Golf Digest July 2018

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
undercover lessons

Cameron McCormick is working with Jordan Spieth on the expansive range at Cam’s home course, Trinity Forest, in Jordan’s hometown, Dallas. They’ve been doing this since Jordan was 12 years old, so there’s an obvious level of comfort. We’ve mic’d both player and teacher, and three high-definition video cameras are rolling. We’re a fly on the wall, listening in while we watch. They’re ignoring us and totally into the lesson. Jordan hits a 6-iron that carries 200 yards, with a ball speed of 129 miles per hour, a 20-degree launch, an apex of 108 feet, and a right-to-left curve of 48 feet. We know this because we also have them hooked up to Toptracer technology, and our video shows the gentle draw. It looks like a perfect shot, but Jordan…

3 min
undercover tour pro

My wife and I travel to tournaments with our young children, and we have one strict rule: The kids aren’t allowed to step foot past player dining. I don’t even want them coming out for five minutes to the flash area where I get interviewed after rounds. Maybe it’s just a sign of my maturity, but I believe the amount of obscenities we hear from the crowd has gotten way worse since I began my career. It used to be Phoenix was the raucous one, but now it’s half a dozen events. I’m not the only player who insists his kids stay inside the clubhouse or hotel. Yes, I’ve fantasized about punching spectators. The closest I ever came was a Saturday one year at Phoenix. It wasn’t quite noon, so theoretically…

3 min
greenside guru

AFTER one of the most successful seasons in Symetra Tour history, with three victories and 12 top 10s in just 15 tournaments in 2016, Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden joined the LPGA Tour and had four top 10s in her rookie campaign. Known to be a good driver and solid putter, Sagstrom, 25, might be at her best in greenside bunkers. Last year she finished seventh on the LPGA Tour in sand saves (60.24 percent), getting up and down 50 times. Here are her smart (and simple) tips to improve your bunker consistency. First, Sagstrom offers a quick refresher on the standard instructions for a greenside bunker shot: “Take a wide stance, dig your feet in, hit the sand before the ball—you’ve probably heard all of that before,” she says. “For me,…

2 min
finding the fairway

When you’re hitting an approach shot, the yardage to the green immediately points you to a particular club. From 150 yards, you might think, That’s my 6-iron. From 180, Gimme the 5-wood. You base those selections on the thousands of shots you’ve hit with those clubs. Better yet, think in terms of averages. Maybe you’ve crushed a few 7-irons 150—or even did it routinely 20 years ago—but the way you hit it now on average is the info you should use. If you’re like most golfers, that logic disappears when you get on the tee of a par 4 or 5. Your main concern becomes hitting the ball as far as you can, and that means taking a rip with the driver. Maybe you’ll opt for a fairway wood or hybrid,…

2 min
how to make chipping easy

Last month in my cover story, I talked about developing flight-to-roll ratios around the greens. For your chipping clubs, you need to know how much of the shot is in the air and how much is on the ground. Then you can pick the right club for any situation. To establish your ratios, take your chipping clubs and a beach towel to the practice green. Find a flat area, and set the towel lengthwise just onto the green, creating a six-foot-by-three-foot target. Using your pitching wedge, hit chips trying to land the ball on the towel. As you get in a groove, calculate what percentage of each chip is in the air and what percentage is on the ground. After you find your pitching-wedge ratio—mine is 40 percent flight, 60 percent…

3 min
banish the banana ball

The physics of a slice is uncomplicated. It happens because your club strikes the ball with the face pointing open in relation to the swing’s path. For right-handers, that means the clubface is pointing right of the path at impact—that’s it. What’s not so simple is the psychology behind why so many golfers struggle to prevent the ball from peeling of to the right of the target. I’ll skip my Freudian analysis of why you slice. Instead, here’s an unconventional, yet simple fix. It, too, is rooted in psychology. The next time you address the ball, I want you to stand so your body is aligned noticeably left of the target like I am here (if you’re a lefty, aim right). This is known as an open stance. I know, I know.…