How To Break 90

By Dean ReinmuthJanuary 21, 2002, 5:00 pm

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For as long as I have played the game, there have always been these predetermined benchmarks of improvement: 100, 90, 80, 70. However, the reality is anytime you shoot a score lower than your previous best, even by one shot, it should be considered a success.
Of all these incremental steps of 10, breaking 80 is probably the most notable one. It finally puts you in the category being a truly good golfer.
There are three key steps to focus on in improving your skills to break 90.

Manage Your Tee Shots and Recovery Shots ' The secret here is to consistently hit your best shots more often. Dont try to play a shot where you have a low success rate. Its much easier to score well from the fairway. So, manage your tee shots into the fairway - use a 3-wood or an iron.


Also, make sure you stand on the proper side of the tee box. Its like bowling. If you want to hit the pin, start from the opposite side of the lane and bowl across instead of down the gutter. By doing this, you improve your odds of not only performing your shot correctly, but you reduce the risk of a mishit going into big trouble. So always tee off on the side of the tee nearest the trouble and angle your shot away from the trouble area.
When you miss the fairway or are faced with a recovery shot use what I call option thinking vs. result thinking. Using this type of thought process, youll be able to determine what shot you should play instead of what shot you would like to play.
This means use shots that you can perform with a high degree of consistency and will accomplish what you need. When you can manage your emotions, you may not hit shots any better, but you wont give shots away, either.
For example, instead of the 3-wood out of the fairway bunker over the water, play an easier shot into the fairway and utilize your next shot - and your putts - to recover from the errant tee shot. Remember, playing from the fairway always makes achieving a lower score easier than from the rough, trees or hazards.
A good way to visualize the recovery shot process is to imagine hitting to a spot that leaves you with a distance similar to the length of a par-3 hole. If you are in the woods 250 yards from the green, first punch out to a spot 150-180 yards from the pin that leaves you with an easy approach. Hopefully you can hit your approach close enough to have the chance to make a putt and save the shot.

Short Game Play ' The key to short shots is practice, practice and more practice. For your short wedges, there are three areas of concentration where you should focus - set-up, swing length, and pace.
  1. Set-Up: For your short wedges and chips, set your weight to your left side and use three possible positions with your hands in front of the ball:
    1. Solid contact/lowest trajectory: Hands in line with left hip bone
    2. Semi solid/high trajectory: Hands half-way between left hip bone and belt buckle
    3. Soft contact/highest trajectory: Hands in line with belt buckle

  2. Swing Length: It is important to make the length of your backswing equal to the length of your forward swing. Concentrate on creating three even-length swings: 1/4 length (five oclock to seven oclock), 1/2 length (waist to waist) and 3/4 length (shoulder to shoulder).
  3. Pace: The pace (or speed) of your club should be consistent throughout your swing. Do not make your forward swing faster than your backswing.
Once you get good at these standard options, you can mix and match these elements to create any shot you desire.
One last thought on the short game: practice your bunker play ' learn to get the ball out of the bunker and onto the green.

Putting - Again, the key to becoming a good putter is practice, practice, practice. Two areas are of particular importance;
  1. Lag putting ' Practice your speed so that you leave your longer putts inside a three- or four-foot circle around the hole.
  2. Practice your two-foot putts ' Make 20 in a row, then move back 2 1/2 feet and make another 20 in a row ' keep moving back at six-inch increments until you can make 20 putts putts in a row from four feet.
Focus yourself in these key areas and not only will you break 90, but breaking 80 will be well in your sight.
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.