The Local Knowlege

News & Tours

Why golfers need to rearrange when they serve their Thanksgiving meals this year

For most American sports fans, Thanksgiving typically consists of oversize helpings of turkey and football, the consumption of the latter frequently determining when the former actually gets served.

Now golf fans will have another offering to fill up their plate/throw off their dinner schedule.

Fox Sports, which officially becomes the broadcast partner of the USGA in 2015, gets an early jump into golf this Thursday with the rebroadcast of the 60-minute documentary "1962 U.S. Open: Jack's First Major." The film originally aired in 2012 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Jack Nicklaus' playoff win over Arnold Palmer at Oakmont Country Club and was the first documentary produced by the USGA for broadcast TV.

It won't take much to get die-hard golfers interested in watching the program, but here's a trailer for the film to tease you:

The film airs at 3 p.m. EST, preceding Fox's NFL Pregame show and the 4:30 p.m. broadcast of the Philadelphia-Dallas football game. Our suggestion: Gobble down your turkey at 2 p.m., push away from the table to watch Jack and Arnie at 3, then go for seconds on the turkey at 4.

... Read
Gear & Equipment

A golf bag that makes it easy to take your tunes to the course

Orlimar's new line of Ojam golf bags makes it easy to take your tunes with you on the course.

loop-orlimar-JamBag-Red-300.jpgThe company is offering three bags -- Vibe and Pulse (above) carry bags and the Rhythm cart bag -- ranging from $120 to $190. Each features a wireless speaker (below, left) that plays out of a pocket that can also hold your smartphone, iPod or music device. An auxiliary cord is included to connect with your device.

The speaker's battery will last at least one round and can be charged from an outlet or computer (adaptor included). The bags come in multiple colors and has a cooler pocket in each style to keep drinks cold.

And for those looking to listen to music without disturbing other golfers, Orlimar is offering wireless headphones (below, right) for $29.

loop-orlimar-jam-speakers-headphones-518.jpg

The Ojam Jambags will be available in January.

Interested in more stories on equipment? Signup to receive Golf Digestix, a weekly digital magazine that offers the latest news, new product introductions and behind-the-scenes looks at all things equipment.

 

... Read
Tenuous golf connection

What Odell Beckham Jr.'s circus catch has to do with a Ben Hogan golf tip

Social media exploded on Sunday night thanks to Odell Beckham Jr.'s circus catch in the second quarter of the Giants-Cowboys game. The NFL rookie hauled in a leaping one-handed grab for a touchdown (while drawing a pass interference call on his defender) that had many quickly labeling it as the greatest catch of all time. Just look at it!

blog-odell-beckham-1124.jpg

But as Deadspin pointed out, Beckham really only used three of his right fingers to make his one-handed highlight. So why are we mentioning it on a golf blog?

Well, Ben Hogan advocated practicing with just a three-finger grip in the right hand in his iconic instruction book, "Five Lessons." Hogan suggested taking the thumb and forefinger -- "potential swing-wreckers" -- off the club and taking practice swings to give a golfer "a wonderful sense of having just one corporate hand on the club." Here are the drawings on page 31 of what it should look like:

blog-hogan-grip-beckham-1124.jpg

Related: More of Ben Hogan's timeless tips

So go ahead and try Hogan's drill while you're stuck indoors this winter to get that correct feeling of having your hands work together in the golf swing. If you're playing football this Thanksgiving, though, it's probably best to leave the back-bending, gravity-defying, full-extending, one-handed catch attempts to the pros.

... Read
Stats

Rory McIlroy had ONE bad week the entire 2013-14 golf season and it wasn't even all his fault

Rory McIlroy has always been labeled a streaky golfer. The difference now is that instead of alternating between good and bad performances he only seems to fluctuate between good and great.

McIlroy, 25, wrapped up his season on the European Tour with a T-2 at the DP World Tour Championship. He had already sewed up the season-long Race to Dubai title and $1.25 million bonus without even playing in the tour's first three playoff events.

Related: Rory and Tiger's similar career paths

Two months ago, the World No. 1 finished an even more impressive campaign on the PGA Tour. McIlroy was nipped in the FedEx Cup Playoffs by a red-hot Billy Horschel, but his $8.2 million in non-bonus earnings led the tour.

Aside from the money, though, McIlroy's results on the world's two biggest tours in 2014 stood out for their remarkable consistency. McIlroy may not have been sharp in every round -- his Day 2 struggles were well documented -- but he really struggled just once the entire season.

Related: Golf's all-time greatest seasons

McIlroy shot 74-69 to miss the cut at the Irish Open and even that performance came with a built-in excuse. McIlroy was jet-lagged from flying to Ireland from the previous week's U.S. Open and his clubs didn't show up until Wednesday after the airline lost them for a couple of days.

blog-rory-mcilroy-irish-open-1124.jpg

That's it. One bad week. And it wasn't even that bad. And it wasn't even all his fault.

Overall, McIlroy played in 24 events. He finished in the top 25 in every tournament other than the Irish Open and racked up 17 top 10s and four wins, including two major championships and the Euro Tour's flagship event, the BMW PGA. Isolating his PGA Tour performance, McIlroy finished in the top 25 in all 17 starts and in the top 10 on 12 of those occasions.

Placing McIlroy's 2014 among golf's all-time great seasons isn't a stretch when you consider that kind of consistency. Of course, it's not quite Tiger Woods' 2000 campaign (nine wins, three majors, 22 of 22 top 25s and 19 of 22 top 10s), but what is?

Related: The best and worst of golf's majors in 2014

In contrast, McIlroy had 27 top 10s and 38 top 25s in 70 career PGA Tour starts entering this season. The weeks in which he's on his game have always impressed, but now his ability to play solid golf even when he's off has brought him to another level.

Wherever McIlroy makes his PGA Tour return in 2015, he'll arrive with 17 straight top 25s, having won two straight majors, and having had one straight all-time great seasons. How's that for streaky?

... Read
News & Tours

Rosaforte: Tiger's new swing consultant, Chris Como, 'not a method teacher'

This story comes from the Nov. 24 issue of Golf World:

There is still a dent in the ceiling at the Westlake Golf Course golf shop that Chris Como left when he was swinging a club as a teenager growing up north of Los Angeles. "I didn't come from money, so I'd pick up balls at the range and read a lot about golf instruction," Como said after leaving his lesson with Trevor Immelman over the weekend. "I was studying what was out there, but not buying into anything."

That dent Como left could be famous someday, as the 37-year-old biomechanist/ swing instructor has been entrusted with one of the most important roles in modern golf history. As the newly named "swing consultant" for Tiger Woods, Como hopes his teaching background and education in biomechanics could be the elements that reinvigorate the race to Jack Nicklaus' major-championship record. Como is not the big name many anticipated, but among instruction circles he is far from a no-name, and to those who know his work and background, Como is the right man for the job.

Related: How Tiger's swing has changed

Of course Notah Begay III would say that, because he handpicked Como. And so would instructors like Grant Waite and Mike Adams, because Como has worked alongside or under them. So why is he perfect for Woods, six years without a major, about to turn 39, and coming off a season that was continually interrupted by back issues? "Because he's not a method teacher," Begay said.

blog-chris-como-1124.jpg

In his role as sounding board, a job that started with a heart-to-heart talk among Stanford teammates after the PGA, Begay believed that Woods needed to go back to what he did well in the '90s. Como hopes to help Woods find some of that feel.

"It's such an interesting story, where he's ended up," Southern Cal coach Chris Zambri said of Como. "He's so smart, but more important, he's always searching. He never takes anything for granted that he read or heard. That's why he is where he is."

It wasn't long ago that Como was building his lesson book at Gleneagles CC in Plano, Texas, and taking night courses at Texas Women's University in North Dallas. Driving an old Chevy Trail Blazer, he was talking to Zambri at a light when the old SUV started smoking. When we spoke, Como laughed about driving a vehicle worth $1,000 with a $25,000 Track- Man in the back seat that he took out a loan to buy.

That's when Begay met him. Como spent his first 16 years as a coach working as an intern at the David Leadbetter Academy, spending time with Hank Haney and going through a Mac O'Grady MORAD program, but it was a less famous group of instructors and ultimately professors who were more influential.

Related: Golf Digest's best young teachers in America

As for working with a rock star like Tiger, Como admitted to being nervous when they started working together three weeks ago. After some meditation, he asked himself if he felt like the best person to help Tiger. He came away feeling, "I do."

"I would say once we got in the mode of talking golf swing, that's my Zen, that's my world," Como said. "When I'm into that world, on the range, teaching, talking golf swings, that's sort of what I do."

To Como, it's all about using the science, using the teaching and always searching for ways to make the golfer autonomous. "The idea of having a person rely on a teacher is bad," Como said. "You have to know about yourself, rely on yourself."

... Read
News & Tours

Missing Links: Rory McIlroy's goals for 2015? 'Green Jacket'

Stories of interest you might have missed…

“As he picked up the European money list trophy for the second time in three seasons on Sunday, Rory McIlroy had two words to say when asked for his goals for 2015: ‘Green Jacket,’” this Reuters story by Matt Smith says.

Rory Green Jacket.jpg
(Getty Images photo)

The Australian Masters is not the most popular tournament Down Under, but it is among the most unpredictable, John Huggan writes in the Scotsman. He recalls that on the eve of the 2009 Masters, tournament director Andrew Langford-Jones received a call from a Tiger Woods representative asking for “some background on the course before his press conference,” Langford-Jones said. “I told him how February is the best month for golf on the Melbourne Sandbelt, how we were in the middle of a bad drought and how the greens were running at 12 on the Stimpmeter. Half an hour later, [Tiger] repeated everything I said almost word-for-word.”

***

Stacy Lewis on Saturday evening opened a fortune cookie that read, “Good news of long awaited event will arrive soon.” That was one prescient fortune cookie. “Lewis carried the fortune in her pocket all day Sunday. It was a pretty good omen,” Greg Hardwig of the Naples Daily News writes. Lewis went on to claim the LPGA’s money title, the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average and the Rolex Player of the Year award.

***

“Suzy Whaley is taking another crack at golf's old boy's network. More than one decade after becoming the first woman to qualify for a PGA event in 58 years, the 48-year-old Whaley became the first female officer in the PGA of America's history. She's on course to become the organization's first female president in 2018, too,” the Associated Press writes.

***

Lydia Ko of New Zealand, only 17, earned $1.5 million for winning the CME Group Tour Championship and the CME Race to the Globe on Sunday. “People will run out of superlatives by the time her career is over because the platform has been built for her to become the greatest player the women's game has ever seen,” Daniel Richardson of the New Zealand Daily Herald writes. “Hyperbole? Maybe, considering she's only had one season as a professional but when you factor in her work ethic, drive to succeed and freakish abilities it just seems to fit.”

... Read
News & Tours

Tiger, McIlroy and Lydia Ko fuel interest for 2015

It never hurts in golf’s quest for relevance during football season for Tiger Woods to make headlines, as he did twice last week. He clearly has no intention to go away quietly.

The rest of the golf news on what was tantamount to the final week of the season (notwithstanding quirky schedules here and abroad and the unavoidable silly-season) won’t similarly command attention, but it was a memorable sendoff for a sport that has much to recommend it going forward.

McIlroyRory Race to Dubai.jpg
Race to Dubai winner Rory McIlroy (Getty Images photo)

Where do we start? As usual, with this: WWTD? What will Tiger do in 2015, now that he’s apparently healthy and has been breaking in a new instructor, Chris Como?

He’ll provide only a snapshot at best at his own tournament, the Hero World Challenge next month; not much can be gleaned from it given the tiny field (18 players) and what for most of his career was his home course, Isleworth Golf and Country Club, in Windermere, Fla.

Still, he’ll draw scrutiny. Woods remains the most intriguing figure in the game, to wit the attention he garnered simply for an innocuous Tweet on Saturday announcing he had hired Como. Interest in this heretofore relatively unknown instructor shut down Como’s website in the immediate aftermath of Woods’ announcement.

Interest in Woods will be piqued further by what might be another two-month hiatus he’ll take after the World Challenge and before his likely return at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in February.

The European Tour, meanwhile, concluded its 2014 season in style, crowning World No. 1 Rory McIlroy the winner of the Race to Dubai and No. 2 Henrik Stenson the winner of the DP World Tour Championship.

Nos. 3 and 4 also have exhibited form that along with McIlroy’s bid to complete the career grand slam at the Masters promises a fascinating year ahead. Adam Scott finished second in the Australian Masters on Sunday and Bubba Watson won the WGC-HSBC Champions earlier this month.

But the best reason to look ahead surfacing on Sunday was the performance of Lydia Ko, still five months shy of her 18th birthday. Ko’s encore in the wake of her having been awarded the Rolex Rookie of the Year was a $1.5 million payday -- $1 million for winning the season-long Race to the CME Globe and $500,000 for winning the CME Group Tour Championship. All told, she earned in excess of $3 million this year, providing a clear picture of what she’s going to be when she grows up: Wealthy.

Arguments abound that golf’s off-season is too short, but on this day, on this week and in this month and what it portends, one could argue that it is too long.

... Read
Celebrity

Barack Obama and Derek Jeter really seemed to enjoy their round of golf together

Michael Jordan recently said President Barack Obama wouldn't be in his dream golf foursome. Another one of sport's biggest names, though, really seemed to enjoy his time on the course with the most powerful man in the world.

The First Golfer: Photos of President Obama playing golf

On Saturday, Derek Jeter, fresh off wrapping up a 20-year legendary career as a New York Yankee, teed it up with Obama at Las Vegas' exclusive Shadow Creek Golf Course. The two -- along with Democratic Party donor Stephen Cloobeck and Las Vegas Sun newspaper owner Brian Greenspun -- reportedly played in about five hours.

Jordan, who called Obama a "hack" golfer had been worried about pace of play with the President. But despite the lengthy round, Jeter and Obama played an additional nine holes. We wonder if Jeter was using the clubs he received from the Houston Astros as one of his many retirement gifts:

blog-derek-jeter-gifts-1123.jpg

Last year, Obama played with Tiger Woods. In Jeter, who Golf Digest last listed as a 30-handicap (although that number should get better quicker now that he's done with baseball), the 18-ish handicapper Obama seems to have found a more competitive celebrity match.

Hmm. Tiger. Jeter. Obama. There's still room for a fourth, Michael. . .

... Read
News & Tours

Chris Como just got a new full-time job as Tiger Woods' coach

For the last 10 years, the three most famous instructors in golf have been Butch Harmon, David Leadbetter and whoever is teaching Tiger Woods. 

Now, it's Chris Como's turn to join the group. Woods tweeted the news just before noon, immediately sending the teacher's name to the top of Twitter's trend list and crashing Como's website from the traffic explosion:

The soft-spoken 36-year-old is based at Gleneagles Country Club in Plano, Texas, and works with Aaron Baddeley, Jamie Lovemark and Richard Lee on the PGA Tour. He was recently ranked on Golf Digest's list of Best Young Teachers.

golfdigest_putting-chris-como-make-a-smoother-putting-stroke-1.jpg
He also brings a very useful area of expertise to Woods' camp. Como is finishing up a master's degree in biomechanics at Texas Woman's University, where he is studying under Dr. Young-Hoo Kwon. 

Dr. Kwon is widely considered the foremost expert in golf biomechanics and "sport injury mechanism," or how sports movements impact the body, and he developed his own super-advanced three-dimensional swing analysis software package, Kwon3D, to show instructors exactly what their students' bodies are doing. 

It's a good bet that Como, Woods and Kwon will be spending some quality time together this offseason, taking apart the most famous swing puzzle in golf and trying to put it back together in a way that works for Tiger's age, mileage and fragile back.   

Plenty of other teachers have weighed in on what they believe are Woods' swing issues. Como took a more circumspect route when we asked him about it in August, saying it was hard to know for sure without all the facts. "It's easy to play armchair quarterback, but there are so many factors with Tiger's body and the history of his game we don't know," he said. "Everybody has their idea of what they would want him to do, but it's a different story when you get in there and see what's going on. Without being inside, it's all just speculation."

Not anymore, at least for him.




... Read
Instruction

Make The Turn Weekly Challenge #37: Bomb It Big

Everyone wants to hit their golf ball farther! Although it helps to be built for power, anyone can very quickly learn to train themselves into a little more club head speed. 

This week's challenge was presented to me while running my Nike Junior Golf Camps in Pebble Beach. I had hired a good young coach named Jim Waldron to teach on staff and run the fitness component of our program. Jim won the Arizona Long Drive Championship Series in 2014 with a ball of 426 yards. As someone who is built for power, Jim's clubhead speed has been clocked as high as 147 miles per hour!

One morning before camp, I was awakened to the sound of a feverish lashing coming from outside the walls of our camp housing. The continuous "whoosh" was powerful, crisp and concise as if being executed by the hand of an accomplished swordsman like "Zorro" himself. As I walked out to investigate, I saw Jim working on a technique he called "overspeed training." Just like the exercise demonstrated in the video below, Jim would alternate between max speed swings with a light object and slow, elongated, muscle stretching swings with a heavier weighted club. He would spend 10-15 minutes with the practice, training three-four times per week. 

Anything you can do to work towards hitting it harder is worth the effort. I guarantee within your first time trying this exercise you'll begin to notice and "feel" where speed is lacking and how to start producing it. Go as fast as you can with the light shaft or alignment stick swing, but make sure the long weighted club swings are slow and deliberate as to avoid injury. 

Dedicate a few minutes to trying out big Jim's training routine and you can count this week's challenge as complete.

BENEFITS
Increased Club Head Speed
Longer Drives
More Fun

Jeff Ritter is the CEO/Founder of MTT Performance. The program operates out of Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif. Follow him on Twitter at @mttgolf

... Read
Subscribe to Golf Digest
Subscribe today