The Open Championship is the third of the four majors on the professional golf schedule. Many golf fans call it the British Open but its official title is The Open Championship. “The Open” as it is also referred is the oldest of the four majors. The first was held in 1860, 156 years ago! The Open is regarded by many, especially European players, as the most prestigious tournament in the world of golf.
The trophy for The Open called the Claret Jug; and it is one of the most renown in the world of sports.
The Claret Jug has been passed around since 1873 (seeing its fair share of celebrations).
Unlike the Masters that is held at Augusta National every year, The Open has a rotation of links-style golf courses that the tournament cycles through. Each of them has seen hall-of-famers from every generation from the very early days of golf through present day.
The most famous of the venues is the Old Course at St Andrews in St Andrews Scotland. Due to its deep history as the home of golf the tournament is held there every five years (more frequent than the other venues).
In fact last year’s Open was held at St Andrews and The Champion Golfer of the Year (as the winner is referred) was Zach Johnson.
Concannon, Dennies. Swilican Bridge. Digital image. N.p., 8 Apr. 2012. Web. 6 July 2016
Habbick, Alan. Black Hole. Digital image. Alan Habbick Photography, 4 Feb. 2015. Web. 6 July 2016.
Claret Jug. Digital image. Best of Both, 2 Aug. 2010. Web. 6 July 2016.
“Success in golf depends less on the strength of body, and more on the strength of mind and character”- Arnold Palmer
Golf equipment was not always the same as it is today, with high tech composite crowns in the club heads or shafts tested by special robots designed to swing a golf club.
The evolution of the driver, though constant year after year, can be broken down into three major categories.
The first is hickory shafted clubs or clubs with a wooden head and shaft. This is why woods are called woods, simply because during the early stages of the game these were the clubs made almost entirely out of wood. These were used widely until the 30’s when their popularity slowly but steadily declined with the introduction of steel shafts.
That brings us to the next major breakthrough in golf club design; metal shafts. Our second category consists of drivers and woods that have metal shafts but still sport the signature wooden head. These clubs were used widely from the 40’s through the late 70’s and were center stage at many great moments in golf history.
Our final category consists of divers we see today. (Metal shafts and metal heads) However these clubs did not get this way over night. TaylorMade created the first widely used “metal wood” in the late 70’s and Calaway’s Big Bertha paved the way for the large headed drivers we see today.
Marttila, Olli. Hickory Golf Clubs. Digital image. N.p., Aug. 2009. Web. 2 June 2016.
Johns, Terry. TaylorMade R15. Digital image. N.p., Nov. 2014. Web. 2 June 2016.
Thompson, Mg. Iron Byron. Digital image. N.p., 19 Nov. 2013. Web. 2 June 2016.
“Be decisive. A wrong decision is generally less disastrous than an indecision. ” – Bernhard Langer
What is the Players?
Last week the Players Championship took place at TPC Sawgrass outside of Jacksonville Florida. The Players Championship is the flagship event of the PGA tour; and it is considered by players and fans alike as the unofficial 5th major of the year. The tournament has the strongest field of any golf tournament in the entire world, and the stadium stage only adds to the aura of the event.
The Golf Course:
The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, holds its name due to the mounds and hills that enclose each hole. These hills were created to allow spectators to see, rather than staggering over each other hoping to get a glimpse of a player’s swing. Each hole gives the effect of an outdoor amphitheater with stadium seating at all angles.
Pete Dye, a renowned golf course architect and designer of the Stadium Course, is known for his visually intimidating designs. That being said, there aren’t many holes that are as iconic as the last two at the stadium course.
The 17th is perhaps one of the most famous par 3’s in all of golf (and certainly the most exciting). The hole is very short but it is an island green completely surrounded by water. This makes it a necessity to hit the green, otherwise there is danger of making a double, or worse. Despite the exterior obstacles, the hole is still very short and has been subject to birdies (3 from last year’s champion Rickie Fowler) and even holes in one.
The 18th is curtained by the massive clubhouse and water that runs down the entire left side. The hole, like the rest of the course, asks a player to gather themselves and execute a great shots in order to hold the trophy Sunday evening.
Jason Day Wins: This year, world number one Jason Day, pictured below, won the Players Championship in a wire to wire victory. (This means that he help the lead in all four rounds).
Kaminski, John. TPC Sawgrass Hole 18. Digital image. N.p., Mar. 2012. Web. <https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnekaminski/6886156004/in/photolist-buvmgE-bHq8C8-4vg3di-4vk685-oXMu7c-bVPoo3-g46V5q-4vg3h6-YU8FE-hNPyqE-oimXJg-bCJKES-9yB1Wk-dHD3YY-6oStLJ-9yB1nk-dHxyma-dHD3qs-4vk6k5-b6287c-9yB1Vc-4vk7hG-9yB1Bv-sAEwGL-cSDU3o-9yB29F-4vg3Ta-4vg41t-9yE1Su-4vk7jf-bHq8G2-9yB11t-bVPp4U-4vg2Zx-6oSr2Q-7dxkoM-p1ogtU-4vg42p-4vk7nj-4vg33z-FPkXY-cSDVuC-9yAZEx-b62bSk-eW2Vws-6DFVby-4vg37D-5ASXNF-ehC1qN-gm5vvm>.
Du Bois, Robert. 17th Hole TPC Sawgrass. Digital image. N.p., July 2014. Web. 17 May 2016. <https://www.flickr.com/photos/lordisgood/14513456410/>.
Nelson, James. Jason Day- TPC Sawgrass 2016. Digital image. N.p., May 2016. Web. 17 May 2016. <https://www.flickr.com/photos/jjnphoto/26348328173/in/photolist-dEXuCn-dFCHYt-9MQvMx-dECFFn-fGYEpk-9MQw8B-rgGYMA-nwdC3q-9MThay-9MThe7-9MThbu-9MThem-t1Qok5-s7kWhP-t4akzV-G9e2m7-G9j51e>.
A great visualization technique and green reading tip is to “see the line” before you put. By this I mean try to mentally trace the line that the ball will roll on in order to fall into the cup. All great putters do this, as it boosts confidence on the greens. When you see a line that you like can trust, it is very easy to pull the trigger.
This may take practice, but eventually it will come naturally. In order to become a truly confident putter one must hone their visual line reading skills.
Many Professional golfers have a tilt in their spine at the address of a tee shot. Tilting can be hard to remember or have inconsistencies within a routine. One simple way to set up like the PGA Tour players and be consistent is to touch your knee at address.
First setup with your non-dominant hand as depicted below.
Then simply touch your knee with your dominant hand to create a tilt. This tilt will result in higher launch angles and longer carry distance as the body is positioned to make contact on the up swing rather than the down swing like an iron.
Of all the hazards, fear is the worst. -Sam Snead
One way to create an impact on your golf game and self-esteem is through positive self-talk. No, this doesn’t entail you being over joyed and giggly when out on the golf course (though smiling tends to help).
Positive self-talk actually means re-enforcing in yourself what you want to do and achieve.
Step 1: Get rid of the don’ts: It has been scientifically proven that the words “don’t” and “not” (negatives) rarely register in our subconscious minds. In fact, “do” and “don’t” register subconsciously in the same way. That is why when we say “don’t hit it in the water” as we usually do, our mind registers the word “water,” assumes it to be the goal, and sends the ball flying right toward the subconscious target (the lake). However, according to John Weir, a golf mental performance coach, and author of Golfers Guide to Mental Fitness, thinking positive can be a powerful attribute to golfers. He explained that our body will respond to the direction of the thoughts we plant in our mind. Therefore, if we redirect our attention by using positive statements of where we want to actually hit the shot, it is more useful in creating a more desirable result. So instead of saying “don’t go in the water” replace the negative with a positive goal by affirming something like, “I want to hit the left side of the green” or “let’s hit the fairway”.
Step 2: Embed positive thoughts in the mind: During our conversation, John also mentioned the importance of utilizing positive thoughts off of the course. Rather than saying, “I am struggling” or “I am having difficulty doing (…),” statements like “I’m improving”, “I am learning to (…),” “I’m a great putter”, or “every time a step over a golf shot I feel ready and confident” can have a positive impact on one’s confidence. By taking the time to introduce these positive thoughts into your thought process, your golf game and self-esteem will improve simultaneously.
John’s book is great for golfers of all levels, I use the techniques daily. His book can be found at Amazon or by clicking here: http://www.golfersguidetomentalfitness.com/
For more information on John click the link below:
The one question I ask myself after every putt is not “did it go in?” but rather, “did it roll line over line?” By that I mean, did the ball have a smooth roll, end over end (or head over heels). This is a great way to test the purity of a putting stroke and is relatively simple.
First, draw a line all the way around the golf ball.
Then set up to the putt lining the line of the putter so that it nearly touches the line on the ball (other wise known as square impact).
Finally test if the line wiggles or spins completely around. If so, this meas that the ball is rolling on a titled axis and isn’t moving “head over heels”. This is an indication that the putter face and path are out of sync or that the tempo of the stroke is off. It will be tough at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will find that the line on the ball will find the bottom of the cup.