Fritsch, McIlroy, and a trip to The Golf Lab

As I alluded to in this post, there certainly doesn’t appear to be an off-season in Golf.

For hardcore fans of the game, this is wonderful. There is always something that you can watch, stream online, or catch-up on via Twitter. However, isn’t part of the excitement of other sports the waiting prior to a new season starting?

This past weekend saw the conclusion of baseball’s World Series; the San Francisco Giants triumphing in a four-game sweep over the favourited Detroit Tigers. So begins another off-season of questions, speculation, and excitement.

There is none of this in golf, as the world’s best always seem to be playing somewhere.

Perhaps a topic for another post.

For now, a catch-up on the recent golf happenings:

Fritsch fulfills his dream

Last weekend, Ottawa-native Brad Fritsch came to the end (or maybe it’s just the beginning) of a decade-long journey as a professional golfer. By finishing in the Top 25 of the season-long Web.Com Tour money list (18th, officially) he earned full-status to the 2013 PGA Tour. Fritsch, who turned pro over ten years ago, is the first man from the Ottawa-region to earn such a status, and is far and away in sports story of the year in the nation’s capital.

Brad Fritsch (Image: PGA.com)

Fritsch was nearly joined by fellow-Canuck Adam Hadwin, who shot a blistering 65 on Sunday to get into a tie for second with only one group left on the course. Hadwin, who began the day 48th on the money list and needed to stay t-2 in order to advance, was ousted by a final-hole birdie from James Hahn. A valiant effort.

I had the pleasure of meeting Fritsch this past summer at the Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf & Country Club. Fritsch walked right into the media centre to speak to my friend and editor Scott Macleod and couldn’t have been nicer. He told a great story about how his hybrid was actually one that he purchased like you or I would: from eBay.

Jason Logan from SCOREGolf had a great Q&A with Fritsch the day after earning his PGA Tour card. Take a read here

Money Talks

Announced on Tuesday, Rory McIlroy and Acushnet will be parting ways at the end of 2012. Acushnet, the parent company of Titleist and FootJoy, have sponsored the wunderkind since he burst onto the golfing scene.

This opens the door for McIlroy to join any other sponsorship camp he so chooses, and the front-runner appears to be Nike. The golf world has been all atwitter the past few weeks with speculation; however, it seems that the Nike Golf proposal (10 years, $250 million) would be too good for a 23-year-old to pass up.

Perhaps the reason why it seems so much more realistic is because either a TaylorMade-Adidas or Cobra/PUMA offer haven’t got a dollar-amount attached. We’ll see where McIlroy ends up.

Some may feel that losing a star like McIlroy would be a blow to Titleist, but, they’re not a brand to hinge their success on just one player. They’ve let names like Woods, Mickelson,  and Garcia all go in the primes of their careers.

Titleist doesn’t need celebrity to promote its brand, the brand is strong enough to manage on its own. It has the R&D and loyal fan-base to continue to thrive. Nike Golf, though, needs its stars. Where would it be without Tiger Woods?

Titleist is to golf what Porsche is to cars. When was the last time you saw an ad for Porsche that featured a celebrity? There are countless forums devoted to Porsche, just as there is a ‘Team Titleist’ devoted to its products. The following is loyal.

The McIlroy signing for Nike – if it comes to fruition – will not be one to enhance it’s golf offerings, no, it will be another play by the biggest sports company in the world to get one of the biggest sports stars in the world to wear the swoosh.

McIlroy & Woods went head-to-head in China on Monday this week in what was dubbed ‘The Duel.’ Interesting, and candid, video from them here:  http://www.golfchannel.com/embedplayer/?v={8A552054-7D9C-4825-9E88-B1ADB2EFDF95}&dap=1

The Golf Lab

On Sunday, I was invited to attend a presentation by Jason Glass and Dr. Harry Sese at The Golf Lab in Vaughan.

Glass, the Canadian National Golf team’s strength & conditioning coach, and Dr. Sese put on a dynamic presentation aimed specifically at younger golfers who were looking at making it to the next level – however, there were some grey-hairs in attendance.

The Golf Lab

The talk was well-received. Glass shared with the audience a handful of strategies with respect to training regiments for golfers during the off-season, and Dr. Sese commented on proper stretching and body maintenance prior to tackling any kind of conditioning program.

“This is the future of golf,” said Glass. “No longer is it acceptable to get by on just technique. Today’s golfers are athletes. If you want to get to the highest level, you need to train at the highest level.”

Strong words for many in attendance, however, it was positive to see a full-house and knowing that the future of Canadian golf is bright. I tweeted some more of Glass’ most memorable quips.

Knowing that this kind of program was available to Team Canada players, and other members of elite facilities, it would be worthwhile for the governing bodies of golf in Canada to explore opportunities to include a basic training & conditioning program with the National Golf in Schools Program, CN Future Links, or other junior programs across the country.

Golf is not getting any cheaper, and this may be a good opportunity to give golfers looking to get to the next level what they need from a 360-degree training perspective, rather than have them pay more money for this kind of treatment.

The real star of the show was The Golf Lab facility. It was a golfer’s paradise and I’m looking forward to getting up there again to explore what else they have to offer. Aside from many large hitting bays, a short-game area, and a golf-specific gym overlooking the whole facility, they also do club-fitting and custom coaching.

Located in Vaughan, they are looking at expanding to a second facility in Oakville.

More information can be located here:  http://www.thegolflab.ca/

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3 thoughts on “Fritsch, McIlroy, and a trip to The Golf Lab

  1. Pingback: Golf: A Social Game | Adam's Touch

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