Thursday, February 28, 2019

Are Changes to the Rules of Golf Hurting Your Game?

For amateurs during a friendly golf game forgetting, or even neglecting, to follow some of the rules changes may not add up to a big difference in score but, in professional tournaments, the results could lead to unfavorable decisions.

Recently, several PGA Tour players have complained about the new rules of golf.

Rickie Fowler at the WGC-Mexico tournament, for example, dropped a ball from shoulder height (instead of at the knee) and incurred a one-stroke penalty. Fowler said, "I think, with the new rules that have been put in place, it's not doing any favors for our sport. I get to drop from my knee and look stupid.' So, no, like I said, it was on me, but I think it's a terrible change."

Related: How Flubs from PGA Tour Golfers Teach the Rest of Us

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers' take? "As professionals, we all have to know the rules...the rules are an important part of our game."

How are the changes to the rules of golf affecting your game? (For a detailed list, follow the link.)

First, let's briefly go over a few of the positive rules changes:

1. No penalties for accidentally moving your golf ball during search and on the putting green.
2. Relief is given for an embedded golf ball (except in sand).
3. Eased rules on touching impediments in the bunker.

Related ReadSportsmanship and the Rules of Golf

Perhaps these would be considered negative rules changes:
1. Drop golf ball from knee instead of from shoulder height.
2. Leave flag in when putting.

As an amateur, I struggle with the new rules change of leaving in the flag when putting - my playing partners have asked me, "do you want the flag in or out" when, in previous events, there was no choice to be made.

Dave Pelz has mentioned that the flag left in the hole can actually help the odds of your ball finding the bottom of the cup.
"Perhaps most surprising, when the flagstick leans either slightly toward the golfer or away, the odds of it helping to keep the ball in the hole increase: With the flagstick leaning away from the golfer, the hole becomes effectively larger; when the flagstick leans toward the golfer, the ball rebounds downward, again helping shots find the hole."
It is important, however, to check the severity of the flagstick lean as it can also prevent your ball from going in the cup.

Do you find that the adjusted rules of golf have had unfortunate consequences on your round (you have been penalized, for example)? Feel free to write your comments below and on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Strengthen These Muscles to Improve Your Golf Swing

Phil Mickelson's calves are trending!

The internet is abuzz about Phil Mickelson's calf muscles, previously visible to friends and family but now seen by all those who search thanks to a new PGA ruling allowing shorts during practice rounds.

Calf muscles (aka gastrocnemius and soleus muscles), combined with other muscles of the leg, "help you to keep a solid base during the swing, and also are responsible for generating some power through impact, adding swing speed," states Paul Myers in his article.

A fitness regimen which includes calf flexibility exercises can improve power in your golf swing.

What other muscles should you work to improve your golf swing?

In addition to leg muscles, the buttocks, chest muscle, obliques, forearms and Latissimus Dorsi, when used in concert and properly functioning, all aid you in your golf swing.

It isn't just about muscular strength, said Mickelson after winning the AT&T at Pebble Beach. Proper stretching and a nutritious diet are helping Phil stay competitive against the PGA Tour's up-and-coming 20-somethings.
“The science is so much better nowadays than it was in his time,” Mickelson said. “The medicines, the fitness knowledge, the nutritional knowledge in all these areas, we're able to take advantage of that and get our bodies to recover, get our bodies to perform to function much more efficiently." ...Phil Mickelson
At almost 49 years old, Phil Mickelson is still a force to be reckoned with on the PGA Tour, attributing his success to increased recovery time, a healthy diet, exercise and creating a more stable base rather than working at building bulk.

For the young guns of the PGA Tour, take a tip from Phil and get started on a fitness regimen today and you might still be competitive when you hit the ripe old age of fifty!

Is Mickelson getting stronger on the PGA Tour? Voice your opinion in the comments section of Golf for Beginners blog and on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

5 Best Golf Drivers for Beginners in 2019 - Part 2

Welcome to part two in the series of five best golf drivers for beginners in 2019, written and researched by father and son team Tony and Paul, creators of Golfer's Authority and the Accuhit golf training aid (bio below).

Where part one of the best golf drivers in 2019 focused on fit, features and what you should consider before purchase, this article discusses the five drivers in detail. Enjoy and let us know your thoughts in the comments section of this golf blog.

Our Favorite Top 5 Drivers for Beginners:

Ping G400 max driver
 1. Ping G400 Max
The Ping G400 Max is, supposedly, the most forgiving driver ever created.

Ping truly made a fantastic club that fits a wide variety of swing speeds and characteristics, and is preferred by tour professionals such as Tony Finau and Cameron Champ,

The Ping G400 Max fits swings speeds from 130 mph all the way to 80 mph with a total MOI of over 9900 which is well beyond even the closest rival. The largest profile available and high launch make G400 a standout offering for both players picking up the game of golf and Tour professionals.

 2. Callaway Epic Flash
Callaway has been making waves in the driver category since it introduced Jailbreak technology in its Epic driver in 2017. The Epic Flash utilizes Jailbreak technology with a deeper CG to provide golfers with more ball speeds and improved forgiveness.

The addition of the sliding weight track in the back of the Epic Flash makes it a great option for players looking to save their slice now but adapt their driver as their swing changes.

Already a multi-event winner on professional tours, the Epic Flash is in the bag of the game’s greatest players. Sergio Garcia and Xander Schauffele have made the switch to Epic Flash and we support Callaway’s claim of greatness. 

3. Ping G410 SFT
Ping’s new offering for 2019, the G410 SFT builds on the success of the G400 with improved forgiveness and faster swing speeds through improved aerodynamics. The “Straight-Flight-Technology” introduced in the G410 driver helps golfers correct their slice and prevents lost balls in the trees.

The G410 SFT is the most draw-bias driver Ping has ever produced and offers a higher MOI than previous SFT models. Beginning golfers can improve clubhead speed, get higher launch, and correct their slice with this brand new driver from a trusted brand.

      4. TaylorMade M6
New for 2019, the M6 driver from TaylorMade is pushing the boundaries of speed. By creating a driver that breaks the legal limits of ball speed then slowing it down by injecting tuning resin,

The TaylorMade M6 is offered in both a standard and draw-bias model for golfers who need help with their slice. Twist Face helps golfers with strikes in the heel and toe to hit more fairways by pushing the start line outward. TaylorMade is promising players more ball speeds and players on Tour are beginning to take notice. TaylorMade has innovated Tour-level driver performance for the masses with their new injectable model and golfers of all abilities can be sure they are getting Tour-like treatment with their new club.

Editor's note: Golf for Beginners' Barry Solomon recently was fitted for the TaylorMade M6 and will provide an unbiased review after testing the driver and matching TaylorMade M6 irons).

5. Titleist TS2
The 917D drivers from Titleist were underwhelming at best. The TS2 driver is a departure from traditional; a product of the “Titleist Speed project,” the TS2 offers improved ball speeds and better spin rates for all players.

The most forgiving driver Titleist has ever produced, the TS2 is an outstanding performer for golfers looking for help off of the tee. Titleist combined a faster shape and weight pulled as far back as the rules allow to give golfers longer and more stable drives. Used on Tour by players such as Adam Scott and Cameron Smith, the TS2 is made for every golfer.

Which Driver Is Right for You?

By getting these different drivers into your hands and testing them, you can determine which model is best for you.

Before purchasing, make sure that the club looks great behind the golf ball and that you feel confident swinging your new club. Meet with a professional club fitter who has your best interest in mind and don’t be afraid to ask questions when they hand you different equipment configurations. Ultimately, you will be the best judge of which driver is right for you and what can help you play your best golf.

Golf club manufacturers are constantly pushing the boundaries of golf club equipment and design, but the rules make sure that the onus is placed on the players to deliver their scores. Most importantly, enjoy the club buying process and treat each fitting as if it were a lesson. Go learn about your swing and learn about the golf club technologies that help make this game so great.

About the Author

This was a guest post written by Tony and Paul who are a father and son team who are not only best friends but love the game of golf. They created the Golfers Authority, to provide unbiased reviews, guides, tips, and advice in order to help other players improve their game.

Tony is also the founder and inventor of the Accuhit, one of the most recognized golf training aids in the world. The Accuhit has been recognized by Golfweek, Golf Tips Magazine, Asian Golf Monthly, and many other publications as one of the most cost-effective golf training aids in the market. 

Ping G 410 SFT Attribution:

This article is the opinion of the guest author. Golf for Beginners welcomes opinions but, as we always say, you should seek out a qualified golf professional for further details before you make a purchase.

Friday, February 08, 2019

5 Best Golf Drivers for Beginners in 2019 - BEFORE YOU BUY

This article about the 5 best golf drivers for beginners is the first in a two-part series written by guest writers Tony and Paul, creators of Golfers Authority and inventors of Accuhit golf training aid (read below for bio). Please click on the link in this paragraph for part 2 in the series.

Part one in the series describes features and fit you should consider before you buy your new driver; part two focuses on the actual benefits of the five drivers suggested for beginners. ENJOY!

INTRODUCTION: The Best Golf Drivers for Beginners 2019
As you begin to play the game of golf, finding the right equipment that performs well now, but can also grow with you as your swing changes, can be a difficult challenge. 

To help you begin your search, we created a list that provides you with the 5 best golf drivers in today’s market for your developing swing. In reading this article, you will learn the different components of the modern driver, which makes each of these clubs similar, and what makes each club unique.

By taking you through each different aspect of this crucial club, we hope to lead you to the one you should be using when you are making your next driver purchase. Each swing is different and there is no one driver that is universally best for everyone. However, there is a driver that is best for you and it is our goal to help you arrive at that club with this article.

Top 5 Best Drivers For Beginners:
1)     Ping G400 Max
2)     Callaway Epic Flash
3)     Ping G410 SFT
4)     TaylorMade M6
5)     Titleist TS2

How to Use Your Driver:
Players often use their golf drivers on most par-4 and par-5 golf holes. Some holes may introduce sharp terms called “dog-legs” that force you to use another club that does not fly as far as your driver. Drivers are created with the largest clubface and offer golfers the most distance and forgiveness when hitting the golf ball from the tee. Your driver will likely be the second most used club in your bag and demands significant attention when you are making a club buying decision.

Top Driver Features:
Each driver model is unique, but all drivers share important components that help golfers during their rounds. Every driver is made with a club head that reaches 460 cubic centimeters, (cc), in size. This is the maximum allowed size for the game of golf. Each club also is matched with a shaft and grip that helps complement the overall design. Below we go through each of these individually to help you choose options that are right for you.

Club Head: Drivers share commonalities of loft, centers of gravity (CG), and moments of inertia (MOI), that give each of them their playing characteristics. In their most simple of terms, the loft will have the largest impact on how high the ball flies after it leaves the club face. The CG will determine spin rates and the MOI will allow the club to be more or less forgiving. Beginning golfers should look for drivers with more loft, lower and rearward CG, and the highest possible MOI configurations. The combination of these three factors will give you a driver that is easier to hit and that helps you develop important swing fundamentals.

Shaft: Each driver will come built with stock shaft offerings. These shafts are created to compliment the club head characteristics of each new driver as they are built. Aftermarket shafts are available, but will charge upwards of $300 additional dollars and are usually not recommended for swings still under development.

Shafts are categorized based on their weight, flexes, and bend profiles. Choosing the proper weight and flexes for your shafts will help you get the most out of your new driver. The shaft should be thought of as a timing device that helps you deliver the clubhead to the golf ball. Getting a shaft that helps you keep your swing on track will improve your consistency and shot patterns. The parameters you should concern yourself with most in your shafts are the weight in a range of 50 to 70 grams and flexes between amateur, regular, and stiff. More advanced players may find a benefit in heavier and stiffer shafts but that will be your concern later.
How To Fit a Driver To Your Ball Flight:
Understanding what you need from a driver is paramount to getting the best one for your game. As your swing develops, it will be important to begin to track your shot patterns and performance as you play golf. To start, players often struggle with slice golf shots. These shots will curve to the right for right-handed players and left for left-handed players. If this sounds like you, then club fitting devices can be built to help you get the most from your new clubs.
Golf companies often offer drivers with more weight positioned in the heel of the driver. This weight helps slow the heel of the club down and allows the face to catch up and become squarer at impact. Beginners can benefit greatly from getting a “draw-bias” driver to help them eliminate their big miss.

What Common Club Fitting Terms Mean:
When you go for your first club fitting, you will be given a bunch of terms that can be confusing if you are hearing them for the first time. We want to take you through a few of those so that you can be confident when you are testing different clubs.

Club swing speed: this is the speed at which you will be moving the club around your body at impact. Higher swing speeds will lead to longer drives and this is something that will continue to improve as your swing becomes more efficient.

Ball speed: the rules of golf set a limit for the maximum amount of ball speed that can be produced from a swing speed. Swing speed input to output is limited at a 1:1.5 ratio. Examples include a player swinging at 100mph can produce a ball speed of up to 150 mph at complete efficiency. Players swinging at 80 mph should optimize for ball speeds at 120 mph and 90 mph swing speeds at 135 mph ball speeds.

Efficiency or smash factor: these terms are interchangeable and reference the quality of strike with the golf club. Strikes in the sweet spot will result in a smash factor near 1.5 and give the best ball speed for swing speed. As strikes move away from the center of the club face, this efficiency rating will diminish, and players will lose distance even at the same club head speeds.

Launch angle: this is the angle that the golf ball launches as it leaves the club face after impact. Launch angles that are too low will result in drives that fly shorter than they should and the same is true for angles that are too high. Depending on your swing speed and swing characteristics, your ideal launch angle can differ. Making sure that your golf driver is launching through the correct window is the best way to make sure your new driver is optimally fit for you. 

Spin rate: is the term used for the backspin applied to the golf ball during its flight. Too little backspin will cause the golf ball to fall out of the air too quickly and lead to distance loss. Too high of spin can cause a ballooning-effect and cause shots to fly shorter than they should. Another important consideration of spin rate is higher spinning shots create a more stable ball flight that will curve less offline in poor swing conditions.

Carry distance: is the distance that the golf ball will travel before it hits the ground. This is often the number that club fitters will focus on most as the course conditions and temperatures will have the larger impact on your total distance. When comparing drivers. This distance should be considered the most.

Total distance: is the distance the golf ball travels until it comes to rest. The carry distance plus the rollout will yield the total distance. This number can fluctuate as the ground hardens and softens with different levels of moisture and changes in the landscape. Golfers often report this distance as their driving distance but it should be looked at critically due to the variability outside of the golfer’s control.

Related post: Tips for a Correct Driver Fitting Experience

Questions to Ask Your Club Fitter or Pro:
Anytime you are trying new clubs, it is important to remember that your club fitter may hold multiple objectives. They may be trying to get you the best equipment for your game, but they may also be trying to sell you an expensive new club. Make sure that you understand exactly why they have set up a club the way they have and how it helps your swing.

Why did you give me that loft?
The static loft of the golf club will have the largest impact on your golf ball launch angles and spin rates. Beginning players are often encouraged to have more loft so that their ball flight is more stable, and their misses are less severe.

Are all 10.5-degree loft drivers the same?
No. Depending on the center of gravity and clubhead construction, similar lofts can have very different impacts on ball flight performance. Make sure you are coupling your loft of choice with a CG that is low and back.

What is the difference in standard model drivers and draw-bias designs?
Draw-bias drivers have more weight in the heel and can help golfers eliminate slice tee-shots. These drivers are great for beginning golfers and can help keep the ball in play. An important consideration, if you are planning to use this driver through a developing swing, is that some drivers enable the weight so that it can be moved as their swing adapts and improves.

What weight of shaft do I need?
The weight of the golf shaft can have the largest impact on golf club delivery and performance consistency. You should consider testing different shaft weights, especially in the 50-, 60-, and 70-gram ranges. Even at slower swing speeds, a heavier shaft can help golfers to maintain their swing plane and produce better, more repeatable golf shots.

Do I need a regular or stiff flex shaft?
Without testing different shafts, it can be impossible to know which is best for your swing. Not all regular or stiff flex shafts are the same. Shaft flex will largely come down to which you prefer the feel of during your swing arc. Loosely, shaft flex will correlate with swing speed and higher swing players will fit into stiffer shafts.

Should I play a low-spin driver?
Drivers with less spin can produce the longest drives. However, as spin rates decrease, the ball flights can become less stable and curve farther offline. Beginning players are encouraged to choose drivers that have higher spin rates to help their accuracy until their strike is more consistent.

How do I test drivers indoors?

Testing during the winter months and during poor weather can offer golfers a greater chance to analyze their equipment and make new club purchases. Most retail stores have indoor launch simulators that provide you with all the club and golf ball data mentioned above to help you fit your new driver. 

About the Author

This was a guest post written by Tony and Paul who are a father and son team who are not only best friends but love the game of golf. They created the Golfers Authority, to provide unbiased reviews, guides, tips and advice in order to help other players improve their game.

Tony is also the founder and inventor of the Accuhit, one of the most recognized golf training aids in the world. The Accuhit has been recognized by Golfweek, Golf Tips Magazine, Asian Golf Monthly, and many other publications as one of the most cost-effective golf training aids in the market.

This article is the opinion of the guest author. Golf for Beginners welcomes opinions but, as we always say, you should seek out a qualified golf professional for further details before you make a purchase.

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