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Friday, December 3, 2021

Another Approach to Chipping from Tight Lies (Video)

This video is different from many of the 'chipping from tight lies' videos I've posted before. Usually the demonstrations use different clubs to get different results, but Paige really is teaching you three different techniques because she's using the same club for each shot -- in her case, that's a 54° wedge. If you pay attention, you'll learn how small variations in technique can affect the way the ball reacts when it lands on the green.


Thursday, December 2, 2021

10 Tips for Better Winter Performance (Video)

If you don't want winter to keep you away from the golf course, Kit Alexander has two handfuls of tips to help keep your game sharp when the weather gets cold. Some you may have heard before, but some may make your winter golf a bit more enjoyable. Give this video a watch if you sneer at the cold!


Wednesday, December 1, 2021

It's Nice to Have Him Back

No news here. Tiger showed up to host the Hero World Challenge, this time in a non-playing role. Totally expected.

Tiger at the Hero

I'm not going to belabor the presser. You've been hearing about it all day Tuesday and will likely continue to hear about it from now on.

The two big things he said?

  1. He probably won't be a regular Tour player going forward but sees no reason he couldn't get it together for a few events a year once he gets back in playing shape. That includes finding some distance again, as he joked about possibly being competitive if the Masters par-3 event was the standard length of a Tour venue.
  2. He also threw his support behind the PGA Tour as opposed to the rumors of a Greg Norman-headed world tour. No big surprise there either but, with both Rory and Tiger taking this stand, any new tour will likely now find itself in an uphill battle to draw off any major players.

Many of the commentators were complaining that Tiger was giving no real information and none of the media at the presser were willing to push for more. Again, nothing new there.

As for my take on all this, the post title says it all. It's nice to have Tiger back in the spotlight, even if all he can do is let us see that he's getting better and is in good spirits. I'll take that as a major win.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: Hero World Challenge

Twofer Tuesday swallows its pride and decides to pick winners at the Hero World Challenge after all.

Defending champion Henrik Stenson

Yes, two weeks back I said I was done with Twofer Tuesday until January. But my chance of picking at least one Top10 player -- when the field is only 20, mind you -- is at least 50%. So here I am, hoping to pad my pitiful 2020 results with one or (is it even possible?) two Top10s!

The Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas is hosting Tiger's event for the sixth time. It's a par-72 with five par-3s and five par-5s playing just over 7300 yards. And since only light winds are expected this week, the players in this field will likely tear it to shreds. The event wasn't played last year so 2019's winner Henrik Stenson is the defending champion.

In my opinion, the beauty of this event is that there truly are no bad picks this week. So I've got at least a coin flip's chance of adding to my stats.

  • Can I really pass on Collin Morikawa? The kid's coming off an amazing season and I just don't see him finishing outside the top half of this field. So let's see if he comes to play or not.
  • And with a short field like this, I feel pretty good about taking Justin Thomas. I've been leery of taking him in full field events this year because his traditional consistency just hasn't been there. But in a relaxed situation like this, I think he might regain some of his swagger.

GC's coverage starts Thursday at 1:30pm ET. Surely my chances of having a pick actually perform the week I pick them are pretty good this time around!

Monday, November 29, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 Joburg Open

Winner: Thriston Laurence

Around the wider world of golf: Carlota Ciganda won the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España on the LET; Kana Mikashima won the JLPGA Tour Championship RICOH Cup (Ayaka Furue won POY and Mone Inami topped the money list); and Mikumu Horikawa won the Casio World Open on the Japan Golf Tour. [Thanks, IC!]

Thriston Lawrence with Joberg trophy

I didn't make any Twofer Tuesday picks this week as I didn't know the field well enough. So at least my record didn't get any worse this week!

Of course, some things did get worse this week. A new COVID variant made its appearance in South Africa, causing officials to shorten the first DP World Tour event from 72 to 54 holes so players and staff who weren't from South Africa could return home before new international travel restrictions went into effect. They really had no choice, as more than a dozen European players had already WDed from the Joburg Open for that very reason.

And then bad weather arrived, forcing them to shorten the event even further -- all the way down to 36 holes. It was a nerve-wracking situation for everybody.

But Thriston Laurence made the best of it. After shooting two 65s to take the lead going into the third round, he led by four strokes as he teed off Saturday. But he played only a few holes before the horns blew and, with no option to finish on Sunday, the event was called after two rounds.

This truly is a career changer for Laurence. Not only did the win get him a European Tour card but it also got him a spot in THE OPEN next year. I think that counts as turning a bad situation into a blessing, and it grabs him his first ever Limerick Summary. Way to go, Thriston!

For Thriston, a life-changing week.
Though COVID made things pretty bleak
And storms caused delays—
He had only two days!—
From this valley he reached a new peak.

The photo came from this page at europeantour.com.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

My Step-in-Place Drill

Earlier in the week I did a couple of posts with videos from Mike Malaska and Be Better Golf that focused on weight shift and footwork, and I promised to give you a drill of my own that might help you get a better handle on your own swing issues.

I call my drill the Step-in-Place drill because it tries to create a good feel for body movement during your swing similar to what a Step-Through drill does but without the excess movement that results from such drills. I'll give it to you in three steps so you can see how it's built.

The first step is simply to swing your arms. Chances are good you've done things like this since you were small. I actually remember doing something like this in elementary school as part of the calisthenics we did during phys ed. (We used it to loosen up a little before we actually had to do jumping jacks and stuff.) The diagrams below show your upper body from behind, so your right arm is on the right and your left arm is on the left. I did left-handed and right-handed diagrams because, while the movements are the same, the labels below the pictures show that the arm motion for a rightie's backswing is the leftie's downswing, and vice versa.

Arm swings are simple enough. On the backswing your lead arm swings forward and your trailing arm swings backward, and on the downswing they reverse.

In the first diagram below you can see that we're not turning our shoulders any. That's because I just want you to get the feel of swinging your arms. Note that we aren't swinging them straight forward and back either. We're swinging them at roughly a 45° angle across our body. When you do this you should lean slightly forward, as if you're addressing a golf ball, and you want to maintain that spine angle as you swing your arms.

..

Do this for a little bit, just to get the feel of the motion. You don't need a golf club to do this. What you want to feel is the rhythm and smoothness of the swinging... and I bet you'll feel a little footwork that creates a gentle weight shift as your weight moves slightly from one foot to the other. You won't have to try and feel it. It just happens because that's how our bodies naturally move.

Got it? Good. Let's move on to the second step, which is adding our shoulder turn.

As you can see, your shoulders turn so now your lead arm mimics the backswing of your golf swing and swings almost straight to the side -- away from your target if you actually intended to hit a golf ball.. Then on the downswing you turn into your followthrough and your trail arm swings almost straight toward the target.

Don't worry if you don't get a 90° shoulder turn; that's not the point here. We're just after a smooth swinging motion. Remember to keep your spine angle fairly constant as you do this. And your footwork will become more rhythmic and pronounced naturally because... well, that's how your body naturally works.

..

That's our basic backswing and downswing. Simple, right? After you've done that for a bit and feel comfortable with it, we'll add the final piece of the drill, the 'step-in-place.'

See the diagram below? This represents your trail foot. To start your backswing without stepping away from or toward the target -- in other words, we're going to mimic the footwork during your golf swing -- I want you to lift your trail heel slightly off the ground so your weight is on the big toe side of your trail foot. That's shown in black in the diagram below. 

To get your heel off the ground without lifting your trail hip or moving the rest of your body, just bend your trail knee slightly. It doesn't matter whether you bend it in toward your lead knee or bend it straight forward, just bend it a little bit so your heel comes off the ground and you can stay in that position for a few seconds.

You haven't taken the weight off your trail foot. You've just put the pressure on the front side of your foot. That's your start position.

..

Now, when you swing your arms and turn your shoulders into your backswing, let your trailing heel go to the ground and put your weight on your heel. That will give you a steady base on which to finish your shoulder turn and let your trail hip move backward instead of creating a sway with your body. Your lead heel is probably going to come off the ground when you do this and that's to be expected. But your upper body shouldn't move away from the target.

At the top of your backswing, just swing your arms and turn your shoulders and let your weight move naturally to your lead foot. From this point you're just making your followthrough.

You can practice this all you want this winter, in front of the TV, no club, just getting that rhythm into your body. And when the weather improves and you can go outside, use this motion with the L-to-L drill that I seem to recommend for almost every problem that plagues your swing. That way you can learn to match the body motion up to your golf swing.

This is a really simple drill intended to teach you how your body moves during a golf swing when you just let it move naturally and rhythmically. I think you'll be surprised at how much it can help.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

10 Uses for Alignment Sticks (Video)

If you like using alignment sticks during practice, here are ten different ways you can use them. This video covers drives, approach shots, sand shots, chipping, putting and even shaping shots. You've probably seen a lot of these but I bet you'll find a couple of new uses as well.