The Final Round of the Season
You find similar scenes all over northern courses where daylight savings time means the end of golf season.
Or does it?
There are three ways to approach the end of golf season:
1) Move to Florida or Southern California where golf season never ends. Hawaii is never a bad option either.
2) Make it a year-round game no matter how cold it gets.
3) When you know you are teeing it up for the last time for several months, just have fun and not try to knock the handicap down another stroke. As a matter of fact, most clubs in northern climates dont even register scores after Labor Day because of weather conditions.
Kris Gooding is a teaching professional at the Country Club of Maryland, which stays open all year, even though it can get quite chilly during the winter months. He said a lot of clubs work with the golfers to ensure that members arent overwhelmed at the thought of getting in that final under-par round before the course becomes unplayable.
We see a lot of the members with a certain amount of anxiety as daylight savings time rolls around, but we try to help. We shorten the course and the scores get better. And we dont count scores against the handicap, so it relieves a lot of tension.
In Minnesota, Chuck Klecatsky is a PGA golf professional at the Craguns Legacy Courses about two hours north of Minneapolis, one of the top-rated resorts in the nation. He said that golfers might want to go low at the end of the playing season, but it should be expected in the north.
In Minnesota, the scores go up at the end because the weather gets worse, Klecatsky said. We try to make it easy, but they shouldnt get anxious. Just concentrate on the year, but more importantly, think about ways to improve during the winter even if it is just indoors or simulators. The golf season never has to end.
For some, the golf season never does end. Its easy to play year-round in Florida. But Matt Mitchell, a PGA teaching professional at The Downs Golf practice facility, a state of the art practice site in the Tampa Bay area, believes that the golf season never has to end.
To play year-round, even in the north, you need a year-round stretching program, so golf never has to end even if you are surrounded by snow, Mitchell said. Everyone I teach says they want to hit the ball like Tiger Woods. I look at them straight in the eye and say, You cant. Its all about your upper body and making a good turnthings to think about during the winter months. Think flexibility and turn.
The Tampa area is filled with snowbirds from up north who flitter between the cold climates and Florida after daylight savings time hits. Mitchell said a lot of golfers come to him with concerns about playing that last round before going north where golf is unplayable. But he contends that there is nothing to worry about; golfers could still play in the basement not matter how bad the blizzard.
Mitchell recommends an easy practice lesson that only takes a quick trip to the Home Depot. All you need is a plastic pipe to place behind the forearms and back, and practice stretching by turning the hips for about 15 minutes a day. Repeat the maneuver while sitting.
You can do the whole thing in 15 minutes a day, Mitchell said. It involves your back and hips, the two most important aspects to the golf swing, and you can do it anywhere.
He also advocates buying a cheap driver, or even a shaft, and adding surgical tubing to the shaft to practice swinging on the correct plane as fast as possible, though controlled. A whistling noise indicates a proper and effective swing.
If you live in a northern climate such as Minnesota, you dont want to go back to where you were six months ago once the courses are unplayable, Mitchell said. It takes 15 minutes a day.
Gooding concurs with the idea of improving your golf game even if you live in an area where the season is limited.
I joined a gym last year and worked on endurance and ecliptics, Gooding said. I worked on my back, core, legs and shoulders. I wasnt going for muscle, but it improved my game so much during the winter. I was hitting it farther once we got back out on a regular basis.
Klecatsky believes that the most obvious choice for indoor practice is to work on putting. Buying a simple putting strip can make a difference. As any golfer knows, if you hit the greens in regulation, putting is half the game. And although golf simulators are prominent throughout most of the northern states, putting strips are available everywhere. If its true that you drive for show and putt for dough, it isnt a bad idea to invest a few bucks in a putting strip.
As for the simulators, Klecatsky notes that newer technology has dramatically improved the realism they now provide, compared to those of a decade ago.
The last shot of the year doesnt have to be the last shot of the year. If you live in Minnesota or Alaska, the golf season never has to end. There are plenty of ways to keep the season alive and, hey, you dont have to worry about long lines at the tee boxes, and you are usually a lot closer to the 19th hole than when you are out on the course.
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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18