Tiger Woods Struts His Stuff and is “Staying Alive”

It’s absolutely no secret that Tiger Woods is the most popular golfer in the world.  You know it, I know it, and everyone else who’s ever even heard the word “Golf” knows it.  What I dig about Tiger Woods, however, is his ability to still have fun with himself and when not on the course, not take himself entirely too seriously.  Want proof?  Watch any one of his television ads up to this point, or better yet, watch some of the stuff he’s done for EA Sports as far as viral videos go.

Tiger Struts His Stuff

Since today is Friday, I thought we’d end the work week with a bang and show you one of his most rent commercials.  In this bad boy, he’s strutting his stuff to none other than “Staying Alive,” and making it look comedic and good at the very same time.  Granted the first Gillette commericals were a bit odd and didn’t exactly go over very well, but with this one, they totally redeemed themselves.

Poking Fun At Yourself Key To Victory?

The ability to balance being the best at whatever you do, with still being willing enough to poke fun at yourself is a good trait to have, and I’m beginning to wonder if it might just be the thing that keeps him on top despite everything that goes on around him.  Maybe that is his winning secret.

Stayin’ Alive!

Nevertheless, check out the commercial, it should be a great way to cap off your work week.  Stayin’ Alive, after all, aren’t we?

Chie Arimura’s Bag: A new trend signalling the end of the Tourstage ViQ line??

chiebagA few months ago, a fellow TSG forum member from Hawaii was talking to me about what’s in the bag for serveral JLPGA pros and he noted that many of the Tourstage pros were no longer playing the ViQ line, the most dominant line on the Japanese ladies tour which also happens to be one of the best selling lineups for the average male golfer in Japan. At the time, I kinda brushed it off thinking, no way Tourstage would dump their number one selling line focused on the largest group of golfers in Japan.

Now that I think back and look at Tourstage’s movement over the last few months. That forum member could very well be correct. It is only speculation but based on the fact that no new ViQ model has been even whispered about since late 2007 and the old and popular ViQ Forged iron from early 2007 has never been replaced does make one wonder. Then you look at all the JLPGA Tourstage pros. As I said what the girls play on tour actually parallel what is popular for the average golfer in Japan and its been that way for a long time.

If you look at Tourstage’s top female Pros, many of them are in transition away from ViQ line models. Almost all the girls are now playing X-Drive driver  models of some sort (including Tourstage number one Ai Miyazato), and many have switched over to X-Blade irons. Perhaps Tourstage’s sudden decision to release the X Series, traditionally their athlete low handicapper line, this year with multiple models targeting multiple levels of player also signaled a move that the X Series models like the GR are moving to replace the ViQ.

If you look at up and coming Tourstage pro Chie Arimura who I do frequently talk about on my blog, she has gone from playing several ViQ models last season to none now. Here is a break down of her current bag. Does it signal the end of the ViQ line? Only time will tell.

Chie-chan is playing the new X-Drive deep faced 701R 9.5* with Tour AD EV-5 shaft in stiff flex.  She’s got a Callaway X 3 Wood and then 5 7 and 9 X-Drive woods with pink Rombax 5X07 in stiff flex. Her new irons are the X-Blade GR C-1 Forged with NS Pro 750GH regular flex. She’s playing her trusty old 2006 X-Wedges in 52 and 58* lofts with 950GH regular flex. Her putter is the Odyssey Japan Black Series #1 with Prototype insert.

Here are Chie-chan’s distances:

1W      : 240yards
3W     : 205yards
5W     : 195yards
7W     : 185yards
4I     : 175yards
5I     : 165yards
6I     : 155yards
7I      : 145yards
8I     : 135yards
8I     : 135yards
9I     : 120yards
PW     : 105yards
AW     : 90yards(50*)
SW     : 75yards(58*)

Time To Raise the Golf Hall Of Fame Age?

sept_olazabal_434x600Looks like the time has come to re-ask a question that’s been circulating for a few years now.  The question is:  Is it time to change the minimum age for a golfer to be eligible for the Golf Hall of Fame?  I am having trouble thinking of another sport in which a person can enter the prestigious Hall of Fame and then the very next week, go out and continue to play extremely well on the tour or in their sport.  What happened to players retiring, being retired for awhile and THEN entering the Hall of Fame?

Why So Young?  Why So Rushed?

All of this was once again stirred up as news that both Lanny Wadkins and Jose Maria Olazabal have been selected for entry into the World Golf Hall of Fame.  Why did this stir it up?  Simple, really.  While it’s great that Wadkins is in, who at 59 is most likely done playing, for good, but in the case of Olazabal, is only 43 and still has a whole heck of a lot of golf left to play.  As the article just  mentioned:

“…the World Golf HOF should follow the lead of other sports and wait for a point in their careers where they are no longer competitive on the world’s most elite tours. Complicating the issue is the fact that 40 is the new 30 in golf — and older guys can still beat up on the young whippersnappers every so often…In his first start after turning 50, Tom Lehman was the 54-hole leader at last month’s Transitions Championship before finishing T-8. A few weeks later, Fred Couples, 49, owned the same distinction at the Shell Houston Open, eventually taking a share of third place. And no one is a greater example than Kenny Perry, who has won four titles since his 47th birthday and nearly became the oldest major champion in history at the Masters recently.”

Make The Change…50 or 55

What’s even worse, in 2005 when Vijay Singh was inducted, he’d just come off a run of winning 13 PGA Tour Victories.  He then delayed his induction, yes delayed it, to go play more golf.  The question is, why the rush, and when are they going to change how early people are being inducted.  ESPN suggests, and we agree, upping the age to at least 50, and even better 55, up from the current 40.  40 isn’t old anymore, and golfers at 40 are playing some of their best golf ever.  Come on Hall of Fame, get with it.

Japan Golf Tours: See It All, Do it All

japangolfLooking for the vacation of a lifetime but have little to no idea where to start?  Join the millions of people in exactly your shoes!  The bottom line is, when you’re looking for a vacation that will be memorable, exciting and exactly what you want, it’s not always easy to find the right destination, the right idea, or the right motivation.  All that’s going to change.

Change The Way You Vacation

I just found a company that offers Japan Golf Tours, and Asian Golf Tours that will literally change the way you feel about a golf vacation.  You might not be aware of it, but Japan has some of the most amazingly beautiful golf courses in the entire world, surrounded by natural beauty and close to the buzz of the city.  A simple ride on a bullet train can take you across the entire country and before you know it, you are golfing on some of the most exciting and beautiful courses you’ve ever seen.

Spring Tour Rapidly Approaching…Book Now!

Coming up soon is their famous “Spring Tour” which runs from May 18-May 26.  During those days you will play 5 amazing rounds of golf on different courses and be treated like royalty.  The price you pay includes all of this:

Price includes all transportation and transfers, 5 rounds of golf including caddy and cart*, lunch with each round of golf, Get Acquainted Cocktail Party, Farewell Cocktail Party, 3 group dinners, 8 nights deluxe hotel accommodations, breakfast each day, all sightseeing entrance fees, English speaking guide for sightseeing and English speaking guide accompanying the tour.  *All courses will have caddies. Hirono Golf Club, however, does not have golf carts. You will be required to walk at Hirono Golf Club.

The bottom line is, it’s time to change the way you think about golf vacations.  If you’re going to do it, you should do it right.  Head over and check out Japan-Golf-Tours.com and start doing your resarch.  It’s more than just golf, and it’s more than just a vacation.

Quote of the Day & Interview by Kenny Perry

“I went from hitting the greatest shot of my life to the poorest shot of my life within 20 minutes”


Gotta feel sorry for the guy, he almost had one arm in what was supposed to be his new green jacket until he missed his chip on the first hole of the playoff. Kenny Perry might have gained more fans by losing The Masters than he would have by winning it. “I’ve received hundreds of cards and letters from people who genuinely care about me,” Perry said

This Week he makes his return at Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

Kenny Perry answered some questions at the Zurich Classic press confrence this week, Keep Reading for transcripts from the Interview that day:

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Tokyo Golf Show: Taylormade Japan 2009 R9 & TP Forged Preview

Taylormade R9 460cc MAX Japan Only Model

This year at the 2009 Tokyo Golf Show Taylormade’s booth was front and center with a long list of new products that should excite golfers on both side of the pond. The headliner was the new R9 Driver which was released in the USA in a different size of 420cc’s while the Japanese market has both the 420cc and an exclusive R9 MAX 460cc version. Yes the MAX  460 is USGA conforming. The R9 460cc driver features only one weight instead of 3 and we were told by Taylormade Japan design department that due to the increased size the additional weights would be unnecessary making the head way to heavy.

What Else is Different?

The stock shaft is the new Fujikura Motore (Japan version) available in Regular (53g mid kick), Stiff/Regular (55g mid kick), Stiff (64g mid-high kick) and X-Stiff (65g mid-high kick) flexes.

The R9 Max is also available with the Fujikura Motore F1 TP 65J (Japan version) in Stiff (68.5g low-mid kick) or X-Stiff (70g low-mid kick) at an additional charge.

The R9 Max is also  available from Taylormade Japan with top of the line Japanese Market shafts including the Fujikura Japan Motore Speeder VC6.0, Graphite Design Tour AD EV-6 and Diamana Kai’li 60 at an additional charge. These are considered the hottest shafts in Japan and ordering these gets you the actual shaft, not TM branded and colored shafts. All three shafts are strong kicking peformance control shafts. The Kai’li is the lowest launching of the bunch and amazing at taking the right side out of play. The EV and Speeder are mid to high launch max carry shafts. The EV spins low and carries far and the Motore Speeder is the worlds first 7 axis shaft with superb control.

Click More to Watch More Taylormade R9 Videos…

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Yonex 2009 NanoV Nextage Drivers – Taking it to the Next Level

Yonex Golf has eploded in popularity over the last year or so thanks to the signing of super phenom Ryo Ishikawa. Yonex has always made very respectable equipment but the singing Ishikawa has blown demand through the roof. In 2009 Yonex has launched the new NanoV Nextage line, with a driver based on designs specifically made for Ishikawa. Mark Kanai over at Golf Digest Japan took the time to compare both flavors or NanoV Nextage Drivers, the Type 460 and Type 430.

Both new  NanoV drivers are all Titanium and feature a carbon graphite crown comprising of CS (CupStack) Carbon Nanotube and Elastic Ti. These materials increase strength and improve energy transfer through the shaft resulting in increased ball speeds. The Nextage driver features a power isometric face with variable thickness and longer toe and heel for maximum COR. This increases the sweet area minimizing distance loss on off center hits.

The Type 430 is the athlete model aimed at better golfers an those wanting control and workability. The 430cc has a more traditional shape with high back design and deeper face than its bigger 460cc brother.  The Type 460 has a shallower face and shallow back MOI type design made for higher launch and more forgiveness. The Type 460 focus on big carry and distance. Ishikawa plays the Type 430.

Technical specs from Mark Kanai’s testing:

  • Type 460 10* with R1 flex shaft, 46.25″ long, 288.2g D2 swing weight.
  • Type 430 10* with Graphite Design Tour AD EV-6 Stiff, 45″ long, 315.4g D1.5 swing weight.

The test Type 430 which is spec’ed to have a square face angle had a real face angle of 0.75* closed. The Type 460 had a real face angle of over 2* closed. Real lofts were also slightly higher than stated.

nextage460monitorMark first tested the Type 460, shots in the center of the face resulted in straight to slight draw shots with spin below 2600rpm. Hitting higher on the face actually caused the spin to drop to around 1700-2100rpm.  The low spin and deep center of gravity give it a respectable launch over 15* and good overall distance. The picture on the right shows a typical shot.  A 97mph swing produced 244.9 yards carry and 261.4 yards total. 6 yards to the right off center ( (Mark tries to slow his swing down when testing Regular flex but the head probably could not catch up and stayed open!). Backspin at 2302rpm and a launch of 15.7*. Ball speed 146mph. Noted was the nice “KAKIN” sound on impact thanks to the Ti face and carbon crown.

Next up was the Type 430 and it’s shallower center of gravity aimed at a lower trajectory. The EV-6 is a stable and firm shaft providing good kick and control with the Type 430.  The 430 paired with the EV-6 creates a nice soft feel as the ball catches the face. Shots are typically a fade ball.  Distance is as good as the 460.

There were higher launches on both most likely due to the higher real loft. This may vary on drivers off the shelf.

Overall Mark gave both drivers an over 80% rating for overall, feel, performance and value. The 460 can work for the slicer looking for a straighter ball and more distance however the stock shafts may feel soft and launch high. The 430 matches well with the EV and can be worked straight or fade.  Both drivers produce a low spin trajectory and provide adequate forgiveness.


Yuko Mitsuka Taylormade Japan Pro – What’s in the Bag?

mitsukawitbWhile we’re on the topic of new Taylormade clubs I thought I would do a post on Yuko Mitsuka’s bag. Yuko is a top JLPGA pro who has 3 victories on the Japanese tour. She started golf late at 14 years of age, and now at 24 is always on the leaderboard competing for top spot. She is known to be very long off the tee and a very good iron player.

Yuko began playing these clubs back in early March and was one of the first ladies on tour here to carry the R9 driver. She plays the R9 at 9.5* with Japan spec Motore F1 65 in stiff flex.

Yuko carries 2 woods, a Japan spec 2008 V-Steel 15* and the older r7 Steel 5 wood at 18*. She also has a TP Rescue 21* in the bag.

Her irons are the brand new 2009 TP Forged 4-PW and she plays the TM Z TP Wedges in 52 and 58* lofts.

Her putter is a trusty Gauge Design Japan GAOOH Hoshino Model.

Her distances are as follows:

1W : 260yards
3W : 240yards
5W : 220yards
4U : 205yards
4I : 190yards
5I : 180yards
6I : 170yards
7I : 160yards
8I : 150yards
9I : 140yards
PW : 120yards
AW : 104yards(52*)
SW : 84yards(58*)

Taylormade Japan R9 Max Driver Official Launch!

r9postpicsAfter long anticipation and waiting while every one used standard 420cc R9 drivers, the R9 Max Japan model driver officially launched today in Japan!

We received our drivers on Saturday and began shipping them out today and filling the many pre orders we had. I spent the weekend fiddling with the R9 Max and playing with Flight Control Technology for the first time.

FCT looks to be an interesting and useful technology. Those who love to fidget with their clubs and test different configurations are in for a treat. This is a golf lover and gadget freaks dream driver.  One of the things I noted right of the bat together with Tourspecgolfer was that the overall weight of these drivers is a lot more than standard drivers you see making us question how heavy is FCT in the hosel area? I’ve always wondered how that affects the balance of that head with extra weight added due to FCT but after testing the driver this weekend it does not seem to affect balance or performance. But for those who prefer ultra light JDM spec drivers this is a touch heavier which can both be a good and bad thing.

Taylormade has told me that there will be even more FCT shafts available down the road including several lightweight ones which I’m definitely looking forward to trying.

Many people have been opting for the R9 Max over the R9 even with the added cost of Japanese market pricing due to several of the benfits provided by the R9 Max. For those who don’t alread know:

  1. The R9 Max is 460cc large and is meant to be more forgiving than its 420cc R9 brother. The larger head inspires confidence who need it.
  2. The R9 Max has only one weight port but has a larger left right spread than the R9 thanks to its ability to adjust face angle by 3* either way.
  3. With the 3* face angle either way, effective loft is changed 1.5* stronger or weaker. (TM has used the simple calculation, every 1* the face angle is changed equals 0.5* for loft.
  4. The stock Motore shaft for the R9 Max is lighter than the US Spec R9 by 10+ grams. The R9 drivers are heavier as it is. The lighter shaft is good for feel and distance for us average folks.
  5. The best upgrades are available for the R9 Max and R9 Japan Market drivers including the Tour AD EV series, Diamana Kai’li and very hot Fujikura Speeder Motore.  More shafts are on the way.


Check out the R9 Max here in the Tourspecgolf Pro Shop!

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