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.