Gift Ideas for Sports Fans: Golf Guides from the Masters

Gift Ideas for Sports Fans: Golf Guides from the Masters

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What to get the golfer in the family, or the curious sportsman looking to tee off in the new year? Taking into account golf’s blend of athletic skill and mental discipline, we think the gift of expert wisdom would do just as well to bring down their score down as a bundle of driving range sessions.

Those who play golf can attest to the difficulty of remembering every aspect of a good swing—how to do this, how to do that—but the best players know to make it simpler. We’ve gathered the best instructional guides by guys who’ve actually played at the highest level to distill seven easy things to remember instead of 700. Stick to this list, and the Woods-to-be in your life might well break 80–at least on the front nine.

The Set-Up
“Breaking 90 With Johnny Miller,” by Johnny Miller
“Your stance and posture should be closer to . . . a shortstop than a statue. . . . The next time you hit practice balls, try getting into a more athletic position, with the knees flexed and loose . . . Keep your head up. You want to feel like you’re looking down at the ball over your cheekbones.”

The Driver
“Every Shot I Take,” by Davis Love III
“To help me learn control of the pace of my driver swing, Dad had me hit balls off the ground. The clubhead must be moving perfectly level to the ground and perfectly square to the ball to get the ball airborne.”

The Irons
“A Swing for Life,” by Nick Faldo
“What difference on the tee is there between a driver swing and a regular iron swing?. . . My answer is nothing in the swing itself, but the angle of attack is different. Wit the iron clubs you are looking for the slightly downward blow that takes ball then divot.”

The Short Game
“Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons,” by Ben Hogan 
“Johnny Revolta . . . geared himself for the different demands of each shot around the green by modifying his waggle to suit that particular shot.”

In the Bunker
“Golf My Way,” by Jack Nicklaus
“[Swing] twice as hard as [you] would for a pitch shot of the same distance. If [you] have a 15-yard sand shot . . . swing about as hard as [you] would for a 30-yard pitch.”

Putting
“Secrets of the Short Game,” by Phil Mickelson and Guy Yocom 
“My stance is no wider than if I were standing talking to someone, and I bend at the waist in such a way that my back doesn’t feel rigid or tense.” Be “smooth and precise.”

Course Management
“How I Play Golf,” by Tiger Woods
“The most common mistake amateurs make is grabbing the driver on a hole that was designed to be played as a lay up. . . . Make sure the reward is worth the risk. . . . Manage the course, don’t let it manage you.”

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