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Ask the Pro Archive - 2005
Golf Questions and Answers on a variety of topics

Here are all the golf questions and answers that appeared on the "Ask the Pro" page in 2005, from most recent to least recent, top to bottom. Links in the left menu column give a "keyword" indication of the topic and will take you directly to that entry on this page. Also see the Ask the Pro Archive Index for longer descriptions in categorized and somewhat alphabetized form.

Golf Questions and Answers (2005)
(most recent to least recent, top to bottom)

Long Game > General > How shot distance is effected by tee elevation


December 22, 2005

I would like to understand the effect that an elevated tee has on your ball flight and distance? Thanks.

Fiore Follo
Guelph, Ontario, Canada


Hi Fiore,

That's a very deep topic with a huge number of variables that can affect the result. But this simplified diagram below should give you the general idea, all else being equal. The A ball would be if the landing area was elevated, the B ball would be if the shot were played from the same level and the C ball would be if the landing area was below where the shot was played from. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Trajectory and elevation diagram

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Rules, Etiquette and Procedures > Why isn't a sand-filled divot ground under repair?


December 9, 2005

Why isn't a divot in the fairway filled with sand considered ground under repair?

Joshua Spry
Yakima, WA


Hi Joshua,

That is a tricky area, I think. I guess the most obvious answer is that it is not ground under repair by the definition in the rule book:

 ...any part of the course so marked by order of the Committee or so declared by its authorized representative. It includes material piled for removal and a hole made by a greenkeeper, even if not so marked. 

I've never seen ground under repair as small as one divot. But it would be time-consuming and create judgement calls, etc. It is similar to the question "if you can repair ball marks on the green why can't you repair spike marks?" And I understand your point. Who knows, maybe some day that rule will change. For more on rules questions see Rules Questions. Thanks for visiting MB

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Long Game > General > Which arm do you put the towel under in a towel drill?


November 20, 2005

I have seen someone use a towel under their arm to aid in keeping your arms close to your body. Under which arm does left-handed person put the towel?

Terry Hannon
Lansdale, PA


Hi Terry,

That type of drill is typically to work on connection (arms and torso turning together) and the most common version is to hold the towel under the forward arm pit (which would be the right arm for left-handers) but there are variations where you hold the towel under both arms. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

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Rules, Etiquette and Procedures > Ball questions: one-ball rule, changing ball types, borrowing balls


November 5, 2005

Why is it that professional golfers can only use the brand of ball they begin the match with to finish the match? If a golfer runs out of balls he/she is disqualified? Since all balls used by professionals are legal why could[n't] a golfer borrow a different brand ball from another player?

Bob McDevitt
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada


Hi Bob,

Besides violating the rules related to playing your ball as you find it, if the type of ball could be changed then different performance characteristics (e.g., distance, trajectory, spin rate) could be changed in different circumstances. This all kind of goes against the linear (start at the tee and get your ball in the hole) spirit of the game. Also ball identification would become more complicated. The ruling bodies may have other reasons too, but those are the most obvious ones. If you run out of balls you can borrow some*, but if the "one ball" rule is in effect (like it is in many if not most competitions) it has to be the same brand and type of ball, etc. Your last question about borrowing balls of different types is answered by the last one. For more on rules questions see Rules Questions. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB
* Thanks to Dave Fetherston for correcting me on this.

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Short Game > Very little sand and hard ground underneath in bunker


October 27, 2005

I play a course that has very little sand in the greenside bunkers. If I try my sand wedge, the club usually bounces off the hard pan and bellies into the ball. Can you tell me how to play a sand shot out of such conditions? Thanks.

Ron McCready
McLean, VA


Hi Ron,

If you can tell that there is very little sand under your ball then you have to let the blade of the wedge dig rather than bounce. In bunkers with more sand the flange of the sand wedge helps to keep the club from digging in too deeply. But if there is very little sand you've got to get a cushion of some kind between the club face and ball, so go back to a more square face rather than an open face and let the blade dig. In fact, depending on the type of sand wedge you have a pitching wedge may actually work better for you on shots like this -- do some experimenting. There are also rare situations when putting the ball (e.g., firm sand, no lip) or chipping the ball (e.g., clean lie, shallow bunker) out of the bunker may work. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

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Miscellaneous > Other > Is golf a sport? Are golfers athletes?


October 11, 2005

Do you consider golf to be a sport? Do you consider golfers to be athletes?

Jordan D.
Louisville, KY


Hi Jordan,

The difference between "sports" or "games" or "recreational activities" is a broad and debatable question. Even if you consult the dictionary there is overlap and some confusion. But since you are asking my opinion the short answers are yes to your first question and yes with qualifications to your second question.

Different "sports" require different types of physical ability (e.g., some require fine motor control and some require strength, speed and/or endurance). But I think it can safely be said that all sports require some type of physical skill in order to excel. So, since I am interpreting your second question to be referring to highly skilled golfers I can yes, golfers are athletes without hesitation. Having said that, I do not mean to imply that I think that any "person who plays golf" is an athlete (or even a "golfer") any more than I think that somebody who sits at a piano and pushes down keys is a pianist. As food for further thought, if I remember correctly I seem to recall having seen people playing cards (a sport?) on a TV "sports network."

Tough question, Jordan, and in the words of comedy athlete, Dennis Miller, "Of course, that's just my opinion; I could be wrong." Thanks for visiting MB

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Miscellaneous > Professional golf-related > What does a "Class A" golf professional mean?


September 20, 2005

What does a "Class A" golf professional mean?

Nick DiCenzi
Ravenna, OH


Hi Nick,

The PGA of America (I'm not certain how PGA organizations in other countries do this) has different classifications for its members and apprentices. People who are "PGA Professionals," that is, members of the PGA of America, having accomplished all of the PGA's certification procedures, are designated as "Class A" followed by a number representing the main type of job they perform under the general title of golf professional. Here's a rundown of the different numbers under Class A, as of 2005.

A-1  Head Professional at a PGA Recognized Golf Course
A-2  Head Professional at a PGA Recognized Golf Range
A-3  Exempt Tour player
A-4  Director of Golf at PGA Recognized Golf Facilities
A-5  Past Presidents of the Association
A-6  Golf Instructor at a PGA Recognized Facility
A-7  Head Professional at PGA Recognized Facility Under Construction
A-8  Assistant Golf Professional at a PGA Recognized Facility
A-9  Management, Development and/or Financing of Facilities
A-10  Golf Clinician
A-11  Golf Administrator
A-12  College or University Golf Coach
A-13  General Manager
A-14  Director of Instruction at a PGA Recognized Facility
A-15  Ownership or Management of a Retail Golf Facility
A-16  Golf Course Architect
A-17  Golf Course Superintendent
A-18  Golf Media
A-19  Golf Manufacturer Management
A-20  Golf Manufacturer Sales Representative
A-21  Tournament Coordinator/Director
A-22  Rules Official
A-23  Club Fitting/Club Repair
A-24  Employed in golf industry - other classification

There are also "Apprentices" in the PGA of America: individuals who have enrolled to go through the process of becoming a PGA Professional but who have not yet completed the education and other requirements to become a Class "A" member. They are, therefore, not members but apprentices; they are not PGA Professionals but PGA Apprentices. Their classification is "B" followed by a number, and they could be at any point along the way, from just starting to almost having finished their apprenticeship.

There are also individuals who are not affiliated with the PGA in any way and because of playing experience or work experience, etc., call themselves golf professionals. Since they are not members of the PGA they will have no classification that I know of, other than what they call themselves. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

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Rules, Etiquette and Procedures > Marking ball when off the green


September 8, 2005

In the 2005 U S Women's Open I saw [a player] and playing partner both hit over the green into rough. [One of the players] chipped first and landed in the fringe about 4-5 [inches] from [the] putting surface. As the camera left she appeared to be marking and lifting her ball. When the camera came back she was putting from the fringe and the pin was in the hole. She made the putt. How could she mark and lift her ball on the fringe (and I assume this was fringe as she putted with the flag in the hole)?

Andrew Hartley
Batesburg, SC


Hi Andrew,

I didn't see that incident, but if one player's ball interferes with another's stroke or line the ball can be marked anywhere (it cannot be cleaned in this case, however). If she left the pin in she surely was playing from off the green. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

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Long Game > General > Does swing speed affect shot shape?


August 26, 2005

Does swing speed have an effect on a person's drive as to if it draws or fades more?

Barry Ford
Woodward, Oklahoma


Hi Barry,

No, swing speed has no influence on the shape of a shot. The angle of the club's face relative the the club head's path through impact is what determines whether the ball will fade or draw. See fading and drawing -- already posted in the archive. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

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Long Game > General > Weight distribution in the stance, irons vs. woods


August 9, 2005

What is the distribution of weight in a good golf stance. Is it different for woods vs irons?

Ron Tysinger
Roswell, GA


Hi Ron,

That can open a can of worms, so to speak. But if we stick with talking about standard issue full swings from level ground it's fairly safe to say that 50-50 (even weight distribution) between the two feet is a good place to start for any shot that you're hitting from the ground. When you hit a driver from the tee it is possible, but not necessary, to get away with starting with more weight on your rear foot.

Once you start getting into more advanced effects in terms of creating different types of shots, and playing from uneven ground, and then if you include personal preferences and idiosyncracies you get into a whole lot more variability. Thanks for visiting MB

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Miscellaneous > Other > What is a stimp meter and how does it work?


July 28, 2005

What is a stimp meter and exactly how does it work?

Rick Taylor
Decatur, IL


Hi Rick,

It's a little ramp they run the ball down to make it roll across the putting surface at a uniform initial speed. The stimp meter reading is the average of the number of feet that the ball rolls across the green over multiple trials (e.g., if the greens were running at a stimp meter reading of 10 it means that the ball averaged 10 feet of roll from where it hit the green to where it came to rest).
Real fast greens, like in the Masters or U.S. Open can have a stimp meter reading of 12 or 13 -- slick! Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

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Long Game > Woods > Problem hitting drives on the heel


July 12, 2005

Why do I always hit the heel of my driver during tee-off?

Tony Zheng
Shanghai, China


Hi Tony,

Well, I'd have to watch you to comment specifically on what you were doing, but it's a safe bet that it's because of your posture raising, your weight moving toward your toes, your arms pushing the club farther out than it should be or a combination of these things. Work with a reputable golf professional in person to get your specifics. See also this tip on hitting woods off the tee. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

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Long Game > General > What "laying off" means and what to do about it


June 25, 2005

What is "laying off" and how can it be cured?

Allan Gonzalez
Huntington Park, CA


Hi Allan,

"Laying the club off" is when the hands set the club behind or below the plane at the top of the backswing -- looking down the line from behind the golfer this is seen as the club sticking out too much behind the body. To correct this the hands would have to set the club more nearly on the plane, or in a higher position as seen from this down the line perspective. Without writing an article with pictures (which I may do at some point) this might be hard to understand. Working with a reputable professional in person would be much more effective in any case. If you ever visit the San Francisco bay area of Northern California contact me for a private golf school or an individual lesson. Also here is a training aid that helps correct the problem.

All this having been said, there have been and are golfers who play(ed) well from a laid off position at the top of the swing. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

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Rules, Etiquette and Procedures > Ball stuck against flagstick


June 20, 2005

I haven't seen this question addressed in the archives. I am new to the golf sport and was wondering. If you were to chip or put from off the edge of the green or a drive and the ball rolls to the cup and gets caught between the flag rod and edge of the cup and does not drop in, is it considered a hole complete? This has happened to me.

David Pennington
Barren Springs, VA


Hi David,

Thank you for checking the FAQ and archive first before submitting your question. There are a huge number of questions and answers in there -- most of the ones that are still submitted regularly, in fact.

Yes, if the ball is at rest in the cup and below the level of the putting surface the hole is complete. If the flagstick is holding the ball against the lip of the cup so that part of the ball is above the level of the putting surface then the stick can carefully be moved so the ball can fall all the way in. I believe I remember a time (though I could be hallucinating smile) when the rules used to require that the flagstick be removed so that the ball could come to rest in the bottom of the cup for it to be considered holed, but not anymore. When you watch a professional tour player hole a shot from off the green on TV, for instance, you will see them reach into the hole and pick out the ball without removing the pin. See also Rules, procedures and decisions questions. Thanks for visiting MB

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Long Game > General > Head position relative to ball position at the finish


May 31, 2005

At the completion of the swing, when I am holding my follow-through, where should my head be in relation to the [original] ball [position], in front or behind?

Bill Wilhelm
Wheeling, WV


After you have finished your swing and your weight is all the way onto your forward foot your head should be in front of, or beyond, or toward the target from, your original ball position, Bill -- body pretty much straight up and down over the forward foot and leg. If you're talking about playing the ball way up off your forward foot, like with a driver, then the head would be closer to about even with where the ball was, but I think you get the idea.

Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

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Long Game > Irons > Stopping the ball on a hard green


May 5, 2005

Is there anyway to stop the ball on a hard green?

Eric Brown
Cincinnati, Ohio


Hi Eric,

If hitting it high with a lot of spin doesn't work then, on that particular green anyway, no -- try landing the ball short of the green instead. See this FAQ on backspin also. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

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Long Game > General > Judging wind speed

April 28, 2005


One thing that I am particularly inept at is judging wind speed. Is there a rule of thumb for determining a 1, 2 or 3 club wind when selecting the appropiate club. Thanks.

Lawrence Smetana
Boston, MA


Hi Lawrence,

That is something you develop with time and experience, as there are more factors than just wind speed that will determine the shot distance. For instance, being able to control the trajectory of your shots will have as much to do with getting the right distance as gauging the speed of the wind. Judging the wind is part of the "feel" of the game and certainly does take a bit of trial and error. When you watch golf on TV and you see the players and caddies throwing up bits of loose grass to see which direction it flies and how quickly it is an intuitive thing more than it is a precise numerical calculation.

Work on learning how to control your trajectory and keep playing and the ability to judge the wind will come. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Equipment > Which wedges to carry after the pitching wedge

April 23, 2005


I am a 14 hcp, and have never owned a wedge. I just use the PW that came with my set... I know now that to improve I really need to get the feel of a good wedge -- what loft should I start with?

Chad Wood
Santa Monica, CA


Hi Chad,

Well, you've done pretty well to get to a 14 without anything more lofted than a Pitching Wedge smile Player preferences vary on how many wedges to carry and which lofts. To play within the rules you're only allowed to carry 14 total clubs (hey, that's the same as your handicap), so that is one factor that dictates what's in your set. Some players, myself included, carry four wedges, including the PW. A standard issue set up of this type might be something like PW, Gap Wedge (which could be called by many different names, depending on manufacturer -- around 52°), Sand Wedge (commonly between 55° and 58°) and a Lob Wedge (around 60°). Some players prefer to have only two wedges beyond the PW, maybe around 55° and 60°, but again personal preferences vary. It's probably a good idea to try many, and it may take you many years to find the set up you like -- and even then you may change things from time to time. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Long Game > General > Hybrid club technique, sweep or divot

April 19, 2005


With the new hybrid irons should I hit down and through or sweep it like a wood? Thanks.

John Valli
Flagler Beach, FL


Hi John,

In most cases they will work pretty well both ways, but it's probably easiest for the majority of golfers to sweep them like fairway woods. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Miscellaneous > Professional golf-related > Scoreboard abbreviations - letters "MDF", "DNS", "WD", "a", "T", and more

April 14, 2005


The leaderboard ... showed a list of names that were not cut, but not playing and beside their names were the letters MDF. What does this mean?

Catherine Krause
Joliet, IL


Hi Catherine,

My understanding is that it means the player was outside the top 70 after Saturday, so they just get "tied for last place" money and don't play Sunday. (This is done to keep the field small for Sunday).

There are various scoreboard abbreviations:
  • MDF = Made cut, Did not Finish
  • DNS = Did Not Start (entered event, did not begin play, e.g., injury, illness, etc.)
  • WD = Withdrawn
  • T = Tied at that position
  • a = Amateur
  • * (i.e., asterisk) = began the round on the back nine instead of the front nine
  • # = playing the previous round (when two rounds are being played at the same time)
In cases where more than one golf course is played in a tournament an abbreviation/initials of the particular course a player is on may appear next to their name. There are probably other (maybe many other) abbreviations on the scoreboards of different organizations. See this FAQ on scoreboard abbreviations for more. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Equipment > Which flex point or kick point for which golfer

April 8, 2005


What shaft flex point for what golfer? I personally hit the ball high. Would a different flex point help compensate?

Trent Thomas
Asheville, NC


Hi Trent,

Flex point or kick point generally goes like this, all else being equal:

Higher kick point = lower trajectory
Lower kick point = higher trajectory

So a higher flex point would assist (maybe) with a lower trajectory. There are other components, however, like your technique, club loft, center of gravity, flex, torque, swingweight, where on the face you contact the ball, and on and on...

You have to experiment and work with someone in person, both on technique and fitting. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Miscellaneous > Other > The meaning of "mid" in Mid-amateur

April 2, 2005


Hello, I was just wondering what the word 'mid' meant in mid-amateur tournaments. Thanks!

Tracy Tripp
Reidsville, GA


It's for men at least 25 years old. The U.S. Mid-Amateur is mainly so that post-college amateur players have a national championship. Thanks for your question and for visiting MB

Rules, Etiquette and Procedures > Using a line drawn on ball to line up

March 30, 2005


I know that it is legal to use an artificial line made on a ball (with a felt tip pen) to line up putts. However, is it also legal to use the same artifical line on the ball to help with alignment on the teeing ground?

Brandon Meadows
Mobile, AL


Hi Brandon,

Yes, it sure is. Thanks for your question and for visiting MB

Rules, Etiquette and Procedures > Hole placement or pin position on the green

March 25, 2005


What is the corect postion for hole placment, i.e, level ground or can it be on a slope?

Stephen Harper
Perth, Australia


Hi Stephen,

That's up to the tournament committee and the greens crew, but they usually put it on a resonably level spot and try to avoid severe slopes. Thanks for visiting MB

Rules, Etiquette and Procedures > Why balls have numbers on them

March 19, 2005


What do the numbers on golf balls mean?

Mike Grazi
Hammond, LA


Hi Mike,

The numbers are just for identification purposes, so one player can tell their ball from another if two or more players are using the same type of ball. Tournament players take it a step further and also put additional unique markings of some kind on their ball. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Long Game > Woods > Casting problem with the driver and woods

March 14, 2005


How can I stop casting with my driver and fairway woods? HELP.

Chris Snied
St. Louis, MO


Hi Chris,

Keep your hands relaxed and passive rather than tight and active. Let the club swing; don't push it. See this FAQ also. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Equipment > Are there balls any longer with balata covers?

March 9, 2005


Do any tour players still use wound balata-covered golf balls?

Dugan Rhodes
Sacaton, AZ


Hi Dugan,

Wow, I don't think so. I don't even think anybody makes a balata ball any more. I haven't seen new ones in years. But you can check with individual ball manufacturer's to be certain. The Darrell Survey or the PGA Tour would have authoritative information.

Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Rules, Etiquette and Procedures > Bunker rake in or out of bunker

March 2, 2005


Are rakes supposed to be in bunkers or not? If so, if your ball is against the rake in the bunker can you move the rake without penalty?

Nick Guadagnoli
Grand Junction, CO


Hi Nick,

In the bunkers is recommended but not a rule of golf. Yes, you can move the rake, and if your ball moves replace it as close as possible, no penalty. For rules questions see also - rules questions. Thanks for visiting MB

Miscellaneous > Other > What type of vision correction to get

February 27, 2005


After years of playing to a low handicap (2-6) I gave up the game about 12 years ago. I recently returned to the game. I am now wearing glasses that are graduated lineless bifocals. I find that focusing on the ball is difficult. I assume this is because they are tuned for reading (12-15 inches) and long distance while the ball is about 4.5 feet from my eyes (I am 5' 9" tall). I have tried playing without my glasses but really do need correction at all distances. Do better players wear bifocals? Should I have a pair of glasses made that focus at the distance from the ball? Any suggestions about eyewear? Thank you.

Larry Smith
Austin, Texas


Hi Larry,

I have a similar problem and my solution thus far has just been to not see the ball clearly, at any distance. I'm not recommending that, however. smile I think your eye doctor could answer better than I, but it sounds to me like most of the top players in need of visual correction (who can) are going for the surgery these days. A local optometrist suggested having a pair of "distance glasses" (a different prescription than the reading glasses or the bifocals) just for golf, as an alternative.

Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Short Game > Which putter to get

February 23, 2005


I'm shopping for a putter for my dad. I don't understand what a standard, blade, or center shafted head means. Could you tell me what they mean and which one I should get him? Also whether or not a 34 or 35 inch length. Thanks.

Mike Hunter
Danville, PA


Hi Mike,

"Blade," when talking about putters, usually refers to a putter head that is fairly thin and of a fairly uniform thickness from heel to toe. "Center-shafted" means that the shaft inserts into the putter head more toward the center of the club rather than toward the heel.

Which style of putter (and the putter's specs: weight, length, lie angle, grip size, shaft shape and insertion point, on and on) any golfer prefers is totally based on personal preference, so that's a very difficult gift to pick out for someone without knowing exactly what they want. The variety is wide. An inexperienced player, however, might not know the difference or even have personal preferences yet. Sorry I can't make any recommendations, but it would be like trying to recommend food to someone -- just too many variables. A gift certificate (so your Dad could try different putters before choosing one) might be a good way to go. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Long Game > Woods > Club head alignment in relation to ball at address

February 19, 2005


Per a reccomendation [I received], at address I aligned the club appoximately 1.5 inches off the ball towards me. I was hitting it longer and with a draw vs. my normal cut, especially with my driver. Is this an ill advised technique?

David Glassman
Brooklyn, NY


Hi David,

No, I think it's a pretty good idea with the driver. I don't think it is as sound an idea with shots from the ground (irons or woods), but there is a lot of variation between individuals and personal preference counts for a lot. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Miscellaneous > Other > Ace or hole-in-one records

February 14, 2005


Can you please tell me the name of the PGA Professional who has the most holes-in-one, and how many he's had?

George Hutchinson
Carmichaels, PA


Hi George,

Professional record: 50, by Mancil Davis. Apparently he has the record for the most double eagles too, with 10. Something is very wrong here, out of all proportion. I hate to be a whiner, but somehow this doesn't seem fair, does it? I mean, I've only had one ace and zero double eagles [grumble] smile But who said golf was fair?

PGA Tour professional record - Art Wall, with 45

The amateur record is 59, by Norman Manley

Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Rules, Etiquette and Procedures > Correct method for divot repair

February 8, 2005


What is the correct method for repairing a divot?

Alan Masters
Beeton, Ontario, Canada


Hi Alan,

It depends on the type of grass and maybe even the time of year. Some divots come out in a healthy sized chunk, which can easily be replaced and stepped on firmly, and it will regrow. Some divots come out in little pieces and are more easily repaired by the sand and seed mixture some courses provide on their golf carts, or by gently kicking or scuffing the grass on the edge of the divot inward with your spikes to start to cover up the divot. Ask the golf course you're playing what they prefer. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Miscellaneous > Professional golf-related > How professional golfers are ranked

February 2, 2005


How are professional golfers ranked?

Ken Eaton
Leachville, AR


Money list, stroke average (and lots of other statistical categories like birdies, driving distance, etc.), number of tournament victories, Ryder Cup points, SONY World Ranking -- lots of ways. Thanks for your question and for visiting MB

Rules, Etiquette and Procedures > Stepping on the putting line

January 30, 2005


We all learn as soon as we start to play golf to not walk on the line of another player's putt. Do you think this is really important or just a tradition that has no merit? The people in the group ahead probably stepped on your line five minutes ago.

Lee Day
Louisville, KY


Hi Lee,

The green recovers pretty quickly from footprints in most cases. But it may not recover quickly enough if you putt soon thereafter. On greens in poor condition it probably wouldn't matter at all -- might even help. smile  But not stepping on someone's putting line is a courtesy that seems easy enough to observe and could make a difference. It was probably even more important when spikes were metal and caused raised spike marks frequently. You still see the Tour professionals tap down irregularities that they or someone else may have caused after they finish putting (it is not allowed within the rules to repair spike marks prior to putting). Thanks for your question and for visiting MB

Miscellaneous > Professional golf-related > How a Major becomes a Major

January 25, 2005


I know what the Major Tournaments are, but what determines how they became a Major?

Ron Bryant
Whitman, MA


In the case of the Masters it was tradition (arguably the greatest player of all time up to that point, Bobby Jones, created the event, the best players played in it and over the years since it began in 1934 it has created many magical moments). In the case of the other 3 majors they are the biggest annual events of each of the major sanctioning bodies of golf (and they certainly have created some magic of their own, too). Thanks for visiting MB

Equipment > Junior playing with cut down driver

January 19, 2005


I am a thirteen year old who plays every day and can't hit my driver. It is a men's driver and I got it cut down to size. Do you think I should buy a kids driver? And I can't get height on my drives - any tips why not?

Michael Kenaney
Tullamore, Leinster, Ireland


Hi Michael,

Cutting down men's clubs does not usually work too well, as many times the club will end up being too stiff, the wrong swing weight and overall weight, too high a flex point, on and on -- basically it will almost always end up with inappropriate specifications for the club to perform well, especially for a junior. I would suggest experimenting with more loft, softer shafts, ladies clubs or clubs made specifically for juniors your age and size. Work with a reputable professional with club fitting expertise in person on fitting. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Short Game > Leave the pin in or take it out?

January 14, 2005


When not on the green, what are the guidelines for when to leave the pin in and when to take it out? Some guys I golf with always leave it in. I take it out when ever think I can make it. Is it true the stick keeps more balls out of the cup than it helps to fall in?

Brett Adelmanq
Pittsburgh, PA


Hi Brett,

It's mainly personal preference and how you feel at the moment. Yes, the pin probably keeps more balls out than in. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Long Game > General > Lower body getting ahead of upper body in swing

January 7, 2005


I have a tendency for my lower body to get ahead of my upper body and causes me to push my shots. What is the best way to correct this?

Stanley Daniel
Denver City, TX


Hi Stanley,

Try focusing on using your forward foot/leg functioning as a "brake" to your forward momentum, and turning this forward movement into rotation earlier. As an exaggeration try hitting some pulls intenionally. Of course, I'd have to work with you in person to really help much, as there may be lots of different things going on. To work with me in person see my Golf Instruction section.

Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Equipment > Lots of questions about swing weight

January 3, 2005


I'm wondering about swing weight.

Smitty Smith
Roseville, GA

  • Q: How important is swing weight?
    A: Somewhat important in order to match the player's swing speed and shaft flex for optimum club performance.
  • Q: Does a lighter club swing faster?
    A: All else being equal, probably in most cases, slightly, but the flexing and kicking of the shaft also figure into club head speed, so too light is not good.
  • Q: If faster club speed determines distance, why would it be important to have a heavier club?
    A: For feel and control, and again, there must be an appropriate weight to load the shaft and get it to kick for optimum performance.
  • Q: How would I know if my swing weight was off?
    A: You might not know. For a highly skilled player with a very repetitive motion erratic contact, trajectory and/or shot direction might be indicators that a swing weight that was too light. Work with a professional with club fitting expertise in person.
  • Q: What determines what swing weight is right for me?
    A: Swing speed, shaft flex, personal preference and feel.
  • Q: Should the wedges have a different weight?
    A: Not necessarily, but they are heavier than the rest of the set in many, if not most, cases.
  • Q: Should the irons be a different weight from the woods?
    A: Not necessarily, but they can be.


That's a handful of questions, Smitty, so I just answered them all above. Bottom line answer: fitting -- swing weight or any of the other variables in terms of club specifications -- has to be done in person and there is a lot of trial and error involved to get just the right fit in every way. See also - swing weight. Thanks for visiting MB

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