play at first, that tiny amount could be the difference between out and safe. For decades, coaches and fans have debated the dive ver- sus the run. Science says: The dive is . . . out! Home on the Range G ladwell would argue that success in sports is not just a matter of physical ability but repetition. That repetition has to be targeted and correct, of course, or it won’t do any good. A golfer can go to the practice range every day, but if he’s practicing the

Backspin One of the biggest differences between the PGA golfers and the everyday hacker on a public course is the pro’s ability to stop his approach shot on the green by using backspin. That’s especially helpful when a flag is placed in the front of the green, or near water or a sand trap, or when running the ball up to the hole is not an option. Some golfers, like Phil Mickelson, hit shots that can back up 10 or 20 feet toward the flagstick if conditions are right. It’s almost as if they are pull- ing the ball back on a string! A golfer gets backspin on the ball because of the friction that is produced when the club hits the ball. The club head has small grooves, or lines in it. The ball compresses slightly into the grooves—it can’t be seen with the naked eye—and slides up the face of the club, which makes the ball spin backward. Any grass between the club and the ball will make it harder to spin and harder to control. That’s why all golfers want to avoid the long grass called the rough, and keep it on the short grass called the fairway.



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