July 19, 2019
The driver speeds that LPGA golfers produce are closer to low-handicap male amateurs than the Koepka/Woodland/McIlroy types on the PGA Tour. For example, LPGA club fitter Paul Boehmer confirmed that the women’s driver club head speeds average about 90-95 miles per hour, similar to men with golf handicaps below 12.
However, LPGA golfers combine their swing speed with far more consistent strikes in the middle of the clubface, with smash factor numbers between “1.48 and 1.52” according to Boehmer.
In other words, their efficient swings are things of beauty that amateur golfers of either sex should try to emulate – and that’s before any discussion of their typically marvelous short game skills.
Boehmer’s typical weekly routine calls for reaching a tournament site the Sunday before the event. Once there, he sets up the trailer and makes his trips for personal needs for the week. The trailer opens up for the players on Monday morning at 7:00 a.m., with closing time between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. each day until Friday. He leaves the tournament on Friday or Saturday to give him enough time to reach the next stop.
The players come to the trailer on Monday or Tuesday during practice rounds and also during the pro-am events for that week. Besides re-grippings or club adjustments, this is when they might try a new club/shaft arrangement or some other tweak. “At this level, most of these golfers know after three swings whether it’s a good fit for them,” Boehmer said. “Some of them may take longer, but that’s just personal preference.”
Some clubs in LPGA bags have remarkable staying power. Boehmer said, “Those are their three-woods and their putters. Most of them keep those clubs for a long time.”
Boehmer clearly loves to tease and banter with the players. I watched him in action when LPGA player Karen Chung leaned into the trailer door and asked him to re-grip her clubs. He apologized and said he told Chung he only did re-grips on Tuesdays and Thursdays – and for several seconds Chung believed him. She only caught on when he burst out laughing, and then she joined in the giggles.
After Chung left, LPGA golfer Brooke Pancake stopped by to have Boehmer check the loft and lie angle of her wedge and 9-iron. Her note said 44-62 for PW and 39-62 for 9. Boehmer told her he would do it right after he finished with Chung’s grips.
I asked him if he was always this busy, and he said I was seeing him during a slow period. “When they only come in one at a time, that’s slow,” he laughed.
Canadian LPGA golf veteran Alena Sharp also came to the trailer that afternoon, and later talked to me about Boehmer. “He’s really dedicated to his job, really knowledgeable. He helps me whenever I have a question. I trust him with everything I have,” Sharp said.
Scott Hulle, Pancake’s caddie, had a pithy comment on the club fitter: “He’s a gem.”
Barry Lyda is a longtime club representative for Calloway. When asked about Boehmer, Lyda said, “Paul brings such a stability to the players. They love him and he loves them. He stays on top of their specs and he’s an expert in what he does. Paul is a reliable force they can depend on. That’s sometimes a problem at other places, but he can fix them.”
Boehmer also had a nice explanation for why he keeps. “It’s still a blast. These kids are great and with so many coming from other countries, there’s no way I would have ever met them without this job,” he said.
Portrush 15 years later
Royal Portrush is the Northern Ireland site for this year’s British Open Championship, now underway and finishing July 21. It is also where Rookery co-owner Pete Oakley won the Senior British Open on July 25, 2004.
Oakley was certainly not among the favorites at that time. Perhaps Portrush will surprise us again.
Barber’s first ace
Congratulations to Kelly Barber for her first hole-in-one, made on July 11 with her 7-iron on the 102-yard par 3 ninth hole at Rookery South. She credited her “many lessons” with Rookery assistant golf pro Chris Osberg.
Brinker represents at Girls Junior PGA Championship
Congratulations to three-time Delaware state high school champion Phoebe Brinker for her T-13 finish at the Girls Junior PGA Championship, held July 9-12 at Keney Park Golf Course in Hartford, CT. Her 5-under par score for the four-round tournament was nine strokes back of the winner, Yuka Saso of The Phillippines.
Local club competition results
The Mulligan’s Pointe Ladies golf group played a net Nassau game July 16. Donna Dolce won the 18-hole set, with Maxine Ansbach winning the front nine and Sue Ahern winning the back nine.
The Kings Creek Ladies 9-Hole group played an individual net Stableford game July 10, with zero points earned for any net score above bogey.
Carolyn Horn won first place, with Sandy Neverett in second, Deb Chase in third, and Tina Brown in the fourth spot.
The same group also played a scramble game July 17. Val Evans, Debbie D’Orazio, and Jeanne Drake won first place. Blind draws helped Judy Rayner and Mary Mezger finish second and Patty Davis and Jane Perkins take third.