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Posted djfalcone on 26 August 2017 - 08:02 AM
I got the opportunity as an active duty service member (Marine) through Birdies for the Brave to caddie for a professional on the 10th hole as many times as I wanted. I immediately expressed that I wanted to be put out as much as possible and meet as many professionals as I could – and you won’t believe how my day went.
After getting the brief from our point of contact, we were going to find out who we would start caddying for. There were only two spots at the time and the two professionals were Rory and Matt Kuchar. The other service member (Coast Guard) and I decided we would just tell each other who we would rather go out with, even though either was an incredible opportunity. We both said Rory of course, but I expressed that if nothing else I would like to be there to meet him so I could get a picture for my wife (she’s a big fan). He was nice enough to give me the opportunity since my wife and I are such big fans – thanks dude.
So here I am walking from the Patriots Outpost on my way to literally meet my golfing role model. Of course I felt like I was going on my first date - thinking to myself – “what kind of questions will I ask, is it wrong to ask for a picture, do I just play it cool and act like he hasn’t accomplished so much in the game of golf?” It all subsided when I walked up to the practice green near the 10th tee box at Glen Oaks to meet Harry.
Harry as most of you know is Rory’s lifelong friend and is filling in on the bag until another (if there is one) replacement is found. I introduce myself to Harry while Rory warms up his putting before the round (by the way – new putter in the bag which I was hit on later). We have some small talk, I ask about the warm up and other golf related subjects, before Rory walks up and introduces himself. I extended my hand, played it cool and off to the 10th tee box we went. Once we arrived to the tee box we were also greeted by another 3 caddies who would join us from the Caddie for a Care Foundation (great organization). We all shook hands and got a quick picture in before the round. I stayed out of the way at first, while one of the other caddies carried the bag as Rory and I walked down the fairway. This is the start of what would 5 full hours (yes, 5 hours of inside the ropes, up close kind of experience) of me picking Rory’s brain and video taping literally every swing of the round.
Now – I know what most of you are thinking, “what the hell did you guys talk about?!” well my friends – as a proud member of this fine golf fanatic forum…I started with equipment questions. Immediately I had his attention – his eyes lit up like I had just asked an alcoholic if they wanted free booze. He started explaining how he just changed from the .580 Ribbed Multi Compound’s to the Tour Velvet .580 Rounds because, “I felt like the club was too much in my fingers, which ultimately would make it easier for me to lose the club either inside or outside in the take away”. Holy s*** – Rory McIlroy is explaining to me his grip change – oohhh do go on. “I’ve been working really hard on making sure my take away is perfect because if it’s screwed up there you’ll see me have to reroute the club on the downswing” – jaw hints the floor.
By now we’re getting close to his tee shot, when he suddenly changed the subject to me – where I was from, if I played golf, how I liked the military blah blah blah. Rory really wanted – or at least seemed – to know me. Of course I’m thinking, “hey man, stop talking about me...I want to know why you went to the new putter – why is have a Scotty Cameron Matador grip, how was the transition to the new ball, the wedges…tell me about the wedges!!!”…all in due time my friends. I explain who I am, how I got there and how the opportunity came about.
As we continue to walk down the fairway I try to get Harry involved as well, since he is who I met first. Seriously, what a great guy – Harry was super friendly and didn’t waste any time before starting to bust my balls. What was so cool about this opportunity, at least from my perspective, was to really hear and see what goes on in between shots. These guys were just two friends shooting the s*** and talking about what normal dudes talk about either at the bar or on the links. Yeah yeah, get back to the golf – okay okay.
His second, was a 125ish uphill 2 yard draw to a back left pin (that was just beautiful to watch), lands 6-8 feet from the hole, - okay cool now we have to walk to the shot…more questions. “I noticed you went from the Juno to a Proto Mullen – what made you switch?” Well, he replies, I’ve had it for a while and it resembles the Cameron I was using at the end of last year (of course I know this), which helps in a few areas I was struggling. (holy s*** again, here is arguably one of the most talented golfers to walk the face of the Earth telling me about his putting woes. I’m hooked).
As we approached the green I couldn’t help but remember the instruction given by the Birdies for the Brave contact before I walked to the tee box; “if the player asks you to stick around you are more than welcome to, however do not ask to” – no sooner as the thought goes through my head that my experience is almost over Rory kindly offers the opportunity to walk the entire 18 holes with him. UHHH YEAHHHH! I’m pretty sure I replied before he finished the offer, but hey who cares? He makes birdie and now I can’t help but think; this is so fu^&king cool.
Without going into hole by hole and shot for shot – which I will more than gladly do if you guys are interested – I wanted to share some of the more meaningful stuff – like more equipment, course management, and golf swing questions. A few holes letter we get down to the good stuff – his clubs – in detail. I talk to him about the beautiful RorsProtos – which by the way look even better in person – the driver and the wedges. We talked about the process of trying to figure out which wedges he would put into play and the why that went behind the decision.
I asked very specific questions like, “what are your iron specs” (standard length and 1* upright and swingweight d3), but the conversation really hit a good point when we got to talking about the ball. This was something that you could tell he had strong feelings about. Immediately he prefaced his response with – “I have always played the ProV, but the new ball is just too spiny.” He gave me an example for one of the rounds at the Masters this year. What holes we said I can’t remember, but he explained that two different shots with the same club (8 iron) due to the wind went somewhere around the total distance of 85 yards difference. “How am I supposed to trust a ball that spins like that, I can’t…so I had to find something different”. Now I have played both the TP5X and the new ProV1x, I’m no professional and don’t need to worry about that, but you could tell in his face he was dead serious and wasn’t just talking up the new ball. I won’t go into the detail he told me about the offers between the companies he was considering signing with, but I will tell you when he told me “it was all about the ball” I believed him.
One of the other really cool things that came out of the experience was seeing how involved Rory and Harry were in the yardage book and how much they wanted to explain to me. I remember Rory asking me to chime in now and then to make sure he was doing his job with it. Meticulously – both Rory and Harry would write down each shot and the conditions of each; wind direction, slope, club selection, distance to pitch, trajectory, full shot or not, shape, literally everything.
As we were finishing up the round we got on the conversation of my wife and I. We bought a house in Raleigh – she lives there – while I am stationed in Fort Dix NJ. Rory wanted to know more about what she did, how we meet, and how long we had been married. We had talked about his recent marriage (why his ball is number 22 – the date they got married) and said they just had their 4-month anniversary. That day (the 23rd) I told him that I too was having an anniversary, that Friday (the 25th). My wife and I are celebrating 5 years of being married. He congratulated me and asked if I would make sure I do something special for my wife – we both laughed and then the idea hit me. I didn’t want to ask, but I had to. My wife as I have stated is a BIG fan, and nothing would make her day than having Rory tell her Happy Anniversary.
I tried not to ask Rory for anything, but I had to ask if he felt comfortable recording a quick message for my wife. He immediately jumped at the opportunity – holding my phone he pressed record and said; “hey Susan, I just wanted to wish you a very happy anniversary and I hope you have a great day”. HOLY s***. Since Wednesday I’m writing this on Friday night, my anniversary and I can tell you my wife FREAKKKKEEDDDD.
There is soooo much more for me to say, but I really want to move in so you guys aren’t reading a novel. I do want to leave with this story by saying – Rory was a genuine guy, he cared about what I had say and never seemed like he wanted to withdraw away from the conversation. I am so thankful he and Harry let me stick around for the full 18 holes and it was an experience I will never forget.
After that experience I call my wife, tell her about some of the experience (but not the video) then head back to the Patriots Outpost for lunch and another spot to caddie. I was given another amazing opportunity to caddie for none other than Jhonattan Vegas. Seriously the day couldn’t get any better.
I was to catch up with Johnny and his caddie Ruben on the 10th tee box – their 10th hole of the day. As I waited on the tee box, Ruben shows up and we immediately hit it off and before we go any further – this guy is hilarious. Pretty much before Johnny arrived to the tee box I had already been invited by Ruben to finish the round with them – another 9 holes – of course I jumped at the chance. Johnny walks up – extends his hand – and Ruben introduces me to Johnny. I’m thinking to myself at this point “today must be a dream, this is so f*(&ing incredible”. Johnny sets up and sends the tee ball into what seemed like outer space and without skipping a beat we were off walking down the fairway. Johnny, Ruben and I begin talking about who I am, where I’m from and the normal small talk to begin a conversation.
If any of you know me, which some of you do, you know I’m not very big – I’m scrawny 5’11” 130 lbs. As soon as I mention I’m a Marine, Ruben (like an old friend would have) starts needling me for being skinny and starts talking smack about me carrying the bag – jokingly of course. I retort, he and I laugh and this is the start of what would be – what was for me – a great round and an even better way to cap off the day. We were paired with other Pro Am partners who mostly stayed in their own bubble, trying to play well in front of the talented J Vegas. The 10th and 11th holes go by pretty quick and we had to wait on the 12th tee.
On the 12th tee box is where we meet Matt. Matt is Johnny’s agent, and we all get to talking about what I do in the Marine Corps. I’m a CH-53E Crew Chief and without going into a lot of detail they all seemed to be genuinely interested in what I did. After hitting his tee shot we start walking down the fairway and I ask Johnny what are the best and worst things about being on tour. Best was the travel and the golf, but the worst was always being away – this was something that both of us could relate to.
That was the second time in the same day where I was really surprised by the way these professionals think and feel. Sure they play golf, but they are away from their families 6 days out of the week and sometimes weeks on end. I had never really thought about it; I always thought it was play golf for s*** loads of money and work one week out of 4 – boy was I wrong. Johnny and Ruben really explained how much hard work and effort goes into performing week in and week out and what kind of toll it takes on not only yourself but also your family – something I know very well.
Johnny, Ruben and Matt really made me feel like I was part of their group. While I know very well I’m not getting invited to Thanksgiving dinner – what Johnny had then explained to me really hit home: “you wouldn’t believe how tough it can be on the golf course (120 acres or more) when the people your are playing with make you feel uncomfortable”. This went on to really show me that the better experience I had, they had. No one wants to play golf with a tool and no one wants to walk 5 miles with a blabbering idiot. Hopefully I was neither.
I carried the bag, cleaned the clubs, help read a putt here and there, talked equipment, but for the most part it was just 4 guys walking the course shooting the s*** while I got the chance to watch one of the best golfers in the world do his thing. Standing behind Johnny while he hit these towering high shots was stunning. His swing looked flawless and the sound of those MP-4’s smacking into one of those Prov1’s made a noise that frankly am not familiar with. Watching his short game was something out of a golfing textbook. All the while, Ruben was like an older brother – there to teach me what he is so successful at doing and making me feel welcome to ask about anything.
One of the things that I asked Johnny was about his equipment – why was he using the Mizunos, why didn’t he stick with those beautiful mp-18’s, what where his specs, was there anything new contract wise he was looking at? All questions he answered in full detail. I don’t feel like it’s my place to talk about his details with companies he is dealing with, but I do think it’s fine to tell you guys – he really likes the MP-18’s and did say he was looking forward to putting them back in play.
Coming to the end of the round I wanted to thank Johnny, Ruben and Matt for allowing me to tag along, and them all for being so open and willing to entertain my questions. I gave them both a squadron patch as a token of my appreciation. I will forever be a Johnny Vegas fan. As for Ruben, no matter if he is on Johnny’s bag, someone else’s or no longer caddies I will always remember and be a fan of how kind, caring, and humble he was.
Wednesday was probably the best day of my life and it wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the Birdie’s for the Brave program. So even though they aren’t reading this I want to thank all the volunteers that make everything happen. I seriously can’t speak any higher of the men I have tried to give you guys insight into. If by any chance any of you do read this – thank you again for the amazing experience and I will always be a fan.
**I wanted to make sure you guys know someone reached out to me after reading this and they wanted to invite me for a round of golf after reading this and I wrote about that as well check it out***
Posted TheMackDaddy on 01 September 2015 - 08:21 PM
We got into our hotel two days ago, in Back Bay, Boston. After a 5 hour flight, which was delayed twice, we were all pretty tired. We went to bed early and woke up late. We ventured around the city (spectacular) and saw the famous sights- the Harbor, the square where the Boston Massacre occurred, and much more. We grabbed lunch at Faneuil Hall. When we returned a few hours later, we walked into our rooms to find Transamerica goodie bags placed on our hotel beds. Included in the bag was some awesome logo'd gear: Prov1x's, a towel, and a hat. We also received our agenda for the next day.
That night, we walked to Fenway park. It is every man's dream to watch the Red Sox play the Yankees, and that is exactly what we did. We watched Big Papi hit his 495th home run, we watched the crowd jeer each other, and we saw a Sox/Yankees game come down to the last inning. It was spectacular, and definitely more enjoyable than the Mariners games I am used to watching. Afterwards, we headed back to the room with a huge day ahead of us.
If there is anything that can get an 18 year old out of bed in the morning, it's the opportunity to play with three professional golfers who have successful careers. Although we were supposed to be in the lobby by 7:00 AM, I ran a bit late and hopped into the elevator around 7:02. Our elevator stopped halfway down to the lobby, and another golfer stepped on. Except it wasn't just another golfer, it was Tom Watson. He stepped on carrying his Adams staff bag, wearing a blue blazer. It was straight out of a MasterCard commercial. We rode down in relative silence, my friends and I in shock over our proximity to one of golf's greatest. We split up from Tom once we got into the lobby, and boarded the bus with around 20 other participants in the contest to head to Boston Golf Club.
Boston Golf Club is isolated and unmarked. After driving through a wooded area, we arrived. Boston Golf Club is ranked #74 on the list of golf courses by Golf Digest, and it was not hard to tell. We were treated to breakfast by Transamerica and the wonderful staff at Boston Golf Club. Breakfast was in the dining room, which was 100% constructed from wood taken from the original construction of the course in 2005. The atmosphere was comforting, and the food was spectacular. The pros showed up and introduced themselves and ate in an adjacent room. After lots of bacon, sausage, potatoes, and eggs, we went to take professional pictures with the staffers. We rotated groups, and the actual winners got one big picture with the pros. After this concluded, we headed to the range for a teaching clinic.
The clinic was more geared to the average amateur, which was fine since most of the participants were average amateurs as far as I could discern. My buddies and I, who are all around scratch, just enjoyed watching the three guys hit shots on the range. I recall one instance where Zach told Kyle to hit a shot at a bush in between two trees at the end of the range, probably around 270 out. Kyle pulled driver, and hit a drive through the trees. The gap was probably 3-5 yards wide, and he threaded it on his first try. I was sitting about 10 feet behind the three golfers, and I was mesmerized by their ball striking the entire time. Kyle hit it a mile, Zach hit a 3 yard draw every single time, and Tom hit the ball straight and consistent.
After the clinic, our group headed to the first tee. I got to start the day off with my three buddies, plus Tom Watson for three holes. I don't know what ingredients make for the most nerve-wracking tee shot, but having Tom Watson watch you tee off without warming up might be at the top of the list. I hit my drive well, pushed my 3 wood right of the green into a hazard, hit a good flop to about 30 feet (I promise it was a difficult shot that I executed well), but then had a 3 putt to make bogey. Tom had a casual birdie after going driver, 3 wood, chip, and putt from 6 feet. I hit a great drive on hole 2 and a great wedge to 20 feet. Tom hit driver and wedge to about 30 feet. But, he 2 putted, and I didn't. Another 3 putt. In front of Tom Watson. We headed to hole 3, and Tom hit a great tee shot. I hit a 3 wood to about 220 (Should have hit driver). After that I hit hybrid to 20 feet. Tom caught his shot a little heavy, and ended up making 6 after drawing a poor lie in the fescue. I would like to say I finally 2 putted, but I three putted. Again. In front of Tom Watson. After that, Tom had to join a different group of winners to play with, so we were on our own for a bit.
We spent the time bonding with our caddies and admiring the course. I three putted the fourth hole also, but I figured out how my putter worked on hole 5 and made a nice putt for par. By hole 9, I was 8 over, yet I was hitting the ball great. I simply could not putt.
Our group had to slow down, as we were playing too fast. We did not get the company of another pro until hole 12, so that explains why we were flying around the course. On hole 12, we met Kyle Stanley.
Kyle went to the same high school as the three other guys in my foursome, so it was easy to make conversation. On TV, I feel like he gets the reputation of being shy. Until today, I might have agreed with that. After playing with him, my opinion has changed. Kyle asked me questions about my golf career, my college choice, my home golf course, etc. He told jokes and laughed at mine. He is pretty deep off the tee as well. I mashed a drive around 300 on a par 4, and he was easily 10-15 yards in front of me. If needed, I think he could muscle one out there farther. Unfortunately, Kyle had to join up with another group after 2 holes with us, but I thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent together.
We played hole 14 with our foursome, and met Zach Johnson on the 15th tee. The Transamerica employees apparently heard that our group was full of good golfers, and they were eager to have us make a bet with ZJ. As a betting man, I eagerly obliged. Zach made the bet: Our low score in our foursome vs. his score, straight up. The prize on the line (suggested by yours truly) was a tour issue hat for each of the guys in our foursome. If we lost, we had to post a video expressing our complete love for Zach Johnson (suggested by him in complete humor). He had the hats in his car, so he agreed to the terms (If Zach isn't wearing a hat next week at the Deutsche Bank Championship, you know why). To be honest, when we made the bet I was confident we could win. One PGA Player vs. 4 near scratch or scratch golfers, one of whom is on a D1 golf team? We could handle him. Michael, the D1 player, really carried us. He went par, birdie, birdie on holes 15-17. By that point, we had beat Zach 2&1. Free hats! I was thrilled because I love tour issue gear, but Zach wasn't about to end his day with a loss against a bunch of punks. He challenged us to a different bet for hole 18: beat his score on hole 18 and earn a drink out of the Claret Jug, which he brought. Nothing could have topped that offer. Nothing. He hit it just short of the green. Next up was our foursome. The first three in our group hit the green, but I put it in the pot bunker right of the green. I made bogey, and one of my friends missed his birdie putt. Zach lipped out his chip, and tapped in for par. Brett and Michael, two of my great friends, were sitting pretty 20 feet away. Michael stepped up first, and nailed his downhill slider. Brett, with the pressure on, hit his putt, and nailed it! They both made birdie and got the opportunity to drink out of the Claret Jug! The Transamerica crew seemed pretty thrilled with the outcome of the bet, and interviewed our whole group afterwards about our experience, which was absolutely perfect.
Ten minutes later, we enjoyed a great lunch, with the Claret Jug as our centerpiece (put on our four-seat table by Zach himself). After finishing hotdogs and cookies, Zach brought Brett and Michael outside for the chance of a lifetime. He poured for both Brett and Michael, and I cursed myself for not birdieing 18 myself. Then, Zach opened up the chance to anyone else interested. Of course, I could not pass up the opportunity, and I was the 2nd person in line. If I had to list some of the single greatest moments of my life, I would put my drink from the Claret Jug near the top of the list. When you see the video on Sportscaster or Bleacher report, just know that Brett and Michael earned it, and us others only got the chance because Zach is simply a very generous guy!
We departed from the club shortly after, and by now I am back at the hotel, reflecting about such an amazing day. I told my high school golf coach about the experience, and he hit the nail on the head when he asserted that I will remember this day for the rest of my life.
Thank you to Transamerica, everyone at Boston Golf Club, Tom Watson, Kyle Stanley, and Zach Johnson for a spectacular opportunity and the most enjoyable golf of my life.
You can see all the pictures from the trip HERE!
Posted KjBowen on 08 June 2014 - 08:28 AM
I really enjoy this as it allows me to play with a ton of different people and of all skill levels. Yes there is a chance of some nightmare rounds but some can be very pleasing.
Yesterday I decide to head over to play the local Par 3 course and when I arrived there was no one on the course except for a very old man on the tee.. The owner comes out an says you may wanna play thru him as he plays VERY SLOW. I told her no worries I am in no hurry. He tees off and she was right.. Very slow.. He finishes the hole and I play the hole.. I walk to the next tee and he just arrived. I asked him if I could play along side him.. He made a face like he was shocked I didn't ask him to play thru.. We played together and we had a great time.. Playing with him prob added 30-40 mins to my round but we both had company..
Turns out he is 83 years old
Has been playing golf for 63 years!
He lost his wife and has no one to play with.
At the end of the round the owner came out with tears in her eyes and told me that he plays there 3 days a week for over 4 years and no one has ever played with him. They always play thru and that what I did was an amazing gesture.. I told her in my eyes that's in the spirit of the game and why we all play.
She refunded me my greens fees and said that with what I did that earned me a free round.. I went in and the old man bought me a drink.
I truly love this game and I think I will be doing even more rounds as a single lookin to meet some amazing individuals
Posted JasonGore59 on 11 January 2016 - 11:04 AM
Hope everyone had a safe, healthy and happy Holiday season!
I always enjoy chatting with Greg. He's one of my most favorite people and a great sounding board. It was very a difficult decision for me to switch, but my game has always been based around par 5's. I just felt like my numbers weren't very good with the other driver. I want to be clear and say that the driver I was playing was not a bad driver. It just wasn't good or right for me. I hear rave reviews and see amazing results when other people hit it club. Just not in my hands.
To make a short story long... When I went down to he Ely Callaway Performance Center in Carlsbad, CA, I joked with Steve Mata and Nick Arthur (my fitters) that I was going to say something to them that they had never heard before... "I want to hit it farther!" So, Nick told me that I needed to launch it higher with (a lot) less spin. Steve Mata grabbed his phone, made a call and said "I've got something for you. It'll be here in 10 minutes." I hit a few other drivers, and they were all immediately better! But, he pulled the new XR 16 Sub Zero prototype out, and WOW! I hit it a few times with the wrong shaft and it went well, just a little squirrely. Put a demo shaft Rogue 125 MSI in and hit 4 BOMBS dead straight that got up in the air, flattened out and turned over about 2 yards. 168-170 ball speed, 13 Launch 1900-2100 RPM spin rate. At that point, I told Mata that I wanted THAT driver. He said they could build me another one. I said NO. I wanted that one. Now, I see where my 7 year old daughter gets it from (sorry, honey). He said that was their only Sub Zero head they had. But, since it was December 23rd and Callaway would pretty much be shut down for the next week or so, I took it home. I've got to tell you, its gotten BETTER. I had to learn where to aim my driver again. I'm not used to being able to turn my driver over. I can actually turn this over even though its a super low spinning head. Needless to say, I'm excited to be a Callaway Team Member! And, to clear up the point, I went after them. They didn't come after me. I want to raise trophies again. Thats why I love this game.
To top it all off, the irons are AMAZING! I started playing the new Apex Pro 16. I couldn't believe how well they went through the ground and how solid they were. I guess I really missed playing a forged blade. And, these are like no forged blades I've ever played.
Plus, when you have Roger Cleveland (the man!) custom grinding your wedges and sending there asking you what YOU want and asking you what you feel and what you are looking for... It does't get much better than that. As you can tell, I have a man-crush on Roger. I think he is the best. That's just my opinion...
One last thing, keep your eyes posted on my website in the coming weeks, jasongoregolf.com. There are going to be some huge, cool changes to it. Hopefully, I will give everyone a reason to give it a click!
Until our Q&A... Stay warm!!!
Posted Pure745 on 05 March 2009 - 11:32 PM
*note - last update was in 2016.. not as big of a club HO as you thought!
All Titleist.. sorry Titleist haters I know how bad, spinny, overpriced, non-innovative, behind the times, overrated, etc.. these things are but I keep coming back to them!
917D3 - Fuji Atmos Black 7TX
917F2 - Fuji Proto SPeeder 857 Evo 2
718 TMB 3i, CB 4-6i, MB 7-9i - PX LZ 6.5 Hard Stepped
Vokey SM7 RAW - 47, 51, 55, WW 60V - PX LZ 6.5
Scotty Cameron Tour putter (rotation below)
Scotty Collection (some of it) :
From Scotty to my son:
Toolbox + Garage
009 ToolBox Circle W - Flo Jet Neck
Tool Box 009 Welded Mid-Neck - Chromo Blue Mist
CamiCo - Dustin Johnson hand shaped GSS NP2
X7M Tour - Dufner Style
2013 Method 006 "Rory Prototype" - "Rory Proto" Method thread showing the build can be found here: http://www.golfwrx.c...-wrx-oven-trip/
Nike Square Proto with Tungsten Ported Weights
Toolbox Studio Design Proto SSS 350g
Chromo Bronze Squareback N+ from 1st Gallery Fitting - http://www.golfwrx.c...he-1st-fitting/
Tool Box Collection:
Byron Morgan Damascus Customs - http://www.golfwrx.c...updated-122413/
Posted GolfingBro on 11 February 2016 - 01:32 PM
Some of you may have seen the Canadian tour thread over the summer, my mom who is @Agatha on here was active on there.
Anyway a bit about my background, I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a professional golfer, it was my dream so set my goals early and worked to achieve them. I was fortunate enough to get to play D1 golf at UC Davis where I was able to not only get my degree in Economics but also play some amazing courses, and had 4 years to develop my game at a high level. Because of a decent amount of success in college and as an amateur I was able to get a contract with Nike. Nike clubs and gear has become top of line in the past few years and they treat all of the players on staff great. I can go into specifics later on the equipment I play. I have had the same swing coach since freshman year of high school, his name is Don Parsons, he is in Goleta and is a great instructor. He was on Morning drive this week as he is a lead instructor as well with the golf channel academy.
First Year as a Pro: Aug '14 to Aug '15:
I decided to play high level amateur golf the summer after senior year at Davis and turned pro in August of 2014. I played one tournament before web.com Q school that year. Q school I breezed thru pre qual and eked thru stage 1, stage 2 was where I got knocked out. I played some mini tour events to work on my game and actually won a decent amount of money so that was nice. I went to Argentina and did Latin American Q school but came up short. So back to more mini tour stuff for awhile. In spring I went thru Canadian tour Q school (now called the MacKenzie tour) and was successful in getting my card. I spent the summer on the tour and played all the events but 1. I guess I had an okay rookie year but I missed keeping my card by $900 Canadian which was frustrating. I missed 4 cuts by 1 stroke, that was rough.
So back to web.com Q school in Sept.. I did not have to pre qual this year and made it all the way Q School Finals in Florida. I did not have my A game at finals and finished T110 out of the 156.
I can post more about what conditional status really means if there is interest in knowing.
My plan is to continue to compete on some of the mini tour events as well as try to Monday for Northern Trust and I plan to go back to Louisiana for a web.com Monday qualifier. I am signed up for Canadian Q school again and that will take place in April.
If anyone has any questions I would be happy to answer and if there is interest I will come on here and post updates as well.
Posted golfpros1 on 08 February 2014 - 08:11 PM
Pros and Cons
If you go all Taylormade, you can also pretend to sign a clothing deal with Adidas Golf, which really ups your poser game. You can also be young and edgy and rock the Ashworth stuff, so the options are really endless for you. Throw in the white three striped belt and you're practically a touring pro. For all their marketing, the clubs are actually really good, so it could be a win-win this season.
The ball is great, but not for everyone, which could really mess up the relationship with your pretend sponsor, and you're also subject to those things they call wedges. Also, their staff bags and hats change every 6 months, so this is an ongoing investment that you have to consider to maintain your poser level.
If you go all Titleist, you have a nice transition from woods to putters, cause it's all pretty quality stuff. The staff bag also doesn't change often, so you can maintain your level of poser for quite a while before reinvesting. And let's face it, there's a million of these guys, so you could fly under the radar and pull this off too. You also have Footjoy to round out your look, which isn't too shabby I might add.
It's hard to find a pretend clothing deal. Sure, you can go with Oakley, Polo, UnderArmour or someone, but it feels like your poser game has lost some street cred. You also lose out on all the fuzzy feelings you get with Taylormade and Callaway marketing hype. I mean, how fun is it really to say you're hitting a <insert number> versus a JetSpeed? The models also don't really change each year, so it loses some poser edge unless you go with the story about Titleist letting you bag what you want as long as it's theirs (which requires some acting skills).
If you go all Callaway Golf, you've got some quality stuff throughout the bag. Some woods are hook central, but nothing the pro model can't fix, or a story about some custom fitting sessions in Carlsbad. Staff bags also get a big bonus, cause collecting the bombs is kind of cool, and tells you're playing parters that you're 250 yard drive is really a 320 bomb. Also, you could maybe pretend you're a professional long driver, but that really comes down to whether you can swing the club 115mph to pull off the look to unsuspecting ams that think 300 is long.
Sure, you can wear Callaway clothing, and it's pretty decent stuff, but it's not as easy to find or on sale. Those golf ball dimples also take some getting use to, but I'm sure you can work it out. Also, the endless questions about Phil could get to be too much, depending on whether you're a fan or not.
If you're a cast guy, you've found your home. These guys have lots of great options, and even touring pros will play the i series so you might be able to pull the whole thing off. Plus, you can also get your putters dipped in gold (spray paint might work), and start a room in your house. This is for the serious poser, however. Another good thing, you can pretend to sign a deal with any ball maker and still be legit.
Not everyone loves cast, so this could be an issue. You also have no clothing deal options to complete the full poser effect, though you might be able to pull it off with Oakley (especially if you say you're truck is bullet proof (don't test it out, no matter how many beers on the course you drink)).
If you're a forged guy, this is really a great way to go. Irons, wedges, and putters are top notch stuff, and you can tell stories about how samurai swords are made. Bags and hats don't change often, so you can maintain your poser level for some time. You can also pretend to be sponsored with any golf ball, but I'd stick with Titleist on this one.
Woods are not at the top of peoples list, and although their own pros will bag a TM driver, it lowers your ranking. You have no clothing deal options either, which really limits you to Oakley, Polo, UnderArmour, etc.
If you go all Nike, you have some great Nike swooshed options. Pretty quality throughout the bag overall. And when you sign a pretend deal with Nike, with it comes apparel, shoes, hats, street wear when you're not playing, etc. You can pull off the best poser image, behind TM, in the game. This is also the best option for the PLAYAS... you know who you are (no need to insert a cheap Tiger waitress joke).
You live in the shadow of Tiger, and it's creating friction with your pretend sponsor. You also would never bag anything but their blades, so you better bring your A game.
A long history of winners and majors, you follow in great footsteps. They are also a general sporting company, so you can mix in other sporting equipment to round out your pretend sponsorship. Also, they don't sponsor many people you've heard of, so in the US you have a higher chance of pulling this off (unless they are hardcore golf fans). Plus, you could make your own funny youtube commercial if you're the type.
Seriously? No, really, seriously? Where do we even begin? You have no pretend clothing deal associated with this sponsorship, let alone shoes or ball, but I suggest you're a journeyman that likes to march to the beat of your own drummer (may require acting skills) to pull this off.
You're best friends with Watson... just go with it. Besides, you were also instrumental in Els leaving Callaway. This could win you an oscar this year. BTW, their stuff is actually really good, and the shaft upgrades alone make this a smart pretend sponsorship for any poser (especially on a budget). Also, you're inside knowledge about TM owning AG makes you not only the real deal, but gives you the ability to fulfill your dream of wearing yellow shoes.
These guys are associated mainly with Champions Tour players. I know what you're saying, it's only bad for the guys under 50, but it's still a major issue to consider to pull this off.
You are the coolest kid on the block! I mean, you sip red bull all day, and party all night with the hot ladies! If you're young, this is THE pretend sponsorship this year. You got some great options with the equipment as well, and you can even COLOR COORDINATE with your other pretend sponsor, Puma.
Only for the young. Seriously, no one needs to see a 40 year old guy in orange pants. 'nough said.
Still one of the top wedge makers, and a solid overall choice. This is a nice sleeper sponsorship. You also won't have to worry about all the pressures of shooting commercials or marketing materials since they never do it. You can also link your pretend sponsorship with Srixon, which is a huge selling point if you prefer a yellow ball.
Let's be honest, this sponsorship is home for the insane. VJ is spraying antler urine or something on himself, Beljan is laying all over the course with panic attacks near death, and where do we even start watching Keegan hit a ball. You'll also have to work on a clothing deal here, and if Srixon isn't your deal, you will have a tough time pulling this one off.
Fred Couples. Yeah, that's what you're getting here, and it's a good thing. OK, everyone likes some Kuch (don't say that with your wife around), but it's all about Couples here. The equipment is actually pretty good, particularly the forged stuff. You also have a great ball selection to fit anyones game with this pretend sponsorship, and all of them are totally legit options with Lee hanging on to the lower ball speed models. You also have a lot of flexibility with this sponsor, so it could be a win-win if you're a tinkerer.
It's been a while, but didn't the woods look like something Austin Powers would use? It took some serious wind out of this sponsorship in the driver department in the past, which is why you saw some other options in the bag. Couples or no couples, Bridgestone Golf just doesn't seem to carry the kind of poser power of the others, so you have to really figure out who you want to pretend you are.
Posted Pure745 on 29 September 2014 - 08:35 PM
A quick update and some Trackman info on the D4. A recent bag overhaul and wanting to get a bit more out of my driver than I was getting out of the Flex, specifically on slight misses, and the timing of the D4.. I finally got the D4 setup as it should be.
I will say the first few round with it were hit or miss, but the really good ones were really good and overall the ball flight was really straight. The Flex tends to spin a lot with slight misses, basically when I'm really bad, I wanted a little more help from it. I took the D4 in to Cool Clubs (the fitter knows my swing very well now at this point), he said that he wasn't sure I'd get what I was after with the D4, so I brought the D3 as a back up since it did pretty well against the Flex and others in terms of dispersion and was towards the top in terms of numbers.
On my 2nd ball with the D4 he said he hasn't seen me hit a ball like that in any shootout with any club.. I was pretty shocked and not knowing the numbers, it was really surprising to hear him say that (he is usually very ho-hum about most things )
The numbers from that ball were: (C3 was the setting)
120 SS, 180 BS, 1.49 SF, 12.2 LA, 1873 Spin, 313 Carry, 339 est Total
If you've been following my threads, my spin is usually in the 2300-2500ish range, so this was a pretty eye opening start to this session. Basically my numbers were great and the ball flight was very straight, but I would either slightly push or pull on misses.. and at this point I wasn't 100% at what I was after, which was something really reliable where I don't have to be on all the time to get max performance.
From there we went to A2, I made a few swings (documented in this report) that weren't 100% but were dead straight, I probably hit 4 balls on almost the same line. You can see the dispersion difference in the reports, but needless to say, I think the Flex might have been replaced. I have had a few low rounds recently with the D4 and Vapor Pro in bag, so we'll see if the D4 sticks. Also, I saw a few balls in the 181-182 range with the D4, something the D3 wasn't coming close to, I think the D3 was topping out for me at 178-79.
But here are the numbers for now, I didn't take the Flex for comparison because I didn't want to add too much into the equation since I really wanted to get the D4 dialed in.
Pure745's 2015 Driver Shootout - 3/8/15 - We have a winner! (bottom of this post) + 3 Wood Trackman #'s added 4/8/15 (bottom of this post)
Intro . . .
I would like to start this off by thanking fellow WRX'ers who have made this thread productive and fun to do. It is hard to believe that this is the fourth year doing this and going on eight years on WRX. For those that are reading this for the first time, these "Shootout" threads started in 2011 when I was having a tough time finding un-biased and real world information on clubs that I was interested in and began documenting my thoughts, findings, and results on WRX. Over the years the "Shootout" threads have evolved and the process which used to take entirely too long and cost way too much money has gotten slightly more time and cost efficient.
This year's thread started back in late 2014 when I was invited (non-WRX related) to a Nike event where the Vapor Pro and Speed were seen in person, along with the fairways and irons. I posted my initial thoughts and pictures in hand, and a few months later I was notified I would be going to the Oven for a WRX trip to test the Vapor line. This trip was an unbelievable experience, but I knew the Vapor line and any new '15 line was going to have a heck of a time kicking out the SLDR/Rogue 125 combo that won last year's shootout. Needless to say, OEM's went big this year and there are LOT of great options that probably will be giving your current driver a good scare.
About me . . .
Life has changed quite a bit over the 4 years of doing these Shootouts and so has my game, my index has been as low as a +2 and has high as a 1 with around 30 tournament rounds posted in 2014. I'm now 33 years old, and going on my 3rd year of joining a private club. My game has changed and improved quite a bit since joining and the amount of competitive golf has increased by a great margin. I have also started a pretty regimented workout and diet in May '14 which has increased my strength and flexibility and I have picked up a few yards this year as you will see in my numbers compared to last year. I feel very fortunate to have played in some of the invitational tournaments last year and to have played with some really great golfers and PGA pro's over the past year that have taught me quite about about myself and my game. In 2015 my goals are very simple, to get better and enjoy the game as much as possible.
My swing back in December with the Vapor Flex:
Current Driver and background . . .
As I mentioned earlier, the SLDR 460/Rogue 125 combo was really great for me last year, very long and dependable in tournament play. The SLDR setup was one of the best drivers I have owned and made driving one of the strengths in my game, the only thing I could ask for would be an improvement in dispersion and distance on slightly off center hits and if I'm begging a few more yards Fast forward to the Oven trip, I hit the highly anticipated Vapor Flex side by side, good for good, and the Flex beat my SLDR by 2-3MPH in ball speed (179 vs. 182). The trip was fast paced and little did I know that I wouldn't have the Flex in hand for months after that trip. I actually received the Flex in late December with our inter-club season starting in January, I really didn't want to tinker with my driver prior to this since this is a big deal to our club and I really wanted to improve on my performance last year. The Flex good for good was amazing, but I hit a few errant shots with it that had me questioning the overall playability. Insert the Vapor Pro, right off the bat this thing was very straight and long. Not as long as the Flex, but I found it much straighter. Could have been a few factors, but I have stuck with the Vapor Pro since then and started off my season with it in the bag.
Here is a snapshot of my competitive rounds so far with the Vapor Pro, it has definitely been my workhorse, and my stroke average is about 3 lower than last year. This is not 100% due to the driver, but the driver has been a huge factor in my matches.
Enough background, lets get to the Trackman session . . .
I mentioned there were a few curveballs in this session, you'll see them below and I'll try my best to explain my thought process while it's fresh in my head from yesterday. My criteria for picking a driver is NOT all about Trackman numbers. I have always been skeptical about choosing a driver strictly based on numbers for many reasons, one reason is that I don't think some of the numbers make a huge difference on the course, under pressure, when you NEED to hit a certain shot. With my current game, hitting the ball straight is a big deal, having predictable misses are a big deal, and having the ball in play is a really big deal. Let's not kid ourselves, I still want distance, max distance because I want every advantage I can get. So with that said, Trackman numbers are important, but more important is how the club actually performs and there are many factors that come into play here.
Trackman setup - Cool Clubs - Irvine, CA . . .
This was my view, the trees back there are the end of the driving range with a street behind them. You will see the distances on the overhead sheet from Trackman later, but this will give you a good idea of what you are actually seeing in the graphic.
The Lineup . . .
All shafts are Rogue 125's tipped 1" at 44.75"
From address (in no particular order) . . .
Big Bertha Alpha - Double Black Diamond
Ping G30 LS Tec
The numbers - the averages and "The Big 3 or 4" . . .
The Trackman session was very interesting for a few reason, some good, some bad. The good reasons are that Trackman gives you some really interesting data that you simply have no other way of obtaining. The bad reasons are that sometimes this data contradicts what you see on the course and what you know to be true based on experiences on the course and tournament play that you have found to be acceptable and can be counter productive. This session did just that, and is why I feel that driver/club decisions should be made based on a BLEND of information you have from Trackman and what you ACTUALLY see on the course and the other intangibles (sound, feel, looks) that can also influence the overall confidence you have in a club. I had to bold these parts because of the amount of reviews I see on here hit into nets and decisions based on numbers not in actual playing conditions. I like when fitters will give you a few recommendations for your specs based on fittings since on the course vs. on the Trackman could end up being two different things.
With all of that said <spoiler alert> there is no clear winner here yet, but it is pushing me to drill down to the best few drivers and really focus in on which of these is hands down the best for me. Typically in years past, this process would have taken me months to do what I found out in a few hours yesterday, another benefit of outdoor Trackman fittings.
Here are the averages from yesterday. A member asked if I could rank my swing from 1-10 yesterday, and I would rate it a 7. Another bad thing about Trackman fittings is that it is such a small sample of swings, this was the case for me yesterday as I didn't have my best stuff and hit a few wild balls, but overall I got more than enough information on what I needed focus my attention on. Honestly, I wish there was a clear cut winner, but to be fair to myself and my game, I really do need to go further with this process to find what is actually the best for me.
The BIG 3 or 4? - R15 - 915 D3 - Vapor Flex - Vapor Pro
So if we were going strictly on the Trackman session, the Vapor Flex would have won. Overall distance, spin, LA, speed, dispersion was the best of all drivers and was the favorite of the fitter. The problem with that is that I have already found the Pro to be better overall on the course, or is it? So I took the Flex out yesterday and was hitting the sh%t out of it, it was about 10 yards longer than the Pro and dispersion wasn't as bad as initial testing.. I played "okay", and shot 70. I was really happy with that. I have listed the detailed numbers from the "Big 3 or 4" below so you can see the shots.
To elaborate on why the Big 3 are the Big 3 - the main factors are dispersion, playability, and numbers, these were the drivers that really shined overall. The Vapor Flex and R15 were absolutely smoking a few balls, so they would win based on numbers alone. The Vapor Pro was actually middle of the pack on Trackman, but has been exceptional under tournament conditions and really solid on the course. The 915 D3 was probably the straightest from what I saw, definitely went higher and IMO, there is room for me to improve this one a little bit.
R15 - The R15 seemed to be a better version of the SLDR for me. Shape looks great at address, sound and feel had been improved and the numbers were better than the SLDR as well. Add in additional forgiveness and there really isn't much not to like about this club.
915 D3 8.5 - The D3 definitely wasn't my favorite going into this, in fact, I thought it would get smoked by the other clubs. I was wrong, the 915 is a great club and overall performer. Dispersion was the best of the bunch and for that reason it is in the final bunch.
Vapor Flex - The Flex is just a monster. The best looking and sounding of the bunch, with crazy ball speed and spin numbers to back it up. There is a lot like about this club, but the biggest and most important factor in question is the overall playability.
Vapor Pro - The Pro has been a workhorse for me. Looks fantastic, sounds great, and is almost a blend of the Flex and the 915 D3. I'd say this is a very similar club to the 915 and would have a great chance of steering a few Titleist guys over to Nike. Not the best numbers, but has shown it's true colors on the course! The consistently lower smash factor is weird to me, but I wasn't swinging this one the best for some reason.
The Cobra FlyZ+ was the biggest surprise. Although it didn't make the final cut, it's damn good! Anyone who is a huge Cobra fan HAS to try this one out. I found it to be night and day compared to the BCP and much better. Sound and feel are spectacular, this head in black would look awesome. It was really close to making the final group but the others just had more that I liked overall.
What about the BBA DBD and G30 LST?
Without going too far into it, the DBD was the most disappointing of the bunch. Last year it was the Covert 2.0, this year was the DBD. The numbers on the averages make this club look far better that it was in real life. I actually found last years BBA to be better. Everyone is different and results vary, but I didn't like the DBD at all.
The Ping G30 LST is very low spinning and will be a great club for ping fans looking to drop spin significantly, and I mean significantly. I hit a few that were just knuckling under 2K rpms. The bad is that it is UGLY.. it looks terrible, and there is no way I can sugar coat that. It sounds and feels okay, but other than that I would have to be a die hard Ping fan to use it.
So what next?
Right now I have the Flex in the bag since it did technically win the Shootout on numbers and dispersion based on that session. I have a USGA qualifier coming up soon and if I have a bad round before then I'm going to be using the Vapor Pro in that round. After that I will be dialing in the R15 and 915D3. I might do one more Trackman session with just those clubs and then I will finalize with an overall winner. IF the Titleist wins, my bag will be going back to 100% Titleist due to pure OCD reasons and it's a really solid tournament proven bag that can be swapped in immediately if needed
UPDATE 2/23 - The Final TWO
After a lot of thought about the numbers, some insightful comments and feedback on here, and my own thoughts on my game and the feedback I have from hitting all the clubs - I have come down to the final two drivers.. VAPOR PRO and 915 D3. I thought a lot about the Trackman session and the numbers and how playable each club really was without me having to mess with anything. The best two were the Vapor Pro and 915 D3. The Flex won out on sheer numbers and in the Trackman session, I actually hit it the straightest, but I know for a fact this is not what happens on the golf course. The Vapor Pro and 915 are actually quite similar in numbers, and today I went to a trustworthy source to get fit for Titleist (not Cool Clubs) from a fitter who has played with me before and is a great player himself. We ended up with the 915 D3 8.5 (C1 setting) where I was getting balls in the 12˚ LA and 1900-2300 spin (depending on the strike) and the 915 F 16.5˚ 3WD (B1 setting) with the AD DI 8X with the option of the P95. The Titleist clubs have been built and I will dial them on the course and eventually get the two setups back on Trackman to confirm the numbers and real world results before finalizing this. My goal with the 3 wood is to find something stupid easy to hit that launches really high with mid spin but nothing too crazy that will balloon. The Nike Flex was confirmed to be really good by the Titleist fitter, but the 915 F really crept in there with some really nice balls hit and hit very high and soft. All of this needs to be confirmed on the course, I plan on doing it this week. So anyways, here are the final two setups!
Vapor Pro 8.5 ˚ Neutral - Rogue 125 70TX
Vapor Flex 16˚ - Right - Rombax P95
Titleist 915D3 8.5˚ - Rogue 125 70TX
Titleist 915F - 16.5˚ - AD DI-8X
UPDATE 3/8 - And the WINNER is???
Before we get into the winner, I want to talk about how it won, why, and the process to get to where I am at today. When I first started this, I thought that the Vapor Flex was going to walk away with this one and it did, on paper, but on course it was a different story for me. Good for good it produced a ball that was unreal, but I had some weird left shots that were dive bombing and just really couldn't play a driver that had that miss. Then it was the Vapor Pro, it performed great in the heat of battle and was just so playable. So good on the course that it overshadowed the shortcomings on the Trackman sessions. Next came the 915D3, sneaky long, and a great performer in the Shootout, great launch, really low spin and a great look at address. The downfall? The worst sounding driver I have hit this year and really not what I expect from Titleist in that department. The upside is that if the 915 won, I would have it hotmelted and dialed in by Cool Clubs, so really not a huge deal, just an annoyance.
For the 915, I rolled the dice and got fit by a Titleist fitter who I trust, but indoors on Flightscope. I will say this again, and I'm not sure why I don't take my own advice half the time, indoor fittings are just not that effective. I took the 915 D3 8.5 set to C1 to the course, it was good, but I felt it had room for improvement.
Trackman Session #2 - Cool Clubs Driver Fitting
At this point, I didn't trust the indoor fitting at all, especially after putting it in play and seeing the results after a few rounds. I like the Vapor Pro the best and it performs on the course, but with the feedback of the fitter at Cool Clubs and what I saw to confirm the numbers, I just felt we can do better. The Flex, I didn't trust fully but I can't argue with the numbers and the good for good results I saw on the course, it was just too much to turn my back on.
• 915 D3 - After the indoor fitting we were at C1. Literally after 2 swings on Trackman we went to D2 and saw a night and day difference. Keep in mind that my usual shot is pretty straight or a slight cut. My miss is usually overcooked right, so we went with more draw bias to that if I did turn it over, it's a slight pull and misses would be much straighter. This was definitely the case, the 915 D3 was going to be really tough to beat on this setting.
• Vapor Pro - My favorite going into this point, but not after I just saw the 915 on the D2 setting, I knew this was going to be interesting. The first Trackman session, I just was not hitting the Vapor Pro well at all so I thought I could prove the fitter wrong on this one I was wrong. The ball speed and spin were just not in the same realm as the 915 D3 now was, and definitely not close to the Flex, although more playable.
• Vapor Flex - The wildcard and the club that "won" the Shootout initially based on pure numbers, but not in playability. We tried 9.5N-Mid, 10.5N-Low, 10.5N-Mid. The numbers again were the best, but I just wasn't hitting as straight as the D3. I didn't want to fight it and try to force any certain club to work over another.. but STILL in the back of my mind I'm thinking "if I can just tame this beast, it's a no brainer". We ran out of time (I was late) and had to stop there.
At this point I was frustrated that I was late and didn't have time to fully dial in my driver and would have to do MORE testing to find that "ah-ha" moment where I'm committed to something without any doubts. I was happy with what I saw with the 915 D3 so I put it in the bag and used it in a practice match. It performed pretty well, but nothing too crazy, definitely gained distance on misses and it was a little better and longer than the Vapor Pro on off center hits, I missed 1 shot right which cost me a hole but overall it was good.. just really LOUD!
The only thing in my mind at this point was maximizing the performance and playability of the Vapor Flex, this should be the driver I use right? Best numbers by far, looks/sounds great, I've seen it do some amazing things on the course, but I have also seen the flip side of that coin. Last resort, reached out to a fitter at Nike I met at the Oven. He suggested a new setting that I have yet to try on the Flex.. 10.5R-Mid. Took this to the course and the results were very promising, but still too much right in it for my fade.
Trackman Session #3 - Cool Clubs 3WD/Driver Fitting
This fitting was the 2nd part of my first fitting and was to dial in a 3 wood (to be discussed later) and to ultimately finalize my driver. At this point, the Vapor Pro was somewhat out of the question due to the 915 D3's performance and that I already knew what the Vapor Pro does. This was specifically a last attempt to dial in the Flex and get numbers on the new setting from Nike and then to compare that to the 915 D3.
• Vapor Flex - I told the fitter about my conversation with Nike and we just went from there with the Flex as the focal point. The first two balls were smoked, with my usual fade. He really liked this setting that Nike suggested, and I hit a few more and basically felt we were on to something. He wanted to experiment with a crazy setting that I would have NEVER guessed on my own, but was the setting that worked really well in my Flex 3 wood and 915 FD. It was the LEFT setting.. the setting that has never been touched. We set it to 10.5L-Mid and it was hands down the best session on Trackman and dispersion was inline or better than what I saw with the D3 or Vapor Pro, add to that the numbers were the best and the misses were really good. Next step.. take it to the course, and after 54 holes..
THE WINNER . . . NIKE VAPOR FLEX
After 3 rounds with this driver setup the way it did, I trust the misses I was seeing, and the crazy distance gained on misses from optimal spin/launch numbers. Basically the higher launch I was seeing in the Vapor Pro that I liked was really climbing (especially on mishits) and Trackman really confirmed this. My misses were really losing a lot of distance, even though straight, were a good 10-15 yards behind a miss with the Flex optimized. The ball flight on the Flex launches a bit higher and does not climb but is a flatter trajectory with less spin and a lower AoD so the ball will release when it lands. The optimized setting got rid of that weird left ball and my misses are very predictable. Almost like it is not even the same club I was hitting when it was in the 9.5N-Low setting. Good for good, this driver is one of the longest I have hit and with the right setting the Flex has really proved me wrong. I will happily eat my words on the playability after what I have seen in the extensive testing and on course performance. I should also note that one of the key factors to this setting working well was that the driver from address still looks square/open even on the LEFT setting, this is key because in the past it has been hard for me to find a driver that sets up well but isn't overly right biased which forces me to turn the club over more than my stock shot likes to. The LEFT setting really holds my ball online on my overcooked right misses, and really is nice to see on the course.
The numbers look like this, I'm waiting for Cool Clubs to send a modified view for the driver only, because it's pretty cool to see the differences in what the settings actually do. The conditions during this session were a slight wind in and swirling (about 5-6 mph) but not consistent, so these numbers were REALLY good for me conditions that weren't as perfect as I've had before on Trackman and amplified the spin/ballooning.
Note: the spin doubled on one shot so the average spin is actually 2719.
UPDATE - 4/8/15 - Tour Issue Vapor Speed Limited (Glued Hosel) vs. OTR Flex
Here are the numbers from the tour issue "Vapor Speed Limited" with the W80x from the Oven, it was hit in comparison to the OTR Flex with P95 that was dialed in at Cool Clubs.
All shots hit from the ground:
OTR Flex w/ P95 set to 16L
Side by side:
Goal is to have the ball landing softer when hit off the turf, these shots were all hit from the ground:
Well, that's it for now. Thank you all for reading and all of the input, feedback, and enthusiasm!
Posted Dr. Block on 14 January 2018 - 09:22 PM
So cool I’m surprised there isn’t frost on the grass
Posted Obee on 05 January 2016 - 02:46 PM
Like always, I just want to say up front what an amazing honor it is to be on the same golf course as these guys. I will never forget this day, because I didn’t just get to play with Phil, but Rickie, too, which I didn’t let on about.
And if any of you wonder why I post this kind of stuff, it’s because I’m still a kid inside. I’m 48, but I still feel like I’m 16, even if my body feels like it’s 60!
Regarding the day: I knew Rickie was going to be in town over the holidays, and because we had played a match against him and Tom Pernice, Jr. and a couple other pros last year, I was hoping we could do the same again this year. I found out a couple days before and that we were, indeed, good to go for another match. In addition, we heard there was going to be a “special guest,” and I had a feeling it was going to be Phil since he lives down in San Diego, and had played our course a month or so before.
Turns out I was right.
So the day arrives, and we are set to tee it at 9:30. I get there around 8:00 to putt and get the feel for the greens. Phil and Rickie arrive around 8:30 and I say hello to both of them. It’s a slow day at the course because it’s a Monday, but there are probably 40 or so people there hitting balls and practicing. There are to be 10 of us playing that day: Rickie, Phil, Pernice, and two other pros that play out of our club. We are going to have a 5 against 5 match against them of 2 best balls. They play the blacks at 7,150 75.7/146, and the amateurs play the blues at 6,450 71.7/138.
Last year, all the pros played together and all the ams played together, but this year we intermingled pros and ams. I had never played with Rickie (though several of our scratch guys have in the past) so I was hoping to play with him this year. Well it turns out I got to play with both Rickie AND Phil along with two of my scratch buddies. I was ecstatic, but tried to keep my emotions in check because, dammit, I had a job to do: Beat them! LOL
So we warm up and it’s very low key. A couple people say hello to Rickie and Phil, but people really do a good job of giving them their space. We head to the first tee with Phil and Rickie, and that’s when the bets start flying. Most of us scratch guys at the club love to gamble it up, so we have no problem with the concept of betting, but it escalates quickly, and before I know it, my two buddies and I are playing our 1 best ball against Phil and Rickie’s one best ball for … let’s just say an amount that I don’t usually play for. LOL
Because I have so much exposure going so quickly, I neglect to get an indie with either Phil or Rickie. If there had been a bit more time on the first tee, I would have gotten an indie with both of them, and I would have asked for 1 a side from the blue tees, which is what my buddy got(?) from each of them. And remember, we have an approximately 700 yard advantage, which means we will be hitting our approaches from close to the same place each day assuming we hit it 260ish and they hit it 300ish.
Oh yeah: And Rickie and Phil had a bet against each other for an amount that I will not divulge, but let’s just say it was enough to keep them both grinding all day so we got their best games. Also, keep in mind this was Rickie’s home course growing up, so he knows every read on the greens and where to miss, etc.
To set the stage: It was very cold in the morning when we teed off. Probably 48 degrees, so I was hitting the ball nowhere. There was little wind, and the greens were perfect. 12ish and rolled that morning (Pernice always makes sure the course is in great shape for a cool thing like this). The greens were so perfect, in fact, that Phil remarked on them multiple times during the day. “These are as good as I’ve putted on in a long time,” and things like that. Our greens really are amazing this time of year.
Finally, I can say that I was only nervous the first couple shots, then I calmed down. I’ve been playing very steady golf lately. My only bad rounds have been in very windy and/or cold conditions (which we get in the fall and winter), but other than that, my ball-striking has been very consistent, and my putting has been solid. So once I got over the opening jitters, I just relaxed, committed to my shots, and played golf. :-)
1) 421/385 Par 4. Trees left. Fairway bunker on right is a 275 carry
OBEE: Nervous first drive into right fairway bunker up against 8 foot lip. Pitch out to 105 yards. cut GW to 8 feet. Make the PAR save.
PHIL: Drive down the right side. 100ish to middle-left pin. Hits a wedge that gets near the hole then sucks back to 20 feet. 2 putts for PAR
RICKIE: Drive right next to Phil. Wedge to 12 feet. Buries the BIRDIE.
2) 424/390 Par 4. Two trees guard opposite sides of the fairway and make hitting driver a dicey play for long hitters.
OBEE: 4-wood into right rough. High 6-hybrid that catches the top of the tree and stays just short and right of the green. Pitch up to 8 feet to a very difficult pin and miss the par putt. BOGEY.
PHIL: 2-hybrid down the middle. 8-iron(?) hits into the mount guarding the back of the green and bounds down the hill leaving him a tough two putt. He hits the first putt on a nice line, but about 8 feet long and misses a very difficult, speedy, sliding comebacker. BOGEY
RICKIE: Hybrid a bit short and right. Has 190 in. 6-iron(?) to 20 feet. 2 putts for PAR
3) 528/494 par 5 (second shot is uphill. Plays longer than 528.
OBEE: Drive down the middle. 4-wood lay-up to left side of fairway. SW from 95 yards to 6 feet. BIRDIE
PHIL: Perfect drive and long. 208(?) to pin, uphill a bit. Playing 215ish. Absolutely lasers a cut 4-iron to 4 feet. EAGLE. Wow.
RICKIE: Drive down the middle. 2-hybrid(?) into deep, right greenside bunker, but pin is on far side of the green, so he has room. Knocks it to four feet and makes the BIRDIE. 2-under.
4) 415/381 par 4. Very difficult driving hole with multiple options. Elevated, well-protected green with a large swale bisecting the front-left and back-right portions of the green. Pin is in the tough back-right portion.
OBEE: Drive down the middle, but whiffed. Thin 5-hybrid into deepest bunker on the course. Hit a good bunker shot, but it checks up and I 2-putt from 18 feet. BOGEY, 1-OVER
PHIL: Long drive over center-line bunker (290 carry?). Wedge(?) is the right distance, but just a bit left, and it one-hops into a greenside bunker. Very difficult, short-sided bunker shot that he hits well, but he leaves himself 8 feet and misreads the putt and makes BOGEY, EVEN.
RICKIE: Drive over center-line bunker, PW to 15 feet. Putt is Center-cut. BIRDIE, 3-UNDER
5) 472/389 par 4. A bit downhill on drive. Considerably downhill on approach. Small green, with a large swale bisecting the front and back portions of the green, and the green is guarded by a hazard that runs along the front and left portion of the green the entire way. TOUGH HOLE.
OBEE: 4-wood down right center. Cut 9-iron from 145 to a front left pin to 4 feet. BIRDIE, EVEN
PHIL: Perfect drive. 7-iron from 170 to a foot. BIRDIE, 1-UNDER
RICKIE: Drive into right rough. Second shot is long and over back of green. Chips up and over the center swale to a couple feet and saves PAR, 3-UNDER
6) 152/114 par 3. Tiny, very shallow green. Trouble short and long.
OBEE: Cut GW to back right pin to 5 feet. Think I misread the putt here and made PAR, EVEN (edited. I shot 72. Either missed a short birdie here or on 3 and I think it was here).
PHIL: 9-iron over green to back pin. Makes an amazing up and down to save PAR, 1-UNDER
RICKIE: Pulls his tee shot just a tad and has 25 feet EDIT: I think Rickie actually knocked it fairly close here and birdied it. BIRDIE, 4-UNDER. I was fuzzy about the details on a couple holes as the match was two weeks ago and I've played a few rounds since.
7) 437/370 par 4. Trees Left, hazard right, but not especially tight. 2nd shot is to an elevated green that can play tough.
OBEE: Drive down the middle. Cut 9-iron from 128 to 12 feet. Barely miss the birdie and settle for PAR, EVEN
PHIL: Drive down the middle. 9-iron(?) to 10 feet. BIRDIE, 2-UNDER
RICKIE: Drive down the middle. 9-iron(?) to 20 feet. 2 putts for PAR, 4-UNDER
8) 177/151 par 3. Super tough shot when the pin is in the hourglass, as there is very little green to work with if you miss left or right.
OBEE: 8-iron to a super-tough pin cut in the middle of an hour-glass shaped green. Knock it to 8 feet, but can’t make the tough, breaking putt. PAR, EVEN
PHIL: Phil’s approach catches the swale on the inside part of the hourglass and his ball falls into the collection area. He hits a great pitch shot, but misses the 8-footer and settles for BOGEY, 1-UNDER
RICKIE: Beautiful 8-iron(?) that misses the green just to the right. Tough up and down to a dicey pin, but Rickie’s hands are amazing, and he hits a little min-flopper to 4 feet and makes the PAR save, 4-UNDER
9) 539/515 par 5, OB left tee to green. Hazard right tee to green. Relatively wide, though:
OBEE: Drive down the middle. 3-hybrid lay-up to 110. GW to 15 feet, but miss the putt and settle for PAR, EVEN
PHIL: Drive down the middle. 250ish to the pin into the wind. Pushes a fairway wood to the left into the rough. He’s pin high with green to work with. Has about 40 yards to the pin and he … pitches it in!! SECOND EAGLE OF THE DAY!! 3-UNDER
By this time, there was a small crowd of members following us now, and they went wild when Phil made it. So fun.
RICKIE: Drive down the middle, 2-hybrid into front, right bunker. Bunker shot to 4 feet. BIRDIE, 5-UNDER
10) 432/406 par 4. Hazard right off tee.
OBEE: Drive down the middle. 7-iron to 20 feet. 2 putts for PAR EVEN
PHIL: Drive down the left side and barely into the rough. Leaves his approach short and right. Putts it from off the green (the correct play due to the Bermuda grain growing straight into you there) and makes PAR, 3-UNDER
RICKIE: 3-wood down the middle. Nice approach to 18 feet. Lips out the birdie and makes PAR, 5-UNDER
11) 555/506 par 5.
OBEE: Drive down the middle. Pull my 2nd a bit and am in the front left swale that guards the front of the green. I hit a good pitch but it lands into a little upslope and just doesn’t roll out to the back pin like I wanted, and I leave myself 12 feet for birdie, which I miss. PAR, EVEN
PHIL: Perfect drive over center-line bunker. Very nice hybrid that goes just long. Bunker shot rolls past pin and just off the green. Almost chips in with his hooded, behind-his-back-foot LW(60? 64?) from just off the green. PAR, 3-UNDER
RICKIE: Perfect, long drive. Long club of some sort onto the green to about 30 feet. 2-putts for BIRDIE, 6-UNDER
12) 203/169 par 3. Into a slight wind and uphill with deep bunkers short/right. There’s now about a dozen or so member following us.
OBEE: I see the people on the hill over-looking the 12th green, and I think: “This is SO COOL!” In the past, I would have gotten nervous and hit a bad shot. But … NOT TODAY!!! I pull out my trust 6-hybrid and hit a little cutter in there to about 5 feet and everyone applauds. Woohoo!!! I then make the BIRDIE to go 1-UNDER
PHIL: Phil hits a nice 5-iron to 20 feet and says: “I got a feeling about this one….” but he lips out and makes PAR, 3-UNDER
RICKIE: Hits it just left and long of the flag and 2-putts from 30 feet. PAR, 6-UNDER
13) 353/328 par 4. Hazard left.
OBEE: 4-wood down the middle. Cut SW to an elevated green from 85 yards to 5 feet. Misread the putt and have to settle for par. PAR 1-UNDER
PHIL: Phil blocks his tee shot left into the hazard. He goes down in and hacks it out, risking injury due to a rock by his ball. Pitches onto the green in three and then two-putts for BOGEY, 2-UNDER
RICKIE: Nice drive, but the pin is in the back portion of a very tough green. He misjudges his approach a bit and hits it just over the green. His chip is 5 feet short, and he powers his putt through the break and has to make a 5-footer to save bogey, which he does. BOGEY, 5-UNDER
14) 543/492 par 5. Plays uphill quite a bit on the 2nd/3rd shot.
OBEE: Drive down the middle, 4-wood to short, right of the green. Pitch from 40 yards is a bit short and I don’t make my 15 footer for birdie. PAR, 1-UNDER
PHIL: LONNNNNG drive down the middle. 250ish, playing 270 uphill and he takes out a 3-wood and tries to hit a cut in there, but he shuts the face down a bit and hits it left. The ball catches the cart path and bounces over the street and OB. He has a big indie with one of my buddies who made bogey, so he goes back, takes a drop, and hits another shot long and right into deep rough and decides to pick up. DOUBLE-BOGEY, EVEN
RICKIE: LONNNNG Drive. 3-wood from 245 (playing 265) to 18 feet in back fringe. Lips out the eagle try and makes BIRDIE, 6-UNDER
15) 421/382 par 4. Uphill and into the wind.
OBEE: Hit a high, short, weak and right drive. I the fairway, but 170 away, uphill and into a the wind a bit. I fat my 6-hybrid a bit and leave it short and left and can’t get it up and down. BOGEY, EVEN
PHIL: Drive is pulled a bit into the right rough. Hits a beautiful, cut 8-iron to a foot and taps in for BIRDIE, 1-UNDER
RICKIE: Drive down the middle. Blocks his approach a bit and ends up in the deep right bunker. Hits it to 8 feet and makes BOGEY, 5-UNDER
16) 214/156 par 3. Significantly downhill. Pin is on top of a knoll that is just ridiculously hard to stop the ball on. Almost a silly pin.
OBEE: I hit a perfect cut 8-iron just barely left of the pin. It catches the swale and heads into the middle of the green. I have about 15 feet straight up a steep hill and onto a small flat portion of the green.
Phil looks at me and says: “Fifty Dollar makes?” (Our balls are nearly side-by-side), and I say, “No,” thinking he means he bets me $50 that I won’t make it. Can’t believe I said no. If you knew how much of a gambler I am, you wouldn’t believe it. Regardless, I step up and drain the putt for BIRDIE!! 1-UNDER
I find out at lunch afterwards that he meant it to be a $50 “make bet.” If either of us makes, it’s $50. So dumb on my part!!
PHIL: 5-iron(?) ends up a foot from my ball. Phil 2-putts. PAR, 1-UNDER
RICKIE: 5-iron(?) just behind and left of the flat about 20 feet. 2 putts for PAR, 5-UNDER
17) 439/391 par 4. Slight dog-leg left hole with trees left and well bunkered on the right. Tough driving hole.
OBEE: Decent drive, but short. I hit my approach into a greenside bunker and can’t get up and down. BOGEY, EVEN
PHIL: Kind of a yanked drive by Phil. Has a tough lie in the rough with mud on his ball. Hits a GREAT shot and has 25 feet for birdie. He lips it out and settles for PAR, 1-UNDER
RICKIE: Drive goes a bit left and down under some trees. He punches out by the green and then hits a nice chip to six feet. It’s a must-make in his bet with Phil, and he drains it for PAR, 5-UNDER
18) 432/406 par 4. Bunkers left and right, but a wide fairway. Water fronts the entire green. Pin is cut just barely over the water on the left side. Toughest pin on the green.
OBEE: Drive it down the middle. 7-iron from 152 to 25 feet. 2 putts for PAR, and an EVEN PAR 72 for the day.
PHIL: Perfect drive. Wedge to 20 feet. 2 putts for PAR, and a 1-UNDER 71.
RICKIE: Perfect drive. Wedge to 15 feet. Hits his first putt a bit firm and runs it 4 feet past, but cans the comeback for a PAR, and a nice 5-UNDER 67.
So there you have it. What an amazing day. In our other match, my two buddies and I (all three of us are solid scratch or below players) lost 2 and 1 to Phil and Rickie. It was tough beating them the way they ham and egged it on the front. They were 8-under through 9 holes with 2 eagles!! LOL!!
We won three holes out of four holes, though (10, 12, 13), and that got us back in the match. Phil’s Birdie on 15 put them 3-up, then I birdied 16 to get us back to only 2-down and dormie, but we halved 17 to lose the match.
Playing with them is such an amazing thing. They are both no nonsense when they play. We were joking around some, but for the most part, it’s real golf. I had never met Phil, but have met Rickie several times. He’s just a great guy. On the quiet side when he plays golf, but always complimentary and fun to play with. Also always, always ready, willing, and able to sign and pose for fans. Complete class act.
Phil is … fantastic. He loves to talk golf. He’s always discussing new balls, or new clubs, or how a hole plays. He’s my kind of guy: a golf junkie. He’s also funny, intelligent, and well-read. He gives the needle and takes it too. He called me by name all day, and was just as pleasant and fun as could be.
Regarding their games: They are both long. Probably both in the 300 range all day, as tour stats would back up. Neither of them is quite DJ or Bubba, but they are both in the top 20-30 on tour in driving distance, if I’m not mistaken.
And they just hit the ball so, so well. They rarely miss the center of the club, and when you combine that with club head speed, well … it’s difficult to place a pin in a position where they can’t fire right at it. They are both amazing ball strikers.
Putting: Wow. Rickie is an amazing putter. His ball just looks like it’s going in every putt. Phil’s reads were a touch off due to not playing the course except for one other time, but they both roll the ball so purely. And short putts (inside 4 feet) are just automatic. I learn so much when I watch pros putt. Their routines are so rock-solid. Always helps me putt better to see them.
What. A. Day.
Much, much more to tell, but that should suffice for now. Until next time!
Finally, I just want to add that I am in debt to both Tom Pernice, Jr., and my buddy. They are really the two guys that make this happen. Thank you guys!!
Posted 300_yard_drives on 16 January 2016 - 07:18 AM
I have thee more tournaments for now until I head back to California for a bit. My Asian tour season doesn't get busy until the fall.
I am playing an ADT event Jan 27th-30th in Kuala Lumpur, then another ADT event Feb 3rd-6th in Kuala Lumpur, then finally I am off to Dhaka, Bangladesh to play in my first Asian tour event Feb 10-13th. I am just over halfway through my 6 week excursion. Thanks for all the wishes for myself and my family. Love you guys!
Posted Darth Putter on 23 March 2018 - 05:12 PM
Then just Gary.
Then Tiger and Phil will join Gary.
And then it will probably just be Gary again.
Posted pappaf2 on 30 December 2015 - 05:25 PM
Here is another from the other angle:
Posted MonteScheinblum on 26 September 2016 - 11:28 AM
Posted shortgame85 on 11 May 2015 - 08:32 PM
Posted happygolfer on 29 May 2015 - 01:25 PM
Posted prorobo on 21 June 2015 - 04:39 PM
Wrx response: These guys are robots and have no personality.
Situation 2: Player speaks their mind in the heat of the moment and essentially summarizes the vast majority of their peers' opinions.
Wrx response: He's a tool/fool/whiny b***h/etc.
Can't win here.
Posted dpb5031 on 15 November 2016 - 06:31 PM
As a reward for her accomplishments, Haley earned the opportunity to meet Jack & Barbara Nicklaus and to play golf with Rickie Fowler at the Bear's Club in Jupiter, FL. She had an awesome day and there are not enough superlatives to describe Rickie, Jack, Barbara, and all of the folks at the AJGA and The Bear's Club who made this possible. Last week was a huge week for her as she also signed her NCAA National Letter of Intent to attend and play for Elon University on a full athletic scholarship starting next year! While down there we also went paddle boarding in Jupiter inlet and got to play Sailfish Point, an exclusive Nicklaus design on Hutchinson Island. The entire week was absolutely spectacular!
I had my clubs in the trunk in case there was a no-show, but in the end was happy to be an inside-the-ropes spectator. Rickie really smokes it, and his short game is just sick. We got to spend quite a bit of time with Rickie and with Jack and I enjoyed speaking with them. They all played great and I expect Haley will remain on cloud nine for quite a while!. Hope you all enjoy the pics and I'll upload a few more plus a couple videos too at some point: