Need 'away game'? David Leadbetter has a new 7-minute plan for you

By Mike BaileyDecember 16, 2013, 9:25 pm

If you find that travel and consistency in your golf game don't seem to go together, you might be interested in the latest book project from teaching guru David Leadbetter.

Leadbetter, who has written eight other books, produced countless videos and has taught scores of the world's top players, knows that it's tough for people to find time to practice and to practice properly. For those who travel a lot, this can be especially difficult, but Leadbetter has a new book that addresses the best ways to use what little practice time you have to create a more consistent game.

The working title is "Seven Minutes to a Better Golf Swing," which will probably be published in the spring. It introduces golfers to a lower maintenance, more compact, synched-up swing that promises more accurate results with much less practice time. It will paired with a couple of training aids, including a short club that golfers can use at their home or in the hotel room to work on drills.

"I'm a big believer in having a couple of little drills to keep the feel going," Leadbetter said.

For people who don't have much time to practice, it's all about creating "feel" efficiently, he said. And even if you did have a lot of time, Leadbetter doesn't recommend pounding golf balls on the range. In fact, he says, you'd be better off warming up with your short game and making half swings on the range, than pounding out a bunch of 7-irons and drivers. It usually translates into better rhythm and mechanics in the full swing.

A few years ago, Leadbetter said, he asked the late, great Byron Nelson how much he practiced during his PGA Tour record 11 straight tournament wins in 1945. The answer was somewhat surprising. 

"Not at all," Leadbetter recalled Nelson telling him. "I was so afraid I was going to lose the feel. All I did was hit a few balls to loosen up. After a round, I did nothing. I was in such a good frame of mind. I had such a good feel for what I was doing.'"

In other words, when it's going well, hitting lots of balls is often a mistake. Golfers have a tendency to work into something they didn't intend, which leads to inconsistency. And when it is going poorly, it's also unlikely that you'll find the answer in the dirt, he said. More than likely, there are swing faults involved, and what you need is a lower maintenance swing, which is the crux of the new book.

One of the most consistent over the years was none other than Calvin Peete. Had he been a good putter, Leadbetter said, there's no telling how many majors he would have won. For 10 straight years (1981-91), Peete led the tour in driving accuracy.

His secret, other than having a right elbow that was fused because of a fracture that was never properly set, was the efficient way he swung the club, which serves as the model for what Leadbetter is teaching in his new book. In a nutshell, the backswing is shorter, the clubface stays closed for a longer period of time and there are fewer moving parts. And it's certainly easier to practice, about seven minutes, in fact.

As for other advice for travelers, Leadbetter is a big believer in flexibility and stability. He has a few exercises for both, including one where you get in a seated position against a wall and hold that position.

"If you want a good golf swing, you have to have stability in your lower body," said Leadbetter, whose academy is headquartered at ChampionsGate in Orlando.  "Just sit against a wall -- even if you can only do it for 10 seconds. You'd be amazed how strong your quads get, going 10-15 seconds without a chair. Try to build it up to 30 seconds or a minute."

Doing the drills and exercises creates real feel. It becomes instinctive, not like a conscious thought.

And if you lose your feel, just hit some wedge shots. Don't hit every club in the bag, Leadbetter said.

"Make some half swings, 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock – just get that feeling of good solid contact," he said. "Get your rhythm going and your confidence going. You'd be amazed at how much that helps."

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:

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.

Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

Christina Kim:

LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

LPGA pro Jennie Lee:

Fitzpatrick one back in 2018 Euro Tour opener

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 1:37 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia had six birdies and a bogey Thursday for a 5-under 65 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open, the first event of the 2018 European Tour season.

Playing in sunny but breezy conditions at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the greens had the players struggling to gauge the approach.

''Very tough conditions today,'' Chawrasia said. ''It's very firm greens, to be honest. I'm just trying to hit the second shot on the green and trying to make it like a two-putt.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Shubhankar Sharma and Matthew Fitzpatrick (both 66) were one shot behind, while seven others were tied for fourth a further stroke behind.

''Hit it great tee to green,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I think I had like seven or eight chances inside 15 feet, and on a day like today when it's so windy and such a tough golf course, with how tight it is, yeah, it was a good day.''

Justin Rose, who won the title in 2015, shot was 2 under with five birdies and three bogeys.

''I think the course played a couple shots harder than it typically does,'' Rose said. ''I like this course. I think it offers plenty of birdie opportunities.''

Masters champion Sergio GarciaRafa Cabrera Bello and defending champion Sam Brazel (69) were in a group of 16 at 1 under.