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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Machismo Mafia On The Tee

Black, blue, white, green, gold--nearly every golf course offers a choice of tee boxes meant to make the game enjoyable for every player. Unfortunately, testosterone determines the tee box most players choose.

Instead of playing a course length appropriate to their physical ability and skill level—one where they can play every club in their bag, face the widest variety of challenging approach shots, and get the greatest amount of satisfaction from the game—they insist on hitting from the back tees. No girly men here!

Ask them why, and they’ll say something like “I want to see all the course.” It’s a stupid observation, but one unfortunately true in a way they don’t realize. Because they’re trying to hit their tee shot farther (consciously or not), they’re much more likely to drive the ball off-line, greatly increasing the chances of seeing the rough, the trees, the lakes, the next fairway, and the patio beyond the out-of-bound stakes. Sure makes the game fun.

Even when they somehow make the fairway, these “bombers” are usually well back from the position where the course designer intended the second shot on the hole to be played. Most courses are designed for a 250-yard drive, which is what the USGA expects the scratch player to hit. The machismo mafia may think they drive the ball 280 or even 300 like the pros, but I guarantee they hit the vast majority of their tee shots 235 or less on a good day. Once a month it goes 260; once a season 280. We all remember those bombs; unfortunately the reason we remember them so well is that they are the exception to the rule.

So, in those rare instances where it lands in the fairway, where does that 235-yard drive leave you for your second shot? Playing a hybrid or a fairway wood of (heaven forbid) a long iron into a green meant to be approached with a mid- or short-iron. And it’s a long way, so you swing harder, just like you did off the tee.

If the only time you hit a short iron is for your third shot on a par four, you’re playing from the wrong tees.

You should be guided to the correct tees by your handicap. Most courses recommend about a 10 or less play from the blues. Anything higher should go from the whites. Only a true scratch golfer should even think about playing the tips.

Another way is to analyze the scorecard in relation to your game. If your (honestly-measured) average drive goes 235, subtract that from the yardage of the par fours on the course. If you’re left with over honest five-iron distance on more than a third of the par fours, you probably should be swinging from the whites.

Playing the right tees isn’t about shooting a lower score, by the way. It’s about getting the most enjoyment from your game. It takes a lot more skill to execute a wide variety of second shots than it does to bomb one off the tee and into the woods.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Scavino - Cream Rises To The Top

All my friends are becoming famous, it seems. Dan Scavino, General Manager of Trump National Golf Club in Westchester Couny, New York has been promoted by Donald J. Trump, to Executive Vice President and General Manager of the club. Kudos to Dan!

Scavino joined the Trump Organization in 2004 after stints with Coca-Cola and Galderma Labs. Dan not only runs a great golf club, but devotes a significant amount of time to community service as well. He was awarded a Citation of Merit from the New York State Senate for outstanding citizenship and was recognized for helping former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani raise funds for victims of Hurricane Katrina with an AmeriCares golf outing at Trump National. Scavino has worked very closely with organizations such as The Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation, Alonzo Mourning Charities, The Eric Trump Foundation, Easter Seals, American Cancer Society, and countless others.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Swing Tips From Hank Haney

My friend Stacy Solomon recently conducted a fine interview with Hank Haney, one of the game's top instructors and most widely noted as the man who helped Tiger Woods rebuild his swing. Stacy got Haney to tell us mortals how to hit the ball better, too.

For a free lesson from Tiger Woods' swing coach, go to Golf for Beginners

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Anglebrook Lands Mid-Am

Anglebrook 18
One of my all-time favorite courses has been chosen by the Metropolitan Golf Association to host the Mid-Amateur, one of the leading tournaments on the roster of the New York metro area golf organization. Anglebrook Golf Club, a 10-year-old gem in Lincolndale, NY, will host the two-day event in 2013.

The MGA Mid-Amateur is a 36-hole stroke-play invitational for the area's best amateurs aged 35 years and older. A field of 80 or so begin the tournament, but the field is reduced to the low 40 and ties for the second day.

Last year's event was won by Tuxedo Country Club member Michael Reardon, who shot 69-72-141 at Hudson National, where the slope of 146 is just slightly higher than Anglebrook's 143. Bayonne Golf Club hosts this year's tournament, with The Creek ('09), GlenArbor ('10 and another of my favorites), and Essex County Country Club ('11) coming up.

This is the second time the MGA tapped Anglebrook:
"Following our experience at the 2007 U.S. Amateur sectional qualifying round, it became obvious that the challenge, the beauty and the location of Anglebrook made it a perfect site for our Mid-Am."
--Gene Westmoreland, MGA Tournament Director
Anglebrook General Manager Matt Sullivan says the club is honored to join the list of prestigious sites chosen by the MGA for one of its premiere events.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the