With bosses to please, lawns to mow and kids to carpool, who's got the time (or the stamina) to pound 500 balls on the range? Who has the legs to walk 7,000 yards? Who wants to rise at dawn to wait in line for a six-hour round? OK, maybe a lot of you do. But for those of you who wouldn't mind getting better without rolling off the couch, here's a guide to help you milk the most out of the game without lifting much more than a ballmarker. Without leaving your easy chair, learn how to...
Groove your release with the TV remote
Hone your swing while sitting in the cart
Use your kid's video game for lower scores
Pick the partner who will win you cash
Create power while you mix a martini
Sleep in and save money at top courses
Perfect your grip pressure with a hot dog
Throughout this guide, you'll see a scale that determines how much effort each activity demands. Check this Ease-o-Meter to determine what you can handle on a scale of 0-10, where 0 takes no effort, 5 is too much, and 10 is like performing open-heart surgery on a twitching ant.
How to be an easy rider
Your cart is your chariot. Here's how to make the other guy do the pulling
• Ride shotgun. The driver has to worry about where to park, can't put his feet up and hang onto the roof with his right hand, and can't reach back into the cooler. When you're the passenger, you can eat, drink and trash talk all at the same time!
• Request chauffer service. Make the other guy drop you off at your ball, then make him come back to pick you up after he hits his shot.
• Grab a handful of clubs. On those incredibly annoying cart-path only courses, take several clubs with you to each shot. Yeah, it's more weight to carry, but it'll save you walking back when you realize you need a different club.
• Make an early exit. When you get near your ball on the green, just say, "I'll jump out here, you can pull it around to the back," as in back of the green, where the cart should always be parked.
• Go straight to the lot. When the round is over, direct your driver to make a beeline for your car. That way there's no lugging your clubs and no tipping the kid who wants to clean them.
Hone your swing without leaving your cart
Try this driving drill for dogleg holes while you're waiting on the tee
By Top 100 Teacher Dan Pasquariello
• Sit on the driver's side of the cart with your feet 18 inches apart and tilt forward from your hip sockets.
• Take a light hold on the steering wheel with your golf grip (that is, in your fingers). Your left palm should face downward and your right palm toward the sky.
• Close your eyes and turn the wheel to the right while sensing the motion of the turn. Imagine a dogleg to the right and keep turning until you can't go any farther, then hold it. Playing a shot on a dogleg right should be a similar "hit and hold" motion. When you play the actual shot and reproduce this holding motion (never releasing the club with your wrists and forearms), you'll get a clockwise-type spin, which will curve the ball to the right. Reverse the motions in this drill for a dogleg left.
How to ensure a winning match
Pick a partner who'll have you rolling in cash
If you're truly lazy, the best way to win a match is to have it be over before it starts. And the best way to do that is to pick the partner who best complements your game. The trick: Find your complete opposite from among the following.
The Slacker: All he does is practice. All you do is lean on him through 18. What he looks like: Early 40s, with the faintest hint of a potbelly and a penchant for rumpled khakis. Think Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski. Where to find him: The driving range, or the bar.
The Negotiator: Haggles on the first tee like he's buying a used car. What he looks like: Lean, good-looking guy in his late 40s with just enough natural sheen to hide the snake oil. Think Michael Douglas in Wall Street. Where to find him: Sales floor at an Audi dealer.
The Grinder: He keeps it in play, and makes the ugliest pars you've ever seen. What he looks like: Schlumpy, salt-and-pepper guy in his late 50s. Retired (but on a fixed income), he's a distant cousin of Walter Matthau. Where to find him: Volunteering as a starter.
The Boss of the Moss: He makes everything he (and everyone else) looks at. What he looks like: A rail-thin weasel with a sun-bleached nose and the fixed gaze of a dingo. Think Steve Buscemi, with straighter teeth. Where to find him: The putting green.
1. Alternate shot You hit the tee shot. Your partner hits the approach. And so on. You both save energy by taking half the usual number of swings.
2. Scramble The lazy man's salvation. Just play from wherever the best ball falls. No more searching for errant shots.
3. Animal Hit one in the water? That's a frog. Bunker? A camel. Three-putt? A snake. At the end of the round, whoever's stuck with an animal pays a penalty. The game can be played with appropriately themed head covers, which you assign to the guy who hit the offending shot. It's mindless scorekeeping. You'll never have to search for a pencil again.
How to groove your release with your TV remote!
By Top 100 Teacher Dan Pasquariello, director of instruction for the Pebble Beach Company
• Grab your remote and turn on your TV.
• Sit on the edge of your couch facing the TV with your legs shoulder-width apart.
• Place the remote in the middle digits of your left hand with your thumb on the power button.
• Make a backswing with only your left arm.
• At the top of your backswing, pause and click the power button to turn off the TV. (You may have to cock your wrists or adjust your body aim according to the position of the TV.)
• Swing down and hit the power button again at the bottom of your swing where you sense the imaginary ball would be. This helps you feel the release. If the TV doesn't come back on, your release was too late and you just hit a slice.
• Repeat until you perfect the motion. And switch the channel from Baywatch reruns to CNN when you're finished (wink, wink).
Create more power with a martini
By Top 100 Teacher Dan Pasquariello
• Hold a martini mixer (see right for ingredients to the Lazy Man's martini) as you would a club and take your stance.
• Turn your left shoulder back and pause at the top. At this point, both hands will be holding the shaker, your shoulders will have turned and your weight shifted.
• Drop your arms slowly downward at the imaginary ball between your feet, holding the bottom of the shaker pointed at the ball until the top of the shaker reaches your right hip.
• Lift up and repeat a second time, and then a third time. You are delaying the hit, holding the angle and working on the magic move of the downswing which delays the release of your hands and arms.
• Whaddya know! You've also shaken your martini. Find a glass and enjoy.
THE LAZY MARTINI
• To make it extra dry, leave out the vermouth (hey, that's one less ingredient to deal with).
• Fill shaker with:
Four ounces of gin
• Strain into a martini glass and garnish with an olive
Perfect your grip pressure with a hot dog!
By Top 100 Teacher Mike Perpich of River Pines Golf Club in Alpharetta, Ga.
First, have a hot dog on a roll with mustard handy. Next, grab and hold a club as you would normally, then check to make sure your left thumb fits into the groove of your right palm like a hot dog fits into the bun. Waggle it, put it down and do it again. On a 1-10 scale (where 1 is barely holding and 10 is a death grip) you want to be a 5 throughout your entire swing for all shots. Test out the pressure with the hot dog; hold it firmly, but not enough that mustard oozes out the ends. When you've mastered the pressure, consume the hot dog: Bite, bite, bite, swallow, rub tummy.
Hold the controller! You can learn something from watching video-game Tiger blast it 300 yards on a rope. Here's what to watch for.
By Top 100 Instructor Tom F. Stickney, teacher at The Club at Cordillera in Vail, Colo.
• Course strategy Before a video round, determine which holes to attack and on which ones you'll settle for par. Also, study each hole and decide where to place every shot. Before long, Nicklaus-like strategy will find its way into your real rounds.
• Swing plane Watching virtual Tour pros' flawless swings will show you how to work the club. Plus, the graphics are outlined and front and center, unlike watching a tournament on TV.
• Club selection Notice which club the game's computer chooses for certain shots. A team of experts has determined the selections, so you can replicate those suggestions on the course when you find yourself facing conditions you've seen in the game.
• Pre-shot routine Take all course conditions into account before your shot, including wind direction and yardage. This is probably the thing you ignore most on the course, but it's such a huge factor in the video games that it'll soon become second nature in your real rounds.