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Opinion & Analysis

The 15 Best GolfWRX Stories of 2015

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At GolfWRX, our goal is to satisfy all of our your golfing needs, whether it’s the latest equipment, instruction, reviews or news from around the tours. We cover it all and more on our front page and in our forums, and we’re proud of the job we did in 2015.

Below is the final list of our absolute favorite stories from 2015. We thought many of our GolfWRX readers would have some downtime this holiday season, and in case you do we decided to create this list for your reading pleasure.

Related: GolfWRX’s Top-10 stories from 2014

Congratulations to the writers who were chosen to appear on this list, and a big THANK YOU to all of the Forum Members and Featured Writers who’ve helped GolfWRX become the awesome golf community that it is.

Hole 1: The day I met Ben Hogan

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Tom Stites has spent more than 30 years in the golf industry, a career that began at the Ben Hogan Company where he worked for the man himself. Stites plans on writing 18 holes, a full round of first-hand stories, about his interactions with Hogan — the man who has had such a tremendous impact on golf equipment, golf history, the golf swing and the way golfers play the game — and other encounters in the industry.

This particular story made this list, because well, what’s more interesting than a tale about meeting Ben Hogan in a restroom?

Video: Hudson Swafford’s drill to hit more fairways

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Hudson Swafford’s swing instructor Scott Hamilton gave us an insider’s look into how one of the best players in the world practices his tee shots. This kind of access and instruction is what GolfWRX is all about.

The reality of aim and alignment, and why golfers get them wrong

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PGA Master Professional Dennis Clark is an expert at making the complicated seem simple, and addressing common misconceptions among golfers. This story about alignment is one that may change the way golfers look at setting up to a golf ball.

5 things I learned traveling with a Tour player

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Nick Randall, the fitness specialist from down under, takes us behind the scenes of a PGA Tour event as he travels, works out and walks the course with PGA Tour player Cameron Smith. In terms of behind-the-scenes access into the life of a Tour player, it doesn’t get much better than this.

An added tidbit: Smith isn’t well-known in the States, but he finished T4 in the 2015 U.S. Open and T25 in the 2015 PGA Championship. He earned his 2015-2016 PGA Tour card as a non-member who finished in the top-125 on the Tour’s 2014-2015 money list. He will also tee it up in the 2016 Masters. 

Kinsler putter: Will the Raptor roar like Kinsler’s engine parts?

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This story embodies GolfWRX; it takes a deep dive into a unique golf product, but you don’t have to be a gearhead to enjoy reading it. The putter feature comes from GolfWRX Editor Zak Kozuchowski, who has been leading our Editorial Department since 2012.

Hit it like a girl for more distance

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The general population of male golfers look to imitate PGA Tour players. Justin Padjen’s story explains why that’s not the best plan of action for the average male golfer. Instead, hit it #LikeAGirl

The science of adding spin to your wedge shots

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If you’ve ever wondered how PGA Tour pros hit wedge shots that take a few hops and stop dead, this story is for you. Stickney takes explores the science of creating spin, and offers four ways to create more spin in your own game.

10 things not to do at a PGA Tour event

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If you’re planning to attend a PGA Tour event in 2016, make sure to read this story. Most people know not to yell “baba booey,” especially during a player’s backswing, but Alberstadt examines nine other things you shouldn’t do at a Tour event. It could save you some awkward encounters and death stares.

Inside the World of counterfeit golf clubs

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Barney Adams is a legend in the golf equipment industry, and in this story he takes readers into the underground world of counterfeit golf clubs. And if you haven’t read Barney Adams before, make sure to catch up.

The absolute facts about swing weight

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When Tom Wishon talks about golf clubs, golfers listen — it’s like Phil Jackson talking about the triangle offense. This story is like a handbook on swing weight, one of the most misunderstood concepts in golf equipment.

What really determines feel in an iron

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Paul Wood, Senior Vice President of Engineering for Ping Golf, explains what makes an iron “feel” better, as well as the differences between forged and cast irons.

A statistical analysis of what makes Jordan Spieth great

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Rich Hunt is a PGA Tour statistician, so when it comes to statistical breakdowns on GolfWRX, his are the most thorough and comprehensive that you’ll find. Here’s his explanation, backed by the facts, about what makes Jordan Spieth great.

Rickie Fowler’s golf clubs are like no one else’s

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Rickie Fowler is one of golf’s unique characters, but he also has golf clubs like no other player on Tour. His Cobra irons and wedges are created through an extensive process that GolfWRX Senior Editor Andrew Tursky explains in great detail. If you enjoy one-off golf clubs, you’ll love this look at Fowler’s clubs.

How far you can actually hit your driver

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This story may single-handedly bring golfers with big egos down to earth.

“When I ask students how far they carry the ball and what their average total distance is, the answer is usually grossly inaccurate and overstated 99 percent of the time,” Stickney says.

Charts in this story show how far you should be hitting the golf ball based on your swing speed, which means arguments begin and end with this article.

How I hit drives 56 yards farther with one adjustment

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The headline of this story makes a claim that seems like it’s straight out of an informercial until you read the instructional gold. If you’re looking for more distance, you need to read this story from Adam Young, a golf coach at the Leadbetter Academy in La Manga Resort in Spain.

Weekly stories

A special thanks to the recurring stories on GolfWRX, including Tour PhotosRevealing Photos, Tour Mash, From the Forums and Fantasy Previews.

Tour photos

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What would WRX be without our Tour photographer Greg Moore, who takes the best and most timely equipment photos in the industry.

Revealing photos

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This new feature in 2015 is written by Tursky and provides entertaining and informative commentary about select Tour photos from Moore.

Tour Mash

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Every Monday, Ronald Montesano recaps the biggest news, results and goings-on from across the globe in the sport of golf, from both men’s and women’s tours, with his “Tour Mash” series. Golf news has never been so enthralling.

Check out all of the weekly recaps, and more from Montesano here.

From the Forums

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This series brings you the best of the best from our forums each week. It’s no easy task since our forums are so vast, but Alberstadt always seems to find the best topics, equipment and Tour news.

Fantasy Previews

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Ben Auten has the difficult job of predicting what players will succeed, or underperform, each week on the PGA Tour. In the unpredictable world of golf, this is far from a cake walk, but his thorough analysis and Tour trends are usually spot on (And nice call on Smylie Kaufman!).

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Jean

    Dec 25, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    why isn’t the Dustin Johnson Jean Van De Velde article in this list

  2. Billy

    Dec 25, 2015 at 5:53 am

    All 15 should be Tom Wishon articles/posts.

  3. Ronald Montesano

    Dec 24, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    My one, living goal is to one day make the “Top 15” list at GolfWRX. It’s my daily alarm clock.

    • Double Mocha Man

      Dec 24, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      Hey Ronald, you make my Top 15. Please request my physical address where you can send money.

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Opinion & Analysis

A golfing memoir in monthly tokens: March (belatedly)

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Editor’s note: All latency on the publishing here is the fault of the Editor-in-Chief.

As some might say, if you don’t take the plunge, you can’t taste the brine. Others might not say such a thing. I’m taking the plunge, because I want to taste the brine.

Here you’ll find the third installment of “A Golfing Memoir” as we trace a year in the life of Flip Hedgebow, itinerant teacher of golf. For January, click here. For February, click here.

Absolutely. Meet me up north (and, to himself, what have I got to lose?)

No sense in putting the cart before the horse, as the old pro used to say, as cirE “Flip” Hedgebow used to ignore. As March came to a close, as cirE locked the pro shop for the last time until November, he took a leap of faith. How big of a leap? Let’s get through March, and find out.

Speaking of carts and horses, March for Flip always came in like a lamb, and went out like a lion. That ran contrary to the folklore but, all things considered, there was always a 50% chance of things running contrary.

No, the best reason for topsy and turvy in March, for Flip, was explained by his birthday. Being born in the middle of the month might suggest balance to some; for him, it was a constant reminder of the chaos that led up to his earthly arrival, tempered only by the madness that ensued. If that’s balance, you can have it.

In Flip’s world, March was about the arrival of the most seasoned of snowbirds, the ones with more than five years of retirement under their growing-shrinking belts. Some were expanding, as they had given up on fitness; the rest were shrinking, as the truest effects of age caught them up. In each case, this pod arrived with military precision, knowing where and when nearly every penny would be spent. No frivolity remained in their schedules, no ambiguity survived from younger, budgeting days. No longer minnows, they recognized that uncertainty stalked them, and that all of their remaining wits needed to center on a small and precise target. The smaller, the more precise, the better…for the women.

Like all men, the old guys appreciated the consistency and precision their wives brought to their worlds.

Like all men, the old guys detested the ever-encroaching, loss of control over their own destinies.

They would enter the pro shop, grab the latest hat like a modern-day Judge Smails, and set it at a rakish angle, atop their sleek domes. Flip learned quite early on that the only way to ensure the sale was cash. When the wives invariably came to complain and demand a refund, Flip could “only” offer a pro shop credit, guaranteeing that something would be purchased. If they bought it on account or on a card, the sale was irretrievably lost.

Flip expected these purchases from his March gam: the cheapest golf balls, when their supply of northern culls ran out; the attire from last fall, or even the previous summer, ready to be shipped back to the manufacturer when March 20th arrived; and some odd or end that the pro had overlooked, lost to some sort of missionary of time. The only thing stronger than the will of the spouse, was the desire of the old guy to make some sort of purchase, to re-establish some semblance of power and control, for at least a moment.

How did you get your name, and why is the last letter, and not the first, capitalized?

(silence. he rarely heard the first question, as everyone knew him as “Flip;” he never heard the second one, as no one paid attention anymore.)

Two stories are a lot to tell. Let’s save both answers, even if it’s just a little while.

(silence. she wasn’t satisfied)

If the red hair caused his eyes to move from the mundane nature of packing and sealing boxes, everything else physical compelled him to put down the tape gun, sense that his throat was dry, know that he would not clear it without a squeak, turn away for a bottle of water, take a swig for lubrication, and, finally, turn back with his finest Axel Foley smile, and greet her with: How long have you been retired?

It was an incalculable risk. There was a 90% chance that she would react with an I’m not that old sort of affront, turn on her heels, and march out the door. There was a 5% chance that she would get the joke, and would stick around for another exchange, before smiling awkwardly and departing. There remained a 5% chance of something else. On this 21st day of March, that final 5% wafted in.

Wafted in, in the guise of a lesson he thought that he had planned. Planned for one of the wives, a late-sixties model whose swing was frozen in time: the unlikely combination of a forward lurch of the torso, a reverse pivot of the feet, and right in the middle, an impossible heave of the hips in one of four unpredictable directions. If anyone were to discover a fifth cardinal point, it would be Agnes Porter. Until this moment, Flip Hedgebow gave thanks that the world was blessed with just one of her; more than one might have tilted the globe off its axis. Now, he offered up a different type of gratitude, thanks to the visage of her granddaughter, who bore no resemblance to the matriarch, beyond the title of Agnes Porter.

They write that a story may be deemed worthy for its inerrant language, or for its compelling events. The story of Agnes Porter the way-younger and Flip Hedgebow benefitted from both, along with an overdose of peripeteia.

 

Artwork by JaeB

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Club Junkie

Club Junkie: Srixon ZX and TaylorMade SIM2 Max fairways and My top 3 drivers!

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Masters hangover week is here! I have had the new Srixon ZX fairway out on the course and it is underrated as you would imagine. Reshafted the SIM2 Max 3w and it has been super consistent and comfortable. Talking about the top 3 drivers I have been hitting this year.

 

 

 

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: The importance of a pre-shot routine

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I believe one of the big differences between good amateurs and those who are not-so-good—and between the top professionals and those that can’t quite “get there”—lies in the consistency of their pre-shot routine. I read an interesting account on this subject after the final round of the 1990 Masters when Nick Faldo passed a collapsing Greg Norman. I know that was 30 years ago, but the lesson is just as relevant today.

This particular analyst timed the pre-shot routines of both players during the first three rounds and found that on the final day that Norman got quicker and quicker through his round, while Faldo maintained his same, methodical approach to every shot, not varying by more than a second or so. I think that is pretty insightful stuff.

Anytime you watch professional golf—or the better players at your club—you’ll see precision and consistency in the way they approach all of their shots. There is a lesson there for all of us—so, here are my ideas of how the pre-shot routine should work.

The first thing is to get a good feel for the shot, and by that, I mean a very clear picture in your mind of how it will fly, land, and roll. It is certainly realistic to have a different routine for full shots, chips and pitches, and putts, as they are all very different challenges. As you get closer to the hole, your focus needs to be more on the feel of the shot than the mechanics of the swing, in my opinion.

On any shot, I believe the best starting point is from behind the ball, seeing in your “mind’s eye” the film clip of the shot you are about to hit. See the flight path it will take, and on greenside shots, just how it will roll out. As you do this, you might waggle the club back and forth to get a feel of the club in your hands and take as many practice swings as it takes to “feel” the swing that will produce that visualized shot path for you.

Your actual pre-shot routine can start when you see that shot clearly and begin your approach the ball to set up. From that “trigger point,” you should work hard to do the exact same things, at the exact same pace, each and every time.

This is something that you can and should work on at the range. When you are out there “banging balls,” don’t just practice your swing, but how you approach each shot.

So, guys and ladies, there’s my $.02 on the pre shot routine. What do you have to add?

 

 

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