More than just a cool slogan on a hoodie, the words “I play golf” have had such a strong impact on me throughout my life.
Like any kid growing up, I had a variety of interests… but ultimately, sports ran my life. Whether it was watching or playing, I lived for basketball during basketball season, football during football season, and baseball during baseball season. But ever since I could walk, I took a strange liking to golf in particular, and it never had an “off-season” to me. In the spring, summer and fall months, I went to the range (often forcing my mom to videotape my swing for hours), to the golf course with my dad, or hit pitch shots in my backyard until sunset or long after. In the winter, I chipped on the carpet in our living room, or I swung a golf club in a mirror working on my positions. I was obsessed with the game.
Often times, however, it was a personal obsession; something I kept to myself. Kids can be cruel, and playing golf was more of a reason to be ridiculed than praised for me while growing up. So I always told people “I play basketball,” or “I play football.” Rarely did I say, or at least say proudly, “I play golf.”
But as time went on, and I went from playing golf in junior events, to high school matches, to playing golf in college, I started saying it more and more proudly. My college peers, probably from all of the student-athlete gear I’d wear to and from class, knew I played a sport at Rutgers. They’d ask, “what do you play; baseball or lacrosse or something?” And I’d answer, “No, I play golf.”
I was being borderline cocky with my answer, if we’re being honest. I liked playing Division I golf, plus I had worked so hard to get there I felt entitled to that bravado. It also felt good to not hide my passion for golf amongst my peers anymore like I did when I was younger. Some people even thought it was pretty cool I played golf.
A funny thing happened my junior year while on the golf team at Rutgers, however. A tumor popped up into my spine, and the back spasms were so bad I needed immediate surgery. Back surgery at 20 years old is far from ideal for anyone, but as a collegiate golfer with big aspirations, it could have meant the end of my career. And it almost did.
I was forced, both physically and by my doctors, to red shirt my senior year. That meant I did not in fact play golf. For awhile, I couldn’t even stand to putt, let alone work on my swing at the range. “I play golf.” Maybe those are words I’ll never say again, I thought at the time.
Sometime during my senior season, however, I began swinging the golf club again. Then I started playing golf again. Then I started scoring pretty well during practice rounds, and I felt I was “back.” But this time around, I had a new appreciation for the sport that I’ve always loved.
After graduating from Rutgers, and with a year of eligibility still left to play collegiately, I took my (mostly diminished) talents to Hawaii; a Division II school called Hawaii Pacific University. When people asked me at HPU what sport I played, I proudly — not with embarrassment, apprehension, or some unwarranted cockiness — told them “I play golf.”
The words “I play golf” may have different meanings to you, depending on your perspective. Actually, I had a swing coach one time who would repeatedly ask me, “Do you play golf swing or do you play golf?” to which I’d answer “I play golf.” But, to me, the words “I play golf” on this hoodie represent a lifelong relationship with golf that went through ups and downs, but today I’m proud to be a golfer, and I’m proud to have the opportunity to play the game I love most. And to anyone who gets made fun of — kids, adults, whomever — for playing golf, I say screw em; be proud of who you are and what you love. Life’s too short to be ashamed of yourself, and golf truly is the greatest game ever played, isn’t it?
Titleist introduces new premium Scotty Cameron Concept X Putters
Scotty Cameron unveiled two experimental prototype Concept X putters today. Available in limited quantities, the Concept X models (CX-01 and CX-02) are a cross between the Newport 2 and a mallet with MOI-boosting “wings.”
The CX-01 features a popular-on-Tour “Nuckle Neck” with one shaft of offset. The CX-02 is designed with a new low slant “Joint Neck” that promotes additional tow flow.
“Concept X is for the player who wants the feel and performance of a Tour-proven blade style putter, but wants to benefit from the latest technology to achieve more forgiveness. What’s unique about these putters is that they’re fast looking and high-tech. But by making them wider, they’re more forgiving. You get a calm feeling like when you play a mallet. So, you get the best of a blade and the best of a mallet in one. It has a very elegant, high-end, industrial look. At address, after a few putts, the wings almost disappear and it’s like looking down at a blade,” Scotty Cameron said.
“I like to say that Concept X is the top level of performance in a putter. Our new four-way sole balancing is designed into these models. The new Nuckle and Joint Neck technology. The enhanced vibration dampening chambers for better sound and feel. It’s all in there. Concept X truly is a prototype that’s come to life.”
The putters also feature Dual-Zone Vibration Dampening Chambers within the face-sole construction. Each “chamber” is separated by a band of stainless steel, and the mid-milled aluminum face is connected by internal screws to compress the vibration dampening material for a soft, solid sound and feel.
The Concept X’s wing design shifts weight to both the perimeter and rear of the club to boost MOI and forgiveness. Customizable, removable heel and toe weights enhance stability while increasing the face’s sweet spot.
Weight-saving face inlays and 6061 aircraft grade aluminum sole plates allow Cameron to move (heavier) stainless steel around the perimeter to increase MOI. The sole profile of each model has been milled with Scotty’s four-way sole balancing design to help the putter easily sit more squarely at address.
A glare-reducing Stealth Gray finish is paired with a bright dip black anodized face inlay and sole plate components. Raw engravings add to the “prototype” feel of the putters. Each Concept X putter features customizable stainless steel heel-toe weights, a stepless steel shaft and a new gray Pistolero grip with black lettering.
Scotty Cameron Concept X putters will be available at select network of Titleist authorized golf shops in North America on Aug. 31 and worldwide Sept. 28, 2018. MAP $599.
Everything you need to know about TaylorMade’s new GAPR Lo, Mid and Hi clubs
The Golden Years of wood-style hybrids and hybrid innovation in the marketplace are over, Tomo Bystedt, the Senior Director of Product Creation for TaylorMade, told GolfWRX.
Based on data collected from the company’s myRoundPro app and TrackMan data from its fitting facility, called “The Kingdom,” Bystedt says TaylorMade has found that most golfers are “not very good” with irons higher than a 5-iron, and while some hit the 3 wood very well, they struggle with 5/7/9 woods and hybrid-style clubs. Bystedt also acknowledges that Tour players have moved away from hybrid-style golf clubs as we know them, and into driving-iron-style clubs instead; they provide better control and offer greater distance in certain conditions, he says.
So, golfers of all skill levels need to fill the gap between a 5-iron and a 3-wood, and thus, TaylorMade has designed a new family of golf clubs called GAPR, pronounced “gapper.”
The family consists of a GAPR Lo, a GAPR Mid and a GAPR Hi. The clubs are made with C300 faces and 450 stainless steel bodies, with the company’s familiar SpeedFoam between the faces and bodies for durability of the face and to improve overall sound and feel due to the vibration dampening qualities of the foam. They also have “blind slots,” according to Bystedt, or in other words, speed slots on their soles that are not bore-thru slots. Each of the GAPR irons have adjustable loft sleeves, as well.
TaylorMade’s new GAPR clubs will be available on August 24 and sell for $250 apiece with stock KBS graphite shafts and Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 grips. More specs and info on each of the offerings below.
We’ve spotted Tiger Woods testing a GAPR Lo at Carnoustie, and Bystedt says other big name pros including Dustin Johnson are testing it, as well. There are a few GAPR Lo irons that have a fixed hosel that are floating around in Tour bags, but the retail versions have an adjustable hosel.
The GAPR Lo irons have a weight port (filled with either steel or tungsten weights) placed in the back for head weight purposes and are not interchangeable weights by the user. The head shape of the GAPR Lo is slightly bigger than the P-790 UDI clubs, according to Bystedt, and more similar to the Tour Preferred UDI. That’s because player feedback suggested the P-790 UDI was a bit too small, and players wanted a slightly bigger size.
Retail offerings of the GAPR Lo will include 17, 19 and 22 degree options, ranging from 40.25 inches to 39.25 inches, respectively.
The GAPR Mid iron has a bigger profile than the GAPR Lo, and has CG (center of gravity) lower in the club head for higher launch and more forgiveness. The weight port is on the sole of the club, as opposed to the back cavity as seen on the GAPR Lo iron. The soles are also wider, making these more playable for players from the turf.
The GAPR Mid irons are offered in 18, 21 and 24 degree lofts, ranging from 40.25 to 39.25 inches, respectively.
TaylorMade’s GAPR Hi irons have an even bigger profile and wider soles than the GAPR Mid irons, and the CG is lower and deeper for an even higher launch and greater forgiveness. The shaping of the club is like the child of a driving iron and a wood-style hybrid; according to a TaylorMade press release, it “features modern Rescue shaping with a high-toe, peanut shaped clubhead.” It also has bulge and roll on the face to help with off-center hits. Additionally, the SpeedFoam in the GAPR Hi is slightly less dense than the rest of the offerings, according to Bystedt, because the density of the original foam was raising CG and deadening sound too much; he calls it “SpeedFoam lite” in the GAPR Hi.
The GAPR Hi is offered in 19, 22, 25 and 28 degree lofts, ranging from 40.75 inches to 39.25 inches, respectively.
Hand-painted Callaway Create headcovers are now up for auction
As part of its Callaway Create platform, Callaway teamed up with artists from around the globe to produce 32 hand-painted headcovers. The headcovers are each hand-stitched and weather-proofed by Seamus Golf in Portland, Oregon.
Below are a few examples, but check out the website here to see all of the designs.
Each of the 32 headcovers are individually named by the authors, given names such as “Banana Slice,” “Cartpool Karaoke” and “Freaky Fourball,” among other creative, golf-related names.
The headcovers are now available at auction, and the proceeds will serve to benefit Bunkers in Baghdad. Here is more information about the organization, as per the Callaway website:
All auction proceeds go to Bunkers in Baghdad, an organization dedicated to sending new and used golf balls, clubs, and equipment to our troops around the world, with a focus on the brave men and women currently serving in combat zones. Bunkers also supplies golf equipment to our vets and warriors around the country to aid in their recreation and rehabilitation. It has collected and shipped 9 million golf balls and 700,000 golf clubs to our troops, vets and warriors in more than 65 countries around the world and all 50 states.
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