Monthly Archives: June 2006

Johnny Miller: Can Golf Commentating Get More Negative?

Yes, Yes, Yes, the mentality of the TV Producers to mandate that golf be viewed like a team event is really wearing on me.  Gone are the days when Lord Byron was on the tube and gave you lively stories on each player’s swing and reasoning on why they made a shot instead of Johnny Miller’s claim they hit the hit ‘about two groves too high on the club’ or ‘Gary, even though this is a 50ft putt it is really makeble for anyone who qualifies for the US Open’.  All things that the novice or non-golfers can really understand..(yaw, right!)

Now we have to hear from Chris Burman on the ESPN coverage of the US Open ask questions  and make statements in terms that sound more like someone who wants to appear ‘cool’ when in fact he has no idea what he is talking about.  Coming across as cheesy as someone saying…the putt he made was really Groovy.  But, the jocks like him because he is the guy they listen to while spilling beer all over the living room floor yelling at the screen like… ‘Kill the Bum’, ‘Hit him where it hurts’ and ‘Come on Ref, get with the program’. So, these guys think, ‘if Chris is covering this golf thing, it must be Cool’  Thus, the ‘U-da-Man’ mentality was evolved.

On the other hand you have the Masters, where due to political arrogance, have no commercials to fill the air so it is much calmer.  It could be that it is that way my designed since the Masters controls everything about the event and may go so far as to have someone in the booth to direct, or oversee the direction, of how the tournament is aired.  Whatever they do, it comes across as probably more like how Golf really feels than any of the event.

As far as the US Open, yes, the same should be true, but there is a difference in the US Open than any other golf tournament, outside of the FBR in
Phoenix, where the crowds who attend the event may not be as pure golfer as at the Masters or British Open.  The US Open is more of an outing for anyone who wants to watch a very difficult sport.  And that could why they keep the event up in the Northeast where people are starved for outdoor events.  So, people with the ‘full contact’ mentality want to get out of the house so they go to a golf tournament to, as has been said, watch for the ‘meltdowns’, ‘train wreaks’, ‘car crashes’, ‘busted helmets’, ‘broken bones’ or players jumping into the crowds (looks like they got their wish at this year’s US Open).

So, I say more needs to be done to let the media know what they are doing to the game.  If the game of golf is to grow, as it should, more people who care about golf need to take action and express their opinions.  More needs to be done to tell the sponsors of the event how disgusting it is to watch the bastardization of a game that does not fit in the model of NASCAR or NHL marketing.

I say it is time to stand up and voice our objections to how our intelligence being insulted with negative attitudes from Johnny Miller’s and glamorous presentations from the Chris Burman’s in hopes the producers of these televised events will get back to telling the viewers more about how golf works and is played instead of what product we need to buy so they can get paid. 

Duke http://busienssgolf.wordpress.com http://businessgolf.blogspot.com

 

 

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Online Golf Groups: The Top Five sites

As my faithful fans know, I am on a quest to find the best Online Golf Group.  Why?

Because it seems only right that if I am going to spend any of my valuable online time in a group site I am going to use it being part of a site or sites that do not SUCK.  And it seems that there are a lot of sites being created just to lure people into their web so they can attempt to make a BUCK,,, which is real close to SUCK.

 

From my survey of friends who golf and strangers I have met on the golfer course, all of them (Yes all 75 of them)  said they would be interested in joining an online golf group if they knew that who they were talking to was a real person and they were not going to get SPAMMED to death.  They also would be more than excited to join a group If it did not take all day to register and filling out a useless profile.  They are not interested in advertisements on equipment or off the wall golf services.  But they are interested in articles that talk about the worthiness of one piece of equipment or comparisons of equipment.  They are not remotely interested in posting their scores or any other statistics on their play.  But they are interested in talking to friendly people about issues concerning golf.  They are not interested in finding a course.  They use the golf finding sites for that, but they are interested in reading reviews on courses and then asking someone who played the course what they thought.  They are interested in sharing information on a course they have played and warnings on products that are low quality.  They are interested in HUMOR and not boring lectures.  They want to spend their time having fun or learning and not wading through endless ads to get to something worth their time and while.

 

From what I am seeing on most of the sites, most all of the creators have fallen for someone’s analysis of the market that reports that these golfers want something other than what I have proved.  Maybe they need to revisit their marketing strategies if they plan on gathering more members. 

 

Now my definition of Online Golf Group i is a site that you join as a member to chat it up with other members, form a group for a specific subject or join in forum discussion set up by the site for specific interest or issues to discuss.   A online Golf Group is not a web-site that is set up to p-lay the numbers and has 90% of the membership one-time members who sign up and never return.  That is a site that is trying to wow people into thinking hey are REAL good because they have so many members.  The Online Golf Sites I am and most people are, interested in is a site where they are dozens of golfers frequently talking to one another.

 

What I consider in my ranking of the sites was:

It has to be very, very user friendly.  Where you don’t have to log in every dang time you hit the site, where it does not take wading through menus to get to your inbox or forums.  The easier it is to get on the site and to the message box or forum list or wherever the action is, the better I like the site.

Encourages or makes it real easy to discuss issues or chat with other members.

Is a site that is Free for all services.  Why should Golfers be charged for bring to the site’s creators the almighty and valuable ‘Content’ and be part of the ‘numbers game’ these sites use to market their sites?  These sites are looking to gather as much content as they can so the search engine spiders will make frequent visits to their sites which generates more traffic to their links to advertisers.  They want to get millions of members so they can say we have the most members of any site so you need to advertise with me….

And (most importantly) does not over use advertisement. To have more than 10% of each screen or page of the site covered with advertisement is very insulting to the viewer’s intelligence. 

Now, I totally understand that the creators of these sites invest a lot into their sites.  I have a site and I know the costs associated with setting up a descent site.  I also know that most of these golf sites with lots of advertisements are being gauged pretty badly by their web-developers who want to make their million today which requires the costs of these fancy sites to be passed onto who????? You got it, the golfers who are joining the site.  If the creators are web-developers and they are flooding their site with advertisements and/or charging a membership fee…well shame on them for double dipping the golfers for coming in, setting up shop and rattling the chains of the internet to get more attention drawn to these greedy sites.  These type of sites with the membership fees and glamorous amounts of advertisement will not be on my (or probably anyone’s) list of best sites.

 

So, the Best Sites on my list are managing their sites as they should be, with little, if no, advertisements, No membership fees and are user friendly.

 

There are a number of Online Golf Groups.  Really, I was surprised at the number of groups out there.  Some are real cute with lots of color and golf designs and pictures of models swinging golf clubs (amongst other things).  And other are very sterile with nothing by different size boxes  Some have been going for a while and some are still trying to get going.  And, yes, some are better than others.

 

I did not include the online groups that are inside other mega sites, like Tribe.net and other more social or dating sites…. Not that there are anything wrong with these, it is just not a dedicated Golf site like the ones I have reviewed in this article.

 

 

So, enough of all this, here is my top five golf online groups.

 

#5  GolfPunkOnline.com

Here we go ‘Mate’!  (OH, wait, that is Australian)…anyway, The Golf Punk.  Here is a truly online version of a Golf Magazine from the
UK…  The Homepage get to its bottomline…Bunker Babes…  Yep, demean the women of golf to get the ‘ol Boys’ involved in the spin of things.  But, I have to admit, that if you are going to fly the ‘Womanizer flag’  then you need to do a great job for the visually incline golfers. And GolfPunk did a real good job.  It’s a love hate affair for me on this site since I really like the flair and the color and the presentation,  but I can’t go for the womanizing…  To keep from getting into it right now, I’ll leave it to those of you who want to know my stance on this un-equalization of golf for both sexes going to my blog site.  I have to give it to the Brits to see things differently.  A very good active and current forum from people from all over the world with subjects ranging from golf to whatever was on a person’s mind…Since I am not bold enough to register fro the GP Club (where the Golf Porn looked to be pretty heavily covered) I can’t tell you what goes on there.  I can just only imagine that since the registration picture just shows two young ladies wearing a pair of very short shorts and a tactfully placed towel that there probably is a lot going on there that has nothing to do with golf.  There are not a lot of members signed up yet (which I find surprising) (I am sure there are more members now that I have told YOU about the Bunker Babes) I just waded in to my ankles and joined the Forum…What an adventure in humanity, but a fun one…’Buggar’  This one is for the bold at heart and golfers who are totally bored…  I’ll keep you posted on this

 

 

#4   GolfSpinner.com

A big Hassle, but interesting.  The creator of this site needs help or a better understanding of what golfers are looking for.  I have sent a few of my friends to the site and we all agree that this site is loosing traction due to having to re-log into this site each time a member leaves the site and returns.  The elaborate profile on clubs you play and questionable information being asked to furnish on the profile is pretty typical of all of the sites, but asking where in the fairway you hit and the trouble shots?  The statistics on a member’s game is for someone who would really need to be playing golf professionally before it would be of any use.  BUT!, I find myself going back to this group and finding my username and password, and getting back into see what some of the people in the blogs have to say.  Some real interesting conversations being had that keep me entertained.

 

#3   TheGolfSpace.com

Close! But No Cigar.  This site has good intentions and is pretty deep with links off to never-ever-land.  But this site is really trying to be all for everyone and is getting pretty spread thin with covering all of the bases.  This site is for golfers looking for golfers, opinions on golf equipment, photo of other golfers (and totally off the wall non-golf photo’s), blogs from alleged golfers, scorekeeping, chat room and contest entries.  The creator has got a good start and has captured a few members, but keeping them is the challenge. 

 

 

#2  MyGolfGroups.com

Very, very clean site.  Yes, they have the ever present Adsense and Google ads, but they keep them at the top and the bottom to inflict only a minor nuisance.  This site gets right to it and lets you see a photo of the person who is a member.  And then gets you right into meeting people and talking to people about golf.  No nonsense re-logging in each time you go to the site and then getting to a page to browse the membership for people with common interest.  Just crank this puppy up and get to find your interest in golf.   The very new site is still growing and has huge possibilities if they stay focused on what golfers want and not what sponsors want.  I would keep an eye on this one…it could grow to be another refreshing view.

 

#1  Golfwrx.com 

Very innovative, refreshing way to cram as much interesting content on a Homepage as possible, but still keeping both the visually incline and the plain text hounds entertained.  So much content it doesn’t fit on the entire width of the page.. The ads are very, and sometimes interestingly, discreetly placed on the page with an emphasis on the sites sponsor instead of the incessant internet tag ads.  The newsletter style home pages makes it easy to scroll to something that hits you eye to read.  And for those who insist on not trusting the article style of homepage, they can scroll down to the very bottom of the homepage.

The Golf Talk takes you to forums of golfers in different states and country.  The other menu items will keep you totally entertained for months.  Golfwrx.com has tremendous possibilities…

 

 

Others in the mix…

Now I can’t get away without mentioning the other sites in my review.  Some of these are probably going to turn into some real good sites once they see groups like Tribe go under because revenue is not the magic formula to keep members.  I am sure there are more groups coming.  Heck I might even try to launch one someday when enough of the members of the groups that really SUCK decide they have had enough.

 

These groups caught my eye and were worth mentioning.  I will be going back periodically to see what they are up to.  Some of these groups have really not gotten started and have told me that they are going to launch something and haven’t.  I give them a chance to rank in my stable of sites once they show me what they are made of.

 

Here are the other sites I reviewed…

 

Golfbb.com

Seemingly launched in 2000 this site is founded by a group of Brits with members from all over the world.  Not an easy site to use.  Some of the features are very old and you have to really read a lot of the descriptions of buttons closely to understand where you are going.

 

Golf.about.com

From the mega site About.com, the golf.about.com site is really cluttered up with more advertisements than is needed.  Pretty typical for a site that is part of another none-golf related site. 
Brent Kelly seems to the man in charge and reports his mission is to provide golfers with tips on learning the game of golf and equipment.  Seems one of the tips he needs is to move some of the ads off the page so golfers can read what he has to say and not what someone wants us to buy.  Seems no matter how many times you go to the Forum section of the site (where you find out who the heck is reading the stuff on this site) you have to sign in…very aggravating. Once in the forum it looks lively and I was surprised that there were so many people participating in the discussion, especially with all of the hassle you have to go through just to get to the forum.  If this enthusiasm could be moved to a site that was really COOL, and didn’t suck by having so much advertising, I could see Golf.about.com moving up in the rankings.   There is a
LOT of golf stuff crammed into the page along with Stuipd.com videos and Sponsored Links (a thin veil for Advertiser).  Most of which is written in blog form, that is OK, but seems to be written by the same person.  The most important part of this entire endeavor that someone at About.com went to some effort to create is the forum where golfers get to read what other golfers (or alleged golfers) have to say… If you can get to this page, you are now cooking.  And I would say the forum section should be the homepage for this site. 

 

 

Teed-Off.com

A web resource for ‘Club Golfers’. Great concept.  At least it sounds like a good concept.  Being a Club Golfer I would find it interested in visiting with other Club Golfers on what is happening in their club.  Of course, I take it that Teed-off.com’s definition of club golfer is a golfer who is a member of a golf club, country club or golf association.  The home (or promotional) page is very tight which if this held true for the rest of the site would make this site a good candidate to make my list. I see that there might be a need for this concept, but for now, we will never know since Teed-off.com has had their site offline for a while.  Maybe someone got Teed-off and decided that the site was not going to make it.

 

GolfBuzz.com.  

This site has been saying that they are going to blow everyone away.  The June 23rd press release reports what their mission is and they did release their course finder feature.  But other than that, the features are not really provided members the ability to visit with the 13,000 members they say they have.  It looks sharp, for now they are holding the advertisements to products used in contests to lure someone to join.  This site has some possibilities of being able to jump to number one, but timing is very important.  What is happening now and will continue is most golfers are not going to change to another site once they have set up house at another site due to the time it took them to create their profiles and downloaded their photo’s and listed all of their stuff and get to know people. 

 

 

MyGolfBuddy.com

Started off Good and then turned south.  Partnered with Golfwrx.com, the homepage gives the impression that this site is going to control the advertisements by keeping them below 10% of the page and only at the top and very bottom, but that changes REAL quickly when you register and fill in the profile information.  There are two aggravating registrations you have to go through to get to the Forum which it looks as though a large number of people are not registering for the forum section and just entering the forum as a guest.  The activity on the forum page does not seem to be too active or current.  This site requires a lot of time and may fit into someone’s timeframe if they have lots of time to spend online.

 

 

 

 

 

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Custom Fitted Clubs: They make a big difference to the Professionals

I was asked me to play a round of golf this afternoon by one of my PGA friends.  I just got off the course and thought what he dealt with this afternoon would confirm that players at the professional level live a totally different world when it comes to what they feel in a golf club.

A little background, he is still a card carrying PGA member but now is doing Financial Advising as his full time profession (Much more money than being club pro).  He comes out of Randy Smith’s stable of racehorses at the Royal Oaks Country Club where Justin Leonard and Harrison Frasier come from.  So he has experience playing and teaching for about 8 years out of Randy’s shop.

He was running late for our tee time.  So late in fact that he did not have time to pick up his clubs at the house and was just going to play with the head pro’s c at the course we were playing set of clubs. (Must be nice to be a member of the PGA and just show up and lean on the head pro of the facility to use his clubs).

Anyway, the point I make is , here is a professional who confesses to play at least two money games a week to keep his juices going (our round was not one of them) and he is able to pick up a set of clubs that did not fit him at all and shoot a smooth 74 (par was 71).  The clubs my friend was using were made for a guy 6’2” and my friend is about 5’10”.  The grips were built up for a gorilla and every one of the shafts was loaded for a very low kick-point for a club head speed up in the 140MPH are more.   So, I would say that my friend would have been better using my clubs than this set built for a muscle man.

During the round, and a lot after the round, I asked him how he was able to deal with the clubs.  He was struggling to get the club head square in the driver and long irons (primarily due to the too large of grips) and he would remark on the toe being too light making it hard fro him to turn the club over to square at impact.  And in the short irons he could feel the bottom (or sole) of the club being too heavy making the club hit fatter.

Now here is a 30 year old guy who has worn the center groves out a few sets of clubs in his young career and who confirmed to me that experience of hitting so many balls with the same exact swing has heighten his senses so much that he can feel things in a club you and I mortals will never feel. 

So does it make a difference to these guys on what clubs they hit?  Well obviously this day was an example of a guy that was skillful enough to overcome some awkwardness.  I have to confirm that the quality of the club and the way it is built to the player makes a lot of difference at that level of play.  I was just wondering what he would have shot if he had his own clubs.  I am sure it would have been sub par.

We want get into what I shot…let just say I was a better caddy than an opponent for this guy….  

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Road-Rage on the Golf Course

I think everyone who has played golf on a public golf course can agree that there some people who should not be playing on a public golf course. This afternoon I was asked to play around of golf with some business associates at a public golf course I had not played.  It was a great time with the group I was in, but the guys in front of us where conducting what I called Road-Rage on the Golf Course.  They were hitting into the group in front of them and then running up to their carts shaking fists and yelling.  All because the group in front of them was not playing as fast as they wanted to play.  There was no way for these knuckleheads to play through because, like on most public courses, there were people playing in front that group.  These guys want to try to change the world to playing golf at the pace they played.

I am being told by the group I was with, who play a lot of public courses, that they see a lot of this.  The same mentality that is cultivated on the crowded highways is now being developed on the golf course. 

I know all of the golfers reading feel the same as I do that controls need to be put on this type of behavior.  I am just not sure the public courses are going to do this because they do not want to lose any revenue.  So, like the highway department, they claim there is not enough budget for complete enforcement so they more or less do nothing. 

What can we do to help?  Well, unless you play golf with a Kevlar suit on I would not think about approaching these guys who cannot control their anger.  There is not much telling what will happen.  I would say, reporting the incident to the courses top manager would be the only thing that can be done.  At least you have done something.  Or consider joining a private club where you have more control when you express a concern or problem.  They more or likely will take care of the problem to keep you happy.

Road-Rage on the Golf Course…a solution is needed.

 

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Banking Today: Am I In A Bank? Or A Post Office?

Since ATM’s and automatic deposit I have not paid banking much attention.  Yesterday, I made a very rare visit to one of my banks many branch offices to open an account.  From the time I opened the door to their lobby my impression of banking changed forever.

First of all there is not a receptionist who greets you, offers you a bottle of water or cup of coffee even if you just came in to make a deposit.  What they have replaced this position with is the ‘sign-in here’ kiosk and two or three padded chairs to sit in. I fortunately did not make it to the uncomfortable seating since a gentleman, Rod, came up while I was signing in to ask if he could help.  I told him what I was there for and he said, ‘OH that would be Steve who you need to talk to’.  Grabbing his cell phone and reaching for Steve’s business card off his desk he called Steve… “Steve, you have a customer here, when will you be back?’ Rod asked over the phone.  “2:30!?… I take care of this one for you”, Rod replied to the phone.  Rod said he would take care of opening my account since Steve, who is the business specialist, will not be back until 2:30PM…it was 12:30 as we were speaking.

As I sat down to get this ordeal over with I was told by Rod that the bank now has specialist who handle specific tasks and they only have one specialist for each task, but since he was the former specialist in Steve’s position he could get thing taken care of for me…  If Rod had not been there I would have had to come back in two and half hours to get my account open.

What should have taken ten minutes drew out to thirty minutes since Rod was not as familiar with the online application as he thought.  He couldn’t find the answer to the questions it was asking him on the screen and error out…after awhile of trial and error, he got things straightened out and got all of my paperwork in order and then asked how much I was going to deposit.  I presented him with the check and he said…’Good, then take that check and your new deposit slips over to the teller and they will take care of you”…  I sat back and remembered my last experience and said to myself, ‘Last time I opened an account they processed the deposit and all of this running around…what happened?’

So I gathered up all of the papers and my temporary check book and deposit slips and headed over to the teller.  Of course I needed to fill out the deposit slip and reached over to get the pen and the pen that was chained to the counter was out of ink…so I stepped to the next counter, that was closed, and used that pen.  Meanwhile the teller asked if she could help the next person in line.  And that person must have be making a deposit for a lemonade stand or something and had three bags of coins and four stacks of cash to deposit, which caused me to have to get back into line to wait for the next teller.  After all of that, I got the same teller..

I handed my deposit slip over the counter and she keyed in the information and went through the gyrations she has obviously gone through many times and then stopped…’Oh, I will need a manager’s OK, since this is a New Account.”  In a few seconds a lady comes over and steps into the booth and asked ‘How are you doing?’.  She looked over the papers and nodded to the clerk and keyed in something into the computer and then we were back in business.  I was given my deposit slip and ‘Next!’…

Gone forever are the days when you walk into a bank and are treated with outstanding customer service.  Gone are the times when someone opening a Business Account is ushered off to a private office where you are assigned a Vice President for your account.  Gone is the comforting feeling that your money is being handled with care…. Somehow, I get the feeling that the banking industry was bought by the postal service….

 

 

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E-Mail Etiquette: The Importance of Replying or Responding

I know I can’t be the only person in the world who is not getting replies to my emails.  This is very concerning and perplexing since almost everyone one of my emails is going to someone I know or who knows me professionally or personally.  To get no reply sends me, and I am sure you also, a concerning message.

I don’t send out emails just to be sending out emails.  I save that for Blogging where you can read it and if you want to respond you can, but is not expected.

But emails do several things.  They allow me to manage my time.  Allows the person I am sending it to the ability to manage their time.  It is fast and it documents the conversation for later memory or needs.  Emails; A much, much, much better form of communication than phone calls.

My concern is that if someone does not respond it must be that I am bothering them.  That is the last thing I am intending to do.  I hate SPAM as much as anyone, if not more.  And I hope that my emails are not considered spam.

This brings me to the point I want to make.  There is a certain etiquette that needs to be established amongst people who communicate almost exclusively through email.  And that etiquette is to respect the person’s who sends you an email for the effort they made to communicate with you and let them know immediately if the correspondence was not wanted; was sent at a bad time when there was no time to respond; or is not wanted at all and wishes that the sender would not send anymore emails.   There is no harm telling the sender what you situation is.   It is not seen as being negative (one of the biggest fears people have towards their image as appearing to be negative) to truthfully advise a person to get lost…  Anything….Just respond with something.

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US OPEN: And What Did Phil Teach Us?

It has taken me a few hours to get over the shock of what I, and billions of others, saw this evening at the US Open.  Phil Mickelson, the most talented golfer in men’s golf, sitting at the 17th tee box with a two shot lead and after two holes loses the US Open by a stroke.  I get a little nauseated when I think of the club selections he made off the 17th and 18th

Now I know Phil likes to play aggressive and will try shots to see if he could make them.  I like that in him and like for him to do that when there is a calculated risk involved. But, today, a nuclear physics could not have calculated the risk factor for the shot he took on 18. 

I know, I was not there, and it is Phil’s shot to make, but like some many other who were watching (and have played golf under pressure) can only assume that there were other things on Phil’s mind or maybe not.

Phil looked like a prize fighter in the 15th round.  He looked completely beat.  His last two drives looked like he was just flailing at the ball.  His swing on the 18th tee looked like my over the top hacker swing and he got the same result.

Now I know we all have the solutions…like why he didn’t he take the 4 iron and hit it 245 to set up a 220 shot to the green and work for a par.   It was his tournament to win. 

Looking back to the Masters, you didn’t see Phil muff so many shots on his way into the clubhouse? Did ya?  Was it because he had Freddy walking with him that kept him from burning out?  That could be…

What Phil taught every junior golfer who watched his meltdown was good and bad.  He showed them to go for the shot they want to go for, but he also showed them the worst tournament management the game has seen in a long time.  Not since Tin Cup has there been such a melt down.

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