Golf Buzz

Bryan Brothers
YouTube
If you look closely, you'll see there's a live alligator involved in the latest Bryan Brothers golf trick shot video.

Golf trick shots are a serious thing, it turns out.

Moments after our earlier post today with the golf ball bouncing off pots and pans, we received a direct message on Twitter from the recent kings of the golf trick shot -- the Bryan Brothers.

RELATED: Meet the Bryans | Two-man trick | Bryan Brothers up the ante | Compilation

They provided a link to their latest effort -- The Gator Edition. That's right -- they're messing with alligators now (among other incredible shots)! The alligator comes in to play at the 1:00 mark.

Here it is:

Dare we say this is the best Bryan Brother video yet? The production quality is the best it's been.

That's a pretty swift response to pots and pans and yesterday's golf/baseball video.

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

 

April 18, 2014 - 11:51am
tj.auclair's picture
Golf trick shot
YouTube
Today's trick shot incorporates pots and pans.

Another day, another golf trick shot.

This time, it involves pots, pans and a glass.

 

 

Impressive stuff. But, as far as this week's trick shots are concerned, yesterday's juggling act turned home run is still the leader in the clubhouse.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair

 

Xenon Golf Company
Xenon Golf Company
This is just a small sampling of the customization options offered by Xenon Golf Company.

Every now and again we stumble upon people and companies in golf that you may not have yet heard of, but should.

And that's the basis for this introduction to Kenneth "Lump" Uselton, owner of a business based out of Nashville, Tenn., called, "Xenon Golf Company."

Xenon specializes in handcrafted putters. Like other boutique putter makers we've profiled in this space -- LaMont Mann's MannKrafted and Low Tide, among them -- Xenon's creations aren't merely putters. They're truly works of art.

BOUTIQUE PUTTERS: Low Tide -- putters that tell a story | MannKrafted fine milled putters

"Currently I make mostly handmades," explained Uselton, a married father of three and a 17-year cancer survivor. "I do have some designs that I run blank heads at the CNC shop. I have about 10 unique designs that I would like to make available as CNC blanks and the customer can personalize them. There are many more stuck in my head too."

Those ideas stuck in Uselton's head are often brought to life in a 12'x20' portable building/shed he purchased in 2006. The small building resides in his back yard and has become affectionately known as, "The Old Puttershack."

"I set it up in my back yard to use as my workshop for refinishing old irons and building clubs," Uselton explained. "In 2007, I decided that I would start accumulating the equipment I needed to teach myself how to make putters from a block of material. I found a 40-year-old 1/3" hp Rusnok mini-milling machine in February 2008 from an inquiry on Ebay, a nice used tig welder and the accumulation started. If you walk into the 'Puttershack' today, you will see an encirclement of equipment for the entire process. In this shop I do the machine work, the welding, grinding, stamping, finishing -- everything is done by me. It's taken me almost 6 years to get to the point where I know that my work is now to the level I dreamt of when I started."

Before it became his career, Uselton started putting clubs together in 1986 at the age of 17, trying -- like many golfers -- to find something that would better suit his game.

During the early 1990s before golf really became "cool" for all ages, there was a vintage PING putter craze. Karsten Solheim, the late founder of PING, was a pioneer in putter design. Like many, Uselton wanted to get his hands on Solheim's designs.

"When the vintage Ping putter craze blew up in the early 1990s, I came obsessed with PING putters because Karsten was such a design genius and everything he did looked different," Uselton said. "While dragging around a set of old Northwestern blades growing up, I always drooled over the PING irons for sale in the pro shops around town."

RELATED: Salty Grips bring cork to your putter | Visit PGA.com's extensive equipment page

What was once a hobby recently turned into an occupation that remains a passion for Uselton. You see Uselton worked in a plastic plant from 1991 until the plant closed its doors in February 2012. At that job, Uselton says he worked 12-hour shifts, seven days a week every two weeks. He then spent many of his off days refinishing clubs and building sets.

He meddled for years with milled putters in the Puttershack, an art that was accelerated and skills that were honed in the mid-2000s when Uselton started to appreciate the creations of masters of the milling method -- names like Mills, Bettinardi and Cameron.

Beautiful as those works were then and are even today, it's the price point that was discouraging to Uselton.

"A normal guy like me had no desire to spend a huge amount on a milled putter," he said.

It's that "normal guy" mantra that separates Uselton from others. For less than $300 -- pretty much the starting point for most high-end putters you'll find in a golf store -- Uselton can make you a one-of-a-kind.

"The goal is to have my own functional designs, nothing radical looking but more traditional and offer them at a fair price with multiple metal choices and personalization choices," Uselton told us. "All I ask from customers is not to expect a copy of someone else's ideas. My putters start at $259 fully customized and personalized. My order forms state: 'Please do not ask for rude or offensive stampings or similar markings of other putter makers.'"

Uselton’s order form reads like an a la carte menu. The options seem endless. Customers can choose lie, length, loft, head weight, neck design and so much more. Xenon putters can be 100 percent personalized by the customer from the head design, the neck, the shaft and the grip to the stamping, the finish and the sightlines or dots. Seriously. Uselton will literally tell you, "Give it some thought and get back to me. Tell me exactly what you want."

And then, he brings your imagination – no matter how wild – to life.

Uselton's putters aren't the same, old, boring, cookie-cutter designs you find in the box stores. To the contrary, many of his shapes and designs are the kind you never even knew existed. The head shapes and neck designs are sure to be conversational pieces amongst your foursome.

Uselton also offers accessories. Things like guitar-pick shaped ball markers and guitar-shaped bag tags, almost as a nod to the city where he creates his designs – Nashville, “The Music City.”

From start to finish, Uselton estimates it’s between 4-5 weeks before the putter you dreamed up is in your hands.

“I can't believe that I have gotten to this point to be able to take a raw piece of metal, machine it, shape it, stamp it, finish it, weld it, paint it and assemble it -- all without relying on anyone else,” Uselton said. “When people entrust you to create their ‘dream’ putter, I feel an obligation to them to get it dead on.”

If you’d like to view samples of Uselton’s impressive body of work, you can click here to visit the Xenon Golf Company Facebook page. You can also give him a follow on Twitter, @xenongolf, where he posts pictures of completed projects.

And if you’re interested in getting your very own Xenon Golf Company putter, email Uselton at xenongolf@comcast.net. He can answer any questions you have to get the process started.

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

Pablo Larrazabal
Getty Images
After being attacked by a swarm of hornets -- and being stung more than 20 times -- Spain's Pablo Larrazabal jumped in a lake at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club to escape the wrath.

If you want to talk about a rough day at the office, don't go complaining to Spain's Pablo Larrazabal.

During the second round of the Maybank Malaysian Open Friday, Larrazabal was going about his business on the fifth fairway at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club when he was suddenly attacked by a swarm of hornets.

Here's video of the incident:

Here's Larrazabal talking about the incident after the round:

What initially looked somewhat amusing -- he was swinging a towel to try to avoid the hornets -- quickly turned scary. Larrazabal was stung more than 20 times and, to escape the wrath of the hornets, he jumped into the nearby lake.

"They were three times the size of bees," Larrazabal told EuropeanTour.com. "They were huge and like 30 or 40 of them started to attack me big time. I didn't know what to do. My caddie told me to run so I start running like a crazy guy, but the hornets were still there, so the other players told me to jump in the lake... It was the scariest moment of my career, for sure. I've never been so scared."

After the dip in the lake, Larrazabal continued to play and -- incredibly -- made birdie on that hole. He finished the round with a 4-under 68 and is tied for 25th through 36 holes at 2 under.

"The referees and a doctor took me aside and gave me a couple of injections and told me to relax," he said. "After the injections I felt a lot better and could continue. Without the help of the referees I couldn't have finished the round, because I was in no state to play golf."

Larrazabal sent out this tweet following the round:

 

 

It'll be interesting to see how he plays on the weekend. You almost get the feeling that this tournament owes the three-time European Tour winner one.

This story reminded us of another one from last year involving then LET (Ladies European Tour) rookie Daniela Holmqvist of Sweden. While playing a pre-qualifier for the LPGA's ISPS Handa Australian Open in Yarralumla, Holmqvist was bitten on her ankle by a black widow spider... and continued to play.

Who says golfers aren't tough?

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

 
April 17, 2014 - 8:39pm
john.holmes's picture
TaylorMade White SLDR driver
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The white version of the TaylorMade SLDR driver is identical to the original black edition in every way but color – meaning it also includes a 20-gram weight that slides along a track on the front of the sole to let golfers to dial in their preferred trajectory.

It's no secret that TaylorMade has gone all in on its SLDR driver, and the latest evidence of that came Thursday as the company released a white-crowned version.

The white edition of this best-selling big stick follows other white clubs in the TaylorMade stable such as the R11, R1, Rocketballz and Rocketballz Stage 2 drivers. The full-size SLDR driver debuted last summer with a charcoal-gray crown, and was followed by a 14-degree version, a smaller 430cc version and, just recently, the SLDR Mini with a 260cc head.

"The white crown with black button-back delivers a remarkable appearance at address," said Brian Bazzel, the senior director of metalwood product creation. "Many golfers fell in love with white when it came out in 2011, and now we are delivering a limited edition white SLDR with low and forward CG for more distance when you loft up."

MORE TAYLORMADE: JetSpeed drivers and woods | Project (a) golf balls

The white version is identical to the original dark-headed edition in every way but color – meaning it also includes a 20-gram weight that slides along a track on the front of the sole to let golfers to dial in their preferred trajectory by placing the weight at any one of 21 points along the track. The SLDR allows for six millimeters of movement – that's 50 percent more than on the R1 driver – promoting a shot-dispersion range of up to 30 yards. 

It also includes the low and forward Center of Gravity that promotes low spin and faster ball speeds, as well as TaylorMade's Loft-sleeve Technology, which permits the loft to be easily adjusted. Golfers can choose from 12 positions within a range of plus-or-minus 1.5 degrees of loft change. 

The SLDR White driver will be available on May 2, and carry a suggested retail price of $399. 

 

Golf trick shot
Vine
That isn't just a guy hitting a ball with a bat. You have to see how the bat and ball got to where they are as part of an outstanding trick shot.

Trick shots have been getting a lot of run around these parts lately, thanks largely to the Bryan Brothers.

Apparently they're not the only ones pulling off golf tricks that make you say, "Wow!"

RELATED: Bryan brothers up the ante | Two-man trick shot | Trick-shot compilation

Here's a Vine from a guy named David Cramblitt, who expertly marries a golf and baseball.

Check it out:

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