Golf Buzz

August 16, 2013 - 3:04pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Michael Hoey
Getty Images
Michael Hoey uses a driver with only 8.5 degrees of loft, which is even less loft than the European Tour average.

The 2013 professional golf season has rounded the curve and is heading down the final stretch. As we await the FedExCup playoffs on the PGA Tour and, a little later, the final events of the Race to Dubai on the European circuit, here are some interesting stats from the first 20 events on the European Tour. 

I haven't seen corresponding stats from the PGA Tour, but I would suspect they're fairly similar. These stats, by the way, come from SMS, the company that surveys equipment usage on the European Tour:

--The average loft of drivers is 9.0 degrees
--The average loft of fairway woods is 15.0 degrees
--The average loft of hybrids is 18.4 degrees

That 9-degree loft for drivers just shows that most professionals generate much more clubhead speed than most of the rest of us. 

--The average number of fairway woods in each bag was 1.18
--The average number of hybrids and/or utility irons in each bag was 1.06

No surprises here. Most professionals generally carry a driver, a 3-wood and a hybrid. 

--0.07% of players used a 2-iron
--52.2% of players used a 3-iron

The lack of 2-irons isn't shocking, but maybe the fact that only half the players use a 3-iron on a given day is a little eyebrow-raising. It just confirms that the pros also have eschewed long irons in favor of hybrids, and most professionals carry three or four wedges.

--The average loft of a sand wedge is 53.6 degrees
--31.5% of sand wedges are 52 degrees
--36.7% of sand wedges are 54 degrees

--The average loft of a lob wedge is 59.2 degrees
--38.2% of loft wedges are 58 degrees
--55.6% of lob wedges are 60 degrees

--A 64-degree wedge has been used 16 times

-- 8.6% of players used a long/belly putter

The usage of long and belly putters was said to be as high as 20 percent at the height of the craze a year or so ago, but clearly many of the professionals who tried long putters have reverted to standard-length models – likely in large part because of the forthcoming ban on the anchor putting stroke. One stat I’d love to see going forward is how many players have and will move to counter-weighted putters, which to me provide much of the same feel as long putters do while also allowing golfers to swing them normally.

Players have used:
--45 different models of golf ball from 11 different brands
--88 different models of drivers from 18 different brands
--360 different models of putters from 30 different brands

Two quick thoughts. One is that, even with all the different types of golf balls reported, a good 70 or 80 percent of the players use Titleist ProV1 or Pro V1x balls. So obviously even the balls in third, fourth or fifth place in the count are only being used by a handful of players.

Second, that putter stat illustrates what we all know – even the game's elite players switch putters in and out all the time. This reminds me of a stat I saw about a year ago, which showed that 35 players at the European Tour's 2012 Johnnie Walker Championship in Scotland used a different putter than they did in their previous start. No club in the bag is as personal, and as fickle, as the flatstick.


August 15, 2013 - 11:30pm
Posted by:
John Kim's picture
Jack Nicklaus and sons
Jack Nicklaus Instagram
Jack Nicklaus sent out an old family photo in taking part in Instagram's Throwback Thursdays
One of the most popular social media platforms today is Instagram - and one of the more popular uses of the photo sharing site is "Throwback Thursdays", often hashtagged as #TBT. 
The tag is used to denote older photos that were taken in years past, long before social media was available to share some of the more compelling images of each user. It has become both popular to share old photos and of course, to peek in on what others are sharing. 
Even golf legend Jack Nicklaus is taking part - and he's doing it by sending out not older photos of his numerous golf wins...but rather, more personal photos including the one above where he and his sons are enjoying a little father-sons time together learning the game. It's great to see some of golf's icons embracing new technologies and social platforms. 
Nicklaus recently partnered with the PGA of America to ask fans to "Pick the Hole Location" for the Sunday round of the PGA Championship. It was a huge success - in no small part to Nicklaus sending out a YouTube video of him picking the hole location he would prefer. You can see more of Nicklaus' photos (old and new) at his Instagram account.

You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim
August 14, 2013 - 4:02pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Jason Dufner
Amanda Dufner via Instagram
Both Jason Dufner and the Wanamaker Trophy needed some shut-eye after the PGA Championship.

It's a pretty safe bet to say that Jason Dufner has had his photo taken more times in the last few days than at any other point in his life.

It's also safe to say that my favorite one is this one posted above. It was taken the morning after he won the PGA Championship by his now mega-famous wife Amanda. She posted it on her Instragram account with the caption, ''I've been replaced.''

Amanda, I don't think you've got anything to worry about. However, I do see that the Dufners have a brand-new family member – a pup named Prince Louie. Dare we ask if he has any connection to Jason's fellow major winner Louis ''King Louis'' Oosthuizen? Probably not.

The Dufners spent Tuesday making the media rounds in New York, and you can see our photo gallery of their whirlwind trip here.

Also, we have put together a comprehensive recap of Dufner's victory at the PGA Championship in our brand-new "Weekly Golf Buzz" video show. And, of course, you can relive our complete coverage of the PGA Championship on the official site.

One final note on Dufner's victory that is as cool as anything I heard all last week. Dufner apparently felt like he was going to have a good week at Oak Hill, so he and Amanda collected a few acorns to take back to the plot of land in Alabama where they're building a new house. They were going to plant them in hopes that some Oak Hill oak trees would take root.

After he won, though, Dufner arranged with Oak Hill to have a sapling from the club transported down to his property. 

''So at least that one will take root,'' Dufner said. ''I will have some trees out there, and it will be a neat experience – first major championship at Oak Hill and hopefully, have some of their oak trees out there on the property.''


August 13, 2013 - 3:37pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Jason Dufner at the 2012 Ryder Cup
Getty Images
Jason Dufner had a strong Ryder Cup debut in 2012, and is among the leaders on the 2014 points list.

Needless to say, Jason Dufner's victory in the PGA Championship vaulted him way up the points list for the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup squad. In fact, Jason has 'dufnered' all the way up to second place behind Phil Mickelson in the standings at this point.

The top nine right now are:

1. Phil Mickelson: 2,172.000 
2. Jason Dufner: 1883.199 
3. Jim Furyk: 921.040 
4. Tiger Woods: 676.623 
5. Brandt Snedeker: 551.697 
6. Zach Johnson: 496.827 
7. Hunter Mahan: 483.288 
8. Matt Kuchar: 462.226 
9. Steve Stricker: 432.712 

The top nine points-scorers will earn guaranteed spots, and Captain Tom Watson will round out the team with three captain's picks.

The points to date have been determined by the players' finishes in the 2013 major championships, with one point awarded for every $1,000 earned. Every U.S. player making the cut in a major earned points.

Points will begin accumulating on a weekly basis in October, when the 2014 PGA Tour schedule kicks off at the Open. The qualification period will end at the 2014 PGA Championship next August, and Watson will make his picks in September.

A total of 66 players have earned points so far, and you can see the complete list and read more about the qualification process by clicking here.


August 12, 2013 - 11:18am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Cardiff ADC golf shoes
Ashworth Golf
The new Ashworth Cardiff ADC golf shoes.
Today, Ashworth Golf announced the release of its new Cardiff ADC spikeless golf shoe, available for men and women. 
This next-generation model features a revamped look, spikeless versatility and a focus on all-day cushioning.
Here's the release our friends at Ashworth Golf sent over:
CARLSBAD, Calif. (August 12, 2013) -- Ashworth Golf, an authentic golf brand dedicated to bringing modern style to the golf course, has announced the release of the new Cardiff ADC spikeless golf shoe to its expanding portfolio of versatile golf footwear.
Available in men’s and, for the first time in the company’s history -- women’s models, the new Cardiff ADC has been redesigned to deliver enhanced comfort, functionality and the performance of a traditional golf shoe with the revamped styling and versatility of a casual shoe.  To maximize all-day cushioning and comfort, the Cardiff ADC features a premium redesigned leather upper, advanced comfort last and super-soft polyurethane sockliner on a poured PU midsole.
“I’ve always loved the style and comfort that the Cardiff offers,” said Justin Rose, 2013 U.S. Open Champion and Ashworth Tour Staff professional. “I first wore the new Cardiff ADC at The Open Championship in July and really like the updated look and feel. This new version takes comfort to another level, plus I can wear them both on and off the course.”
To maximize performance, the Cardiff ADC’s new spikeless outsole was recreated to deliver even more stability and traction in both dry and wet conditions with new strategically-placed traction lugs designed to deliver optimal grip both in varying conditions and surfaces. The soft and pliable molded rubber outsole provides a more flexible, low-profile fit without the sensation of traditional spiked models.
Backed by a two-year waterproof warranty, the men’s leather Cardiff ADC will be available in six colorways: Collegiate Navy/Airforce Blue/Pebble, White/Neutral Grey/Airforce Blue, Brown/Dark Brown/Fairway and Black/Cardinal/White  available on September 1, 2013 and White/Dark Grey/Fairway and Neutral Grey/Dark Grey/True Red available on March 1, 2014 with an MSRP of $120 USD.
The women’s leather Cardiff ADC will be available in four colorways beginning September 1: New Navy/Khaki/Bordeaux, White/Light Aqua/Airforce Blue, Light Khaki/Khaki/Spring Green and Black/Dark Orange/White with an MSRP of $120 USD.
To learn more about Ashworth Golf's offerings, visit
August 11, 2013 - 6:03pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Srixon Z-STAR golf balls
Courtesy of Srixon
The new editions of the Srixon Z-STAR and Z-STAR XV balls are the most technically advanced tour-performance balls the company has ever produced.

All the marketing in the world can't save a product if it's not very good. Conversely, sometimes a product proves itself so quickly and convincingly that all a company has to do is spread the word.

That's the happy situation Srixon finds itself in as it unveils its new generation of Z-STAR golf balls.

As you might be aware, two players have shot 59 on the Tour in the last month – Will Wilcox at the Utah Championship on July 14 and Russell Knox at the Albertsons Boise Open on July 26. You might not be aware, however, that both did so using a new Srixon ball. Wilcox used a Z-STAR XV Tour Yellow ball – making him the first player to card a 59 with a colored ball – while Knox used a Z-STAR Pure White model.

And presto – there's your marketing campaign!

OK, so maybe there's a bit more to marketing than that. And, in fact, the new balls already have amassed 40 tournament wins worldwide this year. In any case, Srixon is launching its new spheres on a nice wave of momentum.

These 2013 editions – the regular Z-STAR and a hotter Z-STAR XV – are, Srixon says, the most technically advanced tour-performance balls the company has ever produced. The new balls, the company adds, have been re-designed, re-calculated and re-formulated to produce the best balance of high-level performance across all clubs in the bag. 

Both boast enhanced spin control and softness as well as improved flight characteristics. Their covers feature Srixon's new ''Spin Skin,'' a coating the company says is two times softer than any previous Srixon coating, which helps create a 20 percent increase in friction. That enables players to hit approach shots with plenty of backspin, while experiencing a softer feel as the clubface grips the ball.

The Z-STAR model is built around a new, large-diameter Energy Gradient Growth (EGG) core. Its characteristics help provide more contrast between inner softness and outer hardness, resulting in more lift, less spin and longer flight distances. By contrast, the Z-STAR XV features a two-layer Neo EGG core, which delivers more lift and less spin for a quicker launch and greater overall flight distances.

Both balls carry Srixon's new 344 Speed Dimple design, which helps reduce air resistance for a strong, long-carrying trajectory. The new design increases the ratio of dimples to surface area by more than 4 percent, which Srixon says makes it possible to play more aggressive golf under all conditions. 

Both the Z-STAR and the Z-STAR XV carry a suggested retail price of $44.99, and are both available in Pure White or Tour Yellow.

For more information, click here.