Golf Digest September 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

6 min
q&a with our best player

Chairman and Editor-in-Chief A tip on the backswing: “If you can pause, you can play.” YOU ALREADY KNOW our editorial director, Max Adler, by his extraordinary writing in Golf Digest. His work helped exonerate Valentino Dixon after a wrongful murder conviction and 27 years in prison. Max also wrote two popular series, Golf Saved My Life and the Undercover Tour Pro. He plays off scratch at golf, tennis, skiing, snowboarding, music and art. I have a picture of my favorite Vermont hole hanging at home, painted by Max—it’s a blind tee shot for him, but a blind second shot for me. Before joining Golf Digest in 2006, he played Division III golf at Washington and Lee, earned a master’s in English Studies at the University of St. Andrews on a Ransome Scholarship…

4 min
he persevered

“Your life will have meaning for years and centuries to come.” IN A SEA OF NAVY BLAZERS, the electric blue suit belongs to the actor Chris Tucker. Along with a couple hundred “golf people” gathered in the ballroom at The Links at Spanish Bay, Tucker is there to support his pal Lee Elder for getting the Bob Jones Award. Recognizing those whose sportsmanship and character exemplify the ideals of the game, it’s the only USGA honor harder to win than the U.S. Open. Jim Nantz speaks first, his sonorous boom halting progress on the salads. He says Elder’s life ought to be a movie: One of 10 children, orphaned when he was 9, a caddie who improbably rose to compete and win on the PGA Tour under the duress of death threats.…

6 min
short-game strategy

STUDENTS OFTEN ASK ME how to play particular shots, but golf isn’t cookie cutter. I give guidance, but I want them to own the process. They should experiment and determine what works best for their game. A prime example is chipping. To be a great chipper, you must first commit to a system. Do you prefer to use one club and make different swings depending on the situation, or are you more comfortable making one swing but using different clubs to produce a variety of shots? ▸ Both have advantages. The one-club approach improves your feel and makes your game more adaptable. The one-swing system makes it easier to be consistent. ▸ To determine which is best for you, hit five balls from one yard, five yards and 10 yards off the…

3 min
patrick cantlay

ALL IT TAKES is a glance at Patrick Cantlay’s performance statistics on the PGA Tour in 2019 to know what kind of year he’s having: scoring average (69.1, first), scrambling (67.3 percent, first) strokes gained/total (second), overall putting average (seventh). We could go on, but you get it. Any way you measure Cantlay’s game, you come up with positive results—and that includes wins. The California native earned his second career victory, in June, at the Memorial Tournament, and moved into the top 10 in the World Golf Ranking. “He’s in a great place now,” says his longtime coach, Jamie Mulligan. “We’ve built his game over the last 20 years on the notion that he doesn’t need to think about a lot on the course. He can just go out and play. The…

2 min
roll it like a pro

I TRY TO KEEP putting as simple as possible, so if I’m working on anything, I make sure it’s only one thing at a time. One of those things is probably something you don’t give much thought to, but it’s an important part of making a good stroke—the follow-through. To put a good roll on the ball, my coach, Cameron McCormick, says that I have be careful not to catch the ball too much on the upstroke. It’s a tendency of mine, and when the putter moves upward too much, the low point of the putting arc will be before impact, which means I’m not hitting the ball in the sweet spot. When I strike it low on the face, trying to control the speed is really difficult. Luckily, the fix is…

2 min
great escapes

“Keep your feet planted until the ball is gone.” IT’S ONE OF THE BEST moments in golf—hitting a green after winding up in a fairway bunker. If you want to do it more often, you’ve got to make some adjustments. The first is a reality check. There are times when it’s just not going to happen. A ball close to the lip or in a slightly plugged lie probably should be wedged back into the fairway. But there are many times when a lie in the sand is good, and the lip can be easily cleared. That’s when you should go for the green. My father and swing coach, Jeff Hatton, taught me how to hit it flush from fairway sand years ago. Here’s what he told me. First, select a club…