Golf Digest November 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
golf saved his life

Valentino Dixon is a free man at last. SEVERAL YEARS AGO, Golf Digest published a monthly series called “Golf Saved My Life,” written by Max Adler. It was always one of my favorite features in an issue because it showed golf as a prescription for coping with life’s adversities. At the end of each article, Max invited readers to propose future subjects. From cancer survivors to kidnap victims, from soldiers with PTSD to bereft family members came stories of deep human emotion with golf as a protagonist. One day, Max went to his mailbox and found an envelope with the Attica Correctional Facility as its return address. Inside was a letter with flowing penmanship from inmate Valentino Dixon, convicted of murder and serving a 39-years-to-life sentence. He said he was innocent. The golf…

1 min
my top five

Golf-course renovation experts today: 1 GIL HANSE (above). His work on the East and West courses at Winged Foot sets the standard. 2 TOM FAZIO House architect for Augusta National should be enough to make the list, but his revamped 12th hole at Pine Valley is as courageous a reno as any we’ve seen. 3 ANDREW GREEN Little known, but I’m told he’s a real comer. Replaced Faz holes at Inverness and Oak Hill, revised Saucon Valley Grace to growing acclaim. 4 BRUCE HEPNER Former restoration expert for Tom Doak won Golf Digest’s Best New Remodel for Piping Rock (2016). Good job restoring Seth Raynor bunkers at the Country Club of Fairfield. 5 BILL COORE & BEN CRENSHAW Enormous talents as original architects, but reno work a mixed bag. A lot will be riding on what Seminole looks like next…

3 min
undercover tour pro

“I’m not buying that he’s ‘changed.’” This past season much was made about Tiger Woods being a changed person. That this latest comeback, from passed out behind the wheel in post-surgical hell to nearly winning majors, has given him “a new lease on life.” It seems all the announcers and media have latched on to this narrative. Friendlier, warmer, tastes great and less filling. Well, I think it’s a bunch of bull. Sure, there have been divergences. The old Tiger didn’t walk down the range saying hello to rookies, like I saw him do at Tampa. The old Tiger didn’t wait around the last green to congratulate the guy who beat him, like he did for Brooks in St. Louis. He wouldn’t fight back tears like he did at East Lake. Certainly, the…

3 min
easy does it

I’VE HAD A SUCCESSFUL PGA TOUR CAREER, including a pair of wins, by keeping things as simple as possible. Yet, in the numerous pro-ams I play, I notice everyday golfers tend to make things more complicated than they need to be, and their games suffer. One area to simplify is off the tee. For amateurs, it’s the most critical part of the game to avoid big numbers. Keeping it uncomplicated will result in better consistency, which allows you to pay more attention on your approach shots and short game. Here’s your first tip: Swing with the thought of putting the clubface on the back of the ball. This will help keep your body from lunging ahead of it, which causes those toey slices no matter what club you’re using. Read…

2 min
the quiet skills

“It takes no athletic ability to set up perfectly every time.” Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the game’s best players. They’re all physically gifted, so it’s often something else—a mental or emotional strength—that sets them apart. Here are a few of those qualities. 1. A SHORT MEMORY Great golfers are like great defensive backs in football: When they get burned, they’re immediately ready to go again. Whatever the mistake—a bad drive, a missed putt—the best players quickly put it in the past. When Dustin Johnson three-putted the last green at the 2015 U.S. Open and failed to force a playoff with Jordan Spieth, people asked me if DJ would be OK. He was fine. He’s a great example of a player who looks forward, not back. Imagine…

2 min
get to your front foot

Great advice to remember when hitting pitch shots is to swing through impact on a shallow angle, letting the bottom of the clubhead slide along the turf. Having said that, I’ve seen the application of this advice prove troublesome for some amateurs, because they try to do it of the wrong foot—the back foot. This typically happens because the golfer wants to help get the ball in the air with some unnecessary hand and body english. There’s no need for that. Wedges have more than enough loft to produce a high-and-soft shot, especially if the angle of attack is shallow—think skim, not dig. So what I want you to do is make sure your body is being supported by your lead foot as you swing through impact. An easy way to ingrain…