Page 1

TODAY’S GOLFER JANUARY 2012 (DECEMBER 1-DECEMBER 28)

Golfer BRITAIN’S BEST-SELLING GOLF MAGAZINE Today’s

FREE 2-FORE!-1 VOUCHER INSIDE

JANUARY 2012 ISSUE 290 DEC 1-DEC 28

£4.20

WWW. TODAYSGOLFER.CO.UK

PLAY TEXTBOOK GOLF

BUILD THE PERFECT

SWING TAKE YOUR GAME TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL 52 PRODUCTS

WWW.TODAYSGOLFER.CO.UK

TRAINING AIDS SPECIAL GREAT GADGETS CAN FIX ALL YOUR GOLFING WOES! GREAT GEAR

STANDBAGS TESTED

12 OF THE BEST HELP YOU LAUGH AT TROLLEY BANS!

290

PLUS FREE HAT

*

C L A I M A B E N R O S S B E A N I E . L I M I T E D N U M B E R S AVA I L A B L E ◗ * £ 1 . 9 9 P & P. F U L L T s A N D C s I N S I D E


NEWS

INSTRUCTION

EQUIPMENT

COURSES

T R AV E L

FIRST TEE 1

2

3

6

7

8

11

12

13

16

17

18

IS SUE 2 9 0 ❘ TODAYSG OLFE R .CO.UK


T I S V I LINE

NAME THE PRO

N A I LY O G T RD T

{HO, HO, WHO?}

FO DVENS A MP CO

4

5

NAME SECRET SANTAS Identify these 20 golfers and you could win a stocking of golf goodies

9

10

14

15

19

20

I

t’s that magical time of year again. You’ve written your wish list (full of golf-related gifts, of course), just got used to teeing off on mats and putting on temporary greens and you’re looking forward to a few hard-earned days off... it must be Christmas. To help you get into the spirit we’ve given 20 current European and PGA Tour stars a festive makeover and if you can identify them all, a Christmas stocking jam-packed with £1,350 worth of gifts, could be yours. The first prize includes a two-night break with three rounds of golf for four people at Hellidon Lakes Golf & Spa Hotel from Golfbreaks.com, a free fourball at a De Vere Golf course of your choice (excluding The Carrick at Cameron House) courtesy of Teeofftimes.co.uk, a Dave Hicks VIBE Series #1 Black Carbon Steel putter, £100 of Sub70 clothing, an MD Golf Seve stand bag, a copy of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2012 from EA Sports and a year’s subscription to Today’s Golfer. Email your answers to editorial@ todaysgolfer.co.uk with the subject line “Festive golfers” before midnight on December 28, 2011. All those who correctly get all 20 will be entered into a prize draw to win the stocking, while 10 runners-up will each receive a pair of 2-FORE!-1 vouchers.

Top prize Two nights and three rounds at Hellidon Lakes Golf and Spa Hotel for four. TODAYSG OLFE R .CO.UK ❘ IS SUE 2 90


ONE-PLANE sWINgINg Create stability in the clubface through impact

DOWN THE LINE

There are two motors in every golf swing – the arms/club and the body. A one-plane swing is where the arm and body motors turn in the same manner. The one-plane swing is also more aggressive, with a quicker tempo (think Justin Leonard or Matt Kuchar). Golfers who swing on one plane must set up to promote an arm swing and body pivot on a similar angle; this means combining a steeper body turn with a shallower arm swing. There are top players with both one and two-plane swings, but it’s vitally important you don’t mix the two. Also, you don’t have to do exactly every part of either swing, just most of it. Pros: The biggest advantage of a one-plane swing is the stability in the clubface which will go through a lot less rotation through the impact area than a player swinging down with a roll-over release (two-plane). Cons: The one-planer will generally suffer with being too wide and too shallow through the impact area. Poor shots you would expect to see with a one-planer would be hooks and push shots. Should I be a one-planer? It comes down to your impact position and analysis of your ball flight. Someone who constantly slices should almost certainly become a one-planer.

one-planers on tour

1. Address One-planers stand slightly further from the ball than two-planers, because standing closer to the ball encourages your arms to swing upright and your shoulders to turn flat. Bending from the hips more to a 45° angle steepens the body turn, allowing the shoulders to rotate on a sharper angle.

2. hAlfwAy bAck The club will move away to the inside feeling like its face still points to the ball. Halfway back the club will be parallel to the target line and the shaft should be over the centre of the shoes. Notice how the clubface angle matches that of my spine, indicating a hooded or slightly closed position.

FACE ON

In a one-plane golf swing the body and the arms turn in the same plane. Lee Westwood is a classic example of a oneplaner. Look how the angle of his left arm matches his shoulders. Other oneplane players include Rory McIlroy, Hunter Mahan and Matt Kuchar.

kevin flynn Kevin is a certified 'Plane Truth' Instructor and PGA Advanced Professional based at Tournerbury Golf Centre on the South Coast. Call 02392 462266 for more info.

is sue 2 9 0 ❘ Todaysg olfe r .co.uk

6. AT Address The shoulders are level to the ground. The grip of a one-planer tends to be a little stronger than normal too as this tends to hood the face into the backswing. This encourages a steeper backswing; oneplaners have a tendency to let the flatter arm swing over-shallow the action.

7. hAlfwAy bAck A one-planer in this position needs to feel his left arm squeezing against his chest. This move connects arms and body, and puts the armswing on the same plane as the body's rotation. Minimal forearm rotation encourages the shoulders to rotate on a steeper plane.


{C O V E R

F E AT U R E

}

3. Top of The swing The left forearm pronates – the roll you’d make to look at your watch – towards the top. The right arm, pulling up and behind the player, allows the left arm to be tight to the chest. The left arm plane matches the shoulder plane. Spine angle should be maintained, or even slightly increased.

4. hAlfwAy down The body torso, hips and shoulders start the downswing. The left arm stays tight to the chest and the club will swing down the target and around to the left. The shoulders will be turning faster than the hips in the downswing and will be between 20 to 30° open to the target line at impact.

5. releAse I like to see the clubhead itself exiting lower around the body from a down-the-line view. This is promoting an in-to-in swing path and prevents the club moving straight down the target line. The hands are passive, with no great turning over of the toe of the clubhead through the ball.

8. Top of The swing There should be no movement of the spine to the right as this will increase the width in the backswing, unnecessary in the oneplane swing. Weight shift to the right side should be kept to a minimum, and the player should feel the weight is centred in the backswing, split 50/50 each foot.

9. hAlfwAy down The shoulders should immediately start to unwind in the downswing on the same plane as the backswing. The torso is turning hard on the downswing and carries the arms down on the correct plane. Just prior to impact they will have fallen down opposite the right side of the torso.

10. finish You should feel the shoulders have turned to their maximum rotation. It's impossible for a one-planer to turn the shoulders too much to the finish. Feel the right arm fully extended across your chest and the left arm folded up at the elbow. The club should almost be horizontal, with the hands feeling low.

Todaysg olfe r .co.uk ❘ is sue 2 90


is sue 2 9 0 â?˜ Todaysg olfe r .co.uk


{T H E

TG

T W E N T Y

}

it doesn’t help to think too long and hard about the game...

CLEAR YOUR HEAD & PLAY” ANDREW STRAUSS He’s led England to Ashes glory and to the summit of Test cricket, but could England’s cricket captain nick the coveted TG20? w o r d s C O L I N C A M E R O N P I C T U R E s p or t rai t collec t i v e / S am B o w les , G E O R G E M C L U S K I E & G E TT Y

A

ndrew Strauss is often powerless when rain thwarts his sporting pursuits, so he was never likely to let even monsoon-like Fife precipitation wash away arrangements for a game of golf. England’s cricket captain and triple Ashes winner, including as skipper both here and in Australia, is due at Kingsbarns for a TG20 challenge. It is the day after he has completed three rounds of the Alfred Dunhill Links championship, finishing off at the same course 24 hours earlier. After a two-hour tutorial with his Alfred Dunhill playing partner, Sandy Lyle, which immediately followed the previous day’s efforts there isn’t even a hint of Groundhog Day the morning after. Strauss’ punctuality reflects his enthusiasm for golf and eagerness to establish whether Lyle had indeed managed to turn his fade rather than draw. An expectant Master waits for news that lessons have been learnt by his latest apprentice. There is, of course, also the matter of £20 at stake. But for him, golf is about winning. “If I miss a short putt there is a pretty good chance that the next drive might end up going a little further than normal,” he confesses. Clearly this is going to be a test. A lefty, Strauss – 35 in March –

spends most of his time at the crease striving to keep balls on the ground. His stance, with hands forward of his centre at address, suggests cricket habits may make additionally difficult the task of getting matters airborne off the tee. A single-figure handicap suggests otherwise, as does his soaring drive down the first fairway. For all the competitive juices flowing, golf for Strauss these days is an escape from the demands of professional sport. He is a member at Sunningdale and manages around 20 games a year. Amid cricket’s relentless demands on players, Sunningdale is often his retreat – with the exception of 24 hours before a Test match. “We are on our feet all day as cricketers,” he points out. “We just need to watch our backs and knees a bit.” Time with his mother, Dawn, at the range sowed the earliest golfing seeds. At Radley College, South Africanborn Strauss played over the school’s nine-hole course when the demands of rugby, his initial sporting love (encouraged by father David) allowed. Ultimately rugby made way for golf and university. Strauss, who spent his earliest years in Australia, studied at Durham (though he concedes sport and socialising took precedence). After signing for Middlesex ahead of his final year, oval balls went south for the >> Todaysg olfe r .co.uk ❘ is sue 2 90


{N O V I C E

T O

S C R ATC H

}

Living the

dream

David West had never picked up a club when he devised a plan to become a scratch golfer in just 365 days... but could he do it? W O R D S K I T A L E X A N D E R P I C T U R E S H O WA R D B O Y L A N


HELPING HAND

David couldn’t have completed his challenge without a lot of support

David surrounded by his year’s gear and scorecards.

E

very club golfer fantasises about living the lifestyle of a Tour pro. Practising and playing every day on fantastic courses, regular lessons with a coach and custom-fitted clubs and equipment from top manufacturers. For the vast majority of us, this is just a pipe dream as we stare out the office window, but former commercial manager David West made this his reality when he devised the novice2scratch challenge after he was made redundant last summer. The 42-year-old father of two was a complete novice when he booked his first lesson with Assistant Pro James Hull at Mount Pleasant GC, Bedfordshire. “I decided not to play until I had the time to do it,” he told TG. “I’d always said to my wife that you won’t see me when I’m retired because I’ll be on the golf course.” David thought that learning to play golf would aid him in his planned future career as a consultant by allowing him to get involved

challenge that nobody else had achieved before and the income comes from writing a book about the challenge. I knew I was going to get obsessed by golf and this was a great way to feed the obsession.” David’s goal was to shoot level par in a year and the novice2scratch challenge was born. Twelve months on and David finished his challenge as a 15-handicapper (14.9 to be precise). He didn’t reach his lofty ambition of becoming a scratch golfer, but he’s learnt and achieved a hell of a lot along the way, on and off the golf course. “I’ve changed as a person now and I’ve come out the other end of the year a better person to go back into what I was doing before or whatever I choose to do with my life now.” A beaming David continues: “It’s been brilliant because I’ve been so much more relaxed. I used to come back from the office stressed, have work to do and I wasn’t totally happy with my job I guess, but now I’ve

‘I KNEW I WAS GOING TO GET OBSESSED BY GOLF AND THIS WAS A GREAT WAY TO FEED IT’ in corporate days and the redundancy gave him the time he needed to get started. From the very first lesson he was bitten by the golfing bug. “I was offered a piece of work that I could have taken on a short-term contract and it just seemed to me that golf would be a more fun way of earning a living and spending a lot of my time.” It’s something we’ve all thought about, but how do you do that when you’re a beginner, let alone good enough to become a pro? “The flash of inspiration I had was to set myself a

changed and I’m more confident, more approachable and generally happier with the way things are going. It’s definitely improved family life.” He’s feeling the physical benefits too. “I’ve lost a couple of stone from playing golf, which amazed me because I didn’t think golf was a massively physical game, but just carrying your bag for four hours round a golf course and taking that number of swings does make a real difference.” On the practice range, David and coach James constructed a swing that is capable of >>

JAMES HULL, COACH: “It was an incredibly difficult challenge and I don’t think it’s ever been done before, but it was worth trying. When I first spoke to David about it I said ‘I don’t think you know how hard this challenge is’. I tried to stick to the fundamentals early on and we spent the first couple of months getting grip, stance, posture and alignment correct and then we worked on the technique of the swing itself. “David has a phenomenal brain and absorbs and understands things quicker than most people. But that can sometimes be a hindrance because he may understand something but might not be able to replicate or achieve it physically. His willingness to learn was stunning and his dedication to the cause was better than most. I couldn’t ask for much more than the amount of effort he put in. “It’s been a fantastic journey and I’ve really enjoyed it. David has come a long way from not knowing what end of the club to hold to being able to play proficiently with a 15 handicap. I’m still disappointed because I know he’s better than that and I know how excited he was when he shot 76 and that he can go round nine holes in 38 or 39 regularly; I know how good he can be. It’s just the consistency that’s let him down at times, but it’s a good starting point. “I’ve learnt that technique isn’t everything and if we were to do the challenge again I’d be looking very early on at the mental processes. Once you’ve learnt the basics it’s worth thinking about a routine and course strategy before you even get on the golf course.” Visit www.jameshullgolf.co.uk for more information about his teaching. DAVID ON MANUFACTURERS: “The help from Wilson has been fantastic. When I set up the challenge I thought I might need some help from sponsors and I was very fortunate to be put in touch with Sports Impact, who do PR for Wilson, Galvin Green and Motocaddy, and all three companies have been very supportive in helping me. I absolutely see the benefit now of how different clubs suit different people and handicaps.”

TODAYSG OLFE R .CO.UK ❘ IS SUE 2 90


training aids special { H O L E M O R E P U T T S}

Master stroKe

Conquer the scoring zone with these short-game saviours yeS! true roll pr actice ballS £14.95 Getting a pure roll on your putts is what helps the ball stay on line and limits the affect of spike marks or other imperfections on the green. Many golfers use a line on the ball not only to help align their putter but also to check how pure their roll is. But you often don't get good feedback on your putts, especially as the ball gets further away. This brand new product from Yes! Golf has

been designed to encourage this to happen during practice, making the task of rolling the ball end-over-end much more difficult initially. The pack contains three balls, each a different thickness to cater for varying abilities. The three-lined ball is wider and therefore easier to roll to your target. If you mis-strike the putt or hit it significantly offline, the ball will fall off its pertruding edge

and topple over. Start by using the widest ball and once you've mastered putting with it, move on to the middle-thickness ball and then finally the thinnest ball with one line through it. tg Verdict: Provides instant feedback on the quality of your putts. Simple to use both at home and on the practice green. ◗ www.perfectmygolf.co.uk

A TRUER ROLL The three different thicknesses allow you to progress and really master getting a pure roll on your putts. All you need to do then is pick the right line.

{ GA D G E T S }

LOWER YOUR SCORE P R AC T I C E A I D S

tiMe at the driVing range is aBout More than aiMlessly hitting Balls birdie ballS £39.99 Birdie balls are small, round pieces of cylindrical plastic that spin exactly like a golf ball but travel a maximum of 40 yards. Price includes 12 balls and a strike pad but they work just as well off grass or mats. TG Verdict: Really spin like a golf ball and they make a cool sound. Pricey though. ◗ www.birdieball.co.uk

Is sue 2 9 0 ❘ Todaysg olfe r .co.uk

tour StickS £13.95 Look in the bag of almost every player on Tour and they'll have these. Their primary use is for alignment but there's loads of different drills you can use them for improving all areas of your game. Sold in pairs. TG Verdict: Every serious golfer should use these in practice. ◗ www.perfectmygolf.co.uk

Sklz chipping fly trap net £49.95 A simple chipping net with five, different-sized bagged holes for you to aim for, ranging from one point for the largest hole to five points for the smallest. Price includes a carry bag. TG Verdict: Really easy to assemble and fun to use. Great for the garden. ◗ www.perfectmygolf.co.uk


short game gaDgets aND gIZmos

tr ack put ting m at £79.95

Swingkey golfer'S toolbox £76.95

The Track is a roll-out putting mat that's 10 feet long, 1.8 feet wide and features two textures, slow and fast, so you can practise uphill and downhill putts anywhere. You can easily analyse each putt as the mat leaves tracks that can be easily erased by brushing the surface with the eraser rod that's provided. You can easily add slopes to it and it comes with a silicon hole and ballstopping foam. tg Verdict: Perfect for practising your short putting at home, we really like this product! ◗ From www.perfectmygolf.co.uk

This product can actually be used for all areas of the game, including the pre-round warm up. It's a metal pole with grips at both ends that house two small and two large metal rods. These can be assembled to be used on or in the ground to carry out numerous drills that are highlighted in the accompanying leaflet. It's also great for stretching and loosening up before a round or practice session. tg Verdict: This training aid has so many functions, you can even attach a camera to it to film your swing! The Toolbox should never leave your bag. ◗ From www.perfectmygolf.co.uk

put tercup £ 9.95

t2hole put t guide £ 39.99

Popular with many European Tour players, the Puttercup fits snugly inside the hole creating a gated entrance much narrower than the hole itself. You can twist and turn it to change the width of the gate to any of the four reduced-size entry points from 8cm down to 5cm. You can use it to be specific with your entry point on breaking putts or just to make putting practice more testing and intense. tg Verdict: A really simple product that narrows your focus and makes the hole look bigger on the course. ◗ From www.perfectmygolf.co.uk

The T2Hole Putt Guide enables you to groove a repeatable putting stroke regardless of whether your stroke is square or has an element of rotation to it. The top rail can be adjusted to suit your style, simply rest your putter shaft along it and make some putting strokes with or without a ball. You can also put marks on the top of the rail to help with distance control. tg Verdict: Easy to assemble and great for creating a neutral putting stroke. However, it does seem a little on the expensive side. ◗ From www.t2hole.com

e y eline put ting r a il £ 4 4 .95

daVe hickS put ting mirror £ 31 .95

There are plenty of putting rails out there, but the Eyeline rail range comes with the option of a 90° rail (red), 70° (white and the most popular) and 60° (black). By making some strokes with the back of the putter touching the 70° rail, you can feel the gentle rotation you need in your stroke to hit putts squarely every time when using a toebalanced putter. tg Verdict: It can be used easily both indoors or outdoors. The markings are great for distance control too. ◗ From www.perfectmygolf.co.uk

Dave Hicks is one of the UK's most well-known putter experts and has developed this mirror to help you achieve sound fundamentals on the green during practice. You can check your ball position, eye position and shoulder alignment, ensuring you hit straighter putts, and therefore hole more putts, on a more consistent basis. It comes complete with carry bag making it easy to take with you. tg Verdict: One of the best putting mirrors on the market. This is worth the investment. ◗ From www.perfectmygolf.co.uk

FAU LT F I X I N G

cure your slice and put an end to your putting woes for less than £30 Slice eliminator £29.95 Position your ball under the adjustable guide pads. You are then encouraged to swing from the inside to prevent striking them during your swing, thus stopping the out-to-in path that causes a slice. TG Verdict: Aimed more at beginners. ◗ www.perfectmygolf.co.uk

zen i putting trainer £29.97 The Zen I is light and attaches easily to the putterface. Place the ball inside and release it towards the target. It claims to stop deceleration and help with rhythm and timing. Comes with pouch. TG Verdict: Helps create a smooth and square stroke. ◗ www.rawgolfer.com

t2hole Slice Stopper £24.99 To fix your slice, place the ball 2-3 inches inside the row of bristles and make a swing trying to follow their arc in both the takeaway and through impact. If you touch the bristles with your club, your path isn't neutral. TG Verdict: Provides immediate feedback. ◗ www.t2hole.com

Todaysg olfe r .co.uk ❘ Is sue 2 90


INSTRUCTION BURIED BALL

baNISh bUNkER blUES Escape from plugged lies in the sand thanks to these tips from England’s John Parry... ● The plugged-lie bunker shot is one of the toughest shots in the game. You can easily rack up a card-wrecking number if you don’t employ the right technique. Luckily for you, European Tour’s John Parry is on hand to show you how to get your ball out and putting for par every time. The Englishman picked up his maiden victory last year at the Vivendi Cup in Paris and now you can learn from his winning tips. ◗ See FREE bunker video tips at www.todaysgolfer.co.uk/ bunkerplay

A DD P OW E R

E X PL O SION

hit harder With a plugged lie, you’ll be hitting down much more on the ball and taking more sand so you need to generate much more power in your swing to hit the ball the required distance.

short Finish You’re looking to create much more of an explosion of the sand from this type of lie, allowing the ball to ride up on it. The follow-through will be very limited because of the amount of sand you take.

VISIT TG WEBSITE F O R BU N K E R P L AY V I D E O TIPS


Tour Pro TuiTion

STEP ONE aSSESS ThE dEPTh

j o h n Pa r ry

STEP TwO TakE mORE SaNd

take more sand With a normal plugged lie I still open the clubface slightly but hit more behind the ball (line nearest to the club). The line closest to the ball is where I’d hit the sand on a normal bunker shot.

when to square When the ball creates a crater for itself in the sand, you need to hit much more behind the ball to avoid catching it thin. So use a square clubface to ensure the club gets under the ball.

STEP ThREE SwINg baCk lONg

STEP fOUR hIT dOwN aNd haRd

build speed You need to create a long backswing to ensure you build up enough momentum in the clubhead. Remember to keep your weight in your left side from your address position.

pop it out Accelerate the clubhead down into the sand behind the ball, popping it up and out of the sand. Although distance will be hard to control, try to allow for overspin once the ball lands.

Todaysg olfe r .co.uk â?˜ is sue 2 90


EQUIPMENT { CA L L AWAY S P E C I A L }

ALTERED STATE

Callaway’s new Razr Fit driver is the firm's first foray into adjustable heads Callaway are the latest equipment giant to enter the great adjustability race with the launch of the Razr Fit driver – the first in the company’s history to feature an adjustable face and moveable weights. The brand has always been at the forefront of product innovation, particularly in terms of drivers, having launched the first wide-body driver head with the Big Bertha in 1991 and then introducing carbon

technology in the C4 in 2002. But questions were being asked about their apparent reluctance to step into the adjustability market as other brands seemed to have stolen a march on them. Callaway fans needn’t have worried, because for all this time their R&D team say they have been feverishly working on the Razr Fit, ironing out the various engineering issues that adjustability throws into the mix.

Previously, according to Callaway engineers, introducing adjustability into the head of a driver has resulted in some serious performance compromises, not least because it requires the additional weight of a sleeve in the hosel – which means less weight can be put low and deep in the clubhead. Therefore, they insisted they would never introduce an

adjustable driver until they were confident it didn’t compromise the performance in any way compared to a non-adjustable club. Now, with the Razr Fit driver, they say they have found the answer. ◗ The Razr Fit has an RRP of £329 and is available from February 15, 2012. It will come in 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° and 11.5° lofts. The stock shaft is the Aldila RIP’d NV.

{SCOOP }

NEW

CALL AWAY DRIVER

T RU S T E D O N T O U R The acid test for the launch of any Tour-level equipment is how well it is received by the best players in the world – and Callaway's Razr Fit driver seems to have gone down a storm with their team of Touring professionals.

IS SUE 2 9 0 ❘ TODAYSG OLFE R .CO.UK

Six players put it straight in the bag at the Portugal Masters including big-hitting Spaniard Alvaro Quiros, who led the field in driving distance that week, and Swede Alex Noren. Since then a host of other

Callaway players have put the Razr Fit into play including Ernie Els, Stuart Appleby and Freddie Jacobsen, who all used it at the WGC event in Shanghai,

where Jacobsen finished second. Phil Mickelson (left) has also switched to the Razr Fit, using it at the Barclays Singapore Open to the delight of Callaway's engineering team.


LATE ST NEWS

NO COMPROMISE

5

Callaway’s Senior Vice President of R&D Dr Alan Hocknell gives his view on the Razr Fit

◗ We’ve been waiting for some time to see if Callaway would introduce an adjustable driver. What has been the delay when others have been on the market for a few years now? We’d said previously that we didn’t really want to be in the adjustable driver category until we could produce a driver that didn’t compromise the performance in any other aspect. And that performance is about hitting the ball long and straight.

4 1 3

2

MOVEABLE FEAST H OW T H E R A Z R F I T TAC K L E S A D J U S TA B I L I T Y 1. WEIGHT SCREWS The Razr Fit driver features two OptiFit weight screws, 12g and 2g. With the 12g weight in the toe and 2g in the heel the driver has a neutral CG (centre of gravity) bias to promote a straighter ball flight. With the 12g weight in the heel the driver has a draw bias to promote a right-to-left flight. 2. CHANGING FACES The OptiFit hosel allows the clubface to be set into one of three distinct positions – open, closed and neutral – to counteract specific swing faults. The closed setting will close the face by 1.5° and also have the effect of increasing the loft by 1° while the open setting opens the face by 2.5° and decreases the loft by 1°. 3. CROWNING GLORY The real secret to the Razr

Fit’s success lies in the crown, or more specifically what it is made of. The crown is comprised of a new Forged Composite material, which Callaway developed with supercar giants Lamborghini, and this is both stronger and lighter than Titanium. The composite is made up of more than seven million turbostratic carbon fibres which reinforce around 30 per cent of the clubhead. This allows engineers to more precisely control the thickness and weight of the crown and this compensates for the heavier materials used in the hosel and weight screws. 4. FACE OFF The face design has also undergone a transformation where a new face pattern – a combination of Callaway’s

previous Variable Face Thickness (VFT) and Hyperbolic Face Technology – results in ball speeds which are closer to the maximum across more of the face. This is achieved by a revolutionary chemical milling process to precisely alter the thickness of the face at various points. The result is more distance, even when you don’t hit the middle of the clubface. 5. DRAG ACT It’s not just internally where Callaway have sought to improve with the Razr Fit driver. The shape of the head has been specifically designed with Streamlined Surface Technology, which reduces drag by 27 per cent compared to the Razr Hawk driver, allowing it to move faster through the air for more clubhead speed and more distance.

◗ What have you achieved with Razr Fit? This driver represents a new step in adjustability in that you have all the length and straightness you would have had in a driver like our Razr Hawk, while it is also adjustable. It features the forms of adjustability that really matter to golfers. It has one form of adjustability in the form of two weight screws that allows the weight to create either a neutral or draw CG bias; and it also features a form of adjustability in the hosel that allows you to change the face angle. That affects the interaction at impact as well and can straighten out persistent shots that go left or right. ◗ What is different about the Razr Fit compared to other adjustable drivers? We think we have the leading driver in performance in that category. The reason we can say that is that it features several technologies that are not present in other adjustable drivers. It has a Forged Composite crown and there are very few if any other adjustable drivers made of multiple materials. The crown lets us compensate for the weights of the adjustable hosel and the other adjustable elements. It means we don’t compromise the performance because this crown is so much lighter than it would be if it were made from titanium. The driver also features our new speed frame face, which is lighter than previous faces and improves the ball speeds when you don’t hit the centre of the face. It also features streamline surface technology which improves the airflow over the driver during the downswing and reduces the amount of drag. Overall the combination of those three technologies means that you’re going to hit the ball longer and straighter and still have the form of adjustability that you might want in order to configure the driver for the shot shape you’re looking for. ◗ There are only three different face angles and two weights. What is the thinking behind this? There are other adjustable drivers available that claim large numbers of settings and that is only good if you can understand the difference between each one of those settings and you can actually see the difference between each one of those settings when you adjust the driver. What we chose to do is make the driver simple to use and simple to understand, so there are three hosel settings – open; square and closed – and only two draw bias settings: draw or neutral. We feel the combination of those things is easy to understand and easy to make the adjustments; and when you do, those adjustments will be distinct from one another so you will see the club perform differently. That’s maybe in contrast to other adjustable drivers where there is a greater degree of complexity in using the driver and the distinction between the different settings isn’t as great, which can leave the golfer a little lost. TODAYSG OLFE R .CO.UK ❘ IS SUE 2 90


EQUIPMENT BEAT WINTER TROLLEY BANS

TAKING A STAND We put a dozen carry bags through their paces in the ultimate test

PUT THROUGH T H E I R PA C E S

12 TOP S TA N D B A G S

P I C T U R E S H OWA R D B OY L A N A N D T O M C R I T C H E L L

A good standbag is as vital to winter golf as waterproofs, beanie hats and a flask of hot tea. With trolley bans in place at many courses, a good standbag has to be big enough to fit all your gear inside but light and compact enough to shoulder for 18 holes. A four-strong TG team carried out comprehensive on-course tests. THE METHODOLOGY The 12 bags were tested over three days at the start of November. Each bag was worn by each tester for nine holes and rated out of five for: Looks; Comfort; Stability and Features. Testers also brought all the usual gear they would use for a round in November, including waterproofs, to fully test the capacity of the bags. is sue 2 9 0 ❘ Todaysg olfe r .co.uk

THE TE STE R S

THE STA N DBAG S

THE R ATING S

Stuart McInnes 1 HCP Comfort and plenty of features were on Stuart’s wishlist. David Connor 10 HCP Looking for cart-bag features in standbag size. Richard Moxham 12 HCP Wants a bag that looks as good as it performs. Ross Murdoch 14 HCP A good all-rounder is Ross’ ideal.

We asked 12 of the biggest names in golf to supply us with one bag each. We imposed no limits in terms of price, size, weight or functionality. While we have published the weight of each bag, we have not taken this into account in the final rating. Lastly, we did not reveal the RRPs of the bags to our testers to avoid the price impacting their views.

As usual, each bag finished with a final rating out of five, which is an average of the marks awarded in the four categories by our test team.

HHHHH HHHHH HHHHH HHHHH HHHHH

Must buy Excellent Good Average Avoid

THE VENUE The Belfry, near Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands, has hosted the Ryder Cup on four separate occasions and therefore provided the ideal base for our task.

Our team played 36 holes a day on the PGA National and The Derby courses, both of which ably support the renowned Brabazon at the world-class resort. All three courses were in

terrific condition. There are some fantastic stayand-play deals on offer throughout the winter and we recommend visiting the website opposite to see what is available.

The Belfry Wishaw, Sutton Coldfield, B76 9PR Tel: 01675 470301 Email: enquiries@thebelfry.com Web: www.thebelfry.com


THE TEST

STANDBAGS

BENROSS QUAD SPEED £79.99

COBRA DB11 £129.99

WILSON STAFF IONIX £109

Tel: 01932 821200 Web: www.benrossgolf.com

Tel: 01372 364933 Web: www.cobragolf.co.uk

Tel: 01294 316270 Web: www.wilson.com

We liked: The very stylish looks and the large variety of pockets won favour with the team, particularly the larger-than-average chiller pocket for drinks and food. We didn’t like: It sat very upright on the shoulders because of where the straps attached, making it less comfortable and more awkward than some.

We liked: Three of our testers liked the Cobra's sharp looks while the magnetic ball pocket was a nice feature. It had a good number of pockets and the stand mechanism was excellent. We didn’t like: The strap had a tendency to dig in a little on the inside of the shoulders – the only downside of an otherwise excellent product.

We liked: The easy-to -access large pockets and the large valuables pocket in particular drew comments from our team. The stand was very responsive and the straps were very comfortable. We didn’t like: Two testers thought it could do with more padding on the back for comfort and there weren't any real stand out features.

Weight: 2.5kg Looks: 3.9 Comfort: 2.4 Stability: 3.8 Features: 3.4 Rating HHHHH

Weight: 2.2kg Looks: 3.9 Comfort: 3.0 Stability: 4.1 Features: 4.3 Rating HHHHH

Weight: 2.4kg Looks: 4.0 Comfort: 4.0 Stability: 4.3 Features: 3.3 Rating HHHHH

TITLEIST 2012 LIGHTWEIGHT £130

MD BALLESTEROS £89.99

PING LATITUDE £155

Tel: 01480 301114 Web: www.titleist.co.uk

Tel: 02894 460333 Web: www.mdgolf.co.uk

Tel: 01427 619224 Web: www.ping.com

We liked: One of the most comfortable bags with the padded back offering great support. The wellplaced large pockets and unfussy but modern look also won praise. This is one of a few new bags with a handle at the top cuff, which our team liked a lot. We didn’t like: The stand occassionally needed a little bit of persuasion to pop out and retract.

We liked: Great-looking and very comfortable with a vast array of pockets, including valuables and easy-access phone pockets. Liked by all testers. We didn’t like: Two testers felt there were possibly too many pockets, while another thought the clubs rattled around a little too much. The stand could have come out a touch further as well.

We liked: The new adjustable strap system was very comfortable and a big step up on previous versions. It had enough pockets and the moulded putter well was good. The flat base would sit well on a trolley too. We didn’t like: Two of our guys found the design plain and would’ve liked a few more pockets.

Weight: 2.4kg Looks: 4.0 Comfort: 4.5 Stability: 3.5 Features: 3.5 Rating HHHHH

Weight: 2.6kg Looks: 3.6 Comfort: 4.4 Stability: 4.0 Features: 3.6 Rating HHHHH

Weight: 2.5kg Looks: 3.6 Comfort: 4.1 Stability: 4.4 Features: 3.9 Rating HHHHH

TAYLORMADE R11 PURE LITE £149

MIZUNO AEROLITE SPR £180

STEWART WATERPROOF £129

Tel: 08000 728 624 Web: www.taylormadegolf.eu

Tel: 0800 328 0180 Web: www.mizuno.eu

Tel: 0333 800 1818 Web: www.stewartgolf.co.uk

We liked: There are some terrific features such as the keyring holder, the phone pocket and the foillined chiller compartment. The array of pockets were well-sized and the straps were comfortable. We didn’t like: The only criticism was aimed at the stand mechanism. The testers felt they had to push down quite hard to get the legs to pop out.

We liked: Great looks and a lot of nice features such as a 14-way top cuff for your clubs and a topcuff carry handle. The straps were comfortable and the stand mechanism was superb. We didn’t like: The lack of a padded valuables pocket and insulated drinks compartment caused the Mizuno to lose in terms of features.

We liked: The unique styling of the bag impressed our team as did the fact it was fully waterproof. The padded back, valuables pocket, comfortable straps and solid stand mechanism all won praise. We didn’t like: The waterproof zips and pockets can be a little trickier to access than normal – a small price to pay for keeping your gear dry.

Weight: 2.3kg Looks: 4.4 Comfort: 4.4 Stability: 3.4 Features: 4.4 Rating HHHHH

Weight: 2.7kg Looks: 4.8 Comfort: 4.3 Stability: 4.5 Features: 3.5 Rating HHHHH

Weight: 3kg Looks: 4.5 Comfort: 4.3 Stability: 4.4 Features: 4.0 Rating HHHHH Todaysg olfe r .co.uk ❘ is sue 2 90


COURSES { FOCUS O N ST A NDREWS }

THEOF T BES TAIN I BR

GOLFING MECCA The small Fife town of St Andrews is the most famous in golf and it’s been that way for many centuries. Here are a few of the reasons why WOR D S K EV I N BROW N

COURSE PLANNER The Old, New and Jubilee courses are all within the town of St Andrews itself while the Duke’s, Fairmont St Andrews and Anstruther are all within a 20-minute drive.


BE ST OF BRITAIN

The ‘Auld Grey Toon’ is widely regarded as the Home of Golf. There may be some doubt about golf’s birthplace but there can be no doubting that it is the home of the game’s rulers, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, and the world’s most famous golf course... the legendary Old Course. Jack Nicklaus is a confirmed fan. He won two Claret Jugs here and chose the Old Course as the stage on which to bring the curtain down on his glorious career in 2005. “What a place,” said the Golden Bear. “This course, this town, this whole country of Scotland have been so good to me. When The Open is in town the St Andrews atmosphere is unbelievable.” St Andrews is a golf town in every sense of the word. Everywhere you go, there’s a lovely reminder of the golfing past – whether it be Old Tom Morris’ house or the well-preserved graves of the game’s greats in the grounds of the ancient cathedral at the opposite end. Besides the magical Old links, the St Andrews Links Trust oversees six other courses – the New, Jubilee, Eden,

Strathtyrum, nine-hole Balgove and The Castle course just outside the town. Just up the road you’ll also find a classic clifftop course at Fairmont St Andrews, the nine-hole masterpiece that is Anstruther, the regal Duke’s – the only inland course at St Andrews – along with Cupar, believed to be one of the world’s oldest nine-hole tracks. There’s something for everyone so if you’re unable to get a cherished tee-time on the Old Course (there’s a daily ballot, but it is easier than it used to be) there are plenty of other options. There is also a special tour you can go on for just a fiver. An expert Links Trust guide reveals all the history, triumphs and tragedies and every nook and cranny of the Old Course. Tours begin at the shop behind the 18th green at 10am and tickets include discounted admission to the British Golf Museum, just across the road from the R&A clubhouse. The museum is a must visit and so is the Jigger Inn on the end of the iconic Old Course Hotel overlooking the Road Hole.

ST ANDREWS

1. FAIRMONT ST ANDREWS Par 72, 6,051 yards TG played the resort’s Torrance course just days before the Scottish Seniors Open and it was in great shape – despite the fact it had rained heavily 48 hours beforehand. After a costly refurbishment of both it and the fine Kittock’s track, the venues are now better able to cope with the elements. Unusually for a coastal course, the Torrance features water hazards, first spotted on the par-5 3rd fairway, which is snaked by a burn just short of the green. The burn is also in play on 12 and 14. Pick of the crop is the 16th, a downhill par 4 leading to a green perched on the cliffs. You can play here for half-price with a 2-FORE!-1 voucher – and the luxury on-site hotel regularly offers cracking deals. ◗ VITAL STATISTICS

Location: Just outside the town off A917. Green fees: In Dec – £40 for residents & £45 non-residents (both courses). Winter fourball (Torrance): £119 midweek, £139 wknds. 2-FORE!-1: All week (summer rate). Contact: 01334 837 000 or fairmont.com

VISIT WWW.241GOLF.COM TO BOOK LAST-MINUTE TEE TIMES AT MORE THAN 700 COURSES Powered by


TRAVEL { F O C U S O N SA N RO Q U E }

ROCK SOLID EXPERIENCE

In the shadow of Gibraltar’s limestone massif is a pocket of prime golf land which hosts some of the finest courses in Spain WOR D S K EV I N BROW N

LOCATION MAP Fly into Gibraltar (30-minute drive) or Malaga (60 minutes). Malaga from all over the UK and with most airlines. For a few more euros you can also fly into Gibraltar from London Gatwick.


SPOTLIGHT ON

The Sotogrande area of the Costa del Sol has long been a haven for Brits heading south for some warm-weather golf. But with some classy new layouts, the attraction of this part of Cadiz has only intensified. Head south on the AP7 motorway after flying into Malaga airport (make sure you’ve got your credit card or about 11 euros handy for the tolls) and within an hour you’ll find yourself among one of the best concentrations of courses in continental Europe. Naturally world-famous Valderrama, scene of Europe’s stunning Ryder Cup success in 1997, grabs most of the limelight and plaudits. It’s an absolute must-play even if it does cost over £200 for the undoubted privilege. But there’s more to golf in the area than this costly superstar. They include the relatively new dynamic duo of La Reserva and Finca Cortesin, both quality Cabell Robinson layouts setting a challenge to rival mighty Valderrama. They’re comfortably cheaper options too, offering the likelihood of a few more pars. The relentless forest of Valderrama means the course is, of

course, no stroll in the park. Other Sotogrande stars include San Roque’s Old and New tracks. The New is the handiwork of Seve Ballesteros. Nearby you’ll find the Real Club de Golf Sotogrande, which opened in 1964. This place has bags of history – by Spanish golf standards, at any rate – and pedigree. The likes of Seve and his protege Sergio Garcia have tasted victory here. In terms of value there are numerous options here. They include Robinson’s brand new Valle Romano layout, the breathtaking Alcaidas Links and, for something completely different, the closest golf ever comes to a rollercoaster ride at dramatic Montemayor. As you would expect, all kinds of accommodation is available but if you’re looking to really treat yourself head for the palatial Finca Cortesin resort with its amazing rooms, facilities (the place has its own Beach Club at the nearby coastal hamlet of Casares) and dining options – the 11-course Tasting Menu at Schilo restaurant is to die for. The on-site golf course is pretty tasty too.

S PA I N

1. FINCA CORTESIN Par 72, 6,435 yards A worthy new home for the prestigious Volvo World Match Play Championship, Finca boasts impeccable greens and fairways along with a stunning variety of holes. But probably best not to tackle it off the back black tees – at nearly 7,500 yards it’s one of Spain’s longest courses. The hilly course has trees, water, well-placed bunkering and some lengthy carries, most notably the nerve-jangling drive over a ravine at the par-5 11th. Other stars include the dramatic par-4 4th, with its elevated tee and lakeside green, while the 13th is a picturesque par 4 with the green perched beyond a dry river bed and surrounded by trees. ◗ VITAL STATISTICS

Green fees: €140 (£120) until Dec 31 (residents receive a 35% discount). Contact: 0034 952 937883, e-mail info@golfcortesin.es or visit www.fincacortesin.com

SEE MANY MORE REVIEWS FROM SPAIN AT OUR WEBSITE

A feast for all senses awaits at Finca Cortesin.

Today's Gofler Issue 290 Preview  

Today's Gofler Issue 290 Preview

Advertisement