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Swanson: The Green Jacket would be Spieth’s if he knew anything about iron design

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Warning: Swanson, the author of this story, does not exist… except in his writing. His character is completely imagined, but that doesn’t mean his opinions aren’t real. 

Recently, I shared with the GolfWRX community my golden nuggets for selecting the 14 clubs in your bag, as to abide by the USGA maximum club rule. Some of you were astoundingly unappreciative. I’ve been getting hate mail and negative comments since it’s been published.

Therefore, I’d like to use the first half of this story to address the responses, which are utterly appalling. The second half of this week’s article will be dedicated to an equipment tip for Jordan Spieth to improve his game and avoid any future meltdowns.

Responding to the Hate

1)Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 2.06.51 PM

Swanson: “Duffer,” you sound like quite the stick. But think about this: If I couldn’t hit a 1-iron better than Hogan (he actually hit it too low), would you care what I had to say? Golfers always complain that the best teachers can’t play a lick or hit it out of their shadow. Consider me your saving grace. How’s this: I’ll play each of the top-100 teachers in match play, and we’ll see who knows more about golf.

2)Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 2.06.18 PM

Swanson: Loser? I remember the last time I needed a 2-iron to reach a par 5. It was around when Bush was in office… Bush Sr. If you want to play for big prize money, you can find me at my country club every week with a locker full of cash and a tee time.

3)Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 2.04.30 PM

Swanson: 17 handicap, yes. When I play the entire round with a putter.

4)Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 1.54.36 PM

Swanson: Stab at Ian Poulter? Uh no, he’s a family friend. My father sold Poults his first Ferrari back in ’92 before my father bought Ferrari (the company).

5)

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 1.54.13 PM

Swanson: Funny story. I’m good buddies with the character on which Spaulding Smails is based. He’s a “good egg,” as they say. And in case you haven’t noticed, I’m named after the driver of the boat in Caddyshack, since my father loves boats and yachts.

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 3.39.23 PM

“Move over Swanson, I’m driving!” Just never gets old!

6)

Screen-Shot-2016-03-30-at-1.53.33-PM

Swanson: They’re handmade by the Dalai Lama’s right-hand man, and I have his cell number if you’re serious. Message me and I’ll get you a price estimate.

7) 

Screen-Shot-2016-03-30-at-1.53.20-PM

Swanson: The last part of the last sentence was spot on.

An equipment tip for Jordan Spieth

I actually feel bad for Jordan. He probably thinks he choked The Masters away. I mean he did, but it wasn’t his fault. I went through literally the same exact thing, so I know what happened.

You see, I’ve also hit a tee shot into the water on No. 12 at Augusta National (I also used the drop zone and got up and down for bogey, but that’s not the point). I got fit for new irons the week before I played Augusta for the first time. Admittedly, I wasn’t the stellar ball striker I am now, so the fitter put me into a set of game-improvement style irons. You know, thick top line, cavity back, thin face… the whole works. They were basically garbage cans, but who was I to question the fitter, right?

So I get to Augusta National with a bag full of shovels, and I struggled a bit on the front nine and made the turn in a few under par. The par 5s are basically par 4s, and the par 4s are basically par-3.5’s, so nothing special. I just wasn’t catching the new irons flush, and didn’t have the precision I had with my forged blades.

Nos. 10 and 11 aren’t nearly as difficult as the pros claim, so I cruise through those with easy pars. But then I get to the 12th.

AugustaSwanson

The pin was all the way on the right, similar to where it is on Sunday for the Masters. The hole was playing 154 yards and the wind was swirling. I decided to try and take the wind out of play, and went with a low-slinging draw with my 9 iron. It’s a shot I’d hit a million times with my forged blades, but the ball floated out to the right and never drew back to the pin.

I knew immediately it was the club’s fault. The forgiveness of the irons kept the ball from drawing back to the pin.

I went onto birdie 5 of the last 6 holes (I missed 3-foot eagle putts on Nos. 13 and 15 because I was flustered), and would have had the course record (which is only 63) if it wasn’t for my irons.

But I learned my lesson. That was the last day I ever played an iron with even an ounce of “technology” in it. In fact, after the round I took a NetJets home to get my forged blade irons, and played the course again the next day. I couldn’t get it going with the putter and shot 66… but I made a hole-in-one on No. 12.

They say there’s only been three holes-in-one on that hole, but there’s actually been four. When I told the committee at Augusta National I made a hole-in-one there with a low-squeezer 9 iron, they didn’t believe me, and no one was there to attest. They no longer allow me on the premises because of the dispute, but if you jump into the pond in front of the green, you’ll find a set of game-improvement irons.

And that’s where Jordan Spieth’s irons should be, too. If he wants to win any more majors, he needs to ditch those irons with all that forgiveness and switch to blades. It’s no wonder he hit the worst tee shot I’ve ever seen there, he had zero ball control.

Please email (longballswanson@gmail.com) or tweet me (@longballswan1) with questions you’d like me to answer for a new segment called “Yo, Swanson!” I’ll answer anything you want since I know pretty much everything about everything golf-related, and I can help you avoid you’re own major meltdown.

Longball Swanson, out.

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Swanson doesn't exist, except in his writing. He doesn't play for score any more, as he's too busy working on his spin rates. For tournament purposes, he has a 2 handicap on file from high school golf, registered at his home club, which is only reachable by private watercraft.

59 Comments

59 Comments

  1. Frank McChrystal

    Aug 29, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    Tongue in cheek, maybe. If you have hands of stone and think the AP2 is a players club then this article is twisted and has your brain shutting down.

  2. Jeff*

    May 11, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    He shoulda been using the AP2 wedge came with his set, but he wanted to look like a gamer. In front of all the press, and it cost him a Masters. Hard lesson. We could a told him.

  3. The loop

    Apr 28, 2016 at 1:28 am

    Hilarious that so many don’t realize this is satire, tongue-in-cheek! I never knew so many live each day with their underwear so tightly knotted!

  4. cody

    Apr 22, 2016 at 11:10 am

    i think these articles are funny

  5. Andrew

    Apr 18, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    please stop doing these stupid articles. he is a terrible fictional character and a waste of space on the site.

    • Tyler

      Apr 20, 2016 at 9:16 am

      Dude lighten up. It’s an entertaining article that makes us laugh because we see pieces of ourselves in it.

  6. RG

    Apr 18, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    I use GI irons….when I play left handed. I’m a natural righty so I often play lefty which gives me a chance to use my putter. The last time I played the ‘Ol Girl (That’s what Arnie, Jack and I call Augusta) I shot 31 going out ( That’s what Arnie, Jack and I call the front 9) playing lefty. I got bored draining putts so I switched righty coming in ( That’s what Arnie, Jack and I call the back 9). I birdied 12( SW to 6’) and as I was walking off the green I decided to take a dip in Rae’s creek.It was really hot that day so I just stripped down and jumped in.You know they have a rule against that?! Ridiculous!! Well whatever, that place is totally overrated anyhow. I mean they don’t even have carts for Christ sake!
    O and Swanson, about that locker full of cash…..

  7. AllBOdoesisgolf

    Apr 18, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    sometimes writers should stick to content instead of comedy.

  8. Bogeypro

    Apr 18, 2016 at 8:53 am

    It might have been better if it was actually funny.

  9. Other Paul

    Apr 18, 2016 at 1:27 am

    I was out playing today and was having the round of my life. And then things went sideways. All i got from people with me was that i had pulled a spieth. And when anyone 3 putt or worse it was an Els.

  10. Dtrain

    Apr 17, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    The last 3 times I played Augusta I took my SGI irons and just hammered a PW over the back bunker and because if the super high traj the wind brought it back to the green. Went birdie/par/bird. If it wasn’t for the fact my caddie called a penalty on me for accidentally anchoring my eagle putt on 18 I would have shot 61 for the course record.

    You live and you learn I guess but if anyone know Jordan’s email address PM it to me I think I could offer him some good advice.

    • RG

      Apr 19, 2016 at 2:16 am

      Yeah, I go long every time I hit PW there to. I’m telling ya the shot there is 3/4 little half thinny punch cut SW.

  11. Tyler

    Apr 17, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Have we even considered his iron shafts? I mean he’s ONLY playing a PX 6.0. How the heck does he control such a wet noodle of a shaft? I mean if the shaft is the engine of the club then Spieth is running a single overhead cam V6 when every other tour pros (and myself of course; gaming PX 9.0 currently) are running fully blown V8s!

    • Dtrain

      Apr 17, 2016 at 11:38 pm

      Actually it’s just the thingy that connects the head to the grip.

  12. Mark

    Apr 17, 2016 at 3:09 am

    Several northern English words can be used to review this article. Cack. Drivel. Tripe. Shyte.

    • Alex T

      Apr 17, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      You forgot twaddle and bollocks. It’s also those, too.

  13. The Real Swanson

    Apr 17, 2016 at 2:39 am

    This isn’t even that funny, so I shanked it 10 times.

  14. DB

    Apr 16, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Swanson for President! Wouldn’t mind he and “The Trump” having a friendly 9 holes against each other. Love the articles, Please keep them coming!!!!

  15. Roger Daltry

    Apr 16, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Funny. However, totally agree with the cavity/blades argument. I’m way better with blades, period, and yes, been through the whole change/change back process. Too bad many more don’t realize blades force you to be better as you are more connected with your tool.

  16. Alanp

    Apr 16, 2016 at 7:50 am

    I read this in bed while the wife was sleeping. I woke her up from laughing.

    • :-ppp

      Apr 16, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      Enjoy talking to yourself and laughing at your inner jokes, do ya, Schizo Smizzle?

  17. Nathan

    Apr 16, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Hmm,
    How did you describe the responses to your first article?
    You said utterly appauling, I find them a reflection to the article written, and from this perspective I would have to agree.

  18. michael johnson

    Apr 16, 2016 at 6:09 am

    this is me feeding the troll

  19. NikkoAZ

    Apr 16, 2016 at 1:09 am

    Other than the fact that almost everything you just stated is complete bs????????I do agree all players on Tour should not be gaming in their bag “game improvement” irons. I mean a club is a club it is a certain length, loft and lie and is what it is.But the level that professionals play at you need to have complete control of your shape and trajectory. Jordan Speith did not loose cause he’s playing AP2’s, it was the Indian and not the arrow. Plus if anything his miss would be left due to the offset of a more forgiving iron. But to give you my opinion, play with whatever you are confident with whenever you pull that club out of the bag, for me I do play blades and don’t plan on switching because when I pick what shot and club I’m going to hit I know what it’s going to do. So play with clubs that you know how the ball is going to react and most importantly have fun.

  20. DW

    Apr 15, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    You’re growing on me, Swanson. Not like a fungus but rather more pleasantly. Good stuff.

  21. Johny Thunder

    Apr 15, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    The guy who wrote this is obviously insane.

    By the way, what the h*** happened to Stephen Colbert? He was my hero, but he almost seems a bit liberal these days…

    • DW

      Apr 15, 2016 at 11:34 pm

      He’s always been liberal. Never more than when he did the Colbert Report.

    • Bernie Sanders

      Apr 16, 2016 at 10:18 am

      That was the funniest thing I have read in weeks Jonny.
      If for some strange reason you were serious, then you are living proof of what I’ve thought of conservatives guys all along and may I humbly recommend that next time you vote for a someone for president – try to choose one that has an IQ above room temperature.

  22. Philip

    Apr 15, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Great! Now where is the satire article from someone of the opposite point of view? Shovels or bust!

  23. Marc

    Apr 15, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    Loved it , went well with my Bacardi and Coke sitting in my lazy boy watching a little heritage classic.

  24. Joe D

    Apr 15, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    Almost peed my shorts. Hilarious stuff. Love it. Its sad that some here actually believe this.

  25. Bob Pegram

    Apr 15, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    This was funny and obviously satire. However, I agree with the comments on extreme game improvement irons though. With blades when you feel you are making a mistake, you can sometimes correct it with a roll of the wrists. Doesn’t work with game improvement irons.
    On par 3s into the wind I purposely hit the ball low on the face with one more club to reduce spin and shot height. Can’t do that with game improvement clubs.

  26. talljohn777

    Apr 15, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Sorry, but nobody plays Augusta by themselves. They play with a member and a caddie. So, the fictitious hole in one would have been witnessed. Also, the pond in front of the green is a creek.

    • RG

      Apr 19, 2016 at 2:30 am

      Show’s what you know. It’s a pond Mon-Fri. They only turn on the creek sat-sun and during the tournament.

  27. Steve

    Apr 15, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Crap like this is why I don’t visit the site as often as I used to.

    Painfully dumb.

  28. kingfish

    Apr 15, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    I am just stumbling upon this article… is it meant for any bit of seriousness or is this just a big joke? I am being serious in my question also because I have never read this guys stuff before.

    • Jack Nash

      Apr 15, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      Maybe it’s a late April Fools. Spieths rinsing the balls on 12 had everything to do with his swing and not his irons. He’s already got a Green Jacket with those irons.

      • Zak Kozuchowski

        Apr 15, 2016 at 4:45 pm

        Just to clarify, we added this note to the top of the story:

        “Warning: Swanson, the author of this story, does not exist… except in his writing. His character is completely imagined, but that doesn’t mean his opinions aren’t real.”

  29. Timbleking

    Apr 15, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Swan, you’re my writing hero. We want more!! Keep it up!

  30. Chadio

    Apr 15, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Yo, Swanson! I think you were the single playing in front of my group at Augusta when you hit that sweet low draw in to 12 for an Ace. I’ll attest for you if you have any trouble with those old codgers. I’m playing Miura…..what is your favorite blade?

  31. Imanoff

    Apr 15, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    So, Spieth will leave Titleist, because their iron materials is not good enough at his level. And PXG has actually designed a special blade for him, including a -iron, made with damascus and carbon shaft. This time, however, his irons will be single length. And it will be hard-stepped three times, so that he will not floated out the ball to the right again. At the end of the day, he will win another green jacket. Not only that, he will win the blue one, the red one, even the black one as well.

    Well played, Swanson. Well played.

  32. Kevin

    Apr 15, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    You all need to calm down a little bit. This is a joke to poke fun at your typical Golf WRX member. I am one just as much as the next guy, learn how to have a laugh.

  33. Rev G

    Apr 15, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    This article is ridiculous, everyone knows that Jordan Spieth lost the Masters because he’s wearing unproven Under Armour shoes. If he was wearing Foot-Joy or Adidas he’d have won by ten strokes. By five if he was wearing Mark Ecco. Probably could have got into a playoff wearing Sketchers or Nike. But Under Armour, come on, they put him at way too big of a disadvantage. He’s been very lucky to win anything with their proto-type shoes, but now that they’re retail, forget it. I’m going to post to this article again after I figure out how many strokes Spieth lost by playing the new Super Stroke club grips.

    • RG

      Apr 19, 2016 at 2:43 am

      The real problem with UA shoes is the lace tension. They have changed the hole configuration and gone with a new grommet but it is not quite work with the 2mm lace (and as we all know how bad UA’s lace tech lags behind other OEM’s) this in turn can cause slip through the tarsal and meta tarsal and we all know what that can lead to….sod laying. Although UA has been a leader in moisture wicking apparel(and we know how important that is) they are definitely behind in their lace, grommet and grommet patterning.How very insightful of you Rev G. (and no we are not related).

  34. Mike Bond

    Apr 15, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    This is stupid. Jordan was blocking himself ALL day. Everything was going right because his swing was off, nothing do with his clubs

  35. Erock

    Apr 15, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Was waiting for him to say Spieth needed more upright lies.

  36. Mike Honcho

    Apr 15, 2016 at 11:45 am

    GEEZ-US!, they let this bizzaro world, Herbert Warren Wind Mark Twain rip-off write another article after we Cleveland VAS shanked the last article. Just admitting that you’re friends with the real-life Spaulding Smails sums it up. You may be a good stick, but as a writer you couldn’t break 120 if all the holes were down wind and the greens were running at 7. Al Czervik sez, “Does this article come with a bowl of soup?”.

  37. cgasucks

    Apr 15, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Please tell me that this is a parody article…this article was meant to joke around..

  38. McLovin

    Apr 15, 2016 at 11:44 am

    hemingway has NOTHING on you…..gave it 2 thumbs up

  39. Jason

    Apr 15, 2016 at 11:37 am

    I love the Onion…Greagreat work.

    My blog is better, but I can’t help it…I am a narcissist.

  40. joel

    Apr 15, 2016 at 11:30 am

    The picture made me laugh. My vote is more of this.

  41. Nucj

    Apr 15, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Hilarious. Big fan of these satirical articles and its needed here. Too many people jump at the chance in the comments on this site to make their egos feel big. Too much negativity.

    Keep it up GolfWRX!

  42. BRS

    Apr 15, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Best writer on Golfwrx, period.

  43. Scott

    Apr 15, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Absolutely. Hilarious.

  44. Ferb

    Apr 15, 2016 at 10:25 am

    this is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read.

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Opinion & Analysis

An open letter to golf

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Dear golf,

I know it has been some time since we last spoke, but I need you to know I miss you, and I can’t wait to see you again.

It was just a few months ago I walked crowded isles, stood shoulder to shoulder, and talked endlessly with likeminded individuals about you and your promising future in 2020 at the PGA Show. At that time, the biggest concern in my life was whether I had packed the perfect dress-to-casual pant ratio and enough polos to get through the mayhem of six days in Orlando. Oh, how the times have changed.

On a professional level, what started with the LPGA Tour a few weeks prior progressed quickly at The Players Championship, when you ground to a complete halt within days. As much as it was a tough decision, it was the right decision, and I admire the judgment made by your leaders. Soon after, outside of the professional ranks followed suit and courses everywhere began shutting doors and asked golfers to keep away.

This is the right decision. For now and for the foreseeable future, as much as I don’t like it, I understand how important it is we let experienced health medical professionals make choices and craft policies for the wellbeing of people everywhere. Although, judging by the indoor short game trickery I have witnessed over the last 10 days, handicaps could be dropping when you finally return.

As a game, you are over 200 years old. You have survived pandemics, wars, depression, drought, and everything else that has been thrown at you. Much like the human spirit, you will continue on thanks to the stories and experiences others passed down and enjoyed.

I know you will survive because I also plan on surviving. As long as there are people willing to tend to your grounds and maintain your existence, I will also exist ready to take on your challenge.

When you are able to return in full, I will be here.

Sincerely,

Ryan Barath (on behalf of golfers everywhere)

 

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Improving your short iron and wedge impact

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One of my most appreciated aspects of this nearly 40 years in the golf equipment industry is the practically endless stream of “ah ha” moments that I have experienced. One that I want to share with you today will–I hope–give you a similar “ah ha moment” and help you improve your ball striking with your high lofted short irons and wedges.

As I was growing up, we always heard the phrase, “thin to win” anytime we hit an iron shot a little on the skinny side (not a complete skull, mind you). When you caught that short iron or wedge shot a bit thin, it seemed you always got added distance, a lower trajectory and plenty of spin. It was in a testing session back in the early 2000s when this observation met with some prior learning, hence the “ah ha moment” for me.

I was in Fredericksburg, Virginia, testing some wedge prototypes with a fitter there who was one of the first to have a TrackMan to measure shot data. I had hit about two dozen full pitching wedges for him to get a base of data for me to work from. The average distance was 114 yards, with my typical higher ball flight than I like, generating an average of about 7,000 rpms of spin. What I noticed, however, was those few shots that I hit thin were launching noticeably lower, flying further and had considerably more spin. Hmmm.

So, I then started to intentionally try to pick the ball off the turf, my swing thought being to actually try to almost “blade” the shot. As I began to somewhat “perfect” this, I saw trajectories come down to where I’d really like them, distance increased to 118-120 and spin rates actually increased to about 8,000 rpms! I was taking no divot, or just brushing the grass after impact, but producing outstanding spin. On my very best couple of swings, distance with my pitching wedge was 120-122 with almost 10,000 rpms of spin! And a great trajectory.

So, I began to put two and two together, drawing on the lessons about gear effect that I had learned back in the 1980s when working with Joe Powell in the marketing of his awesome persimmon drivers. You all know that gear effect is what makes a heel hit curve/fade back toward the centerline, and a heel hit curves/draws back as well. The “ah ha” moment was realizing that this gear effect also worked vertically, so shots hit that low on the face “had no choice” but to fly lower, and take on more spin.

I had always noticed that tour players’ and better amateurs’ face wear pattern was much lower on the face than that of recreational golfers I had observed, so this helped explain the quality of ball flight and spin these elite players get with their wedges and short irons.

I share this with you because I know we all often misinterpret the snippets of advice we get from friends and other instructional content that is out there. To me, one of the most damaging is “hit down on the ball”. That is a relative truth, of course, but in my observation it has too many golfers attacking the ball with their short irons and wedges with a very steep angle of attack and gouging huge divots. The facts are that if the club is moving only slightly downward at impact, you will get the spin you want, and if the clubhead is moving on a rather shallow path, you will get a more direct blow to the back of the ball, better trajectory, more distance and improved spin. Besides, shallow divots are easier on the hands and joints.

If this is interesting to you, I suggest you go to the range and actually try to blade some wedge shots until you somewhat groove this shallower path through impact and a lower impact point on your clubface. As you learn to do this, you will be able to zero in on the proper impact that produces a very shallow divot, and a great looking shot.

[TIP: If you will focus on the front edge of the ball – the side closest to the target – it will help you achieve this kind of impact.]

It will take some time, but I believe this little “experiment” will give the same kind of “ah ha moment” it gave me.

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On Spec

On Spec: Interview with Trevor Immelman, 2008 Masters champion

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In this episode, host Ryan speaks with Trevor Immelman about his career, what it was like growing up around the game as a competitive amateur in South Africa, and what it’s like being a Masters champion.

Topics also include his experiences working with the design team at Nike Golf as well as his current “What’s in the Bag” which includes equipment from Titleist and the process he went through to get it dialed in.

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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