Category: Augusta National

April 04, 2013

Augusta Tip: How to hit an iron shot off pine straw

Posted at 1:03 PM by

Bubba-WatsonBy James Leitz

It's Masters week, which means that we'll see a lot of players at Augusta hitting shots off of pine straw. I've been the head golf professional at Pinewood Country Club in Slidell, Louisiana for 31 years, and as the name suggests, I've seen my share of pine-straw lies -- though the lies are not as prevalent in recent years, because Hurricane Katrina took out over 1,000 pine trees in 2005.

Playing out of pine straw can be tricky. The first thing you must do is assess the thickness of the straw, just like you do with sand in a bunker. Pine straw can be very slippery, especially on a slope; you can lose your footing very easily when starting your downswing, so be sure to work your feet into the straw and find the bare ground. Your footwork should be very quiet, as in a fairway bunker. Use mostly upper body to swing the club when hitting out of thick straw.

Some lies are trickier than others. If your ball is sitting on top of a significant clump of straw, watch out: You could hit almost completely under it, or strike the ball too high in the face. Also, don't ground the clubhead at address because touching the needles with your club can make the ball move.

While a ball hit out of pine straw reacts similarly to one hit from the first cut of rough, you can control the curve of the ball better hitting out of straw than from the spinach (just ask Bubba Watson, who hit the shot of the tournament off pine straw in 2012, pictured above). This comes in handy because there are usually trees to negotiate when hitting out of the straw!

James Leitz is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher

(Photo: Al Tielemans/Sports Illustrated)

April 02, 2012

Top 100 Teachers Poll: Should Augusta National invite IBM's female CEO to join?

Posted at 7:30 PM by



"None of our business!"

--Brad Brewer, Rosen Shingle Creek Golf Club, Orlando, Fla.

"This one's toooo HOT to touch..."

--Lou Guzzi, Talamore Country Club, Ambler, Pa.

"Augusta National’s greatest strengths are also its greatest weakness. They do things their way."

-–Jim Murphy, Sugar Creek Country Club, Sugar Land, Texas

"Since Augusta National is a private club, they can do anything they want. The media and women’s rights groups should find more important things to discuss. Having said that, I think this would be a great chance to get rid of a controversy and take in its first female member."

--Mike Davis, Walters Golf Academy, Las Vegas, Nev.

"They can do with it as they wish. Should an all-female club be forced into accepting a male?"

-–Steve Bosdosh, The Members Club at Four Streams

"Becoming CEO of IBM transcends gender, therefore she should be invited."

--Bryan Gathright, Riverhill Country Club, Kerrville, Texas

"No. The invitation should only come if its based on the same criteria for everyone."

--Brian Mogg, Waldorf Astoria Golf Academy, Orlando, Fla.

"Yes. But what they should do and what they will do are two different questions."

--Jim Suttie, The Club at TwinEagles, Naples, Fla.

"No, not unless they want her. It is a private club. End of story."

--Eric Johnson, Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pa.

"Augusta should invite whomever they deem worthy: women, men, black, white, etc."

Tom F. Stickney II, Bighorn Golf Club, Palm Desert, Calif.

"It's the greatest golf club in the world, and it finally seems ready to move into the present. There are a number of avid female golfers that should be invited to join Augusta National."

--Ed Ibarguen, Duke University Golf Course

"Yes. It is my understanding that the gentlemen of Augusta National have always asked the CEO of IBM to join. Why would they not? Maybe she would invite me as a guest to play with her."

Carol Presinger, Kiawah Island Club, Kiawah, S.C.

"Yes, but it won’t happen."

--Brady Riggs, Woodley Lakes Golf Club< Van Nuys, Calif.

"Have The Boys from Augusta finally met their match, Tradition? How ironic -- the thing that kept women out might end up being the only thing that gets them in."

--T.J. Tomasi, Keiser University School of Golf, Port St. Lucie, Fla.

"Most definitely!"

--Dana Rader, Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge, Charlotte, N.C.

Top 100 Teachers Blog

There are more than 28,000 PGA of America members, and GOLF Magazine uses only the 100 most elite among them to help you lower your scores, improve your swing, hammer the ball longer and putt the lights out.
More tips from the Top 100 Teachers

Subscribe To Blog Headlines

Related Links

Top 100 Teacher Archives

To view posts from a particular day,
simply select the date below.

November 2014
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29

<< Previous Months