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ChiefMikeOfficer

 
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Everything posted by ChiefMikeOfficer

  1. Lol I swapped out Cantlay at the last minute. But for Zalatoris, so I'm mostly OK with where it stands now. I really struggle to pick and cheer for Cantlay -- he's like the Nickelback of the PGA Tour.
  2. Based on your profile, you're a 4 with 110+ swing speed? I'm making some assumptions based on those stats, but if that's accurate, find a place that can demo the Titleist T200 Utility build. They are more like a regular iron, but with some heat. Try either a 2 or 3 iron for "driving" -- I have both a 3 and 4 in that model, alongside a U505 1-iron (all the 2021 models though), and if I went back and did it again, I'd get the T200 2-iron over the U505 1-iron (nothing against the U505, just like the T200 better and use the 3i off the tee more than the 1i -- might actually make that swap this year ). That's not a recommendation to buy, because they definitely aren't for everyone -- but based on my experience with these, if you like a slightly smaller profile on the driving iron and are a solid striker (again, assumed from 4 / 110+), I'd recommend trying these before pulling the trigger on something else. I've also had a Srixon 2i, which was solid and fairly easy to hit (and bigger too), but fell well short of the Titleist models (T200 3i flies like 20y further than the Srixon 2i that I had). I've also hit a friend's PXG 1i quite a few times -- wouldn't recommend it.
  3. Only played it once, and we had some later afternoon rounds (I was in group 2 of 3) -- great experience, but the course layout makes it a little annoying at the end (from what I remember, coming down 16 was blinding, but back up 18 was super cool). While my group was finishing up, some of the end of day stuff was starting, including bagpipes coming out next to to the green (not sure if that's an everyday thing or if it was a special event that day). If you're finishing late, better have your A-game, because the sunset attracts a crowd -- this is our final group finishing on 18 green, with the crowd just starting to form: If I ever make it back there, I'd probably try to walk it -- we had carts with forecaddies, which was great for some of the elevation changes, but there's something about walking a course like that...
  4. That's a must play - easily one of my favorite courses, definitely worth the price (peak season gets a bit steep, but the price is solid relative to comparable courses).
  5. Either 2000 or 2001, $125, Shenendoah at Turning Stone Casino. FWIW, I was 16, and my dad paid, but I remember it being a big deal (also might be slightly off on their opening rates). At that time, it was unheard of to pay $100+ for a public round in our area -- I'm pretty sure I paid $150 that same year for a full summer under-18 "membership" at one of our local tracks, and nearly all public courses were in the $10-25 range (walking), some even less (definitely remember playing $9 rounds at some places). Then, this gem opened about 20 minutes west of us, and I'm pretty sure they started at $125. Played it once at that rate, then started finding ways to play it cheaper (e.g. a popular Central New York public golf calendar came with a discount card, and Turning Stone courses were on the list for $60/round, but limited to 2x/year).
  6. "You're not good enough to get mad" - sophomore or junior year, a college teammate said that to me during a practice round when I was ready to smash my bag with an iron. I hated it in the moment, but he was right - I thought I was better than I was, and had no perspective on how good the really good players actually are. That quote stuck with me over time and was a turning point for me, which led to me enjoying the game a lot more for the last ~15 years. And...I also got better - my handicap has been consistently lower over those years, despite not practicing or playing nearly as much (I had flashier rounds back then, but very streaky). It's easy to forget some key things when working toward improvement, especially that potential and production are very different. At the time of this quote, I was about a 5 handicap, rebuilding from what's still probably my worst year of playing since I was 13 (multiple bouts with the shanks, still pulled enough rounds together to keep it to a 5, but 71 and 95 were both in play at the start of any round). I got so wrapped up in my "potential" to hit great shots and shoot good scores (because I had seen myself do it so many times) that I lost sight of how frequently I should expect to hit a good one, and also started to think "reasonable" shots were actually "bad" -- if I missed a green or hit an errant tee shot, it led to anger, both because I knew I could do better, and it meant I had to grind; every question of "how'd you play?" had me saying "terrible", because I had unreasonable expectations for my own skill level. I got lost in thinking I should be better than I was, not accepting faults, and was not having any fun at the time (and, in many rounds, I was no fun to play with either). That's not to say you should just brush off shots/scores as "I'm not good enough", and it doesn't mean I never get angry over individual shots - it's just a reminder to stay grounded. If you're not putting in multiple hours a day and spending thousands of dollars on lessons, it's OK to scrape it around a bit, and once I started accepting that in the moment, the game became fun again. My tendency now is to laugh off bad shots rather than be tempted to smash something, and if I go out and shoot 85, I no longer beat myself up over it - instead, I just think about what I should practice next, and aim to play better next time (and if I don't, just repeat the thought process).
  7. Definitely bounce between brands a lot during the season, and have a giant stockpile across brands in the basement, but the three top balls this year will probably be: Titleist ProV1x Left Dash - typically my top choice, but because of cost and availability, tend to use them only around tournament time (1-2 weeks before plus the actual tournament). Just picked up a couple more dozen now that they are available again. Vice Pro Plus variants - love the Shade and Drip patterns, so those are top choices for everyday / casual play. TaylorMade TP5(x?) PIX Limited Edition(s) - scooped up a handful of these releases, which finally look like they're being released with a TP5x option on a regular basis (last year it was mostly TP5 only). Just this morning I bought a dozen of the Dragon TP5x.
  8. Considering the direct question on a 52*, I think there are two big factors beyond what you intend to use it for: what iron set are you looking at (or at least what type of iron set), and what lofts do you plan to have above 52 in your bag? If the iron set you're going to get has a hot face (like Super Game Improvement, or maybe even a Players Distance) and you generally have good contact with your wedges, I'd probably lean toward the specialty wedge for more consistent distance and spin control; for a Players iron, could go either way, so it comes down to skill and precision (higher skill around green / inside 100 -> specialty; looking for forgiveness -> set). If you need to work on contact on short shots, set is probably best. But also, that iron type would factor into which specialty wedges to consider -- many of the Vokey wedges are less forgiving than some of the other specialty wedges out there, so if you're getting more forgiving irons, also consider a more forgiving specialty wedge. Then, what lofts... watch for distance gapping, and make sure you have a plan to account for it. Especially for SGI and PD irons, I'd expect a 52 to go farther than a specialty 52 (make sure to research lofts too -- what you assume is a 52 in the set might not be, depending on which set). With many of the irons these days, if you have any specialty wedges, you'll probably have a 20+ yard gap somewhere, so where do you want it? Between the GW and SW, or between the PW and GW? (in other words, would you feel more confident taking a 3/4 swing with a PW, or a 3/4 swing with a GW?) I switched out my PW for a Vokey 46 last year -- I do like the 46, but also might go back, because I now have a big gap between the 9i and PW that's been tough to account for (and I don't use the 46 a lot around the green, either). I think my favorite setup was the set PW with 50-54-58 as the specialty wedges, and might adjust the long end of my bag this year to get back to that.
  9. Someone liked my old post, so had to go back and check it for accuracy -- still stand by the New Balance recommendation for walking, but there's a new leader in the clubhouse: Olukai. They're phenomenal. When I initially looked at them, I was worried about the support because of some of their non traditional features, but that has not been an issue in any way. I now have them in 4 different style/color combinations.
  10. Sorry - the cold hit here in Madison, so haven't been on the course since that last post. But, we're in a mini heatwave, so we got out for 9 today -- did not hit any of the same issues with bad distances, and I think it was only like two times in the first 36 holes (but again, not like it was giving bad reads that went unnoticed, they were very clearly off). I'm still getting used to toggling the settings and everything, but it's a positive experience. One kinda cool feature is that there's a screen on the side that clearly shows which mode it's in and displays the actual distance readings, so you can see all of the info outside of the scope (so, grab a reading, pull it down, and can actually show the group). I keep thinking I'm going to miss the GPS function of my Bushnell Hybrid, but then again, I get all of those features and more on my watch today, so there's really no need to have it directly on the rangefinder. And in the spirit of this group...I also added a green silicone cover to the Cube, which looks pretty slick. Meant to grab a picture on the course, but forgot again, so you'll have to deal with the stock photo:
  11. Easily my favorite course in Madison -- short, but great, and I prefer it to some of the newer, "bigger" layouts around the city. Only played it once though (have a friend that's a fairly new member though, so hopefully will change that soon). Nakoma is typically my trigger for signing up for a City Am qualifier -- if it's in the rotation, I sign up every time. Unfortunately last time was mid-COVID and Nakoma backed out at the last second, but that round got relocated to the surprisingly nice (and challenging) Lake Wisconsin CC (my first time playing that public, very affordable track) -- the front 9 there feels like a hidden gem; the back 9 feels...gimmicky, and like they ran out of space (but still a few cool holes).
  12. My dad used one of these when my brother and I were in high school -- we hit it on occasion and stole it for some tournaments, because it was so easy to hit. I still have one of the Warbird 7 woods in the basement stockpile, but from looking at it a while ago, looks like the gen before the official Heavenwood, even though it has the Heavenwood cover (I'm questioning whether he had multiples and just kept the prior gen...).
  13. Been a bit since I've posted here and definitely missed reporting a handful of purchases... But here's the latest: Picked up the Caddytalk Cube, used 2 rounds so far. Super cool. The triangulation is surprisingly useful and accurate (checked it against my buddy's Bushnell a few times, and it was accurate within a yard, even accounting for slope). On regular readings, had some duds though - like a 100+ yd shot reading at 8yd (not the "you just missed the flag" issues, actual misreads, and by a lot), but they were noticeable, and a couple reads later were much better. Overall happy with the early performance. Then, added a couple more Putt Buddies divot tool/ball mark combos to the collection, this time going with Dr Evil / Mini Me and Phil / Darth Vader. They're a bit bulky, but cool designs (also have a Chubbs and a Spackler). And, last thing for now... Reef Spackler golf flippy floppies (with soft spikes and all) -- who knows when I'll ever use them, especially considering they clearly lack support, but they look way cooler than the old FJ sandals that I used to have (maybe they'll be the new par 3 go-to shoes). What's next for this club ho? I'm eyeing up a legit LAB putter fitting this winter - seems like that would make a huge difference for me. And then what's tempting but completely unrealistic for the current situation? A Finn Golf Scooter - after riding one a couple weeks ago, I never want to go back to a traditional cart. But for it to make sense, would need to join our neighborhood course, and that's not currently in the cards.
  14. That flag print is -- I ordered a set the last time they offered it as a limited edition add-on (SM7 I think)
  15. Alright alright -- promised I'd play the bag for a cart round and send an update, so here goes: played in a scramble yesterday, and kept this bag in play. It's consistent with prior experiences -- the cart made little difference. Considering it was a fun brewery scramble, I kept a lot of things out of the bag naturally -- speaker, cooler, etc., which means I didn't need that much storage in the bag (which is good, because...we've been over this). The bag fit nicely on the cart, and the things I needed to access were right there. Really, the cart round changed nothing with my perception of the bag, just showed that it's consistent in performance regardless of carrying vs. riding. Some quick pics (and yup, just remembered right now that my alignment stick cover is from Stitch!!): That basically does it for me with this test. When I got home, I unloaded the bag and reloaded my Vessel, immediately re-recognizing how many features the Vessel has that the Stitch lacks. Again, the Stitch bag has a place, it's just hard for me -- this weekend, I plan to hand it off to my dad, who is in his low 70s and still likes to carry, and I think this will be great for him, I'm just not there. I would've used this with a caddy at Whistling this fall, but my dumb dumb friend didn't sign us up on time (sound harsh? Well, it's not really - he had all the info he needed, just dragged his feet thinking it wouldn't fill up), so I'm just letting my dad keep it for now.
  16. I'm sure I can list some brands specifically...but I am open to trying a lot of things, so focusing more on categories (which encompass groups of brands/styles). The biggest one: when it actually comes down to putting up money for fittings or a big club purchase, I have this big unfounded bias (I've broken from this successfully with putters, though): What's the anticipated resale value? Unfounded because...when it comes time to get the next set, I don't actually care! I shifted from trying to get the most out of resale to feeling like it's not worth the time (comparing to spending that time being a dad, or cutting into sleep time, etc.) -- instead, I've handed things over to friends, donated to a local High School team, save some of them, etc. At my last iron fitting, Srixon and Mizuno were comparable with Srixon taking a slight edge, but I went Mizuno. Similar for drivers -- absolutely bombing a Srixon, opted for Callaway (and now Taylor). Other biases (some founded, some not): Saddle shoes - used to buy them "because that's what golf shoes are supposed to look like", but now I'm anti-saddle, think other styles look a lot better, and like that golf shoe popularity evolved to different / more casual looks Scotty -- overpriced, and I just think other brands build a better putter (at least "for me") Stock / off-the-rack wood shafts - cue the crew that defends these as "the real deal now", but I won't buy one, unless it's just to get my hands on the head. Now, I think that's more my specific game than the shafts themselves -- my Stealth has something close to a stock / not-fully-custom-build option, but my fitting clearly showed I needed something heavier, so I have a version of the shaft that had to be custom-ordered (still through TM, though). Brands purchased by Dick's - Top Flite, Maxfli come to mind (don't Google that category verbatim ). To be fair, though, in my quest to learn lefty alongside my 2 year old, I am buying the lefty gear from these brands, because it's inexpensive. Flat-brim hats and Joggers - -- Joggers bias only applies only on the course, I do love them as casual wear, but it took me a long time to get there. Bags made by big clubmakers - only exception is Ping, because I was a Hoofer guy until a few years ago. Haven't tried every brand, but haven't like the ones I tried (notably Callaway and TM, haven't tried Titleist). I now prefer my bag to be designed/made by a bag company, not a club company (I know, some are from bag companies with a brand added, but not always the case).
  17. Final Review is up! I took it out for one last walking round over the weekend, and really tested the limits of storage -- my 4-year-old was my walking buddy "carrying his own bag", which of course meant I needed to carry both for 7/9 holes and also needed to stash things of his in each of our bags (snacks, water, his headcovers that keep falling off, etc.). And it reinforced that storage is the big downside to this bag -- I got his putter cover into the Stitch, but the driver (which is really FW size to fit his club) would not fit alongside it, at least not without crushing or folding them. This is also the round where I swapped to a new water bottle that I expected to fit better -- the Sic Cups Mickelson Jump bottle (taller and slimmer, I think 27oz) -- well, it didn't help, and actually made the experience worse because the top of the bottle kept jabbing into my hip while walking (so...water bottle really needs to be short and slim). Some last-minute photos of the bag in action: And then, a swing vid from the kid: PXL_20230909_133847252.TS.mp4
  18. Depends on the vibe of the round and other things like timing. I don't choose yes or no based on temp, but on a high temp/humidity day, might switch it up to a High Noon or something rather than beer. I rarely drink liquor on the course -- goes down too quickly and seems to hit harder because of that. Our Tuesday night league? Yes, having a couple, and will adjust based on the temps (mostly beer, but on a high temp/humidity day, often pick High Noon rather than beer). Scramble? Guys' trip? Definitely. Legit practice round/session? Nope. But fun practice round? Sure, a couple. Tournament round? Typically no, but it's mostly small-time tournaments these days, so if things aren't going well, might shift the vibe to casual and have one. Weekday morning walking round? Unlikely -- might have one on the back 9 or after the round, depending on what's planned the rest of the day. Performance change is only notable for heavy drinking on course, which I don't do that often -- putting is the first to go (it's not good anyway, but turns really bad after 3-4 drinks), but otherwise don't notice a huge difference in performance/scores. *Edit...did I really just unknowingly reply to an 11-year-old post on this thread, thinking it was active conversation? I did... and now I'm not finding a delete button, so I'm just leaving it.
  19. Took it out again today, and quickly realized I'm terrible at taking on-course pics (which is weird considering the phone is in my pocket and I take it out every hole to track scoring...), so here's a few behind the 9th green. Consistent with the last few outings - very light, comfortable, and stylish (got a few compliments too). Packed lighter today, and also switched up the storage with the glove caddy and a travel bag for the sunscreen, so the big pocket isn't as sloppy. Started to develop a squeak, mostly when single-strap carrying (still using the double, but often go one-strap on shorter distances) - it mostly goes away when putting the second strap on. I'll try swapping the straps around to see if that persists. Club section still seems very roomy - surprising for a small 4-way bag like this, so that's impressive. ~10 days left in the test, and one thing I definitely haven't tested: the umbrella holder. That's not a big thing for me because I'm mostly a fair weather player and took a hiatus from tournaments this year... But it's probably important to you all reading this, so I'll try to get a carry round in with the umbrella. Unfortunately I'm unlikely to get a cart round in until the test is over, but I do have one lined up for the 22nd, so I'll make sure to add a post for that (assuming it doesn't get rained out).
  20. Been hitting a lot of close approaches lately...but still no luck on the aces. Buuut...while warming up on the range, I took out a ball and my LW, and made a "Par 3" by hitting one 65yds back across the path / over the carts to the elevated chipping green -- JARRED IT! Doesn't count, but gives me hope.
  21. I had similar issues, and decided to prioritize the long end, especially after the '21 T100S/T200 test results. On the long end, have 1-3-4 irons, all utility build (1 is a bigger head), between the 3w and 5i (if I had to pick one to drop, I'd probably pick the 4). Then, reduced the wedges - replaced the 44* PW with a 46* Vokey, and then jump to 54 and 58. The gap from 9-PW increased to 15-20 yds instead of 10, but it also reduced the gap between PW and 54 (also about 15yds, instead of the ~20 I had between PW and 50). It's not the most common setup, and I'm sure some will disagree but it works for me -- index is down to the lowest it's ever been, dropping 2 since I switched to this. There are other factors too, but two key things that led to that improvement: this setup provides a lot of versatility off the tee / for longer shots, and also gets myself out of my own head on shorter shots (fewer options, more confidence in the club choice).
  22. Alright alright alright, I played a bit more with the pockets last night and took a few pictures of different contents. Here we go: Water Bottle + Small (Ball?) Pocket Until I got a bag that had a separate ball pocket, I always used this one for balls and tees; with the separate ball pocket, my main use for this pocket is gloves and other soft goods (koozies, scorecard holders, etc.). So, with the SL2, I went back to balls+tees. With 8 unboxed balls, which is how this session started (yes, there is a glove in there because...habit): Still lots of room, but that's me pulling the pocket open pretty hard. Now, the water bottle basically splits the pocket in two -- yes, those balls remain in there in this pic: As requested, with two sleeves of balls -- this made it a bit of a fight to get the water bottle in, because the boxes take up more space, and the water bottle hits the tops of the boxes on the way in (need to maneuver it past the boxes): Valuables Pocket As I noted before, my Pixel 6 Pro plus a wallet and pocket-sized sanitizer basically filled this pocket up. If I were to pick a spot that's not hanging from my bag that allows "easy" access to my Rangefinder, this is the pocket I'd pick (also like to protect that thing, so the lining helps with that too). This is with my Bushnell Hybrid in there, which mostly fills it up -- if rangefinder is in there, can't really use it for other things, so I'm choosing not the put the rangefinder in there (in contrast, I think the Jones has two valuables pockets, and I used one of those for the rangefinder, specifically the one that was close to this pocket): And, with my old phone only, a Pixel 4 XL (needed to use the 6 Pro to take the picture...so old phone it is) -- in order to fit and close the pocket, it needs to be angled. It does not fit horizontally, and this is vertical. There's a little more room in there for a wallet and other small things, but not a ton (can try other configurations later too, but I thought the rangefinder and phone were reflective of pocket size): Big / "Clothing?" Pocket Didn't do a lot to this one for the pocket test, because there really is a lot of room in there. But since it's just one big thing, it's just all jumbled together / disorganized (and any attempt at organization just kinda undoes itself as I start using things from the pocket). I'm still thinking of ways to add organization to it -- to start, I used this as an excuse to buy a Glove Keeper/Caddy (which is on the way), but need to think of other ways too. Like the small pocket, this is me pulling it open pretty hard:
  23. I still need to play with the pockets a bit more, but have some insight so far (didn't take pictures, but definitely can do that soon): Ball boxes: I put 4 sleeves in the ball pocket to start, and they fit fine, but made the water bottle pocket seem very tight. But...I didn't actually try to put a bottle in with that many balls in there - reduced the balls to 9 and emptied the boxes before playing. I do see others having more success with 6 balls, but that's normally not enough for me - in a standard 18 hole round, I routinely go through 4 balls simply due to scuffing from normal shots (and then there's OB, trees, cart paths, etc. that can add to that count). Valuables pocket: Pixel 6 Pro + Ridge Wallet + flat travel hand sanitizer (thanks for adding to my bag contents #COVID) --> very tight, could barely get the zipper closed (need to try without the sanitizer - didn't remember it was in there until we were already on the course). For the last round, I just put the phone into a scorecard holder and left it in my back pocket so that the other things fit well, which is convenient for our use of The Grint anyway. Water Bottle pocket: sadly, forgot my actual water bottle, which was not a good move on a 90+ degree day... But it does feel small. I put a slim can in a koozie, and even that I had to wiggle a bit to get in. I'm guessing it's just competing with the remaining balls (only ~6 left at that point), so will have to try with fewer balls + the 18oz Yeti this weekend. Larger pocket: disorganized (probably because I need to narrow what I carry in this bag), and... it feels tighter than it is. Once past the zipper, there's actually a solid amount of storage space, but the actual opening feels pretty narrow.
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