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Opinion & Analysis

See what GolfWRX members are saying about Titleist’s new AVX golf balls

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On October 6, Titleist released new “AVX” white and yellow golf balls in three states: Arizona, California and Florida. Our sources told us that the new golf ball was a premium offering with a urethane cover, and that it was made to have a softer feel than Titleist’s Pro V1 golf balls, and create more distance, too. The company was said to be merely testing the product, which is selling for the same price as Pro V1 golf balls, at retail in those locations.

It’s been several weeks now since the release, and as we await Titleist’s assessment of feedback from the public, let’s dive into what GolfWRX members are saying so far about the golf ball.

Click here to view the entire AVX forum thread.

Editor’s Note: Comments below were taken from posts on October 6th or after, since those are when the balls actually hit retail. Posts have been minimally edited for brevity and grammar. 

What’s the word on AVX?

tbowles411: Alternative to the V and X. Straight from the Titleist rep.

Homerun2Birdie: Am I the only one who thought these were NOT soft? Thought the ball performed admirably: spun enough around the greens, seemed a bit hard coming in on full iron shots, flight was noticeably lower as advertised. That being said, I did not feel like this ball was soft at all. 

Fiddy3: I can tell you one non-debatable fact. Golf stores are paying $36+ cost for the AVX.

QuigleyDU: It is right up there with every other premium ball out there. It has mid-high flight in my opinion. Full shots it is fine, wedges and green side are just… OK. Feels decent off the putter. In my opinion, it is slightly longer than the chrome soft x I currently play but does not spin near as well.

Break81: Took the AVX for a test today alternating holes with my Chrome Soft Truvis, and while the AVX was not bad, it’s didn’t really shine in any one area. Felt very similar to the Srixon Q-Star Tour and for the price difference I cannot see why someone would pay $18 more for the name or because they offer yellow. 

crazygolfnut: If it was priced in the $30 to $35 range I would try it. But the way it is, I will continue to play other brands.

mixedguy: Played 2 rounds with it today soft and spins. I hit it further than both the v1 and X. It’s right between the two, imo. Great ball but it is pricey. 

MysteryV: Played my first round with the AVX yesterday. Good ball. Soft off the putter, long off the driver, spins off wedges and irons. Not sure it’s worth the price premium over NXT Tour S as the two seem pretty similar. I did notice it was flying significantly further than I expected on every shot, however I was striking the ball better than usual yesterday, so tough to tell if it was new or the ball.

zeke66:

  • Driver: Very long 
  • Irons: Good through air and breeze, long. 
  • Putter: Felt and sounded great. 
  • Around the green: Didn’t hit enough shots to really know. Hit a few very good flop type shots after putting myself in bad positions. Felt and sounded pretty good off wedges. 

speeder757: The AVX reminds me of the Original Pro V1. Its softer than either of the current ProV1’s. Just picking the ball up it feels lighter than the Pro V1 or Pro V1x. I’m not sure if that would quantify on a scale or if its just the compression. The dimples are shallower similar to a Bridgestone ball. I have played this ball at my home course for 5 rounds now directly against the Pro V1 and Pro V1x and think it might be my new gamer. 
It’s slightly longer than either current Pro V1 off the tee. Flight seems to be more stable however and for whatever reason it seemed more consistent. The AVX was 3-5 yards longer than both Pro V1’s off the irons. AVX spins just a little less on green side short chip shots than the Pro V1x. I would say roughly the same as the Pro V1 with maybe a slight edge still to the Pro V1. I would say the AVX has enough greenside spin to be comparable to other premium balls though. I have heard some say the AVX feels heavy on chip shots. That wasn’t my experience at all. It feels light and springy if anything. Lastly the AVX is softer off the Putter than either Pro V1. All in all its a great ball. If it spun just a little bit more on short chip shots like the Pro V1x does it would be the best ball ever made. AVX does seem more durable than either Pro V1 and the cover doesn’t get chewed up on chips shots as easily as the Pro V1’s do. Price wise its overpriced like all current golf balls on the market are. But it does perform.

johnw29: I live in Arkansas and I ordered 2 dozen from Edwin Watts in Destin, Florida. They shipped them on a Monday and I got them on Wednesday. 

jrshelby: Played my first round with them. Let me say that they are just weird and confusing. Don’t know how else to put it. They have a slight advantage in having a little less spin but I definitely get very different flights at times. Sometimes higher then anything else I’ve hit and sometimes way lower as well. I’ll put another round in on them this Sunday before I start making any assessments I guess. 

After playing a round with the AVX and at least 30+ rounds with the Chrome soft this year and can honestly say the AVX is not in ANY way similar, and I mean no where close, and I mean to be redundant, but could not be further away design wise. The chrome soft is just that, soft. These are not. The chrome soft is moderate distance with moderate to high spin. AVX is very high launch with extremely low spin on most clubs I’d say down to 6 iron. Then spins slightly more then you’d expect from 7-PW. Then does not spin enough with wedges. 2 out of 3 is usually not bad, but in the case of the AVX it just may be.

drew_harvie: This is a pretty good ball imo. Lower, spins less off the driver. I think it’s a pretty good ball if you hit it really really high with a lot of spin (like myself). It’s crazy how popular these are in Arizona though. Wigwam is selling them for $64 for a dozen and have sold out twice. Not sure if I’d switch from the ProV1X but it’s much better than I was expecting.

See all of the comments about Titleist’s AVX golf ball here.

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Thomas A

    Dec 14, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Whatever. I’ll still by all of your once-hit-then-lost ProV1’s on lostgolfballs website for $16 a dozen.

  2. Mike

    Dec 4, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Man,
    Every review seems to contradict the one above it. Wow

  3. d

    Nov 27, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Generally plays like a Pro-V1. I have been playing them for a couple weeks, and they seem to fly higher and farther than the Pro-V1. They don’t seem to spin as much around the greens as the Pro-V1—maybe more like a Pro-V1X. However, it seems like they spin A LOT on full shots. I have spun back a full PW 25 feet on more than one occasion.

  4. Robin Weckesser

    Nov 2, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    I’ve tried the AVX. Was looking forward to them. Not impressed. They feel a bit harsh which Im not a fan of.
    I’ll stick with the VICE balls….better value, better feel, better distance, better consistancy….

  5. Mat

    Nov 2, 2017 at 5:33 am

    Synthesising all of these… basically, there’s nothing unique about it. It’s a Srixon at double the price, and a little harshness thrown in gratis… not good. I’ll stick with Bridgestone.

  6. Jack

    Nov 2, 2017 at 5:15 am

    I’d buy it for the logo.

  7. C.B.

    Nov 2, 2017 at 1:58 am

    No, no, no, you all have it wrong.
    The name is “it’s a Srixon XV copy by Acushnet.” That’s what it stands for. Therefore, AVX, backwards.

  8. Someone

    Nov 1, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    making an amateur VXball? isn’t that incongruent with their marketing? prov prov1 is supposed to be the best ball for any player…why now would you introduce an amateur ball priced like a pro ball? what are you now saying about your pro series? that it’s no longer the best ball for all players? they really need to handle that marketing strategy…

  9. Tom54

    Nov 1, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    My comment is to read Jeff’s opinion. I’m a decent 3 hdcp and truthfully I can’t tell one premium ball from another. To me if I hit it squarely all will probably do the same. I don’t claim to know all the spin rates, etc and all that jazz that some of these people claim.

    • chopper

      Nov 1, 2017 at 10:16 pm

      I am a 2 that hits it like a 0 (I can’t chip or putt). no way can I tell a difference between premium balls. the garbage nike balls from early 2000’s of course withstanding.

      • Table

        Nov 2, 2017 at 6:10 am

        Haha…so true….there are soo many posers on this site that can’t play a lick…and somehow “they know”..

  10. cody

    Nov 1, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    having been a member of GOLFWRX for a long time. i can tell you there are some very very good players that are making these comments. yes, feel is 100% subjective and the reviews are nonscientific but they are real and unbiased. i have played this ball and it is good but, so is every premium ball, so slight difference can be hard to see and explain, even though you know they are there.

  11. Dave

    Nov 1, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Most amateurs; especially, double digit players are not consistent enough to quantify performance of golf balls! Yes, many can tell the difference between a pinnacle and a pro v1 but that is about as close as it gets!

  12. kennyboy

    Nov 1, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    I am more confused now than before i started reading these reviews.

  13. Stephenie

    Nov 1, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    I’ve played the AVX over several rounds this year and I’m unimpressed. I found it to sound and feel very similar to the Velocity. Mid summer, I switched from the ProV1x to Taylormade TP5x and noticed a big difference in distance, feel was the same. I also played the Volvik Vivid and loved that too. I paired the AVX against the Volvik and was 5 to 10 less yards off the tee and about 5 yards shorter on irons. The AVX also felt very clunky, with a lower launch. I gifted my two sleeves.

  14. Jeff

    Nov 1, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    I find it hilarious when people say “X ball seemed to fly higher” or “X ball spun more on a full 6-iron.” There is absolutely no way an amateur golfer can say that with conviction. We hit the ball off the center of the face most of the time and may hit a few clubs only 1 or 2 times a round. Just play what you like and don’t try to sound like a tour pro!

  15. Matt-78

    Nov 1, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    I don’t think there is anything complex about this ball, but I could be wrong. I just think it’s Titleist’s entry into the same area that the Chrome Soft, Q-Star Tour, etc. exists. A hybrid between a high-handicap ball and a tour ball. A core that is less expensive to manufacture, softer core than tour ball, the high lift dimple pattern of a “distance” ball (shallower dimples), but with a cast urethane cover (not a thermoset urethane cover like the Pro V). Compared to a tour ball it will be softer, higher lift dimples, and less spin. Compared to a traditional “distance” ball it will be softer, similar dimple lift, but with more spin. At least that’s what I think. YMMV.

  16. George

    Nov 1, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Another ball from Titleist that underperforms, and is far overpriced. Stick to Snell, Vice, or now….Cut Golf! Premium urethane tour balls that truly PERFORM at huge huge savings!

  17. Chopper

    Nov 1, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    The range of comments seem to me to back up my theory that unless you are a supreme striker of the ball (think +4), paint all the premium balls white and the novice to scratch player will never be able to tell a difference.

  18. Steve S

    Nov 1, 2017 at 11:52 am

    As usual non-scientific evaluations are almost meaningless. Maybe “someone” will do a test of them vs. the proV’s like they did with the Costco ball.

  19. GMatt

    Nov 1, 2017 at 11:35 am

    I agree, after reading these reviews I’m not sure exactly where this ball stacks up and exactly how it might perform, just goes to show how it performs with one person doesn’t mean it performs the same way to another. I too would like to see head to head data on a simulator

  20. Aaron

    Nov 1, 2017 at 11:17 am

    These wildly different reviews simply prove “feel” means something different to all of us. I’m more confused now than before reading those reviews. Put the AVX on a Trackman and hit shots against the ProV1 & ProV1x.

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Opinion & Analysis

The 21 best golf podcasts you should be listening to in 2018

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What’s the best golf podcast? Debating that may be as fruitless as the Jack vs. Tiger debate, because there are a bunch of darn good ones out there right now. You don’t have to be an astute observer of the media space to know podcasting has exploded in popularity in recent years. Indeed, it seems like everyone has a podcast these days, including your grandmother’s Scrabble enthusiast pod.

Returning to the original question: this is a subjective list that isn’t meant to be exhaustive. If there’s a podcast you enjoy that finds itself outside the ropes, feel free to mention it in the comments.

So grab your earbuds, Beats by Dre, or wireless headphones if you’re really cool, and take a look at some notable podcasts by category.

GolfWRX Radio

Obviously, I’m strongly biased towards the GolfWRX’s podular offerings, and since this is, you know, GolfWRX, we’ll start with our pods.

19th Hole: Michael Williams talks to luminaries of the game and interesting folks alike in his pod. Heck, Michael’s first guest was Bob Vokey! Williams is well-wired and well-traveled, and oh, he has by far the best radio voice of anyone on this list, so he’s got that going for him. Other guests include Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Greg Norman, Scott Van Pelt, Rees Jones and many other legends.

Gear Dive: I’ll avoid any play on his last name, but Johnny Wunder’s Gear Dive is an inquisitive look into, well, golf gear. Wunder has spoken with everyone from Charles Howell III, to Fred Couples, to the boys at Artisan Golf. If you love golf equipment, or consider yourself a gearhead, this is the podcast is a must.

Two Guys Talking Golf: Editor Andrew Tursky and resident equipment expert Brian Knudson are the golf buddies you wish you had. The pair discuss equipment, club building, happenings on the PGA Tour, and an abundance of random golf-related and tangentially golf-related topics. Most recently, TG2 answered 30+ AMA-style questions from the @tg2wrx Instagram page, and they’ve had guests on such as Billy Horschel, Ping’s Marty Jertson, Scotty Cameron, Bob Vokey, Aaron Dill, GolfWRX Forum members and many others.

Unlocking Your Golfing Potential: This instructional podcast series hosted by coach Will Robins teaches golfers how to improve their games without improving their technique. If you want to lower your scores, and change your outlook on the game of golf in general, I highly recommend this podcast.

Listen to all the GolfWRX podcasts on SoundCloud or iTunes.

DFS golf podcasts

Golf is one of the fastest growing and most popular DFS sports. Accordingly, every DFS site in the world and most major outlets have a fantasy-related podcast. These three are among the longest running and finest in the space, although Matthew Wiley of Golflandia deserves a special nod for his spectacular rambling ridiculousness and high entertainment value.

Pat Mayo: Mayo is an OG of the fantasy sports podcasting game in general and fantasy golf pods in particular. And honesty, he must have cloned himself sometime in the past because his output absolutely mind-boggling. Plus, he’s one of the few podcasts on this list that records video, so if you’re looking for a pod with a visual component, Mayo is your man. Listen here.

Fantasy Golf Degenerates: Brad and Kenny go together like, well, Brad and Kenny. These two have been grinding out a weekly fantasy golf podcast since PGA DFS was in diapers a few years back. Brad is the ownership god and Kenny’s course previews are second to none. Well worth a pre-tournament listen every week. Best enjoyed with Crown Royal. Listen here.

Tour Junkies: PGA DFS podcasting’s other dynamic duo, David and Pat, have similarly been ‘casting since the early days of the…hobby? Come for the weekly entertainment, but stay for their inside knowledge of Augusta National (where David was a caddie). The pair have branched out into interviews–Kevin Kisner, Bob Parsons, John Peterson–which are well worth checking out too. Listen here.

Now, let’s take a look at some of what the the PGA Tours and Golf Channels of the world have under their umbrellas, as well as the rest of the colorful bouquet of golf golf-related podcasts that focus on everything from the intersection of golf and science to the intersection of Barstool Sports and golf.

From longstanding outlets

Talk of the Tour: While Mark Immelman’s “On the Mark” is good, on “Talk of the Tour” John Swantek “visits with a variety of players, writers, broadcasters, industry leaders and insiders from throughout the world of golf,” as the official description indicates. Given the Tour’s access and reach, the results don’t disappoint. Listen here.

Golf Channel Podcast: Is the title creative? No it is not. Is the podcast good? Yes it is. Not only does the whole range of on-air GC talent appear on occasion–Brandel Chamblee’s recent appearance was excellent, as was Tiger Tracker’s. Listen here.

Golf Digest Podcast: The folks at GD get top-notch (to quote Judge Smails) guests and turn out quality takes from a strong team of writers. Listen here.

European Tour’s Race to Dubai: Yes, turning the season-long points race into the title of a podcast is odd, but Robert Lee’s (not the Civil War general) podcast “features exclusive interviews with star names, incisive analysis of the latest action, all the key news and a light-hearted look at life on tour,” per the description. Listen here.

Matty & The Caddie: ESPN’s Matt Barrie and former comedian/current ESPN golf analyst Michael Collins join forces to interview both athletes and celebrities, inside and outside the ropes. Lately, the list of big name guests includes Golden Tate, Nick Faldo, Chris Webber, Joe Theismann, Alfonso Ribiero, Brian Urlacher, Joe Carter, George Lopez, Jack Nicklaus and more. Listen here.

Other ‘casts

No Laying Up: From Twitterers with day jobs to an upstart media outlet, NLU’s podcast was the tool that led to the merch, the features, and Soly, Tron and company’s other efforts. If you’re unfamiliar, start with the most recent episode (Justin Thomas) and work your way backward. You won’t regret it.

The Fried Egg Golf: Andy Johnson has become a force and a voice in the world of golf media in a very short period of time. While he and his guests do good work in discussing the pro game, Andy’s forte is golf course architecture, and he cooks up architecture discussions better than anyone in the podcast universe right now. Listen here.

Fore Play: Honestly, the iTunes description for Barstool’s golf pod is pretty good: “Trent, Riggs and their wide variety of guests talk about everything golf like normal folks sitting at a bar watching coverage, venting about the game’s difficulties, and weighing in on pro gossip. Your classic golf addicts, the “Fore Play” crew brings a young, unique voice to the rapidly-evolving game, discussing freely and openly everything golf.” Pretty much sums it up. Listen here (warning: explicit).

The Clubhouse with Shane Bacon: Mr. Salt-Cured Pork has had something of a come up, hasn’t he? The Fox hosting duties and more are well earned, as Bacon is a strong voice, and his network affiliation ensures a quality roster of guests. Listen here.

ShackHouse: Geoff Shackelford joins forces with “podcast personality” per the iTunes description, Joe House to “break down the biggest golf stories, interview some of the biggest personalities in the game.” Really, this show is all about Shack’s singular perspective. Listen here.

Feherty: I mean, what can you say? If you like David Feherty and his show, you’ll love his podcast (I do), because it is essentially his show. And if you don’t, you won’t. Listen here.

The Erik Lang Show: Ah, the singular Mr. Lang, who, doing things his own way, wrote his show description in the first person: “Hi! I’m Erik Anders Lang. I’ve worn a bunch of hats in this life from waiting tables, photography, doc filmmaking, hosting Adventures In Golf (PGA TOUR / Skratch TV) and now – a PODCAST! The Erik Lang Show is me pontificating on life, golf and travel.” Listen here.

Callaway ShipShow: Far from a content marketing gimmick, Callaway’s content marketing is, well, really good content. Harry Arnett’s “ShipShow” is kind of like the younger, goofier brother of “Callaway Live.” Billed as discussion about “compelling people, culture, narratives, and current events in golf,” the ShipShow is always a swashbuckling good time. Listen here.

Golf Science Lab: Cordie Walker pulls back the curtain and cuts through the hooey of the “mythology” of golf instruction and the game in general. He says he’s “making a difference in the way golf is taught, learned, and practiced,” and honestly, he’s not wrong. If you’re an instruction and improvement enthusiast, this is your ‘cast. Listen here.

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Opinion & Analysis

Do you know how to drop in 2019? Are you sure?

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Starting January 1, 2019, golfers will have to get used to the new Rules of Golf. Many changes were made to create the new rules, but one of the most important changes without any doubt are the dropping rules. You might say: “Come on, it’s easy! We just have to drop from knee height, right?” Well, it’s not that simple. There are quite a few other things you need to know, which I will clarify below.

Q1. What is “knee height” exactly?

“Knee height” means the height from the ground to your knee when in a standing position. 

Q2. So I cannot just kneel and thereby place the ball instead of dropping?

Good thinking… but no 🙂

Q3. What part of the knee do I have to drop from?

It’s not (at the moment) clarified which part of the knee is “the knee,” but there cannot be any doubt that you can drop from the whole knee.

—-o0o—-

FACTS: “CORRECT WAY TO DROP”

The 2019 Rules of Golf state that you are dropping the ball correctly if all these requirements are fulfilled:

  1. The player himself must drop the ball
  2. It must be dropped from knee height
  3. The player must not give it any spin, etc.
  4. Before the ball hits the ground, it must not touch any part of the player or the player’s equipment (e.g. his bag)
  5. It must be dropped in the relief area (the relief area is defined in the rule you are taking relief under), i.e. it must first touch the ground inside the relief area when dropped.

If just one of these requirements is not fulfilled, you are not considered to have dropped in a correct way. You must re-drop until you have dropped in a correct way (without any limit as to the number of re-drops).

If you play a ball not dropped in a correct way, you incur a one-stroke penalty — unless you played from outside the relief area, in which case you incur a two-stroke penalty in stroke play or lost hole in match play (see FACTS 2).

—-o0o—-

Q4. What is the penalty for not dropping from knee height?

You can and should correct your error before playing the ball. If you re-drop in a correct way, correcting your error, there is no penalty. If you don’t and make a stroke at the ball, you incur a one-stroke penalty (since you did not drop in a correct way). See “FACTS 1”.

Q5. What if I drop almost from knee height.

Well, as a starting point you have to drop from knee height. If you dont’t, you will have to correct your error by re-dropping correctly (see “FACTS 1″). 

There is a “I-did-my-best-so-please-don’t-penalize-me-rule” saying that when finding a “location,” you are not penalized for finding a wrong location if you made a reasonable judgment. It is for now not certain if this rule also encompasses a situation in which you don’t drop exactly from knee height simply because you cannot see that spot with certainty when looking down.

On one hand, you could argue that this interpretation would be in accordance with the spirit of this rule (don’t penalize a player doing his best). On the other hand, it seems that the knee cannot be that hard to find (!) and that a “location” probably must be interpreted as “a location on the golf course.” My conclusion would be that there is no excuse for not to being able to drop exactly from knee height, and thus this rule did not apply in this situation.

There is also a “naked-eye rule” saying that if the fact (here: the ball was not dropped from knee height) could not reasonable have been seen with the naked eye, the player is not penalized even though video evidence shows something different (i.e. that it in fact was not dropped exactly from knee height). In my opinion, this naked-eye rules is not applicable here, since a player will be said to be able to find the knee with a reasonable effort. 

So… in my opinion there is no excuse not to drop from knee height!

—-o0o—-

FACTS 2: RELIEF AREA.

A relief area is the area in which you have to drop (see “FACTS 1”) and in which your ball must end after a drop. 

Example: If you deem your ball in the rough unplayable, you can for example choose with a one-stroke penalty to drop a ball within two club lengths from — and not nearer the hole than — the spot where the ball lay. This area is called the “relief area.”

If your ball ends outside the relief area in your drop, your required action depends on whether or not you dropped in a correct way (see “FACTS 1”). 

  1. If you did not drop in a correct way: You must re-drop again (without penalty) without any limitations as to the number of re-drops until you have dropped in a correct way. 
  2. If you did drop in a correct way: The player must re-drop (in a correct way!) a ball one time (without penalty). If the ball still ends outside the relief area, the player must then (without penalty) place a ball on the spot where the dropped ball first touched the ground in the re-drop. If he player does that, no penalty is incurred. If he does not but plays a ball from outside the relief area, he plays from a wrong place thereby incurring a two-stroke penalty in stroke play or a loss of hole in match play.

—-o0o—-

Q7. Who should drop the ball?

Only the player can drop the ball. Not the caddie, not other players, not anyone else! See “FACTS 1”.

Q8. What is the penalty if your ball strikes your bag or yourself in the drop?

The answer depends on when it happens (i.e. when it strikes you or your equipment):

  1. If it happens before the ball strikes the ground: There is no penalty presupposing that you re-drop before you play the ball. You have to re-drop no matter how many drops it takes for you not to strike your bag or yourself. If you don’t re-drop and play the ball, you incur a one-stroke penalty.
  2. If it happens after the ball has struck the ground: There is no penalty, and you shall not re-drop.

Q9. Where must I drop?

You must drop in the “relief area,” which is defined in the rule you are dropping under. If you declare your ball unplayable, for example, then one of the options is to drop within two club length – not nearer the hole – than where the ball lay. This area is the “relief area” in which:

  1. Your ball must land in the drop (see “FACTS 1”) and
  2. Must end (See “FACTS 2”)

Q10. What if I drop from shoulder height?

That probably will happen quite a few times in the beginning of 2019. In this case, you are not dropping in a correct way, and you must re-drop without penalty before you make the stroke. See “FACTS 1.”

Q11. When do I have to re-drop?

The re-dropping rules are simplified. Under the current rules, there are a lot of situations where you are required to re-drop, e.g. when the ball rolls closer to the hole than the nearest point of relief, when the ball rolls into a bunker (and stays there), when the ball rolls more than two club lengths from where it first struck the course, etc. These rules are quite difficult.

In 2019, it gets easier. You have to drop in a “relief area,” and the balls needs to end it that area. If you drop outside this area or if the ball rolls and stays outside this area, you are required to re-drop. See “FACTS 1” and “FACTS 2.”

Q12. Do I have to re-drop (as it is today) if the ball rolls more than two club lengths away from the spot that the ball first struck the course in the drop?

First of all, in 2019 there is not such a “two-club-length rule.” The re-dropping rules are explained in “FACTS 1” and in “FACTS 2” above. 

  • If you take relief (e.g. from a path) and must drop within one club length (of the nearest point of point of complete relief), you will always have to re-drop if it rolls more than 2 club lengths (since the relief area is exactly two club-lengths long measured from the two points farthest from each other). 
  • If you drop after a rule requiring you to drop within two club lengths, sometimes you must re-drop if the ball rolls more than two club lenths and sometimes not. The only thing that matters is that the ball must be dropped in the relief area (see “FACTS 1”) and must end in the relief area (see “FACTS 2”). Otherwise, it must be re-dropped.

Q13. I have a bad back and therefore I cannot take my arm down far enough to be able to drop from knee height. What do I do?

I don’t know. My guess would be this: A player who cannot drop from knee-height due to back-problems most likely cannot play golf at all. In other words, a player able to play golf will almost always be able to drop the ball from knee height.

In the extremely rare situations where a player cannot drop from knee height but can play a round of golf, there is a “do-what-is-fair-rule” stating that in situations not covered by the Rules of Golf, you should do what is fair. Maybe that would lead to the conclusion that it was OK for a player to drop from a place higher than knee height (e.g. just from the position the arm is when it is stretched and relaxed alongside the leg).

Q14. Is a taller player going to drop the ball from a higher place than a lower player?

Yes!

Q15. Isn’t that unreasonable?!

Well, that’s for you to decide 🙂 Who said that the 2019-Rules of Golf where easy to understand?

Rules Mentioned in Article

  • 14-3: Dropping the ball
  • 20-2c: “Naked-eye-rule”
  • 1.3b(2): “Reasonable-judgment-rule”
  • 20.3: “Do-what-is-fair-rule (when the situation is not covered by the rules).
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Opinion & Analysis

How to qualify for the U.S. Amateur (in-depth statistical analysis and tutorial)

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This is a follow-up of sorts to an article that I published on GolfWRX in May 2017: A Modern Blueprint to Breaking 80.  

With the U.S. Amateur concluding at iconic Pebble Beach last weekend, I thought of the many amateurs out there who would love to one day qualify for this prestigious event. Personally, I made it to the State Amateur level, but work and life got in the way and I never made it to the next step. For those who aspire or wonder, here’s an outline of what your game should look like if you want to qualify for the U.S. Amateur.

Scoring

To start with, your USGA Index needs to be 2.4 or lower to even attempt to qualify. If your course is rated 71.5/130*, the best 10 of your most recent 20 scores should average 74.3. This score will adjust slightly up if your course is rated more difficult, and slightly down if it’s rated less difficult. For the purposes of this article, I’m assuming the average course and slope rating above.

*Note: 71.5/130 is the average rating of courses played by single digit handicap golfers in the ShotByShot.com database of 340,000 rounds.

Your average scores by par type will be:

  • Par 3:  3.21
  • Par 4:  4.20
  • Par 5:  4.86

The Fastest and Easiest Way to Lower Your Scores

Every round is a mix of good shots, average shots and bad shots/errors. The challenge is to determine which piece of your game’s unique puzzle is your greatest weakness in order to target your improvement efforts on the highest impact area. If you track the simple good and bad outcomes listed below for a few rounds, your strengths and weaknesses will become apparent.

Tee Game or Driving 

Goals: Hit EIGHT fairways and limit your driving errors to ONE, with the majority being the less costly “No Shot errors” (more on this later).

Distance: I will ignore this and assume you’re maximizing distance as best you can without sacrificing accuracy.

Fairways: Hitting fairways is crucial, as we are all statistically significantly more accurate from the short grass.

Errors: Far more important than Fairways Hit, however, is the FREQUENCY and SEVERITY of misses. To help golfers understand the weaknesses in their game, my golf analysis program allows users to record and categorize the THREE types of Driving Errors: 

  1. No Shot: You have missed in a place from which you do not have a normal next shot and require some sort of advancement to get the ball back to normal play.
  2. Penalty: A 1-stroke penalty due to hazard or unplayable lie.
  3. Lost/OB: Stroke and distance penalty. 

Approach Shots 

Goals:  ELEVEN GIRs and ONE penalty/2nd             

Penalty/2nd:  This means either a penalty or a shot hit so poorly that you are left with yet another full approach shot from greater than 50 yards of the hole.

The chart below displays the typical array of Approach Shot opportunities from the fairway (75 percent fall in the 100 to 200-yard range). The 150 to 175-yard range tends to be the most frequent distance for golfers playing the appropriate distance golf course for their game.

Short Game (defined as shots from within 50 yards of the hole)

Chip/Pitch: If you miss 7 greens, you will have 6 green-side save opportunities. Your goals should be:

  • Percentage of shots to within 5 feet: 40 percent
  • Percentage of Saves: 47 percent (3)
  • Percentage of Errors (shots that miss the green):  6 percent, or approximately 1 in 17 attempts.

Sand: You should have 1 of these green-side save opportunities. Your goals: 

  • Percentage of shots to within 8 feet: 35 percent
  • Percentage Saves: 32 percent
  • Percentage of Errors (shots that miss the green): 13 percent, or approximately 1 in 8 attempts.

Putting: You need just over 31 putts.  Aim for:

  • 1-Putts: 6
  • 3-Putts: 1

The chart below displays the percentage of 1-Putts you will need to make by distance, as well as the typical array of first-putt opportunities by distance. Note that 62 percent of your first-putt opportunities will fall in the 4 to 20-foot range. Adjust your practice efforts accordingly!

Good luck, and please let me know if and when you are successful.

For a complete Strokes Gained Analysis of your game, log on to ShotByShot.com and sign up for a 1-round free trial.

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