Golf.com
The Etiquetteist: When (and where) should you let a group play through?
JOSH SENS
Thursday, January 10, 2019
The progression of golfers around a course is similar to traffic on city streets, replete with slowpokes, speedsters, bottlenecks and breakdowns.
The difference is that traffic on a course is mostly self-policed.
In the absence of strict laws and rigid enforcement, we’re left to follow the unwritten rules of etiquette, which brings us to this week’s comportment dilemma: When should you let another group play through?
The first commandment is as simple as a tap-in: If you’re holding up traffic, let the folks behind you pass, just as you should if you’re puttering along the freeway at 40 miles per hour.
Faster travelers always deserve the right of way. Unless, of course, they’ve got nowhere to go. On jam-packed tracks, there’s no point playing leap frog. Doing so helps no one. It can even make things worse.
Three golfers walk up the fairway at a course. Either keep up your pace or know the rules to let others play through.
But let’s assume congestion isn’t an issue (and if there’s a hole open ahead of you, it’s not), and your group is on the green, with golfers standing, arms-crossed, in the fairway behind you — the golf equivalent of flashing the high beams. If this happens once, it might be an aberration. If it happens a second time, guess what? You’re the problem. Proper etiquette requires you to step aside.
There’s a good chance this will happen on a par-3, where slowdowns are most common. The process here is easy, says Lou Riccio, author of Golf’s Pace of Play Bible: “Wave them up while you are near the green, let them putt while you are planning your putts, then let them go to the next tee first.”
If they catch you on the tee box of a par-4 or par-5, Riccio says, “Let them tee off right after you have hit, then let them move down the hole with you but at some point let them go ahead.”
Riccio’s emphasis is pace of play. But pace and etiquette are interrelated. Most golfers understand this. Sadly, a myopic few do not. They refuse to let folks through, or they piss and moan about it. Why is sometimes hard to say, though it often boils down to ego or entitlement, or, most likely, a little bit of both. It’s never too early in a round to do the right thing (if your foursome’s on the 1st tee, and a single ambles up, let the single go). But is it ever too late? The 16th tee is a reasonable cutoff, unless the group behind you is shattering a land-speed record. Though the rules of etiquette do not require it, you’re wise to let them through whenever they catch you, even as late as the 18th tee.
That’s a rare occurrence. But golf’s a funny game; odd things happen. Good thing is, when it comes to waving through, two fundamental rules should cover all scenarios: apply common courtesy and common sense.
Originally published on  golf.com

GolfWRX

Expect to play well

By Nancy Quarcelino
Feb 26, 2019
Karrie Webb has been a force on the LPGA Tour for many years. Although she has not played well (by her own admission) the past few years, she played a great second round at the ISPS Handa Vic Open in Victoria, Australia shooting 65 (before firing a third-round 82 to miss the cut).
I listened to her interview after her round and when asked if she expected to play this well after being in a bit of a slump the past few years, I loved her response: “I don’t not try to play well.
The good players expect to play well. They expect to win. They do get disappointed when the round does not go the way they want, but the desire and will to play their best is still in them.
Phil Mickelson at Pebble Beach told in his interview before he started the Monday finish, that he is in his own bubble when he plays. He wanted to keep playing even in the dark, but when his playing partner did not want to finish, you could tell he was upset. He was in his bubble, alone in his own world, and did not want any distractions.
I had the great honor of helping two PGA/LPGA women professionals who played in the PGA Women’s Stroke Play in Port St. Lucie, Florida, with their games. Dr. Alison Curdt (LPGA T&CP Vice President) told me she was hitting the ball much shorter today so in her own words, “I just took longer clubs into the greens.” She had just shot 1 under for the day. Laurie Rinker (8-time LPGA Tour winner) wanted to get rid of her duck hook she played all day to a round of 69. “I just played my game the way it was.”
Play to play great. Have no fear. Don’t worry about the outcome. Take dead aim.
What do you tell yourself when you play? How do you talk to yourself on the golf course when your game is not going the way you want?
As Dr. Bob Rotella tells all of us “love the challenge of the day.” We all can learn from these great players.
Originally published on GolfWRX

Golf Digest

A wounded veteran finds salvation on the golf course

By Alan P. Pittman
June 22, 2018
Learning to play golf with two good hands is hard enough. Imagine trying it for the first time with only one hand. This was former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ramon Padilla’s introduction, and, amazingly, it took just a handful of swings before he flushed a 5-iron 150 yards and was awestruck. “I thought golf was a sissy sport,” says Padilla, a football and baseball standout in high school whose nickname was Ramon Chingon (Badass Ramon). “But when I hit that shot, the flight of the ball was one of the most gorgeous things I’d ever seen in my life. From that moment on, I was hooked. All I wanted to do was get better.”
Padilla’s journey from Mexico to Los Angeles to Afghanistan to Washington, D.C., where he now works at the Pentagon helping wounded veterans, is a classic American success story. Padilla came to the United States in 1976 as an undocumented immigrant. He was just 2 years old when his parents carried him and his 1-year-old brother across the border in search of a better life. The family settled in El Monte, a residential area of Los Angeles, and eventually became naturalized citizens. Even as a kid, Padilla felt enormous gratitude toward his adopted country. He avoided the gang life so prevalent in his neighborhood by immersing himself in organized sports. Padilla also volunteered at the El Monte police department, where he got to know the chief of police, Ken Weldon. “He took care of me while I was growing up. He mentored me,” Padilla says.
In his early 20s, Padilla began looking for a way to repay his good fortune. “I wanted to do something for this great country that I live in,” he says. “I grew up here; I’m taking, I’m taking, I’m taking. I’m not giving back.” Padilla decided the military was the best way he could serve, so about a year before 9-11, he joined the U.S. Army. It was here that Padilla felt a sense of purpose and belonging. He developed a bond with the other soldiers who came from every corner of the United States and included many first-generation immigrants like himself.
Padilla signed up for the U.S. Army out of a feeling of obligation to the country where he made his home.
It was during Padilla’s second tour of duty, in 2007, that he found himself in a harrowing firefight in Kandahar, Afghanistan. An RPG exploded, severing his left arm and fracturing his skull. It took a dramatic rescue by the soldiers in his unit to save his life. While recovering at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center near Washington, D.C., Padilla was filled with self-doubt. What kind of future did he have? Would he even be able to play catch with his son? His therapist introduced him to Jim Estes, the director of instruction at Olney Golf Park in Maryland. Estes wanted Padilla to try golf. He laughed at the idea at first but eventually agreed. “Besides my kids being born, it was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Padilla says. In addition to using golf to overcome his physical limitations, Ramon found that the game helped him manage post-traumatic symptoms from his brain injury. It was another important step toward a normal life.
“Besides my kids being born, it was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Padilla says of golf.
Early on, Padilla hit way more grounders than solid shots, so he set out to design a prosthesis that attaches to his clubs. This offered relief to his good hand and became a turning point in his development. Soon he was competing in tournaments with other wounded veterans and even winning a few. “I’m traveling, meeting people, hanging out with other veterans, getting my family involved in the game. After losing my arm in battle, dealing with my post-traumatic brain injury, I can honestly say golf saved my life.”
Today Padilla lives in Maryland with his wife and his three youngest children. He’s about a 14-handicap, with a smooth and powerful swing that can launch drives 250 yards. His veteran status, connections and love of golf has presented some unique opportunities, like hitting balls on the range with Tiger Woods and playing rounds with former president George W. Bush, who painted a portrait of Padilla for his 2017 book Portraits of Courage. In the accompanying short documentary, Padilla relives the fateful moment in Afghanistan that changed his life, and how golf helped him heal from the trauma of war.
Originally published by Golf Digest

Golf Digest

Fix Your Grip By the Weekend

By Matthew Rudy
Fundamentals are called fundamentals because if you get them wrong you’ll have a hard time hitting good shots.
The grip might be the most basic fundamental–it’s the only link between you and the club–but it’s the one thing many players get totally wrong.
There are plenty of elaborate descriptions about how to put your hands on the club, but top New York teacher Michael Jacobs uses a simple comparison familiar to almost everybody to get his students doing it right.
“Stick out your left hand and hold the club like you would a heavy suitcase,” says Jacobs, whose new book, Elements of the Swing, was released last week. “If you picked up a suitcase, you wouldn’t take the handle diagonally across your palm. You’d let it rest in the creases of your fingers where they attach to your palm.”
Next, add your right hand to the grip slightly palm up, running the handle along the top crease in your palm and curling your fingers around the underside. You can rest the little finger of your right hand either on the left forefinger or in the channel between the forefinger and middle finger, or interlock the little finger and forefinger together, Jacobs says. Using a ten-finger grip, with all ten fingers on the handle, isn’t as common, but that works just fine as well.
“Not every ‘classic’ golf tip you hear is necessarily still relevant now, but this one is still true–there’s no reason not to have a great grip,” says Jacobs, who is based at Rock Hill Country Club in Long Island. “If you start with a bad one, you’re going to have to make compensations in your swing from the beginning. You want to be able to transmit the force you create with your body as efficiently as possible to the clubhead, and a good grip is an important part of that.”
Originally published by Golf Digest

Golf.com

Dave Pelz: The science proves you should leave the flagstick in when you putt

By Dave Pelz
Thanks to a rules change by the USGA, golfers will now have three options when putting in 2019: Remove the pin completely, have someone tend the pin, or leave the pin in and unattended. If your putt hits the pin in the third scenario, there’s no penalty (formerly two strokes or loss of hole).
It’s a major change in the name of speeding up play. While I certainly applaud that effort, I’m more excited about something else: I can’t wait to see the PGA Tour ShotLink data that will be generated by this rule change, because I think it will help golfers hole more putts.
In a statement on its website, The USGA says there “should be no advantage in being able to putt with the unattended flagstick in the hole.” It continues by saying that “In some cases, the ball may strike the flagstick and bounce out of the hole when it might otherwise have been holed,” while “in other cases, the ball may hit the flagstick and finish in the hole when it might otherwise have missed.”
But before you decide how you want to putt, let’s review some facts:
  1. Assuming the pin is securely in place, standing vertical and not swaying in the wind, the hole is 4.25″ wide.
  2. The diameter of a standard flagstick is 0.5″ (some pins taper to ¾” and even 1″ above the hole).
  3. If you look at the space left for a golf ball, the 2.125″ half-hole minus the 0.25″ half-pin, leaves 1.875″ between the cup edge and the pin.
  4. Golf balls are 1.68″ in diameter. This leaves a .195″-gap of open space for the ball to fit into the hole with the flagstick in place.
This doesn’t sound like much space, especially if the pin is leaning slightly toward the golfer. This effect, however, has been tested, and my studies show conclusively that you should putt with the pin in!
I conducted my original Pin In/Pin Out test in 1990, and published the results in the December issue of GOLF Magazine. The testing was performed with a special putting device built to roll putts accurately aimed with a laser–and a true, pure roll–from two feet away. We rolled putts at different speeds hitting different parts of the pin on flat, uphill and downhill sloping greens. The test results were conclusive: You will hole a higher percentage of putts when you leave the flagstick in.
The reason for this effect is that a significant amount of energy is lost from a putt’s speed when the ball hits a fiberglass flagstick. The speed-loss enables gravity to pull the slower moving ball down into the hole more often. Even though balls have changed since my testing, holes and flagsticks have not, and the “energy-loss” effect will still win the day.
To make you feel better about leaving the pin in, think about how many long putts and chips you’ve seen crash into the pin and still stay in the hole. If you’re watching golf on TV, you’ve also seen several shots fly into the hole directly from the fairway and stay in.
After the new rule change was announced, Bryson DeChambeau told GOLF Magazine that he planned on putting with the pin in this season.
Keep an eye on his performance, and for your own good, test this new rule for yourself. Putt 12 balls from a three-foot circle all the way around the hole. Do the same drill for six-foot putts. Repeat this drill 10 times on 10 different days, and keep tab of your results. Share your results with us on social media (@Golf_com). I’ll tabulate the “amateur” results against the Tour’s ShotLink numbers, and let you know the overall results.
Whether or not this test makes a believer of you, you will have forced yourself to practice your putting, putting you a solid step ahead of your foursome.
Originally published by Golf.com
Pull yourself out of that rut and hole more putts
By Cameron McCormick
Was 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.
3.) GRAB AND GO
You’ve held your putter the same way for so long the grip is starting to look like one of those training clubs that has grooved channels for your fingers. It’s time to switch it up, because what you’re doing, as they say here in Texas, is as pitiful as a three-legged dog. The easiest switch would be to flip hand positions so the higher one is lower. But I think you should take it a step further. Get crazy with it. Try the saw, the claw, the paintbrush, the non-anchored belly grip. Sometimes all you need is a dramatically different way of holding the club to reset your brain and start rolling the ball the way you used to.
4.) HIT SOME BOMBS
On the putting green you need to be more Picasso than Pythagoras. In other words, knowing the math behind a putt is important (speed, slope, etc.), but don’t let it squelch your right-brain artistry. You probably aren’t crunching numbers when you ball up a piece of paper and try tossing it into the garbage. You just use your feel. My suggestion? Go deep. Find the longest, craziest putts on a green and try to make them. Even putting from well off the green will help you get your feel back. You know you have to hit the ball hard, and you know it’s going to break, but when you try these long-distance putts, you become less concerned with the mechanics and tap back into the hand-eye coordination you thought you lost. Another benefit? It will free up your stroke. No more trying to steer them in. You’ll putt without fear of missing. Reboot complete.
Cameron McCormick is Jordan Spieth’s instructor and teaches at Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas.

Much like he did last summer, Francesco Molinari snuck up on everybody on Sunday at Bay Hill. Trailing by five strokes entering the final round, the reigning Open Champion shot an eight-under 64 to capture the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his third career PGA Tour title, all of which have come in his last 12 starts.

Molinari, who teed off 10 groups ahead of the leaders, got off to a hot start, making three birdies and no bogeys on his first seven holes. Just as it looked like he’d cool off at the par-4 eighth, where he badly missed the green with his approach, Molinari played a deft chip that found the bottom of the cup for another birdie. He made four more on the back nine, including a 43-foot bomb at the 72nd hole that wound up ultimately giving him a two-stroke win over Matthew Fitzpatrick, who shot a final-round 71.

“I don’t know, I’m just super glad,” said a shocked Molinari, who just put new clubs in the bag this week. “First week as a Callaway player, so happy to see that the switch I made wasn’t as crazy as some people thought. The clubs are good for me and I showed it this week.

“It’s great, to do it here, to get it done here at this place knowing that my wife and the kids were watching back home, it’s just a special, special one.”

By far the best club in the bag was Molinari’s putter, which he used to hole 146 feet of putts on Sunday, the most in his career. The 36-year-old from Italy called it his “best putting round ever,” a bold statement with the way putted on Sunday at Carnoustie to win his first major. While Arnie’s event isn’t a major, it felt just as good as one for Molinari.

“Incredible, it’s high up there with the best wins I’ve had. He [Arnold Palmer] was a special player but most of all a special person and a global icon for the game. For someone like me coming from Italy, he and Jack [Nicklaus] were up there as gods, so to win here is truly special.”

Fitzpatrick wasn’t able to close out his first PGA Tour victory, but he did finish alone in second. Sungjae Im, Tommy Fleetwood and Rafa Cabrera Bello tied for third. As for Rory McIlroy, it was another final-round dud. The Northern Irishman shot an even-par 72 to finish in a tied for sixth.

Golf fans and media alike had a lot to say about the early leader board this week at the Honda Classic. Most of the complaints were because of the lack of star power, which was to be expected with Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and others skipping the event with Bay Hill and the Players lurking on the schedule. Naturally, the final round of the Honda proved to be the most exciting Sunday of the year.

Most of the excitement was due to Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka getting into a tie at eight under in the clubhouse, with Vijay Singh and Wyndham Clark still in reach out on the course. But it was Keith Mitchell, a 27-year-old playing in just his second full season on the PGA Tour, who wound up claiming his first career victory. The University of Georgia alum carded a three-under 67 that featured birdies on four of his final seven holes, including a 15-foot conversion at the 72nd hole, yielding a fiery fist pump.

“Everybody dreams about having that putt on the 18th hole to win a tournament,” Mitchell said afterwards, adding, “and I had it today, and fortunately I was able to capitalize, and it feels awesome.”

Had Mitchell’s putt not dropped, he would have been in a three-way playoff with Koepka and Fowler, two players with their fair share of victories. But Mitchell spoiled the party, impressively bouncing back after a poor drive at the par-5 18th that found a fairway bunker. He was forced to lay up, and then hit a 129-yard wedge shot 15 feet below the hole and buried the putt.

“It was awesome. I wish I could come up with a better word than that,” said Mitchell. “But just having a chance to play — coming down the stretch against Rickie Fowler and Brooks, those guys are the best in the world, and they’ve been out here proving themselves. I’m just pleased that I could prove myself against guys like that in such a great field and a great tournament, the Honda Classic.”

Prior to this week Mitchell had four career top 10s (all coming last year), including a solo second at the 2018 Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship. He showed plenty of potential as a rookie, reaching the third leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, but has struggled a bit in his sophomore season. Safe to say he’s had a successful year now, as this victory will give him nearly $1.5 million in total earnings in just 10 starts, almost eclipsing his total earnings all of last season.

Singh’s effort in pulling off the unthinkable was a valiant one, and on the 17th tee he still had a legitimate chance to win the golf tournament. But the 56-year-old badly hit his tee shot left and short of the green, and it bounced back into the water. He finished with an even-par 70, which earned him a solo sixth finish. Ryan Palmer and Lucas Glover finished one stroke ahead of Singh, tying for fourth.

The fix for golf’s worst shot
By Keely Levins
We know, we know. You don’t even want to talk about the shanks for fear bringing the subject up will cause you to catch them. But like it or not, you might find yourself in a situation where you’re going to want to know a solution. Though awful, the plague of the shanks is curable.
First thing you have to do is take a break from the course. You need some alone time to sort this out on the range. Start by checking in on a few basics. Make sure you’re standing tall with your chest up during the swing, don’t hold the club too tightly, and make sure your weight isn’t sneaking up towards your toes. David Leadbetter told us that not tending to all of these little things could be the root of your struggles.
He also gave us a drill that will cure your shanking woes.
Set up like you’re going to hit it, and then put a tee in the ground just outside the toe of the club. While you’re swinging, think about keeping the grip end of the club near your body. “Miss the tee at impact, and you’ll hit the ball in the center of the face,” says Leadbetter.

As expected, Tiger Woods will not play in all of the PGA Tour’s upcoming Florida Swing events. Shortly before his opening round on Thursday at the WGC-Mexico Championship, Woods announced he would be skipping next week’s Honda Classic, while officially adding the following two weeks’ events, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players, to his schedule.

The decision to not play the Honda Classic is a bit of a surprise when you factor in the proximity of PGA National to Woods’ home in Jupiter, Fla. However, having already played at last week’s Genesis Open, an event that benefits Woods’ foundation, adding Honda to these other events would have meant Woods playing at least five consecutive weeks. Also, Woods’ record at Bay Hill, where he’s won eight times, was certainly a factor. Tiger has never won in four starts as a pro at the Honda.

Following his comeback campaign in 2018, an “exhausted” Woods said he planned on playing a more limited schedule. Not too surprising considering he’s a 43-year-old golfer with a fused back.

Woods didn’t specify if he would play in the Valspar Championship, which is the week following the Players. However, it seems unlikely he would play at Innisbrook despite nearly winning in his debut there last year because with the WGC-Match Play the following week, that would likely mean four consecutive starts.

Woods isn’t the first high-profile player to struggle with making his schedule under the new, more compact slate that features the Players back in March from May and the PGA Championship moved up to May from August. Phil Mickelson didn’t play in his hometown event at Torrey Pines for the first time in 29 years and recently hinted he might not tee it up at the Players, the PGA Tour’s flagship event.

Woods, who is coming off a T-15 at Riviera in his second start of 2019, is playing alongside Bryson DeChambeau and Abraham Ancer in the first two rounds of the WGC-Mexico Championship beginning Thursday. Although, technically, he’s a seven-time winner of the event, it’s the first time he’s playing competitively in Mexico.

Source: www.golfdigest.com