Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Scottish golf podcast

I've been interviewed recently about the background to our golfing challenge and more generally about the diversity of golf in Scotland, for a podcast that tries to promote golf in Scotland. 

So, for anyone who wants to hear me droning on for ages about what we're up to and what I think about particular aspects of golf in Scotland, please visit and click on Episodes 11 and 12.  

It's been a long cold and wet Winter here in Scotland but I'm keeping busy, having been elected to serve as the new Match Secretary at my home course in North Berwick.   Caddying at Renaissance GC is also getting back into gear and in the next few days I'm off to sunny Marrakech for a week's golfing before getting back to our all-courses challenge. With any luck our first new Scottish course this year will be one that very few people will have heard of or played. Maverston GC near Elgin opens officially on 1 April and we're planning to play it at 0930 that day. Craig will have his eyes on the course record! Check out

For those who have read past blog entries about what's in my golf bag, there's a replacement putter, as of today. I went to a putting clinic last night, courtesy of the teaching pro attached to our club, to find that although my putting fundamentals were pretty good, my putter wasn't ideally suited to me.  I can't remember when I bought my Ping Anser 4, but it must have been 20+ years ago.  Since then we've got on OK, with the odd falling out - sometimes my fault, I must admit!  Still, buying a new putter was a big step, not to be taken lightly, particularly since around 40% of my shots are putts.  I don't remember concerning myself with face balancing, loft and lie angles or reverse weighting etc. when me and my Anser 4 got together all those years ago. Ping was just a name to trust (and still is!) and I could just about afford the £46. Today, with the baffling pseudo-science of golf product advertising in full swing, as it were, I headed off to the pro shop at North Berwick GC, my Ping and credit card in hand.  

I'd been told that my putter was slightly too long and suspected that as a result my eyes weren't directly over the ball at address.  Alignment was good, but I could either shorten the shaft or increase the lie angle.  My old Ping has probably had enough batterings over the years without inflicting further pain via a saw or a mallet.  It deserves a more peaceful total retirement so it'll be joining the bag of old clubs in the garage, alongside my really ancient Ping Pal brass-headed putter and some other odds and sods of lesser vintage, all with only sentimental value. 

So, I wanted something with a softer face and reverse weighting sounded just the thing to add some much needed stability to my occasionally erratic putting stroke.  Step forward the Taylormade Spider Blade, surely one of the uglier putters on the market, complete with its long  and heavy fat-sized grip.  As the advertising blurb says - "Spider Blade’s head construction consists of 11 parts made of 8 materials -- 304 stainless steel, 17-4 stainless steel, aluminum, 3M Foam, tungsten, polycarbonate, Surlyn and TPU – which allowed us to take more weight out of the center of the head than with any blade we’ve ever made and ever before and  move it to the heel and toe. That’s where Spider Blade’s high MOI comes from.

Spider Blade’s head is counterbalanced with a 130-gram grip that’s twice as heavy as a typical putter grip. Counterbalancing increases the MOI of the entire club, making it 50% more stable than a traditional putter. Our Tour Staff pros who helped to develop say counterbalancing makes it easier to keep the head moving on your intended path."
I've no idea what TPU means nor do I know why a putter head apparently needs 11 parts made from 8 different materials, but for some reason I liked the feel of the Spider Blade and £149 seemed not too bad.  Holing 2 out of 3 from 12 feet in the pro shop was impressive and I was instantly hooked.  Lumping a bag around Renaissance from 0800hrs on Friday this week will cover most of the costs anyway, so I now have a shiny new putter for the first time in 20+ years. I'll let you know how we get on together on our trip to Marrakech and whether the Spider makes the flight home!