Golf Digest October 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 at the ends of the earth

The return of Bud Chapman’s “Infamous 18 Golf Holes.” IF YOU LOOK UP Loyal H. (Bud) Chapman in the Minnesota Golf Association handicap directory, you’ll find he has a 6.1 Index at Minneapolis Golf Club. Bud is 95 years old. At the time I last spoke with him, in August, he had shot his age 3,671 times. He plays five days a week, and it has been three years since he didn’t shoot his age. He once bettered it by 21 strokes—a 71 at 92. But none of these facts are what makes him important in the history of golf. Chapman never built a golf course, but his imagination pioneered remote architecture and wildly avant-garde design. He’s the artist who drew “The Infamous 18 Golf Holes” that were published first in Golf…

3 min
undercover tour pro

“M” is a decent guy, but he’s got a few politely practiced lies. LAST YEAR I fired my agent. It was on a Sunday. I signed my card, and instead of packing up in the locker room, I suggested the two of us get a table on the clubhouse terrace and order drinks. I think he knew it was coming. He reps other players, and I still see him out here. We’ll talk pleasantries. He’s got a few politely practiced lies. ▶ Really, M is a decent guy. He was with me during the peak playing days of my career, when I was single, and he was fun to pal around with. Sunday nights are sleepy in most cities, but you can find action if you’re with the right running dog.…

3 min
ben an on textbook driving

THERE’S A STAT ON THE PGA TOUR—strokes gained/off the tee—that indicates how much of an advantage a golfer gets from driving when compared to other golfers. If you look at the names at the top of the strokes-gained list—Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm (more on his driving on page 56), Francesco Molinari, Tommy Fleetwood, Rory McIlroy—you start to realize how valuable good tee shots are to your success. Me? I’m hovering around top 15 on that list, and my work with the driver helped me put together my best season as a pro, nearly winning the Memorial and RBC Canadian Open. My focus with the driver has been to improve sequencing and technique—fundamental stuff—and there’s no doubt what I worked on can help you, too. Read on for the details. GET OFF…

2 min
sand master

YOU MIGHT NOT believe it now, but there will come a point when you think getting out of greenside bunkers is easy. When that day arrives, turn your attention to improving your control of the ball once it lands on the putting surface—especially on short sand shots. ▶ When you need to stop the ball quickly on a green, you have to create a fair amount of clubhead speed. But if you try to get that speed by making a standard-length swing, the ball will fly too far. Instead, you need a fast swing but a short follow-through. You’ve got to hit the brakes once the club enters the sand. Momentum will still carry the clubhead toward the target (above), but the finish will feel very abbreviated. This fast-but-abrupt swing imparts…

2 min
how to make the ball curve

“To shape a shot, better to change your setup than your swing.” Modern launch monitors have taught us exactly what makes the ball go where it goes, but most golfers would be smart not to get too caught up in technicalities. Decades ago, Jack Nicklaus described a simple way to shape shots, and it’s every bit as valid today. Jack said to hit a fade—his preferred shot—aim the clubface where you want the ball to come down, and align your body to the left (for right-handers). To hit a draw, do the opposite: Aim the face where you want the ball to finish and align your body to the right. For both ball flights, swing the club where your body is aimed. Here’s the procedure, starting with the fade (above). After sighting your…

3 min
four shots, one club

“They make it easier to get the ball off the ground.” IT’S FAIRLY COMMON for golfers to limit their use of fairway woods to second shots on par 5s and tee shots on long par 3s. They might use them only a few times a round. That’s a shame, because fairway woods are useful in many situations. They’re designed to be forgiving on mis-hits; they make it easier to get the ball off the ground or out of the rough; they provide more distance than irons and better accuracy than drivers—and they’re a pretty reliable chipping club. Here are four ways to get more out of your fairway woods to help you score. AROUND THE GREEN ADD POP TO THE SHOT ▶ If you don’t need to loft the shot to carry an…