Golf's 'Tall Boys'

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Golf's 'Tall Boys'

August 16, 2011

Photo By: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

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What does the new breed of player on the PGA Tour look like? Jaime Diaz explains, and offers the reasons behind their success__Related: The Top 10 Athletes on the PGA Tour__

Evolution

As the average height of humans goes up with each generation, and golf has become more lucrative, a greater number of taller young athletes are being drawn to the game instead of team sports.

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Equipment

Equipment advances are making it easier to hit the ball solid, allowing bigger, more aggressive swings that in years past would have been less effective with less forgiving tools.

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Longer, harder courses

As tournament courses get longer and demand more power, players have adapted by swinging faster and hitting the ball farther. They have also developed a higher ball flight, that will better hold the ever-firmer greens and tighter pins, while using their longer levers to create clubhead speed that's particularly effective cutting through the rough of missed fairways -- i.e., bomb and gouge.

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The Long Putter

Growing up without the stigma attached to long putters, younger players are taking those tools on earlier, confirming what short-game guru Dave Pelz has long held: The longer shaft -- anchored or not -- produces a purer pendulum stroke that is biomechanically sounder.

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Change In Teaching Philosophy

Teachers are also growing more reluctant to impose "perfect" swings, instead learning to allow a good athlete to retain what is natural and repeatable as long as certain key fundamentals are followed.

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Change In Training

And in another recent revisionist move, the weight room is being viewed more cautiously. As training for golf gets more sophisticated and sport specific, lifting heavy weights and thickening muscles is being discouraged, while long, loose and flexible muscles with little bulk are becoming more widely acknowledged as the basis for the best body for golf.

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