Putting key to Phil Mickelson victory at British Open

The importance of putting was driven home again at the 2013 British Open, as Phil Mickelson was on fire and Tiger Woods continued to struggle with his putter. For Mickelson, this victory gave him his first British Open championship and his fifth major. Mickelson may not be the most consistent golfer of his generation, but he’s certainly dominant at times when his game comes together. He birdied four of the last six holes for his come-from-behind victory as Lee Westwood faded as some predicted.

Meanwhile, Woods is naturally being scrutinized from every possible angle. Many writers are focusing on the fact that Woods has never come from behind on Sunday to win a major championship, but that hardly seems like the most important factor. No, his putter has been letting him down, and that’s keeping him from winning the big ones. When Woods was piling up wins, he was one of the best putters in history. And while he’s facing inuries and some of the same struggles golfers face as they get older, his biggest problem seems to be with his putter. He’s still good, but good is a long way from great.

This only highlights the mental aspect of the game, and we all know that Tiger has had more than his share of distractions. One that comes to mind is the drama with his old caddy Steve Williams. The two shook hands after the conclusion of the Open Championship on Sunday at Muirfield after Tiger was paired up with Adam Scott, and it looked like the beginning of the end of a silly feud, but you have to wonder if the unflappable Woods was flapped around a bit having to play with them on Sunday. We’ll never know of course, but we’re well beyond the point where a Woods victory was assumed by the handicappers setting the golf odds for majors.

Tiger has to deal with an adversary in Mickelson who refuses to fade away. Phil still can’t get over the hump at the US Open, but it’s tough to count him out these days, and he’s pushing himself into the conversation regarding golf’s all-time greats. There’s also a slew of younger golfers in the game who aren’t the least bit intimidated by Woods, who hasn’t won a major in five years!

So it’s great for golf that Tiger is in the mix, but the landscape has certainly changed.

Golfing for women

So much golf content is geared towards men, so it’s always cool when we find a golf site to feature that is geared towards women. Check out the Golf Girl’s Diary, and excellent site by Patricia Hannigan that focuses on a wide variety of topics, including golf gear, history, news, pros and more. The writing is excellent and she comes up with stories you won’t find on traditional golf sites.

Improve Your Golf Game

Golf can be both the sweetest and most frustrating sport in the world. There is nothing better than the magic feeling of hitting a perfect golf shot. But there is nothing more maddening than shanking a ball off into the woods or the water. In order to keep your rounds as uplifting as possible, follow these tips to quickly improve your golf game.

Work with a Pro

The best way for golfers to make rapid improvements in their skill levels is to get the services of a professional instructor. It can be very tough to figure out on your own what you are doing wrong. On the other hand, most quality instructors can notice the basic flaws in your swing within a few minutes.

Once an instructor has identified the fundamental flaws in your swing, you can go about correcting them. The instructor will give you drills to work on that will fix the things that are wrong. Practice these drills until you can’t stand them anymore. When you put in the hard work to fix the flaws in your swing, it will shave many strokes off of your handicap.

Develop a Pre-Shot Routine

One of the biggest reasons that people shanks a ball is that they do not swing consistently. They swing perfectly on one shot, but then they make major mistakes on the very next one. The easiest way to fix this erratic behavior is to develop a pre-shot routine. It is a bit like a free-throw shooter’s routine in basketball. A pre-shot routine will remind you exactly what you need to do to swing correctly. It will also psychologically center you, calming you down and getting you into the zone.

Practice Every Day

The easiest way to quickly improve you golf game it to practice every day. It may not be possible to get out to the course every day, especially for those who live in the northern climes. However, it is possible for everyone to practice their putting every day. It is easy to practice your swing every day, too.

A great tool to practice you swing indoors is a weighted practice club. These practice clubs weigh more than a normal club, but they are smaller. This allows you to get a great workout for your swing muscles even when you are indoors.

Gain Some Confidence

Golf is a mental game. The ability to step up to the tee with confidence is crucial for success. One of the easiest ways to gain confidence is to look good on the course. When you look good, you feel confident. This confidence will lend itself to your golf game. If you are stuck in a rut, try buying some flashy new golf clothes at Pricegrabber.

Have Fun

Remember that golf is supposed to be fun. Try to remember this even when you have a bad round. As long as you are following these tips and consistently working on your game, success will come in time.

Shaving Off a Few Strokes From Your Driver

Since the late 19th century Americans having being fascinated by a sport that is essentially about using a stick to hit a tiny ball as far as you possibly can. Golf began to become more commonly popular through the 1920’s. Nowadays you can see everyday individuals, celebrities, and even rock stars out still trying to find that magic of how to hit a tiny ball as far as they can. One of the best ways someone can find that magic is by learning to use their driving club properly.

A driver club is one of your most important tools, and takes more skill to use properly because of all the clubs they have the lowest loft or angling that allows for control when hitting the ball. When you use a driver have the ball teed up and you will want it sitting more forward in your stance. Once the ball is positioned correctly forward, make sure you have more weight on your back leg, and lower your back shoulder to achieve a cleaner more fluid swing.

The speed with which you hit the ball will be important as well because this is what will give it the distance you are looking for. For greater speed make sure your grip is lighter, the club should feel a little heavy in your hand. Having a slightly looser grip will allow your body and the club to move more freely, which will give you the momentum you want to create that killer swing.

A few tips from Golf Info Guide about hitting with your driver are:
• Tee the ball a little higher.
• Make sure your feet are a little wider than your shoulders.
• The ball should be sitting opposite from your left heel.
• When swinging, try to turn until your back faces the ball.
• Make sure to transfer your weight properly through the drive.

Taking individual golf lessons is really important too. There are some basic skills you can learn by reading books, watching video and such. But everyone will have their little nuances that can create bad habits like how they stand, lack of follow through, not keeping their head down, and even more personal behaviors that can only be corrected by a professional who is watching and working with you.

The reality is you will spend hundreds of dollars for new clubs, and maybe as much in green fees and it can all be a waste of money and time if you are just playing with the same bad habits over and over. A private lesson can give you 30 minutes to an hour each time with a pro, and can cost as little as $25. It is worth the money in the long run to get it right in the beginning.

Once you have the mechanics down you can really enjoy a good game of golf. You can also use sites like American Golf to find new and engaging courses to play on. Like Arnold Palmer once said, “What other people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive.”

Top Mobile Apps for Golfing


(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Range finders have been used for awhile to help golfers determine distance to the hole, choose which club to pull out of the bag and decide whether to go for the green or play it safe around bunkers or water hazards. But it’s no longer necessary to carry a separate piece of equipment for the job. Now, smartphones can do the same thing – and most golfers already carry a cell phone to the course. One less thing in the golf bag to worry about.

Finding Courses With Apps

Smartphones like Android phones give golfers access to apps that can instantly find the distance to the hole. But there are many other ways golfers can benefit from carrying a smartphone to the course. GPS systems can help golfers find those hidden gems while on vacation and looking for a great place to take a shot. Also, apps are available, such as Golf Logix, that help you find top rated courses, inexpensive courses, courses with driving ranges or putting greens and courses off the beaten path.

Booking Courses With Apps

Many courses around the country are posting discounts for online users, allowing you to receive emails via the smartphone and book tee times for as little as 40 to 50-percent off regular rates. Some courses also offer a virtual tour of the course online, and many also post par scores and details about the yardage and conditions you can expect to face at each hole. With this information on hand, you can always get the best prices for the best courses, and often can get hard-to-find tee times at popular courses.

This takes the guesswork out of choosing where to play and when, especially when you’re on the road for a business trip or vacation. Get the best deals, choose ideal tee times, have reservations booked ahead of time and get to know the course – all from the convenience of the smartphone. Many courses allow golfers to pay for the round online, speeding the process when you arrive and are ready to check in and tee off. Try U.S. Golf Courses app, among others.

Preparing for Golf With Apps

For golfers who are also concerned with the conditioning it requires to stay competitive, apps are available to help keep up with training goals and achievements. Get apps to aid with workout sessions, track progress and help you determine how much the program is helping your golf game – which is the important part. There are also apps to help you determine what equipment best suits your game. Take a look at Golf Genie Practice Drills Pro, among others.

Keeping Up With the Pros

Also from the smartphone, keep up with pro golf events, find local tournaments to watch or participate in and get all the news on your favorite players. Smartphone shopping allows you to get the best deals on the newest golf merchandise, as well. And all this while keeping you in touch with the office and family.

Smartphones also help you keep track of practice lessons and tee times. Just as the phone became the go-to device for managing work and juggling family responsibilities, it is quickly becoming indispensable on the course. A recent informal survey turned up that there are no golf courses in the U.S. that disallow cell phone use on the course. However, it’s good etiquette to keep the phone on vibrate, especially when around tee boxes. While technology marches on, rules of etiquette still remain the same.

Hitting your 3 wood and considering a 5 wood

Here’s a great video that will help you hit your 3 wood better, but the pro also points out that you might want to consider a 5 wood instead.

Video games can help your golf game?

The Driving Range game on the Wii Fit Plus can actually improve your golf game:

It’s December of last year. Christmas is creeping up on me, and I haven’t bought many presents for my lovely wife. So I did what I normally do and hit Target, because that way, I can browse as many of her potential interests in one stop. Out of the corner of my eye, I see that there is an updated edition of “Wii Fit,” titled, simply enough, “Wii Fit Plus.” It’s a no-brainer of a gift. It’s also very much of a Homer Simpson kind of gift (as in buying Marge a bowling ball with his name on it), as I probably spent more time on the original “Wii Fit” than she did. And as it turned out, I ran the “Wii Fit Plus” Island Bicycle game’s beach ball course nearly to the point of contracting plantar fasciitis, but that’s another story.

There are several new games on “Wii Fit Plus,” and ironically, the one I avoided playing at first was the Driving Range game, thinking it would be like hitting off of indoor Astroturf tees and give you false confidence. Eventually, curiosity got the best of me, and so I set it up to hit 20 mid-range shots. Now, the thing with most interactive golf games is that you don’t really need to swing like you do on the golf course, but for the sake of authenticity, I went at it from the approach that if they’re going to get the balance board involved, I probably shouldn’t goof off.

And, wouldn’t you know it, my mind was subsequently blown.

Try it out! You might be surprised.

Physics and Your Digital Golf Game

By Arti Gupta for Digital Innovation Gazette

Physics and Your Digital Golf Game

The following is an interview with B.C. (Charlie) Rasco, president of Smarter Than You software and co-author of Game Programming Gems, 8th edition.

Digital Innovation Gazette: Tell us a little bit about your background. I have your title as president of Smarter Than You Software. So, what do you do?

B.C. (Charlie) Rasco: I’m a physicist by training. I got into game development after working at Boeing for a few years. I came out and made a few little games for Macs and PCs, and then I turned to slightly more specialized physics-based simulations — not necessarily for games — for some research at Oak Ridge and various universities around the U.S. The way the Game Programming Gems article came about is I made a little game for a company, a golf game, where you try to get the golf ball onto a tee. It’s a simple little game; it’s not meant to be anything special. But I wanted to make some nice, simple little physics games. When I did the first version, it didn’t feel right. I made modifications to it. I figured I should write this up for my own edification. After that, a call came out for this Game Programming Gems book and it seemed like a good place to put it.

DIG: You’ve written about drag physics. What is it and why is it important?

C.R.: It’s something that makes the games feel more realistic. There are two versions of it: One is the simplified version. People solved it hundreds of years ago. I implemented it for the golf-ball game, and it just didn’t feel like the ball was moving like it should.

So basically, I had to dig into this a little more to do the more realistic physics implementation of this drag, which is simply a ball moving through water. Implementing that turned out to be a fun little project. The goal for me is to make realistic physics and implement it in terms of simple little video games. A lot of these are not classic video games where you try to engage people in that manner. I like the simulation. I find it more satisfying when it works out well.

DIG: You talk about the two types of drag models. Is one better than the other?

C.R.: It really depends on what you need. The quadratic one feels right and looks right. But the other one is slightly more computationally expensive. Which one works better in what situation? If you have a single spaceship flying through the atmosphere, then that’s going to be your emphasis — so you’re willing to throw a little more computation at it. Otherwise, if you’ve got just a background situation with a bunch of little particles, you can go that route if people aren’t going to notice it that much. Once you have 10,000 things flying through the air, it feels like smoke.

I honestly don’t know which way would be better. The quadratic one would feel right, but whether you have enough computation to make that work is a good question. With the iPhone, it’s going to bump into that limit much faster than with a PlayStation 3. It really does depend on what your system is and where you’re going.

Arti Gupta has worked on software-engineering projects as a developer, architect and project and product manager for more than 10 years. Now she does community management for game development on the Intel Software Network site. Gupta likes reading, traveling and spending time with her family. Follow her on Twitter: @artigupta.



The basic golf swing by Jack Nicklaus

Whether you’re a beginner, or just a golfer who wants to improve his swing and get back to basics, this golf video from Jack Nicklaus is a must-see video. Here you’ll see one of the best and most simple lessons ever, from the greatest player the game of golf has ever known.

This video has one basic swing tip from the number one selling golf instructional video of all time – “Golf My Way” by Jack Nicklaus. The bottom line is that the swing, the hand placement and the ball placement should always be the same.

You don’t change your swing for the shot.

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