Friday, August 31, 2012

Butch Harmon About Golf

In a golf world that is awash in golf instruction, Butch Harmon had added a DVD instructional video to the sea. Harmon's contribution is a two DVD volume that encompasses all aspects of the game and covers a little over four hours of instruction. He leaves virtually no part of the game untouched.

DVD One begins with the fundamentals that are the core of the game for every golfer – Set Up (Alignment), Grip, Stance, Ball Position and Posture. This approach, learning the fundamentals before every learning how to swing the golf club, should be noted by every golfer and instructor. Harmon does a very detailed job explaining all of the fundamentals with some valuable tips on grip pressure (a nemesis for a ll golfers) and stance. I particularly like his teaching on ball position in which he emphasizes a constant ball position for all clubs. The only disappointment here is that Harmon does not discuss the importance of a preshot routine, the sum of all the fundamentals done repeatedly that gets you comfortable over the ball every time.

Next Harmon begins his discussion of the golf swing. He separates the takeaway and backswing with a discussion on both. He makes one statement that is crucial to the proper swinging of the golf club, “The weight should move in the direction that the club is traveling.” A mastery of this principle will make for a consistent and effective golf swing. Harmon finishes this section with the follow through and a few thoughts about a “Pretty Swing vs. an Efficient Swing.”

Harmon's second section is entitled “Faults, Cures & Drills.” Its purpose is to help the golfer get rid of bad habits as quickly as possible. He covers such topics as the topped shot, slice, and shank. This section is filled with drills to help cure the bad habits.
Sections three focuses on Specialty Shots such as intentionally hitting a draw, a fade, a low shot or a high shot. Harmon walks us through the specifics of hitting each type of shot. Bear in mind, hitting these shots will take some practice and perseverance.

Sections four and five deal with the short game - the basic wedge shot, pitching, chipping and bunker play. Harmon emphasizes the importance of the short game stating that the short game encompasses 65% of the golf game. (The introduction to this section gives a great view of the Las Vegas strip.) This is valuable instruction, however, I feel that it is geared to players who have had a little experience in the game.

Harmon begins DVD #2 with a section on putting. He covers all the basics of putting. The best aspect of this section is the putting drills that Harmon gives us. He even gives a couple of drills and tips for those who have the yips.

Section 7, entitled From Good to Great, contains testimonies and discussions from nine different tour pros – Couples, Els, Mickelson, Woods, etc. It's a good mix of testimony, discussion and instruction. Pay particular attention to the “towel” drill in this section.

Harmon finishes the instruction with sections on Selecting Correct Clubs, Fitness in Golf and Kids/Women/ Seniors.

Overall impression: excellent instruction on all of the basics. You will find this DVD to be most helpful if you have had some experience in the game. It is probably not for beginners.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Without a doubt Golf Magazine has a definitive propensity for instructional books. They consistently publish classy looking and user friendly instruction books that are geared to all levels of players. The latest and perhaps best ever is THE BEST PUTTING INSTRUCTION BOOK EVER!. As in previous volumes much of the material was previously published in Golf Magazine itself, but that does not deter from the quality or timeliness of the information. It is epitome of “everything you wanted to know about putting in one place, but didn’t know who to ask or where to find it.” And the subtitle – The 10 Brightest Minds in Putting Show You the Easy Way to Make the Hole Look Bigger and Sink More Putts – reaffirms that statement.

The ten brightest minds include Stand Utley, Mike Adams, David Edel, Dr. David F. Wright, Mark Sweeney, Marius Filmalter, Scott Munroe, Dr. Craig Farnsworth, Maggie Will and Mike Shannon. Some of these may sound familiar and some obscure, but each has a unique approach to working with the flatstick. Each author pens a separate chapter primarily focusing on his or her area of expertise. The entire arena of putting is covered. Chapters include a full range of instruction from choosing the correct putter to building the perfect stance to reading the green to developing the stroke that fits you best to proper practice techniques. The final two chapters – How to Practice for Improvement (Farnsworth) and How to Fix Your Worst Flaws (Filmalter) – are properly placed in the book although these are the chapters to which most will gravitate first.

An added bonus with this volume are the “Watch & Learn” icons that direct you to a website where you can view a free video from a particular instructor – a can't miss feature.

THE BEST PUTTING INSTRUCTION BOOK EVER! is a visual masterpiece with a countless number of charts, diagrams and full color pictures. This is not a coffee-table book. It is a must-have in every serious golfer’s library and needs to be read and referred to constantly.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Why the LPGA is so great

We always try to impress upon our readers the fact that watching the LPGA is much more beneficial especially from a fan standpoint, i.e., the fans are much more appreciated. So here's a most applicable example from Sunday's play.

On the tee of the 14th hole, a 168-yard par 3, Morgan Pressel and her fellow competitor Kyeong Bae had about a ten minute wait. Pressel's caddy was hungry and asked if they was anything in the bag to eat. Pressel looked but could only discover a small health bar of some kind Hardly enough to sustain her man on her bag.

Right then three young girls ages 11, 11 and 6, came to the edge of the ropes and caught Pressel's eye. She immediately struck up a conversation with the girls asking if they had anything to eat for her caddy. The answer, of course, was shyly spoken, “No.”

Realizing they were a bit shy Pressel continued, “Are you all golfers.”?

With a couple of positive head shakes and a softly spoken, “Yes,” Pressel got the message.

The girls' Mom then appeared. “Tell her your name.”

“Morgan,” was the gentle and fateful reply. Pressel smiled and and asked the names of the other girls.

“Lauren,” was the reply from one.

“That's one of my best friend's names,” returned Pressel.

“I know. It's on your sleeve,” observed Miss Lauren quickly noticing the Ralph Lauren name.

“Very observant,” smiled Pressel.

Pressel then dug through the bag and found three gloves. Meticulously she placed each glove on her hand and wrote. The young ladies, we expect, had no idea what was to transpire.

It was Pressel's time to play. She switched to her game face and rifled an iron to fifteen feet. Bae hit her shot onto the green at which point Pressel handed each girl a glove personally autographed. To the young lady named Morgan she wrote, “Morgan, nice name.”

Walking down the fifteenth fairway all three girls were wearing their gloves.

There are many special moments in the life of a golf tournament that most often are not reported. This one marks why the LPGA is so great.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ladies Links Fore Golf Magazine

One of the spillover benefits of any professional golf tournament is the sideshow attractions. In a way it may sometimes have the feel of a circus – not in a calamity sense but more like a curiosity seeker. For a passionate golfer or a golf nut this is always an area for fun and exploration. The RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup has provided us with a small city block for discovery.

Within this sphere of exploration we have discovered a most classy magazine dedicated to and focused on the women golfers of the world - Ladies Links Fore Golf Magazine. The magazine is the brainchild of several LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals who sought to fill a void that was created when Golf for Women passed on to the great 18 holes in the sky. Its singular purpose is to provide a written and virtual meeting place for all women golfers.

Each issue contains articles and interviews on all aspects of the game – personalities, instruction, fashion & gear, and fitness & health. It is fashionable and elegant, filling a valuable niche in the world of women's golf.

Affectionately billed as LL4G, it is the Official Online Amateur Golf Community of the LPGA and the website is worth a visit to get a feel for the quality of this magazine –

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Walking with the legends

One would hope that the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup would spur a renewed interest in the history and tradition of the game and not just the LPGA Tour but also the PGA Tour and the game in general. That, of course, has yet to been seen. There is no golf soothsayer to give us a vision of the future. But what we must do is remember the past with a view towards guiding us into the future.

So with yesterday's exhibition match featuring Betsy King, Patty Sheehan and Nancy Lopez and a legendary spectator named Pat Bradley, the past became the present once again reminding us why we love the LPGA.

So here's just a few highlights noted from walking with the legends.

When the ladies arrived on the 15th tee box, one of the original thirteen founders showed up to observe the action. When Sheehan spotted Shirley Spork she immediately brought her to the tee and introduced her to the lucky crowd. The ovation and appreciation was three times the size of the gallery.

Then on the 16th tee Founder Marilynn Smith appeared. Sheehan didn't pass on this opportunity either. She took hold of Smith's arm and guided her to the tee and introduced her to the crowd also.

We're not sure many people noticed this moment, but as Brittany Lincicome was playing #11 the Legends were playing the parallel 16th. Obviously hearing the commotion, Lincicome came to the top of the rise separating the two holes, observed the scene and smiled graciously. On a mystical note, Lincicome was rewarded for honoring the “golf gods” with a fine score of 67 (-5) for the day.

Sheehan also showed us that these gals can still play with a birdie on #16 with a 30-foot putt. The putt followed a wedge from a distance of 106 yards in a fairway bunker with the ball sitting about one foot from the lip.

Sheehan and King are both still using putters from their days of great play on the LPGA Tour. King's Bullseye and Sheehan's 8802 both have birthdays dating back to the early 1970's.

Yes, this exhibition was designed quite efficiently. It was a perfect fit for the theme of the event. And even though it may have been an admiration society, it was a mutual admiration society.

A congrats to Mr. Whan

In the symphony that is a professional golf tournament there must be a particular theme. You know, a certain ambiance or reason-for-being. Well, it appears that Michael Whan, LPGA Commissioner for just over a year now, has struck the perfect note with the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. The event was conceived for two primary reasons: one, to get an LPGA event back to the Phoenix area after missing 2010; and two, to create an event that actually honors the Founders and history of the LPGA.

Well, Mr. Whan, congrats. While you may be just putting the first notes on this piece of music, we can already hear the drums and violins blending to a crescendo.

Let's put aside the fact that there is no real “purse” for the event although the LPGA is cooking the books a bit by counting money that would have been won on the official money list. The real story of this tournament is history. Every player that participates, every volunteer that lends his or her time, every fan that comes to watch and every scribe that punches a keyboard should reflect first on the history of the LPGA and what it means to the game.

With the Founders Cup we are presented with the thirteen founders of the LPGA. There is a “Walk of Fame” - individual pictures of each of the founders - directly in the path of every player and spectator. Then there is the presence of three founders still with us today – Shirley Spork, Marilyn Smith and Louise Suggs – ever present and mingling with the fans.

And then there was an exhibition match with Betsy King, Patty Sheehan and Nancy Lopez. Pat Bradley who was also scheduled to play but withdrew with an injury walked the 18 holes with her contemporaries. The group played a full round constantly interacting with the crowds which were plentiful. If these names sound familiar to you, they should. They are the second generation of LPGA greats who continued what the founders started.

And then there is the tournament itself – the present and the future of the game. Those of us the love the LPGA can only hope that the tournament itself produces founders of a different sort leaning toward a bright and shining future.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Field set for RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup

The field has been set for the inaugural edition of the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. There's 134 players who will be playing for the charity of their choice. The field was brought to completion on Tuesday with an 18-hole qualifying round. Added to the competition were Haru Nomura and Amelia Lewis who captured the final spot with a par on the fourth playoff hole.
So here we are, the first RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. And here's a few fun facts about the field.

Four of the top ten players in the Rolex World Rankings will be present: Yani Seng (#1), Jiyai Shin (#2), Christie Kerr (#5), and Karrie Webb (#10). The lone American in the top ten not competing is Michelle Wie (curious). Outside the top ten but most interesting to watch is Paula Creamer – elegant and gritty. And don't pass up the chance to see the great veterans Julie Inkster and Laura Davies – a bit of LPGA walking history.

Just so you don't get the plays confused, there is one Han and one Hanna, one Hill and one Hull, but there are two Hurst's. And then there are two Kang's but only one Lang and one Yang. There's two more Oh's, two Park's but only Pak and two Shin's.

But it gets more complicated when you consider the seven Kim's and five Lee's. And if you attend you'll see three Song's.

And be sure to buy and program and pay attention to the walking scoreboards.