Members Christmas Party!
January 11th, 2019 | 6:00PM | Senica’s Oak Ridge Dining Room
Join us for a night to celebrate our members! Appetizers will be provided and prizes will be given away throughout the night.
Join us for a night to celebrate our members! Appetizers will be provided and prizes will be given away throughout the night.
There are times when we all make this game too complicated. That’s why I started this article with a simple thought: Send it, then hole it. I’m not saying golf is easy, but I find that if you simplify your keys to executing all the main shots, you’ll stop playing golf swing and start playing golf. The goal is to advance the ball and drop it in the cup in as few strokes as possible. That’s really hard to do if you’re bogged down with swing mechanics. Instead, have a clear plan for what you want to do on the next shot, get your alignment right, and then make a swing or putting stroke that’s smooth and balanced. I guarantee if you keep it that simple, you’ll give yourself a better chance of playing good golf. On this page, I’m going to give you some keys to hitting all the main shots. Easy stuff to remember so you can put more focus on your round and not your swing. Like my coach, Col Swatton, says, “Understanding that the golf course is where you should play, and the range is where you practice, is your first step to lowering your scores.” — With Ron Kaspriske
PUT YOURSELF IN POSITION FOR A GOOD DRIVE
With a driver, I’m thinking only about hitting the ball as hard as I can in the center of the clubface. If you want to do the same, remember these keys before you take the club back: 1.) Get in a good setup. Start with a wide stance, a slight knee bend, your weight equally distributed on both feet and not in the toes or heels, and let your arms hang naturally as you tilt toward the ball from the hips. 2.) Always check ball position. If it’s too far back in your stance, it will kill your chance of the club coming into it square and on the correct path. The same is true if it’s too far forward. I like the ball lined up just inside my left heel. 3.) Think, slow takeaway. A lot of amateurs take the club back too fast, and that causes them to decelerate on the downswing. Do the opposite. By keeping my tempo smooth and taking it back slower, I can be aggressive through the ball without my timing being off.
TREAT YOUR IRONS WITH CARE
No matter what iron I’m swinging, my process stays the same. Here are my keys: 1.) Set up neutral. I want to hit the ball high, low, left and right, so I try to be as neutral as possible with my setup and grip. If you set up to hit only one type of shot, that’s fine, but you might struggle if the situation calls for something other than your stock ball flight. 2.) Shorten your swing. Good iron play is about hitting down on the ball with the center of the face. I find that’s easiest to do if you go with a three-quarter shot instead of a full swing. Put the ball an inch back in your stance, cut your backswing down, and focus on solid contact—not hitting it as hard as you can. The ball will go five to 10 yards shorter than with a full swing, so remember to club up. 3.) Finish like a statue. To improve your tempo and rhythm, make a swing that lets you get into a balanced, wraparound position.
GO BIG AROUND THE GREENS
Whether it’s a fringe chip or a pitch in tall grass, my three short-game keys don’t change. 1.) Focus on a spot in front of the ball. To avoid hitting it fat, you want the low point of the swing to be after it strikes the ball. This technique will help you get a nice, clean strike. 2.) Minimize wrist action. My chipping and pitching swings don’t have a lot of hinge. In fact, there’s very little elbow or wrist bend all the way through the shot. That makes it easier to make good contact and keep the clubface square with the target. 3.) Use the big muscles. It’s tempting to hit these shots using mostly your hands and arms, but your consistency will improve if you put some body into the shot. My shoulders rotate toward the target on the downswing, and my sternum is in front of the ball by the time the club strikes it.
PUTT WITH COMMON SENSE
My process on the greens has helped me become one of the best putters in the game. This is one area where the right type of practice will allow you to focus on line and speed when you play.
My keys: 1.) At address, get your eyes directly over the ball, and make sure your hands aren’t leaning the shaft too much forward, back, in or out. Your eye-and-hand positions greatly affect accuracy. 2.) Focus on path and face. A smooth-and-controlled stroke will help make sure the face is square with your putting line at impact. If you can’t roll it on the right line, nothing else matters. 3.) Overestimate. Amateurs often fail to give their putts enough break or speed to reach the hole. Varying your putting scenarios in your warm-up will help get a better feel for line and speed that day. But when in doubt, overestimate both. Give every putt a chance to go in, and you can bet some of them will.
Six days into 2019 and there’s already a new World No. 1 in men’s golf. Brooks Koepka needed to finish in a two-way tie for eighth or better at the Sentry Tournament of Champions to hold on to the top spot that he had occupied for the past six weeks. But an opening-round 76 at the Plantation Course at Kapalua made that highly unlikely. Subsequent rounds of 70-73-69 left Koepka in 24th place.
Replacing Koepka is Justin Rose, who moves to No. 1 for the fourth time since he first ascended to the spot last September after the BWM Championship. That week, Rose earned the No. 1 ranking despite losing in a playoff to Keegan Bradley at Aronimink Golf Club. This week’s rise comes despite the fact that Rose skipped playing at Kapalua.
Had Rose competed in Hawaii, Koepka potentially could have held on to the top spot. But with Rose staying home, Koepka was in charge of the two men’s fate.
It’s the 10th time in the last 35 weeks that the No. 1 ranking has changed hands, the most volatile period since the OWGR’s inception in 1986.
Rose had the chance to knock off Koepka twice in the last month but fell one stroke short of passing him at the Hero World Challenge and the Indonesian Masters.
Neither Koepka or Rose are in the field next week at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
The end of the year is a time to look back and evaluate all that transpired in the previous 12 months, and though the internet is littered with “best of” lists, let’s be honest: a decent share of our assessments are based in regret—things that could have happened, that nearly happened, but in the end did not. Or, worse, terrible things that completely go against our greatest hopes. A year gone by is a graveyard. But the year ahead? That’s a sown field! Anything could happen, anything could grow, and it is far more fun to look forward with optimism than to look back in judgment.
So now that the calendar has flipped, let’s put an end to our sad reconciliations with 2018, and let our imaginations run wild. What follows are the 10 greatest things that could happen in golf in the coming year. Will they all transpire? Will any of them? The answer is, you can’t prove that they won’t.
1. There will be at least one incredible final round duel at a major
Like it or not, golf is the most anticlimactic spectator sport, and the major finishes we got in 2018 were typical. Rory McIlroy blowing up at Augusta and brief salvos from Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler fizzing out; Brooks Koepka snuffing out the field at the U.S. Open; Spieth laying a Sunday egg and nobody rising to Francesco Molinari’s challenge at the Open; Koepka snuffing out the field at the PGA. Real drama, good drama, is a rare commodity. The last really good two-man duel we had was probably Henrik Stenson vs. Phil Mickelson, but this year, let’s hope for even more. Let’s hope for something Arnie and Jack never quite gave us, and ditto for Tiger and Phil. Let’s hope the two best players in the world, whoever they are, face off in a Sunday showdown that lives up to and exceeds the hype.
2. Bryson DeChambeau will win a major championship
It’s time to face reality: Aside from Tiger Woods—who holds the title in perpetuity—Bryson DeChambeau is the most exciting person in golf right now. With Rory smack in the middle of his “pick-your-favorite-polite-synonym-for-choking” phase, and Spieth still mired in his technical woes, DeChambeau is the man who could rescue us from the Koepka doldrums. What sets him apart is that he has the game and the personality—he’s part brilliant scientist, part egotist, part snake-oil salesman, and all showman. He loves the stage, and judging by the polarizing reactions he provokes, the stage loves him back. It would be terrific for golf if he broke through at a major in 2019.
3. Tiger Woods will win a major championship
4. One of the new “Big Four” will win another major
A lot of major talk, I know! But majors really tend to overshadow everything else, especially in a non-Ryder Cup year, so you’ll have to deal with it. Earlier this year, I calculated that there are four young(ish) players with a faint-yet-not-entirely-unrealistic hope of reaching the vaunted 10 major mark: Koepka, Spieth, McIlroy and Justin Thomas. If you believe as I do that golf is better when familiar faces are winning majors, and better yet when at least one or two is chasing some kind of historical mark, than you should want one of these guys to take home another trophy.
5. The USGA will somehow top themselves in the “infuriate everyone” department
Watching professional golfers rage against the USGA for the most petty grievances imaginable is one of my favorite annual pastimes, and Phil Mickelson’s performance-art piece on the 13th green on Saturday last June at Shinnecock Hills (Title: “The Funniest Way For a Rich Guy to Pout”) was a highlight not just of that year, but any year. It will be incredibly disappointing if the USGA doesn’t up the ante. And frankly, driving a handful of whiners to say “they’ve lost the course” in their most solemn tones isn’t good enough. I want disappearing holes, or six-foot greens, or birds that are trained to pick up errant balls and fly them back to the tee. I want Mike Davis in a jester’s cap, dancing a jig on a raised platform every time a four-foot putt runs 15 feet past. Embrace your identity, USGA!
6. The International Team will win the Presidents Cup
The obvious reasoning behind this is that the Presidents Cup is a bore, it’s not going to be fun until the U.S. stops dominating. Unfortunately, that seems surpassingly unlikely since language barriers on the International side make a mockery of any “team” concept for the “rest of the world”. But I have another selfish reason I’d like to see the Americans stumble: the U.S. needs to hit rock bottom before it can start winning Ryder Cups, and in hindsight, after the Paris debacle, Gleneagles 2014 looks more and more like a false rock bottom. Everything that happened since has been band-aids on a massive festering wound, and until the wound itself is addressed (hint: it’s going to involve a ton of soul-searching and revolves around how we, as a country, conceive of team events in golf), history is just going to repeat itself. Which makes me an accelerationist, I guess, but my motive is genuine: let’s make the reality of team play unbearable until somebody has to fix the problem.
7. The U.S. will not suffer another Ryder Cup defeat
I need at least one thing on this list to come true, OK. This is not cheating, this is preparing for success.
8. The new PGA Tour schedule is going to work out amazingly for everyone
Seriously, I really think it will! The only real problem for the majors was that the PGA Championship lacked a bit of prestige, and from decent slogans like “glory’s last shot” to achingly desperate ones like “this is major!”, nothing really caught on. However, the PGA’s move to May is genius—nobody’s burned out on golf, you can ride those sweet Masters tailwinds, and your stock inevitably goes up … right? No other big tournament suffers for it, either, and in fact the Players benefits from getting to go first. At a time when professional sports leagues seem to be in a constant state of foot-in-mouth, it’s weirdly thrilling to see PGA Tour absolutely nail it, and I hope it’s as good in reality as it looks in conception.
9. Someone extremely cool will emerge
Maybe it’s Cam Champ? I don’t know, but I’m longing for a dynamic figure to throw down the gauntlet this year. Some combination of Tiger and Miguel Angel Jimenez, but young. Someone like we momentarily thought Brooks Koepka might be, until he turned out be either boring or resentful, depending on the day. Someone like Sergio, but without the debilitating neuroses. Someone like Phil, but with an ounce of impulse control. You get the point.
10. The “ball goes too far” brigade will be slightly less tiresome
Look, I’m not saying they don’t have a point. But it’s a little like complaining about how the Internet has destroyed society in 2019—you’re absolutely right, but you’re also years and years too late. Nothing’s changing now, amigos! You’re the proverbial old man yells at cloud meme! Enjoy the bombs!
Wishing you peace and happiness in the New Year.
I’m coming off a recent win at the CIMB Classic, and my iron game into the par 5s was a big reason I got it done. For the week, I played the par 5s at TPC Kuala Lumpur in 14 under par. That should get it done any week on tour. Most everyday players, however, loathe their long and middle irons and are reluctant to use them. That’s unfortunate, because these clubs are valuable tools. Whether you’re going for the green in two, trying to hit a green in regulation on a 200-yard par 3, or looking to run one up on a long par 4, let me help you rethink avoiding these clubs. I’ll take you through my strategy and swing thoughts with them and have you playing the longer holes better in no time. — with E. Michael Johnson
DECLARE YOUR INTENTIONS
Because amateurs typically have low expectations with longer irons, I’ve seen a lot of them get careless with these shots. Try to be more thoughtful. First, your goal should be to pick a conservative target so you’ll feel better about making an aggressive swing. Next, check your alignment. Some players set up to something closer than their actual target, but that doesn’t work for me. I focus on where I want the ball to end up, and I set up to make that happen by taking shot shape into consideration. For example, if there is water on the left and the pin is in the middle or the right side of the green, I’ll go at the flag. But if the pin is near the water, I’ll aim away from the trouble and try to work the ball back toward the green. Remember what I said about aggressive swings toward conservative targets. You never want to hit toward trouble and hope it curves away. What if you hit the dreaded straight shot?
TAKE YOUR TIME
Timing is super important. If it’s off, you’re not going to hit the ball very well. You’re better off swinging slower and making sure everything is moving in the right downswing order—body, arms, hands, then club. If you ever watch me swing a long iron, you’ll notice that although I’m about to hit a long shot, the shaft of my club does not reach parallel at the top. Don’t get me wrong; I make a good turn, and my arms are extended away from my body—that’s a good feeling to have—but the point is, I’m not overswinging. The tendency with longer irons is to put more effort into the shot than you would if you were swinging a pitching wedge. But if you swing these clubs just like your short irons, your timing will be a lot better. You’ll also have a better chance of making centerface contact, which matters most when swinging these clubs. This is especially true into the wind, so take your time.
We hope you enjoy the Holidays & look forward to seeing you out on the course in the new year!
If you’re No. 1 in greens in regulation on the LPGA Tour like Jin Young Ko was in 2018, you might not need to spend a lot of time chipping. Unfortunately, most amateurs hit fewer than six greens in regulation each round, so having better short-game skills should be a focal point of practice, says Ko, the LPGA Rookie of the Year. “Amateurs I’ve played with don’t think about whether the shot should run or if it should land soft,” she says. “They just try to get it on the green any way they can.” That’s no way to approach these situations, says Jorge Parada, one of Golf Digest’s Best Young Teachers and director of instruction at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J. With the help of Ko demonstrating, Parada will teach you two basic chips that will cover the majority of lies you face around the greens. The best part? The adjustments to hit both are fairly simple. Read on to expand your greenside options.
When trying to bump the ball onto the green and get it running, a big fault is tilting the shoulders back,” Parada says. “The left shoulder gets high and the chest leans back. This negates moving the ball back in your stance to hit it lower. It causes chunks.” Instead, Parada says to feel like the sternum and chin are ahead of the golf ball and the left shoulder is level to the right shoulder at address. Just like Ko is demonstrating here, keep your upper body from drifting away from the green as you swing.
“A mistake when hitting a chip high and soft is setting up with the hands too far forward. That causes the ball to come off lower and hotter,” Parada says. Instead, play the ball off your front foot, set the shaft so it’s pointing near your belly button, and don’t lean the shaft toward the green when you swing. “The chest rotates, the hips are passive, and the clubhead passes the hands through impact,” Parada says. “Jin Young might not hit a lot of chips during a round, but she knows what she’s doing here.”
Numbers don’t tell the whole story, but in a sports world driven by analytics, they can certainly tell part of it. Last year on the PGA Tour, a few statistics said a lot about the seasons of some of the best players in the world, some good, some bad, but all telling. Here are 14 numbers that
11 — Number of players who ended win droughts of at least at 4½ years on the tour. They are as follows, from longest dry spell to shortest: Charles Howell III (11 years, 9 months), Paul Casey (8 years, 11 months), Kevin Na (7 years, 9 months), Keegan Bradley (6 years, 1 month), Ted Potter, Jr. (5 years, 7 months), Ian Poulter (5 years, 5 months), Tiger Woods (5 years, 1 month), Phil Mickelson (4 years, 8 months), Webb Simpson (4 years, 7 months), Matt Kuchar (4 years, 7 months) and Gary Woodland (4 years, 6 months). Lee Westwood also ended a victory drought of 4 years and 7 months on the European Tour at the Nedbank Challenge. Westwood’s last PGA Tour win came at the 2010 FedEx St. Jude Classic.
11 — Number of top-10 finishes without a victory for Tony Finau. The 29-year-old became the first golfer to have at least 11 top-10s and no wins since Jim Furyk, who did the same in both 2014 and 2009. In the last 20 years, only five other players have done that: David Toms in 2002 (12 top-10s), Vijay Singh in 2001 (14), Steve Flesch in 2000 (13), Chris Perry in 1999 (14) and Davis Love III in 1999 (13).
11 — Number of first-time winners on the PGA Tour last season: Ryan Armour, Patrick Cantlay, Patton Kizzire, Austin Cook, Brice Garnett, Satoshi Kodaira, Andrew Landry, Aaron Wise, Michael Kim, Francesco Molinari and Andrew Putnam. (Apparently, 11s were wild on tour in 2018.)
32.5 — Average number of spots Tiger Woods jumped in the Official World Golf Ranking after each event he played beginning with the 2017 Hero World Challenge and ending with the 2018 Hero. Woods entered the 2017 Hero at 674th in the world and has climbed all the way to his current 13th spot.
4.57 — Tiger Woods’ par-5 scoring average. The number matches the worst mark in Woods’ career; in 2013 he also had a 4.57 average. However that year it was good enough to tie him for fourth on tour. This year, that mark tied him for 24th, by far the worst standing of his career in the category. Prior to this season, Woods had never finished worse than T-6 for a season in par-5 scoring average. In nine of his first 10 seasons on tour, he finished first, including eight straight to start his career.
9 — Number of times the World No. 1 ranking changed hands in 2018, the most times since the ranking’s inception in 1986. The previous record was 7 in 1997 and 2012. The four players who passed it around? Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka, who currently holds the title.
$451,704.33 — Average amount of money Justin Rose made per start on the PGA Tour this season, not including the $10 million FedEx Cup prize. If you include that, he made $1,007,259.89 per start.
278.9 — Average driving distance in yards in 2018 for Brian Stuard, who ranked dead last in that statistic among the 193 players that qualified. Averaging 300 yards on the nose didn’t even get you in the top 50 last season. In 1998, 300 yards would have ranked first on the PGA Tour, and 278 would put you in the top 30.
75.3 — The field scoring average on Saturday at the U.S. Open, a day in which 19 players shot 78 or worse at Shinnecock Hills.
98.78 — Jordan Spieth’s percentage of made putts from three feet. It might sound good, but it actually ranked 181st on tour last year. His performance from close proximity was in line with his overall putting for the season, as he finished a career-low 123rd in strokes-gained/putting. Still, he managed to nearly shoot 63 on Sunday at Augusta (if not for missing a short putt at the 72nd) and amass nearly $3 million in earnings for the year. Players have had much worse “down” years, to say the least.
2.372 — Average total strokes-gained against the field per round for Dustin Johnson, who lead the PGA Tour in that category this season. Since 2004, only three players have eclipsed that number in a season: Tiger Woods (five times: 2004-2007, 2009), Jim Furyk (2006) and Rory McIlroy (2012).
0 — Combined major victories for the three players with the best cumulative scores to par in the major championships for the season. Justin Rose lead the way at 12 under, Rickie Fowler came in second at 11 under and Tony Finau in third at nine under. In fourth? Francesco Molinari, who finished the majors with a cumulative score of eight under, his winning score at Carnoustie, meaning he played the other three in even par. Brooks Koepka missed the Masters due to injury, but was 13 under in the other three; Masters champ Patrick Reed missed the cut at the PGA Championship, but was 11 under in the remaining majors.
68.00 — Saturday scoring average for both Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, tying them for first overall on the PGA Tour. Each, however, had just one victory, and though both were impressive (Woods’ 80th career W at the Tour Championship, Rory’s Sunday charge at Bay Hill), they probably both think they could have had more. Their Sunday scoring averages played a role in that, with Woods’ dropping nearly two strokes to 69.75 (41st on tour) and McIlroy’s two full strokes to 70.00 (T-54 on tour).
68.27 — Final-round scoring average for Brooks Koepka, the third-lowest of any player who played at least 15 final rounds in a season on tour since 2001. The two lower players? Tiger Woods in 2002 with an average of 67.71, and Luke Donald in 2011 with an average of 68.06.
Appetizers, Drinks, Musical Entertainment by Todd Witek, Champagne Toast at Midnight
Enjoy your first drink of the night on us!
Please RSVP by December 27, 2018 by calling 815-667-4239 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org