Masters Special Including Great Armchair Augusta Course Guide
Keep Yourself Nice Polo Shirt Frenzy
WIN WIN WIN
Â£4,000 Worth Of Golfing Paradise Including A 4-ball At Monte Rei AND a Golf Break At St Moritz's World Famous Kulm Hotel
Anna Rawson, 007-Iron, GolfDunk
How to Choose the Right Golf Ball for Your Game
THE DUDE IS THOMAS PIETERS THE COOLEST GOLFER ON THE PLANET?
ISSUE 02 | APRIL 2018
M A G A Z I N E
ISSUE ii|APRIL 2017
WWW.GOLP UNKH Q. COM
EDITOR IN CHIEF TIM SOUTHWELL Tim@golfpunkmedia.com
It’s here. Praise the golf-lord. It’s finally here!! The Masters. Augusta. Spring. Golf… Time to rub your eyes, open the curtains and greet the new day with a loud and excited “Yes!”, head to the golf course and ‘get out’. To celebrate this magical time, we have a great new issue of GolfPunk for you. For our cover story we head over to Antwerp to meet Ryder Cup hero Thomas Pieters in his home city and talk about everything from his Masters chances to whether animals can commit suicide or not. These things are important… Elsewhere in the mag we take a golf fitness class with golf Olympic record holder Maria Verchenova. Well, we watch and pay attention anyway. GP debutant Belinda Whent gives us the lowdown on how to choose the right golf ball for your game, Jeff Ritter hits balls at skyscrapers and GolfPunk gets on board the Glacier Express for a Swiss golf adventure. There’s a corking Augusta course guide so you can fully immerse yourself in events at The Masters and analyse the shots facing the pros from the comfort of your sofa. Plus, we exclusively go under cover at the Srixon laboratory in Japan and find out how their golf boffins create the XXIO driver. We also continue our countdown of the Top 50 GolfPunks Of All Time, Colin Montgomerie returns as 007 Iron, and Simon Dyson reveals his top biscuit dunker. AND… we’re giving you the chance to win £4,000.00 worth of golf getaway prizes including a four-ball at Europe’s number one course Monte Rei and an amazing golf break at the world famous Kulm Hotel in St Moritz. Oh, and before I forget, GolfPunk Classics features original GolfPunk Jesper Parnevik, and our fashion experts select the Top 10 New Polo Shirts for 2018. The golf season has officially begun and we’re champing at the bit to get out there and get our golf clogs on the sacred turf. Until next month, enjoy the mag and keep yourselves nice.
MANAGING DIRECTOR JOHN DEAN John@golfpunkmedia.com
TI M SO UT HWEL L E D I TO R - I N -C HI EF
FOUNDERS TIM SOUTHWELL, JOHN DEAN
ART DIRECTION & DESIGN KARL BARR KARLBARRCREATIVE.CO.UK G O L FJ U N K DANIEL OWEN Dan@golfpunkmedia.com CONTRIBUTORS GAVIN NEWSHAM JEFF RITTER UNA DEAN STEVE READ MARIA VERCHENOVA SOPHIE SOUTHWELL ADVERTSING & SALES BEN MOFFATT Ben@golfpunkmedia.com
C L I C K H E R E T O S U B S C R I B E A B S O L U T E LY F R E E !
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IN THIS ISSUE...
G P D I G I T A L : I S S U E II
CONTENTS FEATURES 011 THE MASTERS
YOUR HOLE-BY-HOLE GUIDE TO GLORIOUS AUGUSTA NATIONAL
029 HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT BALL FOR YOUR GAME 053 THE AMAZING XXIO STORY REGULARS
006 A QUICK LIVENER PHOTO: DAVID CORBETT
TOP 50 GOLFPUNKS: ANNA RAWSON
EXCLUSIVE THOMAS PIETERS INTERVIEW
OUR FAVOURITE SHOP PERFECT 10 E-SHOP PICKS
034 KEEP YOURSELF NICE TOP 10 POLO SHIRTS FOR 2018 GP CLASSICS: JESPER PARNEVIK
041 PLANET GOLF
ALL ABOARD THE GLACIER EXPRESS!
050 DRIVING RANGE THE VOLVO XC60
051 GOLF TUITION
GP'S JEFF RITTER TALKS SKYSCRAPERS
053 GOLF FITNESS
MARIA Vâ€™S GUIDE TO GLUTES
IT'S TIGER TIME! O
nly a blind badger with an attitude problem could argue that Tiger is back. Ok, his driving might still be wayward but that short-game!!! Truth be told, Tiger’s comeback has shot a seismic bolt of lightning into the game of golf, and the level of excitement going into the Masters is palpable and extreme. Check this picture out: 1997, Tiger wins his first Masters by 12 shots. A superstar is born who would soon become the world’s most famous sportsperson and one of the most recognisable faces on the planet period. A golfer. Wow. It still feels unreal when you look back at it. Can he win the 2018 Masters? That would be one hell of a story. Can he do it??? Who knows, but whatever happens at Augusta, it’s going to be one hell of a ride...
A QUICK LIVENER
GOLFPUNKS OF ALL TIME
hen we first set eyes on Anna Rawson we could scarcely believe she was a golfer. Funny, clever and an extremely pleasant person, Anna always looks like a trillion dollars in all the photo shoots she’s done for us. Anna grew up in Southern Australia and began playing golf at 13 years old. She might be as well-known for her modelling but the girl can really play, shooting a course record 64 in the opening round of the 2009 Canadian Open. "I love to shock people," Anna told us during our famous San Diego photo shoot. "I love doing edgy stuff." Anna Rawson gets GolfPunk and we get Anna. Who else made the Top 50 GolfPunks Of All Time?
CLICK HERE FOR MORE
HELP THE GRAVY... Tiger Woods’ impressive comeback Helping The Jeez-we-forgot-justhow-much-we-missed-this Gravy! Tipping Point for being the ultimate TV opiate Helping The Mid-afternoon-breakfrom-the-computer Gravy! Fleming Golf Tips for getting us ahead of the game Helping The We’ve-won-everyother-week-at-least Gravy! Copthorne GC for hosting us when our home course was shut Helping The Despite-the-hideousweather-we-still-can’t-help-ourselvesand-need-to-get-out Gravy! Goat caddies in Oregon Helping The Taking-up-the-golf-slackwith-amusing-fuzzy-beards Gravy! Langleys Gin Helping The Luxury-beverage Gravy!
BUNCH OF ARSE...
Clay based golf courses in winter Bunch Of Closed?-Whatdyamean-closedagain!! Arse! Urinals that flush just when you start using them Bunch Of Splash-back-mountain-ofunwanted-toilet-water Arse! Pot holes that reduce your car to a gibbering wreck Bunch Of What-the-blazes-do-wepay-our-taxes-for Arse!!
Meanwhile in Oregon...
A QUICK LIVENER When Monty isnâ€™t playing golf and commentating, he works for British Intelligence as an international man of mystery. Welcome to the world of Colin Montgomerie 007 Iron...
A QUICK LIVENER
MINI-ARNIE GOLF CAPERING CLUB CLASSICS Ping Anser, 1966
IT’S GOLF... BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT!
his is brilliant. Mini Indoor Golf – where you control a plastic Arnold Palmer attached to the end of a golf club. The game is actually almost 100-years-old, having been initially conceived by Schoenhut in 1920. You may remember that it was resurrected in the 1960s by Marx Toys and then later endorsed by Arnold Palmer with the now plastic figure taking on the King’s appearance. That toy golfer has six interchangeable clubs, a full backswing, and can hit a tiny golf ball around your living room with realistic accuracy and arc.
The little clubs even put backspin on the ball! The varying lofts on the different clubs do actually make a big difference. The driver hits a low arching shot up to 17 feet while the 7-iron has a high arc and will go eight or nine feet. When you get near to the hole, simply swap out the higher flying white ball for one of the heavier orange “putting balls” which are much easier to knock in the hole. The basic set starts at $60, but you can get accessories as well — from extra pins and sand traps to trees, rough, and water hazards. Lovely stuff.
#2: SIMON DYSON
IT’S GOT TO BE THE HOBNOB, HASN’T IT? THE TRICK WHEN YOU’RE DUNKING IT IS TO KEEP IT IN JUST LONG ENOUGH SO YOU CAN SEE IT STAR TING TO BEND. YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL, THOUGH, COS IF YOU LEAVE IT TOO LATE, YOU’LL LOSE IT.”
t all started back in 1966. Karsten Solheim was standing over the hob, stirring a vat of molten metal ready to produce the first prototype of the famous Anser putter. This is the club that first won on the US Tour at the 1967 Phoenix Open with Julius Boros and most recently with Bubba Watson at the WGC in Austin Texas, not to mention over 500 victories nestled in between. Solheim was born in Bergen, Norway on September 15, 1911. He moved to Seattle as a child and followed in his father’s footsteps as a shoemaker. But his hear t wasn’t really in it; Karsten didn’t want to cobble, he wanted to design. After training as a mechanical engineer and working on fighter jet and missile technology, he joined General Electric and helped design the first por table TV. Karsten started playing golf in the 50s and quickly realised that putters were offering golfers little help. His first design, the A-1, was constructed using two lollypop sticks and two sugar cubes. But he finally hit paydirt when he came up with the ‘answer’. Solheim sketched a design on the back of an LP, but when he made the club he realised the word ‘answer’ didn’t fit on the rear bumper of the club. His wife Louise suggested that they leave out the ‘w’ and the Anser was born. When Boros won in Phoenix in 1967, Karsten’s home-town event, he was quoted as saying: “The putter looks like a bunch of nuts and bolts welded together but the ball goes in the hole.” Unflattering descriptions aside, Scotty Cameron sums up nicely just what Solheim did for golf: “I can’t fathom what went through his mind when he created the Ping Anser putter. I can only wonder what he would have designed today with the current technology and materials.”
A QUICK LIVENER
RUDE NOT TO... Golf courses you need to make a B-line for…
No.2 Monte Rei, Portugal
olfPunk has developed a bit of a serious man crush on Monte Rei, and with good reason. It is a course and resort that needs to be on the wish list of any self-respecting GolfPunk. Bucket list, wish list, call it what you like, but you all need to get out there and relish this extraordinary experience. The Monte Rei Resort is set in the beautiful foothills of the Eastern Algarve, with sweeping views of the Serra do Caldeirão mountains to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. That’s just your starter. The first of what will be two Jack Nicklaus Signature golf courses Monte Rei North - opened in June 2007, and in its eleven year history has grown and grown in its reputation as the must play course in the whole of mainland Europe. Our friends over at leadingcourses. com have ranked it as the number two resort in Europe, after Finca Cortesin, but we think that as a stand alone course, Monte Rei should be topping this list. No disrespect to Finca Cortesin, we love you too, but for the on course experience it has to be Monte Rei in our minds. We have to confess that we were not that quick off the mark with Monte Rei, as it was in the eastern Algarve, and it was not until last year that we first feasted our eyes on this amazing track. But when we got there, and toured the course, everything changed. We were in love, and feeling a bit giddy with our new discovery. So what has so floated our boats? Well, first and foremost is the sense of peace and privacy that you enjoy on
every single unique hole. Four balls are sent out with 12 minute gaps, which is a far cry from the normal 7 minute flights that you will experience in the Algarve. You’ll be in your own perfect golf bubble, with no distractions, nobody on your tail, and nobody holding you up. Golfing nirvana. And then there’s the water. Water comes into play on eleven of the eighteen holes, so you are constantly challenged and kept on your toes. This may be millionaires golf, but if you save your pennies, and you want to treat yourself to something really special, then it is worth every one of those pennies. We are also running a competition to win a free four ball at Monte Rei, so you might be able to experience it for free! Ultimately, you pays for what you gets. And Monte Rei is not afraid to charge for what is a totally amazing experience. Fair play to them we say. The whole experience is seamless from the moment you arrive. Bag collection, tick. Lovely changing rooms, tick. Beautiful bar and dining areas, tick. Golf course - perfection, and double tick. 19th hole, tick. In fact gastronomy is taken very seriously at Monte Rei with the resort’s cuisine overseen by Michelin-starred Chef Albano Lourenço, one of the most respected chefs on the Portuguese culinary scene. So as with the course itself, the nineteenth hole or rather holes, are totally unique. With three restaurants, two bars, a host of private dining, corporate retreat and banquet options, Monte Rei offers discerning travelers to the East Algarve a peerless culinary destination. From the informal poolside Veranda
restaurant to the all-day dining restaurant The Grill and the fine dining Vistas with stunning views out across the fairways and lake to the Atlantic Ocean, Monte Rei offers a dining option to suit every occasion. Vistas restaurant offers a complete gourmet experience. The celebrated and award-winning chef Albano Lourenço brings his sublime culinary talents to the resort's signature restaurant. Albano remains true to his respect for the highest quality locally sourced ingredients, offering authentic culinary discoveries paired with Portugal’s finest vintages from the impressive cellar assembled by the resident sommelier.
Vistas was recently included within Michelin Guide 2018 (Spain / Portugal) being distinguished for its service, quality of food and setting: "It has a special charm, an unusual classic-elegant atmosphere and a terrace overviewing the golf course. You can order à la carte dishes from their different menus!". Vistas reopened for 2018 season in March with a new, fresh and exciting menu. We will be writing more on Monte Rei in the coming months, with a full hole-by-hole account of this fabulous track. But we hope this gets your golfing gander up, as it has done ours.
A QUICK LIVENER
Find out more: www.monterei.com
Augusta. Just saying the name gets the gander up: Magnolia lane; The Golden Bell; value for money sandwiches & beer. And the golf... Is it the ultimate achievement for any player who craves to be remembered as a true great? Probably. Just look at the remarkable quotes across the page. Bring it on. ...
M A S T E AUGUSTA NATIONAL, GA
'Redbud' 16th. Par 3. 170 yards. Drool Central...
The Best Masters Quotes Ever! “The first time I played the Masters, I was so nervous I drank a bottle of rum before I teed off. I shot the happiest 83 of my life.” Chi Chi Rodriguez “When a boy handed me a cup of water on the 16th tee, I could hardly hold it. I didn’t know whether I was holdin’ the putter or it was holdin’ me.” Gay Brewer “At my first Masters, I got the feeling that if I didn’t play well, I wouldn’t go to heaven.” Dave Marr “I always said if they have a golf course like this in heaven, I want to be the head pro.” Gary Player “I don’t know if I’ll ever do it again or not, but frankly, I don’t care!” Jack Nicklaus after winning in 1986 “Oh my goodness. Oh, wow! In your life have you seen anything like that?” Verne Lundquist commentating on Tiger Woods chipping in on the 16th in 2005
“On the fifteenth hole I started thinking how I’d look in the green jacket, the next thing I know, they’re giving it to Charley Coody.”
Johnny Miller after leading by two shots with four holes to play in 1971
“I miss, I miss, I miss, I make.”
Seve Ballesteros on his four-putt from 15 feet on the 16th green in 1988
“I am such a stupid.”
Roberto De Vicenzo after signing for a par at 17 instead of a birdie, missing a spot in the play off by one shot with Bob Goalby in 1968
“I screwed up. It’s all on me. I know that. But losing this Masters is not the end of the world. I let this one get away, but I still have a pretty good life. I’ll wake up tomorrow, still breathing, I hope. All these hiccups I have, they must be for a reason. All this is just a test. I just don’t know what the test is yet.” Greg Norman grasping at straws after blowing a six-shot lead in the final round of the 1996 Masters
“I’ve never been to heaven, and thinking back on my life, I probably won’t get a chance to go. I guess winning the Masters is a close as I’m going to get.” Fuzzy Zoeller
“The course is perfection and it asks perfection.” Sir Nick Faldo
“I must admit the name was born of a touch of immodesty.” Bobby Jones on calling the tournament the Masters
PAR 4 445 YARDS
Pink Dogwood used to be called Woodbine. Should be renamed ‘Oosthuizen’ after his sensational four-iron eagle there in 2013.
Back at the inaugural Masters this was originally the 10th hole. The nines were reversed by Bobby Jones in 1935.
You. Knees shaking, palms sweating and 445-yards of uphill terror lying in front of you. Scrape it away avoiding the bunker up on the right and then the hole doglegs right and you have a mid-iron to a green where all you’re thinking is ‘middle, middle, middle’. Welcome to the longest four hours of your life.
PAR 3 240 YARDS
MASTERS MAGIC It was only after 1982 that players were allowed to bring their own caddies. Prior to that they had to employ an Augusta National caddy.
In 1995, Jack Nicklaus recorded back to back eagles on F and Saturday at this testing par-four. “In the first round, I hit a five-iron into the middle of the green that rolled in. O Saturday I knocked in a seven-iron for my second eagle.”
ON THE TEE!!
ON THE TEE!!
They moved this tee back 25-yards in 2010, to make an already difficult par-three harder still. It was the hardest hole in 2013. They mischieviously play with the tee positions so it can play anywhere between a five-iron and a five-wood, but the target should always be to avoid the deep bunkers and find the middle of the green.
PAR 4 440 YARDS
All this modest uphiller requires of you is to smash a 315 yard drive in order to avoid the two vast fairway bogey magnets. From there it’s a mid-iron to a green with more and downs than a pinball. Magnolia was originally inspire by the Road Hole at St Andrews.
Thank Horton Smith for all this. He redesigned it after the hole was considered ‘not to standard’.
The Masters was the first international live sports broadcast after it was aired on the BBC in 1967.
Padra Harrington a three-time winner, but nev a Green Jack only won th competition the Wedn
ON THE TEE!!
This hole was originally modeled on the 11th at St Andrews, but if the original design still existed today it would be unplayable at modern green speeds.
Jock Hutchison and Fred McLeod were the first honorary starters in 1963. Neither won The Masters, but each did win the Senior PGA Championship, which were played at Augusta National Golf Club.
ON THE TEE!!
While the surrounding pines provide the needles, players will have to provide the thread-thin accuracy with which to play this hole. The new tee and trees built in 2006, have only made this tee shot all the more daunting – a 3-wood or driver depending on how confident players feel – leaving a mid-iron to a green that appears like a postage stamp amid a moat of white sand.
Bruce Devlin owned this hole in 1967. He had a double-eagle and three birdies over the week, and was s on just this hole.
ON THE TEE!!
Weighing in at a hefty 570-yards, Jasmine can be deflowe with two big blows. A good drive down the left will steer then it’s just a simple blind three-wood, sneaking around the trees over the brow of the hill to hit the front of the gre it running down to the applauding grandstand. Pretty easy
aig n is the e Augusta ver received ket as he he Par 3 n held on nesday.
014 PAR 5 575 YARDS
PAR 4 350 YARDS
MASTERS MAGIC Despite being lengthened twice, the course still retains the same yardage as when the course opened. Someone made a booboo, methinks.
On occasion the Greens committee have been known to move the tee forward to tempt players into trying to drive this hole. Tiger Woods went for it in 2003, and made a six.
ON THE TEE!!
Hopefully you’ve got rid of your butterflies and can tank one straight and true to set up an early birdie. Anything left is in trouble and it’s one of the toughest greens on the course, so unless you’re 100% sure, the lay-up is the best way to get at the pin.
PAR 4 455 YARDS
The last time the winner was not in the top 10 after 36 holes? It was 1986, the year Jack Nicklaus won his last Masters.
MASTERS MAGIC From 1934-1938 this tournament was actually called the Augusta National Invitational. Against the humble Bobby Jones' wishes, it was changed in 1939 to make it sound fancier.
ON THE TEE!!
Hit a long-iron short of the fairway bunkers then choose your short-iron wisely to attack the green up the hill in front of you which slopes viciously from right to left. Alistair McKenzie believed this hole to be almost perfect in design and it has been tampered with least on the course.
PAR 3 180 YARDS Jamie Donaldson aced this on his debut in 2013. “Be right,” he called as it tracked the pin. It was.
ON THE TEE!!
She looks pretty basic as she drops down from the tee to the ampitheatre of a green, but you have to hit this slopy green. Long is going to leave you an impossibly scary up and down, short is a deep trap that requires practise and a prayer to escape from.
PAR 4 570 YARDS
The lowest amateur score remains the seven-under-par shot by Charlie Coe in 1961 ered when he finished tied with you wide of the bunker and Arnold Palmer for second, one shot behind winner, reen and get Gary Player. y really.
PAR 4 460 YARDS
MASTERS MAGIC They added in trees down the left-hand side here in 2002,as members were not impressed at the amount of pros taking an "unfair" shortcut to the green.
ON THE TEE!!
You’ll recognise the spectator walkway players now regularly smash into as they take advantage of the elevated tee and tank it down over the corner. From there it’s a short-iron uphill into the green which has three tiers and it’s important to get your ball on the right level. Many have done the hard work only to look very foolish as their approach shot trickles down to their feet.
Jack Nicklaus’ birdie here in ’86 saw him playing the final 10 holes in seven-under-par. Over his putt he heard a roar, Both Seve and Tom Kite had just holed eagles. Jack turned to the gallery, “OK, let’s see if we can make a roar of our own here.”
PAR 4 495 YARDS
We couldn't include the house that Rory McIlroy hooked into in 2012 as we didn't have enough space on the screen...
Bubba's famous hooked wedge from the trees broke Louis Oosthuizen’s heart. Watson’s caddy maintains it was only the third best shot he’d hit that week.
ON THE TEE!!
PAR 5 510 YARDS
It’s where Phil and Faldo won their Green Jackets, but where many others have lost theirs. A classic risk/reward par-five where a big draw on the tee sets you up for an eagle, but where one tiny branch or fractional mis-timing will have you wet, sandy or in a place you wish you’d never ever seen.
Where Phil Mickelson, hit that six-iron and where Nick Faldo hit that two-iron in 1996. Who's going to hit that shot this year?
PAR 3 170 YARDS
Depending on the wind it will play anywhere between a six to a nine-iron. Fire over a lake that stretches all the way to the green, which is built into a slope so vicious that if your ball isn’t spinning like a dryer attached to a drag car engine then it will roll down the hill towards a watery grave.
“If you see my ball on the green in two you’ll know I missed my second shot,” said Ben Hogan whose strategy was to play safe and avoid the water.
In 1982, Dan Pohl went eagle, eagle on 13 and 14. Not co he birdied 15 and 16 as well, nearly acing the latter. He w six-under-par for those four holes and the record still stan
ON THE TEE!!
Out of the chip pan and into the ‘fir’ with a par four that d you sling one hard into the fairway or it will spit you dow the pine trees on the right. Having achieved that you are l a short-iron that over four days you’d happily trade your p badge for to guarantee it in the right spot.
The hole was completely remodeled in 1947 on Clifford Roberts orders and while they were carving out the lake it rained so hard they had to abandon the diggers as they became completely submerged in water.
ON THE TEE!!
Start praying. It’s Amen Corner. And one of the toughest p drive has to be long and accurate, but that’s just the start. F will swirl around you as you stare at the green, crouching lake just wishing you to be an inch out. You used to be abl they raised the green because if you want to win you need
In 1937 Byron Nelson went birdie-eagle on 12 and 13 to make up six shots on Ralph Guldahl, Nelson going on to win.
ON THE TEE!!
ON THE TEE!!
Where Rory melted and Bubba shone. It’s a monster down the hill that needs a hard hook from the tee. After that comes what Fred Couples called “the toughest three shots on the course”. Your approach is rarely on a flat lie and you’ve got to get that ball onto the green without finding the bunker right or the steep run off left, and the green is slippier than freshly greased bowling lane.
Ray Floyd three-putted this green in 1990 as he blew a fo lead and handed the Green Jacket to Nick Faldo. “The pre basically got to me. Isn’t that choking,” he questioned.
Where the word 'meltdown' could actually be applied to Greg Norman's final round in 1996, and where the word 'genius' could be applied to Tiger Woods's chip in 2003.
ON THE TEE!!
Took on a different look after Eisenhower’s Tree – a pine that dominated the left view from the tee - was bro in winter storms. In truth, the tree only really bothered old players who blast over it and are then faced with the dark holding it on the raised green with its sharp run-offs at ev
par fours in golf. Your From there the wind behind an ink black le to bail out right, but d to do it proper.
ontent was nds.
016 PAR 4 505 YARDS
Where local boy, Larry Mize, chipped in from 140-feet against a hapless Greg Norman in the 1993 play-off.
PAR 4 440 YARDS
ought down d Ike and not today’s k art of very edge.
PAR 3 155 YARDS
You'll be shocked to hear that Jack Nicklaus once hit a shank of this tee in 1964.
Claude Harmon made the first hole in one here. In 1988 Curtis Strange scored 1-2-3-4 over his four rounds on this hole.
ON THE TEE!!
With every blow struck at this hole you can hear the intake of breath that is only released when the ball lands. It looks innocuous, but the 155-yards over Rae’s Creek have recorded every score from 1 to 13 over the years. And that knowledge means that every time the wind swirls, the trees shake or the crowds roar, then the players panic and all they have is their god-given skills to get through.
PAR 5 530 YARDS
MASTERS MAGIC The only hole of the course without a bunker.
If you dunk it in the water from the drop zone, you have to drop it in the same place and not in a place two paces backwards. If only Tiger had known that in 2013.....
You have to drop it in the same place and not in a place two paces backwards. So we’ve heard.
demands wn into left with players
PAR 4 440 YARDS
Nandina is a good luck symbol in Japan, so back Hideki Matsuyama heavily if he is in the frame on Sunday.
ON THE TEE!!
Where Gene Sarazen played his 'shot heard around the world' in 1934 and where Tiger played his 'drops heard around the world' in 2013. Players know that this is where they can break necks or cash cheques. Where a good drive can open up another eagle or birdie opportunity, but where even finding this narrow green in two is no guarantee of walking off with any better than a par.
MASTERS MAGIC You remember the great putts that win (Mickelson, Lyle, Woosnam, Nicklaus) but many have failed on this green including no less than Hogan, Palmer, Green and Sneed.
ON THE TEE!!
Time to carve your name into history. Smack it at the bunkers on the left elbow of the fairway, now 335 yards away after a tee change in 2002. Most players will aim at them and hit a fade leaving anything from a four-iron to an eight-iron depending on the wind, that you fire up the hill and hopefully into the middle of the green. There it’s just you, one stroke and glory.
PAR 4 465 YARDS In 1997, Tiger Woods became the first African American to win The Masters. He won it by 12 shots...
PHOTOS: DAVID CORBETT
I’M NOT A LOUD, RAGING PARTY GOER, THAT’S NOT REALLY MY STYLE. I WOULDN’T THINK ‘THAT GUY’S REALLY ANNOYING’, I DON’T HAVE A NEED TO BE THE COOLEST PERSON IN THE ROOM”
Ahead of this year's Ryder Cup year it's worth remembering one thing from Europe's miserable loss at Hazeltine in 2016. And that one thing is Thomas Pieters. While everyone else around him were floundering under the pressure, Pieters was quietly going about the business of getting four points out of a possible five, the best return of any player in either side. He also knows how to get his way around Augusta, finishing fourth last year. We travelled to his home town of Antwerp to meet the Belgian wonderkind...
homas Pieters started playing golf at the age of five. There was no club pro father or uncle there to get him into the game and steer him on a path to glory, just a family who loved playing the great game. Thomas, like the rest of us, got hooked and it didn’t take long before he was demonstrating genuine prowess and potential. By the time he was 18 he’d won the Belgian Junior Championship and earned himself a place at the University of Illinois where he started to show his impending class, winning the individual title at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational in 2011, followed by first place at the Individual 2012 NCAA Div 1 Championship. In 2013 TP ran away with the NCAA ‘Big Ten Conference’ individual award, the highest level of college golf. When he was 21 he was so confident about his future in golf that he quit his last year at Illinois in order to turn professional.
D That was in 2013. Next up was qualifying for the European Tour via the Challenge Tour that same year. Thomas fought through three stages of qualifying, gaining the 20th tour card. He hadn’t blown the Challenge Tour away like many had predicted, but he was on his way. Before he had the chance to check his yardage book, Thomas found himself in a playoff for the Open de Espana. Against Miguel Angel Jimenez. At Valderrama. He lost the playoff but he’d made a big statement. Anyone that can knock it around Valderrama in four under in four days of fierce wind has clearly got game. He ended the year with a world ranking of 243, having climbed a massive 879 places from the start of the year. He didn’t have to wait long for his first win, or his second. After winning the D + D Real Czech Masters in August 2015, he went to Holland won the KLM Open the following week, putting him in the world’s top 100 golfers.
I’M DOING MY BEST TO BE IN THE FRAME FOR THE RYDER CUP IN FRANCE... IT’S JUST THE MOST AMAZING EXPERIENCE... I THINK THAT IT’S THE ELECTRICITY – YOU CAN SEE IT AND FEEL IT ON TV”
2016 got off to a flyer as Thomas finished second to Rickie Fowler in the Abu Dhabi HSBC. And then came the Olympics. Ah, yes, the 2016 Olympics – spurned by some of the world’s best golfers due to a tragic lack of imagination on their part. Thomas and his compatriot and pal Nicolas Colsaerts, however, had plenty of imagination, seeing the Olympics as a unique opportunity to represent your country and bring golf to a whole new audience back home in Belgium and beyond. Thomas narrowly missed out on a medal, finishing fourth. But golf had been a major success at the Olympics in its first outing since 1904, and Thomas had done his bit to ensure that golf would be back at the games in 2020. Winning the 2016 Made In Denmark tournament at the end of August gave Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke all the excuses he needed to make him a Captain’s Pick for the European side on their way to Hazeltine. Pieters’ heroics at Hazeltine proved to be pretty much the best thing that happened for the European side who went down 17-11 to the Americans. Pieters, however, was one of only four Europeans to win his singles match, adding to his fourball and foursomes wins. As the Europeans trudged back onto their plane to lick their wounds, Pieters surely had the springiest step, having become the first European rookie in history to win four Ryder Cup points. Thomas Pieters had officially ‘arrived’. A second place finish at the genesis Open early last year was followed up by fourth places at both the Masters and WGC at Firestone. This year Thomas’s best finish on the PGA Tour is 13th at the Honda Classic. With one eye on the European Tour and Ryder Cup qualification, Thomas finished 5that the Abu Dhabi HSBC last month. You get the feeling that, at any minute, he is about to break out of this run of Top 10-15 finishes and blow a field away. As I sit down with Thomas in the photo shoot apartment in downtown Antwerp for our interview, I shake him warmly by the hand and congratulate him on his 2017 Augusta performance, adding that he also won me a nice slice of cash as I had bet on him to finish in the top five. His response is typical of his laid-back, good humoured personality: “Glad to be of service, man!” Rarely have I met a golfer as easy to get along with as Thomas Pieters. The average tour pro golfer can end up getting all too wrapped up in themselves. Walking around as if the world revolves around them and blanking you just hours after you’ve interviewed or chatted with them. They moan about hotels, flights, waiter service. They don’t bother playing for their countries at the Olympics because it all looks a bit inconvenient. Pieters contradicts all these stereotypes, he is selfdeprecating, he has opinions on matters other than golf and is pretty much one of the coolest dudes on tour. To cap it all off, the Ryder Cup hero is wearing a GolfPunk t-shirt with pride...
YOU CAN COME SECOND A MILLION TIMES BUT PEOPLE WILL FORGET ABOUT YOU, IF YOU WIN FIVE OR SIX TIMES THEN YOU’LL BE A NAME.”
GP: Your early influences in golf – how did you get into golf? TP: We went into it as a family, started at the same time so there’s no big golfing history or my dad was a pro. I didn’t see Tiger Woods until I was about 15 or 16, I kind of wanted to do my own thing but I’ve always looked up to him as a golfer. GP: So he was your main inspiration? What other sports were you doing? TP: I was playing basketball and football but not a lot of people play golf in Belgium and it was kind of different – I enjoyed it. It’s a challenge, you’re on your own, you can’t blame anybody. GP: You can blame your caddy! TP: I think that’s a bit low – but you can try! GP: So when you were growing up did you think golf was cool? TP: Well I thought it was cool, obviously, my friends and people at school didn’t! But yes I always thought it was cool. GP: Did you have people saying ‘why do you play golf? TP: Yes, of course. I’m not going to say I got bullied until I was crying but I got bullied for playing golf for sure. GP: People assume it’s an old man’s sport? TP: Yes, exactly. But it is changing. You guys at GolfPunk are doing a good job at changing perceptions. The Flemish Golf Federation and media are getting into it now in Belgium so it’s going the right way.
GP: What did you think of the golf sixes innovation? TP: I liked it, I think that it’s fun to watch, it might need some tweaking, I don’t know what, but it’s definitely a great idea. GP: You’ve played in a Ryder Cup, extraordinarily successfully in a losing team. Even people who don’t really like golf watch the Ryder Cup, what is it about it that switches people on? TP: I think that it’s the electricity – you can see it and feel it on TV. I’ve watched many of them for five or six hours a day you’re just sitting and watching, and it’s exciting. I think because there are only four groups it just gets your attention the whole way round. GP: After the last Ryder Cup we’re all (in Europe) hoping more Medinah, please. TP: Medinah was unbelievable. I was 20’. I didn’t get to see all of it live because we were at a world amateur in Argentina, but obviously, I remember Nico (Colsaerts) doing so well. It definitely made the news big time in Belgium. That was probably the first time that people heard about it and knew about it, a decent golfer for our history and a great player in Nico. GP: So basically there is Nico, yourself, and Thomas Detry flying the flag for Belgium. What’s happening underneath the surface that we don’t know about yet? TP: We have a really good junior programme with the Flemish Golf Federation, which I was
in from the age of nine. They supported me all the way through to when I turned pro and the first couple of years they even helped me out financially. Now I just give back and teach the young kids a couple of times a year, which I enjoy a lot. You can see a lot of talent in there. The more kids that play the more players you are going to get out there. GP: Enough of the golf questions... if you were Prime Minister in Belgium for one day and you could change anything what would you do? TP: Ugh, all the roadworks in Antwerp I would get rid of them because they are such a pain and it takes ages to get anywhere. It took me an hour and a bit today to do a ten-minute drive. GP: That’s terrible. What kind of country is this! TP: It’s a great country but it’s very small and everybody has to get somewhere and everyone has a car so it ends up being a lot of traffic!” GP: So if you had a time machine would you go forwards or backwards? TP: Forwards, because we know what happened in the past! I’d like to know what’s going to happen in 200 years. GP: So what does success on the golf course look like to you? TP: I think it’s measured by how many tournaments you win. You can come second a million times but people will forget about you, if you win five or six times then you’ll be a name. GP: What about majors, that’s the goal for any
NOW I JUST GIVE BACK AND TEACH THE YOUNG KIDS A COUPLE OF TIMES A YEAR, WHICH I ENJOY A LOT. YOU CAN SEE A LOT OF TALENT IN THERE. THE MORE KIDS THAT PLAY THE MORE PLAYERS YOU ARE GOING TO GET OUT THERE.”
aspiring tour pro to win a major, which one would you have if you could choose just one? TP: Well, it’s coming right up... The Masters. GP: I had a bet on you for the Masters last year, 50-1 which I thought were pretty good odds. TP: Did you win anything? GP: Yes! I had an each-way bet so thank you. TP: You’re welcome! GP: It would be good if you could win this time around, I’m going in large on you this year! TP: Yes, sir!” (Pieters salutes) GP: So what was your first car? TP: My first car was a Kia Magentis. I drive a Landrover Defender now, plus a Range Rover but not at the same time,... that’s impossible! GP: Who would play you in a movie? TP: Will Ferrell maybe, I love a good comedy. Step Brothers is my favourite Will Ferrell film. GP: Who’s the funniest person on tour? TP: Richard Finch, he just does not give a damn, he’s very funny. He’s really quick with his answers or some funny comment, he’s always impressed me with that. GP: Do you enjoy living in hotels? A lot of people complain about it but clearly, you’re staying in really nice places? TP: It’s funny as obviously, my success has happened pretty quickly but the first couple of years I was in bed and breakfast type places – cheap places because that’s where you can save a bit of money. Now I get to stay in nice places or you get given a hotel room – it does help having a good bed or being able to lie down on the plane, it definitely helps with the travelling. GP: We were at the Houston Open last year and I was impressed by how big a deal every tournament is on the PGA Tour.
YES, ANIMALS CAN COMMIT SUICIDE... WHY NOT? IF YOU’VE GOT A PANDA AND HE’S HIGH UP IN A TREE AND HE’S BORED HE COULD JUMP. A SQUIRREL COULD DROWN HIMSELF OR RUN IN FRONT OF A CAR, COULDN’T HE?”
TP: Yes, the crowds, well not necessarily always the crowds, the staging, the buzz around the tournaments is really big. I’d say it’s a bit smaller in Europe but that’s it’s charm as well. I quite like it on a Monday or Tuesday when there are not too many people on the golf course, you can do your thing and play with people you like and without being bugged too much. GP: Do you enjoy the pro-am’s? TP: I played a really funny one two weeks ago in New Orleans with the owner of a bank, he was a great guy, really funny. He swore a lot, which doesn’t have to be funny but it was, he was quite an old guy. Also at the Irish Open last year, the guys just got it. Some people try too hard in a pro-am and they don’t talk to you but you’re out there to have fun.” The worst thing to happen is when you realize they really want to win it, but you think ‘you’re not a professional golfer, it doesn’t matter. GP: So did they really land on the moon? TP: I’m going to say yes to that one. I mean,
look at the pictures... they didn’t have photoshop back then did they? GP: What would you think if you met yourself at a party? We asked Sam Torrance this question and he gave the best answer, he said ‘what a coincidence!!’ TP: I really like Sam Torrance, he’s a great guy. If I met myself? I’m a quiet partyer. I like to dance sometimes but I’m not a loud, raging party goer, that’s not really my style. I wouldn’t think ‘that guy’s really annoying’, I don’t have a need to be the coolest person in the room. GP: Can animals commit suicide? TP: Yes, I have read this before. Why not? If you’ve got a panda and he’s high up in a tree and he’s bored he could jump. A squirrel could drown himself or run in front of a car, couldn’t he? GP: Do you think that’s what they do? TP: No, most of them are idiots but some of them maybe, if they’ve had too many nuts. GP: Thomas Pieters, thank you so much for today. You’re ‘Our Kinda Solder’ as we say at GolfPunk. TP: It was a lovely morning, thank you.
OUR FAVOURITE SHOP EDITED BY DAN OWEN
There’s so much awesome new golfjunk out there that we decided to put each month's 10 most eyecatching items into our favourite golf emporium. Dive on in…
COBRA KING F8 DRIVER (RRP £249) The new F8 drivers are absolute doozies that offer two technologies that no other competitor will use in 2018. First up is the Cobra Connect. Now part of the entire F8 range of equipment, the F8 will come complete with a Cobra Connect sensor powered by Arccos. Automaticatically tracking your stats, you’ll have hard quantifiable data to help you realise where you need to improve on the course. It’s an absolute game changer, and while it was available in the F7 drivers, it now comes in the whole set of clubs. Electronically embedded sensors in the grip automatically record the distance and accuracy of every shot so golfers can track their improvements round-to-round. Using the COBRA CONNECT/Arccos 360 mobile app, users simply pair their club to receive detailed performance data and access rangefinder GPS distances for more than 40,000 courses worldwide. No one else can offer anywhere near this technolgy as an intregral part of their equipment range so well done Cobra. The other big tech change is a CNC milled driver face. W’ve seen this before in putters but used on a driver it is a means to produce a perfectly consistent driver face that produces more consistent results. Not only that it looks incredible!!!
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GOLF JUNK: OUR FAVOURITE SHOP
CLEVELAND RTX-3 WEDGE (RRP £99) Cleveland Golf has announced the addition of a distinctive new Tour RAW finish to its advanced–performance RTX–3 wedge family, that was launched to much acclaim in September last year. The iconic golf brand’s R&D team has created this eye–catching new wedge finish, which is already being used by Cleveland Golf tour professionals around the world, specifically to help you to get closer to the hole. It will be available for purchase from July 1st, 2017 across the UK & Ireland. The distinctive Tour RAW finish is achieved by a special production process and adds an outstanding premium ´Touch of Gold´ appearance into golfers bags. Designed to rust over time, the Tour RAW finish pushes the boundaries of wedge spin even further and adds a whole new dimension to the RTX–3 family. With Cleveland Golf’s new ‘Wedge Analyser’ you can get perfectly fit into the striking new Tour RAW finish in just minutes. Just visit the Cleveland Golf website to find your nearest stockist and make sure you get custom–fit for the precise wedge bounce and sole grind that suit your game, in as little as two golf swings.
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CLIVE PRINTED 2L JACKET ATLANTA BLUE/NEBULAS BLUE (RRP £269) The Clive Printed 2L jacket is brand new for the spring/ summer season. This two-layer, lightweight, fully seamsealed rain jacket features a full, water repellent front zip, two hand pockets and adjustable velcro cuffs. The jacket is super soft with undeniable stretch to allow you to make unrestricted swings on the course. It also has a hidden hem cord for an adjustable fit and the signature ‘K’ logo is printed on the collar and back right shoulder..
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GOLF JUNK: OUR FAVOURITE SHOP
CALLAWAY ROGUE FAIRWAY WOOD (RRP £269) Jailbreak makes an appearance in a fairway wood for the first time in the Callaway Rogue Fairway wood. Combined with a new ultra-thin and springy carpenter 455 steel face, Face Cup technology, Callaway says this is the most effective speed-boosting package they’ve ever made. A carbon composite crown and glued hosel free up weight in the Rogue Fairway wood, which is repositioned to create an ultra-low CG, high MOI package that makes them easy to launch and extremely versatile. Together, the two most effective speed enhancing technologies we’ve ever developed make Rogue the most powerful fairways we’ve ever created. “The challenge was to make these technologies work together,” said Dr. Alan Hocknell. “That technological synergy is what makes Rogue Fairways an engineering marvel, and an absolute powerhouse.” According to Callaway’s lab rats the Rogue Fairway Wood is ultra-easy to launch from the turf, extremely versatile and the total package when it comes to fairways.
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MOTOCADDY CUBE CONNECT SMART PUSH TROLLEY (RRP £219) Based on the popular CUBE model launched in summer 2017, the new CUBE CONNECT push trolley is the first of its kind in the world and follows the successful launch last year of Motocaddy’s S5 CONNECTSmart Cart electric trolley and free GPS partner app, which has been downloaded by more than 45,000 golfers. Through a Smart Display screen positioned conveniently above its soft-touch handle, the CUBE CONNECT provides the same distance data and optional smartphone alerts as the powered trolley version on the S5 CONNECT and S5 CONNECT DHC models. When synced to the Motocaddy GPS app via a Bluetooth connection on any compatible smartphone, it can be pre-set to receive notifications alerting golfers to a missed call, text, email or range of app alerts, including WhatsApp and Facebook. The smartphone can remain connected, even when securely placed in a golf bag.
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GOLF JUNK: OUR FAVOURITE SHOP
KBS GRAPHITE IRON SHAFTS (RRP £28 PER SHAFT) KBS, the most innovative steel golf shaft brand that built its reputation on precision iron shafts for Tour players, is launching a new Tour Graphite Iron shaft (TGI). A decade on from introducing itself to the game and changing the way irons performed, KBS has designed the TGI shaft - the first Graphite iron shaft designed by the brand on the same bend profile as the pioneering KBS Tour steel shaft and performing like a steel equivalent. It features optimised weight and flex choices for all golfers to gain maximum playability and performance, producing a mid-high launch angle with low spin for ultimate control.
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MIZUNO WAVE CADENCE (RRP £109) Designed to make 36 holes a stroll in the park, these are the ultimate shoes for walking. Why? Because they’re based on Mizuno’s top performing Wave running shoes. They blend the comfort of the Wave sole with the stability and traction of a golf shoe. While they are water resistant for unexpected showers these are the ultimate lightweight warm weather golf shoe that will look great with a pair of shorts. We think these would be the perfect foil for any of you crazy Speed Golfers out there.
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SRIXON AD333 TOUR BALL (RRP £25) Srixon worked with golf laboratories to conduct independent outdoor robot testing on the new AD333 TOUR golf ball against key competitors. The results proved it delivers exceptional tee-to-green performance at an incredible value This all-new ball model delivers tour performance for golfers with moderate swing speeds. The Srixon AD333 TOUR is available in pure white and officially launches in the UK on 2nd February. With the new AD333 TOUR, Srixon has focused on developing a tour-caliber golf ball in a lower-compression design that helps moderate swing speed golfers achieve more distance on full shots, while maintaining the excellent feel and greenside spin performance of its Z-STAR® series offerings. It was designed especially for skilled golfers with moderate speeds who demand the performance and feel of a tour ball; the lower compression allows these players to achieve optimal distance on full shots. Golfers can expect the AD333 TOUR to deliver exceptional total performance from tee-to-green, including tremendous iron distance and tour-level greenside spin control.
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GOLF JUNK: OUR FAVOURITE SHOP
LYNX PROWLER IRONS (RRP £675 5-PW) Lynx Golf has unveiled its first ‘performance players range’ at the recent 2018 PGA Merchandise Show, with its new Prowler® irons receiving widespread acclaim. The Lynx Prowler® Forged CB promises the better golfer an outstanding combination of a penetrating trajectory, feel and forgiveness and combines a cavity back with beautiful design and forging from 1020 carbon steel. The new forged irons come in a satin chrome or gun metal finish, with Lamkin Crossline grips. Sitting alongside the Prowler® Forged CB club, comes the Lynx Prowler® VT muscle-back iron – combining a hollow-headed design with a variable thickness forged face to deliver a killer combination of incredible ball-speed, higher flight and playability.
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SKYCADDIE TOUCH (RRP £279) Fancy soaring like an eagle above the hole you’re playing? In that case, you need a SkyCaddie TOUCH rangefinder, the flagship of SkyCaddie’s new product lineup. It features a glove-friendly, easy-to-use touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity to provide golfers with the ultimate user experience and convenience when coupled with a FREE mobile app. There are 35,000 preloaded, high-definition maps and is powered by SkyGolf’s ground-verified maps for unmatched accuracy.
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INTRODUCING BELINDA WHENT
PGA professional and England amateur international Belinda joins our GolfJunk Editor Daniel Owen in the golf-geekery department and will be bringing us her take on the latest equipment every issue.
GOLF JUNK GUiDE
CHOOSING THE RIGHT BALL FOR YOUR GAME
With so many technical components regarding compression, swing speeds and how many pieces the ball comes in, choosing the right ball can seem like a complete gamble. So, here is our guide on the Top 10 Balls depending on your handicap. First up are the best golf balls for the low handicappers (or players who simply want the best) . We haven’t included costs as you can find varying prices depending where you’re looking. But if you hook yourself up with one ofthese options you’ll be basking in Birdie Town before you know it…
BRIDGESTONE TOUR B XS The new Tour B X is aimed at high-performing players who want improved feel and short game spin along with good distance. The key to the softer feel and scoring spin to the already long design is an approximately 12% softer urethane cover that creates more friction on short shots. The ball features a gradational core (harder on the outside, softer on the inside). A mantle layer reduces spin on long shots. In addition, both the new Tour B X and Tour B XS have an improved, more consistent 330 dimple pattern that reduces drag for increased carry for longer overall distance.
AS PLAYED BY: Tiger Woods (Tour B XS), Lexi Thompson, Brandt Snedeker (Tour B X), Bryson DeChambeau (all Tour B X)
WILSON STAFF DX3 Wilson Staff DX3 This three piece ball with a urethane cover offers excellent levels of spin performance around the green. Although the compression rate is high for Wilsonâ€™s usual products, it is still lower than that of most urethane covered balls on the market. The durable cover helps the ball spin a lot around the green in combination with an extremely soft feel. There was fantastic feedback when chipping and putting.
SNELL MTB BLACK You can only buy these balls online and the highly regarded Snell MTB golf ball model has now been replaced by two new models, the MTB Black and MTB Red. The MTB Black is an improved version of the original MTB and features a three-piece design with Urethane cover, 360-dimple pattern, and core thatâ€™s seven-percent softer than the past model (for softer feel and less driver spin). The all-new MTB Red features a four-piece design, urethane cover, and 338-dimple pattern. The Red feels a bit firmer on drives and long-iron shots but provides a soft feel on short shots. The Red will also spin a bit more on short shots than the Black and will be available in both white and optic yellow.
GOLF JUNK GUIDE
CALLAWAY CHROME SOFT X MIZUNO MP-X Mizuno MP-X is very low spinning with the driver, although it does offer a very stable ball flight. A decent amount of carry can be seen with it, and is comparable to the Prov 1x in terms of feel off the tee. The 330-shallow dimple pattern adds to the ball flight stability and helps produce a good mid-flight trajectory. The MP-X is a four-layer ball enabling better players to spin and shape shots more effectively compared to its stable-mate the MP-S. The cover offers fantastic playability with short iron shots and allows a nice stopping time even on firm greens.
AS PLAYED BY:
Mizuno don’t do a tour player sponsorship
The new Callaway Chrome Soft ball is, the company says, a ‘game-changer, incorporating the material graphene (200 times stronger than steel and one million times thinner than paper!). Sergio Garcia used the new ball when he won the Singapore Open last month, and claims he was 19 yards longer on average than when he won same event in 2017. Graphene was created by Russian chemists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov at Manchester University in 2004, and they were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize for Physics. When graphene is infused into a ball it makes it so strong that the outer core can be made thinner. This allows for a larger inner core, which enhances the ball’s speed and also reduces the amount of spin on long shots, leading to greater distance.
AS PLAYED BY: Phil Mickelson, Xander Schauffele, Anirban Lahiri (all Chrome Soft X) & Emiliano Grillo, Adam Hadwin, Jim Furyk, Freddy Jacobson (all Chrome Soft)
TAYLORMADE TP5/TP5X TaylorMade TP5/TP5x These balls are fantastic for players with a high swing speed as you can really see the advantage of distance increase off the tee. Both the TP5x and TP5 benefit from the patented five-layer ball construction TaylorMade first introduced to the market with its Penta TP ball at the 2009 PGA Championship. That first-of-its-kind, five-layer technology led to a game-changing ball that not only generated optimal speed and reduced unwanted spin on tee shots, it also provided plenty of softness for desired feel around the greens. Around the green the new TP5s have a firm feeling, although stopping quickly and being very responsive. The TP5’s deliver great spin reduction in the long game so are ideal for a good player who creates a lot of spin.
AS PLAYED BY: Rory McIlroy (TP5x), Dustin Johnson (TP5x). Justin Rose (TP5), Jason Day (TP5x), Jon Rahm (TP5x)
CHOOSING THE RIGHT BALL FOR YOUR GAME
SRIXON Z-STAR/Z-STAR XV Srixon Z-Star and Z-Star XV These two balls are now in their 5th generation and they boast a 338 Speed Dimple pattern, resulting in better launch conditions and enhanced aerodynamics, which is ideal in windier conditions as well as helping the better player to shape the ball easier. The new design combines a larger and softer inner core with a thicker ionomer mid layer, which results in a greater ball speed and, in turn, greater distance. This is combined with their 3rd generation SpinSkin Coating provides enhanced greenside spin and consistently. These balls are great for the lower handicapper looking for fantastic control, powerful launch trajectory and easier shot manoeuvrability.
There are loads of reasons to like these Vice Pro golf balls. They play as well as anything else out there, and by that we mean they fly a long way and they spin more than Alistair Campbell playing bass for the Spin Doctors at their weekly spin class. It’s a serious three-piece premium golf ball with a cast urethane outer cover, and features what Vice call there S2TG technology, (stick to the green) with great spin rates and highly decelerating Urethane cover. Secondly there’s the price. Starting at £29.88 a dozen, if you buy 5 dozen at the time they cost just £21.48 a dozen. This is a bargain in a world where the most expensive golf balls cost £51 per dozen, mainly because they are played on tour and have expensive marketing campaigns. Finally, and most importantly they’ve got a lion on the box. Tell me another golf ball that has a lion on the box? You can’t? Thought not. Performance, value, and lions. It’s the new great triumvirate. They also come in lime and red colours now.
AS PLAYED BY: Errrm,… no one famous as far as we know.
AS PLAYED BY: Russell Knox (Z Star), Graeme McDowell, Hideki Matsuyama (both Z-Star XV)
VOLVIK S4 Volvik S4 are fun, brightly coloured 4-piece balls targeted at better player to mid handicapped player. Around the green these balls do sound loud and have a distinctive click sound when chipping and putting, but despite feeling so firm they are deceptively responsive around the green. Off the tee they have a higher trajectory making them a good ball for a player wanting to see the ball flying higher.
AS PLAYED BY: Bubba Watson played the S4 throughout the 2017 season, Carly Booth (S4) and Tim Petrovic (S3)
TITLEIST PRO V1/1X The most commonly used ball amongst professionals and terrific balls for everything an amateur golfer needs. They provide the most consistent ball flights and are low spinning for distance off the tee, but what really sets them apart is their amazing Dropand-Stop technology making them the most manoeuvrable and responsive golf ball around the green. This comes courtesy of the Soft Urethane Cover, which also ensures that the durability of this ball is excellent. The dimple design is now laser-etched onto the ball which allows a more even coverage and accuracy of the dimples to give the ball better all-round consistency in flight and distance control. The Pro V1X flies higher and has a firmer feel and can gain a few extra yards carry throughout the bag due to the higher trajectory. Both balls have stepped up from their predecessors as well as leapt further away from their competitors.
AS PLAYED BY: What are you kidding? We’ll be here all night. Oh go on then.. Jordan Spieth, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Thomas, Charley Hull, Rickie Fowler, Pat Perez, Justin Thomas (That’s enough! – Ed)…
SPRINGGSUMME R 2018 NOW AVAIL ABLE
SHOT ON LOCATION AT: WEST CLIFFS , PORTUGAL
KEEP_YOURSELF_ NICE //
Marlene Hedblom GolfPunk Swingin Siren, LPGA and LET star
GP'S 2018 POLO SHIRT SHOWCASE
039 GP CLASSICS
12 TOP POLO SHIRTS
PUMA BONDED TECH PEACOAT/MARINA
Time to treat your torso with the best new golf shirts out there...
(RRP £49) The Bonded Tech polo from Puma returns, with updates, for this season. Made with Puma DryCELL technology, this polo wicks moisture away from the body to help keep you dry and comfortable while on the course. It also offers UV protection: UPF 40. This polo features a bonded colourblock front panel, two button placket and fully bonded collar with contrast colour taping. The signature Puma cat is located on the wearer’s left chest.
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PING QUINN POLO (RRP £35) Nice and punchy, this polo will give you the look of a man who’s just vanquished his nemesis 7&6, walked into the bar and declared the drinks are on him. His opponent, that is… On the technical side, this is a colour blocked baby pique polo shirt, including rib collar with contrast tipped edge and piping on the back shoulder panels. Performance properties include moisture moving, quick dry and stretch. Nice.
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BOSS PADDY PRO 1 NIGHT WATCH (RRP £109) The Paddy Pro 1 from BOSS athleisure is a cotton mix polo with a three button placket and a graphic print on the front and back panels with a contrast coloured collar and sleeve. The polo has a soft handle for comfort and includes the BOSS pro logo transferred at the wearer’s left chest and on the back of the neck in contrasting colours.
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BUNKER MENTALITY COTTON TOUR STRIPE POLO SHIRT
NIKE MADE IN ITALY GOLF CLUB POLO BLACK/LIGHT CRIMSON
(RRP £55) The ultra soft 100% cotton provides maximum comfort while you playing,so you can focus on your game. The 4 vibrant stripe across the chest offer the perfect contrast against the grey and black colouring. Bunker logo appears in a tab on the shoulder seam.
(RRP £99) Elevate your look with the Golf Club polo from Nike Golf’s Made In Italy collection. Showcased by Jason Day at the 2017 British Open, this polo shirt is the perfect for on and off course wear. It features a two button placket, rib collar details and stripe sleeves. This polo shirt is super stretchy with a soft hand-feel. The swoosh is embroidered on the left sleeve in a tonal colour
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J.LINDEBERG TROY CLEAN SLIM PIQUE STILL YELLOW (RRP £65) The Troy from J.Lindeberg is brand new for the spring/summer season. This slim fit, soft cotton pique polo shirt features a two button placket, back yoke and rib sleeve cuffs. It also has a rib collar with branded neck tape and signature JL bridge logo on the left chest.
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RLX LIGHTWEIGHT TECH PIQUE STRIP (RRP £95) This lightweight tech pique from RLX Ralph Lauren features a three button placket with a striking contrast stripe design. running throught the jersey. This shirt will help to keep you cool and dry while on the course as it is made from moisture-wicking material to transfer sweat away from the body. The signature RLX logo is located on the wearer’s left chest, right sleeve and back neck.
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ORLEBAR BROWN SEBASTIAN TAILORED POLO NAVY (RRP £115) The Sebastian polo from Orlebar Brown is a cotton pique polo with a fashion cut. The polo features a long three button placket and a sewn details to give the polo an edge. Orlebar Brown tab on the tops lower left side.
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OSCAR JACOBSON IVO PIN POLO SHIRT (RRP £55) An excellent choice on the golf course. Functional polo shirt with an elegant stripe on placket and sleeve. Logotype in metal on the chest. An excellent choice on the golf course. Functional polo shirt with an elegant stripe on placket and sleeve. Logotype in metal on the chest.
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WOLSEY HILLWELL CLASSIC TOTAL ECLIPSE (RRP £65) The classic technical polo from Wolsey is exactly that, a classic design with three button placket and a ribbed collar. The shirt has a high stretch content for a comfortable fit during activity and features a transferred Wolsey fox logo upon the wearer’s left sleeve.
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KJUS SPOT PRINTED POLO ATLANTA (RRP £89) The Spot printed polo from Kjus is brand new for thespring/ summer season. This polo features a three buttonplacket, ribbed cuffs and collar in a contrast colour and the signature 'K' logo printed on the back right shoulder. The polo shirt is made from four way stretch fabric with a Y-tech cut to allow for unrestricted swings. It has no underarm seams forimproved comfort and offers the wearing UV protection of UPF 50+.
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ADIDAS ULTIMATE 3605 POLO (RRP £45) Rib-knit collar with UPF 50+ for sun protection and contrast 3-button placket. Balanced weight fabric for year-round performance and comfort. Engineered with 4-way stretch for mobility. Highly breathable, durable, and moisture-wicking fabric for lasting comfort. Edge-stitched shoulder seams for additional durability with adidas logo at left sleeve.
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GPCLASSICS JESPER PARNEVIK
â€œJohan (Lindeberg) came to me back when there was no cool golf clothing. He said he was going to start up his own clothing brand and wanted me to wear the golf range. He said the style would be modern retro and that he was going to change the face of golf fashion. I thought it sounded like a great idea." "Is there a secret to being stylish? Well, if you wear something that is too over the top it's hard to portray yourself in a confident manner. because you'll be worrying what people think of you. Find a look that you like, and gradually assimilate it into your wardrobe."
D AT E : A U G U S T 1 2 T H 2 0 0 7 L O C AT I O N : S T O C K H O L M CLOTHES: J.LINDEBERG PHOTOGRAPHER: DARREN ARTHUR STYLING: J.LINDEBERG INTERVIEW: OWEN BLACKHURST
PLANET GOLF: THE GLACIER EXPRESS
PLANET_GOLF_ TRAVEL //
ALL ABOARD THE
GLACIER EXPRESS WO R D S : T I M S O U T H W E L L
’ve just hit another tee shot with my driver and I’ve really connected. I mean, really connected. Which is unusual for me. Especially using someone else’s golf clubs on a course which is totally new to me. What’s even more unusual is that, two, three, four seconds later… the ball is still in the air, just hanging there like a scene from Happy Gilmore. To the unwitting onlooker it would appear that I have acquired super human powers. But to the locals this is run of the mill stuff, a daily occurrence. That’s just what happens when you’re 1,437 metres feet above sea level in the middle of the Swiss Alps and you hit a good one. Nonetheless, it’s enough to inspire any mid-handicap GolfPunk and I proceed to have the round of my life, hitting drives 30 yards longer than normal and having to club down, yes down, on anything from the middle of the fairway. It probably hasn’t done me any harm to have had my Nike Pro Combo irons from 2005 replaced by the whole kitten caboodle of the TaylorMade M2 range. They look and feel absolutely brilliant. Welcome to Andermatt Golf Club nestled in the Urseren valley, where your golf cart is an unrestricted Audi sports car and hire clubs come with the distinct smell of wrapping having very recently been removed. Add to this the fact that the hotel we’re staying in has just gone straight into my top five of all time and you could be forgiven for emitting a mighty roar of joy as you stomp off down fairway one and begin your Swiss golf adventure. Add to this the fact that, in two days’ time, you are going to board the Glacier Express (a train that winds its way up and down through the Swiss Alps en-route to even more golf capering in the world-famous St Moritz resort) and you’d be quite at liberty to grab the nearest stranger and give them a great big kiss.
GolfPunk is out here on a golf caper/spa hose down, the like of which doesn’t land in your in-box too often. Would I have thought to go golfing in Switzerland ordinarily? Well, yes, as it happens. A couple of years ago we went on a similar jaunt to Austria and again it was all cow bells on the mountain side and golf courses in pristine condition after the spring thaw. If you’ve ever felt you were chained to your desk, your tea’s gone cold and everything seems hopeless, treat yourself to some alpine golf, it never fails to help the gravy. Andermatt itself offers up an interesting story. Right now it looks every bit the destination of the well-heeled golf/ski enthusiast but, on a walk-round-tour we find out that, up until 1818 it was virtually inaccessible. Andermatt was so prone to heavy snowfall, avalanches and rock falls that Benedictine monks from the Abbey of Disentis, located 18 miles east across the Oberalp Pass, dismissed it in the 13th century as “the Valley of the Devil”. And with good cause. In the ‘Flight Of The Earls’ in 1608, Irish Earls lost a fortune when all their gold fell into the ravine as they attempted to cross the treacherous ‘Devil’s Bridge’ on St Patrick’s Day. The loot has never been recovered and is known as ‘The Lost Treasure Of The St Gotthard Pass’. Indeed, until the St Gotthard Pass was made road-worthy for stagecoaches in 1818, it was a part of the Alps best avoided. But with a new transport link, Andermatt became a haven for the rich and ill across Europe as they sought out the town for its apparent restorative qualities. A spa town was born and even the cows looked happy. Then, in 1881, the Swiss built the St Gotthard railway tunnel. Unfortunately for Andermatt, the tunnel bypassed the town completely, going directly underneath Andermatt (surely it was then called Undermatt?...sorry... – Ed), making other nearby towns connected to the line much more attractive to visitors.
FROM THE MOMENT I SET EYES ON A PICTURE OF THIS TRAIN GLIDING THROUGH THE ALPS OVER A HUGE RAVINE I WAS HOOKED
IT’S NOT OFTEN YOU GET TO SEE THE LOCATION OF YOUR MOST RECENT GOLF ADVENTURE FROM THE CLOUDS BUT THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE GETTING HERE.
Devastated by this turn of events, by the 1930s, Andermatt was nothing more than a mish-mash of run-down, abandoned hotels and businesses. It looked like a ghost town. With nothing better to do, it became a garrison town for the Swiss Federal Army which still retains a training camp there to this day.
ndermatt’s fortunes were revived at the turn of the 21st century as it began to establish itself as an alternative ski resort to its more expensive neighbours St Moritz and Gstaad. With the help and vision of an Egyptian billionaire, Samih Sawiris, who committed £1.2billion to the Andermatt Swiss Alps’ project (ASA), Andermatt is now one of the most prestigious places to go on any world traveller’s hit-list. Sawiris is Chairman of Orascom Development, a developer of “integrated international towns” such as El Gouna on the Red Sea, The Cove in the UAE and Jebel Sifah in Oman. When Sawiris first visited Andermatt he was captivated and pronounced it was to become the site of Orascom’s first European town (the second being a nearly 1.7 million-acre workin-progress eco town in Cornwall). Two years later, the ASA project was launched. The anchor for Andermatt’s comeback was the 5 star Chedi Andermatt hotel which opened in 2013 and provided the catalyst for further luxury hotel developments. We stayed at the Chedi and, well, wow. Designed by Jean-Michel Gathy, the hotel seamlessly balances tradition with nature. Alpine chic meets Asian nuances throughout the 5-star residence. In the 123 appointed rooms and suites (from 52 square metres to 330 square metres) Gathy achieves this cohesion by using local elements with a keen attention to detail – large fireplaces, wood panelling, and terraces allowing the indoor and outdoor spaces to blend seamlessly together. As a place to hang out when you’ve finished
crushing drives and investigating the local village bars and restaurants, it’s absolutely perfect. I can personally recommend the full body massage which had me wandering around the hotel in my dressing gown in a daze for 20 minutes after. Once again, apologies to the Swiss couple waiting for their taxi in the lobby who I accidentally sat on in my confusion. We played the Andermatt twice and both times it was an absolute delight. The 18-hole, par 72 championship golf course is located in the beautiful Urseren Valley between the mountain villages Andermatt and Hospental, surrounded by mountains and the Reuss River. Designed by renowned golf course architect Kurt Rossknecht (who also designed the superb Son Vida GC in Mallorca and the Chervo Golf Hotel Resort & Spa), the course meets strict environmental standards. Once you’ve got used to the cow bells and the fact that some of the cows seem to be suggesting your back swing is so short you could unleash it in a phone box, you’re in golf heaven. There are several different tee box options depending on how ambitious you’re feeling and the course offers a truly unique experience whatever your handicap.
nd so to the Glacier Express. From the moment I set eyes on a picture of this train gliding through the Alps over a huge ravine I was hooked. The fact that it came as part of a golf travel package seemed like someone was taking the mickey. I’m a sucker for a good train journey and then you have the golf in the mountains? Get out of here! The station is a short walk from the hotel and, as we arrive, it’s impossible not to feel like you’re immersing yourself in a classic James Bond movie. Once on the train we settle in, order some wine and watch in amazement as the train winds its way up through the mountains, offering up the most incredible views of the valley, town and golf course below. It’s not often you get to see the location of your most recent golf adventure from the clouds but that’s exactly what you’re getting here.
A couple of hours later you’re feeling positively guilty that your ‘oooohs’ and ‘aaahhs!’ have given way to ‘where’s the waiter?’ and ‘have you got any signal?’. A quick slap to the face and you’re back in the carriage, staring down at vast ravines, up at imperious mountain tops and wondering just how anyone got around this place before the train line came? The Glacier Express is officially the slowest express train in the world. The full journey takes 7.5 hours but ours is slightly less as we board after the first couple of stops. The train links the two famous resorts of St Moritz and Zermatt, and crosses 291 bridges and passes through 91 tunnels. It’s bucket list alright. The one thing you do have to prepare for in Switzerland is the cost of doing stuff. The strength of the Swiss Franc – and the fact that everyone looks like they belong in a flip-book of the wealthy and gorgeous – means you may have to operate in a state of suspended animation throughout your stay.
nd so to St Moritz. One of the first things that strikes you as you wander around the famous streets is that, should you be bilingual, you can get by in any of four languages: Swiss-German; Italian; French and the historic Romansh. They also seem to understand our haphazard, hybrid English-French AKA these people know how to be polite... St Moritz may have dominated jet-setting headlines in the 50s, 60s and 70s, but it first became notorious for hedonism back in 1887 when The St Moritz Tobogganing Club & Cresta Run was set up after locals complained about the British visitors who had made a sport of terrorizing them by hurling along the streets on sleds and sleighs. If the mad Brits had a proper run, they’d be less likely to cause chaos in the town. St Moritz was put firmly on the showbiz map when it was featured in Hitchcock’s 1934 thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much. It’s also been the location of at least two Bond films and Private Lives by Noël Coward. And the celebrities. Always the celebrities: Alfred Hitchcock, Friedrich Nietzsche, Audrey
Hepburn, conductor Herbert von Karajan, Charlie Chaplin, Brigitte Bardot and her husband Gunther Sachs, who in their turn have since been largely superseded by the world’s new privileged class: the bankers, business tycoons, heirs to family fortunes and now GolfPunk. The history of winter tourism and deluxe hotels in St. Moritz can be traced to the opening of the Kulm Hotel in 1856. Thanks to its founder, the hotelier Johannes Badrutt, St. Moritz and the Kulm Hotel became the best-known places in the Swiss Alps in the 19th century. Its Grand Restaurant still enjoys an extraordinary status as the first place with electric lights in Switzerland in 1878. And where did Charlie Chaplin stay when in St Moritz? The Kulm, of course. This is a most stately hotel, steeped in tradition, luxury and charm. If you like your hotel cuisines varied and delish then you’ve come to the right place: The Kulm Hotel includes five restaurants (the half-board Grand Restaurant, the Gourmet Restaurant the K, the Italian Pizzeria, Chesa al Parc serving local Engadine specialities and the Sunny Bar, which plays host to Peruvian chef Claudia Canessa in the evenings), in addition to the newly-opened Kulm Country Club. The Kulm didn’t get a reputation for being one of the world’s finest and most famous hotels by standing still. Subsequently, the rooms and suites are under continual renovation. The corridors and facilities are spotless and, as you walk around gazing at the Cresta Run trophy cabinets and discovering hidden little bars and lounge areas, you are reminded that you are walking the same walk, drinking at the same bars and eating in the same restaurants frequented by the great and the good of European royalty and celebrity legend. The Kulm is the hotel equivalent of playing St Andrews. Standing on the first tee at The Old Course you feel the presence of Palmer, Nicklaus, Hogan et all – they’ve all made practice swings exactly where you are standing, they’ve all felt the same sense of awe and
AT THE KULM, YOU ARE SIPPING MARTINIS SITTING ON THE SAME BAR STOOLS GRACED BY HEPBURN, HITCHCOCK AND CHAPLIN, YOU’RE ENJOYING DINNER WITH ROGER MOORE AND BRIGITTE BARDOT. IT REALLY IS QUITE THE CAPER
YOU CAN WALK THESE COURSES BUT YOU’LL HAVE TO SUMMON THE MOUNTAIN GOAT IN YOU TO DO IT WITH ANY DIGNITY.
trepidation as they make their right of passage through golf’s most prestigious links. At the Kulm, you are sipping martinis sitting on the same bar stools graced by Hepburn, Hitchcock and Chaplin, you’re enjoying dinner with Roger Moore and Brigitte Bardot. It really is quite the caper... St Moritz is, of course, home to the world famous Cresta Run and visitors can experience the thundering adrenalin rush in winter time. The four-man bob thunders down the natural 1,722m Olympic course at speeds of up to 135 km/h, reaching the bottom in just 75 seconds. The only reason I didn’t do it is because it’s the summer. And that’s the only reason. Honest. The hotel has a wicked little nine-hole golf course which is like traversing the Alps in miniature. In fact, it’s like playing golf in a snow cone.. without the snow... (have you been at the cooking sherry again?! – Ed) while hitting shots over gulleys and valleys 100-150 yards into immaculate greens. We’re big fans of short/beginner courses here at GolfPunk and this par-3 track is an absolute corker. But it’s not easy. the greens are protected by large bunkers and steep mountain side drop offs. You can lose a lot of golf balls here but you’re not going to mind. It’s an absolute visual feast. But the ultimate experience is the Kulm Hotel’s stunning Spa World. Aside from the infinity pool which looks out over the
magnificent lake St Moritz, there are several different steam rooms, featuring everything from eucalyptus to salt infusions. Every well-being angle is covered and there are so many chill out & detox options available you can easily spend a couple of hours dousing yourself in luxury. Just like Andermatt, St Moritz offers a wide range of summer activities such as hiking, mountain biking, adventure sports and fantastic mountain lakes for sailing and windsurfing. But it’s the golf we’re here for. Aside from The Kulm Hotel’s charming little 9-holer, you can get championship, 18-hole action at the Engadin Golf Samedan and Engadin Golf Zuoz courses. You can walk these courses but you’ll have to summon the mountain goat in you to do it with any dignity. At Samedan, small streams and lakes abound, but the course has teeth, with all the greens being well defended by bunkers, trees and water. There’s also a new training infrastructure with a driving range with around 40 tees, a pitch and chipping area, as well as a large putting green. A more demanding terrain is the Zuoz course. Unlike Samedan, this course rolls up and down like an alpine roller coaster throughout all 18 holes. As he drew up the design, golf architect Les Furber was convinced that even the most discerning golfers would love his work. Give that man a cigar, and a GolfPunk Seal Of Approval badge. In fact, give golf in Switzerland a big fat cigar. And the ultimate Seal of approval. Arf!
COMPETITION_ ST. MORITZ//
WIN A M AG N I FICENT G O L F B REAK
AT THE WORLD FA MOU S
ST. M O R I TZ
The prize includes two nights' B&B accommodation for two people sharing a double room at the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz (www.kulm.com), plus free green fees on the Kulm Golf course. a round of golf at two great mountain side courses, Samedan and Zuoz. These are the exclusion periods, where a visit is not possible: Â 25.-28.06. 17.-19.08. 24.-26.08. 31.08.-02.09 On all other dates during the season, a visit is subject to availability (the summer season lasts from 21 June to 2 September).
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS CLICK THE LINK BELOW! Closing date 15/05/2018.
VOLVO XC60 WORDS: TIM SOUTHWELL
he Volvo XC60 is in some pretty ambitious company in the mid-size crossover department, but it stands as tall as any of its rivals (MercedesBenz GLC and Audi Q5) with its luxurious interior an excellent performance. Plus, compared to these rivals, the Volvo undoubtedly has a superior feel inside. There’s a reason why the XC60 represents approximately 30% of Volvo’s global sales and this car was a real head-turner when we rolled up to the golf club on a crisp spring day in Sussex. The new model is longer, lower, and wider than its predecessor, offering occupants and their gear more room. You’ll be pleased to know we comfortably got four golf bags and a whole load of other golfjunk in the boot. Its wheelbase is 3.6 inches longer at 112.8 inches, while overall length grows 2.4 inches to
184.6 inches. Width increased just under 0.5 inch to 74.9 inches, and the vehicle is also 0.5 inch lower at a height of 65.3 inches. Despite being bigger, the new XC60 weighs roughly the same thanks to the greater use of lightweight steel in its construction. The 2018 XC60 comes equipped with an air-suspension system that can be configured using four modes –- Comfort, Eco, Sport and Off-Road. The Off-Road mode in particular raises the chassis 1.6 inches to better navigate rough terrain, while the Sport mode lowers it half as much for a more planted feel. The front benefits from a control-arm suspension, while the rear has an integral axle suspension as opposed to the trailing arm of the outgoing model. It’s just as well this new model delivers on the class front, as the previous model was not only Volvo’s best-selling car, but also the best-selling
car in all of Europe in its mid-size department. Improved suspension, a parking lot full of new tech and safety features (yes, a Volvo that is even safer!) are in evidence but the seats, interior operating system and platform are all proudly the same as other recent Volvo powertrains. Steer Assist is also used by Volvo’s Blind Spot Indication System, which reduces the risk of lanechanging collisions. Pilot Assist, Volvo’s advanced semi-autonomous driver-assistance system, is optional and can automatically steer, accelerate and brake the XC60 on well-marked roads up to 80mph (130 km/h). I’ve owned an XC90 in the not too distant past and while you don’t have the extra row of seats in the smaller model, it feels identical in every other way, just funkier, more compact and agile.
VOLVO XC60 - £32,880 – £41,440
JEFF RITTER'S GOLF TUITION
G S O ' R L E F T TUIT T I R F I ON F EJ
052 ONE When practicing different trajectories, I like to imagine knocking the windows out of a tall skyscraper. TWO To achieve lower shots remember these rules: Ball back, weight left, grip down, ¾ swing and a soft pace. THREE Higher shots are just the opposite: Ball progressively more forward, weight right, grip full length, full swing and a faster pace. FOUR The one key that most people miss is the “SPEED” of the swing. Faster swing speeds launch the ball up, whereas slower speeds help keep it down. FIVE Grab a 5 or 6 iron and see how many windows you can knock out just by changing your set and speed, all with the same club. You’re on your way to becoming a true shot maker!
MARIA_ VERCHENOVA_ GOLF_ FITNESS//
Golfing Olympian Maria Verchenova didn’t get a reputation for being one of the longest hitters on the Ladies European Tour without getting her glutes in shape. We’re happy to introduce her as our GP Fitness Instructor. Over to you Maria…
02 BOUNCING BALL SIDE TO SIDE
oday we’re going to do jumps and squats, which is fantastic for your coordination – something that is absolutely critical to a good golf swing. You know golf is all about coordination! So, this exercise is good for your core, it’s good for your glutes and good for your legs. Photography: David Corbett Shot on location at PGA Catalunya Resort: www.pgacatalunya.com
Hold the small ball in front of you with both hands and jump landing with your right leg in front and, on landing, squat until the back knee is almost on the floor. Keep jumping, changing the legs from left to right, tensing your core and keeping good posture. Don’t forget to breathe! If you find this easy you can start bouncing the ball from side to side whilst you jump. It’s tough but the results are amazing!
GOLF FITNESS: GLUTES
THE XXIO STORY
T H E
XXIO S T O R Y
More than 19 million XXIO golf clubs have been sold across its nine product generations. With the newly launched XXIO X range, the factory technicians have been working full shifts without any days-off. These are the people responsible for producing Japan’s top-selling golf clubs, and this is their story...
XIO is the stable-mate brand of Srixon under the umbrella company Dunlop Sports Co. Ltd. of Japan. XXIO has quickly built a reputation for designing prestige golf clubs and has been the number one seller in Japan for the last two decades It is also fast establishing a foothold in Europe and the US. The launch of the new XXIO X range marks the company's 10th generation of super game -imporvement clubs. XXIO designs clubs with intricate and unique technologies aimed at making average-golfer swings more efficient and more productive. The new driver will be the 10th of its generation. So what goes into making sure the new range hits the mark? To find the answer to this question, I took a close look at the development and manufacturing sites. Back in October 2017, I was one of the lucky few journalists to be invited to attend the Japanese launch of the new XXIO X range. At the conference there were smiles all round, but the smiles seemed to conceal something. Was it the relief of being able launch the product on time once again? Being in charge of the planning and development of the XXIO series is rather like being up against unimaginable odds. The future of the company depends on the success of the XXIO series, but the staff face simpler challenges. Koutarou Iguchi, the man behind the product planning of the “XXIO X”, explains:
The headquarters: Dunlop Golf Corporation. Founded in 1989. Manufacturing XXIO and Srixon golf clubs. Succeeded in producing its own carbon shafts. XXIO “MP Series” and “Miyazaki” are all manufactured here.
W O R D S : Y O S H I A K I TA K A N A S H I P H O T O S : K A Z U H A R U F U J I TA N I L O C AT I O N : T H E X X I O X D R I V E R L A B O R AT O R Y, A T T H E D U N LO P G O L F C LU B C O R P O R AT I O N I N M I YA ZA K I P R E F E CT U R E .
THE XXIO STORY
“The new generation must be better than the previous one in terms of flight distance. It must retain XXIO’s characteristic ease of set-up and hit as well as that feeling of exhilaration it gives to any player. This is the fundamental philosophy of development that is perpetuated within the company. Some people say we need to create a significantly different feel in order to differentiate our new model from its predecessor or those of our competitors. “But while seeking to innovate, we cannot compromise on XXIO’s signature characteristics in order to create a significantly different feel. Set up, swing and hit, and then you say “Yes, this is unmistakably a XXIO club!” “We need to ensure that this first impression remains, and we also need to make the player feel that this is a club that can produce long drives. This is really a challenging task.” Needless to say, this task becomes even more challenging with each new generation. You can’t produce a better model than the one before unless you challenge your previous way of thinking. The idea of creating a significantly different feel while retaining the hallmark qualities for which the series is renowned is a task that often appears insurmountable to those in charge of the bespoke carbon shaft. “This time, I thought we would be able to make the model two grams lighter,” says Hitoshi Oyama, the man in charge of XXIO’s bespoke shaft MP series. His relieved face disguises his frustration. “XXIO X's proprietary shaft “MP-1000” is one gram lighter than the “MP-900” which was developed for the previous generation “XXIO IX”. Oyama’s frustration stems from his belief that an additional reduction of one gram could have been achieved. One gram... You might think that “one gram” and a word like “only” or “merely” would come in the same breath. However, for an expert like Oyama, one gram is more like a ton. This one gram is a huge psychological barrier and he regularly loses sleep over it. Oyama says stepping up from the IX series to the X series was especially tough. They succeeded in reducing its weight by one gram. However, no change was made in its design that brought its balance point closer to the hands (the centre of gravity design of the shaft). Its length was not changed either. Yet, the secret of the dramatic improvement achieved with the tenth generation of the XXIO series lies in the attribute changes to the shaft, which have changed considerably. “We made significant changes in its stiffness distribution,” reveals Oyama. To put it simply, the shaft is made stiffer than usual from the centre point to the tip end.
That might not sound like a particularly big deal but the number of patents involved in the design and manufacturing of XXIO’s past nine generations amounts to 95. Of these, 18 relate to the shaft and 13 of these were applied during the development phase of the XXIO VII. It was the seventh generation XXIO that turned out to be the turning point for the shaft. “With the XXIO VII proprietary shaft “MP-700”, we focused on the ease of swing, reduced its weight and brought its balance point closer to the hands. You might think it is just about making the tip end of shaft lighter and putting more weight closer to the hands. “However, we cannot reduce the weight of the entire shaft while trying to make its tip lighter at the same time, unless we modify the materials and the manufacturing process. It is that difficult. “This is why the number of patent applications spiralled with the “MP-700”. Its design made it impossible to manufacture the product using conventional processes.” Oyama It is XXIO’s etreme lightness which is the reason why the club is so easy to swing. Atsushi Yamakawa describes the challenges for the manufacturing team as follows: “A carbon shaft breaks easily if you make it lighter (thinner). On the other hand, it becomes heavier if you make it stronger (thicker). The development team’s desire to make a lighter and stronger shaft is totally paradoxical. "To solve this, we have to change the actual materials and work closely with the material suppliers. Even if we manage to produce a satisfactory prototype, the prototype serves no purpose unless we are able to turn it into a production model. “We have to meet the design intent of the development team, pass the strict strength criterion, and then manufacture with speed and precision. Ever since the “MP-700”, these hurdles have become ever more daunting.” Atsushi Yamakawa claims it would not have been have been possible to get to this point were it not for all the work carried out on their own proprietary product. The team can dedicate themselves to achieving these challenging goals each time because the work is all about the XXIO. The team’s pride and sense of responsibility for being the manufacturer of one of the world’s leading brand underpin XXIO’s success. “We did have a target figure for the swing moment of inertia with the “VII”. However, while developing the “VIII” and “IX” series, our understanding of swings and research on the effects of clubs on swings have evolved rapidly.
Because it is about product, they c devote themselves proprietary shaft t the XXIO what i
The brief –Without compromising on XXIO’s signature characteristics, create something that goes beyond the previous generation. That is the “commandment” for the development of any new model.
their own can totally s to it. The that made it is today.
We tend to believe that most factories these days are highly automated. However, when it comes to the manufacturing of shafts, many processes are still heavily reliant on manual skills. This factory is no exception. Each shaft is carefully handcrafted by human hands and eyes.
THE XXIO STORY
“You can lose a lot of sleep over it... A difference of just one gram..."
This resulted in development concepts to use the shaft to change the trajectory of the club (for the “IX”) and reduce the stress of the swing on the golfer’s body (for the “X”).” Oyama Improving the ease of swing can lead to increasing the club-head speed, hence improving the flight distance. “XXIO VII” was the first model to focus on the swing moment of inertia and to bring the balance point closer to the hands. The latest “X” series inherits this baseline design. The most significant feature of the XXIO X driver is that it reduces the stress on the golfer’s body in the latter part of a swing, hence minimising swing variations and the variations at the point of impact. Oyama explains this mechanism as follows:
“In order to reduce the stress on the body at swing as it pulls the body forward, we first have to soften the end of the shaft that is closer to the hands. At the top of the back swing, the club-head must stay behind in order to bring the club-head trajectory closer to the body. “Reducing the deformation of the entire shaft in spite of its softness can then prevent unnecessary energy loss. In this way, we can maximise the acceleration in the latter part of the swing thanks to the lightness of shaft which has its balance point higher up and closer to the hands.” This makes the club easier to swing and improves the club-head speed. This design feature has been continuously refined since the XXIO VII. The suppleness of the higher end of the shaft can bring the club-head trajectory closer to the body. The key to achieving the dream is the newly developed 20-micron carbon material. “13 specialised staff are currently working on the carbon shaft winding process. Since the seventh generation “MP-700”, we have shifted from a system where we split tasks to a system where one member of the team is in charge of winding all the parts of a shaft. This is because each year, we use more intensive elastic sheet components that contain less resin and are easily unwound, so we have to pile up the next sheet quickly.” (Tanaka) This is a world where just a single gram can feel like the holy grail. This elusive gram can leave you feeling euphoric or wretched. This is how these golf clubs are created. This is how the flight of the ball is shaped. And this is how the XXIO guys roll.
A 4 - BA L L AT
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