Golf Digest December/January 2020

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
she always got it right

Editor-in-Chief “Gently nudging us toward our better selves.” A frenchman once observed that a happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short. It applies to so many cherished things in life, including a round of golf. But the heart of Golf Digest is especially heavy this month because it applies to our long/short friendship with Kathy Kelly Stachura, the magazine’s chief fact-checker and the person most responsible for the trust you put in practically everything you’ve read in Golf Digest. She walked out of Fairfield University and into our lives almost 35 years ago as my first executive assistant and turned in her last assignment—vetting the honorees for The Arnie Awards in this issue—a day before a heart attack at age 56 took her from us and her adoring husband,…

4 min
it’s happening in asia

Why the region needs a strong local leader. The busiest domestic flight path in the world is over South Korea, between mainland Seoul and the volcanic island of Jeju. Sort of like Hawaii, what you imagine as remote and exotic on a map is more familiar when you land. The tarmac is abuzz with 20 commercial jets. Hotels, gas stations and construction projects lead seemingly everywhere. And judging by the number of popped collars and flat brims waiting on clubs in baggage claim, this is a golf destination on the rise. While my colleagues were in Japan, where Jason Day would take the skins and Tiger Woods made history, I was in Jeju for the CJ Cup won by Justin Thomas. With Korean golfers winning Rookie of the Year honors on the…

5 min
fairway living

I’LL BE THE FIRST TO ADMIT that on the PGA Tour, I’m pretty average, distance-wise. That said, driving still is a strength of my game. I rarely leave my tee ball in a position where my next shot has to be a recovery shot. I’ve played in enough pro-ams to see that the chance of my amateur partners making net par or better doubles when they drive it in the fairway, even if they don’t hit it very far down the fairway. The ability to routinely put the tee ball in play starts by setting up in a way that allows you to make a healthy swing while remaining in balance. Flaring your feet at address helps. If you can’t control your body, you’re going to struggle to find the…

3 min
cameron smith

IT’S ONE THING to be representing your country in a Presidents Cup, says Australian tour player Cameron Smith, but it’s far more special when that competition is in your home country. When the matches between the United States and a roster of international players begin, Dec. 12-15 at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Smith knows he’ll be feeling extra pressure to perform well for the home crowd. “But I love pressure,” he says. One thing that will aid in his goal to function under duress is the simplicity of his swing, says coach Grant Field. The two began working together when Smith was 10. “He’s very much an on-plane swinger,” Field says. “There’s not much that can go wrong. It’s a simple, connected, repeatable golf swing.” That word connected is a key…

2 min
hardpan and a lot of sand

CAMERON SMITH says he has played at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club, site of the 2019 Presidents Cup (Dec. 12-15), at least 10 times. But when he’s asked to describe how its two courses play (they’ll be using 12 holes from the West Course and six from the East for the Cup), he goes silent for a bit. “That’s hard to say. Every time I’ve been down there, it wants something different from your game,” he says. “One thing is for sure about Royal Melbourne: You have to make adjustments to how you play.” Smith, a rookie on the international team and native of Brisbane about 1,000 miles to the north, says most of the courses in the Melbourne area have similar features including fairways that are firm and fast, which…

3 min
king cut

“Start using your natural shot shape to your advantage.” WHEN I PLAYED ON THE ASIAN TOUR at the start of my career, the low draws I hit stayed under the wind and stopped on receptive greens just fine. But to compete on the PGA Tour and contend for majors, I needed to hit the ball higher and have it land softer—even with the longer clubs. So starting four years ago, I worked with my coach, Mike Walker, to make a high fade my stock shot. The first year was rough.I went from aiming 10 yards right to five yards left, and it took time for my eyes to adjust. But now I do it without thinking. My misses are much closer to the fairway, and the steeper landing angle of my…