Thursday, February 26, 2009

Getting to know us through our YouTube golf video

Hello fellow golfers and everyone who tunes in to our weekly golf podcasts and reads our very special Golf for Beginners blog!

For the past five years, Barry and I have written about golf for the pure love/hate relationship behind it and for the satisfaction we get from offering tips that we learned. We still enjoy taking our twilight walks together (sigh) and keeping you involved in our weekly games, even if we're not always playing up to par!

As a matter of fact, that is precisely how this blog got started!

Barry handed me a gift of a set of golf clubs that he purchased off of the internet (yes, left-handed) and turned me over to a golf instructor. He was smart enough not to teach me himself but, since I was learning about golf anyway, he wound up making a more concerted effort in his own game, eventually attaining a few scores in the 70's!

I wanted to make sure that I would remember what was taught to me and decided to write it all down where I would keep looking at it. I also wanted to keep a log of my improvement and Barry insisted on joining me on this journey.

The rest, my friends, is history!

We thought it might be fun to pull out our camcorder in order for you to get to know us a little better. A friend of mine came into our shop recently and asked if I could teach her how to use her own digital DVD video-maker so that she could record her grandson for posterity's sake. I gladly obliged and, in doing so, realized that I have one of these at home too!

We dusted off our camcorder and have created a short video on balance using one of the contraptions that we keep in the golf sanctuary of our home. (If you are interested in learning more about the styrofoam balance roll in our video, just leave a comment!)

We hope that you enjoy our very first golf-related video realizing never to take this game too seriously, have fun and always play good golf!

---Stacy Solomon




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Monday, February 23, 2009

Charles Barkley working to become the next Tiger Woods and how science can help you stop choking under pressure

Click here to listen.



To look at the golf swings of both Tiger Woods and Charles Barkley, one would have to admit that they are complete opposites from start to finish. Even with a gimp and a grimace at the 2008 U.S. Open, Woods' fluidity was still beautiful to watch. Barkley's movements, on the other hand, have been the fodder for everyone from amateurs on YouTube to Tiger Woods himself, who jokingly attempted to copy the infamous swing which has been compared to "a tornado on acid".

Charles Barkley has finally had enough ribbing and will allow himself to be guided by Hank Haney in which the master instructor will try and rid the former NBA star, once an 80's golfer, of his "spasmodic hitch". Haney believes this "hitch" is hiding the real quandary and will address problems of dropping the head through impact and the angle of Barkley's swing plane noting, "when you have a mess like he has, you're not going to fix it with a swing thought."

It should be interesting to see if Haney can not only create a new swing for Barkley but also rebuild his confidence. Barkley is ready for improvement mentioning recently that, "it sucks getting ridiculed and humiliated." Once a ten-handicap with great putting abilities, it has to hurt Barkley knowing that the reason he is in this position in the first place is because he didn't realize that his injuries were forcing him to practice incorrectly.

Small golf goals are important to long-term achievement and Barkley's initial step is to break 85. His second? To take on the guys who have mimicked him in the past, namely Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. On the other hand, with a mantra like, "What other sport can you play with friends for a few bucks, smoke cigars, drink beer, no phones, trash talk and be in the middle of nowhere?" does Barkley even have a chance against single-digit Jordan and Tiger Woods who is, well, perhaps the greatest golfer who has ever lived?

The Haney Project is a seven-part series on the Golf Channel with the first episode airing on March 2nd.



Also, on this week's Golf for Beginners show, we discuss an article in Scientific American which ponders the science of choking under pressure.

Congratulations to Phil Mickelson on his 35th career win at the Northern Trust Open!


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Amy Mickelson relieved that Phil finally won


Aside from the utter joy displayed, Amy Mickelson showed signs of relief and satisfaction after Phil rolled a six-foot putt to clinch the Northern Trust Open. To really understand the moment in question, all you had to do was to look at Phil's mother's face as she stood with eyes closed and fingers crossed, waiting for the roller-coaster ride to come to a halt.

The two were poised to watch Mickelson in a playoff, thinking that this may be a repeat of the 2007 experience at Riviera where Phil lost in a sudden death playoff to Charles Howell III. Steve Stricker lurking at the eighteenth and trying to psyche out Mickelson as he made his final putt didn't comfort the ladies either!

The pressure was off after Phil Mickelson's win but he noted that "it was not easy" letting his five-stroke lead slide out from under him. The good news is that Lefty learned from this experience. "I was able to fight hard. Even though I didn't have my best stuff, I was able to fight through it."

"I knew he was going to pull it off at some time, but he waited until the last couple of holes," said Fred Couples, who played in the final group with Mickelson and seemed to have more confidence in Lefty than Phil had in himself.

With his first win this season and the 35th of his career already under his belt, Mickelson will be building on his success from the Northern Trust Open looking for a possible three-peat at the Masters and, hopefully, may even perform a "Mickel-slam" this year.

This tune-up was a good test of Mickelson's confidence, to say the least, as well as his ability to perform under pressure. "I need to become a better front-runner, but it gives me confidence and something to build on for the rest of the year."

I wonder who feels the pressure more now, Phil or Amy, and how much will the tension build now that Tiger Woods is back on the scene?


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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Natalie Gulbis cooks on Celebrity Apprentice

Could Natalie Gulbis, LPGA super-golfer, become the next Celebrity Apprentice?

Donald Trump's latest attempt at capturing viewers includes a cook-off with Gulbis and the possibility of catfights with Deal or No Deal's Claudia Jordan, filling the show with more surprises than the recent bankruptcy deal which Trump Casino filed and, in a huff, the Donald walked away from. No bailouts here!

Expect other players in the mix like Dennis Rodman, Herschel Walker and double-threat Melissa and Joan Rivers to add to the mayhem! Andrew Dice Clay looked like he was even sassing "the Donald" in a recent advertisement which means that this show is really digging deep to come up with greater commercial success. Trump tried once in 2007 to rally publicity with a Rosie O'Donnell feud but ratings slumped to an all-time low which showered the television reality show premiere of Grease with more viewers, and that turned out to be a prime-time bomb!

Has Donald Trump assembled the most creative cast of characters yet or is he just searching for ratings? If this show survives, perhaps he should seek out Michelle Wie for a tryout? She may need the job if her new career in the LPGA doesn't come to fruition!


Monday, February 16, 2009

Stanford schools Michelle Wie on the mental game. Tiger Woods returns and is your short game scaring you?

Click here to listen.



Michelle Wie's high hopes were dashed once again as she struggled against the wake of the tide which Angela Stanford created as she plowed through on the back nine at the SBS Open. Expectations, as we have seen time-and-time-again, have a way of throwing this game of golf into turmoil instead of doing what Stanford did by "just having so much fun." Michelle Wie version 2.0 is still very much a work in progress.

The battle between the two was exciting and proved that, although Wie has much work to do on her mental game in order to shift focus from competing to winning, her optimism and greatly improved swing will serve her, and the LPGA Tour, well this year. Any threat so far to Lorena Ochoa? Not likely…

Carolyn Bivens, who in 2006 mentioned her "master plan to expose the personalities of our stars to the general media", will now get the opportunity to turn her dreams for the LPGA into reality, thanks to the addition of Michelle Wie.

Several interesting deals to counteract the downward decline of the LPGA include a ten-year exclusive agreement with the Golf Channel beginning in 2010 and a sponsorship deal with Korea media bigwig JoongAng Ilbo. The Sports Business Journal asserts that Wie will not be promoted any differently than any of the other nineteen LPGA rookies but the Golf Channel made no such promise, instead deciding to use Wie's image to boost ratings. Can you blame them?

For now, it is clear to see who is the belle of the ball, the star of the show regardless of performance. Hopefully Michelle Wie will not disappoint but that doesn't matter much either as viewers have a weird fascination watching the rise and fall of celebrities. Either way, MW's entrance into the LPGA is a winning situation for all involved.



This popular tune sung by Frank Sinatra says it all…

Cause she's got, high hopes, she's got high hopes, she's got, high apple-pie in the sky hopes….

So any time your gettin low
stead of lettin go
Just remember that ant
Oops there goes another rubber tree plant…



Golf for Beginners also offers news of Tiger Woods' return to the PGA Tour from friend Mark O'Meara.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Does Michelle Wie version 2.0 still have glitches and is Tiger Woods too tired for golf?

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With LPGA Tour card in hand, Michelle Wie is presenting the upgraded version of herself to fans this week at the SBS Open. You might even consider her "M.W. version 2.0", but don't expect any new surprises as she still remains the same golfer but in a shiny new package.

Although her parents have allowed her a bit of wiggle room by allowing Wie to live on campus they still maintain ultimate control, living close by and even following her around in a cart three times a week during practice sessions. She alleges that she's "to the point where I don't care what other people think of me, if they think I'm weird or something" which obviously means she is still concerned about the opinions of others. The now nineteen-year-old Wie is also probably fearing what may happen to her endorsements if she should not succeed on the LPGA Tour. Yes, Michelle Wie has demons that she needs to exorcise in order to successfully play in the zone and make a name for herself among her peers.

In other words, the computer desktop may have a new theme but bugs in the operating system need to be fixed before she can successfully release this new edition.



On a more positive note, Wie will get a kickstart in Hawaii in an event which, as a fifteen-year-old amateur, nailed her a tie for second place. Michelle has finally secured her Tour card, validating her ability to play by the rules and, for at least the start of the season, she is the darling of the LPGA, offering Golf Channel shows like Grey Goose 19th Hole plenty of fodder with Carolyn Bivens agreeing to sit in as a featured guest this week.

One question to consider over the upcoming season is, will MW's "play-whenever-you-want" ideology prove successful or detrimental to the new star of the LPGA Tour?

Golf for Beginners also wonders if Tiger's stamina during practice will improve with the addition of newborn Charlie Axel or will the world's number-one golfer fall prey to late-night feedings?

Congrats to the Woods family!

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 OrlandoGolf.com, 866-443-8566.

Photo Credit: © Golf Digest

Monday, February 02, 2009

Mickelson feels good about his ridiculous score. The trick to hitting a mud ball and celebrity quotes.

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Mickelson's debut at the FBR Open was more of a fizzle than a roar. Phil not only missed the cut but appeared to be in self-denial as well.

"It doesn't feel as far off as the score indicates," Mickelson said. "I know the score is ridiculous. But it doesn't feel bad."

One interpretation of the above statement may be that, although Phil struck the ball well, it did not go where it was intended, which caused him to search through the cacti on more than one occasion. But Mickelson must have been concentrating his thoughts more on the Arizona Cardinals point spread more than to believe that he wasn't at all rusty, hitting only eight of twenty-eight fairways and flying several greens with his usually faithful lob wedge. At least Phil made it to the finish line at last year's FBR Open before finally succumbing to J.B. Holmes, who came back from the brink of defeat to trounce Mickelson. Come to think of it, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes made an extraordinary last-ditch effort to clinch the Super Bowl title from Arizona. Hmmm…icing on the cake?



The younger guns are making it more difficult for guys like Mickelson to get an easy ride, showing laser-like driving accuracy and length off the tee but there is still room for the forty-and-over age group. In other words, there is still light at the end of the tunnel, Phil, even as you approach middle age.

Vijay Singh, for example, climbed to the number-one position on the PGA Tour at forty-one years of age. Another notable, Colin Mongomerie, has recently been tapped to lead Team Europe after his inability to make the cut in the 2008 Ryder Cup. Perhaps instead of playing in the Champions Tour later in their careers, former professional golfing notables will be taking the desk at the Golf Channel, as captains of the Presidents/Ryder Cup or as hosts of their own charity events.

With Tiger Woods still out of commission and without a comeback date in mind, time is still on Mickelson's side but spending a few extra hours on the practice green and better decision-making where the driver is concerned could only help get his game in gear sooner rather than later.

Golf for Beginners also talks about the interesting way the mud ball flies and we pick out a few interesting celebrity quotes.

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 MyrtleBeachGolf.com, 866-409-2177.

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