Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dormant Bermuda, Dean Beamen and You

Back when I was going to The Coastal Carolina University, I was taking a course called "Agronomy" which basically studies turf as part of the cirriculum for Pro Golf Management students. The professor had worked for the USGA for years and was one of the foremost experts on turf and its relation to golf.

One day the professor mentioned that in a meeting where they were asking what is the best turf to hit from, he said that former PGA commissioner Dean Beamen stood up and said "dormant bermuda." Beamen reasoned that dormant bermuda was great to hit off because he was a short hitter and he could get a lot more distance out of the dormant bermuda.

Today I played (shot +7, 78) and my ole man was in the group ahead of me and he complained about the dormant bermuda. In his mind, it's tougher to play off of dormant bermuda because since he's played most of his life up in Northern New York where the bluegrass has the ball sitting up, he's not used to the ball not sitting up in the fairway.

I contend that Beamen has it right. In fact we have it BETTER, IMO, at this moment as the rain has really softened up the fairways. Unfortunately, most high handicappers have no idea as to what happens at impact when the club is swung properly.

Not only does the dormant bermuda tend to get more roll out of the driver. But it also doesn't allow the clubhead to get snarled up which usually produces a closed clubface like it does up north when the fairways get a little hairy.

But what my ole man and many others do not understand is that you're supposed to hit the ball FIRST and impact THEN take a divot. Thus, you're hitting the ball on a downward, descending blow and after the clubface hits the ball, the clubface CONTINUES to go DOWNWARD. And the deepest part of the divot, usually the end of the divot, should be about 4 inches in front of where the ball used to be. And with the ground soft, we don't have to worry about pounding our hands and wrists into a hardpan surface.

Here's a SwingVision video of KJ Choi. Watch the very end and you will see how his club works through impact...hitting the ball FIRST and THEN taking a divot.

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