Monday, June 17, 2013

Golf FUEL Energy and Focus Shot - my personal experience - short review

Picture of Golf FUEL Energy and Focus shot. A short text describing my first and only experience with this product.

If there is one thing for sure, it is the fact, that there is plenty of energy drinks, vitamin drinks, supplement drinks, refuel drinks and so on and so on on the market today.

Companies cater to literally every sport there is and even to some activities which in some peoples eyes are not even considered sport ( which that is always in the eye of the beholder).

I have used, sold and promoted such drinks over the past 10 years and was able to gain great knowledge in that matter. Although I am neither a doctor nor a certified specialist I think I gained a certain amount of expertise in that matter. Also I learned, that many people rather do not like when companies get into too much detail explaining them why a product works. It is the fact that it might work which is important.

When I write reviews about a product of this kind, I will not judge the ingredients and certainly not if a product is working or not. What I will do, is tell about my experience.

The Golf sport experienced many changes of the past 20 years and one of them is, that professional golfers seem to get better shape all the time. Not all of them, but more and more. They work out, run and feed their bodies with all kinds of products.

About 1 year ago I played in a tournament and in my gift bag I found 2 small  bottles of a product called Golf Fuel.

I had never heard of it and found the name interesting. The bottle pretty much looks like 5 hour energy, giving the impression that we have an energy drink at hand.

That is what it is. It promotes energy and focus. Although I looked at the label, the two nicest facts I found were that there is no sugar in it and we have 0 calories. I liked that. But I did not pay any further attention and the two bottles landed on a shelf.  I did however look up the focus shot later on the website. Take a look at the ingredients of the energy and focus shot.

Golf FUEL Energy and Focus Shot Official webpage
Then I was getting ready for a tournament and there I saw my two Golf Fuel bottles standing to be used. So I took one with me to the course in order to give it a try.

I drank the bottle about 5 minutes before I was supposed to tee off.
It said berry on the bottle and it pretty much tasted like it. Other then that the taste was not impressive and not memorable.

At first I did not feel anything and I figured, that the drink will start doing its job half an hour or so into the round. But I did not have to wait that long.

After the first hole I felt like my body was racing. I felt hot and started sweating. It seemed to have such an impact, that one of my partners in my group asked me if I am OK. Although I felt like my heart was racing, I had cold sweat and my pulse seem to take off , I said I feel fine and continued.

This feeling held on for another 2 holes. At that point I started drinking lots of water and I actually though I will withdraw from my round. But my sense told me that this feeling was not entirely based on the drink.

So after the 5th hole the rush I was experiencing was gone and I felt normal again. While  
playing in that state of mind I literally lost the round and needless to say I was not happy with the result Golf FUEL gave me.

When you look at the website, you find plenty of info about the product, the ingredients and all kinds of claims. However in my mind Golf FUEL does not help anyone to do anything. When reading about success stories the Placebo Effect comes to mind. There is simply nothing special about this product.

I will not say, that it might not help another player. Golf FUEL might be the right thing for someone. But for what I experienced I will say that I would not spend 1 $ to buy this specific product.  It did not help me to focus, be energized or anything else for that matter. I felt like my heart was racing, I was sweating and almost shaking. So no Golf Fuel for me anymore.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Snohomish County Golf Course in Snohomish, WA - short review

When writing about golf courses or practice facilities I differ between a short review and a in depth review. A short review being a short text describing my experience at my visit as well as some observations. This will be good enough to give an overview and to make a decision if the course, place or facility will be visited. I also will include the official link of every location at the bottom of the text so readers can take a closer look.

Club house and kiosk                           Fairway and landscape

A Short review ofa  round of golf on Snohomish Golf Course in July 2012

Monday July 2nd 2012 we decided to go and play a round of golf as a family and after over 10 years, Snohomish Golf Course sounded really good. I remembered this course for its natural lay out and for not being too busy. When I say natural lay out, I am talking about how they perfectly fit this course into nature as it is in this area. Without altering much of the original landscape.

We looked it up on the website, which was easy  to navigate and called to get a tee time. But there was no need for tee times at that point. Snohomish Golf Course is about 25 minutes from Mill Creek , WA which is 18 miles north of Seattle. The ride to the course is nice by itself if you take the back routes. Great views of the mountains and the terrain. It will put you in a relaxed state of mind before going on the course.
We found it easily by following our GPS system. Arriving we parked our car and signed in in the pro-shop. The rates are a little high when I think about golfing in Florida. You pay green fee and cart fee separate, which makes it about 34 to 40 USD a player. This is a little much I must say. However, they offer senior discounts and we had a coupon from Pro Golf Discount after shopping there.(so I highly recommend to check for coupons online, at stores or check the tee time booking websites). That saved us some good money. The fact that my mother , who was not playing, had to pay the same cart fee as the players was not very positive and highly unusual. But, we could live with that.
We found our carts, which looked decent and were able to tee off right away. Already on the first hole I noticed that the course was in good condition. Nicely groomed and taken care of from fairways to rough and even around trees and other locations along each hole.

The greens were slow, but looked nice as well. Big difference to many greens in Florida, as some of the courses are simply dried out. Also the tee boxes were nice and green even if not always even.

The location of the course is wonderful. In the middle of our wonderful nature with many old and big trees, some ponds and flowers. When you walk the course, you really feel as being part of your surroundings and of nature. No doubt, that you will relax being out there ( if you do not let your game get in the way.

I really liked the pace of play although we had groups in front of us and behind us. It was not slow at all and  I believe that was partly because it is a long course and most of the players I saw, were walking.

When you look at the course online you might think it is too long for beginners and that there is not much room. But fact is, that this course is great for very good players as a challenge and great for beginners as it is with few difficult bunkers, hazards or out of bounds.

My partners loved the fact to play the entire round with 1 ball ! So no loss at all. I really liked the length of the blue tees. So I could practice for the next tournament and they had a great time.
After the round we had a hot dog, some fries and onion rings. Hot dogs were good, home cut fries tasted good but it was a small portion and the onion rings were ok. Just remember, that it is a little kiosk, not a restaurant.
Overall, this course is a nice course for an afternoon round. Great nature setting. Old trees. Nicely groomed and taken care of. Prices are ok, however the cart fee is too high It is a little hilly for walking, so make sure you can handle a long walk before you decide to do so.

Whenever we are back up there and get a chance we will stop by again and play a friendly round.

Check out their website for current rates, events and other info






The Inside Approach - Slice Correction Trainer - Inside Approach review by

The Inside Approach - is it a good training aide?

One of the most common swing errors back then and today is the outside in swing.
There is no doubt, that of all swing errors, this one is single handed responsible for a never ending flow of slices and other shots which leave golfers with shots they rather don’t have.

Although it is a fact, that not all bad shots are caused by the outside in swing, this pattern is something which is worth to work on.

I was plagued by this little thing for years and even when I progressed to a single handicap player, I still had this swing path with me on the course. The difference was, that I knew how to work with it. For a while, that was satisfying to me, but while working on becoming a scratch player I found, that even though the left to right flight is the most popular with top players, it is of great benefit to be able to swing all different paths.

In 2004 one of the most simple practice tools to cure the outside in swing came finally on the market. Back then Jack Nicklaus was one of the top players of all times to endorse the item. Curing slices is big business and this product was a hit.  In 2009 I decided to get one and I used it until today and will keep using it. It is one of those things which never gets outdated, even in times of technology.

The Inside Approach is a very simple practice tool  which will help anyone who wants to seriously work on his/her golf  game.

It is easy to carry around, easy to set up and the instructional video which comes with it makes it easy to learn how to use it.

When I first took it with me to the range, I used it exclusively for my  woods, like the 3 wood and the driver. However, now I am actually using it for my irons and hybrids as well.

It is a simple concept. Take a swing and try to avoid hitting the  product, done.  Naturally that is a very short and easy way to describe it, but in a sense this is all it really is. While swinging along the target line you can use the cushion to help you swing through the ball towards the target. The idea is to swing below the cushion.

The way the Inside Approach is  made makes sure that even when you actually hit the item, you will not get hurt and the inside approach will not break or hurt your clubs.

When I go on the range, I usually warm up for half an hour around the green and then go to the range to work on specific goals. Whenever those goals include long irons or woods, I would set up the practice device and take my first few swings using the Inside Approach.

Once satisfied with my feel and shots, I step back and work on my shots without it. If then not satisfied with the outcome, I will use the Inside Approach again until I reached my goal. At times one session will not be enough, but you will be surprised how fast you progress using this tool.

What I really like about it, is that you can easily carry it in your bag. It comes with a nice little  sack and is very light.

Further I like that it is easy to understand and usable for any player, beginner or advanced. There is a benefit for everyone.

Last, I like the fact that you can use it at home. Either with real balls hitting into a practice net or without hitting balls, just to work on the feel of your swing. Take 100 swings  a day using the Inside Approach and you will improve.

The price back then was not very attractive. I believe the first units cost about 80 $. But that changed long time ago and you will find the Inside Approach for much better prices all over the internet.

I practice a lot and over the years I used many different products to work on my swing and game. The Inside Approach is one practice aid which I kept for now 4 years. Whenever I am in doubt, I take it with me and use it on the range. Sometimes just to reinforce my feel.

When not using it, I can easily store it just by hanging it on a  little hook, so it does not even take any space.

If you have chance to get one or try one, do it. It is a great product and it will never be outdated.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Ecco Biom Hyrbrid Golf Shoes - In my mind, the best golf hybrid shoe out there

Ecco Biom Hybrid Golf Shoe - Review

It has been 25 years now since I began to play golf. Without a doubt, this is my passion and my life. Needless to say, that I do play a lot and spend countless hours on the practice range.
One of the things I learned over the years is, that good equipment is crucial to accomplish good performance. This counts for all parts of golf , from clubs to accessories and clothes.
But if I would have to pick one single item which has one of the biggest impacts on my game I would, without hesitation, pick the shoe.
The golf shoe you wear has a huge impact on your game. Period.
When I first started I always looked for those sales. Half off, 80 % sales and so on. The shoes I bought were never more than 50 $. Back then, when I was in my 20s, I thought that is the right thing to do and I did not feel much difference.
Never had many problems with my feet and did not believe, that it has an impact on my game.
I was wrong.
About 8 years ago I was due to get new shoes. While shopping , I again was looking for those sales. But this time I got lucky. I was not alone. My partner was with me and she told me right away, to not make the same mistake again. She reminded me of my complaints about hurting feet, slipping while swinging and putting and so on. I  about two pairs of back then top of the line Adidas and never regretted it.
A few weeks ago I realized that it is time again to get new shoes. I practice and play a lot and usually I am walking. Also I am a little heavier and have a wide foot. So , what I am looking for is a high quality shoe with comfort inserts and permanent spikes. Good leather and new technology.
I went to Golfsmith and started eliminating shoes. Adidas had nothing to offer. Footjoy looked good but did not feel right. Nike felt ok, but strange in a way. ( I do not list all the models now).
Then I put my foot in a shoe and it felt like vacation for my feet.
Ecco Biom Hybrid !
The moment I put on this shoe , I knew , that this is the solution I was looking for.
It looked good, felt great and was like made for me. It almost felt, that the shoe wrapped itself around my foot. Strange.
I already made up my mind. Then I saw the price. 189 $. Wow. For a moment I hesitated and almost thought to try on some other shoes. But then I remembered my hurting feet, my discomfort when getting ready to hit a shot and I decided that this was the shoe I am looking for.
We went home and I went online to find some reviews to confirm what I experienced and was pleasantly surprised, that the majority of the players wrote excellent reviews ( you will never get 100 % for anything ).
This sealed the deal. I did some research online and we found the shoes for a good deal. Only a few days later I had them and started to use them. First for a night out ( they are hybrids). Felt good and they look great. I even got a compliment from a server at a restaurant.
Next on the range. From the first ball to the last 3 hours later , the shoes felt great.
So I was ready for the course. I walked 18 holes playing an executive course of close to 5000 yards. No problem and I felt great before the round , while playing and after the round. Next I played a full  size course walking 18 holes ( River Run Golf Links in Bradenton, blue tees at about 6300 yards) and again. Great feelings only. When I set up over my shot I feel great looking at my shoes and that feeling translates in an overall comfort and relaxation.
My third round was at Bobby Jones Golf Complex in Sarasota. 18 holes walking ( blue tees, 6400 yards).
The best thing is, that when I come home, I have no pain and the next morning , my feet are doing great.
The Ecco Biom Hybrid has a great insert sole which naturally fits your arch.  They  give a  2 year guarantee on it. That tells you the confidence in the material.
The sole consists of small little spike like rubber. Feels great while walking on anything. Most important, you do not sleep ( however I would pay attention on wet wood, like a bridge on the course or so. Rubber and wet wood do not get along well). The sole has a 2 year warranty as well. Meaning, if it runs down within the time period, you will get new shoes without question.

The yak leather is much stronger than cow leather. So , now doubt, that they will last longer and stay in shape. The process Ecco uses to put the shoes together is very unique and promises a long life for your shoes. Please refer to their website for details on that.

This is the best shoe I ever had. Although only owning it for a short period of time, I for now will say that this shoe gives great comfort, is of good quality and lives up to the companies promise.

The price is a little high. However, your feet are the anchor of your swing , health and ability to do any sport. So you need to protect them.

Saving $ on your shoes is a huge mistake. Rather save on clothes, balls or anything for a while and keep you feet safe and sound.

Although I believe that the Ecco Biom Hybrid is the perfect golf shoe, I am aware that not everyone will feel the same way. But I highly encourage you to try it when you are in a golf store next time.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Taylor Made R11s review - How good is the Taylormade R11s driver?

For many years I played golf with the same driver. As a matter of fact. In over 24 years of golf I only changed my driver 4 times! So it is clear, that I pick a club and then work with it.
In 2012, after using a Mac Tac driver for 7 years and successfully so, I decided take my game to a new level. For that I needed to change to new technology equipment.
After ready and researching about adjustable drivers I did get a custom fitting at a performance center and then bought what I think is one of the best drivers made.
The r11s Taylormade driver.

There was several reason why I picked this specific club.

1. The looks

I really liked the looks from the beginning. The white clubhead top being my favorite feature. Also the side view ( which is only visible when looking at it on the video or in the bag). Last the club head size. Since it is smaller, it reminded me on my older drivers and the shame was nice and round. Nice to look at.

2. Setting options

Incredible options. 9.5 to 11.5 degree. Neutral, closed, closed+, open and open + club face setting and weight distribution. All that gives you lots of options to get the driver dialed  for your swing and in some cases for a course layout.

3. Reputation, referral

What I read about this driver was pretty much all positive.

My original order was for a stiff RIP shaft by Fujikura.
It took about 2 weeks to get it in the mail directly from Taylormade.

A great looking driver with all the settings on neutral. After checking the club for damage and if the correct shaft was installed, I read the little manual book which came with it to learn how to set the club to the settings we determined at my fitting session.

Using the tool which came with the club, it took me less then 5 minutes to get the club set to the right dial and I was ready to go.

When  going to the range to try it out all my expectations were lived up to by this piece of equipment. Looking at it felt great, feeling it was perfect and my drives actually improved the day I started working with it. It was exciting to see straight drives again and to feel the ball launch of the club face.

The driver was easy to hit right from the start and it did not seem to change. Best I liked the forgiveness of the club. Even with a bad swing and bad contact, I was able to get this ball somewhere in the right direction.

The shaft did not feel stiff I have to say, but fact is that most shafts are not what they say. I would suggest to go to a pro shop and let them check the shaft for you.

I played for a few weeks and then something happened. I was teeing off at a tournament. Hitting a huge drive, the shaft simply broke in two pieces! I was surprised and not happy. My club head speed is not the fastest. I went to the performance center and told them about it.

I was able to get a new shaft. This time I went with a R ( regular shaft) again from Fujikura. The shaft felt good I must say and I was happy to actually gain some distance with it. Playing another tournament a few weeks after that, I was hitting a drive at a par 5 and  heard a strange noise. Looking at my shaft I saw a scratch, but did not think much of it and kept on playing. It sounded different, but I did not give it any further thought.

But to make sure, I showed to the fitter at yet another tournament and he showed me, that in fact this shaft was cracked as well!. Which made it the second shaft. At the same time I was told, that this shaft might not be replaced by Taylormade for some reasons which I did not understand. So I decided to wait and see. But that is a different review.

I got myself a new shaft, this time from Aldila and am again very happy with my driver. It might be to big of an investment for the beginner or even for a golfer who plays more often. The price tag was 400 $, but you can now get it used for a much better price and even new it is not too bad.

This is a great driver and I will again play it for a long time. This is even easier for me now, because of all the different settings I can get out of it.

Overall , I think it is a great driver especially for golfers who want to take their game to a new level and are willing to put some practice in. After all , the driver does not swing itself. r11s Taylormade gets an overall positive rating from me.

Like: Looks, feel, setting options
Dislike: Price, Fujikura shaft