Monday, June 16, 2008

Hazards: Golf Carts Get Around, and Injuries Rise

Published: June 17, 2008
As golf carts zip their way off the golf course and into places like national parks, college campuses and gated communities, the number of people hurt in them has more than doubled, researchers say.

Part of the problem is that the carts are faster than they used to be. But they are also being used in ways they were not necessarily intended for and are carrying people — like children — they should not, the study said.

Writing in the July issue of The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the researchers said that from 1990 to 2006, the injury rate had doubled. The lead author is Daniel S. Watson of Ohio State University.

Over the period studied, the researchers counted injuries in almost 150,000 people ages 2 months to 96 years.

Many of the injuries were caused by falls, which can occur at speeds as low as 11 miles per hour when the cart turns, the study said. And newer carts can hit 25 m.p.h. They often lack safety equipment, said a co-author of the study, Tracy J. Mehan, a researcher at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

“The majority of them that are out there in use do not have seat belts,” Ms. Mehan said. A lack of front brakes makes the vehicles prone to fishtail, the study said.

In addition to injuries from falling out, riders are hurt when the carts turn over.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Get A Grip

Almost everyone thinks thier grip is "fine." I would say the grip is the single most overlooked aspect of your average golfer's game. I realize that reading an article about "grip" may SOUND boring, but the truth is change your grip- change your game. Here is a great article from

Get A Grip!

By John Hughes, PGA Master Professional Advantage Golf Schools -

The most important component of a solid golf game is the only connection you have with the golf club, your grip. There are no two grips that are alike, because are hands are all made slightly different. However, there are certain characteristics of a good golf grip that every golfer should aspire to obtain.

The grip should be as neutral as possible. This means you place your hands upon the club in a manner that allows for a biomechanical neutral position.

As you hold your hands at your side when standing tall, you will notice that your hands hang at an angle in relation to your body. Normally, the hands are not perpendicular or parallel with your body but are at a slight angle placing the thumbs closer to the body than your pinky fingers. Called a "neutral hand position," this angle is important when you grip the golf club; it offers maximum potential to return the clubhead to square at impact with the ball. As you bend forward from the hips to take your golf posture, your hands do retain this angle. If you can duplicate this angle when you place your hands on the club, you have a greater chance to be a substantially more consistent golfer.

To help place your hands in a neutral position on the club, you should place emphasis on the placement of the club in your fingers, not your palm. The true strength of your hand is in the fingers and thumb. The palm draws its strength from the wrist and forearm, which do not have the dexterity to hold things in place; rather, they push things out of place. A great example of this is if you hold a pencil with your fingers, it stays in place. Where as holding a pencil in your palm, the pencil has the ability to move within the hand because it is not securely fixed.
Typically, the top hand (left hand for the right-hander, right hand for the left-hander) is the first hand to grip the club. To insure it is in a neutral position, you should look for key visual clues that are easy to see. The first clue is your ability to see the first knuckle of the index finger and partially seeing the first knuckle of the middle finger when you grip the club. This will help you see if you have over rotated your hand on the club to the strong side (rotated away from your target) or to the weak side (rotated toward the target).. Another clue is the angular "V" that is formed by your thumb and forefinger. The point of this angle should be pointing to the rear shoulder area, not your chin or front shoulder. Once on the club the last clue is the top thumb fitting comfortably in the lifeline crease of your bottom hand.

Your bottom hand also holds the club in the fingers. The "V" formed by the thumb and forefinger should point directly to the back shoulder. Most amateur golfers over rotate this angle to the rear of their stance, pointing the angle away from their target and their body. The thumb rests on the club comfortably, not pressing down on the club.

As for the three main varieties of grips, the ten-finger, interlock, or overlap (Vardon) grip, you will probably be best served by using the one offering the most comfort and control of the club, without holding the club too tightly. Golfers who lack the finger strength to hold the club securely will probably find the ten-finger grip more advantageous. Golfers with long, slender fingers typically find the overlap grip most comfortable. Golfers with short stubby fingers find the interlock grip the choice for their hands.

With each variety option, you should use the toothpaste test determine if you are holding the club too tight or too loose. Imagine yourself holding a tube of toothpaste with both hands. The tube has lost its cap. Someone tells you that it is your challenge to hold the tube securely for an undetermined length of time, without squeezing any of the paste out of the tube. Using this metaphor will help you find the right pressure for your grip.

The grip is the one fundamental of your golf swing that is arguably the quintessential set-up position to insure a sound swing. There are teaching professionals who have made a great living instructing their students on this one concept alone. Without a good grip that repeats with each swing, your club is not a club; you actually use a weapon against yourself.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hybrid Discussion (from Golf Digest)

I was on the fence for a long time regarding the industry-wide switch to hybrids. Although still not completely convinced, I found this Golf Digest article to be extremely interesting.

Q. I see some players now using a 5-hybrid. Just how far down the set should I go with my hybrids?

BOMB: Although I can't make a suggestion for you because I've never seen you play, I'm guessing you can go pretty far down your set when you consider the following:

On one week in mid-March when all three tours were playing, 79 Champions Tour players put 108 hybrids in play, 132 LPGA players had 174 hybrids in play and 120 PGA Tour players had 80 hybrids in play. One of the old guys, Allen Doyle -- a two-time U.S. Senior Open champion -- had four of 'em, starting his iron set at the 7-iron. Same goes for Dana Quigley. Not exactly hackers there, you know what I'm saying? For the women, 48 in that field carried two or more hybrids, and that's a group that has swing speeds we can identify with.

So, if the best players on earth use these clubs, what possible reason could there be for chopper resistance? I shake my head when I see a 20-handicapper using 3- and 4-irons. They're like those knuckleheads on "The Moment of Truth." They think they know what they're getting into, but they really don't.

GOUGE: Hybrids are a great thing, mainly because there are no limits to how bad the swing can be. A hybrid's wide sole fights that gouging move we have on the downswing. Although the 5-hybrid seems reasonable, there are some complications when you start mixing that many hybrids into your bag. First, you've got issues with matching loft gaps with that many different hybrids and how they mesh with the lowest lofted true iron in your set. Just because a hybrid says "5" on the sole doesn't mean it's going to neatly fit the distance of that iron. Second, when you get down to your long irons, just how many of them do you really hit different distances? Could a strong lofted 4-hybrid fill the role of your 3- and 4-iron? Finally, if you really need a 5-hybrid or higher, why mess around with fitting an oddball club into your set? What you really need is a fully matched hybrid set. Some super-game-improvement irons with their ultra-wide soles are easy enough to hit for the truly awful -- these people don't have to resort to a wood-like club as a middle-iron.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Etiquette Part 2:

On the green, remember:
-Don't step on your fellow players putting lines -- the imaginary line that connects the ball to the hole.
-If your ball is on a player's line, volunteer to mark the ball.
-If you're ball is not furthest from the cup:
-Mark your ball, either with a plastic marker or a small, thin, dark coin such as an old penny.
-After you have marked your ball, place your putter down at a 90-degree angle with the heel touching your marker.
-Move the marker from the heel to the toe of your putter. Reverse the procedure to return the ball to its original position.
-Do not stand where you might distract a fellow player and don't move.
-Don't make any noise when your fellow player is preparing to putt.
-If you don't have a caddie and are asked to tend the flagstick, make sure you aren't standing on anyone's line.
-Hold the flagstick at arm's length so the flag doesn't flutter in the breeze, and make sure your shadow doesn't fall across the hole or line. Loosen the bottom of the flagstick so it doesn't stick when you try and remove it by pulling it straight up after the other player has putted. The flagstick should be removed right after the player has hit the ball.
-If you lay down the flagstick, lay it off the green to prevent doing any damage to the green.
-Generally, the player closest to the hole will tend the flagstick.
-After everyone has putted out, immediately walk to the next tee.
-If you hit a tee shot into the woods and suspect that it might be either lost or out-of-bounds, the Rules of Golf allow you to play a second or provisional ball.
-You then have five minutes from the time you reach the spot where you suspect the ball landed to find the ball. If it is not found within that five-minute period, you must declare it lost and play your provisional ball with a one-stroke penalty
-If, however, you play the provisional ball and subsequently find your original ball in-bounds, you must pick up your provisional and continue to play the original ball, in-bounds.
-Out of bounds balls are assessed the penalty of "stroke and distance."
-For a complete discussion of the Rules of Golf, visit the USGA's web site.
-For safety's sake, never hit when there's a chance you might be able to reach the group ahead of you, and anytime you hit a shot that you think even has remote chance of hitting any other players, yell "fore" immediately, and make a point of apologizing to any players your ball lands near.
-Displays of frustration are one thing, but outbursts of temper are quite another. Yelling, screaming, throwing clubs or otherwise making a fool of yourself are unacceptable and, in some cases, dangerous to yourself and others.
-As a player, you also have a responsibility to learn and understand the Rules of Golf.
-Five of the most common Rules are those deal with Out of Bounds, Lost balls, Unplayable lies, cart paths and water hazards.
-Moving on, if your group stops for refreshments, either at the turn (the end of nine holes) or following the round, volunteer to pay for them, as well as offer to buy drinks for the caddies.
-Whoever pays at the turn, however, should not be expected to pay for refreshments at the end of the round.
-Finally, at the end of the round, shake hands with your fellow players, congratulate the winners, console the losers, and thank them for their company. At the end of the day, the great pleasure of the game is the time you get to spend with your friends whether old friends or new friends you just made through the game.