The Local Knowlege


Weekend Tip: New Year's Resolutions

The year is winding down, but the golf season is gearing up, at least at the professional level. Here are some great tips from top players that will serve as my New Year's Resolutions (golf category) for 2012. They might work well for you, too.

1. Keep my swing connected so I maintain an inside-to-inside path for distance and accuracy. (From PGA Champion Keegan Bradley's headcover drill--see the previous Weekend Tip.)

2. Stick my finish on short putts so I make every four-footer. (From Brian Gay, who made 98.24 percent of his putts under five feet in 2011.)

3. Finish with the clubhead low on my chips and short pitches, so I make solid contact and never scoop again. (From Luke Donald, who became the No. 1 ranked player in the world and led both the PGA Tour and the European Tour money list in 2011.)

4. Kiss my left shoulder at the top of my driver swing, which guarantees a full turn and serious clubhead speed through the ball. (From Bubba Watson, who hit a drive 415 yards and averaged 314.1 yards in 2011.)

5. Play the ball farther back and tee it lower when I need control. This will keep me centered over the ball at the top for accuracy off the tee, like when there's out of bounds right and water left. (From Rickie Fowler, who thinks 2012 will be his "Go Time.")

See you next year!

Roger Schiffman
Managing Editor
Golf Digest
Twitter @RogerSchiffman

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Gear & Equipment

Loudmouth Golf meets America's Team

Loudmouth Golf.jpg

John Daly and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones both attended the University of Arkansas and apparently have become friends over the years. Daly also represents Loudmouth Golf and says he has been a fan of the Cowboys since he was four.

Throw it all in a blender and here is what you get: Splash Cowboys pants from Loudmouth Golf -- silver, blue and white paisley, with the Cowboys' blue star on the front.

"Ever since I was four years old, I've loved the Cowboys," Daly said in a news release. "I've been close with Jerry Jones and his family for a long time, so to have a Loudmouth clothing line inspired by the Cowboys is exciting for all of us. I can't wait to proudly wear my Cowboys sport coat and slacks on tour."

A matching sport coat? 

The pants sell for $120. Also available are Splash Cowboys shorts at a made-to-order length for $100, and Splash Cowboys mini-shorts for women for $80. The line will be available at Cowboys Stadium, Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, Texas, and at the Loudmouth Golf website.

-- John Strege

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Health & Fitness

Fitness Friday: Music to exercise by in 2012

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 gives you some advice for sticking to your workout regimen--including the right music playlist--so you can play your best golf ever in the New Year. Look for Saturday Morning Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter: @RogerSchiffman.

Roger Schiffman
Managing Editor
Golf Digest

Here's Ron: If you're a gym rat, then you probably dread January and February when your training center is overrun with newbies trying to keep to their New Year's resolution fitness commitment. Of course, by spring, many of those people begin to vanish and the gym returns to normal. A recent poll showed that less than 35 percent of the people who make fitness or weight-loss oriented resolutions actually reach their goals.
It would be easy to say those people who gave up are lazy and never truly intended to stick with the plan. But I don't think that's always the case. More often than not, the reason they give up, I believe, is they make unrealistic goals, and then get frustrated. If you ever watch the New York or Boston Marathon on TV, you probably have seen a few runners dash out to a big lead early in the race. They are running at a frantic pace, one that they will never be able to maintain for 26.2 miles. Sure enough, sometime in the middle of the race, they fade and are passed by runners who maintained a steady and realistic pace. The tortoise can beat the hare.
So my advice for you is that if you're contemplating a workout/weight-loss plan for 2012, make your goals "realistic." Don't pledge to workout for an hour six days a week. Pledge to workout for 20-30 minutes three or four days a week. Don't pledge to stop eating french fries forever (scientists say that's impossible in our culture). Instead, limit your fast-food stops to only a couple of times a month. If you easily fulfill your resolution, then you can make a new, harder goal.
This past year, I worked out 312 times (26 a month, six times a week). But to reach that level, I started about seven years ago with a goal of working out three times a week. Then it became every other day. Then it became four times a week and so on. If you're ready to workout, see if you get into one of my clubs: Club 52 (one workout a week); Club 104 (two); Club 156; Club 208; Club 260; or Club 312. I don't have a Club 365 because I don't believe anyone should workout every day. The body needs rest. Keep me posted on your progress in 2012, and I'll do the same.
To help you reach your goal, I asked my Twitter followers to come up with the ultimate workout playlist. The response was pretty impressive. Studies have shown that the duration of your workout and level of intensity dramatically increases if you listen to music. So in that spirit, I'm giving you two playlists. The first is the "best of" from my Twitter followers. I tried to make it as diverse as my followers, so understand that each song isn't for everyone. The second is my personal picks. Enjoy and remember by motto: "Keep moving."

Ron Kaspriske
Fitness Editor
Golf Digest

L'Estasi Dell Oro (remix), by Ennio Morricone (@amolyajnik)
Teeth, by Lady Gaga (@laurenwald)
Connected, by Stereo MC's (@alliparker1)
Wolf Like Me, by TV on the Radio (@ronster221)
Girlfriend is Better by Talking Heads (@Ben_Shear)
Higher Ground, by Red Hot Chili Peppers (@marionshoward)
Cochise, by Audioslave (@b_upton)
Lovething, by ZZ Top (@silverstargolf)
Good Feeling, by Flo Rida (@NinaJBosse)
Bring the Noise, by Public Enemy vs. Benny Benassi (remix) (@s_hennessey)
RON'S ULTIMATE WORKOUT (I cheated and picked 15)
The Hand that Feeds, by Nine Inch Nails
Thunderstruck, by AC/DC
I Like the Way, by Bodyrockers
Feelin Hypnotized, by DJ Colette
mOBSCENE, by Marilyn Manson
The Way I Are, by Timbaland
The One Thing, by INXS
I Will Follow, by U2
She Sells Sanctuary, by The Cult
You've Got Another Thing Comin', by Judas Priest
The One, by Sharam
Discipline, by Nine Inch Nails
Magnificent, by U2 (Dave Aude' Club Remix)
Shot Down in Flames, by AC/DC
Sex Type Thing, by Stone Temple Pilots ... Read
Gear & Equipment

All things considered -- Hot List 2012

The 2012 Golf Digest Hot List might already be in your hands, or it might be just about to arrive, but one thing that often gets overlooked in our extensive coverage is how exhaustive our process is. One of the biggest misconceptions we fight is that every product that gets submitted to our process makes the list. Hardly. Fact is, the 98 products named to the Hot List this year reflect only about a third of the total number of products we considered in a process that began when companies start nominating clubs in July. 

We internally evaluate every product across our four criteria: Performance (45 percent), Innovation (30 percent), Look/Sound/Feel (20 percent) and Demand (5 percent). Those evaluations take place over several stages, culminating in our annual Hot List Summit. We believe only the truly exceptional products made it to our final list of 98 products on the Hot List this year.

Still, to give you an idea of the range of products we considered, here is a list of the 286 clubs we evaluated:

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Gear & Equipment

Feel Golf to introduce non-conforming wedges

Among Feel Golf's new product introductions for 2012 are a putter grip with a reverse taper and non-conforming wedges that feature square grooves.

The putter grip, called the SBST (Straight Back Straight Through), is an offshoot of its Pro Release and Full Release grips and their reverse taper technology in which the thicker part of the grip accomodates the lower hand. Think turning the grip upside down.

"That reverse grip (on the SBST) allows the right-hand, the palm, to stay on line," Feel Golf CEO Lee Miller said. "It keeps the right hand in motion without it breaking down the left hand. In 2010, when Jim Furyk was winning, his dad had taken the putter grip and cut the end off and turned it upside down. He proceeded to putt well. In 2011, he went back to a traditional grip and nothing happened until he went back to his dad's grip in the Presidents Cup."

Miller said that the company sent out the prototype putter grip to as many as 40 players of varying handicaps, and that "60, 70 percent of them said 'we think you have something here.'"

The new SG wedges (for square grooves) feature grooves that don't conform to the new USGA groove rules.

"We decided a couple of years ago to keep some nonconforming wedges for recreational players, saying, 'hey, we're not tour players,'" Miller said. The company decided to manufacture noncomforming wedgeds after receiving the results of a survey of 200 or so of its individual customers, taken in early 2011. "Only a few said that if it's not conforming we won't buy it," Miller said. "Overall, they said we need all the help we can get. Our (groove) edges are going to be sharp with the surface roughness on the face as as max as we can get it."

The wedges will be available in lofts of 52, 56, 60, 64 and 73 degrees.

-- John Strege

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Courses & Travel

Three golf books worth your money

It's the day after Christmas and you're finding yourself with seven golf shirts, shorts that would've fit six season's ago and a new iPad (or Kindle Fire). Now, if you're looking for some good (affordable) reading, Ron Whitten has some suggestions:

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Weekend Tip: Keegan Bradley's holiday gift

'Twas the night before Christmas and . . . here's a final present for you, from the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year and PGA Champion, Keegan Bradley. It appears in the January 2012 issue of Golf Digest, on newsstands now (with Keegan on the cover).

As part of a larger article on iron play, Bradley demonstrates a drill that he learned from his teacher, Jim McLean. This drill helps his swing path. It's something you can do as well, without a ball, in your backyard, throughout the winter.

Jim and I have spent a lot of time working on my swing path, which used to be so far inside on the backswing that I had to loop it to the outside coming down. Now I'm swinging the club back and down on a path that stays inside my target line everywhere but at impact (when it's directly on the line).

keegan.gifTo ingrain an inside-to-inside swing path, which is ideal for power and control, Jim has me stuff a headcover under my left armpit and try to keep it there as long as I can during the swing (left). It'll drop eventually but not until well after impact.

In addition to improving your path, this drill gives you a great feeling of unity with your club, hands, arms and body as you swing. Everything must move in sync, or the headcover drops.

Thank you, Keegan. And have a great holiday, everyone.

Roger Schiffman
Managing Editor
Golf Digest
Twitter @Roger Schiffman

Photo Walter Iooss, Jr.
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You Tried It: Think 1-2-3 for consistent chips

On Wednesdays at the Instruction Blog, we often turn to our readers for the best tips they ever received. Please submit your favorite tip to This week we hear from Scott Morgan on better chipping:

"I'm fairly average around the greens, but a golf buddy of mine always struggled. He could never stay in rhythm from his practice swings to the real shot and frequently either skulled the shot across the green or flubbed it three feet with an abbreviated, jabby stroke.

"After a long summer watching these mis-hits, I finally offered some unsolicited advice: Slowly count to yourself on both the practice swing and the actual chip. Say 1-2-3 in your head, starting the swing on 1 and making contact on 3. He found better rhythm, better contact, and better results. And he was rather annoyed I hadn't said something sooner."

Thanks for the tip, Scott. So many times, good rhythm back and through will make up for poor technique, not only in the short game but also in the full swing. A wise pro once told me: "No matter how great your mechanics are, you'll still hit bad shots occassionally if you don't have good tempo. But smooth tempo can often take care of faults in your swing."

A number of great players had swing flaws, but managed to have incredible careers because they swung the club rhythmically. In fact, the smooth tempo masked their flaws, and they even had reputations for having great swings. Some prominent players who come to mind include Sam Snead (backswing was inside his downswing); Jerry Pate (closed clubface going back and at the top); Payne Stewart (club well past parallel at the top); Nancy Lopez (manipulative wrist cock and closed clubface on the takeaway); Julius Boros (significant re-routing of the club--outside going back, inside coming down); Larry Nelson (club pointing well across the line at the top). All of these players had wonderful tempo and won major championships.

Roger Schiffman
Managing Editor
Golf Digest
Twitter @RogerSchiffman 

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News & Tours

The Syllabus: Curtis Cup/Holiday edition

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

Texas logo.jpeg1. Texas (Last week: 1)
The Longhorns hold the top spot in every major college poll entering the spring semester, including the Golf World/Nike Golf men's coaches' poll. Interestingly, though, only once since the resumption of the poll in the 2001-02 season has a mid-season No. 1 gone on to win the NCAA title (Clemson, 2003).  
Next event: Amer Ari Invitational, Waikoloa Kings GC, Kohala Coast, Hawaii, Feb. 1-3 ... Read
Gear & Equipment

Course photos from Golf Digest photographers

Pacific Dunes.jpg

Some of golf's best shots aren't produced by golfers, but by golf photographers, including Golf Digest's talented staff, whose work is now available through the Golf Digest Category at the Conde Nast Store.

The Golf Digest Category features 709 photographs, golf and otherwise, taken by Senior Staff Photographer Dom Furore, Staff Photographer J.D. Cuban and Senior Conributing Photographer Stephen Szurlej. Also available are historic black-and-white prints, as well as photographs unrelated to golf, taken by Golf Digest photographers on their various assignments around the world, among them Cuban's picture of the Great Wall of China,

Shown above is Szurlej's photograph of the 11th hole at Pacific Dunes Golf Course in Bandon, Ore.

The photographs are available in four sizes, up to 36 inches by 26 inches, for premium photographic prints and 29 by 33 in a stretched canvas print. They can also be purchased with frames.

-- John Strege

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