Archive for the ‘Chip Shots’ Category

Miller, Kostis, Phillips: Simple Fixes for Our Game

September 12th, 2014 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

The October issue of Golf Magazine hit my mailbox yesterday and yes I still subscribe to the archaic, old school, printed media. One of the advantages of getting the print version is that many of the articles in the magazine don’t appear on the website for awhile and some not at all.

In this month’s The Golf Magazine Interview Cameron Morfit doesn’t have one interviewee but three. Hall of Fame golfer and analyst Johnny Miller, CBS analyst and teacher Peter Kostis and top 100 teacher Dave Phillips dish on a bunch of subjects.

They discuss who’s the best driver, should amateurs worry about launch angle, Tiger’s swing, Rory’s driver, the best putter ever and more.

Their responses to one interesting question posed by Morfit gives us hackers plenty of info on how we can better our game. It’s all so simple but so overlooked by all of us.

Question: What’s the most common mistake you see weekend players make?

Kostis: The typical golfer is always trying to hit the perfect shot. He’ll hit ten 7 irons and the longest one goes 155, so he’ll feel like every 7 iron should go 155. The Tour player is more respectful of mis-hits. 

Miller: I’ve played with amateurs for a million years and they just don’t hit many flush shots. I asked Tom Watson one time “Do you always hit the ball that flush?’ He said he once went five years without mis-hitting one shot- no thin shots, no fat shots. I advocate the brush-brush drill. Everybody works on their body or their posture. Just brush the grass, taking your divot after the ball. Do that and you’ll drop five shots in a week. 

Kostis: Johnny’s 100 percent right, but you can’t do that if you swing too hard, swinging out of your butt. 

Miller: Take more club and just hit the ball flush. It’s very hard to do-it takes a lot of coordination. 

Phillips: Agreed. Most people under-club dramatically and don’t know what to work on. They also want to hit the driver farther, which is fine-but they’re the worst putter or chipper in the world. Work on your weaknesses. 

So here are their tips: take more club, hit the ball first, swing under control and practice the short game. Now where have I heard that before?

It sounds so simple.  Maybe we should take their advice.


PGA Tour’s Tribute to Arnold Palmer

September 10th, 2014 2 comments

by Jeff Skinner

The PGA Tour has put together a wonderful tribute to Arnold Palmer as he celebrates his 85th birthday today.  Jay Haas, Tom Watson, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus narrate a poem that hangs on Arnie’s office wall.  It speaks to Arnie’s indomitable will and the way he lived his life.  A very classy tribute by the tour for sure.


LPGA Rolls Into the Final Major…The Evian Championship

September 10th, 2014 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

Golf’s major championship season ends this week as the LPGA travels to France and The Evian Championship.

Mike Whan’s LPGA Tour has had a memorable season and he hopes that continues at The Evian.

U.S. Women’s Open winner and the most popular player on tour, Michelle Wie returns from a month off due to a wrist injury. She has only been practicing for a few days but she’s anxious to get back on the course. Whether she can compete against a very strong field on a few days of practice may be too big a challenge.

Suzann Pettersen is the defending champion and will be trying to join Wie, Inbee Park, Mo Martin and Lexi Thompson as 2014 major champions.

Stacy Lewis hasn’t won a major this year and the world number one wants to change that in a big way.

Lydia Ko has found great success on the LPGA and would be the young major winner in history if she can manage her way over the hills of The Evian.

Inbee Park has regained her form and would like to be the only two time major winner in 2014.

So will Lexi Thompson who broke through for her first major at the Kraft Nabisco earlier this year.

The field is stacked at the picturesque Evian Resort Golf Club and it should be a great week in the mountains of France. But when The Evian rolls around to me it means one thing… The Evian Roller Babies. This one never gets old.


The King Turns 85…Happy Birthday Arnie

September 10th, 2014 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

apArnold Palmer turns 85 today and golfers and golf fans everywhere should take a second today to wish Arnie a happy birthday and thank him for making golf the game it is.

Without Arnie and his swashbuckling attitude televised golf wouldn’t be what it is today. It was “The King” that happened to be at his peak when golf first appeared on television.
He was the star of the show. Women wanted him and men wanted to be him.

Much is said about the debt today’s professional golfer owe Tiger Woods. They play for a million dollar paycheck each week but if there was no Arnold Palmer there might have been no Tiger.

It was Arnie that made golf cool. It was Arnie that played every shot as hard as he could. It was Arnie that truly made the majors the majors. It was Arnie that invented the modern Grand Slam. It was Arnie that brought golf into mainstream American life. It was Arnie that shook every hand and signed every autograph and built his army of fans. It was Arnie that that became the first true athlete pitchman as he showed what an incomparable endorser he could be. It was Arnie that engaged his fans in a way that no one ever had. It was Arnie that paved the way for all of today’s professional golfers.  arnie autograph

Just about anyone that touched a club has an Arnie story but one of the best is that of golf pro Jason Gore. As a golf obsessed eleven year old he conned his mother into driving him to Arnie’s country club in Latrobe. They entered the club and asked for Mr. Palmer and low and behold Arnie comes by and spends an hour with a kid who happened to be trespassing on his country club. It changed Gore’s life. Arnold Palmer changed many lives.

Happy birthday to The King and many more.


10 Things I Think

September 8th, 2014 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

1.  That is what they call a great bounce-back. Billy Horschel was ripped by many for “choking” when he chunked his approach at the 18th in Boston last week. Well there was none of that this week as he rebounded to win the BMW Championship. He said he didn’t let things like that bother him and knew it was just one bad swing at the wrong time. Call it redemption, call it payback or call it karma. He played some solid golf this week.  BillyHorschel1

2.  Some others may be hearing the “C” word thrown their way this week. Ryan Palmer shanked one into the creek on 13 and then lost five strokes to par over the last six holes. Sergio Garcia played ping-pong across the 17th green when he “Vin Scullied” one into water for a triple bogey. Ouch.

3.  We all want to play like the greatest players in the game and it seems to be getting easier for us to imitate the world’s best. Case in point is world number one Rory McIlroy. On Saturday he four putted the par three 13th hole. To prove that a hacker lies deep within even the best golfers he followed that up with another four putt on the very same hole on Sunday. See, you can play like Rory.

4.  One of the reasons the PGA Tour started these FedEx Cup playoffs with the 10 million pot of gold at the end was to get the best players on the course after the major season and to avoid the start of the NFL season when golf loses millions of viewers. This season, with no break in play it seems that some players are struggling with their conditioning and motivation. Oh, and of course the opening week of the NFL season just demolishes everything else.

5.  Tom Watson was brought back to captain the Ryder Cup to shake things up and break the hold that Europe has had on the cup. But from the look of his captain’s pick’s it appears shaking things up wasn’t on his mind. Old Tom is an “Old School Dude” and he went with experience, experience, experience. Well, of the three players only one has played on a winning Ryder Cup Team, Hunter Mahan in ’08 but the last time he made the Ryder Cup he chunked his chip at the Belfry to lose the Cup to Graeme McDowell. Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley both made their first teams in ’12 when the USA blew the large lead on Sunday and lost the cup. Shaking it up would have been getting some new, fearless blood on the team. Tom went with experience…we’ll see.

6.  Speaking of the Ryder Cup …Tom’s boys had a mixed week at the BMW as they try and win the FedEx Cup and save themselves at the same time. Bubba Watson finished in second, Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler were T4. Jordan Spieth finished T8 and Jimmy Walker was T20. Zach Johnson T43, Matt Kuchar T46, Simpson and Patrick Reed finished T53 while Mahan finished 59th.

7.  Missing from that list were Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley. Missing because the both withdrew from the BMW under fairly controversial circumstances. Bradley cited a drop he took for an embedded ball on Friday and after a night to think about it he said he questioned if it was done correctly, even though a rules official had instructed him to do so. He felt unsure and his conscience told him it was better to withdraw than to continue under these circumstances. Really? His pal Philly Mick didn’t fabricate any story about his conscience or feign injury like so many would. He was honest: he was out of contention, had no chance at winning or heading to the Tour Championship and was exhausted. He said he wanted to “concentrate on the Ryder Cup.” He gets credit for honesty but boy I bet Tim Finchem will give him an ear full about bagging it during his playoffs.

8.  And something tells me that if Phil hadn’t decided to forsake the playoffs and rest up for the Ryder Cup that his Ryder Cup protégé and partner Bradley wouldn’t have felt that pang of guilt that forced him to withdraw. I’m just saying.

9.  Morgan Hoffman had some great week at Cherry Hills. He shot 62-63 on the weekend to finish third and catapult up the FedEx Cup leaderboard to 21st place. This from a player that barely made the playoffs at number 124 out of 125 to qualify for The Barclays. That just shows how volatile these playoffs actually are.  rory 2 trophy

10.  Going into the Tour Championship at East Lake here are the top five on the FedEx Cup Points List: Chris Kirk (1 Tour win & a win at The Deutsche Bank) Billy Horschel (T2 at Deutsche Bank and a win at The BMW) Bubba Watson (1 Tour win, The Masters and 2nd at The BWW) Rory McIlroy (Open Championship, WGC, PGA Championship) and Hunter Mahan (a win at The Barclays). All these players control their own destiny: if they win the Tour Championship they will clinch the 10 million and the FedEx Cup. I know these are the “playoffs” and the tour wants to generate some excitement but the points for winning a Playoff event are so great now it seems almost too volatile.

Extra Point.  This I know for sure…there isn’t any golfer in this field that wouldn’t trade their entire season including that FedEx Cup Championship for the season that Rory had. Ten million buys a lot of stuff…two consecutive majors gets you immortality.


Billy Horschel Wins The BMW Championship

September 7th, 2014 No comments


Check Out This Amazing 3-Year Old Golfer…AMAZING!

September 4th, 2014 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

Golf isn’t an easy game. Anyone who has tried this sport with any conviction can certainly attest to that.

There is always at least one time during my round I wonder why I even took up this crazy game. And after a few seconds I always come back to the fact that I love to play.

Little Tommy Morrissey loves to play golf too. The 3-year old from Lindwood, New Jersey loves the game like all of us hackers and does his best to hit it long.

And for a youngster his age he truly does. But what is truly amazing about Tommy is that he does it with one arm.

Due to a blood clot during pregnancy he was left with only a working left arm but boy does he put it to good use.

Now here is a young man that gets it. There are no swing thoughts or waggles or anything to distract him from just gripping it and ripping it.

His dad said he gets plenty of attention on the course, even before people realize he’s a one-hander.

“They look at him and see how small he is and they say, ‘Awesome, the little guy can hit a golf ball,” Tommy’s father, Joe, said to Fox 29. “And then they look and they see that he’s doing it with one hand and they say, ‘That’s incredible.’ And then after they watch him, after they learn, he’s just a little boy, just killing it, they walk away and say, ‘he’s an inspiration.’” 

I’ll think of Tommy the next time I get frustrated on the course. An inspiration…absolutely.

Hat tip to Shane Bacon at Devil Ball Golf.


Bradley, Mahan & Simpson Named to Ryder Cup Team

September 2nd, 2014 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson ended the suspense this evening and named his three Captain’s picks to fill out the American Ryder Cup Team. With much fanfare and speaking from the Saturday Night Live set in New York City Watson named Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson to join his team as they try to win back the cup in Gleneagles Scotland.

The Americans are without the services of Tiger Woods (injury) Dustin Johnson (hiatus) and Jason Dufner (injury) and are looking to win the Ryder Cup on foreign soil for the first time since 1993 at The Belfry. The captain then was Watson and he has been given the difficult task of beating a team that has won five of the last six matches.  3 picks

The nine members who made the team on points are Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker and Bubba Watson.

Bradley had made some points for himself when he played with Watson earlier this season at Gleneagles and has been dubbed the “emotional heart” of the team. He finished 13th on the points list and seemed to be a consensus pick.

Hunter Mahan finished well down the points list at 25th but his recent win at The Barclays propelled him high up on Watson’s list.

Webb Simpson was also a bit down the points list at 15th and his play recently has been feast or famine: MC, T5, MC, T9. But Watson played with Simpson at The Greenbrier Classic and must have liked what he saw.

The three other names that were very much in consideration for selection were Ryan Moore, Brendon Todd and Chris Kirk.

Kirk just won the Deutsche Bank Championship to make his statement before Captain Watson. Kirk finished ahead of both Mahan and Simpson at 14th on the points list.

Brendon Todd was thought to be a contender for the team as he was 12th on the points list, ahead of all three captain’s picks but his play has faltered the past month.

If Ryan Moore is disappointed that he missed out on the cup we can understand. With Dufner out, he was the next player on the points list but lackluster play in the FedEx Cup Playoffs may have cost him a slot on the team.

All three of Watson’s picks can certainly be justified. But it was obvious that Watson valued experience over everything else. Each of Watson’s picks has former Ryder Cup experience and Moore, Todd and Kirk had none.

Watson already had three rookies on his team in Reed, Spieth and Walker and wanted players that had been there before.

Captain Tom went with experience instead of going off the board and taking a chance on some new blood.  We’ll get to see if his formula works when pay starts on Friday, September 26th.


McGinely Tabs Poulter, Westwood & Gallacher as Ryder Cup Picks

September 2nd, 2014 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

Paul McGinely ended the speculation this morning as he made his final selections for his 2014 Ryder Cup Team. The lucky trio of players to join Team Europe in Gleneagles is Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and hometown boy Stephen Gallacher.  McGinley

McGinely expressed what a difficult task it was due to the fact that so many European Tour players had played so well in the run-up to the Ryder Cup.

McGinely said that the call to tell Luke Donald he wasn’t a selection was the toughest phone call he had to make as Donald is a close friend.

Poulter and Westwood bring years of Ryder Cup experience while Gallacher is a rookie but has been playing the best of the Captain’s Picks recently. Gallacher will also be the fan favorite as he grew up a few miles from Gleneagles.

These three join an already impressive team that includes: Thomas Bjorn, Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson.


Chris Kirk Makes Ryder Cup Statement: He Wins

September 2nd, 2014 No comments