Friday, March 10, 2006

Let's face it, they're queer and they're here. Is the Hybrid an Idea Whose Time has Come?

More and more players are using the hybrid and the poor 2 & 3 irons are taking the brunt of it.

Everybody has a hybrid.

Or at least it seems that way.

Todd Hamilton made his famous British Open-clinching shot using a hybrid. Nick Price, Jim Furyk, Brad Faxon and Johnny Bench have all had at least one in the bag recently -- and those are just a few of the players swinging sticks from up-and-coming clubmaker Sonartec, not to mention the power-wattage that companies such as TaylorMade, Callaway and Nike employ.

And when Champions Tour stars flash those funny-looking but deadly accurate tools with impunity, even the most die-hard golfing Luddite — you know, the guy you see out there on Saturday morning wielding the musclebacks of yore, often with ugly results — starts to believe that these newfangled sticks are the real deal.But what exactly is a hybrid?

Ask five different technicians and five different instructors and you might get 10 different answers. Sure, they’ll throw around jargon like “bulge and roll” and “center of gravity,” but it seems that every swingin’ stick wants to be a hybrid these days.Game-improvement irons. Utility clubs. Wood-irons. Iron-woods. Whatever you want to call them — we prefer hybrids, ’cause that’s really what they are — these half-bred beauties are finally in the mainstream after years in the shadowy tributaries of technology. Virtually every major manufacturer includes them in their arsenal, and for several emerging companies (think Nickent, Sonartec, La Jolla and Bobby Jones for starters), hybrids are the bedrock of their business.

And while the industry buzzword casts a wide net, the result is easy to pinpoint: hybrids are helping golfers, from major champions to rising stars to club champions to once-a-weekers to seniors whose distance tops out around 175 yards.

“Hybrids are more versatile; you can hit them out of the rough, you can hit different trajectories with them. I play with TaylorMade Rescues myself, but they’re all good — Sonartec, Titleist, Callaway, Hogan — and everybody has one,” says Mike Mazzaferri, director of golf at Hidden Valley Country Club in Reno, Nev., and 2004 Golf Professional of the Year for the Northern California PGA...

You can read the rest of the article at Fairways & Greens.

I like my long irons but I think it's a matter of time before I succomb to the lore of the Hybrid.

Golf Times

Monday, March 06, 2006

If You're Looking For An Inspirational Golf Story Then Go No Further

Here's a great article by Matt Adams of The Golf Channel on three golfers and their road to the PGA:

Forging a plan to get from where we are to where we want to go can feel like a journey of a million miles. Sometimes it helps to see the path forged by others to help us see the possibilities on our own horizons. Take for example, the varied journeys of Vijay Singh, Charlie Sifford, and Esteban Toledo to reach golfing success.

Vijay Singh knew from a very early age that he wanted to be a professional golfer. But growing up in Fiji with five siblings and his parents in a cramped little house, the world of professional golf must have seemed like a very unlikely prospect. Unlikely, that is, if you were not Vijay Singh.

As a boy, Singh loved the game so much that he would sometimes make his way through various drainage pipes that ran beneath the runways of the Nadi Airport to reach the golf course. The pipes were completely dark, and the lanky Singh had to crouch down simply to fit. The putrid water drained sewage to the ocean, and it would normally run higher than his ankles. Singh was so committed to his plan that he would drop out of school by the time he was sixteen in order to pursue his dream.

Vijay Singh was blessed with a gift and a conviction—and these would be the ticket to his dreams. His gift was his ability to play “with peace.” Part of this gift was just his natural disposition. He had the ability to stand over a putt that might mean the difference between playing on the weekend or going home, and he would not be overcome with crushing anxiety. Vijay has long been a student of Eastern philosophy, and he has mastered the ability to control his breathing, and, as a result, his temperament in high-stress situations. Singh was also convinced from very early in his life that nothing can beat unrelenting hard work and practice. He has worn this philosophy like a shield for his entire professional career. Singh has said that the reason he has become successful is that he has always had a disposition to do “whatever it takes.”

Like Singh, Charlie Sifford had to wade through plenty of filth to play golf, but the indignity he endured poured from the hearts and minds of ignorant people. Today Charlie Sifford, now in his eighties, seems relaxed and unassuming, yet his pleasant demeanor belies the trials he had to endure to realize his dream of playing professional golf against the best in the world.

You can read the rest of it here

Makes you want to quit your job and try to make it as a professional golfer.

Golf Times

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Move Over Sergio, Here Comes Villegas

There's another Spanish speaking phenom on the rise and he goes by the name of Villegas, Camilo Villegas. I'm secure enough in my manhood to say that this guy is hot and I don't mean just his golf. He's young, good looking and has a game good enough to play with the big boys.

I don't know how he's able to maintain his play on the course with all the playing I'm sure he does at night.

I know my Spanish friends over at Galaxia Golf are loving this. The tour now has a little Latin Salsa to go with the American hamburger.

Golf Times
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