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Make the Short-sided Bunker Shot Look Easy + A Course Run Entirely By Volunteers, Specifically for U.S. Veterans

Plus, a Breakdown of Missed Short Percentage by Handicap

Happy 4th of July week all! Hope everyone is able to enjoy some time off to celebrate, ideally with a cold beverage and a golf club in hand. We know one person who will be celebrating- Cam Davis got his first win in nearly 3 years at the Rocket Mortgage, where he ironically got his first ever win in 2021. With the victory, he moved up 29 spots in the Official World Golf Ranking. Davis has been open about his mental struggles the last 6 months, and he recently turned to hypnotherapy for answers. The wild move may not have shown up on the scorecard until Sunday, but it clearly knocked something into place between the ears. Kudos to Cam for being open to new things.

In today’s newsletter…

✅ TIPS & DRILLS: The short-sided bunker shot is one of the most difficult to master. We found the perfect step-by-step.

✅ COURSES: We all know freedom isn’t free. And no course offers a better experience to thank our Veteran community than American Lake Veterans Golf Course in Washington state.

✅ STATISTICS: How often do you miss the green short on approaches over 50 yards? Compare yourself to other handicaps below. 

✅ TRIVIA: The John Deere Classic began in 1971 as the Quad Cities Open. How many golfers have the tournament more than once? Answer for a chance to win a TaylorMade Summer Commemorative Staff Bag!

Enjoy the 4th!

Make the Short-sided Bunker Shot Look Easy
Creator Chris Kromlidis compiled all the best tips
To Recap…

The short-sided bunker shot is one of the most challenging in golf. To get the ball to stop on a dime with limited green to work with, you need to get the ball up fast and with a ton of spin. To do so, follow this advice, compiled by Chris Kromlidis:

-STEP 1: First, you need to lower the handle of the club. Get into a comfortable position with your knees bent and drop your hands as low as you can get them without it feeling unnatural.
-STEP 2: To generate spin, you’ll need considerable wrist hinge and speed through impact. To do so, be sure to cup your wrists and maintain an open face throughout the swing, maximizing the bounce of the club as much as possible.
-STEP 3: Many coaches will tell you to open your stance on a shot like this, but it’s actually easier to close your stance so that you can really feel your body rotating, allowing you to cut across the ball and generate even more spin.

A Course Run Entirely By Volunteers, Specifically for U.S. Veterans
A Jack Nicklaus Renovation & New Nine in 2016 Puts This Course on the Map

American Lake Veterans Golf Course
Lakewood, WA

American Lake Veterans Golf Course doesn’t just have a great mission; it’s also a fantastic course. Sitting on the grounds of the VA Hospital in Lakewood, WA an hour south of Seattle, it’s the only course in the U.S. that is ADA compliant, designed specifically to be played by disabled veterans. It’s mission is to offer rehabilitation, therapy, socialization and support to the Veteran community. The course opened in 1954 with nine holes, but it fell on hard times when the U.S. government pulled all funding for the operation of VA golf courses in 1995. Luckily, there was a group of private donors that believed in the mission, and more importantly, a group of volunteers who refused to let it die. Even to this day, the course is entirely run by a group of ~230 dedicated volunteers with no paid staff.

The original nine holes created an old school track with wide open fairways and small, challenging greens. But Jack Nicklaus believed in the mission so much that he donated his services to renovate the original nine and create a new back nine in 2016 that looks and plays like a resort course. Greens fees for 18 holes are just $25 for Vets & active Armed Forces members, but accompanied guests can play it for just $35. And the support for Vets is incredible. Lessons are free, as are access to mobility impaired golf carts and all varieties of golf equipment. 1600+ sets of clubs are given away to local Vets each year. The course is impeccably maintained, and all who have the opportunity to visit American Lakes are blown away by the experience. We’d love to hear your story if you’ve had the opportunity to play it.

Rates: $25 for Veterans, Armed Forces members and dependents, $35 for accompanied guests.

Here are a few photos from the course:

Stat of the Day: Miss Short Percentage on Approach Shots, by Handicap
presented by…

The Stat: According to Shot Scope, a 15 HCP golfer (which is close to the average ~14 HCP) hitting any approach shot from outside 50 yards will come up short 54% of the time. Meanwhile, a 0 HCP will only miss short 25% of the time from outside 50 yards.

The Takeaway: It’s telling that roughly the bottom 50% of handicaps (i.e. > 15 HCP) tend to miss the green short more than 50% of the time (which is just the opposite of golfers with a handicap below 15). What’s more- the average green tends to be more protected by bunker or water hazards short of the green (instead of long), making it doubly penalizing for higher handicaps.

So when in doubt, club up! Even if you don’t hit it pure, you’re much less likely to end up in a more penalizing situation.

Or put differently, know your tendencies and play away from trouble!

Answer to Win a TaylorMade Summer Commemorative Staff Bag
(1 winner chosen on 7/31/24 across all July trivia entries, 1,000 respondents minimum)

It's John Deere Classic week! Since the inception of the tournament, how many golfers have won more than once?

*Fun fact: 2 players have won it 3 times! (D.A. Weibring & Steve Stricker)

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

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