Thursday, November 29, 2012

USGA and R&A Propose Anchored Stroke Ban

USGA and R&A Propose Anchored Stroke Ban


As expected, the USGA and R&A are proposing to ban the anchored putting stroke starting in 2016. My thinking is that this will be met with little resistance because they only banned the stroke and not the equipment. Had they banned the longer putter, the OEM’s could have joined in a lawsuit and proclaimed that the USGA and R&A have hurt their business that they initially approved and are now banning. But, since they are banning the stroke there is no tangible financial loss by a person or a company and a lawsuit would be less likely.

I do play with a belly putter that I anchor against my stomach. However, I have only recently started using it and I am unafraid to go back to a standard style of putting stroke that I have used since I was 11 years old.

However, I think the proposed ban is a silly overreaction to what is more or less a fad. And once again, the USGA and R&A have listened to popular golfers in the game instead of seeking facts in order to avoid major holes in their arguments. More importantly, they have neglected the amateur golfer AGAIN, the people that drive and fund the game and the respective golf rules associations.

I take no issue with banning a method or a piece of equipment, but there should be a process in place to eradicate situations like this from happening. The long putter has been around for 20 years. The belly putter became popular around 2001 and burned out as a fad shortly after. It was not until Keegan Bradley won with the belly putter and Adam Scott putted better with the long putter that the powers that be got up in arms.

Yes, TWENTY years the long putter was used without any real issue. Nobody was going to a long putter because they wanted to. And Adam Scott’s ‘improved’ putting has netted him 143rd in Putts Gained in 2011 and 148th in 2012. What was Scott’s best year with the putter? 2004, when he ranked 1st in Putts Gained with a standard Scotty Cameron putter.

I have no problem is the R&A and USGA ban a piece of equipment or a technique because it provides an ‘unfair advantage’ that has the golfer relying less on skill. But whether they like it or not, the best thing for golf is for the USGA and R&A to show some evidence to the golfing public behind their reasoning. Otherwise it’s just another irrational dictatorship that leaves the customers jaded.

Just like when the grooves rule came out and how that was supposed to force golfers to focus on finding the fairway more often and make it more difficult on shots around the green. Except that all of those key metrics have never changed. Tour players are still favoring distance over accuracy and can still get up-and-down the same rate as they ever could. And they can still generate spin on the wedges by using higher spin producing shafts.

The main contradiction lies with the banning of the stroke because it provides and advantage and requires ‘less skill’, but this is never mentioned when it comes to the modern day titanium driver. In 1980, the longest driver on Tour was Dan Pohl at 274.3 yards. In 2012, Bubba Watson led the Tour in driving distance of 315.5 yards. That’s a 15% increase in distance! Think about it for a second. I hit my driver about 290 yards on a good strike. If I had a driver that gave me automatically 40-45 yards more distance THAT would be a giant advantage. And not due to my skill either.

Furthermore, the increase in length off the tee has made many excellent golf courses obsolete. These golf courses have no more room to lengthen the course or the lengthening drastically changes the original designer’s intent. It’s also led to what I call ‘Forced Carry Designs’ which are pretty in nature, but lead to slow rounds of golf as golfers find themselves hitting into hazards and having to look for golf balls. And the #1 reason why more people play less golf these days? Not enough time due to the slow play.

The USGA and R&A cannot be taken seriously when they claim that they are interested in protecting the game when they allow the modern driver to still exist. They are more interested in protecting their authority in the game while avoiding legal and financial turmoil. I can actually accept that, but at least be forthcoming about it.

Of course, many golfers would not be frustrated if the USGA and R&A would stop legalizing things like the anchored putting stroke only to change their mind decades later. It is what got them into trouble with PING in the 80’s, the reason why they could never attempt to ban the titanium driver, the reason why their attempts to curb the distance golf balls travel became a joke, the reason why they had to change the grooves rule in order to benefit the OEM’s while screwing over the golfers and why we are where we are today.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New GolfWRX Column - Pettersson and the Long Driver

One of the interesting cases of 2012 was Carl Pettersson. Pettersson switched from a standard-length driver of about 45 inches to a 47-inch long driver. The idea, according to Pettersson, was to improve his launch conditions and to hit the ball further.

According to fellow GolfWRX Featured Writer, Tom Wishon, the average length of a driver on the PGA Tour is 44.5 inches. Wishon said he uses a golfer’s body dimensions, such as height and wrist-to-floor measurement, to properly fit the length of the driver for a golfer. We know that Bubba Watson used a 44.75-inch driver and is listed at 6-foot 3-inches tall. While I do not know Pettersson’s measurements, he is listed at 5-feet 11-inches tall on the PGA Tour’s website. I feel it is safe to say that a 47-inch driver is an abnormally long driver for him and not what most club fitters would recommend fitting him into.

The concept of a longer driver shaft increasing distance off the tee is not new. In fact, long drive competitors almost exclusively use longer driver shafts in order to hit the ball further. Part of the reason for the ball going further has to do how the longer shaft alters the geometry of the golf swing. The other part is physics. All things being equal, the longer the driver shaft the lighter the club’s static weight will be

Read More:


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sports Science on Cold vs. Warm Golf Balls

Another interesting piece by the Sports Science crew on how temperature affects the golf ball's flight


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sports Science on Lip Outs

Here is a good video from Sports Science on putting speed and lip outs.

Pretty much all of this is right in line with Geoff Mangum's ( research on the subject.

I know we have discussed uphill putts being easier to make and the video indicates that it may not be the case as the downhill putts gravitate more towards the cup. From my reading of Mangum's work, he likes to point out that *may* be a reason as to why downhill putts *may* be easier to make.

However, the research done from Mark Sweeney of AimPoint and David Orr ( shows that golfers make a higher percentage of uphill putts than downhill putts for all levels. To me, that is the final decider.

Perhaps it can explain why there are some exceptions to the rule. I remember Ben Crenshaw saying that he preferred downhill versus uphill putts. Whether he actually made more downhill than uphill putts is up for debate.

Either way, I think this is a required viewing for a better understanding of putting.


Monday, November 19, 2012

How PGA Tour Yardage Books Are Made

Great video on caddy Mark Long, who makes the yardage books for the PGA Tour.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Week in Review - 11.18.12

This video discusses:

1. AimPoint Practice
2. Tips for Prospective Collegiate Golfers
3. Driving Effectiveness on the PGA Tour
4. What Amateurs can learn from Driving Effectiveness on Tour
5. Flop Shot Video at 24,000 FPS thoughts


Friday, November 16, 2012

Flop shot at 24,000 Frames Per Second

Real interesting video from 3Jack Top-50 Instructor, Kelvin Miyihara, utlizing his Phantom Camera.


As was noted by Jeff Martin, this was struct off a mat and from the face on angle, the ball is actually elevated in the air before it is struck, due the clubhead hitting the mat first and the ball being suspended in the air.

The bird's eye view is interesting as well as it shows why we tend to hit flop shots off the toe, they angle that the clubhead comes into the ball more or less dictates that a toe hit is likely. Thus, the Edel Wedges with their grooves that go out towards the toe and the CoG moved away from the heel make a lot more sense with the design of the flop shot.


New Column Is Up

In the era of modern technology, advanced fitness regimens and long driving competitions, there has been a growing sentiment towards golf favoring the ‘bomb-n-gouge’ style of play. However, we still see many shorter-hitting golfers like Zach Johnson who are successful in the game. Most of the clients on Tour I work with have questioned the advantages that power can have on Tour versus hitting the ball the more accurately. As a competitive amateur golfer myself, it was one of the first things I investigated from a statistical standpoint.

Part of the issue deals with the main metric designed to determine driving skill on Tour, called ‘Total Driving.” Total Driving utilizes a very simple formula by adding the rankings of a player’s Driving Distance and Fairway Percentage together. The lower the combined ranking, the better the golfer will rank in Total Driving. But it’s metrics like Total Driving that have only produced more questions than answers for golfers.

Read More: The Real Numbers Behind Driving the Ball On Tour

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tips for Prospective Collegiate Golfers

It’s about that time of year again where junior golfers are thinking about college golf. Here’s an overview of some basics to college golf.


Here are the different divisions of college golf:

Division I: Men’s teams are permitted 4.5 scholarships in total. Women’s programs are permitted 6.0 scholarships. Typically the men’s teams have 9-10 players on a team and they give roughly a ½ scholarship to each player. Women’s teams have 6-7 players and they usually get 90-100% scholarships. However, the men’s teams usually find ways to give some free financial aid. I know when I was in college, it came out to roughly 65-70% of tuition, room and board was paid for. For the girls teams, they will come away with their entire schooling paid for.

Division II: Men’s teams are allotted 3.6 scholarship and women’s teams are allotted 5.4 scholarships. The format of the team’s is generally the same although there’s a tendency to get less money because the school’s budgets are smaller. Typically, D-II schools are ‘satellite’ schools. For instance, University of South Carolina is headquartered in Columbia, SC. That is a D-I school. University of South Carolina has a satellite branch in Aiken, SC. USC-Aiken is a D-II school.

Historically Black Colleges: Historically black colleges do have golf teams and do offer scholarships for players who are not African-American. In fact, most golfers at Historically Black colleges are Caucasian. Sean Foley played on scholarship at the Historically Black College, Tennessee State.

Division III: Division III schools do not offer athletic scholarships. However, there are plenty of D-III schools who have a sizeable budget set aside for the golf team and provide a good atmosphere for competitive golf. I know that the University of Rochester golf team used to have frequent access to practice and play at the world famous Oak Hill Country Club.

NAIA: These schools offer limited money for scholarships, if any money at all. They generally consist of very small schools with very minute budgets for the golf team. However, they can also provide a great atmosphere for competitive golfers to grow their game.


One of the advantages of college golf for the student-athletes is that transferring is much more common than people think and in other sports like football and basketball. It’s not uncommon for a golfer who wants to go to play for a big school like Wake Forest, but initially can only get into a smaller school like UNC-Wilmington. But after a year or two of good golf and good enough grades, they end up transferring to the bigger and more prestigious Wake Forest if the coach wants them.


More often than not, coaches will always preach grades and test scores. However, I think that leads to some misunderstanding for prospective players. We have to remember that college golf is not a money making venture for schools, unlike college football and basketball.

Because football and basketball make schools money, schools often times lower their academic requirements for those athletes to be allowed into their school. In golf, a golfer does not have exceed a school’s academic requirements. But, they have to meet the same requirements that the average student at the school has in order to be accepted.

Thus, if a golfer is the next Rory McIlroy and wants to play at Duke, they will not be accepted unless they can meet Duke’s minimal academic requirements for non-student athletes. It simply does not matter how great the golfer is.

However, if a golfer does meet the academic requirements and the golf coach wants the golfer on his team, he will likely be guaranteed entrance into the school and will not have to meet all of the extra requirements that some schools demand like writing an entrance paper as to why the school should accept you, getting references, etc.


Once again, because golf is not a money-making venture for schools the recruiting aspect is different from recruiting in football and basketball (and to a lesser extent other sports like baseball and lacrosse). The student-athlete in golf has to do their fair share of taking the initiative and letting schools that they are interested in about their game, academics, and interest in their team and institution. Once that is done, the coaches who are interested in you may ask for more information and want to be kept up-to-date on tournament scores.

From my experience, most recruiting is based off of the results in AJGA and IJGT events. Those are events where the competition is stronger and for the most part, most coaches do not care how well a golfer does in local high school events; even if the golfer wins their state high school championship.

Lastly, having a reputable golf instructor can help as well. The instructor does not have to be Hank Haney or David Leadbetter. But, if the instructor has a good track record of producing quality college golfers, having them put in a good word to college coaches can be the key to getting a scholarship.


For the life of me, I will never quite understand this. But, most coaches I have seen have zero interest in golfers ‘walking on’ the team (golfers who make the team via tryout, but are not on scholarship). So if you are thinking of going to a school that you like and you believe you can make the team as a walk-on, guess again. And if not having the opportunity to make the team as a walk-on would sway your decision of going to the school, you should consider other options.


There is an abnormally high rate of change in majors in college. I personally started off as an Accounting major. Then I switched to Business Administration and eventually went to Marketing with a minor in Applied Mathematics. I would highly recommend thinking out AT LEAST 2 majors you may be interested in and seeing if the school has both of those majors. That will offer the student some flexibility because it would be difficult to be at the school and on the team the golfer wants to be on, but in a major they do not want to be involved with.

I would also seek out former players of the coach and ask for their honest opinion of the coach. In fact, if I had a child I would probably not allow that child to go play for a coach until I got some sort of references from a few former players. While there are many reasons to go to college and a particular college and they should not be limited to just the golf team you desire to play for, the fact is that the golf team and the golf coach will be a major part of the student-athlete’s life for the next 4 years. For better or for worse, it’s important that things go well for the student-athlete on the team and with the coach. While there are many tremendous college golf coaches out there, there are just as many that are a completely different person once you come on to their team. Like this former coach here (warning, NSFW):

It’s also important that if the student-athlete wants to be in a particular major that the golf coach and the school be willing to accommodate this. When I was in school, there was a physiology course that I could pass, but I could be certified for because you could not be certified if you missed 1 class, for any reason. Thankfully, that was not required for my major. You will hear from time-to-time how a golfer cannot be a student-athlete and be in a certain major. Many times this is true, but it depends on the coach and the school. I know former Ohio State star, Craig Krentzel, graduated with a degree in Advanced Molecular Genetics. Former Florida State football star, Myron Rolle, went on to be a Rhodes Scholar. So a golfer can possibly be an athlete and major in a very difficult course of study, if the school and the coach will allow it to happen.

From there, it’s up to the golfer to gauge what school fits them by balancing out the academics, social environment and the golf team. But I hope this was some help to prospective collegiate golfers. As always, the sooner a golfer can be committed to focusing on getting a college golf scholarship, the better position they will be in to do so. And there’s no reason why they cannot have the time of their life being a student-athlete while reaping the benefits of college and college athletics.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

AimPoint Practice Thoughts - 11.13.12

Here's a video from 3Jack Top-25 Putting Instructor, John Graham.

To me, being able to determine the stimp using AimPoint is the fundamental aspect of the green reading system.

First, you have to determine the % of slope.

Then you determine where the ball is with relation to the slope.

Then you have to be be able to aim the putter correctly, hit the ball where you have aimed and do it with the right amount of speed to correctly determine the stimp.

It's like starting off practice on the driving range with a few half-wedge swings to get warmed up. It's very simple and very basic, but if you cannot properly determine the stimp using this method, then you are not going to perform AimPoint very well.

What I usually do is once I think I have the stimp from 5 feet away, I then putt a few from 10-feet away to make sure that I have the stimp correct. Plus, the same fundamentals apply in being able to read the % of slope, where the ball is with relation to the slope, aim, hitting it where you aim and hitting it the righ amount of speed.

What's nice is that if you practice it for a while, you start to get to the point where you can generally tell what the stimp is by just looking at length of the grass on the green.

But, understanding how to find the stimp is more than getting your AimPoint chart set correctly, it's about being able to execute the basic principles of AimPoint.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Week In Review - 11.11.12


1. Children's Hospital at Disney
2. Charlie Beljan
3. Players who made and missed the top-125 on the Money List
4. AimPoint Practice Thoughts
5. Guan Tianlang swing and thoughts


Thursday, November 8, 2012

AimPoint Practice Thoughts - 11.7.12

I think most of my readers understand what AimPoint green reading is about. And I know many readers have gone to AimPoint clinics.

With that, I want to focus my AimPoint posts on practicing AimPoint. Obviously, all of us have some time constraints. The idea is to find ways to effeciently practice AimPoint and get more and more adept at it over time.

One of the issues I've found is that golfers who often go to an AimPoint clinic will give it rave reviews, but fail to bring AimPoint on the actual golf course. That's exactly where it's needed.

With all of the talk about anchored putters being possibly made illegal, the metrics show that none of the anchor putters will make a Tour player a great putter or even a really good one. At best, the long putters have improved Tour golfers putting, but that still doesn't make them a great putter. Furthermore, on average the Tour player with the long putter takes about 4 years for them to make that noticeable improvement in their putting.

But what I've seen in the metrics for putting, AimPoint has had a tremendous effect on a Tour player's putting. Somebody like Scott McCarron, who would be labeled as a pretty good putter on Tour, ranking around 50th to 60th in Putts Gained *before* AimPoint, has now turned into a top-10 putter after AimPoint. The same for Bo Van Pelt, who was at best an average putter on Tour. He went from 144th in putts gained to 11th.

Even better, I have found that it takes about 1 full year for AimPoint to really kick in and effect a Tour player's putting tremendously.

I think the main key is that we have to replace our typical practice green putting with more AimPoint centric practice green putting. And while you're waiting on it for the winter, there are other ways to practice AimPoint as shown in this video by instructor, Matt Dynda.

I believe that being able to decipher the amount of slope is one of the key elements to becoming more accurate with your AimPoint reads and to make those reads quickly.

You have to actually practice and train yourself to identify the differences in slope.

You can measure the slope using a Husky Digital Bubble Level, an Excelys Breakmaster (which has an iphone app) or use my preference, the AimPoint Bubble.

When it comes to practicing how to determine the amount of slope, I would recommend going to different points of the practice green and guess how much slope there is using your feet. Then measure the slope and see how often you were correct.

You may want to write down your estimate vs. the actual percentage of slope. I believe if you do this enough times, you'll start to see some sort of trend. For me, I've found that I tend to over-read too much slope.

For example, I had a tendency to read a 1% slope as a 2% slope and so on.

I will have more of these as I go along...


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Guan Tianlang Golf Swing

Here's the swing and some videos of Guan Tianlang, the 14 year old who will play in the 2013 Masters. The first couple of videos are when Guan was only 10 years old. Congratulations, Guan.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

3Jack Golf's PGA Tour Rundown - Week 44

This week is the final official PGA Tour event for the 2012 season at Disney. My projections have #125 on the Money List around $660K for the year.

Here is a list of some notables without a 2013 exemption under that mark:

123. Kevin Chappell $623,775
124. Rod Pampling $620,893
125. Billy Mayfair $619,961
127. Gary Christian $616,457
128. Alexandre Rocha $605,117
129. Bill Lunde $593,598
130. D.J. Trahan $587,407
132. Chez Reavie $571,875
134. Tim Petrovic $558,862
135. Richard H. Lee $547,733
136. Tim Herron $547,479

Here are my Disney picks:

Brendon De Jonge: 14/1
Robert Garrigus: 14/1
Jeff Overton: 20/1
Will Claxton: 66/1
Russell Knox: 66/1
Ken Duke 66/1
Heath Slocum: 80/1
Billy Horschel: 80/1
Camilo Villegas: 80/1

Value Pick: Jeff Maggert 100/1

Here are the rankings going into the last official tournament of the season.


1. Bubba Watson
2. Rory McIlroy
3. Hunter Mahan
4. Charlie Beljan
5. Boo Weekley
6. Jason Dufner
7. John Rollins
8. Graeme McDowell
9. Graham DeLaet
10. Keegan Bradley

181. James Driscoll
182. Stewart Cink
183. Nick O'Hern
184. Matt Bettencourt
185. Tom Pernice Jr.
186. Daniel Chopra
187. Stephen Gangluff
188. Derek Lamely
189. Michael Bradley
190. Ryuji Imada


1. Brandt Snedeker
2. Jonas Blixt
3. Luke Donald
4. Derek Lamely
5. Bryce Molder
6. Zach Johnson
6. Brian Gay
6. Aaron Baddeley
9. Martin Flores
10. Phil Mickelson

181. Robert Karlsson
182. Charlie Beljan
183. Heath Slocum
184. Kris Blanks
185. Roland Thatcher
186. D.J. Trahan
187. Kyle Stanley
188. Scott Dunlap
189. Boo Weekley
190. Kyle Thompson


1. Jerry Kelly
2. Brian Gay
3. Robert Karlsson
4. Ian Poulter
5. K.J. Choi
6. Jason Dufner
7. John Mallinger
8. Rocco Mediate
9. Jonas Blixt
10. Fredrik Jacobson

181. Alexandre Rocha
182. Michael Thompson
183. Martin Laird
184. Ryan Moore
185. Louis Oosthuizen
186. Charlie Beljan
187. Harris English
188. Cameron Beckman
189. Sang-Moon Bae
190. Edward Loar


1. Steve Stricker
2. Garth Mulroy
3. Bo Van Pelt
4. Jason Bohn
5. Vaughn Taylor
6. Roland Thatcher
7. Padraig Harrington
8. Sergio Garcia
9. Ken Duke
10. Nick O'Hern

181. Kris Blanks
182. Harris English
183. J.B. Holmes
184. Miguel Angel Carballo
185. Aaron Baddeley
186. Jonas Blixt
187. Edward Loar
188. Brandt Jobe
189. Billy Hurley III
190. Adam Scott


1. Graeme McDowell
2. Kyle Thompson
3. Nick O'Hern
4. Scott Dunlap
5. Lee Westwood
6. Tim Clark
7. Boo Weekley
8. Gavin Coles
9. Jim Furyk
10. Webb Simpson

181. J.J. Killeen
182. Martin Flores
183. Brendan Steele
184. Mark Anderson
185. Stewart Cink
186. Harrison Frazar
187. Tom Gillis
188. Edward Loar
189. Daniel Chopra
190. Matt Jones


1. Kevin Stadler
2. Rory McIlroy
3. Bo Van Pelt
4. Robert Garrigus
5. Tiger Woods
6. Chad Campbell
7. Steve Stricker
8. Charlie Beljan
9. Graeme McDowell
10. Dustin Johnson

181. Ryuji Imada
182. Edward Loar
183. Brendon Todd
184. Ted Potter, Jr.
185. Brian Gay
186. John Rollins
187. Nick O'Hern
188. Derek Lamely
189. Sang-Moon Bae
190. Sung Kang


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Week In Review - 11.4.12

Week in Review for 11.4.12

1. Debut column at GolfWRX
2. Effect on Adj. Scoring Average of best vs. average DZ play
3. Some things unaccounted for in DZ play
4. Importance of a FLW
5. Steady head discussion


Thursday, November 1, 2012

5 Simple Keys Video - Steady Head

Here's a video done by 3Jack Top-50 Instructor, Dave Wedzik, on key #1, the steady head in the golf swing.