2015 - A golfing year to look forward to? December 31 2014
2015 looks set to be another golden year for our great sport. There really is no doubt that the current crop of top players are as exciting to watch as golfers have ever been. Watson, Dufner, Reed, Speith and Mickleson show that the US are producing amazing golfers and super sized personalities. Meanwhile the European greats are exactly that. Currently 7 of the worlds top twenty players are from Europe. These are great times for European golf and any youngster starting out in the game can rightly look forward to following in the footsteps of these players.
But what can you learn from these guys if like this author you are not quite the junior golfer at your club anymore?
Well firstly we were told that golfers were becoming robotic and totally homogenous. There was supposedly a correct way to swing the club. How wrong was that. Look at those names again - nobody seems to have told Speith or Watson that their swing is not quite good enough. Our game remains about how many shots it takes to complete the hole. There are no pictures on the scorecard - a refrain I hear week in week out. So why do we amateurs try so hard to look better? Learn to use what you do have. Furyk has to be the biggest inspiration in sport.
Secondly the best players in the world all have one thing in common. They may look different - they may use different equipment - but they all putt better than average from inside 5 feet. Jordan Speith is hardly renowned with the flat stick averages 97% hole out from 5 foot. Sergio Garcia? Yep even though the TV tells you he is suspect on them 97%. Learn to hole out from 5 foot and in and you will radically improve your game. When was the last time you practiced 5 footers?
Finally distance. This is a hard game if you are standing too close to the ball ..... after you have hit it. Driving distances for the average 18 handicapper is 230 yards. That means lots of long iron approaches. Fairway hit but 200 yards to go does not cut it. Get fit for a driver that optimises the swing speed you have and gets the ball out to 245 yards. 15 yards makes the difference between a 5 iron and an 8 iron. The rough is less penal with an 8 iron and frankly the game is much more fun hitting at pins.
We are 100% with Hank Haney (@hankdhaney) on twitter - anyone tells you to swing slower reject their advice. Learn to swing with more control at the speed you have got. Then get a shaft and driver head that works for you. The difference between a suitable shaft and one thats best used by another is easily 35 yards. Get fit for your driver people - its the way forward into 2015.