Golf Digest November 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

4 min
the improbable mr. crosby

“You‘re talking to somebody who just broke a 40-year slump.” EARLIER this year, I was paired in a four-ball with Nathaniel Crosby, the U.S. Walker Cup captain. I hadn’t met Nathaniel before. Immediately I could see he’s a good storyteller, but he was talking about something I had no interest in, like the American team uniforms. Walking down the fourth fairway, he realized I was beside him, and he turned to me and said, “This is off the record.” “Nathaniel,” I said, “in over 40 years at Golf Digest, I’ve never written a word about the Walker Cup uniforms. Either I’m saving it all up for one big exposé, or I don’t really care. I’ll let you decide.” We laughed and had a very enjoyable round. A couple of weeks later, I got…

3 min
feel the blur

“It’s always exciting being around a young athlete who’s just starting to taste success.” I CAN’T REALLY explain how our cover image of Matthew Wolff this month came about. But I was there. “Stroboscopic” photography has a highly technical language all its own, but anyone can appreciate it. Photographer Adam Levey, based in Portland, Ore., and his assistants began hauling gear into a large ballroom at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., at 6 a.m. to be ready when Wolff arrived at 11. Watching this crew erect, test and fine-tune its veritable orchestra pit of reflectors, batteries, timers and more reconfirmed my decision to follow a career of simpler tools. All I had to remember for the day was my notebook, pen and backup pen. Photographers agree Howard…

5 min
a plan for the sand

When you hit into a greenside bunker, is your brain flooded with swing thoughts that make the next shot seem complicated, like you’re running through a long checklist just to get the ball out? Instead, clear your mind—if you can—and try my simpler approach: No matter the lie, no matter the yardage, play the ball roughly in the middle of your stance and swing so your club hits the sand about an inch or two behind the ball. But when I say hit the sand, I’m being literal. Accelerate the club down and under the ball, and keep it moving. Do that, and you’ll splash the sand toward the hole and execute a quality bunker shot just like we do on the LPGA Tour. That’s my first lesson to better bunker…

1 min
chip with touch

“Visualize the clubface sliding under the ball.” YOUR BALL rolls through the green, just far enough so you really can’t putt it. You need a little drop shot that lands softly and creeps to the hole. Nervous? Don’t be. With the right setup and a couple swing keys, you’ve got this shot. Use your most lofted wedge and open the clubface before you take your grip. Gripping first and then turning the face open won’t add loft, because your hands will tend to rotate back to their starting position. Next, play the ball forward and set more weight on your front foot. Now you’re in position to make a downward strike and slide the face under the ball. Swing back a little steeper with some wrist hinge and start the downswing by gently…

1 min
stay connected

YOU MIGHT have heard of the swing flaw known as the chicken wing. It refers to the bend in the lead arm (left for right-handers) as the club moves through the hitting zone. This bend causes the elbow to jut, giving the arm the look of a bar-food staple. Unfortunately, it often leads to fat or thin shots, especially when the ball is on the turf. It also results in a loss of power and makes it hard to square the face at impact. To correct this, think of your lead arm being attached to your chest as you swing down. Keep it in close until just past impact (left). Then you can let the arm separate from the body. A good visual is throwing a Frisbee. The throwing arm stays…

3 min
joaquin niemann

JOAQUIN NIEMANN is an athlete. He comes from athletic parents (field hockey for Mom, basketball for Dad). The genetic hand-me-downs of body awareness and balance—plus the coordination gained from playing soccer and running track—are easy to spot in the way he swings the club, says Golf Digest Teaching Professional Jim McLean. Niemann grew up in Chile near a golf course and says he played every day with the dream of becoming a tour pro, which happened in 2018 after he reached No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and won the Latin American Amateur. That victory earned him an invitation to the Masters and a handful of other PGA Tour events on sponsors’ exemptions, which he then parlayed into full-time status with four top-10 finishes. Although he struggled at times last…