Golf Shoes: Spiked or Spikeless

It is time for me to upgrade my golf shoes.

How do I know?

The Conditions When I Play

I tend to play golf in the morning a lot. Sometimes, as luck and circumstances would have it, I just get a better deal on that 6:30 AM tee time. That means that I not only find myself getting dressed while it is still dark and downing a hot cup of coffee before hitting the road towards the course but also facing different types of conditions. It’s usually wet with dew still making the fairways and greens play differently. It usually includes some fresh mud and even marsh-like conditions when you find that tee shot has veered to the rough just left of the fairway. And heaven forbid if I find myself in one of those beach-like bunkers with that wet sand like a shoreline.

The Way I Tend to Play

I try to walk the course more often nowadays. Riding a golf cart does not require a lot of consideration for the comfort level of your golf shoes. However, even walking 9 holes or a compact par 3 course, I discovered the need for greater comfort and more traction.

I have slipped and busted my butt a few times playing early mornings with only the sun peaking through the distant trees, so I know that I need some grip and traction. There’s nothing like having your swing mechanics aligned with all of your swing thoughts, only to result in you swinging and spinning out of control every now and then. That causes you to play too cautious and rob yourself of some yardage on a tee shot. Approach shots, chips, and pitching are not so bad. But I never noticed how much your shoes came into play for putting out on the green until my feet were pulsating and throbbing after tackling the front 9 of a hilly, slightly-sloped course. You don’t have to worry about the yips when you got aching feet halfway through a round. That’s when I vowed to restrict my play to certain predominantly-flat courses until I made some changes with my footwear.

The Choices are Either Spiked or Spikeless

Regardless of how you play or under which conditions you usually play, you got a choice of two options: spiked or spikeless. You can go traditional with spiked golf shoes. Or, you could go with the more trendy option of spikeless golf shoes. My current golf shoes are an early version of spikeless golf shoes and have suffered the inevitable doom of wear and tear. Prior to that, I have had both types of shoes. Since I am walking more, I am leaning toward the comfort and lightweight spikeless versions. Yet, due to playing in the mornings a lot, I recognize the benefits of a good pair of spiked golf shoes.

What a dilemma?

The recent rollout of the latest golf shoes has me salivating in all honesty. I mean this is purely a Pavlovian experience every time I check them out. I look at the latest spiked golf shoes and I start getting that itching to just pick out a pair and try them out on the course. Then, almost like Pavlov’s dog, I see the latest set of spikeless golf shoes and I am smitten by them all.

Do I Buy Spiked or Spikeless?

I want to that 72-hole test of spiked versus spikeless like Daniel Box of Golfalot.com, but I don’t think Amazon Prime will take anything back after such an undertaking. But I am on the hunt. All of the top brands have some great options and some new names have emerged in the fray, too. But here’s where I am stuck.

Help me out and answer a poll for me.

I will be sure to check back over the next few days to weigh the results. I already have some folks weigh in offline and they are killing me with their rationale. If you believe that you have some sound advice, drop it in the comments and I will be sure to check it out. I usually get some sound advice from the likes of Brian Penn and other golfers who blog on their play and the sport in general, so I am looking forward to getting some ideas on this whole dilemma.

Thanks a million. I will keep you all updated.

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Facing Facts from My Final Round During Winter Break

My Final Round for the Week and My Winter Break at Enagic Country Club

I planned my final round according to my Golf Planning Resources and still felt as if I had left something to chance. Playing Enagic Country Club in Eastlake was a familiar layout that takes you in and out of street traffic on a course interwoven into the Eastlake residential community. The course is laced with some challenging holes such as its signature usage of waterways on hole #9 and #12. In particular these two holes are guarded by water and bunkers, making accuracy a key factor in approaching the green.

My goal was simple: finish the week and winter break on a high note and possibly take note of where I leave off to take my game to a higher level upon my return to regular play.

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Don’t Play Yourself

I found things different at the course since I last graced its tee boxes. As I sought to keep up with the long-driving and power-hitting younger trio of my foursome, I felt like the odd man out. In some cases, I knew what I was doing wrong and I was just struggling to get out of my own head with weak tee shots forcing long distance recovery and scrambling for a shot at par. Even saving bogey was tricky at times. My best play came using my putter off the green to trail my Callaway Super Soft along a prickly fringe to bend onto the green and end up within an inch from the hole. Close but no cigar, just another bogey. Beyond that my short game research came into play and helped me save some strokes within 50 yards and at times within 100 yards. One key to my play was fatigue. I played myself out. I played a lot of golf and by the time that I got to this course I was not having as much fun and I felt the physical strain of it as I struggled in various parts of my game.

Good Scores, Good Vibes and Good Tries

I shot a 97 at Pala Mesa & a 93 here

My struggles did not translate to the scorecard as much as I felt. My mulligans had to come in to use on a few holes, but I can live with that. I was not playing for any type of wager and I certainly was not going for the club record, so I can roll with it. After all, I was having a good time and I was feeling those good vibes like when you are first introduced to Bob Marley or Steel Pulse.

I felt like my prior score on a par 3 was a more productive round, but I can still recall some highlights of this round making me realize why I come out to play. That feeling of punching a stinger across the fairway and getting that favorable bounce at the edge of a bunker that sends your ball swirling around the green to leave you with a four to five foot putt is hard to recreate on one’s own. Those types of shots keep you coming back for more and eagerly seeking out almost any opportunity to work in some new technique that the club pro or a golf buddy has shown you to give your game an edge.

I find it amazing that I could feel so inadequate about my game. I knew that my body was tiring from more consistent play than usual. I loved being in the company of some guys who could pound it off the tee and maneuver around the course. The number of double bogeys alone would amount to dropping four strokes if they bogeys and 93-4= 89. Playing bogey golf alone would it make a major difference in scoring. But if I had gotten at least 3 holes where I landed on the green rather than to the right or on a fringe, I would have had both green in regulation (GIR) and a shot at birdie which would have me with a greater chance at par than bogey due to my 2 putt average per hole. With so many options for breaking 90, I need to revisit my game strategy and execution for next outing.

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Practice Reveals Problems

The driving range offers you an opportunity to bring your best and see how well it measures up. It is never as menacing as the course itself, but it does have its own way of showing you where you might have some issues with your swing. Whether it be a matter of trying to address that major hook that was supposed to simply be a line drive or adjusting your body and stance at address to establish better alignment, you can learn a lot about your swing on the range.

My first outing since COVID-19

My overall focus is getting back to regular play. That most probably will not occur to winter break. Even with school’s going to distance learning, those of us who work with the kids in the school system still need to show up and remain attentive. After all, I can wait until a few weeks to make golf a regular feature in my coronavirus-impacted life right now. My goal of breaking 90 regularly will have to hold on until then and i will take to range more often to prepare myself for that time.

And the driving range reveals where you have swing issues. Like an old school basketball coach told me long ago, your practice reveals where you got problems. Address your problems while you got time to practice.

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Your Most Important Swing Component: Your Body

Swing mechanics look at numerous components of your golf swing. Watching my video recording of my golf practice sequence, I noticed my body was stiff and rigid. I did not have that loose flow within my swing that once helped me gobble up at least a handful of pars and an occasional birdie while at play. I went back to Golf-tip.com and looked at the advice offered there for game improvement. Like I said, my body was not engaged properly and I was making solid contact, but I was still robbing myself of quite a few yards of distance because of it.

According to the Grateful Golfer, golf fitness can lead to lower lower scores. As I observed my COVID-19 gut, I could not help but agree. My limited flexibility cut down on both my distance and accuracy on the range. That would translate to some added strokes on the course. I know good and well that I need to add more dynamic stretches to regime as well as use some of the yoga that I learned to open up my hips like I do for running.

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Beyond stretching and adding yoga, I want to address my overall health. Golf is just a part of that practice. I want to add more cross-training. I need to bike, hike and run, even dance, more day by day. I might even consider incorporating Gary Player’s 60/40 Rule. But I definitely will be running and walking more regularly.

By addressing just a few of these issues over the next couple of weeks, I think that I can get back into the low 90s by mid-December. Increased flexibility would help with both my golf game and my overall workout regimen of taking on fitness activities for at least 3 to 4 days per week. This will really help as I seek to walk the course more in 2021 than I have ever walked in my past.

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Adding Self-Talk Helps Beyond Muscle Memory

There are numerous strategies to fix your flaws, especially your posture and golf swing. For me, I know that I need to add more self-talk as I address the ball where it lies. We all have our own thing, but mine seems to be not taking enough time in my setup. I need to slow down and spend a moment simply talking myself through the next steps that lead to a successful golf swing for the moment.

I need to do so with course awareness and heightened sensitivity to the overall conditions. I do not mean to stand there and measure the wind projections. I mean to simply talk myself into refraining from hitting a lofted club into the windy air and settling for a hooded seven iron with a half swing to keep it low. I need more self-talk like that to keep me from self-cursing when I have to search for lost Callaways or Pinnacles in thorn bushes and amid cacti.

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Practice Reveals Problems: Whether You Fix Them or Not

Brian Penn nails this down on an All About Golf post related to proactive or reactive. It’s called game improvement because inherently most folks want to improve their game, their scores and overall play at golf. I welcome more advice, tips and comments on my swing as I focus on getting the rust off and increasing my flexibility. Drop them in the comments of this blog and offer your feedback. Just try to keep it helpful. After all, I am going for game improvement and trying to maintain some positive Zen if at all possible.