Caroline Rankin is our newest contributor to lpga.com as our Equipment Insider. Caroline travels with the Tour each week and will bring you the latest information on golf equipment.
June 30, 2013
It’s U.S. Open week… one of the most anticipated events of the year. This week the field is comprised of young amateurs and seasoned veterans showcasing a wide range of playing styles. All of which will be put to the test at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, NY.
There was a buzz of excitement early in the week as players went through their practice rounds, got a feel for the course and tuned their equipment.
Fine-tuning was definitely the trend this week. Any major change a player needed to make was done over the past few weeks, giving them plenty of time to find the right fit and get comfortable.
With Sebonack being a “second shot golf course,” we will see a lot more hybrids this week with higher and longer ball flights, allowing the players to have more control over their approach shots.
While the greens at this seven-year-old course are large, their undulations have the potential to penalize a good, well-struck shot and reward a poor one. That being said, the most work I saw being done was on wedges. Players were shaping and grinding their most lofted clubs to reduce the amount of bounce thus making it easier to open the club face on tight lies around the greens. They had to be careful not to take off too much bounce though. If you happen to find a bunker, and your wedge doesn’t have enough bounce, the club will dig into the sand making it very difficult to get the ball out. Bounce on a wedge is like a rudder on a ship, guiding it where it needs to go and steering it in the right direction. They were also adding and taking away loft to help fill in the yardage gaps between clubs.
This young golf course will certainly prove to be a test, making it even more fun to watch.
June 23, 2013 - Driving Miss Daisy
The driver… Dreaded by some, loved by others. In years past, the majority of people would have been part of the former, but technology has drastically helped sway the opinion of most.
The adjustable driver was the biggest change the golf industry had seen in years, and it was brilliant. The driver went from being one of the hardest clubs to fit for a player, to one of the easiest with the ability to adjust loft, face angle and weight distribution with a few clicks of a wrench.
While these changes offered more distance, players also saw better control with the long stick – two things no golfer ever thought would be mentioned in the same sentence, especially when talking about the driver.
According to the Darrell Survey, over 50% of LPGA players consistently put TaylorMade drivers in play each week, with the closest competitor at 17%. Their contrasting white crown and black clubface also make alignment easier.
Over the past twenty years, the LPGA players have gained nearly 20 yards on their driving distance and hit it almost as far as John Daly did back in the early 1990’s.
So, for all of you “non-lovers” out there, don’t give up just yet. Technology is only making things easier for you to find magic off the tee.
June 9, 2013 - “Patience, Grasshopper”
Let’s recap the last few weeks on the LPGA tour….
Torrential rains, fishing in fairways and a 36-hole, 3-day tournament were the headlines of our week in the Bahamas. Last week on the boardwalk of Atlantic City we had swarms of no-see-ums, waist high fescue grass and howling winds. This week – a major championship postponed to a Friday start due to rains, indescribably tall, thick rough, narrow fairways, small greens and what hopes to be a 36-hole Sunday finish (we expected three out of the last five).
So, how does one handle these obstacles? You have to stick to your game plan the best you can, and make adjustments as needed. It can all take a toll on a player, no doubt. For some, this is the fourth event in a row. That’s a lot in it’s own, but tack on major championship to the tournament title, and you’ve added another dimension.
While all of the hard work, long practice days and preparation will play a part in the outcome of this tournament – Hopefully the recent hurdles they faced will come in handy too. In my opinion, the player who packed the most patience will be victorious. Not every tee shot will find the short stuff, not every putt will fall. These girls have to remember; “Patience, young Grasshopper.”
Follow Caroline on Twitter @LPGATourRep.
Topics: Equipment Insider