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Opinion & Analysis

Singer: The coolest names in golf

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This is important.

Well, maybe not really. I suppose you could argue there are more important things going on in the world of golf. WGC events, major championships, Tiger’s health, the FedEx Cup, a guy in Alberta getting socked in the face… and that’s all in the past month! But GolfWRX has other writers to cover those things. This is my story, so I’m going to talk about what has come to interest me in the last week: the coolest names in golf.

Why is a cool name important? Well, it’s easier to cheer for a guy with a cool name. Who is your favorite sprinter? Usain Bolt? Justin Gatlin? Both of them have cool names. Would you want Usain Smith to win the 100-meter dash? I suppose maybe if you were from his country, or Usain himself. But it’s a lot cooler to cheer for a fast guy with the last name “Bolt.”

Other sports are full of cool-named players to cheer for. If you knew nothing about football and were told the New Orleans Saints had two quarterbacks, one named Drew Brees and another named Luke McCown, who would you think was the better QB? That’s right, you’d say Drew Brees. Same question, Andrew Luck or Matt Hasselbeck? C’mon, not even close. And did you have any doubt that a guy named Colin Kaepernick would eventually take over for a guy named Alex Smith?

Fans gravitate toward cool names because they are fun for us to say, and fun for announcers to say (I swear pronouncing Camilo Villegas in a debonair manner became somewhat of a contest between golf analysts when he was winning tournaments). And frankly if you’ve made it this far in the article without clicking the “back” button to check out WITB threads, you probably don’t need more convincing.

That’s why I’ve created a list of the five golfers with the coolest names, which will be ranked based on the following three categories:

  1. How cool their names sound.
  2. Nickname potential.
  3. Nantz-a-bility (how many puns Jim Nantz would have at his disposal if the player won the Masters).

Disclaimer: Tiger Woods will not be on the list. Yes, he has a cool nickname… ferocious even. And yes, his last name is also the same as a type of club used by all golfers. But Tiger has been written about enough. I want to talk about some other guys. Fair enough?

OK, let’s do this thing. In descending order:

No. 5: Justin Rose

Justin Rose coolest names

From Pete Rose to Derrick Rose, the last name “Rose” has captured the public’s attention in professional sports.

Maybe part of the reason is that “Rose” is so easy to say. It just kind of rolls off the tongue. In fact, Justin Rose might have the easiest name to say in all of golf. You can get out in a couple of seconds, even with a mouth full of peanut butter.

While it’s low on nickname potential, there’s plenty for Jim Nantz to work with: obvious parallels to roses blooming (“This Rose bloomed in April”), which lends itself to enough puns to cover about 10 Masters victories in itself. But there’s also the double entendre about rising to the occasion.

No. 4 Jonas Blixt

Jonas Blixt coolest names

If you type “Blixt” into google, Jonas Blixt is 9 of the first 10 results that pop up. Not only is it a cool-sounding name, but it’s also unique. I mean, I’ve read it over a few times in my head and it sounds cooler each time. I wish my last name was Blixt!

Blixt sounds like something you did last night.

“Me and the friends went out and man we got Blixt!”

Plus, the Nantz-a-bility is pretty high. There’s lot to work, like “He Blixt the competition!” I want to see him win the Masters now just because I’m convinced that’s what Nantz would say.

His nickname potential is moderate as well, because of the obvious Jonas Brothers parallel. If he were my friend, would I jokingly refer to him as “Love Bug?” Maybe.

No. 3: Hunter Mahan

hunter mahan coolest names

When you heard the name Mahan, you probably were pretty sure it was spelled M-a-y-h-a-n. That is key, because having an exaggerated pronunciation in some form is always fun. It seems that broadcasters guys go out of their way now to dwell on the “May” portion of his name… Hunter MayyyyyHan (note: there’s actually no “Y” in the proper spelling).

Mahan is a different sounding name, and combined with the first name Hunter it’s a classic. Examples: Pin Hunter, Flag Hunter, “He hunted down the competition,” etc.

Hunter is a great sporting name, and Mahan lends itself to high levels of Nantz-a-bility. You could work with “Mahan MAY-BE” in some way. While his last name doesn’t have much nickname potential, his first name is essentially a nickname in itself. Big points for that.

No. 2: Sang-Moon Bae

Sang Moon Bae sounds like a place you’d go on your honeymoon, or where vampires might flock in a Twilight movie (Sang means blood in french by the way).

There’s Nantz-a-bility with every one of the three parts of his name. “Sang, a song of victory,” or something about a full moon that I’m sure could be worked in.

“Keeping competitors at Bae” is fun, too: It’s almost unfair. There’s more possible puns in his name than in an entire Robert Frost poem.

No. 1: Jhonattan Vegas

jhonattan-vegas-nwide-2010_t640

Jhonny Vegas just had to be No. 1.

When a golfer comes out of nowhere to win a PGA Tour event during a down part of the season and his name is “Johnny Vegas,” I start to get suspicious that there are larger marketing plans at work. Maybe there was a meeting at PGA Tour headquarters where someone said:

“Look, early season and late season tournaments are killing us. Do you know what would be fantastic? If we had some guy with a catchy name win a few events, and we could play off that a bit. Like if his name was ‘Joe Cool’ or something. People would go for that, right?”

And then someone else in the room said:

“Remember in the Bond movie, ‘Die Another Day,’ where the guy got DNA transplant surgery and became someone else? What if we took, like, Henrik Stenson or something and made him a guy named Johnny Vegas and he won a few silly season tournaments?”

Couldn’t this have happened? Have you seen Henrik Stenson and Jhonattan Vegas in the same room? Didn’t Stenson have a couple of poor seasons the past few years? And since he’s re-emerged, where is Vegas? Think about it for a second.”

I mean, a guy named Johnny Vegas comes out of nowhere, hits huge bombs off the tee and briefly leads the FedEx Cup (2011) at a point in the season where the Tour struggles for viewers? Too good to be true. His name is so cool that it made me write all of the above gibberish, and the fact that it seemed plausible enough to you is proof of how good of a name Mr. Vegas has.

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Jeff Singer was born and still resides in Montreal, Canada. Though it is a passion for him today, he wasn't a golfer until fairly recently in life. In his younger years Jeff played collegiate basketball and football and grew up hoping to play the latter professionally. Upon joining the workforce, Jeff picked up golf and currently plays at a private course in the Montreal area while working in marketing. He has been a member of GolfWRX since 2008

17 Comments

17 Comments

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  2. Mark

    Sep 12, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Not that they anyone would ever have heard of them but my favorite golf name belongs to two brothers who used to be members at my club.

    George and John…..
    MULLIGAN

    No joke. Best golf names ever.

  3. mick

    Sep 11, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Pornanong Phatlum?

  4. Ken

    Sep 11, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Then there’s the obvious … Paula Creamer! I’ll leave it there.

  5. Tom

    Sep 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat. My new fave.

  6. Phil

    Sep 10, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Johnny Vegas is also that much funnier if you are British, as most people know Johnny Vegas to be squeaky voiced, overweight northern comedian!

  7. Sebastien

    Sep 9, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Dude, don’t even listen, that list was brilliant. You left out the obvious, and it was well written. Good laugh man

  8. Kris

    Sep 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Sorry, but Dickie Pride is the best name in golf. Might be the best name anywhere.

  9. CS

    Sep 9, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    How did Thorbjørn Olesen not make it? You have to include the thunder bear in any list of cool golf names.

    • Jeff Singer

      Sep 9, 2013 at 7:34 pm

      I don’t have a keyboard that can put the line through the O. That is key. None of my local electronic stores sell Danish keyboards. Though there are stores that sell Danishes. After eating several danishes, i decided to omit Olesen

  10. B MAC

    Sep 9, 2013 at 6:34 am

    Let’s gets serious I’m not a big fan of this guy but TIGER WOODS!

  11. Jack

    Sep 9, 2013 at 12:57 am

    I thought Seung Yul Nol was the funniest.

  12. Jason

    Sep 9, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Ummm. How about Maximillion Keifer on the Euro tour?

    • Jeff Singer

      Sep 9, 2013 at 7:32 pm

      Hardest omission was Jeev Milkha Singh, there’s lots to work with there. Though that is also a solid name.

  13. Steff

    Sep 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Blixt means lighning bolt in Swedish! So his name is even cooler in Swedish!

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: A discussion of swingweight (Part 1: History)

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Image via Golfworks

For the twenty-five plus years, I’ve been in the equipment business, one of the most commonly-asked-about subjects is that of swingweight. It mostly comes up when a golfer is requesting over-length clubs or is contemplating changing to graphite shafts. So, I’m going to direct a discussion of this topic. Please chime in to let me know your thoughts and input.

The concept of swingweight was developed by custom clubmaker Kenneth Smith about 60 years ago. He was trying to figure out how to “match” clubs, and settled on balance point as a way to do so. His swingweight scale had a “hook” to hold the grip end of the club, and a fulcrum 14 inches from the butt. He created an arbitrary scale of measure that consisted of letters A-F, each letter divided into ten segments, i.e. D1, D2, D3, etc. When he measured the clubs of the day, he found most of them to be in the D2 range, so that became recognized as the “standard” for men’s woods and irons.

The golf club industry quickly adopted this method of “matching” clubs…well, because they had no other way! Because the longer the shaft, the heavier the head feels, clubheads increase in weight as the shaft gets shorter, so that the swingweight will stay the same. The theory then, and now, is that if the swingweight is the same, the clubs will feel essentially the same in the golfer’s hands.

But let’s look at what has happened since Kenneth Smith invented the swingweight scale.

  • Shafts have gotten longer by at least an inch. In the 1940s, a “standard” driver was only 42-43” long – now most are 45” if not more.
  • Shafts have gotten much lighter. Those old steel shafts weighed 150 grams or more, compared to modern graphite driver shafts in the 55-75 gram range.
  • Golfers have gotten stronger while clubs have gotten much lighter overall, but swingweights have always adhered to that D2 “standard.”

You must understand two very important factors about swingweight.

First, a “point” of swingweight–such as D2 to D3–is NOT a unit of measure like an ounce or gram. It takes much less weight to shift a driver one point, for example, than it does a wedge, because the shaft length is such an influence on this measure. Generally, the weight of a single dollar bill is a swingweight point on a driver—not much, huh?

And secondly, the overall weight of the club is at least as important as swingweight. Jack Nicklaus was noted for playing a driver in his prime that was 13.25 oz in overall weight–very heavy even for that time (most are about 10.5 oz now!), while his swingweight was only C9, considered very light. S

Swingweight by itself is a rather worthless piece of information!

So, that should get this discussion going. I’ll give you a few days to toss out your questions and comments on this subject, and then I’ll begin to address my own theories on swingweight for YOUR clubs.

Sound off, readers!

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TG2: Review of the new ShotScope V3 GPS & shot tracking watch, Vessel VLX Stand Bag!

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I get the new ShotScope V3 GPS and shot tracking watch on my wrist for a few rounds and love the data. ShotScope V3 offers accurate GPS distances while seamlessly tracking your club data.

Vessel Bag’s new VLX stand bag is a high end, lightweight, luxury bag for golfers who love to walk. Walking with the VLX was actually more comfortable than my pushcart!

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: How to never miss another putt

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Learn how your own anatomy is designed to roll the golf ball in the direction you want to start the putt without any interference or assistance on your behalf.

All you need is a system of predictions that will help you confirm that your putting stroke is pointed in the right direction. This is how you become a witness to gravity sinking the putt for you. This will become clear after you listen to the podcast and give this a try at a golf course near you!

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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