The One Putting Book You Should Buy 0 7

(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) June 10, 2011 — Finally, someone has published a book that takes the mystery out of putting and gives players the fundamentals to gauge their stroke and give them a clue about how to buy the right putter.

I haven’t come across a better book about putting that compiles in a single volume pretty much everything a player needs to know to improve — from choosing a putter to actually making the stroke.

Here’s New Mexico Golf News’ review of …

“The Best Putting Instruction Book Ever”
Edited by David DeNunzio
Published by Time Home Entertainment
Hardcover, 178 pages, $32
Included DVD, “Ten Instant Putting Fixes”

Review by Dan Vukelich

“The Best Putting Instruction Book Ever” is one of the few “Best” things in golf that actually lives up to its name.

Compiled by the publishers of GOLF Magazine, this isn’t your typical “Guru Reveals his Secret to Golf Happiness.” Instead, it’s a collection of detailed technical discussions by 10 of the game’s best putting instructors aimed at players serious about wanting to become better putters and packed with dozens of those “aha” moments when true learning occurs.

This 178-page lavishly illustrated book takes the mystery out of putting. Ten experts break down the physics of putt striking and remove the guesswork about why you miss and why you make. Without this fundamental understanding, we are mere fools with money wandering through that dizzying array of putters at the local golf shop.

“The Best Putting Instruction Book Ever” has 10 sections, each written by a noted putting instructor or fitter. Contributors are: Stan Utley, Mike Adams, David Edel, Dr. David F. Wright, Mark Sweeney, Marius Filmalter, Scott Munroe, Dr. Craig L. Farnsworth, Maggie Will and Mike Shannon. All are recognized experts, innovators and teachers to top players in NCAA golf, the PGA Tour or the LPGA Tour.

For players who buy putter after putter in search of a magic fix, perhaps the most valuable chapter is Chapter 1, “How to Pick the Right Putter,” by master fitter David Edel. Misalignment or, more accurately, mis-aiming, and how to counter it is Edel’s recurring theme.

Edel wades through design basics: hosel, offsets, shaft lengths, lies, grip sizes, and putter head shapes, explains the effect of each element, then totals up the sum of their effects.

He explains how a player who mis-aims to one side or the other can address that fault without altering his natural stroke. Aiming too far to the right? Add more offset between shaft and putter head. “As the offset increases, so does the tendency to aim more to the left,” Edel writes. Aiming too far to the left? Decrease offset, he says.

How to tell where you’re mis-aiming? A cheap laser pointer resting on the floor next to a baseboard and aimed at tiny mirror taped to your putter face will tell you.

By referencing huge databases of golfers’ habits, Edel concludes that as the backs of putter heads get rounder, players tend to aim more left. As they get squarer, players tend to aim more right.

As lie angle (the shaft angle from vertical into the putter head) increases, players tend to aim right. A more upright shaft angle makes you aim more to the left, Edel writes.

Edel works through the visual cues and physical results associated with higher-lofted putters versus lower-loft putters; curved hosels versus angular hosels; putter counterweights; toe-balanced putters versus face-balanced putters; painted and grooved aiming lines; even the effect of colored aiming lines and colored putter heads.

If this sounds dizzying it is, but only if you’re one of those people looking for a quick fix, one who says, “Don’t tell me all this mumbo jumbo, just tell me how I can make more putts.” That magic golf pill thing again.

But the serious student who is tired of missing makeable putts can use the book to self-diagnose, then take his new knowledge to the golf shop. Suddenly, that rack of 200 putter designs doesn’t seem so dizzying. Forking over $32 for a book that cracks the code makes a lot of sense if you’re planning to shell out $59 to $359 for a new putter.

Not to give short shrift to the other instructors and their essays on drills, arc strokes versus pendulum strokes, tempo, green reading and break visualization – they all offer loads of refreshing insight.

But knowing golfers and their desire for the magic golf pill, I’d venture to say that if “The Best Putting Instruction Book Ever” comprised only a single chapter by David Edel, it would still be worth $32.

Knowledge is power. Get empowered before you set out to buy your next putter.

— Dan Vukelich

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Coosaw Creek: A Value Golf Gem in North Charleston 0 42

Coosaw Creek Clubhouse

Nothing Better than a Laid-back Club with a Great Price

On a previous trip to South Carolina to review Wild Dunes Golf Resort on the Isle of Palms north of Charleston, I neglected to mention of sweet little semi-private course, Coosaw Creek Country Club, in North Charleston.

Coosaw Creek Country Club, North Charleston, S.C.Coosaw Creek is my kind of country club. First they let riff raff like me on. Second, it’s friendly, laid back and relaxed — so much so that, I swear, had I simply loaded my clubs onto one of the carts at the staging area and headed for the first tee without talking to anyone, chances are the starter would have simply waved as I drove by.

On the drive in from the guard shack, I could see that Coosaw Creek is a tight little track that winds through its surrounding residential community, with mature trees lining the course that largely form its character and define its shot values. When I learned that Arthur Hills had designed it in 1993, I knew I was in for a treat.

Since I was a single and no one else was on the tee sheet, the folks in the golf shop said to head out alone. I played a match between Mr. Titleist and Mr. Srixon, basically lollygagging around the course. I noted from the many swing sets and toys in the back yards this was a families-with-kids neighborhood, as opposed to a second-home crowd.

Another single caught up to me on the 15th hole and we played in together. Turns out he and his wife were brand-new transplants from Minnesota who had been enticed by the same relaxed air of their new club.

At 6,600 yards from the tips, Coosaw Creek is hardly a bomb-and-gouge course — mostly because most people not named Bubba Watson can’t bend a driver as hard as you’d need to cut the corners.

Because of the narrow fairways, Coosaw Creek is all about shot placement off the tee box. Playing from the blended blue-white men’s tees, I played most of its 6,300-yard length hitting long irons and hybrids off the tee. Although I’m not a long hitter, I found myself short of the green in two on only a few of the par 4s.

At $79 for a weekend round ($69 on weekdays) Coosaw Creek gives you plenty of value for the money. Most buddy-trip golfers know that on getaways to big-dollar destinations, there’s almost always a practice round on Arrival Day or a final round on Getaway Day. For anyone looking to play the big-name courses around Charleston, Coosaw Creek is a strong candidate for that extra round.

Dan Vukelich, former editor of Sun Country Golf magazine, in Albuquerque, N.M., is the editor of ABQ Free Press, an alternative newspaper. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and the Golf Travel Writers Association. Reach him at dan@freeabq.com.

The Perfect Match: Spring Training and Golf 0 36

TPC Scottsdale

Life is Good at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Golfers are genetically disposed to shop for deals when they travel to warm-weather golf destinations such as Phoenix, so this may sound counterintuitive:

Stop shopping and remember three words: TPC, Scottsdale and Fairmont – the single best golf value you’ll find this winter.

TPC Scottsdale 15th holeHold on, you say. “He’s talking about a golf course that charges $299 for 18 holes like it’s a bargain. Is he on crack?” for those of you heading to the Valley of the Sun to catch some of Major League Baseball’s month of spring training, Allow me to explain.

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, a sprawling AAA 5-diamond property, has standard hotel and private condo options, all of which qualify as “luxury” by any definition of the term.

For nongolfers, the resort has proximity to shopping and a luxury spa. For golfers, its golf concierge has a special relationship with the TPC (translation: clout to get a tee time) plus a free shuttle for you, your clubs and your buddies to and from the course.

Spring Training

Team                     Park                              Town

White Sox           Camelback Ranch       Glendale

Dodgers               Camelback Ranch      Glendale

Brewers               Maryvale Park             Phoenix

A’s                        Hohokam Park            Mesa

D-backs              Salt River Fields          Scottsdale

Rockies               Salt River Fields          Scottsdale

Royals                 Surprise Recreation    Surprise

Rangers              Surprise Recreation    Surprise

Indians               Goodyear ballpark       Goodyear

Reds                    Goodyear ballpark       Goodyear

For folks who like an added measure of exclusivity (and you know who you are), there’s the resort’s Fairmont Gold section, a group of 69 separate condos with private lounge, honor bar, hot continental breakfast, secure parking and what seems like a battalion of staff ready to do guests’ bidding.

The TPC golf experience is rock solid, unlike anything else you’ll find in Arizona or in Florida. The forecaddies who run ahead and spot your ball are so good reading their greens that when they say two balls out, they mean two balls out, no more, no less.

And there’s the 16th hole on the Stadium Course, where you can get a sense of the Roman Coliseum drama during the Phoenix Waste Management Open of playing a tee shot inside a stadium bigger than most minor-league baseball parks.

The TPC’s practice facilities are as superb as are the course conditions. If you’re on the range and hitting out of a divot, it’s because you just made that divot. And the clubhouse and on-course service is attentive but not intrusive.

Now, let’s talk about that $299 greens fee.

That’s the daily-fee rack rate. Only a cigar-chomping fat cat who just rolled up in a limo without a tee time pays that.

fairmont-scottsdaleInstead, sign on for a TPC stay-play package through March 31 that gets you three nights at the Princess, a round at the TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course, another round at the TPC Champions Course (no slouch of a course, by the way), commemorative bag tag, forecaddie and range balls – all for $579 per golfer, double occupancy.

Also included in that deal are three hours of personalized instruction at the TPC’s TOUR Academy, free club rentals if you need them, and 50 percent off for a day at the Fairmont spa.

If you do the math, you’ll see that sometimes the ala carte discount option isn’t always the right play when the goal is scoring real golf value.

Dan Vukelich, former editor of Sun Country Golf magazine, in Albuquerque, N.M., is the editor of ABQ Free Press, an alternative newspaper. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and the Golf Travel Writers Association. Reach him at dan@freeabq.com.