Four quick books on golf’s fundamentals
November 5, 2004
Thanks to the editors at Golf Magazine, I discovered a great new way to reduce the mounds of print material around my house.
Perhaps I should explain.
I’ve subscribed to Golf and sometimes a few other magazines devoted to the sport for well over fifteen years. That quickly adds up to several hundred periodicals, most of which include at least one segment devoted to golf instruction.
It just so happens that my memorizing skills are not so awesome that I can read a golf tip and remember it for all time. To cope with this personal failure, I developed a habit of retaining old golf magazine issues, when they included a particularly useful teaching lesson. That way I could refresh my recollection whenever I needed the help.
And with a handicap that has hovered between 14 and 24, I can certainly use the help. On the other hand, my hoarding led to some unsightly stacks of old magazines, piled up in a few spots around the house.
With Golf Magazine’s new Better By Saturday Series (Warner Books; $15 SRP each), I can now safely rid myself of a mass of clutter.
Each of these short volumes contains so many useful tips on playing golf that there’s just no reason for me to hold onto those old magazines.
Besides, several of these tips are the same ones that previously appeared in Golf within the last decade or so.
Greg Midland and the other Golf editors structured each book around one of the four main aspects of the game—driving, iron play/long game, short game, and putting. Each of the short, easily understood suggestions from the magazine’s Top 100 Teachers is accompanied by a photograph to illustrate the point.
On occasion, the lessons also include short paragraph-long sidebars, called Quick Tips, which supplement or explain an aspect of the tip under consideration on that page.
And these tips can quickly help golfers, as the titles imply.
Donald Crawley’s note about fluffy lies helped fix an occasional bout of the steep hits that I had with my fairway woods, in the Iron Play/Long Game volume.
A Quick Tip Richard Coop gives in the Driving book about level of effort has helped to curb my enthusiasm off the tee, with good results when I remember it.
The chapter on Sand Play supports everything my golf pro showed me in a lesson. The combination has frequently helped a lot with these difficult shots.
Even the Putting book proved to be handy, and that’s the best part of my game. Dave Pelz wrote a good segment on breaking putts that I’ve known for years but occasionally need reminding, like any other player.
Golfers with ready access to a good teaching professional might not need these books as much as others.
For everyone else, however, especially those who have played golf for a while and developed a few bad habits, these books will be very useful.
They should also be useful for the teaching pros, who can adjust these quick lessons to their students’ needs.
And they can throw out their old magazines, too.
Time for the Leaf Rule–this time with a twist
It’s just about peak week for autumn leaves, and for Cape Region golfers that means more than just a chance to ooh and ah over the pretty colors.
It’s also time to invoke the Leaf Rule, the time-honored unofficial addition to the official Rules of Golf.
This rule “permits” golfers to drop a new ball in the approximate location where they’re sure their first one disappeared among thousands of fallen leaves, without a penalty stroke.
The new twist, which I saw last weekend during a casual round, is to call out, “Leaf Rule!” as the golfer helplessly watches his tee shot veer off to the far left or far right. This makes perfect sense, now that I’ve seen it in operation.
Somehow it’s both reassuring and regretful at the same time.