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Monday, April 23, 2012


Ordeal By Golf

I did not hesitate a moment. I held strong views on the subject of character-testing.

"The only way," I said to Alexander, "of really finding out a man's true character is to play golf with him. In no other walk of life does the cloven hoof so quickly display itself. I employed a lawyer for years, until one day I saw him kick his ball out of a heel-mark. I removed my business from his charge next morning. He has not yet run off with any trust-funds, but there is a nasty gleam in his eye, and I am convinced that it is only a question of time. Golf, my dear fellow, is the infallible test. The man who can go into a patch of rough alone, with the knowledge that only God is watching him, and play his ball where it lies, is the man who will serve you faithfully and well. The man who can smile bravely when his putt is diverted by one of those beastly wormcasts is pure gold right through. But the man who is hasty, unbalanced, and violent on the links will display the same qualities in the wider field of everyday life. You don't want an unbalanced treasurer do you?"



Bending the Rules



As people are fond of saying: golf is a game of integrity.

But what if the notion of policing ourselves is itself a transient, unfixed golf principle? Who actually makes up the rules, especially if we are policing ourselves?

For many years and for most golfers, the standard code of playing conduct has, in theory at least, been the Rules of Golf as governed in this country by the United States Golf Association. In competitions sanctioned by the U.S.G.A., on the professional tours, in club championships, most other tournaments and organized leagues, golfers do their best to play by U.S.G.A. rules — or the common interpretation of them. In the worst case, someone usually has the slim, handy U.S.G.A. rule book tucked away in a golf bag. Golf courses often have a rule book behind the bar or in the pro shop.

Still, it is a categorical fact that many golfers wouldn’t know a U.S.G.A. rule book from a United States Coast Guard manual. Golf’s official rule book might be a slim tome, but truthfully, a Slim Jim is more common to most American golf bags.

What rules, if any, do those golfers play by? Are the rules decided on the first tee and do they change from group to group?

In other words, it’s O.K. to roll the ball over in the fairway, one mulligan per nine holes, no four-putt greens and never let the beverage cart pass without ordering more Slim Jims.

And, oh yes, I’m also playing with an illegal ball. That’s right, the kind that is engineered to neither slice nor hook.

I always go back to the Wodehouse quote: “in no other human endeveaor, is the cloven hoof revealed so quickly” .


Just so we’re clear, I, in my Calvinistic Approach to Golf, do NOT approve of:


1)   “Broom” putters

2)   Square grooves

3)   Range finders

4)   “adjustable” drivers

5)   Hot balls, or balls engineered to fly straight

6)   over-engineered equipment of ANY kind


not even in casual play, much less in Tournaments, where I have indeed seen all of these things . . .

I think balls & clubs should be standard equipment for a pro tournament, let the sponsors show off their wares, and may the best golfer win . . . and I’d like to see tournaments where the pros have to use 60s or 40s or 20s equipment, too . . . and even for amateurs  . . .  as in baseball: you can’t use an aluminum bat at the pro level . . . there’s a danger to players, but also, it changes the game too much . . . like graphite tennis racquets

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Think Positive and Ace It

Psychologists at Purdue University have come up with an interesting twist on the old notion of the power of positive thinking. Call it the power of positive perception: They've shown that you may be able to improve your golf game by believing the hole you're aiming for is larger than it really is.
Jessica Witt, who studies how perception and performance are related, decided to look at golf — specifically, how the appearance of the hole changes depending on whether you're playing well or poorly.
So she took a large poster board to a golf course with circles of different sizes drawn on it. Some circles matched the size of the golf hole, some were larger and some were smaller. As golfers finished their rounds, she showed them her poster board and asked them to select the circle that matched the size of the hole.
After she got the golfers' scores, she did some math: "The golfers who did better and had a lower score selected larger circles as matching the size of the hole," Witt says. The good golfers overestimated the size of the hole by 10 to 20 percent.

Monday, April 09, 2012



How do you define the yips?

The yips is a term used by golfers to describe an involuntary movement — a twist, a jerk or a shake — that usually happens when putting, although some people will describe it when doing other activities like chipping.

What makes you think there's more to this than golfers choking at a crucial moment?

There are a number of people who have a neurological illness called dystonia, which can cause cramps or pulling in the fingers or wrist while doing a specific task. It's known to occur in writers and musicians — in many cases the only time that they have a problem is when they are trying to perform a task related to their writing or music. In between they are completely normal.

We're trying to determine if there are some golfers who have a golfer's cramp that would be equitable to writer's or musician's cramps.



Friday, April 06, 2012


Zen and the Art of Golf-Course Design

BILL COORE spends weeks tramping around a work site. He always wears hiking boots; occasionally, if the underbrush is thick or thorny, he dons chaps. On a new project, his first task is to identify the easiest, most natural ways to move around the land, often guided by the paths that deer and other native animals have created.




In the year-and-a-half-long construction process at Streamsong, Mr. Coore and his team have made scores of similarly subtle tweaks, from adding 2-inch-high undulations to a putting surface to reorienting a fairway so that the distant peak of a dune can serve as an aiming point. The best courses work on many levels, including subconsciously. "It's like a really good essay or poem," he said. "If you get all nuances the first time through, well then, it wasn't very good."


Yes, Bandon Dunes in Oregon, Sand Hills in Nebraska, and We-Ko-Pa in Scottsdale, would be enough to cement the reputation of any Golf Architects.

Thursday, April 05, 2012


The bunkers at Augusta are filled with mining waste


You know those pristine white bunkers?

They're actually composed of waste product from the mining of aluminum, according to Golf.com

Basically, there's this company that mines feldspar (rocks) for aluminum. This process produces waste in the form of really bright, pure quartz — that's what Augusta uses.

Read more:

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