Category Archives: Helpful Hints

Top 10 equipment stories of the 2020-21 PGA TOUR season

The TOUR Championship has wrapped, concluding the 2020-2021 PGA TOUR season. Patrick Cantlay hoisted the FedExCup trophy thanks in no small part to a putter switch he made late in the season.

We may be slightly biased here at the Equipment Report, but we think it’s the perfect time to look back on some of the most significant PGA TOUR equipment stories of the year — and we had some good ones!

Harris’ HoHum

In January, Harris English won the Sentry Tournament of Champions with the same putter — a Ping Scottsdale HoHum — he used for his 2013 Mayakoba Golf Classic victory. Unique-looking putter, and a unique equipment tale here as we got the story from Ping TOUR Rep Tony Serrano about what English loves about his HoHum.

Hideki’s Scotty switch

Eternally in pursuit of the perfect putter, Hideki Matsuyama made a switch two weeks prior to the Masters, putting a 2012 Scotty Cameron Newport 2 Tour Prototype in the bag that was outfitted with a different grip than his Cameron Timeless.

Rory returns to old Protos

Rory McIlroy made a number of equipment changes in 2021. Most significant among the switches, certainly, was his return to his 2017 TaylorMade Rors Prototype irons prior to winning the Wells Fargo Championship.

Phil’s PGA Championship-winning driver

En route to his incredible PGA Championship victory, Phil Mickelson wielded a Callaway Epic Speed driver with a 47.9-inch shaft (right up against the USGA limit of 48 inches). We got the inside story of Phil’s build.

Morikawa finds a putter that performs

Struggling with alignment, Collin Morikawa built himself a custom TaylorMade TP Juno putter using the same MyTP custom putter builder that’s available to the public. While his gamer was ultimately slightly different, it was a wild “they’re just like us” tale.

Rahm’s U.S. Open-winning wand

Jon Rahm switched to an Odyssey Rossie S the tournament prior to his epic U.S. Open triumph. We got the full story of what happened at the Ely Callaway Performance Center in Carlsbad and why Rahmbo made the move away from the 2-Ball Ten putter he had been using.

Rory calls a Cameron into Olympic duty

Full-bag TaylorMade staffer captured the full attention of the golf equipment world when he arrived in Tokyo not with his TaylorMade Spider putter but with a Scotty Cameron 009M flatstick. We went in search of the story, and even though Rory has now made a return to the TaylorMade mallet, it was a fun feature to fill out.

Phil takes the armlock plunge

Always willing to experiment with his equipment, Phil Mickelson tried his hand (and arm) at armlock putting. Additionally, he used a prototype putter that featured an interesting backstory. And while the experiment is over, the story is well worth digging back into.

JT takes a teen’s advice

A question from a 15-year-old junior golfer prompted Justin Thomas to reconsider benching the Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5 with which he won 14 of his 15 PGA TOUR titles.

Little changes, big playoff payoff for Cantlay

Most recently on the “significant equipment storylines” front, Patrick Cantlay switched to a Scotty Cameron X 5 putter with a sightline (from an alignment aid-free version) and had the best performance in strokes gained: putting history. He then rode the red-hot putter to a FedExCup victory at East Lake. Sometimes the smaller adjustments pay the biggest dividends!

I. B. Nobody’s New Book “From the Inside Out” is a Simple and Enjoyably Learnable Process to Understanding and Mastering the Great Game of Golf

Santa Barbara, CA,–I. B. Nobody, a Northern California native who was taught to play golf by Lucious Bateman, an African American golf instructor, who taught 7 individuals that played the tour from the mid 1950’s to the early 1970’s, has completed his most recent book “From the Inside Out”: a delightful and engaging book that serves as a veritable bible of tips and tricks that will improve and manage anyone’s golf game. After Bateman’s death in 1972, the author went about sourcing the best players in the Northern California region for instruction. He says, “After reading and highlighting quotes from the masters’ books – Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer – and the meticulous notes that were kept from those lessons plus the real-life experiences from my days caddying, a decision was made to interweave that information into a concise, simple process to understanding the game of golf.” Published by Fulton Books, I. B. Nobody’s book is an instructional manual covering the fundamentals of the golf swing, the short game, putting, and routine development. The mental game; right brain versus left-brain thinking, creating a feeling storehouse, concentration in its purest form, temperament and a historical look at the greats and not so greats of the game – circa 1920 to the Tiger Woods era. Included are the individuals who influenced the author’s development as a golfer, a caddie’s view from inside the ropes, and a look at the world of golf from the inside out. Readers who wish to experience this informative and educational work can purchase “From the Inside Out” at bookstores everywhere, or online at the Apple iTunes store, Amazon, Google Play or Barnes and Noble. www.nobodyib.com

USGA Announces Exemption Categories for 2020 U.S. Women’s Amateur, U.S. Amateur Championships

by USGA

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J.  – The USGA recently announced the exemption categories for the 120th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, set to take place Aug. 3-9 at Woodmont Country Club, in Rockville, Md., and the 120th U.S. Amateur, which will be held Aug. 10-16 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, in Bandon, Ore. As previously announced, the fields for both championships will be comprised entirely of exempt players due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Making the decision to forgo qualifying for our championships this year was extremely difficult, but we’re glad to be able to continue the legacy of these competitions and provide the best amateur players in the world the opportunity to compete for a USGA title,” said John Bodenhamer, senior managing director, Championships. “We aimed to create fields that most closely resemble those for a typical Amateur and Women’s Amateur, and are confident we will crown two worthy champions in August.”

Exemption categories for both championships are highlighted by expanded use of the World Amateur Golf Ranking® and Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking®, as well as finishes in recent USGA championships. A full list of U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur exemption categories can be found on usga.org. All exempt players must file an entry. Entries open Friday, June 26 and close Wednesday, July 8 at 5 p.m. EDT.

In order to align with health and safety guidelines, the USGA also announced a reduction in field size for both championships. The U.S. Women’s Amateur, typically played with 156 golfers, will be limited to a field size of 132. The U.S. Amateur, traditionally held with 312 competitors, will be played with 264. More information regarding testing protocols, travel guidance and other logistics will be made available when entries open on June 26.

“We are extremely grateful to state and local government officials in both Maryland and Oregon for their cooperation and partnership in working through logistics for these championships,” said Bodenhamer. “We are all facing new parameters brought on by current realities and will continue to partner with all parties as we navigate conducting these amateur championships under new guidelines.”

Remaining spots in the championship field will be filled using the World Amateur Golf Ranking. Once the field is set, the USGA will compile an alternate list for each championship based on WAGR®. All non-exempt players who wish to be considered for the remaining spots or alternate status must complete a preliminary application at champs.usga.org prior to the close of entries on July 8. More information on the application process can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

In addition, the USGA shared that entries for the 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship (April 24-28 at Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Texas) and 2021 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship (May 22-26 at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.) will open the week of Aug. 17. More information about the qualifying process will be shared at a later date.

No Club Necessary: Improve Your Impact & Feel with Henry Fall

by PGA

You can improve your game from the comfort of your home without ever taking your clubs out of the bag thanks to a couple tips sent to us by Henry Fall.
Fall, an Assistant Professional at Martindale Country Club in Auburn, Maine, and the head golf coach at Bates College, takes you through a couple simple motions to work on your impact position & feel in the video below.
Fall is a must follow on Instagram if you’re looking for fun & creative ways to improve your game. Check out some of his drills below & be sure to give him a follow.

PGA Pro Thor Parrish’s Tips for Staying Fit at Home

Your normal workout routines may be in flux, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to keep yourself in shape so you’re ready to play your best when you hit the course.

Coach Thor Parrish from Quail Creek Country Club in Naples, Florida, says it is important for golfers to focus on four key areas with each of their workouts. 1. Warm Up 2. Golf Specific exercises 3. Workout of the day (General Fitness) 4. Stretch

Parrish runs the ‘Play for Life’ program, which focuses on golfers improving their golf game and fitness so they can play the game longer and better.

For more workouts from Coach Parrish, you can follow him on Instagram.

 

WEATHERMAN NAMED OFFICIAL UMBRELLA PROVIDER AT 2019 SOLHEIM CUP

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Aug. 28, 2019 – The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) announced today that Weatherman has been appointed as the Official Umbrella Provider for Team USA and Team Europe at this year’s Solheim Cup.

The 16th edition of the biennial match-play team competition will be played from Sept. 13-15 on the world-famous PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland. Team USA will bid to win the trophy for a third successive time under the captaincy of Juli Inkster.

Weatherman has also renewed its partnership with the LPGA, having initially been named as the Official Umbrella of the LPGA in April 2018. The LPGA co-branded Weatherman golf umbrella will continue to have a presence throughout the LPGA Tour season – utilized by select LPGA players, rules officials and staff during weather delays and in scorching heat. The umbrella is available for purchase here, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the LPGA Foundation.

“We look forward to our continued partnership with Weatherman and having Team USA rely on them at The Solheim Cup,” said Chief Sales Officer Kelly Hyne. “Their dual purpose for rain and sun, combined with other unique features, makes them a valuable Partner.”

Weatherman’s features assist how golfers of all skill levels approach weather conditions on the course. Industrial-strength fiberglass prevents breaking and inverting, and vented canopies withstand winds up to 55 mph. Teflon-coated fabric keeps golfers dry and the UPF 50+ barrier protects them from the sun. A large mesh pocket on the inside of the canopy offers a dry storage compartment for gloves and a scorecard, while a silicone-coated, non-slip rib is the perfect place to hang a towel.

The Weatherman mobile app delivers weather alerts, provides comprehensive weather forecasts for multiple, customizable locations and allows players to locate misplaced umbrellas via Droplet, a Bluetooth tracker, that is included in every package.

“We’re thrilled to be extending our partnership with The Solheim Cup and the LPGA,” said Tyler Kupper, Chief Revenue Officer and Partner at Weatherman. “It’s an honor to arm the world’s most elite women golfers with our umbrellas and ensure they’re protected from all-weather elements on the golf course.”

The 16th Solheim Cup between the United States and Europe will showcase 24 of the best players in the women’s game as Team USA aims to make it three wins in a row. Scotland will host the competition for the first time since Loch Lomond Golf Club was the venue in 2000.

EISWERTH DEFENDS TITLE AT PINEHURST NO. 8 AND MORE FROM T&CP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

In her second T&CP National Championship appearance, Stephanie Connelly Eiswerth (Fleming Island, Fla.) earned her second T&CP title, shooting a final-round 71 to finish +5. Eiswerth had 11 straight pars until No. 12, when she made her first of two birdies of the day to secure the victory.

“It was great. I played really, really well today. My ball-striking is the best I have had it ever probably,” said Eiswerth. “I gave myself a lot of chances today. Yesterday I didn’t really make any putts.”

Eiswerth said she would be celebrating on the road back to Jacksonville with her caddie and husband, Matt. “I promised him ice cream,” she joked, “so that will probably be our first stop.”

Eiswerth, an assistant women’s golf coach at the University of North Florida, said she is going home and straight back to work. But she is already excited to make another appearance at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. The top eight finishers in the Championship division earn exemptions into the 2020 major, to be held June 23-28 at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pa.

“Any time you get to play in a major is just amazing. It’s such a good experience and it’s a lot of fun, and just like here [at Pinehurst] it’s going to be a challenge so that’s always exciting,” said Eiswerth. “It’s hard but it’s a lot of fun, and that’s why we play.”

Jordan Lintz (Milford, Conn.) and Seul-Ki Park (Winchester, Mass.) tied for second, finishing four strokes behind Eiswerth at +9. Ellen Ceresko (Naples, Fla.) finished in solo fourth at +10.

TICKETS PUNCHED TO ARONIMINK

Along with Eiswerth, Lintz, Park and Ceresko, the rest of the Championship division’s top eight have earned their spots in the 2020 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Aronimink Golf Club: Joanna Coe (Lutherville Timonium, Md.), Jennifer Borocz (Ponte Vedra, Fla.), Alison Curdt (Reseda, Calif.) and Samantha Morrell (West Warwick, R.I.).

Eiswerth, Park, Coe and Curdt will make their second consecutive appearances at the major championship. Curdt almost was forced into a playoff for the final spot, but as the final group signed their scorecards, she was relieved.

“It’s always very nerve-wracking,” said Curdt. “Today I thought I was coasting until 16, and then had a double on 16. Finished strong on 17 and 18 and just waited anxiously to see how all the other players faired. So of course super excited and just thrilled to get back and try again.”

HIRST WINS THIRD CONSECUTIVE TITLE

In front of a roaring gallery of family, friends and students, Pinehurst native Charlaine Hirst battled to the top of the Challenge division and won at +14, five strokes ahead of her competition.

“It’s unbelievable. I just went out there today to just play my game that I’ve played for two days,” said Hirst, who teaches at the nearby Country Club of Whispering Pines. “I drove the ball very well today and kept myself in play, just missed some putts and made some great putts. It’s very exciting.”

The second-round leaders Jaqueline Madison (Stilwell, Kan.) and Annie Rodriguez (Naples, Fla.) tied for second at +19. Liz Cooper (Woodbridge, Va.) and Joellyn Crooks (Fuquay Varina, N.C.), who recorded an ace on No. 5, tied for fourth at +21.

DIBOS COMES OUT ON TOP

Alicia Dibos (Greenwich, Conn.) recorded a final-round to 68 to secure the Senior division win at +1. Dibos shot five birdies and one bogey to edge out a tough Senior field and was extremely excited about her victory.

“I’m having goosebumps. I played so well the whole week but today the putts were going in,” said Dibos. I’m so happy because I don’t think I’ve ever putted like this in my life, and they were going in, so I could have shot a little bit lower. But very happy.”

Dibos said she was proud to compete in the tournament and see some familiar faces at Pinehurst No. 8. “The national championship is a very prestigious event for all of us that are now teaching,” said Dibos. “I drove from New York to support the event and I’m so glad to see my friends.”

Four players tied for second at +3: 2018 champion Barbara Moxness (Edina, Minn.), Jamie Fischer (Lake Forest, Ill.) Laurie Rinker (Stuart, Fla.) and Laura Shanahan Rowe (Hampton, N.H.). The top eight finishers and ties in the Senior division qualify for the 2019 Senior LPGA Championship at the French Lick Resort as well as any competitors over age 45 who finish in the top 10 in the Championship division.

NOTABLE QUOTES

Stephanie Connelly Eiswerth (1, +5) on playing a major close to home:

“I’m really excited, especially growing up not too far, about an hour and a half away near the Baltimore area, so hopefully some family and friends back home can come and see me. I’ve never been to Aronimink, but I’ve heard wonderful things”

Alison Curdt (T7, +12) on the relief after realizing there would be no playoff:

Huge relief. That headache instantly disappeared. Donna White so graciously was going to caddie for me in the playoff and just her having the bib on created some good energy and some good luck. Sent a few text messages to my family because everyone back home was waiting things out.”

Charlaine Hirst (1, +14) on winning in front of the biggest gallery:

“I feed off of everything. I’ve got so many friends out there, people that I’ve worked with and it’s just so exciting. It’s overwhelming.”

SANDRA GAL OUT FOR 2019 SEASON WITH DORMANT LYME DISEASE

One of the LPGA’s most popular players, Sandra Gal, is out for the year due to being diagnosed with dormant Lyme disease.

Gal told LPGA.com, “I felt like I wasn’t myself. I would come to a tournament, practice, I would have intentions of what I would want to do on the golf course, but I wasn’t able to execute it.”

Per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Typical symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, and fatigue.” The disease can remain dormant in individuals for years before symptoms surface.

It’s a battle that the 2008 rookie has been waging since a six-week stretch of play in 2018, from the U.S. Women’s Open in May through the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic at the beginning of July.

“I felt like I was running high on adrenaline, then crashed,” Gal said of that period. “I noticed how tired I was. I still played ok a little bit in the summer, but going into Asia I just was not at my best.”

An off season of rest helped Gal hit the reset button heading into 2019. In spite of her best efforts to treat her symptoms, they didn’t stay away. Her fatigue returned in San Francisco after playing in back to back weeks. She withdrew from the Mediheal Championship after the first round.

Gal pushed through her fatigue again, playing nine out of ten weeks from the Pure Silk Championship in May through the AIG Women’s British Open in August of this year. While she had her best finish of the season during that stretch, a T11 at the Shoprite LPGA Classic presented by Acer, she missed six cuts as well.

“When you’re not fully there physically, it affects your mental game, your focus,” she said. “I feel like my game has been good, I would see it, and then all of a sudden it would just disappear again. It was really frustrating.”

Gal is not the only professional golfer to struggle with Lyme disease. Six-time PGA Tour winner and major champion Jimmy Walker was diagnosed with Lyme in April of 2017 and took five months off after defending his PGA Championship title.

“Basically feels like you got the flu,” Walker said at the time. “No strength. Just got nothing. And it comes and goes in waves. You never know when it’s going to pop up.”

Gal’s first missed event due to the medical leave was the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.

In reflecting on the past year battling the disease, Gal has maintained that she believes that all things happen for a reason.

“I think for many years, results have defined me as a person,” she said. “They haven’t this year. Even though I haven’t played well, I don’t think of myself any less and I’m so grateful for that. Our identity is so tied with our results. I was really able to let go of that and that’s been amazing.”

That perspective is allowing her to take care of herself going forward. In her downtime this fall, Gal plans to visit her friends and host her two charity events.

Gal does not believe the disease will affect her 2020 schedule.

“I know that long term I’m going to be fine,” she said. “I’m looking forward to coming back towards the beginning of the year and playing a full schedule.”

How Finau helped save volunteer’s life

Tony Finau heard Bill Patterson before he ever saw him.

“And it’s something that I don’t want to ever hopefully hear again,” Finau recalls, his voice suddenly turning solemn. “An older gentleman yelling for his life. That’s what it sounded like.”

Patterson was crumpled under a golf cart, screaming as he was dragged across the range at TPC Scottsdale. Finau, who was the last player on the range after the Wednesday pro-am at the 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open, had just finished hitting balls when he heard the frantic cries for help.

“You could see the skid marks all the way, and he was underneath the cart the whole time,” Finau says.

Finau, his uncle and his coach, Boyd Summerhays, sprinted toward Patterson and lifted the golf cart off him. A nearby police officer radioed for help, and the EMTs arrived within minutes. Patterson was taken to a trauma center and later moved to the Barrow Neurological Center for more specialized care.

The diagnosis? Well, Patterson had two broken vertebrae, 12 broken ribs, two shoulder lacerations and significant cuts on his arm. Doctors ended up breaking two more ribs in order to do the spinal fusion surgery where two 12-inch titanium rods with 16 screws were inserted in his back.

Patterson, who was in what is called a neck-to-waist “turtle” body cast for two months – “It was a joy the day I got rid of that thing, I’ll tell you,” he says — didn’t find out it was Finau who helped lift the golf cart off his battered body until weeks later when he was in rehab. Now, he describes himself as the pro’s No. 1 fan.

The accident happened as Patterson, who has worked part-time at TPC Scottsdale for 13 years and was overseeing the driving range during the tournament, collected the last of the remaining magnetic A-frame boards used to identify the pros. He put two in his golf cart and had just picked up a third as he walked around the front of the vehicle to get in the driver’s side.

“The third A-frame must have hit the golf cart,” Patterson recalls. “And one of those A-frames fell on the gas pedal and I was directly in front of it, so it ran me over and then pulled me underneath and then drug me about 50 feet.

“I was awake through the entire thing, but I wasn’t sure what had just happened. All I know as I’m looking up, I see what I think is the undercarriage of a golf cart and I’m screaming.

“I’m just so lucky and so fortunate that it didn’t land one of the wheels on my throat or on my head.”

And that Finau and company were there.

“That was a blessing,” Finau says. “… I finished, and we were just for some odd reasons, just talking in the back of the range for five, 10 minutes.

“If we would’ve left right away when I was done with my range session, I think a lot of further damage could have been done, but I was happy just to kind of be there and, and be able to rush over to him and take that cart off in.”

In the weeks after the accident, Finau quietly checked with TOUR officials and TPC staff to see how Patterson was doing. Patterson, in turn, tried to get in touch with the PGA TOUR veteran to say thank you, as well, but the email address he was given didn’t work.

Patterson, who had gone back to as a starter at TPC Scottsdale last November, finally had an opportunity to talk with Finau earlier this year at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Patterson was back at his usual spot on the driving range. Finau had chipped and putted and was making his way over to hit some balls.

“Once I found out he was there, I was on my way over to see him and he was getting ready to walk over to the long range,” Patterson recalls. “We shook and embraced. And I said, Tony, I can’t tell you how much, it means to me for what you did for me.

“And he says, well, I’m just so glad to see you and see that everything has been the way it turned out for you as compared to the way it could’ve been.”

After months of rehabilitation for his back and his shoulder, Patterson was able to start playing golf again. The first time he teed it up, he shot 42 on the front nine of the Champions Course at TPC Scottsdale.

“I shot light’s out. I couldn’t believe it,” Patterson recalls with a broad smile. “I was so methodical cause I was so afraid to bend or twist or pull and I shot a great nine hole round the golf and I was just thrilled. I had no pain.

“So, I think there was a lot to be said for that slow and deliberate. Don’t try to kill the ball as they say.”

Now that he’s able to play 18 holes again, Patterson admits some of his “old habits” have crept back into his game. But he’s happy just to be able to be playing again and beyond grateful to the TOUR pro who helped make it possible.

USGA Launches U.S. Women’s Open App powered by Cisco

(LIBERTY CORNER, N.J.- May 15, 2019) – The United States Golf Association (USGA)  launched the official U.S. Women’s Open app, powered by Cisco, to provide fans with an immersive mobile experience for the 74th Championship at Country Club of Charleston, from May 30 – June 2.

Available for both iOS and Android devices, the U.S. Women’s Open app is the first stand-alone mobile platform for a women’s golf major. Sports enthusiasts around the world can access real-time scores, live streaming video, stats, news and highlights of their favorite players via the event app.

To download and explore the app, please click here.

“At the U.S. Women’s Open, fan experience continues to be one of our primary initiatives and we are excited to launch a comprehensive mobile app to offer our fans instant access to information and unique experiences at the course and off,” says Navin Singh, USGA chief commercial officer. “In partnership with Cisco, the U.S. Women’s Open app is set to transform how we allow fans to engage with the world’s premier women’s golf championship.”

For fans on site in Charleston, the app also features on-site player tracking, which allows spectators to locate their favorite competitors on the course and practice areas, as well as an on-course map that highlights amenities and fan activations.  Fans will never miss a moment of action via app notifications that will alert fans to player autograph signings, special events and promotions, and more. As the Official Technology Partner of the USGA and its championships, Cisco will provide the Wi-Fi network on-site and deliver secure, enhanced connectivity in fan areas and grandstands, so spectators can engage and share throughout the event.

Additional features of the app that will help bring fan offsite a piece of the action include live streaming video coverage, scorecard highlights, news, photos, videos and social media updates from the Country Club of Charleston.

Limited Championship and Palmetto Pavilion tickets are still available at uswomensopen.com/tickets.

For additional 2019 Women’s Open information, visit uswomensopen.com.