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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Justin Thomas Critiques His Own Swing (Video)

Earlier this year Justin Thomas did a critique of his swing for Golfing World. Since he's leading another tournament, I thought it might be interesting to hear his own thoughts. Don't worry -- the video is very short.


There are a number of good things you can learn from this short video, but I think the most interesting thing is that he doesn't like how he jumps when he swings, although that's something that many players try to do now. He says he has tried to stop and, when he does, he can't even hit the ball!

So he says he has had to 'own' it and just content himself with the knowledge that he is hitting the ball well.

I think that's something most golfers need to learn. Everybody has quirks in their golf swing that are simply natural to them and, instead of trying to change those quirks, they need to simply accept them and exploit them to their fullest potential.

Again, this is a very short video but it's amazing how much you can learn from it. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

The Bunker Rules (Video)

Bunkers have their own chapter in the Rules of Golf. Maybe it's time you got the basics down. Here's your 8.5-minute crash course.


And yes, this video is only a week old so these are the up-to-date rules. Here's your chance to impress your friends with your vast knowledge!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Improve Your Game Without Changing Your Technique (Video)

This new video from Rick Shiels is deceptively simple and you'll be tempted to skip some of his tips. But you should be doing these three things on every shot.


The three tips are:

  • Choose the correct club for ALL the conditions you're facing TODAY. Don't just take your 'normal' club.
  • Choose the correct target based on your shot shape and ALL the conditions you're facing TODAY. And make it a small target, not a big one.
  • Visualize that good shot you've chosen BEFORE you hit it.

As I said, these tips are deceptively simple. But they can have a dramatic effect on your score. And you don't have to change your technique at all to use them!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Just a Reminder

The Italian Open starts this morning. Bernd Wiesberger is the defending champion.

Defending champion Bernd Wiesberger

GC's live coverage begins this morning (Thursday) at 6:30am ET. It will continue at the same time on Friday, and will begin at 7am ET on Saturday and Sunday.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Another Inaugural Event for the LPGA

And it's another Drive On event. The restart began with the LPGA Drive On Championship in Toledo OH. This week we get the LPGA Drive On Championship in Greensboro GA.

The Great Waters course

This is the last regular season event (2020 had a regular season?) before the Tour's final four events of the year:

  • the Pelican Women's Championship (another new event)
  • the Volunteers of America Classic
  • the U.S. Women's Open
  • the CME Group Tour Championship

There are only 108 players in the field due to the shorter days, but the field looks to be pretty good. Seven of this year's winners will tee it up, as well as a large number of past major winners. And we'll get to watch them in a four-day event.

Best of all, GC plans to televise all four rounds. GC's live coverage begins Thursday at 1pm ET. There's always a little extra excitement around new events and, given the circumstances that surround 2020, it's nice to have some good excitement.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: ZOZO Championship

A confused Twofer Tuesday heads for yet another Asian event... and stumbles into California for this year's ZOZO Championship.

Defending champion Tiger Woods

The first PGA Tour event ever held in Japan returns to... Sherwood Country Club? The pandemic scramble continues as the second Asian event in a row finds itself staged in the US due to COVID-19 concerns.

ZOZO was a history-making event, not only for Japan but for Tiger as he tied Sam Snead's 82-win total last year. But if defending means you go to a course you're comfortable at, then Sherwood certainly qualifies. Sherwood was the home to the Hero World Challenge from 2000 to 2012... and Tiger won there five times and added five runner-ups for good measure.

But we don't know how Tiger's game will look this week -- it's not just his back, it's the havoc this pandemic has played with his schedule -- so I'm looking elsewhere for my Twofer Tuesday picks.

  • Last week I didn't pick Tyrrell Hatton because of the time and weather changes after his win at Wentworth... and he casually posted a T3 in Vegas. By all rights he should be too tired to compete this week. Therefore I'm picking him.
  • In fact, I'm going for an ET sweep. Patrick Reed finished T3 at Wentworth and took last week off. He, like Hatton, has been on his game most of this season. I think that game will work well around Sherwood. After all, a similar approach netted Graeme McDowell two wins and a runner-up here a decade ago.

I should note, in case you hadn't heard, that DJ is still not playing due to that positive virus test. It sounds like he suffered some mild symptoms and now plans to return at Houston. That was apparently announced late Monday so don't make the mistake of picking him if you're playing fantasy.

Since the ZOZO is in California this year, that means more prime time golf here in the US. GC's live coverage begins Thursday at 5pm ET. While I didn't pick Tiger this week, his past success at Sherwood certainly has to be taken into account when assessing his chances. After all, this course is like a second home for Tiger... and as we've all seen, 2020 has proven to be full of surprises.

Monday, October 19, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 CJ Cup

Winner: Jason Kokrak

Around the wider world of golf: Adrian Otaegui won the Scottish Championship on the ET; Phil Mickelson is now two-for-two after winning the Dominion Energy Charity Classic on the Champions Tour; Hayden Hopewell won the Nexus Risk WA Open on the Australasian Tour; and Matilda Castren won the Mission Inn Resort & Club Championship on the Symetra Tour. Plus, IC sent me these winners from the Asian tours: Yuki Inamori won the Japan Open on the Japan Golf Tour; Jiyai Shin won the JLPGA's Fujitsu Ladies Golf Tournament; and Hyo Joo Kim won the KB Financial Group Star Championship, the KLPGA's final major of their season. (Thanks, IC!)

Jason Kokrak with the CJ Cup trophy

I didn't have a very good week in Vegas. My Twofer Tuesday picks were Patrick Cantlay (T38) and Matt Wolff (73). Ironically, I mentioned in my picks that I would have liked Tyrrell Hatton if he hadn't had all the travel and stuff to deal with... and he finished T3. So much for logic.

  • Top10s: 23 for 56 (9 Top5, 14 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 2 for 28 events
Travel wasn't an issue for Jason Kokrak, who, as an ambassador for MGM Resorts, had played Shadow Creek quite a bit.

In fact, few players in the field (except my Twofer Tuesday picks) seemed to have any issues with the course. Their only problem was keeping pace with Kokrak and Xander Schauffele, who separated themselves from the field pretty quickly.

The back nine was pretty much just match play, basically settled by a Schauffele bogey on 16 and a Kokrak birdie on 18. Kokrak's final drive was so long and accurate that it was basically just a driver-wedge for him on the par-5.

Kokrak's first PGA Tour win took ten years and some teamwork -- specifically, Jason credited his caddie David Robinson for reading his putts and recommending he go to a 36" putter earlier this season. Never underestimate the caddies, folks!

So along with all the long-awaited bling, Jason Kokrak also picks up his first Limerick Summary. In my opinion, it was certainly worth the wait!

A decade spent chasing a dream
Got real with the help of his team.
Jason picked up the prize;
Now he’s one of the guys
Who rose up to the top, just like cream.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Cleaning Your Golf Clubs (Video)

Let's go old school today! This is the shortest video I've found that covers just about any question you might have concerning how to clean your clubs. See if you REALLY know how to get the most from your equipment!


Saturday, October 17, 2020

Another Impact Drill for Your Irons (Video)

This is an older video from the Me and My Golf guys, but it's a simple to understand (and use) drill to improve your impact with your irons.


Using a line to help 'aim' your impact position is nothing new, of course. What is interesting here is how the guys describe the drill.

They don't want you to 'hit down' on the ball. They just want you to move the point where you hit the ground!

In a real sense they're telling you to flatten your swing through the impact zone rather than steepening your attack angle (which is what can happen if you try to hit down on the ball). Please note that if you do this drill, you may have to move your ball position forward somewhat. How much forward depends on how steeply you're swinging now.

Let me also refer you to a recent post I did on how your dominant hand squares the clubface. That drill and this drill can work together. In fact, you may find it easier to do the drill in this post if you start with that other drill.

One last thought: The drill in today's post can help you get more distance since it will improve your launch angle. That's worth thinking about!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Ged Walters on the 6-Foot Putt (Video)

This short video from Golf Monthly's Ged Walters has some good advice on making more 6-footers.


Let me say upfront that nobody can tell you exactly how you should make putts. Everybody is different and will approach some aspects of putting differently.

For example, I'm a righthander but I don't grip more tightly with my left hand because that doesn't help my feel, it hurts it. And I don't draw a line on my ball because it causes me to try and make a stroke that's too perfect, and that affects me badly.

However, Ged mentions one thing that's probably self-evident to many of you but I'm going to make a point of it in case it isn't: The harder you hit the ball, the less it breaks; and the softer you hit the ball, the more it breaks.

If you aren't taking that into account when you putt, no amount of greenreading skill is going to help you.

Likewise, Ged gives you a good drill in this video. If you stick a tee into the back of the cup and try to nail that tee with the ball, you're going to get much better at judging the correct speed for holing a putt.

I suspect many of you will find other tips in this video that are useful to you. But these two things stood out to me because I think they can help pretty much anybody improve their putting.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Champions Tour Gets Their Phil of the Rookies

The Champions Tour leaves my home state, North Carolina, and heads to Virginia this week. But they're gonna be packing a load of rookies when they get there.

Defending champion Miguel Angel Jiménez

The Dominion Energy Charity Classic is played in Richmond VA at The Country Club of Virginia’s James River Course. The River Course was designed by William Flynn, whose name might not be familiar to you but you might know a couple of his designs -- Cherry Hills Country Club and Shinnecock Hills. I don't know how it will be set up but the scorecard lists it as a par-72 at 7025 yards.

Miguel Ángel Jiménez is the defending champion and, so far as I know, is still planning to defend this week. But he'll get to tee it up against a lot of the Tour's rookies -- Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Mike Weir and K.J. Choi are all scheduled to compete.

Phil's appearance interests me because he originally talked like he might not play with the older set all that often. Perhaps that record-setting win in his first appearance whetted his appetite for a few more wins. (This is his first start in Virginia since 1993.) But how does this fit into his Masters prep? My best guess is that he's playing East Coast courses and, after this event, will take the next two weeks off and play the Houston Open the week before the Masters.

At any rate, the Dominion is going to have a solid field despite not being the kickoff for the Schwab Cup Playoffs this year. (We get the events, just not the Playoffs.)

GC's live coverage begins Friday at 2pm ET. (Remember, it's only a 54-hole event.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

It's St. Andrews But It's Not...

Let's make sure we're clear here. This week's Scottish Championship presented by AXA will indeed be played near the Home of Golf... but we're not talking about the Old Course. We're talking about the Torrance Course at Fairmont St. Andrews

Torrance Course at Fairmaont St. Andrews

Here's a link to an ET video that will give you some views of the course as well as some of the details. The short story is that Sam Torrance finished designing this course back in 2001 after original designer Gene Sarazen passed away and -- believe it or not -- this apparent links course was actually flat farmland before they got hold of it!

Another view of the course

The field is headlined by Lee Westwood, Matt Wallace, Padraig Harrington, two-time winner (this season) Sam Horsfield and recent Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open winner Aaron Rai.

GC's live coverage starts Thursday morning at 7:30am ET. This is an inaugural event at a relatively new course... but hey, it's still St. Andrews. This should be a pretty cool event!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: CJ Cup

Unfortunately, Twofer Tuesday spent too much time at the tables in Vegas last week and had no money for travel to the next event.

Fortunately, the Tour relocated this year's CJ Cup to another course in Vegas.

Defending champion Justin Thomas

The pandemic strikes again, making travel to Asia all but impossible and forcing the popular CJ Cup to move to the States for a one-time American staging. But that stage is one familiar to many fans -- Shadow Creek, perhaps best known for The Match between Phil and Tiger in 2018.

However, this strike of good fortune -- good, in that it allows the event to be played at all -- also means past performance at South Korea's Nine Bridges Golf Club doesn't really mean anything when sizing up the field. (Sorry, JT!)

Indeed, as we have seen in a couple of similar situations already this season, it's been hard to size up the field even when they've seen the exact same course for two weeks in a row! But last week's performance in Vegas is all I've got to go on, so I guess that's how I'll pick.

  • I'm picking Patrick Cantlay once again. Even after that bad opening to his final round, he still managed to nab me a Top10 (T8 to be precise) and I have trouble believing he'll have a similarly bad round this week. Historically speaking, Vegas has been good to him so I'm riding with him again.
  • Likewise, I've got to ride with another player who's had a hot hand -- Matt Wolff. He's put up two runner-up finishes in his last two events -- and last week's was a playoff. He's on a streak so I'm shoving my stack of chips on his number this week.

Several of the players from last week's BMW PGA are in the field and I really like their form -- Tyrrell Hatton in particular, as he's been playing really well all year. But combining the travel and the weather differences, it's just hard for me to take someone who has to make such a big adjustment so soon.

Since Vegas is on the other side of the US, we get more prime time golf this week. GC's live coverage begins Thursday at 5pm ET. Can the field finally break the same city curse and actually carry their form into the second week? I NEED to know...

Monday, October 12, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 Shriners Hospitals

Winner: Martin Laird

Around the wider world of golf: Sei Young Kim blistered Aronimick to win the KPMG Women's PGA Championship on the LPGA; Ernie Els won the SAS Championship on the Champions Tour; Trey Mullinax won the Orange County National Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour; Laurent Desmarchais won the Canada Life Series Championship at TPC Toronto on the Mackenzie Tour; Justin Doeden won the Classic at The Club at Weston Hills on the LOCALiQ/PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; Tyrrell Hatton cruised to a win at the BMW PGA Championship on the ET; Ren Takeuchi won the Ryo Ishikawa everyone PROJECT Challenge Golf Tournament on the Abema TV Tour/Japan Golf Tour; and (thanks, IC!) Na Rin An won the Autech Carrier Championship on the KLPGA, Mone Inami won the rain shortened Stanley Ladies Golf Tournament on the JLPGA, and Taehoon Kim won the Genesis Championship on the KPGA.

Martin Laird with Shriners trophy

A typical week in Vegas, I guess, as my Twofer Tuesday picks provided more excitement than wanted. I had Patrick Cantlay (T8) and Tyler McCumber (MC). I rolled the dice on Tyler and he came up snake eyes, but Patrick started the final round tied for the lead -- I thought I might even get a winner -- then dropped off the leaderboard before charging back to give me a Top10. Wow!

  • Top10s: 23 for 56 (9 Top5, 14 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 2 for 27 events

Martin Laird avoided most of the ups-and-downs -- at least, he avoided the bad kind. Except for a couple of bogeys he spent the day making amazing recovery shots and sinking long putts while the rest of the field struggled to keep up.

In the end Matt Wolff and Austin Cook took him to a playoff but it just seemed to be Martin's day. He won with a birdie on the second playoff hole.

It had been seven years since Laird's last win. It's totally understandable, not just because it's hard to win any event but because Laird has dealt with medical problems like his rebuilt left knee.

Apparently the knee is fine. He certainly had no problems with the buried lie he holed on the par-5 ninth for eagle.

After waiting so long for this win, Martin will certainly enjoy celebrating with his friends. Perhaps they'll all gather together for a dramatic reading of his Limerick Summary.

A seven-year dry spell now ends
As Martin Laird bucks all the trends.
The young guys were strong
But Laird led all day long
And now he celebrates with his friends.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

The Unusual Case of the LPGA Major

Today I've just got a link to a golfchannel.com article by Mercer Baggs that explains the unusual circumstances surrounding the final round of the KPMG Women's PGA today.

Leader Sei Young Kim

The strange situation is this:

Sunday, however, will be unlike anything the players have experienced in a major championship as the leading threesome will not be in the final group.

In fact, Kim, Henderson and Nordqvist will tee off at 8:49 a.m. ET. The last group will go out at 9:22 a.m., with no one following the leading trio within 14 shots of the lead.

It's all got to do with NBC's broadcast window for a summer golf event being played during the fall when there's a lot of other sports vying for airspace.

The article gives you the details. Just be aware that you may know the winner long before the event is actually finished.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Chris Ryan on Using the Bounce (Video)

This short video from Chris Ryan does a good job of explaining the hows and whys of using the bounce of your wedge VS using the front edge. I will add an extra thought after the video.


What I want to add is something that is logical based on what Chris says, but that doesn't mean you'll automatically realize it.

If you use the front edge of the wedge and angle the shaft a bit forward at address, he says you'll be making a more vertical downstrike. Here's what he doesn't say: That means you're standing a bit closer to the ball.

By the same token, if you use the bounce and stand the shaft up vertically as viewed by the camera in this video, you're also lowering your hands so they are a bit lower than your normal address.The club shaft makes a flatter angle to the ground if you look down-the-line at the target. And that means that you're standing a bit farther from the ball.

If you stand a bit farther from the ball, you'll also tend to open the clubface slightly so the bottom of the club still lies pretty flat against the ground.

Remember those things and you'll find it easier to get set up correctly.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Rick Shiels Caddies for Lee Westwood at the BMW (Video)

Let's make sure we're clear here: This is Lee's Wednesday practice round for the BMW PGA. While Lee's caddie is still toting the bag, Rick is going to choose Lee's shots for the last five holes of the round... but Lee gets three overrides. Can Rick get him under par? Let's watch and see...

I just think this is a cool video, and it demonstrates one of the reasons I'm always pulling for Lee Westwood -- this is just good-natured fun!


Thursday, October 8, 2020

The LPGA's Third Major of 2020

Not only do we get the BMW PGA on the ET this week, we get the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship on the LPGA.

Defending champion Hannah Green

And like the BMW PGA, we get another legendary golf course. This year's championship will be played at Aronimink Golf Club just outside Philadelphia. It was established in 1896 and Donald Ross was commissioned to design the course in 1926.

We're talking serious history here.

And defending champion Hannah Green will have her hands full. Aronimink is consistently ranked as one of the toughest courses in America.

Enough said.

GC's coverage begins today at 1pm ET. What more need I say? Gotta watch!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The ET's Flagship Event

The PGA Tour has THE PLAYERS. The European Tour has the BMW PGA Championship.

Defending champion Danny Willett

The BMW PGA may be my favorite ET event after THE OPEN. Part of that is the flagship aspect, the fact that it's the Tour-specific trophy for the ET. But it goes a bit deeper than that.

Just as THE PLAYERS has TPC Sawgrass, the Pete Dye layout that has become a legendary course for determining champions, the BMW PGA has Wentworth. Wentworth is located not far from Windsor Castle in England, where it was built in 1922. It was originally designed by Harry Colt (who designed 115 courses all over the world just on his own) and has been 'tweaked' in recent years by Ernie Els.

And boy, you talk about a legend! It hosted the World Match Play Championship for 45 years -- where they crowned champions like Palmer, Nicklaus, Player, Weiscopf, Faldo, Ballesteros, Woosnam and Els -- as well as the 1953 Ryder Cup and the 1956 World Cup. This is a course with a pedigree!

This is the kind of course a flagship event deserves, so I always look forward to this event.

It doesn't hurt that this is a Rolex Series event either. This year it's the third one (and the second in a row), and it's got the kind of loaded field you'd expect. Defending champion Danny Willett will be there of course, as will Race to Dubai leader Patrick Reed. We get Lee Westwood, Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Tyrrell Hatton, Martin Kaymer... the list goes on.

Great field, amazing course... and 64 world ranking points to the winner. What more can you ask?

GC's live coverage begins Thursday morning at 6:30am ET and continues for six hours. Given how the pandemic has shaken up the schedules on the various tours, this event could have an even bigger effect on the OWGR than it ever has. I love it!

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: Shriners Hospitals for Children

Having sated itself with fried chicken, Twofer Tuesday limps its overstuffed way to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

Defending champion Kevin Na

The temperatures in Las Vegas have been awful this summer, but hopefully the field will find TPC Summerlin a bit more hospitable (did you see what I did there?) to them in October. The event itself should be comfortable to the players since they've been playing it in the fall for around 30 years. We know defending champion Kevin Na will as will Bryson DeChambeau, the 2018 champion.

I should probably go with those two as my Twofer Tuesday picks this week, but this is Vegas after all. I've got to roll the dice a bit...

  • My first pick is Patrick Cantlay. The Tour hasn't been kind to Cantlay since the restart, with a T7 and a T11 early on and a T12 in the playoffs his only decent finishes. But he won this event in 2017, finished runner-up in 2018 and lost in a playoff last year. If he's going to find his game in time for the Masters, I think TPC Summerlin is the odds-on favorite to see him do it.
  • And my other pick is Tyler McCumber. True, he started the new season with a MC at Safeway. But with a runner-up and a T6 in the two weeks since, Mark's son seems primed for at least another Top10.

GC's live coverage starts Thursday at 4pm ET. I'll be interested to see what the weather does, as the sweltering heat Las Vegas experienced this summer -- compounded by the smoke that blew into the city from all the wildfires -- is expected to drop from the 80s today into the high 60s by Sunday. Add in the 0% chance of rain and this course could get very fast, very quickly!

Monday, October 5, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 Sanderson Farms

Winner: Sergio Garcia

Around the wider world of golf: Aaron Rai got his first ET Rolex Series win (and second ET win overall) at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open; Mel Reid got her first LPGA win at the ShopRite LPGA Classic; Evan Harmeling got his first Korn Ferry Tour win at the Savannah Golf Championship; Toni Hakula won The Challenge at Harbor Hills on the LOCALiQ Series/PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; Peiyun Chien won the weather-shortened Symetra Classic on the Symetra Tour; and Erika Hara got her first JLPGA major at the Japan Women's Open (thanks, IC!).

Sergio lifts the chicken trophy

After a good run of having at least one Top10 every week, I guess my Twofer Tuesday picks needed a little rest. I had Will Zalatoris (MC) and Doc Redman (T28). What else can I say?

  • Top10s: 22 for 54 (9 Top5, 13 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 2 for 27 events
Once Sergio let everyone know that he's been putting with his eyes shut -- and that he won the 2017 Master putting with his eyes shut -- then took the 54-hole lead doing so, everybody went nuts to see what would happen on Sunday. (In case you missed it, I did a post on why it works yesterday.)

We expected someone to make a run at him, of course, but I don't think anybody expected it to be Peter Malnati. Malnati, like Sergio, has struggled with his game over the last few years and his final round 63 caught everybody by surprise. He took the clubhouse lead but he finished an hour or so before the rest of the leaders and had to wait and see what happened.

By now you know what happened. Sergio weathered a rough stretch to end the front nine but played a nearly flawless back nine, punctuated by an eagle on the 14th and a particularly well-played 18th to beat Malnati by one.

You could tell this win meant a lot to Sergio when he talked about how his family had lost two of his uncles to the pandemic and that this one was for his dad. The combination of emotion in his voice and the grin on his face told the whole story.

I suppose the best part of this for Sergio is that this return to form comes only a month or so before the Masters. If this confidence boost keeps him playing well, perhaps he'll pick up a second major.

But in any case, he just picked up another Limerick Summary. I hope he enjoys it.

A shot in the dark, as it were,
Made Sergio’s putting so pure!
His mind’s eye saw clearly
And Sergio dearly
Enjoyed winning this one for sure.

The photo came from the tournament page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Why Putting with Your Eyes Closed Works (Video)

I just want to take a few moments to talk about why Sergio is putting better with his eyes closed. Here's his Saturday interview with Lisa Cornwell, and we'll go from there.


Everybody thinks the yips are some kind of mystical unexplainable problem that has no clear treatment. But in most cases, my friends, that is a pure and utter lie.

It's true that some cases of the yips are caused by physical problems. For example, the great Harry Vardon's putting stroke was altered by the effects of tuberculosis. Vardon won six majors before he had TB but only one major afterward. The disease did, on occasion, affect his full swing but for the most part it just made his putting unpredictable.

The real source of the putting yips is mental and it's easy to describe. Putting yips are merely the result of trying to micromanage your stroke. It's the same for any type of yips -- driving yips are no different.

Here's how it happens: It begins when you think you're missing too many putts and you decide you're going to improve... but that's not the problem. Rather, it's how you decide to improve. You start trying to control every little aspect of your stroke.

  • You try to create the perfect swing arc -- or straight line stroke, if that's your chosen approach to the task.
  • You try to create the perfect angle of attack, so the putterhead is moving level or just upward at impact.
  • You try to develop create perfect contact at impact so you're always hitting exactly in the center of the putterface.
  • You try to create the perfect rhythm for your stroke, with the backswing being just the right length and the followthrough being just the right length, with no recoil at impact.
  • You try to create perfect distance control so the ball always drops in with perfect pace or rolls precisely 18 inches past the cup when you miss. Again, your exact goal may vary depending on your chosen putting method.
  • And so on...

There's nothing wrong with trying to get better at putting. The problem is that you try to make it perfect and, as a result, you start trying to control movements that should happen naturally.

Imagine how horrible it would be if you had to control every breath you take, constantly adjusting for exertion, air purity, emotional state, and so on.

At the very least, you'd lose all rhythm. Your breathing would become jerky and irregular. You'd end up gasping for breath because you could never adjust for all the variables.

In a word, you would have 'breathing yips.'

What's the solution? You'd need to stop trying to control your breathing all the time and 'just let it happen.'

I know, easier said than done. But Sergio is closing his eyes when he putts in order to do just that.

Listen to what he says in the video. He says he's trying to get more smoothness in his stroke. And I like when he says that 'the less things he has in his eyes' the better he does.

That really is the key here.

Putting yips are centered around trying to overcontrol the moment of contact with the ball. As the putterhead approaches the ball you become more anxious, your muscles tighten, and as a result you interrupt the normally smooth stroke that you'd make if you weren't trying so hard.

Sergio understands. If you can't see the ball, you don't know when the club is about to make contact. And if you don't know when impact will happen, you don't tense up in anticipation of hitting the ball. Since you can't see when it's going to happen, eventually your mind stops trying to guess when and just lets the putter swing

Tah-dah! The result is a smooth stroke.

You address the ball, close your eyes and all you can do is try to feel how hard to swing in order to get the ball to the hole. You have to trust your memory -- visualize the putt -- and just trust your feel.

Over time -- and it doesn't have to be a long time, although it's hard to predict how long it will take any given person -- but over time your mind gets out of that 'perfection' mindset and just starts swinging the club the way you did when you were a kid. When you finally realize that you don't have to be perfect and you start to trust your swing, the yips go away and you just might be able to start looking at the ball again when you putt.

Basically you're just retraining your mind to think like a child and NOT think about technique.

It really is that simple... and that hard. Giving up control and just letting the putt happen can be extremely hard or extremely easy. Perfectionists tend to have more trouble with it than laidback players. But in the end it's really all up to you because everybody can do it, because you do plenty of other things everyday that you don't overthink and you do them well. Just approach putting the same way.

Stop making the act of putting so important, and you'll be surprised how easy it can be.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Rick Shiels on Hitting Fairway Woods (Video)

This short video teaches you how to hit fairway woods solidly rather than topping them. What Rick says is good but I'm going to try and simplify it even more.


The basic concept is that you need to hit slightly down on the ball as you hit it. Not news, is it? That's the idea with pretty much every shot except tee shots, where you swing slightly upward.

A fairway wood has a very wide flat bottom, which means it's okay for it to hit the ground instead of the leading edge of the clubhead. That will make a very shallow divot, which will work very nicely for a ball sitting on the ground instead of a tee.

And Rick says the basic thing you need to change to get this strike is the ball position. He gives us a few ways to describe this position -- just ahead of the center of your stance, same position as a 4-iron, under your lead pec -- all of which may or may not help you.

Let's use the description that is really helpful and easy to repeat.

Set up so the head of the fairway wood is directly under your breastbone.

Why is that helpful? Because if the ball is just in front of the clubhead after you place the fairway wood's head just under your breastbone, the ball will be in the correct place.

Then just make your swing. You should hit the ball solidly without topping it.

It doesn't get much simpler than that. Give it a try and see if it doesn't help your fairway wood shots.

Friday, October 2, 2020

The Simplest Way to Hit a Draw (Video)

This is an older video from the Meandmygolf YouTube channel that demonstrates a simple way to hit a draw. I'm going to try and make it even simpler!


The guys are changing the shot shape simply through setup. They want you to rotate the club in your hands -- more on that in a minute -- and then close your stance. (At least, they close their stance in the video.) We're going to try and make things even simpler.

Let's talk about the grip for a moment. The key thing here is that you don't grip the club and then twist your forearms because that isn't going to change anything. If you do that, you'll just roll your forearms back to normal during your downswing and slice the ball like you already tend to do!

You want to grip the club so your hands and arms are in their normal position BUT you want the club turned so the clubface is going to hook the ball. (If you're a righty, that means the clubface will be 'looking' around you to your left. If you're a lefty, that means the clubface will be 'looking' around you to your right.)

If you just do that and then you swing the club -- that is, you don't change your aim at all -- the ball is going to draw more than it normally does.

  • If you normally slice the ball, it's going to start out like normal but only fade.
  • If you normally fade the ball, it's going to start out like normal but go pretty straight.
  • If you normally hit the ball straight, it's going to start out like normal but draw.
  • And if you normally draw the ball, it's going to start out like normal but hook.

Do you understand? You don't have to change anything but your grip on the club to change the shot shape. You don't have to do anything else to get a different shot shape.

And if you're slicing the ball and you just want to straighten it out or maybe get a little draw, that's probably all you need to do. You can just change your grip enough to get that ball to land in the fairway and you'll be good to go. Congratulations!

But let's say you want to change your aim as well. Perhaps your slice was so bad that you're aimed way down the edge of the fairway and the ball is now going in the rough. What do you do?

First off, DON'T CLOSE YOUR STANCE. Closing your stance can work if, when you close your stance, you don't change the way you swing the club. But if you're trying to straighten out a slice, there's a good chance that closing your stance will make you leave the clubface open anyway and you'll STILL hit a slice or a bad push. We don't want that.

What you want to do is just move your normal stance. If you normally set up to hit the ball straight at the edge of the fairway, hoping the ball will slice back into the middle, don't open or close your stance. Instead, turn your whole body so you aim to hit the ball straight to a point closer to the middle of the fairway. (Righties, aim at the left center of the fairway. Lefties, aim at the right center.) Now your arms and hands will move the same way as they normally do and the clubface will take care of the shot shape.

If you do manage to hook the ball into the rough with this change, then you can do one of two things.

  • You can aim your body closer to the middle of the fairway or even at the opposite edge if the hook is big enough.
  • You can just turn the club a little less in your hands at setup.

The idea is to make as few changes as possible to get the shot shape you want. All that matters when you're trying to get the ball to land in the fairway is that it actually DOES land in the fairway.

The biggest problem you will have is trusting that the ball will now go where you want it to go -- and this doubt will go away once you practice enough to trust where the ball wants to go with the grip change.

Remember: The idea is to make as few changes as possible to get the result you want. You can do this!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

A Quick LPGA Reminder

Don't forget that the ShopRite LPGA Classic starts TODAY, with defending champion Lexi Thompson leading the pack.

Defending champion Lexi Thompson

The ShopRite is usually a three-round event but, as with most things in this pandemic-wracked year, there's been a change. The event has been expanded to a full four-round event, and that means GC's live coverage starts today at 1pm ET, filling the time between the Scottish Open and the Sanderson Farms events. If you're an LPGA fan, don't forget to tune in!