Archive for March, 2016

Indoor Golf – The future?

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

GC2 Launch MonitorThere are plenty of golfers who describe themselves as ‘fair weather golfers’. However, is this the reason behind the growth in indoor golf over the last ten years?

Or is it due to advances in technology or the reduction in the amount of time available in modern society but there’s no doubt that we will see more indoor golf clubs opening in the next decade.

We asked ‘Director of Golf‘ Harry Varney at CityGolf in London’s busy square mile, on the benefits of using a Sim and on how the industry will evolve.

Indoor Golf – The History…

Golf Simulators have been around in one form or another since the 70’s.

The first simulators were very simple and TV based using a joystick or gaming control but as both the software and screen technology developed in the 80’s, it was not long before the handheld games were replaced by the golf mat and golf club.

Early on, the sensors measured the movement of the hands and fed the information to the video game. However, the overall experience was rudimentary, to say the least.

It wasn’t until the mid-late 90’s that we started to see real advancements made.

Relying on a battery of environmental sensors, the new software tracked each shot, from impact to how the ball bounces visually on screen.

In this way, the golfer has a detailed analysis of the entire flight of the ball which can be used for practice or training.

There are several types of measurement system used in golf simulation to achieve this, such as Simulator Mats, Sonic Sound systems, Optical Sensor arrays, Radar and Camera ball tracking systems.

Indoor Golf – The TechnologyGC2 Launch Monitor 2

Golf has always found itself at the heart of ‘gaming’ with some of the first computer games simulating Putting…

However, it was the invention of the PlayStation that really saw the potential of indoor golf albeit using a ‘controller’ rather than an actual golf club.

At the moment, there are lots of different ‘Sims’ on the market including TrackmanGolfzon and probably the most well known, GC2 launch monitor. The latter, being preferred by CityGolf.

This industry-leading technology that redefined performance analysis outdoors has also proven to be a game changer for indoor simulation.

Powerful enough to drive the world’s most cutting-edge commercial simulation studios, the GC2 is as flexible as it is accurate.

Two high-speed, high-definition cameras give you a true measurement of performance without compromise, delivering the most realistic virtual golf experience possible.

We chose to go with the GC2 product, as we felt this had an edge of all the other as it calculates over 10k images of ball and its position on impact!” said Varney

The GC2 gives you exceptionally precise understanding of both the club head speed and ball trajectory, meaning we can also provide a very accurate ‘ball fitting’ service too”

Varney went on to say….”In addition, of the four GC2 Sims we use, we have two advanced GC2 HMT (Head Measurement Technology) meaning we can cater to both the beginners and single figure handicap“.

Indoor Golf – The BenefitsCeltic Manor

The advantages of using a golf simulator is the ability to conveniently play and practice in a controlled ambience.

Often this means the ability to play without any pressure while still bringing many of these competitive and social aspects into the simulated game.

For those who live in a cold and wet climate or in urban areas (that’ll be most of us), golf simulators offer the ability to play and practice year-round or within the confines of their locale.

The next important advantage is the player’s ability to see each facet of their swing.

Many golf simulators measure: angle of attack, angle of the club face, club head speed, spin, club path (inside out or outside in), and more.

These measurements help both students and teaching professionals identify exactly what a player needs to know to improve their swing.

You also get to choose where you want to play, including some great UK courses. Courses available at CityGolf include Celtic Manor, The Belfry and Haseltine Golf club (the home of the 2016 Ryder Cup).

Indoor Golf – TeachingHarry Varney City Golf

Sitting chatting to Harry, I soon find myself forgetting that I am not on a standard golf range and concentrate purely on what he is telling me.

In addition, he is quick to tell me why he and his colleague Liam McGrossan, ‘Director of Instruction’, have a different approach to teaching.

Firstly, the first hour’s consultation rarely involves hitting a club but concentrates more of what ‘your’ understanding of the game is.

He tells us that most teaching Pro’s, immediately start critiquing your swing, long before it is understood how much you know about both the dynamics of the golf swing and the physics of the game.

To be fair, this is a fresh approach and given that I am slumped into a big leather sofa, while sipping a coke as I learn this, I really can see why Indoor Golf has taken off.

Coupled with the fact that often, that if you work in London, the chance of getting to the range or out for nine holes after work midweek, in today fast world of living, is difficult to achieve.

Indoor Golf – Custom FittingCustom Fitting City Golf

Getting ‘Custom Fit’ for your clubs is vital towards improving as a Golfer.

Just as a suit is made to measure, so it is fits an individual’s body shape, a Custom Fit is vital towards ensuring that the correct equipment is matched to the each individual to suit their personal needs.

The team at CityGolf have extensive knowledge and experience and are committed to helping each individual find the best equipment for them.

The guys are adamant they have repeatedly seen the benefits that personalised equipment does for a Golfer towards improving distance, accuracy, shot making, and overall enjoyment of Golf.

The cost of this service starts from as little as £50 and last an hour.

Indoor Golf – EntertainmentCityGolf Gym & Bar

Putting the technology, the courses and the teaching to one side, there is another advantage to golf simulators….

In most indoor golf centres, there will a couple of ‘simulators’ available to book but in the bigger clubs like CityGolf there could be six or more.

Thus meaning you could realistically hold an entire golf event in one place, with all your golf mates and you, all playing the same course.

Not only does this mean additional availability for the visitor but it means indoor clubs like CityGolf can hold events and fun nights, regardless of the weather conditions. You can have a beer while you play.

Yep, many Golf Studios also have a bar or refreshments on site; it can make for a very entertaining evening. Consider it….

Hire two golf simulators for an afternoon or evening (from £60ph each) and invite seven golf buddies to join you. You’ll find that three hours flies by.

You’ve played a Texas Scramble at Wentworth, enjoyed a drink and not a speck of rain in sight and you’ve still got change out of £50.

Of course, if you book an evening out at a golf studio, you’re even beating the lack of daylight.

Indoor Golf – CityGolfHarry Varney - City Golf Sim

And finally, having visited CityGolf and seen their set-up, we were impressed!

As such, from April 2016, ALL TSGers are invited to try their facilities and receive a FREE one-hour Performance Analysis’ (worth £90!)

Yep – that’s a FREE golf lesson in the City of London.

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For more information on the benefits of Indoor Golf and claiming you free lesson at CityGolf go to: www.citygolflondon.com or call 020 7796 5960

Alternatively, email the guys at harry@citygolfclubs.com or liam@citygolfclubs.com

Opening Times: Mon-Fri – 6.30am – 9.30pm

Golf Ball Dimples – Why do golf balls have them?

Monday, March 14th, 2016

Ever wondered how or why the golf ball dimples came about?

We did. So we did some research into both the history and science behind the reasons…

Wooden golf balls dimples not in sight

Wooden golf balls dimples not in sight

Golf Ball Dimples – The history…

The reason why golf balls have dimples is based on both science and evolution.

Originally, all golf balls were completely smooth.

However, once the ball had been used a few times and they were peppered with cuts and nicks.

Then Golfers started to notice these ‘damaged balls’ travelled further than new ones.

Those little bumps and cuts while not looking good ‘on the eye’, meant there was an advantage to be had….

Golfers naturally gravitate toward anything that gives them the edge on the golf course, so old golf balls became the norm.

However, Golf Ball dimples really started to take off after English engineer and manufacturer William Taylor, co-founder of the Taylor-Hobson company, registered a patent for a dimple design in 1905.

Golf Ball Dimples

Image courtesy of www.aerospaceweb.org

Golf Ball Dimples – The science…

With all things aerodynamic, it takes a little knowledge to understand the core principles.

When a golf ball is hit, the impact, which lasts less than a millisecond, determines the ball’s velocity, launch angle and spin rate.

In turn, this influences its trajectory (and its behaviour when it hits the ground).

Essentially, the nick and cuts in the ball make the balls ‘oscillate‘ in flight.

This allows the smoothly flowing air to follow the ball’s surface a little farther around the back side of the ball.

As such, a layer of air acts as a ‘turbulator’, otherwise known as the “boundary layer”.

The benefit is that a turbulent boundary layer reduces drag.

And naturally, the less drag, the quicker the ball travels and the closer you are to the hole after your shot!

Golf Ball Dimples – The design…

Most golf balls on sale today have about 250–450 dimples though there have been balls with more than 1000 dimples.

The record holder was a ball with 1,070 dimples—414 larger ones (in four different sizes) and 656 pinhead-sized ones

The two balls shown on the right are disclosed in U.S. Patent 4,560,168. They are both easily made with a two-piece mould.

Golf Ball Dimples - designs

Golf Ball Dimples – designs

Officially sanctioned balls are designed to be as symmetrical as possible.

This symmetry is the result of a dispute that stemmed from the Polara Golf Ball

This ball sold in the late 1970s that had six rows of normal dimples on its equator but very shallow dimples elsewhere.

This asymmetrical design helped the ball self-adjust its spin axis during the flight.

The USGA refused to sanction it for tournament play and, in 1981, changed the rules to ban aerodynamic asymmetrical balls.

Golf Ball Dimples – The Movie

Anyway, enough of our ramblings, there are plenty of great videos to watch on the subject, here’s one we found earlier….Golf Ball Dimples Video

So now you know!

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By Ian Mullins

 

Lake Balls – How are they retrieved?

Friday, March 4th, 2016

For a guy who doesn’t play golf (or even one who does), the retrieval of ‘Lake Balls’ is somewhat of a mystery!

So in order to find out, The Social Golfer asked leading Lake Balls provider Scott Phillips of Premier Lake Balls, how it’s done…

Lake Balls – The Collection

Premier Lake Balls DiverFirstly, let’s start with the basics – this should never be undertaken without professional supervision.

Water on the golf course isn’t just a hazard to those playing, it can be laced with chemicals, laden with bacteria that can cause lockjaw and a plethora of other infections.

And of course, in some countries, they are home to snapping turtles, poisonous snakes and alligators.

So think again before diving in head first to retrieval your ball, following a wayward shot.

Whilst many may assume there is some wizard tech machine used to collect the Lake Balls, it’s much more lightly that it will be a ‘frogman‘ or in today’s parlance ‘A certified Scuba Diver‘.

In some quarters, and especially those working in the industry, these Lake Balls are often referred to as  ‘white gold’.

Although we wouldn’t use a sieve to find them… it’s basically a simple process of diving to the depths.

And given the hazards stated above, it no surprise that we lose between 3-5 divers a year (on average), paying with their life!

Lake Balls – The Numbers

As with many things in life, one man’s loss is another man’s gain, and there are many divers livelihoods that hinge on the misfortunes of the golfer.

Of the estimated 100 million missing golf balls recovered each year, in various countries, roughly three times as many never get found.

However, around 2.5 million make their way into Premier Lake Balls warehouse.

As they arrive in their pallets, awaiting their next chance to play, these Lake Balls are processed in massive ball washers, that are able to accommodate 20,000 balls a time.

Lake Balls – The Cleaning/Grading

Processing at this point is pretty quick. Once washed and dried, the grading starts.

This is the labour intensive part, as ensuring we grade the Lake Balls to the highest standard ready for resale on the website is paramount.

With this done, we can then start pricing and tagging by size, brand, and/or range.

And with new ball prices having continued to climb in recent years, more and more golfers now prefer to purchase 2nd hand Lake Balls.

Which is not only good for your pocket but also on the environment.

Often many of our balls look like new, once cleaned” Said Scott.

Premier Lake Balls

Lake Balls – The Cost

Given the labour cost in this retrieval process, there very small margins to be made but each ball represents a small profit to both the retriever and the supplier.

However, there is a profit to be made in ‘quantity’ and with the lake balls retrieval market continuing to grow, there is a happy future ahead for the industry.

Ask any traditional golf ball retailer about Lake Balls and they’ll  tell you that any ball pulled from a pond is an inferior product.

Sorry, but that is a thing of past with the introduction of surlyn covers (replacing balata balls) as this do not deteriorate in water and they perform exactly the same as a newly boxed ball, that is three times the price.

In short, buying used Lake Balls via a respected retailer such as Premier Lake Balls, will not only save you money at a time of economic uncertainty but it could also save the planet.

Thanks Scott, who knew!

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By Ian Mullins

Finally, for an exclusive TSG  discount (courtesy of deals Premier Lake Balls) – Click Here

US Masters 2016 – TSG Tips Fowler, Mickleson & Rose…

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016
US Masters 2016 - Green Jacket

US Masters 2016 – Green Jacket

Come Thursday, April 7th 2016 we’ll all be sitting down to watch the now infamous ceremonial tee shots of the US Masters 2016.

As the world’s best golfers begin their way down the first fairway at Augusta (assuming they hit the opening hole fairway that is) all the competing players will be looking to don the famous Green Jacket at the end of the tournament …

In 2015 Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer kick-started one of the most remarkable performances from a young man Augusta National has ever seen.

A man who has since projected himself to the top of the world, reaching peaks that can only be compared to the two most successful players in history; Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.

The new wonder kid of golf now has seven titles on the PGA Tour, and has finished in the top ten, 34 times in the past 3 years; let’s not forget he has only played in 79!

That young man was Mr.Jordan Spieth.

After winning by 4 shots last year we know that Spieth will be battling whoever decides to turn up for the first Major of the year with his best golf.

However, the last few weeks, we have witnessed some issues with his swing, inconsistency and those putts have not been dropping.

Therefore, Jordan Spieth, may not be passing the US Masters 2016 title and green jacket back to himself this April.

US Masters 2016 – TSG Predictions…

So who is going to win? We asked TSG blogger, Craig Murray on his favorites for the US Masters 2016…

US Masters 2016 - Mickleson

US Masters 2016 – Mickleson

Phil Mickleson?

One of the sport’s most loved players of all time has found his mojo!

After ditching Butch Harmon in the autumn, Phil has hired a new swing coach in Andrew Getson. A fairly unknown character in the world of golf, Getson’s first few months have supplied big Phil with some superb results.

Slumping to his lowest overall world golf ranking (OWR) since 1995 last year, Phil has already knocked up a 2nd, 3rd and 11th spot in just 4 starts this calendar year.

This 3 times masters champion chased Jordan to the end last season, finishing 2nd, and definitely has another major left!

If the putts drop, Phil could easily bag himself a 4th green jacket.

US Masters 2016 - Rickie Fowler

US Masters 2016 – Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler?

Once voted, ‘The most overrated golfer on tour’, this young heartthrob has found himself sitting just 3 spots away from the best player in the world.

Not a bad year for Rickie with 4 victories including the Players Championship in 2015.

Known for his eccentric clothing, he is now one of the most feared players on tour with an ‘incredible’ short game, just what Augusta asks for.

T12th in 2015 and T5th in 2014 this guy knows what is needed here and could well find his first Major. Augusta could be Orange come April 10th.

Justin Rose?

US Masters 2016 - Justin Rose

US Masters 2016 – Justin Rose

With one of the best swings on tour, one major in the bag and a solid start to the new season, Justin could be the man to follow around Augusta.

In 10 appearances at The Masters, Justin has only finished outside the top 25 twice, including a tied 2nd place last year behind Jordan Spieth.

A couple of poor putting performances have cost him a title or two this year however he has a few weeks to get this sorted.

If you are looking at following a Brit, here’s your man!

There you go, there’s the three tips for the US Masters 2016, Good luck!

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by Craig Murray