Tour Tempo

This isn’t much of a swing thought, but then again, that’s the point.

Golf for Women has published a snippet of a book called Tour Tempo: Golf’s Last Secret Finally Revealed. The snippet outlines the 3:1 ratio that most tour players seem to have in their swings. Three beats to reach the top of the backswing, one beat coming down to impact.

You too can attempt to achieve “Tour Tempo” by counting in your head. Most music is in 4/4 time, so pick a song with a rhythm you like. Swing back to the top on the first three beats while humming the song or singing it (even if you do so quietly or in your head), and swing down and make contact with the ball on the last beat. If you have decent rhythm, simply saying “1 2 3 4” rhythmically will be enough.

Give the “Tour Tempo” a try the next time you golf. It’s not much of a swing thought, but then again, that’s the point.

Casey Swooshes over to Nike

Titleist punted him, and Nike’s decided to pick up the ball and run with Paul Casey.

NikeAccording to the UK Telegraph, Paul Casey is now a member of Team Nike. He’ll join fellow countrymen Nick Faldo and other notables like Tiger Woods, David Duval, Rory Sabbatini, and, on the LPGA Tour, Grace Park. And I know that just having watched that commercial in which they smash Tiger’s SUV with an Ignite driver!

The signing of Casey comes quick on the heels of Titleist’s booting Casey out of camp early for his remarks about “stupid Americans.” Casey maintains that Titleist and he were parting soon anyway, and he sought Nike to get him to the next level. The article says thaat those who have watched him practice say he is hitting the ball longer, straighter, and higher (when he wants to). Casey will make his first PGA Tour stop the same week Michelle Wie takes the stage, and he hopes that this will take some of the heat off of him.

Thanks to the Golf Blogger for the tip.

People vs. Pros: Daly and Hoch Triumph

At the 2004 Duff Challenge, partners John Daly and Scott Hoch beat the amateur team of Mark Booher and Jerry Mangus.

John DalyIn the 2004 Dunkin Donuts Duff Challenge 800 two-man teams from across the nation competed against each other in an attempt to qualify for the chance to play against PGA pros John Daly and Scott Hoch. When the dust settled, Mark Booher and Jerry Mangus of Salt Lake City, Utah had beaten 180 other teams for the chance to battle the pros at Casa Blanca golf club in Mesquite, Nevada for the chance to win $50,000.

Mangus, a sixth grade teacher, has played seriously for the past 12 years and carries a 10 handicap. Booher, the longer hitter of the two, is a mortgage broker, has played for 7 years, and carries a handicap of 6.

PGA Notes: Mickelson Skips Mercedes, etc.

Mickelson to skip Mercedes, Baker-Finch to give it another go, and Faldo and Price weigh in and slip out, respectively. has a few interesting stories. The summaries follow:

Phil Mickelson has decdied to skip the Mercedes Championships in Kapalua. He’ll start his 2005 season closer to home, at the Buick Invitational near San Diego. Phil was not eligible to play in 2004 and skipped it in 2003.

Nick Price slipped to the 51st spot in the Official World Golf Rankings. He’d been in the top 50 for 17 consecutive years, dating back to 1987. Greg Norman held onto a top 50 spot for 15 years, and the longest active streak belongs to Davis Love III at 14 years. Love is currently ranked 7th.

Ian Baker-Finch may play some PGA Tour events to see how he’s doing. My guess? Not so hot.

Nick Faldo says the PGA Tour doesn’t need to have a policy against steroids. Why? “It’s been clean forever, probably because we’ve proven there’s nothing out there we can take to enhance our performance. So there’s no point looking. Golf has a very good reputation and, fortunately, nothing in the wings is going to dent it.”

Proper Tee Height

What’s the proper tee height? Half a ball, baby. Half a ball.

Tee HeightWe’ve previously written about how tee height can affect shotmaking, but what’s the standard position for a teed ball?

The general rule of thumb for woods and metals these days is this: tee the ball up so that, when your club rests lightly on the ground, ½ of the ball is above the topline of the club. The image to the right, courtesy of Perry Andrisen’s site, is a touch above that but will encourage an upswing with the driver.

Here’s another image showing the heights of the tee for a driver, a 5-metal, and an 11-metal (which is similar to that of an iron), courtesy of Golf for Women:

Tee Height Compare

Titleist Readies Pro V1/V1x Successor

What’s in store for Titleist’s premier ball? The rumors are flying!

Pro V1x PrototypeThe rumors are flying: Titleist is readying an update to its Pro V1/V1x golf balls. A retail-purchased late 2004 Pro V1x has markings like this.

◀•Pro V1x 332•▶

The arrows look like those in the image to the right, but something as subtle as that dash between “V1x” and “332” indicates a new ball.

What changes can Titleist make to an already quite capable ball – one that won every PGA Tour Major last year? The rumors are flying. One claim states that the both the V1 and the V1x will be longer than last year’s, but the V1 will maintain the same spin. It may do this by spinning similarly around the greens but less off the driver. Another claims that the spin on the V1x has been reduced on short irons and wedges and that it will feel softer around the greens. Other rumors say the V1x will simply spin less all around.

Rumor mongers routinely check the USGA’s list of conforming balls to look for new additions. Just search for “titleist” “pro” and “v1” to see a complete list.

What’s in store for Titleist’s premier ball? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Clock Putting

Give this drill a try and let your inner putting instinct surface on those testy three-footers.

Three footers, the bane of everyone’s existence. Short enough that you should make them, but long enough that you might just miss. Do you ease them into the hole or ram them into the back? If you choose the latter, you might just face another three-footer coming back, and if you choose the former you may fall prey to the break.

The clock drill will help you with those short ones. Place six to twelve balls three feet from the hole in every direction. This will give you sidehill, uphill, and downhill putts. You’ll quickly develop a feel for the break and the speed. Start with a straight putt and work your way around the hole. Just get the ball in the hole instinctively – don’t read the green. Whether you’re a “ram it in” or an “ease it in” kinda golfer will become obvious.

If you’ve watched Phil Mickelson play lately, you’ve seen him take this drill to the course. He lines up a straight version of his putt, makes a stroke, and then moves to his ball, addresses it, and puts it in the hole instinctively. Give it a try and let your inner putting instinct surface.

Ogio Exo Stand Bag

Ogio’s Exo has a Woode™, and you will too after you give this stand bag a try.

Ogio Exo Bag LeftFor the past ten years, I’ve used a Titleist stand bag I purchased with my winnings in a golf tournament when I was 17. The Titleist worked well – and worked particularly well after I replaced its single strap with a dual strap from Izzo.

Unfortunately, in the past few years, the full-length (cloth material) dividers have torn up a bit. Putting a club away became an adventure in jiggling the bag and trying to find a slot into which the grip could fit. Otherwise, well, clubs were sticking out an extra six or ten inches all over the place. It had become just plain silly.

I like Titleist equipment, but their bags are simply overpriced. I’ve checked out the quality of the recent series of bags, and it’s just not there. Rebranded Sun Mountain bags at a premium price didn’t set well with me, so I looked elsewhere. And I found what may be one of the best stand bags around: the Ogio Exo stand bag.

Board Your Way to Better Wedge Play

Practice with a 2-by-4 to improve your short game.

Eighty percent of the shots in golf occur inside of 100 yards. In order to score well, golfers need to be accurate with their wedges. The key to accuracy is proper contact in the sweet spot (the area which wastes the least amount of energy when struck). Many golfers hit the ball too far to the toe or hozel of the club due to either an outside-to-in swing plane or a swing that is over the top. Improper contact leads to twisting of the club head and offline shots.

In order to learn how to make consistent contact with your wedges, lay a 2-by-4 on its long side and place a ball on the ground an inch away. Start out hitting small chips without making any contact with the board. Both out to in swings and over the top motions will result in contact with the board and immediate feedback.

Once you are proficient, move on to pitches, and finally full swings. As your contact improves you’ll see your scores drop. Both out to in swings and over the top motions will result in contact with the board and immediate feedback.

Keep practicing and eventually you will groove an inside out swing with your wedges.