ATTENTION, READERS in the 28 EUROPEAN VAT COUNTRIES: Because of the new VAT law, you probably can't order books direct from my site now. But that's okay -- just go to my Smashwords author page.
You can order PDFs (as well as all the other ebook formats) from there.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Forget Golf -- Let's Talk SPACE TRAVEL!

Just a reminder that the SpaceX/NASA manned mission to the Space Station is supposed to go off today at 2pm ET. And you've got a lot of options to watch it.

Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley

Space.com has an article with a listing of all the ways you can watch the launch, and there will likely be even more as various news outlets will want to cover this historic mission. But here, from that article, is one of the links that will probably be the most widely available around the planet -- the official NASA stream on space.com:
You'll be able to watch the SpaceX launch live here and on Space.com's homepage, courtesy of NASA TV, beginning at 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT). But NASA's webcast won't be the only game in town. 
Veteran NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will be in the pilots' chairs for this first-ever commercial manned space launch (that's them in the photo above). And if you haven't kept up with the amazing story of how SpaceX and NASA got to this point, here's a CNN article that will give you most of the basics to get you up-to-speed.

This is going to be so cool!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

How to Pick the Right Shaft Flex (Video)

Here are a couple of the guys from 2nd Swing Golf with some tips to help you pick the right shaft flex for your clubs.



Just to mention a few things I found interesting:
  • There is no real standard for what makes a "regular" or "stiff" flex. Every company makes their clubs a bit differently.
  • A good place to start is to ask what club you generally use for a 150-yard shot. The video gives you some ideas for understanding what that tells you about your shaft.
  • There are a lot of things about your shaft that can only be figured out at a fitting. But that doesn't mean you can't figure out roughly what shaft flex you need... and if you just get the flex close, you're going to help your game a lot.
This is a particularly good video for those of you wondering if you can help your game by getting new clubs. If the flex of your current clubs is wrong for you, the answer is almost certainly yes.

Monday, May 25, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 Phil/Tiger Rematch

Winner: Tiger Woods/Peyton Manning 1up

Around the wider world of golf: Jin Young Ko played Sung Hyun Park in the Hyundai Card Super Match. The match finished in a tie, which seems a bit anticlimactic to me, but they did generate a lot of money for COVID-19 charities.

Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods

Take two superstars like Phil and Tiger and put them in a match play event -- especially since Phil beat Tiger the last time they did so -- and throw in two Hall of Fame NFL quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning as their partners.

Break the 18-hole event in half -- the front nine as fourballs, the back nine as alternate shot. Throw in some wet weather.

Then let them play for $10million dollars for COVID-19 charities, and give viewers a chance to add money as the event progresses.

That was the idea behind The Match: Champions for Charity... and it appears it was a success. As you can see from the photo above, the fans eventually doubled the original charity amount.

And I'm not sure that total includes the 300,000 meals that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson pledged on one of the challenges.

For those of you who missed it, here's the quick version: Tiger and Peyton went 3up in the first six holes, but Phil and Tom made it a game on the back nine. It came down to the final hole, with Tiger and Peyton winning 1up.

Of course, this makes Tiger and Phil even in one-on-one match play. You know they'll have to have a tiebreaker, right? We'll have to wait and see when that happens. In the meantime, Tiger can gloat a bit over getting another one over on Phil... and on picking up another Limerick Summary.
With Peyton and Tiger and Tom
And Phil teeing up, it was on!
Their charity play
Was the win of the day…
But now Tiger is tied one-and-one.
The photo came from this page at foxnews.com.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Match 2 Is Today!

A reminder so you don't miss the Tiger/Phil rematch today, officially named The Match: Champions for Charity.

Tiger, Ernie Johnson of TNT and Phil

It's Tiger and Peyton Manning versus Phil and Tom Brady, playing at the Medalist Club in Florida. According to Golfweek:
The first nine holes of the match will be in a four-ball format followed by a modified alternate shot format on the back nine in which each golfer will tee off then each team will play alternate shot from the selected drive.
Not being mentioned as much but equally interesting to me is that Justin Thomas will be doing the on-course commentary. And he told Scott Van Pelt on ESPN's SportsCenter that he would indeed be talking trash with them as the round progresses. Given that he knows all but Peyton pretty well, this should be a very entertaining part of the match and I give TNT props for coming up with it.

According to CBS Sports, the full team will include Brian Anderson, Charles Barkley, Trevor Immelman, Justin Thomas and Amanda Balionis. They also say that the event will be broadcast on TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN, plus (if you can't get it on one of those channels) you can watch it for free on fuboTV. There's a link for that in the CBS article as well.

The TNT broadcast starts at 3pm ET today. Don't miss it!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Dave Pelz on Wedge Ball Position (Video)

I remember seeing the GC show this short clip is from, but this bit is all we need today. Let's talk about ball position when playing a wedge shot. There are two things we want to learn from this clip.



The first thing to learn is how to determine ball position. (This is actually a useful thing to know when playing full shots as well.)

When you position your ball for a shot, you typically use the middle of your stance as your starting point. Please note that when Pelz puts his ball in the middle of his stance, he measures halfway between his heels, not his toes. When he fans his lead foot open, a ball in the middle of his stance actually appears to be more than halfway back.

So if you want to position your ball halfway in your stance, measure that position between your heels and not your toes. (And be aware that if you play the ball off your lead toe when you hit a drive, it's actually teed a bit in front of your stance. Interesting, eh?)

The second -- and perhaps more interesting -- point is that Pelz always positions the ball in the middle of his stance for a wedge shot. This is exactly opposite of what his prize pupil, Phil Mickelson, does!

Phil moves the ball forward to hit it higher while Pelz opens his stance and clubface instead. Pelz's reasoning is sound; the consistent position ensures more consistent contact -- no fat shots.

But while the Pelz reasoning is sound, that doesn't mean it's the best for you. Phil's way does require more practice and could result in more fat shots but, since we can be sure Pelz has explained that, clearly Phil is more comfortable with his own method.

So this gives you a new tool in your short game arsenal. If you've been using one way of positioning and aren't having the success you want, give the other method a try and see which one gives you better results more consistently. Golf is an individual game, after all, and you should learn to play the way that lets you score best.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Mike Malaska on the Secret to Getting Better (Video)

I'm glad Mike Malaska did this short video on the basics of golf. Watch and learn!



Make sure you understand this: You don't flip your hands. All you have to do is learn to point the clubface where you want it -- no flipping! -- and then you just swing your arms in the direction you want.

And here's the simplest truth of them all: You point the clubface using your hands. If you can point the clubface where you want it pointed, then you can control the ball.

Yes, it really is that simple. Watch and learn.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Jeff Simonds on Playing in the Wind (Video)

Simonds was Director of Golf at Bandon Dunes when this video was made. (I think he's Director of Resort Operations now.) In this short video he gives advice on driving in the wind.



This sounds almost Tom Watson-like. Simonds recommends leaving the tee height and ball position the same when playing in wind, in order to avoid changing how your club comes into the impact zone.

Instead, he recommends slowing down your tempo and swing speed a little while gripping down on the shaft slightly (maybe a half-inch). This is to reduce the amount of ballspin you get so the ball doesn't balloon up into the wind. He also suggests widening your stance if necessary to keep your balance.

This is a much simpler approach than most instructors suggest. But it sure sounds like a good idea if you're playing a links-style course.