Golf Buzz

April 29, 2016 - 9:43am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Luke donald
USA Today Sports Images
This week we figured it would be fun to ask you, the nearly 350,000 strong in Facebook Nation to complete the sentence: "My favorite golf shot to hit is..." Over 200 responses rolled in with a wide variety of answers.

Anyone who has ever played the game for any amount of time has their respective bread-and-butter shot -- the one they most enjoy hitting.

This week we figured it would be fun to ask you, the nearly 350,000 strong in Facebook Nation to complete the sentence: "My favorite golf shot to hit is..."

Over 200 responses rolled in with a wide variety of answers.

RELATED: Join the "My favorite shot" discussion | Your biggest golf highlights

Here's a collection of our favorites:

Michael Gestes: A lag putt that somehow makes its way into the hole... kerplunk.

Dan Sanders: The long iron/hybrid second shot to a par 5. It's such a good feeling when you catch it and it goes right where you want it. That's my favorite.

Damien Ross: The best feeling is when you say you're going to hit a high, low, draw or fade with any shot and you can do it because you're confident. That's how you know you're playing good golf too.

Mark Hardin: The opened wedge flop shot where you have short-sided yourself from the hole w/ the green running away from you! That is when it works!

Bill Gibson: Holing one of those 15 footers you know you can make, for birdie or eagle. Nothing is more satisfying than finishing a hole under par and watching that putt drop.

Chris Hurt: Hitting a long drive down the middle while working it either left to right or right to left, whichever way it needs to be hit to set me up for a short approach shot!

Benjamin Lohrenz: Hole-in-one or holing out from 100+ yards is tough to beat they both feel pretty cool. I swished a full sand wedge from 120 one time that might be the coolest.

Jeff Swanson: Any... Don't take playing for granted.

Larry Campbell: A little draw wedge that spins left toward the hole.

Michael Mulcahy: The hardest shot in golf. The safe shot.

Scott Northup: One that does what you want it to... Very elusive.

Gerry Farmer: The first one of a three or four day golf trip! Lots of golf!

Nathan Shaw: Hitting a sweet Fairway Wood off the deck that lands just before the green and runs on near the hole. I remember the one time that happened.

Sean Shea: Blistering drives right down the middle.

Peter Opel: Flop shot with 60 degree lob wedge over any obstacle to the green.

Bryce Hedgecock: 80 to 100 yard wedges that check up right next to the hole.

Lou Beisel: Long putts with double breaks or elevation changes, over fast, pure greens.

John Hampton Jr: Kick-in birdie! I don't do it very often, but it felt really good.

Kyle Carey: High fade with driver cutting the corner of a dogleg.

Bradley Tucker Jr.: The approach shot! That's where your imagination comes in.

Tony West: Full-blooded driver down the middle when being waved through while they're looking for a ball in rough.

Dave Baron: Any shot where I pick out the target and hit the target!

TherealMike Traficante Sr.: The one I visualize then execute!

Tom Romano: Punch wedge from 50-100. It feels like throwing the ball.

Mat Fritz: Driver moving like I planned.

Miles Turner: Perfect dart wedge from 145 in.

Ben Lock: Flop over a bunker.

Visionary Crazy Golf course in London's Trafalgar Square
Courtesy of Visionary Crazy Golf
The "pigeon hole" in the proposed Visionary Crazy Golf course would see golfers hit their balls into the mouth of an oversized version of London's famed Trafalgar Square pigeons.
It doesn't more than a few minutes of browsing on Kickstarter to find all sorts of wild and crazy ideas. One of the coolest ones on there right now comes from the good folks at the London Design Festival.
Their dream: To build what they call a Visionary Crazy Golf course smack in the middle of London's famed Trafalgar Square. The miniature golf course would be open for one week only – during the London Design Festival in September – and would be "futuristic, fun and free for the public to play," according to the pitch on Kickstarter.
The course, which has already been approved by the London city government, would feature holes created by some of the world's most renowned architects, artists and clothing designers. The project is spearheaded by Sir Paul Smith, well known in London for his clothing and accessories designs.
Smith's hole would "transform  the steps of the National Gallery into a riot of different coloured stripes, topped by a neo-classical clubhouse that echoes the museum, but has a turf roof and putters for columns," according to the Kickstarter pitch. Zaha Hadid, the world-renowned architect who died suddenly a few weeks ago, created an undulating hole with two levels that traces the shadow of the famed Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square.
One of the other holes would see golf balls hurtling through a nest of pneumatic tubes; another would be a maze; yet another would be a small netted driving range; and another would feature a cross-section of one of Trafalgar Square's many resident pigeons through whose gut the golf balls would travel.
The course would be the most ambitious "intervention" in the London Design Festival's decade-long tradition of making over Trafalgar Square, Smith said. Previous installations have included a giant chess set and a light show performed by an assembly line of robots. These creations, festival officials say, are enjoyed by millions of visitors and bring an awareness of design and its possibilities to the London city center.
The course creators are seeking £120,000 – roughly $175,000 – to make it happen. That would account for half the cost, with sponsorships slated to cover the rest.
The course will transform Trafalgar Square "into a free, colourful and playful arena," Smith says on Kickstarter. "It will attract a wide, public audience, and inspire the next generation of creatives. Thousands will be able to play the course, and millions more will watch and enjoy this experience, both in the square and through media."
It sounds pretty crazy, all right. If you're interested in pitching in, there are a number of different price points offering a variety of rewards in return. You can get a mug for $36, and for $43 you get to cut the line and play the course ahead of the general public. 
If you want to see more photos, illustrations and a sizzle video for the project, check out the Visionary Crazy Golf page on Kickstarter. And if you want to kick in a few bucks to reserve me a priority tee time, that'd be brilliant.
April 28, 2016 - 9:26am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rob Labritz
USA Today Sports Images
Trying to beat those milestone scores like 100, 90, 80 and 70? In the second of this four-part series, PGA Professional Rob Labritz offers up some great advice that's sure to make you a better player. For this week, Labritz focuses on those trying to break 90.

It's no secret that if you're going to shoot lower scores on the golf course, it's going to take a commitment to improving your short game.

In last week's "Best advice for breaking 100" piece, PGA Professional Rob Labritz put an emphasis on putting and chip shots.

This week, as we look toward breaking 90, Labritz says we're still going to use that idea of "working from the green backwards to the tee."

"The gist of it is this -- if you're a player struggling to break 90, chances are you're not hitting a lot of greens in regulation," Labritz said. "To make up for that shortcoming, you're going to need to get dialed in from 100 yards and in. If you want to consistently break 90, you need to dedicate time to working on pitch shots from 100 yards and in with all of your wedges -- pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge and lob wedge."

RELATED: Advice for breaking 100 | Short-game instruction videos | Putting videos

With the ball in the middle of your stance, Labritz said to start hitting shots with all your wedges beginning at 30 yards and working yourself up to 100 yards in 10- to 15-yard increments.

"Using all your wedges results in two big positives for your game," he said. "First of all, you're going to develop touch by understanding how long a swing you need to use to reach those distances. Secondly, you're going to give yourself options on these shots."

Those options, Labritz said, relate to two things: trajectory and roll out on the green.

Since a shot with a pitching wedge will have a lower trajectory than one with a lob wedge, it's going to have more roll out on the green.

"You need to tighten up the wedges," Labritz said. "You're going to find out the different trajectories with which you hit each of your wedges and then you're going to see where the ball lands and where it rolls out. You've got to hit these shots from the fairway and the rough since the ball will respond differently from the rough -- it will affect the trajectory. Once you get the hang of all your wedges, you're going to have access to front flags, middle flags and back flags because you'll know how each wedge shot is going to react."

Early in this process of dialing in your wedges, Labritz recommends taking just half swings -- hip-high on the backswing and hip-high on the way through -- from 30, 40 and 50 yards out.

Once that feels comfortable, you can start moving back -- up to 100 yards tops -- and lengthening the swing. This process is designed to also help you build a solid foundation for the full swing, which will come later.

It's also important, Labritz noted, to spend time working on 8- to 10-yard bunker shots.

"Again, it's all about developing feel and getting familiar with how your ball reacts from different types of lies," he said.

The bottom line is this for those of us who want to consistently break 90: get comfortable with your scoring clubs. 

Rob Labritz, who has played in four PGA Championships (he was low-Club Professional in 2010 at Whistling Straits), is currently the Director of Golf at GlenArbor Golf Club in BedFord Hills, N.Y. He was also the PGA Met Section Player of the Year in 2008 and 2013, as well as the Westchester Golf Association's Player of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2015. You can learn more about Labritz at and you can follow him on Twitter, @Rlabritz.

Faces of Golf at PGA National
The "Faces of Golf" sculpture features bas relief portraits of 116 golfers from Mary, Queen of Scots to four-time major champion Rory McIlroy.
At the Open Championship last summer, acclaimed artist Lawrence Holofcener unveiled a pretty impressive piece of golf art. His sculpture, "Faces of Golf," features a collection of portraits of golfers, golf course designers and golf commentators who've made their mark on golf history down through the years.
The original work's permanent home is the British Golf Museum in St. Andrews, but a new casting recently went on display at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. – the home of the PGA Tour's Honda Classic. Holofcener is British-American and lives in nearby West Palm Beach. This is the only copy of the work in the United States. 
"Faces of Golf is our resort's most recent addition of artwork and has been a real conversation starter since its installation just prior to the Honda Classic," said James Gelfand, general manager of the PGA National Members Club. "Its prominent display in the hallway en route to the PGA pro shop and golf courses evidences our respect for the game's proud heritage."
The sculpture – started in clay and finished in bronze – features bas relief portraits of 116 golfers from Mary, Queen of Scots – an avid golfer whose reign spanned 25 years in the 16th century – to four-time major champion Rory McIlroy. Also among the faces are Seve Ballesteros, Laura Davies, Walter Hagen, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones, Phil Mickelson, Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Annika Sorenstam, Lee Trevino, Harry Vardon and Tiger Woods.
"I have long been a fan of professional golf and felt inspired to celebrate the careers of these great men and women I have followed and their legendary predecessors,"  said Holofcener, whose most famous work is "Allies," a sculpture of Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt sitting on a park bench deep in conversation. "As an artist, I wanted to create a sculpture which includes faces of people from different times, different places and different backgrounds – a representation of some of the remarkable people who have contributed, over the years, to this wonderful game."
If you'd llike to see more, here's a video from Golfing World on the "Faces of Golf" unveiling at the British Golf Museum last summer:
Bubba Watson and friends make 23-second eagle
Bubba Watson via Twitter
Randall Wells (l) and caddie Ted Scott turned to celebrate the 23-second eagle they made with Bubba Watson, who's waaaay back on the teebox.
Remember the other day when we showed you a group of European Tour players who set a new Guinness World Record for playing the fastest par-5 hole ever? Bubba Watson saw that, too, and he and his buddies set out to break that brand-new mark.
ICYMI, at the Spanish Open two weeks ago, three teams of European Tour players set out to break the world record for fastest par-5 hole ever played – it had to be 500 yards or longer to count. Sergio Garcia, Raphael Jacquelin and Thorbjorn Olesen essentially created relay teams down the length of the 500-yard, par-5 fifth hole at Valderrama Golf Club – the first player drives the ball out near where the second player is standing; he then tries to hit it up by the green, where the third player is stationed; and so on, until the ball is in the cup.
Jacquelin and his teammates shattered the old record, and their 34.8-second birdie earned them a plaque from the Guinness Book of World Records. You can see their hilarious video here.
The other day, halfway around the world at Genzou Golf Club in China, Bubba and friends came up with an ingenious way to break the record – the longest part of the attempt comes in having to hit two long shots to reach the green. So they found a 503-yard par-5 hole with a huge dogleg around a lake and had Bubba drive it directly over the lake at the green.
He bombed his tee shot as you'd expect, and it landed in a greenside bunker, where his longtime friend Randall Wells hit a gorgeous shot to about three feet. From there, Bubba's caddie Ted Scott knocked home the putt for an eagle. 
Their elapsed time: 23 seconds. Talk about speed golf!
The only downside to their achievement – no one from the Guinness Book was on hand to witness it. But Bubba posted the video on social media – and if that doesn't make it official, I don't know what does.
Here it is: