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