Ho-Sung Choi and his swing gyrations already have everyone’s attention at Pebble Beach this week

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Ho-Sung Choi was so excited to talk to the media Tuesday afternoon at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am that he ran from the player hospitality tent to the media center, a lengthy jaunt, when he could have just waited for a shuttle ride.

“It is my first time here in the United States, so I can’t even put into words how incredibly happy and grateful I am to have this opportunity here,” he said through an interpreter.

When the likes of Aaron Rodgers, the All-Pro quarterback from the Green Bay Packers, requests to be paired with the late-blooming Korean sensation, it’s safe to say that the excitement is mutual. America is ready to embrace him.

Choi might not speak much English, but he is the undisputed World No. 1 in body language. His pirouetting, leg-kicking golf swing, a cross between the Gary Player walk-through and an Olympic ice dancer – called a “fisherman’s swing” in some circles – has caught the attention of golfers and fans the world over.

“I’m actually fascinated clearly by his swing and the way that he … moves around,” said former world No. 1 Jordan Spieth, who won here in 2017. “But I would almost say funniest … the most entertaining videos I’ve seen were actually some of his putts where he’ll spin the way he wants the ball to start moving around and then when it goes in he’ll give one of those kind of fist pumps and it’s just, it’s really entertaining.”

It also has been pretty effective. Choi, 45, is a two-time winner on the Japan Tour, having won most recently at the Casio World Open in November, and he is No. 194 in the Official World Golf Ranking. But it’s his penchant for natural showmanship with his homemade swing that made him a perfect fit for a sponsor exemption – adding another layer to an event famous for its inclusion of celebrities and entertainers.

Comedian Bill Murray once spun around an old lady in a bunker here. This guy needs no assistance, corkscrewing himself into a pretzel after most shots.

“I know sometimes after I’ve hit the ball I sometimes will the ball to go in the hole and in my mind I feel like that helps the ball go in the hole, so I’m going to keep doing that this week,” Choi explained. “And I feel like in my mind the way I move my body, sometimes it feels like I have remote control that wills the ball to go in the hole, so I’m going to keep doing that, because I feel like it helps.”

Choi is hardly self-conscious about how he looks on his full swing. He was happy to demonstrate it during his press conference, standing up on the dais to show the full move. The swing, he noted, was even wilder in his earlier years than it is now. It was born from hitting a shot out of the rough and following through with his whole body, something Tiger Woods has done routinely when he goes for extra speed from heavy lies. Choi, who averages about 280 off the tee, figures he gains an extra 10 yards from the pronounced action.

“I personally love my swing,” he said. “I didn’t start golf until I was in my late 20s, so technically I didn’t take any lessons growing up. But regarding flexibility or anything like that, I might not have as much compared to the other tour players, but I do what I can with what I have. And also with the advancement in technology and with how far these players are hitting it nowadays I needed to find my own unique way to get that extra distance. And by hitting it hard and by swinging hard I was able to swing the way I do right now, so that might result in to how I’m swinging it.”

It also results in delight from those who watch it.

“Yeah, I think it’s great. I think it’s unique, for sure. Nobody swings a golf club like that and I’ve never seen anybody move that way when they swing a golf club,” said U.S. Ryder Cup player Tony Finau. “I think it’s great for the game, and obviously he’s playing with Aaron Rodgers this week. And I was just with Aaron this morning, and he’s excited to watch him play. I mean, how is that not really cool for our game to have someone like him wanting to play with someone like Ho-Sung Choi? So that’s, I think he brings some excitement to this tournament. And as players it’s really cool to see someone that that’s different and that unique of a golf swing.”

Some guys would cut off their right arm to have a chance to play golf professionally. Choi cut off his right thumb.

As he tells the story, he went to school to specialize in a job in the fishing industry. When he was 23, he accidentally amputated a portion of his right thumb with a chain saw. (Somewhere Greg Norman is cringing knowingly.) Though the tip was reattached, Choi’s right thumb is shorter than his left. But from that mishap started his long road to an unlikely golf career. About two years after the accident, in 1995, he got a part-time job at a golf course. He said his responsibilities included “anything from from cleaning locker rooms to stocking vending machines, to taking the coins out of the vending machines. On hot summer days I would be the one responsible for putting the cold ice towels inside the locker, inside the ice boxes for the players.”

When the course opened a new practice area, the owner encouraged employees to learn the game. From these humble beginnings, a star was born – and the Internet sure helped. Everyone recognizes Choi, who actually will partner for three rounds with actor Chris O’Donnell. Rodgers and Wisconsin native Jerry Kelly, one of several Champions Tour players in the field, are paired with them. They are in the celebrity rotation, meaning Choi will likely get his share of airtime during Saturday’s CBS telecast from Pebble Beach.

Good thing he’s not shy – and that his real strength, he said, is his mental game. He doesn’t care what others think. He just wants to play.

“I haven’t really thought about it,” he said when asked about how others might view him. “My only goal is to give it my all and to play my best when I’m on the golf course. I’m just not worrying about what other people say or do and just focusing on my own game.”

Before he left the dais, he was asked to demonstrate his swing one more time. He was only too happy to oblige, and he was so focused that once he was finished, he left behind his cell phone.

SOURCE:  Golfdigest

An Easy Accuracy Tip For Consistency

Stare down the ball: Not with your eyes, with your clubface

Every bad result in golf can be traced back to a root cause. If you’re struggling to hit accurate drives, the issue is a lack of clubface control.

Many amateurs start their backswings by whipping the driver way inside the target line and opening the face. From there, they re-route the club on a looping path that comes into the ball from outside the target line—the classic over-the-top move—with an open face in relation to the path. You can guess what happens next. The ball slices right of the target. If by some luck or last-second adjustment they can close the face, the ball flies on a straight line but left of the target. How many times have you heard another golfer get frustrated after setting up to hit a drive that flies left to right—and presumably in the fairway—only to see the ball go dead left and into the trees?

If a round of golf for you is constant guesswork of where the ball might end up, you can improve your accuracy if you fix the cause and control the clubface better through impact. It starts by making a better takeaway. No more whipping the club inside. Instead, pretend the clubface has vision, and its job is to swing back while keeping its eyes on the ball. In the photos above, my club starts squarely behind the ball and does not rotate open in the takeaway. Copy this move. I want you to keep it staring at the ball as long as you can when you take it back.

What you’ll find is that this gets you to make a backswing where your club, hands, arms and body all turn together. This is the type of synchronized movement that allows you to control the clubface.

Ideally, it should return to the ball facing your target, and your shot will fly straight. Even marginal improvements in clubface control will reduce the dispersion of your off-line hits. You’ll be in play a lot more often. — With Ron Kaspriske

MY TRICK FOR HOLING ALL THE SHORT ONES
You’ve probably heard someone tell you to keep your head still when you’re on the green—especially if you’re trying to hole a short putt.

The advice is well intended. The less you move, the less chance you will twist the putterface open or closed and miss the putt. No steering! Unfortunately, locking down your head can add a degree of tension and prevent you from making a confident, relaxed stroke. Since we’re on the subject of vision on this page, I’ve got a better way to help you control the putter as you make your stroke. Instead of thinking about keeping your head still, your swing thought should be keep my eyes still. You’ll notice right away that it has the same effect of minimizing body movement, but it doesn’t add extra tension to the stroke.

David Leadbetter, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, runs 32 academies worldwide.

SOURCE:  Golfdigest

Justin Rose, Adam Scott hit $50M milestone together

Justin Rose won at Torrey Pines. Adam Scott challenged him to the final hole. And thanks to that 1-2 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open, both surpassed $50 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour.

It’s a feat achieved by only five other players. These days, it’s little more than a monetary milestone.

But it was fitting they did it together.

Born 14 days apart in July 1980, they have been great friends since they tussled in South Africa at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in January 2001. Both were 20. Scott made a 4-foot birdie putt on the last hole to beat Rose and win for the first time as a pro. Oddly enough — or maybe not — Rose won his first professional title a year later in the same tournament.

What makes the timing so appropriate that both joined the $50 million club on the same day is that their PGA Tour careers effectively began together, with a little help from the men who now run the PGA Tour (commissioner Jay Monahan) and the PGA of America (chief executive Seth Waugh).

Waugh at the time was CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas, the title sponsor of a new tournament that had the Tiger Woods Foundation as the charitable arm. Monahan was hired as the tournament director.

“We gave them both exemptions,” Waugh said Tuesday from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he was caddying for his son in a PGA Tour Latinoamerica qualifying tournament. “Adam was pretty obvious. Jay called me and said, ‘Let’s talk about exemptions,’ which I’d never done.”

Monahan mentioned using a special exemption for international players on an English kid who had had a good British Open, turned pro and missed 20 consecutive cuts before getting his career on track. Waugh already was aware he was talking about Rose, who had won on three tours (Europe, South Africa, Japan) the previous year.

And then Waugh really got to know him.

“We get to the pro-am draw party Wednesday night at the statehouse in Boston,” Waugh said. “It was a formal deal. Mitt Romney was the governor, and we’re all giving our suit speeches. There’s this tall kid by the seafood bar eating shrimp and looking lonely. I walk up to him and said: ‘How are you doing? Are you Justin Rose?’ I said, ‘What are you doing here?’

“He said Deutsche Bank was nice enough to give him an exemption and he thought he would come up and thank somebody,” Waugh said. “He was staying all the way in Providence. I said, ‘You just did.’ But that’s Justin. No agent, nobody telling him what to do. He ended finishing third. And the rest is history.”

The history between Scott and Rose was just getting started.

They have piled up victories around the world, amassing long streaks of winning. Scott went 14 consecutive years with at least one victory worldwide and has 27 for his career. Rose won Sunday for the 22nd time worldwide, extending his streak to 10 consecutive years with at least one victory, including his gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

They now are neighbors at Albany in the Bahamas, both married with two children.

They each have won one major, which they won consecutively.

Scott finally delivered Australia a green jacket when he won the 2013 Masters. Rose sent him a text message of congratulations, which prompted this famous reply from Scott: “This is our time.”

Two months later, Rose won the U.S. Open at Merion.

He had practiced the week before the Masters with Scott in the Bahamas, even played a couple of rounds together.

“I took his money both times,” Rose said.

And then Scott won the Masters, which made the text exchange really hit home.

Indeed, it was their time, and they kept going. Scott reached No. 1 in the world in the spring of 2014. Rose reached No. 1 in the world late last summer, and the Englishman extended his lead atop the world ranking with his two-shot victory at Torrey Pines.

Waugh still thinks about that Monday afternoon at the TPC Boston, where Scott and Rose spent the entire week together, at restaurants and on the leaderboard. They have won so much and done so well that money doesn’t define them.

In this case, it was simply a reminder of where it all began.

SOURCE:  USAToday

8 Simple Indoor Golf Putting Drills to Practice Daily

The following at home golf drills are beginner level to build basic fundamental putting stroke skills. You need just a few phone books and a coin or tee to set up these indoor putting practice drills.

Also, you can practice these putting drills on carpet if you don’t have a synthetic indoor putting green.

Drill #1: Phone Book Path

Drop two phone books onto the ground at home and leave enough distance between them that your putter can barely squeeze through. Make practice strokes focusing on keeping the putter path straight and putter face square. If you don’t, you may bump into the books which give you feedback that your putting stroke wasn’t straight for that stroke.

Drill #2: Phone Book with Golf Ball

Set up two phone books again so that you’ve left your putter enough room to make a stroke between them. Now place a 10 foot piece of painter’s tape in the middle of the path and parallel to the books so that it creates a target line. Several feet of tape should be outside the books so that you can see how your ball stays on line for several feet.

Set a golf ball down in the middle of the books path on the target line you’ve created and stroke putts. You can use the books to monitor your back swing length compared to your forward swing length. The forward swing should be equal or slightly bigger than the back swing. Using the books as a guide for a straight putting stroke, try to see how many putts you can keep on the tape/target line.

Image result for putting gif

Drill #3: Right Handed Putts

Pick a target to putt to from 3 feet away and using just your right hand, stroke one handed putts trying to hit the target. Make sure to keep the putter path straight still as well as the face square to your target. This will build your putting stroke by ingraining skill with one hand.

Drill #4: Left Handed Putts

Repeating the same golf drill from above, use just your left hand to stroke 3 foot putts to a target you’ve selected. These two one handed putting drills make a our list of the best golf drills at home because of their simplicity but also their effectiveness.

You’ll be surprised how much more confident you feel once you can master one handed putting strokes. Spend 15 minutes each day and it will add up over the month, you’ll see.

Drill #5: Putting to a Tee

One of the best ways to practice putting at home is simply working on your control of the putter face. Set up a golf tee so that it’s upside down.

Starting 3 feet away, putt a ball to the tee trying to knock it over. Then move back to 4 feet, 5 feet, and so on. Try to work your way back to 20 feet away and still be able to knock the tee over.

You’ll gain amazing feel of your putter’s face and know when you’ve closed the face or opened the face during the putting stroke since you’re hitting to a super small target.

Drill #6: Putting to a King of Hearts

Grab a King of Hearts playing card from a deck of cards and lay it on the carpet or floor several feet away from you. Attempt to putt the golf ball with enough speed that it stops on top of the king of hearts.

This is a challenging putting drill that will improve your putting distance control before you know it. And using a playing card helps simulate a golf hole since it’s small, so you’ll also work on your putting accuracy by making sure you’re aligned to the target properly.

Drill #7: Three Ball Distance Control

For this putting practice drill, you want create a 1 foot long box or zone using tape or some sort of distance marker. The goal is to putt all 3 balls into this zone with each ball going slightly further than the previous ball. But the 3rd ball can’t go beyond the 12 inch zone. It teaches you putting distance control by forcing you to feel each putt and try to replicate that distance but slightly further without over hitting the ball so that it rolls beyond the 1 foot long zone.

Drill #8: Golf Putting Stance Practice

Lastly, we want you to improve your putting set up and your stance. This is a fundamental step to helping you make a straight putting stroke.

Have your putter sitting next to the couch and during TV shows or during commercial breaks, stand up and work on the proper putting stance set up.

Doing this for just 15 minutes per day can build muscle memory and turn into a good habit so that your putting stroke improves without a whole lot of effort.

SOURCE: golfpracticeguides.com

Who Knew??

Golf has actually been played on the moon! It is only 1 of 2 sports to literally have been played out-of-this-world, along with the javelin throw. Back in 1971, Apollo 14 astronaut, Alan Shepard, swung a one-handed shot with a six-iron, which was all his pressure suit would allow.

Tell us the most unusual place you have played golf!

It’s time for you to shoot for the moon!

Expectations are back, which means so is Tiger Woods

LA JOLLA, Calif. — It’s winning time for Tiger Woods again.

A year ago, there was rampant uncertainty for Woods, who was coming off a fourth back surgery and wasn’t sure how many golf tournaments he’d be able to play, let alone finish or even win. Now there are expectations.

A year ago, Woods stood at 656th in the Official World Golf Rankings. When he plays in Thursday’s opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in his first tournament since September, Woods will walk to the tee ranked 13th in the world having won his last start, the 2018 Tour Championship.

A year ago, baby steps were more than acceptable for Woods, who found himself satisfied with gradual progress and so-so results. Now, winning is all that matters again for Woods — just the way it used to be for the player who has won 80 times in his career and glared at you if you had the gall to ask him before a tournament what his expectations were for that particular week.

Woods no longer carries that arrogant edge he used to, at least not publicly. He’s been humbled both by his physical ailments and thoughts of never being able to compete again. And, by the way, he’s been embraced by the fans during his comeback from a real-life abyss.

But make no mistake: At age 43, and with the window slowly closing, Woods knows he’s got to win now while he’s healthy.

“There is some momentum from last year because there’s a better understanding of what I can do,’’ Woods said Tuesday after playing a 10-hole practice round with Jordan Spieth. “Going into this event last year, I really didn’t know. And the fact that I was able to get through, I didn’t have any zinging down my leg like I did before, I didn’t have any problems at night recovering for the next day, even though I finished 30th or 25th, whatever the hell I finished [23rd], those were big accomplishments for me.

“Now, this year it’s totally different. I know what I can do, I know what I’m feeling. So now it’s about finishing a little bit better and winning some events this year.’’

Woods has competed at Torrey Pines 17 times. He has seven wins and a dozen top-10 finishes. His last win at Torrey Pines came in 2013. His 14th and last major championship victory came at Torrey Pines in the 2008 U.S. Open.

Woods will play the first two rounds with Tony Finau and Xander Schauffele, beginning on the South course Thursday at 1:40 p.m. (Eastern time) and then the North course on Friday at 12:30 p.m.

Four months removed from his stirring win at the Tour Championship in Atlanta, where the fans surrounded him like the pied piper on the 72nd hole, Woods is still energized by the emotions of the moment as much as it being his 80th career victory.

SOURCE:  NYPost.com

10 Pro Tips for Playing the Best Golf of Your Life

IF YOU WANT TO GET A few extra yards and take a few strokes off your golf game, you’re probably tempted to splurge on a fancy new driver or revolutionary new golf ball. But the fact is, you can get even better results from proper preparation. Armed with nothing but a pro warm-up routine and a little know-how, you could add a dozen yards to your drive and take several strokes off your score card. Here’s how.

1. Warm up.

I wish two draft beers and half a cigar was a warm-up, but it is not. Full-body movements that include trunk flexing, extending and rotating are a great start. Other dynamic warm-up moves should target hip rotation in all directions. Lastly, making sure that your shoulders are prepared for all parts of your back swing and follow through will ensure a good first shot from the tee box.

2. Hydrate.

Being only 10 percent dehydrated can lead to a loss of up to 5 percent of your ability to produce power. That means that if you’re used to hitting your 9-iron 130 yards, now you’ve lost 7 yards. You like hitting that 5-iron 180? Not anymore: If you’re dehydrated, you’re now only hitting it 170. Any good golfer knows how important being on your distances can be when trying to beat the course. It’s pretty hard to know how far you will hit your clubs if you are not properly hydrated.

3. Get fueled up.

If you think hydration is important for athletic output, then you’d better understand how vital proper pre-golf nutrition is to your success, too. Golf is a marathon with bouts of some pretty explosive movements. And, it all happens over the course of a lot of walking and strategizing. If you don’t have a good base of calories and blood sugar to start with, it’s like trying to drive from Virginia to Maine on a half tank of gas.

4. Keep fueling.

It’s so easy to get lost in the competition of the game of golf. The excitement of good shots. The frustration of duffs and slices. It’s all any of us can do to keep our heads together. Now, try limiting your brain’s energy source during a round and the mental game gets a lot harder. Something as simple as some trail mix, an energy drink or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich will keep your mind sharp and your muscles purring.

5. Be strong.

This isn’t necessarily something you can do before each round of golf, but it should be in the forefront of your mind if getting better at golf is the goal. Any strength-building activity you enjoy and can do consistently will work. The important thing is knowing that strength is built in the off-season, sped up in the preseason and hopefully maintained in some manner during the season.

6. Be flexible.

You’re not going to see a lot of true flexibility gains from a few stretches before a round of golf. What you will feel is a much more prepared nervous system and improved joint mobility, which will translate to your golf game as more pure and efficient mobility. This is key for anyone trying to beat a course, break a distance mark or just get through a round without nagging aches and pains.

7. Seek coaching.

Lots of folks are good athletes or have played sports their entire lives, but things seem to change when they pick up a golf club; their athletic experience just doesn’t transfer. As a lifelong baseball athlete, I can speak to this frustration firsthand. There are few things more aggravating than having difficulty hitting that little white ball on the ground.

But put me, or any other experienced athlete, back into their familiar setting like holding a baseball bat, tennis racket or a basketball, and things feel right again. Once you get a pro to look at you swing a club and help you refine some of your technique, your game – and outlook – will improve.

8. Know good pain from bad pain.

Knowing the difference between “good” pain that’s part of progress and “bad” pain that leads to injury starts in off-season golf-strengthening programs and continues through life. Those of us who know what “good” pain is also spend less time sitting out practices or rounds of golf because we know how useful movement is for healing and furthering our own athletic progress.

9. Periodize.

This term might not be familiar to even serious golfers, but to a strength coach or a physical therapist, this is one of the most important pieces of the golf strength, injury prevention and performance puzzle. This is the term we use to describe how training programs change depending on a golfer’s current fitness level and the time of the year we’re working.

For example, how important is it for a golfer who lives in the mid-Atlantic or northeast to be the most explosive and most ready to play golf in December? Not very. So, seek golf-specific programming for all of the different phases of the year, as well as competition and play. In this way, you can get the most out of each phase and maximize your physical abilities during the golf season.

10. Rest and recover.

This shouldn’t be the first time any good golfer has heard that taking proper care of your body after some time at the range or after a round of golf is a good idea. This might, however, be the first time that you realize that it could be the single most important – and easiest – thing you can do to ensure a pain-free and rewarding golf season.

SOURCE:  USNews&WorldReport

Stay fit for better golf in 2019!

Membership Opportunities at Meadowview

Who Knew??

The first ever golf balls were made of thin leather, stuffed with goose feathers. ‘Feather balls’ were used up until 1848, when they were replaced with the ‘Guttie’ ball, named for the rubber-like sap of the Gutta tree, found in the tropics.

What is your favorite golf ball to play with?

Come on out a tee it up!

MAKE THE ONES YOU HATE TO MISS

A six-footer is by no means a gimme, but it’s still short enough that it stings when it doesn’t go in. To make more of these, start by locking in your speed. It’s the most important part of every putt. And when you assess speed, don’t just factor how fast the ball needs to roll to get to the front of the cup. Think about it: You’re not trying to be so precise with your putting that the ball falls in on its last rotation. So forget the front of the cup. You should be looking at a spot 1½ feet beyond the hole. You’ll still be in tap-in range if you miss, but now you know the ball is going to get there every time.

Once you’ve determined that spot, then you can read the break. Start by walking to the hole, and try to picture the line in your head, keeping in mind that it continues 18 inches past the cup. Typically a putt of this length isn’t going to break that much—unless your course is Augusta National.

To get my speed down, I often practice with a small silicone cover over the top of the hole. The ball rolls right over it. If you don’t have one, you can just putt over the location of an old cup like I’m doing here (see bottom photo). The point is to get the ball to stop at a consistent distance beyond the hole. After I hit a putt that rolls over the cup and stops where I want it to stop, I’ll put a dime down to mark that end point. Then I’ll stroke putts over the hole trying to get every one to stop on a dime, so to speak.

DEVELOP A SHOT CLOCK
Having a pre-shot routine is important, but that doesn’t mean only doing the same things before every putt. Just as important is the amount of time you take to do those things. It will make a big difference if there’s a consistent duration from setup to stroke—it gives you good rhythm and confidence. Another thing you should do before you hit a putt is to take one last look at your line of putt all the way to the hole and then back to your ball—but do it quickly. The longer you stand over the ball, the more likely you’ll start to psych yourself out that you might miss. Good putting is a lot more mental than physical. Not a lot can go wrong with your stroke on a six-footer—it’s a fairly short and quiet motion. If you can relax and trust in what you’ve done prior to the putt, your chance of rolling one in will go way up.

BE AN ATHLETE, NOT A ROBOT
If you struggle with these makable putts, it’s probably because you’re too focused on using perfect mechanics. I’ve got news for you, guys like me on the PGA Tour rarely set up and make a textbook stroke, yet the tour average for putts made from six feet last season was 70 percent. What I’m saying is, there are a lot of ways to get the ball to go in the hole.

Putting is extremely personal, but everyone should feel comfortable over the ball. I like when my arms hang freely, and I have a slight roundness to my back. As for the stroke, I don’t think about the length the putter moves back and through. Instead, I try to be as athletic as possible, meaning my process is to look at what I have to do—then react. If you’re shooting a basketball, you don’t think about how hard your arm has to move for the ball to reach the basket, you just look at the rim and let it fly. Try putting with that same mind-set.

SOURCE:  golfdigest

 

Who Knew??

The chances of making two holes-in-one in a round of golf are one in 67 million.

How many hole-in-one’s have you had???  Tell us when & where!

Why not try for yourself?  Book a tee time today!