IN ASSOCIATION WITH
A lesson with… Camilo Villegas The world No.13 shows TG how to hit a punch shot from an elevated tee THE PROBLEMS:
Features writer Kit Alexander is never sure how to approach a short hole from an elevated tee. Should he just play his normal shot and risk floating the ball hundreds of feet above the green at the mercy of the wind? Or should he take a bit more club and play a punch shot for a more penetrating ball flight? Growing up on a cliff-top course, Alexander is used to the wind but he usually just plays his
stock shot and alters his alignment to allow for the breeze. With mixed results. Fortunately for him, Villegas is an expert at striking it low and he agrees to pass on his knowledge. THE CURES:
The Colombian is quick to focus on a couple of key points. “There are two main things: it’s definitely going to play shorter because it’s a long way downhill, and because it’s so severely
downhill I don’t want to get the ball too high. “We don’t want the ball to be up in the air for too long because then there are more factors that are going to be potentially involved in the shot. “I put the ball a bit further back in my stance and my backswing will get a little bit shorter. I’ll try to punch it to keep the ball under the wind and hopefully hit it the right distance. “Some guys like to hit punch
shots that go shorter than normal. My punch shots fly about the same distance even though I choke down the grip a little bit. “If it’s very windy then you do want more club because the more you accelerate through the ball, the more spin you will generate and the higher the ball will go. When the wind reaches 20-25mph I’d take a longer club, choke down on it and swing very smoothly.”
k c a b l l a b e Put thr stance and in you slightly use a r swing. shorte N NI Y O SS PLAHE E L ON T IR OM LD FR OR.13 W o N
Check out 68 chipping and pitching tips at www.todaysgolfer.co.uk/shortgame 14 TodaysGolfer.Co.UK Issue 260
NEWS TUITION PRODUCTS COURSES
Golf... but not as we know it There are loads of mad ways to play golf these days - here are a few...
GROUNDED! Mr Angry can’t come out to play. He’s angry...
THE FINAL VERDICT The Pro: Villegas is a big advocate of technology, whether it’s his Cobra driver giving him more distance than ever before or the influx of rangefinders and GPS systems that make judging tricky elevation changes like this one and choosing the right club easier. “Nowadays we have rangefinders that will tell us exactly how many yards down it will play. But as a general rule, downhill shots will definitely play shorter and uphill ones will definitely play longer for amateur golfers.” The Pupil: “Downhill par 3s are always great fun to play and it always looks spectacular when you hit the green. But they usually play a lot tougher than they look. “Wind is often a big factor when playing from an elevated tee so anything that can reduce the effects of this has got to be a good thing. “Now Camilo has shown me how to hit a far more penetrating ball flight that won’t alter my distance too much I feel a lot more comfortable taking dead aim at the pin. As a result I’m hitting a lot more greens. “The punch shot also comes in really handy when hitting any shots in windy conditions.” H Next month: Danish star Soren Kjeldsen teaches TG to play a ‘drop and stop’ bunker shot.
Cross Golf There’s a tee and a hole as normal but no fairway or green – usually you’re playing up the side of a mountain or across a desert. Contact: www.crossgolf.com
Disc Golf Instead of using clubs and a ball you throw a Frisbee-like disc – ‘driver discs’ fly further than ‘putter discs’ – towards a basket. Contact: www.bdga.org.uk
GolfCross The ball (which is teed up for every shot) is shaped like a rugby ball and you have to hit it into a suspended goal net. Contact: www.golfcross.co.uk
PowerPlay 9-hole golf with two flags. You have some ‘PowerPlays’ to the harder Black Flag, where you can get double Stableford points. Contact: www.powerplay-golf.com
So, it’s the height of summer and I’m sat in the office with the scorching 24˚C heat glowing through the window. Just as my mind begins to slip from the spreadsheet in hand onto happier thoughts of fairways and greens that jolly little ‘new email’ sound from my generic software provider brings me back to Earth. Occasionally it does bear good news and happily this was one of those occasions. As luck would have it, there are a couple of fellow golfers in the office. According to his hastily written email – I mean, who really has time to use any grammar or punctuation these days – Geoff and Trevor were right on my wavelength and had also spent the day staring out of the window dreaming of birdies and had arranged to play a cheeky twilight round after work. I was sold. The only thing that stood between me and the 1st tee was ‘Her Indoors’. Being the gentleman that I am, rather than calling her from the course so she didn’t really have a choice, I called her before I left the office. This was my mistake. Apparently I’d not notched up enough ‘wife points’ this month. I was informed the going rate for post-work golf is 250 and mowing the lawn, doing the washing up and mending the bookshelf had only got me 200. So off I went, tail between my legs, to tell the guys that I couldn’t join them. I think I was 14 the last time I had to say “I’m not allowed out to play tonight”. I don’t ever remember it being as embarrassing as it was this time.
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52 TodaysGolfer.Co.UK Issue 260
Booted and suited? Steve Surry ponders mixing it with the best in Turnberry car park.
RNBERRY H TH
he magic of The Open is T that the world’s oldest, most revered Major championship isn’t all about superstars like Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington. It’s about real golfers too: golfers like 27-year-old unknown Steve Surry, battling to survive in the game on a shoestring budget. But, against all the odds, Surry earned the right to tee it up against all the modern golfing greats at the 138th Open at Turnberry. And in its way this is as big an achievement as Stewart Cink lifting the Claret Jug itself. Since turning professional five years ago it’s been like scaling Mount Everest every week for Surry, who has been performing – often with distinction – on the mini Tours. Trouble is, at that level, if you’re not winning on a regular basis, you’re literally losing money. Such is the prizemoney at the top of the game that pro golfers tend to be divided into the Haves and the Havenots. Surry is so skint that in winter he’s forced to stock shelves at night in his local Tesco branch! You can also find him pulling pints behind the bar at his golf club, Cumberwell Park near Bath, in a desperate bid to stay one step ahead of the bank manager... and to stay in the game. And flash cars are out of the ➤
by KeVIN bROWN phOtOgRaphy hOWaRD bOyLaN & getty Images
The inside story of the golfing nobody who earned the right to battle it out with Tiger, Tom and golf’s elite at Turnberry
Y H T H E O PE N 2 RR 0
0 0 9 I T U R N BE R R Y
TASTING THE BIG TIME
THE BEST OF EVERYTHING IN GOLF
5. morgan Pressel
6. stefanie miChl
7. momoKo ueda
The 2007 Kraft Nabisco Champion is the only Major winner to have made the list. In 2001 she became the youngest player ever to qualify for the US Women’s Open at just 12. She had a great junior career that included 11 AJGA titles between 2002 and 2005.
The Austrian has shown steady progress since she turned pro at the end of 2006. The Alpine beauty just retained her European Tour card by finishing 107th on the money list in 2007, improved to 92nd last year and finds herself lying 81st in 2009.
The small but perfectly formed 5ft 3in Japanese star, became the youngest player to top the Japan LPGA Tour money list in 2007, aged 21. She was tied 7th at the 2008 British Open.
8. Paula Creamer
9. Carin KoCh
10. Paula marti
Paula is known as the ‘Pink Panther’ on Tour due to her love of always wearing something pink. She’s the highest ranked golfer in our list (world No.4) and the 22-year-old American has 10 professional victories in four seasons – plus a great Solheim Cup record.
The sexy Swede has long been regarded as one of the best players on the ladies tours. She’s been turning heads since turning pro in 1992. The 38-year-old played in the Solheim Cup in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2005 with an impressive record of W10-T3-L3.
Spanish senorita Paula posted 10 top10 finishes on the Ladies European Tour last season and finished eighth on the money list. The 29-year-old won two tournaments in her rookie season but hasn’t been in the winner’s circle for seven years.
SHORT GAME SPECIAL // JULY 2009
Issue 260 THE BEST OF GOLF 7
LA MANGA SURPRISE The antics of various footballers have made it arguably the world’s most famous resort – but is it any good? We reveal all... by kIt alexander
he first thing that strikes you as T you drive into La Manga Club is the sheer size and scale of the place. It is immediately obvious that all I’d heard about this destination – generally to do with football training and the odd incident of high-jinks – does not paint the full picture. There’s a lot more to this resort than well-stocked bars and pristine football pitches (recently seen over the shoulder of Gordon Strachan – he has a villa here – in a Sky Sports News interview). As you stand at the highest point – outside the spa, near the Las Lomas village apartments – and look down at the sprawling metropolis of sports facilities, villas and the 192-room five-star hotel below you, it becomes quite clear that La Manga is more of a town than a resort. I was later told that it is, staggeringly, three times the size of the principality of Monaco, broken up into 37 communities, with numerous shopping areas complete with bars and restaurants, and can accommodate up to a staggering 10,000 people at any one time. The golf courses themselves – North, South and West – offer up a good deal of variety. The most intricate layout is the West, which requires the most precision of the trio. At 6,310 yards off the whites, the par-72 West is considerably shorter than the 7,107-yard par-73 South but don’t let this fool you – it’s as tough, if not tougher. The layout has a very different feel than the other two La Manga tracks – it’s the hilliest by far and the tree-lined fairways make the safe option usually the right one. Designer Dave Thomas has employed plenty of doglegs so knowing your yardages off the tee is a must. The West offers stunning views across the entire resort that really bring home ➤ 132 TodaysGolfer.co.uk Issue 260