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April 04, 2003
Volume II, Issue 7
 
Fringe Clippings
 
Staying for dessert after all
 
Arnold Palmer has changed his mind concerning his planned early exit from the spectacle that is Augusta. He had scheduled to leave Augusta after Tuesday night's Champions dinner. The King will now take another trip around Amen Corner. No reason was cited other than Palmer simply loving to play in the Masters. Incidentally, this will be Mr. Palmer's 49th consecutive start in the tournament. I'm betting he'll make it 50 straight in 2004.
 
Psst ... wanna buy a putter?
 
Former Wilson Comptroller Walter Caldwell III was arrested earlier this month on charges that he was selling stolen golf equipment and other items over the Internet. Wilson officials only stated that a "tremendous number of clubs and other equipment" had been stolen. Caldwell is currently free on $100,000 bond and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 29.
 
Two more passes please
 
As a result of their unexpected finishes at The Players Championship, Jay Haas and Chad Campbell should be receiving Masters invitations this week. By being in the top ten on the money list at the conclusion of the The Players Championship they both secured a chance to drive down Magnolia Lane. Priceless. Haas' putting and Campbell's consistent ability to hit greens makes either one a terrific dark-horse pick.
 
Moving forward
 
The PGA of America has announced the addition of two new initiatives to help grow the game. They will be working with the EWGA (Executive Women's Golf Association) and the NRPA (National Recreation and Park Association). The EWGA effort will be focused on adding more chapters to the nationally recognized organization. The focus of the NRPA work will be to increase play at municipal golf courses nationwide.
 
 
Paralysis by Analysis
 
Using that noggin
 
Herculean efforts to launch the dimpled orbs to stratospheric lengths have, with out question, cost many golfers strokes. It is quite apparent that many "well equipped" players have not taken notice of what it really takes to improve their game. Even cruise missiles would be practically worthless with out some guidance system technology and at least an understanding of range. With that in mind, pinpointing the target and successfully executing a strategy will enhance anyone's ability to secure that elusive Flight Championship.
  1. Identify club consistencies: By realizing what our good and bad golf clubs are, we can limit the amount of mistakes made. Golf club consistencies include knowing the clubs we can and can't hit well and knowing approximately how far we hit each club. For those suffering from the inconsistent consistencies disease, glass blowing classes are available at your local Community College.

  2. Picking your spots: After identifying your consistencies and knowing your club distance range you have empowered yourself to choose your best shots that you should use on any given hole. (I realize this assumes a lot, but let's go with it). If two of the most consistent clubs in your bag are your wedge and 7 iron and you hit the wedge 80 yards and the 7 iron 150 yards, then try to leave yourself — when possible — either 80 or 150 yards to the pin! Makes sense doesn't it?

  3. Full swing advantage: Pros play golf for a living. We play golf to get away from our living. The difference in time spent practicing touch shots and accuracy is a chasm unmatched by even the deepest erosions on earth. Always check your yardages and always try to play for full shots. By allowing yourself to take a full swing, you are taking the guesswork out of adjustments needed for partial swing shots. If you know you are going to have to lay-up on any given hole, leave your lay-up shot at a full swing distance. (Reference point 2 again)

  4. Putt for two: It is not always possible to know the contours of a green, but when it is you should take the time to know what is uphill on the green, and what is downhill on the green. This will save you from too many downhill putts. And never, ever, leave a downhill putt short! There is no more sure way to find bogey than a 3 foot downhill-greasy-fast putt that leaves your nerves thinking they would rather be facing a Randy Johnson fast ball.
There is no single way to reduce one's handicap. However, with the strongest instrument you possess (cerebral reference) you can begin to manipulate the golf course rather than the golf course manipulating you. If you really are looking for some improvement, spend some time on the range and not in front of the propaganda box stuck on the entertainment center at home. The practice range will develop confidence in your ability to master the aforementioned.

As always, good luck and keep it in the short grass!
 
 
Reading the Line
 
Define paradox...
 
With national attention being obviously diverted as of late, Augusta's favorite village idiot has decided to leverage the power of "Women in Service" to assist her cause. Martha Burke is now vilifying the CBS television network for its commitment to cover the Masters tournament. She claims now that broadcasting the tournament while it still does not accept women as members is contradictory to everything that women in the armed forces are risking their lives to defend. Furthermore she calls it an insult to those women.

As I run short of permissible adjectives to describe the disgust this brings to me, I am reminded of the paradoxical nature of life. Without bad there is no good. Without up there is no down. Without Martha there would be — well ... um ... no Playboy?
 
I can't not say something
 
When Davis Love III wins, all I can really say is "cool." Cool guy, unbelievable round (64 on a windy Sunday!), spectacular ambassador for the game and fun to watch. Same goes for Patricia Meunier-Lebouc, winner of the LPGA's first major of the season, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. I tip my fedora to both champs, who showed up spectacularly when they really had to. Congrats!
 
It's a Wie world after all
 
Despite the great wins by Davis Love III and Patricia Meunier-Lebouc, perhaps the absolute coolest thing this golf weekend was a 300-yard driving 13-year-old young lady by the name of Michelle Wie. As if 300-yard drives aren't impressive enough, her Saturday round of 66 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship demonstrates considerable skills beyond just long drives. Yes, I did say 13 years old.
 
Much ado about ...
 
Here we go again with the idea that there be two sets of rules for the game of golf. One set for pros and one set for the rest of us. The term they have assigned to this phenomenon is "bifurcation." Bifurcation is a division into two branching parts, or forks. The implied point of creating two sets of rules is so that pros will be forced to compete on equal ground. No more "mine is bigger than yours is" sort of mentality. (Ernie Els is hitting the ball twenty yards further these days, as if he needed the help.) Equipment is better these days and some players do have a distinct advantage over the others, but the clubs don't hit themselves. Not to mention, there are two inherent fallacies underlying the issue:
  1. The fairways are wider than most freeways — except in Majors. If I can land a 747 on the fairway, than surely I think a pro can manage to maneuver his Titleist into the short stuff with relative ease. Let's tighten things up for these guys, don't ya think? If the landing strip is only 15 yards wide at 300 yards out, they will be thinking a little more about that trusty three wood in their bag.

  2. This isn't and won't ever be about even playing fields. This is about business. And don't you forget it. Longer sells. Not even the foundations and traditions of this game can escape the almighty dollar. As equipment makes unreachable distances reachable and tough shots easier to execute, the public will simply clamor for more of the good stuff. Supply and demand, baby.
Sorry about making your head spin with the bifurcation reference, but it's fun to say (and write). I would like to know where the Fringe faithful stands on this topic and whether you think the pros should play with equivalent equipment (say that ten times real fast). Hit the forum and I will weigh in next time in response to your insights.
 
 
 

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