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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Feeling Where the Club Face Is Aimed

This little video from Mike Malaska -- he used to work with the late Jim Flick, among other teachers -- goes through some simple drills and practice techniques for learning to feel which way the club face is pointed at impact.

That's really pretty simple. You can do the "cellphone drill" during spare moments during the day, and you can practice the swing drill using plastic balls in your backyard when you can't get to the range.

One important point here that Malaska mentions at the end: When you practice with a club, swing slowly. That makes it much easier to feel where the club face is pointed because the swing is slow enough for you to recognize where your hands are pointed.

Don't underestimate the importance of simple drills like this. Watch the video several times if necessary to make sure you understand what he's telling you to do. Eye-hand coordination isn't complicated; it just takes repetition over time. If you practice, it will come.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Tough Times Down Under

The leaderboard's volatile down at the Emirates Australian Open. The winds are swirling and gusting around the Australian Golf Club in Sydney, and the players are struggling. Nearly 25 players were under par when the third round started; as I write this, a mere 7 players are in the red. The wind has knocked some really nice shots right out of the air at the green, even when the pin appears to be fairly calm.

Rod Pampling

To give you an idea of what it's been like, Rod Pampling (picture above from The Guardian's live update page) has either led or held a piece of the lead -- which is still -5 -- for most of the round, ever since he holed out for eagle on the 10th hole. (Oops, he just dropped a stroke at 17.)

At the other end of the spectrum, Rory McIlroy went triple-double on 9 and 10, dropping to +1 where he's spent most of the round since. Rory hit a drive into some nasty hay on the par-4 9th, tried to hit it out (there was no good drop available) and he drove it down into the sand, and had to take a drop anyway. That shot went way right and, despite a good shot over a tree to the green, he needed 2 putts for his 7. He managed to make a bounceback birdie on the 11th, but dropped another shot at 13. He's still +5 for the day.

Adam Scott has been battling away since a horrible start in the first round. He's currently tied with Pampling and Jordan Spieth -- who's played amazingly well for his first time on an Australian sandbelt course, even leading periodically -- at -4.

Currently Brett Rumford and Greg Chalmers -- you likely recognize both of those names, as they've played the PGA Tour quite a bit -- lead at that magical total of -5. It's only -5 after 3 full rounds of golf, the same that it was after the second round.. and the first round. THAT's how tough the course is playing.

The final round tonight should be quite a shootout. Nobody's gonna run away with this one!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Playing the Anti-Flop

Okay, Lou Guzzi doesn't call this the anti-flop... but the technique certainly doesn't sound like any flop shot I've seen before. However, this video from Guzzi is an interesting take on the standard flop shot. You just might find some use for it!

Guzzi has taken almost all of the wrist hinge out of this shot and substituted body rotation to get the bounce of the club under the ball. Here are the basics I see in the video:
  • This shot uses your 60-degree wedge. This is pretty standard for a flop but if you aren't going to cock your wrists very much, that extra loft is critical.
  • You also want to open the face of your wedge. Again, pretty standard for a flop.
  • You really widen your stance. Looks more like he plans to hit a fairway wood than a wedge!
  • The ball is positioned just inside the lead heel. Guzzi doesn't mention this, but it's clear from the video. Looks really close to where you'd play a fairway wood or even a driver.
  • Hands swing back higher than normal but without really cocking your wrists. This is more like the one-piece takeaway you want to use in a full swing. Because you're turning your shoulders more, your hands (and the club) stay more "in front of you" -- or, if you prefer, you are more connected -- and the higher arm swing gives you a more upright stroke. Guzzi is using this upright plane to create some of the steepness you normally create with your wrists in a flop shot.
  • The wider stance and more connected move causes a greater weight shift back and through. This gives the club head -- and, consequently, the bounce on the club -- more time to get under the ball.
Now, when you watch Guzzi hit this shot on the video it may not look as if it takes off as high as a typical flop shot. (At least it doesn't to me.) But I can see how this method could both create more spin and make it easier to get good results, since eliminating the "wrist flip" at impact should make it easier to hit the ball more consistently.

To put it another way, solid contact = more spin = more height on the shot.

At any rate, it looks like an easy way to hit a higher, softer pitch shot without a tricky-to-time wrist flip. Seems worth a little time on the practice range to me.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving, and almost everyone in the USA celebrates Thanksgiving.

I said almost everyone...
[Alas, the picture of the turkey with a false nose and glasses, holding the "I'm not a turkey" sign, has vanished. Such are the realities of the internet.]
But since I'm one of those who DO celebrate, I'm taking today off. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Game's Still On Down Under

While we Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving this week and the European Tour takes a brief break between seasons, golf continues in the Land Down Under. The second of the Australian Big Three, the Emirates Australian Open, gets underway Thursday (that's tonight here in the USA).

Scott and McIlroy

The defending champion is Rory McIlroy, making his final appearance of 2014 at the event he quite literally stole from Adam Scott last year. Adam looked to be in control until Rory ran him down in the final stretch, winning with a birdie on the final hole. Adam is looking to even the score this year.

In fact, Adam requested that he and Rory be paired together the first two days, presumably to keep an eye on Rory. But the event organizers decided to keep the two separated, according to this SkySports article (from which the photo also came), simply to spread the main draws across as many groupings as possible. As Golf Australia championship director Trevor Herden told SkySports:
“It’s very tempting, but there are several considerations when pairing the strongest world-class players in the Australian Open field. And it’s for the exact reasons that the Masters, US and British Opens and the US PGA separated these two guys this season. Just like all the major championships do, we will spread out the superstars across the draw to ensure as many people as possible see them.”
Therefore, Rory will be paired with Geoff Ogilvy and Stuart Appleby in the morning wave. Adam will be paired with Jordan Spieth and last week's Australian Masters champion Nick Cullen in the afternoon.

Personally, I'll be very interested to see how Jordan does. It's his first trip to Australia and he's coming off a third-place finish in Japan last week, where he missed the playoff by a single shot. Given that Jordan's coach is Australian PGA Professional Cameron McCormick, Jordan may have a better chance than most expect. And according to the Australian PGA site, Jordan has idolized Adam for a long time and is looking forward to playing with him.

GC starts their broadcast tonight at 8pm ET. I'm looking for Jordan to get his first international win this weekend.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

An Instructional Intro to Chris Como ran an article featuring 3 of Chris Como's past instructional videos, just to get everybody familiar with Tiger's new "swing consultant." Unfortunately none of the videos can be embedded in the post here so you'll have to click the link to see them.

Chris Como

BUT let me give you a correction to the notes added to one of the videos.

The first video, Hitting It Farther with Footwork, says:
Here’s a quick tip to gain extra yards with every club using only your lower body. Crank your right foot (or left if you are a lefty) clockwise into the ground to develop a powerful lower body move and stripe it off the tee.
IF YOU ARE A LEFTY, this is incorrect. Lefties need to "crank" their left foot COUNTERclockwise into the ground to get the result Chris is describing here. Having gotten twisted up myself when trying to "transpose" from rightie to leftie, I sympathize with the editors.

The photo came from this Business Insider article which chronicles the debate that's already begun in golf circles. (This article also includes the notorious "jumping off the diving board" video you may have heard about.) Como is a relative unknown in the golf community at large -- although he's been recognized as a top teacher by both Golf Magazine and Golf Digest -- and a huge chorus of voices are claiming this is going to be a disaster for Tiger.

Maybe it will, but one thing makes me think things will be okay. Tiger has yet to use the words "swing coach" or anything similar to describe Como's duties. Tiger says he's a "consultant" and some believe that Tiger simply wants his input to help him avoid bad mechanics that might hurt his back or knee. Given that Tiger's friend Notah Begay knows them both and believes it's a good match -- and knowing how much trouble Notah's had with back problems -- there's a good chance that this will work out just fine.

At any rate, I guess we'll all get a better idea when Tiger shows up at the Hero World Challenge next week.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Limerick Summary: 2014 CME Group Tour Championship

Winner: Lydia Ko

Around the wider world of golf: Mardan Mamat won the Resorts World Manila Masters on the Asian Tour; Hideki Matsuyama won the Dunlop Phoenix Open on the Japan Tour; Henrik Stenson successfully defended his title at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai on the ET; Nick Cullen won the BetEasy Masters on the Australasian Tour; amateur Ssu-Chia Cheng won the Xiamen Open on the LET; and Sakura Yokomine won the ElleAir Ladies Open on the JLPGA (the Constructivist has details).

Lydia Ko with trophies

Sunday the Kobra struck and struck hard... but if we're honest, it appears that no one really expected it.

Going into the CME Group Tour Championship the big buzz was around Stacy Lewis and Inbee Park, the two leaders in... well, in just about everything. Lewis and Park were expected to duel it out down the stretch for:
  • the tournament title,
  • the $1mil CME Race to the Globe,
  • the money title,
  • the scoring title (aka the Vare Trophy), and
  • the Rolex Player of the Year Award.
Lewis and Park were 1 and 2, respectively, in just about every category. There was also some talk about Michelle Wie, at 4 in the Race to the Globe, perhaps winning the tournament and the big bucks.

Nobody was talking about Lydia Ko at all.

The big battle never materialized. Both Lewis and Park struggled, although Lewis did enough to win the money title, Vare Trophy, and POY Award. Those were the ones she said were most important to her, and she did make history by winning all three -- the first American to do so since Betsy King way back in 1993.

Wie managed to get herself in position to win the tournament and the money but just didn't have enough juice to get it done. In fact, none of the Top9 who had the potential to take it all seemed able to mount a charge...

All except the Kobra, that is. She not only played well enough to lock up the Globe, she clearly had her sights on the tournament victory as well. She, Julieta Granada (who had won the old ADT Tour Championship with the $1mil first prize), and Carlota Ciganda (with no LPGA victories but three on the LET) finished in a tie and went to a playoff.

Granada faltered on the second playoff hole when her par putt barely slipped by, and Ciganda's nerves apparently got to her with a bad approach on the fourth playoff hole. The Kobra, by comparison, put her tee shots in basically the same spot each time down... and the same on her approach shots. Her final birdie putt stopped a mere inch or two short of the cup, giving her the title and $1.5mil.

Only the Top3 points getters got bonus money. They were:
  1. Lydia Ko, with $1mil
  2. Stacy Lewis, with $150k
  3. Michelle Wie, with $100k
And Lydia set a number of records this season. Among them, she became the youngest Rookie of the Year in LPGA history. She also continues to rewrite the record books for the youngest multiple tournament winner ever on any tour. The PGA Tour's youngest one-time winner is 19 years old; the LPGA has one other ont-time winner at 18. Lydia has 5 LPGA wins and she's still just 17!

So now Lydia can head back to New Zealand for a well-deserved rest. But before she goes, I hope she takes time to pack a Limerick Summary along with all her other prizes!
She’s something that golf’s never seen
With five wins—but she’s not yet eighteen!
Though too young for a beer,
Ko’s top rookie this year
Plus she ran off with all of the green!
The photo came from this photo page at

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Harmon Hook Fix Might Fix Your Slice Too

Yes, on Saturday Tiger made news by announcing his new "swing consultant" Chris Como and Suzy Whaley made history by becoming the PGA of America's first-ever female officer (and ultimately first female president). But everybody's talking about those things so why don't we look at some swing help today?

I saw this video by the Harmon brothers and immediately went, "WOW! Why don't more teachers stress this swing basic?" First take a look at this lesson on how to stop a duck hook -- which I know doesn't trouble most of you -- and then I'll point out the important lesson that may help you slicers as well.

Okay, here's the simple thing that you may not have caught the first time through: Your wrist position at address should match your wrist position at the top of your backswing. Flat wrist at address, flat wrist at top; cupped wrist at address, cupped wrist at top.

Let's use this to troubleshoot things a bit. First, the extremes:
  • If you have a strong grip and a flat (or bowed) wrist, you're going to get a hook shot shape.
  • If you have a weak grip and a cupped wrist, you're going to get a slice shot shape.
But many of you are changing in the midst of your swing:
  • If you have a flat wrist at setup and a cupped wrist at the top, you're OPENING the clubface and will likely hit a SLICE.
  • If you have a cupped wrist at setup and a flat (or bowed) wrist at the top, you're CLOSING the clubface and will likely hit a HOOK.
If you're having trouble getting the shot shape you want, check these wrist positions. And of course, you want to keep the same wrist position at setup, at the top, and at impact. Get all three to match and you'll have a much better chance of figuring out how to get the ball to curve the way you want... and do it consistently.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Michelle Wie Mounts a Charge While Adam Scott Struggles

WIND. Some golfers dread it while others see it as an ally. For players with the ability to work their ball through the wind, a gusty day provides a unique opportunity -- a chance to make up ground on the rest of the field, perhaps even separate themselves.

Michelle Wie during Friday's round

For Michelle Wie, the winds whipping around the Tiburon course in Florida did just that. Although the field managed to shoot lower scores on Friday -- a full shot lower despite the tougher winds -- Michelle managed to follow up Thursday's frustrating round of par with a 5-under 67. She rocketed up the leaderboard into a tie for fourth in the tournament, giving herself a chance to win the million dollar CME Globe. In fact, for a while she was in first place in that race... until a struggling Stacy Lewis managed to make a birdie on the 17th hole to regain the top spot. (Stacy is T15, at -1.)

Currently, Carlota Ciganda and Julieta Granada are tied for the lead in the tournament at -7. Stacy Lewis is first in the race for the $1mil, the POY award, and the Vare Trophy for scoring. Inbee Park is struggling along a couple of shots behind her.

Given how well Michelle plays in the wind, she could very well be leading by the end of play today.

Meanwhile, down at the BetEasy Masters on the Australasian Tour, Adam Scott's bid for a third gold jacket hit a snag during the third round. Although Scott says he felt that he hit the ball better during Saturday's round, his score didn't show it. Starting the day 6 shots behind the leaders he went out in 2-over and came back in 3-under, improving his total score by only 1 stroke to -4 (T9) -- not enough to catch the leaders (Michael Wright sits at -9, but Wright still has 4 holes to play at the time of this writing).

Granted, Adam has only 8 players ahead of him which makes his task somewhat easier. Let's face it -- if the winds continue and Adam plays a great final round, a win still might be doable. But 3 of those ahead of him have posted rounds in the mid-60s and, although Wright is struggling a bit in the third round, he looks pretty solid. And they expect more wind for the final round.

I don't like Adam's chances all that well. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and say that James Nitties sits at -6 after a 5-under round, and I have a feeling he just may be due.

It's amazing how much the wind can change the complexion of an event... and in this case, it just might be blowing some favorites right out of contention.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Pete Cowen's Basic Chipping Technique

I assume that most of you know who Pete Cowen is. He works with a lot of European pros -- Henrik Stenson is one you might have heard of! -- and many in the golf industry consider him one of the two or three best instructors on the planet.

Today I've got a short video where Pete teaches you basic chipping technique. This is really simple, folks, and I think you'll find it very helpful if you're having problems.

Let me call your attention to one particular point. Pete says your wrists can only hinge four ways. He demonstrates them quickly in this video, starting around the :12 second mark. Here are the four ways (his terms for them are in parentheses):
  1. Up (wrist cock)
  2. Down (downcock)
  3. Backward (hinge back)
  4. Forward (hinge forward)
He says that, during a chip, your trail hand hinges BACKWARD ONLY (no up or down) and your lead hand just kind of goes along for the ride. (Although the lead hand is moving with the trail hand, the lead wrist doesn't really have to hinge to do it. Try it and see.) Just be sure to move both hands together; that will keep you from flipping your hands at impact.

This is a very classic method of chipping, and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how simple it is to get good results this way.

You're welcome. ;-)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Does Tiger Have a Case?

Ever since Golf Digest published the Dan Jenkins piece My (Fake) Interview with Tiger and Tiger made it clear that he didn't like it at The Players' Tribune, a debate has been going on. Some of it concerns the fairness of the Jenkins piece while some concerns the legality. Does Tiger have any recourse if he doesn't get the apology he'd like?

To put it simply, no, he doesn't. But since this particular issue may be in the news for a while, you might like to know the hows and whys behind that answer. In this post I'm going to give you a quick lesson in the legal aspects of parody and satire. After all, you don't need to be a lawyer or even stay at a Holiday Inn to understand this stuff.

All you need is an authoritative website -- in this case, the very impressive site of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Dan Jenkins

First -- and this doesn't come from the website -- parody is generally humorous and focuses on form while satire tends to be less humorous and focuses more on a topic or person. Some of the comments made about the Jenkins article have protested that it isn't even funny, but satirists are rarely after a laugh.

A classic example of satire is A Modest Proposal (you can read it for free at this Project Gutenberg page), written in 1729 by Jonathan Swift, who is probably better known for Gulliver's Travels -- which is itself, according to Wikipedia, both "a satire on human nature and a parody of the 'travellers' tales' literary sub-genre."

In the same way, the Jenkins piece is both satire and parody -- a satire on Tiger's behavior (or at least the Jenkins perception of it) and a parody of magazine interviews.

About A Modest Proposal Wikipedia says, "This satirical hyperbole mocks heartless attitudes towards the poor, as well as Irish policy in general." Even now Swift's "proposal" -- which suggests that starving Irish beggars sell their babies to the rich as food -- remains a remarkably disturbing read, with very little humor. You can imagine how it was received when it was first published!

What Jenkins has done with his "interview" is mount a personal attack on Tiger, much the same way Swift attacked the uncaring members of Irish society in his day. It's not meant to be funny; it's meant to hurt. It's no secret that Jenkins has been, shall we say, a longtime antagonist where Tiger is concerned, and his pet peeve has been Tiger's refusal to grant him an interview -- hence, the interview format.

The question becomes, does this in some way classify as libel? The Reporters Committee site has a page called Protection for Satire and Parody, which says in part:
Satire and parody are important forms of political commentary that rely on blurring the line between truth and outrageousness to attack, scorn and ridicule public figures. Although they may be offensive and intentionally injurious, these statements contain constitutionally protected ideas and opinions, provided a reasonable reader would not mistake the statements as describing actual facts. Put another way, subjects of even the most biting satire or criticism cannot successfully sue unless the irreverent comments contain a provably false fact. Moreover, public officials and figures must prove that the defendant published the statement with actual malice.
Note that the comments may be "offensive and intentionally injurious" but still be protected under the First Amendment.

Another page, Avoiding Libel in Satire, lists a number of steps that a writer or publisher can take to make sure they're protected -- among them, making it clear from the outset that the piece in question would never be mistaken for a literal truth (a condition also referred to in the above quote). Among the other things Golf Digest did, they included the word fake in the article title, which certainly fulfills this criterium.

A particularly interesting page is called Defining "Actual Malice." (That page links from the final words in the quote.) The US Supreme Court defines actual malice as either purposely or negligently printing lies (aka "reckless disregard for the truth"). Interestingly, the page lists a number of things which do NOT constitute actual malice, and these include:
  • ill will or intent to harm
  • extreme deviation from professional standards
  • publication of a story to increase circulation
So in the end, even if you believe Dan Jenkins wrote the piece because he "had it in for" Tiger, or that he wrote it solely to boost magazine sales, or just that it was an unprofessional thing to do, the fact remains that he was totally within his rights to write the piece and Golf Digest was totally within their rights to publish it... and there is nothing Tiger can do about it.

Of course, that doesn't mean Jenkins should have written it... but that's why the debate will go on.

The photo comes from this ESPN story about the "interview."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Final European Tour Event of the Season

Before I get on with the post... In case you hadn't heard, the LPGA has named the new sponsor for their first major of the year, formerly called the Kraft Nabisco Championship. It will now be known as the ANA Inspiration, will be sponsored by All Nippon Airways (one of Japan's largest airline companies, which now becomes the official airline of the LPGA), and will still be played at the same course in Rancho Mirage CA. You can read more details in this article from The Desert Sun.

Rory, Henrik and Justin with HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum

It's finally here. It may be a bit anticlimactic -- after all, Rory pretty much had the Race to Dubai locked up a couple of weeks ago -- but there's still a trophy, some big bucks, and serious bragging rights up for grabs at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

Most of the big names are there, so you'll get to see many of your favorite players from around the world. Everybody from Rory and Henrik and Justin to Lee Westwood and "the Most Interesting Golfer in the World" is teeing it up. According to, there are 21 different countries represented.

There are only two Americans there, but both are Tour winners -- David Lipsky won the Omega European Masters earlier this year, and of course Brooks Koepka won the Turkish Airlines Open just this past week. (Bear in mind that only 29 of the 60 players in the field won this year, so that's saying something.) Koepka is also one of the only two rookies to make the event.

GC begins 5-hour coverage in the middle of the night tonight (that's super-early on Thursday morning) for those of us here in the USA at 3am ET. If you're like me and have no intentions of staying up that late, you can catch a shorter version at a more normal 10am ET Thursday morning. ;-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Variety of Newsy Tidbits

Just thought I'd collect a few things I've heard over the past few days and link to some more in-depth info about them (if available). All-in-all, I've got 6 short announcements you may have missed.

First of all, during the final round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, GC's Tom Abbott did confirm that Suzann Pettersen is now working with Butch Harmon. I noted that she had left longtime teacher David Leadbetter a few weeks back and wondered if Suzann was working with Butch last week, but now we know for sure. Given the dramatic change Rickie Fowler has seen in just one year, this change could have a major effect on next year's LPGA results.

Tim Rosaforte mentioned several bits on Monday's Morning Drive. One note is that Tiger is working on his swing by himself for now -- although he's been bouncing ideas off Notah Begay III, which has been common knowledge for weeks -- but also that Tiger has apparently been trimming down as well. Some will suspect it's a result of all the criticism he's received for getting "too big" while others speculate that it may be a result of the swing he's building.

If Rosaforte is correct, I suspect it's the latter; when LeBron James left the Miami Heat to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, he also trimmed down because he expected to play a different position with the Cavs. Rosaforte theorized that Tiger might be going back to the way he swung when he first came on Tour. Should be interesting when he shows up at his own event in early December!

Also mentioned is that Dustin Johnson expects to return to the Tour for the Farmers Insurance Open in February, assuming his fiance delivers their new baby in time. You can read a more detailed piece about DJ in this blog post; while Rosaforte says this date also coincides with the rumored 6-month suspension, it appears DJ has made some serious life changes in the meantime. If so, the leave was worth it.

Lost in all the excitement last week was the news that Augusta National has added a third female member -- this time, it's IBM CEO Virginia (Ginni) Rometty.

Another bit of buzz concerns the tweet Greg Norman sent Ian Poulter after he missed that putt to tie Brooks Koepka in Turkey. ("Mate noticed something in your putting when I watched you yesterday. Easy fix.") You can check out the entire conversation on this thread at Ian's Twitter account. And yes, Ian says he wants the help.

This last one is also from Rosaforte, about Phil Mickelson's off-season training routine. Apparently Phil has lost 10 pounds and added 6mph to his swing, with plans to lose 20 pounds and add 10mph once he's done. If Phil and Tiger can both get in shape to compete with Rory next year... WOW!

I think that covers the most important bits I've heard... and now you've heard them too.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Limerick Summary: 2014 Lorena Ochoa Invitational

Winner: Christina Kim

Around the wider world of golf: Charley Hoffman won the OHL Classic at Mayakoba on the PGA Tour; Brooks Koepka broke through for his first ET win at the Turkish Airlines Open; Rashid Khan won the Chiangmai Golf Classic on the Asian Tour; Anthony Brown won the Mazda NSW Open on the Australasian Tour; Xi Yu Lin won the Sanya Ladies Open on the LET/LAGT/CGA; Cheng Jin won the Nine Dragons Open on the PGA TOUR China; and Jorge Fernandez-Valdes won the Hyundai BBVA 88 Abierto de Chile on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.

Christina with Lorena and trophy

Yes, yes, I know. When there's a PGA Tour event -- and especially when it's the last event of the year -- I always give it the Limerick Summary. It's just the way things work around here.

But when Sunday's tournaments were done, it was clear to me that the PGA Tour event was the least important event that took place. It wasn't the PGA Tour's fault or sponsor OHL's fault or even Mayakoba's fault. It's just the way things happen.

In fact, there were TWO events that I felt were more important (in the grand scheme of things, that is) than the OHL Classic. It was nice that Charley Hoffman finally made it back into the winner's circle for the first time in 4 years. But would that have a measurable effect on the future of the PGA Tour?

Sadly, I must answer "no."

Over in Turkey, Brooks Koepka finally broke through for his first win on a big tour... and let's be honest, Brooks is likely to become a major player on the world scene before long. This was a huge win -- he shot 65 to top Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, and Miguel Angel Jimenez, which will likely win him the ET's Rookie of the Year award and leap him into the Top35 of the OWGR. That will put him in all the big events and allow him to continue playing both the ET and the PGA Tour. This event launched Victor Dubuisson into the stratosphere last season, and Brooks is playing well enough to do even better.

But since he stole all of the thunder from next week's Race to Dubai finish -- Rory locked up the title without even playing when Brooks won -- the ladies won this Limerick Summary by default.

Next week's CME Group Tour Championship just got very interesting, as Stacy Lewis didn't play all that well this week, which allowed Inbee Park to move a mere 3 points behind her in the POY race. If one of them wins next week, she'll win the title, the POY award, the $1mil CME Globe bonus, and perhaps even the scoring title.

And of course there was the Christina Kim story -- Christina, who hadn't won in 9 years; had dealt with injury and severe depression; and whose game had tanked so much that she wondered if she could get it back. She lost a 3-stroke lead on the back 9 to Shanshan Feng, who won just a month ago, but managed to hold it together enough to make a playoff... which she won on the second playoff hole. If you wrote this as a movie script, it would likely be rejected as an unbelievable story.

But if you had seen Christina screaming with delight, and then with her buddy Michelle Wie, holding each other and crying like babies on the 18th green, you'd agree...

The Lorena Ochoa was easily the most significant tournament this week, especially given Christina's popularity with the fans. It was yet another home run for the LPGA, a great human interest story, and the perfect setup for the final event of the LPGA's 2014 season.

And, therefore, the perfect candidate for a Limerick Summary. Welcome back to the Winner's Circle, Christina!
As Christina was blazing her trail,
She found Shanshan right there on her tail!
Did Kim flinch? Just a little…
But she managed to wiggle
It out. Did you not hear her yell?
The photo came from the photo page for the tournament at

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Very Useful Green Reading Tip from Dave Pelz

This is a really cool green reading tip from a article by Dave Pelz that can help you learn to read greens by seeing the actual amount of break for a given slope.

The article has a step-by-step procedure, but here are the photos that accompany the article. Note that in the top picture, the yellow ball is right behind the hole. In the second picture, the yellow ball is where you're aiming while the hole is where the ball is finishing. (Yes, Dave has moved the yellow ball to his new aim point in the second picture.)

Seeing the actual break

This is a really neat way to actually see how much a putt will break on a given amount of slope. The best part of it all is that you can see how much the putt breaks at the speed you like to putt! You can try hitting the ball so it dies in the hole, and so it runs 18 inches past the hole, and whatever other speed you want to try... and then you can pick the way that lets you make the most putts.

With a little practice, this routine could really help your confidence when you stand over a putt. I think it's definitely one of the best drills Dave Pelz has ever recommended.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Putting Tweaks at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational

If you're like me, you couldn't help but notice how impressive the ladies have been at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. Perhaps it's the altitude (and the resulting extra distance) that has made their iron play look so spectacular. Being able to use shorter irons coming into the greens always makes it a bit easier to stop the ball, especially when they're hard.

But while watching the golf Friday and reading some of the interviews at, I couldn't help but note how many of the players specifically talked about putting changes.

Christina Kim

In the Round 2 notes, for example, Christina Kim specifically singled out her putting although she said she's been trying to improve everything. (In her own words, "I've had to rebuild from the ground up.") She didn't mention any particular aspect of her putting that was getting special attention, but the way she phrased her answer indicated that she's been specifically working on her patience. Again, in her own words, when asked what she had worked on to prepare for the tournament she said:
"My patience. I've been working on my putting a lot. I like to think I'm a good putter, but the scores don't necessarily reflect what it is that you're doing and what you're working on."
Likewise, although Paula Creamer detailed some technical details she and her instructor David Whelan had worked on with her iron play, she also went into some detail about putting changes:
"I switched to left hand low and I switched my whole putter at Evian and that's been probably the greatest thing that I've done. I just have a lot of confidence. I'm really, my routine and what I do when I'm over the ball is the same every time. It's more about speed instead of thinking about my stroke or thinking about this. I know that it's solid and we've been working really hard on that. It's more of a confidence and seeing the ball go in the hole."
And in the Round 1 notes Azahara Munoz credited the speed of the greens for some of her putting success:
"I love that the greens are really quick. Sometimes, most of the time, I really struggle getting the ball to the hole and here, I don’t have to worry about that. Definitely the ball is getting there."
Aza also said she felt she should have made a lot more putts on Thursday. Don't we all?

But perhaps the most interesting note was lost in the broadcast Friday afternoon. You may remember a post I did few weeks back about Suzann Pettersen splitting from longtime coach David Leadbetter. In that post I wondered who might be Suzann's next coach.

Well, there's been no announcement yet... but the GC crew did mention that Suzann's putting seemed to have improved this week based on a putting tip she got from Butch Harmon. Does that mean the two are in that "tryout" period that players and prospective coaches often go through? I don't know... but it does bear watching.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Adding a Little Seve to Your Game

Originally I planned to use some actual video of Seve from YouTube for this post but I wasn't happy with the quality of what I found. At least, not for what I wanted to cover today.

Rather than specific swing techniques, I wanted to give you an idea of how Seve approached all of his shots. For Seve, shotmaking was as much a mindset as it was a set of techniques. So I've pulled a couple of videos -- one by Johnny Miller that focuses on full swings and a second one by Martin Hall that focuses on short game swings. First, heeeeeere's Johnny!

And then here's Martin Hall with an "extra credit" video from School of Golf.

The first thing you should notice is that Seve wasn't rigid in his setup, regardless of whether he was making a full swing or a short swing. (He did stand fairly still when he putted, but most putter strokes are so short that you won't move much anyway.) Seve was very relaxed and allowed his knees to move more than most players. That's part of how he got short shots to land softly and managed to curve his full shots more easily. His whole body moves, not just certain parts of it.

Second, Johnny notes that Seve's backswing was always the same -- it was the followthrough that he changed to create shots. Seve was a little wild at times because he was maneuvering the ball by changing the club face during his downswing, not because his backswing was inconsistent. If his backswing was constantly changing, he wouldn't have been able to keep the ball on the course!

Finally, both Johnny and Martin note how much Seve was using his hands and arms to create shots; his lower body moved in response to how he moved his hands and arms, not the other way around. This is how Bubba does it as well; he decides what he wants the club face to do and how his hands and arms should move to get that result. Then he focuses on swinging that way and he lets his subconscious mind take care of sequencing the rest of his body.

This is more of a "reactive" way to swing, the same way we play tennis or baseball or anything else -- we focus on the ball and what we want our hands to do with it, not on what our feet and legs are doing. This is the "natural" way to swing a golf club, and consequently it's the way we can best "feel" when we make a good swing.

All of this is more of a classic swing mindset than a modern swing mindset. It's based on motion and target, not on positions and angles. Although it sounds a bit strange at first, it's really easier once you stop thinking of a golf swing as being different from any other sort of swing. And if you'd like to become a bit more Seve-like in your game, this is the starting point.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Some Healthy Snack Ideas for the Course

Golf Digest has an article with recipes for 17 different healthy snacks you can carry out on the golf course. It includes, for example, the Sweet & Hot Roasted Chickpeas pictured below.

Doesn't that sound just scrumptious? Uhhhh...

roasted soybeans

Okay, I'll grant you that some of the stuff sounds a bit silly to me. I suppose some people really like things like edamame (green soybeans) although it doesn't sound particularly appetizing to me. (BTW, some people are allergic to soybeans. Just so you know.) And who isn't yearning for a handful of baked kale chips?

However, there are a few neat things in the article that you might want to explore:
  • For example, the Apple Pie Spice & Brown Sugar Wonton Chips might be pretty good -- sweet and crunchy.
  • The Cucumber Sandwich Rounds -- you use the cucumbers as the "bread" -- present some interesting ideas. (If you like cucumbers the way I do, you'll immediately see some tasty possibilities.)
  • The Ham & Turkey Deli Roll-ups seem a bit wimpy to me -- they don't use bread of any sort -- but if you added some flatbreads or tortillas to the mix... YUM!
  • And in addition to the standard recipes for granola and trail mixes, there's a recipe for making your own beef jerky. (Lots of room for experimentation there!)
But while the popcorn recipe at the end of the article has some neat ideas for flavorings, let me suggest you try this recipe from Alton Brown, who hosted the shows Good Eats and Iron Chef America for Food Network. It's called the Plain Brown Popper and it teaches you how to microwave regular popcorn in a plain brown paper lunch bag. (And yes, that is as cool as it sounds!)

Although I haven't tried the jalapeno seasoning in the recipe, I can tell you from personal experience that the basic technique works great and that popcorn popped in olive oil has a wonderful flavor and aroma. (And I'm pretty sure this is the only way you can use olive oil to pop popcorn and not burn the oil.)

Besides, let's face it... even if it's too cold this weekend to hit the course, you don't really need an excuse to fix extra snacks, do you?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The LPGA's Last-Minute Scramble

The LPGA holds their Tour Championship next week so this is the last week for players to qualify... and only 72 players will make it. That doesn't really help anybody though; the field is pretty much set since this week's event, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, hosts only 35 of the top players plus one amateur. Only Juli Inkster (with a 3rd) and Alejanda Llaneza (with a win or 2nd) can still make the field.

Gaby Lopez and Lorena

However, there are a few important spots up for grabs this week.

The Top9 in next week's event all have a mathematical chance of winning the new Race to the CME Globe. is a bit confused over how many players still have a chance of making that group -- this post says it's 13 while this post says it's 14. However, both posts agree that Azahara Munoz, Lexi Thompson, Cristie Kerr, and Suzann Pettersen are outside looking in.

The Top3 can take it all next week if they just win the Tour Championship. (Just like the Top5 at the PGA Tour's Tour Championship.) Stacy Lewis and Inbee Park are locks; Lydia Ko is currently in 3rd but Michelle Wie can take over that spot with a win this week and Lydia finishing 5th or worse.

In addition, two of the big awards have yet to be settled:
  • The Vare Trophy (for scoring) is down to a battle between Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park, and Michelle Wie.
  • The Rolex Player of the Year will go to either Stacy Lewis or Inbee Park. Inbee needs a Top5 finish in at least one of these two last tournaments in order to have a chance.
So although this is a relatively small tournament, the implications are huge. You can read Tony Jesselli's preview of the event here.  And the Lorena Ochoa Invitational is scheduled for broadcast on GC at 5pm ET each day Thursday thru Sunday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bent Elbow Power

Here's a recent video from by Golf Magazine Top100 Teacher John Tattersall  It's about how bending your lead elbow can give you more power. I know that sounds strange, but some of the power hitters like J.B. Holmes do it.

If you're curious, here's the video.

Tattersall says that this move will cost you some accuracy but give you more power by adding another lever to your swing. As long as you straighten your arm fully at impact, you'll transfer all of that extra power to the ball.

Here's a link to a post I did on J.B. Holmes's swing several years ago, documenting that bent elbow. And here's the photo of his swing sequence I used:

J.B. Holmes swing sequence showing bent elbow

I would like to add a thought to what Tattersall says -- namely, that you need to straighten that bent elbow BEFORE you uncock your wrists at impact. (You can see that in the Holmes sequence above.) If you don't, your swing will be out of sequence and you won't get that extra whack at the bottom. It works like a whip, a ripple effect that starts at your lead shoulder and works its way out to the club head.

Personally, I think this is a natural move if your muscles are fairly relaxed during your swing. If you don't do it naturally -- and especially if you really tighten your arm muscles during your swing -- I'm not so sure it's something you should try to add. As a general rule, I think you should try to swing so it takes as little conscious thought as possible; you just want to focus on where you want the ball to go.

But if you do this naturally, just realize that you don't have to get rid of your bent elbow if it's working for you. Isn't that nice to know?

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Limerick Summary: 2014 WGC-HSBC Champions

Winner: Bubba Watson

Around the wider world of golf: Since most of the men's tours co-sponsored the WGC this past week, there aren't many other tournaments to mention. S.S.P. Chowrasia won the Panasonic Open India on the Asian Tour; Rafael Becker won the Aberto do Brasil on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; and Mi Hyang Lee won the Mizuno Classic on the LPGA/JLPGA (the Constructivist has details). [UPDATE: AHHH! I can't believe I forgot to include Nick Taylor's win at the Sanderson Farms Championship, the alternate PGA Tour event. I even watched some of that!]

Bubba celebrates winning birdie

Bubba Golf is a little bit of everything. Assuming Bubba doesn't psych himself out before he begins the tournament, you can always expect a wild roller coaster ride around the course. And that's because for every mind-blowing shot Bubba hits, there will likely be an equally perplexing shot. For example, in round 2 at the WGC-China Bubba birdied the last 5 holes on his way in. In round 3 he birdied 4 of the 5, parring the other one.

On his way in during the final round, Bubba calmly shot birdie, par, bogey, double-bogey, and eagle to make a playoff when Tim Clark birdied the last. BTW, did I mention that he made that eagle by holing out from a bunker after taking 2 shots to get out of the bunker on 17 (the double-bogey)? Or that he birdied the playoff hole from the bunker?

Yep, a little bit of everything.

Bubba said this win meant a great deal to him because it's his first win outside the US. I agree that this is a big win for him, simply because I look for players to win around the world if they're going to be great players. This gives him a WGC, a Masters, and a win at Riviera this year, and will move him up to #3 in the OWGR. Not bad for a kid from Bagdad FL!

Needless to say, it's a pleasure to present Bubba with this brand-spanking-new Limerick Summary. After all, he'll have to wait till he gets back home to really celebrate...
After Bubba Golf reached the Far East,
He defeated the field from the beach.
But the party must wait
‘Til he’s back in the States,
As there’s no Waffle House within in reach.
The photo came from the tournament wrap-up page at

Sunday, November 9, 2014

You Gotta Love a "Foot Wedge"

I found this older post at from instructor Trent Wearner. It's called The Foot Wedge and it's an different approach to varying the height of pitches and chips.

Three setups for different height short shots

Most of us move the ball back in our stance when we want a lower shot, and move it forward when we want a higher shot. Wearner is leaving the ball in the same position but changing the width of his stance to make those adjustments. It has the same effect but may make it simpler for some of you.

Here are the three adjustments. All begin with the ball about an inch inside your lead heel.
  • For the low shot, move your trailing foot 8 inches from your lead foot and angle it toward the target so it matches your lead foot. You get more body turn so your hands lead the club head more.
  • For the medium shot, move your trailing foot 12 to 14 inches from your lead foot and set it perpendicular to your target line. Your body doesn't turn so much so your hands don't lead so much, throwing the ball a bit higher.
  • For the high shot, move your trailing foot 16 to 22 inches from your lead foot and angle it about 30 degrees away from the target. Now your body can't move much at all, so the club head tends to pass your hands more (and consequently uses the bounce more) to throw the ball even higher.
Some of you will find this is an easier way to do it, and some will prefer the traditional way of keeping your stance the same width and just changing the ball position. Try them both and use the one that gives you the best results.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Laura Davies Is Still in the Hunt

At age 51 Dame Laura Davies still has a pretty good game -- good enough to keep her in the mix at the Mizuno Classic in Japan. Unfortunately it's not being televised here in America (although I won't be surprised if GC decides to show highlights next Tuesday or Wednesday).

Laura Davies and caddie

At the time I'm writing this, Laura is just over halfway through her second round and she's tied for the lead with Ilhee Lee, plus she's leading some names more familiar to American LPGA fans like Jessica Korda, Chella Choi, and Morgan Pressel (who led after the first round).

After the first round she told
“I’m playing well. I’m looking forward to the last two days and if I putt well then I believe I have a chance to win. If I don’t putt well I have no chance because, like I said, years ago the players weren’t as strong but now they’re so good that you have to have every part of your game going to have a chance. If I can keep this going I have a chance.”
She also said:
“I still think I’m good enough. I still think I can win tournaments and while I still think I can win I’m still going to play. The only thing holding me back is putting and that’s what I believe and that’s why I keep going. The fact that I’m 51 is irrelevant really. If you can walk you can play golf which is nice.”
It's really hard not to like Laura Davies. She's always been a fun player to watch -- as Charley Hull once said, Laura just hits it, finds it, and hits it again. For those of you who don't remember, back when they played the J.C. Penney team event she used to team up with John Daly and the two would just blast away at the course. Needless to say, they were a favorite team with the fans!

At this point in her career, she only needs 2 more points to qualify for the LPGA's point-based Hall of Fame. (As you know, she'll be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame next year.) That's two regular events or one major; a win at Mizuno would get her halfway there.

She also needs a third-place finish to gain a spot in the LPGA's year-end CME Group Tour Championship. It looks like she's got a good chance; the conditions have been tough (lots of wind) but she's handled it well so far.

Maybe this will be a breakthrough week for Laura. She's continued to win around the world; I for one would love to see her win on the LPGA Tour again.

Friday, November 7, 2014

A New Technique for Flop Shots

This is really kind of cool. Brady Riggs, one of Golf Magazine's Top100 Teachers, posted a video showing a completely new approach to flop shots that is supposed to be easier and give you more consistent results.

Hey, I'm game. Here's the video:

And here are the basics of the new technique:
  • Instead of an open stance, set up with a closed stance.
  • Point the toe of your lead foot at the ball.
  • Turn your upper body so your sternum (breast bone) is ahead of the ball. Brady says this gives you more control over where the bottom of your swing is.
  • Swing slightly out-to-in, and "scoop" the ball a little at impact.
I've been trying to figure out exactly why this setup would improve contact... and I think I've got it.

With the old technique (open stance, ball forward, head back, etc.), you tend to battle your weight shift. Sometimes you push forward, sometimes you fall back, and you always have to come into the ball with a very shallow stroke.

But with the new setup of closed stance, toes of lead foot pointed at ball, and upper body turned ahead of the ball, you have effectively moved the ball back in your stance (eliminating the fat hit) but "locked" your body so your weight can't shift forward or backward (which helps you eliminate the thin hit). And since your shoulders are aimed open but there's no "forward hip" to block the swing, you can still make the necessary out-to-in swing to get the ball up quickly.

I'll have to try this flop shot. It actually looks like fun!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Some Thoughts on the Players in China

I've been watching the WGC-HSBC Champions, which is co-sponsored by the PGA, European, Asian, and Japan Tours (a very unusual situation on the men's tours), and have been looking to see which players are potential dominators over the next few months. [UPDATE: I forgot that the Australasian and Sunshine Tours are co-sponsors as well.] We've now seen several of them play in various conditions around the world, so I think it's a good time to assess their play so far.

a view of the Bund and Huangpu River in downtown Shanghai

The Sheshan International Course in Shanghai, China is very soft and should be very scoreable -- historically, it's one of the easier courses the guys play but it doesn't favor any specific player. Both long hitters and short knockers play well there, so I think it's a good course for this competition as well as a good indicator of where the players' games are.

Bear in mind that Graeme McDowell is leading at -6 after 16 holes, currently 2 shots ahead of Chris Kirk, and 3 shots ahead of Kevin Na, Rickie Fowler, Lee Westwood, and Bill Haas. (The leaderboard is shifting constantly, but these players have remained consistently in the mix throughout the round.) I'll come back to these players in a moment.

Some players are making their first appearance of the new season... and it shows. Adam Scott appears to be a bit rusty in his first event back, at just -1 after 16 holes. Likewise, this is only Henrik Stenson's second event since the Ryder Cup (he played the Volvo Match Play) and is only -1 after 9 holes. Patrick Reed and Sergio Garcia are both struggling a bit after some good play over the past few weeks; both may be a bit tired, and Sergio had a near miss at the CIMB Classic last week. (Ryan Moore, last week's winner, is also struggling so far.)

Billy Horschel is in his third event of the season and is still struggling, although I give him a pass since he became a dad and the FedExCup champ all in one week. I think I'd be tired too... but given his streaky nature, it doesn't bode well for him over the next months.

Now about our leaders...
  • McDowell has played well despite the recent birth of his child, so you've got to like his chances going into 2015. His putter is as hot as it's been in a few years.
  • Kirk is coming off a T4 at the McGladrey and seems determined to prove he should have been on the Ryder Cup team by continuing his good play from the FedExCup playoffs.
  • Both Fowler and Na have been playing very consistent for several months now. I won't be surprised if either wins this week because both are really due.
  • Haas is coming off a T22 at McGladrey, continuing some comparable play during the Playoffs.
  • And Westwood finished the first round at -2 (T3). This is his third PGA Tour event since the Ryder Cup, and he finished T12 and T13 in his first two.
When players are doing well on both sides of the world, I think they have a better chance of putting up scores. So I think McDowell, Kirk, Fowler, Na, and Westwood will bear watching for the next few months. (Haas has only one round outside the USA recently, so I think he still has something to prove.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Critter Almost Broke the Bank in Vegas

It was a winner-take-all competition at the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship last night. The temperature was in the mid-50s and the wind was swirling at the Wolf Course of the Las Vegas Paiute Resort. The winner would get $250k, the other 7 players would get zero. Nada. Zip.

The Vegas 8 were playing match play -- single elimination two-man matches -- and most people expected the winner to come from the Joe Miller / Jamie Sadlowski match since they held 3 titles between them. Miller took out Sadlowski by 2 yards... and 2 other matches were decided by a single yard.

Although I expected #1 seed Matt "The Hangman" Hanger to win, he was taken out by Jeff "The Critter" Crittenden in the first round. The Critter was a sentimental favorite for me -- not only because he was the oldest player in the field (43 years old) but because he's from Greensboro NC, a mere 30 minutes east of where I live.

And then, miracle of miracles, the Critter took out Miller in the semis... again, by one yard. He made it to the finals against Jeff Flagg, a first-timer who was formerly a Minor League Baseball player with the New York Mets.

Jeff Flagg

Art Sellinger, owner of the Long Drivers of America and a two-time past champion, helped GC's Ryan Burr and instructor Michael Breed anchor the event, and he said he'd never seen an event with so many close finishes.

In the end Flagg beat the Critter by a mere 13 inches with a drive of just under 366 yards into the wind. This was Crittenden's last run at the title and he'll will likely end up being the big story from this event, given that no one expected him to get out of the first round, let alone knock off Hanger and Miller.

But I don't think Flagg will mind. He'll be too busy spending all that pretty money. ;-)

This was the 20th year that RE/MAX sponsored the event. They had an option to renew for next year but have apparently decided not to. The new sponsor is still to be announced but you have to think this event has grown big enough to draw somebody's attention.

The photo came from this article.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ryan Moore's Sweet Little Fade

With Ryan Moore having picked up his fourth PGA Tour win this past week, perhaps this is a good time to look at how he manages to be so competitive -- even on a big hitter's course -- despite not being a big hitter himself.

Moore swing pics

The November Golf Digest has an article Moore did about his technique for hitting a fade. I like the way he starts the article:
I've been a professional golfer since 2005. I've got more than 220 PGA Tour starts, 45 top-10 finishes and three wins [correction: now it's four]. Want to know how many swing changes I've made during that time? Zero. I turned pro playing a fade, and I'm still playing one now.
He's right -- if what you've got works, why change? Just learn how to capitalize on it!

Ryan says it's more natural to hit a fade. (Since most of you struggle with a slice, you probably agree with him.) The article has his three tips for hitting a 'pro-style fade,' plus two other tips if you need them.

His keys?
  1. Align left at setup (of course, Ryan's a rightie),
  2. make a good turn with your shoulders (one-piece takeaway, anyone?), and
  3. keep your body turning ahead of the club head for as long as possible. (He expands on that in one of those two extra tips, recommending that you make sure your body keeps rotating all the way through to the finish -- enough that your body faces even farther left if possible.)
He also includes an explanation of why you should have the club face slightly closed at address in order to keep the curve to a minimum.

Of course, for those of you who really want to hit a draw, an understanding of how Ryan hits his fade could help you draw the ball by doing the opposite. (For example, Ryan says that -- in reference to the third key above -- swinging your arms past your body during your downswing encourages a draw.)

If you follow Ryan's tips, they might help you get control of that slice you already hit and turn it into a nice controllable little fade. And anytime you can use your natural tendencies to get good results, why not?

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Limerick Summary: 2014 CIMB Classic

Winner: Ryan Moore

Around the wider world of golf: Inbee Park won the Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship; Ryan Lynch won the WA Goldfields PGA Championship on the Australasian Tour; Tom Pernice Jr. won the Charles Schwab Cup Championship on the Champions Tour; Marcel Siem won the BMW Masters on the ET; Julian Etulain won the Lexus Peru Open on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; and Momoko Ueda won the Hisako Higuchi Morinaga Ladies on the JLPGA (the Constructivist has details).

Ryan Moore with trophy

There's an old proverb that says "the best defense is a strong offense." The idea is that if your enemy is busy defending himself against your attacks, it's going to be really hard for him to organize an attack of his own against you.

Did CIMB Classic defending champion Ryan Moore have this proverb in mind as he teed it up in Kuala Lumpur this past week? I don't know... but he certainly seemed to have it in mind by the final round. The Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club is generally considered a bomber's paradise but he just plodded his way around, posting birdies and letting his opponents struggle to keep pace.

Both Sergio Garcia and Kevin Na nipped at his heels -- even occasionally taking a small lead -- but, under Moore's steady play, found themselves needing to take risks that finally caught up with them. Despite amazing drives and approach shots (like Na's approach on the drivable par-4 14th), coupled with incredible up-and-downs (like Sergio's scramble on the same hole), Ryan Moore simply hit it close and sank the putts.

Even Gary Woodland, the bomber who came in second to Moore in 2013, could do no better than match Ryan's final round 67.

Yes, he came in second again.

Ryan becomes the first PGA Tour player to successfully defend a title in 2014. But Moore importantly (sorry, I couldn't resist) he also gets this week's Limerick Summary.
At the end of last year, Ryan came
To Kuala Lumpur with the aim
Of imposing his will
On that star-studded field…
And this year, they got Moore of the same.
The photo came from the tournament daily wrap-up page at

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Not-So-New Move for Powerful Strikes

This video is called A New Move for Powerful Strikes but the move really isn't new, as you'll see in the second video below.

The video is from Golf Magazine's Top100 Teachers Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer, perhaps better known as the Stack and Tilt guys. But before you skeptics pooh-pooh their advice in this video, I'd advise you to watch it and then read the rest of this post.

Their advice is very simple: Straighten your trailing knee on the backswing, then let it relax again on the downswing and straighten again to push through to the finish. While this is one of the key moves in the Stack and Tilt swing, it's not really such a 'new move.' The next video proves it.

Just take a look at this clip of Arnold Palmer, made back in his prime. All you need to watch is the first 20 seconds or so... I think you'll see the exact same leg action being made by the King.

Given that Arnie was such a power hitter, and given how solidly he hit the ball even when he wasn't going for power, you might want to experiment with this move and see if it works with your swing.

I believe it was Solomon who said, "There is nothing new under the sun." This 'new move' certainly fits into that category.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

How Bobby Jones Hit Longer Drives

Bobby Jones distinguished himself, not only as perhaps the greatest amateur to ever play the game, but also as one of golf's most famous teachers. Who hasn't seen some of his How I Play Golf or How to Break 90 films, made in the early 1930s by Warner Brothers? (Many of you may not know that Jones gave up his amateur status when making the films. Otherwise he wouldn't have gotten paid!)

Bobby Jones at finish of swing Jones wrote a tremendous amount of golf instruction for newspapers as well -- author Charles Price estimated that those articles were equal to five average-length novels -- and many of them have been collected and reprinted in book form.

I found this particular driving tip in a book by noted Jones biographer Sidney L. Matthew simply called Bobby Jones Golf Tips. (My copy includes the subtitle Secrets of the Master and was published by Kensington Books, in case you're interested.) This tip comes from pages 48-49, from an article called An Easy Solution to Extra Yards, and I'll just quote a couple of key paragraphs:
If one will take the trouble to observe, he will notice certain things which are characteristic of all true swingers of a golf club. First, that the posture of the body at address is fairly erect and that the location of the ball is near enough so that there is no need to stretch out for it; second, that the feet are not separated so widely that the movement of the hips is restricted and that they are not rooted into the ground. The whole picture will be one of apparent ease and comfort, entirely free from strain of any kind. And this is the beginning of a swing which will get distance and control.

… It is not a good idea to strive for the ultimate length off every tee, but it is a fine thing to be able to produce a few extra yards when they are needed. But this additional can never be had by stretching and slugging. On the contrary, it is obtained more easily by increasing the turn and use of the hips and shoulders.
When Jones wanted a little more distance off the tee -- and he was considered a fairly long driver in his time -- he focused on addressing the ball in a way that let him stay relaxed and flexible. He stood fairly tall with his feet a comfortable distance apart and the ball close enough that he didn't have to reach for it.

The idea was to make it as easy to turn back and through as possible. This allowed him to turn his hips and shoulders freely, thus making it easy to swing the club quickly without trying to "slug" the ball.

That's pretty clear, don't you think? It's a technique that's available to any golfer at any skill level, and you can practice it for free in your backyard (just stick a tee in the ground in place of a ball). I like that kind of tip!

The photo came from the Atlanta History Center website.