High-tech golf gear

11 06 2011

Who says golf is boring? The sport interests me so much because of the convergence of tradition and technology. Golf has a pace of play and set of rules which go back decades, perhaps centuries, if you want to take it that far. Yet it’s one of the most technologically-sophisticated sports there is; its level of difficulty inspires players to look for a competitive advantage wherever they can get it. Golf equipment companies recognize this and capitalize on it monetarily by providing a vast number of products marketed to help golfers’ games.

Face it, most of us are suckers for slickly marketed and packaged items that can help us. Whether it’s with our golf game or  something else in our life – cooking, working out, watching movies – really doesn’t matter. People are willing to shell out cash for items that can help them.

I figured that with golf season in full effect for nearly every part of our country – my mom is still having trouble playing regularly on Montana’s flood-ravaged courses – it would make sense to provide a photo-based gallery of 10-15 golf items on Wired.com’s Playbook that can help a golfer’s game.

These aggregation stories are always tough. I knew that for it to work it would have to comprise a multitude of golf products – clubs, balls, tees, clothes, teaching guides. My editor had some great ideas for products to target, and I knew of a couple others which would work. The problem here is accurately representing what’s new on the market. It doesn’t make sense to profile products that have been available for a few years. The point is to introduce new items to readers. They don’t necessarily have the access to companies that I do as a writer. A company is going to want to profile a new product using us as the conduit through which to do that. Yet there are always obstacles to doing this.

Someone reading this story might wonder where Titleist is, or why a Sun Mountain product isn’t included. Well, for one thing, we felt like it’s best to cap a gallery to only so many products. There are 12 in this story, even though I probably could’ve done 20-plus had I wanted to do that. But at what point does the reader tire of the story before he or she just wants to move on? Twelve is a number that provides enough variety without taking up too much of the readers’ time.

And without taking up too much more of your time, I’ll link to the story:

Click the link below to read the story.

12 High-tech Golf Products (Wired.com Playbook)

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NCAA title game a good one; WeightWatchers.com golf article

6 04 2011

First up is my view on the title game, which I though was a much better game than most others. The contest was absolutely castigated on Twitter last night. Butler and UCONN shot abysmally, and the game was eerily reminiscent of those Knicks-Heat dogfights from the late ’90s; only this game had maybe five or six future NBA players – maybe. Basketball fans don’t like missed shots and stagnant offense, though, and last night’s game had a lot of each. Best I can tell, it was considered boring, slow-paced and offensively lackluster. I prefer to think of the game in a different way.

I love great defensive battles, which is how I viewed the game. I wrote on Twitter that while fans could criticize last night’s game, they wouldn’t call a high-powered offensive game a bad contest, even if the defenses were technically playing like crap. So why is it that a game is considered to be a dud when defenses are dominating the offenses?

What makes this more confusing to me is that sports fans, above all else, value effort and tireless play from athletes. Fans go crazy if they sense an athlete isn’t trying hard. Last night’s championship game was one of the hardest-played basketball games I’ve ever watched. The players were killing themselves, especially on the defensive end. How many open looks did either offense get, specifically in the first half?

There were only ten turnovers and three missed free throws in the first half. Nearly every shot seemed to be contested. The play got messier in the second half when Butler missed four or five too many chippies and UCONN used their athleticism to make Butler look slow and ragged. Yet what mattered most to me was that both teams were leaving it all on the floor. The execution might not have been there, but the teams were playing as if was the last game they’d ever play. To me, that matters a hell of a lot more than the ball snapping the net when determining whether or not it was a good game.

*****

All right, I wrote an article for WeightWatchers.com about how to improve a golf swing. I used to play at least four times per week in high school in Seeley Lake, Mont. I played quite often, at least a couple times per week, during college in Bozeman, Mont. Now that I live in New York City, I get to play just about only when I go home to Montana for a couple weeks every July.

I am determined to play at least a few rounds at various courses in the NYC metropolitan area, but it’s not an easy task. Traveling takes time; it’s inconvenient as hell to travel on the subway with a golf bag. But if I need to remember how to swing a club, I trust that this story will help me.

Click on the link below to read the story:

Improving Your Golf Swing





Golf on AOL Health; Tiger Woods interview

15 03 2011

I live in New York City, which means playing golf is more of a hassle than it should be. And it means I often don’t get to enjoy all the inconvenience of traveling to various golfing establishments until about this time of year. It’s supposed to be 70 and sunny Friday, which makes it the unofficial first day of golfing season. As many Northerners began to bust out the golf clubs during the next several weeks, I thought it timely to offer a story on how to fix one’s golf swing. You know, for the rust and winter layover in all of us. For the reader’s convenience, I grabbed five swing mechanic tips from a PGA Pro and matched each swing principle with an exercise to optimize a golfer’s ability to master it. Whew.

Shape Up Your Golf Swing

All right, now for Tiger Woods. I get to interview him for 15 minutes Wednesday for a Wired.com story. I’m looking forward to it, and I feel like I have some decent questions planned. The event is to promote his new EA Sports video game, which has The Masters course in it for the first time. I’m open to suggestions anyone has for me to ask Tiger. A few ground rules

  • Nothing about his personal life. I’m kind of over all the sarcastic remarks about his personal life.
  • I’m not too interested in asking him a “state of your swing” kind of question. This isn’t for Golf Digest; it’s Wired.com. Readers there care a little more about Tiger’s video game than whether he’ll start making some top-5 finishes.

I’ve narrowed this down to questions about his video game. If you have something about the game, or something related to a component of Tiger’s EA Sports franchise, let me know. If not, I won’t hold it against you.





Golf, car technology converge

25 10 2010

My editor at Wired.com approached me with a story I never would have seen coming. Callaway and Lamborghini had an announcement to make about a new carbon-fiber material they formed through their research partnership. Who would think a golf and automotive manufacturer could have a shared interest in one technology? That’s what I asked myself until I arrived at a loft in SoHo where the small event was held.

There were two golf mats set up with hose video screens that let you hit a ball into them and track its distance, trajectory and swing speed. It was a slightly awkward event in that so few reporters were invited to join — perhaps for good reason. The CEO and R&D director from each company was present, and it doesn’t make sense to give that type of access to just anybody. I was fortunate Wired.com was one of the few attendees, and here is what I found out about that seemingly unusual partnership.

Click the link below to read the story:

Callaway, Lamborghini Execs Speak Out on Carbon-Fiber Partnership