Saturday, September 29, 2012

Shaft..damn straight..

After a month of dealing with a sore arm I decided to finally get some new shafts for my irons.  Previously, they were the stock True Temper Dynalite Gold XP S300..about 117g a piece.  They required a lot of effort on my part to get them going.  I also noticed that my grip tension got tighter to when using these shafts.

I've been playing with them for a year, but they always felt too heavy for me.  I previously used the Dynalite SL R300 which felt great, but unfortunately they were on another set (Mizuno MX-25) that I had sold to upgrade to the MX-200.  Looking back, I should've just stayed with the MX-25's as it is IDENTICAL to my current set, the MX-200..just some different graphics..but anyways..

Well, enough was enough and I decided to "upgrade" to a modern, lighter, shaft..the Nippon N.S. PRO 950GH.  I read up alot on these and many reviews said that they felt great for the smooth swinger (me) and they got the ball up high (which I like).

I've been playing a couple rounds to get used to them and I've been REALLY been enjoying them.  They are considerably lighter (95g) than the XP S300's (117g) which has allowed me to keep my swing speed up, if not a bit faster.  It would be comparable from swinging a broad sword and to a foil.  The ball really takes off and get nice and high.  I did notice that they play just a hair softer than the Dynalite SL R300's, but not by much.  I can really power through my swing, like before, with the Nippon 950GH.  It feels like running in running shoes, rather than snowboarding boots.  I'm really debating switching the shafts in my wedges to these as well.

If you are looking to upgrade into a really nice and lighter shaft, I HIGHLY recommend the Nippon N.S. PRO 950GH.  They usually come as an upgraded option on on many sets, but it is truly worth it.  It really makes this game a lot more enjoyable when you have equipment that feels good.

Friday, September 21, 2012

My irons sing..

I've played with numerous brands of irons, but in the end I have to say that forged irons feel the best.  I agree that there is some distance that may be lost, compared to cast iron, but for me it is completely worth it.  The common argument is that there is no difference and metal is metal, whether poured into a cast or forged by hand.

I am a big fan of Mizuno's forged irons, personally, and I've been using their forged irons for the last 15 years of playing this game.  I've played with cast iron as well, but the feel you get from a well struck shot on the face of a forged iron is like no other.  I can best explain it as hitting a heavy marsh's a nice, soft, but firm "thud" feeling that you desire to replicate over and over again.  Once you feel it, there's no turning warned:

and why my irons "sing":

I think the 1st iron is a Ping, the 2nd a Callaway and the Mizuno MX-200 (mine).

Friday, September 14, 2012

Christina Kim

I don't get to talk much about the LPGA, but one of the most colorful and exciting players they have is Christina Kim.  I ran across these pictures..somehow..but wow!  These were taken for ESPN Magazine.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Nice form

This is what it took (takes) to win a U.S. Open (..and 19 PGA Tour victories). 

Is that houndstooth?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What are the odds you'll be better..?

To paraphrase Dean Knuth, The Pope of Slope:

What are the odds that a 19-handicapper to shoot a 77 from tees that had a course rating of 71.2 and a Slope of 133 (mucho difficult-o!). 

The 19-handicapper shooting:

10 shots or better are 37,000-to-1

5 shots better would be 174-to-1

But in this example, a 14 shot improvement (being a 19-handicapper, going from 91 to 77):

100,000 to 1 (or more than a lifetime of golf)

Check out the other unique facts and complete set of hopeless odds here:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fantastic Four

Today's modern PGA tour professional are youthful and brash and seem like they just stepped out of an X-Game competition or GQ or both.  You see guys like Rickie Fowler, who actually can compete on a FMX event, who are attracting the younger crowd into this great game.  Dustin Johnson, who is athletic enough to throw a 50 yard pass in the NFL.  Jason Dufner, who is..well, he chews a mean game.  Anyway, these guys bring a new "studly-ness" to the modern day PGA tour professional.  

But my favorite golfers still and always are (images added to show these youngins'):

Ben Crenshaw

Hale Irwin

Tom Lehman

Hal Sutton

I grew up watching these guys play on television.  They were always the consummate professional and  carried themselves like champions.  It wouldn't surprise me if they were all very close and good friends with one another.  Just mentioning these names to golfers evoke emotion that we all share in common.   This would be my golf fantasy five-some (I gotta play with them too..right?)..heck, I wouldn't mind to see these in a modern day match-play against one another..that would be truly fantastic.

Monday, September 10, 2012

..with Liberty and Pro V's for all.

I ran across this ad reading this month's Golf Digest magazine and thought nothing about it.  It looked like the typical (arrogant/obnoxious) Titleist Pro V1/V1X ad stating that their balls are best for people who swing really hard or are really good with photos of stud-ly PGA Tour Pros.

What.?! They're not?! They're good for everone now?! (Double-click on picture to read the ad.)I usually flip through their ads, but I decided to read it..this time.  It turns out that now there is no direct correlation between club speed and ball compression, according to

If you see that photo of the ProV1 being struck, you can see all the varying swing speeds are compressing just about the same amount for ALL SWING SPEEDS.  Obviously, Titleist has finally recognized that when you market your balls to the "better player" you end up selling to about 1% of the general golfing public.

Up until now, including myself, we (average, horrible, ugly) golfers would never even consider using a ProV1.  I would always even shy away looking at a brand new box of Pro V1's as I felt the Titleist Gods sneering at me and mocking me.."How Dare You Gaze Upon the Almighty Pro V1 you weak, pathetic, super game-improvement iron using mortal"..HA-HA-HA-HA!!"

It looks like the folks at Titleist are now convincing us that we too can use the Pro V1 and Pro V1X because we are good enough now.  Look at "Theresa F" (third golfer in the magazine ad, above)..she has a 15 handicap and uses the Pro V1X..YEEESSS!!  That's me!!  We don't have to swing harder or better..the Pro V's will now adjust to you and do the rest..because we normal Joe's are good enough.  Titleist finally gets it that the more Pro V's we (bad players) lose the more we buy.  Good players never lose balls..duh!  (If anyone has an older issue of Golf or GD with the "previous" ProV1/V1X ad, please drop me an email..I'd love to post it up).

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Great Scott!

I've tried to justify on numerous occasions why I need more than one Scotty Cameron putter.  How many putters can you possible putt with during a round?  I mean, you can only hold one in each hand right? ..but to have three?  Really?

To be honest I was a ravenous Scotty Cameron fan and at one time had fifteen (15) Scotty Cameron putters.  Each had their separate story (and various rare models) and why I "had" to have it.  But, reality (and family) set in where I just had to purge my collection.  I got rid of my whole collection..period.

Fast forward, ten years later, and I wanted to get a Scotty Cameron again and my most desired one that I wanted to get back was the Newport Tei3 Long Neck (pictured, third one).  I , managed (dumb luck) to find one from Craigslist in mint condition and all original.  But, as Scotty Cameron fans know, we do not game our pride and joy (Newport TeI3 Long Neck).  I needed a "gamer" (one that I will play with all the time) Scotty Cameron and I was a fan of his Red X when it was out, but wanted a little update, so I had to go with the Fastback 1 (pictured, first one).

Unfortunately, I was still missing one last piece..and the one that always escaped me which was the Newport 2.7 (pictured, middle one).  One thing that is common amongst my Scotty Cameron "collection" is that I prefer a face balanced putter and these Scotty Camerons' are about as face balanced as he makes them.  I've putted with numerous different makes of putters before, but the feel off these putters is like no other..especially the many Scotty Cameron enthusiasts would agree

Also, as many others who have played with a Scotty Cameron can attest to, is that these putters are exceptionally well made and feel like a finely chiseled hand made tool.  They really do add confidence and inspiration when you are on the green.  You can't help not wanting to be a better putter with one of these.  You will find absolutely no fault or remorse if you buy one..they are that good. 

Srixon Soft Feel..the Poor Man's Pro V1X?

I first was introduced to this ball by a good friend of mine a few months ago.  At first when I saw the Srixon Soft Feel, it looked rather gimmicky with its "Soft Feel" adjustment arrow.  I'm not a fan of your cheaper, 2-piece, balls that feel like a BB off the face.

After playing a few round with it I can honestly say that I have fallen in love with this ball.  Besides the fact that it feels great off the face on all the clubs (driver through putter), it is priced very well.

You can find last years model for around $14/dozen.  There is a newer version of the Soft Feel, but from what I've researched they just added "Pure White" to the title.  I guess they are "whiter" or brighter so you can easily locate them.  To be honest, the "older" version (and cheaper one) is plenty "white".

These are geared toward swing speeds under 100 mph, which suits me fine.  I've heard that the compression is around 71, which for me is fine also..just means a softer ball to me. The feel, to me, was identical to a Pro V1X, with less the sticker price.  The thing about playing with "cheaper" golf balls, to me, is that I can swing away without worrying if I lose it or put it in the drink.

I think those of us, like me, who cannot afford to play with the ultra premium brands, like the Pro V1's, have a tendency to tense up on certain shots..especially when we have five bucks that we might just toss away into the pond guarding that par 3.  When we can swing without worry, is when we swing our best.

Another added, indirect, benefit is that most average players still are not familiar with the Srixon brand so there's less of a chance of problems with ball identity and other golfers claiming that the balls is theirs on the course.  You know how many average golfers are playing with a Pro V1's now a days?  You better check yourself next time you think you found "your" Pro V1.

Titleist Gran Z - the JDM golf ball

I was at my local golf store when they had these Titleist Gran-Z in a bin.  According to the salesman, he said they were selling like hotcakes.  They supposedly sell for over $80 in Japan and they were a real bargain at $19.99/dozen.  He said they play in-between the NXT and Pro V1 and were designed for the asian market. 

This usually means that the design has subtle nuances and features that cater to asian golfers who tend to be critical of their golf equipment.  This can be seen at first sight with the pearlescent cover and interesting ball numbering scheme..33,55,77.

I'm not a fan of the NXT, but if they play closer (softer) to the Pro V1, I definitely was interested.  They have this very cool looking pearl-escent cover with an alignment line. Enough said, so I bought a dozen (should I have bought the remaining 2 dozen?) for $19.99.

After playing a round with them I have to say they feel very nice off the driver and all the way through the putter.  They do feel just a tad harder than the ProV1, but very close or similar to the Pro V1X.  This may be also due to the softer compression (71, from what I hear).  I'm not sure how these would fair with the heavier hitter, but if you have a average swing speed, I highly recommend trying these out..if you can find it. 

Saturday, September 08, 2012


I would love to try this myself..Sharipova pulled a Freddie Couples..holing out on the 2nd ball to get her par..nice.  "Take a picture of that.." to Djokovic..classic.

Most useless item ever invented..

Besides the tiny, button, ball marker that comes attached to your golf glove (and either NEVER use this or just throw it away..immediately), those ridiculous plastic, studded, ball markers have to be the worst golf item ever invented. 

For one, they are not only unbelievably hard to get a hold of in your pocket, but they are nearly impossible to pull out of the green after your put your ball back.  There's even a good chance you'll knock your ball AFTER you try to graciously pry this marker out of the green.  Furthermore, you'll more than likely damage the green by plucking out a few clumps of grass in attempting to pry this "pearl" from the green oyster.

I wonder why they would even create a machine that makes these?  Are they really in demand?  I don't see any reputable golfer to use this ridiculous "marker".  I'm not even fond of people using a dime for a marker, as they always have a tendancy of looking around to locate this needle in the haystack. 

Oh yeah, and those skinny tees are a joke..seriously.  Who would ever want to tee up a ball on top of a tooth pick?  I tried using this one time, and honestly it took me a few seconds to get the damn ball to sit!  I realize the whole "less resistant/friction" thing..but in this case, the end does not justify the mean.

We are a strange bird..

I'm on a roll today..woo hoo!!  Golfers are a strange (but creatures of habit) breed.  I, for one, always carry a certain number of tees (specific),  ball marker (specific) and divot repair tool (specific) when I play.  I have gobs of various markers, tees, divot tools to choose from, but I always manage to be very exact (and gravitate) toward what I routinely use during my round.

I honestly think that there is a direct relation between the items you keep, consistently, in your pocket during a round and your index.  The better the player you are, the more routine the items are that your have in your pocket.  The "worse" the player you are, you tend not to care and will just grab a bunch of tees and markers and just shove it into your pocket..which is fine also..just for clarification.  I always keep the stuff (pictured here) in my left pocket: 

I'll fluctuate between the $1 silver dollar and custom ball marker (thanks to Erik from The golf fourm) and between the Super Mex (local Mexican restaurant) divot tool and the Vineyard GC divot tool.  I always use have one Zero-Friction tee (for the driver), but then keep one smaller wooden tee for the par 3's.  No, I do not have a great story or a fond memory of these various tokens, but for some reason they seem to always draw to me..and it's always been the same.   This has been routine for as far as I can remember..freakish?

Worst tip Keegan Bradley

For the most part, most of the tips I read in Golf Digest or Golf are usually regurgitated instruction that we've all heard before.  For those of us who've been playing awhile, we know the basics of this and that..keep our hands forward, transfer weight to forward leg, swing from the inside..blah..blah..blah.  Re-reading these tips, hints, etc., for me, just reinforces and reminds me of what to focus can say it keeps my golfing mind and body in tune.

However, I finally am getting around to commenting, after reading, on one of the worst tips ever.  Actually this "tip" goes against everything that most notable golf instructors and professionals have said.  Here is the excerpt from the article from Golf Digest, January 2012, issue with Keegan Bradley:

"I know I just said I don't think of anything on the downswing, but I do want you to have one thought: Swing hard. I really mean that. Try to hit the ball as hard as you can without losing your balance (4). Most amateurs are so worried about mis-hitting the shot or hitting it off line, they don't make an aggressive move. You'd be surprised how much better your swing will get if you let your natural athletic ability shine. So go after it"

..did you catch it?  If not, I whole heartedly do not agree with Keegan Bradley's by "Swing hard.  I really mean that.  Try to hit the ball as hard as you can without losing your balance."  True, he does say "without losing your balance", but to most average golfers this is still very confusing.  Most average/beginner golfers are swinging harder than they should, anyhow.  He's also assuming we all have this "natural athletic ability" and to let it SHINE..can I say:

Any regular golfer, and instructors, would tell you take more club and swing smooth, not harder.  This is is the most widely known verse in Golf 101.  I wish I had the article, but I swore I remember KB saying to take the highest lofted iron and swing as hard as you can.

Anyways, *sigh of relief* I got this off my chest.  So many BAD THINGS happen when the average golfer tries to hit the ball as hard as he can.  You get excessive grip pressure, your body gets rigid, etc.  We all know that in order to play good golf, you need to be relaxed as a relaxed body generates more club head speed than a tense one..Party Rock!

Friday, September 07, 2012

My Favorite Driver..

As all golfers do during the course of their golfing "career" is to tinker with equipment, try this and/or that, swap this for that and etc.  I've been playing this game for over 20 years and have tried various drivers throughout my golf journey.

I have to say, though, that I've always kept one particular driver around, the Titleist 905R.  I bought this driver years ago (used from Ebay) and always played well with it.  Of course, as mentioned earlier, we golfer still like to tinker around.  

A few months ago I picked up a Mizuno JPX 800 driver with 12 degree loft.  I always had was a very low trajectory, even with a 10.5 degree driver, and wanted a higher trajectory.  Obviously, my "technique" was what needed to be changed, but I wanted a quick fix, rather than taking time to work it out on the practice range.

This 12 degree driver was the band-aid as it surely got my ball up to the desired trajectory I wanted.  The downside was that I lost about 20-30 yards, which for me, is crucial when it comes to that approach shot.  I'd rather have a shorter approach than longer..who doesn't, right?

Well, I went back to the Titleist 905R and I did get my 20 yards back.  One thing (actually, a few) that is true about Titleist drivers are they're solid and their design is always subtle and timeless, especially the 905 series.  I've always noticed that with my 905R, I get out what I put into it.  There are no free yardages or crazy ballooning drives that go high and out of control.  If you put a good swing on it, you get rewarded, but then if you put a bad swing on it, the ball just goes nowhere.  I've noticed that bad swings just make the ball play dead.  The 905R does not mask bad swings and give you good results.

The 905R does not have fancy graphics or the latest colors.  When you address it on the tee box, you know you are holding a true golf club and it will only do what you are capable of doing.  It's an honest club that doesn't showboat..only true golfers need to apply. 

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Jack Fleck

I am looking forward to reading about one of the greatest golf upsets of all time.  This was the 1955 U.S. Open where an unknown golfer, Jack Fleck, had come from a 9 stroke deficit and go into a 18 hole playoff against Ben Hogan..and win by 3 strokes.

NBC had even proclaimed Ben Hogan as the victor of a 5th victory and signed off in San Francsco (it was held at the Olympic Club), but little did they know that Jack Fleck came back from behind to claim victory.  Jack Fleck is the oldest U.S. Open winner that is still alive today.

A friend of mine, Neil Sagebiel, who runs Armchair Golf Blog has written an outstanding book, The Longest Shot, that tells this unbelievable event which has been hailed by the New York Times as one of the best ever.

If you are looking for a great read at the moment I highly suggest you check his book out!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Keeping track..

Since April of this year I've really devoted myself into becoming a better golfer.  This meant really tracking where I was doing well and where I wasn't.  I was looking around and was fortunate to test out Scorecard golf statistics application.  The program tells you a myriad of golf stats of your game as long as you keep track of 6 areas during the course of your round (score, fairway hit, green in regulation, distance of first putt, number of putts taken and your up and down saves..whether successful or not). 

I've been using this for the last six months now and it has been interesting to see where I'm doing ok and where I need to pick it up and do better.  Right now, I'm averaging around 48% of fairways hit on the tee shot, but about 20% of GIR's.  One of the most important areas, in order to break 80, is to increase my GIR percentage to about 50%.

I am an avid member of The golf forum.  The place is very well kept up and has some of the best reviews on golf equipment and other golf related stories and etc.  If you join you may be able to get a trial version to test out for yourself.  I highly recommend it if you are truly serious about getting better and playing to your true abilities.

Golf Digest HI-RES images

I was looking for the picture of the cover of Golf Digest Magazine 2012 Hot List issue (below) 
and ran across these awesome high resolution images.
Just "right click" and "Save as desktop background"..they are simply stunning.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


Lately, and perhaps a sign of getting older, but my left forearm has been getting really sore and tight after a round.  It started to happen last month.  I'm not swinging at the ball any harder either.  At first, it was my right forearm that felt this way, but then went away after using a compression band.

Now, the same forearm soreness and tightness is on my left forearm.  I use a compression band during play which makes it a lot more comfortable, but notice the soreness and stiffness afterwards.  It feels a bit better everyday since, but still tight.  I'm considering switching to graphite shafts and there are many reputable iron graphite shafts out there..oye.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Bring you up to date..

I've played numerous rounds since my last posting from earlier this year and was debating to post my rants after each round (see post below), but I'll spare everyone and not do that.  That has been one of the problems of not keeping up with the blog.  I had so many rounds to put up and discuss which seemed like a burden on me..but especially you guys.

To bring you guys up-to-date on my playing:  Since April of this year, I've been playing at least once a week (and sometimes get in a mid-week round).  I have to admit I had other friends that started to play which sparked my dull golf embers into a rich and hearty flame now.  This has resulted in bringing my handicap index down from 20 to 14.9 (as of last week).

One of my goals was to ALWAYS break 90 at every round.  It's really quite possible and easy to do if you STICK WITH YOUR GAME PLAN.  Instead of giving you guys a long and winded essay, it comes down to simple math:  You have 18 holes, you multiply each hole by 5, which give you 90..right?  All you need is a to bogey a par 3 or get a par on a par 4 during the round shoot an 89 (assuming par for your course is 72). 

THE SECRET to the sub-90 happiness is..(*ssssshhhhh*) you need to put the "ego" away and not always go for it when you don't have to.  You need to take the bogey and just walk away.  Don't attempt to make that Mickelson flop or the Tiger Stinger..if you can just come back out to the fairway and get on with the it.

I've faced multiple times on the course where I'll have a mid-iron approach (perhaps 170+) to get on the green in regulation.  This is the weaker part of my game and if I try to go for the green I'd usually be in a worse situation.  I'd either be way off the green or in a greenside bunker.  The sub-90 game plan calls that you just hit a shorter approach (swallow that pride) that sets you up with a much easier up-and-down opportunity.

True, you will not always get up-and-down (I'd be playing on the PGA tour if this was the case right), but the sub-90 game plan knows that you are a decent enough player that if you are at this level (sub-90), sooner or later (and hopefully more "sooners" than "laters") you will stick that chip/pitch close enough to have an easy tap-in par (or better yet chip-in birdie..which has happend to me on a few occasions already).  Bottom line..STICK WITH THE GAME PLAN.

It's been awhile..part 3? 4?

Alright, I now I've lost a lot of fans (lol) out there due to my lack of posting here.  I really did try to make an attempt(s) to keep the GN blog up and running to the best of my abilities..but it has been shit, lately, and you're right..before too.  I had been busy with a lot of things, but one thing that has kept me fairly busy, lately, is that I have been playing much more golf than ever.  

Even last year, I would, at best play a full round a month or the back 9, weekly.  Also, I just did not have the inspiration to become a better golfer, but this has changed in the last couple of months.  I even started another blog, Breaking 80, which I have decided, today, to point back to the GN blog as I have decided to follow up on my quest here on the GN blog..just seems right.

I can tell that I've truly been bitten by the "golf bug" again, after all these years. I am (much) more concerned on the state of my golfing mind and what really needs to be tended to, during a round, to post my best score, rather than trying to (or hope) not to hit bad shots.  I normally refrain from reading "golf books" (I thought they were extremely boring), but have become deeply entrenched in re-reading Harvey Penick's books and I just finished reading Dr. Bob Rotella's "Golf is Not a Game of Perfect" damn true.

I have been obsessed in the last few months in really polishing up my game and I am in pursuit of breaking 80 by the end of this year.  I've been on a sub-90 streak and even re-read "How to Break 90" by T.J. Tomasi and friends..still.  I have broken 80, to be honest, but it was about 12 years ago when I was just playing and thinking relentless golf (..hmmm..I like that title).  I think it's still possible for me to break 80, again, but without becoming so overly obsessed like before.

Through utilizing what I have learned, through the decades of playing golf, and applying this knowledge to my "newly" found passion in much more methodical way, I should be able to reach it...puh-leeeeeze.  I would like to be in a state of playing (..a golf where I'll routinely post a score in the 80's on any given course, on any given day, but also be able to post a sub-80 score if I'm playing better..perhaps I make it sound to easy..damn golf books.

Besides, writing about my pursuit of golf happiness, I promise that I'll also write about the other musings that are happening in the golf biosphere universe and what I have encountered as being the one and only, truly original (as I have seen a bunch of imposters tagging along on my name) Golf Nomad.