Saturday, January 25, 2014

PGA Merchandise Show Ramblings - Part III

Wednesday was the official first day of the Show. IIRC, the Orange County Convention Center is the largest Convention Center in the world. I’ve been to the Atlanta World Congress Center and that is about ¼ the size of the OCCC. The OCCC takes up both sides of International Drive in downtown Orlando. The PGA Show is undoubtedly a huge event and it packs the entire area for the entire week. Yet, it only manages to take up a very small fraction of OCCC due to the massive size of the building(s).

I had some instructors looking for me to do some work for them to discuss working together with their PGA Tour clients. The Open Forum 2 didn’t end up 11pm and I had to drive all the way to the other side of town to get back home. Then, I decided to the statistical analysis of the players in question and didn’t get to bed until about 4am. How time flies as that was a common occurrence when I was in college, now it felt like I was making the Bataan Death March.

I didn’t wake up until noon and headed to the show.

The superstar of the show was the Noitom MySwing Golf Swing analyzer 2 sensor system.

This is similar in terms of functionality to what other motion capture systems like the SwingByte do. Noitom claims superior technology and sensors. But what I think separates it from the rest is that you can not only put 1 sensor on the club, but 1 sensor on a part of your body like the pelvis, the upper thoracic spine or the arm. You can then get your club data recorded, but also get a motion analysis of that particular part of the body in that swing.

One of the issues I have found that golfers have with these type of machines is that they want to have a verification of the accuracy of the equipment. I think that is important to a degree, a bit less so when you’re either using it for practice or giving a lesson. In the academic world, it is paramount, but for most golfers they will not be in that world.

Every company is going to claim accuracy. But the key to me is having something that is consistent. So if I can see club numbers that change consistently with changes in the swing, that is more important to me than being completely dead on accurate 100% of the time.

But what is very important that the myswing provides that the others don’t is the sensor on the body where you can see the motion analysis of that body part in the swing (you can only use 1 of the body sensors at a time). For myself, I have a tendency to get too much hip slide and axis tilt in the downswing, so I can now see what the club was doing, what the club numbers and see what the differences in my hip motion in the swing were (or my upper thoracic spine motion or my arm motion).

It’s a wireless system and the sensors are used in movies. They demonstrated how to put this right into a iPad and it has various screens depending on what you want to see. It will also show the swing at different ‘p’ positions:

P1 = address
P2 = shaft parallel to the ground
P3 = shaft perpendicular to the ground
P4 = top of swing
P5 = shaft perpendicular to the ground in downswing
P6 = shaft parallel to ground in downswing before impact
P7 = impact

Lastly, it also shows a screen for D-Plane with the vectors and explaining the ball’s flight. Best of all, the 2 sensor system will retail between $100-$150. They are planning on coming out with a full upper body sensor system and possibly a shaft fitting system in the future.


I wanted to look at one product called Hip Trax. Here’s a video for it:

I think that this is a pretty good product for teachers, particularly for the hip motion in the backswing. I think there are some other things that need to be done as far as Center of Pressure, Center of Mass, knee motion ,etc that have to occur to get the hips to move the way they recommend in the downwing rather than simply rotating your hips. I believe this retails for $150.


One of the things the companies are really getting into is the force plate data. Here’s a video from golf instructor, Jason Helman on force plate data:

I saw a lot of force plate machines. Swing Catalyst had a giant booth that was packed. The BodiTrack system has force plates that you can lay on either a mat or on grass and the force plate can plug right into your computer or table.

As I’ve learned more about force plate data the more of a fan I’ve become of it to the point where I believe it is a more valuable tool for golfers and instructors than a radar launch monitor. I’ve been told by fellow instructors that they can look at force plate data and predict *some* certain shots like a shank, a bad slice and toe-hook. I also think that for golfers in general, they can understand the concepts of ‘weight shift’ whereas radar launch monitor numbers take more time to fully grasp. It’s not that the radar launch monitors are not great and important to learn from. But, I think you would be more likely to ‘sell’ golfers on the idea of getting on force plate data to help their game because it appeals to things like ‘balance’, ‘rhythm’ and ‘weight shift’ than with a radar launch monitor. I’m seriously considering purchasing one of these for myself. They retail at $1,800.


Flightscope has come out with the FlightScope XI monitor. This is essentially a more affordable launch monitor as it costs under $4k. From what I understand this is more for the clubfitter/clubmaker. The club data is a bit more limited in what it measures/calculates. But it has the ball flight data to help the clubmaker/clubfitter figure out how to best fit their client.


I got to putt with a $2,000 putter made from German Stainless Steel. And I did sink the putt. I loved the looks and feel of all the Piretti putters. Their Copper face putter has about as pure of a feel as you can find in a putter (retails for $650)

The Piretti putters have some real similarity in looks to the Kenneth Giannini putters. The Piretti putters generally have heavier heads, usually at 365 grams. The Giannini putters have ranging head weights the 350’s to 370 grams.

Henrik Stenson has a Piretti Putter that he had custom crafted by the company. That putter sells for $950. While those are some outrageous prices, the craftsmanship, feel and looks are as good as it gets.


I spoke to a representative from Aerotech about the Player Spec shafts. These are ascending shaft weights and they confirmed to me that even after trimming, the shaft weights will increase. They come in a parallel tip option, but at discreet lengths to accommodate the ascending shaft weights. They hope to make the Steelfiber their ‘Dynamic Gold’, the shaft that is still primarily played for the next 20+ years. They are also coming out with a hybrid shaft as they found that many of the pros on Tour were taking their Steelfiber iron shafts and putting them in their hybrids.

The representative did agree with me that he felt that it was only a matter of time until MOI matching starts to overtake swingweight matching when it comes to iron fitting.


At the show at the convention center Edel’s booth has the engraved clubs on display.

I didn’t ask, but I would imagine they are more for show than for playing. Although if I won the lotto and had them, I would play with them because they just look fantastic.

They also had some new putter designs for the custom fitted putters:


I found these New Balance Golf Shoes to be very interesting:

After this I went to talk to some potential clients about working together with my statistics on the game. I then headed over to the Brickhouse Tavern for Tweet Up 3.0 which was put together by John Graham.

At there I got to meet the following:

Jim Ragland -

Mark Sweeney -

Mark Russo –

Andy Griffiths -

Eric Cogorno -

Lloyd Higley -‎

John Dochety -

Chris Trevino -

Justin Blazer -

Nick Chertock -

Brendon Kennedy -

Keith Handler -

TJ Yeaton -

Dave Wedzik -

Erik Barzeski -

James Hirshfield -

Jason Helman -

And many others that I unfortunately can’t think of at the moment. It’s a great time to relax and bounce ideas and thoughts off each other. By the end of the night my throat was obliterated from talking so much. And I was exhausted and back off to ‘the real world’ the next morning.

In all, this show was much more enjoyable than the last 2 shows, but still not as great as the 2011 PGA Show. I think the Open Forum will only get better and the Tweet Up will only get bigger and that will make it more than worthwhile to come down even if the actual show is not up to snuff.


Friday, January 24, 2014

2014 PGA Merchandise Show Ramblings - Part II

After the Demo Day and getting something to eat, I headed to West Orange Country Club for the Open Forum 2. This was created by Nick Chertock, Michael Michaelides and Chris Como last year. The idea was to promote an open discussion about a variety of topics with regards to teaching. Last year the show was disoriented. The idea was good, but there was such a broad scope of what could be discussed that you could get teachers that wanted to talk about wrist and upper thoracic graphs while other teachers wanted to talk about where to set up the camera. It also didn’t help that there was a full bar in the room. West Orange CC had a nice setup where the bar was in a different room than where they could hold the Open Forum. They were able to put some sponsors together like Zepp Golf which I thought has an interesting product.

This year they had a set agenda of discussion and posted it on the Facebook forums so those going to the Open Forum knew ahead of time what was going to be discussed.


First up was Dr. Mike Duffy, a golf biomechanics researcher from Penn State. He discussed what their research showed as far as the kinematic sequence goes and what produces club head speed. While it was biomechanically oriented, he utilizes similar statistics that I use for golfers and actual performance. The idea with Duffy is that his research shows that arm speed has the strongest correlation to club head speed, then torso speed, then the hips. However, in order to speed up those movements, they have to go in sequence of hips to torso to arms. Whether you believe or don’t believe in the kinematic sequence really wasn’t an issue for me, it was about what Duffy has researched and you can draw your own conclusions. I thought the presentation was fine. I still have my skepticism about what is correct and how this may possibly change if the sensors to measure the data were located in different positions. Unfortunately, Duffy was the first to go and it took a little while to get into the ebb and flow of what the Open Forum was designed to do…get people into discussing his findings and asking questions. That’s going to happen until somebody breaks the ice. But at the very least I was able to see what Duffy’s viewpoint was.


MacKenzie has done a lot of work on the engineering and physics of a golf swing. He is noted for his work with the ‘functional swing plane’, ‘passive torque’ in the golf swing, etc. Here’s him hitting a driver with one arm:

MacKenzie first discussed if there was a ‘flat spot’ in the golf swing. This is near impact if the clubhead flattens out. MacKenzie’s work is more simulation based. So he is able to determine the properties of a human being and the golf club and perform a simulation of the swing. From there he can take the data and determine if it is physically possible to perform something like a ‘flat spot’ in the swing.

The verdict? Yes, there is a flat spot in the swing.

The problem? They don’t know if that is good, bad or indifferent.

It would be interesting because from my viewpoint, Moe Norman did not take a deep divot, but they appeared to be a long ‘striping’ of the grass. That could possibly indicate that he had an elongated flat spot. So it would be interesting if a longer flat spot would be advantageous.

If there was a complaint here it’s that MacKenzie discussed the flat spot for too long and too many questions were asked about it and we have no idea what good or bad the flat spot does.

From there he discussed much of what was in this video:

I basically understand it as if you were looking at a DTL view. And let’s say you want to draw a ‘shaft plane line’ showing the plane of the *hands* in the downswing. And you wanted show a plane of the club head in the downswing. Essentially, the swing will be more efficient if the club head plane is flatter than the hands plane.

I found some of the other stuff a bit confusing, particularly with the torque and ‘motion arm’ terminology. But, I’m not a golf instructor and I will only go so far to understand it.


Rob Neal owns Golf Biodynamics and is a biomechanist that teaches the golf swing. He participated in a great video explaining Bubba Watson’s famous shot at the Masters.

Neal’s presentation was about ‘pitch shots.’ Pitch shots were defined as 30-80 yard shots. They used Tour players and collected various data. One of the main themes was figuring out what determines the amount of carry on a pitch shot.

What Neal found is that the largest correlation to distance carry was ball speed. So for every increase in ball speed, the more the ball was going to carry. It’s practically a 1:1 relationship. Obviously, from there it is a strong relationship between carry distance and club head speed.

While this may sound simple, what was interesting is that there was no real relationship between launch angle and max height of the ball. Neal surmised that the trajectory of the ball was more about the player’s personal preference as to what they feel comfortable with hitting.

There was a lot more to it, but what I found interesting in the end is that they measured the shaft lean at impact of these Tour players and found that it was on average at about 16* of forward shaft lean. This would explain Mike Adams’ findings of why golfers don’t have enough bounce angle…the shaft lean tends to be greater than the amount of bounce angle they have. And it’s not a coincidence that Edel tends to end up fitting golfers for about 16* of bounce in their sand wedge. I came with thinking that the bounce designs in wedges are really designed for higher handicappers because they tend to produce low shaft lean. But if you’re a 10 handicap or better, you’re likely to be hitting wedge that is not designed for your swing.

The other part I found interesting is that the shaft lean at impact did not vary much, according to Neal the players recorded were all within 13-17* of shaft lean, regardless if they were hitting a 30 yard or a 80 pitch shot. This jives with my theory that about Birdie Zone players (75-125 yard shots). That the best ones are the best at controlling the forward shaft lean at impact. I tend to believe that the players with a little less forward shaft lean than the typical Tour players (i.e. Brian Gay, Brian Davis, Camilo Villegas, Steve Stricker) tend to do the best job of controlling the shaft lean. However, this could very well be an issue of their ability to control their club head speed given the correlation of club head speed to carry distance.


Afterwards I took a break and missed some of the presentations like Phil Cheetham’s. When I came back, they decided to do a panel discussion where somebody would ask a question and a panel of 10 instructors would give their thoughts. I enjoyed this, but I felt that the panels were too big. They needed a 3, 4 or 5 panel because it would take too long to get everybody’s opinion.

Part of what was discussed was hitting up versus hitting down with the driver and what will be straighter. This is something that Chris Como and I have discussed extensively as the more a player hits up, the more the D-Plane shifts compared to hitting down. But, the ball is spinning less when the player hits up. So the D-Plane is shifted more, but the ball is spinning less on that shifted plane. Conversely, hitting down the D-Plane is shifted less, but spinning more. So it’s something we’ve discussed in what would cause the ball to curve more.


Fredrik Tuxen researched this and came away with a model of a 100 mph club head speed player. One that hits -5* downward versus the other at +5* down. They’ve optimized their launch conditions for each attack angle in order to hit it the furthest.

The results were that the player hitting up would obviously hit it further. But the player that hit up did hit it further offline. IIRC, the difference was 28 yards offline for the +5* angle versus 22 yards offline at the -5* angle.

Tuxen also pointed out that at slower club head speeds, the ball will go less offline. So his point was that the extra distance would ‘outweigh’ the ball going more offline.

My conclusion is that I agree with Tuxen’s point with club head speeds under 100 mph. As my research shows (and others like Cochran and Stobbs as well as Mark Broadie) there’s also not as large of a discrepancy for higher handicap players hitting a shot from the fairway versus hitting a shot out of the rough. The higher handicaps do not have the swing mechanics and tend to hit it quite well if the grass ‘tees it up’ in the rough. So if a lower speed, higher handicap player can gain the yardage and maybe find the rough a little more often, I feel that is largely in their favor to do so.

The disconnect for me is that I deal with Tour players whom all generate more than 100 mph club head speed. Furthermore, there is a larger discrepancy between performance on a shot from the fairway vs. the rough for a Tour player (roughly 33%).

One question was posed that a 6 yard difference (28 vs. 22 yards) could mean the difference of hitting it O.B or in the water. Brian Manzella didn’t believe it and I tend to disagree.

The width of the average Tour fairway is 28 yards. So a shot that is 22 yards off line…provided the target is the center of the fairway….the ball will end up 8 yards from the edge of the fairway. That is 24 feet from the edge.

Last year 24 feet from the edge of the fairway would have ranked 42nd in Distance to the Edge of the Fairway. Conversely, if the shot travels 28 yards off line, that is going to end up roughly 42 feet from the Edge of the Fairway. Last year that would rank dead last.

And remember, this is for only 100 mph club head speed.

I still think that the ‘honey hole’ is about -2 to +2 degrees for golfers. I think it’s great if a lower speed player can hit up based on Tuxen’s math. But, the other issue is that most low club head speed players hit well down on the ball…so they have horribly flawed mechanics to begin with and flattening the attack angle (or making it upward) will be a byproduct of improved mechanics. So I would recommend, based on this information, that teachers with lower club head speed players try to get them to hit up a bit more. But as the player generates more speed, they are probably going to want to keep them in a -2 to +2 range and figure out what works the best for them in terms of power, accuracy and consistency.

Chuck Cook was asked about it and he says that Jason Dufner hits -2* down on the ball and when he tried to get him to hit up, not only could he not do it consistently, he was losing club head speed (something I’ve seen in the data research I’ve conducted as well).

Hopefully this doesn’t come off as a ‘winning’ or ‘losing’ a debate, but more understanding of where I am coming from and where Tuxen and others are coming from. Like I stated, Tuxen sold me on the idea of getting a player to hit up if they are a lower club head speed player. And I would never recommend any player to start hitting -5* downward with their driver for any reason unless they were playing into a very strong headwind.


In the second panel the topic of rate of closure came up. John Graham ( brought up the good point that Trackman does not measure the path of the club face. Instead it measures the path of the ‘blob’ that it creates by finding the geometric center of the club head. And therefore there can be a discrepancy between the path of the face versus the path of the blob because we don’t hit the ball with the blob.

This brought up the debate of what impact rate of closure can have and it went briefly into what Fujikura’s ENSO machine measures.

I think it’s better to see the video on this in order to explain what they were discussing along with Brian Manzella’s thoughts and James Hirschfield’s questions and thoughts.

My feeling?

The rate of closure argument, regardless of what side you’re on is more or less an exercise in futility at this moment in time. Rate of closure is not universally defined. From what I understand, the RoC measured by ENSO is measuring the rotation of the shaft or near the butt-end of the grip.

But, what I *perceive* as Rate of Closure and what I have seen from greats like Hogan, Snead, Mac O’Grady, etc…and what that club head and club face look like for those guys going thru impact makes me not really care much what the shaft is doing. I am more interested in what the club and face are doing.

I’m not saying I’m right or wrong. I’m saying that it is a subject that we virtually have no verified, scientific measurement of. We don’t even have a good definition for it and what would be measured. So if you’re for a high rate of closure, some of your arguments may be valid and logical…but some of your arguments are based on no scientific proof or evidence.

Conversely, the same goes for those in favor of a low rate of closure. My feeling is that once it gets figured out, we will probably realize we didn’t account for certain things that go into this subject.


This was a really great forum that I learned a lot from. I got to meet a lot of smart, interesting people in the industry from Russ Ryden, Chris Como, John Graham, Chuck Cook, Mike Adams, Nick Starchuk, Lance Gill, Mark Blackburn, Nick Duffy, Michael Michaelides, John Dochety, TJ Yeaton, James Hirshfield, John Dunigan, Chuck Cook, Fredrik Tuxen, Rob Neal, Mike Duffy, Sasho MacKenzie, Andrew Rice, etc.

I also think that it will only get better for years to come and I look forward to the video. The organizers, Nick Chertock, Chris Como and Michael Michaelides should be proud of the fantastic job they did.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

2014 PGA Merchandise Show Ramblings - Part I

This week the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show is in Orlando, Florida. The show moved up the days of the week on the schedule. Typically, Demo Day has been on Wednesday with the 1st day of the actual show on Thursday and the last day on Saturday. That moved up one day with Demo Day starting on Tuesday and the first day at the Convention Center on Wednesday.

Tuesday I arrived at the Convention Center at 9:30 and took the shuttle over to Orange County National. This is the same as it is every Demo Day, the entire Orange County National driving range has tents almost every square foot around the range. I saw Martin Chuck, the inventor of the Tour Striker.

Martin’s new product is the ‘Smart Ball’

This is an inflatable ball that has a strap that can optionally be placed around the golfer’s neck. If the golfer wants to do a drill where they work on keeping their elbows closer together in the swing, they can use this. It can also be used in a variety of different drills where the golfer may use a ball like this one. And it can be deflated so the golfer can use it if they want to do a drill like keeping it under their armpit while they swing. It can attach to a golf bag and since it can be deflated, it can be easily stored in a golf bag.

After that I went around the range once and here were a few things I check out:

Axis 1 Putter – The main design feature I see with the Axis 1 putter is that it is almost the opposite of ‘face balanced.’ We know with face balanced putters that if we balance the shaft on our finger, the face will point towards the sky. With the Axis1 putter, the toe will be pointing straight towards the sky…essentially the face is in-line with where the hole would be when it is balanced on our finger.

Out of the Axis1 putters, I preferred the Eagle model.

Fourteen Golf – They make a really nice looking and good feeling driver head. Unfortunately they have a stock shaft that is 47.5 inches long. So I could hit it well about 20% of the time. Put a better fitted shaft in there and I think it’s a helluva driver.

Utility Irons - I had hit the Titleist utility irons and this time I tried Callaway and Pings. I found them very easy to hit off the tee. I think a lot of this leads me back to the old debate of hitting driver versus 3-wood off the tee. The data of Tour players shows that they were surprisingly more accurate and consistent when they hit driver versus 3-wood in 2013 Pro Golf Synopsis. The big debate centered around the 3-wood head design. Because the 3-wood had more loft, it would be more difficult to tilt the ball’s spin axis which would make it more difficult to curve the ball and make the 3-wood, logically, more accurate. But my feeling is that because the 3-wood’s head is much smaller (roughly 3 to 3.5 times smaller than your 460cc driver), the MOI of the head around the sweetspot is less. My feeling is that great reduction in head MOI outweights the extra 4 degrees of head loft that will make it more difficult to tilt the spin axis. It would be interesting to see if Utility irons are more difficult to tilt the spin axis than a driver.

Either way, they Utility Irons I have tried have all felt good and pretty easy to swing.

Nippon Shafts – I spoke to a rep from Nippon as I had to ask about their shafts. The Modus shafts are constant weighted. Because of that, both their taper tip and parallel tip versions come in at different lengths for each iron. Typically, parallel tip shafts are all the same length and then they have specific trimming specifications. For instance, you may get a few parallel tip shafts that are all 41” long, un-cut. With the 3-iron, it will tell you to trim the tip 1-inch, then trim from the butt section down to the length you want the club. But with a 9-iron, it may tell you to tip trim the shaft 2.5” and then trim the butt to length.

With Nippon’s parallel tip shafts, they will come in at different lengths and you still have tip and butt trim according to their specs.

I asked about how after trimming the Modus 120 shaft it came out to about 109 grams versus my Modus 130 at 119 grams. The step pattern on the shafts are different so there’s more weight at the tip section in the Modus 130. However, the step pattern used in the Modus 130 typically makes for a very tip stiff shaft, but Nippon was able to soften the tip with that step pattern. Thus producing a shaft that is heavier after trimming, but not too tip stiff.

I tried the Nippon Regio driver shaft. It is supposed to be designed in line with the Modus shafts. I didn’t think it was a bad shaft, but just too stiff for my swing. Thus, I didn’t find it in line with the Modus shaft, but that doesn’t mean a player with a different swing would not really like the shaft.

Wilson Golf – I didn’t take any pictures and I have not seen any on the internet, but Wilson Golf’s new wedges have a different wedge grind design. It’s more of a C-Grind and something you would see more from a Miura, Edel or Scratch Golf wedge than your typical OEM wedge design.

Edel Golf – Edel comes into the show each year with great new ideas and designs. The ‘think tank’ at Edel also plans very well for the future instead of presenting the same product each year. There was discussion of possibly coming out with woods in the near future that would, of course, have that customized Edel fitting experience. As the guys at Edel told me ‘if we try it and think it stinks, we will just junk the idea.’ While David Edel is a master craftsman, people often forget that he was an accomplished teaching professional and was certified in The Golfing Machine. So unlike most designers, not only can he play golf, but he has an advanced understanding of swing mechanics and club fitting which allows him to use all of those to make the clubs he makes. The same goes for other top people like Bobby Dean and Mike Adams, an experienced wedge grinder for decades who discovered his students didn’t play with enough bounce and came up with the idea of fitting wedges by bounce (and other factors) and creating a wedge design with higher bounce (which I will get into in part II).

Edel has made a few tweaks to their wedge design. I own a new 52* wedge that I use as a Sand Wedge (no 56* wedge, just 52* and 60*). If you like the Edel wedge head look, I cannot really see a difference. I just know that the 52* wedge is exactly what I was looking for…a club that I could properly yardage gap from my PW, but I could also use around the green by slightly fanning the face open if I needed a little more loft. And the first time I tried it out of the bunker, I jarred it.

With that, Edel has changed their iron designs a bit which will lower the price point. I hit this iron at Demo Day.

I also hit the Cavity Back model

I thought both felt and looked great. The big part is that the club head and turf interaction is what separates Edel from the rest. It feels different. It feels smoother and faster and it doesn’t put stress on your hands, wrists and forearms.

In fact, what I found funny was that Edel had the best area to hit from because the other hitting areas for other companies were filled with giant divots.

Kenny Giannini Putters - I had heard some nice things about these putters and wanted to give them a try.

I found these had a great feel as far as contact goes. I asked about them and they said that the slot design had a lot to do with it.

The slot is not designed for noise, but to help with the weighting and to create more MOI around the sweet spot. They also come with PURE Grips putter grip. It has a nice feel to it, probably similar to the old Anser putting grip. I will say that I did like the feel, but I am curious if that feel would remain once the grip gets a bit more worn down.

YONEX TC FORGED IRONS – This to me was the surprise club of Demo Day. I had hit the EZone Blade and really liked it. So I tried this blade and the ball really just flies off the face. They had a launch monitor and when I flushed one, the 6-iron went 174 yards into a 2-club wind. This was extremely noticeable.

They told me that the design is a blade, but in the inside of the club (you cannot see it), they took out the steel and inserted titanium in its place. This would provide a blade with better perimeter weighting. Whatever it was, I thought it was phenomenal. Unfortunately, I do not see any pictures of it anywhere on the internet.

I was about to leave around noon. The winds started picking up to the point where one of the Cleveland tents flew off its hinges and literally looked like a bull at Pamplona ready to gore somebody. One poor woman was dead to rights and the tent at the last second propelled right over her. As funny as it may sound, watching it happen I thought she was going to be seriously hurt. And I had heard that another tent flew off on another side of the range and did injure somebody.

As luck would have it, it started raining as I was heading to the shuttle and that consisted of a 1-hour wait in the rain for the shuttle. I didn’t get back to my car at the Convention Center until 3pm and had yet to each lunch and then had to go to the Open Forum 2. Overall, the Demo Day was not mind blowing, but it was a decent showing given the new products out there.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Thoughts on the YAR Putter

Yesterday an article from was written about the YAR putter and its creator, Dr. Essay Ann Vanderbilt.  It’s certainly a wild story and can be found at:

I had written a review about the YAR putter that can be found here:

I stopped using my YAR putter over a month ago and I went back to my Edel putter.  My introduction to the YAR didn’t happen until earlier this year.  But, during 2012 I had several readers e-mail me and ask what I thought about the putter.  I was a bit turned off by the wackiness of the Web site and some of the videos like the one doing to the Jack Nicholson presentation.  I couldn’t quite understand what made the putter allegedly superior.

In 2013 I had seen that Geoff Mangum had some positive things to say about the putter.  I do not believe he knew how the putter was fitted for given Mangum believes that it is more ideal to have the arms hang naturally downward at address.  He also does not like flat lie angles because it requires additional torque in the stroke of the putter.  I wrote about this recently:

The YAR putter is a very long putter (mine is 38-1/4” long and is at a flat lie angle.  I think Geoff liked what he had heard about the weight and head features of the putter, but didn’t know what the fitting process exactly consisted of and I don’t think he would have been in favor of the fitting process.  There’s a thread over at Mangum’s forum that gives that indication and it can be found here:

What started to pique my interest in the club is that some of the things being said about it seemed like they could work and made some sense.  I was told that the design is very similar to the design of an airplane.  I felt that the airplanes have similar motions in the down-stroke in a putting as the airplane would swooping in for a landing. 

The other part was the lack of MOI.  This is where it gets a bit confusing because I was told by some people that it had ‘zero MOI’ and others told me that it had ‘next to no MOI.’  I had many engineers that are readers of mine state that ‘zero MOI’ didn’t make sense or seem possible.  When I discussed that it had ‘next to zero MOI’, then that seemed more possible to these engineers.  But, they still questioned how that was applicable.  Since none of these engineers were in the fields of aerospace or aeronautics, they basically left it at it not making sense, but they weren’t going to question it.

Back in 2012 I had discussed Edel’s ‘Torque Balanced’ putters.  This can be found at the following links:

The big thing was that Edel Golf was against the ‘high MOI’ putters because they had a tendency for the golfer to leave the blade open at impact.  I had experienced this as I had several friends with high MOI putters like the Taylor Made Spider model.  And all of them struggled from 3-10 feet and would leave the blade open.  David Edel explained to me that the design of the high MOI putters is such where it will make the putters more apt to be open into impact and that the ‘torque balanced’ putters were designed to prevent that.  I have stroked the Torque Balanced putters by Edel and I find them to have an unusual, but great feel to them.  And you simply cannot open the blade into impact with them. 

The only downfall of the torque balanced design is that Edel cannot fit them so they align properly for the golfer.  They can come close, but their trademark line is their custom fit putters (which are also fitted for weight). And I still highly recommend trying the Edel putter out and they can be found at

But what piqued my interest was that the YAR putter was claiming similar things as to how ‘high MOI’ heads were detrimental.  Lastly, I liked their claims that one could look at the cup while putting.  Every person I have talked to that deals with neuroscience and putting, usually with regards to speed/touch around the green, says the same things about how you can get the stroke required by looking at the hole while you take your putting stroke.  They often have the golfer envision there is an imaginary wall where the hole is and your object is to get the ball to rest at where the wall is. 

Given how important speed/touch is to putting well, I have been interested in being able to look at the hole while putting for a long time.  The problem was that I could not find a putter where I could look at the hole while stroking the putt and make good, consistent contact.

I decided to buy the putter.  The cost was $270.  My main skepticism was that even if it worked, I still worried about the alignment since it was not fitted for my alignment.  Still, I thought the prospects of putting great outweighed the risk of losing $270.

When I first got it, I putted lights out.  In fact, the very first putt I had with it was a 20 footer, downhill.  I looked at the cup while putting and drained it.  I proceeded to putt incredibly well for a few weeks.  Then I went into a bad drought and couldn’t make anything.  Afterwards, I started to look at the ball while putting and was very inconsistent.  Putt well one round followed by putting terribly the next round.  This eventually led to me taking the YAR out of my bag and going back to my trusty Edel putter.  I eventually experimented with my Edel belly putter and I trimmed that down to 35 inches and really like the way I’m putting with it.

While the article written on Grantland was fascinating subject matter, I feel the author kinda got lost in the YAR putter in the midst of all of the madness around Stephen Krol (aka Dr. Vanderbilt).  It seemed as soon as Krol told Hannan that it was alright to interview him about the putter science and not the scientist behind the putter…all Hannan wanted to do was to learn more about the scientist.

There’s nothing wrong with that tact.  I just feel that everybody you talk to that has tried the putter has liked it or given some positive thoughts on the putter.  In fact, Hannan loved the putter himself.  The fact is that if Hannan had simply ordered the putter and disliked it, the story would have ended right there.  He would have just blown it off as another marketing gimmick.

As I mentioned in my YAR putter review, this is a putter where you’re going to have an arced putting stroke.  You can’t take it outside and cut across it.  In general, most instructors and scientists favor the arced putting stroke first and foremost.  And most of these people steadfastly advise against the ‘cutting across’ stroke.

Secondly, you cannot open the blade or close the blade with this putter.  Another aspect that would be considered advantageous.

The putter also has a great feel to it.  It feels nice as you stroke the putter.  It doesn’t feel too heavy nor too light.  And it feels really nice when you hit the ball with it.  I had numerous times where I would strike a putt well and think to myself ‘man, if I could do that 15-16 times a round I would be putting lights out.’

And it’s the only putter I have ever tried that I could consistently make good, solid contact while looking at the cup while I stroked the putter.  In fact, I can do this with little practice. 

The problems I had with the putter is that I could not make good consistent strokes.  I blame this on the flat lie angle design.  The other part is that I would hit through the break on a lot of the putts.  That’s hard for me to say because I think I have a good understanding on the physics of speed/touch with relation to putts falling in.  But, I would often see a putt that would break, say, 4-inches…and I would hit it at a good speed and it would only break 1-inch.  When I went back to the Edel putter I would see those putts break what I thought they would and end up in the back of the cup.

What I think gets lost in all of the hysteria of Krol’s sexuality, con games, mysterious background and tragic death is that he may have created a brilliant putter despite not having the credentials he claimed to have. 

From what I’ve read on the interne the putter gets dismissed because of Krol, but those people have never tried the putter.  And is there really a difference between the YAR putter and all of the claims of ’20 yards more distance!’ or ‘shave 6 strokes off your game’ or ‘1,700 rpm’s and 17-degree launch will optimize distance for everyone!’

I think there has been some motive to sully McCord’s credibility with this entire mess.  But, it’s not like he was plastering his face everywhere to endorse the putter and I do not believe he was ever paid by YAR golf.  Furthermore, he supposedly sent Krol to discuss this with Taylor Made Golf.  In essence, I think McCord truly believed in the YAR putter and that is why he endorsed it.  That sounds more credible than most of the Tour players and what they endorse out there, solely based on what company will pay them the most.

In the end, I would still recommend giving the YAR putter a try and see what you think about it.  And I still think that major OEM’s should look at the design and figure out what separated it from their putters and what they can use to make a better putter.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

3Jack Golf's 2014 PGA Tour Rundown - Week 3

Jimmy Walker wins his 2nd tournament of the 2013-2014 season at the Sony Open

Zach Johnson: 10/1 (t-8th)
Jordan Spieth: 14/1 (MC)
Matt Kuchar: 14/1 (t-8th)
Chris Kirk: 28/1 (2nd)
Marc Leishman: 40/1 (5th)
Brian Gay: 40/1 (t-32nd)
Jeff Overton: 66/1 (7th)
Russell Henley: 66/1 (t-51st)
Ryan Palmer: 66/1 (t-8th)

Value Pick: Daniel Summerhays: 100/1 (t-42nd)
Here are my picks for the Humana Championship:

Webb Simpson: 14/1
Keegan Bradley: 20/1
Charles Howell III: 28/1
Gary Woodland: 33/1
Ryan Palmer: 45/1
Robert Garrigus: 50/1
Bo Van Pelt: 80/1
John Peterson: 80/1
Mark Wilson: 100/1

Value Pick: Hudson Swafford: 125/1


1. Justin Hicks
2. Jason Gore
3. Kevin Stadler
4. Boo Weekley
5. Adam Scott
6. Chez Reavie
7. Luke Guthrie
8. Doug LaBelle II
9. Ryan Palmer
10. Brian Davis

180. Jimmy Walker
181. Bill Haas
182. Seung-Yul Noh
183. Retief Goosen
184. David Carr
185. Bob Estes
186. Alex Prugh
187. David Duval
188. Mike Weir
189. Don Littrell


1. Ryo Ishikawa
2. Kevin Penner
3. Chesson Hadley
4. Bill Lunde
5. Billy Horschel
6. Chez Reavie
7. Kevin Streelman
8. Jim Renner
9. Martin Laird
10. Bryce Molder

179. Aaron Baddeley
180. Tommy Gainey
181. Mike Weir
182. Brian Gay
183. Graham DeLaet
184. Rory Sabbatini
185. Ken Duke
186. Luke Guthrie
187. Kevin Stadler
188. Don Littrell


1. Bronson La'Cassie
2. Troy Merritt
3. Chris Smith
4. Camilo Villegas
5. Hideki Matsuyama
6. Brooks Koepka
7. K.J. Choi
8. Kevin Stadler
9. Ryan Moore
10. Spencer Levin

180. Jerry Kelly
181. Andres Romero
182. Cameron Beckman
183. D.H. Lee
184. Don Littrell
185. Angel Cabrera
186. Alex Prugh
187. Gary Woodland
188. Jhonattan Vegas
189. Bobby Gates


1. Mark Hubbard
2. Bo Van Pelt
3. Matt Every
4. Brooks Koepka
5. Chad Campbell
6. Harrison Frazar
7. Hudson Swafford
8. Geoff Ogilvy
9. Heath Slocum
10. Seung-Yul Noh

180. Doug LaBelle II
181. Freddie Jacobson
182. Scott Verplank
183. Tim Wilkinson
184. David Carr
185. Bob Estes
186. Woody Austin
187. Bronson La'Cassie
188. Chris Williams
189. Max Homa


1. Chris Williams
2. Kevin Streelman
3. Doug LaBelle II
4. Bronson La'Cassie
5. Bill Lunde
6. Chad Campbell
7. Hideki Matsuyama
8. Retief Goosen
9. Brandt Snedeker
10. Matt Every

178. Justin Thomas
179. Troy Merritt
180. J.J. Henry
181. Andrew Loupe
182. Angel Cabrera
183. Brian Davis
184. Billy Horschel
185. Harrison Frazar
186. Marc Turnesa
187. Chris Smith


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Putting Neuroscience with Geoff Mangum

Interesting video with Geoff Mangum getting into the neuroscience of putting:


Monday, January 13, 2014

SAM Puttlab on Arc Strokes vs. Square-to-Square Strokes

Little video from SAM Puttlab on the differences:


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Moe Norman Bunker Play

Here's a couple of videos showing Moe Norman hitting bunker shots. While Moe was known for his ballstriking, he was also known for being and incredible bunker player. It starts at 6:50 in the first video


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

3Jack Golf's PGA Tour Rundown (2014) - Week 2

The year starts off with Zach Johnson winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions:

Here are my picks for the Sony Open:

Zach Johnson: 10/1
Jordan Spieth: 14/1
Matt Kuchar: 14/1
Chris Kirk: 28/1
Marc Leishman: 40/1
Brian Gay: 40/1
Jeff Overton: 66/1
Russell Henley: 66/1
Ryan Palmer: 66/1

Value Pick: Daniel Summerhays: 100/1

This year my rankings will be different in the sense they will based on an event-by-event basis instead of a cumulative basis.

For example, let’s say a golfer hits his Danger Zone shots to 30 feet in one tournament. Then in the next tournament he does the same thing, hitting his DZ shots to 30 feet.

Instead of measuring him as averaging 30 feet to the cup for the year, I will use the average of the field as the baseline. So if the field average in the first tournament from the Danger Zone is 40 feet, then the golfer did quite well performing in the DZ. However, if in the 2nd tournament the field average was 25 feet from the Danger Zone, then the golfer performed below average in the DZ in that tournament.

The following rankings are based on the 2013-14 season, starting from the and ending at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions:


1. Boo Weekley
2. Justin Hicks
3. Jason Gore
4. Ryan Palmer
5. Kevin Stadler
6. Sang-Moon Bae
7. Chez Reavie
8. Luke Guthrie
9. Doug LaBelle II
10. Brian Davis

174. Seung-Yul Noh
175. Retief Goosen
176. David Carr
177. Steven Bowditch
178. Bob Estes
179. Alex Prugh
180. Jimmy Walker
181. David Duval
182. Mike Weir
183. Don Littrell


1. Ryo Ishikawa
2. Kevin Penner
3. Matt Every
4. Boo Weekley
5. Bill Lunde
6. Billy Horschel
7. Chez Reavie
8. Kevin Streelman
9. Jim Renner
10. Jason Dufner

174. Erik Compton
175. Michael Thompson
176. Tommy Gainey
177. Graham DeLaet
178. Josh Teater
179. Mike Weir
180. Luke Guthrie
181. Kevin Stadler
182. Jordan Spieth
183. Don Littrell


1. Bronson La'Cassie
2. Troy Merritt
3. Chris Smith
4. Camilo Villegas
5. Hideki Matsuyama
6. Brooks Koepka
7. Sang-Moon Bae
8. Kevin Stadler
9. Ken Duke
10. Michael Thompson

174. Cameron Beckman
175. Don Littrell
176. Rory Sabbatini
177. Angel Cabrera
178. Marc Leishman
179. Scott Verplank
180. Alex Prugh
181. Gary Woodland
182. Jhonattan Vegas
183. Bobby Gates


1. Mark Hubbard
2. Matt Every
3. Jason Dufner
4. Seung-Yul Noh
5. Heath Slocum
6. Brooks Koepka
7. Chad Campbell
8. Mark Wilson
9. Harrison Frazar
10. Geoff Ogilvy

174. Freddie Jacobson
175. Woody Austin
176. William McGirt
177. Michael Thompson
178. David Carr
179. Bob Estes
180. Bronson La'Cassie
181. Tim Wilkinson
182. Chris Williams
183. Max Homa

SHORT GAME PLAY (<20 strong="" yards="">

1. Chris Williams
2. Matt Every
3. Alex Aragon
4. David Lingmerth
5. Kevin Streelman
6. Ben Martin
7. Doug LaBelle II
8. Bronson La'Cassie
9. Retief Goosen
10. Scott Verplank

172. John Peterson
173. Marc Leishman
174. Andrew Loupe
175. Angel Cabrera
176. Brian Davis
177. Billy Horschel
178. Harrison Frazar
179. Scott Piercy
180. Marc Turnesa
181. Chris Smith


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Richard Franklin on Upper Body Mechanics w/ Motion Analysis

Here's a video from golf instructor Richard Franklin and what he has discovered thru his use of Motion Analysis software. Warning, much of what is being talked about is extremely detailed using scientific verbiage. But, Franklin later explains it in terms that are not technical and scientific so one can apply it to their golf swing:


Monday, January 6, 2014

New GolfWRX Column: Players on the Rise and Fall in 2014

With the 2014 PGA Tour season starting, I wanted to give the readers a look at a few players on Tour that I feel will be on the rise and falling for the season. The data below is the player’s 2013 metrics.

Players on the Rise


Colsaerts was the hot prospect headed for the Tour in 2013 coming off splendid play at the 2012 Ryder Cup. He generates a ton of club head speed and is one of the longer hitters on Tour. He was also eighth in approach shots from the rough and fourth in approach shots from the fairway. Thus, he’s an excellent iron player if he keeps the ball in play. He actually drove the ball quite well for most of the season, but he regressed toward the end of the year.

The reason why I like Colsaerts is that he hits it so long and hits it so well with his irons that the only part of the game that held him back was on and around the greens. And where he excelled with his irons was in the ever-important Danger Zone. He also was first in shots from 225-to-250 yards.

Colsaerts was saddled with the strongest strength of schedule on Tour last year, while only ranking 100th in Purse Size per Event. I believe that he can get used to the greens along with working on his putting in the offseason that he will have much more success in 2014. As I have mentioned in Pro Golf Synopsis, the biggest statistical advantage that distance provides is it allows the golfer to putt overcome poor putting. This is due to the par-5’s on Tour playing more like par-4’s for long hitters such as Colsaerts. Therefore, he can still be a mediocre putter on Tour and have a big year. He just needs to stop putting like one of the worst putters on Tour.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Mangum on Putter Fitting

Some interesting stuff as usual from Geoff Mangum on putter fitting. You can find this discussion on his forum. The link to the thread is here:

Geoff's approach to putter fitting is a bit different from what we typically hear from instructors and golf magazines. For starters, most golfers are told that their eyes should be 'above the ball.

However, Mangum does not believe in that instruction. Instead, he feels that the direction of the face and the direction of where the eyes are looking should be the same. And the direction of the face and the eyes should be pointing at the ball. Sevam1 from Secret In The Dirt fame discussed this nicely with regards to the full golf swing:

So, if we look at the picture of the golfer with the 'eyes over the ball', we will see that his face is not pointing at the ball (yellow lines show where the face is directed):

From reading Geoff's work, he feels that the golfer should be able to bend over from the waist and neck 'naturally.' Then hand the arms naturally.

From there, the putter length should be about 2-inches above the wrist line of the hands as they are hanging. So the golfer will still be gripping down on the club. I measured myself on this and found that I needed a 35-inch putter to achieve this.

The other part that Geoff discusses in this thread is that the lie angle of putters are often too *flat*. He feels that the shaft of the putter should be as such where it is in line with the forearm. In TGM terms, this is often referred to as 'getting the right forearm on plane.'

Geoff discusses that with most putters being too flat, it creates a stroke that requires additional torque which is problematic.

In the end, Geoff has an illustration showing what it should look like:

So as we can see:

1. Waist Bent naturally

2. Neck Bent naturally

3. Arms hang naturally

4. Eyes and Face are pointing in the same direction

5. Eyes and Face are directed at the ball

6. Shaft on the same plane as the forearms I just thought this was interesting stuff for those interested in a different viewpoint on putter fitting.