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How to Rake Sand Bunkers

Dec. 13, 2004     By     Comments (5)

Raking bunkers properly is a nice way of "paying it backwards," and here's how you do it.

Raking a bunker is one of the easiest things to do, yet many people have never taken the three minutes to learn the proper technique. Here it is, in easy-to-follow format.

Big Bunker
How would you like to rake this bunker?!?!

  1. Find the lowest spot around the edge of the bunker that's near your ball. You will enter and exit here. Stepping in and out near a steep face causes erosion and pushes the sand off the face and into the bottom of the bunker. Plus, it's easier to rake flat areas of sand.
Posted in: Rules Comments (5)

Set Makeup

Dec. 13, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Today's tip is simple: take a look at your set makeup and see where you might make some changes.

The Rules of Golf allow you to carry up to fourteen clubs. There's no law that says the clubs must be comprised of a 1, 3, and 5-wood, 3I-SW, and a putter. First of all, that's only thirteen clubs. Second of all: choose a set that best fits you!

In choosing a set, you want to consider a few things. First, you need a putter. You're down to 13 clubs. Are you good? Consider going with four wedges. Just starting out? Consider going with the stock two or three. Not very strong off the tee? Why carry a driver or a 3I?

Consider alternative clubs. If you have trouble hitting a 3I, or want a club with more loft, look into one of the utility clubs now available. With players like Vijay Singh carrying high-lofted "woods" these days, that 9-wood in your bag can't even take down your macho level!

We could get into much more depth than this (and we may in coming days), but today's tip is simple: take a look at your set makeup and see where you might make some changes.

Host with the Most: Tiger On Target

Dec. 12, 2004     By     Comments (3)

Woods donated the $1.25 million he won to his foundation. Vijay Singh finished 11 shots behind.

Tiger in ActionTiger Woods is the host with the most, and has captured victory in his own tournament, the Tiger Target World Challenge. Missing only two fairways and one green en-route to a closing 5-under 66, Woods capped off his year with his second win in a row. Woods' play was marvelous, and he knew it, saying "Every shot I wanted to hit, I hit."

Padraig Harringon shot a 31 on the front at Sherwood Country Club to get into contention, but faltered on the last three. He bogeyed 16, birdied 17, and then bogeyed 18 after an errant drive. He earned $750,000 for finishing second.

Colin Montgomery, starting the day with a two-stroke lead and having never won a stroke-play tournament in the US, bogeyed the first hole and shot 71 to finish at 13-under 271 with his playing partner, Jay Haas.

Posted in: PGA Comments (3)

Grip Pressure

Dec. 12, 2004     By     Comments (0)

One tour player hits a fade by gripping the club harder with his top hand. What will you learn?

Today's tip will be a short one on grip pressure. Here it is: experiment!

One tour player found that to hit a fade, he merely had to grip the club tighter in the pinkie and ring finger of his left hand. Another found that the looser his right hand held on to the club, the more solidly he struck the ball. Your grip pressure should never be tight - doing so prohibits the muscles in your arms and shoulders from moving smoothly - but how tight you grip the club is a matter of individuality.

Left Armpit

Dec. 11, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Try sticking a glove in your left armpit - and keeping it there - throughout the swing.

The pros hit the ball unbelievably low. They "cover" the ball with their chest (and clubface) through impact. They do this by keeping the left arm against the body and moving their chest through impact: the arms "tag along" and the wrists snap at impact, resulting in a "pinch" and a low, boring trajectory with a lot of spin.

We've all seen Vijay Singh hitting balls with a glove tucked into his left armpit. He does this to help him keep his arm "attached" to his body. If his left arm moves away from his body, the glove falls out. Chris DiMarco, as part of his pre-shot routine, folds his sleeve into his left armpit to force the same swing thought (his is course legal; Vijay's is not).

If you're having trouble keeping that arm attached, try sticking a glove in your left armpit - and keeping it there - throughout the swing.

Tiger To Be A Daddy

Dec. 10, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Tiger plans to get it on with his hot Swedish nanny? Go figure!

According to an AP report, Tiger Woods is going to be a father. Well, not yet, but soon.

"I don't want to be an old father," Woods said Thursday at the Target World Challenge. "I still want to be young. We're not going to wait too long."

You mean to tell me they're still waiting? Pff. Give it a rest Tiger, we know what's going on in that bedroom. Or for your sake, we hope we know what's going on.

"For me, it will be bigger than it will for Elin because she's had siblings," Woods said. "I've been an only child. When we have, hopefully, more than one, then it will be really different because I've never dealt with that."

Oh yeah. As someone with seven brothers and sisters, I can assure him that there's a huge difference. Of course, a lot of that difference had to do with the fact that our family didn't have a multi-millionaire as a dad.

So Tiger, I give you this advice. On your way to fatherhood, don't forget the extra pack of diapers. You'll need them.

Posted in: Tap-Ins Comments (0)

Rule at Putting!

Dec. 10, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Use a ruler when you practice your putting and soon your opponents will be bowing down before you.

Good putters share two consistent factors in their strokes: their hands are slightly ahead of the ball at impact and they employ little or no wrist action. Bad putters tend to break, cup, or bow their wrists through the stroke, resulting in bad direction and distance.

To eliminate wrist action, find two common objects: a wristwatch and a 12-inch ruler. Put your watch on your leading wrist (the one closest to the hole). Slide the ruler through the watch band on the outside of your forearm. Take your putting stance and keep the ruler in place so that the back of your hand, wrist, and forearm stay connected to the ruler.

This drill helps to develop firm wrists, leading hands, a solid triangle (arms and shoulders) throughout the stroke, and a square clubface at impact. Use a ruler when you practice your putting and soon your opponents will be bowing down before you, King of the Carpet, Ruler of the Rug.

Walk Down the Line

Dec. 9, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Keep stepping down the line, hitting a ball with each step. You'll be surprised how easy it is to make solid contact.

This tip is a simple drill I use frequently when I get out of sync. It mostly helps my rhythm - feeling the club go back and through - and clears my head of any real swing thoughts. Others say it helps them with weight shift.

Set fix or six balls on the ground a foot or so apart. Take your stance as if you were addressing a ball one foot left of the far left ball. Swing back and simultaneously step forward with your right foot. As you begin your downswing, step forward with your left foot so that you're in a good position to hit the first ball. Hit it, finish your follow through, and then take a step with your right foot again, bringing the club back down and through and into another backswing. Step forward with the left foot and swing through the ball.

Keep stepping down the line, hitting a ball with each step. You'll be surprised how easy it is to groove a comfortable, free-flowing swing and make solid contact each time.

Wie to Play 2005 Sony Open

Dec. 8, 2004     By     Comments (1)

Michelle Wie will play the 2005 Sony Open, and before everyone starts criticizing everyone and everything, take a look at the other points of view.

Michelle WieMichelle Wie today accepted a Sponsor's exemption to the 2005 Sony Open, according to ESPN. Wie missed the cut at this year's Sony Open by one stroke, promptings a barrage of opinion ranging from "good for her" to "this is ridiculous!" The PGA Tour has taken a lot of flak from people who contend that Wie took the spot of an otherwise more deserving (and older, and male) competitor.

One of the other most popular discussions is "will she make the cut?" Many respond to this with "who cares, isn't the point of the tournament to win?" Yes, for the players, that's typically the point (though certainly there are other goals).

Let's take a minute to consider the other points of view.

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