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GolfSpy Dave

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Everything posted by GolfSpy Dave

  1. Will any of the new putters be orange? Still love rolling balls with this putter
  2. If I could find a Newport, I'd game it. Maybe the putter will go up in value in a few years, but so will stocks and crypto. If you like the feel of the Tel3 insert, then play it and have fun for a decade rather than having it in the closet. Value can be assessed in enjoyment as well as in cash. I'm going to look again today to see if I can find one around here. If so, it'll see grass for sure.
  3. Thanks for sharing your Rambler stories guys. It's nice to have the validation that my experiences are shared by others. I may go and buy the big version now just to see how it will work camping/kayaking this week. Admittedly, hydration will be accomplished primarily in 12oz containers this trip...
  4. I have a good attitude toward hydration. Ah summer golf. Where I live in Sacramento that either means that you pay more to play in the cooler morning or pay less and brave the afternoon heat. In either case, I learned very quickly that having an extra bottle of water may be more valuable than having an extra sleeve of balls. Covid didn’t help either. I don’t know what it was like around your course, but our courses dropped all on course water, even turning off the faucets for Covid. With this, packing in water became paramount. As with many of you, my water transport is accomplished with double insulated bottles. While companies like Hydroflask may have been the early producers, lots of companies make them these days. Some work great, some not at all. All I know is that an insulated bottle that doesn’t insulate is super annoying. As such, I tend to keep an eye out for new bottle designs. The New Yeti Rambler Bottles Yeti is one of those companies that has made insulated bottles for a while now. Through the years they have made a few different versions. You may remember that I ran a Yeti 64oz jug through its paces a few years back. With that growler, the double lid design made cleaning a breeze. Something that can’t be said for other narrow-necked containers. It is once again the top design that sparked my curiosity with these Yeti Rambler bottles. I’ve got lots of other Yeti drinkware, so I was confident that these bottles would keep drinks cold. This new top though, was a curiosity. Chug Cap Love Now I know that I am not the only one to drink from a wide mouth bottle and end up wearing some of the liquid. When I’m on the hot course, I don’t mind this. When I’m drinking from the bottle at work, this refreshing overflow is not as welcome. The new Yeti Chug Cap does an amazing job of removing the slosh that comes with wide mouths, and also still allows you to have easy access for cleaning. As you can see from the photos, the Yeti Chug Cap is a two-stage lid. The top lid has the usual handle design, that is great for carabiner clipping by the way. Under that lid, we see the Chug Cap. This clear plastic cap has a smaller aperture, dramatically reducing the flow rate. You can still chug but doing so no longer becomes a whole body experience. This cap also unscrews from the bottle, allowing you to access the wide opening for easy bottle cleaning. It drinks like a narrow bottle and cleans like a wide one. Out on the course, the bottle performed as expected. It still had plenty of ice when I refilled it with water at the turn. I think it was 103 °F that day. Insulation is not an issue. As an added bonus, even full of super cold liquid, I did not notice any condensation on the outside of the bottle. This too speaks to the amazing insulation in the bottle. BONUS COVERAGE: The Yeti Bottle Sling One of the other things that motivated me to check out the Rambler bottles was the Yeti Bottle Sling. A drawback of packing a big bottle of water to the course is that you need to pack said bottle. Smaller bottles fit well in golf bag hydration pockets, but larger bottles can be problems. Usually, they get stuffed in the big side pocket, smashing all other contents. Hello PBJ pâté. When I saw the bottle sling, I wondered if this was a way that the bottle could be attached to the bag or push cart to make carrying the bottle easier. The short answer for me was yes. I used the sleeve and its strap to secure the bottle to my push cart, and also to my usual golf bag. The best fit though was with my Ogio bag, as this bag features the same web design as the Yeti soft sided coolers. That is another place where the sling shines. You can see in the photos how the bottle sling attaches to the front of my Hopper 12. This allows you to carry the bottle with the cooler, and not sacrifice the internal space doing so. Translation: The bottle does not kick beer out of the cooler. Anyway, on the Ogio bag, the clips fit perfectly. While I wish the bag was a little stiffer at the connection, it worked quite well as a bottle holding bag accessory. If you don’t have the attachments, you could also thread straps of bungee cords through the loops on the sling as the clips can be easily removed. Worth the Price It will likely not surprise you that these bottles are more expensive than others out there. The 26 oz bottle is $40 and the 36 oz is $50. There is also a 46 oz version, but I am not sure if that one will be golf friendly as it is kind of a monster. When you compare these prices to Hydroflask, they are not that much higher though. A 32 oz Hydroflask bottle is $45 and their 40 oz bottle is $50. Chug Caps not included with those either. Of course, there are other companies out there also making similar products, but I would warn you that similar does not mean the same. I bought a cheap double walled bottle from Walmart and the insulation failed as soon as I dropped it in the parking lot. I know that Yeti gets PXG-like hate sometimes for their pricing, and I too wish their stuff was less expensive. That said, I have run a bunch of Yeti gear through the paces through the years and I am still using that gear. Such cannot be said for similar products I’ve used from other companies. You get what you pay for I suppose. I’d like to wrap this up by saying that the Yeti Rambler is my new go to bottle for golf. I’d like to, but that would be a lie. You see, my wife happened to see what I was working on and commented on how much she liked the teal color of the bottle and how well it would be for her to take tea to her classroom. “Oh, is that a carrier for the bottle too?” Needless to say, I am out one 36 oz bottle and one large sling. Her review is a positive one as well. She was concerned that her smaller hands wouldn’t fit the bottle and that the top would be too tight for her to turn. Unfortunately for me, neither one of these things was an issue, and my Rambler rambled on the to Mrs.
  5. It's so crazy how the different bourbons show up at different levels in the states. Nearly every grocery store out here has 10+ bottles of Buffalo Trace on the shelves. No Weller at all, and Eagle Rare is rare. I would think FL would be closer to KY and have a better shot.
  6. A little bit. Finally found Heady Topper this week. That may have closed out the beer obsession. Bourbon has such diversity that it is fun to learn about and hunt. Allocated stuff is so expensive though.
  7. It used to be only private clubs. Distribution is a pretty new thing I believe. Hopefully it will expand quickly.
  8. Dave’s Take: The Clover Whiskey Collection Inspired By Bobby Jones https://www.thecloverwhiskey.com/home Bobby Jones Was Amazing Today I am going to give you my take on The Clover Whiskey Collection, a line of spirits “curated to sustain the legacy of golf’s greatest gentleman and champion.” While tasting bourbon on the clock is pretty darn amazing, learning more about Bobby Jones in the process was even more amazing. Obviously, I knew a bit about Bobby Jones before working on this, but I suppose I just lumped him in with others like Hogan, Hagen, Mackenzie, and so on. Not that those guys are slouches, but they all were filed away in my brain in the “historical golfers” folder. After a bit more reading, it became clear to me that Bobby Jones was ridiculously amazing. Obviously, he was a phenomenal golfer, in 1930 winning the original Grand Slam of championships (US Open, British Open, US Amateur, and British Amateur) at the age of 28. After retiring, he co-founded Augusta National, The Masters, and earned degrees from Georgia Tech (Mechanical Engineering) and Harvard (English). Did I mention he was also an infantry captain on the shores of Normandy in WWII? It’s like a time traveler went to the 20th century and decided to live the most amazing life possible, being the consummate man’s man of the time. It’s said that Mr. Jones also enjoyed three fingers of the local whiskey when he traveled, making The Clover bourbon a perfect product to associate with his legacy. Why The Clover? Again, some of you are more versed in this than I am, but the clover is a reference to Bobby Jones being born on St. Patrick’s Day. Bobby’s mother gave him a four-leaf clover medallion for good luck. He actually wore that medallion during every tournament that he competed in. Obviously, the blessings of the four clover leaves, Hope, Faith, Love, and Luck, served him well as he played. That sounds like the makings of a good toast to me... On To The Spirits The Jones family has sourced The Clover Whiskey Collection from “world-class distilleries whose operations and ownership we respect and admire.” I poked around a bit, and it looks like the original spirits are likely sourced in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana, and then sent to Piedmont Distilleries in North Carolina for proofing and bottling. One interesting thing about all of these whiskeys is that they are all single barrels, meaning no blends. This makes each batch of the spirits unique, meeting the taste requirements of those sampling the barrels. Side bourbon story. Did you know that this is how Pappy Van Winkle works too? I had a friend tell me as we were sampling from his ridiculous collection that the Van Winkle family tastes the barrels in the rick house, selecting the ones that will become Pappy. We were tasting Old Van Winkle and Weller Full Proof at the time. What he told me is that they both start with the same clear spirit, are aged the same period of time, proofed the same, and then the Van Winkle selection makes one Old Rip and the other Weller. Why I bring this up is that the Jones Family selecting the barrels for The Clover makes this a unique offering. No, I’m not saying it’s Weller or Van Winkle unique, but The Clover is a real boutique spirit, so much more than a blended stock bourbon put in a fancy bottle. Dave’s Taste Preferences Taste, like beauty, is subjective. As such, I figured that it would be a good idea to give you a little peek into my palate before I talk about these whiskeys. I am a newcomer when it comes to the bourbon arena. For years, I avoided all brown liquors having had the ever too common Jack Daniels “experience” in my 20’s. Thankfully, a buddy turned me on to Basil Hayden in a Monterey cigar bar a couple of years ago. From there, I started exploring and over the past couple of years, I have grown the collection to more bottles than my wife approves of. Not really, she has also started to enjoy bourbon as well. By the way, if you are curious about bourbon as a spirit, I recommend watching the documentary Neat on Hulu. It’s a great history of bourbon, best watched with a couple of fingers, naturally. Back to my palate. My current favorites Henry McKenna Bottled in Bond 10 year, Blanton’s, Eagle Rare, and Frey Ranch (a small distiller near Fallon NV). I tend to favor more of a sweet profile than a spicy one. Some full proof bourbons, like Booker’s, are great, others, like Old Forrester Prohibition Style, are too hot neat, and require ice. Hopefully that sets a bit of a stage, if not, just ask. Anyway, let’s get on to The Clover whiskeys. For reference, all of these were sampled on two different days, in Glencairn glasses, at room temperature, and neat (of course). I've bulleted the company published tasting notes first, and then followed up with my experiences. The Clover Tennessee Straight Bourbon Whiskey Strength: 90 Proof Aged: 10 Years Aroma: Complex, rich, toasted oak Taste: Rich caramel, forward vanilla, and slight char Finish: Exceptionally smooth, long and soft Of the three whiskeys, this one had the strongest aroma. I found it to be a bit off-putting , but it did have a nice and pronounced oak aroma. The taste/mouthfeel was interesting. Most of the flavors were more front of the tongue compared to the other whiskeys. The char is pronounced. The feel is thinner than the other varieties, and the alcohol burn seems to be higher than the 92 proof. It’s a hot tongue sipper. All in all, it reminded me of higher end varieties of Jack Daniels. I suppose that is to be expected due to the similar production process. It is a very nice version of Tennessee style bourbon and has quite a unique flavor compared to the other two. This is one where your pallet may be drawn to this more than mine is. It was interesting to see that the color is a little lighter than the bourbon. I found this curious as the Tennessee version spent six more years in the barrel. Maybe it's a result of the proofing. The Clover Straight Bourbon Whiskey Strength: 92 Proof Aged: 4 Years Aroma: Blend of vanilla and subtle oak Taste: Deep caramel, soft vanilla, and hint of citrus orange Finish: Soft, lingering caramel, vanilla, and hint of oak The tasting notes are pretty spot on for this one. Oak on the nose, and a silky mouthfeel of caramel and vanilla. The flavors are a bit subtle, perhaps muted. Young might be another way to describe them. I think that this could be an amazing bourbon if it was in the barrel for a few more years. If a ten-year version could just enhance the profile of what is in the 4-year, it would be exceptional. The finish does hold some burn for a bit, but overall, what persists is the caramel sweetness on the edges of the tongue. I think that this is a solid bottle, but it faces stiff competition at the $40 price point. Some of you can find Weller Special Reserve for that price. Given the choices in my area at the price, I’d need to go with Eagle Rare over The Clover, but that’s probably not fair as I would take Eagle Rare over most things, regardless of price. Plus, Eagle Rare is a ten-year bourbon whereas The Clover only spent four years in the barrel. The Clover is a solid spirit, but it just needs a little more hutzpah to battle the big bottles. The Clover Straight Rye Whiskey Strength: 91 Proof Aged: 4 Years Aroma: Subtle oak and spice Taste: High rye, peppery spice, and subtle oak Finish: Warm, lingering caramel, and hint of cherry Rye whiskeys are usually not my go to spirits as I tend to prefer the sweeter taste of bourbon to the spice of rye. The Clover Rye Whiskey is causing me to question that paradigm. This rye is delicious. The aroma has a touch of fruit. My wife said it smelled like peaches. The taste is very smooth and features vanilla sweetness rather than the expected spice. The finish is a lingering sweet heat. Not caramel, but once again more of a fruity sweetness. My wife said that this one had a “yummy taste”. Though not fancy tasting language, I’d have to agree. This one is quite yummy. I love that the rye was the one I expected to like the least and ended up liking the most. This bottle will not last long in the liquor cabinet. Obviously, it is likely the low-spice nature that I find so pleasing. If you like your rye to pepper your pants off, this may not be the choice for you. The Clover: Solid Spirits With A Great Story Bottom line, I’m impressed with The Clover whiskeys, and enjoyed drinking them. For me, part of the enjoyment that comes with drinking premium spirits is the ritual, and the story. I’ve shared these whiskeys with a couple of friends now, and every time, we end up talking about golf and Bobby Jones. One can’t drink a whiskey with his name on it and not evoke of his spirit. If you are going to be hardline about it, the branding of a liquor has nothing to do with the taste of said liquor, but the overall experience is affected by branding. Naming plays a huge part in bourbon, seemingly every bottle has someone’s name on it. For us, the Bobby Jones name invariably leads to interesting discussions about golf. Mr. Jones would approve of you enjoying a few fingers of The Clover whiskey with your buddies after a round. The tendency to discuss Mr. Jones accomplishments may fade if drinking The Clover whiskey becomes commonplace with your group. Until that happens though, sipping The Clover will likely fuel conversations about golf and Bobby Jones’ amazing life. If you want to find a bottle for yourself, follow this Find The Clover link to see if a course, or shop has it near you.
  9. It's a good stick. I bought it initially because it came in a tube, my favorite for golf. I think that the tube one is a double robusto.
  10. It’s Been A Minute Hello all lovers of the leaf. It’s been a while since I have posted anything in the Cigar Lounge. Like everything else, you can blame the pandemic for that. I have not had anything to share in the lounge since I had not smoked a cigar in fourteen months. My reasoning was that if this was a virus that infects the lungs, then maybe it was a good idea to keep the lungs as healthy as possible. Is that a true thing? I don’t know, as I am not a doctor. Regardless, I did go for more than a year without a cigar. Once I was fully vaccinated though, my new plan became Got the Stabs, Have a Stick! New Kit Needed To celebrate the return of golfing with cigars, I figured that I needed a couple of things. First, I would go grab one of my favorite cigars, an Olivia Serie V. While the Rocky Patel Sun Grown Maduro is probably my favorite cigar, it can be a little much for the course. It’s more of a bourbon and bullshitting smoke. The Olivia works better for me on the course. The other thing that I wanted was a new cigar tool kit for the golf bag. Nothing like a new cutter, lighter, and case to boost the enjoyment of the smoking ritual. Naturally, I turned to Xikar, knowing that their tools have yet to let me down. And so, today I want to share with you these new cigar toys so that should you too want to step up your cigar tool game, you’ll have my takes to reference. First, lets talk about transport. Xikar Envoy Case To smoke a cigar at the golf course you first need to get the cigar to the golf course. Now I typically use the Xikar 5 cigar travel humidor for golf, but I wanted to explore something lighter and smaller. The five-cigar case works well but seems like overkill if I’m only taking one stick and not worried about maintaining humidity. The plan was to look for something smaller. The Xikar Envoy Case seemed like a solid single cigar option. Sure, I could just buy cigars in tubes, but not all my favorites come packaged that way. This case is simplicity personified. It consists of two sections that connect by the larger sliding over the smaller. It may be simple, but it works great for cigars of all reasonable sizes (up to 60 ring/7”). You just slide the top down until it fits the cigar. Could sliding too far damage the cigar? Probably, but the fit is tight, so it would take a significant impact to move that lid. As far as the ritual goes, the rich leather and cedar lining evoke feelings of luxury. Maybe that sounds silly, but the case feels fancy, and that makes me feel like I’m doing something fancy. All in all, I see myself using the Envoy case far more than the travel humidor, except maybe for golf trips, then I’ll likely need both. Xikar Enso Cutter Cutting the cigar is a big part of my smoking ritual. I think that there is a primal, perhaps medieval glee that comes with the cutting. Maybe it’s a touch sociopathic, but I love hearing that click when the blades sever the tip of the cigar. As I am a fan of Xikar’s round XO cutter, I had to take their new Xikar Enso cutter for a spin. Like the XO, this cutter features two synchronized cutting blades. But unlike the XO, this one only pushes from one side. The double guillotine blades move in sync when you press down on the cutting lever. I’m not sure if this is all gear driven like the XO as this time, as all mechanics are enclosed. To open the cutter, you will need to pull the edge up. Nothing spring loaded here. Once open, this cutter will take on a cigar up to a 72 ring gauge. That’s too much girth for me, but you live your life. Like I’ve come to expect from Xikar, the Enso cuts clean. Amazingly clean. One push and that tip is gone, with not a fray to be found on the edge of the wrapper. The profile of the Enso is a little on the large size. I did not expect it to have a diameter larger than the XO. That said, it is thinner than expected, and still fits perfectly for one hand cutting. Xikar Tactical Single Torch Yes, I definitely enjoy the cutting ritual, but it is the lighting of the cigar that I look forward to the most. Something about tapping into the primal element of fire and getting the first tastes of the tobacco as the cigar lights. That’s the best. Unfortunately, this is also where a noncompliant torch can take the ritual off the rails. Fighting for fire is not enjoyable. Prior to the trying out this torch, my go to fire source was the Xikar Tactical Triple torch. It holds an ocean of fuel, and lights the first time, all the time. It gives me everything I need, except the being new part, so naturally, I needed to take the Xikar Tactical Single for a spin. The surprising thing about the Tactical Single is that it is a bit larger than the Tactical Triple. Maybe not in width, but it is taller and thicker. The ergonomics are still sound though as its round-ish profile fits easy in the hand. Thumb access is perfect for lid flipping and button sliding. The knob to change flame height is huge and has quite a range. Pay attention to this as on full, this single jet torch produces significant flame. My Turrim single does not pump fire like the Tactical Single. After venting any air and filling the Tactical Single with premium butane, I put the ignition to the test. Ten out of ten times it lit. Granted, this was in my garage and not out in the elements. Not to worry though as once I was out on the course, performance was the same. Now you may have noticed that there is a nice groove on the top of the torch to hold your cigar. It’s a great feature, but I am not sure it’s golf friendly. It should work in a riding cart. Pick any flat surface then balance the cigar on the torch. Just remember it before you drive off. Walking the course, this feature may not work quite as well since the fill hole is on the bottom. I’m not sure I’d try this on the grass or dirt as I don’t want any debris to plug the fill hole. How it went... With all this build up, you may be wondering how that cigar was on the course. Full disclosure, it was delicious. I loved pulling the new tools out of my new MGS valuables bag. My Envoy kept the cigar safe. The Enso cut like Hanzo, and the Tactical Single delivered fire like Prometheus. All in all, it was great to enjoy a stick on the course again. As we return to normalcy, one of my goals is to appreciate more the things that I took for granted. A round of golf with my good friends and a good cigar is one of those things. BONUS TORCH: Palio Vesuvio Triple Torch As it turns out, I have a bonus tool to share with you, the Palio Vesuvio Triple torch. Though the Palio brand may not as well known as Xikar, I have found that Palio makes solid cigar tools. One of the welcome differences is that most of their tools are on the lower end of the cost scale. This torch, for example, lists on Amazon for $12.99 or two for $19.99. While it may not be as fancy as some of my other torches, the Palio Vesuvio Triple is a fire breather. It has a huge butane tank. It is easy to adjust. It spits triple tongues of fire to the stratosphere. And best of all, it only costs about $10! Add one to your golf bag, your camping gear, your boat, and wherever you usually enjoy a cigar. Should you drop it in the lake, or leave it in the golf cart, who cares? It was only $10. As far as bang for your buck, or flame for your fuel, this torch gets it done.
  11. Poppy Hills is a fun course. Good rate too if you are a NCGA member. You can take the long way back to Sac and play Yoche DeHe...
  12. Me too. Day two and still alive and eyes are still struggling...
  13. Dave’s Take: EyePromise Vizual Edge Pro Hi MGS Folk. It’s been a minute since I last rolled out a Dave’s Take article, but I thought that this new experiment of mine was worth sharing. You see, that is what makes today’s post a little different. It is an ongoing experiment rather than a review. How’s that for a switch? Today is the first day that I will be taking the EyePromise Vizual Edge Pro eye health dietary supplement to hopefully improve my vision. Will it work? I have no idea, but that is what makes this an exploration rather than a report. I am starting with hopes, not data. Why am I focusing on my eyes? Working remotely over the past year has thrashed my eyes. I can tell that they are strained from working on the computer all day. The excess of blue light and constant focal distance have not been friendly to my eyes. The deterioration is obvious when I drive and the road signs that are usually clear have become blurry. A year of Zoom has fatigued the eyes as well as the spirit. When I see my optometrist this year, a new prescription will be involved. Lutein and Zeaxanthin It was a previous visit to the eye doctor where I learned about taking lutein and zeaxanthin as supplements for eye health. The doc talked about baseball players who were taking it to see the ball better, and that it could help reduce the irritation/glare caused from oncoming headlights while driving at night. Charged up with optimism, I went and bought a bottle of supplements, finished the bottle, and promptly forgot about buying more. Ah the joys of a short attention span. Padraig to the rescue Anyway, here I was knowing that my eyes are struggling, but not really having a plan about what to do about it. As fate would have it, this video of Padraig Harrington dropped into my lap. One of my goals in life is to pay attention to what is in front of me. Kind of ironic to say that when this is all about declining vision, but it often seems like solutions are out there if you can see them. So here was Padraig, a better golfer than I could ever be, looking into eye supplements to improve his golf game. It honestly made me laugh a bit as I don’t even think about how my eyes effect my golf game. They are of course involved, especially with putting. If you can see the contours better, you should read break better. Why EyePromise? Like I said, I try to pay attention to what is in front of me. Although I previously knew about the lutein and zeaxanthin supplements, I had basically forgotten all about taking them in the past to help my eyes. Then along came Padraig and the EyePromise Vizual Edge Pro to remind me. It was life saying, “Hey Dave, remember these?” Disclaimer and Plan First and foremost, I am not a doctor. I’m more of a test subject at this point. While I am not concerned with any of the vitamins and supplements listed in the EyePromise formula, I would suggest that you check with your doctor before taking these, or anything new. At this point, I am sharing the experience and not endorsing the product. And so here we are today. Like I said before, I popped the first packet of Vizual Edge Pro supplements this morning. Will they help? I hope so. How will I know? I’m not sure. Regardless, I thought that it would be a fun process to share with all of you. I do know that my eyes could use some assistance at this point. So can my golf game. I’m really hoping for some gains like Padraig discussed in the video. I’ll pop in here and there over the next month to let you know how it is going. Hopefully, I’ll have an eyeful of insights to share. For now, follow this link to learn more about EyePromise.
  14. Finally watched Neat tonight on Hulu. Such a cool documentary about bourbon. Enjoyed a little Blanton's as well. Neat, naturally.
  15. There is a random liquor store down the street that has Taylor for $69. Weller is crazy here at well over $100 for the green label. Did grab a bottle of Blanton's at grocery store last night for $61. Wife had the audacity to ask if I already had one at home. Only 2/3 full, babe. Back-up is needed.
  16. Pretty handsome hats on bats right there. Also excellent for axe night at the local pub.
  17. Anyone else pick up bourbon collecting during the pandemic? It may be more expensive that putter collecting and you can't drink a putter out of existence. My favorites so far: Eagle Rare McKenna Bookers Maker's Mark Cask Strength Evan Williams Bonded
  18. Obviously this is the year for my UCSB crew. Let's Go Gauchos!
  19. Also, please let me know if the link is working correctly. Good Luck!
  20. We've got a MyGolfSpy Madness NCAA Basketball bracket up on ESPN again. What will the winner win? This time around the winner will bag a sweet MyGolfSpy branded Mati Genesa Tour putter. We are talking serious craftsmanship with this putter, and it can be yours if you pick correctly. Use the link below to join our group and get that bracket filled out. Good Luck! Get in the game now: Link to Group: LINK Group: 2021 MyGolfSpy Madness Password: mygolfspy
  21. That's a handsome Spider X. Really hoping that the new Spider EX gets the mySpider treatment later in the year.
  22. Thanks everyone. Off to the course. Just need to spend the next 90 minutes figuring out the putter to take...
  23. The Biggest of the BOOMs “Apex predator” was the phrase that came to mind when I first saw the ads for the new UE HYPERBOOM speaker. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, here is a quick dictionary.com assist: In the natural sciences, an apex predator is a predator that exists at the very top of the food chain. Unlike some other predators, it’s never preyed upon itself. Examples include polar bears, lions, crocodiles, and orcas. Granted, that is a strange thought to think about a speaker. The thing is though, the UE HYPERBOOM really seemed like an apex speaker. It’s the biggest of the big. If it was part of a nesting doll set, the HYPERBOOM is the outer, all encompassing doll. It's the Jupiter of planets. In the spirit of our current online education systems, here is a little online quiz. Which fish in the image below represents the UE HYPERBOOM? Have I hammered on the large theme enough? Actually, I think that there are multiple largenesses that need to be explored. Sure, the profile is one point to ponder, but the second is the sound. For the past few years, Ultimate Ears engineers have bent the rules of reality by packing big sound into small speaker spaces. The question now becomes, what can they do with a large space? My What Big Woofers You Have I wanted to start with the cutaway diagram of the UE HYPERBOOM, because honestly, it’s madness in there! I mentioned above how the UE engineers consistently put big sound in small spaces. Well, they have basically done it again, fitting the wide into the wee. To give you some reference for my awe, let me tell you a bit of a story. My first car was a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle. Sure, it was twenty years old at the time, but that was actually an advantage in my mind as it meant that anything that I did to the car was an upgrade. Switch to one-piece windows? Upgrade! Add a stinger exhaust? Upgrade! Build a custom stereo system to blast Eric B and Rakim? BIG UPGRADE! Though the components were low quality, I was able to install a pair of dome tweeters in the doors, two 4.5” round speakers in the back seat area, and dual 10” woofers in the back. Add some crossovers, an amp, and a terrible cassette deck, and you had all you needed to give your neighbors more bass than they bargained for. That bug rattled both back and front trunks. So why talk about that car? Basically, the UE HYPERBOOM has nearly the same speaker set up as my old VW. If you tone down the woofers, the car stereo speakers and the UE HYPERBOOM speakers are close cousins. Maybe now you see the source of my space amazement. Once again, the UE engineers have gone total Tardis on the speaker, fitting much more inside than it seems possible. Sound Check (ish) One of the frustrating things about doing these speaker reviews is not to be able to give you quantifiable performance data. I know that all reviews of anything have a level of subjectivity to them, but it would be nice to mix in some objective data here and there. To this task, I fired up my decibel reader app. My plan was to compare the myBOOM 3 and MEGABOOM 3, with the UE HYPERBOOM sound outputs. After some random scrolling through my audio library, I selected The Cult’s Love Removal Machine as the test song. Here’s a refresher (or introduction): https://youtu.be/k6PgftKbQnQ Basically, I recorded the dB output at the same part of the big guitar solo using all three of the speakers, each turned up to maximum volume. Here’s the data I collected: “Hey Dave, aren’t all of those nearly the same loudness?” As it turns out, the speakers all have a decibel limit. According to the UE website, the speakers should max at 90 dB for the myBOOM 3 and MEGABOOM 3, with the UE HYPERBOOM topping out at 100dB. As you can see from the data, there was not much difference in loudness. However, there was a huge difference in sound. It was amazing to compare them one right after another. The obvious, and not unexpected improvement in the BOOM->MEGABOOM->HYPERBOOM progression was with the bass. BOOM->MEGABOOM bass increase is a known entity to me. The larger speaker has deeper bottom end tones. Still though, the HYPERBOOM’s bass rock express was a surprise when I fired it up. My daughter and I discussed what should be the first song out of the HYPERBOOM. While Kesha’s Woman was a strong contender, we went with Scream and Shout by will.i.am and Britney (bitch). Lots of different sound textures in that song, and the bass is huge. Where the MEGABOOM 3 brings enough bass that you can hear it, the UE HYPERBOOM brings the bass so you can feel it. As I said, I was ill prepared for the boom of the HYPERBOOM. It has that old huge dual-tape boom box bass, perhaps the bass is even closer to car stereo bass. I suppose the speaker arrangement should have clued me into this, but there was no portent for the pounding. Naturally, big bass beats are not the choice of all. Thankfully, you can fire up the UE BOOM app on your phone and adjust the levels to fit your preferences. On the topic of EQ, the HYPERBOOM also features a new adaptive EQ. It uses the microphone to change the EQ levels based upon the space, automatically adjusting to fit an indoor room, or outdoor patio. Again, this kind of feature is tough to quantify, but the change in sound as you move from place to place happens. So far, I have never questioned the mix that the HYPERBOOM dials in. Not For The Golfs? Ideally, Dave’s Takes are all about sharing my thoughts on products that golfers would be interested in using. Some of these products may be more golf lifestyle products, rather than products to use on the course. Because of its size, I had fully assumed that the UE HYPERBOOM would fit in the golf lifestyle category, but I took it to the course for a fitting regardless. As you can see in the photo above, it’s not going to fit in a cupholder, let alone the water bottle holder in your bag like the BOOM 3 can. However, check this shot out... The UE HYPERBOOM will fit in the basket of the power cart. What you do with that information is up to your judgement and conscience. In a casual scramble setting, this speaker could deliver substantial round revelry. Should you be surrounded by anti-music golfers, this one could raise some ire, probably with a three to four hole radius. Basically, you need to remember just how much sound the HYPERBOOM delivers. How Hype is the HYPERBOOM? So how much love do I have for the HYPERBOOM. While my affection is significant, there is one thing that in certain situations could steer me to another audio option. Before I get to that, let’s look at a few other interesting HYPERBOOM features. Simple To Use As soon as you turn on the HYPERBOOM, the speaker is immediately in pairing mode. A short trip to Bluetooth settings on your phone and you are good to go. A new feature with the HYPERBOOM is a second Bluetooth channel that can pair with a different device. No more speaker fighting sessions, or randomly switching to a different user when they use their phone. All of the control buttons are on the top and operation is super simple. Use the plus and minus symbols for volume, and then the standard one touch control to pause and skip. If you are using the other UE speakers, this will all be automatic. Great Connectivity The HYPERBOOMs ports are all tucked away under a little rubber flap. Once you lift it, you will see the charging port and other inputs. The HYPERBOOM does not charge by simple USB like the other speakers, likely due to the size of the plays for 24-hours battery. The USB port is not for charging the speaker but rather to charge another device. One needs a charged phone and a charged speaker for the music thing to work. There is also an aux cable input as well as an optical port in case you want to hook this up to a component system. Portability The UE HYPERBOOM has a nifty hidden handle that allows you to carry the speaker. It seems to work fine for this, but I’m a little gun shy about carrying the heavy speaker this way. Though these are touted as drop proof, I’d rather not drop it. Portability is really the one thing that I don’t glow about with the HYPERBOOM, and it’s not the speaker’s fault. This is a large speaker, that while you can take it from place to place, you are probably doing so by car, or just leaving the HYPERBOOM in the same spot most of the time. Again this is not a fault, but rather a perception incompatibility for me with UE speakers. I can’t count the number of times that I have tossed a BOOM, ROLL, WONDERBOOM, or MEGABOOM into my golf bag, kayak, backpack, ice chest, or basket on my bike. In my mind, UE speakers are the apex predators in portable audio, and the HYPERBOOM is not that portable. It has the best sound by a wide margin, with the bass being otherworldly, but it’s not a toss and go speaker. I feel like I'm getting mad at the speaker for something that it is not designed for, and that's not really fair. The UE HYPERBOOM just challenges my UE brand perception I suppose. Dave’s Take on the UE HYPERBOOM: Sounds Like a Winner The UE HYPERBOOM does come with a big sticker price of $399.99, making this the most expensive speaker in the UE line-up. When I played the speakers in sequence, there was no question that the sound of the HYPERBOOM was impressive and well beyond that of its diminutive kin. Like I said, this speaker can rumble a room. I think that someone looking for a home stereo replacement will love this speaker. Though it’s a portable audio product, the emphasis of the HYPERBOOM is really on audio over portability. When you hear the sound, I bet that you will feel OK about the HYPERBOOM being a bit more cumbersome. My plan for the HYPERBOOM is to have it anchor my UE audio experience. Though the UE app, I'll pair my speakers together. Then I will drop the HYPERBOOM at a central location in the house or yard, and place BOOMS and MEGABOOMS where needed to supplement. It still blows my mind that you can run all of these speakers, with nearly endless audio content, from a single pocket-sized phone. Viva the golden age of wireless. BONUS BUDGET CONTENT I know that a $400 speaker is not in everyone’s budget. Well, I have a great find that will allow you to experience the UE audio and portability for a lot less. Costco frequently has a deal on WonderBooms where you can get two of them for $99. Here’s the link to the product page. Check your local store and check back online if they are sold out. They do restock. The WonderBoom is a solid, dare I say Most Wanted speaker. BONUS BIGNESS CONTENT: How Big is the Hyperboom? I thought that it would be fun to compare the size of the UE HYPERBOOM to some other things just so you can get a real feel for the size of it. First, here are the BOOM 3, MEGABOOM 3, and HYPERBOOM speakers side by side. Here are the BOOM and MEGABOOM sitting on the HYPERBOOM. The HYPERBOOM compared to a golfball The HYPERBOOM vs. a delicious 12 oz. beverage bottle And the only thing that put up a fight, the 1.75 l Kirkland French Vodka bottle If you've ever bought that vodka, and you should since it's excellent, then you can now relate to the HYPERBOOM's monolithic majesty. Neither are really portable, but both are delicious in their own right.
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