By Jill McGill
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
I’m in London waiting for my flight to Kuwait. I’m doing a goodwill trip in Iraq again this summer. It was so rewarding last year I couldn’t say no.
I just finished playing in the British and spending a week in Wales. There was a bright spot in my golf: winning the British qualifier. I think I wore myself out before the actual event started, which was a bummer.
I love playing over here. Not sure I would like to do it 365 days a year, but it is a great change.
This last week the theme was how golf is so rewarding. I found myself staring at the Harlech Castle while playing Royal St. David Golf Course for a week. It is located on the west coast of Wales. The town itself is out of a storybook.
MOST OF THIS BOOK teaches you about the 99 percent of golf that has nothing to do with technique. On the other hand, a graceful swing can do wonders for your confidence. Understanding the swing will give you confidence. Build the right swing, and you’re ready to take on the world.
During the countless hours of hard work I’ve put into my own game, I’ve made some surprising discoveries. Although at first glance the golf swing seems very complex, its essentials are few and well within your reach.
Another note: I believe self-discovery is the most important component to understanding the swing and improving your game. Analyzing golf on TV and reading complicated self-help books will only take you so far. It’s up to you to do the rest.
Story Time: I was a terrible player at the beginning of my career. Frankly, no one was more surprised than me when I passed the P.A.T. However, I’ve come a long way since then, and I’ve been fortunate enough to celebrate some real successes. I even set the course record at Black Rock (65). It was subsequently broken by the unstoppable Troy, and then again by PGA Tour star Rich Beem, but my name was on the board for a few months – something I’m very proud of. It’s nothing short of a miracle when you consider the first swing advice I ever got from my Dad. He told me, “Imagine the ball is a snake sticking its head out of a hole, and whack it.”
IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW, Tiger’s Left Knee talked to ARMCHAIR GOLF about the troubling days following the PGA Championship and provided an inside glimpse at Camp Tiger. Tiger’s Left Knee spoke to me by telephone from his home in Windermere, Florida.
Q: As always, thanks for the visit.
LEFT KNEE: Sure.
Q: So, how are things in the Tiger camp after the huge disappointment at Hazeltineω
LEFT KNEE: You don’t want to know.
Q: Actually, I do.
LEFT KNEE: It’s been a bit more tense than usual, if you can imagine that.
As you may know, EIDOLON makes a big deal out of shaft options on our V-SOLE wedges. That’s because every other brand out there apparently thinks it’s OK to just give the same shaft to everyone (is there poetic justice there). Every Titleist®, Cleveland® and other major brand wedge comes with a Dynamic Gold® “wedge flex” shaft, a design that was engineered over 30 years ago, is very heavy by today’s standards (130 grams) and from our testing, is what we believe is much too stiff to be right for the average golfer.
But it makes production easy if you put the same shaft in every wedge, and major brand wedges are sold as “one size fits all” commodities off the rack at the local golf shop. Using the same shaft makes it easy for the big companies to sell wedges in quantity to the stores. And the fact is, they can buy this “off number” shaft at very preferred pricing.
But is that what’s best for your scoringů Think about what you ask your wedge shaft to do. It has to perform at full swing speeds when you are hitting full shots. But it also has to perform on the most delicate little chips and pitches when clubhead speed might be 10 miles per hour or less. That’s a tall order. For a club to perform at those low speeds, the shaft has to still flex a little, to give what’s called “motion feedback”. That is the quantity of “feel” that you get from the club so that you can gauge how far back you took it, how fast it is moving, and the orientation of the face. You have to have this to build a good short game. But if the shaft is too soft, it will produce ballooning trajectories and loss of control at full swing speeds.
WHAT I REMEMBER BEST about Tony Holquin were his small and delicate hands. They were like a woman’s hands really, soft and gentle. His handshake, even when I first met him as a teenager, was soft and gentle. He never tried to impress anyone with his strength, for he wasn’t big or imposing. Professional Golfer magazine referred to him as “little Tony” when he won the 1953 Texas Open. Once, back in the early ‘50s when he broke the course record at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club in the first round of the Crosby Golf Championship, the Chicago Tribune headline read something like, “Tiny Tony Shoots 63 at Crosby.”
His size didn’t matter when there was a golf club in his hands. When he was on the tee everyone took notice. Compact as he was, he could generate enormous power and drive a golf ball, as we used to say back in the Midwest, a country mile.
First Tex-Mex Pro
For anyone who didn’t know him, Tony Holquin was just another golf pro from Texas; one of those countless Tex-Mex kids who learned to play on a public course, in his case, Brackenridge Park, near his home in San Antonio.
I MISSED IT, but the U.S. team staged a back-nine rally to win the Solheim Cup 16-12 over a very competitive European team that came into the matches as a heavy underdog. The teams were tied going into Sunday’s singles matches, and Europe was poised for the upset until a few key matches turned the Americans’ way. Morgan Pressel secured the Cup-clinching point.
Unfortunately, except for watching a few holes from the Sedgefield Country Club pro shop to escape the Friday heat at the Wyndham Championship, I didn’t see any of the Solheim Cup. That’s a shame. I especially would have liked to see Juli Inkster since it was her last appearance as a Solheim Cup player.
Moore Wins Wyndham in Playoff
I did catch the final few holes (including the playoff) of the Wyndham Championship on the tube. Ryan Moore prevailed in a playoff against Kevin Stadler and Jason Bohn to get his first PGA Tour win.
ON FRIDAY I ATTENDED the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina. Following are my notes and random thoughts from my day at Sedgefield.
• It was brutally hot. You know how some people say, “It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity”ů On Friday it was the heat AND humidity. Not usually a heat wimp, I was definitely slowed by the blast-furnace weather. After walking the front nine, I stood (or sat) around for most of the rest of the day.
• I followed Davis Love, Boo Weekley and Charlie Hoffman for a couple of holes before catching up with David Duval, who I followed for the rest of the front nine. After I caught up with Duval, he went birdie, par, birdie. Unfortunately, he missed the cut (74-70, 144).
• Sedgefield Country Club is a Donald Ross design. It’s a lovely course, not too hard for the pros but surely a challenge for amateurs. There are plenty of doglegs and elevation changes to keep things interesting. The greens are anything but flat.
• The volunteers did an adequate job of quieting the gallery, but they had no effect on the cicadas, which chattered incessantly. That’s normal around here in August.
When mental golf practices don't seem to be helping your game, the tendency is to stop using them and chalk it up to mental golf not being right for you or mental golf not working at all. Before you throw in the towel and decide to stop developing and applying these skills, however, ask yourself these four questions:
1. Do I really believe mental golf practices work and can help my game
2. Am I utilizing these skills consistently throughout each round (not just when the "going gets tough")
3. Am I overwhelming myself by trying to change too many mental practices at once
4. Am I putting too much pressure on myself to master these practices and get "instant results" (This was one of my main tendencies when I was beginning the development of my mental game.)
IN A MEDIA CONFERENCE CALL, Golf Channel analyst Dottie Pepper opined on the 2009 Solheim Cup, which begins on Thursday at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois. Pepper was a six-time Solheim Cup U.S. team member who played on four victorious teams. She compiled an impressive 13-5-2 record.
For starters, did U.S. team captain Beth Daniel get the captain’s picks rightω
“Michelle Wie, I believe over the course of this year, earned her spot,” Pepper said. “No wins, but certainly among the players who were in contention for a spot, she was playing the best, despite not qualifying for the U.S. Open going into the matches.”
On Juli Inkster, Pepper said, “ … in my mind she was picked for what the Solheim Cup can do, and that’s bring out the very best in golf, and I believe also what she brings to the team room, and that’s a lot of enthusiasm.”
Some think the U.S. team will overwhelm Europe. Not Pepper.
A bevy of golf products, services, destinations, events, news and more. Endorsement is not implied.
• YourGolfTravel.com is looking for someone to visit golf courses around the world for a year to research opportunities and write reviews. More from TimesOnline.
• PGA.com announced the availability of the PGA Championship App at the App Store. The PGA Championship App for iPhone and iPod touch is sponsored by financial services provider ING and will provide live video, live scoring and instant updates to golf fans during the 2009 PGA Championship from Aug. 13–16.
• American Express is providing onsite programs and premium benefits for Cardmembers designed to enhance the spectator experience at the 91st PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club.
• Turner Sports and The PGA of America announced that now and throughout the PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club, Aug. 13 - 16, all of TNT’s television announcers and PGA.com on-camera talent, as well as local PGA of America Club Professionals, will use the Twitter social networking platform to provide commentary leading up to and throughout the year’s final major.