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Opinion & Analysis

Barney Adams: Masters Tournament Committee won’t let course be overpowered

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Shortly, what is simply the most popular professional golf event as verified by its TV ratings will be gracing our TV screens. For clarity, I have never played Augusta National, and I attended the Masters once some 20 years ago and will be glued to my TV screen this year.

I have nothing but great respect for what the folks at Augusta have accomplished over the years. And frankly, it hasn’t always been perfect, given their treatment of announcers Jack Whitaker and Gary McCord.

I’ll not attempt to go into all the positive things they have done. This story is specifically about the course. Those of us who are Masters addicts no longer watch just par 3, 4, and 5 holes. We have been introduced to fairway and green slopes, hazards, and I have a better mental picture of the Augusta National layout than I do my home course! If asked to explain, I’d say the course is a masterpiece of combining length, shot-making recovery, and short game. In other words, the golfer has to be the complete package.

Except this year could be different… Starting with or at least emphasized by the recent U.S. Open we are told by TV announcers that professional golf is becoming a legion of long hitters. Not a casual mention, a constant forecast abetted by stories of players hitting the gym specifically looking for more clubhead speed.

Bryson DeChambeau sends out an Instagram message of a 403-yard carry, and it was picked up and discussed by the announcers during the Zozo event! Does this mean 400 is the new 300-yard bomb? Drive for show putt for dough hasn’t changed, it’s that TV loves the drive for show and it’s a TV business. And I’m sure they have the algorithms to substantiate their position. (I see a new Top Tracer coming, one that changes color and explodes at the 300 mark in the air)

I can’t visualize the powers that be at Augusta sitting quietly and letting this power story overshadow the great work they’ve done to the course. Yet in this COVID-19 era, it’s a very short window, since the U.S. Open and TV’s emphasis on distance. Maybe they will sit back like the rest of us and see how things work out?

I guarantee the folks at the Masters are not going to ultimately let their great course be outdriven. If it happens this year, the story for the next Masters will be an immediate work in progress. Tom Fazio on speed dial!

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Barney Adams is the founder of Adams Golf and the inventor of the iconic "Tight Lies" fairway wood. He served as Chairman of the Board for Adams until 2012, when the company was purchased by TaylorMade-Adidas. Adams is one of golf's most distinguished entrepreneurs, receiving honors such as Manufacturing Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 1999 and the 2010 Ernie Sabayrac Award for lifetime contribution to the golf industry by the PGA of America. His journey in the golf industry started as as a club fitter, however, and has the epoxy filled shirts as a testimony to his days as an assembler. Have an equipment question? Adams holds seven patents on club design and has conducted research on every club in the bag. He welcomes your equipment questions through email at [email protected] Adams is now retired from the golf equipment industry, but his passion for the game endures through his writing. He is the author of "The WOW Factor," a book published in 2008 that offers an insider's view of the golf industry and business advice to entrepreneurs, and he continues to contribute articles to outlets like GolfWRX that offer his solutions to grow the game of golf.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. BT

    Nov 11, 2020 at 7:48 pm

    Woolly rough and let the brush grow up in the trees. Make it a stroke penalty to miss the fairway

    BT

  2. Bob Jones

    Nov 9, 2020 at 11:36 am

    “I guarantee the folks at the Masters are not going to ultimately let their great course be outdriven. If it happens this year, the story for the next Masters will be an immediate work in progress.”

    In other words, the powers that be are fighting as hard as they can to keep their course from coming obsolete.

  3. Jack Nash

    Nov 9, 2020 at 8:56 am

    Solution? Greens 15 on the stimp lol

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Consistent setup is key to success

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In follow up to last week’s post, Top 4 reasons golfers don’t improve, I want to dive into what I believe to be the most common problem affecting mid- to high-handicap players. This is a big topic that will help nearly every golfer, regardless of your skill level, so it’s going to take two articles to cover it.

Here’s part 1.

We all tend to play golf in a constant cycle of swing-and-correction, swing-and-correction, but my observation is that most of the time our bad swings are caused by improper, or inconsistent setup.

I’m a firm believer that once you have played golf for a while, you have probably developed the ability to have a reasonably repeating and effective swing path and method. Even though it might not be textbook, it’s yours and has your fingerprints all over it. And the fact that you occasionally strike really good shots proves that your swing has the capability of producing results that are gratifying.

I certainly don’t suggest you shouldn’t work to improve your swing technique – the better the mechanics, the better and more consistent the results you are going to get. But my point is that your swing has produced good shots before, and it can do so more often if you just “fix” one thing – your starting position.

The single issue that troubles golfers of all skill levels, from tour player to 100-shooter, is the ability to be consistent. And I’m a firm believer that many – if not most – bad shots are the result of a bad starting position. Think of it this way: no matter how good your swing might be, if you start each shot with the ball in a different position in relation to your body core’s rotation axis, you simply cannot get the clubhead back on the ball consistently.

The ball is 1.68” in diameter, and the effective striking surface of an iron or fairway wood is only an inch or so across. That puts pretty tight demands on your ability to get the club behind your head and back on the ball with consistency.

Let’s compare golf to a baseball hitter. He’s standing in the box and the pitch can be anywhere in the strike zone. He’s got to have good technique, but is heavily reliant on his eye/hand coordination to get the bat on the ball. Darn difficult task, which is why the very best hitters only average .350 or so, shank off lots of fouls and completely whiff the ball at least 20% of the time! If you translated that to golf, no one would ever break 150!

The single thing that makes this game remotely playable . . . is that we get to start with the ball in the exact spot where we want it – every time.

I have a friend in the custom club business that did some research measuring the setup consistency of hundreds of golfers of all skill levels. What he found is simple, but revealing. His methodology was to have golfers address and hit a series of 6-iron shots, stepping away and taking a fresh setup for each one. He found that good players with low single-digit handicaps showed the ability to put themselves in almost the exact same position in relation to the ball every time. Measuring from the back of their heels to the ball showed an average deviation from shot to shot of less than 1/4 inch.

But he saw that the higher the handicap, the more shot-to-shot error in setup consistency the golfer exhibited – 20-plus handicap golfers exhibited an average shot-to-shot deviation in distance from the ball of up to two inches or even more! That’s the entire width of the clubhead! It’s a wonder they ever hit it at all!

This variance is a major reason why we can get “in the groove” on the practice range, but have difficulty taking it to the course.

So, think about that for a few days, and next week, I will share how you can quickly build a solid and repeating setup, so that you can give yourself the best chances of hitting good shots more often.

If there is any true “secret” to improving your ball-striking, shotmaking, and scoring, this is certainly it.

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: High octane ball compression and artistic touch around the greens

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From the Olympics to taking out the glancing blows in your irons and chipping it close. Wisdom in Golf has your back.

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Podcasts

The 19th Hole (Ep. 165): One-on-one with Shane Bacon

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Host Michael Williams talks with the co-host of the Golf Channel’s Golf Today about the Open Championship and Collin Morikawa’s place in the history books.

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