WGT Golf News

  • Golf Game Killer: The Sway

    22 Oct 2009

    By John Diekmann

    Admit it, you sway, I sway, we all sway. Many times when my game falters I can trace it to the dreaded sway. Unfortunately this usually doesn’t happen until I’ve looked a lot of other places first. Even your putts aren’t safe from the dreaded sway.

    Golf involves a lot of movement; twisting, turning, weight shifting, coiling, releasing and who knows what else. Given all that movement it’s easy to see in hindsight why swaying can creep into your swing again and again.

    Swaying has to do with moving your core—the spine. Basically the golf swing is a coiling and uncoiling around the spine. The spine is the center of your swing. If it moves your control over hitting the point of impact you’re aiming for is severely compromised.

    Poor spine management leads to swaying left and right and also up and down. When your spine is still, the chances of bringing the club at impact back to where it was at setup is greatly improved.

    If you want to get down to the nitty-gritty in the best golf swings, then the spine tilt does change slightly during the downswing for full shots as the hip moves out and around. This helps you stay behind the ball at impact. However, this does not mitigate in the slightest that a major problem in poor shots is spine movement. If you don’t believe me, then exaggerate a sway in hitting practice shots and see how that works for you!

    There are lots of gizmos and practice tips to keep the spine from swaying. However, there is a better and simpler way. Put your consciousness in your spine while you swing. Focus on feeling the rest of your body rotate around it. Do this for every club from putter to driver. If you do this, at first you’ll be surprised how much you are swaying. It’s not easy to keep still and takes a significant amount of core strength.

    One of the shots where it’s easiest to feel sway and practice eliminating it is the greenside chip. If you’ve been having problems making solid contact, you’ll find that keeping your spine still will quickly build your confidence. You’ll stop worrying about hitting it fat or thin and start thinking about holing these shots. Stopping the sway is that powerful!

  • WGT Tour-SD Balls

    20 Oct 2009

    The new WGT Tour-SD balls have been available for a week, and players are raving about the extra spin. If you're looking for a ball that will stick to the greens, try them out for yourself (there are 10 colors to choose from)!

  • For Morgan Pressel, Success Places Home Further Away

    19 Oct 2009

    By Ryan Ballengee

    For Morgan Pressel, the very chilly conditions at Trump National Bedminster just did not register with her.

    "We don't really deal with this kind of thing where I'm from," said the West Palm Beach resident.  Having flown up to the New York City area to participate in American Express' USGA Champions Experience, Pressel was playing in a golf outing on one of the worst possible days to do it.

    She was stationed at Trump National Bedminster New Course's 14th hole - an island green par three totally exposed to the wind and sleet that was added on top of cold temperatures.  Having to get by like the rest of the golfers by using hand warmers and ear flaps, Pressel toughed it out like all of the participants.  She met and greeted groups as they passed through her hole, playing it out with them.  Pressel made some small chat for the ten minutes with that group, returned to the tee on a golf cart, and repeated the process.

    At the end of the outing, she helped hand out awards to the winning participants.  After that, she made the small trek to Far Hills, NJ, to speak about her 2005 US Women's Amateur win at the USGA headquarters.  She fielded questions from fans.

    The cold, rainy outing at Trump National is symbolic of the kind of life Pressel must feel she is living sometimes: anonymous golfers passing through, shaking hands, and disappearing again.

    It was all a part of a day's work for Pressel, who is one busy woman indeed.

    Later in the day, Pressel would be in the city at Chelsea Piers to attend the LPGA Tour's corporate outing, which included an update on the tour that makes her very livelihood.  The next day would include a trip to Polo Ralph Lauren's NYC headquarters to take a look at what the fashion icon had coming down the pipe for next year.

    Pressel spends nine months of the year away from home.  That West Palm Beach in Florida that she referenced to me is often so distant for her.  The forecaddie in our group, Neville, was from Donald Trump's course in Florida.  He caddies for Morgan when she is in town to play.  For Pressel, it was a connection to home - albeit a brief one.

    Between traveling to tournaments, participating in functions like this one, and actually playing the LPGA Tour, Pressel has little time to spend at home with her friends and family.  It's not that Pressel prefers to spend time away from the people she cares about most.  Rather, it's a condition of being a professional golfer that is a wanted quantity.

    Travel can take its toll on a professional whose livelihood is not just supplemented by outings like the one with AmEx, but are actually a very large portion of a pro golfer's income.  Speculation was abound earlier this month when it was reported by Forbes that Tiger Woods had passed the billion dollar threshold - despite his having earned less than $100 million in PGA Tour winnings.  Almost all of that other purported $900 million came off of the course.  Though not on the same scale, the truth for any golfer is that there is more money to be made off of the course than on it.

    With success comes more opportunities to make that kind of money.  Pressel being a multiple time winner on the LPGA Tour, as well as a major champion, has those kinds of chances.  The downside is that the demand requires travel so significant that Pressel lives a near permanent life on the road.

    She will be traveling to Korea in a few weeks for the LPGA Tour's second Asian swing of the year.  Sponsored by Kapalua in Hawaii, she would have played in that event prior to the Korean trip.  But, the tournament was lost when Kapalua could not find a title sponsor to replace their name on the event.  Now, it is a one week global excursion for Pressel, who will return to the US after that tournament.

    Adjusting to the time change going to Asia is not nearly as trying as it is making the adjustment back into the United States.  She will need extra time to adjust in order to finish out the LPGA Tour schedule with a circadian rhythm that is even close to normal - even by her standards. 

    Pressel and the ladies of the LPGA Tour have way more hours in the air than their PGA Tour peers because of how many international events comprise the dwindling LPGA Tour schedule.  In order to make money on the course, Pressel and her fellow players have to traverse the globe.  If they're successful, then they keep traveling to private functions.  In other words, with success comes more demands on their time - not less.

    That makes finding time to practice their craft more challenging.  Pressel told a fan that she practices until she "has it," depending on what she is working on with her game.  She admits that her wedge has not since been as good as her '05 US Amateur triumph.  The task of building upon success on the course is almost more difficult than getting there in the first place.

    Despite that, Pressel finds time to engage in charity work, particularly with her Morgan and Friends event that she runs each fall.  In just three years, the event and subsequent donations through is has raised nearly $1 million for breast cancer research.  Having lost her mother to breast cancer, that event is a crucial one that helps her maintain a connection to her entire family.

    When out on the road for three-fourths of the year, someone who is very close to her family like Pressel has to have that kind of connection.  Anyone would.

    Still, Pressel has clear and true friends amidst the ladies of the LPGA Tour.  The weekly grind is better, she says, when she is paired with someone she knows and likes.  In other words, it helps to make life inside the ropes a little more like what you and I experience when we play with our friends - a little piece of normal.

  • Keep it Square - Video Blog

    16 Oct 2009

    By Josh Zander

    Everything in moderation is a pretty good philosophy in life and it is in your golf game as well. Opening your stance for short game shots is ok if it is done in moderation but opening it too much leads to disaster. Setting up too open leads to glancing blows, pulls, chunks and excessive sidespin on your short game shots. More importantly, it seeps into other parts of your game which leads to inconsistency.

    I recommend putting a shaft down on the ground to monitor your alignment. It will give you the sense of what is square so when you remove the club, anything other than square will feel awkward. If square is your baseline, you are setting yourself up for success. Setting up square leads to solid contact due to an on plane swing. Your ball will come off with pure backspin and an absence of sidespin. You hear people talk about trying to get the ball within a three foot circle in order to have a good chance at getting up and down. I try to hole all my short game shots. Knowing that my ball will have a predictable bounce because of pure backspin enables me to give the ball a good chance of going in. I even read the green on my chip shots much like you would on a lag putt. If your goal is to hole your shot, chances are that if it doesn’t go in, it will be inside that three foot circle.

    The key to scoring in golf is predictability. Whether you are a hooker or a slicer, you can plan your aim and find the fairway if you know beforehand how your ball will curve. Setting up square will give you predictability of distance control because of your solid contact and predictability of direction due to square spin. Now go practice and hole some short game shots.

  • The Glenlivet Whisky Season Open

    15 Oct 2009

    WGT and The Glenlivet, the Single Malt that Started it All, invite you to enter The Glenlivet Whisky Season Open! One winner by random drawing receives a trip for two to Scotland to play golf at St Andrews Links and a go on a private tour of the historic The Glenlivet Distillery.

    Five winners will receive a The Glenlivet branded golf bag, and 25 winners will receive two tasting glasses and a whisky tasting DVD. Entry is free and anyone over 21 years old can play. USA residents (excluding CA) are eligible to win the sweepstakes prizes. See rules for details.

    Click here to enter today!

    The Glenlivet Whisky Season Open

  • Swing myths

    14 Oct 2009

    By Josh Zander

    How many times have you heard keep your head down? Don’t do it! What I am saying may sound like heresy but all you have to do is look at tour players and see that they release their heads on their follow through.  What do Annika Sorenstam, David Duval and Robert Allenby have in common? They all release their heads before impact. They are actually looking at the target before they hit the ball. They are not even close to keeping their heads down. They do maintain their spine angles but releasing their heads makes their bodies explosive through the hitting zone. I am not saying you have to exaggerate as much as these players but realize that every tour player is looking at the target on the follow through. If you cannot see your ball flight immediately, your head is down too long.

    How many times have you heard swing slower? If you swing slower, your ball will go shorter! I have been teaching for 15 years and almost every student has asked me for more distance. You cannot hit it farther by swinging slower. If you have a technical fault in your swing, slowing down is not going to fix it. Fix the mistake and then speed up your swing to get distance. Don’t confuse slow with smooth. Ernie Els and Vijay Singh are smooth swingers but they are not slow.

    How many times have you heard to hit down on the ball? This advice may be the reason 90% of golfers slice the ball. While good ball strikers do compress the ball, it is a function of having a forward leaning shaft and their weight shifting correctly through impact which creates a divot that is past the ball. If you look at the spine angle of a tour player from the face-on point of view, you will see that every one of them has a spine angle leaning backward away from the target. This is the same spine angle you would create if you were going to throw something up in the air. Golfers misinterpret hitting down on the ball by swinging down steeply which creates deep divots, pulls and slices. Try swinging up on the ball and you will become a drawer of the golf ball.

    Before taking any swing advice from friends or golf professionals for that matter, always ask the following question. Will this advice help my ball flight and impact? If so, go for it but beware of swing myths!

  • Match Play, Pinehurst No. 8, and New Equipment!

    13 Oct 2009

    Here are the highlights from today's product release. While we make an effort to include all updates made to the product, please note that occasionally some changes are unintentionally omitted.

    Match Play Game Format

    We've released the first iteration of our match play game format, and we'd love to get your feedback. You can create or join match play games and track your match play points on your profile page. "Scored" matches are tracked in the stats section of your profile and shows your record vs. your friends. Go head-to-head with your friends and see who comes out on top! Read more here.

    This feature is brand new and still being tested, so you should expect to see some issues. We plan to make many more improvements to it in the next few releases, and we encourage you to make suggestions and report all bugs in our forums.

    Awards Display Case

    Who has the most prestigious awards? We've made it easier to view and track your awards by organizing them into categories and showing your progress on the awards you can earn. Click the Awards button on your profile page now and see your awards standings! We are planning to release more awards for you to add to your trophy case in the future.

    Pinehurst No. 8 Closest-to-the-Hole Challenge

    A new closest-to-the-hole challenge is now available on Pinehurst No. 8. This course opened in 1996 to commemorate Pinehurst's centennial year. Fazio incorporated signature Ross features into the design, including dips and swales around the greens, sloping greens and false fronts. Located approximately 2 miles from the Main Clubhouse at the site of the former Gun Club, it is a celebration of a century of great golf.

    Ability to Pull Flagstick

    When on the green you can now remove the flagstick so it will not interfere with your shot. Simply mouse over the flagstick and you will see a button with "Remove Flagstick" appear. Click the button and the flagstick will be removed from the hole. To bring it back, mouse over the area where the flagstick appears and a button with "Replace Flagstick" will appear, which will put it back into the cup. When you are on the green, remember the flagstick is not really in the cup.  It is just a visual reference you can hide and bring back.

    Green Speed Indicator

    When you are on the green, you will now see a green speed indicator in the upper right hand corner. The green speed will affect how far your ball will roll. This means that your distances on your putter will only be accurate on standard green speeds. You will need to adjust for your distances to account for the faster and slower greens. Read more in our FAQs.

    New Equipment in the Pro Shop

    • Available to All Tiers:
      • WGT GI-S ball - These balls will give you a small increase in spin and the benefit of a slower swing meter.
    • Exclusive to Pro & Master Tiers:
      • WGT Tour-S ball - These balls will give you increased spin and distance, but their soft covers will take a punishing.
      • WGT Tour-SD ball - These balls will give you extra spin and extra distance.
      • Ping G10 Tour W Pro Wedges - New wedges in 52, 56, 58, and 64 degree lofts.
      • TaylorMade Tour Pro Wedges - New wedges in 52, 56, and 58 degree lofts.
      • WGT Tour Pro Clubs - If you like the WGT Tour Starters, you'll love the WGT Tour Pros. Our most affordable pro-level clubs!

    Product Descriptions in the Pro Shop

    We've added product descriptions in the Pro Shop to help you better select the equipment you need.

    Additional Friend Feed Content

    You can now see more of your friends' activities in your Friend Feed. Below are some of the new activities you will see:

    • Tournament entered
    • Tournament finished
    • Tournament won
    • Completed stroke play round
    • Complete match play round
    • Replay saved
    • Pro shop item purchased
    • Tier changed

    New International Payment Methods

    You can now purchase WGT credits using Maestro (UK), ELV (Germany), iDEAL (Netherlands), and WallieCard (worldwide) payment methods.

    Ball Trail in Replays

    When you view a replay, you will be able to see a white trail showing the path of the ball. This is helpful when looking at the breaks on a green in putting replays.

    Available Credits Displayed in Profile Widget

    It's now easy to see how many credits you have in your account. Just look at the profile widget on the left side of the screen next to your name, and you can see your balance without having to click into your My Account page.

    Bug Fixes

    • There should no longer be a $.01 discrepancy between the career earnings stat on your profile page and the stat on the Top Earners list.
    • When you remove a friend, they should no longer show up in the Friends section of your profile page.
  • Greg Norman’s Great Pick

    11 Oct 2009

    By The Armchair Golfer


    Ryo Ishikawa at the PGA Championship. (jpellgen/Flickr)

    The Americans won the Presidents Cup on Sunday for the seventh time in eight tries. The final points total was 19 ½ to 14 ½. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker—the world’s top three golfers—led the way.

    While International team captain Greg Norman was questioned extensively about his captain’s choice of fellow Aussie Adam Scott, his other captain’s pick made an impressive debut in the Presidents Cup. Ryo Ishikawa, the 18-year-old, was one of only two International team players to post a winning point total. (The other was Ernie Els.) The Japan Tour player went 3-2-0, including a singles victory over Kenny Perry.

    I hadn’t seen much of Ishikawa before this week. Obviously, he’s a terrific putter. Coming into the Presidents Cup, Ryo won three times this summer on the Japan Tour in a 10-week stretch. And he’s the youngest player to crack the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking, currently ranked 47th.

    “When Greg first picked me...I didn’t know if I was worthy to be a part of this team,” Ishikawa said. “But when I got here and all of the players looked after me, talked to me, gave me a lot of support, and that really helped me throughout this week.”

    I look forward to seeing more of Ryo. It will be fun to see how he and Rory McIlroy fulfill their potential as golf’s future stars.

  • Weekend Replay Reel

    09 Oct 2009
  • Woods/Stricker Romp as U.S. Takes Lead at Presidents Cup

    08 Oct 2009

    By The Armchair Golfer


    Photo: jrodmanjr/Flickr

    THE U.S. TEAM TOOK a one-point lead over the International squad on Day 1 of the Presidents Cup at Harding Park in San Francisco. Thursday was Foursomes—also known as alternate shot—and all but one of the matches were competitive. On Friday the teams will compete in Four-Ball (best-ball) matches.

    Americans Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker romped to a 6 and 4 win over Internationals Geoff Ogilvy and Ryo Ishikawa by making every putt they looked at. Or at least it seemed that way. Anthony Kim and Phil Mickelson and Kenny Perry and Zach Johnson also won for the U.S. side.

    Partnering with Ernie Els, Adam Scott holed the winning putt to earn a point against Hunter Mahan and Sean O’Hair. Vijay Singh and Robert Allenby also got a point for the Internationals. The final match of the day was halved when American Justin Leonard rimmed out a three-foot putt on the 18th hole.

    Here’s what I like about watching the Presidents Cup.

    Harding Park

    I’ve watched a lot of tour golf over the years. I won’t say I have all the tour stops memorized, but I do know a lot of the golf courses, and especially their final nines. However, I know virtually nothing about Harding Park since the pros rarely play there. It’s interesting to watch them attack a different course, especially in a go-for-broke match-play event.

    Match Play

    Match play is so rare on the PGA Tour and other world tours that I find it fascinating to watch. I know that, unless it’s the Ryder Cup, match play is a ratings killer. But that’s not my problem. I enjoy it anyway. There’s a whole different vibe. And also a different kind of pressure, as everyone witnessed today on the 18th green.

    Ryder Cup Lite

    The Presidents Cup isn’t the Ryder Cup, and never will be. That’s fine. The atmosphere is not as intense; the players are loose. It is what it is. I actually like seeing the players display some emotion, smile more and be less robotic. It’s refreshing.

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