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Instruction

Saturday Morning Tip: Lorena's secrets for consistency

I noticed yesterday that Lorena Ochoa, the former world's No. 1 woman player, revealed that she's about nine weeks pregnant. I'm happy for her, and admire the fact that she always seems to have her life in proper perspective. At the height of her playing career, she approached the game the same way. I found an article that she wrote with her lifelong coach, Rafael Alarcon, for Golf Digest in April of 2007. Her advice still holds true today: It will help you be more consistent on the course, whether you're trying to Break 100, 90 or 80. Here's hoping you play your best this weekend, and remember you can follow me on Twitter @RogerSchiffman.

Roger Schiffman
Managing Editor
Golf Digest


Breaking 100: Get ready to play
Before the round: The morning of a competitive round, I do a series of stretches and yoga poses in my room for about an hour. At the course, I swing a club over my head several times before I start hitting balls. This loosens my arm and shoulder muscles, and keeps me from getting hurt.

During the round: When I'm hitting a shot, I focus 100 percent, but between shots,
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News & Tours

John Smoltz's rough Nationwide Tour debut

John Smoltz's Nationwide Tour debut began in promising fashion. The ending, however, did little to justify the future Hall-of-Fame pitcher's spot in the event.

Playing in the South Georgia Classic on a sponsor's exemption, Smoltz, who carries a plus-2 handicap, started on the back nine and parred his first two holes before birdieing No. 12 to get into red figures. The rest? Well, it was ugly.

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Over the final 15 holes, Smoltz didn't record another birdie while racking up nine bogeys and two double bogeys. The final number, 84, looked more like the reading from a radar gun after one of his sliders towards the end of his baseball career.

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Gear & Equipment

A women's golf glove with, well, attitude

FootJoy has introduced a new line of women's golf gloves it is calling the FJ Attitude that is different enough to help it live up to its name.

FJ Attitude.jpg

"It has a digitized grip, a textured grip story," said Maria Bonzagni, senior director of marketing for FootJoy gloves and accessories worldwide. "That's the biggest difference [from its other gloves]. The grip is a value-added performance story for women. It's giving them style as well, in a unique argyle-design enclosure system. It definitely has some attitude, hence it's name."

The palm of the glove features "Aloe Vera Scented Digital Tac Leather," for control and durability," Bonzagni said.

It comes in four color combinations -- white/light blue, white/pink (shown here), white/black and white/taupe. It has a suggested retail price of $15.

-- John Strege

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Health & Fitness

Fitness Friday: Why push-ups are great for golf

Editor's note: Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. He gives you a health and fitness tip or an exercise or stretch to get your body warmed up for the weekend. This week he explains why push-ups are great for your game and shows how to do them correctly. Look for Saturday Morning Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter @RogerSchiffman.

Roger Schiffman
Managing Editor
Golf Digest


About a year ago, I contacted several top fitness experts across the U.S.--Mark Verstegen of Athletes' Performance, Randy Myers of Nike Golf, Gray Cook of Functional Movement Systems and Mike Boyle of Strengthcoach.com to name some--and asked them to give me their top-five exercises. As suspected, dead lifts appeared at the top of most lists because they are great total-body strengthening exercises.

But most everyone also gave kudos to a timeless classic--the push-up. It was refreshing to hear because the push-up is perhaps one of the simplest exercises to do. You can bang out 10 in  ... Read
News & Tours

This Week's Syllabus: April 28-May 4

FAB FIVE
My look at the top five teams in the country right now

MEN
Thumbnail image for Oklahoma-state-logo-latest.jpg1. Oklahoma State (Last week: 1)
I genuinely believe that winning doesn't get old (at least for elite athletes) but if it did, it might feel something like what the Cowboys seem to be doing of late. A comfortable win at Big 12s yesterday was the school's 54th league title overall (in 65 years) and seventh win of the 2010-11 season. Meanwhile, if the scuttlebutt that Morgan Hoffmann might not be returning for his senior year is true, his individual victory at Prairie Dunes is a nice way to wind down your college career.
Next event: NCAA Regionals, May 19-21 ... Read
Gear & Equipment

Books: 'Play Your Best Golf Now'

If you're interested only in swing-plane minutiae, find yourself a Konica Minolta Biz Hub Swingvision camera and have at it. But if you accept what the great philosopher Yogi Berra once said about baseball and apply it to golf, that 90 percent of the game is half mental, here's a place you might want to start: "Play Your Best Golf Now," the third book in a series by Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott with Golf World's Ron Sirak.

Play Your Best Golf Now.jpg

Nilsson and Marriott are the co-creators of the Vision 54 approach that starts with idea that if any given hole can be birdied, why not all 18 (for a round of 54)? Among its most famous adherents is Annika Sorenstam, who in the Standard Register Ping in 2001 birdied the first eight holes in the second round en route to an LPGA record 59.

"Play Your Best Golf Now" focuses on eight essential playing skills, only two of them, tempo and balance, pertaining to traditional golf instruction. The others deal with mental preparation, building emotional resilience, for instance. They offer 10 emotional resilience exercises ("Play on the course and after each shot, for ten seconds, access something that makes you feel positive emotions").

If you need evidence that what they teach works, here it is: Ai Miyazato, Yani Tseng, Brittany Lincicome, Na Yeon Choi, Song Hee Kim, Kevin Streelman, Joe Ogilvie and, of course, Sorenstam. All are or have been Nilsson and Marriott students.

Tseng won three major championships before the age of 22, the third of them the Women's British Open last summer. "We had her singing songs to herself to keep the self-talk away between shots," the authors wrote, "and we had her keep her Play Box routine to five seconds so the self-talk wouldn't have time to start up when she was over the ball. This was her Play Box Awareness -- and it worked."

The singing between shots and the short Play Box routine helped keep negative thoughts at bay, freeing her swing to perform as she had trained it to do.

What Nilsson and Marriott are teaching is not just for elite golfers. Nor, it could be argued, is it just for golfers, the example of Vikki Templeton advancing this notion. Templeton and her husband operate a dairy farm.

"The main thing I learned from VISION54 is that it is not only about golf, but also about life," Templeton said. "Life is often mirrored in your golf. The lessons learned in VISION54 are so transferable to your everyday life. One thing I have learned is to only concentrate on what I can control and not dwell on the uncontrollable."

As swing thoughts for life go, there's one worth embracing.

-- John Strege

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Gear & Equipment

An adjustable and 'virtually indestructible' golf tee

There is nothing in golf that isn't immune to innovation, proof of which are recurring efforts at building a better tee.

The latest effort is the TwistTee, which is adjustable and, according to the company, "virtually indestructible." The "virtually" part has to do with a golfer, say, using an iron and striking the ball at ground level, as one might do on a par 3.

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The adjustable part is interesting and was born from the notion that adjusting the tee height might help a golfer fight a hook or a slice.

"My friend Richard (Cheng)...was always teaching people how to swing properly," said Mike Radtke, Cheng's partner in this endeavor. "He said, 'what if we address the height of the ball and how important that is?'"

Radtke said they have contemplated having a robot hitting balls from the TwistTee "to get actual data on how you could correct a hook or slice with the height of the ball."

The height is adjusted simply be twisting a threaded shaft. Once the golfer finds the optimum height, he can tee it consistently at that height.

The biggest obstacle in tee innovation, of course, is convincing golfers they need to change. Most are accustomed to grabbing a handful of wooden tees and stuffing them in their pockets.

The TwistTee sells for $2.25 per tee or $3 for a package of three that includes two large tees and one small tee.

-- John Strege

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News & Tours

Who's tops in men's college golf?

What is it about Oklahoma and its college golf?

Three of the first schools that claimed top spots in the Golf World/Nike Golf men's coaches polls all hail from the Sooner State--Division I's Oklahoma State, Division II's Central Oklahoma and NAIA's Oklahoma Christian.

Joining the trio is Division III's Guilford and NJCAA's Indian Hills as college golf's postseason starts to heat up.

Golf World:Nike D-I poll 5:2 issue.jpg
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News & Tours

Could a sneeze have led to Tiger's injury?

The news that Tiger Woods suffered a Grade 1 mild medial collateral ligament sprain to his left knee and a mild strain to his left Achilles tendon (at least that's what the statement on Woods' website says) while hitting his second shot from the pine straw underneath the Eisenhower tree on the 17th hole during the third round of the Masters brought with it questions of how exactly the injury occurred.

How about a sneeze?

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OK, this may be a bit of a stretch, but bear with me. I was following Woods during the back nine at Augusta National that Saturday and was standing by the 17th tee as Woods got ready to hit. As Woods started his backswing, a spectator sneezed. Woods was able to stop his swing and his caddie, Steve Williams, provided a pleasant, "Bless you" to the offending fan.

Woods then re-set and proceeded to hit his tee shot, which struck the large tree and dropped straight down into the pine straw. It was on the following shot that he hurt his leg.

Maybe if the sneeze doesn't happen, Woods hits a better tee ball and doesn't hurt his leg on the next shot. Far-fetched? Perhaps. But not a completely illogical thought.

-- E. Michael Johnson

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Gear & Equipment

When is the season to introduce new clubs? Now

Long ago, back when titanium was a novel idea in golf clubs, golf equipment was consistently introduced in conjunction with the PGA Merchandise Show in late January. While that no longer is the case, it is generally true that the spring is when new stuff starts hitting the shelves. But with more companies exploring more rapid innovation cycles, led of course by TaylorMade which back in 2004 launched its groundbreaking r7 Quad driver to the market in May, it's increasingly common to see new entries pop up months after the PGA Merchandise Show. 
 
Just in the last couple of weeks, there's been a cavalcade of late additions to the roster of new-for-2011 products. Perhaps it's only a natural result of the accelerated enthusiasm the industry is feeling after early 2011 sales figures, as released by Golf Datatech, showed double-digit gains after consecutive years of negative numbers. In other words, the atmosphere seems, at least initially, ripe for new products, and here they come.

While unlike most of the new products showing up in stores early this spring, these products were not available for review in the February 2011 Golf Digest Hot List. Our team of panelists and judges will be looking at some of these late entries and considering some of them as possible additions to the 2011 Hot List. (We'll be cutting off those evaluations for products launched after July 1. Products launched after that date will be part of our consideration set for the 2012 Hot List.) 

 Here's a list of some products we've seen show up in the office the last few weeks (details and pics to come on this blog over the next several days, although in many cases these products are already up on company's websites): 

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