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Sunday, January 31, 2021

Paige Takes On the Hard Shots (Video)

Last week when I found Paige Spiranac's video on wedge play, I also found this video on how to play a variety of trouble shots -- everything from fried eggs and super thick rough to uneven lies, as well as some of the mental approach needed to play them well. I suspect you'll find a number of useful tips in this one, folks.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

The TaylorMade Short Game Session, November 2020 (Video)

It's simple enough. Tiger, Rory and Jason Day are just hanging out at the practice green, trading short game advice, and the TaylorMade guys caught it all on film. It was posted in November so I'm guessing that's when it was shot. It's a bit over 35 minutes long so just sit back, enjoy and see how much you can learn!

Friday, January 29, 2021

Maybe THIS Is Rickie's Problem (Video)

Rick Shiels is testing the Cobra rev33 irons. These are clubs that Rickie Fowler designed for himself, the clubs that he wants in his bag when he's coming down the stretch.

And if Rick is right, then perhaps these clubs are the reason he's been struggling.

I've hit forged blades before. When you hit them well, they feel absolutely awesome in your hands. And when you hit them badly... well, you might as well be hitting rocks. But I can truthfully say that I've never hit a normal set of forged irons that scared me.

If these clubs are as demanding for Rickie to hit as they are for Rick, I have to wonder if Rickie hasn't sabotaged himself. A set like this might be good for practicing, to force you to hit the ball as well as you possibly can during practice.

During practice.

But I see no reason to use clubs during competitive rounds that require you to be perfect on every shot. If you're playing against guys who use clubs that give them just a slight margin for error, you're just giving them shots.

Don't misunderstand me. When you buy new clubs, I'm not advising you to buy the most forgiving clubs you can find. Depending on how good you are, they might feel as bad as these rev33s feel to Rick. But make sure you don't buy clubs that actually hurt your game either, especially if you do so just because they're "clubs for the better player." Get clubs that make the game fun for you. You'll be glad you did.

And your foursome will probably hate you for it. A win all the way around. ;-)

Thursday, January 28, 2021

A Quick Shoutout... the San Diego State Aztecs for their win at the Southwestern Invitational.

Southwestern Invitational champions San Diego State

The weather was absolutely brutal, with 40 degree F temps and high winds for most of the day. But the Aztecs rallied and surged from seven shots back, taking down the Arizona State Sun Devils by three shots.

The Aztecs shot five-over as a team Wednesday, eight shots better than anybody else.

And I also want to give a shoutout to David Puig, the Arizona State sophomore who won the individual title by an astounding NINE shots. He finished the tournament at ten-under.

Way to go, guys. Playing in those conditions, you deserve all the accolades you receive!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Desert Golf Continues on the European Tour

The ET moves up the Persian Coast from Abu Dhabi to Dubai for the Dubai Desert Classic.

Defending champion Lucas Herbert

Lucas Herbert is the defending champion at Emirates Golf Course in Dubai, which is located in the United Arab Emirates. As describes it:

Another exposed desert course with tree-lined Bermuda fairways and quick Bermuda greens. Players will need to negotiate with the wind, with numerous dogleg holes and water in play on 10 of the 18 holes. The rough here is often perilous, so finding the fairways will be an important factor for success.

Tyrrell Hatton, hot off his victory at Abu Dhabi last week, is hoping to ride his good play to a win at Emirates. Americans will also want to watch Collin Morikawa and see what he can do on this challenging course; his ballstriking should serve him well here.

GC's live coverage actually begins tonight (Wednesday) at 11pm ET and runs until 4am ET. This is always a great stop on the ET and the field will be loaded with strong players like Fleetwood, Garcia, Stenson and Westwood, so look forward to something good!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: Farmers Insurance Open

Twofer Tuesday does double duty this week, checking out the 2021 US Open site while also catching the Farmers Insurance Open.

Defending champion Marc Leishman

Yes, in case you didn't know, Torrey Pines's South Course will host the US Open later this year. And that means this week's Farmers Insurance Open field will get an early look at the major venue.

As will we.

Of course, the field will play the easier North Course once this week and the South Course three times, as usual at this event. But that's cool since that single round at the North Course always makes for an interesting run to the cut by making the exact cutline much less predictable.

The defending champion is Marc Leishman, after squeaking out a single shot victory over Jon Rahm last year before the pandemic threw its chokehold on the sport. More on that momentarily.

But first I need to make my two picks. And unlike last week, where I went pretty deep into the field for my picks, it's sort of difficult not to go chalk this week simply because a number of players just seem to play well at Torrey. So let's get to it!

  • My fist pick is indeed Marc Leishman. It's not just that Leish is the defending champion. The fact is that, as one of GC's analysts noted earlier this year, it's summer in Australia so the Australians just seem to be in better form at this time of year. In addition to his win last year, the big guy has two T2s as well and is a good weather player, should the weather take a turn this week.
  • And my other pick -- which may surprise some of you -- is Rory McIlroy. The time change between Abu Dhabi and California is bothersome but Rory has done it before. While he hasn't won at Torrey, he's chalked up a T5 and a T3 in the last two years. Given his play last week, I think he could be about to get on another run of high finishes... and possible wins.

I guess the elephant in the room here is that I didn't pick Jon Rahm, whose last four appearances have been 1-T29-T5-2. But after missing a week from that back pain scare, I'm hesitant to take him so soon. I need to know that his back will stand up to a hard week at Torrey first.

GC's live coverage starts Thursday at 3pm ET. Yep, more prime time coverage! And, as noted earlier, we get the double benefit of previewing this year's US Open venue. It's just too good to pass up.

Monday, January 25, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 American Express

Winner: Si Woo Kim

Around the wider world of golf: Jessica Korda won the pro division and Mardy Fish the celebrity division of the LPGA's Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions; Darren Clarke won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship on the Champions Tour; and Tyrrell Hatton won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on the ET.

Si Woo Dim with AmEx trophy

My Twofer Tuesday picks didn't do so well, but I did go pretty far off from the betting favorites. I had Patton Kizzire (53) and Chris Kirk (T16). I don't know what happened with Kizzire, but Kirk did well after that emotional high of locking up his card last week. 

  • Top10s: 3 for 6 (2 Top5s, 1 other Top10) 
  • Winners: 0 for 3 events

Si Woo Kim hadn't won in a couple of years, and last year at this event he had to withdraw when his back problems became too much to ignore. While I don't know that he ever doubted he would win again, I doubt any athlete can escape being concerned when they develop chronic physical problems.

It was appropriate that he would break his winless drought in the desert, don't you think?

After a restless Saturday night he began the final round with a share of the lead. But he still couldn't rest because Patrick Cantlay went absolutely nuts during the round and posted a 61, his lowest round ever on Tour, after barely making the cut! He said later that he didn't think he could have played much better, and he posted the clubhouse lead by a single shot.

Si Woo watched the leaderboard all the way to the finish, knowing he had to find some way to keep up with Cantlay's blistering pace. And while his 64 might not have been as impressive as Cantlay's, it was enough to give him a one-stroke win.

He even gave a post-round interview in English, which may have taken more courage than working through the back problems. Asian languages and English are far more different to learn than, say, English and Spanish, which share a lot of words and syntax and are therefore much easier for the speaker of one to learn how to speak in the other. Despite the inherent difficulties, Si Woo did a good job at that as well.

What else can I say? The man deserves a Limerick Summary... and here it is. Congrats, Si Woo!

Another pro breaks through a drought.
I wonder if Kim fought the doubt
That he’d soon win again?
Well, he proved that he can
Once he got his back problems worked out.

The photo came from this page at

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Paige Spiranac's Approach to the Wedge Game (Video)

Paige has a unique take on playing wedge shots from 100 yards and in. She patterns her approach after her chipping game and uses the basics of connection to further simplify things. In this video she explains the basics.

A quick summary: The key to your wedge game isn't how far you hit the ball but how well you control your distance. Paige takes more club, chokes down on the grip, keeps her arms connected throughout the swing (note that she mentions a towel drill that can help you with that) and makes a shorter overall swing based on her chipping setup.

I really like her approach because you don't need to think about so much or do anything fancy to get good results. Paige's video will give you a good base on which to build your wedge game. Give it a try!

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Rick Shiels Tests the Wilson Staff D9 Driver (Video)

This is an interesting test for one reason: Rick is testing this driver against a 2021 Callaway Epic driver, which is a similar build but costs nearly twice as much. See what you think...

Friday, January 22, 2021

Yeah, I Know They Started Yesterday But...

The Champions Tour is starting their year in Hawaii and it's still cold here on the East Coast of the US. So let's talk briefly about their first event, the Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

Defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez

This event is played at Hualalai Golf Course, meaning this is the third Hawaiian island we get to see this month. (The ladies are down in Florida.) Miguel Angel Jimenez is the defending champion and looking to become a three-time winner at Hualalai so he can join Bernhard Langer, who seems to hold just about every record on the Champions Tour except for the most wins. (That's still Hale Irwin, folks, but Langer isn't that far behind. And Hale is playing this week.)

As we have already come to expect in this year's golf, the players who are in great form aren't necessarily the ones that the analysts are picking. For example, I checked the Power Rankings after Thursday's first round and here's what I found.

Two players are tied in third place so far, Scott Parel and Jerry Kelly, both at -8. Parel is 10th in the rankings and Kelly is 4th. So far so good.

The player in second place is Darren Clarke at -9. Clarke is ranked 7th and, as well as he's been playing, should have more than one win by now. But the routine and courses on the Champions Tour are definitely different than the regular tours, and they take some getting used to. Look for him to play better this year.

But sitting at the top of the leaderboard at -10 is Retief Goosen... and he isn't in the Power Rankings at all. Go figure.

Technically this isn't the beginning of the season because the Champions Tour is treating 2020 and 2021 as one giant season. That should set us up for an interesting final stretch as players position themselves for the Charles Schwab Cup, simply because there are so many events this year where you can pick up points. So these early events may end up being even more important than ususal.

GC's coverage for this three-day event started Thursday and will broadcast at the same time today and Saturday, starting at 7pm ET. Since the players went this low in the first round, this could end up being a real sprint to the finish. I wonder if Retief will hang on and surprise them all?

Thursday, January 21, 2021

The LPGA Starts Their Season Today

With every tour getting back in action this week, I feel the need to give each a quick post about their event. Today it's the LPGA and the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions.

Defending champion Gaby Lopez

As I'm sure you all know by now -- but I'll mention just in case you don't -- the LPGA's Tournament of Champions is a pro-am event. However, we don't get a team score; it's just that the celebrity players are playing their own event alongside the LPGA pros. Or, as puts it:

The LPGA winners-only field plays for a $1.2 million purse over 72 holes with no cut. The sports and entertainment celebrities compete for a $500,000 purse of their own using a modified Stableford format.

It's an interesting twist on a champions event since you also get a separate celebrity event... but it still feels a bit like the Pebble Beach pro-am on the PGA Tour. The difference is that the pros aren't worried about how their score will affect a team score, so the strategy doesn't change from a regular event.

But it can be more fun to watch than a 'straight' tournament.

Gaby Lopez is the defending LPGA champion while baseball great John Smoltz is looking to get his third title in a row. There are 25 LPGA players and about twice that many celebs, including Annika Sorenstam among them. And since this is the only event we get until the LPGA season starts in earnest a month from now, it's definitely something we want to see.

GC's live coverage begins today at 3pm ET. I suspect it'll be something of a celebration of just surviving 2020 for everyone involved, so we'll probably see players have even more fun than normal.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The European Tour Gets Back in the Game at Last!

It's been a while but the European Tour is finally teeing it up again this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Defending champion Lee Westwood

There are four premium Rolex Series events this year, and the HSBC is the first. And the first defending champion of the season is none other than Lee Westwood, who started 2020 with a win here and finished with the Race to Dubai trophy.

Oh yeah, I'm looking forward to this event!

Last year's win was Lee's 25th ET win, which meant he had won ET events in four different decades. Like so many other players, he seems to be regaining his form at a time in his life when too many people are ready to write him off. But as he tees it up with so many great players from around the world this week, I'm looking forward to him beginning yet another great year.

Yes, I'm even hoping for a major. Keep your fingers crossed.

While GC's TV times are a bit scattered over the next few days, you can catch some live coverage of the first round tonight (Wednesday) on GC at 10:30pm ET. It's great to see European golf back on the air despite the pandemic's continued efforts to disrupt our lives. Let's all pray that things only get better from here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: The American Express

Twofer Tuesday reluctantly leaves Paradise and heads for pandemic-plagued California and the streamlined American Express event.

Defending champion Andrew Landry

When I say streamlined I mean that the event has seen its normal form slimmed down considerably. Due to the rising number of flu cases in California, for the first time in event history the American Express will be played without its usual pro-am format. That in turn means that, also for the first time in event history, the number of courses needed has been trimmed from three to two -- the Stadium Course and the Nicklaus Tournament Course.

With only pros teeing up, a standard 65 cut after two round will be used. That could make a big difference in how the competition plays out.

While the two courses have been lengthened slightly, neither course will play particularly long. Both will measure a bit over 7100 yards, both at a par of 72. While weather could be an issue, I don't see it making this event much different from Sony last week. That means almost anybody could win.

In the first two events of 2021 I made some pretty obvious choices for my picks. This week I'm mixing it up a bit and taking two players who probably aren't in anybody's power rankings, since I'm uncertain how the changes forced by the pandemic in California may affect individual players.

  • My first pick is Patton Kizzire. Patton has been slowly working his way back into form since the wraparound season began, but in his last four events he's had three Top11s, capped by a T7 at the Sony. His history at this event isn't that good -- in fact, he's missed the cut in the last two seasons -- but this week there are no amateurs and only two courses. Given his good play of late, I look for a change in his fortunes here in the desert.
  • And my other pick? Chris Kirk. I know, he's only got one good finish on the PGA Tour this season, and that was his T2 at Sony last week. And like Kizzire, he hasn't had a good record in the desert. But this isn't the same Chris Kirk who has struggled in the past and, with the pressure to keep his card taken away, I look for him to benefit from the changes I mentioned earlier as well as his improved outlook on life.

GC's live coverage begins Thursday at 3pm ET. While the coverage will extend into prime time, it won't run nearly as late because there are two hours difference between Hawaii and California time. Let's see how much difference those two hours make to the players.

Monday, January 18, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 Sony Open

Winner: Kevin Na

Around the wider world of golf: One more week to go!

Kevin Na with Sony Open trophy

Another good week for my Twofer Tuesday picks. I had Collin Morikawa (T7) and Joaquin Niemann (T2). No winner yet, but three of my four choices so far have been Top10s.

  • Top10s: 3 for 4 (2 Top5s, 1 other Top10)
  • Winners: 0 for 2 events

There were plenty of players -- both recognized and unrecognized -- who could have won last week. Webb Simpson was a popular choice for many viewers, Kevin Na less so. But the beauty of the Sony Open is just how many players have a good chance to win.

Kevin took advantage of that chance. While Brendan Steele was certainly in position to win as they entered the back nine, that's when Kevin's game seemed to come alive. After an unexpected bogey at 12, he calmly birdied the next three holes and added one more on 18 to win the event outright.

It seems Kevin may have chosen the best way to spend his time away from golf when the pandemic first hit. He left the clubs untouched and fully embraced the time with his family. (He mentioned the joy of teaching his young daughter the alphabet.) When he came back out he was refreshed and ready to go, playing some of the most consistent golf he's played in his career.

Now he's added his fifth PGA Tour victory -- that's better than most players on Tour -- and he's had a win in each of his last four seasons. And then there was this little tweet from the US Ryder Cup team:

With so much to look forward to, I guess another Limerick Summary is just icing on a very tasty cake. Way to go, Kevin!

His Tour wins are now up to five,
With four in four seasons—no jive!
At age thirty-seven
The game’s loving Kevin…
And Ryder Cup hopes are alive.

The photo came from this page at

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Paige Spiranac on Why Carry Distance Matters (Video)

In this video Paige explains not only why knowing your carry yardages with each club is important, but she explains how to do it, when you should do it, how to keep track of the results and when you should check them again. Then she goes through her own bag and shows you how far she hits each of her clubs, simply because viewers keep asking her for the numbers.

I think a lot of you -- especially you men watching this -- are going to be shocked by how far Paige hits her clubs. For those of you who don't know, Paige is only 5'6" tall so she's not one of the taller female players. And as she tells you in the video, she isn't trying to hit the ball as hard as she can. (She estimates she's making about a 90% effort.) And again, she's only counting carry here, not the roll out after the ball lands.

As an added bonus, you get to see her swing both down the line and face-on with each club. She clearly isn't swinging out of her shoes.

Hopefully, seeing how much distance she gets simply by making solid contact will encourage all of you to focus on hitting the ball well rather than swinging as hard as you can. Add that into what she says about getting your carry distances, and this becomes a very informative video.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Brandel Chamblee on Chicken Wings

You may have seen this already but I thought I'd post it here, just in case. The move Brandel focuses on here is what we normally call a chicken wing finish, and other players besides Joaquin Niemann (like Jordan Spieth) also do it.

Since I'm focusing on "the big picture" this year -- that is, how you hit the ball rather than what your swing looks like -- let's take a moment to understand why Chamblee and others like this move.

The simplest reason is that it mostly prevents a big hook, which a lot of the pros deal with. If you tend to rotate your forearms a lot during impact, having your lead elbow point at the target puts a limit on just how much your forearms can rotate.

If you don't have a lot of forearm twisting at impact and you chicken wing, you'll tend to hit big slices because you'll leave the clubface open.

Many people might consider this a swing bandaid. But I don't think swing bandaids are necessarily a bad thing. In one sense, swing thoughts are typically just bandaids because they provide a temporary fix for a swing problem... and yet instructors often recommend you find a swing thought to help you correct a flaw in your swing.

But what if the bandaid becomes a permanent part of your swing and it makes your swing work? If it does, why not use it? Why spend months, maybe years trying to change your swing if a bandaid gives you immediate and lasting results?

I think that's the key. "Immediate and lasting results" means your swing works and, unless your goal in the game is to have a textbook swing, the ability to play the game well enough that you enjoy it is a good enough reason to use a swing bandaid.

Over the next few months I'll be looking at unorthodox swings that may draw criticism from instructors but have proven to work well for many people -- and in the case of the pros, often made them Hall of Famers.

Because if golf really is like life, then success is less about being textbook and more about making the most of what you have. As my blog tagline says, "it's all about the score."

Friday, January 15, 2021

Rick Shiels Tests the Ping G425 Irons (Video)

Since I posted Rick's test of the G425 drivers yesterday, I figured you might want to see what he said about the companion irons as well. Again, I like his testing because he doesn't say he likes something if he doesn't, and he'll tell you exactly why he does or doesn't like it. And while he says he generally likes Ping irons, it sounds like this set isn't quite as perfect as he'd like. You be the judge...

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Rick Shiels Finds a Special Driver (Video)

Rick Shiels has started his tests of all the new 2021 drivers. This video is about the three new Ping G425 drivers -- the MAX, designed for forgiveness; the LST, designed for better players wanting low spin; and the SFT, designed for players with slice problems. And I think he was actually surprised by the results.

Rick says the SFT, which is set up to draw the ball (and he had trouble hitting anything but hooks with it) might be an option if you struggle with a slice. Although I prefer finding out why you slice and fixing the swing, I'm not against fixing the problem with equipment (assuming you can) if it makes the game more enjoyable for you... and if you can afford it.

But he also says he is ready to say the MAX is the straightest, most accurate driver he's ever tested. And he tests it against an original Ping G driver from several years back to see if it actually is... and he believes he has the stats to validate his conclusion.

So you might find this review particularly informative if you're in the market for a new driver.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Putting on TifDwarf Greens

The greens at Waialae Country Club are planted in TifDwarf grass, a version of Bermuda. So I thought I'd see if there are any putting tips specific to that kind of grass.

TifDwarf grass

First off, TifDwarf Bermudagrass isn't a new type of grass. It was actually released for use all the way back in 1965 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Coastal Plain Experiment Station, according to But it's certainly become very popular because it's heat-resistant and very durable for commercial purposes.

In fact, I found a post at that says:

Tifdwarf Bermudagrass offers a fine blade and its putting surface can be compared to that of Bentgrass greens. It is very adaptable to heat, brackish soils, heavy traffic and low mowing. Because of its over seeding and transitions characteristics, it is highly effective for year-round play in areas where summer temperatures reach and exceed 100 degrees. Tifdwarf has smaller and shorter leaves, stems and internodes and the leaf blades are dark green in color and have the finest texture of the hybrid Bermuda grasses.

That may be more than you need to know, but the important thing for us now is that it plays very much like Bentgrass. So what can we learn from that?

I found another post, this one on, that points out the main difference between Bermuda and Bentgrass -- namely, that grain is most important for putting Bermuda while slope is most important for putting Bentgrass.

The finer texture of TifDwarf has less grain and provides a smoother, faster roll, so it will mimic Bentgrass in that way.

So if you're putting on TifDwarf Bermuda greens, you should realize that the slope of the green will have a much greater effect on the break than grain will, and the putts will probably roll a bit farther and faster as well.

Hopefully that knowledge will save you a few strokes on the green.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: Sony Open

Twofer Tuesday makes the short hop from Maui to Honolulu for the Sony Open.

Defending champion Cameron Smith

Waialae Country Club, the course with the big palm tree W, is a much shorter track than last week's Plantation Course but still offers players all they can handle. That's especially true when the trade winds pick up, as they did last year. Things should be much calmer this year, however, and that means we could see all kinds of fireworks.

Defending champion Cameron Smith leads the field. Waialae is a course where anybody can win if they can position themselves well during their round, so I'm looking for course managers this week.

  • My first pick is Collin Morikawa. Waialae is yet another course that requires some familiarity in order to score well, and last year was his first attempt. He still managed to finish T21. As well as he has played over the last few months, I think he'll finish much higher this year.
  • And I'm hoping to ride some momentum with Joaquin Niemann. He too has played well over the last few months and he made it into a playoff at the Sentry last week. His ability to place shots in tight areas, coupled with his putting skills, should put him in contention again this week.

We get more prime time golf this week, with GC's live coverage beginning Thursday at 7pm ET. And as I said last week, it's hard to go wrong looking at Hawaii when the weather is less desirable here on the mainland.

Monday, January 11, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 Sentry Tournament of Champions

Winner: Harris English

Around the wider world of golf: The rest of the golf world hasn't really started back up yet.

Harris English with SToC trophy

Well, my first Twofer Tuesday picks of 2021 did pretty good for me. I had Justin Thomas (3) and Dustin Johnson (T11). DJ stumbled a bit Sunday and cost me a Top10, but JT put up his normal good run at a title.

  • Top10s: 1 for 2 (1 Top5, 0 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 0 for 1 event

Granted, I went chalk with my picks. But there were so many wild cards in this year's event that it was the only sensible thing to do. Once the PGA Tour decided to make up for the winners of 2020's cancelled events by including the 30 Tour Championship qualifiers -- even if they hadn't won an event -- we had the potential for an unexpected (and unprecedented) champion.

While Harris English wasn't entirely unexpected because he had been playing so well all last year, he had yet to prove that he could get it done. It had been around seven years since his last win and the Plantation Course was giving up ridiculously low scores all week. Then Joaquin Niemann went nuts and shot -9 on Sunday to take the clubhouse lead.

At that point, it was anybody's tournament and we realized that we might see the unthinkable -- a Sentry winner who hadn't won the previous season, for the first time in history.

Then it became a certainty when Harris and Joaquin went to a playoff, which Harris won on the first hole.

While it was a historic finish, in the end it wasn't all that unexpected. As I said, Harry had played well enough to win all year; he just hadn't gotten it done. But now he has and he'll be back in 2022 to defend.

In the meantime, he can bask in the glow of his first Limerick Summary in years. Way to go, Harry!

Harry’s play has been solid all year;
Though he hadn’t won, that much is clear.
Once the Tour felt the virus
Made a field change desirous,
Harry wound up a true pioneer.

The photo came from this page at

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Paige Spiranac on Course Strategy (Video)

I know a lot of you don't take Paige very seriously but she does know what she's talking about. In this new video from a couple of days ago she guides you through a reachable par-4, a long par-3 and a potentially reachable par-5. Pay close attention to what she says about the par-4s; it's hard to find good advice on how to play those.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

A Chipping Tip from Justin Thomas

If you've been watching the chipping exhibition Justin Thomas has been giving at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, you might be interested in how he does it. I found an older Golf Digest article with some of his tips on pitching, chipping and putting.

Justin Thomas chipping

Here's a chipping tip from the article. I think it's cool that he got it from Patrick Reed, who has a reputation as a great chipper as well.

Setup is super important when hitting pitch or chip shots. A perfect example is what happened to me at the first event of 2017, the SBS Tournament of Champions. I was practicing these shots, and Patrick Reed saw me struggling. He came over, adjusted my feet and body, and then I started hitting them way better. What he noticed was my body was too open (aligned left of my target), and my lower body looked wobbly when I hit the shot. So he told me to keep my feet a little open, square up the rest of my body a little more, and make sure my legs felt stable when I swung.

It's a short article but you might find something that will help you get your chips and pitches closer. The shorter the putts you leave, the better!

Friday, January 8, 2021

8 Indoor Golf Drills (Video)

Some of us are having bad weather; some of us are stuck in new pandemic lockdowns. This GolfersRx video gives you eight indoor drills so you can at least work on some aspects of your swing.

Which drills you find useful will depend on your swing, since some of these drills may not work with your particular swing method. I do like the two anti-sway drills -- numbers 2 and 5, but I particularly like 2 -- because keeping your turn centered over the ball is a simple way to improve the consistency of your impact position.

Hopefully these drills will help temper some of the frustration I know many of you are feeling right now, regardless of the cause.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Mike Whan Decides It's Time

It was a weird day here in the US. It began with a beloved commisioner who decided it's time to step down and ended with a controversial president who is refusing... and the dumpster fire that followed.

Mike Whan took over as LPGA commissioner back in 2010 for a four-year stint. Now, after nearly three times that long, he leaves the LPGA in a dominant position that many doubted they would ever see.

Rather than write some wordy paean that probably falls short of paying him the respect he's due, I've just decided to post his interview with Golf Today, given early Wednesday when the bombshell announcement was still reverberating through the golf landscape. I know many of you probably didn't get to hear it, and it's a good listen.

The word that people around him kept using to describe him was "transparency." Mike Whan always tried to be honest with his players, even when it wasn't pleasant, and he was their friend as well as their boss. He's going to be missed.

And in case you didn't hear, there's a rumor that he's on the USGA's list of possible new leaders. That's a rumor that could be very interesting!

So, to pick up on the thought that began this post...

The USA will survive Wednesday's debacle in Washington. Our Constitution was created to guide us through times like this, and it has even helped us survive a bloody civil war about 150 years ago. Our democracy will survive this as well if we stick to the principles that have guided us this far.

And while I'm sure the LPGA feels some uncertainty about Mike stepping down, he's leaving a strong organization in place as well as a model of how LPGA business should be conducted and how their relationships should be built. If they hold on to those gifts, the LPGA is going to be fine as well.

Thank you, Mike Whan, and good luck going forward.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Golf and Your Peripheral Vision

I discovered a cool article in Golf Magazine about how your mind focuses on things... and the explanation focuses on this optical illusion.

12dot optical illusion

Before you ask... yes, there are dots appearing and disappearing as your eyes move around the grid. And no, it's not some kind of gif or something; the dots are actually printed as part of the grid. What you see depends on where you look.

You'll want to read the article to understand what this can teach you about how your mind works and how that knowledge can help your golf. It's pretty cool.

And if you're up for another challenge -- one that I don't think they actually intended -- there's a misprint in the article, the kind that is often used in yet another kind of focus challenge to test how attentive you are. Can you find the misprint?

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: Sentry Tournament of Champions

Twofer Tuesday eagerly leaves chilly North Carolina for the balmy shores of Hawaii and the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Defending champion Justin Thomas

The SToC has a bit fuller field this year -- 42 players, including the Tour Championship qualifiers -- but otherwise we're looking at the same setup we see every year.

We're back at the par-73 Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort, somewhere around 7600 yards in length with fairways about a thousand yards wide. Yeah, we're gonna see everybody blasting the ball out there as far as they can because missing fairways isn't a huge problem.

And we're probably gonna see the usual suspects on top of the leaderboard, simply because there are some players who just seem to find their games at this course.

Since I'm starting a new year of Twofer Tuesday picks, and since we don't know how players will do with such a short layoff and the assorted problems created by the pandemic, I'm going chalk this week.

  • My first pick is the defending champion, Justin Thomas. I know he's been disappointed that he didn't convert more leads in 2020 but it's hard to believe he won't put up at least a Top10 at this event. After all, he's won twice and his last two years have resulted in a third and a win. In fact, he just seems to play well in Hawaii (remember that 59 at the Sony a few years back?) so why wouldn't I take him?
  • And my other pick (no surprise) is Dustin Johnson. He's a two-time winner and the top money winner in this event, plus he's got eight Top10s in ten appearances. Pardon the pun but he's money at Kapalua.

To be honest, I also like Xander Schauffele but I'm a bit nervous about his energy levels since he's coming off Covid. The virus has proven to be too unpredictable.

GC's prime time coverage starts Thursday at 6pm ET. Since we're expecting some really cold weather here in NC this weekend, I'm looking forward to a few daydreams of warm sunny weather.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Stan Utley on "Legal Anchoring" (Video)

While I think the title of this video is a bit of a gimmick, I do think Stan's instruction could be very helpful to those of you who try to keep a constant triangle in your putting stroke.

I believe that the ability to aim the putterface where you want the ball to go is, like aiming the clubface in your full swing, the basis for good putting. But there will always be a number of ways to putt effectively and Stan does a good job of helping you troubleshoot your putting problems when you use the triangle method.

One more thing: While Stan Utley and Dave Pelz teach different methods regarding the path of your putting stroke, both use the triangle method and are therefore susceptible to the same problems Stan discusses here. So if you use either teacher's putting method, you can still get some useful info from this video.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Mike Malaska's One Hand Drill (Video)

This year I'm going to create a different method to help you improve your game. It's not unusual for me to get questions from players who struggle with mechanics, even the simple ones I teach in my books. And I understand that. Sometimes approaching this game from a mechanical perspective causes you to focus on things that don't really help.

So I've spent several months trying to figure out the best way to sidestep that focus on mechanics... and I think I've found it. This month we'll lay down some basics to get everybody on the same page.

Yesterday the late John Jacobs gave us a basic concept to build on:

"The measurement of whether you have a good golf swing is what the ball does."

That's a great concept but we need a practical way to work that out -- to dig it out of the dirt, if you prefer that phrase. So let's start by watching this Malaska video on the one hand drill.

You may remember a few months back in September 2020 I posted a video on how your dominant hand squares the clubface. But your dominant hand, which for most of you is your trailing hand, can do more than just square the clubface.

Your dominant hand can aim your clubface in any direction you desire. What you need to learn is the feel of aiming your clubface.

If you check that dominant hand video I linked to earlier, you'll definitely see a similarity between it and this Malaska video. But the dominant hand drill is more technical and we want to strip it down even further.

Hence, I'm posting the Malaska drill.

This one hand drill is a good starting place to learn clubface control.

  • It's a very short swing, with the shaft swinging from parallel with the ground on the backswing to parallel (or slightly higher) on the followthrough.
  • It's not a power swing. You're not forcing motion here, just letting the swing happen with a tiny bit of extra effort. That makes it easier to feel the position of the clubface in relation to the position of your trail hand.
  • And finding the proper position of your trail hand -- the hand that, for most of you, is the one that controls the clubface -- finding the position that allows you to consistently aim the clubface where you desire is perhaps the most basic skill you need for this new approach to the game that we're going to take.

The key things you need to remember with this drill is that you:

  1. position the ball under your trail shoulder (or, if you use your lead hand to aim the clubface, under your lead shoulder) and
  2. swing gently.

You aren't trying to smash the ball a long way, only to make solid contact and chip the ball in the direction you want it to go.

What are we looking for when we do this drill?

Pay attention to how you've placed your trail hand on the club when you get the results you want because that will become the new basis for your normal grip.

THAT is what we're after at this point. Use this drill in your backyard frequently, because this is a simple practice routine that will ingrain the feel of aiming the clubface.

And the beauty of this is that we aren't really thinking about mechanics at all. We just want to make the ball go where we want it to go!

Drop any questions you have in the comments. Let me know if you run into any problems with this part of our quest for face control. This is our first step and, if it takes a month to get it worked out, that's a month well spent.

And remember: I don't care whether you have an over-the-top swing or any other swing fault at this point. I just want you to learn how to aim the clubface.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

John Jacobs on the Big Picture (Video)

Let's set the tone for the new year with some basics from a legend of the game. In this short video John Jacobs tells about the very first golf lesson he gave... and then lays the foundation for a good golf game.

Jacobs had a very simple philosophy: "The measurement of whether you have a good golf swing is what the ball does." And if you really want to improve your score in 2021, it's a great place to begin the year.

So this is where we're going to start. Let's get better in 2021!

Friday, January 1, 2021

Happy New Year, Everybody!

We'll get back to golf tomorrow. For today...

Happy New Year 2021

Good riddance, 2020. Welcome, 2021, and all the hope for better days that you bring!