So Augusta is over for another year and as usual, there were plenty of talking points. Here are the top five things I took home from this years event, in no particular order.
Every year around Masters time, a couple of posts will appear on the various internet forums. These vary slightly but boil down to what an ‘average’ golfer’ would score round Augusta in Sunday tournament conditions. Opinions will differ wildly, probably until someone compares someone else to Hitler, then the thread gets closed down, but I have yet to see the definitive answer because, well obviously enough, there isn’t one.
With the current year-round version of golf, it is hard to say when one season ends and another begins, but now seems like as good a time as any to take stock of what has happened in 2017. I don’t want to run through a play-by-play of everything from this year (I will only forget half of it anyway!) but I have been thinking quite a lot about one question:
Of course, there is going to be a lot of personal opinion in this choice. We all have our favourites after all. And really, I have only been thinking about men’s golf which is crazy when you consider the amount of talent on the women’s tours. As one reader (Cliff) rightly pointed out, Lexi Thompson and Lydia Ko should be in the discussion for a start.
The USGA and the R and A have just released a proposal for various rule changes that they would like to implement from 2019. While some are seeing these ideas as a triumph for common sense, they have also been criticized for changing the way the game is going to be played by some or not changing it enough from others!
If you are a bit confused as to what the fuss is really all about, don’t worry. Here are the main proposals as well as my take on what is really going on. If you have any reaction to the new rules or ideas for other rule changes, I would love to hear from you so please feel free to drop a comment in the box below.
Of course, you might just be wondering why it is necessary to change the rules at all. After all, golf has always been about ‘playing it as you find it’ right? Of course, it really isn’t that simple and in all honesty, there can’t be many people who actually understand the rules completely. Making things simpler has actually become a necessity and this idea is the basis of the proposed reforms.
We are all looking to score better on the golf course. Whether you are trying to break 100 or actually looking to score under par, cutting shots is probably at the top of your list of priorities. Of course, everyone has advice, from the club pro down to that guy you bumped into last week who has never actually played!
The thing is, all this well-meaning advice can lead to more confusion than anything else. In fact, it might even make you score worse! don’t panic, we are here to help:) Here are seven things that you can do right now to help you to a new lower score.
When choosing new clubs, a lot of the focus tends to be drivers with irons next and the short sticks like putter and wedges getting less of the attention. Honestly, I am as guilty of this as the next guy, simply because, well, bombing a driver is cool! Actually, it must be old-age setting in because I really don’t seem to bomb anything much anymore and maybe because of this my focus is turning towards the short game and a few thoughts on how to choose your wedges.
One of the big advantages of looking at the short game tools is that you can really spend some time learning how to gt the best out of them. There are only so many balls I can beat at the range before boredom and sore joints kick in. However, I am finding more and more that going round the short course with wedges and shorter irons is a lot of fun and keeps things both interesting and easier on the body.
After Tiger’s latest withdrawal, it seemed clear to many golf fans that we might never see him on the course in anger again. Honestly, given his health struggles over the last couple of years, this hasn’t come as a major shock to the golfing world, but it is certainly a regret to think that the days of other players watching Tiger with awe are finally over.
The big question on many people’s lips was “What next?” Well that question seems to have been answered too with his confirmation of a transition into the business world. His recent press conference to announce the creation of TGR, his new company, with himself at the helm as Chairman, confirms many of the rumours that have been flying around for quite a while.
As a golfer, I really don’t like the winter. It is cold, mishitting a ball (not that I ever do that) sends vibrations all the way to my teeth. Winter greens and rules are in play. A quick nine holes before or after work means playing in the dark. Yes, Winter is a terrible time for me….apart from one thing-Christmas. I am well into adult territory, but I do like giving (and receiving) gifts in the holiday season. Of course some are far better than others, so I thought I would share my five best Christmas gifts for golfers.
You might be thinking that it is easy to find that perfect present for the golfer in your life. I am here to tell you that it isn’t! I have lost count of the absolutely terrible thing I have received from friends and family, that ‘he will just adore!’
Look, just because something has a tenuous link to golf or a picture of someone swinging a club, it doesn’t mean I want it! Sure, I will smile and say thanks as you give me those socks or whatever, but I will be cursing your name on the inside!
So what should you buy? Try these five ideas for starters:
Seeing the words ‘minimalist golf’ in any of my golf posts might have you spraying your morning coffee all over the keyboard. After all, I am notoriously unfaithful to my clubs. As I sit here typing, I have a lovely set of Mizuno irons in a bag next to me. In another corner, I can see my single length set. A shiny set of Wilson blades is hidden behind a component build with graphite shafts.
Two drivers are jostling for position in the gaming bag and two other driver heads are waiting for the right shaft. This really isn’t the set up of someone who is a minimalist!
And yet I am curiously fascinated by the idea of a minimalist bag set up. In fact, even with all these clubs, I rarely have the full 14 in the bag. I prefer to carry most of the time (although age is pushing me more and more towards hand carts!) and a couple of clubs fewer makes for a lighter bag.
The number of companies that thrive in the golf equipment industry could be counted on your fingers (even if you are missing a couple!) This space is basically dominated by a couple of big names like Ping, Callaway, Nike golf and Taylormade. These companies are the ones you find in big box stores as well as advertised through the various professional tours.
Of course, there are plenty of others out there, but they aren’t part of the big hitters in golf. Even someone like Wilson, one of the biggest companies in sports, doesn’t rely on golf to make a living.
Distance, especially with the driver, is one of the driving forces in the golf market. Clubs are sold on the distance they generate. Check out the ads for any recent range of clubs and you will find distance placed squarely front and center. In fact, if you want to guarantee that your latest range flops, try selling it as ‘slightly shorter than all the rest’ (then start clearing your desk while you wait!)