Golf Tips from the PGA Partners Club


GOLF TIPS: Equipment, Travel, Discounts and Deals

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July 22, 2009

Golf, Hunt and Fish ...Trifecta!

Face it—without divine intervention, you'll never get to tee it up at Augusta. But you'll swear that the golf gods have smiled on you when you play the Highland Course at Primland.

Carved 3,000 feet high in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southern Virginia, the course has challenges and scenery that will leave you simultaneously cursing and praising designer Donald Steel, who's known as a master of links-course architecture.

Highland measures 7,034 yards, with each hole following the killer contours of the mountain. Par is 72, but unless you own stock in a golf ball manufacturer, you'd be smart to check your ego at the pro shop, drive your cart past the black tees and instead swing away from the reds or blues.

Highland pro Jeff Fraim's favorite hole is the par-3 eighth, which plays 175 yards from the blues, 193 from the reds (a smooth six iron for Jeff) and 220 for Tiger and company. Because the No. 8 green is so far down a canyon, you'll swear you're teeing off from heaven.

July 20, 2009

Personalized Putter Hosels

First came the moveable weight technology for metal woods. Next were interchangeable shafts for metal woods and irons. Now, YES! Golf has introduced two putters with an interchangeable screw-in hosel system that allows you to custom fit putters based on personal preference for hosels.

The interchangeable hosel putters are YES! Golf's blade-style Tracy III Plus putter and mallet-style Lizzy Plus putter. Each hosel option comes with a shaft, hosel and grip. To change the hosel, you loosen the current hosel on the bottom of the putter head with a torque wrench, which is provided, and fasten the new hosel in the putter head.

"The concept was developed in direct response to requests from our TOUR players," says Francis Ricci, president of YES! Golf. "Putters are such a personal preference, and with these hosel options golfers can customize their putter and maximize their results by selecting the look and style that best suits them."

The plumber-neck hosel is standard in the Tracy III Plus and the Lizzy Plus. Three other hosel options are sold separately - slant neck, z-bend and pronounced heel-toe hang.

July 15, 2009

TPC Sawgrass Swing School:

Chipping Simplified:

Pay attention because this explanation will simplify and improve your chipping game—and, with practice, will lower your scores three to seven stokes.

Around the green, there are oodles of options—too many, it seems. But at the TPC Sawgrass TOUR Academy, instructors simplify chipping with this approach: Use the same swing for all chips but vary the club according to distance to the pin.

Stance is slightly open, and more weight is on the front foot than back. The power of the shot comes from the shoulders. Make a motion similar to a putting stroke only with a small turning of the shoulders and body back and then through impact.

Wrists stay quiet through the entire motion, ensuring that the clubhead trails the hands into impact (see photo)—which means consistent contact (no skulls or fat hits!). Left wrist stays flat in the follow-through.

Distance control comes down to these carry-to-roll ratios:

  • Use a pitching wedge, and the ratio is 1:1. That is, the ball will carry roughly the same distance as it will roll.
  • 9-iron=1:2
  • 8-iron=1:3 7-iron=1:4
  • 6-iron=1:5

July 13, 2009

Theme Parks & Golf?

Cool Combo

If your kids love theme parks (alert us if yours don't) and you love golf, then these attractions will keep you both screaming with glee:

Busch Gardens (Williamsburg, Virginia)A European-themed park with 50+ rides, dining and musical performances. The area has 15 championship courses (see photo), including Golden Horseshoe Golf Club and Anheuser-Busch Kingsmill Resort.

Hershey Resorts (Hershey, Pennsylvania)Hersheypark has 60 rides and ZooAmerica North America Wildlife Park, Hershey's Chocolate World tours, the Chocolate Spa, concerts and shows. Golf at Hershey Country club, Hershey Links and a par-32 junior course.

Kings Island (Kings Island, Ohio)North of Cincinnati, this has 80 attractions, including the world's largest wooden roller coaster, The Beast. The Golf Center at Kings Island includes an 18-hole mid-length layout (six par 4s) for family play.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas (San Antonio, Texas)"The Rattler," the classic wooden roller coaster, is visible from some holes on the Arnold Palmer-designed Palmer Course at La Cantera. Also play Resort Course, a Tom Weiskopf/Jay Moorish design.

Walt Disney World (Orlando, Florida)A leader in on-site, theme-park golf, this has four theme parks, 300 restaurants, four 18-hole championship golf courses and one nine-hole course ideal for juniors and beginners.

July 8, 2009

TPC Sawgrass Swing School:

2-Tee Drill

This is THE drill I found most valuable from my TPC Sawgrass TOUR Academy experience. Before the swing school, I was inconsistent because my hands weren't ahead of clubhead at impact; I wasn't hitting down on the ball, and I struggled to break 90.

Because of the three-day school and this 2-tee drill, my ball striking and game have improved. First round back home, I shot 100 (too many swing thoughts). Next two rounds: 86 and 85, my best.

Here's the drill, which trains you to have hands ahead at impact and therefore hit down on the ball:

  1. In the middle of your stance, place a tee three-quarters of the way into the ground.
  2. Place a second tee halfway into the ground one ball ahead and along the target line.
  3. Place ball on the back tee.
  4. Swing the club away so it's parallel to the ground.
  5. Swing and clip both tees out of the ground.
  6. Hold your finish. Notice both arms are straight with shaft pointing down. Weight is balanced over left heel.

Once you master this, lower the tees and move them farther apart. -- Gary Legwold, Web Editor

July 6, 2009

Raw and Black and Straight

Every golf-equipment manufacturer needs a big hit in 2009, but only a handful will succeed. One is Bridgestone Golf with the introduction of its first-ever limited edition set of irons: the J36 Cavity Back series.

Key feature: A black finish that gives them the "raw" look usually associated with wedges. The raw black oxide finish (no plating) reduces glare and makes for a slim look.

Key quote: "The sleek, black appearance is one every iron collector will want to have, but we're only making 500 worldwide," says Danny Le, Golf Club Marketing Manager for Bridgestone Golf. "It's actually 1020 carbon steel, but instead of putting the chrome plating on it, we left it raw and dipped it in a solution that gives it that black oxide look. This is one-of-a-kind as far as forged irons in the marketplace. Except for a wedge, you don't ever see a forged, raw iron."

July 1, 2009

TPC Sawgrass Swing School:Board Drill

"It takes 1,500 practice swings to make a swing change."

That's a maxim from the TPC Sawgrass TOUR Academy. The point: be realistic about progress. During an exit "exam," the video showed that, despite hitting only one decent shot, changing our swing was coming along. Hands were slightly ahead of ball at impact (before they were behind), meaning we were hitting more downward on the ball and not picking it. Picking, we were told, means losing 15-20 percent of your potential power.

The assignment: practice two drills to lock in hands ahead at impact. One we'll discuss here on July 8th. The other is this board drill. The downswing is so fast that at first it's hard to feel the hands-ahead position. This drill slows things down and helps lock in muscle memory of the proper impact position.

  1. Address a middle iron matched squarely to the end of four-foot 2 x 4.
  2. Swing the club away so it's parallel to the ground and pause, confirming proper alignment.
  3. Move slowly to impact (see photo), pausing to confirm that hands are ahead of clubhead.
  4. Using hands, arms and rotating body together, gently push board forward.

More golf-school details.

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