Thursday, 29 October 2015

PGA Year One - UK Edition - Assignments

Following the first year of the PGA I will give you a brief overview of the 2014/2015 assignments to give you an idea of what to expect.

1. Club Fitting

This assignment is a simple one really. The idea is to do a complete fit on a regular golfer. This includes creating a fitting form and then listing a systematic approach to the fitting process. Following the completion of the assignment you are to include the club specifications (Loft, Lie and Length) of the recommended clubs.

2. Sales Skills

Generally this assignment was met coldly by other assistants and as a pointless 'filler' assignment.

The assignment required the assistants to look at two sales attempts in the work environment, one that failed and one that was successful. Following reviewing what you did well and poorly you could make recommendations such as trying to up-sell.

3. Golf Retail

This assignment request Assistants to conduct a Mystery Shop on a larger golf store
and then to compare against your own pro shop. Following this, again we make two recommendations. This was felt like another 'filler' assignment by most with no real purpose.

4. Golf Coaching

This is an assignment that actually felt like it merited being a Professional Golf Assignment. This assignment presented three golf shots with data provided by Trackman, maybe the PGA is waking up to the 21st century...

The task was to identify the ball flights as fade, draw, pull hook etc, and then to detail the impact factors that caused the shots. This is essential whilst coaching so really there is no excuse for failing this if coaching is what you enjoy. 

It also requested that we compare what a change of grip to the golfer may cause to happen. All in all a good meaty assignment.

5. Sports Science

This assignment appears to be a pain BUT out of all assignments this was the assignment I learnt the most from.

The assignment had Assistants research the rates that juniors grow and develop looking into things such as Peak Height Velocity and different Athlete development models. It was interesting to compare that people of the same age may have different biological ages therefore you may teach two 12 year old children differently.

6. Other Stuff

Aside from assignments there are things such as knowledge tests that you must complete before you attend the fun filled residential week at the Belfry. One of which was a 4 man sports science presentation on fundamental movement skills.

Taylor Made R15 430 Long Term Review - 5 Things

So following a season with the R15 430 as my 'Gamer' here are my 5 thoughts.

1. It Launches Higher than the 430 SLDR

I always had the SLDR 430 set on 12 in a 10.5 head and it was high and flat flying.

On my first competition with the 430 R15 I matched the set-up and wow, it launches higher. Over the course of the season I know have the 430 set at 9.5 degrees and it plays perfectly. If you had the 430 SLDR, expect to loft down!

2. It's more User Friendly

I 100% agree that this is the friendliest TM driver I've used.

Gone are the toe hooks that plagued the R1 and the SLDR 430. This club offers the most forgivness I've seen from a 430cc head driver. You can also spread the weights for even more forgiveness... praise the lord!

3. The stock TP shaft is actually decent

I had mine delivered with an Speeder Evo Tour Spec and it performed well, very well. I did however swap it for my trusty Matrix Black Tie 7M3 but I then sold the Evo shaft for £70 to a friend.

Better the devil you know but when I tried it, the feel, performance and flex felt very good. Worth of the TP upcharge.

4. The Headcover Works

Initially there was several people complaining about the oven glove appearance of the R15 headcover BUT I feel it performs very well. I've experienced no scratches or marks on the club and not yet had it fall off like other brand 'socks'.

5. Distance

The distance, yes, Boom! I've found once set up correctly I really peaked my distances achieving some long drives but what was noticeably up was my driving average. The poorer strikes still harpooned straight and with speed so I found myself playing shorter shots more often. I'me very impressed.


This driver is the real deal! I know the M1 430 is avaialable now but I am so impressed by Taylor Mades R15 that I don't feel the need to stray just yet.

5 Things you learn as a Golf Professional.

Here is a quick 5 point list of what you learn as soon as you leave your amateur status at home.

1. What Do You Mean, 1 Ball Rule?

That's right, as soon as you turn Pro then these 'Conditions of Competitions' apply, one of which is the make and model ball that you start a round with you must use for the full round.

That means no playing a Titleist on the 1st and a Srixon on the 5th. It also extends to no playing a Titleist 2013 Pro V1 on the first and a Titleist 2015 Pro V1 on the 3rd. It has to be the same make, same model, same design.

Wow, that means stock up on either what you like, or what you can afford a dozen of!

2. You want it to Rain!!

That is right, gone are the days you pray for sunshine in summer. Now you are hoping for that old downpour to give you time to sit by the heater, load up your laptop and to update you schedule for the year, start an assignment or just have a break for a cup of tea.

3. Your stroke Average has gone up 4 shots.

It happens to the best, the most dedicated. For some reason hitting balls and chipping at the place you've spent a gruesome 12 hours at in the shop doesn't appeal to you, yet the sofa and Netflix does.

It starts skipping a range session, followed by not putting on the shop floor and finally you realise 4 weeks have passes and you aren't sure if the clubs are in your car or at home.

The Struggle is Real!

4. You develop a love / hate relationship with Social Media

It starts off as it left off as an amatuer golfer, only you may expand social circles into groups to further your golfing knowledge... or so you expect.

Everyone has an opinion, haters appear, if you read good advice then two comments down someone will contradict it and belittle it. There are also people you will never meet that you wish would fall off the Earth.

5. Assignments - Get them done straight away.

The assignments are generally released in October, with some not due till March the following year yet many of your friends will have excuses for not completing the assignment.

If you fail an assignment it is a world of hurt, re-submitting modules whilst catching up on others, trying to study for exams, playing and practicing for tournaments.

Basically, we are gave assignments with plenty of time its just hard to motivate yourself but whilst its dark and wet in winter it is essential to pump them out.

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Mike B

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Yesterday's Golf Balls that Performed

This is a post that brings back fond memories of the days of finding a golf ball in the rough that excited me.

Here are my game changing balls that delivered that little bit of something special.

Strata - Tour Ultimate

Top Flite produced more than the Top Flite XL back in the day, they also knocked out the £9.99 for three Strata Tour Ultimate, easily identifiable by the orange spiral above the logo. This ball was claimed to be made from a soft cover and a tungsten core and I can confirm this ball provided more spin than a high spec Whirlpool washing machine. If you ever left one of these in your car on a warm day it was possible to pick it up and leave your fingerprints on it, it was that soft... the downside, any putt over 30 foot could leave the cover on your putter face. They were soft, high spin, fashionable and played by Furyk. What more could you want?

The downside? They struggled to keep up on the distance side with other comparable balls of the time, not very playable in the wind and have similar durability to that of stale bread.

Callaway - Rule 35 Blue

Again, another personal spin favourite. This ball had my heart when I saw one of the old boys play on a firm fast municipal, hit a 40 yard pitch onto a down-slope and get one hop and stop. From that moment my pocket money was spent on buying all of these up from every ball collector I could find who was selling balls he'd found when walking his dog. These balls spun so much you could almost see them fighting gravity refusing to hit the ground. From a fairway bunker it was possible to experience 40 foot of backspin quite easily with a well struck shot.

Easy to spin on a firm day with no ball to this day having spun as much as this in my opinion. This ball behaved very well when trying to intentionally shape the ball... or when unintentionally trying to shape the ball and there lies the problem. It would slice and hook for fun, especially into the wind on a slightly poor swing... mad worse by the fact it had more hang time that a Michael Jordan dunk on super slo-mo.

Callaway - HX Tour

Callaway toyed with the hexagonal dimple pattern in the HX Red and Blue variant before deciding they would make an extreme distance version, the HX Tour. This ball was like a conker in the oven and varnished, it was nails. Super firm with a strong hard cover that rocketed off the driver and nuked down the fairway. Callaway created a great ball here. The hexagonal dimples of HEX pattern created less drag in the wind we were told but whether it was a placebo effect or backed by science I will never know although it did give me the sense that this genuinely worked. Although this ball sounded harder than 'my mate Dave who works on the doors' it did check up really well... sometimes. I'm not sure of the science behind this but this ball occasionally checked really well when paired with the Callaway Forged wedges of the day but then occasionally they'd just ignore me or refuse to bite. I believe this was down to the temperature on the day. If it was warm they'd activate, when cold they played similar to a cheaper two piece ball.

Maxfli - Revolution

The original amateur 'players' ball. If I ever tee'd it alongside the old and bold low handicap players back in the day they would peg up a trusty Revolution. With a combination of elastic bands and an egg white cover this ball would never look new and barely appear round but for some reason the feel of them and all round performance attracted the elite club champions. This ball was an enigma, someone please enlighten me as to the attraction to this ball. The distance was average, the spin was average (for a premium ball) and the durability was poor... but this ball was everywhere and felt like a balata. It was a ball that you could trust would perform in all conditions until the slightly thin shot would change its performance characteristics to that of a rugby ball. That aside, it was a very trusty ball.

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Mike B