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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Several Instructors Analyze Tiger's Win

Today I'm linking you to an unusual article at golftipsmag.com. Golf Tips got several different instructors to give their takes on how Tiger got back to the winners circle. But I think you'll enjoy this article.

Tiger right after he won the Tour Championship

You see, some of the instructors have done instructional articles for Golf Tips Mag before, and this article links to a couple of them:
Other instructors, like Jeff Ritter (you may remember that I've cited his teachings in other posts), have just volunteered their observations on Tiger's progress over the year.

It's an interesting article from some instructors who aren't getting much (if any) TV time. You might find it... "instructive."

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Nick Clearwater on Setup Basics (Video)

The Vice President of Instruction at GOLFTEC's video on setup is interesting because he doesn't address things like ball position. Instead, he focuses on body position.



His three keys are:
  • Feet parallel to aimline
  • Club shaft aimed at belt
  • Trailing arm lowered -- that is, the elbow is a bit closer to your body
I'd like to focus on his second key. Many players don't realize that the higher you hold your hands -- that is, the more vertical your shaft is during your swing -- the less pronounced your release is at impact. As a general rule, high hands encourage a fade while low hands encourage a draw.

In case you don't know what I mean by "a more pronounced release," a player who swings with his hands lower (closer to the ground) is more bent over and tends to position the ball farther from their body, which tends to create a flatter swing with more hand action, and that encourages more of a hook.

Likewise, higher hands mean you stand taller, with your hands farther from the ground, and you tend to have a more upright swing with the ball closer to your body and with less hand action. That makes it easier to hit a slice.

That doesn't mean you can't hit a draw with high hands or a fade with low hands. It just means that those shots are less likely to happen unintentionally.

Keegan Bradley is a good example of a player with low hands who tends to hit a draw. If you use Clearwater's key of aiming the shaft more toward your belly button, you'll probably lean forward a bit more, stand a bit farther from the ball and make a flatter swing. You probably won't bend over as much as Keegan does, but you'll probably have that flatter swing.

It sounds to me as if Clearwater is trying to help players create a somewhat flatter swing to help counteract a slice. Combined with the lowered trailing elbow, this setup should encourage a flatter swing. If you're trying to learn how to hit a draw, this is a setup that just might help you.

Monday, September 24, 2018

The Limerick Summary: 2018 Tour Championship

Winner: Tiger Woods

Around the wider world of golf: Steve Stricker won the Sanford International on the Champions Tour; Anne Van Dam won the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open on the LET; Tom Lewis won the Portugal Masters on the ET; Kendall Dye won the Guardian Championship on the Symetra Tour; Denny McCarthy won the Web.com Tour Championship; Marcelo Rozo won the JHSF Brazil Open on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; and Yuta Ikeda won the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup on the Japan Golf Tour.

Justin Rose and Tiger with their respective trophies

Well, the Big Cat certainly hasn't lost his flair for the dramatic, has he? Had it not been for a birdie by Justin Rose on the final hole, Tiger would have taken it all in the final event of the 2017-18 season.

But somehow I don't think the masses of fans charging down the 18th fairway to watch Tiger hoist his first trophy in five years really cared about that. And based on the tears Tiger himself was fighting back as they gathered, I don't think he cared either.

And perhaps that, in and of itself, is the final proof -- if anybody still needed any -- that Tiger Woods is not the same person he was a decade ago. From the simple raised arms of victory after the tap-in to secure his win, to the many players and fans gathered to greet him as he went to sign his card, to the trophy presentation where he took time to both congratulate and commend Rose's yearlong excellence, followed by more emotions as Justin paid his own respects to what Tiger has done this season -- what more did anyone need to see?

There will be a lot of discussion about Tiger's potential future going forward. He's already the Vegas favorite to win the Masters -- at least it seems a logical choice this time. And the speculation about what he'll do at the Ryder Cup this week will be at a fever pitch when coverage begins today... if it didn't begin already, right after Tiger posed for those photos with the Calamity Jane trophy. (Which, for those of you who somehow missed the history lesson, is a replica of the famous putter Bobby Jones used to make his own history. Or perhaps I should say putters, plural, since Jones wore out the first one and had to have a second made.)

At any rate, Tiger's long dark night is over. And I too am truly amazed, for I have to wonder... how did he ever manage to survive for nearly five years without a new Limerick Summary to grace his trophy case?
It took nearly two thousand days
For Tiger to enter this phase
Of his new lease on life.
Now the drama and strife’s
Given way to his fans’ roaring praise.
The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

And Now the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Gets in on the Act

Yes, now they have their very own 59-shooter. Meet Canadian Drew Nesbitt.

Drew Nesbitt with record-breaking scorecard

Just as Oliver Fisher did on Friday, Drew went out Saturday with the intention of making the cut. (The second round had been weather-delayed.) However, unlike Oliver, Drew had shot a 79 on Thursday and was all but out the door for the weekend.

It's amazing how a little thing like a 59 can turn things around. The two rounds averaged out under par, putting him at -4 and saving his weekend. But it was the way he did it that caught my attention.

Drew had one bogey. That's not really unusual, of course; many players overcome a bogey in their record-setting round.

But you see, Drew only had five birdies. The rest of his score came from FOUR EAGLES -- specifically, a hole-in-one on the par-3 2nd, a hole-out from the fairway on the par-4 10th, and (more traditional) eagles on the par-5 11th and 18th.

He ended up playing 29 holes on Saturday, so perhaps it's not surprising that his third round was a two-over 73. It's unlikely that he'll win this weekend, but he will get a paycheck. That should help ease the disappointment of his loss.

Oh yeah, and then there's that spot in the record books. Now how do you say "Mr. 59" in Spanish again?

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The First European 59... FINALLY!!!

It seems like it took forever, but the European Tour finally saw one of its players break the 60 barrier in an ET event. Say hello to English player Oliver Fisher.

Oliver Fisher with his record-setting scorecard

It only took 46 years and more than 690,000 rounds of golf. A total of 19 other players had fallen just short over that time period. But the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, where they play the Portugal Masters, will forever be remembered as the place where it finally happened.

And as usual, the breakthrough didn't come from one of the Tour's big names. (Hey, Al Geiberger wasn't a big name either!) Oliver Fisher only has one ET win and he's #287 in the OWGR. But now he's the first member of the under-60 set on the ET after a round with ten birdies and an eagle.

Perhaps the coolest part of it all is that Oliver had missed three of his last four cuts and was just trying to make the cut when he started the day. Now tied for the lead at -12, that's no longer a concern.

Start looking for a "Mr. 59" logo on his hat and bag. I know I'd have one, if it was me. After all, he's the first to do it... and they can never take that away from him. Congrats, Oliver -- well done!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Brad Brewer on the Power Fade (Video)

While Brad Brewer (an instructor with GC) is focused on teaching you how to hit a power fade -- and I'll list those key points -- I want to point out something that may be giving you an unwanted slice at the worst possible moment.



How you hit this power fade is simple -- at least, in principle. Power fades are intended to give you more control over the ball's flight, but many of you do these steps unintentionally.
  • Tighten the grip on your lead hand to help prevent flipping the clubface at impact.
  • Aim the clubface at the target, where you want the ball to finish...
  • ...but open your stance so you're aimed along the line where you want the ball to start.
  • Lean the club shaft a bit forward to create more of a downward strike, which helps lower the trajectory for more distance.
But many of you do these steps -- or a slightly flawed version of these steps -- unintentionally when you slice.

In particular, you grip the club too tightly and you do it with both hands.

When playing a power fade, you grip a bit more tightly with your lead hand in order to keep the club face from closing and causing a hook. But what does that mean? You tighten your grip to make the clubface stay open. And if you tighten your grip with both hands, there's a good chance that clubface isn't going to be anywhere close to squaring up.

Furthermore, when you tighten up, you'll tend to create a bit of a "pull swing" even if you don't open your stance. Combine that with your tight grip and the ball will have little choice but to slice, maybe even push-slice!

The first step to curing a slice is usually to relax your grip. That's why many players waggle the club before a swing. I think it's important to try and relax your entire body, since your grip pressure is probably caused by being tense all over... and that's usually caused by trying to hit the ball too hard.

You might say that understanding how to hit a power fade is the flip side of not hitting an unintentional slice. Learn how to do one, and you have a good chance of mastering the other as well.