Grouchy Golf Blog

Sunday, April 30, 2006 at 11:42 AM

BallFinder Scout: Titleist Pro V1 Finder

Now that the RadarGolf system has made it to retail, I wonder just how successful it will become. The company has certainly been successful garnering media attention and forging alliances with major retail partners such as Golfsmith and The Sharper Image. However, the product itself still seems a bit too gimmicky because it only finds its own proprietary golf balls. Once the novelty wears, will it have a viable market? I remain dubious. Golfers just won't give up their Titleist Pro V1s!

Well, there is another golf ball finding system called the BallFinder Scout that finds all (white-colored) golf balls, not just special ones. Remember those cool fictional robots from the movies, The Terminator and Robocop? They possessed advanced optical recognition technology to scan an area and highlight objects of interest. This is kinda how the BallFinder Scout works. The system utilizes digital video camera and color recognition technology to identify white golf balls.

According to the website, the device:
But how do you use it? According to the website:
Just point the SCOUT™ in the direction where you think the golf ball may be hidden press the button and slowly move the SCOUT™ in a side to side scanning motion, once the SCOUT™ "locks" onto a ball you will see small red brackets appear on the LCD screen highlighting the area where a golf ball is located, the golfer then walks towards the area shown on the LCD screen to pick up the ball - its that simple!
Aside from the grammatical landmines, it sounds great. But like most things, I'm a bit skeptical. While it is endorsed by the great , I'm curious about the real world effectiveness of this device in practice. Even if it works as advertised, is it a solution to a problem that needs solving? Sure, it'd be nice to have a device that finds lost golf balls, but at what price? According to the website, you can order a BallFinder Scout for £148.00. At the current exchange rate of $1.8259 per £, that amounts to a tad over $270. Assuming that a slightly used Pro V1 is worth about $2, it would take about 135 found Pro V1s to recover your investment! I don't know about you, but I can't imagine that I'll lose that many balls in my lifetime. Regardless, I'm a gadget freak, so I may just have to procure one of these babies! Maybe I can hack it to find other stuff like lost money...


Sunday, April 23, 2006 at 11:08 AM

Golf Tips - Proper Setup

So you already know how to achieve the proper , , and learned that rap lyrics hold the . All of this doesn't mean Jack if you can't set up to the ball correctly. According to Jack, "If your setup at address is sound, there's a good chance you'll hit a reasonably good shot, even if you make a so-so swing. If you set up poorly, you'll hit a bad shot even if you make a perfect swing. Pay attention to the pre-swing fundamentals!"

Truer words were never spoken. You just can't overemphasize the importance of proper setup positions as the foundation for a solid and repeatable golf swing.

So just what is the proper setup? There are just so many elements to it that it just can't be conveyed in words. I think that the best way to achieve the proper setup positions is to understand the main elements by viewing pictures of the correct positions. Once you understand them, you should try to attain them in your setup. Next, you need to check your setup positions, ideally from a knowledgeable person, or from a mirror.

Brady Riggs, a Class A PGA Professional, has collected setup positions and swing sequences of some of the best players in the world. His Redgoat Swing Fundamentals Galleries are a must visit for a visual understanding of the proper setup. Brady's website alone has improved my game tremendously. I've been so impressed with his work, both on his website and as Senior Instruction Editor for Golf Tips Magazine, that I've even inquired about taking private lessons with him. According to his website, "Brady loves students that are stubborn, argumentative, challenging, and demanding...Oh, and by the way, learning the game should be fun, and often times funny." I've never met him, but I just know that he's my kind of guy.

P.S. It appears that Brady has recently required a password to access his photo galleries. Try emailing him for the password. Believe me, it's worth it! In the meantime, be sure to check out the as seen through the "Eye of the Tiger"!

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Thursday, April 13, 2006 at 10:23 PM

Phony Stuff in Butler Cabin

The Masters is all about tradition. However, not all traditions are good. One of these traditions that I can do without is the made-for-TV green jacket ceremony in Butler Cabin. After sitting through a couple of these shams, I have concluded that it's one of the most ridiculous ceremonies in sports.

It was bad enough seeing Phil Mickelson purposely flaunt that carefully manufactured wholesome family image in front of the cameras on the walk to Butler Cabin. GQ nailed it on the head when they named Mickelson to the Ten Most Hated Atheletes List and wrote, "Mickelson has aggressively pursued a family-man image that is crucial to his success as an endorser." I, for one, have not nor ever will, be fooled by the .

Unfortunately, the phoniness only worsened as the festivities rolled into Butler Cabin. As we all know, Hootie and the Men of the Masters are wacko control freaks. When they try to deceive the viewers into thinking that the tightly-controlled green jacket ceremony in Butler Cabin is a casual and spontaneous affair, the result is just laughable. This year, the ceremony started the same way as it always does. Hootie introduces Jim Nantz and then reads off the teleprompter:
In a few minutes we'll be joined by our 2006 champion, Phil Mickelson. And with him will be last year's champion Tiger Woods who will present him with his green jacket. And Jim, I believe that they're coming in now.
Right on cue, Phil and Tiger stroll into the picture. Can you say "contrived"?

The rest of the ceremony was as artificial as Splenda. Even Tiger feigns joy as he slips the XXXL green jacket onto Phil's naturally padded shoulders. The only thing missing was a live performance by Milli Vanilli. As JD Salinger wrote in The Catcher in the Rye, "People always think something's all true." As Holden Caulfield would have done, I turned off my TV in disgust.

P.S. My buddy Tony K. of Hooked On Golf has started golf's version of MySpace. Called The Golf Space, it's a networking site only for golfers. Users have their own profiles, pics, blogs, connections, business associates etc. Be sure to check it out.


Saturday, April 01, 2006 at 1:04 AM

How I Came to Know Tiger

An amazing thing happened to me several months ago, but I was hesitant to write about it due to the sensitive nature of the topic. However, after realizing the low-profile nature of this site, I now feel comfortable telling my story...

As a member of Shady Canyon Country Club in Irvine, CA, I try to work out in their 1st-class gym at least once a week. On one such morning, I was working out when none other than Tiger walked in!

Since it was very early in the morning and it was during the holidays, there was only Tiger and myself in the free weight section. He initiated a conversation with me when he sat down at a weight bench and said, "Morning." I reciprocated and then he asked me, "Hey Bud (that's not my name, but he could call me Alice if he wanted), you mind spotting for me here?"

Although my nerves disabled most of my motor functions, I managed to say, "Sure thing T." In knee-jerk reaction, I cringed at myself for being such a jackass to call the great Tiger by only his first letter. I mean, I just met the guy. What right did I have to call him anything else but "your royal golf highness"? I thought to myself, just act normal you imbecile. Once I composed myself, I dropped my 10 pound barbells and came to his aid.

We actually spent quite a bit of time working out together and talking. It turns out that we actually have a lot in common. The key icebreaker was the revelation that we attended rival colleges. He attended Stanford while I attended Cal. As we engaged in some playful trash talking, I realized that Tiger is a really cool and down-to-earth guy. He has a dry, sarcastic sense of humor that had me in stitches.

After he was done working out he asked me, "Hey Bud, I have a tee time here at 10:30am, you wanna join me?" I felt like I had won the lottery. I looked around for cameras to check whether I was about to be Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher. When Mr. MILF didn't show up, I knew that it was legit. Unfortunately, I had to be at work by 9:30am to deliver a big presentation. There was no question what I had to do...I had to make that tee time.

After calling in sick and effectively tossing my career down the drain, I met up with Tiger at the cart loading bay. Noticing my bag full of Nike Blades glistening in the sun he quipped, "Nice irons."

"Well, I saw Michelle Wie playing with these and I just had to have a set of my own."

He flashed that world-famous Cheshire Cat smile and acknowledged, "That was a good one." After he put his wallet in his bag he continued, "So you wanna make it interesting?"

"Are you kidding me? You better give me at least 30 strokes a side!"

He laughed and asked about my handicap. I gave him a well-sandbagged figure and he said, "OK, how about I give you 10 strokes a side Bud?" Only 10 strokes! I usually shoot in the mid-90s on this course from the tips whereas Tiger would easily break 70. I figured I needed at least 14 stokes a side. I couldn't believe it, but Tiger was trying to hustle me!

But after some negotiating, I managed to extract 16 strokes a side! Satisfied, I said, "Well, what are we playing for?"

"You name it. I think I can cover it." I laughed as I pondered his offer. Considering that I was getting 32 strokes, I knew that I actually had a good shot at beating Tiger if I just played smart.

"If I win, how about I get to hang out with you for the next couple of days as your 'personal assistant'?"

He chuckled and remarked, "Don't you have a job to get back to?"

"Actually, I probably don't now!"

After some thought he said, "Well, I already have a couple of assistants, but I guess I could always use another. What do I get if I win?" I thought about it for a while, but what could I possibly give Tiger that would mean anything? He must have came to the same conclusion because he said, "Oh, don't worry about it, let's just play!"

I have always considered Tiger to be the primary member of my "dream foursome." So to actually play with Tiger is truly a dream come true. And the experience didn't disappoint. He is the most amazing golfer, period. To describe every incredible golfing feat that I witnessed during our round would fill a book. Let me just say that I was in awe all day.

On the final hole I needed a double-bogey to win by a stroke. I was nervous beyond belief, and the constant ribbing by the best golfer of all-time didn't help. But I managed to hack it around good enough for a bogey and a win! Ecstatic over my victory, I gladly offered to void our silly little wager. He would have none of it. He insisted, "A bet's a bet Bud. You won fair and square. Now let's go get some grub."

We cleaned up and then headed to the clubhouse for lunch. The hostess led us to a table that was occupied by two stunning blondes. Not just blondes, but identical blondes! I was shocked. Tiger could only laugh at my bewilderment and then introduced me to his wife, Elin and her twin sister, Josie. Could this be for real? For a moment I considered whether Tiger was so rich that he had bought a human cloning machine!

It turns out that the twin Swedes are both very sweet and almost too friendly. Surprisingly, I really hit it off with Josie. Unlike most women that are completely out of my league, she laughed at all my jokes and took a genuine interest in my stories.

After lunch, Tiger had to take care of some business at the GM PR office in Thousand Oaks. However, he called for a car to take us up to Beverly Hills for an extravagant shopping spree. He simply instructed us to call the number on the back of his Amex Black card when we were about 15 mins. away from our destination. Upon our arrival, two personal shoppers greeted us and escorted us to Rodeo Drive. I felt like a rock star shopping at the hippest boutiques accompanied by twin blonde bombshells!

After our shop-a-thon, we met up with Tiger at LAX. Straight out of a Puff Daddy video, our car pulled right up to a Gulfstream 550 private jet! Only then did I learn that we were to fly back to his Isleworth home. Things were moving so fast that I didn't begin to question what was going on. It was only on the plane that I started to think about my life back home. What would I do about my job, my car, my clothes, etc? I explained my concerns to Tiger and he said, "Don't worry about that stuff, Bud. Just hang out with us and everything will take care of itself. You can stay at my guesthouses as long as you want." I couldn't believe my ears as the stewardess was filling my glass with bubbly.

The rest is history. In a million years, I never would have imagined that my life could change so dramatically in such a short time from a chance encounter. I now have a new job as Tiger's personal financial manager. In short, I monitor Tiger's expenses on the road. As a result, I've become a full-fledged member of his entourage and I get to travel with him all over the world. The only bad part of my job is that I've also been designated the "dog-sitter". Tiger likes to take that damn border collie of his wherever he goes and I'm the one who has to take care of it. There's nothing more in the world that I'm allergic to than pet dander and I think that Tiger assigned me this responsibility on purpose to drive me nuts. But hey, we all have to make some sacrifices, right?

It's been quite a whirlwind adventure and I am rapidly becoming close friends with the World's #1. In fact, there's a realistic chance that I may become his future brother in-law. Yes, things are going fabulously with Josie and me. We're even discussing moving in together into one of Tiger's newly planned guest homes! My life has never been better. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to pack my bags for my first trip to Augusta!

P.S. With all my travel and other obligations, I'll likely be completely offline for at least a week. So please don't be upset if I can't respond to your emails in a timely manner.