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Talking to Neil Sagebiel, Author of “Draw in the Dunes”

Sep. 22, 2014     By     Comments (3)

Throwing DartsNeil Sagebiel is a golf blogger at Armchair Golf Blog and author whose first book The Longest Shot detailed Jack Fleck's stunning comeback and subsequent 18-hole playoff with Ben Hogan at the 1955 U.S. Open, and whose new book, Draw in the Dunes, chronicles the 1969 Ryder Cup.

The '69 Cup featured two highly combative sides. 17 of the 32 matches were decided on the 18th hole, and the last match of the day, which featured Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus, proved to be the decider. Nicklaus, playing in his first Ryder Cup despite having already won seven major championships, conceded a missable putt to Jacklin on the final hole, an unexpected turn of sportsmanship that became known simply as "The Concession." Jacklin tied the match, and the United Kingdom drew even with the States, though the defending champion Americans retained the Cup.

I sat down with Sagebiel over email to discuss golf history, a few the sport's current events, and his own game.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 Review

Apr. 3, 2013     By     Comments (1)

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 Box ArtAround this time one year ago, I wrote a review of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13, using a copy of the game I bought myself. I've been a loyal consumer of the Tiger Woods series of video games since about 2002, when the games were much, much simpler.

After a few off years, Tiger 13 was a step in the right direction, and Tiger 14 continues that. There are some bad things, and a few things that had me ready to snap my controller in half, but I can say with certitude that Tiger Woods 14 is the best game to date.

It keeps Augusta National, which was introduced in the 2012 version, and has expanded to include all four major championships (the real names, not just "Summer Major Championship"). The LPGA joins the PGA Tour, and more courses are included standard that in recent year.

More importantly, for the first time since the mid-2000s, former PGA Tour pros are in the game. Tiger 14 includes an assortment of major champions, including Arnold Palmer, who joins Tiger on the cover. The game retails for $60 on Xbox 360 and PS3, or $70 for the Collector's Edition (if you buy the regular edition, you can always upgrade to the collector's via DLC, for about $20). Kinect and Move support remain, though I have neither, so I won't be reviewing them.

Let's dive in.

“The Upset” Book Review

Jun. 8, 2012     By     Comments (5)

The UpsetI think of myself as a little bit of a history buff, not because I am any good at history (in fact I got really poor grades in school for history), but simply because I love to learn about it. As we approach the 2012 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club, Al Barkow decided to write a detailed account of the first U.S. Open held at the famed San Francisco layout. In 1955, a little-known man named Jack Fleck beat Ben Hogan in an 18-hole playoff that made ESPN's list of the top 10 upsets of all time.

I found this book when I saw a preview in a magazine I was reading. As I enjoy reading books by Barkow, I was intrigued. If you have not heard of him, then I would recommend reading some of his work. He wrote a fantastic book on Sam Snead and a few others which focus on that time period. His claim to golfing fame was that he was the writer for the Shell's Wonderful World of Golf and did some of the interviews of Ben Hogan while Hogan was promoting what was then called the Hogan Tour, which today is known as the Nationwide Tour (until 2013!).

Butch Harmon About Golf DVD Review

May. 18, 2012     By     Comments (6)

Butch Harmon About Golf CoverButch Harmon is one of the biggest names in golf. He has been Golf Digest's top-ranked golf coach every year since 2003, and he is the mastermind behind Tiger's early career swing. He has coached some of the biggest names in golf, including Greg Norman, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Adam Scott, and Natalie Gulbis.

You may know Butch from his many media appearances, his 2006 book, The Pro, his PGA Tour win (the Broome County Open in 1971), or his monthly column for Golf Digest. The son of 1948 Masters winner Claude Harmon, Butch teaches amateurs and professionals primarily out of Las Vegas, Nevada, and has been in golf for over 40 years.

Butch is back, and this time with an all-inclusive DVD, Butch Harmon About Golf. The two-disc set of instruction contain about four hours of golf, with 57 chapters including the full swing, the mental game, and fitness. It even includes interviews and conversations with some of Butch's most famous pupils. Is it worth the $80 USD plus $10 shipping and handling? Read on to find out.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 Review

Apr. 14, 2012     By     Comments (3)

tiger_woods_13_cover.jpgAs I do nearly every year, I was quick to pony up a good deal of cash for the new Tiger Woods PGA Tour video game. Like with most good video games I've been engrossed with it since the day I bought it, but that doesn't mean I love the game.

There are good things. For instance, the online country club feature is awesome, and we here at The Sand Trap have set up country clubs for Xbox 360 and PS3 to take advantage of that. But there is a plethora of shortcomings, not only in this game but in the series overall, and there simply has not been enough of an effort to overcome those. Numerous decisions clearly illustrate that EA Sports values the form over function when it comes to this game, and that comes at a detriment to the gameplay.

This year's edition is available for $60 for PS3 and Xbox 360, and there is a Collector's Edition for $70 also sold for both systems. We've already arrived to the first downside of Tiger 13, which is that last year's game was also available for Wii, Windows, Mac OS X, and iOS. Kinect and Move are supported, but I have neither so I won't be commenting on them. Read on to see if the price was worth it.

Scotland’s Caddies DVD Review

Jul. 6, 2011     By     Comments (2)

When you think of golf in Scotland, you might think of the great courses, the unpredictable weather, or the rich history of the game, and yet there is an integral part you may overlook and that is the importance of the role of caddies. Scotland's Caddies by Ron Colby aims to bring the caddy to the forefront and show just how integral their role has not only been throughout the history of golf but continues to play a vital role in today's golf as well.

Is Scotland's Caddies a "must see?" Should you add it to your DVD collection? Read on to find out.

“The Last Putt” Book Review

Jul. 3, 2010     By     Comments (3)

The Last PuttIt might seem easy today to generate some book sales and media hype when you throw the name Tiger Woods on the cover or in the title. With the fame of being the world's best golfer (and now tabloid fodder), all you need to do is put his name somewhere on the cover, toss in some nuggets (whether factual or not), and generate some book sales.

While I'm certain there are or will be plenty of books coming out to cash in on his fame or notoriety, The Last Putt: 2 Teams, One Dream, and a Freshman Named Tiger is certainly not one of them. Oh, to be sure, Tiger is in the title and a picture of him is on the dust jacket but this book is not a memoir of Tiger's college days. While he's the most well known in the much heralded cast of characters, it is the story of desire, determination, camaraderie, and a little bit of destiny sprinkled in that takes center stage.

Should you add The Last Putt to your summer reading list? Read on to find out.

“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.

“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.

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