Cleveland Golf: Forging For A Better Future

Cleveland Golf stirred up buzz this last week in the golf world when they announced they would be brining back their most popular wedge ever. The 588 wedge was first introduces to the golf world over 20 years ago and since then it has accumulated 355 PGA Tour wins, 26 majors, and sold over 3 million worldwide  (pretty impressive stats for one little wedge). The 588 wedge design has become the standard for all Cleveland’s wedges.

How Cleveland recreated the classic was by adding a few technical innovations. Made from 1025 carbon steel Cleveland has Forged this wedge to create a soft yet solid feeling. Like all Cleveland’s current wedges the 588 will come equipped with Tour Zip Grooves and a Laser Milled face.

The shaft was a product of innovation between Cleveland Golf and leading shaft maker True Temper. Together they created a Tour Concept steel shaft that has a unique stiffness profile that features a less active tip. With this distinctive shaft it should help promote penetrating ball flight, increased spin and optimal distance control with a feel like no other wedge before it’s time.

Hopefully the new 588 wedges will live up to its predecessor because those are some pretty big shoes to wear. Their new tagline claims they are “Forging For A Better Future” instead of their previous “Year Of The Wedge” they are thinking long term this time. With plenty of options in lofts and bounces they have something for just about everyone and you can choose either a Satin finish or Mirror Chrome. Fans of the original 588 wedges are already waiting with anticipation for its mid-November launch.

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Spotted: Phil Mickelson With A Long Putter

Golf’s favorite equipment nut has decided to jump on the long putter bandwagon. Phil Mickelson has been known to show up to the Master’s with two drivers or adding a 2 iron like he did at this years U.S. Open, a club he hadn’t had in his bag for over 6 years. But a long putter? I’m not sure I ever thought I would see the day. But sure enough he showed up to the Deutsche Bank Championship pro-am with an unusually long putter. Mickelson pulled out a Odyssey Sabertooth White Hot XG long putter quoting “I thought I’d give it a try”.  This 45.5″ (70° lie) putter is his latest experiment. Known for his short game techniques is this too risky to through into the bag? No word yet on if he liked it and will keep it in the bag for the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Recently the long putter showed up in the winners bag for it’s 1st major championship win this year at the PGA Champion by Keegan Bradley. For 3 consecutive weeks it was found in the winners bag including Adam Scott, and Webb Simpson.

One thing is for certain if Phil does show up with this in his bag tomorrow and wins there might actually be a spike in long putter sales.

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Dustin Johnson Finds First Win of The Season Despite Irene

While we already knew that The Barclays was going to be shortened to 54 holes due to Hurricane Irene, for a second there it looked like they might have to shorten it even more to 36 due to all the rain. But the rain let up enough to finish play and Dustin Johnson was able to find his first win of the season. He played with some incredible golf skills this weekend weathering the onset of a Hurricane was enough to send some golfers packing but Johnson weather the storm. Shooting his last round with 6 under 65 to win the first FedEx Cup playoff event by two shots over defending champion Matt Kuchar. This win also propelled Dustin to be ranked #4 in the world. He’s also looking at the #1 in FedEx Cup standings after winning this first playoff race to a $10 million prize.

Johnson just finished celebrating TaylorMade’s One Millionth sale of their white metalwoods. Johnson surprised the 1,000,000 customer with by delivering their R11 driver dressed up as a FedEx deliveryman.

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The 2011 Barclays In The Path of Hurricane Irene

Plainfield Country Club from Golf Chronicles by Allan Henry

Looks like the Barclays is under attack. Hurricane Irene has quiet literally put a damper on the tournament. Shortening the hole to 54 holes instead of the usual 72. New Jersey Governor had already signed a state of emergency on Thursday for the arrival of the Hurricane which Irene has promised to cause severe flooding and damages this weekend. This is the first time The Barclays has been held at Plainfield Country Club in Edison, N.J. and i’m not sure if it will be returning there. So here is the deal players who make the cut today will tee off at 7am tomorrow to try and finish before Irene his. If players are unable to finish their 3rd round by the time Irene comes into town they will score it based on 36 hole tournament. So fingers crossed they will be able to finish tomorrow.

At the end of day one it looks like the cut will be at 4 under after Ryan Palmer birdied his last hole, only 70 players survived.

Again I have updated a live recap of Twitters response to The Barclays and Hurricane Irene here.

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The Barclays and The Fight To The FedEx Cup

What’s interesting about the FedEx Cup is that it’s talked about all year and it’s one of the only tournaments where every single player in the field has to earn their spot every year. There are no lifetime exemptions, no sponsor’s spots, all it comes down to is if you’re playing in the top 125 that week. The only way to get to those coveted spots is by playing well enough throughout the entire season. What is ever better about the tournament set up is that not only to you have to fight to get into the tournament you have to fight to stay there. It’s a “survive and advance” format.

This weeks tournament marks the first FedEx Cup playoff tournament. The Barclays will be held at Plainfield Country Club this year in Edison, New Jersey. Matt Kuchar is the defending champion and yes he has another shot at keeping that title. The Final playoff is the Tour Championship which will take place September 22-25th.

As I’m sure all of your readers have heard by now there was an earthquake over there on the east coast. It happened to coincide while the Barclays was having a press conference. You can see how everyone reacted to the story on Twitter here.

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Golf For All Ages

While I was playing golf this weekend I realized one of the greatest characteristics about the game is that it brings together generations of people. Walking around the course you can sometimes even find a grandfather, father, son, team. I think there are very few sports that can boast it can be learned and played at almost any age. The only other game that comes to mind is pool where you can either learn the game as a kid or pick it up later in life ( I saw a fun post about it here). As you know I myself started golf at a young age but regrettably never picked it up again until recently. If anything it’s a great game the whole family can play. While some may take it more seriously than other it by no means discredits golf’s ability to be a fun and competitive game.

Golf is a game that can be taken as competitively as the group would like. Many golf groups allow mulligans among other gimmes to allow all members of the group to enjoy the game. Various advancements in golf have allowed the game to be enjoyed by all these generations of players. Golf carts allow easy access and less physical exertion, club technology has made it easier for players to learn the game, and the most recent “Tee It Forward” initiative has golfers playing from the proper tee so they can enjoy the game even more tailored to their skills.


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History of Ping Golf Clubs

Continuing my golf history lessons having already perused the history of how Callaway became a household name I decided to take a look at PING since they just rolled out their new product line for 2012. I thought I would take a look into their humble beginnings. An American success story fitting of the ‘American Dream’. With humble beginnings starting in family garage (all the best entrepreneurial stories start this way), Karsten Solheim created one of the most successful golf club companies in history. With a little help from the Ping history timeline here are some of the game changing moments in PING golf club history:

1959-The first putter 1A created in his garage while the club made a ‘ping’ sound the name of an empire was born.
1961-Karsten experiments with heel-toe weighted irons. An innovator in his time he wanted to create the most forgiving iron he could.
1962-1st PING victory on the PGA Tour by John Barnum using a PING 69 putter at the Cajun Classic.
1966-Asner putter is designed as the answer to competitors. A major setback when the USGA outlawed all PING clubs except Anser putters due to the slight bend in the shaft.
1969-PING Anser is used to win at The Masters marking the 1st major championship win. Also the K1 iron was born with a perimeter weighting and 17-4ph stainless steel.
1970– PING introduces laminated maple woods as large as the market would accept, keeping his forgiveness mantra in tact.
1972-PING introduces the Color Cooling System. A color dot distinguishes the lie angle of the club. Golfers able to see how having the right lie angle can improve their game.
1975-PING Gold Putter Vault created to store and display PING putter wins by tour pros. Every Ping tour win 2 golf replica models are creates; one is given to the tournament champion one is put into the vault.
1976-1st PING Man is developed. A mechanical golfer designed to precisely simulate the human golf swing including shoulder and free-moving wrist.
1978-PING Eye Iron introduces. Features the patented eye shape in the cavity for improved feel.
1979-PING tops the putter count at U.S. Open and British Open beginning a long streak of top putter choices the next 20 years.
1982-PING EYE2 introduced to the market becoming the best selling iron.
1984-PING introduces L-Wedge designed to give golfers additional option sin their short game and lower their scores
1984-square grooves show up on the PING EYE2 irons.
1987-PING Anser2 used to win the PGA Championship marking the 25th major championship victory for PING putters.
1988-PING putters get a grand slam used to win all 4 prestigious major championship: The Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, and PGA Championship all in one year.
1995-PING Fitting Cart Program was established. Customers could visit PING headquarters and learn about club fitting
1995-The Hoofer Carry Bag makes its debut.
1995-Karsten’s youngest son John Solheim is appointed president.
1996-PING ISI are the 1st irons to be manufactured using nickel. Making a durable and soft iron.
1997-PING develops its first insert for true feel called the Isopur insert
1998-PING TiSI driver launches as the largest custom-fit driver in golf.
2000-Founder Karsten Solheim passes away at the age of 88.
2004-PING launched the Mobile Fitting Van. Also introduces the Craz-E putter and its unique design is accepted among golfers worldwide.
2005-For the 1st time PING introduces a comprehensive line featuring every equipment category simultaneously.
2008-nFlight Custom Fitting software creates a virtual fitting experience
2011-PING introduces the iPING the first app to help golfers custom fit their skills with their putter.
August 2011- PING presents the new G20 product line

What’s your favorite PING memory?

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2011 PGA Championship Winner

In his rookie season Keegan Bradley definitely showed that golf really does run through his veins (Aunt Pat Bradley is LPGA Hall of Famer). Winning his first tournament earlier this season on the PGA Tour he attended the PGA Championship with no expectations. After making it to the playoffs with Jason Dufner, who had nerves of steel during the tournament, it was finally settled that at least an American would win a major this year. Not only did an American win a major this is also the 7th straight major where a 1st time winner has become victorious, not a whole lot of dominating players in the game?  One thing is for sure is that Keegan will definitely be at the top of the list for Rookie of The Year Award this season. The 25 year old has 2 wins under his belt including a major championship.

Golf has inevitably turned into a worldwide stage for competition. With this year’s major winners from everywhere around the globe; Ireland, South Africa, and of course now America. There are no “sure thing” players anymore as Tiger’s days of dominance are clearly on hold (if they are ever to return).

This is also a big win for Cleveland golf and of course another win for the long/belly putter, first Adam Scott now Keegan Bradley…will it never end? whatever gets you to the finish line I suppose. Check out what other golf clubs Bradley had in his bag over here

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PGA Championship Round 1 Wrap Up

Some notes from the 1st round at the 2011 PGA Championship:

  • Tiger had a great start but then lost all steam moving forward ended up carding a +7 77. To say he probably wasn’t ready for a major is an understatement.
  • Steve Stricker tied major history by scoring a 63 during the first round at the Atlanta Athletic Club (25th person to score this low). He is the current leader and following not far behind is fellow Wisconsin player Jerry Kelly.
  • Rory McIlroy needed some course management help on the 3rd hole where he inevitably hit a root injuring his wrist. The poor guy played threw though while spectators watched in sheer pain.
  • Ryo Ishikawa almost made history of his own scoring 15+ 85 for the worst score in his professional career.

If you want to check out what fans were tweetin about check out my story here on Golf Right Now and here is Round 2.

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From Caddy To Champions

While the biggest news in golf last week was how Tiger Woods fired his longtime caddie Steve Williams this weeks news spotlights Williams vindication. Williams is now full time on the bag for Adam Scott and showed he still know the Firestone Golf Course better than anyone and lead Scott to his 1st victory of the season. Whether it was the caddying or just Scotts time to shine it will forever be known as Williams win.

How did his former boss do? After not playing competitively for almost 3 months, recuperating from injuries, Tiger Woods found himself a respectable T37 finish. Speculation says that’s just his warm up round for the PGA Championship this week. Fans still determined that he will have his comeback after almost 2 years without a win. Then there are those who see other stars ready to rise like current world leader Luke Donald who is eyeing his first major win and Rory McIlroy who is hungry for another. From what I have gathered this major is the least talked about out of the 4 majors. It’s more likely to have a lesser known player find a victory than a top 10 player. However, it’s still a great stage with the best player’t in the world and it also happens to be the last big event of the golf season.

Quick Facts About 2011 PGA Championship:

  • 93rd PGA Championship
  • Located Atlanta Athletic Club: Johns Creek, Georgia
  • Length 7,467 yards
  • Field 145 players ( 136 tour pros, 20 club pros )
  • Defending Champion: Martin Kaymer
  • Dustin Johnson will forever be remembered for “bunkergate” at PGA Championship’s 18th hole at Whistling Straits
  • Last time PGA Championship was held at the Atlanta Athletic Club was 2001 where David Toms beat Phil Mickelson.
  • So far American players are 0 for 3 in majors this year
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