Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Art Of Scoring - By Stan Utley

The Art Of Scoring
By: Stan Utley
With Matthew Rudy

An Average Golfer Book Review

We all know the gu
y, or perhaps you're the guy, that blasts it by everyone in the foursome, is on or around most greens in regulation, but can't score. The idea is to put the ball in the cup in as few shots as possible, isn't it? Truth be told we could all use some help in that department and Stan Utley's aim is to help us in that quest. Stan's techniques must be sound since he's developed himself quite an impressive following in the professional ranks. His stable of clients include Sergio Garcia, Jay Haas, Rocco Mediate, and Paul McGinley. No lightweights there.

Stan breaks the short game down in his recent book to what he terms "basic" shots, the shots you'll typically need in the vast majority of situations involving the short game. His "basic pitch shot" is the first he teaches and with good reason, it's most likely used the most. He painstakingly details grip, posture, and technique so a sound understanding of his theories is easy to grasp and picture. In similar fashion he follows with the "basic bunker shot" and "basic lag putt". Good photos and explanation make a quick read of what many times in golf instructionals could be mistaken as a sleep aid. Stan continues with three shots that confound many amateurs and pile on strokes. He simplifies the 30 - 50 yard pitch, the shot from the rough near the hole, and the dreaded long bunker shot. Any improvement on those three is an instant stroke shaver for must of us. Stan draws interesting comparisons between a bunker shot and shots around the greens with the point being that decent fundamentals on the important types of short game shots will give us an answer for almost any predicament. He explains well his desire to let size of your pivot and speed of your turn determine distance in the short game. That provides consistency of results, something we all crave.

Stan lends some particular insider knowledge as to how he approaches teaching a top flight pro as well. I found some irony in that the pros suffer from very much the same swing maladies as us mortals, just on a higher starting plane. A large chapter is devoted to putting strategy including reading green slope and grass grain. The book delves into club set selection and make up as well. Mr. Utley didn't really leave many stones unturned.

The book has a "feel" aspect to it as opposed to many golf guides that are rather technical and seemingly impossible to incorporate into your own game. This book leaves you with the idea that you've just gained some kind of inside advantage that will pay quick dividends in your next round. Stan wisely informs us that we can have a much improved short game without starting over and ditching the swing we've had since day one. I call that practical knowledge, the most useful kind. One caveat remains though that's true of any golf instructional. Stan provides the wisdom, we have to provide the time and effort. Remember that next time you pull your driver on the practice range.

The Art Of Scoring is recommended by Average Golfer.

The Art Of Scoring, By: Stan Utley, with Matthew Rudy, Gotham Books, Available on

Monday, October 19, 2009

PGA Tour's Bubble Battle for Top 125

PGA TOUR - Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
The biggest names have shut it down for the year and are lounging on their yachts or resting in exotic locales. The rest are fighting for 2010 exempt status on the PGA Tour and the right to continue in their chosen profession. Three Fall Season events remain for the guys on or near the 125 bubble to jockey for position. Chris Stroud holds the dubious "125 spot" this week heading into the Open in Scottsdale. The final two tourneys are the Viking Classic in Madison Mississippi and the Children's Miracle Network Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. With his 2010 card in jeopardy, Stroud has still managed to accumulate $600,019 in winnings so far, not bad for a guy staring a pink slip in the face. For the record, the average tour player has won $948,105 this year. The 125 are fully exempt while 126-150 maintain partial status. Partial status means no picking and choosing your events, but playing whenever and wherever you can get in. Full's definitely the way to go.

Prominent names that need to make a significant move to keep their cards include Tim Herron at 134, Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin at 142, Tom Pernice Jr. at 144, and Tom Lehman at 147, although Lehman's played some Champion's Tour events this year. Rocco Mediate at 151 needs a push. Jason Gore and Masters champion Trevor Immelman are at 153 and 154 respectively. Billy Mayfair, a fixture on tour for a long time, is right behind them at 156. Probably needing at least a win in the last three weeks would include Shaun Micheel, 177, Shigeki Maruyama, 178, and Steve Elkington, 183. Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey is most likely relegated to the Nationwide Tour at 201. John Daly sits at 215, which is higher than Len Mattiace and Brad Faxon at 226 and 227. Current Full Money List.

The pressure cooker involved in keeping your card is probably greater than closing a tournament. It ensures your working papers for another year. That twist makes the Fall Season worth watching even with the marquee names absent. Human interest stories all over the course. Every shot counts and all the other cliches apply. Click away from football for a bit. It may turn out to be high drama.

Til' next,

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Allenby Whines - John Daly's Miracle Stem Cell Cure

The Presidents Cup - Day Four
“Maybe I should have the attitude of Anthony Kim, get home at 4 a.m. and go play,” Allenby said Sunday night. “Friends of mine were out and watched him come in sideways.”

This just in Robert.....Maybe you should! These lame remarks were attributed to Allenby after getting beaten like a rented mule by Anthony Kim in last weekend's Presidents Cup singles match. US captain Fred Couples was quoted as saying that Kim had been in every night of the matches. Kim himself denied being in the place or condition so vividly described by Allenby. Only begs the question.....How did Allenby know Kim was in at 4 AM if he wasn't up at 4 AM himself? Ah, the ole' reliable conjecture and heresay.

Granted, Mr. Kim has a bit of a reputation as a partier, but is that so surprising with him being a millionaire in his 20s? Earth to Allenby, if I just got ass waxed by a hungover guy working on just a few hours sleep, I think I'd keep it to myself.

Dr. John Daly's Miracle Cure

From the "You can't make this up" grab bag comes John Daly's announcement that he's suddenly available to play golf despite recently pronouncing he'd shut it down for the year.
“My recovery from stem cell surgery has been closely monitored by my doctor and I have been cleared to begin playing competitively in two weeks,” Daly said in a statement.

Daly stated he'll play in the Viking Classic stateside and follow in December in the Australian Open and Australian PGA. This Average Golfer is betting that the return of Big John is more fiduciary than medical. Prove me wrong big fella.

Til' next,

Sunday, October 11, 2009

US Cruises to Presidents Cup Victory

The Presidents Cup - Final Round
The only surprisin

g outcome would have been an International team victory. Armed with the top three ranked pl ayers in the world, the US squad waltzed to a 19 1/2 - 141/2 win over the International team and continued their stranglehold on the Presidents Cup. Those aforementioned top three, Tiger, Phil, and Steve Stricker, were a combined 13-1-1 over the four days. Woods captured the Cup retaining point with a 6 and 5 smashing of YE Yang, the cat that defeated him in the final round of this year's PGA Championship. Drama was lacking with the US only needing 5 points from today's 12 singles matches. It would have taken an epic collapse for any other result.

For golf fans it was a pleasant enough weekend. Ten hours of NBC coverage and Johnny Miller was a perfect foil for the domination of the NFL and the MLB playoffs. At least one had an alternative. I'm sure it was a little tough in the booth trying to maintain viewer interest for so long in an event that wasn't all that competitive. Four days of Presidents Cup vs three days of Ryder Cup is either a boon or bust for broadcasters. Four days however, is certainly enough rounds to determine the better squad.

Perhaps it's time to consider combining both events into a US vs The World competition. That would eradicate any discussion about the US playing a diluted field. The tough sell for that idea would be old Sam Ryder turning over in his grave with the break in tradition. Discussion worthy though in this Average Golfer's opinion.

All in all a nice event to watch. Tim Clark's birdie barrage was a thing of beauty. It just proved that you don't have to be long to score. It also proved that being deadly from 150
yards in is killer and having a hot putter doesn't hurt the cause. The only hint of controversy was Camilo Villegas forcing Hunter Mahan to make a 2 footer in the middle of Hunter's 2 and 1 win. The best display of sportsmanship was Vijay's concession of a 7 foot birdie putt to Lucas Glover to halve the match. It prevented Glover from being shut out on points for the week. Classy.

I reckon this signals the end of the professional golf season with all due respects to the pros struggling for their jobs in last 3 Fall Season tournaments. It's been a rather unusual 2009 with unexpected major champs and a financial upheaval in the pro game that still hasn't shaken out. 2010 should be interesting at the very least. In the meantime, stayed tuned here for for your golf fix. Between seasons Average Golfer will just have to dig deeper.

Til' next,

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

FTC After Blogger's Opinions and Speech Rights.

I'm aware of the huge federal budget deficits that my grandchildren, (or perhaps their children), will be paying off on my behalf. I despise tax cheats, swindlers, and con men. I applaud legitimate efforts from my government to level the playing field and convince me that my tax dollars are well spent. Color me stupid, but I don't think the paltry amount I obtain by publishing this humble blog is going to put a dent in the mountain of red ink.

The FTC on Monday said that "Violating the rules, which take effect on Dec. 1, could bring fines up to $11,000 per violation. Bloggers or advertisers also could face injunctions and be ordered to reimburse consumers for financial losses stemming from inappropriate product reviews." Does that mean if I review a driver, Joe Six-Pack buys it based on my opinion, loses the the $2 Nassau first time out, I owe him six bucks?

This Average Golfer has written a precious few reviews, some on books, one for a documentary film by an obscure filmmaker, and a golf tool. Yes, I received the DVD, books, and tool gratis, complements of the publishers, distributors, etc. Most of the items I gave away hoping to enhance the golf life of acquaintances or playing buddies. You know, share the wealth and good fortune. By the way, through various advertising sources shown on these pages I've received the sum total of less than $139.00 since Jan. 08 when I started this little money maker. I tell you this in the interest of full disclosure.

The dollars involved obviously aren't what's got me steamed here. It's the idea that I'm liable for my opinion. Are we to assume that the average consumer can't tell this difference between an honest little blog site and the tsunami advertising and shill sites of the world? The FTC believes so. They think you're all morons. Opinion is not to be confused with slander or liable. We have a right to an opinion, and last I knew free speech was still on the table. Perhaps it's me that's naive.

The fallout here is that Average Golfer will have to be more discriminating in choosing his words and requests for reviews. I do this for fun, no more or less. The last thing I expected was an intrusion into my basic rights and freedom to form and express an opinion. Those New Hampshire license plates are looking better and better.

Til' next,

**Free Obama administration and FTC tip........How about going after the unpaid back taxes of your recent appointees?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

DIV PRO Golf Tool - What's in Your Pocket?

I did a quick inventory during my last round of golf to see what was in my pockets. Extra ball, ball mark repair tool, tees, and coins for markers. No cigar holder, even though I partake on occasion, no grip saver, I compromise with a tee for that, and certainly no shotgun opener. If I had the DIV PRO along for the ride, I'd have been covered.

DIV PRO is the Swiss Army knife of golf tools. It combines the required base divot tool with a magnetic ball marker, a groove cleaner, a cigar holder, a grip saver, and the aforementioned can opener in a clean one-piece tool that's cleverly designed and intuitive to use. The intuitive part is important to guys like me that rip things out of the package and expect them to perform like old friends, sans instructions.

I compared DIV PRO to my trusty Scotty Cameron repair tool during my last round. The Cameron's been in my pocket for the last fours years, so we're on close terms. As a repair tool the DIV PRO's tines are noticeably longer, in fact long enough to start a garden. That's where the comparison ends as fixing ball marks is about all the Cameron was designed to accomplish. No cigar support, club clearance around wet greens, ball mark, and certainly no ultimate function, shotgunning beers. Decided advantages, DIV PRO. About the only gain the Cameron had was size and weight. With it's myriad uses the DIV PRO was heftier than the Cameron and was about 3/4" longer. I like to be balanced over the ball and I'm distracted by many things, not the least being ballast in my pockets. DIV PRO's multi-functions though eliminated my need for markers and a dedicated cigar holder. Economy of design won out and I found that the extra ball in my left pocket and the DIV PRO in my right struck the perfect balance. I'll have to blame my swing problems on something else.

DIV PRO's a great idea and simple design on items every golfer already uses. It qualifies as highly recommended by this Average Golfer. Check it out here at

Til' next,