Class Continues May 3, 2011

By Martin HallMay 3, 2011, 11:00 pm

Q: I have never stepped on a golf course, let alone play golf. I am a fan and would like to try my hand at it. Any advice on inexpensive clubs for a beginner, and should I seek some coaching first?

- Shane T. (Altamonte Springs, FL – from Facebook)

A: I would certainly suggest at least a few lessons before you venture out on the course. Some basic understanding of chipping, pitching, bunker play and the golf swing would be very helpful. A few trips to a nearby driving range where you could rent some clubs and take some group lessons would probably be the most cost effective way to do it. I would also suggest a basic 'how to get started' golf instruction book to give you a big picture view of golf. I hope you get started soon.

Q: I am 12-years old and love to golf but I have a hard time transferring my weight. Do you have any tips on how to transfer your weight in your swing?

- Caleb I. (from Facebook)

A: How and when you transfer your weight in the golf swing will most definitely affect the distance and direction your ball goes. How you turn will affect how you transfer your weight. I am going to assume you are a right-handed golfer. On the backswing, turn your back to the target and feel the weight get on your right heel. Many good players think of loading up the right hip. On the downswing, shift your weight to your left foot then turn your belt buckle and chest to the target. Learn to have the body motion be the motor; the driving force of your swing.

Q: On the practice green, I always seem to miss my putts to the right. I don't push the putt, I just seem to aim right. I am right-handed with left eye dominance. Is it normal for most golfers to miss more on one side than the other?

-'Big John' (Sayreville, NJ)

A: I think all golfers have a tendency to either miss putts to the right or the left; no one putts it perfectly straight all the time. Since you aim right and push your putts right, let me suggest the following: 1. Put the ball more forward in your stance; 2. Draw a stripe on the ball with a Sharpie and aim that stripe where you want the ball to start, then place the putter face at 90 degrees to that line when you set up; 3. Watch the back of the ball very carefully during your stroke; try to see the club face hit the ball squarely. Hope this helps you stop that push. Good luck.

Q: I consistently go beyond parallel in my backswing. Should I stop doing this or should I not worry about it? I feel this causes me to collapse a bit at the top. Any drills?

- John (Lithia, FL)

A: There have been a few good players with long backswings, but for the most part, a shorter backswing seems to make people more consistent. I would suggest a 'YouTube' search for John Cook; this would show a length of backswing that is highly repetitive. A simple thought to shorten your backswing is to feel that your trailing arm bends very little at the elbow during the backswing. Try this as you have someone videotape your swing; you'll be surprised how much that thought helps shorten the swing. Good luck.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.