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Opinion & Analysis

Oh no! Not Shorts!



I was planning to write this article next June during the week of the FedEx St. Jude Classic, because there’s nothing that brings the issue of tour pros wearing shorts to the forefront more than 95 degree heat with humidity in Memphis.

But the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final has managed to make this a relevant issue in mid-October. The tournament consists of eight of the top players in the world, including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, and the players have the option to wear shorts. During day one, several players went with the shorts option and somehow the game of golf managed to survive.

Hopefully the PGA Tour and European Tour take notice of this and reconsider their policies on not allowing shorts, at least above a certain temperature. I know some will argue that shorts go against tradition or are unprofessional. Let’s keep in mind that golf was once played in coats and ties, but the game evolved to the modern apparel of today. I’m sure there were many who claimed back then that the game would be ruined without jackets and ties.

Traditions are great, but they shouldn’t be a reason for making the same mistake over and over. During the last 30 years many changes in the game have been met with resistance. Metal drivers, graphite shafts, cavity back irons, square grooves, solid core golf balls, soft spikes and even white drivers were all supposed to ruin the tradition of the game, but the game has thrived with these innovations.

While I think pants look better, I don’t think shorts look unprofessional. Professional athletes in other sports wear shorts. Professional tennis players (another country club sport) wear shorts. Basketball players, soccer players and rugby players all wear shorts. Football players and baseball players wear pants for the purpose of protecting their legs. Last I checked, professional golfers aren’t sliding or taking hits. While it may be weird to see tour players in shorts, none of the players look unprofessional. We’re not talking about cut-offs and tank tops here. We’re talking about knee-length, well-tailored shorts.

Let’s face it. Professional dress is less formal than it was 20 years ago. Casual Friday has evolved into “casual every day.” Silicon Valley is driven by executives and venture capitalists who wear jeans, not suits. Professionalism isn’t just about how you dress. It’s how you carry yourself. I’d argue that the club throwing, cursing and spitting that we see from some of the top players threatens the professionalism of the game much more than allowing tour players to wear shorts.

Professional golf is also becoming more athletic every year, and the apparel has been changing to reflect this. Wicking fabrics have moved from the gym to course and are the standard in shirts, pants and shorts today. Barefoot running shoes have followed suit. The lines between tennis and golf apparel have become blurred. Many Nike and Adidas shirts look like they would be equally at home on the court or on the course, and professional tennis player, James Blake, wears Travis Mathew.

Giving players the option to wear shorts above a certain temperature contributes to the health and welfare of the players. Wearing long pants in hot, humid weather is not in the best interest of the players. There are frequent reports of players suffering from dehydration. While allowing shorts does not solve this issue, it would help to keep players cool. Starting in 1999, the PGA Tour allowed caddies to wear shorts. Again, the game has managed to survive and the level of professionalism has not deteriorated because of this policy change.

Last but not least, shorts would help to prevent those unsightly sweat stained trousers that make appearances during the hot and humid months. This is a much more unprofessional look than shorts in my opinion.

The Turkish Airlines World Golf Final has proven that golf has evolved and tour players can maintain a level of professionalism in while playing in shorts. What’s your opinion? Is it time for the PGA Tour and European Tour to reconsider their policies on shorts?

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour talk” forum.

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  1. Pingback: The Long & the Shorts of It: Ashworth Golf’s Pants Petition | Golf Threads

  2. Ryan K

    Oct 15, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Great point. I would like to see them scrap this rule. Not to mention what a boost this would be to apparel companies. They would move a lot more shorts off the racks if tour pros were wearing them. I think golf needs to become more athletic and appeal more to kids. That’s the only way we’re going to grow the game and attract the best young talent. Make the game faster and more athletic.

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Opinion & Analysis

Faldo’s ‘commercial’ dig at Rickie Fowler was narcissistic, unfair and hypocritical



This week, Rickie Fowler opened up on his current struggles on the course, describing the enormous frustration he’s going through and the toll it’s even taking on his life at home.

Instead of Fowler being commended for his honesty during the most challenging period of his career to date, he found himself attacked. Not just by some nameless, faceless troll on social media either, but by a six-time major winner turned talking head: Nick Faldo.

Replying to Golf Digest’s article on Fowler, the Englishman decided he’d take a swipe at Fowler’s commercial success, saying:

“Good news is if he misses the Masters he can shoot another six commercials that week!”

He then doubled down on the comment, highlighting his own excellent achievements in the sport while knocking Fowler who is still looking for his maiden major win, posting shortly after: “What would you rather have, a boatload of cash or your name in three green books?”

Had Faldo bothered to read the article in question, then he’d have seen that Fowler is extremely hungry and putting in hours of practice to get back to the heights that saw him once ranked inside the world’s top 5.

If Fowler was content to do commercials instead of grinding away on the course as Faldo suggests, why will this week at Bay Hill mark his 6th appearance in the last seven weeks on the PGA Tour?

That schedule just doesn’t fit Nick’s narrative that Fowler is satisfied with things in his professional life.

Sadly, Faldo’s dig at Rickie had nothing to do with his golf game, nor did it even acknowledge how hard he is trying to turn things around.

It was a petty knock at a universally well-liked player from his peers to fans alike because he happens to do well for himself outside of the course as well as on it.

And let’s not forget how good Fowler has been on it, five PGA Tour wins (including The Players), 2 European Tour wins, and 11 top-ten finishes at majors—and he’s still just 32.

All that the Englishman’s cheap shot at Fowler’s commercial success did was amplify the undercurrent of jealousy within Faldo, who spends the majority of his time on social media plugging and endorsing a golf shoe.

Does anyone really think that Faldo wouldn’t snap up Rickie’s commercial opportunities if they presented themselves to him?

To knock Fowler’s current level of play is fair game, but to suggest he’d be happy to miss the Masters so that he can “shoot another six commercials that week” is out of line and does a disservice to the effort he puts in each day to get better at his craft.

Fowler has demonstrated time and time again that he is a class act, an excellent ambassador for the sport, and he deserves much better than a blindsided attack on Twitter from a prominent figure in golf media.

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Club Junkie

Club Junkie: Odyssey Ten putter review and hitting the new Callaway Apex Pro irons



Reviewing the new Odyssey Ten putters, and I like the overall look compared to last year’s model. The shape is a little more squared off and simple, less distracting. Callaway’s new Apex Pro irons offer a lot of distance and forgiveness in a small package, but do they feel as good as other players irons?



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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Understanding CG



One of the most misunderstood concepts involved in golf club design is that of “CG,” or “center of gravity,” also “center of mass.” While this particular measurement of any golf club head can certainly offer insight into its probable performance, it is not the “be all, end all” with regard to any club’s specific launch or forgiveness attributes.

What “CG” specifically refers to is the exact center location of a club’s distribution of mass, which will generally coincide with that club’s “sweet spot”—but that’s not always true. There are lots of ways to manipulate or manage any club’s exact CG location, and therein lies a “Pandora’s Box” of misunderstanding.

Let’s start back in the very old days, when irons were single pieces of forged steel and woods were made of persimmon. Since there was no science inside the club, CG was essentially a result of how the clubhead is formed—its essential shape.

A typical persimmon driver head, for example, was sized to deliver its ideal weight without any additional weights added. The solid block of persimmon, with some kind of face insert and an aluminum soleplate was all you had to work with. So, the CG was located pretty close to the center of the clubhead from all three axes – vertical, front-go-back and heel-to-toe. If you remember, persimmon fairway woods were smaller and had a brass sole plate to add mass lower in the head and often a lead weight under the sole plate to move the CG even lower to help produce higher ball flights on shots hit from the turf, rather than off a tee.

Traditional forged irons up to the 1960s-70s typically had a CG very close to the hosel, a result of the mass of the hosel itself and the typical design that put “muscle” behind the impact area, and very little mass out toward the toe. An examination of worn faces on those old irons would reveal the wear very much toward the heel. I distinctly remember fighting the shanks back in those days, and that ugly shot usually felt very close to a perfectly struck one, rather than feeling as awful as it looked.

As metal woods and cavity-back irons became the norm, designers were able to move the CG ever lower in order to produce higher ball flight, and more toward the center of the face to put the CG further from the hosel. As technology has continued to be refined, the use of tungsten inserts has further allowed designers to position the CG exactly where they want it – typically lower in the club and more toward the center or even the toe of the golf club.

And therein lies a problem with pushing this insert technology too far.

There is no question that in addition to making contact somewhere close to the CG of the clubhead, ball performance is also a product of how much mass is directly behind the impact point. Let me offer this example of how important that can be.

Let’s assume two identically shaped cavity-back 7-irons – same size, face thickness, overall weight and a design that places the CG in the exact same spot in the scoring pattern. The only difference between the two is that one is a single piece forged or cast steel head, with the other being cast of aluminum, with heavy tungsten inserts in the hosel and toe areas to achieve the same overall weight and CG location.
Which do you think would deliver the more solid feel of impact and better transfer of energy to the ball?

Now, we could take that even further by cutting out the entire center of both clubheads and increase the mass or the weight of tungsten in the hosel and toe to bring each back up to weight. The CG location would not change, but there would be absolutely no mass at all where the ball impact location would be. That would not work at all, would it?

I’ve learned long ago that it’s not just about the location of the CG that makes a golf club perform, but also the amount of mass that is placed directly behind the spot on the face where impact with the ball is made.

Here’s a fun, “non-golf” way to embrace this concept.

Suppose we had a two-pound sledgehammer and another 2 lb piece of steel hammered into a large circular sheet 1/16” thick. And then suppose someone hit you on the head with the exact CG of each one – which do you think would hurt the most?

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