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Opinion & Analysis

How I Went Undercover to Recover My Stolen Golf Clubs



Imagine the following scene: I’m walking on 23rd street toward my car. There’s glass everywhere, and I carefully plot each step around it. I look up. My rear passenger side window is busted. Really. I try to stay calm and assess the scene. Ok, my phone charger is gone. A bag of coins I use for parking is as well, and my car’s insurance and owner’s manual are torn up on the sidewalk.

A woman with her dog hurries by. Does she think I’m breaking into my own car?

Shoot, shoot, shoot. Clubs! Where are my clubs? I pop open the trunk. Oh. My. God. My prized Texas Mid-Amateur participant headcover; that new HZRDUS shaft I’ve been trying to work myself into; the set I shot my career-best 70 with. Everything is gone.

Here’s the thing about stealing gear from someone who’s worked in the golf industry – you can run with my clubs, but you can’t really hide them. I know my equipment very, very well, and I am determined to track it all down. I call every golf store in the area, and I obsessively check – and recheck – ads on eBay and Craigslist. Three weeks later, just when I think I’m the victim of an elaborate, underground, golf-club-stealing crime ring, there they are – listed for $2,000 and mere blocks from the scene of the crime. As panicked as I am, there’s no chance that my jumbo grip, 1-inch over, and 3-degree upright sticks will command $2,000 on the open market. Still though, I need to work fast!

I immediately call the local police precinct to explain the situation. Even with a filed police report in hand, I sense there isn’t much they can do. After a day without hearing back, I catch a break. Through a friend, I am put in touch with another police officer. He’s a golfer and a member at a course I know well, so there’s instant rapport between us. He essentially tells me where to go, who to talk to, and what to say.

Meanwhile, I start a dialogue with the person who has my clubs. At this point, all I know is that they’re still available, he wants two grand, and he can meet up at 7pm.

Following the golfing officer’s advice, I head down to the police station. After an hour or so of waiting, form filling, and transfers, two officers come out. Unfortunately, they aren’t golfers. “We’d love to help,” they say. “There’s just one problem; we don’t have any plain clothes officers working right now. So, if you want to do this, you need to meet the seller yourself. Confirm it’s your property, and then we’ll move in.”

I’m not one to be confrontational. Unless you tee up in front of the box – which for some reason really bothers me – I tend to mind my own business. In golf and in life. Not once did I consider having to face this person, so it was a major snag in my plan. I also don’t live in the best part of town, and masterminding an undercover sting operation a few blocks from my apartment wasn’t a great look.

The officers do what they can to quell my uneasiness, and I ultimately decide to play along.

I suit up. Baggy jeans, a hoodie, and the most nondescript hat I can find – ironically, a Fisher’s Island Club hat I borrowed/stole from a buddy who played there. 20 minutes later, I’m on a street corner waiting for someone to surface from a run-down San Francisco Victorian. The cops are nearby, and we’re in communication over text. A few moments later, a guy wheels a fully-loaded travel case towards me. We shake hands and he introduces himself. He starts telling me a story about how he got the clubs a few months before. For two of the most drawn-out minutes of my life, I stand there quietly. Listening. Trying to understand what would possess anyone to break into a car and take something from someone they know nothing about. And then, just when I think the cops found something better to do, two police cars rush in. Handcuffs clip together, and that’s that.

All my stuff is there. Even a bag-tag with my name on it hangs in plain sight. I walk the officers through every detail (the burden is on me to prove ownership). “There’s a dent on the 60-degree wedge half way up the grip; my left shoe is missing a spike; there are golf balls from my bachelor party, but the personalized logo is a bit crude, so maybe don’t include that in your report!” They loved the detail.

I ride with the officers to the precinct to give a full statement. A few days later, I’m called by the District Attorney’s office; they’re prosecuting for possession of stolen property and need me to testify. The city wins, and my clubs are returned from evidence a few weeks later.

Believe me, a lot of effort was expended here. When I’m standing over that 6-foot putt for 69 and my first ever round in the sixties, hopefully I’ll say it was worth all the trouble and drain the putt.

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Alex is a mechanical engineer who has spent the past six years in golf equipment R&D. Always focused on metal woods, he has extensive experience in club design, manufacturing processes and testing methodologies from his time at Adams and Callaway Golf. Now that the golf industry gig is over, he’s done playing favorites. The GolfWRX chapter is all about finding the best 14 sticks to take his game to the next level. Alex is also an avid golfer. He's often referred to as “The Launch Monitor Hero" and is always up for 36. He’s the co-founder of an addicting game called Office Golf, and he was once six shots from qualifying for the U.S. Mid-Am.



  1. chip

    Mar 14, 2017 at 9:51 am

    the best part are the details you had to explain to the cops. I know my clubs like the back of my hand, and non golfers would be quite impressed with the minute details i could spew out.

    • setter02

      Mar 20, 2017 at 4:38 pm

      Had the same thing last year when my clubs were stolen from my car. I started listing out everything (they got quite a bit as I had extra’s in the car) and on the 3rd club I could hear her just kind of getting uneasy that the level of detail. Told her I’d just email her a complete list and she was relieved.

  2. Kelly

    Mar 12, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Someone broke into my car. They ransacked my car and rifled through the trunk. I had about 25 cds in the cab and all my golf equipment in the trunk. All the guy took was a Tim Horton’s card. I thought, “Obviously I have terrible taste in music and I need to get better golf clubs.”

  3. Jazzy

    Mar 12, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Everyone should take this story to heart and inventory all your equipment based on S/N. It makes for a much easier process identifying the items if they do go missing. This could of course be a week-long job for some of us gearheads 🙂

  4. Bruce Ferguson

    Mar 11, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    Being a Sanctuary City isn’t a plus . . .

  5. Nick Prafke

    Mar 11, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    My rental car was broken into in San Fran a couple weeks ago. They took all my luggage but not my golf clubs, luckily. I would have burnt the city to the ground to find them had they taken my clubs.

  6. Louie

    Mar 11, 2017 at 9:49 am

    I actually had my clubs stolen from my garage (thanks to my older son forgetting to close it and to me for leaving them there), never recovered, but, as I filed the police report, they said that I should contact my home owners insurance (USAA), I did and a few weeks later (had to show proof of the stolen equipment was actually mine, luckily I had photos of the clubs and where they were in the garage, don’t ask me why) I received a very substantial check to cover the equipment…

  7. HUH?

    Mar 11, 2017 at 8:12 am

    Bubba – Please just stay wherever you are in whatever paradise you think you live in. Because I’d truly hate for you to become disillusioned about your life should you ever have the unfortunate opportunity to visit The City. Hashtag IgnoranceIsBlissDude

    • Mike

      Mar 11, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      Wow. Those who have never left “The City” have no place lecturing others on ignorance. And leave the superiority complex behind if you have the courage to because otherwise you won’t last 2 seconds here in the better half of America. We don’t call the cops when we catch thieves. They become forgotten. We take responsibility for our carelessness and then take care of our problems ourselves.

  8. SlapHappy

    Mar 11, 2017 at 8:11 am

    We’re not going to find another story about you with your throat cut, after the guy gets out of jail, tracks you down and kills in revenge? lmao

  9. Dan

    Mar 10, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    This was a wakeup call for me. I live in rural Alabama where there is very little crime but, I’ll never keep my clubs in the trunk again, because I play golf all over the state and visit family in MD. I’m glad you got your clubs back without getting hurt.

  10. Tim

    Mar 10, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    Real brilliant comments here! You should be proud. Lol

    Almost as eloquent as your idol, Mango Mussolini.

  11. Keith

    Mar 10, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Man, he didn’t even take the bag tag off….real mensa student.

  12. Brian

    Mar 10, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Libtard…you must be an intellectual giant.

  13. Joey5Picks

    Mar 10, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Linking politics with this crime is ludicrous.

  14. Tom

    Mar 10, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    The Haight district?

  15. Big Wally

    Mar 10, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Great story. I appreciate how disturbing it is to lose a big of sticks that you finally had the way you want them. Happened to me once and it messed me up for a couple years. What wasn’t clear was the guy that was selling the clubs the same as the one who stole them. What was he convicted of?

    • Alex Berger

      Mar 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Thanks, BW. My understanding is that the prosecution/conviction was on felony possession. No one tried to claim that this guy actually broke into the car. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t.

      • Mower

        Mar 10, 2017 at 6:06 pm

        Just saw a movie like this (I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore) with Elijah Wood & Melanie Lynskey. “When a depressed woman is burglarized, she finds a new sense of purpose by tracking down the thieves alongside her obnoxious neighbor.”

  16. TR1PTIK

    Mar 10, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    My wife’s car was broken into in January of last year. It’s a mess to deal with and none of it plays out like all those movies and TV shows would have you believe. For starters, if you want your stuff back and the criminal to be punished you’d better be prepared to do some of your own leg work. It’s not that the police department doesn’t care, they just really do have more pressing matters. Unless, you were robbed at gunpoint or assaulted in the process or it’s part of some bigger more pressing criminal act they will only do so much beyond filing the necessary paperwork. We were fortunate in that at least one of the people had repeat violations and jail time to help speed things along. Still, I was the one who pulled our bank records and determined where they’d been spending money, then drove there to see if the store clerks recalled anything suspicious and could provide photographic or video evidence. Ultimately, they nabbed 2 out of 4 possibly 5 people that we know of involved with the crimes that were committed against us following that – identity theft, forgery, grand theft auto, and vandalism to name a few. It’s no fun at all. Glad you got your clubs back!

  17. SF

    Mar 10, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Great story. But leaving your clubs in the car in the Mission? Big nono 🙂

  18. Dat

    Mar 10, 2017 at 11:37 am

    Great story!

  19. James

    Mar 10, 2017 at 11:31 am

    I’ve stopped carrying my clubs in my car due to this reason. I work in the golf industry, so I hear all the horror stories and cannot fathom losing all the personal items. Clubs can be replaced, but my Fitter of the Year headcover and Scotty Cameron 3wd cover from the gallery after touring Scotty Cameron’s work facility can’t be replaced.

  20. P. Edmondson

    Mar 10, 2017 at 11:20 am

    I wonder what punishment the court gave the thief, probably a coupla days community service. Give me 1870’s Deadwood justice any day. Stealing a mans clubs is as bad as stealing his horse!

    • Double Mocha Man

      Mar 10, 2017 at 11:25 am

      Good one! Yes, i say hang the guy… 14 times!

      • Double Mocha Man

        Mar 10, 2017 at 12:06 pm

        … from the most prominent tree on your favorite golf course.

      • Mike

        Mar 11, 2017 at 1:15 pm

        Yes. Bring back real penalties for committing crimes against others. There’s a big difference between this and the 1000’s of worthless victimless crime laws we have now.

  21. Double Mocha Man

    Mar 10, 2017 at 11:11 am

    Alex, how did the guy know to break into YOUR car??? Any indication there were clubs in the trunk? This is my worst nightmare… I never open my trunk if someone is in the parking lot or driving by. Nobody gets to see into my trunk! Although when I’m loading groceries around my Titleist bag some onlooker might be curious…

    • Alex Berger

      Mar 10, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      There wasn’t anything visible in my car. It was completely random! I think you know my advice…

  22. Nicole

    Mar 10, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Great story! Love the dedication to getting your sticks back.

  23. mitch

    Mar 10, 2017 at 11:01 am

    That is a golfer’s nightmare! Glad you got them back!

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Opinion & Analysis

The best bets for the 2023 Valero Texas Open



Forget the $1.5 million due to the winner. The real prize at the end of this week’s Texas Open will be that last-minute invite to the 87th Masters starting on April 6th.

That payout is also nothing compared to the $3.5 million that Sam Burns copped when winning last night’s World Match Play, or the obvious prestige of what is to come. That has to affect the field this week, and we even lose local hero Jordan Spieth, veteran of seven outings around the San Antonio Oaks course.

The  29-year-old has, of course, an enviable record at Augusta with a win and four top-three finishes, so it’s no surprise he takes a break to prepare for the big one, after seven events since the start of February to prepare for the big one.

That all leaves world number 17 Tyrrell Hatton as clear favourite with his closest challengers (according to the market) being Hideki Matsuyama (#21) Si-Woo Kim (#39) and Corey Conners (#40). Behind there is a host of likely candidates that rank just off that vital top-50, with the likes of Rickie Fowler looking to continue his comeback and qualify for next week’s Masters after being a regular for 10 years straight until 2021.

The course itself ranked in the top third for overall difficulty last season and requires a solid overall game, favouring neither bombers or plodders. All styles have a chance here this week, and many of the past challengers confirm that view.

2016 champion and three-time runner-up Charley Hoffman said, “Tee to green is very visual, shapes with the trees and it’s a tough driving golf course,” whilst 2019 winner and three-time Masters top-10, Corey Conners summed up the test.

“Basically took care of the holes that you need to take care of, the par 5s, and No. 5, a short par 4, I was able to make birdie,” he said. “Other than that, just kept it pretty simple. There’s a few pins that are close to some slopes, so played a little safer on some shots, but struck it really well. So just tried to keep it simple and scored well.”

Wind is the main defence here, and therefore it’s no surprise that all the last four winners show form at the likes of Bay Hill, Waialae, Mayakoba, Hilton Head, and, in the case of Spieth, Conners and Kevin Chappell, at Augusta.

J.J Spaun

Since moving to its current slot just before the Masters, nobody has defended the Texas Open title, but it looks as if J.J Spaun is ready to strike again after an encouraging display at the Match Play last weekend.

After making his way through the grades, winning on the PGA Tour Canada and the tour, a misdiagnosis of his diabetes stalled the 32-year-old, and he dropped from just outside of the world’s top 100 to a place closer to 500th. However, in the second half of 2021, he ran up to Grayson Sigg at the Albertsons Boise Open before a top-10 in Bermuda settled the drop.

2022 was another year of progress as he took in four top-30 finishes early in the year – at La Quinta and, more relevantly, at Pebble Beach, Honda and Valspar – before a two-shot victory here. The final half was equally decent with one missed-cut in 10 outings, with top-15 finishes at the Shriners and (again relevant for comp course fans) at Mayakoba and at Sea Island. On top, he led the better-class St. Jude field for every one of the first three rounds before a final round collapse.

The new year has been mixed, with Spaun making the weekend in only half his eight starts. However, those 50 percent take in a fifth place at Kapalua (in second place going into Sunday) and 12th at the Sony, where again he was in the final group for the last round.

Again the 33rd finish at Riviera disguises that he was in the top-10 going into payday and he bounced back again with comfortable victories over Matt Fitzpatrick, Sahith Theegala and Min Woo Lee at Austin last week to head his talented group.

With a solid tee-to-green required this week, be encouraged that he ranked fifth at both his first two efforts this year in Hawaii, whilst his short game has seen him in the top-22 for scrambling in six of his last eight recorded starts.

Coming into this event last year, the Scottsdale resident had three midfield finishes mixed with missed weekends, something very similar to his lead in here this week.

Aaron Rai

Perhaps inspired by Matt Wallace’s victory in the Dominican Republic last week, Aaron Rai can continue a great run for British golfers following Wallace, David Skinns on the KFT and Georgia Hall’s very nearly come-from-behind effort at the LPGA Drive On Championship.

The 28-year-old stormed to the front rank in Europe after gaining automatic qualification from the Challenge Tour after three wins before the end of July 2017, before beating Matt Fitzpatrick in Hong Kong and Tommy Fleetwood in a play-off for the Scottish Open.

Hopefully that Boise Open is of some relevance, as Rai finished alongside Spaun as runners-up in 2021, letting a one-shot lead slip on Sunday, but still gaining his tour card.

It’s hard to argue against the view that everything since has been very one-paced, but on the pick of his form he has to be of interest here this week, particularly after a strong showing at Sawgrass.

2022 saw Aaron Two-gloves finish top-20 at Mikey, Houston, Canada, Shriners and Houston on the PGA Tour, and when dropped to the DPWT, he finished in the top echelons of the Italian and Irish Opens.

Rai hasn’t set the world alight in 2023 but was just outside the top-20 after round one at the Sony, led the Farmers field after the first round, was a never-nearer 29th at the Genesis, fifth after round one at Bay Hill and went into the final round at Sawgrass in the top five.

It’s going to be about putting it all together the same week, and he comes here after an encouraging top-30 here last year when two rounds of 74 and 73 spoilt the first and third rounds that saw him twice in the top seven.

In an interview after his first round 67 last season, Rai admitted it was useful to know the course:

” I think putting together how the course is on the Tuesday and having in mind how the course is going to change and I think that’s where it’s very good asking questions and speaking to people who have been here for a long time. So those are the most important things for me.”

Over the last three months, Rai ranks top-10 for driving accuracy, 11th for ball-striking, 10th for greens, and top-20 for tee-to-green at all of Riviera, Pebble Beach and Sawgrass. Perfectly able to find the short stuff in the wind, it’s clear that the flat stick is the one thing holding him back, but any improvement allied to those sharp stats will see him right there on Sunday.

Kevin Chappell

Although always tempted by the younger, unexposed brigade, I’ll finish this week with two stalwarts.

First up is former top-class major contender Kevin Chappell, who was put up at 90/1 for the Corales last week, did nothing wrong and is now a much bigger price!

Formally 23rd in the world, the 36-year-old has dropped to outside the top 600 but has dropped hints over the last three weeks that he may be approaching the play that won the Texas Open, run-up at Sawgrass, and finish top-10 in four majors.

Since his body broke down in 2018, golf has been a struggle, and he has not recorded a top 10 since the CIMB in October of that year. However, after missing nine of his last 10 cuts, the Californian resident has improved to 29th at Palm Beach Gardens (round positions 84/48/50/29) and 15th at Puerto Rico (47/54/33/15).

Strokes gained were positive throughout at the Honda, and he ended up almost repeating his 2022 effort at the Corales, finishing one place worse, in 16th place.

Given his efforts also at the Honda (13th), here (18th) and Barbasol (21st) in the recent past, we need to heed any nudge that Chappell has made his way back.

Now on a run of 16/15/29 it appears that the four-time major top-ten player is over his near career-ending surgery, and he returns to San Antonio after a career record that reads one win, one runner-up, fourth, 15th and 18th.

With nine of his last 12 rounds being 70 or under, and none worse than 72, quotes in triple figures border on the insulting.

Kevin Streelman 

We don’t see many teenage ‘Kevin’s these days, so there is no shock in finding the final selection is in his 40s.

Rather like his namesake, Streels has been in the doldrums, and whilst his return to form is not as obvious as Chappell’s, it’s worth jumping on the positive parts of his resumé from the past 14 months or so, again returning to a favoured track.

Another with back-form that gives him a serious shout – top-three finishes at the Farmers, Sawgrass, Pebble Beach, Bay Hill and Harbour Town – he also backs it up with consistent form at Summerlin, home of the Shriners (amongst other titles), an event won twice by 2013 Texas champ, Martin Laird.

While the 44-year-old has dropped well outside the world’s top-100, it’s noteworthy that he can still post top finishes and has recorded nine top-10 finishes over the last couple of years, including second-places at Bay Hill and River Highlands and a third at Silverado.

2021 saw several top-15s that incorporate Bay Hill (again), Wyndham, Match Play and at top-20 finishes at three of the four majors, whilst last season found him posting runner-up at the Barbasol, seventh at Valspar, and top-20s at Shriners, Honda and here, at the Texas Open.

Suddenly the results look far better than at first glance and many of his final figures tend to hide some decent play.

Since October ’22, Streelman was in 10th at the halfway point at the Sanderson, sixth going into Sunday at the RSM, 14th after round one at Riviera and made his way from 85th after day one at the Valspar to lie top-20 after the third round.

He’ll pick and choose his events but he’s still got fire in his belly, posting his best iron play for a while at Innisbrook last time out, and he’s back at a course that he’s played eight times, racking up every cut, an average position of around 21st and posting last three years finishes of 18/6/8.

Recommended Bets: 

  • J.J Spaun WIN
  • Aaron Rai WIN/TOP-5
  • Kevin Chappell – WIN/TOP-5
  • Kevin Streelman – WIN/TOP-5
  • Kevin Streelman – Top-20
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Opinion & Analysis

2023 PGA Championship: Interview with Jeff Corcoran, GCS



As ticket-holders exit their shuttles and enter the main gate to Oak Hill Country Club this May, their eyes will be attracted to so many sights. The 100-year old, Tudor-style clubhouse, designed by Thompson, Holmes, and Converse (of New Tammany Hall fame in New York City) catches and holds many glances. The market boardwalk will feature emporia of food, drink, and memories, all featuring the designs and flair of marketing teams. It’s a lot to take in.

Most attendees won’t enter the clubhouse, and their time along the merchandise promenade will be restricted to acquisition of souvenirs and sustenance. The majority of their time will be spent in the rough, adjacent to tees, greens, and fairways. Their eyes will roll across the hills of Pittsford’s jewel, but they might be forgiven if they don’t consider exactly how the course and surrounds came to reach this pinnacle of preparation.

Fortunately for them, we’ve tracked down the gentleman who knows more about Oak Hill’s preparation than any other. Mr. Jeff Corcoran is the Manager of Golf Courses and Grounds at the venerated New York state club.

GolfWRX: We’ve introduced you already in your current role. Please tell us how you met golf and golf course maintenance, and what the a-ha moment was that this would be your career.
Corcoran: I started playing golf when I was about 9 years old, a friend and his father took me golfing, and I was hooked. I started playing every chance that I could get and that eventually lead me to a job when I was 13 years working on a public golf course in my hometown of Groton, NY called Stonehedges Golf Course. Working on the golf course was an end to a means, as it allowed me the opportunity to play a significant amount of free golf. I enjoyed working at the golf course so much, that I eventually figured out that I could go to college to study Turfgrass Management. I pursued that endeavor and eventually my way to SUNY Cobleskill and then Penn State University.
GolfWRX: Please trace your career path, from your first job in the industry to your current one.
Corcoran: As stated above my first job in the industry was working at Stonehedges Golf Course as a teenager. While I was in college I worked at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course at Cornell University, and eventually made my way to Oak Hill Country Club as an intern in 1994. I graduated from Penn State in ’95 and I came back to Oak Hill to work the ’95 Ryder Cup and soon after was made a 2nd assistant. While I was at Oak Hill I was fortunate enough to meet my mentor, Paul B. Latshaw, and I became his first assistant until I left to take my first superintendent position in 2000. My first superintendent position was at The Weston Golf Club which is located just outside of Boston. I was there until 2003, when I was asked to interview for my current position at Oak Hill, as Paul Latshaw had moved on to Muirfield Village. I have been at Oak Hill ever since, and in way or another have been a part of every championship held at Oak Hill since that ’95 Ryder Cup.
GolfWRX: The 2023 PGA Championship will be the 4th at Oak Hill’s East course, but it will be unlike the previous three. How did the course play, from your acquired knowledge, for those first three championships?
Corcoran: I can’t really speak to the 1980 Championship; however, I have a considerable knowledge of how the East Course played for the ’03 and ’13 PGA Championships. In ’03 the East Course went through a renovation performed by Tom Fazio/Tom Marzolf, where all of the bunkers were renovated and relocated to areas where they would affect playability of the professional golfer. Additionally, a considerable amount of length was added to the East Course prior to the ’03 Championship. The Fazio/Marzolf renovation had a significant impact on the playability of the East Course, and it proved difficult to the tour professional of the time. Ten years later in ’13 we held the championship again, and the course was essentially the same as it was in ’03. We didn’t really add any length or adjust any bunkers, however the tour professionals’ game had adjusted and improved significantly in that same 10-year period. In 2013, we had significant rainfall during the week, which softened the golf course, and the scoring for the event reflected the softer, easier conditions.
GolfWRX: Andrew Green’s 2019 restoration returned much of the course to its architectural roots. What will stand out most for those who have attended or competed in prior championships?
Corcoran: If I were to venture a guess that the most noticeable aspect for many individuals will be the reduction in the amount of trees on the East Course. We have been reducing the amount of trees on the East Course for 20+ years, however during the renovation we hit a point where the value of the tree removal hit a critical point where the vistas and views throughout the East Course were impacted in a way that allowed much more enjoyment of the property and its features. For the competitors, I believe they will also notice the severity of the Andrew’s bunker style combined with the ability to take the pin position out to the extremities of the greens. There will be many more pin locations in 2023 that will have a very close proximity to the hazards.
GolfWRX: Speaking of restorations, how was the Oak Hill grounds crew involved in the East Course’s return to its legacy?
Corcoran: The grounds crew was involved in every aspect of the renovation and worked directly with Andrew Green and LaBar Golf Renovations to ensure the product that was produced on the East Course was representative of Oak Hill and the legacy of the East Course.

GolfWRX: Tell us a bit about the re-invention of the fifth hole. What sort of hole did it replace, and how does it join itself to the course’s Donald Ross roots?

Corcoran: Andrew always indicated that he wasn’t designing anything on the East Course, that we was just taking what Donald Ross had designed and was tweaking it. With regard to our current 5th hole, Andrew drew inspiration from the original 6th hole, which was a classic Donald Ross heavily bunkered par-3. We fortunately had a considerable amount of pictures of this hole, and Andrew utilized them during his design phase. Additionally, Andrew made more than one visit over to our West Course and looked at our 4th hole, which is also a classic heavy bunkered par-3. The difference between our original 6th hole and the new 5th hole that Andrew produced is the location, and this is where the brilliance of Andrew Green came into play. Andrew tucked the new 5th green into the northwest corner of the property and it looks as though it has been there since day #1. To be able to achieve that immediate impact and value, really demonstrated his true genius.
GolfWRX: What will the final two months of preparation (April-May) demand from you and your staff?
Corcoran: I think that Mother Nature will hold the answers to the last 2 month of preparation, however it will be demanding and difficult. I anticipate that the my staff will work a considerable amount of hours, and we will do whatever is necessary to ensure that the playing conditions for the PGA Championship are exemplary.
GolfWRX: The weather for the championship week is anyone’s guess. A cold front came arrived in Tulsa last year, for the 2022 playing at Southern Hills. Ironically, Rochester’s temperatures that weekend were the warmer ones! How does your game plan change for unseasonable (both colder and warmer) weather and temperatures?

Corcoran: Our game plan doesn’t really change at all based upon the temperature. There are inherent agronomic aspects that need to happen to be successful, and some of that depends on the temperature and some of it doesn’t. Our focus is to plan for those aspects that we can control, and have a plan to react to any variables that are throw at us as we prepare.

GolfWRX: What question haven’t I asked, that you would love to answer? Please ask it and answer it. Thank you for your time.

Corcoran: “What is the most important aspect of your job as you prepare for the 2023 PGA Championship?”
The most important aspect of my job is building, taking care of, and facilitating our team that comprises golf course maintenance staff at Oak Hill. Without those individuals the championship doesn’t happen, and they will work a tremendous amount of time to ensure that golf course is ready for a spring championship. I am very proud of our team members, and I am extremely excited that their product will get the opportunity to shine on the world stage.
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The Wedge Guy: What really needs fixing in your game?



I always find it interesting to watch how golfers interact with the practice range, if they do so at all. I certainly can figure out how to understand that some golfers just do not really want to get better — at least not enough to spend time on the practice range trying to improve.

What is most puzzling to me is how many golfers completely ignore the rationale for going to the range to at least warm up before they head to the first tee. Why anyone would set aside 4-6 hours of their day for a round of golf, and then not even give themselves a chance to do their best is beyond me. But today, I’m writing for those of you who really do want to improve your golf scores and your enjoyment of the game.

I’ve seen tons of research for my entire 40 years in this industry that consistently shows the number one goal of all golfers, of any skill level, from 100-shooter to tour professional, is simply to hit better golf shots more often. And while our definition of “better” is certainly different based on our respective skill level, the game is just more fun when your best shots happen more often and your worst shots are always getting better.

Today’s article is triggered by what we saw happen at the Valspar tour event this past Sunday. While Taylor Moore certainly had some big moments in a great final round, both Jordan Spieth and Adam Schenk threw away their chances to win with big misses down the stretch, both of them with driver. Spieth’s wayward drive into the water on the 16th and Schenk’s big miss left on the 18th spelled doom for both of them.

It amazes me how the best players on the planet routinely hit the most God-awful shots with such regularity, given the amazing talents they all have. But those guys are not what I’m talking about this week. In keeping with the path of the past few posts, I’m encouraging each and every one of you to think about your most recent rounds (if you are playing already this year), or recall the rounds you finished the season with last year. What you are looking for are you own “big misses” that kept you from scoring better.

Was it a few wayward drives that put you in trouble or even out of bounds? Or maybe loose approach shots that made birdie impossible and par super challenging? Might your issue have been some missed short putts or bad long putts that led to a three-putt? Most likely for any of you, you can recall a number of times where you just did not give yourself a good chance to save par or bogey from what was a not-too-difficult greenside recovery.

The point is, in order to get consistently better, you need to make an honest assessment of where you are losing strokes and then commit to improving that part of your game. If it isn’t your driving that causes problems, contain that part of practice or pre-round warm-ups to just a half dozen swings or so, for the fun of “the big stick”. If your challenges seem to be centered around greenside recoveries, spend a lot more time practicing both your technique and imagination – seeing the shot in your mind and then trying to execute the exact distance and trajectory of the shot required. Time on the putting green will almost always pay off on the course.

But, if you are genuinely interested in improving your overall ball-striking consistency, you would be well-served to examine your fundamentals, starting with the grip and posture/setup. It is near impossible to build a repeating golf swing if those two fundamentals are not just right. And if those two things are fundamentally sound, the creation of a repeating golf swing is much easier.

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