Golf: Nike VRS Covert 2.0 Irons review

Anyone who follows my twitter feed will know that I purchased a set of Nike VRS Covert 2.0 irons last weekend. I took delivery of them on Thursday and hit them on the range for the first time today.

For the uninitiated: I am a 20ish handicap golfer who has been playing with the same irons since I turned 16. As I am 36 this year, that means I have been hitting the same irons for 20 years.

Technology has changed a lot in that time and, on top of getting my clubs properly fitted, that fact alone meant I have been looking forward to getting my new kit in my hands.

Now I know I have not taken them out on course yet but here are some immediate impressions from the 160 balls I hit today:

1. The clubs look and feel great. The head of the club is not massive in the style of the irons of the last couple of year.

2. Of the 160 balls I hit, I hit about 140 of the straight. The 20 I mishit were the fault of myself and not the clubs. They were bad swings and bad set ups by me. When I put even a half decent swing on the ball it absolutely flew.

3. I have always been a high ball hitter but the ball flight on these irons is just astonishing. From 4 iron through to sand wedge the ball zings of the club and just keeps climbing.

4. I have hit balls at the Victoria Park Driving range and whilst I don’t have a clear view of the distance I was hitting I do know that I was hitting clubs about 10 to 15 metres longer across the board than previous shots hit at this range.

All in all I couldn’t be happier with the irons I have purchased. Now I just have to take them out on the course!

Shumpty’s Punt: Zurich Classic of New Orleans (Golf)

Golf from the US this weekend comes from New Orleans with it hosting the Zurich Classic from TPC Louisiana.  It is a reduced field this week.  John Senden, the Australian who was our best finisher in the US Masters, returns after a week off.  He has the game to challange here and, as his result in the US Masters showed, is in great form.  At $41 to win the tournament and around $7 to finish in the top 5 he is my tip for this weekend’s tournament.

Tip: John Senden to finish top 5

Shumpty’s Punt: RBC Heritage Open (Golf)

After an epic US Masters tournament, attention returns to the PGA Tour and the RBC Heritage Open at the Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

There are some excellent players backing up this week from the Masters and the best of them, in my view, is Jim Furyk. At $21 for the win and $5.25 to finish in the top 5 he clearly has the game to play a part in the finish of this one at some value. He loves the Harbour Town layout having secured a win and two runners-up results in the past.

My money will be on the bloke with the strangest swing and ball flight in the modern game to have a great result for punters here.

As always:
•Please gamble responsibly.
•Whilst all care is taken with the tips on this blog, no responsibility is taken for losses.

Golf: St Lucia Golf Links … some things you need to know before teeing off!

I have written here before about playing a round at St Lucia (in Brisbane) Golf Links. One of the two totally public courses in Brisbane this is one of my favourites to sneak onto for a quick 9 holes.

A couple of things vexed me today though that are worth ventilating if you are ever considering playing a round there:

1. If you want to buy a drink before you tee off get a tee time after 7am. The restaurant / coffee shop does not open till 7am and the pro-shop does not have drinks on sale.
2. I know that we have had a wet couple of days in Brisbane but to have the greens on 3 holes on the back nine not mowed after 8am in the morning is inexcusable. Today the greens on 14, 15 and 16 had not been mowed and added at least a shot to par.
3. Don’t go to St Lucia if you want a round in which golf etiquette is followed by all players. I was in the bunker twice this morning and on both occasions my ball rested in a foot print that had not been raked by one of the players that proceeded me.

I will keep coming back to St Lucia because it is convenient to me, reasonably priced (albeit it is getting close to a cost point that will make going down the road to Indooroopilly GC more enticing) and the layout always inspires thought. If you are playing there though you ought be aware of the items above.

Shumpty’s Punt: WGC Accenture Match Play Round 1

It is time for one of my favourite golf tournament, the WGC Accenture Match Play. Whilst a number of world’s best players are not playing at this tournament, the spectre of match play golf adds to the excitement of watching the game.

It also presents an opportunity to have a wager on golf where one would not ordinarily because the results are, essentially, immediate.

In round 1 of the Match Play which will kick off just after midnight Thursday morning I like the following players to win and have put in a multi-bet to match:

Leg 1: Ian Poulter to defeat Ricky Fowler

Leg 2: Bubba Watson to defeat Mikko Iloven

Leg 3: Dustin Johnson to defeat Peter Hanson

Leg 4: Jim Furyk to defeat Chris Kirk

Leg 5: Luke Donald to defeat Matteo Manassero

Leg 6: Hunter Mahan to defeat Gonzalo Fernandez-Castro

Leg 7: Henrick Stenson to defeat Kiradeck Aphibarnarat

Leg 8: Stephen Gallacher to defeat Ernie Els

This multi will pay around the $35 mark for each dollar invested.

As always, please gamble responsibly.

The Longest Drive … a lesson in golf and life

I was lucky enough to be included in a round of golf with some clients this morning at St Lucia Golf Course. We only played 9 holes and the format was a 4 ball ambrose. Whilst I have been playing a bit of golf and practicing much at the driving range of late, I have been pretty ordinary so I was more than happy we were playing an ambrose. To say I was chuffed with how I hit the ball today would be an understatement. Right from the first hole I was hitting my driver well and enjoyed a great morning with come quality blokes.

When we got to our last hole (18th) I had the words of a guy I have played a bit of golf with this year who is off a single figure handicap in my mind. His principal golf maxim is encapsulated in this quote:

“Think about your shot and decide on what you are going to do … then stop thinking and swing the club as hard as you can!”

Now there is some important background here: due to the combination of a troublesome hip and neck and nearly 20 years of lacking self confidence in my golf swing I have developed a way of getting my driver in the fairway by only hitting it at 80% power. It has worked for me for years and I have rarely strayed from it.

Today though, as I stood on the tee of the 18th and with some urging of one of my playing partners, I decided that I might as well have a go at hitting my drive at 100%.

The 18th hole at St Lucia Golf Course is a 302 metre par 4 with a very wide fairway and a great that is guarded at the front by two large bunkers that have a strip of grass about a metre and half width between them that feeds up to the green. The tee is a little elevated and the tee box today was right at the back of the available space.

Armed with the maxim above, I decided that the shot I wanted to hit was going to be a driver as hard as I could hit it which I expected would end up about 20 metres from the bunkers. Then I stopped thinking and swung as hard as I could. Off the club I said to myself that it was in one of the green side bunkers and the shot would have ended up there if it had not been directed at the patch of grass between the two bunkers. After a hard first bounce, the ball trickled up the patch of grass and rested on the fringe of the green (before it rolled back down to end up nestled between the bunkers a metre off the green). I have never hit a ball so far and had reaped the benefits of putting into the play the strategy my regular golf companion has been pushing to me for some time.

Now if you had read this far, you are probably thinking that this post is simply just a vanity exercise. Whilst I am chuffed about my drive on the 18th (and have told the story at least 10 times already which is a golfer’s perogative), the application of my friends maxim got me thinking about its application in other contexts.

What the maxim is really all about, in my view, is making decisions and then sticking to them without over thinking them. I know I, for one, am a chronic over thinker which at times leads to the procrastination I have already spoken of. Some times I wish I didn’t think so much and focus more on making a decision, sticking to it and, once said decision is made, “going hard” at it. That is easier said than done but is certainly something to strive to because I am sure that if we all focused more on execution of our personal goals rather than over thinking we would all be happier and being happy is what life is all about isn’t it.

I know it is only just golf and it is only just one golf shot but thinking about the thought process that lead to the result of the shot may well have given me some clarity as to how I might in the future avoid the procrastination that has dogged me. It is time to start thinking less and “go hard” me thinks!