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Opinion & Analysis

Hot & Cold: Where strokes were won and lost at the Valero Texas Open

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In “Hot & Cold,” we’ll be focusing each week on what specific areas of the game players excelled and disappointed in throughout the previous tournament. On Sunday, we saw Cory Conners claim the  Valero Texas Open in incredible fashion. Here’s a look at where some of the most notable players gained and lost strokes over the four days of action.

Hot

He didn’t make it easy for himself, but Corey Conners produced a spectacular back nine to claim his maiden win on the PGA Tour on Sunday. What Conners did all week was outplay his opponents tee to green. Conners gained 14.4 strokes tee to green for the four days of action, which was almost five strokes more than Charley Hoffman, who finished runner-up to the Canadian, achieved in this area. Check out the clubs Conners did the business with here.

He may not have featured at the business end of the tournament over the weekend, but Rickie Fowler will be very pleased with his Masters tune-up. The 30-year-old gained strokes in all of the significant strokes gained categories, with his play off the tee being particularly impressive. Fowler gained 3.5 strokes over the field off the tee in San Antonio, which was his best performance in this area since winning in Phoenix.

Another man who will have big designs of slipping on the green jacket this week is Matt Kuchar, and the American’s iron game in particular looks primed for Augusta National. Kuchar gained 8.6 strokes over the field for his approach play last week, which is the second-best performance of his career in this area.

Cold

There were plenty of positives for Jordan Spieth to take from his week in San Antonio, with the Texan gaining strokes both on the green and with his approaches. However, Spieth continues to be plagued by poor play off the tee, and last week, Spieth lost almost three strokes to the field in this area. The 25-year-old heads to Augusta having lost strokes off the tee in three of his last four events.

Billy Horschel’s stay in San Antonio was brief, with the American missing the cut. Horschel came into the event having gained strokes on the greens in his last seven consecutive tournaments, but at the Valero Texas Open, Horschel lost a mammoth 7.2 strokes to the field with the flat-stick. It represents his second-worst performance on the greens at an event in his career.

Tony Finau’s poor T61 finish (by his high standards) can, for the most part, be attributed to his poor putting last week. Finau lost 2.6 strokes to the field with the flat-stick in hand in San Antonio, and the 29-year-old was fifth worst in the field from the 5-10 feet range.

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Matt Callison

    Apr 8, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    Don’t you mean San Antonio?

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Is lighter always longer?

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One of the continuing trends in golf clubs – particularly drivers – is the pursuit of increasingly lighter shafts; this obsessive goal has given us the premise that the lighter the club, the faster you can swing it. And that idea is driven by the relentless pursuit of distance at all levels, and for all golfers.

But as long as he is, for example, Dustin Johnson ran away with the Masters because he was exactly that – a “master” at ball control and precision. DJ outperformed almost everyone in the field in terms of fairways and greens. That gave him more birdie putts, better looks because of his precise approach shots, and many fewer tough par saves.

But my topic today is to pose the question: “Is lighter really the key to being longer for all of us “recreational” golfers?”
Let me begin by saying that “recreational” doesn’t mean any lack of seriousness or dedication to the game. Hitting better shots and shooting lower scores is the goal for all of us who care about our golf games, right? What I mean is that we do not make our living playing the game. We do not practice incessantly. We do not spend hours at the gym every day specifically preparing our bodies to optimize our golf skills.

Today I’m going to put on my “contrarian” cap and challenge this assumption of “lighter is longer” on a couple of bases.
First, if you watch every accomplished player, you will see that the body core rotation is fast enough to “beat” the hands and clubhead to the ball. All instructors agree that the big muscles of the legs and body core are the key to power and repeatability in the golf swing. The faster you can rotate your body through impact, the more power you generate, which flows down the arms, through the hands and shaft and to the clubhead. This is a basic law of “golf swing physics”.

The simple fact is, the speed at which you can fire these big muscles is not going to be measurably impacted by removing another half ounce or less of weight from your driver. But what that removal of weight can do is to possibly allow for your hands to be faster, which would aggravate the problem I see in most mid- to high-handicap players. That problem is that their body core is not leading the swing, but rather it is following the arms and hands through impact.

Secondly, speed without precision is essentially worthless to you, and likely even counter-productive to your goal of playing better golf. Even with the big 460cc drivers, a miss of the sweet spot by just a half inch can cost you 8-12% of your optimum distance. You could never remove enough weight from the driver to increase your club speed by that amount. So, the key to consistently longer drives is to figure out how to make consistently more precise impact with the ball.

No golf adage is always true, but my experience and observation of thousands of golfers indicates to me that the fastest route to better driver distance is to get more precise with your impact and swing path, and not necessarily increasing your clubhead speed. And that may well be served by moving to a slightly heavier driver, not a lighter one.

I’ll end this by offering that this is not an experiment to conduct in a hitting bay with a launch monitor, but rather by playing a few rounds with a driver that is heavier than your current “gamer”.

Continuing with my “contrarian” outlook on many aspects of golf equipment, the typical driver “fitting” is built around an intense session on a launch monitor, where you might hit 30-40 or more drives in an hour or so. But the reality of golf is that your typical round of golf involves only 12-13 drives hit over a four-hour period, each one affected by a number of outside influences. But that’s an article for another time.

For this week, think about pulling an older, heavier driver from your closet or garage and giving it a go for a round or two and see what happens.

I would like to end today’s post by wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. It’s been a helluva year for all of us, so let’s take some time this week to count our individual and collective blessings.

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Podcasts

TG2: Reviewing the first major OEM (Cobra) 3D-printed putter!

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The first major OEM with a 3D printed putter is Cobra Golf! I took the new Limited Edition King Supersport-35 putter out on the course and found it to be a great performer. Cobra partnered with HP and SIK Putters to create a 3D printed body mated to an aluminum face that features SIK’s Descending Loft technology.

 

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Opinion & Analysis

You went to play, now you want to stay: Homes near Cabot Links & Cliffs

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At some point, we’ve all had that moment during a vacation where we look around and think to ourselves, “Instead of visiting, why don’t we just move here?” It always sounds a little crazy in the moment, but really, what’s stopping you?

Like many, I have done this myself, and it leads me down a rabbit hole of golf destination real estate to places all over North America where you get world-class golf minutes from home.

So whether you’re a big spender or looking to downsize and find a cozy hideaway, these homes near Cabot Links & Cliffs have it all.

Homes near Cabot Links & Cliffs

Inverness, Nova Scotia

Steps away

$1,495,000 – 12 Mine Road Inverness MLS Number: 202011562

Location, location, location!

This is currently the most expensive house in Inverness NS, and for good reason. It’s steps away from Cabot Links and overlooks the resort. It’s over 2,600 square feet of beautiful open concept living, and with a local address, you get a discount on tee times at the course, although with its growing popularity, you aren’t guaranteed times like if you stay on the actual property.

Who wouldn’t want to wake up to this view every day? Listing: 12 Mine Road – Realtor

Just up the road

$980,000 – 30 Broad Cove Road Inverness, MLS Number: 202010717

If the first one seems a bit crazy, this next one might be right up your alley.

This 4,000 square foot home, is only minutes from Cabot Link and Cliffs and has amazing views that overlook the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It has everything you could want including a large chef’s kitchen and enough room to host friends and family.

Listing: 30 Broad Cove Road – Realtor

Just you and the ocean

$394,000 – 6 Bayberry Road, Port Hood, MLS Number: 202015994

If you like golf but want a little more separation from the Cabot golf resort, less than 20 miles down the road is Port Hood, another quiet seaside town filled with quaint shops and endless views of the ocean.

You can wake up every morning to the sounds of the ocean and the smell of sea air, and when you want to play golf at a top 50 course in the world, you just need to make a relaxing drive along the water to get there—heck, if you are so inclined, and happen to have a boat, you can go almost door to door that way too!

Listing: 6 Bayberry Road – Realtor

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