Is it just us, or does Brooks & Bryson sound like a strong post-round drink?
Us: Bartender! A Brooks & Bryson, please.
Bartender: Bad round?
Us: We can only liken it to the image of a goat in a phone booth. Messy, confusing, and completely and unnecessarily out of place.
A Good Walk Less Spoiled...With A Caddie
Caddies...they aren’t just there to hoof an oversized staff bag around a golf course….most have other duties.
For the less skilled, a typical refrain for a middling caddie, “Keep Up and Shut Up”
Watching Erik Anders Lang try and tame Kiawah, one of the more striking bits of the production was the immediate rapport he had with very experienced local caddie, Mark Bloomer.
- Sage advice all around the course to try and get Lang home in his target score of 90
- Bloomer knew the wind was going to be biggest factor and would kick Lang’s tail
- The best way to break 90 that day was play safe/layup, rely on chipping and putting
While Lang’s results didn’t quite measure up to his expectations, we wondered how the average golfer would fare with a Mark Bloomer-type on the bag:
- How much, if any, would their overall scoring improve
- Would addressing course strategy, the changing elements and/or reading greens help
- Does having a sounding board when things went sideways help get a player re-focused
This has been discussed on a few separate forums and the points made and people’s thoughts generally fall into a few distinct categories:
- Low handicap - 2 to 4 shots difference, especially if the course was unfamiliar
- High handicaps - 5 to 6 shots difference, independent of the course
Another oft discussed theme was higher handicaps figured mishits, tops and other poor swings cost them more strokes than a caddie would save. What isn’t taken into account is:
- Caddies see the clubs/shots you are playing “well” and tailor their advice accordingly
- Even with topped drives and mishits, most strokes are gagged away 100 yards and in
- Focusing on getting up and down in fewer strokes and consistent putting always helps
- Not compounding a bad swing with a subsequent bad decision
An often understated side of having the caddie is the resetting of expectations and not taking yourself so seriously.
The good caddie will tell you the truth about your game, despite your blinding lack of self-awareness. While the truth does hurt sometimes, it is critical in a game like golf to have that caddie’s perspective of your own game, whether it’s you or some jovial chap carrying your bag around.
- PGA Tour Rivalry: Brooks Keopka showed us how he truly feels about Dechambeau. We haven't been exposed to a public rivalry like this since Vijay's caddie decided to poke the Tiger. Or Stephen Ames decided to dismiss Tiger's lack-luster playing...before losing virtually every hole to Tiger in their Match Play.
- How did Keopka Dechambeau video surface: according to the New York Times, some guy on Twitter just stumbled across it. Guess it was just floating around in the outer reaches of the internet before this guy just found it. Nothing to do with someone in-house thinking it was hilarious and posting it online.
- Jordan Speith struggled on the weekend: [fill in differently if Jordan plays well on weekend]
- Swan Putt: Birdie, Eagle, Albatross...swan? Golfers getting chased by animals on the course never gets old.
- Justin Thomas has bank: and is bankrolling Michael Visacki on his quest to play on the PGA Tour. Remember Visacki's tearful phone call to his dad when he made a Monday Qualifier...I'm not crying, you're crying!
- 11 Clubs: Tour pro qualifies for The Open Championship with 11 clubs...the same amount of clubs I use on the first hole of any round. Must. Get. Better.
- Caddie stays at commune: Joel Dahmen's caddie stayed at what he described as a commune (by accident) during the Genesis Open. Guess, he didn't get the 2 for 1 coupon for the Chateau Marmont.
- Change is good?: it's the yearly tradition of Augusta ripping up some grass and making changes for next year's tournament. Hey guys, you've got a pretty nice golf course.
The Tremendous Improvement Of A Slouch Golfer
Got what it takes to be a scratch player? Hmmm, hmmmm, Danny? Or even just a tremendous slouch of a golfer?
Would it be easier to go from a higher handicap “bogey” golfer to a mid-handicap player or from a mid-to-low handicap player to a scratch player?
There has been some fantastic documentation of the general trends of players of various abilities. While this data was procured a few years back, there likely hasn’t been much change in the overall take home message(s):
- Scores: scratch (75), single digit (85), bogey golfer (95) [Average - 91]
- FIR: scratch (62%), single digit (51%), bogey golfer (45%) [Average - 48%]
- GIR: scratch (57%), single digit (37%), bogey golfer (21%) [Average - 29%]
- Putts: scratch (31.5), single digit (34), bogey golfer (36) [Average - 35]
Improving on average by a single shot over a four hole stretch would make a huge difference.
If you play bogey golf and clean up half a shot on half the holes, you’re knocking 4.5 shots off your score...just like that. While there are more shot for a bogey golfer to clean up compared with their lower handicap brother and sisters, the concept is still the same:
- It is abundantly clear that hitting greens and putting are critical to better scores
- Improve chipping and putting (lag and short putts, especially) -> quick improvement
- Distance always helps, however, keeping your ball in play is critical to lowering scores
Another aspect of the game that will certainly assist in your improvement is to play from the proper tees.
- Too often, golfers’ egos get in the way of making a wise choice on tees to be used
- Many courses now offer up suggestions for tees to use based solely on handicap
- Using proper tees minimizes the overemphasis on distance required for longer setups
There aren’t any really earth shattering tidbits of information here.
The not-so-secret secret to getting better is first realizing that a 300 yard drive, a hosel rocket into the woods, a chip-in or a ball left in a bunker all count the same...one stroke. The key is to figure out where you piss away strokes and get a plan together to start cleaning the mess off your face.
TIPS...from the TIPS
- Ben Hogan's first move: here is a simple look at what Ben focused on at the start of his downswing. It was not his arms or shoulders, it was his knees and his hips. The arms and shoulder lagged and created the explosive "hit" into the ball.
- Approach: Our favorite announcer to hate, Johnny Miller, breaks down why Seve Ballesteros was the master iron player that he was. In short, he had more than one swing. He didn't try to keep it pretty, he did what he needed to pull off the shot.
- Boss of the Moss: Loren Roberts is a shoulder stroker (his words), whereby he controls the distance of his putts by how much he rocks his shoulders. Are you a wrist stroker (our words)? Are you armsy? Maybe take a note from Loren to knock off those last few strokes.
Hosel Rocket: when the hosel of your club hits the ball
Whoa, hosel rocket! Houston we have a problem. We've just sent a ball where no man has gone before!
BRANDS WE LOVE
Local Series Irons
They've developed a forged and CNC milled players cavity iron. Forged from 1020 Carbon Steel and CNC milled they provide the feedback, moderate topline, and workability that players need while maintaining forgiveness.
I think what we love the most is not just the quality but the quantity. With the rise in popularity of half-sets and Sunday bags (see last week's email), Geom is building 1/2 and 1/3 sets.
*not a sponsored post
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