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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.

Hook to Cure a Slice

Dec. 8, 2004     By     Comments (3)

A straight shot is halfway between a hook and a slice. Learn to hit one to cure the other.

HookToday's tip is really, really simple: if you're suffering from a slice, cure it by learning to hit a hook.

If you walk up and down the driving range, watching people hit slice after slice, my hunch is that most of them couldn't hit a decent hook if you offered them five bucks and five tries.

A straight shot is halfway between a hook and a slice. If you're at the extreme right edge, try to the extreme left edge. It will give you a better sensation for the middle.

There’s No Crying in Golf!

Dec. 8, 2004     By     Comments (2)

Bart Lower is defeated by Kip Henley III, and Don "Ninja Turtle" Donatello cries like a little girl.

Don DonatelloThe Golf Channel's hit series (they have only one, after all, so it wins by default), "The Big Break II" continued into episode nine last week after yet another boring "compilation" show. With the number of contestants down to three, this penultimate show offered the most tension thus far. Viewers of this episode were cleanly split into two camps: those that completely despise Kip (aka Bleach Boy) and those that haven't yet seen an episode.

The skills challenge, which would guarantee the winner a spot in the final match, included long-drive and putting segments. Points would be awarded based on distance, but the shot had to be in the fairway. "Imagine being as nervous as you can possibly be and trying to thread a needle. That's what we're trying to do out here," said fan favorite Bart Lower "And if you don't thread it, you lose."

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Faldo, Sunesson Split

Dec. 8, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Nick Faldo and Fanny Sunesson call it quits… again.

Faldo SunessonNick Faldo, winless since 1997, will enter the 2005 without a Swedish fanny. Longtime Faldo caddie Fanny Sunesson, who has worked with Faldo for most of the last 14 years, is giving up caddying to pursue other interests. "It will be exciting, I'm looking forward to it" said Sunesson.

Sunesson may caddy occasionally for Faldo, and has previously caddied for Sergio Garcia during a short split from Faldo in late 1999.

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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. 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.

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