Better Chips Through Quiet Hands

Occasionally, newer and seasoned golfers alike get nervous over the ball when faced with a tough lie, forced carry or tight pin. But if your knees are knocking over every short shot, this tip is for you and better chips are on the way.

Next time you miss a green, let the thumb and index finger of your trail hand go along for the ride.

We’ve all heard “quiet hands” when it comes to chipping. What that really means is the muscles in your arms should be more active than the muscles in your hands. The easiest way to feel this separation is to take the thumb and index finger of your trail hand off the club when practicing chips. Using the muscles in those fingers are great for writing or throwing, but are very often the culprits to miserable chip shots. By removing these fingers from the grip you’ll take the flip move out of your swing, create a wider – more forgiving – impact area, and get up and down more often.

SOURCE:  golftipsmag.com

The Great Golf Ball Search

How To Find The Best Ball For Your Game

With so many brands of golf ball overloading the marketplace, it’s difficult if not confusing to figure out which one best fits your golf game.

Here’s a sensible game plan to help you logically conduct and conquer The Great Golf Ball Search.

First, ask yourself what you are looking for:

A – Distance

B – Accuracy

C – Short Game: touch, feel, and spin

If you answer all three, the search is over, as far as I’m concerned … the Pro V1 family. Look no further. For me, Titleist’s premier line is the best all-around ball, regardless of skill level, to deliver all of the above traits. Market research and testing proves that. Period, end of discussion.

To me, anyway. For you, the discussion may be different. There are a lot of good golf balls out there. Either way, here’s my advice on finding the perfect ball.

If your answer is A – Distance, be careful, because by boxing yourself into the “distance matters most” request (granted, every manufacturer has a ball to fulfill this request), you are severely tying one hand behind your back when it comes to the touchy-feely scoring shots.

B – Many balls today with a bevy of dimple designs and patterns do a wonderful job of helping the average golfer hold their line in windy conditions, and in fact almost self-correct to a degree, minimizing those off-line shots when you make the occasional poor swing.

C – Some manufacturers advertise their “softer feel” ball for the lower-swing-speed player, and also tell you these balls feel better around and on the putting surface. When you see this type of ad on your TV, change the channel or leave the room. It’s nonsense.

Let me tell you a personal story that happened in winter 2018-19 in Naples, Florida, where I live and teach. I have been a Titleist Leadership Advisory Board Member for many years.

I’m prejudiced with reason. As a competitive professional player many moons ago, and before that a fairly successful college player, I had access to any golf ball I wanted to play. It had always been an incredibly easy choice to make through the years: Whatever was the Titleist premium ball of the time period was the ball of choice. In my experience, they always out-performed the other balls hands-down.

Anyway, in October 2018 I turned 60. Ouch — it hurts to type and look at that number. I wondered if it was time for the Old Pro to find a ball (in the Titleist line of course) that would help me find a few extra yards while not hurting me on the scoring shots (my bread and butter), on and around the green. In the past, I had gone on similar journeys and always found yardage, but hated the greenside touch and feel results. About that time, Titleist suddenly launched the AVX, and it was and still is receiving rave reviews.

I grabbed a dozen Pro Vs and a dozen AVXs. For three consecutive evenings, after I finished teaching, I went out and played holes on the golf course, hitting several drives, second shots, pitches, chips, sand shots, and putts with several of each ball. I then played several rounds with the AVX on my home course. I’m sure you know on your home track where you generally drive the ball, as I do, and how your regular ball reacts when you hit any particular club into a green, how it feels off the putter face, and so on.

With the driver, both balls were similar. The AVX was a bit longer in the air (about half a club) with my irons, and compared to any previous distance-type ball it had much better feel on short shots. Still, the Pro V won out across the board. Just more consistent, better feel, better all-around performance.

You may very well find a different result.

What you must do when contemplating a ball change is conduct side-by-side on-course testing, hitting many golf shots with every club in your bag over several days (conditions change, as do you). Then and only then will you be able to make a sound decision.

Take a hard look at the Darrell Survey results the last 100 years. Titleist is played by a landslide percentage of tournament professionals around the globe. A small percentage of world-class players are paid big bucks to play a particular ball, but the vast majority are not. Given the choice, those golfers still choose Titleist.

Whatever brand and model you choose, don’t base it on some ad, or your buddies’ prompting; do it based on your own mini-testing. Play the ball that performs best tee through green for you. It’s the only piece of equipment that is involved in every shot you hit.

SOURCE: golftipsmag.com

Missing another tradition unlike any other: The Masters’ honorary starters

According to the weather report, the temperature in Augusta at 7:45 on Thursday morning is supposed to be 70 degrees, rising to a high of 85 by mid-afternoon.

If the world was a normal place right now, thousands of people would be preparing to pack around the first tee at Augusta National Golf Club to get a close look at Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as they walk onto the tee to take part in one of sport’s sweetest rituals.

Fred Ridley, Augusta National’s chairman, would introduce the two—Nicklaus, a six-time Masters champion; and Player, a three-time winner. Each would have warmed up, wanting to be sure they were loose enough to get their only shot of the 2020 Masters as far down the fairway as possible.

None of that will happen Thursday. Augusta National will be empty the way virtually every sporting venue—hallowed or not—is empty.

This would have been Nicklaus’s 11th year as an honorary starter and Player’s ninth. It has been the two of them alone on the tee since 2017. In 2016, Arnold Palmer was there but didn’t hit a shot. Nicklaus said later that at the Champions Dinner the previous night, he had tried to talk Palmer into taking a swing.

“I said to him, ‘Arnold, if you putt the ball off the tee, everyone will love it,’ ” Nicklaus said, adding, “He said he has some balance problems.”

Palmer had been an honorary starter since 2007—going at it solo for three years before Nicklaus and then Player were invited to join him. He sat on the tee that day in 2016, wearing his green jacket and, with a little help from Nicklaus, stood to acknowledge the cheers when then-club chairman Billy Payne introduced him.

When Nicklaus was introduced, he looked at his longtime rival and friend and had to wipe tears from his eyes. “I don’t know whether I’ve got tears or I’m just old,” he said.

2016 Masters Round 1
Augusta NationalNicklaus, Palmer and Player in 2016, the last year the trio appeared with each other for Augusta National’s kick-off celebration.

Clearly, the tears had nothing to do with his age. Five months later, on the eve of Ryder Cup week, Palmer passed away soon after turning 87.

The tradition of honorary starters at Augusta dates to 1963, when Jock Hutchison and Fred McLeod were asked to hit opening tee shots to start the tournament. Neither was a Masters champion, but Hutchison had won the first Senior PGA Championship, in 1937, and a year later McLeod won the second. Both those tournaments were played at Augusta National.

The two men shared the first tee until Hutchison, then 89, stepped aside in 1974. McLeod continued on alone through the 1976 tournament, taking his final swing at 93. A month later, he passed away.

Although the ceremonial tee shots are referred to as “an annual tradition,” there have been years when no one hit a shot before the actual start of the tournament.

After McLeod’s death, there were no ceremonial starters for the next four years. In 1981, Gene Sarazen and Byron Nelson were asked to become honorary starters. Nelson was a two-time Masters champion, and Sarazen’s one Masters victory, in 1935, featured “the shot heard round the world,” his 235-yard 4-wood on the 15th hole that found the hole for a double eagle.

In 1984, Sam Snead joined Sarazen and Nelson, and the three of them made the opening tee shot an important part of every Masters.

Honorary Starters, Sam Snead, Gene Sarazen, And Byron Nelson On The 1st Hole During The 1993 Masters Tournament
Augusta NationalSnead, Sarazen and Nelson held the ceremonial starter honors together starting in 1984.

Sarazen often provided highlight moments, not only with his ability to get the ball down the first fairway well into his 90s, but with his willingness to add to the chairman’s recitation of each player’s resume. When then-chairman Jack Stephens introduced Sarazen in 1994 as “a Masters, U.S. Open and British Open champion,” Sarazen said, “You forgot the PGA—I won the PGA three times.” The number of people on earth who could get away with publicly correcting an Augusta National chairman can usually be counted on one hand with fingers to spare. Stephens cracked up.

Sarazen was 97 the last time he teed it up, in 1999, and he died a month later. Nelson continued through 2001, leaving Snead as the sole swinger in 2002. Like McLeod and Sarazen, Snead died a month after his last ceremonial swing. One can’t help but wonder if each man pushed himself to make it to Augusta in April one last time.

After Snead’s death, there was another four-year gap with no starter until Palmer took over in 2007. There has been one fill-in starter: In 1983, Nelson couldn’t attend the tournament because his wife was ill, and he asked Ken Venturi to stand in for him.

Player is 84 and Nicklaus is 80. The hope is that both men will be part of the opening ceremony for many years to come. But because the Masters is the Masters, there are those who wonder who might be next in the line of succession.

Tom Watson, a two-time champion, turned 70 last September. There were some who thought the club might ask him to join Nicklaus and Player this year, but Watson recently said he didn’t think he was “worthy” of joining Nicklaus and Player. Chances are good the club will, at some point, disagree with him.

The other prime candidates in Watson’s generation to someday be starters are two-time champion Ben Crenshaw, who is now 68, and three-time champion Nick Faldo, who is 62.

Even though there have been years in the past without a starter, it seems unlikely the club will let that happen again. It is a tradition unique to the Masters and one that everyone clearly enjoys.

One thing that is almost certain: Sometime from 2040-‘45, longtime BFFs Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will be asked to be the starters. They will hit their tee shots and then—as all the honorary starters do—they will come into the media center to reminisce.

There is no doubt they will both talk about how the media exaggerated their differences dating to the long-ago 1990s. “Nothing to it,” they will say. “We always got along.” (For the record, Mickelson has already said this to me.)

My fondest wish is that I somehow live to witness that if only to tell those too young to remember that nothing could be farther from the truth For now, though, with everyone in golf keenly aware of the silence coming from Augusta National this week, all we can do is look forward to the honorary starters, and the Masters, on Nov. 12.

SOURCE: golfdigest.com

Concerning COVID-19 & Golfer Safety

In light of COVID-19, we are taking action to provide you with the safest environment possible at SummerGlen.  The staff is frequently sanitizing high touch points & we have hand sanitizer available upon request. All activities are still going as planned.

Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our staff & golfers. We will continue to undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts. Click HERE for the CDC’s recommended steps to prevent illness.

We send our best wishes to all individuals and communities that have been impacted by the virus.

We are closely following the news & will take all recommended precautions during this time. We will keep you updated via email & our Facebook page as the situation evolves.

De-Stress at the Course!

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Come spend some time & enjoy the great outdoors!

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Golf and Coronavirus: 11 things you should never do when playing golf

The coronavirus has upended the world in a matter of weeks, devouring golf’s 2020 schedule and shuttering golfers indoors as they work-from-home.

Yet playing golf is still very much on the table. Encouraged, even, but only if you take certain straightforward precautions. We have a big list of all the things you should do right here. As for the things you shouldn’t do? Here’s a quick rundown.

1. Don’t share carts

Limiting the use of golf carts has become an increasingly common precaution many golf courses are taking, but if you want or need to take a cart, make sure to wipe it down throughly first, and take it by yourself so you’re not in close proximity to others.

2. Don’t remove the pin

Many courses recommend only touching the pin if you’re wearing gloves, but many others recommend not touching the pin at all. Better safe than sorry; go with the latter.

3. Don’t borrow clubs

Don’t borrow your fellow golfers’ clubs on the course. Now is not the time.

4. Don’t borrow accessories

Clubs is the most obvious one, but it goes for other golf accessories, too. Towels, tees, ball makers, balls. If they’re not yours, don’t touch them.


5. Don’t toss your partner their ball

Gimmies for short-range putts are recommended, but when your putt is deemed ‘good,’ pick up your own ball. Don’t toss your partner their ball.

6. Don’t toss your partner their ball marker

Ditto the above.

7. Don’t exchange cash

With a caddie, with your playing partner, no one. Try Venmo, instead! It’s far more convenient.

8. Don’t shake hands

This is rule No. 1 nowadays. Try a friendly wave instead!

9. Don’t reach into the golf hole

Most golf courses are inverting their golf holes to eliminate this problem altogether, but if you’re playing one that hasn’t inverted its holes, don’t reach into the golf hole to retrieve your ball. Either leave it there, or pick it up before it drops.

10. Don’t rent clubs

This should be obvious. Use your own or none at all.

11. Don’t hang around the clubhouse

For the time being, you’re at the course for golf and nothing else. It won’t be like that forever, but it is for now. Stay safe, and play well!

SOURCE:  Golf.com

 

Avoid this common mistake to create more power

Look at old videos of the best swings of yesteryear, and you’ll likely see the golfer’s lead knee move toward the ball during the backswing. At the same time, the lead leg’s foot would roll inward and the heel would come off the ground. For the most part, it’s become a thing of the past. With more emphasis now on fitness and strength and swinging the club from a solid base, the best players really stabilize their lead knee (left for right-handers). They use it as an anchor to wind against as they load into their trail side. Even for amateur golfers of limited physical ability, consistency and power immediately improve when that knee is relatively still during the backswing.

My associate J.J. Rivet, one of the world’s leading biomechanists, says his testing has shown that the lead knee of a modern tour player moves toward the ball no more than 8 degrees. In many cases it barely shifts. Amateurs, however, let the knee move as much as 35 degrees during the backswing. You can’t coil properly with a power bleed like that.

A drill to train better stabilization of this knee is to make one- handed rehearsal backswings while preventing the knee from moving with your other hand (above). You should feel pressure in the toes of your lead leg and the heel of your trail leg as you reach the top of the swing. It’s perfectly acceptable for the lead heel to raise as long as the knee moves slightly toward the target, not inward. —WITH RON KASPRISKE

SOURCE:  GolfDigest.com

Qualifying for the U.S. Olympic golf team: How to do it and Tiger’s chances

The men’s Olympic golf tournament is still six months away, but Americans, including Tiger Woods, trying to grab one of the four spots available in the 60-player field are already in an intense battle to get to Tokyo, where the competition begins on July 30 at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

Here are some key facts and dates as they relate to making the 2020 Olympic tournament:

How many players will the U.S. send?

Up to four. The top 15 players in the Official World Golf Ranking will be eligible, with a limit of four players per country. There are currently nine Americans ranked among the top 15, so clearly a highly rated U.S. player who is capable of winning Olympic gold will not be competing.

How is the rest of the field determined?

Strictly based on the OWGR as of June 22, which is after the U.S. Open. Any country can have up to four players if they are among the top 15 in the world, with no more than two per country if they are ranked lower than 15th. Because of this, players well down in the world rankings will qualify. For example, as it stands now, the 60th player in the field would be Fabian Gomez of Argentina, who is ranked 242nd in the world.

What is the qualification period?

Because the OWGR operates on a two-year cycle, the qualification period began July 1, 2018 — the last day of the Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour. All points earned at events from that point through the 2022 U.S. Open comprise the world ranking on a given day and the list from which the field will be determined. That is why the OWGR today does not mirror the projected ranking as of June 22: Any points a player earned prior to July 1, 2018, will not count toward Olympic qualification, but those points are still part of the two-year cycle now. That is the rolling nature of the OWGR. For example, Woods has depreciated points for his second-place finish at the 2018 Valspar Championship and tie for fifth at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational. They will no longer be part of his record after the dates of those events pass in 2020.

How does qualifying differ from the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup?

For United States players, the world rankings are not a determining factor for either competition. Players earn points based on money earned for the Ryder Cup and based on FedEx Cup points for the Presidents Cup. European Ryder Cup players have a points list that factors in money earned on the European Tour, as well as a world list based on the world ranking points earned during the qualification period.

If the Olympics were today, who would be playing for the United States?

No. 1 Brooks Koepka, No. 4 Justin Thomas, No. 5 Dustin Johnson and No. 6 Tiger Woods. But the rankings are volatile and there are numerous players in position to earn a spot. Patrick Cantlay is seventh in the world. Xander Schauffele is ninth. Webb Simpson is 11th and Patrick Reed is 12th. Gary Woodland, Tony Finau, Bryson DeChambeau and Matt Kuchar — who earned Olympic bronze in Rio in 2016 — are all ranked in the top 20.

Nobody has locked down a spot because there are so many events still to be played with big world ranking points being offered: the WGC-Mexico Championship, the Players Championship, the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship, the Masters, the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open.

Tournaments such as the Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Memorial will also have loaded fields offering more points.

So what are Tiger’s chances?

Good, but he is far from a lock. The good news for Woods is that he is not in danger of losing points by playing events. That can happen to players who compete often. The OWGR formula is based on average points, which is computed by taking the total number of points earned and divided by events played. But the minimum divisor used is 40 events played over two years, a number Woods will not come close to achieving. Anything over 40 is the number used to divide, so the average number can decrease if an appropriate number of points are not earned.

Here’s the bottom line for Tiger: He’s in position, but with so many big events, he will need to produce. A victory somewhere would go a long way toward qualifying, but so would several top-5 finishes. And he is looking at playing events with strong fields, so high finishes would help even more. His tie for ninth on Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open earned him 6.75 world ranking points, but he probably needs to average about 15 points per event to be assured of an Olympic spot. And the points drop off drastically after the top 10.

Woods can be expected to play between eight and 10 more tournaments prior to the cutoff.

An educated guess has these as the possibilities: Genesis Invitational, WGC-Mexico Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational, Players Championship, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, the Masters, Wells Fargo Championship, PGA Championship, Memorial, U.S. Open.

Last year, Woods skipped the Arnold Palmer and Wells Fargo, so it’s possible he plays just eight more times prior to the Olympic cutoff.

SOURCE:  ESPN.com

How you can change your golf grip without even realizing it

Editor’s Note: Baden Schaff has been a PGA teaching professional for 17 years and is the co-founder of Skillest, a digital platform that connects golf students with golf coaches across the world for online lessons. To learn more about Skillest and to book a lesson of your own with Baden or with Andreas Kali.

The grip causes eternal fascination for golfers. It’s often the first thing I get asked during a lesson. Why is it that the aspect of the swing that creates the most intrigue has nothing to do with the swing itself?

The commonly rolled out line is “because it’s the only part of the body that is connected to the club”. This might well be true, but I think it’s more likely because it’s the only part of the golf swing you can see without videoing it. Your grip is staring you in the face every time you look down at that ball. But why, then, do students still have so much trouble getting it right?

Because they try and fix it in isolation.

Whenever I see a tip regarding the grip it is always a close up of how the two hands are sitting on the club, cut off above the wrists. But what if there is something else at play? What if your grip was influenced by more than just the way your hands are holding the club. Well, there is and it’s got everything to do with your body posture and the way your arms hang at setup. Trying to get your grip right without getting your set up right will drive you mad.

Let’s look at two of the best players in the world. Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau. Dustin has an incredibly strong grip and subsequently shuts the club on the takeaway. Bryson on the other hand is the opposite. He has an incredibly weak grip, particularly evident in the left hand, and has a much more neutral face during the golf swing.

Now are these two grips diametrically opposed because they just hold it differently? No, it’s also because DJ generally starts with the body more over the ball and an almost straight down arm hang. This creates more “radial deviation” and gives the left wrist an exaggerated “extension” or cupping. This is what makes it look so strong.

Bryson is the exact opposite. He plays golf with a more upright posture and has much higher hands, almost like the heel of his club is off the ground. This is why Bryson has his clubs lie angles so upright. This setup creates ulnar deviation and less extension in the left wrist and gives it a look of being incredibly weak. It’s not so much the way their hands sit on the club as much as their posture and their arm hang. This is why you can get your grip looking perfect when you hold the club up in front of you but looks completely wrong when the club is down at address.

Grips cannot be fixed in isolation, they are part of a much broader picture.

A great way to test this for yourself is by taking your usual set up. Then, if you want to see your grip weaken without moving your hands on the club, stand slightly closer to the ball, raise your hands so that it feels like the heel of the club is off the ground, just like Bryson.

If you want to see your grip strengthen, push your hands towards the ground and watch the toe of the club come off the ground. You will notice that your left wrist will cup or extend more making it look stronger. When it is set like DJ you will notice that you can see three of four knuckles while setting up like Bryson will show you only one or two knuckles.

Personally, I prefer Bryson’s style, but let’s not detract from the larger point: Your grip can be changed and influenced without ever moving the hands on the club, because it’s affected by your body position. Like always, any change to your swing must be made with a broader context in mind. Nothing ever works independently. Your challenge is finding a coach that understands cause and effect well enough to work with your motion as a whole.

SOURCE:  Golf.com

Harold Varner III just broke an impressive, and slightly odd, PGA Tour record

Harold Varner III delivered fans the greatest show on turf at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. And it had nothing to do with TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole.

Varner, 29, opened up the event on Thursday with a par … and over the next two days, followed with 31 straight similar scores. For those of you scoring at home, that would be a whopping 32 pars, which set a PGA Tour record for most consecutive pars to start a tournament in the ShotLink era.

K.J. Choi was the previous title holder with 27 pars at the 2006 Colonial.

Frame this bad boy and put it in the Smithsonian.

Alas, some stars shine so bright they burn out in two wink’s of a coal miner’s eye. Varner’s golden quest was sidetracked at the 15th, where apparently the East Carolina product said “The hell with history” by making a birdie. The audacity. Worse, he followed with a bogey at the infamous 16th, moving him back to even for the event. Clearly, there are golf gods, and they are cruel.

It’s been an inauspicious start to 2020 for Varner, who missed cuts at the American Express and Farmers Insurance Open. Hopefully riding this magical train gets his season back on track.

SOURCE:  GolfDigest.com

Simple steps for getting your hands on right

I see a lot of amateurs approach the golf grip with a lot of tension. Many are holding the club too tightly. I notice it most when they try to waggle. The movement looks stiff and short.
To swing correctly, the right amount of grip pressure—and where you apply it—is important. You should feel the club being supported by the last three fingers of your left hand (above, left). Those fingers should grip the firmest. My longtime teacher, the late Stan Thirsk, used to remind me to keep the club in the fingers of my left hand and never let it slip into the palm.
In the right hand, the middle two fingers do most of the work. The forefinger and thumb of the right hand should feel relaxed. In fact, I’ve seen many great players, including Ben Hogan and Fred Couples, practice with those two fingers clear off the club (above, right).
Back to waggling. With softer grip pressure, your waggle will be looser and will help relax your hands and arms. During the swing, the right hand should be free enough to fire the clubhead through the hitting area.
When it comes to your golf grip, how tight is too tight? Here’s an exercise: Next time you practice, try backing off with your grip pressure until the club is almost falling out of your hands. Then firm it up just enough so you can control the club. That likely is your ideal grip pressure. Will it feel lighter? I’m guessing it will.
Tom Watson is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional.
SOURCE:  GolfDigest