The golf industry is “struggling,” right? Tell that to one of, if not THE fastest growing golf companies in the world, Top Golf. Top Golf is a driving range on steroids, complete with all sorts of fun ways to hit balls and enjoy some food and frosty beverages.
Top Golf has announced plans to open a massive location here in the Salt Lake area, in the city of Midvale. I do my grocery shopping at a store right next to the location which is about five minutes from my house. How convenient.
I find it very telling that a successful company sees fit to INVEST in the Salt Lake golf industry while the city of Salt Lake is desperately trying to close courses which are losing money. Can you say mismanagement? I would presume that Top Golf does some pretty detailed research before they decide to dump millions of investment dollars into a new facility, to make sure it will be successful. I’m happy to see that the Salt Lake area is worthy of such a venture.
I do understand that Top Golf isn’t exactly real golf. You can rent clubs and you’re in a sort of a “Dave and Busters” or “Buffalo Wild Wings” atmosphere. The good ways it is not like real golf is that anyone can participate, and it doesn’t take 4-5-6 hours to play. I hear Top Golf can be as expensive or even more than a round of golf however.
It is sad that the city has screwed up its golf division so badly. During the years when the golf courses were making profits the city diverted those funds to its coffers and funded other money-losing amenities like tennis courts and who knows what, rather than saving the money for improvements or a rainy day. The courses and the supporting infrastructure now need improvements while at the same time that rainy day came. Now there’s no money, so the city’s answer is to close the courses.
That is stupid.
Not well played Salt Lake City.
What will happen to the land if they do close any courses? The land will be turned into a park or sold. Yeah great. A park generates NO revenue, unlike a golf course which generates cash flow through tee times, driving range, food and beverage, leagues, and equipment/apparel sales. A park would not produce any tax revenue or generate any kind of economic flow. And a park would not employee the number of people a golf course does. Think about a golf course’s staff: pro shop, food and beverage staff, maintenance. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars per course in employee income (taxes, spending money, and so on) which will simply go away from the city/state economy.
Maybe the courses are in the red a little bit in this down economy, but the total dollars lost between taxes, wages, tee times, range balls, food/beverage, retail sales, will have a far greater impact on the local and state economy. Unfortunately the city mayor and council can’t think past their initial bean counts it would seem.
Golfers are also mad that somehow the “bike loving” mayor managed to find some $8 million in city funds to pay for bike paths but can’t find a fraction of that to keep the courses running and fixed up.
Say, how many dollars does the city bring in from bike revenue? I’m guessing about zero.
First Tee- Pebble Beach
I’m getting so many contribution offers here it is mind blowing. On a daily basis I receive 5-10 “offers” from “writers” who have “been reading my blog for years” who want to contribute fantastic content my readers are going to love! There are so many generous people out there! I’m so humbled and thankful. I’m sure the only reason they want to write for HOG is because it is such a well respected golf site, full of great and useful content. I’m sure their only motivation is “exposure” and “contributing.” So exciting! I’m absolutely positive that great content will happen to have an outgoing link or two, you know, in exchange for the great article! Yay! No problem.
Yeah, how dumb do you think I am?
Most of these writers have amazingly and coincidentally penned 100% perfect search engine optimized content, keyword rich in the subject of their expertise. That subject isn’t necessarily golf. It could be cosmetics, online gambling, mortgages, erectile dysfunction.
Obviously Google’s latest algorithms are setup to favor links which come from site articles, rather than advertisements or banners. As a result, I get a flood of “offers” of this great, SEO bait.
Typically I respond with a nice one or two sentence note, “thanks for the kind offer, but I do all my own writing. Good luck.” But it is getting so out of hand that I’ve decided to write this post and send all the would-be HOG contributors here to read it.
How about you buy me a round of golf at Pebble Beach in exchange for this article? Here’s the skinny…
I’ve decided that I can be bought. If you want to place one of these articles let’s first call it what it is, a PAID advertisement or advertorial. If any of these “generous” writers are willing to pony up what it will cost me to play a round of golf at Pebble Beach ($500), I’ll happily post their piece, and even let them put that outgoing link in with a “do-follow.” If you don’t know what a do-follow is, no matter. The link will be valid for one year and after that the article will be deleted, or can be renewed for another round at Pebble!
If you are one of the few real writers, simply looking for a real outlet to publish your work and you don’t have the cash to buy me a round at Pebble:
“Thanks for the kind offer, but I do all my own writing. Good luck.”
Use No-Chipping Sign as Target When Practicing Chipping
While at the practice putting green last week I found a golfer there practicing his chipping. After watching him for a few minutes I realized the brilliance of what he was doing. He was using the “no chipping” sign as part of his chipping practice. He positioned his landing spot to be just over the no-chipping sign, and he would try to chip in such a way that the ball would land just over it, then release nicely to the hole.
I highly recommend using the no-chipping sign as a golf training aid when working on chipping. I’ve used the no-chipping sign for my short game drills ever since and I’ve noticed quite an improvement in my short game stats.
Why is your brand new shiny pitching wedge as long as your old 8-iron? Because it IS an 8-iron.
Hot off the presses is the announcement that TaylorMade just came out with a new set of irons. Kind of a bummer really. I hadn’t even taken off the plastic off the set I bought yesterday and now they’re already obsolete, due to these new LONGER ones which came out today. Now the question is, do I buy the new ones from today knowing that tomorrow’s model will be even better and longer? I poke fun, but that’s the sad state of the golf equipment industry.
Comparing mid 1990’s iron specs to the new TaylorMade Aeroburner 2015 irons.
Golf marketing has completely bastardized the equipment world. Marketers will go to great “lengths” to sell clubs. Most of the manufacturers and their marketing firms are guilty of falling into the trap of promising more and more distance, not just TaylorMade. Marketing will continue this practice so long as the consumer believes he/she will gain more distance.
Take a look at the photo above. It compares iron specifications up to the mid 1990’s with the new TaylorMade “Aeroburner” irons.
Some golfers seem to be aware that the lofts are getting stronger year after year, but most don’t seem to notice shaft length. In the photo above look at the old pitching wedge as an example. The 1990’s model PW was 52 degrees, and had a 35 inch shaft. The Aeroburner 2015 pitching wedge is 43 degrees! NINE degrees stronger. But that’s not all. Look at the shaft length. The new PW is the same length as what an 8-iron used to be.
A good friend of mine was so excited when he bought his RocketBalls irons a while back. “I hit my 7-iron as far as my old 5-iron,” he excitedly told me. Once I explained that his new 7-iron and old 5-iron were the almost the same specs he wasn’t as excited. In fact, he was mad.
Name Irons By Lofts/Lengths
The new Ben Hogan has started doing this a bit, though I’ve had this concept in my mind for years. Either the numbers representing irons should have a fixed area in the spec table, or the numbers should be removed from the club and replaced with the loft and shaft length. That way when comparing clubs, one could only claim to be longer against other clubs with the same specs.
“Hand me the 46!”
So, the TaylorMade 5-iron above would be called a “22” for 22 degrees in loft. Perhaps add a 38.75 to the name: 22-38.75. The closest club in the 1990’s chart above would be between a 2-3-iron, but the shaft length closer to a 1-iron.
Limit Loft/Length Ranges for Iron Numbers
As an alternative there should be limits as to what numbers can be put on what clubs should be put in place. In another 5-10 years at the pace we are on, a pitching wedge will be 20 degrees, and we will all be hitting them 200+ yards.
It would be a good idea to have rules in place stating something like “A 7-iron is a club which features a loft between (pick your numbers) 34-37 degrees and would include a shaft length between (once again, pick your numbers) 36-37 inches.”
Why the Gap Wedge Appeared and Why We Will Need More of Them
Of course, neither of my ideas above will happen. So irons will get stronger and stronger. The distance between a lob wedge, usually a 60 degree club, and a pitching wedge will increase. That’s why the “gap” wedge was invented. The gap wedge filled the growing gap between pitching wedges and sand wedges and gave golf club manufacturers another club to sell.
We are going to need another gap wedge. Let’s call it a gap gap wedge.
The golf magazines are going nuts right now, digging in their archives of brilliant Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky photos. You see, DJ won this past weekend and that’s all the excuse the struggling golf magazines need to post link bait, also known as T&A.
Many Hooked On Golf Blog patrons know I’m an aspiring photographer and I think it would be totally bichin if I got a job working for Golf.com or Golf Digest or some golf media outlet. So below I’m submitting a few photos from my portfolio. Since I know they love to post any kind of Paulia photo, even with random animals and stuff like that, I found some of my best material.
Let me know when I start the new photo job okay?
DJ and Paulina Gretzky and a giant pig humping a barrel
Paulina Gretzky and DJ and a dumpster
DJ and Paulina and some old junk appliances
Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky and a pile of tires
DJ and Paulina and a greasy transmission
So what do you think? These would fit right in with Golf.com and Golf Digest’s Paulia photos…