GOLF TEACHING PRO Magazine in the Mail

The latest edition of Golf Teaching Pro magazine is in the mail. The magazine is the official member publication of the United States Golf Teachers Federation, and features news and information pertinent to golf teaching pros. Articles include a look at a “forgotten” aspect of the ball flight laws, launch monitor technology, and an article by Dr. David Wright featuring his Wright Balance system, one of the most important articles to ever appear in the magazine. Look for your copy soon!

Deadline This Month to Enter World Cup in Costa Rica

Wednesday, January 23 is the deadline to enter the 14th edition of the World Golf Teachers Cup to be held February 13-15 at La Iguana Golf Club in Herradura, Costa Rica, approximately a 90-minute drive from San Jose International Airport. La Iguana is a Marriott property, but there are a number of hotel options in the nearby resort town of Jaco, as well. U.S., Canadian and European visitors do not need a visa, but a passport is necessary. To enter, please go to and register today.

U.S. Pro Hickory in February

The annual USGTF-sponsored Unites States Professional Hickory Championship at historic Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club in Tampa, Florida, will take place on Monday, February 25, 2019. The championship is open to male and female golf professionals and hosted by Mike Stevens, USGTF Southeast Region director. This tournament is a testament to the history and heritage of our game as it was first played with hickory-shafted golf clubs. It honors the memory of John Shippen, America’s first golf professional, and the 1925 Florida Open, in which all the prominent pros of the day played. Information and entry forms can be obtained at, or contact Stevens at Clubs are provided for participants by the tournament committee, if needed.

“PRO” File – Touring Professional Charles Howell, III

There’s an interesting name atop the FedEx Cup standings as the season is set to resume, and that name is Charles Howell III. Also known as CH3 and “Chucky Three-Sticks,” Howell has been a longtime grinder on the professional golf scene – a fate many did not predict for the one-time prodigy.

Growing up in one of golf’s meccas, Augusta, Georgia, Howell attended Oklahoma State and won the 2000 NCAA individual championship. His arrival on tour received much fanfare, but the going has been tough in terms of victories. Howell won early in his career at the Michelob Championship in 2002, but it would be five more years before he won again in 2007. Although a steady money earner throughout the years, victories continued to elude Howell until he broke through again in late 2018 by winning the RSM Classic to ascend to the top of the FedEx Cup points list. Howell’s victory was welcomed by many, and may well be the impetus he needs to fashion his best season to date.

Editorial – New Rules Will Take Time to Absorb

At the golf course where I work and teach in Savannah, Georgia, our men’s league in December adopted the use of the new Rules of Golf earlier than the official start date of January 1, 2019. On one of my rare days off, I signed up to play in the Tuesday individual game and was looking forward to playing under the new rules with official competition on the line.

Let me say, it was a weird experience! Now, we’ve all bent the rules somewhat when playing casual golf, but this was a whole different animal when putting pencil to scorecard. In particular, it was somewhat strange to be tapping in a putt with the flagstick in the hole and not receiving a penalty. The first time I did it, it felt almost like deliberate rules-breaking…except you weren’t. Removing leaves from the bunker before you played your shot didn’t seem right, either, but that’s our new reality, as is smoothing out your line of putt.

As expected, the flagstick rule was the most prominent difference in the way the round was played. My fellow competitors almost every time elected to keep the flagstick in while putting downhill, and tending the flagstick on a long putt is really no longer necessary. I feared that the new rule would result in one person wanting the flagstick out, the next person wanting it in, etc., but that did not turn out to be the case. For the most part, I elected to keep it out because that’s what I’m used to, but Dave Pelz’s research showing it’s almost always beneficial to keep the flagstick in the hole still resonates with me, so I may adopt that protocol.

By the time you’re reading this, the new rules will already be in effect. For more information, visit the USGA website at

By Mark Harman, USGTF National Course Director