101 Golf Secrets

Golf Secrets 22 - 24: Instruction

Golf Digest

22 -- HOW TO STAY SHARP WHEN YOU CAN'T PRACTICE
BY ROCCO MEDIATE
My back has been a problem for me for most of my career, so I'm not able to put in the long hours of practice that other tour players do. I used tothink that not being able to hit a lot of practice balls or spend much time on the putting green was the biggest sacrifice I had to make because of the injuries. I even used a long putter for a long stretch of my career, not because it helped my stroke, but because it was the only way I could practice putting.

Now, I do Pilates to stay in shape, and that's pretty much all I do, aside from some stretching before I play. My back is still fragile—it flared up at Augusta this year during the final round; don't bring up the 12th hole, OK?—but I have more pain-free days than I've had in years. The trick for me is to get more out of practice rounds, where I alternate hitting extra shots with walking.


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23 -- HOW TO DEVELOP A GREAT STROKE
BY STAN UTLEY
Once you understand that the putterface is square when it's square to the arc of the stroke, not when it's square to the target line, you'll make a putting stroke with the least amount of manipulation or compensation. You also want the energy in the swing happening at the right place—the putterhead end of the putter. The only way to do that is to keep the shaft at 90 degrees—or slightly forward-pressed—at impact.


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24 -- HOW TO LOSE TO YOUR WIFE
BY BRIAN INKSTER
Golf's not just an idle pastime for me, it's a career. I'm the director of golf at Los Altos Country Club in California. Yet when my wife, Juli, and I slip out for nine holes, she beats the living daylights out of me. Forget the scorecard, I can't even claim the distance battle, that ever-favorite masculine virtue. If I connect with the driver, I mean really connect, maybe, maybe, my ball will creep up to her ball, which as always is at rest in the middle of the fairway.

Of course, it would be ridiculous for my ego to feel bruised. My wife works hard to be a world-class player, and throughout our marriage I've supported her career to my utmost. I coached Juli for 10 years, but realized it was time to stop when the practice sessions started turning into long talks about the kids. Still, not everyone can make the excuse that their wife's on the LPGA Tour. If you're finding it tough to swallow your pride, remember that golf opens lots of opportunities for couples. Traveling together, playing social rounds with other couples, competing in mixed tournaments—all wonderful activities that can be ruined by allowing the spousal competition to turn bitter. Keep in mind that golf is perhaps the most intensely personal sport there is. It's about meeting and exceeding your own standards, not someone else's. My game has slipped in past years, and I grow far more frustrated by my bogeys than I ever will by my wife's birdies.

The last time I beat Juli was by a single shot, four years ago on a quirky course in Hawaii. If we wrestle, I can pin her in about five seconds. These are the little things I'll cling to the next time I go out 5 and 4 in one of our nine-hole rounds.


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Image: Darren Carroll