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PGA vs LPGA - Check out this very cool idea by Sandra Gal!

PGA vs LPGA – Check out this very cool idea by Sandra Gal!

PGA vs LPGA – Check out this very cool idea by Sandra Gal!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

Popular LPGA player Sandra Gal wrote an interesting story for USA TODAY Sports last week.

Sandra says that there is still a long way to go before equality in the women and men’s professional tours.

One way to generate similar excitement for the women’s tour is to always schedule the majors back to back and at the same venue as the men’s majors. For the first time at the US Open in 2014 and gained positive feedback, but the USGA has not continued that manner of scheduling for 2015.

Even better, Gal asks, “Why not create an event in which we can compete together?” Gal says that, aside from power, there is little difference in the short game and putting skills between the men and women. Sandra suggests that the women play from shorter tees to compensate for the power issue.

I love Sandra’s enthusiasm for this idea, especially where she asks, “How cool of a fan experience would that be?”

PGA vs LPGA - Check out this very cool idea!

Sandra Gal is suggesting the PGA and LPGA play together in the same event. Cool idea or Crazy idea?

This is a topic that has been on my mind for a long time. And I am not talking about clothing here, but about creating a world-class event, in which the best women and men compete together.

Our tour is on the rise. (Significantly.) We make better money every year. We are proud of how far we have come.

But. Why is there still such a huge gap between women’s and men’s golf? I could give you a few reasons, but none of them deter me from my dream of equality. You have to dream big to achieve change…otherwise things like Title IX would have never happened

To read more on Sandra Gal’s idea, click here.

Source: Sandra Gal    USA Today Sports

Pictures: Christian Petersen, Getty Images  Keith Allison

Thanks for reading – PGA vs LPGA – Check out this very cool idea by Sandra Gal!

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Lexi Thompson Topless on Golf Digest – Inspirational or Questionable?

Lexi Thompson Topless on Golf Digest – Inspirational or Questionable?

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

LPGA star Lexi Thompson is on the cover of the May ’15 issue of Golf Digest magazine.

This 20-year-old powerhouse wears yoga pants, a golf glove, and a towel that mostly (hmmm) covers her chest.

The May publication is called the Fitness & Power Issue. The majority of LPGA and PGA Tour players work hard to be incredibly fit to perform at their peak on those highly competitive golf tours. Recently, the same magazine featured Rory McIlroy topless on its cover, wearing nothing but a kilt. It’s a creative and eye-catching photo that backs up an article about his impressive fitness routines.

The May cover, featuring Lexi Thompson, is creating quite a stir. Some are saying “Bravo,” and some are saying “sexist and demeaning to women’s golf.” I am in the camp that applauds Lexi’s own tweet, which was “So pumped to represent fitness and power.” Women get precious little coverage in leading golf publications, and if a controversial picture puts them front and center, I’m for it.

Lexi Thompson Topless on Golf Digest – Inspirational or Questionable?

The LPGA Tour players are phenomenal, and their overall skills beat some of the male tour competitors.

But they make far less money than the PGA Tour players, and they have to fight for sponsors and galleries. Things have improved lately, where GOLF Magazine featured number one LPGA player Stacy Lewis on a cover, and Golf Digest had Michelle Wie grace a recent cover.

As Golf Digest’s editor-in-chief, Jerry Tarde, says, “You can have stunning beauty and the highest level of golf performance at the same time.” By the way, at only 20 years of age, Lexi Thompson has 4 LPGA wins under her belt plus one European Tour win. You go, girl!

What do you think? Share your comments for a chance to win a free lesson.

Thanks to Bernie Augustine for this New York Daily News story.

Lexi Thompson Topless on Golf Digest - Inspirational or Questionable?

 One week before the Masters tees off from Augusta National, Golf Digest’s latest issue has a topless 20-year-old on its cover.

That’s one way to sell magazines.

Lexi Thompson appears on the cover of the May “Fitness and Power” issue wearing little more than a blue golf glove and black yoga pants. She’s covered on top with a towel that’s wrapped around her neck.

The publication — which has taken heat for the way it has portrayed women on its cover — was ready for the backlash after the cover went public Thursday, with the mag’s editor-in-chief Jerry Tarde writing, essentially, “Sorry, not sorry.”

“We’ve come a long way from a year ago when the LPGA condemned our choice of Paulina Gretzky (and Holly Sonders in 2013) as the cover images for Golf Digest’s annual fitness issue. Mea culpa, ladies. You can have stunning beauty and the highest level of golf performance at the same time, as demonstrated this year by Lexi, Stacy Lewis, Cheyenne Woods and Michelle Wie,” Tarde wrote.

“LPGA players not only outdrive the average guy by 20-plus yards, but they do it with the same clubhead speed we have.

We can learn more from them not because they swing like us, but because we should swing like them. They don’t just muscle the ball and make up for swing flaws with strength.”

Tarde pointed out that the magazine featured Rory McIlroy topless in a statue of David-like pose wearing nothing but a kilt, something he said wasn’t “a trend — just a sign of the fitness ot today’s top players.”

It only appears to be a trend for the women to get on the cover, critics pointed out Thursday. While Thompson is topless, the women who appeared on the cover before her — Wie, Gretzky and Sonders — each also showed some skin on the cover. While the men, outside of McIlroy, rarely show more than their forearms.

Thompson seems pleased with the cover, tweeting it out with the #GirlPower hashtag.

Source: New York Daily News      Bernie Augustine   Golf Digest

Pictures : Walter Iooss Jr    Larry Neuberger

Thanks for watching – Lexi Thompson Topless on Golf Digest – Inspirational or Questionable?

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Natalie Gulbis talks short game – Hot Tip from a Hot Golfer!

Natalie Gulbis talks short game – Hot Tip from a Hot Golfer!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

I had the distinct pleasure of working with Natalie Gulbis recently on a National Golf Management promo both at the River Club in Litchfield and then at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC. 

She is as nice as she is beautiful!  I hope now that her health problems are over, she will make a comeback on the LPGA Tour.  Below, Natalie gives us a hot tip that she learned from Phil Mickelson, who shares the same coach in Butch Harmon.

Natalie Gulbis talks short game - Hot Tip from a Hot Golfer!

Natalie Gulbis is one of the most beautiful stars on the LPGA Tour!

Natalie Gulbis’s Short Game Drill.

This popular LPGA Tour player demonstrates her favorite short game distance control drill here.

Do you sometimes get caught between clubs and have a fear of the 50 yards and in shots?

Walk off 50 yards, 40 yards & 30 yards, and place a basket or a towel at each distance mark. Practice hitting those targets and keep track of how many shots it takes to hit them. Get a friend to do this drill with you and make it a game, where the loser has to do push-ups or shell out a few bucks.

We all want to improve our distance control on the course. The instant feedback provided by this practice drill will help you to feel much more confident next time you’re facing those short shots.

Learn how Natalie makes a game of it here:

http://www.golf.com/video/natalie-gulbis-phil-mickelson-short-game-drill 

Source: GOLF.com  Mel Sole

Pictures: Keith Allison

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10 tips for better preparation of your game – #2 is critical!

10 tips for better preparation of your game – #2 is critical!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

I read a lot of info on the mental side of golf, and I can tell you that David MacKenzie is one of the best! 

Going through these 10 tips for better preparation for the course will improve your game, guaranteed!  Read what David has to say about getting ready before you tee off and while you are playing!

10  tips for better preparation of your game - #2 is critical!

Meditation is another way of preparing yourself mentally before an important game.

  “Golf is a matter of confidence. If you think you cannot do it, there’s no chance you will.” – Henry Cotton.

As golfers we all know that the more confident we feel, the better we play. But what comes first? Do you have to play well to have confidence or are there ways to build confidence no matter how well you’ve been playing recently?

In this lesson, I’m going to share my top 10 ways to build “inner confidence” (confidence that comes from within) to get you feeling as confident as possible on the first tee, regardless of your recent scores.

1. Build confidence through a good process

One way to improve your confidence is to stop focusing on what you can’t control but instead focus on what you can control. At the beginning of your round, you can’t with any degree of certainty say you’re going to shoot 65 or 85. It’s out of your control. And if you equate how well you’re playing with the quality of every shot you hit, you’re setting yourself up for an emotional roller-coaster and frequent dents to your confidence.

I teach all my players to measure the success of a round by how well they stuck to their process (their routine) before and after every shot. This way, your success is totally within your control vs being at the mercy of where the ball finishes and what score you might shoot. You’re going to get bad bounces, you’re going to get bad lies, the wind will affect shots and some putts will hit a bump on the green and lip out. Fixating on the outcome of each shot and your score will only hurt your round. Putting faith in your process and making that the goal will take a lot of the uncertainty out of each round and over time improve your confidence.

Learning a good process or “blue-print” is one of the fundamentals in my Mental Game Mastery Blue-print. 

10 tips for better preparation of your game – #2 is critical!

2. Don’t become obsessed with your swing mechanics and learn how to trust what you have on that day.

Golfers that lack confidence are constantly asking themselves questions about how good their swing is. They can hit it great on the driving range all week, but miss a fairway or green during their round at the weekend and all of a sudden there’s a problem with their swing. Such thinking leads to over-analysis and over-thinking about the swing which leads to tension and more bad swings. One of the keys to good golf is making relaxed swings which is impossible when you’re thinking about your swing. Tell yourself before each round that you’re not going to give yourself a lesson but instead keep tension low by having no swing thoughts.

3. Build a plan for success.

If you’re a smart golfer, you’ll know exactly where you need to improve and focus your practice time on that. When you have a plan, you’ll feel like you’re on a path to progress which is good for the confidence. If know you have 8 hours of practice time during a week, have a plan for exactly how you’re going to use that time instead of deciding when you get to the range.

4. Improve your ability to focus.

Letting your mind wander onto things that will affect your confidence is a major reason for under-performance. When you stand over a shot, are you concerned about the trouble? The last bad shot you hit? How you look in front of your playing partners? Or is your focus intense between the ball and the target like a Tour player? Find ways to improve your ability to concentrate.

5. Separate your golfing self from you as a person.

Many Tour players will have a separate persona on the golf course. In other words they detach themselves from who they are as a golfer and who they are as a person. Tim Gallwey, considered to be the first golf mind coach, said in his book The Inner Game of Golf: “If it is golf that made you someone, then golf can make you no one again”. Point being if you start playing ego golf and build your self esteem around how good your scores are, what happens when you start to play badly? You lose confidence quickly. Golf is something that you do, not who are.

6. Acceptance and re-framing.

Your response to your shots can have a big effect on your confidence. The longer you harbor emotions of frustration and anger towards a shot you hit, the more doubt, negativity and tension you create for your next shot. Tour players have learned this from experience, so they don’t hold on to bad shots the way that amateurs do. Granted, Tour players have the benefit of a caddie, who knows exactly what to say to a player to make him or her forget a bad shot quickly, but given that you don’t, you’ll need to learn the art of good, positive self-talk and offer yourself encouragement not criticism.

7. Anchor success. (and pay attention to failure)

In golf you have to celebrate success and use failure to improve. At the end of every round, remember your best shots and replay them vividly. You could write about these in a journal and recount them when you need to give you a confidence booster. It’s also a good idea to write notes about bad rounds so you can notice any patterns in your behavior and mental approach, so you can change it. Even though failure doesn’t feel good, it feels a lot better if you can see it as a way to learn.

8. Have a plan for the time in between.

90% of the game of golf is when you’re not actually “playing”. During this time you have the ability to make or break your confidence and your scores. Have a plan for this time, so you don’t allow your mind to wander onto the wrong things.

9. Feel prepared for your round.

I find there’s nothing worse for the confidence when you get to the course a few minutes before your tee time, making you feel rushed and unprepared. It’s even worse if you haven’t played the course before. On the contrary, if you’ve allowed yourself plenty of time to warm up and relax and look through the yardage book to determine your strategy for each hole, you’ll feel a lot more prepared and confident for the round.

10. Take yourself out of your comfort zone.

A great way to build your confidence fast is to challenge yourself and experience what it feels like to pull shots off under pressure. Don’t be afraid to play with players that are better than you and feel nerves. If harnessed properly, nerves are a good thing and increase your chances of lowering your scores and taking a good confidence boost with it.

Source: David MacKenzie    Golf State of Mind

Pictures: Ricardo Bernardo    Hartwig HKD

Thanks for reading – 10 tips for better preparation of your game – #2 is critical!

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The Resurgence of American Women on the LPGA Tour.

The Resurgence of American Women on the LPGA Tour.

The resurgence of American Women on the LPGA Tour.

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

For almost 2 decades, we have seen the LPGA Tour dominated by Asian and European players.

But now, it seems as if American golfers have found their games, their guts, and their fearless play. In 2014 there were more American Winners on the LPGA Tour than in 2012 and 2013 combined. Americans won 13 of 32 tournaments, with other Asian, European, Australian, and South African winners.

I love this trend where spunky players like Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, Lexi Thompson, and Jessica Korda are duking it out with Europe’s and Asia’s best. This is a great thing for the LPGA, women’s golf, and the game in general.

 

Resurgence of American Women on the LPGA Tour.

Michelle Wie leads the charge of American women on the LPGA who are now winning again.

The resurgence of American Women on the LPGA Tour.

 If you’ve been watching any women’s golf lately you might have noticed a nice trend for our homegrown gals. The American women have found their games and are firing on all cylinders. It seems to be spreading like wildfire amongst the Americans too. If you watched the last 9 holes of the Airbus LPGA Classic this week you could see Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and Michelle Wie all duking it out with 2 of Europes best in Anna Nordqvist and phenom Charley Hull.

In the end it was Korda delivering a back nine 30 that was exhilerating to watch as she poured every putt in from everywhere. Besides scoring a ho-hum Par on the reachable par 5 13th she hit sensational approaches and her red hot putter was there to finish the job. This was Jessica’s second win on tour this season making her the 3rd two time winner on the LPGA tour this year.

Michelle Wie almost had her second win this year in hand but for the buzz saw Korda.

Michelle had a few balky putter moments down the stretch and missed opportunities on par 5’s where she usually dominates. With all that she still finished with a strong final round 67 and it’s a great thing for the LPGA, women’s golf, and the game of golf in general when she’s in the mix. Michelle is on pace to have one of her best seasons on tour thus far, one we all hoped would come way back when but better late than never!

Lexi Thompson has continued to roll on in her consistent manner. Including her first major victory at the Kraft Nabisco she has finished in the top 10 in her last 4 events. Lexi’s improved putting and overall game management has really taken her to then next level and she has shown she has the game to beat anyone. With her length off the tee and impressive ball striking she has to be a favorite at Pinehurst next month.

With Korda, Thompson and Wie playing like they are, its hard to discount any of them on any given week, and we haven’t even mentioned Stacy Lewis or Paula Creamer.

Stacy seems to spoil us consistently with how steady and amazing she is.

With 6 top 10’s in the last 7 events it’s no wonder she leads the Race to the Globe and is only a top 5 away from becoming #1 in the world.  Paula also seems to be back on track with her game, with her first win in a while coming at the HSBC Championship earlier this year. She hasn’t lit up the field since then but has made all but one cut. We can never count her out as she is one of the most passionate players on the LPGA and always a crowd favorite.

These American girls are showing guts and fearless play as they have taken their games up a notch. They seem to be feeding off of each others games. So far in 2014 we have more American winners on tour than we did in 2012 and 2013 combined. 7 out of 12 events this year have been won by Americans. Lizette Salas has been another star on the rise as she mowed down Kingsmill two weeks ago. With players like Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford, and Morgan Pressel representing the veteran group, they are great mentors for rookies like Amy Anderson, Kim Kaufman, and Jaye Marie Green who are all showing great promise in their rookie seasons.

So the present and future looks very bright right now for US women’s golf. We can only hope it continues on this trend and that these girls can get some redemption next year at the Solheim Cup.

Source : 9-Dine.com

Pictures : Larry Neuberger    Keith Allison

Thanks for reading – The Resurgence of American Women on the LPGA Tour.

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Are Instructors necessary on the PGA Tour - Absolutely!

Are Instructors necessary on the PGA Tour – Absolutely!

Are Instructors necessary on the PGA Tour – Absolutely!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

As a golf instructor, articles like this always pique my interest. 

As soon as a player has a bad streak, his instructor must have “messed up” his swing.  How stupid!  Most of the instructors who teach PGA Tour players are outstanding instructors, usually have some tournament playing experience, and have a client list of whos who.  Tour players would not seek out these teachers if they did not have a high pedigree! 

Personally, I think that an instructor with a background in BioMechanics is one who understands each individual swing and will teach each golfer differently.  This is ESSENTIAL to being a good instructor.  Instructors who teach a “Method” of swinging and have everybody swing the same way are headed for disaster.

I like Wayne DeFrancesco’s description of a golf instructor is like a Nascar mechanic.  They don’t drive the car, but they try and make sure the car is prepped and ready to go at the start of the race.  Things can happen along the way, and the car does not win the race.  Nobody’s fault.  It’s just the way it is!

Wayne DeFrancesco gives a good account of the relationship between teacher and player and how that relationship (like any relationship) sometimes goes sour!  It does not mean that either the golfer or the teacher was at fault.  There just comes a time where the students think they want to move on and explore something different.  Sometimes that decision is correct, ala Ricky Fowler, and sometimes it is not, ala Tiger Woods.

Are Instructors necessary on the PGA Tour – Absolutely!

Are Instructors necessary on the PGA Tour - Absolutely!

Phil Mickelson moved from Rick Smith to Butch Harmon, and Phil has become a phenomenal golfer!

Here’s Wayne……..

 If you watch golf on television these days, you might think that golf instructors are ruining the game. Certainly the travails of Tiger Woods have offered up plenty of ammunition for the anti-instruction movement so obviously embraced by just about every commentator on the Golf Channel and PGA Tour broadcasts. Their argument is a simple one: too much information ruins the “natural” ability of the players who seek help from instructors.

Just this week, Sean O’Hair gave an interview that was hailed by every media person who commented on it as an honest assessment of how too much instruction ruined his game, and only now that he was “finding his own game” was he finding success again.

Tiger’s problems have been laid directly on Sean Foley, who, as the pundits would have you believe, had Tiger working on a swing technique guaranteed to hurt his back and give him the short game yips. Brandel Chamblee has gone as far as stating that “Tiger has had the greatness coached out of him,” and “modern golf instruction is a cancer on the game.” According to Johnny Miller, anyone who qualifies to play on the PGA Tour is already good enough and should never change anything.

Of course, Miller forgets that every year a bunch of players lose their card due to substandard play, while every player not yet on the big tour tries to improve enough to get there. The desire to improve is a constant characteristic of successful athletes.

In a game as complex as golf, the player can’t be expected to understand the nuances of all the techniques he or she uses to navigate around the course.

Are Instructors necessary on the PGA Tour – Absolutely!

And the truth is most players don’t want to think about what they are doing. But the game is so difficult that there will always be periods of poor play, and the player will naturally begin to worry about retaining his position in the game.

Golf instructors usually have some sort of playing background, and if they have been tabbed by a Tour player to be a coach it is for a good reason. It is vital to remember that no instructor can be on the range at a Tour event unless they are invited to be there. The player has to request credentials for the teacher, and the teacher cannot be on the range without the player. In other words, instruction is entirely voluntary.

Kevin Streelman wanted to hire me last June when he was unhappy with his game and the look of his swing. He had missed four straight cuts and was frustrated enough to seek different advice.

No teacher or player has all the answers to the game of golf. Golf instructors have preferences, and players who like to look at or measure their swings develop their own preferences as well. My vision of the swing is readily available on my website, and Kevin liked what he saw, so he gave me a call. He wanted to change a swing pattern that had bothered him for years and that he felt he was not making progress on.

Players know their deficiencies. They also know that if they are not among the top players, a small retreat in performance will mean losing playing status.

You can imagine the angst that exists after an extended slump. My point here is that while the players on the Tour are certainly good enough to get there, they may not be good enough to stay there, and they may not be able to improve enough to move up into the top echelon of players.

If they are not technical and already have a great work ethic, who is going to offer them better direction.  Or an answer to the problems they encounter when simply practicing all day doesn’t help? Every great tennis professional has a coach. All the major team sports have instructors for every aspect of their game. They all use video obsessively, and the with the analysis of every movement in super slow motion coaches look to correct technique flaws. Hitting, pitching, fielding, blocking, tackling, covering, every play and, every practice is recorded, and the whole team spends huge amounts of time watching and going over technique.

Why has it been decided that to do that in golf is such a horrible thing?

I compare my job to that of a NASCAR mechanic. I don’t drive the car and I’m not going to tell the driver how to drive. The mechanic just gets the car running as well as I can so that the player doesn’t have to worry about it. How to organize the information and simplify the thought process is ultimately the job of the player, because he is the car and the driver.

Ironically, just about every golf commentator is a former player who is not playing anymore.

They have all lost their status for one reason or another, and now it seems that all of them have forgotten where they came from. No one wants to stop playing the Tour. There is no top-100 player who would trade their status for a spot in front of the Golf Channel cameras. You would have to think that every commentator who lost their card sought some sort of instruction in order to avoid their eventual demise, instruction that obviously failed. Such an experience would definitely color how they view instruction now.

Again, it is important to remember that the players control who instructs them, or whether they get instruction at all. This is true from the club level all the way to the Tour. The teacher does not force the student to take a lesson.

My lesson book is open to whoever wants to sign up. If no one signs up, I don’t teach.

If Kevin hadn’t sought out my advice, you wouldn’t see me on the range at Tour events, just like you wouldn’t see Butch Harmon, Todd Anderson, Sean Foley, Pete Cowan, or any other teacher of Tour players you can name.

No teacher is seeking to fill up a student’s mind with information that the player doesn’t ask for. Teachers use different methods to be sure, and some use more technology than others. But in the final analysis, if the results aren’t there the coach looks for another job!

Teachers are there to help. Almost every player has someone they look to for help and advice. What prompted this article is the television media’s decision to focus on the players who have suffered a loss of performance under the tutelage of an instructor, while ignoring the success stories. Meanwhile, Michael Breed is ever present on the Golf Channel, with, you guessed it, golf instruction.

Go figure.

Source: golfwrx.com    Wayne DeFrancesco

Pictures: Tour Pro Golf Clubs    Keith Allison

Thanks for reading – Are Instructors necessary on the PGA Tour – Absolutely!

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Why the PGA Tour will always be the Coolest Sport Around!

Why the PGA Tour will always be the Coolest Sport Around!

Why the PGA Tour will always be the Coolest Sport Around!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

Charitable donations from tournaments on the PGA Tour, Champions Tour, and Web.com Tour record $140.5 million for 2014. The total donated from the first-ever charitable tournament in 1938 at the Palm Beach Invitational is now $2.14 billion.

What a game! The sponsors, the players, the volunteers, the PGA tournament staff, and you, the ticket buyers, make all of this possible.

The beneficiaries include hospitals, youth development organizations, food banks, and grow-the-game programs.

Read why golf is still the coolest sport.  Provided by Media Team, PGA Tour.com to see how golf does it differently from other professional sports organizations.

Why the PGA Tour will always be the Coolest Sport Around!

The Principal Charity Classic leads the way in charitable donations on the Champions Tour.

The PGA TOUR announced today that charitable donations in 2014 were a record $140.5 million. This total includes donations made by tournaments on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, Web.com Tour, PGA TOUR Canada, PGA TOUR China and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.

With the announcement, the all-time total donated to charity is $2.14 billion.  Since the first-ever charitable contribution of $10,000 at the 1938 Palm Beach Invitational. Of that total, more than $1 billion has come since the TOUR surpassed the $1-billion plateau in 2005. The $2-billion mark was passed in January of last season.

“This record charitable output is a testament to the hard work and tireless efforts of our tournaments, sponsors, players, and, especially, our volunteers,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. 

Finchem, made the announcement during this week’s World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. “This achievement is remarkable and reflects the tremendous impact that is being felt in communities all over the world.”

Earlier this year, it was announced that the Waste Management Phoenix Open had surpassed $100 million in charitable donations in its history.  Becoming the third PGA TOUR event to have generated that much for charity.  Joining the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Expected to join that illustrious grouping in three weeks is the Valero Texas Open.  Which has donated more than $95 million to charity in its history.  Including more than $90.5 million since Valero became title sponsor of the event in 2002.

In 2014, five PGA TOUR events generated more than $7 million for charity.  Including three – Valero Texas Open, AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial – that donated more than $9 million. There were six Champions Tour events that donated more than $1 million to charity.  Including the Shaw Charity Classic which was over $2 million. The Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft led the Web.com Tour with donations of more than $1.45 million.

The World Golf Championships, a series of four international championships, have surpassed a significant milestone, with the series generating more than $50 million for charitable causes since their debut in 1999.

Unlike other professional sports organizations, the PGA TOUR relies on more than 100,000 volunteers annually to run its tournaments.  And the vast majority of its tournaments are non-profit organizations.  The goal is to donate 100 percent of net proceeds to charity. Community beneficiaries include a wide variety of organizations including hospitals, youth development organizations, growth-of-the-game programs and food banks.

Source: PGATour.com

Pictures: Keith Allison    The Principal Charity Classic

Thanks for reading – Why the PGA Tour will always be the Coolest Sport Around!

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Michelle Wie’s Secret to Winning – Are you listening Tiger?

Michelle Wie’s Secret to Winning – Are you listening Tiger?

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

High hopes and disappointments have been heaped on Michelle Wie since she was a teenage golf phenom.

She suffered through alienation by other Pros for playing in men’s events, there were high caddy turnovers, rules infractions, injuries, serious playing slumps and more.

Michelle Wie's Secret to Winning - Are you listening Tiger?

Michelle Wie has always stuck with her coach David Leadbetter through thick and thin!

But one constant in life is always been her coach, David Leadbetter. Wie has worked hard with him, and only him, since her career began. She started winning in 2009 and hasn’t looked back.

   When golfers change coaches, as Tiger Woods and others have, multiple times, they can become confused on many levels. One can even suffer injuries, with the different demands on the body by each new teacher.
   If they have a great coach and have won together, they should stay with that coach and persevere through slumps.  There are no magic bullets…….only hard work with proven teachers.
 
Wie is all grown up now and won 2 events in 2014, including the U.S. Women’s Open. She has contended well in the early 2015 season, and I predict more wins for her this year. She now has close friends on both the LPGA and PGA Tours and  says, “I feel fortunate!”
 
 
 
Pictures: Keith Allison
 
Thanks for reading – Michelle Wie’s Secret to Winning – Are you listening, Tiger?

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Players who Lost their Game - #6 is still a shocker.

Players who Lost their Game – #6 is still a shocker!

Players who Lost their Game – #6 is still a shocker.

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

Tiger Woods is currently struggling mightily with his golf game as he starts the 2015 season with a new coach and trying to implement swing changes.

His season began terribly. What if Tiger never gets it back? In that scenario, his winning habit would have ended abruptly after he won Player of the Year in 2013.

The fact is, the history of golf includes multiple examples of great golfers, champion golfers, major championship winners who just suddenly … lost it. Lost their games and never got their games back.

There are lots of examples of golfers who went into slow declines, but the major winners listed (alphabetically) below suffered precipitous declines that happened relatively fast.

Will Woods someday be on this list? I hope not. But with his back problems recurring, one has to think it’s a possibility. If you want to nominate another golfer you think should be included on this list, give us your feedback by pinging us on Twitter or Facebook.

1.  Ian Baker-Finch.

Ian Baker-Finch was not a huge star, but he was an excellent golfer putting together a good career by 1991. In 1989 he won the PGA Tour Colonial tournament; He finished 16th in 1990 on the PGA Tour money list. In 1991, he won the British Open by shooting 64-66 over the final two rounds. His future seemed bright indeed.

Be he never again won on the PGA Tour. He did claim victories in his native Australia but was winless everywhere after 1993. By 1994 Baker-Finch’s game was in severe decline, and not long after that, it went into freefall.

The problems were partly physical, with injuries and unsuccessful swing changes.

Then, the problems became entirely mental, with the driver yips causing many of IBF’s woes. One year when the British Open was played at St. Andrews, Baker-Finch snap-hooked his first drive out of bounds across the 100-yard-wide fairway. By 1997 he had mostly left the game but decided to play the British Open again. After shooting a first-round 92, he withdrew and – according to some reports – collapsed on the locker room floor in tears.

During those years, IBF often looked great on the driving range, and was capable of great golf playing at home with friends, or in money matches with current or former tour pros. He just couldn’t do it in a tournament setting, in front of crowds. In 1995-96, he failed to play the weekend at any of the nearly 30 PGA Tour events he entered.

He turned to broadcasting but made one last PGA Tour appearance at the 2009 Colonial on the 20th anniversary of his win.

2.  David Duval.

From 1997 through 2001, David Duval was one of the two or three best golfers in the game – for a while, he was even the best, briefly holding the No. 1 ranking. He won 13 times in that stretch, shot a 59, won The Players Championship and the 2001 British Open. He also led the tour in money and in scoring.

But the 2001 Dunlop Phoenix tournament in Japan was his final victory. Duval went winless in 2002, dropped to 80th on the money list, and missed eight cuts.

He was suffering from back woes and other physical issues that caused compensations in his swing. And once he lost his swing, Duval never got it back, even when good health returned. In 2003 he missed the cut in 14 of 18 tournaments, in 2004 in six of nine tournaments. He bottomed out in 2005, missing 18 of 19 cuts on the PGA Tour.

Duval kept at it and eventually had a couple close calls at winning, including a runner-up showing at the 2009 U.S. Open. He finally did manage to climb back into the Top 125 on the money list in 2010 but retired after the 2014 season and turned to broadcasting.

Players who Lost their Game – #6 is still a shocker.

3.  Ralph Guldahl.

Arguably, Ralph Guldahl is the greatest golfer that most (casual) golf fans of today have never heard of. He’s in the World Golf Hall of Fame, and his collapse is truly mysterious.

Guldahl was born the same year as Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, and Sam Snead, and he was another Texan like Hogan and Nelson. And he might have been just as talented as those three legends. Heck, he was on his way to becoming a legend himself.

From 1937 to 1939, Guldahl won three majors: two U.S. Opens (1937 and ’38) and the 1939 Masters. He won three straight Western Opens (1936-38) when the Western Open was the equivalent of a major. In his brief PGA Tour career, Guldahl won 16 tournaments and finished second 19 times.

Players who Lost their Game – #6 is still a shocker.

But after his 1939 Masters victory, things quickly went south.

He won a couple times in 1940 (when he turned 29), then … nothing. Guldahl never won again after 1940. He quit the Tour in 1942, returning only briefly in 1949, but essentially his career was over after the 1940 season.

What happened? Nobody really knows. Guldahl’s game just disappeared. One theory often quoted is that when Guldahl – who was no technician and had never paid much attention to swing theories – wrote an instructional book, he overanalyzed his swing, and, poof, it was gone. “Paralysis by analysis,” as the saying goes.

And here’s something else interesting about Guldahl: When he quit the Tour in 1942, it was actually the second time he walked away from golf. He joined the PGA Tour in 1932, won a tournament that year, and nearly won the 1933 U.S. Open. He was nine strokes behind eventual winner Johnny Goodman with 11 holes to play but reached the 18th green, needing only to sink a 4-foot putt to force a playoff.

Guldahl missed. And he left the Tour for three years, preferring to sell cars in Dallas.

Guldahl was known as an icy competitor, always appearing in complete control of his emotions. But a quote of his might reveal something about the disappearance of his game: “Behind my so-called poker face, I’m burning up.”

4.  Johnny McDermott.

We’re going back to the early 20th century with Johnny McDermott, to a time when most pro golfers – even in America – were Scottish or English. McDermott was the first person born in the United States to win the U.S. Open.

At the 1910 U.S. Open, at age 18, McDermott lost in a playoff. But he won back-to-back in 1911 and 1912.

McDermott had a reputation as a braggart, a hothead – he was not well-liked by many of his peers, and he was, according to some reports, haunted by not beating the best British golfers of the time.

But his golf career was over by age 23. He never won again after 1913 and fared poorly in most attempts after that point. But with McDermott, we know there were issues of mental health involved.

In fact, in late 1914 (his game was in decline already), following a series of personal, financial, and professional setbacks, McDermott had some kind of breakdown. He spent most of the rest of his life in mental institutions.

Perhaps with today’s diagnostics and drugs, McDermott’s quality of life – and golf career – could have been saved. No way to know. We know that McDermott was a shooting star across the golf world in the years 1910-12, and shortly thereafter, sadly, disappeared forever from the game.

Players who Lost their Game – #6 is still a shocker.

5.  Bill Rogers

Bill Rogers was on top of the world in 1981: the British Open champ, a 4-time winner on the PGA Tour that season, seven victories total worldwide. His play dropped off in the two succeeding years, but in 1983 he won another PGA Tour event.

Five years later, he was off the tour. In fact, after 1983, Rogers had only two more Top 10 finishes in his career. His money list finishes from 1984-88 were 134th, 128th, 131st, 174th, and 249th. He made only six of 18 cuts in 1985, only three of 15 cuts in 1988.

And after that disastrous 1988 season, Rogers walked away.

What happened to Rogers is something that we actually know well because Rogers has talked about it. It was that ol’ devil, burnout. Following his superstar season of 1981, Rogers traveled the world collecting appearance fees, playing anywhere there was a nice check waiting for him. It was by choice – he wanted that cash money – but it wound up ruining his career. All the golf, all the travel, just made him want to get back home and get off the golf course.

So, within a few years, that’s exactly what he did, his game a shell of what it once was.

6.  Yani Tseng

As I write this, Yani Tseng is only 26 years old. Hopefully, she’ll come back and be the great player again from 2008 through 2012. In that time period, she wasn’t just great – she was historically great.

How great? When Tseng won the 2011 Women’s British Open, it was her fifth win in a major. She was 22 years old. She had won four of the last eight women’s majors at that point. And she was the youngest golfer ever – male or female – to reach five wins in majors.

By the standards of many golfers, her years since haven’t been that bad – 38th on the money list in 2013, 54th in 2014 – but by her standards, Tseng’s play dropped off a cliff beginning at some point in 2012. She won three times early in that season, but after a 12th-place showing at the LPGA Shoprite, her next five events produced 59th and 50th finishes and three missed cuts.

In 2013-14, Tseng had twice as many missed cuts as Top 10 finishes.

The occasional mid-to-upper 70s scores started showing up, even a few 80s. It was incomprehensible to those who watched Tseng effortlessly hit great shot after great shot and win 15 LPGA Tour tournaments and five majors before age 23.

What happened? Tseng has acknowledged being uncomfortable in the spotlight, feeling the pressure of being No. 1. As King Henry IV said (at least according to Shakespeare), “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.” A few bad results snowballed into a crisis of confidence, and Tseng hasn’t (yet) got it back.

Players who Lost their Game – #6 is still a shocker.

Source: Brent Kelley  AboutSports.com

Pictures: Andrew Redington, Jonathan Ferrey, Peter Dazeley, Kevin C Cox, Getty Images.

Thanks for reading – Players who Lost their Game – #6 is still a shocker.

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5 Things I'd Like To See Happen in Golf - #5 Would be Really Fun!

5 Things I’d Like To See Happen in Golf – #5 Would be Really Fun!

5 Things I’d Like To See Happen in Golf – #5 Would be Really Fun!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

1. I’d like to see Tiger Woods become healthy, physically & mentally, and be competitive again on the PGA Tour.

No matter what your personal feelings may be for Tiger, he has done more for golf than anyone, outside of Arnie & Jack, in the history of the game. Golf needs Tiger, and Tiger needs golf.

5 Things I'd Like To See Happen in Golf - #5 Would be Really Fun!

Tiger moves the needle more than any other player!

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2. A Professional Women’s golf tournament at Augusta National.

It would be fabulous to see the Solheim Cup or maybe the new International Crown event held at the Master’s Tournament hallowed grounds. Hey, now that the Royal & Ancient Golf Club have finally voted to allow women members… it’s time Augusta opened up to professional women’s golf!

 

Tiger moves the needle more than any other player!

An LPGA event would be really cool at Augusta National.

3. Celebrity Women’s Pro-Am Tournament.

The guys have the AT&T Pebble Pro-Am. It would be very entertaining to watch female celebs from other sports and the entertainment world compete in an LPGA event that raises funds for a large charity. And, as Mechelle Voepel wrote for espnW.com, “Make it fun and edgy. How about inviting Ronda Rousey and Bethe Correia, Jennifer Lawrence & Kristen Stewart, Taylor Swift & Katy Perry,…..”

5 Things I'd Like To See Happen in Golf - #5 Would be Really Fun!

Heather Locklear, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Cheryl Ladd would all make welcome additions to an LPGA Celebrity Pro-Am!

4. Bring Back the ‘old’ Q-school for men.

I agree with Shane Bacon, who says that the new format is the worst for Devil Ball Golf blog. Out of 152 guys, who still must play 6 grueling rounds, only one player wins full Web.com status for the next season. Not good.

5 Things I'd Like To See Happen in Golf - #5 Would be Really Fun!

5. Laser flag sticks.

We’ve heard this idea before about goal-posts in football or the foul pole in baseball, so why not golf? If instead of old school flag sticks that get in the way of a good shot, we had a simple laser or hologram that shines up from the bottom of the cup to indicate where the pin is, it would take away guys getting completely hosed when they pull off an almost perfect golf shot (Also, easy sponsorship opportunity with the “Star Wars” franchise).

Lased LED Light towers could be used in the hole instead of flags!

Source:  Rosemary Sole.

Pictures: Keith Allison   Matt Olson   John Haslam  Secret in the Dirt  Jared Tarbell  PPMG

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