Reciprocal Golf Problog by Peter Baumann


Dennis Grahovic in Germany sent me a message two days ago stating he needs to buy himself a set of golf clubs, and asked me where he should go. I am flattered, because it has been at least ten years since I quit making custom golf club sets at PROBE GOLF,

At the time we started making the best performing golf clubs in the world at PROBE GOLF, in 1986, virtually no other golf company in the world made true custom fit, and custom performing golf equipment!

Read that sentence again, because it is the absolute truth. The closest other golf company that advertised custom fitting was PING. Remember their custom lie, custom length, custom grip promotion? Would it shock you to know that PING used the same shaft for all customers, and it was a shaft that fit no one?

In golf, the harder you swing, the stiffer the shaft has to be, and the higher the Flex Point has to be. PING did not wish to inventory a dozen different shaft types, so they compromised by using their PING ZING shaft, with a low flex point. A low flex point leads to a high, less controlled shot. By tipping (cutting more off the thin end of the shaft) the shaft more, they made a stiff shafted club for hard swingers, but with a high, less-controlled shot due to the low flex point. Easier swingers, and women, need the low flex point, but not a stiff shaft, because they can't swing it hard enough!

At PROBE GOLF, we stocked over eight different steel shafts for iron sets, and the same for woods. To prove my point, here are two examples of why PROBE irons were the best performing irons in the world, "for each individual golfer's needs":

1) When I started PROBE GOLF, I was a six handicap golfer. I had played for twenty-two years, and had never had a hole-in-one. When I made myself the first PROBE iron set, with the shaft best suited to my swing, I made a hole-in-one within one month, holing a five iron on the 195-yard hole # eight at the Lake Shastina Golf Resort near Mt. Shasta, CA.

I made my second hole-in-one a month later, holing my PROBE 2-iron on #11 from 222 yards. Not exactly short par-3's.

My handicap dropped within four months to a "plus 2", two strokes better than "0". I won the Men's Club Championship nine times in twelve years, and shot as low as 65 on the par-72 Championship course.

2) In 1987 I won the Lake Shastina Amateur Championship, with 200 of northern California's top amateurs competing, by shooting 70-70, four under par. The three men who finished right behind me were playing PING Eye 2 irons. Tom, who finished second, three shots behind me, told me that hole #16 that day made all the difference. I had hit my PROBE 2-iron into the wind 209 yards to one foot from the hole for birdie. Tom had hit his PING 1-iron twice as high as my 2-iron into the front bunker (due to his low flex point shafts) and made bogey! Tom asked me over a beer in the clubhouse that afternoon to make him a set of PROBE irons. I did so, using a high flex point shaft in his set, and Tom came back the next year to win the same tournament by SIX SHOTS!

Choosing the right shaft for each customer's needs is the key to turning a so-so golfer into a great golfer! In the last ten years I have had a personal friend of mine, Joe Roland, who knows the secrets of proper fitting each customer to the proper shaft, make all custom-fit golf sets for people who come to me for a better choice of golf equipment.

Therefore, to answer Dennis Grahovic's question, for him to buy the best performing golf clubs (for his swing) he should fill out my PROBE GOLF Custom Fitting Questionnaire, and then I will confer with my friend, Joe Roland, who will build the set for Dennis. And, Dennis' cost will be about 60% of what he would spend with Nike, Taylor Made, PING, Titleist, Cobra, or any of the other name brands!

I have decided to "restart" PROBE GOLF once again, to introduce our new PROBE 20/10 inverted-shafted putter, which will outperform our PROBE 20/20 putter we introduced to the golfing world through our Gary Player infomercial in 1993, and sold over 120,000 putters at $120 each.

(Pictured above - Larry Laoretti, winner of the 1992 Senior United States Open Championship, using his PROBE Driver and PROBE 20/20 inverted-shafted putter.)

It will be fun to once again make the best performing golf equipment in the world, and the best performing putter ever designed.
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Phil Woke Up in a Pool of his Own Vomit?

Yesterday was a very strange day for me. I agreed to give one company an option to buy PROBE GOLF ( from me, I received an email from my publisher regarding my final option to make changes to my first novel, LOVE WAS NOT ENOUGH, before they went to print, and I heard Phil Michelson on the television tell the press that it was a good omen when he woke up in a pool of his own vomit that morning!

Where to start!

OK, I retired from making the world's best custom fit irons at PROBE GOLF in 1996. And we had sold 120,000 of the world's best putter (the world's only inverted-shafted putter), the PROBE 20/20, by 1996.

And after I had lost my best friend and soul mate five times in sixteen years while running PROBE GOLF, I decided to write a book about it, LOVE WAS NOT ENOUGH, for the therapeutic help which I desperately needed at the time?

But Phil waking up in a puddle of his own vomit? And that was a good omen to him?

In his own words, "I'm not feeling well, but when I woke up in a pool of my own vomit this morning, it was a good omen. The last two times that happened to me, I won both tournaments!"

Like I said, it was a strange day to say the least.

Let's concentrate on Phil. How many times yesterday during the first round of the Quail Hollow Championship did we see Phil hit a shot, then head for the forest to lean over a bush?

Tournament golf must be much harder than it was in my day. Both Phil and Tiger only hit four fairways each yesterday. Phil bogied the last two holes to shoot two under par, while Tiger shot two over par.

Let us all watch round two today, and hope the day is more conventional. At least for my purposes I hope the day is closer to normal.

My emotions are having enough of a problem recovering from foot surgery last week, with three pins in my right foot. An unemotional day watching regular golf will be a welcome change.

And who will shoot the lowest score for 72 holes this week, Phil or Tiger? Do you think one of them will win at Quail Hollow?
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Phil Mickelson in the News Again

PHIL MICKELSON is in the news again, as he should be when the subject is professional golf. He is opening his 2010 season at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, CA, and with Tiger on the sidelines for who knows how long, Phil is the Number One active player in the world.

Unfortunately, who wins at Torrey Pines this week is second to the controversy surrounding Phil's use of a Pre-1990 PING wedge. As we discussed in December, the rules of golf have made a huge change backwards regarding what golf equipment is legal on the PGA Tour in 2010. Golf equipment has been improved upon over the decades, but this year the USGA decided they were going to eliminate the benefit of square grooves, and go back to what was legal almost twenty years ago!

Phil, as well as several other tour players, is using a PING wedge that has square grooves, and it is legal to do so as far as the Tour is concerned due to a lawsuit brought against the PGA Tour by PING back in the 1990s. But several tour players have publicly slandered Phil for using the wedge, most notably Scott McCarron. McCarron publicly accused Phil of cheating! Those are strong words on the PGA Tour, especially when they are directed at Mickelson. He is not only one of the most squeaky clean players on tour, his entire eighteen-year history has been just that; and at a time when the Tour needs its stars after the Tiger Woods fiasco, it does not need its best player referred to as a cheater!

I for one support Phil's decision to play the PING wedge, and support every player who chooses to do so, as long as the Tour states it is legal. If that governing body decides to change that status, then obviously Phil will go along with that decision.

Let me know what you think.

What Will Phil Mickelson Do Next?

What will Phil do next? Wasn't that the opening question in a TV commercial?

Do you remember when Phil first put two drivers in his bag? I believe it was at the 2006 Bellsouth Classic.

As a custom golf set fitting expert at Probe Golf from 1987 through 2002, I know what is involved with making a driver that will hook or fade. I can understand what Phil was attempting to do with the two drivers. And it worked! He not only won the 2006 Bellsouth Classic going away, but he also won the Masters the next week!

My question to Phil is, "Why did you stop playing the two drivers?"

One driver was 46 inches, the other was 45 inches. With the 46-inch driver, Mickelson said he hit a 305-yard draw; with the 45-incher, he hit a 290-yard cut.

That made sense to me. There are many ways to change how the ball flies off a driver; the loft, the lie, the stiffness (flex), the flex point (low, mid, or high), the torque, the length, the grip size, etc.

So, if anyone knows why Phil stopped using the two drivers, I would like to know. I haven't been able to find the answer on the Internet. And if anyone has another example of a well-known golfer doing something similar, please share it with us.

More on the New Golf Equipment Rules for 2010

The new golf equipment rules for January 1, 2010, have to do with the width, depth, and sharpness of the grooves on irons. Basically, square grooves are out next year; but it does not apply to over 99% of casual golfers until the year 2024.

Only professional tournament golfers must comply next year. That's why I started the discussion about which tour players will move up in the world rankings starting this coming January, due to their ability to hit more fairways off the tee.

Amateur golfers who play in most USGA tournaments will have to comply by 2014. So don't worry about rushing out and buying yourself a new set of irons! The ones you are playing right now are good for at least another four years, and that is only if you are a top amateur.

Will the New Equipment Rules affect who Becomes the Number One Golfer in 2010?

About a month ago I mentioned the new rules change for golf equipment in 2010. I have also addressed the question of which player, if any, will overtake Tiger Woods as the number one player in the world. Before Tiger defaulted due to the recent marriage problems, I predicted Phil Mickelson would be number one by the end of 2010.

The rules change and who will excel in 2010 are intertwined topics, because hitting the fairway off the tee will be much more important in 2010. In 2009, big hitters could drive it 300 to 350 yards, into the rough, but still hit it close to the pin out of the rough due to square grooves.

If square grooves can't be used in 2010, it is obvious that hitting the ball close to the pin from out of the rough will be more difficult.

Tournament commentators this year have suggested shorter hitters will be moving up in the tour rankings next year, because they hit more fairways off the tee. I have heard Tim Clark's name mentioned as a likely candidate to move closer to the top of the rankings.

How do you think the rules change will effect who will move up in the world rankings next year?

Proper Putting Techniques

Do yourself a favor, and save yourself some money at the same time! Do not pay for a golf lesson until you practice, and perfect, my previous weight-shift lessons (blogs). Without a proper weight shift, you are wasting your time trying to hit a golf ball!

Now, this blog (lesson) covers putting. In 1972 I was flying into San Francisco, reading the Sports Illustrated magazine on the plane. It had an article about an 81-year-old man who challenged anyone to a putting contest, and he was blind! All he wanted was for his son to line him up toward the hole before he putted.

His secret to winning putting bets was his grip. Look at picture (1) here. Most golfers pick up their putter the same way they pick up any other club, with the shaft in the meat of their palm. That is a mistake. Look at picture (2), where I have the shaft along the lifeline of my right palm, and aiming straight up my forearm. Now put the left hand on the shaft the same way, with the shaft along the lifeline. Notice your wrists are arched upward, with a more upright angle to the putter. Now the putter cannot turn off line if you putt with your arms.

Finally, in picture (3), bend your thumbs so the tip of your thumbs are into the putter, instead of the flat, front (fingerprint) part of your thumb down the shaft. Now your wrists are locked, and you cannot turn the putter offline!

Now stroke every putt back, then forward, the same distance back as forward, with a smooth pendulum stroke.

The only thing better for you to do now is buy one of my PROBE 20/20 putters that I invented in 1992, if you can find one; they are not longer being manufactured.


Are you in the groove for 2010?

Remember back in the 1980's when the PGA Tour tried to abolish square grooves? Mark Calcavechia entered the Tour with Ping irons, with square grooves, and the former PGA caddy started outplaying other tour players out of the rough! So the PGA Tour made a rule that square grooves could not be used on Tour. PING, faced with the possibilty of not being able to sell millions of sets of irons with square grooves, sued the PGA! The PGA gave in, and allowed square grooves.

Now, the PGA, after an agreed upon "cooling off" period, has ruled that, beginning January, 2010, Tour players may not use square grooves on Tour! Obviously, 156 tour players that tee it up every week will not determine manufacturing decisions that are made by the chief executives at PING, Taylor Made, Titleist, Nike, Cleveland Golf, Adams Golf, and other iron manufacturers. 25 million amateur golfers in the USA will continue to play their square gooves, UNLESS the USGA rules that square grooves are no longer legal.

But what if the USGA makes such a ruling? In my experience, amateur golfers will continue to play clubs that give them an advantage, so they can win their "weekend nassau bets" with their buddies. Only entrants in official USGA tournaments will comply with such a ruling.

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