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Who will win The Open Championship?  Will it be another 1st timer, or will an accomplished veteran come out on top?  In the recent past, we have seen more players get their first Major championship then ones that will pad their total.  I like the ball strikers for Muirfield's layout.  The players without a Major already under their belt that come to mind are Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Hunter Mahan, Jason Day and Lee Westwood.  I believe that we will see some low scores out there for the next few days and one of these guys that putts the best will come away with the Claret Jug.

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A special Congratulations to Jordan Spieth for his victory at the John Deer Classic. He is a Texas resident and former University of Texas product. Spieth holed a bunker shot to get into a playoff and then went on to win in extras, becoming only the 4th teenager to ever win on the PGA Tour! Good luck to Jordan this week at The Open.

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Congratulations to Ken Duke, the winner of the Travelers Championship at  TPC River Highlands. Ken became the oldest first-time PGA Tour winner in 18 years.

And not to be out done

LPGA World No. 1 Inbee Park heldon Sunday, beating So Yeon Ryu with a birdie on the first playoff hole to claim the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. This is her fifth LPGA Tour win of the season! She'll seek a third straight major title at next week's U.S. Women's Open

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I think caddies are an invaluable part of golf. They provide the knowledge and experience for the course as well as for the game. Obviously the better the caddie know you the more of a help they are. Now I have had my share of bad caddies that didn’t seem to know anything but the good ones far outweighed the bad.  The caddies I have had provided expert advice on distance, club selection and even a pointer or two when I am having a bad day. They have that third person sense that can see things that we don’t or at least don’t think about at the time. I have played without a caddie but it just seems to make the game that much more enjoyable when I do have one. Incidentally 99% of the caddies where I play are women! What your opinion?

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This past week was the 2nd annual Student Athlete Foundation Tournament. The event was a great success! A special thank you to the Wood and Olson Golf Performance Academy, Pecan Grove Plantation and all that had a hand in putting on such a top notch Pro-AM. There was an uncountable amount of sponsors, great prizes and memorabilia to benefit charity. The tournament is extremely valuable for young adults that are looking to go to college and play sports on scholarship. As a previous college scholarship recipient, I can tell you that it is very vital to a lot of kids staying in school. This kind of event affords kids to receive two great educations that will last a lifetime. The event was great and it was for a good cause, I look forward to being involved again next year.

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Carl Pettersson was finishing round one. He’s on the 5th fairway. He’s getting into his backswing and all of a sudden “wham” his ball gets hit. It turns out that an errant tee shot from the 2nd fairway hit his ball while he was in mid-swing! How many times will you see that happen in your life time? Watch the video and read the full story here: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/golf-devil-ball-golf/carl-pettersson-golf-ball-literally-gets-hit-other-134216094.html

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Before I became a professional clubfitter I didn’t even know that there were different size grips!  It is true that most people can benefit from moving up 1 size in the grip for the left hand. It is also true that most people can benefit from moving up 2 sizes under the right hand as well. I believe that it is more of a subconscious feeling rather than a physical feeling because one size in a grip is only 1/32”-1/16”. You must have some very sensitive hands to actually feel the difference.

Here is why it works. We all know that we don’t squeeze the grip. Instead we hold it as lightly as possible while still maintaining control. If your grip is too small it causes the hand(s) to squeeze just a little bit tighter and that in turn causes a push or pull in your swing. Its happening and you don’t even realize it. Now that doesn’t mean that everyone should run out and get larger grips. Merely get them checked.

To check the size of your grips, grasp the club in a normal grip, just like you are getting ready to take a swing. While maintaining that grip let go with your right hand. Twist your left hand so you can see your palm and look at your finger tips. They should just barely touch your palm. If they dig in your grip is to small.  The best way is to check what size is correct for you is to visit your local clubfitter who may have different size grips on sample shafts that you can actually try and see what feels better. Happy golfing!

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For many years I would hit the links and the first few holes were always bad. I was not sure why but I figured that was how it worked.  Years later I started looking at what other golfers did before they played. Almost all would show up for their Tee time and hit the links. I was doing what everybody else was doing but I was not happy with the results. One day I noticed a guy moving around the area. He was on the practice green, the driving range and I saw him doing some exercises. I thought that he was just there to practice. Then his tee time came up and he hit the course. I was astonished at first and then it hit me. I had no warm up routine. I looked into it to see what I should do and what I could do and came up with a plan. Once I put the plan into action I played soooo much better and actually felt better playing. Here is what I do:

First I show up about one hour before my tee time. I start with some simple stretches and exercises-Side stretch, trunk twist, body twists, and a neck stretch. From there it is off to the practice green. I try to get the feel of the grass by hitting maybe 30-40 balls from various positions on the green both long and short. You can pretty much bet that the grass on the practice green is the same as the greens on the course so why not see how they run. From there it is off to the driving range. I usually get 1-2 buckets/trays of balls. I start with the wedges, and then go through some irons and then the hybrids and finally the driver. Now it’s time to hit he links. Now the first few holes are not bad as in using them as a warm up, they are as good as I am going to play for the day!

This little routine saved me a consistent 9 strokes per round. It’s so easy and yet helps so much! So why doesn’t everyone do it? Good question! What your warm up routine?

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Most people don’t know this but face angle is very important. It could be the reason that you are driving the ball in the woods all of the time.

For the purpose of this article I will only address face angle with regards to drivers and fairway woods. Face angle refers to the angle of the face of your club in relation to a straight line. If the angle is to the left it is considered closed. if it is to the right it is considered open and if it is flush it is considered square. An angle of just two degrees will put you in the woods at 200 yards easily!

Years ago when the “big head” drivers came out I said “I just have to have one” so I ordered one online. When it arrived I went straight to the driving range. All of my shots were going way left and I couldn’t figure out why. I shrugged it off to a bad day. I then tried it on the course with the same results. That club got put away. I ordered another but different brand. When it arrived I had the same results except this time I was way right. This club got put away and I went back to my old driver. Sometime later, when I was studying to become a clubfitter, I became aware of face angle. I pulled out the two old clubs and measured them on a special device. I found that the first was two degrees closed and the second was one degree open.  The clubs went back in the corner. I still wanted a big head driver so I went to the pro shop and asked the staff for big head drivers that had a square face angle. You would have thought that I was speaking Turkish as they had no clue what I was talking about. As far as I now there is no marking anywhere on the club that tells you what the face angle is. The only way to tell is by having it checked by a clubfitter. My end result was that I made/built my own with a square face angle and I have never been happier!

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This week we get to enjoy the 113th playing of the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, PA.  This promises to be an exciting event with a start studded group of players. It’s anyone’s game! Get your chance to win a free copy of the new book “Golf Made Easy! A Backward Approach To Learning Golf….. Or Is It?”. Just comment on this post with your pick of the winner NLT 6:00 am. 13 July EST for your chance to win. Remember you have to post to be able to win! Winners will be announced Sunday after the tournament. Good Luck!

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Before you can begin play, you must first choose a golf ball to use. Take a look in any golf pro shop and you will find multitudes of balls from numerous manufacturers. There are one-core, dual-core and three-core balls. There are balls for accuracy, distance and spin. Even taking a quick look at all of these different balls can be overwhelming. But as the next two paragraphs will explain, choosing the right ball for you really isn’t that difficult at all.

Cheap is good. To be quite honest, most balls will travel basically the same distance when hit by the same player. The major difference in all of the balls is feel. Since you, as a beginning player, have not yet developed a feel for the ball, you can dismiss this factor. The next thing to look at is cost. As a beginning golfer you’re going to lose plenty of balls, so you don’t want to spend a lot of money on them. Truth be told, any dual-core ball will work just fine for you at this point. These types of balls are made for the slower swing speeds of a beginning golfer and are relatively low-priced.

Balance is crucial. Not all balls are created equal and most have a veavy spot.So no matter what ball you choose, it is very important to know if you have a balanced ball. A ball that is out of balance can cause you to miss your shot. This is not so important with a long drive but is especially critical during putting. You can still play with a ball that is unbalanced if you use the heavy spot to your advantage. Have you ever seen a golf using a ball that has a line on it? That indicates that the ball has a heavy spot. The line on the ball is lined up with your line to the hole using the heavy spot to your advantage. Fortunately, balancing a golf ball is quite easy once you know how.

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I often get asked “what clubs should I have in my bag”? The answer is “I don’t know! Everyone is different and there is no set rule on what clubs you should have. You can have only 14 and you need a putter and a driver, so how do you determine the other 12? Roget Maltby has a free card that you can download at http://www.ralphmaltby.com/348. Simply complete the card as instructed, or better have your caddy complete it for you. Complete a card for each round you play, preferably on a couple of different courses. When completed, evaluate the cards to see what clubs you don’t use or use very little. Then you can decide what to change. Its easy and it doesn’t cost you a thing!

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Golf history tidbit

While the exact origin of golf is often debated, it is thought to have begun centuries ago in Scotland.  At that time the ball was made of leather and stuffed with bird feathers. The men used sticks to hit the ball into a target several hundred meters away. They would place bets on who could get the ball into the target in the fewest number of strokes. The name GOLF actually started as an acronym for Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden”.  The game of golf we know today started in the 18th century when the Scottish game migrated to the rest of the U.K.

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The Australian golfers are tearing up the courses in 2013.

Adam Scott holds off Tiger Woods to win the Masters.

Rodger Davis fires a four under-par 68 to win the first event of the PGA Legends Tour.

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It’s true that an accomplished golfer will benefit more from a professional clubfitting than a beginner. But the truth is, all people of all skill levels can benefit from a club fitting. You’ll see why as you read on.

Static vs. Dynamic Clubfitting. There are two types of clubfitting—static and dynamic. A static clubfitting uses a series of measurements and charts to determine the specifications needed for a specific individual. This process is very generic in nature and the results may or may not fit the golfer. You’re probably wondering, “Why would anyone use this method if it doesn’t work?” Good question. This method is often used by the large golf club manufacturers when people order a set of clubs by mail. The manufacturer knows nothing about the person ordering the clubs, so they ask a series of questions such as gender, height, age, glove size, and whether the individual is right- or left-handed. They then take this information and look at a chart to determine what they need. Here is an example. John D is ordering a driver. He’s male, right handed, 5’ 8” tall, boasts a carry distance of 210 yards with a driver, and wears a medium size glove. By looking at the charts you will see that the man will get a standard length club with a regular flex shaft and a standard size grip (images 94–96). This might fit John, but chances are he will still need some fine-tuning. Static clubfitting, therefore, will get you in the ball park. It’s probably going to be better than your neighbor’s clubs, but not if you and your neighbor have similar specifications.

The second method is the dynamic method. This is a four-step process. The first step is a personal interview. This usually involves a questionnaire which asks specific questions about the person’s playing ability, strengths and weaknesses, physical limitations, and even desires and goals. The second step is taking the golfer’s existing equipment and measuring its specifications. The third step will find the golfer performing a series of hitting drills. Finally, in step four, the clubfitter sits down with the golfer and provides a recommendation on what the golfer needs. This may be alterations to the existing clubs, buying new clubs or having a custom set of clubs built. It may even be a recommendation for golf lessons to strengthen certain areas. As you can see, this is a much more thorough process than static clubfitting, and much more in tune with the golfer’s specific style. It’s also very flexible; the dynamic clubfitting process can be done on the entire set or just a portion of it. It can even be tailored to a single club like the driver or putter.

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As a professional golf instructor I hear many reasons why people don’t want to learn golf but honestly none of them are a valid excuse. Here are some examples;

1. I don’t have the time. People spend more time watching TV or playing video games than anything else. If they just took 1 hour a day 2-3 times a week to learn golf they would not only be learning the enjoyment of the game but they would be building new social circles and feel more healthy.

2. I don’t have the money. Poor excuse! Learning the game can be as easy as buying a book. For example the book Golf Made Easy! A Backward Approach to Learning Golf….. Or Is It? is only $10 on kindle (this is just one example, there are many more). Clubs etc can be rented at most public courses for just a few dollars. Golf doesn’t have to be expensive to be enjoyable.

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The basics of golf are presented in Golf Made Easy! with putting being taught first. This goes against all traditional methods of teaching, where driving is the first thing taught. But since half the game of golf is putting, why not learn it first? Plus, it’s fun to be able to put the ball in the hole on your very first lesson!

Golf Made Easy! A Backward Approach to Learning Golf ... Or Is It? contains all the basic knowledge you need to know about the game. This how-to book provides the A to Z for golf aficionados in a logical, simple, and fun way. It describes a typical golf course, different types of clubs, ball selection, different types of the game, and basic golf course terminology. It then transitions to stretching and exercise with easy-to-perform basic exercises that can take several strokes off your score!

Learn about putting, chipping, pitching and the full stroke performed with irons, which leads into the big long drive. Amaze your golfing buddies by making some basic specialty shots that are easy to learn. Get the most out of your clubs by making them personally fit you, plus you’ll get a quick overlook of the rules and etiquette of the game. Next time you hit the greens, come armed with the Backward Approach, which is really par for the course!

Watch the video on the attached pdf or at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ljyJ4mF9yk

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2011 U.S. Open Runner-Up Jason Day Among Exempt Players

Far Hills, N.J. (May 28, 2013) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced that 26 additional golfers, including 2011 U.S. Open runner-up Jason Day, have earned full exemptions into the 2013 U.S. Open Championship, to be played June 13-16 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., bringing the number of fully exempt players to 78.

Twenty-five of the exemptions were awarded to players who earned a place in the top 60 of the Official World Golf Ranking as of May 27. Day, who finished second to Rory McIlroy at the 2011 U.S. Open, is ranked No. 25.

Those who earned full exemptions through the current Official World Golf Ranking are: Tim Clark, George Coetzee, Nicolas Colsaerts, Jason Day, Jamie Donaldson, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Branden Grace, Bill Haas, Peter Hanson, Russell Henley, Billy Horschel, Fredrik Jacobson, Thongchai Jaidee, Martin Laird, Paul Lawrie, Marc Leishman, Francesco Molinari, Thorbjorn Olesen, D.A. Points, Ian Poulter, Marcel Siem, Henrik Stenson, Richard Sterne, Kevin Streelman and Boo Weekley.

Weekley vaulted 56 positions in the Official World Golf Ranking to No. 55 by winning the PGA Tour’s Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial on May 26. The number of fully exempt golfers may increase with the inclusion of the top 60 players from the OWGR as of Monday, June 10.

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NBC and ESPN to Air 35 Hours of Live U.S. Open Coverage

Far Hills, N.J. (May 24, 2013) – The United States Golf Association (USGA), in conjunction with its television partners NBC Sports, ESPN and Golf Channel, today announced the broadcast schedule for the 2013 USGA championship season. In all, 65 hours of live coverage will air from the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, including 35 hours of live coverage of the 113th U.S. Open Championship from Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.

In addition to the three Open championships, NBC and Golf Channel will provide television coverage of the U.S. Amateur Championship, the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship and the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, as well as the Walker Cup Match.

“The USGA’s Open and amateur championships are among the most prestigious events in all of competitive golf,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. “Through our partnerships with NBC, ESPN and Golf Channel, we are able to deliver these events to fans across the country and around the world. With ground-breaking technology, those at home will be able to experience the championships as if they are walking with the crowds at Merion, Sebonack and our other world-class venues.”

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The USGA has just announced the rule 14-1b which will prohibit players from anchoring their putter, starting effective January 1st, 2016.  They decided to go away from bifurcation and stick with just one rule throughout all levels of golfers.  There are 5 golfers out of the top 50 in the world that consistently use anchoring and will need to change if the PGA Tour adopts this rule.  There will be some push back and some lawsuits from the top players, but will you take your long putter and throw it out?  I think that most amateurs would rather keep the putter as apposed to throwing out their back.  Do you think that this was a good or bad ruling and why?  Will you conform?

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