The chances of making two holes-in-one in a round of golf are one in 67 million.
How many hole-in-one’s have you had??? Tell us when & where!
The chances of making two holes-in-one in a round of golf are one in 67 million.
How many hole-in-one’s have you had??? Tell us when & where!
Here’s a recap of the final round of the Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club.
WINNER: Winning can be so fickle on the PGA Tour. Matt Kuchar can certainly attest.
The 40-year-old used a stellar back-nine 5-under 30 on Sunday to fire a closing 4-under 66 and seal a four-shot victory at 22 under. The triumph is his ninth PGA Tour win and second in three months. Prior to this recent surge, though, Kuchar had a PGA Tour win drought of more than four-and-a-half years.
Hey, it’s a crazy game.
Kuchar led after the second and third rounds before closing out on Sunday, but this win absolutely did not come easy. Kuchar, who began the day with a two-shot lead, sandwiched a birdie at No. 3 with bogeys at Nos. 2, 4 and 5, and even a birdie at No. 9 wasn’t enough to keep him on top.
His opening-nine 1-over 36 relegated him to a one-shot deficit to Andrew Putnam, who made two birdies and no bogeys on the front. The final nine was a different story.
Kuchar birdied the par-4 10th to move to 18 under and tie the lead. Putnam kept up the fight, draining a 19-footer for par from off the green at the par-3 11th to remain a co-leader. Kuchar would birdie the par-4 12th to take back the solo lead at 19 under, but Putnam drained a 21-footer for birdie at the par-4 13th to move back into a share.
The separation would occur over the next few holes.
Putnam bogeyed the par-4 14th to give Kuchar back the solo lead. Kuchar then pounced on that opening, draining 13- and 11-foot putts for birdie at Nos. 15 and 16 to reach 21 under and open up a three-shot lead.
At that point, the tournament was in hand. He would close with a birdie at 18 for good measure.
This is Kuchar’s second win of the 2018-19 PGA Tour season, as he previously captured the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November. Good golf often comes in spells, but it doesn’t make those inevitable highs any less special.
Kuchar is certainly experiencing the rewards of that at the moment. We’ll see how far he can take it.
JUST MISSED: Putnam birdied three of his first 13 holes and was flawless on the day to that point. That allowed him to erase his two-shot overnight deficit. But a 1-over finish over his final five holes doomed his chances. He settled for solo second at 18 under after a 2-under 68. He was pretty much the sole challenger on the back nine.
SHOT OF THE DAY: It’s tough to top a pitch-in eagle to end your tournament, so we’re not going to try.
J.T. Poston with the shot…
UP NEXT: The PGA Tour heads to La Quinta, Calif., for the Desert Classic.
A six-footer is by no means a gimme, but it’s still short enough that it stings when it doesn’t go in. To make more of these, start by locking in your speed. It’s the most important part of every putt. And when you assess speed, don’t just factor how fast the ball needs to roll to get to the front of the cup. Think about it: You’re not trying to be so precise with your putting that the ball falls in on its last rotation. So forget the front of the cup. You should be looking at a spot 1½ feet beyond the hole. You’ll still be in tap-in range if you miss, but now you know the ball is going to get there every time.
Once you’ve determined that spot, then you can read the break. Start by walking to the hole, and try to picture the line in your head, keeping in mind that it continues 18 inches past the cup. Typically a putt of this length isn’t going to break that much—unless your course is Augusta National.
To get my speed down, I often practice with a small silicone cover over the top of the hole. The ball rolls right over it. If you don’t have one, you can just putt over the location of an old cup like I’m doing here (see bottom photo). The point is to get the ball to stop at a consistent distance beyond the hole. After I hit a putt that rolls over the cup and stops where I want it to stop, I’ll put a dime down to mark that end point. Then I’ll stroke putts over the hole trying to get every one to stop on a dime, so to speak.
DEVELOP A SHOT CLOCK
Having a pre-shot routine is important, but that doesn’t mean only doing the same things before every putt. Just as important is the amount of time you take to do those things. It will make a big difference if there’s a consistent duration from setup to stroke—it gives you good rhythm and confidence. Another thing you should do before you hit a putt is to take one last look at your line of putt all the way to the hole and then back to your ball—but do it quickly. The longer you stand over the ball, the more likely you’ll start to psych yourself out that you might miss. Good putting is a lot more mental than physical. Not a lot can go wrong with your stroke on a six-footer—it’s a fairly short and quiet motion. If you can relax and trust in what you’ve done prior to the putt, your chance of rolling one in will go way up.
BE AN ATHLETE, NOT A ROBOT
If you struggle with these makable putts, it’s probably because you’re too focused on using perfect mechanics. I’ve got news for you, guys like me on the PGA Tour rarely set up and make a textbook stroke, yet the tour average for putts made from six feet last season was 70 percent. What I’m saying is, there are a lot of ways to get the ball to go in the hole.
Putting is extremely personal, but everyone should feel comfortable over the ball. I like when my arms hang freely, and I have a slight roundness to my back. As for the stroke, I don’t think about the length the putter moves back and through. Instead, I try to be as athletic as possible, meaning my process is to look at what I have to do—then react. If you’re shooting a basketball, you don’t think about how hard your arm has to move for the ball to reach the basket, you just look at the rim and let it fly. Try putting with that same mind-set.
The first ever golf balls were made of thin leather, stuffed with goose feathers. ‘Feather balls’ were used up until 1848, when they were replaced with the ‘Guttie’ ball, named for the rubber-like sap of the Gutta tree, found in the tropics.
What is your favorite golf ball to play with?
It’s Key To Proper Takeaway and Swing Plane
Few aspects of the golf swing hold more fascination for struggling club golfers than how to achieve the correct golf grip.
Swing plane, pronation, supination, re-routing, downswing transition, leg drive, and hip resistance on the backswing are some of the more elaborate theories investigated by golfers who habitually slice or hook. Yet more often than not the real cause of wayward shots lies in the way a golfer places his hands on the club. So, before you start making extreme changes to swing mechanics, you should first simplify the golf swing technique by making sure the grip is correct. Following are three of the most important aspects of the grip that affect the takeaway, swing path, plane, and control.
Correct Golf Grip Golden Rules and Tips
The ‘V’s created by the index finger and the thumb of the left and right hands must point to the right shoulder.
Although this is extremely well known, it’s surprising how many golfers have trouble achieving this orthodox hand position. A golfer who slices normally has a weak grip where the left hand is too much underneath the shaft. If you slice, the first thing you should check is that the left hand is turned more to the right, with three knuckles visible after taking up the stance.
Conversely, a golfer who hooks should check that the left hand is not in a “strong” position where it is turned to the right too much.
How the Grip Affects Golf Swing Plane Mechanics
The path of the golf swing takeaway is directly affected by the grip. If the left hand is twisted round to the right too much in a ‘strong’ grip, it generally sets the left arm higher than the right – this leads to a swing path that is too inside and a swing plane that is too flat, which results in a hook. If the golfer’s left hand is on the club in a “weak” position, the right arm is set higher than the left at the address which leads to an outside swing path, a steep swing plane and invariably a slice. Although you may know that you swing the club too flat or upright, before you try to swing onto a more effective plane, check that the hands are placed on the club in a neutral grip.
The Grip Right Thumb and Index Finger Position
Topping the ball is a very common fault. In many cases it can be cured with the correct placement of the right thumb and index finger on the club of the right hand. As the club comes into impact the index finger of the right hand is responsible for accurately squaring up the blade and must be in the most efficient position to guide the club. The thumb is responsible for driving the clubhead down into the ball. It is vital for the thumb to be set on the left-hand side of the shaft — not on top of the shaft, which may seem logical but is wrong.
Backswing Control and the Long Left Thumb
One of the most common causes of mis-hit shots is the loss of control at the top of the backswing. An overswing means a loss of control but with good placement of the left-hand thumb on the club, unless double jointed, an overswing becomes almost impossible.
When taking up the grip, allow the left thumb to sit naturally on the club and not stuck down the shaft, which creates an ugly gap between the thumb and index finger. With the thumb in this position, it is much more capable of controlling the downswing transition, when leverage is at its maximum.
Golf has actually been played on the moon! It is only 1 of 2 sports to literally have been played out-of-this-world, along with the javelin throw. Back in 1971, Apollo 14 astronaut, Alan Shepard, swung a one-handed shot with a six-iron, which was all his pressure suit would allow.
Tell us the most unusual place you have played golf!
The 2019 Masters Tournament will be the 83rd edition of the Masters Tournament and the first of golf’s four major championships to be held in 2019. It will be held from April 11–14 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.
Who will you be cheering for to WIN the 2019 Masters?
GIVE US YOUR PREDICTIONS…
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How To Spin The Golf Ball
You have no doubt seen TOUR pros on television, or any good golfer for that matter, hit shots into the green that end up spinning back like a rocket, particularly in wet conditions. You might note how that never really happens when you’re out on the course, and you wonder how exactly they do it! So, how do they put backspin on the ball?
Being able to spin the golf ball is actually something that most amateurs, and even some seasoned golfers, cannot control.
It is something that comes with experience and a certain degree of proficiency. It requires you to know how to make solid, “ball-first” contact with the golf ball, and do it with sufficient speed for the grooves to do the work.
There are, of course, many instances where it would be quite useful to be able to put spin the ball.
Often, it’s from a tight lie off of the green, with rough, a bunker or another obstacle between you and the flag. In such a case, you would typically want to fly the ball close to the spin and have it stop dead or even spin back a little bit.
The focus of this article is to discuss what exactly backspin on the golf ball involves, when you can spin the ball and how it is actually accomplished. Hopefully this can help some of you who want to take your game to the next level!
Backspin (spinning away from the direction of the target) occurs when the clubface makes contact with the ball and the grooves on the face of the club “grab” the ball, imparting a spin before it takes off. There are several key factors which affect how much the ball spins, and they include:
It is widely believed that the steepness of the clubface path coming into the ball, or the angle of attack, affects the spin of the ball given a fixed loft. However, there exists evidence, particularly from TrackMan, that is contrary to this claim. In general, hitting “down” on the ball does appear not affect spin rates. The three factors bulletted above are the primary determinants of golf ball spin.
Based on what I mentioned above, you should do the following if you want to maximize the amount of backspin you generate:
Note that the firmness of the golf course typically determines how far balls spin back. On wet grass (fairways, greens), there is less rollout and most of the spin will go into bringing the ball back. In other words, the result of spin is much more obvious in soft conditions.
Hopefully, after reading and understanding the concise information presented above, you’ll be well on your way to developing a firm control of the spin on your golf ball.
’Twas six days before Christmas
when all through the clubhouse,
Not a creature was stirring—
—well, that’s not entirely true. Creatures were, in fact, stirring when I called Santa Claus Golf Club on Thursday afternoon. Golfers weren’t, though. (Too dark, too cold.) Nary a sign of St. Nick, either. (Too busy.)
“Sometimes we do see his footprints in the snow,” Pia Lillberg, the club’s cheery managing director, told me by video conference.
She was joking. I think.
Santa Claus Golf Club — yes, it’s actually a thing — sits directly on the Arctic Circle, in Rovaniemi, Finland, about 500 miles north of Helsinki. There are no sleigh-carts or elf-caddies or gift-wrapped tee markers, and, no, you don’t get coal after a triple-bogey. But the club does have reindeer. About 30 of them. Lillberg says they’re “quite nice to play with,” if unschooled in the finer points of golf etiquette. Knock your tee shot into a flock, she said, and they’ll be in no rush to clear out. (Evidently the presence of reindeer sausage on the halfway-house menu has not put a scare into them.)
When the club was founded in 1986, it had a far less recognizable name: the Golf Club of Rovaniemi. Its course was built not on grass but on ice and open only in the depths of winter: nine frigid holes set on the river that bisects the city. A few years later, a “summer course” emerged on terra firma with six fairways and a practice area, followed, in 1997, by a nine-hole layout. In 2011, the membership tacked on another nine — resulting in a par-71, 6,500-yard design that winds its way up and down a hillside lined with pine trees — but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that the club acquired its current moniker.
“As we are in the Official Hometown of Santa Claus,” Lillberg said (yes, that’s a thing, too; Rovaniemi has it trademarked), “it’s only appropriate that we, too, carry the name. Somehow it seems more suitable to talk about Santa Claus golf than Arctic golf.” It’s also more marketable. The club is in the process of launching a shop on its website where visitors will be able to buy Santa Claus GC-logoed hats, shirts and balls — the perfect stocking stuffers for the golfer in your life.
Christmastime, ironically, is the club’s slow season.
“Sunrise was at 11:07 am today and sunset was 1:22 pm,” said Lillberg, who speaks excellent English with a heavy Nordic accent. “It’s not practical to go and play in the dark.”
It’s also not practical to play in the snow. But that doesn’t stop SCGC’s hardy membership from bundling up and playing the club’s “winter course,” a snowy nine-hole layout (complete with “whites” instead of greens) that the grounds crew spends a couple of months shaping. “We have to have 40 centimeters of snow before we start building it,” Lillberg said.
The course opens in early March, when the days are longer and the temperatures more tolerable. When the sun’s out, the “snow shines like crystals,” Lillberg says, turning the place into a magical golfing wonderland. “It’s perfect. I really can’t say enough good things about it.”
The course hasn’t drawn many American tourists, though one notable member of the golfing establishment did visit last March: USGA executive director Mike Davis. In his first foray in to snow golf, Davis competed in the Santa’s Snow Golf Classic. (“The whites putt beautifully,” he said at the time. “They’re actually not too different from a regular putting green.”) Papa Noel doesn’t visit the course much, either, what with all his duties down in Santa Claus Village. He has some other forces working against him, too, Lillberg says: “It’s a bit difficult for him to see the ball because of the stomach and the beard.”
Still, whether the big man is on site or not, his spirit thrives at the club that bears his name, from Rudolph and Co. grazing in the rough, to the twinkly Christmas decorations in the restrooms, to the staff that runs the place.
“I have to make a confession,” Lillberg said at the end of our call. “I’m actually an elf in disguise.”
Yep, for 10 years, Lillberg said, she moonlighted as one of Santa’s helpers, sorting letters for him at the post office in downtown Rovaniemi.
“Once an elf,” she said, “always an elf.”
I laughed when she said this in spite of myself,
A wink of her eye and a twist of her head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.’
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