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Golf.com

Five of the most unusual golf course settings in the world

By Evan Rothman
Uummannaq
Greenland
It’s not pronounced “you maniac,” but maybe it should be. Nor is Uummannaq, a small island in Greenland, a traditional golf course; a “greens committee” would be oxymoronic, given there’s no grass, simply ice and snow, and you roll the rock on “whites” (yeah, that’s what they call the greens).
Royal Thimpu Golf Club
Thimpu, Bhutan
Talk about rare air. Overlooking the Tashichho Dzong Buddhist monastery and fortress, Royal Thimpu GC rests more than 7,700 feet above sea level and is believed to be the highest course in the world. Cows and dogs are not uncommon sights on the fairways and greens of this remarkably scenic nine-hole par-35.
Brickyard Crossing
Indianapolis, Ind.
Winning the Indy 500 at the “the Brickyard” (aka the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) is straightforward—go fast and make a lot of left turns. Navigating this Pete Dye layout, which features four holes inside the famous racing oval, offers somewhat more complex fare—and many thrills of its own.
Ile Aux Cerfs Golf Club
Mauritius
Island greens? Meh. An island course? That’s rare. Ile Aux Cerfs GC isn’t a course on an island—it essentially is the island. Reached by boat and composed of 18 holes of Bernhard Langer–designed golf, it sits in the largest lagoon off the island-nation of Mauritius.
Merapi Golf Course
Yogyakarta, Indonesia
If golf next to an active volcano brings to mind a pairing with Pat Perez after he three-putts, you haven’t seen Merapi GC throw a fit. The course is nestled in the shadow of Mt. Merapi, and when that last erupted, in 2013, dust and ash rocketed nearly a mile skyward. When these contents returned to terra firma, they blanketed the adjacent countryside, including the course. Lift, clean and place—or, better yet, just run for it.
Originally published by Golf.com
Golf Digest
The Drill You Need When Your Swing Falls Apart
By So Yeon Ryu
With two wins and two second-place finishes—and moving to No. 1 in the world in the Rolex ranking—I’m having the best year of my career. But that doesn’t mean my golf swing is always perfect. There are times when I’m not hitting it nearly as well as I want. That’s when I go back to the range. A drill I use to turn things around can help you get your swing back, too.
My instructor, Cameron McCormick, showed me this Stomping Drill. You might know Cameron because of his work with Jordan Spieth. I love this drill because it can improve your timing, balance, weight shift, footwork and more. I have a bad habit of letting my body rotate toward the target too soon when I hit irons, but this drill helps hold off that rotation. Delaying that rotation also can cure a slice, because it improves swing path. You won’t cut across the ball as much.
Here’s how it works: Grab an iron and get in your address posture with your feet close together. As you start your backswing, take a sidestep away from the target with your back foot. Then, as you reach the top of your backswing, lift your front foot up (above) and sidestep toward the target, planting that foot again before swinging down into the ball. Sidestepping with each foot trains you to shift your weight correctly. It also helps complete the backswing before starting the downswing, great for syncing things up. As a bonus, it helps you feel how to push off the ground to generate more power.
It’s going to takea little practice to do this drill correctly, so go slow at first. But it will help you get your swing back. 
With Keely Levins
So Yeon Ryu has five wins on the LPGA Tour and is the No. 1 player in the world.
Originally published by Golf Digest

Golf Digest

A wounded veteran finds salvation on the golf course

By Alan P. Pittman
June 22, 2018
Learning to play golf with two good hands is hard enough. Imagine trying it for the first time with only one hand. This was former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ramon Padilla’s introduction, and, amazingly, it took just a handful of swings before he flushed a 5-iron 150 yards and was awestruck. “I thought golf was a sissy sport,” says Padilla, a football and baseball standout in high school whose nickname was Ramon Chingon (Badass Ramon). “But when I hit that shot, the flight of the ball was one of the most gorgeous things I’d ever seen in my life. From that moment on, I was hooked. All I wanted to do was get better.”
Padilla’s journey from Mexico to Los Angeles to Afghanistan to Washington, D.C., where he now works at the Pentagon helping wounded veterans, is a classic American success story. Padilla came to the United States in 1976 as an undocumented immigrant. He was just 2 years old when his parents carried him and his 1-year-old brother across the border in search of a better life. The family settled in El Monte, a residential area of Los Angeles, and eventually became naturalized citizens. Even as a kid, Padilla felt enormous gratitude toward his adopted country. He avoided the gang life so prevalent in his neighborhood by immersing himself in organized sports. Padilla also volunteered at the El Monte police department, where he got to know the chief of police, Ken Weldon. “He took care of me while I was growing up. He mentored me,” Padilla says.
In his early 20s, Padilla began looking for a way to repay his good fortune. “I wanted to do something for this great country that I live in,” he says. “I grew up here; I’m taking, I’m taking, I’m taking. I’m not giving back.” Padilla decided the military was the best way he could serve, so about a year before 9-11, he joined the U.S. Army. It was here that Padilla felt a sense of purpose and belonging. He developed a bond with the other soldiers who came from every corner of the United States and included many first-generation immigrants like himself.
Padilla signed up for the U.S. Army out of a feeling of obligation to the country where he made his home.
It was during Padilla’s second tour of duty, in 2007, that he found himself in a harrowing firefight in Kandahar, Afghanistan. An RPG exploded, severing his left arm and fracturing his skull. It took a dramatic rescue by the soldiers in his unit to save his life. While recovering at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center near Washington, D.C., Padilla was filled with self-doubt. What kind of future did he have? Would he even be able to play catch with his son? His therapist introduced him to Jim Estes, the director of instruction at Olney Golf Park in Maryland. Estes wanted Padilla to try golf. He laughed at the idea at first but eventually agreed. “Besides my kids being born, it was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Padilla says. In addition to using golf to overcome his physical limitations, Ramon found that the game helped him manage post-traumatic symptoms from his brain injury. It was another important step toward a normal life.
“Besides my kids being born, it was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Padilla says of golf.
Early on, Padilla hit way more grounders than solid shots, so he set out to design a prosthesis that attaches to his clubs. This offered relief to his good hand and became a turning point in his development. Soon he was competing in tournaments with other wounded veterans and even winning a few. “I’m traveling, meeting people, hanging out with other veterans, getting my family involved in the game. After losing my arm in battle, dealing with my post-traumatic brain injury, I can honestly say golf saved my life.”
Today Padilla lives in Maryland with his wife and his three youngest children. He’s about a 14-handicap, with a smooth and powerful swing that can launch drives 250 yards. His veteran status, connections and love of golf has presented some unique opportunities, like hitting balls on the range with Tiger Woods and playing rounds with former president George W. Bush, who painted a portrait of Padilla for his 2017 book Portraits of Courage. In the accompanying short documentary, Padilla relives the fateful moment in Afghanistan that changed his life, and how golf helped him heal from the trauma of war.
Originally published on Golf Digest
Golf Digest
Butch Harmom’s two-step slice fix
By Butch Harmon
When I meet golfers who’ve been struggling with a slice since day one, I know I’m going to have some fun. Why? Because I can straighten their ball flight, even teach them to hit a draw, in a matter of minutes. Getting in the correct positions is easy. Beating a slice is ultimately about commitment and good habits.
If you’re like most slicers, the first fix you need is in the setup. Close your feet, hips and shoulders so they’re pointing to the right of your target. This takes some faith because you’re shifting in the direction you want to avoid. But a closed setup does two things: First, it makes it easier to turn back and complete the backswing. Second, it slows down your hip turn on the way through (above), which allows your hands and arms to drop to the inside and swing out to the ball—the first step to hitting a draw.
Easy so far, right? Well, the next step flows from the first. From the top, focus on making a smooth body turn through impact; don’t let your body spin open, as a lot of slicers do. (This is where the closed setup will help.) The key is, you want your arms to swing past your body, because your trail arm will roll over your lead arm, closing the clubface (above). That’s the second step to hitting a draw.
So set your body closed, and let your arms go past you. You’ll love what you see.
WHEN IN DOUBT, BENCH THE DRIVER
There’s nothing impressive about grab-bing your driver on a tight hole if you end up flaring it into the junk. Taking a more lofted club makes good sense because more loft means less curve. So the same impact with a driver versus, say, a 5-wood can be the difference between having a shot to the green and being out of play. Hybrids are good choices, too, because they fly higher and land softer than fairway woods and long irons. Point is, don’t let your ego win.
BUTCH HARMON is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional.
Originally published by Golf Digest
Pull yourself out of that rut and hole more putts
By Cameron McCormick
Was your performance in 2016 slightly less than satisfying? I know it’s not enough to hear it happens to everyone from time to time. You want to shake off the year of stubs, lip-outs and three-jacks before golf season rolls back around and you’re racking up missed putts again like a kid catching Pokémon. Well, if you really want to fix this flat-stick fiasco, you’re going to need a bit more than a 30-minute session rolling balls into those tiny golf cups. I recommend a full reboot. Here I’m going to give you four ways to pull yourself out of that putting rut. Sometimes only one of these will do the trick, but be prepared for the reality that you might need all four. Best get started. —With Ron Kaspriske
1.) BENCH YOUR PUTTER
If you’re the kind of golfer who talks to a putter, gives it a good spanking when it isn’t performing, and even threatens to back the pickup truck over it in the parking lot, it’s time for the “we need to take a break from each other” conversation. Bench your putt-er for something different. Use a blade? Switch to a mallet. Always preferred heel-shafted putters? Try a centershaft. Everything from club length to grip circumference is up for consideration. Go get fitted (View: Your Ultimate Guide To Finding A Better Game). The big switch works for two reasons. First, there are no bad memories with a new putter. It’s a new day. Second, assuming the old one isn’t now residing in a scrap-metal yard, you’ll make it just jealous enough that it will perform its best when you rekindle your relationship.
2.) REALLY BENCH YOUR PUTTER
“It’s not you, it’s me” won’t fly as a break-up excuse after the second Tinder date, but it’s probably true of your relationship with the putter. It showed up ready to bury every five-footer—but sometimes you didn’t. You need a refresher on mechanics. So I suggest you practice putting with your sand wedge. It’s not as crazy as it sounds. A good stroke is propelled by the shoulders and requires minimal hand or wrist action. To get the ball rolling with a wedge, you have to make that kind of stroke hitting the ball at its equator with the leading edge (above). This type of practice elicits precision and is good for the ol’ ego. You’re more apt to forgive yourself for a miss, which helps reduce those anxious feelings that turn you into a puddle of goo when the putts actually count.
3.) GRAB AND GO
You’ve held your putter the same way for so long the grip is starting to look like one of those training clubs that has grooved channels for your fingers. It’s time to switch it up, because what you’re doing, as they say here in Texas, is as pitiful as a three-legged dog. The easiest switch would be to flip hand positions so the higher one is lower. But I think you should take it a step further. Get crazy with it. Try the saw, the claw, the paintbrush, the non-anchored belly grip. Sometimes all you need is a dramatically different way of holding the club to reset your brain and start rolling the ball the way you used to.
4.) HIT SOME BOMBS
On the putting green you need to be more Picasso than Pythagoras. In other words, knowing the math behind a putt is important (speed, slope, etc.), but don’t let it squelch your right-brain artistry. You probably aren’t crunching numbers when you ball up a piece of paper and try tossing it into the garbage. You just use your feel. My suggestion? Go deep. Find the longest, craziest putts on a green and try to make them. Even putting from well off the green will help you get your feel back. You know you have to hit the ball hard, and you know it’s going to break, but when you try these long-distance putts, you become less concerned with the mechanics and tap back into the hand-eye coordination you thought you lost. Another benefit? It will free up your stroke. No more trying to steer them in. You’ll putt without fear of missing. Reboot complete.
Cameron McCormick is Jordan Spieth’s instructor and teaches at Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas.

Much like he did last summer, Francesco Molinari snuck up on everybody on Sunday at Bay Hill. Trailing by five strokes entering the final round, the reigning Open Champion shot an eight-under 64 to capture the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his third career PGA Tour title, all of which have come in his last 12 starts.

Molinari, who teed off 10 groups ahead of the leaders, got off to a hot start, making three birdies and no bogeys on his first seven holes. Just as it looked like he’d cool off at the par-4 eighth, where he badly missed the green with his approach, Molinari played a deft chip that found the bottom of the cup for another birdie. He made four more on the back nine, including a 43-foot bomb at the 72nd hole that wound up ultimately giving him a two-stroke win over Matthew Fitzpatrick, who shot a final-round 71.

“I don’t know, I’m just super glad,” said a shocked Molinari, who just put new clubs in the bag this week. “First week as a Callaway player, so happy to see that the switch I made wasn’t as crazy as some people thought. The clubs are good for me and I showed it this week.

“It’s great, to do it here, to get it done here at this place knowing that my wife and the kids were watching back home, it’s just a special, special one.”

By far the best club in the bag was Molinari’s putter, which he used to hole 146 feet of putts on Sunday, the most in his career. The 36-year-old from Italy called it his “best putting round ever,” a bold statement with the way putted on Sunday at Carnoustie to win his first major. While Arnie’s event isn’t a major, it felt just as good as one for Molinari.

“Incredible, it’s high up there with the best wins I’ve had. He [Arnold Palmer] was a special player but most of all a special person and a global icon for the game. For someone like me coming from Italy, he and Jack [Nicklaus] were up there as gods, so to win here is truly special.”

Fitzpatrick wasn’t able to close out his first PGA Tour victory, but he did finish alone in second. Sungjae Im, Tommy Fleetwood and Rafa Cabrera Bello tied for third. As for Rory McIlroy, it was another final-round dud. The Northern Irishman shot an even-par 72 to finish in a tied for sixth.

Source: golfdigest.com

Golf fans and media alike had a lot to say about the early leader board this week at the Honda Classic. Most of the complaints were because of the lack of star power, which was to be expected with Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and others skipping the event with Bay Hill and the Players lurking on the schedule. Naturally, the final round of the Honda proved to be the most exciting Sunday of the year.

Most of the excitement was due to Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka getting into a tie at eight under in the clubhouse, with Vijay Singh and Wyndham Clark still in reach out on the course. But it was Keith Mitchell, a 27-year-old playing in just his second full season on the PGA Tour, who wound up claiming his first career victory. The University of Georgia alum carded a three-under 67 that featured birdies on four of his final seven holes, including a 15-foot conversion at the 72nd hole, yielding a fiery fist pump.

“Everybody dreams about having that putt on the 18th hole to win a tournament,” Mitchell said afterwards, adding, “and I had it today, and fortunately I was able to capitalize, and it feels awesome.”

Had Mitchell’s putt not dropped, he would have been in a three-way playoff with Koepka and Fowler, two players with their fair share of victories. But Mitchell spoiled the party, impressively bouncing back after a poor drive at the par-5 18th that found a fairway bunker. He was forced to lay up, and then hit a 129-yard wedge shot 15 feet below the hole and buried the putt.

“It was awesome. I wish I could come up with a better word than that,” said Mitchell. “But just having a chance to play — coming down the stretch against Rickie Fowler and Brooks, those guys are the best in the world, and they’ve been out here proving themselves. I’m just pleased that I could prove myself against guys like that in such a great field and a great tournament, the Honda Classic.”

Prior to this week Mitchell had four career top 10s (all coming last year), including a solo second at the 2018 Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship. He showed plenty of potential as a rookie, reaching the third leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, but has struggled a bit in his sophomore season. Safe to say he’s had a successful year now, as this victory will give him nearly $1.5 million in total earnings in just 10 starts, almost eclipsing his total earnings all of last season.

Singh’s effort in pulling off the unthinkable was a valiant one, and on the 17th tee he still had a legitimate chance to win the golf tournament. But the 56-year-old badly hit his tee shot left and short of the green, and it bounced back into the water. He finished with an even-par 70, which earned him a solo sixth finish. Ryan Palmer and Lucas Glover finished one stroke ahead of Singh, tying for fourth.

The fix for golf’s worst shot
By Keely Levins
We know, we know. You don’t even want to talk about the shanks for fear bringing the subject up will cause you to catch them. But like it or not, you might find yourself in a situation where you’re going to want to know a solution. Though awful, the plague of the shanks is curable.
First thing you have to do is take a break from the course. You need some alone time to sort this out on the range. Start by checking in on a few basics. Make sure you’re standing tall with your chest up during the swing, don’t hold the club too tightly, and make sure your weight isn’t sneaking up towards your toes. David Leadbetter told us that not tending to all of these little things could be the root of your struggles.
He also gave us a drill that will cure your shanking woes.
Set up like you’re going to hit it, and then put a tee in the ground just outside the toe of the club. While you’re swinging, think about keeping the grip end of the club near your body. “Miss the tee at impact, and you’ll hit the ball in the center of the face,” says Leadbetter.

As expected, Tiger Woods will not play in all of the PGA Tour’s upcoming Florida Swing events. Shortly before his opening round on Thursday at the WGC-Mexico Championship, Woods announced he would be skipping next week’s Honda Classic, while officially adding the following two weeks’ events, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players, to his schedule.

The decision to not play the Honda Classic is a bit of a surprise when you factor in the proximity of PGA National to Woods’ home in Jupiter, Fla. However, having already played at last week’s Genesis Open, an event that benefits Woods’ foundation, adding Honda to these other events would have meant Woods playing at least five consecutive weeks. Also, Woods’ record at Bay Hill, where he’s won eight times, was certainly a factor. Tiger has never won in four starts as a pro at the Honda.

Following his comeback campaign in 2018, an “exhausted” Woods said he planned on playing a more limited schedule. Not too surprising considering he’s a 43-year-old golfer with a fused back.

Woods didn’t specify if he would play in the Valspar Championship, which is the week following the Players. However, it seems unlikely he would play at Innisbrook despite nearly winning in his debut there last year because with the WGC-Match Play the following week, that would likely mean four consecutive starts.

Woods isn’t the first high-profile player to struggle with making his schedule under the new, more compact slate that features the Players back in March from May and the PGA Championship moved up to May from August. Phil Mickelson didn’t play in his hometown event at Torrey Pines for the first time in 29 years and recently hinted he might not tee it up at the Players, the PGA Tour’s flagship event.

Woods, who is coming off a T-15 at Riviera in his second start of 2019, is playing alongside Bryson DeChambeau and Abraham Ancer in the first two rounds of the WGC-Mexico Championship beginning Thursday. Although, technically, he’s a seven-time winner of the event, it’s the first time he’s playing competitively in Mexico.

Source: www.golfdigest.com