Barry has actually been involved with MLA for many years. He has used the MLA Putter on tour for several years and has recently played an important part in helping the company develop a new range of irons which Barry now has in play on the Seniors Tour.
With the new clubs Barry has already finished second in the Bermuda Open and third in the World Par Three Championship and he is confident that he will be able to take this great form onto the Seniors Tour for 2015 and beyond.
We at MLA wish Barry all the best for the coming season and we took time to have a chat with him prior to the season when he visited at Lausanne Golf Club.
MLA: We would like to welcome you to the Lausanne Golf Club, the second oldest club in Switzerland - and in our opinion, the nicest (and most challenging)
What advice would you give to young golfers? Advice for the rest of us to lower our scores?
Barry Lane: The game has changed a lot since I was younger, it's certainly a lot harder now, there are so many more good players now than when I played. Nowadays most players have an entourage travelling with them, a dietician, physio, golf coach and a mental coach and I think you need all that. You also need to be fit. You need golf clubs that fit you for a start.
The best piece of advice I can give however is simply to have fun, to try and enjoy the game. When golf becomes your living, and it has been my living for over 30 years, you forget very, very quickly that it is just a game. That’s why I think a lot of guys get on tour, play for two or three years, and then disappear. Everybody is analysed according to his or her score, but you should analyse your game yourself by how much enjoyment you get from the round.
People do get bogged down by their score, how well their playing, their technique and if you can remember it is just a game and enjoy it, then that is a great benefit. Just go out and have fun; and if you can do that it is incredible how much you relax and enjoy the golf.
Play with your mates and shoot 65 and then play in a tournament and shoot 70, then the only difference is your attitude and the fact that you are focused on the score you are writing down on the scorecard, rather than having fun and chatting.
How has the world of tour-level golf changed from when you started on tour compared to now?
Barry Lane: The game has changed markedly due to equipment improvements. The golf ball goes so much further. In the early days of my career, we didn’t have equipment manufacturers travelling around with us. We were given three golf balls at the beginning of the week and if you made the cut, then they gave you another three. And you’d have one glove for the entire tournament.
The old balls were much better as you could shape them much easier. The technology has improved the game for the youngsters, rather than the older generation as all the research and development in club and ball technology is aimed at the younger golfer.
It’s very difficult to analyse everything that is the same or different from 20 years ago, suffice to say that it is just a game, but it is a very, very good game as you never know what is going to happen!
Over the course of your career of the different makes of irons and putter you have used, how does the current range of MLA Putters and Irons compare?
Barry Lane: Currently I am using the irons as I played a role in helping develop the irons. Throughout the design process I always maintained that I didn’t want to put my name to something if I was not going to use it, so we tried them in December in Sweden, in freezing cold temperatures, and straight away, I was delighted with how they performed and they went straight into the bag.
I’ve used the MLA Putters now for six years and I have won all my Senior Tour titles with an MLA putter. I also played very well near the end of my spell on the European Tour with it too.
The putter has a great system with the white MLA technology helping with alignment. At home I have a laser which I use to line up perfectly with the hole. I will take my MLA Putter, line up with the hole and place the laser on top of it and I will then do the same with another make of putter. It is amazing how much better I am at lining up with the hole using the MLA Putter than I am with the other one.
It is a great technology, yet one that is very, very simple. With the MLA putter, you know that you are aiming in the right spot. It takes a little while to get used to, but once you understand what you are seeing and what you are using it for, the results are excellent.
The ball comes off the putter so nicely and sets the ball rolling beautifully. The whole set up with the Irons and Putter and we are maybe looking at doing some other things later on with woods and wedges and more. It is nice for a small company to come through and provide specialised, customfitted clubs for players. Players want that sort of thing with their golf clubs.
Changing track a little, what did you think of the Masters this year? What are the qualities that make a good golfergreat?
Barry Lane: It was unbelievable. Did you see the statistic that Mickelson and Rose would have won 70 or the 78 Masters Tournaments played, yet they finished second, four shots behind.
So first, it was testament to the players. Secondly it was testament to Augusta for allowing the guys to play, without tricking up the course to make it incredibly difficult to play. Nobody likes to see the top professionals struggle and I think that was showcased last week.
It shows golf is now becoming a young man’s game, Spieth won at 21, Rory McIlroy is 25. It’s fantastic, I was glued to the TV screen, it was a great tournament.
From your website, we understand you have a passion for course design; which courses and iconic holes from around the world would you draw inspiration from if you were given a blank page to design your own course?
Barry Lane: I don’t know. I’ve played all over the world in every continent, but to me it just depends on how the land is. You have your favourite holes, but they are your favourite holes because they fit perfectly to that piece of land.
I’ve spoken to Greg Norman, Jack Nicklaus and Ben Crenshaw about it and how they go about it. It’s so involved with so many people involved in finalising the design. As I’ve travelled so much in my life and played all these golf course, it would be nice to leave something here on this Earth that I have done.
To have a complete blank sheet and build a golf course, I think I’d actually stop playing and be there every day as I’d be so involved in it. Whether I’d be any good, I’d have no idea! I’d need serious help from an architect, but it is something I’d love to do, but not just yet!
What is on the agenda in 2015 for your new relationship with MLA?
Barry Lane: I’ve signed a contract to play MLA irons and putters and wherever I play I’ll be using the equipment and the hat and promoting the company. We’re pushing to get the MLA brand name out there as an alternative to some of the larger companies.
I’m delighted to be involved in the design of the club, particularly the shaping of the club. We have not had to change anything with the clubs from the original design back in November, which I tried in December, are the same ones coming out now. I used them in the Bermuda Open a couple of weeks ago and finished second. I also played in the World Par 3 Championship and finished third with them, against younger players I might add; they weren’t senior tournaments!
The more the name gets out there and the more I win tournaments the happier I will be!