I was so excited to write this review about Kingsbarns Golf Links, a modern links course located seven miles southeast of St. Andrews, Scotland. When I started though, I ran into a mental brick wall. The mental block was simply due to the massive amount of information, photos and thoughts I have on this brilliant course. I didn’t know where to start. So much to say. Words can’t adequately convey how great the golf experience at Kingsbarns is. That being said, I’ll take my best shot.
Kingsbarns Golf Links – click for more images
Location Location Location
As I mentioned, Kingsbarns is about seven miles southeast of the “Auld Grey Toon” (old gray town) of St. Andrews, Scotland. The road from St. Andrews to Kingsbarns is tight, windy and scenic, in typical Scottish fashion. Driving on such roads can be a “wee bit” frightening for an American, as the cars are driven on the “wrong side” of the road. Of course anyone from the UK would say that us Americans drive on the wrong side…
Kingsbarns sits on the coast of the North Sea, many of the holes featuring fantastic views. There is a two mile stretch of the course comprised of six holes, which are entirely on the shoreline. Several times during my round with my good friends this past summer at Kingsbarns, we looked around at the holes adjacent to the North Sea saying, “Pebble who?” (more…)
The Maui Jim Longboard sunglasses are great for surfers. The lenses and frames are saltwater safe. Fantastic. I live in Salt Lake City. The only surfing I do is when I’m skiing down Mt. Baldy at Alta and an avalanche hits. I’ve sported the Longboards when skiing on my long boards. And I’ve sported them on the golf course. We know they’re good for surfers, but I’m testing and attesting for golfers and skiers.
Maui Jim Longboard Sunglasses - Click to see more
The idea behind the Longboards is catching waves, and I’m not talking about ocean waves. The waves these sunglasses catch are ultraviolet. The UV lenses and thick frames block out a ton of UV and reduce glare.
Champ FLYtee retail box – click for more images
It has taken me a little while longer than normal to do my review of the new Champ Zarma FLYtees. The reason is that I haven’t been able to get one into the frozen ground here for a couple of months! Finally the thaw level is down enough that I can get a tee longer than .5 inches into the turf.
How much can someone really say about a golf tee? You stick it in the ground and put a ball on it, right?
The FLYtees are made from a biodegradable but durable plastic. I didn’t know that was possible, but very good to hear.
The head of the tee features six prongs, twice as many as other friction reducing tees. The extra prongs allow for more stability of the golf ball, and easier placement of the ball on the tee. (more…)
Hard to write a 3000 word review on golf grips, so this will be a lightning review. 497 words.
I’m not a fan of hard or coarse golf grips like cords. I’ve fought golfer’s elbow / tennis elbow for a few years and the hard grips make it worse. And how about the feel of hard grips when you’re playing blades or player’s clubs and you hit a 3-iron thin? Not fun.
UST Mamiya Soft Touch
I like the soft feel of grips like the new UST Mamiya Soft Touch golf grips. The grips are made from advanced technology polyurethane materials, resulting in soft feel but tight control in dry or wet conditions. I’ve had these grips on my irons, wedges, hybrids and fairways for quite a few rounds now. I like how my hand seems to blend in with the club. It is like the grip and hand become one. A good analogy would be that “smart” mattress material in those $5,000 beds which mold to your body. Despite the softness I still have great feel and feedback from the clubs. I can still tell where on the club face I’m making contact.
Short game is really great with the Soft Touch grips. Gentle pitches and chips are very easy to feel and execute.
It is winter here and not many rounds being played right now. I can’t yet comment about the durability of these grips. I need a couple more dozen rounds with them to really be able to comment. So I’ll do a followup post in a month or two with my findings on the durability.
I have to extend some thanks to the folks at UST Mamiya for their help. I had a problem with the first install of many of the grips. The installer (yes I should have done them myself) left the old tape on the clubs and used a ton of solvent. Since there wasn’t any new tape, he literally trashed five of the grips in attempting to put them on. See the pic on the right. I was heartbroken!
With the extra solvent and not using new tape, another four of the grips ended up bad. I’m talking really bad. I’m talking two inches long on the 6-iron, 1 inch long on the PW. The lob grip was folded over onto itself on the inside. It was a disaster. Thanks to UST Mamiya for understanding and sending in replacements. The next install was done perfectly with new tape and not too much solvent.
During install make sure that the cut edge of the shaft is not sharp and is properly covered with tape. Doing so will avoid the above mentioned damage to the lob wedge, and make putting them on much easier. And be sure to replace the old tape. Glad to help. That’s why I’m here.
Standard – 0.600 – 43 grams
Midsize – 0.600 – 47 grams
Undersized – 0.580 – 37 grams
I’m loving the feel and control of the Soft Touch grips. They’re also really sharp looking. If you like softer grips, try out the UST Mamiya Soft Touch golf grips.
UST Mamiya website
HOG UST Mamiya image gallery
I don’t do a lot of book reviews. For some reason I can last a few pages reading and then I get very sleepy. A reference book however, is a different story. I like books like this one, which I can refer to as needed.
Golf: Play the Golf Digest Way: Hone Your Game- From Green to Tee
Golf: Play the Golf Digest Way: Hone Your Game- From Green to Tee is a 320 page golf instruction book by Ron Kaspriske with contributions from Hank Haney, Butch Harmon, Jim McLean, Phil Mickelson and Tom Watson.
This book is a substantial size at 8.5×11 inches. Inside the pages are 300+ full color illustrations and diagrams by golf pros and instructors covering every imaginable golf teaching subject as listed below.
- Bunker Play
- The Next Step
As the title and chapter list above indicate, this book takes the player from green to tee, not tee to green. It is said that the best way to teach or learn golf is by starting with the putter next to the hole. Make a six inch putt, then move to 12 inches. Keep moving back, all the way to the tee! That’s what this book does.
The photos and descriptions are excellent, and there are many of the top players from Tiger Woods to Phil Mickelson to Rickie Fowler featured in the illustrations and photos. Below is an example by Phil Mickelson showing how to hit out of wet sand:
The book will be available for purchase on March 6, 2012. Here’s a direct link to Amazon for Golf: Play The Golf Digest Way if you’d like to preorder your copy.