Golf Jackets vs. the Puffer Caddy
Finding the right golf jacket is very important; not only do you need to be protected from the elements but your golf wear needs to allow you to have freedom of movement on the golf course. When it comes to choosing outerwear for this sport, it can sometimes be quite difficult to find the balance between warmth / protection and flexibility of motion.
Whilst some golfers opt for the popular puffer caddy for free arm movement, others still believe that a traditional golfing jacket can provide maximum comfort and performance.
Here we take a look at the pros and cons of both.
The Golf Jacket
Although some golfers may prefer to choose a gilet for freedom of movement, there are many golf jackets that could offer the same movement if you know what you’re looking for. The key to finding a decent golf jacket that does not hinder your golf swing is to find the right fit so knowing your own sizing is very important. Trying on a few different brands will help you get a feel of whether you are S, M or L consistently or whether you need to adjust your size choice with each brand.
Golf jackets should be lightweight and fuss free; a simple cut, basic collar and sleeve to ensure that you can move about as easily as you need to when you’re on the golf course.
You will also find that many specialist golfing jackets can offer features such as adjustable Velcro sleeves, windbreak technology, interlock fleece lining for extra warmth, moisture wicking properties such as a mesh lining (to keep you dry), or waterproof coating.
The Puffer Caddy
A puffer caddy is a sports gilet designed for serious golfers. With free arm movement, the puffer caddy can be very warm to wear when you team with base layers and a decent mid layer. The quilted layers within the jacket are there to keep golfers warm when the weather is bitter but to make sure you keep fully protected, it’s important to invest in the correct base tops or thermals.
Due to the sleeveless design, a puffer caddy offers the flexibility of being zipped up or worn unzipped without having any restrictions to your golf swing.
Tuesday 19 March 2013
Golf Jackets vs. the Puffer Caddy
Monday 22 October 2012
This course has so much going for it - a stunning design that makes use of the terrain within which it lives, challenging grainy greens (when they are not hollotined) and somewhat spectacular views.
Unfortunately, its also way out of town, barely has any pre and post round facilities to speak of and it appears from their attitude that some members of the staff would rather be elsewhere. This is a development crying out for its investors to put more money in, to keep up with the stunning (and some not so stunning) houses going up around the course (look to Copperleaf as an example).
That being said, I had a great time playing the course (my second outing) and would gladly take the hour drive south of Joburg again. As mentioned above, the course looks stunning and requires some careful shot making in order to negotiate your way round. It is short by comparison to some of the newer courses in Gauteng and the fairways are quite generous in places but if you hit a long ball and try to overpower the course, you will find yourself in trouble more often than not.
The feature hole for me has to be the par 4, stroke 1, 3rd - a tricky little bugger were you can run out of space to the left, to the right and thru the fairway (if the wind is blowing), with bunkers and out of bounds to be avoided on the left, a hazard running the entire length of the right hand side of the fairway with a raised green for your approach shot. Played off the tee with a driver, you won't have much more than a 9 iron in for your second, but it is uphill (you often won't see the bottom of the pin, on the tiered green) and you have to come in over the hazard. Walking off with a par is very satisfying.
From a looks perspective, I would go for the par 3 16th, a steeply downhill hole, with a game reserve off to the left, a koppjie behind and non-intrusive houses to the left. It looks easy off the tee box but there are bunkers to catch you out and a false front that deals with anything short.
The only reason it falls short from an overall rating perspective is due to the aforementioned lack of facilities and attitude of some of the staff. A move to the large farm house (instead of living in the stables) would make a world of difference. Also trying buying some new buckets for the range, the broken ones look crap.
Wednesday 26 September 2012
Ways to Improve your Golf Game in 2012
If you want to get better at golf, the first step is to identify the problems. If you can highlight your weaknesses, you can begin to put together a strategy to fix these issues. Take notes about every game you play and make a list of your victories and losses. Recording information such as this can help you to look at your overall game and make improvements. There are many Apps you can download that can analyse your game for you and they also give you pointers that can help you up your game.
- Put in
Practise makes perfect and if you want to improve, you will have to put in some extra hours. The more effort you put in to a sport, the better results you will see. If you have a club membership, increase your visits or simply increase the length of your weekly session.
If you are playing with worn out clubs, it could be time for an upgrade. Go online to research the best clubs on the market and shop around-you can check out golf clubs for sale while you do!
Monday 24 September 2012
I was having a look over Golf Digest South Africa's Top 100 courses list and decided to do a little counting - it appears I have played 69 of those courses (a nice number) - all of the top 10 and none of the bottom 10, 42 of the top 50 and everything within 150km of where I stay (in Gauteng). Time to be a tourist in my own country it appears.
If you are reading Golf Digest, I would love to be part of your review panel!!!
With the holiday season fast approaching and summer finally making an appearance (although it didn't seem that way on saturday morning), I am going to be playing a lot more golf and (hopefully) writing a lot more reviews.
Tuesday 20 May 2008
More often than not most people will only play courses that are close to where they live purely because travelling can be a pain, with traffic, insane drivers, our ever courtoues traffic police and the climbing petrol price, but Pecanwood is always worth the 45 minutes it takes to get there from my house.
Upfront, let me say that the only reason this course did not get 10 out of 10 is due to the fact that it is surrounded by enough mock tuscan/balinese monstrosities to make a grown architect cry, but if you are prepared to forgive the home owners assocations obvious lack of taste in their architectural guidelines (no wonder there are still so many empty stands in the estate nearly 10 years after it opened - even Dainfern with its obvious ego pieces was full up over 2 years ago), you will find a golf course that will challenge you, flatter you and have you coming back for more.
Jack Nicklaus certainly knows how to design a golf course - this was his first completed venture in South Africa (and I doubt he needs my seal of approval), obvoiusly he has had a lot of practice but he put a course in place that never fails to give a golfer a massive amount of enjoyment irrespective of their handicap or ability.
Before we tackle the course, I need to bring to your attention the impact that good service has on the overall experience of a golf club - as you will have seen in previous reviews, a club may have a highly rated course, but if their staff treat you like they are doing a favour by serving you, it definately affects your perception of the course itself. Pecanwood, fortunately doesn't have that problem, every time I have played there (amazingly enough their rates are almost reasonable at R450 + R85 for a half share of cart as a weekend visitor, although this is a bit expensive, it is well within reason for a course of this quality) I have had a world class experience right from entering the estate, to having my clubs taken directly to the starter, through the changeroom and into the pro shop. Well done to Ken Payet and his staff (it is however a bitch not being able to organise rounds at Sun City now that he has left)
The design is very subtle in that the course layout doesn't really dictate how you need to play a hole but provides guidance in the way each fairway is shaped and how the (many) bunkers will come into to play given your shot shape. Almost every hole provides a bail-out route for the higher handicapper and a 'tiger line' for the player who fancies himself as a bit of talent. The course is long, even more so if you are straying off the fairway a lot and having to play out of the kikuyu rough, but most of the time you won't mind being there.
My favourite hole is probably the par 5, 536m (of the club tees), stroke 3 7th. The clubs website
described the hole as follows 'After an intimidating tee shot into a narrow landing zone and a long
lay up shot favouring the left hand side of the fairway, you will have a short iron into a narrow green which is well guarded by bunkers', which doesn't really describe quite how difficult this hole is if you aren't hitting the ball well and the wind is blowing (interestingly the pro tees add another almost 50m to the length of this hole). Off the tee box you are faced with out of bounds (and tall trees) down the right with bunkers short and left of the landing zone which is quite some distance off the tee.
There are very few places on this hole (and on most of the course) where the fairway is flat, so your second shot will most probably be played off an awkward lie. Keep left with your second shot to avoid even more bunkers short and right of the green (don't go to big if you are going for the green though because it is surrounded by pot bunkers and the ones behind are above the putting surface, which slopes away from you toward the front of the green and more bunkers!). The green itself is fairly narrow front to back, but quite wide left to right and has some wicked slopes to it and a bit of a false front to gather shots that fall a bit short. The greens were fairly slow (for Pecanwood) as I played them, but I suspect that the greenkeeper can make them almost unplayable if he wants to.
The other nice thing about this hole is that it is smack in the middle of one of the most challenging combinations of holes on the course, being preceded by a 390m stroke 1 par 4 and followed by a par 3 which is a stroke 5 and can stretch anywhere from 155m to 215m - if you come through these 3 holes, level par or better, then you can certainly feel satisfied with your self (although the 9th is a bit of a damp squib after these 3 holes).
I don't have a hole that doesn't appeal to me as every one seems to perfectly in its place, my only gripe would be that once the greens are full of pitch marks and many bunkers seem to be left unraked, but then I can't really blame that on the course or its management.
The course itself is in excellent condition, but then they are right next to a dam. They have a very nice lockerroom and shower facilities, ample parking, a fairly decent halfway house, a small but well stocked pro shop and a really nice driving range, although the practice green does seem to have been situated as something of an after thought.
For more information, visit
Wednesday 07 May 2008
This is one of those courses that you will either love or hate (and I know families within which this is the case), but you should play if you get the chance (and are prepared to raid the piggy bank), just take lots of balls.
I first played the course just after it opened for public play and it was breathtaking. Some of the facilities weren't finished yet but you let it slide because you feel you had just played one of the most spectacular courses anywhere on the planet.
But as time passes, return visits are made and management changes, decisions get made with financial rewards in mind that detract from the overall experience, for instance you can now only play the course if you are staying on the estate, if you are a platinum member or you are invited by one. Whilst I can see the point (excuse the pun) and the advantages of making the experience more exclusive, the problem is though the cost of playing has gone up 50%, the cost of staying there has gone up 100%+, the cost of drinking has skyrocketed and maintenance standards have slipped; you can’t blame that all on the deteriorating economy (at least not without a smirk on your face) - there is cashing in and then there is ripping you off.
When management crows in its newsletter about being awarded a 5 Star Golf Experience Award and the members beg to differ then you know you have problems.
I have heard a number of opinions, but the one that clinches it for me is from a member (who lives on the estate) who says that no one plays on the course and she battles to find a game because she can’t find someone to play with on a weekend (and a drop in green fees of 40% hasn’t fixed the problem) - something is not right and the management probably need a wakeup call (and to fix the hole in roof with something more than a few sheets of cardboard).
But less of that and more about the golf course. Pinnacle Point is spectacular, breathtaking, stunning and all the other superlatives that come to mind, you can see the sea on every hole, the designer has gone to town with the layout, the service is great (but middling in pockets), the location is spot on, but once you've played once or twice you probably won't feel the pull to play again - let me explain why. I have been lucky enough to play most of the 'big' courses in and around the Knysna/George/Mossel Bay area and the thing is that none of them could hope to hold a professional tournament other than Oubaai (that being said I haven't played any of the courses in Fancourt or George CC but I am working on that), they are a test of your golfing ability but there is something odd about them, like someone was trying to make a non to subtle point. Of all the courses in the area, the one only that looks like it was meant to be there is Ernie Els's Oubaai (much like Gardener Ross, but I'll keep that for another review), the rest just look like someone said 'I have this piece of ground, make a golf course fit onto it'.
The funny thing is though that for all the moaning, I don't just have a favourite hole at Pinnacle Point, I have several, namely the 7th, 8th and 9th combination where you play out over the sea to greens that are tucked up against the edge of a cliff (the effect that the 7th has on you when you first play it, is almost akin to a religious experience - you come over a rise on the cart path from the previous green and are faced with what seems like a 50m plunge from the tee box to the green over the water of an a sea hewn inlet with nothing but the sea and sheer cliffs on three sides of the green).
The 7th looks to be on a par with anything I have seen (on TV) at Pebble Beach, etc. The 8th is a driveable par 4, if you can belt it 280m+ over nothing but water, it’s a brilliant hole and if you are, like me, something of a gorilla on the course, then you will relish the challenge. The 9th is yet another par 3, played over an inlet to a green surrounded on almost all sides by the sea, the trick with this one however is to figure out which way the wind is blowing and figure in how much affect the club house is going to have once the ball gets above it and then pray you have the right club and the right line (the first time we played, my partner was aiming 45 degrees away from the green straight out to sea).
The next combination I enjoy is 12, 13 and the 14th tee box - 12 is a cracker of a hole, off the back tees you probably start about 200m above the fairway (which looks tiny) with a view over almost the entire course and you are playing straight out towards the sea. If you don't trust your golf cart's brakes however, I would proceed down the hill with caution. The 13th is another par 3 where you play over the sea to a green surrounded by water and cliffs, the thing is here is that the green is the size of a postage stamp and surrounded by long grass, bunkers and rocks, not for the faint hearted when the pin is placed up against the right edge of the green!. The 14th hole is Pinnacle Points stroke 2 and as is the case with any stroke 2 par 4, is long, uphill and bloody tough buts it’s not the hole that does it for me, it’s the tee box - it is on the cliffs edge with the sea thundering 50m below you. Trust me, when you play Pinnacle Point take a half a dozen or so water balls with for nothing more than turning sideways and banging them out to sea!
This course also has some really daft holes, like the 6th for instance - it’s a short par 4, with a tee shot over a ravine that is a forerunner of things to come but the fairway is narrow to the point of nonexistent around the landing zone and the green is about 40m long and feels as narrow as 3 to 4m wide in places – the whole hole feels horribly out of place and gives you the feeling that it was an afterthought that was shoe horned in at the last minute or as a compromise.
The par 4 stroke 1 4th is really bland, to the point that it really just looks like a landing strip. I can only guess that it gets its rating because I can see it being unplayable in the wind with it being one of the highest points on the course (then again maybe it just suffers from being between 2 brilliant par 5's that look and feel really intimidating off the tee box, even for a big hitter).
The 15th suffers not from being a terrible golf hole, but by just being a little too bland after all the sights and sounds you have just played through, but my vote for the worst hole goes to the 18th, a par 5 with a hard dogleg left with 175m to go, after you have had to hit it 275m+ (at the coast) to an area of probably no more than 10 square metres, which would be challenge on pretty much any other golf course, except here there isn't a flat or even sloping lie to be had anywhere on the fairway, everything feels like you are about to fall over and the only place you can hope to hit the ball from a reasonably flat lie is covered in deep, clawing grass. Make no mistake, it is a spectacular looking hole to finish on, but to my mind it’s a little over done (and it’s certainly not a stroke 8).
There are a lot of bunkers at Pinnacle Point, but they didn't really seem to come into play (I think I only played from a bunker twice over two rounds, both fairway and greenside), more for decoration than challenge I think, and therein lies the problem with the course, it looks good, it is fun to play (especially when the wind is blowing) but you do feel a little let down after walking off, like something important was missing.
My final verdict - the views where great, the greens were amongst the best I've played and the wow factor you witness when you tell people you have played there is almost worth it - I'd play there again, but I doubt I'd pay, there are just better, more challenging and less contrived courses in that part of the world.
For more details, take a look at www.pinnaclepoint.co.za
Sunday 04 May 2008
I am not dead, I haven't stopped playing and I haven't moved to another site, I've just been lazy (and injured and trying to start a new business).
But thats all about to change, I have a raft of course reviews stacked up and some juicy news about one of South Africa's premier courses to share (just as soon as I can get it from the source).
I am going to try and do at least one review a week and the first one is going to be a goodie!
[Thanks to Speedcat Hollydale, HP and TonyM for giving me a kick all in the same week]
Monday 16 July 2007
After playing Glenvista and writing the review, I thought that I sounded like a little bit of a snob having a slight dig at the courses in the south the way I did, so I arranged a game at South Downs Country Club with the brother and a few mates who barely get to play golf and are by no means picky about the courses they tackle, and I have to say that pleasantly surprised is probably the best way to describe the experience we had - I arrived with very low expectations as the course has previously been known as bit of a dirt track and I wasn't initially surprised to find it that way; the pro shop wasn't open yet when we got there, there are no directions to the
tee boxes and the 10th hole (a par 3) looks horrible (although it will probably look much better once the earth works are finished), although they do have nice new parking lot, new carts and their security is well organised.
The course is a classic parkland layout, with wide fairways, lots of run in winter (I will be returning in summer to compare), it has plenty of water and ditches, etc to catch you out but most holes are wide open and have plenty of room (and trees) for you to get yourself into trouble - for the most part the additional hazards are only found on the harder holes. The course will probably play a lot harder and look a lot better in summer
The greens are really good, for the most part they are consistent on the speed front and easy enough to read - expect the 18th which is all over the place and has slopes and lines I wouldn't even expect to find at Augusta it is so tricky; but thats probably my ego talking given how shocking my golf was
For me the feature hole is the par 4, stroke 5, 7th - its relatively short at only 313m but it deserves its rating - you play over a stream, between two wooded areas to a fairway that turns to the right; the stream and trees run down the entire right side of the whole and there is a strategically placed bunker on the left to catch those that don't get the line just right. Getting your drive in the fairway is only
half the fun, if you don't get it in the right place, you limit your opens going in for your second as the approach to the green is guarded by trees (again) on either side of the green, a stream across the front, a bunker down the right and a raised green that pretty much runs everything off it that is not perfectly place. If you add a nasty pin position on the crest of green, you have a nasty little hole that leaves you satisfied if you walk off with a par (and not to unhappy with a bogey if you have
bounced off the back of the green and faced a somewhat tricky recovery shot).
The halfway house is somewhat rustic but the food and service where great and the meal was reasonably priced - a trend carried through the club as a round is cheap and the bar is not at all overpriced, even if a cart cost same as clubs in the north.
Overall then the course is tough but fair, probably very enjoyable if you are a beginner - you can get a big score on a hole, but you won't loose many balls and you won't hold the experience against the course; go and play South Downs Country Club you will be pleasantly surprised; given how the parking lot was packed when we left (AND the number of very expensive vehicles) it contained, I was surprised we got a round at all!
Glenvista is not one of the courses I normally rush to play, but I am generally impressed every time I do, and with the changes that have already taken place (impressive new pro-shop and half-way house, additions to the bar) and the those that are in progress (new tees) I'll probably make more effort to squeeze in a round down south.
It has always been my feeling that this course has been constrained by its location,
both because it has to make do with the space it has being in a valley and the fact that it is in the south of Johannesburg, it has suffered by the compromises required to shoe horn the course in i.e. a couple of quirky, short par fours (10 & 14) and the fact that it is not located in a glamorous part of town, although by the look of some of the monster houses that surround the course that is probably changing. Growing up in the south (Alberton), you aspired to play in the north, at Wanderers, Parkview, River Club, etc but you ended playing Reading, South Downs and Glenvista.
I have to admit though that my favourite thing about this course are its greens, they are fast but not slick, hold an approach well, are easy enough to read and true once you have a feel for them - they just feel fair. Not so good however are bunkers and tee boxes - the bunkers could do with more sand in them (and golfers with better manners) and the tee grounds need leveling, a bit more attention to detail and not quite so much water.
For me the feature hole is the par 4, stroke 1, 12th - it starts up high, almost in one of the boundary residents back gardens and played off the back tees is a mighty long way. A good drive will get you within mid iron range and if you shape your shot from left to right and start it on the right line then you will have no more than a wedge into an elevated green, that slopes from back to front and right to left, but put your shot too far right and you're out of bounds and on the left you are in the trees or the river and you are probably going to walk away frustrated.
The green has two almost pot bunkers in front of it, but its greater defense is its putting surface - its not wickedly sloped, but has a subtle shape that has you looking for (and finding) lines that are not there and if the greenkeeper is feeling nasty and puts the pin on the harshest part of the slope about two thirds of the way up the green then you will probably walk off without a smile on your face.
The front nine at Glenvista is fairly open even and doesn't present to many hidden challenges even if the holes run right next to each other and the course designer has made great use of the elevation changes on one or two of the holes such the 3rd and the 4th, but the entire feel of the course changes once you walk off the 10th green (which has never been one of my favourite holes, with its quirky long iron off the tee on a par 4 requirement, followed by another long iron) and onto the 11th tee box - the entire course closes in around you and feels almost claustrophobic as you wrestle with the out of bounds and river on either side of most holes with the valley walls and mansions towering above you.
On the bright side, it is nice to see that the Pro is now operating out of decently sized and well appointed shop after being stuck in a poky broom closet for many years, but he still does not have enough golf carts and if you take a caddie be prepared to be irritated, in fact on the day I was there they had to bring caddies in from another course and one of my fellow players caddie pitched up with a hangover to sink a battleship.
If you are looking for a challenge, don't mind navigating around the south of Johannesburg (and a lack of signposts to the club) and are looking for a nice relaxed atmosphere (the new bar is great) then I would heartily recommend Glenvista.