2021 U.S. Open – 4th Round

Winner: John Rahm by one stroke over Louis Oosthuizen

The fourth round of golf’s premier tournament looks like it will be the best one in years.

Thirteen golfers are close enough to win as the round starts. Five of them are previous major winners (Oosthuizen, McIlroy, DeChambeau, Johnson, and Morikawa) and two others (Rahm and Schauffele) are in the brink.

If I were one of the leaders at -5 (Hughes, Oosthuizen, and Henley) I would force everybody else to take chances to catch me by my shooting for the center of the green, playing for pars all day, and taking birdies when they come.

-7 wins.

Don’t miss this one.

The Whole Swing Feeling

We practice our swing to learn the parts and how to put them together into one swing. During that practice, we might come to believe that one of those parts is the key to making the entire swing work, and get stuck on referring back to that one feeling when we play.

While the swing is composed of identifiable parts, the feeling of the whole swing is not of each of these parts as they parade by in succession from takeaway to finish. The whole swing has a feeling of its own, one feeling in itself.

The whole swing feeling is bigger than any of the smaller parts, but it is the same in that like the parts, it too is one thing with its own one feel. That whole swing feeing is the feeling you play golf with.

Every touring professional, or any high-performing athlete in any sport, is a technical player in practice, but a feel player in performance. They practice their technique, but then trust what they have practiced when they play, and just perform.

Longer Than Bryson?

I saw this browsing through the golf pages this morning and just had to show you.

This is the Trackman data for a Korn Ferry Tour player named John Somers.

For his 6-iron.

Somers’s average driving distance is 331.5 yards, ten yards longer than Bryson.

Good grief.

Golf Practice Needs to Be Specific

When I practice, I practice the things that make the shot work. Just a few.

Right now, my swing things are to have a wider stance at address (it was too narrow), swing the club away with my forearms (not my hands), start down at the same speed I came up (a constant struggle), turn fully (I get too arm-oriented and forget to do this), and keep my tempo under control (everybody’s weak spot).

Those are the things that if I don’t do them seem to be what fouls up the shot, so I’m working on them a lot until they become my habits.

I practice them, one at a time, adding the next one on until I am satisfied with the way that they are all functioning correctly and then I hit a ball.

Repeat 29 times.

Maybe a year from now there will be something else that is causing me problems so I will work on that.

Find yours. Work on them. Don’t just go the range to hit balls. Work on something specific.

U. S. Women’s Open – 2021

Winner: Yuka Saso in a three-hole playoff against Nasa Hataoka
Lexi Thompson was five over par on the back nine to miss the playoff by one shot.

The U.S. Women’s Open will be played at the Olympic Country Club this weekend. See my preview of the 2012 U.S. Open for course details. There is also a kink to a hole-by-hole description of the course, by Ken Venturi, on that page.

You should see Sports Illustrated’s preview of the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic. The table-top models of its key holes are a work of art.

Here’s a fact sheet about the history of the course.

And this is the link to the USGA’s official site for the tournament.

Just to get ahead of the first two links, the course has doglegs on which the fairway slopes away from the bend, it has small, no, tiny greens, and there is the wind coming off of the ocean nearby.

And there is no first cut off the fairway. Off the fairway, you’re in the deep stuff, period.

The hardest part of the course comes early. Anybody who plays holes 2-5 in even par has stolen strokes from the field.

Here’s the take from LPGA veteran Angela Stanford.

Shooting par for the four days will be no mean feat.

You have to watch.

Hover Your Putter

I was at the range today, spending a lot of time by myself, as usual, on the practice green.

Part-way through that session, I reminded myself of something that really makes a difference in how to strike putts. That is to hover your putter above the grass before you take it away.

If you take the putter back from resting on the ground, you have to do two things: lift the putter up and then take it back. Because you are moving the putter through two directions and not one, the clubhead can end up wobbling back and forth bit as you take it back, not so much you would notice, but enough to feel like you aren’t really in control of the club.

But if the putter hovers in the air it can be taken away with a hitch, literally, so it swings back and forth in a pure swinging movement.

It also felt to me like I could make a gentler stroke and not have to work at controlling the club.

I found such a stroke rolled short putts with authority and approach putts didn’t feel like they had to be hit so hard.

Have you ever stubbed your putter on the green before it hit the ball on your through-stroke? Won’t happen if your putter is off the ground the entire way.

Give it a try, see if you like it.

U.S. Open History Site

Now that the PGA championship is over (Yaay, Phil!), I have my sights set on my favorite tournament, the United States Open.

When I was growing up, this is the tournament everybody wanted to win. Winning this tournament made you different. The title of U.S. Open winner defined your career.

The USGA has a fabulous web page about the history of the National Open, as it was called for so many years. There is a slider on the bottom of the screen that you can set on any year and see pictures, newsreels, and interviews with the winners. Check Ken Venturi’s commentary on his 1964 victory. It was the most stunning win in the tournament’s history.

I’ll have more U.S. Open stuff in the weeks leading to the tournament, which is scheduled for June 17-20 at Torrey Pines (South) in San Diego.

Ben Hogan Swing Sequence

Below is the only known detailed Ben Hogan swing sequence series made with a stop-action camera. It was reproduced from the book, The Search For the Perfect Golf Swing.

The sequence has sixteen frames, but only four for the backswing. In an in-time sixteen-frame sequence, the backswing would take up about twelve of the frames.

1.

Hogan did not take the club back in a leisurely way. Notice that the shaft is already bending.

2.

3.

Halfway back, his wrist hinge is almost fully set.

4.

Notice his ramrod straight left arm. Only Hogan gets away with this.

5.

It looks like Hogan has a tremendous amount of lag, but it is because his flat swing tilts the plane of his arms and clubshaft far away from a vertical plane of the film. Figure 8 shows his lag better.

6.

7.

8.

This is really late to be retaining this much lag. Don’t you try this.

9.

10.

11.

You know what I always say about the hands leading the clubhead at impact? Here it is.

12.

13.

Hogan did not cross his hands over after impact. This, and figure 14, show his right hand underneath the handle for a long time. This is a huge anti-hook move, but it’s very hard to do.

14.

15.

16.

Kiawah Island Flyover

Spend eleven minutes watching this video titled Every Hole at Kiawah Island, where the PGA Championship will be played this weekend.

If I were to play this course, I would probably need to have three dozen golf balls in the bag, and I’m not a golfer who normally loses golf balls.

(Note the shadow of the drone in the first few holes.)

It has recently been said that the Old Course at St. Andrews, elevation above sea level = not very much, could be underwater by 2050. (If the former Golfer-in-Chief wants to build a wall to create a legacy for himself, building one here would do the trick. Not to mention, about two miles instead of several thousand. Just sayin’.)

I wonder how much longer this very low-lying Ocean Course will last?

Pronounce it KEY-uh-wuh.

Read this article on how it plays for the amateurs who make the trek.

Note to self: Don’t make the trek.

A productive practice plan

One of the things I was told as a beginning blogger is one way to find material to post is to “re-purpose” material you have already written. In other words, plagiarize yourself.

There’s a lot of good stuff on the blog that is hard to find because there is so much on it. This then is the first of a series of reprints that feature the cream of the lot.

Today’s reprint is an item I wrote several years ago about my practice plan. I used this plan back then to maintain a very good level of golf.

The routine takes about an hour and a half. If you can do it twice a week, you will soon notice the improvement.

Little Differences That Make a Big Difference in How Well You Play