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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Learning to Use Your Hands Instinctively (Video)

Here's another way to learn about using your hands in a golf swing without actually making golf swings. You don't have to buy an impact bag to do this drill; in fact, if you're just using a stick, you can use an old sofa cushion and get the same results! It will teach you how to swing the club in the way that comes naturally to you. If you've been having trouble with some of the 'hand action instruction' I've been posting, this drill may be the breakthrough you're looking for.


Friday, July 30, 2021

How to Break 100 Without Too Much Difficulty (Video)

Rick Shiels thinks you need to remember that on a par-72 course you can make 9 bogeys and 9 double-bogeys AND STILL BREAK 100. It's all about making smart choices, eliminating the troublesome shots and playing to your strengths. This video is full of good advice if you're trying to get that score down, and it might help you find a new way to conquer that one hole that always inflates your score.


Thursday, July 29, 2021

Your All Day Golf Reminder

Just to make sure you don't forget. Here are today's golf times:

  • GC's ISPS HANDA World Invitational coverage runs from 9am-2pm ET.
  • GC's Olympic coverage runs from 6:30pm-3am ET.

Golf is on virtually all day. You have no excuse not to catch some of it!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

For the Non-Olympic Contenders

The men and women who didn't make the Olympics aren't necessarily sitting out the week. After all, there's still the ISPS HANDA World Invitational.

2019 winners Stephanie Meadow and Jack Senior

The event now known as the ISPS HANDA World Invitational has gone by several names and formats since it was born in 2013 -- sometimes as an all-male event, sometimes with both men and women. The last time the ISPS HANDA World Invitational was actually called that and played in the format it will be in this week -- back in 2019 -- the champions were Stephanie Meadow and Jack Senior.

But things are a bit different this time. Although it's still played in Northern Ireland at the Galgorm Castle and Massereene Golf Club, this time it's a tri-sanctioned event between the LPGA, the LET and the ET. Here's a brief summary of the format from an article I found at let.com.

  • This event hosts 288 players, 144 men and 144 women, with the men's field coming from the ET while the women’s field is split equally between the LPGA and the LET.
  • The tournament will count towards the European Tour’s Race to Dubai and carry Team Europe Ryder Cup points, while the women’s tournament will count towards the Race to the CME Globe for women on the LPGA Tour, the Race to Costa del Sol on the Ladies European Tour (LET) and Solheim Cup points for both Team Europe and Team USA.
  • The $3 million prize purse will be split equally between the men and the women. The tournament consists of two separate 72-hole stroke play events, one each for the men and women, and they compete at the same venues at the same time.

Yes, this is very similar to the format of the ISPS Handa Vic Open in Australia and somewhat similar to the Scandinavian Mixed Hosted by Henrik & Annika in Sweden, although the latter had the men and women competing against each other.

In my opinion the coolest thing about this event is that the time zones mean this event slots in rather well between Olympic golf broadcasts. GC's coverage begins Thursday at 9am ET. So we have almost nonstop golf this week!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: Men's Olympic Golf

Twofer Tuesday settles down for a little me time with the TV and the Men's Olympic Golf.

The American Men's Olympic Golf Team

Do I really need to tell you about the Olympics? They're in Tokyo, with most of the populace there having to watch it on TV the same as the rest of us, and this is the second appearance of golf in the Olympics.

Let's make a couple of picks.

  • My American pick is Collin Morikawa. Really, is there any other reasonable choice? Maybe asking him to put on yet another iron show in Japan is pushing it, given how much he's already done this year. But with two majors and a WGC under his belt -- and especially with Jon Rahm not in the field due to the pandemic -- he seems to be the odds-on favorite.
  • And my international pick is Viktor Hovland. With three worldwide wins in the last year-and-a-half he's proven that his game travels well. And like Morikawa, he's got a great iron game. I think the first Norwegian to win on the PGA Tour may have a few surprises in store for the rest of the field.

GC's live coverage starts Wednesday at 6:30pm ET. (Remember, Tokyo is 14 hours ahead of the US East Coast.) With a limited field and so many of the top players not playing -- especially Jon Rahm -- this event could be wide open.

Monday, July 26, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 3M Open

Winner: Cameron Champ

Around the wider world of golf: Minjee Lee came from seven shots back to win her first LPGA major, the Amundi Evian Championship; Stephen Dodd won the Senior Open Championship on the Champions Tour; Dylan Wu won the Price Cutter Charity Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour; Patrick Newcomb won the Bupa Championship on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; Lilia Vu won the Twin Bridges Championship on the Symetra Tour; Jiyai Shin won the JLPGA's Daito Kentaku Eheyanet Ladies; and Hanbyul Kim won the KPGA's Yamaha Honors K Open. [Thanks again, IC!]

Cameron Champ with 3M trophy

Six on one hand, a half dozen on the other; that describes my Twofer Tuesday picks. I had Louis Oosthuizen (T2) and Dustin Johnson (MC). I don't know what's up with DJ but King Louis continues to put himself in position. He's gonna break through soon, I think.

  • Top10s: 18 for 60 (14 Top5s, 4 other Top10)
  • Winners: 2 for 29 events

I don't know which was the bigger story -- Cameron Champ dealing with dehydration on Sunday or him taking driver off the 18th tee and almost hitting it off the course. The announcers seemed equally taken by both events.

The dehydration was certainly the bigger worry. With the heat index pushing triple digits, the last thing you want to see is a player on the verge of collapse. Fortunately he was able to get some water and a sports drink before it got too bad.

As for that drive... I know Cam said it was a safety play although it didn't look like one to me. But hey, what do I know? Cam only needed a bogey to win the 3M, and he only needed one good shot to the green to make that possible.

And he made a perfect shot, a wedge that basically left him a tap-in for par. So in the end, it really didn't matter.

For Cam this may have been a gamechanger. He's been struggling this year; his last seven events included four MCs, a WD, a T11 and now a win. He said he needed to be kinder to himself -- probably good advice for most of us, especially the overachievers among us -- and it seems to be just what he needed.

So who am I to argue? I'm going to be kind to him and give him a shiny new Limerick Summary!

On 18, when Cam pulled his drive,
They said, “There’s no way he’ll make five!”
But Cam wasn’t fazed…
So announcers were dazed
When his wedge showed them how he’d survive.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Playing Ugly Shots from Deep Rough (Video)

Paige's new video focuses purely on shots from deep nasty rough. She demonstrates the techniques for long shots, short shots and chip shots from the heavy stuff. Some of it you may already know... but I bet you'll learn at least one new thing.


Saturday, July 24, 2021

Driving It Long... (Video)

Neil Tappin and PGA Pro Alex Elliott made this new video from Golf Monthly that gives you five tips -- and accompanying drills -- to help you hit longer drives. Not every tip will help every player but there is a good variety of things you might want to try.

I would like to add one thought to this post concerning the last tip. You've probably heard the "X-Factor" taught by different instructors, and I agree that it can be an effective way to create power in your golf swing.

But I always encourage caution when using this technique because I believe it puts too much stress on your lower back, even when it's done properly. I know many golf pros disagree with me... but this is my blog and I don't think this particular technique is suitable for everybody. Those of you who have read my blog for a while know that one of my key beliefs is that a good swing doesn't hurt. So take my opinion for what it's worth.

Friday, July 23, 2021

I Forgot the Senior Open Championship!

It always happens the week after THE OPEN and yet I forgot about it. The first round was played Thursday, but at least there are three rounds left.

And the leaderboard is already kinda interesting.

2019 defending chmapion Bernhard Langer

Darren Clarke is tied for the lead at -5, 2019 defending champion Bernhard Langer is tied for 3rd at -4, and Jerry Kelly and Ernie Els are in a large group in 6th place at -3. Jim Furyk, the US Senior Open champion, is in a tie for 35th at even par.

Perhaps the most interesting story at this point is James Kingston, who's tied with Clarke for the lead. The South African just recently got out of the hospital where he was recovering from COVID. He said he felt unprepared but he loves the course and thinks that may have helped him a lot.

And the course? That's Sunningdale Golf Club in Sunningdale, Berkshire, England, roughly 30 miles WSW of London. If that course sounds familiar, it's because Karen Stupples won the 2004 Women's British Open there. She started the final round with an albatross and a birdie on the first two holes of the final round on her way to a 64. So there are scores to be had at Sunningdale if you play the course properly.

Clarke alluded to this in his post-round remarks Thursday. He said:

“I played smart around here. I hit away from the flags to the middle of the greens and gave myself some chances, and kept giving myself chances there in the last few holes. Didn’t make anything at the end, but just played smart. I think the winner is going to have to play smart this week.”

GC's live coverage on Friday starts at 7:30pm ET.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Anne Van Dam Talks About Her Game (Video)

Rick Shiels posted this interview with Anne earlier this week and, since she's playing Evian and will be in the Olympics, I thought this would be a good time to post it.

BTW, Anne gives a few tips on hitting the ball farther. You might be a bit surprised at how she says she does it.


Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Before They Go to Japan...

The LPGA has a little unfinished business in Evian-les-Bains, France.

2019 defending champion Jin Young Ko

The Amundi Evian Championship couldn't be played last year, but this year it will be played... a mere week before the women head off to the Japan Olympics. And make no mistake about it, the Olympians plan to play at Evian this week.

A warmup?

2019 defending champion -- and Korean Olympian -- Jin Young Ko is there. Rolex #1 Nelly Korda is there. Defending gold medalist Inbee Park is there.

Next week the women are scheduled to play the ISPS Handa World Invitational. I don't know how many will play that event as it's held in Northern Ireland. However, it's a new event that is jointly sponsored by the LPGA, the LET and the European Tour -- yes, it's a mixed event featuring both men and women. I suspect the women will think long and hard before they choose to skip it.

But the very next week is the women's Olympic golf competition. This stretch could be quite the warmup for Japan!

GC's coverage is broken up into two parts on Thursday. The first session runs 5am-7am ET, the second session from 9:30am-11:30am ET. There's also a bit of streaming coverage on GC, from 7am to 8am and from 11:30am till noon. This will be a very challenging stretch for the ladies so we should see some good golf this week.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: 3M Open

Twofer Tuesday skips back across the pond to check out the 3M Open.

Defending champion Michael Thompson

In some ways this week may seem a bit anticlimactic. With the Japan Olympics starting up later this week, many of the top players will be winging their way to Asia.

But not all of them. TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota (the northern part of the US, for those of you unfamiliar with our geography) benefits from the decisions a few players made to skip the Olympics and the stringent pandemic protocols the Games will be under.

I'm afraid I can't resist the temptation to pick some of them.

  • My first pick is Dustin Johnson. Granted, he hasn't played his best this year, at least since the WGC-Workday. But he's the top player in the field, coming off a T8 at THE OPEN. Maybe he'll be a bit jetlagged, I don't know. But I can't afford not to take the highest-ranked player in the field.
  • And my other pick -- perhaps surprisingly to many of you -- is Louis Oosthuizen. I know he's got to be disappointed... but I bet he's also a bit tired of just good finishes. It's his first time at the 3M, and I feel his breakthrough is going to come at an event like this before he finishes the job at a major.

GC's coverage begins Thursday at 2:30pm ET. With the Olympics beginning Friday, maybe these players have something to prove. I for one am curious to see whether they will!

Monday, July 19, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 THE OPEN

Winner: Collin Morikawa

Around the wider world of golf: Seamus Power won the Barbasol Championship, the alternate field event on the PGA Tour; the team of Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn won the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational on the LPGA; Emma Broze won the rain-shortened Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic on the Symetra Tour; Matilda Castren won the 2021 Gant Ladies Open on the LET (I think that makes her eligible for the Solheim Cup); Taylor Moore won the Memorial Health Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour; Ye Sung Jun won the KLPGA'S Ever Collegen Queen's Crown; and Maiko Wakabayashi won the JLPGA's GMO Internet Ladies Samantha Thavasa Global Cup. [Thanks again, IC!]

Collin Morikawa holds the Claret Jug

Things went much better for my Twofer Tuesday picks over on the links. I had Louis Oosthuizen (T3) and Jon Rahm (T3). I didn't get the winner like I'd hoped, but I'll gladly take two Top5s!

  • Top10s: 17 for 58 (13 Top5s, 4 other Top10)
  • Winners: 2 for 28 events

To some degree, my success this week is a function of how well the top players did at Royal St. George's. Roughly eight of the eleven players who made the Top10 were definitely on the short list of likely winners.

And as usual, links golf proved that being long isn't necessarily the key to victory. Of the Top4 finishers, only Jon Rahm has a driving average over 300 yards for the season (307.7 yards, 20th on Tour). But if you compare their stats for the season, Collin Morikawa is dramatically better in Strokes Gained for Driving Accuracy and GIR (11th and 2nd, respectively). And he used these skills to great effect over the weekend in England.

Of course, there's no stat for staying calm or making wise decisions, both of which Collin did with amazing consistency. Even after he won, the victory speech he gave will be remembered less for talking about his win and more for thanking his team and the crowds, reminding the crowd to be thankful for being able to have and attend THE OPEN this year, and even for getting the crowd to sing 'Happy Birthday' to his caddie.

I suppose a huge number of parents watching the event expressed a desire that their daughters would marry Collin Morikawa. He's so sweet and polite!

But make no mistake: If Matt Kuchar is the 'Smiling Assassin' then Collin is golf's equivalent of Genghis Khan. He and Tiger are the only players to win two majors before they turned 25, and Collin was a speed demon getting there, requiring only eight majors to win two. Nobody else is better than ten! And he didn't seem surprised by winning two so quickly.

Or so politely.

So Collin also sets the record for getting two Limerick Summaries for majors won. The rest of the Tour better watch out -- it seems the new Khan has his eyes on an empire of his own!

Impatient—that’s Collin alright.
His star’s rising fast, burning bright,
Rewriting golf history.
But here’s the real mystery:
How can he? He’s too darn polite!

The photo comes from this page at skysports.com.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Stop Thinning Your Irons (Video)

Yesterday I posted a video on aiming your irons more effectively. Today we follow on with that line of thought, this time on how to stop hitting your irons thin. If you've followed my blog for a while or read some of my books, you may recognize most of the advice here.


Even if you haven't been following this blog for a while, some of the material in this video may sound strangely familiar. That's because I posted a video a couple of weeks back -- also by Rick Shiels -- specifically on hitting the ball before you take a divot. That video is a more general approach to getting solid contact while this video focuses specifically on the irons. If you need more info than this video gives, the other video includes drills and such to help you.

I know that some of my posts seem to focus on really basic things, but any pro will tell you that it's the simple things that mess up our games. It's amazing how often the top players in the world cite something small like ball position as the source of their problems. So don't write this video off so quickly -- a short reminder about fundamentals is often all we need to keep our games in shape.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Build Your Aim Around the Clubface (Video)

If you're still having trouble aiming the ball where you want it to go, Todd Kolb has a very simple routine that may be different from what you're used to hearing. But it has the advantage of being extremely simple, perhaps the most simple of any method I've seen.  Best of all, it's very easy to tell if you're doing it right or not! Check it out...


Friday, July 16, 2021

Paige's Field Cardio Workout (Video)

I know some of you will see this as little more than an excuse to watch Paige jiggle, but this is actually a great alternative to just running. In fact, many fitness instructors would say this routine is superior to merely running.

The video is short because she's just demonstrating the exercises. I'll give you some ideas for adjusting the workout to your fitness level after the video. And I have to remind you that I'm not a doctor, and that you should consult a doctor before you begin any fitness program.


First, in case you are unfamiliar with the terms, a set means you do a number of repetitions of a single exercise. For example, you might do 5 pushups, take a few seconds to catch your breath, then do 5 more, catch a breath, and do 5 more. That would be 3 sets of 5 pushups.

Supersets are simply sets of multiple exercises. If you did 5 pushups followed by 10 squats, took a break and then repeated both exercises, that would be 2 supersets of pushups and squats.

In the video Paige is doing 4 supersets of two exercises, then doing 4 sets of two different exercises, and so on. To adjust to your fitness level, you can reduce the number of repetitions of each exercise within the supersets OR reduce the number of supersets OR BOTH. It's up to you.

You can also take a longer 'breath' between each set and/or superset. It's okay to be breathing deeply but you don't want to be gasping for breath.

As for the sprints, she is catching her breath after each individual sprint. You can reduce the number of sprints you run OR the length of the sprint OR BOTH. Again, up to you.

And remember, how often you exercise is really more important than how long you exercise. You don't necessarily have to exercise everyday -- the harder your workout, the more time you need to rest between workouts -- but you don't want to exercise two days in a row then take five off, then exercise for one day and take three off. You want to be exercising regularly. You may find that working out every other day works well for you, or maybe workout for two days then take one off. If you're doing it right, you shouldn't feel tired all the time.

Like I said, Paige's idea is a pretty good one. But let me repeat myself one last time: I'm not a doctor, and you should consult a doctor before you begin any fitness program.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

The PGA Tour Alternate Event

Another quick post, this one on the alternate event opposite THE OPEN, the Barbasol Championship.

2019 defending champion Jim Herman

This event is played in Kentucky and Jim Herman is the defending champ from 2019. It looks like it's going to have a pretty good field with players like Charl Schwartzel (the player highest in the OWGR who didn't make THE OPEN), Luke List, Sam Ryder, Tom Lewis and Patrick Rogers.

Why should you be interested in this event with THE OPEN going on? Because after this week there are only four events left before the FedExCup Playoffs and the Korn Ferry Tour Playoffs, and they affect some other domestic and international qualifying criteria as well. There is a lot on the line for many of these players and not much time left to get the job done.

GC's coverage starts today at 5pm ET.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

A Quick LPGA Update

Lost in THE OPEN excitement this week is the LPGA team event known as the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational. Here's the quick 411:

2019 defending champs Cydney Clanton and Jasmine Suwannapura

First off, this is a Wednesday-Saturday event. It's a similar concept to the PGA Tour's Zurich Classic, and 2019 champs Cydney Clanton and Jasmine Suwannapura are back to defend.

Possibly the three biggest-name teams to join them will be the Korda Sisters, Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu, and Danielle Kang and Lydia Ko. But the most interesting pairing may be Nasa Hataoka and Lexi Thompson. (Hataoka's caddie used to work for Thompson, so there's your connection.)

However, my main reason for this short post is that the time for the coverage hasn't been made clear in the ads. GC's coverage starts today (Wednesday) at 3pm ET and it's supposed to be live. The live coverage for Thursday and Friday will stream on the NBC Sports App (and presumably golfchannel.com) while GC will broadcast tape-delayed coverage. And Saturday's final round will be on CBS.

Should be a fun event, just like the Zurich. At the very least, it will be a nice way to spend Wednesday afternoon. And don't forget, next week is the LPGA's next major at Evian.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: THE OPEN

Twofer Tuesday heads across the pond for a lonely stay in a hotel room at THE OPEN.

Defending champion Shane Lowry

We don't really need me to write a lot of intro, do we? THE OPEN is the oldest golf tournament in the world, this week it's making its 15th appearance at Royal St. George, and Shane Lowry is the defending champion from 2019.

Let's get on with making the picks.

This isn't as easy as you might think, at least not if you pay attention to past trends. For example, I think Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Matt Fitzpatrick are all in good form to win this one. However, THE OPEN hasn't been kind to Englishment lately -- the last to win was Nick Faldo back in 1993 -- and Royal St. George even less kind. The last Englishman to win here was Reg Whitcombe way back in 1938.

A number of players have had good showings in THE OPEN over the last few years. However, players like Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka haven't played as consistently as I would have liked going into a links event.

But I have made a couple of picks who I think just might pull this off.

  • Louis Oosthuizen is a previous OPEN Champion of course, having gotten his back in 2010 at St. Andrews. But he's been a runner-up twice in the last couple of months, at the Masters and the US Open. His game is in shape for the majors and, given the premium on driving this week, it's hard not to believe he'll put up another good run.
  • And then there's Jon Rahm. I admit that my feelings are a bit guarded concerning Rahmbo. Last week at the Scottish Open, I didn't worry that his putting was off; that happens to all players and it generally comes back soon enough if the player doesn't panic. But Jon seemed more shaken by the problem than he has shown recently, and he can't afford to run on a short fuse this week. Nevertheless, he came in T7 and he has two Irish Opens under his belt -- all links events. And let's not forget he just won that US Open where Louis ran second on a windy, linksy course. It's hard not to take him.

Coverage of THE OPEN moves around to different channels this week. On Thursday we get:

  • Peacock Premium: 1:30am-4am ET
  • GC: 4am-3pm ET
  • Peacock Premium: 3pm-4pm ET

Remember that Peacock Premium is the pay version. But if you have the pay version, you can also get some special channels with featured groups.

It's great to have THE OPEN back this year. And since Royal St. George is a course that tends to give players fits, we might see -- and hear -- some frustrated players!

Monday, July 12, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 John Deere Classic

Winner: Lucas Glover

Around the wider world of golf: Nasa Hataoka was declared the winner of the rain-shortened Marathon LPGA Classic; Min Woo Lee (Minjee Lee's brother) got his second ET win at the abrdn Scottish Open; Jim Furyk got his first Champions Tour major at the US Senior Men's Open; Tag Ridings broke a 19-year winless streak at the TPC Colorado Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour; Tomoyasu Sugiyama won the Japan Players Championship Challenge on the Japan Golf Tour; Casey Danielson won the Donald Ross Classic to capture her second Symetra Tour win; Team Cowan won the Aramco Team Series – London (and Marianne Skarpnord won the Individual Title) on the LET; Min Ji Park won the Daebo hausD Open for her sixth KLPGA title this year; Sang Hyun Park won the Woosung Construction Aramir CC Busan Gyeongnam Open on the KPGA; and Kotone Hori won the JLPGA's Nipponham Ladies Classic. [Thanks again for the Asian results, IC!]

Lucas Glover with John Deere trophy

What can I say about my Twofer Tuesday picks? I had Daniel Berger (T34) and Steve Stricker (T41). So much for sure things!

  • Top10s: 15 for 56 (11 Top5s, 4 other Top10)
  • Winners: 2 for 27 events

If you were looking for a long shot rather than a sure thing, I still doubt many of you picked Lucas Glover. His last win was the 2011 Wells Fargo Championship, a good ten years ago. And he moved up eleven places with his final round 64.

Lucas was three-under on the front nine but the madness really began on the 12th hole. Five birdies in six holes sent him shooting up the leaderboard and his competitors, Kevin Na and Ryan Moore, just couldn't keep up.

Of course, Lucas summed it up in his usual understated way:

“It's been a long 10 years. There's been some struggles. I knew it was in there. I had to clean up my brain a little bit and just hit some shots, just play golf. I never lost sight of believing I could do this and win again. It's always nice to prove yourself right.”
Well, that was a right nice 'clean up' job there, Lucas, and I hope you think the Limerick Summary you just picked up is right nice as well.

Another drought comes to an end.
No longer must Lucas pretend
That the wait wasn’t tough—
A decade’s too much
When you’re trying to win once again!

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Some Thoughts from Hale Irwin (Video)

This is the end of an interview Mike Malaska did recently with Hale Irwin -- who, for those of you who don't know, is the winningest player ever on the Champions Tour. They talk here about equipment and about strategy and, while I don't think the equipment situation is as bleak as they do -- I have copies of magazine articles where O.B. Keeler writes about a teenaged Bobby Jones hitting 300+ yard drives back in the 1910s -- I do think they make some valuable observations about what kind of help weekend players should expect from modern equipment and about the importance of strategy.


Saturday, July 10, 2021

Amazon's Most Popular Wedge (Video)

Since I posted Paige's video on choosing wedges yesterday, I thought it might be fun to post this video on what appears to be Amazon's most popular wedge. Rick Shiels tested the Wilson Harmonized Wedge, which is popular in large part because it is so inexpensive -- for the 56° that Rick tested, his UK price was £39.99 while I found the US price at $39.99 (on sale for $34.99). Here's the video of his tests and conclusions:


Rick said he didn't see many poor rankings and when I checked Amazon US for the same loft (56° right-handed) I found that 92% of the ratings were 5 or 4 stars. The other lofts, 'handedness' and genders (male or female) were rated roughly the same, although the left-handed version wasn't on sale and I saw a black version that was $10 more.

But it's not hard to see why this wedge is so popular. While I could find wedges ranked higher -- for example, TaylorMade Golf's MG2 Wedge had 98% 5 and 4 star ratings -- the price was also considerably higher at $169.99. The Wilson also had the high ratings with FOUR TIMES the number of TaylorMade ratings.

Still, it's worth considering what Rick said about the limited choices. While neither the TaylorMade nor the Wilson gives you any choices about the shafts, the TaylorMade gave you a number of choices for loft and bounce in both left- and right-handed models. The Amazon listing for the Wilson didn't even list how many degrees of bounce you'd get standard. (For what it's worth, I didn't find that info on wilson.com either.)

Nevertheless, it's good to know what kind of options you have when you buy clubs. The Wilson trades fitting options for a lower price point, and that may be fine with you. Just be aware of what matters to you when you buy.

Friday, July 9, 2021

A Quick Class on Picking New Wedges (Video)

Paige Spiranac had to replace her worn wedges so she did a video in cooperation with Club Champion discussing the technology, how to choose new wedges -- how to match the new technologies to your own skills and preferences -- and how to get fit for them. It skips back and forth between Paige's and the fitter's advice. All-in-all, I think it's a worthwhile watch if you're thinking about new wedges.


Thursday, July 8, 2021

Don't Forget the Marathon LPGA Classic

With so much golf this week it's easy to overlook the LPGA's event, the Marathon LPGA Classic. To be honest, it looks to be a bit tricky to catch the event at all.

Defending champion Danielle Kang

Today's (Thursday) GC's coverage is tape-delayed, beginning at 9pm ET.

The NBC Sports App and golfchannel.com are showing live coverage starting at 3:30pm ET. The link at lpga.com goes to golfchannel.com/watch but I didn't see the usual streaming page when I checked.

Danielle Kang is the defending champion. Bear in mind that the Evian is only a couple of weeks away so players are trying to get their games in shape. We could see some good golf this week, despite the limited coverage.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

I'll Never Get Used to This Spelling...

When I typed abrdn Scottish Open into Google, it promptly responded with "Did you mean aberdeen Scottish Open?"

Apparently I'm not the only one who doesn't understand the logic of this spelling, despite its usage on all the signs and articles I've seen... but that doesn't change the importance of this week.

Defending champion Aaron Rai

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open is the second of eight Rolex Series events on the European Tour, which is fitting because this has become a very important event for any player slated to play in THE OPEN the following week. Aaron Rai is the defending champion from the October date of this event in 2020.

This is the third year that the Scottish Open will be staged at The Renaissance Club in North Berwick, Scotland. It's a par-71 links course measuring out at 7293 yards -- and the words links course are key here. Players will be looking to get some practice for Royal St George’s, and The Renaissance Club should provide all the weather and atmosphere necessary to get them in the mood for the 'bigger event' that follows.

I think it's safe to say that Jon Rahm is the primary name on everybody's radar this week. This is his first event since winning the US Open at Torrey and it's hard to believe he won't be amped up for this run of links golf.

GC's coverage starts early Thursday morning at 7:30am ET here in the US and runs until 1pm ET. That's fitting for a big event like this.

Even if they insist on using that weird spelling.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Twofer Tuesday: John Deere Classic

Twofer Tuesday leaves the Motor City and heads for Tractor Central at the John Deere Classic.

2019 defending champion Dylan Frittelli

As courses go, TPC John Deere isn't terribly difficult. A par-71 track measuring a little under 7300 yards, it has a lot of elevation changes with a lot of opportunities for low (and high) scoring. It's one of the rare courses on Tour that can boast a 59, shot by Paul Goydos back in 2010. (Winner Steve Stricker shot a 60 the same day.)

TPC John Deere does seem to fit some players better than others. Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson are the #1 and #2 money winners at this event. Among active players Steve Stricker has three wins and Jordan Spieth two. Defending champion Dylan Frittelli -- from 2019 since this event wasn't played last year -- could make it two in a row himself.

But this is also a track that favors new winners and that does make this a tricky event to pick. TPC John Deere is much like TPC Sawgrass, in that it doesn't favor one style of play over another but some players seem to understand it better than others.

  • My first pick is Daniel Berger. With 6 Top10s in 17 starts, including a win and a 3rd, he's been a worthwhile pick this season. And with two of those Top10s in his last four starts, he's not someone to overlook at a track like this.
  • And my other pick is Steve Stricker, the only back-to-back-to-back winner at this event. It was jokingly referred to as the Steve Stricker Annual Annuity Tournament for a while! The Ryder Cup Captain is the  #1 money winner at this event... and he has 7 Top10s in 11 starts on the Champions Tour this season (including a major). It's hard to believe he won't post another Top10 this week.

GC's live coverage starts Thursday at 3pm ET. A number of players in the field (15) are already qualified for THE OPEN and one more will gain an exemption at the John Deere, so this week might give you some cues on who might win next week.

Monday, July 5, 2021

The Limerick Summary: 2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic

Winner: Cam Davis

Around the wider world of golf: Former World #1 Jin Young Ko returned to the winner's circle for her first LPGA win of 2021 at the Volunteers of America Classic; Cameron Beckman won the DICK'S Sporting Goods Open on the Champions Tour; Lucas Herbert won the ET's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open; Stephanie Kyriacou won the LET's Big Green Egg Open; and Seong-Hyeon Kim won the Japan PGA Championship on the Japan Golf Tour.

Cam Davis with the Rocket Mortgage trophy

My Twofer Tuesday picks are definitely back on their previous performance arc. I had Matt Wolff (T58) and Webb Simpson (MC). Halfway through Wolff looked like he might have a chance but... Happy Fourth of July, right?

  • Top10s: 15 for 54 (11 Top5s, 4 other Top10)
  • Winners: 2 for 26 events

To be honest, I didn't expect the Rocket to be so close. I didn't necessarily expect a huge blowout as we have seen the last two years but I didn't expect a three-way playoff that lasted five holes either! Even worse -- for me, at least -- I had seriously considered Joaquin Niemann as a Twofer Tuesday pick but decided his game wasn't quite on form nor did it quite fit this course.

But Niemann's birdie-birdie-par finish matched Troy Merritt's, and Cam Davis put up that eagle-birdie finish to make it a three-man playoff. And while some might say that Cam struggled with the putter, he put up four pars and a birdie to outlast the other two.

Never underestimate the Aussies, folks. Especially when it comes to scrambling!

Since this is Cam's first PGA Tour win, you know what that means... it's his first Limerick Summary as well. Good on ya, mate, and hopefully this will be only the first of many!

When four rounds of golf weren’t enough,
Cam Davis proved he had the stuff
To outlast the others
Betrayed by their putters;
His own let the Aussie hang tough.

The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Raymond Floyd on Playing Comfortable

Given how much we've heard lately from pros about mental stress, I thought this advice from Raymond Floyd would be appropriate. After all, the mental stress they talk about comes from trying to gain the approval of others, and putting pressure on ourselves to meet those unrealistic standards.

Raymond Floyd

Here are selected quotes from his book The Elements of Scoring.

...I think this is the best advice I can give anyone about playing golf. It's the biggest factor in consistently getting the most from your game.

To me, playing "comfortable" means understanding what you're capable of, and playing at a level just inside that boundary. It's also called playing within yourself.

It means playing golf the easiest way you can. Avoiding high-risk shots in favor of safe ones. Swinging easy instead of hard. Playing shots that allow you to relax rather than to feel pressure. Taking what the golf course gives you.

On its surface, this might not seem a very appealing concept. After all, isn't it part of the fun of golf to test your ability? Why intentionally underachieve when the way to improvement lies in stretching your limits?

Well, the truth is, you won't be underachieving at all, you'll be growing as a scorer, and your scores will come down, which is hardly a sign of underachieving. Playing within oneself is a time-honored method of sports performance, one the greatest athletes practice regularly...

It's important to make the distinction between playing comfortable and being "on" -- which occurs on those rare days when everything is clicking physically. Playing comfortable means accepting what you have that day -- no matter how little that might be -- and not forcing more. It's a mind-set more than a physical state. And it's a key to getting the most out of your game.

It's a lesson that came to me slowly, but once it came, I was in contention to win a lot more often.

On the mental side, playing comfortable engenders a calm, confident state of mind. You know you're hitting the shot with the greatest margin for error, so there's less pressure to hit the ball perfectly.

Or, as many of the pros have said recently, they needed to learn how to relax and just have fun on the golf course. Isn't it good to know that something so simple can be the key to better scoring?

Floyd writes much more about playing comfortable in his book -- including how this can actually result in getting the control you're pressuring yourself to develop -- but I think this enough to get you started.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Hitting the Ball First (Video)

Many players have problems hitting the golf ball before they take a divot. Learning how to hit a stinger, which was the focus of yesterday's post, requires you to hit the golf ball first. But if you're still having a problem hitting the ball first, maybe Rick Shiels can give you some help in this video.


Personally, I think the techniques in Rick's video are a bit more than most of you need. But if learning to hit a stinger is giving you trouble, then here are some drills that just might make a difference.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Zac Radford on the Stinger (Video)

Zac Radford is a mini-tour player who has become something of a legend for his mastery of the stinger -- enough of a master for golf.com to run an article on his ability just under a year ago. The article focuses on his five technical basics, as well as providing a link to his Instagram. (He also has a YouTube channel, and that's where I got the video below.)


You can read the article and watch the video to get the details -- the video also teaches you how to hit a slicing stinger, a hooking stinger and a rising stinger -- but his first key is one you don't usually hear and I think it may be the real key to learning how to 'sting' it effectively.

Don't reach for the driver, at least not at the start. Begin with your 5-iron. Zac says he uses a 4-iron most of the time. And I think this one piece of advice could be the most critical for those of you trying to develop a stinger.

A 5-iron has more loft and a shorter shaft than a driver, making it easier to get the ball up off the ground while making it easier to make solid contact and get the ball in the fairway. And since a stinger is intended to get much of its distance from rolling, a 5-iron stinger is going to give you A LOT more distance than a standard 5-iron... and probably more than a wayward drive as well.

In short, if you're looking for a dependable shot to get you in the fairway, Zac just may have just handed you the keys to a very desirable drive. Give it a try and see if you don't agree.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Rick Shiels Tests an Armlock Putter (Video)

I know you have only one question: Will this putter help me make more putts? Watch this video and see whether it helped Rick or not.