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In the swing: tips and tidbits for Sarasota golfers.

WINNING TIPS

If you're a player who is timid on medium and short iron shots, and is afraid to aggressively hit down and through the ball, try a tip I had great success with during my former teaching days.

Practice hitting irons out of heavy grass or divot holes. These dreadful lies will force you to pull the club down hard and generate high clubhead speed to make clean clubface-to-ball contact at impact. Once you get the feel for a solid hit, try using the same "go-after-the-ball" technique when hitting shots off fairway grass. You'll soon see that the drill you practiced will allow you to hit the ball squarely and solidly, rake a shallow divot, and hit a shot that lands on the green and spins back toward the hole.

THE RULES

You can make legitimate excuses for playing to a high handicap. But there is no excuse for not knowing the rules of golf set down by the United States Golf Association. Here's a rule you'd better know, if you have a caddy.

Situation: Player A asks his caddy to attend the flagstick, while he hits a putt from 50 feet. Tending the flag simply means holding the flag until the ball is struck and then pulling it out of the hole. Players normally ask for a flag to be tended when they are far enough away from the hole that they are unable to see it clearly.

Player B, Player A's match play opponent, stands nearby waiting his turn to purr.

Common mistake: The caddy does not pull the flagstick out before the ball arrives at the hole. In fact, the ball strikes the flagstick and rebounds off it, finishing five feet from the hole. Although Player A was not at fault, player A still loses the hole for breaching Rule 17-3.

Correct procedure: Whoever tends the flagstick while a player is putting, whether it is a caddy, partner, or fellow player in a weekend game, should know to remove it before the ball hits it. Get in the habit of removing the flagstick the split second the ball is struck and starts rolling toward the hole.

STARGAZING

If you were born under the sign of Cancer (June 21-July 22) and you're a senior player (50 and over), consider the advice of Mark Oman, author of Golf Astrology.

"A new hot bail, hot putter, driver or complete set of clubs just might be what your golf guru ordered. Loosening up your pocketbook outside could loosen up some peak performance attitudes inside."

If the new clubs fail to improve your golf, go fishing in the Gulf like Senior PGA Tour player and fellow Cancerian Bruce Lietzke does every chance he gets.

NEW PRODUCTS

I had mixed emotions about revealing this brand-new product, but since it's my job to keep you up to date on what's buzzing in the golf business, here goes.

Sun-Time Linkswalker, a Florida-based company, has discovered a way for male golfers to tap into their testosterone and hit the ball farther than ever before. Instead of worrying about keeping the left arm stiff, the head still, and directing the club on a specific path so it contacts the ball squarely and solidly, all you have to do to generate super-high clubhead speed and the ball out of sight is: Look down and stare at the sexy picture superimposed on the Drive Me Wild driver-head, wait for your hormones to boil, swing back, then let the club rip on the way down.

The driver is to powerful drives what Viagra is to male fire-power. So if all else has failed--from golf books to videotapes to swing gadgets to golf school lessons--consider putting this sexy driver into your bag. Choose from a variety of shaft and clubhead colors. This club is the perfect gift for the golfer who has everything but a powerful driving game. Price: $299 from www.linkswalker.com or call 1-800-659-2824.

Sarasota's John Andrisani, the former senior editor of instruction at Gaff Magazine and the author of more than 25 books, including the recently released Think Like Tiger, is a six-handicap player and former winner of the World Golf Writers' championship. Send questions and comments to John at jagolf3238@aol.com.

RELATED ARTICLE: palmer's legacy

The United States is spotted with Arnold Palmer-designed golf courses. Frankly, however, his designs are nor my favorite. I'd much rather play a championship course laid our by one of the late legendary architects, such as Donald Ross or Albert Warren Tillinghast, or today's genius, Tom Fazio.

Though critical of Palmer, I admit that when he is good he is real good. In Florida, my favorite Palmer designs include The Majors Golf Club in Palm Bay, a true gem cut out of the woods; Isleworth in Orlando, Tiger Woods' home course; and the Legacy course at Lakewood Ranch, located two miles east of I-75.

Technically, Legacy is in Manatee County; but because it is so close to Sarasota, I feel compelled to review it, just in case you have nor yet played this challenging "track" that made it onto the 2003 Zagat survey of America's top courses.

There are several sets of tees at the Legacy, so you have your choice of playing one of the long layouts or one of the short courses. Managed by Troon Golf, the course is excellently conditioned and the staff friendly and accommodating.

You'll get your money's worth at Legacy, but playing this course is a lot like playing blackjack in Vegas. The course, like the "tables," will bear you up, unless you use your head and get lucky. Like Vegas, where gamblers return each year to visit their money, you'll also be drawn back to the Legacy to see if you can beat the odds and shoot a good score on a difficult course.

For rates, tee times and general information, telephone (941) 907-7067.
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Author:Andrisani, John
Publication:Sarasota Magazine
Date:Jun 22, 2003
Words:982
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In the swing: tips and tidbits for Sarasota golfers.

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