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Golf 2019: 10 Quick Things

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The Presidents Cup reminded how great team golf can be, and what an exceptional course brings to the dynamic. It also illuminated that Patrick Reed is his own worst problem. Some people prefer to live amidst controversy. He seems to be one. Instead of laying low during the Cup, he instigated the crowd. Why? He should have taken his medicine after his transgression during the Hero Challenge. Speaking of that mistake, it’d be great if Augusta National would rescind Reed’s invitation for the 2020 Masters. He needs a lesson that’ll hit home. Perhaps suspend him from The Masters. That’ll teach him to own his competitive conduct. Tough love for sure, but good for the young man, and a page from former Orioles’ Manager Earl Weaver’s playbook. He would send Baltimore players down to the minors for transgressions like not running out ground balls. “I’m doing the kid a favor – he needs to learn how to play the game the right way,” he’d rightfully say.

The Rules of Golf changes make playing the game easier, faster, more fun. That wasn’t needed. (Insert sarcasm GIF here.)

Toptracer technology from Topgolf is the best thing for TV golf viewing ever.

technology, golf, television, broadcast

Toptracer technology from Topgolf transformed watching the game on TV , adding clarity and insight about how shots fly and are played.

Phil is phinished as a premier PGA Tour contender. No shame there. Phabulous run, old boy. Better than most all-time.

Others who should join Phil’s phoursome on the “Mount Rushmore of Sports/Father Time is Undefeated” Memorial include Tom Brady, Clayton Kershaw, and Carmelo Anthony.

Like the NBA, professional golf needs a shot clock. Two minutes when it’s your turn to play. No exceptions. Including looking for balls. Go.

turtles, slow, golf

Golfers need to play the game more quickly.

“Iron Byron” was a mind blower when first introduced as a performance measurement tool. Now, with AI seemingly omnipresent in golf – can you spell Arccos? – it seems laughably antiquated.

The LPGA (and its Symetra “Road to the LPGA” feeder tour) grows more compelling with each year. The next decade for women’s golf will be looked back on as the era when it “crossed over.” If you don’t know who Jin Young Ko, Sei Young Kim, or Brooke Henderson are, you will.

An event co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour and LPGA would be a great move. Make it a team event that players qualify for like they do for the Ryder Cup. The competition would be outstanding, and the uniqueness would make for a hugely compelling competition.

Dan Hicks proved again this year that he is an all-time great. His seemingly effortless calls make watching TV golf with the sound on not only tolerable but enjoyable. He’s fluent, astute, and avoids hyperbole. His commentary is laced with humor, insight, and, most importantly, is never pretentious. That last trait is incredibly hard to avoid. Right, Joe Buck?

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A University of Maryland graduate, Dan is a lifelong resident of the Mid-Atlantic, now residing in Northern Virginia. Fan of the Terps and all D.C. professional sports teams, Dan fell in love with golf through Lee Trevino's style and skill during his peak years. Dan was once Editor of Golf Inc. Magazine.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Golf Stud

    Dec 27, 2019 at 5:18 am

    The PGA Tour has no authority when it comes to the Masters Tournament. They would be in no position to suspend him from that event.

    • Dan Shepherd

      Dec 27, 2019 at 8:47 am

      Good point, of course, and my point was conceptual, to show how important it is I believe to penalize in a way that sends a message that makes a difference.

  2. D D

    Dec 26, 2019 at 5:51 pm

    Good going Dan I Am.

  3. Jim

    Dec 20, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    This isn’t an article.

    • Dan Shepherd

      Dec 26, 2019 at 1:19 pm

      It’s an opinion piece, Jim. Like Popeye, I calls ’em like I sees ’em, and GolfWRX is a platform for publishing all types of content, from news articles and features, to opinion columns.

  4. Devin

    Dec 19, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Huh?

  5. cdnasian

    Dec 19, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    What did I just read?

    • Dan Shepherd

      Dec 26, 2019 at 1:22 pm

      An opinion column by me. I have played the game for decades and worked in the industry for the past 20 years, including as editor of Golf Inc. Magazine.

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Podcasts

Best irons of 2021 Part 1 on GolfWRX Radio

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What are the best irons of 2021? GolfWRX Staffers Brian Knudson and Ryan Barath break down the 2021 Best Irons lists that were published this week.

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Playing your best

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No matter what our experience, ability and handicap, all of us golfers have one thing in common–we want to play the best we can every time we tee it up. But unfortunately, that is not always the case. Having a bad day on the course is just part of the game, it seems, regardless of your skill level. But there are things we can do to make that happen less often, and other ways to get back on track when a round begins to go awry.

Let’s start with giving ourselves the best chance of a good round every time.

Setting up a good round

It all starts on your drive to the course, or even when you are getting dressed to go play. Think about good shots you’ve been hitting recently, and good swings you’ve made. Picture drives that were long and straight, iron shots that just hunted the flag, recovery shots that saved par and putts that dropped. I know it’s a cliché, but there really is no substitute for positive thoughts when it comes to golf.

When you get to the course, whether you change shoes in the parking lot or the locker room, S-L-O-W….D-O-W-N. Savor the fact that you have a round of golf in front of you —not work, not yard or house chores. It is time for F-U-N!

Give yourself a chance to perform your best golf right from the first tee

If it’s worth taking a few hours out of your day, it’s darn sure worth taking an extra 10-15 minutes to give yourself a chance. Stretch your legs and back/shoulder muscles that have shortened up from a few days or a week at the office and/or even a few hours of sleep. This is crucial to performing your best. Take a dozen or two back and forth horizontal swings with your sand wedge to get the blood flowing. These aren’t “practice swings” but more like baseball swings to further stretch out your shoulders and back and upper arms and get the feel of the club in your hands.

And for Pete’s sake, hit at least a dozen or so shots before you go to the first tee. At least a few chips and/or pitches and some putts. You have to get the feel of impact refreshed to have a chance.

Getting the derailed train back on track

We all are going to hit bad shots, no matter what kind of game you have, but what wrecks a round is when you get it going sideways for more than one hole. When that happens, the round can still be saved, but the key is to remove the stress caused by the bad shots or holes and build on something you can believe in. It is normal to find yourself tightening up as a result of a bad hole or two, so take an extra minute to “step outside”. Walk away from your group (since you are probably last to hit now anyway), and take some deep breaths. Get your tension down and get positive thoughts back into your head. Take some practice swings with those positive thoughts back in mind.

Here are what I find to be four keys to getting the train back on track

Reach for the 3-wood. If you have hit a couple of bad drives, drop back to the 3-wood, and get one in the fairway. It won’t be all that much shorter than your driver, and it will build some confidence. If the driver is the problem, in fact, bench it for the rest of the round.

Play to the “safe” side. If your iron shots are not sharp, play to the safe side of the greens and give yourself a chance to avoid the big number and put a par or two on the card. When you get your “mojo” back, you can fire at the flags again.

Play the fault. If you are blocking shots right, or a hook has raised its ugly head, play it! That is, if you can’t find the fault and fix it quickly. The range is the place to fix things, the course is for scoring. Unless you can find the fix quickly, just “dance with who brung you.”

Loosen up. A few bad shots will cause us to build body tension, and the first place that manifests is in our grip pressure. You cannot hold a golf club lightly enough, in my opinion–your body won’t let you. But you sure can get into a death grip quickly when the tension mounts. Run a mental check on your grip pressure and lighten up, particularly in the right thumb and forefingers. It will change things immediately.

So, there are my thoughts on playing your best. I’ll bet the readers have their own suggestions, too, so let’s all share our ideas, OK? This should be fun and informative for all of us.

And as always, if you have a topic you would like me to address in a future column, just shoot me an email to [email protected].

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Club Junkie

Club Junkie: Rapsodo MLM Personal Launch Monitor, Srixon XV balls, TaylorMade SIM2 Max 3-wood

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I have been using a Rapsodo MLM for most of the year to track my practice and give me some numbers on my range sessions. The MLM is great for tracking your bag, distances, dispersion, and ball speed. Use it indoors into a net or on the range; the MLM has so many features. New Srixon XV golf balls are softer and more playable for the golfer who doesn’t need super low spin.

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