Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Directed Force Putter - Part 2

About 2 years ago, I did a blog post about the Directed Force putter. A lot has happened since then, and Directed Force has now become L.A.B. golf. There have been improvements to the original design, new grips, and a brand new Bl├ąd1 design. PGA pros have been seen using the putter, and the company is all over golf social media now.  With all that success comes the absolute hate by all the keyboard masses out there. Now, being someone who sells said product in the shop, I find what they say hilarious as it's clear most of the haters have never even touched the club. Of course, the biggest negative is the look of it - which we've covered before - but the second biggest bar to clear is the misunderstanding of the forces at play in the golf swing.

Let's talk about fine motor movement. These are the micro contractions your muscles and tendons perform to do things like say, pick up a broken eggshell or a shard of broken glass without smashing it between your fingers. The ones that allow you to thread a sewing needle or sip soup out of a spoon.  These are the same types of actions that keep the golf club from spinning in your hand (along with a good, tacky grip).  Nowhere are they more important than in the putting stroke and nowhere is it
more evident when you're nervous. 

"Um, actually, you putt with your BIG muscles"   No. you don't. You move the putter weight with your big muscles, but the only thing bringing the face back to square are your forearms and the forces they exert to keep it from flopping open or closed. Most people don't even realize they're doing it, but they are. These forces are the reason that players swear by big or funny shaped grips that say they "take the wrists out of play" blah blah blah.  The problem is that while they might work for a time, they're not fool proof.  They give a little more leverage to counteract these forces - for a time - then putting is off the rails again.  All muscles will eventually get used to something and get stronger. Then you have to compensate.  Don't believe me?  Try this: 

1. Go to a doorframe and stand in it.
2. With your hands down to your sides, raise them to the side so the backs of your hands touch the sides of the doorframe
3. Now try to raise your arms straight to the sides and "spread the doorframe apart" with the back of your hands for about 8 seconds as hard as you can.  Hulk smash!!!
4.  Now step forward and try to relax your arms and you'll find them slightly rising. You'll need to try to keep them down. 

Neat, right? Well, if you did it correctly anyway. It's the quickest way to illustrate what we all call "muscle memory".  Muscles get used to doing something a certain way, and they want to keep doing it. This is effectively what happens to golfers throughout their season/career/round. It's why you struggle to make swing changes and why they "feel weird". It's why you could putt lights out with a putter for months, then suddenly struggle. Why a change in grip size or head shape can work for so long then just kind of mehhhh out.  Back to the whole L.A.B. golf thing.....

With the head not exerting any additional torque, it's much easier to bring the club face back to square consistently. The majority of these micro adjustments go away and the "Big muscles" can take over FINALLY.

A few things to take away from an experience with this putter:

1. Not everyone is going to like it.  The looks, the concept, whatever - you can't please everyone and owning one WILL expose you to all the jokes. So many people will call it a gimmick.

2. There will always be skeptics trying to disprove theories on torque and how it pertains to the golf swing/ putter stroke. This doesn't change the fact that it is able to be observed by the naked eye and the DFP performs differently in relation to this force than any other putter.

3. I've done my share of fittings and demos with players and have not had one in-person experience that did not lead to the player putting better and more consistently. I think that in itself says something about the technology.

Now, I'm sure I made enough people develop a tick and maybe pop a vein or two in this short post, but that's just how it goes.  I could really give someone a heart attack if I started talking about how there's no such thing as "straight back and through" strokes and "finding a putter shape to fit your arc" is equally as temporary as changing a grip, but I think I've done enough for one day.

For more information on this putter and how it works, drop me a line for a fitting or check out www.labgolf.com.   You can also check out the links below for other reviews and thoughts.

Tour Experience Golf

Golf Digest

Mike Sullivan Golf

Putts Around

Jaime Gylan PGA

Steve Furlonger Golf Performance

Mark the Golf Addict

Monday, December 16, 2019

Let's talk investment....in your game

It's been about 2 years since I last posted to the blog.  Lots going on, and most of it has to do with golf! There's something that's been bugging me for a long long time, however, even though I've written and written and written about it time and again. That, my friends, is the value of golf equipment.  

For the last 2 years, my business has been golf. I have fit many, many players and done work on a large number of golf clubs but one thing has always stayed the same:  Golfers want the best deal. I want to give the best deal but there's an unfortunate hurdle between my business and golfers: MAP pricing.   This is the price that manufacturers say you can't go below or else you lose your dealer status.  The sad part is that most of the eBay salespeople and online swappers are NOT dealers and can therefore provide a product WELL under this set pricing.  It got me thinking about how we view equipment value these days.  Let's talk in real world examples:

Player A buys a brand name driver - We'll use the previous year Taylormade M3 as a standard. Brand new, stock off the rack this club was valued at $399.00 in most markets.  A year later, there's a new launch of driver offering more yards so Player A decides to sell his M3 and get something new.  Nearly EVERY store out there has a policy to trade in that club and provide a value for it.


Players know there's guaranteed money out there when they're ready to upgrade. Why isn't it this way with components? Because it's HARD to do. It's easier to counterfeit a tube of fiberglass than it is to make a convincing model of a full club.  Check out this video from Rick Shiels Golf when he bought a driver off a known counterfeit site just to see what would happen: 





Obviously, it was no contest and you can tell just by looking, let alone the performance. Still, what about shafts, grips, or even component sets?  The PGA Value guide doesn't have listings for the smaller boutique brands. There's no Wishon Golf or KZG on the guide so we're left haggling with people who want to lowball a player who's looking to upgrade. Even as a shop with the ability to examine clubs, there's just so many unknowns.  I can't offer a good price for shafts because I don't know where they've been or how they were put together. It hurt me to tell people that I might be able to give them $25 for a shaft because there was no trade-in schedule for them. This didn't sit well with me, so I took action. 

The Club Nut has sat down and drafted the "Normalized Trade Value Program".   In a nutshell, it's a list of conditions applied to new builds coming in 2020 that allows the buyer to know EXACTLY what their purchase will be worth up to 1 year in the future when it's not on the PGA Value Guide.  Why is this important? Have you ever tried to sell a set of shaft pulls? You might as well give them away unless you're prepared to sit on them for a while. That hottest driver shaft you wanted to try?  Yea, even before the year is up there's a ton for sale and you're left holding the bag.  Now, we'll take that shaft back in credit toward your next upgrade. 

For the TLDNR crowd, it breaks down thusly:  If you purchased it from me, haven't let anybody else screw it up with less-than-adequate workmanship, and have taken decent care of it without wrapping it around a tree or seven - then you've got something to trade in.  That's it. Call it rewards, call it a guarantee I guess, but you'll know you have something that you can actually trade in.  There are rules, however and it has to meet the parameters set forward. The reason?  See video above. 


I just see clients and non-clients alike selling extremely good products for pennies on the dollar or including them to "sweeten the deal" in sales that are already below what the product is worth.  That value should be yours and should translate to more golf and more on-course refreshments! (Also maybe a gift to the spouse for not giving you an earful for golfing every weekend?).  Likewise, I've seen tons of fake equipment come through the shop that players have spent a pretty penny on with no recourse.  It's your gamble, ultimately, but you've got friends in your corner. 

Speaking of saving money - there's our Founders Club gift card.  It's like saving 25% on everything you purchase through The Club Nut -- then saving another 15% minimum when you upgrade! I don't know, sounds like a decent deal to me. See the store items for more details.