Thursday, January 28, 2016
The running gag in the movie "Lost In Translation" is that Bill Murray is a star who is doing a Japanese commercial that no one will see over in the US. The movie came out in 2003 and the world has gotten a lot smaller since then, so much so that now you bet you would be seeing that Japanese commercial here in the US on YouTube, TMZ or elsewhere.
Golf manufacturers have operated much in the same way with their products to the frustration of many US golfers. Sure, everyone loves the Callaway Apex irons here in the US but did you know that they are based in part of Callaway's Japanese line called the "Legacy Blacks" which came out YEARS ago and many US golf nerds have dubbed some of the best irons ever? If they were so great, let the US get em eh Callaway?
Some companies are now circumventing the East West divide and bringing their products directly to the American consumer (and the world, can't forget about the world) and I am all for that! The brand I want to highlight today is Yamura Golf.
These tees are made of bamboo and like my dad's fishing rods of old, are strong yet flexible meaning the tee lasts longer. I am hard on tees and have been searching for something just like this so I don't blow through so many tees.
As you can see, the tees are very distinctive with Japanese lettering and black and white rings down the 2 3/4 inch base. The tees come with with a great velvet pouch (pictured above) so even if you run out of the tees, the pouch is well worth the purchase alone.
I also had a chance to try out the golf towel from Yamura and much like the tees, delivered as expected. While it doesn't have a carabiner attachment like most golf towels, it does come with a cloth attachment loop for some attach-ability. Attachment, attache, atchoo.
Yamura isn't just sticking to golf accessories, they have recently rolled out wedges and given the quality of the products coming from Japan, I am expecting big things from this company in the future.
If you want to buy some Yamura products, check em out on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=bl_dp_s_web_0?ie=UTF8&search-alias=aps&field-keywords=Yamura+Sport
I was provided the above-mentioned products for review and commentary purposes. That being said, I try to review everything as honestly as possible but it is the Internet, take everything with a grain of salt and learn what you can from it. I receive no compensation whether you buy these things or not, its up to you, I just happen to think they are great!
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
If you golf in North Texas, more often than not you are going to be golfing amongst houses and creeks. Some courses are more imaginative utilizing those two elements than others and Westridge throws in a few twists, namely by adding Scottish links elements to the proceedings and also having several holes bordered by a major street. Another unique feature of Westridge is that it has 6 par 5's, 6 par 4's and 6 par 3's and I really found myself enjoying that mixing of holes.
What this all adds up to is a rather interesting North Texas experience where you have to have your ground game intact in order to score well here. For example, there was a hole that was protected by two huge mounds (stand-ins for dunes) which is something right out of the West of Ireland.
The course also uses a creek or two to penalize shots but in an interesting twist, the course usually presents these hazards off the tee in a psychological way rather than in a place that your tee shot might actually find.
This isn't to say the water is entirely illusory on this course, push a ball too much and your are praying to the Rough Gods to hold up your ball. Luckily they did for me several times during the day and I came out with a really nice round here.
My only gripe comes from holes 8 and 9 which have great mounding and interesting bunkering yet the experience is significantly degraded by Custer Blvd forming the defacto OB on the left hand side.
As with several North Texas tracks, the back side becomes much more interesting especially the 18th hole which is an ultimate risk reward. The 18th is a dogleg right with a tree blocking the right side and a creek starting at 215 with a 240 carry. I laid up, hit a 3 iron for a lifetime and jusssssst missed the birdie putt and I felt good putting the screws to a tough hole.
If you are interested in national coaches, Hank Haney has a golf school here and the practice facilities do look top notch.
Overall, while the course is firmly in the North Texas tradition of houses and creeks, offers interesting twists to make me want to come back here on future Texas visits. If you see Hank, make sure to say hello!
For more information on Westridge, check out the following link: http://www.westridgegolfcourse.com/
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Golfers are an obsessive bunch. What is the latest tech, what is the latest course and how do all of those things compare to tech, courses, etc. of the past. One thing that golfers ponder as much as any other is what is going on in their games and how to fix it. I recently experienced this, why the hell am I topping the ball with a club I normally stripe? Many holes later I figured out I was too upright and blammo, the club goes straight.
There are also great truisms in the book like:
I love when I am on the course and people are asking me what club I hit when, my game and my clubs are one thing, you should be hitting the right distances for you.
Jon really boils this down into a quick read that is enjoyable and makes you think in the best possible way. One of the lessons Jon imparts which I will leave you with is don't forget to enjoy yourself out there. Golf is a GAME that is meant to be FUN, so buy Jon's book, get to a better place with your game and regardless go have some fun out there!
If you want to purchase the book please check out this link: http://www.amazon.com/101-Mistakes-Golfers-Make-them/dp/0692605223/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1452258006&sr=8-1&keywords=101+mistakes+all+golfers+make
I was provided the book for review purposes but I try to review things as honestly as possible. I don't make any money whether you buy the book or not and it's the Internet, take everything with a grain of salt and learn what you can. That being said, I really did enjoy this book!
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Way out in East Texas, waaaay out there is according to GolfWeek, the Number 1 course in Texas. Pine Dunes Golf Resort is out in the pine barrens 2 hours east of Dallas and nestled within those pine trees and is a great golf course with no houses, plenty of tee times and lots of challenges.
I played 36 holes at Pine Dunes and despite being in Texas, I often thought I was playing in Virginia or the Carolinas, it had such a laid back, outdoorsy feel. Also, as you can tell in the pic above, the fairways were GREEN! For a SoCal boy, this was a welcomed site (now if I could just find the fairways to appreciate the color up close!).
There are two real outstanding features of PD, the first of which is the bunkering.
While the greens are wide, the throats are narrow so misses mean either you are in a bunker or shooting over one to a tight cut pin. The bunkers also contain interesting flourishes of islands of turf jutting into the bunker so even if you push a shot into the bunker you still might be in grass.
The second outstanding feature of the course is the routing. There is one par 5 that either forces a carry down the left or you have an easy bailout to the right but once you pick one route you are stuck to it as there are trees going all the way down to the green!
The course also embraces the design aesthetic we saw in the Coore/Crenshaw re-design of Pinehurst by having less turf and more waste areas (but areas you can play out of).
Allow me for a quick second to offer some thoughts about tee selection with this course. While this course is relatively new (having come about in 2001), I would argue that the white tees (making the course about 6,000 yards) is the best way to play this course rather than the blues (6,500) or the golds (7,000). I played the blue tees and the white tees during my 36 holes and the course really comes alive with the white tees. The challenges, the bunkering, the routing are all more acute and interesting from the white tees. From the blue tees you are hitting either before or over the trouble but with the white tees you are in the thick of it, which makes the course way more interesting in my mind.
Plus hitting from the white tees gives you more options like on the 18th hole which is a severe dogleg left over a pond which from the white tees you could potentially drive over.
I hit 3 of the best shots of my life and got an eagle on this hole, which will be a highlight for years to come.
The only small negative about PD is about the greens. They were a bit slow, which isn't surprising given the amount of rain in East Texas and I can't fault them for that. However, how they cut the greens in a cross-hatch pattern makes them difficult to read some times, which often led to a double break on numerous putts.
I bet during the Spring or Summer when the course drives out, the greens will come alive and give you a tremendous experience and credit goes to the greenskeeper for keeping the course as awesome as it was for a deep in December round.
The pace of play was fantastic, all the staff from the pro shop to the cute restaurant were great and with the quality of the golf, PD is well worth the trip if you are in the Dallas area. One suggestion, since the course is out in the middle of nowhere, definitely try to play 36 and/or stay at the resort so you can play the course multiple times.
Many thanks to John O'Keefe for taking many of the pictures of the course you see here, great playing partner and photographer!
For more information on Pine Dunes, check out the following: http://www.pinedunes.com/golf/info-gallery