In order to be a better chipper you need to be flexible and play whatever shot the situation calls for. Some shots require a low releaser while others might call for a medium to high checker. Here are two simple shots that will help you "fit" into any situation you may encounter around the greens.Read More
Wow! After watching the happenings at Turnberry yesterday I can emphatically state that the Open Championship (and not the 'British Open' as we Americans prefer to call it!) is the greatest golf event in the world! At what other championship would a 16 year old, an almost 60 year old and a champion all be involved in the awards ceremony? From the history, to the ever changing weather, to the golf courses, to the true international 'openness' of the event I love everything about it. Stewart Cink:
- All the other contenders (Watson, Westwood, Wood and Els) bogeyed the final hole while Stewart made birdie. A great recipe for winning major champioships - get in contention and then birdie the last!
- While I felt bad for Old Tom, Stewart played beautifully in the playoff; getting it up and down from a pot bunker from 35 yards; parring a par three that played all of 230 yards; and making simple birdies on the final two holes. Flawless!
- Did you notice how far short of the hole he landed his ball on the 72nd green? It looked like 35 yards and finished beautifully. The other contenders who bogeyed all landed their shots in the 15-20 yards range short and we know where they ended up.
- Did Cink have anything to do with his handsome young sons? They look like exact, albeit male, replicas of their mom.
- I am sure the Cink family will enjoy their vacation in Montana over the next two weeks. Hopefully Dad's cell phone will not have service as he might be getting a few calls!
Old Tom Watson: (and I call him that with admiration!)
- What an amazing performance! Perhaps the greatest tournament ever played by a golfer over fifty? This Open week will always be remembered as the year of Tom Watson.
- I spent a few hours with Mr. Watson on a charter plane a few years ago and was amazed at the toughness I sensed in the man. Toughness in a positive way. That toughness came out this week in his play on the back nine and even in his final swing in regulation. In his press conference he indicated that he struck an 8 iron to the 72nd green and said, "I like it!" when the ball was in the air. If only it was a nine iron!
- What a gentleman! Tom Watson should be applauded not only for his stellar play, but also for his self control, lack of emotional outburst and sportsmanship. Young golfers can learn so much from Tom Watson and his demeanour on the course this week. In fact all golfers, Tiger Woods included, can learn from him.
- I never once saw him speak to his ball in flight or grimace at a poor strike or result. Sergio, I hope you were watching and learning!
- I love the way Tom gets into a shot - two waggles of the club and bang! Every time! He is a good one to emulate when it comes to a pre-shot routine.
The Golf Course:
- Why can modern golf course designers not build golf courses like Turnberry today? I cannot understand why not. The course is simple without any trickery or manufactured hazards.
- I love links golf as it incorporates the two greatest hazards of all - wind and undulation! All a golf course needs is a little exposure to wind, firm turf and a few well thought out humps and hollows and you have a gem.
- While Turnberry looked green due to all the rain they have had this year, the course is not irrigated. What is wrong with a little browning in a fairway? It makes for firm ground conditions, allows the ball to roll and ultimately plays a whole lot better than the always fashionable plush green fairways.
As you can tell I like old school. I like old school championships, golfers, courtesy and courses! What do you like?
So often I read that it is important to be "behind the ball". While this statement is almost correct I would prefer for a golfer to be "over" the ball and this sense initiates with the set up position.
The set-up encompasses ball position, stance width and spine/shoulder tilt. Let's take a look from the ground up.
With the irons I would like to see the ball played from the middle of the stance - keep in mind, that in order to hit down on the ball, a must, the weight must be in front of the ball. Notice that I said weight and not body or head! When the ball is centrally located it is that much easier to hit down on. As you get to the longer clubs(woods) slide the ball up toward the inside of the left heel. In the Ben Hogan illustration you'll notice how his ball is not quite in the center but a little forward. This is due to his pronounced hip slide into impact which still allowed him to be able to hit down on a more forward ball position.
As far as the stance width goes, I prefer a narrower stance than a wider one and here's why. A narrow stance allows for the weight to get to the front foot easily - that's why you should be chipping and pitching with a narrow stance. Too wide and you'll have a hard time getting onto the front foot without excess movement.
Head position and spine tilt is the most important factor in the set-up! I read an article yesterday pontificating about if you tilt away from the target you'll reduce your slice. Well, you might reduce the slice, but you'll have a hard time making solid contact with the ball. All the best ball strikers set up as Hogan has here, with the head positioned between the feet, the left eye over the ball and the spine just about vertical. There should also be a minimal amount of shoulder tilt when the spine is vertical. Make sure you avoid any excess tilt into your back side as this will make it almost impossible to get "over" the ball at impact.
Set yourself up to get into a great impact!
Things to ponder:
- Harbourtown and the TPC Louisiana are both Pete Dye golf courses. They look like they are from different planets!
- Can Steve Stricker finally get the job done on Sunday? It's been a while!
- Tiger Woods is a great champion, but does he play golf the way it was meant to be played? Does modern equipment let him play the game "his way"? I offer Greg Norman and Nick Faldo as contrasts.
- I was going to ask, " When will Sergio grow up?" but I'm not sure he ever will.
- Will Sergio ever grow up?