Golf Bucks County

By Bob Oliver

Middletown Country Club

Middletown is a compact 80 acres of challenging golf, with rolling hills and large specimen trees that have watched many golfers travel its fairways over time. It has retained its old time feel with tees and greens in close proximity, allowing golfers to walk the course if they choose.

The Traveling Golfer

With host Tony Leodora will travel both near and far to bring viewers a look at some of the most spectacular golf destinations in the world!

PGA Merchandise Show

Copper Tech fits like a glove!

Written by Bob Oliver on .

There are a multitude of reasons for wearing a golf glove.

Of course the most important reason is to facilitate a better grip on the golf club, so that it does not slip or move in one's hand while swinging at the ball.  That ball as most golfers know, has a mind of its own and can find its way to all kinds of unwanted locations. Suffice it to say, a golf glove minimizes slippage that can cause wayward shots.

At the PGA Merchandise Show a conversation with representatives of the Pocketec Inc. turned to golf gloves and innovation in its new Copper Tech glove. Yes, copper is infused into the golf glove and that allows for numerous benefits for the golfer. 
"Yes it starts as a golf glove, but that is a start. We use high grade copper fabrics to infuse our products with the support and healing properties of copper," explained Lloyd Cohn, President of Pocketec, Inc. "Our patented design gives the golfer a true custom fit with the power of compression for better blood circulation."
The company believes their design helps soothe muscle discomfort and joint pain while reducing the recovery time from pain in one's hands. Plus, there is the performance improvement of having a well-fitted glove to support a firm grip of the golf club.
Available in men's and women's right and left hand, the copper infused technology helps support the soothing of arthritic hands, that pain which comes after several days of playing golf in succession. It's form fitting comfort is not only built with non-slip technology, but the way it fits the hand supports improve circulation and oxygenation of working muscles and joints.
Of most importance, the glove provides support for muscle stiffness, soreness and pain, and helps reduce recovery time of muscles.
Plus, the glove is built to last.
Complete details can be found at www.coppertechglove.com. 

 

Daly and Loudmouth Golf a true team

Written by Bob Oliver on .

 

If ever there was a person who was clearly an enigma, it would be John Patrick Daly.

On one hand, he’s a two-time major champion, a guy who shocked the world by winning the 1991 PGA Championship after surprisingly getting into the event as the ninth alternate. On the other hand, he’s battled alcohol, gambling and an assortment of vices that kept him from winning more than four times on the PGA Tour.  

John Daly’s life would easily be defined as “My Way.” A winner of championships on the PGA Tour, European Tour (1995 British Open), Sunshine Tour, Asian Tour and Web.com Tour, Daly has earned a fortune playing golf. Living life, he’s spent a fortune and been involved in numerous on and off course incidents. Along the way he wore out more welcomes than an obnoxious relative.

Still, his long drive prowess (he was first to record an average drive distance of more than 300 yards on the PGA Tour) and renegade bad boy attitude made him loved or hated by millions of golf fans. Love him or hate him, he always garnered headlines.

Now a member of the PGA Tour Champions, Daly is competitive but has yet to win.

“I’m playing well, I’m hitting the ball well and managing my game but I just haven’t put it all together there (on the Champions Tour),” explained the man alternately known as Wild Thing, Long John and The Lion. “It’s all about my putting. I’m not making any putts.”

At the PGA Merchandise Show, where he was endorsing the Loudmouth Golf line of clothing, Daly was cautiously optimistic that his putting stroke would come around. When reminded that he had always been a streaking putter, Daly smiled that shy yet knowledgeable smile of his.

 

 

“You are exactly correct!” he commented. “That’s been a trait of mine. There have been times when I step up to a putt and know I’m going to make it. I get that confidence going and all of a sudden things are good and all is well. I just have to get into that mode to win out there.”

He’s tried various putters, grips and strokes, but nothing is working to his hopes at this point, and no doubt a putter or two might accidentally “drown” if not working properly. But there’s hope and confidence that putts will soon start dropping and a win will follow.

Daly is a good old boy with lots of interests, and fun is at the top of the list. Fun could be course design (he has a handful to his credit), music (he’s recorded a few songs), but it’s golf that is a passion.

“I love the game, but there are times when the game doesn’t love me back,” he said with a smile.

Daly’s association with Loudmouth Golf is a perfect match. He loves his (Arkansas) Razorback, Dallas Cowboys, St. Louis Cardinals, Candy Crush and Graffiti sets, garners attention on the course with his ensemble, and garners attention for the brand.

“The absolute great thing about Loudmouth is that you can get dressed in the dark,” joked Daly with a huge grin. “Everything matches! But seriously, we have so many colorful designs we have something for everyone. I know you never know what the public will take a liking to, but Woody (Loudmouth’s Scott “Woody” Woodworth) will try just about anything.

“Loudmouth is reflection of a really cool lifestyle, it’s great to be involved with them. Its style fits my style.”

“JD has been a great addition to our team,” said Woodworth, who said the association with Daly was years in the making. “He’s not just a spokesperson, he actually gives us great advice and helps with our products. He has some great ideas and we have put some of them into play. It’s a good team.”

Woodworth said Loudmouth borrowed conceptually from golf’s past, when crazy colors were turned in by designs worn by golfers such as Johnny Miller. By the 80s such designs were passé, but became rejuvenated by Caddyshack’s notorious Al Czervick played by Rodney Dangerfield.  It took a while before Loudmouth led the new resurgence of colors, but their splash has been felt worldwide.

Woodworth founded the company in 2000 and has stuck to its core business model since. “We want to entice the world to enjoy our product,” said Woodworth. The company has long had the slogan, to develop products for those who want to stand out, smile and have fun.

Daly is the perfect spokesperson for the company. His fans will be able to see him up close in personal in Loudmouth outfits on the PGA Champions Tour, but he also hopes to play a couple PGA Tour events including the Greenbrier Classic, as well as a couple Senior Asian Tour events and the British Open.

“Mr. (Jim) Justice has that great event, and they went through so much with the cancellation last year due to the horrific floods. I’d like to help out in any way I can,” said a serious Daly, who corrected himself by calling Mr. Justice "Governor." Justice was elected governor of West Virginia last fall.

Wherever he plays, the fans will follow.

“Awesome, the fans have always been awesome. I can’t explain it,” said Daly, attempting to explain the unexplanable. “Maybe a lot of fans just love a guy who is real, who has his ups and downs. People relate to me in some way. I am simply a guy who is different, who’s crazy, who’s done dumb things. I’m honest about it, though, I admit it when I do stupid things.”

Daly has done scores of stupid things over the years, no doubt, but he’s also done a world of good with his play and his support of charitable organizations. No if he can get that putting stroke to begin firing on all cylinders, victories will come.

Daly Notes: Daly’s first album “My Life” included guest vocals by Willie Nelson, Darius Rucker and Johnny Lee, and he wrote/co-wrote eight songs on his album including “I only know one way”.  He sang back up to Kid Rock on the song “Half Your Ago”…Daly has put a new Vertical Groove driver in his bag and serves as that company’s goodwill ambassador...Daly has fond memories of Philadelphia area, and is amazed the PGA Tour no longer has a tour stop. "We played the Senior PGA at Philadelphia Cricket Club, and that was a nice track."

PGA Show displays innovation

Written by Bob Oliver on .

ORLANDO, FL. – There are many ups in downs in the world of golf these days. Names like Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy are on the up, up and up, while Tiger Woods sees his game on the down, down and down.

Yet everything is rosy at the 62nd PGA Merchandise Show. The place was jam-packed with everything from new clubs and fashion to destinations one must see to believe. The Show offered something for everyone in the world of golf under one roof, and everything one can touch is new and improved.

The Show – which some call the Major Championship of the Golf Business - brings together more than 1,100 companies from throughout the world of golf, offering their latest and greatest golf clubs, balls, other equipment, fashion, trinkets and destination packages just to name a few. There are educational activities and State of Golf presentations featuring the biggest names in the industry.

It was not uncommon to see a Major Championship winner walking down the aisles, admiring the booths. Hundreds of golf media members had microphones, pens and pencils to chronicle the event, and golf professionals gazed at everything new in the world of golf.

While scaled back somewhat from its heyday --- the economy isn't booming if you had not noticed --- the "Show" still offers new product ideas that dazzled the 45,000 pros and industry representatives from all 50 states and 70 countries that grace the forum every year.

“Every year I marvel at all the people, their products and solutions,” explained LPGA Hall of Fame Member Annika Sorenstam, a New Jersey fan favorite and three-time winner of the ShopRite LPGA Championship at Seaview. “Our game has had its ups and downs but the PGA Show brings together the best people and shows our game is still growing. It’s an exciting kickoff to a new season. The PGA Show is a special event.”

Sorenstam, along with PGA of America officials and PGA Tour stalwarts like Bubba Watson, Graeme McDowell and Hall of Fame member Greg Norman addressed conferees at the state of the game sessions, while numerous other players could be seen wandering the conference center. The Golf Channel provided 12 hours of life coverage, and Sirius Satellite Radio provided number interviews in their programming.

From any viewpoint, the PGA Show was big….really big.

The major manufacturers bring in Tour professionals to help peddle their wares to the thousands of PGA professionals making buying decisions for the coming year. And no booth is too big or too small, for even the small inventor can be found hawking wares to a captivated audience.

It’s a Who’s Who of the Golf Business, wrapped up in the Orange County Convention Center. There are millions of dollars of sales as pros stock their shops for the coming season. Innovation is prevalent, as “new and different” is applied to golf products rather than soap.

Obviously, the big names in the industry attempt to outdo each other, but in the end the goal is to get their new products into the hands of players. As with most recent Merchandise Shows, technological advances were the buzz on the playing hardware, while enhancements to accessories and high tech shoes could be found throughout the building.

As at one’s local driving range, divers always create a buzz at The Show, with all the major manufacturers displaying the latest and greatest bombers that whet the appetite of those players looking for a little extra yardage. All the big names, from Callaway to TaylorMade to Titleist to Bridgestone, to Ping to Minuzo and others all brought out their best to woo the buyers.

The TaylorMade R15 driver promises to be another game changer from the company that’s been using technology to develop new offerings for years. The R15 is offered in a pear shaped glossy black or satin white finish and comes in two head sizes (430cc and 460cc). The R15 offers numerous adjustments to home the club precisely to one’s game as the golfer can adjust both clubface and lie angles and loft. According to officials the 460cc club is extremely forgiving on mis-hits, while the 430cc is the company’s lowest spin rate driver.

Tour Edge golf continues to be on the cutting edge of high performance fairway woods, and its new Exotics E8 Tour Fairway Wood is not only hot but can be tailored to a player’s needs. The E8 allows a player to dial up precise ball flight opportunities developed by offering multiple adjustable lofts and lie angle.

“We found that players love the flexibility of personalized adjustments tailored to their swing,” explained Joanne Miller of Tour Edge. “But it’s not just adjustability. We have a state of the art manufacturing process and the Diamana +Plus Series shafts are standard on the E8. We believe players will absolutely love these clubs.”

Adams golf unveiled its Pro Red Hybrid, getting design kudos for its ability to help correct a player’s tendency to slice or hoot by adjusting weights in its removable sole plate. Small weights, from 2 grams to 25 grams, can be moved to allow more flexibility in ball flight.

Callaway Golf President Chip Brewer was excited with the reception his company’s XR irons have had, and the XR driver has been added to the family. These clubs, which use Cup 360 design, are built for maximum club head speed. That speed translates to added distance, which some have said calculates to two additional clubs longer that prior irons. The XR irons also feature a high speed cavity back. Callaway also displayed its Big Bertha 815 driver which has a lower center of gravity , new face technology and promises lower spin with forgiveness. It was sweet to swing on demo day!

“We have found that it’s not a slogan, but our clubs test out longer because of our design,” explained Brewer, a Lower Moreland, PA, native who has turned around the fortunes of Callaway Golf with new innovations. “People tell us they are easy to hit and they love the extra yardage. They were a real hit at Demo Day and we believe they will be a hit with anyone who samples them.”

Driving irons, of the hollow face variety, are making a comeback, as Nike (Vapor Speed) and Bridgestone (J15DF) both introduced irons promising a high trajectory, distance and optimal forgiveness for the good player. You won’t see many Touring pros using these clubs as they require precise distance control which is harder to achieve. Still for many amateur players this style of club can be a valuable addition.

Cleveland Golf will continue to offer customized wedges in two finishes, raw (which will rust by design) and black satin. But finish is just the start, as performance is the goal and Cleveland promises its wedges will fit any player’s requirements. There are 11 models, from 48 to 60 degrees of loft, with the 56 and 58 degree wedges offering a standard and low bounce option. Tour players contributed to the 60 degree wedge design that offers low bounce, standard and wide sole, which is especially good for open face shots.

Feel and forgiveness is the objective of the new Scotty Cameron GoLo putters. The mallet flat sticks of today, in the bags of more than half of new putter purchases, use a blend of aluminum face-core sole and stainless steel frame to give the player a club that gets the job done in style with incredible accuracy.

Golf balls are changing, including the highly successful Pro V1 and Pro V1x from Titleist. These popular balls have a new softer cover that promises to increase spin required in one’s short game while improving feel off the club face. According to Titleist Director of Golf Ball Development Michael Mahoney, the newest ball was developed by more than 70 engineers who worked feverously on finding the best ball the company has had in its arsenal. “We believe we got it right,” explained Mahoney. “We believe we have a better golf ball.”

Do you prefer a “built up” feel in your golf tape? Would you like that feel without jiggering the grip with extra tape? If so, the Golf Pride MCC Plus 4 grips might fill the bill. These grips have a larger diameter on the lower portion of the grip to give the feel that many players seek.

Sun Mountain Golf continued its reputation as an innovative provider of superb golf bags with new legs and its ClubGuider travel gear. This team knows its stuff, as each year it brings to market usable, innovative and classy product.

Cape May’s own, Jerry Quinlan, was on hand to describe incredible opportunities to travel throughout Ireland and play stunning courses in the Emerald Isle. Quinlan’s Celtic Golf has been handling dream vacations for years, and the team can tailor arrangements that fit your budget. “Our golf vacations are custom built around our customer’s goals, and we do our absolute best to make each vacation memorable in every manner.”

The 2015 PGA Merchandise provided the cornucopia of opportunities to see the best of the new in the world of golf. Merchandise from the Show is available at most local pro shops and will undoubtedly help the games of low and high handicap players alike. Check out all the wonderful additions to the product lines!

Show Stoppers: Buddy Marucci, the 2008 United States Senior Champion, was on site and spent an hour being interviewed and answering question on Sirius Satellite Radio. Marucci is expected to play in this year’s Senior Am at Hidden Creek Country Club in Egg Harbor Township. “I’m really looking forward to it. A wonderful venue and it’s obviously a senior major…New styles of foot ware was found in many booths, as Puma Golf and Foot Joy each had new offerings. The Puma Titan Tour shoes are nicknamed the “Coolest Shoes in Golf” as their cooling technology was developed in the same manner that allowed Astronauts to be comfortable in space. Its Shape Lock memory foam allows for maximum comfort and stability. Not to be outdone, Foot Joy displayed its Hyper Flex show which is not only comfortable but helps control feet during the golf swing….Cutter and Buck displayed numerous new cuts of golf fashion are that is comfortable and stylish. 

Posture Critical for good golf

Written by Bob Oliver on .

 

It takes a great deal of talent to play the game of golf well, but that doesn’t mean you must have a scratch handicap to enjoy what every true fan knows is a game for life.

Even first timers can have fun playing the game. 

Sure, as Lee Trevino once said, “It’s a game where you have to hit your foul balls,” but it’s still a game at which each level of player can have fun. That great shot on the 18th hole will be etched into your mind and surely bring you back to the course time and time again.

One of the most important things to understand is that golf is not totally a game of power.  A mighty swing does not mean the golf ball will fly high, long and straight. Smooth works.

Here’s another helpful hint: golf has something in common with other sports: Posture.

Think of a basketball player, defending against a dribbling offensive player. Does he or she stand tall?  No. Each is in a crouched position, with the ability to dart quickly to the left or right.

The same can be said about a batter, fielder or base runner in baseball. All have an athletic stance that displays balance. Their bodies move freely, almost without effort.

Correct posture is a critical part of golfing success, according to Jim Flick, the noted golf instructor who worked for ages with none other than Jack Nicklaus.

“Too many golfers are too mechanical, they have too many thoughts running through their head,” says Flick. “My wife has said that I know how to dance, but can’t hear the music. The golf swing is the same thing.  Many times people have all these mechanics running through their head and miss out on a very important, critical essential of the game, their posture.”

Every golfer’s posture will have slight variations, just as every basketball defender will use a slightly different set-up.  There are, however, several keys to a successful golf posture.

Standing erect, your knees should be flexed and your waist slightly bent, giving you an athletic stance.  With your shoulders situated over your toes, your chin should be away from your chest. You weight should be evenly distributed between the balls of your feet.

A simple look and feel, and a posture that will allow you to easily take the club back and through the ball without losing balance. Not too mechanical, but a posture when repeated will allow you, like those in other sports, to maintain an athletic stance.

Once posture is perfected, you can move on to a smooth swinging of the golf club.

 

 

 

Golf's Future might be non-conforming

Written by Bob Oliver on .

 

Do you consider yourself a golf traditionalist?

Do you have an official USGA handicap?

Do you regularly play in USGA sanctioned or governed events?

Do you religiously follow the Rules of Golf?

Congratulations!

According to many studies, you are in a select group of about 20% of the golfing public. The rest of the golf world bends the rules a little, a bit or a whole lot?

Don’t believe that statement? Consider your last round of golf. Did you hit a ball out of bounds? Did you take a stroke and distance penalty, taking the walk of shame back to the tee to try again hitting three?

How about that unfair lie in a middle of the fairway divot that you tapped an inch onto green grass? Or maybe the gimme putts you and your playing partners granted? Or how about that extra driver you were trying out, bringing the number of clubs in your golf bag to 15?

Did you open your round allowing more than one tee ball on the first hole to get warmed up? Did you hit a second ball after a poor shot? Did you actually card a six on that hole and not a seven?

Does any of this remotely sound familiar? Be honest.

While 20% of all golfers religiously follow the rules, the vast majority of golfers enjoy the game by taking some liberties with the rules. Not every stroke, not every round, but somewhere along the way. That’s a fact.

Friends, golf is a game to be enjoyed. And while noone would condone playing in a USGA event and not following the rules, in a friendly game most golfers will manage to have some leeway in with the rules.

Golf is a hard, difficult, challenging, frustrating, you name it game. It has been said you play your foul balls, but the question is whether you count all the strokes!

Ask most golfers and you will hear how the game costs too much, takes too long to play and enforces too many rules that ruin the fun of it. These are players who never will play in the United States Open but enjoy being on the course. The game has seen its players reduced by nearly 20% from its heyday of 30,000,000 at the height of the Tiger Revolution. More golf courses are closing rather than being built, get greens fees are increasing.

The stewards of the game have tried to get more involved, from The First Tee program to the USGA’s Tee It Forward program. Still the numbers dwindle. So, the question is: how does the game turn from its tailspin and begin to accelerate growth?

Taking a page from skiing, which saw snowboarding introduced to goose participation, stories have been reported about Frisbee Golf and Foot Golf as ways to enjoy the concept of the game without all the frustration.

Others talk about Hack Golf, a concept where the USGA Rules of Golf are thought of but not necessarily followed. Thought of as a way to Grow the Game, Hack Golf supports different avenues to spark interest in the game. It uses 15 inch cups on the putting green to reduce the heartache of putting to a small target. It features large faced, non-conforming clubs including some that can be used playing a larger golf ball on a shorter course. As many as 100 existing courses are allowing such play.

According to Taylor Made, their MOAD club (“Mother of all Drivers”) allows beginners to hit the ball 160-180-yards off the tee. Hit it 180 on a 300-yard hole and all of a sudden that beginner can have a shot at a few pars that just might get them coming back to the course in the future rather than walking away from a too hard of a game.

Blasphemy to the traditionalists, when one of those newcomers graduates to “regulation” golf there might actually be some growth in the game.

Face it, basketball played in one’s driveway isn’t regulation. Nor is the game of HORSE or Follow the Leader. Don’t have 10 players? You can play one-on-one or any other variation and not be looked upon as a rule breaker.

Several smaller ice hockey rinks have been developed that feature three-on-three play, and others have temporary boards across the ice that allow half ice or third ice games for youth players.

In the golf world, there is more of a demand for Pitch and Putt and Nine Hole Courses, where a “round” of golf can be played in an hour or so, addressing the time and cost issue. Point is, the market is there for the playing of the game, just not by the traditional USGA Rules of Golf.

That’s not a bad thing. It might – despite distasteful looks from the traditionalists – save the game.