SHOT SCOPE TECHNOLOGIES has added a hazard feature and an updated Performance Dashboard to its V2 performance tracking watch. All V2 watches will now provide distances to hazards in addition to the existing distances to the front, middle and back of greens and fully automated performance tracking capabilities. This update, delivered remotely to existing users, doubles the on-course functionality of the golf watch and the new Performance Dashboard transforms the off-course experience.
The latest update from Shot Scope enhances the on-course experience provided to users. Dynamic distances, in either meters or yards, show F/M/B distances to both greens and hazards using the highest grade Smart GPS chip commercially available and satellite imagery. Distances are dynamic, changing with angle of approach and every adjustment so that they are optimized for each individual golfer.
The update also includes advanced Penalty Identification, allowing the golfer to classify a penalty on-course, thus significantly reducing post-round editing time. Flagging a “provisional” shot launches a 5-minute timer in order to find the original ball.
Off-course, the Performance Dashboard, which houses over 100 Tour-level statistics, has been relaunched with interactive and immersive data viewing platforms. Unlimited club tracking and comparisons, fairway accuracy for every tee shot, break down the hits and misses of every approach shot, see which short game shots making it into the “red zone” and get your “Never up, Never in” percentage to get to know your putting performance. Hundreds of stats, hundreds of opportunities to improve.
Shot Scope CEO, David Hunter, is delighted to be enhancing the functionality of the product for existing and new customers, “This update really takes the platform to the next level, both on and off the course. On-course functionality has been doubled, and, off-course, the stats pages have been transformed to bring a whole new element of enjoyment to every user’s experience. We can’t wait to hear the feedback from our community and see how it helps improve their game!”
As with all firmware updates, these features fall within the “forever free” promise to existing Shot Scope users of the no-subscription product who continually benefit from product enhancements.
By Scott Kramer
Golf travel is fun. But transporting your gear with you can be a major hassle — especially shlepping your clubs to and through airports. And the costs can add up: Airlines generally charge $25 to send your golf travel bag each way domestically, although some set you back twice that amount. And that’s if it’s your only checked-in luggage. Fees may double if you’re also checking in a suitcase. Plus you’ll be tipping the bellman at the resort to move the clubs into and out of the golf bag storage area.
You can always rent clubs at your destination. But that can frankly be both expensive ($50/day on up) and dicey: You can often be given clubs that you’re unfamiliar with and are not suited to your swing. As a golf writer, I take a lot of golf trips every year for work. And rental clubs — generally my favorite option, particularly for short excursions, can be hit or miss. I recall one recent multi-day trip when the clubs were so mis-gauged for my swing that it actually ruined the golf portion of my trip. The game is not fun when you cannot get the ball airborne.
So what’s a golfer to do? Ship the clubs ahead of time to your destination. Know up front that there can be drawbacks, such as being without your clubs for a few days immediately before and after your trip. But this method can also eliminate many of the hassles. Which is why several club shipping services have gained popularity the past five years. The most popular is Ship Sticks. It’s a West Palm Beach, Fla.-based company started and run by golfers, that’s been around since 2011.
I went to use it for a trip I’m taking next week. The process was simple. I called the company, told them where I live, where I was going to play golf, and how long I was going to be there. I could’ve used my own travel bag — had my father-in-law not taken it with him on his own golf trip. Instead, Ship Sticks sent me a box via FedEx, replete with pre-printed shipping labels for both directions. And they arranged a date to pick up the clubs at my home. Unfortunately, the day after the box arrived, I had to cancel the golf portion of my upcoming trip. So I was unable to use the service this time.
But several of my friends and colleagues have used it in the past. I’ve heard several praises of the service, and not one complaint. It can be a little pricey: Ship Sticks sends your clubs each way for $40 and up, depending on the weight of your bag and how quickly you need it to get there. But the convenience can outweigh the cost. The company arranges all of the back-end handling at the golf course. All you do is set your bag on your porch or at the front desk of your office, for initial pick-up. Then just show up at your destination course and the clubs will be ready for play. Whenever you want the clubs returned home — and from wherever — the company arranges for that. Next time you see the clubs is back home.
Playing golf more than once or twice on your trip can definitely justify using the service — based on the cost of rentals at most places. And while you can go directly with the likes of FedEx or UPS, those services are more expensive. There’s also a service called Luggage Forward that can do the task. Ship Sticks has its own in with the couriers, so its reps constantly keep track of exactly where your bag is at any time. The company also offers free base insurance of $1,000 on your clubs — included in your cost. But you can buy more.
When you take a golf trip, the courses you play are likely new. So it’s that much more important to have some level of familiarity to help you score well and enjoy the game. Playing your own clubs adds that level of comfort.
Scott Kramer is veteran, Southern California-based writer primarily versed in golf and personal technology. Studying Computer Sciences in college, and then working as a programmer/software engineer for about a decade, triggered my passion for today’s high-end, high-tech gadgets. I can’t help myself whenever I see any kind of cool new personal technology. I feel compelled to further check it out and see what it’s all about. And even if I have no use for it personally, I’m always thinking who it might best suit. There are exciting new innovations emerging daily that are shaping the future and simplifying life. And I hope to be your eyes to that world, through the words of this column.
By Mike Lednovich, Editor & Publisher
The USGA has announced new rules for 2019 and wow they are doozies.
Let’s start with the double hit. The most famous double hit was T.C. Chen in the 1985 U.S. Open when he had a four shot lead over Andy North and ended up with a quad bogey and lost.
This generally occurs with a wedge usually when playing a ball out of thick rough. You hit it, the ball lazily pops up and you hit it again as you follow thru. Used to be a one stroke penalty. No, not any more. Seems you can hit it as many times as you want in one swing. No penalty at all. This will be ripe for trick shot artists.
But the dumbest is the Out of Bounds rule. The OB rule as always been the most punitive rule in golf — one stroke and distance. Stroke and distance was part of golf’s original list of rules, in 1744, but during subsequent decades and centuries it was repeatedly modified, dropped, resurrected, and modified again. Sometimes you counted only the bad stroke and the do-over; sometimes you added a penalty but got a drop. The most severe version was adopted by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews in 1842: three strokes and distance, meaning that if you hit a ball out of bounds your next stroke, played from the spot where you struck your first, counted as your fifth. That lasted until 1846.
In 1959, The Southern California Golf Association railed against the USGA and implemented a one-stroke penalty from the spot where you lost the ball.
Under the new rule you no longer have to go back to the tee and hit again. You can now drop in the vicinity of where the ball crossed the out of bounds marker. But wait, it’s a two shot penalty. Are you freaking kidding me? Two shots? So I go OB, I drop and now I lie three and hitting my 4th shot — OMG! Just shoot me why don’t you?
But let me get this right. I can hit my ball twice in one swing without penalty, but if I hit it outside the white boundary markers it’s gonna cost me two shots. What is the USGA thinking? I’d be better off going back to the tee where I’m hitting my third shot with the possibility of gaining more yardage with a straight drive.
My solution is do away with out of bounds all together. Just make all boundaries a lost ball for Pete’s sake. By the way, how and who determines what areas on the course are OB and what are lost balls? Why can I hit a lost ball to the left, but it’s OB on the right?
I will give the USGA credit on the measuring in taking relief rule where some golfers got an unfair advantage by using their long putters instead of their drivers to measure their relief point. Long Putters are now out of the equation.
OK, that’s my rant on these rules. At least they got the dropping procedure right. Now it’s from knee height instead of should height. Maybe before I reach the cosmos you can merely place the ball for goodness sakes. Thankfully I’m a recreational golfer and as I tell my friends, “You know there’s no Claret Jug in the clubhouse?” That simply means follow the intention of the rules unless there’s money on the line or you’re playing for a title.
By Leonard Finkel
Think you know a lot about golf shafts? Think again. Did you know there are no recognized standards for shaft flex, no uniform measurements?
Flex can mean something different for every brand and manufacturer. Tolerance ranges in each category like stiff or regular are huge! To learn more about this misunderstood topic, I spoke with executives from leading shaft manufacturers: Fujikura’s Chad Embrey, Victor Afable of VA Composites, Gawain Robertson of ACCRA/True Temper Plus, Kim Braley of KBS Golf and Nick Sherburne, founder of Club Champion, a national club fitting chain.
Club Champion is the #1 premium club fitter, builder and retailer of the best brands in golf. Their master fitters and builders are unrivaled experts. Their approach is unbiased; no specific vendor is promoted. The only goal is to find the best combination of components to lower your scores. Club Champion offers over 35,000 hittable head and shaft combinations, making Sherburne an expert on the topic.
Says Sherburne, “The industry taught us the head is the engine of the golf club because that’s what hits the ball. But the shaft is far more important. With thousands of shafts and no industry standards in flex, it’s nearly impossible for golfers to find the shaft that performs best for them without professional help. This makes it important to not buy clubs off the rack. Instead, find a skilled fitter with a launch monitor to show you how the right shaft will maximize your swing to its fullest potential.”
According to Gawain Robertson at ACCRA, terms like stiff or regular flex are so generalized, they really mean nothing. Different sections of the shaft can be totally different flexes within that shaft. When ACCRA designs shafts, they look at three different zones; the butt, midsection and tip. They can produce shafts that are soft in the middle and stiff at the tip or the butt section plus countless other combinations. Robertson adds, “Club fitters understand the profiles of shafts. If a player needs something with a softer tip section and a stiffer butt section, they know which shaft fits that profile for that golfer. Club Champion’s understanding of how to fit golfers is an integral part of any club being successful in a player’s hands. “
Chad Embrey from Fujikura shares that, “Flex specifications range from manufacturer to manufacturer and it is significantly impacted by torque, one of the most misunderstood shaft specifications. The ways you can measure torque are countless.” Many golfers think that lower torque means better shafts. Not necessarily true. Higher torque shafts are better for smoother, slower swingers; getting the ball up and creating spin. Lower torque is better for herky-jerky movements, guys that swing aggressively.
VA Composites likes to fit to the way a player loads the shaft, not just swing speed. Afable says, “Imagine two types of swings. An Ernie Els swing, which is a very smooth tempo; and a swing like Lanny Watkins, a short, fast swing. Both may have the same swing speed, but they get there two different ways. The fitters at Club Champion really understand the difference and are trained to fit our shafts not only to factors such as swing speed but also to the amount of shaft load a player will create.”
There is an enormous difference between standard OEM golf shafts and higher-end aftermarket models. Materials and technology are different, as is attention to detail. Premium shafts are manufactured individually in Japan while stock shafts are most likely made in places like Vietnam or Mexico on an assembly line.
Typically, cheaper shafts are made from lower grade materials. They’re manufactured in larger quantities which necessitates wider tolerances. The most exotic materials from Japan maintain very tight tolerances, not only for frequency, but straightness and roundness of the shaft. When a shaft is not rolled or manufactured properly, there will be gaps within the layers of graphite, which can really affect performance.
With aftermarket product used on Tour and sold through premium club fitters, Fujikura has the freedom to use materials and technologies that may be cost prohibitive for an OEM club company. “A lot of times when I handle OEM business, cost targets prohibit some of the techniques we can use. An OEM shaft is a great shaft. We would never not put our name on it,” Embrey adds. Mostly, OEM shafts do what they’re intended to do, but they’re not designed to dial players in.
To facilitate finding the right components, Club Champion uses a unique coupling system that allows golfers to hit any head and shaft. They deliver combinations that address a golfer’s problems and fix them. Most fitters use fitting carts provided by club manufacturers. While they offer options, golfers are unable to mix-and-match across carts to determine their ideal combinations. Club Champion offers hundreds of shafts, many not available through most other fitters and retailers.
Sherburne believes golfers should start thinking about what value they put a on their golf game. “Sometimes people come in and say they’ll just get something off the shelf because spending $500 to get an extra 20 yards isn’t worth it. That 20 extra yards is two less clubs into the green? Hitting pitching wedge instead of 8-iron, you’re going to hit more greens. I can almost guarantee that 20 yards is going to knock two strokes off your handicap.”
Club Champion delivers a Tour-quality fitting producing longer, more accurate shots with a nearly 100% satisfaction rate. Whether you’re looking to buy new clubs or just fix your current set, premium club fitting is the answer. With 28 studios across the country, at Club Champion, you don’t just buy clubs, you buy guaranteed improvement. More information at, https://clubchampiongolf.com/gator-golf
The OGIO bag has the same Airflow technology used in their other golf accessories. This technology controls heat and air circulation for any valuable electronics you are carrying. Plus, it helps circulate air between your body and the bag to keep you cool and dry, if you are carrying.
While you may be lucky enough to have your Cirrus golf bag placed on a golf cart instead of your back, it’s a certainty that your phone or other valuables, tucked safely into one of the bag’s four pockets, will stay cool and dry, as well. It’s important to keep them safe from heat and the outside elements as you are.
The clubs do fit tighter than other bags, but were easy to retrieve and return after use. The bag’s light weight makes it effortless to carry. The snug fit of the clubs prevents constant banging against one another.
OGIO continues to use their innovative designs to reduce discomfort on the course. If you’re just carrying from your car to the cart, or walking a full 36 holes, the four-point strap equalizing system provides a comfortable balance, even with a full bag.
OGIO’s Fit Disc system allows the bag to constantly lay in the perfect spot and never tangle. This simple fact allows you to pick up the straps without undue effort.
The Cirrus MB bag is a stand bag with the highest quality foot and leg mechanisms, you never need to worry about falling over or faulty slides.
OGIO strives to retain a stylish, yet functional component in every piece that they create. The Cirrus MB Bag is no exception.
Bill “The Golf Father” Cuebas is based in Florida and is a regular contributor to BiggsGolfTalk.com and Golfballed.com
By Mike Lednovich, Editor & Publisher
The Amelia Island Club claims The Omni Resort ignored a Nassau County Court injunction barring any further demolition of the Ocean Links Golf Course by bulldozing one of the few bunkers left intact.
In court papers filed Feb. 2, The Amelia Island Club is seeking the court to hold The Omni in contempt of court and to have the resort pay a daily fine for each day until the bunker on the 16th hole is restored to its original condition.
Last Nov. 12, The Omni began an unannounced demolition of the Ocean Links Course destroying all of the greens and 90 percent of the course bunkers.
The Amelia Island Club, claiming The Omni was violating its contract with the club to provide two 18-hole championship golf courses, won a temporary injunction blocking The Omni from conducting any further demolition work.
Both parties agree in late December to the Omni putting down sod on areas that had been cleared to prevent flooding and potential hazardous areas to hotel guests.
However, the court said, “The injunction order otherwise remains in full force and effect. Omni remains enjoined from further removing holes or bunkers, or other demolishing or altering the condition of the course grounds.”
The Amelia Island Club said on Jan. 24, Omni workers had cleared debris from the bunker halfway up the right side of the 16th fairway, “thus leaving the bunker intact and in pristine condition.”
A day later, The Club said the “Omni brought heavy equipment onto the 16th hole and leveled the bunker.”
The club provided before and after photos of the bunker in their court filing.
“The Omni then intentionally destroyed the bunker, in direct contravention of the injunction order,” the contempt motion stated.
The motion asks the court for the Omni to restore the bunker to its original condition while also paying Amelia Island Club attorney’s fees and imposing a daily fine the court deems appropriate for each day the Omni fails to complete the restoration of the bunker.
A hearing has been set for June 5 before Nassau County Court Judge Steven Fahlgren on the motion to hold The Omni in contempt.
Part One – Hard Goods
By Barry Lotz
This year’s show was the busiest and most well-attended Show I have been to in the last five years. It was interesting to see how the economics of the Show have changed. Especially as to how previous long-time exhibitors, particularly the smaller vendors, do not have booths anymore, but attend the Show to meet and greet their customers. Many exhibitors are sharing booth space, as the cost of exhibiting has skyrocketed.
Many of the exhibitors should not be there simply because their products will never gain traction, are gimmicks and the owners do not understand that markets create businesses, businesses don’t create markets.
It’s really a great time to be a golfer! The technology, just over the past few years, has changed radically. The key point is that with all the new products, whether balls, irons, drivers, shoes, putters or wedges, you can and must be custom fitted. Take advantage of all the new technology and products heretofore non-existent and improve your enjoyment and lower your scores.
Drivers today still lead the demand in equipment sales. Now you can find the right shaft and decide what it is exactly that you want out of a driver in terms of dispersion, sound, feel, shot pattern, draw or fade tendency. Seek and ye shall find.
The stars, aka busiest booths of the Show this year, were most definitely Callaway, PING, Cobra, Tour Edge and TNP Shafts.
Callaway’s new Rogue line of drivers, irons, fairway woods, hybrids, putters and wedges are simply their best products to date. Upcoming articles will feature each product line separately.
PING’s new G400Max and Vault Putters drew both retailers and golfers on a continuous stream.
Tour Edge, golf’s best kept secret, was writing orders steadily for their new HL series of clubs.
TNP Shafts had people lining up both on the range at Demo Day and the hitting bays inside the exhibit hall. These shafts are the “hottest” product on the market today, and now that Jason Day won with these shafts, interest has soared for these at $500 apiece.
Cobra’s new F8 One length irons and their F8 driver are poised to garner a larger market share.
The following is a synopsis of twelve products reaping a lot of raves and attention:
GENiUS Golf Ball by Oncore Golf – once fully-developed, will utilize embedded chipset technologies to deliver a brand new golfing experience, help turn you into a better performer, and bring a data and graphical rich description of your shots to your mobile device in real-time.
INPUTT teaches the “inside-to-out” putting stroke, but more importantly, it teaches a golfer to keep the putter face square during the entire stroke. Results are immediate. www.inputtgolf.com.
Bolle Sun Glasses – Quality sun glasses for golfers. www.bolle.com
Acu-Strike Golf Mat– A golf impact training device. www.acustrikegolf.com
CaddyTrek – a new robotic, lightest-powered golf trolley that follows the golfer around the course faithfully. www.caddytrek.com.
AmpCaddy – A Bluetooth speaker that can be put on a golf cart so golfers can listen to music while they play.
ProCheck – a golf ball compression tester
Elixir Golf Balls – The ELIXR™ tour ball is built using a tri-phase architecture that combines proprietary chemical blends and advanced material elements to create the ultimate golf ball.
Shot Scope – a GPS watch with automated performance tracking. www.shotscope.com
TecTecTec – TecTecTec produces technologically-advanced, yet affordable laser rangefinders.
Swing Station – A full game training aid in one small package. www.swingstationgolf.com
SuperSpeed Golf training aid – Increases your distance and club speed. www.superspeedgolf.com
All of these products will be further detailed in upcoming articles within their specific categories. Part Two will feature clubs and balls, and Part Three will feature the Soft Goods that were drawing the retail buyers and golfers consistently. Stay tuned.
Barry Lotz, J.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Professional Golf Teachers Association of America. Visit www/facebook.com/PGTAA to see all the latest mental strategies, travel and equipment reviews. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and serves both as a Consultant and Mediator to the golf industry. He is also the author of numerous books, including “333 Best Web Sites for Golfers” and his previous book, “How to Build Business Relationships through Golf”, updated for 2011, is still in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s best seller list. His latest book, “The Right Mind for Golf”, is now in its 7th reprint is available on Amazon and at the Torrey Pines golf course.
By Mike Lednovich, Editor & Publisher
ORLANDO, Fl. — The wave of change is coming. It’s called the gamification of golf that began with the hugely successful Topgolf explosion. Now, Toptracer, the technology behind Topgolf, is changing the way you’ll experience hitting balls at the driving range.
It has already taken hold at the Del Mar Golf Center in Del Mar, Ca. Customers no longer buy a bucket of balls and pound them onto the range. Instead, golfers now rent a hitting bay outfitted with Toptracer tracking devices and see their results on an accompanying monitor. There’s a variety of games included in the software.
“The driving range experience has always been one dimensional. You hit balls with absolutely no feedback or data,” said Ani Mehta, VP of Corporate Development for Toptracer. “We’re changing that with Toptracer. We now have launch monitors calibrated to the actual pins and targets on the driving range. Now you can store data club-by-club over time to your cellphone.”
That’s cool, but the seismic shift in this gamification movement are the features in the software.
There’s also a ‘What’s in my bag’ component that tracks every club you hit, stores the results in a database and tracks your progress. You can share your results with an online community.
“We’re currently at 25 driving ranges, seven in the U.S. and 18 in Europe,” Mehta said. “This is brand new technology that we’ve been developing for the past couple of years.”
Del Mar charges $25 for one hour on the hitting bay for up to four people that includes a large bucket (100 balls).
They also offer group rates (3 bays) for $125 an hour.
The hitting bays are configured with a seating area and tables, similar to Topgolf.
“The whole driving range profit model is changed. Instead of making money from a bucket of balls, driving range operators now make money from their food and beverage services,” Mehta explained. “They’ll see groups of people at their range, not just single golfers. This model attracts a completely different demographic.”
Del Mar features six covered Toptracer hitting bays.
“We want people to come out and try it just to have some fun. We want to show that it can be a recreational thing. You don’t have to take five to six hours to play and be frustrated if you don’t play well,” said Matt Clay, the facility’s general manager in a story in the San Diego Union-Tribune. “The potential is that if you don’t play, this is an opportunity to bridge the gap and get people into the game. It’s not going to convert everybody, but the chance to put a club into someone’s hand is a start.”
Toptracer promises to be a game changer for driving range operators as well as golfers who use them.
“We’re eliminating the monotony of aimlessly hitting ball after ball with the same club, one after another — like many of most golfers do,” Mehta said. “Toptracer allows golfers to mix things up while providing instant feedback about how you’re ball striking, and has you focused on specific targets instead of into an open range.”
You can read about the Del Mar Golf Center here http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sports/sd-sp-toptracer-video-game-comes-to-del-mar-golf-center-20180115-story.html
You can read about Toptracer at http://www.toptracer.com/range/toptracer-range/
By Mike Lednovich, Editor & Publisher
ORLANDO, Fl. — When you hear Michael Rossi, VP of Sales for Seven Dreamers Golf Shafts, describe the aerospace materials and the autoclave curing oven used to produce their shafts, you come away impressed.
Oh my gosh, I’ve got to get these you think.
Then comes literally the money question. How much? The answer, $1,200 per shaft plus another $1,200 for fitting. Ouch, that $16,800 for a full set.
I know, you’ve stopped reading. But if you’ve got a super fat, golf slush fund, please read on.
“To retain 100% of the carbon fibers’ quality, we don’t polish or grind the carbon fiber of the shafts. Think about that. When you grind a material, you’re losing or weakening fibers,” Rossi explained. “Instead, we use autoclaves to bake the shafts, thereby eliminating the need for polishing and grinding. Using autoclaves enables us to manufacture the world’s highest quality carbon golf shafts created with less resin and more carbon fiber. It gives a golfer a better and smoother feeling in their shots resulting in better control and more distance.”
Autoclaves are often used in the manufacture of high-precision carbon products such as parts for satellites and high speed aircraft. Seven Dreamers products are manufactured in Tokyo by craftsmen who make each shaft carefully one by one.
“Once we remove the shaft from the mold, we literally trim ithe shaft to length and wipe it down. The surface condition is perfect,” Rossi said. “So there are no unbroken fibers. There are no fiber tears. We have no fiber bullets. Those are factors other manufacturers contend with that contributes to incongruities and inconsistencies in their shafts.”
Seven Dreamers traces its roots in the aerospace industry with the “Hayabusa” spacecraft, an unmanned vehicle that Japan landed on an asteroid in 1998, collected samples and then successfully returned to earth.
“So we use the very best materials and a process that is very precise and unique. That’s our story,” Rossi said. “The feel of the shafts is very responsive. Our customers are golfers who want the very best.”
Rossi said the company offers 28 different skews of shafts from 43 grams to 83 grams and up to XXX stiff.
You can find a U.S. fitting center by going to this link https://golf.sevendreamers.com/en/shop/agent/