Monday, June 10, 2013

Champ - What Don't You Think About on A Golf Course?

Think about all the things you don't think about on the golf course...

... once you're out there you don't give much thought to the spikes on your shoes do you? As long as they're doing their job, why worry.

And what about tees? What about your pitch mark repairer?

I was sent some samples of all three (spikes, tees, repairer) by a company called CHAMP. It's great to get stuff to review, but damn tough when they're products that don't make much of a difference to your game, or affect your comfort on the course.

Pitch Mark Repairer (CHAMP Flix)

This I liked. Easy to fold up and easy to snap out. That said, a friend of mine flicked it open and the thing jumped out of his hand as if it was alive. It's that powerful! But the advantages are big: it's compact, it's light, it's safe and it won't wear a hole in your pocket... or stab you in sensitive places when you forget to put it back in your bag before you drive home.

It is also very effective on the green. I have never used a repairer that works so easily. I'm sure there's lots of technical waffle that explains these things, but I felt that I caused the minimum amount of damage when I repaired pitch marks, and that can only be a good thing. It also comes with a magnetised ball marker, which is another plus.

Price: €9.95

Tees (CHAMP Fly Tee)

Some people are passionate about what tee they will and won't use. Wooden tee advocates won't touch plastic. Simply not done. Even plastic people draw the line at some sizes, lengths and girths. If I was going to do these tees justice, some research was required:

The question I asked on a couple of forums was: Do Tees Make a Difference To Your Game? I was genuinely surprised by the answers that came back.

41% responded YES
35% responded NO
24% responded I DON'T KNOW

The 41% were quite specific about what tees they used, giving such rationale as:

  1. I prefer the "look" of a wooden tee, but love the confidence I get from a plastic tee with the driver, never having to worry about the height being wrong.
  2. Plastic tee with the pre set stop on it for perfect height for driving.
  3. When using the driver it's plastic tee because of the height, par 3 or hybrid. I use broken wooden tees usually, generally loads lying around on tee boxes that do me fine when teeing low to the ground.
  4. Plain wooden tee for me. I can't stand the plastic tees with pre-set height as I like to vary the ball height depending on weather conditions and the shape of the hole.

I prefer those rather fat, ugly, two-tier plastic tees as they're the perfect height for me and require no effort/thought when sticking them in the ground.

CHAMP Fly Tees (see photo) are reminiscent of wooden tees - tall and white - but they have bands of colour to help you gauge how deep you want your tee to go in. Different colour bands = different tee heights (Blue = 3 1/4 inches; Red = 2 3/4 inches). They have little horns to balance the ball on, thus creating less friction and they are stronger than wooden tees.

How good are they? They do what a tee is supposed to do... what more do you need to know! The three height 'bands' are definitely a plus as it's easy to gauge the depth. The 'horns' that promote 'less friction' are of no consequence to golfers like you and me and, like any tee, their durability depends on the golfer's swing plane. I handed out tees to several golfers over the last few weeks and one broke his on the 3rd tee, while another has used it for half a dozen rounds. Obviously if you hack at the ball the tee will snap so a quick word of advice: when you put the tee in, wiggle it back and forth in the ground - then the tee pops right out, unbroken, after your tee shot. Save time, save tees, save the planet!

They come in nice big packs of 30, which makes you feel like you won't need to buy any other tees for a while.

Price: €5.95

Shoe Spikes (CHAMP Zarma)

I have never given much thought to spikes. If I need new ones I ask Karl in our Pro Shop, and he sells me some. Do I look at the brand? No. If they fit and do the job, then that's all I need. I suspect a lot of other golfers are exactly the same.

The spikes I was sent by CHAMP boast that they are the 'No. 1 Brand on Tour'. I don't doubt it. They went in easily, came in a round plastic container that had more than enough for two shoes and have not caused me any difficulties.  The technology claims - i.e. long lasting polyurethane, shock absorbing, three materials working in harmony to soften the impact of walking and reduce spike pressure - are so difficult to assess. I tried one shoe with CHAMP spikes and one shoe with my older spikes... did I notice a difference? I can't say I did, but I play once/twice a week so it's difficult to tell.

When it comes to these sorts of things, I'm inclined to believe what I'm told (and how much I like the packaging). CHAMP says they're number one and given that they're still on the bottom of my shoe and looking unworn after several rounds, I'm more than happy to give them my business in the future.

Most golfers have at least two pairs of shoes and often a few pairs more, so try these spikes for yourself and let me know what you think and/or if you notice any difference.

Price: €14.95

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