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December, 2009

“It’s All About Impact” Book Review

Dec. 19, 2009     By     Comments (37)

It's All About ImpactAndrew Rice describes himself on his site as a "golf swing junkie." Unlike amateur golf swing junkies, Andrew has studied under some of golf's greatest teachers and taught some of the game's best players.

Originally from South Africa, Rice competed in junior events against Ernie Els and Retief Goosen. He played for University of Central Florida and finished Second Team All-American with Justin Leonard in 1991. He played the mini-tours before getting into instruction at David Leadbetter's Junior Golf Academy.

Rice currently serves as the Director of Instruction at the prestigious Berkeley Hall in Bluffton, South Carolina. He's taught PGA Tour players like Nick Price as well as other PGA, European, LPGA, Champions, and Nationwide Tour players.

As a "golf swing junkie," Andrew has seemingly never been content to take what David Leadbetter or any one person says about the golf swing, and much in the style of Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer, has spent time analyzing the great swings to discern the truth about what works and what doesn't.

His first book - It's All About Impact - The Winners of Over 100 Majors Prove It - is the result of such efforts.

PING G15 Fairway Wood Review

Dec. 14, 2009     By     Comments (12)

PING G15 HeroThe folks at PING have been quite busy as they celebrate their 50th Anniversary and as a gift to you, they released two new lines of clubs. One of those is the G15 fairway wood which has the unenviable position of following the wildly successful and much praised G10 model.

Rather than leave "well enough" alone and just slap a new coat of paint on the G10 and call it a day, PING went out and changed things around a bit with the G15. While it's more of an evolutionary change, it still boasts some pretty cool design features that should make you give it strong look.

So is the G15 one you should add to your list of fairway woods to try out during your next shopping trip to your favorite golf shop? What about the headcover? Is it forgiving? Most importantly, did it knock out my current occupant out of the bag?

Read on to find out the answers to those questions.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (12)

“The Stack and Tilt Swing” Book Review

Dec. 11, 2009     By     Comments (36)

Stack and TiltI'll plainly admit it (and have, a few times, in the forum): when Stack and Tilt first came out in Golf Digest in 2007 I said things like "I don't know much about it, but it seems like they're trying to sell it pretty hard and I'll wait a little while to see if it's still around in a few years before I really devote much thought to it." I didn't look into it, I didn't seek understanding, and I kept tinkering away at my own "conventional" swing.

Ooops. My bad.

Earlier this year I hooked up with a Stack and Tilt instructor in my hometown - and given that there are only about 20 truly qualified instructors, I am fortunate to have one nearby - and my opinions about Stack and Tilt changed as I gained insight into the swing pattern built by Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer.

Throughout the summer, my instructor applied a few "pieces" of the Stack and Tilt pattern to my golf swing. The more instruction I got the more the information made sense to me, and the closer I got to "full conversion." Any objections or disinterest I had regarding Stack and Tilt slowly dissolved away in the face of information and consideration.

Clubbing Up: Beginners Should Consider Boxed Sets

Dec. 10, 2009     By     Comments (14)

Bag DropThe golf equipment section of the forum gets lots of posts from beginners on whether they should buy cavity-backed clubs or blades for their starter sets. Or, what kind of driver works best for newbies?

In the responses, hard-core golfers compare the benefits of Titleist AP2 vs. Mizuno MP-57 irons to people who don't know the difference between a 5-iron and a pitching wedge. This often ends up with suggested club mixes that could easily cost $1,500 if bought new.

"My gosh," says the beginner. "What should I get? Will I ever make it to the golf course?"

Posted in: Bag Drop Comments (14)

The Instructor Quiz: Nine Questions You’ve Gotta Ask

Dec. 9, 2009     By     Comments (40)

There are a lot of golf instructors out there. Many of them are qualified, intelligent instructors with the best of intentions. They want to help you, they want to see you improve, and they enjoy doing it.

Unfortunately, intentions don't always translate into ability, and there are a good number of instructors out there who may not be helping their students as much as they'd like.

Over the last few years I have become increasingly frustrated with feedback I have received from students who have taken lessons from seemingly "qualified" instructors. In this era of the Internet and YouTube, I have also had the chance to view a large number of videos and read many instructional articles online and, again, it seems that much of the information is misleading at best. Because of this I took the time to devise a short nine-question "test" for golf instructors.

I would like to point out upfront that I, and all the instructors at my academy, teach based on the 5 Simple Keys®… but all of the questions and answers are the same for any efficient method of swinging the golf club.

Bridgestone, Callaway, and Pinnacle Roll Out New Balls

Dec. 8, 2009     By     Comments (4)

Bag DropAre you choosing the right ball for your game? Would you know if you weren't? Are you playing a certain ball simply to keep up with what your buddy plays? These are all questions you should think about for a minute, especially if you're serious about taking as many strokes off your score as possible.

If you are serious about dropping your score, maybe it's time you seriously considered finding the ball that works the best for you. A few years back, a concept such as ball fitting was simply unheard of, though now, some say a ball fitting has become just as important to some as club fittings. If you think about it, it is the one single piece of equipment that's in play for every shot. Fortunately, the golf ball market may the one area with the most choices, and the smallest impact on your wallet.

This week, we take a look new additions to that market from Bridgestone,
Callaway , and Pinnacle.

Posted in: Bag Drop Comments (4)

Boxgroove.com Review

Dec. 7, 2009     By     Comments (28)

Boxgroove.comWant to play that private course down the road but don't know a member? Now there's a way to test drive private courses across the country without risking the trespassing charge.

A new online service called Boxgroove.com provides access to tee times at private clubs. Boxgroove currently has 70 participating courses and over 650 members, some of whom hold memberships at private clubs and may be willing to host other Boxgroove.com members (more on that later). The company plans to be in 30 states by summer 2010 and eventually to take the service international.

If you're like me, you love those occasions when you get to play a course in excellent condition with great greens. The problem is that I don't belong to a private club, so I play public courses where the maintenance is generally not quite as well applied. While it's less expensive (unless you are really racking up the rounds) to play public courses, being able to play the occasional round on a truly well kept course is a nice change of pace, one I've found to be more and more alluring lately.

Enter Boxgroove.com. I'd been hearing about the service on the radio here in Columbus, my home and Boxgroove's, as it turns out. When Boxgroove.com offered a membership to let me try out the service and write about my experience, I jumped at the opportunity.

Volume Two Hundred Sixteen

Dec. 7, 2009     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksHello and welcome again to Hittin' the Links. It's almost time for a long winter nap, but HTL has one last hurrah before vacation time.

In this final column of 2009 we start off with some Tiger news, then turn our attention to Colin Montgomerie's driving record, and find out about Doug Barron's appeal. Also on tap, we look at the LPGA Q-School, see how the PGA Tour Q-School is going, and do a wrap-up of the week's silly season events. Read on!

PING G15 Iron Review

Dec. 3, 2009     By     Comments (73)

G15 Iron HeroWhen you are setting up to a "classic" iron, what kinds of thoughts run through your mind? For me, I imagine the silky smooth feel of the sweet spot. I visualize the ball curving through the air at will. I can almost see the ball falling to the green with just enough spin to bounce twice and then stop. However, put a blade in another player's hands and the reaction could be entirely different. They might look down desperately searching for that microscopic sweet spot, trembling at the thought of the painful reverberations of a mis-hit.

Karsten Solheim may not have been one of those golfers who feared the sweet spot but he certainly empathized with them. In fact, PING's innovations were so significant that in 1966 the USGA outlawed all PING irons claiming that they provided golfers with an unfair advantage (due to a bend in the shaft beneath the grip). Nearly 40 years later, the USGA may want to reopen that claim.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (73)