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!