Posted by & filed under Miscellaneous.

The irons arrived at the same time as the new Apex MB.

callaway forged

Image credit: Callaway Golf

 

They both look sensational, but after putting them both into the address position it was clear the X Forged were the most appealing. It just looks like there’s a bit more golf club, so they aren’t anywhere near as intimidating.

The finish on the X Forged is also superb it’s more off a brushed chrome effect compared to the mirror-like Apex MB. This is a model that many players have loved over the years – Phil Mickelson has been using the 2013 X Forged model for some time now.

 

Callaway X Forged irons review – The technology

The X Forged will offer a bit more forgiveness than the Apex MB thanks to its cavity-back design. Think of it as the CB to the Titleist 718 MB or the SC to the Mizuno MP-18 blade.

But I feel the X Forged has wider appeal than those models and can work for the low-mid handicap golfer with no problem at all. Like with the Apex MB the enhanced feel comes from Callaway’s triple net forging process.

The design of the new X Forged should also offer improved turf interaction and more spin from the 20v precision grooves.

 

Callaway X Forged irons review – The results

There’s a lovely crisp sound and feel off the face with these and they aren’t difficult to hit. They do feel a lot more playable than the Apex MB and they seem to perform slightly better on off-centre hits.

But like with the Apex MB, I was noticing a bit of a drop in distance from what I would expect from the ‘game-improvement’ irons I am used to. The lofts are a factor. The 7-iron in the X Forged set has 33˚ whereas I’m more used to 30˚.

And they don’t quite have the same ‘bouncy’ feel off the face as say the Steelhead XR, Titleist AP1 or Ping G400. These are precision clubs rather than distance clubs and players with similar swings speeds to me might notice a drop in distance if they are used to more ‘helpful’ irons.

callaway forged

Image credit: Callaway Golf

 

Callaway X Forged irons review – The verdict

If you’re a mid-handicapper looking to improve then irons like these may be a wise move. You’ll get more feedback on where you are striking the ball and you’ll be able to work the ball both ways with a bit more ease.

The looks, sound and feel of these clubs is fantastic – you’ll really enjoy using them and look forward to playing golf with a set of these in the bag.

For me personally, I’m not quite ready to give up that distance and help I get from my current irons but if I could improve the consistency of my ball-striking I’d be delighted to put these into play.

 

Details

SRP: £1,049 (7 irons)

Available: 3-PW

On sale: January 26, 2018

More information can be found on the Callaway website.

 

Posted by & filed under Miscellaneous.

Here we go again, the never-ending topic of slow play. Next year’s Austrian Open will be called the Shot Clock Masters and we will get to see a player penalised for taking too long to hit a shot.

shot clock

 

If you were of a cynical nature, which I am, your/my immediate reaction to the prospect of a shot clock being put in place at a European Tour event might be one of raised eyebrows to go alongside a stifled yawn.

The topic of slow play is seemingly never far away and on Thursday June 7 at next year’s Austrian Open we will get the latest experiment to try and get golf moving forward at a more reasonable pace.

They are even calling the tournament the Shot Clock Masters.

The players will have 50 seconds to hit their shot if they are the first player in any given group, then subsequent players will get 40 seconds. A referee will follow every group and, should you not get your shot away in time, you will receive a one-shot penalty and these will be shown as a red card against their name on the leaderboard.

Each player will have the right to call two ‘time-outs’ during a round which will permit them twice the usually allotted time to play the shot.

European Tour chief Keith Pelley said: “The 2018 Shot Clock Masters will be a fascinating addition to our schedule next year. Not only will it help us combat slow play and reduce round times, it is also further evidence of our desire to embrace innovation.”

Lee Westwood told the Daily Mail: “What a brilliant idea, and long overdue.”

His Ryder Cup teammate Andy Sullivan was equally enthusiastic: “It underlines how long 40 seconds is to play a shot and how ridiculous it is that rounds take so long. The sooner it’s introduced on Tour, the better.”

Though David Howell, part of the tournament committee, sounded more of a cautious tone.

“You won’t have time to work out shots like that if you’ve only got 40 seconds, which is a big negative. We’re not suggesting this is how professional golf should be in the future.”

Just out of interest the Tiger Woods chip-in at the 16th at Augusta took one minute 26 seconds from when he first stood over the shot to when his lob wedge met the ball.

So is it all a bit of a publicity stunt in a low-key week or are the European Tour finally going to throw penalty shots at the great and good, some of which might determine the winner of the tournament?

What we do know is that the bulk of the players are keen to speed things up. At the Dunhill last week, a one-off pro-am, granted, rounds were taking six hours.

They are also tired of the same old culprits not moving with the times. Columnist James Morrison, another member of the players’ committee said this a year ago: “One of my wishes would be to tackle the same old problem that has been talked about from what seems like the beginning of time – slow play.

shot clock

 

“It’s getting painful as a player so what it must be like to watch I don’t know. There was some optimism at the start of the year but, with everything else going on, it feels like it has been pushed aside.

“Players are still so stuck in their routines and can’t get out of it. The only way to identify slow play is if a group is out of position but, if everyone is slow, then things will never change. A couple of guys were fined this year but that changes nothing.

“If you were docked shots and that doubled each time then things would soon pick up.”

Of course we had the 40-second limit at the GolfSixes team event in May where only Paul Peterson was hit with a penalty.

So there are some positive signs and though the cynic in me/you might wonder if this will ever be cracked, as Bill Haas alluded to in an interview with the Associated Press this year.

“My dad has said it’s been talked about in player meetings since he was a rookie,” he said. Jay Haas was a rookie in 1977.

As for the PGA Tour following suit, don’t hold your breath. At the Zurich Classic in April Miguel Angel Carballo and Brian Campbell were penalised a shot after taking longer than 40 seconds to play a shot twice. Before that you have to go back to Glen Day and the Honda Classic in 1995.

 

Posted by & filed under Competitions, Golf Travel.

Recently at The Golfers Club, we asked you to tell us the best places you have played golf abroad – especially late in the season. It’s getting colder already, so we could do with useful information for finding a little sunshine and green links somewhere.

Plus, our five favourite answers below will all be getting a free Mizuno cap in the post – so if you’re getting some winter sun, you can keep it out of your eyes!

 

*Brian* – Star Answer

Ile Aux Cerfs Golf Club in Mauritius.

A leisurely boat trip to the course on a wonderful location and 5-star service – Heaven!

Golf Abroad

Image credit: Ile Aux Cerfs Golf Club

What a way to start! The island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean is already almost too stunning for words, but throw in a par-71 championship golf course designed by Bernhard Langer? It might just be paradise. With nine lakes, volcanic rocks and holes that require tee shots across sea inlets to the fairway? We’re already looking up flight prices…

 

*Allan* – Star Answer

Portugal.

Excellent weather, quiet courses and reasonable green fees.

Golf Abroad

Portugal is a name that is coming up more and more often amongst travelling golfers. As Allan mentioned, the weather is reliably warm 99% of the time – and the courses tend not to be too busy even in peak seasons. From the Oceânico Victoria – home of the Portugal Masters – to the Algarve, there’s a course (and a view) for all skill levels.

 

*David* – Star Answer

Belek, Turkey.

Great courses, fantastic weather and all-inclusive hotels that provide amazing value for money.

Golf Abroad

Image credit: Gloria Golf Club

We must admit, Turkey is not somewhere we have been to play golf abroad – but after looking into it we’re wondering why we haven’t made the trip sooner!

Belek is considered the premium golfing location in Turkey, less than an hour’s drive from Antalya Airport. With almost 20 courses nestled amongst the vast swathe of pine forests, designed by Sir Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie amongst others – Belek should definitely be on every golfer’s bucket list!

 

*Alan* – Star Answer

Desert Springs Resort and Golf Club – located in Cuevas Del Almanzora, Almeria, Andalusia. The only true European desert region, with very little rain throughout the year. The course was in top class condition and the greens were fast and true. The course is challenging but fair.

Golf Abroad

Image credit: Marriott

Spain is, of course, a real hotbed of golfing holidays. Andalusia, right down at the bottom tip of the country, however, is definitely an undiscovered gem. The Canary Islands and Majorca are all packed with seasoned golf holiday-makers, but as Alan shows – you can get a good deal if you know where to look, and late-season deals mean the weather is hot but not stifling. With Desert Springs hosting the PGA EuroPro Tour Final for the last two years, it won’t be unknown for long – so you’d better hurry!

 

*Ian* – Star Answer

Perth, Australia.

Glorious weather and an empty course!

Golf Abroad

Sunshine and clear fairways. What more could any golfer possibly want? As Ian points out – Australia has some of the best golf courses in the world. Perth’ average temperature late in the season is between 16 and 20 degrees, ideal for a full day of sun and golf.

Of course, we appreciate it is a long way to travel, but if you’re making a full holiday of it –  it’s absolutely worth it!

 

Don’t forget, if you do decide to jet off to try one of these spectacular golfing destinations – you can upgrade your Bronze, Silver or Gold policy to include worldwide cover for just £10 so you’ll be covered across the globe. If you’ve got Platinum cover, good news – you’re already covered!

 

golf abroad

Posted by & filed under Miscellaneous.

Forget dress codes. They have no place in golf anymore.

Or at least not at any club that is currently striving to attract new members and visitors, which I would imagine is at least 95 per cent of them.

dress code

 

What’s the issue?

I’m tired of beating around the bush on this subject. You’re worried about standards at your golf club? What if there is no golf club, will standards matter to you then?

I don’t care what people wear to play golf any more than I care what they wear to go shopping, 10-pin bowling or to the gym. Nor do I believe that the game will somehow crumble because the guy in front is wearing a T-shirt.

What I would like to see is golf becoming about a thousand times more accessible to those who have never encountered it before. I want more people, especially children, to get the chance to play.

Golf’s reputation among those who don’t play the game is appalling. Have you ever found yourself chatting to a non-golfer and then watched their face drop when your favourite hobby comes into the conversation?

I’ll be honest – I steer the conversation elsewhere. People think golf is a game played by stuffy bores. It’s toxic. They think golf clubs exist in a parallel universe. And the frightening thing is that their preconceptions are not always wrong.

 

How can it be fixed?

There is no simple solution to this, but a good place to start would be for golf to drop its obsession with what people are wearing.

It is my belief that the journey from the front gate to the 1st tee is much longer than the one from there to the 18th green.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of issues regarding slow play, arcane rules, the cost of equipment and the inherent difficulty of the game, but you’d have to be actually playing golf before they became off-putting. I’ll happily confront those issues – but only after getting more people out on to the golf course.

Symbolically, dress codes are a huge part of the stigma that is strongly attached – and let’s not kid ourselves here, golf is stigmatised – to the game. So if your club is thriving and your membership waiting list keeps getting longer then by all means carry on regardless.

For the rest of us, and that’s the majority, I think it’s high time we brought our ‘standards’ in line with those of the 21st century.

 

dress code

Posted by & filed under Miscellaneous.

The European Tour schedule 2018 has been announced, which you can see below. But first, a few talking points…

european tour

Image credit: European Tour

 

The (non) European Tour schedule 2018

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’ve been saying this for years about how it is still a thing that the first event of the season on European soil isn’t until May and how it’s not really a European Tourzzz…

Maybe they should just change the name to, I dunno, the ‘World Tour’, or the ‘Anywhere but the US Tour’?

OK, that might need some work, but if you were to go to every tournament next season, you would visit 30 different countries. The diversity is wonderful to see.

 

New events

Thomas Pieters will host the Belgian Knockout which sees the European Tour continue its trumpeting of new formats.

Meanwhile the Desert Swing now splits into two parts, with the Abu Dhabi Championship and Dubai Desert Classic taking their usual late-January slots, before it returns to the Middle East for a new event – the Oman Classic – and the Qatar Masters a month later.

Also brand new for the Anywhere but the US Tour is the Philippines Golf Championship.

 

Where will the British Masters be held?

There was a concern the British Masters might clash with the FedEx Cup, which could have been problematic for tournament host and PGA Tour stalwart Justin Rose. But he will be pleased to see it is to be held two weeks after the Ryder Cup.

But where will it be? Rumour has it that talks between Rose and Walton Heath are at an advanced stage.

Speaking of which…

 

A few courses still don’t have a venue

Fine for the British Masters, which isn’t until October, but the Indian Open and aforementioned Philippines Golf Championship – both in March – might want to get into gear. Also without a venue so far are China Open, GolfSixes and Italian Open.

Meanwhile there are still a couple of dates to be confirmed, to if you have a few hundred thousand in the bank and fancy your very own golf tournament…

 

Italian moving day

Speaking of the Italian Open, it has moved from its usual September slot back to May to create back-to-back Rolex Series events alongside the BMW PGA Championship, which itself moves to September from 2019 to make space for the PGA Championship – the major, that is.

It’s all very confusing. Anyway, here is the European Tour schedule 2018 in full…

 

European Tour schedule 2018

November 23-26: Hong Kong Open
November 30-December 3: Australian PGA Championship
November 30-December 3: AfrAsia Open
December 7-10: Joburg Open
January 11-14: South African Open
January 12-14: Eurasia Cup
January 18-21: Abu Dhabi Championship
January 25-28: Dubai Desert Classic
February 1-4: Maybank Championship
February 8-11: World Super 6 Perth
February 15-18: Oman Golf Classic
February 22-25: Qatar Masters
March 1-4: Mexico Championship**
March 1-4: Tshwane Open
March 8-11: Indian Open
March 15-18: Philippines Golf Championship
March 21-25: Match Play Championship**
April 5-8: The Masters*

April 12-15: TBC
April 19-22: Trophee Hassan II
April 26-29: China Open
May 5-6: GolfSixes
May 10-13: TBC
May 17-20: Belgian Knockout
May 24-27: BMW PGA Championship***
May 31-June 3: Italian Open***
June 7-10: Austrian Open
June 14-17: US Open*
June 21-24: International Open
June 28-1 July: Open de France***
July 5-8: Irish Open***
July 12-15: Scottish Open***
July 19-22: The Open*
July 26-29: European Open
August 2-5: Bridgestone Invitational**
August 9-12: PGA Championship*
August 8-12: European Golf Team Championships
August 16-19: Nordea Masters
August 23-26: Czech Masters
August 30-September 2: Made in Denmark
September 6-9: European Masters
September 13-16: KLM Open
September 20-23: Portugal Masters
September 28-30: Ryder Cup
October 4-7: Dunhill Links Championship
October 11-14: British Masters
October 18-21: Valderrama Masters
October 25-28: HSBC Championship**
November 1-4: Turkish Open***
November 8-11: Nedbank Golf Challenge***
November 15-18: World Tour Championship***

*Major championship
**World Golf Championship
***Rolex Series event

 

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Recently on The Golfers Club, we asked you to tell us your favourite way to watch golf – and why.

We received a flurry of responses – and it turns out television was the overwhelming favourite!

 

watch golf

 

From everything you said, we’re not surprised that television won. It’s getting more and more difficult to get tickets to a big golf tournament these days – and even the smaller ones can be tricky to get to. Television allows you to see every player and every shot from every andgle – all without leaving the sofa! While we would recommend everyone goes to at least one tournament, we can see why the committed fan would enjoy watching golf on TV.

 

Not only that, but of those who picked television as their favourite – it turns out they had a favourite channel as well. Step forward Sky Sports!

 

watch golf

 

 

We must admit, this one surprised us. After years of enjoying watching golf on both BBC and Sky Sports – we thought the BBC coverage being free might ‘swing’ it, but it turns out the majority of you prefer Sky Sports. More tournaments and a far bigger budget means the coverage is far more in-depth, meaning there’s more action to enjoy! 

 

Thanks to everyone who gave us their thoughts on how they love to watch golf. As promised, we picked out the five best responses below, each of which will be getting a Mizuno Cap – no matter whether you chose television, live or the BBC!

 

Martyn – Live

At the course. You can soak up the atmosphere and enjoy a good walk at the same time!

 

Vivienne – Television

Television. I find that I can actually learn to adapt my game through watching how the professionals play in various conditions & courses.

 

Chris – Television

Terrestrial TV gives better access to all and hopefully encourages children to take up the game!

 

Garry – Live

Live, because you are right in the atmosphere, with the best players in the world and the whole crowd.

 

Mike – Live

Live, especially British Open action in the flesh.  From the links of Royal Birkdale and Royal Liverpool, plus attending the 2016 US Open at Oakmont – there is no substitute for watching the top players, and how they conduct themselves live on the course, truly wonderous!