Top Ten Stories of 2018

Year of the Tiger
Perhaps Ben Hogan’s come back to win six majors after a head-on collision with a bus was more amazing but Tiger Woods’ return from four back surgeries and other well publicized problems to win the Tour Championship is by any measure remarkable. Towards the end of 2017 the prognosis was he might never be able to play professional golf again much less at a championship level. However, he did come back competing in 18 tournaments and the Ryder Cup this year. Many fans are pulling for the soon to be 43-year old to continue his run at Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors, Woods has 14. However, even if he never wins another tournament, 2018 will always be known as the year of the Tiger. Continue reading

Bridgestone’s TOUR B JGR Family

After a three-year absence Dan Murphy is back at Bridgestone Golf taking over as president and CEO and he needs to not only bring Bridgestone back from its slide in ball sales but also effectively market the new TOUR B JGR line of clubs. Before leaving in 2015 Murphy helped create the plan promoting ball-fitting for recreational golfers that produced a 250% increase in sales. This gave Bridgestone an almost 20% market share and a comfortable number two spot behind Acushnet. Continue reading

For the Better Golfer – TaylorMade P760 Irons

P760 irons from TaylorMade Golf are a line extension of the P700 series and replace the P750 and P770 models from last year. Most everyone’s reaction upon seeing them for the first time is how great they look but everyone also knows while an iron’s looks can be an aid to confidence the proof is in the performance which boils down to distance and control. Continue reading

‘Tis the Season–Gifts for Golfers 2018

 

Perplexed what to buy for a golfer on your gift list? Here are a few suggestions of items we like and hope to find in our Christmas stocking. They cover a range of prices and each will be a welcomed expression of your feelings this season.
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Driver vs. Driver Season 2

In the view of some it took courage for Wilson Golf to subject themselves to another round of potential ridicule by investing in a second season of Driver vs. Driver on the Golf Channel. Season one two years ago not only seemed to lack focus, but the winning design had not been passed by the USGA for conformance to the Rules of Golf and so had to be delayed getting to retail. Continue reading

Big Bertha Irons & Hybrids

Since Callaway Golf came out with the first Big Bertha irons back in the mid-90s the name has been resurrected several times including in 2014 with irons having the very well thought of 360 Face Cup construction. These Big Berthas helped push Callaway into the top spot in iron sales and made Big Bertha the bestselling iron model.

The 360 Face Cup provides flex to the face at impact and helps energy transfer to the ball so there is more ball speed and distance. Continue reading

Good News Third Quarter Equipment

Some observers forget there’s a danger in reading too much into the financial results of a company over the short term especially a publicly traded company whose management is very aware they are being judged on interim results. Add to that if the company is in a stagnant or slow grow industry such as golf equipment, growth only comes from “eating the other guy’s lunch.” In other words, in today’s equipment market you can figure increases in sales often come from a corresponding decrease in sales by another company. Continue reading

A Golf Purist


Played golf the other day with a good friend who brought along a gentleman I had never met. After the usual exchange of pleasant inanities my friend mentioned I wrote about golf and the new guy said without any prompting, “Well, I can’t see all this new equipment. Why they just don’t go back to persimmon drivers and a wound ball like the old Titleist Professional.” Continue reading

Cleveland SOFT

We all are partial to certain manufacturers based on our experience with their clubs and Cleveland Golf’s Huntington Beach family of putters for me falls in that category. The look, the feel and the price of $100 were all deciders.

As often happens though makers find ways to improve and Cleveland’s latest, the Huntington Beach SOFT, offer an updating on the previous model. Continue reading

No Blood No Foul

The purpose of this column is not to pick on the United States Golf Association nor the R&A. In fact, these co-arbiters of the Rules of Golf deserve to be congratulated for the improvements in the rewriting of the Rules which will take effect Jan. 1.

However, (there’s always a however!) the two organizations have missed the boat with the recent reinterpretation of Rule 4.3 (Use of Equipment) covering information players may use to describe the topography of putting surfaces, the so-called “green reading books.”  Announcement of the proposed revision was followed by six weeks for public comment before the reinterpretation was published in final form on Oct. 14. Continue reading

Titleist TS-What You Need to Know


Titleist is the number one ball company and will remain in the top spot for the foreseeable future. The company says sales of the new softer AVX ball are “off to a fast start” and iron sales have been a bright spot as well, making up a large part of the almost 25% increase in club sales through the second quarter of 2018. The new 718 AP3 players-distance irons leapt to the best-selling slot in the 718 family complimenting the game-improvement 718 AP1s and players model 718 AP2s. Continue reading

New Year – New Rules

The other day it occurred to me that like lots of others I didn’t know as much as I should about the January 1 changes to the Rules of Golf. So, after some research here’s my view of the most important new rules we need to know before heading to the first tee after the first of the year.

First of all, compared to the old copy hiding under that moldy rain jacket in the outside pocket of your bag the primary differences in the 2019 edition are the wording used is less convoluted, more understandable (hurray!) and there are ten fewer rules (amazing!). Both the full edition and the smaller Player’s Edition have illustrations to explain definitions and options. Continue reading

Monday After Paris

The 42nd Ryder Cup is in the books with the U.S. losing convincingly. Team U.S.A. hasn’t won in 25 years on the other side of the Atlantic, six straight times since their win at the Belfry in 1993.  

The Americans couldn’t seem to hit a fairway particularly when it counted with tee shot after tee shot finding deep lies in deep rough and making a mockery of what has been called the bomb and gouge mentality. The net effect was this neutralized the U.S. players length advantage and then there was the putting. As good as they were Friday morning in the four ball matches with three wins the remainder of the day and through Saturday and then Sunday singles Americans couldn’t make the crucial putts and the Euros could. Continue reading