It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s Hack Golf to The Rescue!

HG

In case you missed the Hack Golf pop up in the NY times… It was a great little read about the state of the game and the movement that’s happening to both grow and potentially save the game of golf.

 

The current situation in the US via the National Golf Foundation is bleak:

  • Golf has lost five million players in the last decade.
  • 20 percent of the existing 25 million golfers are likely to quit in the next few years.
  • People under 35 are turned off by the game – why? the game takes too long/it’s too difficult to learn/there are too many rules

We’re not immune from these issues in Canada – The 2012 NAGA: Canadian Golf Consumer Study sounded the alarm bells on the opportunity to reach and engage Canadian golfers.

  • 4.2 million golfers are at risk  to leave the game with 2.2M deemed to be infrequent golfers and another 2M as occasional golfers.
  • This at risk group accounts for 74% of the effective population

 

So where do we go from here?

Not all is lost, the good news is that the first step to recovery is recognizing that you have a problem.

“We’ve got to stop scaring people away from golf by telling them that there is only one way to play the game and it includes these specific guidelines,” said Ted Bishop, the president of the P.G.A. of America. “We’ve got to offer more forms of golf for people to try. We have to do something to get them into the fold, and then maybe they’ll have this idea it’s supposed to be fun.”

Discussions are ongoing on how to enable golfers and remove barriers to the game of golf.  Potential ideas impact all areas of the current golf experience and include:

  • using a 15-inch hole for entry-level golf
  • evaluating how we introduce players to the game
  • making golf more accessible by lowering costs (equipment, green fees and instruction)
  • applying  a separate set of rules for those that only choose to play casually

 

This is only the beginning, over at HackGolf.org they have >1300 ideas and >2400 participants crowdsourced to work on diagnosing the “fun problem”.

 

The other good news is that the pro’s are onside to help grow the game.  Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose were recently at an event featuring the proposed 15-inch-hole and the reviews were fantastic.

GOLF-SG

 “A 15-inch hole could help junior golfers, beginning golfers and older golfers score better, play faster and like golf more,” said Mr. García, who shot a six-under-par 30 for nine holes in the exhibition.

Mr. Rose said he was planning to use an expanded hole to reintroduce the game to his 5-year-old son, who rejected the game recently after he had tired of failing at it.

“Lately, I’ve been having a hard time getting him to pick up a club,” Mr. Rose said.

 

Enter The Purists & The Traditionalists – 15-inch-hole? play a quick 12? non-conforming equipment? different rules to govern “regular” golfers? It might sound like a scary proposition and change can be difficult to accept but we’re going to need everyone to join in because based on the current state of the game… it’s going to require a team effort.

 

So it looks like we’re on the edge of a tipping point for golf.  Like it or not, little things can make a big difference.  So stand up and make sure that you are accounted for because I think overdue meaningful change is on the way to the great game of golf.

 

 

Matt Kuchar’s dagger to win the 2014 RBC Heritage

Matt Kuchar makes a 56 foot hole out from bunker on the par-4 18th hole to win the 2014 RBC Heritage.  It was a crazy shot and showed a ton of emotion from Kuch, but how much better would it have been if he unleashed some of The Truth on the crowd and his playing partner Brian Harman? Well wonder no more…

 

 

 

 

A word about Dentonia Golf Course

Dentonia

I had the pleasure of taking a “golf beginner” out for a round today and thought that it would be a great opportunity to pay a visit to one of Toronto Muni’s and selected Dentonia Golf Course. it’s been mentioned in passing to me quite a few times and recommended as a good beginner course due to the short length and relative value when it comes to their green fees.  As expected - Correct on both counts.

 

1. The golf course is short -2095 total yards and a lot of the holes are 100-ish yards.

d2

 

2. Green Fees are more than reasonable topping out at $27 during the regular season for prime time rounds (from today up until April 30th, it’s twilight rates all day).

d1

 

Now here’s the word that I wanted to have… maybe people aren’t giving Dentonia the credit that it deserves, it’s a challenging little track and I would not necessarily categorize it as a “beginner course” for a few reasons.

 

1.  The course features all par 3′s but combined with the elevation changes and water hazards you’ve got to be able use your irons effectively.  Be warned, Dentonia is full of forced carry Par 3′s and they have the golf ball magnets set to high anytime an unsuspecting beginner tries to fly a shot over the water.  Most beginners will really need to grind through the more challenging holes.

 

2.  Speaking of the grind – Prepare yourself to walk a roller coaster (particularly on the front 9).  If you didn’t think that playing a round at Dentonia was going to provide some exercise, I guarantee that you won’t feel the same after carrying your bag up and down all the hills.

 

Other than that my general impressions are:

  • The course was in decent condition considering the winter that we’ve been through
  • Greens were slow, but as expected.
  • Staff and patrons were all very friendly.
  • My biggest surprise was that you hit off mats on several holes.

 

Best Golf Shoes 2014

As you might have been able to tell from my inaugural post, I’ve got a healthy appreciation for golf shoes and I am really excited about some of the great offerings being put out for 2014.

 

There is always plenty of love for the new drivers and putters because most golfers consider upgrading their sticks as the easiest way to improve their game as increasing distance and/or accuracy on the golf course are paramount.

 

But consider this – you’ve got to be on your feet whether you’re walking 18 or carting around and making shots.  A great pair of golf shoes are make or break for comfort on the course and should be an important consideration for your golf budget.

 

Check out my top picks below:

 

Heavyweight Wingtip

The brogue shoe has been gaining in popularity and in 2014 you’ll find an abundance of choices being offered by many including  Ashworth, Ecco, Nike, and even True Linkswear but the undisputed champion has got to be the Allen Edmonds Heritage.

 

Why? Allen Edmonds has been crafting shoes since 1922 and have developed a solid reputation for quality – that might of course have something to do with their 212 steps of craftsmanship.  The shoes are built like a tank, offer grip for days with 11 spikes, weigh in at over 20 oz  and are even eligible for re-crafting service. If you’re looking for a classic shoe that will stand the test of time, the Allen Edmonds Heritage owns that top spot.

allenedmonds_shoes_golf_heritage_walnut-bone_l allenedmonds_shoes_golf_heritage_walnut-bone_front_lallenedmonds_shoes_golf_heritage_walnut-bone_back_l   allenedmonds_shoes_golf_heritage_walnut-bone_top_lallenedmonds_shoes_golf_heritage_walnut-bone_side_l allenedmonds_soles_golf-sole_leather-golf-sole_l

 

Lightweight Flyweight Contender

The lightweight shoe has been another popular trend over the past few years and 2014 brings with it a brand new player. New Balance is definitely no stranger to shoes and has been a fixture in the sneaker scene with people coveting, copping and collecting for decades.  For those who aren’t in the know, NB’s are known for their technical features and variable shoe widths going from very narrow to very wide.  There is no doubt about it, they are going to shake up the scene by introducing 6 styles for men and women in 2014.

 

Why? Let’s just that I’ve been influenced by the flyweight Minimus Sport Golf.  The Minimus weighs 7.2 oz, features a Revlite midsole and a spikeless rubber outsole that provides traction whether you’re swinging or walking the course. A round in these shoes will be like taking a stroll around the neighborhood in your favorite pair of runners.

NBM1 NBM@NBM3

 

Still Fly

Don’t call it a comeback, the G/FORE Gallivanter has been here before.  Nothing has changed, but if you’re looking for something stylish, nothing else is going to make a statement like matching your G/FORE glove with some G/FORE kicks.

 

Why? The Gallivanter will make a definitive style statement on and off the golf course.  The shoes feature tons of colorways and details for days.

charcoal-groupcharcoal-solecharcoal-back    charcoal-thumbcharcoal-side2

 

Old Faithful

Another perennial favorite for cost-conscious comfort seekers are True Linkswear. I still remember getting my very first pair, I believe they were drop shipped from overseas. Back then it was crowdfunding without the kickstarter and year over year it’s been nice to see the continued evolution in their product.  For 2014 the pair to cop will definitely be the True Linkswear Lyt Dry.

 

Why? Please let me count the ways.. superlight (the lightest true’s ever), comfortable, waterproof, comfortable, tons of traction in the outsole, comfortable.  The style continues to be love it or hate it, but if you haven’t given them a chance you owe it to your feet to give em a try.  Trust me when I say that comfort rules all!  Last but not least, if you’re price conscious, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better value in a new 2014 golf shoe than the True’s.

true-linkswear-lyt-dry-golf-shoes-white-lg-1 true-linkswear-lyt-dry-golf-shoes-white-lg-2 true-linkswear-lyt-dry-golf-shoes-white-lg-3 true-linkswear-lyt-dry-golf-shoes-white-lg-4 true-linkswear-lyt-dry-golf-shoes-white-lg-5

 

The Big 4

It’s time to put on your big boy pants because the following  are best of the best from the heavy hitters – Adidas, Ecco, FootJoy and Nike.

 

Why? Please allow me to teach you all the way.

 

1. Adidas pure 360 – We’re talking 3 stripes, we’re talking classic design, we’re talking about a seriously solid golf shoe.

pure-360_Q46661_detail_hero_wide pure-360_Q46661_heel_hero_wide pure-360_Q46661_medial_hero_wide pure-360_Q46661_profile_hero_wide pure-360_Q46661_sole_hero_wide pure-360_Q46661_toe_hero_wide pure-360_Q46661_top_hero_wide

 

2. ECCO Street Evo One – ECCO has been in the hybrid business almost as long as Toyota.  If you’re looking for a casual shoe with tons of versatility, look no further than the ECCO Street Evo One.

ecco ecco1 ecco2 ecco3 ecco4 ecco5 ecco6

 

3. FootJoy DNA – It features very classic looks, but sleeker and is a pro favorite.  Still not convinced? Two words: Adam Scott.

fj fj1

 

4.Nike TW’ 14 Mesh – Two words. Tiger Woods.  Seriously though, these shoes are intriguing because they incorporate some big improvements to the regular TW  by making them more breathable and flexible.

SS14_652627_TW14_Mesh_BTY_PPT_large SS14_652627_TW14_Mesh_detail-1_PPT_large SS14_652627_TW14_Mesh_detail-2_PPT_large SS14_652627_TW14_Mesh_detail-3_PPT_large

 

Premium Only

No basic shoes allowed.  If you are a man of discerning tastes and want the best that money can buy there is only one real option available.  You go the bespoke route and get arguably the best shoe maker in the world to help craft you a pair of John Lobb golf shoes.

 

Why? The question shouldn’t even be asked.  This is a whole other level, the majors – you start by selecting from a wide variety of the finest leathers, than the shoes are measured specifically for you, and then you complete the customization by selecting a personalized cleat pattern based on your stance.  Expect the end to end process to run for about 6 months and a pair of Lobb’s will lighten your wallet by a minimum 5K.  A small price to pay for likely the finest shoes of 2014/ever.

 

JL JL2 JL3

 

 

 

 

Lexi Thompson Throws Terrible First Pitch

LTLexi Thompson threw out the first pitch at the Miami Marlins game a few nights ago and ended up keeping ol’ Billy The Marlin on his toes with a wild and sharply pitched grounder.

Thankfully Lexi’s got a great sense of humor and it doesn’t appear that she will be quitting her day job anytime soon.

LTT

 

Say hello to the “L.E.” TaylorMade SLDR white!

sldr1

L.E. = Limited edition and trust me it’s a big release.. you don’t have to take my word for it though because the SLDR has been stacking up like Drake fundraising.

sldr4

Current awards include… 2014 Most Wanted Driver from MyGolfSpy.. “history maker” the only driver to ever earn full marks in the 2014 Golf Digest “hotlist” and top of the list for Today’s Golfer 2014 Driver Tests.

sldr3sldr2

So what do you need to know?

Besides that it features a white crown?!? Well this limited edition SLDR features all the same goodness as the standard SLDR – a 460 cc head; adjustable 12-position hosel and a 20 gram weight that can help create a fade or draw depending on where you set it up within the 21 available positions.  The big (and backed up) claim from TaylorMade is that the low and forward CG helps lower spin and create more ball speed.

In all seriousness though, you’re probably either going to love or hate the white crown but the good news is that you’ve now got some more choices to make with that 2014 golf budget.  For the record, I can’t wait to hit this stick and like MJ said..

“it don’t matter if you’re black or white.”

It’s Opening Day!!!

toronto muni

That’s right!

Opening day has finally arrived to the city of Toronto’s 5 municipal courses.  It’s an exciting time, the fresh new golf season provides high hopes and expectations for the game and allows us a chance to shake off some rust from the forced hibernation resulting from the brutal winter.  Though conditions are likely to be cold, wet and muddy for the first little bit, I’ll take an open golf course over a closed golf course any day!

All 5 muni’s (Dentonia, Don Valley, Humber Valley, Scarlett Woods and Tam O’Shanter) will be offering twilight rates from now until April 30th. So giddy-up and FORE!

via thestar.com

Chicks Dig The Longball – Featuring John Daly

JD

 

The players in the scene are:

John Daly – Wielder of the big stick.

Katherine Michelle – Human range mat and ultimate tee

Dude in a suit – Yup, that’s right. Dude in a suit.

 

In case you had any doubts about what is going to happen.. John Daly is about to unleash the wrath of the big stick all over the little white thing called a golf ball that has been conveniently propped up in the mouth of the BBF of Daly’s lady.

Before watching the video below remember JD’s words of wisdom.

 

Don’t try this at home! #MastersWeek #TeeitHigh #GripitandRipIt @kath_michelle @JDsACE http://t.co/XqTx5CyDv6 — John Daly (@PGA_JohnDaly)

 

 

Keeping it real: Paulina Gretzky Edition

GretzkyBoys1

 

You probably already had a chance to check out all the  steamy shots of Paulina Gretzky from the May 2014 edition of Golf Digest.  However, you may have missed the spoof cover which I personally feel is the highest form of flattery and respect courtesy of photographer Cy Cyr.

 

Though she’s no avid golfer or fitness nut, it appears that TaylorMade and Golf Digest are gonna try and ride the “Next One” all the way to the bank. For those who may want to try and void their brain of the svelte dudes up top, check the video below for a behind the scenes look at the photo shoot (non-spoof edition).

 

 

My recruitment letter to Michael Jordan

Earlier in 2014 there was some coverage on the discovery of recruiting letters that Michael Jordan received from the University of North Carolina.  Given the recent interest in the custom J’s that Keegan Bradley wore during The Masters; here is our attempt at getting Michael’s attention.

Dear Michael,

We really enjoyed catching recent glimpses of sweetness courtesy of Jordan brand ambassador Keegan Bradley. It has been  delightful to see the evolution of the Jordan golf shoe;

Par 23

par 23

Air Jordan 2012 Golf Cleats

air-jordan-2012-golf-cleats

Fresh White Colorway

OG jumpman2OG jumpman1

Gold elephant print

golf elephant

Custom KB’s

KB JumpmanJs all day

Most recently the Spiked up Concord and  Augusta green game changers.

spiked concordAugusta green

Hopefully based on the widespread media coverage you will feel more comfortable with the idea of a Jumpman golf shoe and that you will consider releasing this shoe for the “rest of us”.

If there are any doubts about making this happen, please try a quick google search and I am certain that you’ll see what I mean. Otherwise I could send you a follow-up message before too long just to touch base.

We think you are a tremendous sports legend and business man and we are impressed not only with your obvious basketball talent but the way you have been an ambassador for the game of golf  and done well to make the game cool. I look forward to copping all the hot releases on the launch calendar this year and hope to see you drop something special to help duffers and hacks look better on the links.

I am writing your business partners separately since they seem to respond quicker via social media . Enjoyed writing you, Michael, and hope that beginning in 2014/2015 I can rep Jumpman on the links.

Most sincerely,

Golfwerkz

Dated: Apr. 15, 2014