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Golf Digest

Your favorite club isn’t always the right club around the green

By Keely Levins
When you’re practicing your short game, are you just dropping a bunch of balls and hitting the same chip, with the same club, over and over? Be honest—a lot of people do it. But what it leads to on-course is you just grabbing that trusty club and trying to make it work for whatever shot you may have. Golf Digest’s Chief Digital Instructor Michael Breed says it’s not the right tactic. “Limiting yourself to one technique around the greens won’t lead you to success,” says Breed.
Instead, put your focus on evaluating the situation at hand. Ask yourself a few basic questions: How far do I want the ball to fly? How far do I want the ball to run out? How fast is the green?
If you have a ways to hit it and a lot of green to work with, Breed says to grab a mid-iron, like your 7-iron. Use a smaller swing and let the ball come out low and run. This type of shot will lead to a lot more success than grabbing that 56-degree wedge you love so much, taking a half-swing at it and trying to get it to fly and stop near the hole.
If there isn’t much between you and the green, you’re going to need to hit a shot that goes higher than the bump-and-run, and that lands softly. Breed has a few moves that make this scary shot easy: First, open the clubface — it’ll get you more loft and launch the ball with more trajectory. Next, stand farther away from the ball than you usually would. This will help you get it up in the air. And finally, as you come into impact, the handle swings through staying close to your lead thigh as the clubhead whizzes by and hits the ball.
These tips are just a small part of a larger video series hosted by Breed called Michael Breed’s Playbook which you can access here. There are three lessons in the series, covering how you should practice your driving, your short game, and putting so that when you’re on the course, you’re ready to find the fairway, knock it close and make the putt.
Originally published by Golf Digest

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Golf Digest
Fix Your Grip By the Weekend
By Matthew Rudy
Fundamentals are called fundamentals because if you get them wrong you’ll have a hard time hitting good shots.
The grip might be the most basic fundamental–it’s the only link between you and the club–but it’s the one thing many players get totally wrong.
There are plenty of elaborate descriptions about how to put your hands on the club, but top New York teacher Michael Jacobs uses a simple comparison familiar to almost everybody to get his students doing it right.
“Stick out your left hand and hold the club like you would a heavy suitcase,” says Jacobs, whose new book, Elements of the Swing, was released last week. “If you picked up a suitcase, you wouldn’t take the handle diagonally across your palm. You’d let it rest in the creases of your fingers where they attach to your palm.”
Next, add your right hand to the grip slightly palm up, running the handle along the top crease in your palm and curling your fingers around the underside. You can rest the little finger of your right hand either on the left forefinger or in the channel between the forefinger and middle finger, or interlock the little finger and forefinger together, Jacobs says. Using a ten-finger grip, with all ten fingers on the handle, isn’t as common, but that works just fine as well.
“Not every ‘classic’ golf tip you hear is necessarily still relevant now, but this one is still true–there’s no reason not to have a great grip,” says Jacobs, who is based at Rock Hill Country Club in Long Island. “If you start with a bad one, you’re going to have to make compensations in your swing from the beginning. You want to be able to transmit the force you create with your body as efficiently as possible to the clubhead, and a good grip is an important part of that.”
Originally published by Golf Digest
Golf.com
RULES GUY Friday, January 11, 2019
The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.
After marking ball on green and picking up ball, golfer or caddie drops ball, which rolls into water hazard, not retrievable. Replacement ball of exact brand and kind not available. What is penalty and how to continue?
—EARL HUSBAND, ODESSA, TEXAS
Ball lifted from putting green must be replaced. Must be exact ball. If not same ball, make/model no matter—substituting ball without authority under Rules. Two strokes or loss of hole is penalty. Also, One Ball Condition of Competition only encouraged for pros. Top-tier amateurs, too. Not for club play. Suggest: Grip ball tight!
Originally published on Golf.com
Golf Digest
5 quick tips to conquering the downhill chip
By David Leadbetter
Usually the area around a green is level with or lower than the putting surface. But sometimes you’ll find your ball on a mound near the green, leaving you with a downhill chip. Sure, it was a lucky break that the hill kept your ball within chipping distance. But now what? This atypical lie presents a challenge for a lot of golfers, because it drastically reduces the chance of popping the ball up and landing it softly on the green—especially if you have a tendency to try to help the ball in the air with a scooping, wristy action. You need to make some adjustments to pull off this shot.
“KEEP YOUR KNEE FLEX IF YOU WANT TO POP THE BALL UP.”
First, you can’t afford to make contact with the ground behind the ball, or you’ll blade it across the green. So play the ball slightly back of center in your stance. Another thing that will help you make ball-first contact is to lean the handle a little toward the green, so your hands are closer to the flag than the clubhead. I also recommend gripping down on the club—your most lofted wedge—for more control.
Next, the way you swing is important, too. Maintain flex in your knees throughout the swing (above). Remember to keep the shaft leaning forward through impact and abbreviate the follow-through. A time-honored swing thought for this shot is to swing down the slope with the clubhead.
All of this might seem like a lot to remember, so boil it down like this: Ball back, hands ahead, and swing down the slope. Do that, and you’ll get just enough loft on the ball to stop it near the hole. — with Ron Kaspriske
Originally published by Golf Digest
Golf.com
Five of the most unusual golf course settings in the world
By Evan Rothman
Uummannaq
Greenland
It’s not pronounced “you maniac,” but maybe it should be. Nor is Uummannaq, a small island in Greenland, a traditional golf course; a “greens committee” would be oxymoronic, given there’s no grass, simply ice and snow, and you roll the rock on “whites” (yeah, that’s what they call the greens).
Royal Thimpu Golf Club
Thimpu, Bhutan
Talk about rare air. Overlooking the Tashichho Dzong Buddhist monastery and fortress, Royal Thimpu GC rests more than 7,700 feet above sea level and is believed to be the highest course in the world. Cows and dogs are not uncommon sights on the fairways and greens of this remarkably scenic nine-hole par-35.
Brickyard Crossing
Indianapolis, Ind.
Winning the Indy 500 at the “the Brickyard” (aka the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) is straightforward—go fast and make a lot of left turns. Navigating this Pete Dye layout, which features four holes inside the famous racing oval, offers somewhat more complex fare—and many thrills of its own.
Ile Aux Cerfs Golf Club
Mauritius
Island greens? Meh. An island course? That’s rare. Ile Aux Cerfs GC isn’t a course on an island—it essentially is the island. Reached by boat and composed of 18 holes of Bernhard Langer–designed golf, it sits in the largest lagoon off the island-nation of Mauritius.
Merapi Golf Course
Yogyakarta, Indonesia
If golf next to an active volcano brings to mind a pairing with Pat Perez after he three-putts, you haven’t seen Merapi GC throw a fit. The course is nestled in the shadow of Mt. Merapi, and when that last erupted, in 2013, dust and ash rocketed nearly a mile skyward. When these contents returned to terra firma, they blanketed the adjacent countryside, including the course. Lift, clean and place—or, better yet, just run for it.
Originally published on Golf.com
Pull yourself out of that rut and hole more putts
By Cameron McCormick
Was your performance in 2016 slightly less than satisfying? I know it’s not enough to hear it happens to everyone from time to time. You want to shake off the year of stubs, lip-outs and three-jacks before golf season rolls back around and you’re racking up missed putts again like a kid catching Pokémon. Well, if you really want to fix this flat-stick fiasco, you’re going to need a bit more than a 30-minute session rolling balls into those tiny golf cups. I recommend a full reboot. Here I’m going to give you four ways to pull yourself out of that putting rut. Sometimes only one of these will do the trick, but be prepared for the reality that you might need all four. Best get started. —With Ron Kaspriske
1.) BENCH YOUR PUTTER
If you’re the kind of golfer who talks to a putter, gives it a good spanking when it isn’t performing, and even threatens to back the pickup truck over it in the parking lot, it’s time for the “we need to take a break from each other” conversation. Bench your putt-er for something different. Use a blade? Switch to a mallet. Always preferred heel-shafted putters? Try a centershaft. Everything from club length to grip circumference is up for consideration. Go get fitted (View: Your Ultimate Guide To Finding A Better Game). The big switch works for two reasons. First, there are no bad memories with a new putter. It’s a new day. Second, assuming the old one isn’t now residing in a scrap-metal yard, you’ll make it just jealous enough that it will perform its best when you rekindle your relationship.
2.) REALLY BENCH YOUR PUTTER
“It’s not you, it’s me” won’t fly as a break-up excuse after the second Tinder date, but it’s probably true of your relationship with the putter. It showed up ready to bury every five-footer—but sometimes you didn’t. You need a refresher on mechanics. So I suggest you practice putting with your sand wedge. It’s not as crazy as it sounds. A good stroke is propelled by the shoulders and requires minimal hand or wrist action. To get the ball rolling with a wedge, you have to make that kind of stroke hitting the ball at its equator with the leading edge (above). This type of practice elicits precision and is good for the ol’ ego. You’re more apt to forgive yourself for a miss, which helps reduce those anxious feelings that turn you into a puddle of goo when the putts actually count.
3.) GRAB AND GO
You’ve held your putter the same way for so long the grip is starting to look like one of those training clubs that has grooved channels for your fingers. It’s time to switch it up, because what you’re doing, as they say here in Texas, is as pitiful as a three-legged dog. The easiest switch would be to flip hand positions so the higher one is lower. But I think you should take it a step further. Get crazy with it. Try the saw, the claw, the paintbrush, the non-anchored belly grip. Sometimes all you need is a dramatically different way of holding the club to reset your brain and start rolling the ball the way you used to.
4.) HIT SOME BOMBS
On the putting green you need to be more Picasso than Pythagoras. In other words, knowing the math behind a putt is important (speed, slope, etc.), but don’t let it squelch your right-brain artistry. You probably aren’t crunching numbers when you ball up a piece of paper and try tossing it into the garbage. You just use your feel. My suggestion? Go deep. Find the longest, craziest putts on a green and try to make them. Even putting from well off the green will help you get your feel back. You know you have to hit the ball hard, and you know it’s going to break, but when you try these long-distance putts, you become less concerned with the mechanics and tap back into the hand-eye coordination you thought you lost. Another benefit? It will free up your stroke. No more trying to steer them in. You’ll putt without fear of missing. Reboot complete.
Cameron McCormick is Jordan Spieth’s instructor and teaches at Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas.

Much like he did last summer, Francesco Molinari snuck up on everybody on Sunday at Bay Hill. Trailing by five strokes entering the final round, the reigning Open Champion shot an eight-under 64 to capture the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his third career PGA Tour title, all of which have come in his last 12 starts.

Molinari, who teed off 10 groups ahead of the leaders, got off to a hot start, making three birdies and no bogeys on his first seven holes. Just as it looked like he’d cool off at the par-4 eighth, where he badly missed the green with his approach, Molinari played a deft chip that found the bottom of the cup for another birdie. He made four more on the back nine, including a 43-foot bomb at the 72nd hole that wound up ultimately giving him a two-stroke win over Matthew Fitzpatrick, who shot a final-round 71.

“I don’t know, I’m just super glad,” said a shocked Molinari, who just put new clubs in the bag this week. “First week as a Callaway player, so happy to see that the switch I made wasn’t as crazy as some people thought. The clubs are good for me and I showed it this week.

“It’s great, to do it here, to get it done here at this place knowing that my wife and the kids were watching back home, it’s just a special, special one.”

By far the best club in the bag was Molinari’s putter, which he used to hole 146 feet of putts on Sunday, the most in his career. The 36-year-old from Italy called it his “best putting round ever,” a bold statement with the way putted on Sunday at Carnoustie to win his first major. While Arnie’s event isn’t a major, it felt just as good as one for Molinari.

“Incredible, it’s high up there with the best wins I’ve had. He [Arnold Palmer] was a special player but most of all a special person and a global icon for the game. For someone like me coming from Italy, he and Jack [Nicklaus] were up there as gods, so to win here is truly special.”

Fitzpatrick wasn’t able to close out his first PGA Tour victory, but he did finish alone in second. Sungjae Im, Tommy Fleetwood and Rafa Cabrera Bello tied for third. As for Rory McIlroy, it was another final-round dud. The Northern Irishman shot an even-par 72 to finish in a tied for sixth.

Source: golfdigest.com