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Opinion & Analysis

Interview with Debert Cook, Part 2

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If you missed it, be sure to check out part one of our interview with Ms. Debert (pronounced DAY-bear or DUH-bear) Cook, founder and publisher of African American Golfers Digest.

Ms. Cook has captained AAGD since its birth in 2003. In part two of our interview, she reveals more about the machinations of the enterprise, its greatest successes, and its contributions to golf. Without delay, let’s jump into part two of our interview.

RM: What goals do you have for AAGD, over the next years, five years, fifteen years?

DC: Looking for a buyer, so I can retire! I am age 61, turning 62 on December 29.

RM: Tell us a bit about your writers. Do you have regular columns, or is everything a one-off type of article?

DC: With a limited budget, all of our writers and editors volunteer their time. We carry regular articles such as ‘Destination Review‘, golfer profiles, “Youth Tee,” “Women’s Round”, Leaderboards of African American tournaments.

RM: Rank these article topics in order of importance for the African American Golfer’s Digest publication and site…

DC:

#1 Average Golfer
#2 Lifestyle
#3 Travel
#4 Celebrities
#5 Equipment/Apparel
#6 Instruction

RM: Golfers like Cheyenne and Tiger Woods, Harold Varner III, Mariah Stackhouse, and Ginger Howard might be held to a different standard, due to their skin color. Should they be expected to speak out more on social issues, or is this an unfair burden?

DC: Yes, I staunchly believe they should speak out on social issues. They owe their Black community the respect of vocalizing their stance, whether or not if it hurts their celebrity, or not. Their fans deserve to know where they stand on social issues and their stance can make a difference in engaging more people on these issues.

RM: What is the most important success story in African American golf history, that most people in the industry need to know?

DC: My story. I am the only Black woman to wholly own a golf magazine. It’s been 17-wonderful years, yet, many people who enjoy the game and work in the golf industry have never heard about my publication.

RM: What question haven’t we asked, that you would like to answer? Please ask it yourself, and answer it. Thank you.

DC: How do you think AAGD has help the golf world?…In the last 17-years, AAGD has exposed millions of people around the world to the passion and love of the sport that African Americans have for the game of golf. AAGD has given exposure to Black golfers who would otherwise never have been featured in a golf magazine. (these kind notes I receive regulary). The late, World Golf Hall of Famer Charlie Sifford was on one of our magazine covers and when he saw it he called to tell me that he really liked it, that he had never been on the cover of a magazine. Students email and tell me how much their profiles in the magazine helped when attached to their college applications. Parents call me to say how much golf has helped their child focus and concentrate of being a better citizen. Golf coaches call me to say “thank you” for being a resource for our scholarships, keeping many from going to waste. Women call me to say how much they appreciate seeing so many Black women golfers between the page of the publication. Readers text me to say, thank you for being a pioneer and making Black folks look good! I am most proud that the magazine has no debt!

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Nack Jicklaus

    Jun 22, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    The Image on the cover of the magazine has some 90’s or very early 2000’s Nicklaus irons and some 90’s era metalwoods in the bag. I hope the inside of the magazine is a little more up to date. Also, I was pretty shocked when the lady said that “she” was the most important success story in African American golf history?! Tooting her own horn pretty loudly it seems, but I could have taken her answer the wrong way…

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: A discussion of swingweight (Part 1: History)

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Image via Golfworks

For the twenty-five plus years, I’ve been in the equipment business, one of the most commonly-asked-about subjects is that of swingweight. It mostly comes up when a golfer is requesting over-length clubs or is contemplating changing to graphite shafts. So, I’m going to direct a discussion of this topic. Please chime in to let me know your thoughts and input.

The concept of swingweight was developed by custom clubmaker Kenneth Smith about 60 years ago. He was trying to figure out how to “match” clubs, and settled on balance point as a way to do so. His swingweight scale had a “hook” to hold the grip end of the club, and a fulcrum 14 inches from the butt. He created an arbitrary scale of measure that consisted of letters A-F, each letter divided into ten segments, i.e. D1, D2, D3, etc. When he measured the clubs of the day, he found most of them to be in the D2 range, so that became recognized as the “standard” for men’s woods and irons.

The golf club industry quickly adopted this method of “matching” clubs…well, because they had no other way! Because the longer the shaft, the heavier the head feels, clubheads increase in weight as the shaft gets shorter, so that the swingweight will stay the same. The theory then, and now, is that if the swingweight is the same, the clubs will feel essentially the same in the golfer’s hands.

But let’s look at what has happened since Kenneth Smith invented the swingweight scale.

  • Shafts have gotten longer by at least an inch. In the 1940s, a “standard” driver was only 42-43” long – now most are 45” if not more.
  • Shafts have gotten much lighter. Those old steel shafts weighed 150 grams or more, compared to modern graphite driver shafts in the 55-75 gram range.
  • Golfers have gotten stronger while clubs have gotten much lighter overall, but swingweights have always adhered to that D2 “standard.”

You must understand two very important factors about swingweight.

First, a “point” of swingweight–such as D2 to D3–is NOT a unit of measure like an ounce or gram. It takes much less weight to shift a driver one point, for example, than it does a wedge, because the shaft length is such an influence on this measure. Generally, the weight of a single dollar bill is a swingweight point on a driver—not much, huh?

And secondly, the overall weight of the club is at least as important as swingweight. Jack Nicklaus was noted for playing a driver in his prime that was 13.25 oz in overall weight–very heavy even for that time (most are about 10.5 oz now!), while his swingweight was only C9, considered very light. S

Swingweight by itself is a rather worthless piece of information!

So, that should get this discussion going. I’ll give you a few days to toss out your questions and comments on this subject, and then I’ll begin to address my own theories on swingweight for YOUR clubs.

Sound off, readers!

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Podcasts

TG2: Review of the new ShotScope V3 GPS & shot tracking watch, Vessel VLX Stand Bag!

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I get the new ShotScope V3 GPS and shot tracking watch on my wrist for a few rounds and love the data. ShotScope V3 offers accurate GPS distances while seamlessly tracking your club data.

Vessel Bag’s new VLX stand bag is a high end, lightweight, luxury bag for golfers who love to walk. Walking with the VLX was actually more comfortable than my pushcart!

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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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: How to never miss another putt

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Learn how your own anatomy is designed to roll the golf ball in the direction you want to start the putt without any interference or assistance on your behalf.

All you need is a system of predictions that will help you confirm that your putting stroke is pointed in the right direction. This is how you become a witness to gravity sinking the putt for you. This will become clear after you listen to the podcast and give this a try at a golf course near you!

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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