Jack Nicklaus: "In a big situation, I just told myself I had to make it. That's the simplest answer I know. I never stroked a putt until I was ready. What was I thinking? I was trying to make sure I had the feel and that it was lined up. I was simply getting ready to put the ball in the hole and not get sloppy with it.
"I see guys today, and they just put the putter down and hit the ball. They have an automatic routine and stick with it. How can they even think about what they are doing? Not me. I could hit a putt in one or two seconds, 10 seconds, 20 seconds, because I'm not concerned with how long I'm over the ball, I'm concerned that I'm ready to play the shot.
"And I'm thinking of fundamentals, too. One is that my eyes are over the putting line. I'm thinking to make sure I keep my head still, which is usually my last thought. If I've done all the other things right, but then move my head, I'm not going to make the putt. So that's why it is the last thing I say to myself."
(Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images)
Here's Ron: We're more than a month into summer and this is usually the point when even diligent users of wide-brim hats and SPF-30 sunscreen start to get lazy. My advice? Don't. One-in-five Americans (including one-in-three Caucasian) will contract some form of skin cancer in their lifetime -- so says the Skin Cancer Foundation. While most forms are treatable, some forms, especially melanoma, often result in death. You can't do anything about the damage the sun already has done to your skin, but you can stop further damage with generous and frequent applications of sunscreen (including lip balm with SPF), clothing that has a UPF rating (ultraviolet radiation protection), and some common sense to take cover whenever possible. Dr. Michael Kaminer, a frequent contributor to Golf Digest and an avid golfer (4.8 Handicap Index), says the mistake most golfers make in applying sunscreen is that they forget it won't last as long as a typical round of golf. In fact, it sometimes wears off before the turn.
"It's partly the fault of sunscreen companies that advertise SPF higher than 30," he says. "You think you're getting great protection for a longer duration. In truth, most sunscreen wears off within two hours no matter what the SPF is."
Skincare is a big part of staying golf fit. So in addition to checking your own skin for moles, abrasions and other nasty things that could be precancerous cells, it wouldn't hurt for you to see a dermatologist once a year. For more on the subject, here are two articles I've authored in the past few years that should answer any questions:
- Safe Sun: Arm yourself in the battle against skin cancer
- Burned To A Crisp: If you play golf, there's a good chance you'll get skin cancer
Follow Ron on Twitter @RonKaspriske
Kevin Hinton: In addition to being one of the most well-liked players on the PGA Tour, Sean O'Hair has one of my favorite swings and it is great to see him playing well again. Sean has returned to his long time swing coach Steve Dahlby, and it may be the catalyst he needs to regain his elite status. Take a look at the video clips below to see what you can learn.
The first video of Sean's driver swing is a textbook example of how to create power. He is one of the longer players on tour and was third last week in driving distance, averaging more than 296 yards off the tee, despite severe penalties for missing fairways--extremely penal rough. Sean makes a huge shoulder turn while maintaining an extremely braced lower body. Notice how well he has maintained the separation between his knees. Most amateurs are far too active with their lower bodies in their backswing. While tour players are typically more flexible and can turn their hips less, average players can gain power if they can quiet down their lower half while still maintaining their shoulder turn. This will help increase your "X Factor" (differential between hip and shoulder turn in the backswing) and potential for distance. I think feeling a little bit of tension from the belt buckle down is a good thing, and it can be an indicator that you are winding up properly. It is in our arms and hands where tension kills...
The second video shows Sean from the target line hitting a fairway wood and a hybrid. In an era where many players and teachers are trying to flatten out backswings, I love how Sean swings his arms and club back freely on a vertical plane, then shallows them in the
How much water should I drink during exercise?
(Editor's note: Yes, golf counts as exercise, especially if you're walking and carrying your clubs.)
Exercising vigorously in hot and humid weather can be challenging and even dangerous. But you can safely exercise in hot weather if you take the proper precautions. One of the most important things to do is stay hydrated and decrease your exercise intensity on very hot days. Keeping your body hydrated during exercise helps replace the water lost from sweating and prevents fatigue and poor physical performance.
Feeling thirsty is not the best indicator of your body's water needs, because thirst occurs after your body is already dehydrated. Also, your thirst is usually satisfied even before your body's water supply is fully replaced. This means that during workouts, you should drink water even if you do not feel thirsty.
The amount of water your body needs to stay hydrated depends on your body weight, body temperature, and the type of exercise you are doing. If you are dehydrated after an exercise session, it will take time to replenish the body's water. Drink several glasses of water spaced out throughout the day. You are usually well hydrated if you pass a good amount of very light yellow or clear urine a couple of times before going to bed.
For workouts of less than 1-1/2 hours, you should
--Drink about 16 ounces (500 mL) of cool or cold water 1 to 2 hours before you exercise.
--Drink about 16 ounces (500 mL) of cool water or a sports drink 15 minutes before you exercise.
--Drink about 5 ounces (150 mL) of cool water every 10 minutes during exercise.
--Have about 34 ounces (1 L) of cool water on hand per hour.
--Drink about 16 ounces (500 mL) of cool or cold water or a sports drink just after exercise.
Other Pointers and Recommendations:
--Wear loose-fitting clothing that will allow air to circulate but protect you from the sun.
--Avoid direct exposure to the sun. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
--Do not take salt tablets. Salt tablets make dehydration worse because they drain the water from your body.
--Drink cool water rather than cold water, because the body absorbs cool water faster.
--Do not drink juices or sodas during exercise, because these drinks contain more than 10 percent carbohydrates (sugar) and are not absorbed well during exercise.
--It is okay to drink sports drinks because they usually contain less than 8 percent carbohydrates, but these can lead to too many calories if you drink too much of them.
When it comes to workouts lasting less that 1-1/2 hours, there is no difference between drinking sports drinks and cool water to stay hydrated. Sports drinks do replenish the salt and minerals lost through sweating, although a healthy diet is usually adequate for this.
A final editor's note: Stay away from coffee (even ice coffee) because the caffeine acts as a diuretic. And stay away from alcoholic beverages, even beer. Alcohol actually dehydrates you. You're just asking for trouble. In the heat, nothing is better for you than sports drinks in moderation and pure, clean cool water.
Here's Ron: The hamstrings (the large muscle group on the back side of your thighs) play a huge role not only in increasing your clubhead speed--a key to power--but also in maintaining your posture--a key to hitting it solid. Those two reasons alone should be enough for any golfer to want to incorporate hamstring strength and flexibility exercises into a workout routine. But strong, pliable hammies also play a huge role in reducing lower-back pain. At this point, you should be sold.
Athletes in most power sports--especially track and field, football and soccer--have known for years that healthy hamstrings are a key to longevity. Golfers are finally catching on to this notion, in part, thanks to improvements in equipment. To really capitalize on the technology put into golf clubs and balls, being able to make a strong, efficient swing is key. And that's very difficult to accomplish without the hamstrings doing what they're supposed to do, which is help supply the lower body with power, protect the knee joints and lower back from unnecessary twisting, and also support the trunk when you swing through the ball.
OK, enough preaching on why you should incorporate hamstring exercises into your workout. Now comes the "how to." Mark Verstegen, owner of Athletes Performance in Scottsdale and
Brittany hovers the clubhead at address like two other great drivers you might have heard of: Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman. She has what I call a two-way move at the top--her hips start turning forward before her shoulders finish turning back. That's another way to increase your X-Factor, and she does it as well as any player on tour, many or woman. That's how she creates that powerful lag on the downswing.
Give Jim's thoughts a try. And remember to follow me on Twitter @RogerSchiffman.
Weir is hoping to replicate his early success, returning to teachers Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer. Photo by Getty Images
In 2007 he started working with Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer, the teaching twosome who founded the Stack & Tilt method. And he saw some success, winning the Fry's Electronics Open and $1.9 million. In 2008 he won more than $3 million. In 2009, he took in another $2.3 million. Then suddenly Weir lost his game. He won only $560,000 in 2010. He injured his right elbow (he's playing this year on a Major Medical Extension). Once source told me that it remains a mystery why Weir decided to leave Bennett and Plummer, but he sought the advice of several teachers, including Butch Harmon, David Leadbetter and even Jack Nicklaus at this year's Memorial. He also met with Jim Flick, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional who has worked with Tom Lehman and Nicklaus for years and is coaching a number of promising juniors, including the recent Junior World champion Beau Hossler.
Flick worked with Weir for a few sessions at the TaylorMade Learning Center late last year, but ultimately Mike left Jim for his original teacher, Mike Wilson. Flick says Weir was having trouble flighting his ball because he was so far on his right side (remember, he's a left-hander) at the top and at impact. Jim was trying to get him to stay back more with his upper body and release the club more freely through impact. Flick told Weir it would take two years of hard work before he would feel comfortable with the swing changes he advocated. "But he wanted faster results than that," Flick told me. "He needed something immediate. I really wish him well. He has tremendous talent."
Now it turns out that Weir has once again been seeking the advice of Plummer and Bennett, as reported by the Canadian golf writer, Lorne Rubenstein in the Globe and Mail. And piecing things together, it becomes clear why Weir told Flick he needed some fairly instant results. Because of his Major Medical Extension, Weir needed to make about $225,000 in his first five events to equal No. 125 on the 2010 money list (Troy Merritt, with $786,977). Unfortunately, Mike missed the cut in four of the first five tournaments this year and made only $11,000. Now he's under serious pressure to start having some really good finishes and retain his card in 2011.
I wish Mike all the luck in the world. He's one of the really good guys out on tour. This would be a great week--in his home country at the RBC Canadian Open--to have a solid finish and get his career back on track.
-- Roger Schiffman, Managing Editor, Golf Digest
Follow me on Twitter: @RogerSchiffman
Kevin Hinton: There's a lot to be learned from Darren Clarke's masterful performance at Royal St. George's last week: the value in letting go of technical thoughts so your artistic and imaginative side can take over to play ultimate links golf; how a great attitude can be more valuable than a great swing; and the fact that you can never predict who might win the British Open. Clarke was the No. 162-ranked player in the world entering the tournament. Last year's winner, Louis Oosthuizen, was ranked 54th and had made only one cut in his prior eight major championship appearances. Ben Curtis won at Royal St. George's in 2003 when he entered the tournament at 396th in the world. And Paul Lawrie came from 10 shots back in the final round to win at Carnoustie.
Does good fortune play a role in winning a British Open? Definitely....and probably more so than any other major. Does the best player that week win...usually, but there is a fair amount of luck involved. But one thing I do know...to successfully navigate your ball over four days of links golf, you better be able to control the trajectory. Darren Clarke hit shot after shot of beautifully controlled low knockdowns with every club in his bag. I can barely remember a swing in which his hands and club finished above shoulder high. Take a look at the pictures below to see what you can learn from Darren Clarke's controlled follow-through.
Above: Darren Clarke's arms and club stay almost level with his shoulders, and his right shoulder has stayed even with his left, showing he has "covered" the ball at impact. This low finish results in a low ball flight. (Photo: J.D. Cuban/Golf Digest)
Above: Wonder why Darren drove the ball so well throughout the championship? Look at this picture-perfect position just past impact: His arms are well extended, the clubface is perfectly square, he clearly made solid contact, he's in tremendous balance, his right arm is just under his left. This ball can only go straight! (Photo: Darren Carroll/Golf Digest)
Above: Again, Darren's tremendous strength allows him to square the clubface through impact while holding off his finish so the ball stays low, even hitting a fairway wood or hybrid from the rough. That's talent! (Photo: J.D. Cuban/Golf Digest)
YOU CAN COPY CLARKE'S KNOCKDOWN TECHNIQUE
Darren's swing was built to hit the ball low. His compact backswing, simple body motion and ability to abbreviate his finish are no doubt the result of growing up playing links golf at
You want to know why U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy has become a dominant presence in the major championships? It's partly due to his backyard. That's right. His backyard. Check out this BBC video to see what I mean. Then come back and study the five sand keys below.
Not only can Rory replicate the green speed of an upcoming major with the greens on his property, he can practice from various kinds of sand, and from bunkers even deeper than the Road Hole Bunker at St. Andrews. So those ominous-looking bunkers at Royal St. George's this week seem tame for him.
So here's today's tip: How Rory plays an explosion shot over a very steep lip. Here are five keys:
(1) Use your most-lofted wedge, at least a 56-degree and a 58- or 60- if you carry one.
(2) Open the face at address to increase the club's loft even more. Do this by first turning the face to the right, then taking your grip. Don't re-grip the club after that. That maintains the open face throughout the swing and at impact with the sand.
(3) Swing the clubhead only slightly down into the sand, and try to have the club enter the sand just behind the ball. You want a bit of descent, but not
Here's Ron: How's this for a sales pitch? One exercise can help you gain 20 yards off the tee and reduce, or eliminate, your lower-back pain.
Let's start with those 20 yards. A key to longer drives is making a bigger, more powerful rotation with your torso, first away from the target and then toward the target. To do that, you need to learn where that rotation should come from--the thoracic spine. The T-spine is made up of 12 vertebrae in the middle of your back. In the grand scheme of human anatomy, the T-spine can't rotate very much. It can rotate enough, however, to help you properly load your swing and then unwind it as the club comes down. The more mobility you have in the T-spine, the better chance you have of making a powerful swing. And if you're suffering from lower-back pain or want to avoid it in the future, the T-spine also plays a key role helping stabilize the lumbar spine.
Golfers with limited T-spine mobility often attempt to rotate their bodies with their lower-back. But because the lumbar spine has very limited rotational ability, any attempt to push it past