Golf Buzz

May 11, 2016 - 8:51am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Chipper Jones
Chipper Jones Twitter
Former Atlanta Braves all-star Chipper Jones collected his first career hole-in-one on Tuesday while playing at TPC Sugarloaf.

In a career loaded with night games, it's not surprising that many of the most avid golfers in the world are baseball players.

I mean, come on, what else are they going to do while they wait for a 7 p.m. first pitch?

Not surprisingly, that love of golf carries over into retirement from the big leagues as well.

That's where former Atlanta Braves eight-time all-star Chipper Jones enters the equation.

Playing a round of golf at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Ga. (former home of a PGA Tour event), on Tuesday, Jones scored his first hole-in-one with a 52-degree gap-wedge on a 134-yard par 3.

While there wasn't video of the actual shot, Jones was sure to have his buddies film him as he collected the ball from the hole and gave details of his ace:


May 10, 2016 - 1:03pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Thanks to what’s being dubbed, “the most fact-based analysis of the golf swing ever conducted” – the SwingTRU Motion Study – there’s a sophisticated new way to quickly identify and diagnose the flaws in your swing, while also putting in a quick, long-term fix.

CRANSTON, R.I. -- It’s a pretty safe bet that you can’t fix what you can’t see. That’s especially true when it comes to the golf swing.

Thanks to what’s being dubbed, “the most fact-based analysis of the golf swing ever conducted” – the SwingTRU Motion Study – there’s a sophisticated new way to quickly identify and diagnose the flaws in your swing, while also putting in a quick, long-term fix.

The study identifies specific body positions within the swing, such as shoulder and hip rotation, that directly correlate to handicap level and play a key role in improving distance, accuracy and consistent contact.

And the best part of it all? You need only visit your local GolfTEC for a visit with one of its knowledgeable PGA Professionals to go through the evaluation.

I recently took a trip to GolfTEC’s Cranston, R.I., location to meet with facility’s PGA Director of Instruction, Nick Siudela.

After spending roughly 20 minutes talking about the strengths and weaknesses of my game and reviewing a questionnaire I filled in prior to the visit, Siudela placed me in a hitting bay and put a motion harness over my shoulders and around my waist (think something similar to a hiker’s backpack).

Following roughly 10 shots, Siudela put up a split screen video. The left side featured my swing. The right side featured the swing of PGA Tour winner Hunter Mahan. Using super-slow motion video analysis, Siudela was able to pinpoint my flaws – something you can’t always see with the naked eye.

As Siudela broke down the video, he was also able to add video instruction drills to a “virtual locker” for me to access on the GolfTEC website. It’s particularly helpful with a smartphone to be able to few the drills while you practice them on a driving range.

“Technology has come super far even in just the last eight years,” Siudela said. “As an experienced instructor teaching outside without video – I can tell you this: The naked eye sees very little. All these philosophies that we were built on – open the toe on the backswing and shut the toe on the downswing – that was taught because we thought that was right. Now we have video proof that that’s not what the best players in the world actually do.”

And if you think you’re not a good enough player to go through this type of evaluation, you may want to reconsider. If you truly want to become a better player, it’s more likely you’re not a good enough player to not try something like this.

“Visually, you just learn so much faster,” Siudela said. “That’s why I think you see so many first-time winners on Tour these days. They grew up with all these tools – video, sensors, ball flight measuring equipment. It makes learning and improving so much easier and these tools are now at the disposal of anyone who plays the game, no just the pros. I’ve had guys who pick up a club for the first time two weeks before they come here. They want to learn how to play. Within a year, they’re breaking 80. It’s not because I’m some fantastic instructor. I know my stuff, but it’s the visual – everything makes more sense when you can see it.”

So what does the SwingTRU Motion Study prove?

“Until now, there really hadn’t been a correlation between handicap/someone’s ability level in relationship to how their golf swing is, or how it performs,” Siudela said. “You can see guys with scrappy golf swings and they can still shoot good scores. Those are the outliers. But, with the data we have access to – such as shoulder bend, or hip sway at impact – and how those correlate with the level of play is kind of how we got to all this data in the SwingTRU Motion Study.”

Siudela said for the study, video of over 13,000 clients was used along with more than 645,000 motion measurements.

“That’s significant data that we were able to correlate with handicap level to what their [motion] numbers were showing,” he said. “When you’re working in the bay and we can show you these numbers, you just experienced for yourself how quickly and easily it is to make a change.”

For the lay person, don’t be scared by the numbers that come with the measurements. That’s for instructors like Siudela to worry about. Those numbers are broken down and easily explained to the student.

“We all teach differently,” Siudela said. “These numbers are a guideline for us. The numbers we see are ranged. There are Tour players who have been able to make it work with funky golf swings. There’s no cookie-cutter golf swing by any means. We’re not here to teach people to do that. All these numbers are a guideline to help students improve certain body movement function. It’s to get everything to feel more connected, which, in turn, will help you to better performance on the course.”

Utilizing the swing evaluation, GolfTEC says it has seen a 96 percent success rate among students, who drop an average of seven strokes from their scores. Imagine subtracting seven strokes from your scorecard?

For more information, visit to find a facility near you, or call 877-446-5383.  


May 10, 2016 - 9:16am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Greg Owen
Greg Owen took time from his Players Championship preparation on Monday to save a baby blue jay in distress after it fell out of a tree and into the pond on the 16th hole at TPC Sawgrass.

If Greg Owen -- a journeyman still in search of his maiden PGA Tour victory -- wins this week's Players Championship, you can chalk it up to great play and great karma.

Owen, one of the all-time "good guys" on Tour, took time away from his Players Championship preparation at TPC Sawgrass on Monday to make a rescue.

Walking off the 16th tee with Brandt Snedeker, Owen noticed a baby blue jay fell out of a tree and into the pond. The bird was struggling to get across the pond. Without hesitation, Owen stripped down to his skivvies and walked into the pond to save the bird.

Lucky for us, this act of kindness was captured on video by Tony Ziegler of the Ziegler Golf School, Owen's instructor.

Check it out:


That should be worth a bunch of "birdies" for Owen this week.

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: