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Monday, August 19, 2019

The Limerick Summary: 2019 BMW Championship

Winner: Justin Thomas

Around the wider world of golf: Thomas Pieters broke his winless streak with a victory at the D+D Real Czech Masters on the ET; in only his second Champions Tour start, Doug Barron won the Dick's Sporting Goods Open; Derek Barron (no relation) won the Players Cup on the Mackenzie Tour; Ssu-Chia Cheng won the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship on the Symetra Tour; Andrew Dodt won the Sarawak Championship on the Asian Tour; and Andy Ogletree won the US Amateur Championship.

Justin Thomas with both BMW trophies

It appears that the pressure of the Playoffs is nothing compared to being a Twofer Tuesday pick! This week I had Webb Simpson (T24) to win and Rory McIlroy (T19) to Top10. I thought the pros knew how to deal with pressure?!
  • Winners: 2 for 33
  • Place well (Top10): 16 for 33 (9 Top5s, 7 more Top10s)
  • Overall Top10s: 27 of 66 (14 Top5s, 13 more Top10s)
Pressure didn't seem to bother Justin Thomas, however. A six-shot lead tends to make anybody second-guess themselves -- you don't want to be the guy who lost with a big lead, and it had already happened to JT once -- but a slow front nine was wiped away with fast back nine.

Second place finisher Patrick Cantlay started fast -- and also finished fast -- but he was just a bit too far back to start the day. JT managed to pull out a three-stroke win and get his first victory of 2019.

Cantlay did make him think about it, though.

Both guys showed Brooks a thing or two as well, bumping him out of first place in the FedExCup points list all the way down to third. Cantlay now finds himself in second place while JT sits, as we say here in the South, "in the catbird seat."

But JT will have plenty of time to think about that when he gets to East Lake. For now, I'm sure the only thing that matters is getting another Limerick Summary for his growing collection.
Once JT’s course record was done,
The vict’ry was pretty much won.
He shot to the top
Of the points list; next stop?
Down to East Lake, where he’ll be The One.
The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Butch Harmon on NOT Using a Wedge (Video)

This is so simple but very few players ever listen. Let Butch explain it...



The concept is simple: A less-than-full swing is easier to control than a full swing. Perhaps the pros like to hit wedges as hard as they can, but that doesn't mean YOU should. Despite hours of practice, the pros still mis-hit those full shot very often.

But they don't mis-hit the short shots like chips and pitches nearly as often, do they? That's what Butch wants you to understand.

The technique is equally simple. Just choose a 9-iron instead of a wedge, position the ball slightly ahead of the center of your stance and make a three-quarter swing with a cut-off finish. That keeps the ball flight down and makes it easier to get the ball on line to the target.

And while Butch says to use a 9-iron for this shot, the concept works for longer shots as well. There are shots where you currently try to hit a 7- or 8-iron that might give better results using this technique with a 5- or 6-iron. When distance isn't a problem, it's usually best to choose accuracy over power.

You might be surprised at how many strokes this tip can save you during a round. After all, Butch knows what he's talking about.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Tom Stickney on the Dreaded Double-Cross

Golf Tips Magazine posted an article about a month ago on how to avoid a double-cross off the tee. This is an article worth reading.

Setup for a normal draw

While most instructors describe a double-cross as aiming to play a fade but hitting a pull-hook instead, Stickney says the double-cross can also be a draw that turns into a push-slice.

As a result, this is an article that can help you with all kinds of unintentional tee shots that don't go where you intended.

However, it also means I can't really summarize it because there's too much information. But I can tell you what Stickney says are the main causes of both shots:
  • The fade that hooks is usually caused when you stay too long on your trailing foot and close the clubface.
  • The draw that slices is usually caused when you stand up during the shot and open the clubface.
He then gives you drills to help correct both problems.

It seems to me that the info in this article might help anybody struggling to create a specific shot shape off the tee. Changing your mechanics won't necessarily help correct the problem unless you understand why you have the problem in the first place. Stickney's advice just might give you the insight you need to get the results that you want.

Friday, August 16, 2019

David Leadbetter on Your Driver's "Eyes"

This Golf Digest article from David Leadbetter talks about something I've mentioned on this blog before, but his take is a bit different. He wants you to pretend your driver has eyes.

Keeping the driver face on target

Here's part of what he says:
If a round of golf for you is constant guesswork of where the ball might end up, you can improve your accuracy if you fix the cause and control the clubface better through impact. It starts by making a better takeaway. No more whipping the club inside. Instead, pretend the clubface has vision, and its job is to swing back while keeping its eyes on the ball. In the photos above, my club starts squarely behind the ball and does not rotate open in the takeaway. Copy this move. I want you to keep it staring at the ball as long as you can when you take it back. [my emphasis]
Now doing this may cause you to make some awkward moves during your swing -- you may twist your forearms into an extreme closed position if you get over-zealous -- so do this as a drill before you take it to the course.

Still, the concept is sound. If you want to be more accurate with your drives -- with all your shots, actually -- you need to be aware of where your clubface is "looking" at impact. A better takeaway always helps, and you know I'm a big proponent of the one-piece takeaway. But however you do it, you need to become aware of where the club is facing when you actually contact the ball.

If you know the clubface is "looking" at your target at impact, you can make the ball go where you want it to go regardless of what your swing looks like. So that should be a major focus of your practice.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Katie Rule's Chipping Tips (Video)

A month or so back I posted Katie's power tips. Today she looks at the other extreme of the game -- her tips on better chipping. While she says she's talking specifically to women, her tips are good for any player.



Her first tip is something many players never think about.
  • Choose where you want the ball to land first.
Unless you do this first, you don't have a good frame of reference for choosing the best club for the shot. Pick your landing spot, give the area from there to the hole a quick study, and choose your club with that knowledge.

Her second tip is all about setup.
  • Narrow your stance so you have only a clubhead's length between your feet, and place the ball off the big toe of your trailing foot.
This is narrower than many players ever consider, but this combination of narrow stance and ball position guarantees that you'll hit the ball first with a downward stroke. That's important from the rough.

And her final tip is fairly natural for most players.
  • Grip down on the club, almost to the shaft.
A shorter shaft is easier to control, especially from the rough.

Simple tips, but we all need to remind ourselves of the basics from time to time if we want to keep our games sharp.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Korn Ferry Finals Start

I couldn't make up my mind. The D+D Real Czech Masters is going on in Europe this week, and the DICK'S Sporting Goods Open will keep the Champions Tour busy. But the Korn Ferry Tour Finals start this week, with players fighting for their PGA Tour cards. Guess which won out?

Defending champion Robert Streb

The Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship in Columbus OH is the first of three events in the Korn Ferry Finals. Robert Streb is the defending champion -- and unfortunately for him, he WILL be trying to defend, as he is in the field this week.

Rather than just copy-and-pasting the information, I'm going to link you to the pgatour.com pages that give you all the details on how the Korn Ferry Finals work. I'll just remind you here that 50 PGA Tour cards will be given out -- 25 last week at the WinCo Foods Portland Open, and an additional 25 through these finals.. All 50 compete in the Finals to determine their exact order of priority.
GC will of course be carrying all three Finals events. The first round of the Nationwide starts Thursday at 11:30am ET. (No PGA TOUR LIVE streaming for this event.)

The Korn Ferry Finals are interesting for the struggle, but it's a different struggle than the one going on in the FedExCup Playoffs. It does help put things in perspective though, to have them both going on at the same time when the stakes are so much different.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Twofer Tuesday: BMW Championship

It's the second of three FedExCup events. It's everybody's last chance to make the TOUR Championship. It's the BMW Championship... and it's Twofer Tuesday.

Defending champion Keegan Bradley

Last year's champion Keegan Bradley defends at Medinah, the scene of the "Miracle at Medinah" in the 2012 Ryder Cup. Ironically enough, there have been two PGA Championshps played at Medinah (1999 and 2006)... and both were won by Tiger Woods.

So the only player in the field to win a major at Medinah #3 is Tiger... and he's not really on anybody's favorites list. But I've taken a look at the list of 24 pros at the 2012 Ryder Cup, and I think some of them have possibilities.

Of course, I can only pick two. Here they are.
  • My Top10er, once again, is Rory McIlroy. I think Rory has something to prove in these Playoffs because, despite how well he's played this year -- perhaps his most consistent year ever -- he's still being treated as something of an also-ran. I look for him to put that chip on his shoulder this week and make yet another run at a title. Since Medinah #3 can play over 7600 yards, his driving prowess should serve him well. In many situations, I'd consider him a sure thing.
  • Nevertheless, I've found sure things to be less than dependable this season... so my winner is Webb Simpson. Webb has also played extremely well this season, with three runner-up finishes in his last six events. While the extreme length of Medinah works against Webb, he should have good memories from 2012, winning two out of three points -- and those were fourball matches, so he can play this course well enough.
GC's coverage begins Thursday at 3pm ET while PGA TOUR LIVE starts streaming at 10am ET. (Not as early as usual but there's only 70 players in the field this week.) With the cut to 30 coming on Sunday, it will be interesting to see how many players from the "lower 40" manage to make the leap.

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Limerick Summary: 2019 Northern Trust

Winner: Patrick Reed

Around the wider world of golf: Mi Jung Hur set a tournament record while winning the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open on the LPGA/LET; Bo Hoag sealed his PGA Tour card with a win at the WinCo Foods Portland Open on the Korn Ferry Tour; Hayden Buckley won the ATB Financial Classic on the Mackenzie Tour; and Robynn Ree won her second straight Symetra Tour event at the PHC Classic.

Patrick Reed with the Northern Trust trophy

So what's up with Brooks? When my Twofer Tuesday picks say he'll Top10, he wins... but if I pick him to win, he doesn't even Top10! This week I had Brooks Koepka (T30) to win and Rory McIlroy (T6) to Top10. At least Rory knows what to do.
  • Winners: 2 for 32
  • Place well (Top10): 16 for 32 (9 Top5s, 7 more Top10s)
  • Overall Top10s: 27 of 64 (14 Top5s, 13 more Top10s)
Do any of you keep up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe? If you do, you know that Iron Man was the heart and soul of that franchise, that the first Avengers movie centered around the Battle of New York and that, while Captain America fought valiantly, ultimately it was Iron Man who turned the tide and sealed the victory there.

But in the Battle of New Jersey on Sunday, golf's Iron Man (Brooks Koepka) came up short in the heroics department. Instead, Captain America landed the winning blow.

Patrick Reed has struggled for most of the last 16 months since his last victory. Not only has his game suffered, but he has also dealt with fallout from, shall we say, unwise Ryder Cup comments, among other things. However, while Captain America may have been frustrated, no one can ever say he lacked confidence. His victory in Jersey may have surprised the field but it didn't surprise him.

Now he's #2 in FedExCup points, guaranteed a trip to East Lake and trailing only the Iron Man himself. Clearly the superheroes have moved to the front of the pack. (I'm guessing Rory could be Green Lantern since the Kyle Rayner incarnation was half-Irish.) Let's just say that the Playoffs have gotten a lot more interesting!

At any rate, while I know it's not as useful as a Vibranium shield, Captain America does get a shiny new Limerick Summary that he can wave in Iron Man's face -- er, mask. That may be even more valuable to Patrick!
When Iron Man could not get it done,
Golf’s Captain America won!
Reed’s game showed up big time
When he hit the back nine;
In Jersey, he gave ground to no one.
The photo came from the homepage at pgatour.com.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Basic Hybrid Address Position

Today's tip is short and simple. This brief Golf Magazine post gives you the basic setup keys for swinging a hybrid.

Standard hybrid setup

The post has four keys.
  • Ball position: Place the toe of your hybrid against your left heel with the clubface facing your body, then place the ball opposite the hosel. That keeps you from putting the ball too far back in your stance.
  • Stance width: Stand with your feet under your armpits. That keeps you from making your stance too wide.
  • Hand position: Lean the shaft slightly toward the target. That gets your hands slightly ahead of the clubface so you get a nice downward strike, making the ball fly high and stop fast on the green.
  • Swing easy: Pretend you're swinging a wedge. That keeps you from swinging too hard.
Not very complicated at all, but it should help you get the most out of your hybrids on normal approach shots.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Brian Jacobs's Square Face Drill (Video)

This drill/game from GCA coach Brian Jacobs is good for more than improving your ability to hit solid predictable shots.



This drill -- or game, if you so desire -- will certainly help you learn to control the face better. If you gain the ability to hit the ball anywhere on the clubface that you desire, it will certainly improve your ability to control shot shapes and hit more fairways as well.

But this drill teaches you more than that. Waaaay more...

If you practice hitting the ball off the toe, off the heel and square in the center of the face, you will learn what each of those impacts feel like. And if you can recognize when you've hit the ball somewhere other than the center of the face, you'll be able to troubleshoot your swing during a round and make corrections right there on the course! This is a major skill worth having in your repertoire.

And since it's a drill you can play as a game, practice won't be so boring either. What more could you ask from a drill?

Friday, August 9, 2019

Travis Fulton on Dustin Johnson's Drives (Video)

This video is only seven months old so it's pretty recent. Looks like DJ does something interesting when he hits his drives.



Instructor Travis Fulton talks at length about DJ's bowed wrist, but I'm not focusing on that. Travis says that the bowed wrist is a "superior position," but that's not necessarily true. Depending on how you address the ball, a flat or even a cupped wrist may work better for you. You want the position that allows you to return the clubface to the ball in the same way you addressed it.

So let's move on to the interesting part.

Travis starts by talking about how DJ straightens his trailing knee on the way back. I've written about that in the past, simply because many players -- Arnold Palmer being a prime example -- used that move to create clubhead speed. But that's just part of the move; you need what DJ does on the way down as well to get the full benefit.

DJ lets that trailing knee rebend to the same position it was at address... but he doesn't slide his hips forward toward the target. Instead, he squats down slightly -- a move popularized by the great Sam Snead, so much so that it is often called the "Snead Squat."

First thing to notice: He squats straight down; he doesn't push forward toward the target.

But it doesn't stop there. DJ is also spreading his knees slightly so they are farther apart, as if he had dropped from a small height and absorbed the landing force with his knees. Again, like the squat, this isn't a big move but it clearly spreads his knees a bit farther apart. From there he can push up as he finishes his turn.

I'm making a big deal of this because this springlike movement keeps him centered over the ball during impact. He will move forward slightly as he straightens up during impact and his hips turn toward the target, but he won't move forward any great amount. As a result, he makes solid contact with the ball more consistently, resulting in longer straighter drives.

This is something you'll need to practice -- not because it's hard to do but because the temptation will be to make the move too big. You'll squat too much and spread your knees too far; if you do, you'll hit the ball fat. Rather, this is a relaxed movement that should happen more or less automatically if you don't tense up. You just need to make this a normal part of your swing so you don't overemphasize it.

Once you learn how it feels, you'll start to do it without much conscious thought. And when you do that... well, you probably won't hit it as far as DJ but you'll be longer and straighter than you are now.

That ought to help reduce your score... and impress your foursome.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Some Thoughts on Tiger's Form

We all know that Tiger hasn't figured it out yet... but will he? Can he? That's what I want to look at today, because I think a lot of important things have been overlooked by the analysts.

Tiger at the Northern Trust

First, let's start with the obvious: The 2019 schedule change has affected everybody. When Brooks Koepka sat in front of the media after the US Open and simply said he was fried, that statement should have been given more attention than it got.

Brooks is arguably the fittest player on Tour and he has done his scheduling pretty much the way everybody thinks Tiger should have done it. And we know that Brooks has a team of advisors helping him figure out the best playing schedule to help him win the most tournaments. If that schedule left Brooks overly tired, it certainly wouldn't have worked for Tiger.

Second, we have to realize that all stress wears a body down. I've mentioned this on my blog before but many of you -- especially newer readers -- may not have seen it.

Health researchers have been studying the effects of stress on the human body for many decades. If I remember correctly, the original research began in the alpine countries of Europe, to try and help Olympic crosscountry skiers improve. It's a common realm of study everywhere now.

What the researchers found is that good stress has exactly the same effect on the human body that bad stress does. (I'm not saying that they have the same mental and emotional effects, merely that they have the same physical effects.) This led to such fitness approaches as periodization, a common training technique (especially among bodybuilders) where workouts are done in cycles.

In a typical training regimen, the athlete begins a slow workout routine that builds in intensity -- frequently over a three-month stretch -- and then the athlete stops working out for a prescribed period of time so the body has time to recover and rebuild muscle. Unless muscles are given the time to completely rebuild, their potential growth is severely limited.

That also means that, if the body isn't given sufficient time to recover, no matter how well every other fundamental has been followed, the body will break down. That's why people so often get sick after a long stressful period -- when they finally get a chance to relax, their bodies automatically begin a recovery cycle which drains energy needed for normal activity. A side effect is a loss of mental drive -- in other words, you just want to rest.

I suspect that's why Tiger got sick after he won the Masters. His fused back has eliminated the constant pain he felt before (let's not underestimate that) but it makes everything a bit harder than it was before.  He had been pushing himself for at least 15-18 months by the Masters, and his body simply couldn't take anymore. Add that to the newly compressed Tour schedule and it's no wonder he hasn't seemed to be as healthy as we'd like.

And when you add in the normal letdown after a huge accomplishment -- a letdown that generally means you need time to both celebrate what you did and reevaluate what your new goals should be -- Tiger's relatively poor performance and apparent lack of energy since the Masters make perfectly good sense.

In other words, I don't think his current lack of form is a cause for worry. I think this is an expected result of his shockingly successful comeback over the last two years, and all he needs is an extended time of rest. I don't mean that he doesn't do any work on his game during that time. Rather, he just needs to noticeably reduce his workload for a while and allow his body to rebuild and regain its strength.

If I'm correct, that less intense time will result in a complete recovery from which his body will be ready to increase its strength and endurance. Don't forget -- the years during which Tiger's back kept him from his normal golf routines resulted in him losing a large part of the base fitness he built up over the years. He can regain most of that, but it's going to take longer than he wants -- probably another year or two to get where he needs to be.

In the meantime, the rest he has taken since THE OPEN may have given him enough recovery time to play two or three decent weeks during the FedExCup Playoffs. The key word here is may, because we don't know how much that run to the Masters took out of him.

But I'm optomistic about his future. If he's willing to put up with less-than-stellar performances during a small handful of events over the rest of the year, I see no reason he couldn't hit 2020 armed with a useful knowledge of how to build his schedule and a decent chance at another major -- or even two -- next year.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Last Chance to Watch Links Golf for a While

The LPGA and LET team up once again this week to present the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open. This year it's played at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick, Scotland -- the same as the men's Scottish Open -- so we'll get some "ladies' links" after all.

Defending champions Ariya Jutanugarn

Tony Jesselli has posted one of his customary excellent previews at his site, so I'm linking you to it here. I'll just note that Ariya Jutanugarn is the defending champion, albeit at a different course, and Tony is reporting that the field isn't as strong this week as it was last year. I imagine that's a response to playing two majors in two consecutive weeks. With a one week break coming after the Scottish Open anyway, this is an easy way to get two weeks off.

The most notable player to skip this week -- in my opinion anyway -- is Jin Young Ko. Jin is the hot player on Tour right now, while Ariya has cooled off after last year's torrid run. Between Jin's absence and Ariya's lull, this could be an opportune time for some of the lower-ranked players to steal a bigtime win.

GC's coverage begins Thursday at 10:30am ET, which I'm guessing will be late round live coverage.

As I said earlier, this is likely our last chance to see links golf until the Alfred Dunhill event in September, so don't miss it!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Twofer Tuesday: Northern Trust

The FedExCup Playoffs are finally here! First stop, the Northern Trust (formerly known as The Barclays and the Western Open).

Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau

The defending champion is Bryson DeChambeau but I think it's important to note that he won at Ridgewood Country Club, not Liberty National Golf Course. While both are in New Jersey, the winning scores at Ridgewood have consistently been lower -- noticeably so -- than at Liberty, which has only hosted the event twice.

Just for the record, the defending champ for this event at Liberty is Adam Scott (2013).

Liberty National is expected to play as a par-71 measuring 7370 yards. Its slope rating is 155 vs the 130 I found on a PGA Tour scorecard for Ridgewood. Even if you don't understand slope ratings (the higher the slope, the tougher the course), you can see that Liberty is much tougher.

I think that's important here, and so it affects my picks.
  • My Top10er is Rory McIlroy. If I remember correctly, Liberty is very close to New York Harbor and doesn't have much in the way of windbreaks like trees -- giving it the appearance of a links course although it doesn't play like one -- so driving is going to be extremely important. Rory's game has been in great form all year, so his driver should be an important weapon for him this week. I like him to make a strong run for the title.
  • And my winner is... who else? Brooks Koepka. A long tough course where scores tend to be around -10 and driving is more important than usual? Sure sounds like a Koepka dream to me! And after a couple of weeks off (following his WGC win, of course) I think he'll try to eliminate all other contenders from the POY race.
GC's coverage starts Thursday at 2pm ET while PGA TOUR LIVE starts streaming at 7:15am ET. Let's see if I can turn in some good numbers of my own in the Playoffs!

Monday, August 5, 2019

The Limerick Summary: 2019 Wyndham Championship

Winner: J.T. Poston

Around the wider world of golf: JLPGA rookie Hinako Shibuno stunned the LPGA with her win at the AIG Women's British Open (and Jin Young Ko won the Annika Major Award); Zac Blair won the Ellie Mae Classic on the Korn Ferry Tour; Taylor Pendrith won the 1932byBateman Open on the Mackenzie Tour; Jeong-Woo Ham won the TI Challenge in Tojonomori on the Japan Golf Tour; and NHL referee Garrett Rank won the Western Amateur.

J.T. Poston hoists the Wyndham trophy

Here at the end of the season my Twofer Tuesday picks are improving. I picked Collin Morikawa (T31) to win and Billy Horschel (T6) to Top10. I missed on Collin but Viktor Hovland finished 4th, proving at least I was right in thinking one of the new guys would play well.
  • Winners: 2 for 31
  • Place well (Top10): 15 for 31 (9 Top5s, 6 more Top10s)
  • Overall Top10s: 26 of 62 (14 Top5s, 12 more Top10s)
But the best player -- by a long shot -- was J.T. Poston. All the North Carolina boy did was go record-crazy by shooting an 8-under 62 on Sunday, tying Stenson's two-year-old tournament record of 22-under 258, and becoming the first player since Lee Trevino in 1974 to win a 72-hole stroke-play event on the Tour without a single bogey or worse all week. It added up to his first PGA Tour win.

Players generally tend to be optomists, otherwise they don't last long under the grind. But even he didn't see all that coming.

I really don't have anything to add to this Limerick Summary. It was a week for crazy good play -- just look at what Hinako Shibuno did at the Women's Open (and she needed every bit of it) -- and Poston's amazing performance was just more of the same. I'll just add this Limerick Summary to his pile of prizes and congratulate my home boy for getting it done.
A magical week for J.T.!
For four rounds he went bogey-free
On his way to the win—
It’s the best that he’s been—
And he hopes he’s as good the next three.
The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Nancy Lopez on Trying to Win

I'm taking this quote from a longer section in Nancy's book The Education of a Woman Golfer. But it's a great piece of strategy and I just couldn't bear to pass it up.

Nancy LopezShe's talking about winning and losing, and about that bit of verse that says: "For when the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name/He marks, not that you won or lost, but how you played the game."
"...the sound way to play such tournaments [stroke play] is not with the idea of beating or losing to someone, as in a match play, but essentially just to do the very best one can over the course. In other words, unless you're down to the final holes in a head-to-head scoring duel with someone, or engaged in a sudden death playoff, your real aim is to do as well against Old Man Par as you can. If you can beat him, you'll do okay, and if somebody else beats him even worse than you do, no one should feel very sorry for you, including yourself."
It's very common to hear analysts insist that players should always know exactly where they stand in a tournament, that they should watch the leaderboards and plan their play accordingly. And yet, more and more, we hear the players who are winning say that they never looked at the leaderboards during their round -- they just tried to go as low as they could and take care of their own business.

Nancy Lopez likes that mindset. Focus on beating Old Man Par because that's all you can do. At the end of a tournament, if it comes down to it, that's when you worry about the rest of the field and not before.

I know that some players want to know where they are at all times. (Brooks Koepka comes to mind, of course, although it doesn't seem to help him much outside the majors.) But the fact is this: You have absolutely no control over what other players do. All you can control is what YOU do. For the majority of players, knowing where they are actually seems to make them tighten up and make more mistakes.

And bear in mind that we're talking about the pros here, the players who should be most able to deal with that knowledge! If they have trouble with it, why should a weekend player think about what others are doing? Or, to be honest, about what Old Man Par is doing?

The best way to get around the course in fewer strokes is to forget what your opponent -- be that a person or just Old Man Par -- is doing and simply try to play the best you can. One bad hole won't ruin 17 good ones, and one great hole won't overcome 17 bad ones.

Next time you play, why not try ignoring your score and just try to do the best you can on each hole? Just total them all up at the end and see what your score is. You might be surprised at the result.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Tom Patri on Thinking About the Target

Here's a link to teaching pro Tom Patri's drill for improving your aim. He calls it 'Target Line USA'.

The setup for practicing target golf

The photo above shows the practice setup for the drill. There's a 2x4 laying on the ground outside his swing path, an alignment stick laying right on his swing path in front of the ball -- the 2x4 and stick are parallel to each other -- and another alignment stick stuck vertically in the ground about five feet ahead of him on the same line as the first alignment stick.

Now, while Tom says you can work on your mechanics on the range using this drill if you need to, he is specifically interested in using the drill purely as a way to get you thinking about your target. To that end, you don't necessarily want to think about anything but just hitting the ball over that vertical stick in front of you!

The idea is to get you in the mindset of just thinking about where you want the ball to go when you're actually playing golf. The sticks just help you visualize the starting flight of the ball.

You can also use this drill to practice curving the ball by aiming the two guides on the guides on the ground in the direction you want to start the ball, then hitting the ball to the left or right of the stick and trying to curve it back. In either case, you don't worry about your swing -- you just try to get the ball to go where you want it to!

I really like the idea of training yourself to be target-oriented rather than mechanics-oriented. This drill is a good one to help you make that mindset a more natural part of your game.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Sandy Lyle on the Bump-and-Run (Video)

This GC video of Sandy Lyle's bump-and-run keys is fascinating to me. He actually calls it a chip shot.



He describes the bump-and-run this way:
  • short backswing (note that the club shaft doesn't get above parallel to the ground at the top of the backswing)
  • quick stroke (he says it's just "one-two," not a leisurely stroke)
  • narrow stance (looks like maybe only a hand's width between his heels)
  • stand close to the ball (even enough to raise the heel of the club slightly off the ground)
  • ball back in stance (in the video it's just inside his trailing foot)
  • stiff wrists (no real cocking of the wrists)
  • hands forward (all the way through impact -- you don't let the wrists uncock)
  • keep the body moving (you need to turn through the shot so your belly button faces the target)
This is the most detailed description of a bump-and-run that I've ever seen in a video this short. And Sandy Lyle should know this shot -- he's Scottish, so he grew up playing it! And since this is a 2019 video, you know this is his current technique. It's definitely worth learning.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Another European Tour Guinness World Record Attempt (Video)

American Sean Crocker, Belgian Thomas Detry, Ireland’s Paul Dunne and Italian Guido Migliozzi tried to break the Guinness record for the ‘Fastest hole of hole of golf by an individual’. I'll have to just link you to the ET page since I can't embed the video.

Sean Crocker begins his attempt

The record to break was 93.37 seconds. The hole was the tenth at Real Club de Golf Guadalmina, near Malaga, Spain -- a par-5 playing over 500 yards for the attempt.

Let's put this in perspective. When you stop to think that Olympic sprinters typically run the 100-yard dash at around 10 seconds and the world record for the 400-yard dash is just over 43 seconds, you'll realize that it would take better than a world record performance just to run the hole in 60 seconds.

And that would leave only 30 seconds to actually make the required shots!

The video is a blast. Did they do it? You'll have to watch to find out.