You can still get really good without access to a golf course

If you had to draw up the perfect scenario necessary to create a great golfer, one of the first things you’d probably mention would be access to a range and a golf course. Sung Hyun Park, former World No. 1 and defending champion of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, wasn’t so lucky. In her first few years playing golf, she barely set foot on the golf course.

“I first started playing when I was nine years old, and I only practiced indoors,” Park said through a translator in her pre-tournament press conference at the KPMG. “It was like a three-meter distance, and I used to hit my shots over there. And playing like that for three years, I probably went on the golf course around four or five times only, which probably means like once a year. And so I always looked forward to going out on to the course and to play.”

If you’re someone who loves golf, but don’t have easy access to a course, there’s hope for you. Park is proof that you can get good—sometimes really, really, good—even if you can’t get on-course as much as you’d like.

We talked to Jason Guss, one of Golf Digest’s best teachers in the state of Michigan, about how you can make a range-centric golf existence work.

“If you’re a good visual person you can create holes on the driving range,” says Guss. Doing something as simple as picking two targets and visualizing a fairway between them can help you create a golf hole in your mind.

“You can get into golf course mode, you can visualize and you can get pretty close to the real thing,” said Guss. Creativity is the key. “You have to be really good at using the boundaries of the driving range.”

While there’s a school of thought that says you should spend more time on the golf course than the driving range to become a better player and course manager, there are benefits to logging big hours on the range.

“I had a lot of complaints back then, not being able to play on the course, and I always wanted to play on the course,” said Park. “But looking back, I think that time on the range definitely helped me . . . sort of establish my swing and my shots.”

Guss agrees there’s a hidden upside.

“You’re working more on technique than feel and playing when you’re on on the range,” said Guss. “So if you’re working on it the right way, you’re going to have a technical advantage.”

Moreover, Guss points out that you can be more efficient with your practice when you’re on the range compared to when you’re on the course from a time perspective. You can hit a lot more golf balls spending an hour on the range than you would if you spent that same hour on the course.

There are also golfers out there who have the opposite problem Park did, with access to a golf course but no range.

“If you only get to be on course, which is how I grew up playing,” says Guss, “you have to make time for technique. You have to say, ‘Today I need to work on my technique all throughout the golf course.’ You have to turn the golf course into the driving range. Go out and say, ‘I don’t care what we shoot today, we’re going to work on our swings on the course.'”

Obviously, the ideal scenario would be to have access to both a range and golf course, but if you’re stuck in a lop-sided situation, learn from Park and be willing to make whatever situation, no matter how imperfect, perfect for your development.

“It’s great to have the advantage of being able to play whenever you want and hit balls whenever you want,” says Guss, “but if you’re one who’s stuck on one side of the equation, you have to learn how to create on-course scenarios on the range or make the range atmosphere as close as you can on the golf course.”

SOURCE:  GolfDigest

 

The basics of the US Open at Pebble Beach

This tournament isn’t the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

After years of buildup, it’s finally U.S. Open week on the Monterey Peninsula. If you haven’t been following along to know what the tournament is all about, we’ve got you covered.

The United States Open Championship, or the U.S. Open for short, is golf’s national championship, which takes place annually in June. While the tournament appears on the PGA Tour calendar, it’s conducted by the United States Golf Association.

The upcoming U.S. Open and the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am have much in common but they also have many differences.

“Overall, it’s just a bigger event,” said David Stivers, president of Pebble Beach Co. and general chairman of the U.S. Open, about the upcoming tournament.

According to Stivers, the Pebble Beach Golf Links greens will be faster and firmer, the fairways will be narrower and the rough is going to be a lot higher than during the AT&T Pro-Am. The tournament is notorious for incredibly difficult conditions and course setups, no matter where it’s played.

“It’s going to be a typical U.S. Open,” Tiger Woods said June 1 during a news conference at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio. “It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be difficult. And we know that going in.”

Woods, who won his fifth Masters Tournament in April, will play Pebble Beach Golf Links competitively for the first time since he finished tied for 15th in the 2012 AT&T Pro-Am.

The Richard MacDonald U.S. Open Monument Bronze Sculpture 2000 on display near the driving range at the Pebble Beach Golf Links. It had previously been displayed at Peter Hay Golf Course, which has since been transformed in Fan Central. (Vern Fisher – Monterey Herald) 

As one of golf’s four major championships, the U.S. Open brings in many golfers who traditionally skip the AT&T Pro-Am as the sports world focuses its eyes on the prestigious event. The tournament will play host to the top golfers in the world including Brooks Koepka, winner of the past two U.S. Opens and the past two PGA Championships, and 2016 U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson.

Phil Mickelson, who won his record-tying fifth AT&T Pro-Am title in February, will return to the Peninsula in search of his first U.S. Open title. Mickelson won his first major title in 2004 when he edged Ernie Els for the Masters title. He repeated the feat in 2006 and 2010, while earning his first PGA Championship in 2005. Mickelson won the British Open in 2013, leaving the U.S. Open as the only major championship left for him to complete a career grand slam.

While the top golfers in the world will be on the course, don’t expect to see Bill Murray’s buffoonery or Larry the Cable Guy’s antics at Pebble Beach this week. As opposed to the AT&T Pro-Am, which includes celebrities, athletes from other sports and even the occasional musical performance, the U.S. Open is strictly golf.

Ticket prices and availability outside the U.S. Open Championship merchandise tent in Pebble Beach was open for business to the public on Thursday. (Vern Fisher – Monterey Herald) 

The USGA encourages fans to seek autographs during the U.S. Open, but it is prohibited from the time a player is en route to their first tee until the completion of the player’s round.

In contrast to the AT&T Pro-Am, the U.S. Open doesn’t feature multiple events like the Chevron Shoot-Out or the 3M Celebrity Challenge in the days before the official start on Thursday. Fans will be able to watch practice rounds Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before the first round tees off Thursday. According to the USGA, players electing to play a full practice round generally begin between 6:45 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Gates open at 6 a.m. Monday through Sunday. For the first and second rounds, play is scheduled to begin at 6:45 a.m. from both the first and 10th tees. According to the USGA, the first starting time for the third and fourth rounds depends on the number of players who make the cut at the conclusion of the second round (the 60 lowest scorers and anyone tying for 60th place). Generally, the first group begins play from the first tee between 8-9 a.m.

The U.S. Open differs from the AT&T Pro-Am in that the cut takes place after the second round like most PGA Tour events rather than the third round.

The 119th U.S. Open will be the sixth held at Pebble Beach Golf Links, with previous ones held in 1972, 1982, 1992, 2000 and 2010. In 2000, the USGA celebrated the 100th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. This year is a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Pebble Beach. The tournament will return to the course in 2027.

The U.S. Open will be played on one golf course, Pebble Beach Golf Links, as opposed to the AT&T Pro-Am that takes place at Pebble Beach as well as Spyglass Hill Golf Course and the Monterey Peninsula Country Club Shore Course.

As fans walk into the championship grounds they will see Fan Central. The area will feature games, booths, photo opportunities and the 37,000-square-foot Main Merchandise Pavilion.

Out near the course, fans will have a chance to take a photo with the U.S. Open trophy.

With more fans and more corporate hospitality, the championship grounds will be covered with far more structures than during the AT&T Pro-Am.

“We’ve built sort of a mini-city in our little town of Pebble Beach,” Stivers said.

When: Practice rounds, Monday-Wednesday. Tournament play, Thursday-Sunday

Where: Pebble Beach Golf Links

Tickets: (Sold-out Saturday, Sunday)

TV SCHEDULE

Fox SportsThursday-Friday: 4:30-7:30 p.m.Saturday: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.Sunday: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

FS1Thursday-Friday: 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

LIVE STREAMING

Fox SportsThursday-Friday 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.Saturday: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.Sunday: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

USOpen.comThursday-Friday: 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m.Saturday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.Sunday: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

SOURCE:  MercuryNews

 

Brooks Koepka, coming off 15-day break, has no concerns heading into Canadian Open

Brooks Koepka didn’t touch a golf club for 15 days after he successfully defended his title in the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black on Long Island.

Yet he isn’t the least bit worried about the state of his game in his return to the PGA Tour this week at the RBC Canadian Open.

“It was nice to kind of recharge mentally and kind of try to soak it in a little bit,” Koepka said of his break from the game after winning his fourth major championship in his last eight starts. “I’ll be fine. I’ve taken longer breaks before and come out and played well. I’m not too concerned with it.”

Why should he be?

He has won the past two editions of the U.S. Open and the past two playings of the PGA Championship. In his last three starts, he finished in a tie for second in the Masters, was fourth in the AT&T Byron Nelson and held off Dustin Johnson by two shots to win the Wanamaker Trophy again.

And he’s the No. 1 player in the world.

Whatever his blueprint is, it’s working. Thus, he showed up at Hamilton Golf & Country Club in Hamilton, Ontario, on Tuesday and hit balls for the first time since he left Long Island. Wednesday he played nine holes in the pro-am.

Seemed pretty good,” Koepka said of his form.

So, too, has been the formula he has followed to peak for the majors. He played the week before winning each of his four major championships. It’s a week he uses to build on his rhythm and sharpen his putting stroke.

“It’s a good golf course. It’s definitely going to be a good test,” said Koepka, 29, who is seeking his seventh PGA Tour title. “You’ve got to hit the fairways, and these greens are quite slopey. So you’ve really got to control your spin. I think it’s actually a perfect setup for next week.”

Ahh, yes, next week. That would be the playing of the 119th U.S. Open, where Koepka will try to become the second player to three-peat in the tournament.

“Yeah, that name has come up in the last year,” Koepka said when he was asked if he had heard of Willie Anderson, the Scot who won the U.S. Open in 1901 and then became the only player to win three in a row starting in 1903.

“I know what I’m chasing,” Koepka said. “But it’s just another golf tournament. You can put some outside pressure on. It’s a major championship. I’ll be up for it, I know that. I enjoy a tough test of golf, and that’s what you’re going to get at a U.S. Open. You know that going in. I enjoy it. It’s fun. It’s fun to me to get on those big stages and try to win a golf tournament.

“I know that the odds are against me to win it. There’s a lot of people that can win that golf tournament. You just need to go out and take care of business, and if you don’t, hey, I gave it my all.”

SOURCE:  USAToday

Treat DAD to a Great Day of Golf

Sunday, June 16th

ONLY $45

18 holes with cart

_____

Gift Cards are always the perfect fit!

_____

Keep DAD’s game in shape with a tune-up lesson with one of our Golf Professionals.

Contact Ryan or Chris for more details.

513-727-0007

______

Shop for DAD in our Fully Stocked Pro Shop

DAD WOULD LOVE THESE…

Range Finder • New Golf Shoes • Golf Balls • and much more!

Specials througout the Store!

PGA Championship 2019: The toughest holes at Bethpage Black, ranked!

Bethpage Black is no stranger to big-time golf. It hosted the U.S. Open in both 2002 and 2009, and it’s also twice staged the Barclays Championship during the FedEx Playoffs. Soon New York’s most beloved muni will again take center stage as a first-time venue for the PGA Championship.

Stretched to more than 7,400 yards, Bethpage Black is known to feature 18 tough holes. At the ’02 Open, one player broke par for 72 holes (Tiger Woods), and in ’09 just five finished in red numbers. So which of these 18 brutes is the biggest beast of them all? Below is how we’d size them up, and as a guide, we’ll use how they ranked from 1 (most difficult) to 18 (least difficult) at the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens.

18. No. 14: Par 3, 161 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 18 (2.903 scoring average)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 17 (2.975 scoring average)

The tee box here is about 15 feet above the green, and the little par 3 checks in as one of just two holes to play under par in both U.S. Opens. So, almost by default it ranks as Bethpage’s easiest heading into this PGA.

17. No. 4: Par 5, 517 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 16 (5.011)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 18 (4.740)

Bethpage’s most gettable par 5 is a fun, strategic hole where big hitters will have the option to go for the green in two, and short hitters or errant tee shots have a variety of spots to lay up.

16. No. 13: Par 5, 608 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 17 (4.941)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 16 (4.986)

En route to another heartbreaking runner-up finish, Phil Mickelson made eagle here in the final round in ’09 to tie Lucas Glover for the lead. Expect more fireworks here this year – and look for that Mickelson highlight on the CBS broadcast a time or two.

15. No. 2: Par 4, 389 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 13 (4.204)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 15 (4.065)

One of the few birdie holes, pros at past majors hit wedges into the green and will likely do the same at the PGA.

14. No. 6: Par 4, 408 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 14 (4.202)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 14 (4.088)

This hole is gettable but the putting surface is surrounded by bunkers, so no running it up. This is also the last time you’ll see the word “gettable” on this list.

13. No. 9: Par 4, 460 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 15 (4.086)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 12 (4.109)

Another long, brutal par 4 with a bunker just left of the fairway. Two bunkers also guard the green. It’s like a quick jab before No. 10 (see below) lands an uppercut.

12. No. 1: Par 4, 430 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 9 (4.259 scoring avg.)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 13 (4.100 scoring avg.)

The opening hole is famous for the warning sign stuck on the fence just behind the tee box. There were 99 bogeys, doubles and others here in ’09 against 63 birdies.

11. No. 18: Par 4, 411 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 11 (4.220)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 11 (4.123)

Fairway bunkers are everywhere on both sides and the green is pitched back-to-front. But because of its relatively short length, 18 actually presents a chance for a closing birdie – as long as a player hits the fairway off the tee.

10. No. 3: Par 3, 230 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 12 (3.211)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 6 (3.181)

Players need to fly a massive front bunker, but going too long is also trouble, as anything off the back runs down a hill. It was the toughest par 3 at the 2009 Open.

9. No. 8: Par 3, 210 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 8 (3.334)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 10 (3.123)

The tee is more than 40 feet above the green, so it’s a great hole for television.

8. No. 17: Par 3, 207 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 10 (3.224)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 9 (3.137)

In past majors, this hole was flanked by grandstands that further accent the natural, hilly amphitheater behind the green. Fans crank it up, and in terms of noise, excitement and overall atmosphere, this hole vaguely resembles 16th at TPC Scottsdale. (Imagine how it’ll be at the 2024 Ryder Cup!) It’s going to be a blast at the PGA, and will likely be the most exciting spot on the course.

7. No. 11: Par 4, 435 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 7 (4.376)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 8 (4.146)

This hole shares fairway bunkers with No. 10, and the landing zone bottlenecks. Two bunkers guard the front of the green, so the second shot is key.

6. No. 16: Par 4, 490 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 6 (4.411)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 7 (4.162)

This is where Sergio Garcia made an obscene gesture at a group of hecklers in 2002. Will New Yorkers continue to dog Sergio at the PGA?

5. No. 7: Par 4, 524 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 4 (4.479)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 4 (4.355)

This one is a par 5 for the paying public, but it’s a par-4 when hosting majors. Anyone who drives it into the left fairway bunker may have to chop out and play it as a par 6.

4. No. 5: Par 4, 478 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 5 (4.422)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 3 (4.390)

The tee box is elevated from the fairway, but the green here is about 20 feet above the short grass. It looks like a dogleg from the tee box but actually plays straight. A cool, optical illusion.

3. No. 10: Par 4, 502 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 3 (4.499)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 5 (4.350)

Seven bunkers flank the fairway landing zone, and there’s a valley between the fairway and putting surface. The green also features more undulations than most Bethpage surfaces. There will be some big numbers here – in ’09 there were 147 over-par scores and just 24 birdies.

2. No. 12: Par 4, 515 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 2 (4.523)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 2 (4.431)

Many players will likely try to bite off some of the left-dogleg on his this long par 4 … hopefully while avoiding the fairway bunker perched on the corner. The second shot is mostly blind. This hole gave up just 20 birdies in ’09.

1. No. 15: Par 4, 457 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 1 (4.600)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 1 (4.470)

It was the toughest hole on the course in each of Bethpage’s U.S. Opens, and there’s no reason it won’t defend the belt this time around. Expect a fair number of layups from players who miss the fairway with their drives. This uphill trek to the green is so steep, locals reportedly sled down it in wintertime. In ’09 it yielded just 17 birdies and 180 over-par scores. Sounds brutal.

In fact, it sounds like Bethpage.

SOURCE:  golf

golf_news_black.png

Keep The Lead Hip Firm For A Solid Swing
For More Power, Avoid Sliding Toward Target

One of the most prevalent issues that I see with my students is sliding the left, or lead hip (right-handed golfer) too far toward the target in the downswing.

Most of us, when we first started playing the game, were told to hit against a firm left side. When the left hip moves well past the left foot, there isn’t a whole lot of firmness. And, there isn’t a whole lot of rotation. And without rotation, power is dramatically reduced.

Here is an analogy that might help put you back on track:

Maybe you have a fenced-in back yard with a gate. If you don’t, humor me and just pretend that you do. If the post that the gate is attached to is straight up and down, the gate opens and closes perfectly. If the post is tilted, good luck with the gate. Same with your golf swing. At impact, if the left hip is over the left knee and left ankle, forming a straight vertical line, your right hip will rotate perfectly just like the gate. If the left hip slides past the left foot, rotation is diminished along with power and accuracy.

Here is a drill to help you get the hang of it:

Stand in a doorway with the outside of your left foot touching the door jam. Cross your arms across your chest. Make a backswing turn and then a through swing turn. During the latter allow your left hip to move laterally just enough to make contact with the jam. That amount will put you in a vertical left leg position, the perfect place for maximum lead hip rotation. And hip rotation translates to more power, which we all want.

John Marshall is a two-time American Long Drivers Association super senior national champion and five-time RE/MAX World Long Drive finalist

SOURCE:  golftipsmag

tune_up_your_game.png

The State Of Golf For 2019 — An Industry Roundtable

With the golf season getting into full swing in just about all parts of the country, it’s the perfect time to delve into the state of the $84 billion golf industry.

May 1 also just happens to be National Golf Day, a day when hundreds of golf industry leaders visit Washington D.C. to meet with members of Congress and celebrate the economic, charitable, environmental, health and societal benefits of one of the nation’s top participation sports.

Even the most casual golf fan surely sensed the excitement generated by the recent Masters Tournament, where Tiger Woods won his first major title in almost 11 years, a victory that transcended sports and became mainstream news. But what is the overall state of the game?

The National Golf Foundation recently released its 2019 Golf Industry Report, an annual research report that consolidates key data points to help assess golf’s health and vitality. More than one-third (36%) of the U.S. population – over 107 million people in total – played, watched or read about golf last year. Traditional participation has stabilized in recent years, with a healthy 24 million on-course golfers, and there are now almost as many who play increasingly popular off-course forms of the game (from Topgolf and Drive Shack to indoor simulators).

In conjunction with National Golf Day, five of golf’s leaders participated in an industry roundtable to share their thoughts about the current state of the game, its continued evolution, as well as the wealth of benefits that it provides for participants of all ages. Taking time to weigh in were:

  • Mike Davis – USGA CEO
  • Greg McLaughlin – World Golf Foundation CEO and President of The First Tee
  • Jay Monahan – PGA TOUR Commissioner
  • Suzy Whaley – PGA of America President
  • Mike Whan – LPGA Commissioner

In your opinion, what is the ‘State of the golf industry’?

Davis: As a whole, it’s strong. You can feel that at any one of the USGA’s 14 national championships and internationally in particular where we’re seeing the game grow at an encouraging rate. Golfers are extremely passionate about their sport which means they’re emotionally invested – and we wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s inspiring to know that so many share such a deep love for the game as we do at the USGA. That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t challenges we need to overcome for the game to be successful long-term. Particularly, we need to help golf courses identify and proactively address issues common in the game such as rising operational costs, the time it takes to play the game and improving the golfer experience at green-grass facilities. It’s also imperative that we continue to invest in research to make golf courses more sustainable both financially and environmentally, and we need to think of more ways to make golf accessible for all.

Golf has been around for more than 600 years and its evolution is ongoing. As the world changes at a rapid pace it’s up to us to make sure that the game maintains that pace. We’re all in this together, united by our love for the game.

McLaughlin: I’m optimistic about the state of the game and excited about how the face of golf is changing. About 20 years ago, one in 12 U.S. juniors were ethnically diverse; today, that number is one in four. Also, two decades ago, one in six U.S. juniors were girls and today it is one in three. The game is evolving and beginning to look more like America looks.

Perceptions about golf are changing too. It’s moving away from the long-held view that it’s a game for only a certain status of our society, and people are perceiving it now as a game for all. We have the facts to back this up: 76% of the golf facilities in the U.S. are open to the public, 80% of the people who play golf in the U.S. do so primarily on facilities open to the public and the average cost of an 18-hole round is $35.

There are several goals that the World Golf Foundation, through its WE ARE GOLF initiative, is working towards achieving and we are doing this by bringing groups together from within the industry to focus on areas such as diversity and inclusion, outreach to millennials and encouraging more women and juniors to participate in the game.

Monahan: I’m very optimistic on where golf is and where it is headed. From a PGA TOUR perspective, we have had a tremendously strong year beyond compelling competition, from increases in fan engagement across all platforms, to our business successes, to the record $190 million generated for charity as we draw closer to $3 billion in all-time giving.

We’ve continued to have success in signing long-term sponsorship agreements, and likewise when an international powerhouse like Discovery enters a multi-billion partnership with the TOUR that includes establishing GOLFTV as a global OTT service, it reflects not only on the strength and future of the TOUR, but our sport as a whole. In addition to GOLFTV, we continue to expand viewing options for fans through other partnerships, including our new relationships with NBC Sports Gold and Amazon to house PGA TOUR LIVE in the U.S. We also see tremendous opportunity to further engage existing and new fans as regulated sports betting becomes a reality.

From an industry-wide viewpoint, there continues to be strong collaboration between organizations on a variety of fronts, particularly in regard to growing interest and participation in the game and furthering the positive impact it has on lives through charitable impact and character development. WE ARE GOLF continues to be a strong unifying force in communicating all the positives of that golf provides, from economic impact to the lasting benefits that programs like The First Tee have on young people who are introduced to the game.

Whaley: I am excited about the future of the golf industry! Golf is an $84 billion economic engine that drives nearly 2 million jobs and contributes more to charity than any other major sports industry. While we face many of the same challenges that every sector of the economy—and every major brand does at a time when consumers have so many choices on how to spend their recreational time and discretionary income—there are many reasons for optimism.

This starts with the fact that our participation numbers are up in key categories—beginners, avid golfers and those who experience the game at off-course options. A record-tying 2.6 million golfers played for the first time in 2018 – matching the all-time high set in 2017, which was the fourth consecutive year that number increased.

These new golfers are more diverse and younger than the overall golf population: 31% are women, 26% are non-Caucasian. There could be more new golfers on the way: 47.4 million say they are “somewhat” or “very” interested in trying golf, an increase of 6%.  The number of women playing golf has grown approximately 7% over the past six years. Of note, 36% of junior golfers are girls, as compared to 23% of all golfers.

Total on-course participation increased to 24.2 million golfers last year. When factoring in off-course participation options, such as Topgolf, total participation climbed to 33.5 million in 2018, up 4% from 32.1 million in 2017.

Combine all of that with Tiger Woods’ historic victory at the Masters, which is driving incredible interest in the PGA Championship’s move to May as the Next Major, and the opportunity we have now is impressive.  This new cadence of majors will only heighten the focus on the programs, services and accomplishments of our nearly 29,000 PGA Professionals and the entire golf industry.

Whan: I know that many people in our industry focus only on rounds played or on the specific number of active golfers each year, but one thing is clear to me – more and more people are watching, caring and becoming engaged in the sport than ever before. In the United States and around the world, we’ve seen consistent increases in TV viewership, hours of coverage and the number of fans that attend tournaments. Around the globe, I’ve witnessed first-hand how the sport has received heightened interest from countries, media and fans who were driven by golf’s return to the Olympic Games in 2016.

It’s also exciting to see the spread of the female game at grassroots level with girls under the age of 18 representing the fastest growing sector in the U.S. golf population since 2010. Here at the LPGA, the number of girls taking part in the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf program has soared from 4,500 per year in 2010 to 80,000 in 2018, a 1,700% growth in participation.

Considering today’s evolving media landscape, how has your organization’s communication with golf fans changed over time? What lies ahead?

Davis: The rapid expansion of digital communication affords us the ability to speak directly to golf fans in a way that wasn’t possible years ago. Golf is uniquely positioned to elicit passionate interest from a wide range of people, and it’s up to us to innovate ways to reach that diverse fanbase in different ways. This year, we are launching an OTT platform, to provide live and on-demand content that shares the entire depth of our USGA Golf Museum’s extensive historic video library, and championship moments.

Earlier this year, in March, we used Facebook Live to live-stream both our fifth Golf Innovation Symposium in Japan and our USGA Annual Meeting. We invested in our own USGA studio at our headquarters so we can produce live discussions on YouTube and Twitter on matters of importance to the game, such as education of golf’s new Rules, and other on-demand programming. And, this year, we’ll also begin a new podcast series to help share our wealth of knowledge in innovation, history, technology and more. Whether it’s through comprehensive visual or editorial storytelling on our digital platforms, we’re proud to serve as a chief facilitator of the game’s greatest stories.

The evolution of digital communication has also opened a two-way dialogue where we’re able to directly interact with fans on issues that are most important to them. We believe we’re at our best when we have the interest and input of golfers from every skill level in mind. Having that all-encompassing perspective is part of what makes the USGA a special organization.

Given what we’ve seen over just the last 5-10 years, I think it’s safe to say that the ways in which we communicate with golf fans will continue to evolve at a rapid pace. We, as well as our peers, will need to continue to be nimble for the benefit of golf fans everywhere.

McLaughlin: Examining the state of the game today in 2019, there are positive signs that a whole new generation is getting excited about the sport, both from a fan and a participation perspective. People are watching exciting professional golfers and are wanting to try the sport. The industry communicates to this group in countless ways, always looking to reach them where they are most comfortable finding their news, therefore we put a heavy focus on sharing industry highlights through our social media channels.

Fan engagement in the game is at an all-time high, due, in part, to the myriad of vehicles in which fans may interact with the sport.

This outreach is showing results. There are more than 24 million “traditional” golfers in the United States, and another 15 million have said they are very interested in playing, which is an all-time high. Last year, 2.6 million people tried golf for the first time. Off-course participation continues to grow at a rapid pace with another 23 million experiencing the game at off-course venues.

Total golf participation in the U.S.

Total golf participation in the U.S.

NATIONAL GOLF FOUNDATION

Monahan: The landscape obviously is ever-changing with the prevalence of social media, growth of digital platforms and seemingly constant introduction of new innovations. For instance, PGA TOUR LIVE, an OTT platform that did not exist in 2015, will distribute more than 900 hours of live PGA TOUR golf in 2019 as well as ancillary programming. In turn, these have become integral avenues for the PGA TOUR and our players to communicate with fans; and the increase in engagement has been dramatic, even within the last year.

In fact, our first new major brand campaign in 20 years that was introduced last year, Live Under Par, invites fans to engage with the TOUR and share their experiences and love for the game via social channels. It’s already proven to be very successful in helping to broaden our fan base by driving double-digit content consumption growth across both core and non-core fan segments. Additionally, we’ve actively worked with our players, providing custom content, to help increase their own social channel content and engagements.

As for the future, we will continue to prioritize a Fans First mentality, but I’m not going to try to speculate on what the next big thing might be – who could have predicted all the changes and innovations we’ve seen over the past decade? Whatever it is, though, we need to be agile enough as an organization to take full advantage.

Whaley: Technology is making a tremendous impact on the golf industry, and social media has been a game changer. The ability to communicate with golfers and fans is instantaneous and impactful.

Delivering better coaching resources to the consumer through technology, including the type of experience today’s consumer is looking for, is in our best interest. This approach gives us the best chance to develop players who will play golf for the rest of their lives.

Today’s consumer understands the value of working with a highly trained PGA Professional, but they want more than the traditional approach. They also want to engage with us via technology, scheduling apps and video. It’s about engaging the consumer, at the right age, during the right time in their golf development.

Whan: With people placing so much focus on social media in today’s world, this has become our main avenue to communicate with our fans. Whether via LPGA Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, we have a two-way dialogue with our fans while ensuring they are kept up-to-date with all the latest news from the LPGA as a whole and the LPGA Tour specifically. We also engage with our fans through some of our other platforms, such as the LPGA Women’s Network and the LPGA Amateur Golf Association.

At the LPGA, we know fans follow our players first, and the overall Tour second. Over five years ago, we started adding the players’ Twitter handles to our caddie bibs. We want fans to follow our players, understand their journey and learn their unique and inspiring stories. While others have asked us, ‘Why don’t you put the LPGA’s Twitter handle on all bibs?’, we feel our players are the stars and not the Tour. We know that if fans follow our athletes, they eventually tune into the LPGA telecasts.

In recognition of the 12th annual National Golf Day, what would you say golf’s societal benefits that some Congressional leaders might not be aware of?

Davis: In recent years, our industry has emphasized the economic benefits of golf at the national and local levels. When we consider jobs, revenue for local economies, charitable contributions and the like, we appreciate that golf’s impact is both substantive and significant. Yet there are also intangible benefits of golf that may be as important as, or even more important than, the economic benefits.

If you look to the origins of golf, it has, from a very early point, been woven into the fabric of communities around the world. That carries both emotional and health benefits that you’re hard pressed to find in other activities. Moreover, golf embodies critical human values and elevates important role models that are critical for sustainable communities and healthy societies. By spreading the spirit of golf and making it more accessible to people of all ages and demographics, we can help bring communities together under a shared love of the game.

The environmental benefits of golf courses are also an important component of what makes the game beneficial to our communities. Currently, we are working with the World Wildlife Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, the University of Minnesota and Stanford University on groundbreaking research to quantify the natural capital of a golf facility. For instance, golf courses are green spaces that help communities with stormwater runoff, infiltration, provide natural habitats for wildlife and crucial pollinators, re-introduce native plant materials, and control urban heat islands that otherwise might exist if a golf course were converted to a housing or business development. These are all important services that a golf course provides to its local community that have meaningful economic value.

McLaughlin: The industry comes together annually in our nation’s capital to share the benefit our sport has on American society. National Golf Day gives us the opportunity to advocate on behalf of the game’s interests, but also to make lawmakers aware of these benefits:

  • The game’s economic impact, which was $84.1 billion in 2016
  • Golf generates $3.9 billion annually for charity
  • Health and wellness benefits of the sport
  • The accessibility of the game, which is evidenced by the fact that 76% of golf courses are open to the public and the average cost of a round of golf is just $35
  • And, the environmental benefits that golf courses provide as green spaces, wildlife habitats and as filters for runoff

All of these combined make a pretty compelling case for golf’s importance to society and sharing these facts with Congress is an importance aspect of National Golf Day.

In recognition of the 12th annual National Golf Day, what would you say golf’s societal benefits that some Congressional leaders might not be aware of?

Davis: In recent years, our industry has emphasized the economic benefits of golf at the national and local levels. When we consider jobs, revenue for local economies, charitable contributions and the like, we appreciate that golf’s impact is both substantive and significant. Yet there are also intangible benefits of golf that may be as important as, or even more important than, the economic benefits.

If you look to the origins of golf, it has, from a very early point, been woven into the fabric of communities around the world. That carries both emotional and health benefits that you’re hard pressed to find in other activities. Moreover, golf embodies critical human values and elevates important role models that are critical for sustainable communities and healthy societies. By spreading the spirit of golf and making it more accessible to people of all ages and demographics, we can help bring communities together under a shared love of the game.

The environmental benefits of golf courses are also an important component of what makes the game beneficial to our communities. Currently, we are working with the World Wildlife Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, the University of Minnesota and Stanford University on groundbreaking research to quantify the natural capital of a golf facility. For instance, golf courses are green spaces that help communities with stormwater runoff, infiltration, provide natural habitats for wildlife and crucial pollinators, re-introduce native plant materials, and control urban heat islands that otherwise might exist if a golf course were converted to a housing or business development. These are all important services that a golf course provides to its local community that have meaningful economic value.

McLaughlin: The industry comes together annually in our nation’s capital to share the benefit our sport has on American society. National Golf Day gives us the opportunity to advocate on behalf of the game’s interests, but also to make lawmakers aware of these benefits:

  • The game’s economic impact, which was $84.1 billion in 2016
  • Golf generates $3.9 billion annually for charity
  • Health and wellness benefits of the sport
  • The accessibility of the game, which is evidenced by the fact that 76% of golf courses are open to the public and the average cost of a round of golf is just $35
  • And, the environmental benefits that golf courses provide as green spaces, wildlife habitats and as filters for runoff

All of these combined make a pretty compelling case for golf’s importance to society and sharing these facts with Congress is an importance aspect of National Golf Day.

Whan: There are more than two million jobs impacted by the game and its diverse benefits to our economy and our society. It’s often forgotten that the people working on the courses are the backbone of our sport. We live in a fast-paced, high-energy and high-stress world. A casual round of golf or a family visit to a professional tournament can provide the mind and the soul with a little bit of good. Moreover, all those visits by fans are likely driving increased dollars into local charities.

The contributor of this industry roundtable is also the Editorial Director for the National Golf Foundation.

SOURCE:  Forbes

What you can learn from a Long Drive Champ

As a former world long-drive champion, I often hear from regular golfers that they’ll never come close to being able to swing like me. Not true. You can. If you copy even a little of my technique, the ball is going to come off the face of your driver hotter than ever. Try these things the next time you’re on the range.

CHEAT THE SCALE

If you just stood on a scale, it would give you your body weight. But if you push down, that number will go up. When I make a backswing, I’m loading more than 100 percent of my body weight into my trail leg (right leg for righties). So really push into the ground with your trail leg as you take the club back. It will help you create and store a lot of energy.

GET OFF THE HEEL

As you swing back, it’s OK if your lead heel comes off the ground. That’s going to help you make a bigger backswing—especially if you’re not that flexible. You’ll really load up on your right side.

AVOID THE SWAY

Feel like someone standing behind your back is grabbing a belt loop near your right hip pocket and pulling it toward him. In other words, sink into that right hip as you swing back, which will keep you from swaying away from the target.

PLANT AND BUMP

To start your downswing, replant your left heel if you let it come off the ground. I mean really plant it. Try to leave an indentation in the turf. You’re using the ground to create energy for more swing speed. Also, let your left hip shift toward the target. This bump allows you to stay behind the ball with your upper body so you can apply all your weight to the strike.

GO WITH THE FASTBALL

I don’t think about pulling the handle of the driver down toward the ball, and I don’t think about releasing the club, either. Instead, I get the sensation I’m throwing a fastball with my right hand. It probably comes from my time as a minor-league pitcher. This feel will really boost your speed down into the ball.

SHOULDER THE LOAD

You want your club moving its fastest as it meets the ball. To make that happen, get the right shoulder facing the target as you finish the swing. It’s got to keep moving. As long as my lower body leads in the downswing, this turn helps blast the ball way down the fairway.

JUSTIN JAMES, 29, 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, won the 2017 World Long Drive Championship. He plays a Krank Formula X Snapper driver (48 inches, 3.5 degrees of loft). He hit a 435-yard drive to win the championship.

SOURCE:  Golfdigest

Five steps to copy Tiger Woods’s swing technique

As last season proved, a healthy Tiger is a scary Tiger. While his technique is ever-evolving, it’s always worth studying, to say nothing of copying. Check out the keys to his swing below.
Muscle Matters
There’s no denying it—Tiger’s arms are still jacked! And they’re not for looks. Woods understands that at the highest levels, golf is a power game that taxes every muscle. Tiger continues his legacy as the original Tour gym rat, and if his arms are any indication, he has zero plans to let the youngsters on the Tour outwork him.
High Flyer
You can tell from his finish below that Tiger has launched a higher-than-normal approach. He’s extending his lower spine up and toward the target. It’s a great move for any swing— if your back can take it. Looks like Tiger’s finally can.
Back in Business 
Players with bad backs rarely swing to a full finish, let alone a high one like this. As with his knees, Tiger’s back looks ready for prime-time— the slight lean back or subtle “reverse C” is impossible to achieve when the back is in distress.
Bottom Gear
Is there really something to “glute activation” after all? You bet. There’s no better way to produce serious clubhead speed than by firing your glutes and squeezing your thighs together through impact. The combo causes your body to decelerate at just the right moment, allowing the club to pick up speed and whip through.
Knee Brace 
Tiger’s healed left knee below can once again handle the torque created by his swing. His left foot is nearly flat on the ground, even this deep into his follow through, providing the stability he’s been missing for years. If your knees aren’t as healthy as Tiger’s, set up with your feet flared, or allow more weight to roll to the outside of your spikes.
SOURCE:  Golf

Want a better golf swing? Train diagonally

The majority of gym goers exercise almost exclusively in the sagittal plane. Things like squats, rows, hammer curls, and deadlifts all are performed in the same plane, and they are good exercises for overall strength and stability. However, the golf swing is performed in multiple planes of motion. The body rotates (transverse plane), shifts (frontal plane) and even thrusts (sagittal)—all in less than two seconds as you go from address to finish. Knowing this, doesn’t it make sense to train in all three planes of motion when you work out? Even better, it’s smart to choose exercises that make you move in two or more planes with each repetition.
It’s also important to know that many muscles are designed to work together. The outer unit of muscles and other soft tissue are often grouped in what are known as “slings.” These slings function as a unit as your body moves. Perhaps the most important of these for golfers to train is the posterior oblique sling. Think of it as strand of connective tissue (fascia) that runs from the lower part of your shoulder down to the opposite hip (see illustration above). Actually, it goes from one side of your lattissimus dorsi muscle down and across your back to the gluteus maximus on the other side. If you imagine yourself making a swing, you can see how important it is to coordinate the movement of one side of your shoulder and back with the opposite hip. These muscles provide stability and power to a golf swing, especially when they work in coordination.
SOURCE:  Golfdigest