Golf Buzz

July 31, 2015 - 11:24am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture

There is nothing about golf that I don't love. One of my absolute favorite parts about it is testing out new goodies.

With the summer here and the golf season in full swing, I figured it was a perfect time to share with you some of my favorite golf stuff that I've had the chance to try out.

Some of it will help your game and some of it is just downright cool.

DST Compressor Wedge ($99.99)

What the heck is going on with that shaft? Good question. In terms of "warm-up" clubs, this could be the greatest invention you ever lay your hands on. The scientifically curved shaft is designed to replicate the shape of a normal shaft under its maximum load during impact. Essentially, it forces you into the position where your hands need to be at impact and follow through. Even a short warm up with this club creates a quick muscle memory that you can bring right onto the course, where you're sure to hit more crisp, solid shots. It is a fantastic practice tool that truly makes an almost instant impact. For more infomation, visit www.dstgolf.com.

Big Max Blade+ Push Cart ($299.99)

OK. Before you scoff at the price, consider a few things. When you rent a golf cart, it costs anywhere from $13-$20 for 18 holes (more than that at some places). If you're an avid golfer and paying on the high end for a golf cart, you're looking at about $300 in cart fees over 15 rounds of golf. If you instead invest that money into a push cart, it eventually pays for itself. Not only that, but it has incredible benefits to your health.

Golf 2020 recently did a study on the health-related benefits of walking while golfing. Here are the key findings that were discovered:

- A walked 18-hole round, carrying a bag or using a hand/pull cart, is approximately equal to a 5-mile walk.

- The total caloric expenditure for an 18-hole round is approximately 2,000 calories for walking while carrying clubs and 1,300 calories when riding in a cart.

- Since walking is biomechanically more efficient than running, playing an 18-hole round of golf walking is roughly equivalent to a 3.5- to 4-mile run.

- When walking 18 holes of golf, blood glucose levels fall by up to 20 percent for the young, 10 percent for the middle-aged, and 30 percent for the elderly players, and body weight is slightly reduced for all groups.

- Repeated golf practice enhances balance control and confidence among all age ranges.

- Older golfers tend to have better static and dynamic balance control and confidence than non-golfing older, healthy adults.

- Regardless of handicap, sex, or course played, golfers exceed 10,000 steps during a typical round of golf -- which meets the guideline for exercise recommended by most medical and clinical physicians.

Now that you've seen the benefits of walking, let's get back to the benefits of the Big Max Blade+. I truly believe it is the next-best thing to taking a caddie. Aside from the impressive ease of unfolding, folding back together and slim storage size, I was amazed at how light it was. There was virtually no work required to navigate the course, even when going uphill. It saved a lot of energy you might not have if carrying your bag.

Also -- at least in my case -- I tend to play much better when walking than I do when riding. I have time to think about the shot I want to hit as I walk to the ball. I also had a couple of accessories added to the Big Max Blade+ -- the most useful of which was a storage net that attached to the back of the cart. This made it easy to access sunscreen, snacks, beverages and more.

You know what else I couldn't get enough of about this push cart? Not having to carry anything in my pockets. The top compartment near the handles allow storage for golf tees, a golf ball, ball marker and divot tool. You can also find room for your wallet, car keys and cellphone in the compartment.

I've tried a few push carts over the last few years. While many have a lot of the same features as the Big Max Blade+, I give the Blade+ the edge because of how light it is. Again, it's pretty much like having someone else carry your clubs for you. For more information, visit www.bigmaxgolf.com.

Bushnell Golf Tour X Laser Rangefinder ($499.99)

With a handicap that fluctuates in the 10-12 range, I long figured, "I'm not a good enough player to use a Rangefinder." After getting my hands on one, I quickly realized that I wasn't a good enough player not to have a rangefinder.

At $500, the Bushnell Tour X is expensive to be sure. But you know that old saying, "You get what you pay for?" Well, it applies here. This is the Rolls-Royce of Laser Rangefinders.

Until the Tour X came along, Bushnell offered rangefinders "with slope" and "without slope." The "with slope" version accounts for the "lay of the land" and would give the user a reading of the actual yardage to a target, along with the yardage you should play to given the elevation changes. For instance, a severely downhill shot might have a target distance in actual yardage of 150. But, with the rangefinder, the "with slope" yardage might read 135, meaning you'd want to play your 135-yard club instead. An awesome feature for amateurs, but not allowed for competition, which is why Bushnell also offers a "without slope" version.

The Tour X, however, is 2-in-1 thanks to its utilization of "Exchange Technology." There's literally a clip -- one red, one black -- that attaches to the front of the rangefinder giving you readings "with slope" when you want it and "without slope" when you can't have it.

A rangefinder is a big investment, but if you're a serious player, consider it an investment in your game and, ultimately, an investment in lower scores. Sure, we're not all pros who can hit our clubs within a yard or two of our intended target all the time. But wouldn't you hit it a lot closer to your intended target if you knew the exact yardage all the time?

Since the Tour X is accurate to within 1/2-yard, you're getting just that. For more information, visit www.bushnell.com.

Limited edition adi Camo Collection by adidas ($150-$190)

For the summer, adidas Golf has released a limited edition, individually numbered, camouflage footwear collection. The collection includes four footwear models -- adipower boost, adipower boost sport (men's and women’s) and tour360 x boa. 500 pairs of each footwear model will be available worldwide on www.adidasgolf.com and select retailers.

adidas climachill heather solid polo ($70)

This might be the lightest golf polo I've ever worn, which makes it extra nice on those hot summer days. The "cooling climachill" technology on the inside of the shirt, just below the neck, looks like aluminum dots. As you move around in the hot sun, those dots feel like someone just spilled cold water on you -- incredibly refreshing. If you're looking for a shirt to help you stay cool on a hot day, this is the one. For more information, visit www.adidasgolf.com.

Ashworth Travel Duffle ($349)

Let's face it -- if you're taking a short golf trip, you're going to need a bag to put your clothes in. Ashworth has you covered with its stylish Waxed Canvas and Leather Duffle bag. The duffle includes Old English harness leather, 18 oz. waxed canvas, an adjustable shoulder strap with rolled leather handles, embossed Ashworth branding and 200 denier lining. For more information, visit www.ashworthgolf.com.

Nike FI Impact 2 ($140)

It's amazing what golf shoes can do these days. These aren't your father's golf shoes (though I bet he'd love a pair). Over the years the golf shoe has evolved from the type of design you'd expect to see on an executive in a boardroom to something far more athletic -- so much so, that many of the new spikeless shoes can be worn on or off the golf course. That's the case with Nike's new FI Impact 2. It's designed with a stretchy yet supportive upper that adapts to the motion of your foot for a superior locked-in feel. A Nike Free-inspired outsole offers flexibility and a natural feel on the course. These shoes -- offered in four colorways -- are available on www.nikegolf.com.

Nike Golf Lockup T-Shirt ($35)

Made with Nike's contoured, Dri-FIT fabric, the Lockup T-shirt offers incredible comfort and a close fit. The soft triple-blend fabric is smooth against your skin and even when you sweat, it won't stick. All in all, it's just a fun shirt to emphasize your love of the game even when you're not on the course.You can find it at www.nikegolf.com

Alex DePallo via Twitter
Rickie Fowler provided some liquid refreshment for the media to commemorate his hole-in-one on Thursday.
 
Every golfer knows that a player who makes a hole-in-one is supposed to buy drinks for the house. That custom, no doubt, was started by golfers who never made aces.
 
Rickie Fowler and Ryo Ishikawa both made aces on Thursday at the Quicken Loans National, and Fowler's was especially cool – he made it on his last hole of the day, making it literally a walkoff hole-on-one. How often does that happen?
 
I'm not sure whether Fowler went into the massive clubhouse at the Robert Trent Jones Club and ponied up for everyone in the bar. But, as we see in the tweet below by Alex DePallo of Cleveland Golf, Fowler did buy a barrel full of beer for the good folks in the media center.
 
 
And, if you missed it, here is Fowler's ace:
 
 
July 30, 2015 - 2:56pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rickie Fowler
@PGATOUR on Twitter
Rickie Fowler ended his first round of the Quicken Loans National Thursday on the highest of highs -- with a hole-in-one.

What's the best way to finish off a round of golf? A birdie, you say?

Yeah, that's nice. But Rickie Fowler prefers an ace... so that's what he did on the par-3 ninth hole -- his 18th hole of the day -- at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in the first round of the Quicken Loans National on Thursday.

RELATED: Quicken Loans National leaderboard | PGA Tour players seeks help locating missing dad

Check it out here:

 

The ace gave Fowler an opening round of 4-under 67.

July 29, 2015 - 10:09am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Justin Rose
USA Today Sports Images
Justin Rose has won the Quicken Loans National twice at two different venues. Will this week be the third?

The PGA Tour is at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Va. this week for the Quicken Loans National, hosted by Tiger Woods.

Justin Rose returns as the defending champ having won at Congressional one year ago.

This week begins a grueling stretch for many of the world's top players, with a World Golf Championship coming up next week, followed by the PGA Championship and the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup.

RELATED: Quicken Loans tee times | Hurley asks for public's help in search for missing father

Here are the players you'll want to keep an eye on this week.

5. Bill Haas
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the Humana Challenge
Reason to watch: For the first time this season, Haas has missed the cut in two consecutive starts. It's time to get out of the funk. Aside from playing to win tournaments this year, Haas is also trying to earn a spot on the U.S. Presidents Cup to which his father, Jay, is the captain. Jay would love to have Bill on the team, no doubt. He'd love it even more if he didn't have to use one of his two captain's pick. Bill is currently No. 16 in the standings. The top 10 at the conclusion of the Deutsche Bank Championship make the team on points. It's time for Bill to get going.

4. Jimmy Walker
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the Sony Open in Hawaii and the Valero Texas Open
Reason to watch: Over the last three years, few players have been as consistently good as Walker. This season alone, he has six top-10 finishes in 17 starts. Two of those were wins and two were runner-up finishes. Up until this week, Walker played just two events in all of June and July -- the U.S. Open (T58) and the Open Championship (T30). That tells me he's setting himself up to be well rested for a hectic end of the season push. I like it.

3. Sang-Moon Bae
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the Frys.com Open
Reason to watch: As we learned last week, this will be Bae's final season on the PGA Tour before reporting back to his home country of South Korea for mandatory military service. This is something that has been weighing on Bae for a long time. And, leading up to the decision, you'd have to think it had an impact on his play. Dating back to the Wells Fargo Championship in the middle of May, Bae has made seven starts. Four of those have been missed cuts and his best finish in that stretch was a T49 at the Memorial. Now that Bae knows for certain what his future holds back home -- and though he may not like it -- I think he'll bring a peace of mind to the course and make the best of what's left this season.

2. Rickie Fowler
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the Players Championship
Reason to watch: Fowler is a player to watch now whenever and wherever (see the Scottish Open) he tees it up. If his name is on the tee sheet, he's a favorite. It's still hard to believe he's only a two-time winner on the PGA Tour. Like many of the game's elite players, Fowler has had somewhat of a limited May-July schedule as he gears up for the busy weeks ahead. I expect him to start that push with a great finish this week.

1. Justin Rose
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Reason to watch: Rose is the defending champion of this tournament. Granted, it's at a different venue this year, but Rose has won the event twice already at two different venues. Rose, who turns 35 on Thursday, has been playing some fantastic golf of late, including a playoff loss at the Memorial and a T6 in the Open Championship. Surprisingly, Rose's lone multiple-win PGA Tour season was in 2010. It feels like he's due for another one of those.

Here's how my five to watch fared last week at the RBC Canadian Open:

5. Brooks Koepka -- T18
4. Jim Furyk -- 4th
3. Matt Kuchar -- T7
2. Bubba Watson -- 2nd
1. Jason Day -- Won  

July 28, 2015 - 2:42pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Billy Hurley III
USA Today Sports Images
In an emotional press conference at the Quicken Loans National on Tuesday, PGA Tour player Billy Hurley III asked for the public's help in finding his father who has been missing for nine days.

In an emotionally-charged press conference on Tuesday at the Quicken Loans National, PGA Tour player Billy Hurley III announced that his father, Willard Hurley III, has been missing for nine days.

Luke Kerr-Dineen from USA Today's For the Win blog reports that Hurley, 33, said his father left home nine days ago, "with some clothes and cash, and no one has heard from him since."

Hurley said his father has no history of mental illness.

RELATED: Tee times: Quicken Loans National | Drama between Allenby, caddie continues

Kerr-Dineen cited this piece from Hurley's presser, where he took no questions, but said he intended to play this week:

"I'm coming to you guys for help. Last Sunday, nine days ago, he took some clothes, took some cash, and no ones heard from him since … No one know why he left, he’s been married to my mom for 30 years and now he’s gone. I just want to let him know that: Dad, we love you and we want you to come home. We have no idea where he is … I just found out so hopefully he checks for my score or my tee time and realizes it’s time to come home." 

 

July 28, 2015 - 9:02am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Robert Allenby
USA Today Sports Images
Just when we thought the dust might be settling after Robert Allenby's mid-round firing of caddie Mick Middlemo last week in Canada, Middlemo is calling into question Allenby's claims that he was drugged, kidnapped, beaten and robbed earlier this year in Hawaii.

Things just keep getting uglier and uglier between Robert Allenby and ex-caddie Mick Middlemo after the dust up that led to the looper's firing midway through the first round of last week's RBC Canadian Open.

In case you somehow missed it, Allenby alleges that Middlemo became aggressive toward him during the round after the two had a disagreement on the fourth hole. Allenby explained his side of the story to ScoreGolf.com

"I said to him, 'You know this happens every week,'" Allenby told ScoreGolf, referring to a disagreement on club-selection. "'This has happened for like the last three or four or five months. We keep making bad mistakes and you're not helping me in these circumstances.'"

RELATED: Allenby, caddie have ugly split mid-round in Canada | Caddie refutes Allenby's claims

And that was pretty much the printable version of the argument.

Middlemo bounced back and refuted Allenby's version of the events.

"The discussion was only about waiting for the wind to die down and hit the 8-iron; the 7-iron was never discussed. Not once. He came up 10 meters short of the front of the green. ... He hit a bad shot," Middlemo told ESPN.com.

"He said, 'I can't believe this fat (expletive),' loud enough for everyone to hear. There's a lot as a caddie I can take but a personal attack like that. ... If this was an office in any country in the world, that would be considered bullying. ... I can take it if you call me the worst caddie in the world, tell me I'm horrible at picking clubs, but there's a line you just can't cross."

Many have come to Middlemo's defense, stating that the caddie's version of the events are the way they actually went down.

To make the whole thing a little more soap-opera-ish, Geoff Shackelford surfaced a report from The Age's Megan Levy, where Middlemo made some damning statements about Allenby and his strange fiasco from early this year in Hawaii, where the golfer claimed he had been drugged, kidnapped, beaten and robbed.

This from the story:

Middlemo now says he believes Allenby simply fell over and injured his face after drinking too much wine and tequila and not eating enough food.

"Do I think he got mugged and bashed and absolutely robbed? No I don't. That's the story I told because that's the story he told me to tell because I wasn't there," Middlemo told News Corp Australia.

"Do I think he just fell over and cracked his head? Honestly I do … I think he fell over and someone picked up his wallet and had a great time with his credit card."

Wow. Something tells me these two won't be exchanging Christmas cards this year.