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Winter is a time to prepare for the new golf season, mentally and physically. Golf is tough enough for you to try to play much in winter. When I was a kid just starting to play the game in Philly, I’d put on three sweatshirts and play Cobbs Creek for 50 cents on frozen ground with 25 degrees temps. Cold? What cold? I felt no cold as the ball would roll about a million miles (as Rocco would put it), much to my delight. But that was then. Now, in my older middle age, my body and mind just can’t take the cold, wind, rain, and mud of winter, even in relatively mild northern California (I do get out a bit more this winter as we’ve had practically no rain and temps in the 60s so far). Instead, I watch the pros start off the season in Hawaii, swing a bit on my patio, putt ¬†on the rug with a device that guides me into a slight open/close pendulum stroke, joined a gym, and have purchased some very helpful apps for my iPhone/iPad.

My favorite app is Golf My Way by Jack Nicklaus. I love Jack’s breezy, personal style, from filming made at the height of his powers back in the early (more…)

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Back in the day before The Day, we didn’t have GPS devices or rangefinders to estimate the distance of our next shot. At best we had some yardage markers, but at the muni I learned the game on in Philly, even those were few and, literally, far between. We had to use experience, mostly, and our memories to pick the right club for the approach, or to choose driver or three wood if Cobbs Creek was within reach. A lot of times we were wrong, but much of the time we got it right with our blades and persimmon heads and steel shafts and wrapped leather grips and a ball that soon had more smiles than a beauty queen. It was a badge of honor to look at an approach shot and land it pin high. All in the foursome knew what it took to accomplish that feat. As a caddie in my teens at a private club, I had to know something about distances when I handed my man a club and went on to fore-caddie (we made four bucks a bag back then, and carried double).

Today, it’s a different story–a much different story. We’ve got GPS devices that give distances to the front, middle, and back of the green, water hazards, bunkers, and what it takes to reach and carry them; rangefinders that give exact yardage (more…)

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