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Opinion & Analysis

The 15 Best GolfWRX Stories of 2015

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At GolfWRX, our goal is to satisfy all of our your golfing needs, whether it’s the latest equipment, instruction, reviews or news from around the tours. We cover it all and more on our front page and in our forums, and we’re proud of the job we did in 2015.

Below is the final list of our absolute favorite stories from 2015. We thought many of our GolfWRX readers would have some downtime this holiday season, and in case you do we decided to create this list for your reading pleasure.

Related: GolfWRX’s Top-10 stories from 2014

Congratulations to the writers who were chosen to appear on this list, and a big THANK YOU to all of the Forum Members and Featured Writers who’ve helped GolfWRX become the awesome golf community that it is.

Hole 1: The day I met Ben Hogan

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Tom Stites has spent more than 30 years in the golf industry, a career that began at the Ben Hogan Company where he worked for the man himself. Stites plans on writing 18 holes, a full round of first-hand stories, about his interactions with Hogan — the man who has had such a tremendous impact on golf equipment, golf history, the golf swing and the way golfers play the game — and other encounters in the industry.

This particular story made this list, because well, what’s more interesting than a tale about meeting Ben Hogan in a restroom?

Video: Hudson Swafford’s drill to hit more fairways

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Hudson Swafford’s swing instructor Scott Hamilton gave us an insider’s look into how one of the best players in the world practices his tee shots. This kind of access and instruction is what GolfWRX is all about.

The reality of aim and alignment, and why golfers get them wrong

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PGA Master Professional Dennis Clark is an expert at making the complicated seem simple, and addressing common misconceptions among golfers. This story about alignment is one that may change the way golfers look at setting up to a golf ball.

5 things I learned traveling with a Tour player

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Nick Randall, the fitness specialist from down under, takes us behind the scenes of a PGA Tour event as he travels, works out and walks the course with PGA Tour player Cameron Smith. In terms of behind-the-scenes access into the life of a Tour player, it doesn’t get much better than this.

An added tidbit: Smith isn’t well-known in the States, but he finished T4 in the 2015 U.S. Open and T25 in the 2015 PGA Championship. He earned his 2015-2016 PGA Tour card as a non-member who finished in the top-125 on the Tour’s 2014-2015 money list. He will also tee it up in the 2016 Masters. 

Kinsler putter: Will the Raptor roar like Kinsler’s engine parts?

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This story embodies GolfWRX; it takes a deep dive into a unique golf product, but you don’t have to be a gearhead to enjoy reading it. The putter feature comes from GolfWRX Editor Zak Kozuchowski, who has been leading our Editorial Department since 2012.

Hit it like a girl for more distance

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The general population of male golfers look to imitate PGA Tour players. Justin Padjen’s story explains why that’s not the best plan of action for the average male golfer. Instead, hit it #LikeAGirl

The science of adding spin to your wedge shots

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If you’ve ever wondered how PGA Tour pros hit wedge shots that take a few hops and stop dead, this story is for you. Stickney takes explores the science of creating spin, and offers four ways to create more spin in your own game.

10 things not to do at a PGA Tour event

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If you’re planning to attend a PGA Tour event in 2016, make sure to read this story. Most people know not to yell “baba booey,” especially during a player’s backswing, but Alberstadt examines nine other things you shouldn’t do at a Tour event. It could save you some awkward encounters and death stares.

Inside the World of counterfeit golf clubs

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Barney Adams is a legend in the golf equipment industry, and in this story he takes readers into the underground world of counterfeit golf clubs. And if you haven’t read Barney Adams before, make sure to catch up.

The absolute facts about swing weight

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When Tom Wishon talks about golf clubs, golfers listen — it’s like Phil Jackson talking about the triangle offense. This story is like a handbook on swing weight, one of the most misunderstood concepts in golf equipment.

What really determines feel in an iron

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Paul Wood, Senior Vice President of Engineering for Ping Golf, explains what makes an iron “feel” better, as well as the differences between forged and cast irons.

A statistical analysis of what makes Jordan Spieth great

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Rich Hunt is a PGA Tour statistician, so when it comes to statistical breakdowns on GolfWRX, his are the most thorough and comprehensive that you’ll find. Here’s his explanation, backed by the facts, about what makes Jordan Spieth great.

Rickie Fowler’s golf clubs are like no one else’s

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Rickie Fowler is one of golf’s unique characters, but he also has golf clubs like no other player on Tour. His Cobra irons and wedges are created through an extensive process that GolfWRX Senior Editor Andrew Tursky explains in great detail. If you enjoy one-off golf clubs, you’ll love this look at Fowler’s clubs.

How far you can actually hit your driver

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This story may single-handedly bring golfers with big egos down to earth.

“When I ask students how far they carry the ball and what their average total distance is, the answer is usually grossly inaccurate and overstated 99 percent of the time,” Stickney says.

Charts in this story show how far you should be hitting the golf ball based on your swing speed, which means arguments begin and end with this article.

How I hit drives 56 yards farther with one adjustment

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The headline of this story makes a claim that seems like it’s straight out of an informercial until you read the instructional gold. If you’re looking for more distance, you need to read this story from Adam Young, a golf coach at the Leadbetter Academy in La Manga Resort in Spain.

Weekly stories

A special thanks to the recurring stories on GolfWRX, including Tour PhotosRevealing Photos, Tour Mash, From the Forums and Fantasy Previews.

Tour photos

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What would WRX be without our Tour photographer Greg Moore, who takes the best and most timely equipment photos in the industry.

Revealing photos

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This new feature in 2015 is written by Tursky and provides entertaining and informative commentary about select Tour photos from Moore.

Tour Mash

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Every Monday, Ronald Montesano recaps the biggest news, results and goings-on from across the globe in the sport of golf, from both men’s and women’s tours, with his “Tour Mash” series. Golf news has never been so enthralling.

Check out all of the weekly recaps, and more from Montesano here.

From the Forums

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This series brings you the best of the best from our forums each week. It’s no easy task since our forums are so vast, but Alberstadt always seems to find the best topics, equipment and Tour news.

Fantasy Previews

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Ben Auten has the difficult job of predicting what players will succeed, or underperform, each week on the PGA Tour. In the unpredictable world of golf, this is far from a cake walk, but his thorough analysis and Tour trends are usually spot on (And nice call on Smylie Kaufman!).

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Jean

    Dec 25, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    why isn’t the Dustin Johnson Jean Van De Velde article in this list

  2. Billy

    Dec 25, 2015 at 5:53 am

    All 15 should be Tom Wishon articles/posts.

  3. Ronald Montesano

    Dec 24, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    My one, living goal is to one day make the “Top 15” list at GolfWRX. It’s my daily alarm clock.

    • Double Mocha Man

      Dec 24, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      Hey Ronald, you make my Top 15. Please request my physical address where you can send money.

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Podcasts

The Gear Dive: Catching up with @bryangolf

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In this episode of The Gear Dive brought to you by Titleist Golf, Johnny chats with his old friend Bryan Laroche (@bryangolf) on….well everything.

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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Mondays Off

Mondays Off: Steve’s worst shot of his life and Knudson’s handicap is heading up!

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Steve played in a tournament and hit one of the worst shots of his life. Knudson’s game is on the decline but his handicap is heading north. Steve talks about member-guest tournaments and the one-day event they have coming up.

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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Opinion & Analysis

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for golf?

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Golf, like many hobbies, can drive people to do some crazy things—whether it be to play a course on your bucket list, purchase a club you’ve been looking for, or drop everything just to play with your buddies.

As a purely self-diagnosed golf junkie, I have gone out of my way to do all of these things on many occasions, and I have a feeling a lot of others here have some stories to tell similar to these.

The Long Trip

Let me start by saying that I’m not a “Bag Tag Barry” or really a bucket list course kinda guy. Yes, I have courses I want to play, but at the moment the highest on the list starts and ends with the Old Course at St. Andrews – because, simple – it’s St. Andrews. Beyond that, my “hoping to play” list pretty much the standard classics.

But it doesn’t mean that I haven’t gone WAY out of my way to play, especially when you think about the recent 1600-plus mile journey I just took to Sweetens Cove to play in the First Annual “Oil Hardened Classic” run by Eternal Summer Golf Society.

Sweetens has been on my radar since I first heard about it, and if you are at all interested in course architecture I’m sure it has been on your radar for a while too – great piece on it here from WRX Featured Writer Peter Schmitt (You’ve Never played Anything like Sweetens Cove).

Sweetens Cove

When I first heard of this event, I knew it was something I HAD to do. I’ve been playing persimmon clubs (not to be confused will full hickory) for a couple of years now and in case I haven’t made it clear in the past—I love blade irons. To be able to play with a bunch of other “golf sickos” made this something I really wanted to do, and to let you in on a little secret I’ve been hiding for a while, before this I had never done a real “golf trip” before.

Problem: Being in the Great White North puts me a long ways away from South Pittsburg, TN and a golf trip like this with air travel and a rental car was out of the question. So what’s the next best thing? load the car up with a bunch of old wooden clubs, some blades, three golf bags, lots of balls, gloves, enough clothes for a few days, a cooler, and a passport: BOOM my first golf trip.

I-75 was my route for an entire day. 14 hours total with stops: It was an easy drive to Chattanooga, where I filled up on BBQ and stayed the night. From there, it was a simple 40-minute drive over in the morning and with Sweetens Cove in Central Time (just across the line, I should add), I even got a much appreciated extra hour of sleep. The golf course was ours for the whole day and beyond the for fun scheduled matches it was a playground. Groups of 12 people playing the same hole, three-club mini loops, trying out impossible putts on the rolling greens—we did it all.

A few years ago, if you had told me I would drive 28 hours round trip to endlessly loop a 9-hole golf course with persimmon clubs and a bunch of “strangers,” I would have probably called you a total idiot. Now, I can’t imagine not doing it again.

Speaking of long golf trips, how does a 2,700-plus mile round trip to play Cabot Links and Cliffs Sound?

It started with an already planned two-week road trip, Toronto, Boston (to see Fenway), Portland, Halifax then finally to Inverness, Nova Scotia home of Cabot Links—and at the time, only open for “lottery bookers” and resort guests Cabot Cliffs. We had times booked for the links course but Cliffs was another story. Since I’m not one to take no for an answer, and although staying at the resort was well beyond our road-tripping budget, I had a little tip that if you call very early the day you are hoping to play they could potentially find spots for players when resorts guests cancel. Cliffs was still under preview play and tee times were 20 minutes apart so the chances we’re slim but a 5 a.m. alarm and some not-so-subtle begging and bartering got my wife and I an afternoon tee time on the best new course in the world!

It was an amazing experience made even better by the beautiful weather and fun we had that day. I have, still to this day, never had an experience like that on a golf course.

The Must-Have Wedges

I’m an obsessive club collector and builder. There I said it. Not only do I love clubs, but I love the idea of making things, or taking things that are considered less desirable and making them better than ever before.

This all stems from a piece I wrote this spring about a HUGE used club sale about an hour from where I live, Check it out here: Hunting Used Clubs at Fore Golfers Only

Although I did get some fantastic deals at “The Sale,” as the locals call it, there were a few wedges I could not get out of my head after visiting the accompanying retail store after the sale. As I was driving home, in a bit of a snow storm, I couldn’t help but think about the potential of the raw Nike Engage wedges I left behind. I wanted them for a number of reason including the fact that I hadn’t had the chance to work and grind on raw wedges in a while and these were the last Mike Taylor-designed Nike wedges before Nike decided to shut the doors and Artisan Golf was born.

By the time I realized I had to have them, it was already too late to drive back and they were closed, so first thing the next day, I called and asked if they 1) Still had the two exact wedges I remembered seeing  2) if they would hold them for me until the Monday morning after the sale—the only chance I would have to get back there in the next month. Why did I need them when snow was still on the ground? Because I’m a nut!

Monday rolled around, I got out of bed bright and early during another not-so-fun snowfall to shovel the driveway, gas up the car, and drive three hours round trip to pick up two rusty used, Nike Engage wedges for the grand total of $120. But when I finally got the chance to work my magic, it’s hard not to say the effort was worth it.

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