All posts by Matt

How to Play out of Every Type of Bunker the Golf Sidekick Way

I love bunkers. Let me say that again. I love bunkers! I never fear being in one because it's always a unique challenge to hit a good shot out of them. But with practice and the right fundamentals, it gets much much easier.

I hope my enthusiasm for bunker play reaches you and that with some of the tips I am going to show you, you become a great bunker play. Or at least get out of the bunkers first time!

Why are bunker shots so difficult?

After playing golf with mostly mid to high handicappers throughout my 20 years on golf courses, the number one issue I see when guys struggle with bunkers is merely incorrect technique with lack of practice.

Normally a couple things go wrong and keep the ball in the bunker:

  1. Stiff wrists
  2. Using a chipping technique
  3. Hitting down into the sand with the leading edge 
  4. No follow through on the shot
  5. Entering the sand too far behind the ball
  6. Trying to clip the ball off the sand
  7. Simply never practicing bunker shots at all

With just the basics I want to show you below, you'll be able to get out of any bunker any time. But we need to build that foundation of basics from the ground up so you can be more confident to start trying new shots and getting cute and fancy with bunker shots.

DISCLAIMER: Bunker shot technique is tricky to start with and you'll feel really mentally blocked to be able to swing a club in the manner I present to you, but practice and losing that fear of failure will go a long way to building massive confidence. There is no way around it - practice and stick to the process.

My technique for every bunker shot in one video

To get started, here is a video from my channel to show you the basic techniques I use. Below the video, I go into more detail regarding each shot.

Green Side Bunker Shot Technique

No theory and fluff here, let's get down to brass tacks.

First, your main objective next to the green in a bunker is to GET OUT. You can always chip or putt from the fringe or even over the back of the green if you catch it a little thin. But we just DO NOT want another bunker shot from the same bunker.

Not only is this frustrating because it's still in the sand, but you might roll back into your foot marks which makes it super difficult to get out on the next one. Add to that the embarrassment of staying in the sand and you're likely going to hit a bad shot.

Your secondary objective is to get it anywhere on the green if you can. Even if you get it 3 feet out the bunker onto the fringe, you can still hole that putt or two putt it to save an acceptable score. 

When you move to next level ninja jedi bunker maestro, you can look at holing or putting bunker shots very close. For now let's get you OUT and ON THE GREEN.

1. Open stance

Your feet should aim to the left of your target in an obvious way. So your front foot should be pulled further back than a normal shot where your feet are lined up parallel with the target line.

WHY? This encourages a stroke that cuts across the ball to help bounce the club off the sand and impart some back spin on the ball.

how to hit bunker shots

2. Open club face

Opening the club face means you can expose the sole of the club to let it enter the sand first. We don't want to enter the sand with the actual leading edge of the club because it will dig into the sand.

We want to enter the sand an inch behind the ball and opening the club allows us to present the sole of the club to the sand first. The sole bounces off the sand and scoops under the ball, taking the ball out of the sand on a pillow of sand.

3. No forward shaft lean

Forward shaft lean means the hands are ahead of the club head and this encourages a downward strike on the ball. If we do this in a bunker, the club digs in and the ball will pop up momentarily and stay in the bunker.

We want to get our hands in-line or behind the golf ball on a bunker shot to encourage an open face and expose that sole to the sand. This gives us a great chance to enter the sand and with the wrist action we are going to use, skim through the sand and get the ball airborne.

4. Loosen up them wrists!

To release the club and get it under the ball and moving forward out of the sand, we need to take the club back and hinge hinge hinge the wrists. I like to get the feeling I am doing it with my right hand. 

Stiff wrists are a killer in green side bunkers because you can't release the club properly to get it to skim through the sand. With stiff wrists, you can either dig into the sand and duff it or skull it - either way not ideal.

5. Enter the sand one inch behind the ball and follow through

It's easy to get the jitters at the top of the swing and decelerate or stop the swing when entering the sand. What I would like you to work on, sir, is trying to slap that sand one inch behind the ball with the sole of the club and follow through to a full finish.

This is a scary idea I understand, but if you try this at the practice facility, you will gain so much confidence. You'll probably hit some duffs and skulls to start with but within 20 or 30 balls, you''ll be able to get the ball out of the bunker first shot.

KEY POINT: Slap the sand with the sole of the club using your right and and then follow through and feel like your right wrist is catching rain drops from above. Your club head will often be ahead of the ball initially and that is exactly what you want. Accelerate through the impact zone all the way to the top of the swing.

6. Practice your butt off

Hardly anyone will go to a practice bunker and work on these shots because they aren't very glamorous, but I tell you what guys, nothing impresses other golfers like the ability to get out of a green side bunker and put it to a foot. 

Get down to a green side bunker facility and draw a line behind the ball where you want to enter the sand. Remember to hinge your wrists on the way back and again on the way down after follow through. Slap that sand with the sole of the club using your right hand and finish your swing. 

My only other request is that you don't have anyone along your target line in the distance. You need a clear area so you feel free to make some mistakes when you teeth the ball - which will happen. But golf is a process not a destination so even when it feels like you're going nowhere, keep pushing and you'll come out the other side a better bunker player.

Troubleshooting

I tried hitting before ball but it doesn't come out the bunker.

Remember the backward shaft lean. Remember to hit the sand ONE inch behind the ball - often people enter 4 or 5 inches behind it with the downward striking mindset. Check where you're entering the sand during practice and adjust and remember to hinge those wrists and slap the sand, not dig in!

Which club should I use?

Check out my article on the best wedges for sand and start with a 56° if you're really unhappy in the bunkers. You can then start experimenting with the low wedge and gap wedge as you improve. But for a start a 56 degree sand wedge with 12 or 14 degrees of bounce will serve you well.

If you play golf at a course with no sand in the bunkers, I am afraid you'll need to use a chipping technique as this technique above requires some sand to be in the bunkers. If your bunkers are truly horrendous, I would recommend joining another club or, more easily, avoiding the bunkers at all costs!

But clipping the ball clean off the sand works so well!

It probably works well 20% of the time. The technique above gets me up and down out of bunkers around 60% of the time. 

If the bunker lip is really low, putt it out.

This works if your sand is not too fluffy and the lip of the bunker is pretty square with the sand and there's no big lip. 

Golf Strategy: How to Break 80 in Golf – My 666 Method

Are you desperate to get that under-80 monkey off your back? 

You're about to find out how to break 80 in golf in the simplest, most deconstructed guide you'll ever read. I've included videos of my friends and I actually breaking 80, shot by shot just to show you guys that I say what I do and do what I say.

You won't be changing your swing either. If the swing you have got you here, it's good enough to get you to break 80 so fear not my friend. You've always known how to break 80, but now it's time to take action and get that 'just broke 80' feeling!

Get that just broke 80 feeling baby!

There's no BS or fluff in this guide - I wanna show you how to stomp ass and take names. I've been breaking 80 for the best part of 16 years and I'd like to show you how too, so you can be a happier golfer having more fun than ever! 

Some things will be instant fixes and "hacks" while others are going to require brain and will power to put into action but once you do, I promise that you'll start shaving off those last few strokes to get into the 70's.


Note: There are some repetitions in this guide from the breaking 90 guide I wrote. I've tried to put them all toward the end of the guide but if you've seen it before, maybe a refresh is a good idea!


The Golf Sidekick 6-6-6 Method
How to Break 80 in Golf

There are guides out there telling you “79 is just 11 pars and 7 bogeys” is how to break 80 in golf, like it’s the easiest, most obvious thing in the world. It's too high-level and it doesn't actually give you anything to aim toward besides Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which are totally useless. We need to go deeper than that.

Our brains are masters of deception and the 7 bogey-11 par theory is a dangerous one.

Let’s imagine we go to the course focusing on making 7 bogeys and 11 pars. Now let’s run a couple scenarios we can all relate to:

  1. First hole, you make double bogey. Immediately you’re thinking okay now I can only make 5 bogeys or I’m screwed. Not a good place to be mentally which only attracts more big numbers with 17 holes to go.
  2. You make 7 bogeys by hole 14. You have four holes left with no cushion and all you’re worrying about is NOT making bogey instead of trying to make birdies and pars like we know you can. Focusing on the negative actions breeds more negative actions and you make more drop shots.
  3. You hit your 7 bogey limit by hole 14 and forget you have the ability to make birdies and instead start telling yourself you suck and you’ll never break 80. Our brain forgets who we are and starts treating us like a beginner.

The net result with the “7 bogeys 11 pars” theory is that we focus on the outcome instead of the process. This is a surefire path to depression and eventual disillusionment with golf. I know because I’ve been there, taking long breaks over the years.

I hope you can learn from my 20 years on the golf course as someone who’s been a beginner, mid handicapper, scratch player and two-time quitter. I want you to enjoy the game more and score better so you never quit the game, so please read on sir - we're about to break down the actual process and not the outcomes to shooting sub 80 rounds of golf.


How to Break 80 the Golf Sidekick Way

Our recipe for breaking 80

We're going to build the skills to:
  1. Hit SIX greens in regulation.
  2. Get up and down SIX times to save par.
  3. Lose just enough shots over par on the other SIX holes.

Six holes will be your ‘birthday’ holes to score how you like: six bogeys, or five bogeys and a double. Or two doubles, four bogeys and a birdie. The most important thing to remember is there is room for error so avoid becoming despondent if you make a double. The focus here is on the process of hitting smart shots and not on the outcome of the hole.

So what skills do we need to accomplish breaking 80 with the 6-6-6 method? Check it out below.

Course Management

Miss approach shots in the right places

This might be a weird one, but golf is a game of errors as we all miss more shots than we make. The guys who score the best make the best misses.

Every course designer provides golfers with a ‘bail-out’ area and it’s our job as players to find these areas and use them as the designer intended. Often, by not scoping the surrounds of the green on our approach shots, we don’t plan for the miss and because we’re so hell-bent on pin-hunting, we miss the green in the worst position, short-siding ourselves.

We want to avoid certain situations:

  • Chipping & pitching over bunkers or water
  • Chipping onto a downslope
  • Bunker shots toward water
  • frown-o
    Chipping onto elevated greens from the valley below
  • frown-o
    Pitching to flags tucked on the edge of the green we are closest to

Ideally we want:

  • Lots of green to work with
  • Chips and pitches onto an upslope or flattish surface

High Percentage Planning & Aiming

Hitting six out of eighteen greens at your skill level isn’t difficult. But to increase your chances, we want to aim at the correct part of the green. By doing this, we increase our number of birdie chances and decrease the chance of making double and triple bogeys.

Plan from the green backwards

From my experience, the best rounds I’ve played have been the ones I plan best for.

A great strategy is to plan the hole from the green back to the tee. Let’s look at some examples.

Can you hit this 460 yard par 5 in two? Are you comfortable with a driver in your hands? How have you been hitting the driver today? What's your go-to club off the tee? Will your shot shape go toward a water hazard? Let's play the safest option with the best return on our investment.

If I'm hitting the driver well, I'm going for this one in two all day but that doesn't necessarily have to be with a driver. If I hit my 4 wood, I can reach it with a 3 iron. If I have no confidence with either of my woods, a hybrid off the tee can leave me another hybrid to the green or I might break the approach shot into an 8 iron and a gap wedge. 

Think about what club you want into the green and then work your way back from there. If you can't hit it in two, say to yourself on the tee:  'ok self, I want to hit a nice smooth PW 100 yards into the green. I have 360 yards to go before that. I'll hit a 3 wood 210 yards and then a 6 iron 150 to set up my PW.'

Plan to your strengths on approaches and you'll see more birdies and less scores over par on the par 5's.

On any hole less than 410 yards, I spend a lot more time thinking about my tee shot. 410+ is an easy decision to reach for the big dog but these hole between 300 and 400 yards are tricky. We would do well to think ahead here.

Do we want a 100 yard shot into the green with more chance of hitting into hazards off the tee? Do we want a PW from 125 into the green with a medium amount of risk off the tee or a 150 yarder into the green, hitting our tee shot to the fattest part of the fairway?

Hit the club that avoids the dangers off the tee, but leaves you a comfortable shot into the green. Which club consistently shapes the right way for the direction of the hole? Which irons are you very happy to hit into the greens? Mine are 53°, PW, 7 iron and 6 iron. If I can hit my tee shot to any of those clubs distances, I am a very happy boy.

On par 4's, I might hit anything from a 6 iron to a 4 iron to a 4 wood off the tee. Whatever gets me in the best position for my approach! Forget what others think and play your game which often should include shorter clubs off the tee!


Aim to the fattest part

Flag hunting is usually what gets us in trouble and stops us breaking 80. Those pins tucked behind bunkers and next to steep run-offs are so tempting to shoot at but I bet if we took two guys: one who hits it at every pin over 18 holes and one who hits it at the heart of the green regardless of pin-location, the pin-hunter would lose badly.

Aiming to the middle of the green on most holes is more advisable. Beyond that, it’s even better if you aim at the part of the green where your normal shot shape will shape toward the target but if you hit a dead straight shit, you'll be in a safe position either on the green or facing an easy chip.

Examples of aiming for a miss

A sucker pin

Going for sucker pins tucked behind bunkers is for the pros. The closer you get to the edge of the green, the more precise you need to be. Flying it over a bunker from 150 yards means you have far less green to land the ball on and hold the green. Aiming for the heart of the green gives you MUCH more space to hold a green and have a putt for birdie or par. 

What's one of the worst habits we make as amateurs? We often plan for that 1 in 20 shot that goes 10 yards further than our average and we often leave the approach shots short in the bunkers or deep-grass valleys, short-siding ourselves. Getting up and down from here is extremely difficult. For lower scores, aim away from the pin and danger and use enough club to carry the trouble..

Use enough club

Use enough club to avoid the front side hazards and realize that there are bail out areas. Find the one place you want to avoid and take measures to avoid it. Find the one place you will be safe and hit it there!

Careful of the sucker pin

The ultimate sucker pin. Notice how much green there is to the left of the pin? Right and short of the pin, NOT SO MUCH! You can miss the entire green on the left side and still have an easy chip. Short and right and you're in a world of pain.

Sometimes short is the play!

Sometimes the hazards are in line with the green. Look for where the safe zones are. Usually short or long will be safe and in the picture above I would rather be short or long than right or left. I'd take one club extra and make sure I swing easy to avoid errant shots left or right.

As you can see, slope makes a huge difference. We don't want to be chipping over a bunker toward another bunker or hitting a bunker shot toward another bunker. Aim to the mid-point of the two bunkers and allow your shot shape to take over. Take one more club to make sure you get past the bunkers.

Where are the bail out areas?

Often the bail-out areas have been made obvious by the designer. They normally leave a wide, flat fairway to one side of the hole or both. In the picture above, it's short right and left but long here is a no-no. Take advantage of the designers intentions. Unless it's a particularly mean designer, there should always be an area to hit to that will leave a relatively easy chip if you miscue the shot.

Where's the biggest landing area?

Sometimes we get so target-fixated that we don't even see how much green there is. Shooting at the pin above brings a chance of hitting it left in the valley or over into the bunker, leaving us a downhill bunker shot.

Adjusting the line just to the right of the pin means we open up a highway width part of the green. You might have a long 30 foot putt, but ut's definitely better than a 30 foot bunker shot onto a down slope or a chip up hill onto a down slope.


Know Thyself

Know your distances as precisely as possible

This is of such extreme importance, it should be the first thing golfers are taught after they learn to hit a golf ball.

I never thought I needed a rangefinder or GPS golf device until I got one and I wondered why I struggled so long without it!

For this section, a distance measuring device is non-negotiable. I personally use a Bushnell V3 Tour and Bushnell V4 Tour rangefinder to tell me distances to obstacles, hazards and pins. I pair that with the GolfShot application on my Android and Apple phones (yes I have both!) to measure and track my distances with each club. You can do this with a GPS golf watch too but I use my phone because I don’t like to wear any kind of jewelry.

Every single-figure handicapper I know has one of these

Tracking your distances is easy and you just tell the phone or watch to start counting your distance from a certain point and then tell it to stop once you reach your ball. You then save that and specify which club it was and your device will store the information for you automatically.

I record my distances on the GolfShot app

Voila!

The only thing is, it’s a pain in the ass to remember to track every shot but if you do it diligently for two or three rounds, you’ll get a real grip on your game.

That means that when you have a rangefinder to tell you the precise distances to pins and hazards, you have a perfectly accurate measurement to match to the distance you already stored for each club! You'll be filled with confidence and commitment once you know your game this intimately.

This is my single favorite tip in this whole guide and a rangefinder or GPS device are the best investments you’ll ever make in your game!


Have a go-to shot

At different times, some part of our game can just suddenly switch off. It’s usually the long game for me.

So how do we fix this while we’re on the course and things are looking bad off the tee, around the greens or on approaches?

We develop one shot that we know we can fall back on at any moment under pressure or whenever.

We all have our favorite clubs in our bag and this should be your starting point. Work on those clubs at the range and on the course to feel like you can whip them out any time and pull off great shots when you're on the verge of mental breakdown.

My personal go-to shots are:

  • PW with my feet almost touching in my stance, swinging at 75%. This shot reliably goes 100-110 yards at the target for when I need a clutch save. I developed it by accident doing the feet together drill on the driving range to fix my balance!
  • 17° 4-wood off the tee. I can rocket this thing 240-260 yards and trust it will be on the fairway for when my driver goes wonky. I’ve always liked the club and it just became my favorite club immediately.
  • 6 iron from 185 - 195 yards. I have so much confidence with this club for no reason. I whip it out and know even if I missed the last 5 greens with wedges, I can hit the green with the 6. I often hit tee shots to 185 yards to hit my 6 iron in.
  • PW for chipping as often as I can because I practiced with it so much on the chipping green. I've practiced it from different lies, distances, locations in my stance, everything.

The club and style of shot you choose depends on your preferences and feelings. Play around on the range and have fun. You might discover a little secret that you can use on the course. Do it your way and forget what the gurus tell you in Golf Digest. 


Keep detailed statistics of your rounds

Recording your statistics is essential to analyze where you’re deficient and where you excel. Using your score card is the easiest way to keep track of how you played. Vital information I like to track is:

Click to enlarge

  1. Fairways
  2. Greens in regulation
  3. Scrambling up and down
  4. Sand saves
  5. Number of putts

Afterward, we can look at a poor statistic and ask why it happened and then take corrective action through practice.

You can keep track of this all in the GolfShot app mentioned above..



The Mental Game


Discipline yourself to stick to the gameplan

It’s so easy to have a bad hole and throw the round away only to regret it after a few holes.

Breaking 80 is about discipline - whether sticking to hitting at the heart of the green, hitting irons off the tee, practicing your short game or splitting a 300 yard shot into two full shots - we need to stay on the path to greatness.


Put ego aside and play YOUR game

I play golf occasionally with an 18 year old kid who hits a 4-iron 240 yards, all carry. He hits a 9 iron from 165! Sometimes I succumb and try keep up with him and bomb every drive and take one less club on approaches.

You know what happens? I hit balls in the water; OB; top them; teeth them...all because I forget that I can still beat him hitting it shorter than him. Around the greens I'm much better than him! But the damage is done by the time I get to the green. We need to eliminate the silly errors from tee to green to give us a chance at par on every hole.

So another top tip is, PLAY YOUR OWN GAME regardless of anyone else. Don’t change club selections to impress anyone. Don’t be silly like me and hit a 9 iron from 160 when it only goes 148...just to show a youngster I can keep up! 

Remove negative language and negative thinking

Use positive talk and avoid getting depressed because the results are not what you expected. Sometimes we make good swings or putts but we just didn’t calculate winds or lines correctly.

Instead of throwing the club into the lake after your shot lands in the bunker short, assess the reason why it happened. We should be happy with the stroke but take corrective action immediately instead of letting our emotions take over. Did you pick the wrong club because of ego? Did you pull out of the shot because you thought you had too much club? Whatever the reason, take note of it and try to improve on the next shot. If it was a good shot, there is no reason to get upset.

See the missed green as an opportunity to show off your short game skills. After you top your drive, remember all those times you parred a hole after topping the drive. Replace thoughts like "oh here comes a bogey" with thoughts like "it just takes one good shot to save the hole". 

Every poor shot is a learning experience for the rest of the round. There is one major reason for those bad shots at this level of golf though:

Lack of commitment

Commitment to every single shot is vital

Commitment on every shot is essential

Having a plan for every shot and envisioning it in your mind is key to committing to shots and getting the result you desire. Making the correct club selection through knowing your distances and shot shape are the lifeblood fueling your goal of breaking 80. Doubting yourself destroys all the best-laid plans.

Our brains are so good at subconsciously talking us out of doing something or planting little seeds of doubt in our heads. Like when you’re on the tee and your brain says 'you don’t have enough to clear that bunker'. You then hit it in the bunker or top it because at the top of your backswing, your brain made your body tense up and autocorrect to match the actions dreamed up in your head.

You have a 7 iron into the green but you pull an 8 and stand over the ball thinking this isn’t enough club. Or when you’re standing on a divot on the tee box and all you’re thinking is, I should tee up somewhere else. But you don’t and mess up the shot!

How about when there’s out of bounds left, you’ve been hitting a fade all week and at the top of this back swing, your little lizard brain says “don’t hit it left”. With a solid commitment and focus on the positive language to describe your action, you’ll notice these top-of-backswing thoughts disappear.

We never seem to be able to reset and regain commitment to a shot when anything distracts us. We need no distractions and only full concentration and commitment to the shot ahead - flight path, club choice, distance and shape.

Positive internal monologue

Here's the classic example. Don't think of an elephant! Are you thinking of an elephant? It's the same with golf. Don't hit it in the water! Are you thinking about a small lake now? That's where your brain wants the ball to go!

Use positive language when you’re planning and visualizing the shot in your mind before you hit it. You’re standing behind the ball imagining the flight path, where it lands and with what shape it’s going to take. Only hit that ball once your mind can see only that.

When there are hazards, avoid talking to yourself like this: “Don’t go left you idiot - you’re the kind of person who hits a fade but hooks it on the one hole with water left.” Say something like this: “I’ll start this one out over the center of the fairway and my baby fade will push it toward the right side.” Can you feel the difference? One statement starts with a negative "don't" and the other focuses on taking the positive action instead of avoiding something bad. 

Honestly, this tip has made a HUGE difference to my game. I was the quintessential negative-talk specialist and my round could spiral out of control after the first missed green with a pitching wedge. When you feel the negative talking devil on your shoulder, start speaking in positives and remove the word "DON'T" and "CAN'T" from your vocabulary. 


Emotional control

Hitting 135 yards into a par 4 for your second shot is a dream, but sometimes you miscue a shot and you make a double bogey out of nowhere.

Oh no! That’s when we go full John Daly and lose our minds. The main point of the 6-6-6 method is to get you working on a process instead of hitting pure KPI's. Our pursuit of better golf is the goal and by focusing on each shot, the actual result of the hole means nothing to us.

We look only at the shot in front of us as the most important so we can set ourselves up for the next shot. Never, ever, never, never hit a throw-away shot. You know when you duff your hybrid  into the par 4 for your second shot? Under no circumstances are we allowed to rush the next shot because we’re angry. Reset and do better.

Go through your full routine and slow down. Consciously slow yourself down after a bad shot and make the next one the best shot you’ve ever hit because it might be the one that stops 3 feet from the pin and you jam an amazing par!

We really want to keep doubles and triples off the cards and one of the ways to do that is to remain in control of our emotions to make better decisions even after the worst of shots. There are so many other things to get genuinely upset over but a stray golf shot is actually a privilege. We're on the course, away from the nagging women and we're not in an office but on a beautiful golf course!

Relax - life could be worse.


Next Stop: Skill Building

Okay, so we can hit the greens through planning and execution with total commitment. 

We can hit the ball to the heart of the greens and we know our distances, shot shapes and temperament.

We've done 80% of the battle right there.

But in the 6-6-6 system, we MISS up to twelve greens! So how do we get up and down 6 of those times to save a par to allow us some freedom to screw up?

Short game short game short game

Guys, there is no way around this one. The only difference between breaking 80 and shooting 85+ is getting up and down 50-60% of the time compared to hardly ever. So of the 12 greens we miss, we need to get up and down 6 or 7 times.

Luckily I LOVE the short game and I have a treat for you below. I hope some of my passion travels through my words on your screen, into your fingers, down your hands, stored to be transferred later to the club head.

Let’s get more in-depth...

Chip like a BOSS

how to break 80

This is the least glamorous part of golf so most people ignore it. To me, the finesse of a chip shot oozes just as much masculinity as  a long bomb drive. I am in Nirvana when I’m chipping and when my putting goes south, I miss greens on purpose to chip instead!

How do we become a chipping boss? Practice.

Top tip: Choose one club you’re going to chip with the majority of the time and practice that at the chipping area a lot. By a lot, I mean twice a week, one or two hours a time. I would advise against a LW because it’s so much harder to predict the spin on lobby shots. I love the PW for my chipping.

Top tip: Don’t focus on the hole when chipping. Focus on the line like you would on a putt but then select a SPOT along that line to LAND the ball on. Be specific - like the size of a small coin in your country. Focus all your practice strokes on creating the stroke to get the ball to land on that spot and let the Golfing Gods take over the rest.

Top tip: Move the ball around in your stance and get a feel for it all. With my selected PW I can hit higher shots or lower skidders depending on the position of the ball in my stance.

Top tip: Once you become great at that one club, you’ll find when you’re in a position where you can’t use the PW because of slick greens, no green between you and the pin or chipping onto a downslope, you can just switch out to a higher loft (56° or 60°) and use the same technique with the same type of swing!

Top tip: If you have hard and dry fairways and rough at your course, get wedges with low bounce. This will help to stop the club bouncing off the surface and blading the chips. If you have moist, soft and fluffy fairways, you want wedges with bigger bounce and a chunky sole to get through the turf. Low bounce clubs will dig into soft ground.

Drain all your putts inside 5 feet and no three putts

Once you learn to chip like a boss, you need to convert those chips to pars. We’re going to aim to chip within two feet of the hole but sometimes we miss the line or overcook it. That’s where the ability to jam 5 footers all day will really cut strokes off your score.

Here’s how I learnt to putt and also how I practice putting.

To drill it or die it in?

There are two options for short putting.

1. Hit them hard and take the break out - I used to do this on bent grass growing up but since moving to Asia, I've needed to learn to putt on bermuda and other tropical grasses. With all that grain and how much it influences the putt, I use this technique only on uphill or flat putts AGAINST the grain. 

2. Hit it soft and use the entire hole to your advantage - I've started using this technique and it works. Generally you're not going to be far off on your reads of short putts but with the wrong pace, it can leave you a 5 footer coming back if you hit it through the break.

What I now do is read the green, but then add a little more borrow and hit it just hard enough to get it to drop into the hole (not slam the back of the cup). By doing this, it moves the entrance of the hole to whichever side the break is coming from and relies less on lip-ins like slamming the ball hard.

It also increases the size of the hole by giving your ball the opportunity to dribble in even if you've over or under borrowed a bit because it's moving slower so it can lip in not out!

Extremely Key Concept

Nothing helps your putting if you don't have commitment. I played a golf holiday in Hua Hin Thailand in June 2018 and discovered you really need to just put your trust in the golf course, the grass, the grain and the universe. In fact, before I putt now, I'm telling myself "put it out there trust the universe"! 

I know it sounds crazy but I've been draining way more of the tough 4 to 8 footers where I would usually under borrow and miss on the low side just by telling myself to trust the read and PUT IT OUT THERE.


Get out of bunkers like a soldier

Players of all levels seem to be allergic to bunker sand when they’re outside the bunker but never want to leave them when they’re inside them.

I love bunkers whether fairway or greenside. Below are a couple videos I prepared for you to learn how to get out of these hazards so you can shave a few strokes off your game.

Ultra Important Key Concepts

Get custom-fit shafts

Nothing is as important in your clubs as the correct shafts and if your swing is poorly suited to the shaft you have, you're going to have a tough time finding fairways and hitting more greens. I used regular shafts for years until a friend told me I needed stiff, maybe X-stiff shafts. 

I went to the pro, he fit my driver with a 72g X-Stiff shaft and my irons with stiff shafts. I dropped from a 7 handicap down to a 1 within 6 months and won 8 Saturday competitions in a row after that! 

Make the investment, visit a reputable club-fitter near you and reap the benefits of having clubs that you can no longer complain about. The toughest part will be knowing you are the only one screwing up the shots and not your equipment!

Draw a stripe on a coin and your golf balls

For years I rejected this idea. Until I tried it for the first time...in 2016!  I'm draining way more putts and feel better off the tee that my club face is aiming in the right direction. This alone will shave 2 shots off your game on the greens if you aren't doing it yet.

Aim your shots with a stripe drawn on the ball

Use a striped coin to double your efforts on the greens

Line up your tee shots too

It takes a while to get used to aligning the line accurately but pays off quickly. You'll take about one full round to master the technique and after that it's plain sailing.

Draw a straight long stripe on your golf ball to help you aim the ball toward the target off the tee and on the green! 

How does it work?

When you tee the ball up, align the stripe down the fairway. On your putts, align the stripe to the line of your putt. Then line up your putter's alignment line with the stripe on the ball. Works like a charm! Now all you need to worry about on putts is the distance control. 

Is it legal?

Yes. The pros use this same technique and you'll often see in close up shots, their ball rolling on putts with a line down the middle. Important: don't take too long aligning the ball to the hole on greens. Don't slow down pace of play.

What you need

SoftSpike stencil for drawing lines

SoftSpikes make a stencil you can clip on the ball so you can draw your lines dead straight with a colored Sharpie of your choice. Learn more on Amazon.

Otherwise, just do it free hand. It looks messier but it works.

A video of Henrik Stenson explaining how he does it can be found here.

Some of these concepts will blow your mind and some will be things you've heard before. Either way, I hope you'll give them a chance to improve your game. I rejected a few of the ideas in this guide for years until I tried them myself and realized what I'd been missing. It may take some unlearning and rewiring of your brain and thought process, but it'll be worth it.

If you've made it this far, well done. Because the next few concepts below will make the biggest difference to your score. You WILL break 80 by following these guidelines. 

Select the correct tees

Have more fun by moving up a set of tees


You probably could've broken 80 already if you played off the correct tees!

How do you know which ones to pick? There are a couple of ways to select your tee box:

Option 1

Average drive distance multiplied by 28. So if your average drive is 230 yards, a challenging length of a course should be 230 yards x 28 = 6440 yards maximum.
You can go 5% higher or lower. So a range of between 6000 to 6700 yards. You won't be able to match the yardage to a set of tees exactly, but close enough!

Option 2

If there are too many par fours over 400 yards on the course you play, move up a tee. 

What if everyone else is playing off longer tees?

Fuhgeddaboudit! Hey man, stay strong, it's your game and you're there to have the most fun. No one minds if you play off shorter tees during social rounds! If you're in a good mood because you're enjoying your game and that makes it more fun for the other guys, they really don't care. But if you're playing poorly and getting in a bad mood off the longer tees, then it'll make it more unpleasant for them

Play with better players

It would be a miracle if you could break 80 playing with these guys!

We all have our best golfing buddies and some of us are lucky to have good players as buddies. But often we get stuck playing every round with guys who aren't interested in progressing.

If your golfing partners are not as good as you, I suggest finding a group to play with sometimes where you're the worst player in the group. It doesn't have to be a huge difference in skill level but at least guys who shoot less than 80 most of the time (sub-8 handicappers)

Playing with better players will let you take a bit more time on your shots, because the other guys do. You'll care more about each shot, because they care about their shots. You'll notice how they approach each hole and how they score in the 70's which will rub off on you and you'll be breaking 80 in no time.

Join a matchplay league

If you have a matchplay competition league in your area or in your club, join up. You'll be forced to play against other people to progress in the league but the other golfers will be in your handicap range so they'll be moderately better or equal to you. The extra focus and determination when competing against other guys will improve your scores.

FAQ

Can I break 80 without a driver?

Yes. You only need a club that you can trust to go 220 yards and hit the fairway. The only requirement is that the club can carry 200-220 or so yards to get you onto the fairways. This might mean you need to play off a more forward tee. 

How many golfers can break 80?

A good estimate is probably 10-15% of golfers know how to and can break 80 in golf worldwide.

Do I need lessons to break 80?

If you can shoot 80 to 85, you don't need a lesson for your swing but you may need a lesson on the short game.

All you really need at this level is to practice, use the techniques and tips I've given you here and make sure your equipment is suited to your swing. That's where the pro comes in handy. He can fit your driver and irons to your swing speed, tempo and shot shape.

I would actually say getting fitter and more flexible will improve your golf more than a lesson.

Please leave a comment with any other tips you've found to improve your game and if you disagree with anything I've mentioned here let me know. Good luck and enjoy shooting in the 70's.

best golf bags reviews

Best Golf Bags of 2018 | The Ultimate Guide

Tired of jamming everything into the tiny pockets of your golf bag? Travelling with your bag a pain in the ass? Embarrassed of your sun kissed (faded) golf bag you haven't replaced in 10 years? Caddies looking at you like you're a bum? 

I understand all of those things.

But then I got myself a new bag. Oh what a difference a great golf bag makes. No more wriggling my fingers around to find a tee in the bottom of one of the three pockets on the back. No more crusty golf gloves under my rain jacket. No more painful shoulder travelling abroad with my clubs. No more bag flying off the golf cart as you accelerate away!

These are all things I realized I hated only after getting a new bag. It's like Stockholm Syndrome, falling in love with your bag that's keeping you captive.

And sometimes, as in my case, I had just had enough of the 8-year-old beat up Jack Nicklaus bag I bought when I was on a very tight budget. The jokes from my buddies stopped after I upgraded and caddies actually wanted to take my bag for a loop. My golf bag blues were over! I hope you find one for yourself by using this guide I put together from my experience looking for a new golf bag.

Warning! This is a long guide. Check out the navigation below. I give you five of the best bag in each category to give you lots of options depending on your preferences for looks and price.

One & Done Best Golf Bags Selection

Here's my top choices for golf bags if you're short on time and can't look through the whole guide. 


Mini-guide to the Best Golf Bags


What types of bags are there?

Stand Bags

These are usually very lightweight and come with a strap that goes over both your shoulders to distribute the weight evenly. You carry it between shots and place it on the ground. A system on the base of the bag extends two shafts that act as the stand.

A typical stand bag

Pros
  • Lightweight for travel
  • New designs cart friendly
  • You look less "old"
  • Won't fall over in the wind
Cons
  • Taxing on shoulder and back
  • Pressure on spine and shoulders
  • Clubs banging when walking

Cart Bags

These are specifically used for push or pull carts and golf cars. They do not have pockets on one strip of the bag to line up with the centre shaft of a push or pull cart. Most sit flat on driveable golf cars and on the ground.

Pros
  • Storage for everything - even a 6 pack
  • No club chatter when walking
  • Fits all push carts and buggies
  • On push cart most comfortable way to walk
  • More protective of clubs when travelling
Cons
  • Extra cost of push cart
  • Single-shoulder strap sucks for travelling

Staff Bags

These are used by the pros. We don’t recommend these as they’re quite inconvenient and cumbersome. They’re used for advertising on TV more than actual utility. There is little value to an amateur golfer.


The Best Golf Bag Brands

The highest quality golf bags are made by the top club manufacturers but there are a few names who specialise in producing bags, in particular golf bags you may not have heard of.

The best golf bag brands

  • OGIO
  • Datrek
  • Titleist
  • Bag Boy
  • PING
  • Taylormade
  • Callaway
  • Sun Mountain

The above brands are considered the best due to high quality materials and innovation in developing their bags. Bags they produce carry everything you need; are durable, easy-to-use and look stylish.

There are lesser known brands and budget brands available. The main issue with the very budget options is the quality of the fabrics and zippers used. Often the very cheap bags fall apart after 6 months. Zippers break, lining comes undone and the finishing frays very easily.


How to choose the Best Golf Bag for You - Important Questions

There are some important questions to ask yourself before buying a golf bag which can help identify which one is best.

Is it important your bag brand matches your golf club brand?

Some golfers love to match their clubs with their bag brand but often this is a non-issue. Totally up to you. One thing to keep in mind is that manufacturers who focus on bags and apparel place more importance than a club manufacturer would on creating a great golf bag.

Do you prefer walking the course or driving a golf car?

If you like driving a golf car when you play, a cart bag will suit you best. They’re designed to fit and stand easily on the back of a golf car. The pockets are designed to be easily accessible from a cart. The stand bags are often awkward to put upright on a cart. Newer stand bags have flat bases so don't write them off too quickly. It all depends on the next few questions.

If you like walking, you have the option of carrying the bag on your shoulders with a stand bag or using a push cart with a cart bag attached to it.

Do you prefer walking the course with a bag on your back or on a push cart?

If you prefer using a push cart you are best served getting a cart bag. They are designed specifically to give access to all the pockets and align correctly to the cart. Weight of the bag is less of an issue because it’s rolled on the cart over the ground.

Carrying a bag would require a lightweight stand bag with nice double straps to distribute the weight over your shoulders evenly. Cart bags only have one strap and are cumbersome to carry around the course.

Do you have any back problems?

If you have a bad back, it’s best to have a cart bag you drive with on a car or you put one on a push cart and push your bag around easily. Carry and stand bags will place added pressure on and tire out your back.

Pull carts wreak havoc on your lower back so it's best to avoid pull carts and opt for a push cart.​

Do you travel with your clubs?

Travelling with a cart bag is a major pain. The single strap is uncomfortable and the bags have not been ergonomically designed to be carried.

If you travel with your clubs, it’s best to have a carry/stand bag. You can hitch it up to a cart you rent or carry it around yourself on the golf courses you visit.

A great option is to have your cart bag for your home course and the courses nearby. Then for travelling to other cities or countries, have a second, lightweight carry bag.

Is storage space a priority for you?

A cart bag on a push cart offers you maximum storage space for everything you need on the golf course. The push carts have their own built in storage on top of the cart bags many compartments. You’ll have enough supplies to live for a week on the course.


Reviews of the Best Golf Bags for 2018


The Best Golf Stand Bag for Walking

Stand bags have come a long way. Nowadays, the best golf stand bags have stronger legs, more club dividers, more pockets, less weight and can be used on carts. A double strap to distribute the weight comfortably over your shoulders is going to add enjoyment to your game.

The Best Stand Bag: PING Hoofer

Top Stand Bag Alternatives

Price

$$

$$

$

$$

$$$

Weight

5 lbs

4.5 lbs

4.2 lbs

5.2 lbs

4.9 lbs

Dividers

5

4

6

7

5

Pockets

12

6

5

7

11

Colors

8

5+

3

6+

7+

PING Hoofer Review

The PING Hoofer is our top selection for best golf bags because we like the light weight, intuitive storage options and easily adjustable strap.

A class of it's own

PING have made Hoofers for many years and this latest model lifts the 25-year Hoofer legacy even higher.

Like with all Hoofers, this bag is built to last. It’s a very simple design, the material is rugged and the zippers are the best in the stand-bag class. The zipper pulls make opening and closing the many pockets quick and easy.

The huge number of pockets means you have place for everything in your golf bag. Pockets are placed in such intuitive ways and are easily accessible even when walking.

Excellent pockets and full length dividers. Even a cart strap for riding

Everything is placed perfectly with attention to detail and the needs of the golfer in mind. You can access everything you need while walking. The insulated drink pocket also means your water isn’t going to seep onto your grips and valuables.

The simple and effective pen holder slot and golf glove Velcro pad add a touch of class to the bag. Little things like that and the rain cover that slides into the pocket that presses against your butt as you walk make the Hoofer ergonomic to the max.

Great legs and bottom that won't age

The stand mechanism is a work of art as the legs have only 2 positions: in or out. So many bags on the market have mechanisms that fail, leading to legs that hang loose instead of tight up against the bag while you carry it. Not the PING.

The legs have been designed with a small bend in them to make them stronger and sturdier than other bags on the market.

The bag is just as comfortable flat on its base as it is with the legs extended on the stand. You can put this on a cart easy-peasy. The smaller base ensures ease of use on a golf cart.

Vital Statistics
  • Weight: 5lbs
  • 5 way top divider
  • 12 pockets
  • Cart strap channel so won't fall off the cart
  • Sensor Cool Technology in straps keep moisture away
  • Many color designs
Pros
  • Hoofers last FOREVER
  • Best stand mechanism 
  • Great pocket design and config
  • Top quality zippers
  • Easily adjustable straps
Cons
  • Pockets are numerous but could've been larger
  • Velcro glove pad is a little small

Overall, the PING Hoofer’s attention to detail, storage and light weight make it one of the best golf bags on the market. You can trust that you’ll be walking the fairways with this for countless years to come.


The Best Lightweight Golf Bag

For a lot of golfers, the weight of a bag is a deal maker or breaker. While the Callaway Hyper Lite Zero is an astonishing 2.5 lbs, the TaylorMade FlexTech Lite (4.3 lbs) offers more overall value in terms of storage, colour options and style.

Best Lightweight Bag: TaylorMade FlexTech Lite

Top Lightweight Bag Alternatives

Price

$$

$$$

$

$$

$$$

Weight

4.3 lbs

2.5 lbs

3.9 lbs

3.5 lbs

3.9 lbs

Dividers

6

4

5

4

3

Pockets

5

4

6

7

4

Colors

6+

3+

6

6+

6

TaylorMade FlexTech Lite Review

What makes Taylormades Flextech bag range so good is the similarity to PING’s latest designs. Like the PING Anser putter has been replicated millions of time since its patent expired, it seems the design of PINGs bags is so good, people want in on them too!

It's like a PING Hoofer and 4 Series had a baby

It’s as if a Hoofer and a 4 Series PING bag had a baby and made this bad boy.

The stand is legit. It’s sturdy and works well keeping the legs extended fully or contracted fully, no loose hanging legs while carrying. Like with the PINGs, the bag is at home in legs spread position as well as flat on the base for cart hookup and storage.

Comfort and Ergonomic Design

Carrying the bag is very comfortable on the back and butt, while the straps are very comfortable, holding the bag in a very pleasant position across your back side. TaylorMade used high quality fabrics in creating this bag and probably rates as the best they’re released.

The pocket configuration is intuitive and accessible while walking. You won’t need to always put the bag down to reach your valuables or your drink. The zipper pulls are large rings which are very easy to get your fingers into and yank open the zippers.

Eight nicely sized pockets mean you can store a ton of stuff. The interior mesh pockets in the main pocket help to divide up the small and big stuff so there’s no need to rummage. Another cool feature on the inside of the bag is a zip that gives you access to the club compartment to retrieve things you’ve dropped down the top of the bag – keys, bottle, wallets, your kids etc. An insulated drink pocket is included as well.

Edgier colors and design

Where the TaylorMade does have an advantage over the PING bags is the styling. The colours and design of the bags are just a little edgier and less workman-like.

Vital Statistics
  • Weight: 4.3 lbs
  • 4 way full-length dividers
  • 8 pockets
  • Cart strap channel so won't fall off the cart
  • Dual density strap for added comfort
  • Molded hip pad for carrying comfort
  • Brilliant simplistic color schemes
Pros
  • Stylish
  • Fantastic stand construction
  • Intuitive pockets
  • Access to club compartment
  • Lightweight with comfy straps
Cons
  • A rangefinder pocket would be cool

Something worth pointing out is that TaylorMade has a promotion going where you can request a free personalized ball pocket panel for any newly purchased FlexTech bag. You just go to their website, enter which bag you ordered, and they send you a new panel 3 or 4 weeks later. Stick it on your bag and you’re a Tour Pro!


The Best Golf Bag for Push Carts

Best Cart Bag: Ping Traverse

There is a lot of confusion out there about cart bags for push carts. That is understandable because you get push carts and you get riding carts. The bags for each are quite similar but the design elements are different and having the wrong bag for your push cart can be a real pain in the ass.

The top part of riding cart bags can get in the way of using your push cart console. Putter wells often end up on the underside of the bag when put on a push cart. To put your mind at ease, we’ve selected the best options made specifically for push carts.

Top Push Cart Bag Alternatives

Price

$$

$$

$$$

$$

Weight

 lbs

5.5 lbs

6 lbs

7 lbs

Dividers

5

14

14

15

Pockets

12

7

10

11

Colors

8

8

8

6

Putter Well

YES

YES

YES

YES

Ping Traverse Review

The Traverse has been designed for the push cart user and that can be seen in almost every aspect of the bag.

The PING series of bags is always a winner. Clicgear's B3 is a great option if you use a Clicgear cart as they're designed for them. And while the PING Pioneer is also an amazing bag and the Sun Mountain Sync ranks right up there, the Traverse wins it as a well-sized bag with tons of storage and intuitive 14 club full length dividers.

The 14 dividers are full length from the top of the bag to the bottom. No more taking one club out and three more coming with it. There is no tangling of club grips in the bottom of this bag.

Organizing your clubs with the 14 dividers is simple and leaves a very accessible layout to get any club you need.

Tons of space and storage

10 pockets are placed conveniently so they are all easily accessible while on the push cart. Your valuables can be put in a fleece lined pocket while the ball pocket is very roomy indeed. Despite having so much storage space, the bag is very light at around 5.5 lbs.

The insulated drink pocket can hold a couple of beers and is lined with plastic to stop leakage into your bag. A drain hole in the pocket lets the water out so condensation doesn’t build up.

The bag fits well on push carts and won’t interfere with the use of your console. Accessing your shorter clubs is easy and they won’t bash into your cart. You won’t need to rearrange your clubs to find your Houdini wedges.

If you do decide to ride, the bag has an area to slip the cart strap through.

Vital Statistics
  • Weight: 5.5 lbs
  • 14 way full-length dividers
  • 8 pockets (7 zippers, 3 slip pockets)
  • Anti-flex walls for strength
  • Insulated drinks pocket with drain hole
  • Durable polypropylene top divider
Pros
  • Perfect design for push cart for accessibility
  • Synced functionality and design
  • Putter well accommodates thick grips
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Plastic zippers
  • Colors are not exciting

The Best Golf Cart Bag for Riding

Best Cart Riding Bag: Sun Mountain C130

Sun Mountain has established itself as a cart bag leader. Anywhere you find a Sun Mountain golf bag, you’ll find a very satisfied boy (or girl). Very close runners-up Callaway Org 14 and PING DLX provide full value.

Sun Mountain's name is associated with high quality golf bags since their sole focus is apparel - they don’t produce clubs. So well-known in fact, they product a lot of Titleist’s golf bags.

The C130 is a seriously popular golf bag with players who ride carts and it’s easy to see why. So popular in fact, stock runs short regularly.

Top Cart Riding Bag Alternatives

Callaway Org 14

Datrek Lite Rider

Price

$$

$$

$$

$$$

$$

Weight

5.5 lbs

7 lbs

5.9 lbs

6 lbs

4.7 lbs

Dividers

14

15

15

14

15

Pockets

7

11

9

10

7

Colors

10+

6

5

8

8+

All 10 pockets on the bag are forward facing and 100% accessible while on a cart. They’ve designed the bag to be ultra-firm at the point where it’s strapped to the golf cart - the bag doesn’t cave in and pinch your clubs as you pull them out.

Putters with thick grips are more than welcome in the very accommodating putter-well. If you’ve got the yips and want to carry 2 putters in there you can!

The top of the C-130 bag is angled so that the smaller clubs can be organised near the front and the woods around the bag. You can see the full set when looking at the bag. The top features three solid handles to very easily pick the bag up with.

Survive a week stranded on the golf course

The cooler pocket holds between 4 and 6 beers to keep your well lubricated the whole way round the course. You can pack a week’s worth of clothes into the two full length clothes pockets. The multiple “valuables” pockets will host your keys, wallet, watch, phone and rangefinder in their own little compartments. Real attention to detail.

The bag that can't be moved

Everyone's had their golf bag fly off the back of a golf cart when the strap comes undone. Not with the C-130. There are Smart Straps you hook into the basket of the cart so it will NEVER fall off the cart.​ It's just the best golf bag for carts.

Is there anything to dislike about the Sun Mountain C130? Perhaps the fact it’s not great for push carts. Other than that, this is easily the best golf cart bag on the market for use in a golf car.

Vital Statistics
  • 14 way full-length dividers
  • 10 pockets
  • 3 integrated top handles for maneuvering 
  • Velcro glove holder
  • Velcro Smart Straps keep bag from falling off cart
  • Angled top
  • Insulated drinks pocket
Pros
  • Easy access to clubs
  • Lots of accessible pockets
  • Will not fall off the golf cart - period
  • Large putter well
  • Store a 6 pack in the bag!
Cons
  • Not that great for a push cart

The Best Golf Bag on the Cheap - One & Done

The Best Cheap Stand Bag 

Taylormade TM 5.0

Vital Statistics
  • Classic simple colors
  • 5 way divider
  • 6 pockets with valuables pouch
  • Only 3.9 lbs
  • Ergonomic straps and carrying design
Top Cheap Stand Bag Alternatives

Best Cheap Cart Bag

Hot-Z Golf 4.5 Cart Bag

Vital Statistics
  • Easy-on-easy-off handles like the Sun Mountain C-130
  • 14 way  full length dividers
  • 8 zippered pockets
  • 5.5 lbs
  • Use on riding or push carts
Top Cheap Cart Bag Alternatives

The Best Waterproof Golf Bag

Best Waterproof Bag: Titleist 4UP StaDry

This is the only Titleist bag featured in our list of best bags but it deserves it’s spot though.

Only 3 – 4 lbs of weight on this baby. Paired with the waterproof outer shell and zippers, you can walk in the rain for days without shorting out your phone or rangefinder.

The 4UP StaDry comes in some very flash colors. Not only functional but also very attractive. The double strap is comfortable but can result in some tangles because they’ve threaded the straps through a square pad that sits on your back as you walk.

Adjusting the straps is easy and once you do, there is a nice cushion on the bag that sits in the small of your back to lend more support. If you do like to carry the bag over one shoulder, Titleist actually includes one in the package for you.

More little details that make this bag the outstanding choice for best lightweight and waterproof golf bag are the zips. They’re all seam-sealed to produce a seamless flush look that ensures our belongings are safe.

The materials used to create this bag are like something from a sci-fi movie. Special high tech fabric Titleist used is so thin and so light, yet keeps water totally out of your bag. The rain hood is easy to attach and provides the same waterproof features as the rest of the bag. Zips are sealed the same way the pockets on the bag are.

The 3 way dividers are full length and the extra room inside the compartments prevent tangling of clubs as much as is possible.

One more nice touch is the inclusion of 2 handles on the top of the bag around the rim. How often do you move your stand bag just a few yards on the tee or around greens by gripping the divider area? These hands make it super simple and comfortable. The Titleist StaDry is the best golf bag for when it's raining.

Vital Statistics
  • Easy maneuver handles on top
  • 3 way  full length dividers
  • Waterproof sealed zip seams
  • 3.9 lbs
  • Double and single strap options
Pros
  • Super lightweight
  • Large divider compartments
  • Top handles for maneuverability 
  • High tech materials
  • Leak-free zips
  • Excellent valuables protection pocket
Cons
  • Premium prices
  • Double strap gets tangled
  • Only 3-way divider for clubs

Titleist 4UP
StaDry

Price

$$$

$$$

Weight

3.9 lbs

4 lbs

Dividers

3

3

Pockets

4

4

Colors

6+

4


The Best Golf Bag Rain Covers


Rain cover protection for any bag with access to pockets

This Rain Tek waterproof golf club rain cover attaches to any brand of bag. It's secured onto the cart with Velcro straps.

If it looks like you can't access any of your pockets, Rain Tek have included two side access zips and one lower access. There's even a rainproof pocket for your scorecard.

Simply the best golf bag rain cover on the market.​


Versatile for riding, walking or pushing - quick fix

The Rain Wedge rip system and the straps attach to the bag in seconds and won't being moving anywhere. They've used durable and waterproof Nylon that is rip-resistant and with the locking zipper, it remains secure even in strong wind.

​It looks big and ungainly but it stores nicely in your bag inside its own storage bag but doesn't affect access to your clubs at all. A total breeze to use. 

bushnell tour v3 vs tour v4

Bushnell V3 vs V4 – Rangefinder Comparison

My V3 Tour on the left and V4 Tour on the right

I own both the  Bushnell Tour V4 and the older Bushnell Tour V3 so I'm able to compare these two excellent devices with some authority and in this article, I'll run through the key differences and similarities between the two.  

Before we do some comparisons with the Bushnell V3 vs V4, it's important to state that a golf rangefinder is the easiest investment to make in your game for maximum return. It's not complicated, you don't need to grind out hours on a driving range or go to the gym to use one. It's a point and shoot device that helps you pick the right club in every situation without doubt. 

Onto the rangefinders...

bushnell v3 vs v4
bushnell tour v3 vs v4

Main difference

Bigger
Bulkier construction

Smaller
Slim and polished finish

Magnification

5x

5x

Range

5 - 1000 yards

5 - 1000 yards

​Flag seeking​​​​

300+ yards to flag

400+ yards to flag

Support

2 year warranty

2 year warranty

Battery

3-Volt battery

3-volt battery

Features

Rainproof
JOLT Vibration 

Rainproof

JOLT Vibration

Bushnell Tour V3 vs Tour V4

The V4 and V3 from Bushnell are very similar in features and within the housing, there isn't too much to differentiate between them. Performance-wise, they perform similarly in terms of speed of use, ease-of-use and accuracy - two of the most accurate and quick golf rangefinders on the market. 

Below I've highlighted the noticeable differences between in the Tour V4 model that may affect a buying decision. Both are great little devices and you can't go wrong with even the Tour V3 if you can find one.

More hip and more ergonomic

The Tour V4 is a much newer model which naturally brings a feeling of an upgrade or redesign. And the housing is certainly much nicer and newer looking than the Tour V3. The Tour V3 looks quite clunky and feels old school with a less ergonomic design. 

Aesthetics aside, the ergonomics are marginally nicer for smaller hands on the V4.

On the Tour V4, your thumb padding slots in nicely to the bottom of the device and the added grip on the top of the device is a nice touch for single-hand use without it slipping and dropping to the ground. 

Longer pin-range and smaller body

The Tour V3 performs equally as quickly as the Tour V4 but the Tour V4 is much smaller in size and weighs 15% less than the Tour V3. I have size 23/24 hands which are not very big and the Tour V4 fits nicely into my palm with my fingers curled around it.

For guys with bigger hands, the Tour V4 might feel quite small. 

While the housing and the size has changed, the performance of the Tour V3 and V4 are pretty much identical. The JOLT technology which notifies you with a vibration that the device has found the distance is the same in both devices. Range and magnification are identical but where the Tour V4 seems to edge the V3 is in flag-seeking range. It can pick up a flag from 400 yards while the V3 can pick flags up at 300.

Why would anyone need to shoot a flag at 400 yards? Well, I thought the same and then one day I wanted to know how far the flag was and it was 369 yards away instead of the 397 yards on the card. That made a huge difference to my tee shot where I would rather hit a 3 iron  instead of the driver off that tee.

Conclusion

The Tour V3 is an old model and with all obsolete models, support and interest from the manufacturers dwindle. If you can find a good second hand Tour V3, go for it because it's an amazing product but if you're buying new, I would always say go for the Tour V4. I love mine.

Volvik Golf Balls Reviews – I Played 13 Volvik Models in 2018

volvik golf balls reviews

On the first tee with my Vivid - it was very easy to spot my ball from hundreds of yards away....in the bunker

What's the fuss about Volvik?

I admit, I'd never heard much about Volvik until Bubba started playing that pink ball. So I bet when you think of Volvik, you think "oh it's those funky color golf balls'. But I did some investigating and what I found was quite interesting. 

They've been around since 2010 and in the USA since 2012 and there are a lot of different models. In total, I've seen 16 models but only played 13.

Volvik sponsor the LPGA Volvik Championship and are the golf ball of choice for the World Long Drive championships - and when you play them, you understand why!

Two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson switched to the White Color S4 at the beginning of 2017. Craig Stadler plays the Vista iV while Tim Petrovic plays the S3. In a few short years they've made an impact and continue to get more popular as we start to look beyond Titleist for our golf ball needs.

Where are Volvik golf balls made?

The head office is located in Gangnam in Seoul - one of the most upmarket areas in the capital of South Korea. Now that's South Korea, not the one with the crazy Pillsbury dough boy as it's supreme leader.

The factory is located in South Korea in some place I can't pronounce. Very far from the border it seems, so it should be safe from King Jong Un using the balls to infiltrate the United States.

Volvik comes from South Korea - right next door to the best golfer the world has ever seen

Are Volvik golf balls illegal?

I hear this phrase every time I bomb one down the middle. According to federal law, Volviks are not illegal and you won't be put behind bars for owning them or even selling them. It should be illegal to have them though, because they're as addictive to hit as taking a hit of other illegal things.

In terms of the USGA rules though, all Volvik's balls do confirm to the required standards for tournament play. Only the Volvik Magma doesn't meet the regulations on golf balls and can't be used in tournament play. Like all things in golf, during social rounds, if your friends don't mind, anything's worth a try.

All the Volviks I've played over the last few months (I tried the Vivid XT later)

13 Shades of Volvik

I played 13 different types of Volvik and I'm going to run through a quick review of a few of the balls in terms of feel, performance and distance.

Model

Info

Compress

Swing Speed

Handicap


Volvik Vivid
(Editors Choice)

Very bright matte finish - very long with mid-low spin

80

75-95 mph

mid - high

Subdued, matte finish- softer feeling cover than Vivid

100

100+ mph

mid - low

Tour quality 4 pc urethane (scuffs very easily)

105

105 mph+

low

Tour quality 4 pc urethane (scuffs very easily)

95

95 mph+

mid - low

Hard feel, long distance for moderate swingers

95

60-90 mph

begin - mid

Low compression, soft urethane 3 piece

65

75-95 mph

begin - mid

Soft feel with good spin but prefer Taylormade 4 piece

95

80-110 mph

low - mid

Unique cover material on a premium golf ball

92

90-125 mph

low - mid

Mid compression for distance 

77

75-95 mph

begin - mid

Other Volvik balls I played but didn't include 

Volvik Magma doesn't conform with the USGA rules so isn't advised for tournament play.

The Volvik Luxury is for women and we are men. Men don't play with women's balls. 

Both balls are aimed at lower swing speeds so an older playing partner (74 years old), Kurt hit them but didn't notice much difference between the balls he normally plays and the two Volviks. Probably because he lost them in the river off the first shot, which is what he does with his usual ball.

The Eyes-on 3 piece and the Blue 90 are older balls and feel like rocks. I wouldn't recommend them.

Volvik Golf Balls Reviews

I've played mainly the Vivids, S3, S4, VIBE, Crystal Distance and Vista iV for the last few months over 20 or so rounds. I've hit over 1600 shots with them in total and practiced with them on chipping and putting greens. I guess the Vivids piqued my interest in Volvik after the corporate golf day I played in where they gave me bright orange Vivids. So I immersed myself in Volvik magic. Below are some of my findings.

Volvik Vivid Golf Ball Review

Really long and the easiest golf ball to see - fun for anyone

It's not easy to lose these balls!

Volvik Vivids are long. I even noticed a couple yards increase in distance on my irons. On drives, they're very long with minimal movement. If I try hit a big Bubba slice, the Vivids just don't want to co-operate, preferring to go straight.

They're by far the easiest to see while tracking in-flight and what you'll notice is they seem to stay in the air just a second longer than other balls. I often overshoot my usual distances especially into the wind with a penetrating ball flight that rarely balloons.

You won't be ripping the ball back on approach shots with a Vivid but I found on pitching wedge shots from 135 yards, the ball consistently ends about 2-3 feet from the pitch mark. If, like me, you chip with a lot of bump and runs, the Vivid is a consistent performer and the ball I chip in with the most often. The matte-finish seems to take a bit more grip on the green than other surlyn covered balls.

The matte finish of the ball makes it feel a lot softer than it is. The ever-reliable "bite test" tells me the cover is softer than a truly hard Rock Flite golf ball but not soft enough to be a Tour level ball. It feels like a Srixon Z Star or Titleist NXT Tour. Off the putter, the ball actually feels quite soft.

Fun Factor

Overall the Volvik Vivid is a seriously fun golf ball to play with. I love the green as well as the dark & light orange design. The little arrow on the side of the ball makes it simple to line up to the target off the tee and on the greens. For a mid-range golf ball, this is great value especially for guys swinging it below 90 mph.

Pros
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    Easy to see - always know which ball is yours
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    Attention-grabbing and conversation piece
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    Very long off the tee and with irons
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    Very little shape - wants to go straight
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    Penetrates through the wind
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    Arrow printed on the side makes it easy to line up
Cons
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    Difficult to find other balls this color and pretend you found yours in the rough
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    Scuffs easily but difficult to see scuffs

Volvik Vivid XT Golf Ball Review

Less vivid colors but only for faster swingers!

Volvik Vivids are really bright but the Volvik Vivid XT is far more subdued and in a way quite refreshing to your eyes after playing the flashy original Vivids. Even better is this is a 4 piece ball.

I tried the Vivid XT's out for a round at Dynasty Golf Course in Bangkok and instantly I noticed they make a much more muted sound off the club face than the Vivids. It was strange because the compression is so high at 100. The ball flight was pretty similar to the Vivids, but the biggest difference came on shots inside 150 yards. 

The Vivid XT sat down within 3 feet on very hard greens which were not friendly in accepting my Callaway Supersofts the week before. 

Nicer to putt with than the Vivids

Even more of a surprise was how much more bouncy off the putter face the XT's are. With the normal Vivids, it's harshly apparent when you mis-strike a putt, the XT bounces off the face more like a premium ball giving you a softer feeling feedback. 

Volvik Vivid XT review

Excellent alignment aid on the side of the balls (at Dynasty Golf Course)

The best ever arrows printed on a golf ball

If you look in my picture above, you'll see the yellow Vivid XT has a wrap-around arrow that circles the entire ball. This makes it extremely easy to align your ball to your putting line or line off the tee without needing to draw a jagged one on with your shaky hands. 

The ball stopped much quicker than the plain Vivids. On the par threes, I compared the performance and the Vivid XT stopped around 3 feet from the pitch mark with an 8 iron, while the Vivids were closer to 6 feet. Off the putter, I'd say the feel was more like a slightly harder Pro V1.

Overall, because I swing the club at 109 mph, I will replace the Volvik Vivids in my bag with the Volvik Vivid XT from now on. The performance was far superior with my swing speed being much higher than the recommended for normal brightly lit Vivids. 

The ball spun much more out of the bunker than the plain Vivids

Pros
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    Suited well to my 109 mph swing
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    Spins much more than the other Vivids
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    Perfect alignment aid on the side of the ball
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    Softer feeling off the putter face than Vivids
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    Slight distance gain on drives over the Vivids
Cons
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    Not for the general golfer swinging below 100 mph


Volvik White Color S3 & S4 Golf Ball Review

Tour level performance for advanced players

I couldn't really tell the difference between the two. They both have extremely soft covers where the S3 feels very similar to a Pro V1 and the S4 feels even softer - almost like you'll rip the cover right off with a single hard lob wedge. Both balls also have a seam running around the middle of the ball like the Pro V1's used to - and I like that.

Performance-wise, these balls are the business. The $40+ price tag is no surprise because the White Color S3 and S4 performed exactly as a Pro V1 with long tee shots, and back spin I don't even get with Pro V1's anymore. On the 135 yard pitching wedge test, the S4 ripped back to usually around a foot behind the pitch mark while the S3 stuck exactly where it landed. 

Tour quality, The S3 and S4 I tried at Royal Gems Golf Course

The S4 was especially easy to check up on 30 and 50 yard pitch shots while off the putter face, the S4 felt very buttery soft while the S3 had the same click as the Pro V1. If you're a bump and run fan like me, you want to be more aggressive with these balls because their softness means they run out much less.

As with all urethane balls, the cover scuffs really easily particularly the S4. The S3 seems a bit more resilient. 

Pros
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    Very soft urethane cover for spin
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    Identical performance to Pro V1
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    Easily workable left and right
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    Excellent to one hop and stop pitch shots
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    Buttery soft off the putter face
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    Arrow on the side is easy to line up for putts
Cons
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    Covers scuff very easily
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    You need a swing over 95 or 100 mph
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    Similar premium price to others in the category

Volvik Crystal Golf Ball Review

For slower swingers who've been playing a while

I like this ball because it's just insanely long.

The Crystal is just so long compared to other balls in the Volvik range, that if you're a slower swinger looking for a boost in distance and accuracy it's for you. The ball doesn't shape much and prefers to go straight too - it just feels so similar to a Bridgestone E6.

But make no mistake, this ball is hard. And by hard, I mean yes, it can feel like hitting a rock. On the 135 yard pitching wedge test, the Crystal usually finishes about 8 feet from the pitch mark - I just couldn't stop it quicker. On bump and runs, you want to be a little gentler because the ball runs out a lot more than others.

I gave a sleeve of these to my playing partner, Dietmar who plays off an 8 handicap and plays any golf ball, as long as it's free! Dietmar isn't long off the tee (230 yards) and likes a firm golf ball for more rollout to reach the greens easier. He shot a 78 with the Crystals so it just goes to show that hard balls can also produce good results, depending on your priorities.

A couple points he noted were that the ball felt like a Top Flite Infinity but he noticed more carry with the Crystals and hit more hybrids instead of fairway woods into the greens. Off his Odyssey Rossie putter insert, he liked the firm click of the ball. It took him some time to adjust to the chipping though because these balls run run run.

I've driven more greens with the Crystal than any other ball on this list

I've driven more greens with the Crystal than all the others

Pros
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    Very very long with extra roll out
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    Good for slow to moderate ​​​swingers
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    Straightest ball of all Volviks
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    Easy to spot from anywhere - very bright
Cons
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    Very hard golf ball​​​

Volvik VIBE Golf Ball Review

Medium compression, urethane Tour ball for everyone

The VIBE has been produced to compete in the low compression market and is often compared with the Chrome Soft. Volvik have put a urethane cover on the low compression VIBE though and this gives it a much softer feeling around the greens with way more bite than any Surlyn covered ball. 

There's something about this ultra low compression trend that is a bit maddening so it's nice to see Volvik responding with a more moderate 65 compression instead of the sub 40 and even zero compression balls you see released lately.

My VIBE ready for take-off at Watermill Golf Course

With that low compression, you get the lower spin off the longer shots which means higher distance numbers. But couple that with the urethane cover, and you're able to stop the ball quicker and get more control in the short game than most other low compression distance-oriented balls.

It's very easy to gauge the roll out of the ball almost immediately and this makes playing bump and runs and pitch shots much simpler. The feel off the putter is marshmallowy and while a turn-off for me, it does feel great off a steel faced putter.

On the 135 yard pitching wedge test, the VIBE stops almost on the the pitch mark and overall gives me similar performance to a Chrome Soft I prefer the VIBE mainly because I love Volvik. 

Pros
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    Soft urethane cover combined with low compression for distance and control
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    Good for slow to moderate ​​​swingers
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    Good for mid handicappers all the way up to beginners
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    Available in white if you don't want crazy colors
Cons
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    Marshmallowy off an Odyssey insert

Volvik Vista iV Golf Ball Review

A four-piece for a wide range of swing speeds

At first, I didn't play with these after I bought a whole bunch of Volviks because initially I thought they were just a hard ball. But upon closer inspection and through more "bite testing" with my teeth on the cover I thought, hey this doesn't feel like a distance ball at all. And when you actually read the name, it's a Volvik Vista iV 4 piece!

So while this is a four piece golf ball, if I were looking at a 4 piece ball, I'd choose a Taylormade TP5 at a lower price with a much softer cover. If durability is an issue, the cover on the Vista is Zirconium Z-I which really means it's not urethane so it's much more durable than a urethane ball. I've hit this ball hard and I've hit it wild and the cover stays in great shape. 

The Vista iV 4 Piece was quite firm but sat down nicely

On the 135 yard pitching wedge test, the Vista stops at around a foot and a half past the pitch mark. While I'm disappointed with that result from a four piece, the fact I don't have to replace one after a few wedge shots is good news. The Taylormade TP5 behaves similarly to the Volvik S3 and stops on the spot with a wedge.

Off the putter face, the Vista is my favorite feeling ball of all the Volviks. It's the right mix between firm and soft and with all the buttery balls out now, I really enjoy putting the firmer Vista iV.

Pros
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    Very durable Zirconium cover
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    Great distance for 100 mph + swings
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    Colors are more subdued and appear more pastel than the Vivids
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    Four layers means a dual core in a golf ball with 12 patents
Cons
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    A bit pricey considering no urethane on it

Volvik Pro Bismuth Golf Ball Review

Best value Volvik golf ball for faster swingers

Probably the ugliest name ever given to a golf ball, the Pro Bismuth is a steal at the price they sell it for. In this price range, you'll struggle to find a ball that works as well from inside 100 yards and around the greens. Remember though, it's for fast swingers.

With the 135 yard pitching wedge test, the ball stops within 2 feet of it's pitch mark and I like how durable the cover is as it's made from the same material as the more expensive Volvik Vista iV golf balls.

Off the tee and on approach shots the ball feels and performs like a premium golf ball but the big difference comes around the greens. I really suggest most golfer shit bump and run chips and not the two bounce and down chips. The expensive premium balls are too tricky to control around the greens without massive skills so this is where a ball like the Pro Bismuth comes in handy.

When you chip with it, it rolls out evenly and consistently regardless of the strike unlike a very soft, expensive urethane covered ball. Off the putter face the ball feels like a Srixon Soft Feel and will be perfectly fine for most golfers. Keep in mind though, this ball is aimed at golfers with swing speeds far above 90 mph.

Pros
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    Very durable Zirconium cover
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    Well-priced
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    Great distance for 100 mph + swings
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    Available in white
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    More consistent to control inside 100 yards than Tour level balls
Cons
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    No colors available
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    Awful name 

Volvik DS77 Golf Ball Review

Distance two-piece for 75 to 95 mph swings

With a compression of 77, the ball is made for the average swing speed with the focus on increasing distance. It's a two-piece so it's a firm ball to help generate some more carry and roll out off the driver face.

If you have an average swing speed and you want some more boom boom, the DS77 is for you. While they do promise extra control and soft feel around the green, to be honest, it's not going to give you some kind of crazy touch around the greens. This a pure, hard distance golf ball with a very durable cover - the feeling would be similar to a Titleist Velocity or a Srixon AD333. 

If you're looking for some extra distance and swing below 95 mph, this is a nice option. My swing is a bit fast to take advantage of the benefits of the ball. The pitching wedge from 135 yards usually resulted in the DS77 finishing about 8 feet from the pitch mark and on bump and runs, the ball runs out very long but very consistently.

This ball ticks all the boxes of a distance golf ball and if that's your priority, don't get too hung up in the marketing and sales talk about this ball feeling soft and unique. It's a nice colorful distance golf ball plain and simple.

Pros
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    Very durable Zirconium cover
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    Well-priced
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    Great distance for 100 mph + swings
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    Available in white
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    More consistent to control inside 100 yards than Tour level balls
Cons
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    No colors available
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    Awful name 

Carly Booth plays the S3 range and she is not ugly

Conclusion

Your priority will determine what type of ball you use whether it's for Tour performance for advanced players or just some extra yards off the tee with less errant shots as a higher handicapper. Volvik might be new kids on the block but they've got a range of balls to fit everyone and it you love colored golf balls, there just isn't a better option for high visibility.

best golf rangefinder

Best Golf Rangefinder Reviews for 2018 to Slash Your Scores!

Imagine having Steve Williams or Fluff Cowan in your ear telling you the exact distance to that back pin location or how far to carry that dreaded water. Imagine knowing the precise distance to safely clear the wretched fairway bunker right on your line.

It’s never the number you think it is, is it?

Okay, it’s not quite like having someone carrying your bag, but having one of the best golf rangefinders is the only piece of equipment in your bag you can depend on, on every shot.

It’s become an almost essential part of any golfers bag and certainly part of mine. 

Below, I’ve identified the best golf rangefinder for 2018 so that you too can hit shots with confidence.

When the caddies don't realize they're becoming obsolete!


Best Golf Rangefinders of 2018

Rangefinders that JUST missed the cut



Bushnell Tour V4 Golf Laser Rangefinder

Best Compact Size Rangefinder

I own both the Tour V3 and the Tour V4 and it’s easy to see the V4 is much smaller. Picking up the pin is much quicker in the new model. It’s a well-made, sturdy laser rangefinder like all the Bushnells, just much smaller which is good for me because I have small hands (size 23).

What’s included in the package?

In the Patriot Pack you’ll get

  • Silicone protective skin
  • Semi rigid carry case
  • One battery
  • Two year limited warranty


My Tour V3 on the left and Tour V4 on the right

Is it worth spending the money on a Bushnell V4?

In a word, yes. It’s difficult to explain just how different a Bushnell functions to other models unless you’ve used one.

The V4 is so compact, even if you have smaller hands like mine (size 23), you’ll be able to use it very easily.

No other brand can find pins as quickly as a Bushnell. They’re super quick and it’s rare to need to shoot a target 4 or 5 times like other models.

The V4 is water resistant.

Me and my V4 Tour and size 23 hands

How simple is it to use?

There is only one button on the top of the device. You put the rangefinder up to your eye, point at the target, click that button once to switch it on. Then center your target and hold the button down until the distance is displayed. Put it back into your carry case and it will auto-off in half a minute.

What about lefties or color blind golfers?

No problems for color-blind golfers. The numbers on the display are black. You can also use either the left and right hand to operate the device, totally unhindered.

Is the viewfinder suitable for eye glass wearers?

I wear prescription sunglasses on the golf course and the viewfinder works perfectly pressed up to my lenses.

Battery

Running on a CR-2 Lithium battery, the Bushnell V4 lasts between 40 and 50 rounds.

Verdict

After being so happy with the V3, I decided to pull the trigger on the V4 and have been even happier with the performance so I’ve given the V3 to a friend who was using a Nikon Powershot. He prefers the V3 due to Bushnell’s reliable accuracy and speed. I can whole heartedly recommend both the V3 and Bushnell Tour V4 as one of the best golf rangefinders on the market.

Pros

  • Ergonomic design, light, and compact design
  • Slope technology 
  • Excellent focus and top accuracy
  • One-button control for simplicity
  • JOLT feature shouldn't be taken for granted

Cons

  • The 5X magnification is still not the best.
  • Slope feature is not legal for some tournaments.
  • It needs some steady hands to work well.
  • The battery can be quite hard to insert.



Bushnell Pro X2

Strongest Constructed Golf Rangefinder

There’s a good reason Bushnell are the forerunners in the race to be the best distance finder manufacturer. Their products are solid and function at the top of the class.

They make the best golf rangefinders for guys who want reliability, quality and efficiency. These things do come at a price and a lot of golfers wonder if it’s worth it. Bushnell’s Pro X2 has a hefty price tag so let’s see why.

Feel and construction

This is a big, sturdy and heavy rangefinder. That’s not to say it’s cumbersome though. It’s just a lot different to the Bushnell V4. A waterproof metal casing protects the rangefinder from damage and can be used in wet weather without problems.

You really feel like if you dropped this on a cart path it would still be working perfectly.

Technology included

JOLT & Pinseeker

As with the newer Bushnells, the Pro X2 features JOLT technology which sends a ‘jolt’ of vibration into your hand once it has locked onto the target and calculated the distance. Coupled with the Pin Seeker technology to scan for a flag, it’s really easy to get your distance.

Slope-Switch Tech

The Slope-switch allows you to just shift a switch up or down to move between slope and non-slope function. It’s so convenient that it’s almost tempting to cheat in a tournament because no one would know!

Remember you’re not allowed to use the slope compensation feature on your rangefinders in a tournament and the X2 is able to calculate the undulation and give a more accurate true distance reading. The pros will use this feature in practice rounds to prepare for those high pressure situations.

Dual Display Tech and Stable Grip

It’s possible to select either the standard black colored text on the display or a red hue by pressing a button on the housing. I’m unsure why though, since red and green are the two most common colors for color-blind guys to mix up. The Stable Grip technology has been included to stabilize our shaky hands for more effective shooting.

Advantages over the Bushnell Tour V4

Casing is larger in the Pro X2 for more steady shooting of targets

Casing is sturdier and can take more abuse than the V4

Much simpler to switch between slope and non-slope mode in the Pro X2

Pro X2 has the option to change the display to red numbers in addition to black while V4 is only in black text.

How about those lefties and color-blind guys?

No problems for lefties to use the Pro X2 and color blind golfers will want to use the black text on the display and not the
red! You can change between the two easily.

Is the viewfinder suitable for eye glass wearers?

I wear prescription sunglasses on the golf course and the viewfinder works perfectly pressed up to my lenses.

Who should buy one of these?

The price is pretty steep (slope joke - har har) on this one so it’s for:

  1. Golfers who travel a lot with their golf stuff
  2. Avid golfers who play more than twice a week
  3. Unsteady hands
  4. Amateurs who play in higher pressure situations and need extreme accuracy
  5. Guys who want the best of the best and won’t mess around with anything else

Pros

  • Sturdiest construction out there
  • Toggle between two different displays.
  • Quick to switch between slope and non-slope
  • Waterproof housing for use in damp conditions
  • Minimal shaking for easy shooting
  • JOLT tech to alert you when you lock on target
  • Tournament legal after switching off slope

Cons

  • Quite pricey indeed
  • A bit overkill for a beginner



Top Value Golf Rangefinder

Precision Golf NX7 Pro

Precision Golf is a little company that’s trying to compete with the big boys to make access to rangefinders more affordable while not skimping on quality.

Inside the box

The NX7 comes with the essentials

  • Hard shell carry case
  • Wrist strap
  • Lens-friendly cleaning cloth
  • Warranty papers

Feel and appearance

If you’ve been spoiled already by using a Bushnell, you’ll notice the plastic and construction of the NX7 feels less ‘high-end’ than a Tour V4. That’s not to say its bad quality though. If the Bushnells are 9/10, the Precision NX7 is 7.5/10 just on how the device feels. It’s the same as a guy complaining that a Srixon Soft Feel feels harder than a Pro V1. Of course, for there’ll be differences for less than half the price.

Is it any good?

best golf rangefinders on the market

What you see through an NX7

Ease-of-use

Right out the box, the rangefinder is ready to go, battery already installed. There are two modes - slop and non-slope and one of the two buttons on the device allows you to switch between the modes easily.

Pulse Vibration Technology

You merely press the green button once without holding it in to switch it on. The cross-hairs come up onto the display and once you line them up to your target, press the button again until you see a ‘+’ sign whereupon you release it and the device vibrates with the distance on display. This is one of the most surprising things about the NX7 Pro - it includes a feature like the vibration which is generally not found at this price point.

But what about the performance?

With a 6x magnification, the NX7 Pro definitely meets expectations at the upper end. Shooting the pin from 330 yards is easy enough and at the realistic ranges of inside 200 yards, it’s a piece of cake. The distance is given to the nearest 10th of a yard which is very impressive but a bit overkill unless you’re Dustin Johnson.

Finding the distance takes slightly longer than the top range models but in no way is that additional time a deal-breaker. We’re talking a couple seconds more instead of instantaneously.

The NX7 Pro is half the price so does that mean the optics are half as good? Definitely not - the optics are excellent and while not Swarovski-clear, it’s very easy to find your target.

The display of the NX7 is quite busy though and coupled with a 6x magnification, it’s the opposite of minimalist. Is it a deal breaker? Not really just a minor gripe.

Who should purchase the NX7?

Recreational golfers who want a rangefinder that’s not going to wipe the kids’ college fund out will like this product.

How about those lefties and color-blind guys?

No problems for lefties to use the NX7 Pro and color blind golfers will have no issue.

Is the viewfinder suitable for eye glass wearers?

The viewfinder works perfectly pressed up to lenses.

Verdict

Let’s face it, golf rangefinders are quite pricey but at this price, getting a Precision Golf NX7 is like stealing. The only drawback to this model is it doesn’t have Bushnell-level finishing touches or optics but that’s why it’s priced so well. In the end, it does the same job at a fraction of the price and comparing it to a Bushnell is unfair. It’s top of its class.

Pros

  • Great price and 2 year warranty
  • Free battery replacements for life
  • Vibration technology similar to JOLT
  • Dedicated switch to change between slope and non-slope.
  • 6x magnification
  • Good for small hands
  • Customer service is excellent

Cons

  • Display has a bit too much going on
  • Edge of your hands can kind of block the front of the device if you have big hands



Bushnell Tour Pro X7 Rangefinder

Ultimate Golf Rangefinder for Stability


Is it worth spending the money on a Bushnell Pro X7?

It’s an expensive piece of equipment but if you play a lot of golf or golf at a high level and want distances lightning fast then this rangefinder has your name on it. And if you can’t seem to ever stabilize a compact rangefinder over your target using just one hand, the Pro X7 is the one for you.

If I didn’t wear prescription sunglasses on the course, I would prefer this rangefinder - it’s just so easy to use. If you wear glasses too, read below to find out why I don’t recommend it.

What’s the big deal about the Bushnell Pro X7?

When you first pick up the Pro X7, you'll think it’s a pair of binoculars. It’s very bulky but with that bulkiness, comes the ability (no, necessity) to use both hands. This immediately makes it easy to shoot your target instantaneously without the usual swaying of your hand using a compact rangefinder.

The button on the top side is easy to press with either hand and within a split second you have your distance thanks to the ESP (Extreme Speed Precision) technology. It’s the quickest rangefinder I’ve ever tried.

With my friend Johns X7 Pro - awesome!

What else makes the Pro X7 special?

  • Waterproof: The device is totally waterproof
  • Magnification: 7x is the highest I’ve encountered with an eyepiece that extends and retracts like binoculars by turning the eyepiece
  • Accuracy: Distances provided to the nearest 0.5 yards from 125+ and 0.1 yards inside 125
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Display: Use the Mode button to change the viewfinder between 4 levels of brightness
  • Strong: The rubber case and hefty weight of the rangefinder makes it feel really solid
  • JOLT: It will send a jolt of vibration into your hand once it captures the distance

How it looks through an X7 Pro


What about lefties or color blind golfers?

Left handed golfers can easily click the button with their dominant hand to get a reading. Color-blind golfers might have a problem because the display uses bright red text and cross hairs. The red is really bright and glows like an electric alarm clock but if you’re color-blind, I’d stay away from this one.

What if I wear glasses?

This is the big downside for me. I wear prescription sunglasses and this is the only rangefinder I have difficulty with. The eye relief on the scope means I need to position the rangefinder perfectly on the lens otherwise half the picture is blacked out.

It’s probably something you could work out and be consistent with eventually but it was a deal breaker for me since I birdwatch and know how annoying it can be with extended eye relief on scopes and binoculars when you wear lenses.

Battery

Runs on a CR-2 Lithium battery

Verdict

The Pro X7 is the easiest rangefinder to keep stable and the quickest I’ve used to shoot the distance. I love holding it with two hands without swaying or needing to shoot the target 3 times to triple check. My major gripe which stopped me purchasing it though, was that using it with prescription lenses was a pain in the ass. If you don’t wear prescription lenses, you’re not color-blind and you are a serious golfer, this is the best golf rangefinder on the market.

Pros

  • Pin seeker mode means crazy QUICK readings - quickest readings on the market
  • Red number display is super bright
  • High magnification means brighter images
  • Waterproof
  • Works well in darker conditions
  • Using two hands mean it's the most stable rangefinder out there

Cons

  • Expensive!
  • Red numbers can be bad for color blind golfers
  • Much heavier than other devices 
  • Eye-relief makes it difficult to use with glasses/sunglasses




Breaking 80 IS500

Budget Rangefinder with a Lifetime Warranty


Is the Breaking 80 any good?

In a world of quite high-priced equipment, Breaking 80 have come along with a laser rangefinder a quarter of what you’d expect to pay. And if you’re skeptical about the quality of the product, if you register with them, they offer you a lifetime repair or replace warranty. Lifetime. Let that sink in.

What’s the skinny on the Breaking 80?

As you can see in this Reddit thread, the owner of the company is deeply involved in Breaking 80. Their customer support is fantastic and with a lifetime warranty and 60 day no questions asked return, it’s hard to beat.

The IS500 has a flag seeking technology to pick up flags easily and displays the distance quickly with a little vibration to alert you it’s finished. Like with most budget golf rangefinders, it’s more difficult to pick up distances from 250+ yards. It does have a very bright LCD screen which is easy on the eye.

The Breaking 80 IS500 unpacked

But it costs so little

When holding a Breaking 80 rangefinder, you can feel it’s not as high-end as expensive models but of course that’s to be expected at a third of the price. In the end, the Breaking 80 IS 500 does the job required and captures distances to whatever target you set it on.

Some people have trouble using it correctly and with the pin seeking technology, you actually need to shoot the distance to the background objects behind the pin and scan back toward the pin. Once the crosshairs scan over the pin, a lower distance reading will pop up and that’s the rangefinder finding the pin. You have a generous 8 seconds to scan and you usually won’t use more than 3 seconds or so.

What about lefties or color blind golfers?

LOL, the rangefinder itself is bright red so maybe the whole unit is a bit confusing but when looking through the eyepiece, there is no problem. Lefties holding with their left hand won’t prevent the laser from finding the target.

What about if I wear glasses?

The Breaking 80 poses no problems for eye lense wearers.

Battery

Runs on a CR-2 Lithium battery

Verdict

The lifetime warranty and 60 day money back guarantee is the biggest advantage of this budget golf rangefinder. When an item is low-priced there is always trepidation to buy in case it’s a piece of junk. The Breaking 80 is certainly not a piece of junk and performs the job it’s designed for.

It may not be Usain Bolt, more like Warren Gaitlin, but who wouldn’t mind running a 100 like him? With the aforementioned warranty and guarantee, it’s worth a shot because there’s nothing to lose. Easily one of the best golf rangefinders for value for money.

Pros

  • Third Generation Advanced pin-sensor technology to prioritize the pin in front of a background
  • Clear LCD makes data easy to read
  • USGA tournament legal
  • Very light and compact
  • Single measurement and scanning mode to get multiple readings as you scan
  • Lifetime replacement plan

Cons

  • Not as feature-packed as high-end models but better than others in same price range
  • No slope feature



CaddyTek CaddyView Golf Rangefinder

Runner-up Budget Rangefinder

Is the CaddyTek any good?

It’s about the same size as a Bushnell Tour V4 but the CaddyTek CaddyView doesn’t come with the JOLT technology (where the device vibrates when it locks onto the pin) and also comes with a cloth pouch with velcro and not a hard case. But the accuracy of the readings are the same as a Bushnell which means HIGHLY accurate, and fast too!

But it costs so little

To get slope function at this price is also a phenomenal deal. Disabling the slope function is easy - just remove and replace the little plate on the side of the device.

But what makes it so good is that it takes no more than 5 seconds to pick up the rangefinder, lock on the flag, get a reading and put the device back. This little golf rangefinder is packed with value. When shooting multiple readings from the same spot, the distances are always within one yard of each other.

The little micro adjuster on the eye-piece works really well to clarify the image when looking through the peephole. Another nice feature when looking through the eye-piece is that the digital display is easier to read than a lot of models even the Bushnells. With 6x magnification, you’ll be able to pick your target up easily.

What about lefties or color blind golfers?

The digits on the digital display are black and are easy to see against the green background of the course. No problems for lefties here.

What about if I wear glasses?

The eye relief is very small which means there are no problems with glasses-wearers.

Battery

Runs on a CR-2 Lithium battery

Verdict

Considering you get slope functionality at such a low price in the CaddyView, if you don’t need the vibration when picking up pins and don’t mind a Velcro soft pouch, then this is an excellent rangefinder. Picking up distances is quick and easy especially to bunkers, trees or banks over water. Where the rangefinder loses minor marks comparing to the expensive models is picking up flags, where the Bushnells are really much more proficient. But are these minor things worth the extra money for an expensive model? If I were on a budget, I would say...NO, the CaddyTek is great.

Pros

  • Quick response time 
  • Highly accurate readings you can trust without re-shooting over and over
  • USGA tournament legal
  • Very light and compact

Cons

  • Storage pouch is a bit behind the times 
  • No vibration feature for when you lock on pins



Why the TecTecTec models are losers

These things get rave reviews but I’m really not sure why. The construction is cheap and very difficult to keep stable to shoot the distance to a pin over 150 yards away. When getting a reading, multiple readings need to be taken to ensure an accurate number but the distances can vary wildly from the same spot.

It’s very well-priced and with so many people online saying it’s fantastic, it might be tempting to get one but I can’t in good conscience recommend this product. For similar money, the Precision Golf Nexus golf rangefinder is much better value.


How to use a rangefinder

The most common reason people use golf rangefinders is to calculate the distance to pins but they can perform a few more useful functions to take your game to the next level.

The greatest benefits of a golf rangefinder is the ability to measure distances accurately from one point to another.

Measure your drives: So instead of only measuring distances to the pin, you can also use the rangefinder to determine how long your drives are. What I like to do is pick a tree, or marker or bench in line with the tee box and then once I reach my drive, measure the distance from where my ball is back to the preselected bench, tree, ball washer, concrete marker.

This will help you when you measure a distance to a hazard from the tee and know exactly which club to use. You’ll be able to swing with total confidence knowing that you’ll be safe.

Learn your carry distances at the range: Measure the distances to pins and distance markers on the driving range and then go through your clubs until you find the club that carries to the pin or distance board. We want to know the carry distance and not the roll-out distance.

This will help you when approaching a green when you need to carry a bunker or water. It’s also ESSENTIAL to know your exact distances you hit the ball to achieve lower scores.


What do you see through a rangefinder?

When looking through the rangefinder, you’ll see your target, magnified so it’s similar to looking through a monocular. There’s usually a crosshair in the middle of the display that you point onto the target and generally when you press a button on the top of the device, a distance will pop up on the display once the rangefinder has settled on how far you are.

The tricky part comes when you have a pin in front of a row of trees because it can be difficult for the rangefinder to pick up the pin. That's why when looking for a rangefinder it’s always good to find one with a technology that finds the pin and puts the priority on the closer object. That’s why I always recommend rangefinders made exclusively for golf - like all the devices in this list.

This is the big difference between hunting and golf rangefinders. Hunting rangefinders will put the priority on the moving object which is very often behind trees and bushes whereas in golf, the priority is on the item in front of the bushes - the pin.

The view through a rangefinder


How accurate is  a rangefinder?

Rangefinders are incredibly accurate and most of the top professionals use them during their practice rounds to calculate the distances so if it's good enough for guys earning millions per shot it's definitely good enough for us.

The only time it’s difficult to use a rangefinder will be when you can’t see the pin because you’re behind trees in the deep trouble.


What’s the difference between GPS watches and rangefinders?

GPS watches use satellites to pick up your location in relation to the middle, front or back of the green. You’ll generally only you get a reading to those three points and in some of the higher end models, you’ll get readings to a selection of hazards.

A rangefinder shoots a laser directly toward your target and once it hits the target it sends back the message to give you the exact distance. These distances are accurate to 1 yard and you can select the target yourself, while GPS gives you distances to spots on the course that you have no control over.

So while a GPS will tell you how far it is to a bunker, it doesn’t tell you how far it is to carry the bunker. A rangefinder allows you the freedom to select the target and get multiple customized targets for distances.


Should I get a rangefinder with slope or no slope?

How slope adjustment works - uphill shots are longer, downhill shorter

Some rangefinders come with a “slope” function which calculates the true distance to the pin taking into account the elevation changes up or down. So an uphill shot might be 170 yards in distance but factoring in the angle of elevation, the true distance might 183 yards. That can make a massive difference to your score if you’re choosing the wrong clubs.

During tournaments, you’re not allowed to use the slope function though. But in general play you may use it so it depends on your goals and what you’re looking to achieve.

If you’re a really good amateur player who plays in national or regional competitions, you can use the slope function during practice rounds to calculate the actual distances based on elevation and take down some notes for your competition rounds.

If you’re a casual golfer who doesn’t play tournaments, the slope function is something you can use all the time. If you play weekend competitions, you can use the slope function in the week and switch it off on weekends. That’s the best part, all golf rangefinders with the slope function give you the ability to switch off the function at any time.

The slope models are a bit more expensive, so there is that to consider.


Rangefinders to avoid

The next couple of models are designed for hunting and should be avoided. When buying a rangefinder, there’s no need to complicate your life when the equipment is actually meant to make it more convenient.

A golf rangefinder has been designed specifically for golf to pick up targets in front of trees and bushes while hunting rangefinders are designed to pick up targets behind the trees - this is very much not ideal for use on a golf course. Please don’t make yourself struggle unnecessarily.

Nikon 8397 Aculon

You might find some sites telling you this is a good option for golf but I disagree and or the same amount of money, a budget golf rangefinder will perform exactly how you need it to.

Halo XL450-7

Great for bow-hunting, bad for pin-hunting. Yes they're cheap but you'll tear your hair out trying to shoot pins with this thing.

Rangefinders used for hunting are often very well priced and may seem appealing at first but once you see the difference between a hunting and a golf rangefinder you'll realize how much better a golf rangefinder works.

As mentioned above hunting range finders give preference to the object in the background such as a deer or a wild boar walking behind bushes and trees while a golf rangefinder gives preference to the object closer in the foreground. That's how they can pick up pins with a row of trees behind them.


Who should buy a golf rangefinder?


Golf rangefinders a suitable for every level of player and there's not a single golfer who won’t benefit from a golf rangefinder.

  • Learn the distance you carry every club in your bag
  • Calculate true distances in practice rounds before competitions
  • Calculate your real driver and fairway wood distances off the tee
  • Never be short on an approach again
  • Have confidence you know the distance to a hazard and select a club to avoid it
  • Essential equipment for breaking 90 and 80
  • If you follow a strategy like my breaking 90 or 100 guides and want to calculate distances to split your shots.


Myths about golf rangefinders


“I’m not good enough to get one yet”

Some people think you should only get a rangefinder when you hit your clubs consistent distances. I think that’s unfair on the golfer. 

No matter what skill level you are, having a range of distances you hit your clubs will help you become a better player. Keeping track in a notebook is helpful over the long term to show you how tight the range between good and bad strikes is.

The key is to understand how far you hit your club MOST OF THE TIME. A lot of golfers will use the distance they hit one ball one time as their benchmark. For example, someone might hit a 7 iron 175 yards once and use that as their 7 iron distance when in reality, they hit the 7 iron 165 yards 80% of the time.

“It slows down play”

Some people think that shooting distances is a laborious process. It’s really not and is very quick and easy.

It takes no more than 5 or 6 seconds to get it out the pouch, shoot the distance and put it back. I usually find the distance while the other guys are still playing. Before arriving at my ball I’ve already looked at the target to select what I want to find distances to.


Top manufacturers

Bushnell

Most of the rangefinders you see on Tour will be Bushnells. They’re some of the pricier ones on the market in a similar way Titleist is the most expensive golf ball because the pros all use them. 

Nikon

A famous camera and binocular company that have expanded into the golf market. They make really nice rangefinders for golf in the form of the COOLSHOT 20 and 40 models. 

TecTecTec

You’ll see this name often when looking for a rangefinder but I don’t recommend them. Quality is not as high as other rangefinders on the list above.

Leupold

Leupold are a very famous optics company for hunting but in terms of golf rangefinders, their products are very high quality but also with a very high price. I haven’t met a single golfer on the course who uses one.

Callaway

Callaway have dipped their toe into the rangefinder realm and from what I’ve heard, they’re actually made by Nikon.

Verdict

In the end, I decided to get a Bushnell Tour V4 because my hands are small and the model I really fell in love with, the X7 Pro, didn't work on my sunglasses. I was looking at cheaper models but decided that sometimes it's just better to get a more expensive item especially one that is so important to my game. The Bushnell Tour V3 was my gateway drug into the rangefinder market and I'll never play golf without one again. 

Undoubtedly the single best purchase you can make for your game is a great golf rangefinder to help you learn more about your game as well as be more accurate on the course for lower and lower scores. Good luck!

Callaway Chrome Soft vs Supersoft – Callaway Golf Ball Comparison

callaway chrome soft vs supersoft
callaway supersoft vs chrome soft

Compression

75

38

Cover

Urethane

Trionomer (surlyn)

Layers​​​​

Four piece

Two piece

Category

Premium

Distance

Features & benefits

  Spin & feel from urethane cover

  4 layers for Tour-like performance

•  Balata-like heavy soft feel

•  Ultra low compression for lower spin on long shots for more distance

•  Higher ball flight

•  Much cheaper

Who will benefit?

•  Golfers looking for better green side performance

•  Low ball hitters and golfers looking for more distance

Drawbacks

•  More expensive

•  Marshmallowy feel on putts

Callaway SuperSoft vs Chrome Soft Golf Balls

The two most popular balls from Callaway seem to be locked in a head to head struggle for dominance.

But the distinction between the two is clear. One is a premium ball aimed at golfers who require more spin around the greens, while the other is a distance ball which means they're aimed at golfers looking for longer, straighter shots while sacrificing spin.

As you can see, the Supersoft and Chrome Soft golf balls are like comparing apples and oranges.

Construction

The 4 layer Callaway Chrome Soft

The Callaway Chrome Soft is made of four layers. By default this means it's a ball aimed at the better player looking to shape the golf ball left and right as well as for golfers who want to get more grip and rip on the greens. 

Coupled with the multiple layers, the ball is encased in a urethane cover to spin a lot more on every shot than a low compression two piece surlyn covered ball. You can expect some golf balls spinning backwards with these especially with a wedge in your hand.

Soft urethane also generally scuffs easier but in the Chrome Soft, you'll find one of the more durable covers currently available.

The two piece Callaway Supersoft

The Callaway Supersoft is a two-piece golf ball consisting of the inner core and the outer cover which is surlyn or as Callaway named it, Trionomer. 

Surlyn covers are much firmer and less 'spinny' than urethane and are supposed to be more durable. However, the Supersoft cover is not as durable as the Chrome Soft which is a surprise. It does cost half the price though, so that makes sense.

The two-piece design of the Supersoft provides a core with low compression of 38 which in combination with the low spinning cover, reduces the spin of your shots for longer bombs. You'll have a higher ball flight which compensates for the lower spin rate, to help stop the ball on the greens. 

A surlyn and two-piece construction means you'll like this ball if you just want more distance especially if you swing your driver under 90 mph. The name of the game with this ball is LOW SPIN. It will feel super duper soft, but it will not spin as much as a premium golf ball.

High visibility options are available for both models

Performance & Feel

Callaway's Chrome Soft feels exactly like a Tour ball because it's actually played on Tour. Around the greens, it provides  gentler feel than the Supersoft. Off the putter face, the Chrome soft feels bouncy and reactive so overall, the Chrome Soft ball is competing with the Titleist Pro V1.

You'll notice the big difference between the balls in terms of spin when you're inside 130 yards. The Chrome Soft checks up and spins a lot more than the Supersoft on the shorter approaches. If you're a generally high spin player, you'll stop a Supersoft within a a couple feet of it's pitch mark but rip it back with the Chrome Soft.

The Supersoft runs out a lot more and won't check up on the green like the Chrome Soft. It's best for bump and run chips on the greens which is strange but it just goes to show, SOFTNESS does not equal SPIN. Off the putter it feels a bit marshmallowy like a piece of soap. Off the tee and with your irons, if you're an average to slower swinger, you very well might notice a slight distance increase.

Supersofts come in more colors than the Chrome Soft, but the Chrome Soft does have the Truvis soccer ball pattern option. If your eye-sight is not so great and you're a slower swinger, the Supersofts are a fantastic choice. 

Conclusion

Get the Chrome Soft if you want a Tour quality ball that spins on the greens. If you're after more distance and less shape, particularly with a speed around 85 or 90 mph, the Supersoft is a great choice.

Best Golf Shoes for Diabetics – Save Your Feet

Diabetic golfers are at high risk of developing nerve damage as well as poor circulation in the feet. Impaired circulation causes wounds on the feet to heal slower, which increases the risk of infection. Nerve damage can cause numbness in the feet, which means you might not be able to feel heat, cold, or pain in your feet.

A golfer with diabetes and these complications might not notice that his shoes are rubbing or pinching his feet as well as not noticing when there are sharp objects inside the golf shoe such as stones or even a paperclip. That can wreak havoc on your feet over a 4 or 5 hour round.

Impaired circulation and the damage to nerves when combined make feet more susceptible to foot ulcers. Bad-fitting shoes increase that risk exponentially from friction and rubbing, but finding the best golf shoes for diabetics is easier than ever with the new styles released by the top golf shoe manufacturers.

Your feet will thank you and you'll be golfing for years to come.

Top Golf Shoe for Diabetes
Ecco Cage Pro Boa

The Ecco Men's Cage golf shoe has a strong heel to provide support without rubbing and provides a lot of padding around the throat of the shoe. The BOA system to tighten and loosen the shoe makes it easy to adjust to your feet and the toe box is made of very soft breathable material to keep you dry.

Best Golf Shoes for Diabetics

Characteristics of a good diabetic golf shoe

best golf shoes for diabetics

Toe box

This is where your toes and ball of your foot go. The shoe should be long enough so the toes don't hit the front and have enough space for toes to wiggle and wide enough to not pinch the balls of the feet. 

Breathable material is preferred to keep your feet dry - perforated leather is good while cloth can be better as long as you're not playing in wet conditions. Sweat will evaporate and keep you drier. A nice soft toe box that won't rub and irritate your foot is a good idea. 

A drier foot is less likely to develop an ulcer or wound as you walk around the course.

Tongue

The tongue should be wide enough with enough padding so that the laces don’t dig into the top of your foot. Some shoes tongues have slits in the middle so you can thread the laces to hold the tongue in place. This will prevent it sliding around as you walk for hours on the course.

Throat

This is the opening where you stick your foot into the shoe. The rim of the throat should be well padded and low enough so it doesn't rub your ankle bones where the skin is very thinly stretched making it more susceptible to friction injury.

Hell Counter

This is the area that cups your heel. A higher heel counter will provide more support and less rubbing as you walk. Shoes with a high heel counter have a notch for the Achilles tendon to avoid digging into it. 

Outsole

This part of the shoe usually made of carbon rubber that comes into direct contact with the ground, so it must be long-lasting and flexible.

What not to buy

Slip-on loafer style golf shoes are no good because there is very little of the shoe covering the top of the foot so they provide inadequate support. They're also often made of unpadded, rigid leather, which can be a source of friction.

Golf sandals are unsuitable because the straps cause friction.

Spikeless Golf Shoe Options

Stud pressure from golf shoes can cause pain especially in the balls of the feet. The new and increasingly popular spikeless golf shoe adds comfort to the walk and in my spikeless golf shoes, I can play 36 holes easily while traditional golf shoes with hard insole really hurt after 14 or 15 holes.

Lacing Options

Laces threaded through leather or fabric loops or punched-out holes have more give than through plastic or metal eyelets. We want some give so the shoe can morph to the shape of your foot as you walk out there on the course.

Round laces stretch more than flat laces which can be beneficial for those long walks that you spoil with golf shots. Rigid and inflexible laces can crate pressure on your skin.

A great solution by many manufacturers is to have a tightness adjuster on the tongue or heel of the golf shoe that you can turn like a wrench to tighten or loosen the shoes. They're convenient and make life very easy for a golfer with diabetes.

Best Golf Shoes for Diabetics Reviews

Ecco Pro Cage BOA Golf Show

Total solution for diabetics

The Ecco Pro Cage BOA has everything you could want to protect your feet. It's encased with a 'cage' that supports your foot from heel to toe. The laces are easy to adjust by turning the little knob on the top of the tongue to give you an even fit that you can adjust to perfection to prevent rubbing especially on the top of your foot.

The throat is well padded with a high heel section but lower around the ankle. The spikeless design ensures none of that pesky stud pressure that can really hurt the balls of your feet at the end of the round. You do pay for the privilege though and these shoes, like all Ecco's are expensive.

Very breathable upper with GoreTex incorporated into the shoe keeps your feet free from outside water and dries them from the inside with breathable material. The best golf shoe for diabetics and with the soft insole it should be great out of the box, but you can also get yourself some orthotics to slip in for a more comfortable bottom.

Pros
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    Laceless BOA system - easy tighten and loosen instantly and evenly
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    Spikeless to distribute weight evenly
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    Soft insoles for comfort
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    Water resistant outside and breathable inside
Cons
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    Expensive
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    Not many colors available

Skechers Go Pro Golf Shoe

Matt Kuchar's choice - waterproof with excellent grip

The Go Pro 2 from Skechers is used by everyone's favorite golfer, Matt Kuchar and it's easy to see why. Like their sneakers, Skechers has made a shoe that's very comfortable but also has a waterproof toe box to keep your feet nice and dry from outside water. 

The soft spikes are replaceable on the bottom of the shoes and provide excellent grip so you won't be slipping down slopes. Round laces mean that the shoes have more 'give' when you walk to flex with your foot and these laces thread through a slit in the tongue to keep that tongue in place, further helping to prevent rubbing.

Padding in the throat combined with the high and firm heel support mean the shoe stays put, keeping your heel and Achilles unhindered. 

Pros
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    Solid construction in the heel and sole 
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    Comfortable like a walking shoe
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    Round laces with tongue slit to hold tongue in place
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    Replaceable soft spikes
Cons
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    Not many perforations in the toe box

Adidas Tech Response 4.0 Golf Shoe

Lightweight and well priced with super breathability

Adidas have made a very lightweight and well priced golf shoe in the Tech Response. The large amount of breathable material on the shoe means your feet can breathe and stay dry from your sweat.

While the breathability and light weight is the upside, the downside is that the shoe will let moisture in from outside. For morning golfers, the dew might permeate in, but as the day dries up, the water will have an easy time evaporating, leaving you dry.

Round laces threaded through punched-out holes and through a slit in the tongue means your shoe will move with your foot instead of being rigid with a lot of foot friction. 

Another downside is less padding in the throat but still a sufficient amount to feel like a decent tennis shoe. The high heel support and low ankle height of the throat make it really easy to wear with sturdy support for the back of your foot.

Pros
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    Excellent breathability in the toe box
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    Lightweight construction
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    Rounded laces threaded through punched-out holes and slit in tongue
Cons
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    Not very suave looking
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    Best for drier climates - will allow moisture into the toe box

Adidas Tour360 Boost Golf Shoe

Diabetic PGA Tour pro Scott Verplank's choice

The Tour360 Boost is a more 'traditional' looking shoe and less like the comfy trainer types you see which are made for comfort and a casual look. 

But make no mistake, these are excellent shoes with unique features for adding flexibility and comfort. The area under the middle of the shoe provides for more flexibility between the ball of your foot and the heel for better arch support. Above that area, around the middle of the foot is a 360Wrap which, when tightened, provides extra support and fit to the middle of your foot.

The laces are flat and thread through eyelets but do thread through a slit in the tongue. The tongue will stay in place all round long. The eyelets may not be totally ideal, but with the extra tech under in the sole and the Wrap360 add that extra level of support.

Special foam in the soles give you extra bounce and support for those long walks. A very good looking shoe that keeps the water out and aids in dispersing the sweat on the inside. 

Pros
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    Great looking Tour style golf shoe
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    Wrap360 and dynamic control mid sole to support your arch
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    High support on the heel and low around the ankles
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    Replaceable soft spikes with super grip
Cons
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    Flat laces which can be replaced for rounded
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    Might need to order one size larger
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    Quite narrow so if your feet are wide, go for the .5 sizes

Ecco Biom Hybrid 2 Golf Shoe

Best for walkers with wide feet 

Ecco have become famous for their comfortable golf shoes and were the footwear of choice for the two most chill PGA Tour pros, Ernie Els and Freddy Couples. The Biom model is the one you see them wearing as they glide the fairways of the Tour.

With yak leather uppers, the Danish shoes are made to last and are breathable as well as water-resistant. The rounded laces thread nicely through a tongue slit for a stable fit and the throat is padded for comfort. You can imagine Ernie and Freddy wearing these to bed even.

The spikeless shoes are comfortable for walking and with the reputation of Ecco, you can trust these will be comfortable right out the box and last you a very long time. The spikeless bottom is durable and there's no need to worry about the mini studs wearing out any time soon.

Pros
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    Top quality yak leather uppers
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    Great for wider feet
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    Not as 'stiff' as other normal golf shoes
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    Ernie, Freddy and GMac's choice of footwear
Cons
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    Expensive but superior quality

Conclusion

You can buy a pair of shoes, send them back if they're the wrong size and get your perfect fit. Once you find that pair of shoes that keeps your feet feeling fresh all round long, you'll wonder why you didn't do it earlier. Imagine sitting int he clubhouse with no pain under your feet and ready to play another 18 holes. Those beaten up old 'classic', 'traditional' golf shoes aren't doing you any favors. Try a pair of Eccos and you might end up using Ecco for every shoe in your closet.

Recycled vs Refurbished Golf Balls vs New Golf Balls – The Truth

There's a bit of a stigma attached to both recycled and refurbished golf balls. While that stigma may be valid particularly against the refurbished balls but there's a bit more to it.

We'll dive into the issue together in this article and we'll take a look at 

  • What's the difference between refurbished and recycled?
  • How do they refurbish a golf ball?
  • What are the pitfalls of recycled, refurbished and new golf balls?
  • What's the performance difference between the three?
  • How your priorities affect your buying decision

Pre-loved golf balls good, golf balls with face-lifts, not good

Recycled vs Refurbished Golf Balls vs New Golf Balls 

Difference between refurbished and recycled golf balls

In essence, you're getting a golf ball that looks brand new but is a second hand ball that has been stripped of some of the outer layer and repainted. 

A recycled ball on the other hand is a ball found on the golf course and resold in the condition that is was found. The seller will more than likely clean it with some soapy water and a towel but you're getting a ball that hasn't been altered other than by nature.

How do they refurbish a golf ball?

The refurbishment process in a nutshell

Refurbished golf balls are sandblasted by the company that purchases/finds the, In the sandblasting process, a fraction of the cover is stripped away to remove all exterior scratches. After the sandblasting process, they then paint the cover with a glossy finish and restamp the ball with the desired brand and model.

What are the pitfalls of recycled, refurbished and new golf balls?

Recycled golf balls

There's not too much wrong with recycled balls. If you buy them from a reputable seller, you'll get a decent collection with five out of every fifty being a bit scruffy but still playable.

The only real issue with recycled balls are the ones that have been burned by fire or have their cover chipping and peeling away. Otherwise the difference for the average golfer is negligible.

Those yellow blemishes on the golf ball? I've never found them to affect my performance. If every shot you're playing counts for $20,000 like a professional, it would be something to worry about.

A lot of guys complain about other peoples Sharpie markings or corporate logos on recycled golf balls. But if you're buying used golf balls, that's like getting free ice cold beer and complaining that it's not your favorite brand. Just take it and run!

Refurbished or refinished golf balls

There's something untrustworthy about these balls.

In general, you're getting a recycled ball that's been made a bit smoother with sandblasting and a new coat of paint plus a new stamp of the brand you're looking for. 

Now is that ball with the Pro V1 stamp on it, really a Pro V1? In other words, did they sandblast and repaint another brand and trick you into buying a fake Pro V1 by stamping it with Pro V1? Those are the questions I ask myself which means I don't recommend playing refurbished balls.

New golf balls

The only problem you're going to have with new balls is the price, especially if you lose a few!

What's the difference in performance?

New balls perform best and as advertised.

The refinished and repainted covers of the refurbished golf balls wear off and reveal the worn out old cover underneath pretty quickly. In terms of performance, they'll perform similarly to a new ball if they're not too old or too waterlogged, but how can we know what condition they were in before they were repainted? And is that Pro V1 really a Pro V1?

recycled vs refurbished golf balls vs new golf balls

Before refurbishment -> after refurbishment -> after 4 holes

Recycled balls perform very well and it's easier to see what condition they're in before you hit one! You'll noticed immediately if the cover has been worn away by the sun or water. In general, with the huge demand for used golf balls, lost balls don't spend too long in the water or the woods. There's always someone finding them and reselling them so you can bet on them performing very close to a new ball. 

Which one should I buy?

Which one you buy all depends on your priorities. 

Are you a new golfer? It's best to get second hand golf balls and anything will do. Lost Golf Balls are a reputable company.

Are you a high or mid handicapper who doesn't lose many balls? Buy new and get the best you can afford to maximize your performance. Check out my guide for high handicappers here and mid handicappers here.

Does the thought of losing an expensive or new ball make you tense up and hit poor shots? Downgrade to a lower priced ball or buy used.

Do you need the best performance possible and have unlimited funds? Buy the best new balls you can.

There's no right or wrong answer really but I urge you not to be suckered into buying refurbished golf balls.

Conclusion

I hope I've convinced you to avoid playing refurbished golf balls and are more comfortable teeing it up with a second hand ball that's merely been cleaned with some soap and water. Don't overthink it - if you like new balls play new balls. If you want to save a few bucks and you're prone to losing a few, feel happy in your decision to play second hand!

Biggest Collapses in PGA Tour History

We all have tough days on the course but it gets a lot tougher when you're playing for a living and trying to win majors. The pressure must be unbelievable. 

Sometimes that pressure gets to even the best. Here's a collection of some of the most unbelievable meltdowns and collapses in golf history. 

biggest chokes and collapses in pga tour history

Jordan Spieth - 2016 Masters

No one likes to see bad things happen to nice people and Jordan seems like a really nice, nerdy guy. I've played a replica hole of the 12th at Augusta and believe me it's difficult. 

All that carry over water with a small green guarded by bunkers front and back with maybe 10 yards of landing space. With the pressure of a major over your head, that landing area gets smaller and smaller. 

This little set back didn't keep him down for long. He may have lost the 2016 Masters with this meltdown, but he got past it and won the British Open in 2017.

Phil Mickelson - 2006 US Open

Mickelson was leading by two after 15 holes and on the 18th he was a shot ahead of Geoff Ogilvy, but on the tee of the 450-yard par-4 he made a terrible swing, a push-slice that bounced off a hospitality tent waaaay left of the fairway.

What happened next was a series of mistakes more fitting of an 18 handicap. Trying to cut a three-iron around a tree he instead hit it into the tree trunk, the ball rolled right back to him. On the next one, Mickelson over cut it, flying the ball into a buried lie in the left greenside bunker, leaving an almost impossible shot.

Minutes earlier he was about to win the US Open. Suddenly he needed to get up and down just for an 18-hole playoff. Mickelson's long bunker shot came out hot and rolled off the green - his chip for bogey never had a chance.

Greg Norman - 1996 Masters

He's won the British open twice but must surely have the most top 5 finishes at the Masters without a victory. The poor guy really wanted a Masters green jacket but just could never quite pull it all together. 

In the 1996 Masters, he had his best chance, going into the final round with a 6 shot lead over Nick Faldo. He even shot a course record 63 on his way to the lead on Sunday morning. When it was over, Norman turned his 6-shot overnight lead into a deficit. 

If I had the ability to cry, I would probably cry during this one.

Mark Calcavecchia - 1991 Ryder Cup

Needing to just keep his ball dry after Montgomerie stuck his in the water, 'Calc' did the unthinkable. Montgomerie also made a great decision on the putting green. This is a very undermentioned meltdown.

Jean van de Velde - 1999 British Open

I'll never forget this one. I watched the entire day's coverage right up until the end of the 17th hole but switched it off because I figured, oh well, it's settled. I went out to the grocery store and came back about and hour later to find the British Open still on and there was a Frenchman in the water without any shoes on!

I missed the entire meltdown. But I've watched it 100 times since. All you needed to do was hit 4 pitching wedges!

Dustin Johnson - 2010 US Open

He may have had a meltdown in 2010 and been suspended for performance enhancing drugs like cocaine, and had a few "liasons' with other players' wives, but he is still one of the best out there and can hit a long ball. Plus he's with that Gretsky lady so I'm sure the meltdown below isn't even on his mind. 

If he was playing while on his performance enhancers, he might not even have any memory of it at all.

Tiger Woods - 2015 Memorial

Not really a meltdown but it's always reassuring to know that even the greatest, most revolutionary golfer the ever live can put up an 85. Just like you and me.

Hunter Mahan - 2010 Ryder Cup

Haven't we all had a little chip with a carry halfway between us and the pin? Usually it goes two ways, either 6 foot past or chunk it short. With all those people surrounding him and the pressure of a nation's expectations, his heart must've been in his throat.

I always put myself in these situations o the course and imagine the shot's for a major or Ryder cup win. And if I were Hunter, I would've done the same thing. Painful to watch and imagine that stomach dropping feeling.

Jason Day - 2015 US Open

Jason Day literally collapsed. What appears to be an attention seeking incident or even a half-hearted attempt at escaping the US Open, is actually someone suffering from Vertigo. 

Not quite sure what vertigo is, but it doesn't look fun.

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