Martin's Blog: A four-point plan for the offseason

By Martin HallNovember 22, 2012, 12:30 am

CHAPTER 34: Year End Special
As we close things out for 2012, here is a four-point plan to help you keep improving during the offseason:

1. Play more than you practice:

• Try playing a round without using a driver.

• Take one more club than your initial thought on your approach shots.

• Play to the center of every green.

• Use the 70 percent rule, meaning dont attempt a shot unless you think you can pull it off at least 70 percent of the time.

• Play a round of Worst Ball. This is when you take two balls off the tee and play the one with the worst result. Do the same for every other shot until the ball is holed.

2. Work on pitching more than putting:

• Make sure the ball position is consistently in the center of your stance with the left toe pointed out.

• Get a true wrist cock in your swing, which is up-and-down not side-to-side.

• Dont let the hips lead in the downswing. Having a kinematic sequence is magic for the long game, tragic for the short game.

• Practice three different lengths of your swing with three different wedges so you have a shot for nine different yardages.

3. Work on putting more than long game:

• Work on your technique at home and touch on the practice green.

• Improve your technique by using feedback tools such as a mirror on the ground aimed at the target or hitting the end of a small circular tube trying to get it to go as straight as possible.

• Improve your touch and distance control by putting a ball as close as possible to the fringe and putting while looking at the hole the entire time.

4. Practice the Big Three of the long game:

• Club Shaft: Practice swinging just a shaft at home on the correct plane and when you replace it with a real club, visualize the club swinging through a gate in the impact zone.

• Clubface: Take a block of wood and drill a shaft into it at a 5-iron lie. Practice hitting the flat side of the block into the flat side of an exercise log or another movable flat surface. This will help you get the correct hand action.

• Clubhead: Take a shaft or driveway marker and stick it through the grip end of a club. Take practice swings or short shots, never full swings, with the extended shaft lightly resting against your body after impact.

Popular golf instruction tips:  Long Game Full SwingPutting Pitching

More video from Martin:

In this video, Martin has a great drill to help you keep from using your legs too much during your swing, which will keep your feet nice and quiet in your swing. Watch Video

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods teed off at 12:15PM ET alongside Justin Rose for Round 3 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.

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Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

In fact, she named her “Mona.”

For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

And that has her excited about this year.

Well, that and having a healthy back again.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.