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Q What would Ben Ho­gan have to say about range find­ers?

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents -

AHo­gan was a man who al­ways sought an edge, from drink­ing gin­ger ale for the way its di­uretic prop­er­ties made his fin­gers feel thin and sup­ple to us­ing the first it­er­a­tion of hand warm­ers in cold weather. He was a purist but not a techno­phobe. Some­thing tells us the first time he flew an iron 159 yards into a front bunker and learned that there was a de­vice that could have re­vealed the cor­rect dis­tance was 162 yards, he would have em­ployed one to what­ever ex­tent the Rules of Golf al­lowed. (And with each scop­ing, he’d grudg­ingly opine the world was go­ing to hell.) How are group­ings de­cided for the first day of a PGA Tour event? For tee-time pur­poses, the PGA Tour sorts play­ers into three classes.The first con­sists of ma­jor cham­pi­ons, re­cent tour­na­ment win­ners and play­ers with an ac­com­plished body of work.They get the bet­ter times, mean­ing not crazy early or late, and are likely to ap­pear on TV Thurs­day or Fri­day.The se­cond cat­e­gory com­prises ac­tive and suc­cess­ful per­form­ers, fully ex­empt play­ers who are solidly in­side the top 125.The fi­nal group is for Mon­day qual­i­fiers, play­ers with lim­ited play­ing sta­tus and those play­ing on spon­sor ex­emp­tions.Tour­na­ment hosts do have a mea­sure of au­ton­omy.A lo­cal hero play­ing on a spon­sor ex­emp­tion can mag­i­cally draw a more favourable time within his cat­e­gory, so area fans don’t have to start load­ing the car at 5am. Does there come a point when a new ball starts to un­der­per­form? Am I crazy to use a ball un­til I lose it? These things are ex­pen­sive! Play it ’till you lose it, says Fred­er­ick Wad­dell, se­nior man­ager of golf-ball prod­uct man­age­ment atTitleist.As long as the ball looks good to your eye, it’s ready for the next tee, he says.You’re not go­ing to wear the ball out by play­ing it round af­ter round, and you won’t de­crease its ball speed or lower its spin rate.That said, if it hits some­thing like a tree or cart­path, give it a close look. Shear or scuff marks about the size of a coin or greater will likely af­fect the dim­ples and com­pro­mise its aero­dy­nam­ics. Any­time I have a lie in which the ball is above my feet, I hit the shot per­fectly. Please tell me why, and how can I get this for ev­ery shot? When the ball is above your feet, you nat­u­rally swing more around your body. This gets the shoul­ders turn­ing and helps you square the club­face be­cause the fore­arms roll over com­ing through. From a reg­u­lar lie, many golfers feel like they have to lift the club to make a back­swing. Not so.A good swing has the same around-the-body shape, just with the spine tilted to­wards the ground.To get the good vibes you feel on side­hill lies, make a few prac­tice swings at waist height. Feel your body turn and your arms roll over. Try to re­peat those feel­ings on the shot. When is the best time for a club­fit­ting? No time like the present. Us­ing clubs that you’ve been prop­erly fit for al­lows you to stand cor­rectly at ad­dress.This pro­motes a bet­ter swing plane and elim­i­nates ex­cess face ro­ta­tion at im­pact. Fi­nally, know­ing your club­head and ball speed helps you choose the right set makeup for bet­ter loft-gap­ping and dis­tance con­trol. It’s all good, so why wait?

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