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  1. Hey everyone just wanted to share a podcast interview with Adam Beach, the creator of MGS. We talked about Adam's history in the golf industry, the development of MGS, plans for the future of MGS, and discussed other aspects of the golf industry. https://sub70.podbean.com/e/episode-5-adam-beachmygolfspy/ just a quick edit...this is also available on iTunes, Stitcher and a few other sources.
  2. This is a must listen for any golfer. The episode is the first part of our interview with Shaun Micheel. Shaun is the winner of the 2003 PGA Championship and has nearly 400 PGA Tour starts. He is currently playing on the Web.com Tour and will also transition to the Champions Tour next year. This part of the conversation goes over his upbringing in Memphis, his college and early professional days, and his eventual PGA Championship victory at Oak Hill. It's a great, honest talk about Shaun's wild and unique path to becoming a professional golfer and major champion. Part two will be released next week. https://sub70.podbean.com/e/episode-6-shaun-micheel-part-1/
  3. 5 QUESTIONS WITH ARCCOS CEO SAL SYED Golf and tech is quickly becoming almost synonymous, with a bevy of products ranging from swing analyzers to GPS watches. The latest craze is instant game tracking technology and it excites me that this weeks 5-ish questions is a chance to pick the mind of Arccos CEO, Sal Syed. What is Arccos, and what kind of useful information can the average golfer glean from using Arccos? How will it help their game improve? Arccos is the industry's most advanced performance tracking system. It incorporates 14 sensors that easily attach to a player's club and pair with our free iPhone app. Once connected, golfers simply play as they normally would and Arccos automatically starts collecting data on distances hit, club averages, driving accuracy, greens in regulation, sand saves, putts and much more. The app also provides GPS yardages for more than 20,000 courses. For the average golfer, this is the first time they will be able to see their game under a microscope and truly evaluate strengths and weaknesses based on incredibly accurate data. They can use the information provided by Arccos to practice the areas of their games that need improvement, leading to lower scores and more fun on the course. It seems everything and everyone can benefit from technology these days, can the average golfer truly understand and extract enough valuable information to improve their game? We're experiencing a time in world history when technology is truly benefiting everyone. Technological innovation in a variety of industries has made everything more efficient. Our goal with Arccos is to make golfers more efficient. Currently, the average golfer doesn't really know how far they hit the ball. They think they do, but our research shows they are often way off. Conversely, PGA Tour players have the tools at their disposal to know exact yardages for each club and type of shot. Without question, knowing this information has a dramatically positive impact on a player's performance. Additionally, we use the Strokes Gained methodology to unlock a player's “Golf DNA.” We have been taught to measure our skill based on a handicap number, we're a 5, 10, etc. But that doesn't give the full picture. With Arccos we breakdown each player's handicap into five key components – driving, approach, chipping, sand game and putting – assigning a handicap number to each. This breakdown is very important, because once a golfer understands where their weaknesses lie, they can practice that area and quantify results based on if they see an upswing in performance and lower total scores. Additionally, by helping players understand strengths and weakness, they are far more likely to be motivated to practice and work on the area of their game that needs development. How do two guys from business management and financial backgrounds (Sal and Ammad) get into the golf technology business? Although I did graduate from Yale with an MBA, my background is working with tech start-ups. With Arccos I saw the opportunity to perfectly combine my two passions for golf and tech. Ammad and I grew up together and have been very good friends for a long time. We went to the same high school and have always been close, so it was a natural fit. I actually introduced Ammad to golf and now he is completely hooked! He is actually doing very well and currently plays to about a 12 handicap. Pretty impressive, considering he only recently took up the sport. We see many similar products on the market these days such as Game Golf which is almost half your price, why should we be buying Arccos? What about non-rechargeable batteries adding costs? Do you have plans for a rechargeable version? Other products may be similar on the surface, but the difference between what Arccos provides compared to the competitors is quite substantial. When we developed Arccos, my philosophy was that people are out playing golf to enjoy themselves, not to collect data. Which is why it was imperative that that our system automatically collect information on the user, without his/her direct interaction. Players don't need to adjust their pre-shot routine or tap a third device in order to activate Arccos. Just go play golf. Of course if an Arccos user wanted to check their stats as they play, they can do that. Everything is recorded and displayed instantly. They also have the choice of waiting until after the round to dive into shot tracking numbers and analysis. The experience on the course is as interactive as you want it to be. We also offer GPS functionality, providing distances to the front middle and back of the green. This eliminates the need for another device or app that serves that purpose. When it comes to the batteries, using a non-rechargeable battery is actually the cheaper technological solution. Our testing shows that the batteries used can last roughly 50 rounds, which is about two years for the average players. Beyond that, we're getting more and more efficient when it comes to battery life and should be able to increase battery life over time. Even if they do need to be replaced, the batteries only cost a few dollars to replace and can be picked up at any drug store or electronics outlet. What do you say to the purists who insist technology should stay off the golf course? I would definitely consider myself a purist. I've been in love with the game for the past 20 years and have spent countless hours studying course architecture reading about the roots of the game in my spare time. The truth is that technological innovations have always been a big part of golf. Equipment manufacturers are constantly experimenting with new materials or borrowing design cues from the aerospace industry to build clubs, balls and shafts that perform better than the previous generation. Technology has always enhanced golf and we made sure we created a technology that doesn't get in the way of golf. Arccos adds to the experience, culture and history of the game. The one piece of technology that has been missing from golf until now is the “data revolution.” People want to be able to record their golf life. If you play a round at St. Andrews or Pebble Beach or another world-class establishment you will want to remember exactly how you played each hole. With Arccos we ensure that those memories are with you forever. Our system is only enhancing the experience. https://arccosgolf.com/ ----------------------- Big thanks to Sal for taking the time to chat with us here at MyGolfSpy
  4. In this week's ‘5 Questions' we chat to Bridgestone Golf's Director of Golf Ball Marketing, Corey Consuegra. Thanks for taking the time to share a little more about yourself and Bridgestone Golf with MGSers, Corey! Tell us a bit about yourself Corey - how long have you been with Bridgestone Golf? How's your golf game? What's in your bag at the moment? I have had the privilege of working for Bridgestone Golf for the past 10 years. Our brand has gone from “middle of the pack” in the golf ball category to the #2 position as a result of hard work and our efforts to better understand the needs of consumers/amateurs. Ball Fitting has allowed us to speak directly with the golfers that are the game's lifeblood and as such we have developed product for a wide range of players from the beginner to the weekend warrior, to the avid golfer and the Pro. Sadly, my bag is in the midst of a major overhaul. As someone who needs more forgiveness (10hdcp), I will be making the switch from the J40 CB's to our new J15 Dual Pocket. They look amazing at address, but the minimal twisting at impact will keep the ball online longer. As for the driver, I will put the new J815 in the bag, again for maximum forgiveness. From a personal standpoint, I live in Covington, GA and have an amazing wife and 2 children (7yrs old and 5yrs old). I am a die-hard baseball fan and love to be outside fishing, running, hiking and just walking! In the US Bridgestone has been better known as a tire manufacturer than a golf equipment manufacturer - how difficult has it been over the last 10 years to establish Bridgestone Golf as distinct from Bridgestone? As a division of the largest rubber company in the world, we have had great success being associated with our tire division. We collaborate closely on golf related efforts including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Performance Center events at 10-12 PGA Tour stops annually and for TV commercials with Matt Kuchar, Fred Couples and even David Feherty. At Bridgestone Golf, we leverage the parent company's expertise in rubber manufacturing and polymer science. In fact, we have 900+ engineers on staff who help with all facets of rubber development and that has helped Bridgestone Golf to create balls that fly farther, spin less off the tee, more around the green and be as aerodynamic as possible. At the end of the day, we are fortunate to be a part of such a unique and diverse brand. We use this to our advantage in all facets of our business and it is a privilege to be a part of an organization that puts its customers' needs first and never stops innovating. What can you share about the plans going forward for the North American market? In the US Market, we are studying consumers' needs and preferences closely, especially through our Ball Fitting program. Consumers are looking for even better feel off of all clubs without sacrificing distance and performance. There is usually a give and take relationship with soft golf balls for feel as they tend to sacrifice distance, but we are working hard to further engineer our core to deliver faster speeds while maintaining the best feeling compression level possible. As for our Ball Fitting program, we now have 25 teams around the US actively reaching 40,000-50,000 golfers annually. We recognize that there are millions of golfers around the US who need a custom fitting and may not be able to reach a live fitting. For this reason, we are expanding our online ball fitting program to be more accessible at retail and online. What makes our online program unique and different from others is the database constantly references live fitting data and compares your needs and information to people just like you to provide the most optimal fit. If you have not completed an online fitting, click here and see for yourself. What is the process like for developing new tech at Bridgestone Golf? Is there a lot of trial and error? Is there much transferability between what the tire manufacturing teams and the golf teams work on? Great timing for this question. Our new Tour Prototypes have just arrived here in Covington and we are actively testing. We immediately take the first versions (3-4 models of each) and test with our PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and Champions Tour professionals. During the same time frame, we gather consumers from our Ball Fitting Database and conduct “amateur” testing for maximum data. Once complete, we share this information with our R&D Team along with recommendations for changes and improvements. We will go through this process at least 2-3 times before finalizing the model. At the end of the day, we want the product that hits the shelves to be the best it can possibly be for the end user. This process is expensive and tedious, but critical to creating the best performing golf balls possible. Can you tell us a bit more about the Hydro Core in the B330 series? How is it supposed to improve performance? In 2014, we introduced HydroCore technology to our B330 series. This technology was created by an engineer who substituted water (H20) for another substance used in “baking” the core. Water was intended to be a substitute or additive but actually provided great benefit. It delivered a softer core center than prior generation and a firmer outer region. The direct benefit was a lower spinning tee shot from the softer center while the firmer outer region would produce more speed. The combination resulted in longer distance. Making the core softer or the core firmer is not innovative. Anyone can do that, but what made the HydroCore center unique is that we were able to do both with a new formulation and baking process.
  5. 1925 was a heck of a long time ago. Fitzgerald published “The Great Gatsby,” Lou Gehrig started his legendary consecutive game streak, the Mt. Rushmore museum was dedicated and Elver Lamkin wrapped his first leather grip. Lamkin, of course, belongs on the Mt. Rushmore of grip manufacturers - either as George Washington or Teddy Roosevelt. And if you're talking legendary streaks, you could say Lamkin is the Iron Horse (or even the Cal Ripkin) of grip makers. 90 years later Lamkin is still getting it done, and it's still All In The Family. There's perhaps not a more iconic grip in golf than the Lamkin Crossline. If you're reading this you've probably swung a club or two in your time and it's more than likely one of them had a Lamkin grip. 2015 marks the 90th anniversary of Lamkin Golf a company that has truly stood the test of time and continues to look towards the future. Today's five question's is with a man truly proud of his family name, Lamkin's President and CEO, Bob Lamkin. 5 Questions 90 years in business is a pretty epic accomplishment, especially for a family business. How has keeping it “all in the family” kept Lamkin going? What are the keys to your longevity? Well, that's really simple… our family name is on every grip we make so we are exceptionally critical of how our product is developed and manufactured. That has always been a very strong motivator for Lamkin to make the best performing, longest lasting and highest quality grips in the business. It's a real source of pride for our family. As for our longevity, and this is also very much a part of keeping it in the family, the company has transformed itself with each new generation. My grandfather started by making leather wrap grips in his garage. He was a true pioneer at the time because no one else was making grips for golf clubs. Then, my father led another crucial transformation for the company when we started using rubber materials in our grips. For a leather grip company, this was a very risky and bold change, but he kept the company moving forward. Again, with each generation, the company has experienced a sort of ‘rebirth'. Another key to our success is that we pride ourselves on being good listeners. We very much want to know what our customers need and want, and will go to great lengths to ensure that Lamkin is their grip of choice. Seriously though, is playing the wrong size grip really killing us and what's worse, too big or too small? I think that might be an overstatement, but I do believe that playing the wrong size grip absolutely impacts a player's performance. And, more importantly, it may be affecting their overall enjoyment of the game… and they don't even know it! There are so many women, for instance, using the stock undersize grips installed on most women's clubs, but a big percentage of those players don't necessarily have ‘undersize' hands and they should be using a standard size grip. Very often, playing with the wrong size grip will force a golfer to use too much grip pressure to compensate for their poorly fit grip. One is not worse than the other (too big or too small). Typically, I tell golfers that are slicing to use a smaller grip so they can increase their hand action. And, for golfers that are hooking, I recommend using a larger grip to slow their hands down. I also believe that grip sizing isn't a perfect science. We recommend using hand measurements as a starting point. After that, it's important that every golfer finds the grip that feels most comfortable and allows the ideal light-pressure grip. What challenges do you face today that you didn't have to deal with 25 or even 50 years ago? The rate of product innovation has accelerated to a mind-blowing pace over the last 15 or so years. There seems to be this unspoken rule that a revolutionary, ‘game-changing' product needs to be launched every few months, every year at the latest. At Lamkin, we rely on a continuous improvement model to ensure we're producing the most functional, innovative and durable grips available, and that certainly has helped the brand maintain its leadership position. How have the recent financial issues within the Golf Industry affected the grip business? What does it take to keep a golf business ‘in the black' in the current environment? Historically, even during the most ‘challenging' dips in the golf industry, Lamkin has been fairly well insulated from market volatility. When golfers aren't buying as many clubs, for whatever reason, they tend to invest more in regripping. And, when they are buying more clubs, we benefit from supplying premium manufacturers with the grips to put on those clubs. As for staying ‘in the black', we are a bottom-line driven company and keep a very sharp eye on spending to ensure we stay profitable. More importantly, though, we work very closely with our customers. Whether they are purchasing a million grips or a single grip, we never lose sight of the fact that they are the most important contributor to our success and longevity. Exceeding their expectations has been and will always be our top priority. What makes a good grip? What is the biggest innovation in golf grips over the past 90 years? Any secrets you can let us in on as to the future of the golf grip? A good grip: There's really no magic formula because different golfers like different types of grips. One golfer may love the feeling of a cord grip, another golfer might hate the feeling of cord. It's incredibly subjective and individualized. In the end, if a golfer plays more comfortably, confidently and consistently with their grip, then it's a good grip. Biggest Innovation: Moving from leather to rubber and then to synthetic rubbers. This was a big game changer and allowed us to improve durability, bring costs down, add new cosmetics and colors and provide a much greater level of ‘feel' consistency from grip to grip. Future of the Golf Grip: I believe the next big development in grip technology will come in the form of another material advancement. At Lamkin, we are always researching and testing new, non-endemic materials that will provide golfers with functional performance benefits. ------------------------------------ Thank you so much again to Bob Lamkin for taking the time to answer these for us. Written by:Dan Mann
  6. This weeks 5-ish Questions are with Golfspy Tim, MyGolfSpys resident technology/gadget reviewer. 1. How did you get started in golf? What lead you to MGS/becoming a spy? I played golf through Jr. High, but then got more into racing mountain bikes from high school into college. In college I worked on the grounds crew at a course in northern California - played about 3 holes before giving up cause every shot was a slice into the woods - add that to the fact that the course I worked at seemed to be made up of stuck-up rich white dudes - I decided golf wasn't a game for me. After I turned 29 a couple of friends started hanging out without me - turns out they were golfing - I was anti golf from my time spent working at the course in college, but when my buddies said I could come along, smoke a cigar and drink beers while driving a vehicle, I was in. Within a few months of playing the local public course with the guys I started realizing my gear ***** tendencies were spiking and I kinda liked the game. Starting my research on gear I stumbled across MGS - signed up for a chance to win a free putter and got really into golf. Eventually an email from MGS came out looking for people with writing experience and eye for photos. I spent two years working as a journalist for a newspaper and work full-time as a photographer. Suddenly the opinions I had been forming on gear had a chance to be heard by more than just my buddies. 2. What do you do off the course? How do you balance your personal life/professional life/MGS duties? Off the course I work as a photographer. My specialty is adventurous and mischievous couples and indulgent weddings. I also spend as much time as possible on adventures whether it's mountain biking, backpacking, hiking, dirt biking, shooting guns and causing trouble. If I can't piss off a cabbie, no one can. It's a tough balance being self employed twice, testing and allowing myself to have fun. My biggest fight is stepping away from my photography to allow myself enough time to play golf, test and write - it all comes down to scheduling and forcing myself to stick with it. Being a spontaneous person, that's a tough fight, but as I turn 35 this year with a kid on the way, my goal is to hold strong to a schedule that maximizes my free time. 3. You seem to be the "tech guy", is there anything coming out in 2015 that has you really excited? I love the tech stuff and I think there's some pretty cool things happening right now - the end of 2014 was exciting to see it all coming together and I think 2015 is where we're going to see tech starting to really come into it's own. In the launch monitor department we're seeing gaps filled, prices coming down, and new tech performing better at lower price points. Sky Trak is a perfect example - a camera based launch monitor that costs less than $2,000 (initial testing is promising and I can't wait to share our launch monitor buyer's guide) One of the more exciting pieces on the tech side is seeing products fill more than one need - eg: the Garmin S6 watch is a GPS watch that also captures your swing tempo and can be used as a practice aid for tempo. Swing analyzers like Swing Byte, ZEPP, Sky Pro (the list goes on) continue to create buzz and have been put to use outside of their original intent by PING as a fitting tool. And let's not forget Game Golf and ARCCOS - Game Golf was released and almost immediately answered by two other products - ARCCOS and CaddieOn. I'm sitting back holding my breath with a grin waiting for the first release of a three-in-one GPS/Swing Analyzer/Stat Tracker - and with the rate that golf technology is moving, maybe that will end up being a four-in-one. 4. What is your preference GPS or Laser and why? And of course you'd come to me with a loaded question. Personally, I carry GPS - but maybe that's because I find myself on the wrong fairway without views of my target flag too often. I play with GolfSpy Dave and he carries a laser - between the two of us, we're pretty well off on a course for distances. Personally, I love GPS and I trust it to be consistent and accurate enough for my game. Breaking down golf stats, I'm someone who shouldn't be pin hunting, I should be going for the center of most greens - GPS is perfect for this, and with a handheld or phone I can play a new course with visual previews of an entire hole as I reach the tee box and break things down without shooting into the dark. So if you're gonna pin me in a corner, I'm gonna go GPS. 5. Do you think sometimes golfers get overly reliant on GPS or lasers? What would happen If you had to play without electronic help? Does all this gadgetry take away from the essence of the game? a) I don't know if I would say that golfers are overly reliant on GPS or lasers - but I do see a lot of players on the course who use one or the other and don't do a lot of thinking when they are using one. They find the number and then hit the club they think will carry the ball to that distance. Not exactly the ideal way to play golf and make shot selections. Too reliant? - maybe not, but do they make us lazy - yes. There's probably an argument for GPS and lasers helping to speed up golf - but I can't say I've seen that be the case on the course. Though rounds without electronics are rare for me, every once in a while it happens. My first step is grabbing a yardage book. I'm kind of fond of yardage books - if there's one thing I'd like to collect from every course I ever play, that would do the trick. Playing with a yardage book slows down my ADD brain (not an easy feat) which kinda helps my game - but my ADD loves the speed of GPS, pointing to a spot, getting a distance and moving forward. I learned the game without GPS/Electronics and I wouldn't venture as far as to say that I've scored any lower adding electronics to my game… (am I allowed to say that….???) c) The essence of the game is a bit different for each person - why we golf - what we get from it - we might share similar stories and ideas, but in the end some people use it as an escape from all connections and don't want any electronics. I've heard people talk about the purity of the game and electronics getting in the way. I think we're so far removed from that reality - I'm a black and white sorta guy - so if I was to make the argument that GPS/Lasers take away from the essence of golf, I'd go all the way to the point of arguing that there should be no yardage markers at all on the course, no yardage books - as these would all take away from being in nature chasing a white (or pink) ball around. Then we'd have to say using a riding cart or even a push cart is wrong, and modern golf clubs get in the way too - and driving a car to the course, sleeping in a home with electricity, or buying food from a super market. If we go down that road I'll need to buy a hickory set and only play balata balls (funny enough, it's crossed my mind, it sounds like a ton of fun - but I don't think that's the answer to golf for me right now and I don't think it's going to help fix what's broken in golf today)
  7. This week's “Know Your GolfSpy” profile is GolfSpyMBP - MyGolfSpy Equipment Reviewer & Digital Media Strategist. Check out what he had to share with us below! Was Golf part of growing up for you? The year was 1980, I was 7, the Padres still wore brown, yellow & orange and my shorts barely covered my ass. Our family had a summer home just south of the border in Birch Bay, Washington. My brother and I would hunt for snakes in the hillside behind our place and one day he stepped on something not reptile; it was a small, white dimpled ball. Upon returning home dad informed us it was a golf ball. Apparently beyond the tall grass and barb wire fence lay an 18 hole tightly mown mecca of joy. So we had the ball, now we need to try the golf. Our neighbor gave us some random clubs to cut down (think I had a 5 and 9 iron), we joined the junior club late that summer and got into the group lessons before heading north. That winter was terribly long because all I could think about was getting back and playing this golf. The following summer we started playing the tournaments, yes, I had a lot of apparent natural ability. I won once and the season produced my first birdie as well. That birdie is burned in my mind too. During the second tournament of the year we're on the third hole which is playing about 300 yards for me. The hole is perched on top of a hillside with a rolling drop off running the entire length of the right side. I slice a drive that goes about 160 and I'm a good 30 yards off line half way do the hill. From there I hit a miraculous 3 wood that barely trickles on the front of the green. Next thing you know I'm rolling in a 50 footer for birdie, that in my mind must have broke 15 feet, but I'm sure if was only 5 inches of break. The following year I won all tournaments in my age class, 4 maybe 5, including the Junior Boys 8-10 (or 12 not sure) championship. That course doesn't exist anymore, but my real claim to fame does. I'm on the Fraserview Golf Course Junior Club Championship trophy from when I was 17 and had to beat out some real talent that year. The last time I did anything substantial in a tournament was 1999. I'd maybe broke 80 once all year and was sitting at a 12 handicap. Bunch of us roll out on a late September weekend for our favorite annual fall tournament; The Autumn Leaves Hope Open. There's just something about that course that makes me feel comfortable and I shoot 74-75, yes... with a 12 cap. Geez, I was even going into 15 on the final day. Ooops. My net score was so low I guess they didn't even consider it come prize time because they awarded it to the second place guy. We quickly called to their attention the minor clerical error and I got my due lol. Crazy weekend, my buddy I drove up with won low gross as well. We both picked the biggest prizes and somehow managed to get two 25 inch CRT TV's into the back seat of my lowered, 2 door Honda Accord. Remember CRT TV's?! I've basically lived my last 20 plus years of golf in my once great childhood memories. Pretty much haven't played to better than a 8 cap at best since. It's made for some frustrating times because you believe you can pull off these great shots, but you've formed so many bad habits it's just not going to happen. I finally sucked it up this year and took lessons, if I stick to everything I worked on in 2014 I can see some great golf in 2015. [D. Mann showing off his trophies and on-course style] Why golf? What is it that you enjoy the most? What are your golfing ‘pet peeves'? I never know how to answer this one… Why golf? I'm not going to give you some philosophical answer about the ultimate quest to get the ball in the hole either. It's just addictive and I love everything about it. Early mornings, fresh cut grass, playing exotic locations, all the gear & equipment (I'm becoming a serious gear junkie) and the social aspect; I can play with anyone, anywhere, regardless of skill level. Think about it, you can be a 32, our buddy a +1, me a 10 and we all have to get around the course the same way. The +1 one may bang his head against a tree waiting on the 32, but ya'll still got to spend a day out together. Ahhh can you feel the love? And dude! I got to meet you in Hawaii because of golf. Seriously, no matter race, religion, ability, dietary beliefs or if you like the movie “Man of Steel” or not; we're all human, all equal and we can all golf together. BTW, Man of Steel is a grossly underappreciated movie, I watched it again yesterday. I can't forget the moments I've shared with my wife on the golf course either. Oh and there's a story in itself. We were married on Master's weekend 2007. That Sunday after all the festivities we were sitting at a restaurant with our friends who had come into town and Zach Johnson was cruising down the back nine to victory on the TV's. As you can imagine I was distracted by the annual Augusta drama, when Nidine turns to me and says “I guess I'll have to take up golf or I'm gonna be a golf widow”. She took her first lesson that week and we've played almost every weekend since. Spent my honeymoon at kapalua playing every day too Oh a Pet peeve? Ball marks - fix your damn ball marks people. Golf is clearly a big part of your life, but what else have you got going on? (Job, Hobbies, anything else interesting that we don't know about you) A first glance I read that as “don't NEED to know about me” and boy you would have loved what I just erased. The day job is Quality Assurance for a digital media agency specializing global interactive marketing. We do websites, strategy, branding etc for some pretty big name clients. Nothing goes out the door without passing by my desk for approval. This isn't always a good thing either as it becomes a rather stressful position because if there's one mistake all eyes are back on you. As for hobbies I'm into lots of A/V related things like TV's, home theater, headphones etc. A big former hobby of mine was custom show cars and trucks. My wife's a wedding planner on the side. So I guess you can call me a wedding planners assistant, as I seem to end up helping set up every gig she gets. I'm very proud of my work in the area of cupcake-cake building and presentation. You've become well known for your ability to create things – design, images, etc – are there any tips/tools/secrets you can pass on to help all of us make our own threads look more professional? Keep all your photos the same size and scale. Nothing kills an article or review with photos that are all over the place. Tall one here, wide one next, then a little tiny one. I think we get the picture. Oh and proof read your copy people! I took a peek at a review on another site last week and could barely get through the first 2 sentences. I think there were 2 spelling mistakes and not to mention a blatant disrespect for grammar and the English language in general. Really if I was the company being represented I wouldn't be happy. With your photos you want to shoot in as much light as possible. If you can get outside or next to a window with lots of natural light even better. Nobody wants to see your grainy, blurry, irregular size, shaky cam pics. Oh and for every 10 pictures I post in a review I've taken 100 to choose from. It's digital you can always delete. What are the strongest and weakest parts of your game right now? Top 3 goals for the 2015 golf season… go! ...We'll circle back with you at the end of 2015 to give you a performance rating Seriously? We're going here? The only thing I can do with an consistency and well is putt, I'll toot my horn (brrrrrph) I'm rather good at it. Chipping's always decent, my irons are hit & miss and the driver has a tendency to do horrible, horrible things. With that said I may have found a new friend in the G30 Goals Break 80 every time out consistently shoot 75 by end of season Break par You have a 5-year 13-club sponsorship contract (excluding putter and ball) with one OEM - who do you choose, and why? Who supplies your putter and ball? Way to put a guy on the spot…. Isn't this MyGolfSpy? Aren't we brand agnostic or something? Fine… Well currently putter wise Odyssey is supplying the putter, but that could change by the weekend. I just keep going back to those soft, white inserts. Balls… I'm gonna hear some groans from the peanut gallery, but I've had my most success last 3 seasons with the Wilson FG Tour. 13 Club sponsorship? I'm going to say Nike just so I can be in commercials with Tiger and Rory. Is there any particular review or article you're most proud of this year at MyGolfSpy? I get excited working on everything I write and each has a special place for me. Sometimes it's the way the photos turned out, or a product that dramatically changed my wife's putting. I really loved the Tiba Putt this year and I can see that really picking up good traction in the training aid segment. Heck even Hank Haney retweeted and commented on our review. But if I had to pick one it would be my part of the work on this year's Holiday Gift Guide. X asked me to help produce it again and I tell ya, what you see on the blog is pretty damn close to what I'd envisioned from the get go. You'd never believe I shot that in the lunch room at work, would ya? Thanks for sharing with us MBP! (check out the straight arm on that shot from 1982... great form! ...the shorts... not so much...) If you have any questions for Dan, please ask them below and I'll bug him until he answers!
  8. Next on our list of "5 questions with..." We have Golfspy T How did you get started in golf journalism and for MGS? Is it difficult to stay in good standing with the OEMs while remaining honest about their products? I think you're cheating a bit here, Theoo. That's definitely two questions. I was told I'd only have to answer 5. Anyway… I still can't believe I am in golf journalism and that the industry as a whole largely treats me like a belong here. My journey to wherever the hell I am now started with an idea for a better way to review clubs. It seems crazy now, but 4-5...however many years ago it was, the idea of using launch monitor data instead of just a pair of eyeballs as the basis for a club review was revolutionary. I took the idea to GolfSpyX. We had never met, and I was just a casual reader at best, but given what everyone else in what used to be called the blogosphere was already doing (mostly eyeballin' it on a lot of gear reviews), MyGolfSpy, with it's fairly limited number of club reviews, seemed like my best opportunity. I emailed Colt (GolfSpy X) and laid out the idea. He called me a couple hours later, and after some back and forth about how it could actually work, we had a plan for a golf club review system. The plan was never for me to be a writer or journalist or, dare I say it...a member of the golf media, but after I flew off the handle about TaylorMade's RocketBallz Fairway press release (which was originally forum content), we started to realize that I had a particular knack for stirring the pot and telling stories in a way that's unique and entertaining...at least by golf industry standards. The rest, as you know, is history. As for that 2nd question you snuck in there… Yeah, absolutely it's difficult to remain on the nice list. I think most of my direct contacts, especially the ones who have taken the time to get to know me over the last 4 or so years, understand my approach to how I write my stories. At that level, most are willing to take the good with the bad, and most understand there's no negative bias, and no agenda; it's simply what I think about the product or industry news item du jour. The reality is, however, that most of the people I work with have bosses, and once we're making waves inside the executive wing, the perception of MyGolfSpy can vary from day to day. We do sometimes encounter a what have you done for me lately kind of mindset...and if lately what we've done has been less than complimentary, or involves a spy pic that wasn't supposed to be released then some become instantly reticent to work with us. In many respects, I'm only as good as my last story. I will say that some companies are better than others when it comes to accepting criticism. I always single out Nike for being exceptional in this regard. While I've written some very positive things about Nike Golf over the last few years, I've also written some things that some readers, and no doubt some inside Nike would categorize as negative. At no point has Nike shutdown communication, withheld equipment or refused to work with us in any other capacity. As a company, it takes the good with the bad, and always wears big boy pants. I think much of how a company responds to media criticism is a reflection of leadership. I won't say much more about that piece of it, but I also understand that I work in an industry where the media's role has traditionally been to report the facts as dictated by the people who created them. That's not how I do things, and that doesn't always go over well. I should also add that the same is true for some readers as well. I think for the most part guys who have been here since I started spouting off have seen the ebb and flow, and mostly understand that while I do have an opinion, there's no bias one way or another. I've written positive things about nearly every golf company. I've written negative things about nearly every golf company, and along the way I've been accused by my readers of being in bed with everyone and hating everyone...sometimes in response to the same article. For whatever reason some golfers form deep personal connections with the brands they play, and so a Callaway article with a negative tone must mean I hate Callaway, while a TaylorMade article with a positive tone must mean I've sold out. At the end of the day we're talking about brands, not people, and quite frankly I don't think any of us should be that personally invested in somebody else's logo. The point is that, for some readers as well, I'm only as good as that last article. And while I'm on the subject… You really want to see all hell break lose? Write an opinion-based article that contains the following two words: Tiger Woods I'm not sure they even need to be in that order. Readers choose sides, assume a bias, make accusations. Somebody will call you a racist. Every time. So as long as we're still talking about it, once upon a time that was my biggest complaint as a writer trying to give me readers real information presented in an entertaining way. It's a frequent occurrence that someone who has never met me, knows nothing about me, and less about what really goes on in the golf industry or how this site works would make assumptions and accusations about my motivations for stating an opinion. Miniscule differences of opinion that would result in rational conversations in the real world are reduced to vitriolic nonsense online. Some people are crazy. I honestly don't know how they survive in the offline part of society. I guess maybe being an online ignorant tough-guy jackass is a form of therapy. In which case, get well soon, guys. While I still find it off-putting as far as what it says about the state of humanity, it doesn't get to me on a personal level anymore. You learn to ignore ignorant people with oversized pieholes, and truly appreciate the guys who can rationally and articulately disagree as gentlemen. The upside is that it's made me more aware of my own words, and I'm better at my job because of it. So yeah...let's call that a word of thanks to the haters. Sorry, what were we talking about? You're a pretty big gearhead, is low & forward CG the solution? Which OEM do you think is on the right track to offering the best equipment for golfers? You're cheating again. Once again, that's two questions. At this rate, you probably should have called this 10 questions with GolfSpy T, but I digress...again. I'm not sure low/forward is THE solution, but it is a solution. Low back (G30) is a solution too. And there are good solutions in the middle. Almost everybody benefits from low...you probably want low. Forward vs. back...that's much less cut and dry. As golfing consumers it's our responsibility to know what we want to achieve through our equipment, what compromises we're willing to make, and then find the club (in this case the driver) that does the best job of meeting our individual requirements. I find it absolutely infuriating when otherwise reputable fitters says things like I would never let a guy walk out of my shop launching at 17° and 1700 RPM? Why not? If the customer wants to maximize distance, and understands that there will be a forgiveness loss because of it, then fine. Leaving what most golfers can practically achieve out of the discussion for a moment; You've got a guy who can get to 17°/1700 and you won't let him walk out of the shop? As a consumer, if I knew that, I wouldn't ever walk into your shop. Woah...epic T tangent there...anyway, the point is that golfers need to understand that a R15 is very different from a G30. There are tradeoffs inherent to both designs (and every other design in-between). Do you want maximum distance, maximum forgiveness, or do you want to be somewhere in the middle? Do we have time to talk about why CG matters? Probably not…. We'll talk about the rest of the bag some other time, but when it comes to irons my personal philosophy is much less complex; play the most forgiving iron you can stand to look at. Put the right shaft in it, build it to a playable (and comfortable) length, and get your lie angles right. Boom. Done. All this stuff about blades and workability is proven nonsense. There's no gear effect with irons, and curvature (the working part), is mandated solely by the relationship between face and path at impact, not because of some Harry Potter magic sprinkled into irons with more compact heads. Sure, some us need what are classified as less forgiving designs because we can't get the launch conditions right with SGI or even GI clubs, but the best players in the world are slowly moving to more forgiving designs and yet 15 handicaps are still buying blades and compact CBs. It doesn't make any damn sense. As for who is on the right track...I think all of the brands have strengths and weaknesses on both the product and marketing sides of their business. I love what Cobra is doing with metalwoods this year. I love that TaylorMade has committed to something (low/forward) that runs contrary to what the rest of the industry is doing. It's a renegade position, and that's where they're at their best. It sure beats the hell out of puppets. I love that Mizuno always makes a great iron for every ability level. I love that Titleist suddenly looks innovative again, and I love while other companies are only now starting to put the golfer at the heart of every decision and every product, PING hasn't really known any other way. But right vs wrong...that's simply a matter of perception. Anybody who matters in the equipment industry is making better stuff than they were 10, 5, even 2 years ago. Yes, it's true that revolutionary products are few and far between, but everyone is evolving for the better. What is something you feel is wrong with the industry today and how would you change it? How much time do we have? In general, I think the industry needs to move out of the dark ages. I talked about this when I answered question 1B. The consumer deserves real industry coverage, and the outlets that act responsibly in providing that; good or bad, they shouldn't have to live under the constant threat of being put in metaphorical timeout. The world has changed around the golf industry, and while golf companies are quick to point out how they're on the leading edge of technology, the coverage expectations are positively archaic. If the golf industry is going to hammer its nebulous brand of innovation and technology down our throats, then it probably should embrace innovative media to the extent that other tech industries have. Since you're asking more questions than you were allotted, I'm going to give you an extra answer (how do you like them apples?). Where golf companies really fall short is in explaining their technologies to the consumer. They rely on guys like me, and the reality is, most media outlets don't have the page space to dig deeper (gotta save room for the ads). The end result is that actual technological advances, and at a minimum technologies that differentiate one brand from the next get watered down into what are largely meaningless marketing taglines. Loft Up ...ok, but why? There's a legitimate, no bullshit reason why, and I'm guessing most of you reading this...even if you own a SLDR have no idea what it is. I use TaylorMade as the example, but it's equally true for most everyone designing and marketing golf clubs. I will say that while I don't always love the format (still a bit too marketing driven, IMO), Callaway is making a real effort to get their tech stories out to the golfers that want those details. They deserve plenty of credit for that. So I guess my point in all of this is that golf companies need to do a better job explaining the actual technology (what it is, and why it's different), but at the same time, the consumer needs to do a better job of asking...hell, demanding the explanation. Until we as golfers do that, the industry won't have any reason to move past longer(-IER), faster, farther, etc. etc.. Datacratic is a big movement with MGS; what numbers should a consumer be most concerned with and which aren't going to have a noticeable impact on their games? It's true that we tend to obsess over numbers. When we test especially, I think the process is much more controlled and analytical than some people give us credit for, but the reality is the average guy probably has never hit a golf ball with a launch monitor anywhere in his vicinity. So while we can talk about the importance of ball speed, launch angle, and spin rate, or how there's more distance to be gained through a lesson (fixing path and angle of attack issues), for most golfers - even most competitive golfers - the only number that will ever really matter is the score. I'm not sure helping a guy drop driver spin by 200 RPM is all that impactful in the big picture, so I think most of us would do well to focus on ONE...1 more fairway, 1 more green, 1 more par. Properly tuned equipment can help, but golfers still need to work to improve...one stroke at a time. I'd also add that sometimes we lose track of the fact that golf is a game and games are supposed to be fun. That aspect of golf is harder to quantify with our datacratic approach, but there's probably something to be said for measuring success by the hours spent and friendships made on the course, and if you'd like, the number of beers consumed afterwards. With so much tech being put into clubs nowadays which do you think is the better choice; game improvement or play what makes you feel good? Is that some kind of trick question? I think that if you keep score, how good you feel is often a reflection of the number you write down. If that's the case, I can't make a rational argument against game-improvement irons. Wedges...there's so much feel involved...different strokes for different folks for sure. The driver becomes almost philosophical. As I discussed before, it's distance vs. accuracy vs. consistency. Where, and how much are you willing to compromise? The prevailing wisdom is that accuracy is the most important, but the numbers in Mark Broadie's Every Shot Counts makes a strong argument for sacrificing a bit of accuracy for more distance. I'm sure there's data to support both sides of the distance vs. accuracy debate, but I'm not sure there's a definitive, universal right or wrong answer. What's the right approach for you? That's the only thing that actually matters. And there you have it folks, 5 (7 lol) questions with Golfspy T. As with before don't be scared to ask anything i didn't.
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