Monday, October 20, 2014

What's In The Winner's Golf Bag: Ben Martin at The 2014 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open - Great Golf Blog

Ben Martin drilled a 45 foot eagle putt in the final round on the 16th hole to help him win his first tournament on the PGA Tour at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas.

Martin needed to finish strong to hold off a hard charge from Kevin Streelman who pulled ahead of him in the final round.  On the 16th hold par 5 Martin reached the green in two but was over 45 feet away.  That's when he pulled out his Scotty Cameron and rolled in the improbable eagle which lifted him back into the lead and to his first victory.

“It was an awesome way to finish,” Martin said. “I didn’t feel like I had much going all day. Four under on my last four to cap my first win was just awesome.”

Martin finished at 20-under 264 and returns to the Masters, this time as a pro. He played Augusta National in 2010 as the U.S. Amateur runner-up.

What's In Ben's Bag?

Driver: Titleist 910 D3 (8.5 Degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 7X

3 Wood: Ping i25 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Blue 85TX

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (17 degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Irons: Titleist 714 CB Forged (3, 5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM5 (50-08F, 54-11M and 58-11K)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour

Ball: Titleist Pro V1X

Get all of Ben's gear at discount prices at Great Golf

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Titleist 915 Drivers, Fairways and Hybrids - Released Only When It Is Time

Unlike other golf equipment manufacturers that release new drivers every 6 months, Titleist sticks to its strategy of only releasing equipment when there is a significant technological advancement that will improve their equipment.

The new 915 line may not look so different from its predecessor (the 913 Line) when you're staring down at it from address. There are still the beautiful, classic lines to the clubs that everyone associates with Titleist clubs.

But turn the club over and look at the sole. Maybe we should call it the "soul" because that is where the heart of the new technology resides. The clubs feature a channel that runs from the toe to the heel, just behind the leading edge. Titleist calls it an Active Recoil Channel (ARC), and according to Chris McGinley, the company’s vice president of golf club marketing, it’s the key to many of the clubs’ performance enhancements.

The ARC is designed to let the front of the club flex more at impact which would produce higher ball speeds and less spin which is the holy grail of distance today. Early prototypes of ARC actually performed too well as the new spring-like effect exceeded the USGA allowed levels. So Titleist had to taper it back a little bit by adding a variable face insert which is thicker in the middle and thinner on the edges. The insert allows center-hits to remain conforming while at the same time allows off-center hits to not lose ball speed and distance.

To get the correct launch angle for ultimate distance Titleist engineers lowered the center of gravity and moved it further back in the club. Shifting weight lower and farther back helps the 915D2 and 915D3 produce slightly higher launch angles than their predecessors, the 913 drivers. It also helps increase the moment of inertia.

The 915 Driver will be available in the D2 and D3 Model.  The D2 has a 460cc head with a slight draw-bias.  The D3 is 440cc's has a deeper face which produces a lower, more boring ball flight. 

Both drivers feature the same 16-position SureFit Tour adjustable hosel system. It allows golfers to increase the club's stated loft by as much as 1.5 degrees or reduce it by .75 degrees. Players also can make the club up to 1.5 degrees more upright or flatten the lie angle by .75 degrees.

The 915D2 comes in lofts of 7.5, 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees. The 915D3 is available in 7.5, 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5 degrees. The 915D2 and 915D3 will retail at $449 and can be paired with wide selection of custom "stock" shafts.

There are two Fairway Woods in the 915 line, the 175cc 915F and the 160cc 915F.d. Both have a classic look at address, featuring a black crown and an understated alignment aid near the face. Both clubs also feature Titleist’s SureFit Tour adjustable hosel system that allows golfers to change the loft and lie independently.

The Active Recoil Channel (ARC) is also present in the new 915 fairway woods. “The channel is slightly deeper in the fairway woods, and positioned slightly closer to the face, than in the drivers,” said Chris McGinley, Titleist’s vice president of golf club marketing. “Compared to a driver, fairway woods have a lot more loft, and more loft creates more spin. So in order to have maximum effectiveness in terms of spin reduction, we needed to move the ARC a little more forward in the fairways.”

The 915F will be available in lofts of 13.5, 15, 16.5, 18 and 21 degrees. The 915F.d will be available in 13.5- and 15-degree versions. Like the 915 driver, Titleist is offering a wide variety of "stock" shafts to go along with this fairway wood.

There are two new Hybrids in the 915 line915H has a stainless steel, 118cc-head. The 915H.d has a 107cc head. The 915H was designed to create slightly more spin and has a slightly higher launch angle, and both clubs were given the same uniformly thick Carpenter stainless steel face insert.
Because most of time golfers are hitting hybrids to greens as opposed to drivers and fairways which are hit off tees, the Active Recoil Chamber in the Hybrids is mainly designed to increase ball speed and distance while maintaining spin.

The 915H will be available in lofts of 18, 21, 24 and 27 degrees. The 915H.d will come in lofts of 17.5, 20.5 and 23.5 degrees.

The new Titleist 915 Line will be available for sale starting mid-November 2014. With Titleist it just goes to show you that you don't need to release new drivers every 6 months with a variety of colored heads to be successful.  All you need is a quality product that has significant improvements over the previous model and Titleist has accomplished this with the new 915 Line. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

2014 PGA Grand Slam of Golf Starts Today - Does Anyone Really Care?

Rory McIlroy, Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer tee it up today for a made-for-tv 36 hole tournament played in Bermuda.

The tournament pairs up the current winners of the four golf Majors but since McIlroy won both the Open Championship and PGA, Jim Furyk gets the call to fill in the foursome.

This is a prime-time TV tournament but at this point in the season will anyone be watching?  Well for us in the golf-starved Midwest, with the golf season quickly coming to an end, it will be refreshing to see some sunny-warm weather golf being played by some of the top golfers in the world.  Our eyeballs will be watching and dreaming of warm-weather golf hoping that these next 6 months of winter passes fast!


Player: Rory McIlroy
Age: 25
Majors won (4): 2011 U.S. Open; 2012 PGA Championship; 2014 Open Championship; 2014 PGA Championship
Best Grand Slam finish: Third, 2012 at Port Royal

Player: Martin Kaymer
Age: 29
Majors won (2): 2010 PGA Championship; 2014 U.S. Open
Best Grand Slam finish: T3, 2010 at Port Royal

Player: Bubba Watson
Age: 35
Majors won (2): 2012; 2014 Masters
Best Grand Slam finish: T3, 2012

Player: Jim Furyk
Age: 44
Majors won (1): 2003 U.S. Open
Best Grand Slam finish: Won in 2003 at Poipu Bay Golf Course in Hawaii and in 2008 at Mid Ocean Club in Tucker's Town, Bermuda

Tuesday,Oct 14TNT4 p.m.  -7 p.m. ET/PT
Wednesday,Oct 15TNT4 p.m.  -8 p.m. ET/PT

Sunday, October 12, 2014

What's In The Winner's Golf Bag: Sang Moon Bae at 2014 Open - Great Golf Blog

Sang Moon Bae Kicks of the 2015 PGA Tour Schedule with a win at the Open at Silverado in Napa Valley CA.

It was his first win since his Byron Nelson win in 2013 and with that he becomes fully exempt on the PGA Tour through 2016/2017 season, earns an invitations to the 2015 Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the Masters, the Players and the PGA. Bae also joined K.J. Choi and Y.E. Yang as the only Korean-born players with multiple Tour wins.

What's In Sang Moon Bae's Bag?

Driver: Callaway Big Bertha V-Series (9 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD MJ-7X

3 Wood: Callaway Diablo Octane (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana ‘ahina

Hybrid: Callaway X Hot Pro (18 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Blue ATX 105X

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue

Wedges: Callaway X-Forged (52, 56 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue

Putter: Odyssey Demascus Grand

Golf Ball: Callaway SR3

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Retro Pom Pom Headcovers Are Back In Style - Great Golf Blog

Did you happen to see the headcovers used by the USA Team at last week's Ryder Cup?    The 2014 USA Ryder Cup team used custom-made Pom Pom headcovers and they really looked good.  Too bad they didn't play as well as their gear looked...

Just like fashion, if you wait a while things come back in style.

Pom Pom headcovers were all the rage back in the 70's when Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson were dominating the PGA Tour.  Back then, the OEM headcovers were not the greatest so a lot of players swapped them out for custom headcovers.

Today, OEM headcovers are a lot more stylish and OEM's put a lot of work into styling their matching headcovers.  But there is something just a little too sterile about the new headcovers.  Maybe its the man-made synthetic material they use or the styling or just the way they fit.  Maybe it's that everyone else with the same driver has the same cover and I like variety.  In any case, I wanted to add a little customization and style to my bag without spending a lot of money.

Now I am now way a fashionista but if you are looking to add a little style to your bag then one of the best ways to do that is to change your headcovers.

I could have gone the animal headcover route but to me it just looks a little weird to have an animal sitting atop of your clubs.  So I decided to go retro and go with pom pom headcovers.  To my surprise there are quite a few companies that offer pom pom headcovers all ranging in style and price.  

After a lot of research I decided to go with a company called Sunfish Sales Headcovers.  This is a fairly new company based out of Tennessee and they are putting out a high-quality pom pom headcover at a very reasonable price.  Now I am not a knitting expert but from the look and feel of these covers you can tell that they are of high quality and substantial.  The label states that they are all  hand-knitted from 100% New Zealand wool.  

The pom sizes vary per club.  On the driver it is a large - 6" pom while the fairway has a 4" pom and hybrid has a 3" pom.  The length of the headcovers is more than enough to protect the shaft from scraping against your bag.  In addition, there is a sewn in elastic that is designed to keep your cover fitting snuggly and  prevent it from falling off. 

There are enough color combinations available to ship immediately to meet most golfers needs but if you want something customized that is available but expect about 4 weeks for delivery.  I ordered the driver, fairway and hybrid cover with red and black stripes and it shipped immediately and I had it within two days.

Price was extremely reasonable as I paid less than $70 for all three.  Now that may seem a lot but there are other companies that sell just the driver cover for that much.  And for a hand-knitted, 100% wool covers I felt it was well worth the investment.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Top 5 Ways to Save Money On Buying New Golf Equipment

Are you envious of your golfing buddies who trot out the latest golf equipment each new season while you’re still playing with stuff from 5 years ago?

Is the smallest guy in your foursome continually outdriving you?

Is the head in your driver smaller than your friends 3-wood and still made out of a once-living item?

Then maybe it’s time to invest in an upgrade in your golfing gear. Here are the 5 top ways to get that new gear and still have cash left over for green fees:

1. Don’t Buy the Brand New Releases. 

Each year around February and March the top golf equipment manufacturers come out with the latest and greatest equipment and price them at top dollar. They are banking on the fact that all of us golf gear-heads will want the latest stuff in our bags for the new golf season. But if you can wait 6 months, you can pick up the same stuff for about 50% of the original price. For example, this year TaylorMade came out with the JetSpeed Driver that was priced at   $299.99 on its release date. That same driver can be purchased new today, 6 months later,  for $ 169.99

2. Look for Open-Box Merchandise.

What exactly is Open-Box Merchandise? Open-Box Merchandise is equipment that for some reason has been removed from the original factory packaging and therefore cannot be sold as new. In some cases it is a set club that was shipped out to a customer and for whatever reason the customer returned it UNUSED. The key word here is UNUSED. It could also have been an item that was on the store floor and again is UNUSED. The key to this is that because it is unused the original manufacturers warranty is still in effect and you can get the new-release equipment at 20-30% off full retail price.

3. Trade-in Your Used Gear. 

Do you really need 3 drivers or 4 putters? When buying new equipment be sure to bring in your old stuff to use as a trade-in credit towards the new gear. There is a “Blue-Book” for used golf equipment and it’s called the PGA Value Guide. Pretty much all golf equipment retailers use this to determine approximate trade-in values. But manage your expectations with trade-ins. Don’t expect to get $ 350 for that $ 399 driver after it has been used. In most cases the trade in value will start at 50% of the original price then go down from there based on age and condition of item. If you want to get more for your trade-in you can try to sell it to your buddy or take the time to sell it on an auction site like eBay. You can get started on your trade-in here.
Ever wonder why online golf retailers make you do this just to see what the price is? Well it’s not done to make it harder for you to purchase something; it is done because the golf equipment manufacturers have what is called MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) pricing policies. MAP pricing is a form of price-fixing where the golf equipment manufactures want all their retailers to sell the equipment at the same price. One way retailers can get around this and sell at a lower price is by not showing the price of the item on the website until it is in the shopping cart. So take that extra step and add the item to the cart to see what the discounted price is. You are never obligated to buy it and can remove it any time. Believe me it is worth the extra step and you will save a lot of money.

5. Sign Up for Email Specials. 

The golf equipment retail business is very competitive and every retailer is looking to give their customers the best deals out there. One way to make sure you’re on top of the deals out there is to sign up for the golf retailers email specials. Instead of scouring the web for deals yourself, let the deals come to you via email. Many retailers will send exclusive coupon codes and specials out to their customers only or notify them in advance of any closeout deals coming so you can score the big deal before it gets opened up to the general public.

Monday, September 15, 2014

What's In The Winner's Golf Bag: Billy Horschel at 2014 Tour Championship - Great Golf Blog

ATLANTA — Brandishing what constitutes a rebellious side in golf, Billy Horschel often turns his cap backward upon holing out at No. 18. He has pondered playing an entire round with that slacker look, even after being advised that the PGA Tour might assess a fine.

Horschel could afford any such levy many times over after hauling away $11.44 million Sunday as the winner of the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup points bonus. He fended off Rory McIlroy early and Jim Furyk late to wind up at 11 under par, with three shots to spare, at East Lake Golf Club.

The season’s climactic round seemed to have been condensed to Horschel versus McIlroy, the presumptive player of the year.

But McIlroy recovered too late after his drive on the par-3 No. 6 was sucked up by the bordering lake for an eventual double bogey. He was the last of 18 golfers — on 15 percent of tee shots over the four days — who were subjected to water torture on what is billed as the nation’s original island hole, though it more resembles a peninsula.

Two of Chris Kirk’s drives were submerged; otherwise, he might have bettered his tie for fourth.

McIlroy retreated further with three straight bogeys, then birdied Nos. 15 through 17 to catch Furyk as runners-up.

“I am tired,” McIlroy said, echoing a theme heard repeatedly at East Lake. “It’s been a long four weeks. If I had to do it over again, I probably would have taken a week off somewhere in this stretch of tournaments.”

Furyk, 44, extended a pattern set after taking the 2010 Tour Championship: dancing around the winner’s circle without penetrating it. Bidding to become the Cup’s oldest titleholder, he completed another outstanding but empty year: no wins among 11 top-10 finishes in 21 events, with four second-place finishes.

He described Sunday’s as less frustrating than the previous three. “Billy was out ahead,” Furyk said, although he had trailed by just one stroke for a while before closing with two bogeys. “I was trying to chase him down all day.”

Horschel elected to doff his hat Sunday and wave it to a gallery that was appreciative, at least until Horschel, a former Florida player, performed an arm-waving Gator chomp in the heart of Georgia Bulldogs country.

Even with a stiff fine for reversing the cap, which he guessed might be considered conduct unbecoming a professional golfer, Horschel would have considerable savings left over for his expanding family. His wife, Brittany, is due to deliver their first child, a daughter, in two weeks. There was no indication from their home in north Florida that the mother-to-be’s celebration hastened that event.

The fashion gesture, he said, showed youngsters that golf could be fun without showing disrespect for the sport.

Another motivation was showing his face to viewers who might be unfamiliar with him, as he made his first splash on the tour last year.

Now, after a sensational finishing stretch of two victories and a tie for second at the last three tour stops, more facial recognition is assured.

“The year I had, I wasn’t sure this was going to happen, but I kept believing,” Horschel said. Without begging pardon for the pun, he added, “To cap it off like this has been pretty unbelievable.”

What's In Billy's' Bag?

Driver: Ping G30 (9 set to 10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue 60X (tipped 1 inch)
Length: 45.25 inches
Swing Weight: D4

3 Wood: Ping G25 (15 at 13.9 degrees)
Shaft: Oban Kiyoshi Black 75-05 (tipped 1 inch)
Swing Weight: D2

5 Wood: Ping G25 (18 at 17.6 degrees)
Shaft: Oban Kiyoshi Black 75-05 (Tipped 1.5 Inches)
Swing Weight: D2

Irons: Ping S55 (3, 5-PW)
Color Code: Black [(3, 5 irons) standard] and Red [(6-PW) 0.75 degrees flat]
Shafts: Ping Z-Z65 / Cushin
Swing Weight: D1
Length: +1/4 Inch

Wedges: Ping Gorge (50, 56, and 60 Degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue
50 (Bent to 52) Degrees Loft, Standard Lie, and D3 Swing Weight
56 SS (Bent to 57) Degrees Loft, Standard Lie and D4 Swing Weight
60 SS (Bent to 61) Degrees Loft, Standard Lie and D4 Swing Weight

Putter: Ping TR B60
Length: 34 inches
Lie: 70 Degrees
Loft: 3.5 Degrees
Grip: SuperStroke Flatso Ultra
Swing weight: D5

Grips: Golf Pride V55 (Full Cord, Rib)
Diameter: .58 (+3 Wraps Right Hand and +2 Wraps Left Hand)

 Titleist ProV1x + (2013)