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The Results Are In!

August 16, 2011
Titleist golf balls

As a quick follow up to my last post about the online deal I had purchased from BuyWithMe.com, which gave me $100 worth of credit to online golf retailer The Golf Zone for just $50, my new purchases have arrived (with free shipping nonetheless!).

While there are a lot of fun toys I’d like to splurge on, I could only get myself to purchase the one practical item that I’m (sadly) always in need of…. golf balls… lots of golf balls. Armed with my $100 credit, I cashed out at a total of $110, for 3 dozen Titleist NXT Tour & 1 dozen DT SoLo balls. In total, I was out of pocket $60 for 4 dozen balls of pretty good quality. Not bad!

All-in-all, it was a great experience, and I just bought a 2 for 1 on a really nice round of golf at a local course from Groupon!

Hit ‘em straight!

Great Deal: $100 of Golf Equipment for $50

July 27, 2011

BuyWithMe.com Deal: Get $100 worth of golf equipment for $50 at The Golf Zone's online store (PLUS Free Shipping!)

Wow – time to dust off the old keyboard, it’s been a while!

So what’s brought me back to my own personal Golfoholics Anonymous meeting? A hell of a deal on golf equipment, that’s what. Turns out that Titleist habit of mine is expensive and NXT Tour balls aren’t gettin’ any cheaper. So I found this little bargain on BuyWithMe.com (full disclosure: an old consulting client of mine, so I trust them), for $100 worth of equipment for $50 from the online retailer The Golf Zone.

I’m not one to buy group deals or group coupons for the most part, but I’ve looked into all the details and this one is legit. It’s only one per person, but if you’re like me and you are always buying stuff here and there, this is a good deal to take advantage of.

Click here to take advantage of the deal!

Hit ‘em straight!

 

- Nick

PGA Tour to Test Cell Phone During Tournaments

August 3, 2010

Wyndham ChampionshipA recent article in the Triad Business Journal called my attention to the PGA’s upcoming field test at the Wyndham Championship, allowing cell phone use by spectators during tournament play. (Click here to read the full article) As the article highlights, this is a major step for the PGA Tour as up until now cell phone use has been strictly forbidden during tournament play. The question this begs; Is this a major step forward or backward for the PGA?

In my non-golfing life (which I admit has sadly grown in proportion to my golfing life, as evidenced by my lack of recent course reviews), I wax poetic on all things communications and media related as a consultant for various companies and media brands via my consulting firm Y BizDev. Given that I ‘m a promoter of new media, technology advances and leveraging new tools to engage your audience with greater efficiency and effectiveness, you’d think that I would be all for this move, right? Only I’m not so sure, and here’s why..

You see, I’m a traditionalist when it comes to golf. Maybe I’m a bit of a traditionalist in a lot of things really, but when it comes to golf it’s undeniable that I favor tradition over change. I love the fact that when I hit the course, the cell phone goes away (for the most part) and I can detach from the insanity of the world around me, even for a few hours. That stance puts me at odds with my business mindset that says ‘Yes! Let fans use their phones and take advantage of all the amazing opportunities to engage that audience base that come with their newly found access‘. But the real question is will it hurt the game? I mean, I wouldn’t want to be mid-putt on the 18th green come Sunday, only to hear a bombastic remix of Lady GaGa ring out across the crowd, would you? Heck, I already have a knot in my stomach for the players who will have to block that out, along with everything else they already have to deal with.

Professional golf is a business and there is a lot of money riding on every stroke these guys make. The assumption made by the Tournament Director and the PGA is that fans will be respectful and by allowing limited usage in “designated concessions areas” they will be able to access “work and family” while enjoying the tournament. OK, fair enough. But here’s a scenario for you…

Boo Weekley with fanJimmy Bob loves Boo Weekly. He relates to him. Jimmy B goes to the local Tour stop and spends 5 days following Boo around, 1 practice round and 4 hot tournament days. His man Boo shoots well enough to get into the final pairing on Sunday and low and behold, Jimmy Bob is sitting rope side on the 18th as the crowd draws silent for Boo’s tournament winning putt for birdie. The putter blade is drawn back to its apex… and then it happens… The ring-toned (if I may coin a phrase) opening riff from Honky Tonk Badonka Donk breaks through the silent like nails on a chalk board. The putt slides right and long, and Jimmy’s man finishes what feel’s like a distant second to some European who’s name Jimmy can’t even pronounce.

It’s not Jimmy’s fault. He was only using his phone in the designated concessions area. But between the brews in the beer garden and the pretty ladies walking around in tennis skirts, he must have just plain forgotten to shut the ringer off. Nice one big guy.

Of course, this is all hypothetical and surely there is as much a chance this scenario could occur under the current rules and regulations at tournaments. But does the PGA really want to tread that line?

On the up side, there is a great deal of money to be made by the Tour and it’s sponsors through this new medium. Text message campaigns, contests and more, are a great way to raise incremental revenues during the tightening sponsorship climate. A few bucks here and there could really help to keep the dollars rolling in for those lesser known stops along the season, which means bigger prize money, higher ranked players committing to play and a ultimately a better fan experience.

So what’s it going to be? Our classically elegant sport awash in a sea of technology we can never seem to break free of, or the adherence to a tradition of respect for our sport and of one another? Only time will tell, but we’ll be watching the Wyndham to see how that chapter plays out.Jimmy Bob plays golf

Hit ‘em long & straight!

Fantasy Picks: The Open Championship

July 14, 2010

Raising a jugRaising the Claret Jug on Sunday at St. Andrews is a thing of beauty. Legends have come before, walked the hallowed fairways, cursed the wind and drank at the same 19th hole for years. This week marks the return of one of my favorite sporting events of the year, The Open Championship.

There is something about the look of the play on TV that captivates me… though let’s be honest here, if golf is on TV you could stampede Buffalo thru the living room and I wouldn’t even notice. But this year it is that much more captivating, because The Darby and I have been playing the entire fantasy pool season so we would be positioned to make a run at the British. Maybe not the smartest decision at times (I would have loved Poulter in the match play earlier this year!), but nonetheless, here we are.

After much debate (6 weeks of discussion), angst and patience, The Darby and I have made the call and selected the following roster for our fantasy pool for the 2010 Open Championship…

Some may be asking… why these bums? Though we did play the entire season to have as much firepower at our disposal come this week, it’s hard not to use players like Lee Westwood, Tiger, Justin Rose, Erni Els, Paul Casey, Luke Donald and the host of other world class players in the field this week when they are hotter than hot earlier in the year. That said, I think we’ve left a good selection for ourselves and have high hopes for all three making the cut, 2 in the top 15 and with any luck in the top 10.

As for others that we debated on, there were many.

Charles Schwartzel – The crafty S. African start the year in our top three predicted for the British, however, despite his high world ranking and solid performance earlier in the year things have quieted down for Charles. If there is one thing this year has taught us all it’s ride them while they’re hot and ol’ Chucky just isn’t very hot right now.

Martin Kaymer – Martin falls in the same not hot enough category as CS. Riding his high world ranking from great performances last year and earlier this season, a poor showing at the Scottish open with a 71,74  leaving him at +3 and missing the cut last week was the nail in the coffin for Marty.

Tom Watson – The old warhorse has been hunting majors the past few years, capped with his incredible performance at the British last year. While power and shot shaping are pluses in this tournament, the thing that trumps them all is experience. Not to mention Tom has that sweet swing working for him right now and is in a great frame of mind. If there is one guy who I wish we could add as a fourth, it’s Mr. Watson.

Ross Fisher – This is no doubt the year of the Brits. Everyone is talking about the great successes on Tour of the many fine players coming over from England, Ireland and Scotland. Among all the attention Ross Fisher has largely gone unnoticed, but we feel he is in for a strong showing this week. For us it came down to a combination of world ranking, as well as a need to diversify our roster so we weren’t relying soley on resident of the British Isles.

Either way, we think this years winner is going to be a European. Though I’d be happily surprised if Tigger came out and smacked the field around to let them know he’s still here to play.

Hit ‘em straight folks!

Nick’s Follow Friday Picks for 4/16/10

April 16, 2010
Twitter Bird

Twitter Bird

To supplement Twitter’s “Follow Friday” phenomena, I’m heeding the call of a fellow twit and adding a slightly more in depth version here on the blog. For you Golfoholics wondering “why do I care about anything Twitter related?”, here’s why… The list will include the names of individuals, brands, courses and fellow bloggers on Twitter and why you should follow them. I’ll be doing this every Friday, so of you looking to expand your Twitter followers, make sure you keep in touch!

@Titleist – the official handle forthe brand, follow for great info on all things Titleist… thanks for the love this week!

@lizzyval - A big shout out to Liz this week, she works for Titleist and is an industry insider. Follow her for great tips and people to follow.

@armchairgolfer – blogger and fellow golf nut, check out his blog at http://www.armchairgolfblog.blogspot.com. Follow him for news, insight and info on the sport.

@golf_auctions – cool site for those looking tweak their arsenal in the bag. Follow them for great insights and to find fellow golf related enthusiasts on Twitter.

@golfschools – Mel Sole is one half of the Ritson-Sole Golf Schools. Follow him for tips, trips and cool things golf.

@SirShanksAlot59 – Mr. ShanksAlot, proprietor of SirShanksAlot.com has a great blog with great drills/swing tips, industry news, reviews and more. Give him a follow, you’ll be happy you did!

@jaybusbee – Jay is a writer for Yahoo! Sports and editor of the DevilBallGolf.com. Follow Jay for a taste of golf, car racing and other sports tid-bits.. all good stuff!

Enjoy and happy #FF! (…that’s short for Follow Friday for all you non-Twitterazzi out there)

As always, drive for show and putt for $$$!

Nick

Verizon Heritage Fantasy Picks

April 14, 2010
Verizon Heritage 18th Tee

Verizon Heritage 18th Tee

Coming off a decent week at the Masters where we had KJ “CHOKE” Choi and el Tigre, not to mention our win with AK in the previous tournament, my father and I are now officially back in the hunt in our fantasy league!

Harbour Town

Harbour Town

This week the PGA rolls into Hilton Head Island, SC taking over the Harbour Town Golf Links.

One of my favorite tournaments of the season, Harbour Town always pays it forward to those who respect the course. It is a Pete Dye nightmare with railroad ties, pot bunkers, narrow fairways, wind from every direction and all the other typical trips and tricks you’d expect from ‘ol Petey boy.

As an aside, if you have ever played a Pete Dye course, you certainly share my frustration and I’m sorry (no idea what I’m apologizing, but it seems like the right thing to do?).  I’ve fallen prey many times to the blind shots, undulating fairways and treacherous greens at his local track PB Dye Golf Course. While not the most “fun” courses in the world, once you have the requisite course knowledge, I think they are a good measure of skill for those in the mid-low handicap range.

My father and I did our usual dance of mental midgetry (I’ve just coined that and now expect due credit from Mr. Webster…) to try and figure out who would perform best this week given the starting times, pairings, course conditions, pinkie sprains, etc. But truth be told, that isn’t what Harbour Town is about. Experience, course knowledge and an old fashioned love affair with the tournament is what wins the day here. In our humble opinion, it also helps to be from the South.

That being said, Nick & Darby’s picks for this week are…

Davis "I Hate to" Love, III

Davis "I Hate to" Love, III

Brian "Hey Guys!" Gay

Brian "Hey Guys!" Gay

Boo "Hoo" Weekly

Boo "Hoo" Weekly

Davis Love is a 5-time champ at Harbour Town, click here to read his take on the tournament, the economic impact the recession has had on sponsors and more from ASAPSports.com

Boo Weekly has also played well at Harbour Town in recent years, and though we haven’t been terribly impressed with his performances this year (not all bad), you can’t deny the fact that Boo loves this course and it loves him back. Boo also fits nicely into our gross assumption that Southerners play better here.

Brian Gay was a point of contention between us this week. I don’t particularly like him like week, but my father had a great point… “Kiddo, the guy won by 10 freakin’ shots last year.” When he’s right, he’s right. That is not a mistake and he can back it up this year. Hopefully he proves us right, as each time we’ve picked a repeat this year it’s burned us bad. Ultimately, he is playing well and I have to agree that a 10 stroke victory last year means Gay should have a ton of confidence in his ability to manhandle this course.

Enjoy the weekend and as always, drive for show and putt for $$$!

Nick

I swing Titleist. Period.

April 13, 2010

Easter Sunday arrived a week or so ago and it was a glorious day here in DC. 75 degrees with a light breeze and not a cloud in the sky. It simply doesn’t get better than that.  But wait, you say it can???

To my delight, I rolled into my favorite driving range at Falls Road Golf Course in Potomac, MD, and what to my wondering eyes did appear but a guy named Neil, with 6 golf bags full of Titleist and Cobra clubs and endless buckets of golf balls… It was a Titleist DEMO DAY!!!

Needless to say, I was beyond excited. A little known fact about me… I’m a one brand man when it comes to my golf clubs. I play Titleist. Period. Irons, Driver, 3W, wedges, putter, balls, gloves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a snob. I’m just a believer in playing what works for you. For me, that’s Titleist.

"The Darby"

"The Real Darby"

I do own a Ping Darby putter as well, which I love because my father’s name is Darby. In fact, I bought if for him some years ago and he has since stopped playing. It’s a great putter, but when I’m out on the course I’m swingin’ my Scotty.  So when I walked into the range and saw the demo station set up in all its glory, I was pretty much in heaven.

After getting in the practice that I had come for (hour of putting and a bucket of wedges), I walked over and introduced myself to Neil Fleitell. Neil is a rep for Titleist and Cobra, and specializes in custom fitting. He is a very knowledgeable guy and I really like his relaxed style.

**PLUG FOR NEIL** Not only does he have me jonesing for a new set of sticks, but after the demo I saw him provide some pointers to a guy on the range after and he had his man striking it true within a few swings.

Neil Fleitell

Neil Fleitell

Neil’s info can be found at the bottom of this post, so drop him a line!

We haven’t talked about my current equipment at this point, so without too much detail here is where my bag is at these days…

Titleist DCI 962 Irons:  PW – 2i

Nick says: “Yes those are 15 year old clubs… Love ‘em.”

Titleist Spin-Milled Volkey Wedge:  56 degree

Nick says: “Deadly.”

Titleist 909F3 Fairway Wood: 15 degree

Nick says: “Incredibly reliable and workable.”

Titleist 983E Driver: 8.5 degree

Nick says: “Served me well the past 7 years, but this is the next thing to be replaced.”

Scotty Cameron Newport 2 Mid Slant Putter

Nick says: “If you haven’t tried a Scotty, I dare you. Like butter.”

As you can see, I’m not a guy who makes these purchases all the time. I don’t like to switch out my equipment and I truly believe that the Titleist brand fits my game.

My last gush over Titleist as a company.. in 2008 I purchased a 906F4 Fairway Wood and played the remaining 3 months of the season with it, as well as the most of the 2009 season.  During the late fall last year I was hitting balls on the range and the face of the club smashed in on impact, the club was toast. I was never much a 3W fan before, but that club was my baby and had finally convinced me to keep it in the bag permanently.  To my absolute shock, the guys at Golf Galaxy in Rockville, MD sent it in and 6 weeks later I had a brand new 909F3 in my hands. That story has locked me in as a customer for life. A company that will stand behind its products like that has earned it.

Enough gushing.. onto the reviews. Over the past year, AP1 and AP2 Irons have been on my radar. I’ve hit them in tunnels enough to know they feel nice, but the opportunity to actually test them out on a range, as well the Cavity Backs and the Muscle Backs, is the only way to truly tell what they feel like.

Titleist AP1

Titleist AP1

Titleist AP1 Review: Going into the demos, I was of the opinion that I wanted to score a set of AP1s from 08 and have them custom fit. I was surprised when I wasn’t terribly happy with the feel of the AP1 on the range. The club is described as a “hotter” product, for the mid-handicap player. In comparison to the Ap2′s it lacked the weight (whether real or perceived) that AP2, CBs and MBs had. The AP1 also features a slightly greater offset, which I’m not a fan of. The claim behind the AP1 is that it sports increased forgiveness on your errant shots and greater feel delivered through its new thinner face. My experience hitting the irons doesn’t back that up, but I will say I wasn’t happy with the shaft, so that may have had some bearing on my experience. More than anything, I felt like I wasn’t able to get everything out of the contact I was making with the ball. Also, moving the ball from left to right and right to left wasn’t as enjoyable with the AP1. Overall, I think the AP1 are a good club with a solid feel and for those of you who have mid-high swing speeds with a matching handicap, I think you will find the AP1 a great fit.

Titlest AP2 2

Titleist AP2 2

Titleist AP2 Review: The AP2 were the winners for me. The look and feel of the CBs and MBs were lovely, but the AP2 really distinguished itself by showing a perfect blend of performance and forgiveness, given my own swing and ability. Where the AP1 didn’t relate the power and feel that I was looking for out of each swing, I got exactly what I was looking for out of each swing with the AP2, placing me more in control of my ball striking. This is most likely due to the perimeter weighting that is talked about on the Titleist website. Either way, drawing the ball or playing a high fade was pleasure. The look and design of the club head also inspires more confidence, sporting a high grade forged carbon steel body, along with a slightly more friendly sole and face (compared to the CBs and MBs). For those of you who are consistent and accomplished iron strikers and are looking to feel the ball off the face without the deadly miss hits that accompany true blades, I think you will find the AP2 to be in a class by themselves.

Titleist CB 2

Titleist CB 2

Titleist Cavity Back (CB) and Muscle Back (MB) Review: I am not going to spend a ton of time on these clubs. They are what they are, beautiful clubs for highly skilled ball strikers. If you find yourself in this category or if you find yourself saying “but I HAVE to have blades!” I have one bit of advice; try hitting them out of the rough or even an intermediate cut before you buy.

Titleist MB 1

Titleist MB 1

Hitting a blade like these off mats and perfect lies can leave you with a false sense of performance. With my swing, I have the consistency and club head speed to make either of these models work for me. In fact, they are CHEAPER than both the AP1 and AP2 models, so they appeal to my budget savvy side. However, taking either of theses clubs from the rough will most likely have you giving up far more than you would ever receive in return on the fairway.

Titleist 909D2

Titleist 909D2

Titleist 909D2 Review: Our guy Neil was kind enough to walk me through the three different types of 909 drivers that he had with him that day. The models are the 909D2, 909D3 and 909D Comp. it should be noted that any of these models would be a significant upgrade from my pre-Facebook era 983E driver that I’m currently toting around. I was able to swing both 10.5 and 9.5 degree loft clubs, both of which are higher than my current 8.5 degree. Another major adjustment for me was the size of the head. The 909D Comp comes in at only 440cc, as compared to the D2 and D3 models, both of which are full 460cc heads. Regardless, its a significant adjustment for those of us who prefer the look and feel of the smaller heads from yesteryear. All that aside, I have to say that all three clubs hit beautiful. They are both forgiving, while delivering the distance and feel that you would expect from the latest tee box toy. I personally found the 909D Comp to be the most appealing, as it mimicked the trajectory of my current club and the ever so slightly smaller head felt more manageable in my hands.

Finally, I’d like to also acknowledge Liz Valicenti (@lizzyval) from Titleist. She found me on Twitter while I was writing this up and encouraged me to register for Team Titleist on their website. If you like Titleist, I recommend joining.

As I’ve previously mentioned, I own a marketing firm (Y Business Development) and it is always interesting to see what brands are doing in the social media space to engage their customers. Team Titleist seems like a solid attempt at creating a place where loyalists such as myself can interact with the brand and its ambassadors. I’ll be interested to see how it takes off and how Titleist chooses to promote the concept through its marketing efforts. I haven’t seen much thus far, but if they have a team that “gets it” in their communications department, there is quite I bit they can do with the concept.

Here is Neil Fleitell’s contact info:

Neil Fleitell Card

Neil Fleitell Card

Thanks for the read and as always, drive for show and putt for $$$!

Nick

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