Monday, October 27, 2008

Sorenstam, Inkster see future of LPGA in fortune cookie. Also, Your golf swing could hinge on these tips

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China, food for thought?

In addition to keeping up with Russia and the U.S.A. with a newly developed missile system, China is also intent upon improving their visibility in the golf world and proving, as Annika Sorenstam said, that the LPGA is becoming a "global tour".

Shanshan Feng, the only Chinese player on the LPGA Tour (so far) believes that, "China can become another Korea for golf. I believe so. Maybe not now but in the future." In order to familiarize China as a golf destination, Feng, in the final round this week, even wore a shirt with a red China map on it.

Go China! The Empire is alive and well. The force is definitely with them.

Don't underestimate the growth of golf in Korea and Japan either, two countries who are hosting the 'triple-play' of this month's venture into Asian territory. This past week, out of a sixty-three player field, two-thirds were of Asian descent with over fifty of the ladies appearing in the upper crust of the LPGA money list.



What does this mean for the LPGA Tour? Juli Inkster contends that, instead of forcing the girls to learn English (as was the intent of Ms.Bivens) and suspending them if they did not, perhaps a more subtle approach is needed.

Inkster's thought is that an experienced golfer should play in their foursome to show them how it's done. As the seasoned veteran mentioned, "If I get four Korean men in this pro-am, even though I don't speak their language, I'm going to make it fun for them."

And fun is the name of the game as Sorenstam learned during the pro-am. Even though an interviewer mentioned the men were "depressed" over the way Sorenstam hit the ball longer and straighter than they did, she managed to do what is done in every part of the world when it comes to golf...create business opportunites for herself on the course. Annika shared some of her "secrets" with the guys (one a big developer stated Sorenstam) in a possible exchange for the opportunity to build a course in Asian territory. As Annika divulged, she "was trying to throw my name into the pool, and we'll see."

Only time will tell if this will be good for the LPGA Tour. If sponsorships favor Asian interests, Korea, China and Japan could very well form their own mini-tour taking both American and Asian hopefuls with them by making purses more attractive and keeping the LPGA out of the loop.

The European Tour is starting to offer bigger prize money right now and PGA Tour stars like Phil Mickelson are gung-ho at the prospect. Only time will tell.

All I can say is thank goodness Michelle Wie is both Korean and American! She may keep the LPGA alive!

Golf for Beginners also gives sound advice about one of the most important parts of your swing, the wrist hinge.


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"Shiny Tech" courtesy of Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)"

This podcast is supported by Arizona Golf Packages, 1-866-444-0992.


Photo Credit: © Seoul Sisters

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dramatic Vistas make Black Mesa Golf Course and Santa Fe, New Mexico, truly a Land of Enchantment

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Sprawling mountain views surrounded Barry and myself as soon as we departed Albuquerque airport for a week-long golf vacation in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The closest we had been to seeing vistas like this was when we travelled through Red Rock Canyon in Nevada over fifteen years ago, as a side trip to Las Vegas.

The thin air first caught my attention as I climbed the stairs to our 'casita' in the newly opened Encantado Resort, a member of the Auberge family of upscale properties. The 'room' in which we stayed had the same effect as the altitude. Approximately seven-hundred square feet of comfort and cool Santa Fe style surrounded our senses, from the wood-burning fireplace to the original artwork on the walls, all welcoming us to take off our shoes and relax awhile. From the casita, we toured the Resort only to find the same upscale luxury throughout, from the Spa to the Lodge, with incomparable views and luxurious amenities.



During the week we were slated to play both Black Mesa and Paa-ko Ridge Golf Courses. An early snowfall closed Paa-ko Ridge to golfers (there were still a few stragglers in the dining room praying for a miracle) so we were a bit disappointed not to be able to play one of GolfDigest.com's Reader's choice awards for 2009.

Instead, we had two prime days of golf at Black Mesa Golf Club, and I'm glad we did as once just wasn't enough in order to appreciate the creative masterpiece of Baxter Spann. "Each hole could have easily been a signature hole," Barry mentioned, and that a comprehensive strategy is needed for each dramatic layout. Success at putting is a must: tricky greens and undulating fairways force you to decide where you want to place the ball.




Black Mesa is definitely not for beginners but the option of five different teeboxes allows a golfer to visualize the course from different angles making it worthy of several rounds of play. Stand at the tips, bring a camera and enjoy views of the Rio Grande!


I wanted a true Santa Fe experience and found one while dining at a charming, ninety-year-old retreat; Bishop's Lodge. The food was superb and the staff gave us a tour of the property which includes a spa, skeet/trap range and, I understand, a stable filled with Palominos. Only about five minutes to town, I would certainly consider this Resort for our next stay!


During our vacation we did everything from making our contribution to the newest Casino complex, Buffalo Thunder, to watching buffalo roam and tumbleweeds roll, all while being surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo mountains. We played golf at a course that you can never tire of and I even got an on-course lesson from Tom Velarde, Director of Instruction at Black Mesa. Brian Whitcomb, PGA of America President also agrees as he recently stated, "The truth is that golf in New Mexico is a gem." The 42nd PGA Professional National Championship is set to take place at Twin Warriors and Santa Ana Golf Clubs and will be televised by the Golf Channel.

New Mexico is unique destination that travelers should see at least once in their lives. I now understand why it is called the Land of Enchantment!

This week's Golf for Beginners show talks about why you should visit Santa Fe, NM at least once and offers tips from our rounds as well as from Black Mesa's Director of Instruction Tom Velarde. We also have plenty of pictures to show of Black Mesa ... click here for front nine and back nine and of our trip. Enjoy!

Note: If you cannot see the photos, just head over to the MySpace page below and locate 'pics' under my lead picture.


Send your golf questions and comments to golfforbeginners@aol.com.

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"Shiny Tech" courtesy of Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)"

This podcast is supported by Arizona Golf Packages, 1-866-444-0992.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tiger Woods rebuilding Mexico for blue-bloods and thinking outside the tee box

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Please don't say that Tiger Woods is becoming an elitist!

I always thought that Woods' upbringing was middle-class Cablinasian , entering the sport at a bit of a disadvantage but now it appears to me as if Tiger Woods is becoming one of them...that is, corporate, blue-blooded American. Even his name, Tiger, seems much more of a terrific marketing ploy than Eldrick, a name in which his father tagged him after being saved by a South Vietnamese soldier during the war.

Woods believes, before even building his new golf course in Punta Brava, that it will rival Pebble Beach! Nattily clad at a press conference at the Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles, CA, Tiger said, "When you get to No 12 it is similar to No 8 at Pebble Beach."

Ah but there IS a difference between Pebble Beach and Punta Brava, dear Tiger. Pebble Beach, although woefully expensive to tee off from, is public and Punta Brava will be private and, as Woods mentioned, "safe".

Perhaps Woods is building up his new course as a way of building his high-end brand (as Tim McDonald believes)?

As anal as he is with his golf game, so is he with his golf course. Tiger Woods "walked three and a half hours on site and had to have surgery the next day," mentioned Brady Oman, Flagship Group co-founder and one business partner in the deal.

Another surgery? Maybe el Tigre is tired of playing the game and is now resorting to, well, resorts? Despite a slumping economy, there are still plenty of wealthy individuals who would pay upward of $3 million dollars for a plot of land where Tiger plans to settle himself. Although Woods is 'mum' on his return, he has mentioned that he won't be 100% until 2010!

Golf for Beginners also offers plenty of golf tips this week in addition to the Tiger Talk. We discuss offbeat and peculiar ways to get to the green. Do you always have to sink a birdie putt with a putter?




Send your golf questions and comments to golfforbeginners@aol.com.

Subscribe to our weekly podcast through this RSS feed:http://feeds.feedburner.com/golfforbeginners or through iTunes.

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"Shiny Tech" courtesy of Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)"

This podcast is supported by Premier Golf, 888-439-1831.


Photo Credit: © PETT
Source: Lexington Herald-Leader - Lexington, United States

Monday, October 06, 2008

How to Choke like Anthony Kim. Tiger Woods, Natalie Gulbis in the news and you can lose but you're not a loser

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Since Anthony Kim is now being heralded as one of the rising young stars of the PGA Tour (and this weekend with a third place finish at the Korea Open), it seems befitting that we spend some time examining the reasons behind his choked down golf grip. The obvious intent is to improve upon basic contact but it's also a way to establish better control over all of your shots.

Kim's grip even caught the eye of announcer Johnny Miller who made this assessment. "If you grip down, you don't get the club stuck behind you. Your body can move much faster." Miller went on to say, "It's probably something that could help Tiger, who tends to have that problem. But if you don't have that kind of arm and body speed, you're not going to hit it so far gripping down like that."

Whereas some golfers prefer to use this grip at all times and sacrifice a bit of distance, Butch Harmon, for example, mentions that it would behoove most amateurs to follow suit with all golf shots from 130 yards and in!

Even though you might feel your shots are going to be shorter, crisp contact between the golf club and the ball will often nullify the effects of a shorter shot. Just remember to never change the tempo of your swing but, instead, follow this "choke-chart" to determine how to best utilize this golf tip, taking it to the range before using it on the golf course!

This week, Golf for Beginners podcast discusses the benefit of the choke shot and how you can get the most out of it. We also talk about my participation in the Paper Cup, an EWGA annual best-ball team match play event. While Paula Creamer was busy making waves at the Samsung Tournament, I was struggling with my partner to strategize, losing our match with four holes to play! Not very good golf for either of us!

Although the event coordinator purchased "winner" and "loser" shirts, I questioned the idea between being a "loser" and losing a match. Naturally, I refused to wear the shirt.

Finally, we dig deep into the internet and find some interesting news on both Tiger Woods and Natalie Gulbis.


Send your golf questions and comments to golfforbeginners@aol.com.

Subscribe to our weekly podcast through this RSS feed:http://feeds.feedburner.com/golfforbeginners or through iTunes.

Click Here to receive our archived podcasts and 100's of easy golf tips free! and check us out on MySpace!

"Shiny Tech" courtesy of Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)"

This podcast is supported by MyrtleBeachGolf.com, 866-409-2177.


Photo Credit: © Streeter Lecka/Getty Images .