Golf Tips from the PGA Partners Club


GOLF TIPS: Equipment, Travel, Discounts and Deals

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September 30, 2009

At Least Look Like a Golf Icon

Here's a footnote for you: FootJoy has been in business over 100 years. Lots of reasons why, but mostly because the hits just keep on coming from this golf-shoe manufacturer.

This summer, for example, FootJoy launched its latest shoe, the FJ ICON, which pulls features from successful shoes of the past—waterproof technology from DryJoys (ICON has a 2-year waterproof guarantee) as well as comfort and stability from the SYNR-Gs. Plus the ICON has calfskin detailing and such proven technological advancements as memory foam (around the tongue and collar) and a perforated alloy stability bridge.

"We draw inspiration from every shoe we've developed over the last 100-plus years, and we believe FJ ICON embodies the best of FJ—finely tailored upper designs, premium materials, performance-infused outsoles and seemingly endless customization options," says Jack Erickson, FootJoy's vice president of Golf Footwear.

Shop Golf Shoes Plus for the best selection of Golf Shoes online.

Free shipping on any order $100 or more at Use coupon code FREESHIP100 during checkout.

September 28, 2009

"The Easiest Shot in Golf!"

Flummoxed: condition of golfer who's been told by instructor that the bunker shot is the easiest in golf.

"Why's that?"

"Because you don't have to hit the ball, just the sand behind it," says J.P. Guarneri, instructor at TOUR Academy TPC Sawgrass.

"Still, bunker shots are hard to control."

"Because most golfers make a violent swing in bunkers," says Guarneri. "Get rid of the violence. Think of it as if you were swinging underwater, long and lazy." Here's how:

  • Set clubface in your grip to 1 o'clock position, looking down at clubhead.
  • Slightly open stance, weight favoring left foot.
  • Ball position 2 inches forward of center.
  • Hover clubhead over sand 2 inches behind ball.
  • Backswing is to 9 o'clock position, 10 o'clock for long shots.
  • Hit 2 to 3 inches behind ball.
  • Fluffy sand, "hands lose;" that is, clubhead is ahead of hands at impact. Firm sand, "hands win;" clubhead trails hands at impact.
  • Key point: Belly button must finish at target. Distance is determined by rate of body turn, mostly, and length of swing.
  • Clubface finishes toward sky, not around body.

September 23, 2009

Getting U.P. and Down

Michigan's Upper Peninsula (the "U.P.") is a golfing destination that should be on your bucket list, especially now when the fall colors are showing off.

An example of U.P. courses that are O.K.—and then some—is the Paul Albanese-designed Sweetgrass Golf Club. Course highlights:

  1. Wide fairways—about time!
  2. Two drivable par 4s—if you dare, break out the big dog.
  3. A Biarritz green that has a deep gully bisecting the middle—hope for a middle pin placement.
  4. Each hole incorporates a special trait paying homage to the Hannahville Band of the Potawatomi Nation—we like and respect that.
  5. An island green par-3—somehow mulligan shots can stay dry.
  6. Zero houses along the course—crazy, but true.
  7. 22,000-square-foot shared green for the par-5 9th and par-5 18th holes—nice, but both holes are uphill and guarded by waterfalls, so don't bother going for this green in two.

Course lowlight:

  1. Adding up your score—you'll want to play it again. Second time around, you'll drop six strokes!

More about Sweetgrass and the Island Resort & Casino.

September 21, 2009

Haunted by Happy Hips? Huh?

Painful way: Check if you hit fat or thin around greens—which drives you totally batty! When demons start your hips a-swaying, it's Chunk City or Skull City, playing ping-pong across the green.

Painless way: Attend a TOUR Academy Short-Game School. Instructors will make you less hip and more accurate as a chipper with these tips:

  1. Ground the club behind the ball, then move the grip 2 to 4 inches away from your body, which lifts the heel of the club (see photo). This makes it difficult for the clubhead to dig into ground.
  2. Keeping heel of the club slightly elevated, step into your stance, which is narrowed, slightly open and weight favoring left foot. Shoulders are square to target. Butt end of club should point left of belt buckle.
  3. With small turning of shoulders—don't move the lower body—bring club back, as with putting.
  4. Swing is from the body's rotation; wrists stay quiet.
  5. Head is still through impact. "Have you ever lost a ball on the green?" asks TOUR Academy TPC Sawgrass Instructor J.P. Guarneri. "Keep your head still—you'll hear the ball hit the cup!"
25% off TOUR Academy golf schools.

September 16, 2009

Golf and Wine ... Intoxicating Mix!

How do you conclude a great round of golf? A cold beer? A single-malt scotch? A chilled glass of Riesling?

For those who enjoy a superb glass of wine and great golf, there are resorts where you can tee up on a championship layout and sip wine produced at on-site or nearby vineyards. Here are four excellent selections from the wine/golf menu:

Chateau Elan, situated 40 miles from Atlanta in the north Georgia mountains, has two 18-hole championship courses, a 9-hole par-3 layout, a European spa and a 75-acre full-production winery producing 22 varietals, including Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.

Diablo Grande Resort & Winery, 20 miles from Modesto, has two 18-hole championship courses and a 36-acre winery sculpted into rolling hillsides on the western slope of San Joaquin Valley.

Silverado Resort in Napa Valley in California, 50 miles northeast of San Francisco, is a 1,200-acre resort with easy access to major wineries and two on-site championship courses designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr.

Wente Vineyards, the nation's oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery, features a Greg Norman-designed course that serves as a Nationwide Tour stop.

September 10, 2009

A Drop-Dead "Drool-Shoe" Course!

Define "drool-shoe."

Sure. It's a course where you wipe drool off your shoes because:

  • Scenery's so stunning that your mouth is agape and drool drips on your shoes
  • You're dumbfounded and drooling after your high-altitude rips

That's the Stanley Thompson 18 at The Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course. Thompson designed this Canadian course (opened in 1928) that's not tricked up. This is simply golf, with lush, open fairways and fast, inviting greens blended into the natural beauty of the Bow River, big granite walls and grand mountain vistas. Course highlights:

  • High end hasn't gone to its head. This public course's set-up allows you to walk and not slow play. Also, resort tees make rounds enjoyable for the entire family.
  • The par-3 Devil's Cauldron (#4, pictured) is full of drop-down derring-do and is often mentioned in the world's top 18 holes.
  • The tee shot at 15 is elevated and over water. You swear you've hit it into trees on the facing mountain. After all, don't balls travel 10 percent farther at altitude? The ball flight is awe-frickin'-some!
  • In September, elk gather to rut. Play over without penalty if your ball hits an elk.

BTW, the Fairmont Banff Springs is part of 135 scintillating holes in the Canadian Rockies golf-and-resort lifestyle destination. Check them out and sign up for the e-newsletter; you may win a trip for four to these drool-shoe courses.

September 8, 2009

You vs. Couples in a PGA TOUR Event?

Yeah, right. Actually compete against Fred Couples? C'mon, there's a snowball's chance in H-E- double hockey sticks that regular golfers like us can even step inside the ropes in an actual PGA TOUR event, much less go head-to-head with a TOUR champion.

Well, check this out: The 6th Annual 2009 People vs. the Pros Ultimate Pro-Am Championship (PVP) will be held once again at the world class Pinehurst Resort. And it's true, you have a chance to:

  • Play the famous Pinehurst No. 2
  • Appear on ESPN2
  • Compete, along with your handicap, against Couples (if you're 18 to 49) or Nick Faldo (if you're 50+)
  • Win $50,000 for your charity of choice

Read about PVP's colorful history, including Chris DiMarco's win last year (see photo).

The tournament is separated into two age divisions—18 to 49 and 50 and over—in a 54-hole finals tournament from October 24-27, 2009, following a practice round on October 23, 2009.

September 2, 2009

'Bama Golf: Links in AM, Boating in PM

Walk Alabama's white-on-blue beaches at sunrise, and the old hymn comes to mind: "My Lord, what a morning, when the stars begin to fall!"

And the day's just begun. With the help of the Gulf Shores Golf Association (GSGA) of Alabama, you're soon hitting an 8-iron approach shot that hisses heavenward and lands pin-high on the first green at The Golf Club of the Wharf. The Wharf reminds us there's art in course design; it's Augusta pleasing to the eye, with just the right dose of challenge—one of 10 inviting GSGA courses.

Or you may choose the acclaimed Kiva Dunes Golf Club. Designed by Jerry Pate, it's the premier course on this pristine Alabama shoreline. Also, whenever you head to the airport for home, plan to play Lost Key Golf Club. It's a hoot, especially if you can play with pros Mike Howard and Roger Willoughby.

Come sundown, you head to Lulu's at Homeport Marina, which serves Crazy Sista beer and 4,500 customers a day. Or you hop on Sea Hunter for a dinner cruise and a dolphin escort. Some crab dip, sushi-grade tuna, tailed-and-de-veined shrimp, a few brews ... My Lord, what an evening!



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