You can have your fancy drivers, putters, wedges, swing improvement devices, the latest “secrets to golfing glory” but one thing you can’t do without is….the golf ball. The way we were – classic Dunlop 65s from the Seventies and MacGregor Golf balls from the Eighties with the present day challenger in the market, Seed Golf. Funny thing about golf balls. The emotional connection we golfers have with them is surprisingly deep. I mean, who gives a continental curse about a “bad swing” unless it has consequences? The swing itself means nothing, be it judged as good, bad, ugly, or sublimely beautiful – at least, not until it makes contact with our beloved ball. How do we know this? Well, just reflect on the shock, the horror, the rage that surges through the body when we complete the train wreck of a horrible swing and send our golf ball hurtling into deep rough or the middle of a water hazard where it drowns, never to rise from the deep. The sense of loss, of injustice, the sink hole in the stomach at the realization that (a) ball is gone, lost, never to be found and (b) it’s costing us at least one penalty shot can be devastating. Losing golf balls, especially when you (meaning me) can lose four or even five on a demanding golf course when playing rubbish golf, is demoralising and costly. Personally, I’m like a lot of golfers. If I was prepared to shell out between €50 and €60 regularly for the most expensive balls on the market, those would be the balls I’d use. However, there are conditions. First and foremost, the value of such an investment requires a level of confidence that I’ll get value out of my purchase. If I’m in a stretch of playing badly, I’ll use cheaper or used balls, because I hate, hate, hate losing the expensive product. If it’s very windy and I’m likely to struggle, ditto. The top of the line balls – if any are still surviving – stay in the bag. It was ever thus. Back in the 70s and 80s, the prized golf balls were Dunlop 65s, so named because Henry Cotton shot 65 at Royal Saint George’s en route to winning the 1934 Open Championship. He was playing Dunlop golf balls that week, so the company named the ‘65’ in his honour. Receiving a present of, or buying, a half dozen Dunlop 65s – they came in cellophane wrappers – was special, so the habit of leaving the good ‘uns in the box until, hopefully, I felt somewhat confident of playing reasonably well was established in the Seventies. MacGregor balls, as endorsed by Jack Nicklaus, were also particular favourites of mine in the Eighties, but they, too, were on the reserved list waiting for that magic to be ignited. Now, I don’t feel that precious about my best golf balls. Why? Because a new company called Seed Golf have come on the market. They’re an Irish firm, based in County Carlow. They are offering three levels of golf ball – the SD-15 “Country Mile”; the SD-05 “Pro Soft”, and the SD-01 “The Pro” – all quality balls, and at impressively reasonable prices – €25 per dozen – at least half the cost on average of the highest priced balls on the market. How can they do that? They focus on just providing the balls. “We ship direct from the factory to you cutting out 2-3 layers of cost, we don’t pay million dollar Tour Pro endorsement contracts, and we haven’t spent our R & D money on a large range of golf ball models – just the best performing in each key category,” says the company. The balls are not available in shops. Instead, you sign up for a subscription with the company and the balls are delivered to your door as and when you need them. It’s easy to change or amend your order. Seed Golf have three products to cover the requirements of every level of golfer. The “Country Mile” – costing just €10 per dozen – is a two-piece construction, with a soft feel rubber core. I tried it out in competition in windy conditions at Portmarnock Links last week and was impressed with the distance I got from it. Even off-line hits travelled further away from the main hazards that usually derail me, allowing me to find the ball and give it another lash. The “Pro Soft” (€25 per dozen) is a three-piece ball, with a softer compression. It had a little more “feel” than the “Country Mile”, especially around the green. And then there’s the SD-05 “The Pro” (also €25 per dozen), their top of the range ball which performs very well tee to green and offers a nice degree of soft touch for those delicate pitches and chips around the green. For further details, check out www.seedgolf.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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