PRESS PASS
Professor/photographer/golf addict Joe Bausch 
 
Again, say hello to The Bausch Collection
Monday, April 25, 2011
By Joe Logan

Now that we are finally getting some decent golf weather, it seems like a good time to once again draw your attention to one of the most valuable assets this website has to offer – The Bausch Collection.

 

The Bausch Collection, if you haven’t checked it out before, is a remarkable assemblage of photos of golf courses in the region, both public and private.   There is a link to The Bausch Collection on the green left rail of the MyPhillyGolf home page, under Photos.  Want to check out a golf course before you make a tee time?  Take a tour via The Bausch Collection.  If it’s not there, it might be coming soon.

 

The Bausch Collection isn’t the official name of the galleries.  I dubbed the photos that a year ago, when the golf addict who shoots them, Villanova chemistry profession Joe Bausch, offered to left us house them on MyPhillyGolf.  I jumped at the chance, recognizing a good thing when I see one.

 

I wrote a blog introducing The Bausch Collection last September, when we had only uploaded a fraction of the courses Joe has photographed.  Now, we’ve uploaded them all, except that Joe keeps adding to the collection.

 

It is hard to believe that he shoots these photos with a small point-and-shoot camera, not some $4,000 single lens reflex number like a professional photographer would use.  I’ve also played with Joe as he is shooting a course.  He does it quickly and discreetly, without holding up the group.

 

Anyway, if you haven’t looked over The Bausch Collection, I recommend you do so.  And if you know of a course that would be a good addition to the collection, send me an email and I’ll pass it along to Joe.

 

Enjoy.


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A TaylorMade R11 is in the bag
Monday, April 18, 2011
By Joe Logan

I have officially joined the R11 Nation.

 

If you haven’t heard and seen all the fuss and commotion over the TaylorMade R11 driver, with its distinctive white head and adjustable settings, you’ve either been in a cave or on a six-month bender.  The R11 is quite the talk on the PGA Tour and, therefore, a seriously hot item with amateurs who buy every advantage they can afford.

 

If you follow this space with any regularity, you might also recall that last year, I plunked down some serious change for a new, fitted driver, a Titleist 909D Comp.  It had a head on it about the size of a small pumpkin, plus all the bells and whistles of the golf technology at that moment.  I liked it; I l still like it a lot, mainly because I could really hit it.  We made beautiful music together.

 

Then the TaylorMade R11 caught my eye. 

 

My pal at TaylorMade said he would send me one, if I would play it and write what I thought about it.  I said I would, but that I would write what I really thought.  He said he and the boys in the lab at TaylorMade were willing to take that risk.  He advised me to get myself fitted in Philadelphia and send him the specs.

 

I knew right away who I would call: Just a few weeks earlier I had gotten a PR release noting that the Golf Galaxy in Devon had been picked by Golf Digest as one of the Top 100 fitting facilities in the country, thanks to their fitting guy, Leigh Taylor, a PGA Master Professional and Life Member.    As it happens, I know Leigh.  He fits and sells all makes and models of drivers and irons, and he takes this stuff as seriously as a heart surgeon takes a triple bypass.

 

A few mornings later, I was in Leigh’s fitting bay.  "I’ve never seen a driver sell like the R11," Leigh told me as I loosened up.  "Never seen anything like it."

 

Although Leigh has high praise for several manufacturers, he offered a particular nod to TaylorMade, which invented the metal-headed wood and, later, what he called MWT, or "moveable weight technology."   For the weekend chop who doesn’t have the time, money or inclination for a series of lessons, he can fight a slice with MWT by shifting the weights in the toe and heel of the club.

 

The R11 has gone one further -- two, really.  Not only does it have 1-gram and 10-gram weights that can be moved from heel to toe, as needed, it has an adjustable shaft, enabling you to increase or decrease the loft of the clubface by as much as a full degree.  Finally, it has a bumper plate on the bottom of the club that gives you another tool in the battle against hooks and slices: an adjustable clubface, with settings of open, neutral or closed.

 

After an hour of hitting balls with a series of shafts with different flexes and kick points, Leigh printed out a long sheet that measured the results: club speed, ball speed, launch angle, ball spin, carry, deviation, even something called PTR, which stands for "power transfer ratio," tech-speak for was I catching it on the "sweet spot?"

 

I have hit a low ball all my life, so the biggest puzzle for Leigh was the elusive combination of ball speed/launch angle/ball spin.  Finally, he had it: A Fubuki (stiff) shaft, 10.5 degrees of loft, set ½ degree up, to 11 degrees; the heavier 10-gram weight in the heel, to fight my inclination to hit it right; and the bumper plate set to neutral.

 

A week or so later, my new R11 arrived.

 

I have now hit about a dozen buckets of balls and played four rounds with it.  My assessment: I like it more each time out.

 

In our maiden round together, I wasn’t sold. I couldn’t hit a fairway.  Everything was going right because...well, because I occasionally battle a case of driver yips, and because sometimes golf hates me and mocks me and loves to see me suffer.  I could not lay the blame for those terrible drives at the feet of the R11 or any other club.

 

With each round since, as my confidence in my swing has returned, my driving has improved .  I played on Friday and only missed one fairway.   On the three or four tee shots when I truly connected, I strutted off the tee box hugging my new driver.  The R11 felt as good as any driver I’ve ever hit.

 

The adjustability is, of course, one of its biggest selling points of the R11.  Now that I have it set to my liking, it is hard to know whether I will make further adjustments from time to time.  I’m keeping my little TaylorMade wrench in the back of my car, just in case.

 

I’m enough of a traditionalist that initially, I wasn’t crazy about the R11’s white head.  But it is growing on me, and I’m starting to find it oddly soothing, although I have no idea why.

 

And one benefit I had not considered: the face of the R11 is a dull black that tends to show where on the club face you connected.  If it feels like you caught one on the toe, the proof is in the mark on the face of the club.  

 

Bottom line: the R11 is staying in my bag.


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Joe Logan 
Ocean City, Md., the mini-Myrtle Beach
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
By Joe Logan

If you missed it in Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer, here’s a travel story I wrote for them on the emergence of Ocean City, Md., as a golf destination.

 

As the story notes, OCMD is sort of a mini-Myrtle Beach trip.  The city now has 17 courses within a 40 minute drive.  It’s also a very family-oriented resort town.


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Muni Golfer[4/22/2011 7:39:11 AM]
Joe, good luck with the R11. Sounds like its sets up for you well. Iíve previously tried TaylorMadeís r7 and R9, but was never able to dial it in and make the technology work for me on a consistent basis.

Oh, what a finish to the Masters
Sunday, April 10, 2011
By Joe Logan

Just when it looked like the final round of the Masters was as good as it could possibly get, it got better.

 

Could you believe that final round?

 

Thrills, spills, birdies galore, careers being made and, sadly, the heartbreak that was Rory McIlroy’s humiliating moment in the global spotlight.  To his credit, when it was over, young Rory, who is still younger than half the golf shirts in my closet, stood there and faced the media like a man.  He had wilted under the suffocating pressure and there was no denying it.  He didn’t try to.  The good news is, what doesn’t kill him will make him stronger.   Rory will be back, and I am willing to bet, he will win the Masters within the next three years.

 

It was also good to see Tiger Woods hitting on all cylinders for most of the final round.  Only a couple of weeks ago, he looked totally lost.  Now, suddenly, we see glimmers of the Tiger of old.  That bodes well for the U.S. Open.

 

Charl Schwartzel has a gorgeous golf swing and, obviously, and poise under pressure.  But his name looks misspelled and before today I couldn’t pick him out in a police lineup. Personally, I was rooting for, in this order: (1) Rory McIlroy (2) Tiger (3) Adam Scott (4) Luke Donald (5) Jason Day.

 

Still, it’s hard to be disappointed when the Masters set the tone for a great season of majors.


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Muni Golfer[4/14/2011 8:23:46 AM]
That obit was a good story Joe. Check out this piece by Buzz Bissinger, http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-04-14/tiger-woods-is-never-coming-back-despite-brief-masters-moment/#
Joe Logan[4/12/2011 10:23:51 AM]
Muni Golfer - Yes, a glimmer, albeit a faint glimmer. Check out the very good story I posted today by Cam Morfit today -- itís an obit for Tigerís aura.
Joe Logan[4/12/2011 10:21:44 AM]
Sports shrinks have won exactly the same number of majors as swing gurus. Come to think of it, Iím not sure McIlroy even has a sports shrink. Heís not old enough to have become a head case yet, although if the Masters didnít turn him into one, I donít know what will.
stevemcg[4/11/2011 5:46:48 PM]
McIlroy should fire his shrink. They all should fire their shrinks. How many majors have the shrinks won? The only reason they can take credit for anything is the fact that they have so many clients, somebody has to win. Do the golf writers ever think of that? It never made sense to me that the advice for a 54 hole leader is to hide from the pressure on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Wouldnít it be better to walk around in circles all night and get used to the pressure? Schwartzl, Day and Scott saved this yearís Masterís. Until the last couple of holes, it was really a quest for a winner by default.
The Muni Golfer[4/11/2011 7:03:07 AM]
"Now, suddenly, we see glimmers of the Tiger of old." Hmmm, didnít we say the same thing after he finished 4th at The Masters last year? Only time will tell...

Joe Logan 
Saturday is huge for Tiger
Saturday, April 9, 2011
By Joe Logan

After Tiger Woods shot 66 on Friday and moved to 7-under par and three shots off the lead in the Masters, several people have been kind enough to call or email to point out that I wrote in this space a week ago that he is lost and has "no chance" to win a fifth green jacket this week.

 

Oh, how I hope me makes me eat my words.  If golf needs anything right now, it is Tiger back on his game. Remember, I didn’t say I wasn’t rooting for him; I just said I didn’t think his game looked sharp enough to win. 

 

It is looking more and more like we will ever see him dominate the way he did at the peak of Tiger-mania.  He’s 35 and not the same player anymore, and the guys he’s competing against these days are young and fearless and crazy-long off the tee.  If fact, if the sudden rejuvenation of Tiger is a major storyline this week, so is what is increasingly looking like a changing of the guard at the top of golf.

 

How can we not be impressed by the crop of young players who are muscling their way onto the leaderboard and into the limelight?  Rory  McIlroy, Jason Day, Alvaro Quiros, Ricky Fowler, not to mention Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland and a couple of others.  These guys are the next generation of stars.   We should not be surprised at all of young McIlroy finds the poise to hold it together and win his first major.

 

Meanwhile, Saturday’s third round is crucial for Tiger.  So far this year in the reconstruction of his game, weekends have not been overly kind to him.  At the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, he shot 74-75 in the third and fourth rounds and fell off the leaderboard.  At the Dubai Desert Classic, he shot 72-75.  At the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he went 74-72.

 

Saturday is an even bigger test.


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The Muni Golfer[4/9/2011 10:17:17 PM]
Another Saturday 74 for Tiger. It seems like he puts one, maybe two good rounds together, but also has a couple of over-par ones as well. I think the biggest problem in his game is his putting. Is he too young to have the yips? Considering what he has been through, I wouldnít be surprised if his nerves are playing a part in his putting.

My day in the Champions Tour pro-am
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
By Joe Logan

If you ever doubt the veracity of the PGA Tour slogan, "These guys are good," play a round of golf with a Tour player.

 

I did that last week, in the pro-am at the Champions Tour event, the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, at Fallen Oak.  My pro in the pro-am was Mark Wiebe, a two-time winner on the regular tour and a two-time winner on the Champions Tour.

Despite Wiebe’s career earnings of $7.5 million, it’s fair to say that most of us likely think of him as no superstar, rather as a moderately successful journeyman pro.

 

And yet, I am here to tell you that besides being a gracious and likeable guy, Mark Wiebe plays at a level well above even a hot-shot scratch player.

 

Over 18 holes at Fallen Oak – one of Tom Fazio’s better courses, by the way – Wiebe hit long, towering tee shots that almost always found the center of the fairway.  More impressive, however, were his second shots.

 

When you and I stand over a 4-iron shot in the fairway, we hope to get the ball up around the green, in up-and-down range, or on the green with a long putt, if we are lucky.

 

Wiebe, on the other hand, would stand over a 4-iron (from about 20 yards behind where I hit 4-iron) and proceed to launch a rocket that would sail higher and higher until it dropped straight down out of the sky to 10 feet from the pin, settling 5 maybe feet from the hole.

 

On par threes, with a mid- to short-iron in his hand, he was all over the hole, always giving himself a makeable birdie putt.

 

The format for the pro-am was a "shamble," meaning we four amateurs all tee shots, then we picked the best of the bunch and we all played out our own balls from there.  Wiebe played his own ball the entire round.

 

On the green, Wiebe would let all of us amateurs take our best shot at making the birdie for the team.  If none of us converted, he would attempt his own birdie putt. At least twice, we appeared to have no chance at birdie, as Wiebe faced a tricky 10- or 15-foot downhill, sidehill putt.

 

Both times, Wiebe and his caddie, Brett, read the greens with skills that elude me, factoring in speed and degree of break caused by the grain, even recalling how a similar putt from the same spot broke in last year’s tournament.

 

Both times, Wiebe sank the putt and kept our birdie run alive.

 

Did I mention Wiebe’s back was killing him?  He’s a big guy, 6-foot-3, 250 pounds with a lot of aches and pains.  On the first tee, he said he wasn’t sure he’d be able to play the entire round.  By the fourth tee, he was lying on his back, doing leg cross-over stretches.

 

After nine, when we headed to the 10th tee, Wiebe said he needed a "little work" and headed to the fitness trailer.  A few minutes later, he showed up on the 10th tee.

 

"I’m fine now," he said.  "They popped my back into place."

 

On the 14th, as we all agreed that the course, the scenery, the weather, the setting sun couldn’t make for a finer place to be at the moment, Wiebe said, "Welcome to my office."  Then he smiled and drove off after his tee shot.


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Garcia the Golfer[5/5/2011 1:56:27 PM]
Joe, I was fortunate enough to caddy in a Champions Tour event when I worked at the TPC Jasna Polana for the Instinet Classic. I caddied for a guy by the name of Steve Veriato. while he wasnít a big name on the Champions Tour, he showed me how the tour players play. He made his way around the course splitting every fairway and not missing a green. He posted a 67 and 68 with a bad back. He showed me slopes and back stops on the greens that I didnít know existed. Just because these guys are supposely old doensít mean they canít play golf. Glad you enjoyed your round in the Pro-am.
The Muni Golfer[4/6/2011 6:28:00 AM]
Sounds like an AWESOME experience Joe! I find it incredible to watch these guys play live at a tournament. Can only imagine what it must look like "insideí the ropes.

Joe Logan 
Tiger has no chance at the Masters
Monday, March 28, 2011
By Joe Logan

The more I watch Tiger Woods fumbling his way around golf courses, the more inconceivable I find it that a player of his skill, success and confidence can be so totally lost.

 

C’mon, the guy has been a natural and preordained superstar since the moment he picked up a club while he was still in diapers.  Add to that the support system that was his parents, a work ethic that is second to none, a competitive drive to match, and the result was that run of greatness that we all got used, even began to take or granted.

 

So to see him mired in such frustration and ordinariness now pretty much defies the imagination.  How can he have gotten so lost?  How can he have become so uncertain of the most natural motion he has made in his 35 years -- his golf swing?  Outwardly, he still tries to project a certain bravado, but it’s all a front.  The man must be desperate by now.

 

Friends of Tiger’s have said that his primary emotion of these past 18 months is unspeakable shame and humiliation.  That’s understandable.   Aside from Richard Nixon, who was forced to resign the presidency during the Watergate scandal, it is hard to name another public figure who has fallen so far, so fast, as Tiger.  For that matter, at least before his troubles, Nixon was already a controversial political figure.  No so for Tiger, who had enjoyed an unblemished climb to the top as the ultimate athlete, success story, role model and corporate pitchman.

 

That he hit rock bottom and lost his image and his family, was unfortunate but to be expected.  You do the crime, you do the time. 

 

But given Tiger’s incredible ability to focus on the task at hand and to overcome all odds, I must say I imagined, even hoped, he would rise up out of the ashes better than he has so far.   We all know how badly he wants to win again, to regain his old superiority, to reestablish some semblance of his old life.

 

So to see him self-destruct with a 74-75 on the weekend, as he did at the Farmers Insurance Open, or shoot 74, as he did on Saturday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, or watch him finish bogey-double bogey on Sunday at Bay Hill...I don’t know; it just makes me sad.

 

With the Masters a week away, we are coming up on a year since Tiger’s return to competitive golf. I give him virtually not shot to win.  I expect him to make the cut, maybe attract some attention with a 69 or Friday or Saturday, then fade. I hate that I expect that. 

 

Put me in the camp that believes that if Tiger can resurrect his career, it will be the greatest story of redemption and recovery in modern sports.   I’m pulling for him.  Not because I like what he did or have any naive notions about who he is as a person.  I’m only pulling for him because how can I not?


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