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Lakeshore • Meadowview • Timberlake
ON SALE NOW
ONE LOW PRICE
TWO AMAZING YEARS
THREE GREAT COURSES
Lakeshore • Meadowview • Timberlake
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.
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.
ON SALE NOW
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TWO AMAZING YEARS
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Lakeshore • Meadowview • Timberlake
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
1. Keep Your Hands Low
Limiting the height of the followthrough will effectively reduce the height of your shots. The lower the hands, the lower the ballflight. Moving the ball back in your stance or choosing a stronger club and trying to swing easy are other ways to accomplish the same thing, but they’re less reliable and more difficult to execute. Instead, keep your hands low in the finish (compare the two photos at right), and the trajectory of your shots will be lower.
2. Give Your Spine The Forearm
Make sure you’re on-plane at the top of the swing to guarantee solid ballstriking and increased accuracy. Notice in the photo at left how my right forearm is parallel to my spine, my left wrist is flat and my elbows and arms form a tight triangle. These are indications that I’ve rotated my shoulders into the backswing perfectly.
3. Use Your Body For Power
Every good golfer knows that power comes from the body, not the arms. To learn to power the club with your body instead of your arms and hands, put the club behind the ball at address, with your body in a dead-stop position. Without taking a backswing, try to drag the ball into the air. If you’re a player who uses his or her hands to control the club, you’ll probably struggle at first. However, you’ll quickly find that once you start moving the club with your body, you’ll begin to get the ball in the air more consistently. This helps you turn fully through the ball on the downswing.
4. Hinge For Power
Amateurs have problems hitting crisp iron shots due to two fatal flaws. First, the takeaway tends to be too low to the ground, which delays the proper hinging of the wrists until too late in the backswing. Second, in a misguided effort to create power, the arms tend to swing too far in the backswing. This causes a breakdown in posture and usually leads to a reverse pivot. These flaws cause mis-hits and a lack of distance and control.
Several simple steps can be taken to gain control over the length of the swing in order to create more solid contact. At setup, a 45-degree angle should be present between the left arm and the clubshaft. This starts the swing with the wrists already hinged halfway to the necessary 90 degrees. During the takeaway, the hands should stay close to the ground while the clubhead moves up quickly. The goal is to get the left thumb pointing at the right shoulder as soon as possible. You’ll know you’ve achieved the proper wrist hinge when your left arm is parallel to the ground and the clubshaft is perpendicular to it. This sets the wrists much earlier in the backswing, eliminating the need to swing the arms too far at the top. The tendency to lose posture and reverse pivot will be removed with this more compact golf swing.
Creating the proper wrist hinge in the backswing will lead to noticeably better ballstriking and, as a result, more consistent distance and direction on all iron shots.
5. Give Your Slice The Elbow
Some players like John Daly swing with their elbow flying out, while others like Sergio Garcia keep it in, proving that it’s possible to hit great shots with either method. However, my biomechanical studies indicate that the flying right elbow position favors a fade ballflight while a tucked right elbow promotes a draw. If you struggle with slicing or have always wanted to develop a power-rich draw, then the right elbow may hold the answer. Plus, when you let the right elbow fly, it has the tendency to raise the right shoulder skyward, which almost always causes an over-the-top move during the downswing and an array of bad results.
The key for long-term success is to eliminate the faulty shoulder tilt and right elbow position at the top. The most efficient right elbow position for keeping slices at bay and promoting a draw is on or just inside the seam running down the right side of your shirt. When you place your right elbow in this general area, it allows the shoulders to turn level to the spine, making it much easier to drop the club inside on the downswing for maximum power and improved control.
6. Solid Plane = No Slice
An open face at the point of contact can cause a slice. So, too, can a faulty swing path, even if your clubface is square to the target at impact. Slicers’ swing paths tend to come too much outside in (hookers, vice versa). All golfers need a path that comes just slightly from the inside. Try the Box Drill. Take the top half of a golf ball box and stand it on its side. Align the box parallel to your target line as shown. Strive to groove a path that allows the shaft to pass just over the box. For slicers, set up the box on the same line, but just forward of the golf ball. Don’t hit the box!
7. Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down
Hookers need to stop the clubface from closing too soon. To do this, adopt a thumbs-down approach to impact. In the photos at right, you clearly can see the red side of the paddle with both my thumbs pointing down toward the ground. This type of movement slows the closing of your clubface, thus eliminating shots that curve to the left. In the second photo, the blue side of the paddle shows. This thumbs-up position is what slicers need to attain (a closing of the clubface).
8. No Flips
“Flippiness” (the dreaded early release) occurs if your body gets too far in front of the golf ball. When this happens, your club will drastically lag, usually with an open face. Instinctually, your hands will work to close the face at impact. This level of timing is difficult even for the pros to execute on a consistent basis. What usually happens is the clubhead races in front of the shaft and strikes the ball with an open or a closed face, and typically on an ascending arc. In baseball, if you get too far in front, you’ll hit the ball to right field, unless you flip the wrists. The same is true in golf. You need to establish a firm left side to keep your head behind the ball and stop the flip.
Enemy number one: Your body is out of position or out of balance. Your body senses this, so your hands take over to try to get the clubface squared at impact. However, this adjustment usually takes the form of a flick or flip of the wrists.
Fixing The Flip
Set up to an impact bag (or an old duffel bag stuffed with towels), push the clubhead into the bag and set your body into a good impact position. The lead arm and shaft should form one straight, vertical line with the head back. Make sure your lead leg is braced and that your hips are turned slightly open. Hold this position to create the proper feel.
Although it’s tempting to hit chips indoors, all it takes is one broken lamp to realize that golf is an outdoor activity. Nevertheless, you can improve your chipping technique within the friendly confines of your own living room with the help of a wooden dowel or broken golf shaft.Take the dowel and place it through the hole on the top of the grip on a pitching wedge. Push the dowel roughly eight to 12 inches down the butt end of the shaft (a little Vaseline may help the dowel slide easier through the clubshaft). Two to three feet of the dowel should extend outward from the top of the grip.
Now, practice your chipping motion, making sure that your left wrist remains rigid as the clubface passes through the impact zone. If your left wrist breaks down (a flaw that can cause a lot of short-game misery), you’ll feel the protruding portion of the dowel hit against your left side. In addition to guarding against wrist breakdown, the dowel will also help you to establish the proper hands-forward position at address—a crucial factor for clean contact.
The dowel also will force you to keep your hands moving forward and swing the club down the target line in the followthrough. Once you master this drill, you’ll be able to get up and down with the best of them.
As you perform these drills, you’ll begin to see the value of other everyday items in helping you improve your game. Don’t be afraid to experiment—you may just develop the next must-have training aid.
10. Stay In Your K
Even good golfers with sound, grooved swings come untracked now and then, especially if they lose the flex in the back leg trying for distance. If you stiffen your back leg during the backswing, your body will likely tilt out of balance, making it tough to re-flex the knee just the right amount in time for impact. If you can play some great golf, but consistency is your problem, it might be that you need a dose of Special K. Here’s how it works…
At address, the Special K is the angle formed in your back leg by the upper and lower leg. The manner in which you stand to the ball determines in large part how well you maintain your Special K during your swing.
The best advice is to establish an athletic, ready-to-move setup. Create this posture by bending forward from the hip sockets and back from the knees. When your back leg is flexed correctly, it creates room for your arms to swing and aligns the joints, one on top of the other. You should be able to draw a line from the top of the spine through the tip of the elbow and then from the tip of your knee down through the ball joint of your foot.
Keeping The K
To keep your swing level, this angle should be maintained from address to just after impact. A good way to experience what it feels like to keep the Special K while you swing is to look in a mirror while you take practice swings. Start with the setup position shown in the photo, below left. Hold it steady, then look in the mirror to connect the sight and feel of the correct back leg flex for that position. Next, swing to the top. Again, hold that position and use the mirror to see if you maintained the angle in your back leg.
In the Special-K setup, the body has that athletic look common to many sports—a posture ready for action. At address, flex your back knee to discourage any up-and-down body motion while you swing. If you prepare yourself correctly, you won’t have to make any adjustments once your swing begins—all you have to do is rotate. Check your lower leg to make sure that it’s straight up and down (note that the crease in my pant leg is vertical). When the crease points toward the shaft, you know your lower leg is slanted at a bad angle. The reason the Special-K position is so important is that it unlocks the hips so they’re free to rotate. When the back leg locks and straightens at the knee, the back hip freezes, causing the body to tilt rather than turn.
Through impact, the trailing arm snaps straight, releasing power into the ball as the back knee kicks toward the target, still in its Special-K flex. Just after impact, both arms are straight, with the clubhead below the hands and the butt of the club pointing toward the middle of the body.
When you keep the Special-K position during your backswing, it allows your elbows to stay level near the top of your swing. This, in turn, keeps the clubface from twisting out of position. Staying in your K makes your backswing more rounded and, instead of elevating the clubhead suddenly and tearing it off of its swing arc, the clubshaft travels on the correct swing path with a gradual, power-gathering ascent of the club.
Another good learning method is to practice swinging with a shaft placed in the ground and angled to match the slant of your upper leg. You won’t be able to see the shaft while you swing, but you’ll sense that it’s there, and that will help you maintain your Special K.
Once you establish the Special K at address, your goal is to maintain it all the way through your swing until after the ball has been launched. In order to do so, you’ll have to start your swing by shifting your weight into your trailing hip so you can make a level lower body turn. If you fail to make this crucial weight transfer, your trailing hip will likely float upward and destroy your Special K.
A second key occurs as you start back down to the ball. Here, establish your front hip as the rotational center of your swing. By focusing on the right hip, you’ll better prepare it to receive your forward weight shift, and it also allows you to maintain your back leg flex through the impact area and beyond.
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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