Golf Buzz

March 10, 2014 - 11:41am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Swing Caddie SC100
Voice Caddie
The Swing Caddie SC100 by Voice Caddie is a great practice tool for those serious about improving their golf game.

It's been a long, cold, snowy winter here in New England. Not that I'm complaining. That's what you sign up for when you live in these parts.

At a certain point though, all this dreary weather makes us long for spring and the start of golf season. This past weekend, we got a hint that perhaps -- just maybe -- spring is around the corner after all. With temperatures in the low 50s, scores of golfers flocked to the local driving range, myself included.

Along with hitting golf balls outside for the first time since November, I was very much looking forward to trying out a new device that caught my eye recently -- a product called the Swing Caddie SC100 from Voice Caddie.

RELATED: What's in the winners' golf bags for the week of March 9, 2014

The Swing Caddie SC100 is a portable launch monitor. Who wants to lug that around, right?

Consider this: This particular portable launch monitor is slightly bigger and weighs about the same as an iPhone. It comes in a small pouch and includes a remote. You can tuck it into the valuables pocket on your golf bag and you won't even know it's there.

Once you're at the range, you simply set the monitor on its stand behind your hitting area and with the tiny remote that clips to your belt loop you can adjust the settings -- the club your hitting, and the mode you're playing.

In just a few minutes, the Swing Caddie changed the way I'll practice going forward. While the Average Joe golfer might wonder: Why do I need a portable launch monitor -- the data is only going to confuse me? Let me tell you, the Swing Caddie is an invaluable practice tool.

Not all of us have the skills to be a world-class player, but that doesn't mean we don't take our golf seriously. The Swing Caddie -- a tiny, standalone device that doesn't require a smartphone app -- will give you the key information you need instead of overloading you with the technical information you don't understand.

The instant feedback LCD display measures the following:

- carry distance
- swing speed
- ball speed
- smash factor

You can select from three different modes, as well -- practice, target, or random.

Have you ever played golf with the person who thinks he or she hits his or her clubs a lot further than they actually do? Are you that person?

After a quick warm up and in about five minutes time, I was blown away by the consistency with which the Swing Caddie allowed me to practice. It takes the "guessing" factor out of the equation and really allows the user to dial in consistent distances at which there ball travels with each club in the bag.

Here's a video showing how the Swing Caddie SC100 works:

 

 

It's one thing to follow the flight of your golf shot and see that you did something wrong -- a hard hook, a massive slice, etc. It's another thing to be able to, instantaneously after hitting that shot, look back at your portable launch monitor to try and make sense of why that shot happened. Was your swing speed a lot faster than your previous shot? Slower?

Based on the swing speed element on the display, you can quickly develop rhythm and tempo to help frequently repeat the swing that bares the best results for you.

The Swing Caddie is not a substitute for lessons from a PGA Professional. It is, however, an incredible practice tool that any player who takes his or her game seriously -- regardless of ability level -- should have as a companion at the range.

The Swing Caddie SC100 retails for $269. You can learn more about the device -- and others offered by Voice Caddie -- at www.voicecaddie.com.

You can also follow Voice Caddie on Twitter, @vcaddie.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 

Tiger Woods at the Cadillac Championship
USA Today Sports Images
Tiger Woods' back has caused him problems in the final rounds of each of his last two starts.
Tiger Woods began Sunday at the Cadillac Championship only three shots out of the lead, and with his best chance so far this year to win a tournament. He ended it with a 78 – his worst Sunday score ever.
 
The reason? His tender back acted up again, only a week after he withdrew from the Honda Classic midway through the final round with back spasms. 
 
''Just let me get through this day, get some treatment and we'll assess it as time goes on,'' Woods said after gingerly finishing up at Doral.
 
 
Woods struggled at the beginning of his final round, hitting spectators on both the first and third holes. But, he said, the pain really increased after a bunker shot on the sixth hole. He had an awkward stance, with his left foot in the sand and his right foot flexed against the bunker's lip.
 
''That's what set it off, and then it was done after that,'' he said. 
 
"It is back spasms, so we've done all the protocols and it's just a matter of keeping everything aligned so I don't go into that," he added. "It's basically started on six, the second shot out of the bunker, my foot was out of the bunker."
 
 
After that, he said it was a matter of, ''just see if I could actually manage ... keep the spasms at bay.''
 
If he feels good, he can still make "a pretty decent swing," he told Reuters. "You saw it yesterday. I actually can make some good swings and shoot a good score, but if I'm feeling like this, it's a little tough.
 
"I mean, it was just one thing that set it off and as I say, I had a quick turnaround from last week," he added. "Normally things like this, you shut it down for a while and then get back up and get the strength and everything developed around it."
 
Woods will take this coming week off as planned and get more treatment on his back. He is still scheduled to return to the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he is the defending champion. The Masters is two weeks after Bay Hill, and Woods enters this final month before the Masters with more questions than answers about his health.
 
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
 
 
March 9, 2014 - 10:32pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Patrick Reed at the Cadillac Championship
USA Today Sports Images
Patrick Reed wears red and black clothes on Sundays, just like the player he grew up idolizing.
With his victory on Sunday at the Cadillac Championship, Patrick Reed joined an exclusive club. He became one of only five players to have earned three PGA Tour titles by the age of 24. The other four are Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy – and Tiger Woods.
 
Doral marks the first time that Reed won with Woods in the field, and one similarity you might have noticed was their attire. Reed has worn red shirts and black pants in each of his three triumphs – and that's no accident.
 
When asked about his apparel choice on Sunday, Reed explained that "the best player ever to live when I was growing up wore black pants, a red shirt. I was growing up watching him, I always thought, you know, it would be cool to wear black and red come down Sunday."
 
Reed has worn red and black for his final rounds since his youth – "I did it when I was in juniors, I did it in amateur golf, and you know, it's worked," he said. "Obviously there's something behind it. 
 
 
See this weekSo, has Tiger ever said anything to him about his sartorial selection?
 
He hasn't," Reed said, adding jokingly, "It's one of those things that I don't think he really has any white or black in his shirts; he just has solid red and black pants.
 
"It's one of those things that I've been comfortable wearing it and you know, obviously he's been comfortable wearing it," he added. "Just happens to be that we both wear it on Sunday now."
 
There obviously was a period of time when no other player would have dared to wear red and black on Sundays. Do you consider Reed's choice an homage to Woods or a challenge?
 
Nead custom putters
Courtesy of Nead Custom Putters
Nead Custom Putters is owned by Gene Nead, crew chief of the No. 98 Phil Parsons Racing team from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, who began building putters as a hobby.
When it comes to putters there are a few who stand above the rest. While the Scotty Cameron may be the most sought after, there are other companies that deserve a look, especially if you want something that is uniquely yours. One of those is Nead Custom Putters.
 
The Charlotte-based company is owned by Gene Nead, crew chief of the No. 98 Phil Parsons Racing team from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, who began building putters as a hobby during his “quiet time” away from the track.
 
“Building putters is something I have enjoyed doing since I was young  It was sort of like the game of golf.  My quiet time between complete chaos,” he said. “I really never thought of it as business until the last few years… it was just my quiet time.”
 
 
Nead’s “quiet time” activity has turned into a full-fledged artistic endeavor. Nead builds a lot of custom, one-of-a-kind items, but also produced some mass-produced products, such as their best-selling BiTi mallet.
 
“[Our] most popular model over the years has been our BiTi Mallet. It was an original design a few years ago that has a carbon or stainless head with a titanium rear flange,” Nead said. “Every time I make a run of them they aren’t around for long.”
 
Some may think the putters are a tad pricey, but when you consider each one is meticulously hand-crafted in North Carolina, and realize they perform as well as they look, it’s a small price to pay. These putters aren’t just for show.  According to Bunkers Paradise these bad boys perform, too.
 
I don’t think we target any one group, I feel like we just build a great product,” Nead said. “Some of our exotic materials used in our putters will be more for the golf collector-type people… but we also try to keep putters rolling out that are affordable with more of a personalized touch than can be found at your local golf store or national chain.”
 
To get your hands on your own Nead putter, visit NeadCustomPutters.com or WantsAndNeads.com for pre-built putters and Nead accessories.
 
March 7, 2014 - 11:24pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Phil Mickelson at Doral
Cheyenne Woods via Twitter
Tiger Woods' niece Cheyenne Woods snagged this shot of Phil Mickelson taking a mental-health break on Friday en route to three double bogeys and a 75.
The scores posted Friday at windswept Doral were eye-popping – the low score was 70 and the average score was almost 76. Only three players broke par on the day, and only four are under par through 36 holes.
 
And then there's this: 63 players played the second round, and hit 113 balls into the water.
 
So, needless to say, the gentlemen who endured that day to remember/forget had plenty to say about their experience. Several of them took to Twitter to vent – and a few LPGA Tour stars chimed in as well. Here's a rundown of some of the best comments we saw:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bubba Watson's bulletproof Oakley pickup truck
Courtesy of Oakley
The entire exterior of Bubba Watson's new Oakley truck is bulletproof (including the windows) and wrapped in a black digital camo print.
Bubba Watson introduced us to his very un-goofy bulletproof truck late last month. He collaborated with Oakley – yes, the sunglass and apparel company – to add to his growing collection of vehicles.
 
But aside from the video shot from a phone, we didn't get many details on the truck. Now we have some insight from Oakley. It's a 2013 Ford Raptor Super Crew Cab that was customized by Mike Smith Fabrication in Huntington Beach, Calif., taking nearly six months to complete.
 
"One of the things that really impressed Bubba was our Sports Marketing trucks at Oakley Headquarters; in particular a surf-specific truck with all the cool gadgets we had installed after market," said Al Janc, Oakley Sports Marketing Manager of Golf, on Oakley's website. "As a result, we decided to build Bubba this bulletproof vehicle that he could enjoy, while helping to represent the brand and at the same time protect he and his family. It was great fun taking what he wanted in a truck and adding things we thought were cool to come up with this finished product together."
 
The entire exterior is bulletproof (including the windows) and wrapped in a black digital camo print. On the front is a reworked "6160 billet aluminum" Oakley grille, with an Oakley logo built onto the hood and made of the same material as the grille.
 
 
The interior is accented with one of Watson's favorite colors, lime green, in the leather stitching on the seats, in the Oakley logo on the head rests, on the doors and on the console.
 
And then there's the horn. By touching a remote button, Watson gets one of four distinct horn sounds, including the legendary General Lee jingle.
 
"I have to say that my team at Oakley has really out-done themselves… again," Watson said, adding, "We went with the Ford Raptor because it’s a great truck, it's functional and I already knew I liked it because this will be the third one I've owned. Seeing the finished product is even more impressive than I imagined.
 
"My favorite thing would have to be that it's bulletproof. How many people can say they have a bulletproof truck? I can! Plus, it has a matte black and gray 'digital camo' paint job, big off-road tires and lime green accents on the interior. It's awesome!"