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GolfWRXer caddies for Jin Park at the RBC Canadian Open

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July 23 was a day I had been looking forward to for weeks — I was going to be inside the ropes with PGA Tour player Jin Park at the RBC Canadian Open.

As my cousin and I drove to the course, we discussed the endless possibilities of what could come from our days experience walking along with Jin.

At 8 a.m., we arrive at the course and were greeted by sunny skies and the sound of pros striping it on the range. We knew we were in for a treat.

After watching Jin warm up for a little while, we headed toward the first tee with his close friend Y.E. Yang for the pair’s usual Tuesday practice round. On this walk was where my day started to fall into place – Jin turned to me and asked if I would be interested in caddying for the day.

Without hesitation I said yes, and took Jin’s Iliac golf bag from Mike Bestor, Jin’s usual caddy, and slugged it onto my own shoulder. Once we got onto the first tee, Y.E’s caddie, James Walton, looked to Mike and sarcastically asked if I had a friend who could loop for him. Little did he know that my cousin Travis was more than willing to lug the bag!

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The day was a surreal experience that was filled with laughs, bets and a shocking number of good shots. I knew that PGA Tour players were good, and I didn’t consider myself to be a slouch on the course. However, after following Jin and Y.E around for 18 holes watching them pure shot after shot after shot, I was mind boggled. I don’t just consider PGA Tour pros to be good anymore — they’re unbelievable!

Just as good as their ball striking was their putting. Y.E. and Jin left almost every putt in or beside the hole, blowing nothing by and leaving nothing painfully short like most amateurs.

Jin, Y.E., Mike and James were all extremely down to earth, and took an interest in all the things we had to say. They took two young guys under their wing for the day and stopped at nothing to make sure we enjoyed ourselves

It could have poured rain and Jin could have slipped sacks of sand in the bag for me to lug, and I still would have had an awesome day.

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Nick Boyd is an 18-year-old journalism student at Carleton University in Ottawa, with hopes of one day becoming a sports reporter.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. charley phx

    Aug 9, 2013 at 10:31 am

    hey Nick. sounds like a great experience – i found this article after meeting your dad and brother in florida – your brother and my son played in an event a few weeks ago and became fast friends and i heard about this story.. best wishes on your golf and writing!

    • Nick Boyd

      Aug 12, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      Hey Charley, thank you for reading the article! Yea I heard Cameron and your son became good friends down south, it sounded like an awesome trip – too bad cam couldnt get the golf going. Thank you for the well wishes and again for giving the article a read!!

      Nick.

  2. Jadon

    Jul 31, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    wow, how cool is that?! I bet you learn a lot more from those guys watching up close in person that watching on TV. Especially on shots around the green.

    • Nick Boyd

      Aug 12, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      Oh around the greens those guys are incredible!

  3. Sean

    Jul 27, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Nice! What a great experience for you. Yeah, those guys are good. 🙂

    • Nick Boyd

      Jul 28, 2013 at 10:46 pm

      It was an awesome experience one of the best I’ve ever had on the golf course! Ha good is an understatement! Thanks for reading and for the comment Sean!

      Nick.

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Why wedge mastery is so elusive

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I have conducted numerous surveys of golfers over my 40-year golf industry career, because I have always believed that if you want to know what people are thinking, you simply have to ask them.

As a gearhead for wedges and a wedge designer over the past 30 years, most of my research and analysis is focused on these short-range scoring clubs and how golfers use them. What this research continually tells me is that most golfers—regardless of handicap–consider the wedges the hardest clubs in the bag to master. That’s because they are. I would even go so far as to say that the difficulty of attaining mastery even extends to the best players in the world.

Watching the Genesis Open this past weekend, for example, it seemed like these guys were hitting wedge approaches on nearly every hole. And while there were certainly many shots that covered the flag—like Max Homa’s approach on 18–there were also a great number that came up woefully short. Not what you would expect when a top-tier tour professional has a sand or gap wedge in their hands.

The simple fact is that wedges are the most difficult clubs in our bags with which to attain consistent shotmaking mastery, and that is because of the sheer design of the clubhead itself. For clarity of this article, I’m talking about those full- or near full-swing wedge shots, not the vast variety of short greenside shots we all face every round. To get mastery of those shots (like the tour pros exhibit every week), you simply have to spend lots of time hitting lots of shots, experimenting and exploring different techniques. There are no shortcuts to a deadly short game.

But today I’m talking about those prime opportunities to score, when you have a full- or near-full swing wedge into a par-five or short par four. We should live for those moments, but all too often we find ourselves disappointed in the outcome.

The good news is that’s not always all your fault.

First of all, you must understand that every wedge shot is, in effect, a glancing blow to the ball because of the loft involved. With 50 to 60 degrees of loft—or even 45 to 48 degrees with a pitching wedge—the loft of the club is such that the ball is given somewhat of a glancing blow. That demands a golf swing with a much higher degree of precision in the strike than say, an 8-iron shot.

I have always believed that most golfers can improve their wedge play by making a slower-paced swing than you might with a longer iron. This allows you to be more precise in making sure that your hands lead the clubhead through impact, which is a must when you have a wedge in your hands. Without getting into too much detail, the heavier, stiffer shaft in most wedges does not allow this club to load and unload in the downswing, so the most common error is for the clubhead to get ahead of the hands before impact, thereby adding loft and aggravating this glancing blow. I hope that makes sense.
The other aspect of wedge design that makes consistent wedge distance so elusive is the distribution of the mass around the clubhead. This illustration of a typical tour design wedge allows me to show you something I have seen time and again in robotic testing of various wedges.

Because all the mass is along the bottom of the clubhead, the ideal impact point is low in the face (A), so that most of the mass is behind the ball. Tour players are good at this, but most recreational golfers whose wedges I’ve examined have a wear pattern at least 2-4 grooves higher on the club than I see on tour players’ wedges.

So, why is this so important?

Understand that every golf club has a single “sweet spot”–that pinpoint place where the smash factor is optimized—where clubhead speed translates to ball speed at the highest efficiency. On almost all wedges, that spot is very low on the clubhead, as indicated by the “A” arrow here, and robotic testing reveals that smash factor to be in the range of 1.16-1.18, meaning the ball speed is 16-18% higher than the clubhead speed.

To put that in perspective, smash factor on drivers can be as high as 1.55 or even a bit more, and it’s barely below that in your modern game improvement 7-iron. The fact is—wedges are just not as efficient in this measure, primarily because of the glancing blow I mentioned earlier.

But–and here’s the kicker–if you move impact up the face of a wedge just half to five-eights of an inch from the typical recreational golfer’s impact point, as indicated by the “B” arrow, smash factor on ‘tour design’ wedges can be reduced to as low as 0.92 to 0.95. That costs you 40 to 60 feet on a 90-yard wedge shot . . . because you missed “perfect” by a half-inch or less!

So, that shot you know all too well—the ball sitting up and caught a bit high in the face—is going fall in the front bunker or worse. That result is not all your fault. The reduced distance is a function of the diminished smash factor of the wedge head itself.

That same half-inch miss with your driver or even your game-improvement 7-iron is hardly noticeable.

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Breakthrough mental tools to play the golf of your dreams

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Incredibly important talk! A must listen to the words of Dr. Karl Morris, ham-and-egging with the golf imperfections trio. Like listening to top athletes around a campfire. This talk will helps all ages and skills in any sport.

 

 

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On Spec

On Spec: Homa Wins! And how to avoid “paralysis by analysis”!

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This week’s episode covers a wide array of topics from the world of golf including Max Homa’s win on the PGA Tour, golf course architecture, and how to avoid “paralysis by analysis” when it comes to your golf game.

This week’s show also covers the important topic of mental health, with the catalyst for the conversation being a recent interview published by PGA Tour with Bubba Watson and his struggles.

 

 

 

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