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The Five Best Words in Golf

Oct. 24, 2008     By     Comments (4)

Trap Five LogoFew sports, with the possible exception of cricket ("That was a wicked googly."), have as colorful or specialized language as golf.

We have words that describe certain kinds of holes, like "redan," which has become a general term to indicate a hole, usually a par three, with a right-to-left diagonal green that slopes away from the line of play and from right to left. The name comes from the original Redan at North Berwick Golf Links in Scotland, which in turn was dubbed with the French term for a V-shaped fortification that faces the expected angle of attack.

We have "pars," "birdies," "eagles," and "albatrosses," which are all good things. We have "chili-dips," "chunks," and "claggy" lies, which are all bad things. A claggy, by the way, is a wet, muddy lie that borders on casual water.

We have words that we hardly ever use any more. When you commit a "baff" you hit behind the ball and merely graze the ball, which hardly ever happens on today's softer, more manicured courses. "Niblick" is an obsolete term for a nine-iron. "Pawky" is an old Scottish term used to describe cunning or tricky play.

And then there are all those four-letter terms that turn up so much during a round of golf. Frankly, they are a bit too common to be considered as the best words in golf, though they certainly have a place from time to time when the game gets extra frustrating.

My criteria for the best golf word is the aptness of its sound to its meaning, its originality to golf, and my own totally subjective bonus point system.

2008 Ryder Cup Singles Matches Live Blog

Sep. 21, 2008     By     Comments (3)

Ryder CupThe 37th Ryder Cup has come down to the final day - something you couldn't say the previous two years. Of course, the last time the U.S. took a 9-7 lead into the final-day singles matches, they lost - in 1995 at Oak Hill in Rochester, NY.

Like 1995, the U.S. team is playing without Tiger, but the comparisons will likely stop there. This Ryder Cup, unlike others in recent years, has seen a sort of role reversal. Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood have records of 0-1-2 and sat out a match for the first time in over a decade. Rookies on the U.S. squad have stepped up, like Boo Weekley and Hunter Mahan. In short, the U.S. team has been making the clutch shots and holing the key putts, while such instances for the Europeans have been much fewer and farther between.

It's all shaping up to be an exciting final day at the 37th Ryder Cup. Click through to read along.

2008 Ryder Cup Predictions

Sep. 18, 2008     By     Comments (6)

Thrash TalkRyder Cup week is finally here! We have heard all the talk and hype, and now it's time for Europe and the United States to settle things on the golf course.

Europe has completely dominated the event over the past decade or so, and they are the favorites coming into the 2008 version. The United States, on the other hand, is playing on home soil (Valhalla) and will have the crowds in their favor.

Will the Europeans continue their recent domination, or will the United States bring the Cup back to America? Also, which golfers will get the most points for their respective teams, and which golfers will disappoint the most? The Sand Trap staff members have given their predictions, and you can keep reading to find out what we all think about this year's event. If you have anything to add, please comment below or discuss them in the forum.

Sand Trap Rules Quiz Number One

Sep. 15, 2008     By     Comments (16)

USGA LogoHittin' the Links is on hiatus this week, just like the PGA Tour. Instead we are going to delve into the complicated world of rules.

At the golf course, many golfers think it is fine to play without rules. It is evident among the pages of our forum just how misunderstood or unknown the USGA Rules of Golf really are (or the R&A's, if you're outside the USGA's jurisdiction). Many "What's the ruling?" or "Did I do this correctly?" threads pop up asking for advice. As golfers we enjoy helping others play by the rules. So we here at The Sand Trap thought, well, why don't we have a column to help people learn about and understand the rules.

Let me introduce the Sand Trap Rules Quiz Number One.

Cheap Course Tricks

Aug. 29, 2008     By     Comments (7)

Trap Five LogoHave you ever been enjoying a round on a new course when suddenly the architect throws a twist at you that just seems out of character? When I'm playing a course laid out by a farmer (there are quite a few of these in central Ohio, by the way), I expect some quirks and tricks, but when a "name" architect does it to me, I can't help but feel a little betrayed.

There are so many challenges designers can build into any course - chutes of trees that threaten drives from both sides, watery graves for errant shots, curled-lip bunkers that throw shots back like Hawaiian waves spit out surfers, murderous contours on firm greens - I don't understand why architects feel the need to use cheap tricks.

Nick Faldo is on the Clock

Aug. 28, 2008     By     Comments (8)

Thrash TalkThe FedExCup playoffs kicked off last week, and while this week's Deutsche Bank Championship is big news, the Ryder Cup takes the cake as usual. A couple weeks ago, I dissected the United States team and predicted the four golfers Paul Azinger will pick next Tuesday. European captain, Nick Faldo, has to make his two captain's picks the day before on Labor Day.

It was tough finding four worthy golfers for Azinger to pick, but the same can't be said for the European side. While there are only two picks, there are a handful of worthy choices. It's going to be tough for Faldo, so I'll lend him a helping hand this week. I'll eliminate a few of the more undeserving choices, and then I'll select the two guys most deserving of making the European team.

2008 FedExCup Playoffs Rundown

Aug. 21, 2008     By     Comments (1)

Thrash TalkWhen the FedExCup was announced, there were mixed reactions from the golf world. Fast forward to 2008, and there are still a lot of different opinions on the first-ever playoff system in golf. Nonetheless, this year's FedExCup playoffs start today.

Things aren't perfect with the current playoff system (144 golfers is far too many for a playoff), but golf fans are still going to have a chance to see some high-quality golf over the next month or so. Even though Tiger won't be able to defend this year, eight of the top 10 golfers are playing the Barclays this week. The fields will be strong, the courses will be nice, and the golfers will be playing for $10 million. That sounds like a winning recipe.

Which golfers are going to be the toughest to beat this year? Also, which golfers might have a disappointing run the next month? Finally, who might get hot late in the season and make a surprising run up the FedExCup standings? Keep reading to get my thoughts on this year's playoffs.

Fall 2008 Sneak Peak: Titleist Vokey Wedges and Cameron Putters

Aug. 19, 2008     By     Comments (29)

Bag DropLast week we brought you the news of Titleist's fall 2008 909 driver, fairway wood, and hybrid lineup. This week we bring news of the rest of the new Titleist gear: Bob Vokey's most complete line of wedges ever and some new creations from putter craftsman Scotty Cameron.

With the spring release of the AP2 and AP1 irons (along with the ZB and ZM) and new putters, and the impending release of new drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids, new wedges and putters will mark a wholesale replacement of Titleist's equipment line in 2008.

Read on as you prepare to have your wallet lightened a bit this fall.

Captain Azinger is on the Clock

Aug. 14, 2008     By     Comments (8)

Thrash TalkI want to start by congratulating Padraig Harrington on his second consecutive major victory. Over the past 13 months, he has gone from one of the best without a major to one of the best, period. As for Sergio Garcia, maybe next time. Speaking of Harrington and Garcia, they will both be stalwarts on Nick Faldo's favored European Ryder Cup team next month.

The European golfers still have a couple more events to lock in their spots on the team, but the eight guaranteed United States spots have already been decided. Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Kenny Perry, Jim Furyk, Anthony Kim, Justin Leonard, Ben Curtis, and Boo Weekley locked in their spots after the PGA Championship. Captain Paul Azinger has a few weeks to decide the remaining four golfers that will represent the Americans at Valhalla.

Azinger could go down the list and pick the next four in line, but that's not happening. Unfortunately, after looking at the standings, it's hard to find four guys worthy of a spot on the team. That doesn't bode well for the U.S. chances, but you never know. I've studied the standings long and hard, and these are the four guys most worthy of a captain's pick.

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