Tuesday Tip – Grain

TNGCEver hit a putt which broke one direction but the slope of the green read to break in the other direction? Ever hit a putt which you thought should be fast but was much slower, even though it was downhill? Ever hit a putt which should have been slow, but for some unknown reason is was considerably faster?

If you’ve run into the above scenarios, or similar, you may need to learn a bit about “grain.” Some grass types on greens have a “grain” to them. Grain occurs when the blads of grass lay down in a certain direction. The ball rolls faster “with the grain,” meaning rolling in the direction the blades are laying down. The ball rolls slower “against the grain,” or “into the grain.”

Grain can affect the break of putts as well. If you read a putt to break from left-to-right, but the grain is laying right-to-left, the putt may roll straight. This can be quite puzzling to see.

Conversely, if the grain and the break were in the same direction, the putt will break more than the read would indicate.

Seeing Grain

How does one see the grain to read it? The color of the grain will be lighter or darker depending on which direction the grain is laying. “Down grain” views will be shiny and brighter as the sun is reflecting off the tops of the grass blades. “Up grain” views will be darker as the sun is not reflecting as much in the tips of the blades.

A putt may have several different grains to it, depending on the drainage of the green and the angle of the sun. Looking at a 50 foot putt one may see several light and dark areas, indicating different grain directions.


Now that you know a little more about grain you can hopefully make a few more putts. If a putt puzzles you as to why it broke or didn’t break, or perhaps is off on the speed, look back and try to find light and dark areas. More than likely, the miscalculation was due to the direction of the grain.

Weekend Wrap

HPBNC_2011_068PGA Tour
Shriners Hospital for Children Open
TPC Summerlin
Las Vegas, Nevada

During this part of the new PGA Tour season, aspiring pros and unknowns have big opportunities to secure victories, FedEx Cup points, and exemptions, as many of the bigger names are taking the time off for fall and winter.

Now is the time to cash in and take advantage.

That’s just what Ben Martin did this past weekend. The young Clemson graduate and 2010 built up a four shot lead by the 10th hole on Sunday. But nerves caused an errant shot U.S. Amateur runner-up on the 11th tee, resulting in a stuck position behind a tree. Combined with Martin’s bogey at #11, Kevin Streelman rattled off five birdies to overtake Martin and capture the lead.

In an “awesome way to finish,” according to Martin, he finished the final four holes in four-under-par to secure a two-shot margin of victory.

Win the win Martin punched his ticket to the Masters for the first time as a professional. He had played in the Masters as an amateur in 2010. Marin also takes the very early FedEx Cup points race lead, but the playoffs will not start for nearly a year from now so much can happen between now and then.

Three players tied for fourth place, four shots back: Brooks Koepka, Jimmy Walker, Webb Simpson.

European Tour
World Match Play Championship
Ash, England

In 2012 Mikko Ilonen was ranked 334th in the world. On Sunday, he defeated the #1 seed and top five player Henrik Stenson in the World Match Play Championship.

Ilonen was one down after four holes, but eventually won the match 3&1 (three up with one to play).

I didn’t make any mistakes this afternoon against Henrik,” said Ilonen. “(I) felt like I had a good chance to beat him and I did.”

A Bad Eagle in Golf?

An eagle in golf is generally considered a good thing. Many higher handicap amateur golfers hope to make an eagle once in their lifetimes and if they do, it is a memorable occasion.

In the video below a golfer experiences a bad eagle. As he approaches the green he notices an eagle who is there, messing around with his golf ball. After batting the ball around a bit, the eagle grabs the ball and flys away.


The rules of golf provide a ruling for this scenario.  The eagle is an “outside agency.”  The player does not have to chase the eagle down and play the ball where it lies, in the eagle’s nest!

18-1. By Outside Agency
If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced.

Note: It is a question of fact whether a ball has been moved by an outside agency. In order to apply this Rule, it must be known or virtually certain that an outside agency has moved the ball. In the absence of such knowledge or certainty, the player must play the ball as it lies or, if the ball is not found, proceed under Rule 27-1.

Can You Swing Opposite of Your Regular Orientation?

Every so often we are faced with the tough situation where we could get to the ball with a club, but only if we turned around backwards.  For us right-handed players, there is the occasion that only a left-handed shot is the option.  Golf is hard enough with our regular orientation, but having to turn a club upside down and swing backwards?  Even tougher.  Many players hit the shot poorly, or miss the ball entirely.

As a demonstration of the immense talent of PGA Tour players, check out Rory McIlory’s left handed shot from this week’s PGA Grand Slam of Golf:

McIlory’s backswing looked great, but the follow-through was a little off. He did manage to get the ball extracated from the hazard, but not without splashing mud on his white pants. No worries about the pants though. Nike will certainly take care of a new pair.

Martin Kaymer would eventually be crowned champion of the 2014 PGA Grand Slam of Golf.

Weekend Preview – Full Slate on All Tours

HPBNC_2011_068ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 15, 2014) – Reigning FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel returns for the first time since earning the $10 million season-long prize for this week’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas. Along with Horschel, Webb Simpson headlines the field as the defending champion after finishing six shots clear of the field last year. On the European Tour, seven of the 16 players competing in the Volvo World Match Play Championship this week participated in last month’s Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. The field is divided into four “pods” of four, with each person competing in a match play format against the other three players in their “pod” over the course of the first three days. The top two performers from each pod will advance to the quarterfinal matches on Saturday, and the semifinal and championship matches will be contested on Sunday. The Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn is the second-to-last event on the Champions Tour schedule prior to the season-culminating Schwab Cup Championship. This week serves as the penultimate opportunity for players try to position themselves within the top-30 of the Schwab Cup point standings. Michelle Wie and Inbee Park headline the field at the LPGA KEB HanaBank Championship in South Korea, while Miguel Angel Jimenez will attempt to win the Hong Kong Open for a third consecutive year.


Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Dates: Oct. 16-19
Venue: TPC Summerlin Course, Las Vegas, Nev.

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 5-8 p.m. (Live) / 8:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Friday 5-8 p.m. (Live) / 8:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday 5-8 p.m. (Live) / 8:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday 5-8 p.m. (Live) / 8:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay)

Simpson defends: Webb Simpson finished six shots clear of the field in 2013, earning his fourth PGA TOUR victory in the process.
Headlining the field: Billy Horschel, Jimmy Walker, Brandt Snedeker, Webb Simpson, Hideki Matsuyama, Sang-Moon Bae, Erik Compton, Vijay Singh, Nick Watney and Jarrod Lyle.


Volvo World Match Play Championship
Dates: Oct. 15-19
Venue: London Golf Club, Kent, England

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Wednesday 9 a.m.-Noon (Live)
Thursday 6:30-11:30 a.m. (Live)
Friday 6:30-11:30 a.m. (Live)
Saturday 6:30-11:30 a.m. (Live)
Sunday 3-7 a.m. / 7:30-11:30 a.m. (Live)

McDowell defends: Graeme McDowell defeated Thongchai Jaidee 2&1 in the championship match at last year’s event in Bulgaria for his eighth career European Tour win.
Tournament field:Thomas Bjorn, Jonas Blixt, Paul Casey, Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson, Stephen Gallacher, Mikko Ilonen, Thongchai Jaidee, Pablo Larrzazabal, Alexander Levy, Shane Lowry, Joost Luiten, Graeme McDowell, Francesco Molinari, Patrick Reed and Henrik Stenson.


Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn
Dates: Oct. 17-19
Venue: Rock Barn Golf & Spa, Conover, N.C.

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday 2:30-5 p.m. (Live) / 3-5:30 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday 2:30-5 p.m. (Live)
Sunday 2:30-5 p.m. (Live) / 2:30-5 a.m. (Monday replay)

Allen defends: Last year, Michael Allen outlasted Olin Browne on the first playoff hole to earn his fifth career Champions Tour win.
Headlining the field: Colin Montgomerie, Kenny Perry, Kirk Triplett, Corey Pavin, John Cook, Rocco Mediate, Mark Calcavecchia, David Frost, Jay Haas, Fred Funk and Lee Janzen.


LPGA KEB HanaBank Championship
Dates: Oct. 15-18
Venue: Sky 72 Golf Club (Ocean Course), Incheon, South Korea

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Wednesday 11 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live)
Thursday 11:30 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live)
Friday 11:30 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live)
Saturday 11:30 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live)

Yang defends: Amy Yang defeated Hee Kyung Seo with a birdie on the first playoff hole for her first LPGA Tour victory in last year’s event.
Headlining the field: Michelle Wie, Inbee Park, Suzann Pettersen, Shanshan Feng, Lydia Ko, Na Yeon Choi, Lexi Thompson, So Yeon Ryu, Paula Creamer, Anna Nordqvist and Amy Yang.


Hong Kong Open
Dates: Oct. 16-19
Venue: Hong Kong Golf Club, New Territories Fanling, Hong Kong

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Tape Delay)
Friday 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (Tape Delay)
Saturday 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (Tape Delay)
Sunday 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (Tape Delay)

Headlining the field: Ernie Els, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Nicolas Colsaerts, Rich Beem, Y.E. Yang, Peter Uihlein, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Thomas Levet, David Lipsky and Tom Lewis.

Information courtesy of Golf Channel.

Weekend Wrap – New PGA Tour Season Begins

HPBNC_2011_068PGA Tour
Frys.com Open
Napa, California

The first event of the new PGA Tour season is in the books. No, you didn’t click on the wrong link. The PGA Tour season has begun already. This is the new wrap-around season folks, and we are now in the “2014-2015” schedule.

The first event of the new season was contested in lovely Napa, California. The field had some strong members this past week, with Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar, Retief Goosen, and hunter Mahan in the mix.

Coming into this past week, Sang-moon Bae’s last (and first) victory on the PGA Tour was at the 2013 Byron Nelson Championship. He had since failed to crack the top 10 in any event. Bae separated himself from the field on Saturday by finishing the last three holes par, eagle, birdie. That -3 stretch opened up a four shot lead going into the final round.

It was Bae’s tournament to lose, and he nearly did. Bae suffered a string of three consecutive three-putt bogeys after building up a six shot lead. Bae held on, eventually holding on for a two shot margin of victory.

PGA Tour rookie Zach Blair made it to the final group on Sunday and a win would have been a great story for Blair’s first event. But the pressure got to him and he carded a final round 74 to finish in a tie for 12th place, five strokes behind Bae.

Don’t Look Now, But the PGA Tour Season Has Begun

TPC Four Seasons 18th Green

Yes, you read the title correctly. The new PGA Tour season has begun. If it seems like the season ended a couple of weeks ago, it did. The new “wrap around” season schedule is in full swing, so to speak. The seasons now cross from year to year. Welcome to the 2014-2015 PGA Tour.

For many years this time on the calendar was the “cash grab” offseason for touring pros, and a time for many to take a break, rest, and spend some needed time at home after being on the road for many weeks or months. Many of the bigger name players still stick to that schedule and will not be seen playing until sometime in 2015. But there is a lot at stake for those up-and-comers on tour, and those new holders of their new Tour cards. Now is the time to rack up dollars on the money list in efforts to retain that thing they worked so hard to attain, playing status on the PGA Tour.

This week’s tournament is the Frys.com Open at Silverado Coutry Club-North. The course is a par-72 with a total yardage of 7,203. The purse for the week is $6,000,000. A win for an up-and-comer this week would be huge. That win would secure playing privileges, punch a ticket to the Masters Tournament, open the door to the Tournament of Champions, and open up all sorts of financial opportunities from sponsors.

If you love watching professional golf and are happy knowing that the bigs like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are not in the field, this is a good week to watch. The Frys.com Open is on Golf Channel Thursday through Sunday 5-8 p.m. eastern time zone.

Killer Course – Engstligenalp Paradise Switzerland

Switzerland is not known for its famous golf courses.  It is known for the Alps and skiing.  In the autumn there is a “form” of golf available at one particular area in the alps known as the Engstligenalp paradise.  This mountain paradise is a valley which sits at about 6,500 feet above sea level and is accessible only by cable car.  High above the valley is the fantastically beautiful 600 meter-high Engstligenfälle, a large mountain waterfall. The peak of the mountain above rises to 10,640 feet above sea level.


In the summertime the area is home to about 500 cows and when the cows leave their summering area, golf is played.


In order to preserve the pristine paradise, the golf is a little different. Tees and greens are made from artificial turf and have a very small footprint.  Some tees are built out of wooden pallets with turf on top (below).


Below is a public relations description, converted from swiss to english.

Golfing in thin mountain air, on a natural basis, with constantly changing wind and weather conditions – here is the new golfing experience.

The 14 km2 large, flat plateau of the Engstligenalp in Adelboden belongs to Sennen in the summer. About 500 animals live during this time on the plane and enjoy the juicy herbal and fresh mountain air. Once the cows leave their summering, fly on Engstligenalp again the golf balls. Played by classical rules of golf, the game is designed in a nature reserve, of course, a little different than on accurate groomed golf course. Although golf mountain is not a links course in the traditional sense, but it has with such a natural golf course lot in common. To protect the landscape, is aufgeteed at each stroke as in winter golf. Moreover tee and the green are generously equipped with high-quality artificial turf. The natural stone sectors, the headwaters and quickly changing winds are an additional challenge for any golfer. , the golfer and the golfer spend all day in a breathtaking mountain panorama. The backdrop provides the perfect ambience to be completely involved in the game and forget the stresses of everyday life. To complete the infrastructure is a driving range is built. New offers this – in addition to the discount options on artificial turf and natural grass – three practice holes, which can be played even by inexperienced golfers without handicap. Thus, the golf course golf mountain also offers a perfect setting for corporate events.

Below: Berg (local) hotel in summer and winter



Tuesday Tip – Cleaning Golf Shoes and Spikes for a Solid Base

2-in-1 Golf Shoe Cleaning Tool

The complexities of the golf swing are far beyond brain surgery or rocket science. There are so many working parts in the golf swing and so many different opinions and ways of approaching swing mechanics and techniques. Opinions and golf swing tips differ widely across the the golf spectrum.

Today’s tip isn’t about those things. Today’s discussion is one which applies to every golfer, no matter what swing techniques or mechanics they use. Having a solid base and traction in the swing is extremely important and it is a subject which is not debatable or differing. Traction is important no matter what.

BrushPro 2-in-1 Shoe Cleaner

One of our oldest and most useful products is the Frogger BrushPro. The BrushPro has been the industry standard in club cleaning brushes, helping golfers optimize their club performance and get the best feel and spin possible.

The BrushPro head can be removed and replaced with the 2-in-1 shoe cleaning tool, available for only $6.95. The 2-in-1 tool has two different brushes. The first brush/rake gets out the big debris and the second smaller one finishes off the job on the smaller debris.

With cleaner spikes and shoes the golfer has a better connection to the ground and more stability. More stability means better accuracy, longer distance, and better form.

Weekend Wrap – Dunhill Links Championship

European Tour
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
Carnoustie Golf Links
Old Course
Fife, Scotland

The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is a great event which fell this year between the Ryder Cup and the first week of the 2014-2015 PGA Tour season. Yes, believe it or not, the PGA Tour season starts this week.

The Dunhill is a unique competition centered in the kingdom of Fife, Scotland. Fife is the home of St. Andrews and its famous seven courses. Three of those amazing courses are used in the Dunhill Links Championship: the Old Course, Kingsbarns, and Carnoustie Golf Links. Play is rotated between the courses.

Photo courtesy of Tony Korologos at HookedOnGolfBlog.com

Photo courtesy of Tony Korologos at HookedOnGolfBlog.com

Temperatures were a bit brisk with players needing to wear sweaters and beanies. But that’s what golf in scotland is about. Weather rolled in producing cold temperatures, rain and wind.

Oliver Wilson had played in 227 European Tour events without a victory, prior to the Dunhill Links Championship. 228 was the magic number for Wilson, who hit an incredible shot on the 16th hole at the Old Course in the final round. The ensuing birdie on the 16th would make the difference for Wilson, who finished one stroke ahead of world #1 Rory McIlory, Richie Ramsay, and Tommy Fleetwood.

Said Wilson about the shot on 16, “The shot I hit into 16 was probably the best shot of my life.”

Even more amazing for Wilson was the fact that he was in the field on a sponsor’s invitation. The last sponsor’s invite to win on the European Tour was Henrik Stenson at the 2012 Open Championship. Perhaps this marks a similar springboard. Stenson would win the FedEx Cup and the Race to Dubai Cup in the same year.