Rejecting the Global Golf Uniform in favor of Style & Comfort

Here’s a boredom-driven multipart question. Yes, in fact, multipart questions are the only kinds of questions I ask.

  • What’s your preferred golf uniform? Do you always or usually wear purpose-made golf shirts, slacks and shorts?
  • Do you change the style of what you wear to where you play? In other words, do you wear better looking clothes when you play better (read: more expensive) courses or do you pretty much wear the same kind of threads no matter where you play?
  • Has you golf attire changed over the last few years?

I ask the last question because I’m starting to make a big change. I’m rejecting what I see as the Global Golf Uniform. Pretty much every male tour player the world over wears it. You know the look. I don’t have to detail it here. I don’t know why but it’s especially loathsome when I see this getup worn by skinny 10 year olds and fat guys over 50. The mere sight makes me want to take up bowling.

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Rors looking fit & dapper in his Nike GGU

One last question: Has your choice in headwear changed? Me? I’m getting ready to dump the ubiquitous baseball style hat (who ever found that style of hat functionally suited to golf anyway?) in favor of something befitting the dignity of my rapidly advancing years.

Yes, I’m thinking bucket hat.

A few years back I wore this uniform: Shorts year round and irrespective of the weather. Hey, I live in Los Angeles; it’s easy. The shorts are Patagonia and I have pairs in medium tan and medium gray. They’re just standard cotton shorts not golf shorts. Last year I started wearing dark gray Kuhl shorts because of the slimmer fit and the very clever phone pocket it has.

I used to prefer Travis Mathews and Adidas golf shirts and an occasional Nike (they always seem to have good, simple back shirts).

I have come to hate fully 90% of the paper-thin synthetic crap that pretty much every golf shirt company is peddling these days. Not only do they look like crap on nearly everyone they also have a hyper-synthetic feel to their coal-based or polymer-based fabrics.

No, I’m not pining for the days where every tour player wore pleated Docker-styled slacks and wildly oversized cotton polo shirts (usually made by Ashworth back in the day).

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Our 45th president out on the links in high rise, pleated slacks. Thumbs up to you, Donald!
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Woods & Garcia back when cotton was king and the polos were huge.

This is where I’m really bucking the system. Where doable, I’m ditching the golf shirt. I have a great collection of non-collard casual shirts that I’ve come to prefer over the scads of black, blue and red golf shirts I’ve worn when out hacking in the past. The change has brought a palpable relief to my psyche and sense of style. I’ve hated the me-too formulary of the golf uniform for long enough.

If a course requires a collared shirt, and I really want to play there, I’ve got it covered. But, the fact is that I may end up asking myself if I really want to play a course that requires me to wear something I don’t like wearing.

Yup, I’m swimming upstream on this one while I’m still walking the golf course and carrying my sticks on my back. Life’s too short to wear polos and a baseball hat every time I play golf.

It’s gonna take some guts to actually put that bucket hat on…I admit it.

Rejecting the Global Golf Uniform in favor of Style & Comfort

Tiger Woods, Barbara Boxer, the Rules of Golf and the Electoral College

Bear with me for a minute.

Let’s say it’s 2000 and Tiger Woods is charging toward the 72nd hole of the Masters. Were he to win, it would give Woods all four major professional majors in 2000. We’re not talking about some feeble Tiger Slam. No, I’m talking about all four majors in the same calendar year.

Wow. What happened?

On the 72nd, hole, the legendary par-4 finishing hole at Augusta National Tiger Woods smashed a perfect drive, just right of the fairway bunkers. But, as it bounced to a stop it skipped into a fairway divot. The announcers and Woods moaned in near-poetic unison.

Pure injustice…

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Woods glowered at the ball and the divot. He cursed the golf gods. He cursed the player who created that horrid divot. He cursed his bad luck. But, more than anything he cursed the rule of golf that prevented him from taking relief from a tiny bit of missing turf in the middle of the fairway. Clearly, this was an area of the golf course that was damaged and according to the rules, ground under repair. But it wasn’t…So Woods played the ball as it sat; made bogey and missed winning the 2000 Masters by a single stroke.

Then. again in my alternate time, just a few months ago at the 2016 PGA Championship, Woods stood over a putt that would have won him  his 15th major championship. Halfway to the hole was a nasty spike mark, dead in Woods’ line. Again, he stared at the mark and cursed the universe and the USGA rule that prohibits the repair  of such marks. He settled over his putt and made the perfect stroke.

The ball rolled end over end, destined for the hole, right until the moment that it hit that single unrepairable spike mark.

Tiger Woods was denied another major and the legions of golf fans felt denied. Through no fault of his own, the arbitrary, senseless rules of golf had seemingly conspired to the deny the best player of our era a deserved win.

Also in this fantasy world, imagine this:

Tiger Woods saw fit to use his immense wealth and fame to coerce the USGA and the R&A to correct the silly, foolish rules that upset his path to history. The golf world would have turned against him instantly. This would not be the actions of another athlete who cheated on his wife and children. No, these would be the actions of a man who found himself at odds with the very same rules he had played under his entire professional and amateur career. His motives would be clear to everyone and so his legend would be destroyed. The same fans who could forgive his foolish and inexplicable banging of strippers and Perkins’ waitresses could never accept his effort to change the rules for the sake of his own record. Woods’ fans could accept any weakness but a surrender to the same rules that everyone plays by.

This is exactly the mistake Barbara Boxer has made in the aftermath of the hotly contested 2016 presidential election. She has seen her party and platform stung by the effect of the electoral college for the second time in less than a generation and she’s not going to stand still for it. But, the problem is that her motivation is too clearly in the interest of her party rather than her country. I think there’s a simple test to prove my belief. Boxer has been a US senator since 1992. In that time, there have been seven presidential elections but the only other time she has devoted any energy to the electoral college was in 2005 when she challenged Ohio’s electors in a futile effort to delay the re-election of George W. Bush, who had just won the popular vote over John Kerry by more than 3 million votes.

Me? I’m on the fence about the electoral college. However, I do firmly believe that Rule 16-1c (the rule that prohibits repairing a spike mark on the green) is fundamentally unfair.

At the same time, I think the rule that disallows taking relief from a fairway divot should stand. The text of Rule 13 is simple.

Play the ball as it lies.

I wonder if Barbara Boxer plays golf?

 

Tiger Woods, Barbara Boxer, the Rules of Golf and the Electoral College

Two Strokes or Loss of Hole: Playing Golf with My Brothers

I confess to having been damned by my own poor play for the last year.

Strike that; for the better part of the last two years, maybe more, I’ve lost track.

The reasons for my uninspiring play include poor driving (lots of pulls), lackluster iron play and balky putting. The only point of reliability has been my short game. I have a deft touch from 60 yards and in. Give me  tricky shot to a back pin from a thin lie and I’m likely to get it close. Go figure.

Of course, no one gives a shit about a good short game. We all just want to hit the ball solidly when we want to, but few of us can do it.

Two of my brothers (they’re twins, in fact) have been retired for the last year or so. This has resulted in a lot of golf for the two for them. They play twice a week, usually at a dried out carcass of a golf course north of Mojave in the high desert. The course is called Tierra Del Sol and it must have been something back when it first opened in 1969. Now, it’s just a big, sprawling burned up golf course with bad greens. They dump gallons of water on it, which mostly serves to creates little lakes around the cart paths. Delightful.

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A few feet off the 5th fairway at Tierra Del Sol

Tierra Del Sol is a hell of a long way from me, so I don’t play there often. And, when I do, I usually swear that it’s the last time. So, when I realized that my Monday promised to be slow one I thought of playing golf with my brothers, Tom and John, but hoped I could convince them to play somewhere else.

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Looking toward Soule Park’s clubhouse with the Topatopa Mountains in the background

The somewhere else was Soule Park in Ojai. I call it the antidote for Tierra Del Sol. It’s a really fine course that was renovated by none other than Gil Hanse (designer of the 2016 Olympic course in Rio) back in 2005. Soule Park is an honest, straightforward course that tells you clearly where to hit the ball and where to stay away. The greens can get very fast and some of them have oodles of slope and break. It’s easy to have putts get away from you. Just ask me: Today, I had three birdie putts explode in my hands resulting in par putts that were nearly as long.

After one of those blazing birdie putts got the better of my short temper, I pulled a 7-iron on my tee shot on the par-3 3rd hole. I ended up pin high but twenty five yards left with a nasty hardpan lie. Now, I have to confess something here; I like to walk and my brothers like to ride. So, Tom got to his ball in the left bunker right about the time I got to my ball. I could see what was happening. He either didn’t know where I was (possible, but not likely) or he knew where I was and figured since he’d gotten to his ball 5 milliseconds before I did he would do the right thing and play ready golf.

I did think about yelling at him. “Hey, asshole, get the fuck outta my way!” He would have moved, too, and sheepishly climbed out of the bunker that entombed his ball. But I didn’t. I decided silent seething was the better play. So, I watched as he slammed his first shot into the face of the bunker, then as he skulled his second shot mere inches below the first and while he semi-skulled his third into the bunker on the other side of the green. I could see his twin John bravely putting out as the third shot whizzed past his head.

Like I said, my shot was wildly hard. The last thing I wanted to do was watch Tom’s act and then be rushed when it came time to hit it, but that’s just what happened. After he dutifully raked the now crater-filled bunker I rushed my shot and it too found the right bunker. By the time I got to my ball both of them had putted out and I scooped my ball out of the bunker with a rake. I had to decide if I was going to say something. I almost didn’t, but I did. “OK, I’m telling you something, asshole. For the rest of this round we’re going to play in order. The player who’s furthest from the hole is going to play first. Fuck your dumb-ass ready golf.” Unfortunately, I was so mad I kind of told John rather than Tom but both of them heard what I said. At least there was no chance of me being misunderstood.

I don’t know what drives these guys to play (or try to play) at the pace they do. Today, we played 18 holes in three hours and fifteen minutes and I was walking. Somehow, someway, extreme pace of play became a kind of nearly existential imperative for them.

Me? Even though I prefer to walk most people think I play at a very fast pace. I’m not much for practice swings and I read my putts quickly. What I do like to do is grind when it comes to par and occasionally even bogie putts. I don’t take any longer to read them but they matter to me, even if I’m not keeping score.

The lads are prone to putting with the flag in, carelessly swiping at bogie and double-bogie putts and a whole host of other putting etiquette no-nos. On the short par-4 8th hole, Tom had a very lengthy par putt. I had a much shorter chip from just right of the flag and I don’t recall where John was. One thing was certain. The flag was unattended when Tom hit his putt. It was a 40 footer at least. It wound its way up the hill, swung down to left and gathered speed as it approached the hole. Clack! It hit the pin dead center and tumbled into the hole. “I made a par,” Tom sang out as he retrieved his ball from the hole. Now it was my turn to play the asshole. “The hell you did. What you made was a two-stroke penalty. What do you think about that? Ha!”

Now the funny thing is this; on both occasions, when I scolded Tom on the 3rd hole and again when I denied him his par on the 8th, I felt like my father. I could hear him (absent the four letter words) telling Tom the very same things. It made me wonder about the roles we play and the reasons we play them.

I’m still wondering.

We played the 9th hole uneventfully. But, when we got onto the green Tom was again left with a very long (even longer than the one on the 8th) par putt. I had a shorter putt for par and while I was marking it I saw a ball roll by. It was Tom’s par putt, rolling, yet again, toward an unattended pin. I mean, I get it: He was a long way from the pin. But, he hit the putt so quickly and apparently the thought of asking John or me to tend the flag never crossed his mind. Miraculously, Tom’s putt was tracking beautifully. It hugged the green without even the slightest of hops and began to break a few feet short of the hole, the ball ending up just an inch or two behind the hole when it stopped. “I almost made another par!” “Nope, what you almost made was your second consecutive two-stroke penalty.”

There was plenty of irony for everyone.

I have likened playing golf with Tom and John to feeling like a character in a Hunter S. Thomson novel. There’s an aspect of the experience that’s undeniably akin to an odd kind of bad trip. They’re been described by friends and relative as, “kind of in their own little world” and “not much into the camaraderie of the game.” But, neither of those observations, though accurate, really get to the heart of things.

Their preternatural motivation to play quickly for the sake of playing quickly is their first problem. Nobody likes to feel like they’re playing golf slowly. It’s a slow game by its nature since it’s played in the very largest of ballparks. But, when you think about it, if you enjoy playing golf why would you want the experience to be over any faster than it has to be? I don’t know the answer to that. I don’t know why the balance between playing at a good steady pace and playing just as fast as an electric cart can propel you is so elusive to them, but it is.

Their other problem is an old favorite; failure to communicate. The damnable use of a golf cart brings out their worst. One of them is constantly leaving the other one somewhere without the right club or leaving the cart somewhere the other one doesn’t want it. The odd thing is that their lack of communication doesn’t mean that there isn’t chatter, and a lot of it. In fact, they frequently ask me questions while the other is trying to make a shot. I, of course, stand mute until the shot has been attempted. But the effect is to quell the usual give and take of on-course conversation. They are both wholly imperturbable. They have made obliviousness into a kind of art.

They managed to toss me into their oblivion twice over the last two holes. I was to blame also, believe me, but I was really mad at them. On the 17th hole I hit a solid drive but it left me an angle to the green that included a big-ass pine tree and a eucalyptus just to make things interesting. Rather than taking my medicine and playing to the left of the green, I decided to hit a fade (horrors). I hit the ball flush but added a touch of push to the fade and right after the ball reached its apex, it caught the highest branches of the pine. Damn.

I saw it hit the tree clearly, but I never saw it come down. As soon as the ball hit the tree, Tom and John’s cart was off like a rocket. I walked back and forth where I thought the ball could have been but no ball. To the uninitiated, one of the few genuine benefits of a cart is the ability to search for a ball over a large area. The problem was that the only cart on the 17th hole was parked near the green where, again, the boys were putting out.

The ball refused to show itself and I was seething yet again. I kept looking but somehow the ball had disappeared. The ball should have been easy to find. There was only short green grass and burned-out hardpan in the area. I slung my bag over my should and walked to the 18th tee to try to cool off. Right before I got there, Tom calls over to me. “Where are you?” I didn’t look back, I just said, “I have no idea.” and walked on.

Somehow, unbelievably, I repeated a variation of this feat on the 18th by hitting a low shot toward the green for my 3rd shot. Tom and John again sped off right after I hit the ball. They were walking around in the area where my ball should have been but rather than keep an eye out for it, they both set about with hitting their shots while I did my back and forth searching-for-a-ball act.

Now I was really burning. I thought to myself that playing with Tom and John was like playing with strangers who don’t like me. But, as soon as I said this to myself I realized how wrong that was. I’ve been playing golf with strangers for well over twenty years and even though I’ve been paired with some oddballs I have never played with anyone who didn’t think to offer help in finding a ball. Then again, my brothers aren’t strangers.

But, it’s important to say that it’s not that they don’t like me. It’s not like they’re trying to make a difficult game more difficult than it needs to be. They’re not uncaring, they’re not unkind, they’re simply oblivious to things an ordinary player would find obvious. And, I don’t have  a fucking clue as to why this is true.

I am walking toward the 18th green with these thoughts coursing through my brain. As I drew closer to the green Tom asked me, “Where are you?”

Without a word, I tended the pin for first him and then John. As I put the pin back into the hole I thought to myself, I cannot do this to myself any more.

We drove in different cars and I got to my mine first and drove off toward the Ojai Beverage Company where we like to have a beer and a burger after we play at Soule. The amazing thing is that we had a fine time. We talked about beers and politics and manufacturing jobs. There wasn’t so much as a hint of tension (and there never is). Those are  good times I’m not willing to give up. What the twins lack as playing partners they more than make up for as dining companions. The challenge for me is to enjoy those times while avoiding playing golf with them. So, that’s what I have decided to do. I figure that once or twice a month I’ll drive out to meet them in Lancaster at Kinetic or up to Ojai to hang out with them at the OBC. That’s a plan I can live with. Just know that if I play golf with them again someone will get hurt and it won’t be me.

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The 9th at Soule Park just before sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Strokes or Loss of Hole: Playing Golf with My Brothers

Rosemark Putter Grip Review

I first heard about Rosemark grips from Jim Grundberg at SeeMore. I’ve learned to take Jim’s tips very seriously when it comes to putting. Still, I have to say that my initial response was luke-warm at best. But, then I took a look at the Rosemark website and gradually my interested piqued. Good putting is art and science. Sometimes it can seem as if these qualities are in short supply when it comes to new products. But, when a product finally comes along that works in both realms, at the same time, the results are always exciting for me and for the rest of the market.

Jim was also kind enough to introduce me to Rosemark’s Mark Cokewell. I can’t help myself; I always wonder why someone would get into the golf business, especially these days. Mark Cokewell told me, “I am by profession a pilot. I started in the golf business by entering a contest on the Golf Channel called Fore Inventors Only. I had an idea for a long putter that was a face on design and used a one arm pendulum stroke method. There were no grips available that worked for my putter so I designed one. The shape had to be stable for use one handed either right or left. It had to be 26 inches long so it would reach from the armpit to the palm of players’ hand with a straight arm. And it had to be able to square the putter with one hand / arm. So I started by mapping the hand to see how it would naturally fold around a grip. My putter was called the Krutch because it anchored in your armpit. As it turned out I got quite a positive response to my grip and in 2012 had two players on the Champions Tour sign contracts with me to play my grip. J.L. Lewis and Keith Fergus. At the end of 2012, the USGA proposed ruling out anchoring and that put an end to my putter. In late 2013, I re-tooled to make my grip for standard putters.

In may of 2014 I brought the grip onto the Champions Tour and got good play by several guys including Kenny Perry and Colin Montgomerie. In 2015 I took my grip to the PGA and LPGA tour and did very well. In 2015, Colin Montgomerie won the Senior PGA at French Lick with my 1.25 grip. Lydia Ko started playing my 1.52 MFS grip at the US Women’s Open. She has won two majors with it, eight tournaments, and a Silver Medal in the Olympics. Russell Knox won the Travelers this year with our 1.25 MFS grip.”

I would describe that as one heck of a lot of success, especially when you consider the hit Cokewell took with the USGA’s anchor ban earlier this year.

The Rosemark grip was compelling to me for at least three reasons. First, is the use of the six-sided, patented shape. The second is the use of the silicone beads for good grip and the third is the wonderful smoothness of the microfiber. According to Cokewell, “We feel like the greatest benefits to our grips are the ability of the player to relax the tension and maintain full control of the putter throughout the stroke. And, be confident that the putter will remain square even with a light grip pressure.”

I consider myself a better than average putter. My results come from a good amount of hard work and devotion to the SeeMore approach to putter design and use. That said, when I’m under the gun and putting for par, my grip tension increases. If I’m on top of it, I can throttle it back. But, that is a kind of second-guessing when you think about it. I can find myself wondering what the proper level of grip pressure is, especially if the putt is meaningful.

The Rosemark grip minimizes my tendency to ramp up pressure. The putter always feels secure in my hands, especially over the ball. Again, it feels like the cross sectional shape and the two different textures work at once to encourage a constant and light grip. What a simple recipe to making more putts.

Just as important, but not often talked about, is a grip’s feel at impact. I’m a feel and sound junkie. That’s why I prefer my old brass SeeMore head to my new stainless steel SeeMore. It’s not better, but it is different. Some putter grips tend to deaden sound and feel. I hate this. It serves only to break down the putter’s connection to the guy doing the putting; me.

When it comes to the materials Rosemark uses Cokewell said, “The MFS microfiber silicone is the result of us wanting to offer a more durable and washable grip to our customers. We made our grips, originally, in the industry standard (think SuperStroke) PU material. This material has some excellent benefits and we do offer our 1.25 and 1.52 grip in this material, but it gets dirty quickly and tends to lose its tackiness. It’s also not very durable in hot humid weather areas. Our MFS material lasts twice as long and resists dirt better so it stays tackier longer. Plus it’s washable. It has excellent durability in all weather. We are working to improve its playability when cold and wet as the silicone stiffens a bit when cold.”

My older Rosemark has gotten some very heavy use over the last four months and it still looks and feels great.I requested the second grip to compare its feel to the older grip.You can see from this photo that the black has faded a touch, but the feel is identical to the new blue grip in the photo.  I would say that usual care is in order. Keep your putter out of the trunk of your car and the Rosemark should last you a very long time.

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I asked Cokewell if Rosemark had plans to get into grips, beyond grips exclusively for putters. He said, “Rosemark is working on a material that would completely change the grip market. It’s in early development and of course it’s a secret at this point. If we’re able to make it work we will expand to all grips not just putter grips.

Soon, we will have samples of our new Elite grip which will be 13 inches and weigh approximately 60 grams. We’re very excited about this grip. Several pros have had input in this grip design.”

Again, I want to thank Jim Grundberg at SeeMore and Mark Cokewell at Rosemark for turning me on to a product that has already helped my game. Like Mark Cokewell says, “Putting is stressful enough without fighting your equipment!”

I couldn’t agree more. You owe it to yourself to try a Rosemark grip over the off season.

Your game will be better when the new season arrives.

Rosemark Putter Grip Review

Edel Golf: A Master Putter Maker in the Wooded Wilds of Oregon

Readers are forgiven if they have yet to hear of Edel Golf. David Edel is a very different breed than the average teaching pro, club fitter or putter maker. Our initial correspondence hit on a lot of subjects that won’t be brought into this article, but suffice it to say that Edel is one of the most interesting and forward thinking men that I have come across in the golf industry.

In a world of copycats, of the both subtle and overt persuasions, Edel is the kind of guy who is always on the prowl for a better way of doing things and is willing to travel some hard roads to reach his destinations.

The golf industry needs guys like him to maintain its vitality. Let’s hope his work is well rewarded…

PC: What are some common mistakes that golfers make when they buy putters off the rack?

David Edel: First off, the most common mistake buying a putter off the rack is not knowing where it aims. All putters aim differently. Some vary more than others, but none are equal. The buyer should first know how their current putter aims. Based on this knowledge they can look for something that either cures their aim bias, or matches it. Matching it, as the stroke is biased to that aim. If you do not want to change your stroke, then find a putter that matches it. For example, if you aim eight inches left, then don’t buy a putter that aims dead center, because your stroke will not match your aim. It would not seem logical to play with something that aimed you crooked, but most do. Our studies have concluded that only four in a hundred can aim their putters dead on, while fifteen out of hundred can only manage to aim within the hole (two inches off center) and with loft issues. Dead on meaning for average speed greens the laser at 6 feet is center cut and six inches off the ground (2.5 deg loft)

When someone buys a putter that they want, it may not be what they need. Grabbing a putter off the rack without understanding how the putter aims is harmful. With simple lasers and a mirror, you could check and see “Does this putter aim well?” I have people in the fitting process say, “ I aim this putter really well.” or “That line helps me aim.” and I evaluate them and they aim a foot left. So what people want to believe and what they do are often very different.

PC: As a follow-up, can these buying mistakes lead players to develop poor putting technique?

David Edel: Yes, poor putting technique is related to many factors. Some are directly related to the putter and some not. Putting can be broken down to what we call the Triad: Aim, Path, & Speed. What you do with those three things relates to ready greens and execution. If your putter aims a foot left, then you better make compensation a foot right. Sometimes this is done with path, or speed. Path pushing to the right, or speed –hitting it harder to take a higher line. The player starts to get multiple factors compensating for erroneous aim. This can set into sub routines like: If I forward press my hands, take it inside, or I go to a short back stroke and accelerate.

Compensation is the only honest thing that we do, and many try to go against what they know they need to do. Like, if you aim right, you better take is outside on the backstroke, have a long backstroke short finish, or close the face manually. But our friends or teachers say, “We better fix that outside move.”, yet they don’t fix the aim or even understand were they aim. Many say, “So what if you aim at address, you may not be there at impact.” My thought is…no kidding Sherlock.

But, our studies have shown that a reduction in the standard deviation of a putter stoke reduced by 38% in 19 of 22 categories. With areas improving up to 63% immediately after the fit. If you start from a better place then chances are you will return to that place. Putting is similar to the full swing, yet much less dynamic. The inclined plane is the boss. It is possible to move the putter during the stroke to the same place it started. If the putter does not aim correctly or has other factors like poor weight, length, lie, loft, then the mind will work away from those issues.

PC: What do you think most players understand better, their full swing or their putting stroke?

David Edel: I am not sure players understand the swing. I think they have an understanding of what they need to do to get the job done, but understanding the full swing or putter motion, I am not sure. I have been a PGA member since 1994 and a pro since 1990, and have worked with some of the best teachers in the world. I think I have a really good understanding of full swing motion, but I still think I don’t know anything.

We’re talking about people and that is the issue. Every person processes information differently than others. I think the missing link in most people’s games stems from lack of basics. Understanding the laws of physics of how the base golf motion works and other basics like how the mind works and processes information. People get so caught up in methods like One Plane or Stack and Tilt etc. Not that those are wrong, but if you work for a while on a concept and jump to the next, that’s sure to cause confusion. Like if you play a putter for two months and switch again and again, each has multiple distinctions in playing characteristics, and the players develops a habit of grabbing for something when it hits the fan.

PC: What affects the player more, the putter design or how well (or poorly) he has been fit for the putter?

David Edel: I think it is important to understand the word fitting as it relates to putters. There are three forms of fitting as I see it:

Static
Dynamic
Effective

Static fitting is measuring a persons lie angle, length, loft to name a few. It deals manly without motion, figuring out general variables that influence set up. Many companies have offered a system that deals with this form of fitting.

Dynamic fitting evaluates via monitoring systems the movement of the putter,body, and makes changes in the putter to alter impact. Systems like SAM, Tomi, and Icub have complex systems designed to evaluate the motion of the putter and give great data. Video based systems are also used during dynamic fitting. My perception of this form of fitting is to change variables so they produce the correct impact position. Often instruction is involved and it can be difficult to distinguish a fitting from a lesson.

Effective fitting is a process that is more interactive with player. Effective meaning true angles like 4 degrees loft, processed and changed to an effective angle like 2 degrees. Effective angles are terms used by fitters to describe what the player does with the club to change the true angle. Effective fitting is a process and or system that allow the fitter to accommodate the player’s personal perceptions during the fitting. If I put a mallet in their hands and they aim it more right and I combine it with another variable and it elicits a different response, then that’s effective fitting.

We also incorporate dynamic variables like length, head weight, loft, counter weight, shaft flex, and grip type to their value to speed control. So if you aim in correctly, and can control speed more precisely, then your probably going to have much cleaner path. Also, being able to feel your path better.

That is what I call effective fitting, and that is what we do at Edel Golf. So my answer to your question is yes. Design or shape of a putter can be a preference, but is more an obligation as it relates to aim. Some people want an Anser style head, but aim it totally left. What they want and need are totally opposite. Depending on the style of the fitting process, getting fitted may not apply to desired result. Education is paramount for people to make informed decisions.

PC: What led you to build your putters in a workshop where you live?

David Edel: What led me to build putters where I live is simple. There are huge stores of German stainless here. No, seriously, I grew up here. I have family businesses here. I left teaching the full swing to dedicate myself to making putters. Getting started was a slow process. I started making my first putter in late 1996. Everyone told me not to do it, that it was too difficult. I obviously did not listen. I built a small workshop next to my home here on the river. I ran my family business during the day, and when I had free time or made time, I made putters.

It could be the worst place to have a putter business, and for this reason I am trying to move to Ft. Worth, Texas. We have done a lot of good work here, mostly developing and prototyping products etc., but for people to come directly and get a fitting is very complex. I am looking to develop a large facility that incorporates manufacture and has a large inside putter studio with a monster putting green. A place to do schools and educational seminars, etc. Someday…hopefully soon.

PC: How do the professional players you work with putt differently than amateurs?

David Edel: Professionals do not putt all that differently than good amateurs. Some amateurs putt better than pros. Tour players are a different animal. The difference lies manly with speed control. Professionals have more time to practice speed control. Most professionals aim left. I think this is predisposed to the putters they choose. Most professionals and good amateurs select the same styles of putters, mainly Anser or blade style putters. A lot of high handicap amateurs aim right, which is mostly to do with poor set up fundamentals. Lack of routine. I believe the full swing and the putter swing is governed by the same laws, so if the putter and fear set is “don’t go left” then the motions are often the same.

PC: Which other putter makers do you respect?

David Edel: I think I respect anyone that can make a living at making golf clubs. It is hard to do. There are so many variables to contend with, namely money. Big companies have the advantage, because they have clout. Small guys like me are using your own finances to make world-class product. My advantage is the willing to do what the big dogs do not. I think what Mr. Cameron has done is incredible. The machine he has developed deserves respect. Karsten Solheim is the man. That guy did it all. We are all posers. T.P. Mills was the father of making tour quality unique custom putters. I remember the waiting list times were 6 to 8 months for a putter. That is great. Tom Slighter has a nice following. He is making really nice custom putters like how you want it. Curt Curry started the custom fitting/Aim process so I have to say he is in there. Kevin Burns has come up with some nice designs. He sure had a nice run.

I have to say that I think what we are doing is a continuation of a lot of past knowledge. I don’t make the best putter in the world. That is hard to quantify. I think we configure the best putter in the world. When you can get past the Circle T hand stamping stuff, or this tour player uses this or that, and get into “it’s different, but I can aim it.” then hands down I think I offer more to people than any other maker past or present.

Besides, we hand make every putter for each player. We have over 50 million combinations to manufacture on a daily basis. That is custom. There is big difference between custom and handmade. Nothing is hand made. I hand machine putters, but they can take two days to make. Everything is CNC with lots of handwork involved. hope that does not sound cocky, that is not the intention. The fact is I do not know anyone who is doing what we do.

PC: I have to tell you how refreshing it is that you recognize Karsten Solheim. It’s getting to be that people are all to willing to believe their own press releases. Everyone is so quick to tell you about their designs but all too often their designs are Solheim’s. It is the design equivalence of plagiarism so it doesn’t sit well with me at all. Which other putter designs (either modern or classic) do you admire?

David Edel: I really like the Karsten Anser style head. I can’t use it, but I think it has a great profile. I liked Kevin Burns and T.P. Mills/Anser style heads. Those looked clean. I think less is more. There is too much shit on putters these days. Between colors, funky shapes, lines, and weight ports it is total confusion. That stuff should aim, right? People get lost in all that geometry and most of the time cannot hit a barn with their aim. The Bullseye is hands down the best aimer. Pretty simple design. Rueter did a great job with that one. The Two Ball works for some, but is not for everyone. I wish I came up with that one from a financial standpoint.

PC: Are you working on anything new right now or working to refine your fitting technique?

David Edel: We are always working on something new. Since I have been developing new fitting systems and methods for the last 11 years, our focus has been very different than much of the industry. This focus has enabled us to think about a new box. I have had relative ease getting some patents, because the line of thinking opens different doors. We are working on redefining the fitting model and fitter education. Creating school formats for people to get all three sides of the Triad (Aim, Path, Speed = Reading Greens) going. People do not want putters. They want results. I think the group that we have working together is going to change the face of putter fitting and instruction.

We have come out with a new putter called Variable loft Vari-loft. It has removable face technology with weight ports. Combined with aim value, this is a huge asset to the refined player. These putters take a combined machine/hand effort of over 11 hours to manufacture. When a player is educated on how to use it, it is hands down most versatile putter out there. Since few know about the value of what we do, our attention is focused towards education. Making new designs to keep up with large manufactures is not the solution. Figuring out how to inform players of other options, getting past bias, and overcoming objections from the current power structure is objective #1.

PC: David, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to talk to me. I must say that your candor is refreshing and I hope this interview helps a few more people to find you and take advantage of your amazing ability to help their games. Is there anything we haven’t covered, or anything you’d like to add in closing?

David Edel: We are very proud of our product and process that we have developed. My head styles are very basic and classic. The fact is we offer so many variables not because it sounds big, but people need them. Our fitting process allows for us to individually analyze each variable as it relates to the next. When the total package is put together, then it’s yours and yours only. We seldom make the same variation twice, something is always different. 95% of your thought happens at a subconscious level, and we build a putter that aims using the 5% of your conscious and its interface with the other 95%.

Aim is the one solid tangible that you can triangulate your game from. From aim you can evaluate your path, speed, and the combination of all three is your technique. If you’re confused get fit. If you’re happy, stay away. One saying that I have always loved is, “I you don’t need a haircut, then don’t go to the barber.” If you’re reading this, then you’re probably looking for help. We’re here if you need it.

Edel Golf: A Master Putter Maker in the Wooded Wilds of Oregon

Tiger Woods “Performance Reasons” at the Safeway Open in Napa, CA

Tiger Woods has cited “performance reasons” in withdrawing from this week’s Safeway Open in Napa, CA.

His back is fine but his game still suffers and Woods won’t return until it’s ready to go.

The now 40 year old Tiger Woods is missing a piece of the equation. His game will never be ready (by his old standards) again. He’ll never again be the player who won the 1997 Masters or the one who blitzed the PGA Tour in 2001 or even the one who won his last major in 2008.

Woods keeps looking in the mirror expecting to see those younger versions of himself and instead keeps seeing that 40 year old guy with a twice-surgically repaired back.

Ouch.

He also sees the rest of the Safeway field, where the highest ranked player is world number 12 Paul Casey, yet he still doesn’t like his chances.

Ouch times two.

This all goes back to my fundamental belief about the deepest fear in Tiger Woods’ heart; the fear of being just another really good tour player. He doesn’t want to go toe to toe with Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day.

He wants the young players of today to lay down for him like the now 50+ year old, 1990s under-achieving-used-to-beens did through the early and mid 2000s. But, today’s 20 and 30-somethings aren’t going to do it for him, so Woods will stay home and his 40 year old game can remain in hiding.

So much for moving the needle.

 

 

Tiger Woods “Performance Reasons” at the Safeway Open in Napa, CA

Titleist DT TruSoft Review

Earlier this year I struck gold and bought two dozen TaylorMade Project (a) at 40% off.

I love that TM ball; soft, plenty of spin and the sucker flies.

I finally ran out last week and I decided to try the new Titleist DT TruSoft at $21 a dozen at Golfsmith.

The cover didn’t look right to my eye at first. It was a tad too white and a little hard looking compared to the Project (a) but I decided to play it anyway.

Now this is a very, very good cheap golf ball.

Titleist-DT-TruSoft-Golf-Balls_Default_ALT10_550

If your irons balloon on you from time to time, this ball will surely flatten your ball flight. The Project (a) seemed to fly high on pretty much everything but not so the humble little DT TruSoft.

This little white sucker likes to fly low!

The spin off the driver would seem to be a little less than the TM which is fine by me. Carry and roll seemed about the same, maybe a little longer. Who knows?

There seems to be proportionally more spin with the mid to short irons than the driver. It feels soft around the greens but not that mushy kind of soft you get from other low compression balls. My sense is that Titleist really did get the combination of the cover and the core just right with this ball. I’m a stickler for the sound of ball off the putter face. If it’s too clacky, I won’t play it. This cheap little Titleist sounds excellent off the putter; crisp but not clack.

I actually prefer everything about this ball over the more expensive NXT Tour but the look of the cover. By the end of the round I even got used to the look of the cover. It’s not really bworse, it’s just different. And, the cover appears to be pretty durable. I used one ball for 18 holes and once I cleaned it I couldn’t tell it from the new ones.

Anyway, you may want to check this ball out.

Titleist DT TruSoft Review