Class Continues August 16, 2011

By Martin HallAugust 16, 2011, 11:00 pm

Q: I am a 'Divot Virgin'.  Since it is difficult for me to hit under the ball in a greenside bunker explosion shot, can you give me a drill to make that task more successful?  

-    A.J. (Mount Laurel, NJ)

A: If you are hitting an 'explosion' shot, it sounds as if the ball is somewhat buried or even fully plugged. When this is the case, use the “bounce” - - the back edge of the sand wedge. Trying to splash the sand from under the ball is certainly NOT the way to go; you won't dig down under the ball enough. Instead, actually close the club face slightly at address, put the hands ahead of the ball and in so doing, have it be the digging edge, the leading edge of the sand iron that goes down into the sand. Weight on front foot, an early wrist break on the backswing, and a sharp downward blow into the sand should get that divot you want. Good luck.

Q: I have a real bad problem where I hit more ground than I do ball. Could you help me out?

-    T.J. (Facebook)

A: There is a very good chance that at the moment, when you hit the ball you have too much weight on your back foot and your hips have not turned enough to the target. It’s also very likely that your hands are behind the ball at impact. So, on your downswing, concentrate on both shifting your weight to your front foot and unwinding your hips to face the target. As you improve the movement of your lower body, also think of swinging the grip-end of the club with your arms, not just slinging the club head at the ball with your hands. To put it briefly, turn through as you swing your arms; this should get rid of that fat shot.

Q: I have a 7-year-old son that has a great swing for his age, but he always asks what he can do to get more distance off the tee.

-    Jaba T. (Facebook)

A: Greg Rose and Dave Philips have done wonderful work in this area and their tips can be found in the Instruction section of Their suggestions are to play lots of different sports with special emphasis on throwing and jumping sports, and sometimes to practice hitting the ball as hard as possible; (however, not to the extent that you lose control of your golf ball.) There seem to be two times in a youngster’s life when they can develop terrific distance producing speed: from about 7 to 9 years old and then from 11 to 13. These are your speed developing years and during this time encourage your boy to 'bash it'. Hope you embrace this for your son; it will make a big difference.

Q: I need help with one problem: using impact tape on my driver. I see that I am making contact with the ball from the center of the face toward the toe. I cannot seem to hit the ball more toward the heel. Do you have any tips?

-    Gary C.

A: It sounds like there is a lack of outward force in your downswing. You clearly need a bit more reach in your move into the ball. I would look at the plane of your shoulder move as a potential problem. When the right shoulder works too much under and down as you swing at the ball, you will tend to hit it off the toe. Try moving your right shoulder down and out at the ball from the top, with emphasis on the out.  A more level shoulder plane back and through almost always eradicates hits off the toe. Good luck.

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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.