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Caddy for a Cure launches Operation Warrior Golf

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As we celebrate Memorial Day and thank those who have served both past and present, it seems timely that we talk about how the golf world shows its support of service members and their families. One such organization is Caddy For A Cure, which has just launched a new program called Operation Warrior Golf.

Operation Warrior Golf’s mission is to offer wounded warriors and active duty service members the opportunity to use state-of-the-art teaching technology to receive free professional golf instruction. With the help of V1 Sports, a digital media technology and sports motion analysis company, Operation Warrior Golf is able to give virtual lessons wherever a student is located.

“This new platform allows me to be able to give lessons on the go from wherever I am, and more importantly, from wherever they are,” said Russ Holden, CEO of Caddy for a Cure. “It’s the perfect tool for enabling us to achieve our goal of benefiting many more warriors than we’re currently reaching with this great game of golf.”

Caddy For A Cure was created by Holden, who has spent more than 25 years teaching and caddying on the PGA Tour. The organization offers the chance to walk next to the greatest names in the world of golf at a sanctioned PGA Tour event. Since the beginning, Caddy For A Cure has been committed to helping others through the game of golf. It is a not-for-profit organization helping others through children and families affected by Fanconi anemia (a genetic disorder that most commonly leads to cancer), Birdies for the Brave, the PGA Tour player’s charity, the PGA Tour host site charity and the PGA Tour Caddy Assistance Fund. It is impressive that 100 percent of the proceeds raised by Caddy For A Cure go directly to charity. Offering unforgettable memories to service members during the years has been very rewarding for Holden, but he still wanted to offer more.

Teaching has come naturally to Holden, who has has coached two-time Masters Champion Bernhard Langer and is a PGA Class A Professional and former head professional at Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla. He has always felt golf is a great therapeutic vehicle and has used the V1 teaching platform for a number of years with some of the best golfers in the world as well as his warrior students. The price of bringing in service members and setting them up with lessons and lodging can easily add up, and the high costs and logistics have always been problems limiting Holden.

Holden contacted V1 Sports to explain his idea. As Gary Palis, vice president of V1 Sports explained, his company was more than happy to say yes.

“We have been supporters of Caddy For A Cure since its inception nearly 12 years ago,” he said. “We have watched the good that they do for so many and when Russ called about this new mission, we could not say ‘yes’ fast enough. We are proud to support this PGA Professional and his drive to assist our brave wounded warriors and active duty servicemen and women serving overseas.”

Through use of the V1 Golf App, Holden can give virtual lessons to a limitless number of students that he would otherwise be unable to reach. V1’s software can be used with any compatible smartphone. A warrior or service member can send a video of their golf swing and have it analyzed. So, students are not just getting a free golf lesson, they are getting true, professional instruction from a PGA professional.

Through Caddy For A Cure and now Operation Warrior Golf, Holden and his team are not only sharing their knowledge and love of the game, they are giving back to those who have given so much for all of us.

You can find out more about Caddy For A Cure and Operation Warrior Golf at: www.caddyforacure.com/operationwarriorgolf

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Kevin has experience in web, multimedia and has worked in both broadcast and print media. He has been a contributing writer for Turner Sports Network, Bleacher Report, GolfWRX, LIVESTRONG, Site Pro News and has had work featured on latimes.com.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Dave

    May 24, 2014 at 1:26 am

    even not evening. And God bless those that did…

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Mondays Off: U.S. Open wrap-up | Steve plays against the new assistant pro

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Would Woodland have won the U.S. Open if he had to hit driver on the 18th hole? Knudson doesn’t think so. Steve loved the U.S. Open, but he didn’t really love the commentator crew. Also, Steve tees it up with the new second assistant pro at the club, how did he do?

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

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The Wedge Guy: What’s your short game handicap?

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Well, that was a U.S. Open for the ages, in my book. Hallowed Pebble Beach held its own against the best players in the world and proved that small greens can really give these guys fits. Kudos and congratulations to Gary Woodland for putting on quite a show and outlasting all the others. And to Brooks Koepka for giving us reason to believe a three-peat could really happen.

To me, of course, what stands out is how Woodland elevated his short game for this event. Coming in he was ranked something like 165th on tour in greenside saves but went 16-for-20 last week. Of course, that also means he hit 52 of those small greens in regulation, which certainly outdistanced most of the field. Justin Rose was putting on a scrambling clinic for three days, but his inability to hit fairways and greens finally did him in. So that brings me to today’s topic – an honest assessment of your own “short game handicap.” Regardless of skill level, I have long believed that the key to better scoring is the same for us as for these tour-elite players – improving your ability to get up-and-down.

Almost all reasonably serious golfers have a handicap, just to allow us to keep track of our overall improvement with our golf games. But wouldn’t it be more useful if that handicap was such that it told us where we could improve the most? Unfortunately, that’s not the purpose of the USGA handicap program, so I’ve devised my own “Short Game Handicap” calculation to help golfers understand that this is where they are most likely going to improve their scoring.

The premise of my short game handicapping formula is the notion that once we get inside short iron range, the physical differences between golfers is increasingly neutralized. For most of us, our physical skills and abilities will never let us hit drives and longer approach shots like the best players. But I believe anyone can learn to execute good quality chips and pitches, and even full swing wedge and short iron shots. It really doesn’t matter whether your full-swing 9-iron goes 140 or 105, if you can execute shots from there on into the green, you can score better than you do now.

So, the starting point is to know exactly where you stand in relation to “par” when you are inside scoring range…regardless of how many strokes it took you to get there. Once your ball is inside that range where you can reach the flag with a comfortable full-swing 9-iron or less, you should be able to get up and down in 3 strokes or fewer almost all the time. In fact, I think it is a realistic goal for any golfer to get down in two strokes more often than it takes more than three, regardless of your skill level.

So, let’s start with understanding what this kind of scoring range skill set can do for your average score. I created this exercise as a starting point, so I’m encouraging you guys and ladies to chime in with your feedback.

What was your last (or typical) 18 hole score? ______

_____ Number of times you missed a green with a 9-iron or less
_____ Number of times you got up and down afterward
_____ Number of other holes where you hit a chip or pitch that ended up more than 10’ from the cup

Subtract #2 from #1, then add 1/2 of #3. That total ______ is your short game handicap under this formula. [NOTE: The logic of #3 is that you can learn to make roughly 1/2 of your putts under 10 feet, so improving your ability to hit chips and pitches inside that range will also translate to lower scores.]

I believe this notion of a short game handicap is an indication of how many shots can potentially come off your average scores if you give your short game and scoring clubs the attention they deserve.

I would like to ask all of you readers to do this simple calculation and share with the rest of us what you find out.

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Hot & Cold: Where strokes were won and lost at the U.S. Open

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In “Hot & Cold,” we’ll be focusing each week on what specific areas of the game players excelled and disappointed in throughout the previous tournament. On Sunday, Gary Woodland claimed victory at the U.S. Open in spectacular style, and here’s a look at where some of the most notable players gained and lost strokes over the four days of action at Pebble Beach.

Hot

Gary Woodland produced a masterclass both with his irons and flat-stick all week long at Pebble Beach to claim his first major title. The 35-year-old gained 8.4 strokes over the field for his approach play and a monstrous 7.2 strokes over the field on the greens at Pebble Beach. Check out the clubs Woodland used on his way to victory last week in our WITB piece here.

Brooks Koepka continues to impress on the biggest stage, and the American’s play tee to green was once more outstanding in California. Koepka gained 14.4 strokes tee to green last week, which was the best in the field in this area.

Viktor Hovland has just about every golf fan excited after watching his brilliant display at Pebble Beach. Hovland was second in the field for strokes gained: tee to green at the U.S. Open, gaining a whopping 12.6 strokes in this area. All that was holding the amateur back was his putting, where he lost almost four strokes to the field

Cold

Justin Thomas continues to struggle after his comeback from his wrist injury, with the American missing the cut at last week’s U.S. Open. Thomas lost 2.7 strokes to the field on the greens at Pebble Beach, and worryingly for the 25-year-old is the fact that he has now lost strokes with the flat-stick in his last six consecutive events.

Dustin Johnson’s performance on the greens cost the 34-year-old dearly at last week’s U.S. Open. Johnson came into the event as one of the favorites, but a poor performance with the putter, where he lost 6.1 strokes, put paid to his chances. It was the worst performance for Johnson on the greens since 2017.

Bubba Watson continues to struggle, and last week it was his short game which was woefully misfiring. Watson dropped a combined 10 strokes to the field for his play on and around the greens at Pebble Beach for the two days he was in town.

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