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Archive for December, 2010

The greatest tournament a golfer can win is, arguably, the United States Open. It’s the one everyone wants to win before their career ends. Arnie only won one. Sam Snead never won it, and was one of the things he was most known for. Nor did Davis Love III, or Fred Couples, or Colin Montgomerie, or Tom Lehman, or Phil Mickelson, or many other top tier players. It’s the golf standard of major tournaments, the Holy Grail of Golf, so to speak. Why this is so has to do with the toughness of the layout. No other tournament venue is laid out as diabolically as the U.S. Open. The fairways are as narrow as an alleyway in Boston. The rough is as long and tough as the bristles on a witches’ broom. And the greens are as slick and nasty as a back road in an ice storm. U.S. Open venues are long, brutish, and intimidating–the ultimate test of golf.

Now there have been one shot wonders, for sure. Steve Jones comes to mind. ¬†And Michael Campbell. And, of course, the club pro who beat Hogan in ’56, Jack Fleck. But, for the most part, Open winners over the years have been top tier players including Nicklaus, Player, Trevino, Miller, Irwin, Stewart, Furyk, Woods, Floyd, Kite, Palmer, Littler, Nelson, Hogan, Sarazen, Hagan, and perhaps the greatest of them all, Bobby Jones. These were players who could read a golf course, take control of it, and in rare instances, take it apart (witness Woods at Pebble in 2000). Well, another has joined the elite pack, a European who plays with heart, courage, and (more…)

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For an amateur, good chipping may well be the best way to lower a handicap. And yet, despite how easy it looks, it remains one of the most difficult parts of the game. The reason for that is our persistent and intractable memory. If you’ve ever chili dipped or skulled a chip you know what I mean. It’s the most embarrassing and exasperating mishit in golf, as Hunter Mahan experienced on his last hole against Graeme McDowell at the 2010 Ryder Cup. Mahan flubbed a chip just off the green to lose the match, crying in shame at the press conference afterwards. But even in a friendly foursome, we’ve all been there and wanted to break the club over our knee. After all, our playing partners are standing nearby watching you, ready to say “nice touch” or…nothing. And that silence is the most deafening in golf.

What makes this shot so difficult and how can we do better? Arguably, it is the shot most affected by the mind. To strike the ball at such a slow pace gives the mind
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I enjoy watching Mad Men, the AMC series based on the advertising world of the early 60s. It gives an inside look into an industry that is designed to manipulate people into desiring something then buying it. The ad men and women are working hard today to do the same thing in the golf club business. I started playing golf at that time, back in the day when everyone played blade irons and persimmon drivers with 200 cc heads. You’ve heard of the expression still used today: “Hit it on the screws.” Well there actually were screws on the clubfaces in those days! Bobby Jones was so accurate and hit it so hard he had to replace the screws on his driver face (more…)

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Doing a jigsaw puzzle can take a long time with many pieces to fit together. Such is the swing that motors the drive, and most all the other shots in golf. I’ve studied many books, apps, DVDs, and uTube videos on the subject. I’ve observed the swings of PGA pros on tour, Tivo-ing tournaments and watching in slow motion. I’ve tuned into dozens of instructional shows on the Golf Channel. I’ve spent hundreds on lessons. And I’ve devoured countless tips from golf magazines and online. And yet the jigsaw puzzle of driving a golf ball, for me, remained unsolved…until now.

The three main elements of the puzzle involve distance, accuracy, and (more…)

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