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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Have a Safe New Year's Eve (Video)

We finally get to kick 2020 out of the house for good tonight, and I just want to remind -- even beg -- you to please stay safe tonight. Avoid big groups and celebrate in the safety of your own homes, because it's only one New Year's Eve. You want to live to see a lot more, and your chances are much better if you play it safe this year!

So today I'm posting the DisneyWorld fireworks display from last year. You can find plenty of other displays on YouTube if you'd prefer something closer to home. Here's to a better 2021!


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

An Easy Way to Increase Your Grip Strength (Video)

Since I've been posting some items on how your grip affects different areas of your swing,  Phil sent me this link to a golf.com article on improving grip strength. Not how strong or weak your hands are turned on the club's grip, but how to make the muscles in your hands stronger for better control of your club.

Using a stress ball to increase your strength

The golf.com article recommends squeezing a medium to firm stress ball "as hard as you can 10 times in the palm of each hand every day."

One nice thing about this method is that you don't need room to swing a club in order to get the benefits. It's also an inexpensive and portable exercise aid that you can carry with you.

If you look around the 'net, you'll find plenty of other suggestions that focus on a similar idea. Sticking your hands in a bucket full of rice or sand is one variation. Here's a YouTube video on that, and there are several other videos with different things you can try. After all, plenty of different sports use grip strengthening exercises.


Twisting wet towels is also one I've heard, as well as using old tennis balls (doubles as recycling!) or even squirting water from water bottles. (That last one's a bit messy but could be fun if you've got kids.)

My point is simply that there are lots of ways to strengthen your grip if you just dig around a little. (Hey, how about digging holes in the garden with your hands?) And thanks to Phil for suggesting this post.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Laura Davies on the Hanging Lie (Video)

Here's Dame Laura Davies on how to hit the notorious hanging lie.


Laura says a lot in this video but she sums up the main points at the end:

  • Grip down on the shaft
  • Put the ball forward in your stance
  • Get the ball up in the air

The rest of the video tells you how to do those things. Pay attention! The legend knows her stuff.

Monday, December 28, 2020

How Your Grip Affects Ball Flight (Video)

I really like how Rick Shiels explains strong, weak and neutral grips in this video. And while he's right that a neutral grip can be a good way to straighten out your shot shape, there's a bit more to the story.


First of all, note that Rick's neutral grip isn't where your palms are clapped together like you're praying. Rather, each hand is turned so the palm faces down slightly. This is a truly neutral grip and it can help straighten out shots...

That is, depending on the rest of your swing.

For example, if you tend to get into more of a reverse-C finish position, there's a good chance your neutral grip will create a push or a slice. Or if you lean too much toward the target at impact, it will likely cause a pull or hook. Why?

Because a neutral grip assumes that your upper body stays mostly centered over the ball, not leaning backward or forward at impact, and your shoulder line is parallel to your aimline. When you lean one way or the other, you change where your shoulders point at impact, and that changes where the clubface is pointing.

Just bear in mind that the grip you decide to use depends in part on how your body moves during your swing. There's always some experimentation involved when choosing a grip, and that's why most instructors who prefer a certain grip also tend to prefer a certain swing method. And that's why almost none of the top pros use the same grip, as the Golf Digest article I linked to in this post pointed out.

So if one of your goals for 2021 involves a grip change, make sure you find a grip that complements your swing. Because ultimately it's not about the perfect grip, it's just about knowing where the clubface is pointed at impact.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Top10 Excuses for Bad Shots (Video)

This is just for fun. With a new year on the way, some of us need some fresh reasons for our poor play. If you're one of us, here's TEN for you! 


Saturday, December 26, 2020

Rick Shiels Tests Cobra's New Concept Putter (Videos)

This club, the Cobra KING Supersport-35 putter, came out a little over a month ago. I just found the info about it so, in addition to the Rick Shiels video, I've got a couple of other links if you want to know more.


While this is a 3D printed putter, it's not plastic as you might first think. It's made with an HP Metal Jet 3D printer, which allows Cobra to use stainless steel for the body and aluminum for the face. You may not know it but there are industrial 3D printers which can use titanium and other metals, so this technology can let manufacturers use just about any material for construction that they want.

And for those of you who doubt that 3D metal printing is capable of making some pretty impressive things, just check out this short video from former MythBusters co-host Adam Savage. He did a limited series show for Discovery called Savage Builds and in one of the episodes he 3D printed a titanium Iron Man suit -- using plans supplied by Marvel Studios -- and it was bulletproof, could protect the wearer from shock waves created by explosives and, as you can see, was still light enough to allow it to fly curtesy of Richard Browning's handheld jets.


At the same time Rick's video came out, Golf Monthly also did a video about this club and MyGolfSpy.com did an in-depth article about it. So, as I said, there's plenty of info available out this.

The combination of the 3D printing with the graduated face angles that were created in conjunction with SIK do make this an interesting experiment for Cobra. The flexibility that 3D printing offers to manufacturers will certainly become very important to the future of club design. We might as well get familiar with the process now!

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

I hope this Christmas gives you a few good memories to carry you and yours through to a much happier 2021. Have a great holiday!

Merry Christmas wish for 2020

Thursday, December 24, 2020

How You Grip the Club Depends on Your Swing

Today I'm linking you to a Golf Digest article on how your swing determines how you grip your club. Some grips simply won't work for some swings.

How Ben Hogan's grip originally looked when he hooked the ball

The photo above shows Ben Hogan's grip in 1947. It's from a Life Magazine article. This would be how he gripped the club back when he wrote Power Golf.

Of course, a few years later he famously weakened it to eliminate a hook. That weakened grip is what you see illustrated in Five Fundamentals.

The point? Different swings require different grips.

The Golf Digest article talks about several different players and how their grips complement their swings. I think the most important thing in the article is that your hands don't have to match -- that is, you don't have to set both hands strong or weak or neutral. You can set one strong and one weak, the way Rory and Henrik Stenson do.

It also gives you a drill that will help you learn what kind of grip works best with your own swing.

Not a long article, but definitely one that you can learn from.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

When You're Still Trying to Break 100 (Video)

Perhaps you're just starting the game. Perhaps you're just frustrated by a bad stretch of playing. But whatever the reason, you're having trouble breaking 100. Then you need a change of strategy. Take a look at this video on how to break 100 without a whole lot of technique.


Obviously this is a strategic approach. If I was pulling just a few ideas from it to help me get through a really bad patch -- or even to break 100 for the first time -- here's what I'd take from this strategy.

  • I'd do a little math, which this video doesn't go into, it just says to make as many bogeys as you can. But you might be shocked at how the scores add up. To break 100 on a par-72 course, you only need 9 bogeys and 9 double-bogeys. Yeah, believe it or not, you can make that many double bogeys and still shoot 99. Bet you never realized that, did you?
  • Unless I was particularly good with a longer club, I'd try playing a round with a short iron -- I'd try a 7- or 8-iron, which would give me a decent distance off the tee. Again, do the math -- if you hit your 7-iron just 150 yards, you can reach any green up to 450 yards away in three shots. You don't have to have a great GIR stat to break 100. If you can get anywhere close to the green in two or three shots, you've got a decent chance to break 100.
  • I'd chip and pitch with my 9-iron or pitching wedge as much as possible, and learn to roll the ball somewhere close to the hole with them.
  • And I'd focus on two-putting. Get the first putt close enough to have a tap-in.

In other words, take the pressure off and have fun. Focus on what you do best. Consistency is your friend when you're at this stage; use your best shots as much as possible and don't worry if other people play differently. Enjoy yourself because if you enjoy playing, you'll play enough to get better.

Yeah, that's a radical concept, I know. But getting better starts with small steps. Don't feel bad about taking them.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

How to Do the T Drill Properly (Video)

I'm sure a number of you have used the T drill to improve your setup and consistency with your driver. But you may not have gotten good results because you haven't set up your practice station properly. In this short video Rick Shiels explains the correct way to lay out the clubs (or aim sticks) so you get the most good from your practice.


And while I doubt I need to mention it, I will anyway: You can use this procedure to set up a practice station for use with any club in your bag. All you need to do is lay the clubs out properly.

You might find one difference, however -- depending on how close you like to set up with your shorter irons and wedges, you may need to adjust that 'hand width' distance. Just bear that in mind.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Jin Young Ko Shows the LPGA How It's Done

Well, she did it again. Jin Young Ko won the LPGA's money title for the second year in a row.

CME champion Jin Young Ko

But this time she did it in only four events. She's now #1 on the LPGA money list as well as the Rolex World #1.

You don't want to bet against Jin Young Ko!

There were other winners, of course. Danielle Kang won the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average and Sei Young Kim won the Rolex Player of the Year Award. Both of those are things that count toward the LPGA's Hall of Fame, the toughest hall to enter in all of sports.

But Jin Young's seventh LPGA Tour win will probably send shock waves through the rest of the LPGA membership. To make it into the CME Group Tour Championship when she had played in only three events due to the pandemic, and then to take the money title by winning that event, is almost unbelievable. (She joked earlier in the week that if she won, she would be very unpopular with a lot of players.)

The event that put her in the Tour Championship, the US Women's Open, very nearly became her third major.

She might have taken some other awards had she played enough to qualify for them.

And she's been the Rolex World #1 since 2019 July 20, for a grand total of 73 weeks. This win will likely increase her lead in the Rankings.

Given how 2020 disrupted her schedule -- she missed so many LPGA events because she didn't leave Korea -- you have to wonder what her 2021 will be like. You have to believe that the other players don't expect her to have a drop-off in her play.

At any rate, Jin Young Ko has definitely put the target on her back going into next year. As Chancellor Palpatine said to young Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace, "We shall watch your career with great interest."

Sunday, December 20, 2020

An Equipment Test... and a Contest (Video)

Rick Shiels is doing a giveaway for a set of the irons he's testing in this video -- Cobra Rad Speed irons. (And yes, these irons are available in both standard shaft lengths and equal shaft lengths.) The video in itself is a unique way to test the irons, so here it is...


The video was just posted on Friday and the instructions on how to enter the giveaway are in the video. So watch the video, learn about the new clubs and -- if you're interested -- enter the giveaway.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

When to See Charlie and His Dad

Just a quick reminder that if you want to see Tiger and Charlie Woods playing at the PNC Championship, they tee off at 11:48am ET today.

Tiger and Charlie

Here are the air times and channels for the event from the PNC's official website.

Saturday, December 19 – First Round

  • 1-2:30PM ET – Peacock (watch)
  • 2:30-5PM ET – NBC (live steam)
  • 6-10PM ET – Golf Channel (Re-Air)

Sunday, December 20 – Final Round

  • 2-3PM ET – Golf Channel (live stream, 11AM-Noon ET)
  • 3-6PM ET – NBC (live stream, Noon-3PM ET)
  • 7-11PM ET – Golf Channel (Re-Air)

Charlie's the youngest player ever in this event. It will be interesting to see how he and Dad do together.

Friday, December 18, 2020

How to Hit the Chunk and Run (Video)

Here's a bunker shot that you can often use when you've got a long bunker shot. Meet the chunk and run.


Please note the simple instructions for this shot. Just put the ball forward in your stance and hit about three inches behind the ball. Do you have trouble hitting the ball fat? Then this shot is for you because you're hitting the ball fat on purpose!

This isn't a shot where you have to be an extremely accurate ballstriker. But you do need to practice it in order to learn how far you hit the ball with different length swings. So be sure to add this low-pressure shot to your arsenal.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Dangers of Equipment Testing (Video)

Last Thursday I posted a video with Rick Shiels testing new Cobra drivers. Guess what? He busted his own driver right after the testing! So I thought this video about how he's trying to deal with the loss of his favorite driver until he can find a good replacement might be fun to watch. Enjoy!


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 US Women’s Open

Winner: A Lim Kim

Around the wider world of golf: Matt Fitzpatrick won the DP World Championship on the ET but Lee Westwood walked off with the Race to Dubai title.

US Women's Open champion A Lim Kim

My Twofer Tuesday picks were a mixed bag but I expected as much. I had Jin Young Ko (T2) and Angela Stanford (MC). I don't know if Angela was tired from the previous week's win, overcome by the desire to win a major in Texas, or just ran afoul of the weather... but Jin Young did what I expected of her. She even came close to getting a win for me!

  • Top10s:27 for 70 (11 Top5, 16 other Top10s)
  • Winners:3 for 36 events

But the story turned out to be yet another relatively unknown (at least, here in the US) Korean player making her major debut on the LPGA. After the weather threw us yet another curve and sent the ladies to a cold Monday finish, it looked for a while as if we were going to get a free-for-all. There were so many players who kept moving to within a shot or two of the lead -- even a couple of the amateurs made a run -- that it was nearly impossible to guess who might pull ahead.

As we came to the end, the long week and the conditions took their toll, apparently thinning the field to a mere three players -- Hinako Shibuno, Amy Olson and Jin Young Ko. The three of them kept it right around -2 for the tournament. They were the only ones close enough to make a real play for the title...

Until A Lim Kim reached the final three holes. In a heroic run she birdied the last three holes of the round, launching herself from even par all the way to -3 so quickly that we weren't even sure the other ladies knew what she had done. And just like that, Shibuno, Olson and Ko found themselves playing for second.

I'll be surprised if Kim doesn't take up LPGA membership next year. Shibuno made that mistake and is now having to work for her card, and I suspect Kim will learn from that. But one thing's for sure: A Lim Kim becomes one of the rare ladies to receive a Limerick Summary.

And she definitely deserves it!

In an Open chock full of surprises,
Yet another Korean star rises.
With her 4-under run
A Lim Kim got it done
And walked off with the major’s big prizes.

The photo came from this page at lpga.com.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Looking Ahead...

The Limerick Summary will have to wait until Wednesday because I got behind today and didn't get it finished. So I'm going to do a quick look ahead to the weekend.

Jin Young Ko

The main golf this week will be the CME Group Tour Championship, the last event of the LPGA season. It will be held (as usual) at the Tiburon Golf Club in Naples FL, which would normally be a warm spot -- and fortunately for the women, the advance weather report looks like temperatures will be in the low 70s F. I'm sure they'll appreciate that!

So far as I know, the biggest news at this point is that Jin Young Ko's runner-up finish at the US Women's Open -- I think it's the best she's had in that event --moved her high enough in the Race to the CME Globe rankings to get her into the event. That means the Rolex #1 will get to play, and that's good news for the sponsors.

And lastly, GC's live coverage begins Thursday at 1pm ET, with NBC picking up the final round at noon Sunday. At least we'll send 2020 out on a good note!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Hail to the New King of the Hill!

I just wanted to give a shoutout to Lee Westwood for becoming the oldest-ever Race to Dubai champion. Matt Fitzpatrick won the DP World Championship but the 47-year-old took the big prize. Way to go, Westy!

2020 Race to Dubai champion Lee Westwood

Now all we need to do is take care of that little major thing... But given how Lee has been playing for the last several months, I think he just may have a chance.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

The No-Chunk Chip (Video)

A super-short video from Callaway Golf. Erika Larkin shows you how to hit a chip that you can't chunk.


I really like the way she suggests you set up at your normal distance from the shot and then 'walk it up' to get the club up on the toe. Why? Because if you just stand close to the ball and set the club up on its toe, it's very easy to open the club face a little and miss your aim line.

Set up so the shaft is vertical -- pointed at your belly button -- 'walk it up' and set your weight slightly on your lead foot. Simple keys that are easy to repeat. Consistency rules!

Saturday, December 12, 2020

2000 Pro V1 VS 2020 Pro V1 (Video)

This is just for fun. Rick Shiels managed to get hold of some unused original Titleist Pro V1s and in this video he compares them to this year's Pro V1. You might be surprised at what he learned!


Friday, December 11, 2020

One Drill That Might Help Your Turn (Video)

This video claims to have 6 swing changes you can make over the winter that will help your swing. I'm only posting this video for the very first one (labeled as 6 in the video because he's counting backwards from 6 to 1). Make sure you read my notes after the video before you try it!


I want to show you how to use this drill to avoid back problems. By using this drill, you can learn how you need to move through impact to avoid putting undue stress on your back.

Set up with two clubs in the positions he shows. When you make the move from square setup to hips turned, do it SLOWLY at first. You want to learn how your body moves from one position to the other without pain. Most of us normal golfers aren't flexible enough to move fast without hurting ourselves -- at least, not in the exact positions you'll normally be taught.

When you're bent over, it changes the way stress is put on your back -- something which isn't mentioned later in this video when you're advised to just take a baseball swing motion and tilt it over. Too much teaching focuses on methods that give you the most power rather than the method that allows you to swing fast without pain, and there is more than one way to create speed.

After you've practiced that first hip position drill and found how you can best move without pain, use it with the versatile L-to-L drill that I mention so often in this blog. Make that hip height to hip height swing slowly, using the pain-free position you discovered in the hip turn drill. As you become more comfortable with it, you can practice the L-to-L swing with more speed. This way, you don't put too much stress on your back too soon.

Once you're sure you can make this hip to hip swing at a decent speed without pain, that's when you start making the swing longer. You want to find how long you can swing without undue stress, which may mean you can't get a 90° shoulder turn. That's okay. As I said, there are other ways to create speed. And making a comfortable shoulder turn will help you be more consistent with your shots.

I really think it's important to build a swing that doesn't hurt. Given how many pros have back problems despite all the stretching and gym work they do, I don't think weekend players should copy them as much as we do. Let's learn to make good swings that will let us play for a long time without pain.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Rick Shiels Tests the New Cobra RAD Speed Drivers (Video)

I like Rick's tests because he tends to be brutally honest about the equipment he tests. In this video he tests all three of the new Cobra RAD Speed drivers -- the RAD Speed, the RAD Speed XB and the RAD Speed XD.

I should also note that he isn't comparing them against drivers from other makers. Rather, he's comparing them against Cobra's previous models, the F9 and SpeedZone drivers.


If you're looking for a new driver, Rick's tests may help you decide whether you want to try the new Cobra models or not. And let's be honest -- that's all you really want from an equipment test, isn't it?

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The Last ET Event of 2020

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the last Rolex Series event of 2020 as well as the culmination of the Race to Dubai, the DP World Tour Championship.

Race to Dubai #1 Patrick Reed and #4 Lee Westwood

The DP World Tour Championship is the ET's equivalent of the Tour Championship, with a field of 65 players. Because the winner will get 2000 Race to Dubai points, theoretically any of the Top60 in the field could win the title of European Tour #1.

Here's how europeantour.com summed it up:

As it stands, four players are guaranteed to claim the Race to Dubai crown with victory at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai: Patrick Reed, Tommy Fleetwood, Collin Morikawa and Lee Westwood. For four others – Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Victor Perez, Aaron Rai and Tyrrell Hatton – victory is guaranteed provided Reed doesn’t finish second alone.

And Patrick Reed would be the first American to win the title if he should do so. (No, Tiger never competed as a European Tour member. Reed maintains both PGA Tour and European Tour cards.)

GC's coverage of the event starts at 2am ET Thursday morning. That makes two big events this week -- the US Women's Open is the other, of course!

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: US Women's Open

Twofer Tuesday breaks with tradition and moseys down to Texas for the US Women's Open.

Defending champion Jeongeun Lee6

As a general rule I don't do Twofer Tuesday for any event but the PGA Tour, simply for simplicity's sake. But having the final major of the year just a couple of weeks before Christmas -- even though it's an LPGA event -- it just made sense for this to be my last Twofer Tuesday of 2020. 

It looks as if this will be a real tester for the ladies. While the temperature is expected to be around 76°F on Thursday, it will drop each day until it's around 58°F on Sunday... and rain is expected almost every day, including a 70% chance of thunderstorms on Friday. Add the unfamiliar course conditions -- the USGA rarely runs an event in December -- and this will be an entirely unpredictable US Women's Open.

This major will be held at Champions Golf Club in Houston TX. There are two courses, the Jackrabbit Course and Cypress Creek. The women will play one round at Jackrabbit and three at Cypress Creek. The USGA often uses Jackrabbit as a qualifying course while Cypress Creek is the primary competition course, and Cypress is the longer of the two by around 300 yards.

Jeongeun Lee6 is the defending champion. But US Opens are notoriously difficult to defend, and with this year's difficulties added in, this one is probably up for grabs.

That's especially true given how well so many of the women are playing. I have no guiding principle for making choices this week, so let's just toss the sticks up in the air and see how they land!

  • My first pick is Jin Young Ko. I know the World #1 hasn't played much over here this year due to the pandemic, but in only her second event back (last week) she finished solo 5th in tough conditions. This major will also be in tough conditions, and I see no reason her methodical approach won't put her in position to win again.
  • As for my second pick... look, I can name at least six or seven players who I should probably pick before Angela Stanford, but this is a heart pick. She's been all over the place this season, but in the last two weeks she has finished T6 and 1. Most importantly, she's from Texas. I suspect she's played in these conditions more than once. I'm hoping she's on a run.

Here's a link to the USGA's complete airtime listings. But GC's live first round coverage runs from 12:30pm-6pm ET on Thursday. It's our last major of 2020, so let's enjoy it!

Monday, December 7, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 Mayakoba Golf Classic

Winner: Viktor Hovland

Around the wider world of golf: Angela Stanford won the Volunteers of America Classic on the LPGA; Christiaan Bezuidenhout won for the second week in a row at the South African Open while Antoine Rozner won the Golf in Dubai Championship, both on the ET; and of course I would be amiss if I didn't mention the passing of legend Peter Alliss.

Viktor Hovland with Mayakoba trophy

My Twofer Tuesday picks didn't do so well. My "wind player" strategy didn't play out after all. I had Brian Gay (DNP) and Abraham Ancer (T12). Brian apparently withdrew before the event began -- he was on the list I saw -- but Abraham came pretty close.

  • Top10s: 26 for 68 (10 Top5, 16 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 3 for 34 events

But it seems that Viktor Hovland not only managed to play the wind but the water as well. I give Aaron Wise full marks for making a tournament of it but he just had to make up too much ground during the final round.

And playing in a deluge does make that kind of performance difficult. But Wise posted a 63 -- that's nothing to sneeze at!

Still, Hovland just didn't give anybody much of a chance. His 65 contained a single bogey on the 12th. Other than that, he just kept moving ahead.

This is Hovland's second PGA Tour victory (Viktory?) and his second of 2020. (He won the Puerto Rico Open -- the alternate event to the WGC-Mexico -- back in February.) So I guess this year hasn't been as bad for him as it has for some players!

And with this event the PGA Tour calls it quits for the remainder of 2020. It's all unofficial events in December.

But for Viktor Hovland, it's his first official Limerick Summary this week. It's going to be a nice Christmas for the only Norwegian golfer to win a PGA Tour event.

"When it rains, it pours,” some people say
So on this event’s rainy last day
Viktor poured the putts in
And sailed off with the win
While the field’s hopes were all washed away.

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

Sunday, December 6, 2020

How to Play a Par-3 (Video)

I keep my eyes open for new videos on playing strategies for different holes, simply because not everybody thinks the same way. Hearing a strategy stated in a different way may make the difference in whether you 'get it' or not.

Today I've got a really short video from Rick Shiels on how to play par-3s. It's a super short video, less than 5 minutes. If you've been having trouble scoring on par-3s, maybe this video will be a game changer for you.


Saturday, December 5, 2020

When to Consider Getting New Irons (Video)

There are times when changes in your game may mean you could use some new irons. This Golf Monthly video goes through some of the reasons you might need new irons and how to determine what style you should look at. For example, if you're making swing changes, the irons you have may be working against the changes you're trying to make.

The video also gives you an idea of what sort of things to compare between sets. For example, just because two irons have the same number on the sole doesn't mean they have the same loft.


Friday, December 4, 2020

Stop Hitting the Ball Fat (Video)

In this short video Rick Shiels covers the basics of hitting the ball over a hazard without hitting it fat.


There are two parts to his approach: The mechanics of a proper swing (hitting the ball first, then taking a divot) and the mental approach (visualizing what a proper shot looks like).

Again, it's a short video that covers these basics in a very simple, easy to remember way. It's worth watching as a review, even if you feel that you already know how to do it.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

How Many Wedges Do You Need? (Video)

This is a fascinating video from Mike Malaska about how you determine not only how many wedges you need, but how to figure the proper lofts. I doubt you've seen the question approached this way!


I was particularly surprised that you begin choosing your wedges by focusing on your pitching wedge, not your lob wedge. Then the number of wedges is determined in large part by how well you play partial shots, and finally the lofts are chosen to give you the most usable spread of distances with those wedges.

Looking to up your wedge game? I'd definitely study this video.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The LPGA and the Chilly Championship

Let's just say it -- the LPGA is going to face some wintry weather this week at the Volunteers of America Classic. Thursday's high is predicted to be only 46°F with 14mph winds.

Defending champion Cheyenne Knight

And nothing warmer than 60°F with 10mph winds over the weekend. That will feel like summer to our frozen ladies by then!

Defending champion Cheyenne Knight isn't the big news this week, although it will be interesting to see how she does in these conditions. World #1 Jin Young Ko, who dominated the Tour last year, says she has been gearing up for this event all during the pandemic break. And Inbee Park is trying to become the first three-time winner of this event.

While it's often considered a slight to say any event is a warmup for another, it's impossible for players not to be looking ahead to next week's US Women's Open. It's is the latest a woman's major has ever been held and, while the long range forecast is slightly better -- as high as 70°F but with a 25-35% chance of rain -- the drain this week's event will place on the women will certainly be felt then.

So this week could have a huge effect on how 2020's last major plays out. But then, the Volunteers of America Classic has always been a challenge and always gives us a great winner.

GC's taped coverage begins Thursday at 5:30pm ET. (GC will have a live stream starting at 3pm ET.) Of all the events the women have played this year, this will be the most challenging by far.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: Mayakoba Golf Classic

After an intensely fulfilling Thanksgiving (being very full of turkey and dressing!), Twofer Tuesday looks forward to a restful week at Mayakoba.

Defending champion Brendon Todd

It's unusual to have a regular Tour event after Thanksgiving here in the US, but the pandemic continues to play havoc with scheduling and so the Mayakoba Golf Classic tees off during the first week of December. A 132-player field tees it up at the event where Brendon Todd got his second win in a back-to-back show last year.

I really do feel like I'm rolling dice this week. As I have mentioned before, it's hard to make a good guess at a player's form when no two players seem to have schedules that are close enough to give a valid comparison. So I'm going to throw caution to the win and bet against the odds.

  • My first pick is Brian Gay. Of course, Brian won in Bermuda... after missing the two previous cuts. And the PGA Tour site doesn't list any 2020 events for him before those three events. Nevertheless, the PGA Tour Power Rankings for this week rank him #13. How do you make a decision like that based on three events? Well, I know why I'm picking him -- he won Bermuda in the wind, and I expect wind to have a huge effect at Mayakoba.
  • And my other pick is Abraham Ancer. This may seem a bit strange since Carlos Ortiz would seem the more likely pick; he came in second here last year and just won in Houston less than a month ago. But Abraham has two Top10s in his last three appearances here... and a T13 at the Masters. That tells me he's playing well enough to do well here this year.

GC's live coverage begins Thursday at 2pm ET. Since we're finally beginning to feel the chill of winter here in North Carolina, I'm looking forward to seeing a little sun and sand at Mayakoba.