Owing to the Fitter Golfers Partnership having been asked to provide a non-golf-specific programme of exercises for use by sports therapists and general health practitioners, we have this year been writing a conditioning programme for achieving and maintaining a structurally healthy body. This was too good an opportunity to miss, but it has meant a huge amount of work and we have therefore postponed the production of our Golf-Specific Intermediate Level Programme until this project has been completed. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Dame Laura Davies, former women’s world number one, will captain a Ladies European Tour team in a new match play event, the snappily named ‘The Queens presented by Kowa,’ to be held at the Miyoshi Country Club in Japan on December 4-6.
The 52-year-old four-time major champion, Britain’s most successful ever golfer having won 79 titles, will also play in the inaugural tournament. “It’s a one of a kind tournament and I’ll enjoy being part of it,” she said. “I love Japan and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to go.” With the same direct and no-nonsense sort of approach that she brought to her golf game, Dame Laura continued, “As a playing captain, you put your team out in order and have a bit of fun. I don’t think there’s too much involved and so when I was asked I said yes straight away. I can see myself playing in the four ball and I’ll drop out of the foursomes. I’ll just make sure everyone plays with someone they get on with. When it gets to Sunday and the singles it’s like every woman for herself and you’ve just got to get a point on the board and beat the opposition. I think it sounds like good fun.”
The tournament involves four teams of nine players representing the ALPG, JLPGA, KLPGA and the LET.
Dame Laura has no captain’s picks. The other eight members of her team will comprise the leading six eligible players from the LET Order of Merit and the next two leading eligible players from the World Rankings. We will know the exact composition of the LET team later this month.
The format will run along pretty traditional lines for such an event, with the opening two days of the three day tournament featuring four ball and foursomes match play, with eight players from each team competing each day and the final day will see all nine players compete in singles match play with a points scoring system in operation to decide the winning team.
The winning team will take home 45 million yen (about €0.3m euros) along with a further 1 million yen to donate to the charity of their choice and the total the prize money will stretch to an impressive 100million yen.
LET CEO Ivan Khodabakhsh said: “The Ladies European Tour is delighted that Laura has accepted the role of Captain for the first edition of ‘The Queens presented by Kowa.’ Laura is a sporting icon whose popularity transcends borders and golf… Everyone at the Ladies European Tour is extremely excited to be involved and cannot wait for the event to tee off.”
Unsurprisingly, JLPGA Chairman Hiromi Kobayashi expressed similar excitement: “Having 36 top players from four of the world’s major tours competing in a team competition in Japan for the first time has really excited sports fans and we are really looking forward to this dream tournament which is certain to be extremely competitive.” (translated)
Jordan Spieth has a lot of natural ability, a level head and a relentless drive to succeed - undoubtedly attributes that are extremely useful when it comes to playing golf, or indeed any sport, at a high level.
Nowadays you can add to that list of attributes a well-honed body that is totally ‘golf fit’, but that wasn’t always the case.
When, in 2009, at the tender age of 16, Jordan first met his trainer, Damon Goddard of AMP Fitness, he was in Goddard’s words “tall and lanky with hardly any backside,” a bit like “Bambi on ice” and “needed a lot of work.” Goddard quickly identified a need to increase his body weight and muscle strength.
By 2011, the year before he turned professional aged 19, he had gained almost 25lb, most of it muscle, and filled out physically. He now had ‘an athletic build’ and that should really come as no surprise at all, given the fact that Goddard’s premise has long been to develop the athlete first and then the golfer. [AMP is an acronym: Assess, Move, Perform].
Now aged 22, Jordan can deadlift more than twice his body weight. When he’s not on the golf course, he spends about four days a week in the gym with Goddard working out. His programme focuses on strength in the core and the lower body for stability, speed and power.” All lean muscle at 6’1” and 185 pounds, nowadays Goddard refers to that one-time “Bambi on ice” as being “country-strong". It is always important to balance strength work with mobility training and Jordan combines his with foam rolling and stretching routines to help increase flexibility and mobility.
As you can see, golf-specific conditioning has played a major part in Jordan Spieth’s rise to the top of the game - just as it has done with golf’s other two musketeers, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy. So, club golfers take heed – if you are serious about improving your game, the first thing you need to do is to make sure that your body is properly ‘golf fit’. Remember Damon Goddard’s premise? Always develop the athlete first!
www.fittergolers.com – peak performance to a tee
Ask Rory McIlroy about golf fitness training and he will tell you: “It’s a necessity. It gives me the best possible chance to go out onto the golf course and perform to the best of my ability.”
When Rory first came on the professional scene about 6 years ago, he was relatively slight in stature and his musculature was more ‘soft’ than firmly toned. But since the end of 2010 when he began working on his fitness under the tutelage of British trainer Steve McGregor, the results have been dramatic.
Showing impeccable diplomacy, McGregor described McIlroy, back in 2010, as having "untapped" fitness potential.
I want to talk a little bit about what McGregor and McIlroy did to get him into shape to play the kind of golf that elevated him to the world number one spot, because it provides extremely useful information for any of you out there who want to improve your own game.
As always, the first step was to assess current levels of balance, flexibility, strength and, crucially important, muscular symmetry. McGregor recalls, "I measured his muscle strength and saw imbalances." "He had issues with his back in 2010. He was only 21 then, but there was evidence of overuse injury. He'd been swinging a club since the age of two without much focus on fitness. Rory, himself, recalls with an infectious smile, “I wasn’t really big into the gym… I couldn’t stand on one leg for more than ten seconds and couldn’t hold the plank for more than thirty seconds.”
McIlroy's left side, from his back through his legs, was weaker than his right. So balancing the right and left sides of his body was a top priority. Over time, the nature of the golf swing – a repetitive unilateral rotation – creates imbalances in your body. It’s vitally important that you prevent that imbalance from getting out of control. A better strength ratio between the two sides of your body provides more stability and reduces your risk of injury. McGregor still pays “special attention to keeping his back strong."
Rory himself freely admits, “I didn’t have a strong enough core or lower back and glutes to stabilise my pelvis. I’ve concentrated a lot on the core and my legs and being balanced from the ground up. I’m the same weight as I was when I started, around 164 lbs, but I’ve gained quite a lot of muscle or lean mass.” As a result, he will now tell you, “I feel like I can hit it harder without losing balance. I just feel I don’t have to go after it as much to get the length.”
After creating balance and stability, Rory progressed to more strength training, and eventually power training. Recognise that pattern? If you haven’t read my previous posts on Jason Day and Jordan Spieth, take a look. The important point here is that he was taken through a proper progression – (i) assessment (ii) flexibility/mobility (iii) balance/stability (iv) strength (v) power.
If you want to improve your own game, the Fitter Golfers self-assessment screening programme is a great place to start. [FREE to download from this website]
Our comprehensive modular programme of exercise videos means that you can design your own individual programme (ensuring that you follow the correct progression mentioned earlier) and choose only those modules that directly address your needs (as identified in the screening process), so there is no ‘dead time’. Also all our foundation level exercises can be done at home without the need for equipment, so there is no unnecessary expense.
To summarise the benefits of golf-specific conditioning: scientific research has linked a properly designed exercise programme with a significant increase in clubhead speed and a drop in handicap of up to 7 shots in a relatively short period of time; there's also a lot of scientific evidence that links being strong and physically fit with increased self-confidence and psychological well-being – not bad things to have out on the course! Game for improvement? Get conditioned to success.
WWW.FITTERGOLFERS.COM – Peak Performance to a Tee
That's the firm belief of his trainer, Cornel Driessen, whose workouts have dramatically increased Day's core strength and stability, stripped away over six pounds of unwanted fat and replaced it with 15 pounds of lean muscle.
Driessen thinks the back twinge that forced him to pull out of the Barclay’s pre-tournament pro-am in August would almost certainly been a serious problem were it not for the physical conditioning he's undertaken. According to Driessen, Jason “tweaked his back moving an item under his motor coach” and aggravated “a long-standing disc issue." He went on to say, "If Jason had the same strength profile that he had last year, he would likely have missed the FedEx Cup, that's my professional opinion… he would not be as resilient as he is now.”
South African Driessen, who took on Day after last year's FedEx Cup, pinpointed core weakness as a significant inhibiter to his performance and injury prevention. Day quickly ‘bought into’ Driessen’s training philosophy and, as a consequence, is now reaping the benefits.
In Driessen’s own words, "His lower core and abs are now incredible and they were close to non-existent in comparison a year ago. He is showing as much as 800% improvement in dynamic core flexion strength and significant improvements across the board."
Why not follow Jason’s example and use the fast approaching close season to get conditioned for success next year? Download our FREE screening programme to pinpoint the areas that are potentially having an adverse impact on your performance. Then use the appropriate golf specific exercise programme(s) to get your body totally fit for golf and help to transform your game. Their modular format means you choose only those that address your individual needs.
www.fittergolfers.com – peak performance to a tee
As Darren Clarke is named as captain of Europe’s 2016 EurAsia Cup team, the whole question of Asian golf enters the spotlight once again, especially given that Clarke will also captain Team Europe in next year’s Ryder Cup.
The EurAsia Cup will take place at Kuala Lumpur's Glenmarie Golf and Country Club on 15-17 January and will provide Clarke with a useful ‘dry run’ as a team captain and the chance to try out a few ideas ahead of next September's Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota.
In the only previous competition back, in 2014, the two teams fought out a nail-biting 10-10 draw and Clarke commented, "Both teams that are assembled will be desperate to win the EurAsia Cup for the first time."
However, putting all the expected niceties aside for a moment, we are left to ponder the question: what kind of team will Europe assemble? With no disrespect intended, a comparison of the respective 2014 EurAsia and Ryder Cup teams suggests that last time around the European Tour attached more importance to the latter.
Given the disparity in the world rankings, perhaps it is not surprising. The 10th ranked European has a world ranking of 41, while the 10th ranked Asian lies at 134. There are five Europeans in the top 20 and only one Asian.
Even more pertinent then is the question why is there not a similar competition for the women? Inbee Park’s clear win by three shots at the Ricoh Women’s British Open in August this year confirmed her as the world’s top female player. The fact that the top three places all went to Asian golfers served further to highlight current Asian dominance of the Ladies game.
A look at the current women’s world rankings is hugely revealing. There are ten Asian golfers in the top twenty and no less than twenty-five in the top fifty! So, how is the women's game reacting to this situation? Laggardly, at best. When, a couple of years ago, a fifth major was added to the calendar, it would hardly have been a surprise had the authorities seen fit to stage it somewhere like Nine Bridges GC, or the Jack Nicklaus, Korea or Hirono GC, or Tokyo GC in Japan. It’s not as if suitable venues don’t exist!
Instead they chose to upgrade the Evian Championship – another European venue (which was, incidentally, dominated by Asian players once again in both 2014 and 2015 – as if to underline my point!). The decision, many would say inadvisedly, flew in the face of current developments in the world game.
If there is a place for the EurAsia Cup in the men’s game, given the world rankings a women’s version would be a more prestigious affair. The Solheim Cup showcases women’s golf in its most exciting format and no-one would want to see that disappear, but in non-Solheim years, there would surely be a market for another intercontinental contest that included Asia.
If congestion is an issue, then Europe and America could conceivably alternate as Asia’s opponents.
Any further exposure for the ladies' game is surely to be applauded and could only help the attempts being made by the UK authorities to attract more girls to the game.
As history tells us, in any sport success is cyclical and that only serves to exacerbate the need for prompt action. Current Asian dominance provides a window of opportunity that the game’s governing bodies would be foolish to let pass by.
Levity, or gravitas? Setting the tone can be a headache for a team captain and knowing your players is vital. Keen to ‘stop the rot’, which some believe is threatening to set in, following successive Solheim Cup defeats, America’s current captain, Juli Inkster (right), has enforced a “strictly business” attitude to events in Heidelberg this week.
Though she would not have the atmosphere in the American team room resemble that of a holy shrine, there is no place for the kind of adolescent indulgence that has characterised recent American campaigns. “I just think we are all grown women,” she said. “I don’t see a lot of grown women with face paint on. I want to get back to playing golf. They can have fun and can do their nails and whatever, but I would like us to play golf and get back to basics. I think they were all OK with it. It’s a different group, so we’re doing fine.”
Whether or not red, white and blue nail polish will adorn the fairways at St. Leon-Rot Golf Club remains to be seen. However, team members Stacy Lewis and Lizette Salas confirmed that American flag face paint seems unlikely to make an appearance this time around: “I think everybody’s grown up,” Lewis said. “Hopefully everybody is past all the tattoos and the face paint and all that… We’re not here to pump up the crowds and do all that, we’re here to win this thing.”
"I think Juli said no more of this rah-rah stuff,” Salas said. “And I was, like, OK, we're not cheerleaders, so none of that face paint or none of those tattoos. It's definitely toned down quite a bit since the first Solheim I was at. And I think it's a lot of excess energy that's used on… where do I put this tattoo or does this ribbon match this outfit? None of that. We go out and handle our business and play the best golf it that we can. And I think it's working."
In sharp contrast, there will no doubt be plenty of laughter in the European team room. This will not be down to an edict from captain, Carin Koch (left). but the inevitable consequence of Charley Hull’s presence. Suzann Petterson, making her eighth appearance in the biennial matchplay event, is convinced that the infusion of Hull’s infectious youthful energy and enthusiasm two years ago in Colorado was a key factor in Europe’s first retention of the trophy. She regards Hull as a unique character whose ‘presence’ acts as a team-bonding agent.
“You have no idea what world Charley lives in from day to day. It changes so much and it’s a totally different planet to the rest of us. It gives us all a very good laugh. I think she’s just trying to be herself, but for the rest of us it’s so unreal that it cracks us up every time something comes out of her mouth. She’s fun to be around. I just wish I was that age again.”
The sense of team spirit that European teams seem to generate has been a source of much Ryder Cup debate and should the Americans need to ‘lighten up a tad’ they can always take a look at the tapes of Charley’s media conferences.
Last time around she shared a room with her elder sister. “This time I’m by myself… Last time my sister rode in the night before at like four in the morning and, like, woke me up because she was, like, drinking. She’s 10 years older. I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ She was, like, ‘I’m just coming in from my party.’ I’m like, ‘OK, you do know I’ve got a big game tomorrow?’ She’s like, ‘Oh, you’ll be fine.’ She cracks me up.
“For instance, last year I missed a three-foot putt on the last hole that put me one behind the lead. She was like, ‘That was rubbish. I’m wearing flip flops and I could have holed-that.’ She hasn’t got much clue about golf, but it’s quite funny when she watches. She’s actually like an older version of me.”
Teenager Hull – Charley turned 19 this spring – might have something of a chaotic streak in her personality, but she has become a force to be reckoned with out on the course and starts her second appearance in the competition as a lot more than a team mascot.
Hull (left) arrived in Colorado two years ago as pretty much an unknown, but those few days catapulted her to stardom and she quickly had to kiss goodbye to her anonymity. At the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco, she said, “I walked outside the cubicle and someone asked me for my autograph. I said, ‘Yes, but could I just wash my hands first?’ That was quite funny.”
Speaking about her Solheim Cup experience, she said. “Even now I always get, ‘You were great at the Solheim’. I think it gave me a big boost of confidence as well, plus a lot of people definitely know me because of that. I’m quite grateful because it really set the standards for me. I felt more comfortable knowing that I can beat some of the best players in the world. Everyone figured out that I was pretty good after that instead of people doubting me, if you know what I’m saying.”
Her record reinforces that fact. Charley achieved no less than five consecutive second places at the outset of her pro career and followed that up last year, in only her second season, with her first victory and the Order of Merit crown on the Ladies European Tour. A second win has yet to materialise, but she knows that her game is still a work in progress at this stage in her development and she is not at all bothered.
“I said to my dad when I was about 14, ‘I’m not going to bother too much until I’m 21’. So, I’m still working on stuff,” she explained. “Everything has been a bonus. I’m just trying to feel comfortable, starting new gym stuff, new caddie, just ticking off things. I’m happy and still going in the right direction. I only turned 19 in March. You are only a teenager once. I always said I wouldn’t go full-time to America until I was older. I will have 20, 30 years playing golf. I still want to enjoy life.”
Back in June I penned a post entitled 'The Next Generation', in which I spoke about the relatively ailing fortunes of some of this country’s established Tour Players, such as Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, and asked if it was time for a ‘changing of the guard’. One of the ‘young pretenders’ I mentioned was the as yet little known Tom Murray, a member at Headingley Golf Club, who had just broken his home course record, carding a superb 63. I listed him as being one to keep an eye out for in the next few years.
Well another ‘young lion’ to look out for could well be 15-year-old Harry Goddard from Chesunt. The Hanbury Manor player is in the form of his life having recently carded a four-under par final round of 68 to win the North of England U16 Championship at Heswall Golf Club and consign Charlie Wilkinson (Cheshunt Park) and Archie Palmer (Bramhall GC) to share the runner’s up spot.
"I'm still U15, so this was a good win for me, I was chuffed," said Goddard, who finished on 287, one-under par for the 72 holes.
What I particularly liked about his win was that young Harry had to force his way back into contention after a disappointing opening round of 75 had left him 6 shots behind the early front-runner, Yorkshire's Barclay Brown, who opened with a 3-under par 69.
"I didn't get off to a great start, I went par, par, quadruple. But I didn't let it get to me, I just knuckled down to see what I could do and finished the round three-over," said Goddard. He followed that up with a much improved one-under par 71 in the second round, but still found himself six shots down on Brown.
The Cheshunt School pupil, who had watched his hero, Justin Rose, climb through the leaderboard from T11 after the first round at the recent USPGA Championship at Whistling Straits, said: "Going into the last 36 holes I just decided to see how many I could pull back. The weather wasn't great in the morning so one-over was a good score and then I played really well in the last round."
Goddard trains with the England Golf U16 squad and is coached by Rob Watts at his Performance Academy in Reading, Berkshire. To date, 2015 has been a memorable season for him. He was sixth in the South Eastern Junior Championship, T13 at the prestigious Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters and earlier this month, he finished a hugely creditable third to Denmark’s Marcus Helligkilde in the RB German Junior Masters at Heidelberg-Lobenfeld, when he also scored 68 in the last round.
Speaking of that final round in Heidelberg, he said: "It gave me a bit more confidence to know that I could shoot that much under." So, couple that with the extra boost he will surely derive from yet another great finish, this time much closer to home in The Wirral, and what can we expect of him in the future, I wonder?
His putting stats for the four rounds at Heswall averaged out at +0.816 – which compares very favourably with PGA professional putting standards – and his sister, Lucy, herself a professional golfer attached to Hanbury Manor, commented: "That proves his putting stats are tour standard. Without a doubt he is one to watch out for. I've known it for years, since he started golf, but the stats are now proving it."
We continue our exploration of the many, and sometimes surprising, variations on the theme of golf that exist nowadays with a look at Disc Golf.
The first recorded instance of people playing ‘golf’ with an aerodynamic disc rather than with club and ball, took place in Vancouver British Columbia in 1926. It appears that a group of schoolchildren regularly played the game with tin lids on a course they set out in their school grounds. They called it ‘Tin Lid Golf.’
Numerous accounts exist of various forms of ‘Disc Golf’ being played throughout the next four decades until, in 1960, the Chicago-based company, Copar Plastics, attempted to market a commercially packaged game called ‘Sky Golf’. However, the Frisbee culture was little more than embryonic at that time and the game failed to catch on.
In 1965, while playing a round of golf during his summer holidays, a college recreation counsellor by the name of George Sappenfeld realized that his students could play a version of the game on the playground using Frisbee discs. When, 3 years later, he became a Parks and Recreation supervisor, George contacted the manufacturers of the Frisbee, the Wham-O MFG Company, and requested that it help him with his plans to hold a Frisbee golf contest. By way of response, the company sent him a batch of Frisbees along with Hula Hoops to use as targets. The following year, he talked “Steady-Ed” Headrick, the inventor of both the Frisbee and the Disc Pole Hole catching device (destined to become the equivalent to the hole in traditional golf) into including a Frisbee golf event in the All-Comers Frisbee meet being held at Pasadena's Rose Bowl fields. It seemed as if George’s concept was destined to catch on.
Surprisingly however, nothing more was heard of Frisbee golf for the next seven years. Indeed, even the 1972 Official Frisbee Handbook, which listed all the games that could be played with a Frisbee, made no mention of golf.
However, in the meantime in Rochester, New York, a group of people began regularly playing a form of disc golf as a competitive sport. Within a year of starting (in August 1970) they were organising The Annual City of Rochester Disc Golf Championship.
Amazingly, it wasn’t until 1973 that these avid disc golfers discovered, via an International Frisbee Association newsletter, that unbeknown to them an entire Frisbee culture had been born. Eager to learn just how many people would be interested in participating, they decided to make their City of Rochester Disc Golf Championship a national tournament, which they named The American Flying Disc Open.
The success of the tournament, which took place in 1974, persuaded “Steady-Ed” to take another look at disc golf. He hired the winner Dan Roddick, to head up Wham-O's new Sports Promotion Department and decided to include Disc Golf as an event in his 1975 World Frisbee Championships.
Ed became so convinced that disc golf could be big, he resigned from his position at the Wham-O MFG Company and started up the Disc Golf Association Company in 1976 – a move that introduced disc golf to thousands of Frisbee players. Properly organized play and national tournaments quickly became a shared goal. Players got together and formed the Professional Disc Golf Association to help oversee and guide the rapid growth of their sport.
The popularity of disc golf grew rapidly and exponentially. Each new course spawned yet more courses in nearby towns and cities and Ed, having designed the first bespoke course at Oak Grove Park in La Cañada Flintridge, California, was soon designing and selling disc golf courses country-wide.
The PDGA is now a worldwide force. There are thousands of disc golf courses around the world and its growth shows little sign of abating. The sport of disc golf is fast becoming as professional as its traditional ancestor.
Hugely popular in the USA, it is currently a minority, but growing sport in the UK. There are already 35 disc golf courses up and down the country and, under the auspices of British Disc Golf Association, professional disc golfers now take part in an organised Tour.
There are, as you might expect, many similarities with the traditional form of the game. The object of disc golf is likewise to complete each hole in as few shots/throws as possible. The main difference is that instead of selecting the appropriate club with which to hit your golf ball, given the type of shot you want to play, you select an appropriate disc, similar to, but not the same as, a Frisbee.
A professional disc golfer will carry about a dozen different golf discs including a range of 'drivers', 'approaches', and 'putters'. Not all discs fly straight. Some are designed to curve in their flight (similar to the way in which the ‘bias’ in a Crown Green bowl affects its roll).
As in golf, there is a teeing area where you make your first throw or 'drive'. Wherever your disc lands, that's the spot from where you make your next throw or 'approach shot' to the basket. Then, hopefully, you are close enough to make your 'putt' for a par.
Disc Golf is an ideal family activity. It can be enjoyed equally by all age groups, from schoolchildren to pensioners, making it an excellent life-time sport. It's easy to play at a basic level, so you can enjoy it from day one, without the need to take lessons. [Beginners are advised to start by just using an 'approach' disc or 'putter' which flies straight!] Although generally considered to be a 'niche' sport, it nonetheless has more 'street cred' than its more tradition-bound ancestor, which may well widen its appeal.
It's relatively easy on the pocket too, so you can still play even if you have a very limited budget at your disposal. The number of courses available to play on is growing at an ever increasing rate, so the chances are you won't have to travel too far to play either. Early signs suggest that it might not be too long before its popularity here in the UK soars, just as it has done elsewhere.
Each year players from around the USA gather in the Atlanta area for the annual One-Club Golf World Championship. Dating back to 1980, the 18-hole stroke-play event at Bridge Mill Athletic Club welcomes both professionals and amateurs.
"It's the most fun you can have on a course," says Thad Daber, a four-times winner who, in October 1987 at Lochmere Golf Club in North Carolina, shot a hugely impressive round of 70 using only a Titleist 6-iron to set the Guinness World Record for the lowest competitive round by a one-club golfer. More than 27 years later, no other one-club golfer has managed to go lower.
The advantages of playing with only one club are manifold: no headaches over club selection; rounds lasting three instead of four hours; no heavy bags to carry; no caddie fees and (the biggest benefit of all according to CBS golf analyst Bobby Clampett) it's one of the best ways to find your feel.
"I'm old-school when it comes to shaping shots,” says Clampett. “You have to make the club do what you want. Practicing and playing with one club teaches you lots of shots. You can shut [the clubface] for a hook, open it for a high fade, hit it high, low. It makes you think strategy, where you want to place your next shot. It's fun, and it pays dividends with your other clubs. Every golfer should try it."
Thad Daber agrees. "Playing with one club does a lot of great things. First, it makes you play defensively… And it makes you manage your game. You have to play two, three shots ahead and ask, 'What yardage do I want to leave myself to the green?' It's a different game.”
Seve Ballesteros grew up playing golf with just a 3-iron. Not having a selection of clubs, purpose-built to accommodate different on-course situations, improved his creativity and made him one of the game's most inventive players. In the 1970s and '80s, he would team up with fellow shot-making legend Lee Trevino for improvised one-club mini-tournaments before the British Open.
The so-called ‘big three’ – Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player – all sing the praises of playing one-club practice rounds and Fred Couples passes range time by hitting full-swing, half-speed drivers 150 yards.