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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Craig Renshaw's Slope Putting Drill (Video)

GCA coach Craig Renshaw showed this little drill to help you improve your uphill and downhill putting... but I'm going to alter it and create a greens-reading drill.

Craig's drill is simple: Just place tees at various distances on a slope and putt from either end, trying to get your distance correct. This is a great drill that you can use anywhere on the practice green; you don't even need a hole.

NOW let's turn it into a greens-reading drill!

Here's what I want you to do: Find a slope on the green, just as Craig suggests. But I want you to place the tees ACROSS the slope, not up and down along it! If you do this, you can practice several putting distances with the same amount of sideslope. This will help you learn how distance affects the force you need to hit the ball to different holes on the same slope.

Might make an interesting competitive drill during a boring practice session as well.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The LPGA Heads for Thailand

The LPGA takes a short hop and a skip over to Thailand for the third event of the season, the Honda LPGA Thailand, a limited field event that nevertheless always manages to generate an exciting competition.

Six LPGAers

We do, of course, get the "local color" for which the LPGA is developing a reputation -- like the photo op with the Jakapat Thai national costumes shown in the photo above. Showcasing the outfits are (I think I got them in the right order) Supamas Sangchan, Alison Lee, Moriya Jutanugarn, Brooke Henderson, Bo Mee Lee and Muni He.

There are only around 70 players in this event, but that doesn't mean there's no star power. For example, the Top6 from the Rolex Rankings are there:
  1. Shanshan Feng
  2. Sung Hyun Park
  3. So Yeon Ryu
  4. Lexi Thompson
  5. Anna Nordqvist
  6. In Gee Chun
Along with defending champion Amy Yang, who also won this event in 2015, and 2018's first two winners.Brittany Lincicome and Jin Young Ko, there are also six players from Thailand in the field (Ariya Jutanugarn, Moriya Jutanugarn, Saranporn Langkulgasettrin, Benyapa Niphatsophon, Pornanong Phatlum, and Supamas Sangchan). You can get other details from Tony Jesselli's preview over at his blog, as well as the two LPGA posts here and here about the event.

Perhaps the biggest news I can pass on to you is the TV time. I was afraid this event would be too late for the eastern US to see it, but the LPGA website says that GC will be carrying the event beginning tonight at 10pm ET for four hours. It's a bit rough having to go up against the Olympics, but if you'd rather see a warm weather sport...

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Adam Kolloff on Hitting Hybrids

Golf Digest instructor Adam Kolloff recently wrote a short article called Get The Most Out Of Your Hybrid. It focuses on hitting hybrids from the rough.

Gripping a hybrid

Kolloff has four tips to improve your hybrid play from the rough.
  1. Keep a firm grip so the face doesn't twist open or closed.
  2. Play the ball in the center of your stance.
  3. Don't sway off the ball. Try to stay very steady over the shot so you can hit down sharply on it.
  4. Be sure to accelerate through the rough.
That tip about playing the ball in the center of your stance is important. Kolloff says that too many players try to play the ball forward like a fairway wood, but I imagine just as many set up with the ball too far back in their stance like a wedge. Hybrids have straighter faces than wedges, so playing the ball too far back can drive it deeper into the rough rather than popping it out of the grass.

These are simple things, I know. But it's usually the simple things that trip us up.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Limerick Summary: 2018 Genesis Open

Winner: Bubba Watson

Around the wider world of golf: Jin Young Ko won wire-to-wire in her first official start as an LPGA member -- only the second woman ever to do so -- at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open; Joost Luiten won the inaugural NBO Oman Open on the ET; and Joe Durant won the Chubb Classic on the Champions Tour.

Bubba Watson with his third Genesis Open trophy

It appears that Bubba Watson is back on the golf map. And contrary to rumors of his impending retirement, he intends to stay there.

At least for a couple more years.

After a solid year of health problems, equipment changes and who knows what else, Bubba is back to his old self. That means, of course, that he's making news for more than his golf, such as playing in the NBA Celebrity Basketball Tournament in the middle of the Genesis Open.

And I mean no disrespect when I say that. Bubba is one of those folks who thrives on variety, on trying different things and not taking himself too seriously. The Bubba Watson who was "playing" all over Hollywood this past week was also playing some of his best golf -- golf we've all been waiting to see again.

He picked a great place to do it, as well. After successfully holding off the likes of Patrick Cantlay, Kevin Na, Phil Mickelson, Tony Finau and Scott Stallings with a bogey-free three-under on the back nine, Bubba joined Ben Hogan and Lloyd Mangrum as the only three-time winners at Riviera. That's pretty good company he's keeping!

So it's nice to welcome Bubba back to the winner's circle after a long absence... and just in time for this year's Ryder Cup! Here's a fresh Limerick Summary for your collection, big fella:
The last round was close, nip and tuck
Between several players, but luck
Was against all but one—
Bubba’s three-under run
Down the stretch left them all thunderstruck.
The photo came from the website.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Birdies Strike Back (Video)

This is really short, but it's hilarious. In case you missed it, all those birdies Justin Thomas has been making took revenge against him and Amanda Balionis during a post-round interview Saturday.

Yeah, I know. Sometimes the smallest things entertain me. At least it's better than playing with a rubber band.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Graeme McDowell on the 100-Yard Pitch Shot (Video)

Since Graeme is tied for the lead at the Genesis Open, I thought it a good time to post a tip from him. This is a Golf Monthly video on how he plays 100-yard pitch shots.

The biggest thing I want you to take away from this tip is that Graeme likes to have AT LEAST TWO WAYS to play each of his yardages under 150 yards. One of those is a full throttle shot that spins like the devil but isn't necessarily his most accurate, the other a shoulder-height shot that he can control well. (Shoulder height is an easy length for most players to feel.) The hard shot is played with the higher-lofted wedge, the partial shot with a lower-lofted wedge.

Graeme chooses which one to use based on pin position. He uses the hard spinny shot for front pin positions and the partial shot for pins that are farther back on the green. (That partial shot is going to roll out a bit because it's not spinning as hard.)

He's certainly getting good use out of his wedges at Riviera, where it's really tough to get close to the pin positions. Be sure to watch and see if you can pick out which holes he uses partial shots on and which get the full-bore wedge.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Zach Allen on Playing Flier Lies (Video)

PGA instructor Zach Allen did a really nice video explaining exactly what a flier lie is and how to play it. It's short and to the point, which is what you need when facing a trouble shot like this.

First, Zach says a flier lie generally sits in light rough and the grass is growing toward the target. Very important, that -- if the grass was growing against you, it would help hold the ball in place when you hit it, not send it squirting forward. Instead, the grass gets between the ball and clubface, and that makes it come out lower and hotter.

But it's hard to know just how much. We just have to guess.

So here's what Zach says to do: Take one less club than you normally would and make a smooth swing. What he means is that you don't try to swing out of your shoes, as the ball is going to come out quicker and with less spin anyway. Then you just have to hope for the best, since fliers are unpredictable.

All-in-all, a very helpful video for handling a difficult shot.