Golf Buzz

Hidden Valley Golf Club
Eli Schmal via Twitter
Hailstones the size of golf balls embedded themselves in this green at Hidden Valley Golf Club in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Monday.
 
Crazy weather is to be expected in the springtime, but Mother Nature seems to really have it in for golf courses this year. In the last couple weeks alone, we've seen several instances of flooding rains wreaking havoc on courses – including putting some prominent layouts in the Houston area underwater.
 
No doubt that damage was bad, but it appears the floodwaters have receded without causing too many long-term problems. But I'm sure the photos of the hail damage at Hidden Valley Golf Course in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Monday felt like a gut punch to the golfers who play there.
 
 
Ironically – and I hate to use that word in this case – golf ball-sized hailstones pummeled the course with such fury that they literally embedded themselves in the rain-softened greens. Take a look at the photo – those are hailstones, not golf balls. As someone who worked on a golf course in my younger days, it hurts my stomach to see that.
 
In fact, this hailstorm ranks as one of the worst in Lincoln's history, according to KETV in Omaha, as hail – as big as tennis balls in some places – smashed car windshields and was so thick at times that it piled up like snowdrifts.
 
I didn't see any reports of other damage at Hidden Valley or other golf facilities in the Lincoln area, so hopefully everybody is safe up there and the grounds crew can get the layout back in playing shape sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, Mother Nature, how about giving our beloved golf courses a little bit of a break?
 
 
 
 
May 6, 2016 - 1:27pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Zac Blair
USA Today Sports Images
PGA Tour player Zac Blair was disqualified from the Wells Fargo Championship on Friday after using his putter after he altered it... with his head.

PGA Tour player Zac Blair summed up his situation at the Wells Fargo Championship on Friday perfectly in a hashtag: "#GottaDoBetter."

Playing the fifth hole in the tournament's second round, Blair became frustrated after missing a birdie putt. He proceeded to hit himself in the head with his putter before tapping in for par.

On the very next hole, Blair realized something: The shaft on his putter had been bent as the result of his head bang.

Blair alerted officials and was then disqualified for using a nonconforming club, outlined under Rule 4-3b in the Rules of Golf, which covers "damage other than in the normal course of play":

If, during a stipulated round, a player’s club is damaged other than in the normal course of play rendering it non-conforming or changing its playing characteristics, the club must not subsequently be used or replaced during the round.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 4-3b: Disqualification.

And so was the case for Blair, who was unlikely to make the cut anyway. He was 7 over at the time of the infraction.

Here's his tweet about the breach:

 

And he had a little fun with it too, as you can see here, giving us a little "Flashback Friday" by subtweeting the PGA Tour with the most famous of all putter-to-head-bangers, Woody Austin:

 

John Daly bobblehead
John Daly via Instagram
John Daly apparently finds his new bobblehead quite tasty.
 
John Daly makes his PGA Tour Champions debut on Friday at the Insperity Invitational in Houston, and tournament officials are marking the occasion in a pretty fun way – they're giving away John Daly bobbleheads to the first 1,000 fans through the gates.
 
The bobblehead is as realistic a depiction as you could possibly expect. He's standing cross-legged and is decked out in some cool aviators and, of course, some eye-popping Loudmouth slacks – and check this out: If you wear Loudmouth clothes to the tournament on Friday, you might be chosen to attend a meet-and-greet with JD after his round. 
 
 
I'm not really sure JD likes his likeness, though – he posted a shot of himself on Instagram taking a bite out of one. Is that a sign of aggression or affection? I'm gonna presume he likes it.
 
With only 1,000 bobbleheads available to the public, I’m also gonna presume that they'll be in high demand on eBay and elsewhere almost immediately. I might have to put in a bid for one myself.
 
Anyway, good luck, John, and go get 'em. We're all expecting you to have a tremendous impact on the senior circuit, and we can't wait to see you make your senior major debut at the Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores in a few weeks.
 
 

Get ya a @pga_johndaly Bobble Head Friday at the @Insperityinvitational @pgatourchampions tour #nowwerehavingfun

A photo posted by pga_johndaly (@pga_johndaly) on

 
 
 
Graham DeLaet made out of Legos
Jared Jacobs via Instagram
"Lego Graham DeLaet" tips his crowd after making birdie in a hilarious stop-action video.
 
There was a lot of golf on TV today. None of it was as amazing as what I saw on Instagram.
 
As you can see below, a guy by the name of Jared Jacobs has created a stop-action video of PGA Tour player Graham DeLaet – and it's made entirely out of Legos.
 
It only lasts a few seconds, but I can't stop watching it. "Lego Graham" tees off and then he and his Lego caddie march down the Lego fairway. His tee shot avoids the Lego creek, so he knocks his second shot up onto the Lego green. From there, he taps in for a Lego birdie.
 
I love everything about this, from DeLaet's trademark bushy beard to his awesome one-handed swing to the way his approach shot bounces off the backstop behind the green and settles down back by the hole. Heck, there's even colorful Lego flowers behind the Lego teebox.
 
And as one of the commenters on his Instagram page noted, the pace of play is quite good, too.
 
I don't know anything about Jacobs, but I am presuming he's Canadian by the hockey helmet he's wearing in his photo and his clear love for DeLaet, the leading Canadian on the PGA Tour. Regardless of his nationality, though, this little video will make you smile.
 
Golf clap for you, Jared Jacobs.
 
 

Now I can check golfing with #GrahamDeLaet off the ol' bucket list.

A video posted by Jared Jacobs (@goldyeller) on

 
 
 
May 5, 2016 - 11:03am
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 third 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 80.

In this week’s “best advice” column with PGA Professional Rob Labritz, we’re turning our eyes to the better players out there who are on the cusp of a single-digit handicap – the ones looking to break “80” on a consistent basis.

Even if your game fits into this category, you’re going to want to go back and touch up on the tips for breaking “100” and breaking “90.” After all, Labritz’s entire theory of becoming a better player starts at the green and working your way backwards to the tee.

So, provided you’ve gotten yourself comfortable with the short game inside of 100 yards, this is the piece for you.

How the heck can you break 80?

RELATED: Advice for breaking 100 | Advice for breaking 90 | Instruction videos

Labritz chalks it up to just two things: iron control and driver control.

It may seem simple, but there’s some “charting” that goes into it – and that starts with the irons.

“There are a few things I use,” said Labritz, fresh off a win in the MasterCard Westchester PGA Championship on Thursday. “First, you want to get access to some type of measuring device. If you can use something like Trackman, or another type of launch monitor, or even the Game Golf device, that’s a great place to start. The thing is, you want to learn how far your ball travels with each iron.”

Once you figure that out, Labritz said, it eliminates the guesswork.

“Play a couple of rounds, or spend time on the range just dialing in the distances your irons travel,” Labritz said. “And if you don’t have access to what we’ve already covered, a laser rangefinder will work too. Once you’re hitting consistent iron shots, hit the target where the ball is landing with a laser and see how far it’s flying.”

When you get comfortable with that, it’s time to step back to the tee.

“The key to hitting a tee shot has nothing to do with hitting it as far as you can,” Labritz said. “It’s all about positioning. It’s about playing the hole from the green backwards. When you’re on the tee, imagine you’re looking down the fairway from the green and ask yourself, ‘where do I have to hit this tee shot to give myself the best position to get my iron-shot approach into the area of the flag on this green?’”

Like most, you may be programmed to think that with driver in hand, you should take a mighty lash at the ball from the tee. You’re wrong. Over-swinging leads to problems with balance and that’s the reason for your wayward tee shots.

Labritz has a simple fix for that.

“One driver drill I love is to take a full swing at half speed on the driving range,” he said. “Give yourself a pretend fairway between two targets. Using full motion, only swing half speed. Two things will happen when you do this. First, you’ll get control of your driver face. And two, you’re quickly going to realize that you don’t have to swing so hard with the driver. Over-swinging makes it hard to hit fairways, which – you guessed it – makes it very difficult to break 80.”

To summarize: having control of your driver and control of your irons – specifically the distances they travel – is going to allow you to properly position yourself off the tee, giving you better access to greens and pin positions. Better players hit more greens in regulation.

“The big problem is that people hit the wrong club for the shot,” Labritz said. “That decreases accuracy and increases scores. If you follow the steps we laid out today, you’re going to develop comfort and balance and that’s going to build confidence, which will result in lower scores.”

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 www.RobLabritz.com and you can follow him on Twitter, @Rlabritz

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