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5 Questions with SpyZinger!


Aotearoa_Brad
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In this week's “5 Questions” installment  we go undercover with SpyZinger, MyGolfSpy's resident Apparel guy and unofficially The Best Looking Man in Golf. Check out what he had to share with us below!

 

I understand you have a pretty interesting day job? What is it and how did you get into that line of work? How do you balance work/golf/family?

 

[Laughs] I suppose some folks would find how I pay the bills, interesting.  However, the job I enjoy the most, the one that is most important to me is the one I do on the evenings and weekends.  Being a father.  I can tell you exactly what I did to get into that line of work, which starts with a velour bathrobe, and Brian McKnight music.  [Zinger scratches the facial hair on his chin, tilts his head and pauses for approximately 30 seconds.]  I've got a six year old girl and two year old boy that have become my life.  You don't really understand what people tell you about parenthood until you're actually living it for yourself.

 

People would tell me that my golf would be impacted with kids.  They said I'd play less and would have to refocus my priorities.  While that was true to some extent, especially in the beginning, I figured out a way to combine both passions.  I introduced my daughter to the game around the age of three, and my son is already interested in it since he's interested in everything his sister does.  

 

I set out to lay a foundation for golf which is focused on “fun.”  I bought them a bag and set of clubs, “like dad's.”  I started out by bringing my daughter to the range, and showed her some of the basics on my own.  I gradually incorporated private instruction from a PGA Professional.  After she could make reasonable contact and could make the ball fly somewhere, I brought her right on to the course with me.  I play my game, then her course starts at the 100 yard plate on each hole.  Although I want them to be successful, and will continue to provide the means to do so, the focus isn't about being good.  It's about having fun.  It's about doing something together, active, and being outside.

 

At first, I would worry a bit about having a five year old sitting next to me on a golf cart, clubs in the rear basket, during a 9 a.m tee time on a Saturday morning.  Rewind 7 years ago, the sight of teeing off behind something like that scene would drive me nuts.  So, I am conscious of that, so when you play with dad on the big course, it's fun, but it's got to be focused and fast.  Today, I wouldn't have it any other way, I am at peace when my kids are with me out on the course.  People talk about the importance of growing our game now more than ever.  I guess this is how I am doing it, and it's been working out pretty well.

 

PicMonkey Collage.jpg

 

How did you get involved in golf? And when did you realize that you were the best looking man in golf?

 

My father introduced me to the game, much in the same way I am introducing my kids to the game.  My dad was a fire fighter, and played in a weekly department league.  He would bring me along, letting me play the par three holes and drive the golf cart.  You know, there is a theme at the Whisper Rock golf club in Scottsdale, AZ,  the one Phil Mickelson designed.  The club motto is, “It's all about the hang.”  That saying really embodies the approach my dad had with me, and the one I am trying to incorporate with my own kids.  It's about being together, having fun while doing something you enjoy.

 

I [officially] joined the MyGolfSpy staff in October, 2012.  I've been a part of the internet golf forum community since 2004, beginning with “Golf Opinions” and the infamous, “Bombsquad Golf.”  I remember reading equipment reviews that made absolutely no sense to me.  It seemed as though everyone on the internet was a plus handicap and drove the ball over three hundred yards.  It was almost as if writers had something to prove and created this fantasy of magical equipment with fabricated results.  I began writing about my own personal fittings and equipment experimentation as a 12 handicap, chop-hack.

 

The response was amazing, and the discussions were real.  Guys would come out of the woodwork to comment on my posts and equipment projects.  The content was real, and something a lot of guys could relate to.  The formula of, here I am, this is my game, and these were the results seemed to be the secret everyone was looking to read but didn't want to admit it in public.  I wasn't a staff writer, just a member of the site putting words together.  It didn't matter what I said, or what the results were.  If I thought the club or shaft was terrible, I just said it.  It was the equipment I purchased, and this was my game.  Take it or leave it.

 

In many ways, this was the spirit in the design of MyGolfSpy.  TMZ meets Consumer Reports but for the golf industry.  The site appealed to me because it was exactly what I wanted to be reading when it came to golf information and news.  So one day I sent Golfspy X an email, two years later I am still around.  Best looking guy on staff to this day.

 

To answer the most important question you've ever asked anyone.  When did I realize I was The Best Looking Man in Golf?  How do beautiful people know they are beautiful?  People tell them.  Let me ask you this, Brad.  Have you ever run into someone in golf that comes close to challenging my title?  Maybe Harry Arnett over at Callaway?  Possibly Dave Cordero down on Fermi Court?  The little rat bastard himself, Jose Miraflor (on a good hair day) from Cobra.  That's the short list.

 

In all seriousness, the title was derived from an interview I did with Meghan Hardin after her appearance on Golf Channel's, Big Break.  At the end, I jokingly asked her if I was the most attractive golf journalist she's ever met.   Who asks that anyway?  I do.  Given the discussion, the question fit the context. Since that time, I have assumed the self proclaimed title, and have yet to meet anyone that has questioned it.  Mostly because it's the truth.

 

You come across as a pretty fashion-conscious guy – what's your take on the golf apparel industry and the rise of smaller brands we've seen lately?

 

Much like equipment, the golf apparel industry is dominated by what you see guys wearing on T.V.  It's also the most readily available at big box retailers, and can be found with the deepest discounts.  The golf apparel segment is easy to enter, but tough to sustain success.  I hear this all the time when I present brands selling shirts for $150.  â€œWhy would I buy a golf shirt for $150, when I can find last season's Nike or Adidas for $20 on a discount website.”  They're usually the same guys buying equipment that are one or two product cycles old as well.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that and figuring out what works well for them and their budget.  It's also just more of the same thing, in a different color.  You'll blend in with everyone else on a Saturday afternoon.


The smaller companies are making attempts to differentiate themselves by offering something that is off the beaten path of the constant normal in golf apparel.  There are a lot of brands that are doing the different thing really well.  Alial Fital for example, they took the common golf shirt, and threw a dress-shirt collar on it.  They look amazing, and the fit is fantastic.  Q.E.D. managed to come up with a golf shirt that could be worn to a Vegas nightclub or on a golf course.  That's actually pretty tough to do, and in my opinion, they nailed it.  Iliac Golf is another one of my favorite niche brands that people seem to either love or hate depending on the day.  


These brands are differentiated by being different, unique, and are usually being driven by an identifiable individual with a passion.  The guys that are doing it right, are offering something a little different from a design approach.  You're not going to look like everyone else, and chances are you'll be the only one at your club with that shirt or those pants.  There seems to be a definite push by the smaller companies to offer “lifestyle” selections that can be worn on or off the course.  So while they may cost a bit more, you can wear them on the course, to work, or out to dinner without looking like you are wearing a golf costume.

 
What's important to consider for you when considering purchasing golfing apparel? What tips do you have for all of us?
 

I believe that the fit and presentation of the apparel is just as important as the design.  This can be a challenge when purchasing from the smaller brands since you can't try them on in the store.  I recommend finding three brands that appeal to you from a design standpoint, and then figure out which of those fit the best.  Don't be afraid to try something new or spend a little more than you're used to.  If you really like the fit and design, its added cost is worth it.


Just because you are a Large in one brand, it doesn't always apply to the next brand.  Once you find a brand  that fits just right, with designs that appeal to you, stick with that brand.  It will take a lot of the guess work out shopping.  These companies usually have something new at least quarterly.  You'd be surprised by how much you can differentiate your look within the same brand as the seasons change.  Don't be afraid to reward yourself with new selections in your wardrobe.  After all, you deserve it!  That old golf shirt in the closet looks old because it is.  Get rid of it and keep fresh.


Don't be afraid to fine tune something that fits pretty well into something that fits perfectly.  Find a trusted tailor in your area.  Trust me, they're not just for suits or dress clothes.  A tailor can turn something that fits “pretty good” into something that was made just for your shape.  Taking in the waist and length of a pair of golf slacks can make a huge difference in their appearance.  

 

Finally, just because they're not labeled a “golf apparel” brand, doesn't mean they can't be worn on a golf course.  There are two companies that are rarely seen on a golf course that make incredibly functional clothes for golf. Lululemon Athletica and The North Face are two of those brands.  Give either of them a look, and you won't be disappointed.  If they had a place in the golf apparel market, they would be in my top five golf brands for sure.

 

You've played at some pretty great tracks. What are your top-3 courses you've played and what makes them special?

 

When I think about some of the courses I've played, it's not just about the course itself, but who I was playing it with.  Also, how I played the particular course plays into that a bit as well.  It's tough to pick out just three, but I believe I can narrow them down.

 

Olympia Fields:  I was fortunate to attend the U.S. Open with my dad at Olympia Fields in 2003, the year Jim Furyk won.  I was living in Seattle at the time and flew into Chicago to meet my dad there for Father's Day weekend.  We got there early and sat in the bleachers on a particular hole waiting to see Tiger.  It was the first time we had seen Tiger in person at a golf event.  Being a spectator at a major championship sucks.  Following Tiger Woods in his prime at a major?  Forget it.  So we decided to camp out and get a great position on a green so we could see the greatest player to walk the earth for about ten minutes.

 

Anyway, Tiger was about three groups away, so my dad decided to grab us lunch while I saved the spots.  Tigers group came and left and my dad never came back.  I went looking for him and found him kneeling by the tree and he said he was having an acid reflux attack.  Fast forward a week, and my dad was having open-heart surgery.  He was having a heart attack while I was watching Tiger play in the U.S. Open.  Despite those circumstances, we had a special weekend together for Fathers Day.

 

Ten years later, I got to play Olympia Fields with MyGolfSpy courtesy of TaylorMade Golf, and go through a fitting at the Performance Lab.  To be able to play such an historic course that was a special part of my life with my dad was one of the best golfing experiences of my life.  If it were not for this great site, MyGolfSpy, I would probably have never had the opportunity to play Olympia Fields.

 

Southern Highlands: I had the opportunity to play Southern Highlands, just outside of Las Vegas this past October.  It was arranged [again] by TaylorMade Golf, and was part of the launch of their new RSi irons.  Southern Highlands is in a beautiful spot with fantastic views. It's also probably one of the best conditioned courses I have ever played on, the course is immaculate, and the clubhouse is spectacular.  

 

Heading into the trip, I was a bit nervous because I was going to be playing with guys from TaylorMade as well as a few from WRX.  Sure, I am a plus handicap in the looks department, but I am never sure what will show up as far as a golf swing goes.  Yes, I am a 12 handicap, and should expect some bad shots, but I didn't want to chop it around those guys.  I ended up shooting an 81 which would have been a 79 if I pared 18.  It was the adjusted net low round of the day. It was probably one of the best rounds of my life with irons I just put in the bag the day before.  It was so relaxing and enjoyable to be playing well.  We did play 36, and I'll leave the details of my second round out of this interview.  But I was glad to put on a display that proved I was more than just looks and muscles.

 

Troy Burne: This is the course I call home, and get to play it weekly.  It's about a half hour east of the Twin Cities in Hudson, WI.  It's a Tom Lehman design and probably the best public access course in the area.  What makes this course special is the priceless time I get to spend on it with my friends and family.  Every Saturday, I find myself playing it with either my dad, my kids, my friends, or a combination of them all.  The course is always in fantastic shape and the layout of fantastic.  But what makes this course special is the time I spend on it with the people that mean the most to me in my life.

 

How's your golf going? What do you see as your strengths/weaknesses in your game at the moment? And, what are your top-3 goals for the 2015 season?

 

I am at a point in my life where I have comes to terms with where I am in golf.  I get to play one day a week, and that day is usually Saturday morning.  That's my day to practice, play, and talk to my good friend, Ryan about equipment industry.  I have to fit all of my golf into that concentrated period of time.  So, what you see is what you get.  There is little time for practice or improvement.  After I arrive, it's time to find a swing that will work, and head to the first tee.  If my kids are along, practice time turns into getting breakfast and using the potty.  I tweet a selfie (for my fans) and the ball is in the air.

 

One of my greatest strengths is that I do not allow the poor shots to affect me mentally.  Sure I get frustrated, but I do not allow my play to affect my mood or enjoyment of being at a place that I want to be.  I am on a golf course, the sun is shining and I am with people I want to be there with.  I rarely let a sideways shot impact my mind.  I've never thrown a club or sworn on a golf course in response to poor play.  

 

I mentioned my weakness earlier, it's simply that I do not have the time to dedicate to getting better.  But one of the areas that is the weakest specifically is my putting.  That needs to get better for lower scores, but it's the most unenjoyable for me to practice.  It's even something I could do at home.  I need to devote time to correcting that to lower scores.  The putter fits, it's the guy using it that needs some work.

 

Let's see, my top three goals for 2015?

 

  1. Continue to exposing my kids to the game of golf.  Providing them with the opportunity to play if they choose, and the means to do so.

  2. Putting.  If I want to improve, that's where I need to start.  I am considering taking the AimPoint class and working on the fundamentals they prescribe.  That's a start anyway.

  3. Work on playing the game rather than testing equipment.  For once, I would like to put a bag together at the beginning of the season, and just forget about equipment.  Just focus on the game, hitting shots, and trusting the bag rather than thinking about equipment.

If I can accomplish those three things, I think it can be an enjoyable and successful 2015.

 

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Excellent job Brand and Zinger!  Agree with you on Troy Burne - one of the nicest and most fun courses in the upper midwest.  I still have your 6 iron Zinger -- you won't get it back until you agree to play with me.  Talk about blackmail!!!   B)

 

What's in the bag:
 
Driver:  :titelist-small:TSi3  
FW Wood: PXG Gen4 2-wood
Hybrids:  PXG Gen4 18-degree
Utility Irons: :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model Utilities 18, 21, 24*
Irons:; PXG 0211; :Hogan: Pro Combo; :benhogan-small:FTX Combo;:benhogan-small:'99 Apex Plus; :benhogan-small:'99 Apex blades; :macgregor-small: 2010 VIP irons; :macgregor-small: VIP 1025 V-Foil MB/CB; 

Wedges:  :cleveland-small: RTZ ZipCore: :benhogan-small:Riviera 52-56-60
Putter: :scotty-small: Newport Special Select;  :edel-golf-1:  Willamette,  :bettinardi-small: BB8; :wilson-small: Buckingham; MATI Monto

Ball: :bridgestone-small: Tour B X; :srixon-small: Z-STAR XV; :wilson-small: Triad

Stat Tracker/GPS Watch: :ShotScope:


 
Follow @golfspybarbajo

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"It's about having fun.  It's about doing something together, active, and being outside."

 

That's what it's all about!  Hope to meet you this season for an MGS Upper Midwest get together ;)

What's In The Bag

Driver :titelist-small:

Titleist 913 D2 10.5* (set to 9.75* / Neutral) 46" Paderson KINETIXX Kevlar Green - R

Fairway Wood

Tom Wishon 949 MC 16.5* Fujikura Speeder 569-A

Hybrid  :cleveland-small: Hibore 22* Aldila VS Proto Blue

Irons  :ping-small: G series 5-P

Wedges :ping-small:Glide 54* SS / 60* TS - SCOR 53*

Putter     :nike-small: Nike Method 001 / P2 Reflex grip 35"

Ball

Master Grip Tour C4

Bag

Datrek DG Lite  

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What clubs are you looking at for the 2015 season? Do you think you will be able to keep a static bag for the whole season?

Driver:   :callaway-small: Epic 10.5 set to 9.5 w/ Tour AD-DI 44.5

FW:   :cobra-small: F6 baffler set at 16º

Hybrid:  NONE
Irons:   :taylormade-small:  3i 2014 TP CB  4-PW 2011 TP MC w/ TT S400

Wedges:   :nike-small: 52º :nike-small: 56º  :edel-golf-1: 60 º w/ KBS C-Taper XS Soft-stepped

Putter:   :ping-small: Sigma G Tyne 34 inches Gold dot

 

 

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How do you find new clothing vendors to try out and showcase?  Is it word of mouth or are you always actively searching?

Driver: :taylormade-small: SLDR w/ Fujikura Ventus Black

3w: :taylormade-small:'16 M2 hl w/ Diamana D+ 82

5w: :cleveland-small: Launcher HB w/ HZRDUS Yellow

Hybrid: :cleveland-small: 22 deg. Launcher HB w/ HZRDUS Black

Irons: :cleveland-small: 5i - gap Launcher CBX w/ Nippon Modus 3 125

Wedges: :cleveland-small: 54 CBX & 58 Zipcore w/ Nippon Modus 3 125

Putter: :odyssey-small: Red 7s

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I remember the polyester days of the 70's and 80's.  I didn't golf back then but I remember the pants and shirts.  They were oh so hot and they didn't last that long; everyone went back to cotton.  What is it with the same polyester now being the norm on the course?  Is it that much better back east in the humid summer?  I picked up some of the Ben Hogan shirts at Walmart, and they are very nice, but when I wore them in Phoenix they make me hotter than cotton shirts.  Sure they "wick away" sweat, but when its hot and humid, all that means is the shirt sticks/clings to you; a feeling that I don't like.  Is there any golf shirt manufacturer that makes cotton shirts anymore?  I can find one.  I go to department stores like Dillards or even Penneys to find cotton polos.

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We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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I remember the polyester days of the 70's and 80's.  I didn't golf back then but I remember the pants and shirts.  They were oh so hot and they didn't last that long; everyone went back to cotton.  What is it with the same polyester now being the norm on the course?  Is it that much better back east in the humid summer?  I picked up some of the Ben Hogan shirts at Walmart, and they are very nice, but when I wore them in Phoenix they make me hotter than cotton shirts.  Sure they "wick away" sweat, but when its hot and humid, all that means is the shirt sticks/clings to you; a feeling that I don't like.  Is there any golf shirt manufacturer that makes cotton shirts anymore?  I can find one.  I go to department stores like Dillards or even Penneys to find cotton polos.

 

I tried the polyesters for work, but my beard was so rough that it literelly shredded the shirt collars.  As for golf in the 70 & 80's I stuck to 100% cotton because it would last and could breathe.

Driver: PXG 0211 w/Evenflo Riptide CB Regular shaft

Fairways:  PXG 0211 5W & 7W w/ Evenflo Riptide CB  regular shaft and Tour Edge E521 9W w/Fubuki HD50 regular shaft

Hybrid: Ben Hogan VKTR 3 Hybrid(18*)w/Recoil ES regular shaft

Irons: Ben Hogan Ptx 5-PW w/Recoil 660 Regular graphite shafts; soon to be Titleist T300

Wedges: Ben Hogan Tkt-15 (49*/53*/57*) w/Recoil 660 Regular shafts 

Putter: 33”  Evnroll ER2 w/Evnroll Gravity Grip 

Bag: Vice cart bag(Black). 

Ball: Maxfli Tour CG & Titleist Pro V1x.

Using Shot Scope V3 and MG4000 Rangefinder

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