Class Continues: August 9, 2011

By Martin HallAugust 9, 2011, 11:00 pm

Q: Whenever I have a shot with my ball lying on a downward slope, I always 'chunk' my shot. Any tips? Do I address the ball towards my back foot, front foot or middle? Thanks.

-    Chad G. (Facebook)

A: The downhill lie is no easy shot and the common error is to hit the ground before you get to the ball. Treatment for this ailment: play the ball in the back-half of your stance and put more weight on your front foot than normal. In the backswing, leave your weight on the front foot and in the downswing, chase the club head down the slope after impact; avoid all the natural tendencies to lift the ball. It is essential to take plenty of loft with this shot as the angle of the slope will always shoot the ball out low. Some players even benefit from taking the back foot and walking down the slope after the ball has been hit. Good luck.

Q: I need to learn how to put backspin on the ball with my irons.

-    Hunter S. (Facebook)

A: Backspin is a function of speed, quality of contact and sometimes the type of ball you use. To get some 'zip back' on your irons, you need to hit the ball on the sweet spot of your club with a downward blow, best achieved by having the weight on the front foot at impact and the hands slightly ahead of the ball when you hit it; unwinding the hips helps to achieve this. Very often a shorter backswing than normal can allow increased acceleration which then creates more spin. Finally, the type of ball you use has something to do with how much the ball will spin. A premium ball with a urethane cover will spin the most and gives the best control around the greens, which is why this is the ball used on Tour. An 'economy' ball with a surlyn or ionomer cover spins the least which is why you will never see it on the Tour. Hope this helps you spin it.

Q: Any tips or drills for squaring the club face up at impact?

-    Josh P. (Facebook)

A: Squaring-up the club face at impact is the master skill in controlling the direction of your golf ball. There are many drills to try and achieve this; some are simple and others are complex. Probably the most simple and yet effective is to split your grip by 3 inches and take practice swings with that grip. You would want the feeling that the amount you pull with the left hand is matched exactly by the amount you push with your right hand, similar to the feel you might have if you were chopping down a tree with an axe. Hope this leads to straighter shots.

Q: Have trouble with my fairway woods and hybrid clubs on a tight lie in the fairway. I seem to do better getting them in the air from the rough. Mostly I get rollers on the ground from the fairway.

-    Sandy C. (Facebook)

A: Many players say the driver is the hardest club to hit, but my years as an instructor have led me to believe it is the fairway wood that most players find very difficult. The reason is that you really have no margin of error, especially off tight lies. Most players hit the ball too low on the club face and therefore never get the ball up in the air. As good a drill I know is to practice swing hitting at small metal washers or plastic shirt buttons. As you master the skill of consistently hitting either of these, you will certainly find that hitting fairway woods just became a lot easier. It won't happen without work, but it will be worth the effort. Good luck.

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.