Golf has some important rules that not many weekend golfers might know, or at least, they don’t know the full details of each rule. It’s good to review the rules on occasion because simply put — you should know them! Adhere to them whenever you play. They may save you a stroke or two in a sticky situation.
Here are some of the most important rules you should remember:
1. Water Hazards
Golf’s rules define a water hazard as any sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface draining ditch, or other open water course (whether or not containing water), and anything of a similar nature. Courses mark water hazards with yellow stakes and lines.
If you hit into water you have four options:
Play the ball as near as possible to the spot from which the original ball was played.
Drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point at which the ball entered the water’s edge, directly behind the hole and the spot where the ball is dropped. There’s no limit to how far back the ball may be dropped, as long as the point of crossing lies between the drop and the hole.
Play the ball as it lies in the water hazard.
If a ball goes into a lateral water hazard, drop a ball away from the hazard, but within two club lengths of the point from which the ball last crossed the water. However, the ball can’t come to rest any closer to the hole than the point at which the first ball crossed the hazard.
2. Putting Wait Time
You’re on the green and you’re ready to make your 6 ft putt. You’re feeling confident, the line is setup correctly and the speed is good. You think to yourself, “this is a done deal!” But the ball stops just at the lip of the cup. How long can you wait for the ball to drop into the cup. According to rule 16-2, you can wait the time it takes you to reach the hole plus 10 seconds. By the way, there’s no penalty for allowing a ball stay in the cup and letting the next player’s ball land on it.
3. White Stakes
White stakes on a course indicate out-of-bounds. You have only one option under Rule 27, the dreaded stroke and distance penalty. Add a stroke and drop a ball as close as possible to where you last played. To keep play moving when you might be OB, play a provisional ball under Rule 27-2.
4. Lost Ball
So you just hit your ball deep into the fairway rough. You look for the ball but can’t find it. You declare a lost ball, but after hitting a second ball you discover your original ball. Under Rule 27, once the ball is declared lost and another ball played you can’t play the original ball. However, what if the first ball went in the hole?
If the ball goes in the hole, the first ball would be counted, even if you hit a second ball. The first rule of golf states: The Game of Golf consists of playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules. The key words here are “into the hole.” Once the first ball when in the hole, the hole was over for the player. Once you’ve done that, your play of that hole is considered finished. You’ve completed play of a hole as soon as your ball finds the cup
These four rules come into play fairly frequently and the better you know them, the more knowledge you’ll have about the game and avoid any potential mistakes.
The 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open
The PGA Tour is headed to Arizona for the Waste Management Phoenix OpenJ from January 29-February 4. The tournament takes place at TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the Stadium Course. This PGA stop boasts the largest attendance on tour and it is an audience participation event, especially on the 16th hole. This hole can be considered the most famous hole on the tour. And the audience? Well to get a better idea of the attendance, consider the 207,000 fans attending last year…just on Saturday.
This year’s field is as talented as its ever been, featuring five of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking, including world No. 5 Hideki Matsuyama, who with a victory can become the first player since Arnold Palmer to win the event three consecutive times. It would also make him the fifth three-time winner in the tournament’s history, joining the likes of Palmer, Phil Mickelson, Mark Calcavecchia and Gene Littler. Others include Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas.
The best part about this event?
A live 360 and VR experience will be available for all four rounds of this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. Similar to the TOUR’s Live VR events in 2017, this week’s coverage can be viewed globally in “360 video” on Twitter (twitter.com/PGATOUR), as well as through Samsung Gear VR via the “PGA TOUR VR Live” app.
Fans can now watch live in both 360 video and Cardboard VR via the PGA TOUR app on iOS. The “PGA TOUR VR Live” app will also launch on Daydream by Google – available on the Google Play Store – all at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. As the exclusive live virtual reality provider of the PGA TOUR, Intel will produce the live VR experience with Intel True VR technology, providing unprecedented access to areas on the course that can’t be experienced, even by fans on-site.
“The 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale during the Waste Management Phoenix Open is one of the most exciting in golf,” said Rick Anderson, PGA TOUR Chief Media Officer. “We look forward to bringing that excitement to our fans who can’t physically be at the tournament through live virtual reality. They will be able to experience all the thrills from home.”
The Golf Channel will carry live coverage on Thursday and Friday from 3 p.m. ET to 7 p.m. ET. CBS will take over on the weekend beginning at 3 p.m. ET.
How To Choose The Correct Golf Ball
Many weekend golfers may overlook the importance of the golf balls that they play. You might borrow some from your friends or buy the cheapest balls you can find. However, the ball you play can dramatically affect your scores. The right ball can help you chop strokes off your golf handicap. The wrong ball can cost you strokes and boost scores.
So how to do you choose the correct golf balls?
Ideally, you should choose a ball based on how it boosts your scoring chances. This often comes down to a choice between distance and feel. Do you want a ball that you can hit farther? Or one that helps you putt better?
Below are some common questions we fielded from players in our golf lessons on how to choose a ball. The golf tips below will help you choose one that’s right for you.
1. Should You Use The Same Balls As The Pros?
No, because the pros have different needs than you. They use specific golf balls that provide them short game spin and control so that they can hit low shots around the green. Weekend golfers need balls that launch and spin more.
One choice for golfers with high golf handicaps is a three-piece ball with a urethane cover. Three-piece balls feature superior driver performance. The urethane cover also provides improved feel and control on approach shots. As you lower your golf handicap, you can start using balls offering better control on shots around the green.
2. What’s the Difference Between Urethane and Surlyn covers?
While both are polymers, they offer different performance characteristics.
Urethane offers good green side control, feel, durability, and distance.
It’s more expensive than Surlyn.
Players with low golf handicaps should consider using Urethane golf covers
It spins less as you get closer to the green but launches higher off the tee.
Works well if you need a short-high approach
Ideal for golfers looking for distance and low dispersion off the tee.
Players with high golf handicaps should use Surlyn covers.
3. Expensive balls or cheaper balls? Does it matter?
It’s not just about the price of the golf ball you should consider – it also has to do with performance. Premium balls tend to provide better performance than non-premium balls. So if you have a low handicap and you’re serious about improving, it’s worth playing a better ball.
However, if you have trouble hitting the fairway due to distance, try a distance type of ball that spins less. If it comes down to a choice between price and performance, choose performance.
4. When do I need to buy new golf balls?
It depends on how much you use the ball and storage conditions. Store your golf balls at room temperature for maximum life and keep them dry. Storing balls in extremely hot or cold places, like the trunk of your car, limits life. Submerging balls in water for long periods also limits life. Retire any you’ve used excessively. You can start to tell when the golf balls start to wear.
Choosing the right ball can take your game to the next level. It can also help chop strokes off your golf handicap. Take your time choosing a ball. Make it the right one.
CVS Health Charity Classic Donates $1 Million to Southern New England Charities
CVS Charity Classic Gives Back
On December 23 at the corporate headquarters of CVS Health, President and CEO Larry Merlo announced that the CVS Health Charity Classic has reached an important milestone – a total of $20 million dollars in philanthropic support to hundreds of nonprofits in southeastern New Englandsince the tournament’s inception in 1999. This year, the CVS Health Charity Classic donated more than $1 million dollars to nearly 100 area charities.
“The Charity Classic is one of the most important ways we give back in our home state,” said Eileen Howard Boone, Tournament Chairperson of the CVS Health Charity Classic “We are proud and honored to be able to support the invaluable work of these non-profits to support the communities we serve in the areas of education, health care, and social services.”
CVS Health CEO, Larry Merlo, alongside Tournament Chairperson Eileen Howard Boone, as well as PGA TOUR professionals and CVS Health Charity Classic Co-hosts Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade, awarded the 2017 donations in front of a crowd comprised of CVS Health colleagues, working charity partners that volunteer their time during the event series, many of the awarded non-profits, and Charity Classic sponsors.
Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade, natives from Rhode Island who have been with the event since its inception and the reasons why so many great players have participated in this wonderful local event that has done so much to help local charities both spoke. “I’ve played in many charity tournaments like this, but our little state is kicking butt with how much money we have been able to raise over the years,” said a smiling Faxon.
Billy Andrade said, “I can’t believe how fast the time has gone since our first event in 1999. Seeing how much we have been able to do makes us all so proud.”
The 2017 dates were also announced by Merlo. “We will be hosting the event at Rhode Island Country Club, one of our great partners since the inception, on June 18, 19 and 20.”
In all, 77 local non-profit organizations across Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts will benefit this year from the CVS Health Charity Classic.
Are You Trapped in the Sand?
Do’s and Don’ts in the bunker
Many golfers, whether they are serious players or not, usually know they will receive a a two-stroke penalty for grounding their club in a bunker. But, few know any of the other rules covering bunker play. That’s not surprising. The topic isn’t normally covered even when taking golf lessons. So golfers have to learn them on their own.
The penalty strokes incurred for breaking a bunker rule won’t probably impact golf handicap, but they do have consequences. They can cost you a hole in match play or the match itself. If you play regularly, it’s good to know some of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to bunker play.
Grounding the Club
As mentioned above, this is one of the most common DON’TS when it comes to playing from the sand. You can, however, ground your club in a waste area. Waste areas are usually massive bunker-like regions of firm, unkept sand that aren’t hazards. If you’re not sure where to look courses usually mark these areas for golfers.
Touching the Sand
Digging in your feet in the sand when hitting from a bunker is okay. You can also leave the bunker, get a new club, come back and dig in your feet again. What you can’t do is touch the sand, meaning, you can’t draw a line in the sand like an instructor might do for a lesson and you also can’t slam your club into the ground because you’re angry you messed up the first shot. I mean, you can do this if you so please, but each infraction will cost you two strokes.
This is another area of bunker play not many people know the rules for. You can rake after hitting a bunker shot, even if your ball never left the bunker. However, you can’t disturb your new lie, the area of your stance or swing, or the new line of play for your next shot. You also can’t rake your footprint trail behind you as you walk to your lie. You’d be penalized two strokes for testing the sand’s condition.
If you have an unplayable lie in a bunker, you may replay your previous shot and take a one-stroke penalty. Or, if you don’t want to go back to your previous shot, take a drop in the bunker within two club lengths of the ball.
The Next Vokey Wedge is Here
In the world of golf, there are a lot of factors that come into scoring well and one of the biggest factors are wedges.
Spinning a ball into the green and putting it close to the pin is vital.
One of the best wedges for years on local courses and the PGA Tour has been Titleist’s line of Vokey wedges.
Bob Vokey has long been designing some of the best wedges to hit this earth.
The Vokey line has grown in popularity year in and year out and you see many people still playing the older Vokey’s.
The newest one is almost here. The Vokey SM7 will be getting its first look on course this week at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open at TPC Summerlin.
These are not the finished product. They are rolling out the SM7 prototypes this week and Titleist loyalists Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and others will have these wedges in their bags.
“We design the best product possible and take it to the tour. If the tour players accept it, then we say this must be awfully good.”- Bob Vokey.
If you own or have seen last years’ version, the SM6 it was a very sleek looking wedge.
But this year, according to prototype pictures, has a different look, but it may be a little simpler and better looking.
This year’s rendition still has the signature gear in the corner, the BV with the wings and the Titleist logo.
One noticeable difference, that may only be on the prototype is the SM7 logo is just below the BV logo and it makes it look very clean and simple. On the SM6 it was off to the side, tucked in the corner.
Another year, another inevitably great Vokey wedge.
Other companies have tried their hand at wedges, but Vokey remains at the top.
The 2017-2018 Season is Rickie Fowler’s Year
Rickie Fowler always seems to be that guy that is right there on Sunday, but can never seal the deal. But I think this is his Justin Thomas like breakout year, and here is why I think so.
A 54-hole golf tournament is a lot on your body. To do that week in and week out, takes a lot out of you. So it isn’t that surprising that he is getting physically worn down, and collapsing on Sunday’s.
I think his new girlfriend is going to help him raise multiple trophies this PGA Tour season. His new girlfriend’s name is Allison Stokke. She is an American track and field athlete specializing in pole vault.
But that is a side note.
Since they have been together, like most couples, they have been going virtually everywhere together. The most prominent was at Fowler’s alma maters, Oklahoma State’s homecoming. Fowler was accompanied by his new lady friend. But that was what the media saw.
Fowler posted a video of the two of them doing sprints on the Oklahoma State’s football in the early hours of the morning. Instead of being hungover, Fowler was out there with her running. Since then Fowler has posted pictures on Snapchat and Instagram of cone setups and him running.
Assuming it is with his new boo.
My theory is that all these early morning workouts will pay off. Not only is he going to be focused on golf, not chasing tail. He is going to arguably be in the best shape of his life.
With that, I believe will come trophies.
He will be able to stay fresh all four days of the tournament and his body will be in good enough shape to keep up and keep the elite level of golf up.
If Fowler wins a lot this year, you heard it here first.
Alignment stick can fix your steep swing
With the golf swing, the smallest thing can make it go very very badly. One of the biggest issues is coming over the top with high handicapper golfers. When this happens your divots are, for a righty, pointing to the left and your ball is slicing badly. Vice versa for lefties. This is frustrating because although your divot is bad the ball starts at the target, but then starts to slice.
Here is a very simple and cheap way to fix this.
You don’t need a lesson, you don’t need a PGA teacher for this one. Go to your local golf store and buy an alignment stick. Alignment sticks are more than just a decoration in your bag, believe it or not they come in handy.
When you get to the range, stick the alignment stick into the ground at a 45. Place the ball under the stick so you have to sweep under the stick as you swing. Make sure the stick isn’t too vertical and not too laid out.
When you are swinging, think about solid contact with the ball, and steering clear of the stick all the way through your swing. What this does is makes you focus on dipping your back shoulder and getting your club on the right plane. This will create and nice straight divot, unlike that nasty left one you have been trying to piece meal for the past couple months.
Now you have hit a bucket, you obviously can’t take this stick onto the course, but through muscle memory, your swing will remember the stick being there and scare it into swinging too steep.
Practice makes perfect, so try getting to the range if you have this problem and fix that steep swing plane.
Thank me later.
Wilfore’s Golf Bucket List
Most people as they get older get a mental idea of a bucket list.
Not many people actually write out this list, but they have it.
For golfers, they have this same list but for golf.
Although I am young, I have a small bucket list that is golf themed already made up.
Here are my few bucket list items.
Go to The Masters: Thankfully this one will be checked off the list soon. My friend won tickets to The Masters this season so I will be heading down south in April. This is every golfers dream, I imagine, to walk the grounds of Augusta National. It isn’t even the golf you go for; it is the mythical feel you get walking around the place.
Play Liberty National: Before the President’s Cup I was really intrigued by this course. I always like the location and the whole Statue of Liberty feel. But after watching four days of beautiful golf on the course it is my top “must play” courses before I die. From the gorgeous views, the amazing clubhouse, and the course itself. Holes 10 and 12 seem like some of the most fun holes in golf and most underrated holes in golf. It is a must play.
Break 70: This may be the hardest one to achieve. 1. Because I suck and I can’t even break 80. 2. It is the one thing on my list that I can’t buy/ isn’t a physical thing. It is easy to buy tickets or pay for a tee time. It will be tough to break 70 but with a few lessons and learning to control my anger after a triple bogey, I am sure I can get there.
Bucket lists are ever growing and I am sure in a few years my list will be a lot longer. And hopefully a few of them will have check marks next to them.
Justin Thomas is my Player of the Year
Winning the player of the year award in any sport is pretty impressive.
To get that, you have to do something historic or be the best player in the league by a lot. This season in the NBA we saw Russell Westbrook average a triple double and win the NBA MVP. So you could say that winning five tour events in one season would be a solid campaign for the MVP.
I think it is, and it is not disputable. Starting off the season with a few wins at the early year events seemed cool for JT. Get some wins under your belt and get geared up for a long year.But when he won the PGA Championship it opened a whole new can of worms.
Winning a major compared to a “pre season” event gives you an entire different look to your resume. In a major everybody is playing at the top of their game and the course itself are such a tough setup it takes you’re A game to win. After that, he added yet another win. In the Fed Ex Playoffs even.
To win five PGA Tour events in your life is one thing, but to do it in a year is amazing. I think Justin Thomas had the best year on the PGA Tour.
I would argue he is the unanimous player of the year, but I have Spieth a close second and I think the voters may give him a few votes. Between the unreal Open performance, we will be talking about for years. And not to mention his bunker shot in our backyard in Connecticut that may go down as the shot of the year.
Justin Thomas may not have had the most memorable shot of the year, but he has had the best year and deserves to win player of the year.
Oh and there is two events left, anything is possible.