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Origin of the Game 2014 PGA Tour Schedule 3 Steps to Improve Your Swing Eastern Amputee Golf Association 2014 LPGA Tour Schedule GREAT SCOTLAND! Tiger Woods: The Facts About Tiger
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Overcoming: The Pitfalls of 2013 - Rory McIlroy Driving Growth with Golf 2.0 The Walter Hagen Story Does Your Swing Tempo Need a Tune Up? 2014 Champions Tour Schedule Primary Care for the 65 (yards) and Under Business Directory
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Origin of the Game
“Dispelling the Myths” When and where did golf begin? Everyone knows golf originated in Scotland, right? Welllllllll ... yes and no. It’s definitely true that golf as we know it emerged in Scotland. The Scots were playing golf in its very basic form - take a club, swing it at a ball, move ball from starting point to finishing hole in as few strokes as possible - by at least the mid-15th Century. In fact, the earliest known reference to golf comes from King James II of Scotland, who, in 1457, issued a ban on the playing of golf and football (soccer). Those games, James complained, were keeping his archers from their practice. James III in 1471 and James IV in 1491 each re-issued the ban on golf. But the game continued to develop in Scotland over the decades and centuries, until 1744 when the first-known rules of golf were put down in writing in Edinburgh. Golf as it was then played would be easily recognized by any modern golfer. But can it be said that the Scots “invented” golf? Not quite, because there’s strong evidence that the Scots were influenced themselves by even earlier versions of games that were similar in nature. Here’s what the USGA Museum says about the issue: “While many Scots firmly maintain that golf evolved from a family of stick-and-ball games widely practiced throughout the British Isles during the Middle Ages, considerable evidence suggests that the game derived from stick-and-ball games that were played in France, Germany and the Low Countries.” Part of that evidence is the etymology of the word “golf” itself. “Golf” derives from the Old Scots terms “golve” or “goff,” which themselves evolved from the medieval Dutch term “kolf.” The medieval Dutch term “kolf” meant “club,” and Priority One Marketing Group, LLC | 5
the Dutch were playing games (mostly on ice) at least by the 14th Century in which balls were struck by sticks that were curved at the bottom until they were moved from Point A to Point B. Sounds a lot like hockey, doesn’t it? Except that it sort of sounds like golf, too (except for that ice part). The Dutch and Scots were trading partners, and the fact that the word “golf” evolved after being transported by the Dutch to the Scots lends credence to the idea that the game itself may have been adapted by the Scots from the earlier Dutch game. Something else that lends credence to that idea: Although the Scots played their game on parkland (rather than ice), they (or least some of them) were using balls they acquired in trade from ... Holland. And the Dutch game wasn’t the only similar game of the Middle Ages. Going back even farther, the Romans brought their own stick-and-ball game into the British Isles. So does that mean that the Dutch (or someone else other than that Scots) invented golf? No, it means that golf grew out of games that were played in different parts of Europe. But we’re not trying to deny the Scots their place in golf history. The Scots made a singularimprovement to all the games that came before: They dug a hole in the ground, and made getting the ball into that hole the object of the game. As we said at the beginning, for golf as we know it, we definitely have the Scots to thank.
Does it Stand for “Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden”? Did the word “golf” originate as an acronym for “gentlemen only, ladies forbidden”? That’s a common old wives’ tale. Or, in this case, more likely an old husband’s tale. No, “golf” is not an acronym for “gentlemen only, ladies forbidden.” If you’ve ever heard that, forget it immediately. Better yet, find the person who told you and let them know it’s not true. Like most modern words, the word “golf” derives from older languages and dialects. In this case, the languages in question are medieval Dutch and old Scots. The medieval Dutch word “kolf” or “kolve” meant “club.” It is believed that word passed to the Scots, whose old Scots dialect transformed the word into “golve,” “gowl” or “gouf.” By the 16th Century, the word “golf” had emerged. Sources: British Golf Museum, USGA Library
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What was the First Public Golf Course in the United States?
When Van Cortlandt Golf Course opened in New York City in 1895, it became the first public golf course in America. There were other golf courses in the U.S. by that time - perhaps 100 or more - but Van Cortlandt was the first built for the masses. And Van Cortlandt Golf Course is still in operation today, the centerpiece of Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. The park also boasts a lake and two nature trails. In Van Cortlandt Park you’ll also find the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail. The aqueduct, built during the 1830s and 1840s, was New York City’s first major water supply project.
How Did the Size of the Golf Hole Come to Be Standardized at 4.25 Inches?
Question: How Did the Size of the Golf Hole Come to Be Standardized at 4.25 Inches? Answer: How many times have you lipped out a putt and wished that the size of the hole on the green was just a smidge larger? Why is the hole that size to begin with? That’s one of our most frequently asked questions: How did the hole come to be standardized at its current size of 4.25 inches in diameter? Like so many things in golf, the standardized size of the hole comes to us courtesy of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, with an assist from the links at Musselburgh. In new rules issued in 1891, the R&A determined that the hole size should be standard on golf courses everywhere. So the R&A discussed just what exactly that size should be. The size they decided on was 4.25 inches in diameter. The reason is that the folks at Musselburgh (now a 9-hole municipal course and called Royal Musselburgh Golf Club) had invented, in 1829, the first known hole-cutter. That ancient hole-cutter is still in existence and is on display at Royal Musselburgh. That first hole-cutter utilized a cutting tool that was, you guessed it, 4.25 inches in diameter. The folks running the R&A apparently liked that size and so adopted it in their rules for 1891. And as was usually the case, the rest of the golf world followed in the footsteps of the R&A. The exact reasons for why that first tool cut holes at the now-standard diameter are lost to history. But it was almost certainly a completely arbitrary thing, a notion supported by the story that the tool was built from some excess pipe that was laying about the Musselburgh links. Priority One Marketing Group, LLC | 7
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TO IMPROVE YOUR SWING
After you set your golf club behind your golf ball and your hands onto the grip of the club, you should be a stepper. Your feet have three responsibilities and in order to accomplish each of these it can and should take as many steps to do so:
#1 Ball Position.......................... W
hen stepping your feet, it is imporhe ball position should be more in tant that you accomplish proper ball line with the forward instep, the left position for the club and the situation step should be smaller and the right, at hand. widening step should be wider.
f you are hitting an iron, hybrid or fairway wood, with your golf ball on the ground in a relatively flat lie, you should he proper foot work will accomplish step your feet equidistantly apart as you widen them so that the club is cen- the right ball position, making proper tered in your body at the completion of contact possible. your stepping.
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TO IMPROVE YOUR SWING
#2 Proper Distance
When stepping your feet, you must also adjust your distance from your club and ball so that you are in the proper posture (bowing forward from your hips) and adjusting your feet to the point where you feel your hands hanging directly below your shoulders. With each club, you should consistently be the same distance from the end of the grip of the club to your body. This is the measuring point, rather than to the ball, which should change as the length of each club changes.
When stepping your feet, after you’ve properly aimed your clubface to the target, you need to stand so that the line through your toes is parallel to the target line, thus left of the target. This line through your toes should be “parallel left.” This line is parallel to the target line but left of the target, much like railroad tracks. As you can see, your feet have many responsibilities during your set up routine. Therefore, I like to see a minimum of four steps to adjust and prefer six to eight steps. The first couple of steps may be larger to get you in the rough vicinity of the right distance, and the remaining make the smaller adjustments necessary to be particular about ball position, proper distance from the golf club and proper alignment. You will also tend to see better players taking more steps. Besides accomplishing each of these responsibilities, it can also serve to relax the body and help with rhythm. Priority One Marketing Group, LLC | 15
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The Walter Hagen Story
Walter Hagen (1892-1969), often referred to by golf fans as “Sir Walter” or “The Haig,” was the first superstar of American golf. Hagen earned his fame by winning tournaments with spectacular recovery shots and unmatched putting ability, skills that made up for his unpredictable tee shots. He is remembered as a master gamesman with an uncanny ability to remain relaxed and make the game of golf fun.
Hagen was born in Rochester, New York, on December 21, 1892, into a middle-class family of Dutch descent. His parents were William, a blacksmith for auto shops, and Louise Balko Hagen. As a child Hagen excelled at both golf and baseball. He became the leading baseball pitcher in the district, honing his fastball in his backyard after teaching his sister to catch for him. He was also exposed to golf at an early age, shagging balls at the Country Club of Rochester by the age of seven. During his teenage years Hagen wavered between pursuing a career in baseball or golf. Finally, speculating that baseball required the skills of eight teammates, Hagen decided to choose the sport over which he alone controlled his destiny.
Became a Golf Professional When the National Open came to Buffalo, New York, in 1912, 20-yearold Hagen, having been promoted to working in the pro shop, asked his boss, club pro Andy Christie, for time off to play the tournament. Christie, afraid Hagen would be easily out-played by the professionals, refused to allow him to enter, but afforded him time off to watch the tournament. When Hagen returned from watching Johnny McDermott win the Open, he was wholly unimpressed with the play of the field. The following year Hagen was determined to enter the ranks of the golf greats. In his first outing at the 1913 Shawnee Open he played respectably but failed to finish in the money. Hagen’s brash personality first came to the attention of the pros in 30 | Priority One Marketing Group, LLC
the same year when he entered the National Open in Brookline, Massachusetts. The odds makers were favoring Harry Vardon or Ted Ray to win the tournament. Hagen made a legendary entrance into the locker room prior to the start of play and introduced himself to McDermott amidst a group of onlookers, explaining that he had come down from Rochester to help him stop Vardon and Ray. The golfers chuckled, but Hagen won new respect by finishing in a tie with McDermott for fourth place, with Francis Ouimet taking the victory away from Vardon and Ray. In 1914 Hagen won his first tournament, the U.S. Open at Midlothian in Chicago. Hagen led from first round, shooting a new course record of 68. Going into the final day of play, Hagen held a four-stroke lead over crowd favorite Chick Evans, an advantage that Evans reduced to one by the time Hagen reached the final hole. According to Herbert Warren Wind in The Story of American Golf, “All Chicago, it seemed, was following Evans. Playing about three holes ahead of Chick, with no gallery to speak of, Hagen heard one mighty roar after another come from Evans’ mob. All the way in Hagen heard the bursts of applause from Evans’ gallery telling him that Chick was still coming.” Hagen showed the first signs of his uncanny ability to focus and stay calm despite unnerving pressure, sinking an 8-foot putt on the final hole to win by one stroke.
Wins and Losses Many were skeptical that the new champion could maintain his place among the leading golfers. His swing on his tee shots was unorthodox at best, and whether his drive would land in the fairway or in the rough to the left or to the right, no one, not even Hagen, was ever sure. But his putting skills, deft short iron play, and ability to get himself out of the trouble caused by his regular miscues gave him the ability to win tournaments. Grantland Rice, a sportswriter who followed Hagen throughout his career, wrote in The Tumult and the Shouting: My Life in Sport, “Walter Hagen, a dazzling ornament to the history of sport, had the soundest golf philosophy I’ve ever known. More importantly, he applied it. ‘Grant,’ he said, ‘I expect to make at least seven mistakes each round. Therefore, when I make a bad shot I don’t worry about it. It’s just one of the seven.”’ According to Rice, “A mistake meant nothing to him. Neither did defeat. He scorned second place. ‘The crowd remembers only the winner. I’d as soon finish tenth as second,’he said.” Hagen’s distracters were not entirely wrong. Hagen’s career performance was, in fact, a series of peaks and valleys. He always went for the win when other golfers opted for safer play to place in the money. He won in spectacular fashion, and sometimes he lost in similar style. In 1915 Hagen failed to defend his U.S. Open crown, and the following year was not even in contention. He took an even bigger blow in 1920 during his first attempt to play in the British Open, characterized by barren, bunker-filled courses and strong winds. Because Hagen lofted his shots high in the air, some predicted that his basically unsound game would be completely dismantled by the winds and bunkers. Confident as always, Hagen teed up the first day of play but ended with an abysmal score of 83 and finished the second day in last place of the field of 53. However, nothing could shake the unshakable Hagen. The next year he finished in sixth place at St. Andrews. In 1922 he won at Sandwich, becoming the first American to win a British Open. He would return to win again in 1924, 1928, and 1929. Priority One Marketing Group, LLC | 31
By the end of the 1920s, Hagen had established himself as one of the greatest and most colorful golfers of his time. During his career he won the U.S. Open twice (1914 and 1919), the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Championship five times (1921, 1924, 1925, 1926, and 1927), and the British Open four times (1922, 1924, 1928, and 1929). He also won the French Open (1920), the Belgian Open (1924), and the Canadian Open (1931). Preferring to have a major title to his name throughout the year, Hagen did not mind working his way around the U.S. circuit. He won opens in Massachusetts (1915), Michigan (1921 and 1931), New York (1922), and Texas (1923 and 1929); three Metropolitan Opens (1916, 1919, and 1920); two North and South Opens (1918 and 1923), five Western Opens (1916, 1921, 1926, 1927, and 1932); one Eastern Open (1926); and the Gasparilla Open (1935). He was also selected to play as a member of the American Ryder Cup team, which played golf against teams from other nations, in 1927, 1929, 1921, 1933, and 1935. He was the nonplaying captain of the Ryder Cup team in 1937.
(Above) Walter Hagen holds the Claret Jug, which he retained after winning the 1929 British Open at Muirfield
More than a Superstar
Hagen did more for golf than win tournaments. He was the sport’s first superstar, ambassador, and flamboyant personality. According to Stephen Goodwin in Golf Magazine, “Hagen could have been a poster boy for the 1920s. As a professional golfer, he became an international celebrity, known not only for his accomplishments on the golf course, but his extravagant lifestyle. His story wasn’t exactly a tale of rags-to-riches, but he made pots of money and spent it with legendary abandon. He liked to travel in chauffeur-driven limousines, and he once showed up on the first tee of an exhibition match in top hat and tails, and a wee bit tipsy.” Hagen enjoyed drinking and was known to occasionally arrive at a tournament or exhibition match slightly late and still wearing the clothes from the day before. His love of show did not bode well for his two marriages. He wed Margaret Johnson in 1917. They had one child and were divorced in 1921. He married Edna Strauss in 1924, and they divorced in 1934. Financially, Hagen was the first professional golfer to reach 1 million dollars in earnings and spent it all on extravagance as he went. He was also the first golfer to hire an agent to represent him. Hagen, like no other pro before him, knew the power of image and appearance. 32 | Priority One Marketing Group, LLC
The King of Match Play Match play was where Hagen was the king of his domain, which included the PGA Championship. He won 29 consecutive matches in the PGA Championship and 34 out of the 36 he played. He also played in some legendary match play exhibitions. Perhaps the most famous was the 1926 challenge match between Hagen and the great amateur golfer, Bobby Jones. Publicized as a battle between amateur and pro, Jones was considered by most to be a better golfer; however, Hagen was the supreme match player. According to Pat Seelig in Golf Magazine, Jones, who was already considered a great golfer and a favorite of the press, represented golf in its unsullied purity as an amateur, whereas “on the other hand was Walter Hagen, a brilliant showman for whom money was nothing more than something to spend-and the only way to get it was by playing golf. In other words, professional golf at its best-or worst.” In his usual manner, Hagen combined ridiculously poor shots with brilliant recoveries and spectacular putting to take the lead. Jones, who agonized over every errant shot and bemoaned each Hagen recovery, lost his focus, and Hagen won the two-round match, 12 and 11. He was not only a master of playing golf, he was also a master at playing people. This made match play, in which score is tallied by the number of holes won, not total shots, a perfect venue for Hagen who loved to play with the minds of his opponents. John M. Ross described Hagen’s “applied psychology” in Golf Magazine, “One of Hagen’s most successful tactics was to lull an opponent into swapping banter between shots, getting him so amused he was vulnerable to a crack in concentration when important shots were played. Hagen, on the other hand, could turn off the fun like a light switch and devote total attention to the task at hand.” Hagen would distract younger opponents with conversations of a possible invitation to a future exhibition tournament. He acknowledged in his autobiography The Walter Hagen Story (1956): “Through the years I’ve been accused of dramatizing shots. Of making the difficult shots look easy and the easy shots look difficult. Only that last came naturally, believe me. Well, I always figured the gallery had a show coming to them. I deny I ever held up a game by any such shenanigans, but I don’t deny playing for the gallery. I don” deny trying to make my game as interesting and as thrilling to the spectators as it was possible for me to make it.”
Sir Walter Despite his love for flashy clothes, limousines, and nightclubs, Hagen was the consummate gentleman, always charming and at ease, making others, including Hollywood stars and British royalty, desire to be in his presence. As Sir Walter, Hagen was both golf star and entertainer. Wind concludes, “Great as he was as a golfer, he was even greater as a personality-an artist with a sense of timing so infallible that he could make tying his shoelaces seem more dramatic than the other guy’s hole-in-one.” Hagen was named a charter member of the PGA Hall of Fame in 1940 and retired the following year. He died in Traverse City, Michigan, on October 5, 1969. Priority One Marketing Group, LLC | 33
fast, medium or slow. You have a natural swing tempo, one that feels smooth and rhythmic, that gives you optimal ball-striking ability. When you swing in tempo it feels effortless, while the ball flies straighter and farther than usual.
Have you ever wondered how you play your best one day and the next time you can’t play worth a hoot? You would think that you would be able to take that same swing back to the course and get nearly the same results. How is it that there can be ten strokes or more difference between back to back rounds? Is it that the course is different? Yes, tees and pins are in different positions each day. Conditions can vary day to day as well; things like wind and rain will affect your play. The biggest reason though is that your body is different each day and that makes your swing different as well. The difference can be attributed to your swing tempo. You need to stay in sync and in rhythm from round to round to consistently play your best. It makes sense to pay careful attention to this aspect of your golf swing. So many overlook this swing fundamental, becoming frustrated and confused with an unreliable golf swing. Tempo can be a hard subject to explain because there is a huge “feel” aspect to it. It is not just about speed;
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It might help to define tempo. The best definition I’ve heard is that tempo is the time it takes to complete a full swing beginning at takeaway all the way through to the follow through finish position. It is true that tempo varies from player to player. It is also true that it varies from day to day with the same player. The key here is to recognize when your tempo is either faster or slower than it should be and make the proper adjustments. Wouldn’t it be great if your tempo were at its peak every day? Golf would be a lot easier and handicaps would be lower too. Enough with the daydreaming. The truth is that to be aware of the changes in swing tempo and to know how to adjust or correct is the difficult part. We focus so much on mechanics that we overlook this key aspect of the golf swing.
THE KEY HERE IS TO RECOGNIZE WHEN YOUR TEMPO IS EITHER FASTER OR SLOWER
Follow Through Drill
This is another range drill. Address Four Ball Drill
You should tee up four balls in row at
the range. Begin by hitting one using just 25 percent of you full swing speed. Move to the next and use a 50 percent swing, then 75 percent on the third and full speed on the last. Focus in on the difference in feel for each of the swings. Remember you are to adjust your speed from the beginning to the end. Don’t decelerate on the downswing just pick a speed and stick to it throughout the swing. How did those swings feel? Did you make solid contact with all of them? Notice the distance for each shot?
Put your swing to the tempo of a song
you enjoy. Choose a song that fits with the desired tempo of your golf swing. I have done this with much success. One is takeaway, two is the top of the backswing, three is impact and four is the finish position. Try singing this in your head in the manner “One and two and three and four”. It will help you find and maintain your swing rhythm.
the ball. Raise the club head off the ground enough to swing it over top of the ball. Swing it forward past the ball about a foot. Then start your backswing back over the ball to a full and complete backswing and then execute the downswing into the ball as normal. Repeat often. You should pay particular attention to the feel of the weight of the clubhead. At the two points where the club changes direction the transition should be smooth and in time with the club. This will help you to get in tune with the club and the proper swing tempo. Swing tempo is an essential but often ignored fundamental. If you want to play well consistently you will need to be in tune with your body and the swing tempo it is producing. Know your best swing tempo and adjust on those days when things just aren’t all in sync as they should be. These drills will help you tune up your swing tempo. We all need a tune up now and again. Improved ball striking and scoring is sure to follow. Priority One Marketing Group, LLC | 35
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Published on Jan 23, 2014
Published on Jan 23, 2014
The Golf Almanac is published by Priority One Marketing Group, LLC. Priority One Marketing Group is a boutique advertising firm that focuses...