PGAProfessional.com logo

Ask the Pro

 Most recent
 FAQ's
 Archive Index
 Archive
 2014
 2013
 2012
 2011
 2010
 2009
 2008
 2007
 2006
 2005
 2004
 2003
 2002
 2001
 2000
  Belly putter length
  "Working" the ball
  Whiff equals stroke
  Muddy ball
  Rhythm and balance
  Buried elephant
  Pro comment
  Distance gauges
  Higher trajectory
  When to line up
  Long putter - travel
  Ties - retrogression
  How to relax
  Major exemptions
  Not finishing swing
  "Club" professional
  Pin depth
  What is cc?
  Ties and pairings
  Par - yardages
  Wearing bifocals
  Player badges
  Lead tape falls off
  "Crossed" hazard

Main Menu
Home

Golf Instruction

Golf Pro Shop

Newsletter

Free Gifts

Entertainment

About

Contact

Site Search

Site Map

Ask the Pro Archive - 2006
Golf Questions and Answers on a variety of topics


Here are all the golf questions and answers that appeared on the "Ask the Pro" page in 2006, from most recent to least recent, top to bottom. Links in the left menu column give a "keyword" indication of the topic and will take you directly to that entry on this page. Also see the Ask the Pro Archive Index for longer descriptions in categorized and somewhat alphabetized form.

Golf Questions and Answers (2006)
(most recent to least recent, top to bottom)

Short Game > Belly putter length


Private Golf Schools at PGAProfessional.com
Work on your game with the author of this website in person...

Or get Mark's series of paperback books covering the entire game in detail.

Golf Books at PGAProfessional.com

Question:

December 26, 2006

I purchased a belly putter, I think it may be a little long, is there a standard way to measure the length for proper use? Thank you.

Gary Serone
Wellington, Florida

Answer:

Hi Gary,

There is so much personal preference and so much variety between individuals in terms of where they anchor the putter, their physique, posture and how they use the putter that there is no "standard" and so not one answer to that, sorry. The same applies for a long putter. The bottom line is that each individual is unique and must find their own most comfortable positions for their most effective feel and technique.

I would recommend my book "The Short Game" for great information on putting and the entire short game. Thanks for visiting PGAProfessional.com. MB

Miscellaneous > Terminology - Words and Phrases > The phrases "control the ball" and "working the ball"

Question:

December 12, 2006

I sometimes heard the phrases "control the ball" and "working the ball". What do they mean? Are they simply the same thing? Thanks.

Lu Ke
Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

Answer:

Hi Lu,

"Control the ball" usually refers to controlling the trajectory, the amount of spin or distance using various techniques other than a standard-issue full swing. "Working the ball" refers to deliberately curving it in one direction or the other for various reasons. If you're interested in how to do any of this it is all covered in detail in my book "Beyond the Basics."

Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Rules, Etiquette and Procedures > Does a whiff count as a stroke?

Question:

November 24, 2006

After taking your practice swings and addressing your ball if you swing and totally miss the ball does that count as a stroke if the ball is not touched or moved? It's my interpretation that you only are assessed a stroke when the ball is touched or moved. Am I wrong on this?

Jamie Quist
Omaha, NE

Answer:

Hi Jamie,

Yes, it counts as a stroke when you intend to strike the ball and whiff it, and the ball is now in play. See this rules FAQ. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Miscellaneous > Other > Effect of mud, why to clean the ball

Question:

November 2, 2006

I coach JV golf and one player insists that a muddy ball is ok. How do I convince him to play with a clean ball?

Cliff Coles
Santa Clara, Oregon

Answer:

Hi Cliff,

In most cases you cannot clean a muddy ball during the play of a hole until you reach the green (and a clean ball will always roll truer than a muddy one, just because of balance if not also surface consistency). But it is a good idea to have a clean ball when you begin a hole also, as the ball's flight certainly can be effected by some of the dimples being filled-in and, therefore, a different shape than the others. Also, how about the fact that a clean ball is easier to see and find?

To be fair, in many cases, especially if the ball is not very dirty, the effect is probably not noticeable and so perhaps a dirty ball is not the weak link in performance. But since it could have an effect and since one can play with a clean ball, one might as well, right? smile Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

^ Top ^

Long Game > General > Improving balance and rhythm


Private Golf Schools at PGAProfessional.com
Work on your game with the author of this website in person...

Or get Mark's series of paperback books covering the entire game in detail.

Golf Books at PGAProfessional.com

Question:

October 23, 2006

I want to improve on my rhythm and balance. Is there any exercise or practice I can do to help.

Dave Bennett
Hudson, Florida

Answer:

Hi Dave,

Those are good things to improve on, certainly. For rhythm make sure your hands never tighten up -- if your hands don't get tight you can't be too quick. For balance I suggest spending some portion of your practice time focusing your conscious attention ONLY on maintaining your postural angles and/or feeling where the weight is on your feet.

If you can hold your balance in a nice full finish position without difficulty it's a sign that you are doing many things right. Thanks for visiting PGAProfessional.com. MB

Of course, I'd have to work with you in person to give you any meaningful analysis and correction. To work on your game with me in person see more about my Private Golf Schools. If you cannot come to work with me in person get my series of golf books, which cover this topic and the entire game in detail. Learn more about my golf instruction books.

Miscellaneous > Terminology - Words and Phrases > The term "buried elephant"

Question:

October 10, 2006

... heard one of the commentators talk about a "varied elephant"... is this a golfing term and what is it?

Gem Stenhouse
Leicester, U.K

Answer:

Hi Gem,

Heh heh heh, that's "buried" elephant. Many of the commentators use that expression now. It's a funny way of saying that there's a big mound or undulation in the putting green -- you know, as if an elephant were buried under the surface of the green. But I'll see if I can come up with a meaning for "varied elephant" also, as I like the sound of that one just as well or better. smile

Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Miscellaneous > Other > John Daly comment, not enough club

Question:

September 20, 2006

I heard John Daly say [on television] that alot of people never hit enough club on their drives. What does that mean?

Diane Brase
Frederika, IA

Answer:

Hi Diane,

I didn't hear that but I assume he was either saying it facetiously (i.e., referring to the fact that some people do not hit the ball particularly long) or, if serious, perhaps he was commenting on the fact that many people do not have drivers with specifications that are optimal for their swings and physiques. smile Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Rules, Etiquette and Procedures > Use of distance measuring devices

Question:

September 9, 2006

Is it legal to use GPS [distance measuring devices] while playing competitive golf?

Tim Hoover
Chicago, IL

Answer:

Hi Tim,

The tournament committee is in charge of that decision (new to the decisions of golf just this year, 2006).

"A Committee may establish a Local Rule allowing players to use devices that measure distance only." If there is no such Local Rule, you can't use distance measuring devices. Other types of measuring devices (e.g., for wind, slope, etc.) are not allowed (maybe I should add "yet" but who knows). Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

^ Top ^

Long Game > Irons > Getting a higher trajectory on middle and long irons

Question:

August 21, 2006

How can I get high trajectory on my middle and long irons?

William Minnis
Upper Marlboro, MD

Private Golf Schools at PGAProfessional.com
Work on your game with the author of this website in person...

Or get Mark's series of paperback books covering the entire game in detail.

Golf Books at PGAProfessional.com

Answer:

Hi William,

All else being equal these things would promote a higher trajectory
  • ball position farther forward
  • low center of gravity in club head
  • low flex point in shaft
  • higher club head speed (this may or may not be alterable)
  • hitting a fade rather than a draw
You also might consider hybrid clubs or lofted woods rather than long irons.

Of course, I'd have to work with you in person to give you any meaningful analysis and correction. To work on your game with me in person see more about my Private Golf Schools. If you cannot come to work with me in person get my series of golf books, which cover this topic and the entire game in detail. Learn more about my golf instruction books.

Thanks for visiting PGAProfessional.com. MB

Rules, Etiquette and Procedures > When to read your putts

Question:

August 1, 2006

Should you wait until the other players have putted before lining up your putt?

Marty Fife
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Answer:

Hi Marty,

No, it's always a good idea in order to maintain a reasonable pace of play to read your putt as soon as possible after arriving at the green, while everybody in your group is reading their putts, fixing ball marks, determining who is away, removing loose impediments, putting bags or clubs to the side of the green toward the next tee, etc. If you watch the procedure on the professional tours you'll see that there is lots of overlap and not much time wasting, as a rule. They also usually reread their putts just prior to putting to have the picture fresh in their minds.

It's important to observe etiquette, like not moving around or making noise in another player's space while they're putting, but even in competition pace of play should be kept in mind. So don't wait until it's your turn to play to do a first read on your putt.

For more on etiquette read my article on Honor, Away and Whose Turn is it to Play?

Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Equipment > How to make a long putter fit in travel bags and on planes

Question:

July 23, 2006

I am planning a golf vacation. My problem is that I use a long putter and it does not fit in my travel bag. Any suggestions? Can you recommend a case that will fit my 50" long putter?

Bruce Gross
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Answer:

Hi Bruce,

You might try making it to break down into two pieces that can be secured together to have no moving parts for playing. I believe that is what many players who travel with long putters do. I don't know of any cases that long, but I have known Long Driving competitors who created a tube out of PVC, like for fishing poles, for real long drivers in order to be able to carry them on or check them on planes safely. MB

Rules, Etiquette and Procedures > Tie breaking by retrogression

Question:

July 11, 2006

Could you give me an explanation of breaking ties in golf by retrogression?

Glenna Neil
Port St. Lucie, Florida

Answer:

Hi Glenna,

That's where you go back on the scorecard to see who had the best score after 17 holes, if still a tie after 16 holes, and so on. Sometimes people incorrectly consider retrogression to be looking back to see who had the best score on hole #18, then if a tie back to #17 and so on, but that is not retrogression. MB

Mental Game > How to play more relaxed on the course and under pressure

Question:

June 22, 2006

How can I be more relaxed when I am on the course?

Chun Pong Yim
Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Answer:


Private Golf Schools at PGAProfessional.com
Work on your game with the author of this website in person...

PGAProfessional.com Private Golf Schools

Located in the east bay area of San Francisco


Get the author's 4-volume series of paperback books covering the entire game in detail.

Golf Books at PGAProfessional.com
Hi Chun Pong,

"Stage fright" or nervousness is common in golf and the physical and mental tension you imply in your question is a common symptom. It probably never goes away entirely, but the ingredients to deal with it are preparation and experience.

Preparation
Refine your technique in all areas of the game. As your technique improves so will your results and, therefore, so will your confidence. Being well-prepared and confident will help you reduce tension and relax. This is a long term process.



Experience
Play so many times (this is a long term process) that you have both performed well and messed up a number of times -- particularly in situations that you have difficulty with (like playing in tournaments, or even just playing with people you don't know). Only by repeated exposure to what causes you difficulty do you gain experience and expand your comfort zone; just as only by exercising can your body adapt and become more fit. Experience is also a great teacher that will help you to know your own game and become a better decision maker on the course... and this feeds right back into preparation.

Also, remember to breathe deliberately when you get nervous. Your brain needs oxygen and when people get nervous they tend to hold their breath or breathe very shallowly or sporadically.

Here is my most highly recommended resource for developing your mental game.

To work on your game with me in person see Private Golf Schools or Golf Lessons.

If working with me in person is not possible for you, get my books.

To find a golf professional near you to work with try www.PGAPros.com.

And see my related articles in the Golf Instruction Articles Archive.

Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Miscellaneous > Professional golf-related > Professionals' exemption for winning a major championship

Question:

June 6, 2006

When a pro wins a major golf tournament (Masters) how long is his [tour] card valid? If the same player the year following does not make the [top] 125 list is he still exempt or just [in] the Masters?

Mike MacDonald
Oromocto, New Brunswick, Canada

Answer:

Hi Mike,

The PGA Tour gives 5-year exempt status to winners of any of the four major championships at this point. Additionally, a winner of the Masters has a lifetime exemption into the Masters. Thanks for visiting PGAProfessional.com. MB

Long Game > General > Making a weight transfer to a full follow-through

Question:

May 27, 2006

I am not hitting through the ball to a full follow through (stopping at the ball). Any drills to correct this? Thanks.

Walter Rice
Tucson, Arizona

Answer:

Hi Walter,

That's something that will have to be practiced consciously. Rather than using a drill, if you practice focusing your attention exclusively on transferring your weight onto your forward foot, rotating your torso and allowing your arms and club to swing (rather than trying to hit the ball) the follow-through will happen automatically. Once you've done this enough times consciously (with awareness) it will become a habit. See also my related article on swinging the same way through the ball that you do in your practice swings. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Miscellaneous > Professional golf-related > What is a "club" pro?

Question:

May 11, 2006

What is a club pro?

Keola Hagan
Reno, NV

Answer:

Hi Keola,

The phrase "club professional" is usually used to indicate the difference between a touring professional golfer who plays competitive golf for a living and a golf professional whose main employment is at a golf course -- managing the operation, giving lessons, etc. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Miscellaneous > Golf course-related > Pin depth, flagstick depth -- front, middle or back of the green

Question:

April 21, 2006

What denotes a back pin or front pin? Is there a minimum amount of yards that denote this?

Bob McKee
Fresno, California

Answer:

Front pin, middle pin, back pin -- hole location
Hi Bob,

The greens are usually thought of as divided into thirds in depth (front, middle, back). Many golf courses use color-coded flags, or have markers of some kind positioned on the flagstick, to indicate where the pin is. Some golf courses may have "pin sheets" or perhaps even electronic devices in the golf carts to indicate where the flag is. And still others may have no indication at all as to where in the depth of the green the hole is cut. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Equipment > What the initials "CC" mean with golf clubs, what are cc's?

Question:

April 7, 2006

What does the "CC" mean on a golf club?

Brian Emenheiser
Encino, CA

Answer:

Hi Brian,

It means cubic centimeters, as in the volume of the club's head. Thanks for visiting PGAProfessional.com. MB

Miscellaneous > Professional golf-related > How tournament pairings are decided when there are ties

Question:

March 20, 2006

How are the pairings determined for the last two rounds of a tournament when there are ties? In other words, how is the tie broken for the purposes of setting up the pairings? Thanks.

Jamie Vann Struth
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Answer:

Hi Jamie,

Based on the order in which the players finished the round (i.e., whoever finished earliest is paired first and vice versa). Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Miscellaneous > Golf course-related > Yardages for different pars, par and distance

Question:

March 8, 2006

What [are the longest yardages that] a par 3 and a par 4 can be?

Kenneth Hockaday
The Villages, FL

Answer:

Hi Kenneth,

There is not actually a rule about that. There are only recommendations or guidelines. The "effective playing length" of a hole for a scratch golfer is what determines par rather than a hole's actual yardage. These are the USGA general recommendations, and they advise taking the terrain and other playing characteristics of a hole into consideration when determining par.

ParMenWomen
3up to 250up to 210
4251 to 470211 to 400
5471 to 690401 to 590
6691 and over591 and over

Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Miscellaneous > Other > Wearing bifocals, effects and options

Question:

February 21, 2006

How does wearing Bifocals effect your perception on the golf swing? Should I wear regular lens when playing?

Rich Medica
Fairfield, Connecticut

Answer:

Hi Rich,

I'm sure everybody is different, and please keep in mind that I'm not an eye specialist nor do I wear bifocals myself.* From my experience working with golfers that wear bifocals I have noticed one major problem in many cases: downward tilting of the head. In most bifocal glasses, from what I have seen, the stronger magnification is in the lower part of the lens, and most golfers want to look at the golf ball through the upper part of the lens. In order to do this they need to bring the position of their head down (chin almost touching the chest). This head position causes problems: the golfer with this head position invariably either lets the head get bumped out of the way by the shoulder turn, or lifts the chin to accommodate the shoulder turn, in the backswing. Either of these causes an unsteady visual field and usually postural variation as well. Since a steady visual field and postural constancy are important in the golf swing the result is usually not great.

Again, I would work with an eye doctor on this problem. But the options as I see them from my inexpert point of view are:
  • If your vision problem isn't too bad and it doesn't compromise your normal functioning, you might try playing golf without your glasses
  • Get a set of glasses just for golf that are not bifocals
  • Corrective surgery, if possible
Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

* If you are an eye doctor and would like to contribute to this discussion please about any other information that may help and I'll be happy to revise this answer as necessary.

Miscellaneous > Professional golf-related > Player badges, clip-on medallions

Question:

February 4, 2006

I notice during televised golf matches, that many of the players have a medallion or medal clipped to their caps or visors. For example, in the British Open many players have The Claret Jug on a medallion clipped to their hat. In other tournaments, I have noticed others, though not able to determine the design. What do they represent or why do the players wear them?

Carol Root
Prince Edward Island, Canada

Answer:

Hi Carol,

Those are player ID badges. Without one a player might have to pay for a spectator ticket to get in the gate, right? smile It's also their ticket to the appropriate parking lots, areas of the clubhouse, etc. Thanks for visiting PGAProfessional.com. MB

Equipment > Problem with lead tape not sticking or coming off

Question:

January 24, 2006

I have some lead tape on my putter and driver, it keeps falling off. Any suggestions or brand of tape that actually sticks on and doesn't fall off? Should I just super glue it? Thanks.

Greg Koehn
Chicago, IL

Answer:

Hi Greg,

All the lead tape that I have experience with (different types, either in rolls or in individual strips) has had no problem sticking. I would recommend cleaning the surface to which you will apply the tape thoroughly first. Also make sure that you get the tape to adhere to as much surface area as possible, especially if any of the surfaces are textured or irregular, and run something hard and smooth (e.g., the side of a screwdriver or its handle) over the tape after it's applied to make sure it's pressed down completely, has no air bubbles, etc. If it still won't stick it may be the case that the surface you are applying the tape to is not smooth enough, or perhaps the taped surface is hitting the ground too much when you swing, scraping or prying the tape loose from the edges. Check with a golf professional or a club repair shop near you in person (so they can see the variables in question) if you continue to have trouble.

FYI: I have heard that it is not a good idea to have much direct skin contact with lead of any kind, including lead tape. I know people who wear rubber gloves when working with it, and I make sure I wash my hands really well as soon as possible after handling lead tape. Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

Rules, Etiquette and Procedures > The "last place" the ball crossed the hazard

Question:

January 10, 2006

If I hit over a water hazard and the ball lands well within the fair area (example, in movie "Tin Cup" when ball landed well onto the green and rolled back into water). Isn't the last place the ball crossed the hazard line where it rolled into hazard, not the other side of water where it was hit? Same as when there is water on the front and back of green and ball goes off back of green. Don't you drop on back of green where ball rolled in water, not side where hit from?

Andrew Hartley
Batesburg, SC

Answer:

Hi Andrew,

Yes, it can be a little tricky to understand but if you keep in mind that the rule says you have to drop behind the water hazard, keeping the point where the ball last crossed between you and the hole it makes it easier. In the case of Tin Cup the player portrayed by Kevin Costner did have the option of moving forward and using a shorter club to attempt the crossing of the hazard after his first ball did not come to rest beyond the hazard, but he wanted to prove the point that he could hit the shot he originally attempted, so he took the option of dropping as close as possible to the original spot -- more than once as it turned out. smile

In the case of water behind the green, like on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass, you would still have to go "behind" the hazard from where the ball last crossed (keeping the hazard between you and the hole). They have graciously provided a "drop area" as an option in that case, as the area behind the hazard is either impractical or the shot is just too difficult, both making for potentially long delays in play.

Anyway, that's an interesting topic, as is the topic of the rules of golf in general. "As a rule," I don't usually answer rules questions smile -- see Rules Questions for details and help.

Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your game. MB

No copying, reprinting or reproduction
of any material on this website without
written consent from the site's author