The Local Knowlege

Gear & Equipment

True sensei: Two shoes in one (golf and running)


By John Strege

The hybrid revolution in golf shoes has now spread to running with True linkswear's introduction on Thursday of the sensei.

On Oct. 7, Ryan Moore won the PGA Tour's Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open while wearing the sensei, while True co-founder Robb Rigg completed the Portland Marathon on the same day while wearing the sensei.

"As far as I can tell, I was the only person running in golf shoes at the marathon," Rigg said in a news release. No doubt.

True is committed to constructing its shoes on what is called a barefoot platform that evolved in the wake of the barefoot running phenomenon. It allows the foot to move naturally during the golf swing, or for running for that matter. It claims the thinnest sole in golf shoes at 2.5 millimeters.

The True sensei will be available at select retailers on Thursday, at a price of $99.

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News & Tours

Boo! Weekley's putting is downright scary

By Alex Myers

Boo Weekley is probably best known for wearing camouflage on the course and doing the "Bull Dance" from the movie "Happy Gilmore" during the U.S.'s upset win at the 2008 Ryder Cup. But unfortunately for the colorful golfer, his claim to fame this season isn't anything to smile about.

Related: Golf's answer to "Dancing With The Stars"

blog_boo_weekley_1031.jpgIt only seems fitting to mention Boo on Halloween and even more appropriate to point out his frighteningly-bad putting stats. With one fall series event left on the PGA Tour schedule -- the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic Nov. 8-11 -- Weekley checks in at 189 out of 190 in the tour's most comprehensive putting metric: strokes gained-putting.

Of the players ranked, only Kyle Thompson is worse and his 36 measured rounds (to Weekley's 55) isn't really a fair sample size to compare. Of anyone playing as many rounds as Weekley on tour this year in which this stat was documented, Kyle Stanley is the closest when it comes to putting futility, and even he has an average that's nearly half a shot better per round.

So how has Weekley managed to earn $683,259 -- a figure that places him just inside the all-important top 125 on the money list -- thus far in 2012? Attribute it to a season of Ben Hogan-like ball-striking for the 39-year-old. Weekley ranks first on tour in total driving, T-4 in greens in regulation and first in overall ball-striking. Who are Nos. 2-5 you might ask? Just a few guys named Jason Dufner, Lee Westwood, Hunter Mahan and Justin Rose.

Related: Golf-themed Halloween costume ideas

Amazingly, Weekley ranked first in ball-striking last year as well to go along with 186th in strokes gained-putting. Without top 10s at the Puerto Rico Open and RBC Heritage (the site of his two career PGA Tour wins) to buoy him, though, Weekley made less than $300,000 in 23 events.

The stats reveal that this isn't a new trend, however. Since the tour started keeping track of strokes gained-putting in 2007, Weekley has never finished better than 161st. Weekley probably isn't a big fan of that stat, but if you also have your doubts, just know that his best "traditional" putting stat this year is putting from 20-25' -- where he ranks 134th. Come to think of it, Happy Gilmore (Think: "Just taaaap it in") wasn't known for his touch on the greens, either. . .

Alex Myers is a contributing editor.

(Photo by Getty Images)

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Gear & Equipment

Clean your grips with Gripes

Lamkin Gripes.jpg

By John Strege

It is a given that too little attention is paid to grips (have you re-gripped your clubs lately?), but the least we ought to do is keep them clean. There is a reason tour players or their caddies are frequently seen wiping a grip before the shot is played.

Grip manufacturer Lamkin has addressed the issue with its introduction of Gripes, grip cleaning wipes that come 15 to a package, each wipe capable of cleaning up to five grips. Gripes work on all rubber and synthetic rubber grips and cost $5.99.

"I've been talking about the benefits of proper grip cleaning and maintenance for years, but the subject became much more relevant with the widespread acceptance and use of white and color golf grips," Bob Lamkin, president and CEO of Lamkin, said in a news release. "Other than keeping your grips looking great, regular cleaning actually reactivates surface tack and enhances the overall durability of the grip."

The days when grips virtually were exclusively black are over. Lamkin's own 3GEN grip comes in 10 colors.

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News & Tours

Faldo on Rory equipment change: 'I call it dangerous'

By John Strege

News that Rory McIlroy will be changing equipment companies has resurrected an old debate about the wisdom of an elite player doing so while at the top of his game.

Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

"I call it dangerous," Nick Faldo said on Golf Channel's "Morning Drive" on Tuesday. "I've changed clubs and changed equipment, and every manufacturer will say, 'We can copy your clubs, we can tweak the golf ball so it fits you.' But there's feel and sound as well, and there's confidence. You can't put a real value on that. It's priceless."

McIlroy, 23 and No. 1 in the World Ranking, announced on Tuesday that he will not re-sign with the Acushnet Company, manufacturer of the Titleist equipment that he has used throughout his professional career.

"You have to be very, very careful," Faldo said. "You easily could go off and do this and it messes you up because it just doesn't quite feel the same."

Related: Costliest equipment changes

The example often cited is the late Payne Stewart, who endured a season-long slump in 1994 after leaving Wilson and accepting a lucrative contract to play Spalding equipment. He fell from sixth on the money list in '93 to 123rd in '94.

Other stars, meanwhile, have had no particular problem with the transition to a new equipment company. Tiger Woods went from Mizuno irons as an amateur, to Titleist irons early in his professional career, and to Nike irons in late 2004 with no discernible effect.

Phil Mickelson has twice changed equipment companies, including his switch from Titleist to Callaway late in 2004. He won four times, including the PGA Championship, in 2005.

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News & Tours

New cardholders: The 25 newest PGA Tour members

By Stephen Hennessey

Starting the week at No. 44 on the Tour's money list, Justin Bolli needed to make a big move to jump the 19 spots required to earn his PGA Tour card.

How about winning the Tour Championship outright?

Bolli, 36, made his PGA Tour rookie debut in 2005, and has been a PGA Tour member for three seasons, never once keeping his status for the following year. His best PGA Tour finish was a T-5 at the 2008 AT&T Classic in Georgia.

This is the last year the top 60 on the Tour money list will play the Tour Championship in attempt of getting into the top 25. Next year, as part of the changes to the PGA Tour schedule, the top 75 from the Tour will compete in "The Finals", along with 75 PGA Tour players who don't qualify for the FedEx Cup, for another 25 spots. The top 25 players on the money list at the end of the 2013 season will clinch a card.


Justin Bolli fired a final-round 65 to clinch his fourth season on the PGA Tour. Photo by Stan Badz/PGA Tour.

Two of the more unlikely stories to earn a card out of TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas include Luke Guthrie and Ben Kohles. Both 22-year-olds and recent college graduates--Guthrie from Illinois and Kohles from Virginia--won two Tour events to lock up their cards early in the season. Kohles won two events in a row, lucking into a spot at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational, then winning the Cox Classic the next week.

Another good story is Morgan Hoffmann, who was struggling to Monday qualify for events early in the season. The former All-American at Oklahoma State finished in the top-10 in six of the last seven events of the year, including a T-3 at the Tour Championship to earn his card. A roommate of Rickie Fowler and Cameron Tringale in Jupiter, Tringale said he hadn't seen Hoffmann in months with their differences in schedule. Now the trio will be on the same schedule in 2013.

Casey Wittenberg had locked up his PGA Tour card early in 2013, winning two events before June. The 27-year-old Memphis resident also qualified for the U.S. Open, and was paired with Tiger Woods in the final round at the Olympic Club.

Fifteen of the 25 newly-minted PGA Tour cardholders will be first-time PGA Tour members.

Here's the full list:

1. Casey Wittenberg, $433,453

2. Luke Guthrie, $410,593

3. Russell Henley, $400,116

4. Luke List, $363,206

5. James Hahn, $337,530

6. Shawn Stefani, $307,371

7. Robert Streb, $305,591

8. Ben Kohles, $303,977

9. Justin Bolli, $300,924

10. David Lingmerth, $287,148

11. Justin Hicks, $277,159

12. Paul Haley II, $263,841

13. Cameron Percy, $256,238

14. Andres Gonzales, $235,505

15. Scott Gardiner, $234,145

16. Lee Williams, $223,468

17. Darron Stiles, $213,031

18. Brad Fritsch, $212,168

19. Morgan Hoffmann, $207,540

20. Brian Stuard, $205,711

21. Andrew Svoboda, $203,717

22. Nicholas Thompson, $192,751

23. Alistair Presnell, $190,567

24. Doug LaBelle II, $186,320

25. Jim Herman, $182,001

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News & Tours

Golf World Monday: Lewis no longer a lock for LPGA POY

From the October 29 issue of Golf World Monday:

By Ron Sirak

What seemed like a lock only a few weeks ago--that Stacy Lewis would become the first American since Beth Daniel in 1994 to be LPGA Rolex Player of the Year -- is now a race.


Photo by Getty Images

Inbee Park's (above) second-place finish Sunday at the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship moved the Korean within 28 points of Lewis with three events left. Thirty points are awarded to a tournament winner, 12 for second place and nine for third with seven for fourth place down to one for 10th. Since finishing T-9 at the Wegmans LPGA Championship in June, Park has earned POY points in 11 of the 12 events she has played.

Related: Suzann Pettersen wins for a second-straight week

During that run, Park has two victories and five runner-up finishes. Meanwhile, Lewis, who skipped the Taiwan event, has not earned points in five of her last 11 tournaments.

"I think I have a good chance because I'm playing good, and I have confidence," Park said about winning the POY race.

Next up is this week's Mizuno Classic in Japan, then the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico and the season-ending CME Group Titleholders in Naples, Fla. Both Park and Lewis are scheduled to play all three.

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News & Tours

Cal's Kim, IU's Tong claim player-of-week honors

By Ryan Herrington

Oct. 22-28

Michael Kim headshot.jpegMichael Kim, California
The sophomore went wire-to-wire to claim medalist honors at the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational, his first college victory, while propelling the Golden Bears to their fifth team title of the fall.

After shooting an opening-round 67 at Isleworth CC in Windermere, Fla., Kim posted a second-round 72 to take a three-stroke lead into the final 18 holes. He maintain his advantage, although things got tight during the back nine. A three-shot lead with three holes to play dwindled to just one stroke after back-to-back bogeys on the 16th and 17th holes. But Kim hit the 18th green in regulation from a fairway bunker 220 yards from the hole and two-putted from 20 feet for par to secure the individual title (over Alabama's Justin Thomas and New Mexico's James Erkenbeck) with a closing 73 and a four-under 212 total.

"I'm just really excited to win five in a row as a team and also my first college event," Kim said afterward.

Honorable mention:
Jon Rahm Rodriguez, Arizona State—Scores of 65 and 67 in the final two rounds of the Bill Cullum Invitational gave the freshman a three-stroke victory (12-under 204), making him the first Sun Devil rookie to win an individual title since 2008.

Elizabeth Tong headshot.jpegElizabeth Tong, Indiana
For the second time this fall, the sophomore from Ontario, Canada, earned medalist honors, sharing the individual title at the Las Vegas Collegiate Shootout with Mississippi State's Ally McDonald after the pair shot two-under 214s at Stallion Mountain GC in Las Vegas.

During the final round, Tong posted a bogey-free 68, her low round of the 2012-13 season. Her score helped the Hoosiers grab the team title in the tournament, the squad's second victory of the fall semester, after starting the day in third place behind eventual runner-up UCF and host UNLV. IU shot 30-over 894 to outpace the Golden Knights by three strokes and the Running Rebels by four.

Honorable mention:
Marion Duvernay, Chattanooga
The junior from France won her first college title at the Lady Paladin Invitational with a three-over 219, tying her career best 54-hole score. She also helped the Lady Mocs claim the team title.

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Weekend Tip: Hit it farther like this wounded veteran

By Roger Schiffman
Managing Editor
Twitter @RogerSchiffman

If you've been wondering why I've been AWOL from the Instruction Blog the last two weeks, it's because I've been on the most awesome golf trip anyone could imagine. I just spent the last 12 days touring the greatest courses of Ireland with 11 wounded veterans who play golf as part of their rehabilitation. The experience has been the most rewarding of my life. To read my blogs about the trip and see a slideshow, click on the link here.

All of these veterans are inspiring beyond belief, playing golf with traumatic brain injuries, with only one arm or one leg--or even no legs. Take Marine Sergeant Tim Lang, for example. He lost his right leg in a bomb blast in Iraq. The explosion sent him 75 feet into the air and he landed on pavement, breaking his back in four places. During his recovery at Walter Reed he met Jim Estes, a PGA professional who founded the Salute Military Golf Association (SMGA). Estes convinced Tim to try golf. Less than four years later, Tim is an 8-handicapper and won a long-drive championship. I played with him at Dooks and Royal County Down. He averages close to 300 yards off the tee, and that's no exaggeration.

Tim1A.gifMarine Sergeant Tim Lang and his makeshift practice aid that promotes a free arm swing.

The photos here show how he developed his incredibly powerful golf swing, and it shows what Bob Toski and Jim Flick have long said: Distance comes from the free releasing of the clubhead through impact, not from a powerful lower body. The lower body provides stability, but a relaxed grip pressure and free arm rotation through impact, coupled with solid contact and a correct angle of approach, is what really creates optimum ball speed. I've seen very few people compress the ball as well as Tim does.

As part of Tim's rehab two years ago, he devised a prop for his right leg that he made from plastic paint containers mounted on each other, adjusted for the correct height. He glued foam he found at a furniture store on top of the cans to protect his knee. Tim-2A.gifThis allowed him to hit 500 balls a day. He was successful in a tournament using his prop (below), bringing it onto the course for all his shots, even putts.

 The next time you hit balls, you might think of Tim and his paint cans. Try to keep your lower body as stable as he does, making a complete backswing. After setting the club in a good position at the top, keep your shoulders turned and simply swing your hands and arms down, delivering the clubhead into the ball on an inside path.

You'll be amazed how much distance you can generate--and how straight your shots will go-- when you simply allow your arms and hands to swing the club freely. 


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Health & Fitness

Fitness Friday: Organizing a workout

By Ron Kaspriske

If you're a casual gym goer, you probably haven't given much thought to the order of your exercise plan. Notice I didn't say exercise "routine"? As I've said in the past, "routine" is a bad word in fitness. You should mix things up often--not only to give your muscles a greater challenge, but also to keep you mentally fresh. With that said, you still need to follow some basic logic when planning your workout.

While I encourage you to try many different exercises, you should do it under the following framework:

Photo by Erik Isakson

Before starting any workout, it's always a good idea to massage the connective tissue (fascia) and muscles that you plan to train. Pressing a foam roller along areas of the body such as your hips, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders (above), etc., can help increase the range of motion in the muscle and also reduce recovery time from soreness. You don't have to use a foam roller. Massage sticks are also effective as are things like tennis balls. This part of your workout can be done in 10 minutes or less and isn't mandatory, but you'll be surprised how much it improves the quality of your exercise and also the functionality of your muscles.

Related article: Roll away your pain

fitness_fri_hamstring_stretch.jpgMOVEMENT PREP:
I've stolen this term from my friend Mark Verstegen, who trains professional athletes around the world. Essentially what it means is that before you add the external load of weights, cables, resistance bands to any exercise, you should perform a series of "warm-up" movements with your body weight only. A great example would be doing push-ups before doing an alternate-arm dumbbell bench press. Before doing Romanian deadlifts, you should do a set of inverted hamstring stretches. The idea is to prep the muscle before making it move heavy loads. In fact, a good rule of thumb is to always do body-weight only exercises before moving on to weights, cables, etc. I'll concede that you can use light resistance bands in this part of your training, but nothing too thick.

Related article: Guide to warming-up

Now that you've prepped, you can move on to exercises that add external loads to your body. Things such as chops and lat pulls with the cable machine, goblet squats with a dumbbell, and barbell bench presses. Think of this phase of your workout as doing anything involving heavier weights in calm, controlled movements. That last part is key. This is not the time to be moving in a violent, explosive manner.

Related article: Will bulking up ruin your golf game?


The final segment of your workout involves fast, explosive movements. Golf is a fast-twitch muscle sport. The swing itself lasts less than 1.5 seconds, so it's important to train your muscles to expand and contract as quickly as they can. Fast-twitch fiber can be trained by doing exercises that require strength and speed (power). A few examples would be to do a standing broad jump or a medicine-ball wall throw. Plyometric exercises are great. So are any exercises where resistance bands are employed to deter speed.

Related article: Get to the core of your swing

This might sound like a lot to do, particularly if you only have 30 minutes of gym time. But I would break it down in this manner: 15 percent of your time on tissue massage, 25 percent on movement prep, 30 percent on strength training and 30 percent on power. The benefit of doing all of this as quickly as you can is that you also improve your cardiovascular health.

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor for Golf Digest

(Photo by Getty Images) ... Read
News & Tours

Thirteen years after his death, Stewart still looms large

By Alex Myers

I never met Payne Stewart. Nor did I ever cover his curtailed career, or even see him play in person. But 13 years after his tragic death, I've never forgotten how crushed I was to read about it in the local newspaper; and I'm still grateful for the role he ended up playing in my own journey.

blog_payne_stewart_1025.jpgThe year 1999 was the first one I really got into watching golf, and the U.S. Open, with its wall-to-wall TV coverage, was the perfect sporting event for a lazy junior to plop himself down on the couch in between final exams. I remember getting so caught up in the action that I even backed out of playing baseball with my friends that Sunday. Yes, I was choosing to watch golf instead. No, that was not cool.

Related: Jim Moriarty on Stewart's death

What unfolded that day at Pinehurst was one of the most memorable final rounds in major championship history -- and not just because it was probably the first one I watched from start to finish. The current top-ranked player in the world, David Duval, was in the mix, and there were charges from other marquee names like Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods. But it was the final pairing duel between Stewart and Phil Mickelson, famously on-call with his wife due to give birth to their first child at any moment, that took center stage.

Usually, I would have been drawn to the younger player in that scenario, but for some reason, I felt myself rooting for Stewart all day. OK, so maybe the initial reason was I had him on my fantasy golf team (I wish I was kidding). . . Nevertheless, I was pulling for Stewart to keep Mickelson major-less, and I'm still struck by how he was able to do it.

Stewart was always known as a great putter, but the way he rolled it that day, especially on the back nine, has taken on mythical proportions in my mind. Yes, there was the winning 18-footer for par on No. 18 (was it really only that long?) that set off a reaction so perfect (above) it would be immortalized as a statue behind the green. But there were plenty of other clutch, curling putts -- like the 30-footer (nowt that's more like it) for par on No. 16 -- that Stewart seemingly willed his way into the cup on the diabolical Donald Ross greens to earn his second U.S. Open title and third major overall.

It was truly inspiring. Not just to someone who was still stuck in a phase of questioning whether mini-golf was better than playing real golf, but to a sports nut hoping that one day watching similar drama unfold could be a bigger part of my life.

I still ditch my friends during weeks of major championships, but they don't make fun of me anymore. It's part of my job now. Thanks, Payne.

Alex Myers is a contributing editor.

(Photo by Getty Images) ... Read
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