To me, that's more an income distribution divide than a driving style one.
  • The English countryside is beautiful. There is nothing like it in the US. The verdant greens and bucolic vistas are something. I've seen them before, but they're still breathtaking.


There are so many old school cliches there in a space that usually trends young, it's a non sequitur. I don't claim to have it all right, but I've been around a lot longer than some of the young'uns and have made many, many mistakes and I hope to prevent these guys from doing the same. So downvote me, I don't care, just stop banging your head on the wall and get better faster. Getting off my soapbox. 



This is my primary stereo receiver:


It's nearly 30 years old and still kicking although mine looks a little more worn. It has no remote, no surround sound, no spdif output, no hdmi inputs, no BT, the list goes on. It is the equivalent of an old car with manual steering, manual roll up windows, no antilock brakes but with a finely tuned and maintained engine that never breaks down. Its amplifier parts were taken from another NAD model, the 3020, which was known for its awesome sound and yes, musical goodness flows out of it, clean and warm.

It is very Apple, it does very few things but it has a great "interface", intuitive and simple, no manual required. It looks like it belongs in a museum, almost a work of art. Every time I consider replacing it, I'm just about to pull the trigger, but I say, never mind, it works well, seems excessive to replace it. Eventually one day, the always advancing tech out there will make it a burden. It needs a digital to analog converter to play audio output from the tv. It's a pain you can't control the volume from a remote. You can't play music wirelessly from a smartphone or computer.

The day will come when it'll be replaced by something with all the bells and whistles, but that will have a remote with as many buttons as an airplane cockpit, the back will have a million outputs and it'll be a spaghetti of wires to hide away and there won't be a piece of art on the cabinet anymore, but hey, I won't have to get up to change the volume.


I remember when Amazon just sold books, people thought it was a cute company, it's a giant now. A leviathan. It sells nearly everything, its cloud services has the tentacles of a thousand octopi, not everyone is aware just how huge AWS is. It makes TV shows and is getting into movies for goodness sake.

Lately, I've been doing lots of price comparisons and Amazon's everyday prices are just so competitive. If you have Prime, which is pretty much free shipping and reduced price next day shipping (I make generous use of Prime's video, music, library, cloud and photo storage services), it practically can't be beaten.  I try to support local stores, tried to buy a Dremel attachment for example - the experience was some stores didn't have it, if it did, 30-40% more than Amazon. I just had Amazon next day ship it to me as the overnight delivery step up charge was $0. Went to buy some windshield wipers at Pep Boys, looked at Amazon - it's half the price. How do you compete with this? While I find the money saved to be very copacetic, it just troubles me what they might be doing I don't know about to keep prices low and its effect on future commerce.


There is no such thing as a quick get in get out visit to B&H Photo. Didn't plan on looking at anything photo related but wound up in the photo department anyway. This is a nifty lightweight low end Manfrotto with a gun handle joystick ball head thingy. 


Another one with just a ball head.




And you can't leave without taking a couple of Zaza kosher candies. Chag Pesach Sameach!



Lord, I was born a ramblin' man - The Allman Brothers

Yesterday, Jim Nantz on the Masters broadcast referred to Homer Kelley's, "The Golfing Machine" as "The Golf Machine.” Maybe Nantz has an aversion to gerunds. You don’t expect him to be Grammar Girl or William Safire, but being an announcer for decades, you'd expect him to grasp the subtleties of the English language.

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No matter, language is more de facto than de jure, no? It matters more that the average person understands you than what’s written in the textbooks, yes? It’s a mixed bag. Google yields more hits for “The Golfing Machine” than “The Golf Machine”. You wouldn’t write a book titled, The Footballing/Baseballing/Basketballing Machine. But you would call someone a running machine, a hiking machine, a picking machine (see the movie Moneyball.) The official website has the gerund plastered all over its pages. However, search results also yield a lot of people who intimately know TGM refer to it as “The Golf Machine”. So basically it’s interchangeable.

It would take a few seconds for Nantz to say “The Golf Machine, or the official title of the book, The Golfing Machine.” God knows there is enough time in a golf broadcast to fill. So why does this matter? It wouldn’t make a lookup easier, ecommerce and search algorithms would easily “fix” your mistake, Did you mean “The Golfing Machine”? 

The subtle read, to me, is he never looked at the book at any length. He works with Gary McCord, who definitely knows TGM, there’s a 1 hour video of him talking about it with Mac O’Grady, but maybe McCord refers to it as The Golf Machine, but McCord probably had a copy of the book floating around and maybe Nantz never bothered to go through it given he had chances.  Nantz has a lot more things to do to prepare for the broadcast (I'll give him he's probably got a lot of football and basketball knowledge taking up space in his memory) I guess, like prepping for the Tom Watson send off, schmoozing with TPTB, figuring out his opening and closing lines, friends. It makes me think that the way television and people who run golf, see golf differently than I do, way, way, differently. There's a dichotomy, talking with the best players, working with execs who basically control golf empires, versus me, the guy who just loves to play golf, learn golf.

The golf industry talks about popularizing golf, gaining a broader appeal. To do so, you need to start catering to a wider demographic. In my humble opinion, better instruction is part of that and starts with the little things. Like learning the basics of radar and Aimpoint and giving the public a simple, unbiased assessment of them, rather than something like “the fickle finger of fate” or old cliches of Rae’s Creek drawing putts in its general vicinity. Yes, the proper title of a book is an extreme case (and very anal), but it’s basically a step in the general direction. Facts, not opinion.

All this is stemming from an offhand interpretation of three letters, or maybe I misheard him or there was something wrong with the audio, so I could be totally wrong, but I ramble.

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I went to a site to buy some instructional content. I couldn't believe it when I didn't see https - that's the green padlock - that indicates encryption is being used. There is no way I'm buying your stuff over the internet if you're not using the https protocol.


Maybe I'm seeing it wrong or something is wrong with my computer - it's here, No https, right?



Ever have a mutterer a stall or two away from you? Usually a nattering nabob of negativism and with a mouth as foul as Nixon in his lost tapes. I've been there, when it's frustrating and nothing seems to work. But don't go emanating your black cloud towards others. Laughter is contagious and it goes the other way around too, dourness will tend to make other people dour. Do something different, change it up. Go out there and read how to practice better, try out different pros. But F this. F that. F me. JFC F me. F all is working. GD it S F F me. Not productive. Luckily, my concentration was good and I was focussed and tuned him out, but dude, lighten up. There are a lot of anal type As I'm very good at what I do so I must be pretty good at everything else at this range. This guy was no exception, must be a blast as a partner.


Due to account restrictions, could only upload a 6 minute video, had much longer coverage in the original, which proves my point better but here is a regular tour event, the recent Honda Classic, with all action, no commercials, no blimp, no CEOs, no reporters. Isn't this just a better watch? Of course you can't eliminate ads, but there are ways to make improve the quality of current broadcasts as a recent blog post by @nolayingup outlined. There's probably more golf action in this 6 minutes than in 40 minutes of a typical broadcast. Apologies in advance for the shoddy video editing. 




NBC announcers flaunt their lack of curiosity like... peacocks. If I were interviewing someone for a job and asked for his/her opinion of the new programming language Beta, which has been available for years, and that person said, I don't know anything about it, I've always used Alpha and it's better in my opinion, for me, that would not represent the candidate well. 

In the video, Peter Jacobsen says he tried Aimpoint Express and still hasn't figured it out. Miller then asks Gary Koch if he tried it and he says no, plumb bobbing would get the same result. Miller follows up with plumb bobbing is more accurate. David Feherty calls it The Fickle Finger of Fate, a disparaging moniker with the randomness it invokes, or maybe it's more for chuckles - Feherty seems like a smart guy and would figure out Aimpoint straight away.

Listen, if you're going to knock something on national TV, at least take a detailed look into what you're dismissing. I'd have more respect for these statements if they were, I took a clinic, gave it a concerted effort to try it, I just don't get it. Maybe we don't know the inside politics. Maybe there's some friction between the media and the company behind Aimpoint. Maybe there's some kind of extenuating circumstances. But if this isn't the case, there's no excuse for all the announcers not to have taken a clinic (Aimpoint Express isn't hard to learn, kids learn it.) That's their job, to know golf, right? Putting is one of its aspects.



Again, :doh:

Christ on a cracker, :doh:

One minute into the video below, the crew at NBC is gushing over Garcia's lag. They've been doing this for years and it just pains me how this is screwing up people who are less informed or experienced. And before I start, let me ask, aren't all genes, "God given"? Where would genes come from otherwise? The fairy golden space fantasy unicorn that poops multi colored ice cream? :doh:

If you face a mirror, make an L with a golf club and then rotate your forearms so the clubhead goes behind you, that's the same exact look. That's just massive shallowing from the top or even before it a little. The angle between Garcia's forearms and the shaft is still 90 or thereabouts. If you literally take a dry erase and draw an angle on your tv, sure, it's ~120 degrees, but that's the shallowing that makes it look that way, the wrists are around 90. It's an illusion. Garcia is a supremely talented golfer, I love watching him, but he's not some X-Men Mutant outcast or Richard Reed or a guy with rubber band wrists. Holding the angle in general, is not conducive to a good swing. I bet lots of people will be at the range tonight, tomorrow morning, and they're going to try this, and for the most part, it's going to be for naught. Look, I understand it's partially marketing, they're making the product look good. But there's a balance of that, and informing your audience with facts and good information. 

And it's not just NBC, so I'm being fair.


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