Golf Tips from the PGA Partners Club

GOLF TIPS: Equipment, Travel, Discounts and Deals

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November 30, 2009

Great Golf Resorts You May Not Know

You know the exhilaration when you find your ball in the woods? Now, amp up that feeling and you understand the excitement of discovering a phenomenal resort that isn't on every golf vacationer's radar. Here are some hidden gems:

Mount Washington Resort Bretton Woods, New HampshireA $50 million refurbishment-and-expansion program includes a new spa, outdoor pool complex and renovated guest rooms, lobby and public spaces. The recently re-opened signature course was also enhanced.

Bayonet and Black Horse, Seaside, CaliforniaIf you want to play the Monterey Bay peninsula and you don't want to take out a second mortgage to play Pebble Beach, the 36-hole Bayonet and Black Horse complex (see photo) is the answer.

Pearl River Resort, Choctaw, MississippiOn 750 acres of rolling hills and woodlands, this is home to two hotel/casinos, 16 restaurants, a water-theme park, European-style spa and the Dancing Rabbit Golf Club.

Otesaga Resort, Cooperstown, New YorkIf you visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame, this classic golf resort is the place to stay.

Saddle Creek Resort, Copperopolis, CaliforniaThis course is full of fantastic vistas with dramatic views of the Sierras and Yosemite accented by natural lakes, streams and grasses.

November 23, 2009

Get Touchy-Feely Without Seeing a Shrink

It's often called the "dreaded" pitch shot in instruction books. You're 15 to 40 yards away from the pin, and you can't take a full swing. So you need touch, a feel for how hard to hit your wedge.

The best way to develop touch, say the books, is to practice pitches from different distances and build up muscle memory. All good, but here are two other touch tips:

  • Instructor Martin Hall says you should avoid the "Ostrich Syndrome." That is, don't practice swinging with head down, focusing mostly on the ball. Take practice swings looking a little at the ball and a lot at the target. Let your eyes gather as much distance data as possible. Also, imagine throwing the ball underhand to the pin; that motion will help determine how hard you should swing.
  • Sports psychologist Dr. Gio Valiante suggests this: Learn to trust your innate athleticism with pitches—confidence is key with these short shots—by practicing pitches with a variety of clubs, including the "wrong" clubs for this distance. Practice this and you loosen your lock on the questing for the perfect technique, and you build trust in your touch.

November 18, 2009

Walk This Way

The motorized cart was developed after World War II, and it changed golf immensely. It made the game more accessible for handicapped veterans and senior citizens, and it increased the pace of play. All good.

However, carts have also caused many able-bodied golfers to get lazy and fat, frankly. And carts make a round more costly and remove golfers from one of the most physically and mentally beneficial parts of the game. Studies find that golfers using push carts burn more than 1,400 calories; riding in a cart, golfers burn about 800 calories.

Now, the knock on push carts is they're clunky and take up lots of cargo space. So we applaud Bag Boy's Express Auto Three-Wheel Push Cart. It has a one-step folding mechanism that allows the cart to open and close with one fold. Easy. The folded cart means compact storage and transportation.

Express Auto also has a:

  • Handle-mounted parking brake
  • Mechanism to adjust front-wheel alignment
  • Beverage holder
  • Scorecard holder with a magnetic lid
  • Convenient mesh bag for storing head covers and balls.

Bag Boy Express Auto Push Cart

Bag Boy Express Auto Push Cart

November 16, 2009

Tips for the Yips

June 15, 1947: Sam Snead missed a 30-inch putt to lose a playoff to Lew Worsham in the U.S. Open. Snead finished second four times at the U.S. Open, the only major he never won.

July 11, 1970: Doug Sanders needed to sink a three-footer to win the British Open. He missed and lost by a stroke to Jack Nicklaus in a playoff.

Everybody misses short putts—everybody. Those misses hurt whether you're playing for a major or trying to break 90. Sometimes the misses are bad technique and sometimes bad nerves, also called the "yips." So here are three tips:

  1. Take a short backswing. A long one isn't necessary and creates room for error in the swing.
  2. Close your eyes. It lowers anxiety (it helps you pray!) by blocking out all but hitting the ball. Bruce Fleisher says we miss "gimmes" because we peek at the hole and lift our head during the stroke, which messes up mechanics. With eyes closed, there's no peeking.
  3. Listen for the ball to go in before opening your eyes.

Try this technique during the off-season using Fuzzy Zoeller's putting aid, which lets you hear the ball enter the cup.

November 11, 2009

A Wind Shirt That Lets You Grip and Rip

In these cooler months, being bundled up and all, it's kinda hard to just grip it and rip it. In fact, sometimes you feel that when you do let that big dog eat, you're not only ripping the ball but also the seams of your shirt.

So we perk up when a company like Page & Tuttle announces its new Free Swing wind shirt with something called "inverse technology." We don't know what that technology is, and the company isn't saying. But they claim the "inverse construction and engineering" is unique in the golf-garment arena, and it promotes a full, no-holding-back swing. Imagine winter golf with:

  • No pulling under the arms
  • No bunching at the shoulders
  • No waistband ride-up
  • No pulling at the cuffs

The lightweight and breathable wind shirt is made of wind- and water-repellent microfiber and features contrast front-and-back chest piping.

BTW, we say winter golf because the Free Swing wind shirt won't be available until January.

November 9, 2009

The Long and the Short on Lag Putting

The lag putt is the Rodney Dangerfield of golf instruction. Look through most instruction books, and you'll find lag putting gets no respect and almost no ink. What's written pretty much boils down to developing a feel for pace. However, there are a few helpful tips, such as:

  • Tiger Woods divides lag putts in two, and Dave Stockton divides them into thirds. The ball goes fast in that first section and won't break, so don't play the break. As the ball slows, it breaks more. Study the ending sections to see how your break changes.
  • Martin Hall's Parking Lot Drill amounts to placing clubs behind the hole to form a U, the "parking lot." Place balls in a straight line, each a club length back from the other. Putt balls into the parking lot, not necessarily into the hole. This develops touch without worrying about holing the putt.
  • In practice rounds in the 1970 U.S. Open, eventual champion Tony Jacklin only looked at the hole when putting lag putts. During the tournament, he looked at the ball when putting but said this practice technique gave him the feel needed to win.

Video: "Feel" putting drill.

November 4, 2009

Rain Gear That Your Mudder Would Choose

Maybe there's something twisted about those of us golfers who are mudders. Maybe we like to suffer in the slosh, and golf itself doesn't offer quite enough anguish for us. Maybe the driving rain and wind take us back to golf's Scottish roots. Maybe we like the roll of super receptive greens.

Whatever, golf can be heartening and even peaceful in the rain—provided you have the gear. So we take note when we get wind of Sun Mountain's 2010 RainFlex outerwear. It's lightweight, breathable and waterproof. Key feature: The knitting process used to produce RainFlex causes the garment to stretch 100 percent across the shoulders and diagonally. No binding your swing here.

Another key feature: RainFlex is quiet, moving with no resistance—unlike most rainwear that's stiff and noisy nylon with almost zero stretch.

The 2010 RainFlex line includes RainFlex HD with heavy-duty performance as well as RainFlex in a full-zip jacket, half-zip pullover (pictured), short-sleeve pullover and pants. The women's line includes a full-zip jacket and pants. All RainFlex styles come with a two-year waterproof guarantee.

Sun Mountain Rainflex Jacket - Mens

Sun Mountian Rainflex Jacket - Womens

November 2, 2009

Maybe the Best Golf Book You'll Ever Read

Bold statement, huh? But we've read Sports Illustrated The Golf Book, and stand by it. This is a celebration of the ancient game, a bright-and-buzzing big book that's equal to the task of bestowing golf's colorful history from 19th century Scotland to the 21st century drama of Tiger Woods.

You'll not become bogged down in this saga because award-winning photos carry the coffee-table book. Extra large pages let shots expand fully and excite—putting you there. Some were before your time and hold you spellbound (Sam Snead hurdling a hedge, Bobby Jones carried through a crowd after his 1930 British Amateur championship). You'll recall others (Jean Van de Velde wading in the Barry Burn, and Henrik Stenson stripped to his briefs at Doral), but in this format they've become even more captivating.

Photography turns the 296 pages, but vivid SI writing pulls you into the book. Roy Blount Jr. introduces THE GOLF BOOK, and Herbert Warren Wind, Frank Deford, Rick Reilly, Dan Jenkins, Ed Shrake, Gary Smith, etc. make the game's greatest moments thrilling and heartbreaking.

There's humor and Hollywood, of course, but mostly there's the joy of losing track of time as you read about golf's eras and imagine.

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