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Opinion & Analysis

Freezing Arizona: Accenture Match Play ill-fit to current desert setting?

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What is that old saying? “Snow on me once in February in Arizona, shame on you. Snow on me twice in February in Arizona, shame on me?” Close enough.

After snow showers were a bother in 2011 and a full-out squall on Wednesday wiped out the latter half of the first round of matches at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain, it is time to think of some new ideas of venues for this event. This is not to speak ill of Tucson or its people, but after four separate times when snow has stopped play in the area’s professional golf history, it is time to take Mother Nature’s hint.

Another big strike against the tournament: The somewhat avant-garde Jack Nicklaus-designed course has always grated against most players’ sensibilities with its extremely undulating and at times infuriating green complexes.

Two strikes, Dove Mountain. You’re out.

So, where to next? Assuming the Accenture’s date will not change any time soon, options as to where to stage it are somewhat limited. But there are some factors in its favor, chief among them being the relatively modest average crowd the tournament tends to attract. That, combined with the fact that tournament operators need not worry about scores relative to par, could make for some interesting alternate venues. Here are three moves that would seem to offer more predictably golf-friendly weather and an equally compelling

Option #1: California

Another tournament in the Golden State means the fifth in the space of six weeks, sending the PGA Tour schedule a little out of balance. Nevertheless, the Accenture’s roots are in the San Diego area at La Costa Resort, whose golf courses received a much-needed renovation recently. A contrarian play might be a return to the Palm Springs area, perhaps to Tom Doak’s wild Stone Eagle Golf Club. Either way, the potential for bothersome weather is minimal.

Option #2: Baja California

If desert golf is a must for this event, the Tour would do well to move it as close to the equator as possible. Furthermore, holding the event outside the United Stated lends some more legitimacy to the “World” part of “World Golf Championships.” Baja California, especially Cabo San Lucas, boasts a wealth of great, tournament-quality golf courses. To appease the Golden Bear, his course at Cabo Del Sol is one of the best on the peninsula and plenty long and challenging enough to entertain both the top 64 players in the world and the viewing public. If not Cabo Del Sol, perhaps Diamante Cabo San Lucas would prove a worthy venue, especially since Tiger Woods is designing its second golf course. Either way, the robust winter vacation and residential population would supply a good crowd for the event.

Option #3: Eastward Ho!

This option would cut short the West Coast Swing and have to extend the Florida Swing section of the Tour schedule. If this is not a problem, then there is a brand-new, ideal location for a small-field, smaller-crowd tournament: the chic Streamsong Resort. With two courses — one by Tom Doak and the other by the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw — the Tour could even throw the field a curveball by alternating courses between rounds. Both courses have received rave reviews from both writers and John Q. Public after in less than three months of availability.

Absent a reshuffling of the Tour schedule, it seems sensible and, frankly inevitable, that the World Golf Championships Accenture Match Play Championship is not long for the surprisingly snowy hills above Tucson. It seems that like Huckleberry Finn, this event is ready to “light out for the Territory.” Which territory that will be, however, is anybody’s guess.

What venues, both American and international, would YOU like to see host this event? Leave your opinions in the comments, if you would be so kind.

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Tim grew up outside of Hartford, Conn., playing most of his formative golf at Hop Meadow Country Club in the town of Simsbury. He played golf for four years at Washington & Lee University (Division-III) and now lives in Pawleys Island, S.C., and works in nearby Myrtle Beach in advertising. He's not too bad on Bermuda greens, for a Yankee. A lifelong golf addict, he cares about all facets of the game of golf, from equipment to course architecture to PGA Tour news to his own streaky short game.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Todd

    Feb 22, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Why does Arizona need to be out of the loop? As someone who lived in Arizona for 5 years when I was in college at ASU in Phoenix, the weather in Phoenix is not a problem. Sure, the Tradition had snow one year back in ’99, I think, it was trace and did not have a huge impact on the play. Also, there has not been much snow, if any, ever, postponing play at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. In fact, every year I was in college there, snow was not even close to being a factor.

    Tucson is traditionally 3-5 degrees cooler at minimum than Phoenix throughout the year, so snow is more common there. If they found a great course in Phoenix, the tournament would be well-served there. Also, judging by the crowds the WM Phoenix Open draws, it’s safe to say the Match Play would draw significantly more people than in Tucson.

    There is no reason a golf mecca like Phoenix cannot host two events in a year. Plus, instead of the 90-minute drive down to Tucson, many golfers would be able to stay at their own homes in Phoenix, since so many tour pros have homes around the area. Palm Springs would not be bad, but there really is no reason to move it out of Arizona. Moving it out of Tucson? Maybe, but not the entire state.

  2. Craig

    Feb 21, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Since it’s a, ‘World’ golf championship why not have another event outwith the US?

    Royal Melbourne. One of the best courses in the world and guaranteed decent weather and crowds!

  3. Jud

    Feb 21, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I agree that a different venue would be nice, but please dont change the format or make it a smaller field event. Oh and if small crowds are the norm bring the tourney to Bandon Dunes in Oregon

  4. James

    Feb 21, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Keep it in the general area. Arizona has a lot of golfers. Why do you think the Waste Management Open has some of the largest crowds in the entire season. Dove Mountain compared to the greater Tucson and even 1.5 hours north in Phoenix is quite a bit higher in altitude. As an Arizonan I feel we deserve at least 2 men’s professinal golf events. Just choose a lower altitude location. I have lived in Arizona for 28 years and have never seen snow in the Phoenix area sit for more then 10 mins.

  5. Mick

    Feb 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    I’d like to see the match play at Sherwood CC in Thousand Oaks, CA –the current home of Tiger’s post season event. It looks really good on TV, and is an exciting match-play course. There are 6 par 5s, 6 par 3s and 6 par 4s with tons of variety and unique looks, and holes 15-18 would offer much excitement. Also the playing areas are small enough that players would be breathing down each other’s necks all day.

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Opinion & Analysis

More Distance Off the Tee (Part 1 of 3): Upper Body Training

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If you read my previous story, Tour Pro’s Revealed: 3 Tests to See How You Stack Up, you are well aware of the fact that improving your upper body power is one of three sure ways to increase your distance off the tee. If you have not, I strongly suggest you check it out to gain some context about what is to follow and what is critical for your golf game.

Through our testing and the testing done of many of the industry leaders in golf performance, we have found that the ability of golfers to generate “push power” from their upper body is critical to maximize efficiency and speed in the swing. The way that you can test your power is simple. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Keeping your back on the chair, chest pass with both hands a 6-pound medicine ball as far as you can. When you compare this to your vertical jump as described in More Distance Off the Tee (Part 2 of 3): Lower Body Training Plan, the number in feet you threw the ball should be relatively close to your jump in inches.

If you threw the ball and it went 5 feet, you have an upper body power problem. If you threw the ball 25 feet and jumped only 14 inches, your upper body is not the problem — you probably need to focus on your lower body. It’s not rocket science once you understand what you are looking for. What can be challenging is knowing how to improve your power once you identify a problem. That is where the rest of this article comes in. What I am going to outline below are three of the most common upper body power exercises that we use with our amateur, senior and professional golfers.

The key with any power training exercise is to make sure you are as rested as possible between sets so that you can be as explosive as possible for the repetitions. Try not to do more than 6 repetitions in a set to assure that each one is as fast and explosive as possible.

Med Ball Chest Pass on Wall

This is one of the most basic exercises there is for developing upper body push power. Make sure your feet are about shoulder-width apart and don’t be afraid to use your legs to help maximize the punishment you deliver to against the wall!

Med Ball Wall Ball

Watching the video, you may be scratching you head and wondering why this is in the upper body power article when clearly the athlete is using his legs. The reason is that in the golf swing, power starts with the legs.

Med Ball Sky Chest Throws

This one is simple. Laying on your back, all you need to do is push the ball up as high as you can, catch it on the way down and the explode it back up into the air as high as you can. If you incorporate this exercise into your routine even once a week, you will see huge gains in your ability to swing faster if this was a problem area for you.

That being said, power creation requires not only speed but also strength development. It is also important that you have a solid strength program to increase your ability to generate more force. While this is beyond the scope of this article, finding yourself a solid golf fitness expert will help you create your ideal program.

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Podcasts

GolfWRX Forum Member dpb5031 talks about the TaylorMade Twist Face Experience

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Forum member dpb5031 (aka Dewey) joins TG2 to talk about his Twist Face Experience at The Kingdom. Recently, him and 6 other GolfWRX Members went to TaylorMade HQ to get fit for new M3 and M4 drivers. Does Twist Face work? Dewey provides his answer.

Listen to the podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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Opinion & Analysis

Inside the Ropes: 5 things you didn’t know about playing on the PGA Tour

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Golf finds a way to take a hold on you… whether you become entranced by the skill of the world’s best professionals, fall in love with the feeling and beauty of a well-executed shot, or simply enjoy getting outside and having fun — the game is addictive.

I started playing at the age of 4 and began watching the pros on TV dreaming what it would be like to play golf on the PGA Tour. When I earned my PGA Tour status for the 2014 season, that dream became a reality. And like anything, it’s not until I actually experienced that life did I have any idea what it entailed.

For those of you who are curious what it’s like to be on the PGA Tour, here are 5 things to describe it.

1) The Culture

Traveling the world to various cities can be fun, and it’s an underrated part of the Tour lifestyle; you get to see new landscapes and taste the cuisines that define different regions across the country and the world. Unlike some other professional sports, where players stay in one place for maybe a night or two, we get to stay in places for a week or more, which allows for plenty of time away from the course to see the sights and get a feel for what the cities and their cultures offer.

2) The Show

The setup and time that goes into planning an event — the grandstands, concession stands, volunteers, and the whole network that makes these tournaments run — is beyond impressive. We see the finished product at the event in the epicenter of it all, but the planning goes on behind the scenes all year. When it’s game time and the golf ball gets teed up, it’s time for us players to block all of that out, but we certainly appreciate all of the hard work that goes into putting on an event. It may feel like being in a circus at times, but performing in the show is a thrill.

3) The People

The game of golf in general brings people together, but especially so on the Tour. Thousands and thousands of fans come to watch the golf action and enjoy the festivities. The Pro-Ams are a great way for the fans to get an up-close look at what goes on at a Tour event, and they’re also a great way for us pros to interact with fans and maybe provide some helpful swing tips, too. In my opinion, one of the best events of the year is the Pebble Beach Pro-Am — a gathering of pro golfers, athletes, musicians, actors and other celebrities. It’s a testament to how the game can bring people together from different walks of life.

4) Inside the Ropes

The Tour is almost like a private school of sorts. It’s a select group of a couple hundred guys traveling around playing these events. The jocks, the nerds, the geeks, the loners; you see a little of everything. As much as there’s a sociable aspect to traveling on Tour and getting to know these people, it’s a dog-eat-dog world where everyone is playing for their livelihood and playing privileges.

5) The “Pressure”

A season-long race can come down to a single shot making the difference — for some it’s between winning and losing a tournament, and others it’s between keeping and losing your card. The cameras, the grandstands, the noise… it can all be quite distracting. The idea is to block all of that out and pretend you’re playing like a kid, focusing with pure imagination for the shot. All the extra attention can help heighten the focus further, adding inspiration to “give the people what they want” and hit even better golf shots.

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