June 15, 2010 | 10:46 a.m.

Videos on DVD

James Achenbach

Golf videos are everywhere. Formerly sold in VHS format, they are now primarily available as DVDs. Subjects range from instruction to entertainment to history.

“DVD is a great medium for golf instruction, and our best sellers deal with instruction,” says Robert Kraut, president and CEO of The Booklegger, a Grass Valley, Calif., company that has been a golf-only outlet for books and videos since 1974. You can slow it down, you can stop it, you can watch it in slow motion, and you can see it very, very clearly.

“We sell a lot of DVDs from teachers like David Leadbetter ...

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June 1, 2010 | 1:01 p.m.

Putt like Zach

James Achenbach
Zach Johnson makes a birdie putt on No. 17 during the final round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational.
Zach Johnson makes a birdie putt on No. 17 during the final round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational.

In winning the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas on May 30, Zach Johnson sank more than 100 feet of putts during the final nine holes of the tournament. He made 24 birdies in 72 holes.

Here’s what Johnson’s putting instructor, Pat O’Brien, said about his pupil’s putting stroke:

“He’s kind of old school. He holds the putter in the palm of his left hand. I advocate holding it in the fingers, but there is no way I would try to change somebody like Zach.

“The accommodation we make for ...

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Categories: Instruction, Top Stories
March 30, 2010 | 11:07 a.m.

Low-maintenance action

Kristy McPherson
Kristy McPherson

Kristy McPherson took two lessons this offseason (both after Golfweek joined her for a photo shoot in Tampa, Fla., in December). That’s more than she has taken in her seven years as a pro.

McPherson went to Mike Wright, who helped turn McPherson’s good friend Angela Stanford into one of the top players in the world. McPherson’s swing was mostly built on guidance from her father, David, a former plus-4 handicapper, and through old-fashioned trial and error.

“I think most of it is being athletic and just figuring it out,” she said. “Whether you put me bowling ...

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February 1, 2010 | 5:37 p.m.

Keepin’ it simple

Ryan Moore is expecting big things on the golf course in 2010.
Ryan Moore is expecting big things on the golf course in 2010.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Never has a missed cut paid off so well for Ryan Moore.

As the third round of last fall’s Turning Stone Resort Championship began, Moore was chipping at a nearby course with college buddy Troy Denton, a former UNLV teammate.

On that sunny, crisp morning, Denton realized there was a simple drill that could help Moore.

Chip with just the left hand, Denton urged. The simple drill emphasized the leading hand through impact, a feel that is key to Moore’s swing, but had been lost as he spent years dealing with pain in his left wrist ...

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Categories: Instruction
December 29, 2009 | 12:05 p.m.

Independent siblings

WINDERMERE, Fla. – George and Wesley Bryan literally are surrounded by golf instruction.

The brothers’ home in Chapin, S.C., shares 10 acres with their father’s golf academy. They’ve been taking lessons from famed instructor Mike Bender since they were about 5.

An independent streak inherited from their father, George III, has kept the South Carolina teammates from becoming too reliant, or maybe not reliant enough, on these resources.

They don’t incorporate any information until it has passed their own trial-and-error process. George Bryan III embraces their errors. Like any father of college-age children, he wants his sons ...

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Categories: Instruction
December 21, 2009 | 11:18 a.m.

For your game

James Achenbach
Auburn senior Candace Schepperle uses alignment sticks as a swing guide on the practice range.
Auburn senior Candace Schepperle uses alignment sticks as a swing guide on the practice range.

They’re popping up all over the golf world. They’re 4 feet long, very thin, brightly colored and made of fiberglass. They extend out of the bags of almost all pros and college golfers.

They’re alignment sticks, and much more. Swing guides, plane indicators and targets. Serious golfers keep finding new uses for these simple tools.

Instructor Shawn Humphries lays them on the ground for alignment and direction, sticks the sharp end into the turf so they serve as guides for swing plane or clubhead path, attaches them to the clothing of golfers (mostly through belt loops) to ...

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Categories: Instruction, Toy Box
December 8, 2009 | 2:31 p.m.

Hit it like Troy

This story originally ran in the Sept. 28, 2008 issue of Golfweek.

It’s the golf equivalent of the butterfly effect: Troy Merritt gets his playing privileges cut at the course in Minneapolis at which he worked during summers off from college, and everything changes.

He takes a job at his uncle’s country club in Boise, Idaho, shoots 63 in the company of its head pro, who is friends with former PGA Tour pro and current Boise State coach Kevin Burton, and Merritt winds up transferring to the Broncos from Winona (Minn.) State, an NCAA Division II school. He ...

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Categories: Instruction
November 9, 2009 | 5:28 p.m.

Strong and stable

After years of hard work, Heath Slocum has produced a strong, more stable swing.
After years of hard work, Heath Slocum has produced a strong, more stable swing.

BALL GROUND, Ga. – One shot stands out from Heath Slocum’s most successful year on the PGA Tour: the 20-foot par putt that he made Aug. 30 on the final hole of The Barclays for a one-shot victory over four players, including Tiger Woods.

It was the culmination of fixes made by Slocum and instructor Mark Blackburn.

The pair had made substantial changes to Slocum’s swing during their four years together, but decided earlier this year to put more focus on Slocum’s putting, which had been neglected because of the full-swing focus.

The two were working on keeping ...

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Categories: Instruction
October 26, 2009 | 1:57 p.m.

Full speed ahead

Note: This story appeared in the Aug. 23, 2008 issue of Golfweek

Rickie Fowler doesn’t play by the book. One of his favorite memories from last year’s Walker Cup at hallowed Royal County Down GC, Northern Ireland, has nothing to do with his 3-1 record that helped lead the U.S. to a one-point victory. 

It comes from a practice round.

“My teammates and I were hitting pitch shots to a green elevated 6 feet or so,” said Oklahoma State’s Fowler, who this spring became the first freshman to win the Ben Hogan Award as college golf ...

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Categories: Instruction
September 16, 2006 | 1:32 p.m.

2006: Learning the curves

Golfweek Staff

By Evan Rothman

Paige Mackenzie once had to contemplate life without golf. Now, she is beginning life as a professional golfer and if recent form holds, it should be richly rewarding.

A three-time All-American at the University of Washington, Mackenzie is a favorite to get through LPGA Qualifying School later this year. Her goals are as concentrated and ambitious as she is.

“I want to have a shot to win Q-School,” says Mackenzie, who graduated this spring with a degree in business administration. “I don’t think the focus should be on the cut line, it should be on the ...

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Categories: Instruction
James Achenbach

The simplest ideas are sometimes the best.

For decades, golfers have used large circular hoops for practice. With a golfer standing inside the upright hoop, the basic idea is that the circle can help guide the club along the proper swing path, or plane.

Along came Luther Blacklock, head golf professional at Woburn Golf Club in Buckinghamshire, England. Blacklock, a pro for 33 years, is a brainy man who earned the distinction of advanced fellow of the British PGA.

On a quest to create the ultimate teaching device, Blacklock designed and built a 21st-century hoop. Thus the Explanar was born ...

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Categories: Instruction
July 15, 2006 | 12:07 p.m.

2006: A little fade goes a long way

Golfweek Staff

By Evan Rothman

Since his arrival on the Nationwide Tour four years ago, Johnson Wagner has been considered one of the nicest guys on the circuit. But thanks to some recent changes, he rarely – if ever – finishes last. Rather, Wagner, fourth on the Nationwide money list and winner of this year’s Chitimacha Louisiana Open, looks poised to join the PGA Tour in 2007.

Wagner’s ballstriking is an established strength: He ranks 10th this year and was 10th last year in that category, which combines a player’s ranking in driving accuracy, driving distance and greens in regulation. In ...

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Categories: Instruction
April 22, 2006 | 1:13 p.m.

2006: King keeps it simple fyg

James Achenbach

This surely will sound simplistic, but too many golf instructors don’t know how to talk. They fail at communication, nullifying much of what they might be able to teach their students.

Instructor Charlie King doesn’t brag about it, but he has studied communication as much as he has studied the golf swing.

“I’m not trying to criticize anyone,” said King, the new director of instruction at Reynolds Plantation, “but I have learned something from all the teachers I worked with – in some cases, I definitely learned how not to do it.”

King did not play golf until ...

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Categories: Instruction
September 20, 2005 | 12:46 p.m.

2005: Extension accord

James Achenbach

Bolingbrook, Ill.

An introduction to instructor Carl Rabito might start with extension in the golf swing.

Extension is a garden-variety buzzword used with both the backswing and through swing. Many contemporary golfers seem to be looking for more arm extension everywhere in the swing. They associate extension with added distance.

The popular phrase is “widen your swing” or “create more width.”

While most golfers may have accepted this as fact, Rabito says any fixation on extension can be a bad thing. Players who seek to exaggerate their extension are asking for trouble, Rabito says.

They actually can lose distance, he ...

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Categories: For Your Game, Instruction
Golfweek Staff

Good vision, creative imagination and proper use of your eyes are crucial to great putting. As with the best putters on tour, you must learn to read greens well, see your line clearly, and trust what your eyes tell you before you step into the address position and stroke the ball. Below are a number of tips that will help alleviate trouble on the greens.

Obtain as much information about the putt as possible by walking around the putt from different angles and seeing where the apex of the break occurs. Remember that your first look or instinctive hunch about ...

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Categories: For Your Game, Instruction

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