Five Reasons to Play Nine

We don’t always have the time to play eighteen. Here are the top five reasons why you should consider playing nine-hole courses.

Trap Five LogoNine hole golf course are an endangered species, except in smaller towns where the quaint venues are the only game in the area.

Studies of golf operations suggest the most efficient set-ups cover 36 holes The additional maintenance equipment you need for 36 holes vs. 18 is negligible; a few additional workers is all you need. This assumes you can get enough green fees to keep both 18s busy. So, nine-hole operations fall on the wrong end of economies of scale.

Also, nine-hole tracks are often family operations. When the owners get ready to retire, the children often got enough of working at the course during high school and don’t want to take over. A 60-acre tract with rolling hills and trees can make a nice subdivision plot, and pave the way for nice retirement for the couple. Among municipal courses, most of the closures in southwest Illinois the past three years have been nine-hole operations. Too much work for too little revenue if larger venues exist in the area.

Clubbing Up: Beginners Should Consider Boxed Sets

The boxed set may be the perfect way to get into the game of golf – yet it’s overlooked by nearly everyone.

Bag DropThe golf equipment section of the forum gets lots of posts from beginners on whether they should buy cavity-backed clubs or blades for their starter sets. Or, what kind of driver works best for newbies?

In the responses, hard-core golfers compare the benefits of Titleist AP2 vs. Mizuno MP-57 irons to people who don’t know the difference between a 5-iron and a pitching wedge. This often ends up with suggested club mixes that could easily cost $1,500 if bought new.

“My gosh,” says the beginner. “What should I get? Will I ever make it to the golf course?”

The Instructor Quiz: Nine Questions You’ve Gotta Ask

How to avoid wasting your time and money: put your instructor through this simple quiz.

There are a lot of golf instructors out there. Many of them are qualified, intelligent instructors with the best of intentions. They want to help you, they want to see you improve, and they enjoy doing it.

Unfortunately, intentions don’t always translate into ability, and there are a good number of instructors out there who may not be helping their students as much as they’d like.

Over the last few years I have become increasingly frustrated with feedback I have received from students who have taken lessons from seemingly “qualified” instructors. In this era of the Internet and YouTube, I have also had the chance to view a large number of videos and read many instructional articles online and, again, it seems that much of the information is misleading at best. Because of this I took the time to devise a short nine-question “test” for golf instructors.

I would like to point out upfront that I, and all the instructors at my academy, teach based on the 5 Simple Keys®… but all of the questions and answers are the same for any efficient method of swinging the golf club.

Birdies on the PGA Tour

How well do you think the leaders in par-three birdies did this year? Par-five birdies?

The Numbers GameLet’s talk about everyone’s favorite topic: birdies, who makes them, and how much it helps your round. I remember the first time I shot under 40 for nine holes: I shot a 38 that included two birdies. Take away those and I don’t break 40 that day. Over a year before that, I birdied the 17th on my way to breaking 90 for the first time with an 87. A bogey instead would still have me breaking 90 that day, but the bird makes me sound clear and focused (the truth is that I had no idea where I stood on the 17th tee).

Most professionals aren’t concerned with looking cool, and if they’re worried about breaking 40 or 90, we probably aren’t seeing them in the winner’s circle on a regular basis. But they are concerned with birdies.

This week we take a look at birdies on the PGA Tour.

Biggest Surprises of 2009

See if you agree with my picks for the five biggest surprises of 2009.

Trap Five LogoThis season the PGA Tour has given us some memorable – or at least notable – winners. It has also given us some surprising performances, results, and standings.

We all have our favorites and not-so-favorites. But, when the ones we expect to be consistent are not, we question their abilities. All players have their good and bad days. What we can expect is there will be surprise winners, and there will be those players who do not do as well as we might anticipated.

Golf in the Olympics

In or out? What are the reasons for or against golf in the Olympics?

Trap Five LogoA lot has happened in the game of golf since it last played the role of an official Olympic sport. The last gold medal was won by a Canadian golfer named George Lyon. He won the medal at the 1904 Summer Olympics held in St. Louis, MO.

The fight has been rekindled to once again bring golf into competition for a medal. The official decision will come in October 2009. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will meet on this date and vote on adding no more than two (maybe none) of seven elected sports. The seven sports that are competing for a spot are golf, baseball, softball, karate, roller sports, rugby, and squash. That’s right, I said squash!

In this week’s Trap Five, we’re counting down five of the larger issues in the “Golf in the Olympics”

The five items listed below seem to draw the most attention in Olympic golf discussions.

PING Rolls Out Complete New G15 and i15 Lines

Come check out the latest from PING, a blend of cutting-edge technology and time-tested design.

Bag DropJust in time for their 50th aniversary, PING is introducing two completely new lines of clubs: the G15 and i15. The largest product launch in PING history includes something for every level of player, from the beginner to the advanced player. In today’s Bag Drop, we’re taking a look at the Solheim family’s latest innovations.

PING is introducing not one but two completely new lines of clubs, with new drivers, fairway metals, hybrids, and irons in each. PING is also introducing a new putter line and adding a few models to existing lines, but given the massive introduction of eight new products, this Bag Drop won’t get around to talking about the new flatsticks.

Bad Tiger!

Are Tiger’s tantrums really that bad?

Thrash TalkThis is my first contribution to The Sand Trap and I want it to be perfect. I want to find a great topic and write a column that Joseph Pulitzer would envy. It should be exponentially thought provoking, even ground breaking. The last thing I wanted to do was to be safe and write about Tiger Woods.

Sorry, self. Maybe next week. This week I just can’t help it. I have spent days trolling through the forum reading post upon post about Tiger Woods and his on-course behavior. My eyes glued to the screen, chuckling and nodding in agreement with hundreds of posts. Tiger Woods and his occasional (or frequent, depending on how you feel about him) negative “antics” can’t escape me.

Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize

How much thought do you give to those little extras that you carry in your golf bag? This week it’s all about using those little extras to help improve your game.

Bag DropHave you ever taken all of the clubs out of your bag only to find that it still weighs ten pounds? Many of us have the pockets of our golf bags stuffed full of all sorts of things. Some of them are as the usual items one would expect to find in a golf bag such as balls, tees, towels, and gloves. Other times you can find some pretty strange items such as various good luck charms. This week we’ll take a look at what’s new in the world of accessories.