IN THE FAIRWAY......with a happy hacker

by Gerry Ryberg

We’re a wee bit late in getting to the July issue of Golf Digest - other than fanning through the pages, that is. One article was of particular interest, and was written by Phil Mickelson, entitled, “How to hit the hated half-wedge.” <BR><BR>We fall into the category he describes thus: “Many amateurs find the half-wedge shot to be awkward, and when sand or water are involved, downright scary.” <BR><BR>He contends that for all of us who may tend to hit the ball fat or thin, can’t decide how big a swing to make or find ourselves coming up long or short, his system is for us and will erase our fear, and give the consistency and control we want - make that NEED. Swing aggressively! Short and aggressive! <BR><BR>He lists three don’ts for the half-wedge shot. “1) Address: Open your stance. Ball forward of center. Don’t open the clubface in relation to the target - you’ll get glancing contact and erratic results. 2) Grip: Don’t choke down. Grip down and you effectively alter the length and weight of the club, complicating things. 3) Backswing: Limit your arm swing; cock wrists fully at end of backswing. Don’t swing lead arm beyond horizontal. A long lazy swing means you’ll decelerate through impact. Keep the backswing short and crisp.” Phil ended the article with these words: “ Learn to hinge and hold. Try to maintain the same degree of wrist cock you established on the backswing. Swing straight down the target line. Never cut across the ball.” <BR><BR>We owe a BIG apology to Gloria and Matt Vertin for not mentioning the true name of the junior golf program “finale” tourney! That tourney is sponsored by Matt and Gloria in honor of their son Mathew Vertin Jr. and has always been known as the Mathew Vertin Jr. Golf Tournament. Mea culpa, Gloria. <BR><BR>Another puzzling question answered - just by a bit of reading, folks! Russ Barker of Ontario wrote the Golf Guru (Golf Digest Magazine) to ask the distinction in calling a wood a wood? “Fairway-metals, fairway metal woods, just plain woods, or the ridiculous, ‘iron-wood.’ The wise one answered with analogies - is a nickel made of nickel; are irons made of iron? And so forth. It doesn’t matter what it is made of - a wood is a wood and an iron an iron.” <BR><BR>And did you ever wonder if reaching across the hole to pull in a “tap-in” putt was legal? The rule says you may not putt from a stance astride or with either foot touching the line of putt. No croquet shots allowed. But the “line of putt” does not extend beyond the hole so the reach across tap-in is fine. <BR><BR>One more: Close up views of the Titleist, Calloway or Slazenger, i.e. used by the pros, do not show much in the way of identifiable marking. So we too, wondered if it was legal for the pros. The Guru says “as long as you don’t alter the ball’s size or weight, there is no restriction on what you draw on it. Dots, lines, and scribbles are fine, as are images of ex-wives, fanatical politicians or Barney the Dinosaur. Channeled anger can add 20 yards to your tee shots.” Hmmnn! A suggestion for business minded artists? Paint a few golf balls. <BR><BR>The “tear-out pocket tips” from Golf Digest includes a tip for new owners of the hybrid club. “Play the ball forward in your stance, directly below the logo on your shirt (your heart?) and use your normal grip, stance, and posture. Take the club back low and make a smooth comfortable turn. On the downswing, don’t think of hitting down sharply on the ball. You want to make more of a sweeping type swing, hitting down on the ball very slightly. You should take a tiny divot, if any divot at all.” That tip comes from Butch Harmon, Golf Digest playing editor. <BR><BR>The back cover of the “Pocket Tip booklet” pictures Tiger, squatting on the green eyeing a putt, fingers on the visor and hands to the sides of his eyes. The caption reads: “To accomplish more, sometimes you need to see less. Go on. Be a Tiger.” <BR><BR>Tuesday the 17th marked round one of the EWGA Club Championship. Weather permitting, the second nine will be played on the 24th - tomorrow. It seems the tournament mode prevailed, for there were many, many accomplishments in round one. Incidentally, Mother Nature smiled at us lending her own beautiful touch - a beautiful evening with a clincher gorgeous sunset. Perhaps that accounts for the lack of low scores. Ladies were lost in the beauty of nature. <BR><BR>Cissy Leustek set the pace for championship flight, carding a 49 - lowest score of the night. We expect the scores to sizzle next week, just because so many players used this round to practice chip-ins and special shots. <BR><BR>In addition to taking our nickels on putts, with only 15 on her card, Margot Beland chipped in on # 6. Darlene Nemanich tallied only 17. We moaned as we counted the putts on our card. <BR><BR>Not to be outdone, Sue Baker squirreled one into the cup at #4, and then Birdied #7. Sue also claimed the champions’ flight event settling her tee shot closest to the #7 pin, while Mary Mills powered out the longest drive on #3 in that flight. Nancy Portinen, Margaret Dass and Jean Green watched in awe as Bette Nelson chipped in a very long one on number nine. <BR><BR>It was a night also, for some very “un-golf-like” doings. Irene Johnson decided to wade - one foot, anyway in the #4 pond and would have taken a full fledged dive had not Darlene Kittelson managed a fast snatch to Irene’s belt, thus preventing the unplanned plunge. Irene claims she was retrieving a ball. A likely story! <BR><BR>Royleen Tipton’s foursome swear they have never seen a “tree hugger shot” - until Royleen did just that to execute a shot from the rough rather than use the back side of a 3 or 4 iron. Our foursome watched Kelly Klun study her lie behind two trees on the right side of #8, pull out an iron and make the shot perfectly - between the two trees - ending up just short of the green! <BR><BR>Still one more thing - Marcia Tholen holed out an nice putt on # 6 - only to watch the putt bottom out! True! It found the hole, took a look and TASTE of the bottom of the cup and came back up for air to die on the lip of the cup!! <BR><BR>We wait with baited breath for next week’s phenomenal happenings!! We’ll try to STAY IN THE FAIRWAY. <BR><BR> <BR><BR> <BR><BR> <BR><BR> <BR><BR> <BR><BR>