Yeah…I know…It’s spring “2017!” I am getting old, but I haven’t lost it (completely) yet! I’m just trying to
make a point – wouldn’t it be nice if next March you could look back on 2017 as the year in golf where you
finally said – I think I’ve got a good handle on my game – I know what I need to do to improve – and, starting
next spring (2018), you will say – my golf game is in good shape – I’m ready!!
Ok – So what can we do to make that viewpoint a reality? A couple of things. (Most) you’ve heard before.
• Let’s start with your equipment: Your driver – If you haven’t changed it in the last several years, you are greatly missing out on advance technology, period.
I’ve often heard, “It’s not the sword, it’s the swordsman” – (I think they were talking about golf?) -and- (sorry to mix metaphors) – “why bring a knife to a gunfight, if you have the option?!” In either case - it’s simply a fact – new drivers are longer, straighter, & much more forgiving. So, go try one out – (most golf courses or golf shops (like) Ringo’s or J&M should have some demos for you to try.
• Hybrids – are here to stay. And for good reason…hit one of these and you will be hooked. They make it so much easier to play the game from “long iron” range that your game should improve immediately.
• And wedges – you need to learn how wedges of varying lofts can help you – you really do! How to get this advice? I’m glad you asked!
• Are you ready? Yes – (to all who have ever followed this column…ever!) – you can probably use professional help! – And most of you need help with your golf game as well!! – Lessons, lessons – I will stress this forever. We have really fine professionals in our region who are qualified, talented, and caring individuals who will make a big difference in your golf game. Ask around, you’ll find them.
Ok, so what’s stopping you? I know exactly! Time – with work, family etc., it’s hard to find the time to take lessons, practice, or even go look for new equipment. I understand completely, but if you are going to invest your time in playing once a week or so – please try harder to spread a little of that time around to help make those rounds more productive – (and more fun) – you can do it!
Money – Yes, I fully get this! Clubs & lessons cost money – and money will always be a big factor for most of us no matter what subject we’re talking about – so, maybe prioritize: talk to a pro, tell them about your time and $ constraints, maybe you can work out a little “payment plan” for a couple lessons spread out during the season; and maybe just look on the sale rack for a (newer/used) driver, wedge, or hybrid. But whatever you do – give it a “try” in these areas – move your game forward – so that in next March’s edition of this paper, you don’t see the headline “How’s Your Golf Game Looking for 2019?”
Around The Tours
Hope you had a chance to watch what some really great golf on (all) the tours this past fall and winter – it’s been a while since we covered this – so I’ll try and be brief – but (wow) are their some exciting players in professional golf this era!
On The European Tour
Tyrrell Hatton shoots (62) at the old course at St. Andrews to win the Alfred Dunhill Championship – American, Brandt Snedeker wins by (9) shots at the FIGI International – Alex Noren won the 64th British Masters – Padraig Harrington won the Portugal Masters – Thordjorn Oleson won the Turkish Airlines Open – Noren wins again (his 4th Euro victory of the season) at the Nedbank Golf Challenge – Henrik Stenson won the year-long “Race To Dubai” (our Fed-Ex Cup) and former US Amateur Champ, Matthew Fitzpatrick won the DP World Championship – Kjeldsen/Olesen of Denmark won the World Cup with American’s Jimmy Walker & Rickie Fowler finishing tied for 2nd – Australian, Sam Brazel won the Hong Kong Open – (23) yr old Brandon Stove won the Alfred Dunhill Championship – Tommy Fleetwood won the Abu Dhabi Championship – Japan’s Jeunghun Wang won the Qatar Masters – Sergio Garcia gets his 12th career win on the Euro Tour at the Dubai Desert Classic – Fabrizio Zanotti of Uruguay wins the Maybank Championship – Brett Rumford wins the ISPS Handa World Open – and Darren Fichardt won the Joburg Open in South Africa.
The LPGA Tour
The Fubon Taiwan Championship was won by Ha Na Jang – Carlota Ciganda beat American, Alison Lee (21) in a play-off to win the LPGA KEB Hanabank Championship – (20) yr old Minjee Lee wins the Blue Bay LPGA Championship – Shanshan Feng wins the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia title – and follows up with a win the next week at the Toto Japan Classic – Ciganda won the Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Invite – (20) yr old Ariya Jutanugarn won the year-long “Race to the CME Globe;” while (20) yr old Charley Hull won the CME Group Tour Championship – (18) yr old Adyta Ashok of India wins the Qatar Ladies Open – Shantung Feng wins again at the Dubai Ladies Masters – American, Brittany Lincicome wins the Pure Silk Classic – Ha Na Jang won the ISPS Australian Open – and Amy Yang won the Honda Thailand Tourney.
The Champions Tour
Saw Jay Haas get his (18th) career Champions Tour victory at the Toshiba Classic – Doug Garwood got his first win at the SAS Championship – Tom Pernice Jr. won the Powershares QQQ Championship – Scott McCarron won the Dominion Charity Classic – Bernhard Langer won his 3rd straight year-long Charles Schwab Cup title – Paul Goydos won the Tour Championship crown – David Duval & Nick Karaites won the Father-Son Challenge – McCarron wins again at the Allianz Championship – and Fred Couples get his (12th) Champions Tour win at the Chubb Classic in Naples, Florida.
The Men’s PGA Tour
Watched Brendan Steele open the 2016/2017 “wrap around” season with a win at the Safeway Open – Justin Thomas wins the Cimb Classic for the 2nd year in a row – tour rookie, Cody Gribble won the Sanderson Farms Championship – Hideki Matsuyama won the HSBC Champions title – Rod Pampling won the Shriner’s Hospital Open – Pat Perez won the OHL Classic – rookie Mackenzie Hughes won the Franklin Templeton Shoot-out – Matsuyama wins again at the Hero World Challenge – Justin Thomas then wins again! the next week at the Sony Open, becoming the youngest ever (23) to shoot 59 on the PGA Tour – Hudson Swafford wins the Career Builder Challenge (an event that saw Canadian, Adam Hadwin shoot another 59!) – Matsuyama wins the Phoenix Open for the 2nd year in a row – (23) yr old Jordan Speith gets his 9th! career win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am – Dustin Johnson moves to #1 in the world with his 13th career win at the Genesis Open (that makes 10 years in a row with a victory for D.J.) – and, Rickie Fowler won the 45th Honda Classic.
There is a (lot!) more that went on in the world of golf in the last few months – but I’m going to save that for next month – (mostly to allow this article not to be (10) pages long!) – but…
• Remember, if you are planning an outing – book it soon – prime dates fill up fast.
• Leagues are forming as well – go on out and join one this year -or- bring your spouse for one of the mixed leagues – I know you’ll have fun.
• Junior classes & leagues are also getting ready for the season – bring your kid or grandchild into the game this year – you will be bringing them into the “game of a lifetime.” (And) check out the registration for the annual Drive Chip & Putt competition registration already setting sights on (2018) at www.drivechipandputt.com.
• The year-long Pepsi-Illiana series is the best in the Midwest – why? – Call Scherwood GC in Schererville, IN and ask – registration is now underway. (219)865-2554.
• (And) take advantage – spring (and some winter) rates are in effect – season passes & membership discounts are everywhere (with) even year-long range passes at some facilities.
- I gotta say it – The Cubs won the World Series?! Cubs fan or not – Jeez!!
- My Masters pick (I’ve only been correct once!) is the player who needs it for the final leg of his career grand slam – the person I still think is the best “over-all” player in the world – Rory McIlroy.
- (And one request) – If you do have the opportunity to purchase new equipment, etc. – buy local – it not only helps the people that operate our fine region facilities, it helps keep golf fees/rates down!
- Speaking of local: Congratulations to my friends Jon & Steve Chontos on owning & operating Golf Plus Newspaper for (25) years now – great job guys!
- (And) if you have a suggestion for a feature article you would like to see covered -or- if you just want to chime in – please contact me at our e-mail address: email@example.com or leave me a voicemail at (219)947-4314, and to read past golf course reviews – or to just visit Golf Plus newspaper online – visit our website at GolfPlusOnline.net.
- Special thanks to: Mike & Kathy Modrzejewski & to whoever created St. Patrick’s Day & green beer.
- Lastly: I haven’t had a column since the elections, so I thought this quoted might still be timely: paraphrasing author, Don Van Natta Jr., who wrote “Golf cannot be spun, nor tailored by image makers; it cannot be lobbied, and it is never impressed by the power of any individual” -and- (in my terms) political golf is “never positioning yourself too far left or too far right” – “The middle of the fairway should suit one just fine!”
See you next month – (with a new/bigger “golf give-away contest”) - Pete