If you watch much golf on television or the internet, you're bound to see ads promoting golf balls or clubs. The ad usually states something to the effect that this particular golf ball will go longer and straighter than any others, or that buying a particular club will make you hit the ball further than any club you've ever owned.

I often get questions from golfers in regards to my view on a particular golf product. My response in the last couple years to golf clubs has really changed because the manufacturers have changed.

What hasn't changed much in the past five years is the driver head.

There's a new look every six months or year, depending on the company, but the performance of the head has really leveled off. My theory is every club manufacturer has caught up with the other club manufacturers. Some might go a yard or two further, but there's no big distance jumps in a particular clubhead.

What has changed for the better is that there are more quality shafts available to the golfer without an additional cost. Five years ago, a company like Callaway offered one driver shaft in senior, regular, stiff and ladies flex's. They now offer around six different brand of shafts, with four different weights of each brand and three flexes within the weight. More choices definitely equate to a better fitting and performance for a particular golfer and his or her capabilities.

The reason there are more shaft choices today than five years ago has to do with the increased availability of the launch monitor.

The launch monitor was considered a luxury item five years ago by most golf shops selling golf clubs. Now, if you don't have a launch monitor you’re probably not going to sell many clubs. The really great thing for the golf consumer is that because of the launch monitor, manufacturers will only sell clubs that truly perform. No more can a company rely solely on hype or look to sell golf clubs.

A launch monitor tells you what club or clubs perform the best, period. That is why club manufacturers went to additional offerings in shafts. They needed to truly maximize a golfer’s ability or the golfer, in many cases, would choose to simply keep their existing club.

The launch monitor often showed consumers, much to the dislike of manufacturers, they weren't doing any better with the new equipment than they were with their already-paid-for golf clubs.

Local golf

Some great things are happening at Lemoore Golf Course.

This winter, the course went through a major tree trimming program. Sand trap drainage was also improved in many bunkers and a new fleet of 60 Textron E-Z-Go golf carts were recently purchased.

The course is now offering a junior golf special of $1 green fees for children under the age of 18 with a paid adult green fee.

With its year-round junior learning programs, Northern California Golf Association (NCGA) Youth on course and now $1 green fees, Lemoore is hoping to be the Junior Golf leader for the entire Central Valley. The course has scheduled three junior camps for this summer.

Dates are June 19-23, July 10-14 and July 31-Aug. 4. Camp sessions run from 8 a.m. to noon each day. Children must be mature enough to focus under minimal supervision. Classes are limited to 20 children per session.

The Kyle Simonson Junior golf classic is scheduled for June 12-13, sanctioned as a " premier event" by the Northern California Junior Golf Association, it is open to boys and girls, ages 7 to 17. Go to www.jganc.com for further information.

For adult golfers

Lemoore offers a "Ladies Special" each week, half price green fees every Saturday throughout the year for all females.

Complimentary beginner golf classes taught by experienced golf professionals are offered each Saturday at noon.

There are still some Saturday tournament dates available for group outings, call the Golf Shop 924-9658.

The Spring Classic, a 27 hole, two-man competition is being hosted on May 6. Three different nine hole formats will be played including scramble, best ball and scotch. Entry fee is $75 per player, includes green fee, cart, breakfast, lunch, range balls and prizes. Players should have a current USGA handicap.

Tom Ringer is Director of Golf at Lemoore Golf Course and has been a PGA professional for three decades. He can be reached at tomringer2003@yahoo.com.

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