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  1. Folks on this site have come here to learn about the golf swing, share ideas and improve. Most of us rely on better players and expert teachers on this site to help us get better. That is why I joined and why many others joined. Every few months someone like yourself joins The Sand Trap with a eureka moment. Rarely is it revolutionary. In fact, they never are. All your videos show a very flippy, pull golf swing and an improper grip. You don't like the fact that we don't think your swing method is viable for everyone else. It may work for you at this time, but it won't be a repeatable, successful swing in the long run as experience has taught us. Some of us, like me, have fought a flip and have sought out expert teaching to eliminate the flip. You are preaching a flip.Now should I drop everything and go back to the flip, which no good golfer does, or should I seek good advice? You know the answer. It is also the responsibility for forum members to protect the integrity of the site. If someone does a web search on building a golf swing, they may end up in this thread. Without our critique, it may appear that we are endorsing your method. So please take this as a peer review. You can either get upset, start insulting members and get warned, or you can look around at other threads, learn, and maybe take a look at your videos and methods again and adjust them. Please choose the later.
  2. Made a hole in one yesterday! 9 iron from about 160. I basically flew it in the cup. The ballmark destroyed the side of the hole. We saw it bounce from the tee and disappear, so I'm not 100% sure how it still went in, but I'm not complaining! First one ever! It was really cool!
  3. Every now and then, someone comes onto the forum with a grand idea about how "natural" the golf swing should be, about how "modern instruction is too technical," and about how they, despite rarely having broken 90 and having taken a few lessons and having seen a few YouTube videos, have the solution for what ails all golfers across the land. In this topic, I'd like to quickly tackle a few of the arguments that are commonly lobbed out there by these types of people. These comments are often made as if they're self evident, and obvious, when in reality they're just based on a hunch and a tiny dash of personal experiences. These comments are also often made by someone who has had limited success in the game, in part because — I believe — that the work it takes to get down to a low single digit handicap, for example, tends to make one very aware of just what is actually required. Note: I'm one of the first guys to tell you that I think most instructors aren't very good. And I have reason to dislike those guys more than most, because they actually make it more difficult for me to do well in my instruction business. If the perception is that instruction is bad (because it is), then that de-motivates people to seek out good instruction. It's a bit of a sinking tide lowers all ships sort of deal. What's the reputation of used car salesmen? Poor, right? I imagine nobody hates that reputation more than the good used car salesmen out there, as they have to work harder to overcome their perception of their peers as well as the normal things that come up in selling a car. In no particular order, then, here are some pins and my short (for me) responses knocking them down. Golfers Should be Taught the Basics and then Left Alone to Do What is Natural There's nothing natural about the golf swing. It's not even a move we've developed via evolution as a necessary hunting/gathering/whatever type move, like throwing or hitting something might be. Fewer than 20% of golfers ever get instruction, so most of what you see on the golf course is people trying to do what is "natural" to them. How's that working out for them? Not very well - most people's "natural" golf swing is a train wreck, and the reason why they can't break 100 very often. As humans, I'm not going to argue that we don't have some sort of natural hand-eye coordination. We do, to varying degrees. But golf is a whole new world of precision and speed with very little margin of error. So, yes, with a little practice the average human can get pretty good at making contact with a ball nearly every time they swing a club… but that motion, what they come up with "naturally," will often not be very good at all for playing golf. No Other Sport is as Technical as Golf Instruction Two quick things to say to this: Other sports are easier. I played soccer for a long time, and a bit of hockey. Skating isn't all that complex. Even puck-handling and shooting isn't all that complex. You can say things like "you roll your wrists like this, drag the puck like this, and then flick like this" or whatever, and that's - at most levels - about as complex and difficult as it gets. Golf is much more difficult than virtually any other sport - nearly every muscle in your body is involved in the thing, we have to hit shots accurately with the longest implements swung about as fast as anything else, our margin of error is ridiculously small (a putt from 3' with dead weight misses the hole entirely if it's not within 4° of accurate… and that's a three footer… have the wrong clubface angle on a driver by 3° and, hooo boy!). Anyway… golf is freaking difficult. Other sports, at the higher levels, are also incredibly technical, making the statement above in red a lie. Pitching coaches have all sorts of video and 3D motion capture devices. They analyze all kinds of things. Do we do this in Little League? They often aren't all that "technical" at the early stages, but things can ramp up for the better players. Some pitching camps and clinics will expose younger kids to this stuff. Every sport has things to gain from using science and technology, and the higher level you get. Other sports are incredibly technical. If you consider Formula 1 or NASCAR a sport, those sports are incredibly technical. Everyone is a Feel Player and Modern Instruction is Too Technical I agree that everyone is a feel player, and that giving a player too much technical "stuff" is bad, but that's inherent in how I stated it: "too much." Nobody would argue that giving the student "just the right amount" of technical "stuff" is bad, because again it's inherent in how I wrote it: "just the right amount." Some take this even further, and say things like "any technical information is too much," as if telling someone some basic technical thing is going to short circuit their brains and lead them to a complete inability to function. The truth is, mechanics are how you hit the golf ball. Someone who has the clubhead 18" outside their hands at A6 DL has bad mechanics, and those need to improve for them to be a better golfer. I see my job as an instructor to focus the student on the mechanics they need to improve (their "priority piece"), and then I use feels to get them to change those mechanics. The hypothetical student swinging across the ball here would understand that we generally want the clubhead somewhere inline with the hands at A6 DL, but feels are how we'd get there. Feels, drills (drills are just motions or exercises that help encourage the new mechanics to feel more normal and repeatable at higher and higher speeds), and other tools are what allow the students to change the thing, and if they understand the basic mechanics, they'll have a better chance of continuing to practice on their own properly. When students leave my lesson, they should understand the hows, whats, whens, and whys of their lesson: what the priority piece is, why it's important, when it occurs in the swing, and how to go about improving it. But the last thing is almost always feels and drills to enhance/encourage those feels. If the Instructor Talks about Mechanics, the Player Will Only Think About Mechanics This one comes about because sometimes people don't give enough credit to other people. If I tell a student "Okay, from the top what you're going to see is your hands shifting out, the club shaft steepening, and kicking out to here at A6 where it's 18 inches outside of your hands. This is why your good shots are big pulls and your bad shots are slices and wipey cuts" that doesn't mean the student is going to be thinking about "okay, my hands need to do such and such, my shaft needs to do this and that, and at this point, I want to have the clubhead and my hands at this point in space…" They might think that if you stopped the lesson there, but that's literally ten seconds of a lesson, and the next thirty plus minutes is often you working with the student to find the feelings, drills, etc. that help them improve those mechanics. If the student feels like his hands travel down toward his right pocket from the top of the backswing to fix the issue, then that is what the student leaves with, as well as an understanding of the what, when, why, and how… My students aren't thinking about mechanics. They know the mechanical change we're trying to make, yes. But I give people the credit they deserve: they can understand what mechanical change we're trying to make, and even why, while still being able to process, understand, and remember HOW they should go about making that change. Instructors who Draw Lines on Video Only Care about Positions, but the Golf Swing is a Dynamic Moving Thing High speed video is like having super-human vision. I say that a lot, because it's true. I wrote a lot more about this one here, but in short… the "positions" in the golf swing are merely "checkpoints" through which we pass through while making a dynamic motion. So that golfer with the clubhead 18" outside his hands at A6 DL that I've used a few times… on camera, he wants to start seeing the clubhead lining up closer to the hands. But he can't get there just by kind of posing it there, he has to get there dynamically, by finding the feeling that lets the clubhead pass through that "checkpoint" dynamically. At the end of the day, too, the camera often becomes more for the student than the instructor. The student can see that "wow, I did it!" They can try a feeling and see what happened in reality. They can experiment with how much of a feeling is needed to get something to pass through the "checkpoint." And they can use the photos the instructor makes and the notes they write down for them to continue guiding them as they practice. An Instructor with Lots of Gadgets is Obviously Too Technical Gadgets — launch monitors, high-speed video, pressure plates, SAM PuttLab, FocusBand, training aids, GEARS, etc. K-Vest… etc. — are tools. The good golf instructors I know have a lot of tools at their disposal. Just because they have every tool available to them doesn't mean they use them in every lesson. High-Speed video, for example, is like super-human vision. The golf swing happens too fast to see little pieces, and yet given the margins of error we have in the golf swing, we sometimes need to see those little pieces. And… I don't believe for one second that some of the famous instructors that pre-dated technological advances would have continued to teach the way they taught before. Ben Hogan would have been one of the first people to buy a FlightScope or Trackman, I think. The old instructors would have loved using high-speed video. Technology would have expanded their tool box, and they'd be foolish not to give themselves more options. As the saying goes, when you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. But when you have a full toolbox, you can fix all kinds of things, even if you don't use every tool in your toolbox on every job. Golf Instruction is One Size Fits All and Does Not Adapt to the Student / Golf Instructors Have Only One Method and Everyone Fits that Model I've heard some people say that some golf instructors teach one thing to everyone. I think every instructor tends to have things they prefer, or like, but the best instructors are incredibly flexible. For example, I "prefer" something closer to a one-plane swing… but I have a number of students with Justin Thomas style backswings, very high hands, very two-plane-swing type motions. My only real constraints are working within the 5 Simple Keys®, and I'm always working toward improving one of those in the full swing. My instruction, and the instruction of good instructors I know, is highly personalized, and that doesn't just mean what they're actually told to do and fix and change in their golf swing. Some students aren't going to visit the range very much, so they're given lessons which focus on things they can do at home for 5-10 minutes per day. Vice versa for someone who I see 3-5x a week hitting balls 20 feet from me at Golf Evolution - they might get more drills you can do while hitting balls. Some students are able to "buy in" more if they understand some of the little details of what they're doing. Other people just have complete faith in you and are confused by or don't want to hear anything except what they're supposed to be doing. They don't even want to know why; your word is good enough. Some students learn by observing. Some like external cues, others internal more. Some like auditory assistance. People learn differently, and while you won't always get this perfect, good instructors try to notice those things and tailor everything they do and say to fit that person's mentality. Heck, one of my students loves to shoot the breeze, and get his little priority piece in about ten minutes, hit balls for five more minutes, and then shoot the breeze for a bit more. Then he goes off and works on what he was given, occasionally sends me a text with a follow-up question. He was a 22 three years ago. He's a 4 now. Getting to know your golfer, your student, is important, and while poor golf instruction might be one size fits all, good instruction is not. Golf Instructors Tear Down Your Swing before Building it Back Up Again This almost never happens, and when it does, odds are high that the instructor is horrible, lazy, or at best unimaginative. I've never actually heard a golf instructor say this to a student, and I've sure as heck never said it to a student. Golfers come capable of breaking 100, or 90, or 80… or whatever. They come with skills. What good instructors do is correct the priority piece at the moment, leaving everything else the golfer is doing well already alone. Oftentimes, fixing one thing improves several other things, too. I had a mother of a golfer — a girl, not a great swing, but she can sometimes shoot in the 80s, and other times barely breaks 100 — tell me that she didn't want to get instruction for her daughter because "she has a unique way of doing it and she doesn't have time to start over from the ground up and rebuild her swing as she's already a sophomore." Uhhhh… right. So just because the perception is out there, and because a few instructors might actually take this approach (e gads!), it doesn't mean it's valid or widely done. Let me put it another way… an instructor who wants to "rebuild" is telling you that they're incapable of working with the skills that you have now, and that he is only capable of teaching you how to play golf if you swing one way the entire time. He's saying that he's incapable of finding and fixing a priority piece while using the skills you already have. It's an utterly ridiculous way to approach instruction. The cynic in me thinks that anyone who says this is basically trying to lock you up for a bunch of lessons. After all, you can't "rebuild a swing from the ground up" in only two or three lessons. Comparing Someone to a PGA Tour Player is Pointless Because Golfers Aren't Built Like PGA Tour Players Golfers are built like PGA Tour players. Like PGA Tour players, they have two arms, two legs, a head, fingers, hips, and all sorts of body parts in common. They're also using similar tools — clubs, balls, etc. — and trying to perform a very similar task. Instructors often use a PGA Tour player to show something being done correctly. For example, if someone doesn't transfer their weight/pressure to their front foot, I might show them a PGA Tour player doing this, so that the person a) understands that it can be done, b) starts to realize that it probably should be done, and c) has a glimpse into how it's done or what it looks like. Then, I work with that student on feels that produce better mechanics - squishing a foam ball under their lead foot, bumping the fridge door closed from the top of the backswing, letting the hips coast downhill, etc. Average golfers may not be able to swing like a PGA Tour player, but they can certainly improve at one of the 5 Simple Keys®, the commonalities found in all great players, and comparing a golfer to a PGA Tour player can often be illuminating for the student. Plus, as the student begins to have success improving her mechanics, she'll often be thrilled to see you comparing her swing to a successful golfer and happy to see that, at least in the piece you're working on, she "looks like an LPGA Tour player" (or whomever). No, we don't show an 85-year-old guy the golf swing of Justin Thomas and say "we want you to swing like that" and leave it at that. But if JT does some small piece that the golfer in front of you can do, the comparison may be perfectly valid. I Saw a Video Online and it was Bad, So Lessons are Bad Videos online are often NOT lessons. Even videos of private lessons are often not the same as a true private lesson, because the instructor is often talking to the audience behind the camera as well as the student in front of him. Online lessons often focus more on mechanics than "feels," but that's almost bound to happen when you do not have a student right there in front of you. Videos try to give generalized instruction, and because everyone's feels may vary, they almost have to focus on the mechanics, trusting players to do the mechanics themselves and to find their own feels. Outside of saying "students often tell me they feel like X, Y, or Z when they do this move," videos can't really get into feels much, because two people given the same feels might produce very, very different mechanics, and both could be "wrong," but they'd feel like they did what you asked (and they're being honest, because they did the "feel" they were told to feel) and consider the video and the instructor in it to have failed. If You're Not Hitting it Better at the End of the Lesson, It's a Bad Lesson If this one said "you should know how to hit the ball better at the end of the lesson," then cool. But no, not every golfer is going to be hitting the ball better at the end of every lesson. You want to know a sure-fire way to hit the ball better at the end of a lesson? Do nothing. Just have your student hit 7-irons for 35 minutes or so. By gosh, they'll get in a bit of a groove and be hitting the ball better at the end — hey, why wouldn't they, they've been hitting a 7-iron for 35 minutes straight — than they were at the beginning. That's not a lesson. There are a ton of lessons where the student will need to work on something for a few days, weeks, even months after the lesson. They may be slightly worse for a time, and then as they begin to get better and better at the new skill, meet and then surpass their previous performance level. Golf is hard®, and changes take time to incorporate at full speed. If you insist on hitting the ball better at the end of the lesson, on being literally a better golfer at the end of a lesson, right at that moment… then you're likely only looking for band-aid type lessons. Quick fixes. The thing is, those types of lessons often don't last. There are occasions when they do, but true, lasting changes often take time. Changelog: Version 1.0 - 2018-12-18 - Initial Draft. Version 1.0.1 - 2018-12-27 - Added an image so that embedding this topic elsewhere will use that image. I plan for this to be a living, breathing document of sorts, and I'll add things here and there, revise the wording, etc. as time goes on. Changes for more than grammar/spelling/clarification I will try to note in the changelog.
  4. In recent days, the idea that the golf ball should be rolled back 20% has been floated about. Every time I hear someone tell me that the golf ball should be rolled back 20%, I think to myself "have they actually done the math?" and then, shortly afterward, "are they freaking insane?" At what point in time would a 20% roll-back be? Dustin Johnson hits the ball 315 yards, let's say (because it was his average exactly in 2017). Well, welcome to 2021, where the new and improved Dustin Johnson absolutely annihilates the ball 252 yards! Dan Pohl led the PGA Tour in driving distance in 1980 - 1980 - with a driving distance of 274.3 yards. That's just over 87% as far as Dustin Johnson, so if you wanted to roll back to 1980 standards, you're way, way closer to 10% than 20%. That's as old as driving distance stats get, but the equipment didn't change much between 1980 and 1960, when Jack would regularly bust 300-yard drives of his own. So a 20% roll back goes back to, when… 1930? Best as I can figure… Let's also consider the guy who hits it 250 now. He's going to be content to hit it 200? The guy who hits it 215 and plays from 5900 yards? He's happy with 172? Proponents of rolling the ball "back" suggest that golf courses are spending money hand over fist to build new longer tees (despite no course in my area adding significant yardage in the last 20 years), but a ball roll-back could actually have them spending money to build longer tees. If you play the blue tees at Whispering Woods (scorecard image here) at 6475 yards, your 80% yardage is 5,180, which means you could play the Yellow tees at 5298 or the red at 4760. If you play the white tees now, at 6043, you're pretty well set for the red tees. But if you play either of the forward two tees, the course is now too long for you, and needs two new sets of tees forward of the forward-most existing tees. Sure, they can let the black tees go to pasture (6804 becomes 5443, which is about where the yellow tees are now), along with the blue and possibly the white, but they're just going to have to rebuild those tees further forward. And… Whispering Woods clocks in at a par 72, 74.0/144 rated/sloped course from 6804 yards! It was built about a decade ago, well into the distance boom. If you think courses are building new back tees now, just wait until they have to build all new forward tees, or risk seniors, women, and children not being able to play the game. The ball roll-back would be the opposite of "Grow the Game." BTW, green-to-tee walks? Instead of the most commonly used men's tee being situated close by, you'll find yourself walking or driving 80 to 100 yards forward, past the tees that have been left to pasture, to get to your new men's tees. If you've ever had to drive or walk forward to the forward tees, that's what every hole will be like now. Additionally, the entire scope of the game will be thrown out of whack with a 20% roll-back. Consider a 30-yard wide fairway now, with a golfer hitting it 250 yards. To hit that fairway, assuming he's aiming at the center, he has to hit the ball within roughly 3.4° left or right to hit the fairway. At 200 yards, he's got 4.3° to hit the fairway - an extra 26%. To provide the same challenge, we'd have to narrow fairways that same 20% to only 24 yards. And let's consider a 400-yard hole played by a guy who hits his tee shot 245 and his second shot 155. Right now he plays that hole with a driver and a 7-iron, so there's a fairway bunker 150-160 yards from the center of the green. The new hole is 320 yards, and our fella hits his tee shot 196 yards, leaving him 124 yards. Now, that 124 yards is still his 7-iron, but that fairway bunker… guess what? It's now completely out of place. At 155 yards from the tee, it's now 30 yards behind where the guy is playing his second shot from, and will now punish people who currently hit the ball shorter than 245 off the tee. Punishing the short hitters… that's what golf is all about, amiright? If a critical hazard on a hole's tee shot can't be moved - like a creek that tempts players to carry it - then you'll be faced with the decision to move the entire green closer to the tees. If you talk with any course architect, the first thing they tend to do when routing a course is locate possible green sites. They're carefully selected, and it would greatly undermine the architecture to have to move more than a few green sites per course. Oh, and let's not forget the greens themselves. Right now, from 155, players are often asked to hit a green that's 30 yards deep and 24 yards wide. But, with the same club in their hands, that 155 yard flight will again be reduced to 124… yet the green dimensions will stay the same. Greens will start to feel like massive targets. They'll play completely out of scale to the way they did now. They, too, would have to be shrunk 20% in both dimensions (resulting in greens that are 64% the size of current greens) to maintain the same challenge. And guess what? If you reduce the size of a green, you're going to have to again move greenside bunkers and hazards. Pin placements will become greatly reduced. Wear will increase given the smaller area of concentrated traffic. But your alternative - leaving the greens the same size and not moving any hazards - will result in lower scoring across the board, by all players. I wouldn't want to have to make that choice, or incur those costs. So in addition to the new tees, golf courses may incur other expenses as well: Consulting with an architect once again, even though their course operates well now. Narrowing fairways, tree-lines, etc. Moving hazards, bunkers, or green sites. Possibly changing the dimensions of greens, and all greenside hazards. Completely changing the value of par or the course rating and slope. Punishing shorter hitters with existing hazards. Consider, say, the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. It plays about 140 yards. With a 20% roll-back, the hole will effectively play 175 yards. Consider, say, the 12th at Augusta National. It's a devil of a hole at 155 yards. Players will hit anything from 8I to Wedge. It plays 155 yards, slightly downhill, and to a historical average of 3.28. Over a quarter shot over par. After a 20% roll-back, it will effectively play 194 yards. That green is not built to accept shots from 194 yards! But that's okay. Augusta National can afford to blow up one of the most famous, tested, tried and true holes in golf. Right? For maybe 95% of golfers, 6500 yards is fine. I've yet to see numbers on how many courses are really undergoing massive costly projects to add significant length. I think it's a small minority - just as the PGA Tour and players of a similar skill level are a really, really small % of golfers. Consider the massive disruption to golf around the world if this 20% roll-back were to occur. Consider that the Honda Classic - yes, not an "awesome" course, but still - held players in nearly perfect conditions to a -8 winning score at "only" 7100 yards. Consider that we're still playing major championships on courses dating to the early 1900s or earlier, and that the winning score at Oakmont, for example, was only -4. Consider what a 20% roll-back would do to your game, your enjoyment, and your home course. And then you'll likely find yourself asking the same question I ask whenever I hear someone say 20%: are you nuts?
  5. Back home with the Newport Cup trophy. Played our final points tournament today, came in 3rd and man I am beat, but I can't thank @iacas and @mvmac enough for putting on an awesome event, as well as everything else they did to make the tournament run smoothly. And I would also like to thank all of the sponsors who provided gear, it was greatly appreciated. Everything about this event was amazing. And big thanks to @RandallT for doing the updating and coming in and hanging out for a couple of days, always great to see you. For anyone who has thought about doing a video and getting selected, you should do it. It's as much fun as I've had playing in any golf tournament. The guys that came to play, both the blue team, @NCGolfer @DaveP043 @coachjimsc @cipher @bkuehn1952 and the red team, @Golfingdad @kpaulhus @Pretzel @phillyk @DeadMan @mcheppwere awesome guys, and to me that is what the event is about, the comradery of the guys playing. It was just a fantastic time and I'm glad I got to meet you all and play golf with most. And the competition was superb, everyone hit good and some not so good shots, but in the end it was so close, that we needed the challenge balls on the final day to break the tie. Brian - Our smooth swinging elder statesman, . Great putt, by the way, on our challenge hole. Kyle I'll see you in Florida in January for golf and a cigar, Drew and Phil, where can I find those magic golf balls that always seem to find a way to come back out of the trees. Dave P, my ace partner from VA, hope the IPA's were good, the golf was awesome, see you on the links soon. And yes your par 5 15th hole is goofy but I still like playing your course. Mike, I didn't get to play against you, but Dave P said your a pain in the tokus to play against. Jim, how do you hit your driver so straight, every single time and when do I get to see the dance moves again? That has to be part of your next v-log. Phil and Tyler, I hope you two still have backs when you're up there with the age of the blue team. Dan, yes I know you're name when I can see you up close, not from across the pond from 130 yards, I'm old, can't see worth a darn. Which by the way, the blue team's average age was about 52 and the red's was around 30. Not sure what that means, but old guys rule. Dave K and Nate, although we didn't get to play any golf together, throughly enjoyed hanging out with you off the course. Thanks to all my blue teammates and to the red players that I got to play against and the ones I didn't, it certainly was a pleasure to meet you all and I hope you all had safe travels home and can't wait to see you all again on the links. -Jerry
  6. I went to Whispering Woods Golf Club yesterday, 11/4/17, with one of my golf friends, Max. The weather was weirdly nice for a November in Erie. I bogeyed the first hole (I usually do) and as we were driving to the second hole, I decided I was going to aim for the pin. Usually I just aim to the center of the green but since it was a warm day and just a practice round, I went for it. The pin was left center and 110 yards from the gold tees so I grabbed my 7I and my blue Callaway Supersoft ball and walked up to the tee. I did my pre-shot routine and hit the ball. It was a clean hit with a little draw and it was going straight for the pin and I knew it'd be close. After it landed, the ball disappeared and I thought it may have gone just past the hole and the flagstick was covering it up. My partner, Max, said it went in and I laughed because I thought he was joking around. We drove the cart up and I grabbed my putter. We saw his ball about 20 feet away from the pin and didn't see mine. I checked the hole and there was my ball!! Me and Max both screamed and I was so happy! The first person I called was my step dad, Erik, because he always told me I would get a hole in one before him (he was happy for me and very sad for himself at the same time ). I shot a 38 which is my lowest round at Whispering Woods! I'll always remember the day I got my first hole in one!!
  7. Let’s see if I can summarize the 2017 Newport Cup experience from this past weekend: Weds: • Arrive • Meet everyone • Get golf swag • Back to the condo, discuss hole/course strategy • Go to dinner and talk about pairings Thurs: • Get up, eat breakfast and talk pairings, • Warmup and play golf • Have lunch, talk about previous matches, talk strategy • Warmup and play golf • Go to dinner, talk about golf events of the day • Go back condos, talk about more golf and watch NFL Friday: • Wakeup, go to breakfast, pick teams and strategy • Warmup and play golf • Wait a very long time for lunch, talk about strategy and pick teams • Warmup and play golf • Go to dinner, talk about golf events of the day • Head back to condo, watch ALCS and talk about golf Saturday: • Wakeup, go to breakfast and pick teams • Warmup and play golf • Go to early dinner, watch college football and talk about golf • Head to Pavilion, drink beverages, watch College FB and talk about all the golf happenings of the week So if you are not fully into golf no need to apply. I would like to give a big thank you to @mvmac and @iacas for organizing this outstanding event. I run one of these golf outings every year and it is no easy task. This was by far the best golf outing I have ever been a part of and it's not close. All the goodies or “swag” were unexpected and really appreciated. The golf and condo facilities were outstanding even with the little mishap at lunch. Big, big thank you to @RandallT for coming out and helping with the scoring and pictures. Really enjoyed meeting you and hopefully that neck heals up so you can be a participant next time out. Also @GolfLug great meeting you with a surprise drop in. Remember to get to “Greenville” next time. I really enjoyed meeting everyone on the Red team @Golfingdad, @Pretzel, @mchepp, @phillyk, @kpaulhus, @DeadMan. Top notch young gentlemen all around. I think having the application videos beforehand really helped us get to know one another before we actually met. And last but certainly not least are my Blue team playing partners and roommates. It’s hard for me to describe how much fun we had as a group and it didn’t have anything to do with golf. The golf was just the icing on the cake. @bkuehn1952 – The events elder statesmen. Great getting to know you. I believe you did a lot better than you thought you were going to do. No surprise here. @cipher – Blue team’s youngest member. I’m sorry I did not get a chance to play with you. It was cool we both have the body shop background in common. @DaveP043 – I am really glad we got to play together in the singles match. We did pretty well on our challenge ball together. A true gentlemen and thanks for suggesting that area for the NC. Looking forward to playing with you in the future. @jsgolfer – Yo yo yo dude! (18 tee moves go with that) What can I say about my fourball partner? I know I’ll have to say it fast or you will be gone. Man did we have fun together. And as I predicted you were the anchor of our team, Mr. MVP, it was well deserved. Looking forward to playing with you again in the near future. @NCGolfer – My roommate Dave K. who does not snore. Can’t ask anymore from a roommate. I had an absolute blast playing alternate shot with you. Yeah we could have played better but didn’t really matter we had a lot of fun both on and off the course. Looking forward to catching up with you in the spring and playing in Charlotte. In conclusion, as we were all finishing up on the 18th hole of the event, Erik looked at his phone and said, “Blue team won 31-29”, there was no yelling or hollering or high fiving and no Champaign flowing. The event come to an end just about as close as it started. 12 guys going at it as hard as they could for 90 holes and it came down to 1 point. The Newport Cup is so much more than winning or losing. So the Blue team has bragging rights for two years. Okay great. More importantly we have formed friendships that will last a lifetime.
  8. And the final leaderboard is ready at last. I was scrambling to head out for a function as you guys were finishing up 17 & 18 (the reason I had to depart yesterday). The Snell Get Sum Optic Yellow Challenge results were coming in via twitter and text messages. I was leaving the house, just as Erik and Mike had figured it all out. So I'm finally relaxing and sipping some coffee Sunday morning, and there's time to make sure I've got it right. Congrats BLUE and RED players for duking it out in style. As Erik said, the matches were a tie. It took a late surge down the back nine to put BLUE in position to win it with the challenges, but I've definitely learned how quickly these competitions can shift by a couple points. Very similar craziness down the stretch in 2015. Great stuff. I'm sure the players will all soon echo the same thoughts as they get settled, but Mike and Erik did an incredible job putting on such a cool competition. Crashing in their room for a couple nights, I can see all the preps that went into it. The pile of boxes alone that I slept under was enough to give me that impression. Remnants of bling shipments filled the corner of the room! All the work with the sponsors, all the logistics, and hell, just the crazy idea itself that you can pull off something like this. Very ambitious, and they pulled it off while making it look easy. Until 2019, a toast of Man of Law IPA to the coaches, and then one of course to the players who definitely took to the spirit of the competition. A lot of fun, some great play, and RED and BLUE still driving each other to the airport afterward
  9. I'll take the bet. It would be quite a story to tell in prison.
  10. Well I finally did it. After months of lessons and trips to the driving range I finally got up the nerve to go to a golf course. By chance I stumbled on a women's "new to golf group". Non-competitive and very supportive group. I had a great time and can't wait for the next outing. It was a par 3 course that I'm sure many of you would sneer at, but for a first round it was great. I even got a birdie!
  11. Yeah… People that get upset about sponsor's exemptions should almost always shut up. They're SPONSOR's EXEMPTIONS. They exist to boost publicity. The sponsor is, you know, sponsoring the event, so they get a few perks for their millions of dollars. One of them is that they get to pick a few players to play. Often it's a local guy, or if they can't find people who can boost the publicity, they just choose deserving players. But the spots can go to a circus clown or a celebrity if they want. Sometimes they do. If you didn't get a sponsor's invitation but feel you deserved one, and thus, feel screwed by Curry… play better so you don't need to rely on an exemption.
  12. 11 points
    I'm having a mental game expert address some of my juniors next Saturday, and I had some additional notes for him. Stuff I wanted him to include that may be particular to my program, the way I teach, my LSW information, etc. And I thought some of you might benefit. So here's that part of the email: 1. Practice is not playing. I'd like them to know that when they're working on their swing, they care what the mechanics are, they care what things "look" like somewhat, they care about making the best MECHANICS or something, to change or improve. But when they're playing, it's all about the results, not what it looks like. Better mechanics eventually lead to better scores, but sometimes you have to find a swing that works THAT DAY. 2. One or two bad shots is not a pattern. If you duck hook it off the first three tees, then yes, you might want to do something different the next time you get a driver out, but don't rush into changing your entire swing thought or game plan after one or two or even three slightly funny shots, or you'll be changing something after EVERY bad swing, which happens more often than people realize. 3. Have realistic expectations. PGA Tour players: make 50% of their 8-footers and only 15% of their 20-footers. On better greens. Average 2.8 shots from 100 yards out in the fairway. They hit it to about 18' on average. Hit about 60% of their fairways, but almost always keep it "between the ropes." Hit three to four "great shots" per round on a great day. Their standard is higher, but still… they don't love every shot they ever hit. They also hit shanks, chunk chips, etc. You only see the leaders on TV. Get up and down only 2/3 times. Scrambling is tough. But they almost never take two chips or two bunker shots. Then of course, talk about how having proper expectations for yourself will be very personal. Expectations can be for one shot or for the score for 18 holes. 4. Have proper expectations and goals for entering tournaments, but enter them BEFORE you're "ready" for them. You might have a better way of saying this, but basically, we entered Natalie in HJGT events before she was anywhere near competitive for them… so that by the time she was competitive in them (now), she'd know what they were like. It's NEVER a bad thing to play as many events where you have to put your name and a number up on a scoreboard for all to see - it can only be BAD if you have unrealistic expectations about your abilities. Go into competitive golf with the proper mindset - that you're LEARNING how to compete, LEARNING how to deal with it all, how to handle the slow pace of play, playing under the rules, playing with strangers, everything… go in with the proper mindset and it's all about growth, regardless of the outcome.
  13. The thing that's bad for golf isn't "faster play", I don't believe that the speed of rounds has increased. What is bad for golf is intolerant assholes, and it seems that you've found a few of those. I'm sorry for the bad experience, but I think you handled their start in the world of golf as well as you possibly could have. The only thing that could have improved the situation was to find an uncrowded course for the first few rounds, maybe at an off time, weekdays, whatever is least crowded.
  14. I am pretty sure, while at the driving range, we have all seen the older gentleman sitting on the bench. The guy with no clubs, just sitting there watching others hit balls. Some of us might try to guess what's going through his head. Maybe what kind of golfer he was in his prime. Maybe wishing we knew what he knows, or has forgotten about this game. Others' might not even pay him any attention. I was at the range earlier today. I did what I came to do. Afterwards, instead of heading to the 19th, or to my truck to leave, I took a seat on one of those benches. Not so much to watch other golfers, but to just kick back, and enjoy the warmer weather, and the day in general. A guy who had finished his bucket came up, introduced himself, and ask if he could sit down. He appeared to be a youngster, in his forties. We chatted for a while about nothing in particular. Finally when he got up to leave, he asked a question about the game of golf. He asked if golf ever became boring. I told him no, not if one was true golfer who understood there was more to golf than just hitting balls, and writing down a number. We shook hands, and he said "thanks for the conversation sir". Immediately after hearing that word "sir", it dawned on me that I was becoming that old dude on the bench. That's when I smiled, and went over to the 19th for a $3 domestic beverage.
  15. Good morning from a McDonalds on I-85N. Was a pleasure and honor to crash the first couple days of Newport Cup 2017. I'll be home soon(ish) and will be tuning in online for the remainder. Today's the big day. The one we've all been waiting for. Yes, that's right, ladies and gentlemen- it's shorts day at Newport Cup! I know that makes Jerry happy, for whom the idea of 50F and slacks is quite foreign. As the sun rises on the final day, things are tight due to a late RED surge on the back nine of afternoon play at Mid-South. Here's the summary scorecard so far. Apologies if it's too small: BLUE had opened up a 5 point lead at the turn of afternoon fourball at Mid-South, but things turned quickly in RED's favor on the back. In retrospect, we should've seen it coming because the largest cause for celebration for BLUE was a hole where Dave K had to declare an unplayable lie! Strange but true. Hey, it made sense at the time, as BLUE looked to be in strong position as we neared the turn. RED had some highlights of their own. Dan (AKA, the "greatest damn bogey golfer in the world") had a heroic eagle chip from just off the green on the par five 15th. Tyler seemed interested in winning the all-important and highly coveted category of "most pars despite a lateral hazard drop." Fortunately, Dan talked Tyler out of having his own Tin Cup moment on the 9th, and from that point on seemed to go their way. The real turning point of the day may have been coach Mike cutting through the kitchen bureaucracy and demanding that his team get their meal in fewer than 2.5hours. The timing of the comeback seemed to coincide with the lunch carbs kicking in. Dave P, on the other hand, was well fed and even debated with the wait staff on how to properly communicate that one has had more than one "Man of Law". The debate rages on, but is it Man of Laws, Men of Law, or just the mundane "2 mugs of Man of Law." I think only those from the Pinehurst area are fit to judge such questions, as it is a Southern Pines area product. On the back nine, another possible reason for the turn of fortunes is when Michael H had politely asked me if the unfortunate events of the recent holes might be withheld to prevent public mockery. A "what happens at Talamore stays at Talamore" kind of thing. No chance, Michael! At that point, his team poured it on, came back from 1DOWN on the front to win the back and the overall. Before leaving the topic of the matches, I just wanted to document how I love the contrast of different players. For example, Brian picks out the exact spot that he will hit with his driver, and he actually hits his aim point. "See that leaf over there on the right side of 18 fairway?" (at Talamore). Nice easy swing, and he hits it. RED said they only saw him miss the fairway once! Phil, on the other hand, enjoys deciding on his shot shape and aim point late. He likes to see what random position he gets to at the top of his backswing, and see how things go from there. "I do know this- it'll go far. But by A5, I'm getting a sense of whether I want to hit a cut or a draw. Near impact, however, is when things come together and I make my final decision." Kidding, Phil! The birdies late in the back nine were quite impressive, and part of an amazingly well-played match by everyone in that group. In other news, Erik had to increase his iCloud storage requirements to accommodate the bloopers and outtakes from the product endorsement videos. Jim, he wanted me to mention that you'll be charged 80% of that cost on your Newport Cup bill. Not sure what that was about, but I'm sure there's a good story behind it. Kyle looked smooth on his endorsement, so if he ever wants to go back to the West coast, he has a future in Hollywood. Well, Erik might have to fix the sunburn on the product video first. For that, he simply needs to sample a color from the RED teams Day 1 uniform, and that should make your cheeks a bit less red. Kidding, again, man. At dinner, Nate showed what a team player he was. The owner pulled out every trick in the book to get conversation going with us, but we mostly wanted to be left to ourselves. The owner seemingly had a network of business contacts and extended family spread to every corner of the country, in an effort to make a connection. In fact, he even employs Webb Simpson to get us talking! Webb friggin Simpson! Nate, sensing that the man would not go away until a common acquaintance was made, said "Yes, sir, I know your cousin who works in the Wisconsin public education system in Orono." Boom, just like that, the man disappeared, content that he finally succeeded in his mission. Nate, with that kind of dedication you have likely secured your 2019 spot in the Newport Cup. Well, lots of golf has been played so far. The holes were blurring into each other, and on the back nine of Mid-South there were holes I didn't think I'd even seen before. Drew felt a similar eerie sense of amnesia as the day drew to a close. Mainly, I wanted to thank Drew for reminding me of the soccer video (knowing Drew is an expert soccer ref) that I wanted to see after various viral golf instruction videos were passed around at dinner last night. How can you not love Scott Sterling? Ok, before Erik warns me about going OT on this thread, I'll just close with how incredible the first couple days of Newport Cup has been. Thanks again for letting me crash it. Has been great getting to put a face to the name. For all those reading, it is worth it to get your games ready for 2019. With that said, have a great day, gentlemen. Play well and have fun. I've had a great opportunity to spend time with coaches Mike and Erik and while they are both competitive, I do know the comaraderie is every bit as important to them. Have a great experience with your teammates today, and enjoy your competitors. Life doesn't get any better than that. Lastly, Erik wants to remind all that Lowest Score does not win today. You need to get to 30! Notice the sliding colors in the leaderboard? There's a mark in the middle at 30. I was geekily proud of that, even if I stole that from the recent President's Cup. Enough yacking. Back on the road. Sorry if I left someone out of the narrative. I'm tired! Good times.
  16. Here we go! FWIW, I ended up doing 4 holes, because 15 is a par 3 and 18 is a par 5. Those holes are also my favorite couple on the golf course, so it worked out well. (Very lucky they let me go out on the back 9 too.) My apologies for the wind noise in the video. My iPhone would have been better, but I don't have enough space to record that much video, so I used my old Casio. Its mic tends to pick up every single bit of wind. Show size: 11.5 in Nike, 11 in other brands Shirt size: XXL Pant size: 40 x 30
  17. I received the Cup a couple days ago and was very excited. I figured the best way to spend a day with the Newport Cup was on the course! I immediately decided the University of Michigan's course would be a great place to play. The course is located right across the street from The Big House. There was no warming up on the practice green Ultimately, the clubhouse staff told me to go home, take the Cup with me, and come back in May. Undeterred, I made the cross town trip to my "Home Course", Leslie Park Golf Course. Things looked promising. But then the reason for the empty parking lot became clear. No golf at Leslie for a few more weeks. Still, I was optimistic. Fox Hills remains open year round. Surely I could play a quick nine there with the Cup. Foiled again!! So I settled down in the nearest snowbank and enjoyed a cold one. Truthfully, it was a great day and The Newport Cup was a nice companion. Yes, we got a few odd looks during our adventures. I imagine everyone probably wanted to know how I acquired such a cool looking companion but were too embarrassed to ask. Everyone should try to make one of the 2019 Newport Cup teams because having this little pewter trophy in your hands is worth the effort.
  18. The 2017 Newport Cup is set to kick off in just ONE WEEK, so before we forget, it's a great time to start this topic and get the discussion of matches kicked off. The teams this go 'round: East (Blue) Team Captain: @iacas @coachjimsc - Jim Morgan (1.8) @DaveP043 - Dave Panich (2.4) @NCGolfer - Dave Koster (0.7) @jsgolfer - Jerry Scott (5.2) @cipher - Nate McPherson (6.6) @bkuehn1952 - Brian Kuehn (8.3) West (Red) Team Captain: @mvmac @Golfingdad - Drew Sebilian (5.4) @phillyk - Phil Kohnken (-1.0) @Pretzel - Tyler Faye (-1.0) @DeadMan - Daniel Prieve (5.1) @mchepp - Michael C. Hepp (5.4) @kpaulhus - Kyle Paulhus (5.3) Schedule Thursday, October 19th: Morning - Foursomes at Mid-South Afternoon - Fourball at Talamore Friday, October 20th: Morning - Foursomes at Talamore Afternoon - Fourball at Mid-South Saturday, October 21st: Late Morning - Singles Matches All matches will be a Nassau format with one point on the front nine, one point on the back nine, and one point total. That's three points per match, with three matches per session and six in singles. Foursomes: 18 points available. Fourball: 18 points available. Singles: 18 points available.* * In this year's edition we're making an additional six points available during the singles matches with a special Optic Yellow Get Sum. On any hole during the singles matches, each team can challenge the opposing team to play the hole with the Yellow Ball. If the challenged team makes a NET par or better they earn a point. If they make net bogey or worse, the challenging team earns a point. Before we get started, I'd like to thank the 2017 sponsors: Talamore Golf Resort - home to spacious and comfortable villas and lodging, a weekly pig roast, and two of the finest golf courses in the golf-centric Pinehurst area. Snell Golf - makers of a golf ball that offers tour caliber performance at an affordable price, and the company shaking up the golf ball industry. FlightScope - New in 2017, a pocket-sized launch monitor called Mevo, with a pocket-sized price and BIG performance for measuring and improving YOUR game. Mission Belt - No holes belts as seen on Shark Tank, now with a great new canvas strap option! Delilah Club Covers - Custom, hand-made driver, wood, hybrid, and putter covers, along with caddie bags and more. Frogger Golf - Developed the awesome Latch-It technology for rangefinders, phones, towels, and other accessories. PitchFix - Makers of the world's finest ball mark repair tools, customized with your own logos or designs. TRUE Linkswear - #EnjoyTheWalk with some of the best golf shoes on the market. I'd like to offer, too, a special thanks to @RandallT who will again be keeping track, either in person or off-site (but not off-"site" if you know what I mean ) of the current standings in a nice leaderboard that he'll post here in this topic throughout the rounds, as well as the likes of @nevets88, @billchao, and other members of the staff who will likely be monitoring our Twitter account @the_sand_trap and posting those Tweets and updates to this topic.
  19. Folks here's mine..Some reason had trouble uploading the combined course vlog and interview vid so posting them as separate vids. Hope ok..
  20. Ok, kinda proud of myself on this but with a bunch of help from google, I figured it out. Its Darius Rucker.
  21. Here is my, @saevel25's, submission . I got a bit on a hot streak with my game. Show size: 10 wide or 10.5 normal Shirt size: XL Pant size: 38x32
  22. Here is my 2017 Newport Cup Application. I may be two years too late but it feels great to finally be able to make and post this application. There is still a bit of work to be done with the game, but I am committed to putting in the work to be able to attend this event. Thank you @iacas for considering me as a potential East team member. Shoe size: 9.5 Shirt size: L Pant size: 34 x 30
  23. For some reason, you have missed hundreds of posts that do accept that. I've often said I can't even prove that Tiger would beat Vardon head to head, although I'd bet on him. What I CAN prove is that Tiger was more dominant than Jack, for more years, against stronger fields. It is 100% certain that Tiger had twice as many years (10 to 5) as the undisputed best golfer in the world as Jack did. See my data in this post if you want to debate that. https://thesandtrap.com/forums/topic/2203-jack-vs-tiger-whos-the-greatest-golfer/?do=findComment&comment=1434179 It is 100% certain that, using the Official World Golf Ranking formula to determine field strength, several World Golf Championships had stronger fields than some of the majors held the same year. It is 100% certain that they had stronger fields than any of the majors Jack won before 1975. And it is 100% certain that during his prime (1996-2009), Tiger won 13 of the 20 WGC stroke play events he entered, a .650 batting average in a sport where a .100 average is Hall of Fame material (no other golfer won more than one stroke play WGC during those years). His worst finish was ninth, and he got top fives in all but two of them. - It is 100% certain that Arnie, Jack, and Gary became the "Big Three" in part by winning six British Opens (two each) from 1959 to 1970. But there were a dozen or less Americans in the fields of the British Opens of the 60's, and that includes amateurs, seniors, and club pros. Take those out, and there were zero to three Americans to beat in some of those "majors." - It is 100% certain that some of the PGA Championship fields of the 1960's were two-thirds club pros, a situation Jack himself called "absurd and unfortunate." https://www.si.com/vault/1968/09/16/614249/rebuttal-to-a-searing-attack It is 100% certain that of all the top European money winners (i.e., those who won the Order of Merit and its predecessor) between 1955 and 1974, all but one of them never played in the US Open or PGA Championship in their lives. The one exception, Peter Oosterhuis, never did it before 1975. Peter Alliss was one of the best players in Europe for nearly 20 years. He won the Order of Merit twice, and beat the biggest American stars like Palmer, Venturi, and Casper in his Ryder Cup matches, but he turned down over half of his Masters invitations. Too far to travel, he said. His Ryder Cup partner, Christy O'Connor, also won the OOM twice. He never played an American major in his entire career. It is 100% certain that before the world rankings were established in 1986, the only sure way for a non-PGA member to get into a US major was to win the British Open. In summary, it is 100% certain that there were only a handful of international players in the field of US majors, and only a handful of American players in the field of the British Open, before 1975, and that it wasn't until the 1990's that almost all the world's best players played all four majors each year. So how do we know that made a difference? It is 100% certain that the Ryder Cup was the US against the British Isles until 1979. Once continental European players were allowed to participate, the record has been 11-8-1 in favor of Europe over the US, indicating that even one on one, Europeans are as good as Americans. It is not mere speculation to say that only half of the world's best players were in the majors of the Jack era, especially when you consider what the Ryder Cup record might be if the opposing Ryder Cup teams had included players from Australia, South Africa, Fiji, etc. It is 100% certain that from 1926 to 1978, there were only three non-Americans who won majors in the US. It is 100% certain that since 1988, there have been only two years when a non-American did NOT win a major in the US. In the two years that didn't happen, an Aussie and an Italian won the British Open, so a non-native has won a major every year, even when Tiger was winning one to three majors a year. Non-Americans won all four majors in 1994, and have won three out of four in several years since then. Even four of the last six US AMATEUR championships were won by foreigners. The conclusion is obvious to anyone with an open mind. The field kicks everybody's ass. It beat Tiger 70% of the time in his prime, and it beat Jack 80% of the time in his prime. The stronger the fields, the harder it is to win. And half of the world's best players were not in the field for the majors played before the mid-70's, at least. Tiger was more dominant than Jack, for more years, against stronger fields. That is what we claim, and can prove.
  24. Yeah, I get that. I’d be tempted, but realistically even if the odds for me were dead even, the upside isn’t worth the downside. 5 years in prison would have a much larger negative impact on my life, than $5 million would have in improving it.
  25. I'm going to speak as an instructor, and one who is completely confident that for the vast majority of my students, I'm doing a damn good job. I'm not insecure, but I'm also not going to say I'm perfect, either. I'm sure I could do a better job with some students. But it's tough to say, and you never really know. A brief story. I had a woman this past summer who was swinging WAY over the top and left. Like… more than I'd almost ever seen. So I could have gone two ways with her, and I chose what I considered "Way A" - a tougher but ultimately more "correct" way. The rest of the lesson went poorly, I thought, but she was getting the motion down better and better, so I kept going with it. At the end, feeling as if maybe I should have gone with the "easier" but "less correct" "Way B," I told her I wanted to see her in two weeks and I'd give her a half price lesson. I told her I wanted her to keep trying to do what we'd worked on (it's still the right thing, but she was having trouble hitting the ball anywhere on the club face, the change was so big for her). Anyway, two weeks goes by, and I meet her on the lesson tee. She is very nervous. I'm thinking "oh, man, oh no." She says "I'm so nervous. I've been doing what you said… and I'm hitting the ball so well I can't even tell you. Better than ever in my life!" I watched her hit a few shots, recorded a few, and said "wow, that's great. Let's work on your chipping or short game or putting or something, what you're doing there is awesome." So sometimes the instructors don't even know if the lesson was "good" - sometimes in a span of 45 minutes it's impossible to suss out exactly how someone will best learn something, how someone is going to practice, etc. The woman above trusted me and was just making such a big change, she couldn't hit the ball even as poorly as she had before, but as she got even used to it over two weeks… she started hitting it great. The golf swing is a physical motion. Yes, your brain "controls" everything, including your "feels," but it's a physical motion. All golf swings are repetitive, and none are natural. Some people have better hand-eye coordination than others, some have more speed than others, some may have played more stick sports as a kid… whatever. But the golf swing is not at all a "natural" movement, and instructors who say that, honestly, I think they're just scamming you. Marketing to you. Conning you. Those two things don't have to be mutually exclusive at all. I use technology. Hell, I wrote Analyzr, video swing analysis software. I use video in nearly every lesson I give, always. I use SAM PuttLab. I use FlightScope. I use training aids, and I draw lines, and so on. But I see my job as finding that one biggest change, the "priority piece," for that golfer to work on. Tour players are still valid comparisons, not because you should have the same flexibility or speed as them, but because they do the 5 Simple Keys®, and can serve as a good demonstration to show you what should be different. The high-speed video is for me at first, you bet. I can see things with high-speed video that you cannot see with the naked eye. I don't always need it, and the more I teach, the more I know what I'm going to see on the video, but it's still helpful to see the degree. It's super-human vision, after all - who would turn that down? But after the initial analysis, and after me seeing it… the video and the lines are for the student. I produce pictures for the student with their feels, and show them how that changes their golf swing. Yes, it's in photos… but the photos remind them of what they're after, what their "priority piece" is and how to work on it. I don't like blanket statements, either, but almost always, if you're leaving a lesson without photos or notes or something like that, I'm likely to feel you've gotten a bad lesson. A band-aid. A quick fix. My job is to take what can be quite technical and boil it down. To know the ocean's worth of information, but to give the student (oftentimes) what amounts to a tablespoon. Some golfers can handle a cup or a gallon. Most are good with a tablespoon. Those two things don't have to go together. "Too technical" is a fault, sure, but an instructor can be "technical" himself without exposing that much "technical" stuff to the student. And not all "line drawing" guys are technical. Everyone is a feel player, after all: They fog the minds of everyone. You're not alone in that. Just three quick things there… Those sports are comparatively much easier than golf. They have more margin for error and are simpler overall motions. Nobody has to start out training golfers by "filling their heads with technical mumbo jumbo," either. I just finished teaching 16 juniors today. In my last group, I have four girls. One is working on feeling like her left shoulder slides backward (to her right) across a shelf, the second is feeling like her hands drop down from the top of the backswing, the third is making her backswing motion feel "smoother" (the way her hips and knees work), and the fourth is trying to point the club to the left at the top of her backswing. That's it. That's their "priority piece." There is a TON of technical mumbo jumbo known by high-end pitching instructors, soccer players, wide receiver coaches, hitting instructors, and so on. Despite the fact that those motions are orders of magnitude simpler with much wider margins of error than the golf swing. You're arguing against a straw man, of sorts. Golf is hard.® It's not soccer. I've played soccer at a reasonably high level (varsity as a freshman, on a traveling team through that same year, until I quit to play golf instead), and it's so, so, so much simpler. No, we don't. Most instructors are pretty bad. You shouldn't be, as strict adherence to that standard will lead you to value band-aid fixes over actual golf instruction. It depends on what you mean by "better at the end of it," but if you mean "hits better shots at the end" then I disagree on occasion. Like the woman in my story at the top - she ended up getting a great lesson, and was what she needed, and she was nearly whiffing at the end of her lesson. Some guy who has been coming over the top for 40 years and who plays to a 12 doing that has figured out how to make that "work" to some extent. Making a lasting change that might let him become an 8 handicap might not happen inside of 45 minutes - he might need to keep working at it. But if he got a good lesson, that golfer should know what he's working on, know why he's working on it, know how to work on it… etc. Then, honestly, it's up to the student to actually do it. Some priority pieces take a little time and effort. I challenge myself with every student to "change the picture" as quickly as possible. Often that means asking for some feeling to be exaggerated. Then the student can see the change, and can be excited about it. It shows them quickly that they CAN do something. Then it's up to them to actually do it. A hundred times. A thousand times. Whatever. The golf swing isn't natural, but the habits (good or bad) that people build up are natural, and often fixing those bad habits feels very unnatural for quite awhile. You might not be an actual "better golfer" at the end of that lesson, though. You keep adding in stuff like "technical mumbo jumbo." I know almost all the technical mumbo jumbo you could want… and some students like to know what "palmar flexion" is. Others just want to know "twist the grip" or "turn the door knob." Not necessarily. Particularly for a really bad and really ingrained habit. You said that in response to "No type of instruction always helps." I took that to mean that for some, a more technical lesson can work, while others benefit from being a bit less technical. For some, a certain feeling or drill will work, but it likely won't work for everyone. And that's true. You're a different person than every other one of my students, @Don Golfo. The lesson that works for you, even if someone else was given your same exact golf swing and thus had the same exact problem, may not work for that student at all. I might have to explain things completely differently, or come up with a completely different drill, or whatever. There is no one type of instruction that always helps. And you know what else? You can give a great lesson, and if the student doesn't practice… it can all be for naught. The student has a responsibility too. They can't expect to take a lesson and just be "fixed." Technology doesn't do that, no. The instructor chooses to do that. I gave a lesson on SAM PuttLab the other day where a student had a severe inward arc on the backswing, swung the putter out way to the right on the follow-through, and left the face open (or it'd feel like a snap hook). I could have taken that information and gone a ton of directions with it: Show him the graphs and charts and paths and numbers and explain what it all meant. Show him the picture of his putter head path and clubface at impact and explain how to fix it. Show him nothing, but tell him how to fix it. And all sorts of other hybrid or subtle variations. What I did with this student was basically the middle one - showed him the path, showed him how that was leading to a clubface too open, and then said "feel like you take it back with the face shut and on a straight line." (He didn't take it back straight, but it was much less inward). He did that and we looked at those two data points to see what had changed. Then, using the picture of his path and the face angle number as his guideposts, he messed around until he found the feelings that worked for him, within a very narrow, specific framework. Any of the three solutions (or variations) could have worked with all sorts of different students. Some might be interested in the more technical stuff, about how if the putter is on a certain plane and if your shoulders are on this plane, and you move this way, the arc should be 15° with the face staying square to that arc but opening to the target line… and others just want the simplest of simple things. Maybe, but not necessarily. If the student doesn't take his notes, his pictures, what he learned during the lesson, and go practice it properly, even though he knows why, how, and what… then whose fault is that? The student's. I can give a great lesson that the student completely understands, that he improves at during the lesson, and see the guy in a month and if he hasn't continued to work on it, to make it a habit… he can be exactly the same as he was, with no improvement.
  26. Toughen up. Sorry, but if little things like that are getting under your skin, you’re going to struggle if it comes down to the wire and there’s any real pressure. Use the little annoyances as a means to prove to yourself, your own mental toughness.
  27. From someone who knows the course and posted this first-hand account on another forum: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I talked to staff today, so here's the story... Each involved player was interviewed individually, away from the coaches, that afternoon. The players independantly identified a COACH as the person who initially instructed the players to play from the 172 box "because that's what the card says". It steamrolled from there until the officials became aware and stopped the 5th group. The end result and decision came down to this observation: The kids' versions of the events were consistent. The adults' versions of events were not. I think we probably need to put the pitchforks and torches away when it comes to the marshall. Every coach had the phone numbers for the rules officials. Nobody called. The blue markers were, in fact, supposed to be at the 172 box. They weren't moved when the course was set up. The rules sheet clearly said competitors would play from the blue markers. In this case, they were left at the 212 box. They should have played from there. I paid attention as I walked from 12 to 13 today. The markers today were at the 212 plate. They were clearly visible on the approach. Any claim that they couldn't be seen because they were "elevated" is completely untrue. ----------------------- cm
  28. I keep wavering back and forth over whether to comment on this thread or not because I've said what I had to say in similar threads in the past. This just seems like one of those topics where people believe what they believe and then we all end up talking in circles. So here's my take, one more time: Golf skill is predominantly physical. Mental ability allows you to get the most out of your physical game, but you cannot exceed your physical limitations by having a strong mental game. You can make up for having a weak mental game with a strong physical game, but a weak mental game can also cause you to play below your physical potential. Your physical game can similarly affect your mental game. I remember being in a great mental state during my all-time low round last year. I was calm, confident, and played a great round. Why? Because my physical game was the best it has ever been that day. I hit more GIR than average and scrambled at a significantly higher clip than usual. The ability to hit the ball well gave me the confidence that I could hit the shots I needed and score well even if I missed. But most importantly, I just didn't miss as often or as far as I usually did. I've had some rounds where the swing isn't there and it puts me in a tough place mentally. More than once this year I was tempted to bag it after nine holes. I grind out these rounds, partly because I don't get to play that often and because I hate giving up. Sometimes the ballstriking improves on the back and sometimes it doesn't. Yet at the end of the day, I scored better during my bad rounds this year (with some notable exceptions) than my bad rounds in previous years. Why? Because my physical game has improved. So even though I'm in that same crummy place when my ballstriking eludes me for the day, I put up lower scores simply due to the improvements I've made to my physical skills. Sometimes I'll get my swagger back on one of those rounds and go even par or better for a string of holes, and then launch a tee shot OB. It's not a mental lapse, it's just what my swing is physically capable of producing, whether or not I'm feeling good about myself, mentally. That's my experience. If you want to play your best, you need to be strong mentally. Make good decisions, stay calm under pressure, cool after a bad shot or bounce, focused, etc. But if you want to be better than you are now, you need to improve your physical skills.
  29. I played in my first high school match today as the #2 golfer. The #1 golfer is a four-year player, a senior, who I tied during the tryouts. Our team won first in a nine-team field at the Penn State Blue course (70.0/125). I shot an 80 and took second individually. Tori shot 81 and took third individually. Liv shot 85. We count three scores this year and that was enough to win by 17. Pretty happy and we play again tomorrow.
  30. Nick Clearwater, a buddy of mine (and @mvmac and @david_wedzik and others) is the head instructional guy at GolfTec these days, and generally has good information. Though I'm not always a huge fan (I'll explain why a bit later) of using "Tour averages" to teach average players, the numbers are still illustrative. Let's take a look at each, with the numbers and a brief note on each. Hip Sway (Backswing) Pros: 3.9" toward the target Ams: 2.55" toward the target Notes: This measures the tailbone and how much it moves toward the target during the backswing. As the tailbone is at 12 o'clock, and as it rotates toward 3 o'clock, that's toward the target. Amateurs often sway the hips back as they rotate, robbing them of some of this distance. Example: Shoulder Tilt at the Top Pros: 36° downward (lead shoulder) Ams: 29.6° downward Notes: This is just how "flat" or "steep" your shoulders turn at the top of the backswing. Keeping your chin up, standing too tall at address, rotating and lifting up are all causes. Example: Charley Hoffman's shoulder tilt matches spine angle: Hip Turn at Impact Pros: 36° open to the target line Ams: 19.5° open Notes: Amateurs stall for a lot of reasons, but one of the bigger ones is that they stall so that they can try to drop the club inside a little and get the clubhead down to the ball. Often this isn't something you worry about until you're a lower handicap golfer, but good golfers almost all rotate through impact - you won't find many PGA Tour pros who are relatively "square" at impact. Example: Dustin Johnson and Jim Furyk are wide open at impact: Hip Sway at Impact Pros: 1.6" toward the target Ams: -0.4" toward the target Notes: This is measured relative to the setup position, and remember, the hips are rotating here and this measurement is still at the tailbone. So a tailbone that has AWAY from the target (think 12 o'clock at setup to before 11 o'clock at impact, or 36° per the above), has also slid several inches - the difference between 10:48 and 12:00 is made up for, PLUS an additional 1.6". The average golfer is not only rotating less (11:21), but they're not sliding their hips forward much if at all (11:21 may be close to -0.4"…). Example: Rose at Setup and Impact (tailbone marked): Shoulder Tilt at Impact Pros: 39° upward (face-on view) Ams: 27.5° Notes: This is a measure, as seen from face-on, of how much shoulder tilt from the trail to the lead shoulder the average player has versus the PGA Tour player. Because PGA Tour players are more forward and more open, it follows that this number will be greater, too. Example: Tiger Woods and Fred Couples demonstrate this well here: Shoulder Bend in the Follow Through Pros: 32° back bend Ams: 3.2° back bend Notes: This is a measurement of how far forward your hips are versus your head. If you're straight up and down, the measurement would be 0°. If you're doing a "morning stretch" and really arching your back, pushing your "belt" out and forward and up, you'll get a higher number. Example: Zach Johnson and Adam Scott show this off quite well: As to why I don't like teaching averages… Dustin Johnson and Jim Furyk are very open. They're both one of the longer and shorter hitters out there. Averages are just that - an average - and players exist across a pretty wide spectrum. If the average AoA with a 7-iron is 4.1° down, you'll find PGA Tour players winning millions of dollars at 5° down and 2° down… and both can work well. Everyone's built differently. Averages account for all body types, all shot shapes, all types of swings. You know how if they take the average measurements of models and build a "model model," it's not all that attractive? The same can be true of striving to get the "average PGA Tour golf swing numbers." You might end up with something that's pretty, but you'd never get Cindy Crawford's mole.
  31. 2 lessons learned early in life. 1) Never assume. 2) Some people are assholes.
  32. Because intelligent people by and large do not get into golf instruction. @iacas and @mvmac are exceptions to the rule, but top tier minds tend to go into other industries for various reasons including money and stability. Golf gets the washouts and left overs. Most instructors are only instructors because they started golf as kids, were good enough to play in college or something, and then chose golf because it was easier than going corporate. And since people are often fooled that if you can play golf, well then you must have something interesting to say about it, they will hand you money and hang on your every word. Seriously, if you're good at golf, you can be a teaching pro in like two weeks. Just make a bunch of business cards and start spouting off stupid ideas to anyone dumb enough to listen. There are plenty of people out there who aren't smart enough to tell the difference and willing to hand over their money. To be a good golf instructor, you have to have both a lot of knowledge and good communication skills. It's a rare combination of traits that few people have, let alone are capable of having. Throw in that the golf instruction industry tends to get the dumber end of the people spectrum, and you have the situation that we have. Thankfully inventions like Trackman and Flightscope or boditraks can help instructors understand better what their students are doing, and it's doing a good job of re-calibrating even the dumbest mind into thinking about the game in a more organized and intelligent manner. It helps hold them accountable to what changes may or may not be occurring in their students' swings... because in the past, any hack can "catch one" during a lesson and the instructor could just lie to both himself and the client by saying, "see? you got it that time." Well, you can't pull that kind of bullshit with modern technology monitoring every swing.
  33. There was a 3-way tie for first at -5. 26 players qualified with the cut at +1. I placed 79 (out of 84), shooting an 88. It was a strong field, even if I tied my best score at this course (78), I would have been in a tie for 52nd. There are only two holes I'm upset at myself about (will explain below), the rest of it was just golf and some bad breaks (ended up in 5 divots throughout the round, up against the front or back edge every time). The driver was on (not one bad shot, my best round off the tee in as long as I can remember) and I hit several other good shots (gave myself 4 reasonable chances at birdie). Hole #2, Par 5. I was just off the left side of the green in two, and chipped to give myself a 5ft uphill putt for birdie. I barely missed the putt, but left a slippery 3 footer on the way back downhill. I didn't take my time, and tried to put it in the back of the cup. Well, I missed and left myself with a 7-8 footer back up, which I also missed. I four putted for a 7. Hole #17, Par 3. I was feeling uncomfortable at address, and didn't back off and reset. Wound up toeing my 5i into a lateral hazard, that gave me no chance to do anything, and my best option was stroke and distance. I took a 6 on the hole. Overall, there were a lot of positive things I did, and even though it was a bad score, I don't feel terrible about it. It was a great experience, the guys I played with were both good guys, and the official assigned to us was a good guy as well. I plan to give it a go next year as well (assuming I maintain the necessary single digit index) and maybe try to play in a couple other tournaments as well every year. Thanks to all of you who provided some advice, experiences, and well wishes!
  34. See, I see the opposite. People thought he was phony because he said he'd walk off the course but didn't get a chance to prove it, so they cynically assumed he was full of it. To me, this validates that. Also, you can't really fault him for it being broadcast. If he's not playing, a lot of people want to know why. I guess he could say "it's none of your business" or lie and say "no reason" but isn't the truth more genuine than either of those? I guess I just don't understand the cynicism.
  35. Let's talk about repairing ball marks on the putting green, and doing so properly. I see a lot of people do this improperly. Unfortunately, many of them are PGA Tour players, and they do it on television. They put their divot repair tool in the ground, pop up, and tap down. This is the wrong way to repair a ball mark. It damages or rips the roots and the grass does not heal in a short time, taking weeks to recover. We had an old topic on this, but it's old, and the videos and links in it are probably almost all outdated. So I wanted to revisit the topic anew. First, a video, an old one but a good one, from Lake View Country Club. Next, an image from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). Third, a PDF I built based on the old Lake View site: https://thesandtrap.com/media/misc/repairing_ball_marks.pdf. In short… Push, Don't Pop. Finally, a photo of a recent repair I made to an improperly repaired ball mark: I did this by: Coring out the dirt part. Just inserted the tool and twisted. Progressively working the edges of the nearby turf around the edges toward the center of the hole. Tamping it down. I took the photo before I tapped it down with a putter (which smoothed it out nicely), and which not only looks better, but which will heal much more quickly. The left photo, the "badly repaired" ball mark, may putt quite well, but the person who repaired that ball mark didn't do his job correctly. He popped. He didn't push.
  36. I spent the better part of two days conducting this test last summer. I tested a few situations: In chart form: And for those who like the visuals… I used a PerfectPutter and positioned it far enough away that the ball wasn't bouncing at all but close enough that the ball wouldn't deviate too far from the intended line.1 I used Snell MTB Black balls. The flagsticks were standard Par-Aide fiberglass flagsticks. It wasn't windy, but there was often a little breeze.2 I tested on the flattest section of the greens I could find. The actual holes were as level as could be. Rolling the ball from close distance minimizes this anyway. I rolled balls from all around the hole so as not to overly damage one portion of the hole. Also, little "tracks" can form even after a few putts, so I wanted to balance that out as much as possible. The flagsticks were relatively centered in the hole, with only a little "wiggle room." I did not measure how far away the balls that didn't go in ended up; I considered it pretty obvious that a ball that hits the flagstick is going to finish closer to the hole than one that doesn't. This was clearly the case. I alternated five ball rolls with the flagstick in, five without. Then five without, and back to five with it in again. On putts where results seemed highly variable, I rolled more putts - up to 100. On putts that were a given (like 3' by speed at the center of the hole), I rolled fewer putts; as few as 10. I conducted the test on different holes and from different angles. I simply moved on when I felt I'd rolled enough balls at the holes that I could start to see a change to the lips, like some of the balls were "denting" or "rounding" the lips a little. I used holes where the lips appeared to be somewhat uniform (though obviously the specific soil density can vary around even a uniform looking hole). Stimp speeds were 9.75 to 9.9 feet. Distances off-center were done with a centered laser calibrated to aim straight (angular error in the laser was oriented upward) with a ruler across the hole, confirming both the proper hole dimensions and the distance off-center. I tried to roll balls from the same spot(s) on the PerfectPutter, but obviously there was some little error there - a few millimeters. I never rolled more than five balls at a time - and no balls ever hit a ball or balls in the hole and bounced out because of that. If balls did pile up on one side or in the front or back of the hole, I'd remove them. This rarely happened, though, as the holes are deep enough and only four balls would be in the hole when the fifth ball was rolled anyway. I'll add more information if I remember anything relevant. 1 Even with the PerfectPutter, you often can't make more than half of the 20-25 foot putts you roll across a real green. Just the tiniest deviation, hitting a bump slightly differently, can magnify over the duration of the putt and miss high or low even though you're trying to release the ball from the same exact spot on the PP. 2 One of the putts that almost surely would have gone in (as 98 others did) I felt was knocked away by the wind moving the flagstick at just the right time. Conclusions Leaving the flagstick in helps quite a bit, particularly on shots that are at the edges of capture speed/effective hole size. For example, at 4' by speed and 3/4" off-center, that's just beyond the capture size (only 8/100 went in) without the flagstick, but the flagstick took enough speed off that a 44/100 putts dropped with the flagstick in. At 3' by speed, the capture width of the hole is about 0.8 to 0.85" wide: wide enough for all of the 3/4" putts to go in, but few of the 1" putts. With the flagstick in, the 3/4" putts still went in, but the 1" putts that just nicked the flagstick scrubbed enough speed from the ball that a few more (14/50) putts went in. The largest percentage gain was the 6' speed at 1/2" off-center. At this distance from the center, only one putt went in (I would swear that I rolled it like all the others, but sometimes a putt that would have popped up and out hit some part of the hole just right and popped up and fell in), but since the contact with the flagstick (look at the image above) was still pretty flush, a lot of speed was taken from the ball and 45/100 fell. This is still fewer than half, but because the 1/100 is so low, the percentage is the largest. Similar inferences can likely be made on the 5' by putts - at 1/2" it's awfully close to the edge of the capture width of the hole, and at 3/4" is pretty much beyond it (again, though, a pesky 1/100 putts went in). These low make percentages without the flagstick make it possible for the delta between the flagstick in vs. out to be in the upper 30s to lower 40s.
  37. I'm gonna give my wife the best 90 seconds of her life tonight...
  38. Winter golf in the Frigid Mitten involves finding an open course, dressing in layers and accepting sub-optimal conditions. One won't get much roll in the fairway Casual "water" can be an issue And the greens will have some loose impediments Digging your ball out of a bad lie can require a bit of club cleaning Unless it is snowing, the courses can look very playable And you run the risk of running into some crazy old guy wandering around on the course. [Photos taken 2/5/2019 at Huron Hills Golf Course, Ann Arbor, MI]
  39. I was emailed by a Wall Street Journal writer who is doing a piece on the flagstick rule and below is the majority of the email I sent him in response. (I'll also mark any corrections I have to make in red.) I'm sure you may have seen the MyGolfSpy test results published late yesterday: https://mygolfspy.com/flagstick-in-flagstick-out-2019-new-golf-rules/ My testing was similar to theirs except that: I rolled the ball from closer to the hole than they show in their picture. From even as little as 5' away, a ball can enter the hole +/- over 1/4" from where you've aimed it. I only tested balls that rolled about 3-6' past the hole, as 9' is starting to get ridiculous for putting (when Dave Pelz tested it back in the 90s, the flagstick could only really be left in for chips, and 9' is more reasonable for chip shots). I rolled significantly more balls than MyGolfSpy did. They rolled 20 per situation, or about 480 putts. I rolled over 2000. Lou Stagner rolled about 2500, per his Tweet. I measured at more points than MGS. I measured at dead center, 1/4" off center, 1/2", 3/4", and 1" (at 1.1" off center the ball doesn't touch a 1/2" diameter flagstick). My results in a nutshell: There's a distinct advantage when the balls hit the flagstick versus when they don't. Because a ball can still go in at 6' past speed when hitting the center of the hole, the biggest advantages lie to hitting a ball just off center a little - 1/2" off center had the biggest gains in my tests, with 1/4" and 3/4" next. At higher speeds hitting the center would ramp up considerably, though, as a putt going 7' by will almost never go in the hole even if dead center, but will still go in the majority of the time with the flagstick in. I didn't note the distances of the average miss, but it was exceedingly clear that when a putt missed with the flagstick in the hole, it remained MUCH closer to the hole than the putts without the flagstick in the hole. Anecdotally, a putt hit with 6' by speed 3/4" from the center of the hole might roll four feet away, a putt length that's missed 10-20% of the time by amateur golfers, yet with the flagstick in the hole it remained at a tap-in length (under 2'). There are times when the flagstick appeared to kick a ball out that would have gone in, but that was balanced by the times when a ball seems likely to miss but the flagstick takes off just enough speed that it can fall in. Differences there may be due to just slight differences in exactly what little piece of dirt or grass or whatever the ball hit, or how angled the stick was at the moment the ball hit it. I did not test a flagstick leaning away or toward. I have no reason to doubt what Dave Pelz said years ago: a flagstick leaning slightly toward actually helps more; it deflects the ball downward and into the hole. In other words, the flagstick offers an advantage on putts that are going over 3' beyond the hole (flat green, stimp ~9.5). For putts that would travel < 3' beyond the hole, there's no advantage or disadvantage. That said, there are other small points that lead toward an advantage: A flagstick in provides even more fine-grained aiming points on shorter putts. A golfer could aim "right edge of the flagstick" or "between the flagstick and the edge of the cup" and that's more precise than aiming at an empty hole. The shadow of the flagstick can sometimes be on or near your line and provide for an aim aid from even 10+ feet away. Players who like to "take the break out" and hit a putt more firmly now have the flagstick to act as a "backstop" of sorts, helping them more. From farther distances, the flagstick has shown to aid players in depth/distance perception, making it easier to get your longer putts closer to the hole. (This is why I advise my players, both students and my college team, to have the flagstick tended when they're far away, even if they can see the hole.) Two other thoughts, if I may, with the last one here being somewhat important as it speaks to the failure of the Ruling Bodies. 2. Not only are putts that would roll 3'+ by if they missed a concern, putts have to also hit the middle 2.2" of the hole (1.1" from center). The hole is 4.25" wide, but a ball that hits the outer inch of the hole is completely unaffected by the flagstick. A putt that truly lips out or lips in wouldn't even touch a non-leaning flagstick, and so those results are unaffected. In other words, I don't expect this to have a BIG change in golf. The two criteria are pretty rare: - Putt must be going 3+ feet beyond the hole. - The center of the ball must roll over middle 2.2" of the hole. All other putts are completely unaffected by whether the flagstick is in or out. That said, imagine how much this scenario would play out differently: Two players competing and going head to head come down to the final hole. Both hit their approach shots to about 30'. The first player, the better putter, lags his putt to a foot. The second player, a poor putter (at least in this case), hits his ball too hard, hard enough that it would go 7' past the hole if he misses, but instead it smacks the flagstick and drops for the victory, when previously the best he could have hoped for was to make a 7' putt to tie. All of the above segues into what I think may be the biggest issue in the whole thing: negligence by the USGA/R&A in changing this particular rule: 3. The USGA/R&A (Ruling Bodies) stated when they first proposed the Rules change and again when they finalized it that there was no advantage or disadvantage to having the flagstick in or out. They also never showed any tests and this statement defied what we'd always held to be true, and what tests are now showing to be true: that there IS an ADVANTAGE to leaving the flagstick in. And the thing is, hitting the flagstick from a putt on the putting green was not penalized for about eight or twelve years around 1958, and then a penalty was added, so why go back? Green speeds changed, but the hole size is still the same so a ball arriving at the hole with the same speed and location will still fall or not just as often as in 1958. The Ruling Bodies used the "time savings" as the reason for this change, but which will take more time: Someone occasionally having to wait to putt when they're well away from the hole and their buddies are too busy raking a bunker or something to tend or pull the flag, or Groups with people of different opinions taking the flagstick out and putting it back in even once or twice per green 18 times per round? I could make the argument that this flagstick rule, because people are slow to accept the results of the studies being conducted on this, will actually slow play down more than it speeds up play. Only in groups of golfers who basically never take the flagstick out will the pace of play be increased. Dave Wedzik and I maintained throughout the commentary period a website at flagstickrule.com that voiced some fairly vehement opposition to this rules change. I emailed several USGA representatives and members of the Rules committee that I'd met and knew personally, and provided feedback via the commentary forms the USGA/R&A made available to the public. In each I expressed my displeasure with this rules change, and implored them to conduct some actual studies or tests so that they could see that their "no advantage or disadvantage" line was incorrect. They were derelict in their duties, in my opinion, and have changed golf at a fundamental level. As the brief time in the 50s, we no longer play to a hole, we play to a backstop. The poorer putters out there have gained on the better putters, because they're most likely to need the flagstick to help stop or slow a putt struck a bit too firmly. Imagine if the Masters or U.S. Open this year comes down to the last hole and someone smashes a ball off the flagstick to win by a shot! I thought that there was almost no way that this proposed rules change would stick, and yet it did, so while I'd like to think that this rules change will be reversed to what we've known for decades, my hopes are rather slim. I encouraged members of my site, The Sand Trap .com, to write too, and many of them did as well. They wrote to say the same types of things: that leaving the flagstick in IS an advantage, and that the Ruling bodies should actually look at testing this rather than relying on a guess. And again, I'm weighing all of this against the understanding that these types of outcome-changing events are going to be rare: again, the putt has to be traveling 3+ feet (on the PGA Tour 4+ feet) beyond the hole and be within 1.1" of the center of the cup to even matter. But hey, you can flip a coin and get heads five times in a row, and so in the final round of a major, there is a chance that someone that someone smashes a ball off a flagstick and in two or even three times. That's a very real change, both in standing in a tournament and in money earned. In a world where "every shot counts," I'm disappointed that the Ruling bodies didn't even test their basic assumption, particularly when the only actual testing done to that point (the Pelz study from the 90s) said the opposite and what we now see as the truth: leaving the flagstick in is an advantage. Dave and I have our recommendations here: https://lowestscorewins.com/tips/putting-with-the-flagstick-in.
  40. Last year at about this time, I was added to Golf Digest's Best Young Teachers in America list: (I'll turn 40 in March, so that will put an end to my eligibility on that list). That was cool, and I was honored. This year, while I was returning from the Newport Cup, the lists for Best in State were released. Dave Wedzik and I are in a somewhat odd situation: we're in the Western New York section of the PGA. We've spoken at PGA Education seminars for WNY, NEOH, SOH, and other PGA sections, but none within PA. Votes for Best in State are compiled by asking other instructors in your state to select and rank their peers. Our peers in NY and Ohio have never had the option to choose us (nor, for example, can I vote for John Graham, among others who deserve more acclaim than they've gotten to date - he too is on the Best in State list). Anyway, I missed all the Tweets and Facebook posts about people showing off their "Best in State" status. I forget how I first found out, but at any rate, both @david_wedzik and I are on the list; he's 4th (and a two-time PGA Section Teacher of the Year), I'm 6th. First is Top 50 John Dunigan, a guy I'm happy to call a friend, and a 5SK® Certified instructor. I'm even, somehow, ranked ahead of Eric Johnson, formerly of Oakmont. https://www.golfdigest.com/story/best-teachers-state-ranking That's all pretty nice, and like the Best Young Teachers award, I'm honored. And… that's about all I have to say about that. Thanks. P.S. I think Dave and I are the only two instructors in Western PA. I haven't checked a few of the locations yet, but I'm pretty sure most are at Nemacolin or east, and most are around Philadelphia. P.P.S. Oh, here's the list of PA instructors on the list:
  41. Elections apparently take a few days… even though everything should be pretty automatic. I meet all of the requirements, so I should be in with about ten seconds of double-checking. But it took a few days. My election date is officially July 2, 2018. Yippee! I'm now a Class A member of the PGA of America (A-6 classification). Now I just have to figure out how to get a specialty second level of membership/status (in coaching or something), and then figure out my MSR credit stuff. Typical PGA, but… they haven't sent me an email or anything. If I hadn't been refreshing my membership status page every four hours for the past several days, I wouldn't even know I had been elected to membership.
  42. What is Tiger Woods's profession? Answer: he is an entertainer. That's how he makes his living. The entertainment he provides is playing golf, very well. Somehow, society has determined that playing golf well deserves better financial rewards and a higher media profile, than, say, being an expert fencer. Or an expert crown green bowler. Or an expert billiards player. That is neither here nor there: if there are any financial rewards to be found in playing sport professionally, they stem from entertaining other people, who attend the matches or tune in to watch. A professional sportsman is just that - an entertainer. If you choose to use the personal, perceived shortcomings of an entertainer as a criterion in whether you can enjoy their performance, or relate to it, or are willing to pay to experience it, well...you're likely going to be awfully disappointed. My apartment is full of books, records/CDs, and DVDs. I could pull a volume of Jack Kerouac or Hunter S. Thompson from the bookshelf, or stick a Clapton, Charlie Parker, or Rolling Stones record on the turntable. Or I could drive to the Museum of Fine Art in Richmond, VA, (as I often do) to admire the Jackson Pollock paintings they have there. Many of the aforementioned entertainers (which is all they are/were) led lives that make Mr. Woods look like a paragon of virtue. Today, the #MeToo movement seeks to hold people to account (which is commendable). But guess what? A century from now people will still gush over Manhattan and Rosemary's Baby as works of art, regardless of the proven or suspected crimes of their creators. Back to reality: Mr. Woods appears to have been unfaithful to his wife. He also was arrested and prosecuted for DUI. Frankly, that's small potatoes. I have no idea where the limit is for a successful entertainer to become a Pariah, but that's not even close.
  43. For me, I can finally start swinging the clubs again. I haven't been able to play since last August. Since then, two surgeries and a few injections and therapy. But I finally feel well enough to start practicing again. I should be able to hit balls in the next week. You don't realize how much you miss golf until you can't play it.
  44. No sense in delaying… let's get right into it! Kickstarter of the Year These members started the topics that had the most posts throughout 2017. I did not count any topics started by myself (like some major championship topics, or "What'd you shoot today?," and I didn't consider wildly off-topic (non-golf) threads, either. These topics that survived and came out on top saw a lot of great discussion. Honorable mentions go to @smellysell for Winter Depression Thread and @Runnin for Is Golf More Mental or Physical?. KOTY #3: TST's Bronze Kickstarter of the Year is… @Wally Fairway, for starting a thread about the British Open. Who could have predicted that Jordan Spieth would take such a meandering route in capturing the title over Matt Kuchar? KOTY #2: TST's Silver Kickstarter of the Year is… @Valleygolfer, for starting what would ultimately become the Tiger Woods Catch-All Discussion topic. Yes, the topic was from 2014, but it received the second-most posts in 2017. This marks the second straight year this topic has finished second. KOTY #1: TST's Gold Kickstarter of the Year is… @dennyjones, for starting one of the more controversial topics of 2017, back in very early April! Was Lexi trying to cheat when she replaced her ball an inch from where it should have been replaced? Careless? Should viewers be allowed to call in? Was it even a viewer? Was Lexi a victim? This had it all… mystery, intrigue, sex appeal (well, as much as we get in golf), tears, a major championship on the line… and so much more. Rookie of the Year These members joined the site within the last month of 2016 or any time in 2017 and amassed the most reputation points while remaining in good standing throughout the year (only points earned in 2017 count). Just as you'd expect, of course! These members have a bright future ahead of themselves! Note: winning Rookie of the Year does not preclude you from also winning Member of the Year awards. It'd be like a rookie in a major sport also winning the MVP - it can happen. It just didn't happen this year… ROTY #3: TST's Bronze Rookie of the Year is… With 54 reputation points… @MarvChamp! Marv joined us on January 8, 2017. ROTY #2: TST's Silver Rookie of the Year is… With a grand total of 76 points, and having joined us only on the very last day of 2016, December 31… @Denny Bang Bang! BTW, this marks the first time two users with "denny" in their name have won anything here! ROTY #1: TST's Gold Rookie of the Year is… With a whopping 101 reputation votes in total, a member who joined the TST community on February 8, 2017, and a guy whose username I mispronounce in my head even after knowing that his last name is Kline… @klineka! Now, it's on to the big one. The one we've all been waiting for. The… Member of the Year These members are the best of the best. They amassed the most reputation points during the calendar year 2016, and remained in good standing throughout the year. Their peers - you guys and gals - felt their posts were worthy of the most thanks, skins, fist bumps, high fives, or reputation, whatever you want to call it. These are the elite. The people who make insightful posts that help further the discussion… even if you disagree with them occasionally. Or frequently. Reminder: staff are ineligible for yearly awards, or else myself, @mvmac, and @RandallT would have taken home some hardware here depending on where the line is drawn for "staff." MOTY #3: TST's Bronze Member of the Year is… This member joined the site on February 26, 2012 and had a down year in posting because his kids are just getting to that age where they require a bit more attention (and coaching, and dropping off, and picking up, and attending activities, and spending nights watching movies, and taking to the golf course occasionally), but aren't yet independent enough to drive themselves, or get a ride with a friend, or think that their parents are "weird" and "would embarrass them" (oh, it's coming!). With 16,674 items of content (total, not in one year, that'd be crazy!), 123 days won (total), and a now 0-1-1 record in the Newport Cup following a crushing defeat at the hands (or clubs?) of the dominant East (Blue) Team, and a grand total of 475 points won during 2017, the bronze award winning Member of the Year is @Golfingdad! MOTY #2: TST's Silver Member of the Year is… This member has a current content count of only 3,452 and joined the site on January 14, 2015. He plays almost as much golf as @kpaulhus, despite, like Kyle, remaining employed. He's made the most of his 3500 posts, though, and rarely posts something which doesn't stop to make people think, whether you agree or disagree with him. He's been a single digit golfer for a while now, but achieved his career low handicap index for several months throughout the summer of 2017. With a 1-0-1 record, a victory as a member of the East (Blue) Team over the Evil Empire from the West, 61 days won in total, and a rather massive 582 reputation points earned during 2017… our silver award winning Member of the Year is @DaveP043! MOTY #1: TST's Gold Member of the Year is… Now it's time for the big cheese. Unlike the previous two members, despite qualifying on handicap, this member chose not to attempt to participate in the Newport Cup. Despite taunting some of us northerners during the winter months, this gentleman usually has nice things to say and does so well enough and often enough to garner the most reputation points in 2017. He joined the TST community a few weeks days before my daughter @NatalieB turned six, back on November 3, 2008. Since joining, he's won 81 days since, has posted 12,674 items of content, and blew away the competition with 758 points amassed in 2017! WOW! The best of the best of the best, this year's cream of the cream of the cream (yuck?!) of the crop… @David in FL!
  45. Aloha good people of The Sand Trap, We took a few weeks in beautiful Scotland and here's some of the details. First of all it's a long flight from Honolulu, took a little time with the TA to make sure there was only 1 over night flight and minimal layover time. After 2 days in Edinburgh we headed to Gleneagles, and what a resort this is, great food, service, and 3 courses, we played 2. Here's us on the PGA course and thought we'd wear the red, white and blue even though the US did lose that one. This course was downright fun and good challenge. Then too long of a drive to Skye but in the end was well worth it. There is now 3 nice bottles of Talisker at home. Then we headed north. One night in Tain after playing Tain, then we stayed in Dornach for 4 nights. Stayed at the Links House and loved it. We had a mini-fridge outside of the room, stocked with bottled water, with a coffee machine on top. They also had an "honesty bar" where you poured and recorded your own drinks. Met 4 US guys who go here every year, they love Dornach and called St Andrews a circus. What a course it is, but first Brora and then Royal Dornach, here's the start of Foxy, boogied it. Tough course but would love to play it a dozen more times. Then we went down to St Andrews, stayed at the Fairmont, it's ok. Played the Eden, New and the Old courses plus the Kittocks at the hotel. About getting on the Old Course...We entered the raffle last year, then entered the ballot 4 days in a row, when no luck I decided to go standby, my wife stayed in bed, and at 7:50am I heard my name being called, the 3 ball was already on the tee, my heart was pounding, paid my $$, introduced myself and then all of a sudden it was my turn. I tee up, heart still pounding, I try to relax, take a deep breath and ripped it, best shot of the group. Then I could not stop smiling for the next 4 hours, shot a 92, played with the same ball until the 17th where I put that dear ball on someone's balcony so I got to tee-off twice on the 17th. What a game, you meet the best people, have a fun set of times, face a challenge, and enjoy the fairways & fresh air. After 20'years of marriage it's still very fun to experience such a trip together. We rented a car so it was easy to get around, except for a few very skinny roadways. And at the end of the trip, we got onboard a plane a flew to Hawaii If your thinking about going...do it! Aloha will
  46. Team Biofreeze. I hope the West team members don't mind the smell of it. I would take any color hair at this point.
  47. Baseball? Basketball? Soccer? Volleyball? Water Polo? You can also throw golf and tennis in there. Band, cheerleading, debate team, math Olympics, etc, etc, etc. Football and hockey don't have any "life lessons" that one of a zillion other team activities doesn't also have.
  48. For the fifth member of the 2017 Newport Cup team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights select… errr… sorry, got carried away there. Free agency starts tomorrow in the NHL and all, and the Pens need a bottom 4 D-man and one or two centers for the third/fourth lines. I'm picking Nate, @cipher, this month. The man needs no introduction, and so, will not receive one. Plus, I think he's going to beat me at disc golf the days before the Newport Cup, though I will have to take care to remind him to protect his arm and not tire out his triceps or something. He may need those to hoist the Newport Cup. It does weigh almost a pound. Nate: makes the East team younger on average. is picking me up on his way down south. missed out on the 2015 Newport Cup due to his injury, but has returned to form in plenty of time. hopes to avoid temperature/humidity combinations above 140. eats his vegetables. Dumbass. is accurate with a bow and arrow, a rifle, and a baitcaster. lied about snoring. Maybe. is giving everyone else on the East team a free top-of-the-line Matthews bow! has no idea that I'm making this list and the promises therein for him. crashed his drone recently. bought a drone not quite as recently. is one of the best dudes you'll ever meet, once you crack him open. has a more impressive beard than most. warrants at least ten more bullet points, but I'm too feeble minded to come up with them. Congratulations Nate McPherson on your selection to the winning side of the 2017 Newport Cup!!!
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