Want to improve your putting? Take along a pair of headphones and a jazz album.
According to a Clarkson University research study recently published in the Journal of Athletic Enhancement, listening to jazz music has been shown to improve your putting performance. And more surprisingly, listening to any genre of music is better than just the voices inside your head, or the hushed voices of your partners who think they're being quiet.
Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy & Physician Assistant Studies Ali Boolani set up the test, using nearly two dozen men and women golfers from Division I programs, all with at least eight years of experience at the sport. They were then required to complete a series of six trials, attempting to make five putts at four locations on a putting green.
Boolani selected five musical genres -- classical, country, rock, jazz and hip-hop/rap -- along with no music, and golfers listened to each in a random fashion. It turns out the group performed better listening to jazz than any other genre.
The paper indicates that future research will be needed with a larger sample to see if the findings can be replicated.
Here's the video that explains it:
"Other research has shown that country music improves batting, rap music improves jump shots and running is improved by any up-tempo music," Boolani said. "But the benefit of music in fine motor control situations was relatively unknown. Hopefully, this is the first step in answering this question."
Boolani conducted the study along with Assistant Professor Timothy Baghurst, Assistant Professor Tyler Tapps, and Regents Professor Bert H. Jacobson of Oklahoma State University, and student Richard Gill of Tennessee State University.
Want to read the entire abstract? Check it out here.
This week, the PGA Tour is in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, for the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, where Harris English is the defending champion.
This is the final official event on the PGA Tour schedule for the 2014 calendar year, before the 2014-15 season resumes at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Jan. 9.
Here's a look at five players to watch at El Camaleon.
5. Will MacKenzie
Best finish in 2014-15 season: Second in playoff at The McGladrey Classic
Reason to watch: MacKenzie got off to a fast start with last year's introduction of the PGA Tour's wraparound schedule. All five of his top-10 finishes (and all nine of his top 25s for that matter) came between October and the end of March before slipping into a funk. He got off to a fast start this season with the runner-up finish at McGladrey. A year ago, he tied for 12th in the OHL Classic. There's something about an end of the calendar-year event that gives MacKenzie confidence.
4. Charles Howell III
Best finish in 2014-15 season: T14 at Sanderson Farms Championship
Reason to watch: He likes to play... a lot. This is his fifth start of the new season already. He's made all four cuts, but it's been a mixed bag results-wise -- two top-20 finishes and two outside the top 70. With a tie for sixth at Mayakoba last year, Howell notched one of his six top 10s for the season. I say it all the time: How has this guy only won twice on the PGA Tour? That's not a knock on the Tour -- it's tough to win out there. Howell is just so talented.
3. Camilo Villegas
Best finish in 2014-15 season: T54 at The McGladrey Classic
Reason to watch: If you needed proof that one tournament can make a season, look no further than Villegas. He really struggled last season, but somehow -- surprising even himself -- broke through for an unlikely win at the Wyndham Championship. It wasn't unlikely because it was Villegas. He's proven he has all the talent in the world. It was unlikely given his track record to that point. I thought maybe it would provide some confidence going forward, but it hasn't just yet. Can he get the wheels back on track in Mexico? We'll see.
2. Spencer Levin
Best finish in 2014-15 season: T10 at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Reason to watch: In 2011, Levin lost in a playoff at Mayakoba to Johnson Wagner -- the best finish of his PGA Tour career to date. It was a struggle in 2013-14 for Levin, who had just one top-25 finish -- a T12 at Frys.com Open, his first event of the season -- and missed the cut 11 times in 20 starts. Early this season, in just two starts, he's already better than he was a year ago with that top 10 in Vegas. Maybe be can carry the momentum from that tournament to the place where he recorded his best Tour finish.
1. Harris English
Best finish in 2014-15 season: T16 at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Reason to watch: English grabbed the second win of his young career at Mayakoba in 2013 and returns as the defending champion. There's nothing not to like about his game. He's consistent for the most part, but is prone to the occasional lull as we saw at the very end of last season where he missed the cut four of his last six starts. In his only other title defense on the PGA Tour -- the 2014 St. Jude Classic -- English missed the cut. I think he's going to have that on his mind this week and work hard to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Imagine: You're in the middle of a nice, relaxing -- hopefully enjoyable -- round of golf when all of the sudden, a stolen pick-up truck comes rip-roaring across the fairway and finally comes to rest in the middle of a pond.
Well, that could have been you if you were playing the ninth hole at Tahquitz Creek Golf Course in Palm Springs, Calif., around 9 a.m. on Tuesday.
According to a report from News Channel 3 (www.kesq.com), the two suspects in the stolen vehicle -- a man and a woman -- led police on a chase that ended in the Tahquitz Creek Golf Course pond.
The California Highway Patrol detained the two suspects and the truck was towed out of the lake.
Here's the report:
Believe it or not, that wasn't the only chase that involved a golf course on Tuesday. Over at Eagle Glen in Corona, Calif., a minivan drove all over the course. On GolfDigest.com, Geoff Shackelford reports that the driver, suspected of attempted fraud at a nearby Home Depot, drove off the course eventually and was shot and killed by L.A. County Sheriffs deputies.
Here's the video of that report from CBS Los Angeles:
Sad ending to the second story for sure.
We've seen some unusual "animals on the golf course" photos this year, and the most recent came from the St. Lucie Trail Golf Club in Florida this weekend. It's a Florida bobcat, trotting across the 10th tee.
That's not an everyday sight for most golfers, so we called Jerry Iorlano, shift captain for outside operations at the course. He gave us the back story on exactly what transpired and how he got the photo.
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The club has a swimming pool, and over the past six to eight months, installed a security camera in an attempt to catch uninvited guests who have been trespassing. There's a flatscreen monitor in the pro shop, and on Sunday morning, a couple of the employees just happened to look up in time to see a pair of bobcats move through the picture.
They radioed Iorlano, who took his camera and followed quietly behind the bobcats until they reached the 10th tee. At that point, one bobcat headed into the vegetation, but Iorlano was able to snap off a clear image as the other trotted across the back teeing ground.
According to Iorlano, an Okeechobee resident who has an extensive background in outdoor recreation, it's not unusual to find signs of bobcat activity on the course. If anything, he believes there are more bobcats on the property than raccoons. But they just don't show themselves very often. Iorlano thinks they were still prowling after dawn because it was a rainy and gray morning.
So let's add bobcats to this year's ever-growing list of odd animal incidents on golf courses:
Golf ball lands on alligator
Bear cub dancing with a flagstick
Eagle steals golf ball on green
Elephants play through in Malaysia
Frogs attack Peter Uihlein
Pablo Larrazabal jumps in lake to avoid hornet swarm
Kangaroos crossing bunker
Snake hazard at China Open
PGA of America Championships
Benton Harbor, Mich.
Sahalee Country Club
Baltusrol Golf Club
Hazeltine National Golf Club