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Who knows how to fit better than the source?

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Last week I traveled to seemingly always weather-perfect Carlsbad, Calif., where I did a full club fitting at Titleist’s Oceanside facility.

It was the second time in as many months that I have visited the guys with the cursive logo, the last time being specifically for a Vokey wedge fitting. It also happened to be the second time that I have done a full club fitting.

The first time was with Nike in Spring 2012, or just a few months after swinging the driver and 3-wood for my first time ever. During that fitting, my goal was more about making contact with the ball instead of fine tuning gear for a grooved swing; and they didn’t have a lefty 3-wood at the fitting, so that stick was assumed into my bag without a full test run.

In the 12 months since then I have put in about 1,000 hours of practice and countless rounds. My consistency has improved from something resembling a blindfolded chimp to a precociously self-assured golfer looking to improve upon his 6 handicap, and it was time to get fit for some gear that can help me reach the next level.

Back in February when my Vokey TVD wedges arrived, I had never swung any sticks that were not branded with a swoosh, and was so happy with the Vokey’s performance that I decided to return to Carlsbad to switch out the remaining clubs. When I first went down there, I didn’t realize that it was possible to get fit by the same guys who fit their PGA Tour pros and was blown away by the experience, so decided that going to the source was the best way to make certain that I was getting the best fit for my game.

It was a beautiful April day in Oceanside and my club fitter was Sr. Fitting Analyst Rob Bunn. We had worked together on the wedges so he knew some of my tendencies, which was great as we could get right to work.  At the beginning of the experience you change into golf shoes, grab a water (or coffee for guys like me, being a Portland boy) and head out to the pristine range where a section of perfect grass is reserved for you.

They ask you to space your divots out instead of putting them all right next to each other, as they say the grass heals better when it’s individual divots rather than a large section missing.  This seems to be contrary to how most grass ranges want you to hit, but I’ll assume they know what they are talking about as they have done this for years and the sod all seems perfect:

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To start, I got a hard time from the boys as I hadn’t had time to clean my grooves before flying out from Oregon.  They joked with me about it — they knew I understood how important it is for spin to keep my grooves clean. But I had gone straight from course to airport and didn’t have a chance. Walking up to the facility, my last thought had been, “Please don’t look at how dirty those wedges are.”

I warmed up by hitting my gamer clubs, which were Nike Pro Combos with Project X PXI shafts (5 though 9 iron), 21- and 24-degree hybrids with Tour AD stiff shafts and a Mach Speed SQ 10.5 degree Driver with a Project X 6.0 stiff shaft. I’ve had a few Nike drivers, but for some reason that one seems to be the lesser of the evils when mixed with my swing.

I only had 13 clubs (also in the bag is a SeeMore putter, 46 degree Vokey that I use as my pitching wedge and a 50, 54 and 58 degree wedge) because I had taken the Nike 3 wood out a few months ago due to the fact that I hit the 3-hybrid just as far and more consistent. For some reason, I could never get the 3 wood to travel more than about 210 total yards, and it always felt to me like hitting golf balls with an oversized chop-stick. I’ve been testing out a number of different 3 woods, but figured I would wait until this trip to purchase one as I wanted to make sure it fit me. It didn’t make sense to buy a 3 wood a month or two before getting fit for clubs.

My fitting began with the 8 iron. Rob would hand me clubs, and I would hit some balls while he watched the flight and the Doppler radar launch monitor gathered the swing and ball data. Every time he handed me a new stick, I would swing it a few times and all sorts of different results would ring in. It was pretty astonishing. The same swing (or at least extremely similar swings) would produce five push fades or five hooks — or five fat and thin shots or five nice baby draws. It’s amazing how much the lie angle and shaft can make a difference.

We quickly decided that the AP2 712 was the right iron head, and almost as quickly that the KBS Tour stiff shafts stood out as a winner. That combo, along with a standard length and standard lie produced a nice shot nearly every time. When trying the 5 iron, the same results occurred and I was sold on the setup as was Rob. Due to the ball speed and trajectory, he decided that 1 degree strong would be the way to go with all of my irons, too.

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Because of the amount of spin my swing put on the ball, he decided that I should go with 4 through 9 irons and one hybrid instead of going my old set up. My 21- and 24-degree hybrids produced very similar shots, so it made sense to me to have one rescue and a 4-iron, as in theory the 4 iron would be easier to control. So the next step was finding the right hybrid.

I was having issues with all of my swings, in part because my gamer irons had been, for some reason, 3 to 4 degrees flatter than I needed. It’s an entirely different topic, but along with an overly flat swing I had ingrained a wrist flip through the impact zone. Now that I was trying out standard lie clubs and have been working on a steeper swing, my miss was to keep that wrist flip in the swing and hook some shots. Rob saw this and after struggling with the hybrids, he decided to switch it up and fit me for a driver. So, we took a detour and started hitting some 913 drivers.

The driver was my No. 1 priority, and main reason for wanting to go to Titleist to get professionally fit. I was happy to see that TPI Oceanside had plenty of Lefty options.

I’ve been struggling with that stick since first hitting one in mid-November 2011, and wanted to take the uncertainty of ill-fitting gear out of the equation. It’s far too easy to blame your sticks if you are uncertain of their characteristics, and blaming gear will never help you improve.

Instead, I NEEDED to find a driver that I KNEW fit me, so I could move on and focus solely on technique and trust it to move forward. My driving has been like Bill Paxton’s acting: almost always sub-par, but on random occasions showing up and surprising everyone. Not good enough and I have been focusing on tee shots in practice.

He first gave me a regular flex shaft, and I sliced a ball over the left fence that seemed way to high to hit over. Then pull-hooked one off the planet. It was pretty obvious I needed a bit less action between my hands and the club head, so we went to stiffer.

I was still lacking in control and missing too far in both directions, so the next step was to invite Titleist Vice President of Tour Promotions Larry Bobka to check out my swing. Larry was able to identify a few things that I could do to improve consistency. I listened to his advice, which happened to be exactly what I was working on back in Portland, and started seeing great results once they put a 913 D3 head on a Speeder VC 7.2 Extra Stiff 44.5 inch shaft that was tipped 0.5 inches.

I knew I didn’t like regular or even stiff shafts, but this extra stiff felt awesome. Even though we went with a 44.5 inch shaft, my ball speed on the range was still between 155 and 160 mph, and Larry said with some form improvements I could see that increase by 5 to 6 mph. That would put me right around the PGA Tour average of 165 mph ball speed with the driver. I know I’ll never be the longest guy by any means, but if I can get my tee shots to PGA Tour average then I know I will be able to keep up with the crowd.

I hit a number of drives with this setup and was very happy with the results. It seemed like the perfect fit. Now the goal was to find a 3 wood and hybrid to fill the final two gaps in the bag.

The 3 wood wasn’t too tough now that we knew more about my swing via the driver fitting. Rob went with a couple of options before landing on the 913F D2 (15 degrees) with an extra stiff Diamana White Board Plus 82 shaft that was 0.5 inches under standard length. We tipped its shaft 0.5 inches as well, and it felt great.

I loved the control that I had with the extra stiff shaft, because it felt like the club head was staying with me no matter how hard or easy I wanted to swing. The numbers were good, too, as I was getting about 140 to 145 mph of ball speed.  It was hard to tell what distance things were flying because it was into a stiff wind, but the shot shape was nice and the ball speed was what they were looking for so all was well.

The final step was the hybrid. Now that I was more confident and my swing was under control, it was much easier to find the right fit. Just a few options in, we went with the 913H D3 (19 degrees) with a Diamana Blue Board Plus 82 extra stiff shaft at a standard length.  It was odd, but the standard length hybrid fit better, even though the driver and 3 wood were best fit at 0.5 inches shorter than standard.

I never would have guessed at most of these settings, but that is why I went to the source to figure out what I should be hitting.  When I last was fit for clubs more than a year ago I had been swinging woods and drivers for barely four months and had not come close to grooving a swing. In fact, during my original fitting in early 2012 my main goal was just to hit the ball — I wasn’t thinking about shot shape and control. I can imagine that it was very hard to fit me into anything, as my swing was so new.

A lot of time and practice has happened since that fitting and it is crucial for performance to stay on top of your gear. I am very excited about getting these new sticks and cannot wait to start practicing with them. There will definitely be an adjustment period as the lies, length, weights, etc. are different, but after a week or two of grinding on the course and range the changes will hopefully start to pay off.

The next post will be about the launch monitor specifics between my current clubs and the new Titleists that will arrive soon.  We shall get to the bottom of exactly how much periodically getting fit for sticks can positively change your game through some concrete data.

To wrap things up, here’s “What’s in the bag.”

Driver: Titleist 913 D3 (9.5 degrees)
Setting: D4
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 7.2 X (Tipped 0.5 inches, 0.5 inches under standard)

3 Wood: Titleist 913F D2 (15 degrees)
Setting: D4
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana White Board Plus 82X (Tipped 0.5 inches, 0.5 inches under standard)

Hybrid: Titleist 913H D3 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Blue Board plus 82X

Irons: Titleist AP2 (4-9, bent 1 degree strong)
Shafts: KBS Tour (S-Flex)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM4 (46-08 and 50-08), Vokey TVD M Grind (54 and 58)
Shafts: Dynamic Gold S200

Putter: SeeMore mFGP

Ball: Titleist Pro V1X

Editor’s Note: The cost of an individual fitting (metal woods, irons or wedges) at TPI Oceanside is $200. A full bag fitting is $500. All equipment is sold separately through authorized Titleist accounts.

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Dan decided in April 2010 to quit his job and, with zero previous experience in the game, dedicate 10,000 hours of practice to golf. Follow his journey as he discovers how practice translates into success. Learn more about Dan on his website, thedanplan.com Twitter: @thedanplan Facebook: facebook.com/thedanplangolf

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. David

    May 3, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Dan,
    Nice that you got to go to the source! What is missing now is a Scotty Cameron Putter!!!! If your going to get the best gear you need to go all the way 🙂

  2. Pingback: Who knows how to fit better than the source? – GolfWRX | Golf Grip Instruction

  3. Mike

    May 2, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Nice write up, Dan. I’m interested in your bag. Is it custom made? Also, all Titleist but no Scotty?

    • Dan Plan

      May 3, 2013 at 7:39 pm

      Hi Mike,
      It’s a custom Vokey bag but I believe that you can order one online. I really like my SeeMore putter so didn’t see a reason to switch over.

      Thanks!
      Dan

  4. Nick

    May 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Titleist is the bomb. Got fit by them a year ago and saw immediete improvement. The change in my driver trajectory put ten yards on my drive immedietly with probably 15 percent more fairways. Massive game changer for me. While I did not see (or frankly desire) distance gains with my irons, the “cone” of my misses narrowed considerably. This was seen literally the second and third rounds I played with my new set (I think the pressure of playing with a new set and the overwhelming desire to see immediate improvmeent dooms the first round out with new equipment).

  5. Rich

    May 2, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Thanks for the review on the fitting. I live in socal and was wondering about getting fitted at Titleist compared to a Golf Smith or Roger Dunn. I was wondering about the cost as well.

  6. Daniel

    May 2, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    I bet that was awesome getting all that info about your clubs and your swing, but most importantly being able to trust it since you were “at the source.”
    Can a reader ask how much that fitting experience costs?

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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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