Long-Distance Help

By Adam BarrJune 23, 2003, 4:00 pm
The heroic feats pros used to pull off with fairway woods ' getting to par 5s in two ' are now accomplished largely with long irons. But there was a time, not so long ago, when 3-woods were the thundersticks that preceded the lightning-fast drama of an eagle and a three-shot swing. Leaderboard signs tumbled like dominoes.
 
Within the recreational game, fairway and utility woods still hold that promise of heroism, along with a collection of more ordinary benefits that can help your game. Lets consider the high points:
 
MATTER OF TRUST
 
As with any club, if you can trust it, you can bust it. This seems especially true with fairway woods, though, and the concept has been borne out in my conversations with golfers. Many people have told me their 3-wood or 5-wood or 4-wood is their favorite, mostly because they get consistent good results with it. (Try gathering 10 people to say that about a 3-iron.and have someone pick up your mail and newspaper while youre traveling around the world to find them.)
 
It may be because of the mass behind the ball or the low center of gravity, or both, but dont underestimate the effects of look and fit. Barney Adams and others insist that you have to like the look of the club at address if its to inspire the confidence you need to make a good swing. And getting a club ' mostly a shaft in that club ' to fit that swing makes all the difference in the world when youre trying to smooth a 3-wood off the deck for a 210-yard direct flight to the flagstick.
 
That said
 
YOU TOO CAN DO TWO
 
On shorter par 5s of the kind many of us recreational players find on the courses we play, eagle setups are possible if you have the second shot equipment you need. Assuming, as we must, a good drive, the question becomes, Does your 3-wood (or whatever) get the job done?
 
Be realistic: 510 yards may be a dream, but 485 could work. If you bang a 250-yard drive, yes, you can probably chase a 3-wood up there. But not if you dont have the shaft that gets the most out of your swing.
 
Heres where the pro comes in. Consult with your pro and/or clubfitter to see if theres a way to get more distance, more accurate distance, from your fairway woods. This way, you can use them not just as distance-getters on second shots, but as what Adams calls point-to-point weapons as well.
 
RIDE THE RAILS
 
The Rules of Golf allow clubs such as the Baffler, the Ginty, the Knife ' innovative head designs with rails along the bottom to push grass out of the way. These clubs can be lifesavers from cabbagey rough, saving many a round. Even a conventional 5-wood with a relatively flat sole, because of its low center of gravity and head size, gets through the salad more effectively than irons. (Less likely to twist, too.)
 
TOO MANY IRONS IN THE FIRE
 
There seems to be a macho thing involved in wanting to carry 2-, 3-, and even 4-irons. And yes, Donald Ross said the long iron shot is the supreme test of expert golf. But if the fundamental objective of golf is to get the ball in the hole in the least number of strokes (trust me, it is), long irons dont give you as much to work with as fairway woods. Experiment with replacement. Any misgivings about how your bag stacks up tend to evaporate when you look up and see a stunning 4-wood heading straight for puttable real estate. (Compare that with the clunky feeling in your hands and the reflex-action recitation, Fore right!)
 
Trial and error, our old friend, remains the best way to see how many irons you should lose, and on what courses. There are times when you might want to put the 4-iron back in (suppose there are three long par-3s with bailout room on the course youll be playing, for example) and take the 5- or 6-wood out; pros adjust their bags this way all the time.
 
Thanks for checking in. Join us for our next show, Wednesday, July 2, when we take on the subject of golf fitnessand I work out with the ladies of the Arizona State University golf team. (There were no paramedics involved.)
 
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    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

    Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

    The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

    Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

    The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

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    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.