I have taught this method over the years to students who struggle with the conventional method. Listen up as A.J. Avoli, one of Golf Digest’s Best Young Teachers explains a different way to chip with this innovative method. He is director of instruction at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif.
Over time, a simple method for getting the ball from off the green to the flagstick fell out of favor.
I rarely see anyone chip like the late Hall of Fame golfer Paul Runyan. That’s a shame because this technique will make you more accurate around the greens with a lot less practice. Once you master the setup and learn to make a rhythmic stroke—like putting—you’ll start getting up and down more often. Let me show you how to chip old school.
Back in the mid 90’s, I read an article that said golfers were not getting better despite the advances in equipment design, instruction and course condition. Well, that data has either been wrong all along or has changed dramatically over the last 25 years. Recent studies answer the age old questions “Are golfers finally improving?” Thanks to Mike Stachura of Golf Digestfor providing this significant insight!
Golfers are better than they were 25 years ago. It’s not just theory, it’s fact. Forgetting for a moment who among you is sandbagging and who’s toting around a vanity handicap, the data on handicaps from the U.S. Golf Association makes one thing clear: Golfers not only are getting better, they may be getting better at their sport than any other group of athletes are getting at theirs.
This bold statement isn’t originally mine. I was having an email exchange with former USGA Senior Technical Director Dick Rugge, when listening to the recent Hot List podcast. When there was a suggestion that golfers really haven’t improved despite all the advances in technology, Rugge, who often talked about the subject of handicap trends during his tenure at the USGA, told me about some handicap data that suggested just the opposite.
A quick call to the USGA confirmed that very fact. In the last 25 years, the average USGA handicap for a man has improved nearly two full strokes, from 16.3 to 14.4. For women, the improvement is no less impressive, dropping from 29.7 in 1991 to 26.1 in 2016.
This is not the way I teach the buried lie in the bunker, but who am I to argue with Golf Digest Top 100 Teacher Hank Haney? The key that both of us agree on is that you want the leading edge of the club to hit the sand first and hit DEEP! Those are the 2 keys to make this shot a whole lot easier!
Hank Haney offers advice on how to recover from a buried lie in the bunker.
This list put together by Golf Digest, shows just how uneven the playing field is for men and women golfers! When a golfer like Jason Dufner (who is no slouch on the golf course) is ahead of World #1 Lydia Ko in earnings, that is just wrong! Folks, start watching the LPGA Tour on TV and you will find these women can really play! Just as exciting and competitive as the men.
For the first 12 years of the Golf Digest 50 all-encompassing money list, Tiger Woods was No. 1, usually by a wide margin. But reduced play because of injuries and the loss of more than half a dozen A-list endorsement partners after the 2009 scandal caught up to him in 2016, when he fell to No. 3 behind Jordan Spieth and Mickelson. This year, Woods is No. 4 behind Rory McIlroy, Arnold Palmer and Mickelson.
10.) GARY PLAYER
PREVIOUS RANK: 10
ON COURSE: —
OFF COURSE: $15,000,000
9.) ADAM SCOTT
PREVIOUS RANK: 18
ON COURSE: $8,160,920
OFF COURSE: $6,900,000
8.) JASON DAY
PREVIOUS RANK: 7
ON COURSE: $8,845,112
OFF COURSE: $10,750,000
7.) DUSTIN JOHNSON
PREVIOUS RANK: 13
ON COURSE: $12,664,185
OFF COURSE: $7,100,000
6.) JACK NICKLAUS
PREVIOUS RANK: 6
ON COURSE: $42,000
OFF COURSE: $20,000,000
Understanding the “feel” of a proper backswing or a proper downswing normally takes many hours and days on the practice range to train your body in the right sequence of motion. Here, David Leadbetter for Golf Digest, explains a simple drill using your golf towel to attain the feel in a fairly short period of time. Have your golf club handy, so as you acquire this elusive feel, you can pick up your club and put that same motion into practice as you make a full swing!
If I tossed you a golf ball and asked you to toss it right back to me, without even thinking, I bet you’d throw it with your dominant arm. What this should tell you is that even though you’ve got two arms, you feel more comfortable using one over the other.
Remember that when you swing the golf club. A good golf swing is a blend of coordinated movement from both sides of the body, but it’s really your dominant side that wants, and should, dictate the action. For most of you, that means taking a right-side approach to your swing. Grab a bath towel and I’ll show you how. – With Ron KaspriskeBACKSWING: LOAD AND SEPARATE
Wrap a towel around your right arm at the elbow joint and hold it taut like I am here (above). Now mimic a backswing all the way to the top trying to resist the movement—just a little—with your left hand. You should feel like your upper body is coiling with the latissimus dorsi “lat” muscle really flexed on the right side of the back.
You’ll also notice that to swing to the top, you have to let your right arm separate from your upper body. I know you might have heard to keep that elbow tucked when you swing back, but letting the right arm “float” a little away from your trunk provides a nice, wide swing arc and puts you in position for the proper shallowing of the club on the way down. Essentially, you’re creating more room to swing from inside the target line. Couple that with the coiling the resistance of the towel promotes, and you’re poised for a powerful, right-side-fueled downswing.
Jordan Spieth is one of the best putters on the planet. So when his coach, Cameron McCormick, talks about putting, everyone listens. These are some really useful ideas to retool your putting stroke if your flat stick behaved less than stellar in 2016. Cameron gives you 4 ways to reboot your putting game. I really like #2. Thanks to Golf Digest for this informative article!
Has your performance in 2016 slightly less than satisfying? I know it’s not enough to hear it happens to everyone from time to time. You want to shake off the year of stubs, lip-outs and three-jacks before golf season rolls back around and you’re racking up missed putts again like a kid catching Pokémon. Well, if you really want to fix this flat-stick fiasco, you’re going to need a bit more than a 30-minute session rolling balls into those tiny golf cups. I recommend a full reboot. Here I’m going to give you four ways to pull yourself out of that putting rut. Sometimes only one of these will do the trick, but be prepared for the reality that you might need all four. Best get started. —With Ron Kaspriske
1.) BENCH YOUR PUTTER
If you’re the kind of golfer who talks to a putter, gives it a good spanking when it isn’t performing, and even threatens to back the pickup truck over it in the parking lot, it’s time for the “we need to take a break from each other” conversation. Bench your putt-er for something different. Use a blade? Switch to a mallet. Always preferred heel-shafted putters? Try a centershaft. Everything from club length to grip circumference is up for consideration. Go get fitted (View: Your Ultimate Guide To Finding A Better Game). The big switch works for two reasons. First, there are no bad memories with a new putter. It’s a new day. Second, assuming the old one isn’t now residing in a scrap-metal yard, you’ll make it just jealous enough that it will perform its best when you rekindle your relationship.
2.) REALLY BENCH YOUR PUTTER
“It’s not you, it’s me” won’t fly as a break-up excuse after the second Tinder date, but it’s probably true of your relationship with the putter. It showed up ready to bury every five-footer—but sometimes you didn’t. You need a refresher on mechanics. So I suggest you practice putting with your sand wedge. It’s not as crazy as it sounds. A good stroke is propelled by the shoulders and requires minimal hand or wrist action. To get the ball rolling with a wedge, you have to make that kind of stroke hitting the ball at its equator with the leading edge (above). This type of practice elicits precision and is good for the ol’ ego. You’re more apt to forgive yourself for a miss, which helps reduce those anxious feelings that turn you into a puddle of goo when the putts actually count.
As each year passes we mourn the loss of loved ones, people we knew or people we did not know personally but knew through the magic of television. Many became heros, some became legends! To all of those who touched our lives in more ways than they will ever know, thank you so much! RIP, 2016! Thanks also go to Cliff Schrock of Golf Digest who reminds us that all things must pass.
A King, a General, and a Bull died in 2016, but he was one and the same with a distinctly singular name, Arnie. Known by those titles (yes, Bull was early and lesser known), when golf immortal Arnold Palmer passed away on Sept. 25 at age 87 from heart issues, it was more than just the death of the year. It was the end of the game’s focal point for the last 60. If golf history ages well from this point on, Arnie will certainly remain as vibrant and as much of a measuring stick of how a pro golfer interacts with the public as he ever did. Yet it is a real dilemma we are just now starting to comprehend: How will golf go forward without the Golfer of the People and what his presence meant to the game?
A seven-time major champion, Palmer was the reason golf exploded out of the elitist realm it lived in to be a populist sport. He did it by a combination of a bold, spirited performance on the course with a touchy-feely hold on the fans. He made the game feel fun because you could sense he felt it permeate his spirit right down to the blood rush he’d get on both great and poor shots.
Palmer was iconic in so many ways: his connection with the Masters, his place among the Big Three and his 1960 U.S. Open charge. He was Ike’s pal, an expert pilot and an advertising giant, a matinee idol, a course designer and a charity leader. He helped revive the Open Championship and made hitching your pants a thing. He knew from epic losses, proudly called Latrobe his home and Winnie his wife, had a drink named for him and an Army that stood at attention wherever he played.
All of it is familiar because he let it be so, his openness to the world a result of traits he learned from his mother but the toughness and determination from his Pap. Palmer enjoyed it all and wouldn’t have changed his life path to gain a few more majors if it meant losing fans. He will endure in the minds of all golfers present and future as the most beloved golfer in history. A king whose realm wasn’t walked but felt in the heart.
Other deaths of notable golf personalities in 2016 include:
Jules Alexander, 90, Aug. 19: The notable golf photographer whose best known images were of Ben Hogan, beginning with the 1959 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, but whose career also lasted through Tiger Woods.
Phil Cannon, 63, Oct. 27: Volunteered at the Memphis PGA Tour stop at age 14 and stayed involved with the event for much of his life, working as tournament director from 1999-2015.
Dawn Coe-Jones, 56, Nov. 12: An LPGA player from 1984 to 2008, Coe-Jones won three times on tour, had 44 career top-10 finishes and is a member of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.
Steve Cohen, 76, Aug. 12: Founder of the Shivas Irons Society nearly 25 years ago, created based on the book Golf in the Kingdom.
Bob Cupp, 76, Aug. 19: A former president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects and the 1992 Golf World magazine Golf Architect of the Year, he designed courses for 40 years, including Liberty National, Pumpkin Ridge and Old Waverly.
Jack Davis, 91, July 29: A prolific illustrator who worked for decades at Mad magazine and who did work for magazines such as Time and Golf Digest, where his style was used to illustrate unusual feats.
Manuel de la Torre, 94, April 24: The Spanish-born teaching legend and son of Spain’s first golf professional, Angel de la Torre, Manuel was a constant presence on the Golf Digest list of 50 Best Teachers since the inaugural group in 1999. De la Torre attended Northwestern and settled in as a longtime fixture at Milwaukee Country Club, becoming well known for teaching amateurs and stars alike, notably Carol Mann and Loren Roberts. He is a member of the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame.
Dwight Gahm, 96, March 7: The founder of Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, who hired Jack Nicklaus to design the course and has a statue of himself and the Golden Bear at the club.
Rudolph (Hubby) Habjan, 84, July 5: A PGA member since 1955, he was the noted golf pro at the Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, Ill., and the creator of highly sought custom-made golf clubs.
Thomas Hartman, 69, Feb. 16: The monsignor, who with Rabbi Marc Gellman was part of “The God Squad,” often appeared at golf events, he would be the straight man in their religious dialogue.
Peggy Kirk Bell, 95, Nov. 23: One of the greatest women’s figures in golf history, she starred as an amateur standout before becoming a renowned teacher, owner of the Pine Needles resort and an advocate for women in the game. Among her honors was the USGA’s Bob Jones Award in 1990.
Bill Kratzert Jr., 87, Aug. 21: A PGA member since 1960, he was the father of tour players Bill Kratzert III and Cathy Kratzert Gerring and was the longtime head pro at Fort Wayne (Ind.) Country Club.
John Margolies, 76, May 26: A legendary photographer of vernacular architecture, his 1987 book Miniature Golf is a treasure of golf nostalgia.
Hubert Mizell, 76, March 3: Writer and columnist who worked for the St. Petersburg Times for 27 years, and in 1973-1974 was an Associate Editor at Golf Digest; he wrote 23 pieces in all for the magazine.
There are literally hundreds of immaculate golf courses throughout the world that would make your heart race when you stood on the first tee. But Geoff Shackelford of Golf Digest has come up with the creme de la creme of golf courses that have attained architectural absoluteness! I have had the esteemed privilege to have played four of these top 10, but I can always hope that there is a round on one of the others sometime in my future! My heart will once again beat in anticipation of an exquisite round!
Given golfers and their propensity to disagree on the merits of even the most revered masterpieces, proclaiming design perfection can be dangerous. However, these ten golf courses in their current form come as close to achieving architectural absoluteness thanks to a melding of strategic complexity, walk-in-the-park beauty, experiential purity and an overall sense of design permanence.
Pine Valley, George Crump & H.S. Colt (1918) 7,057 yards, Par 70
As with so many masterpieces, Pine Valley was not perfect when it opened. The course struggled with maintenance issues and some of Crump and Colt’s more outlandish ideas were massaged after his passing. The overall vision was always supreme, but it took a decade to refine Pine Valley into what is widely considered the planet’s most complete, varied and dramatic set of 18 holes. Recent restoration work suggests that more tree removal and the exposure of even more pine barrens could actually further refine the already impeccable Pine Valley.
Cypress Point Club, Alister Mackenzie and Robert Hunter (1928) 6,524 yards, Par 72
The evolution of this long-heralded design has been less straightforward than most would expect. There were changes during planning and construction suggested by developers Marion Hollins and Samuel Morse, then more tweaks and even a few compromises by MacKenzie’s on-site partner, Robert Hunter. In the decades following its 1928 unveiling, weather and maintenance decisions led to many original elements disappearing. But with the recent restoration of nearly all MacKenzie elements, combined with epic scenery and gently graced by George Washington Smith’s clubhouse, Cypress Point comes as close to the most idyllic combination of a strategic golf course melding into eighteen artfully composed series of landscapes.
Oakmont CC, Henry & William Fownes (1903) 7,255 yards, Par 71
Even before the much-ballyhooed restoration of this historic property, Fownes’ course is considered the Penal School of Design’s most complete examination of skill. However, Oakmont’s permanence as a textbook piece of architecture in spite of its relentless difficulty stems from its many strategic design elements. With an unmatched tournament legacy that pervades the senses from the moment you spot the iconic clubhouse and change your shoes in the unchanged locker room, the golfer is transported into a time warp unlike any other in America, Yet you never sense this masterpiece is anything but the most relevant test of skill on the planet.
Shinnecock Hills GC, William Flynn (1931) 7,041 yards, Par 70
The Hamptons’ sandy soil and fescue grasses provide the setting, but its Flynn’s ingenious use of leftover elements from early versions of the course and his bold re-routing that leads to an operatic experience transporting the golfer through highs, lows and genuine thrills unlike any links-like course. Shinnecock Hills starts and ends at Mead, McKim and White’s epic clubhouse, which serves as a locating beacon while Flynn designs takes you up, over and through a rolling, rocking setting. Never does a hole feel forced or fake, and never is Shinnecock Hills anything but thrilling to play or study.
As 2016 comes to an end, it is time to reflect on what has transpired and moved the needle during the past year. Thanks to Ryan Herrington, E. Michael Johnson and Dave Shedloski, all of Golf Digest, as we present the Top 18 Moments of 2016! From the very first tournament of the 2015/2016 PGA nd LPGA Tour seasons, there has been drama and superb golf, despite the fact that golf’s greatest player, Tiger Woods, did not tee it up at all! Sit back and enjoy these incredible stories!
As is the annual tradition of Golf World, our staff took stock of the 2016 golf season by counting down the top newsmakers. Our list includes an eclectic mix of high-profile tour pros, wily veterans, young up-and-comers who already have grabbed the spotlight, touchstone moments of joy and sorrow, and more. And so we begin out countdown with …
Getting a Correct Clubfitting these days is like having a suit fitted. There is nothing worse than a poorly fitting suit and likewise, a poorly fitted set of golf clubs (usually clubs bought off the rack) will make your game feel very uncomfortable. Clubfitting has become popular in the past 10 years as the process becomes more and more user-friendly and much more accurate. A good clubfitter will use several computerized tools to help him determine the specs required to match the clubs best suited to your unique swing. Thanks to Mike Stachura of Golf Digest for providing this very educational list!
If you haven’t noticed, custom clubfitting has become more ubiquitous than craft breweries. As more equipment companies offer drivers with dozens of settings and bouquets of custom shafts, the golf consumer is at once tempted and swept away by a cornucopia of confusing choices. As Jason Fryia, owner of six Golf Exchange stores in Ohio and Kentucky, explains, “I don’t think golf equipment is a self-shoppable product.” Fortunately, every golf shop, from the 50,000-square-foot megastores to the corner shops one-fiftieth the size, is increasingly equipped with expert fitters divining the right heads, lofts and lengths with a wisdom that encompasses club technology, instruction ideas and even good, old-fashioned people skills. In our fourth listing of America’s 100 Best Clubfitters, we highlight the top facilities in the country that expertly bridge this marriage of art and science, and we offer some of their wisdom to prepare you to embrace the benefits of clubfitting.
1. How to prepare for a clubfitting.
Randall Doucette, a master clubfitter for the Marriott Golf Academy in Orlando, says to approach a clubfitting with an open mind. If you have a swing coach, Doucette says to get a tune-up before going for a fitting. “Come to the fitting with notes on what you’re working on and where you want to get to,” he says. You also should come to the fitting with your current clubs. This gives you and your fitter a baseline for comparing other clubs. Also, Doucette says every good fitting requires patience: “There’s no need for anxiety and nervous tension. We’re here to make you better.”—Keely Levins2. Why getting fit once is not enough.
One myth about clubfitting is that it’s like buying a tailored suit: Get fit once, and use those specs for life. But that thinking is off base, according to Dan Sueltz of D’Lance Golf Performance Center in Englewood, Colo. Sueltz says avid golfers should be fit every two years. “A lot of things can change in that time,” Sueltz says. “You might experience changes in strength, flexibility, reflexes or have an injury. Your swing might become steeper or shallower, etc.” People also need to realize different manufacturers might have a different specification for length or lie angle. So the fitting you get for one brand might not apply to another one. —E. Michael Johnson3. Finding the right driver isn’t only about swing speed.
Swing speed can be a starting point, but the best fitters want to see how you’re hitting the ball. If impacts are scattered across the face, for example, you can bet a large, highly stable driver is best for you, even if you swing it faster than Bubba Watson in a bad mood. The right driver is also about how the weight is balanced within the head. Knowing how drivers differ or how that weight can be tweaked can improve how far you hit the ball and how well you square the clubface. Says Woody Lashen of Pete’s Golf in Mineola, N.Y.: “Finding a driver with the correct center of gravity for the player, whether it’s forward, back or toward the heel, can change the person’s game. For example, a relatively straight hitter who is spinning the ball too much, even if he doesn’t swing very fast, can gain tremendous distance with a driver that will spin the ball less.” —Mike Stachura