From the world of weird n’ wacky in Golf, we found this…

Ever wonder what people who live on golf courses do with all the balls that get hit into their backyards? Well, you probably wouldn’t guess what one Iowa man did.

Kevin Pingel took nearly 600 balls and turned them into a six-foot, 100-pound statue of a golfer, according to Siouxlandmatters.com. Here’s a photo of the structure:

Pingel said he modeled the statue — which is becoming somewhat of a tourist attraction in Alta, Iowa — after the current swing of his favorite golfer, Tiger Woods. Somewhere, Sean Foley just did a fist pump.

SOURCE:  Golfdigest.com

Don’t make hitting a draw or a fade complicated

Modern launch monitors have taught us exactly what makes the ball go where it goes, but most golfers would be smart not to get too caught up in technicalities. Decades ago, Jack Nicklaus described a simple way to shape shots, and it’s every bit as valid today.

Jack said to hit a fade—his preferred shot—aim the clubface where you want the ball to come down, and align your body to the left (for right-handers). To hit a draw, do the opposite: Aim the face where you want the ball to finish and align your body to the right. For both ball flights, swing the club where your body is aimed.

Here’s the procedure, starting with the fade (above). After sighting your target from behind the ball, step in and aim the face at the target. Next, set your feet, making sure your stance line is well to the left. (Remember, a square stance is parallel-left of the target line, so you have to be farther left than that.) Your body lines—knees, hips and shoulders—should point where your feet point. Then swing where your body is aimed. The ball will start left and curve right.

“TO SHAPE A SHOT, BETTER TO CHANGE YOUR SETUP THAN YOUR SWING.”

Now, take the draw. Aim the clubface at the target, then arrange your stance and your other body lines to the right. Swing where your body is aimed, and the ball will start right and curve to the left.

What I really like about this method is, you get most of it done at address. I see golfers trying to roll the face closed for a draw or hold it open for a fade. Jack’s way is better.

GOLF’S NO. 1 MISTAKE
People ask me all the time, What’s the biggest fault you see with amateur golfers? My answer: They don’t take enough club. They take the club that requires a career shot to get to the target.

Optimistic? No, more like unrealistic. You should base your club selections on the average distance you get out of your clubs. Take one more than you think you need, and then swing within yourself. Trust me, you’ll make better contact and hit your target a lot more often.

SOURCE:  GolfDigest

From the world of weird n’ wacky in Golf, we found this…

Among the frost delay’s redeeming qualities–a few more minutes of clubhouse warmth, a chance for the sun to creep higher in the sky—let’s also not forget: reduced risk of being decapitated by a landing airplane.

Frost on Putting Green

No joke, this was the reason an emergency landing at Paramus (N.J.) Golf Course on Sunday fortunately did not result in any golfer injuries. The small plane operated by Manhattan science teacher Jonas De Leon abruptly needed open space for a landing, and it targeted the ninth fairway of the Paramus course (which borders the Ridgewood Country Club, host of last year’s Northern Trust on the PGA Tour). The fact that only 18 golfers were on the course, and all of them in the early stages of the front nine, was because play had been delayed that morning because of frost.

Golfers were playing the first few holes on Sunday when the plane landed on the ninth fairway.

“Normally we are packed on a weekend,” Ron Dorrell, a cashier at the course, told the New York Times. “But luckily, because of the frost, we didn’t have anyone out there on the back nine, so none of our golfers were injured.”

According to reports, three of the four passengers on the plane sustained minor injuries. Nine holes of the golf course, meanwhile, remained open after the landing.

SOURCE:  GolfDigest

To the non-golfer or golfers just beginning, chipping and pitching might seem like very similar shots. Both are basic short game shots and can be achieved with a wide range of clubs.

However, many golfers don’t know the difference between two, and their one-size-fits-all approach often adds strokes to the scorecard.

When looking a professional golfers who exhibit superior proficiency and consistency with their short games, it’s key to understand their consistent quality of contact and variety of shot choices are accomplished successfully by understanding basic setup and technique differences between chipping and pitching.

 


Chipping vs. Pitching

The most common definition of a chip shot is that it has more ground time than air, with very little carry and more time bouncing and rolling on the green. This shot often occurs very close (within a few yards) from the green and requires a smaller swing than a pitch shot.

A pitch shot is contrarily one that spends more time in the air than on the ground, with more carry, a has a higher trajectory and more spin that helps it stop faster after it lands on the green. Pitch shots often occur farther away from the green than chip shots, and thus require a slightly longer swing.

Chipping Setup

Chipping vs. Pitching - chipping setup

It’s key to first understand setup changes needed with chipping compared a full swing to ensure a clean strike and the low, predictable trajectory we’re looking for.

To accomplish this, start with a narrowed stance, about 80 percent of your weight on the lead foot and ball positioned back in the stance. A good measure for ball position is to place it just forward (toward the target) of the big toe of your trail foot. The handle of the club should be about even with your lead thigh (not much more forward than a normal setup position), and you will also need to stand closer to the ball and raise the handle, so the shaft is at a more vertical angle.

Also, while using a wedge is often the right club for these shots, it’s also often wise to pick an 8- or 9-iron because it can be more predictable than a higher-lofted wedge.

Pitching Setup

Chipping vs. Pitching - pitching setup

The setup for a pitch shot is very similar to a chip shot, but your weight remains more centered, with only about 55 to 60 percent favoring the lead foot.

Your knees should be also be slightly more flexed than with a chip shot, feet slightly farther apart, and a ball position more forward (in the middle of your stance) with the handle location remaining neutral.

Impact Points

The strike of a chip shot is slightly different than a pitch shot. Most chip shots are struck ball first, compared to pitch shots that see the ball and ground contacted at about the same time.

Simply stated, this difference occurs because the ball-back, weight-forward setup of a chip shot creates a steeper attack angle and contact occurring earlier in the downswing in relation to where the swing arc bottoms out.

The chip shot setup also keeps the clubhead’s loft reduced to create lower trajectory shots in comparison to pitch shots, which yield higher, softer shots with more spin from a setup encouraging a shallower attack angle, more use of the club’s bounce and an impact point closer to the bottom of the swing arc.

SOURCE:  golftec.com

There are many worthwhile ways to gauge Tiger Woods’ comeback in 2018. Tiger’s memorable Tour Championship victory highlighted his campaign, with his near misses at the PGA Championship and the Open Championship not too far behind.

Another indication of Tiger’s return to elite play around the world in 2018 is his world ranking, which made some really impressive increases over the year. Of course, the below stat might not be surprising when you consider the 14-time major champion was ranked as low as 656th in the world in January.

Now Tiger’s in the top 15 in the world—which is obviously impressive, but even more so when you consider this stat:

We’re pretty sure most golf fans wouldn’t have expected such a rapid return to becoming one of the world’s best players in less than 12 months. But that’s what we saw with Tiger’s return in 2018. And when you consider Tiger’s world-ranking position to end 2018 is higher than Jordan Spieth’s, Patrick Reed’s and Bubba Watson’s—especially considering Bubba won three PGA Tour events in 2018—the stat become more impressive.

Perhaps no world-ranking stat will ever compare with Woods spending 683 weeks (more than 13 years) at No. 1, which is 352 more than No. 2 on the list, Greg Norman. But this one is one more cherry on top of this season for Tiger—what a year it was.

SOURCE:  GolfDigest

 

From the world of weird n’ wacky in Golf, we found this…

 

THE BIG BEERTHA

Inside many an outwardly mature golfer lurks a glazed-eyed frat boy opposed to growing up. For those arrested fellows—and yes, they’re mostly fellows—there’s the Big Beertha, which looks like a driver but works like a beer bong. You pour a 12-ounce brew into the hollowed-out club head, then flip the club over and shotgun your beverage through the grip end. The liquid flows through a clear acrylic shaft, creating a viewing spectacle for those around you, who are likely to be either appalled or impressed.

SOURCE:  Golf.com

As Jan. 1 approaches, it’s time to consider what New Year’s resolutions you’ll be making to help your golf game in 2019. For those who haven’t come up with any, here’s a suggestion: Learn the Rules of Golf. (No, really learn them this time.) Perhaps you’ve tried, only to find that by February, the copy of the rules book you picked up is covered with as much dust as that Peloton you bought to get into shape. Yet here’s the thing: There’s no better time than now to give it another shot because a new, modernized version of the rules goes into effect on New Year’s Day.

In the most sweeping revision in more than 60 years, officials from the USGA and R&A, golf’s governing bodies, have reorganized the rules to make them easier to understand and apply. The number has been cut to 24 from 34, and the language simplified to make it more practical. Roughly 2 million copies of the Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf were published and circulated this fall. If you haven’t gotten one, you can find it online at usgapublications.com, as well as with explanatory videos at usga.org/rules. The free USGA Rules of Golf app has been updated, too.

To help you keep this resolution, here are nine changes to the new rules you should know.

I. Accidents happen
The controversy over Dustin Johnson’s ball moving on the green during the final round of the 2016 U.S. Open exposed the old rules for being too harsh when it came to what many considered tickytack infractions. New language, first adopted through Local Rules since 2017, states there is no penalty if you accidentally move your ball (or ball marker) on the green. Put the ball back, and you’re good to go. The same applies if you’re searching for a lost ball and mistakenly move it.

II. The fix is in
Golfers often complained about the silliness of letting players fix a ball mark on the green, but not a spike mark. What’s the difference? With no good answer, officials now will let you fix everything without a penalty. You can also touch the line of your putt with your hand or club so long as you’re not improving it.

III. A lost cause
To improve pace of play, golfers now have just three minutes to search for a missing ball rather than five. Admit it, if you hadn’t found it in three minutes, you weren’t finding it anyway.

IV. Knee is the new shoulder
The process for dropping a ball back in play is revamped in the new rules. Instead of letting go from shoulder height, players will drop from around their knee. This is a compromise from an original proposal that would have let golfers drop from just inches above the ground. To preserve some randomness with the drop, officials went with knee height instead. Why change at all? Primarily to speed up play by increasing the chances your ball stays within the two-club-length drop area on the first try.

V. No longer at touchy subject
Hitting a ball into a water hazard (now defined as “penalty area”) should come with consequences. But golfers don’t have to be nervous about incurring an additional penalty for a minor rules breach while playing their next shot. You’re free to touch/move loose impediments and ground your club, eliminating any unnecessary worry. The only caveat: You still can’t put your club down and use it to improve the conditions for the stroke. You can remove loose impediments in bunkers, too, although touching the sand in a bunker in front of or behind the ball is still prohibited.

VI. Damaged goods
We all get mad on the course, and sometimes that anger is taken out on an unsuspecting driver or putter. Previously, the rules were confusing on when or if you could play a club you damaged during a round, and it led to instances where some players were disqualified for playing clubs with a shaft slightly bent or some other damage they didn’t realize the club had. Now you can play a club that has become damaged in any fashion. If you caused the damage, however, you can’t replace the club with a new one.

VII. Twice is … OK
A double hit is almost always accidental, and the outcome so random as to hardly be beneficial. So golfers are now spared the ignominy of adding a penalty for hitting a ball twice with one swing. It counts as only one stroke. Somewhere T.C. Chen is smiling.

VIII. The end of flagstick folly
Another nod to common sense eliminates a penalty for hitting a flagstick left in the hole while putting on a green. Taking out and then placing back in flagsticks can often cause undo delay in the round, and the flagstick is as likely to keep your ball out of the cup as it would help it fall in.

IX. O.B. option
Courses may implement a Local Rule (not for competition) that offers an alternative to the stroke-and-distance penalty for lost balls or shots hit out-of-bounds. A player may drop a ball anywhere between where the original ball was believed to come to rest (or went out-of-bounds) and just into the edge of the fairway, but no nearer the hole. The golfer takes a two-stroke penalty and plays on instead of returning to the tee. This way, the Local Rule mimics your score if you had played a decent provisional ball.

SOURCE:  Golf Digest

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Brooks Koepka is having the kind of year he only imagined in his dreams, and he’s not ready for it to end.

In June, he became the first player in 29 years to win back-to-back in the U.S. Open. In August, he played some his best golf amid ear-splitting cheers for Tiger Woods on the back nine at Bellerive to win the PGA Championship with a record score. In a span of 19 days in October, he was voted PGA Tour player of the year and won the CJ Cup in South Korea to reach No. 1 in the world.

The trick now is to stay there.

He makes his debut at No. 1 on Thursday in the HSBC Champions at Sheshan International against a top-heavy field that includes five of the six top players in the world and all the major champions from this year.

“Looking forward to teeing it as No. 1,” Koepka said. “I think that’s something every golfer kind of dreams of and every golfer wants to accomplish. I’m looking to build on that lead, grow it, and that way I can be No. 1 for a while. The goal isn’t just to get here. It’s to stay here.”

It doesn’t figure to be easy.

He replaced his good friend and neighbor, Dustin Johnson, atop the world ranking. Johnson has his own score to settle at this World Golf Championship after tying the wrong kind of record last year when he lost a six-shot lead in the final round. Justin Rose would up coming from eight shots behind to win.

Johnson and Rose each have a chance to return to No. 1 this week.

Also in the field is Rory McIlroy at No. 5 and Francesco Molinari at No. 6.

Molinari is the only player who can make a case for having the best year worldwide. Koepka has the edge with his two majors. Molinari counters with his first major at the British Open to go along with a victory at Wentworth in the European Tour flagship event, the Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour, and if that wasn’t enough, the first European to go 5-0 in the Ryder Cup.

Koepka and Rose are in the same group in the opening two rounds, along with Tommy Fleetwood. Molinari is playing with Johnson and McIlroy in another feature group.

The only player missing from the top six is Justin Thomas, who played the last two weeks in Asia.

The HSBC Champions is a $10 million event that starts a big end to the European Tour season, where Molinari has a lead over Fleetwood in the Race to Dubai, with McIlroy trying desperately to make up ground.

It also can be a big start for the PGA Tour’s wraparound season, which began three weeks ago.

The HSBC Champions was the centerpiece of a remarkable turnaround last year for Rose, who had a stretch of 10 consecutive finishes in the top 10. That includes his unlikely victory at Sheshan International, along with victories in the Turkish Airlines Open and the Indonesia Masters.

It eventually led Rose to reaching No. 1 in the world after a runner-up finish at the BMW Championship outside Philadelphia, though the ranking lasted only two weeks before Johnson took it back.

Now it’s Koepka’s turn.

This is the first time since 1997 that four players have spent time at No. 1 in the world, and the first time since the world ranking began in 1986 that the top four in the world have all been No. 1 in the same year.

Pressure?

“I’ve only been world No. 1 for three days,” Koepka said Wednesday. “I haven’t found too many challenges in those days.”

Johnson won the HSBC Champions in 2013, and it looked as though he would add another World Golf Championships title a year ago when he had a six-shot lead. Most remarkable about that collapse was that Johnson still had a three-shot lead going to the back nine, didn’t miss a fairway and still lost.

But he got over it quickly, winning his next PGA Tour start at Kapalua by eight shots.

Then again, no one is more equipped at handling mishaps than Johnson, who has a history of having bad things happen at big events.

“A lot of practice,” he said with a smile. “Whether I’m playing at home or out here, you’re going to make mistakes. It just happens. I think it just all depends on how you handle them and if you let it bother you.”

Johnson is playing his only event in the fall. For Koepka, it’s his final event of a year that he hopes has one more trophy.

SOURCE:  USAToday