Nike Golf TW Vapor Speed Driver – click to view larger version
Who do you trust more, fish oil salesmen, politicians, or golf marketing? These “what’s in the bag?” articles and limited edition clubs setup like the pros are so funny to me. Now you can buy a club custom fit to someone else, who has swing characteristics completely unlike yours!
The latest is a promotion by Nike Golf, where you can buy the exact driver Tiger Woods is using. The Nike TW Vapor Speed is available for purchase today (June 1, 2015) and has the exact same specs as Tiger’s gamer driver. What bonehead would want this club, other than perhaps a collector? According to other marketing themes we as golfers should be getting a custom fit driver for our swings, right? So buying Tiger’s driver would be idiotic to say the least, unless of course we have the exact same build, height, weight, swing speed, technique, swing plane, takeaway, release, tempo, launch angle, grip, head dip…. I could go on forever.
Before you make that big decision to buy a club nobody in the world could probably hit, take a look at some of these numbers below. Tiger hasn’t played enough holes this season to qualify for the Tour stats apparently, since he isn’t even on the driving statistics listings on the Tour site for 2015. I’ve done some analysis for you.
Driving Distance: Tiger’s average driving distance right now is 297.1. That would be good enough for 26th place at this point on Tour.
Driving Accuracy: Tiger’s driving accuracy is 50.71%. That would put him at 199th on the PGA Tour in 2015.
Tiger has no ranking for total driving and it is not possible for me to calculate it. By my guesses, it would be near or at the bottom of the entire PGA Tour’s list.
If you love Tiger Woods and have $399 to spend for a driver you probably can’t hit, this one is for you.
Bonneville Golf Course
I’ve never written a “letter to the editor” of a local paper. Tonight will be the first, a submission to the Salt Lake Tribune. Below is my take, and below that the text which will be a shorter version for the letter.
If you paid for a six pack of your favorite beverage and only received five cans, would you be a satisfied customer?
If you went to the movies and the movie theater cut out 15 minutes of the movie, would you be a satisfied customer?
If you paid for a 60 minute massage and the masseuse cut it off at 49 minutes, would you be a satisfied customer?
Salt Lake City Golf Division is doing this same thing to patrons of Bonneville Golf Course. We patrons are paying full retail for 18 full holes of golf, but not getting what we paid for. The course is in the midst of an install of an automatic sprinkling system which has been decades overdue. That’s great. While the course is torn up the players are asked to skip large portions of the course, like the 500 yard par-5 first hole today. In exchange for skipping those parts of the course a temporary hole is setup somewhere else. This temporary hole is obviously a pale excuse for Salt Lake City Golf Division to charge full price since the player is playing 18 holes.
In the spirit of the game it would be good customer service to offer a discount, a free bucket of range balls, or some kind of bounceback rate due to the conditions. Instead, Salt Lake City expects golfers to pay full rack rate, and that’s not sitting well with many. Trust me on that one.
When I mentioned the lack of a discount to the staff in the pro shop (who will remain unnamed to protect their anonymity) they informed me that the asked the city about it. No dice.
When discussing this lack of consideration for the players, one player on the course today told me “they’re doing it because they can.” That is true. While I could choose to go elsewhere, I’m still patronizing Bonneville. I’ve been playing there for decades. But I can’t help these feelings of resentment which have been building over the last several full retail rounds I’ve paid for, getting only 17 holes of golf.
Other courses in this area are very considerate of their players during adverse course conditions. River Oaks posts a discount for roughly one month when they aerate their greens. That’s a course who cares about their customers. Apparently that’s not the case with Salt Lake City Golf Division.
The Letter To The Editor (shorter version in hopes they run it)
If you paid for a six pack of your favorite beverage and only received five cans, would you be a satisfied customer?
As a patron of Bonneville Golf Course for decades–who has paid tens of thousands of dollars in green fees in my lifetime–I can’t help feeling like I’m getting the shaft when paying full retail for a course that is torn up and offering essentially 17 holes worth of golf.
Salt Lake City Golf Division should offer a discount, a free bucket of balls, or a bounceback rate to show their customers that they appreciate their business during installation of their new sprinkler system. Granted the sprinkler system is much needed and decades overdue, but charging full retail for an incomplete product is a shank out of bounds and not in the spirit of the game.
End of rant.
Yesterday’s round was painful on a number of levels. First, I tweaked some strange muscle in my lower left back which made swinging tough. At the top of my swing and end of my backswing with the putter it felt like someone was jabbing me with an ice pick. Naturally, that made for some very errant shots and a big number in the final column of the score card.
On the 4th hole my foursome waited 15 minutes for the threesome in front of us to clear the green. By the time they left the green there were two groups waiting to tee off on #4 tee, along with us approaching the green. Then they sat there on the 5th tee talking and doing nothing. No group in front of them. We yelled ahead and told them to speed it up. Naturally instead of speeding up play they called the pro shop and complained about us.
At the five hour mark we were on the 18th tee…. waiting. The slow threesome who complained about us was in the fairway…forever. One guy was giving the other guy a lesson in the fairway. Once we saw that we did what any polite golfer would do at that point. We hit our tee shots and hoped for the best.
Ignorant jerks like this are reason #375903 the golf industry is struggling.
Rory McIlory Club Throw
A couple of months ago Rory McIlory launched an iron into the lake at Trump Doral. In an awkward moment, the Donald gave Rory the club back on the range the next day. Then this past week McIlory tossed a 3-wood at the BMW after he was dissatisfied with his shot.
Last week I watched a golfer on my home course, a former basketball player who is well known in Salt Lake (no it is not John Stockton or Karl Malone), toss his driver off of the 18th tee behind him. The white-headed TaylorMade bounced across the pavement of a local road and ended up near the 4th tee. He had thrown his club out of bounds. I yelled over to him, “you threw your club out of bounds. You are going to have to throw another one off the tee.” He didn’t think that comment was very funny. I did though.
These club throwing events I’ve witnessed recently have inspired me to post the Rules of Golf Club Throwing, so those of you golfers who throw a club know exactly how to proceed after.
Rule 69.6: Throw Club In Hazard
In the case of the first McIlory toss into the lake at Doral, rule 69.6 comes into play. The rule states that if a club is thrown into a hazard the golfer has several options:
- Incur one throw penalty. Re-throw the club from the original position.
- If the club is throwable from the hazard, the player can throw it from the hazard as long as he doesn’t ground the club or move loose impediments.
- Incur one throw penalty. Take a two club drop no nearer the hole at the point in which the club entered the hazard, then throw the club from there.
- Incur one throw penalty. Pick a point on the opposite side of the hazard, equidistant to the point the club entered the hazard and throw the club from there.
Rule 69.6 A: Throw Club Out Of Bounds
In the case where the basketball player threw his club out of bounds from the tee there is only one option:
- Incur one throw penalty. Re-throw club from tee or original position club was thrown from.
Rule 69.6 B: Thrown Club Lost
I watched a player throw his driver in disgust up at Soldier Hollow Golf Course a couple of years ago. He threw the driver into some very deep grass. The grass was not a hazard area and it was not out of bounds. A player in my group yelled over to the thrower, “you will have to throw a provisional in case you can’t find the first one.”
The options a player has after throwing a club which may be lost are as follows:
- Throw a provisional club. Declare to playing partners that the club is a provisional. In the event the first throw is not found, the provisional throw becomes the club in play and a one throw penalty is assessed.
- The player can declare the first throw lost and throw a second club, under penalty of one throw.
- The player can proceed to look for the first thrown club and throw it as it lies if found. If the club is not found, the player must return to the original throwing position and take a “throw and distance” penalty, throwing a new club.
In the case of McIlory’s throw at the BMW yesterday, the club was not lost and not in a hazard, or unthrowable. The throw would simply count as a throw and he would throw the next one where it lies.
A fantastic golf blog related Twitter discussion happened a couple of nights ago. There was some tremendous discussion and a few important points I thought I’d talk about today. Here’s the tweet that started it below. Click it and follow all the commentary. It is great.
People have a misconception about me, and bloggers who work hard to build a reputation and following who trusts their opinion. Often people say to me “you’re lucky you get free stuff sent to you all the time.”
Lucky? Puhlease. Like Gary Player says, the harder I work the luckier I get. I have to chime in because I have a very strong opinion on this. I’ve worked my ass off on this blog for over TEN years. I’ve spent thousands of hours and tens of thousands of my own dollars on web hosting, design, travel, trade shows, software, computers, photo gear… all things I use to produce what I hope is entertaining and original golf content. When I go to the PGA Show in Orlando I pay my own way. The PGA Show costs me thousands in airfare, hotels, rental cars, food. The biggest cost is being away from my super wife and my little 2.5 year old boy. So when I come back from a golf trade show with a new pair of shoes, a bag of tees, and a dozen golf balls, that is far from free. Dollars for dollars the last PGA Show netted me a $3500 pair of $129 shoes and a week’s worth of constipation.
I do not review these useless things…
If I receive a box of golf balls, a shirt, a driver, a book submitted for review here the stuff is NOT “free.” I spend HOURS researching, testing, writing, painstakingly taking photos, working on web content. At the hourly rate I charge my day-job web design and development clients that $29.99 box of golf balls would cost hundreds in my time. If it was free I might as well quit this blog thing and just spend the $29.99 and save myself 5-10 hours of trouble.
Why Little or No Negative Reviews?
If you saw my house you’d know I’m not full of it when I say I can’t go to the bathroom without tripping over a golf accessory or some golf gadget. Seriously. It is out of control. I’ve experimented with having other writers here, but I prefer to have this blog be MY blog, good or bad. Therefore it is not possible for me to review every item I receive. Maybe I could do it if I snapped one photo with my camera phone and wrote two sentence reviews about the products, but that’s not how I roll. I like to get into the products and try to translate my experiences in much more depth.
It is because of that time factor that I can’t review everything. So what do I choose to review what what do I abandon? I made the decision to try and limit most of my reviews to products I believe in and can convey a positive message about. So any product I feel is junk, crap, irrelevant, useless, or not well made or poorly designed gets no airtime.
That said, in every review I write I try to put in a critique paragraph or two if I can. I try to point out product weaknesses or ways the product could be improved.
Blogs Who Mail It In
I do have a beef with crappy and lazy bloggers who mail it in. You know the ones. They are the golf blogs who spend NO time on their reviews. Their content is a copy/paste of the PR firm’s materials and the photos are stock PR photos, or shitty photos they took in their kitchen with a couple of rotten pieces of lasagna from last night’s dinner in the background. Their poorly lit photos have the ratty carpet in focus and the product out of focus. They never played that club or tested those golf balls! They never REALLY tested it for a MONTH or more on a real golf course like I do. They’re mailing it in.
PR firms and golf companies love those types of blogs. Whatever PR stuff they send gets automatically posted. It’s like a free advertising outlet. Those sites are easy to spot because their content is the same as the others who are doing the same thing. Sorry, not here.
I have my reasons for keeping my reviews positive as I stated above. When it comes to others is that the same reason? If so, great. I suspect however that those sites are AFRAID to post a negative review for fear that their golf gear gravy train will run out.
Unfortunately the digital golf world is flooded with these sites which dilute the space and hurt the search rankings of good sites, making it even tougher for them to survive. I know. I’m one of them.
Many golf blogs come and go. Most don’t have the balls, time, or dedication it takes to keep it going and to produce ORIGINAL content. That wedge I reviewed last month was not free. I spent dozens of hours testing it on a real golf course, taking photos, and writing about it with a passion for what I’m doing.
The day that passion is gone or does not translate to an entertaining, original, and informative outlet is the day I leave. Could be tomorrow. Could be in a decade.