Thursday, December 30, 2010

Putt Geometry with Mark Sweeney

Quick lesson from Mark Sweeney (www.aimpointgolf.com) on the geometry of a putt







3JACK

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why CP and Why CF

One of the questions that has been bandied about on my forum (http://richie3jack.proboards.com) is why would a golfer want to utilize a CP Release or a CF Release.

Again, here’s a picture of John Erickson showing a CP Release (left) and a CF Release (right).



CP = Centripetal Force
CF = Centrifugal Force

Most people get transfixed on the upper arms being connected to the chest in the CP Release vs. the upper arms being ‘disconnected’ to the chest in the CF Release. However, that is more or less the result instead of the intent. Meaning that somebody utilizing a CP release doesn’t do so in order keep the upper arms connected to the chest. They utilize the CP release and that in turn results in the upper arms connected to the chest. In other words, one can distinguish what type of release a golfer uses by looking at the upper arms and their relationship to the chest. But, there really is not a benefit to keeping the upper arms on the chest by itself.


CP Release

The CP release moves the Horizontal Swing Plane to the left. The horizontal swing plane is the bottom arc of the golf swing. What we know about the geometry of the circle of a golf swing (and D-Plane), *if* you want to hit a shot dead straight at the target and *if* you are hitting down on the ball, you need the horizontal swing plane to be left of the target.

Have you ever hit an iron shot flush and dead straight at the target and then saw that your divot was pointing left of the target? That’s because the divot HAS to point left of the target to hit a shot dead straight at the target (provided you hit the ball square on the sweetspot).

Essentially, if you’re hitting down on the ball, in order to get the clubhead path square to the target, the bottom arc has to be left of the target. Remember, if you’re hitting down on the ball you have yet to reach the bottom arc of the golf swing.

So typically a CP Release will result in a path that is square to the target or slightly left of the target (outside-to-in). Thus the typical shot will be more of a straight shot or a fade.

Thus, when you hear the term ‘CP Release’, you typically need to think straight or fade.


CF Release

The CF release moves the Horizontal Swing Plane to the right. If you’re hitting down on the ball, you can STILL utilize a CF Release. Furthermore, if you’re hitting down on the ball and using a CF Release, your clubhead has yet to reach the bottom arc of the golf swing.

So all that happens is the golfer will still take a divot, but the HSP is either square or to the right of the target. This will move the path more to the right of the target (inside-to-out). Thus, when you think CF Release…typically you should think of a draw.


WHY CP?

There’s the obvious part of CP Release is if you want to hit the ball straight or with a fade, particularly with your irons.

Also, a CP release will likely make the ball fly with a lower, more penetrating ball flight. That’s because in the end, the Angle of Attack will be steeper than in your typical CF release.

However, I believe that a CP Release also relies less on timing because the rate of closure will be less.


THE RATE OF CLOSURE

The rate of closure is the rate that the clubface closes thru and after impact. One can have a very high rate of closure and still hit the ball very straight. However, they are now relying more on timing to get the clubface square at impact.


BACK TO CP

One of the big reasons why I feel that CP decreases the rate of closure is that it keeps the handle of the club lower at impact.


Looking at the Hogan photo, a golfer with more of a CF release would likely have a higher handle at impact which will make it more likely to close at a faster rate.

My philosophy about the golf swing is that the four fundamentals are:
  • Effectively and Efficiently Pivoting the Body
  • Clubhead Path Control
  • Low Point Control
  • Clubface Control
So when I think of the CP Release, it really helps the golfer improve their clubface control.


WHY CF?

There’s the obvious ‘if you want to hit a draw’ argument. Also, because you are getting the path out to the right, it will be more difficult to keep your right wrist bend and thus the Angle of Attack will likely be shallower and thus the ball will likely fly higher up in the air. So if you can do either CP or CF on command and you’re playing at Augusta National, I’d recommend utilizing the CF Release to get to those par 5’s in two with the long irons.

And because the ball will likely fly higher, the CF release usually gets the ball to go further. It’s much like the AoA with the driver, the more a golfer shallows out their AoA with the driver, the ball will go further. So if you’re utilizing a CF release over a CP release, the AoA will become more shallow and the ball will likely go further.

That’s why you don’t see CP Releases on the Re-Max Long Distance Driving Tour.


TITANIUM DRIVERS AND CF RELEASE


Another reason for the CF is the modern driver.

I believe the modern driver suits a flat to upward attack angle much more than a downward attack angle. I believe the older drivers, like the persimmon drivers, favored the descending attack angle.

The modern titanium driver is not only bigger, but the sweetspot is up very high on the clubface compared to the vintage persimmon or metal driver.

I think because of the sweetspot location of the modern driver, golfers who hit downward on the driver will struggle to hit it consistently well. We saw this happen with Tiger Woods over the years. He started to struggle with the driver and he tried to counter that by hitting it lower which meant he had to hit down more with the driver and he just got progressively worse and worse with his driver. Trackman showed that Woods’ attack angle a few years ago with the driver was -3 degrees. Thus, somebody could have a much slower clubhead speed and wind up hitting the ball much further and probably even more accurately.

PERSIMMON DRIVER

As an owner of a very nice vintage persimmon driver, the one problem I run into when I want to use it is finding tees that are the proper length. One thing I forgot about with the vintage drivers is that the risk of hitting a ‘pop fly’ is much higher than with the modern titanium driver. Thus, it’s a huge risk to try and use an upward attack angle with a persimmon driver because you may wind up hitting it only 75 yards or so.

Thus, I believe that back in the days of persimmon you did not see many PGA Tour golfers using an upward attack angle or even a ‘flat hit’ (0* attack angle). I think the majority hit much further down on the ball with the driver than they do today with the modern titanium driver.

It’s the reason why I think golfers like Colin Montgomerie dropped so much in world ranking, they excelled at a time when the metal/persimmon driver would work fine with their steeper attack angle. But in today’s game with the modern titanium driver, if they are giving up 5 or more degrees of attack angle, they losing huge amounts of yardage to the field and are probably not as accurate.


FADES AND DRAWS, CP AND CF

Just a note that one can hit a CP draw and a CF fade. This can be done by the aim of the club and body at address. Somebody like Fred Couples is a perfect example of a golfer who utilized a CF Fade for much of his career. That’s why he was able to hit it so far despite using a fade (same with Mickelson and Nicklaus). This CF fade is also known as a ‘push fade’, but the ‘good’ push fade towards the target.

You really don’t see much CP draws, although Sam Snead is probably the best example. He aimed to the right with his shots and hit CP draws to the target (aka ‘pull draw’).


SYNOPSIS

It’s certainly fair to say that a CP Release works best with irons and a CF Release works best with woods. One of the big reasons why most golfers use the CF Release is that it’s just much easier to actually perform than the CP release, particularly with longer clubs.

The CP release will typically result in straight shots and fades and will typically have a lower trajectory. The CF release will typically result in draws and higher trajectory shots. That is unless the golfer utilizes the ‘push-fade’ shot by aiming left at address and using the CF release to push it right of where they aimed and cut it towards the target.

It’s again the debate of precision vs. power, but the quest is always to achieve both.








3JACK

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Shawn Clement on Swing Plane

Here's a video by Shawn Clement discussing swing plane







3JACK

Monday, December 27, 2010

Lefty On Chipping Out of The Rough

Here's a video from Phil Mickelson on the principles of chipping from the rough.






3JACK

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Factors That Impact the Feel of Golf Clubs

Recently I purchased some Mizuno TN-87 irons.


The ‘lure’ of these irons are that they are supposed to have a much softer feel because underneath the chrome is a ‘copper underlayment’ that was more expensive and today’s OEM’s now use a nickel underlyament beneath the chrome to save money.

I posed this question to world renowned clubmaker Tom Wishon (www.wishongolf.com). And here’s his statement on the subject.

It was customary for forged irons made before the 1960s to undergo a plating process in which copper was electroplated first on the raw head, then the chromium was plated over the copper to fully finish the plating job. This was done chiefly to help ensure that the chromium plating would adhere to the head and reduce the chance for peeling. It had nothing to do with trying to affect the impact feel of the heads.

After the 70s it was discovered that plating nickel first followed by the chromium did the job OK so the copper step was dropped. This was done largely because plating companies simply had more jobs that required nickel plating in some form over copper, so it was more cost effective for them to switch away from the copper plating to do it with nickel plating. – Tom Wishon
And

Having been profusely involved in all areas of head design since 1986, I have come to the conclusion that if I had a dollar for every myth or statement like this that has circled around a club model one way or another the golf industry, I would have a pretty good addition to my bank account.

Mizuno has a marketing campaign they embarked upon a couple of years ago regarding their forged irons in which they say they forge the irons with a grain flow that allows them to have better feel. because MIzuno has a lot of tour use and a lot of image surrounding their forged irons, this marketing statement has been picked up by golfers and perpetuated. Same for other things regarding the so called feel of forged irons, so this copper plating thing is just another one in my opinion, mainly because I don't know of any forging companies using copper as the base plating.

Back between late 2001 and through most of 2002 before I decided to start my own company I had the opportunity to work as a production consultant for one of the larger forged iron head factories in the golf industry. This factory has made heads for several of the big companies, including Nike, Taylor Made and even being a back up second source for a couple of Mizuno's forged ironhead models.

No copper plating was ever done because the plating sub contractor simply did not do enough copper plating on other non golf products to even offer it as one of their services. Nickel was strictly used as a base plating. – Tom Wishon
So, do clubs actually feel softer than others or is it just in the golfer’s head?

My belief is that experienced players, particularly better golfers, can much better detect a different in iron feel. The less experience and higher handicappers do not detect the difference very well. Probably in part because the higher handicapper is more worried about getting the ball airborne than they are about the feel of hitting a flushed laser at the flagstick. And the other part is the higher handicapper is probably using some golf ball as hard as a rock, so it would be tough to tell the difference.

THE STEEL

I think the primary reason why one will be able to tell the difference in feel comes down to the steel being used in the irons. Here’s a few of the typical types of steel used in irons

FORGED CLUBS – 1020 carbon steel, 1025 carbon steel, 1030 carbon steel, 8620 carbon steel, 8620 carbon steel

CAST CLUBS – 8620 carbon steel, 17-4 stainless steel

There’s other steels out there that can be used, but those are the primary ones.

And as I mentioned in my Cast vs. Forged blog post, *if* a club is made from the same steel, you will not notice a difference in feel if it is forged or cast. However, none of the steels listed as 10XX can be cast. Most of the typical 10XX steels used in forged clubs IMO feel softer than the 8620 carbon steel which is the soft steel for a cast club.

But if you look at the steels that start with the digits 10XX, the lower the number, the softer the steel.


Scratch Golf makes their clubs from 1018 carbon steel. To my knowledge, this steel has never been used before in irons or wedges. The softest steel used was 1020, which companies like Hogan, MacGregor and Wilson Staff used for years. I will say this, I personally feel that my old vintage Hogan’s feel softer than my 1025 steel forged Mizuno MP-62’s. And I was recently hitting the new MacGregor VIP irons which have 1020 carbon steel and they feel softer than their competitors who use 1025 carbon steel.


There has been some controversy about whether or not Scratch utilizes 1018 carbon steel or not. I plan on giving their irons a try at the upcoming PGA Merchandise Show and coming back with my thoughts on their performance and feel.


THE SHAFT


I believe the shaft plays as big of a factor as anything when it comes to the softness and feel of an iron. It’s probably been about 12+ years since I’ve hit the Dynamic Gold Sensicore shafts, but the consensus is that it does dampen the vibration noticeably enough.

However, one trick I’ve been told that works even better is to get a clubmaker to insert a small wooden dowel at the hosel which helps dampen vibration even more.


I personally like the feel of the KBS shafts. They are stiffer at the tip end of the club shaft and I wouldn’t necessarily say that makes them feel softer, but it feels better for me because it feels like there is more force going thru the ball in the impact interval. The only thing that scares me off about the KBS shafts is their high launch, but they are coming out with a new shaft in 2011 that has a lower launch to them.


THE GRIP


I think the grip can help to a certain degree, although is a lesser factor than the steel being used in the clubhead and what type of shaft is being used. I found Lamkin’s new 3Gen Grips to provide a nice feel when struck, but I prefer the friction of a cord grip and they don’t make a cord 3Gen grip at this moment in time.

Here’s some other grips I’ve heard good things about:

  • GRIPMASTER SHOCK RESISTANT RUBBER GRIPS (pictured above)
  • LAMKIN STINGFREE
  • ENERGY GRIP
  • GOLF PRIDE DUAL DUROMETER
  • IOMIC GRIPS


THE GRIND


I think the grind of the club is also very important to how the club feels to a golfer. If you tend to take big divots, you probably won’t like the feel of an iron with a thin sole and little bounce angle. And vice versa.

The feel is important to some people and less important to others. But if you’re looking for feel, I find that these are the key factors.





3JACK

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Another Cool Hogan Video

Another cool Hogan video







3JACK

Monday, December 20, 2010

3rd Annual 3Jack Awards

Here’s my annual statement in regards to these awards:

I kind of do this with some caution. I am averse to taking myself too seriously. Years of playing golf will create that in a person because just as soon as you think you're hot stuff, the game will rear its ugly head right back at you. However, I thought it would be *fun* to go over the stuff I've reviewed this year and came up with my own "3Jack Awards." This is basically awards for things I watched, read or used during this year. Thus, it's not important as to when the product, video, book etc came out...it's whether or not I reviewed it this year. Anyway, you'll get the point soon enough
Best Training Aid Device

Second Runner Up: Sonic Golf (www.sonicgolf.com)

First Runner Up: Dancin’ Dogg Golf Simulator (www.dancindogg.com)



3JACK WINNER: Tour Striker Pro



(3JACK NOTES: Martin Chuck does it again. He’s also considering creating a ‘Tour Striker Iron set.’ From what Martin has told me, he came up with the idea from watching Moe Norman use irons with the leading edge shaved off.)


BEST YOUTUBE VIDEO

Second Runner Up: Steve Bishop – ‘Camera Position & Swing Plane



First Runner Up: Dahlquist and Carraher – ‘Drawing the Ball’



3JACK WINNER: Brian Manzella ‘The Essential D-Plane Video’



(3Jack Notes: Bishop’s video is so important because it gets the golfer into wanting to use the camera to improve their game, but to use it correctly and to understand the pitfalls. Too many instructors avoid the camera all together and too many golfers improperly position the camera and misinterpret its results. Both the Manzella video and the Carraher/Dahlquist video are of great importance so golfers can learn how to properly go about hitting a golf ball. Really some top notch work by everybody here)


BEST PREMIUM INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO

Second Runner Up: ‘Soft Draw 1.0’ with Brian Manzella

First Runner Up: ‘The Next Generation’ with Sean Foley

3JACK WINNER: ‘The Reality of Putting’ with Geoff Mangum and Steve Elkington



(3Jack Notes: Admittedly this year I did not watch a lot of premium videos, but the ones I did watch I was satisfied with. Soft Draw by Manzella overviews a certain pattern he teaches some of his students and is very well done. The Next Generation is a DVD I’m finishing up on, but is a very sound DVD on the overview of what Sean Foley teaches. I think The Reality of Putting is a must purchase for anybody who wants to improve their putting. I have not watched the Manzella Anti-Summit, yet. Thus, I couldn't mention it here.)


BEST EQUIPMENT

Second Runner Up: MacGregor VIP CB irons



First Runner Up: Titleist 910 Drivers



3JACK WINNER: Epon Golf AF-Tour Forged Blades



(3Jack Notes: The MacGregor VIP’s are a severely underrated club made from extremely soft 1020 carbon steel and come with KBS Shafts. 3-PW is only $600 (other OEM’s would charge $900+). The new Titleist 910 drivers are a fresh relief in allowing the golfer to finally change the lie angles of their titanium drivers. And the Epon AF-Tour Forged blades look like a magnificent work of art.)


BEST EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER

Second Runner Up: Mizuno


First Runner Up: Epon Golf




3JACK WINNER: Titleist


(3Jack Notes: Sort of a slow year manufacturer wise in 2010. Mizuno took a noticeable dip by not re-signing Bob Bettinardi and their new line of wedges fell flat along with their new hybrid (I really like and still have my Mizuno Fli-Hi CLK 3-hybrid). But they still make very good irons and their new line of the MP-53, MP-63 and MP-68 may be the best new line of irons they’ve had in a very long time.

Epon Golf just makes all around nice looking equipment. But kudos to Titleist for making a big turnaround in their irons and driver products this season. They now pretty much have everything for every golfer).



BEST GOLF WEB SITE

Second Runner Up: Geoff Mangum www.puttingzone.com

First Runner Up: www.mygolfspy.com

3JACK WINNER: Sevam1 and Steve Elkington www.dirters.com



(3JACK NOTES: Mangum's forum is filled with so much information that it often feels like you stumbled across this old pro shop that is filled with all these old, great clubs that you have to rifle thru the bin to put it together. MyGolfSpy.com is an equipment based site and has really stepped up its game this past year. Secret In The Dirt is like Facebook for golfers. It is still a work in progress, but the features it offers is tremendous.)


Best Looking Golf Swing (currently) on YouTube

Second Runner Up: Grant Waite



First Runner Up: Mike McNary



3JACK WINNER: Robert Rock



(3Jack Notes: Tough for me to find somebody better than McNary, so I went with European Tour pro, Rob Rock)








3JACK

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Grady O'Mac Golf Swing

Here's a video from Carl Welty showing Mac's left handed swing.








3JACK

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Reality of Putting Video Review


Geoff Mangum along with Steve Elkington and the ‘Secret In The Dirt’ crew recently produced an .mp4 file called ‘The Reality of Putting’ which goes into Mangum’s putting philosophy and practices. Mangum, a former attorney, decided years ago to go full bore into understanding putting and becoming the foremost expert in the subject. If you ever get the chance to read his forum (www.puttingzone.com), he is always willing to answer any question as extensive and as detailed as one could imagine. What else would you expect from a former attorney?

Geoff’s research goes well beyond the typical ‘putting guru’ philosophy of the mechanics of a style of putting stroke. It deals with what Mangum calls ‘The Four Skills of Putting’

  • Read
  • Aim
  • Stroke
  • Touch
And probably most particular about Geoff’s research is his extensive knowledge of neuroscience (the scientific study of the nervous system) and how the brain needs to be used in order to produce better putting results. One of the main things that has interested me in Geoff’s work is his understanding of the brain because unlike the full golf swing, the putting stroke does not have a lot of complex and detailed biomechanical motions to it. Thus, when other instructors are constantly theorizing and waxing poetically about the putting stroke, I never quite believed that focusing on the stroke was the key to good putting.

In fact, like the golf swing there has certainly been many different ways to effectively putt well. Nicklaus had his feet close together, was hunched over, open stance and looked like he pushed it down the line. Crenshaw had his feet close together and had a large forward press and a very arced stroke. Don January stood very upright and had a very little arc in his stroke. According to SAM Puttlab, Loren Roberts actually cuts across the ball with his stroke. And a friend of mine that I played some mini-tour events with was easily the greatest putter I ever saw, whose stance rivaled Moe Normans with a driver (ultra wide stance, closed), a large Crenshaw-esque forward press, and a very noticeable swivel of the cranium right after impact. And he drained putts all day long.

While Mangum has been vastly improving golfers’ putting for awhile, he seems to have risen to fame recently after working with Steve Elkington.


Elkington has been known as having one of the best swings and being one of the best ballstrikers in the world over the last 20 years. He’s also known as one of the more vibrant personalities on the PGA Tour, mainly thru his visits on the Jim Rome show. However, his one ‘Waterloo’ has always been his putting.

Check out the video that Geoff Mangum put up on delivery speed.....I found Geoff on the internet, got him to come to Houston in the off season and help me with my putting......1st time I've ever been in the top 10 in putting on tour in 25 years."—Steve Elkington

Elkington started working with Mangum before the 2010 season and here’s some putting stats comparison between Elkington in 2009 (pre-Mangum) and 2010 (post-Mangum)

Category………..2010……2009
3-5 feet putt…….….2…….....…87
5-10 feet putt……..92….....…135
3 Putt Avoidance….7……....…77
Total Putting..…..100…….....146

The video can be purchased for $35 at www.realityofputting.com. After it is purchased, an e-mail is sent with a link to a Web page where you can download the e-book and the video. The e-book is a very nice feature of the video as it gives the viewer something to read while they are watching the video to better illustrate the points being made and something you can use to read in your spare time as well. The video is available in .mp4 and .wmv file format.



The production is very good. They do a great job of making illustrations to further explain Mangum’s instruction. The audio is clear. On a grand scale, the audio is the only thing that makes this video from being top of the line from a production standpoint. Like I said, you can hear both Elkington and Mangum clearly, but it is not on par from an audio standpoint as something that Dave Pelz or Golf Digest would produce. However, they have a lot more money to put in production values and it’s really nitpicky and I don’t think most viewers would care about that.

The video starts off with basic green reading principles, in particular how to find the fall line. Geoff has many tricks on how to find the fall line. And there were plenty of them that were easy that I never heard of. In fact, that was probably the overriding theme that I got from the entire video, it’s a much easier way to do things. It reminds me a lot of the MORAD instruction in the golf swing where they teach some similar principles that your typical pop golf instructor will teach, but they have found a much easier way to execute those principles. The same with ‘The Reality of Putting’, something like where to aim your putter is now much simpler. Furthermore, Mangum gives the golfer several options on how to execute certain principles, all of which are an easier way to do things that most of us have been taught in the past.

Elkington is particularly valuable in the video because he has a keen sense of what questions to ask and when to ‘slow things down’ a bit and get it so the viewer can understand the principles. Mangum is undoubtedly brilliant, but often times brilliant minds have gone over such complex ideas in their mind so many times that they fail to recognize that others, even if they are also very intelligent, do not quite understand that multifarious concept. A good example is the interaction between Elkington and Mangum on the subject of ‘touch’ and that everybody has ‘good touch’ because they use it everyday. They go into how everybody uses ‘good touch’ in everyday motions like grabbing a doorhandle to open a door, but how with putting they just need to understand space and visualize space so they can use their good touch on the green.

Complex subject, broken down with focus so the golfer can fully understand the subject and then apply it. That’s really what I hope my blog is about.

One thing I will say that you will really enjoy about this video is that there is little in the way of ‘teacher speak’ and it’s about getting to the truth of the matter (or getting to the reality of putting), demonstrating it being applied to a golfer and seeing the results. And it has about a 1 hour run time, so it is short enough to keep one’s attention.

Probably my only gripe against the video is it probably could have set forth a curriculum of some sorts for the golfer to use on the putting green. Perhaps learn this matter first, then move to this matter, then move to this subject, etc. I think the general outline of the video is probably a good sequence to follow, but one is not really sure because the video never discusses it.

But even with that, I highly recommend the video and think it’s a must for the golfing off season. Not only do I think it will help golfers with their putting, but it will get them out of buying their next $400 Scotty Cameron as well.





3JACK

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ben Crane Workout Video

How PGA Tour golfer Ben Crane stays fit



:)





3JACK

Monday, December 13, 2010

Titleist - Fortune Brands Update


An announcement from Wally Uihlein:
Wally Uihlein
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

December 8, 2010

To all Acushnet Company Trade Partners:

As described in the attached news releases, today Fortune Brands announced that its Board of Directors has approved in principle a separation of the company’s three businesses in order to maximize long-term value for shareholders. This plan would result in: the continuation of Fortune Brands as an independent, publicly-traded spirits company; the tax-free spin-off to shareholders of the home and security business into an independent, publicly-traded company; and the sale or tax-free spin-off of the Acushnet Company.
I want to give you my personal perspective on what this announcement means for the Acushnet Company and our trade partners, and explain the reasons for my confidence in the future.

The Acushnet Company is the longest running and strongest golf industry success story, and we have been very successful as part of the Fortune Brands family. We are currently the largest and most profitable golf equipment company in the world. I fully expect this story – and the story of our brands and our people – to continue in that fashio. While the Acushnet Company will be sold to a new owner or become an independent publicly-traded company, our primary focus remains on doing what’s made us the leader in our industry, including providing you with the best-in-class products and service you’ve come to expect.

It is especially important to remember that this company has come through many periods of change and challenge, evolving and growing successfully throughout. For perspective, consider that the Acushnet Company was founded in 1910 and in 1935 the first Titleist golf ball was brought to market. Fortune Brands acquired the Acushnet Company in 1976 and Acushnet acquired FootJoy in 1985. Acushnet Company net sales in 1975 were $51 million. Our 2009 Net Sales were more than twenty-fold that number. Over the past 75 years the Titleist golf ball has become golf’s standard of excellence, while FootJoy has developed number one positions in the shoe, glove, sock and now outerwear categories.

Throughout the history of both brands – and the products and people that are the essence of the brands – there have been any number of challenges and new opportunities, and there have always been shareholders that the business has been accountable to. We have a strong history of rising to those challenges and taking advantage of those opportunities, while fulfilling our commitments to our shareholders…and to our customers.

As this situation develops and more details become available over the coming months, we will remain in close contact with you.

In the interim, our day-to-day mission remains unchanged. The goal is to continue to provide you with the highest performing, best quality products in golf and to support that with industry-leading, best-in-class customer service. Although we do not yet know what our new ownership structure will be, it is our intention to make this transition seamless, with no impact to you or your customers.

We greatly appreciate our relationship and your support of our products and brands, and we look forward to continuing and strengthening those relationships as we move forward.

Sincerely,



Wally Uihlein
In a nutshell Fortune Brands is the company that owns Titleist. Fortune Brands owns other companies as well that are in the distilled spirits and home security industries. They plan to keep their distilled spirits companies the way it is now, owned by Fortune Brands and publicly traded on the stock market. They’ll create a ‘spin off’ company to own and operate the home security company. So they’ll have a new CEO and other executives that will work and operate the company and instead of investors putting money into Fortune Brands stock so they can own whatever companies Fortune Brands owns and operates, the stock that they have in Fortune Brands will only be for the distilled spirits company. If they want to invest in the home security company, they need to buy separate stock in that.

Anyway, Acushnet (Titleist) will either be sold to a company like Fortune Brands or made into a spin-off itself.

I have some experience with this as the last company I was employed with was owned by a parent company that also owned 35 different corporations, which were in vastly different industries, from ticket sales to home lending to upscale home d├ęcor.


Understandably, there is some concern for Titleist fans here. Many saw the same thing happen to beloved golf equipment companies Hogan and Spalding when they were bought out by Callaway and Callaway put little effort into trying to build those brands and eventually closed those brands out. In fact, it seemed like Callaway just bought out Hogan in order to use the ‘Edge’ name for their irons since they now owned the rights to the popular Hogan Edge irons.


This is symptomatic of the current climate of corporate America. More and more corporations are being bought out by investment firms and these investment firms wind up having a conglomerate of multiple corporations under their belt. They buy these corporations out because the thought is that at the very least, down the road they’ll be able to sell them to another investment firm for a profit. So as long as they don’t take a bath financially while owning it, the likelihood of making a profit in the end is high because a company like Titleist has a name attached to it that is very appealing to firms. Much like Hogan, Spalding and Cobra.

It’s something that was portrayed in movies like ‘Wall Street’ and ‘Pretty Woman’ with the big wig figure heads like Gordon Gekko and Edward Lewis buying companies just so they could sell them off in order to make a profit. In Gekko’s case, he tried to sell off every bit of Bud Fox’s dad’s airline, all down to the scrap metal, so he could make a monstrous profit in less than a month. It’s something that is probably even more prevalent today, so again, I can see the cause for concern with Titleist fans.

Personally, I’m pretty even keeled on Titleist. I think they make a pretty good golf ball, although it’s not my golf ball of choice. Their irons were a bit unappealing in the Z design era, but they’ve now made a comeback with the new 710 line. Their drivers have been okay lately, but I think their effectiveness on the PGA Tour is appealing. I think Adidas has them beaten out as far as shoes go. They do make a good golf glove. I like the Vokey Wedges, but wish they were forged from a 1025 steel or 1020 steel instead of cast from 8620. I think the Scotty Camerons are overpriced and overrated, but cannot deny how popular they are.

But I doubt that Titleist will go the way of Hogan simply because the only golf company I could see affording Titleist is Nike and that may even be a stretch. And Nike already has a pretty popular ball and shoes made, which is probably the most appealing part of the Acushnet brand.

In the end, my guess is that they’ll be bought out by another company like Fortune Brands or they may turn into a spinoff company and they may wind up selling off the Scotty Cameron or the Vokey or the FootJoy part of the company. Although if I had to guess, I think they are most likely to sell off the Cameron division of the company because the putter making process is just different in nature and there’s a lot of perceived value in selling putters.







3JACK

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Iron Collection That Is Getting Out of Hand

First off, I wanted to announce that I will be attending the 2011 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando , having received a press pass. I plan on being there for the Demo Day (Wednesday Jan 26th) and Thursday and Friday. I may also be there for the weekend, but that will depend on my schedule and how many exhibitors I’ve visited. I will have pictures and ask exhibitors questions and post the experience on the blog. I plan on visiting all of the major OEM’s, but here is just a few of the other exhibitors I plan on visiting:

Edel Golf (putters)
Scratch Golf
Trackman
FlightScope
Femco Steel Technologies (KBS Shafts)
True Temper
AimPoint Technologies
Iomic Grips

If you would like me to visit other exhibitors and ask them questions or would like to meet up with me at the show, either reply here or e-mail me at Richie3Jack@yahoo.com

In the spirit of the PGA Merchandise show, I decided to show off my current collection of irons which with eBay, it has gotten way out of hand. I remember Doc Rivers in a Nike commercial once saying ‘some people collect cars, I collect basketball shoes.’ Well, some people collect cars, I collect golf clubs.


MIZUNO MP-62 (2008)

4-PW. +1/4” length, 2* upright. 1* strong. Rifle FCM 5.5 steel shafts. Lamkin Crossline Cord Grips.



I’m not a fan of Cavity Backs anymore, although these are about as good of a player’s Cavity Back as it gets. There is some noticeable offset here, but nothing too crazy. They feel amazingly good. The PW’s head is a little too big for my tastes, but it’s still a solid club. The problem now with my swing changes is that I hit hooks and hit it too low with them because the lie angle is too upright and the lofts are too strong.


MACGREGOR TOURNEY CUSTOM 985 (1978)

3-PW. -1/4” length, 6* flat, 2* weak loft. MacGregor Velocitized steel shafts (stiff), Lamkin Crossline Standard Black



I got these as my first set of irons when I started the ABS golf swing program. I was looking for the MacGregor Tommy Armour 985’s and thought these would suffice. When they are flushed, they feel quite nice, but the mis-hits are brutal and I can lose up to 2 clubs of distance with them even when they are flushed. Shoot in the low 70’s with these irons and you’ve really grinded it out.

HOGAN IPT (1963)

2-Equalizer, -1/4” length, 6* flat, 2* weak loft. True Temper Hogan Shaft (stiff), Lamkin 3Gen Grip



I decided I was looking for a different type of blade, so I eventually wound up with the Hogan IPT’s. The last set of Hogan’s I owned were the Apex BH Grinds from 1990 and before that I played with the Apex Redlines for awhile. I forgot the feel of a Hogan iron. The mis-hits are far more forgiving and they feel great when struck flush. I didn’t know that Hogan irons were made from 1020 carbon steel, but I could certainly feel a difference, even over the Mizuno MP-62’s (made from 1025 carbon steel). These irons have a 0* bounce angle which was prevalent in a lot of irons from that time. When I lived in Georgia I could get away with it a little more, but in Florida the bermuda grass seems a lot thicker and it feels easier to stick one into the ground. I like the 3Gen grips by Lamkin, although it


HOGAN APEX PC (1983)

2-Equalizer, standard length, 6* flat, 2* weak loft. TT DG S300 shafts, Lamkin Crossline Standard Black



I didn’t start playing golf until 1986 (the year Jack won the Masters and that piqued my interest into the game). I grew up around friends who played a lot of Hogan irons, particularly the Redlines and I wound up owning a set of Redlines for myself. Strangely enough, I never recalled the Apex PC’s although around the time I got into golf Ping had changed the golf club industry dramatically and my pro shop was also very big into MacGregor equipment as well.

I got these off of Craigslist for $55 and outside of the 7-iron, all are in very good condition. These are really the quintessential type of blade iron I look for…a club when you strike it flush it performs extremely well. It’s less forgiving than a cavity back, but mis-hits are not all that bad. Again, you can’t beat it when you hit it flush. I may get these re-finished down the road with a satin finish put on them. The 2-iron has an old Apex 4 shaft which is extremely stiff and hard to hit. But when I hit it flush it goes a mile.


HOGAN PERCUSSION CENTER 2.5” HOSEL (1967)

2 and 4-Equalizer. -1/4” length, 2* flat, 2* weak loft. True Temper Hogan shafts (stiff), Lamkin Perma Wrap



I always liked the looks of these and these clubs were recommended by Sevam1. I actually purchased them because they came with Hogan woods and I was looking to fool around with some persimmon. But when I got them I found out that the woods were laminated and not persimmon. But I still had the irons and I liked the looks of them. And then when I hit them, I noticed a big difference in them. The first time I played with them I hit 16 greens and shot 69 at Olde Atlanta Club. These are probably the irons I plan on getting re-made first by the Iron Factory. The only thing holding me back is the 0* bounce angle and I cannot find a 3-iron. I’d like to push some new shafts in them and see how they perform. I bought a 5-iron head for $10 so I could experiment with different shafts.


HOGAN BOUNCE SOLE 1+ (1970)

3-9 iron, standard length, 6* flat, 2* weak loft, Hogan Apex 3 shafts (regular), Golf Pride grip



These were the Hogan irons I originally wanted. They seem to have a little bit of a bounce angle on them and they are a fine club. Possibly worth getting re-done, although they need new shafts first as the Apex 3 shafts are extremely soft and whippy.


HOGAN PERCUSSION CENTER 3.0” HOSEL (1966)

3-9 iron, -1/4” length, 6* flat, 2* weak loft. True Temper Hogan shafts (stiff), Lamkin Crossline



I purchased these because I was looking for a 3-iron and Equalizer of the 2.5” Hosel irons. I saw this set and while I was looking for an individual club, I figured a backup set couldn’t hurt. I asked the seller to measure the hosel and he said that it was 2.5” length. I’m guessing he only measured the Equalizer as that is a 2.5” hosel. The rest of the set is the 3.0” hosel. The difference? The grind is really different. Different sole, toe design, etc. Still got an Equalizer and the rest of the set isn’t bad, it’s just not as good as the 2.5” hosel. Plus, most of the irons don’t have ferrules.


POWERBILT H&B GRAND SLAM

3-9 iron. -1/4” length, 6* flat, standard loft. Powerbilt steel shaft (stiff).



I used to have a friend who played these clubs for almost 10 years and still raved about them. They have a triangle type of look to the head, but they do feel quite nice. I have no idea what type of steel they used. My guess is that it was probably 1025, but they may have used 1020 as well. The shafts are not bad either, but since everything measured in about a ¼” shorter than today’s standard of 37.75” for a 5-iron, I’d want a lengther shaft in these bad boys. Another set that didn’t include a PW. I don’t ever recall PW’s being sold separately, but apparently that was typically the case.


TITLEIST 690MB

3-PW, +1/4” length, standard lie, standard loft. TT DG S300 shaft. Lamkin Crossline Grip



Since I started working on my swing again I wanted to get a standard specs set of clubs. I wound up getting these at Golfsmith used, although they look barely used, for $90. I hit these clubs a long way although a lot of that has to do with improvements I’ve made in my swing. They probably need to be about 2* flat as they are a little too upright for my swing and I hit some hooks with them. I didn’t see that the 9-iron has a dent in the shaft and that needs to be replaced.


MIZUNO PRO TN-87

3-PW, +1/4” length, standard lie, standard loft, Project X 5.5 shaft, Golf Pride Compound Grip



I was thinking of purchasing the Mizuno MP-29 irons. I remember when the MP-29’s started to become popular because Nick Faldo used them (Tiger also used them in college). But they were a bit too pricey and Mizuno offered a more affordable and more forgiving MP-14 irons which I owned for a little while although I like the MP-29’s better. I had never heard of the TN-87’s until I heard the rave about them on the internet. These were supposedly modeled by Tommy Nakajima after the Hogan Personal irons and were the precursor to the MP-29’s. I really like the design of these clubs. I’m not particularly nutty about Project X shafts though.


SRIXON PRO 100

3-9, standard length, lie and loft. TT DG S300 shaft. Nowon ION Grip



This didn’t come with the PW. I didn’t ask why but from what I heard the Srixon PW’s are too big, so I’m assuming that’s why the seller didn’t have the PW. These have a nice look to them as well. The Nowon grips are from Japan and they are made from a pretty soft rubber, but the design has a ton of traction to it. I looked at them at Tourspecgolf.com and they are $20 a grip. However, I think they would be excellent in the rain or the heat. The only issue is that the previous golfer’s left thumb wore down the grip a bit.






3JACK