MMGP #2 — Backstopping, and Uphill / Downhill

Only two polls this week, and both came with decent amount of discussion.

Backstopping — Who’s protecting the field?

There sure has been a lot of trash talk about the LPGA situation where people think the world is going to end if those players don’t get penalized for aiding and abetting the commitment of a vicious crime of leaving a ball unmarked and trying to take over the field.

I voted for for the second option where it’s on the player about to hit a shot where the other ball is in play close enough to where it can affect your ball in an unfair way when the situation is important enough in that player’s judgement.

Time for an anecdote. I had this come up in the Ray Fischer last year, on the 12th hole where I hit an on purpose snap hook driver to take the out of bounds right out of play. Ben Skogen hit a pitch shot from the fairway to something like 10 feet below the hole. The pin was front, and my only shot was a little punch aimed between the front of the green and the edge of the bunker with the goal of having some sort of easy up and down. Skogen’s ball ended up literally, literally where I was planning to aim. To give him time to mark his ball, I stepped off and took some fake practice swings. He didn’t move. So I started walking towards the green to have another fake look at the shot and he still didn’t move. Finally I had to tell him to go mark his ball cause that’s exactly where I was going to aim.

Pace of play is also an issue with this, and that’s especially relevant considering how much more hate goes to those who aren’t the fastest players. First, I don’t want to force someone who’s ready to hit a shot to have to wait for me to mark something that, no matter how close to the hole the ball is, to have to stand and wait if we’re not in an absolute important situation in a tournament. That’s like a way to take them off their timing. Second, with the amount of negativity slow players are getting and the stupid USGA pace of play checkpoint garbage, I’m not going to force the group to be 30 seconds further behind than needs to be.

This is all situationally dependent of course. I think there was a case at the US Open at Erin Hills where in the final round, someone didn’t mark their ball and Azinger called him out for that. Final round in an important event, yeah, you go mark, and the other player in the group should ensure that as well. On the other hand, in the final round of the 2016 Master, Louis Oostheizen freaking made a hole in one from an unmarked ball! That didn’t protect the field from his XXX place finish, so why didn’t they let whoever hit that first shot take the time to mark his ball? Also, in like the absolute best cases of randomness, it was JB Holmes’ ball that was left and helped Louis’ go in.

Uphill Downhill?

Ok now this was an interesting poll, and talk about a dead heat.

My initial thought and my selection was wanting the downhill one as summed up by Zach. Smaller movement means less likely to go awry.

But then, after I replied saying that’s why I agree, KVR brought up really good point about wanting the uphill.

If you try to picture the two cases, you’ll see what he’s talking about. With a ball sitting on the opposite lip of the hole from where you hit the putt, an uphill putt will have the ball wanting to come back to the hole, where a downhill one will want to continue on away from you and the hole.

As is the case with all of these questions, it all depends on your confidence level. If you’re asked to pick, you can take a look at both of the options and go with what you’re feeling then.

Why to Practice Specific Shots

Everyone’s watched this video of Tiger hitting the now named duck slice from a fairway bunker at the end of the 3rd round of the WGC Mexico.

Tiger went ahead and made some comments about his decision making in a video, where he said knew that his initial 8 iron was too much club which made him switch to a 9 iron, but didn’t say if he knew that specifically because he’d hit exact shots like that before.

In the realm of specific shot practice, here’s a story about a time when that absolutely helped me.

At Pinehurst for the US Four Ball, we were on one of the practice greens (which we were told used to be the 18th at the #4 that they changed into a practice green during the redesign because the green was too difficult so players finishing #4 had trouble keeping it on the green which goes to show that public play courses can be too difficult). They had the giant bunkers and one of the shots we decided to practice were long bunker shots where the ball was on a big upslope near the front of the bunker.

The shot ended up being one where you open the club face to the point where you’re able to swing as hard as you can, have the ball go way into the air and comes down next to the hole with not much spin or roll. The thing to practice was knowing how open to have the club face and get a sense of the density of the sand. We hit probably 10-15 of those shots from different places, all on the upslopes to back pins, and felt pretty good about them.

A look at the approach to the 16th hole.

Fast forward to couple days later where on the 16th hole at #2, after a bad drive where I had to hit my second shot to advance it to the green, I ended up on an upslope of a giant bunker short right of the green when the pin was back left. When my friend and I were walking up I could see right away it was the kind of shot I’d been practicing, and straight up told him “watch this” before I hit the shot, which ended up being a giant arched shot that landed a foot from the hole and stayed a foot from the hole. Perfect example of the benefit of practicing a specific shot.

Also, Tiger is a Jedi Master.

Mid Morning Golf Polls #1 — One Ball Rule, Shorts / Pants, Trackman

I tend to tweet a bunch of polls during the week to get others’ opinions on topics, and like other cases, tweeting thoughts is difficult. So here are the mid morning polls I posted in the past week that show the results and give me a little more space to talk about what I think of them.

Only three questions this week, we’ll see if there are more or less in the future.

One Ball Rule Not in Effect

Pretty funny when people either think nobody is going to make the change, or everybody is going to make the change. Few people thinking it’d be in the middle of the people spectrum.

Switching types of balls with the wind sure could help take less of that into play based on the amount of spin the ball has. I believe downwind you’ll want more spin so the ball hangs in the air and doesn’t get knocked down, and into the wind you want less spin so the ball doesn’t balloon. These cases you’d get more distance, but the main reason for wanting that is for the wind to have less of an effect meaning more consistency which is way better to have than straight distance.

I’m not sure what my guess would have been, but probably in the 5%-15% range, meaning like 8-23 players. 25% of the field is a huge number, 39 guys. My guess is we’d see a few people try this out, like with a trackman on a windy practice day and somewhat in tournaments, where others would follow along with what the initial guys determined.

I said in another tweet that I played with a kid in the US Am qualifier who got a DQ because he played a different type of ball after losing one in a hazard and didn’t take the 2 shot penalty before signing that first round scorecard. The rules official said how they should really get rid of that rule because it affects players in our position, tournaments like a USGA qualifier, but not the pros. The pin rule, which was also changed because they thought it’d only help Am pace of play, didn’t end up like that. Tour pros are the ones who get the benefit. Removing the one ball rule would also only change the pro game, where they’d feel that if they didn’t, they weren’t trying hard enough.

One more quick thing to think about is if the USGA never had that rule in the first place, would it be common for guys on Tour to do that with balls of the current technology? Would it be expected that guys use different types depending? If they added the one ball rule right now, for pace of play reasoning, would guys get super annoyed? Dunno. I can always see reasons for all of those things to happen.

Short or Trousers?

The results say a dead heat for people saying shorts if they want them, or only pants, but I received notice that a friend accidentally clicked “pants only” instead of “shorts if they want”, so shorts is the winner.

Me, I’m an only pants kind of guy. If I see guys in shorts, it immediately takes the professionalism of what they’re doing and brings it down a level. Watching guys play in the PGA Championship with shorts would only make it seem like a fun weekend round rather than anything important.

There’s a great Scrubs clip that I haven’t been able to find, where Carla talks back to a delivery guy after he said something negative to her, about how she can’t take him seriously because he’s wearing shorts to work which is unprofessional. Being a delivery driver, mail person, or something like an airport tarmac worker should absolutely have the ability to wear clothes that they’re comfortable with. But guys playing golf? I want them to show people that they’re doing this for a job, something they care about enough, rather than just whacking it around.

Trackmans or Trackmen?

This was a hard question to post because we can only have a max of four answers, meaning I tried my best to come up with reasonable limits. Which means if I instead had $5k as an answer, would that then have been the most popular answer?

Having space and money right now is clearly the biggest issue of whether or not you have a Trackman. But the important thing to think about with this question is how much having a Trackman would influence your attitude for the game. Would its expense make you feel bad if you don’t use it enough so it puts pressure on you? Or would having it there make you take the game more seriously because you can see all that information rather than continually guessing?

For me, I’m on the side that my attitude would change for the better to take golf more seriously. I’m kind of the guy who just whacks it around and is lucky to make a bunch of putts. With the Trackman, I’d be able to work on distance numbers which is absolutely the thing I don’t have in my game. If I’m spending so much time and money on playing golf now, putting money on the thing I need to get better would be worth it.

MLB Spring Training Pitch Clock — Kershaw quote with plenty of talking points

View of the minor league pitch clock from Wikipedia. Imagine having to watch that click down. Kershaw says don’t pay attention.

Interesting quote by Kershaw about the test of the pitch clock that MLB is doing this spring training with more than a few takes.

“I’m not going to pay any attention to it. And if I go over it then I go over. I’m not going to change anything I do. I’m not going to pay attention to it one bit, and if it becomes a problem I guess I’ll have to deal with it then. But I think there’s ways to fake it. If it looks like it’s winding down or something you can step off. I’m sure there are ways around it. I’m not too worried about it.”

First, he’s got the right attitude for sure about not thinking about it. I’ve had it happen so many times where the thought of me being too slow made me speed up unnecessarily just to try to not get a penalty or others to judge me as being slow. Not paying attention to a possible time violation should be the thought if you’re not already considered one of the super slow players (I don’t think I am but I guess people could have kept that hidden from me).

Second, he says that if it becomes a problem then he’ll deal with it then. Kershaw isn’t known as a slow pitcher, so he’s not trying to bait the MLB to try and convict him of slowing down play, but is using this as a real reason to not look at the clock. JB Holmes talked about this in his press conference after the win, saying how he was never put on the clock so no reason to speed up.

“Yeah, when I first got out here I was really slow. But I’ve sped up quite a bit. I’ve gotten better. There’s times when I’m probably too slow, but it is what it is. I was never on the clock. Never even got a warning. TV wants everything to be real fast all the time.”

To be fair, in that quote, he admits he’s on the super slow side and claims he’s working to get faster, so I’ll give him credit. Either way, him saying how he was never given a warning made people switch to trashing Manfred about the Tour not enforcing the rules they have written.

Third, Kershaw’s right about being able to fake having reasons to not throw a pitch within the 20 second frame. In the golf world, there wouldn’t be fakes, rather there’d be legit reasons for being able to take more than the 50/40 seconds. Such as, a fly or a bee landing on a ball, or if you’re waiting for the group behind you to hit approaches on 16 green at the Phoenix Open so the noise doesn’t affect your swing on 17 tee, super hard rain where if you don’t wipe down the grip of a club you’re not able to hold on to it, or someone in the crowd how wants to give you a penalty for being slow so they yell something before you take your backswing meaning you’d step off and then be over the 40 second limit.

For the MLB, they tried the pitch clock rule in minor leagues all the way back starting in 2010, and it’s taking its time creeping up to the the majors with spring training. It’ll be interesting to see how the spring training pitch clock test goes, and it’s also good to show how if the PGA Tour has any interest in putting this into play, the Web.com Tour needs to be tested first.

How We Built A Large, Adjustable Break Putting Mat

I have owned plenty of types of putting mats over the years. Usually they are small, cheap, and allow you to hit 6 footers mostly flat on the ground until a ramp of foam at the end allows the ball to drop into a circle of emptiness that can be considered a hole. The biggest problem with those putting mats is that it never feels like you’re hitting an actual putt on a real live green.

When I first was finally able to check out David Roesch’s indoor learning center for this winter, besides the three net set-up with a couple simulators, by far the most impressive thing I saw there was this large putting mat frame that allows you to adjust the amount of break. So my brother-in-law and I decided to make a version of that ourselves.

The finished product.

Because of the fakeness of most mats, we want a mat that has the feel of an actual putting green and allows us to hit different types of putts in a basement or garage.  With our finished product, we can hit full putts over 10 feet (and of course shorter as well). We have aluminum holes that make the sound you expect when making a putt on a course. We have enough width where we can hit from various places and it doesn’t feel like the same fake putt over and over. We also have fake turf that’s by far the best I’ve ever used.

There are more than a few of these types of these large adjustable mats out there that you can buy around or over the $10k price point. The one we built ended up costing $1,152.63. It isn’t cheap cheap, but as you’ll see in the list of costs at the bottom, a large chunk of that is from reusable tools. Our next version of this will cost much less.

The goal with this post is to tell people what we did, what we learned, what we’ll do differently in our next version, and convince others to build their own.

The Dimensions

The first step is to figure out the dimensions of the mat. This mostly depends on size of the empty floor you have available. For us, we were able to clean a 14×6 foot rectangle of space in the basement.

Thoughts on sizing: 6 feet wide is pretty comfortable. We’re able to stand on either side of the hole and hit a putt without being uncomfortably close to the hole or the edge of the mat. This is great because I’m standing about the same place as I would be if we were on a practice green hitting between holes. Going down to 5 feet wide – or maybe even 4 feet wide – is a possibility.

That said, bigger is better. For our dimensions, we ended up stretching as far as we could within the space. I think our initial guess was 12×5, but after moving around some things Mike had in the basement, we were able stretch the dimensions. Remember, this mat isn’t going to be moving. It’s heavy, we’re not looking to bring it with us when we travel, and there’s really no downside to making it as big as possible.

Finally, we decided to have only two holes on the mat in a symmetrical way. Each is in the center of the 6′ width where the back of the hole is 20″ from the end. We decided on 20″ just because, so don’t feel like it needs to be closer or further away. We thought of adding a couple more holes to add more options, like on the low side of the mat, but the 6 foot width is enough to let us hit varying shorter putts so the single hole on each side is more than good enough.

The Frame

With the dimensions figured out, the next step is to build the frame. This was the biggest part of the build and the one that caused a couple unforeseen issues down the line. Next time, we’ll know how to get it right the first time, and likewise for people reading, don’t feel bad if you make mistakes too.

I mentioned above that we’re not looking to move the putting mat, but at some point, we might want to. Therefore, we decided to make the frame in two identical pieces, each 6’x7′, and connect them in the middle using bolts.

Here’s a final picture of the first half of the frame. Hopefully this picture is big enough so that you can get a sense of how we constructed it. Three of the outer edges have two long 2x4s screwed together, and the edge closest to us in the picture has a single 2×4 because this is where the two halves of the frame will be connected to each other.

To build this first half, we did the math to determine the number and the lengths of the 2x4s that build the of the frame, making sure to keep in mind that 2x4s are 1.5 inches thick which clearly will affect the lengths. This step will depend on the exact dimensions of your frame. If you look at the corners, there’s a bit of a zipper connection between the edges. Cool, but not important enough to make a difference in the overall structure.

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Slow Pace of Play — The problem with no easy solution

One afternoon in 2011, while sitting behind the 9th green at Erin Hills to sign our scorecards after finishing playing our first round at the US Amateur, our group was legitimately looked down upon by a standing USGA ranger who asked us why he shouldn’t give us a penalty for slow pace of play. We had finished the par 3 9th a few minutes beforehand where I’m pretty sure we all missed the green and tried to get up and down which I did from one of the front bunkers by making a 6 footer. On the hole before, the snap dogleg 8th, a guy in our group missed the fairway to the left so we all walked around looking for his ball in the fescue before we were able to go hit ours. Because there was a lost ball to search for and we finished on a difficult par 3, we were then asked why we didn’t deserve a penalty.

Spin forward 6 years, and my brother-in-law and I were playing in the 2017 US Four Ball. During our first round on Pinehurst #8, on the long par three 13th hole, the guys we played with had trouble off the tee and through the green. After finishing the hole, we were told that we were behind the allotted 14 minute time limit, so we had earned ourselves a pace of play warning. We walked to the 14th tee where we sat down on the bench because we were waiting for the group in front of us to move towards the green. That’s right, we got a pace of play warning from the USGA and had to wait on the next tee. All because we played a long par three that some in the group had trouble on.

This writing isn’t just about the USGA and their feeling and enforcement of the pace of play. Slow pace of play is a huge issue these days, and keeps getting pushed higher and higher in talking points. How bad is the problem? What are the fixes? We all have thoughts, but the possible solutions are not straightforward at all.

AT&T Pro Am rounds take forever. Big part because of the Ams playing a tough course, and also partially for the Saturday interviews of the celebs on this 17th tee.

Why write about this?

Last week at the end of the Euro Tour’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic stop (and before Bryson’s comment about being happy to play the Saudi event), Euro Tour twitter posted a video of Bryson talking to his caddie about a shot on the final hole of the event. It’s a minute and 13 seconds from the time he begins talking to the caddie to when he hits the shot. He discusses lots of things like distance, landing spot, and air density, which I assume was because he knew he was being recorded and wanted to push his “scientist” branding image even further.

People took off on trashing him in replies to the tweet about how slow he is and how much he overthinks his wedge shot. I tweeted this response, which I’ll now somewhat retract. Clearly Bryson’s wedge shot should have been hit quicker considering it was a wedge shot with complete lack of outside elements.

Brooks Koepka was interviewed a couple days after, where he said “I just don’t understand how it takes a minute and 20 seconds, a minute and 15 to hit a golf ball; it’s not that hard,” and “It’s always between two clubs. There’s a miss short, there’s a miss long. It really drives me nuts, especially when it’s a long hitter because you know you’ve got two other guys, or at least one guy that’s hitting before you, so you can do all your calculations. You should have your numbers. Koekpa continued to say “If it’s blowing 30, I understand taking a minute and taking some extra time with some gusts, you know changing just slightly, I get that, but if it’s a calm day there’s no excuse.”

Not just Kopeka, others on Tour seem to all be of the same opinion of Bryson’s slowness.

In the Bryson video’s case, the slow play is because of overthinking the slow shot process. This is a problem, yes, but Koepka brings up the number one cause for slow play that I see most often: Difficulty.

What causes the slow play?

Similar to the DeChambeau video, the Euro Tour posted this video of Ian Poulter and his caddie’s conversation last year. . The timing of this video is kind of ironic since it was the week after the Euro Tour’s shot clock tournament where they enforced a time limit. People complained about the time it took him to hit the shot, but not as many as complained about Bryson. Poulter’s shot plays over 210 over water to the green with a big wind blowing. You’ll also notice Poulter is +3, meaning that the course is playing pretty hard. The stronger the wind, the more it takes to ensure you’re hitting the right club.

Besides wind, firm course conditions is another weather aspect that slows down play completely. Approach shots must really be thought about in terms of how short and where to land it compared with flat, wet ground. That takes time. Also if you’re reading this, remember that landing distance is the distance you should be thinking about, not necessarily the distance to the pin.

Course design with difficult green complexes can slow down play. Elevated, slopey greens are a great example. A missed green then brings into play imagining the putt or chip with the swales and roll outs. From there, pins placed in slopey areas lead to more 4 footers for par rather than tap ins. You’re going to spend more time over that 4 footer.

The final big cause of difficulty is the amount of trouble on a course and how long it takes to search for a ball. This is a huge part of slow play on public courses. Huge.

One of the new rules for 2019 which I’m not a fan of at all is limiting for searching for a ball from 5 minutes to 3 minutes. This doesn’t affect guys on Tour because of the spotters and fans in the area and, well, the fact is that they hit it pretty straight.

For public players, they don’t follow that rule to begin with. Never has anyone pulled out a cell phone to start a timer to ensure the search doesn’t go beyond 5 minutes. People have different opinions on how to deal with search. Some throw a new ball down relatively quickly, following the local new rule about (knee) dropping in the fairway where the lost ball was estimated to end up. Others take their sweet time either enjoying not wanting to lose a ball, or playing in a betting game where every shot counts so they want to try to find the first. And then we have to add how many times we’re searching for multiple balls on the same hole but different sides of the hole.

Maybe that’s why people keep pushing for courses to be wider with less rough and no trees. Fewer lost balls means way quicker play. Hmm.

How should it be fixed?

I talk of difficulty as the number one reason for slow play, but that can’t be changed at a tournament level. The fixes they need to look for are ones that work to get the players moving quicker, but in a fair and reasonable manner.

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Notes from the US Am in Monterey — Weather was cold, and so was my ball striking

It’s been a couple weeks now, and with things settled down from the 2018 US Amateur out at Pebble, it’s time to go through thoughts from the week. I’ll start with the courses, general thoughts that deserve their own sections, and then random thoughts at the end.

Pebble

Tiny Greens

Holy crap the greens at Pebble are tiny. The first thing I noticed when walking to the 1st green in the practice round. And then noticed the tininess even more pronounced on the 2nd and 4th holes. Then, for some reason, I always thought the 12th green would be decently large, due to it being a long downhill par 3. Nope, tiny tiny. When I got to the 13th hole, I noticed that green seemed bigger than the others, and a local caddie said that it was redone in the past year.

I like small greens. It’s a yes or a no for a good shot, rather than with wider greens where I pretty much never aim directly at the hole and usually every shot is fine.

Looks completely different, and not just because of an ocean

Talking about course design sure is a dangerous area to write and talk about. But I love courses that are different, and Pebble does not match up with any designer out there. That isn’t because it’s next to a large body of water. There are courses next to large bodies of water that make it clear who designed it (I’m looking at you Whistling Straits and Pete Dye), but Pebble does not match others. Give me this type of course inland and I’d like it close to as much.

No gimme birdies

I hit the ball decently far (though at the US Am these past two years, I wasn’t the longest hitter in any of the groups, practice rounds included), so I like courses with par 5s that I can reach, or get close enough with two straightforward shots and have an up and down for birdie. At Pebble, hole 6 was the only somewhat reachable par 5, and yet, you can’t see where the tiny green is over the famous giant cliff, or really where to aim. Other than that hole, the others aren’t reachable and you won’t have any version of a gimme birdie.

Didn’t play short

The course is listed just at around 7,000 yards, but it sure doesn’t play that short. First reason was because of how many forced irons off the tee there are. Holes 1, 4, 8, 15, 16 you’re laying back off the tee. Secondly, the par 3s aren’t particularly long. 17 was the only one listed over 200 yards, and with the 115 yard 7th, those were some of the shortest groups of par 3s you’ll find on any course. Both reminders that listed yardage doesn’t always match how long the course feels.

Hit Driver on 3

Notice how I didn’t list hole 3 as an iron off the tee, which is because you need to hit driver. The bunkers straight away are positions where it’s tough to make sure the ball stays between, whereas there’s tons of open room to the left slightly hidden by a group of trees just off and to the left of the tee. The other part is how the green is angled to the front left, so missing to the left is absolutely the best spot. Even if you’re in the fairway, you can’t aim at the right pin over the bunker. Missing left in the rough is fine, hitting in the bunker is fine, and missing to the right where you’re in the fairway is also fine.

This comes up every AT&T, and will again at the US Open next year, so watch what the players do and what the announcers say. And for the US Open, I’ll be able to gather the shot dispersion data and do some analysis.

Spyglass

Bigger greens, but lots only have a few places to put a pin

Check out the yardage book picture of #8 green. Green is decently sized, but there’s pretty much nowhere to put the pin other than back left or back right. We found that a lot at Spyglass.

Even the normal yardage book shows how big of a falloff the green has

Long rough, some wispy, some thick

Read the bold sentence above and that’s pretty much what I wanted to say. The rough was decently long at both courses, but it felt a little more in play here at Spyglass.

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Answering Twitter Polls — How much can course setup change scoring averages?

Asking questions using Twitter’s polls is a fun time to get people to think and talk about their opinions. Instead of only replying on the twitter threads, it’s easier to write here than be restricted by the 280 characters. These first three polls were all asking the question as to how much the course setup can change scoring – pin positions, the penalty of the rough and the speed of the greens.

How much of a difference do hole locations make?

Pins in any high level event are incredibly tucked, which leads the question, how much of a difference does that make?

Comically far back. And not the best picture. I should have shown all of the green so you can see how it’s even further back than what it looks like here.

At Firestone last week, there were plenty of examples of players missing short sided, causing difficult up and downs. There were also plenty of times where they stuffed it (on? to? at?) a pin, where the ball ended up between the edge of the green and the hole. Anecdotal evidence is never an accepted way to prove questions involving numbers.

If someone could give me the ShotLink data, that I could match up with pin sheets, we could get a sense of scoring averages depending on how close to the edge of the green the pin is. Yet apparently to get the data, I’d need to submit this giant form with tons of information, including my address, and the “institution” I’m a part of. Unfortunately, golf writing is not part of a university.

I voted for 2-3 strokes. Pin position makes a difference, there’s no denying that, but I can’t see too much other than a couple strokes a round.

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The Only Thing That Matters in Putting Setup: Forearm and Putter Shaft Alignment

As the title says, I’ve always thought that only one important part of a putting setup is that:

The back forearm needs to align with the putter shaft.

The big reason I figured now would be a good time to write about putting setup is Tiger’s change of putters, where he moved from the same old blade putter to a mallet.

This is a newsworthy change since he’s been with the Scotty Cameron putter forever, but more importantly, I noticed while watching him the second round at the Quicken Loans National, is that his putting stance changed as well.

See the difference?

The argument is that having the arm aligned takes wrist movement completely out of the equation. If you’re looking to feel what I’m saying, take a putter, bend those wrists to create a giant angle between the forearm and putter shaft, and try to keep the putter head stable. You can’t. The less movement the better. Another thing to think about is why people switched to anchored putters. One long shaft takes wrists out of the equation, similar to the affect forearm alignment does.

I’ll also say that the majority of the people reading this already have the forearm shaft alignment, because it’s the natural, athletic way to handle a putter.

If people can come up with a reason that not having the forearm shaft aligned is better, let me know. I want to see what you can come up with to disagree.

Remember though, setup isn’t the most important part of putting. Attitude is. I’ve written before about how the best mentality over a putt is to expect the putt to go in, and be surprised if it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter your setup, but if you don’t think the ball is going in the hole, you’re toast and will never be a great putter.

Picture time!

One thing to remember here is that camera angles sometimes make it difficult to know fore sure what the arm alignment is for the players. Google image searching only gets so far, but hopefully people agree with what these pictures show.

I’ll start with Jack Nicklaus, who, as you know, has quite the odd overall setup, but that back right forearm goes right up where his putter shaft is aligned. It was hard to find a picture of him exactly from behind, but here’s one of him right before making the winning putt at the British in 1970 at St. Andrews and launching that putter in the air with two hands.

Brad Faxon was another initial thought as he’s considered the best putter these days, and has credit for being the putting guru. Searching for his setup brought me to this picture in a forum, which includes Aaron Baddeley, who is considered the world’s best putter by this random British golf blog.

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Pinehurst #2 Review — Don’t miss a green on the wrong side

Pinehurst #2. What to say, what to say. It’s been so tough to figure out what I wanted to say about #2 that I haven’t written this review until over 3 months after the Four Ball. And it’s even so tough now that I’ve been sitting here a while without knowing how to start.

TL;DR

After writing the post, I have a summary to share. Pinehurst #2 is somewhat of a bland course in terms of hole distinction and differences in important shots. But it is impressive in difficulty in that basically every bad shot, especially approaches, is penalized. This makes it an ideal home course if you’re trying to compete since every shot requires perfection, and every other course you’ll play will seem easier.

The Beginning

I guess the first thing to say is that my dad and I played #2 back in the day and were featured in the Pinehurst newspaper the next day. Don’t believe me? My mom found it can snagged picture of it before the Four Ball. This was from almost 10 years ago now, and holy crap were clothes baggy back then. Oof.

Holy baggy rain pants. It was pouring, pouring rain so much then that barely anyone went out and played. We were unsure if we’d do that ourselves, but not like you can reject playing #2 when down there. I actually remember when this picture took place. We walking up to the second green and a car stopped on the road that cuts between the 2nd green and 3rd tee and a dude with a camera stepped out. We walked up to the green, said he’s from the local newspaper and wanted a picture of us on the green to prove that people were playing the course despite the crazy daylong downpour. Fun times.

Besides the second green, I remember a few other parts of the course — 16 because of the pond, 17 because of the semi valley from the tee to the green that was just all that bermuda style rough, and 18 approach shot because I stuffed this hybrid to a foot or so and had a tap in birdie.

When playing earlier this spring, the course was a 1000% percent different. Somewhat because I bogeyed 18 instead of birdieing it, but also because of the unbelievably perfect weather, spring warmness, no clouds, no sogginess, and different type of missed fairway penalty.

With the intro over, it’s time for me to go through all the thoughts I have on the course.

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