Lydia Ko Ends LPGA Season on Top

Say the name Lydia Ko a few weeks back and you might get a few confused looks. That was pretty much the type of response that the young lady’s mere mention seemed to elicit while her fellow LPGA competitors like Nelly Korda and Brooke Henderson seemed to be headed on a track of increasing popularity. Add Lexi Thompson’s steady top 10 finishes and competitive Sunday rounds and you could see where Lydia Ko might not have risen to the top of many people’s radar.

Personally, I remain delighted to see Korda, Henderson and Thompson play their hearts out. I think that they all are deserving of the fury of fandom that has arisen for them. However, I find that Lydia Ko has demonstrated another side of professional golf that many fans seem to forget along the way.

Promising Early Years

Look back on Lydia Ko’s early years in the professional ranks. At one point up until 2017, Ko was the youngest player to win an LPGA event at age 15. She set the record on August 26, 2012, when she won the Canadian Women’s Open at age 15. That’s remarkable but not the only thing.

In 2015, Ko rose through the LPGA ranks to become the youngest golfer on the LPGA Tour ranked No. 1. Considering the level of competition and the amount of hard work and dedication required to maintain throughout a professional golf tour, Ko demonstrated an ability to hang among the top players early on in her career.

The Struggle Got Real for Ko

Professionals are not immune to what happens in the world. In fact, their world seems to either explode or implode based upon what’s happening around them and within them and their inner circle. The emotional drain and the pressure from the press can seem to eat away at the joy of fulfilling a lifelong dream of success at the sport a pro loves to compete in time and time again.

Lydia Ko was not immune to the bad press either, especially as she sought to remain among the top-ranked LPGA players. During her down times, it probably didn’t help her professional motivation when she was struggling professionally and people started pointing fingers in the press. Her former coach David Leadbetter blamed her parents in 2019.

Her struggles on the course showed up in different ways:

The fat-shaming and other psychological stress can take it’s toll on a person, even a professional golfer with promise and potential. In an interview with Henni & Hally, a more personal side of Lydia Ko was shown to reveal how “she’s just like everybody else.”

At the end of the day, Lydia Ko struggled for a matter of time within her career. Let’s not get too judgmental about it, though. Tiger had his struggles. Lefty has had his low points. We could name a slew of pros who haven’t always made it to the top 10 finishes and some who have not always made the cut. Ko’s struggles are not limited to her career alone.

Her Return to Glory

Lydia Ko golf swing in slow motion

One golf journalist called Ko’s swing “picture perfect.” Some have pointed out how the slow motion videos of her golf swing reveal her training to achieve that turn. I think that her golf swing, especially with a driver, stands out as one of her mainstays.

Admittedly, Ko says that her slump period had her not leaving herself in contention to compete for any type of championship finishes. But all of that seems to be in the past. It seems as though she’s shaken off the down times and approached the game with a newfound vigor.

With her recent finish at the CME and taking the Rolex Player of the Year, Lydia Ko finished the 2022 LPGA season back on top among the best of the LPGA. With that $2 million dollar CME purse and her upcoming wedding in focus, it appears that Lydia Ko is on top of the world.

Let’s see what next season brings about.

Holiday Gift Guide for Golfers

“The only thing a golfer needs is more daylight.”

Ben Hogan

Typically, I write directly to golfers and golf fans and followers. However, today is a different day. I’m truly writing to those who love golfers. I want to share this with those who have golfers on their holiday gift list but might need helpful hints on what type of gifts might appeal to golfers.

As a caveat, I also recently wrote a short article on holiday bargain shopping that also might prove helpful to you. It might not do anything for you other than keep you from overspending on gifts or just simply serve as a reminder to you to make sure that you comparison shop before making a purchase.

All Golf Gifts are Not the Same

Gifts for golfers come in all shapes and sizes. Shopping for a golfer can be a dizzying affair for anyone unfamiliar with the sport and its nuanced knack for causing golfers to desire the ultimate equipment or the ideal experience.

Depending on what type of golfer you’re shopping for, you might want to reconsider ordering that personalized pack of monogrammed golf balls just yet. If your golfer is anything like the greater percentage of us, then those balls might end up in the creek or the bushes based on the trajectory of the golfer’s slice or hook.

Match the gift with the golfer. That’s the best practice.

Different Types of Golfers

Golfers are not all the same either.

Everyone who plays golf or might I say enjoys golf does not like the same type of golf gifts. Golfers play at different levels. Some golfers live and breathe golf, while others get out there every once and a while based on their schedule. The significance of the depth of a golfer’s attachment to the game should come into play when deciding on a gift.

  • Weekend Golfer: maintains a set day and tee time for a weekly round of golf with a regular foursome at the same course or a local circuit of courses.
  • Occasional Golfer: owns a set of golf clubs or two but only plays every so often, especially when there’s a charity golf event that the job has sponsored.
  • Consummate Golfer: plays frequently including tournaments and club events, practices consistently, travels with clubs in the trunk “just in case,” oftentimes stops at the range to hit a bucket of balls, and definitely can rattle off a series of data points that might leave you wondering what kind of aliens abducted this person.

These are the main types of golfers to keep in mind. In most cases, the golfer who you are shopping for falls somewhere within the range of these three types of golfers.

Golf Gifts for the Golfer in Your Life

Consummate golfers most probably have accumulated some golf equipment that they most probably want to stick with for consistency’s sake. So, unless that type of golfer has been dropping hints about specific brands and types of putters or wedges on sale at the local sporting goods store, I’d leave that part alone.

Buy this type of golfer:

  • Stay and Play golf packages (usually available at casinos & resorts)
  • Gift certificates or cards (most gift certificates or cards for courses cover a round + cart)
  • Swing analysis with a local golf pro
Pre-Owned Titleist Golf Tsr2 Driver Graphite MRH 10* Regular Driver [Mitsubishi Tensei Blue AV Series 55 Graphite] *Excellent*

Rock Bottom Golf

Buy weekend golfers and occasional golfers:

  • Golf lesson with golf pro (1-day)
  • Swing analysis at a local pro shop
  • Golf gear (visors/ hats even polo shirts)
Holiday Gift Shopping Tips

My only caution about golf gear is about style and fit. If you are unsure about the golfer’s style, then steer clear of the brightly-colored gear, especially the shirts with the pink flamingos or the tumbling dice. Stick with a classic look and a solid, basic color that is not too flashy. Also, consider fit. Some designs are “slim cut” that does not bode well with big guys who carry extra weight around the midsection. Go with a traditional style and fit and you should be okay.

Beginners don’t necessarily need new equipment. Golf can become a big investment if a beginner buys a full set of clubs and adds a putter and specialized clubs like hybrids and wedges, even an advanced driver. Buying used clubs could be a great place to start.

I offer some more holiday shopping tips via my YouTube channel. Like anything else on your shopping list, budget (set a limit on amount for gifts).

Also, check out ETees Golf post on Christmas gifts for golfers as well as any of the specials available via local golf courses at their pro shops.


Korda Defends Title at LPGA Pelican

Last Year’s Storied Final Round

Nelly Korda won the LPGA’s Pelican Women’s Championship in 2021 in a storied final round showdown in a playoff against Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko and Kim Sei-young. With all 4 women knotted at 17 under, the playoff made for an eventful finish. It was essentially a memorable round of golf and a definitive standout as a hallmark of LPGA competitiveness taken totally down to the wire. Also, it gave plenty of fodder for this year’s event as Korda sought to “defend the crown.”

Golf has a way of showing us what’s possible. You can have a round where everything is clicking, and then boom it can all fall apart due to an errant drive off the tee or a missed putt to save par on the green. It doesn’t boil down to a science. It comes down to simply how the course is played on that day under those conditions in that moment.

The game of golf will reveal to you (and the rest of the world it seems) what you have in you and how well you handle any and every adversity thrown at you.

In 2021, it led to Nelly Korda capturing the title for the LPGA’s Pelican Women’s Championship.

Back Again with a Vengeance

This LPGA event in 2022 gave us plenty to consider as we watched on.

Korda returned to the event seeking to defend her title. Lexi Thompson came back with her sights set on redemption for 2021. With Brooke Henderson’s withdrawal from the tournament along with her other recent withdrawals at the Scottish Championship (July) and the Lotte Championship (April), the field at the Pelican Women’s Championship still offered some stiff competition.

Neither Korda nor Thompson seemed out of contention for the top leaderboard position throughout the tournament. Thompson (64 – 67 – 66) showed the world that she came to play and play for keeps this year. It just wasn’t enough to fend off the defending champion Korda (66 – 66 – 64) who won by a single stroke again.

Winners Finish

Nelly Korda showed us that consistent play wins, especially when the pressure is turned up high. The buzz throughout the golf world and women’s golf focused on the rookie rally of Fassi and Corpuz taking early round leads. Much like Lexi Thompson, Korda just seemed to handle herself with a steady delivery of great rounds of golf each time out on the course.

And it rewarded her handsomely. Aside from the prize money and regaining the title, Korda now stands out as the world’s number 1 female golfer in most recent rankings.

There’s plenty of coverage of women’s golf these days. LPGA events like this tournament are broadcasted and streamed on TV and the Internet. People like Beth Ann Nichols of Golfweek provide solid reporting on women’s golf and share the stories of the high level of competition amid the ranks of these golf pros.

For someone like me, Nelly Korda shows us how to keep our head in the game. Korda gives us a sense of how to raise the level of play that we need to bring to the course. If I could master that type of consistency, then I imagine that I could see a difference in my scorecard repeatedly.

Congrats, Nelly Korda! And thanks for the motivation to level up my game’s consistency.

LPGA at Pelican Heats Up in Round 2

LPGA Players Came to Play

Maria Fassi’s 62 in Round 1 set the tone for the tournament. Round 2 lived up to the test and did not disappoint.

Fassi held her ground among the top competitors to stay in the upper echelon of the leaderboard. She sits 1stroke back from the lead behind Allisen Corpuz. Fassi is currently tied for second place at -9 with Lexi Thompson and Maja Stark.

The second round of the Pelican Women’s Championship was filled with highlights. Maja Stark had the best showing of all players in the field with the top score of 63 at seven under for the round. Lydia Ko showed her skills with a remarkable recovery from under a tree. Nelly Korda swept up sand from the greenside bunker and sent her ball sailing right near the hole. Yet, Corpuz dazzled with her 65 on her scorecard.

Rookie Corpuz Takes the Lead

LPGA rookie Allisen Corpuz made a great showing in Round 2. Her 65 showed her LPGA competitors that she could compete and contend for a potential championship victory. Currently ranked at 51st on the LPGA money list, the 24-year old Corpuz has a CME ranking at 44th. Despite her being a product of USC, I can see her skills on display throughout the tournament thus far.

As the field enters into Round 3, the LPGA rookie currently has a 1 stroke lead. Not far in the distance, Nelly Korda is 2 strokes behind along with Carlota Ciganda.

Impressive Early Rounds Intensify Round 3

Round 3 seems to be fueled with intensity. In a golf season that has seen 11 first-time winners, Corpuz and Fassi seem to be making a push for a potential #12 first-time winner on the tour. The Pelican Women’s Championship could foster a star-studded competition for the victory.

Nelly Korda wants to defend her title that had her fighting vigorously against Lexi Thompson last year. So far Maja Stark has 1 top 10 finish and a single victory on the LPGA Tour this year.

No matter how you look at it this field is on fire and full of potential highlights.

62 for Fassi in LPGA Event

Lowering my score is the goal. I’m here to show how I am getting there on my journey to breaking 90 on a consistent basis.

It takes practice to get there. It calls for focus. I have to improve my fitness. Also, I’m constantly seeking ways to motivate myself to improve at a higher level.

I had recently posted about Fred Couples hitting a 60, but I’ve got to say that I’m a little bit more impressed with Mexico’s Maria Fassi scoring a 62. I’ve got my reasons, believe me.

Motivation via Maria Fassi

Motivation comes from all over.

Maria Fassi just pulled a 62 as an LPGA player. The 24-year old female golfer from Mexico had her career-best score in the LPGA’s Pelican Women’s Championship. This 8-under scorecard earned Fassi a two-shot lead in the event.

Currently ranked number 72, Fassi scored her lowest score of her career at an appropriate time. Only the top 60 players qualify for the CME Group Tour Championship. Fassi is on the hunt for her first LPGA victory. So, playing bogey-free golf is definitely one way to get there.

Something to See

I play a lot of golf with a woman who can keep up with and even outdrive quite a few men off the tee. She’s an avid golfer and plays some of her best golf when facing the chauvinistic assumptions of some golfers when we meet at the first hole to be paired up. She’ll play from the whites or even the black tees if need be. I play with her because playing with her makes my game better and motivates me to give it my best while we’re having fun.

Maria Fassi has a picturesque golf swing off the tee. The slow motion view of her technique is masterful. It is like a master class in motion. Her balance and torque combine along with fully-extended swing to bring about some big results.

Fassi’s drive averages just under 280 yards. Most weekend golfers would kill for that. I’d take a consistent 250 yards without any Advil, please.

Even so, Fassi has just 4 top 10 finishes and 0 victories. At 24, she’s got a Rolex ranking of 130 and her CME ranking is 72. Two of her 4 top 10 finishes came this year.

Her play in this most recent round was exquisite. It was a something to see.

Something to be Said

We don’t talk about LPGA players enough.

Lydia Ko and Brooke Henderson are two of my favorite players to watch tackle a course. They play the course and the conditions, approaching key shots along the way with a form of confidence any golfer could respect and admire.

What Maria Fassi did with her 62 speaks volumes about what is possible for any duffer with determination. Take out the cameras and the gallery following along. Just focus on the gamesmanship, the style of play at hand. Shot selection and self-confidence are all mixed in with a rhythm that just seems to flow.

Have you ever had that round where everything seemed to just click rightly?

That’s the type of motivation that keeps guys like me coming back for more. I’m not a glutton for punishment and defeat. I’m determined to conquer the challenges offered by the game of golf. This is part of the formula for growing the game.

And what Maria Fassi just showed us is that facing the challenge is part of winning at the game.

Play on!

You can watch more of Fassi and the Pelican Women’s Championship.

Feedback for My Flaws

Since posting how my recent golf outing showed signs of much needed improvement, I’ve reflected on things a bit and shared my thoughts on the whole thing. It was good to get it off my chest and just put it out there.

Here’s what I did to help improve things:

Help me with my flaws. On my quest to break 90, I’ve done it when I’ve made the right adjustments. I just need to get to the point where I can do it on a consistent basis.

I need the feedback to fix my flaws. Help a golfer out if you would be so kind.

My 99 in Hindsight

Scorecards don’t lie.

They’re an indicator of how well or how poorly we played a round of golf on a certain course at a certain time on a certain day.

My recent round of 99 was an indicator of what was right about my game as well as what was so wrong about my game.

Driving Distance and Fairway Play

I will be the first to admit it. My fairways hit usually are limited to 2 maybe 3 per round. I tend to veer to the right and then adjust and start going too far to left. I’m not hitting as many fairways as I would like with my woods, especially the driver- my TaylorMade Burner Superfast Driver.

This round I actually hit 7 fairways. I will take that. I need to get it up to 9, but I haven’t played in ages. Distance was not a problem off the tee.

Great to Just Get Out

I loved playing with my cousin Robert from Texas and PGA Tour Champions caddie and Monday qualifier Mark Teran. Along with Mark’s brother, I was completely surrounded by Austin, Texas, and they let me know it and not forget it.

Mark Teran owns Piped Golf and caddies for some well-known senior PGA players. He’s definitely got his eyes set on swinging on tour making his rounds and taking his shot at Monday qualifiers. Beyond being a superb caddie with great reviews, Mark is a mean with a dream and a pure swing.

Fix and Focus

I need to fix my swing flaws as i mentioned earlier. i need to find my rhythm and get there with my swing. On the par 5 8th hole, I hit trees on one side of the course and chipped it short of the green by about 8 yards or even closer. That’s what needs to fixed and quickly.

I need to focus on my fitness, and then I need to focus on my par 3s and playing from the rough. I’ve come up short too many times leaving myself with par shots at best. If I do this right, I can see more fairways hit, a few greens in regulation, and lower numbers of putts.

Golf Getaway Destination Poll

Sometimes, you just want to getaway and go play golf. There are plenty of luxurious and relaxing stay-and-play golf offers out there.

People save up for golf stay-and-play packages that they want to experience for themselves. They plan for years. They budget their dollars and they save up as much as needed to getaway and play. Some even sacrifice coffee runs to Starbucks for the sake of getting away to go play golf.

Plenty of people have such a golf getaway on their bucket list. They want the ultimate golf experience. For some, they see it as a major part of their entire life’s journey as a golfer.

The pandemic sure didn’t help things any. Many have been awaiting an opportunity to get out and just go away to go play.

Where do you see as your ultimate golf destination?

Golf Season Never Ends

Chip & pitch practice at Cottonwood Golf Club

Golf season never ends.

No, don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about the PGA Tour or LIV Golf. The PGA Tour ends and cycles back around with the West Coast Swing until the cycle ends again.

Even where some of you live makes it hard to hit balls amid snow and heavy rainy seasons. Your season has to end at some point.

I’m talking about my personal golf season. I’m talking about my ability to get up and go out to play golf throughout the year. That never ends for me.

Location Matters

I live in the San Diego area. The locale’s weather is consistently warm and sunny with a handful of rainy days. There are plenty of golf courses to choose from on a regular basis.

I love living in such an area. I love being able to play golf at so many different types of courses with different layouts and designs. I love having a neverending golf season in such a place as San Diego.

Schedule of Play

I can set up a tee time during my off days as well as during the hours when I’m not working for those twilight discounts. The level of flexibility that my schedule allows will provide me with opportunities to play golf and train frequently.

I do not find it difficult to get a tee time at different times, especially with tee times offered online. Plus, life happens for people and plenty of folks fall off and free up slots at local courses. I advise calling the pro shop ahead of arrival and seeing if there’s room for a single or pair to jump in. Otherwise, I say just show up at the course and hit a bucket of balls while you wait for an open tee time.

Swing It!!

For me, based upon my schedule and locale, golf season never ends. It just keeps rolling on endlessly.

And guess what?

I love it.

A 60 for Couples

Fred Couples is literally a living golf legend.

Shooting a 60, even on the PGA Tour Champions for the SAS Championship, is a big deal.

Heck! Even pumping out 12 birdies is nothing to sneeze at for senior players like Couples.

But that he did all that after going without a single win in the last five years in PGA Tour Champions competition speaks volumes.

Beating His Own Age

Fred Couples is 63. He just shot 60 to win the 2022 SAS Championship. He beat his own age by 3 strokes. That’s a major feat for plenty of golfers, even some top PGA golfers playing today.

At 63, he’s showing how well he can still play and compete. He finished with a 4-stroke lead (-12) over the second top spot on the leaderboard held by New Zealand’s Steven Alker (-8). The 3rd and 4th place spots went to Jerry Kelly (-5) and Rocco Mediate (-4). Couples hitting a 60 kept his competition at bay.

A Long Time Coming

A 5-year winless streak seems unheard of when it comes to a name like Fred Couples. The beloved three-time Presidents Cup captain showed that he still has it despite such an extended dry spell without a win. Playing birdie golf for 12 out of the 18 holes made this victory even sweeter for Couples.

With this victory notched for him, Couples could go on a streak or simply play out this year without another win. It’s simply a toss-up with the growing level of competition on the PGA Tour Champions circuit. Couples faces heavy competition from renowned names in golf worldwide including Miguel Jimenez and Steve Stricker to name a few. Once Lefty gets back to swinging regularly with the senior players, there might be some competition like their golden days on the PGA Tour. That is if these two pros can lay aside their differences on the business of the LIV Golf Tour. Otherwise, we’ll have to watch these two duke it out on social media and in the golf press with a war of words on the topics like LIV Golf and other things unrelated to their play on the course.