Out to Pasture

Pasture Golf. While the term is generally regarded as a derogatory remark describing the upkeep of a local course, these gentlemen like it au naturale.

I think it’s safe to say that while most golfers, including myself, love to take in the natural beauty of a lush, well–kept track, there are some adventurous souls out there that like to rough it. They take it back old–school style. Not 1970’s old–school, more like 1570’s old–school.

These sheep–herders enjoy Pasture Golf. While the term pasture golf is generally regarded as a derogatory remark describing the upkeep of a local course, these gentlemen take it as Pasture Golf a compliment.

More power to ’em, but the only cows I like are the ones on the grill.

Fun at the Chrysler Championship

Taking in a PGA Tour event in person is quite different from watching it on TV.

chryslerOn nothing more than a whim, I decided to take in Saturday’s action at the Chrysler Championship at the Westin-Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida. What follows here are merely a bunch of observations from a half day’s adventure on the course. It was only a half day because we got stuck at a car dealership in Orlando in the morning.

Trick or Treat

Apply a little pressure to your practice by setting up a mini punishment/reward system.

Apply a little pressure during your practice. For example, if you’re practicing five-foot putts, the following might be an example:

Make < 40%: clean out the garage
Make 40 – 60%: good job
Make > 60%: treat yourself to a nice big steak and a beer

The net time, maybe you bump the percentages to 45/65. Find the point at which rewards are truly rewarding – and difficult to achieve. As with the regular game of golf, you are your own referee. Be honest or your game won’t improve as it should.

Eyes Over the Ball

Are your eyes over the ball when you putt? Try this quick drill to find out.

Where are your eyes when you putt? Commonly, putting problems start when a golfer’s eyes move too far inside the ball. To find out where your eyes are, take a normal putting stance. Hold a ball between your eyes and then drop it. If you’re properly aligned over the ball, the dropped ball should strike the ball you would putt. If the balls miss each other, adjust your stance until your eyes are over the ball.

Step Drill

Take a step towards a proper weight shift with this drill.

Many people suffer from a reverse pivot or a poor weight shift. There’s one simple drill that will help you “get through” the ball with your weight on your left side.

This drill is borrowed from baseball. Start with your feet together and then swing the club to the top. As you start your downswing, step toward the target with your front foot just as you would to hit a baseball.

Starting with your feet together will ensure that you get your weight onto your front side as you swing through the ball. This drill is also very good to get the feel of the swing starting at the bottom and stop those golfers that cast their hands to start a golf swing. Try this drill without a ball first or until you have mastered the stepping motion with good balance.

Seve Accused of Assault

Seve Ballesteros has been accused of assault by a European Tour official, but details are nonexistent.

Seve BallesterosThe European Tour is investigating Seve Ballesteros, accused of assaulting a Spanish golfer off the golf course during an amateur tournament last month. Ballesteros was a spectator at the over-35 event in Pedrena, Ballesteros’ home town. Jose Maria Zamora, a tournament director on the European Tour and amateur player, is the reported victim.

Zamora penalized Ballesteros for slow play at last year’s Italian Open. Ballesteros refused to adjust his card and was later fined by the tour. The European Tour has said that they’re investigating but is declining to comment. No other details are available, and we imagine that suing someone in Spain is just as easy as it is in the United States, so what constitutes “assault” can be left to the imagination of the readers. Was it a prod with a forefinger on the shoulder to accentuate a point, or was it an attack?

We will simply go with “innocent until proven guilty.” Especially given the fact that it is the European Tour doing the investigating and not the local police.

Overcome Caveman Golf

Golf is a game of risk vs. reward. Being realistic about the risks – and the reward – is the key to playing smart golf.

Golf Digest recently published a “Guide to Caveman Golf” for those people incapable – or unwilling – to overcome their “smash it and then go look for it” tendencies. If you are able to overcome your tendencies, you may score better as a result. We don’t advocate hitting nothing but your 3W off the tee, but do try to ask yourself a few questions:

  • If you hit a 3W from this tee, do you still have a 7I or less into the green?
  • If you hit to the fat part of the green instead of going at the flag just over that water hazard, can you lag and tap in for par?
  • Do you need to make this putt, or would lagging one up there be sufficient?
  • What’s more important: being closer to the pin or hitting the highest lofted club you might be able to get to the hole?
  • If you go at this par five in two and miss the green, will you be in better or the same shape as you’d be if you safely lay up?
  • Would you rather play your next shot from the trees again or from the fairway?

I think you get the point. Golf is a game of risk vs. reward. Being realistic about the risks – and the reward – is the key to playing smart golf.

Hole in One Registry

You can register and view holes-in-one across the country at PGA.com.

If you took dead aim and recorded a hole-in-one, you can register your ace at PGA.com and bask in your own glory. Enter your details for the world to see, or poke fun at. For example, this fine lady used her trusty driver to conquer the monstrous sixty-yard par 3 in 2001.

Ahh, who am I kidding. I’m just annoyed that Tiger bagged his first ace when he was six, and I’m still hoping.

Duval Has Best Round of the Year

David and Bob Duval team up with Special Olympics athletes Kevin Erickson and Oliver Doherty in a made-for-TV match.

david_duval.jpgDavid Duval and father, Bob Duval, played golf at the Timuquana Country Club with Special Olympics athletes Kevin Erickson of Wisconsin and Oliver Doherty of Ireland in a made-for-TV match called “A Tee Time Like No Other” to be televised by CBS Sports on New Year’s Day. The match was set up by the Special Olympics, who wanted to feature some of their finest athletes.

During the first hole of the made-for-TV match, that paired David with Kevin and Bob with Oliver, Erickson hit a slight draw and landed in the middle of the fairway. Duval hit a slice into the trees. “At least one of us is in the fairway,” Erickson told him. Duval shot right back, “Fairways are overrated.”