August Last Month to Enter US / CGTF Cup

Entries for the 23rd annual United States Golf Teachers Cup, played in conjunction with the CGTF Cup, are due by September 1. The event will be played October 2-3, 2018, at Ussher’s Creek Golf Course in Niagara Falls, Ontario. On October 1, a fourball tournament will be held prior to the main event, with the objective of getting participants together for a fun day of golf. The entry fee is $395 Canadian (currently approximately $305 U.S.). To enter, you may either call the CGTF at (905) 849-7254, or online at

We look forward to seeing you at this event, co-sponsored by the USGTF and CGTF!

Hammer Nails Down Southeast Title

Eric Hammer of Melbourne, Florida, fired an opening round 68 which solidified his hold on the top spot at the USGTF Southeast Region Championship at Shingle Creek Golf Club in Orlando. His solid 76 in round two proved too much for the rest of the field to overcome. Going into the day, he held a three-shot lead over former champion Mark Harman, but Harman was unable to make up any ground on a hot and steamy day. Heavy rain overnight made the course that much more of a challenge. Hammer pockets $550 and the Southeast Trophy donated by region director Mike Stevens. It was a great weekend, and special thanks to Dennis Daugherty, who arranged for play and a fabulous dinner at Taverna Opa after the first round.

Central Region Championship Last Region Championship for 2018

The USGTF Central Region Championship will be held at Pine Knob Golf Club in Clarkston, Michigan, on Saturday and Sunday, August 4-5, with region director Brent Davies serving as the host. The first tee time Saturday will be at 12:00 noon and 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. The entry fee of $199 is for two days of golf, cart, range, prize money, and lunch after the Sunday round, with monies paid out on the gross and net two-day totals. Practice rounds will be available after 1:00 p.m. on Friday, August 3, for $40. To enter, please send your $199 entry fee to: Brent Davies, 5223 Parview Dr., Clarkston, MI 48346.

USGTF Logoed Cart Bag From Bridgestone Golf

The USGTF is pleased to have several company affiliations that offer discounts and services to our members. One of which is Bridgestone Golf. Bridgestone offers 25% below wholesale on all of their products to USGTF members for personal use. Members may order items like this USGTF Logoed and Personalized cart bag for only $162.00. Full of easily accessible features, these bags are perfect for use in either a golf cart or a push cart.

They include:
  • 14-way divider top
  • 9 easily accessible zippered pockets, including valuables pocket and cooler pocket
  • Magnetic electronics pocket
  • Outer ball & tee holder
  • Weighs less than 6 lbs.
  • Rain hood included
For more information, please contact the USGTF National Office at (888) 346-3290.

2019 World Cup Tentatively Scheduled for Costa Rica

The 14th biennial World Golf Teachers Cup has tentatively been scheduled for the week of February 11-15, 2019, at La Iguana Golf Course near the beach town of Jaco in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is a vacation paradise with many activities and amenities, and the cost of traveling to the Central American country is on par with traveling to other cities in the United States. More information will become available as negotiations are being completed.

“PRO” File – Touring Professional Francesco Molinari

Recent Open champion Francesco Molinari joins a long and distinguished list of Italian golfers over the years that include his brother Edoardo and Constantino Rocca and…well, that’s about it. Molinari became the first from Italy to hoist the Claret Jug when he turned back the world’s best at Carnoustie in July, including a resurgent Tiger Woods. Molinari played the weekend bogey-free and continued his recent streak of stellar play.

Prior to 2018, he had been a steady if not spectacular player on the world stage. His brother came to prominence first by winning the U.S. Amateur in 2005, but most observers thought that Francesco would have the better professional career, and so far that prediction has panned out. Molinari won his first European Tour event in 2006 and has six victories on that circuit to his credit while his brother has three. Molinari represented Team Europe in the Ryder Cup in 2010 and 2012 but missed out on 2014 and 2016. He will certainly be on the European squad this fall when the matches are contested in France for the first time, part of a team that looks to be much improved over the 2016 version that was soundly defeated by the U.S.

Editorial – Spine Angle at Impact – The Forgotten Fundamental to Good Shots

One issue I often see in golfers is the loss of spine angle at impact. This problem is often experienced by high handicappers and tour players alike. The flaw can effect several factors of impact dynamics. One such factor could be the the quality of strike (centeredness of contact) resulting in inconsistent contact. We hear people say that they “picked up their head,” but in reality they changed their spine angle from address to the impact position.

When loss of spine angle at impact occurs with better players, often there is a compensation to save the shot. This could be saving the impact with excess hand action or another compensation such as curving the spine. The good player can get away with this fault for some shots, but the fault will eventually lead to stray shots. The most common result in better players is a swing path that is excessively inside to out. This leads to shots that are often well right or left of the target, pending how the clubface matches up with the path at impact.

You will hear better players and instructors calling this fault as being “stuck” on the backswing. I have seen this fault occur in some famous tour professionals. The result is a shot (by a right-handed player) that goes well right. If the hand action is excessive, there is a hard hook shot left. Remember from some of my past instructional articles my saying: “The clubface sends it; the swing path bends it”?

Which leads to the bigger challenge, how do we fix this flaw? A good place to start is actually the golfer’s physical capabilities. When a golfer has a tight lower back or hamstring, or hip issues, this leads to compensations, frequently resulting in loss of the spine angle at impact. It can also just be a poor habit or a sensation of getting more power by thrusting the torso towards the ball. The better sensation is a feeling of squatting into the lead leg on the downswing. The torso should have a slight shift toward the target and then rotate with a feeling that the lead hip and glute are pulling or rotating away from the ball. This is very similar to a squat movement into the lead glute. As the impact position is approached, the spine angle is maintained with a feeling of the lead hip rotating and pushing back into a “wall.” The lead leg will somewhat straighten naturally at impact as the lead hip begins to rise higher than the trailing hip. In this position, the golfer is maximizing the “ground forces” and creating maximum torque and energy (think Rory McIlroy or Justin Thomas).

Losing the spine angle at impact can be a challenging fault to overcome. As this occurs during the dynamic swinging action, drills to cure this fault can be difficult to describe in words. It is best to demonstrate or feel the proper sensation of proper spine angle at impact. For more drills and information, please visit the USGTF Facebook page or my YouTube Channel, where I demonstrate several exercises to help fix this problem.

By Thomas T Wartelle, WGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional