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Report: Tiger Woods, golfer and course designer, looking good in Mexico

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Move over, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, and Smylie Kaufman, the Big Cat is in Mexico. Woods was in Cabo San Lucas not to party and play barefoot golf, but rather to visit his newly opened 12-hole short course, The Oasis.

Golfweek’s Bradley S. Klein was on site at Diamana, and he reported Woods was relaxed, congenial, pain-free by all appearances, and putting on a traj display during an hour-long clinic

At one point, Woods flubbed a couple of wedge shots. “Uh oh, another slump,” he joked. Aside from this, however, Klein reports Woods looked like he had all the shots and the top-tier swing speed he showcased at the Hero World Challenge.

Klein’s piece is well worth a read in full, but this passage about the synchronicity between Woods’ approach to playing tournament golf and the task of a golf course designer is particularly interesting.

“In a way that has never been fully appreciated, Woods has a level of mental acuity upon which he can draw even while under tournament pressure. He says he thinks of golf “as a form of chess.” He thinks strategically, working backwards from the green to the fairway to the tee shot and plotting his way around the tract accordingly. It’s the kind of mapping that entails both precision and feel. It’s also how an architect works his way through a routing.”

The point is a good one: Woods is well-suited to design courses, and he’s shown an impressive level of innovation in his short-course designs and philosophical approach to his projects.

Unlike most players-turned-designers not named Ben Crenshaw, Woods work once he puts his Sunday red shirt in mothballs for good will be worth watching.

However, as Klein reported, and as we saw at the Hero World Challenge, it doesn’t look like that time is now. Let’s be grateful for that fact.

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  1. Keith

    Dec 18, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Diamante…not Diamana

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19th Hole

Junior golfer penalized for using rangefinder in tournament…from 40 yards

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Unlike most junior competitions, rangefinder use is not permitted at this week’s Junior Invitational at Sage Valley. Akshay Bhatia forgot this and paid the price.

Facing a pitch shot from short of the green at Sage Valley’s par-5 fourth hole, Bhatia busted out his rangefinder and shot the pin, determining that he was 40 yards away. His next determination: He just made a big mistake, forgetting that the devices were not permitted at the Invitational.

Kids these days! Too reliant on technology and all that. 40 yards away, come on! But really, it’s an unfortunate error. The pro move, obviously, is not to even have the rangefinder in the bag. Bhatia, just 16, received this wisdom the hard way.

“I knew I couldn’t use a rangefinder, but I decided to take it out for some reason and use it… It’s my fault. I should’ve taken it out of the golf bag (before the round). It sucks, but I’m grateful I’m still in this position and not disqualified.” said Bhatia, per Golfweek.

Bhatia was hit with a two-shot penalty for the violation, carding a double-bogey seven on the hole accordingly. However, he still managed to tally a four-under 68 for his opening round and was tied for the lead after the first day of competition.

Coaches would be better equipped to dive deep into this one, but there are a couple of angles to approach range finder use from 40 yards out in general. However, I’ll say this. While it’s easy to say, “What the hell do you need a rangefinder from 40 yards for?” Here are a few more thoughts.

  1. Bhatia may stick to a fixed pre-shot routine on drives and approaches. The rangefinder use may be part of that. Thus, he erroneously pressed play on his usual routine before realizing his error.
  2. If Bhatia only uses a rangefinder situationally, it’s worth saying that an awkward third-shot yardage at a par-5 is a situation where you may want to get an exact yardage…it’s not like he was 11 yards out or something.
  3. Maybe he’s of the Dave Pelz-ian school and “timed wedges,” in which case he’d want the exact number, rather than merely feeling the distance for a 60-degree wedge shot, etc.

I don’t know, GolfWRXers, what do you think?

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GolfWRX members weigh in on the best swings on the PGA Tour

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Who has the best swing on the PGA Tour? On the one hand, the answer is Dustin Johnson, as he’s the No. 1 player in the world, right? Of course, golf fans banter about the “best” swing on the PGA Tour over beers in the grill room, they’re usually talking about technical soundness and aesthetics more than results.

It’s in this vein that GolfWRX members schley started a thread asking the forum faithful for their picks for the three best swings on Tour. For his part, shcley says Ernie Els, Adam Scott, and Louis Oosthuizen.

GatorMD says: Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen

SASSpeeder says: Louis Oosthuizen, Luke List, Ernie Els

Bladehunter says: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson

Oz dee cee says: Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Louis Oosthuizen

Bye says: Charl Schwartzel, Adam Scott, Justin Thomas

What do you think of these responses, GolfWRX members? Just a sample from the first 20 or so, obviously, and there are plenty more perspectives in the thread.

Who are your top three, GolfWRXers?

 

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Study: Amateur golfers are actually hitting it shorter than they were 3 years ago

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While the USGA’s distance report found a “concerning” increase in driving distances at the professional level, a new report from Arccos Golf — Mike Stachura of Golf Digest got the exclusive on its study —  identifies a very different trend at the amateur level. The golf GPS and statistics-tracking app found that the average golfer’s average drive decreased from 220.6 yards in 2015 to 217.1 yards in 2018.

Before we go crazy, however, it’s worth pointing out that we’re only four months into 2018 and the golf season hasn’t even started in much of the country. Thus, it probably makes more sense to look at the average golfers’ average drives from 2017, which measured 220.0 yards — a difference of a little more than half of a yard since 2015, rather than more than three yards, as the 2018 number suggests.

Again, maybe the trend for 2018 will continue, but it seems inappropriate to draw far reaching conclusions based on the “220.6” number.

Nevertheless, if we assume Arccos’ data is representative and statistically significant, then it would be, at the very least, a bold check in the “yes” column for bifurcation/not limiting the golf ball at the amateur level.

However (again, assuming data derived from Arccos users is representative of all golfers), the findings beget another question: Why are amateurs, equipped with the latest and greatest technologies that Iron Byron and his robotic colleagues are crushing past previous years’ models, stagnant in the distance department?

Stachura points to a Club Champion study showing that an average increase of 11 yards after fitting, that the drivers of 2018 go an average of six yards farther than the drivers of 2012.

Nick Clearwater, Director of Instruction for Golftec, strikes a similar tone

“It’s likely that many golfers used in the data are still using five-plus-year-old drivers as well and most don’t get fit for their equipment to benefit from the advancements. The average golfer uses too much spin loft with all of their clubs, so increases in tech still show minimal improvement in the quality of the shot. The shots still start to the right, spin too much and are mishit.”

This may be true, but for distances to decrease, golfers would have to be hitting new equipment that’s ill-suited for them, not merely sticking with the same drivers they were hitting in 2015.

Those with skeptical inclinations toward the benefits of new equipment, particularly $400 drivers, will assuredly have a field day with this data, and OEMs will be keen to emphasize the importance of fitting. They’ll also be quick to point out we have no idea what drivers the Arccos sample set is/was playing.

If, again, we assume the data to be accurate and representative, the USGA would look foolish if they advise a rollback of the golf ball for amateurs.

The amateur golfers in question will want to visit a qualified fitter or take part in a demo day with a buffet of options before shelling out for a new big stick, which is the advice we give in conjunction with Gear Trials (and the same reccomendation we’ve offered for years).

What do you think about this data, GolfWRX members?

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