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Friday, August 7, 2020

The Chunk and Run Shot, Part 2 (Videos)

Yesterday I posted Dave Pelz's instructions for hitting a chunk and run shot from the bunker. Today I've got four short videos from four different teachers, each demonstrating their approach to the shot.

Each of these chunk and run shots uses the basics of the Pelz shot, but each has that teacher's own twist on the technique. Between the Pelz instructions and these four demos, you should be able to find a technique that works for you.

The first video is from Sandy Jamieson.

The next video comes from Scott Mahlberg.

Here's one from Anne Cain.

And this video is from Mitchell Spearman.

Four different teachers, four slightly different approaches. Try them all and pick the one that suits you best!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Chunk and Run Shot

The chunk and run shot is simply a sand shot that's hit fat on purpose. I found this Golf Magazine article where Dave Pelz explains the basics.

Dave Pelz hitting chunk and run sand shot

Here's a summary of what Dave says in the article.
  • This is a 20- to 40-yard greenside shot for use in a shallow bunker. If the lip is too high, this is the wrong shot. And you need room between the bunker and the hole for the shot to run.
  • Don't use your sand wedge. Dave recommends a 7- to 9-iron.
  • Use your normal setup and open the clubface only a little, just enough to keep it from digging into the sand.
  • Make your backswing about half its normal length and hit four or five inches behind the ball. Remember, you want to hit it fat on purpose!
  • Dave says you're pushing the sand into the ball, not slipping the club under the ball to throw the sand upward. So don't flip your wrists.
  • For a 20-yard shot, finish with your hands around waist high. For a 40-yard chunk and run, make a full finish.
  • Let that baby RUN to the hole!
This is a shot that takes some practice but, hey, how hard can it be to hit the ball fat? Just experiment a little and find out which club works best for you.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The LPGA Plays the Marathon Classic After All

We weren't sure this event would even be played as little as a month ago, and the virus has left its fingerprints all over the Marathon Classic.

Defending champion Sei Young Kim

We'll start with the obvious: There will be no spectators at this event. That nearly killed the event, as sponsors draw most of the charity dollars from the pro-ams and such that can't be played this year.

Defending champion Sei Young Kim will not defend. She's still in Korea due to travel concerns.

An interesting fact: US players have more wins at this event than any other country (13), but no American has won since 2008 (Paula Creamer). That could change this year, given that many of the international players have -- like Kim -- chosen not to risk the travel. But that doesn't mean the entire field will be US players. A quick glance at the field list shows a large number of international players will be in action.

The field will be headlined by World #2 Danielle Kang and #3 Nelly Korda. Also notable is Ana Belac, a player from Slovenia via Duke University who is making her first Tour appearance on a sponsor's invite. (Is she the first Slovenian player to play at an LPGA event? I'm guessing she is.)

Finally, this note from the LPGA website.
The Marathon LPGA Classic presented by Dana is the final opportunity for LPGA players to earn a full exemption into the 2020 AIG Women’s Open; after 72 holes, the top 10 LPGA Members not already exempt will earn a spot into the major championship
GC will carry three hours of live coverage starting Thursday at 1pm ET. For those of us who missed women's golf, it's nice to know the LPGA is getting some live coverage amidst all the other tours.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: PGA Championship

Twofer Tuesday is trapped in a time warp! A trip to the 2020 PGA Championship takes us to roughly the same time of year as the 2018 PGA!

Defending champion Brooks Koepka

Well, I suppose we'll survive, given that the same guy won in 2018 and 2019. This time Brooks Koepka defends at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco CA.

The difference, of course, is the pandemic. This PGA will have no fans -- or at least none but perhaps the significant others of the players involved. There is a belief among some commentators that this may open up the potential for an unexpected winner, an inexperienced player who may benefit from the lack of fans. Fewer people on site watching, less pressure on the participants -- or that's how the theory goes.

We'll see about that. Majors carry a pressure all their own, regardless of how many fans are watching.

In the meantime I have to pick two players to finish in the Top10. Forget untested theories -- I'm going chalk.
  • After a near miss last week at the WGC, it's hard not to believe Brooks Koepka will find a way to get it done yet again. The chance to win a fifth major, as well as make history with a three-peat -- that's just too much for a gamer like Brooks to pass up. The massive improvements in his game last week lacked only one thing -- a dependable fade. I bet he'll have one of those this week!
  • Let's see now, who were the last three PGA champs? Brooks won in 2019 and 2018... and Justin Thomas in 2017. The only three-time winner this season is coming off a WGC win where he beat... defending champ Brooks Koepka? Sure, he's been a bit erratic but he's got a win and a runner-up in his last three events. Sure sounds like a recipe for success to me!
ESPN and CBS split the coverage duties this week. If you've got the ESPN+ streaming service, you can watch from 10am-4pm ET on Thursday. But whether you've got that or not, ESPN will air the event from 4pm-10pm ET Thursday. Bear in mind that both will likely be live, as there's a three-hour time difference between the East and West Coasts.

I'm interested to see if the "no pressure" theory actually plays out in San Francisco... but I wouldn't bet on it. I'll be shocked if the winner doesn't come from the Top20 in the world rankings.

Monday, August 3, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 WGC-FedEx St. Jude

Winner: Justin Thomas

Around the wider world of golf: Sam Horsfield won the Hero Open on the ET; Jim Furyk won the Ally Challenge on the Champions Tour; Richy Werenski won the Barracuda Championship, the PGA Tour's alternate field event; Seth Reeves won the Pinnacle Bank Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour; Danielle Kang won the LPGA Drive On Championship; and Hae Ran Ryu defended her title at the Jeju Samdasoo Masters on the KLPGA.

Justin Thomas with WGC-FedEx St. Jude trophy

My Twofer Tuesday picks struggled in Memphis. I had Collin Morikawa (T20) and Webb Simpson (T12). Webb almost gave me a T10 until late Sunday, when the course took its toll on almost everybody. Oh well...
  • Top10s: 15 for 36 (6 Top5, 9 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 1 for 18 events
Justin Thomas had his mind on a high finish this week. After some uneven play since the restart, he was talking about his desire to return to #1 in the world and noted he'd like to spend at least two years there by the time his career ended.

Guess who's back?

Jon Rahm's time at the top ended quickly after a T52 in Memphis but JT's return to the top of the OWGR wasn't a done deal. He started the final round in fifth place -- he'd never come from that far back -- and he was four strokes down, tying the largest deficit he'd ever overcome. And while he made up ground quickly, at one point there were eight players within a single stroke of the lead.

One of those players was Brooks Koepka, also rediscovering some form after a few weeks of struggle. It appeared for a while that he might be back on point and ready to defend his last WGC title... but then he hit the final three holes and the roller coaster took its toll:
  • JT took a two-stroke lead after making birdie on 16 while Brooks bogeyed.
  • Brooks cut the lead to one with a long birdie on 17 while JT could only par.
  • And then Brooks dumped his tee shot on 18 into the water for double-bogey and JT"s par gave him a three-shot victory.
So now Justin Thomas heads to California for the PGA Championship, the major he's won once already and at which Brooks is again the defending champion. But he'll head out well-armed with both the #1 spot in the world rankings and yet another Limerick Summary.
The first man to three wins this season
Leaves Memphis with one major reason
To play well in Cali:
For JT, it’s how he
Finds World Number One so damn pleasin’!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Jon Rahm on the Short Game (Video)

This year-old video is absolutely loaded with Jon's thoughts on the short game. There's a lot here if you take the time to listen.

I think the most useful tip he gives is his preference for shots that don't spin. Jon says that your best chance to make a short game shot -- if it's a shot that you can use, given the conditions -- is to make the shot without spin so it will hit and roll to the hole.

As I said, there's a lot of good thoughts in this video. Given that his approach took him from #8 at the time of this video to #1 now, those thoughts are definitely worth trying out.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Before You Buy Your Next Set of Clubs...

This Golf Monthly video helps you prepare for the potentially expensive procedure of getting a new set of fitted clubs. Check out the ten questions you should ask before you buy!

I have listed the ten questions below but you'll want to watch the video to understand the full importance of each one.

And yes, I know I numbered them backwards. That's just how the HTML coding for the post works!
  1. What is the weakest part of your game?
  2. Where do you play?
  3. Are you taking lessons, and is your handicap coming down?
  4. How important are the look and the feel of the golf clubs to you?
  5. Is the makeup of the set likely to change?
  6. Do you have one consistent shot shape, or do you prefer to hit lots of different types of shots?
  7. How much are you willing to spend?
  8. What would make a bigger difference to your scoring -- hitting it longer or hitting it straighter?
  9. What is your go-to shot?
  10. Where do you most commonly miss?
So if you're getting ready to buy new clubs, take the time to run through these questions. They just might make the difference between a good fit and a less-than-successful fit.