Aug 08, 2014 | 09:26 AM

A Little Help

We usually don't run much instruction here at LINKS, but since you read the magazine and our website you probably play golf, which means you can use some help, just like the rest of us. Which is why we were interested in the findings of Tom Stickney II, a leading teacher. As he wrote on the website GolfWRX, he recently attended a corporate outing with other top teachers and they got to talking about their profession. Much of what they discussed was about their business, but there were some interesting observations that amateurs like us can learn from, including:

  • No amount of practice can overcome a bad attitude on the golf course. It will eventually catch up with you.
  • At the highest levels of proficiency, sometimes “letting go” on the putting green can take a player from struggling to putting well, instantly.
  • Everyone should get at least a basic club fitting that includes: club length, lie, shaft flex, grip size and set make up based on their ability level.
  • Most players need a 60-degree wedge in their bag.
  • Most players have the wrong bounce on their wedges.
  • Low-spin drivers cannot make up for improper angles of attack or poor impact points.
  • Practicing on the golf course is a must after obtaining the “feel” you want on the range.
  • The most effective practice comes in short bursts, not overly long sessions.
  • Most people forget that golf is supposed to be FUN! Relax and enjoy it!
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Aug 07, 2014 | 06:12 AM

Date Changer

Whether you are for or against golf returning to the Olympics in two years, it’s already having an impact on tournament schedules. The PGA of America has confirmed that the 2016 PGA Championship, to be held at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey (above), will be moved up a week to July 28–31. “We think an end of July date in that part of the country and the major metropolitan area just outside of New York makes a lot of sense,” said Pete Bevacqua, PGA of America CEO. “Less people are on vacation, more people are in town, and we think it will work out as a real benefit to the 2016 PGA Championship.” Sounds good, but it wouldn’t have happened without the Olympics, which take place August 5–21 in Brazil. The change also means there is just one week, rather than two, between that season’s last two majors. While players will likely moan about the condensed 2016 schedule—only 47 days separate the beginning of the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club and the end of the PGA Championship, not to mention a Ryder Cup the following month at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota—diehard golf fans should be rejoicing.

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Aug 05, 2014 | 02:15 PM

Double The Fun

Get ready for the world’s first reversible golf course. Forest Dunes Golf Club in Northern Michigan has commissioned Tom Doak to design and build a layout that can be played either clockwise or counterclockwise, each of its 18 greens attackable from two directions. Doak has some familiarity with this concept, having spent one of his college years in St. Andrews studying the Old Course, which was played “left- and right-handed” for a century. At Forest Dunes, Doak’s associate Brian Slawik has drafted a layout from one direction while Doak has done the other. “It is not a super dramatic site, but that’s better for this concept,” says Doak. “If you were playing over ravines in one direction, you’d probably have to play blindly out of them the other way around. You can’t have woods behind the green, or you’d have to play over the trees from the other direction.” For the same reason, the greens will lack the severe slopes that some of Doak’s other courses feature. Shaping begins next month and the double-dip course should be ready for play in 2016.


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Aug 04, 2014 | 06:57 AM

Play Golf, Do Good

One week from today, on Monday, August 11, the “World’s Largest Golf Outing” will be held at 120 golf courses around the country. It will be the fourth annual outing, and as in years past, funds go mostly to the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), which has been helping injured veterans for 10 years. This year’s goal is to raise $1 million for WWP; last year, 10,000 golfers participated and raised $735,000. The main sponsor of the tournament is Billy Casper Golf, the largest owner-operator of courses, clubs, and resorts in the U.S. with more than 150 properties in 28 states. Other sponsors include Nike Golf, which will be giving away a trip for four to company headquarters in Oregon for custom-fitting and other merchandise, and the top fundraising team will win a trip to Pinehurst Resort. But the big winners, of course, are the more than 50,000 veterans and 7,000 family members being helped by WWP’s programs. There are still tee times available, and spots are open to all golfers regardless of skill; a USGA handicap is not required. All the important information is on the outing website.

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