My thoughts go out to Ken Venturi. I wish I could meet or be a man like him. He is great. He played with the greats when the payoff did not always add up. From what I have read, he played just after a time when golfers would take their prize money and buy tires so they could continue their tour or return home. Some of these golfers were warriors in the truest sense. They fought their own demons, they fought for each other and they fought for our country. Ken met challenges that I may never know. I see him as an elegant individual that shared his success with others. I love his swing, but I have to say that my favorite footage of him is when he is playing the drums. He has skin in the game. Thank you for all that you do.
The Dirt Blogs
Welcome to The Dirt Blogs, where staff, members, and guests contribute their wisdom.
Golf is a great pastime for people all over the world, but it comes with a legitimate price tag. Similarly to other hobbies, many people shy away from golf because the sport is expensive. Green fees are substantial and can be enormous at the nice courses.
If you are looking to hit the links frequently this season, I’ve got some advice for you. Below I list ways that you can enjoy many rounds of golf without draining the bank account....
The anchoring debate is an interesting topic. It seems people are either all for the ban or 100% against the ban. Webb Simpson tweeted out earlier today this: '2 guys in the top 45 in strokes gained putting category (PGA Tour's most accurate putting stat) use a belly putter or long putter.'
You can argue statistical data all day long on both sides of the anchor ban fence and make great arguments both ways. The above stat thrown out by Webb makes one believe anchor putting has no profound advantage over the short putter. Based off this one piece of data you would be hard pressed to argue against that.
One of the simplest things that can help you create a repeatable swing and feel how to time your lower body at the right pace for you, is how you turn around your "Rear Leg". Most individuals will let themselves move through their swing with a considerable amount of lateral movement or sway which can cause a huge multitude of problems including coming over the top, picking your head up, fat shots and every other miss you can imagine. The best way to stop this from occurring is by watching the way that you turn around your hind leg (right leg for a right handed player) to keep an inside angle that will not allow your to sway.
This should also be accompanied by the feeling that when you start the rotation back you feel as if the muscles through the back of your right leg are moving you away from the ball and around. This will create the separation needed at the beggining of the swing to stay tension free and create a well timed swing. Jack Nicklaus used to say "I can tell in the first foot of my back swing if I have hit a good golf shot". Get your swing started off on the right foot and your odds will greatly improve....
Elk let us know how accurate you have to keep your tee ball all week. He also said it's a tough course to adjust to your first week out there. Also, since the wind can blow a few different ways there, I tried to pick guys who are playing well, know the course, hit the ball low, and hit the ball straight. Otherwise, this can happen:
If you’ve put any effort into improved performance on the golf course you might have heard someone say, “focus on the process, not the outcome.” Long story short, it’s super important. The best way I can explain what it means is by telling the story a recent session that I had with Gary.
Gary and I started working together a couple of months ago and during our first lesson, it took two swings for me to know where we needed to start. Balance. He was barely balanced before he started the swing, standing on his tip toes by the time he got to the top, and after impact the only thing he could do was take a full step forward to avoid falling over completely. He was hitting it all over the clubface and his shot pattern was all over the map, one left, one right, one straight, etc....
My website has had a nice free PDF collection of neuroscience explanations cherry-picked from thousands of videos available on line, so that golfers and golf teachers can catch up to the past 20-25 years of revolution about the human brain and body. Neuroscience research has expanded human understanding of the brain and body by 350 times more than was ever known in all human history up to 1989. Golfers, golf teachers, golf "psychs", motor sports "experts", and even educational experts don't know any of this science. I checked, and have been checking for 20+ years. Public school teachers and university educational experts have "started" catching up about 3 years ago, at Harvard and a few other well-endowed factories, but generally, they are further down the track for catching up than anyone else in the above list....
Have any other beginners like me noticed the many power leaks in modern pros? Now as I watch the other top instructor's DVDs, ie McClean and others, I detect power losses in their swings while demonstrating drills or swinging in slow motion. I took my first lesson at age 42, almost 20 years ago. Everything was positional. This was to ostensibly lead to a swing. Well, I developed a beautiful swing, but never could smash the ball. But, SECRET IN THE DIRT, HAS PUT A NEW PAIR OF GLASSES ON ME. I am now almost 60, just defeated Lymphoma, have started back ( like LAZARUS ONE MIGHT SAY IF SO INCLINED) and have felt the smash several times so far. I don't want you to think I have now developed hubris, its just fun, enlightening, and Steve E. is right, Martin found the sledge hammer to replace the small nail hammer I used to have.
Or maybe I just think being above ground is wonderful like HOLDING my grandsons. But I still see power loss opportunities in Butch Harmon's videos now....
When the Champions Tour event in San Antonio was moved last year to the new Pete Dye design at TPC San Antonio, how ironic it was that Bruce Lietzke was the fellow trying to turn on his mates to Dye’s work.
Lietzke was the PGA Tour‘s “player consultant“ for Dye on the design of the Canyons Course at TPC San Antonio. But as a young PGA Tour member during the late ‘70s, Lietzke showed up in Dallas for the Byron Nelson Golf Classic when it was played at Preston Trail Golf Club and snickered when asked about the holes there that had been redesigned by Dye. He repeated a line he heard in the locker room from fellow tour player John Schroeder, who thought a stack of large rocks beyond the fourth hole would be a dead ringer for the San Diego Zoo, if only a polar bear could be added.
There are plenty of rocks at TPC San Antonio, but there are some nice fairways and greens laid down there in the middle of all that. In fact, the fairways are mostly wide enough and the greens mostly not too severe that I’ve actually seen the term “user friendly” given to describe Pete Dye’s work here.
“If you hadn’t told me that Pete designed this place,” Hal Sutton told me after playing the Canyons last year, “I would not have guessed.”
Oh, you get the Pete Dye trademarks here, don’t worry about that. A litany can be made: the green drops off severely on the first hole, a pot bunker dissects the green at the third so much that front pin positions look like they’ve been cut onto someone’s porch, the green at the par-3 eighth has a “fallen” back half, fairways at the ninth and even more so at 14 are built into platforms above long, stretching bunkers. The list can go on.
The pros certainly found it tame here last year. Fred Couples won the Champions Tour event on this course at 23-under (rounds of 65-62-66).
For the average golfer, though, the only way this Pete Dye design can be held as “user friendly” is when it’s put in context with its sister course here, the Greg Norman-designed Oaks Course. Every time I look over there and see its torn-into-the-earth contouring of the bunkering and the severely sloping greens I can’t help but think that place should have swirling razor wire and guard houses erected. The average golfer would find better treatment in Rahway or Attica.
Dye’s course lacks brutal length (tees can stretch to 7,100 yards, but a good setup can be found on the tees measuring 6,600 yards or shorter). It is, however, like the usual layout in the Texas Hill Country. If you miss the fairway by just a bit, good luck finding your ball. It’s down in what golf now euphemistically calls “native area,” and it’s a nearly automatic penalty.
But the natural look of this place is a strength. This course works away from the huge resort hotel here and doesn’t come back from a peaceful tour along a nature preserve until the 18th hole. There are some houses that can be seen lined up off in the distance, the massive hotel too, but the view is mostly live oaks and cedar trees out there in the gentle hills. Except for the wind that blows onto these ledges, it’s quiet and sweet.
Dye’s design here, I think, actually gets a bit boring in places. After a standout first hole that opens with a tee shot over a gentle hint of a canyon, the holes are rather similar looking starting at No. 2. Several holes have an almost cookie-cutter design to them.
But there are some highlights. The par-5 sixth hints of a blind shot with an elevated landing area off the tee. The next hole runs nicely back up that hill from the other direction, and then the next hole at the eighth is a pretty picture. It’s 165 yards from the back with a green propped up there amid a background of nature preserve.
But then the cookie cutter is back out until the 12th, a 532-yarder that is uphill all the way. The 14th has a good look to it with the massive build-up job of crafting a fairway doglegging to the left onto the Hill Country ledge. Then the 16th is maybe the best hole on the course, its tee shot spanning a canyon that cuts in from the left to make it look more like Torrey Pines than South Texas. It can play as long as 224 yards, but Dye left behind a “safe zone” landing area short and to the right.
That Hill Country nature preserve out there is staying. And, unlike many of the design features over at Greg Norman’s design that already is getting tweaks from a bulldozer next door, all of the familiar Pete Dye features likely are staying, too.
TPC San Antonio was not listed in the "golf course" section of secretinthedirt.com where other reviews are posted, so the review is posted in this blog. Other writing by Tim Price can be found on timpricesportsbooks.com or on Twitter @golflikeurpoor.