29 December 2010

    Is golf an expensive game?

    How much have you spent over the last twelve months on our glorious game?

    It's been an unusual year for me as I got back into it properly and bought a whole set of clubs so I have spent approx £600 on clubs, currently paying £65 pm on membership and will probably spend £60pm on drinks and a bite after the game. then of course there are days playing in societies and the like at other courses.

    Golf balls? I'm guessing in the region of £200 for the year.

    Total estimate for the last twelve months - £2,500. Ouch!

    22 December 2010

    Chipping out of thick rough

    Q. My issue is I am struggling with short chips especially out of thick rough; any tips would be much appreciated.

    A.  First thing is to realise that there is almost no chance of getting this to grip. So don't try.

    Depending on how thick and tangly the rough is there are a few shots to try. Picking the club up steeply like Gael says is a good option.

    But try this. Hit the ball fat. What will happen is that the ball will pop up more softly than if you try to hit it clean and run on landing.

    Will take lots of practice but it allows you to take some of the power off the shot whilst still hitting it hard enough to get through the grass. And often the problem with these shots is being too delicate to get through the thick rough and as a result the ball stays in there.

    17 December 2010

    Keeping warm in winter

    Now we're into the cold weather of winter,. what little tips do you guys have for keeping warm?

    My personal favourite is a flask of tomato soup spiced up with a bit of chilli powder.

    Hip flasks are another obvious one, what do you have in yours? I'm partial to a little nip of port.

    9 December 2010


    Hopefully, the events of Sept. 11, 2001 have put the importance of golf into the proper perspective. Yeah, you may miss a chip or putt that costs you that chance of breaking 70, 80, 90, or even a 100, but the reality is that, in the great scheme of things, your score is not as important as you once thought it was. YOU are alive and able to play. Other people can never play again. When things get tough, appreciate the fact that you're able to be out there golfing. Enjoy life's good times and rise up to its challenges. You should still care a lot. Still try to do your best. But the fact is -- life is real, golf is JUST a game.

    5 December 2010

    Think down to make it go up

    To pitch the ball up and over a menacing sand trap 20 or so yards away, you need to understand the concept of swinging DOWN on the ball. To do this, use a wedge on the driving range. Swing down on the shot with soft hands, catching the ball first on a descending blow. If you're not catching some turf AFTER YOU'VE HIT THE BALL, preferably creating some form of divot, then you are probably not swinging down on it enough. Keep your head DOWN until you have watched yourself swing THROUGH the ball, finishing with at least as much follow through as backswing. This will get the ball up and over any obstacle. The rest is gaining touch through practice.

    1 December 2010

    Rest your hands at the practice range

    All too often at the driving range, you hit so many shots in such a short time that you end up hitting it lousy due to excessive grip pressure. Take a few seconds in between shots, shake some of the tension out, and have a routine that keeps a death grip from sabotaging your practice sessions. Each practice shot should have a reason for being struck, should have its own value in the scheme of things, and should be hit with the proper grip pressure.

    27 November 2010

    Don't Play Fool's Golf

    The golfer that hits shots that flirt with unnecessary course obstacles like water hazards, OB stakes, groves of trees, WHEN THEY DON'T HAVE TO, is a fool. It is the golfer that rues woefully at the 19th hole bar that "they would have shot a good score" but for that quadruple bogey on the 9th hole (where they flirted with disater and lost) that CHOSE to go with driver on a lay-up hole. Or CHOSE to go at a pin right next to a water hazard and plunked two into the drink. Bad scores come from bad decisions just as much as from bad play. Don't make foolish decisions, and you'll have a lot less "what could have beens."

    23 November 2010


    For a 40 foot putt that you'll want to get down in two, you need to execute a putting stroke that will make the ball go somewhere between 38 and 42 feet. The key to two-putting is where you leave the first putt, so you have to figure the break, aim, set-up, and while striking the ball, think about DISTANCE, DISTANCE, DISTANCE. The closer you get, the better that second putt looks.

    17 November 2010

    Charity golf day let downs

    Was first out in a charity event in Dartmouth a few years back. Normal format - teams of 4 two scores to count. After 9 holes the wind got up and it started to lash with rain , we played on as the greens were still playable only to discover when we finished that everyone else had walked in.

    As we showered and changed we laughed about the wimps that had walked off the course and talked proudly of our 82 points achieved in such conditions. After the meal we sat back ready for our moment of glory when it was announced that all those that walked in would be awarded level par ( 4 points) for every hole they failed to complete. As it turned out we missed out on third place on count back so didn't even get a prize. If we had left the course after 9 holes we would have won by 3 points.

    Have any of you played in an event run by non golfers with no concept of the rules?

    14 November 2010

    Golfers you hate or dislike

    1. Stewart Cink - This annoying 'bald' man cannot be forgiven for denying Tom Watson Or Lee Westwood a Major Championship. He must be the most dislikeable man in golf.

    2. Jim Furyk - Another annoying 'bald' man, Jim is surely one of the most annoying golfers of all time, the 5 steps back before he putts out routine is ridiculous. Who can stand Jim Furyk?

    3. Dustin Johnson, yeah do he can hit the ball miles, but he must be one of the most boring men in golf, lets hope he cannot win the USPGA.

    4. Monty. A moody and unfaithful man, who blames everything except himself for his failings; a trait which i despise. Has underachieved for years by not winning a major.

    5. Sergio Garcia. Over-rated golfer with a temper, whose popularity is based solely on one major performance (his duel with Tiger) and his Ryder cup performances. Tinkers way too much with his swing, shows he does not have the mentality to win big.

    7 November 2010


    No, this isn't about playing the back tees versus the middle tees. It's a superstitious piece of advice I once got from a since-departed golfing buddy - "Never use a blue tee on a water hole." He bet me I'd put it in the water using a blue tee. I did. Then he bet me I'd clear the water using a white tee. I did. I lost two bets, but learned one lesson. Don't use a blue tee on a water hole.

    3 November 2010


    If you're smart, you'll lay up whenever distance isn't critical, and your normal drive puts you at risk of hitting into a hazard or getting into trouble. Strategically, you should lay up when the reward does not justify the risk. and you should lay up and use whatever club it takes to get you to your "favorite" distance.

    30 October 2010


    Soccer style kickers in football sometimes have the same trouble with hooking field goal attempts as golfers do with hooking tee shots. And it's the same principle. A hook is caused by having some degree of a closed club face at impact relative to the target line (the same way a kicker's foot is closed at impact relative to the goal posts). A golfer can change their grip and or alignment and or swing path to ever so slightly lessen the degree to which their clubface is closed at impact. Erratic kickers either make similar adjustments, or get sent packing. Think about making such adjustments.

    27 October 2010

    Practice out of divots

    When practicing at a driving range that has real grass and turf, you should practice a few iron shots out of your divots. Why? Because there are divots on courses. Golf is a game with many imperfect lies on the course, and you might need a confidence boost to know you can pull off a shot from a bad lie. Also, hitting iron shots out of divots requires a downward blow, not an upward scoop. It's good practice to work on the fundamental of hitting down on irons. Finally, you will have more confidence on good lie shots, because, you will have already proven you can hit from bad ones. It always happens. Big match. Key hole. You hit a perfect drive, yet end up in a divot. Now, instead of panicking, you'll do well. You'll have practiced it.

    23 October 2010

    Grip easy in traps

    One of the biggest mistakes you can make when hitting from a sand trap is to grip the club too tight and lose your control over where you want to strike the sand to get the ball out. Watch a professional golfer in a trap. Often times, you’ll see a very smooth, graceful swing approximately one to two inches behind the ball and a smooth follow through – not a violent smash at it. In order to be in control of that swing, you can't grip the club so tight you lose that finesse. It’s not a power shot. Grip the sand wedge as easily and as smoothly as you would on a twenty or so yard pitch shot. Take it easy. Grip it easy. Smoothness. Control. Successful shot.

    20 October 2010

    Make your own breaks

    A lot of golfers complain that they never get any breaks. That it's always the other guy that gets the breaks. Well, to get breaks to go your way, you've got to be in the right place, at the right time. And to be in that right place, you've got to be smart enough and bold enough to hit your shots there. For a miracle shot to go in, you've got to take enough club for it to have a chance to go in. If it's a left-to-right fifty foot putt, make sure you start it to the left and hit it at least fifty feet. Same with chips and pitches. Use enough club to get you far enough to have a chance for a break to happen. Be smart enough to determine where the right place is, take enough club, be bold enough to hit it there and “make your own breaks.”

    17 October 2010

    A putting tip

    Here's a mindset to think about next time you're putting. Make sure the hole gets in the way of the line through which you are putting. In other words, always make sure the line you choose is a railroad track-like path that includes going through the center of the cup. Visualize the line. Then, when striking the ball, it needs to be assertive – a shot that has a definite intention of traveling along a specific line. Don't putt defensively at the ball; putt through the ball. And if your line is right, the hole will ‘get in the way’ of your ball.

    14 October 2010

    Is Rory McIlroy overrated?

    Rory McIlroy
    There is no doubt that Rory McIlroy will be a very good player for years to come, but I have to say there seems to be a lot of hype around this young player. My question is "has he done enough to justify this hype since 2007"?.... sure his career is littered with top 10 finishes and 2 wins but when you compare his record to a genuine sensation like Martin Kaymer and his 8 wins including 1 major the hype begins to look over blown.

    I remember when Rory first came out on tour and Chubby would say things like: next world number one is Rory McIlroy or Rory will dominate the game for years to come. He may well dominate the game for years to come but at the moment he looks more Sergio Garcia than Tiger Woods and to put that level of expectation on a player so young is unfair in the extreme, particularly from quarters that are supposed to protect the young man.

    It could be said that last weekends Alfred Dunhill Links Tournament was the perfect example of what it takes to be world number one... you had several different approaches and I think they each tell a story.

    1) Lee Westwood - apparently chasing down the No.1 spot contended all week until his calf was clearly failing however it was his attitude that impressed me. He was just out there getting it done. He knew that in any field he had a chance that weekend to go out and be world number 1. Despite a no doubt deserved celebration following a fantastic performance in the Ryder Cup.

    2) Martin Kaymer - Never going into a tournament thinking anything other than win... taking to the course 3 days after the Ryder Cup and winning with ease. Pure class. Astonishing performance and a clear indication of his undoubted mental strength to go with the immense talent.

    3) Tiger Woods - Work in progress swing, lots of work to do at home on the range and despite the closing europeans on his No.1 position, like a fine michelin starred chef, he wont send his talent out until it is ready or unless he feels he can win. Heads home to do some work.

    4) Rory McIlroy - happy to tell the watching sky viewers that he has enjoyed the celebrations, was unable to get up for a practice round following the deserved celebrations and finished outside the top 50. That is the attitude of a young man not the future world No.1.

    My point being that at the moment Rory is a huge bag of potential, he is young and enjoying the trappings of a multi millionaire, he has endless comparisons to Tiger Woods and carries a weight of expectation around with him. This is my problem, unfortunately sky commentators seem prepared to blow this tiger comparison up as much as possible "he is better than tiger woods was at the same age" is a familiar chime.... he is not... not close.... at the same age Tiger had won everything there was to win in the amateur game several times over, won 2 times from 8 starts including 5 consecutive top 5 finishes in his rookie year as a 20 year old, and to top it off within one year of turning pro and at the age of 21 he had won the Masters at a canter before going on to win a further 4 times. Going to a tournament after the Ryder Cup and several heavy nights celebrating would never enter Tigers mind, he simply would not be there unless he could prepare properly and compete for the win. that is what sets a great champion apart from a champion.

    Tiger Woods is and was unique, Rory cannot now emulate his record in terms of chronology but he can and will set his own records, but there are currently better young players plying their trade in the professional ranks. Don't get me wrong he is fantastic a real genuine major winner elect with a swing that is seriously good looking.

    I for one hope that the hype surrounding him will be fulfilled but is it justified or fair?


    Everyone should find a distance into the green - something between about 50 and 120 yards - and get great at that distance. If your ideal distance is, say, a 90 yard pitching wedge, get so good from 90 yards out that you know you can put it on every time. Then, every time you have to lay up, play it to your ideal distance - and your score will drop.

    13 October 2010

    Keep your tempo during winter

    During the winter months, when you cannot play or practice very often, you can still do some exercises to maintain good timing and swing tempo. This exercise is called a tempo-check. All that you have to do is count to seven while you are swinging. Begin counting, at a comfortable pace, at the start of your swing. By the time you reach the finish of your swing, you should have reached ‘seven’ in your counting. Repeat this exercise and you will have improved swing tempo when you return to the golf course.

    10 October 2010

    Martink Kaymer is Something Special

    After watching Martin Kaymer now win three consecutive tournaments (4 including the Ryder Cup), I begin to wonder just how long it will be before he gets to the top of the rankings. He played unbelievably well again today and just makes things look so easy. He also has the great mental strength to cope under pressure hence the nickname ' ice man ' . The commentary team today also believe that he will win many, many majors and will stay at world number 1 for a very long time.

    I just wanted to create this post to see what all you huge golf fans think of Martin and what he will achieve and his potential. Because many people today seem to be talking of Westwood and only him. Perhaps rightly so as he deserves to be no1, but Martin Kaymer for me is a very special player. One that others are going to have a very hard time stopping.


    One of the biggest mistakes a golfer can make is to end a practice session with a bad "last shot," and not do anything about it. A bad tee shot, or missed four foot putt as your last practice shot leaves you with negativity and doubt during your round, when you need all the positive thoughts you can. Use a favorite club if necessary, but take the time to do whatever it takes to have a good, successful "last shot," even if it means making a one foot putt to make sure you leave on some kind of positive note.

    7 October 2010

    Will Faldo's innovation be carried on?

    nick faldo and colin montgomerie
    It was interesting to see among the many celebrations after a wonderful Ryder cup triumph that many people, players, pundits and fans alike, could not resist having a pop at Faldo and his captaincy at Valhalla. Whatever the rights and wrongs of this criticism, it was disappointing that Monty could not acknowledge the one innovation Faldo made (I am fairly sure no one has done it before,) and which served Monty in two ways.

    The innovation I am talking of was to invite a promising newcomer who had not quite made the team to "observe" the procedeedings and gain experience for the next one. This helped Monty in that the recipient of Faldo's invitation, Martin Kaymer, who was much better prepared for this year's competition (he has acknowledged this) and it also paved the way for him to invite Rhys Davies to Celtic Manor. It was sad that amongst the criticsm of Faldo Monty could not praise a good idea, which he had borrowed.

    Moving on to Chicago I can see very few rookies in the European team, with the possible exception of Rhys. If you look at the World Rankings you will see that the top sixteen Europeans have all played in the Ryder Cup, so competition next time round will be even more fierce, especially if people like Garcia, Wilson and
    Stenson rediscover their form.

    My prediction therefore for the Faldo invitation (as I hope it will now be named) is definitely Matteo Manassero. I doubt whether he will be ready for his debut in two years, (although you never know), and to take him as an observer would be a perfect preparation for Gleneagles and future appearances in the States.

    Got any nominations?


    When you get IN trouble, get OUT of trouble, as soon as, and as efficiently as possible. High scores on holes don't come from being on fairways and greens. They come from being in lakes, traps, trees, and rough. Don't try for high risk miracles and ruin your whole round. Take your medicine, get back into play and turn that potential disease of a high score into a mere hiccup of a bogey.

    5 October 2010

    What Next for Colin Montgomerie?

    Colin Montgomerie has made a good decision by standing down as European Ryder Cup captain. Drama like this year comes infrequently and he knows how much grief he would have got for his selections if his team had gained just 1/2 a point less - the margins between genius and clod were narrow and, as he has said, outside his hands once play started (there is a case for saying that a Captain really proves his mettle in a close contest, others say that it was only close because of some of his errors - in truth we don't know). Whatever the truth, Monty in the States in 2012 as a media focus who can't escape by playing might have been an accident waiting to happen. The US team have shown that they 'get' the Ryder Cup and they will be a tougher proposition over there on and off the course, I'm sure.

    Maybe he will be able to eke out another year of decent play on tour with all that palava behind him - he was pretty good as recently as 2006 and he should be a whole lot calmer now. Barring an absoulte miracle it's pretty clear that he had his last two chances at a Major in 2005-2006 and he's reconciled to going without now - after the ups and downs of his (successful but lopsided) career it must be a nice feeling that he's got nothing more to prove in Golf. You kind of feel that the whole of the last 10 or so years of his career, when it began to look as though he would most likely not get that elusive Major, was building up to this moment.

    It will be interesting to see if he goes and plays on the Seniors Tour (only 3 years away) where he might well pick up a few Seniors Majors - I'd like that.

    I still find him a slightly ridiculous (if entertaining) figure, but it's only fair to reflect that he's done extremely well this cup, he's worked very hard - it's clear that from his side the arrangements have been excellent and made the players feel relaxed and happy and part of a team who want to go out and play for each other (and him). It's impressive that his players speak so highly of him - although a win tends to rose-tint most things.

    What next for Montgomerie then - he may have a bit of a repair job to do with his 2nd Marriage after whatever it was that caused him to get a 'super injunction', but away from that he lives for golf and I hope that we see him involved publicly in some capacity (as opposed to less visibly on the corporate circuit and with golf design). Maybe as a commentator in time - he's far from unintelligent, he's articulate, he thinks about what's going on and and he expresses himself forcefully and clearly without collapsing in to cliche-speak. Now that he is properly away from the arena of needing to prove himself on or off the course, he may be able to be more relaxed without any axe to grind or grudge to avoid.

    Even those who are not big fans of him like myself need to acknowledge his achievements in the game and that the Golfing world would be a more dreary place without him being visible in some capacity or other.

    When Golf Leads By Example

    I was there yesterday watching the closing day of this great competition called the Ryder Cup and have to say that for sheer sportsmanship and dramatic entertainment it takes some beating.

    Well done Europe and well done Monty the captain. Well played the USA who fought like demons to ratain the Cup. But special thanks to all those that make this one of the most special competitions in the sporting calendar.

    Brilliant special stuff and truly one of the greatest sporting spectacles in the world.

    Hats off to Stewart Cink

    For those that haven't seen the US Ryder Cup team interview, take a look at a true gentleman.... Stewart Cink.


    US Ryder Cup teams are often accused of not having the team spirit and cameraderie that is all too apparent in nearly every European team. However, I was surprised that none of Hunter Mahan's fellow team mates spoke up during his interview when he was so obviously distraught after losing his match.

    The fact that Cink spoke up afterwards, in defence of Mahan, shows the measure of the man. Despite being an ardent European fan, I have the utmost respect for Cink as a golfer, and now even more so as a man. It is such displays of integrity that makes golf stand out from all other sports played professionally, and serves to re-inforce my love of both playing and watching the game.

    Stewart Cink, I salute you.

    3 October 2010

    Soft Grip on Putts

    If you're not gripping your putts softly, you'll never have any feel. Watch a pro sometimes and you'll see a putting grip that is held as softly as possible. That's firm enough to control the stroke, but hands on the club should feel soft, soft soft. By gripping it softly, you allow yourself to actually stroke through the ball firmly, thus allowing it to stay on a good line for the first few feet, and have enough touch on it to be dying at approximately the right spot at or around the hole. Think "Grip softly and putt firmly through the ball" and you'll find your distance control improving.

    30 September 2010

    Fix Your Ball Marks

    More and more I'm seeing these pock marks on greens from ball-marks that weren't fixed. And I'm hearing people bitching and complaining that the greens weren't very good. That's because you, you and you, who didn't bother to repair your ball marks, caused it! Fix the damage YOUR BALL caused to that green!! And while you're there, fix one more. If everyone got in that habit, we'd have better greens.

    29 September 2010


    When you have a steep downhill lag putt that looks like it will roll off the back of the green, think about leaving the putt about three feet short of the hole, as the natural tendency is to hit it long. Not five to ten feet short, but three feet short, as you want it to be tap in distance in case it DOES stop short. But if it's a STEEP lag, it should trickle at least those last three feet and die right about the hole.

    28 September 2010

    Reasons why I'm leaning towards U.S.A

    With the start of the Ryder Cup fast approaching, my confidence is not as high as it once was.

    Forget the argument over picking Harrington over Casey. As Monty says, Harrington is a 3 time major champion and this can be judged at the end of the weekend.

    My main concerns are as follows:

    firstly, i do not see any leaders within the European team.

    People say this is the strongest ever team but i do not agree. There are no leaders on the course such as Faldo, Garcia, Seve, Langer and Monty himself.

    The two most experienced players are Harrington and Westwood, one of which is focussed on getting his own game in some sort of order, the other is just returning fromn injury.

    Then there are the Molinari brothers. I am a huge fan of theres, however when was the last time two rookies were paired together and won? There is a massive difference in pressure to the ryder cup to the world pairs which they won and it will be interesting to see how they cope.

    Should they lose there opening pairs match convincingly then i believe this will give Monty a massive headache. Does he split them up or give the brothers a second chance?

    Then there is Tiger Woods. Tiger has had more than enough time to get his game back in order and he will be determined to prove that Pavin was right to give him a wildcard.

    This will be closer than what some people think.


    The cardinal sin of all golf is to leave an easy 5 to 6 putt short of the hole. That 2 inch tap in now counts the same as your 250 yard drive. Do yourself a favor and practice, practice, practice a short putting stroke that will consistently be firm enough to ALWAYS reach the cup.

    27 September 2010


    Sometime before a round, on the practice green try putting against a friend for money, say a quarter a hole. Nothing during a round will be as difficult as the crucible of having already faced pressure putts against your playing patner. Making a tough five-footer? Having to lay a long putt from distance? If you've already practiced it - you can have the feeling of "been there, done that."

    20 September 2010

    Laura Davies Does It Again

    Laura Davies wins Open de España Femenino
    One of Britain’s all-time greatest golfers Laura Davies shot a final round of level par 71 to win the Open de España Femenino and claim her 76th career title at Flamingos Golf in Benahavís on the Costa del Sol.

    This is Laura's fourth title this season on the LET (Ladies European Tour) winning in Austria, Germany and New Zealand. With todays win it also means that Laura Davies moves from 3rd to 1st in the LET’s 2010 Henderson Money List. Davies has finished 1st on the Henderson Money List on seven occasions (1985, 1986, 1992, 1996, 1999, 2004 and 2006) and going for an eighth.

    Davies is also positioned 1st in the standing for the European Solheim Cup team. Davies is the only player to have played in every Solheim Cup match from 1990 to 2009.

    In 2004 Davies was the first woman to compete in the men's European Tour, entering the ANZ Championship in Sydney, Australia. She failed to make the cut, finishing second to last.

    Laura Davies is arguably the greatest English female golfer of all time and one of the best in the world. Now age 46 Davies is playing some of the best golf of her career and shows no sign of stopping.

    The Ryder Cup Should Have Category A Status

    The Ryder Cup trophy
    I cannot understand why the Ryder Cup is not afforded 'Category A' status in the ITC Code on Sports and Other Listed Events.

    The Ryder Cup currently has only 'Category B' status, which means it can be shown by a pay TV channel, provided that highlights are available on free-to-air channels.

    Surely, it should rank alongside the FIFA World Cup, the Olympic Games, the FA Cup Final, the Grand National, etc and live coverage on terrestrial TV be mandatory.

    17 September 2010

    Project X 6.0 Flighted Shaft

    The rifle 6.0 shafts are comparable in flex to somewhere between s300 and x100 on the Dynamic gold scale. When compared to a 5.5 (which is generally rated as around s300ish) it's obviously a firmer shaft.

    The difference in flighted and non-flighted is purely the launch angle that they generate through the set. The shorter irons give a lower launch for accuracy/flight control and the longer irons a much higher launch for distance in the air.

    They suit a powerful/aggressive swing rather than a smooth one at the rating that they have and are a fairly heavy shaft.

    In terms of hitting down/sweeping... I would say that a hitter would get more from these than a sweeper.

    Personally I don't like the Project X. I think it feels very harsh at impact compared to the standard rifle I use.

    On top of that a lot of people think they 'feel' stiffer than a regular rifle. But that's very personal.

    A Trip Down Memory Lane

    Things that I remember in my golfing lifetime.....

    1.62" balls

    The first metal drivers

    Seve's fist pumping on the 18th at St Andrews

    Torrance with his arms aloft after holing the winning putt in the Ryder Cup at the Belfry in 1985

    Diamond pattern Pringle jumpers

    Leather gloves that lasted about 3 weeks.

    Par 4's over 400 yards were considered long!

    Waterproofs that weren't!!

    Wound golf balls that made a lovely 'click' when you hit them

    Wound leather grips that needed washing often

    2 woods (brassies)

    Tiny headed wooden drivers with plastic face inserts

    Brown Rubber Spiked Dunlop Golf shoes with kilties on them

    Sets of clubs with pro's names on them (Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player)

    Dunlop Warwick Golf Balls in red wrappers for 4/6 (22 and half pence)

    Annual Subs of £3

    Have you got any more to add?

    Donald ‘saviour of classics’ Trump

    Donald Trump posing with golf club
    As much as I dislike all aspects of Donald Trump's project in Aberdeenshire his desire to hold an open championship does pose an interesting question.

    For me it is centred around how much I value pro golf and how important pandering to pro golf is over maintaining the game for the everyday player. My first reaction to his desire to hold the open at his new Aberdeenshire course was ‘the man's a fruit loop, the open should never leave the classic venues’.

    My second thought was why should a second rate course get the honour of holding the open above classics like St Georges and TOC. However if you think about it, the current pro game is so far removed from the roots of golf, is this really an issue?

    I am not sure if this idea holds but I am starting to think that the future of the open should be at venues like Trump's, Castle Stuart or Dundonald. Changing the 17th at TOC certainly strengthens the argument for me. I have a fear that in the coming years as the ball gets more an more out of control the classic courses on the open rota may be altered to the detriment of 99% of the people who play them, i.e. the average golfer, for the benefit of the pro’s coming to town every 10 years.

    I see using these new courses as a preservation technique to make sure the work’s of Harry Colt, Old Tom, JH Taylor, Hawtree, Fowler and Mackenzie remain intact for generations to come. This of course ignores the fact that future generations may not benefit from some of the rarest dunesland in the world. But hey, what’s more important golf or the environment?

    If pro golf needs a goofy course like winged foot to have a tight finish topped with more than a smidgen of farce I propose Trump's dunes as the perfect golfing super bowl venue.

    16 September 2010

    PGA Tour: Taking A Week Off

    Tiger Woods: driven to drink

    The Tour, not me.

    The PGA Tour concedes this weekend's television viewing to Football, NFL and College varieties, and we have to wait until next weekend for the Tour Championship at Atlanta's East Lake GC.
    And then, when the Atlanta dust has settled and $10M has been won, not to mention the $295K minimum bounty that goes to each of the 30 combatants, we'll be back for the final five events of the season, the Fall Series and lots to play for.

    Although next week's field are secure with their "playing privileges" for 2011, there are a number of well known golfers striving to reach the magic top 125 on the money list. Assuming this year's threshold to be about $800K, the following are among those who still have money to make:
    Duval, Imada, Curtis, Baddeley, Sutherland, Baird, Austin, Stenson and Stroud are currently inside the top 125.
    And these are on the outside looking in:
    McCarron, Byrd, Weir, RS Johnson, Quinney, Quigley, Goggin, MacKenzie, DiMarco, Pampling, Jeev Milkha Singh, Owen and Chopra. Oh, and Daly of course.

    The first Fall Series event, the same weekend as the Ryder Cup, is the Viking Classic in Mississippi, to be followed intermittently by stops in Georgia, Las Vegas (Martin Laird's title defence), California and Orlando.
    But some of these players have been sharpening their games on the Nationwide Tour, Daly and Chopra, MacKenzie and Mallinger, Stroud, Goggin and Quinney, while others are using the Nationwide as a rehab stop prior to returning to Tour business. Rich Beem for one. And Carl Paulson for another.

    You don't remember Paulson? Only six years ago he was a Tour regular, the 54-hole leader of The Players. But back injuries have kept him off Tour for more than five years now. He has a Major Medical Exemption for 2010 which will doubtless be carried over to 2011, but it's become a different game in his absence and we'll watch his progress with interest and best wishes.

    Some other thoughts on recent events:

    *Those disparaging the validity of a World Ranking system based on 2 years' results that still has Tiger Woods at #1 will have been interested to see Vera Zvonareva climb from 8 to 4 on the one-year WTA Rankings following her defeat in the US Open Tennis final. Meanwhile, winner Kim Clijsters slipped from 3 to 5.

    *Paul Casey's case for inclusion in Montgomerie's Ryder Cup Team has earned a lot of ink. Given that support of the European Tour was clearly a factor in the Team "picks", it is worth noting the number of 2010 "European Tour" qualifying events played by some golfers:
    Casey and McIlroy: 12
    Donald and Poulter: 11
    Harrington: 9
    Rose: 6

    *There will be continuing arguments about qualifying for the European Team, but there is surely a case for remembering that some European Tour golfers who have seldom played in the States have played pivotal roles in earlier European wins.
    Mike Cowan was caddying for Fred Couples when Christy O'Connor Jnr laced his 2-iron 200 yards to the Belfry's 18th in 1989: "One of the most phenomenal shots in the history of the game," said Fluff, whose man Fred flared a 9-iron wide of the green.
    Rafferty, James and Canizares were among others to win that day, and the recent list of successful Euro-only players is well known.

    Is it possible that the esprit de corps, so famously a part of European victories of the past, is less a force when the contestants are playing against those they play with week in, week out on Tour? The Presidents Cup effect??
    Regardless, it will be interesting to measure the relative successes of the Molinaris, Fisher and Hanson in Wales.

    Past year's Nationwide Tour events have featured European golfers enjoying success, Richard Johnson leading money-winner just three years ago, the same year Martin Laird "graduated". Gronberg and Bjornstadt earned Tour cards on the back of Nationwide success last year, but few Europeans have competed this year, Jonas Blixt and Gary Christian the only full-timers and neither close to their card at present.

    But you know that the stars of tomorrow's PGA Tour will mostly come from the Nationwide, and Chris Kirk, Kevin Chappell and Jamie Lovemark are certain to be Tour regulars next year, likely all making quite a splash.
    As is Tommy Two Gloves Gainey, third in money won and who would bet against him following in the footsteps of Boo Weekley a few years ago? Both earned their cards perhaps before they were ready, went back to the Nationwide to consolidate their earlier success and, in Boo's case the rest is history. Gainey's coming to a tournament near you. Or at least me.

    Dream partners? Nightmare opponent?

    Of this year's Ryder Cup teams (including all the potential candidates for US wildcards);

    a) Who would you most like to partner in foursomes and fourballs?

    b) Who would you least like to be playing against?

    I think Luke Donald is an ideal foursomes partner and Rory McIlroy for fourballs.

    I'd hate to be up against Steve Stricker - he's super consistent, but yet even if you beat him it somehow doesn't quite have the kudos of beating Woods, Mickelson or Furyk.

    14 September 2010

    Camilo Villegas - A future major champion?

    Watched the USPGA with interest last week and the man I followed most closely was Camilo Villegas as he is my favourite golfer and I had a few euros on him... This guy played really good golf all week and only for a few silly mistakes would have won this tournament! He really rallied on day 4 and had he to par 9 and 10 of his final round he would have found himself in a playoff... Ifs and buts I know but still it was a really good performance from him!

    Anyway what I am wanting to know is do you think Camilo will win a major? I think next year he will definately challenge in at least one of the majors and I will be very surprised if he does not win a major in the next couple of years...

    Chipping With Your 3-Wood

    A 3-wood is an option for chipping.

    It's played the same as the bladed wedge but has the advantage of being a club with a wide sole so it skids better through the rough.

    Lastly, a shot that Michael Campbell showed me is to get the ball way outside your right foot.

    Keeping the left shoulder low, make a short chop-swing at the ball with your most lofted club.

    The ball will skid out and then actually check on its way to the hole.

    A great shot from a tall collar, but it needs practice.

    6 June 2010

    Putting without looking...

     Has anyone else tried this, or heard of it? I played with a friend-of-a-friend last weekend. He's an 8 handicap, hits the ball very nicely and on the day he hit a 78. But one thing he did amazed me.

    When he putted (at the moment of impact), he didn't look at the ball, he looked at the hole. His set-up was much like anyone else's - club down, get feet in position, get body set, look at hole, look at ball etc. However, his last movement before striking the ball, once he was completely set and still, was to move his eyes to the hole (by tilting his head), hold for about 2 seconds, then make the putt.

    His reasoning, which I understand, is that once he is set and in position, he doesn't need to look at the ball to make a good contact, and that by focusing on the hole he had a much better feel and gauge of the distance, which he had previously been struggling with. I have seen this done on the practice green before but he is the first player i have seen take this onto the course. Fair play to the bloke though, as I say he hit 78 and putted like a pro, absolutely brilliant.

    Anyone tried anything similar?

    3 June 2010

    Match Fit for Golf?

    After most bookmakers making Tiger favourite for the US Masters after his hiatus from golf, I was having a ponder about whether it really matters if you haven't played competitively for a while and then come back. Clearly this is assuming there is no physical injury involved.

    Surely golf is one of the few sports where you can recreate the same conditions in practise as you would in competition, you are always playing the course rather than somebody else. In Woods' case, surely a month or so is easily enough time to hone a swing when you have swung a club for most of your life anyway.

    In football or tennis it would be hard to recreate the intensity that a live opponent would bring, this really is not the case in golf. In fact, you could say he could be gaining an advantage by spending all his time practising shots that will be called upon to use at Augusta rather than spending time playing other courses. But equally he can play as many rounds as he likes between now and the start of the Masters. And he can play them with other top pros to add an element of competition.

    Sure we have no idea how he will be mentally, he has admitted as much himself. But purely from a physical and technical point of view I cant see any reason why missing tournaments others have played should make much of a difference.

    30 May 2010

    Advice from Nicklaus - approaching greens

    Taken from "The best of Nicklaus' golf (1992)" here are some points worth discussing.

    Lesson 50 Principles of position Play
    -"when you pass a hole you'll be playing later do you note the pin position? I'd bet that not 5 in a hundred weekend golfers do it habitually"
    -"there is an ideal route for playing every hole of golf"
    -"go to the movies"

    Lesson 51 Iron shot strategy
    -"always and I mean always tee the ball up on par-3 holes"

    Lesson 52 Distance factors in approaching
    -"On all approach shots I take a club that I believe will get me up, even if I miss it slightly"
    -"trouble behind greens is frequently less severe than hazards in front"

    Lesson 53 When to gamble on approach shots
    -""working in from the middle.""
    -"by aiming say 20 feet to the left or right of the pin and trying to fade or draw the ball in toward it, I give myself a much greater margin for error. Now I can miss the shot by 40 feet and still keep the ball within 20 feet of the hole."

    I doubt these points will have been raised with McIlroy but definitely most of them I rarely see my playing partners doing in Club golf.

    My routine is:
    1. Think about the approach before the previous shot.
    2. Work out the distance to the front, middle, and back of the green.
    3. Consider the best side to miss the green. (not that I usually do)
    4. Consider the behaviour of the ball on the green.
    5. Check the lie of the ball (tight,rough, divot, downslope etc.)
    6. Check the wind (grass, tree tops, flag)
    7. Pick a spot that will leave an uphill putt if possible.
    8. Once decided on the yardage and effect of the wind I pick the appropriate club and programme the swing length with a few practice swings.
    9. Choose a shot shape into the green depending on the pin position.
    10. "Go to the movies"
    11. Set up for the shot shape.
    12. Hit the ball.
    13. Watch the ball land and stop near the flag.

    27 May 2010

    How to read putts

    Reading putts is like 'touch' in that it can't be taught but it can be learnt.

    Everyone's reading of a putt will be different, because everyone has a different putting stroke. I hit my putts with a bit of a hook (must be my only similarity with POD) and I've seen a lot of golfers who putt with a cut stroke - so for myself and someone with a putt stroke the reading of the same putt could be different by the width of the hole quite comfortably, but we may well both hole it.

    In the same way, a putt for me that has break will tend to have 'full' break as I aim to be as close to dead weight as I can be with any putt over 5 or 6 feet. People who hammer each and every putt at the hole will have real problems if they putt on those lines.

    You'll be able to find plenty of websites, books or magazine articles that promise to tell you how to read putts, but the only answer is to really try to reason why you think what you think (what factors are at play or is it genuinely just a gut feeling) and then be honest with the results - did it miss due to a bad stroke or due to a bad read, etc.

    10 May 2010

    Learn from the best

    You'll probably be pleased to hear that one of the most effective ways to improve is simply by watching the top players in the world on television. By scrutinising the technique of Tiger Woods or Ernie Els, you will see just how a good swing should look.

    The top pros all have a perfect posture, and they remain well balanced throughout the swing. By having a picture of their technique in your mind when you swing, your own mechanics are likely to improve without having to work too hard on the range.

    It is also worth watching how such top players prepare to play. The majority of them have a pre-shot routine to help focus on the situation at hand. Again, if you copy one particular pre-shot routine that you like, you are likely to become a better player.

    Good luck, and here's an excellent Tiger Woods swing video to get you started.

    3 May 2010

    Get lessons to get ahead

    To make a lasting improvement to your swing, it's really important to take regular lessons with a qualified pro - and a good one at that.

    They will be able to assess your game in the cold light of day, hopefully using the latest gadgets to tell you swing plane stats and how the ball is coming off the clubface. But most importantly, they'll simply take a look at your swing and be able to give you some good advice because they've seen it all before.

    If you are serious about shooting low scores and you're not a child prodigy, your only real option is to get lessons from someone who knows what they're doing. It will be worth the money and it most certainly will be worth the time.

    Regular lessons over the course of months or years will help you and your chosen pro get to know your strengths, weaknesses and things you need to work on to break into the low numbers.

    Golf is only fun when you're winning, right?

    27 April 2010

    What's your worst moment on the golf course?

    We had your Seve moments recently, now we're going to talk about the opposite - the Van de Velde moments if you will.

    Mine came at the par three 14th at The Oxfordshire - a fairly straightforward 165-yard hole - huge bunker all the way up the left and a bit of a muddy mess immediately in front of the raised tee.

    Needless to say I plopped a five iron into the muddy rough and a after a brief search, we found said ball, which had appeared to spin back after almost plugging.

    What followed next can only be described as a nightmare.

    I managed to top my next shot, slamming it deep underground and unplayable, so a drop and a pulled nine iron left me in the bunker, some dozen feet or so beneath the green and short-sided.

    Two out the sand on to the bank and by this point I could feel myself going. Shot seven was hit with no thought or care, but it turned out to be the best of the lot, to a foot of the pin and my playing parner kindly spared my the possibility of missing it.

    An eight.

    Okay, I've had worse scores, but I'd been playing some really nice, steady golf (we both had), good course management and after a 46 out, was on course for a low 90s score.

    In the end, a five on the last brought me home in 98 and although I would have settled for breaking 100 at the start of the round, it felt like disappointing score.

    Great course though, certainly helped by the fact we seemed to be the only place in Britain without rain. Driving up the M40 we both doubted whether we would get a game as it was fairly chucking it down and visibility down to a decent pitching wedge.

    But the rain abated for four hours and we had an enjoyable morning.

    Lovely course, with some excellent holes - particularly enjoyed the par four eighth with two shots over water to a green that felt like an island and the par 5 17th, which has an intriguing second over water should you be long enough off the tee.

    Felt quite links-y in places with lots of pot bunkers - in fact, lots of sand in general.

    Anyway, tell me about your round-wreckers in the comments below.

    20 April 2010

    Reading putts - an art in itself?

    Yesterday played a Texas Scramble, four of us playing in pairs usual rules picking best shot from two after each shot.
    Watching my playing partner putt first I had amazing results with my putting, sinking three longish putts. This made me think, just how good (or bad) am I at reading putts? Given I haven't putted that well in ages it made me think that usually I must be pretty poor at reading putts.

    Question - is it an acquired skill? Has anyone had lessons in this?

    15 April 2010

    Your Seve moment

    First round of the year for me yesterday and, all things considered (one blast on the range and a few putts on Monday, and an almost air-shot on the first tee with the following three ball watching) it turned out not too bad.

    I was at the Addington, near Croydon, courtesy of the vivabox golf vouchers thing, and once I'd replaced my ball (playing on my own, always have a mulligan on the first!) and hit to the edge of the green on the first (par three) then all settled down.

    Until I got to the sixth and stuck my tee shot behind a tree on the left of the fairway. About 160 yards to the centre of the green and the prospect of PG Wodehouse's famed bunker guarding up the right.

    Out came the six iron, gripped down the shaft to try and keep the ball low as there were overhanging branches 50 yards ahead to keep under.

    My big fear was hitting the tree and being forced to deal with the inevitable ricochet - I had pictures in my mind of my wife being called to stretcher my stricken body away - but no, I hit the shot of my life - I even somehow managed to end up like Seve with arms in the air, striding after the ball.

    It set out towards the right and drew back to finish on the front edge and I escaped with my only par of the day.

    I'm just glad it didn't stay out right because I would have been in that bunker and having got up close to it, the picture does not do justice to the depth of that hollow!

    I blame the adrenaline for my minor disaster on the 140-yard par three seventh when I flicked my pitching wedge a good 15 yards over the back of the green and then duffed the return pitch and walked off with a five - gotta love this game!

    So, brighten up my Friday and let me have your dream shots - those escapes from near impossible positions to set up birdies, pars, or even just because it felt great.

    14 April 2010

    Shot of the year from the 2010 Masters - Phil Mickelson

    With every great championship, comes a shot that defines the whole thing. For this year's US Masters champion, it was this peach at the 13th.

    Why was this shot so good? Well, for one, it required sublime shot-shaping abilities to keep it low and whip it around the trees. It also required nerves of steel and great guts to go for it when he could have simply chipped out and gone for par or bogey.

    This is around 200 yards out, there's a creek in the way, he's playing off the pine cones and he's gunning for a major on the last day. Kudos to you, Phil Mickelson.


    9 April 2010

    Reaction to Tiger's new Nike ad

    So, Nike are attempting to re-brand Woods as the wounded warrior, rather than the perfect machine he was before. Marketing people are often smart, but they often miss the mark too. This ad definitely misses the mark; for every one person who says "oh my god, that's amazing", there's 99 saying "Jesus CHRIST, that's embarrassing.".

    And the parodies have already started, take this video from thecaseydonahue on YouTube:

    Oh and here's the original in case you haven't seen it yet:

    5 April 2010

    David Leadbetter's Perfect Posture Drill

    This is a great tip by the best golf coach of them all - David Leadbetter.

    In this video he discusses the importance of a perfect posture and an easy drill to help you attain it.

    For more golf videos, go to our channel page here.

    3 April 2010

    Using Yoga to keep fit for golf

    Yoga exercises and poses are an excellent method to improve flexibility for seniors since one is never too old to practice them. It teaches you proper breathing methods that allow you to relax while improving your stamina and concentration. The effects may not look beneficial from the outside, but it is very potent on the inside.

    You should start out slowly with a few easy poses and practice at least 4 - 5 times a week. Some experts recommend the morning hours while others prefer the evening hours before you go to bed - which, they say, should loosen up your tense muscles for better results.

    The most important thing on the golf course, is proper posture; and this can be a huge challenge for most senior golfers. You should practice this simple exercise, standing in front of a mirror:

    Standing as straight as possible with your back against a wall, pull your stomach in as far as possible. Now press you buttock against the wall and straighten your shoulders to pull your hip cage up. Pull your shoulders back and stretch your neck out for as long as possible. Breathe deeply for 5 to 10 breathes. Relax and do this 5 to 10 times. If you do this daily, you will soon see improvements on, and off the golf course.

    Yoga practice consists of many exercises and/or poses - from the simply to the difficulty - which will increase your flexibility, thereby improving your golf swing. There are also many options of training - from simple do-it-yourself in the comfort of your home; or more structured classes from expert trainers. No equipment required, except a yoga mat.

    There are many styles of yoga that are practiced - from the physically demanding to the more meditative and gentle style of yoga. When you check into yoga, you will find several beginner yoga classes. You will also find tapes out on the market, some of the yoga tapes are designed specifically for golfers and the issues they face. Check around for the style of yoga designed to fit your needs. You might want to check with the instructor about the instruction. Ask for specific physical requirements, the length and the level of concentration of the instruction in the class.

    A guide to golfing etiquette

    So you have been thinking of golf but unsure of what to do and how to do things on the golf course? Let us discuss a few of the basic things to do and how it happens on the golf course.

    Normally on the first tee there are two things to look for. First is the teeing ground, which is designated by two markers. The markers can be almost anything from small pumpkins to large tees or blocks. Most are colored to designate the different yardages. Check the scorecard to find out which color or markers you will play for the round. Once you pick those markers the tee box is two club lengths behind the markers and within this rectangle is where to tee the golf ball. Only the golf ball needs to be within the tee box.

    The next thing is to determine who hits first. This can be done in many different ways such as flipping a coin, tossing a tee and picking the one that the tee points to, to just a simple agreement between the players. After the first hole the player with the low score goes first until someone else wins the honor of hitting first by having the lowest score. From there, the lowest score, then the next lowest score will hit in that order. If a tie in the score happens the order of play stays the same.

    When playing between the tee and ground the player farthest from the hole plays first. Recently it is becoming poplar to play ready golf. The idea is to speed play for everyone on the course. I embrace the idea and have been playing during casual play for many years. The biggest issue in playing ready golf is safety. AS long as a player closer can play and is ready then they are free to do so.

    Ever hear of golf rage? Golf is a game that can be very frustrating. We will discuss how to minimize this frustration in a future article. For now please keep frustrations and related outbursts to a sane level. I have taken to saying something funny and positive after a poor shot. I got the idea from the James Bond movies. When Mr. Bond had to take care of an enemy, he always said something short and funny. This relieves the stress and frustration of the moment and allows a golfer to go forward to the next shot. So next time instead of upsetting the foursome and maybe the rest of the course with a loud expletive, say a short funny comment and keep play moving.

    Once to the green there are a few things to think of. Please repair any ball marks you have made and any other injuries to the putting area. Next be quiet and stop moving while another player is putting. In addition ask how they want the flagstick if there is any question. Last beware of the potential putting lines of the other players and avoid stepping in their lines.

    One last idea is to be polite to those around you. This will make the game more enjoyable and keep play going smoothly. Now that you know a little about proper etiquette, play well and have fun.

    2 April 2010

    Repeat winners at the majors

    After last year's tip on the majors, that no top ten player would win a major, I am going to tip that the majors will be won by players who have won it in the past this year.

    I think good course management, patience and the ability to handle the pressure are going to be the major concerns this year.

    There are a lot of very good younger players out there with very good chances to win but i feel that they are to agressive in their game and when it comes down to the crunch I think it will be their downfall.

    So get on some of your favourite past winners even if you go for places i think you will come out on top this year.

    Happy golf betting!

    29 March 2010

    An Open Letter to Tiger Woods

    Dear Tiger,

    As one of your biggest fans, I wanted to write to you to tell you how disappointed I am in the way things seem to be going in your world of late.

    You've always been my hero mostly cause I'm a golfing nut and I am baffled at what you can do with a golf ball, but also more on a personal level, because you were the very definition of strength, composure, focus and bottle - things I wish I had more of. Everything about you always seemed so admirable and honest. Until recently...

    Your personal life is your business and its clear to those who watch and take interest, that no matter what you say in carefully controlled speeches (probably written by your management company), that you dont really think you should have to explain yourself to people like me.

    When you consider your upbringing and the honour and integrity your parents seemed to drum into you, it would have suggested you would treat yourself, family and fans with the same values but now I liken you more to Michael Jackson - someone who missed out on their youth cause you were so busy being a prodigy and exploded in all the wrong ways some way down the road.

    Back to the apology speech. If someone has said to me months ago you'd see Tiger Woods up grovelling about infidelities to the world, I would have laughed. You put forward no emotion to suggest you really meant any of it (except when asking the press to leave your family alone of course). I never thought I would say this, but it felt like we were watching a sleazy politician address the nation to dig himself out of a hole.

    When news broke that you had been with more woman than I've had 3 puuts and pledged to put your career on hold to save your marriage, I couldn't help but thinking that the timing was all just a bit too well timed with your usual want to avoid golf between November and February. The real sacrifice I guess Elin would have been looking for, was for you to miss one or more of the majors (the only tournaments you seem to think are worth playing any more). And here you are, coming back in time conveniently for the first of the year. You really made your point with that one eh?

    Then there was that "rehab" thing. What was that all about? If someone had told me that the greatest sportsman of all time, a man who man considered super human, had gone to the lows of trying to kid himself that seeing a therapist would "cure" his inability to keep his hands to himself and vindicate himself with the public, I just wouldn't have believed it. This kind of trash behaviour is usually reserved for the super deluded element of Hollywood that live on another planet, so to hear you going down this route really killed it for me.

    Just another celebrity with too much money and power and whose lost all sense of what is important in life. So sad.

    I'm sure like many I will be glued to the TV when you grace us with your presence as even if you were a bank robber, it would still be hard to deny your ball striking is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.

    But the mystique of Tiger Woods is gone and I'm quite gutted to say that.

    I hope you get it together as the hopes of millions of seeing Nicklaus's record broken, are in your hands.


    A Fan.

    27 March 2010

    Golf is dependent on Tiger Woods

    My favourite golfer, who is probably bigger than the overall game of Golf, is returning at the US Masters.

    I am, of course, referring to 14-time major winner Tiger Woods.

    This is exactly what the game needs, because without Woods there's no star quality in the field. No golfers worth talking about. No excitement at the majors. And half the viewers only watch golf when Tiger's playing; which shows how dependent golf is on its talisman.

    Watching Tom Watson battle Stewart Cink in a play-off doesn't quite live up to watching Woods. Or watching chokers like Garcia and Mickelson throw it away again.

    You get my drift. Golf needs Tiger to make the sport worth watching again.

    Gain 15 yds off the Tee

    Well I finally got out to play golf for the first time this year and tried a couple of new things. One of those was my new TaylorMade R9s and they were great, but that's another story all together.

    One of my goals this year was to lower my spin and get a little more distance off the tee, I just didn't think it would be this easy. I usually tee the ball about an inch or two behind my front foot. Yesterday I was messing around and started putting the ball about an inch in front of my left foot. The result was amazing, the flight was a much higher lower spinning shot. I mean these things were bombed. I was hitting both types of shots on pretty much every hole for comparison and I walked off at least 15 yards farther on EVERY tee shot with the new method.

    What this does is have you hit the ball on the clubs upswing producing a higher launch angle with less spin. It may feel a little weird at address but it wasn't too much of a problem with me. Mess around with it a bit and see if anyone else has the success that I did. Oh yeah, and make sure to tee the ball pretty high.