Basixx Driver Fitting

Two women walk into a Basixx Driver Fitting at Miles of Golf. The club fitter asks how long they’ve had their current drivers and the answer is 11 and 14 years … and although one driver dates from the George W. Bush presidency, the fitter, bless his heart, does not bat an eye.

So begins our visit to the Cluboratory, on the hunt for new drivers.

Driver hits the farthest and costs the most of all our clubs. It’s our confidence booster or buster on the very first tee and throughout the game. Driver counts. Get it right.

Getting Started.
Joe Dier is our fitter, and he gathers up some demo clubs while we warm up with our current drivers. He’s making some mental notes about our swings (!) Then we’re down to business, Joe uses GC Quad technology to measure launch, spin and distance as we hit the old drivers.

Meet Some New Drivers
The next step is a cross between speed dating and a kid in a candy shop. Out comes Callaway’s Big Bertha, then TaylorMade SIM2 MAX, then Ping G Le2. More hitting, more measurement, more adjustments. Joe, as a certified club fitter, has a trained eye – and he’s got the TopTracer data as well. Back and forth we go with these clubs. Finding the right one is a combo of facts and feel.

The Verdict
With the TaylorMade SIM2 MAX, Carolin hits the ball almost 20 yards farther in the air. It’s a match made in heaven. She’s sold. For me, surprise, my old driver is the one. There are no appreciable improvements for me with the new technology, so I’ll be going home with the driver I came with. 

I’ve purchased a new club head cover though!

The Basics about Basixx Fittings

  • Designed for 80-90% of all players
  • To help golfers of all levels make good decisions when purchasing golf equipment
  • 30-45 minutes
  • Bring your current club(s)
  • $50 fee, 100% refundable with a purchase of equipment

Appointments are required and can be made by calling 877.973.9005 (Ann Arbor) or 513.870.9057 (Cincinnati).

Respect for the Golf Course

Ever watch an outstanding golfer taking care of business around the course? It’s a thing of beauty and inspiration – and we’re not talking about awesome swings and low scores. As we head into the heart and heat of the summer season, let’s hear it for the players who treat the course with care.

It’s not easy being green … a golf course takes a tremendous beating. A properly repaired ball mark takes only a day to mend – it’ll be a 3-week scar if we don’t do it right. Those lifeless sods of turf on the fairway are sad testament to players who didn’t take 15 seconds to replace and repair divots. Bunkers – there IS a proper way to rake them. And cart damage – don’t get us started down that path!

USGA has good tips on course care: Being a Good Player Does Not Make You a Good Golfer

Golf’s a game of R-E-S-P-E-C-T – for traditions and honor, for partners and competitors, for the meaningful moments and indescribable pleasures the game gives us. Let’s give back by taking care of business around the course. Leave it better than we found it, smooth the way for all who follow us, and gladden the hearts of grounds superintendents everywhere.

High-Lofted Fairway Metals vs. Hybrids

From the Miles of Golf Club Fitting Staff

One of the most common issues in golf is the inability to hit lower lofted irons consistently, with a high enough trajectory to stop the ball on a green or near a desired target. The solution to this problem can usually be found in some sort of hybrid iron or high lofted fairway metal. These types of clubs are much more forgiving and will produce a higher ball flight compared to an iron with the same amount of loft. But which one should you play?

Both high lofted fairway metals and hybrids can act as a good replacement for lower lofted irons because the head shape has a larger overall surface area and the shafts are longer in length than a conventional iron. This larger head shape helps with forgiveness and higher overall trajectory by shifting the center of gravity or “CG” of a club head farther away from the club face. As the distance between the club face and the CG of a club head increases, so does forgiveness, launch angle, and spin rate. Because trajectory is a product of launch angle, spin rate, and ball speed, using a club with rear placed CG, like a hybrid or fairway metal, produces a higher launch angle and increased spin rate, while the added shaft length can help improve club head speed, hopefully translating into more ball speed. Furthermore, the added forgiveness can provide more consistency, and the higher trajectory increases stopping power from longer distances.

There are differences between fairway metals and hybrids as well. The first being versatility. A hybrid typically has a slightly smaller head than a fairway metal. This smaller head allows the club head to travel through long and thick grass more easily. Hybrids also have shorter shafts than fairway metals, which can offer more control and accuracy. In contrast, the longer shaft of a fairway metal makes it easier to generate more club head speed than a hybrid. However, the larger head shape makes these clubs better suited for shots from shorter grass or off the tee. Another main difference between fairway metals and hybrids is the aforementioned CG placement. The larger head of a fairway metal places CG even farther back than a hybrid. Once again, leading to more forgiveness, higher launch and increased spin rate. Even though these might not be quite as versatile as hybrids, they are great for producing high trajectory shots that land soft. 

When deciding on which type of clubs to put in your bag, it’s important to consider your individual game and style of play. Most players carry a combination of irons, hybrids, and fairway metals, but the mix can vary. If you are looking for a lower, more penetrating ball flight, a low lofted iron might be in your best interest. However, if you would like to add some forgiveness, versatility, and higher trajectory to your long distance shots, a hybrid could be the answer. If you need to add even more height and forgiveness to your long game, a high lofted fairway should be the answer.  Most importantly, find the right club that fits your individual needs and helps you play better golf. 

Good Manners in the Bunker

When you see your ball bound into a bunker you know your round just got a little tougher.  And what’s a player to do, but shake off dejection and bound into the bunker too.  Just don’t shake off the etiquette.  Be thoughtful and fair to other players and maintain pace of play.  Here are 10 tips just for the sand.
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  • Before you go into bunker, pick appropriate club, visualize your shot and take your practice swing in the grass.
  • Enter at low point near your ball. Protect those fragile, high-maintenance bunker faces.
  • Don’t touch sand with club or rake to test conditions. This isn’t etiquette – it’s the rules.  (Good to know – under NEW Rules 12.2a and 12.2b, the player is now allowed to touch or move loose impediments in a bunker.  Read about that here.)
  • Take same path out of the bunker to minimize raking and time.
  • Leave no footprints behind.  Rake it back and forth, nice and smooth, and use the back of the rake too.  No ridges, please.
  • Put the rake in its place.  In Misc./2 Decision the USGA admits there’s no perfect answer for position of rakes, but recommends placing them outside the bunker.  In addition, The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America recommends that rakes outside the bunker be placed flat on the ground (tines up) and parallel to the hole’s direction of play. These guidelines seek to minimize rakes’ influence on play.  Extra etiquette points for placing rake at some distance from other rakes, saving steps for the next sand-bound soul who comes this way.
  • Some courses ask that you leave the rake inside the bunker, so pay attention.
  • Lend a hand.  Sometimes a player gets out of the bunker but is still the next to play.  She’s got to rake, dust herself off, move to her ball, size up her shot, pick her club,  all those things.  If you’re nearby, offer to rake while she prepares for her next shot.
  • Speaking of smooth moves, have you noticed the way the pro’s bang their shoes with their club after they exit a bunker?  It’s an emphatic, “I’m-out-of- there!” flourish.  Probably worth a try.
  • A matter of terminology.   You won’t find “Sand trap” in the Rules of Golf. “Bunker” is the word for it.
  • And check out the USGA video on bunker etiquette!

Tips on Tipping at the Golf Course

Run down your get-me-to-the-golf-course mental checklist. Clubs, check. Shoes, check. Glove, hat, balls, check, check, check. Sunscreen, got it. Dollar bills to tip the bag boy?  Whoops!

Bag boy, beverage cart driver, golf pro, caddie…. Where does tipping start, and please, where does it end? Is there any one who has not driven the cart directly to their car after a round just to avoid all the confusion?

If you play at municipal courses you probably won’t encounter tipping situations, but sooner or later in the universe of golf you’ll find yourself face to face with a person who has given you a service. What to do?  We’ve collected golf tipping guidelines from local pros and from the web, mere suggestions and educated guesses to help navigate one of the biggest mysteries in golf – tipping.

Generosity generalities
Adjust gratuities according to where you’re playing and the level of service you receive. If you’re at a high-end course, tips should be higher. And if you’ve received outstanding service, a larger tip is always appropriate and welcomed.

Bag Drop
Taking your bags from car to cart, $1-3 per bag.
On the return, taking bag to car including cleaning, $2-5 per bag.

Beverage Cart Driver
25% with a $1 minimum is about right. And if it’s an outing where the refreshments are free, you should still tip. Folks rely on tips to supplement their wages.

Not usually, unless something out of the ordinary has been done.

If you’re playing at a course with a caddie, you’re at a high-end place. A tip on top of a caddie fee is expected. Tips might range from $30 for a rookie caddie, all the way up to 20, 30 40 or even 50% of the caddie fee.  Caddies are usually independent contractors who rely on your tip. Some courses discretely post recommended gratuities.

Golf Instructor
A tip is always appreciated, but is not customary.  If an instructor has rocked your golf world, go ahead and show your appreciation.

Club Personnel
If you belong to a club, don’t forget the folks who man our clubhouses, listening to our personal play-by-play wrap-ups, answering our questions, carting our clubs, attending to our needs over the whole season.  Instead of handing over a tip each time you golf,  you might give a larger tip a few times over the season.

Sometimes It’s No Tip
Some high-end clubs have a no-cash policy throughout the property. Members’ fees cover the gratuities and an employee would refuse your tip. Always good to inquire ahead about gratuities before visiting.

“Got it!”
Let’s all strive to be that partner who says, “I’ve got this” and covers the tip!

Disclosure:The author is related to a former bag boy!

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Toptracer – Driving Range Reimagined

The driving range. The place we go, usually alone, to hit shot after shot with, say, a 7 iron, groove our swing, good or bad, maybe switch to another club, hit some more, tell ourselves we’re practicing with a purpose.

Prepare to adjust your whole idea of a driving range.
Toptracer technology is now installed in all the practice bays and on the grass tees at Miles of Golf. If you watch golf on TV, you’ve seen the highlighted ball flight. That’s the technology. And it’s free!

Something for everyone.
At the range, Toptracer Range offers an amazing number of choices, from games of skill (and fun), to simulated world-renowned courses. Grab a beer/wine and enjoy!

For golfers aiming to improve and learn more about, say that trusty 7 iron, there’s distance and carry, ball speed, launch angle and height, and you can keep all those stats on your phone.

We’re pretty excited, so here’s a quick look and easy-start guide.


In the practice bays there are monitors, on the green tees you use your phone. You can play as a guest or as yourself.

Before you head to the range
  • Load Toptracer Range App on your phone
  • Open the App, select “Sign Up” and create your profile
At the range

The monitors in the bays are as simple as press a button. If you’re on the grass tees …

  • Select “Play Now”
  • Select “Play Mobile”, then select “Locate Position”
  • Follow the directions on your screen & you’ll be ready to play!
Bring a friend and play “Closest to the Pin”

It’s a friendly challenge game. You’re practicing distance control, understanding exactly how far you hit each club, AND getting a feel for Toptracer Range. Maybe check out some of the other challenge games.

Try “What’s in Your Bag”

You tell Toptracer what club you’re hitting, and it traces and tracks all of your stats. All shots are stored for easy access. Grab a beer if you find this too humbling.


On your next visit, maybe you want to invite 3 friends to play Pebble Beach. Or you want to understand the data details of the ball when you hit driver. Speaking of driver, you can challenge your friends to see who hits it farthest. Or maybe you’re thinking of the possibilities of league play.

Toptracer Range can be a platform for an all-friends, all-fun outing with drinks and snacks, or the virtual golf instructor who never forgets a shot. Like golf itself has always been, it can be both a social hoot, or a very personal endeavor. Take a swing at it at Miles of Golf.

The Good Golf Partner – A Fine Art

There’s a personal pantheon of folks I love to play golf with. They have that spot-on combo of thoughtfulness and golf smarts. Some have a great game of golf and others are almost beginners. What they have in common is the fine art of being a good golf partner.

After you’ve trekked together over hill and dale, missing shots, finding hazards, taking penalties, are there smiles for the mission accomplished? That’s what a good partner brings to the game.

Here are some good partner habits worth acquiring…

Be on Time
There’s so much to think about on the first tee – “Where is my partner?” shouldn’t be in anyone’s mental mix. Get to the course early with plenty of time for all the pre-game details. Orderly and unrushed – that’s a great way to start a round together.

Be Quick
We’re not talking speed golf here, just an ever-efficient mindset. Gauge yardage, select a club, read greens while others are playing – when it’s your turn, you’re ready. Be smart with your cart too.

Attitude is everything.
No matter how you’re playing, keep it upbeat. Stressed out? No sharing. Your bad mood is no one’s idea of a good day on the golf course.

4 Eyes Are Better Than 2
Always track the path of everyone’s ball, and join in the search when a ball is lost.

Be Prepared
An extra ball marker, energy bar, the tab for the snack cart, the tip at the pro shop – those are the little kindnesses a good partner has at the ready and offers up at just the right moment. The small, thoughtful gesture goes far on the golf course.

Just Don’t Offer Up Any Unsolicited Golf Advice
The reasons are too numerous, and the consequences too complex to mention. Unless you’re a golf pro, keep your personal “6 Sure Steps to a Better Golf Swing” all to yourself.

And last, but surely not least …
Raise a glass to the good golf partner, she of generous gestures and bullet
proof humor. Long may we appreciate what she does for our golf game!

This article was first published in May 2012.

Huron Valley Women’s Golf Club Details

3/9/2021.  For up to date information about leagues, please visit

Experienced golfers (handicap 53.9 or less) looking for some friendly competition and beginners (no handicap required) on a quest to improve their game can find a league appropriate for them through the Huron Valley Women’s Golf Club (HVWGC) in Southeastern Michigan.

Competitive and Starter leagues begin in the spring and run through the glorious Michigan summer on a variety of golf courses in and around Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County and the surrounding areas. Leagues play on a variety of days using both 9- and 18-hole formats.  Subbing is allowed for members.

HVWGC, a non-profit established in 1991, complies with the USGA Rules of Golf and the World Handicap System.  The Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) provides handicap services through GHIN, the USGA Golf Handicap Information Network.  Our members really know and learn how to golf!

Golf Shoes – Cleated or Spikeless?

At the 2010 Masters Fred Couples sported golf shoes that looked alarmingly like sneakers and the world took notice. They alleviated his long-term back pain, he claimed. They looked so stylish, said everyone. And thus, spikeless golf shoes came walking into our lives.

Shopping for golf shoes? Here’s the lowdown on cleated vs. spikeless shoes.

Today’s soft spikes are designed to grab the turf and not let go. Through your weight shift, in the wet, on a slope – when the going gets tough cleats offer stability and confidence.


  • Superior traction
  • Excellent stability in wet conditions including morning dew
  • Spikes can be changed – like new!


  • Replacing spikes gets costly
  • Spikes clog with debris and have to be cleaned
  • No walking on hard surfaces
  • Heavier that spikeless shoes

Research and FitBits everywhere say that the average golfer walks 6-8 miles during a round. You’ll do your feet a favor by selecting a light, comfy shoe – and that’s often a spikeless style. Ditto if the day is dry, and the course is relatively flat. And the ease and convenience of wearing just one pair of shoes from home to course to clubhouse to home again – well, that’s big.

Spikeless Benefits:

  • Wear them on or off the course
  • Stylish
  • Spikes never need changing
  • Easily cleaned/don’t choke with debris
  • Cushioned comfort


  • Lugs cannot be changed
  • Less traction than soft spikes
  • Much less traction in wet conditions. Hello, Slip and slide.

The Takeaway
Rain or shine, ride or walk, a quick 9-and-dine or a competitive tournament – golf world is different every day. And the ideal footwear might be different every day too. So cleated vs. spikeless, can we just say, “l’ll take one of each”?