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GolferXX

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  • Posts

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Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Pacific NW

Player Profile

  • Age
    60 and over
  • Swing Speed
    101-110 mph
  • Handicap
    10
  • Frequency of Play/Practice
    Multiple times per week
  • Player Type
    Competitive
  • Biggest Strength
    Driver/Off the Tee
  • Biggest Weakness
    Short Game
  • Fitted for Clubs
    Yes

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  1. The Good: They work as advertised The Bad: They don't have great traction The Ugly: Well, just look at 'em! So, we've been hearing a lot about Bryson DeChambeau and his trek to increase distance. In that conversation is the new buzz word, "ground reaction force." Put simply, it means we push against the ground to increase the force delivered to the ball via the club. So, I decided to try the Athlonz golf shoes because of their claims that the canted insole can help the golfer to impart more ground reaction force into the shot. And guess what? In my case, it works. Athlonz must be purchased online. There are three basic styles, none of them very attractive to my eye. But what the heck, that's not why I'm interested in them. I bought them on a Tuesday and they were delivered in a week. I opened the box and realized that they were just as unattractive in person. The shoe is unlike any other I've ever tried on. It has a sleeve, similar to some surf shoes I've owned, that makes getting into the shoe a bit of a chore. However, this would turn out to be a good thing. More on that later. The fit is a little big - I normally wear a 12 and these fit about a half size big on my foot. I noticed in walking around the house that my knees were definitely in a different alignment than I normally experience in my other shoes. I wondered if or how that might affect me on the golf course, and determined that a trip to the range was in order before I tried them on the course. The driving range proved insightful. I brought along my Mevo and set up a monitoring station. I admit, I was pleasantly surprised. I immediately felt that my weight was staying centered over the inside of my feet without any effort on my part. It isn't that obvious a thing, but it is noticeable. I noted that I had less of a tendency to sway, especially with my irons. This is a truly confounding issue for me, since it isn't easy to self-diagnose and I don't always have time or room to set up a monitoring station but I noticed it immediately by the quality of contact between irons and ball. So, points for Athlonz. I noticed additional distance on all clubs from P to Driver. Mevo was telling me I had gained 5-10 yards just by using a different shoe. Hmmm. So, I took them out on the course, and guess what? It was a drippy, damp morning. I normally walk but I decided to ride a cart so that I didn't get the shoes so dirty that I couldn't return them. They ain't cheap! The shoes are advertised as water resistant, and they kept my feet dry in the damp conditions. That sleeve I mentioned earlier? It's to keep the mud and detritus out of your shoe in these types of conditions, and worked well. So, even though it makes the shoe a bit of a hassle to put on, I appreciate the feature. The biggest problem I had with the shoe is that they don't have adequate traction. I live and play in the Great Northwest, and damp courses are the norm 8 or 9 months of the year. Even during the summer months, there is usually dew on the ground when you are an early group off the tee in the morning. I lost traction two times on driver and once on a 6 iron. Left foot just lost grip and I was flailing to keep from losing the shot. The kicker is that Athlonz don't come in a spiked version. At the end of the day, I looked at my card and realized that I'd had a decent round. Not my best, certainly not my worst! So, intrigued, I decided to wear them on the first sunny day I could find. Remember where I live? We're still trying to find summer here! However, I went out with my best golfing buds last weekend and found some sunny weather. I decided to try the shoes out while walking the course and found that, as I feared, there was a distinct wear on my knees as I walked. For some probably not even an issue, but for me, it came very close to being a deal breaker as I have two bad knees to begin with. But considering that I had what was arguably my best round of ball striking in recent memory, I have decided to give the shoes a long term tryout. I figure that if nothing else, I can use them at the range to drill the proper weight distribution into my old, damaged, and recalcitrant knees. As always, your yardage may vary. For me these are definitely a 4 out of 5.
  2. I've been battling the putting woes since I was a junior golfer. Now that I'm an old duffer, kids out of the house and dogs [sadly] a thing of the past, it was time to invest in my putting game. The first thing I did was get a roll-up, carpet style mat that was 2 feet wide and 10 feet long. It was marked up with lots of lines designed to help you to line up your putts, groove a repeatable club path, and mark out each foot of length to sharpen your ability to determine how hard to strike the ball the achieve the desired speed of a given distance. All good, until it came time to transfer that info to the putting greens I encounter on the golf course. Surprise! There aren't any lines on putting greens to help you line up your putts! To be fair, the work I did on that mat did help me groove a repeatable swing path, but did nothing for my speed control, which is what hat bedeviled me for 50 years. I looked around the internet and found a whole lot of options out there. Most were the sort that use some sort of astroturf or felt-type putting surfaces. You can find these in the finest golf shops and club-fitters, most likely because of the ability of the surface to withstand the wear and tear of many feet and many years of service. That's all well and good. However, I was looking for something that more accurately recreates the roll and speed of a genuine grass putting green. I settled on the Birdieball practice putting mat and I'm glad I did. There are a lot of options on their website. They have both indoor and outdoor versions and you can buy single [1/2"]or double [1"] depth mats. If you just want the mat, you can order that. There are lots of optional items to choose as well, or purchase separately at a future time. They also have an option to pre-build your own custom mat of various sizes. These include the pad, bumpers, and that hole cutter to personalize it, or you can choose pre-cut holes in various configurations. You also choose the Stimp meter speed of the surface. They have Municipal [9-10 stimp], Private [11 stimp], and Championship [Stimp 11-13] speeds. In my case I chose the "Private" option of 11 stimp. I purchased the 4'x14'x1/2" pad. It came with the pad, the cutter, bumpers for front, back and sides, 1/2" high plastic hole liners to preserve the edges of the holes [including one that has a 1" high back for practicing longer putts/hitting the ball harder], and pull-out flags to easily remove balls from the holes. It also includes a plastic ramp that you place under the surface to create breaking putts, and inserts made of the putting surface material to make the hole smaller. This all came bundled in two boxes [one for the mat, the other for the optional materials] and was delivered within a week. When the mat was delivered, I unrolled it and laid it on the carpeted floor of my designated putting area - the living room. It fits nicely between the step up to the dining room and the couch, right in front of the fireplace. It layed down nicely, and after a few minutes of walking around on it, the mat settled nice and flat. I laid out the holes, got them cut, and installed the bumpers. So how well does this thing work? First, the good. The first thing that I noticed was that the mat rolls true to the floor beneath it. I found out that there's a slight right-to-left break in my floor. I can work with that. The speed is similar to mid-summer speeds at most of the clubs I play. I live and play in the Northwest, so greens are significantly slower in springtime than later in the year. The material is soft enough that walking on it deforms the surface. Footprints are clearly discernible at first, but disappear in seconds. It's easy enough to roll up and put away. In fact, there's a soft bag that you can purchase separately to place the mat in when you need to clean up for the non-golfers who come over for a visit. This entails removing the bumpers and hole liners. The holes are regulation size and can hold 4 balls at a time. All good. The "meh": The holes are shallow enough that if there are balls already in the hole, subsequent balls may hit them and/or lip out. The ball retriever flags are about another 1/8", so the hole is actually about 3/8" deep. The bumpers are a little persnickety to install, but not difficult. However, they do tend to come off fairly easily. The surface is 1/2" higher than the ground it's laying on, so you have to adjust your grip down the club a slight bit. The "not so good": When I walk on the mat, it tends to move and puff up a bit in places. I have to re-flatten it every few strokes and re-adjust its position on the floor. As mentioned, the bumpers tend to come off the mat fairly easily. I turned the mat over and duct-taped them onto the mat and that took care of the problem. If you intend to roll the mat up, you can do this on the ends, but not on the side bumpers. Most significantly, the surface is subject to damage quite easily. The first night I left the mat on the floor, my wife came home from work and walked across it in her work heels. That put a nice 1/2" indentation in the material that didn't disappear. Fortunately she only weighs 100 pounds give or take or it may have been a through and through wound. Then the wife's cat decided he liked the feel of the surface and started sharpening his claws on it. Ugh! Birdieball supplies a rescue solution in the form of powdered green material. You have to go to the website to order it, but the material is free. Adding a bit of water, the powder becomes a paste and you apply this to the surface, working it in and over-packing so that it's a bit proud of the surface, then allow it to dry overnight and gently brush off the excess. This works acceptably, though it's not a perfect solution as it leaves a rough spot where it's been used. Ultimately, I decided to make this a more permanent part of the furniture and bought some cheap jigsaw-style mats similar to those you find in gyms only light weight. Got them on Ebay for about 25 bucks. I used carpet tape to attach the putting mat to these and now I have a great putting green that 1. doesn't move when I walk on it; 2. Deepened the holes to 1" so balls don't lip out so easily; 3. prevents any puffing up of the mat. I also bought some 1" deep hole liners and a double width stance mat so I don't have to stand on the mat itself when putting, though this isn't really necessary strictly speaking. The dam cat still likes the mat as much as I do, but at least he has been kind enough not to scratch up the surface in the middle, keeping his angst-ridden maulings to the edges where I don't putt. Overall, I'm really happy with the mat, so much so that I've bought a couple of them as Christmas gifts. Take a look if your in the market for a putting green at home. GolferXX
  3. I play in the pacific northwest, and you may have guessed that it gets a bit damp in these parts. That doesn't water down the passion for golf, but it makes seasonal play the rule of the day. Courses stay wet for 8 months of the year, and carts stay on the path for most if not all of that time. Besides, I like walking better but carrying a bag is no longer an option if I want to enjoy the game. I pushed a cart around for a few years and a few beers, but took a turn around a prestigious course and dug deep in the packets for a caddy [yes we have one or two world class courses up in these parts, but they're as rare as shooting a 59] . And man, did I enjoy that experience! When I saw the Zip Navigator online, it seemed to fit the bill. For $1800 I got the trolley with all the fancy doodads like a seat, umbrella and cup holders, and remote control. I could walk the course again without the pain in my feet and shoulders, and I secretly thought that it might be nice to have a motorized cart to help me up the steeper hills. Hey, golf may be a good walk spoiled but that should be because of the shots you hit, not the pain in your feet! And it's waterproof [several other brands were quick to warn me not to use them in the rain]. So, a quick look over the shoulder to make sure my wife was watching TV, and I whipped out the credit card. Oh man! I LOVE using a motorized cart! But there are a couple of caveats I'd like to share about my experience. First, this is the 2nd cart I've purchased. I used the first for a month and it up and quit on me on the 17th hole. Just stopped working completely. Battery was full when I started the round, and I had kept it on the charger 24/7 as recommended by MGI. I had to pop the wheels into the non-motorized position and push that new...and full!...cart bag uphill for two holes. Maybe I shouldn't put so much stuff in there, but it's like a garage...you find stuff to fill it up. Didn't spoil my day, but like I said, it can get damp around here, and that means a bit slippery in places. So, back to the store it went, and I purchased another one. I'm currently using the second iteration, but I'm not using the remote. It got stuck on "For the love of God that thing can keep up with my partner's golf cart" speed the 2nd time I used it. If you ever heard "Runaway cart" while golfing in the northwest, it was probably me chasing that thing across the 14th fairway. So now I keep it nice and close. I still love the freedom and comfort it supplies, but there are a couple of negatives besides the remote. And the unexpected cardio workout. First, it's supposed to have a gyroscope built in that keeps it on a straight course. This has never worked on either cart. I have to keep adjusting it to keep it going where I want it to go. Second, this model is supposed to have a downhill brake that keeps it from rolling when stopped on a downhill lie. Nope. It creeps like Thing in the Addams Family. Third, I mentioned the remote. The first remote worked great, allowing me to maneuver around greenside bunkers and across bridges and the like. The second is useless and you can't replace them because each unit comes from the factory with a specific frequency assigned. Maybe I just got a lemon remote. But wait! You can still drive it around manually. There are buttons on the handle for speed and start/stop. A couple things to note here, the speed settings are adjusted with a very touchy rotary dial and it can be tricky getting it to the correct speed. You have to adjust when you are going uphill [faster], downhill [slower], and on the flat. The walking pace never seems to be perfect for me, too fast on setting #5, too slow on #4. And be careful not to double tap the stop button or it will be YOU running across the fairway yelling for your cart to stop! Lastly, and perhaps most important for budget conscious golfers, this is a very expensive model. There are cheaper options. Overall, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages for me. Your yardage may vary.
  4. I've been using an NX Precision Pro 7 for several years, and it was handy, if a bit inaccurate. The yardages were always 3 or 4 yards different than my playing partners were getting, and the slope was useless - I mean absolutely useless. When I would have the hole below the tee, it would show a plus yardage [175 yards, 185 with slope]. So pull a 7 iron and knock it over the green by 20 yards? I think not! So I was still eyeballing it. When the yardages began to get wildly different numbers than my playing partners, I changed the battery, and then changed the rangefinder when that didn't work. I looked around and found the Callaway 300 Pro on Amazon for a couple of bills and ordered it. Specs here. First the good: Optics are very good, much better than my old PP7. It is very accurate in measuring slope and distance. And now I can give myself the advantage of gauging slope in my practice rounds to give me a better idea of what club to pull. That 175 yard par 3 shows a dainty 165 with slope. Easy 8 iron! Now the not-so-good. I have to lase the flag 3 to 4 times [sometimes more] before I get a number that appears accurate. Today I had a par 3 that was 197 yards and the first 3 lases showed 100, 120, and 97 yards. Since I know the difference between 100 and 200 yards - even with these old eyes - I kept lasing until the number came up relatively close the scorecard. This isn't a unique occurrence. Happens every time. I have also had trouble, a lot of trouble, getting the thing to accurately lase bunkers and other hazards. I have a very nice golf watch that I received as a gift, and it shows the hazards and various distances, so lasing them isn't a priority. But this is supposed to be a selling point of the Callaway 300, and it's a hard sell if you ask me. Bottom line is I would return this laser range finder if I could, but I waited too long. So now it resides in one of my partner's bags who isn't too particular and likes the 6x magnification and the clear optics.
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