Broom Recommendations for Club Curlers
Many clubs are struggling with broom/pad rules and some are deciding to require that all members use the new WCF certified pads by a certain date. The WCF was very specific in its’ mandate when it came to recommended pads to be used by “recreational”, as opposed to “competitive” curlers. It suggested that WCF certified pads only be used when prizes of value were at stake. It must be recognized that the WCF certified pad is a very non aggressive product, designed to minimize the ability of elite sweepers to steer a rock. In the hands of the vast majority of recreational curlers it is virtually ineffective as a sweeping device. It can be argued that a recreational curler may as well not sweep as sweep with a WCF certified pad.
My first exposure to the curling world was about 50 years ago when my father became manager of a new curling club. Ever since that time I have been close to the game as a player, supplier and devotee. Never in that period of time have I witnessed the tumult in the sport that we have seen in the past few years. In the eye of this tornado has been the pads we curlers use on our brushes.
Update from Goldline Curling regarding recent WCF Sweeping Summit
On May 23 - 26, 2016 Goldline Curling participated in the World Curling Federation’s Sweeping Summit held in Kemptville, Ontario near Ottawa. Since then we have remained in constant communication with the WCF regarding their anticipated recommendations and what that means for Goldline Curling products moving forward. There are a number of key questions that the WCF release from June 27, 2016 raises, and we would like to address those now.
Goldline Appointed Uniform Supplier for Curling Canada
Curling Canada has appointed Goldline as its Official Athlete Uniform Supplier. This appointment gives Goldline the right to supply uniforms for all Canadian teams competing in national and international events.
Goldline Curling supports player-lead initiative to review curling brush technologies
Curling is meant to be a sport of skill and athleticism, and Goldline Curling believes that any equipment that greatly reduces the need for skill should not be used in competition.
Big Ben!

NOTE: This post was originally published in 2013

What do Eve MuirheadKalynn ParkThomas Ulsrud and Chelsea Carey all have in common? They have all said that the curler they most love to follow on Twitter is @BennyHeebz (aka Ben Hebert).

This week’s featured Goldline ambassador is the lead on the team skipped by Kevin Martin. Ben Hebert has achieved much success out on the curling ice, having won a gold medal at the world junior championships, 2 Briers, a gold and silver at the world championships, and a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, as well as numerous other curling events and titles. The Martin team recently won the Alberta provincial playdowns, thereby earning the opportunity to play for another Brier title in front of a hometown crowd.

Ben was featured recently in the YouTube series “Cullen and a Curler”; check it out to see what Ben had to say.

We wish Ben and the rest of the Martin team the best of luck as they prepare for the Brier in Edmonton, Alberta in March.

If you weren’t curling what sport would you be playing?

Where were you born?

What is your current hometown?

What is your "real" job?
Business Development Rep/Focus Corp

When did you start curling?
12 years old

Who is your favourite athlete?
Tiger Woods

Where is your favourite place to curl?

What is your favourite food?

Where is your favourite vacation spot?

What is your favourite TV show?
Shark Tank

What are you listening to on your iPod?
Country/90’s rap

Who is your favourite curler other than yourself?
Wayne Middaugh

Who is your role model?
My Dad

Have you ever been in a bar fight?

Who is your celebrity crush?
Anna Kendrick

What is your favourite book?
Don’t read books

What is your favourite movie?

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would they title it?
“The Beef”

If you could be anyone dead or alive who would you be?
Michael Buble.. Huge Stud!

What would you do if you had a million dollars?
I'd be John Morris!

Who is the best curler to follow on twitter?
Brad Jacobs

What is your favourite sports team?
Saskatchewan Roughriders

What is your preferred shot to win a game?
Anything easy

What is one of your favourite quotes?
“If we put it here, we win the Brier… What, you don’t want to win the Brier”
– Rob Harris 2003

What is your favourite body part?
I hate Loaded questions… Chest?

What is your favourite form of exercise?
Gym session

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?
25 was a good age!

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Juggling curling, work and wife!

Performance and Comfort Considerations for Curling Shoes

Performance and Comfort Considerations for Curling Shoes

The Quantum integrated design system (I.D.S.) leaves behind the use of an adhesive to attach a slider and gripper to the sole of the shoe. The adhesive bond has been the standard for generations, however, in addition to delaminating problems, it has bound us to Teflon* as the only material that could be used as a slider. The Quantum employs an innovative mechanical attachment system wherein slider and gripper “disks” are snapped into strategically positioned receptacles in the sole.

The advantages of Quantum Discs are numerous:

  • The slider discs do not have to be bondable or flexible, hence they can be molded from a wide variety of plastics, or machined from Teflon or stainless steel, each material offering different performance characteristics;
  • The discs are easily changed. Simply snap out the old disk and snap in the new. Upgrading slider speed, replacing a damaged disk, accommodating preferences such as slider disks on the front and gripper discs on the back, and setting up for lefthanders are all readily accomplished without pro-shop assistance;
  • The disks will not fall out;
  • The disk pattern creates a “Stability Channel” running the length of the shoe. This pattern focuses weight to the periphery of the sole, thereby widening the balance platform and increasing stability.
  • The slider disks are available in various materials, each offering a different speed, while the gripper disk features a TPR rubber surface which affords optimal traction.
Conventional Curling Shoes use Teflon as a sliding material and it comes in varying thickness and design on the sole of the shoe. 

Slider Thickness - slider speed increases with the thickness of the Teflon™, ¼” being the thickest and the fastest. Every curler should be looking for optimal slide with a minimum of leg thrust. For most curlers excessive leg thrust results in instability. Experienced curlers who are accustomed to the ice and do not have stability concerns usually prefer a fast slider, whereas less experienced curlers usually want to balance speed with stability. It is important to keep in mind that inexperienced curlers generally have low leg thrust and, if they are equipped with an excessively slow slider, the result will be an unsatisfactory delivery.

Hinged Front Slider - sliders that have a thickness of 5/32” or greater tend to be rigid, limiting any heel elevation during delivery. The Podium sole itself, not the slider, is designed to afford the appropriate degree of longitudinal flexibility. Rigidity also results in constant heel rubbing during walking. By splitting the front from the back slider and “hinging” the front slider, the negative effect of rigidity is eliminated on Podium Gold and Silver shoes.

Lateral Stability - stability during delivery is best achieved by distributing weight equally across the width of the sole. During delivery the natural tendency is for weight to be shifted to the outside of the sliding foot. The outsole on the Podium series is expressly moulded to incorporate a lateral stabilizer in the ball of the foot. The result is even distribution of weight across the slider, a wider balance platform and enhanced stability.

Warmth - insulation throughout the upper and air cushioning in the sole ensure warmth on all Podium models.

Comfort and Fit - careful attention to materials and design afford slipper like comfort from the first time Podium shoes are worn. Further, the Silver model is available in both REGULAR and WIDE fit. Unlike most curling shoes, ladies Podiums are built on specific women’s moulds.

Quality - most shoe manufacturing relies upon a high volume production line. Only high end shoes are still produced in lower volume “hand made” factories. The entire Podium line is produced in such an environment – guaranteeing careful attention to quality and detail.

Curling Brooms: The Basics

In a curling game, players (other than the skip) throw only two rocks but sweep six others. The importance of sweeping cannot be underestimated! Good sweepers can make the difference between an average shot and an amazing shot. Given the importance of sweeping, it should come as no surprise that curling brooms (or curling brushes) are the second most important piece of curling equipment, ranking only behind curling shoes.

If you are like many curlers, you probably started off using a club broom that was available at your curling club when you took up the sport. But as you continue to play the game, you may be wondering whether it is time to invest in a broom of your own.

In choosing a broom, there are three key things you need to consider:

  1. Material comprising the shaft/handle
  2. Diameter of the broom shaft
  3. Type of head


Material Choices for Curling Brooms

The broom handle, or shaft, is typically comprised of some combination of wood, fiberglass, and/or carbon fiber. And with such a wide variety of materials used, it leads to a broad range in the weight of brooms. Weight is key: the lighter the broom, the easier it is to apply pressure when brushing and the more effective a sweeper you will be.

Generally speaking, the greater the proportion of carbon fiber, the lighter the broom. At Goldline, we have two choices in handles. Our Carbon Fiber broom handles weigh between 170 and 200 grams (depending on the diameter of the shaft) whereas on our Fiberlite brooms (which are basically comprised of 65% fiberglass and 35% carbon fiber), the handles weigh between 270 and 300 grams.

If you’re just starting out, you don’t need to invest in a carbon fiber broom: a Fiberlite broom will already be much lighter than the club broom you’ve used previously. At some point, though, the logical choice may be to take the extra step and invest in a 100% carbon fiber broom.

Handle Diameter of Curling Brooms

Typically, broom handles come in different sizes to accommodate varying hand sizes. At Goldline, we offer 1” and 1-1/8” handles on our brooms. Which size handle you prefer is entirely a matter of personal taste; there is no requirement that women use a broom with a thinner handle while men use brooms with a thicker handle. When shopping, make sure to hold brooms with differing sizes of handles in your hands and determine which feels most comfortable.

In addition to the synthetic head Goldline has reintroduced a horse hair head this year, which is generally felt to be more effective on frosty ice, found in arenas and at televised events (where crowds and cameras combine to increase the frost on the playing surface).The vast majority of brooms come with a swivel head and a replaceable synthetic pad. This type of broom will be very effective on curling club ice. While the brush itself can last many years, the pads are replaceable and should be replaced at least once per season.

Once the choice of material, diameter of shaft, and type of head are made, the toughest decision remains: colour. At Goldline, we have a wide variety of colours available in both our Carbon Fiber and Fiberlite brooms. New colours this year include Metallic White in our Carbon Fiber line, and Steel and Ebony in our Fiberlite line. And if your current broom is still in excellent condition, evaluate if your synthetic pad needs to be replaced, or perhaps it’s time to try a Norway pad!

Buying your own broom: it’s a small investment which will make a world of difference in your game.

Curling Shoes 101

A pair of curling shoes: this is the key piece of equipment that any curler will ever own.
With the holiday season quickly approaching, maybe you have thought about purchasing curling shoes for that important curler in your life. But then you think to yourself, “Shoes? How can I possibly buy shoes for someone else?” Whether you are a curler yourself or simply an armchair curling quarterback, there are two things you need to think about when you embark on your shopping expedition.

Righty or Lefty

The first question you will generally be asked when buying a shoe is whether the curler is right-handed or left-handed. For the veteran curlers reading this note, this may seem to be a ridiculous question. But for those who know nothing about the sport, they often think that being right-handed means the slider is on the right foot (trust me, I hear it in our retail store all the time)! In curling, if you hold and release the rock with your right hand, the slider will go on the opposing (ie. left) foot, and vice versa.

Experience Level

In curling, with experience comes improved balance and stability (at least one hopes that is the case). And as balance improves, one generally begins to think more seriously about the Teflon that is used on the surface of his/her shoe. Teflon is the most common material used for sliders and comes in a variety of thicknesses. If you don’t know why the thickness of Teflon is important, the easiest explanation is as follows: for a given amount of leg drive (out of the hack), the thicker the Teflon, the further one will travel down the ice.

Perhaps your spouse/child/significant other started curling this year. In many cases, (s)he has started the same way thousands of other new curlers out there do: (s)he’s sticking sliding tape to the bottom of his or her shoe, or using a slip-on or step-on slider.

For these individuals, the move to a curling shoe will generally lead to a huge improvement in their balance and stability. Now when it comes to a shoe for newer curlers, I would suggest a thinner slider. Newbies really don’t need the speed associated with a thicker slider as their primary objective is to stay upright. At Goldline, our two most popular choices for beginners are the Glide, with a 1/16” inch thick slider and is available for both men and women, and the Podium Bronze shoe, which comes with a 3/32” inch thick slider and is also available for for both men and women.

For those who have played a bit longer and/or have achieved a good sense of balance and stability out on the ice, the preference is often towards a thicker slider. Goldline offers numerous choices for these individuals. Our Podium Silver shoe (men's / women's) comes with a 5/32” inch thick slider, and in addition to the regular fit it is also available in a wide fit for both men and women. At the top thickness we have our Podium Gold shoe, which has a ¼” thick slider for men or women, as well as our G Force shoe, which is our newest offering this season.

Shoppers: if curling shoes are the gift that will put a smile on your loved one’s face but you are still very hesitant about whether you’ll pick the right style and size, you can always purchase a gift card. You can even clip out one of the pictures of the different Goldline curling shoes shown below and include it with the card so that there is no uncertainty as to your intentions. Or, if you really want to be able to wrap up a pair of shoes in your best wrapping paper and decorate with the most beautiful bow you have, rest assured that Goldline would be happy to exchange shoes for the proper size, or provide a full refund within 30 days of purchase.

For those who are just now compiling their wish list, simply clip out this column and attach it to your annual letter to the jolly old man up north, or discreetly slip it into the hands/purse/newspaper of that special someone in your life (hopefully they can take a hint!).


Dr. Goldline's Thoughts on Timing Devices and Using a Stop Watch

An important note to our readers: Dr. Goldline is not a real doctor, in any way, shape or form; the moniker is used purely for entertainment value. In addition, the views expressed are entirely those of the author and not of management or any other curler.

Question: Dr. Goldline, I see lots of curlers at my club using a stop watch when they curl. Why do they use one? Should I be using one?

Stop watch: friend or foe? Every curler will have a different opinion on the topic.

Flash back: I was playing in a crucial playoff game about five years ago against the top ranked team in the club and the game was tied after 5. Having the advantage of last rock in the sixth, my skip, for his final shot of the end, had to draw into the house against two opposition stones which were biting the 12 foot ring. Skipper had had draw weight all night so this was not going to be a problem. Well, yours truly is watching the sweepers come down the ice with the rock, and by the point they reach the hog line, I am thinking the stone doesn’t look like it’s travelling very fast and I ask them once, then twice then three times if the rock is going to make it into the rings and they say yes every time, but then the rock came up short and we gave up a steal of two and ultimately lost the game!!!! When I asked the front end why they hadn’t swept, the second told me, “Based on the split time, the rock should have ended up right on the tee line”. (I had two drinks after the game that night).

Enough of my personal pain…..

While shoes and brushes fall into the category of “important to have”, timing devices fall into the “nice to have/maybe I’ll try it sometime” category. The underlying premise of timing is simple: if you repeatedly measure the speed of a moving object – the rock - between two fixed points (such as the back line and hog line, or the tee line and hog line), you should be able to tell how far one rock is going to travel relative to another rock by comparing the times you captured using the stop watch (I won’t even get into the topic of whether ice is “fast” or “slow” – let’s leave that for a future article). And by keeping a mental record of these split times and the outcome of each throw, you should be able to anticipate up front, based on split time alone, where every rock thrown will end up (ie. will be the rock be in front of the house, in the rings or will it travel through the rings?)

But, timing is not a perfect science. There are many factors that impact the “split times” you record during the course of a game.

  • Ice Conditions: Not every bit of ice is the same. There is more frost build up on some areas of the ice than others. Rocks may travel with greater frequency down certain portions of the sheet than others. Pebble breaks down over the course of the game. There may be subtle changes in temperature and humidity in the ice shed. Ice conditions change over the course of play and as a result, the split times associated with a given type of shot change during a game.
  • Delivery: Rarely does an individual throw and release the rock in the same manner every time. Suppose you have to throw a takeout but realize that you haven’t driven out of the hack as hard as you should have to get the speed you want. Is it possible you gave the rock a little bit of a push at the end, just before you released it? Or how about that guard? Were you travelling just a bit too fast and then pulled back a little bit on the rock as you neared the hog line so as to slow it down? Was it a smooth clean release or did you “get the rock started”? All these things impact the timing and may result in an outcome different than what the stop watch would lead you to expect.

My thoughts: many teams out there use timing devices but many others don’t. If you want to try one out, go ahead. But remember this: the watch is just an aide, and it is not a perfect one. In the end, you have to rely on your eyes and good judgment to figure out where the rock is going to end up.