Change of pace for me today. I played the 9-hole Forest Dale golf course, located in Salt Lake City. Forest Dale, known by my group as “Foreskin Dale,” is the oldest course in Utah, serving up bogeys since 1906. Not as old as the New Course in St Andrews (1895), but 111 years isn’t too bad. This is a mini-review.
Forest Dale Clubhouse and practice green
The clubhouse (above) is actually a historical landmark, placed on the Utah Historical Register. Can grease in the cafe be a historical landmark? It might be as old as the course. I kid. I kid.
This 9-holer is interesting. It features a par-36 but three par-5’s, three par-4’s and three par-3’s. Here’s the par-3 8th below, what I could call the “signature hole” of the course.
Forest Dale 8th hole
This course is friendly to the very casual, higher handicap golf crowd. No collars required. In fact, I’d be surprised if shirts are required. It’s inexpensive but the rolling hills make it much more interesting than some of the other flat courses in the city. The old-school greens are pretty small, but since the course is moderately short they’re not overly hard to hit. They were quite slow today. Probably more favorable for the typical client the course serves.
I don’t know who the pro in the shop is. Never met him until today. But for a hot Sunday without a lot of people playing, he was very friendly and obviously enjoying his day’s work.
Forest Dale isn’t exactly golf tourist attraction for serious players, but for locals who don’t take themselves too seriously it’s fun. It’s not too hard to get on the course. I checked in with no tee time and was on the first tee before I had a chance to tie my shoes. It was a no-stress, enjoyable day and some decent exercise for me today. Good times.
Last spring I was training hard for my summer Scotland trip. Having done two previous trips to Scotland for a week plus of 36 holes per day, I knew I needed to be in good walking shape. My home course is quite hilly and provided a great challenge to get in walking shape.
I overdid it.
A few weeks before Scotland, after pushing myself quite hard, I started to have pain in the arches and heels of my feet. Eventually the pain was so bad I could hardly walk. The training, combined with testing out new shoes which had very poor arch support resulted in plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. If prolonged and untreated the condition can worsen and turn into other problems in the foot and other areas like the back.
In mornings and after prolonged times sitting writing incredible blog posts at the computer, the first few steps were quite painful. It was very painful getting to the finish of my swing. The right foot would nearly buckle since the arch and heel were so inflamed.
To prevent the issue from worsening and to help it heal, I had to stop the problem: walking a lot on shoes with crappy arch support. I bought a set of inserts for my shoes at a running store which “ran” about $40. The arches were very different. The bottom was very hard. The arch was very high compared to what I was used to. It took some getting used to. Since last summer, any pair of shoes I wore, street or golf, I’ve used those supports. Those inserts helped me start to heal a bit before Scotland, and helped me survive the walking I did there, a total of 125 MILES. Despite walking 125 miles, the inflammation subsided and I did not make the injury worse.
After a year of dealing with with this situation, I know much more about arch support and shoe design. And about a year later I can gladly say that since adding the inserts to my shoes the problem has completely gone away.
Early this season I was approached by Aline to test out shoe inserts designed for golf. I eagerly accepted and shortly after put the Aline inserts into action. I first wore them in my street shoes, to work and around town, just to get used to them. I’ve grown so accustomed to the comfort and feel of the Alines in my regular shoes that I feel like I can’t wear any shoes without them.
For the past few weeks I’ve now graduated to putting those old running inserts in the garage and using the Alines 100% of the time for my street shoes and golf shoes. They provide great support in the perfect places, and they’re not as hard and uncomfortable as the running store inserts. My feet aren’t as fatigued and achy as now and of course, there are no issues with the arches or heels in my feet.
I’ve just realized something else as well. This could be related to the fact that we are in the high heat of summer, but my back does not ache after golf rounds. While reading up on Aline’s inserts I happened across some information that says the inserts will help with spine alignment and help prevent back pain. Whether it’s the heat or the inserts, or both, I’m thrilled about it.
ALINE patented technology optimizes a golfer’s performance by properly aligning the back, hips, knees and ankle. This helps reduce lower body fatigue and improves swing mechanics, resulting in maximization of ground force reaction for more distance and accuracy. Proven by 10 Professional wins, Olympic Gold Medals, over 100 X Games medals and doctors across the country, ALINEs are designed for performance in sports and life. ALINE makes similar equipment for Skiing, Snowboarding, Hiking, Cycling, Gym Workouts, Running, Walking and General Fitness activities. ALINE…what’s inside counts.
At this point I’m not going to take my Aline’s out of any of my shoes. In fact, I need to get more units so I’m not constantly moving the one pair I have from street to street to golf to street. I’m walking more with less fatigue and feeling no pain in my feet or back. If the inserts could help with my chipping…. one can dream.
Women get flowers and smelly stuff as gifts. What do men get? Ties? Yuck. Now men can get a gift which they would like as much as women like smelly stuff and flower gifts, the BroBasket. BroBasket you ask? Yes. I just got my first one. It went something like this.
The mystery box above was on my doorstep and had the quote, “a special gift for you.” I thought to myself, “oh goodie!”
The fun stuff inside the mystery box was a very cool combination of “bro” friendly items like wine, whiskey rocks, golf balls, golf accessories, and a reusable basket to put other bro stuff in.
The wine came at a perfect time. I cracked it open right away while putting together the inventory of my take in my first BroBasket.
My basket is “The Mini Golfer” basket. What’s cool about BroBaskets is they can be customized to fit the the bro’s personality. I’m a wine guy. My basket featured a nice California cab, which I’m enjoying right at this moment (it is 7:58PM). One can configure the spirit portion of the basket by picking from one of five wines, or a selection of brandy, gin, liqueurs, mixed drink packages, rum, scotch, tequila, vodka or whiskey. This cab is great. Cheers.
Other items can be added, pardon me, “configured,” to the basket such as glasses, accessories, and snacks.
BroBasket makes many different themed men’s gifts from the golf one I’ve featured here to others including spirits, corporate themes, holidays, and every other imaginable reason one might wish to give a man a gift.
Stop giving ties or gloves to your man and give him a gift he really wants and will most definitely use, one from BroBasket.
What do Jason Day and I have in common? Lots. We’re both incredibly athletic, good looking to the nines, have great golf swings… mostly we both drink swingOIL on the golf course. swingOIL you ask? One has to laugh at the name swingOIL because most golfers I play with refer to “swing oil” or “swing lube” as a different liquid sustenance which typically comes in a flask and could be a substitute for jet fuel in a pinch.
What is swingOIL?
swingOIL is a golf supplement which comes in convenient to carry and store 3-ounce pouches. Inside that little pouch is lots of good golf in liquid form, and quite tasty too.
- GLUCOSAMINE (100 mg.) & 2 – CHONDROITIN (50mg.)
- TURMERIC (40 mg.)
- TAURINE (100 mg.)
- CITRULLINE MALATE (100 mg.)
- GINSENG EXTRACT (100 mg.)
- RHODIOLA ROSEA EXTRACT (50 mg.)
The glucosamine and chondroitin help with joints and stiffness, helping to keep the body loose and lubricated. Turmeric fights inflammation, something I battle quite badly. Citrulliene Malate helps with recovery. Ginseng, is an energy booster which helps with focus. Rhodiola Rosea extract helps relieve stress. Viagra helps with (just seeing if you’re really paying attention)….
swingOIL comes in three flavors: Strawberry-banana, lemon-lime, and orange. My personal favorite is strawberry-banana.
On The Course
You can’t make this up. Here’s my first experience with swingOIL, which I shared with my golf buddy “Shanego” who was in from out of town. We were golfing along and I’d forgotten that I brought along some swingOIL samples. On the 8th tee I busted them out. In the photo below you can see Shanego drinking a lemon-lime. I had a strawberry-banana. At three ounces, they don’t take long to drink.
We both hit great tee shots. As the swingOIL was apparently entering out systems we then hit two incredible approaches to the tucked, uphill green around a set of trees on the par-4. Shanego’s approach was left of the pin about 10 feet and mine about 5 feet right. We BOTH drained our putts for birdie. Call it coincidence or the swingOIL, but the numbers didn’t lie, hehe. Like I said, you can’t make this up. The only question was whether or not I’d have to drink one swingOIL for every hole I play the rest of my life…
I have to admit to having a little feeling of my heart racing. I’ve never done energy drinks or ginseng of any kind. So I did feel a bit wired for a couple of holes.
I’m capable of playing some good golf for around 15-16 holes. Then comes the “brain fart” where I lose focus and wreck the round with some bad swings. That lack of focus could be fatigue related, or simply just mental. Perhaps for me I can avoid that lapse and finish off some good rounds of golf with swingOIL in the bag.
Dean Snell has likely been involved in your golf equipment for many years. You just didn’t know it. Dean is one of the designers of many of the world’s top golf balls like the Titleist ProV1, TaylorMade TP Red & Black, TaylorMade Penta, and many others. Dean is now making his own tour-caliber and amateur-focused golf balls under the Snell Golf brand. Today I’m reviewing the MTB, or “My Tour Ball.”
About the Snell Golf MTB
“Tour” is the word most commonly used for golf balls which have performance characteristics in line with what a PGA Tour professional would require. Those characteristics would include high spin and a soft cover, which aren’t necessarily characteristics which would benefit a high handicap golfer. Why? Pros can control their spin. High handicappers generally can’t. So the high ‘cappers will have serious distance loss due to side-spin, and will have very bad accuracy as the ball will be hooking or slicing more. Further, most higher handicap players come up short, and a ball that has high spin and stops quickly or even backs up on a green, isn’t good in that situation.
For the lower handicap players and pros though, the MTB is a very affordable and high performance alternative to the $50-$60 per dozen tour offerings from the big name brands. Let’s take a look at the construction of the ball.
The MTB is a 3-piece or 3-layer golf ball. Each layer produces performance properties and when combined gives the ball it’s overall performance.
The first layer of the MTB if we go inside-out, is the core. Just like the earth’s core, the core on the MTB is the center. Most of the mass of the golf ball resides in the core and the ball’s general feel and “compression” comes from this layer. Softer cores result in lower spin, and therefore less side-spin. Soft cores can mean more accurate drives because of the reduced spin. But there’s a fine line with soft cores because as the core gets softer the distance is lessened. Snell’s MTB combines a soft core with technology which still helps produce the max ball speed allowed by golf’s governing bodies, and thus the most optimized combination of low driver spin and distance.
The mantle is the next layer. The mantle layer still has influence on the overall ball speed and compression. The mantle’s true performance benefits are in iron shots and short game shots. The mantle helps to increase spin as the shots get shorter, which is optimum. Low spin on long shots and higher spin on short shots.
The cover of the ball is perhaps the most crucial in terms of giving a golf ball the “tour” label. Tour balls typically have a “urethane” cover while cheaper balls may have covers made from other rubber/plastic materials like ionomer. Urethane gives a golf ball very soft feel in the short game and putting, and high spin on short shots, chips, and pitches. When you see tour pros “yank the cable” and spin a ball back to the crowd’s joy, that’s almost guaranteed a urethane cover ball. Pros and low-handicap golfers want the spin and control of urethane and the MTB has it.
On The Course
I admit I’m a bit late to the party with my review. I actually received a box of MTB’s to try close to two years ago. At that time I was playing a different ball and didn’t want to change. A couple of years later I got some more and finally decided to play them again this season as my game was in such bad shape I needed a gear and mental overhaul.
From the tee the MTB is comparable to a tour ball such as the ProV1. This is bit more spin off the driver than balls I’ve tended toward in the past like the Bridgestone B330, and thus can be less accurate for me if my swing gets a little wild. I also find that extra spin results in a little shorter overall distance off the driver for me. These are the reasons I’d previously not opted to have the MTB as my “gamer” ball in the past. There have been a few occasions where all launch factors have been perfect and I’ve hit massively long drives with the MTB. Accidents happen. Blind squirrel syndrome. That said the ball is plenty long still and it does offer me the chance to “work the ball” (curve it) if I need to. Balls with less driver spin are harder to work.
Approach and in is where the MTB has made a big difference in my game. I’ve found my distance control has been much improved, though I must admit I also changed to different irons at the same time as my ball switch. Trust me on this. The irons are not an issue. I really love the feel of the ball off my irons and I’ve been gaining more and more confidence with each round. I’ve had some bad distance issues this season and when I made the iron and ball switch, those issues vanished.
I’m sticking approach shots now, even backing some up. Most recently I recall some very nice mid-to-long irons stopping on a dime, like a 6-iron I hit last weekend from about 185 yards. The ball mark was in the shadow of the ball. Mark first, then fix. Don’t accidentally move the ball when fixing the mark!
Short game shots are where the MTB really shines. My chipping and pitching (which I’ve whined about for a long time online) has been 1000x better. I’m actually saving par often now because I have better feel and control around the greens. I’m finally able to get the ball close enough to the hole to make a par-saving putt. In the case of par-5 holes, I’m chipping it close and making a 2-3 footer for birdie now. Huge difference on the scorecard.
I’m enjoying the feel of putting with the MTB as well. The urethane cover feels nice and soft and I have solid distance control. When I miss a putt (not often!), I know my next one is going to be very close. I like to “seam up” the MTB with it’s alignment arrows, which are also along the ball’s seam. That helps my alignment.
Last week I played 41 holes with the MTB. 13 holes were a net match and then an 18 hole round a couple of days later. Yes I trusted my net match outcome to the MTB and glad I did. I won the match. My total in relation to par over those 41 holes last week: +1.
Tour balls are typically not durable. It’s hard to make a all with a soft urethane cover which resists scuffs, but the MTB does a fine job of it. I expect a tour ball like this to last a round or two before I retire it to the practice ball bag, but the MTB’s are lasting longer than that.
Let’s do a little test. Which of the balls below has been in play for 36+ holes?
It’s a trick question. Both balls have been played over 36 holes.
At $31.99 via the Snell Golf website, these tour-level balls are roughly half the cost of some of the big name brand balls and offer comparable or even better performance. Call it a two-fer.