The Loss of a Legend

Adrian Rubin Yogi BerraThis week we lost a legend. At the age of 90, baseball great, Yogi Berra died. Even those unfamiliar with the sport are usually aware of Berra’s contribution to the game as an incredible catcher with a larger than life personality. This Baseball Hall of Famer was such a character that it’s widely believed that he was the inspiration for the beloved children’s cartoon, Yogi Bear. Yogi Berra was legendary for both his skill and his personality. He played an incredible nineteen seasons in the Majors as member of the NY Yankees, (except for his final season). He holds an incredible record as an 18 time all star and played as a world series champion a remarkable ten times. As if these records weren’t enough to attest to Berra’s skill, he also won the League’s MVP award not once, not twice but three times. So it’s no surprise that he is considered one of the greatest catchers of all time.

An interesting fact about Yogi Berra, is that he was also an avid golfer. During his time as a major powerhouse in American baseball, there was much concern over the fact that Yogi spent so much time playing golf because many people believed that this would ruin his swing.

In spite of this dissent about his playing golf, Berra continued to play whenever he got the chance. Berra’s style of swinging the bat reflected his interest in golf. He was known for his ability to swing swing his bat as one would a golf club in order to hit lower pitches that hovered near the plate which often lead to  serious home runs. However, Berra also maintained the ability to chop at pitches for beautiful line drives. Looking back, on Berra’s plays, it’s clear that his golf swing enhanced his game – it didn’t detract from it.

Yogi Berra claimed that his reasoning for picking up and staying with the sport of golf was solely to stay healthy. However, his record was a 10-handicap, so he wasn’t a bad golfer at all. Although he claimed that this was purely a chance for physical activity, it’s clear that he must have enjoyed the game and certainly developed skills for the game. Berra was known for taking extended vacations at high end golf courses like Pinehurst, and continued playing the sport throughout his career as a baseball player and eventual manager.
Berra was a true American athlete and legend, and his presence will be missed.

The Hidden Dangers of Golf Carts

A company in Nashville has recently put a spin on your typical use for a go cart. The company known as, “Joyride” gives tours and rides to people around the city for free (plus tip for the driver). The company describes its service as a unique way to “meet new and interesting people” as the driver or the passenger. Additionally, the service

According to the company website, “All of our drivers are independent contractors who are required to carry an “F” for-hire, endorsement”. The site goes on to claim that each driver is, “personally trained for safety and company procedures.” However, the company recently lost face when one of the golf carts flipped. While there were no casualties associated with the accident, the passenger sustained injuries that left her with nerve damage, and a leg that is partially and permanently numb. While spokespeople for Joyride focused on the number of rides they give per year that have gone accident-free, this accident certainly highlights something very important…golf cart safety.

Golf carts are meant to be low speed and are not necessarily all terrain vehicles in the truest sentse of the word (depending on the make and model), so it is very easy for these vehicles to flip if the driver is going too fast or attempting terrain that’s not great for the vehicle. In light of this I thought it would be worth it to share a few safety tips about golf cart safety through the video below.

Sharing the Green With Your Child

Adrian Rubin GolfAlthough I have discussed the stigma often attached to golf as an “old man’s game”, it is important to realize the value that the sport has for players of all ages. Obviously professionals who dedicate their adolescence to training, see past (or at least have parents who see past) this misconception. Golf is a sport that all can benefit from whether they are learning their times tables in school or learning about capital gains tax from their retirement fund! Golf provides a physical outlet as well as a chance to exercise focus, discipline and meditation.

Golf is also a great game to share with your child. As is the case with any sport, kids may or may not like it at the beginning, but if you show them the value and the fun in it, they may change their minds. Once you know your youngster is onboard, you can approach teaching them about the game in a way that is beneficial for their development over time, but also interesting enough to hold their attention now.

  1. Let Them Play. This is important for children of all ages, but especially for younger kids. If you are too serious about the game and force them to go about learning in a very prescribed manner, it’s likely that the child will not enjoy him or herself. In the beginning, especially, it’s important that you allow room for play.
  2. Timing is Everything. Try taking your child to the course during off-times when it’s not too crowded. If you go at night during the week,it’s unlikely that you’ll face much in the way of competition so your child is free to take as much time he or she wants to play and explore. If you go at night, you’ll also have the advantage of tiring your little one out.
  3. Don’t Forget the Tools. Keep an eye on the equipment that your kids are using. Remember that their clubs will need to be shorter and lighter than an adult’s , and that even if the child uses junior equipment, it still may be too big. If the equipment is improperly sized, this can take a real toll on the child’s swing.
  4. Too Soon? As is the case in many sports, parents can often get overzealous when it comes to enrolling the child in lessons or on a team. With golf, I’d recommend that you wait until the child is five or six before teaching him or her the right way to swing and other fundamentals. Let your child play and explore with a plastic ball and bat beforehands.
  5. Be Nice. The quickest Way to ruin a child’s enjoyment of the game is too be too critical too soon. Speak in an encouraging way and try to refrain from being overly judgemental, instead, be positive. Along those lines, if you set up friendly competitions thatv involve rewards (think milkshake oer small toy), make sure you pay up immediately – no one likes delayed gratification…least of all, kids.

While there are many more tips on teaching kids the game, this is a great place to start. Good luck!

Another Hole in One for Netflix : The Short Game

The Short Game : Adrian RubinIt seems as though the meteoric rise of Netflix’s viewership is unstoppable. Over the past two years alone, Netflix has gone from a viewership of 37.55 million to 65.55 million! While this sort of unprecedented rise in subscription digital viewing speaks volumes about where the television model is going, it also speaks to a successful model. As of late, Netflix has gone from solely investing in licensing agreements with blockbusters and indie films alone, these past few years have relied heavily in building a brand name that stands not only for licensing interesting films, but Netflix has invested heavily in original programming and doesn’t seem to shy away from taking risks in terms of subject matter or the type of content that may seem (on the surface) to appeal to a smaller demographic to begin with. Netflix seems to be dominating the field of original programming when it comes to subscription/streaming services – comparable to Hulu, Amazon Video or Apple TV.

One of the most recent releases backed from Netflix is a compelling documentary on young golfers entitled, “The Short Game”. The film follows some of the best golfers in the world as they prepare for the Holy Grail of Tournaments, the “World Championships of Junior Golf”, which takes place at the hallowed ground of the Pinehurst Golf course in Pinehurst, North Carolina. They also happen to be 7-years old. See the trailer below.

On the outset it may seem a bit ludicrous – the idea of watching  a bunch of first and second-graders playing the notoriously “old man’s” game of golf. However, these kids have not only been playing golf, but living, breathing and thinking golf for nearly the whole of the seven years of their time on earth. These children take the game seriously – as do their parents, and the World Championships of Junior Golf are known to be the breeding ground for future heavyweights in the PGA.

There’s something incredible about witnessing these future pros at work as they train day in and day out in hopes of having this win be the first of many awards to come in their professional careers. This Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel-produced movie follows 8 subjects – from both the US and abroad. We see not only their daily routines as they prepare for the 2012 championships, but we also see the attachments that their parents have to their children’s identities as mini golf-pros.

While at times this stage-parent dynamic can be a bit uncomfortable to witness, the personalities and seeming balance that the children maintain allows you to slip into the film without being too worried. The kids truly steal the show and it’s amazing to watch them swing from the gravitas of the put-upon adulthood of a child prodigy, to the bold and unapologetic free-spiritedness of childhood.

Whether you love golf or not, I highly recommend that you check out this film.

3 Skills of a Great Player

Adrian Rubin What makes for a great golfer? While many may suggest that it has to do with skill, focus, instinct, discipline and training I think that sportsmanship and etiquette make for the best golfing partners. While it may seem silly or perhaps contrite, I firmly believe that the respect that a player does or does not exhibit is  a true measure of his or her ability. Of course it’s always good to play with someone who is better than you to force you to improve your game, I would much rather spend a day on the green with someone who respects the game and is perhaps slightly less talented than be around someone who shows extreme disregard for the sport and the players. So what is it then that makes for this “good player”? I believe that exhibiting etiquette, good for and integrity are all key. A few notable ways to practice good etiquette are below:

 

Be mindful of your golf cart

While golf carts are now an inevitable part of playing the game, don’t allow these vehicles to be a source of disruptions and discontent for other players getting ready to make their shot. Try to be as unobtrusive and inconspicuous as possible. You don’t want the sound or the speed to interrupt any game play. Furthermore, you should be conscious of causing any damage to the green. Ensure that you’re not leaving a path behind you. Be sure to repair any damages left by your vehicle. In addition to being conscious of what you are leaving behind, try to avoid following the same heavily trodden path. This will lead to an even bigger problem for the turf – and more importantly the caretaker. Make sure that golf-cart traffic is dispersed throughout the green.

Turn off Your Phone

While it can be tempting to play on your phone or make a call on your phone during downtime…just don’t. Most people are looking to get away from the distractions of everyday life and instead focus on their game when they step onto the green. Phone conversations and constant pingings, and dings, and vibrating ring tones can absolutely distract other players and be absolutely awful. If you have to make or receive a call, do it, but be brief and be quiet…no one wants to hear it.

Play it Cool

While making an error, losing or just not playing your best game can be extremely frustrating, don’t let it show. While you many have the urge to throw your club, sulk for a bit or let the profanity pour right out of your mouth, don’t succumb! You don’t want to foul up everyone else’s time, just because things aren’t going your way. Instead of screaming the worst things you can think of,  try to get your frustration out in another way. Channel it for the next shot! And remember you can always curse into your pillow when you get home.

 

Top 3 Rookie Mistakes

adrian rubinAs is the case with any skill or sport, to become an expert requires practice, discipline and some talent. For those of us that aren’t immediate “naturals” most skills take time to develop or strengthen. That means that we will make mistakes, suffer losses and of course have a few victories thrown in there every now and then. Many mistakes are unavoidable -especially when starting out, and can in fact be beneficial to our own growth within a sport. When you make an egregious error, you know immediately what you need to practice, or what rules you need to pay attention to . However, there are some myths and mistakes in golf that tend to effect newcomers to the game. While, individually the impact might not be great, together , these errors can cause a serious handicap for the novice. So instead of suffering through needless errors, consider the following list for mistakes worth avoiding .

#1 Who plays first?

Many newbies believe that a golfer who isn’t on the green has to play a shot before the golfer who is on the green. In truth, however, the player farthest from the hole is always entitled to play first – no matter who is or is not on the green . However, there is no penalty for playing out of order. And keep in mind that  during match play, your opponent can make you replay your shot if you don’t wait your turn.

#2 Is a Ball Fall Fail a Stroke?

 Inexperienced golfers think that if a ball is touched then falls off the tee after it has been addressed counts as a stroke. However, generally speaking, this doesn’t count as a stroke and the ball should be re-teed with no penalty. Buy remember that this does counts as a stroke if the ball had already been in play, or if you were making a stroke when the ball fell off the tee.

# 3 Can you hit a provisional before searching for a drowning ball?Some amateurs mistakenly believe that if you hit a ball into the water hazard, then you can immediately hit a replacement before trying to retrieve the first one.  In truth, however, if you’re positive that your ball is in a water hazard, you’re not allowed to hit the provisional ball. The following shot you hit is recognized as a ball in play (with a penalty stroke). However, if you think your ball might be outside the hazard, then you’re allowed to hit the provisional. If it turns out that your ball is in the hazard, you must abandon the provisional.

While some of these rules may seem somewhat complicated or counter-intuitive, this is how you should be playing if you want to advance .

Green Basics: 3 Tips for Beginners

Adrian Rubin

Mark That Ball

Although this may seem like a small detail, this is a critical habit to get into, no matter what level you are playing. Before picking up your ball, make sure that you place a small coin or ball marker behind the ball before you pick it up. Once it’s your’ turn to putt, you can then have the ball resume its original location before picking up the mark. If your marker somehow obstructs your partner’s line, just make sure to choose a stationary object, like a tree, so that you can still line your ball mark up with it and then move it x number of putter heads ot the right or left. Always return your ball to its initial spot. Again, this may seem like a relatively small note, but marking your ball correctly is a critical skill to develop from the beginning.

Reading the Green

The process of reading putts starts as soon as you step onto the green. Make sure that you are paying attention the topography of the green, where it slopes and peaks. And while others putt out, subtly start to ready your putt without distracting your golf companions. This helps reduce the lag time between set-ups. You should aim to develop a routine in how you read putts. First, look from behind the ball, then scan to the low side of the putt. Really observe your surroundings and try to figure out if you can tell how fast the green is. A general rule to note is that the faster the green is, the more likely that the putt will break. However, keep in mind that this is not the case on Bermuda grass, because it is more grainy, in turn affecting the putt.

 Fixing the Divot

It’s important to keep in mind that whenever a ball lands on a green it will most likely leave a mark. These indentations are to be expected and easy to repair, but if left unattended to, they can damage the green. Because of this, take responsibility for your ball and be prepared to repair these indentations. To fix this very common problem, come prepared with a divot repair tool – or just use the tee. Stick your tool of choice into the turf surrounding the outside of the mark. Then carefully lift that tightly packed soil in order to loosen it and move around the entire circumference surrounding the ball dent. Now simply tap your putter on the turf so that the former dent is filled in and even with the rest of the turf. Although you many not fix any spike marks during your game, it’s good practice and common courtesy to repair any marks you see before leaving as long as it’s not preventing or holding up any play.

 

When Golf and Giving Meet on the Green

Adrian RubinWhile many golf enthusiasts are busy watching the RBC Canadian Open, or perhaps gearing up to follow the games from Quicken Loans National in Virginia next week, there is some exciting and heartening news on the local front. A story out of Marshfield, MA reflects an annual event that re-invigorates the level of game play and competition by including a charity in the mix. Over the past 15 years, the annual “WHO” or “Women Helping Others” Golf Outing has raised over $53,000 in funds that go entirely to local charities that aid both women and families. Although the specific charities that are sponsored by the proceeds from this event vary, that focus on women and families remains unchanging every year.

 

The Marshfield Home Delivered Meals Program

This year’s tournament will go to contributing the Marshfield Home Delivered Meals Program. This food delivery program was established back in 1986 and has continued to expand every subsequent year. The Marshfield Home Delivered Meals Program provides hot and nutritious meals to those in the community that are unable to shop and/or cook for themselves. The program delivers food to this population seven days a week, and has even added the option of a bagged lunch meal to their offerings.  Through donations provided by the United Way, various grants and local donations, the Marshfield HOme Delivered Meals Program has been able to establish a scholarship fund that provides assistance through reducing delivery costs for people in low income brackets. This year’s Women Helping Others Golf Outing will donate all proceeds to this cause, hopefully offsetting the projected $3,000 shortfall of the organization for 2015.

 

The 16th annual outing will take place next Tuesday, July 28th at RiverEdge Golf Course in Marshfield, MA. It’s an 18-hole scramble that begins fairly early in the morning. In addition to the scramble, the event will include, prizes, raffles, a river shoot and all kinds of side activities. The entry rules also say that those planning to donate non-perishable food items or personal hygiene products can receive up to 2 mulligans. Although this event didn’t make national headlines by any means, it is a great example of what can happen when you take a great game or passion and find a way to add another dimension to it for the benefit of others. While this may be speculation, many of the people planning to participate in the event would do so whether or not the charitable aspect was included because from all indicators it looks like a great day of golf. However, the fact that this is an enjoyable event that provides fun for those golfers that day, the event takes it even further, by generating income for a cause that serves the greater community of this town in Massachusetts. To learn more about the event, please see this link.

 

A swing and a Miss for Trump

Adrian RubinAlthough golf is a notoriously quiet sport, Donald Trump recently turned up the volume after he made racially insensitive remarks about Mexican immigrants during the speech in which he revealed his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. While golf and politics appear to reside at separate ends of the spectrum, Trump managed to combine the two.

Over the past few years, Mr. Trump has acquired a number of previously failed properties with beautiful golf courses. As the current owner of 17 immaculate golf clubs, it’s no surprise that the U.S.G.A., P.G.A. Tour, L.P.G.A. Tour and the P.G.A. of America signed multi-year deals with Trump in order to secure these spaces.

 

In spite of this relationship to Trump, the top US golf organizations all released statements disagreeing with what Trump has said.  However, these statements do not explain how this debacle will affect their contracts with the mogul’s properties.

These inked contracts suggest a continued partnership with Trump and his golf clubs in years to come in spite of this current controversy, and any immediate decisions that change the location of these events this year.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, 4 major golf championships are slated to take place at Trump’s courses by 2022. Additionally, the P.G.A. of America agreed to move the Grand Slam of Golf from it perennial home in Bermuda to Trump’s course based in L.A. This multi-year deal finalized last year is in effect until 2018.

Trump and these major golf organizations reached these contractual agreements long before Trump made these comments publicly. Subsequent to this backlash, Trump has claimed that he doesn’t want the golf organizations that he has partnered with to suffer any fallout from his own comments.  But only time will tell whether or not this sentiment will also be reflected in amended contracts.

PIQ Golf Performance, Thanks To New Wearable

Adrian RubinIt seems like wearables are everywhere these days. With just a quick search on google, you could probably find a wearable that measures just about anything that you can imagine. Though the Apple Watch and FitBit seem to be dominating the consumer-ready wearables market these days, a new product has just launched that has the potential to completely change the game.

Yesterday PIQ announced the release of  the “most advanced multi-sport sensor platform” that the world has ever seen. While smart wearables are starting to become the norm, the PIQ differentiates itself from products like FitBit or the Apple Watch through its unique capabilities. These sport-specific accessories work in conjunction with a sensor to track and identify data and metrics for the user as he or she is engaged in the athletic activity.

Though most new gadgets tout the fact that the product integrates the latest technology into their design, PIQ not only deploys current sensor technology in the device, but it uses this tech in a unique way. The sensor technology NFC, BLE and micro processing technology to enable PIQ to draw from 13 axes and correctly measure performance metrics like; height, G-Force, velocity, air time, trajectory and even amplitude- among others. The devices are designed to be in the prime place for data collection regardless of the sport.

While PIQ already plans to release these sensors for over a dozen different sports, PIQ is premiering the line with the fully integrated platform and sensor dedicated to golf. Additionally, PIQ has revealed a partnership with the makers of the top golf app, Mobitee. This union situates these companies as the first wholly connected wearable solution designed specifically for golf.

But what does this wearable solution look like in practice? This wearable tech has the capacity to measure more than 3,000 different data points per second through 13 different dimensions. And the fact that this is a wearable device, means that the athletes needn’t interrupt their game to receive instant feedback and data.

According to CEO and co-founder of PIQ, Cedric Mangaud, these wearable devices are not solely intended for professionals, but they are also great tools for the more casual player. He believes that these solutions will not only provide helpful insights that can in turn improve the player’s game, but that it’s also a fun experience.