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WILSON GOLF BACKS YOUNG GUNS ON CHALLENGE TOUR

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Exciting crop of players keen to succeed with Wilson Staff clubs

by DJ Design Media

Wilson Golf, the company associated with more Major winners than any other, has
signed an exciting crop of talented young golfers on the European Challenge Tour to
play Wilson Staff woods, irons and wedges this season.

 

 

In total, there are nine players in the group of Challenge Tour hopefuls from four
different countries being backed by the brand that counts Major winners Padraig
Harrington and Paul Lawrie in its ranks on the main European Tour, along with Paul
Waring, Anthony Wall and new signing Joakim Lagergren.

The younger crop includes 22-year- old Richard Mansell, who less than two years
ago shot a course record 58 at Fort Lauderdale Country Club and was selected for
the European team in the 2017 Arnold Palmer Cup.

 

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“It’s great to be part of the team that Wilson Golf is creating,” said Richard. “I’ve seen a
lot of younger players out there using the equipment and I’m so glad to be playing
with such fantastic Wilson Staff clubs. The brand has been associated with some of
the greatest players in history and I’m really pleased to become part of that special
golfing heritage.”

Richard, who turned professional last August and comes from Chase Terrace,
Staffordshire, will be playing Wilson Staff V6 irons, PMP wedges and the new C300
driver.

“The new C300 driver is awesome and went straight into my bag. It’s super straight
and long and I can shape it so easily. It performs as good as it looks, which is great
for me and my prospects this season,” added Richard, who helped Nova
Southeastern University win the national team championship in 2015.

 

 

Another newcomer is James Allen, 23, from Chelmsford, who was a winner of
the Abu Dhabi Open on the MENA Tour in 2015. James will be playing with
Wilson Staff V6 irons and PMP wedges.

Gary King from Sutton, 27, is a former winner on the Challenge Tour having won
the Montecchia Open in 2016. Attached to Tyrrells Wood, he will be playing
Wilson Staff V6 irons, PMP wedges and a V4 driving iron this season. So too will
William Harrold, 29, from Norwich, who won the Belgian Challenge Tour event
in 2016 and has an Asian Tour card.

Also retained as a Wilson Staff player this season is Jack Senior from
Morecambe, who won the SSE Hydro Scotland title three years ago and was a
member of the winning GB&I Walker Cup team in 2011.

There are two promising Danish players in the new group – Martin Oveson, 26,
and Victor Østerby, 25. They will both play with V6 irons and PMP wedges,
although Martin will also use the new C300 Hybrid.

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Joao Ramos, 23, was ranked in the top five in Portugal last year and he will play
the FG Tour 100 irons, PMP wedges, C300 Hybrid and C300 fairway woods,
while Spaniard Juan Sarasti, 29, from San Sebastian will also play the FG Tour
100 irons this season.

Doug Wright, Global Commercial Director at Wilson Golf, commented:
“Giving support to these talented players on the European Challenge Tour is very
important for the Wilson Staff brand and provides an ideal platform for showing
just how well our clubs perform in competition.”

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DJ & M4 Driver start 2018 with a ‘W’

WINNER’S CLUBS: Winning never gets old and Dustin Johnson continued his winning ways from 2017 into 2018.

Johnson walked away from the winner’s only field as the closest competitor, Jon Rahm, finished eight-shots back. “I put the new M4 Driver in play this week and I drove it really straight.

 

I don’t think I ever hit one bad drive all week. So for me, that was the big key this week, is driving. I drove it really well,” Johnson said afterwards. “If I’m driving it well, I get a lot of wedge shots from the fairway.

And so if I can hit some good shots with the wedges I’m going to play well. All my birdies (23) were pretty close to the hole. I don’t think I made a putt outside 10 feet all week. Last year I thought I was driving it pretty good. But with this new driver and new technology, we got the Twist Face in there.

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“My misses are barely offline. So I got a lot of confidence in it. Even in all these crosswinds, I felt like I got no worries about where the ball’s going to go. It’s going right where I’m looking every time and that’s a good feeling for me.”

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Johnson, 33, has now won at least one PGA TOUR event in 11 consecutive seasons, dating back to his rookie season in 2008, the longest active streak on TOUR. His win at the Sentry Tournament of Champions is his 17th on TOUR. Here is what Dustin Johnson used to win the 2018 Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

TaylorMade M4 drivers will be available from Golfgeardirect.co.uk in February.

Tested: Yonex Ezone GT Type X Driver Review

Like my last post, I’m staring out the window. It’s clear, not a cloud in the sky. I’m back from Turkey and now home in Yorkshire…

It’s currently -1c

In my office, thankfully it’s a lot warmer. The perfect time to reflect on my trip away and on the clubs I tested. I’ve previously reviewed the Ezone GT Fairway Wood, and if you’ve read the post – you’ll know how impressed I was. This time, it was the Big Dog, the Driver.

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Earlier this year, I put a new driver in the bag. First few months my confidence was high, no hesitations on the tee, the shape was A1, the flight, the feel – everything was great.

Then Summer came and all the ‘early season hype‘ about my game had dwindled away.

As usual, I started to realise only I could make a change to my game. Head to the driving range instead of the pub, spend more time on the putting green, stuff we know we should do but most of don’t (especially when it’s -1c outside).

I was sat, in the warm, watching the Turkish Airlines Open a few weeks back. Now a Rolex Series Event on the Race to Dubai – it looked immaculate and a pleasure to play.

Winter sun had been on my mind for a while now, and with the opportunity to try some new clubs (that were not yet released) – I went ahead and booked a trip for late November.

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Forward 2 weeks, and a delivery of the Yonex GT Driver, Fairway and Hybrid Woods landed on my doorstep in North Yorkshire.

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The first thing that strikes you about the GT Type X Driver is the crown (see above). A pretty, carbon composite (graphite) design with a polished finish that adds a touch of class to the Japanese designed product.

 

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A matte-finish graphite shaft is completed with a graphite grey and red colour branding.

The EX-320 shaft features a faster kick back, and high stability through the ball. This helps improve your clubhead speed. The EX-320 shaft also features a quick adjustment system. This allows you to change the loft and lie of the driver very easily.

After my first range session with the driver at 10.5 degrees (standard), I opted to drop the loft down to 9 degrees.

The driver can be adjusted from 1.5 degrees up or down on each of its 3 models (9, 10.5 & 12 degrees in mens).

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My first hit with this club was possibly the worst of the entire trip. A horrible, rushed, blocked shot to the right… and I mean WAY right! Reload.

I sorted my direction out and BOOM! Straight down the middle. As I rushed back into my buggy, trying not to drop my camera, I had to take in how good that drive just felt. The feel and sound may be quite dull for some, but I loved it. Show me the next tee!

As the round went on, the driver didn’t disappoint. There were hazards that my usual driver would not carry. When I tried with the GT Type X, I was carrying these hazards by 5 to 7 yards which is a huge benefit to a wristy player like me.

I struggle to generate power from my upper body, so I rely hugely on technology for improvements in my carry distance.

Why did it carry further?

Firstly, the shaft; the engine of the golf club. The EX-320 shaft was lighter than my usual Fujikura Phenom shaft. The actual clubhead itself was also lighter. The GT driver features a 13% lighter crown plate than the previous Ezone XPG model. This all helps to generate more speed and distance.

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The second reason is due to the Face Design (see image below). The NEW Vertically Polished Face controls side spin on off-centre shots, giving a 30% improvement in accuracy over the industry standard design (Horizontal).

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In my previous post about the unveiling of GT Type X, I went over the face technology and it all seemed very convincing…that’s because it works.

My swing, as with all my clubs, was inconsistent on the trip. The driver feels great when hitting the centre, but it’s the clubs forgiveness that really makes it stand out from the others.

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GT Type X Vertically Polished Face seems to completely take away any unwanted spin on off centre hits.

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It felt like I was very fortunate.

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In golf, no one hits a straight ball. Not Ricky, Rory, Jordan or Justin hit it a completely straight shot. Left to right, right to left, backwards or forwards, we all impart spin to the golf ball during impact.

The idea of the Vertically Polished Face on the Type X Driver is to LOWER those spin rates and give us better results.

It does exactly what it says on the tin.

Yonex has led a commitment for over 70 years to never be left behind by technological advancements.

From what I’ve seen whilst testing the Ezone GT Driver – they are currently well ahead.

Compare the Yonex Ezone GT to your own clubs and see the results for yourself. Available from Golfgeardirect.co.uk in both Men’s and Ladies options.  Try one at our Rainham or Headcorn indoor fitting centres using our advanced Flightscope Technology.

Rainham: 01634 262002 / shop@medwaygolfcentre.co.uk

Headcorn: 01622 891675 / sales@golfgeardirect.co.uk

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Yonex EZONE GT Fairway Wood Review

by Daryl Symonds

I’m currently staring out of my hotel window at the torrential rain. This would be fine in the UK…but I’m in Turkey. On average, the popular all-year-round golf destination will see 6 days of rain throughout November – all of which appear to have arrived the week I decide to visit.

Anyway, why am I here? Two reasons. One – to get some sun on my back and play some golf and secondly to test out the Yonex EZONE GT Woods, due to hit shelves on December 7th at Golfgeardirect.co.uk 

You may have seen in a previous blog that I covered the Yonex GT Type X Driver – and I will be testing this too…once the torrential rain stops.

The positive news is, on Saturday it was dry and I managed to squeeze in an afternoon practice and 18 holes on the Pasha Course, at Antalya Golf Club.

Yonex were kind enough to send me some EZONE GT clubs to test before I made my trip. I left my usual Fairway Wood in the UK and brought with me an EZONE GT 5 Wood 18 degree (adjusted to 16.5). These adjustments were to suit my bag for the trip. The 5 wood at 16.5 replaced my 15 degree 3-Wood.

When it comes to playing, I’m just a normal club golfer playing off a 7 handicap.

I’ve always struggled with low lofted fairway woods and to a point, sometimes hybrids. For me, a shorter shaft with a slightly higher loft gives me more confidence over the ball and I feel if you strike any club well enough – you’ll achieve the distance required.

I dropped the loft to what is known as a ‘weak 3 Wood’  loft (higher loft than standard) or you could call it 4 Wood or even strong lofted 5 Wood. This is one of the reasons some players talk in ‘lofts’ rather than club numbers, there’s just so much variation nowadays on fairway woods and hybrids.

My usual 3-Wood is 15 degrees and although fantastic off the tee for distance – it’s difficult to use off the fairway…especially if you don’t practice this shot very often…like me.

The EZONE GT has a shallower face than my own which instantly gave me confidence over the ball. The head is constructed with the same technology as the driver. A new lightweight composite crown, along with the Japanese designed EX-320 shaft helps promote higher club head speeds for more distance.

Overall, keeping the ball in play is most important to me on the golf course.  With the GT Fairway that’s exactly what I did. Having researched the technology that’s gone into the GT range, I was interested to see how it actually performed.

The new Diagonal Face Technology was what I found most interesting about the range,, and proved to be a major factor in the overall performance. The feel and sound off the club face was honestly like nothing I’ve felt before (and I’ve hit a lot of golf clubs) You will have to try it yourself to fully appreciate it, but the feedback from a feel perspective was really impressive.

As I’ve said, I’m no pro, and although I know my golf clubs, I couldn’t tell you before hitting this whether a diagonal or horizontal club-face would be better. Now I’ve tested this club and its’ technology, I’m wondering why other manufacturers are not doing the same. Watch this space….

The diagonal grooves and the polish of the face helps the GT Woods to stabilise spin and also improve accuracy.

Further new technology in the GT Woods has allowed Yonex to place the CG (centre of gravity) way back in the club head than ever before, promoting better flight and accuracy.

Strangely, the 16.5 loft gave me a lower trajectory than my 15 degree 3-wood, and on low club face strikes…well if I kept quiet about the strike…no one would ever know, let’s put it that way.

The most fascinating and pleasing thing about the GT Fairway was it’s accuracy. Considering my striking on the day, I was looking up ready to be disappointed at most shots I hit with this club. To my amazement, each shot I hit came back to target.

I’ve honestly never hit a fairway wood that is this forgiving and that also provides good feel and sound on off centre hits.

During the round and practice beforehand, I had been struggling with a ‘toe’y’ draw (mostly strikes towards the toe end of the face) and although this was due to my swing on the day – EZONE GT was doing a great job to put me in play out on the course.

When this club is hit (well or not) – the feel, flight and accuracy is really something to witness.

As mentioned above, one of my major weaknesses in golf is a Wood off the short stuff.

The EZONE GT Fairway sat so nicely behind the ball and with the shallow face, it gave me the feeling that I could attack the ball with confidence. With a deeper face, I’ve always felt awkward over the shot and never been 100% sure on how to execute it – which can lead to topping the ball or to come out very low off the club face.

A major factor in confidence gained by this club, will of course be down to the loft and the length of shaft – and there’s the beauty of this range.

Yonex EZONE GT features a Quick Adjustment System on the hosel of each wood that allows you to adjust the loft (1.5 degrees up or down) with a total of 8 settings per club. This allows you to play around with the club and find a match that best suits your golf game.

In conclusion, this is a clean looking fairway wood that will appeal to a wide range of golfers. It offers distance, accuracy and bundles of technology to help improve its’ overall performance. I really like the look, feel and of course – the results.

Yonex will have to work hard to get it back from me anytime soon. It’s a club that can be used in many places on the course. I used it to good effect to stay in play off the tee, try it yourself and see what it can do to help your game going into 2018.

Try EZONE GT yourself!

The Yonex EZONE GT range is due to hit our warehouse and stores on the 7th December and demonstration clubs will be available to trial on course and in our fitting centres.

To demonstrate the New Yonex GT range please contact our fitting centres:

Rainham, Kent: 01634 262002

Headcorn, Kent: 01622 891675

For more on the entire GT range at Yonex.com

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Big Max Launch 2018 Golf Bags

by Daryl John Symonds 

BIG MAX Golf recently showcased their NEW 2018 golf bag range to the industry.

The European Golf Trolley and golf bag giants top their range annually, bringing new and exclusive designs to the market. Since Big Max moved into the US market in 2014, their push trolleys and range of Stand and Cart Bags can be seen on courses across the world.

Golfgeardirect.co.uk were one of the original retailers to stock the product both in-store and online.

It’s been an amazing journey for the brand who have seen multiple ‘Editors Choice’ awards from GolfDigest magazine; a prestigious award in the industry.

In 2018, Big Max will no doubt continue to be at the forefront of golf bag design.Adding two new models that build on the great success of the 2016 range, Big Max will also launch a new bag ‘category’; the Drop-Stop-System…

The new system of fine stitching, along with high quality parts, guarantees your Golf Bag will be 100% waterproof by Big Max.

The designers achieved the Drop-Stop-System by using a waterproof fabric with sealed seams. This added with waterproof zippers (specially designed in Japan) makes for a very trusty golf bag when you’re caught in the elements.

BIG MAX Aqua Hybrid

This NEW Aqua Hybrid bag combines both Cart and Stand bag technology.

Over the years, pretty much all stand bags would sit in a semi-stable position on any golf trolley, but if you’ve tried, you’ll know they are prone to twisting and turning. The last thing you need on your mind if you’ve just 3 putted the last hole!

Thankfully, Big Max came up with a solution to the issue in the Aqua Hybrid design.

Weighing only 2.3kg’s, Aqua Hybrid features a unique flat base and leg lock system for securing your bag. Ensuring the perfect fit. The bag also includes 7 waterproof pockets, 14-way divider and dual strap; all the benefits of a cart bag, and a stylish lightweight stand bag at the same time.

Aqua Hybrid is to retail at £230 and will be available in the following colours;

Black/Red, Silver/Black/Red, Lime/Black/Silver, Red/Black/Silver, Petrol/Black/Orange, White/Black/Orange

 

BIG MAX Aqua Sport 2

Riding on the success of the brands most successful cart bag, Aqua Sport 2 features a 14-way, 9.5-inch organiser top, full-length dividers, 7 spacious pockets, putter well (suitable for large grips) and best of all, it weighs just a mere 2.4 kg’s

 

Big Max Aqua Sport 2 includes a clear rain hood with dual zips for easy access from either side.

Aqua Sport 2 will retail at £240 and will be available in the following colours;

Black/Silver, Charcoal/Black/Red, Silver/Black/Cobalt, Yellow/Black/Silver, Red/Black/Silver, Navy/Black/Silver, Petrol/Orange/Black, White/Black/Orange, Charcoal/Fuchsia

 

BIG MAX Aqua Tour 2

We all know a golfer that takes everything around the course with them (bar the kitchen sink – yep, I’m one of them).  Thankfully, for those who love to carry everything (just incase) Big Max have a solution. The Aqua Tour 2 features a large amount of pocket space whilst keeping our belongings dry with its high quality waterproof zips.

 

Aqua Tour 2 offers large levels of storage but only weighs in at a nifty 2.7kg’s.

The bag features 9 handy pockets, a glove and towel holder, umbrella holder and putter well. For those that hate a club tangle, Aqua Tour has a 10 inch, 14 way top with full individual dividers.

The Big Max Aqua Tour 2 will retail at £270 and will be available in the following colours;

Black/Silver, Charcoal/Orange/Black, Red/Silver/Black, Petrol/Orange/Black, Lime/Silver/Black, Silver/Lime/Black.

For more information on BIG MAX Golf Bags visit Golfgeardirect.co.uk

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Mizuno ST180 Drivers, Fairways & Hybrids

 

By Daryl John Symonds

Mizuno Golf recently announced the launch of the NEW ST180 metal wood range, due to the European market in February 2018.
The Japensse Forged Iron giants, who already made an impact on tour’s around the world with their truly stunning MP-18 Irons, are set to release the new ST180 in a range of Driver, Fairway Woods and Hybrids Woods.
Early tests against 2017’s big sellers, TaylorMade M2 & Callaway GBB EPIC saw the ST180 (on average) send it two yards further than the drivers above.
A very interesting statistic if you’ve used or followed the success of the M2 or EPIC drivers this year.
The new range will replace the current JPX-EZ metal woods (now reduced online)
…but with a difference.
Yeah, yeah, yeah heard it all before…but I truly believe Mizuno, like other brands, are listening to what golfers want and indeed need.
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Mizuno JPX-EZ was hyped for it’s High MOI (the highest found in some driver tests back in 2016) and it’s deep CG (centre of gravity).
These combined made it the ideal Driver for your mid-high handicap golfers. For the lower handicap golfer, EZ would often launch too high and produce unfriendly spin rates.
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With the ST180, Mizuno’s R&D team have now designed a driver that appeals to a much wider range of golfers.
Featuring a new lower CG that’s been pushed back for the maximum forgiveness,
ST180 will spin, launch and reward off-centre strikes better than any metal wood Mizuno have previously brought to market.

Technology

Mizuno’s Wave sole commits every available gram of weight low, towards the face – dropping spin rates for even the fastest, downward ball strikers. It’s the first time Mizuno have used a Wave Sole in a driver. The new sole technology allows the ST180 to contract and expand on impact – increasing energy imparted to the golf ball.
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With a new Forged SP700 Ti Face the GT180 accelerates ball speeds noticeably past is predecessor Mizuno JPX900.

 

There’s an impressive ‘11‘ custom fit shafts available to choose from in just the ST180 Driver alone. Custom grips are also available for upgrade with the ST180 range.

Yonex EZONE GT Type X Driver: It’s what golfers want…

by Daryl Symonds, October 2017

Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen a huge advancement in golf club technology.

It may come as a shock to some, but Yonex Golf were at the forefront of many of these developments, especially in the graphite shafts and composite head designs.

Yonex are one of the most underrated golf manufacturers out there today. This December we see a new range that once again stamps their authority as the leading graphite specialists in the game.

Hard at work in Tokyo, Japan the Yonex research and development team have been producing revolutionary sport technology in the Asian, European and US markets for over Three decades.

M2 & Epic Drivers have led the driver statistics in 2017 – on Tour and at amateur level. The drivers feature composite technology, something Yonex have been playing with since the early 1980’s and used to great effect more recently with successful models – Cyberstar and later Nanospeed.

In December 2017, Yonex will launch it’s EZONE GT Type X range of Drivers, Fairways, Hybrids and Irons.

I was sucked into this range immediately with brands concept for the new clubs…

“Distance” has always been the main desire for golfers. However, “Accuracy” is actually more important for them. Yonex Golf, 2017

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I’ve always been a firm believer in accuracy in golf clubs, but if you can get both accuracy and distance then you’re winning. That’s what Yonex are offering with EZONE GT Type X.

Of course, all players preferences differ, but like the Yonex quote above, accuracy really is the key to improving your golf above overall distance.

Based on a survey in 2016 by Golf Network; golfers were more concerned about off-target hits with both Drivers (42.9%) and Irons (32.1%).

Accuracy is clearly what golfers want, but sometimes it’s hard to get away from the ‘macho’ side of the game.

Yonex however are listening to the average golfer. Considering just over 4% of UK club golfers are in Category One (5 handicap and below) it’s clear that accuracy is key to lowering our scores as well as the ever important short game.

Development Concept

The biggest selling point for Yonex is their Graphite technology. Whether it’s shafts, club-heads or Iron inserts, Yonex produce the lightest and finest graphite to the market.

 

Back in 1982, Yonex started to manufacture clubs with raw carbon materials to use for shafts and then later on, club-head technology. To this day, Yonex remain one of the only golf manufactures to produce its’ own shafts, heads and grips; making all Yonex golf clubs refreshgingly unique to themselves.

The Japanese tech giants say that Graphite technology and a New face design provides maximum distance with improved accuracy with EZONE GT Type X.

A light Titanium body is finished with a Titanium face plate and graphite crown.

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This crown (top of driver head) features a thinner and stronger design, and is 13% lighter than a conventional Driver crown. This along with the EZONE GT shaft featuring high stability through the ball will give you an overall longer shot.

Shaft

EZONE GT Type X features the EX-320 designed and manufactured by Yonex

The high tensile shaft increases club-head speed with a faster kick back and high stability through the ball. It dons a new modern cosmetic and attractive matt finish.

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EX-320 proves to be the perfect match for the EZONE Type X Driver. The lightweight design accompanied by the faster kick back gives the shaft everything needed to maximise performance when matched to the club-head.

Face

Yonex claim that the ‘Vertically Polished Face’ technology allows for a 30% improvement in accuracy. This is based against the previously used and most popular groove appearance – horizontal.

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More on the Yonex EZONE GT Type X will be available later this month.

Stock is due to hit our shelves on December 1st 2017.  Please visit Golfgeardirect.co.uk for more information.

To demonstrate the EZONE GT please contact one our authorised Yonex Fitting Centres:

Our Yonex Fitting Centres:

Headcorn:

Golfgeardirect Unit 11, Headcorn Business Park, Barrowdale Farm, Headcorn, Kent TN279PJ

Telephone: 01622 891675 Email: sales@golfgeardirect.co.uk

Rainham:

Golfgeardirect Unit 1, 24a Longley Road, Rainham, Kent ME87RU

Telephone: 01634 262002 Email: shop@medwaygolfcentre.co.uk


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Donald Trump: The Phantom ‘Cheating’ Golfer?

Donald Trump: The Phantom ‘Cheating’ Golfer?

by Daryl Symonds

2017 has been an amazing year for golf. From the rise of USAs Justin Thomas to Sergio’s maiden major at Augusta. One event that was a pleasure to watch (even coming from a European) was witnessing the USA retain their title in style against Nick Price’s International side at the Presidents Cup. Team USA were simply amazing for the first two days; a real pleasure to watch and an insight for next years Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in Paris.

To close out the tournament, the President of the United States is invited to present the trophy to the winning captain. Unless you’ve been in hiding for the past year you will of course know that this is Donald Trump.

 

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In the golf industry, we’d known of The Donald for a long time prior to the controversial and shock presidential appointment.

10 years ago, I watched Donald Trump receive a ‘Stone-Cold-Steve-Austin Stunner’ in scripted Wrestling (if you need a laugh, watch the entertaining clip on YouTube) and now, by the power of money, he’s presenting Steve Stricker and team USA with the Presidents Cup.

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Trump has long been associated with golf, and a few tales have arisen as to whether he’s any good at the game or not… He describes himself as a man of accomplishment and success in virtually every industry; including a skill set in Golf (one of the most self proclaimed talents of the US President).

Supposedly an Eighteen-time Club Champion, Trump, a few years back invited Samuel L Jackson to play on one of his golf courses along with fellow actor, Anthony Anderson.

Appearing on the Late Night show with host Seth Meyers, Jackson claimed (and later Anderson) that the presidents caddie was miraculously finding balls that had disappeared deep into water hazards.

Now, if you’ve not played in the states, we’re not talking ponds with 2 ducks and a lily pad like the UK, we’re talking water hazards the 5 great lakes would be proud of.

On the show Jackson said “Yeah, I’ve met him a lot! I’ve played golf with him. I actually played golf with him and Anthony Anderson one day we were all playing golf together, and we clearly saw him hit a ball into a lake at Trump National in Jersey – and his caddy told him he’d found it.”

Never far from a controversial tweet, President Trump (during his campaign) responded to the fellow golf nut and Hollywood icon Jackson, starting a twitter spat.

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Trump has also been accused of cheating by rock legend Alice Cooper, to which he responded ”I do not know Alice Cooper and have never played golf with him, that’s a terrible thing to say about people, especially me”.

In a world dominated by social media, I find it incredibly hard to comprehend how someone with so much public attention, can so confidently deny that he had ever played golf with these celebrities. Especially considering there is photographic evidence, YouTube videos, endless Twitter conversations, Facebook posts and much more to back up the various claims made.

In early 2017, Trump again found himself in the spotlight though this time for his golfing etiquette when he drove his golf cart (buggy) onto and across the green that he and his playing partners has just completed.

Any golfer whether young or new to the game is taught that this is something highly frowned upon – I’ve thrown people off a golf course for doing the same back in my pro-shop days.

WARNING: greenskeepers may wish to look away…

Trump Golf currently has 19 golf courses worldwide, so sadly The Donald won’t be leaving any time soon.

From Scotland to Palm Beach, Los Angeles to Dubai, the Trump brand has acquired courses in all climates, offering world class service and facilities that come at a hefty fee.

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Trump boasts of making great deals, but financial reports tell another story. British government reports that he lost millions of dollars for three consecutive years on recent large golf investments in Scotland.

A report from Companies House showed total losses of £17.6 million across two Scottish golf resorts in 2016.

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As I write this in October 2017, 18 holes at the historic Open venue Turnberry – will cost you and one friend the heart wrenching sum of £650 under the current hands of Trump.

A lack of respect for the course, blatant cheating and responsibility for the increasing green fees at heritage courses worldwide, it seems to me that making golf great again, doesn’t involve Donald Trump.


 

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Golf: The TV Debate

By Daryl John Symonds 

This week sees the return of the British Masters, debuting at Close House near Newcastle. 

The event is officially named ‘The British Masters – with Sky Sports.’

I sit here, writing this after watching the Hero Challenge live on Sky; in which host Lee Westwood took home the trophy for the first time. I have to admit, it was a lot of fun to watch and refreshing for the game. If you like your Darts & Snooker, you would have noticed the hyped up entrances and pyrotechnics introduced at all major events.

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Luke Donald at the 2016 British Masters, The Grove, Herts

For some of the traditionalists, it may be slightly cringey to watch but I believe Sky over the past few years have made a decent effort at developing the game and attracting a new audience.

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with 2107 British Masters host Lee Westwood, South Africa 2006

Having worked in the industry since 2002, I know how hard it is to attract new golfers; junior membership has always been a struggle in the UK.

Membership, equipment costs, private clubs stuck in the 19th century and the lack of golf on terrestrial television (…does that even exist anymore?) are blamed for the lack of interest in young Brits. The argument in past chats with colleagues and friends always came back to the Sky issue. 

Love or hate them, their Golf coverage over the last 25+ years has been undeniably progressive.

Back in 1997 at 11 years old, my parents had Sky installed. For any 11 year old that loved golf, football and trashy American TV; Sky had it all.

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Popular Sky Sports on-course commentator Wayne ‘Radar’ Riley 

I don’t wish to sound like Uncle Albert, but back in my day we didn’t have what the kids have at the touch of a button today.

Social media was just a dream and you still shared the connection to the World Wide Web with your parents phone line; that noise was horrendous wasn’t it? 

Without Golf on Sky TV there were limited ways that the game could attract new golfers. We relied partially on magazines, but benefited mainly from those special few events shown live on the BBC. 

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Aside from the majors (Open Championship & Masters) we were treated twice yearly to a visit at the iconic Wentworth for both the PGA & The World Matchplay (now both shown on Sky)Along side this, the BBC also aired the now retired Benson & Hedges International Open.

So, was that enough air time for the British public to be truly inspired?

No.

Despite the lack of coverage, there was one man in the late 90’s we can thank for the influx of new golfers. With his record breaking victory at Augusta National in ’97 to his impeccable performance for the entire year 2000, Tiger Woods’ single handedly revolutionised the game. For the next 6 years Woods dominated the tour and it started to get a little, well…dull to be honest. 

With 106 worldwide professional wins including 14 majors, (Jack Nicklaus has 116 inc 18 majors) Woods will go down as the best of our generation. However, with the lack of any other player able to contend with Tiger, the game just felt stale. 

Phil Mickleson sick of Tigers achievements!

 

Back in 2002, I began working in the golf industry; one of the best decisions I ever made. I was asked by my superior colleagues who my favourite player was. Imagine their shock when the words Tiger Woods didn’t come out of my mouth *shock horror*. In fact, my idol was Ian Poulter. Before I go on, I’d just like to add that not only did I enjoy watching his game before anyone really knew who he was, but I later went on to invest considerably in the most outrageous trouser prints and blonde highlights; just to match his style. 

I’m sure it’s pretty clear how inspired I was by this man, but without Sky Sports coverage of events and a weekly TV newsletter, no one else would know who he was? The BBC was not looking at new talent, their only focus was on the old guard (Faldo, Woosie and Seve to name a few) which were sadly fading away after the late 90’s. 

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I met Poulter later that year at Wentworth, following his friend Justin Rose at the World Matchplay. We chatted around a very busy 1st tee, no one else knew who this man was, not one person.  

Since Sky Sports acquired the rights to The Open in 2016 (a decision strongly influenced  by the R&A) it was now clear that the coverage was completely outclassing its rival broadcaster. Golf wasn’t in any way a priority for the BBC, and once the R&A had made their intentions clear to move to a digital service; they pulled out the running.  

Peter Alice will forever be the voice of golf to many viewers. Sadly for Alice, due to the BBC’s lack of investment, we no longer have a live BBC golf event on the European Tour schedule. The only free golf available to non Sky customers are highlight shows of both The Masters & The Open Championship. So to put it plainly, there is no free live golf coverage to date.

Who’s to blame and does it matter? 

The argument will always stand with Golf, as it does with Football (blamed for ever reducing gate numbers); Sky have potentially damaged the game by taking the audience off the terraces, and putting them in front of the TV. 

On the flip side, it’s fair to say that Sky in fact do care about the game. They are bringing golf to the masses, and allowing for the game to inspire a much broader audience. 


When it comes to the development and future of the game, do we still rely on TV companies to promote golf?

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter & YouTube are almost always available at arms reach, and the development of social media has made me question the need for Sky.

If you’re an avid golf fan and Sky Sports customer, you’ll likely tune into the majors at least once each year. The least popular major has proven to be the US PGA Championship, and despite early Sky marketing in 2017 suggesting all 4 majors were to be shown; this didn’t happen. 

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Ewen Murray has been the voice of Sky Golf for over 25 years

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Just weeks before, golfers were left in limbo as to where they would find coverage. 

The USGA decided that no cable or digital company would be airing the event, and that it would only be available to Freeview and social media. At first, I was excited.

I knew I was paying to see all 4 majors, but this felt like a shift in the times. Maybe the game was going to head in a new direction? 

or so I thought…

Without any decent ‘widespread’ online or social marketing from the USGA, the BBC announced it will be broadcasting coverage from Quail Hollow.

Could the top dogs at the BBC really be excited by the new generation of professional golfers and inspired by Sky’s successful coverage at the BMW PGA & Open Championship?

Sadly, all was not as it seemed.

You can imagine my disappointment when I tuned in on the Thursday evening to discover that the coverage was not live. Not on a main channel anyway.

The BBCs solemn attempt was a red button service (in terrible definition) the odd hour in the early morning on BBC2 and then the final hours finishing on the radio.

After watching this event for the past 20 years I was a really disappointed to see such a high class event treated so badly. The aim was for the event to be the most watched major of all time. I’m sure the figures were decent; but it was far from inspiring.

Social media is the ideal platform to promote the game for free and although the USGA’s marketing and choice of British broadcaster was poor, the idea is good. 

Fingers crossed that the British Masters will be a strong success, and the game will continue to grow through more events like this one.

Let me know what you think. Do we need Sky and the BBC to help the promotion of golf in the UK, or is social media enough for a successful future?

Like, Comment and Share! 

www.golfgeardirect.co.uk

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