Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A quick, consistent setup improves your game and speeds up play, but…

If you believe that quality golf shots can be executed without laborious preparation, but rather with a quick and efficient preshot routine, you will enjoy the following observations.

On Christmas Day the Arizona Republic published its usual golf section. Thursday is the day for an elongated golf portion and with its weekly information comes a tip or two from a local golf professional. This recent instructional subdivision focused on putting. Our instructor did very well until he got to the third part of his tip – Create a routine.

As part of our pre-putt routine he wants us to take “three to five practice strokes to help judge distance…”

THREE to FIVE practice strokes! Holy three-putt, Bat-Golfer! In the world of golf the time that takes equals eternity. Most of us will forget what we’re doing if we take that amount of time to putt. And can you imagine playing behind a foursome in which each player takes three to five practice strokes before each putt?

As a long time teacher of the game one factor I always stress with my students is a brief and consistent preshot routine. It is essential to a comfortable set up over the ball before you pull the trigger. A quick, consistent routine will improve your game and speed up play. And we all know that the greatest deterrent to the growth of the game is the massive amount of time required to play.

Here’s a sound recommendation for putting: Take just TWO practice strokes to get a feel for the distance, step up to the ball, take ONE look at the hole and hit the darn ball. It will either go in or it won’t.

It was George Duncan, the 1920 British Open champion who is credited with saying, “If you’re going to miss ‘em, miss ‘em quick.” He was right.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The culture of celebrity and the caddy

I’m sure everyone who plods through the multitude of golf websites and blogs has read several pieces about Steve Williams’ comments concerning Phil Mickelson. There is no shortage of expositors on the internet especially when a subject like this arises. Observations have ranged from “Tiger should fire him immediately and without hesitation” to actually granting Stevie victim status. (No comment on that one.) And if you haven’t read something you particularly do not agree with, just wait. There is probably much more to come despite the fact that Tiger says, “We have dealt with it. Stevie stays”

But, the root of all this has nothing to do with golf, but rather with personalities. This same scenario is continually played out on a variety of stages throughout the business world. This is now a golf personality situation and it should focus our attention on a much more curious state of affairs – the celebrity status of the caddie in today’s world of professional golf. This circumstance does have the potential to become a problem where the personality of the caddie overwhelms the game.

I became involved in the game of golf as a caddie. In the late 1950’s it was an expedient way to make a couple of bucks. And a couple of bucks in the pocket was big time then for a ten year old boy serving as a club caddie. And the financial status was doubled if one was fortunate enough to carry doubles. Of course, carrying doubles on a hot, humid summer day in New England meant you would spend a small portion of your hard earned fortune on some liquid refreshment. The point of all this is what was actually expected of the caddie. The answer is short and to the point – carry the clubs, be seen and not heard. My, my, how the fortunes of the caddie have evolved in just the past fifty years.

The fact is, unless you are a serious student of the history of the game, you probably never knew the name of a caddie until Tiger came on the professional golf scene. Perhaps you did a little golf reading and knew that Eddie Lowery caddied for Francis Ouimet in the 1913 U.S. Open. Maybe you followed golf in the era of Palmer, Player, Nicklaus and Trevino. You knew that Angelo Argea carried for Nicklaus and that Herman Mitchell was the man for Trevino. If you were just a sports fan and not into golf, the names of Jeff “Squeaky” Medlin and Bruce Edwards are still probably familiar to you.

Then along came the Tiger. First it was “Fluff,” on the bag, but he drew too much attention to himself for Tiger’s liking. So the switch was made to Steve Williams. But Williams has become larger than life just like his boss. In short he is always seen and always heard – the complete reversal of everything a caddie was meant to be.

Is this good for the game? No, I do not believe so. In an era when golf has gone flat and about to go flatter with the diving economy, this cannot be good for the game. If what draws people to golf is Tiger’s play and the controversy surrounding him, then the game will have problems expanding. Certainly attention will be focused on the game. Tiger and Stevie will generate plenty of press, but definitely not grow the game in terms of participation.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Golf instruction books pave the way off the cart path to the fairway

If your favorite golfer is still looking forward to a golf-related gift under the tree, you should still be considering a book as the ideal selection. Last week we looked at some choices focusing on the rules of golf. Now let’s inspect the possibilities in the world of instruction. And while it was a relatively painless task to scrutinize a small quantity of books on the rules, the area of instruction is a minefield of the good, the bad and the ugly.

Instruction in the world of golf is separated into two areas: the physical and the mental. As the timeworn golf adage goes, “Golf is 50% physical and 90% mental.” Those who play the game know this is a valid axiom. Unfortunately, the production of instruction books is about 90% physical and 10% mental.

So, if we could find one volume that combines the physical and mental, the selection process would be simplified. No problem. The absolute best is Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book. This book is exactly what the subtitle states: Lesson and Teachings from a Lifetime in Golf. Penick was a lifetime teacher of the game and his wisdom is priceless. He also produced a couple more volumes with similar themes – And If you Play Golf, You’re My Friend and For All Who Love the Game. These are excellent choices to go along with the Little Red Book.

While the Little Red Book is light on technical instruction, fear not for there are truly hundreds of volumes that focus directly on how to swing the golf club. It seems that virtually every golf instructor that ever charged for a lesson has written a book on the subject. I will give one recommendation that is appropriate for almost all golfers. I believe that Teach Yourself Visually Golf is an excellent volume for learning the game at almost every level. It was published in 2007 by Wiley Press as part of its Teach Yourself Visually series. It is straightforward presentation on the game. It’s colorful with lots of how-to pictures.

Finally, let me give you two suggestions for the mental aspect of the game. First is The Seven Personalities of Golf by Darrin Gee. Check out a recent review of this book here.

Second, for a more in depth examination of the mental side go for Tom Dorsel’s Golf: The Mental Game. Dr. Dorsel presents a practical, yet non-clinical approach to our mental game on the course. His approach is heavily tilted to the practical side with barely a hint of psychobabble.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Book Review: Pete Dye Golf Courses: Fifty Years of Visionary Design

It truly is the the Christmas season. There are always a few clues to give us a hint. Whether or not we look at the calendar, there are always a few certain indicators: Walmart changes its home & garden section into a Christmas Wonderland the day after Halloween; green fees quadruple in the Valley of the Sun; and “coffee table” books pop up quicker than a case of the shanks. So, in the spirit of Christmas, here’s another coffee table offering – Pete Dye Golf Courses: Fifty Years of Visionary Design by Joel Zuckerman.

Nearly three weeks ago I reviewed Secrets of the Great Golf Course Architects, a book with similar subject matter and volume and weight. The difference, however, is that Zuckerman’s offering is a tribute to the architectural work of one man – Pete Dye. In a massive volume of three hundred plus pages Zuckerman and photographer Ken May present us with 75 of Dye’s gems. Zuckerman does the text in his unique style and May lays out before us a visual feast of golf photography.

The arrangement of the book is not unique or original. From golf course to golf course the format is identical. You receive the name of the course, 600 to 800 words by Zuckerman and elegant photography by May. Zuckerman does a workman-like job in maintaining the text from page to page providing entertaining and insightful historical information on each course. If you are familiar with any of Dye’s work, it is fascinating to be privy to some inside understanding on the development of the course.

This prose and photographic splendor present us with an easy choice for the proper Christmas present for the golfer in our lives. Anyone’s favorite golfer will be well-pleased to receive this volume under the tree.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Golf Rules do provide some interesting reading

Short of getting your favorite golfer a brand new set of clubs from a local sporting goods store (highly discouraged) or perhaps stuffing his or her stocking full of tees, let me suggest a book. “Why, Dave, what a novel idea,” you say. (Please pardon the pun.)

Yes, the perfect Christmas gift solution for the golfer in your life is good, old-fashioned book, as in something to read. There is good news and bad news here. Golf has produced a seemingly endless supply of literature; however, this makes the task of selection somewhat daunting. Fortunately, Eye On Golf is here to help. We have separated some recommendations into categories to aid in your selection process. So, in the next couple of weeks we’ll make a few suggestions. The first area is a topic that is near and dear to the hearts of all golfers.


My favorite books dealing with the Rules of Golf are not volumes that attempt to explain the rules but rather present intriguing theory and/or history on the rules:

The Principles Behind the Rules of Golf by Richard S. Tufts – Tufts, a former Executive Director of the USGA present the two guiding principles of the rules and demonstrates how all other rules emanate from them. This one may be a little hard to find or expensive, but it will satisfy the golfer’s curiosity about the rules.

The Rules of the Green by Kenneth G. Chapman – Published in 1997 this scholarly work is a history of the rules of golf that will not induce the slightest bit of insomnia. Chapman takes us on a historical journey from a time before the first written code in 1744 up to the present day carefully providing the logic behind the evolution of the rules.

Can I Get a Ruling? by Dave Marrandette – Although this is self-serving, I would be remiss if I did not recommend by own volume on the rules. This book is historical in the sense that it presents a time capsule of actual rule incidents presented in categorical fashion.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Book Review: Secrets of the Great Golf Course Architects

I would imagine most golfers think that the life of a golf course architect is essentially all drawing boards, draft paper and Golf Channel interviews. Few would suspect that there is the possibility of an encounter with angry Mexican squatters. Some enlightened golfers might realize that an occasional, unplanned appointment with a wild animal, whether it walks on four legs or slithers on its belly, is a sure thing. Secrets of the Great Golf Course Architects confirms all this and more.

The “Secrets” are short, pithy tales from the lives of 118 golf course architects. Don’t think you’re going to be let in on a myriad of confidential information that details the thought process of developing a golf course. Rather you will read about some unusual, some oddball, and some unavoidable incidents that have occurred during the work hours of these architects. Some of the tales are interesting, some funny, and, unfortunately, a few are flat boring.

This compilation was put together by radio host and author Michael Patrick Shiels with the assistance of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. Outwardly the book is visually appealing and physically challenging – it’s heavy and obviously designed to be place on the coffee table. The volume is beautifully illustrated with over 150 full-color photographs, blueprints and drawings, drawings that are fascinating and put you into the mind of the architect. You will read of incidents from the highly visible architects – Nicklaus, Palmer, Fazio, the Dye’s, and the Jones boys, but you will also hear from a host of talented, but less well-known architects who provide their adventures as well.

One of my personal favorites is from Jack Nicklaus II, the son of THE Jack Nicklaus. Jack II gives us just a glimpse of what it is like to be the son of perhaps the greatest golfer to have played the game to date. [On a personal note over twenty years ago I had the pleasure of playing a round of golf with Jack II. He is a true gentleman of the game.]

Then there is a heart-tugging incident revealed by Rick Robbins. Robbins was scheduled to be on the ill-fated plane flight with Payne Stewart in October 1999, but scheduling conflicts prevented him from making the flight. It is a memoir that is a bit painful to read but worth absorbing.

If you are an ardent golfer who enjoys discovering more about the game, you should be in possession of this revealing literary work.

Or, if you are looking for a special gift for the golfer in your life, Secrets of the Great Golf Course Architects will do the job.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Golf Gifts in a struggling economy

If the economy has given you the equivalent of the shanks, here's a few great gift ideas for every golfer in a struggling economy.

A Book
There are several ways you can go with this idea which means you’ll probably have to do a little research before making the final selection. Coyly discovering where your favorite golfer’s interests lie and reading a few book reviews (hopefully on should provide adequate information. We’ll do a piece with a few noteworthy suggestions in the very near future.

New Grips
Golf is totally a game of feel and there is nothing like the exotic sensation of new grips on the club. Even if we continually struggle with our game, there are few aspects of the game that make us golfers feel better and give us more confidence. Many golf courses and most large golf department-type stores provide this service. A gift certificate might be a good choice here so that your golfer can select the grips that have just the right feel.

A Lesson
Every golfer needs a little help regardless of how good he/she is or how good he/she thinks he is. And from years of teaching experience, I can verify that every golfer has bit more potential stored inside. There is always a bit more talent yet to be discovered. A lesson from a qualified teacher may just bring out that dormant potential. The best way to find that qualified professional is to do a little research and then purchase a gift certificate from the pro you have selected.

A round of golf
Every golfer has a favorite golf course. Perhaps it’s one course that he/she gets to play just once a year because it is economically prohibitive. Or perhaps it’s his favorite course where he plays with his buddies every weekend. Any certificate for a round of golf will be greatly appreciated.

A shirt or a hat – but no glove
Every golfer loves to have a new shirt or a new hat especially from his/her favorite course. If you’re thinking of this as the perfect gift, look for a special holiday sale at that particular club. You might be able to final a bargain. The word of caution here is “No glove.” This item needs to be fitted precisely and is a little too risky.

A wedge
While individual golf clubs, especially in the wedge and putter category, are a “personal” matter to virtually every golfer, I don’t think you can go wrong with a wedge. Every golfer likes to experiment with different clubs and wedges are no different. Find out what wedge your golfer does not have and get him/her an inexpensive version with which to experiment.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Your personality on the course affects your score

What is your golf personality?

Do you think your golf personality affects the way you play the game? According to Darrin Gee, founder of the Spirit of Golf Academy in Hawaii, the answer is, “Yes.” To back up his claim he has authored The Seven Personalities of Golf: Discover Your Inner Golfer to Play Your Best Game. This volume is a logical progression from his previous work, The Seven Principles of Golf. Gee is one of the leading “mental” gurus that the professional game has developed over the last ten to fifteen years. Those of us that began the game before the intervention of psychology knew that we hit bad shots. We blamed it on our swing. Now we know differently.

So, if you want to investigate more than the bad swing theory, I suggest you get your hands on a copy of Gee’s book. But don’t be put off by the psychology, this is a fun book. Whether or not you think it will be beneficial to psycho-analyze your golf game, I guarantee you will enjoy examining the seven personality types that Gee has identified and then applying those traits to yourself and your golf game.

That’s the engaging part of this book. (And it doesn’t hurt that this is a physically attractive volume with a bright maroon cover, curved edges and a ribbon maker.) That is the sole purpose of this publication and that’s how he concludes his introductory section.

The seven chapters are the seven personalities – Intimidator, Swashbuckler, Methodologist, Gamesman, Steady Eddie, Laid-Back, and Artist. Each chapter is arranged exactly the same. There is a description of the personality that points to one or more of the applicable professional golfers (Guess who is the Intimidator?) and that is followed by a “Golf Profiler.” This is a ten-part questionnaire which will help you to determine your golfing personality. The “Golf Profiler” is succeeded by a section designed to help you apply the particular personality to your golf game whether or not it is your dominant personality. The theory is that disciplined application of the proper personality should improve your game - at least from the mental standpoint. And we all know that golf is 50% physical and 90% mental.

Enjoy this book. It is great fun and a welcome diversion from all the other golf books that try to improve your game.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Driven: the book review that all parents need to heed

Golfers, do you want to get to know well-known golf instructor David Leadbetter a little more intimately? Get Driven! Parents, do you think you have the next golf phenomenon sleeping in the crib down the hall and wonder what to do with him or her? Get Driven?

The answer to these two questions can be found in Kevin Cook’s latest volume Driven. If you want to peek through the keyhole to the future of golf, then I would suggest you read this book. If you want a glimpse as to how the future superstars of golf will be developed, read this book. Golfers will remember Cook from his 2007 USGA award winning book Tommy’s Honor. Now he has followed that with a work that examines the concept and inside operations of the David Leadbetter Golf Academy.

And the inner workings can at times be scary. Children who show a glimmer of golf potential are shipped off to “Golf Boot Camp” by “driven” parents, parents who hope to write the next Earl Woods autobiography. Parents, if you think for a minute that your child has the makings of the next golf superstar, then you need to read this book to get a bit of insight into what life is like inside the ultra exclusive DLGA. We all know of the over zealous soccer moms or hockey moms, but now Cook has exposed the golfer moms (and dads) of our society.

The timing of this book review is in connection to my last post which focuses on the cost of golf. Parents who consign their children to the DLGA realize that money must be no object whether they have the means or not. The cost can exceed $100,000 per year.

Cook’s approach to exposing the physical, spiritual and emotional nuts and bolts of the DLGA is well conceived. He centers on the human interest factor by involving us in the lives of the children attending the academy. You’ll read about Peter Uihlein, the son of Titleist honcho Wally Uihelin, and the children of former tennis star Ivan Lendl. But you’ll also read about the not so well to do like Michael Wade, the son of a preacher.

Cook may have opened the proverbial golf can of worms but he has also provided a vital reality check.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Phoenix and the LPGA

And now for a few words about the LPGA sponsor problem (and it is a problem not a situation) for Phoenix. Last Thursday in the Arizona Republic golf writer John Davis wrote a piece about the LPGA event in the Phoenix area being in limbo. In his informative piece he quoted Tom Maletis, president of Tournament Golf Foundation, Inc., the responsible party for the event the last five years. Maletis seems a bit out of the LPGA (Bivens) loop.

Evidently Bivens has told LPGA players that there will be an event in Phoenix next March. But Bivens hasn’t told Maletis. And neither has Mike Nichols, LPGA vice president of tournament business affair, who apparently has the ball rolling on finding a new sponsor. Whoops! But to Malestis’ credit, he is taking the initiative. He already has a few potential sponsors lined up which led him to say, “We have talked to at least a dozen companies and a lot of them were big hat, no cattle.” And he followed with this, “If the tour could come to the party with $1.5 million, that certainly increases the prospect of funding the tournament…”

Yes, Mr. Maletis. And if you could cut the corporate cliché double-speak, perhaps someone could understand you well enough to sign on as a sponsor.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bivens Has an Unplayable Lie

Well, you’ve got to give some credit to Ms. Bivens. Just when nobody – fans & press – is paying any attention to the LPGA, she has the knack of drawing attention to herself, not necessarily the LPGA, and then sucking the air out of the room. She has a rather remarkable history of this behavior since the beginning of her reign. The latest is the Learn English or Play on Some Other Tour Fiasco of the passed couple of weeks.

Now we all know that this entire hubbub is sponsor (or lack of) driven. Sponsors are b….ing because their pro-am guests and participants have problems communicating with many of the LPGA ladies. So why would Mr. & Mrs. Sponsor want to shell out a large part of their advertising budget? That’s a valid question and I think that they deserve to get something out of the time and money they invest in a tournament.

But Ms. Bivens has a greater problem with sponsors. From whence shall they come? All reports indicate that sponsors are dropping faster than your new Pro V1 in a water hazard. As an example Safeway has pulled its sponsorship for the event held in Phoenix every year and now the group that runs the tournament is scrambling to find a new sponsor. (That search is the source of another entry.) Unfortunately, it’s not just here in Phoenix that sponsors are tough to find. It’s true at almost all LPGA stops.

Bivens is now between a rock and a hard place, a virtual unplayable lie, if you will. It will be most interesting to observe how she plays the next shot.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sell Rosetta Stone

Dear Golfing Friends, you remember just ten days ago we here at Eye On Golf attempted to pass on some sound investment advice? (Of course, you do. All well-read golf enthusiasts check in with Eye On Golf for the hottest investments.) Well, now it’s time for more. Sell Rosetta Stone! If you invested a fortune, well, sorry about that. You recall that our original advice was based on the LPGA decision to have all players learn English – or else. Well, just yesterday LPGA Commish Bivens announced that the LPGA is scrapping the “or else” provision.

Why? Too much flack. The interesting point is that a good percentage of the heat came from English speaking journalists. I have a hunch that the foreign journalists had no clue what was happening. And, of course, even a couple of politicians decided to make a name for themselves on this hot button issue. Democratic politicians from California, Sen. Leland Yee from San Francisco and Rep. Mary Hayashi from Hayward, had been investigating the possibility of legislation that could have restricted the tour’s activities in California, where the LPGA plays three events this year. So Bivens acquiesced and did the Democratic flip-flop. Now we’re going to revisit the situation and provide a solution by the end of the year.

The bottom line for all of us – sell Rosetta Stone.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Tiger Trumps Cups

Just today with great anticipation I opened my periodic e-mail from GolfWeek entitled Approach Shots. This is a web newsletter that I wait for with breathless anticipation. And here’s the headline/lead-in:

“Smack in the middle of the Tiger-less FedEx Cup and Ryder Cup races, Woods still found a way to make the biggest headline Tuesday. Woods announced on his Web site that his wife, Elin, is pregnant with their second child.”

First, congrats, Tiger.

Second, what did GolfWeek anticipate would be the big story – Ryder Cup selections? That was two days ago and every golf writer on the planet has weighed in with his/her thoughts on how Azinger did. Truth be told, no one will know “how Azinger did” until the Cup has been decided.

And, speaking of Cups, did GolfWeek think the FedEx(lax) Cup was going to generate interest this week? For all intents and purposes, it’s over. Although I did read somewhere, probably in a press release from the PGA Tour, that someone else in the top twelve right now could win if Singh finishes last in the final two “playoff” tournaments and the same player wins both. Honestly, I haven’t done the math on this, but I’m sure if you look hard enough you’ll find it. Once you find the math, figure the odds and let me know.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

$200+ Putter

How wonderful! We now have another putter on the market that will set you back two bills and a little change. (Try to stuff the putter in the gas tank of your SUV.)

A review/evaluation was recently posted by Kiel Christianson on of the new Sizemore putter. It’s of the mallet variety and, according to Christianson, this will make you sink putts like it’s your last round.

The price for this “miracle” putter - $219. I guess for $200+ the magic must stay with this putter for a longer period of time than it would for, say, a $175 putter.

To the Sizemore Company we must thank them for their contribution to the ever-increasing price of golf. To Mr. Christianson, wait until you have missed a three-footer to seal the deal on a $5 nassau, then we’ll get another assessment.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Looking for Golf in All the Wrong Places

We here at Eye On Golf would be interested to discover the names and locations of any out of the way golf courses in the southwestern United States primarily in Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona. We’re looking for nine-holers or eighteen-holers that are not part of the ‘resort tour.” We’re not trying to break the bank with one round of golf. We’re just searching for fun and perhaps even quirky courses that you have played or have knowledge of. Such as places where you might find a monument like the one to your left. You'll encounter this at Apache Stronghold, a Tom Doak design, in Globe, AZ.

Just drop us a comment with some info.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Book Review - Teeing Off

Back again with another recommendation for your late summer reading pleasure. You see we view it as our mission to inform you of good golf literature. Lord knows there is no shortage of journalism – good, bad and ugly - when it comes to our favorite game. So let’s get on with it.

Teeing Off by Ken Bowden

Teeing Off is a compendium of journalism from a lifetime covering the game. For forty years Bowden has been in press tents around the world – an insider if you like. His book is a lifetime of reflection on that experience. During that time Bowden has developed a close association with Jack Nicklaus similar to the relationship that O.B. Keeler had with Bobby Jones. He shares some of that “insider” time with us.

The book is neatly organized into five major sections – Players, Technique, Characters, Experiences and Reflections. Within these sections Bowden gives us a wide variety of golden nuggets from his years in the game. Most of his recollections are but a page or two long. To his credit Bowden gets your reading adrenalin flowing in the very first chapter, “My Greatest of the Greats.” In nine pages we get his baker’s dozen of the all time greats of the game. You can agree or disagree with his assessment, but it’s a gutsy and fascinating start. As a result of the diversity within the book, one never gets bored or lulled to sleep with an endless rambling of stories. As a teacher of the game I found his second section, Technique, most intriguing especially the discussions on "The Secret" and whether or not "Published Instruction (is) Gold or Garbage." You'll find this interesting.

My only disappointment was a glaring factual error in Bowden’s first chapter. In a short biological paragraph on Hogan, he lists the year of Hogan’s car/bus accident as 1940. If memory serves me correctly, the accident occurred in 1950. That error aside Teeing Off provides us with an engaging reflection from a career on the inside. Get your foursome to read this book. It'll make some rousing nineteenth hole discussion.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

LPGA To Endorse Rosetta Stone – Buy Now

Just about a week ago the LPGA hierarchy put out the edict that all players will be required to have some proficiency in English. For those of you not familiar, that is the preferred language of the country from which the LPGA sprang forth.

Now, you can think what you want about the policy (and if you have a really big bullhorn (or mouth) it might be heard a little better), however, in this time of economic upheaval there is an unparalleled investment opportunity – Rosetta Stone, the language learning software.

I would suspect that the LPGA is working on a major sponsorship deal with the folks at Rosetta Stone, probably one with will fill the void of the sponsor-free tournament that is held in Phoenix every spring. And that is why it is imperative to buy now before the sponsorship deal is announced.

Don’t say Eye On Golf didn’t give you a heads up.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

PGA Championship Thoughts

Halfway through the PGA Championship the “CUT Leaderboard” has more “superstars” at the top than the actual tournament. Just take a gander.

Atop the leaderboard is J.B. Holmes; atop the “CUT Leaderboard” is Rich Beem, Fred Couples and John Daly. ‘Nuf said.

I really hope something great happens today. I sure don’t want to be relegated to watching tape-delayed coverage of the Olympics.

No PGA club professionals made the cut, so now the name of the tournament must be changed for the weekend to the PGA Tour Championship. Or is that being used somewhere else?

Ryder Cup Captain Paul Azinger made the cut. It might be safe to assume that if you are a Ryder Cup hopeful and are not joining Azinger to play on the weekend…well, your fate is pretty much sealed.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Golf Getting Dismal

I really did try to watch some golf this past weekend except the Reno-Tahoe (Michelle Wie) Open. Despite the high level of importance of the events – two “majors” and a WGC – either the golf was less than stellar or the coverage was boring and less than dramatic. Here’s the recap.

At Firestone, a boring back and forth golf course, Phil bogies three of the last four holes when he hits drives that nearly leave the state. He looses by a couple and then Appleby and Westwood fail to make 15-footers on the final hole to tie Singh who appeared to be the last man to play with the same ball for the entire round.

At the U.S. Senior Open the last four players made it look like the Sunday morning men’s club at the Colorado Springs Municipal Golf Course. They combined for a glorious 20 over par in the final two twosomes. Thank goodness play was slow so our friends at NBC could pump us with Olympic preparatory crap.

And finally our friends at ABC covering their third British Open for something or other tournament in succession went through the motions. The Women’s British Open (and don’t forget “presented by Ricoh”) was so important that ESPN/ABC flew Andy North across the Atlantic on Friday night to help with the color commentary over the weekend. The announce team made some pretty good golf really uninteresting. With Asians finishing in the top five spots in this tournament, I can’t wait to see the ratings. Let’s face it the LPGA is having an identity crisis. But that’s for another time.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Golf Adds Five Years to Life

Just a couple of days ago The Arizona Republic, the daily newspaper of Phoenix, published an article on the findings of a study by the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. The conclusion: playing golf can add five years to a person’s life.

There are several important points to note here. First of all, it is nice to see that other countries shank away tax dollars with less than critical social-physical-economic studies. The investigation involved 300,000 golfers. Now the only way to study that many golfers is to go to the golf course. The implications here are obvious. I have already forwarded by credentials to volunteer as a staff member for the next golf-related study in Scandinavia.

Secondly, the study concluded that the lower than handicap the greater the benefits in playing the game. The reason is self-evident. In order to maintain a low handicap, you must play and practice more. Ergo, more golf equals better health. I have without hesitation informed my loving and supportive spouse that in the interest of my good health and longevity upon this planet, it is mandatory that I spend more time working at my game. Reaction and results here are yet to be determined.

And, finally, I can now plot out my time on earth with these five years taken into account. I feel I can safely get to somewhere around 80. I can add these five years for golf to the 2x7 that I am already calculating based on the fact that we have two canines. A television commercial, which I am sure in no way intends to mislead, has informed me that having a dog can add seven years to your life. The math is simple: two dogs equal fourteen years.

I now think the next study by the SJMSS should bring this present study to a logical conclusion – an investigation to determine how many years can be added to your life if you bring your dog to the golf course. I volunteer to be a participant.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Short Summer Reading List.

Summertime, for golfers, should evoke thoughts of rounds of golf and reading on golf. There is, as you undoubtedly know, a seemingly endless parade of golf literature which presents us with the formidable task of sorting out the good from the bad and ugly. So here’s a little help: three volumes that have recently come across my desk that should stimulate your golfing summer.

Just Hit It – Our Equipment and Game by Frank Thomas

Frank Thomas was the Technical Director of the USGA for over a quarter of a century and is today considered to be one of the leading experts on golf equipment. Thomas parted with the USGA in 2000 but hit the road with a briefcase full of knowledge and ideas. With that in tow he produced this book for those of us with limited technical understanding of the game we love.

Thomas’s new book could easily have been entitled Everything You Wanted to Know about Golf Equipment: A Concise Education on the Tools of Our Trade. Obviously a bit cumbersome, but it does describe the book perfectly. Thomas delivers to us the science of the equipment world, but lays it down so that even technical mortals can get the gist. It’s a marvelous and comprehensive journey through the equipment world.

You need this book if you have the slightest curiosity about your equipment.

Golf: The Mental Game – Thinking Your Way around the Course by Tom Dorsel, PhD

Once you have fifty percent of the physical fundamentals of the game mastered, the other ninety percent is mental (or something like that). No doubt everyone needs assistance with the mental side of golf. And surprisingly it’s just been in recent years that we have learned that we needed that help. (One wonders how much more successful Harry Vardon would have been had he had the benefit of proper mental coaching?)

Fortunately, Dr. Dorsel is here to help us with a practical, yet non-clinical approach to our mental game on the course. I am a bit skeptical of written attempts to help me think clearly on the golf course. But Dorsel’s approach is heavily tilted to the practical side. He has divided the book into fifty lessons, instead of chapters, covering every aspect of the game. He even coaches you on what to watch for when you attend a professional event. Each lesson is clear and concise with barely a hint of psychobabble. While I have not tried this, I‘ll bet you could read a lesson, jot down the key points on an index card, and take it to the course.

If you’re hoping to improve your game both physically and mentally this summer, let Dr. Dorsel work on your mind.

Around the World in 80 Rounds by David Wood

A couple of years ago my latest volume Off the Beaten Cart Path was published. While that was becoming a highly successful volume in the realm of golf literature (well, almost), David Wood was trekking around the planet in search of the highest, lowest, most northern, most southern (and so on) courses that are actually affected by gravity.

Let’s face it, almost every golfer worth his Titleist has fantasized about roaming the earth to play the great and famous golf courses. And a few of us have envisioned having a game at a few of the more bizarre layouts that we might encounter along the way. The latter was Wood’s dream. To make this financially feasible, he sold virtually everything he had and hit the road with ten clubs and a small suitcase.

It’s a fascinating story of a love for golf and the characters involved in the game around the world. The great appeal of this volume is that Wood resists the urge to give us a play-by-play of every stroke of every round. Rather he tells the tale by introducing us to characters and courses he encountered along the way. It’s a great read for the hammock in the back yard after a morning round of golf. I’m sure Wood would like it that way.