Golf Buzz

January 23, 2015 - 6:02pm
andrew.prezioso's picture
Zach Johnson
Zach Johnson ended up with a double bogey on the 10th hole.

This is like a trick shot gone wrong

During the second round of the Humana Challenge, Zach Johnson was trying to hit a shot off of the rocks. The results were, well, not good. 

 

Related: Humana Challenge leaderboard

To make matters worse for Johnson, not only did his ball go backwards but it went into the water. He ended up with a double bogey on the hole.

He did make up for it a bit later on by holing out from bunker on the 12th hole.

January 23, 2015 - 11:27am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Charles Barkley
Twitter
Just when you thought Charles Barkley's golf game was bad, he went ahead and showed off his new golf belt.

And you thought Charles Barkley's golf swing was bad (you're right, it is).

But is it possible that his golf-belt game is worse?

Barkley caught some heat from good pal Kenny Smith last night during NBA on TNT coverage when he revealed his new golf belt:

You've got to love Barkley. He always "owns" it.

h/t NBA on TNT

January 23, 2015 - 11:13am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
trick shots
YouTube
Golf trick shots aren't as easy to pull off as the Bryan Brothers make them look. Just ask these two guys.

As we all know by now, the Bryan Brothers have made incredibly difficult golf trick shots look so easy.

The truth, however, is they're not easy. In fact, more often than not, the attempt can go terribly wrong.

Like it did for these two guys:

There's nothing funnier than a guy getting hit with something below the belt (unless your said guy). 

You cringe, then you laugh, like we did with this video.

Here are the Bryan Bros. to show us how it's done:

h/t GolfChannel.com 

Bhrett McCabe
Dr. Bhrett McCabe says failure on the golf course can be productive, if you learn from it.

Golfers need to "break the fishbowl" to end the fear of failure and persevere, said a prominent sports psychologist Thursday at the PGA Merchandise Show.

Birmingham-based Dr. Bhrett McCabe, a performance and sports psychologist speaking on the topic of "How your practice may actually be causing you to get worse, not better," said challenging golfers -- particularly younger ones who aren't used to failure -- how to deal with adversity is the best way to build How to Win Awareness.

McCabe used the analogy of the fishbowl to show how golfers limit themselves because of their fear of failure.

"If you buy a goldfish, it's never going to grow bigger than the size of the fishbowl," McCabe said. "Your human mind is the same way. If all you think is inside a limited space, that's all you'll ever do. We have to break the the fishbowl.

"When players come to work with us, we have a challenge. We have to assess them, find out where they are. Do they truly believe that they can overcome their success and failure? Do we believe they can persevere?"

More: Russ Ortiz's passions include golf, giving back to the community

It's what separates players with similar skill sets but different mental toughness.

"We've all seen it," McCabe said. "The kid hits it like a rock star on the range and should never struggle, and yet they shoot 5-over par. It makes no sense. Why? They don't always know how to deal with the adversity."

As a sports psychologist, it's McCabe's job to remove the mental limitations that are keeping good players from performing to their potential.

"How do we break them out of their fishbowls? We get them out of their comfort zones," McCabe said. "I want them to learn to trust their tools under various conditions, and learn how to deal with adversity and persevere."

McCabe played baseball at Louisiana State for legendary coach Skip Bertman. Recently, McCabe had a chance to sit down with his former coach and pick his brain about this very issue.

"What's the biggest factor you see in the success of your players?" McCabe asked Bertman. "He said, 'I've been coaching for 25 years and the No. 1 factor is what I call 'HWA.' It's How to Win Awareness.

"Think about that. Every player out there is a talented player. They can move a golf ball around the course. There's not much separation between Tour players. But it's the players that know how to win when it matters."

So how do you measure HWA in golf?

"It's when a golfer looks at a shot and they adapt their skill set to the shot that's at hand, rather than trying to prove they can hit the shot," McCabe said. "When a player plays for validation -- that they should hit that shot -- you're telling yourself that if you don't, it's because of an inherent flaw in you. And a player that plays for validation is always weak."

Many times, single-sport athletes don't learn how to fail. And when they find themselves in a stressful situation, they don't know how to handle the pressure effectively.

"What I find is, the players start telling me, 'I thought I was going to play well this week," McCabe said. "With all the work I've done, I should have played well.' And I hear that unbelievably bad word -- should. 

"Why did you think you had a great week of practice, that you should have played well? What happens is, players are playing for their optimum experience. They've created in their minds that every round of golf that they play has to be ideal to be successful."

And McCabe said that creates unattainable expectations.

"Expectations are through the roof," McCabe said. "What they don't understand is that great performances arise from average performances. They don't arise from other great performances. The hardest round (after a great round) is the next one, because their expectations are up."

So many books on the subject deal with athletes "being in the zone," something that McCabe doesn't ascribe to.

"Why? Because it happens five percent of the time," McCabe said. "So I'm going to invest my time and energy in training my athletes how to get into the top five percent. I believe they're going to get there naturally -- by doing the other 95 percent efficiently."

Russ Ortiz
Contributed photo/Justin Silverstein
2nd Guy Golf executives Russ Ortiz, L.J. Richardson and Justin Silverstein pose with their product line.

When Russ Ortiz retired from major league baseball in 2010, he decided to follow his two passions in life: Golf and helping others. And by starting a golf apparel company called 2nd Guy Golf/2nd Girl Golf, Ortiz has the opportunity to do both at once.

His "passion" -- a word he used several times in conversation Thursday at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando -- didn't come to the forefront until his career as a pitcher began to wane. But Ortiz said he always loved playing golf, right from the time he learned as a kid growing up in Van Nuys, Calif.

"It really wasn't until I was in the major leagues that I began to really get serious about golf," Ortiz said. "So after I retired, I tried to golf as much as I could. It really became a passion of mine."

Some of that passion was fueled during his time with the Atlanta Braves -- since fellow starters John Smoltz and Greg Maddux were avid golfers.

"When I was with the Braves, John Smoltz took us to some unbelievable places," Ortiz said. "Pine Valley on multiple occasions and Aronimink, Butler National in Chicago, Whistling Straits, Galloway National in Atlantic City. In Houston, we played the Houstonian.

"It was incredible. I look at the top 100 courses in the country, and through the Braves and John Smoltz, I've hit at least 30 of those. It was definitely fun."

Related: Ten of the best Baseball Hall of Famers on the golf Course

So why does Ortiz think so many baseball players -- particularly pitchers -- are so good at the game?

"As pitchers, we have more time to play golf because we're not playing baseball every single day," he said. "That's one of the things. But it is true there is a correlation between pitching mechanics and golf swing mechanics.

"If I was having trouble locating my pitches, I always reverted back to my pitching mechanics. And it really does help. It helps me understand the mechanics of the swing better -- not only the balance, but the turn, the torque and the fluidity. I can always relate to the pitching mechanics when I had issues on the mound."

Interestingly enough, Ortiz feels his short game is his strength, although he can also drive the ball well.

"Anywhere from 120 yards in, I've gotten good at that," Ortiz said. "I need to work on my putting -- I need more one-putts.

"I've always known how important your wedges are because they give you a chance at birdie. But you have to get off the tee first. Now that I'm a better golfer -- and a wiser one -- I realize I need to work on putting more. But my wedges are my go-to."

Eventually, Ortiz became a scratch golfer through his frequent playing at Alta Mesa in Mesa and Superstition Mountain in Gold Canyon. But he still felt like something was missing -- and that's why he formed his golf apparel company.

"When I retired and decided I wanted to get my hands dirty with something after a couple of years, I wanted to make sure I did something I was passionate about, something that I could enjoy," Ortiz said. "I didn't want to start from scratch in business and work my way up, so I had the financial ability to start my own business if I wanted to.

"The idea of this came up during my playing years. I researched a bit on how to pull it off, I felt like I could do this and be great -- and it all started with my passion for golf and wanting to help others."

Related: Bubba Watson becomes part owner of baseball team

There are dozens of golf apparel companies represented at this year's PGA Merchandise Show, but Ortiz's may be unique in that 100 percent of the net proceeds goes to charity. Proceeds from the sales of men's apparel goes to Feed My Starving Children, which packs 50 million meals a year for distribution world-wide. And women's apparel sales help Josie's Angels, a rescue home in the Phillipines that serves more than 100 girls living in an impoverished community.

"If we sell a shirt online, it allows us to feed a child for two months," Ortiz added.

Ortiz said the company's No. 1 goal is making great quality products.

"We're very serious about making the best product we can," he said. "And right behind that is the giving-back aspect. We do it through golf apparel.

"That's the cool thing for me. We're a very young company but we're working on making a difference, and hoping to look back and see how many people we've impacted with our products."

Puma TitanTour golf shoes
PGA.com
How cool are Puma's TitanTour golf shoes? These are packed in ice at the Puma booth at the PGA Merchandise Show.
In recent years, golf shoe makers have seemingly have been trying as hard as they could to make shoes as lightweight as possible. Light is still right, but many of this year's footwear releases include more comfort and stability to create a more well-rounded shoe.
 
PUMA: With Rickie Fowler carrying its torch, Puma Golf has always exuded coolness as a brand. And to hammer home its point that its new TitanTour shoes are the "coolest shoes in golf," the shoes in its booth here at the PGA Show are packed in ice.   
 
The reason: The TitanTour features proactive Outlast cooling technology – which was created to help astronauts stay comfortable in their spacesuits – to regulate the temperature in the shoes and keep golfers cool throughout their rounds. 
 
To achieve this, Puma applies its Outlast coating to the shoe's insole, and the coating stores excess heat away from the foot. If the temperature inside the shoe cools off, the shoe releases the warmth. And if not, it keeps the heat away from the foot.
 
The TitanTour also features Puma's Shapelock memory foam – like that in beds – for comfort and stability, an ultra-thin "Power Frame" in the midsole for flexibility and stability, and low-profile cleats. It's available in seven color options: black/white, white/vibrant orange, white/strong blue, white/gray violet, brown/mustang, white/black, and "flash" (a reflective material). 
 
They'll be available at retail on Feb. 1, with a suggested retail price of $190.
 
FOOTJOY: One of the shoes that hits this new sweetspot of comfort and stability is the HyperFlex from FootJoy – which looks more progressive and less like a traditional FootJoy release than perhaps anything the company has ever created.
 
The HyperFlex's most distinctive feature is its FlexGrid 2.0 exoskeleton, which is made of a high-performance material that helps to control the foot during the swing. If the exoskeleton pattern looks familiar to Northeasterners, it's because it was inspired by the cable-like structure that supports the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge in Boston.
 
"Our designers have carried out research in civil engineering and construction to create the distinguishing aesthetics of HyperFlex that are also fundamental to its performance," said Doug Robinson, FootJoy's vice president of  design and development worldwide. This outer layer also incorporates a breathable membrane that's guaranteed waterproof for two years.
 
MORE FROM THE PGA SHOW: Complete coverage | PGA Show video | Photo galleries 
 
Stability comes from the bottom as well as the top of the HyperFlex. An Optimized Performance Stabilizer (O.P.S.), which you can see on the rear of the shoe, provides support and motion control to the heel during the swing, and the sole is outfitted with SoftSpikes' brand-new Tornado cleats that provide even more grip that standard SoftSpikes models.
 
The HyperFlex comes in four styles (Navy/Electric Green, White/Grey/Blue, Black and Grey/Orange) for $190, along with three styles (White/Grey/Blue, Grey/Orange and Black/Red) with the Boa Lacing System ($210). The standard model will be available Feb. 15 for $190 per air, while the Boa version will be available April 15 for $210 per pair.
 
ADIDAS: In its new adipower Boost golf shoes, adidas focuses on optimizing energy return – storing and releasing energy during the golf swing. The company is adapting this technology from its running and basketball shoes to golf for the first time.
 
In the Boost, thousands of TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) energy capsules are imbedded in the show via a high-pressure steam molding process. The integrity of the EVA foam used in many other shoes can get hard in cold weather and break down in the heat, adidas says, but its Boost material retains its cushioning and responsiveness in all weather conditions.
 
"During the swing, the energy return is noticeable – as if you can feel the technology in action," said PGA Tour player Jason Day. "They feel good, and look good, too."
 
Adidas rounded out the shoe by adding gripmore spikes of varying sizes, and placing them in strategic locations on the outsole for improved traction and stability.
 
The adipower Boost will be available Feb. 27 in four colorways, and will carry a suggested retail price of $190 per pair.
 
NIKE: The big news about Nike's new Lunar Control 3 shoe is that incorporates a lot of feedback from world No. 1 Rory McIlroy. His big suggestion – make the shoe more stable so he can swing more aggressively without having to worry about slipping.
 
The Nike designers listened. They widened the shoe's base to improve its stability and remain in contact with the ground longer through impact. They also added a lightweight carbon fiber midfoot shank to make the shoe stronger yet still flexible.
 
The Lunar Control comes in four colorways: Black/Pure Platinum, Pure Platinum/Bright Crimson, White/Pure Platinum and White/Volt. It is available now with a suggested retail price of $210 per pair. 
 
ECCO: Danish shoemaker Ecco Golf is out with its BIOM Hybrid 2, the next generation of its best-selling golf shoe. This new edition – worn by Fred Couples, Ernie Els and Graeme McDowell – is 15 percent lighter than the original model thanks to an extra-thin midsole that helps bring players closer to the ground.
 
The shoe also has a dual-density TPU outsole, which is harder in areas that need the most stability and softer in the key comfort zones around the foot.
 
Like all Ecco golf shoes, BIOM Hybrid 2 is created using a direct-injection process that bonds the upper and outsole unit to make a one-piece shoe without glue or stitching. This, the company says, gives it an exceptionally water-tight seal as well as comfort and flexibility without the need for a break-in period.
 
The shoes contain soft and breathable uppers made of yak leather and treated to resist both staining and water. The bottom is outfitted with molded bars that offer hundreds of traction angles for superb grip.
 
They're available now at a suggested retail price of $195 per pair.