Introducing the Mizuno #YourGame2016 project...

Three readers join Jezz Ellwood in a quest to achieve specific goals in 2016 with Mizuno's expert help, starting with a full Performance Centre fitting

Golf Monthly's Mizuno #YourGame2016 team (left to right): Liam Frean, Peter Jones, Dan Barlow
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Three readers join Jezz Ellwood in a quest to achieve specific goals in 2016 with Mizuno's expert help, starting with a full Performance Centre fitting

Some golfers are happy to just roll up every week, potter round the course and look forward to their next game. Some… but not many! For if you scratch beneath the surface, ambition still burns fiercely in scores of golfers.

Many ambitions are handicap- or score-based - getting as low as possible or shooting a personal best. For some, it may be as simple as making that first ever par or birdie. Others long to improve a part of the game they know is holding them back. Others still have their eyes set firmly on a particular club, county or national event.

When it comes to the crunch, most of us still want to improve and achieve more in the game tomorrow than we were able to today. It was for golfers such as these that Mizuno decided to team up with Golf Monthly for this season’s exciting Mizuno #YourGame2016 project.

Mizuno has long been renowned for crafting the finest forged irons on the market, and for introducing countless game-improving technologies as part of its commitment to helping golfers of all abilities get the most out of their games.

Ready and waiting to be hit: a full spectrum of Mizuno's current range

Ready and waiting to be hit: a full spectrum of Mizuno's current range

For #YourGame2016, Mizuno wanted three Golf Monthly readers to reap the benefits of a custom-fitting session for a full set of Mizuno clubs at its Celtic Manor Performance Centre, before embarking on a season-long quest to achieve their goals.

A small selection of the clubs and shafts available at Mizuno's Celtic Manor Performance Centre

A small selection of the clubs and shafts available at Mizuno's Celtic Manor Performance Centre

The chosen trio would also be kitted out with a full complement of Mizuno apparel, gloves, balls, bag and accessories so they would also look the part as they set off in pursuit of their goals. There would then be a further series of money-can’t-buy Mizuno experiences throughout the season to encourage them along the way.

It was no surprise, then, that over 700 golfers put themselves forward via the entry form on Mizuno’s website, each going to great lengths to state their specific golfing goals for the year and present a strong supporting case.

When the combined Golf Monthly/Mizuno judging panel sat down to sift through the entries, they were amazed by the collective ambition of the nation’s amateur golfers. There’s little doubt that most do still have a burning desire to improve.

In addition to the anticipated handicap and scoring goals, several other entries really caught the eye. One lady playing off +1.2 wanted to qualify for the Ricoh Women’s British Open; another scratch golfer wanted to turn pro and make it out on to the Europro Tour; yet another wanted to climb 400 places on the World Amateur Golf Ranking to be eligible for The Amateur Championship.

There were scores of ‘wannabe’ scratch golfers, club champions and county champions, and a host of golfers for whom single figures was the Holy Grail, all of which made the judging process far from straightforward. But after much deliberation, the panel eventually whittled it down to their chosen three....

Liam Frean is a 19-year-old student at St Andrews who plays off 3 and wants to get lower, but perhaps more importantly, give himself the chance to win some scratch events.

3-handicapper Liam Frean in search of the perfect shaft fit

3-handicapper Liam Frean in search of the perfect shaft fit

“I play a huge amount of competitive golf and have a real love for the game,” Liam said. The panel was impressed with his average of two hours practice a day!

For the now-retired Peter Jones, the goal was the magic figure of 9.4 that signals a golfer’s arrival among the single-digit elite. Currently off 11, Peter plays over 50 competitive rounds a year, while also practising regularly.

Peter Jones fires one away during his Mizuno #YourGame2016 fitting

11-handicapper Peter Jones fires one away during his Mizuno #YourGame2016 fitting

The panel particularly liked the ambition conveyed in his sign-off line: “With the help of Mizuno, I hope to achieve my goals for 2016… and then set new ones!”

The final member of our Mizuno triumvirate is Dan Barlow, a 15-handicapper with his eyes also set firmly on single figures, who plays and practises as much as family life permits.

15-handicapper Dann Barlow learns his vital performance statistics at Celtic Manor

15-handicapper Dann Barlow learns his vital performance statistics at Celtic Manor

Dan confessed to being undecided as to whether or not custom-fitting could really help inconsistent golfers. “I am also a massive Mizuno fan, but am scared that I am not good enough to use Mizuno equipment,” he admitted. This, however, had not prevented him snapping up a set of MP-32s from his local charity shop!

Golf Monthly’s Jezz Ellwood is joining our Mizuno #YourGame2016 trio as he battles to prove that an iffy golf swing and being the wrong side of 50 needn’t bring an end to golfing ambition.

GM's Jezz Ellwood under the watchful of Mizuno's experienced fitter Jaco Pienaar

GM's Jezz Ellwood under the watchful of Mizuno's experienced fitter Jaco Pienaar

Stuck on 5 for several years, Jezz now has renewed designs on making it down to 4 for the first time, having come agonisingly close in the past.

To find out more about our Mizuno #YourGame2016 quartet and their golf games follow the links below...

Liam Frean, 3-handicap: 'To get my handicap down and have a chance to win scratch events'

Peter Jones, 11-handicap: 'To get down to 9.4... or maybe even lower'

Dan Barlow, 15-handicap: 'To get down to single figures'

Jezz Ellwood, 5-handicap" 'To get down to 4 for the first time ever'

Then find out how their initial fittings went at Celtic Manor...

Liam Frean, 3-handicap - Celtic Manor Mizuno Performance Centre custom-fitting

Peter Jones, 11-handicap - Celtic Manor Mizuno Performance Centre custom-fitting

Dan Barlow, 15-handicap - Celtic Manor Mizuno Performance Centre custom-fitting

Jezz Ellwood, 5-handicap - Celtic Manor Mizuno Performance Centre custom-fitting

As the season progresses, look out for regular updates and reports as they get to benefit from Mizuno’s ongoing support, whether competing on the prestigious Mizuno Golf Pairs Tour, teeing it up at The Grove the day after the British Masters, or perhaps even receiving one-on-one advice from a Mizuno tour pro.

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and even instruction despite his own somewhat iffy swing (he knows how to do it, but just can't do it himself). He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 89 of the Next 100. He has played well over 900 courses worldwide in 35 countries, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content. On his first trip to Abu Dhabi a decade ago he foolishly asked Paul Casey what sort of a record he had around the course there. "Well, I've won it twice if that's what you mean!" came the reply...

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf


Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response