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GolfWRX Morning 9: DeChambeau apologizes | Giving Tom Watson his due | Molinari’s interesting practice

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

July 31, 2018

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans. Based on your feedback (thanks for the kind words as well!), we’ll be reverting to the ole’ bold n’ bulleted formatting. Also, a PSA for those of you in non-tropical environments: It’s the end of July already. Get out there and play some golf!
1. DeChambeau apologizes briefly for brief handshake
Bryson DeChambeau on Instagram: “Tough finish today at the @peo_18, but overall I had a great week in Hamburg. Thank you to Porsche European Open for having me. A terrific golf course with great support from the fans. I apologize to Richard McEvoy and the fans for my brevity on 18. He is a class act, worthy champion and I enjoyed playing with him the past two days.”
Fair enough, DeChambeau has apologized, or at least, he’s used the word “apologize.” While it’s hardly yellow roses and a multi-paragraph handwritten card, it’s a mea culpa nevertheless.
2. Control yourself
Continuing on the same subject, Randall Mell sounded off on Mr. DeChambeau.
“The greatest rivalry in golf is emotion vs. intellect.”
  • “It’s an ongoing battle waged around the world, from scruffy munis in men’s and women’s recreational leagues to the space between the ears of the greatest players who ever teed it up.”
  • “When we see the worst of emotion trump intellect, we tend to remember it a long time.”
  • “Hearing F-bombs, seeing drivers helicoptering into ponds, or wedges snapped across knees, we cringe watching from afar.”
  • Welcome to the highlight reels, Bryson DeChambeau…DeChambeau’s meltdown on the driving range at Carnoustie during The Open was epic. If you haven’t already seen the video, check it out here. It was a rousing reminder that even the world’s best players can feel as if the’re losing their minds trying to fix their swings. DeChambeau looked as if he were going to be fitted for a strait jacket before getting his arms into a green jacket.”
  • “DeChambeau’s collapse at the end of the European Open in Germany Sunday was another reminder.”
  • “The gentleman’s game won’t be so gentlemanly if lowlights trump highlights among the game’s best young players. DeChambeau will figure that out.”
3. Bravo, Tom Watson
John Feinstein dedicates some ink to a subject we ought to have paid more attention to over the weekend: Tom Watson’s Senior Open play.
  • “The reason for his absence was simple-and sad: His wife, Hilary, has been battling cancer. There was no way he was leaving her side during chemo and radiation treatments that began last fall. Only during respites in her treatment-at her urging-did he play.”
  • “A few weeks ago, Hilary Watson completed yet another painful round of chemo, this time in Houston. Still, she wanted her husband to play at St. Andrews, a golf course and a place he loves. It was at St. Andrews three years ago that Watson said farewell to the Open Championship-an event he won five times.”
  • “Remarkably, Watson opened the Senior Open (which he’s won three times) by shooting 69 on Thursday, missing shooting his age by one shot. Then, on Friday, he DID shoot his age-68-and found himself two shots out of the lead after 36 holes.”
  • “Watson went out in 33 on Saturday and actually held the lead at 10 under par. For all golf media’s yammering six days earlier when Tiger Woods briefly led a few miles away at Carnoustie, this would have been a story for the ages-not just because of Watson’s age, but because of the hell he and Hilary have been through since last October, when she was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.”
4. Another sponsor’s exemption for Steph
“Back-to-back” continues to be a theme in Steph Curry’s life. The Golden State Warriors point guard, who won his second NBA title in a row this year, will make his second appearance at the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic in August.
  • The Web.com Tour announced today that Curry has accepted a sponsor’s exemption into the event. While he missed the cut, Curry’s performance last year was impressive: he shot two rounds of 74 and finished 148th in the 156-man field at TPC Stonebrae.
  • “The players on the Web.com Tour welcomed me with open arms in 2017, and it was an amazing experience to play with up-and-coming PGA Tour stars inside the ropes at TPC Stonebrae,” Curry said in a statement issued on Monday.
  • “I have been fortunate to be a member of an incredible team in the Golden State Warriors, and I was elated to feel that same level of camaraderie onsite last year. Golf is a game that has provided wonderful experiences in my life, and I am excited to return to the Ellie Mae Classic in August.”
5. If it works for him…
Golf Digest’s Sam Weinman discusses Francesco Molinari’s practice methods…”The answer could have been found in the Italian’s work with performance coach Dave Alred, who has stressed to Molinari the value of practice sessions that most closely resemble the strains of competition.”
  • “As Alred relayed to the Wall Street Journal’s Brian Costa, the objective was to force Molinari to practice as if something was at stake. It isn’t enough to mindlessly hit balls at a target, but instead try to execute under a degree of pressure that more closely resembles tournament play. For instance, Costa writes, prior to the start of Molinari’s final round, the golfer was required to make eight 5-foot putts from various parts of the green in as few attempts as possible. He did it in nine.”
  • “I don’t see the point of hitting a golf shot in practice without being accountable, given that every shot in competition, you’re accountable in a round,” Alred told Costa. “As a behavior, it doesn’t make sense to me.”
  • “Alred’s inventive practice routines borrow somewhat from the teachings of Robert Bjork, an influential psychology professor who has championed something known as “interleaving practice.” We’ve discussed this concept before in exploring the optimal ways to groove a golf swing. If the conventional way to practice was to hit ball after ball with one club until you feel like you’ve got it down, Bjork’s interleaving practice says your brain retains information better when it’s forced to adapt from one type of swing to another.”
  • “So rather than hit a bunch of 7-irons in a row, you’d instead bounce from 7-iron to driver to wedge, and then back to 7-iron. That the way we play golf anyway, and in Bjork’s estimation, it’s the way your brain re-calibrates every time it makes a new swing that better ingrains patterns.”
6. Ryder Cup bubble boys
Nick Menta points out that Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau are on the Ryder Cup bubble.
  • “Only two weeks remain before the close of automatic qualifying to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team, with two notable names just outside the cut-off.”
  • “Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson occupy the ninth and 10th spots, respectively, on the U.S. points list.”
  • “The top eight players on the list at the end of the PGA Championship in two weeks guarantee themselves a trip to France this September, as the U.S. team looks to win on European soil for the first time since 1993.”
  • “While still a strong contender for a captain’s pick, DeChambeau would have done a lot to secure his place on team had he put away the European Open this past weekend. Although the event did not award U.S. Ryder Cup points, it would have marked his second worldwide win in as many months. Instead, DeChambeau played his final four holes in 5 over, putting three balls in the water and showing outward signs of frustration during the collapse.”
7. The sendoff it deserves
Derek Lawrenson of the Daily Mail bemoans the end of the Firestone era.
  • “Next year the tournament is moving to the Deep South, and the sweat bath of Memphis, which might make sense to the new sponsor FedEx, whose headquarters are located in Elvis-land. In pure golfing terms, however, it is nothing less than an act of wanton vandalism.”
  • “At least we’re saying so long to Firestone with a tournament to savour. Thank goodness Tiger made it – the world’s top 50 are eligible, and Woods is 50th – for it would have added to the sadness given he owned the place for a decade.”
8. Improvement hacks for the time poor golfer
The good folks at GLT golf put together eight improvement hacks for those of us who are pressed for time (i.e. everyone).
  • A taste…”Game Hack 1 – 20:20 Range Practice…Let us introduce you to 20:20. No, we aren’t talking about vision, although we can see how you’d make that mistake. 20:20 is an easy drill I learned from Motor Learning Expert, Dr. Tim Lee. So, why is it called 20:20? Thought you’d never ask.”
  • “Take 20 golf balls, then allocate 20 minutes. There’s your 20:20. Make each golf ball last 1 minute, which gives you time to have practice swings, pick a target, shot type or even a different club. The actual change you select doesn’t matter too much, but the thinking involved does.”
  • “Physical Hack 1 – Train Your Swing at Home…As analysis tools become more mobile, it’s now obvious that we unconsciously adapt our movement mechanics to suit the lie, slope, wind, desired trajectory, and outcome. This is good for scoring but bad for training a new pattern.”
  • “If you are trying to make a swing change, it’s best to do most of it away from the course without that distracting white object tempting you back into old habits. Training your new move with feedback allows for quality control and no incentive to make your old move.”
9. The curious case of Mr. Jimenez’ sunglasses
Miguel Angel Jimenez–Lacoste polo, bespoke shoes–is always nattily attired. But this, well, Jimenez has either hit upon the future of golf fashion or offered us a sign of the apocalypse. The Spaniard was spotted at the Senior Open (which he won…which begs the question…) rocking sunglasses…under his hat.
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Morning 9: Spiething again? | Daly requests cart for The Open | Ben Hogan doc coming

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

May 24, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Finau leads, Spieth 1 back at Colonial
AP report…”If Jordan Spieth is going to end a victory drought that’s approaching two years, he picked a good place to give himself a chance.”
  • “Spieth opened with a 5-under 65 at the Charles Schwab Challenge on Thursday in his second Texas homecoming in three weeks — coming off his best finish of the season at the PGA Championship — and trailed Tony Finau by one shot. Roger Sloan joined Spieth in the tie for second.”
  • “Back when he was collecting trophies regularly three years ago, Spieth won on the cozy course made famous by Ben Hogan, and that was between a pair of second-place finishes in Fort Worth. So when it comes to feeling good about his game, Spieth’s in the right place, just a few miles from his hometown of Dallas.”
2. Meanwhile, at Oak Hill
AP report…”Scott Parel took advantage of ideal scoring conditions Thursday morning to shoot a 4-under 66 and take the first-round lead in the weather-delayed Senior PGA Championship.”
  • “The gusting afternoon wind, which buffeted flags and shook hospitality tents across Oak Hill Country Club’s East Course, hadn’t yet fully arrived when Parel closed with birdies on the par-4 17th and 18th. Retief Goosen, Marco Dawson and Ken Tanigawa were a stroke back.”
  • “The round was completed just before 9 p.m., about a half-hour after the sun set, and 14 hours after the first group teed off. The long day was the result of late-morning thunderstorms that caused a delay of 2 hours, 15 minutes.”
3. Bronte!
And another AP report…“Bronte Law chipped in for eagle on the par-5 third hole and shot a 6-under 65 on Thursday for a share of the lead in the Pure Silk Championship with Anna Nordqvist and Jennifer Song.”
  • “Law added a birdie on the par-4 seventh – her 16th hole in a bogey-free round at windy Kingsmill Resort.”
  • ”Started finding myself with a good score. Nothing more to it,” Law said. ”On days like this when it’s windy just got to keep grinding all day, take the chances when they come.”
4. Finau’s grip switch paying dividends…
Tony Finau is in the grips of the claw…
PGATour.com’s Mike McAllister with Finau’s remarks…
  • “It’s something that I’ve kind of been thinking,” said Finau, who entered this week ranked T-100 in Strokes Gained: Putting this season. “It’s an itch I wanted to scratch … To me, it was just perfect time. … If I feel like something is better, I’m not afraid to change, no matter the results.”
  • “In truth, the move to the claw may not be as dramatic as it seemed. Finau said he often has practiced with the claw in order to make sure his left hand is in the proper position.”
  • “I’m left-hand dominant when I roll the stick,” he explained. “I used to putt cross-handed for about five years. Been putting conventionally now for a couple years.
  • “But I just wanted to switch it up. I haven’t been putting great … Standing over the ball, the most important thing is, do you feel like you’re going to make the putt or not? Outside of everything else, do you believe you can make the putt?
5. Strong start for (Edoardo) Molinari…
After 1 in Denmark…
  • “Edoardo Molinari will take a share of the lead into day two of the Made in Denmark presented by FREJA after high winds made scoring tricky in round one at Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort.”
  • “The three time European Tour winner had got to seven under but, as the winds increased, he gave up two late bogeys to sign for a 66 and a share of the lead at five under alongside Spaniard Alejandro Cañizares and English trio Tom Murray, Matthew Southgate and Paul Waring.”
  • “Defending champion Matt Wallace – fresh off finishing third at the US PGA Championship – was in the group at four under, with 46 players within three shots of the lead.”

Full European Tour report.

 

6. Ben Hogan doc
Geoff Shackelford discusses the upcoming Golf Channel documentary about the Hawk…
  • “Producer Israel DeHerrera kindly let me screen parts of Hogan knowing my affinity for all things Ben Hogan and research into the Hawk’s Los Angeles years. All I can say: it’s the film you hoped would be delivered on Hogan’s incredible life and times.”
  • And a bit of the press release…
  • “Hogan (trailer), a two-part biopic on 64-time PGA TOUR winner Ben Hogan chronicles one of the greatest comeback stories in sports history, reflecting on the Texan’s indelible impact on professional golf in spite of a near-fatal automobile accident that put the prime years of his career in serious jeopardy. Coming from humble beginnings, the film examines Hogan’s incredible journey to becoming one of the greatest golfers of all-time, serving as the inspiration for the 1951 motion picture “Follow the Sun”. Being presented with limited commercial interruption by Charles Schwab, Hogan’s two parts – Monday night’s “Perseverance” and Tuesday night’s “Perfection” – will be narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor Kyle Chandler, and be produced for GOLF Films by 13-time Emmy Award winner Israel DeHerrera.”
7. Monahan talks gambling again
Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge…
  • “Speaking at the Sports Business Awards Wednesday night, Monahan implied the Tour is working on new gambling developments that will be announced by the end of the year.
  • We’ve spent a lot of time over the last two and a half years clearly understanding all of our options and getting ourselves in a position where we can participate,” Monahan said. “Participate with the right partners, and participate in a way that we think resonates with fans. Without getting in front of it, I think you can expect to hear developments from us in the second half of this year.”
  • “The Tour has been testing an upgraded version of its data system called ShotLink Plus, according to Sport Techie, and Monahan has already announced a deal with IMG Arena to distribute data directly to betting operators.”
8. Daly requests cart for Open
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”After driving his way around Bethpage Black last week, John Daly has submitted another request to use a cart when The Open heads to Royal Portrush this summer.”
  • “Daly petitioned the PGA of America under the Americans with Disabilities Act for the use of a cart at last week’s PGA Championship, citing his ailing right knee. While a similar request for the U.S. Senior Open was denied last summer by the USGA, he was approved by the PGA and used a cart en route to rounds of 75-76 and a missed cut on Long Island.”
  • “We have received a request from John Daly to use a buggy at The Open, and it is currently under consideration,” said an R&A spokesperson.
9. Heckuva putting performance
Golf Digest’s Alex Myers points out that…“Starting on Colonial’s back nine, Spieth was four under through eight holes before a double bogey on No. 18. But while big numbers have been derailing the 25-year-old Texan all season, he rallied to make four more birdies (against one bogey) on the back nine, including one on his final hole after knocking an approach shot to six feet on the par-4 ninth.
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Tony Finau goes to the claw grip; fires a 64 to take the early lead at Colonial CC

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Tony Finau tied his lowest round of the year on Thursday at the Charles Schwab Challenge, and the impressive opening was fueled by a move to the claw grip on the greens.

Finau’s 64 has put him on top of the leaderboard after day one at Colonial Country Club, and after his opening round, Finau explained to reporters the reason behind the change-up on the greens this week, stating

“I just wanted to switch it up. I haven’t been putting great I feel like, and standing over the ball the most important thing is do you feel like you’re going to make the putt or not. Outside of everything else, do you believe you can make the putt? So for me, I needed to switch something.”

The switch proved very effective on Thursday, as Finau gained over three strokes on the greens on a day where the American managed to hit just three fairways in total.

Finau previously used the cross-hand technique on the greens earlier in his career for a period of five years, but this is the first time the 29-year-old has made the change to the claw grip in tournament action despite using the technique at times on the practice green.

Sitting T100 for strokes gained: putting this season, Finau told the media on Thursday that the time was right for a change this week at Colonial CC, saying

“But I just wanted to switch it up. I haven’t been putting great. I needed to switch something. Decided to try the claw today and it worked out. If I feel like something is better, I’m not afraid to change no matter the results. I’ve been playing OK. I feel like it was just time. Like I said, I think it was just time to scratch that itch and see how it goes.”

Finau begins his second round of the Charles Schwab Challenge today at 12.44 PM ET alongside Brian Harmon and Patton Kizzire.

 

 

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Morning 9: What clubs would a mid-handicap hit at a major? | NCAA Women’s champs | Marty Jertson speaks

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

May 23, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. What clubs would a mid-handicap hit at a major?
Cool stuff from Golf Digest’s E. Michael Johnson…
  • “A USGA study once suggested that average golfers only hit the green from the rough 13 percent of the time. But that was data collected at a resort course, not major championship rough. It’s probably safe to say that the average chopper would never hit the green from the rough at any distance that required a full swing. Indeed, Cobra Connect’s data from Arccos shows that an Average Joe hits the green only a third of the time with only his 8- and 9-iron and his wedges, clubs he’d only be using on Bethpage Black’s two par 5s. Maybe.”
  • “In fact, according to the numbers, he would only hit the green on about one in four chances with his 6- and 7-irons, one in six chances with his 5-iron, one in eight chances with his 4-iron and just one in 10 chances with a 3-hybrid. And about that 3-wood? According to the numbers, the average golfer’s GIR percentage with that club, as they say, has no grade point average.”
  • “All of those missed greens (and the attendant tragic golf despair and perhaps some measure of physical injury) then would be compounded further by plenty of around-the-green misadventures and misplays. Arccos data suggests the average 15-handicap gets up and down less than one in five times. Furthering this ugliness would be all those 3-putts, which Arccos data suggests might happen on at least four holes a round, particularly at major championship speeds.”
An example of the calculations…
1st hole, par 4, 430 yards
Koepka: Driver, half-lob wedge
Average Joe: Driver, 3-wood
2nd hole, par 4, 389 yards
Koepka: 4-iron, gap wedge
Average Joe: Driver, 6-iron
2. NCAA Women’s champs
Golfweek’s Adam Woodard with the report…“For the seventh time in program history, Duke is the 2019 NCAA Div. I Women’s Golf National Champion after defeating Wake Forest 3-2 in an all-ACC final match at Blessings Golf Club.”
  • “I couldn’t feel more proud than I do right now,” said Duke head coach Dan Brooks. “We’ve had a tough team all year long and they were tough this week.”
  • “It was Duke’s anchor, Ana Belac, who put the first point on the board in the national championship match. The Blue Devil junior defeated Wake Forest freshman Vanessa Knecht 5&3 to give Duke the early lead.”
3. A confident Spieth following PGA
Golfweek’s Steve Dimeglio…”His history bodes well as Spieth seeks his 12th PGA Tour title. And his solid performance in last week’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black restored some much sought after confidence and has him energized at Colonial.”
  • “This is the best I’ve felt in quite a while. I’m very happy,” Spieth said after he tied for third in the PGA Championship, six shots behind victor Brooks Koepka.
  • “…But on a course that favored bangers like Koepka and fellow Bash Brother Dustin Johnson, who finished second, Spieth rode four days of strong putting and worthy iron play to get into contention on the weekend.”
  • “I knew that it was unlikely on this golf course that I was going to have a chance to win, and that’s a humbling feeling for me,” Spieth said. “But I knew that if I played the course the right way, had the right mentality, kept putting the way I’ve been putting, that I would be in it and having a chance to make some noise.
4. Oak Hill weather
AP Report…“It didn’t take long for Jay Haas to be reminded of how gusting winds can wreak havoc on players attempting to navigate the narrow fairways of Oak Hill Country Club’s East Course.”
  • ‘”Got here on Sunday night and played nine holes Monday, and it was blowing, what, 25, 30 (miles per hour),” Haas said with a laugh Wednesday, a day before the Senior PGA Championship opens.’
  • “In some ways, the 65-year-old’s experience was no different than his previous visit to the Rochester suburbs 11 years ago. That’s when Haas overcame frigid conditions, heavy wind gusts and a one-stroke final-round deficit to finish with a 7-over 287 and win his second Senior PGA title.”
5. Johnny’s back
Our Gianni Magliocco...”Johnny Miller is back sharing his opinions on the game on Callaway’s new podcast: Real Golf Talk, which aired its first episode today (listen here on Soundcloud).”
  • “The longtime NBC golf announcer retired from broadcasting earlier this year, but Miller now features alongside avid golfer and television host Chris Harrison on the podcast, which will air six episodes in 2019 and eight in future seasons.”
6. Marty speaks!
Good stuff from PGATour.com’s Andrew Tursky talking with Ping’s (now legendary?) Marty Jertson…
  • Tursky: “Can you describe how tough the conditions were on the weekend, and put those weekend rounds into perspective? Like, what would say a 5-handicap shoot out there?”
  • Jertson: “Oh man. My caddie and I were talking about that a lot… ‘What would a scratch golfer shoot? What would a 5-handicap shoot out there?’ Let me put it this way: We had a hard time finding the golf balls in the rough with an army of spotters. So if you played by the real rules of golf where you had 3 minutes to look for your golf ball and you put a 5-handicapper out there, no joke I think they would shoot – if they followed the textbook rules – they would shoot 120 or more, because they would be losing so many golf balls in the rough and you only have 3 minutes to find it. Yeah, it was brutal. The ultimate test of precision and accuracy in terms of… you had to hit it both long and straight. You couldn’t do one or the other. You had to have both. That’s why I think some of the commentators and whatnot really like that style of golf.”
7. GolfWRX chats with Ryan Palmer
JN: Do you have a home field advantage here at Colonial?
RP: To a point, I guess. Obviously, I have played this golf course in every type of wind. I mean, I know certain holes play shorter than they are. So, a little bit of an advantage because I don’t put much stress into the golf course itself. I just know it. And of course, James, my caddie, knows it. And that is nice. But I do put more pressure on myself because I want to play well here
  • JN: What are your thoughts on not having a full bag club sponsorship?
  • RP: It is just a matter of playing with what I like. When I first got on tour, you would sign a full deal and it was pretty good. Now you are signing for balls and all 14 clubs. I love the Taylor Made driver but they cut out the driver only deals. They went just full line. Fortunately, with the help of Mike Chisholm and Chisholm Sports, I have some great corporate partners. United Rentals, a great deal with Unisys, RBC. I am able to have these corporate sponsors allow me to play what I want. I made some comments like ‘two hundred grand is not worth an equipment contract on tour because of what you can make that week.’
  • So, I got ribbed a little bit for making that comment but honestly it is not worth it in today’s game. We play for so much money now each and every week that by the time you get a $200,000 deal, you’re paying taxes and management, at the end of the day its worth a top 20-finish. And then you have to play those clubs all year long, whether you like them or not. So now I can play whatever putter or iron or driver I want. I am only under contract with ball, shoes and gloves. Footjoy and Titleist. I test and I tinker now and then but I always go back to what I have performed with in the past. I stand over a tee shot and I think, I know I hit this driver this way at this tournament at this particular moment. Why would I change?
8. Why it was great: Bridgestone’s J33R driver
For your viewing pleasure, a new video series from GolfWRX in general and equipment expert Ryan Barath in particular.
  • This video series breaks down why certain clubs maintain such a cult following, and what made them so popular to begin with.
  • The first club in this series is the Bridgestone J33R – a driver from 2005 that was both hard to find and extremely sought after. Ryan Barath breaks down some of the design attributes that still makes this a great club today.
9. Golf jokes!
Mark Townsend at National Club Golfer rounds up some of the worst…
Best golf jokes: Caddiesmack
  • A golfer walks off the 18th green, hands his putter to his caddie and says, “Kid, you’ve got to be the worst caddie in the world.”
  • The caddie replies: “Sir, that would be too much of a coincidence.”
  • Verdict: Not bad and a punchline that most of us weren’t expecting. Quick and to the point though how you’re going to bring this one to the table is anyone’s guess.
Best golf jokes: Clucking mad
  • A golfer sliced a ball into a field of chickens, striking one of the hens and killing it instantly. He was understandably upset, and sought out the farmer. “I’m sorry,” he said, “my terrible tee shot hit one of your hens and killed it. Can I replace the hen?”
  • “I don’t know about that,” replied the farmer, mulling it over. “How many eggs a day do you lay?”
  • Verdict: Better and unlike many of its golfing jokey contemporaries the punchline can’t be said to yourself about a third of the way in. Quite quirky for a golf joke and, told in the right manner, might be worth using.
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