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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 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 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 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

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 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

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.

Monday, November 30, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 Andalucía Costa Del Sol Open De Espana

Winner: Emily Pedersen

Around the wider world of golf: Christiaan Bezuidenhout got his second ET win at the Alfred Dunhill Championship. And IC tells me that Erika Hara won the JLPGA Tour Championship Ricoh Cup.

Emily Pedersen with the Open de Espana and Race to Costa del Sol trophies

Since the US tours were off for the Thanksgiving holiday, I had no Twofer Tuesday picks this week. But I'll include my totals for the year so far since we'll have another PGA Tour event this week.

  • Top10s: 26 for 66 (10 Top5, 16 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 3 for 33 events
With no PGA Tour event this week, I felt the most deserving of the events that were played was the Open de Espana. Why? Because Emily Pedersen is tearing it up every time she tees it up!

In twelve starts this year she has five wins. And you want to know what's really cool? She has four of those wins in the last THREE weeks!

How did she do that? Because the Saudi Ladies Team event that she won a week ago also included an individual title... and Emily was the captain of the winning team as well.

I'll grant you that she's struggled a bit in LPGA events. But she does have a runner-up at the ASI Ladies Scottish Open and an 11th at the AIG Women's Open, and she got her first win of the season the very next week at the Tipsport Czech Ladies Open.

That means she actually got her five wins in only SEVEN events.

And now she's headed over here for the US Women's Open a week from now.

Wouldn't you consider a player with that record a serious contender for a major? I know I would!

So this week I present Emily Pedersen with her first-ever Limerick Summary. She's more than earned one, and she could very well get another one if she manages to win the US Women's Open.

Five wins in twelve weeks—what a run!
So has Pedersen only begun
To stake out her claim
To become the top name
In the major next week? Could be fun!

The photo came from this page at

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Rick Shiels Tests the Mizuno ES21 Wedges (Video)

Another Rick Shiels test, this time of some new Mizuno wedges. Rick says he has never cared for Mizuno wedges because they don't really stand out when compared to other wedges. But these wedges have given him something to think about, primarily because of their design. And since we often see manufacturers come out with variations of successful designs, I thought you might like to become familiar with these new wedges.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Don't Get an Unintentional Penalty! (Video)

This Golf Monthly video might save you some money on the course! Here are eight rules that golfers often break unintentionally, and they can cost you strokes or even get you DQed. It's well worth a watch.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Willett and Wallace on Spin Control (Video)

Over the last two weeks I've been so busy that some things have slipped by me. For example, I forgot about the new LPGA event last week (the Pelican Women's Championship), the ET event this week (the Alfred Dunhill Championship) and even forgot to do my typical Thanksgiving post yesterday. I'll try to do better through the Christmas holiday.

In honor of the ET event being played this week, today I've got a recent ET post featuring Danny Willett and Matt Wallace as they explain how they control spin with their wedges.

And in case you don't know the air times, GC's live coverage starts at 5:30am ET on Friday (today) and at 4:30am ET on Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

How to Chip It In (Video)

You're going to say, "Mike, this is the same old chipping techniques you've posted before!" But there's a big difference here.

You see, Rick Shiels has specifically chosen to chip from a spot where a good player would EXPECT to hole out. He's going to show you how to use those same old techniques SPECIFICALLY to try and hole out.

This video teaches you the strategy for holing chips. Don't underestimate the value of this video!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

How to Avoid Counterfeit Clubs (Video)

With Black Friday and Christmas ahead of us, you may find this video saves you a lot of grief. This 8-month old video from Golf Digest will help you avoid wasting your money on counterfeits this holiday season.

The really helpful info is in the last half of the video but you'll want to watch all the way through because there's a lot of necessary background info in the first half. Don't get cheated!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

A Finish Position Drill (Video)

LPGA instructor Aimee Cho has a simple drill to help you learn a good finish position.

While this seems simple, let me explain why it might help you.

See how her finish position looks exactly like her impact position, only it's a bit farther into the followthrough? When these two positions don't match, you can lose control of the direction the ball flies even if you were aimed properly at impact.

  • If you bend your wrists more after impact, you'll hook the ball unpredictably.
  • If you let your lead arm separate from your chest as you swing through impact, you'll tend to open the face and slice uncontrollably.

Practicing this drill might be just what you need to eliminate some of your unpredictable shots. And best of all, since you don't hit the ball, you can do it in your backyard without breaking windows.

Monday, November 23, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 RSM Classic

Winner: Robert Streb

Around the wider world of golf: Sei Young Kim won the inaugural Pelican Women's Championship on the LPGA; Emily Pedersen won both the individual and team titles at the inaugural Saudi Ladies Team International on the LET; Joachim Hansen won the Joberg Open on the ET; and David Pastore won the LOCALiQ Series Championship on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. In addition, IC tells me that Takumi Kanaya won the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament on the Japan Golf Tour; and Ayaka Furue won the Daio Paper Elleair Ladies Open on the JLPGA.

Robert Streb with RSM trophy

I was 1 for 2 once again with my Twofer Tuesday picks. I had Zach Johnson (T6) and Webb Simpson (T37). Webb had an off week but Zach showed he's still got it!

  • Top10s: 26 for 66 (10 Top5, 16 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 3 for 33 events
Robert Streb's game has been looking up lately but I can't think of any circumstance that would have made him stand out to me as a pick this past week. But the great thing about golf is that past performance is no guaranteed indicator of future performance.

It took him six years to get his second win, and he got it at the same tournament, in another playoff, by winning on the second playoff hole.

I'm sensing a pattern here...

For those of you interested in such things, Streb has followed his own drumbeat. He doesn't use a glove but he does use a 10-finger grip. And while I suppose you could argue that his record might be better if he did things like everybody else, I'd counter that there are hundreds of others who do things the 'orthodox' way but don't have any wins at all.

Now Streb has two. And he gets a nice shiny Limerick Summary to boot. You go, Robert! Do it your way!

Since Robert’s outlasted the worst,
His fortunes have finally reversed.
Though six years apart
Robert’s two wins may start
The career he expected at first.

The photo came from this page at

Sunday, November 22, 2020

One Approach to Hand Position (Video)

I get all kinds of questions about specifics in the setup or the swing itself. One of those questions is about where your hands should be at setup. In this video LPGA instructor Maria Palozola shows you one way of approaching this problem.

I say 'one approach' because there are so many different ways to set up at address, what works for one player may not work for another. But this idea -- that your hands will always be hanging just inside your lead thigh, no matter which club you use -- is a very simple mechanic that just might be what you're looking for.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Check Out This Putter's Aim Lines (Video)

Another Rick Shiels equipment test video -- this time, a L.A.B. Directed Force 2.1 T putter. He says Adam Scott has used it. I know he has used it in the past and he may include it in his putting practice, but I believe he currently carries a Scottie Cameron Xperimental Rev X11.

What fascinates me about this putter is the alignment system, with a line on the grip that aligns with one along the top of the face when you're holding it 'straight'. This is something that could improve the aim on any putter, so I'm wondering if we might see other manufacturers offer some version of it.

Just for the record, remember that a toe-weighted putter works better for some players than a face-balanced putter -- and it isn't necessarily a matter of whether you swing on an arc or a straight line. So even if L.A.B. has found a way to make a putter that isn't weighted to any specific orientation, that doesn't mean it will automatically work well for everybody.

Don't feel left out if you can't see your way clear to pay several hundred dollars for any putter.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Does Paint Affect a Golf Ball's Flight? (Video)

This is such an interesting theory that I had to post this video.

Rick Shiels frequently tests clubs and balls... but this is an unusual ball. Wilson claims their Staff Model R flies straighter than other balls because it isn't painted. Is that really true? Does paint make that much of a difference?

I'll be honest here. I had no idea that golf balls were painted -- I thought the finish on a golf ball just depended on the composition of the cover material. So this was an education for me.

But Rick's conclusions didn't particularly surprise me, except that the ball felt harder coming off the clubface. (I would have guessed wrong on that one.) See how well you can guess the outcomes of his tests.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Webb Simpson Talks Driving at the RSM Classic (Videos)

This short clip from was posted yesterday, with Webb talking about how his driving has improved and how that should help him this week at the RSM Classic.

I realize that many of you will wonder what's so great about this video, but the point here is that improving your play from the tee isn't all that difficult to understand. Compare that video with the next one, where Webb gave his advice to firsttimers at the RBC Heritage earlier this year.

Make landing your ball in the fairway instead of the rough more important than hitting it far. (It's okay to work on hitting it a little farther, of course. Just not at the expense of hitting it in the fairway.) Try to land your ball in the fat part of the fairway, and lay back a little if you need to in order to get there. Figure out where the ball needs to be in order to set up your next shot... and do what's necessary to hit it there.

In other words, Webb says you can drive it better if you just use a little common sense and accept your limitations. You can work to improve your game on the range but, when you get out there on the course, use the skills you know you can pull off.

A lot of improving your score is just learning when to back off and admit you can't do as much as you'd like right now.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Talking About Spin Control (Video)

I just wanted to post this short video from Rex Hoggard because of some numbers he gave.

Why I find this fascinating -- that Rory gets so much more spin on the greens than DJ (13000 rpm VS 10000 rpm) but it didn't really help him at Augusta -- is because Rory is usually considered a 'soft course' favorite but it actually worked against him last week.

And when the greens started drying out over the weekend I would have thought more spin would have given Rory a real advantage over DJ, who is on record as saying that he doesn't even try to get all the length he's capable of. In other words, DJ gets less spin because he doesn't create as much clubhead speed -- and he does that on purpose.

I think the lesson here is that distance control is more important than spin. You'll get a decent amount of spin if you hit the ball in the center of the clubface, but all the spin in the world won't help you if you hit the ball into the wrong spots on the green. Just look at the difference between Rory's and DJ's approaches to 15 on Sunday and you'll see what I mean.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: RSM Classic

Twofer Tuesday celebrates DJ's victory with a relaxing trip down to the RSM Classic.

Defending champion Tyler Duncan

This may feel a bit unusual for most of this week's participants -- going to the RSM Classic rather than the RBC Heritage. But both events have reputations as relaxing but challenging events and, having been hit by the double whammy of major fatigue and a lingering pandemic, the field will certainly be looking forward to this event.

The RSM will have a full 156-player field but daylight won't be as big a challenge because this event uses two courses before the cut. Defending champion Tyler Duncan will have his hands full though, as no winner has ever made a successful defense.

A number of players are resting from last week's Masters so there could be a better chance for a surprise winner this week. But I'm going with some horses for these courses.

  • Last year's runner-up was Webb Simpson, and we all know how well he's been playing this year. He's coming off a T10 at the Masters and he lost in a playoff here last year. No one's a lock in an event after a major but I like my chances with Webb.
  • My other pick is Zach Johnson. If I recall correctly, this is his stomping ground. And he had Top10s in 2017 and 2018. While Zach certainly isn't a sure thing these days, his familiarity with these courses won't hurt.

GC's coverage starts Thursday at 1pm ET. The field will be chilling out this week, but we should still see some good golf.

Monday, November 16, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 Masters

Winner: Dustin Johnson

Around the wider world of golf: Emily Kristine Pedersen won the inaugural Aramco Saudi Ladies International on the LET. Also, Ayaka Furue won the Ito En Ladies Golf Tournament on the JLPGA; Hye-jin Choi won the ADT Caps Championship on the KLPGA; and Jinichiro Kozuma won the Mitsui Sumitomo Visa Taiheiyo Masters on the Japan Golf Tour. (Thanks, IC!)

Dustin Johnson with the Masters trophy and Green Jacket

I was 1 for 2 with my Twofer Tuesday picks again, but this time it was feast or famine. I had Jason Day (MC) and Dustin Johnson (1). Jason continued to be snakebitten at Augusta but DJ gave me the best Top10 possible.

  • Top10s: 25 for 64 (10 Top5, 15 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 3 for 32 events
Let's be honest here. I expected DJ to do well, simply because he's been in good form this year and the forced layoff due to the quarantine didn't seem to hurt him much last week. He already had three wins and three runner-ups in 2020 coming into this week. But even I was shocked at how good he played at Augusta.

He became the first Masters player to post two 65s in the same week. He set a new Masters scoring record at -20. He won by five strokes, which only a handful of winners have done. He had only four bogeys all week. His final round 68 tied Tiger for the lowest by a 54-hole leader/winner. He brought his total number of wins to 24.

And he broke down crying while talking to Amanda Balionis after he put on the Green Jacket. That in and of itself made history.

I kept hearing the announcers talk about how DJ had failed to close out 54-hole leads in majors. But things change... and DJ has shaken the golf world by doing what they were afraid he would never do. With four wins this year, including a Masters and a FedExCup, he has rewritten the script going forward.

Am I saying DJ will continue to win at this pace? Of course not. Regardless of how good you are, streaks are a real thing. A refusal to accept that comes with a heavy price. Tiger played more consistently than anyone else over his career but it has cost him dearly in longevity. I don't see DJ making that mistake, and that means he'll have some bare spots... eventually.

But not right now.

Whatever happens going forward, the Johnson clan will have a great holiday season, despite the pandemic. So let's just add his newest Limerick Summary to the bling and say congratulations.

Some folks spoke his name with a smirk;
Didn’t matter how much DJ worked.
Some folks said he’s done;
Now with two majors won
Seems the whole world’s been put on alert.

The photo came from this page at

Sunday, November 15, 2020

A Masters Reminder

Just a reminder that Masters coverage begins early today because the days are much shorter in November than they are in April.

10am-3pm ET on CBS

A November Masters means an early afternoon finish. DON'T FORGET!

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Rick Shiels Tests the Wilson Staff Model CB Irons (Video)

I've posted a number of Rick Shiels videos lately because he tests a lot of equipment and I like the way he does the tests. This test (just a couple of days old) is for the Wilson Staff Model CB irons. He's even got the lofts of the individual irons in this video!

The reason for posting this is Rick's reason for testing them: He says these irons are underrated. And if these are good quality irons that you can buy for less without giving up anything, you should be made aware of them. Clubs are too expensive to overlook a good deal!

Friday, November 13, 2020

Rick Shiels VS the 48-Inch Driver (Video)

If you're curious whether a 48-inch driver could really help your game, Rick Shiels has the answer. He decided to get his DeChambeau on and had a 48-inch shaft custom fitted to his regular driver and compared the results.

I really like this video because Rick took the time to get and show the comparison measurements between the two, including a computer diagram showing his actual contact pattern with his normal driver setup so you can see how consistent his contact is with his standard length driver. You also get comparisons of swing speed, clubhead speed and carry distance.

All-in-all, this is a very informative video. It should tell you all you need to know.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Breaking 90, 165 Yards at a Time (Video)

This guy named Pat was 78 years old when he made this video. He doesn't have a pretty swing but he teaches you how to break 90 without ever hitting a shot longer than 165 yards. It's all about strategy.

For those of you who are struggling to break 90, Pat's strategy can help you do it. He says (later in the video) that if you're a better player, you won't use this strategy all the time. But this can help you get over the hump.

And if you're a better player but there's a hole or two (or three, or...) where you struggle to make no worse than bogey, this video can help you as well. Here's to lower scores!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Nick Clearwater on Fitting Irons (Video)

This GOLFTEC video has an interesting approach to fitting the lie of your irons... and it doesn't use a lie board.

This variation on the technique of using tape or spray to show where you contact the ball on the clubface is interesting. Instead of spraying or taping something on the face, you put a mark on the golf ball, position the ball so the line is vertical, and then hit the ball so it leaves a line on the clubface.

If the line is vertical, the lie is correct.

Definitely worth a try if you need to adjust the lie of your current irons or buy new ones.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: The Masters

A confused Twofer Tuesday searches hopelessly for azaleas at Augusta National as we prepare for the Masters.

Tiger in the Green Jacket

I don't really need to give you any basics about this tournament, do I? Of course not. All you really need to know is that Tiger will be defending in November rather than April, which means slightly more Bermuda on the course with a surprisingly warm (80°s F) and probably wet week.

The general thinking is that the wet weather may open up the possibilities for the shorter players, as Zach Johnson and Mike Weir (among others) have demonstrated in past rain-plagued Masters. I think that could bode well for Collin Morikawa.

I'm sure the big money will be on Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, who should probably be my picks this week. I also doubt that you would go wrong if you picked Tyrrell Hatton, Jon Rahm or Patrick Cantlay, who have all been playing well leading into this major.

And I don't think anybody will ever rule Tiger Woods out again.

But I'm a contrarian after all and have decided to pick a couple of players who, you could argue, have been snakebitten by Augusta in the past. I happen to think they may be in their best form to win the Masters that they've ever been in.

  • My first pick is Jason Day. Jason has four Top10s at Augusta -- T2 in 2011, 3 in 2013, T10 in 2016 and T5 last year in 2019. The back is always a question when Jason tees it up, but he's been playing well with four Top7s during the summer and, after a few weeks of struggle, another T7 at Houston. Players like Jason 'get up' for the Masters and I think he just needs one healthy week to make yet another run at the Green Jacket.
  • My other pick is Dustin Johnson. He too has four Top10s at Augusta -- T6 in 2015, T4 in 2016, T10 in 2018 and T2 just last year. And I don't need to tell you how well he played during the summer, or that he came back from his COVID break with a T2 last week. This could be the year he shows us what he might have done in 2017 if he hadn't fallen down steps at the start of Masters Week and had to withdraw.

The Masters (as usual) divides its coverage between ESPN and CBS. Don't forget, the hours look a bit weird this year because the days are much shorter in November.

  • Thursday: 1pm-5:30pm ET on ESPN
  • Friday: 1pm-5:30pm ET on ESPN
  • Saturday: 1pm-5pm ET on CBS
  • Sunday: 10am-3pm ET on CBS

We'll see fall foliage rather than azaleas this year, and small groups of 'significant others' rather than patrons lining the fairways. But the Masters is the Masters, so how can it possibly disappoint us?

Monday, November 9, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 Vivint Houston Open

Winner: Carlos Ortiz

Around the wider world of golf: Minjee Lee won the LET's OMEGA Dubai Moonlight Classic; Robert MacIntire won the ET's Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown; Frida Kinhult won the Symetra Tour Championship; and Ruan Korb won the Sunshine Tour's Times Square Challenge. IC tells me that Jiyai Shin won the JLPGA's Toto Japan Classic (the pandemic kept it from being the normal LPGA event); Seung Soo Han won the KPGA's LG Signature Players Championship; and Na Rin An won the KLPGA's Hana Financial Group Championship. And the playoff between Kevin Sutherland and Paul Broadhurst (6 holes already) at the Champions Tour's Charles Schwab Cup Championship will continue Monday morning at 10am ET on GC. [UPDATE: Sutherland won it in 9 total playoff holes.]

Carlos Ortiz with Houston Open trophy

I was 1 for 2 with my Twofer Tuesday picks. I had Doc Redman (T61) and Tyrrell Hatton (T7). Tyrrell played a great final round to get me a Top10.

  • Top10s: 24 for 62 (9 Top5, 15 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 2 for 31 events
I was actually shocked at how many of the top players got into contention over the weekend, given that none of them had seen this venue before. Memorial Park Golf Course hasn't been used at the Houston Open since 1963, and the course makeover meant the greens would be a bit unpredictable as well.

Despite helping with the redo, I didn't expect Brooks Koepka to have as strong a showing as he did. Nor did I expect Dustin Johnson (coming back from his COVID layoff), Jason Day (bothered by back problems since the restart), Hideki Matsuyama (who has just been struggling, period), nor the other great names who seem to have found some form the week before Augusta.

Under no circumstances would I have expected Carlos Ortiz to outlast them all. With nothing better than a T25 since the restart, and chased down the back nine by DJ and Hideki, I wouldn't have expected him to handle the pressure. While he has three Korn Ferry Tour wins, they were all back in 2014. It's just not something you expect when a player is still seeking his first PGA Tour win.

But boy, did Carlos prove me wrong! Not only did he stand up under the pressure, but he played aggressive shots and pulled them off, time after time. And when he sank that eagle putt on 18 to win by two over DJ and Hideki, I'm sure they were as shocked as I was. It's just not what you expect from a first time winner.

Now Carlos gets a trip to Augusta -- he was there last year to watch his brother play, but this time he'll be the player -- as well as his nearly three-year card and all the bling that goes with a win. And of course, he gets a Limerick Summary as well. Congrats on your first one, Carlos!

When Carlos holed out at the last,
Hideki and DJ got passed
As he beat them by two.
So what else could they do
But applaud as they stood there, aghast?

The photo came from the tournament page at

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Rick Shiels Tests the Top Flite Gamer (Video)

I, like many people, have used a lot of two-piece golf balls in my time. Back when Greg Norman played Spalding's Tour Editions, I tried them and liked them. Back when Nike made golf balls, they had a two-piece -- I think it was called the Power Distance Soft -- that played pretty well for me.

But I bet a lot of you remember (as I do) the original two-piece Top Flite distance balls. They were, as Rick mentions in this video, hard as rocks but they definitely gave you distance and they were easy on the wallet. That's important when you need several during a round.

In the last couple of days Rick posted this test of the new Top Flite Gamer, a three-piece Top Flite... and he likes them!

I'm posting this for a simple reason: Not all of us need super techno transdimensional golf balls with 17 layers that require a second mortgage in order to purchase them. If you have trouble keeping enough balls in your bag, maybe Rick's tests will give you another option!

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Equipment Hacks for Winter (Video)

Golf Monthly posted this video just a week or so back, showing some ways to make your equipment better suited to wet soft winter conditions. There are seven 'points' but there is more than a single suggestion with many of them.

I would add is that you can sometimes use these tips in more ways than the video mentions. For example, the first tip about adding loft to your driver to get more carry over soft ground doesn't necessarily mean you need an adjustable driver. A standard 3-wood's shaft is only 1" shorter than a standard driver's, so the added loft of the 3-wood might easily give you more distance.

My own tests have found that to be true under many conditions so you might want to try that if you have a low ball flight.

And many of the hacks just eliminate some of the frustration that comes from playing in winter weather, like switching from leather to synthetic gloves.

This video will teach you some new ways to think about your equipment. If you find only one useful tip in this video, the improvement to your winter golf just may be worth the time.

Friday, November 6, 2020

The KLPGA Hana Financial Group Championship Simulcasts

IceCat tries to keep me up on the Asian events, often sending me the winners of various events so I can post them in the Limerick Summary each Monday.

Round 2 simulcast image

On Thursday he sent me the following message with a link to the full stream of the 3-hour simulcast of Round 1 of this week's KLPGA event. Here's the note with the link:

SBS Golf in Korea is bringing back its English simulcast of KLPGA golf for this week's Hana Financial Group Championship at Sky72 in Incheon. The first round coverage is archived in this link:

He also said, "Look on SBS Golf's YouTube channel at around 12 midnight EST Friday through Sunday for the live link."

So, for those of you interested in catching Round 2 of the Hana Financial Group Championship tonight, here's a link to the SBS Golf YouTube channel. The Round 2 live link is already up -- you can set the reminder to notify you when it starts.

And thanks again, IC. I really appreciate your help keeping up with these events.

Thursday, November 5, 2020


I'm still not sure how the LET's OMEGA Dubai Moonlight Classic slipped up on me. It's not like it's a new tournament or anything -- in fact, I've watched it in the past.

Defending champion Nuria Iturrioz

After a little thought, I've decided I missed it because, after being played in December every year since 2007 (the first edition in 2006 was played in October), the event wasn't played in 2018 and was played in May last year, when the 'moonlight' aspect debuted.

It doesn't help that GC doesn't mention it at all in the list of events on their homepage. I found it quite by accident on Wednesday morning when the 'moonlight' part of Round 1 was being televised.

Yes, the 54-hole event is a bit different from most events because half of each round is played in the dark. This year it runs from November 4-6, it's played at the Faldo Course at The Emirates Golf Club, and the 56-player field is split into a day/night shotgun start with half of the field playing under floodlights. It's way cool!

(Just to be thorough, one of the Gulf news sites I checked only mentioned the first 36 holes being played under the lights but the official site seems to indicate it's all three. That makes more sense to me.)

Caroline Hedwall leads at -7 after the first round.

The trick is that, here in the US, GC is only showing the moonlight part of the event, with Round 2 starting at 10am ET this morning. It's possible to stream some of both the day and night parts at this link, depending on where you live, so be sure to check.

I don't understand why GC has failed to list this event on their website or post a leaderboard -- although Golf Central did do this short piece about Round 1 -- but it's a sad oversight on their part. This is, as I said, a really cool tournament.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

The Second Cyprus Event

The European Tour is once again using a 'trick' that has stood the various tours in good stead this year. They're holding two tournaments in a row at the same venue.

But this week's Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Shootout is a different animal from last week's Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Open.

Aphrodite Hills Golf Course in Cyprus

While last week we saw a 'normal' event, this week we get a different format.

  • We start with 105 players who will play 36 holes of stroke play.
  • At that point a cut of 32 players plus ties will be made and all scores reset.
  • The third round is a shootout between these players, with the Top16 players plus ties making the final round and all scores being reset again.
  • Then the final round is one last shootout, from which the winner will be determined.

It sounds like a fun way to mix things up so it's not just two tournaments at the same course. The only problem is that we won't have any TV coverage here in the States. (I don't know about overseas.)

So here are links to the GC leaderboard and the ET leaderboard. At least we can keep up with the scores, even if we can't see the actual play.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: Vivint Houston Open

Twofer Tuesday saddles up and moseys on down to Texas for the Vivint Houston Open.

Defending champion Lanto Griffin

Vivint is a new sponsor for the Houston Open, but the event itself has been around for quite a while. In fact, up until 2019 it always took place the week before the Masters and many players used it as a warm-up for the major. You may even be aware that the greens crew worked to make the Houston Open as much like Augusta as possible for that very reason.

But 2020 has been a year of changes and the Houston Open is no different. Although this change was planned before the pandemic, the fact remains that this year sees a change in venue to one that has been used in the past but not for a long time -- since 1963, in fact.

Memorial Park Golf Course is the new old venue, so it remains to be seen if players will get the same sort of prep for the Masters next week. Lanto Griffin will defend on an entirely different course.

But my concern is picking a couple of Top10 finishers. Here are my picks:

  • Doc Redman hasn't done particularly well by me when I've picked him lately. But in his last six starts -- extending back to the Wyndham -- he has two T3s, a T4, a T28 and two MCs. While that's definitely a hit-and-miss scenario, it also means he's been putting up a Top5 50% of the time over the last few months. I'm ready to take those odds!
  • And Tyrrell Hatton has been on a similar run himself. While he doesn't have a 50% Top5 rate, he has played some outstanding golf with a win and a T3 in the last few weeks. I actually considered taking him the week he made the T3 but didn't because of the travel following his victory at Wentworth. When I took him at the ZOZO the next week, he posted a T28. I think I'll give him another try.

GC's live coverage starts Thursday at 1pm ET. The big question mark this week concerns the decision to allow fans back on the course -- roughly 2000 a day, with masks and social distancing enforced. It might add a little of that missing 'juice' to the players' games... or it might break the bubble. We'll have to see how it plays out.

Monday, November 2, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 Bermuda Championship

Winner: Brian Gay

Around the wider world of golf: Darren Clarke finally got his first Champions Tour win at the TimberTech Championship; Callum Shinkwin got his first ET win at the Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Open; Ana Balac got her first Symetra Tour win at the Carolina Golf Classic; and Daniel van Tonder got his fourth Sunshine Tour victory in his last six starts at the Investec Royal Swazi Open. Plus, IC tells me Hana Jang won the KLPGA's SK Networks Seokyung Ladies Classic while Yuna Nishimura won the JLPGA's Hisako Higuchi Mitsubishi Electric Ladies Golf Tournament. (Thanks again, IC!)

Brian Gay with Bermuda Championship trophy

My Twofer Tuesday picks struggled in Bermuda. I had Will Zalatoris (T16) and Rasmus Hojgaard (T37). Rasmus just had an off week but Will was specifically derailed by the winds with a 72 on Friday. Had he just matched his average for the other three rounds (68) he would have given me a Top5. At least he got his Special Member Status.

  • Top10s: 23 for 60 (9 Top5, 14 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 2 for 30 events

As it turned out, Brian Gay was the man on the move Sunday. Wyndham Clark jumped out to an early lead, shooting -5 on the front nine, only to stall out with a mere -1 coming home. Brian shot -3 on the front nine and blistered the back nine with another -4.

That extra birdie came on the final hole of regulation -- from the rough, no less -- while Clark could only manage a par. And on the first playoff hole Brian repeated the feat (this time from the fairway) to become the oldest PGA Tour winner since Davis Love back in 2015.

Brian Gay is known as a short hitter with a hot putter, but his iron play is really underrated. Good putts don't help you a whole lot if you don't get your approach shots close enough to capitalize on your putting! Brian did just that on Sunday, with that amazing approach from the rough on the 72nd hole and another makeable attempt in the playoff.

Gay's career is pretty amazing when you think about it. He came on Tour in 1999, after the Tiger rampage had already begun, yet he has managed to win five times in three different decades... and has never lost his card during that time. And this win comes just a month before his 49th birthday, so he'll be playing until he qualifies for the Champions Tour, should he decide to focus there.

In the meantime, Brian, you go celebrate your most recent win... and your most recent Limerick Summary.

It had been seven years since he won
But Brian is still far from done!
Though his drives aren’t that long,
All his irons are still strong
So this win shouldn’t shock anyone.

The photo came from the tournament page at

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Understanding the World Handicap System (Video)

Golf Monthly just did this video explaining how the new World Handicap System works. If you use a handicap, spend some time with this one!

I'm oversimplifying things a bit, but basically the new system replaces your handicap -- a single number that represents how many strokes you get -- with a handicap index, which is a number used to calculate your handicap for a particular course based on several course details that can vary from day-to-day. Those details include things like the tees you play from, the weather conditions, and even if you have an unusually good or bad round.

This video does a good job of explaining a fairly complex subject. By all means, at least get familiar with the terms used in the new system.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Rick Shiels Tests 2-Irons (Video)

I know this video won't help all of you. Many, if not most, weekend players have no need for a 2-iron -- or in many cases, even a 3-iron. A good hybrid is a better choice for most players.

But if you are one of those players who can get good use from a 2-iron, then this video is for you. Rick will give you an idea of how to test a 2-iron and how to know when it's right for you.

Friday, October 30, 2020

More About the Topgolf/Callaway Merger

Today I'm linking you to Rex Hoggard's interview with Callaway Golf president and chief executive Chip Brewer and Topgolf CEO Dolf Berle. Now that the two are planning a formal business merger, it doesn't hurt to learn what they have planned.

View from a Topgolf driving bay

Callaway had bought into Topgolf back in 2006 and now owns around 14% of their stock. When this merger is complete, they'll own 51.5%.

I think it's worth knowing about this merger because the pandemic is going to affect all kinds of businesses and, while this merger was already in the works before COVID reared its ugly head, the changing economic environment will dramatically change profitability going forward. In this case, it sounds like Callaway is going to have a way to profit from the playing habits of casual players in a way the other equipment companies won't.

We are entering an economic situation where the price of playing a traditional golf course is going to be out of reach for more people than in the past... and price had already proven to be a deterrent to many potential players. Alternate ways to play, like Topgolf, are likely to become a bigger part of the landscape.

I'll be very interested to see what kind of impact this has on the other equipment manufacturers over the next few years. It's clear from this interview that Callaway and Topgolf are trying to get ahead of the curve.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Congrats to the East Lake Cup Victors!

The team match play at the East Lake Cup definitely showed who the best teams so far this year are.

Winning men's team Pepperdine and women's Ole Miss

In the men's portion, the Pepperdine Waves beat the Oklahoma Sooners with a solid 4-1 performance. The fact that they won without their top player William Mouw winning either of his matches just demonstrates how dominant they were.

As for the women, the Ole Miss Rebels beat the South Carolina Gamecocks 3-2. Ole Miss (that's the University of Mississippi, for those of you unfamiliar with their nickname) has been rebuilding their women's golf program and it looks like they're succeeding.

With all the disruptions the pandemic has caused to NCAA golf this year, this win will definitely help them both in the college rankings going forward. Congrats to the champs!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The New Old Champions Tour Event

You can be forgiven if you're a bit confused about this week's Champions Tour event. Let me set you straight about the TimberTech Championship.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer

This event was originally played in early February, and you're probably most familiar with its original name, the Allianz Championship. In 2018 it was the Boca Raton Championship and it was still played in early February.

Last year, when Bernhard Langer won it, it was the Oasis Championship. And yes, it was played in early February.

All of those events were played on the Old Course at Broken Sound, in Boca Raton FL. And it will continue to be played there this year.

However, when the AZEK Company, which owns the TimberTech brand, came on board as sponsor in early 2020, it was decided that this event would be one of the three playoff events in the Charles Schwab Cup. The pandemic -- notorious for altering plans this year -- didn't change that decision but it did result in the event not getting an official announcement until September.

As a result, the TimberTech Championship will now officially be the second of the final three events of the Champions Tour season going forward. And this week is the first playing of the event at its new place in the schedule.

To the best of my knowledge, Phil Mickelson isn't playing this week despite being #8 on the points list. But the rest of the 2020 rookie class will probably tee it up since this is the penultimate event.

GC's coverage starts Friday at 3pm ET. (This is still only a 54-hole event.) It looks as if it will be in the 80s with possible thunderstorms all three days, so the course may play quite a bit differently than it did in February. I can't help but wonder if that will change the fortunes of the favorites this year.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: Bermuda Championship

Twofer Tuesday makes like Captain Jack Sparrow and sails away for a Caribbean vacation at the Bermuda Championship.

Defending champion Brendon Todd

Maybe it's not the pirate utopia of the 17th century, but the Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton, Bermuda offers quite the haul for braver members of the PGA Tour. Once host to the Grand Slam of Golf, victory at this event now carries a bounty worth 500 FedExCup points and -- for swashbucklers like defending champion Brendon Todd -- the chance to get your PGA Tour off the ground or back into winning ways.

And for some players it may indeed require a little bravery. The Bermuda Championship will be the first event since the restart to allow spectators, although the number is limited to 500 a day.

So arr, mateys! Let's be making some picks and see if the winds favor the brave.

  • Will Zalatoris is back in a PGA Tour field with the chance to get Special Temporary Membership. Check this: All he needs are THREE FEDEXCUP POINTS, which is no more than a two-way tie for 69th to qualify! He's finished in the Top10 in three of his last four Tour appearances, so I'm hoping he'll sail into another this week.
  • Any pirate worth his salt needs to take a few risks now and then... and mine is Rasmus Hojgaard. This European Tour player got his ET card just last year, but he's already got two wins over there and is #10 in the Race to Dubai. This is a great opportunity to pick up his first PGA Tour win.

GC's live coverage begins Thursday at noon. With Halloween just ahead and the mainland starting to chill down a bit, a little bit of the Caribbean may be just what the rest of us need to quell our shivering timbers. (Okay, that didn't sound quite right but I'm running with it.)

Monday, October 26, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 ZOZO Championship

Winner: Patrick Cantlay

Around the wider world of golf: Ally McDonald got her first LPGA title at the LPGA Drive On Championship - Reynolds Lake Oconee; Ross McGowan returned to the winner's circle after an 11-year absence at the ET's Italian Open; Merrick Bremner won the Sun Wild Coast Sun Challenge on the Sunshine Tour; and Aaron Pike won the NT PGA Championship on the Australasian Tour. Plus IC sent me these results from the Asian tours: Won Joo Lee won the KPGA's Bizplay Open; and Somi Lee got her first KLPGA title at the Huencare Ladies Open.

Patrick Cantlay with the ZOZO trophy

The West Coast just isn't being kind to my Twofer Tuesday picks. I had Tyrrell Hatton (T28) and Patrick Reed (T14). After Friday's round I was looking at two Top5s. Ironically, I had Patrick Cantlay last week, when he finished T38. *sigh*

  • Top10s: 23 for 58 (9 Top5, 14 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 2 for 29 events
Yes, Patrick Cantlay came back from last week with a monster showing in Cali to get his third PGA Tour victory. Only Kevin Streelman had a better final round (64) and only Xander Schauffele matched him (65)... but neither of those players even made the Top15.

All the attention was on World #2 Jon Rahm and World #3 Justin Thomas as they began the day at the top of the leaderboard in second and first place, respectively. But while both shot decent front nines (-4 and -3), neither could do better than even par on the back nine. In fact, they seemed determined to find the worst places on the course down the stretch!

But Patrick not only matched them with a -4 on the front nine, he posted an equally impressive -3 down the stretch. By the time his opponents had reached the 18th, JT had been eliminated and Rahmbo needed a birdie to force a playoff.

Needless to say, a playoff was unneeded.

Perhaps this victory was overdue. (In my opinion, by at least a week...) But this win should set Patrick up for a good run at the Masters in a few weeks.

And of course, it gets him yet another Limerick Summary.

While Two and Three valiantly fought—
A struggle that soon came to naught—
Pat Cantlay slipped past them
To calmly outlast them;
He simply refused to be caught!

The photo came from the tournament page at

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Justin Thomas Critiques His Own Swing (Video)

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 24, 2020

The Bunker Rules (Video)

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

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

Friday, October 23, 2020

Improve Your Game Without Changing Your Technique (Video)

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

The three tips are:

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

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