Golf and Coronavirus: 11 things you should never do when playing golf

The coronavirus has upended the world in a matter of weeks, devouring golf’s 2020 schedule and shuttering golfers indoors as they work-from-home.

Yet playing golf is still very much on the table. Encouraged, even, but only if you take certain straightforward precautions. We have a big list of all the things you should do right here. As for the things you shouldn’t do? Here’s a quick rundown.

1. Don’t share carts

Limiting the use of golf carts has become an increasingly common precaution many golf courses are taking, but if you want or need to take a cart, make sure to wipe it down throughly first, and take it by yourself so you’re not in close proximity to others.

2. Don’t remove the pin

Many courses recommend only touching the pin if you’re wearing gloves, but many others recommend not touching the pin at all. Better safe than sorry; go with the latter.

3. Don’t borrow clubs

Don’t borrow your fellow golfers’ clubs on the course. Now is not the time.

4. Don’t borrow accessories

Clubs is the most obvious one, but it goes for other golf accessories, too. Towels, tees, ball makers, balls. If they’re not yours, don’t touch them.


5. Don’t toss your partner their ball

Gimmies for short-range putts are recommended, but when your putt is deemed ‘good,’ pick up your own ball. Don’t toss your partner their ball.

6. Don’t toss your partner their ball marker

Ditto the above.

7. Don’t exchange cash

With a caddie, with your playing partner, no one. Try Venmo, instead! It’s far more convenient.

8. Don’t shake hands

This is rule No. 1 nowadays. Try a friendly wave instead!

9. Don’t reach into the golf hole

Most golf courses are inverting their golf holes to eliminate this problem altogether, but if you’re playing one that hasn’t inverted its holes, don’t reach into the golf hole to retrieve your ball. Either leave it there, or pick it up before it drops.

10. Don’t rent clubs

This should be obvious. Use your own or none at all.

11. Don’t hang around the clubhouse

For the time being, you’re at the course for golf and nothing else. It won’t be like that forever, but it is for now. Stay safe, and play well!

SOURCE:  Golf.com

 

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Avoid this common mistake to create more power

Look at old videos of the best swings of yesteryear, and you’ll likely see the golfer’s lead knee move toward the ball during the backswing. At the same time, the lead leg’s foot would roll inward and the heel would come off the ground. For the most part, it’s become a thing of the past. With more emphasis now on fitness and strength and swinging the club from a solid base, the best players really stabilize their lead knee (left for right-handers). They use it as an anchor to wind against as they load into their trail side. Even for amateur golfers of limited physical ability, consistency and power immediately improve when that knee is relatively still during the backswing.

My associate J.J. Rivet, one of the world’s leading biomechanists, says his testing has shown that the lead knee of a modern tour player moves toward the ball no more than 8 degrees. In many cases it barely shifts. Amateurs, however, let the knee move as much as 35 degrees during the backswing. You can’t coil properly with a power bleed like that.

A drill to train better stabilization of this knee is to make one- handed rehearsal backswings while preventing the knee from moving with your other hand (above). You should feel pressure in the toes of your lead leg and the heel of your trail leg as you reach the top of the swing. It’s perfectly acceptable for the lead heel to raise as long as the knee moves slightly toward the target, not inward. —WITH RON KASPRISKE

SOURCE:  GolfDigest.com

How you can change your golf grip without even realizing it

Editor’s Note: Baden Schaff has been a PGA teaching professional for 17 years and is the co-founder of Skillest, a digital platform that connects golf students with golf coaches across the world for online lessons. To learn more about Skillest and to book a lesson of your own with Baden or with Andreas Kali.

The grip causes eternal fascination for golfers. It’s often the first thing I get asked during a lesson. Why is it that the aspect of the swing that creates the most intrigue has nothing to do with the swing itself?

The commonly rolled out line is “because it’s the only part of the body that is connected to the club”. This might well be true, but I think it’s more likely because it’s the only part of the golf swing you can see without videoing it. Your grip is staring you in the face every time you look down at that ball. But why, then, do students still have so much trouble getting it right?

Because they try and fix it in isolation.

Whenever I see a tip regarding the grip it is always a close up of how the two hands are sitting on the club, cut off above the wrists. But what if there is something else at play? What if your grip was influenced by more than just the way your hands are holding the club. Well, there is and it’s got everything to do with your body posture and the way your arms hang at setup. Trying to get your grip right without getting your set up right will drive you mad.

Let’s look at two of the best players in the world. Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau. Dustin has an incredibly strong grip and subsequently shuts the club on the takeaway. Bryson on the other hand is the opposite. He has an incredibly weak grip, particularly evident in the left hand, and has a much more neutral face during the golf swing.

Now are these two grips diametrically opposed because they just hold it differently? No, it’s also because DJ generally starts with the body more over the ball and an almost straight down arm hang. This creates more “radial deviation” and gives the left wrist an exaggerated “extension” or cupping. This is what makes it look so strong.

Bryson is the exact opposite. He plays golf with a more upright posture and has much higher hands, almost like the heel of his club is off the ground. This is why Bryson has his clubs lie angles so upright. This setup creates ulnar deviation and less extension in the left wrist and gives it a look of being incredibly weak. It’s not so much the way their hands sit on the club as much as their posture and their arm hang. This is why you can get your grip looking perfect when you hold the club up in front of you but looks completely wrong when the club is down at address.

Grips cannot be fixed in isolation, they are part of a much broader picture.

A great way to test this for yourself is by taking your usual set up. Then, if you want to see your grip weaken without moving your hands on the club, stand slightly closer to the ball, raise your hands so that it feels like the heel of the club is off the ground, just like Bryson.

If you want to see your grip strengthen, push your hands towards the ground and watch the toe of the club come off the ground. You will notice that your left wrist will cup or extend more making it look stronger. When it is set like DJ you will notice that you can see three of four knuckles while setting up like Bryson will show you only one or two knuckles.

Personally, I prefer Bryson’s style, but let’s not detract from the larger point: Your grip can be changed and influenced without ever moving the hands on the club, because it’s affected by your body position. Like always, any change to your swing must be made with a broader context in mind. Nothing ever works independently. Your challenge is finding a coach that understands cause and effect well enough to work with your motion as a whole.

SOURCE:  Golf.com

Qualifying for the U.S. Olympic golf team: How to do it and Tiger’s chances

The men’s Olympic golf tournament is still six months away, but Americans, including Tiger Woods, trying to grab one of the four spots available in the 60-player field are already in an intense battle to get to Tokyo, where the competition begins on July 30 at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

Here are some key facts and dates as they relate to making the 2020 Olympic tournament:

How many players will the U.S. send?

Up to four. The top 15 players in the Official World Golf Ranking will be eligible, with a limit of four players per country. There are currently nine Americans ranked among the top 15, so clearly a highly rated U.S. player who is capable of winning Olympic gold will not be competing.

How is the rest of the field determined?

Strictly based on the OWGR as of June 22, which is after the U.S. Open. Any country can have up to four players if they are among the top 15 in the world, with no more than two per country if they are ranked lower than 15th. Because of this, players well down in the world rankings will qualify. For example, as it stands now, the 60th player in the field would be Fabian Gomez of Argentina, who is ranked 242nd in the world.

What is the qualification period?

Because the OWGR operates on a two-year cycle, the qualification period began July 1, 2018 — the last day of the Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour. All points earned at events from that point through the 2022 U.S. Open comprise the world ranking on a given day and the list from which the field will be determined. That is why the OWGR today does not mirror the projected ranking as of June 22: Any points a player earned prior to July 1, 2018, will not count toward Olympic qualification, but those points are still part of the two-year cycle now. That is the rolling nature of the OWGR. For example, Woods has depreciated points for his second-place finish at the 2018 Valspar Championship and tie for fifth at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational. They will no longer be part of his record after the dates of those events pass in 2020.

How does qualifying differ from the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup?

For United States players, the world rankings are not a determining factor for either competition. Players earn points based on money earned for the Ryder Cup and based on FedEx Cup points for the Presidents Cup. European Ryder Cup players have a points list that factors in money earned on the European Tour, as well as a world list based on the world ranking points earned during the qualification period.

If the Olympics were today, who would be playing for the United States?

No. 1 Brooks Koepka, No. 4 Justin Thomas, No. 5 Dustin Johnson and No. 6 Tiger Woods. But the rankings are volatile and there are numerous players in position to earn a spot. Patrick Cantlay is seventh in the world. Xander Schauffele is ninth. Webb Simpson is 11th and Patrick Reed is 12th. Gary Woodland, Tony Finau, Bryson DeChambeau and Matt Kuchar — who earned Olympic bronze in Rio in 2016 — are all ranked in the top 20.

Nobody has locked down a spot because there are so many events still to be played with big world ranking points being offered: the WGC-Mexico Championship, the Players Championship, the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship, the Masters, the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open.

Tournaments such as the Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Memorial will also have loaded fields offering more points.

So what are Tiger’s chances?

Good, but he is far from a lock. The good news for Woods is that he is not in danger of losing points by playing events. That can happen to players who compete often. The OWGR formula is based on average points, which is computed by taking the total number of points earned and divided by events played. But the minimum divisor used is 40 events played over two years, a number Woods will not come close to achieving. Anything over 40 is the number used to divide, so the average number can decrease if an appropriate number of points are not earned.

Here’s the bottom line for Tiger: He’s in position, but with so many big events, he will need to produce. A victory somewhere would go a long way toward qualifying, but so would several top-5 finishes. And he is looking at playing events with strong fields, so high finishes would help even more. His tie for ninth on Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open earned him 6.75 world ranking points, but he probably needs to average about 15 points per event to be assured of an Olympic spot. And the points drop off drastically after the top 10.

Woods can be expected to play between eight and 10 more tournaments prior to the cutoff.

An educated guess has these as the possibilities: Genesis Invitational, WGC-Mexico Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational, Players Championship, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, the Masters, Wells Fargo Championship, PGA Championship, Memorial, U.S. Open.

Last year, Woods skipped the Arnold Palmer and Wells Fargo, so it’s possible he plays just eight more times prior to the Olympic cutoff.

SOURCE:  ESPN.com

Harold Varner III just broke an impressive, and slightly odd, PGA Tour record

Harold Varner III delivered fans the greatest show on turf at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. And it had nothing to do with TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole.

Varner, 29, opened up the event on Thursday with a par … and over the next two days, followed with 31 straight similar scores. For those of you scoring at home, that would be a whopping 32 pars, which set a PGA Tour record for most consecutive pars to start a tournament in the ShotLink era.

K.J. Choi was the previous title holder with 27 pars at the 2006 Colonial.

Frame this bad boy and put it in the Smithsonian.

Alas, some stars shine so bright they burn out in two wink’s of a coal miner’s eye. Varner’s golden quest was sidetracked at the 15th, where apparently the East Carolina product said “The hell with history” by making a birdie. The audacity. Worse, he followed with a bogey at the infamous 16th, moving him back to even for the event. Clearly, there are golf gods, and they are cruel.

It’s been an inauspicious start to 2020 for Varner, who missed cuts at the American Express and Farmers Insurance Open. Hopefully riding this magical train gets his season back on track.

SOURCE:  GolfDigest.com

The 21 (yes, 21!) most painful rules incidents of 2019

Between Phil Mickelson hitting a ball in motion, Joel Dahmen calling out the motivation of Sung Kang and Tiger Woods’ non-double hit at the Hero World Challenge, 2018 was a banner year for rules controversies. Surely, with the new, simplified Rules of Golf, 2019 had no chance at providing as much rules drama as the season prior. No chance.

Wrong!

Not only did 2019 live up to the hype, it may have outdone 2018 in the rules-issue department. During the fall PGA Tour season alone, it felt like there was at least one controversy per week, each one featuring more penalty strokes than the last. Here are the most unusual rules incidents from another ridiculous season of run-ins with the law, in chronological order.

SOURCE:  GolfDigest

The Etiquetteist: 9 driving-range rules you absolutely must follow

In golf, tireless tinkerers are known as ‘range rats.’ But even rats have social norms. Which brings us to this week’s etiquette rundown: nine rules of thumb for the driving range.

1. Mind Your Divots

You’re here to practice, not to rototill the turf. Don’t tear up every patch of grass at your disposal. Keep your divots in a vertical line, without digging too deep in a single spot. The maintenance crew will thank you. So will any golfer who comes next.

Be kind to the range, Practice in a straight line instead of creating divots all over the place.

2. Watch your Angles

While firing at different targets is fair game, this is not a free-for-all. In the interest of sanity — and everyone’s safety — avoid cross-country shots. If you’re stationed at a stall on the left side range, don’t take aim at a green on the far right. Ditto for the other way around.

3. The Bucket List

Don’t tip the bucket over unless you plan to hit every single shot. Only take the balls you need and leave the rest in the bucket for the next golfer, rather than scattering them all about.

putting green rules
RULES
The Etiquetteist: 9 putting-green rules you absolutely must follow

4. Don’t Hog the Stall

Are you a masochist, bent on banging balls until your hands blister? Suit yourself. But also situate yourself in a tucked-away spot at the far end of the range, rather than in a prime location. Even then, if the range is packed, it’s not your right to go full Vijay. Finish your bucket then step aside and let another golfer take a turn.

5. Tame that Tune

We get it. You like yacht rock. Not everyone does. So if you insist on hitting to the rhythmic strains of‘Hotel California’, do it through your earbuds and spare the rest of us your outdated taste.

Don’t empty that bucket unless you plan on hitting all the balls.

6. Stay in Inside the Ropes

Those boundaries are there for a reason: the turf beyond needs time to recover. What it doesn’t need is to take a pounding from someone who thinks he’s more important than everyone else.

7. Don’t Pelt the Range-Picker

We get it. It’s tempting, taking aim at the driver in the mesh-enclosed range-picker. But what may seem to you like harmless target practice is disrespectful of the very people who are trying to serve you. If juvenile shooting is what you’re after, try downloading video game.

Bluetooth speakers golf course
INSTRUCTION
The Etiquetteist: 7 rules to follow for bluetooth speakers on the golf course

8. Give Wide Berth

This should go without saying but we’ll say it anyway: getting hit with a golf club hurts. So don’t take chances. When you’re walking behind other golfers, give them ample leeway. Twice as much as you think you need.

9. Minimize the Questions and the Commentary

If you’re looking for a lesson, book a lesson. Don’t pester your fellow rangers for tips. Exchanging simple pleasantries is okay, but this is not a place for prolonged chatter. Same goes for the monologues. No one needs to hear your moaning or groaning, and no cares that you caught that last shot fat.

SOURCE:  Golf.com

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Matthew Wolff, Joaquin Niemann, Cole Hammer among 20 golfers to follow in 2020

It’s obvious that Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm and Tiger Woods are five of the best golfers on the planet. Anyone who casually follows the game or engages in the sport can tell you that much. But what about when you step outside the star and superstar realm and get a little past the most obvious contenders in this sport?

What do you find at No. 50 in the world or No. 100 or even past that? With 2020 quickly approaching and another calendar year of golf on deck, I thought it would be fun to throw 20 names at you to watch in 2020. These are in no particular order in terms of ranking, but they’re 20 guys who have a chance to take a leap (or two leaps) into stardom in professional (or amateur) golf at the start of the new decade.

Let’s jump in.

1. Matthew Wolff: Probably the most famous of this group, and he already has a win. It might be unfair to include him on a list of folks you need to know more about because I don’t know how much you already know about him. But his intangibles are off the charts and probably more impressive than anyone else on here. I could not be more in.

2. Xinjun Xhang: Blew away the competition in the Korn Ferry Tour regular season this year. He’s already earned significantly more money in the fall than he did in his entire previous season on the PGA Tour combined.

3. Ben An: This is all you need to know about Ben An and his game.

Most golf beginners would begin their journey with a mid-iron or wedge, but An was the opposite as he started with one of the hardest clubs – the 1-iron. “I liked the 1-iron, that was the first club I used,” An said. “I remember it was a club with an old-school green colored grip. It just felt fun for me. I still remember it although I was very young then.” [PGA Tour]

4. Tom Lewis: The former stud amateur came over and won the Korn Ferry Tour Championship by five after his highest-ever finish at a major championship (T11 at The Open). Currently No. 53 in the world, which is his highest ranking ever.

5. Abraham Ancer: Stole the show at the Presidents Cup, but the reality is that he was playing quality golf long before that. Starred for a while at the 2019 Players Championship, finished second at The Northern Trust and top 10 in his last PGA Tour events of the fall.

6. Joaquin Niemann: Just turned 21 and has almost matched his age with his tee-to-green ranking on the PGA Tour. Certified stud.

7. Sungjae Im: The real breakout star of the Presidents Cup. Im might be a superstar, and he has the kind of game that’s going to go on and on and on and on. All the way up to 34th in the world, and I could see him in the top 20 this time next year.

No Laying Up

@NoLayingUp

Sungjae Im is an assassin. That guy might make $50 million on tour.

69 people are talking about this

8. Scottie Scheffler: There’s a little Spieth in there in terms of the amateur career and walking in the same footsteps. He doesn’t get the same shine Spieth ever did though, but he’s going to have a good, long career.

9. Corey Conners: The best ball-striker you’ve never heard of. He was ninth (!!) from tee to green last season.

10. Bernd Wiesberger: Did you know that Bernd Wiseberger is ranked ahead of Rickie Fowler in the Official World Golf Rankings? I bet you did not know this factual information.

11. Jazz Janewattananond: Introduced himself at the PGA Championship this spring, and likely played himself into the Masters by rising into the top 50 in the OWGR by Dec. 31. He’s currently No. 45 with two weeks to go (the top 50 on Dec. 31 get in).

12. Collin Morikawa: Elite iron player. I don’t know that he has the juice to hang with Wolff and Hovland long-term, but I’m extremely excited to watch him try and play his way into that.

13. Erik Van Rooyen: Come for the joggers, stay for one of the 50 best in the world.

14. Harry Higgs: Won on the Korn Ferry Tour last season and finished second at the Bermuda Championship this fall. He made $540,000 in the fall and is getting close to earning his 2021 card.

15. Robert Macintyre: Finished sixth (!) at The Open at Royal Portrush and had four other top-10 finishes to close out 2019. Still just 23 years old.

16. Takumi Kanaya: The No. 1 amateur in the world and the No. 222 player in the world overall. It’s not often you see that combination, but the 21-year-old is winning legit pro events and nearly even took the Australian Open a few weeks ago.

17. Viktor Hovland: Vegas shouldn’t even offer odds on him winning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. Would be like letting Kyler Murray be a rookie next year.

18. Cole Hammer: Another Texas stud. Took down Wolff in the match-play portion of the NCAAs earlier in 2019 and is currently the No. 2 amateur in the world. Right amount of swag, tons of game and a great pedigree. Here for it.

19. Victor Perez: He’s won an official event in each of the last four calendar years. His fall was outstanding as he took the Dunhill Links and then nearly won in China (WGC event) and Turkey (European Tour Rolex Series event). Might be a Ryder Cup threat.

20. Justin Harding: He was the “one of these things is not like the other ones” golfer in the top 15 at Augusta in April. Last year was the first time in his career that he’s played all four of the majors in a calendar year, and he made the cut at three of the four including that impressive T12 at the Masters.

SOURCE:  CBSSports