Martin's Blog: Master the toughest shots you face

By Martin HallNovember 15, 2012, 12:30 am

CHAPTER 33: Long Game Special
We teach hundreds of tips a year on School of Golf but there are just some shots I can’t properly teach inside the studio. This week, we got out to Ibis Golf & Country Club for a Long Game Special. Here’s a recap of three of the key shots:

1. Rough: There isn’t just one shot out of the rough, a lot depends on the distance and lie. If your ball is buried deep down in the nasty stuff, it’s best to forget about hitting it on the green. Instead, take a lofted club, like an 8-iron, and just gouge it out. Put the ball back in your stance, put a lot of weight on your front foot through the swing and make sure to hit the ball with a steep angle of attack. If the lie isn’t bad you still want a steep angle of attack, but going for the green is now an option. Take one more club than you normally would for that distance, aim a bit to the left, open the clubface slightly at address and feel like you’re going to hit a cut. Finally, if the lie and distance dictates, using a hybrid from the rough may be your best option. Choke down on the grip, take a ¾ backswing with a ¾ follow through and focus on making solid contact.

2. Uneven lies: There are four uneven lies that every golfer needs to know how to play. When the ball is above your feet, aim a bit to the right, bend the knees more than normal, stand a bit more erect at the waist, choke down on the club and swing on a flatter plane, planning for a draw. When the ball is below your feet aim a bit to the left, keep the knees still, bend at the waist, hold the club at its full length and swing steeper than normal, planning for a fade. From an uphill lie you need swing up the slope. Take about two more clubs and expect the ball to come out higher than normal. From a downhill lie you need to swing down the slope, take less club than normal and expect the ball to come out lower than normal.

3. Fairway bunker: This is one of the most difficult shots in the game for amateurs. I’ve found the best way to get it out and on target consistently is to put the ball up in your stance, choke down on the grip, stand tall at address, get your arms fully stretched and swing with the feeling of your wrists not doing much. This should allow you to pick the ball clean from the bunker and knock it at your target with a lower than normal ball flight.

Popular golf instruction tips:  Long Game Full SwingTrouble Shots Sand Game

Martin’s Library: “The Game for a Lifetime” by Harvey Penick

In this video segment, Martin breaks down what he views as the single best tip from Harvey Penick’s book “The Game for a Lifetime,” and he wants you to focus less on your backswing and more on your finish. Watch Video

Next week’s show: Chapter 33: Year End Special, Wednesday 7PM ET

• 'I’ll give you a four-point plan to practice and really improve over the offseason, and I’ll also share some of my favorite putting, pitching and long-game tips. We’ll also look back at advice from some of the best guests over the past year, including Arnold Palmer and Dave Stockton, and Holly Sonders will assist with the instruction.

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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.