Get Back to Safety

Stay down and power through recovery shots to ensure escape.

When you miss the fairway and find yourself in some trouble, concentrate on getting out and back into safety. The hard bump and run sideways out of deep rough is a difficult shot – stay down on the ball and power through the shot. Often, looking up to see where the ball is going before you’ve hit the shot result in a thin shot that gets caught up in the rough, going nowhere. Stay down, watch your club pass powerfully through the rough, to get out safely.

The Heritage

A new tournament, The Heritage, takes place on the European Tour this week.

woburn_dukes_2nd.jpgA new tournament, The Heritage, takes place on the European Tour this week. The event, though probably created to fill an awkward gap in the schedule (i.e. the week after the Ryder Cup), has been established to honour the European Tour’s Executive Director, Ken Schofield. Schofield has been the driving force behind European golf for the last 30 years and is set to retire at the end of the year.

Love Your 3W

Make friends with your 3-wood.

Learn to love your 3-wood. Many people’s drivers are hit or miss, but the 3W is a far more consistent club. If your driver is misbehaving, your 3W may consistently get you in the fairway 235 yards from the tee. The higher loft on a 3W decreases sidespin, and the 3W can be hit from light rough as well as the fairway. The 3W will hit the ball over trees, letting you cut corners on shorter doglegs. Practice power draws and fades, and the 3W may become your favorite club.

Grip in the Fingers

Grip the club in your fingers – and lightly – for power and accuracy.

Gripping the club in the fingers – not the palm – frees up tension in the hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders. It allows for a smoother motion and a faster uncocking of the wrists, adding power and accuracy. Sam Snead once said that you should grip the club as if it was a baby bird: tight enough to keep the bird safe, but light enough that you don’t crush it. Keep the club light and in your fingers for better shots.

Europe 18.5, USA 9.5

Europe wins the Ryder Cup in convincing fashion: with a new winning victory margin.

The US had their backsides handed to them yesterday, losing to the European squad 18½ to 9½ in the 35th Ryder Cup matches at Oakland Hills Golf Club in Detroit, Michigan. Not only did the US lose the Ryder Cup, but it did so in an unprecedented fashion: losing by the largest margin in the 77-year history of the Ryder Cup.


“We haven’t been winning it,” Davis Love III said. “If they keep bringing the cup back on their airplane, we are the underdog.” No kidding, Davis. The US has lost seven of the last ten Ryder Cups and shows no signs of reversing that trend. The same comments were made before this Ryder Cup as have always been made: “The Euros have more chemistry,” “It means more to them,” and – our favorite – “They have more heart.”

Practice Fades and Draws

Practice shaping the ball to get you out of trouble and to enhance general shotmaking.

Practice fades and draws on the range. If your normal shot is a draw, experiment until you find the smallest possible change that provides a fade. Note the difference in distances (fades tend to go higher and a bit shorter) and how different clubs react to the same swing (the longer clubs tend to impart more sidespin than the shorter ones). Practice punched three-quarter and half 3I slices and some huge bending 7I hooks. You never know when you’ll need a slight fade to a back-right pin position or a huge hook to get you out of trouble.

Trust the Loft on Lobs

Trust the loft on your clubs when playing pitches and lobs.

Many players hit thin lobs and pitches when they try to help the ball into the air. Your pitching wedge has about 50° of loft, and your lob wedge around 60°. Believe us, they’ll hit the ball in the air. Swinging down and through the ball and the ball will pop up with some spin. Trust the loft on your clubs and stop thinning the ball over the back of the green.

Mickelson Dropped

Phil Mickelson has been dropped from Saturday’s morning fourballs.

phil_mickelson.jpgPhil Mickelson has been dropped from Saturday’s morning fourballs by US captain Hal Sutton, presumably as a result of failing to win a point in his first two matches. His playing partner for those matches, Tiger Woods, will partner Chris Riley in the second match against Darren Clarke and Milton Keynes‘ very own Ian Poulter.

Bernhard Langer, on the other hand, is ensuring that his remaining rookies, David Howell, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey all play their first matches, while retaining the successful pairings of Garcia/Westwood and Monty/Harrington. Montgomerie will maintain his record of playing in every series since Kiawah Island in 1991, a span of 30 (and counting) consecutive Ryder Cup matches.

Giving rookies their first game in fourballs, as opposed to foursomes, is a shrewd move. It gives them a chance play their way into a match, without the pressure of knowing that every stroke they play is crucial. It also gives them marginally more Ryder Cup experience; they’ll hit 60-70 shots in fourballs, and roughly half that in foursomes. Those extra few shots may count for a lot come Sunday.

Inhumane, but Funny

Someone has a sickly funny sense of humor, and doesn’t want to meet any golfers in dark alleys.

You’re standing on the tee box, fancy driver in your hands. You’ve been hitting the ball fairly well, and you stare down the open par five. You take a deep breath, and all the stress and worry of the round – your swing, your alignment, the three-putt on the last hole – disappear. You wind up in your backswing, and come down with a smooth, fluid motion.

Yardage? You WishYour driver sings as you make contact with the ball, and the little white devil just leaps off the clubface. Straight, long, you watch the ball hit the fairway and roll. You smile – no, you beam. Your chest swells and you pick up your bag and take the walk to admire your Shot, with a capital “S”.

You walk up to the ball, and look out at the green, thinking to yourself, “If I hit my three wood from here, I could …” Glancing around, you see the sprinkler head and walk up to it to get a range to the green, when you realize that the greenskeeper is a sadistic bastard.

I was using my RSS reader to grab images from Flickr with the tag of “golf” when this image popped into my Inbox. Honestly, I’m glad the groundcrew at my club doesn’t have this cruel sense of humor. After hitting that Killer Drive, and feeling like I could take on the green in two, to look down and see that on the sprinkler head …

Okay, who am I kidding? I’d laugh my proverbial ass off.