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GolfWRX’s 2017 Father’s Day Gift Guide

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A reminder from your friends at GolfWRX: Father’s Day is June 18. And as as we do every year, we’re rounding up the best gifts for dad. This year, we’re doing something a little different with the guide. Rather than breaking down gifts by price tier, we’re breaking them down by “dad.”

What the heck does that mean? Well, we’ve identified some basic dad types, like “The Purist” who loves classic golf architecture, hickory clubs, and the traditions of this game. There’s also “The Gearhead,” who in addition to living in the GolfWRX forums, can’t wait to get his hands on the latest and greatest in golf equipment.

But as we say every year: There’s no better golf-related Father’s Day gift than a round of golf with pops. Be it a country club or your favorite muni, take the time to get together to play 18 if you can.

Also, a GolfWRX pro tip: If you’re getting dad a gift that’s usable on the golf course, present it to him at the course: There’s nothing like whacking a new driver (that someone else paid for) off the first tee. But let’s get to the gifts.

The Purist

A Life Well Played by Arnold Palmer $13.29

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With his passing last fall, it’s a great time for dad to brush up on Mr. Palmer and his distinguished legacy by reading this anthology of anecdotes and life lessons from the King. Buy it.

Lee Wybranski print (or painting): Varies

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While dad may not know artist Lee Wybranski by name, he’s certainly familiar with Wybranskis. The official U.S. Open poster painter/designer, among other things, Wybranski has a bounty of works for sale on his website.

Louisville Golf Hickory Intro Set: $825

Intro-Set-with-Wood-Putter

If dad’s considered getting into hickory golf, there are two routes he can go: assemble a set of vintage weapons from eBay, or buy a new set of hickories from Louisville Golf. Consider the latter if he’s just getting started. Learn more.

The Gearhead

All equipment recommendations were/are the leading vote getters in our 2017 GolfWRX Members Choice: Best Golf Equipment polls.  

Callaway Epic GBB Sub Zero Driver: $499.99

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The GolfWRX Members Choice for Best Driver in 2017, pops will be primed to launch bombs with the Callaway GBB Epic Sub Zero in his bag. Buy it.

Mizuno JPX-900 Tour Irons: $1199.99

JPX900_Tour_CloseUpMizuno’s JPX-900 Tour irons were the leading vote getters for GolfWRX Members Choice: Best Players Irons in 2017. If dad’s a player, these are the sticks he needs. Buy them.

Callaway Apex CF ’16 Irons: $1199.99

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If dad’s a little higher handicap or is looking for more distance/forgiveness, consider buying him Callaway Apex CF ’16 irons. They were voted the Best Game-Improvement Irons of 2017 by GolfWRX Members. Buy them.

Ping G Irons: $110-125 per club

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While voting hasn’t yet wrapped up in our GolfWRX Members Choice: Best Super Game-Improvement Irons of 2017 Poll, the Ping G is the current leader. If dad’s a higher handicapper, these clubs will make a difference in his game. Learn more.

The Techie

Arccos 360: $249.99

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Arccos continues to push the envelope in golf technology. If your dad’s a techie, he’ll love playing around with this combination performance tracker/virtual caddie. Buy it.

Bushnell Pro X2: $449.99

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The standard in rangefinders. If your dad doesn’t have a rangefinder, he needs one. And this easy-to-use model will impress everyone in his Tuesday morning foursome. Buy it.

SkyTrak Personal Launch Monitor: $1995

SkyTrak Personal Launch Monitor

Expensive? Yes. But if you have a couple of brothers and sisters, consider splitting the cost for this game-changer in personal launch monitor technology. Better yet, SkyTrak is running a Father’s Day special. And if you’re on the fence about pulling the trigger, or resident tech nut, our Kane Cochran has a detailed review. Buy it.

If you’re looking for a more affordable rangefinder (or maybe even a more premium model, who knows), check out our list of the Hottest Launch Monitors of 2017.

The Clotheshorse

Bradley Allan Contrast Stripe Polo: $89

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Straddling the line between traditional and modern, we like what Bradley Allan are doing. This contrast polo hits all the notes and won’t get lost in his closet with his 17th solid blue polo shirt. Learn more.

Ecco Cage Pro Boa: $229

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The Ecco Cage Pro Boa are supremely functional and comfortable golf shoes. Dad probably doesn’t want to be wearing screw-in spikes at his age, and if he’s s bit of a fashion plate, he’ll love these shoes with their bold orange sole and distinct upper. No laces is a nice touch, too. Buy them.

Holderness & Bourne Byers Duffel Bag in Nantucket Red: $225

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For the weekend or the gym, Holderness & Bourne’s Nantucket Red duffel takes an iconic color and uses it in this versatile and classy looking bag. Learn more.

The Instruction Fanatic

The Anatomy of Greatness by Brandel Chamblee: $17.40

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Love him or hate him, Brandel Chamblee’s book is the hottest golf instruction book on the market right now. Whether dad ends up agreeing with the Golf Channel analyst or thinking he’s a behind-the-times blowhard, he’ll want to read this book. Buy it.

Tathata Golf In-Home Training Program: $179.95

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Tathata Golf’s in-home training program is steadily growing in popularity. On-demand, in-home instruction with a unique, martial arts-based foundation, Tathata is resonating with golfers and instructors. Dad can see what it’s all about for less than three bucks a day. Learn more.

FocusBand: $500

FocusBand_Headset

 

If dad’s an instruction enthusiast, he’ll be interested in this product. The FocusBand professes to be able to measure when an individual is “in the zone” based on a number of measurable quantities (eye movement, etc). At the very least, it’ll help dad, who might tend toward paralysis by analysis, to quiet his mind on the course. Learn more.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. G

    Jun 11, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    another pos trying to impersonate Obs

  2. G

    Jun 11, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    you are a sick gearhead trying to impersonate Obs

  3. Old Putter

    Jun 11, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    THE WALKS THE COURSE
    62″ Miami Dolphins double canopy umbrella…
    That’s what’s up

  4. Tazz2293

    Jun 9, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    A pink duffle bag. Just what every dad wants

    • BRI

      Jun 10, 2017 at 12:35 am

      Uhhh… Dad…. It’s, uh, NANTUCKET RED. yea.

  5. dr bloor

    Jun 9, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Wanted to check out the canvas bag a bit more, but the Holderness site won’t let you browse without coughing up your email address.

    • Tazz2293

      Jun 9, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      I went to the site. When I clicked on Fabric & Trim email request popped up, I closed that and have no problems browsing the site

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Courses

Coming Up: A Big Golf Adventure

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My name is Jacob Sjöman, and I’m a 35-year-old golf photographer who also enjoys the game we all love. I will be sharing some experiences here on a big golf trip that we are doing. With me I’ve got my friend Johan. I will introduce him properly later, but he is quite a funny character. According to Johan, he is the best golf photo assistant in the world, and we will see about that since this is probably his biggest test yet doing this trip. Previously on our trips, Johan almost got us killed in Dubai with a lack of driving skills. He also missed a recent evening photo shoot in Bulgaria while having a few beers to many… and that’s not all.

Anyway, the last couple of days I’ve been packing my bags over and over. I came home from the Canary Islands this Sunday and I’ve been constantly checking and rechecking that we’ve got all the required equipment, batteries, and that the cameras are 100 percent functional and good to go for this golf trip. I’m still not sure, but in a couple of minutes I will be sitting in a taxi to the airport and there will be no turning back.

Where are we going then? We are going to visit some of the very best golf courses in New Zealand and Australia. There will be breathtaking golf on cliffsides, jaw-dropping scenic courses, and some hidden gems. And probably a big amount of lost balls with a lot of material produced in the end.

I couldn’t be more excited for a golf journey like this one. Flying around the globe to these special golf courses I’ve only dreamed about visiting before gives me a big kick and I feel almost feel like a Indiana Jones. The only thing we’ve got in common, though, is that we don’t like snakes. Australia seems to be one of the worst destinations to visit in that purpose, but all the upsides are massive in this.

First, we will take off from a cold Stockholm (it’s raining heavily outside at the moment) and then we will do our first stop at Doha in Quatar. Then after two more hours, we are finally heading off to Auckland on the north island of New Zealand, a mega-flight of 16 hours. I believe that could very well be one of the longest flights available for a ordinary airplane. I need to check that.

Flights for me usually mean work, editing photos from different golf courses I’ve visited, writing some texts, editing some films, and planning for the future. Last time, though, I finally managed to sleep a little, which is a welcome progress for a guy that was deadly scared of flying until 2008.

Now, I am perfectly fine with flying. A few rocky flights over the Atlantic Sea to Detroit helped me a lot, and my motto is now, “If those flights got me down on the ground safely, it takes a lot of failures to bring down a plane.”

Anyway, I hope you will join me on this golf trip. Stay tuned!

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Opinion & Analysis

Be Curious, Not Critical, of Tour Player Swings

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After a foul ball by a tour player, the talking heads on TV are often quick to analyze the “problem” with that swing. Fair enough, I suppose. Even the best players are human and our game has more failure than success. But I’d like to offer a different take on swings of the best players in the world.

First, let’s remember how good these guys and gals really are. If you met up with the lowest ranked player on any professional tour at a public course one day, I’ll bet that golfer would be the best golfer most of you have ever played with. You’d be telling your buddies in the 19th hole about him or her for a very long time. These players have reached a level of ball striking most people only dream about. That’s why I’m more curious than critical when it comes to a tour player’s swing. I’m not thinking about what he/she needs to do better; I’m thinking, “How do they do it so well?” In other words, I want to know how they put their successful move together. What part goes with the other parts? How did their pattern evolve? What are the compatible components of their swing?

Let’s use Jim Furyk as an example. Furyk has what we might call an “unconventional” move. It’s also a swing that has won nearly $70 million and shot 58 one day. But I’ll offer him as an example because his swing illustrates the point I’m making. From a double-overlapping grip, Furyk picks the golf club up to what might be the most vertical position one would ever see from a professional. Then in transition, he flattens the club and drops it well behind him. Now the club is so flat and inside, he has to open his body as quickly as he can to keep the club from getting “stuck.” Let’s call it an “up-and-under loop.”

Let’s take Matt Kuchar as a counter example. Kuchar’s signature hands-in, flat and very deep takeaway is pretty much the total opposite of Furyk. But he comes over that takeaway and gets the club back into a great position into impact. We’ll call that an “in-and-over” loop.

Both are two of the best and most consistent golfers in the world. Is one right and the other wrong? Of course not. They do have one thing in common, however, and it’s that they both balanced their golf swing equation.

What would happen if Kuchar did what Furyk does coming down? Well, he wouldn’t be on TV on the weekend. If he did, he’d be hitting drop kicks several inches behind. That doesn’t win The Players Championship. The point is that the Furyk downswing is incompatible with the Kuchar backswing, and vice versa, but I’m guessing they both know that.

How can this help you? My own personal belief and the basis of my teaching is this: your backswing is an option, but your downswing is a requirement. I had one student today dropping the arms and club well inside and another coming over the top, and they both felt better impact at the end of the lesson. I showed them how to balance their equation.

My job is solving swing puzzles, a new one very hour, and I’m glad it is. It would be mind-numbing boredom if I asked every golfer to do the same thing. It’s the teaching professional’s job to solve your puzzle, and I assure you that with the right guidance you can make your golf swing parts match. Are there universal truths, things that every golfer MUST do?  Yes, they are the following:

  1. Square the club face
  2. Come into the ball at a good angle
  3. Swing in the intended direction
  4. Hit the ball in the center of the face (method be damned!)

But here’s the funny part: Let Kuchar or Furyk get off base and watch every swing critic in the world blame some part of the quirkiness of their move that has led to their greatness. When players at their level get off their game, it’s generally due to poor timing or that they lost the sync/rhythm that connected their individual parts. The same holds true for all of us. We have to find the matching parts and the timing to connect them. You might not need new parts.

After all, weren’t those same parts doing the job when you shot your career low round?

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Opinion & Analysis

The numbers behind “full scholarships” in NCAA men’s college golf

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If you are in the world of junior golf, you’ve probably heard about a young man you know who’s getting that coveted full ride to college, maybe even to a Power-5 school. With all the talk in junior golf about full scholarships, and a lot of rumors about how many are available, we decided to poll coaches and gather some real data about “full scholarships.”

So, what did we find out? In total, we got responses to a voluntary online survey from 61 men’s D1 coaches, 19 men’s D2 coaches and 3 NAIA coaches (83 total). On average, the coaches in the survey had 11.8 years of coaching experience. Of the coaches that responded, 58 of the 83 coaches reported having zero players on full ride. Another 15 coaches surveyed reported having one player on full ride. This means that 69 percent of the coaches surveyed reported zero players on full scholarship and 18 percent reported one player on full scholarship, while another four coaches reported that 20 percent of their team was on full ride and six coaches reported between 2-3 players on full ride.

We then asked coaches, “what percent of golfers in Division 1 do you think have full scholarships based on your best guess?” Here’s what the responses looked like: 25 coaches said 5 percent and 36 coaches said 10 percent. This means that 73 percent of respondents suggested that, in their opinion, in men’s Division 1, Division 2 and NAIA, there are less than 10 percent of players on full ride.

Next, we asked coaches, “what was a fair scholarship percentage to offer a player likely to play in your top 5?” The average of the 83 responses was 62.5 percent scholarship with 38 coaches (46 percent) suggesting they would give 30-50 percent and 43 coaches (52 percent) suggesting 50-75 percent. Only two coaches mentioned full scholarship.

The last question we asked coaches, was “what would you need to do to earn a full scholarship?”

  • Top-100 in NJGS/Top-250 in WAGR – 41 coaches (49 percent)
  • 250-700 in WAGR – 19 coaches (23 percent)
  • Most interesting, 17 coaches (20 percent) noted that they either did not give full rides or did not have the funding to give full rides.

The findings demonstrate that full rides among players at the men’s Division 1, Division 2 and NAIA levels are rare, likely making up less than 10 percent of total players. It also suggests that if you are a junior player looking for a full ride, you need to be exceptional; among the very best in your class.

Please note that the survey has limitations because it does not differentiate between athletic and academic money. The fact is several institutions have a distinct advantage of being able to “stack” academic and athletic aid to create the best financial packages. My intuition suggests that the coaches who responded suggesting they have several players on “full rides” are likely at places where they are easily able to package money. For example, a private institution like Mercer might give a student $12,000 for a certain GPA and SAT. This might amount to approximately 25 percent, but under the NCAA rules it does not count toward the coach’s 4.5 scholarships. Now for 75 percent athletic, the coach can give a player a full ride.

Maybe the most interesting finding of the data collection is the idea that many programs are not funded enough to offer full rides. The NCAA allows fully funded men’s Division 1 programs to have 4.5 scholarships, while Division 2 programs are allowed 3.6. My best guess suggests that a little more than 60 percent of men’s Division 1 programs have this full allotment of scholarship. In Division 2, my guess is that this number is a lot closer to 30 percent.

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