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1 9 29 / 2016





how to play. what to play. where to play.

Think Young, Play Hard & Have Fun 58

Cover Story: The King for Eternity Arnold Palmer’s impact on golf will live forever.




10 Rules for a Golf Life Here’s what we learned from Arnie, on and off the course. BY GUY YOCOM ▶ Play Like a Kid Again What adults can learn from the best little tournament players in the world (like Ian and Daan Groenendijk, ages 9 and 7, above). How to Raise a Golfer More young kids are taking up the game than ever before. Why isn’t yours?



▶ My Shot: Jesper Parnevik On going naked at The Belfry, his cure for the yips, and the value of a group scream.


Rory and the Miracle Kid The incredible story of Rory McIlroy helping a young star recover from a horrific accident.


Winning at Life A new generation has changed the vibe on the PGA Tour.

Teachers in America We combed the 50 states, surveyed mentors and peers and students to find out: Who are the top teachers under 40?




Butch Harmon Pitch shots made easy


Swing Sequence: Kevin Chappell Hitting more greens with a controlled iron swing




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Jack Nicklaus Know your options on drivable par 4s


Rules How to play through course maintenance. BY RON KASPRISKE


Golf & Business Caroline Hirsch’s off-Broadway escape. BY PETER FINCH


Ask Golf Digest


Style Add some pop to your wrist. BY MARTY HACKEL


Stuff Train to get “in the zone” like Jason Day does.

Tom Watson Get it up and down from collection areas Back to Basics Great ways to improve practice sessions.

Think Young, Play Hard Nepal’s best woman golfer lives in a shed on the course. BY OLIVER HOROVITZ


Man About Golf Flinching: Golfers aren’t the only ones afflicted. BY DAVID OWEN



Editor’s Letter You to Him, Him to You. BY JERRY TARDE

David Leadbetter Your putting grip can affect alignment




Slice-Proof Tee Balls How to handle wind going hard right. BY JIM M C LEAN

BY MAX ADLER 102 ▶ The Best Young

Get More Confident with Your Driver

The Golf Life




Take 10 Years Off Your Swing These experts’ secrets for longevity might surprise you.

Play Your Best





Undercover Tour Pro Dumb questions.

New Looks Five new irons to maximize distance.



112 Closeout

What’s in My Bag Billy Hurley III


Toasting a golf legend by his name. BY RON KASPRISKE

Cover photograph: Golf Digest archives

kids: walter iooss jr. • jesper parnevik: john loomis • erika l arkin: dom furore • spot illustration: stanley chow



You to Him, Him to You JERRY TARDE Chairman and Editor-in-Chief hink young, play hard, have fun! Our theme this month was lived every day by the man who left us just as we were closing the issue. Who personified those words more? In all the world, I cannot imagine anyone who lived a fuller life than Arnold Palmer. “Except for the sheer ferocity of his athleticism, the quality of his character and a certain animal magnetism, there was really nothing to recommend the man,” the writer Pat WardThomas once said. His passing was like a death in the family. Every golfer had a story or, it seemed, a personal interaction. Over 87 years, he touched everyone. I remember playing with Arnie once on a rainy day in Scotland. When we reached the first green, he walked over to me and put a ball marker in my hand. It had his multicolored umbrella insignia on it. “Here, you’ll need this,” he said. I keep it in my jewelry box. Every day for decades, he would sit at his desk at Latrobe or Bay Hill and sign autographs. Send him something, anything, and he’d sign it and send it back at his expense. Hundreds of them a day, an estimated 3 million in his lifetime—he signed more autographs than anyone probably ever. He wanted them to be worth nothing, because he gave so many away. But each signature with perfect penmanship was a statement of respect for every fan in Arnie’s Army. “They’re the same as you; you’re no better,” his father, Deacon, told him. He was at lunch one day


at Pine Valley when someone came by to inquire if he’d like to meet Prince Andrew, who had played the course and was sitting across the dining room. “Sure,” Arnie said, “bring him over.” King to prince, he rarely pulled rank. I stopped by his office on his 80th birthday with a couple of friends. He was on the phone in the other room accepting calls from birthday wishers, and we could hear him saying, “Yeah, yeah, thanks for calling, gotta go, yeah, yeah, goodbye.” He came in to greet us and shrugged at the phone: “The King of Spain,” he said. Only Arnie would give the King of Spain the bum’s rush to greet a few fans. That torrential day in Scotland, Palmer and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem played Arnie’s business manager, Alastair Johnston, and me, but he wouldn’t give us any handicap strokes and needled us all the way around. When a

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ball bouncing off a rock onto the green turned the match in our favor, no one laughed louder in losing than Arnie. And then he refused to pay the bet. He reveled in golf’s locker-room banter, the wink that connected you to him, him to you. One of the more amazing anecdotes we ever published occurred in 1967, when some college kids in Canada decided to cold-call Arnie on Christmas Eve. They phoned the operator in Latrobe, Pa., and asked for “Arnold Palmer.” Arnie picked up. “No, you’re not bothering me,” he said. “I’m putting presents under the tree for Winnie, Amy and Peggy.” The conversation lasted 12 minutes, according to the bill the caller received from Bell Canada. It special issue Golf Digest devotes an entire magazine to our longtime playing editor, on newsstands and available in digital editions now.

also showed the time: 1:06 a.m. Christmas Day. Can you imagine the same happening to (fill in the blank)? I remember Buddy Marucci telling me about the time he played in the Masters, invited as a runner-up in the previous year’s U.S. Amateur, and was paired with Palmer. Standing on the first tee, Arnie threw his meaty arm around Marucci and said quietly, “Today’s going to be one of the most memorable days in your life. If there’s anything I can do to make it better, just let me know.” It was a metaphor for the way he treated all of us. I was there when he posed (standing on a milk crate) with Kate Upton for a Golf Digest cover. He brought the shoot to a halt bragging about his granddaughter Anna Wears, then 16, who could drive it 240, break 80 and was “the most athletic” of all his grandchildren (see our Palmer tribute starting on page 58). He especially loved kids. His Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation focuses on the well-being and development of children and youth. His greatest legacy is the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in Orlando. The highest honor given by Golf Digest is our annual Golfers Who Give Back award; it’s called The Arnie. Bobby Jones is remembered by the public for his sportsmanship; Ben Hogan for his dedication to excellence. Palmer’s legacy stands even taller because he’ll be remembered not only for the swashbuckling spirit he brought to the game, but more important, for the way he treated people. He always made the time. The hopeful question remaining is not how, but will the pros remember him? Will the tournament bearing his name continue to attract the top players not next year, but the years after that, in homage to this legacy? Almost 50 years ago, Frank Beard wrote that every tour pro owed 25 cents out of every dollar earned to Arnie. The debt is even greater today. Illustration by Dale Stephanos

top illustration by john kascht

Editor’s Letter

edited by peter morrice

Play Hit it Big Get more out of your hero club BY MAGGIE NOEL ven though the equipment companies have done everything they can to make the driver huge and easy to hit, a lot of players still get anxious when they tee one up. It comes from a lack of confidence, confusion about mechanics and no real plan for what shot to hit. With a few adjustments to your approach and your swing, you can be what I call “controlled aggressive.” That means you know when to go for it and when to play safe. And you’re not afraid to do either one. —WITH MATTHEW RUDY


Photographs by J.D. Cuban

november 2016 |


Play Your Best Driving

SEE THE HOLE BACKWARD When you play the same course all the time, it’s easy to get psyched out by the trouble you see standing on the tee on tough driving holes. To beat that mental block, try plotting your shots from the green back to the tee box. Where’s the ideal spot to play your approach shot? That’s the target you should be thinking about when you tee up your ball—a positive focus instead of that pond on the left or the trees on the right. You’ll be surprised how much this simple change in mind-set can improve your attitude and the tempo of your swing.

HOW TO BEAT THE STEEP There are lots of ways to hit a bad tee shot, but the most common one for amateurs is “throwing” the club out and away from the body at the start of the downswing. That causes a steep chop on the ball. All the technology in the world won’t stop the shots that result—a slice or a big pull. To prevent a steep downswing, you need to feel the opposite sensation. Feel your right elbow moving straight down from the top and riding your right hip through impact (left). That’s a great way to swing the driver into the ball on a shallow, sweeping angle.

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Make a full turn back and through while staying stable.

GOING FOR THE GOLD Swing mechanics matter, but you can trick yourself into achieving them by nailing your finish. I like to call it “The Olympic 10,” like the ones gymnasts do when they stick the landing from a vault. Make it a tight, balanced finish position, and you’ll get the benefit of muscle memory of the good moves that led to it. Stick this proud pose at the end by making a full turn back and through while staying stable—two big things that help almost any swing. Besides, even if the shot didn’t come off exactly the way you wanted, you still look good doing it! Maggie Noel is a Golf Digest Best Young Teacher, in Houston. For the full list, see page 102.

Play Your Best Curing Faults by Jim McLean


What’s the toughest wind? ▶ In your face: 48% ▶ Gusty: 27% ▶ Blowing left to right: 20% ▶ Downwind: 5% SOURCE: GOLF DIGEST READERS

TIME FOR SOME TARGET PRACTICE If you’re fighting a slice wind, focus on what you need to do physically (square the face), not emotionally (hope for a lucky break). Pick an aiming spot, then move it. Start with a target you would use if there were no trouble on the right. Then move the target to a safer spot and swing as if the trouble were gone. Swing freely, and you’ll have a better chance. Even if you don’t pull it off, you’ll feel better than if you “guided” one and still hit it right. —MORRIS PICKENS, PH.D.

Why’d I Do That? You try so hard not to slice, you slice worse

ou can feel that left-toright wind against your back at address. You think, Man, not a great time to hit one of my slices. So you try mightily to start the ball left. But it takes an angry right turn, and the wind gets it. No chance. When slicers try to swing to the left, they cut across the ball, making it all the harder to square the face. The result is even worse: a massive slice. What can you do? First, make a few waist-high practice swings. That will round

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out your swing shape, promoting a better release, and help you square the face at impact. Second, set up with the clubhead forward of the ball, then take your grip. Without changing your hands on the club, move the clubhead behind the ball. Your grip will be stronger (hands turned more to the right), and the face will be slightly closed. Third, use a 3-wood instead of a driver. The shorter 3-wood is easier to hit solid and much easier to draw into a crosswind.

In the 2001 AT&T, Phil Mickelson was a stroke back as he contemplated his second shot on the last hole, the 18th at Pebble Beach, with water on the left. He went for the green with driver off the fairway. The ball sliced in a slice wind—rinse—and he lost by three to Davis Love III. “I always go for that green,” Mickelson said. “I’ve never hit it in the water. But when it got up in the wind, it never had a chance.” Jim McLean owns eight golf schools worldwide. Illustration by Chris Gash

brain: jim luft • mickelson: harry how/allsport/getty images


Play Your Best Step by Step by David Leadbetter

Putt with Confidence Try my grip trick to get the ball rolling on line etting into a good setup is crucial to developing a consistent putting stroke. Without knowing anything about your putting, I know you’ll make a lot more putts if you start from a technically sound setup. The best part is, you can get off to a great start by making just a few adjustments, no matter what your current setup looks like. Follow these few steps.


David Leadbetter operates 25 golf academies worldwide.





▶ At address, set your eyes directly over the ball or slightly to the inside. You can check your eye position when you practice by dropping a ball from the bridge of your nose and seeing where it lands. You don’t want your eyes to be outside the ball.

▶ Getting your shoulders level and forearms square to the target line will help you rock your shoulders— and prevent a handsy stroke. You can level your shoulders by soling the putterhead at address, then taking a lefthand-low grip.

▶ You don’t have to actually putt left-hand-low, although many top pros do, like Jordan Spieth. You can just use the grip to get level. To return to your normal grip, simply swap your hand positions, being sure to keep your shoulders in place.

▶ Finally, switch your focus to the stroke. Sense that there is no tension in your arms and your grip pressure is light. Now think smooth before sending the ball along your intended line. If you read it right, your new setup will help you roll it in.

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Photograph by J.D. Cuban

illustrations: todd detwiler • jos. a bank: shirt, $115 • house of fleming: belt

“Go left-hand-low to get square, then regrip normally.”

Play Your Best Golfer’s Wish List by Butch Harmon

21% 20% 18%


What skill would you love to have around the green? ▶ Making the ball check up ▶ Nipping it off tight lies ▶ Hitting it high and soft ▶ A basic bunker shot





Pitch Perfect Turn missed greens into pars ittle pitch shots, like the one above, drive golfers nuts. First off, they use too much loft. The more loft you have, the bigger swing you need. And more swing means more things can go wrong. So unless you have no green to work with, keep your lob wedge in the bag. Second issue: Most golfers don’t trust the loft they have, so they try to add more at impact. They flick their wrists, dip down, rock onto the back foot . . . I think you see where I’m going here. Let’s give you a simple plan for hitting the basic pitch. Take


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a narrow stance, with the ball about middle, and favor your front foot (1). Lean the shaft a touch toward the target, and keep your grip pressure light. Swing straight back, and let your wrists hinge with the momentum (2). Don’t add hinge, and don’t let the club sweep inside—both lead to fat shots. Swing down and through the grass. A good trigger to start the downswing is to softly shift your knees forward. The clubhead should stay low after impact (3). Keep turning so you face the target. Your arms should be soft and your weight on your front foot (4). Now go make the putt.

BUTCH’S BASICS A good test of whether you made the right amount of swing for the shot is how you finish. If your follow-through is very short, you probably swung back too far and had to dump some power. If your finish is much longer than your backswing, you didn’t take it back far enough so you had to accelerate wildly through impact. You want your follow-through to be smooth and unforced, and your finish slightly longer than your backswing.

Butch Harmon is based at Rio Secco Golf Club, Henderson, Nev. Photographs by J.D. Cuban

footjoy: shirt, $72, pants, $85, shoes, $100 • titleist: hat, $27, glove, $21 • rolex: watch • house of fleming: belt


Play Your Best Swing Sequence evin Chappell has figured something out. Going into the Tour Championship, where he lost a playoff to Rory McIlroy, Chappell had made 18 of 26 cuts, compared to 17 of 26 a year earlier. But his earnings more than tripled, from $1.3 million in 2015 to $4.5 million in 2016. “I found a formula that works for me,” Chappell says. “I’m practicing less but smart-


Kevin Chappell Learning control and putting up good numbers

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er. My family is the most important thing to me.” With better balance in his life, he says he’s keeping his golf in perspective. The best player in collegiate golf in 2008, Chappell played on the Nationwide Tour and started working his way up the PGA Tour ladder. Then, early this year he had three second-place finishes—behind Kevin Kisner at the RSM Classic and then to Jason Day

at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players. He ended the season by reaching the playoff at the Tour Championship. Working with his teacher of five years, Mark Blackburn, Chappell has learned to control his iron shots with a shorter action. Check it out below. “This swing really works in pressure situations,” Chappell says, and he’s starting to prove it. —ROGER SCHIFFMAN




Even though Chappell’s playing a lower shot here for control, he keeps the ball position forward. “When you move the ball back,” says his teacher, Mark Blackburn, “you can hit it too much from the inside. Kevin controls trajectory by pivoting his body forward on the downswing.”

Chappell makes a wide move starting back, shifting into his right heel. “This loads the upper body over a stable lower body,” Blackburn says. “The key is to have enough time to make the swing. People tend to get short and quick when they try to hit a knockdown.”

After a late wrist hinge, Chappell keeps his arm swing abbreviated. “This ensures he can control the downswing pivot,” Blackburn says. “His head is still centered between his feet, which encourages minimal upper-body tilt through impact. That keeps the ball flight down.”



Kevin Chappell (71st)




Tour average

Lucas Glover (1st)

31’ 6”

Kevin Chappell (41st)

32’ 10”


Tour average

Robert Garrigus (1st) S O U RC E : S H OT L I N K





“One of Kevin’s key moves is his dynamic transition into the downswing. His lower body moves toward the target while his upper body stays stable,” Blackburn says. He’s pivoting forward without making a big slide or driving hard.

Being centered at impact guarantees that Chappell delivers the club without adding loft. “Kevin, like most great ball-strikers, delofts the club with a shallow angle of attack,” Blackburn says. “This produces less spin, made possible by his level body motion.”

In the finish, Chappell is loaded into his left leg with the club extended. “The abbreviated finish is the trademark of a low shot, where the club has moved down and around through impact without the wrists rehinging,” Blackburn says. “This proves no loft was added.”

kevin chappell 30 / 6-0 / 180 pounds Scottsdale driver Nike Vapor Fly Flex 10.5 degrees ball Nike RZN Tour Platinum + NIKE shirt, $90, pants, $110 shoes, $190, hat, $32

Photographs by J.D. Cuban

Strategy by Jack Nicklaus

Driver? Maybe Your choice should depend on the day

bet there’s a hole at your home course, probably a short par 4, where you’re not entirely settled on what club to use off the tee. There’s no clear choice, but perhaps you’ve come to decide that a certain play—hitting driver or 3-wood or maybe a 5-iron—is going to yield your best scores over time.


No more second-guessing, you say to yourself. You’ve got a game plan, and you’re sticking to it. Although I commend the golfer who strives to be tactically consistent, there’s such a thing as being too rigid. A welldesigned hole changes every day with weather conditions, pin placement and firmness of the

Play Your Best

turf. The 15th hole on the Links Course at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach (illustrated), a drivable par 4 with two other options, is an example of a hole that asks you to make a decision. The golfer who’s willing to be flexible on club choice stands to gain over those who are set in their ways. —WITH MAX ADLER

PERFECT FOR THIS PIN A tee ball that finds this spot can reap nice rewards. The approach shot doesn’t have to carry any bunkers. Plus, you’re playing up the entire length of the green, which means more options. When the hole is cut on the front-right portion, you can fire at it without much stress. However, with a pin on the left side, you’d face basically the same shot you would if you were coming in from the right side of the fairway. In that case, taking on two fairway bunkers to gain a slightly shorter approach might not be worth the risk.

augusta national/getty images

notes from mr. jones


THE STRESS-FREE START Here’s the least-demanding spot to place a drive. Playing short to this wide section of fairway defers difficulty to the second shot. Hit it here, and you’ll obviously face a longer approach that must challenge the largest bunker on the hole. But here’s something not so obvious: From this angle, the green is wide yet very shallow, so distance control has to be sharper. Why go here? If you’re into the wind or the greens are soft, distance control is easier—that’s a vote for this shot. Or maybe you aren’t driving it great and want to play safe.

Illustration by Chris O’Riley

This hole is 298 yards from the middle tees, so driving the green is possible for some players. The biggest determinant should be if hitting the driver long and straight is a strength of your game. Another encouraging factor might be a stiff helping breeze. But be careful: As a designer, whenever I offer an opportunity, I usually exact a penalty if you don’t pull off the shot. Tug this tee shot to the left, and a grass hollow leaves an awkward pitch to a green that runs away from you. If the greens are firm and fast, that shot just got a lot tougher.

One of the most famous drivable par 4s is Oakmont’s 17th, where I nearly made a big mess in the fourth round of the 1962 U.S. Open. I sank a downhill five-footer for par, which I hit so hard it nearly flew into the cup. Bob Jones was watching, and after I won he sent me a note: “I almost came out of my chair when you hit that putt.” Mr. Jones followed my career closely, and we had many such communications.

november 2016 |


Play Your Best Shortcuts by Tom Watson

“Keep your head steady, and commit to the swing.” Fly it High When you have to play up from a collection area uring the past 15 or 20 years, American golf courses have copied the old British links by implementing collection areas. Miss a green, and instead of ending up in deep rough, your ball is sitting on a super-tight lie below the putting surface. Over in the U.K., the simple play from these spots is to putt up the slope. But that’s not always an option in the


U.S. Sometimes the type of grass on the slope is too slow and grabby, or there’s a sprinkler head or another obstacle that prevents a rolling shot. These are the times when you have to fly your

ball onto the surface. But using a sand or lob wedge for a short shot from a tight lie can unnerve even the best of players. There are two keys to remember. The first is to keep your head still. Grab one of your most lofted wedges, open the face, and when you swing, make sure you concentrate on hitting the back of the ball. The second key is acceleration (below). You can’t slow down or stop your swing in fear of hitting the ball too far. This is an all-or-nothing shot. If you keep your head steady and commit to the swing, you should leave yourself a decent chance to get up and down.

ELEMENTARY WATSON If the pin is pretty close to where your ball is in the collection area, try hitting a lowertrajectory chip. It’s safer than lofting it high. The idea is to get the ball to bounce into the slope, pop up and trickle onto the green. Hitting into the slope takes all the momentum off the ball and makes it possible to stop it near the hole. I use a 5-, 6- or 7-iron and the same swing thought I do for the high shot: Head still, focus on solid contact.

polo golf: shirt, $90 • ralph l auren: pants, $595, belt • call away: hat, $23 • g/fore: glove, $35

Tom Watson is a Golf Digest Playing Editor.

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Photograph by J.D. Cuban

Play Your Best Back to Basics

1 swing rhythm

Squish the headcover

dmit it: You’d rather go play golf than beat balls at the range. That’s OK. Most of us would. But practice is the only way you’re going to get significantly better. If you have to put in the time, you might as well get something out of it. Here are some of my favorite range drills you can do with a few simple props—a range bucket, a headcover and a towel. You don’t even have to hit a million balls to get some serious benefit. Cycle through these drills during your next session, and you’ll be amazed at the difference in your shots when you get back on the course. You’ll start looking forward to your trips to the range.


—WITH MATTHEW RUDY Devan Bonebrake, a Golf Digest Best Young Teacher, runs the Southern California Golf Academy at Carlsbad Golf Center.

▶ Hitting balls barefoot is nothing new. Sam Snead did it in the 1950s. You can do it, too, and get some of that terrific tempo and timing Snead was famous for. Put a headcover on the ground and cover it with the middle of your front foot. Make your backswing, and when your hands get to chest high, make sure you’re squishing the headcover (left). Your hands and arms will respond by following your body into the downswing. Pushing into the ground at halfway back will help you add speed later in the swing.

2 clubhead path

Miss the buckets ▶ The path of the swing is a big deal: It influences ball flight in tons of ways. But it’s hard to see and feel when you’re going full speed. With a couple of buckets as guides, you’ll learn where to go. If you slice, create a swing path by putting a bucket upside down to the inside of the target line, in front of the ball, and a bucket right side up to the outside, just behind the ball (right). Hooking it? Reverse the buckets so the front one is outside, back one inside.

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Photographs by J.D. Cuban

To fix a slice, don’t dump the balls on the backswing. 3 the transition

Get it right going back ▶ One of the biggest backswing mistakes I see is when a player rotates the lead arm over the trail arm right away. That makes the club pull to the inside, putting it immediately out of position. To feel the right movement, pick up a range bucket that’s half full of balls and get into your setup. Simulate your backswing, keeping the bucket aligned so the balls stay in (far left). Only when you get to the top should you feel the bucket turning so that the balls fall out—right as you start down (left). That’s the position you want to be in to fire into impact.

4 backswing arc

Going back, let the headcover fall ▶ When I walk the range, I often see golfers swinging with a headcover under one arm to stay “connected.” That might be a good drill for a tour player who already produces a lot of speed, but it’s too restricting for most golfers. I’d bet you need more width on the backswing—and more speed at impact—so try this drill instead. Put a headcover under your right arm and swing so that the headcover drops behind you when your arms get waist high. This will promote a wider arc and set up the correct downswing sequence.


5 ball-striking

Clean up impact with a towel ▶ Good ball-strikers get it done their own way, but one thing they all do is hit the ball before they hit the ground. To get that clean, pure contact, give yourself a reference point on the ground. Set a small towel down and make some practice swings with your 8-iron where you hit the turf in front of the towel. Once you do this three or four times, place a ball two inches in front of the towel and hit a shot (above). If you try to lift the ball into the air, you’ll catch the towel before you strike the ball, which means you need to make a more descending strike. november 2016 |


Play Your Best Equipment by Mike Stachura

The distance you want is consistent distance. mizuno jpx-9 0 0 fo rge d ▶ The boron-infused forged carbon steel not only flexes to create extra ball speed, it’s also light so that about four quarters’ worth of weight is redistributed to the corners for extra stability. p r i c e $1,200

Absolute Power How five new irons maximize distance he key to distance, even in an iron, is to make the ball go fast. Thin faces bend or flex at impact so the ball flies faster, higher and with less spin. However, the kind of distance you want is consistent distance, not just the isolated shot that goes farther. Some irons improve mis-hits because of an oversize shape that offers a larger area of the face that flexes. Others boost distance marginally on your best hits but maintain a compact size for shaping shots. How do you decide which is right for you? First, make sure the irons you’re comparing have the same loft. Not all 7-irons do, for example. That’s why data from a launch monitor is so important. It’ll show you how the maximum height or landing angles differ, and it’ll show the distance range of all your shots. Second, you want an iron that produces the tightest range from your longest to shortest hits and as close to the longest average distance as possible. That’s consistency and distance. Here are five new models that might give you both.


ca l l away b ig b e rtha os ▶ The face wraps around the perimeter so it flexes more, but the light, cagelike frame focuses that flexing lower, where impact happens most often. price $1,100

pxg 0311xf ▶ Slightly larger than PXG’s 0311, the thin face insert—thinner than a pair of credit cards—is supported by a forged frame filled with a rubberlike material. price $2,800

▶ Want forgiveness and control? The deep-pocket cavity stabilizes those mis-hits, and a thicker section behind the center of the face provides feel.

▶ It’s larger than its 1990s namesake and has the fastest face of any iron in Cobra’s history. The hollow body has tungsten to boost forgiveness in the middle and long irons.

p r i c e $1,040

price $1,000

h o n ma tw737p

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Photograph by Victor Prado

stylist: alex brannian

cob r a k ing os

Play Your Best What’s in My Bag

Shipping news I served on two ships, including a destroyer in the Persian Gulf. I carry these coins from each ship in my bag. DRIVER specs TaylorMade M1 430, 9.5° (Mitsubishi Tensei Blue 60X shaft, 45.75 inches)

BILLY HURLEY III age 34 born Leesburg, Va. story Got first win at Quicken Loans National. A U.S. Naval Academy graduate, he rose to lieutenant while serving on ships from 2004-’09.

Peace rules I mark my Bridgestone B330-S with the “III.” Sometimes I sign balls with “Colossians 3:15.” It’s about embracing Christ’s peace.

I got a TrackMan last year. I mostly look at distance, but I’ve been looking at the numbers recently to get my attack angle on the positive side.

FAIRWAY WOOD club special I play five different brands. When I ended up without a club deal in 2014, I decided I would make more money playing good golf than I would getting paid to play any particular clubs.

specs TaylorMade M2, 15° (Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 8.1 X shaft) Unlike some guys out here, I need a 3-wood that I can play off the tee and the ground like this one.

Beat Army Headcovers, tees, the Goat: My time in the Navy shaped me. It gave me more life experiences than most guys, a lot to draw on.

HYBRIDS specs TaylorMade SLDR, 18° (Fujikura Speeder 9.8X), SLDR, 21° (Graphite Design Tour AD DI), Adams Pro Mini, 23° (Tour AD DI) To carry a shot 210 and stop it, I couldn’t do it with an iron.



specs TaylorMade Spider Limited, 35 inches I switched to this mallet earlier this year and changed from 33¼ inches to 35. It’s improved my posture and my consistency.

Career move I’d played well at Congressional before, but to win, get the trophy from Tiger Woods and have him call it the story of the year, I couldn’t have dreamed that.













specs Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (48°, bent to 47°) Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 (54° bent to 53°), Cleveland 588 Custom (60°)

















*carry distance

I’ve really focused on my wedge distances the past two years.

Baggage claim I carry a bag of training aids every week. I use this mirror guide probably five days of every seven.

38 | november 2016

IRONS specs Bridgestone J40 Cavity Back, 5-iron through 9-iron (True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts). All grips are Golf Pride Tour Velvet, one wrap under the left hand and two under the right I don’t have a lot of endorsement deals this year. With my win, it’ll be interesting to see how we figure out 2017.

Photographs by Ben Walton

hurley: mitchell l ayton/getty images • hurley, woods: stan badz/pga tour

navy training Practicing at the Academy involved a lot less time than your average Division I program. I learned to get a lot done in a short amount of time. Time management is a huge deal out here. —with mike stachura

edited by ron kaspriske

“To observers, it’s as if they know they’re watching something special.”


The Long Shot Pratima Sherpa is working to become Nepal’s first golf star 40 | november 2016

enerally speaking, sport is the great equalizer. If you have talent, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, or what you look like. But in golf, things are a little more complicated. The wealthy have a far greater chance at competitive success. So when a child without privilege plays well enough to have his or her life fundamentally changed by the game, it’s that much more inspiring. Meet inspiration. Her name is Pratima Sherpa. She’s 17, has lived her entire life in a maintenance shed on the fourth hole of Royal Nepal Golf Club in Kathmandu, and is the topranked female golfer in her country. Pratima’s parents are laborers at Royal Nepal, each making $2.50 a day. Although the shed is far from spacious or luxurious, it does have one advantage: The proximity to the course gave Pratima all the exposure to the game she needed to begin playing at age 11. The head professional at Royal Nepal, Sachin Bhattarai, gave her free lessons, and a member donated golf clubs to get her started. Today, she is a determined teenager with a warm smile, a killer swing and victories in seven of the nine tournaments she has entered this season. Her dream is to become Nepal’s first female tour pro. “She’s my star student,” Bhattarai says. “Always trying to improve, always learning.” The maintenance shed in which Pratima and her parents live is filled with mowers and course equipment. A subdivided room, roughly 20 percent of the dwelling, serves as the family’s home. It’s smaller than many American bathrooms. Two beds touch end-to-end. A table doubles as dining space and homework desk. Several feet away is a cabinet bursting with Pratima’s trophies. Just a few weeks ago, Pratima made four birdies in a round to win her latest prize, the Carlsberg Classic Golf Tournament on her home course. Her day begins at 5 a.m. feeding her family’s animals: four goats, 10 chickens, a tiny cat named Suri and four dogs. The family had five dogs, but one was eaten by a leopard. On most days Sherpa will play nine holes before taking an hour-long bus ride to school, and she still takes a weekly lesson with Bhattarai.


Watch and learn Residents of Kathmandu peer through a chain-link fence to watch Pratima Sherpa putt on Royal Nepal’s fourth hole. Photographs by Vladimir Weinstein

The Golf Life Think Young, Play Harde

Her tiny home doubles as a golf-course maintenance shed.

Pratima’s favorite golfer is Tiger Woods. Her favorite food is dal bhat (lentils and rice), and she shares many golfers’ dislike of bunker shots. When she crushes a drive, which is often, she proudly smiles. Perhaps the biggest reason for her success is a tireless work ethic. She practices every day, no matter what. That includes getting drenched during the downpours of monsoon season. When she’s on the course, she’s rarely alone. On every hole she’s watched by Royal Nepal’s maintenance workers: men in traditional Nepali hats, women in flowing orange Hindu saris. There’s a noticeable bond between the golfer who grew up in a maintenance shed and the workers who use its equipment. “That’s Arati . . . that’s Lalita,”

Trophy presentation Sherpa is only 17 but already has a cabinet filled with her golf awards.

Pratima says, smiling at two female workers. Royal Nepal is something of an oddity. Monkeys roam the fairways. The fifth and sixth holes share property with the famous Hindu temple Pashupatinath. The condition of the golf course certainly isn’t Augusta National, but it does look like an oasis of calm in an otherwise chaotic city. The fourth hole runs parallel to the city’s Ring Road: A metal fence separates the golf course from the crowded street. As

42 | november 2016

Pratima lines up a 30-footer on the green one spring day earlier this year, five men stare at her through the metal fence, transfixed by what they’re watching. Pratima knocks her putt to an inch, smiles bashfully, then taps in. Meanwhile, two young Nepali girls also stop to watch, hugging the fence to get a glimpse of her in action. To observers, it’s as if they know they’re seeing something special. Pratima’s success on the golf course comes at a time of change in Nepal, not just because of last year’s devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake, which temporarily turned her home golf course into a refugee camp for 2,000 residents. Opportunities for girls in Nepal have historically been limited. But its government switched

from a monarchy to a democratic republic in 2008, ending 240 years of royal rule. Now two of the main leaders in Nepal are women: President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Speaker of Parliament Onsari Gharti Magar. Changes are coming, the next of which might be having the country’s first female tour professional. Pratima knows she’s not just on a quest for herself. If she continues to improve on the course, maybe she could help inspire a whole generation of young girls in Nepal to rise above their economic hardships, and realize their dreams. —OLIVER HOROVITZ

The Golf Life Rules by Firstname Lastname

You do not get relief if your ball is resting in an aeration hole. Proceed Carefully Don’t let course maintenance trip you up eeping your favorite course as pretty and playable as possible takes a lot of hard work. Kudos to superintendents and their crews. However, you still might encounter times when a construction zone affects your round. For a refresher on what to do in many situations, read on.



▶ GROUND UNDER REPAIR These areas are usually marked by lines or stakes, but not always. If you encounter a hole made by the superintendent’s staff or materials that have been piled for removal, they’re GUR. This includes grass clippings and cut-up wood from a downed tree. The key words are “piled for removal.” If it’s just lying there, it’s not GUR. Furthermore, washouts from big rain storms aren’t GUR unless they’re marked. When your ball is located within GUR, how you proceed depends on where the ball is located. In most cases you find the nearest point that’s clear of interference from the area, and drop within one clublength of that spot, but not closer to the hole. An exception is if the GUR and the ball are on the putting green. In this case, you find the nearest point of relief that isn’t closer to the hole, and then place the ball. The only situations you don’t receive

relief without penalty from GUR are when your ball is in a water hazard or when your ball is in a bunker and you choose to drop outside that bunker. Final thought: You can play the ball as it lies in GUR, but first check to see if the course or committee has enacted a Local Rule mandating that you must take relief.

vehicle, it’s up to the course or committee to declare it GUR. If not, play it as it lies. Keep in mind that the rut would have to be significant to even warrant consideration. Shallow indentations do not qualify. Was your ball damaged by a mower? See page 48.


Superintendents routinely poke holes into your golf course. Sometimes these holes, and the plugs of turf removed when the holes are created, can get in the way of a good round. Unfortunately, unless a Local Rule is in effect, you do not get relief if your ball is resting in an aeration hole. You can, however, remove plugs of turf around your ball provided you don’t move your ball in the process.


If your ball ends up in a rut created by a cart or maintenance

44 | november 2016




hole. You also don’t get relief if a sprinkler douses your ball or comes on as you’re about to hit. Treat any visible accumulation of water created by the sprinkler, before or after taking your stance, as casual water.

Your course needs water. That means there’s a good chance you’re going to encounter equipment needed to irrigate. You get free relief if you find your ball next to a hose or a sprinkler head (same applies for rakes, ladders and any other maintenance equipment). Remember that your stance, ball or intended swing has to be interfered with to take relief. If possible, have the equipment removed and play on. If your ball moved in the process, just return it to its original position. You do not get relief if a sprinkler head is in your line of play. An example is if you want to putt from off the green and a sprinkler head is between your ball and the

Ball covered in chemicals? Unfortunately, it’s against the rules in most cases to lift and clean your ball before you reach the putting green. But you can treat applications, such as foam, as movable obstructions and take relief without penalty. pop quiz


Your ball lands on a green covered with leaves. How long can you spend clearing leaves to hit your putt before you are hit with a delay penalty?


You may take as long as you need provided you don’t unduly delay play. In other words, just be mindful of the group behind you. Will you, please?

Illustration by Stephen Cheetham

Comic Relief Golf is Caroline Hirsch’s off-Broadway escape BY PETER FINCH

aroline Hirsch’s business is all about relationships. Her carefully formed connections with agents and comics helped her build Carolines on Broadway into one of New York’s top venues for big-name comedy acts—and a launching pad for the careers of Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Maher, Sam Kinison and many more.


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Yet this passionate golfer, player of more than 50 rounds a year, isn’t looking to strengthen those relationships on the golf course. She’s looking to disconnect. “Taking four hours and escaping the stresses of life—that’s good for human beings,” she says. “It’s important to decompress.” Hirsch learned the game in the late 1960s at Brooklyn’s Marine Park Golf Course, not far from her home. Nowadays she and her partner, Andrew Fox, have memberships at Noyac Golf Club in Sag Harbor, N.Y., and nearby East Hampton Golf Club. They also belong to Donald Trump’s course in West Palm Beach. “The politics this year! Eeeeesh,” she says. Hirsch’s usual game is at Noyac. In the summer, she and three women friends tee it up most Saturdays and Sundays at 9:32. These are the first weekend times available to “non-primary” members, a.k.a. spouses or significant others. She’s a primary member, and can play when she wants, but not all her friends are. Do those restrictions bother her, a former board member of the Ms. Foundation and part of its “Take Our Daughters to Work” initiative? “I’d like [the rule] to change, and I’m hopeful it will,” she says. “Listen, there’s a list of things I’d like to change. You pick your battles, I think.” Unlike the comedians on her stage, Hirsch doesn’t aim for laughs. She’s known as serious and efficient, with a special eye for spotting up-and-coming talent. These are traits that carry onto the 5 comedy course, where she plays quickly and well gimmes (16.7 Handicap Index). She was heading toward a career in reDon’t miss these tail when in 1981 some “friends who had standouts at discos and stuff” convinced her to join this year’s New them in opening a comedy club. Hirsch York Comedy bought them out when the friends reloFestival, says cated to Boston. She has moved the club Caroline Hirsch twice, landing near Times Square in 1992. One thing that makes it different: She ▶ Eric Andre An outrageously books headliners, comics who can deliver hilarious and original an hour or more of material versus the 10performer. His or 15-minute sets by multiple performers Adult Swim show you find at other clubs. The first comic she is a must-see. booked was Jay Leno. ▶ Bridget Everett Today Hirsch’s comedy empire exA staple of the tends to the New York Comedy Festival, New York comedy a five-day event she founded that puts on and cabaret scene. shows at six venues throughout the city in Bold, brash and early November. It should draw more than fearless. 40,000 fans. ▶ Michael Che She and Fox also created Stand Up for Smart with a Heroes, an event at Madison Square Garrazor-sharp wit. den that features Bruce Springsteen and Brings edge to the raises millions for veterans through the “Weekend Update” Bob Woodruff Foundation. And then she’s segment on “Satura producer and underwriter for Stand Up day Night Live.” for Madeline, named for the late comic ▶ Hari Kondabolu Madeline Kahn, which for 15 years has A great writer and helped fund ovarian cancer research. gifted performer. So when the weekend comes and A very smart, Hirsch hits the golf course, can she really insightful comedian. turn off all those distractions? Her friends ▶ Cameron Esposito insist she can—though traces of the weekBrave and bright. day Caroline Hirsch are never far away. Great material on “There’s only one person who drives LGBT issues that’s the cart: Caroline,” says her friend, Brooke delivered in a bold Cohen. “It’s totally a control thing.” and honest way. Photograph by Walter Iooss Jr.

illustration: stephen savage

The Golf Life Golf and Business by Firstname Lastname

The Golf Life Ask Golf Digest by Firstname Lastname

I hit a bad tee shot on a par 3, and a lawn mower ate my ball, so I dropped another where it happened and played on without penalty. Did I do it right? ALEX CHERIEL, PORTLAND, ORE.


It certainly sounds reasonable. Even Phil Mickelson couldn’t get up and down with a shredded golf ball. But if you’re asking us what the rules gendarmes have to say about it, it took some time to track them down. They’re still sequestered in a safe house until the whole U.S. Open/Dustin Johnson thing blows over. But here’s what they said: You kinda got it right. A lawn mower is an outside agency. That means you should have gone to the spot where the damaged ball was found. Next, you have to go through something like a 15-point Jiffy Lube inspection to make sure everyone agrees that


the ball led a good life and should go to golf-ball heaven. Finally, unsheathe a new ball, place it on the spot where you found the original, and play on (no penalty). Wanna hear something really messed up? If that Toro had knocked your ball out-of-bounds, you’d be hitting your third shot from the tee. Your original is O.B. Q. Why do teachers overuse the adjective “golf” when instructing? Do they think we might strike a volleyball with a billy club to hit a rifle shot? LLOYD JONES, HONOLULU

▶▶▶ Here’s the thing, Lloyd. May we call you Lloyd? Thanks.

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Q. Does the size of your golf grips really affect your golfball flight? ERNIE HENSON, ALBUQUERQUE

▶▶▶ See, Lloyd? Ernie wrote “golf ” twice in a 13-word question submitted to a golf periodical. He didn’t even blink. Nice work, Ernie. Now, on to your question. Our equipment geeks shot this puppy over to Nick Sherburne, who is the dean of Club Champion University. Its football team is 5-1 heading into homecoming weekend. Actually, Nick and his crew build custom clubs, and they know a thing or two about size. We’ll stop right there. Here’s his answer, marginally truncated: Grip size will affect cleanliness of impact, shot shape and hitting the ball high or low. It’s because the size influences how the hands swing the club down and through the hitting area. Wait, he meant to say “golf club.”

IN A WORD Q: Why do the morons yell out so much stupid stuff when the pros tee off? Or did I answer my own question? A: Yes.

UPDATE ▶ In the October issue, we explained what to do when getting dive-bombed by a hawk, but what about other animals? Your guide: ▶ Bears Outrun your playing partner. ▶ Deer Snapchat. ▶ Geese They’re Canadian. Just politely ask them to leave. ▶ Snakes Is it, “Red touches black, you’re OK, Jack” or “You’re finished, Jack”? ▶ Squirrels Never make direct eye contact. ▶ Alligators Zigzag away. In a golf cart.

▶ Turtles Play through.

Submit your burning questions here: or on Twitter @GolfDigest Illustration by Serge Seidlitz

alligator: dorling kindersley/getty images • crowd: christian petersen/getty images • spot illustration: peter stemmler

Although we get your point, and even laughed a little, there is a bona fide reason why golf instructors put that adjective in front of everything. It might seem redundant. Like taking 37 napkins at Chipotle. But what it does is subtly reinforce the idea to newbies and higher-handicappers that they are really and truly golfers. You might not call yourself a golfer. You might not think your swing is worthy. But if you play golf, you’re a cardcarrying member of our merry band. Think about all the times you’ve knocked it stiff from 150 yards, and the person next to you says, “Golf shot.” That’s the person’s way of acknowledging that, despite the fact you used a 3-wood and swung like you just walked into a spider web, you managed to produce a result that even a good player would take. Frankly, we think the word “golf” should be used even more. Co-worker comes to the office looking great? “Golf suit.” Spouse makes one helluva meal? “Golf meatloaf.” So to you, Lloyd, may we say, have a golf day.



YOUR AMAZING HOLE-IN-ONE Commemorate your achievement and make it last a lifetime with an exclusive certiямБcate of authenticity from Golf Digest.


The Golf Life Style by Marty Hackel

Like a cool pocket square, these watches will add personality. 1






Series 800 price $895

Carbon Orange price $4,800

Big Bang Unico Italia price $26,200

3 TIFFANY & CO. CT60 Dual Time price $6,800

Color Scheming

A vibrant watch can give your look a lift

5 TAG HEUER Formula 1 price $1,500

ou might have heard the saying: Your socks should never be funnier than you are. The same applies to your watch, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun. A recent trend I’m seeing is matching your watch to a colorful part of your attire. It has the same effect as a coordinated pocket square or tie. The key is to not go overboard. Next up? You need the personality to match. Don’t worry, we can work on that, too.





Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona price $34,650

Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph price $27,900

50 | november 2016

Photograph by Jeffrey Westbrook

styling by elizabeth press for judy casey


The Golf Life

Use Your Noggin A new way to train your brain for better golf y now, you’ve probably noticed Jason Day’s pre-shot routine: Day flutters his eyes open and closed behind the ball while taking a deep breath before stepping into nearly every shot. It might look odd, but it has a purpose. It’s the result of Day’s work in controlling brain activity using an app-based product called FocusBand ($500). When you wear the company’s headgear and hit a golf shot, sensors record what’s going on in your head— namely, are you focused or distracted? The device was invented in 2009 by the Australian father-son team of Graham and Henry Boulton to help train athletes in all sports get into what is commonly known as “the zone,” or as the Boultons call it, a “state of no-

brian cronin



mindedness, or Mushin.” The goal: Training your mind to perform the process of each swing without having to consciously think about the routine or outcome as you perform it. The FocusBand app displays your brain score after each shot—known as the Mushin Factor—and gives you easy-to-decipher feedback on how well you were able to clear your mind by using color-coded images of a brain. Shades of red indicate a loss of focus. Green means you were in the zone. Adding to its golf application is a partnership with the launch-monitor company FlightScope. You can analyze your brain activity alongside your swing data with its VX app ($10). It’s fascinating to see if there’s a correlation between how you felt about a swing, the result of the shot, and whether the app indicates your mind was clear. This might help explain the age-old frustration of why you hit it great on the range but struggle on the course. Your brain is getting in the way. —STEPHEN HENNESSEY

november 2016 |


The Golf Life Man About Golf

Golf’s governing bodies ought to support yips research.

Flinching Golfers aren’t the only ones who are afflicted BY DAVID OWEN on Nygord was one of the best American pistol shooters ever. He set national records, competed in the Olympics in 1984 and 1988, and won gold medals in the Pan American Games in 1979, 1987 and 1991. Highly skilled shooters spend so many hours mastering their technique that squeezing the trigger ceases to be a conscious act: They raise their pistol and aim at the target, and at the optimal moment the gun seemingly discharges on its own. Toward the end of Nygord’s career, though, something began to go wrong. His hand would freeze, forcing him to intentionally perform an action that had previously been automatic. His scores fell.


54 | november 2016

Nygord called his affliction “chicken finger,” but most shooters call it “flinching.” (Some sufferers, rather than freezing, involuntarily jerk their firearm down and to one side.) Archers face an analogous disability, which they call “target panic.” In snooker, it’s “cueitis”; in darts, “dartitis”; in baseball, “Knoblauch disease,” after Chuck Knoblauch, a second baseman for the New York Yankees, who in 1999 lost the ability to make accurate throws to first base. In golf—and in cricket—it’s “the yips.” One of the leading authorities on flinching is Michael J. Keyes, a retired psychiatrist and longtime contributor to Shotgun Sports magazine. “People often think that flinching is the same thing as choking, but it’s not,” he told me recently. “Flinching and the yips are caused by glitches in the brain, and they’re involuntary and unconscious. Anxiety can trigger them, but it isn’t the cause.” Keyes is an excellent marksman. He discovered his talent in the Navy in the early 1970s, and in 1980 the American national shooting team asked him to serve as its phy-

sician. “They desperately needed someone who knew something about mental training,” he said, “so I read all the East German and Russian literature, which I found at a little communist bookstore in Chicago.” His interest in flinching came later, partly as a result of his friendship with Nygord. “Before I was drafted, I also trained as a neurologist,” he said, “and when I first learned about flinching I knew there had to be something neurological about it.” He eventually concluded that at least some forms of flinching belong to a category of mysterious ailments known as task-specific dystonias, which were first identified by an English physician in the 1800s. Sufferers in those days included scriveners, telegraph operators, seamstresses and cigarette makers—all people who had mastered repetitive fine motor movements of the hands. “When you train to perform a specific act, you change your brain,” Keyes explains. “As you become more and more focused on the action, your brain develops pathways that not only make the action more precise but also inhibit muscles that oppose it. In some people, this mapping of the brain eventually seems to fuzz out a little bit, and you get anomalous muscular contractions or paralysis.” Writers develop writer’s cramp. Pistol shooters flinch. Golfers get the yips. One characteristic usually shared by victims is long experience with the movements that come to torment them: It’s masters, not novices, who suffer most frequently, a fact that argues against “nerves” as the cause. (Tommy Armour, Ben Hogan, Mark O’Meara, Sam Snead and Harry Vardon became yippers late in their careers, when the competitive pressures they faced were relatively low.) No one knows how to cure dystonia, although some sufferers find relief by significantly altering their technique—as Bernhard Langer has done more than once. Trapshooters who flinch are sometimes helped by so-called “release triggers,” which fire not when you pull them but when you let them go. Chuck Knoblauch had no trouble throwing from left field. Golf’s governing bodies ought to support yips research—as the Mayo Clinic has done, several times—because the game is harmed when lifelong players give up in despair. But the USGA and the R&A have actually done the opposite, and have further stigmatized sufferers, by banning what Keyes described to me in an email as “one of the few proven (and mildly effective) treatments”: the long putter anchored against the chest. Whose brilliant idea was that? Illustration by Michael Waraksa

The Golf Life Mr. X by Firstname Lastname

“I realize not every media person at our tournaments has a tremendous golf IQ.” Dumb questions hen I was a rookie, going to the range for an hour took an hour. Now that I’ve had some success (I’ve won, and I’ve made a double-digit number of cuts the past six seasons), I allot 1:45 for an hour of practice. Walking from the locker room to the range, or from the fitness trailer to the equipment trucks—pretty much whenever I show my face, I’m going to be stopped. The main questions are, by whom and for how long. Don’t get me wrong: I’m very happy to have this attention from fans, media, volunteers, everyone. If I didn’t have it, that’d mean my career was in the crapper. But the thing is, I spend a staggering amount of my life answering (often the same) questions.


The first few trips I made to the media center, back when I hadn’t won and a low round had me in position, the question that always annoyed me was, “Are you excited to be here?” No, I’m bummed. I’ve dedicated everything to being a professional golfer, and tomorrow I have a good chance to win a million dollars. Of course I’m excited. How the heck is anyone supposed to answer that? Another one is, “Talk about how it went out there.” That’s not even a question but a command for me to start blathering. That’s lazy. It’s pretty obvious the person hasn’t followed my round at all. After four or five hours competing on a hard golf course, I’m drained. You can’t catch me outside the scorer’s tent and expect me to deliver something interesting without first engaging me a bit and providing some context for what it is you want me to say. I realize not every media person at our tournaments has a tremendous golf IQ. We get local sports reporters who cover everything from football to

basketball to high school field hockey, so I’m always patient with any questions that miss the mark. But the all-timer was when I once described having a “two-club wind” into a par 3. The writer asked, “Which two clubs?” Some players are robotic in interviews. They’ve been trained to give the same safe, contained answers, which is a shame. I feel like it’s my duty to let you all in at least a little. I like to think I give the same answer whether I’m talking to Jim Nantz or the kid filling the water cooler. I’m a decent person, and so I figure if I can just be myself, I shouldn’t say anything that will get me in trouble. Sometimes we’re ridiculed for talking in clichés, but they’re true. When I say the key for an important round will be “staying in the moment and taking it one shot a time,” that’s because there’s no other way to describe what I believe is the correct mental approach. As far as pro-am groups and other captive situations like sponsor dinners and cocktail parties,

56 | november 2016

what I really get sick of are the golf questions. (You walk into a room and see video cameras, a pitcher of water and two stools set at someone’s conception of the ideal conversational angle, well, you know right then you’re going to have to fill air for at least 20 minutes.) What’s your favorite course? There are lots of really good ones. How far do you hit a 5-iron? Look it up. What was it like playing with (insert golfer more famous than I am)? He was a total gentleman. I recognize the game

is the natural angle for almost anyone meeting me, but I’m a person. I can respond warmly to the same questions for only so many years. Of the various high-profile people I’ve met, almost none enjoyed talking about what they’re famous for. You need to get them talking about other passions. For me, it’s cars. If you want to talk cars, I’ll go get a beer with you. But ask me about golf, and it’s like I put up my shield. Sorry, but that’s the way I am. —WITH MAX ADLER

peter arkle

Undercover Tour Pro


king for

eternit y by tom callahan

arnold palmer’s impact on golf will live f o r e v e r november 2016 |


60 | november 2016

previous pages: john dominis/ the life picture collection/getty images (left), dom furore (right) • this page: bob gomel/ time life pictures/getty images


e looked like an athlete, a prizefighter, a middleweight. He opened golf’s windows and let in some air. He lifted a country club game, balanced it on his shoulders, carried it to the people, and made it a sport. He won big. He lost big. People who didn’t follow golf followed him. People who hated golf loved him. He was photogenic in the old newspapers. He was telegenic in the new medium. He was the most asked question called into the night desks on weekends: “What did Palmer do today?” ▶ He was a Pittsburgher, like Billy Conn, Mike Ditka, Honus Wagner and Johnny Unitas. The Mellons and the Carnegies and the Rooneys and Gene Kelly and David McCullough and Sean Thornton. ▶ He was loamy meadows and smoky skies, river valleys and steel mills, like the plant where his father, Milfred, sometimes worked (“Steel, Michaeleen, steel in pig-iron furnaces so hot a man forgets his fear of hell”) until just in front of the Depression, Milfred took a job as greenkeeper and pro (mostly greenkeeper) at Latrobe Country Club. Nobody addressed him as Milfred, except Doris when she was of a fanciful mind. To most, he was Deacon. A few said Deke. Arnold called him Pap.

From Pap, Arnie learned many important things, like how to grip a golf club and integrity. But Doris’ contribution was what made all the difference. She was as light and delicate as a scarf, but ready company and a natural communicator. She liked people, and they liked her. Deacon was always prodding his son to be tougher and try harder and succeed more. But whatever the boy did pleased his mother, provided he was kind. Nobody had to teach him to love golf. As Peter Dobereiner wrote, “Arnold did not catch the golf bug; he was born with it like a hereditary disease.” He started to play at the age of 3 and turned pro at 7 when Latrobe member Helen Fritz offered him a nickel to hit her drive over a ditch. After adjusting the cap pistol strapped to his hip, he took a whirling cut that brought to mind a finish-line flagman or a revolving lawn sprinkler. Mrs. Fritz’s ball floated down like a paratrooper onto the fairway. Every Ladies’ Day thereafter, he was available to bash dowagers’ drives for five cents. “Some of them,” he said, “were slow pay.” He had a second love as well: airplanes. Whenever he could, he ran down the country club road to Latrobe’s tiny airport with its grass runway, no control tower, no instrument landing, no radio direction. He passed his hands over the few biplanes parked there and imagined himself an aviator like Wiley Post. He sat in the flight room by a pot-bellied stove and listened to the pilots’ “by-gosh and by-God” adventures. He went to Wake Forest College but couldn’t stay. A golf teammate accompanied by a basketball player drove to a dance in Durham and never made it home. The golfer was Bud Worsham, Arnold’s best friend, whose brother Lew won the 1947 U.S. Open. Undeservedly but understandably, Palmer blamed himself for the accident, for declining their offer to join them. Had he accepted, he reasoned, he might have been at the wheel on the way back. Finishing the semester in a heart-broken fog, he dropped out of school and joined the Coast Guard. He spent three years guarding coasts and honing his game. For a time he sold paint supplies in Cleveland. The U.S. Amateur brought him back on course. He won it in 1954, 1 up over investment banker and middle-age millionaire Bob Sweeny. That same year, Arnold successfully defended his Ohio Amateur Championship outside Toledo, where late one day he had the range to himself, knocking down 9-irons in the rain. Only one spectator stood watching, a 14-yearold boy named Jack Nicklaus. They would end up hyphenated like Dempsey-Tunney. Nobody wanted Dempsey beaten, either. In December of ’54, Arnold Palmer and Winifred Walzer eloped. To Winnie, he was Arn. The next April, they pulled up at their first Masters in a dusty and dilapidated old Ford hitched to a small trailer. Palmer tied for 10th, good for $696. Winnie told him she loved him, she’d always love him, she’d

t h e 1 9 6 2 w o r l d s e r i e s o f g o l f.

arnie with his army i n t h e e a r ly ’ 6 0 s .

transcendental graphics/getty images

follow him to the ends of the earth, but the trailer had to go. Though he won the Masters in 1958 and 1960, Palmer didn’t formally become Palmer until the 1960 U.S. Open near Denver. There were other applicants, including Mike Souchak, a muscleman himself, and Ken Venturi, the betting favorite to succeed Ben Hogan atop golf. Hogan’s favorite, too. “Hogan never called me by my name,” Palmer said coldly. “Never.” Souchak led the first round by a shot, the second by three and the third by two, leaving Palmer a full seven strokes and 14 players behind. But in the final round he drove Cherry Hills’ 346-yard, par-4 first hole and went out in 30, smoking everybody (while smoking L&Ms). His ultimate 65 was good for a twostroke victory over the 20-year-old amateur, Nicklaus. They had begun. A month later, with the Masters and U.S. Open in pocket, Palmer felt obligated to make his first bid for an Open Championship, in the Centenary Open at St. Andrews. Following local caddie Tip Anderson’s nose (a veiny, purple masterpiece), he lost by a stroke to Australian Kel Nagle. But Palmer and Anderson won the next summer at Royal Birkdale and the summer after that at Troon. After taking his third Masters in 1962, he was defeated by Nicklaus over 18 extra holes in the U.S. Open at Oakmont, just down the road from Latrobe. Jack’s famous concentration was so good that week that he didn’t hear anyone in the crowd say, “Miss it, Fat Guts.” Palmer, Nicklaus and South African Gary Player, dubbed The Big Three, flew the world for a while, Arnold at the controls. Leaving an exhibition in Seagraves, Tex., Nicklaus and Player had to hold onto each other to keep off the ceiling. They were all over the sky. “I had Gary crouching under his seat,” Palmer said. “I shouldn’t laugh. But it wasn’t always hardnosed stuff, was it? We had some fun.” Still, even as partners, Palmer and Nicklaus clashed. It was as if God said to Nicklaus, “You will have skills like no other,” then whispered to Palmer, “but they will love you more.” “I can remember ginger-ale battles in our hotel rooms,” Palmer said. “One night,” said Nicklaus, “we got to kicking each other’s shins under the table. I don’t know why. I kicked him. He kicked me. Neither would give. We ended up with the biggest damned bruises. We used to do the stupidest stuff.” Getting back to work on his 62 PGA Tour victories, Palmer added a fourth Masters in 1964. With that he stopped winning major championships, but no one noticed for 10 years. His third playoff loss in a U.S. Open, at Olympic in 1966, was the most lingering. Leading Billy Casper by three strokes on Sunday morning, he covered the front side in 32 to Casper’s 36. Now the advantage was seven with just nine holes to play. But he allowed himself a daydream—Par in from here and you beat Hogan’s Open record—and the world fell apart. The public didn’t mind. He could sling

four straight 3-woods out-of-bounds to make a 12 at Rancho Park in Los Angeles, and they still didn’t care. If anything, it made him even more attractive. He always went for broke, and they always went with him. Nicklaus and Palmer finished 1-2 in the Open at Baltusrol in 1967 and 1-3 at Pebble Beach in 1972. Either man might have won the 1975 Open at Medinah if they hadn’t been paired together in the fourth round and become so fixated on each other that they lost track of the field. Afterward, Jack was bemoaning three closing bogeys so pitifully that Arnold finally jumped in and said, “Why don’t you just sashay your ass back out there and play them over?” The vinegar evaporated in time. Palmer made the first move. At a senior event, The Tradition, he knocked Nicklaus over by asking him to look at his swing. “Can you imagine?” Jack said. “Me? We’ve played 30 years, and that’s the first time he ever asked me.” “We still have the needle out,” Arnold said, “but we know now that we love each other, and we always did.” Even during the hatchet-burying ceremony, when Palmer was the honoree at Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament, the needle was still glistening. Asked by a Canadian writer if he would be returning to the Canadian Open (Arnold’s first pro success, the only blue ribbon to elude Jack), Nicklaus replied, “Barbara says she’s going to keep sending me back there until I get it right.” To which Palmer inquired innocently, “Are you sure she’s talking about golf?” They began to play practice rounds together again. At Augusta in 1996, Tiger Woods’ last Masters as an amateur, the three of them went out together Wednesday morning. On the par-5 13th, Woods popped up his drive and for once was away. Nicklaus had his back turned to Tiger. Peeking over Jack’s shoulder, Palmer saw the 20-year-old pull out an iron for his second shot and whispered, “He’s laying up.” “Oh, Arnie,” Jack said affectionately. “He’s not.” Tiger hit a blue darter over the creek onto the green.

‘palmer went to bed at night with charisma, and he woke up the next morning with more.’ —sam snead


the search for perfection

rnold and I didn’t do everything perfectly,” Nicklaus said. “You try for perfection in golf, but you never get there.” On the subject of perfection, Palmer wasn’t a plastic saint. He didn’t glow in the dark. For 45 years he adored Winnie, but he loved all women, and more than a few loved him back. PGA champion Bob Rosburg, his roommate on tour for some of the hungry years, fielded a phone call once from an especially agitated husband. Rossie tried to mollify the man, but, never wanting to come between Arnie and buckshot, signed off by saying, “My bed is the one by the window.” In 2013, Tom Watson complained to Golf Digest about a cover photo posing 84-yearold Palmer with supermodel Kate Upton in a parody of Grant Wood’s American Gothic. Mimicking the somber farmer, Arnold is holding a bunker rake instead of a pitchfork. “He looks doddering,” Watson said. “If they had only shot him sneaking a peek out of the corner of his eye at Kate—eyes twinkling— that would have been all right. That would have been Arnie.” He earned $40 million that year without taking an official swing, and another $40 million the next. Palmer’s net worth as of last year was an estimated $680 million. His original money man, contemporary Mark McCormack, sport’s first super agent, was at least a co-builder of his great friend’s great brand. McCormack died in 2003. He went in for a face-lift and didn’t come out. Palmer made his side money in advertising, architecture, clothes, cars, motor oil, catsup, dry cleaners, umbrellas, everything. He actually guest-hosted for Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show.” It was the most wooden performance since Charlie McCarthy. But the audience enjoyed him. He walked through a movie scene from “Call Me Bwana” for Bob Hope. His pals ranged from Bing Crosby, Perry Como and James Garner to Mrs. Simpson’s husband, Edward, the former King of England. A lot of pros have played golf with presidents, but only Palmer answered the doorbell at his home to find Dwight Eisenhower on the porch saying, “Happy birthday.” Palmer maintained two residences, Bay Hill and Latrobe. The portrait Norman Rockwell painted of him was in Latrobe. To revisit his boyhood, all Arnold had to do was swivel the chair in his Latrobe office and gaze out the window. Since 1971, he owned the golf course where his father had been an employee who never set foot in the locker room, the dining room or the bar unless specifically invited by a member. Pap and he walked that hillside over there, shot pheasants, rabbits and squirrels, cleaned them in a nearby stream, and soaked them in salt water overnight. On the edge of the hill, an old oak tree fell over. The november 2016 |


trunk was crumbling and honeybees moved in. “ ‘Now, Arnie,’ my dad says, ‘we’re going to take this honey home to your mother.’ But he says, ‘We have to get two five-pound bags of sugar. When we take the honey out, we’re going to put those two bags of sugar right there, so the bees can have their food.’ By God, we did it, too. I was about 7 or 8 years old.” You might say, he spent his whole life taking the honey out and putting the sugar back. On May 23, 2014, he wrote a thousandth (ten-thousandth?) letter to a junior golfer in Massachusetts whose older brother had reached out. “Dear Nate: “I understand from your brother, Adam, that you are quite a golfer and a great younger brother. . . . As you graduate from High School and continue on to Stonehill College, I think you will find life to be enjoyable and fulfilling if you follow this advice: *Courtesy and respect are timeless principles, as well as good manners . . . “Whatever Hogan did to Arnold that hurt him so,” Byron Nelson said, “I can’t believe he truly meant it. You know, Hogan knew that people as a group didn’t like him. Maybe that was it. Ben had some friends, but most people didn’t like him. He was so driven and he was so good. I think he had, I don’t know, kind of a fear of being close to people. After his automobile accident—and, you know, he played his best golf after he learned to walk again—Ben told me, he said, ‘Byron, I didn’t realize that so many people liked me.’ You could almost cry.” *Knowing when to speak is just as important as knowing what you say . . . “Palmer went to bed at night with charisma,” Sam Snead said, “and he woke up the next morning with more.” *Know how to win by following the rules . . . “When I think of him,” Raymond Floyd said, “I think of his hands. The greatest set of hands I’ve ever seen. Those eyes, too. On the golf course, all I ever saw was a mass of people. I saw, but I didn’t see. He was able to focus in on everybody in the gallery individually. It wasn’t fake.” *Know the importance of when and how to say thank you . . . “We were paired together,” Ernie Els said, “at my first major in America, the PGA at Bellerive [St. Louis]. How old was I then, 22? As we shook hands on Friday—those unbelievable hands—he invited me to play the next year in his tournament at Bay Hill. He said it was the only time he had ever extended an invitation on the spot like that. I can’t tell you what it meant to me. It was like he opened a door and invited me in. I felt so

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glad, and so lucky, when I came to win his tournament eventually.” Twice. *Never underestimate the importance of a good education . . . “I’ve stayed in Arnold’s house,” Player said. “He’s stayed in mine. He came to South Africa, and we took him down a gold mine. And his mother! I just loved his mother. She was a dear lady. And I loved his father. He was just as tough as they say, but that wasn’t the whole story. We compete, professional golfers. We’re competitors. But you laugh together as you go, and you cry together sometimes. He and I did, physically. We cried together. At the end of the day, you play for each other.” In a Champions event near Washington in 1986, Palmer made a hole-in-one with a 5-iron and, the next afternoon, at the same tee, did it again. “I saw Gary standing by the green, looking back,” he said. “I wanted to hit a good one.” “That’s it! That’s it!” Player said. “He always knew how to share a moment of triumph, yours or his.” Good luck in college and study hard Sincerely,

Incidentally, it delighted him to hear that his autograph was worth almost nothing on the market because there were so many of them. Six years after Winnie died of ovarian cancer in 1999, Arnold found Kit. Families don’t always embrace second wives, but he had someone with whom to unveil the morning again, and his daughters and their children cheered. He shook off his own cancer and, missing a prostate but not a beat, hitched his pants and went on. For golf, he had the simplest wish: “That every 20-handicapper who goes to the first tee with a knowledge of the game should pass it on to someone who doesn’t know or doesn’t care. For every swing lesson a golfer takes, take a lesson in rules and etiquette. Preserve what we have.” He had to be talked into talking about Tiger Woods, who won his tournament eight times. “Let me make sure I say exactly what I want to say,” he said, staring out the window for a moment. “Let’s not put a name on it. Let’s not talk about anyone specifically. Let’s just say that not everyone in golf or sports wants to share his life with the public, or for that matter, with anyone else at all. I think that’s the simplest way to put it. I’ve

liked sharing my life. I think being out there among the people, letting them know you and sincerely wanting to know them, too, is the happier way to go. But everyone has to go his own way.” As the 2016 U.S. Open was going on at nearby Oakmont, Palmer was in Latrobe, talking about flying. “I knew the chairman of Boeing,” he said. (Of course he did.) “He let me take up a 747.” Arnold’s visitor guessed, “It must have been like piloting a skyscraper.” “Yeah,” he said with a wonderful smile, “from the top floor.” He was pallid but he was himself. Only at the mention of journeyman pro Sam Saunders did his eyes water. “It isn’t easy for him to be my grandson,” he said, and to have elected this particular grandfather’s life’s work. Since tripping on a rug and separating his right shoulder in 2015, Palmer had looked shockingly fragile. Not just colorless, gray. But his mind was terrific and his sense of humor intact. Walking his big yellow dog, Mulligan, at dusk, he said, “I’ll be old one of these days.” Severiano Ballesteros’ brain tumor had been stalled (but not stopped) by the spring of 2009 when a photograph from Pennsylvania arrived in northern Spain. “Arnold Palmer sent me a dog,” he said with a laugh. “In a picture. His dog, called Mulligan.” The Spaniard got the message and understood it for what it was, a prayer. “The doctor saved my life; now I use my mulligan.” Seve, of course, was the Palmer who came along. Adopting his own Labrador puppy, he named it for the Palmer who followed him. Phil. “Never saying ‘No,’ ” Lee Trevino said, “is why Arnold wore out sooner than he should have [in the majors]. I don’t think he’d change it, though.” What about that? Any regrets? “Sure, I would love to have won the four [U.S.] Opens I almost won,” Palmer said, “or the two or three PGAs I barely lost. But, if I had it to do over again, would I take a different approach? I wouldn’t. Let’s say I could start over. I could have five Opens and two PGAs and six Masters and a couple more British Opens, but not as many friends? No. No way, Jose. Keep the trophies. I mean, I remember teeing off in Palm Springs at the Bob Hope, and because I had a couple of bad rounds, I’m starting early. Real early in the morning. Maybe 7 o’clock. And here comes Arnie’s Army in their pajamas and robes.” He was equal parts humble and proud. He was equal parts commoner and king. He was equal parts iced tea and lemonade. He’d bobble across a clubhouse grillroom (home or away) to tell an offender (stranger or friend) to remove his cap indoors. For 87 burned-and-burnished years, he lived his life with joy and grace, swooping and soaring like a biplane over Latrobe on the earned estimation of men and the free favor of God. Which was how he left this world on September 25, 2016.

w h at d o e s h e k n o w t h at w e d o n ’ t ? a r n o l d i n a n u n d at e d p h o t o .

10 rules for a

golf l i f e by guy yocom


rnold palmer didn’t leave behind a tutorial on how to live the perfect golf life. Which is just as well, because his life and golf game could never be copied by rote anyway. To play the game as well as he did and look so good doing it, to be adored so thoroughly by the public and your peers, to have a lion-like command of every environment would make a how-to useless. To live Arnold’s lifestyle, have his wealth and influence, and build such a grand family—all the while avoiding the land mines most people face—it was too fantastic to be duplicated. Arnold might not have written down the rules, but he shed a lot of clues along the way. From golf courses, grillrooms, boardrooms, banquet halls, pressrooms, exhibition tents and on TV, he revealed how to absorb and enjoy all the benefits the game can offer. And there has been nobody better at paying it forward. Here are 10 things we learned from Arnold, on and off the course. 66 | november 2016

left: walter iooss jr. • right: bob gomel/ the life images collection/getty images

a simple palmer gem: turn the shoulders as far as they’ll go.

“System” in golf usually describes a connect-the-dots, full-swing method. To Arnold, it meant something else. “It’s a whole way of playing,” he said. It included the fundamentals but also the intangibles, like how far you hit each iron, your tendencies on sideslopes and downslopes, how to play in the wind or to stay calm under pressure. Arnold thought a system could partially be taught but that it mainly was self-discovered. “When you saw me gripping and regripping the club on the tee and taking a bunch of waggles, I was thinking about how I was going to play the shot,” he said. “It was part of my system and was a lot better than dwelling on how important the situation was.”


always dress the part

Around the Bay Hill Club in Orlando, Arnold was known to not wear socks with his loafers. On the flip side of this nontraditional style choice, he loathed beards, hats worn backward or indoors and shirts left untucked. He was a principled dresser and always a trendsetter. In the 1960s, he rocked a navy-blue cardigan like nobody else. In the ’70s, he went with bat-wing collars and mod patterns, and in the ’80s, hard-collar shirts with long plackets. Even in recent decades, his look commanded attention. He had quirks, too, favoring pink shirts and breaking out a new pair of golf shoes every week of competition. But he was basically old school. “The neatly appointed golfer,” he told Golf Digest in 2008, “is like a businessman or someone headed to church: He gives the impression he thinks the course and the people there are special.”


remember the kids

The defining moment of a 2013 Golf Digest cover shoot with Arnold and supermodel Kate Upton had little to do with either celebrity. It was Arnold who brought the shoot to a halt while he bragged about the golf game of his granddaughter Anna Wears, then 16. How she drove it 240 yards, was breaking 80, was the most athletic of all the grandchildren, and on and on until photographer Walter Iooss Jr. had to ask Arnold to get back on his mark. Young people got Arnold’s attention. No athlete signed more autographs for young fans, endorsed more youth initiatives, put in more calls of support. A small example of his largesse: In 1984, when Arnold was turning down far more endorsements than he was accepting, he agreed to lend his name to P. Bryon Polakoff’s children’s book Arnold Palmer and the Golfin’ Dolphin. Then there’s the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, a highly regarded pediatric hos-

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walk, and walk some more

If for no other reason than he intensely disliked golf carts, it’s doubtful any human walked more miles on the course than Arnold. To him, it was as intrinsic to the game as swinging the club. He did it for health and enjoyment but also to help him play better. When physicallyhandicapped tour player Casey Martin went to court to be allowed to ride in PGA Tour events, Arnold reluctantly—but firmly—took a stand for walking. Arnold never voluntarily rode during competition as a senior and lobbied against the use of carts on the senior tour. He enjoyed incredible vitality for almost all of his 87 years. There are crazier notions than to assume walking had something to do with that.


a good grip comes first

Butch Harmon has long maintained that the Vardon Trophy—a bronzecolored statue of two hands holding a club that goes to the PGA Tour player with the lowest scoring average—was modeled from a cast of Arnold’s grip. It is linear perfection, golf’s equivalent of a silhouetted Jerry West as the logo for the NBA. Arnold never denied or confirmed the rumor, but it’s true that for years, his grip was the envy of other players. Position-wise, neither hand shaded toward weak or strong, the Vs of both hands aiming at his right ear. Arnold was given the grip at age 3 by his father, along with the directive, “Don’t ever change it, boy.” So gripping properly became second nature to Arnold, and he took immense pride in it. His grip was a perfect model for aspiring golfers a half century ago—and is to this day.


hit the ball hard

It started when he was 7, when a woman at Latrobe (Pa.) Country Club named Mrs. Fritz paid Arnold a nickel to drive her ball over a ditch on the sixth hole. For the next 80 years, Arnold rarely spared himself physically on any shot. The violence of his driver swing led to a balanced but contorted follow-through, and he took huge divots on iron shots. When Arnold played from a tree stump at the 1963 U.S. Open at Brookline, he sent splinters flying everywhere. He preached what he practiced: Keep the head still, turn the shoulders as far as they’ll go, and finish with the hands high above the left shoulder. But he also issued a warning: “Swinging all-out is good. Swinging beyond all-out usually leads to disaster.”


it’s all about the driver

Through good times and bad, Arnold’s game was married to the driver. He hit the most famous drive in the game’s history: a Herculean bomb on the par-4 first hole at Cherry Hills outside of

Denver that found the green and fueled his victory at the 1960 U.S. Open. “When I drove the ball well, I was usually tough to beat because my game flowed off that,” he said. Hundreds of his drivers, persimmon and metal, line the shelves of a modified maintenance barn at Latrobe. Arnold was a powerful driver and wanted ordinary players to taste power, too. In 2000, he controversially backed a nonconforming driver.


accept the game’s mysteries

A dark counterpoint to Arnold’s driver blast at Cherry Hills was a series of snap-hooked tee shots on the back nine at the Olympic Club in the 1966 U.S. Open, which led to an incoming 39, a blown seven-shot lead, and the title going to Billy Casper. It wasn’t the only time Arnold’s game left him. He lost the 1961 Masters to Gary Player with a double bogey on the final hole. The lesson learned is, sometimes you lose your game, and there’s little you can do about it. “When the train leaves the tracks, it’s rare you can get it back on track again,” he told Golf Digest in 2007. “It’s very hard—impossible, really—to reverse your thinking and go back to the frame of mind you were in just a couple holes before. I’m not sure we’ll ever figure out an answer.”


imitate your heroes

Arnold’s swing model when he was a boy in the 1930s was Byron Nelson, and he pored over the instruction book Byron Nelson’s Winning Golf. When he finally met Nelson, who was already famous for his proficient ball-striking, Lord Byron’s sportsmanship and unfailing politeness gave Arnold even more to imitate. Later, a generation of young golfers copied Arnold’s pants-hitching, go-forbroke style. Today, when tour pros like Phil Mickelson sign hats and programs, they often mention they’re following Arnold’s lead.


get it to the hole

“The worst thing you can do is leave a putt short,” Arnold said. In his prime, he charged them all. In the final round of the 1960 Masters, he banged a birdie putt on No. 16 off the flagstick (which at the time could be left unattended). He then rammed home a 20-footer for birdie on 17, and rapped in a four-footer for another birdie at the last to win by a shot. That’s just one example of his aggressive putting. Even when the three-footers stopped falling late in his career, he defended his style. “Get the ball to the hole no matter what,” he said. “If you do that, you’ll at least give it a chance to go in, which, if I’m not mistaken, is the object of the game.” Simple, sound advice from The King.

bob thomas/getty images


invent a system, then own it

pital that was a passion of Arnold’s since it opened in 1989. His foundation donates to many causes, but the common denominator is that they’re all for young people.

legions of golfers copied palmer’s go-for-broke style.


can learn from the best little tournament players in the world b y k e e ly l e v i n s

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t h i n k y o u n g / p l ay h a r d

madison moman 9 / pa l m b e a c h gardens, fla . “ yo u w a n t t h e putter to get to the hole before the ball. and k e e p yo u r h e a d d o w n ! yo u h av e to hear it go in.” tommy morrissey 5 / pa l m b e a c h gardens. “ i m e t g a ry p l ay e r , a n d he told me, ‘it’s all about balance, tommy!’ ”

P H O T O G R A P H E D B Y W A LT E R I O O S S J R . A T P I N E H U R S T G O L F R E S O R T

a i d e n d i n a n i / 7 / u p l a n d , c a l i f.

“ t h e o n ly thing my dad has e v e r b e at e n me in is chess.�

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“annika is m y favo r i t e p l ay e r . i l i k e t h at s h e ’ s a woman who p l ay e d w i t h the men and showed women can be as good. i c a n b e at b oys , to o .” m at i l d e m o d e s t i / 7 / r o m e

f i l i p g r av e / 8 bunkeflostrand / sweden

the first week of au gu st in Pinehurst, there’s a tradition unlike any other. This year, 1,552 players representing 52 countries came to take on 10 courses. It’s the major of all junior majors: the U.S. Kids World Championship. Perhaps you saw the Netflix documentary “The Short Game,” which followed a group of competitors and their parents at the 2012 tournament. The kids compete in nine- and 18-hole events, and everyone plays three rounds. Remember when you were 6? You probably weren’t grinding out 27 holes of stroke play. I’d flown from New York with the idea I’d see what made golf click for these kids. Gratification these days is as immediate as a like on Instagram, so why are all these youngsters choosing a game that takes so much time and effort? And just how did they get so good? To be honest, I had reservations. First, I was worried about hanging out with a bunch of kids who can kick my butt on the golf course. It doesn’t feel good to see a

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7-year-old with a smoother action than you. Second, and apologies for sounding judgmental, but I was worried some of the parents could be, well, a little nuts. One of these fears came true: These kids are darn good. Sihan Sandhu from Virginia shot 23 under par to win the 10-year-old boys division. That’s 23 under, over three rounds, on a course set up at 5,201 yards. That’s probably about the distance of the forward tees at your course. The other fear was misplaced. Sure, many of these parents have spent a lot of money on their kids’ golf careers, from travel to equipment to swing coaches. I met one boy from Hungary who travels with his family to the south of Spain for a month during the winter to practice. One girl from India had a swing coach and a trainer. But after sitting down with 30 kids and their parents, overwhelmingly, I found the kids to be the ones driving the need to play golf. “She wants to practice every day,” David Errichetto told me about his daughter, Isabella, 9. “I try to take her to the course only a few days a week, but then she’ll be out in the back yard practicing by herself. I can’t stop her.” Carson Higginbotham, 7, from Clarksburg, W.Va., was my first interview. Fearing I’d intimidate him by sitting down with my notebook and pen, I offered to have a putting contest while we talked with my tape recorder running. I asked if he had any drills he liked. “I don’t like drills,” he said in his sweet Southern twang. “I just like hammering it.” From there, the interview quickly turned into Carson spending all of his energy seeing what would happen if we putted balls down a set of stairs at the Carolina Hotel. I was able to briefly break his focus to get more insight. When it comes to putting, “I don’t like thinking about break,” Carson says. “If you hit it hard enough, there’s never any break.” t h e r i t t e r t r i p l e t s o f n e w a l b a n y, Not every kid took such a valohio, with big sis, from left: alex / 9 iant attitude, but each did cite ethan / 9 / anna / 12 / huston / 9. the short game as the most important part of playing. “I love practicing short game because a lot of people who hit long balls get up to the green and they’re a mess,” says Madison Moman, 9, from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Though she doesn’t always need her short game— she’s had three holes-in-one. Every kid seemed to offer some spin of the same advice: Short game is going to help you score, so you have to practice it. End of story. Though some had particular methods. “When I go out and practice on the putting green, I just use one ball,” says Thady White, 8, from Brighton, England. “You only have one ball on the course. You don’t have 60 million balls on the course.” Either these kids have teachers who have synthesized the game really well for them, or there’s something about a child’s brain that’s especially deft at filtering what’s going to help during a round from what isn’t. And when it comes to finding that balance of staying happy and focused, Tommy Morrissey, 5, of Palm Beach Gardens, has a practical answer. “Put on music and dance to have more fun,” Tommy says. He recommends such tunes as “Turn Down For What” by DJ Snake and Lil Jon, “My House” by Flo Rida, and anything that Bruno Mars sings. Tommy is used to giving interviews. Born with one arm, Tommy has a unique golf ability and has garnered social-media fame, magazine articles, television appearances and invitations to perform in exhibitions.


morgan riley / 9

j e d dy / 1 2

ocho rios / jamaica

ta g u i g / p h i l i p p i n e s

t h a dy w h i t e / 8

chloe kovelesky / 9

brighton, engl and

b o c a r at o n / f l a .

samantha olson / 11

b e n c e s o m o gy i / 1 0


b u d a p e s t / h u n g a ry

alex heard / 11

r u b y k ava n a g h / 8

b o c a r at o n / f l a .


jing hin jolie wong / 12

anushka borkar / 12

hong kong

bangalore / india

v i c t o r i a v e at o r / 1 2

iyene essien / 10

b r i d g e w at e r / m a s s .

u yo / n i g e r i a

november 2016 |


Some kids stressed the importance of being selective with playing partners. As much as you can, you want to play with people who make you feel good about your game and yourself. Few things are better than golf with siblings. I met the cute O’Grady sisters from Meath, Ireland, Niahm, 7, and Caoimhe, 10. They were that perfect combination of nervous and giddy about the tournament. “The best swing tip I ever got is to hold my follow-through,” Caoimhe (pronounced Kweevah) says. “Sadly, I have to give my dad credit for that one.” For parents, having two kids in the U.S. Kids World Championship is manageable. If they don’t tee off at the same time, the dad (the preferred caddie for the majority of players) can caddie for both. If the tee times happen at the same time, Mom or a coach can sub in. But there’s no combination of tee times that can help the Ritters from Ohio. They have a 12-year-old daughter, Anna, and her brothers Alex, Ethan and Huston, 9-year-old triplets. I could hear the triplets coming before I saw them—half a dozen little feet make for a mini-stampede. The four siblings sat in a semicircle around me, the triplets’ swinging legs too short to touch the ground. The boys laughed at their inside jokes while Anna sat patiently. The triplets told of being grouped together in a tournament. There was no way the three could play together quietly, so they were advised to separate while walking down each hole. One walked on the far right side of the fairway, one on the far left and one in the middle. “It’s so we don’t smack-talk too much,” Alex says. Their answers to my questions flowed, like one continuous sentence with three clauses. “My best swing thought is, Slow down.” “Swing all the way through.” “Focus on the target is the best swing tip someone gave me.” Anna likes having putting contests with her younger brothers because that’s the best part of her game. They’ve got her outnumbered, but she can still put them in their places on the putting green. “They influence me to practice more, so I can still beat them on the golf course,” Anna says. Besides keeping one’s distance from potentially raucous playing partners, I heard other experienced tournament strategies. “Don’t get upset over bad shots,” says Matilde Modesti, 7, from Rome. “If it doesn’t work, you have to keep going. It’s frustrating, but you can’t get upset.” Her mom helped out when we hit linguistic bumps. Matilde plays a lot of links golf. I asked her if she has to swing differently on links courses. She said, “Like this,” and stood up to take a swing in the air. Ball position was back, wrists farther ahead, her hips bumped forward on the way through, arms low at the finish. A textbook knockdown shot. My favorite question to ask each kid was what adults need to do to improve. “Adults need to stop playing money games,” Thady says. “If you’re putting so much money out there, you get too into the money instead of playing the game. I do play for Skittles sometimes—and it doesn’t help my game. It’s better to just play normal golf. That’s how you get better.” “Adults don’t practice enough,” Caoimhe says. “They’ve got other stuff to do. But they’d be better if they could practice more.” “They break down their left arm,” says Isabella, who didn’t stop smiling the entire interview, or probably the entire week. “And sometimes they take it back too far. But the ball


goes so far, I don’t know how adults do that.” “Adults try to swing way too hard. They need to slow it down and really think about what you have to do instead of going crazy and hitting it as hard as you can,” says Samantha Olson from Phoenix. “They don’t want to try it because they think it will go so tiny, but it actually works. It’ll go farther and straighter and prettier!” Samantha’s only 11 years old but knows what she wants to do when she grows up: teach golf. “A lot of grown-ups struggle with saying bad words on the golf course,” says Aiden Dinani, 7, from Upland, Calif. “I started giving them penalties for saying bad words. That’s the best way to get them to stop.” Aiden wasn’t so sure of me at first. He didn’t want to chat; he wanted his iPad charged. His dad promised to find an outlet after Aiden agreed to talk to me. Several kids made me feel silly about the questions I asked. Like, “Do you know how to hit a flop shot?” I thought it was a fair question because, hey, flop shots are hard. “Of course I can hit a flop shot,” Carson said. I asked him how. “Just use your lob wedge.” That’s an attitude we all could, and should, adopt. Imagine how much better your game would be if you applied that mind-set to everything: Of course I can hit the fairway; I’ll just use my driver. To play like a kid again, you have to have a little of that reckless abandon that lets you hit the scary shots. You also have to walk around with a bit of a swagger, preferably in an outfit that matches. You have to be so in the moment that you’re not thinking about what you’re doing or what a bad shot could mean a few holes from now. You have to embody the attitude that each young player that I talked to had: Golf is the best, most fun, coolest thing you get to do all day. And it should be treated as such. Our games would all be better off if we followed in their confident—though tiny—footsteps.


76 | november 2016

#bestlittleswing ▶ We’re doing it again. In 2003, Golf Digest set out to find the Best Little Swings in America, and one of our four winners was Alison Lee, then 8. Not to brag about our scouting abilities, but Alison is now kicking butt on the LPGA tour. Think the kid at your course has an awesome action? Post a swing video on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #bestlittleswing. A judging panel of Golf Digest Best Young Teachers will select a winner to be featured in a future swing analysis. Open to boys and girls 10 and under.

a l l a n k o u r n i k o va 1 2 / pa l m b e a c h : “in tournaments, i don’t think much. i j u s t s w i n g i t. ” niahm and caoimhe o ’ g r a dy / 8 a n d 1 0 m e at h / i r e l a n d niahm: “my dad s ay s n e r v e s a r e g o o d f o r yo u . i’m not sure i believe him.”

i s a b e l l a e r r i c h e t t o / 9 / n o r f o l k / va .

“my dad’s a good caddie. sometimes he lines me up wrong , though.”

78 | november 2016

“the ball listens when i tell it to go in the hole.�

c a r s o n h i g g i n b o t h a m / 7 / c l a r k s b u r g / .


t h i n k y o u n g / p l ay h a r d

More young kids

are taking up the game


first met golf, from the

than ever before. Why isn’t yours?

seat of a cart watching

her mother, father and

by bob carney

older sister play at Tam

O’Shanter Club on Long Island, she was 8, and it

was not love at first sight.

“Please,” she told her

father. “Never teach me to

play this boring game.”

And Rajiv Rudra did not. The fact that 15-year-

old Malini is now a New York metropolitan-area competitive champion

and hopes to play golf in

college is a story the game

wishes it could tell more

often. It’s a story of family support—and restraint.

It’s a story of access,

and of innovative teaching

from an instructor who

has made bringing kids into

the game his life’s work.

Illustration by Guy Billout

november 2016 |



square. Or you might encounter Operation 36, which includes an on-course challenge in which kids begin 25 yards from the green, and, when they score 36 for nine holes, move back in increments to the tee, at each stage having to pass the “36” test. “When you grow up thinking one, two or three shots, and not obsessing about making an 8, your mindset is essentially to go low,” says Michael T. Bulger, who teaches at the Patterson Club in Fairfield, Conn. “The kids figure out what they need to do to progress.” This kind of teaching prepares kids for increasingly popular national programs like Drive, Chip & Putt, PGA Junior League Golf (see page 81), LPGA*USGA Girls Golf and The First Tee’s National School Program, which has trained physical-education teachers at more than 8,000 schools to incorporate golf into their curriculums. “I think we’re benefiting from the fact that parents see their kids dropping out of other sports because of an overemphasis on competition, on specializing in one sport at an early age,” says Ryan Graff, vice president of program development for The First Tee. “Physical educators love the program because of the character teaching,


82 | november 2016

and that their big concern, safety, is alleviated because of the SNAG equipment.” Though The First Tee targets school districts near its existing chapters and lower-income areas, TGA (Teach, Grow and Achieve) Premier Junior Golf is a for-profit company that has put the game into schools in 19 states and Canada by incentivizing franchisees. Thanks in part to all of these programs, junior participation increased by 18.5 percent from 2009-’14, according to the National Golf Foundation. Upcoming data also suggests the trend is continuing. And though the present number of juniors is essentially the same as before the Tiger Woods era, emphasis on simply exposing kids to golf—through free admittance to professional events and highly social outlets like Topgolf driving ranges— has many industry leaders optimistic. “It feels much better than the numbers, and the numbers aren’t bad,” says Joseph Beditz, president of the NGF. “Though we have the same number of juniors as we did 20 years ago, before what really was the golf bubble, we’re seeing more strength among younger juniors. We’re losing high schoolers but gaining grammar-school kids. Overall, a plus.”

courtesy of rudra family

There are about 3 million junior golfers age 6-17 in the United States. They represent some 10 percent of golfers, account for about 6 percent of 18-hole equivalent rounds (they play a lot of shorter rounds) and represent about one of every three beginners. At a time when the industry’s struggles induce eye-rolling headlines like “Golf Once Again Finds Itself in the Rough,” junior play is, for the most part, a success story. The gamegrowth initiatives precipitated by declining play (and excessive course building) have in many places spawned innovative programs designed to reach kids at their level—and make it fun. “When we got into the game, we just stood on the range and whacked balls,” says Mike Fay, of Boyne Mountain Resort in Michigan, two-time Northern Michigan teacher of the year. “The junior clinic was the job of the third assistant. No disrespect to that assistant, but we [the head teaching professionals] need to be out in front on this. We need to be involved.” And unorthodox, or just plain silly. Attend a junior “clinic” today and you might not recognize your old game. You’ll see Golf Baseball, played with oversize SNAG (Starting New at Golf ) plastic clubs and as many as 25 fielders. Or Cow Pasture Pool, a putting contest where teams knock balls around on a 15-foot

ames Hong, director of junior golf programs at Harbor Links Golf Course in Port Washington, N.Y., changed everything for Malini. She was getting tired of her first sport, tennis, which had become “too confined.” She decided to try hitting a few golf balls at the Harbor Links range with her family. “James walked down the line and came up and gave her a few pointers,” Rajiv says. “From that point on, she was like a fish to water about golf.”

Junior sports participation (among those 6-17) From 2009-’14, the Sports and Fitness Industry Association reported a 9-percent decrease in overall youth sports participation in the United States. No sport bucked the trend as strongly as golf, whose junior ranks grew by 500,000 in that time.

(in millions) 12


% change

10 Basketball -6.8% malini rudra , 15, h at e d g o l f b e f o r e s h e f e l l i n l o v e with the challenge.

That’s because, in Beditz’s view, when teens and college-age players step away from the game, most return. “Exposure is the name of the game because it doesn’t have to be continuous,” Beditz says. “If they had a good experience, they’ll come back when they get soccer or synchronized swimming or whatever out of their blood.” A new program launched by the Northern California Golf Association might be the simplest yet at translating early exposure to regular play. Youth on Course’s mission is simple: Kids play for $5. Now adopted by 12 golf associations as far east as Chicago, YOC has subsidized nearly half a million rounds for kids 18 and under. It also offers scholarships and caddie opportunities. Elijah Collins is an example of the lifelong golfer a program like this can create. He took advantage of the YOC caddie program, met a great teacher while playing up and down the California coast for $5, and is now on the Lake Forest (Ill.) College golf team. “My life wouldn’t be anything like it is without Youth on Course,” says Collins, the son of a single parent. That kind of later access is critical when you’re exposing kids as young as 3 or 4, which happens frequently these days. Granted, lessons at this stage are basic. “You might start them just rolling the ball,” says Megin O’Donnell-Kelly, who teaches juniors at Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield and has had as many as 60 kids in her junior club championship. “You give lots and lots of compliments. The first etiquette lesson might be, ‘Here’s the bathroom.’ We forget how intimidating all this can be for kids.” O’Donnell-Kelly, an LPGA teaching professional, is the daughter of a school social worker and a registered nurse. “I’m kind of a golf nurturer,” she laughs. So is Hong. Other professionals send assistants to shadow Hong because he’s adept at fostering beginners while producing serious competitors, too. Hong helped Stephanie Kim and Kelly Shawn reach the LPGA Tour, but he’s also masterful at winning over resisters like Malini. “We keep it simple and fun,” Hong says. He teaches “in short bursts,” not long sessions. He follows instruction with contests— “Kids love the little games”—and works almost as much with the parents. “On the applications we ask about the kid’s personality. Is he easily discouraged? Is she shy? We want to know what kind of kid we’re getting. And then let’s say I learn he or she is shy, a little intimiChart by Arno Ghelfi

8 Soccer -8.4%

Baseball -4.3%


4 Football -17.9% Golf G Gol +18.5% Volleyball -21.6% Track and field -10.4%


Wr Wrestling -41.9% 41 Lacrosse +28.8% Field hockey -15.5%

0 2009


Sources: The Sports and Fitness Industry Association and the National Golf Foundation.

november 2016 |


dated by the surroundings. I’ll go up to that kid and kneel down so I’m on his or her level and say, ‘Are you Tommy? Great. I’ve been waiting for you to come. I’m so happy you’re here.’ I’ll put him in a group with a couple of ‘veterans’ of the program and say, ‘Now be careful of these guys, they’re troublemakers,’ and pretty soon the kid is giggling and laughing.” “James is funny,” says Reena Bhasin, whose two teenage sons are strong, competitive players. “When he gives my boys a compliment, they’re walking on air because he doesn’t hand out many. But then when I see him with the little kids, he’s a goofball.” Early lessons might also require limited parental oversight. “I had one dad bring his daughter for her first lesson,” O’Donnell-Kelly says. “He says, ‘Should I hang out here?’ And I kind of said, ‘Why don’t you go hit balls for an hour?’ I think it’s important to let the kids have their own space.” Hong says Malini’s parents, Rajiv and Rica, “should write a book on parenting skills for competitive juniors because they are wonderfully supportive, strict with discipline, yet not pushy with golf.” Hong, of Korean descent, also has the finesse to deal with conflicting cultures among golf’s increasingly diverse clientele. “It’s tricky,” he says. “The Asian cultures are tough. And so non-Asians come, and you have to figure out, are they here because they want toughness, or do they like it less tough? So I ask them. Ultimately it’s a balance, and sometimes you can’t win. Some of the Asian parents say you aren’t tough enough. Some of the American parents think you’re too tough.” It’s a common trap for parents to get too involved in the details of the instruction. PGA Tour star Keegan Bradley, accepting the Met Golf Writers Association Family of the Year Award this summer, encouraged parents instructor james hong to “remember it’s all about of harbor links gets goofy fun. I see too many parents w i t h h i s yo u n g e s t p u p i l s . out there not making it fun.” Hong’s three-tiered program (beginning, intermediate, competitive) adheres to that philosophy. And his principles reflect what other well-respected junior coaches told us: ▶ Don’t let kids specialize in one sport. Give golf its season, but encourage kids to play other sports, too. ▶ Get kids their clubs from the start. No cut-down irons or hand-me downs. Light is right. ▶ Keep the instruction light, too, at the start. Let kids tell you when they want to get more serious. “The ones who want to compete will tell you,” Fay says. “But let ’em tell you.” ▶ Be a cheerleader, not a coach. ▶ Ask lots of questions. Hong says he used to have the problem of kids who would have a great time, make real progress, and then when their parents asked them what they’d learned, say, “Oh, we hit balls.” Now Hong sends a report home so parents can know exactly what’s going on. Coaching parents is a big part of what the most successful teachers do. “The most important drive in golf is the ride home,” Fay says. “I urge parents to ask their kids: ‘What did you learn? Did you have fun?’ ” Fay tells the story of his daughter Rachel coming back from a Drive, Chip & Putt competition (now available for sign-up in all 41 PGA sections). “I said, ‘How was it?’ She says, ‘Fun, but I could do better and it would be more fun. I could have putted better. I’d like to work on that.’ The next thing you know, we’re in the living room, and she’s looking down at a mirror on the floor, and I’m going, ‘Are your eyes over the ball?’ But it was her idea.” For Malini, she hopes college golf is next. She’s sending her scorecards to some colleges on the East Coast with strong academics. “I hope to use golf as a tool, because I know it can be really important in business,” says the girl who once found the game boring. “I love golf. I love the challenge of it, how creative you can be. I expect to be playing for the rest of my life.” There you go. One down. About 3 million to go.


courtesy of james hong



t h i n k y o u n g / p l ay h a r d

A new generation has changed the vibe on the PGA Tour

by jaime diaz


yes, there’s a youth movement in pro golf. But it’s more than what you think, deeper and more layered than the accepted (but arguable) narrative that today’s young players are simply better than their predecessors. No question the New Big Three of Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy is farther ahead in their careers than any previous trio of 20-somethings. (When Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player began simultaneously killing it in their 20s, Arnold Palmer had reached his 30s.) Still, today’s young players are more precocious than their immediate predecessors. After Tiger Woods won 46 times in his 20s before turning 30 in 2005, by the end of the 2007 PGA Tour season, only two American players in their 20s—Jonathan Byrd and Ben Curtis—had more than one official victory. But then came Anthony Kim and Dustin Johnson, followed with a bang by McIlroy, who won four majors before turning 26. In 2015, Spieth won two majors at 21. But there’s something else going on. Today’s best young players don’t just want to be great at golf. They’re more aware of being great at life. And they’re being cheered in the pursuit. It’s why #SB2K16—last April’s Instagram- and Snapchat-chronicled buddies trip of Rickie Fowler, Smylie Kaufman, Justin Thomas (then 27, 24 and 22, respectively) and Spieth—was so popular. Some old-schoolers saw it as evidence that the first three were doing too much work on their images and not enough on their games, and that Spieth—who had just suffered a heartbreaker at the Masters—was going soft. But that was the minority view. Most celebrated the unmarried foursome getting bleary-eyed and footloose. Why? A complex cocktail. Partly it’s Woods, long admired for his killer instinct and lonely pursuit of excellence, becoming a cautionary tale. Partly it’s the millennial sensibility—having been shaken by disquieting events and broken models—placing increased value on friendship and joie de vivre, and seeing the public sharing of such moments as the spreading of a new gospel. And partly it’s economic. Today’s young stars simply have it easier, earlier. Fowler has been a ringleader. For all his gifts as a selfpromoter, he’s everyone’s friend. He waits behind the 72nd green to congratulate winners and claims those are the very players he most burns to beat. Can a star have it both ways? In all likelihood, no. The obsessed, as a group, have always outperformed the more balanced. Day, married and a father of two before his 29th birthday, became the world’s premier player by applying more focus, not less. In women’s golf, the purposeful South Koreans are eclipsing the glam-oriented top Americans on the LPGA Tour. Where, by the way, the average age of winners in 2016 was 21.3, or seven years younger than a decade ago. If there is a trade-off, is it worth it? Under sodium pentothal, Fowler might say yes. But is it possible that the seemingly über-driven Spieth would as well? Now that would mark a youth movement for the ages.

86 | november 2016

Illustration by Dale Stephanos

#sb2k16 crew (clockwise from left): smylie kaufman, jordan spieth, rickie fowler and justin thomas.

These experts’ secrets for longevity might surprise you by ron kaspriske


old tom morris thought the North Sea was golf’s fountain of youth. According to his biography, The Life of Tom Morris, written by W.W. Tulloch in 1907, the legendary Scot believed that a daily dip in its frigid waters kept him healthy. He was once spotted breaking shoreline ice so he could take his constitutional swim. Was what we now know as cold-immersion therapy Tom’s secret weapon? He did, after all, win four Open Championships after turning 40 and lived past 86, still relatively healthy and working on golf courses until the day he died. ▶ If you knew for sure that cold baths would make your swing faster and better, we’re guessing you’d be headed to the local Cumberland Farms right now to clean out the ice-bag freezer. However, there’s not a lot of scientific evidence to suggest it works. The good news: Slowing, or even reversing, the aging of your golf swing might not be something of old-world remedies. We asked several experts, from Hall of Fame golfers to biomechanics specialists to top instructors, what was essential, and their answers were as hopeful as they were diverse. Read on to hear their advice for swinging as well as you did a decade ago, or even better.

88 | november 2016

gary player, who competed in a record 52 Masters (the last at 73): “It’s no secret I’ve been a huge proponent of diet, health and fitness. That’s why today, at nearly 81, my average score is 70. Taking 10 years off your golf swing is not an overnight task. But those who hit the ball longer have strong hips and core, and are flexible. The best example I can think of is comparing myself to Jack Nicklaus. For years he outdrove me by 20 to 30 yards. But as we’ve grown older, my strong legs and core, as well as my flexibility, allow me to outdrive him today. Flexibility is the key ingredient. So that’s my advice: Stretch, stretch and stretch again.” ••• tom house, the former majorleague pitcher who has built a second career teaching athletes how to regain that youthful pep: “There’s no reason you can’t do at 45 what you could do at 25. When someone 33 or older comes our way to train, all we do is work on patterning movements. They have strength, skill, experience, but what they’ve lost over the years is activity in their nervous systems. What we have to do is trick the body into firing up those systems again, the ones where nerves and myelin were creating this huge bank of learning patterns for movement from age 6 to around puberty. We go back to the beginning. Among the ways we get golfers to regain their former swing speed is by having them swing clubs that are lighter than what they play with, and swinging them as fast as they can.”

david leadbetter, coach to male and female major champions: “I think one of the most overlooked things is posture. I can tell just by one’s normal posture how old his or her swing is going to look. Make better posture a priority in life. Pull your shoulder blades down, chest up, chin in. Walk and sit like that and certainly swing like that. You’ll breathe better, move better, feel better and look younger. You’ll soon find that on the golf course, your swing is more fluid and in balance.” ••• bob rotella, sport psychologist who has counseled many of the game’s top players: “Satchel Paige pitched professionally until 59. He once said, ‘How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?’ It’s a great point. So I suggest you start by spending 10 minutes a night visualizing yourself hitting it like you did 10 years ago. Get back to that point in time and think about how you felt, what you did. Then when you return to golf, commit to re-creating those feelings. Also, put the time into the game the way you used to. Practice. Work hard on your short game. And create a pre-shot routine and do it every time you swing.” ••• annika sorenstam, winner of 72 LPGA events: “I’ve always rotated my head toward the target at impact. People ask me why I lift my head. I don’t. I rotate it. This enables me to clear my hips and transfer the weight to my left side. It also prevents hanging back in a ‘reverse-C’ posture, which can put pressure on your lower back. Try it and see if it doesn’t free up your swing a lot like it used to be.”

dave phillips, co-founder of the Titleist Performance Institute: “You have to get back hip mobility and core stability. The fact that most of us spend a lot of time sitting erodes both. It’s difficult to exaggerate their importance for every athletic movement. They’re like the plug that connects the force that our lower body generates from the ground to our core and then the club. Start by doing a lot more walking. Dump the golf cart if you can. And when you swing, really focus on maintaining your golf posture. Don’t straighten up during the backswing or downswing. In the gym, focus on strengthening your core muscles, as well as hip-hinging and hip-rotation exercises.” ••• ben shear, Golf Digest fitness advisor and trainer to several PGA Tour pros: “Stop trying to be so rotary with your swing. I recommend adding either more vertical or lateral movement to generate the power you used to get from rotary movement. Instructor Jimmy Ballard has taught this lateral shift for decades. As you get older, this is a lot easier than trying to rotate the way the young pros do. But if you’re insistent on making that type of swing, let your hips and torso rotate away from the target together when you swing back. Then push off the front leg as you make your downswing. I’ve seen players at really advanced ages suddenly start making a powerful, repeatable swing this way.” ••• tom watson, runner-up in the 2009 British Open at 59: “The most important thing is to add loft to your golf clubs. It gets harder and harder to get the ball airborne as you get older, but getting the ball up in the air is to your advantage. Get a driver with more loft. Switch from a 4-iron to a 4-hybrid. Let equipment produce the shots that your body no longer can produce.”

t h i n k y o u n g / p l ay h a r d


Photograph by Fredrik Broden

JESPER PAR t h i n k y o u n g / p l ay h a r d / a g e 5 1

Photographed by John Loomis on Sept. 12, 2016, at home in Jupiter, Fla.


w i t h gu y y oc om



yder cup at valderrama , 1997.

I’m playing with Ignacio Garrido against Tiger Woods and Justin Leonard. We’re all square playing the 17th hole, a par 5, and the Americans are on in two. I’m playing our third from the fairway. I’m staring at a tough pin, water fronts the green, I’ve got a downhill lie, and I’m nervous as can be. I’m making a million practice swings, trying to find a swing to fit the shot. Just as a I settle over the ball, I hear a voice yell, “Jesper, stop! Don’t hit!” I look up, and there’s Seve Ballesteros, our captain, running down the hill toward me, waving his arms. Alarmed, I step away. “What is it, Seve?” I ask. He replies, “I just want to say, don’t hit it in the water.” Can you imagine someone saying such a thing? Seve was a chaotic captain. He was all over the golf course, constantly advising players, sometimes to excess. At one point Colin Montgomerie told him, “Seve, I’ve got this.” But Seve also was inspirational, our Arnold Palmer, and for some reason, every unusual thing he did turned out perfectly. That shot he told me not to hit in the water? I wedged it close, and we ended up halving the hole, and the match. ●●●

the first time I played against Seve was also the first week I turned the bill of my cap up so it wouldn’t distract me while I was putting. It was at Mallorca in Spain, and we got into a playoff. At least five times I had Seve beat. He would snap-hook his drive, gouge it out to 40 yards short of the green, pitch it to 15 feet and then make it. Meanwhile, I’d hit it to 20 feet for birdie and then miss the putt. On the sixth hole, he beat me.


what have i learned? Think young, but

don’t be an idiot about it. The Segway injury happened on a dare from my son, Phoenix, who is always goading me to do crazy stuff. Also, if you get an injury, stop everything. The old-school, tough-guy habit of “fighting your way through it” almost always makes the injury worse and leads to bad compensation habits along the way. Finally, remember that surgery is always the last resort. ●●●

to find out what my kids’ obsession with video games was about, I decided to try one. I took one of their old hand-held Game Boys and started playing Tetris. You know, where the blocks drop from above and you arrange them to fit before they hit the bottom. I got completely addicted. After untold hours I did something rather rare, which is complete every level. Then I heard about a secret code you could enter that unlocked a level where the blocks fly down in a blur, much too fast for any human to fit them. It was sort of a joke on the player, but it did make you wonder about the possibilities. After I’d played Tetris awhile, the kids said, “What do you think now, Dad?” The best I could come up with was, “Just remember, nobody went to their grave wishing they’d played more video games between ages 15 and 25.”



at the 1994 open at turnberry, I had the lead going into the back nine on Sunday and made a point of not watching the leader board. It was only my second Open, and I was in a zone. I was afraid that if I saw where I stood, there was a good chance I’d get too careful and tighten up. So I decided to put my head down, play as aggressively as I could, and see where it took me. It worked, because I birdied five holes on the back nine to take a three-stroke lead and led by two playing the last hole. I bogeyed the 18th, coming up short of the green with my second and leaving myself with a tough chip that I didn’t get up and down. As I signed my scorecard, I watched as Nick Price eagled the 17th. He then parred the last to beat me by one. It turned out to be my best chance at a major. Should I have looked at the leader board? Maybe, because I then would have aimed at the fat part of the green. On the other hand, if I’d looked, my inexperience might have led to me getting too cautious and robbed me of the good chance I had going down the last. And if I’d hit it on the green but a long way from the hole, I might have three-putted, which would have been even more painful. You just never know. So, no regrets. ●●●

a journeyman player on the PGA Tour had a great chance to win the Masters but shot some-

thing like 78 in the final round and lost. When a reporter asked him what he would have done differently, he said, “I could not have shot one shot better.” What a great answer. Obviously he tried on every shot. He did the absolute best with what he had at the time. Now, would he play differently next time? Perhaps, because he’d have more experience. But at the moment, 78 was the best he could do. ●●●

playing the pga tour champions and winning the Insperity Classic in May was harder

than it looked. I’ve had hip surgeries, a broken back and then sciatica. I’ve had a neck injury and torn ligaments in my hand. These were the normal injuries. Then there was the dumb, self-imposed stuff. I broke my toe in a collision with a case of beer. Almost cut a

92 | november 2016

finger off winching our boat. Slammed my fingers in a car door—the door closed all the way and locked on that one—and another time I broke some ribs messing around on a Segway. I came close to breaking my wrist punching a bag in a workout with an MMA fighter. I’m totally accident-prone. My body was so messed up for so many years, playing the PGA Tour Champions is almost a miracle. Not heroic, but a surprise.


golf is like that crazy level of Tetris. In the end, it’s unsolvable. When Jim Furyk shot that 58, there were the inevitable mentions about how it could have been even lower. It’s almost cruel to make that observation so quickly, but I have no doubt that even Jim has pondered how, with just a little more magic, it could have been a 57. Or 56. ●●●

the first two seasons of the reality show

“The Parneviks” were a nice success. It ran only in Sweden, and I dreaded signing on for it because of a phenomenon known as Jantelagen. It refers to The Law of Jante, which basically means you should not aspire to surpass your station in life. If you do, and your efforts go awry, you will be publicly torn apart for having the audacity to try. I was

pa r n e v i k at h o m e in front of a mural of the british comic-book character modesty bl aise.

very wary of opening my family to that kind of criticism if it didn’t work. But it did. Our formula of bringing in unexpected guests—athletes, politicians and even criminals—added a human element that complemented my crazy family. I was going to discontinue “The Parneviks” so I could concentrate on playing the senior tour, but we just started a third season. At least one episode will take place during a PGA Tour Champions event.

Trophy. That wasn’t all. He was an innovator who introduced the first hockey helmet, founded the Scandinavian Masters and built the first golf course in Russia. He was charismatic, sort of a continental Muhammad Ali. If you ask Jack Nicklaus to name the greatest athlete he ever saw, he’ll tell you, without hesitation, Sven Tumba.



i hate and fear terrorism more than most people. I was in Manhattan during

when i start missing putts , I blame the putter. A putter doesn’t like being yelled at and will try to get revenge, so the only thing to do is put it in the garage and switch to a new one. I never throw the putter away, because putters don’t hold grudges. They don’t like being put in timeout, and when you give them a second chance they’ll do their best to start making putts again.

the 9/11 attacks—we’d partied all night a couple of blocks from the World Trade Center—and the shock of it stayed with me for years. Remember how the 2001 Ryder Cup was postponed? I was on that team. A year later, at The Belfry, I flew in early to get a head start. One night there was an earthquake that shook the hotel. Thinking it might be a terrorist attack, I ran out of the hotel to the 18th green, stark naked. My wife, Mia, kidded me about that. When the attack in Nice, France, happened this past July, I was so upset I took a sleeping pill to help me doze off. It didn’t help. I then broke a cardinal rule in life: Do not write emails or go on Twitter after taking an Ambien. I woke up to find I had written an email to a bunch of shareholders of J. Lindeberg, whom I represent, with references to flying cows and biking zebras. That one needed an apology.



for a time I ate volcanic sand, seeking to improve my health and performance. I don’t know if it did me much good, but the mind-set behind it—trying to get an edge—helped, though not enough for me to keep doing it. I also tried being a fruitarian—all fruits, nothing else—for a while but got so skinny and weak I had to quit that. I’ve tried strobe glasses, rocks and crystals, scents, having the fillings in my teeth changed, energizing my blood and many other things. The same guy who turned me on to being a fruitarian, claims to know breatharians. These are people who don’t eat food at all and subsist on oxygen. I won’t be trying that one. ●●●

go to youtube and enter the name, “Eamonn Darcy.” Watch that swing. This guy was a Ryder Cupper, a damn good player. When I came up, there were unconventional swings everywhere. I’m not overly nostalgic for those days, but the swings people adopted to maneuver the ball around the golf course will always be fascinating. I was on a TrackMan recently, measured myself for two days. The first day my swing path was 10 degrees inside to out. The second day it was 12 degrees outside to in. My ball wound up the same distance from the target both days. I also was given drivers with extremely wide ranges of lofts and shaft flexes, and within three swings I adjusted to all of them. There’s something to be said for that, though I’m not sure what. Young players today, they’re better off learning the conventional way. ●●●

during the open at troon, commentators were remarking how Henrik Sten-

son’s iron shots seemed to be louder than the other players’. I’ve always thought sound is one of the best secret indicators of how solidly you’re hitting it. You get that sound by “covering” the ball. You want to squash it, make it stick to the center of the clubface. In my prime years, the player who made the best sound with his irons was Paul Azinger. You could blindfold me and put me on the range with 100 tour players, and I would be able to pick out Paul. The sound of his irons—and for that matter, his sand shots, too—were as beautiful as any concert. ●●●

henrik, annika sorenstam and I—every good Swedish player—owe it all to Sven Tumba. He was one of the most remarkable athletes who ever lived and the guy who introduced Sweden to golf. In the 1950s, Sven was the best hockey player on a Swedish team that won three world championships, beating Russia at a time when the Soviets were dominant. One day he decided to take up soccer and showed up to play for the Swedish national team. The other players laughed at him, but he scored three goals in the first half and famously said to the others, “This game we’re playing—it is a good game. What do you call it again?” Next, Sven took up water skiing and won the Swedish championship at that. Finally, he took up golf and ended up playing in the World Cup and for the Eisenhower

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when i took up golf at age 10, it was such an obscure sport in Sweden that few people even knew what it was. I remember taking a golf club to show-and-tell at school and the other kids being fascinated because they’d never seen one. The nearest course was an hour from our home. The few courses I grew up on in Sweden weren’t much for conditioning. The lies were so consistently terrible, you had to hit down on the ball. Like Lee Trevino, I became a digger, hitting down sharply on the ball with my irons. It was an effective technique, but over the years, as courses got better and players were able to sweep, I became comparatively worse. If you moved players from my era to today, I think a lot of them would struggle. I hate to say it, but that would include Trevino and Seve. Their versatility, which was their strength, would be less effective on courses where lies are perfect and distance is so important. The reverse would be true—players of today would struggle if you moved them back in time. ●●●

there’s one exception : Tiger Woods. I always felt his genius was his ability to read lies, which you can’t always see very well on TV. The ball could be sitting down, perched up, have a tuft of grass just behind it or any of a hundred variations, and he had an uncanny way of reading the lie and then shaping his swing to produce the best shot. Nobody was remotely close. ●●●

i played with tiger the first two rounds of the 2000 U.S.

Open at Pebble Beach, the one he won by 15 shots. After 36 holes, my caddie, Lance Ten Broeck, and I charted my rounds and Tiger’s. We found he had not missed a single putt inside 20 feet. The greens at Pebble are not great, even during a U.S. Open. A 20-footer will wiggle 10 ways before it gets to the hole. A putting robot would blow a fuse trying to make all those putts because the ball will behave differently every time. Tiger had an uncanny, zen-like way of anticipating those wiggles, filtering them through his subconscious and hitting the ball so the wiggles would even out and the putt would drop. I never saw anything that surpassed it until 2008. ●●●

remember the putt Tiger made to force a playoff against Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open? I had the same putt one hour earlier—same distance, same line. I played two inches of break, and the ball hardly broke. When Tiger’s ball left the putter, I saw he’d played a foot of break, which was way too much. But as Tiger stared at the ball, it moved—a lot—and fell in. That was some serious Uri Geller, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Force-like shit. I don’t

care what any scientist says, I’m convinced that Tiger’s mind, not the slope of the green, caused that ball to move. ●●●

when the tiger scandal happened, I publicly came down very hard on him. Elin had been our nanny and was like a daughter to us. I’m the one who introduced her to Tiger, and when the infidelity came to light, it felt like the worst betrayal ever. But over time, I forgave Tiger. He and Elin are friends, which is nice, and he’s a good parent. His mistakes hurt him, too. I see Tiger at the Medalist. We talk and have played nine holes together. By the way, he’s been hitting a lot of balls, and he’s hitting it great. He’s pounding it a mile and flushing everything. On the range, at least, his trajectory and ball flight are like the Tiger we knew 15 years ago. Comebacks are never a sure thing, but something tells me his might be spectacular. ●●●

one more observation about Tiger. When an athlete signs enormous endorse-

ment deals upon turning pro like he did, one of two things almost always happens. They either get complacent or they feel so much pressure to deliver the goods that they falter within a couple of years. Tiger is the one guy who exceeded expectations commercially and performance-wise. None of his peers were jealous of his contracts. They knew that if anything, he was probably underpaid. ●●●

during the west-coast swing, we’d rent an RV for six weeks. Mia, me, the four kids and two nannies. The drives are long, and boredom and tension would set in. I would pull over, herd everyone out, and together, we’d let out a primal scream as taught to us by Johan Lindeberg. What you do is scream at the top of your lungs and maintain it for a full minute, pouring everything you have into it. It’s incredibly cleansing, a total clearing of your cache. When we’d pile back into the RV, we again were the happiest, most relaxed group you’ve ever seen. ●●●

on the subject of road trips , my Sunday at the Boeing Classic in August

looked like it was going to end like all the rest—finish the round, head to the airport and fly to the next event. Warming up on the range, John Daly came by. “Why don’t you drive up with me in my motor home? I can use the company.” The next tournament was in Calgary, Alberta. Beautiful country, I’d heard, and how many more chances will I get to see it? The best experiences in life occur when you break from the ordinary. So we pile into his RV, and what followed was a spectacular 15 hours. It was supposed to be 10 hours, but we made a series of wrong turns. Wrong turns usually lead to desolate, godforsaken places, but this time, every one presented a more beautiful view than the last. We just shrugged and kept driving, GPS be damned. John might be the best road companion ever. Great conversationalist, always relaxed, great taste in music. Fifteen hours in the car with someone can feel like being stuck in an elevator with someone you don’t like. With John, it flew by. I rolled into Calgary feeling great about the world. Finished fifth, one of my better outings of the year.



we’re in the early days of people playing music

on the golf course, and I can’t say I’m a fan. I don’t mind that Rocco Mediate blares the heaviest metal you can imagine on the course whenever he can. I actually like it. What’s annoying is people whipping out their phones and trying to one-up each other with their music. The music becomes the thing more than the golf.


ove sellberg was one of the better European players of the 1980s and the first Swede to win on the European Tour. He came from a very troubled background. Sweden has some unsavory aspects, just as anywhere else, and Ove was running with a bad crowd. I wasn’t there for that part, but when he took up golf, by all accounts the look in his eye changed. Maybe it was the self-policing aspect or the idea that you keep trying no matter what, but it aroused something in him

Please turn to page 110

t h i n k y o u n g / p l ay h a r d

The incredible story of Rory helping a young star recover from a horrific accident by ma x adler

MIRACLE ON GRASS traden karch wasn’t necessarily the best player on the team, but the kid had a nose for clutch moments. Like his chip-in on the last hole to beat the team from Austin. Or the 40foot bomb against Little Rock. First-year head coach Pete Chimarys had taken to calling him Big Shot Traden, and rather than disrupt the team mojo, he kept putting the slender towhead with the wavy putting stroke in the final group of the lineup. And because Traden’s easygoing manner was best-suited, or simply because they kept winning, Coach paired him with the team’s only girl, a strong player who outdrove many of the boys. Though it was just a scramble-format tap-in, Traden sank the putt that clinched the team’s berth to the PGA Junior League national tournament in Disney World. A Tulsa television reporter who had never covered golf in her life arrived just in time with her cameraman. No one could know then how these few seconds of footage—white jersey No. 7 humbly retrieving his ball from the cup amid a mix of juvenile and parental

Photo illustration by John Ritter

cheering—would take on a life of its own. That’s because Chuck Higgins of the PGA of America—who ran that regional playoff and whose duty it is to spread the gospel of “golf like Little League baseball” by driving to town-hall meetings across Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas—had used the clip extensively in his campaigning. In the days and weeks after the accident, it wasn’t hard for Higgins to tell people who Traden was. He was the boy from the video. “Here’s this kid on top of the mountain, and now he’s fighting for his life,” as Higgins said many times. Feb. 23, 2016, was rainy. The disappointment of finishing eighth out of eight teams at Disney World had faded. Traden was more excited about basketball. His grandfather had picked up him and his younger sister at school. At an intersection, a pickup truck turning left failed to yield. Given the low speeds, it wasn’t the sort of collision where emergency personnel expected serious injuries. But the truck was on a lift kit, so its raised bumper entered the minivan window at precisely the wrong spot, and Traden’s head received the brunt of the impact. His sister shouted at him to wake up, wake

up. By the time his grandfather got him unbuckled and laid flat, Traden was convulsing from a seizure, and it took considerable effort to restrain him. “It was horrific,” says Chris Karch, the dad. “Several nurses told us, later on, that they never thought he was going to make it to the next morning.” For three weeks, Traden lay in a coma. At 4-feet-11, the 86-pounder shriveled to 66. His parents could only stare at the bedside instrument that measured the pressure inside their son’s skull. Numbers in the 40s were bad, 30s were less bad, single digits were what he needed to wake up. Whenever it rose to the 50s, they called the nurses. “After a week we knew he wasn’t going to die, but we didn’t know what further damage was being done—if he would be paralyzed or maybe forever be in a vegetative state,” Chris says. It was around this time that Higgins relayed the story to Pete Bevacqua, CEO of the PGA of America. Bevacqua promptly sent a care package to the hospital, and in corresponding with the Karches, he learned that Traden’s favorite golfer was Rory McIlroy. So Bevacqua called McIlroy, and McIlroy said, “Whatever you need me to do.” That night in his hotel room—McIlroy was stitching together a semifinal run at the WGC-Dell Match Play—Rory filmed a private message for Traden: “I hope you’re feeling much better, and I wish you a really speedy recovery. Golf and the PGA Junior League need you. When you’re feeling better, I want you to come to a tournament so we can meet and hang out. Hopefully we’ll see you soon.” The pressure inside Traden’s skull began

november 2016 |


the damage to traden karch’s skull ( a b o v e ) f r o m t h e t r a f f i c a c c i d e n t. t h e o k l a h o m a a l l - s ta r s ( r i g h t ) , b a c k r o w f r o m l e f t : c o a c h p e t e c h i m a ry s , a n d r e w h e n n e s s e y, h a dy n h a l l , b e n stoller , jenni roller , traden karch. front row from left: will sides, johnmark roller , will jonkowski, w i l l h e n n e s s e y, d r e w m a b r e y.

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When he got out of rehab, the strangers who threw a party for him at the golf course seemed nice, so Traden went to them and laughed. The families and friends who organized fundraisers on his behalf—the driver of the pickup had been uninsured—treated him like an old teammate. The pro who gave him lessons seemed to already know his habits inside and out and could communicate swing tips without words. Golf was a good place. Playing something like basketball was to risk death, but Traden could hit as many range balls as he wished. When he was done, he’d eat a cheeseburger at the Broken Arrow clubhouse or a medium rib-eye with baked potato at home. His mind grew stronger, too. He knew who the Irishman was and stamped his feet in delight at the fact he was flying to the PGA Championship to meet him. In a private room to the side of the Baltusrol range, Bevacqua, McIlroy, agent Sean O’Flaherty and the Karches shared a tender gathering. Then Rory led Traden to his locker, and for half an hour the rest waited. “Rory was incredible,” Chris says. “Until you see it in person, you can’t imagine how in-demand a top player is. Media interviews, corporate requests, everywhere we turned somebody wanted him. For him to slow down and take all that extra time to be with just Traden meant a lot.” Sometimes his teammates on the Oklahoma All-Stars step in to guide interactions with opposing teams. When Traden can’t find a way to express himself, he looks at the sky in frustration. Still, his positive attitude persists. Visits with golfers Bo Van Pelt and Brad Dalke have no doubt helped keep his spirits up. Traden is in remedial English but just tested into advanced math. In a recent casual nine holes, Traden made four birdies from the men’s tees. “If he didn’t play golf, didn’t have somewhere to go to be with buddies, I’m not sure where he’d be,” says Chimarys, Traden’s former coach. “I used to have these dreams that Traden would become a doctor or a lawyer,” Chris says. “Those dreams were personal and selfish. Prestige doesn’t guarantee joy. I don’t know if Traden will ever fully get back. But he can be a productive member of society, have a family, so he has every opportunity for a happy life. It’s now up to him.”

PGA Junior League Golf primer


ake everything you know about Little League baseball and apply it to golf. What you get is an affordable national program organized at a local level. Besides maybe carpooling to a few games, the only responsibility of Mom and Dad is to make sure their kid’s jersey finds the laundry now and again. Boys and girls 7-13 participate on teams of eight to 12. They might hail from the same golf course or from an assortment of area facilities. Some private clubs even allow nonmember kids to join their teams. To find or start a team, call a local PGA professional or search at Registration generally occurs from February through March, with a regular season of five or six games in June and July. A postseason with all-star teams culminates with a national championship in the fall. A game between two teams consists of four nine-hole matches divided into three-hole segments worth one point each. That’s 12 points up for grabs. So that beginners can compete alongside the more skilled, each match is a two-person scramble where substitutes work in. Every lie is preferred, there are no penalties for inadvertently moving a ball, and out-of-bounds is played as a lateral hazard. Parents are encouraged to spectate. In time, your kid might even want to play with you. —MA

opening page: montana pritchard/pga of america • this page: courtesy of karch family

to drop. The drugs keeping him unconscious were eased out of his system, and he began to stir. Loopy, he smiled at his parents, and for a couple days watched them laugh and weep. It was a joyous time. But when Traden tried to speak, his words were gone. Forget syllables—his throat could barely produce sounds. The straight-A student realized his mind was different. He didn’t know this muscular Irishman who had sent him a video. “Traden didn’t want to interact,” his dad says. “We tried to talk, but he would just cry. He spent a couple days like that.” Aphasia is an inability to comprehend or formulate language. Most often the condition is caused by a stroke, and so it’s rare among children. As immense a physical recovery that Traden faced, relearning the meanings of words and how to connect them in spoken sentences would prove the far greater undertaking. The neural pathways of Traden’s brain were like city streets devastated by an earthquake—certain messengers needed to find new routes, and there was no map. With brain injuries, if and to what degree a person will recover is guesswork. “The doctors thought he would remember everything up until the accident but have trouble forming new memories and learning,” says Manda, Traden’s mom. “But it turned out be just the opposite.” Traden didn’t remember childhood friends. He didn’t remember several of his relatives. He didn’t remember not to pull the string on the garage door. With rather stoic nonchalance, he said “no” when asked if various details from his 12 years on earth rang a bell. But he remembered his mom and dad, and when Dad brought his putter to rehab, the boy’s eyes glimmered. He took his old grip, and the putting stroke was unmistakable. Later, when he was strong enough to pitch foam balls in the parking lot, his swing was the same. Like it had never left.

the best young teachers in america 2016-17

t used to be that promising young instructors would look to learn their craft under the wing of a guru. Think Mr. Miyagi. If those hopefuls made it through the formative years—picking the range, raking practice bunkers, setting up drill stations—they’d eventually glean enough expertise from the master to command a lesson tee. For sure, some teachers still take that route, but with the digitization of teaching materials and advances like launch monitors and motioncapture systems, the path to instruction proficiency can be taken at light speed. Here we recognize 100 instructors under the age of 40 who form a special group: Golf Digest’s Best Young Teachers in America. ▶ To assemble candidates for this honor, we tapped every knowledgeable source we could find, from tour players to PGA sections nationwide to teachers on our state and national rankings. Then we surveyed the nominees, picked their brains and listened to their mentors and students. We looked at their accomplishments, their desire to learn, their day-to-day teaching successes—and yes, their YouTube videos. We studied their personal stories. Eventually we arrived at our list, with 71 new teachers from New York to Miami to Pebble Beach to Honolulu. ▶ The Golf Digest Best Young Teachers franchise began in 2010, but this time we’ve expanded the list and categorized the teachers into six regions: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and West. We hope this makes it easier for you to connect with a great young pro. For starters, we offer here a sampling of tips from the honorees. ▶ As Gary Player wrote in Golf Digest in 2011: “The best traits of young people—their optimism, curiosity, alertness and energy— are contagious and will definitely make you feel younger.” And, if we might add, will definitely improve your golf game. —BY THE EDITORS


shaun webb

take a step into ball-striking greatness sing the ground and shifting pressure are big topics in golf instruction right now, and they’ve popularized cool things like the step drill, where you lift your lead foot off the ground to exaggerate the feeling of a good weight shift. It’s a great exercise, but if you do it wrong you can actually make your swing worse! Set up in your regular stance, and angle your back leg slightly inward, toward the ball, which will help you turn your hips. This will also prevent you from making a big body shift to the right—the biggest mistake most golfers make. On the backswing, lift your foot and plant it again right away, before you start the downswing (right). If you plant it too late, after the transition, you’ll wreck the sequence.




102 | november 2016

Photograph by J.D. Cuban

matt wilson

picture home plate to chip it great n short greenside shots, many golfers keep their arms straight, hands forward and wrists locked in an attempt to make good contact. Unfortunately, those things cause tension, which kills touch. Instead, soften your setup. Form a pentagon shape with your shoulders and arms, like the shape of home plate in baseball. Grip lightly, feel the upper part of your lead arm against your side, and put a little bend in your elbows. Can you see the home-plate shape in my arms (far left)? To swing, hinge the club and turn your chest back and through. That connection of your lead arm to your side should stay intact, and your shirt buttons should face the target at the finish. —WILSON IS A PARTNER AND CO-HOST OF CURIOUSCOACHES.COM.


jorge parada

for pure irons, keep the back foot down f you want to improve accuracy and consistency with your iron shots, take a closer look at the footwork of PGA Tour player Bryson DeChambeau. One thing he does that leads to laser-straight irons is keep his right foot stable during the downswing. I’m demonstrating here the kind of foot action he uses (near left). You can’t see it, but the right foot, while staying grounded longer, has rolled a little toward the target. This lateral motion allows the right knee to shift slightly in the same direction and helps the hips tilt and slide properly. The correct lower-body sequence creates consistent contact, a more stable clubface at impact and optimal trajectory on iron shots.



northeast jason barry / 28 Mercer Oaks G. Cse. West Windsor, N.J. $110/hr. erik barzeski / 38 Golf Evolution, Erie, Pa. $70/45 mins. john bierkan / 38 Aronimink G.C. Newtown Square, Pa. $160/hr. jason birnbaum / 36 Manhattan Woods G.C. West Nyack, N.Y. $250/hr. jessica carafiello / 33 Innis Arden G.C. Old Greenwich, Conn. $140/hr. scott chisholm / 31 Baltusrol G.C., Springfield, N.J. $150/hr. joe compitello / 31 Plainfield C.C., Edison, N.J. $170/hr. justin foster / 31 Bull’s Bridge G.C. South Kent, Conn. $100/hr.

carlos brown

tilt up to pour on the power o hit longer drives, try to launch the ball higher and with less spin. The best way to do that is to swing into impact with your shoulders angled upward, your front shoulder higher (far left). This helps you hit up on the ball to maximize carry and reduce spin. (Backspin is good, but too much robs you of distance and cause slices and hooks.) Most golfers hit down with their drivers because they make a violent upper-body move from the top. That gets the right shoulder high on the downswing. A better move is to let the body unwind from the ground up. Shift your legs toward the target, and feel like someone is holding your right shoulder back and in. You’ll hit up on the ball and release some serious power. —BROWN OPERATES A GOLF ACADEMY IN ROWLETT, TEXAS.


brandon stooksbury

stay aggressive on a half-wedge hen you have to hit a wedge less than its full distance, don’t try to finesse it. If you swing easier or use hand action to try to take some power off, you turn it into a guessing game. You’ll be more consistent if you stay aggressive and swing the club at normal speed. Notice I’m not holding anything back (near left). I’ve fully shifted my weight forward, rotated my hips, and allowed my arms to extend. To regulate distance, the only adjustment I make is to shorten the radius of my swing (the distance between the clubhead and my chest) in the follow-through. I simply let my arms fold after impact instead of remaining extended. The ball won’t fly as far even though I’m swinging at the same speed.



new to list


mario guerra / 32 Quaker Ridge G.C. Scarsdale, N.Y. $140/hr. michael jacobs / 38 Rock Hill C.C., Manorville, N.Y. $1,500/half day adam kolloff / 33 Liberty National G.C. Jersey City, N.J. $225/hr. anders mattson / 36 Saratoga National G.C. Saratoga Springs, N.Y. $150/hr. matt m c lean / 32 Fishers Island (N.Y.) Club $135/hr. megan padua / 31 Megan Padua Golf/ The Maidstone Club East Hampton, N.Y. $150/hr. brian rogish / 31 Crystal Springs Resort Hamburg, N.J. $175/hr. bill schmedes iii / 31 Fiddler’s Elbow C.C. Bedminster, N.J. $175/hr. jason sedan / 31 Lake Winnipesaukee G.C. New Durham, N.H. $165/hr.

november 2016 |


dan lockhart / 36 Raptor Bay G.C., Bonita Springs, Fla. $135/hr.

alana swain / 28 Atlantic G.C., Bridgehampton, N.Y. $220/hr.

mackenzie mack / 28 Rogers Park G. Cse., Tampa $50/hr.

michael sweeney / 29 The Bridge, Bridgehampton, N.Y. $185/hr.

brett meyer / 31 The Leadbetter Golf Academy ChampionsGate, Fla. $195/hr.

michael wheeler / 30 Troon Golf Academy Lake of Isles North Stonington, Conn. $130/hr. mid-atlantic leighann albaugh / 36 Magnolia Green G.C., Moseley, Va. $100/hr. earl cooper / 27 Wilmington (Del.) C.C. $85/hr. michael dickson / 36 Congressional C.C., Bethesda, Md. $150/hr. erika larkin / 35 The Club at Creighton Farms, Aldie, Va. $175/hr. ben pellicani / 32 Family Golf Center, Antioch, Tenn. $90/hr. trillium rose / 38 Woodmont C.C., Rockville, Md. $175/hr. tyrus york / 33 High Performance Golf Academy Nicholasville, Ky. $100/hr. southeast

jarut padung / 27 PGA Tour Academy at World Golf Village, St. Augustine, Fla. $150/hr. jorge parada / 32 Jorge Parada Golf, Jacksonville $200/hr. justin sheehan / 31 Old Memorial G.C., Tampa $150/hr. brandon stooksbury / 36 Idle Hour C.C., Macon, Ga. $125/hr. john tillery / 34 Cuscowilla G.C., Eatonton, Ga. $200/hr. renee trudeau / 33 Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables, Fla. $125/hr. lucas wald / 38 Arkansas Golf Center, Conway, Ark. $100/hr. shaun webb / 38 David Toms 265 Academy Shreveport, La. $200/hr. abby welch / 37 Kiawah Island (S.C.) Golf Resort $160/hr.

david armitage / 34 Jim McLean Golf School, Miami $235/hr.

tim yelverton / 37 Old Waverly G.C., West Point, Miss. $125/hr.

andrew dawes / 39 Saddlebrook Golf Academy Wesley Chapel, Fla. $200/hr.

grayson zacker / 30 Jim McLean Golf School, Miami $250/hr.

matt denzer / 37 Leadbetter Golf Academy at PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. $200/hr. travis fulton / 39 Golf Channel Academy with Travis Fulton at World Golf Village St. Augustine, Fla. $200/hr. iain highfield / 34 Bishops Gate Golf Academy Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. $175/hr. matt killen / 31 The Concession G.C., Bradenton, Fla. $350/hr. meredith kirk / 38 Dustin Johnson Golf School Murrells Inlet, S.C. $100/hr. marc lapointe / 38 Marc Lapointe Golf at Fort Mill (S.C.) G.C. $110/hr. donny lee / 39 Southern Dunes G. & C.C. Haines City, Fla. $200/hr.

jared zak / 39 Sea Island Golf Performance Center St. Simons Island, Ga. $225/hr. midwest kiel alderink / 33 Todd Sones Impact Golf Academy Vernon Hills, Ill. $120/hr.

erika l arkin

how to powder your approach shots en Hogan found the secret in the dirt. He might have gotten it faster if he had used baby powder! Hogan knew that great ball-striking comes from hitting the ball, then the ground. But how can you confirm that’s happening? Baby powder is easy to use—and easy to see. Pour a small mound of powder just in front of a ball, then grab a short iron. Center the ball in your stance, and hit shots so that you hit the ball and then explode the powder (right). If you’re hitting the ground first, you won’t see that puff of white. You can use a stripe of powder without the ball and take practice swings making sure to get the low point of your swing in the same point time after time. —LARKIN IS NO. 1 ON GOLF DIGEST’S BEST TEACHERS IN VIRGINIA.


chris como

making the ball check up lot of average golfers don’t understand what makes a pitch shot or a short iron spin when it hits the green. Smashing down on the ball and making a big divot or “trapping it” by pushing your hands way forward through impact isn’t what imparts backspin on the ball. Both spin and the ability to regulate distance come by controlling the bottom of your swing arc and making clean contact with the ball. Monitor how you’re doing by using your shirt buttons as guides. Keep them (and your chest) centered over the ball while turning your body back and through. With a consistent low point and solid, ball-first contact, you’ll produce all the backspin you need. You’ll also probably see that the trajectory of the shot is a better way to control distance.



nick cle arwater

wind up like a tour pro he more that golfers turn their hips and shoulders in the backswing, the lower their handicaps. That statement comes from a study of 20,000 swings we did at GolfTEC. PGA Tour pros turn their shoulders an average of 53 degrees by the time the club is parallel to the ground in the backswing. Most amateurs have made very little turn at that point, which often leads to an out-to-in swing—and a slice. To get more turn, take your setup, but before you swing, close your hips and shoulders to the target without moving your feet. On the backswing, straighten your back leg, which makes it easier to turn. Now watch your handicap drop.



greg baresel / 31 Cantigny G.C., Wheaton, Ill. $135/hr. luke benoit / 35 Interlachen C.C., Edina, Minn. $150/hr. brenndan cooper / 38 Staley Farms G.C., Kansas City, Mo. $100/hr. billy fitzgerald / 37 Beverly C.C., Chicago $140/hr. daniel gray / 35 Skokie C.C., Glencoe, Ill. $125/hr. jason guss / 39 Hawk Hollow Golf Properties Bath, Mich. $125/hr.

106 | november 2016

we asked the best young teachers . . . Q. What one club would you pick to help the average golfer improve, and why? A. Sand wedge. It’s the easiest club for teaching swing concepts, like how ball position affects clubface loft, that translate to the rest of the game. —alana swain A. Driver. Stats prove it’s the most important club. —jason birnbaum A. Putter. Most average players don’t know why a putt doesn’t go in. Was it a misread? Bad speed? —brenndan cooper A. 8-iron. It’s versatile, easy to hit half-shots as well as chips and pitches, and it’s ideal for making swing changes. —matt m c lean A. Hybrid. The one club with uses from tee to green. —renee trudeau new to list

l arkin: dom furore • previous pages: wilson, parada: j.d. cuban; brown: stephen szurlej; stooksbury: dom furore

stephen sieracki / 30 Indian Spring C.C., Marlton, N.J. $150/hr.

108 | month 2016

michael jacobs

develop a driver-only swing ou’ve been working all your golf life to build a repeatable swing. But I have some bad news for you: Thanks to the technology in those big driver heads and the longer shafts, you have to make a different swing with your driver than your other clubs. The good news is, it isn’t too hard to adjust. On a driver, the bottom of your swing arc needs to come before the ball—so you’re hitting it on the upswing. Set the center of your body in line with the clubhead, and tilt your trailing shoulder lower than your lead one (far left). Feel like you’re looking at the ball at an angle, from behind it. Now you’re in position to drive the ball long and straight.



james kinney

facing up to bunker shots nowing the mechanics of a bunker swing is important, but it’s even more important to know how the club works through the sand. If you understand what the bounce on the bottom of the wedge should do, you’ll intuitively make swings that skim more and dig less. There’s a simple connection between the bounce and the face: When you can see the face, the bounce is doing what it should do. My favorite way to reinforce this is to smear washable finger paint on the face of a wedge (near left). Set up with your hands slightly back at address and the face open—so you can see the paint—and make swings so that you can still see the paint at the finish. If you’re digging too deep, the paint will get wiped off. —KINNEY IS NO. 2 ON GOLF DIGEST’S BEST TEACHERS IN NEBRASKA.


trillium rose

how to grade your follow-through hink of your follow-through as insurance that you’ve done all the right things at impact. Practicing how the club exits the impact zone will help you hit solid, straight shots. Look at my follow-through here: My torso is leaning toward the point of impact, and my right shoulder is noticeably lower than the left, which means I’ve maintained my spine angle (left). That’s the key to catching the ball flush. Next, notice my arms. While remaining fully extended, my right arm has rotated over my left. The extension means there was no collapse of the arms through impact—a sure sign of poor contact—and the rotation means the club was squaring to my target at impact for a straight shot or a draw.


jacobs: dom furore; kinney, rose: j.d. cuban


james kinney / 38 GolfTEC Omaha $150/hr.

brian schorsten / 37 Colonial C.C., Fort Worth $125/hr.

chad middaugh / 32 Muirfield Village G.C., Dublin, Ohio $100/hr.

kaylin skovron / 29 Jeff Isler Golf, Southlake, Texas $170/hr.

kyle morris / 31 The Golf Room, Dublin, Ohio $125/hr.

doug strawbridge / 37 GolfTEC Upper Kirby, Houston $250/hr.

brad pluth / 39 Golf Achievement at Bluff Creek G. Cse., Chaska, Minn. $125/hr.

boyd summerhays / 37 McDowell Mountain G.C. Scottsdale $900/3 hrs.

brent snyder / 36 Troy Burne G.C., Hudson, Wis. $90/hr.

joey wuertemberger / 37 Jim McLean Golf Center Fort Worth $225/hr.

doug spencer / 35 Spencer Golf Academy, Cincinnati $110/hr. drew steckel / 30 Drew Steckel Academy, Burr Ridge, Ill. $200/hr. jake thurm / 37 Ruffled Feathers G.C., Lemont, Ill. $130/hr. tj yeaton / 28 The Hawthorns G. & C.C. Fishers, Ind. $100/45 mins.

west devan bonebrake / 31 Southern California Golf Academy Carlsbad, Calif. $150/hr. nick clearwater / 38 GolfTEC Enterprises Centennial, Colo. $150/hr. alison curdt / 34 Alison Curdt Golf at Wood Ranch G.C., Simi Valley, Calif. $125/hr.

southwest carlos brown / 36 Carlos Brown Golf Academy at Waterview G.C., Rowlett, Texas $130/hr.

alex fisher / 39 The Glacier Club, Durango, Colo. $110/hr.

jonathan buchanan / 31 Dallas C.C. $125/hr.

nick helwig / 38 Butch Harmon School of Golf Henderson, Nev. $150/hr.

mike bury / 35 Las Colinas C.C., Dallas $175/hr.

jon horner / 31 CordeValle G.C., San Martin, Calif. $175/hr.

chris como / 39 Gleneagles C.C., Plano, Texas $1,500/half day

nick kumpis / 38 Santa Ana (Calif.) C.C. $125/hr.

troy denton / 33 Maridoe G.C., Carrollton, Texas $150/hr.

kyle kunioka / 31 Honolulu C.C. $100/hr.

tyler ferrell / 35 Mike McGetrick Golf Academy Humble, Texas $150/hr.

chris mayson / 35 Maderas Golf Academy Poway, Calif. $200/hr.

kevin johnson / 36 Hank Haney Golf Academy West Ridge, McKinney, Texas $125/hr.

patrick nuber / 34 GolfTEC Enterprises Centennial, Colo. $150/hr.

eujone kim / 34 Axis Golf Academy & Fitting Center The Woodlands, Texas $125/hr.

aaron olson / 35 Poppy Hills G. Cse., Pebble Beach $200/hr.

we asked the best young teachers . . .

justin klemballa / 29 Paradise Valley (Ariz.) C.C. $105/hr.

travis olson / 30 Rock Creek Cattle Company Deer Lodge, Mont. $140/hr.

Q. What’s the most common strategy mistake average golfers make?

corey lundberg / 33 Altus Performance at Trinity Forest Dallas $175/hr.

will robins / 38 Will Robins Golf at Empire Ranch G. Cse., Folsom, Calif. $150/hr.

maggie noel / 28 Swanson School of Golf, Houston $80/hr.

kevin shimomura / 32 Ko Olina Academy Kapolei, Hawaii $120/hr.

A. Using only one club for all greenside shots. —nick helwig A. Making an aggressive club choice, then a conservative swing. They need to do the opposite. —tim yelverton A. Tee-box alignment. Not aiming away from trouble. —brian schorsten A. Choosing the hero shot way too often. —corey lundberg A. Not playing par 5s and par 3s correctly. They should attack the par 5s and just play for the middle of the green on the 3s. —ben pellicani A. Thinking there’s a quick fix. Golf is a development sport. A quick fix is a Band-Aid—eventually it will fall off. —eujone kim

new to list

andrew patnou / 28 TPC Scottsdale $150/hr.

matt wilson / 31 La Rinconada C.C., Los Gatos, Calif. $140/hr.

november 2016 |


Continued from page 95 he never knew he had. When I played in The First Tee Open at Pebble Beach in 2015, I saw a lot of young people with difficult pasts. Over the course of a few days, you could see the look in their eyes changing, as it did with Ove. Of all the games, only golf has the capacity to do that. ●●●

i’ve tried to stay youthful. I’ve tried to

avoid being the 50-something in full mid-life crisis, the guy with the Corvette convertible, hair implants and a compulsion to chat up 25-year-old girls at clubs. Fortunately, people are becoming more indifferent to age. I see huge age disparities within groups going on golf trips. I see a lot of 50-year-olds who play 36 holes, dance all the time, hang out with younger people, try slightly crazy stuff and let their attitudes change. You want to be the guy who is completely comfortable in his slightly wrinkled skin, where it’s hard to tell by looking how old they are exactly. Age-wise, our cultures are blending together. ●●●

as we age and look in the mirror, we tend to see a 27-year-old looking back. It’s human nature to disregard the evidence and believe we’re frozen in our primes. When Bernhard Langer said there was an outside chance he could win the Masters at age 58, he meant it. If you’ve seen Bernhard, who is now 59, play golf these days, you realize it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. On the other hand, you can’t escape the truth. When an 85-year-old tells Bernhard, “You’re just a baby,” the way 85-year-olds tend to do, I’ll bet Bernhard mutters to himself, I’m far from being a kid.

had a father, Bo Parnevik, who was the most famous comedian in Sweden. At 13, I was about a 26-handicapper. It drew attention, and I hated the embarrassment. My father was wonderful and never pushed me, but just having his name made me practice insanely hard to become successful. It was work, the farthest thing from what the average golfer would call fun. Interestingly, the breakthroughs came at the most unpleasant moments. ●●●

how famous was my dad? In America, the Super Bowl gets something like a 44 share on TV. In Sweden, his weekly variety show, “Party With Parnevik,” routinely drew a 75 share. He was a master entertainer. His performances looked effortless. But behind the scenes, his preparation was incredible. At home, he would rehearse every line endlessly. Even “mistakes” were rehearsed, so he could incorporate them into the act to make it look more natural. I was on Jay Leno’s show once and rehearsed like crazy. I was told afterward how spontaneous and funny I was, but believe me, I practiced. If you’re called upon to give a speech and are worried about stage fright, there’s one sure way to do it well, and that’s to prepare. ●●●

mia and i have four great children. I think it’s almost unprecedented that three generations of Parneviks—my dad, me and now our daughter, Peg—have succeeded in sports and entertainment. Peg is 21 and an incredible singer. Her song “Ain’t No Saint” reached No. 1 on Swedish radio and has been streamed more than 22 million times on Spotify. Her younger sister Penny helped produce and direct one of her music videos. Philippa, 16, and Phoenix, who is 14, have good lives in store for them. ●●●

i thought a golf career was tough, but watching Peg try to make it in the music business has been a revelation. It’s not like it was 20 years ago, when a band could release one good album and coast for a while. Most musicians today can’t make a living releasing albums at all, because good music is so cheap and available everywhere. They need to perform live. Also, what’s hot today is old news tomorrow. Music doesn’t have the legs it used to. The good news is, more people can get their music out there. The bad news is, it’s much tougher to become a star.



if you’re getting yippy with the putter under pressure, try this trick: Instead

of smoothing and slowing down your stroke, make it shorter and quicker than usual. I call it “yipping on purpose,” and it works. Just aim the putter at the hole and jab the ball straight in the middle. ●●●

the day i resumed skiing after a 20-year layoff, I wondered if I’d remember how to do it. It truly was like riding a bike. Halfway down my first run I thought, Why can’t golf be like this? In golf I’ve taken two days off, and on the third day felt like I was starting over. I’ve actually had that same feeling playing the back nine after lunch.



a key reason I keep myself fit is so the end of life will come easier. Healthy people tend to flame out very quickly when the time comes, whereas inactive people tend to get sick early and then linger. I dread the thought of suffering, which is strange seeing how I play a game in which suffering is part of the territory.

it’s inaccurate to look at people like Tiger


and attribute their success to joy and passion. I assure you, the motivation is usually much darker than that. It’s no fun beating balls in a cold rain, or following a missed three-footer on the last hole by going to the practice green for five hours. The person who pays that price is usually driven by desperation, loneliness, a deep insecurity or a need to prove somebody wrong. In my case, I

at the honda classic one year, I fatted my second shot on the par-4 second hole into a muddy area left of the green. My ball was only half embedded, so I decided to take a chance. I closed my eyes and swung as hard as I could, hitting down sharply. When I looked up, I saw my ball airmailing the green by 60 yards, out-of-bounds. A full five seconds later—I had time to start bitching—whoom—a second ball drops out of the sky and lands right next to the hole. Unbelievably, the ball I fatted had come to rest directly on top of another ball, which was buried even more deeply. My swing had dislodged the buried ball, which flew over the green. Meanwhile, my ball was sent almost straight up in the air. It was probably the most bizarre par in the history of golf. If you play this game long enough, you’ll see it all.

GOLF DIGEST is a registered trademark of Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. Copyright © 2016 Golf Digest Publications. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A. Volume 67, Number 12. GOLF DIGEST (ISSN 0017-176X) is published monthly (except for an additional Masters issue in March and a combined issue in December/January) by Golf Digest Publications, which is a division of Condé Nast, which is a division of Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. Principal office: Condé Nast, One World Trade Center, New York, NY 10007. Condé Nast: S.I. Newhouse Jr., Chairman Emeritus; Charles H. Townsend, Chairman; Robert A. Sauerberg Jr., Chief Executive Officer and President; David E. Geithner, Chief Financial Officer; Jill Bright, Chief Administrative Officer. Periodicals postage paid at New York, N.Y., and at additional mailing offices. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement 40644503. Canadian Goods and Services Tax Registration 123242885-RT0001. Canada Post: Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: P.O. Box 874, Station Main, Markham, ON. L3P 8L4. Postmaster: Send all UAA to CFS (see DMM 507.1.5.2); Non-Postal and Military facilities: Send address corrections to Golf Digest, P.O. Box 37065, Boone, IA 50037-0065. For subscriptions, address adjustments or back-issue inquiries: Write to Golf Digest, P.O. Box 37065, Boone, IA 50037-0065; visit; or call 800-PAR-GOLF. Please give both new and old addresses as printed on most recent label. Subscribers: If the post office alerts us that your magazine is undeliverable, we have no further obligation unless we receive a corrected address within one year. If during your subscription term or up to one year after the magazine becomes undeliverable, you are ever dissatisfied with your subscription, let us know. You will receive a full refund on all unmailed issues. First copy of new subscription will be mailed within four weeks after receipt of order. Address all editorial, business and production correspondence to: Golf Digest magazine, One World Trade Center, New York, NY 10007 or call 212-286-2860. For reprints, please email or call Wright’s Media 877-652-5295. For reuse permissions, please email or 800-897-8666. How to play, what to play, where to play is a registered trademark of Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. To subscribe to other Condé Nast magazines on the World Wide Web, visit Occasionally, we make our subscriber list available to carefully screened companies that offer products and services that we believe would interest our readers. If you do not want to receive these offers and/or information, please advise us at P.O. Box 37065, Boone, IA 50037-0065, or call 800-PAR-GOLF. Golf Digest does not accept any unsolicited submissions and is not responsible for the return or loss of, or for any damage or any other injury to: unsolicited manuscripts, unsolicited artwork (including, but not limited to, drawings, photographs and transparencies), or any other unsolicited materials.

110 | november 2016


I’ll Have What He’s Having Toasting a golf legend by name

those fractions, but if tea isn’t the dominant feature, you’re not drinking what Arnold and his wife, Winnie, created as a change-of-pace lunchtime beverage in the 1960s. Palmer said the drink steadily grew in popularity after he was overheard requesting it at a restaurant in Palm Springs, Calif., and another patron wanted to have an “Arnold Palmer,” too. There are many spin-offs, including some that ratchet things up with ingredients only legally procured in the United States by those 21 and older. John Daly partnered with a company to bottle vodka-based cocktails inspired by Arnie’s recipe. Even Palmer cashed in on his creation by allowing AriZona Beverages to sell 27 “Arnold Palmer” offerings, all proudly advertised on its website. Yet, despite all these choices, we’ll still take the original and raise our glass to the legend behind the legend. Cheers. — RON KASPRISKE

t’s the focus of multiple websites, stories of its origin have become golf folklore, and if you don’t want the homemade version, it’s purchasable in an aluminum can or even as a packet of powder (just add water!). We’re talking about the Arnold Palmer, the famous combination of iced tea and lemonade that will posthumously honor one of America’s most famous athletes for decades to come. When Palmer passed away in September, at age 87, he left behind a concoction that’s as ingenious as it is simple. For the uninitiated, it’s a combination of iced tea and lemonade, served over ice, and often garnished with a lemon slice. Arnie said the correct way to make it is with two-thirds to three-quarters iced tea, and the rest lemonade. You’re free to experiment with


112 | november 2016

Photograph by Adam Voorhes