Which Bag Is Muy Macho
'Qui es muy macho?,' Billy/Fernando would intone, and then pit Tom Cruise's coolness against, say, Mr. T, or Gerald Ford, or Boy George.
Something similar happens in modern golf, but with less comic results. A common refrain on practice tees and development center ranges from Carlsbad to Croton-on-Hudson, invoked to explain why old club habits die so hard even in the face of proven better technology, goes like this: 'Well, you know how it is...the macho factor and all.'
Most recently, the MF has been seen as the glue that keeps 2-irons in bags whose owners' ability doesn't justify a place among the Elite 14. Hybrids, despite their ball flight advantages and their acceptance at all levels of the game, can't dislodge tradition and ideas of male toughness in every precinct of golf.
There's a good reason for that. Twos, and even the occasional knife, are good for a very narrow pie slice of the golfing population. And tradition is so strong in this game that some people consider a mere sacrifice of trajectory a small price to pay for the privilege of carrying golf jewelry.
But if you're not part of that elite group, and you agree with me that hitting fairways and greens is all the macho anyone really needs, you have to honestly assess your equipment choices. So here's a quick rundown of some macho options versus those that are less so (read: more effective for all but the most skilled players). If you have the game or the desire to go the macho route, there's nothing wrong with that...but my Handicap card and I will be waiting for you on the first tee.
Driver. Macho: About 350 cc's (if you can still find one), 8 degrees loft, stiff shaft. Non-macho: Enormous head, probably right at the 460 cc limit. Eleven, 12 or even 13 degrees loft. Regular flex shaft, maybe an A-flex for seniors whose swing speeds have slowed a bit. Non-macho advantage: Bigger head, bigger effective hitting area for people who can't hit it in the same spot on the face every time like professionals. A shaft that flexes easily and imparts as much energy as possible to the ball. The shaft's low kick point and the increased loft throw the ball up in the air and add hang time. While the ball is up there, it's going forward.
Long-shot clubs. Macho: Four-, 3-, 2-, and (yipes!) 1-irons, complete with their undeniably cool and classic look. Non-macho: A well-thought-out, fitted mix of two to four fairway woods and hybrids. Non-macho advantage: Like modern drivers, today's fairway woods and hybrids have weight low and waaaay back, which drops the clubhead's center of gravity way below the equator of the ball. As a result, impact drives the ball into the air rapidly, which is especially beneficial from rough. As for shots from good lies, see the driver section above regarding what the ball is doing while it's up there. And sole designs these days account for the fact that most of us don't hit down on the ball as much as we should, but rather sweep it a bit. These new soles give a sweet feel through the turf.
Irons. Macho: Player's blades, thinner than a bad alibi, complete with the razor top line and all the panache that comes with. Non-macho: One of the many models of irons available that feature low-and-back mass properties, often artfully hidden in the hitting position beneath a clean top line that has substance without undue width. Non-macho advantage: As with the longer second-shot clubs, the lower centers of gravity found in clubs with cavity backs, undercut channels and cut muscles encourage the ball to get airborne. Perimeter weighting fights dispersion. And here, going non-macho need not involve a cosmetic sacrifice. There are a great many very good-looking iron models out there now, and for all levels of player. Examples from a sea of choices: Titleist's forged line (especially those with precisely engineered cavities or muscle-like weighting features), Mizuno's MP 60s, and Cleveland's TA line.
Golf balls. Macho: A three- or four-piece tour ball with a urethane cover. Non-macho: A two-piece ball with a large, highly responsive core. Non-macho advantage: For people with lower swing speeds, the large-core models tend to go farther; tour-ball distance often comes from a core that is so deep in the ball that only really fast clubhead speeds can take advantage of it.
However, this is one area where the general rules of macho/non-macho don't always apply. Ball performance is so complex, and the demands we make of balls so diverse, that you may be better off going against type. That is to say, if the spin characteristics and distance of a tour ball work better for you (or just please you more) than the ball that fits your swing speed, have at it.
One last note: I don't mean to be sexist, but it's pretty well accepted that the so-called Macho Factor in golf is a phenomenon perpetuated by us men. Women, unconstrained by such primal golf forces, seem much better at building bags that give them the best chance of achieving their golf goals. Anyone in the grip of MF would do well to change his mindset and remember the object of the game: Less strokes, more fun.
And what's muy macho than that?
Email your thoughts to Adam Barr
Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.
With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.
Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.
The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.
In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.
Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys
After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.
There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.
It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.
It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.
“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.
In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.
Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”
Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.
“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”
Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.
Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.
If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.
For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.
Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.
Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.
While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.
When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?
Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.
After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.
The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.
That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.
The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.
While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.
Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.
Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.
“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”
The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?
Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'
John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.
That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.
Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.
Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid
Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.
Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.
Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.
World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.
Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.