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Archive for the ‘confidence in golf’ Category

Arnold Palmer says no. Sir Nick says, sure, why not. Keegan Bradley won the PGA with it, the first ever major won with a long putter. Adam Scott resurrected his career with it. As did Freddy Couples. It’s easier on the back. It takes the left hand, if held still, out of the stroke completely. It creates a pendulum action on par with a grandfather clock. But should it be legal? The King is very clear on this, saying that no golf club should be anchored to the body. Anchoring the club to the body, as with the belly or long putter, creates an advantage that a free swinging putter does not have. It removes a variable that has been with golfers since the inception of the game. ┬áTo hold the butt end of the club against the body provides a stability unavailable to those using putters of usually no more than 35 inches.

It’s a matter of confidence, which is at the core of successful putting. Putting simulates the movements of a pendulum, and a golfer’s skill is dependent upon how pendulum-like he or she can control the club. If the end of the club is fixed to the torso, (more…)

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The U.S. Open is arguably the greatest tournament in golf. It is open to all comers, for one thing. If you qualify, you’re in. True, that is a daunting proposition. Even well ranked touring pros don’t make it, so if you do qualify, it’s a major accomplishment (no pun intended). Open courses are tough, set up to punish any wayward shots. Since it’s played in June, the temperatures are often hot and baked. U.S Open greens are as slick as pool tables but with ridges and breaks and false fronts. Three-putts can send the Open competitor into mental misery faster than a meter maid writing a ticket. And the whole world, seemingly, is watching.

When I was a kid I’d fantasize about playing in the Open. Those were heady days of hope when Palmer and Nicklaus were slugging it out, Kennedy was in the White House, and I was second man on my high school golf, a shy kid who could chip and putt my way to pars. Obviously I didn’t realize my Open dreams, but I’d watch the Open each year and be there vicariously. 1960: Palmer charging from seven (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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