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Proper Swingweight

Dec. 7, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Match your swingweight to your swing and you'll be walking on air (and playing better, too).

Each of your clubs is different: your 3I is longer than your wedge, and your driver has an entirely different shape than your 7I. Some may have graphite shafts, some may have different grips, and some may be made by different manufacturers.

One way to improve your play is to match the swingweights of your clubs to your swing and to each other. Clubs with different swing weights have a different "feel" to them. Swing weight is a measurement of how the weight is distributed in a club. The shaft, the weight of the head, and even the size of the grip can affect the swingweight of a club. The lighter your swingweight, the lighter the head of the club will feel.

About.com answers the question "what is swingweight?" but an important distinction is this: swing weight and overall static weight are not the same.

Player Hater (and Runner-Over)

Dec. 7, 2004     By     Comments (0)

A woman runs over two teenagers in her SUV after a bounced golf ball struck the car but did no damage.

Kathy Feaganes Allen of St. Augustine, FL is a player hater. Specifically, she hated two boys, aged 14 and 16, enough to hit them with her SUV after they accidentally hit the car with a golf ball. The ball did not damage the SUV.

The boys, who were bouncing the ball in a parking lot when it struck the car, apologized and began to walk away. Allen started to drive away, but then made a U-turn, ran over a median, and struck the boys before knocking over a light pole. "I tried to run. I blacked out. I woke up bleeding," said one of the teens.

Allen then went after another brother but missed him, finally parking the SUV and getting out to smoke a cigarette while the boys lay on the ground in pain. The 14-year-old is in critical condition.

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Qualifying School Joy and Agony

Dec. 7, 2004     By     Comments (0)

The Men's Qualifying School is over, and 35 players move on with their PGA Tour cards, 51 get exemptions on the Nationwide Tour, and the rest… they just go home.

oneal_qschool.jpgIt happens every year - over 150 golfers get together for six rounds of golf, fighting for a chance. A chance to become a PGA rookie, a chance to rekindle your career, or a chance to join your Dad on the Tour.

For 35 players this year, their dreams were answered when they earned their Tour Cards at the PGA's Qualifying School at PGA West. Leading the pack of players was Ben Davis, the Brit who won with a six-round 415 and ending one shot better than fellow Tour player Rob Rashell.

Bill Haas, son of Jay Haas, was looking to join his dad on the Tour and looking to convert more than one of the eight birdie opportunities he had on the back nine at the Stadium course. He did neither with a final-round 71, missing his card by two strokes.

Joy, agony and Tim O'Neal.

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Against the Collar

Dec. 6, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Your 3W, your putter, and your wedge can all be used to play a shot from against the collar.

You've made a great approach, but your ball rolled just off the fringe and finds itself against hte collar. It's tough to judge these shots because your ball is effectively "sitting down" as far in as it can get, making contact iffy at best. There are several different ways to play this shot.

  • A lofted wood (3, 5, 7, 9) or a utility club will glide through the grass easily, contacting the ball cleanly. Play club more upright, on its toe, a little more than normal and grip down. Use your putting grip and a narrow stance. Expect the ball to hop and pop and then roll to the hole.
  • You can use the toe of a putter. Grip firmly to resist twisting and use a firm stroke to guarantee getting through the grass. Fred Couples likes to employ this stroke, but it's difficult and only works through thinner collars.
  • My favorite shot is to use a sand wedge and intentionally blade the ball. The bounce and weight of the sand wedge help it to glide through the grass, and the blade provides topspin, guaranteeing the ball will get going. Make a putting stroke with a putting grip, and hit the ball's equator with the leading edge of your wedge.

Your 3W, your putter, and your wedge can all be used to play this shot. Choose whatever shot is most comfortable for you, and execute it with confidence.

Creamer Medalist at LPGA Q-School

Dec. 6, 2004     By     Comments (3)

Just six months from high school graduation, Paula Creamer earned her 2005 LPGA card.

Paula CreamerClosing with a 2-under 70, Paula Creamer cruises to a five-shot victory in the LPGA qualifying tournament. Six months from high school graduation, Creamer has secured a spot on the 2005 LPGA Tour.

Creamer entered Q-School as an amateur and waited until she'd secured her card. The decision was easy Sunday evening at LPGA International. Creamer hung near the lead all week, but pulled away on the weekend. "This hasn't sunk in yet," Creamer said. "I'm really thrilled and I'm really anxious to get started."

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Nelsons Win Father/Son

Dec. 6, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Larry and Drew Nelson shoot 13-under 59 to finish the two-day scramble at 25-under-par.

Larry NelsonLarry and Drew Nelson shot 25-under in the two-round tournament to win the Office Depot Father/Son Challenge, earning a one-shot victory over Bob and David Charles. "We wanted to win to make sure we'd be back next year," said Larry Nelson, who pocketed $200,000 for the victory. "It's nice to win this first one. We played well together. It was a great week."

25-under par tied a tournament record set by Raymond and Ray Floyd, Jr. in 1995, the Charles team in 1998, Jack and Gary Nicklaus and Raymond and Robert Floyd in 1999.

"For a retired golfer, this was a pretty good week for me," said Drew Nelson. "There wasn't desperation, but the way the Charles' made eight or nine birdies in a row, it got our attention. Drew had played some mini-tour events in North Carolina this year.

Defending champs Hale and Steve Irwin carded a 65 on Sunday to tie for 12th to tie with the only two non father/son teams: Arnold Palmer and his grandson Sam Saunders and Lee Janzen and Payne Stewart's son Aaron.

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Playing Sidehill Lies

Dec. 5, 2004     By     Comments (0)

How do you play from sidehill lies? Put more weight towards the uphill side and stay within yourself.

Downhill Lie
Transfer more weight to your back (the uphill) foot and play the ball a bit more forward in your stance, as your swing will bottom out later.

Uphill Lie
Transfer more weight to your front (again the uphill) foot and play the ball a bit further back in your stance.

Ball Above Feet
These shots tend to draw. Open the clubface a little and balance your weight towards the toes of your feet.

Ball Below Feet
These shots tend to cut. Close the clubface a little and balance your weight towards the heels of your feet.

Call Your (Opponent’s) Shots

Dec. 4, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Practice the shots you wouldn't normally play in a fun little game.

One of the quickest ways to improve is to practice shots you don't normally hit. If you normally play a cut, can you play a draw? Can you hit a low drive and keep it straight, or a high drive? Can you knock down a 5-iron?

Nobody knows your game better than your favorite opponent. Here's a little game you can play to improve your game and try new things at the same time. Set up a match with your pal and call each other's shots. If your pal normally hits a draw, ask him to hit a low cut. If he likes to fly the ball back to the hole, ask him to run the shot up. He'll be doing the same to you.

Keep it friendly and don't get too nutty - asking for a 60-yard slice or a 7I from the tee on a par 5 isn't "fair." Keep your own score, and if you want to bet, mix in a penalty shot for failing to hit the called shot.

The Office Depot Father-Son Challenge

Dec. 4, 2004     By     Comments (1)

The Office Depot Father-Son Challenge gives the next generation a taste of the big life.

The Office Depot Father-Son Challenge celebrates its 10th anniversary this weekend at ChampionsGate in Orlando, Fla as another event in the crowded Silly Season looking for attention. Yet, this tournament stands apart through the work of Alistair Johnston of IMG, one of the largest sports marketing firms. He set out to create a tournament that had serious competition with serious prize money. As it turns out, getting players to participate would be a no-brainer.

"This event will never be pressed to get a field," said David Charles, son of 1963 Open Champion Bob Charles. "It's such a unique event they could have 50 teams out there."

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