Editors Note: This Muni Kids Thought on the State of Golf

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God, family, and friends are my go-to, for support in my life, after that it is golf. Whether on the course, writing, or just talking about it I have had a passion for golf over 20 years now. I have sat in conference rooms listening to some of the smartest golf professionals talk about how they would like to save their favorite sport and honestly, their lively hoods. It is a tough situation; the tide has turned on golf after a massive boom in the 90’s and early 2000’s. When the recession hit in 2007-2009 there was a point where politically golf became a bad thing, people were talking about how much it cost the President to play golf, yet they marveled at the beautiful beach vacations. So, how do we really have a productive conversation.

First, lets face it, technology has taken over the world, statistics show that we are spending more time on our electronic systems and less time outdoors then ever before. Enter Top Golf and simulators. Top Golf has garnered a lot of attention from people who have never even seen a golf club in their lives. While I have not looked at the statistics, I can almost be certain that people have picked up the game because of their experience at Top Golf. This place is like a real-life video game, and the closest one to me in Fishers, Indiana is always packed. It is exciting to see essentially a driving range jammed packed with people. Simulators are just now starting to be used as a resource of entertainment in golf and not as a teaching tool. Yes, they are expensive and there are few places that have them for the everyday golfer, but that means there is a great opportunity here for facilities. Case in point is how Swing Rite Golf Center in Lima, Ohio combines their traditional practice facility with an indoor center that includes three simulators with access to over 87 popular golf courses. Technology is the future, if utilized properly it can be an enhancement to the game and not a replacement.

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Swing Rite Golf Center: Lima, Ohio

I grew up mowing yards and working for my grandparents on their farm to earn money to play golf. And yes, I am a muni kid at heart and still love my hometown course of Otis Park in Bedford, Indiana. Because of my upbringing in the sport I respect the notion that golf should be affordable. Yet there is an understanding that needs to bet met. Land, maintenance, employees, and many other expenses cause golf facilities to be quite expensive to maintain operation. The lack of understanding this is killing the game of golf, stop with the gimmicks, stop with the secrets, lets just be honest, golf is just like any other sport, IT COST $$$. There are programs, like the First Tee that help alleviate some of the cost of entry to golf and those organizations are important to the game. For courses to survive whether private, semi-private, or public they must run a profitable operation otherwise they will not be around for long. Managing these costs and the expectations of the facilities abilities based on a budget should be the first communication with the course and their customers. Many customers have an unreasonable expectation of what they should be seeing at a facility because they lack in the understanding of what the cost of operation really is, and this comes from the facility over promising their own abilities.

Golf must look at the core golfer. People like myself, who love this game, and honestly have had moments myself, where I don’t have the time nor the money to be able to play. There are two major hurdles for golf facilities with the core golfer:
1. Lack of Etiquette
2. The 5 hour round!
Lack of etiquette does not mean an expectation that everyone walks around acting like or dressing like a professional golfer. There are a few expectations that need to be met, that need to be communicated a little better. Please for the love of everything if you have just hit your tee shot and the group behind arrives at that tee box, let them through. Also, when you make a mark on a green, please fix this mark, and to top off all annoyances of mine on a golf course have fun, you are not making money doing this so have fun! The 5 hour round, this is caused by a few things. Slow players, yes, but also the need for a facility to absolutely stack the tee sheet. It is a volume game for most facilities, but I promise you for those places that play the volume game (because their fees are too low to be sustainable) they will pay for it in the long run with the maintenance that is needed and the loss of the core golfer who refuses to play a 5 hour round of golf.

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In conclusion golf and those who are involved need to have some reality checks.
– Are some facilities way too expensive? YES
– Are some facilities way too cheap? YES (sustainability)
– Is there an expectation problem? YES
– Do we need to focus on the core golfer? YES
– Do we need to embrace technology? YES
I believe golf is alive and well with those of us who absolutely love the game of golf. Every week I talk with business owners, creators, golf professionals, and golfers who love this game and are very active in this game. We would all love to see it grow, but golf needs to stop losing people and facilities before we can worry about growing and that will only happen if we look from within. We are losing people who have played golf for most of their lives and it is normally not the cost but the other reasons we have talked about.

On Thursday this week I have an article coming out about Indianapolis’s decision to close the oldest municipal golf course in the city. Their reasoning is something I have a hard time understanding and is a perfect example of mismanagement and lack of understanding.


HOME OF THE ARTISAN GOLF MOVEMENT

Form Golf brings you closer to the artisans and their products while also presenting you with the golf that is in Indiana.

Golf is our passion and we strive to be your place to keep up with the artisans and brands who truly represent the golfer’s lifestyle on and off the golf course.

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Until Next Time, Enjoy!

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New Level Golf: Performance Does Matter

Solo golf club designers that make it in the golf industry are rare. There are those who have been able to turn a solo career into an almost cult following like, Scotty Cameron and Roger Cleveland, yet these are rare. Most are able to make a decent career without reaching the heights of these two, and there are some great examples in the putting and wedge world. Rarely do you see a new iron on the market that is not backed by a well established brand or one that has been around for many years, yet Eric Burch has jumped into the iron market feet first with New Level Golf.

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NEW LEVEL GOLF


“Level the

playing field

ignore the name

on the club.”


 

There are plenty of write ups about the forging process and the milling process and that is not the purpose of today. [If you are interested in completely geeking over forging and milling processes feel free to contact me or take a look at some of the other sites that are known for talking about equipment.]

Level the playing field and ignore the name on the club. Small businesses are able to be more innovative and tend to  make adjustments quicker than your larger brands. This means that you, the consumer, would behoove yourself to take a look at a brand that is designed by a well established entrepreneur and designer. Eric’s goal with his designs was to fix some of the deficiencies that he has seen in his almost 22 years of being a custom fitter. You can thank him for being one of the biggest influences on your ability to have adjustable adapters on your equipment, as he was the one who built and then sold Club Connex. Club Connex was building adapters for club fitters way before the OEM’s were putting them on the drivers. Let’s just say he knows a lot about the custom side of the industry.


 

All of New Level’s irons are forged and built to very tight specs. This does not mean that if you are a higher handicap golfer you should not look at some of these clubs. The process of forging is not what makes a club unforgiving it is the design itself that makes a club unforgiving. If you are looking for feel, distance, and some of the best forgiveness then you should check out their new: New Level 1126

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For those of you who desire a mid size head with some meat behind the ball, the New Level 1031 is for you. This club has the lowest COG of all the irons that are available. They have also tuned up the loft which means that you will be able to pick up that 7 iron and hit a little farther than what you are use to even before you take the engineering into consideration. Forgiveness, flight, and distance are your goals then check out the Level Golf 1031.

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Getting on Golf Digest’s Hot List is not easy for most companies, mostly because of the competition that is out there in the market. This two year old company managed to see their popular 902 Forged irons on the 2019 Golf Digest Hot List, hanging out with the TM-760, Titleist AP2, Mizuno MP-18 MMC, and Callaway Apex Pro. This cavity back style players iron has been reviewed by many and has a great feel and flight: New Level 902 Forged

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For those of you who are great ball strikers, want premium feel, with a great looking blade, check out the New Level 623-M. Even if you are not the best ball striker but you just can not move yourself away from having a blade in the bag, the 623-M has a little wider sole with a milled tuning slot. This allows the COG of the club to be lowered and gives this blade a great feel and also some pop to it when you hit the ball. New Level 623-M

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New Level brings you their feel into your wedge game and into your driving game with their M-Type wedges and the 4995-HB Utility. The M-type wedges have a higher initial bounce and added heal relief, allowing you to play these wedges on multiple variations of turf. The wedge is available in 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, & 60. While the 4995-HB Utility iron is built for distance and blends well with any of the forged irons you choose to have in the bag. This utility iron is available in 18, 21, 24, & 27 degree lofts. M- Type Wedges and 4995-HB Utility


 

Here at Form Golf the focus is on showing you the golfer who the artisans are in the golf industry. While New Level the brand is new to the game, Eric Burch, creator of New Level is not new to the game. Admittedly he told me he is not a bulldog when it comes to the marketing and the sales of his equipment. He believes that his equipment will speak for itself when you give it a chance. For those of you who have read some of my stuff or listened to some of Talk to Me Birdie with Javan and myself, you know me as a Mizuno fan. This is true; however, I have had the opportunity to hit New Level irons, specifically the 902, and I loved the way they performed and felt. I would not hesitate to purchase a set of New Level irons. It is not easy to find a good quality set of irons.

If you do not want to take Eric’s word or mine, New Level has a great demo program, around 150 fitting locations, and a 30 day money back. To learn more about New Level check out their website, Instagram, and Facebook.


HOME OF THE ARTISAN GOLF MOVEMENT

Form Golf brings you closer to the artisans and their products while also presenting you with the golf that is in Indiana.

Golf is our passion and we strive to be your place to keep up with the artisans and brands who truly represent the golfer’s lifestyle on and off the golf course.

If you would like to follow for future posts, please sign up at the bottom of this post. Please share, like, comment, and follow at FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Until Next Time, Enjoy!

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Resources: Pictures are from http://www.newlevelgolf.com

Local Series: Classical Putters With a Geom Twist

Geom continues to build since our last conversation with Garret. The next evolution in Geom is the introduction of the “Local Series,” which is a few “classical” styled putters with some Geom twists. This time around we got the opportunity to talk with Garret and record our conversation.

If you have not heard of Geom then take a look at our first article about them: Bringing Feel Back to the Player.

Check out the Local Series Podcast:

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