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After Professional Golf: Why I Changed the Way I Test Equipment

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Even for a professional golfer, testing golf clubs can sometimes feel like a difficult task. If you keep an eye on the equipment golfers are using each week on the PGA Tour, you will notice it takes longer for certain players to switch into the newest models than others. They may put a new club in the bag for a few events, but then revert back. Think of Henrik Stenson and his seven-year-old Callaway 3 wood. New fairway woods may test better on a launch monitor, look great, and feel solid to him, but in competition it can be a different story.

I played collegiately for UCLA and then turned professional after, so I have always been lucky to have access to the latest golf equipment. Even with unlimited options, I always erred on the conservative side of switching clubs during my competitive career. Having to adjust to new courses every week, I felt like trying new equipment would overwhelm the task at hand, which was to play well. When new irons came out, I asked them to be built in the same makeup that I had before. It was the same with drivers. I would simply test the head on my gamer shaft, make sure it looked and felt great, and then I would have it built to my current specs. Years went by and I was still in the same shafts and specs even though many things had changed in the golf equipment landscape.

Most fitters and golfers agree that people can adapt to their equipment, and looking back, I can say that I did so with my clubs. I have always been a high-speed player, and I tended toward a higher ball flight with plenty of spin. As a result of that, the iron shafts I played continued to get stiffer and stiffer, and I used the stoutest driver shafts trimmed as much as 1.5 inches. I began to notice that under pressure, I struggled with two main things:

  1. Misses to the right with my driver.
  2. Partial shots with irons where I simply couldn’t feel the club load.

If I was having an off day, it was brutal to feel the club and control the face. I really had to go all out to load the club properly, and if I didn’t the club felt harsh. That harsh feeling became my norm, what I thought I liked, and what I compared things to.

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Yep, I’ve hit each of these shafts on my shaft wall.

It was only after becoming a club fitter and running a club fitting and testing facility that I really started to test equipment at another level. I began personally testing all the products from golf equipment and shaft manufacturers to get a feel for what a player might sense in each product. I also want to see if the products were actually doing what the companies said they should do. That’s why when new irons are released, I will match specs across the board from all the brands so I can isolate the performance of the club heads.

In my personal testing process, I am demanding of the looks of a club, as many experienced golfers are. I really want impact to have a certain feel and for the ball flight to be precise. My miss is on the toe slightly, so when testing for myself I pay particular attention to how different heads perform on toe hits and how that changes launch, spin, and overall dispersion.

Once I start understanding how certain club heads perform, I run through a few different shaft combinations to see how things change. When I think I’ve found a winner, then I really dive into the shaft options. The variety and quality of shafts is now better than ever before, but they can by tricky to test and change because once a player finds a club that feels a certain way, they get used to it. That feel becomes the norm, and that norm is not necessarily what is best.

Since focusing on club fitting, I have also embraced modern technologies more than I did as a player. When I was competing full time, I used technology to occasionally check my ball flight metrics, but I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with numbers. I now realize how impactful and helpful technology can be in optimizing a set makeup. From Trackman to Foresight to GEARS, which I use at my facility, I believe embracing modern testing protocols and learning more about the cause and effect of ball flight can really help players. I personally saw it in my game.

There are things even the most experienced eye can sometime miss, and gathering some solid data on your game can really help you gain more confidence that your game and clubs are moving in the right direction. As a result of changing my testing protocols, I have gradually switched pretty much every specification in my set. I switched iron and wedge lofts, lie angle, and club length, as well as brand, weight and profile of all my shafts. None of it was necessarily done on purpose. It was the end result of doing more rigorous testing than ever before. I slowly started piecing together a new set makeup that not only improved my ball flight, but also improved and helped me achieve positions in my swing I always struggled to accomplish.

I also now realize that changing golf equipment is an ever-evolving process. I wouldn’t be surprised if next year I change a couple more specs in my set makeup if I am trying to achieve something different in my ball flight. Club heads and shafts are designed for different goals and made of different materials, and the launch and spin of the golf ball is ever changing. Equipment companies are constantly trying to improve performance, and I think it helps if golfers are open to the possibility of change. I never was while I was playing, and now that look back and I wish I was more open to the idea.

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Gears is key to my fitting sessions, both in my personal testing and client fittings.

For golfers who like technology and equipment, it is certainly an exciting time. Gone are the club fitting days of just beating balls off mats and having someone watch the ball flight and check lie angles on a lie board. Technology should help a player understand why a certain product might produce a different ball fight. Will switching shafts change the angle of attack or loft I present at impact due to different amounts of deflection? Will changing a shaft profile alter the droop pattern and thus the lie angle and where the face points at impact? What causes certain players to experience a shaft as stout and the next player who swings slower to experience it as whippy? And does that feel make them swing a club differently?

Golf equipment innovation and our ability to more accurately measure performance will continue to improve, and this technology will only help coaches and fitters while helping golfers find more answers and improve. That’s why I believe one of the best things a golfer can do to improve their game is go put their equipment to the test. Measure your current set and its performance, and then try a few new options out there, ideally with the help of a knowledgeable and experienced fitter. It will give you a better understanding of what your patterns and tendencies are, and the end result will be more confidence. You’ll know if you have the best clubs for your game, and if you don’t, you’ll learn what your weaknesses are and what you can do to get the absolute best performance.

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Peter Campbell is a professional golfer and the head club fitter at the Gears Performance Center at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad, California. He competed collegiately at UCLA, and since then has played events on the PGA and Web.com tour, PGA Tour Canada, PGA Tour Latinoamerica, as well as various mini tours. He currently works with players of all levels on their game as well as helping to understand their equipment better.

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Deadeye

    Jul 27, 2017 at 11:15 am

    The ultimate tinkerer, Arnold Palmer. I wonder if he ever got fitted? Did well though.

  2. Bob Pegram

    Jul 27, 2017 at 1:33 am

    The ability to play well even when playing infrequently is a good indicator of how well your clubs fit. There shouldn’t be a need to practice uncomfortable or unnatural swing mechanics to play well.
    I experimented a lot with different specs in my own clubs. Working for a clubfitter and doing some of the fittings myself helped a lot. I became a good fitter. I still fit clubs and often see immediate improvement in my students.
    For my own use I finally ended up with a set WAY out of the norm – all very long and stiff. Now I play well without a lot of practice. I became more accurate and consistent. I don’t have to alter my basic swing at all to use the clubs. A little warm up and I am ready to play. They even eliminated my big miss.

  3. Bobalu

    Jul 26, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    Great article- you nailed it. Keep up the good work!

  4. Golfandpuff

    Jul 26, 2017 at 11:15 am

    I would certainly enjoy the chance to delve into a club fitting world. If only there were a way for me to make it affordable! I also look at guys like Langer who don’t change much year after year vs. other big names that are always looking, testing, playing, new equipment. Is Freddie still hitting that r9?

    I did email a fancy place near me in Atlanta for a fitting and a few upfront questions. I never received a reply. I certainly appreciate articles like these as well as golf wrx for keeping me informed.

  5. Peter Campbell

    Jul 26, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Cant’t lie…Ive been on the site quite a few times. Great content on it!

  6. Tommy

    Jul 26, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Exactly…..time and money is the commodity in question here, not the endless options. Most barely have time to even play much less to spend that precious time in a fitting bay with someone who might not even know what they’re doing. If we could fly to Carlsbad, now that we know of SOMEONE who knows, and spend a couple grand for your time and upgrades, that would be great. What happens when we get home and find that we don’t feel comfortable with our new $$$$ setup? Very few swing as consistently as a former touring pro. It’s a real conundrum.

    • Peter Campbell

      Jul 26, 2017 at 11:48 am

      Thanks for the comment Tommy. It is tricky, equipment costs keep increasing every year it seems like. One company ups their price, then the rest follow suit. And there is no denying certain fitting and build shops have had a tendency to always push people into expensive aftermarket products even when not much gain is realized. Nobody wants to get fit for clubs then get a huge bill One comment i will make that you mentioned and we see almost daily is that the thought the average player isn’t consistent. We see quite the opposite a lot of the time. Even high handicap players, who have really inconsistent start lines and ball flights, have more consistent swings than they realize some of the time. Their path, aoa, impact locations, speed, while maybe not the best or desirable motion, is actually pretty consistent for many high handicap players. The one thing that isn’t, and is unfortunately the most important piece of the puzzle, is where the club face is in relation to the path. So there are many ways fitting wise to help a player achieve a more consistent face angle at impact, or at least help bias one direction. Hope that makes sense. Appreciate the read!

    • birdie

      Jul 26, 2017 at 1:20 pm

      i think a major misconception is how many amateurs think just because they don’t have a perfect repeatable swing that they don’t have repeatable features of their swing that would allow a fitter to best find equipment that suits them.

      whether its tempo, transition, release, or one of the many many aspects of the swing, even if you are high handicap and not hitting center of face consistently you are in fact making a similar swing. And even as you improve, your changes are probably less drastic than you might imagine.

  7. BigBoy

    Jul 25, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    It’s why i still play my 10yr old Orlimar 3 wood.

    • Lloyd

      Jul 25, 2017 at 9:52 pm

      … and I still play with my 20+ y.o. Powerbilt TPS 180cc 15º 3 wood… with a bore-thru steel shaft too.

    • Peter Campbell

      Jul 26, 2017 at 3:51 pm

      too funny you mention that. I occasionally bring in old school products to test against that brands newest release and see how they stack up. I brought in my old orlimar strong 3 wood to see how it does and will be testing it this week. I loved that thing. I personally still game a burner 2.0 driving iron i had built up years ago. A 3 iron bent really strong basically…I simply cant find anything that beats its numbers, let alone the confidence i have with it having relied on so many times in tournaments on tight tee shots.

  8. Anthony

    Jul 25, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    This is exactly what I have done for the past 17 years and have constantly worked with the tech (not when I was playing, like you) and found that my entire bag make up is completely different to when I was at the top of my game!!! This is a great article and many should take note and improve their game with all the tech possible to get the greater understanding of what actually works, not what they think works….
    Well done Peter.

  9. AJ

    Jul 25, 2017 at 10:34 am

    New equipment is fun and I know thats what WRX is all about, but I think people take their tinkering way too far. The difference between 1 product and 1000 others is so small it is actually more about how you we swinging during the test than what the clubs did. Golf is about consistency to shoot lower scores… so regularly changing variables will not improve consistentcy. Manufacturers want you to think their new products are game changers but really the only game changer is hard practice every day. You can shoot lower scores with the equipment in your bag now if you put the time into your game and take the doubt out of your “specs”. Adapt and evolve.

    • Someone

      Jul 25, 2017 at 10:47 am

      i think it’s a mix of the two. at some point you need to get fitted. and then play that equipment long enough, say at least 2-4 years before getting fitted for anything new.

    • Noob

      Jul 25, 2017 at 11:24 am

      AJ, did you not read any of the article? He said, he would build sets to the same specs all across the board (shaft, weight, flex, etc) so that the only variables would be the design-look of the head and materials used in it. Then, you know how each one performs according to how you swing, and can eliminate the head you didn’t like, etc. Yeah we can all adapt, but you can’t be adapting to every club in the club all the time and every shot, if every club in the bag were all different from each other and expecting great results. You should get dialed in to what works for your swing the best and have a whole set matched and built to that

      • The_Sad_Reality

        Jul 25, 2017 at 6:31 pm

        But the sad reality is that most of these fitters are NOT using science to fit golfers and are not truly building clubs to the same specs (as stated in the article). That’s because they are not using MOI measurements and they are not taking into account the weight distribution of the components across the build. They use trial-and-error and the resulting measurements in their fitting approach rather than hard science that eliminates the many variables that are introduced by the variation in golfers’ inconsistent swings. Today’s fitters can never be sure that they have actually fit a golfer with the most optimal setup. All they might be able to say is, of the equipment tested, that it was the build that produced the best numbers on that day. Be wary of fitters who are not versed in MOI (and MBI) and preach swingweight and use lie boards for lie angle adjustments.

      • Peter Campbell

        Jul 25, 2017 at 8:03 pm

        Hey Noob, appreciate the comment. It never hurts to test and see whats out there. So many different looks and feels, and of course Lots of marketing and hype, but it helps to truly do solid testing or fitting to see what is helping our game or not worth the time or money. Many times it may be the current set, then at least we now that!

    • AJ

      Jul 25, 2017 at 9:10 pm

      Not discounting a good fitting, He certainly does his dillegence to make testing fair. I posed the question why spend so much effort regularly testing everything when what you have can produce lower scores if you practice vs tinker. There is no holy grail of equipment and no one makes the same swing twice so what works slightly better today doesn’t tomorrow. Swings evolve so eliminate the variable of rapidly changing equipment. You are not gonna get another 50 yards or double your accuracy with a new stick. Familiarity develops feel. Same reason why gaming the same putter for a decade makes sense, the more you practice with it the more in tune you are with it.

      • Peter Campbell

        Jul 25, 2017 at 9:39 pm

        Completely agree with your point AJ. Once we know what setup works best, whether it is their current set or something different, putting time in to practice and play is crucial. Its tough to say it in an article, but i guess my point was to not be afraid to try to new things when the landscape changes. Such as just going and buying a new driver with your same specs. As the materials and golf balls change, simply staying in the same shaft or setup simply because it feels comfortable and good might not be the best idea. But i totally agree with what your saying, most players don’t need to be over thinking or over tinkering. There will always be certain players that love that aspect of the game, and thats fine, but for most players quality practice time cant be beaten to improve your scores. Thanks for the read and comments, much appreciated!

        • Noob

          Jul 25, 2017 at 11:39 pm

          But here we are, on WRX! A tinkerer’s paradise of tinkering information! So why not tinker? Tinker with it all till death. It’s never ending with so much stuff out there.

  10. Josh

    Jul 25, 2017 at 8:16 am

    $5000/yr in new golf equipment. Easy enough.

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Opinion & Analysis

The Book That Almost Wasn’t a Book: Ben Hogan’s “Five Lessons”

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Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf,” written by Ben Hogan and Herbert Warren Wind, continues to be the largest selling golf instructional book in history. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the book, which was first published in 1957.

Sports Illustrated

The story of how the book was published revolves around Sports Illustrated, which was owned by Time Magazine. The weekly magazine launched in 1954 as an experiment to see if an all-sport publication could survive. In 1956, the publication was on the brink of disaster, having yet to find its audience.

This is the backdrop against which Sydney James, the magazine’s managing editor, received a call from Ben Hogan. Hogan had an idea for an article. Would Sports Illustrated be interested?

James promised to get back to him shortly with an answer. And he did, telling him that the magazine would be very interested in collaborating with him, and that he would begin making the necessary arrangements to get the project off the ground.

Texas Three-Step

James explained his plan to Hogan, which was to arrange for the magazine’s most talented writer, Herbert Warren Wind, and top-rated freelance illustrator, Anthony Ravielle, to visit Hogan in Fort Worth to further discuss his idea.

“Would that be agreeable” he asked?

“Yes,” Hogan replied. He would make himself available as needed.

Writer and Illustrator

Herbert Warren Wind, a graduate of Yale University, was not just a writer, but a literary craftsman. He was without question the finest writer of his time, contributing regularly as a columnist for The New Yorker magazine from 1941-47.

For his part, Ravielle was quickly earning a reputation as one of the most talented illustrators in the country. His expertise was drawing the musculature of the human body in life-like detail. And then having the unique ability to convey a sense of motion with the human form.

A Single Idea

A few weeks later, the two met with Hogan at his office in Fort Worth, Texas. They then made their way to Colonial Country Club. And once there, they walked out to a part of the course where they would not be disturbed. And then Hogan began to explain to the two men what he had in mind.

As they listened to his ideas for the article, they suggested that he consider a five-part series. What they proposed was a sequential pattern of lessons beginning with the grip, the setup, the backswing, and the downswing. The fifth chapter would be a summary and review of what had been presented in the first four chapters.

Hogan liked the idea and agreed immediately.

As Hogan began to explain his thoughts on the swing, Wind began to scribble in his notebook, not wanting to miss a single word. (In later years, when interviewing a subject, modern-day reporters would use a tape recorder, but at that time it had not yet been invented.)

Wind would at times stop Hogan to ask a question or to clarify an important point. And when he reached the point at which he couldn’t possibly absorb another thought, Wind gave way to Ravielle, who armed with a still camera, snapped one photograph after another, capturing the various positions that would ultimately mirror Hogan’s thoughts.

During the next few days, Hogan continued to elaborate on his theories about the golf swing and the logic behind them. As they finished, the three men agreed that they would meet again, either at the end of 1956 or after the first of the year.

Scratch Board

After returning to New York, Wind began writing a rough draft of the five-part series. At the same time, Ravielle started working from the photographs that he had taken earlier. He began by drawing pencil sketches that he would later show to Hogan for his approval before moving on to the final version.

The three gathered together again for a week-long session in January 1957. Hogan was extremely impressed with Ravielle’s sketches, believing that he had managed to capture the very essence of what he was attempting to covey to his would-be readers.

The pencil sketches would be transformed a final time using a “scratch-board” technique that Ravielle had mastered. The scratch-board technique created a uniquely vivid picture, which invited the reader to reach out and touch the seemingly life-like image on the page.

Wind’s spirits were buoyed after meeting with Hogan a second time as he wrote, “Hogan had gone into a much more detailed description of the workings of the golf swing then we had anticipated. Moreover, he had patently enjoyed the challenge and had given it everything he had.”

On returning to New York, Wind and Reveille begin working together, side by side, laying out the text, the illustrations, and captions in page form for each of the five chapters.

Seminole Review

As Wind recounted, “When an installment was completed and had gone through the production department, we airmailed photostats of the pages to Hogan, who was in Palm Beach getting ready for the Masters. I would telephone Ben at his apartment at an appointed time each week, and we would go over each paragraph line by line. A session usually took between 45 minutes to an hour.”

During these sessions, as they reviewed the copy, Hogan was insistent that each word and phrase precisely communicate exactly what he intended to say. Wind recalls one example, when he had written “that at a certain stage of the swing the golfer’s weight had shifted to his left side.” Hogan corrected, “Let’s not say left side,” Adding “That isn’t accurate. In golf, there’s no such thing as a player’s left side. At this point in the swing most of the golfer’s weight is on his left foot and left leg.”

Wind found these discussions exhausting as Hogan worked his way through the copy with a “fine-tooth comb.” As wind wrote, “After these protracted checking sessions with Hogan, I did some deep-breathing exercises to relax myself, but I also had the bracing feeling that even Sherlock Holmes wouldn’t be able to detect a smudged adjective or a mysterious verb in the text.”

As they were nearing completion of their work, Hogan asked Wind if he had any suggestions for the series name. As Wind recalls, “I thought for a long moment and then tossed up ‘The Fundamentals of Modern Golf?’”

Hogan mulled it over for a moment and then asked, “How about ‘The Modern Fundamentals of Golf?’” Wind agreed that the reversal in wording was a definite improvement. The series now, for the first time, had both a name and an identity.

The Magazine and the Book

The series was very successful, of course, boosting not only the sales of the magazine but also its circulation. The content of what would eventually become the book appeared in five installments beginning with the March 11, 1957 issue, which in Wind’s exact words, “sold like hotcakes.“

The book was released some five months later in September as a joint venture between Hogan and the magazine.

A Triple Play

Why has the book endured?

The first reason is because of the public’s fascinated with Hogan, not only as player, but as a man. He was a great ball-striker, maybe the best of all time, but there was more to the man than his ability to play golf. He is one of the more complex sports figures in the pantheon of great players. He was a man of secrets who preferred the shadows to the light.

The second reason is the wonderful prose of Herbert Warren Wind, which flows with ease from one paragraph to another, giving the reader at times the feeling of floating on air from one sentence to another.

The third reason is the illustrations of Anthony Ravielle, which describe in dramatic fashion the essence of what Hogan wanted to convey to the reader.

“Five Lessons” was then the collaboration of three men, each one of them the very best in their fields. They were, through luck and circumstance, thrown together in space and time. And maybe once joined together, they sensed the opportunity to create something very special with one purpose in mind — to write one of the best golf instruction books ever. And they succeed.

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Opinion & Analysis

Bag Chatter: An Interview with Uther Supply

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Bag Chatter is a series of interviews that spotlights brands around the golf industry and the people behind them. We’re looking to make this a regular thing, so please comment and share through your medium of choice. If you have a brand and are interested in participating in these interviews, you can email mailbag@golfwrx.com for consideration. This interview is with Daniel Erdman of Uther Supply.

Tell us about Uther. How do you pronounce that? What are you all about? How did you start?

It’s actually pronounced “other.” We’ve gotten that question a lot and, to be honest, we’re kind of OK with it. We wanted to brand ourselves as unique, so we think it fits well. We want to create products that no one else creates. That could be towels in unique prints or some other golf goods outside of that. We’re targeting the customer that wants to be different as well…people who want to demonstrate their unique personalities.

Forgive me for being a little direct, but golf towels may not strike a lot of people as being something a lot of people would start a business with. Were you seeing a lack of something in the marketplace somehow? What prompted you to start this company selling golf towels?

It may not be conventional and I definitely recognize that. Some of my friends have laughed at me for starting a golf towel business. I guess it hit me when I was working at private clubs (I have worked at The Thornhill Club and Ladies’ Golf Club of Toronto). When you work in the back shop and storage facility, you handle a lot of golf bags. I just noticed rows and rows of bags that all look the same and I thought it made a lot of sense to inject some personality into it. You know, people go crazy for how all the pros personalize their wedges and their bags. They buy towels and bag tags from courses like TPC Sawgrass and Pebble Beach to personalize their stuff, but in the end it all kind of blends together. Billy Horschel’s octopus-print pants at the 2013 US Open was something that always stuck out in my mind and in that moment when I was staring at all those bags, it all kind of came together in a way. I thought we could really add something to the marketplace.

What do you think differentiates your products from others in the marketplace? Why do you think people would buy your products?

We’ve already addressed the fact that we offer different and bold prints, but that’s obviously the first thing that most customers will notice. Beyond that, though, we put a lot of attention to detail into our products. We went through 40 different suppliers to get things right. My grandparents had a really successful flooring mat company when I was growing up. Watching them run the family business gave me the bug at a very young age to start my own business. It also taught me how much quality matters and getting the right suppliers and materials. It was so much more difficult back then without the internet, but now, a quick google search just does so much of the legwork for you.

Uther Supply’s golf towel lineup

Something that I think is very interesting here is you’re very young at only 22 years old. A lot of the people I’ve talked to recently have been in their twenties as well. Tell me a little bit about what it took to start this company. Did you have to secure an investment? A lot of people shy away from starting a company for fear of the hill being too steep to climb, if you will. Since you’re in the process of climbing it, what’s that actually like?

It definitely was difficult. The only outside funding I got were some grants and loans from business accelerator programs. Those helped tremendously. I remember having to place a very large order at my supplier at the same time my one of my funding opportunities was being processed. That particular one only had like a 20 percent acceptance rate, and if I didn’t get it, I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to fund the order. The way everything happened to be timed, I had to I place my order before I heard back from my funding application to meet a deadline. It turned out I was accepted, so that was a relief, but it was definitely pretty stressful. You know, in the beginning, you’re working for months before you generate any income. You’re doing everything for the first time like sending stuff through customs, dealing with suppliers, collecting transactions, you name it. You’re bound to make mistakes along the way and when you have zero money coming in, the mistakes you make hurt so much more. You have no processes or systems in place. It’s something you need to accept for what it is and grind through it. Social media helped accelerate things quite a bit (including meeting my sales partner Luke through Instagram). Selling on Amazon and going to the PGA show last year gave us a boost as well. It’s hard to say what the hardest part is specifically. It’s just the grind in the beginning trying to get momentum behind it. Once you get over the hump, it’s really exciting and fun, but getting up to that point is definitely not easy.

It should also be mentioned that you’re based out of Canada. A lot of people would assume being in the Great White North would make the game of golf a challenging proposition. How long/short is your golf season in Ontario? How do you stay sharp over the Canadian winters? And what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to play golf when it’s far too cold for most of us? To what lengths will you go?

It can get interesting for sure. I first started golfing because of my hockey friends. Yes, a lot of us do play hockey up here. It was a natural transition for a lot of us to play hockey in the winter and golf in the summer. However, if you do happen to get a golf itch in the winter, you will have to get creative. It’s pretty easy to go to just an indoor simulator to practice. Sometimes I would go to Golf Town (our version of Golf Galaxy) to pretend to demo clubs in order to practice my swing. That can get you by for a while, but it’s not the same as hitting an actual golf ball and watching it fly through the air, you know? So when you get to that point, there’s a nice indoor/outdoor range near me with covered, heated hitting bays. Our golf season is from like April through October, so that leaves a lot of time in between. Golf vacations become necessary sometimes.

Before starting Uther, you alluded to your experience working at golf courses. First off, you must have some good stories. No need to mention any names, but what’s your favorite story from that stage of life? Also, what was it like to go from working at a club to having to court those golf clubs to become your customer, stock your products, etc? Was that really easy or really difficult?

Well, I have a bunch of stories involving golf carts. Just in case the old golf directors read this, I won’t give too many details. Working at a course is great. You can’t get a better “office” than going to the course every day. There’s nothing like watching the sunrise on a dew-covered golf course, especially when you’re being paid. Some of my best memories were after tournaments where three of us guys would clean like 80 golf carts. We would all have fun and get to know each other. It didn’t really feel like work.

In both instances (working for a course and now selling to them), it doesn’t really feel so much like work. It does take a lot of work, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t feel like drudgery, that’s for sure. The difference is that there’s a lot more behind the scenes work that I’m doing now. We recently did a towel for the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance in collaboration with State Apparel. It took us a lot of back and forth to get that product right, but once we did, we came up with a custom, one-off product that our customers really loved. And watching them react to it was incredible. Stuff like that really keeps you going.

Bo Links, Co-Founder of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, holding custom towel developed with Uther Supply

This question is unabashedly inspired by (ahem…lifted from) one of Rick Shiels’ recent posts. (Giving credit where it’s due here). If you had to “Tin Cup” it (i.e. play a round of golf with only one club), what club would it be and how many extra strokes do you think it would take? So, if you were to play your home course, your normal score is what? And what would your “Tin Cup” score be, you think?

If I had to choose one club for a Tin Cup round, I think it would be a five iron. My home course (and the public golf course I worked for) is Richmond Hill Golf Club. It’s only like 6,000 yards, so I feel like I could totally get by with a five iron and get on any green in 3. I typically shoot like an 80-85. I don’t think I would be that far off the number honestly. I trust the five iron, but also, I know my course pretty well and I think that club would suit it nicely. Now that you ask, though, I feel like I’m dying to try it!

What tour pro would you most like to have a beer with? Not necessarily the guy you’d want to play golf with or pick his brain about the game. Who do you think is the most likeable guy on tour? Who would you most like to befriend, if you will?

I would definitely have to go with Rickie Fowler. He’s got a bold style for sure, but he owns it and I really dig that. I love that he congratulates the other guys on tour and is supportive of them when they win tournaments. He seems so humble. He’s also really adventurous. He’s into motocross. I’m not into motocross, but I love the adventurous spirit. He just seems like a really cool guy from what I can tell.

It’s almost hard to believe, but the PGA Merchandise Show is fast approaching (January 23-26, 2018 in Orlando, FL for those who don’t know). Will you be exhibiting? What are you most looking forward to? That question is, of course, about what steps you think Uther will take, but also, are you looking forward to anything specific from other manufacturers? What companies’ booths are you planning on going to?

We will definitely be at the show and we’re really looking forward to it. Come see us at booth 3988! I walked the show last year but wasn’t exhibiting, so I would go up to potential customers and pitch my products to them. That was a lot of work and it was quite stressful being out on a limb like that. We’ve been working on this year’s show since August and I think it’s going to be a ton of fun. We’ve got some really cool stuff planned. You also get to meet so many people there, which is just a blast. As far as other stuff I’m looking forward to, Greyson Clothiers is definitely at the top of the list. Charlie’s story is so interesting and I just love their products.

Uther Supply plaid towel on the course

Lastly, what do you guys have in the works? Are there any product releases forthcoming? Tell people how to find you on website, social media, etc.

So, the big news is that we will be expanding beyond golf towels. We will be launching some gloves and hats that I’m really excited about. We have six different golf gloves as well as bucket and baseball hats we’ll be rolling out in some very fun prints and colors (because that’s what we do). Definitely a good idea to check out our website, which is www.uthersupply.com. The website has a link to sign up for our email list which will send out some discount codes from time to time. There will also be some exclusive and limited-edition products on the website at times too. @Uthersupply is our handle on all social media platforms. Business customers can reach us at contact@uthersupply.com to collaborate with us on custom products. We’d love to have people come see what we’re about!

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Opinion & Analysis

Tara Iti: A Golfer’s Paradise

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This trip couldn’t have started better. Tara Iti Golf Club is magic! No disrespect to the home of golf, but this course might be as special as it gets when it comes to playing links golf.

Catch Up: The Start of My Golf Adventure

Tara Iti is a masterpiece that opened late in 2015. It’s designed by the famous golf architect Tom Doak, and it’s located on a large piece of land on the North Island of New Zealand around 1.5 hours from Auckland. It’s well hidden from houses and traffic, so you can just focus on your game and the stunning property.

The course brings swift fairways and plenty of risk-reward opportunities, offering a bevy of challenging shots that you need to plan carefully in order to get close to the flag. I loved especially the shapes presented by the fairways and waste areas, which make it feel as though the entire course is seamlessly woven together. I also like the idea they’ve got here of playing the ball as it lies. No bunkers, just waste areas.

On a personal note, my match against Johan was halved. He played very well on the first nine while I did well on the back nine.

What’s key to success to Tara Iti is a polished short game in combination with the ability to hit the fairways. I found my favorite hole at No. 17, a strikingly beautiful short par-3 that pops up between the wild sand dunes. There are three iconic trees to the left with the sea and a beautiful island as a backdrop.

Up Next: Kauri Cliffs on the northern peak of New Zealand. It is said to be one of the most scenic courses in the world.

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19th Hole

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