Golf Digest February 2019

Golf Digest empowers the modern golfer, delivering monthly content on how, what and where to play. Golf Digest provides "how-to" articles by an unparalleled team of the game's top professionals, the most in-depth equipment rankings, the Hot List and is the No. 1 authority for golf course rankings.

United States
Conde Nast US

in this issue

5 min
johnny miller: he called the shots

Chairman and Editor-in-Chief “The crowd, instead of cheering, fell mostly silent, mesmerized.” ONE OF THE LUCKY THINGS about our job as editors at Golf Digest is that we get to see genius up close. As we bid farewell this winter to the retiring Johnny Miller, the greatest golf analyst in television history, I’d like to share a few stories about his real genius. When I first came to Golf Digest in 1977 as an intern, I was assigned to help our editor, Nick Seitz, research a book that would be called Superstars of Golf. Each chapter profiled a different player. I talked to their coaches, caddies and parents for added color. One day I had a long interview with the late John Geertsen, then the teaching pro at San Francisco Golf Club, who worked…

3 min
undercover tour pro

I want the freedom to practice until dusk. If I play 30 tournaments in a year, my wife comes to no more than 10. It’s taken some time to figure out, but this is the right balance for us. We don’t have children, so school schedules and other family factors aren’t part of the consideration like they are for many players. The only thing at stake is my sanity. I love my wife deeply, but golf is my job, and her presence on tour can be a distraction. She’s come to understand this, but you better believe it was an awkward conversation the first time I asked her to stay away. “Is it another woman?” Immediately she went there. “No, babe,” I said. “It’s just golf.” When I play a tournament, I like to…

4 min
rein in your driver

MY PHILOSOPHY on the tee box is probably different than yours. I’m guessing you’re looking to get the ball out there as far as you can. I get it—it’s fun to rip driver. But over the past few seasons on the PGA Tour, I’ve moved on from that mentality and believe it’s better to find the fairway than to try to crush it. My driving accuracy has improved every year since 2012, and I’m now hitting fairways at better than a 70-percent clip. And I haven’t lost that much distance (296-yard average in 2018). How’s my strategy paying off? I had my most succesful year on tour in 2018 in terms of earnings. If you’re tired of spraying drives and want to score better, read on for my advice for…

2 min
hit more greens

“Feel like your chest is on top of the ball at impact.” FOR A LOT OF GOLFERS, I know when I say don’t swing all-out with the driver, it’s a lost cause. They want to bust that thing as far down the fairway as they can. But with irons, there’s no excuse for swinging out of control, because you almost always can use a longer club. If you grab an iron you have to hit perfectly to get to the green, go back and take the next longer iron. Not using enough club on approach shots is the silliest fault I see. With the right club in your hands, you’ll swing within yourself, make better contact and hit more greens. It’s even a good idea to make a three-quarter swing, because…

3 min
xander schauffele

Looking at Xander Schauffele’s driving stats, you probably wouldn’t guess his size (5-10, 175 pounds). Schauffele averaged 305 yards off the tee on the PGA Tour in 2018, which prompts the question of how he’s able to keep up with—and sometimes outdrive—tour pros who are a lot bigger and stronger. Turns out, it’s not because he’s trying to swing as hard as he can. “We don’t want him swinging any faster; that’s been optimized,” says his father Stefan, who has been Xander’s only swing coach. “The key to his power is the width of his swing arc. The wider the arc, the more time he has to gather clubhead speed into the ball.” Another important factor, Xander says, is that he puts all his energy into the strike. “Some guys talk about swinging…

2 min
get it there

“You don’t have to swing harder to hit a sand shot farther.” Long greenside bunker shots, more than 20 yards, can prove troublesome if you try to play them similar to a shorter bunker shot. Simply taking your regular sand club—a 60- or 56-degree wedge—and making a harder swing is not the way to go. The extra effort often leads to the club digging deeper into the sand, which causes the ball to come up way short, sometimes still in the bunker. If you want your shot to cover the distance to the hole, it’s important to take a shallow divot of sand. But before I give you a tip on how to do that, let’s talk club selection. My advice is to use a club with less loft—perhaps a gap wedge…