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A chat with musician and golfer Javier Colon from The Voice

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Sure, you know Javier Colon as the winner of the inaugural season of NBC’s hit show The Voice. But, what you might not know is that when Colon isn’t working on his music, it’s a pretty safe bet you will find him at the golf course working on his game.

Yes, like so many of us, Colon is a bona fide golf fanatic.

[quote_box_center]“My first exposure was in 2002 when a producer friend of mine took me out to a short par-3 course while I was out in California working on my first record for Capitol records,” says Colon, whose best round is a 1-under 71 back in 2005 at Woodley Lakes Golf Club in Van Nuys, Calif. “We went out that one day and I hit one good shot. After the round, I bought a set of golf clubs on the spot and went back to that same course the following 29 out of 30 days. I had the bug bad!”[/quote_box_center]

Colon has been spending much more time in the studio than at the practice range lately as he finishes up his new album, “Gravity,” which is slated for release by Concord Music Group in early September.

[quote_box_center]“My game is bad right now,” Colon says. “I haven’t had much time to play so every time I get out, I’m searching/tweaking/tinkering with a swing that’s just not repeatable right now. It’s OK though. I know if I played more I could dial some things in but for now, family and career come first.”[/quote_box_center]

Colon says that once he heads out on the road touring to promote his new album, he’ll probably get to play everyday. In fact, his hotels on tour are selected based upon where he and his band mates want to play, he says. 

[quote_box_center]“Because I have some good friends in the golf world, I’ve been very lucky to play some amazing courses while I’m traveling,” Colon says. “So I’ll golf during the day, do a show at night, and then some poker afterward. It makes for a great day on the road.”[/quote_box_center]

I talked with Colon recently about his music, his passion for the game, the natural relationship between golf and music, dealing with frustration, being recognized on the course, crazy autograph seekers, and much more.

JL: Whats in your bag right now?

JC: I’m very thankful to be on staff with Nike Golf so everything in my bag, including the bag, is Nike. I’ve got the new Nike Vapor Pro Combo irons 4-PW, 2 Hybrid, 3W, 5W, Driver, Method Putter, 54 and 60 degree wedges.

JL: Why have golf and music always been a natural fit together?

JC: Golf and music go really well together. I do a lot of charity golf outings where we play golf and then we do a concert for everyone. It’s a great way to bring people together for a great cause. I also think musicians and golfers get along really well because our lives can be similar in some ways. When you’re starting out as a musician, you have to grind it out and live from paycheck to paycheck trying to get noticed or trying to get on a show or tour that will get you exposure. Golfers sometimes have a similar situation when starting out. They need a sponsor to help them or they need to play well on a smaller tour in order to make it by. Both are just trying to live the dream and it’s a hard road.

JL: Favorite golf movie?

JC: Caddyshack for sure. Happy Gilmore is a close second though.

JL: Favorite courses?

JC: Pebble Beach, Olympic Club, Pinehurst No. 2.

JL: Favorite musician of all time?

JC: Shoot. If I had to pick one, it would have to be James Taylor. His music changed my life. I play the guitar differently and write songs differently because of him.

JL: Favorite song of all time?

JC: That’s a tough one. I would say impossible because it changes for me. I’ll give you my favorite song right now. “Jealous” by Labrinth. He’s from the UK and this song is brilliant. There is so much emotion when he sings it. You’ve got to check it out.

JL: How do you handle the frustration the game of golf brings?

JC: My demeanor is pretty chill, kinda how I always am. If I hit a bad shot, I’ll kinda yell at myself, but I’ve never been a club thrower. I hate that. I’m not good enough to expect that I’m going to hit every shot how I want to. You’re gonna have some good days and bad days so I don’t let it get to me.

JL: How often are you recognized when out on the course?

JC: It depends on the day. I can go a while without getting recognized and then I’ll get recognized five times in a row. I guess it depends on where I am and who I’m with. When I’m out on the road I like to play the morning of a show because I love getting some peace and quiet before going to the venue for sound check. It never bothers me if I get recognized especially on the golf course. People are always friendly and I like meeting people so it’s never a bother. It comes with the territory.

JL: Who are some of your music golf friends and how often do you get together for a round?

JC: There are a bunch of musician golfers I do various events with every year. Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker, Josh Kelley, Steve Azar, Colt Ford, Branford Marsalis, Adam Levine, to name a few. I actually got Adam his first set of golf clubs. When The Voice was over, I had my Nike guys get him a staff bag with his name on it and clothes, shoes, clubs, the works. It was awesome.

JL: Why are you passionate about golf?

JC: I love that any day you get out there you could shoot your best round ever. Usually I’ll think that and then hook it OB off the first tee so I try not to think about it much. But it’s always a possibility.

JL: What is the most frustrating thing about the game?

JC: Inconsistency. I feel like if I have enough time to work on a few key things, I could really play well again. I’m a streaky player right now. I could make four pars in a row and then make a triple followed by two doubles. I’m a good partner to have for a member/guest because my handicap is high but I can make some pars here and there. I’ll make some triples too though. Hopefully my partner has me covered on those holes.

JL: Whats the weirdest autograph request youve ever gotten?

JC: I guess when people ask me to sign their bodies. I mean, you’re gonna just wash it off right? One kid who was at a festival I played at asked me to sign his forehead. He was about 10-11 years old. I told him to go get his parents and if they said that it was OK, then I would, but I couldn’t do it without her their permission. Imagine your kid walking back to the group with a signature on his face. Nope! Wasn’t gonna do it. I’ve had some other requests to sign on people that weren’t as innocent. I’ve always declined.

JL: Who is rounding out your dream foursome and where are you playing?

JC: Hmmm. If we put presidents Obama, Clinton and Bush Jr. together, that would make for a really entertaining round of golf. We’d have to play Augusta or Cypress. Haven’t played either yet but I’m working on it.

JL: Coolest person youve ever played golf with?

JC: I played with Bubba Watson a couple years ago at the Travelers Championship here in Connecticut after he won the Masters. It was incredible. He was really nice and it was just awesome to watch him play right in front of you.

JL: Coolest musician youve ever performed with?

JC: I got a chance to do a tribute to Stevie Wonder with Michael McDonald and Darius Rucker a few years back. Stevie got up and sang with us. It was a moment I’ll never forget.

JL: Where do you want to be in 10 years?

JC: I just want to be doing what I’m doing now. Writing songs, making albums, performing around the world, and expanding my fan base. That’s what I’d like to be doing for the next 50 years.

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John Lahtinen is a Connecticut-based writer with nearly 20 years of experience involving news, media, communications, higher education, PR and marketing. He has been playing golf forever and is still finding unique ways to ruin a good round. Adding to his confusion, he plays both right- and left-handed.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Jason G

    Oct 19, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    I have had the privilege of playing with Javier and his close friend Cary Kendall. Javier is one of the nicest guys I have ever met. Keep up the good work Javier.

  2. Jang Hyung-sun

    Jun 25, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    Joutnalistic masterpiece! Mr. Colon is a true gem!

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Club Junkie

Review of the new Fujikura Ventus TR Red and Black shafts!

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Fujikura’s Ventus shafts have been one of the hottest shaft lineups in years. You can see them all over the professional tours and in tons of amatuer bags every weekend. The new line of TR models does not replace the original Ventus Red, Blue, and Black as those are still available and won’t be leaving anytime soon. These new TR models are meant to be an addition to the line and filling a few gaps that players have asked for.

The Ventus Red was a shaft that I played in drivers and fairway woods over the years and I really loved it. I hit a pretty low, flat ball so the added launch of the Ventus Red was needed and it offered accuracy that I hadn’t been able to find in many higher launching shafts. The new TR Red takes a lot of that DNA and turns it up a notch. TR Red has a smooth, yet little more stout feel through the swing. It takes just a little more effort to load it and the kick at impact is great, just maybe not as aggressive as the Ventus Red is. The TR Red launch is a little bit lower and overall apex seems to be just a bit flatter as well. For players with more aggressive tempos the TR Red might offer a tad less draw compared to its sibling. I took the TR Red out in my Stealth+ head to a course I had played frequently and never had yardages into holes that I had that day. On at least 3-4 holes I told my playing partner that I had never been that close. The TR Red is currently in the bag!

TR Black looks amazing with the Spread Tow fabric showing in the sunlight. When you set the club down and waggle it, like all of us do with a new stick, there is almost no waggle to the shaft! The Ventus TR Black is very stout, noticeably more stout than the original Ventus Black. As stiff as the shaft is, Fujikura has built in a ton of smoothness to it. It takes a lot of power to load so be ready to try the softer flex or lighter weight. The launch is very low, one of the lowest I have hit, and the ballflight very flat. I could see that the TR Black launched significantly lower than TR Red when hitting it in the same head on the course. TR Black is hard to turn over and players who fear the draw should like the stout feel as you bring the shaft to impact. For my 105 mph club head speed I think stepping down to the 6-S would give me more playable results compared to the extra stiff.

Overall the new TR Red and TR Black are great shafts that Fujikura has engineered. Even if you are currently playing a Ventus, I think it is worth your while to check out the new shafts and see how they compare to your gamer. For more on each shaft check out my Club Junkie podcast.

 

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: How To Overcome The Mid-Season Golf Blues

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Every Year around this time, golfers start getting tentative because they have missed a few too many golf shots and they immediately start to blame the faulty wires on the Pinocchio.

Of course, we are here to tell you that is not the case.

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Opinion & Analysis

2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship: Outright Betting Picks

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With the PGA TOUR regular season in the books, it’s time to begin the 2022 FedEx Cup playoffs.

Previously known as the St. Jude Classic and the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, the event will now serve as the first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs and is named the FedEx St. Jude Championship.

While the name of the event and the spot on the PGA TOUR schedule has changed, the course remains the same. TPC Southwind is located in Memphis, Tennessee and has been a regular TOUR stop since 1989.

TPC Southwind is a Par 70 measuring 7,244 yards. The course features Bermudagrass greens and rough. With 94 bunkers and 10 water hazards, there is potential trouble on almost every hole.

The FedEx St. Jude Championship will play host to the top 125 players in the FedEx Cup standings with the top 65 and ties making it through to the weekend.

FedEx St. Jude Championship Outright Bets

Matt Fitzpatrick (+2200)

Typically, the FedEx Cup playoff events are won by players who have been among the best overall players for that season. Matt Fitzpatrick is having the best season of his career and is undoubtedly one of the most impressive golfers of the year. For the 2022 season, the Englishman ranks third in Strokes Gained: Total, which trails only Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler.

Had it not been for Fitzpatrick’s incredible U.S. Open victory, TPC Southwind would have been a spot that I’ve always thought could be the perfect break through spot for the 27-year-old. Now that he’s won and gotten his first victory in the United States out of the way, it only increases his chances of being able to win a FedEx Cup Playoff event.

Talent was never the concern for Fitzpatrick. The former top ranked amateur in the world exploded onto the professional golf scene at nineteen years old and never looked back. Despite having eight European Tour victories by the time he’d hit his mid-twenties, many people questioned why he couldn’t win on American soil. Now that he’s a U.S. Open champion, there’s reason to believe the floodgates will open.

Fitzpatrick has had plenty of success at TPC Southwind in the past. In three starts at the course, “Fitz” has two top-six finishes including a fourth-place finish in 2019.

His success at the track isn’t all that surprising considering how well his skill set aligns with what’s required to compete at the course. It’s important to hit fairways, which is something he does at a high clip. He also is one of the best in the sport at limiting mistakes and ranks third in the field in Bogey Avoidance.

A FedEx Cup Playoff victory would add to what is already the best season of Fitzpatrick’s career and give him a chance to make a run at a being the FedEx Cup champion.

Will Zalatoris (+2500)

For the past few weeks, we’ve seen Will Zalatoris near the top of the odds board. Despite being one of the most talented players in the field, there was nothing about Detroit Golf Club or Sedgefield Country Club that made me interested in betting him at those spots. The opposite is true about TPC Southwind.

When targeting Will Zalatoris for an outright bet, it’s most prudent to look for spots on the schedule where his immaculate ball striking can set him apart from the rest of them field.  The Rocket Mortgage Classic rewarded driving distance and wedge play. The Wyndham Championship rewarded the best putters and most accurate drivers.

This week, the FedEx St. Jude Championship will favor the best iron players who can ball strike their way to the top of the leaderboard. In the past, Strokes Gained: Putting hasn’t been a strong indicator of who will play well at TPC Southwind; which is great news for Zalatoris, who often struggles with the putter.

As evidenced by his three top-six finishes including two runners-up at major championships in 2022, Zalatoris can absolutely compete in the strongest of fields. In fact, I believe his chances to win in a star-studded event are higher than they are to win a lesser event on TOUR. The 25-year-old is a big game hunter who does his best work when the stakes are high.

The first leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs is an excellent time for “Willy Z” to finally break through for his inevitable maiden PGA TOUR victory.

Sungjae Im (+3500)

As frustrating as it was being a Sungjae Im backer on Sunday at the Wyndham Championship, his overall performance and current hot streak can’t be overlooked.

The South Korean has now finished in a share for second place in back-to-back starts. In those two events, Im has gained an average of 8.5 strokes Ball Striking on the field, which includes both Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and Strokes Gained: Approach. At a course where ball striking is the most important factor, he should be in store for another strong showing.

Im had his best Strokes Gained: Approach day on Sunday at the Wyndham, gaining 2.0 strokes on the field in the fourth round alone. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get the putter going and lost 2.2 strokes putting while Tom Kim gained 4.5 on the day. If it weren’t for Kim’s unconscious effort with the putter, there’s a good chance that Sungjae would have notched another PGA TOUR victory.

If the 24-year-old can get the flat stick going this week, we may have back-to-back South Korean winners on the PGA TOUR.

Tyrrell Hatton (+6000)

It appears as if Tyrrell Hatton is trending toward a victory, as he’s playing arguably the best golf of his 2022 season. He finished 11th at the Open Championship and followed it up with an impressive performance at Wyndham, finishing eighth. In addition to his top-10 finish, the Englishman was impressive with his approach playing and gained 5.3 strokes on approach, which was good for sixth in the field.

Hatton got hot in his final round last week, shooting a 64. Oftentimes we see golfers who go low on the previous Sunday carry the momentum into the following tournament. Hatton is a much better player than he’s shown thus far in 2022, and it seems as if he’s found something ahead of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

If he has, TPC Southwind should be a good course for him as he finished in 17th last year and was in contention prior to a fourth round 72 that took him out of the running.

Russell Henley (+6000)

It’s fair to wonder whether Russell Henley can close out a victory on the PGA TOUR after witnessing him blow leads at last season’s Wyndham Championship and this season’s Sony Open. Considering that the FedEx Cup St. Jude Championship will be comprised of a much stronger field than either of those events makes it perfectly reasonable to question it even further. However, at his number, I’m willing to give it one more shot.

Henley is in the best form we’ve seen him in this season. In his past two starts, the 33-year-old has finishes of 10th and fifth and has gained 11 and 9.7 strokes from tee to green in those events. At the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Henley ranked seventh in the field in approach, and at the Wydham Championship, he ranked first.

TPC Southwind is a course that should fit Henley’s game to a tee. With a premium on iron play and hitting greens in regulation, the former Georgia Bulldog is a perfect fit. Perhaps more importantly, it’s a course where he doesn’t have to gain a bunch of strokes with the putter to win.

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