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Tour Driving Distances

Nov. 13, 2004     By     Comments (1)

Tour driving distances may not be all that you expect…

Tour driving distances may not be all that you expect. We hear - and see - the occasional 300-yard bomb, but what's the real deal? How far do pros hit the ball on most holes throughout the tournament? The holes on which they're not being measured for driving distance (the pros know ahead of times which holes those are).

At the recent Tour Championship, The Sand Trap .com reader Ryan Dorn tracked the driving stats of seven of the PGA Tour's best players. Chris DiMarco's driving totals might clue you in to the actual distances that pros hit the ball.

Okay, the players know ahead of time which two hole count as the driving holes. Those holes they are gonna give it a little bit more because no one wants to be the short guy, but if you look at what realistically happens, it's not what you hear on tv. Chris Dimarco is right around the middle of the pack on tour in terms of distance. Here's every par 4 or 5 tee shot he hit this week. He "averages" around 285 yards (I can't pull it up either), but he only hit 10 of 56 shots 285 or more.

Chris DiMarco Driving Distances, 2004 Tour Championship

Hole     Day 1    Day 2    Day 3    Day 4    Average
  1       269      238      274      272      263.25
  3       254      246      252      263      253.75
  4       281      310      274      278      285.75
  5       288      310      309      303      302.5
  7       240      251      255      245      247.75
  8       277      269      273      279      274.5
  9       295      291      303      301      297.5
 10       275      267      250      279      267.75
 12       262      273      276      276      271.75
 13       267      266      257      274      266
 14       253      277      270      274      268.5
 15       273      262      273      268      269
 16       242      280      260      289      267.75
 17       258      251      258      271      259.5

Keep this in mind the next time you're on the tee! You don't need to hit it 300 yards - and tour pros almost never do - to score well.

Donald Ross Gem Shines Again

Nov. 12, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Rescued from disrepair, the Donald Ross-designed Biltmore Hotel Golf Course in Coral Gables, FL is being restored.

BiltmoreThe Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, FL is being restored. Operating under the City of Coral Gables for several years, the course has suffered from lack of funds and management apathy. The Ross gem, located in old Miami, was far from polished.

About one year ago, the Biltmore Hotel took over the management and operation of the course. Pumping $1.5 million in refurbishing costs into the course has resulted in a swift polishing for the Biltmore Hotel Golf Course, which first opened in 1930.

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Chip over Pitch

Nov. 12, 2004     By     Comments (2)

Do you chip and run or pitch more frequently? Odds are you've got it backwards.

When you're just off the green, do you chip or pitch? For too many people, the answer to that question is "pitch." Pitching is great when you need to get over something - a bunker, water, a huge swale in a green - but when you've got green to work with, the chip is your shot.

A rolling ball is far more predictable than one flying through the air and landing hard on the green. Whether you use a sand wedge or a 7-iron, get the ball rolling quickly. To that, here are some simple guidelines for your short game:

  1. Putt when possible. This rolls the ball the entire way, making it very easy to judge.
  2. Chip and run as a second option, and even then choose the lowest lofted club to get the ball rolling quickly.
  3. Pitch when there's no other option left.

Step through those options every time you face a shot around the greens and you'll get down in two - or less - more frequently.

A Consistent Putting Tempo

Nov. 11, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Find your personal tempo for better putting.

MetronomeFind a flat area and walk for one minute, counting the number of steps you take. Are you a fast walker or a slow walker? I took 115 steps in those 60 seconds and consider myself to be a fairly fast walker. I'm not one to dawdle.

My putting stroke is also fairly quick. I take the club back and through more quickly than some people. My tempo is consistent on long and short putts - just as a pendulum maintains the same period regardless of its arc length.

To find your putting tempo, find a metronome (like the one to the right or an electronic one) and do the walking drill. Set the metronome to your step rate - 25. Stand in place and move your putter through your stroke back and forward, ending each half of the stroke on a tick of the metronome. If the tempo feels too fast, slow it down. Too slow, speed it up. Continue to make small adjustments until you find your perfect putting tempo.

Now, just take it to the course! Keep the same tempo - back and through - on all of your putts. On short putts, you'll swing more slowly but also have a shorter stroke. Your putter's just a pendulum, folks, and the tempo remains the same.

Kite and Others for Hall of Fame

Nov. 11, 2004     By     Comments (1)

This year's inductees to the World Golf Hall of Fame include Tom Kite, Isao Aoki, Charlie Sifford and Marlene Stewart Streit.

tom_kite.jpgTom Kite will finally get his due as he and three others will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on November 15th. The other inductees are Isao Aoki, Charlie Sifford and Marlene Stewart Streit.

Kite, who has 19 PGA Tour victories including the 1992 U.S. Open, said "When Ben (Crenshaw) and Mr. (Harvey) Penick got inducted two years ago, I was - you know in the back of my mind I was sitting there thinking, 'Gosh, I would give anything to have my name put on that list with them.' And here, it is going to happen. So I am very pleased."

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Big Break II, Episode 6

Nov. 11, 2004     By     Comments (2)

Big Mike Foster is sent packing after he fails to learn from his mistake the first go-'round.

Big Break Mike EliminatedAfter last week's incredibly lame "recap" show, The Big Break II resumed this week with six contestants remaining.

The fortunate six were split into two groups of three for a three-hole scramble. The winning team would be exempt, but the twist was that they'd be playing against a third team comprised of Garrett Garland, Randy Block and Jeff Brown from the original Big Break. "We heard some rumors that they were talking some smack about how Big Break 1 guys couldn’t play," said Block. "It was nice to come back here and defend our honor against the Big Break 2 guys."

The alumni team forced a playoff on the third hole, then went on to birdie the first playoff hole to send all six contestants to the mulligan and elimination rounds.

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Butch Harmon to Start Own Tour

Nov. 10, 2004     By     Comments (2)

The Butch Harmon Golf Tour will begin in June 2005 and run for 16 weeks at courses in and around Las Vegas.

Butch HarmonButch Harmon, Tiger Woods' former instructor, is starting a souther Nevada developmental mini-tour. The "Butch Harmon Golf Tour" will begin in June 2005 and run for sixteen (16) weeks at courses in and around Las Vegas.

Harmon plans to offer $3.2 million in tour prize money: a $175,000 purse for each of the 15 weekly events and a $600,000 purse for the tour championship. Players are going to be asked to pay a $25,000 entry fee, and the top 40 money winners will qualify for the tour championship.

It sounds to us like Butch is short on sponsors and long on hope. Q-School costs $4,500. $25,000 is a lot of scratch. Personally, we think ol' Butchie has been watching too much of The Big Break II.

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Waggle for Tempo

Nov. 10, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Waggling is a very small swing. How fast you waggle helps to determine your tempo.

Waggling - the movements you make with your club during your pre-shot routine - is more critical than most people assume. It's under-utilized and important, because it often acts as a miniature (very miniature) version of your full swing.

Watch players with a very fast tempo: odds are they waggle the club in a fast tempo too. Other players look like they're rocking the clubhead to sleep with their waggles. They're likely to have a slower tempo.

Use this to your advantage: try waggling more slowly to slow your tempo down a notch. It's rare that you'll ever want to speed up your tempo, but should you, simply waggle faster.

Caddy For Life

Nov. 9, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Caddy For Life, a review of the book written about Bruce Edwards.

On a recent trip to Las Vegas, I passed the time on the flights by reading Caddy For Life, by John Feinstein which I bought on a whim at the Philadelphia International Airport.

Caddy For Life beautifully tells the triumphant life story of Bruce Edwards, perhaps the best known caddy on the PGA Tour. He was Tom Watson's caddy for nearly thirty years, and is most famous for telling Watson to "get it close" on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. Watson exclaimed, "I'm knocking it in!". He did just that, pointed to Bruce and went on to win the 1982 US Open. In 2004, Bruce tragically died after a heroic battle with ALS.

This book was excellent. I laughed at many parts, mostly how Bruce would talk to Tom on the course, and came close to shedding a tear a few times when Bruce was nearing the end of his eventful life. This was a real page–turner, and I'd recommend it to any golf fan.

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