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Opinion & Analysis

The 10 best golf commercials of 2013

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This year’s PGA Tour season came to an end last weekend at the Tour Championship, which got me to thinking about what an incredible year of golf it has been.

The highlights from 2013 include: Tiger v. Sergio at The Players, Adam Scott’s breakthrough win at Augusta, the anchored-putter ban, Mickelson’s runner-up finish at a U.S. Open (again) followed by redemption at Muirfield, and a Hogan-esque ball striking showcase from Jason Dufner at Oak Hill.

But do you know what was really off the charts in 2013? Golf commercials.

This year produced better golf commercials than any year in recent memory. The commercials were so good, in fact, that I think it’s necessary to recap the 10 absolute best golf commercials aired this season.

To clarify what I mean by the “best commercials” I ask the simple question: How effectively does the advertisement express itself? Whether their goal was to evoke laughter, chills or simply make you want to buy their product, these commercials exhibited the highest caliber of production value and entertainment:

No. 10 — Bridgestone: “Pro-Shop/Assistant Manager”

[youtube id=”xVxy_AeL57o” width=”620″ height=”360″]

There were three of these throughout the golf season, all of which featured one of the best casts of any on this list. But I thought this episode was best.

FAVORITE PART: A short, chubby Trevino emerging from the crowd and telling the pretty woman: “I’ll tell you about compression.”

No. 9 (and 8) — MasterCard: “Feeling like a pro”

[youtube id=”a9JAF8MxGbY” width=”620″ height=”360″]
[youtube id=”pS4rJ1TN4QM” width=”620″ height=”360″]

Hats off G-Mac, Ian, Sneds and Mr. Watson here. Yes, they’re only lip-synching in the second commercial, but that makes it fun.

FAVORITE PART: “That’s the guy. SNEEEE-DUH-KER!!”

No. 7 — Footjoy: “The Mark of Player”

[youtube id=”JN_NlaunQ1o” width=”620″ height=”360″]

No jokes, tricks or surprises here, but FootJoy’s “Mark of a Player” spot succeeds with a pump-you-up musical score and a simple message: players play our stuff.

FAVORITE PART: Webb (presumably) splitting the fairway with a serious game face.

No. 6 — PGA Tour: “Born for This” (FedEx Cup Playoffs)

[youtube id=”ThLpym0D1QI” width=”620″ height=”360″]

This is the more bada** (and thus more rewatchable) version of its predecessor. The pause during each player’s two sentence quotes is so effective.

FAVORITE PART: The music. This song makes me want to video myself during a round with quotes of my own. Example: After a skied drive, I once yelled fore… to alert myself.

No. 5 — ESPN: Rickie Fowler’s SportsCenter Commercial

[youtube id=”UKk0z-5M9c4″ width=”620″ height=”360″]

Rickie Fowler is quickly becoming one of my favorite golfers. He’s cool, great with the fans and, apparently, can even poke fun at himself.

FAVORITE PART: Rickie spitting out the coffee.

No. 4 — Nike: “No Cup is Safe”

[youtube id=”2NCDYjHtEcU” width=”620″ height=”360″]

Nike did not waste much time from the time it signed Rory to featuring him in a pretty awesome advertisement. In a sort of Jordan/Bird shot for shot type contest, El Tigre and McIlory trade barbs and trick shots in a funny display of showmanship. If only Rory could have been so confident on the course this year.

FAVORITE PART: Tiger remarking to Rory: “Dude, is that your real hair?”

No. 3 — EA Sports Tiger Woods 2013: “The Rumble”

[youtube id=”8cFKBM5adMo” width=”620″ height=”360″]

Tiger teams up with The King in this very well done ad which features two golfing legends fighting off a group of would-be trophy thieves. Yes, it oversells it a bit at the end with Trevino’s (still nonetheless funny) cameo, but it is very well done.

FAVORITE PART: “Omaha spread?” “That’s what I was thinking.” Side note: how convincing is Tiger in this?

No. 2 — Avis: “The Professionals”

[youtube id=”gBGBxAUUDwk” width=”620″ height=”360″]

This rivals the Rickie Fowler commercial for the “most genuine laughter induced” when I first saw it. The music is funny (which helps Steve morph from a man into a beast), as was Stricker getting dusted by an old couple in a beat up old sedan.

FAVORITE PART: Stricker kills it by calmly stating “I’m a savage” at the end.

No. 1 –Dicks Sporting Goods: “Swing your Swing”

[youtube id=”MkX6xQM_QE8″ width=”620″ height=”360″]

This Dick’s Sport Goods commercial is just so well made and, let’s face it, applicable to many of us who probably every once in a while need to chill out on the hyper technical stuff and just go out there and (like Arnie) rip it. I particularly love the cook swinging the spatula while on the job, which we can all relate to.

FAVORITE PART: Arnold walking the walk by showing us his violent, jerky, unique — and awesome — swing.

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Lawyer, Bachelor and Golf Nut. John also writes for his and his sister's Italian culinary and lifestyle blog at www.johnandelana.com, maintains an honest GHIN handicap, and is from New Jersey; all of which he is proud of.

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Alex

    Oct 19, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    the fedex commercial with the metal band was by far the best golf commercial of 2013.

  2. KyDerby

    Oct 18, 2013 at 9:46 am

    The best commercial from years ago was a spoof of Tiger Woods. Tiger had done his black and white “I am Tiger Woods” for Nike. I believe it was Lamkin grips that did one (in black and white) showing 4 duffers slicing and hooking their shots into the woods. Then they would show a close up of their face (like the Tiger commercial) and say “I’m in the Woods”. It only aired a few times and have to assume the Tiger or Nike Machine strong-armed someone to drop it. Would love to see it again.

  3. Ted B. (Charging Rhino)

    Oct 17, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    I like the “Swing Your Swing” ad best as it’s also a PSA with Mr. Palmer admonishing a basic truth not to be lost.

  4. Josh

    Sep 27, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Great list. The Titleist commercial where it shows the players behind the ball visualizing the shot. You actually see the shot take off as they envision what they intend to do with the ball. I thought that was a great commercial.

    • Andrew

      Sep 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      That was a good one, had forgotten about it.

  5. Andrew

    Sep 26, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Great job! Stricker kills me with “I’m a savage” ROFL!

    The Visa “feeling like a pro’ commercials equally good too.

    • breakn70

      Oct 19, 2013 at 12:48 pm

      The “Savage” is #1. Not even close.

  6. LT

    Sep 26, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    That Rumble commercial is pretty awful. Dunno why anybody like that, or the game. The game has such awful graphics and movements still.

    • John

      Sep 26, 2013 at 2:16 pm

      I never played the game. I will take your word for it.

  7. John

    Sep 26, 2013 at 10:55 am

    The Fed Ex Office Ones came awfully close, esp the one with the old guy who has the massive hand… Rory and the Robot, also deserves honorable mention (although if you look closely, he does not make the last shot).

    Golf is a Sport was a dud in my opinion. I didn’t buy into it. Just my opinion.

    Thank you for the comments.

    • LT

      Sep 26, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      You didn’t like any of the PING commercials with Bubba and Hunter? lol

      • John

        Sep 26, 2013 at 2:02 pm

        Ha – LT – I sense sarcasm? Those commercials did not do it for me.

  8. yomomma

    Sep 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    I think the milk has gone bad

    • CW

      Sep 25, 2013 at 8:02 pm

      This isnt orange.

      I think that Fowler commercial is hilarious!!!

  9. Mike

    Sep 24, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Very disappointed that TW 14 “Golf is a sport” didn’t make the cut. It was a very good commercial, much better than “feeling like a pro”. Anyway, at least WRX got #1 right. Luv Arnie. “Swing your swing” is arguably the best golf commercial ever made. 60 seconds of pure inspiration that hits the soul. Message so powerful and personal it transcends race, class and gender. Best of all…timeless.

  10. Rich

    Sep 24, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    I hate to say this but how did the mark stefenhaggen commerical not get in? that commericial doesn’t have actual golf in it but it’s hilarious.

    • John

      Sep 26, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      Rich – Agreed. Very good and came close to getting in; if i made an honorable mention list, it would be on it.

  11. Mike

    Sep 24, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    I think Rory vs. Robot is the best of all. Hilarious.

    • Mike

      Sep 24, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      Dicks Sporting Goods ‘Nike VRS Covert’ Tiger Woods is hilarious as well.

      • Andrew

        Sep 26, 2013 at 3:17 pm

        I really thought the Rory vs. Robot commercial was kind of meh……..

        • John

          Sep 26, 2013 at 3:33 pm

          He doesn’t even make the last shot (the elevated washing machine)!

          Still entertaining nonetheless.

  12. LL

    Sep 24, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Good choices.

    My personal fav is the USGA “While we’re young” ad with Arnie and Clint.

  13. JS

    Sep 24, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    As a Dick’s associate for the golf department, that commercial is actually a spot on representation of our customers.

    “Is this driver– that’s stamped VR_S Covert on the sole which hangs on the VR_S Covert fixture below its VR_S Covert sign– the VR_S Covert driver?”

    … Yes.

    • LT

      Sep 26, 2013 at 12:12 pm

      I LOVE that commercial. It’s such a true representation of the idiocy of shoppers in the retail world, I love it.

  14. RJ

    Sep 24, 2013 at 11:12 am

    How did the two Euro Tour commercials not make the cut? Paddy on the range and Rory vs the robot were both better than the Dicks commercial which sucks.

    • KF

      Sep 24, 2013 at 11:36 am

      Please tell us what you really think.

      • TravisLG

        Sep 25, 2013 at 12:57 pm

        I agree, Rory with the washing machine should be very near the top if not the top.

  15. JK

    Sep 24, 2013 at 10:55 am

    what about the fedex office ones?

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Opinion & Analysis

Is golf actually a team sport?

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Do a little research on the top PGA Tour players, and what you’ll see is that most (if not all of them) employ a team of diverse professionals that support their efforts to perform on the golf course. Take two-time major champion Zach Johnson; he has a team that includes a caddie, a swing instructor, a sports psychologist, a physiotherapist, an agent, a statistician, a spiritual mentor, a financial adviser… and of course his wife.

“I know this seems like a lot, and maybe even too much,” Johnson readily admitted. “But each individual has their place. Each place is different in its role and capacity. In order for me to practice, work out and just play golf, I need these individuals along the way. There is a freedom that comes with having such a great group that allows me to just play.”

My best guess is that Zach Johnson commits hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to this team, and I assume most players on the leading professional tours are making significant investments in their “teams.” There are three questions that jump out at this point. First, is a team necessary? Second, how can anyone compete without one? And third, how to pay for it?

From the club player to the collegiate player to the aspiring/touring professional, everyone can benefit from a team that offers individual instruction, support, guidance, and encouragement. Such a team, however, needs to be credible, timely, beneficial and affordable.

To be affordable, serious golfers should build their team one piece at a time. The obvious first choice is a swing coach. Golf swing coaches charge from $100-$1,500 per hour. The cost explains why players have historically been responsible for their own practice. The next piece, which is a newly developing trend, should be a performance coach who specializes in the supervision of practice, training and tournament preparation. Performance coaching on-site fees range from $200 to $3,000 per day.

So is team support essential for a player to be as good as he/she can be? My research says it is. When a player schedules a practice session, that session is usually based on what the player likes to do or wants to do. “Best Practices” utilized by world-class athletes suggest strongly that great progress in training always occurs when someone other than the player writes, administers and supervises the programs and sessions. The team approach says the player should focus on what needs to be done. Sometimes what the player wants to do and the things needed to be done are the same thing; sometimes they aren’t.

Now for the question of how to pay for it all. Wealthy players, or those with substantial or institutional support, have access to what they need or want… whatever the cost. If you use an on-site coach, teacher or other professional you will be paying for blocks of time. Fees can be hourly, weekly, monthly, yearly or lifetime arrangements based upon several factors. If your coach of choice is not local, you can also incur travel and per diem expenses. The process of paying for someone’s time can really add up. You can review what I charge for various services that require my attendance at edmyersgolf.com.

For those of you who don’t have easy access to on-site expertise or don’t want to incur the expense, I want to offer an approach that business, industry, colleges/universities and entrepreneurs are turning to: “Distance Coaching.” Distance learning is made possible through modern technology. In today’s world, expertise can be delivered using FaceTime, Skype, texting, email and (old fashion) phone calls. Textbooks, videos, specific programs and workbooks can be accessed from anywhere at any time by anyone with a desire to do so… and who knows what’s coming in the future. Through Distance Coaching, individuals can employ professional expertise on an as-needed basis without incurring huge costs or expenses.

The primary team expenses that can be avoided are those associated with face-to-face, on-site visits or experiences. Distance Coaching brings whatever any player needs, wants or desires within financial reach. For example, a player in Australia can walk onto the practice ground and have that day’s practice schedule delivered to a personal device by his/her performance coach. The player then forwards the results of that session back to the coach — let’s say in Memphis, Tennessee. The player is then free to move onto other activities knowing that the performance, training and preparation process is engaged and functioning. In the same vein, that same player in Australia may have moved into learning mode and he/she is now recording the golf swing and is sending it to the swing teacher of choice for analysis and comment.

So what is the cost of Distance Coaching? Teachers, trainers and coaches set their own fees based upon their business plan. Some require membership, partnership or some other form of commitment. For example, I offer free performance coaching with the purchase of one of my books or programs, as do others. Where face-to-face, on-site fees for performance coaching is available for $200 a day, the same expertise from the same coach can cost as little as $50 a month using the distance format, tools and technology. I highly recommend that players responsibly research the options available to them and then build the best team that fits their games, desires and goals. I’m happy to forward a guide of what to look for in a performance coach; just ask for it at edmyersgolf@gmail.com.

Back to Zach Johnson; he recently admitted that his lack of recent success could be traced to his lack of focus and practice discipline. Additional, he concedes that he has been practicing the wrong things. “It goes back to the basics,” he said. “I have to do what I do well. Truth be told, what I’m practicing now is more on my strengths than my weaknesses.”

Zach Johnson has a great team, but as he concedes, he still needs to put in the work.

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Opinion & Analysis

What is “feel” in putting… and how do you get it?

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You’re playing a course for the first time, so you arrive an hour early to warm-up. You make your way toward the practice green and you see a sign at the first tee that reads, “GREEN SPEED TODAY 11.”  That brings up two issues:

  1. How did they arrive at that number?
  2. How is that information valuable to me?

How did they arrive at that number?

They used what’s known as a stimpmeter — a device that’s used to measure the speed of a green. With a stimpmeter, the green’s surface is tested by rolling a ball down the 30-inch ramp that is tilted downward at a 20-degree angle. The number of feet the ball rolls after leaving the ramp is an indication of the green’s speed. The green-speed test is conducted on a flat surface. A total of three balls are rolled in three different directions. The three balls must then finish within eight inches of each other for the test to be valid.

For example, if the ball is rolled down the ramp and were to stop at 8 feet, the green would be running at an “8.” Were the ball to roll down the ramp and stop at 12 feet, the green would be running at a “12.”

Stimpmeter history

The stimpmeter was invented by Edward S. Stimpson, Sr., a Massachusetts State Amateur Champion and former Harvard Golf Team Captain. After attending the 1935 U.S. Open at Oakmont, he saw the need for a universal testing device after watching Gene Sarazen, who was at the top of his game, putt a ball off the green. He was of the opinion that the greens were unreasonably fast, but he had no way to prove it — thus the motivation for creating the invention.

The device is now used by superintendents to make sure all of their greens are rolling close to the same speed. This ensures that golfers are not guessing from one putt to another if a green is fast or slow based on the way it is maintained. The device is also used by tournament officials who want to make sure that green speed is not too severe.

Do Stimp readings matter for my game?

Not very much. That piece of abstract knowledge is of little value until you can translate it into your own personal feel for the speed of the putt. There is a method that will allow you to turn green speed into a legitimate feel, however, and you don’t even need a stimpmeter or a stimp reading to do it. I call it “Setting Your Own Stimpmeter.”

Before we get to how to do it, the first step is to determine if the putting green is the same speed as the greens on the course. The best source of information in this regard are the professionals working in the golf shop. They will be happy to share this information with you. You only need to ask. Assuming that the speed of the putting green is close to the speed of the greens on the course, you are ready to begin setting your own stimpmeter. This is done by inputting data into your neuromuscular system by rolling putts and visually observing the outcome.

Contrary to what most golfers believe, a golfer’s feel for distance is based in the eyes — not in the hands, which only records tactile information. It’s just like basketball. On the court, you look at the distance to the hoop and respond accordingly. While you would feel the ball in your hands, it doesn’t play a role in determining the proper distance to the hoop. Based on what you saw with your eyes, you would access the data that had been previously inputted through shooting practice.

Setting your own Stimpmeter

  1. Start by finding a location on the putting green that is flat and roughly 15 feet away from the fringe.
  2. Using five balls, start rolling putts one at a time toward the fringe. The objective is to roll them just hard enough for them to finish against the edge.
  3. You may be short of the fringe or long, but it is important that you do not judge the outcome— just observe, because the feel for distance is visually based.
  4. You should not try and judge the feel of the putt with your hands or any other part of your body. You can only process information in one sensory system at a time — that should be the eyes.
  5. You should continue to roll balls until you’ve reach the point that most of them are consistently finishing against the fringe. Once you can do that, you have successfully set you stimpmeter.

The key to the entire process is allowing yourself to make a subconscious connection between what your eyes have observed and the associated outcome. You must then trust what you have learned at a sub-conscious level. A conscious attempt to produce a given outcome will short-circuit the system. When it comes to judging speed, you must be prepared to surrender your conscious mind to your sub-conscious mind, which is infinitely wiser and more capable of calculating speed. Want proof? Work through the steps I’ve outlined below. .

  1. After having loaded the data as described in the exercise above, pace off a 25-foot putt.
  2. Using the same five balls, putt to the hole as you would normally using your conscious mind to control the outcome.
  3. Mark the location of the five balls with a tee pushing them down until they are level with the surface of the green.
  4. Allow your eyes to work slowly from the ball to the hole while clearing your conscious mind of any thought.
  5. Using the same five balls, putt to the hole allowing your subconscious mind to control the outcome.
  6. Compare the proximity of the five putts that you just hit to those marked with a tee. What do you observe?

Did you have trouble clearing your mind of any conscious thought? Assuming that your conscious mind intruded at any point, the outcome would be negatively affected. You should then repeat the exercise but this time, emptying your mind of any thought. You will have mastered the technique when you are able to quiet your conscious mind and allow your subconscious to take over.

This technique will improve your proximity to the hole on longer putts. And you know what that means? Fewer three-putts!

Editor’s Note: Rod Lindenberg has authored a book entitled “The Three-Putt Solution”  that is now available through Amazon. 

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Podcasts

TG2: What is this new Callaway iron? A deep investigation…

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Photos of a new Callaway iron popped up in the GolfWRX Forums, and equipment expert Brian Knudson and Editor Andrew Tursky discuss what exactly the new iron could be; new Apex pros, new Legacy irons, or maybe even a new X Forged? Also, the guys discuss Phil’s U.S. Open antics and apology, DJ’s driver shaft change, new Srixon drivers and utility irons, and a new Raw iron offering from Wilson. Enjoy the golf equipment packed show!

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

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