July 30, 2014

Flamingo Island Fantasy

I have a special affinity for courses designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., the late architect who designed the Dunes course in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and the new course at Ballybunion in Ireland.

Jones was one of the world's truly great architects. I can't think of a single course he created that has not stood the test of time, and Flamingo Island, at the Lely Resort in Naples, is no exception.

To shoot a good score at Flamingo, you must avoid pines, palms and cypress trees lining the fairways, sand bunkers guarding greens, and water hazards that come into play on all but a few holes. Still, Jones gives you ample room, and only a very wayward shot will land you in deep trouble. Also, the greens are large and thus easier to hit they're fairly level too, so if you hit a green in regulation you'll have more than a fair chance at scoring a birdie.

Flamingo is comprised of a well-balanced array of par-three, par-four and par-five holes, and fun to play, which explains why it made Zagat's 2003 list of America's top golf courses. Prices constantly fluctuate, so it's best to phone the club at 793-2600, to check on rates and book a tee time.

The Lingo

If you feel as if you're among foreigners because you can't understand what your playing partners are talking about on the course, it's time to study the language of the links.

Bullet: Low-flying ball that cheats a headwind.

Bounce: The extra metal that lies below the flange of the clubhead of a sand wedge, designed to act like a rudder and slide easily through sand.

Butt: The thicker grip end of the shaft.

Face: The hitting area of the clubhead.

Open face: Laying the clubface back to increase its effective loft and hit an extra-high shot.

Oscar bravo: Phrase used to describe a ball hit out of bounds.

Provisional: A second ball played from the tee when the original ball may be lost or out of bounds.

Slider: A shot that fades slightly from left to right.

Sole: The bottom of the club.

Winning Tips

David Leadbetter, the number-one instructor who teaches at the LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort in Naples, gave former golfing great Seve Ballesteros a tip to relieve tension at address-a fault that promotes a robotlike, stilted type of backswing with too slow a tempo to provide adequate clubhead speed at impact.

Imagine you are standing on very thin ice, and try to set up to the ball in an appropriately relaxed manner, feeling exceptionally light on your feet. You want to stand in such a way that you do not crack the ice, with a pronounced feeling of lively balance. In a sense, this will oil your muscles just enough to speed up your swing a little, which lets you swing more smoothly and with good acceleration through impact.

The Rules

Want to win more matches without changing your swing? Learn the rules of golf set down by the United States Golf Association. To get off to a good start, know how to take relief from a cart path.

Situation: Player A finds her ball on a cart path, which she knows is considered an immovable obstruction. She also knows that, in this course situation, a free drop is allowed by the rules. You do not get relief from an immovable obstruction in a water hazard of any kind.

Common mistake: Player A correctly considers the area of nearest point of relief before dropping the ball within one club-length from that point and no nearer to the hole. After the drop, the lie is such that she has to keep one foot on the cart path to play the shot. She decides to play the shot anyway, because the lie is so good. The ball lies on one of the few areas of grass in a very sandy area.

Player A is not allowed to keep one foot on the path after her drop, according to Rule 24-2. This breach costs her the hole in match play or a two-stroke penalty in stroke play.

Correct procedure: When taking relief from an immovable obstruction (anything artificial through the green), you must take complete relief. This procedure also applies when you are taking relief from casual water or ground under repair.

New Products

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This driver is to powerful drives what Viagra is to male fire-power. So if all has failed-from golf books to golf school lessons-consider putting this sexy driver into your bag. Choose from a variety of shaft and clubhead colors. This club is the perfect gift for the man who has everything except a power swing. Price: $299 from wwwlinkswalker.com or call (800) 659-2824. 

Southwest Florida's John Andrisani is the former senior editor of instruction at GOLF Magazine and author of more than 25 books, including Think Like Tiger. Send questions and comments to John at JAGOLF3238@aol.com.

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