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Jonathan Yarwood reveals tour-proven techniques for crisper, straighter & longer irons

Issue 104 • AuG 2011 • £4.25

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TOP WRITING Peter Alliss Robert Green Jeremy Chapman John Hopkins Tom Cox Clive Agran Dan Davies Dominic Pedler Dr Felix Shank The Major!

Dan Frost How to max your speed Melissa Reid My keys to greater power


Open Season

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10, Buckingham Place, London sW1e 6HX Tel: +44 (0)20 7828 3003 editor: richard simmons editor in chief: robert Green equipment editor: dominic Pedler Tony seagrave design: Professional Teaching Panel: robert Baker, Tim Barter, Pete cowen, Jim christine, dan frost, Andrew Hall, simon Holmes, Paul Hurrion, stuart Morgan, denis Pugh, stuart smith, david Whelan & Jonathan Yarwood regular contributors: clive Agran, Peter Alliss, colin callander, Jeremy chapman, Tom cox, richard Gillis, Anthony ffrench-constant, Michael flannery, John Hopkins, Tony Johnstone, kevin McGimpsey, david Purdie, ronan rafferty, sarah stirk, Jayne storey, Paul Trow & Jake ulrich Photographers: david cannon, Peter dazeley, Phil Inglis, ross kinnaird, Andrew redington, Getty Images, charles Briscoe-knight, Matthew Harris, Mark newcombe, eric Hepworth, steve read regular Illustrators: Peter clark, Harold riley, dave f. smith, Tony Husband

Pure genius from Ireland’s finest A very warm welcome to what must surely rank as the most auspicious issue of this magazine to have been published in its 14-year history as we celebrate not one but two home-grown major champions in as many months. Outstanding achievements both – and all the more remarkable for the wider context and manner in which they were individually won. I first encountered Rory McIlroy when, at 14, he won his way onto a coaching week in Orlando as one of the elite stars of the Faldo Junior Series. Small for his age, and yet already marked for great things, he kept himself amused challenging anyone carrying loose change to chipping and putting contests – fleecing even Sir Nick himself on more than one occasion. Barely two years later McIlroy was the silver medallist in the 2007 Open at Carnoustie (what was all that nonsense at Sandwich about not having the nouse to play links golf?) and his rise to the top of the professional game has been effortless. Anyone who witnessed that closing round of 62 to secure a maiden PGA Tour victory at Quail Hollow last year caught a glimpse of the future as the boy from Holywood showed just what he was capable of. Twelve months down the road and the 22 year-old humbled the mighty US Open layout at Congressional with what amounted to an exhibition, laying waste to all who dared to challenge him before cruising – yes, cruising – to an eight-shot victory.

overseas correspondents: Austria karl Ableidinger Jan kees van der Velden Holland spencer robinson Hong kong Italy Mario camicia Andy Brumer usA Advertising/Publishing director: Peter simmons Tel: (020) 7828 3003 • Mobile: 07827 995 080 Advertising director: nick edgley Mobile: 07774 703 491 Advertising consultant: Ian Harkness Tel: 01702 558512 • Mobile: 07980 464 378 us Travel representative: Gary edwards Tel: (00) 1 843 849 1308 special Projects: Brosnan event Management Tel: (020) 8691 6836 Printers: Wyndeham Group // Tel: 01726 892400 distribution: comag // Tel: 01895 433600

It was a sublime four days' golf that laid bare just what a player of McIlroy's calibre can do with a golf ball when his mind is parked quietly in neutral – and all the more remarkable for that in light of what had appeared to be a crushing meltdown suffered only a handful of weeks previously at Augusta. By a similar token, Darren Clarke's awakening at Royal St George’s was so profound that the world at large could appreciate, at last, the skills of a true master of the links genre plying his trade without hint or fear of self distraction. This was Clarke’s 20th appearance in golf’s greatest championship – and quite possibly the first in which he was on his own side throughout as he strode to the challenge over four quite punishing days on the Kent coast. “I’ve seen Tiger at his best and I’ve seen Darren at his,” says long-time friend and mentor Ewen Murray, interviewed for the 19th Hole Q&A inside this issue. “And I can honestly say there’s nothing much to choose between them. As his best Darren is a genius – and what we saw at Sandwich was that genius enjoying the freedom of expression.”

ISSUE 104 • AUG/SEPT 2011


Tel: (020) 8950 9117 e-mail: uk: £34.99 • euroPe: £44.99 • resT of THe WorLd: £49.99

I’ll drink to that - enjoy the issue.

Essential reading from the best in the game ISSUE #104 // AUGUST 2011 Regulars Columns Features 12



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PLAneT GoLf 19th Hole Q&A with ewen Murray...The finest Things in Golf - dan davies’ Top 10...latest equipment news with Gi’s dominic Pedler... chiPower Golf...more advice from dr felix shank... dave stockton’s top putting tips...The Major!... The rules office – how’s your general knowledge?...divots...!



cAreer VIcTorY for one of the great exponents of links golf, darren clarke, this year’s open championship was when it all came together. Andy Farrell watched him all the way


cALM In THe eYe of A sTorM In at times tempestuous conditions at royal st George’s, darren clarke came through to turn his fine career into an excellent one reports Robert Green

42 on THe AIr This year celebrating 50 years service behind the microphone, Peter Alliss reflects on a terrific week at royal st George’s


19TH HoLe Why, ponders Clive Agran, does the r&A insist on the open championship always being staged on a windswept links


oPen BeTTInG Yet again royal st George’s turned out to be as profitable for the bookies as it did for the longshot winner. Jeremy Chapman reports

170 WorLd TournAMenT neWs Andy Farrell has all the latest news from the world of professional tournament golf, including rory McIlroy’s epic us open triumph and Luke donald’s scottish open masterclass at castle stuart. Plus our regular round-up of results, stats and money-lists


And AnoTHer THInG... rory’s performance at congressional raised too high the expectations of him at sandwich, but the manner of his victory in the us open was exceptional, writes Robert Green

THe AMATeur scene An example for the way all golf clubs should be looking to introduce and nurture youngsters has been set down at royal north devon, as Dan Davies reports. Plus we bring you a round-up of the very latest amateur tournament news, while Colin Callander reflects on Tom Lewis’ performance at sandwich

fIrsT uP celebrating not one but two new home-grown major champions in as many months, editor Richard Simmons tees up the latest issue...

168 ToM coX There was much to celebrate at sandwich – not least Peter Alliss’ 50th anniversary behind the microphone. Tom Cox lapped it up

178 THe LAsT sHoT Golf is not short on glorious spectacle but for John Hopkins the Walker cup us the best of the very best events in the sport


eLeMenTArY, deAr WATson Tom Watson had yet another open to remember – and not only for the hole-in-one he made on Thursday. John Hopkins salutes a genuine legend of the game

117 THe IJP InVITATIonAL Golf International is proud to be a media partner to one of the greatest days of the year in the junior calendar – Ian Poulter’s unique tournament at Woburn

126 dIsTAnce MeAsurInG deVIces Today’s golfing dMds embrace a wealth of technology from laser-based rangefinders to GPs devices sporting a variety of graphics, interactive features and game analysis gizmos. We invited roehampton assistant professional, Richard Weeks, to take some of the latest models for a test drive while equipment editor Dominic Pedler guides you through a glossary of the essential technical terms

144 PoeTrY In MoTIon following its success on tour, the TaylorMade Performance Lab is now available as arguably the ultimate custom-fitting experience for golfers of all standards. Dominic Pedler visited the brand new facility at one of his all-time favourite venues – Turnberry







AUGU ST 2011






Travel 54

kIWI fruIT for sports fans the world over the forthcoming rugby World cup promises a mouth-watering spectacle; for golfers especially, the prospect of a trip to new Zealand is laced with opportunity, as Martin Davidson reports


eVerYTHInG under THe sun Looking for 5-star luxury and service with great golf on the doorstep? Look no further than the quintessential resort of La Manga says radio 2’s Tim Smith

126 Your GoLf TrAVeL




BIrdIe-fesT AT VILAMourA Mark Oakley is never short of a high birdie count in a round of golf – and spectacularly so across the verdant wetlands of Vilamoura in the Algarve


MeMorABILIA What’s on the wish-list? Gi’s Kevin McGimpsey reveals the top items of golfing ephemera he’d love to own


ProPerTY A Thai Pad in Phuket: Peter Swain looks at the golf and the propert deals tempting many to Thailand


MoTorInG Anthony ffrench-Constant gives his verdict on the Peugeot 508

In association with our travel partners at Your Golf Travel our showcase destinations this issue include the Mazagan Beach resort, Morrocco, Valderamma & sotogrande and Gary Player’s new Thracian cliffs design in Bulgaria



Subscribe today... subscribe TodAY and you will receive a dozen srixon golf balls with your order. It’s a no-brainer – for just £39.99 you will have all eight issues of Gi magazine delivered to your door PLus receive a dozen Srixon Z-Star premium golf balls (which on their own retail for £45.99 per dozen) For details, see page 62 Write to The Editor, Golf International Magazine, 10 Buckingham Place, London, SW1E 6HX. Alternatively, you can email us at: or visit our website – – and click on LETTERS to submit your letter online

Rory, the timing couldn’t have been any better We have celebrated the life of Seve Ballesteros with all our hearts – quite devastating that he was taken away from us. In a career littered with incredible feats of shot-making brilliance, he amazed us with his daring, his vision and invention. He was simply a delight to watch and the most charismatic golfer of his generation. And now – as if decreed from above – along comes another young, gifted European, Rory McIlroy. We all watched in anguish as he let slip a handsome lead at Augusta, but the young Irishman took a lot of positives from that experience – and how he used them at Congressional in what was one of the greatest maiden major victories in history. Watching him hit that incredible tee-shot to the parthree 10th hole on Sunday – how did it not go in? – it was if he was saying to the golfing world: ‘Look, I’m back, and this time I’m in total control.’ If Seve could of wished the Europeans the next chapter in golf surely this would of been it? As one master leaves the stage another has arrived. I am sure I am not alone in being fascinated to see how our new superstar squares up to Tiger in the months and years ahead. Ian Carroll, via email

Srixon Z-Star is the ace in the hole! After almost 20 years of playing golf,

on Saturday 11th June I achieved my first ever hole in one! I was playing in a club match for Peterborough Milton against Ramsey, Cambs. The hole in one came at the 13th, 170 yards from the back tees. A gently fading 7-iron landed on the front edge of the green, releasing perfectly and rolling deadweight into the hole. The ball? A Srixon Z-Star provided by your goodselves when I subscribed to your magazine earlier this year. So thank you to Golf International! Thanks also for such a well constructed and thought out magazine. Some of your competitors are all pictures and puff, but your magazine has altogether more depth. Interesting articles from different perspectives, sharing the game we all love. I especially enjoyed your recent Top-10 features and would love that to become a regular feature with interesting guests sharing their special memories. Adrian James Mackenzie, Cambridgeshire

Wasted ace! Picture the scene: a Saturday morning competition and our three-ball is playing the 16th, a short hole of just over 180 yards into a stiff breeze to a green guarded by half a dozen bunkers. Two of us played and wound up short in the slightly less thick stuff. Number three in our group hit a high ballooning fade that might as well have waved goodbye as it disappeared

towards the heather and scrub. Having reloaded, and with a change of club, the provisional ball was despatched – a shot of pefection; a gentle draw that bounced twice on the green before caressing the pin and disappearing from view. An ace! Or, more accurately, a pretty good three! As we strolled towards the green the obvious temptation was to forget about the first ball – however this was

Star Letter* A lesson for all – percentage golf is the art of course management Having just watched the Open I had to write in and congratulate Darren Clarke on his win, it is testament to the man and his family after all they have been through. The way he won also reminded me of probably the best piece of advice I ever received, golf is not about your best shot but worst shot. Dustin Johnson was perhaps the closest anyone came to Darren in that final round but his shot on

14 ended his challenge, it appeared to me that Darren played within himself and always seemed he had another gear in reserve if he needed it – in the final round in particular his course management was excellent, he played the percentage golf. We are all capable of pulling off those miracle shots from time to time, only Seve seemed able to pull them off at will, however for the


majority of professional golfers it is the quality of their worst shots that sets them apart from the average club golfer. I urge all club golfers the next round they play to consider their options for each shot and select the shot that they know they could successfully play 8 times out of 10, not as most do select the one that might come off 1 out of 20 times. This advice was one of the fac-

tors that enabled me to get to single figures and when I walk off the course my thoughts are not about the one or two exceptional shots I’ve played they are more about how steady I’ve played. Good course management can knock more shots off your handicap than all the latest equipment and technology put together, and more importantly it’s free. Paul Butler, Chester-le-Street!/GiMagOnline

tempered not only by our integrity but also by No.3’s disappointment at potentially losing a relatively new ball. So we decided to have a look for it...and yes, well within the five minutes, we found it. Three swipes and two putts later a six was pencilled in on the card – and the hole-in-one that never was became a talking point throughout lunch and probably will for a few more to come. Ian Wishart

To summarise, in the face of dwindling interest from the public, golf’s profile remains sexist and elitist. Would I want my young daughter to follow me into golf? Knowing the camaraderie, the etiquette and the fun in playing, yes. Knowing golf is stuck (at best) in the 1980s, emphatically no. N Horwood, via email

The benefits of ‘slo-mo’

Open to but a few... With golf membership and participation in decline we need the clubs in the spotlight to be providing the kind of example that might reverse this trend. They have to be convincing people that golf is a game that can be enjoyed by all. The Open was the biggest golfing event of this year, and with more TV coverage and newspaper column inches than any other it had the ability to reach those not ordinarily enticed by golf. So where was The Open being held? At a course that doesn’t allow female members! There’s 50% of the population immediately alienated. My mother, sister, wife and daughter are four of the finest people I have ever met. Any club that wouldn’t allow them as a member has no interest for me. On the BBC Peter Dawson, the chief exec of the R&A, attempted to make a defence for individual clubs being allowed their own choices. But sorry Peter, you merely came across as some kind of sleazy politician sidestepping an issue you don’t have the guts or power to address. And to say these words in response to Hazel Irvine’s question with Suzanne Peterson sitting beside you in her new role to encourage inclusion within the game was doubly disingenuous! So what about other high profile clubs? Well, Walton Heath held the Senior Open and Carnoustie the Women’s. Both having summer green fees well in excess of £100. In a time of recession, continuing redundancies and cuts to health, education and the welfare state, is paying out that sort of sum for 18 W holes justifiable? It certainly won’t tempt any youngster who is struggling to make ends meet into thinking they might one day experience walking in the footsteps of the pros.

It was very interesting to me to read the essay by Dr Karl Morris (writing in Issue 102) on the benefits of the Tai Chi swing, where the student makes ultra slow motion swings in order to feel the perfect positions in the swing and to co-ordinate it more effectively. I also noticed that in issue 103 Jayne Storey advocates the benefits of the Tai Chi swing. I can attest to the fact that this methodology really does work – it is something that I have been doing for over 15 years and it helps immensely with the feel of swing path and the general flow of the swing. I first read about this drill when given Harvey Penick’s utterly brilliant Little Red Book by a Texan friend of mine in 1993. The chapter entitled “The Slow-motion Drill” describes taking ultra slow motion swings, the only difference being that it builds in a focus on the all important transition by repeating the movement from the top to one third of the way down fourtimes before completing the slowmotion swing. Mr Penick refers to lady golf Mickey Wright as someone who used this drill all the time, she was at the top of her game wining everything in the late 1950's & early 60’s. This drill clearly stands the test of time. Thank you to all at Gi, it really is a classy magazine. Charlie Heyman, via email

Experience the quality and the performance of FootJoy do you have something to say? If so, there’s never been a better time to air your views. Golf International has teamed up with footJoy to offer these fantastic prizes for all letters published, with a pair of the latest FootJoy DryJoys Tour golf shoes awarded the letter we judge to be the best. Blending traditional styling and the quality leather uppers footJoy are known for the world over, the next generation performance outsole on the the new dryJoys Tour offers unbeatable comfort and stability - which is presumably why more tour players choose footJoy than any other brand. (The footJoy dryJoys Tour retails for a suggested £125).


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By Dr Ka rl Morris

JUNE 2011




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RORYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S GLORIOUS REDEMPTION After all that happened over that closing round at Augusta just a matter of weeks previously, any doubt that rory McIlroy would suffer any lasting damage to his competitive psyche was eliminated in the most dramatic fashion imaginable as the 21-year-old blew away the field at congressional to claim his first major title in the shape of the us open. It was a performance that underlined the precocious talent many have predicted will take the young Irishman to the top of the world game (although that fever was dampened somewhat after a lacklustre performance at sandwich). speaking of which...just when we thought it couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get any better darren clarke strings together four of the great rounds in open history, in conditions he surely relished, to vindicate a fine career with the most fitting and popular of victories. At 42, and after all he has been through, this was surely a performance decreed from the higher spirits above.

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EWEN MURRAY Tour player, coach and broadcaster Ewen Murray took time out during the British Seniors Open at Walton Heath to talk to editor Richard Simmons about his good friend Darren Clarke’s heart-warming victory at Sandwich

Gi: Revealing your Top 10 of the Finest Things in Golf in issue 102, you said that in another life you and Darren Clarke would have been brothers. How did that relationship come about? EM: I first met Darren not long after he turned pro. Bruce [Critchley] and I were sitting in the clubhouse at Hanbury Manor one evening during the English Open. Darren sent over a bottle of wine – a pretty decent one. He came and sat with us and as golfers do we got chatting. It would have been around 1992 and after that we began to meet up during tournaments, particularly over in America, at a time when there really were not a lot of Europeans playing the US Tour. As the friendship grew over the years I became a sounding board, a confidant, happy to listen and give my opinion as and when he needed it.


Gi: Have you ever known a better or more natural striker of the ball than Darren? EM: Short answer, no. I’ve played a lot of golf with Darren over the years and of course I've watched him closely on tour. At his best, he has the ability to find the perfect position just here [stands to emulate the ‘slot’ at the start of the downswing]. He is a phenomenal striker of the ball, compressing it on the clubface exactly as it should be, the textbook ball-turf strike, a joy to watch. The thing with Darren is he can play this game standing on his head but his basics he tends to forget and occasionally he gets into trouble – well, that and the fact he is plus-4 at beating himself up out on the course. We saw that earlier this year with his 81-75 fiasco in Morocco. The week after that we spent about seven hours

out at Queenwood, both on the course and talking in the clubhouse. I even got the video out (which I never normally use) because he just needed to see how bad it all was. We worked on a few things. Darren is at his best when his swing is more around him on both sides, rather than steep up and down. Sure enough he starts hitting the ball a lot better. A few days later and he’s off to Abaco in the Bahamas – he has a house out there with Lee Westwood. And no sooner has he arrived than the pictures start coming through with little messages on them: ‘Flushed 4-iron’, ‘pure 9-iron’, ‘nailed driver’ – he was enjoying himself and clearly getting better and better. The last time I remember him hitting the ball like that was at Hoylake in 2006 when he opened up with a 69. The next day the doctors called him to say his wife, Heather, was in the final stages of his illness and he needed to get home. Gi: How tough was it to be one of Darren’s closest friends through that time and the years following? EM: All those who follow the game will be well aware of the dark times Darren has been through. I think for me the toughest time was after Woosie gave him a wildcard to the Ryder Cup in ’06. He rang me up and asked: ‘Do you think you can get me to play?’ We had five weeks to go. I told him that getting him ready wasn’t the issue; the question was could he cope with all of the functions on his own when every-

one else in the team would have their partner or their wife alongside them. It was his manager, Chubby, who asked me if I’d spend a couple of weeks with Darren. And those were the hardest two weeks I think I’ll ever have. Because his emotions had gone haywire. He would practice for eight hours a day and then return to what felt like an empty house. And that’s when we really became very close. I still have no idea how he managed to maintain composure when he was announced on the 1st tee at the K Club. Then he rips a driver 305, wedges it close and holes it for a three. What a week, three wins out of three. He should have stopped playing after that and taken the rest of the year off to come to terms with his loss. I think Darren thought he would be alright in a few months. Realistically, I think it’s taken him 5 years. Gi: How close did he come to quitting the game altogether? EM: Darren has had times when he has been that down not only with golf but with life. But he knows his responsibility is to the kids and that kept him going through the darkness. We all need someone to talk to when we face up to the challenges life puts before us and that’s why I referred to being like a brother to him. I am not his teacher or his coach, that’s Pete Cowen’s department (and they don’t come much better). But when Darren came back from Morocco earlier this year I think he was two weeks away from packing it all in. Gi: Was there a moment this year when you felt his game had clicked, that he was ready for the Open? EM: Funnily enough, even after he started hitting it well again on his holiday to Abaco he was never very far away from a head off. The win in Mallorca was a terrific boost for his confidence but you know Darren’s hardest opponent is himself. I’ve never known anyone beat themselves up the way he does. We had an episode at the French Open. He rings me up from the range and says ‘I’ve had enough.’ So I walk down there to see him. He’s not happy with the way he’s hitting it. Bare in mind this is a guy who can hit thirty 7-irons to within a few feet of a flag, then hit one wayward ball and say: ‘Where did that come from?’. Anyway, there’s this shot he likes to hit – Tiger calls it a ‘stinger’. Darren can hit this in his sleep, so I suggested he should go out

and play like that for the next couple of weeks – the Scottish Open and St George’s. It’s a punchy type of shot with a three-quarter swing and a sawn-off finish. Anyway he laughed. And so did Stuart Cage, one of the managers from Chubby’s crew at ISM. OK, I said watch this. I gave Darren 20 balls, we picked out a different target for each club and didn’t miss a single shot. Out comes the driver and he’s firing them quail-high down the range. The beauty of it was, at Sandwich it was blowing 30mph + every day. He had no choice but to play to like that. Gi: Were you nervous watching the final round? EM: Yes, right up to THIS IS A SAMPLE the second shot he hit to the 2nd hole. As soon as he hit that approach shot, holding it up with a gentle cut, I knew he had it all under control. He would never have attempted that shot to a back right pin if he didn’t feel absolutely in charge of his swing. After that it was one of the most serene final rounds I think I’ve ever seen in the Open – there were no crisis points.

always know that something is liable to happen. His front nine was majestic, 30 in that wind. Then he misses a little putt – and you know what I like most about Mickelson? He doesn’t blame it on anything or anyone but himself. Taps his head – ‘It was a dumb putt'. I always feel there are four turning points in a championship and we certainly had them here: the 12-footer Darren holed to save par at the 1st, his second shot to the second, the eagle at the 7th, just as Mickelson is going out in 30, and skipping the bunker at 9. Which, incidentally, was a suicidal second shot. Because if that goes into the riveted face of the bunker you’re looking at a six at best. And if Mickelson doesn’t miss that lit-




Gi: For a moment there it looked like Phil Mickelson was going to spoil the celebrations EM: When Mickelson’s in the mix you

tle putt on 11...things are very different. At six minutes past four he hopped the bunker, seven minutes past and Mickelson misses. Championship points. Gi: Presumably the champagne was on ice? EM: Yes, as it happened. I’d saved a


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A mixed bag of new gear & gadgets... A wood that’s made of wood? Strange. Dominic Pedler admires the craftwork of the latest drivers from Persimmon Golf among a mix of exciting new products for golfers young & old Persimmon’s reminder of true wood style

New kids on the PGA’s block

Despite the quantum shift to metals and composites in modern drivers, traditional persimmon still commands a cult following from those who appreciate the traditional craftsmanship of true wooden ‘woods’. Specialists Persimmon Golf have launched a new Model 26 driver and matching fairway woods designed to replicate the timeless wooden clubs favoured by legends such as Hogan, Snead, Palmer and Nicklaus. The Model 26 will appeal to players looking for the unique feel of a traditional clubhead yet with the technological advantages of the modern shaft. The solid persimmon head features a sealed mahogany brown finish along with a red/white cycolac insert set into the natural persimmon face, and rounded off with a ‘handwhipped’ hosel and hand-made leather headcover. Prices start at £195 per club with steel shafts (£535 for a set of three comprising 11-degree driver, 16degree 3 wood and 21-degree 5-wood. The corresponding prices for graphite shafts are £219/£595.

The new PGA Kids range of junior equipment developed by Sigma Golf for the PGA Collection has been officially adopted by the Golf Foundation as part of its Golf Roots programme which reports rising demand among junior golfers. “We found that many junior clubs were just basically senior clubs cut down to length with very little thought given to grip thickness or the flex of the individual shaft,” says Richard Jewell, managing director of Sigma Golf and an Advanced Fellow of the PGA. “The PGA Kids Range includes three length options all featuring varying head weight as well as shaft flex and grip size depending on the length. We are confident that these clubs will help young golfers develop their full potential.” All models come with lightweight graphite shafts and the option to buy clubs individually so sets can be built up as their game develops. Drivers, fairway woods and hybrids retail at £17.95 each, irons and putters at £13.95, with a bag for £29.95.

Strike it like a tour player One swing feature that separates the pros from the average amateur is the downward angle of attack with iron shots that helps to transfer energy efficiently, compressing the ball and making it fly further and straighter. The Tour Striker training club encourages this with an unusual clubface design with minimal area below the “sweet spot” that forces you to rethink the face angle impact position in the golf swing. This ingraining of the correct ‘attitude’ will help reduce the tendency to try to get under the ball as well as the ‘casting’ or ‘over the top’ actions of inferior downswings. There are three variations offering different lev-


els of challenge, along with different shaft flexes and graphite and steel options. The Original Tour Striker is available as a 56 degree wedge and an 8-iron targeted to mid-tohigh handicap golfers with driver swing speeds of under 90mph. The Tour Striker Pro comes as both a 7- and 5-iron for higher swing speeds and handicaps of 10 or less. The Tour Striker Pro X has an even more challenging sweet area for the highly skilled player. There are also Ladies and junior options with a shorter graphite shaft, also available in right or left hand. Guide: £79.99 (steel)/£99.99 (graphite).


Get Smart with Big Max For all the inroads made by powered trolleys in recent years, high quality push trolleys continue to emerge in stylish and compact designs. After the success of their IQ last year, Big Max launch their next generation threewheeled push model called the Smart Cart. As with its predecessor, the Smart Cart clicks into place in seconds with Big Max’s ‘one shake’ opening mechanism and folds away similarly neatly for storage. As with the IQ, the new model comes complete with adjustable bag brackets, a handbrake for stopping on uneven ground and a deluxe organiser panel that includes a scorecard port, a bottle holder, tee and pencil holder (as well as a sharpener). The trolley boasts a sturdy construction and runs with a smooth sliding action that benefits from the stability of its three wheels. Big Max prides itself on its rigorous laboratory and on course testing and is confident enough to offer the trolley with a 5-year warranty. Available in white, black, red or silver at £199.99.

App-lied putting know-how from Ping

Forgan forges online deals

Ping obviously have a head start in all things puttingrelated but, even so, there is an undeniable touch of genius in the groundbreaking iPing ‘app’, an inspired practice putting concept that measures the key parameters of your stroke via the new generation of iPhone (or iPod Touch) which you attach to your putter shaft with a lightweight clip-on cradle. This great gadget has already captivated many tour pros for both the technical feedback it provides on the shape of your swing arc, the face angle of your putter at impact and the efficiency of your tempo, and also for the addictive challenge of the ‘putting handicap’ programme that makes the concept highly accessible to all standards of golfers. iPing is downloadable from iTunes for free, with Apple themselves nominating it as not just the best golf app currently available but the best in the entire app market (apart from, of course, those developed by Apple’s own inhouse development team!). We’ll bring you our own hands-on verdict next time.

Forgan of St Andrews has launched its most forgiving and high-quality irons sets in the form of the F150 and IWD2 models – both of which are offered at substantial discounts through the company’s online retailing venture. Both designs are made from military grade 431 stainless steel and feature wide soles, impressive cavity backs, and a high MOI construction geared to golfers seeking maximum forgiveness. The IWD2s come in a modern, antiglare dark grey finish with in-filled white lettering on the sole and geometric graphics; while the F150s are a more understated, classic-looking stainless design. Both are available with a wide range of custom-fit options, including Forgan’s SL Superlight 58g graphite and Dynamic Gold steel shafts, along with 10 different length settings, five lie angle choices and three grip options. Just follow the simple steps on the website to create your own perfect custom-fit profile.

Once fitted to the shaft of the putter, your iPhone dials up all the numbers you need to hone a tourstandard stroke

While both models retail at £299.99 a set, the special online prices start at just £129.99 (with standard Apollo steel shafts) representing exceptional value.



planet golf


In his prime in the early 1970s, Dave Stockton once went some 950 holes without a three-putt. Still blessed with his revered putting game that brought him 25 titles – including five majors – Stockton is now a consultant for TaylorMade as well as a putting coach to tour stars who have collectively notched 30 wins over the last year, including Rory McIlroy’s victory at the US Open. On his recent visit to the UK, he shared his top tips with Gi’s Dominic Pedler



Putting is an art but there is some equipment out there that will help everybody. In particular, I have seen at first hand how much the grooves on the face insert of the TaylorMade/rossa putters can improve golfers of all levels. The impact and roll characteristics are very different to other putters, as can be measured in the lab. The benefits are astounding in terms of reducing the skidding and jumping of the golf ball and inducing pure roll as early as possible after impact which helps the ball to keep its line.



I’m a firm believer that, unlike most golf shots, the grip of the putter should remain perpendicular as long as possible through 14 GOLFINTERNATIONALMAG.COM AUGUST 2011

impact for both putts and short chip shots. This keeps the putter-head low to the ground which allows the golf ball to hug the surface of the green and develop true roll more quickly. The forward press encourages that movement – with Phil Mickelson being one of the finest exponents. of course, this naturally de-lofts the clubface so you must check that you’re starting with enough static loft on your putter at address. for most players I suggest 4 degrees.



for a right-handed golfer, the right hand provides the power and the feel in the putting stroke, the left hand merely ‘goes along for the ride’. But the left hand must do that in order to keep the putter-head low through impact and not pull ‘up and out’ of the shot.

PLANEt GOLF TAYlORMADE’S SPIDER MAKES A GHOSTlY RETURN Three of TaylorMade’s most striking putter concepts in recent years: the Pure roll insert, the mega mallet shape and the distinctive all-white finish have been combined into one radical new design – the Ghost spider. The head reprises the ultra-high MoI design of the original Monza spider from 2008 with those controversial rear wings that concentrate weight at the very edges of the steel wire-frame construction. There’s also a new take on the Movable Weight Technology of the original which allows the user to customise feel by changing the various screws.

Like with a basketball shot, the right hand does most of the work and left would seem to do nothing – but there too it ‘goes along for the ride’. This is another key secret to getting the true roll you need.



I like to split the putt into three equal parts but give much more emphasis to the final third when the ball will be travelling much slower and be most prone to movement from even the smallest of slope. Look for any break near the hole in order to favour one side of the cup, which will improve your margin of error over a seemingly straight putt.



Like Jack nicklaus did with his tee shots, I like to a pick a spot on my putting target line very close to my ball at address. Though in my case it’s only about one or two inches inch away from the ball. That target is then in my field of view at address – whereas a target at the other end of the putt is not! Then all I do is to feel my left hand going directly over that spot as I swing through impact, which also crucially helps me keep my head still.



for many players I advocate not taking any practice swings as this causes you to think too much. But if you do, at least do it directly behind the golf ball on the target line – rather than parallel to that line, as most players do. That way you are viewing the path your ball will actually take, just as you would with a practice shot with a pool cue. keep looking at the hole, getting the feel of the path of the putt rather than looking down at the imaginary ball position or the movement of the putter head on the ground.



Many balls have alignment marks on them but if someone lines it up like that when I’m teaching them I’ll roll the ball over so they can’t see it! It’s just an extra thought to have in your head and it often looks wrong when you actually stand over the ball at address. In any case, my focus isn’t on the ball itself – I’m thinking about that spot an inch or two out on the ground.



People often putt worse as adults as they do as kids by getting too wrapped up in technique. I don’t think putting is nearly as difficult an endeavor as people make it out to be. I don’t like words like ‘try’ and ‘hit’. You need to stroke the putt with ‘feel and roll’ rather ‘trying to hit it’. There’s a big difference. Get a rhythm to your routine. I keep my putter head moving even before starting my backswing by placing it ahead of the ball before returning it to the address position. It is my way of keeping a sense of flow which I have internalized subconsciously so that I have no formal swing thoughts to distract me.



There’s so much emphasis on knowledge, perfection and optimization in every area of golf these days. But when it comes to putting, trying to get everything perfect will invariably make your tension levels rise. Be relaxed in your approach and throughout your routine. step up there and feel that you’re rolling it and letting it go.



Visualise the putt on its path to the hole and dropping into the cup. develop a ruthless putting aura where you are genuinely surprised if the ball doesn’t drop. When I’m putting well I have a level of confidence where I’m actually shocked if I don’t hole it!

More than a fashion statement, the ghostly finish is scientifically claimed to improve alignment due to the exceptional contrast with the grass which helps to highlight the putter head shape and face angle relative to the intended line. Putting legend dave stockton the driving force behind this and the rossabranded predecessors - claims an average 20% alignment improvement among golfers tested in the TaylorMade studio. Meanwhile, the patented Pure roll insert is a soft surlyn construction whose subtle grooves promote forwardspin to help reduce skidding and encourage a smooth, accurate roll with more precise speed control. “fans of the Monza spider will be blown away by the Ghost spider,” says stockton. “We’ve never made a putter that combines this kind of forgiveness and ease of use. Putting is all about confidence, and the Ghost spider promotes confidence, big time.” The putter has already been a hit on tour most notably in the hands of Jason day who played it when finishing runner-up at both the Masters and the us open. Available in 33”, 34” and 35” shaft lengths at a guide price of £149.



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On fire...and ready to rumble: England’s Melissa Reid will be one of the stars of the European team in the Solheim Cup

England’s Melissa Reid is one of the most exciting lady golfers to have emerged through the amateur golf scene in the last decade, so it’s no surprise that she is now forging a successful career on the Ladies European Tour. Carly Cummins caught up with the 23-year-old at the ISPS Handa Portugal Ladies Open to find out what makes her powerful swing tick PHOTOGRAPHY: TRISTAN JONES / LET WITH THANKS TO COACH DAVID RIDLEY




MY SWING IN REAL TIME MY CHECKPOINTS AT ADDRESS My main focus at the set-up is to make sure that I am aiming correctly with my body parallel to the target line. Like so many golfers, I have a tendency to want to set-up to the ball a little closed to the target line, so I really concentrate on picking a spot on the ground ahead of my target line to aim the club and then a second spot on the ground parallel to the target line as a point of reference for my feet to aim at. The other thing I work on is balance, focusing on feeling the weight balanced between the centre and the balls of my feet. My last checkpoint is good posture. When I’m getting tired I tend to lose my posture, which shows as my shoulders get very rounded, so I concentrate on making sure my lower back is not arched.

TAKEAWAY: This first move is one I’ve been working on intensively. I’m trying to rotate my right arm, keeping my elbow tucked in so that my forearm and the shaft are on plane at the halfway-back position. To exaggerate this sensation I practice wearing a strap that keeps the arms compact to my body. Then, when I remove the strap, I have a much stronger feel for the move. My checkpoint is that at the halfway-back position the shaft should point to the centre of my chest. When I make a poor swing it tends to be because I get a bit too flat in the takeaway, the arms then lift up and I use my wrists and ‘flip it’.

TOP OF BACKSWING: From the perfect halfway-back position I know that all I need to do is hinge my wrists and turn my torso (my abs) to get the club on plane at the top of the backswing. This prevents me lifting my arms, which is an old fault I’m occasionally prone to. At the top of the swing I’m also focusing on keeping my right knee flexed so that I maintain the same good posture athletic angles that I established at address.

WHAT I FEEL I AM DOING - full swing slow-motion rehearsal drill

Solid set-up, legs strong, nice angle across the shoulders

I feel that I rotate my right foreram to initiate the move away from the ball


Athletic leg action initiates the downswing, shifting momentum to the target and creating this ‘lag’ as upper body unwinds Powerful rotation of the upper body – the left shoulder under the chin


DOWNSWING: I have a tendency to get a little ahead of myself in the downswing and occasionally come over the top with the shoulders and arms getting ahead of the body. So my focus is on trying to initiate the downswing with my leg action. To do so, I rotate both my knees back to centre, allowing the arms to drop nicely down on plane. I do a lot of my practice rehearsing this move in front of a mirror so that I can really see the correct sequence of movement – the legs working and the arms following.

I like to feel that my hands are directly above the ball at impact

Through the ball I go after the feeling of free-wheeling the clubhead

INTO IMPACT: This is where the power in my swing is generated. From hip height I fire the right side through the ball and free-flow to the finish. As long as my legs are firing correctly my arms will lag behind so that as I start to turn my torso through the hands go with me. This fantastic lag, or delayed hit, is what all the powerful hitters in the world demonstrate in their swing and I achieve it by using my body speed and hand speed together to ensure maximum clubhead speed is delivered to the ball. When I make a bad swing my hands tend to get too far ahead and I hit a pull, so my check point is that the hands are over the ball as I strike the shot.

FINISH: After impact my swing very much free-wheels through to the finish. Right now I’m concentrating on getting a straight back as I have a tendency to hang back a little and this is shown by my back curving. The other key thought I have is to feel very balanced, no matter what club is in my hands, whether I’ve hit a full-throttle driver, or an easy wedge I try to hold my finishing pose until the ball lands.









For one of the great exponents of links golf, Darren Clarke, this year’s Open Championship was when it all came together. Andy Far r el l reports PHoToGrAPHY BY GETTYIMAGES.COM

At Sandwich, Darren Clarke savoured the sweetest taste known to a golfer – victory in a major championship

DARREN CLARKE’S VICTORY IN THE 140TH OPEN Championship was both popular and emotional. It fittingly came at Royal St George’s. J. H. Taylor won the first Open played outside Scotland here and Harry Vardon two of his record six titles on the Sandwich links. But in those days Britain had the best golfers in the world. When Henry Cotton won in 1934, with a record 65 in the second round but a nervy finish, there had not been a home winner for a decade and finally Britain had found a new golfing hero. When Sandy Lyle won in 1985, after that wobble in Duncan’s Hollow, there had not been a


home winner for 16 years since Tony Jacklin. Once more, according to the world rankings, Britain has some of the finest golfers on the planet and the hope for a new home champion, for the first time since Paul Lawrie 12 years ago, was palpable before the off. Yet England’s No 1 and No 2, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, missed the cut and Rory McIlroy, the new darling of the golfing universe after his brilliant and historic US Open victory, was brought down to earth by the golfing gods. But Clarke showed them all how to do it. Perseverance

was rewarded. This was his 20th Open appearance and no one had waited longer to win the claret jug – Nick Price won on his 16th appearance. There is hope there for Westwood and Donald and the rest but there was an even more fundamental reason for Clarke’s victory. Always a fine exponent of the art of links golf, this was one of the finest demonstrations there has ever been. It needed to be given he was tackling a capricious links in often foul weather. They say St George’s takes some knowing. Like all links, it is at the mercy of the elements but all those humps and hollows seem to exaggerate the variations in the challenge. Only the Old Course itself might be so extreme in its changes of character. In the one week they visit every eight to ten years, even the world’s best players appear bewildered at times. Yet Clarke sniffed the air like an old sailor and instinctively utilised the links skills learnt as a young man and honed over the winter after his return to Portrush. His ball-striking was exceptional, especially on the Saturday afternoon when, albeit the weather was calming down after the earlier torrents of rain, Clarke produced a master class. Had the putts gone in that day he would have been far ahead of the field. As it was, his refusal to allow those disappointments to cloud his thinking was a triumph in itself and he was rewarded the following day when all the putts that mattered – a 15-footer for par at the first, his birdie try at the 2nd, the eagle from 15 feet at the 7th, the par-save at the 11th after visiting a bunker to mention but a few – all dropped happily. That’s what not one but two sports psychologists can do for you. Mike Finnegan was someone Clarke had consulted earlier in his career. He came back into the fold in May after Clarke returned from a three-week holiday in the Bahamas. Clarke’s manager, Chubby Chandler suggested Clarke had wanted to quit golf after a disastrous weekend at the Trophée Hassan II and packed him off on holiday. Clarke did not sell the story as strongly but admitted he needed a break. He came back and won the Iberdrola Open in Mallorca. After a terrible final round at the Scottish Open, Finnegan was in demand again at Sandwich but Clarke also bumped into Dr Bob Rotella, an old mentor and the two ended up having daily consultations. Clarke told Rotella he did not feel he could hole a putt over a foot. Rotella told Clarke not to think about the mechanics of his putting, to “go unconscious”, to treat it as an automatic habit that we do without thinking. All week Clarke was as calm as he has ever been on a golf course. “I’m older and allegedly a bit wiser,” Clarke, at 42 the oldest Open champion since Roberto de Vicenzo, said. “I’m not sure what was different this week but I felt com-



Calm of the

in the eye


In at times tempestuous conditions at Royal St George’s, Darren Clarke came through to turn his fine career into an excellent one. Robert Green reports



we’d rented for the Open, we found a note the owner had kindly left, explaining how everything worked and also providing a brief guide to the delights of the village of Sandwich. Towards the end, he’d written: “Darren Clarke said the course was tough enough without the rough…” The previous day, The Guardian had carried a story about phone-hacking…er, sorry, an interview with Clarke’s manager, Andrew ‘Chubby’ Chandler. The journalist, Lawrence Donegan, mentioned a few of Chandler’s clients who might be in the mix in the coming week – Messrs McIlroy, Westwood, Clarke, Els, Schwartzel, Oosthuizen, Dyson – and asked him who he’d like to see win. “I have to stay neutral,” said Chandler, before adding: “OK. Why don’t we say this – wouldn’t it be a great story if Darren Clarke finally won an Open Championship?” Needless to say, replete with omens, I didn’t dash down to the bookies. Within a week, however, the Irishman was reaping the rewards of the deal Chandler had struck with Sports Direct in 2005 for Clarke (and Lee Westwood and David Howell) to wear Dunlop clothing but with no money involved unless they won a major, in which case they collected £2 million. In the circumstances, perhaps the company’s owner, Mike Ashley, could be excused if he won’t be rooting quite so fervently for Westwood to win the USPGA Championship and make this the season of the Chubby Grand Slam. Clarke admitted: “I still can't decide what to buy with the money. To be honest, up until Sunday I've lived like a major champion without actually winning a major.” On the Sunday especially, he played like a major champion, making a series of clutch putts – notably from 15 feet to save par at the first – and rallying to repel the flamboyant charge of Phil Mickelson, with Clarke making an eagle at the 7th to restore the lead that the American had eroded


Darren Clarke with his first major trophy and what was not his last pint of Guinness

with his extraordinary start to the final round. Throughout the week, Clarke’s ball-striking had been magnificent. He hit 51 greens in regulation, second only to Davis Love. The 2012 American Ryder Cup captain – and Clarke is surely the hot favourite to be the European skipper in 2014 unless he wants to try to make the team as a player! – hit 54 greens but his putter was plainly terrified of anything within four feet of the cup. That number, 54, also represents the number of majors it took for Clarke, aged 42, to win his first. Last spring, that scenario did not seem to be on the cards. At the start of April, he was contemplating retirement, a bleak view engendered by the 81-








Dear Watson Taking a bow! Tom Watson had yet another Open Championship to remember, not only for the hole-in-one he made here but in maintaining the role he appears to have been assigned of mentoring the brightest young amateur stars in golf TOM WATSON MAY NOT HAVE KNOWN IT WOULD come to this. The popular American may not have realised that at the same time as he was preparing for his annual love-in with golf courses and the public in Britain, an occasion also known as his trip to Britain for the Open, so the R&A were preparing for his appearance in their championship. The R&A clearly think that Watson, after winning the Open five times and considering his remarkable standing in the game, has become such a good role model, such a wonderful ambassador for golf that they wanted to give him an appropriate young man with whom to play in the Open. It was not an entirely selfless thought by the R&A. They realised it would be a bonus for whichever com-

petitor was chosen in that he would be mentored by Watson for two rounds and be able to study one of the greatest golfers of all time at close quarters. And it would possibly, perhaps probably, guarantee press attention and TV coverage if either Watson himself or the prodigy did something special. At Turnberry in 2009 it was Matteo Manassero, at 16 almost one quarter Watson's age and the youngest competitor in the field, who had the pleasure of competing alongside the American, the oldest. At Sandwich this year it was Tom Lewis, at 20 one third as old as Watson, who played with the five-times champion. Though Watson outscored both Manassero and Lewis, finishing second in 2009 and 22nd in 2011, he spurred his young companions on to good play, too. Manassero won the silver medal for coming AUGUST 2011 GOLFINTERNATIONALMAG.COM 25



In the shape of Northern Ireland’s two most recent major champions, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke, the golfing world has marvelled at the way in which two different and intriguing characters have dealt with adversity along the road to achieving their greatest success. As ever, the application of perspective has been key to unlocking the ultimate performance


The Power of

Perspectıve Rory McIlroy gloriously wins the US Open at Congressional with a sublime display of shot-making that breaks all kinds of US Open scoring records and, at just 22, becomes the youngest winner for 88 years. Barely a month later, Darren Clarke, at 42 a veteran of no fewer than twenty Open Championships, puts together four stunning rounds of golf at a windswept Royal St Georges to capture his first major title. Leaving aside the fact that these two great players come from Northern Ireland, the two victories could scarcely be farther apart in nature and yet, if we dig a little deeper, I think you’ll agree there’s a common psychological key – and one that, channelled correctly, could have a big impact on your own game. To do that we need to go back to the first major of the year – the season-opener at Augusta. For three rounds McIlroy played quite astonishing golf. So good was he that he took a four-shot lead into the final round. But the nerves were visible as early as the 1st green, and, as the lead gradually evaporated, we were left to witness a young man collapse horribly. The snap-hook off the tee at 10, a four-putt on 12, and McIlroy’s dreams of wearing the green jacket were gone. Naturally the post-mortem elicited a media frenzy – what long-term damage had been done? All of the so-called ‘experts’ questioned whether he actually had the game and the mental strength to recover and compete at the very highest level. In the days following, the only person who seemed unfazed by it all was Rory. His manager Andrew ‘Chubby’ Chandler travelled to Rory’s home in Holywood to ask his player, ‘Are you OK?’. Rory’s reply sowed the seeds for his epic US Open triumph: ‘I’m fine. I can’t really see what all the fuss is about. I



lost a golf tournament. Nobody died. There are disasters in the world but this wasn’t one of them.’ In that moment Rory sent such a powerful message to his young golfing brain. The power of PERSPECTIVE. While so many others around him were talking about a catastrophe and a disaster the player himself chose to frame it differently. He chose to put the events in a place in his mind that were labelled with huge disappointment but NOT as a catastrophe. The point to be aware of here is that, unfortunately, our brain – and specifically our unconscious implicit mind – tends to take things literally. So if we label something with words such as ‘disaster’ and ‘catastrophe’ then that part of our brain goes to work without logic and it seeks to protect us from those situations in the future. One of the ways it can do that is to make sure that we don’t put ourselves in a similar situation again. Much in the same way that we may have been unfortunate as a child to say something in front of a class that everybody laughed at, causing such acute embarrassment that the brain goes to work by telling us: ‘don’t speak in public again’. Then, 20 years on we have an adult with a severe public speaking phobia that doesn’t seem to make any sense at all to our logical mind. In exactly the same way we have to be very careful in the way we label our experiences on a golf course. When something is billed as being ‘life or death’ then is it any wonder that some careers never recover? Rory McIlroy has proved himself to be made of entirely different stuff – with that sense of perspective he was able to move on and his brain is not wired to dread or fear playing in majors and, more importantly, getting in to contention. At Congressional he simply got back to doing what he loves to do


above anything else – i.e. playing golf. To Rory McIlroy the game is a game. He has not fallen into the trap of ‘believing’ what the media try to get us to buy into. To Royal St George’s and a quite fantastic Open Championship – and one of the game’s most popular of winners. I have been fortunate enough to have known and worked with Darren on and off for around 10 years. In that time I have watched the best players in the world and I would say, without hesitation, that Darren is the most talented and impressive ball striker I have ever seen. The sound of the ball off the clubface, the pureness of the strike, the flight and the control he has is something to behold. He often used to joke that I should pay to watch him practice – and he had a point! One of the games we used to play was called the ‘9 shot drill’, the challenge being to hit a comprehensive selection of shots with one club – i.e. Draw, Fade, Straight, High, Medium and Low – 9 shots in all to demonstrate spin control. To watch

Darren do this with a 4- or 5-iron is like watching Picasso paint, the subtle but pure changes in ball flight demonstrating a masterful display of his skill. On the flip side of the coin, this great natural talent could sometimes be the biggest obstacle to him going out and hitting those shots on the course. Darren will himself admit to being such a perfectionist on the range that if the ball didn’t behave in exactly the way he wanted it to on the golf course he was rarely one bad shot away from explosion and then implosion. In fact, I don’t think that I have ever known any other player get so frustrated and so down on himself as Darren did because he KNEW what he was capable of. One of the hardest lessons in golf is that the game does not lend itself to perfectionism. Some things do – like accountancy and building suspension bridges – but golf does not. It is an imperfect science. As Dr Bob Rotella, the mind coach who has worked extensively with Darren over the years – and who was with him at St George’s – said in the title of one of his books Golf is NOT a Game of Perfect. What happens away from the golf course is bound to affect our performance on it and Darren Clarke knows more about this than most. Since the loss of his wife Heather to cancer in 2006, Darren has had to rebuild his life, foremost as a father to his two boys, Conor and Tyrone, and latterly as a golfer. How could that not have taken its toll on his mentality? The years since have been far from straightforward but there is no doubt they have shaped the Darren Clarke we saw smiling his way around St George’s, enjoying the challenge of the game, pitting his skill against an absolute brute of an opponent that felled most of the rest of the field. What we saw was a Darren Clarke with a sense of perspective. This was a GAME to be played. An important game yes, but in the end a game nonetheless. Whatever the course could throw at him it couldn’t be worse than what life had thrown at him. Maybe it shouldn’t take these life events to give us this sense of perspective but often for us all it does. We attach too much importance to a lot of little things and not

Having experienced the heat of major contention at Augusta in April, Rory McIlroy was altogether better equipped to finish the job at Congressional; a relaxed Darren Clarke enjoys the attention at Sandwich, where his demeanor was the 15th club in his bag





Pro moves for

better golf How to work on replacing some of golf’s common swing faults with easy-to-follow drills that will deliver immediate results


Start out in your regular stance – here I’m using a 6-iron and the ball is teed-up half-an-inch or so

Then pull the right foot back until the toe of the shoe is a couple of inches behind the left heel. This stance will help you to keep your upper body ‘centred’ over the shot; your weight will naturally tend to fall onto the forward foot at the set up, which is fine – through the course of the swing you will shift against the flex in the right knee and thigh



FAULT: Incorrect weight shift/hip sway The fault you see here is a fairly common one and the effects are damaging on the quality and the consistency of your ball striking. The problem is that when you allow your hips to tilt like this you fail to rotate your body and shift your weight correctly into a braced right side. The ‘fix’ can be quick and

With a turn away from the target pre-set at the set-up, you simply continue that rotation as you swing the club to the top, enabling you to turn and ‘load’ the upper body

simple if you spend some time rehearsing the right-foot back drill. Pulling the right foot back effectively pre-sets good hip rotation – all you have to do is continue and complete that hip turn as you wind to the top and then feel the quality of your swing improve as you unwind from the ground up and ‘collect’ the ball

Having rotated in the backswing the hips will naturally want to unwind and lead you to a good impact position – freewheel the right side and ‘collect’ the ball as you swing through to a finish



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effıcıent Why a more compact

swing will make you a better iron player


The following exercises are designed to help you trim the fat off your iron shots – to crisp things up and leave you with a better sensation of striking down and through the ball. To do that, the focus throughout is on synchronising your arm swing with your body turn and generally making things more efficient using width, leverage and torque to create an efficient, modern movement. Starting with this training ball, I want to get you thinking about the way in which the forearms in a good golf swing rotate and stay pretty much ‘pinched’ together. In contrast, a lot of beginners and higher handicappers tend to spread their arms and lift them to the tiop of their swing (opposite) which breaks the linkage between the arms and torso. If you can keep the arms rotating and pinched together whilst progressively setting the wrists against that, you will enjoy better width, build up greater torque and – ultimately – clubhead speed. One thing I will stress throughout this feature is that you don’t need a long swing that runs beyond the parallel; in fact, a more compact swing is more desirable. Biomechanically it is proven that the key is to improve the kinetic link between your arms and torso – and I’m all for the appliance of science. Overleaf, let’s go on to look at how using this type of training ball can quickly and easily reward you with a more compact backswing

POWER LEAK! For those of you who focus on the left arm in the backswing, this is the big danger: in a poor swing the arms can often be seen to splay apart, leading to this inevitable ‘lift’ which causes the ‘over the top’ move on the way back down to the ball – a huge power leak. So turn the page to find out how you can eliminate this and start to enjoy a more compact and more energy efficient action



As you swing back and gather momentum, make yourself really ‘snap’ the wrists to add leverage as you turn and coil to the top

Three-quarter backswing with 100% efficiency: note that while the shoulders are turned through 90 degrees the hips are barely at 30, the right leg serving as a ‘post’, braced to provide resistance

Start here, 4 o’clock

SWISH DRILL: Synchronise your hinge, turn and release for greater swoosh speed A good golf swing is a combination of sequence and torque to create speed in the clubhead. That’s the bottom line: as a result of the centrifugal forces you generate with the rotation of your body, and the associated free-wheeling of the arms and hands, you produce real speed in the clubhead through impact. And the drill you see me demonstrating here is one that can help you do that – and it’s especially beneficial for juniors and lady golfers, because when you turn the club around and grip it just below the hosel it feels so incredibly light in your hands.


As per the sequence above, your starting point – once you have set yourself up with a good posture – is to move the grip-end through to 4 o’clock on an imaginary clockface (inset above left). Doing this simply gives you a little early momentum as you then let your arms (and clubshaft) fall back and continue on into the backswing movement. And the key to doing this is that you really ‘snap’ the wrists to hinge and ‘load’ in the process of coiling your backswing. Look how solid the body looks in frame 2 above – the upper body has been pulled around by the

swoosh of the club. There’s not too much turn, just the right amount at the completion of what is a very efficient three-quarter motion – and one loaded with energy. I am a big fan of drills in motion, and working on this exercise really does gel together so many of the key ingredients you are looking for in a good golf swing. As you unwind, focus on re-hinging the wrists to make the distinct L-shape you see here in the through-swing (right). To further accentuate the role of the hands and arms, try it with your feet together and let the clubshaft create the maximum swoosh.


Adopt a good posture, your right arm in position, and then hinge and re-hinge the right wrist to toss the ball

Make an L-shape on the way back (opposite) and again on the way through. Re-hinge with velocity on the way to a good finish. This is something Freddie Couples does so beautifully â&#x20AC;&#x201C; one of the reasons why he hits it so far

Use this exercise as a warm-up before hitting balls or playing. The louder the swoosh the more speed you are generating through the impact area


AUGUST 2011 / #104 FEATURING: Grip the club lightly and let the right wrist hinge to create a flowing backswing




A Thai Pad in Phuket Just like golf, buying property in an emerging market is a risk-reward business, reports Peter Swain

ON THE DAY IN AUGUST 2008 WHEN MIDhandicapper Bruce Harris was due to transfer £100,000 into Thai Baht to buy his dream condo on the island of Phuket, mobs took to Bangkok’s streets and the local currency plummeted. He was faced with a dilemma – push on or pull out. Thailand has been attracting golfers for years. Last year, 818,000 Brits visited the country, with a fair number playing a round or three. Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin and Pattaya all have good clubs, but if there’s a single holiday destination with an enjoyable variety of great courses, it has to be Phuket. As a British Airways purser, Bruce travels the globe – the world is his fairway. He and his wife Michele settled on the 30-mile long island of Phuket for the weather, food, beaches, and, of course, the golf. They had decided to make a move on a condo costing about £150,000 at Chom Tawam in Laguna, a large gated estate with several luxury hotels, good security and in Laguna Phuket Golf Club at the Banyan Tree, a tranquil resort 18-holer. “When we negotiated the price, the Baht was at 60 to the pound,” remembers Bruce. “The day the rioters hit the streets, it dropped to 72, a depreciation of 20%.” As his 34 GOLFINTERNATIONALMAG.COM AUGUST 2011

condo price was quoted in local currency, it became 20% cheaper in pounds sterling overnight. But was it worth the risk? Bruce decided it was, so stepped up, bought the apartment, and hasn’t regretted it once. Unlike the BA man, I had never played in Phuket, so when I travelled there a few months ago I enlisted as guide the splendid Mark Siegel of GolfAsian. Top of his list, and Bruce’s, was the Red Mountain course, built in 2007. A deceased tin mine doesn’t sound propitious, but the jungle has reclaimed most of it and the resultant mix of lakes, red rocky outcrops and forest is quite simply stunning (see the main image above).

English designer Jon Morrow has created 18 memorable holes with elevation changes, aggressive bunkering, several risk-reward challenges around water, and breathtaking vistas. The condition of the Paspalum fairways is immaculate, greens fast and clubhouse friendly. Part of the same club, Loch Palm is more forgiving but still a good challenge. The other ‘must-play’ course on Phuket is the Canyon at Blue Canyon. Three times the venue of the Johnnie Walker, won most memorably by Tiger in 1998 after coming back from an eightshot deficit on the final day, it’s something of a tropical West Course. Rather like Wentworth, sev-


blue Canyon boasts two ‘must-play’ layouts – the testing Canyon Course (above) and the less manic lakes (above right). Marketing of fractional ownership at the Wintana project (right) is about to commence; a typical low-rise apartment block at Chom Tawan (below)

eral long wooded doglegs have downhill drives followed by uphill approaches to small, tricky greens. As Mark warned me, it’s also a walking-only course, so even with the compulsory caddie, it’s a long, demanding round in the customary heat and humidity. In my judgment, any golfer with a twofigure handicap should think twice before attempting it. For good players, it’s a blast. Its sister Lakes Course is altogether kinder. The Nicklaus-designed Mission Hills nestles close to the cobalt waters of the Andaman Sea and features island greens, vast bunkers and a clubhouse spa to soothe aching joints and bruised egos. Another resort set-up, Phuket Country Club is the oldest course on the island, and features, in the horseshoe-shaped 10th around a lake, an unusual eagle chance for players who can accurately drive 200-plus yards over water. Bruce Harris’s local course at Laguna meanders through coconut groves with water in play on 13 holes. The greens have recently been rebuilt, but with generous fairways it’s essentially a gentle warm-up round for headier local challenges. The Harrises bought a well-equipped two-bedroom condo in a block of four with fast internet connection and a large pool in generously landscaped gardens, all just 200 yards from the beach. “We spend about 15 weeks a year there and rent it out in between – it’s worked out really well,” says Bruce. Chom Tawan now has 38 apartments and 12 spacious villas, selling mostly to ex-pats of whom there are 30,000 in Phuket. Advertised prices are between about £300,000 and £560,000, but in the current market, a 15% discount is realistic. Right next door, the Banyan Tree Hotel has some incredibly ritzy L-shaped single-storey villas, set in gorgeous gardens, built around their own

CONTACTS GolfAsian / red Mountain / Blue canyon / chom Tawan / Wintana / Banyan Tree / cBre /

private pools (as pictured opposite). With the services of a five-star hotel on tap, and outstanding rental income potential – upwards of £300 a night – the £1 million-plus price tag is reasonable by the standards of the island. At a more modest budget level, and right next to the two Blue Canyon courses, the Wintana project aims to convert an existing hotel structure into a boutique resort, complete with jazz club. £200,000 buys you 21 nights a year, plus about an 8% annual return on capital. There’s also a frac-

tional offering starting at just £25,000. The 115 suites won’t be ready for two years, they’re still negotiating fees with the golf club, and the marketing drive hasn’t even started, but it’s one to keep an eye on. Title in Thailand can be an issue. Foreigners can own outright 49% of a condo development, but individual fairway-side villas are likely to have your lawyer or accountant’s name on the deeds, which doesn’t appeal to everyone. As well as new property, there are plenty of ‘resales’ on Phuket offering good value. CBRE are one of the local market leaders and always have a fair selection on their website. At the time of writing, they have several two-bedroom condos with access to pools and sea views in the region of £200,000, and a one-bedroom 800sq ft unit in a small development called Ocean Breeze for just £82,000. A golfing break organized through Golf Asian is a good way of playing the courses and checking out the property scene. TAT, the Thai tourism people in London, are also very helpful. There are potential pitfalls when buying in any emerging market like Thailand. Bruce Harris took the risk of buying in a politically volatile country, and has gained the reward. “In the local currency, the price of our condo hasn’t changed much in three years, but as the exchange rate is now 48 Thai Baht to the pound, it’s actually worth a third more than we paid for it. And my game’s improving!”



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HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR PRACTICE TIME One of the highlights of the IJP Invitational is the hour-long clinic Ian conducts on the range for all competitors (and parents!) at the end of the tournament day. This year was no exception and the highlights of an informal and absorbing session provide invaluable insights into the mind of a world-class professional Poults…on stretching and warming up No matter how old you are, or how frequently you play, you run the risk of pulling a muscle if you go out to play or practice without first warming-up for a few minutes. I use a variety of exercises to warm up my arms and shoulders every single day – I might even do this workout with elastic bands at home on days when I’m not playing golf. Those of you who watched the Open at St George’s may have seen Darren Clarke using a special stretching pole, with a spring at one end, to help him with his exercises before he began hitting shots. I prefer to use these rubber bands (right) – relatively cheap to buy and easy to use providing a simple range of exercises that help you warm up your muscles and strengthen the ‘core’ groups of muscles you need to make a good golf swing. Some guys on tour out there go through a full gym session, others will simply warm-up on the range with the type of exercises you see me rehearsing here. Whatever your preference, make sure you get in to the habit of regular exercise. Seek advice from your local PGA professional who can help you devise a series of exercises that will quickly benefit your golf. The fitter, stronger and more supple you are the better you will swing the golf club and the better you will hit the ball.

Stretch it.. .

Poults on…taking care of the fundamentals It has become quite trendy these days to carry a pair of alignment rods in the golf bag and I was impressed today to see so many juniors using these canes to check alignment and ball position. If you don’t have a pair of alignment rods, I urge you to invest in them. This is invalu-


als t n e m a d n u F of Taking care


My configuration of wedges, the scoring clubs, is 48-degree pitching wedge, 54-degree sand iron and 60-degree lob wedge. For me, that’s an easy system to work with and six degrees between each of these clubs gives me a good span of distances. I love gadgets and in recent years I’ve come to rely heavily on the Trackman system, which I’m sure many of you have seen at your club or on TV. It’s a radar-based launch monitor that measures every conceivable piece of data about the flight of the ball – including ball-speed off the clubface, backspin, sidespin and of course landing distance. And that’s the key number for me – I work with Trackman to keep accurate data on how far I fly the ball with all of my clubs. My lob-wedge flies 100 yards, sand-iron 115 yards and pitching- wedge goes 135. So I know from that make up that if I have 120 yards to go, a sand- iron is not going to get there. It’s an easy wedge, perhaps gripping down the shaft a little. Ultimately, it’s all about your control over the flight of the golf ball. And you get that through making and repeating a sound swing and changing clubs to suit distance – not forcing a club to make a distance.

Q. Do you always aim at a target? Absolutely…and so should you. If you stand on the range hitting balls without a distinct target in mind you are practising without a purpose. Wasting your time. It’s not good enough. You have to have a target and you have to go through the same procedure before every shot to develop a pre-shot routine you can trust out on the course. Remember, you are practising to play – and when you play you will be hitting towards a target on every single shot. Poults on visualisation – ‘seeing a shot’… We never ever see a straight golf shot. Every shot has some element of movement in it. Say the wind is off the right, as it is here, I want to hit the shot with a little cut-spin to hold the ball

able. I recently bought this one (below), which can either be used as two separate rails or attached to create a T-square, which gives you a reference for alignment and another for ball position. I use this T-square every single time I practice for no other reason than I want to be 100% certain that my alignment and ball position is exactly as I want it on every shot I hit. Once I have my target fixed, and a visual image of the shot in my mind, I think of nothing else other than that image – I have zero technical swing thoughts. If you don’t have alignment rods, just do it the old fashioned way and place a couple of clubs on the ground to give you alignment. I cannot emphasis this enough: it’s all about taking care of the basics.

rget a t a t a m i Always A

Poults on distance control – and the importance of the ‘scoring shots’ AUGUST 2011 GOLFINTERNATIONALMAG.COM 39



Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s golfing DMDs embrace a wealth of technology from laser-based rangefinders to GPS devices sporting a variety of graphics, interactive features and game analysis gizmos to play with both during and after your round. We invited Roehampton assistant club pro, Richard Weeks, to take some of the latest models for a test drive and offer up practical tips on how to make the most of both types of device. Following that, equipment editor Dominic Pedler guides you through a glossary of the essential technical terms




hanks to a welcome loophole in the rules of Golf, distance Measuring devices (dMds) have become the fastest growing category of golf equipment in recent years. Whether its laser-based rangefinders that you ‘point and shoot’ or geo-positional based units displaying instant yardages via satellite technology, dMds have caught on with all levels of club golfers. on tour, they’re used by players and caddies (at least in practice rounds) and by on-course analysts and TV commentators. Admittedly, rule 14-3(b) only allows their competitive use by virtue of a special clause giving jurisdiction to the golf club, or relevant authority, to allow them under a local rule. But its adoption is increasingly widespread right up to eGu events and on the euroPro Tour while, in the recent PowerPlay event at celtic Manor, use of the official nikon laser was actively encouraged throughout. And while dMds are not allowed in top tour events, pros and their caddies can often be seen with their Bushnells and nikons during practice rounds, while expert course mapper dion stevens’ legendary yardage books used in tournaments by many tour stars are painstakingly prepared with his nikon Laser 1000As. In this way the great dMd debate has moved on from whether they should be allowed at all to what system is best and what features are genuinely ‘game improvement’ for golfers. As the following glossary and instruction guide from our guest pro show, there are no easy answers. It ultimately comes down to your individual priorities regarding the type of data, features, convenience and ease of use. But understanding the technology involved and practical ways to incorporate it into your game is the first step to making the choice between Laser and GPs (while, for those that want the best of both worlds, the new Bushnell Hybrid even combines the two technologies in one unit).

HOW DISTANCE MEASURING DEvICES CAN REAllY IMPROvE YOUR GAME Roehampton assistant club pro, Richard Weeks, brings you practical tips on how to make the most of both GPS and laserbased technologies. 1. How far do you really hit each club? As a golf teacher I’m often amazed at how most pupils have no real idea how far they hit each of their clubs. This is such an important part of your game – if you can’t match up the distance you have remaining to the green with the right club in your bag then what hope do you have?! knowing your own distances in practice really is a pre-requisite for getting the most from your dMd, some of which help directly with this task. for example, for my driver through to my AUGUST 2011 GOLFINTERNATIONALMAG.COM 41



Callaway uPro This claims to be the only GPs with actual aerial imagery onscreen, and one of the very few with a flyover sequence of each hole complete with 200-, 150and 100-yard marker lines superimposed for good measure. Although an interesting usP, the flyover happens quite quickly so you may need to re-watch it a couple of times to get a real sense of the hole. The unit has all of the normal GPs features, including excellent yardage feedback on each green with distances to the front and back of any surrounding bunkers. I hear a spectacular new version [the uProMX – ed.] is in the pipeline but I haven’t seen it yet. Guide: £299

Golf Plus Caddie lite entry level unit that gives yardages to fairway bunkers and other hazards from the tee and then distances to the green from the fairway. It only holds up to 10 courses and without the mapping and scoring features of more sophisticated rivals. But it was very effective for basic yardages and can also record the distance achieved by any club in your bag. Guide: £79.99 (for the standard model) and £99.99 for the deluxe edition which includes map credits for course downloads.

Sonocaddie v500+ The sonocaddie comes with over 2,400 preloaded uk courses – however you do have to connect the unit up with a computer first before being able to use it. The screen view is fantastic – probably the best on test – with instant yardages to numerous points on the hole for the tee shot. Good touch screen performance giving you an instant yardage to any point and also from that point to the green centre. A top-end contender. Guide: £325


ther with a laser or a GPs whose figures are confined to ‘front, middle and back’. This is where the IntelliGreen Pro function on the skycaddie sGX comes into action. By tilting the device to the right it brings up a close-up graphic of the green showing slopes, contours and yardages to different points, while depicting the slope in a special shade that helps you see it in relation to the rest of the green. It also gives me the option of moving the flag around on the screen to match the top or bottom pin posi-

tion in operation that day, while automatically adjusting the yardages to any given point. While much of the time this feature will be a superfluous luxury, on this type of hole where mis-clubbing is fatal, it is a highly useful – yet only available on the skycaddie who map courses on foot (as such topography currently cannot be mapped from aerial photography). The only downside is the tilting action required on the sGX as I found the screen can quickly jump back to another function if


courses with reference to aerial imagery (usually satellite photography or in some cases helicopter flyovers), some – most notably skycaddie and GolfBuddy – map on foot with a team that walks each course, pinpointing greens, tees, hazards and other selected landmarks as they go. These ‘ground verifiers’ argue that the alternative mapping from the air relies on images that may be several years out of date, and whose data is delivered through a complex jigsaw of individual digital pixels that can lead to significant distance distortions in terms of the final picture as a whole. They also point out that any aerial photography is often compromised by tree-lined fairways than can hide bordering hazards and the vital extremities of greens. Walking the course undoubtedly also allows for higher standards of green mapping with, for example, skycaddie’s sGX’s IntelliGreen Pro feature including figures to false fronts, ridges and tiers within greens – details that are unattainable from ‘above’.

you don’t get it completely horizontal. But I’m sure I’ll get the knack with practice!

PART 1: GPS Golf Course library and Downloads While many models now come preloaded with anything up to 40,000 courses worldwide, it’s important to think of the nature of the data and what you actually need. The Golf Plus caddie Lite only takes 10 courses at a time – but that might enough for you, while sonocaddie’s 2,400 uk courses will be plenty for most of us. of course, most operators allow you to log into their site to download additional courses and, where applicable, updated versions of existing courses that reflect any recent changes. In richard Weeks’ test he notes that some, like the sonocaddie and skycaddie sGX need to be connected to a computer before you can use them to their full potential, while others like the GolfBuddy are ready to go ‘straight out the box’. Look out, too, for Auto course recognition (as, say, on the Bushnell Hybrid) which displays your exact location without having to click through the library. Meanwhile, how that data has been compiled, its accuracy and presentation are important issues that we now look at under various categories. Course Mapping: satellite or “ground verified”? While most golf GPs operators map their

Accuracy of Distance Data some GPs companies claim that there can be wide distance discrepancies between different brands, due not merely to the different methods of mapping just mentioned, but the actual satellite tracking technology adopted and the sophistication of the handheld unit. skycaddie, for example, publishes the formal ‘error factor’ for its sGX that specifies that 95% of the time the yardage displayed is correct to within 1-3 yards thanks to a special omni-directional GPs ‘engine’ that locks quickly onto the appropriate satellite. [Incidentally, this accuracy is far higher than satnav where locations do not need to be pinpointed to the same level of detail.] However, while THIS IS A SAMPLE there are reports that different units can display differences of up to 1015 yards for any given shot to the green, this was not borne out by our own impromptu tests (see richard’s spot checks).

bushnell Tour v2 A very simple and user-friendly device which gives effective yardages to within +/- 1 yard. fitted with Pinseeker technology designed to pick out the flag rather than something just behind the green which could easily give you a duff yardage. Available in a cool range of colours, too. As a practical unit at a reasonable cost, this would be my first choice laser along with the nikon 350G. Guide: £270;

bushnell Tour v2 Slope Edition All of the above features but with the added benefit of a slope calculator which makes a prediction on the potential variation in yardage for the shot in hand. Very useful if your home course is particularly hilly! see my instruction section on this useful but, it must be remembered – non-conforming – feature.




Satellite Imagery and video Flyover While most GPs units display graphical representations for both their full-hole view and green close-ups, some offer high-quality aerial imagery that makes for a strikingly realistic contrast. The callaway uPro is a case in point while this system and the sonocaddie (the latter as a subscription add-on) also offer an aerial ‘flyover’ feature using actual helicopter footage similar to those used on TV during tournaments. This is visually impressive stuff and can be espe-



All about Speed is the magic ingredient to hitting longer drives – but knowing how to generate greater clubhead speed isn’t simply a case of conciously trying to swing the club faster. That’s the mistake a lot of amateurs make make – many confusing muscle power with swing power. The secret to hitting the ball further and straighter is all about generating speed through the correct sequence of movements in the golf swing. So allow me to introduce you to a series of exercises designed to improve your arm/body coordination, the ‘sequencing’, flexibility and natural athleticism in your swing. With some regular practice, these work-outs will help you to max-out your speed and hit the ball further than ever before.



Cane it, lose your inhibitions

More on ‘lag’ in a moment – but look at the energy that is stored as I unwind from the ground up and the hands and arms enter this natural hitting position

Feel the ‘whip’ as you unwind and add that final burst of acceleration with the hands – exactly the feeling you want with a driver in your hands

Tension is one of the biggest power killers in the golf swing. Anxiety and fear of wayward tee shots leads to us gripping the club that bit too tight in an attempt to steer the ball straight down the fairway. This tight, tense swing has no relationship to the whipping action I’m going to teach you in this opening drill. Many great golfers down the years, including Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman, have described the swing as a ‘whipping’ motion. Most of us have the ability to generate ‘whip’ – we just lose it when we place a golf club in our hands. So here’s a drill to reawaken this lost sense. Step 1: Push a cane into the ground and place your driver headcover on top. You want it around waist height – try to get your belly button pointing at the headcover at address. Step 2: Take a second cane, grip it as you would a golf club, and address the headcover. Focus on feeling balanced through your feet and a little more upright with your posture than you would normally be in your golf address position. Step 3: Swing the stick back around your body, loading through your torso as you do so. Step 4: Keep your eyes focused on the headcover and allow your natural instinct to take over. Notice how my lower half has initiated the forward movement and my wrists are still stored with energy, with the right elbow close to my rib cage. Step 5: Now whip the headcover with the stick. You should feel – and hear – immense speed as the cane whistles into impact. Remember this feeling of freedom, speed and acceleration – all you have to do is transfer this into your golf swing, whipping the club through impact. GI QUICK TIP: The only difference between this drill and hitting a golf ball is the way in which you tilt forward towards the ground. So, when you switch to a golf club, focus on getting good posture with the correct spine tilt forward at address.



Improve your left arm/wrist function With the majority of golfers being rightside dominant the left side of the body is often forgotten. In everyday life the right-hander will seldom sway towards his weaker side in day-to-day activities. This lack of use makes the left arm weak in strength and lacking in coordination. A great test of your left arm strength (or right arm if you’re a left-hander) is to throw two balls, one with your right hand and one with your left. I bet your right hand throw is synchronised, free, easy and effective – but what about the left? Clumsy, awkward and weak no doubt! No matter what standard of golfer you are it is important to improve the function of the left side of the body, because it really does improve the balance and width of the golf swing. Improved strength and coordination on your weaker side will allow your swing radius to widen – and with this wider arc you will create more clubhead speed. Step 1: Address the ball with your left hand grip only. Place your right hand on the front of your left arm toward the shoulder. This will help support the left arm as you rotate the torso in the backswing. Make sure you are balanced and tilt forward from the hips to create good posture. Step 2: Start the swing by using your big muscles in your torso to rotate the club away from the ball. Your belly button should lead the turn in the takeaway. Step 3: Time to ‘load’. Simply continue to rotate your body slowly, keeping your head central, and feel that your left arm maintains all the width it had in the address position at the top. Step 4: Focus on allowing your arm and body to swing down and unwind ‘together’ smoothly into and through impact. You will have a strange sensation of the clubhead coming down last. This is the correct and desired sequence to strike the ball efficiently. Step 5: Impact is simply the position you pass through, but notice the reward for making a good transition...the left arm and the shaft form a synchronised line, with the hand just ahead of the ball. Step 6: Finally make sure you freewheel into a full finish, facing the target. Notice how my right foot has reached its full pivot and my right hand is still holding my upper left arm. Gi QUICK TIP: Rehearse this drill without the ball until you feel a sense of real control. When you are comfortable, introduce the ball making smooth, full swings. In no time at all your left side will feel stronger and when you reapply your right hand to the club you will have a great feeling of control and width. 46 GOLFINTERNATIONALMAG.COM AUGUST 2011

Clasp the upper part of your left arm with the right hand and then start your swing with the bigger muscles in the torso

Focus on allowing your arm and body to swing down and unwind ‘together’

Keep the pressure on with the right hand all the way to the finish


Add weight to increase the ‘load’ Weighted wrist bands are widely used in the gym (to over-train, if you like) but they are rarely used in golf...until now! This is a really simple drill that will help to improve your strength and overall levels of coordination. Step 1: Wrap a weighted wrist band around each wrist. Step 2: Take your normal address position – remind yourself of good balance and posture. Step 3: Make a smooth, wide backswing, allowing your shoulders to turn and rotate to support this added weight at the top of the swing. Step 4: Next, try to allow the momentum and weight of the wrist band to swing the club down and through. Step 5: Don’t forget that all-important balanced finish, facing the target.

Swing the club easily and freely through the ball – the real benefit will then be realised when you remove the bands

The wrist bands I use weigh ?? At the set up, focus on creating good angles, poise and balance

Gi QUICK TIP: The wrist band will naturally improve your strength and condition within your own dynamic movement. The great thing about this drill is that when you take the band off you will feel increased hand speed and improved rhythm leading to effortless power.

This is the perfect warm-up on the 1st tee – just remember to rehearse this smoothly and always swing to a full finish

With your lower body stabilising the movement of your body core, and the ball held between the palms of your hands, start off with this basic rotation back and through to the target

The all-important crossover as the hands and forearms re-hinge in the through swing – look for this in your own action

Headcover training – the perfect warm-up standing on the 1st tee I’m sure most of you have swung two clubs together to warm up at some stage. This is a good exercise, but often feels awkward in the hands, as it is difficult to grip two clubs at once. A good alternative is to keep the headcover on your driver. Adding weight to the head improves awareness, control and sequence, leading to a more synchronised swing. Step 1: Fix a strong rubber band around the base of your driver headcover to secure it in

place. Then go ahead and assume your normal set up, hovering the club just off the ground. Step 2: Sweep the club away and turn your shoulders so that your back faces the target (or as near to as possible) at the top of the swing. Step 3: Keep your change of direction smooth; allow the arms to fall for a fraction of a second and the left leg to brace. Step 4: If you have started the downswing correctly your hands will definitely lead the club into impact.

Step 5: Allow the momentum of the headcover to release the club so that the right arm and the shaft form a straight line. Step 6: As with every good shot allow that allimportant re-hinge in the throughswing. Notice how my eyes are still fixed on the point of impact at this time. Gi QUICK TIP: This drill is not only great for improving ‘sequence’ in the golf swing; it is also a brilliant way to warm up on the 1st tee.






Poetry in motion

Following its success on tour with many of the world’s top players, the TaylorMade Performance Lab is now available as arguably the ultimate custom fitting experience for golfers of all standards. Dominic Pedler visited the brand new facility at Turnberry for an overdue insight into his swing as well as his equipment. A slick culture shock greets clients mid-way through their two-hour session at the new TaylorMade Performance Lab at the Turnberry resort on the Ayrshire coast. After the absorbing swing analysis and number crunching section in the indoor studio, comes your chance to turn theory into practice by testing out the demo clubs that the TaylorMade technician has expertly configured to your swing. At the flick of a switch one entire wall of the studio rolls up and cutting edge technology gives way to natural beauty as the venue turns into your private driving range, with Turnberry’s rugged linksland as the backdrop and the famous lighthouse as a perfectly positioned marker post. Then again, the whole TMPL experience delivers an enlightening ‘wow factor’ for anyone mildly interested in the mechanics of their golf swing and the latest ways top companies are pushing the envelope to get you custom fitted most efficiently to your true potential. of course, there are many custom fitting operations around today, many using sophisticated launch monitors that tell you the results of any shot in terms of the ball speed, spin rate and launch angles that define distance and dispersion. The TMPL involves this, too, with data from the excellent foresight Gc2 unit allowing instant comparisons between your existing clubs and the various permutations of that the technician will instantly assemble during your session. But launch monitors only track the ball itself – not the swing that delivered it. And TaylorMade’s unique selling point with TMPL is their MAT-T Motion Analysis Technology: a biomechanical-based camera/software concept that tracks all the key movements and positions of both body and golf club at every stage of the journey from address to follow-through. This extra perspective provides a truly fascinating insight into the nature of your game for both the fitter and the player, while dramatically improving the task of recommending the ideal equipment and specifications for your game. Here is a snapshot of the process as I experienced it on my recent visit to Turnberry.

1. The Set Up

The adventure started with Turnberry’s Head fitting Professional, Ian fraser, asking me preliminary questions about my game, swing tendencies and priorities before making some initial observations about my ball-flight as I warmed up. The biomechanical action began when he attached a series of small sensors to key positions on my wrist, feet, knees, chest, spine, arms and head using lightweight Velcro straps and a small vest to which you are soon oblivious. The special six-iron test club used for this part of the session is also fitted with sensors that calibrate your swing to the system and allow the face angle and shaft plane to be monitored throughout. You then simply wait for the ‘beep’ each time before hitting the specially adapted ball into the net. six high-speed cameras track the movement of every moving part and relays this to the MAT-T software that already knows the exact length, loft and lie of the club. In this way every swing you make can be recorded and viewed on the TV monitor with you, the golfer, depicted now as a very visual 3-d ‘avatar’ whose every movement can be replayed in slow motion, freeze framed and viewed from any angle.

2. Data collection This 3d footage is complemented by some essential impact data quantifying the movement of the golf club itself. As well as head speed, these include the dynamic loft (compared to the 6-iron’s static loft of 31 degrees), the lie angle of the shaft (that can often explain a push or pull), the face angle at impact relative to the target line, the orientation of the swing path and the angle of attack (whether you’re hitting up or down on the ball). These stats are supplemented by the more familiar numbers for ball speed, spin and launch angle from the launch monitor itself. While all this digital data is impressive, what matters most is the expert interpretation and recommendations. The system itself comes up automatically with its own specific equipment suggestions based on the cold data, but the technician crucially considers it all in the context of his assessment of your swing and coaching plans and the very latest product lines and



Kiwi fruit

For sports fans the world over the forthcoming Rugby World Cup promises a mouthwatering spectacle; for golfers especially the prospect of a trip to New Zealand is one laced with opportunity, as our man on the ground, Martin Davidson, reports







Eveything under the sun It’s really not difficult to understand the enduring attraction of La Manga Club – just two hours’ flying time from the UK, the pioneering resort is an oasis of sporting luxury with five-star service to match, as Tim Smith discovered

O Course marshal Antonio Sota (left) is rightly proud of the letters and photographs he received from England’s Luke Donald, who holidayed at La Manga as a boy


f the many people associated with Luke Donald’s deserved ascendancy this season to the top of the world rankings, the name Antonio Sota will not be a familiar one. However, this long serving and extremely genial La Manga Club employee, who’s now a course marshal there, can rightfully lay claim to having helped the then future world No. 1perfect his game during numerous family holidays to the legendary Spanish resort as a schoolboy. Indeed, you only have to mention the subject to him to be greeted by a huge smile and the excited exclamation ‘Luuuke Dooonald’. And such is his pride in the connection that he’ll happily show you the framed letters and photographs he has from this year’s BMW PGA champion that clearly demonstrate Donald’s own gratitude for the help he received as a youngster. I mention this as it seems somehow appropriate that the La Manga Club, for some 40 years now a favourite with golfers from all over the world, should have had a small but significant hand in Luke Donald’s career. After all, it also did its bit in establishing the young Seve Ballesteros back in the early ’70s when for several years he represented La Manga as its international touring pro and in doing so helped put the resort firmly on the map. Originally the idea of Gregory Peters, an American entrepreneur who purchased 500 acres of land in 1970, the resort has now grown to almost epic proportions and, as it approaches its fortieth birthday later this year, it now covers an

area that’s apparently three times the size of Monaco! This sprawling six square kilometres is home to around 2000 villas and apartments, a 5star hotel, some 40 bars and restaurants, 8 soccer pitches, 28 tennis courts, a bowling green, a spa, and oh yes, three golf courses. It’s also easily accessible from Britain, just one reason for its continued popularity with golfers from this country. This convenience should not be overlooked. We flew from Gatwick to Alicante in less than two hours and following a 60-minute journey by road (Murcia airport is even closer) we were checking into the wonderfully plush surroundings of the Hotel La Manga Club – the Principe Felipe – which was refurbished a few year’s ago and now stands as one of the best golf resort hotels I’ve stayed in. There was something rather idyllic about being able to eat breakfast while overlooking the 18th green and being able to walk to the first tee from your room in about three minutes flat! As for the golf itself, the ‘daddy’ of European golf resorts has been attracting players here from all over the world for almost as long as it’s been open. The South Course was originally designed by Robert D Putman but received a re-modelling in 1992 by Arnold Palmer. Regarded as the Championship course at La Manga it measures around 7,150 yards off the back tees and with numerous water hazards and large sand traps this Par 73 provides a test of golf that will definitely keep you on your toes. The par four 15th is a fabulous hole that requires a very straight (and long) tee shot followed by an accurate approach shot to

Pristine championship golf in a delightful setting explains why so many habitually return to La Manga



McIlroy’s tee-shot at the par-three 10th on Sunday defined his performance – a towering iron to within inches of the cup

Playing to the gallery

At Congressional, Rory McIlory put on the show of a lifetime, breaking records for fun as he stormed to his first major title. Andy Farrell reports



The European Tour – The Race to Dubai 2011 Nordea Masters bro Hof Slott GC, Stockholm, Sweden. // 21-24 July 1 Alexander noren sWe -15 67 66 63 77 2 richard finch enG -8 69 72 70 69 3 niklas Lemke sWe -5 68 72 70 73 4 scott Hend Aus -4 69 70 71 74 4 Pablo Martin esP -4 69 72 69 74 6 dustin Johnson usA -3 73 71 67 74 kor -3 73 68 69 75 6 seung-yul noh Ind -3 70 71 69 75 6 Jeev Milkha singh 6 Bubba Watson usA -3 71 67 69 78 10 Jamie donaldson WAL -2 73 70 67 76

273 280 283 284 284 285 285 285 285 286

€ 250,000 € 166,660 € 93,900 € 69,300 € 69,300 € 42,150 € 42,150 € 42,150 € 42,150 € 27,800

The barclays Scottish Open Castle Stuart Golf links, Inverness, Scotland // 07-10 July 1 Luke donald enG -19 67 67 63 197 € 550,250 201 € 366,830 2 Hed fredrik Andersson sWe -15 73 66 62 3 Angel cabrera ArG -14 71 64 67 202 € 126,117 3 George coetzee rsA -14 66 69 67 202 € 126,117 3 nicolas colsaerts BeL -14 69 66 67 202 € 126,117 3 Lorenzo Gagli ITA -14 68 68 66 202 € 126,117 sco -14 67 66 69 202 € 126,117 3 scott Jamieson 3 Mark Tullo cHI -14 65 71 66 202 € 126,117 3 Martin Wiegele AuT -14 69 68 65 202 € 126,117 10 robert coles enG -13 70 69 64 203 € 59,179 Alstom Open de France le Golf National, Paris, Francis // 30 June - 03 July 1 Thomas Levet frA -7 70 70 67 70 enG -6 68 68 68 74 2 Mark foster den -6 66 71 71 70 2 Thorbjørn olesen 4 Martin kaymer Ger -4 71 69 67 73 5 simon khan enG -3 70 70 70 71 5 richie ramsay sco -3 69 68 68 76 enG -2 66 66 72 78 7 James Morrison rsA -2 69 71 71 71 7 Hennie otto 7 Brendan steele usA -2 74 70 67 71 10 Anthony Wall enG -1 68 73 69 73

277 278 278 280 281 281 282 282 282 283

€ 500,000 € 260,565 € 260,565 € 150,000 € 116,100 € 116,100 € 77,400 € 77,400 € 77,400 € 60,000

bMW International Open Golfclub Munchen Eichenried, Munich, Germany // 23-26 June 1 Pablo Larrazábal esP -16 68 67 69 68 272 € 333,330 2 sergio Garcia esP -16 69 71 64 68 272 € 222,220 3 George coetzee rsA -14 67 67 70 70 274 € 88,000 3 Mark foster enG -14 68 68 66 72 274 € 88,000 rsA -14 68 69 67 70 274 € 88,000 3 retief Goosen 3 scott Jamieson sco -14 69 69 72 64 274 € 88,000 3 Joost Luiten ned -14 70 69 68 67 274 € 88,000 8 robert coles enG -13 72 67 65 71 275 € 50,000 enG -12 71 70 68 67 276 €40,533 9 ross fisher 9 Lee slattery enG -12 67 72 66 71 276 € 40,533 US OPEN Championship Congressional CC, bethesda, Maryland, USA // 16-19 June 1 rory McIlroy nIr -16 65 66 68 69 268 € 1,003,414 2 Jason day Aus -8 71 72 65 68 276 € 602,745 3 kevin chappell usA -6 76 67 69 66 278 € 253,809 3 robert Garrigus usA -6 70 70 68 70 278 € 253,809 enG -6 75 68 65 70 278 € 253,809 3 Lee Westwood 3 Y. e. Yang kor -6 68 69 70 71 278 € 253,809 7 sergio Garcia esP -5 69 71 69 70 279 € 159,164 7 Peter Hanson sWe -5 72 71 69 67 279 € 159,164 9 Louis oosthuizen rsA -4 69 73 71 67 280 € 134,459 rsA -4 68 74 72 66 280 € 134,459 9 charl schwartzel 11 davis Love III usA -3 70 71 70 70 281 € 113,639 11 Heath slocum usA -3 71 70 70 70 281 € 113,639 11 Brandt snedeker usA -3 70 70 72 69 281 € 113,639 14 fredrik Jacobson sWe -2 74 69 66 73 282 € 90,250 14 Matt kuchar usA -2 72 68 69 73 282 € 90,250 14 Graeme Mcdowell nIr -2 70 74 69 69 282 € 90,250 14 Webb simpson usA -2 75 71 66 70 282 € 90,250 14 Bo Van Pelt usA -2 76 67 68 71 282 € 90,250 19 Johan edfors sWe -1 70 72 74 67 283 € 73,796 19 steve stricker usA -1 75 69 69 70 283 € 73,796 21 Patrick cantlay (AM) usA PAr75 67 70 72 284 € 21 ryan Palmer usA PAr69 72 73 70 284 € 67,760 23 retief Goosen rsA +1 73 73 71 68 285 € 53,275 23 Bill Haas usA +1 73 73 68 71 285 € 53,275 23 Brandt Jobe usA +1 71 70 70 74 285 € 53,275 23 dustin Johnson usA +1 75 71 69 70 285 € 53,275 23 robert rock enG +1 70 71 76 68 285 € 53,275 23 Henrik stenson sWe +1 70 72 69 74 285 € 53,275 23 Gary Woodland usA +1 73 71 73 68 285 € 53,275 30 Harrison frazar usA +2 72 73 68 73 286 € 35,145 30 Grégory Havret frA +2 77 69 71 69 286 € 35,145 30 ryo Ishikawa JPn +2 74 70 74 68 286 € 35,145 30 Zach Johnson usA +2 71 69 72 74 286 € 35,145 30 do-hoon kim kor +2 73 71 70 72 286 € 35,145 30 kyung-tae kim kor +2 69 72 69 76 286 € 35,145 30 seung-yul noh kor +2 72 70 73 71 286 € 35,145 30 rory sabbatini rsA +2 72 73 70 71 286 € 35,145 30 John senden Aus +2 70 72 72 72 286 € 35,145 bMW Italian Open Royal Park I Roveri, Turin, Italy // 09-12 June 1 robert rock enG -21 64 68 68 67 2 Gary Boyd enG -20 69 65 68 66 2 Thorbjorn olesen den -20 65 71 70 62 4 Peter Whiteford sco -19 68 67 68 66 5 Joost Luiten ned -18 66 67 69 68 6 niclas fasth sWe -17 69 69 64 69 6 Michael Jonzon sWe -17 69 68 69 65 8 Jbe kruger rsA -16 69 66 67 70 8 Matteo Manassero ITA -16 66 68 70 68 8 francesco Molinari ITA -16 66 68 68 70

267 268 268 269 270 271 271 272 272 272

€ 250,000 € 130,280 € 130,280 € 75,000 € 63,600 € 48,750 € 48,750 € 33,700 € 33,700 € 33,700


Golf International - 104  

Who would have believed that Rory McIlroy's record-breaking victory in the US Open at Congressional would be followed by one of the most pop...