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Singer: The coolest names in golf

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Frys.com Open - Final Round

This is important.

Well, maybe not really. I suppose you could argue there are more important things going on in the world of golf. WGC events, major championships, Tiger’s health, the FedEx Cup, a guy in Alberta getting socked in the face… and that’s all in the past month! But GolfWRX has other writers to cover those things. This is my story, so I’m going to talk about what has come to interest me in the last week: the coolest names in golf.

Why is a cool name important? Well, it’s easier to cheer for a guy with a cool name. Who is your favorite sprinter? Usain Bolt? Justin Gatlin? Both of them have cool names. Would you want Usain Smith to win the 100-meter dash? I suppose maybe if you were from his country, or Usain himself. But it’s a lot cooler to cheer for a fast guy with the last name “Bolt.”

Other sports are full of cool-named players to cheer for. If you knew nothing about football and were told the New Orleans Saints had two quarterbacks, one named Drew Brees and another named Luke McCown, who would you think was the better QB? That’s right, you’d say Drew Brees. Same question, Andrew Luck or Matt Hasselbeck? C’mon, not even close. And did you have any doubt that a guy named Colin Kaepernick would eventually take over for a guy named Alex Smith?

Fans gravitate toward cool names because they are fun for us to say, and fun for announcers to say (I swear pronouncing Camilo Villegas in a debonair manner became somewhat of a contest between golf analysts when he was winning tournaments). And frankly if you’ve made it this far in the article without clicking the “back” button to check out WITB threads, you probably don’t need more convincing.

That’s why I’ve created a list of the five golfers with the coolest names, which will be ranked based on the following three categories:

  1. How cool their names sound.
  2. Nickname potential.
  3. Nantz-a-bility (how many puns Jim Nantz would have at his disposal if the player won the Masters).

Disclaimer: Tiger Woods will not be on the list. Yes, he has a cool nickname… ferocious even. And yes, his last name is also the same as a type of club used by all golfers. But Tiger has been written about enough. I want to talk about some other guys. Fair enough?

OK, let’s do this thing. In descending order:

No. 5: Justin Rose

Justin Rose coolest names

From Pete Rose to Derrick Rose, the last name “Rose” has captured the public’s attention in professional sports.

Maybe part of the reason is that “Rose” is so easy to say. It just kind of rolls off the tongue. In fact, Justin Rose might have the easiest name to say in all of golf. You can get out in a couple of seconds, even with a mouth full of peanut butter.

While it’s low on nickname potential, there’s plenty for Jim Nantz to work with: obvious parallels to roses blooming (“This Rose bloomed in April”), which lends itself to enough puns to cover about 10 Masters victories in itself. But there’s also the double entendre about rising to the occasion.

No. 4 Jonas Blixt

Jonas Blixt coolest names

If you type “Blixt” into google, Jonas Blixt is 9 of the first 10 results that pop up. Not only is it a cool-sounding name, but it’s also unique. I mean, I’ve read it over a few times in my head and it sounds cooler each time. I wish my last name was Blixt!

Blixt sounds like something you did last night.

“Me and the friends went out and man we got Blixt!”

Plus, the Nantz-a-bility is pretty high. There’s lot to work, like “He Blixt the competition!” I want to see him win the Masters now just because I’m convinced that’s what Nantz would say.

His nickname potential is moderate as well, because of the obvious Jonas Brothers parallel. If he were my friend, would I jokingly refer to him as “Love Bug?” Maybe.

No. 3: Hunter Mahan

hunter mahan coolest names

When you heard the name Mahan, you probably were pretty sure it was spelled M-a-y-h-a-n. That is key, because having an exaggerated pronunciation in some form is always fun. It seems that broadcasters guys go out of their way now to dwell on the “May” portion of his name… Hunter MayyyyyHan (note: there’s actually no “Y” in the proper spelling).

Mahan is a different sounding name, and combined with the first name Hunter it’s a classic. Examples: Pin Hunter, Flag Hunter, “He hunted down the competition,” etc.

Hunter is a great sporting name, and Mahan lends itself to high levels of Nantz-a-bility. You could work with “Mahan MAY-BE” in some way. While his last name doesn’t have much nickname potential, his first name is essentially a nickname in itself. Big points for that.

No. 2: Sang-Moon Bae

Sang Moon Bae sounds like a place you’d go on your honeymoon, or where vampires might flock in a Twilight movie (Sang means blood in french by the way).

There’s Nantz-a-bility with every one of the three parts of his name. “Sang, a song of victory,” or something about a full moon that I’m sure could be worked in.

“Keeping competitors at Bae” is fun, too: It’s almost unfair. There’s more possible puns in his name than in an entire Robert Frost poem.

No. 1: Jhonattan Vegas

jhonattan-vegas-nwide-2010_t640

Jhonny Vegas just had to be No. 1.

When a golfer comes out of nowhere to win a PGA Tour event during a down part of the season and his name is “Johnny Vegas,” I start to get suspicious that there are larger marketing plans at work. Maybe there was a meeting at PGA Tour headquarters where someone said:

“Look, early season and late season tournaments are killing us. Do you know what would be fantastic? If we had some guy with a catchy name win a few events, and we could play off that a bit. Like if his name was ‘Joe Cool’ or something. People would go for that, right?”

And then someone else in the room said:

“Remember in the Bond movie, ‘Die Another Day,’ where the guy got DNA transplant surgery and became someone else? What if we took, like, Henrik Stenson or something and made him a guy named Johnny Vegas and he won a few silly season tournaments?”

Couldn’t this have happened? Have you seen Henrik Stenson and Jhonattan Vegas in the same room? Didn’t Stenson have a couple of poor seasons the past few years? And since he’s re-emerged, where is Vegas? Think about it for a second.”

I mean, a guy named Johnny Vegas comes out of nowhere, hits huge bombs off the tee and briefly leads the FedEx Cup (2011) at a point in the season where the Tour struggles for viewers? Too good to be true. His name is so cool that it made me write all of the above gibberish, and the fact that it seemed plausible enough to you is proof of how good of a name Mr. Vegas has.

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Jeff Singer was born and still resides in Montreal, Canada. Though it is a passion for him today, he wasn't a golfer until fairly recently in life. In his younger years Jeff played collegiate basketball and football and grew up hoping to play the latter professionally. Upon joining the workforce, Jeff picked up golf and currently plays at a private course in the Montreal area while working in marketing. He has been a member of GolfWRX since 2008

17 Comments

17 Comments

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  2. Mark

    Sep 12, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Not that they anyone would ever have heard of them but my favorite golf name belongs to two brothers who used to be members at my club.

    George and John…..
    MULLIGAN

    No joke. Best golf names ever.

  3. mick

    Sep 11, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Pornanong Phatlum?

  4. Ken

    Sep 11, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Then there’s the obvious … Paula Creamer! I’ll leave it there.

  5. Tom

    Sep 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat. My new fave.

  6. Phil

    Sep 10, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Johnny Vegas is also that much funnier if you are British, as most people know Johnny Vegas to be squeaky voiced, overweight northern comedian!

  7. Sebastien

    Sep 9, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Dude, don’t even listen, that list was brilliant. You left out the obvious, and it was well written. Good laugh man

  8. Kris

    Sep 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Sorry, but Dickie Pride is the best name in golf. Might be the best name anywhere.

  9. CS

    Sep 9, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    How did Thorbjørn Olesen not make it? You have to include the thunder bear in any list of cool golf names.

    • Jeff Singer

      Sep 9, 2013 at 7:34 pm

      I don’t have a keyboard that can put the line through the O. That is key. None of my local electronic stores sell Danish keyboards. Though there are stores that sell Danishes. After eating several danishes, i decided to omit Olesen

  10. B MAC

    Sep 9, 2013 at 6:34 am

    Let’s gets serious I’m not a big fan of this guy but TIGER WOODS!

  11. Jack

    Sep 9, 2013 at 12:57 am

    I thought Seung Yul Nol was the funniest.

  12. Jason

    Sep 9, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Ummm. How about Maximillion Keifer on the Euro tour?

    • Jeff Singer

      Sep 9, 2013 at 7:32 pm

      Hardest omission was Jeev Milkha Singh, there’s lots to work with there. Though that is also a solid name.

  13. Steff

    Sep 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Blixt means lighning bolt in Swedish! So his name is even cooler in Swedish!

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Equipment

Should you be using a blade or mallet putter?

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‘Should I use a blade or mallet putter?’ It’s a frequent question, and here we will provide you with our essential guide to help you decide.

Blade vs Mallet: Which style suits you?

As far as golf equipment goes, your putter may be the most critical item in your bag. That’s why it’s crucial to know the key features of both blade and mallet putters and what they are designed to provide so that you can closely identify which style of putter your stroke and game require to help you lower your scores.

Blade Putter

Scotty Cameron Blade Putter

The traditional blade putter features a sweet spot positioned closer to the heel and designed to offer maximum feel to golfers on the greens

A blade putter contains a traditional head shape and is a favorite amongst golf ‘purists’. Blade putters are heavily toe-weighted with a sweet spot positioned closer toward the heel. This sweet spot position is because the shaft connects to the club head of the blade at the heel or sometimes center of the blade. This heavy toe-weighting and heel sweet spot means that blade putters will typically suit players who have an arc in their putting stroke.

Mallet Putter

TaylorMade mallet putter

A mallet style putter gives players stability and balance in their stroke.

The more modern style mallet putter is a flat-stick with a larger head. The heads come in various shapes and sizes, and because of the size, a lot of the weight is often distributed away from the clubface so that players find plenty of stability and balance in their stroke. 

The ‘game improvement’ style of the mallet putter means that the larger sweet spot will help players who struggle to strike the ball directly in the center of the face, and the added weight in the clubhead is designed to prevent the putter twisting during the stroke.

Mallet putters also offer additional aid when it comes to alignment, offering more prominent features than a blade such as longer or added lines and can also benefit golfers who struggle to hit putts hard enough due to its heavier weight.

Do pros prefer blade or mallet style putters?

With the 2020 season in the books, we can take a look at who were the top-10 performers in the Strokes Gained: Putting department for 2020 and see what style of putter they used:

  1. Denny McCarthy: Scotty Cameron Tour-Only FastbackMallet
  2. Matthew Fitzpatrick: Yes C-Groove Tracy IIBlade
  3. Andrew Putnam: Odyssey White Hot RX No. 5Mallet
  4. Kristoffer Ventura: Scotty Cameron NewportBlade
  5. Kevin Na: Odyssey Toulon MadisonBlade
  6. Matt Kuchar: Bettinardi Kuchar Model 1Blade (Wide)
  7. Ian Poulter: Odyssey Stroke Lab SevenMallet
  8. Mackenzie Hughes: Ping Scottsdale TR Piper C Mallet
  9. Maverick McNealy: Odyssey ToulonBlade
  10. Bryson DeChambeau: SIK Tour prototypeBlade

Blade style 60% vs Mallet style 40%

Should I use a blade or mallet putter?

Typically, this choice comes down to feel and stroke. Your stroke, just like the stroke of a professional, is unique, and your stroke will determine which style of putter will help you perform best on the greens. Like any other club in your bag, fitting and testing is a key element that shouldn’t be overlooked.

That being said, there are two prominent strokes and identifying which category you fall into can help identify where you fall in the Blade vs Mallet putter debate..

Square-to-square stroke vs Arced stroke

Square-to-square stroke

A square-to square stroke is when the putter face is lined up square to the target, and the stroke is straight back and through. If you possess a natural square-to-square stroke, you may be more suited to a mallet putter. The reason for this is that a mallet putter is face-balanced with the center of gravity positioned toward the back of the club meaning the club is designed to stay square to the putter path all the way through the stroke.

Arced stroke

An arced stroke is when the putter face will open and close relative to the target, and the stroke travels on a slight curve. Should you possess an arced stroke, then a blade putter may be more suited for you because of the natural toe-weighting of the blade-style putter.

Other factors to consider

Feel players will also usually opt for a blade-style putter, due to the desire to feel the way the ball reacts off the putter face which allows them to have more control over their putting and to gain confidence. Mallet putters make ‘feel’ less easy to attain due to the softer inserts on the clubface.

Don’t put aside the issue of aesthetics when considering the issue too. The look of a putter can inspire confidence, and each individual will feel different when placing either a blade or mallet-style putter behind the ball at address, so choosing a style which makes you feel comfortable is an important aspect to consider.

Hopefully, you’ve now got more knowledge as to how you can find the right putter shape for you and your stroke. At the end of the day, the right putter for you, whether it’s a blade or mallet, will be the one which helps and inspires you to make more putts.

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Podcasts

The Gear Dive: Back to show #1 with Larry Bobka: Tiger Woods’ irons myths and facts

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In this throwback episode of TGD brought to you by Titleist, Johnny and Larry Bobka chat Tiger, Duval, and Davis and put the Tiger’s irons rumors to bed once and for all.

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Opinion & Analysis

“There is no magic bullet in club fitting” – On Spec podcast

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On this week’s episode of the “On Spec” podcast on the GolfWRX radio network, the discussion was focused on all things club fitting and what it can and can’t do to help golfers.

One of the most important take-aways was about some of the misconceptions around how much a club fitting can help improve the results of a less than ideal swing.

“There is no magic bullet when it comes to fitting… It’s not to stop you from doing anything (in your golf swing) … But by going through a proper fitting, and process you can help reduce a miss (improving consitency)” 

You can listen to the full show below, the above quote starts at 41:38 

You can check out other episodes of On Spec, as well as the entire collection of shows on the GolfWRX Radio Network here: GolfWRX Radio on SoundCloud

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