Never Out of the Hole: Tips and Tactics for Winning at Match-Play Golf

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9780805059380: Never Out of the Hole: Tips and Tactics for Winning at Match-Play Golf
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An insider's handbook on the most popular kind of competitive golf, published to coincide with the 1999 Ryder Cup in September.

Match-play golf-hole-by-hole, head-to-head scorekeeping-is the format of competition favored in most friendly golf games. It is also the format of the prestigious and enormously popular Ryder Cup matches, the eagerly anticipated and heavily hyped United States vs. England competition that occurs every two years.

But match play is like five-card poker. There are numerous versions and variations, and complex betting schemes. Savvy and irreverent, Never Out of the Hole explains the ins and outs, the rules, the lore, the traditions. It also covers strategy and playing tips, and offers a complete introduction to the history of match-play golf, including its great moments and lessons learned from its greatest masters.

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There are good golfers, and there are good match-play golfers, and the two are not always the same. In match-play, each hole is its own mano-a-mano competition. The pressure can be enormous; just look at the tension that pervades Ryder Cup competition. But--and this is especially important for nonprofessionals--each hole is also a new start, meaning a slipup here or there will not haunt you through the entire round. Never Out of the Hole is an instructional geared to match-play and the fine line its tactics tread between polite good manners and cut-throat gamesmanship, like how to fairly and gently induce the opposition into hitting the wrong club. Much of it is, by nature, psychological, and Never Out is never afraid to be ruthless. How can you tell when your opponent's about to cave in? The first sign is "his lips look very dry and he's licking them alot (sic)." The second: "He continually looks at the ground between shots, and/or his shoulders are slumped." When you see this, it's time to go for the kill.

Since not every opponent is likely to tip over easily, Never Out offers plenty of smart, long-haul tactics, from how best to stretch to get loose and comfortable before a match to when to concede--and not concede--the putts your opponent prefers thinking of as gimmes. To help you identify and build on the traits a golfer needs to succeed at this pressurized competition, the authors tee up example after example of how great match-players like Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Lee Trevino, and Ben Hogan succeeded (hint: they all had a knack for superb recovery shots to keep pressure on opponents). It also presents a good primer on specific match-play rules and gambling opportunities. --Jeff Silverman

About the Author:

T. J. Tomasi and Mike Adams, both of the Academy of Golf at PGA National in Palm Spring Gardens, Florida, are nationally known instructors and the authors of several previous golf books. Michael Corcoran is currently an executive editor of Men's Health magazine.

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Tomasi, T. J., Adams, Mike, Corcoran, Mi
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