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Driving with Dustin: Three long-ball secrets from the game’s greatest driver

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Dustin Johnson is on the cover of this month’s new-look GOLF Magazine! Read more on the updated look here.

This is the first in a three-part instruction series, “Drive, Pure, Roll,” in which GOLF sits down with Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, and Jason Day as they share their insights. They’re all-world talents in going big off the box, pummeling greens and getting that little white ball in the hole. Here’s how they do it.

DRIVE with DUSTIN JOHNSON

Over twelve pro seasons, Dustin Johnson has evolved from unbridled long-bomber into the PGA Tour’s most consistent performer. He’ll tell you: He’s put in the work, developing his flexibility and strength off the course to improve the stability in his swing when he’s on it. It’s no coincidence that his driving game has matured, too.

The result is a calculated bomb-and-gouge method that marries power and control (he’s placed first or second in strokes gained off the tee six times over his last eight healthy seasons), making his biggest weapon the envy of the game—and maybe the most lethal in history. As he’s dialed in his wedges and putter, it’s no surprise that Johnson, now 34, has ascended to the top of the world rankings and that he has won more times—19—than anyone not named Tiger Woods over this span.

Dustin Johnson graces the cover of the relaunched GOLF Magazine.

When you see Dustin Johnson hit driver in person, you know. Long, straight and piercing, with a baby fade. Even among some of the game’s best drivers of the ball, he—all six-foot-four inches of him—stands out. At a recent long-drive competition among TaylorMade Golf ’s cadre of all-star staffers—Tiger Woods, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day among them— it was DJ who turned up the juice on the winning blast: a high screamer that carried—carried!—343 yards in the air. Dustin can hit 122 mph on the swing-speed meter. He’s elite. But as he’ll tell you, the yards pile up only when you catch the ball on the sweet spot of your driver. Strike quality is key. And for Johnson, what happens at impact is mostly determined by what’s happening at address.

Want to drive it better? Here’s what Dustin Johnson wants you to know.

1. COPY MY LAUNCH-PAD SETUP

“When I see anyone hitting driver, the first thing I look at is their setup. A lot of weekend players don’t drive it well because of their address fundamentals. It sounds simple, but if something feels off, reset your setup. Make sure everything is lined up—your feet, then your hips, then your shoulders. You can do it step by step, just like that. And how you align should sync up with the shot you’re trying to hit. I tend to favor a cut, so when I’m aligning my feet, hips and shoulders, I’m making sure they’re aiming slightly left of center. “But here’s the important part: Take a slightly wider stance, feet just outside your shoulders, with the ball off your front foot. When you do that, you should feel your shoulders tilt slightly back—right below left. It’s hard to fall off balance from here.”

“You don’t have to swing hard. I swing it fast, sure, but how often do you see me finish off-balance?”

2. LESS IS MORE

“Use the connection between your feet and the tee box to your advantage. Your wide stance will help you keep your balance, even with a faster swing. Keep in mind that you don’t have to swing hard. I swing it fast, sure, but how often do you see me finish off balance? My swing speed comes from a lot of work—in the gym, from stretching and from technique. That means that on most of my drives I’m going about 85 percent, maybe 90 if I really go after it. If I ever swung 100 percent, I’d have no chance at connecting.”

3. STICK TO YOUR SWING

“The way most recreational players are going to add distance is by making solid contact. Catching the ball in the center of the clubface is the main key to maxing out your yardage. Stay consistent! Take the same approach to any drive you hit. If you need to adjust the shot you’re hitting—say, if you want to hit a bigger cut—don’t change or manipulate your swing. Just change your setup. That way, you don’t have to mess with how you’re pulling it back or bringing it down. That’s the key to consistency, and how I do it in each and every round I play.”

Dustin Johnson has morphed from unbridled long-bomber into one of the best drivers in the game.

JON RAHM ON D.J.’s DRIVER

“I go 100 percent all the time. Rory and Jason, too. Then there’s Dustin, at 80 percent, flying drives just as far or farther than ours. DJ doesn’t have an extra gear. He has extra gears. Those extra 30 yards he can carry it past me… it’s crazy.”

JASON DAY ON DJ’S DRIVER

“I wish I had what DJ has. We held a long drive competition and he was hitting it 340- plus in the air. That’s insane! He’s a genetic freak. He’s tall, long-limbed and extremely athletic. The weird thing? He’s incredibly straight for how long he is. It’s unfair.”

It doesn’t take Dustin Johnson long to dial in a driver.

THE GEAR THAT MAKES IT HAPPEN

Brian Bazzel, TaylorMade’s V.P. of product creation, on DJ’s TaylorMade M5 Driver:

“Dustin can form an opinion on a driver very quickly and intuitively. What does it look like when he sets it down? What does it feel like? He’s such a good driver that it’s one or two shots before he knows if it’s dialed in. “I’ve worked with DJ a lot in tuning his gear. He has always gravitated toward adjustable-hosel drivers: M1, M3 and, now, TaylorMade’s new M5.

“During his first look at the M5 back in October, again, he hit one or two shots. The ball spin was a little low, so we moved the weights back. All of a sudden he’s got 12.5 degrees of launch, a ton of ball speed—183, 184 miles per hour—and flying it 330. And he’s doing it consistently. It wasn’t 100 percent ready, but Dustin tried to sneak that M5 in his pocket on the way out that day.”

Driving with Dustin: Three long-ball secrets from the game's greatest driver was originally posted at https://www.golf.com/instruction/2019/01/15/drive-dustin-johnson-swing-tips-2/ by Dylan Dethier

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Pro golfer disqualified at Honda Classic for violating new greens-reading regulations

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Alex Cejka was disqualified in the first round of the Honda Classic on Thursday for violating the new greens-reading regulations that went into effect at the start of the new year.

Cejka’s disqualification, which came after he had already played 14 holes of golf on Thursday, was a result of him using “greens-reading materials that did not fit the new scale” permitted by the new Rules of Golf, according to PGA Tour rules officials.

USGA, R&A chiefs differ on success of new rules rollout

While it’s still unclear which of the new greens-reading regulations Cejka violated, the USGA implemented a new rule on what materials can and cannot be used when reading the greens during a competitive round.

The new rule of limiting the usage of greens-reading materials on the course was made with the USGA’s belief that “the ability of golfers to read greens using their own judgment is an essential skill that should be maintained,” and the interpretation “limits the size and scale of detailed putting-green maps and any similar electronic or digital materials that a player may use during a round to assist with reading his or her line of play on the putting green.”

Pro golfer disqualified at Honda Classic for violating new greens-reading regulations was originally posted at https://www.golf.com/news/2019/02/28/golfer-disqualified-violating-new-greens-reading-regulations/ by Pat Ralph

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Myrtle Beach Golf: The ultimate guide to America’s ultimate golf destination

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Myrtle Beach, S.C., is as much an idea as a place, and for many that idea can be boiled down to three phrases: Myrtle Beach golf, Myrtle Beach golf, Myrtle Beach golf. But take a step back, crouch, and get a read on the place itself, and it’s clear that Myrtle isn’t just a matter of abundance. For those in the know, there is tremendous quality on offer, too. More and more, that extends beyond the fairways and greens to all aspects of a Myrtle Beach golf trip — dining, nightlife, attractions, you name it. Here’s how to ensure that you make the most of your next Myrtle golf getaway.


WHERE TO PLAY: PREMIUM GOLF

Barefoot Resort & Golf

Myrtle Beach’s Fab Four, with designs from Greg Norman, Davis Love III, Tom Fazio and Pete Dye; players looking for a true golf-resort experience should venture no further. Love is a GOLF Top 100 You Can Play course, while Dye hosts Hootie & the Blowfish’s annual post-Masters pro-am. Fazio is sneakily tough, while Norman may be Barefoot’s most playable 18. barefootgolf.com; 866-638-4818

Caledonia Golf & Fish Club

The first solo design by the late, great iconoclast Mike Strantz and another GOLF Top 100 You Can Play course, Caledonia is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Its biggest highlight may be its last one, with the 18th green sitting practically in the shadow of its graceful antebellum clubhouse. Without doubt a must-play for anyone coming to the area. caledoniagolfandfishclub.com; 800-483-6800

The Dunes Golf & Beach Club

A grand dame of the Grand Strand and yet another Top 100 You Can Play, the Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed Dunes Club is the area’s most storied 18 — and arguably better now than it’s ever been. Rees Jones has overseen renovations to the course in recent times, including a new bunker project in 2018, a year that also saw the clubhouse remodeled. thedunesclub.net; 843-449-5236

Grande Dunes

Smack-dab in the heart of Myrtle Beach, Grande Dunes, designed by longtime RTJ Sr. protégé Roger Rulewich, this links-style layout is set on a bluff overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, with forgiving fairways leading to subtle, vexing greens. Six holes play along the Intracoastal, including the downhill par-3 14th, among Myrtle’s most photogenic holes. grandedunesgolf.com; 877-283-2122


Myrtle Beach National Golf Club (King’s North)

The premier course at this 54-hole facility, King’s North was redesigned by Arnold Palmer in 1996 and features one of Myrtle Beach’s most memorable holes: Its par-5 6th, dubbed “The Gambler,” sports a second, island fairway that if reached makes hitting the green in two a good bet. The island-green par-3 12th is another do-or-die hole not soon forgotten. myrtlebeachnational.com; 877-283-2122

Pawley’s Plantation Golf & Country Club

This Jack Nicklaus Signature Design is one of the most prestigious courses on the Grand Strand, and its back nine may be the prettiest, too. The highlight: the gorgeous, terrifying par-3 13th, which plays to a peninsula green surrounded by a saltwater marsh. Pawley’s plentiful 200-year-old moss-draped oaks are as Southern as sweet tea, too. pawleysplantation.com; 877-283-2122

Pine Lakes Country Club

A must-play for history buffs — it’s the area’s first course and remains a highly enjoyable layout. Home to the Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame, Pine Lakes was designed by Robert White, a native of St. Andrews, Scotland, as well as the first president of the PGA of America. During the winter, free chowder’s on offer at the turn; the rest of the year, it’s mimosas. pinelakes.com; 877-283-2122

Surf Golf & Beach Club

A classic 1960 layout from George Cobb, who co-designed Augusta National’s Par-3 Course with Bobby Jones, the Surf Club is private but permits guest play in partnership with certain local hotels. Appropriately enough, its most memorable hole is a peninsula par 3, No. 6, but the entire course hangs together gracefully, all of a piece. surfgolfclub.com; 843-249-1524


Tidewater Golf Club

GOLF’s Best New Public Course in the U.S. in 1990, Tidewater is as scenic as it is strong. Holes 3 and 12 comprise Myrtle’s most handsome pair of par 3s, both of which play along Cherry Grove; eight holes in total play along this inlet or the Intracoastal Waterway. A recent greens renovation has helped make Tidewater among the area’s best conditioned courses. tidewatergolf.com; 843-466-8754

TPC Myrtle Beach

For those desiring a stern challenge, TPC Myrtle Beach is the place. This spring, the course will host both an NCAA Regional Championship and the fourth-annual Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship. (DJ is South Carolina-born and went to college in the Myrtle Beach area.) Tom Fazio’s design team oversaw a bunker renovation project last summer. tpcmyrtlebeach.com; 877-283-2122

True Blue Golf Club

Still another Top 100 You Can Play layout and, as another Mike Strantz design, a sister course to Caledonia. The theme as True Blue is bigness, from the generous fairways to the large, tilting greens to the yawning waste bunkers. A former indigo and rice plantation, True Blue sports impressively varied terrain with some significant elevation changes. truebluegolf.com; 888-483-6800

WHERE TO PLAY: VALUE GOLF

Arcadian Shores Golf Club

Rees Jones’s first design, Arcadian Shores underwent a major renovation two years ago that included new greens, cart paths, bunkers and a new clubhouse. A very good layout at a very good price. arcadianshoresgolf.com; 843-449-5217

Arrowhead Country Club 

Just five miles from the Myrtle Beach International Airport and with 27 holes, including a couple on the Intracoastal, it’s hard to beat Arrowhead for convenience — or value for money, given how reliably good the conditioning is. arrowheadcc.com; 800-236-3243

Legends Resort (Heathland)

An early Tom Doak solo design done in a links style, with nods to courses such as St. Andrews, Cruden Bay and Lahinch, here is your chance to view a portrait of the architect as a young man, and for a reasonable fee. legendsgolf.com; 800-299-6187

Prestwick Country Club

Maybe not a hidden gem to the degree of Scotland’s Prestwick, nonetheless this Pete and P.B. Dye design hides in plain sight in the heart of Myrtle Beach. It’s a stern test whether tackled from the 7,000-yard-plus tips or otherwise. prestwickcountryclub.com; 843-293-4100

For those in the know, there is tremendous quality on offer in Myrtle Beach.


WHERE TO PLAY: RELAXED GOLF

So, you’re looking to take it easy on yourself, maybe post a career-best round, enjoy a good walk not spoiled by double-bogeys? Here are the five best area tracks with low slope ratings and high fun factors.

Crown Park Golf Club
crownparkgolf.com; 843-756-3200

Meadowlands Golf Club
meadowlandsgolf.com; 910-287-7529

Myrtle Beach National (West)
myrtlebeachnational.com; 877-283-2122

The Witch Golf Club
witchgolf.com; 843-347-2706

The Wizard Golf Course
wizardgolfcourse.com; 843-236-9393


WHERE TO STAY

Savvy travelers will generally choose the courses on their itinerary first and work their way backward from there, selecting a hotel, resort or condo that’s convenient to golf. There are, naturally, other potential considerations — a villa might be perfect for a buddy trip, while players with their family in tow might want to be right on the beach in a place with a pool and on-site activities. No matter the logic, these accommodations are all well above par.

Anderson Ocean Club and Spa

Condo accommodations overlooking the water in the heart of Myrtle Beach, with easy access to golf and nightlife. andersonoceanclub.com; 844-887-9452

The Inlet Sports Lodge

Boutique property located in Murrells Inlet and a short walk to the outstanding food, entertainment and scenery at Marshwalk — ideal for a South Strand trip. inletsportslodge.com; 877-585-9360

Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort

Oceanfront resort located just minutes from Pawleys Plantation and Caledonia; large property with on-site restaurants, great spot for big groups. litchfieldbeach.com; 888-734-8228

Marina Inn at Grande Dunes

Four-Diamond property with condo accommodations located along the Intracoastal Waterway and across from the Grande Dunes Resort Course; has a Ruth’s Chris among its restaurants, and its open-air bar along the waterway, Anchor Cafe, is a lively happy hour spot. marinainnatgrandedunes.com; 843-913-1333

Marriott OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes

One of the area’s nicest properties, with villa accommodations overlooking the Atlantic, it’s located in Myrtle Beach, just steps from Dunes Golf & Beach Club. marriott.com; 843-692-5500

Mar Vista Grande

Four-Diamond oceanfront property with 3- and 4-bedroom condos that make it perfect for groups; set in the heart of Myrtle Beach, it’s just minutes from Tidewater Golf Club. elitemanagementandrealty.com; 843-877-0413

Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes

Great waterfront location, indoor and outdoor pools, pool bar, full-service spa—what’s not to love? marriott.com; 843-449-8880

North Beach Plantation

Across from Barefoot Resort, its entrance conjures Atlantis in the Bahamas. Six pools, including a swim-up pool bar, and a spa, help make it a premium North Myrtle Beach property, as does its outstanding restaurant, 21 Main. northbeachrentals.com; 855-904-4858


WHERE TO EAT

Aspen Grill

The name may suggest Colorado, but this is traditional Carolina cuisine to the core. While the menu changes seasonally, if the scallops over wild mushroom risotto with fried spinach is available, it’s a must. aspen-grille.com; 843-449-9191

Chive Blossom Restaurant & Bar

Part of a thriving restaurant scene on Pawleys Island that also includes Bistro 217 and Perrone’s, Chive Blossom leans Southern but also brings in Asian, French and Mediterranean flourishes. Its soups are renowned, as are its signature cocktails. chiveblossom.com; 843-237-1438

New York Prime

Turning meat and potatoes into the extraordinary is what the best steakhouses do, and New York Prime (which also has locations in Atlanta and Boca Raton) does just that. Its steaks are aged 28 days, and you’ll remember them much longer than that. newyorkprime.com; 843-448-8081

WHERE TO PLAY (OFF THE COURSE)

Brookgreen Gardens

Let’s say you tweak your back, or you’re of the opinion that a little culture won’t kill you. If so, visit Brookgreen Gardens, which holds the country’s largest collection of American figurative sculpture, showcased in a lovely garden setting, as well as a botanical gardens, a zoo, and historical exhibitions and excursions. brookgreen.org; 843-235-6000

 Hawaiian Rumble MiniGolf

For players with kids in tow, or those still a kid at heart, miniature golf is a Myrtle Beach must. You can putt-putt away in a tropical setting at Hawaiian Rumble, an 18-hole course that wends its way through a garden straight out of Maui, with a 40-foot volcano at the center and Hawaiian music wafting through the air. hawaiianrumbleminigolf.com; 843-272-7812


WHERE TO PARTY

Barefoot Landing on the Waterway

For golfers on the Grand Strand’s north end, the waterfront Barefoot Landing offers the House of Blues, Dick’s Last Resort and Bully’s Pub & Grill for those still energized after the sun has set on 36 holes of golf. bflanding.com; 843-272-8349

Broadway at the Beach

This outdoor complex is a major shopping, entertainment and dining hub. Its recently renovated nightlife district offers everything from dancing to dueling pianos to a Dave & Buster’s. broadwayatthebeach.com; 800-386-4662

Topgolf Myrtle Beach

Got something to work out in your swing? Just want to eat and drink in the presence of others hitting balls? The new Topgolf in Myrtle Beach will have you covered once it opens, slated for this March. topgolf.com; 843-945-3318


Myrtle Beach Golf: The ultimate guide to America’s ultimate golf destination was originally posted at https://www.golf.com/travel/trips/2019/02/28/myrtle-beach-golf-ultimate-guide/ by Evan Rothman

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What’s with the odd-shaped Directed Force putter Adam Scott’s using at Honda?

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Even since the anchor-ban went into effect at the start of 2016, Adam Scott has been searching for a suitable replacement for the 52-inch Scotty Cameron Futura X putter he used to win the 2013 Masters. He’s floated the long putter to stay within the rules, tried a myriad of conventional-length mallets and blades with different grips, and even dabbled with the arm-lock method in his last few starts.

So far, nothing has caught on.

At the Honda Classic, Scott added another putter to the list in the form of L.A.B. Golf DirectedForce’s oversize mallet, which features a maroon-colored head and arguably one of the most interesting shapes on the market. The putter is essentially designed to reduce head twisting through a lie-angle balanced design that keeps the face straight to the path during the stroke.

Increasing head weight can reduce twisting, but according to L.A.B. Golf DirectedForce, dialing in the center of gravity, lie angle, length and grip can have an even more profound effect. The putter manufacturer touts their toe and heel weights — which are installed on each side of the face as well as the sole — work in conjunction with the position of the shaft to eliminate twisting.

Adam Scott giving DirectedForce’s putter a shot at Honda. pic.twitter.com/V5ASqDsNZ5

— Jonathan Wall (@jonathanrwall) February 28, 2019

In addition to Scott, Bryson DeChambeau and Jason Dufner have given L.A.B. Golf DirectedForce a chance over the last few years, but outside of a few notable names, the putter hasn’t generated much traction on tour.

The timing of Scott’s switch is actually quite curious given that he was coming off a stretch with the arm-lock method where he ranked 14th and 15th in strokes gained: putting at the Farmers Insurance Open and Genesis Open. Scott ranked 165th and 89th in the statistical category the past two seasons.

Even the crew handling this week’s PGA Tour’s Live coverage from the Honda Classic admitted they were surprised with Scott’s decision to go away from arm-lock. “We watched him for a couple of weeks and he looked reborn on the greens,” said announcer John Swantek.

Scott was spotted testing L.A.B. Golf DirectedForce putters in two different head colors on Monday at PGA National but told the Golf Channel’s Chantel McCabe that he didn’t have plans to put it in play. Apparently, the former Masters champion had a change of heart and decided to give it a try.

Adam Scott says he doesn’t plan to add one of these new putters to his bag this week but is constantly testing and trying to gather info. pic.twitter.com/RpgTJ4w54b

— Chantel McCabe (@ChantelMcCabeGC) February 26, 2019

His first round with the putter didn’t go according to plan, as Scott shot 2-over 72 and missed par putts from inside 8 feet on two of his last three holes. He only made 62 feet worth of putts during the first round.

What's with the odd-shaped Directed Force putter Adam Scott's using at Honda? was originally posted at https://www.golf.com/gear/putters/2019/02/28/adam-scott-honda-classic-directed-force-putter/ by Jonathan Wall

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