Tag: Gator Golf Magazine

ProCheck ends the ‘trial and error’ method of buying a golf ball

By Mike Lednovich, Editor & Publisher

Let’s face it, most of us don’t know what the hell we’re doing when we buy a golf ball. For the most part, it’s a choice by ‘best guess.’

You’ll get a headache just looking at the golf ball display case.

That’s not surprising given that when you walk into a Dick’s Sporting Goods, Golf Galaxy or PGA Superstore you’re overwhelmed by the stacks and stacks of golf ball boxes on display.

I’ll admit that I’ve been on this golf ball merry-go-round of “trial and error” for years.

You read the back of the box for some indication if this ball fits your game. You buy, you hope, you try.

Or, ever done this, found a golf ball on the course, then played with it and told yourself ‘hey, this plays pretty good.”

Or fallen for the PGA star on TV telling you this is the best ball I’ve ever played. Good for the PGA and LPGA pros, but probably bad for you.

This much we do know. The pros are hitting it longer primarily because of the advances in golf ball technology.

The alarming news is that what you don’t know about golf balls can and will hurt you — meaning costing you distance, which if you’re an average hacker like me, is everything.

Well along comes ProCheck, a nifty device that will tell you exactly which golf balls will be optimal for your game. Insert a golf ball into the ProCheck and it will measure the compression of that ball and give you a reading on a sliding scale of “very soft” on the low end to “very firm” on the high end of the compression scale.

Compare the compression reading to the corresponding chart of how far you “carry” a shot with the driver and you’re good to go.

The Truth about the balls in my inventory

So the folks at ProCheck gave us a unit to put to the test and the results to say the least are illuminating.

First, unlike most advice on the right ball selection — swing speed — ProCheck uses how far your average carry is with a driver. They supply the chart displayed below.

 

 

I’m 70-years-old and my average carry is 210-220 yards, so according to the chart I need to be playing a medium compression ball. There isn’t a golf ball brand that I know of that says medium compression on their product boxes.

So I dug out my inventory of golf balls in the garage and the ones in my golf bag. Here are the results:

 

 

OnCore ElixR

ProCheck is a snap to use. Insert the ball with the label centered, squeeze the trigger and then hit the “R” button to get the reading. The OnCore ElixR came in at 4 bars, equaling medium on the compression scale. It’s a ball that should fit my game to a tee.

Callaway SuperSoft

When Nike was still in the golf ball business, I began playing a Nike Women’s PD Ball. My course included a sleeve of Nike golf balls with every round (I miss that perk) and had run out of the Men’s PD ball. I gave the Women’s ball a go and low and behold, I was smashing it and it was soft. So years later, I assumed the Callaway SuperSoft would have the same result.

Wrong!

Even before using the ProCheck, I could tell the SuperSoft was losing distance compared to my other golf balls. The ProCheck confirmed my findings. It rated the SuperSoft as exactly that — very soft — which is recommended for golfers who average carry with a driver is 140 yards. So these are going to a friend of mine who is a very short hitter.

 

Callaway Chrome Soft Truvis

I’ve always liked the Chrome Soft and its feel since it was introduced several years back. But shocker, ProCheck calibrations tell me this ball is costing me distance because it’s too soft for my swing. Who knew? I’ve still got six in my bag, so perhaps I keep them in reserve for winter (Which on Amelia Island can be in the 50s and 60s) when the ball is not compressing as well.

TaylorMade TP5x

A received a dozen TP5x ball as part of an online promotion and had no idea if they fit my game. ProCheck says they fit the bill for my swing at 4 bars which is a medium compression. It’s on the low end of the medium range, so the TP5x may be a good choice for Winter play as well.

My Foursome — “A little knowledge is dangerous”

We have a golf group that plays every Monday afternoon. Skills level range from a 10 handicap all the way to a 24. We average 8-to-12 players each round and most of these guys have no clue about what golf ball they should be playing. Some think they know, but not really.

Bob, retired in his mid-50s, has been playing golf for about 2 years and does really well. Like most of us, he’s inconsistent and has those blow up holes that spoil his rounds. He’s dug out a Bridgestone Tour B-330-S from his bag. ProCheck measures it as firm, meaning Bob needs to average 260 yards of carry on his drive. No way, Jose! He’s using the wrong ball.

Glenn, hits the ball a mile with a swing that if you stand to close to him would suck you in its vortex. And he’s doing this with 15-year-old equipment. But Glenn has no short game.

He’s playing a Titleist NXT, which measures at 4 bars, low on the firm reading. Again, Glenn is costing himself distance with the wrong ball.

“Wow, this thing is amazing,” Glenn exclaims, cradling the ProCheck with a mock a hug. “Can I borrow this overnight?”

There are also those in the group we call “shoppers.” The guys with their ball retrievers scouring the ponds and brush for lost balls.

We put ProCheck thru its paces on these balls. Of the 30 retrieved balls tested during three rounds on the course, 50%  have been out in the elements too long and have lost their zip according to the ProCheck results.

“The balls look fine and playable. I’d be teeing them up right now,” Barry, a 15-handicapper said. “Good thing you had that ProCheck with you. These are going into the shag bag.”

The Bottom Line

At a retail price of $147, ProCheck is not cheap. But to be fair, compression measuring machines used by the manufacturers can cost $20,000. If you’re serious about your game and want to maximize your distance, don’t spend $400 on a new driver, get a ProCheck. You’ll save $250, gain 10 yards at least off the tee and with those savings you can buy the right golf ball.

ProCheck is now available to all golfers through Revolution Golf (www.revolutiongolf.com).  For more information on ProCheck® please visit https://www.procheckgolf.com/.

 

 

 

 

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ProCheck gives you the lowdown on your golf ball What's the real compression? Not all golf balls are the same

ProCheck®, a new device designed for avid golfers who want to maximize distance, checks ball compression instantly and recommends the correct pressure for each golfer’s swing speed. Matching the right compression with a golfer’s swing speed can increase driver distance by as much as 10-20%.

Ask any golfer and they’ll say that their greatest ambition is to hit the ball farther. In a study of 250 players conducted by the Brand institute Inc., on behalf of ProCheck®, 90% of respondents indicated there is a need for a product to check ball compression.
“Callaway has long understood that compression plays a key role in optimizing the performance and consistency of golfers. We at Callaway have tested the ProCheck® golf ball compression tester and found it to be an excellent tool for the consumer. Its readings can help golfers determine the right ball for their game,” stated Jason Finley, Director, Brand Management, Callaway Golf.


“A golf ball’s compression has a significant impact upon how far it will travel, with the golfer’s ultimate goal being to match ball compression with swing speed to achieve maximum distance. The correct compression causes the ball to have the optimum degree of flattening at impact to create a trampoline-like energy transfer and greater distance. When testing a ball, the accurate compression will quickly be displayed on the ProCheck® LED screen.” said John Donahue, President of Golftek LLC, the company that manufactures ProCheck®.

Donahue designed the device after conversations with an avid golfer who complained that with the new, more durable covers, old tired balls still look like new but their compression has changed. He suggested that the game needed such a device.
From there, Donahue put his master’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Massachusetts to work and developed the ProCheck®.
Golfers with slower swing speeds (under 80mph) should use lower compression balls, while golfers with faster swing speeds (over 100mph) should use higher compression balls to achieve maximum distance. While new balls may have some compression variability, older balls or balls that have been exposed to extreme heat (e.g. stored in the trunk of a car) or cold weather conditions (e.g. stored in a cold garage) experience significant changes in compression.

The ProCheck® device, which was issued a United States patent in May 2017, rivals the top golf ball manufacturers’ highly sophisticated compression testing equipment. In laboratory tests, the ProCheck® produced the same compression measurements as a device costing tens of thousands of dollars that is commonly used in the industry.
For more information on ProCheck® including purchase instructions, please visit https://www.procheckgolf.com/. Each package contains a guide to matching swing speed with the correct ball compression.


About ProCheck’s Technology
The ProCheck® a highly sophisticated ball compression measurement device uses proprietary technology to measure a golf ball’s compression. It has been proven that a golf ball’s compression has a significant impact upon how far it will travel, with the golfer’s goal being to match ball compression with swing speed to achieve maximum distance.
With balls being struck at swing speeds ranging from 70-120 mph, it was critical to develop a device that measures the force on a golf ball in an instant. ProCheck® measures the force over a selected time interval to get an accurate force value. ProCheck® has a high speed micro-processor that captures the force for a tested golf ball, processes the information and displays an accurate reading of its compression to the user.
Most modern golf balls are essentially made of a rubber-like substance (elastomers) and the forces required to compress the ball can change over time or with temperature. ProCheck®’s accurate force measurement detects this change and displays this information to the golfer as bars on the LED screen.

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BIG MAX Launches Award Winning Golf Bag Line in U.S. #1 European golf bag brand, BIG MAX launch includes AQUA and DRI LITE technology

BIG MAX, Europe’s most owned Push Cart brand and #1 European Golf Bag brand, is launching its award winning technology to the U.S. market. With five great looking designs across two award winning technologies – AQUA and DRI LITE – BIG MAX golf bags are set to make a huge impact when they arrive at retail this June.

The technology underpinning the AQUA line is the new DROP STOP system that guarantees the bags are 100% waterproof. Using waterproof fabric with unprecedented waterproof rating of over 10.000mm*, sealed seams and specially designed Japanese waterproof zippers, the AQUA range delivers an unrivalled level of design and waterproofing using ultra-lightweight, tear resistant and washable materials.

DRI LITE technology delivers a washable, water resistant golf bag that is the equal of what most brands in the market call ‘Waterproof’. Most other brands would call DRI LITE waterproof, but with the time and expertise taken to ensure the AQUA range is 100% waterproof, BIG MAX are happy to call DRI LITE water resistant, knowing it will keep all but the wettest, winter days at bay.

With two award winning technologies at the heart of the construction, each bag in the series is strong, stylish, waterproof and washable. And with a range of excellent features combined with a unique, cool Euro look and feel the new BIG MAX line is the complete package.

The AQUA Sport 2 is the second generation of BIG MAX’s most successful cart bag. With a 14-way, 9.5-inch organizer top, full length dividers, 7 spacious pockets, oversize putter well for large grips and weighing in at just over 5 lbs, the Sport 2 is a leader in the field of practicality. To further enhance its waterproof capability the Sport 2 also has a clear rain hood with dual zips giving easy access from either side. A host of neat features like dual strap and umbrella positions, holders and accessory storage options finish off the practical features on this stylish new addition to the BIG MAX AQUA line.

The AQUA Wave is a stylish, lightweight, and 100% waterproof stand bag. The Wave’s 8 ½” top extends into 4 full length dividers, while its 6 waterproof pockets, air channel straps and ultra-light weight of just over 4lbs make the bag a hugely practical and colorful addition to any golfer’s gear.

The AQUA Ocean is a 100% waterproof, compact stand bag that has space to spare and weighs just 3 ¾ lbs. With an oversize top the Ocean is designed for ease of use and with 5 waterproof pockets has plenty of storage options. Practical features such as glove, towel and umbrella holder, combined with space for a full set of clubs mean this stylish bag allows golfers to travel and play without compromise.

DRI LITE Active offers practical solutions to all a golfers storage needs in a stylish, water resistant package. A 9 ½“, 14 way top and an oversize putter well to fit the largest grips will keep all a golfers clubs in order, while 9 pockets, including fully waterproof valuables pocket, glove, dual umbrella positions and towel holder will pack away even the most well equipped golfers’ gear with ease. Ultra-lightweight at well under 5 lbs and available in a range of stylish colour combinations, the DRI LITE Active looks great and delivers on the course.

DRI LITE G is a full-size stand bag that belies its capacity with a weight of less than 4 ½ lbs. A 14-way divider separates the 9” top giving plenty of room for a full set of clubs. An air channel strap for breathability across the back enhances comfort for the carrier while leg lock enables the ‘G’ to be perfectly stable on a cart. 7 pockets along with DRI LITE technology finish off the practical features and a fantastic price make it a great buy for those carrying with a full set of gear.

*Hydrostatic testing of waterproof fabric gives a mm per 24 hours rating. This refers to the amount of rainfall a fabric can withstand in a single day. Thus, a 10,000mm waterproof rating means the garment can withstand 10,000mm of rainfall in a single day without letting moisture in.

AQUA Sport 2 – $299.99, available in Black/silver, Charcoal/Black/Red, Silver/Black/Cobalt, Red/Black/Silver, Navy/Black/Silver

AQUA Wave – $249.99 available in Black, Red, Yellow, White/Orange, Petrol

AQUA Ocean – $179.99, available in Black/Red, Red/Black

DRI LITE Active – $229.99, available in White/Red, Charcoal/Fuchsia, Navy/Black/Silver, Black/Red

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French Lick: Donald Ross and Pete Dye at their finest

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How To Remove The Hassle From Your Next Golf Trip

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.

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Don’t get shafted! A Guide to Finding the Right Shaft for Your Game

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

 

× Featured

French Lick: Donald Ross and Pete Dye at their finest

If the golf courses at French Lick Resort aren’t on your must-play list, adjust it. The Indiana boyhood home of NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird also has two layouts that are turning the hoops hotbed into a golf playground as well.