In cool, wet conditions, Bethpage Black will play tough, long for PGA Championship

When it was announced that the PGA Championship was moving from August to May, some pundits and fans balked at the idea of holding a major championship in the Northeast or upper Midwest because of days like Monday at Bethpage State Park.

After about an inch of rain fell on the Black Course on Sunday, scattered showers and chilly temperatures persisted as a Nor’easter developed off the coast of southern New England, bringing showers and a chilly eastern wind that kept temperatures in the high 40s.

It could have been worse: the same system is expected to bring several inches of snow to higher elevations of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine on Monday.

Bethpage Black’s scorecard yardage is 7,459 yards, but in conditions like Monday’s, it played even longer.

“Hole seven is playing as a par 4 and we played from where the 520 tee is. I hit a really good drive and I still had 255 to 260 yards to the center of the green,” said Billy Horschel, who is currently ranked No. 43 on the Official World Golf Ranking. “And that distance doesn’t even account for the wind and the cold weather, so that shot was probably playing 280 or 290.”

Horschel added that he typically hits his 7-iron 180 yards, but on the second hole on Monday morning, he hit one that only went 150.

The official tournament forecast calls for the rain to subside early Tuesday morning, with clouds and warmer conditions expected on Wednesday. There is a 30 percent chance of rain on Thursday morning, but temperatures are expected to rise into the mid- and high 60s on Saturday and Sunday.

The 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens were contested here on wet golf courses, and it looks like the first PGA Championship that Bethpage Black will host is also going to be played on a soft, long course.

SOURCE: USAtoday

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Keep The Lead Hip Firm For A Solid Swing
For More Power, Avoid Sliding Toward Target

One of the most prevalent issues that I see with my students is sliding the left, or lead hip (right-handed golfer) too far toward the target in the downswing.

Most of us, when we first started playing the game, were told to hit against a firm left side. When the left hip moves well past the left foot, there isn’t a whole lot of firmness. And, there isn’t a whole lot of rotation. And without rotation, power is dramatically reduced.

Here is an analogy that might help put you back on track:

Maybe you have a fenced-in back yard with a gate. If you don’t, humor me and just pretend that you do. If the post that the gate is attached to is straight up and down, the gate opens and closes perfectly. If the post is tilted, good luck with the gate. Same with your golf swing. At impact, if the left hip is over the left knee and left ankle, forming a straight vertical line, your right hip will rotate perfectly just like the gate. If the left hip slides past the left foot, rotation is diminished along with power and accuracy.

Here is a drill to help you get the hang of it:

Stand in a doorway with the outside of your left foot touching the door jam. Cross your arms across your chest. Make a backswing turn and then a through swing turn. During the latter allow your left hip to move laterally just enough to make contact with the jam. That amount will put you in a vertical left leg position, the perfect place for maximum lead hip rotation. And hip rotation translates to more power, which we all want.

John Marshall is a two-time American Long Drivers Association super senior national champion and five-time RE/MAX World Long Drive finalist

SOURCE:  golftipsmag

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While golf participation is stable, Tiger effect gives industry a boost

As golf industry leaders gathered in the nation’s capital Wednesday, there were likely self-congratulatory messages, obligatory selfies and a celebration by those who see further proof that they continue to grow the game.

But there should also be a moment of thanks to the man who has the biggest impact on the game worldwide just by showing up and, even more significantly, by winning the most coveted major championship in golf.

Tiger Woods wasn’t in Washington for National Golf Day, but there was plenty of talk about the impact his fifth Masters victory has on the industry. According to the latest Golf Industry Report released by the National Golf Foundation, 74 million people watched or read about golf without playing in 2018, an increase of about 12 percent year over year. Part of the growth is “attributable to Woods,” the NGF says.

“When you go beyond the hard-core golf enthusiast and you’re trying to capture the casual masses, it is Tiger. It is only Tiger,” says Patrick Rishe, director of the Sports Business Program at Washington University in St. Louis, when asked about the impact of Woods’ latest win at Augusta National.

It’s no secret that golf faces tough challenges – as demonstrated in the continued trend of course closures in the U.S. (198.5 18-hole equivalent courses closed last year while 12.5 of the same type of courses opened) and the competition the sport faces in trying to attract busy adults and teens who don’t have free time or the resources to play.

But a Tiger resurgence changes the conversation around the state of the game, sports economists say.

“Even if you’re not a fan of his, you can at least appreciate the moment, if you’re being unbiased. You can appreciate the sense of history, and it adds that cool factor back to the sport when he’s playing as well as he’s playing,” Rishe says.

Even if Woods, 43, doesn’t add to his 15 major championships, the industry benefits just from having him compete on Tour.

“It’s going to be great for golf to potentially ride a second wave of Tiger Woods even if all he’s doing is contending; he doesn’t have to win by 15 shots,” says Todd McFall, an assistant teaching professor in economics at Wake Forest. “As long as he’s contending, it’s going to be really great for golf for as long as it happens.

“If you called me in a year and Tiger Woods won another tournament and contended in three or four, golf’s going to be in a lot better place than it would be otherwise.”

Outside of the Tiger effect, the National Golf Foundation provides a fairly positive outlook for the industry, not surprisingly, reporting that the sport’s participation base remains stable. It says about 24.2 million people played golf on a course in 2018, which was up from 23.8 million the previous year. The NGF counts anyone over age 6 in that participation figure.

The report says another 9.3 million exclusively played an off-course form of the game at facilities such as Topgolf or Drive Shack. The game’s overall participant pool was 33.5 million, up 4 percent over last year.

Steve Mona, executive director of We Are Golf, describes the industry as stable and evolving. “Golf used to mean an 8 a.m. tee time wearing khaki slacks, a golf shirt, a visor on forward and metal spikes, playing with a regular group you’ve been playing with for 10 years,” Mona says.

“But now it can mean 8 p.m. wearing cargo shorts and flip flops, an untucked shirt and a hat on backwards at a Topgolf or a Drive Shack. Just like almost any other form of recreation has evolved, so has golf. What we need to do as an industry, in my judgment, is to be open to the fact that people are going to come into the game in different ways.”

Mona acknowledges that not every person who hit balls at Topgolf will go on to play 18 holes on a course. But he’s optimistic that quite a few Topgolfers will get hooked. “We definitely think that that’s complementary to the on-course experience.”

SOURCE:  Golfweek