Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Furrows redux

It's time for Jack Nicklaus's Memorial Tournament, which also means the furrows are back.

In 2006, the furrows contributed to a drop in sand saves from 49.1% to 43.8% (stats courtesy of A Walk in the Park).

However, it seems Nicklaus didn't want to incur the same ire from players this year as he did last, so, "....[Nicklaus's] intent was to restore the penalty of hitting into a bunker... some players said the size of the furrows took skill out of the sand shot.

"This year, we're consistent with the size, and we really don't think the players are going to find it to be a big hazard," Nicklaus said. "It puts a little ripple in the sand. Can you get a bad lie? Yeah. You'll be pretty hard-pressed, though."

Nicklaus gave them a test over the weekend, hitting six bunker shots.

"One was a long bunker shot, and other five I hit within a foot," he said. "I said, 'Well, if I can do that, I think it's going to be pretty easy for those guys.' I don't think that will be an issue this year, frankly."

The buzz word for the bunkers is called "rough raking," perhaps to get the word "furrow" out of the vocabulary this week. But if the penalty won't be severe, why use any special rake at all?"

(Quote courtesy of

So it would seem that in 2006, the furrows had their intended effect. In fact, Carl Pettersson, last year's winner, hit into only one bunker all week.

Why is Jack backing down and using smaller furrows?

This is, after all, Jack, and if Jack wants to loose Bengal tigers on the course during tournament play (obviously he'd spare the pro-am) most players would be happy to accept the danger for their chance to win Jack's tournament.

It probably has to do with the fact that Jack, as a golfer and pillar of the community, is not a rebel, and probably, above all else, now that he's retired, needs to be liked by those he respects most--the players in his tournament. His legacy is his 18 majors, not his furrows. So if using shortened teeth in his rakes nets him a few more, "Thanks, Mr. Nicklaus--your tournament's the best," from the likes of, say, Tiger Woods, then he's probably only too happy to oblige.

Monday, May 28, 2007

So THAT'S how you hit that neat pitch!

Found this article on, (text below) and it lays how to hit those zippy one-skip-and-bite pitches. The more I play, the more a I realize that I need to perfect this shot--you can't always count on dropping a 35% lob shot down near the pin; plus, it's just so damn cool.

The one-hop-and-stop pitch

How to play the stop-it-on-a-dime shot that's cooler than Fonzie.

Published: January 01, 2006

If you want to be cooler than the other side of the pillow, you gotta have the one-hop-and-stop shot. You've seen the pros do it: From about 25 yards out, they pick the ball off the turf so it bounces once on the green and then puts on the brakes right by the hole. It's cool and it leaves an easy tap-in.

• You'll need a clean lie in the fairway and your sand wedge.

• Play the ball one inch back of center in your stance with your clubface square to the target. Your hands should be slightly in front of the ball [left].

• Apply a little extra grip pressure with the last three fingers of your left hand. This will come in handy in just a moment.

• Keep your weight centered throughout your swing. Take the club back to waist height and then accelerate down through the ball.

• Kick your right knee toward the target as you reach impact. This will get you moving onto your left foot and ensure ball-first contact.

• Don't release the club. Instead, maintain that little extra grip pressure and you'll keep the club pointing at the target.

• Follow through to knee height, and rotate your body and hands around to your left.

Brian Crowell is head golf professional at Leewood Golf Club in Eastchester, N.Y.

Wounded Duck update 6/10/07: Have tried this shot several times and have yet to get the desired effect. Easy to pull left and look like a dufus. I think I got to spin once, but ball spun down a knob further from hole, need tv cameras to cover me as I play for better post-round analysis.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

If it ain't broke...

Remember these?

These are the crappy clubs I mention in an earlier post with the wild-and-crazy idea that I would play them, expressing the quaint notion that, with their whippy, 40-year-old shafts, it's the swing, not the stick. Well, was I ever WRONG! Sure, I could hit them, but only after making swing adjustments that I just know will have put me out of sync with my current gear. Every iron shot was pulled, and the driver... I don't even want to talk about the driver. So, having learned the hard way that technology is my friend, I shall not ever abandon it again.

However, my foray into the unplayability of older clubs has led me to wonder if the idiosyncratic swings of older pros--Trevino, Palmer, even Nicklaus--weren't a result of the crude shafts which were available when they learned the game. Conversely, could the cookie cutter pro swings--so named and criticized by Hal Sutton in a Golf Magazine article--be a result of the consistent quality of golf equipment in the modern era? I have neither the billions of dollars nor the top-notch research team to put that question to the scientific test, but the golf swing has adapted as technology changed: hickory to steel, steel to graphite, etc. Who knows--if we're all playing the same shafts, maybe our swings should look similar, too.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Custom fitting--Or How I Should Stop Worrying and Love To Bomb.

A few times a year I learn of a new product or service that makes me wonder, "If I [bought product or hired service] would my game really be taken to new heights?" Well, this thrice-monthly's obsession is brought to you by Doctor Grip. He's Dave Butler, a club fitter in Northern California who runs his shop out of a green trailer (aptly named the Butler Cabin) next to a small driving range. His website is chock-full of cool info, but here's one tidbit I found particularly enlightening:

Drivers "Basically the Same"

Is there that much difference between one driver and another? Absolutely, but for a different reason than you might imagine.

David Butler performed a test, recently, to determine which of fifteen name-brand drivers hit a golf ball the ball farthest. He fitted a low handicap player to an optimum shaft, and then had him try all the club heads. He found virtually no difference from one to the next. It was all about the shafts.

Based on that study, your choice of drivers becomes a matter of personal preference. A player should choose his big stick based on how it looks, sets up, feels through the swing, and sounds at impact.

In David Butler's fitting center, you too, can duplicate that test and apply it to your game. David will determine the proper shaft based on objective scientific factors, and then plug that shaft into quality, proven drivers. You decide which of them most appeals to you.

So now that you reach the fairways more often, how about hitting it stiff to the greens?

Pretty amazing, huh? Good to know, considering that I payed $125 for my used Cobra SS 427 cc driver, and new drivers typically go for $500. Most drivers will last for 10,000 ball strikes, so a trade up is not necessarily required.

In his fitting, he uses only two models of shafts for irons, and one for woods. His iron shafts are True Temper, and they're shafts that TT only offers through custom club fitters. He says the wood shafts, the Diamana from Mistubishi Rayon, are a "little more expensive," so I looked them up online and found them for $275. I can only imagine the iron shafts are similarly pricey. By no means am I implying I'm not worth a $275 shaft--if I had the money I'd have no problem whatsoever in spending it--but my game had better be in tip-top shape before I fork out that kind of dough. Which brings me to my next question...

Club fitters are always claiming that properly fitted clubs can make a huge difference in your game, while teaching pros claim it's the swing; manufacturers claim a high MOI is the secret. Taken together, these add up to a thoroughly confusing dilemma. I guess the only way to resolve the conflict is to actually try all three. So, over the next year, I am going to try all three. Southern California has some of the best golf teachers in the biz, and I'm inclined to hire someone from the Brady Riggs camp--he's an instructor who's been featured in the big golf mags a few times (but--yikes--is $25o an hour) but has a few proteges who are affordable, and who sound solid. Then, after the lesson phase is well under way, I'll decide who my club fitter will be. Could be Doctor Grip, or Max Out Golf, here in Socal. Then, and only then, and only on recommendation of either the fitter or the teacher, will I consider trading my venerable Ping Zings for newer clubs (although Doctor Grip says that forged clubs, due to their higher density, will hit balls farther than cast, and as you all know, Ping is the King of Casting.)

As my Year in Golf progresses, I'll post updates to let you know how things are going.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Flight to Ohio: $500. Greens fees: $35. Playing with a set of clubs that cost you $8: priceless.

I'm out of town, visiting my clan in our ancestral homeland, better known as Northeastern Ohio, and, of course, it's Spring here, so golf is in season. I didn't dare schlep my clubs all the way from the City of Bulimic Angels, so I went shopping at a quality golf retail outlet. Here are some pics of my new acquisitions:

(The retail outlet is Salvation Army.) The grips are leather circa Eisenhower. I took them to a driving range, made my way amongst the guys playing with new shiny, grain-flow forged, titanium clubs and let 'er rip. I would guess they play nearly two clubs less than modern clubs (because of increased lofts and reduced shaft length) and the shafts were super-soft, which caused a fierce-some draw on every shot. With the driver, as long as you hit up on the ball like every pro says you should, you can get 200+ yards out of it. There's only one thing left for me to do: buy a worm-eaten bag for another $5, and hit the links.

And I'm not taking the price stickers off.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Putting, putts, putted, putt

This is sort of a companion piece to my posting about greens-in-regulation (about half down the posting) because how many putts you make is related to how many greens you hit. On the awesome website Puttingzone, Geoff Mangum has a primer on how to understand putting stats. Below are the nuts-and-bolts of his analysis (which cites 2000-PGA season stats):

What the Number Means. The lowest number in this set of years is Brad Faxon's 1.704 (2000). That year he took 1897 putts on 1113 greens he had reached in regulation (1897/1113=1.704). The easiest way to think about these numbers when comparing two players is to assume each player hit an even 1000 greens. That way, Brad Faxon's 1.704 (rank=1) compares to Kelly Gibson's 1.841 (rank=195) as 1704 putts versus 1841 putts. In other words, over the course of the whole season Faxon's putting is worth 137 fewer strokes than the worst putter in that year's stats. This is the range for that year. Faxon played 96 rounds that season, while Gibson played only 82, so the numbers do not tell us Faxon had 137 fewer putts that year than Gibson -- only that if Player A and Player B both played the same number of rounds and each hit the same number of greens in regulation, Player A with 1.704 putting would have 137 fewer strokes than Player B with 1.841 putting.

In addition, assuming no 3-putt+ greens, if a player 2-putted every green he reached in regulation, his stat would be 2.000. If he 1-putted every green he reached in regulation, his stat would be 1.000. If he 1-putted HALF (50%) of the greens he hit in regulation, his stat would be 1.500. If he 1-putted a QUARTER of the greens he reached in regulation, his stat would be 1.750. THIS TELLS YOU THE PERCENT OF GIRs THE PLAYER ONE-PUTTS! The simple formula is 2 minus the stat. For Kelly Gibson's 1.841 stat, the number tells us he 1-putted 2 - 1.841 = .159, or 15.9% of his greens. In contrast, Brad Faxon's 1.704 tells us he 1-putted 2 - 1.704 = .296, or 29.6% of his greens.

In 2006, the PGA's best putter was Daniel Chopra, with a whopping 1.712, meaning he one-putted 28.8% of greens. No wonder he's a pro! Of course, this isn't the whole picture of his game, because putting stats don't take into account missed greens, but still, when Chopra does hit a GIR, he's got a 1-in-3 chance to make his first putt. From an amateur's standpoint, that would make the game a whole lot funner.

Puttingzone has tons of info from Geoff's research and teaching techniques, and he even delves into psychology, which is one part of the game that the venerable Dave Pelz, short-game genius that he is, steers well clear of. Pelz did publish a book on putting, but regardless of whether you use him or Mangum, better putting can make you a markedly better player.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Off the beaten path.

Once in a while, finding something on a lark turns out to be better than you expected...

I often find myself rummaging through the bargain club bins at various golf retailers, but unquestionably, my favorite is Roger Dunn. Their store in Santa Ana is staggeringly huge, and their used club selection is equally impressive. The bins are so full of clubs, they look like freshly harvested wheat spilling over the rim, demanding to be luxuriantly grasped. During one foray, I came upon this:

It was sitting in the $20 bin with a bunch of other tired, sad, Island-of-Misfit-Toys candidates. It's a strange little fairway wood manufactured by tennis powerhouse Prince. It has a proprietary shaft, impossible to replace grip (I lie: you can call Prince and get them for $5 each), and, most importantly, it worked great. I took it home and have never been able to find its equal. However, since it's a great club and more of good thing must be better, I tried to locate it's siblings in varying lofts, but, alas, could not find them, new or used. Then one day I came upon The Golf Shack , and found the clubs I was looking for--new--for $20 (marked down from their original price of $150.) Feeling like I had found a Jackson Pollack at a garage sale, I gobbled them up, and have been happy to have them ever since. I've never seen another player using them, and have never seen them in a used bin ever again. I guess this goes to show you that life, even in golf, is fleeting, and you'd better grab your chances when they present themselves or you might not ever see them again.

Tomorrow: Desire for my long-lost Quad-Pro.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Par on the PGA Tour

Ever wonder how well you would do if you shot par every week on the PGA Tour? I looked at a few tournaments from this season and crunched the numbers. On average, when the winning score is between 15-20 under par, those who shot even made around $12,500 (in some tournaments shooting par was much more of an accomplishment due to the higher winning score, so I threw those results out.) So if your average player--let's call him Troy Atkinson--participated in 30 events, excepting the Majors and the elite invitationals (Mercedes, TPC, etc.), shooting par would net him $375,000 at season's end. In 2006, this would have put him in 168th place on the money list, which is not good enough to garner playing privileges for the next year, though it does offer Troy some provisional status. Of course, the pattern for most players is one of hot/cold: one week they miss the cut, then the next week they make a cut and place high enough to earn $50,000. Hopefully, they can do this enough times to total the $495,314 needed to place 150th or better on the tour money list (in 2006) and have full playing privileges. Wow--these guys really are good.

(Stats from


2006 Money Leaders
Complete Through THE TOUR Championship - November 05, 2006

1Tiger Woods$9,941,563158
2Jim Furyk$7,213,316242
3Adam Scott$4,978,858191
4Vijay Singh$4,602,417271
5Geoff Ogilvy$4,354,970202
6Phil Mickelson$4,256,506192
7Trevor Immelman$3,844,190241
8Stuart Appleby$3,470,459232
9Luke Donald$3,177,410181
10Brett Wetterich$3,023,185251
11David Toms$2,911,187221
12Rory Sabbatini$2,861,750241
13Joe Durant$2,811,139281
14Chad Campbell$2,811,066251
15Stewart Cink$2,755,910260
16Davis Love III$2,747,207231
17Rod Pampling$2,664,674241
18Carl Pettersson$2,647,983281
19Retief Goosen$2,617,453180
20Brett Quigley$2,617,420330
21Lucas Glover$2,587,983310
22Dean Wilson$2,509,859341
23Arron Oberholser$2,467,771231
24Zach Johnson$2,452,252270
25Tom Pernice, Jr.$2,396,548330
26Stephen Ames$2,395,155211
27K.J. Choi$2,376,549261
28Ernie Els$2,326,220180
29J.J. Henry$2,301,480281
30Ben Curtis$2,256,327262
31Jose Maria Olazabal$2,120,423180
32Tim Clark$1,974,933220
33Mike Weir$1,883,725240
34Steve Stricker$1,811,812170
35Vaughn Taylor$1,783,946260
36Troy Matteson$1,778,597321
37Tim Herron$1,776,143271
38Camilo Villegas$1,742,112290
39Jerry Kelly$1,737,800310
40Scott Verplank$1,729,319250
41Nathan Green$1,700,802300
42Tom Lehman$1,692,083200
43Jason Bohn$1,676,892290
44Frank Lickliter$1,655,679290
45John Senden$1,650,674281
46Shaun Micheel$1,632,842290
47Justin Rose$1,629,288280
48Fred Funk$1,579,839290
49Sergio Garcia$1,560,734170
50Richard S. Johnson$1,555,376290
51Ian Poulter$1,553,906150
52Charles Howell III$1,553,104300
53Chris DiMarco$1,537,925260
54Daniel Chopra$1,530,454330
55Aaron Baddeley$1,516,513251
56Robert Allenby$1,503,581220
57John Rollins$1,498,829281
58Ben Crane$1,489,093260
59J.B. Holmes$1,487,603261
60Jeff Maggert$1,430,375261
61Steve Flesch$1,417,617330
62Sean O'Hair$1,411,388300
63Jonathan Byrd$1,408,339200
64Bo Van Pelt$1,389,928280
65Billy Mayfair$1,367,999290
66Chris Couch$1,356,732271
67Bob Estes$1,340,244250
68Padraig Harrington$1,339,676150
69Greg Owen$1,316,684240
70Bart Bryant$1,316,132260
71Jesper Parnevik$1,308,309240
72Corey Pavin$1,308,084231
73Eric Axley$1,274,581291
74Jeff Sluman$1,252,024290
75Nick Watney$1,243,816290
76Ted Purdy$1,216,429330
77Heath Slocum$1,180,681300
78Woody Austin$1,179,321310
79Shigeki Maruyama$1,154,115300
80Steve Lowery$1,124,949310
81Ryan Moore$1,122,118220
82Charley Hoffman$1,115,193290
83Hunter Mahan$1,107,457290
84Ryan Palmer$1,092,853300
85Mathew Goggin$1,076,141260
86Joe Ogilvie$1,073,112290
87Billy Andrade$1,057,927240
88Brian Gay$1,037,601310
89D.J. Trahan$1,035,242331
90Bubba Watson$1,019,263270
91Charles Warren$1,018,840270
92Ryuji Imada$1,018,139310
93Craig Barlow$1,006,538220
94Nick O'Hern$995,236150
95Daisuke Maruyama$956,925250
96David Howell$912,437140
97Paul Goydos$890,392240
98Harrison Frazar$889,022290
99Bill Haas$887,024300
100Will Mackenzie$879,966291
101Kent Jones$860,688320
102Briny Baird$844,549250
103Peter Lonard$837,017220
104Kenny Perry$818,698220
105Joey Sindelar$802,507290
106Brandt Jobe$802,435280
107Jeff Gove$793,477290
108Fredrik Jacobson$788,764180
109Justin Leonard$781,756260
110Fred Couples$780,361170
111Kirk Triplett$766,594181
112Dudley Hart$762,736290
113Brian Davis$762,282280
114Olin Browne$754,063300
115Kevin Sutherland$751,626290
116Stephen Leaney$746,747270
117Pat Perez$719,507190
118Jason Gore$717,003290
119David Branshaw$706,346290
120Mark Calcavecchia$705,316270
121Paul Azinger$702,089300
122J.P. Hayes$701,433190
123Shane Bertsch$697,060340
124Mathias Gronberg$674,003300
125Darren Clarke$660,898100
126Rich Beem$658,224270
127Bubba Dickerson$650,315320
128Brian Bateman$645,152260
129John Cook$644,505200
130Lee Westwood$630,566140
131Duffy Waldorf$625,514280
132Tim Petrovic$601,928300
133Brent Geiberger$590,479300
134Omar Uresti$583,704220
135Jonathan Kaye$578,714320
136Jeffrey Overton$577,131280
137Jerry Smith$568,213290
138Bernhard Langer$561,512240
139Jeff Brehaut$558,595330
140Arjun Atwal$550,537330
141Bob May$548,631210
142Marco Dawson$545,076270
143Brad Faxon$543,681260
144Robert Garrigus$537,594280
145Alex Cejka$525,484300
146Lee Janzen$524,198280
147Jose Coceres$522,592130
148Kris Cox$517,836280
149Tag Ridings$498,242330
150Chris Riley$495,314270
151Robert Gamez$493,640300
152Henrik Bjornstad$490,963310
153Michael Allen$470,945250
154Carlos Franco$454,385290
155Robert Damron$451,300310
156Mark Wilson$444,317240
157Skip Kendall$439,934220
158J.L. Lewis$438,669170
159John Huston$431,024270
160David McKenzie$425,229280
161Wes Short$422,506330
162D.A. Points$405,984280
163Todd Fischer$395,819350
164Doug Barron$388,226280
165Patrick Sheehan$386,718340
166Danny Ellis$382,501230
167Scott Gutschewski$379,488190
168Ian Leggatt$377,904290
169Graeme McDowell$357,902150
170Tommy Armour III$352,446250
171Paul Stankowski$319,597220
172David Duval$318,276240
173Steve Jones$308,360270
174Ron Whittaker$300,033280
175Bob Tway$299,725250
176Cameron Beckman$288,427160
177Craig Parry$283,282150
178Jay Delsing$276,447140
179Greg Kraft$273,735260
180Nicholas Thompson$264,717320
181Steve Elkington$255,196170
182B.J. Staten$253,089180
183Mark Hensby$251,883160
184Gabriel Hjertstedt$251,235160
185Tjaart van der Walt$234,918210
186John Riegger$230,765200
187James Driscoll$219,904290
188Larry Mize$217,971180
189Nick Price$208,938160
190Mark Brooks$207,958360
191Vance Veazey$207,077200
192Mark O'Meara$203,668180
193John Daly$192,134210
194Matt Hansen$187,253250
195Chris Smith$183,411210
196Scott McCarron$175,727150
197Dicky Pride$174,67490
198Todd Hamilton$165,072270
199Jay Haas$163,39970
200Thomas Levet$163,110190
201Darron Stiles$157,558150
202Jimmy Walker$153,950210
203Greg Chalmers$151,266280
204Jason Schultz$147,424280
205Kevin Na$146,099110
206Rocco Mediate$145,820180
207Glen Day$134,580120
208Loren Roberts$134,57140
209Mike Sposa$132,131250
210Bill Glasson$127,932170
211Dan Forsman$117,126150
212Roger Tambellini$116,685250
213Notah Begay III$116,034120
214Matt Gogel$108,230140
215Tom Byrum$101,094110
216Michael Connell$97,771220
217Grant Waite$96,95080
218Brian Henninger$96,453120
219Alex Aragon$94,504260
220Ryan Hietala$87,772230
221Jay Williamson$86,150180
222John Engler, Jr.$72,694270
223Scott Gump$72,248100
224Hidemichi Tanaka$69,435310
225Brendan Jones$68,76090
226Len Mattiace$66,540220
227Jon Mills$65,493270
228Garrett Willis$60,541100
229David Frost$56,96070
230Phil Tataurangi$55,792200
231Neal Lancaster$54,680190
232Andrew Magee$52,711190
233Donnie Hammond$52,693110
234Bob Burns$49,17090
235Peter Jacobsen$46,25640
236Michael Bradley$41,79060
237Gary Hallberg$35,69340
238Gavin Coles$34,67450
239Blaine McCallister$32,190100
240Ben Crenshaw$32,06020
241Matt Kuchar$30,29780
242Willie Wood$27,774110
243Jim McGovern$26,07080
244Hank Kuehne$24,67790
245Tom Watson$21,57820
246Boyd Summerhays$20,794130
247Spike McRoy$18,22590
248James H. McLean$16,76040
249David Edwards$16,36430
250Craig Stadler$16,25840
251David Peoples$13,98840
252Guy Boros$13,75050
253Joey Snyder III$13,43260
254Craig Perks$11,880180
255Joel Edwards$11,76030
256Steven Bowditch$11,160220
257David Gossett$7,48070
258Mike Hulbert$6,54060
259Jim Gallagher, Jr.$6,39040
259Wayne Levi$6,39010
259Michael Clark II$6,39040
262Chip Beck$6,18010
263David Berganio, Jr.$6,06020

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

"Please repair your ballmarks..."

If you ever play on public courses, especially in big cities like Los Angeles, the conditions of the greens are often appalling. Not because the greenskeeper is asleep at the wheel, but because there are golfers--whole hordes of unwashed masses--who never fix their pitch marks. I've played with groups who never fix a single mark during an entire round, so I end up fixing 5 or 6 myself. Worse yet, when most golfers do attempt to fix their pitch mark, they do so incorrectly, and actually make the mark worse. In the below "diagram", the improper method--and how most golfers repair marks--is on the left: they dig below the mark and lift it. Not only does this tear the grass's roots, but lifts up the underlying soil, creating a patch of nude earth which will takes weeks to regrow. The correct technique, on the right, is to use your divot tool to push the edges of the hole into the hole itself.

This misunderstanding of correct technique probably came about because a) divot tools are so long the natural inclination is to use them as gardening tools, and b) no one is ever shown the proper technique. As to why people don't fix their marks at all, you'd have to chalk that one up to inexperience--they probably don't know they're responsible for repair of their ball marks, i.e., they're ingnoramuses..

Enter the Green Fix ball mark elimination tool.

This tool has shorter prongs and a video on the website shows its creator using the tool push the mark's edges in around itself (sound familiar?) These tools should be air dropped from C-130s over Los Angeles golf courses for all to use, and maybe, just maybe, golfers will finally show a little gratitude for hitting a green by fixing their mark (though I would like to believe any hacker that uses one will finally learn to fix ball marks properly, I have no doubt there will be doofusses who try to use it the wrong way.) Even if you don't buy a Green Fix, using proper ball mark repair technique will make all us golfers a lot happier.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

One plane vs two plane: I just don't see it.

I've been looking at the one plane/two plane "controversy", and I just don't get the difference. This article at Golf Digest has pictures of both swing types. Here are the two swings:

From the top of the backswing, they're nearly identical. At impact, they are identical. The thing is, if you were to put Ben Hogan's definition of "swing plane" (as seen below: the plane created between the ball and where the golfer's neck meets his shoulders) it looks as though one plane and two plane are, in actuality, the same, i.e., both under the plane. Two-plane swingers are those players who have the dramatic re-route of the club back to the inside, which is were supposed one-planers hang out all the time. Jim Hardy and his minions may have created the dichotomy of one plane vs two plane, but it may be, after all, a false one.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Funny thing about "The Short Game Bible"

I've been a follower of ...The Bible for a while--Dave Pelz's "Short Game Bible" that is. In it, he's got all kinds of advice on how to be an effective shot maker inside 100 yards, which is where all rounds are made or broken. The book is chalked full of stuff like this:

That is to say, proper short game technique. And it works, but if, and only if, you have a correct golf swing. I did not have a proper golf swing for many years, and because of this, there were certain parts of his instructions that always befuddled me; namely, how to hit a 7:30 pitch. Let me explain. Pelz divides the swing into four levels of power, and he uses the face of a clock to illustrate these positions--backswings to 7:30, 9:00, 10:30, and full should enable you to cover any distance of shot. However, if you don't have a well-founded swing. the lower-power swings, 9 and 7:30, will be particularly vexing. In his book, Pelz admits that he's not teaching the golf swing, per se; he's teaching how to use the swing you've got (again, assuming yours is proper) to get more out of it. So, if Pelz's instruction, or any short game guru's, for that matter, has given you fits, try and straighten-out your full swing.