Golf Buzz

November 25, 2013 - 8:51pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Nike RZN golf balls
Courtesy of Nike Golf
The four new RZN golf balls from Nike Golf features a Speedlock interlocking core design that helps improve the transfer of energy at impact.

In creating the four new models in its RZN golf ball collection, Nike Golf worked from the inside out.

The company's proprietary Speedlock RZN core technology features an interlocking core design – the core's surface is similar to a waffle iron. This design helps the core connect with the compression layer surrounding it to form a tighter bond that helps improve the transfer of energy through the layers at impact.  

Similar to the way that snow tires utilize aggressive tread to bond with a road surface, Nike Golf explains, the Speedlock core's interlocking geometry helps eliminate the slipping that normally occurs between a traditional, smooth-surface core and the outer layer. When a core slides or slips on impact, the ball loses energy and, as a result, speed and distance. 

''We knew we hadn't pulled 100 percent of the energy that we could out of the existing RZN core,'' said Rock Ishiii, Nike's senior director of golf product development. ''Working in partnership with DuPont, we were able to develop a softer and faster RZN material and created the interlocking core design to reduce energy loss at impact.

''The lightweight RZN material allows us to add weight to the perimeter of the golf ball, which gives the new RZN family an extremely high Moment of Inertia (MOI) in a golf ball,'' he added. ''This provides incredible ball flight stability in all wind conditions.''

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When they began considering how to build these new balls about a year ago, Nike Golf designers looked to the past – specifically, the original Haskell ball, which emerged in the early 1900s as the first rubber-core golf ball. The Haskell design – consisting of elastic thread wound around a rubber core under extreme tension – helped make slower materials faster, and Nike engineers explored what that could mean for a lighter, more modern RZN material in the core.

''Tightly wrapped material pulls more energy through the layers, and converts that energy into additional ball speed,'' Ishii said. ''One additional mile per hour produces an average of five yards in additional distance.''

A new spin-optimized coating on the ball's outer surface helps grip the grooves on the clubface for better control on wedge and iron shots. This coating, along with a softer cover and softer compression in the core, helps provide improved sound and feel, especially on off-center shots.

The four new models include:

--RZN Platinum: Tour-level control with moderate spin
--RZN Black: Tour-level distance with less spin
--RZN Red: Distance with longer carry
--RZN White: Distance with softer feel for swing speeds of 95-100 mph

The new balls will be available at retail on March 1, 2014. The Platinum and Black models carry a suggested retail price of $58 per dozen (and a street price of $45.99), while the the Red and White models carry a suggested retail price of $40.00 (and a street price of $29.99).


November 25, 2013 - 2:03pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture

There are three factors that are of utmost importance when setting up for a golf shot: grip, posture and ball position.

In today's golf tip, PGA Professional Mike Davis tells you how to put yourself in the right positions as you prepare to hit your shot.

November 25, 2013 - 1:10pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Mike's Golf Shop
Mike Mixson, owner of Mike's Golf Shop, might seem funny or even crazy in his videos. But -- that's all part of the plan.

We're not ones for overkill, but we just can't get enough of Mike Mixson, owner of Mike's Golf Shop in Chattanooga, Tenn.

If you haven't seen it already, here's the video we posted late last week -- that's gone viral -- where Mixson leaves no room for question about what it is he does: He buys golf clubs.

While checking back on last week's stories this morning to see about any potential "follow ups" we noticed that the Mike's Golf Shop website had a complete redesign since Friday and -- at last check -- that video you just watched which had just a few thousand views three days ago was up over 257,000 at the time of this post.

RELATED: Here's a look at some of your favorite golf commercials

Impressive stuff -- so much so that we put in a call to the newly famous Mike's Golf Shop to see if we could speak to the man himself. As the gentleman on the other end of the phone was jotting down my information to leave a message for Mixson, a booming, newly distinctive voice suddenly shot back, "Howdy, T.J.! This is Mike!"

You know that saying, "just like in the movies?" Well, this was, "just like in the commercial."

With that, here's my Q&A with the charismatic, funny and incredibly insightful Mixson: All of this has to be a little overwhelming, no?

Mixson: Of course. There's no way you could predict this sort of response. There's no predicting that sort of thing. Heck no. I had no clue it would do anything close to this. Tell me a little about the reaction you've gotten around Chattanooga in the last week or so since the video became famous.

Mixson: It's very odd. The world is stunned by it. I can go in anywhere wearing that Tennessee hat from the video and everyone knows who I am -- especially those under the age of 25. It's been the equivalent of setting off an advertising nuclear bomb! Was this strictly an internet commercial? Or, did you actually have it on television in your area?

Mixson: I put it on Golf Channel here in Chattanooga a week ago. A radio talk show host here in town saw it at 2 in the morning and he was face down laughing. The next day on his show, all he did was talk about it. He works for a Cumulus station, so it spread like wildfire. Next thing I know, I'm on the radio in San Diego and this is going crazy. I think the most interesting thing so far is that marketing people -- Madison Avenue types -- love it more than anyone else. The cool thing for me is -- I've got 90 percent favorables. The average, run-of-the-mill person sees it and 90 percent like it. That's weird! You yourself say, "it's weird." It's funny too. Is that just the kind of guy you are?

Mixson: Let's put it this way. The shrinks tell me I'm "extraordinarily demonstrative." I'm one of those guys who gets on a stage and loves it. Can't get enough of it. I don't mind doing what no man can do... or will do. That's what it boils down too. But there's a tremendous amount of marketing theory behind it too.

READ: Ace and 11 in back-to-back holes for World Cup player Stuart Manley So this was calculated?

Mixson: Well, who knew it would turn into this? The last week has been like a roller coaster ride. Most of the uproars happened outside of Hamilton County, so they can't stop me from working, which is good. It's a cyber thing. I log in and read comments. It hasn't derailed me in a tremendous way. I think it's funny that you've got Jimmy Fallon and others seeing it and nobody knows what to do with it. I don't know why everyone is so amazed by it. It was a marketing lightening strike. OK, this thing got the job done. Anybody who sees it knows exactly what I'm doing forever now. I created a tremendous brand in 41 seconds. What does that entail business-wise?

Mixson: So far I'm up about 340 percent business wise (as the result of the video). We know that sustainability is the critical key to all of this. I think I can maintain that increase. I have the capability to maintain that. Spring time will be awesome. Can we all expect more videos?

Mixson: Probably much more videos than I've already done. I've been doing the golf shop for 18 months. I make a video and forget about it. Friends will see it and get a laugh or two on a Facebook post or whatever. You really start attracting the masses when you have an explosion like this one though. Now they're watching my guitar demo videos. There's a lot of stupid videos. You yourself just called them, "stupid." Maybe so, but based on the reaction, it's also brilliant.

Mixson: I'm one of the guys on a lemonade stand -- I'm great at starting from nothing and going to something and doubling and tripling it in 36 months. I don't have any clue of the direction of the golf shop. I don't have a five-year plan, I have a 24-hour plan. I have people helping me. This attracted tremendous amount of attention and I have people helping me manage it. I'm head down buying clubs here -- I need to buy them to sell them. I have to keeping pounding that.

READ: New Hampshire man snags back-to-back aces on par 4s Is there a single thing about the fallout of the video that's surprised you the most?

Mixson: The most amazing thing is I instantly created this brand and it's 90 percent favorable. It won't be hard to get people to do business with me after this. It's strange what's happened in the golf and retail business in general, but everything goes back to handshake marketing and retail face-to-face, individual, caring transactions. The real amazing thing is that with the internet and Twitter, now planet Earth is my neighborhood. We noticed your website today has a complete redesign since Friday. Was that planned and just a coincidence, or was it a result of the video's success?

Mixson: Throughout this whole thing in the last week, I have joined forces with a management group out in Nashville. There are certain things they take control of and the site is one of them, because I don't have time for it. There's more people involved and they're taking off with it. I released my responsibilities for that. I'm dying to know -- what's your golf game like?

Mixson: What's my game like? Well, I'm a musician really -- an athlete in a musician's body. I don't have a 115 mph swing speed. It's got to be nice and dry for me to get it 265 yards out there. I struggle being straight off tee. I'm crooked. But my iron game? My iron-game in, I'm as good as anyone around here. I'm a 3 handicap and I don't have time to work on it. I play tournaments competitively, mainly from Jan. 1 through July 4. I've been playing since I was 9 years old and I love it.


There you have it, folks. Mike Mixson at Mike's Golf Shop in Chattanooga isn't just a funny man who buys golf clubs. He's also an intelligent marketing genius.

To learn more about Mike's Golf Shop -- and to see more videos (like the one below that Mixson calls, "The Commercial I Didn't Use") -- visit You can also follow Mixson on Twitter, @mikesgolfshop.



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

November 23, 2013 - 12:31am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Stuart Manley at the ISPS Handa World Cup
Getty Images
Stuart Manley celebrated his hole-in-one Saturday at Royal Manley. Things went downhill fast from there.

Talk about your swing of emotions. On Saturday – that's Friday night in the United States – Stuart Manley of Wales experienced one of the most dramatic swings of fortune I've ever heard of in golf.

During the third round of the ISPS Handa World Cup at Royal Melbourne, Manley strolled up to the 176-yard third hole, teed his ball, took a cut with his 8-iron – and made a hole-in-one. Elated, he patted the hood of a brand-new Mercedes-Benz perched nearby, thinking he had won it.

Sorry, Stuart. The car is only for a hole-in-one during Sunday's final round. Even so, the ace vaulted him up into a share of second place.

For a few minutes, anyway.

Manley then walked over to the par-4 fourth hole – and promptly made an 11. 

WORLD CUP LEADERBOARD: Follow all the action from Royal Melbourne

As described by Dennis Passa of the Australian Associated Press, here's how it happened:

Manley's second shot found a greenside bunker, and his third went off the back of the green. His chip rolled off the front of the green and into a gully. 

From there, it took him four attempts to get the ball back on the green – it kept rolling back down to his feet. Once he finally got on to stay, he needed three putts to finish the hole.

That dropped him from second down into a tie for 15th. 

It's all good for Manley, though. Ranked 364th in the world, he regained his European Tour card for 2014 at last week's Q-School in Spain, then dashed over to Australia. He had planned to play for Wales in the team portion of the World Cup, but his scheduled partner, Jamie Donaldson, withdrew with a back injury, forcing Manley to play as one of eight individuals in the 60-player field. 

UPDATE: Manley slowly recovered with an eagle and birdie on the back nine to finish with a 72, and was tied for eighth. It was, he said, "the highest high to the lowest low."

November 22, 2013 - 8:32pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Ping Rapture driving iron
Courtesy of Ping Golf
The Ping Rapture driving iron features significant tungsten weighting in the stainless heel and toe to create a high MOI for a head its size. That, Ping says, makes the club easier to hit than a standard long iron.

After testing the club over the past several months among its professional tour staff, Ping is rolling out its Ping Rapture driving iron to the general public.

Available with 18 degrees of loft, the Rapture features significant tungsten weighting in the stainless heel and toe to create a high MOI for a head its size. That, Ping says, makes the club easier to hit than a standard long iron. At the same time, its wider sole gives the Rapture the playability of a hybrid but with much less spin. As a result, Ping says, the Rapture delivers a low, penetrating ball flight that maximizes distance and control.  

''The Rapture driving iron has been well-received by tour pros because it provides longer shots and a controlled trajectory,'' said Ping Chairman and CEO John A. Solheim. ''It's more forgiving and generates much faster ball speed than the 2-iron equivalent, yet it launches lower and spins far less than a comparable hybrid. The low, penetrating trajectory offers control and command, which is essential for keeping the ball under the wind, for example, or when you’re playing a hard, fast course and you want to maximize roll out.'' 

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A key attribute of the Rapture driving iron is its flat 455 stainless steel face, which improves ball velocity and promotes workability because it has no bulge and roll. The sole in the 17-4 stainless steel head locates the Center of Gravity low for optimizing launch conditions and turf interaction. 

''This club is a great option off the tee, but it's also effective in making solid contact from the ground,'' Solheim said. ''It's a versatile design.''

The Rapture's stock shaft is Ping's proprietary graphite TFC 949 with chrome PVD finish (R, S, X flexes). It is 39.75 inches in length, making it a half-inch longer than a standard 2-iron shaft. This shaft configuration, Solheim says, improves energy transfer for faster ball speeds and more distance. 

The club comes in a foggy-chrome finish, and carries a suggested retail price of $220.