Maintain Posture and Eliminate Early Extension

Eliminate Early Extension

Early extension in the golf swing occurs when the lower body moves toward the golf ball during the downswing. Early extension causes the arms and club to get stuck behind the body during the downswing and causes the upper body to rise up through the hitting zone. The body essentially gets in the way of the hands and arms through impact. Therefore, players that create this loss of posture during the downswing typically create misses that consist of blocks, pulls and hooks. In other words, the ball can go in just about any direction depending on your timing, but rarely straight. Some call this the two way miss.

Professional players create power from the ground up while amateurs often create power from the top down. The correct pelvic movements will translate to longer, straighter shots. Early extension is the result of a swing fault or physical limitation. Drills can help correct swing faults while exercise and stretches are often required to correct physical limitations. The inability to perform a deep squat or hip bend can lead to early extension. Muscle imbalances in the glutes or abdominal areas often lead to the lower body thrusting forward during the downswing.

Deep Squat Test

Begin by standing straight up, extending your arms out with your thumbs up in the air. Next, place your thumbs back on your shoulders so your elbows point in front of you. Make sure your toes are hip-width apart and point straight in front of you. Keeping both heels on the ground, begin to squat as far down as you can go. A full squat allows the thighs to go past parallel with the ground and your butt should be below your knees. Full mobility allows you to go all the way down and return back to your starting position. If you can’t complete the squat, the lack of mobility and stability in your body is potentially causing you to early extend in your downswing.

Eliminate Early Extension

 Adam Scott makes the correct rotational movement with his pelvis throughout the swing. The yellow line remains against his backside from setup through impact.

Alignment Stick Drill

Begin by taking an alignment stick and placing it vertically in the ground. Next, take your address position and allow your backside to rest up against the stick. The proper pelvic movements maintain your backside against the stick throughout the swing sequence. Players that early extend during the downswing thrust their pelvis forward toward the ball and away from the stick. Once you swing the club and properly rotate your hips and maintain your backside against the stick you have eliminated the early extension in the swing.

Sweep Drill

This drill is great to work on maintaining posture, creating an effective shoulder plane and developing the correct pelvic movement during the downswing. You can use any club for this drill. Begin by taking your stance and cross your arms with each hand on your opposite shoulder. Place the grip of the club in your left hand a few inches below your collar bone while holding the club in place with your hands crossing your chest. The end of the club should point the opposite direction of your target. Initiate a swing by turning your upper body that simulates a backswing. Your shoulder should point on the other side of the ball and target line while the end of the club points down toward the ball. Next, rotate your lead hip while your upper body returns back toward the ball.

The extended club should point toward the ball while your upper body maintains its spine angle. The lead hip should be in an open position and rotating, but not thrusting toward the ball. The downswing simulation should help feel the correct pelvic rotation and not thrust. Combine the Alignment Stick drill with the Sweep drill for quicker results. Eliminating early extension is a complicated problem. With practice, you will learn the correct pelvic movement and eliminate those two-way misses.

— Matt Keller, PGA

About the Author:

Matt Keller is a PGA Golf Professional with over 15 years of experience. Matt is a graduate of the Penn State PGM Program. Throughout his career he has worked at courses in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida and Delaware. Matt has conducted thousands of golf lessons to players of all ages and ability levels. Currently, he is a PGA Professional at Cripple Creek Golf and Country Club located near Bethany Beach, DE.

Forgiveness, Control, Trajectory, and Spin – New Irons for 2016

New Irons 2016

2016’s new irons feature hot faces, great feel, and improved sole designs. Whether you’re looking for better ball flight, more forgiveness, or just need some extra juice for longer shots, there’s an iron set for everyone at any skill level.

Club manufacturers make irons in three general classifications: Game Improvement, Max-Game Improvement, and Better Player.

Game Improvement Irons

Irons designated as “game improvement” are designed for better ball flight and distance. They are engineered towards the majority of middle handicap golfers, as well as higher handicappers aspiring to play better and have a more versatile club in their hands, as well as lower handicap players who feel they may want more forgiveness.

Testers report that if you hit the ball in the wrong spot on the face, you’ll still feel it, but a game improvement iron will help keep the ball in a tight dispersal pattern without sacrificing too much distance.

Game improvement irons might be considered a “mellower” version of a players iron. You won’t be hitting Bubba-like bends around trees, but you can still create some shot shape if you need it.

A sampling of 2016’s game improvement irons include:

New irons

Cobra King F6 irons were Gold Award winners on Golf Digest’s Hot List for 2016.

They feature four distinct head styles: hollow long irons, half-hollow mid-irons, cavity-back short irons and solid, one-piece wedges.

Cobra King F6 irons offer high-launch to get you over obstacles and play very solid from the rough.

They’re very accurate and give you a little sidespin without going overboard. Mid-irons and hybrids fly where you aim and land soft, even on mis-hits.

Testers report the Cobra King F6 Irons swing easy, but still feel solid through impact.

New irons

Mizuno JPX-EZ Forged irons were created when Mizuno added boron to their signature “Grain Flow” forged steel to boost head strength by 30 percent. The 1025 Boron material enables Mizuno to make a thinner face for better distance while enhancing the Power Frame design to maximize forgiveness.

Testers reported they loved the sole on these irons saying they cut clean divots and help get you out of trouble from the rough.

They’ll give you high launch, great forgiveness, excellent control from any yardage, and very dialed-in chips and pitches.

The Mizuno irons feel smooth with cavity back-level forgiveness and superior turf interaction typically found in better player’s irons.

New irons

Nike’s Vapor Fly Pro irons present some players club characteristics with medium flight and high-end control. Testers reported they were very accurate and forgiving on thin and heavy shots.

You’ll need a quality swing and good distance to make this club work, but the Vapor Fly Pro’s excellent versatility and precision accuracy make it a solid choice for golfers trying to move out of the 80s and into the 70s.

Max Game Improvement Irons

Designed for maximum forgiveness, Max Game Improvement irons are designed to help beginners, high handicappers and slower swinging golfers to get the ball in the air easier and keep it straight. They offer a larger head which means a much larger sweet spot, and typically have a broader sole and more perimeter weighting, both of which make the clubs easier to hit. The drawback of some of those features is that they can get hung up more in the rough, and its tough to hit a bending shot around a tree or to avoid other trouble.

Some Max Game Improvement irons to consider include:

New irons

Callaway XR OS irons feature wide soles to improve contact from a wide variety of lies. The OS stands for “oversize” so it comes as no surprise that the overall head shape is larger and easier to hit.

Testers found the XR OS irons made it easy to get the ball airborne and gave a naturally high trajectory. Ball flight was very straight but better players might be able to shape a few shots with them.

The irons are nicely balanced with excellent accuracy, transforming bad swings into acceptable shots. They play very well from the rough.

Callaway XR OS irons combine first-class accuracy, ease of use, and solid feel with confidence-boosting forgiveness.

New irons

Cobra Max irons are also designed for higher handicap golfers. They offer great forgiveness in the longer irons and a special wedge design to help golfers in the scoring areas closest to the hole.

Cobra Max irons optimize spin and launch with Cobra’s Progressive Spin Technology. The 4 to 6 irons reduce spin with V-grooves for distance. U-grooves in the 7 to pitching wedge increase spin to help stop the ball on the putting surface.

These irons launch the ball high and are very forgiving on mis-hits. Their distance control is reliable and they have enough oomph to give you the yards you need to get to the green.

Testers report the irons are stable and give you plenty of thump through the ball. A good, solid click at impact delivers enough feedback to let you know how well you hit the ball.

A solid choice for golfers that need a little extra help.

New irons

TaylorMade AeroBurner irons are designed with a special “Speed Pocket” that’s cut into the sole to promote higher launch and more speed on low-impact shots.

AeroBurners have a wide sole that cuts easily through turf and helps launch the ball on heavy contact.

These clubs are very accurate when struck solidly, but can help a little with directional misses as well. They can also give mis-hits enough distance to get you close.

If you strike it pure, you’ll get that “crushed it” feel. The irons have plenty of head weight to maintain stability through the swing and deliver a consistent and tolerable feel on small mis-hits.

If you’re a high handicapper, you’ll love the AeroBurner’s rocketing ball flight.

Better Player Irons

The Better Player Iron category is really two sub-categories: 1) “Blade” irons that are very traditional in appearance and performance, sacrificing forgiveness to enhance workability and precision; 2) Irons that have some forgiveness features like a cavity back, but come in a smaller profile that allows them to perform well in thick rough and still provide some degree of workability. Often, pros will have a combo set, going with blades in their short and middle irons before switching to cavity-backed long irons.

A few Better Player irons for your consideration include:

New irons

Callaway Apex Pro irons are designed with a higher center of gravity (CG) in the short irons to boost control and a lower CG in the long irons to help get your shots in the air and land softly.

These irons will help you hit draws, fades, knockdowns … whatever shot you need to get it close to the pin. The thin sole picks balls cleanly off tight lies and powers through nasty rough. If you hit the long irons right, you’ll be rewarded with a very true ball flight.

The short irons are almost surgically precise, but there’s enough forgiveness to help your mis-hits reach the fringe rather than land in the bunker.

Callaway Apex Pro irons offer a great mix of distance, shot-shaping capability, and score-dropping forgiveness.

New irons

Titleist 716 AP2 irons are great tools for good golfers who really like to shape shots.

They offer a medium to high flight, but provide the precision needed to control the trajectory to fit any golfing situation. The updated sole slides through turf with ease.

For good swingers this club is like a laser-guided missile launcher. But testers found the irons surprisingly forgiving in direction and distance even with the pin-point accuracy they’ll give you.

If you want to improve the precision of your iron shots, the Titleist 716 AP2’s are worth a look.

New irons

Wilson Staff FG Tour F5 irons are another better players iron that Testers report are very easy to hit. The “Speed Sole” slides through the ground without catching or digging even from nasty, uneven lies.

Shots will fly high and straight, but golfers still have the ability to hit gentle fades and draws into tucked pins. Center hits will be deadly accurate, while misses won’t send you to the bar cart.

The head and shaft work together for easy tracking throughout the swing and better timing. The shorter irons offer better control on chips and pitches.

If you think you’re ready to transition toward a player’s iron, the Wilson Staff FG Tour F5 might be the set for you.

New irons

Ben Hogan’s Ft. Worth Irons are definitely worth a look as the company has incorporated several innovative ideas into their design. The Hogan company’s goal with the Ft. Worth Irons is to achieve the perfect “… combination of feel, consistency, accuracy and forgiveness …”.

One tester was quoted in a recent online review saying they’re capable of producing any shot he could imagine, but also “… provide plenty of support for days when I bring my “C” game.”

An interesting innovation in these irons is the Hogan PreciseLoft System. The lofts are stamped on the irons instead of numbers. They’re made in lofts from 20° to 47° and the wedges go from 48° to 63°. The Hogan PreciseLoft System is an attempt by the company to get away from the trend of maximizing distance and move golfers toward hitting lofts that produce consistent and accurate distance gaps.

Testers reported the irons enter the turf easily with a great feel of compression and explode out of the dirt quickly after impact. Because of their low-bounce sole, the leading edge sits close to the ground, so you can hit them out of really tight lies.

2016’s iron sets offer significant improvements for golfers of all skill levels. Visit your local golf pro and find a set that’s right for your game today!

Whiskey and Golf – Enough Said

Whiskey and Golf

To quote the famous Mark Twain, who once claimed, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough” so do many think similarly of golf. In fact, it has been said, and often attempted to be confirmed, that it takes eighteen shots to finish off a fifth of Scotch and thus, why the Scottish invented the game to cover eighteen holes. Any more to a round of golf and a golfer would have to play dry over the last few holes.

While that specific connection may or may not be true, it is true that Scotch and golf have gone together as long as the game, and possibly as long as the drink, have been around. But Scotch is just one form of whiskey and it takes a discerning golfer, or reader, to understand and appreciate the world of whiskeys.

Scotch Whisky, Irish Whiskey, American Whiskey, Canadian Whiskey, Single Malts, Blends – they all can be more intimidating than which new driver to buy. To that end, we at KC Golfer Magazine decided to help you out. We have sampled a lot of the Whiskey world – and while that sampling went well beyond our fair share over the years, our thirst (pun intended) for more knowledge about our favored flavors led us to perform a bit of research. That’s how we landed ourselves at Paddy O’Quigley’s Pub & Grille in Leawood (also – one of our editors is a co-owner of Paddy’s). It should be noted that Paddy’s prides itself as having American Bourbons, Single Malt Scotch Whisky’s and the best selection of Irish Whiskey’s allowed in the State of Kansas. With the aid of that fine establishment’s owners and bartenders, and with the assist of some of their suppliers/distributors, we crafted this short guide through the world of whiskeys.

Briefly, all whiskey is distilled from a fermented grain mash. Malt whiskey is made only from malted barley, while grain whiskey is made from malted barley along with other grains. You might have heard of single malt whiskey. It is malt whiskey from a single distillery. Meanwhile, what is known as vatted malt contains malt whiskeys from different distilleries. Finally, blended whiskeys contain a mix of malt and grain whiskeys, often from different distilleries. Which one is better is for the taster to decide. Some feel a single malt is more “pure”, while fans of blended whiskeys point out that a good one combines the best whiskeys from the best distilleries to create a superior flavor.

Scotch and Irish Whiskeys

Whiskey and Golf

Both Scotch Whisky (spelled without the “e”) and Irish Whiskey (with the “e”) come in single malt and blended. Perhaps the most notable flavor difference comes from how the Irish dry their malted barley. It is dried in kilns rather than the Scotch method of using peat fires to instill the smokey flavor of many popular Scotches. The Irish say this lets the natural flavor and depth of the whiskey come through without the added smoke which can overshadow some of its subtleties. And Irish Whiskey uses a blend of malted and unmalted barley, while the Scotch use exclusively malted barley. Many Scotch afficianados enjoy peaty Scotches – the peatier, the better in their estimation. The best way to describe a peaty Scotch is “smokey” tasting, as described above – almost like having a mild cigar.

Another distinction: Irish whiskey tends to be higher in alcohol content – which many say only enhances its medicinal qualities. The reason for this is Irish whiskey is usually triple distilled to increase the purity and smoothness of the spirit. Each turn through the still makes the finished product more refined and of a higher quality, while also increasing its strength.

Whiskey and Golf

Dewar’s is a well-known blended scotch and a very popular single malt, the Macallan, are good places to start a journey into Scotches for the uninitiated. Other beloved single malt Scotches include Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Oban, Glenmorangie. A good Irish whiskey that is fairly common is Jameson’s. It is made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley. It’s often listed alongside Bushmill’s, another favored Irish whiskey. It’s been said that Jameson is preferred by Catholics and Bushmill’s is a Protestant potable. From there, many will try Tullamore DEW and graduate up to the very good, very smooth, very expensive Midleton. Whatever the case, we think it best to take the high road and enjoy them both. From there you can jump off into other Scotches and Irish Whiskeys – a good bartender can help you find your way around.

American and Canadian Whiskeys

On this side of the big pond we have our own American and Canadian whiskeys. Bourbon whiskey is one American version that is distilled from a mash that is at least 51% corn. The name is reported to have been derived from Bourbon County in Kentucky where early recipes and distilling processes were developed. Makers Mark is an excellent example of a good bourbon whiskey and one we suggest trying. The famous Jim Beam is one other. For a little more in terms of price, some other Kentucky favorites are Knob Creek or Elmer T. Lee, while Blanton’s and Booker’s are even better, for just slightly more of your wallet.

Whiskey and Golf

Perhaps our top favorite these days is Angel’s Envy – a relative newcomer available in Kansas and Missouri since about late 2014. Of course, on every bourbon-lover’s list is Pappy Van Winkle – a fairly rare, exceedingly expensive bourbon.

Rye whiskey, on the other hand, is another American style and is distilled from a mash that is at least 51% rye, giving it less of a sweeter taste than bourbon generally. While fairly rare just a few years ago, today it is quite easy to find a decent selection at your local liquor store or pub. Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, Makers Mark and other big bourbon producers also make a rye whiskey. Some other ryes that are pretty common include Bulleit, Old Overholt, Woodford Reserve, and the aforementioned Angel’s Envy has a fairly pricey rye themselves as well.

It’s worth noting that Jack Daniels is neither a bourbon or a rye. Rather, it is a Tennessee whiskey which is much the same as bourbon, except it has been filtered through sugar maple charcoal, giving it a unique flavor. Many say that is what makes Jack Daniels such a treat.

Finally – what about our neighbors to the North and their whiskey? Canadian whiskeys often get their smoothness from malted rye, although they tend to be less strict on what other grains and how much of those grains make up the ingredients list. Almost all drinkers of spirits are familiar with Canadian Club or the more expensive Crown Royal. The biggest impact on us Americans that ever came from Canadian whiskey was during Prohibition. Bootleggers found it convenient to get their whiskey in Canada and run it across the border by truck or by boat into the US. Hiram Walker’s is one such distillery that, due to its proximity to Detroit, ended up doing a fair amount of business with “exporters” back in those days.

Whiskey Cocktails

Whiskey and Golf

Of course, whiskey doesn’t need to be enjoyed only by itself. Many enjoy their whiskey served in a variety of ways – often with other flavors and mixes. Popular whiskey drinks include the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and many others.

An Old-Fashioned is served over rocks or shaken and strained over a single, large ice cube. It is made up of whiskey (rye is very common, but bourbon is often used as well), some simple syrup (basically sugar water), and a dash or two of bitters. An orange or lemon twist is the garnish of choice. Some will add a cherry too.

A Mint Julep, for you Derby fans, is pretty similar. It has bourbon and simple syrup as well, but the glass is first prepared with muddled mint leaves and served with crushed ice. The garnish is usually a sprig of fresh mint leaves.

The Manhattan is made with whiskey (the type depends upon your taste: rye, bourbon, or Canadian whiskey), a little sweet vermouth, a dash of bitters and a garnish of a maraschino cherry. Most are served chilled and strained into a wide-rimmed, stemmed glass.

A Rob Roy is the same as a Manhattan, but with Scotch, while a Bobby Burns is a Rob Roy with a touch of Drambuie rather than the bitters. All of these drinks are stirred (or shaken) with ice, then strained and served straight up. When you are mixing them yourself, experiment with the whiskey-to-vermouth ratio to see how you like it best.

Perhaps the most popular Irish Whiskey cocktail might be the GinJa at Paddy O’Quigley’s, although we are sure there are others. But since most folks like their Irish whiskey neat, straight up, or on the rocks, there really aren’t many. The GinJa’s name is just a mash-up of the two main ingredients: Ginger Ale and Jameson. It’s a great summer cocktail when served on the rocks with a lime garnish.

Advanced Learning

Whiskey and Golf

Anyone who has had their whistle whetted by this blend of information about whiskey can certainly learn more. Simply pick up Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide By Michael Jackson and Dave Broom (Dk Pub, 2005). This has everything you will want to know about whiskey, including its history and how to pair it with food.

But, only the true whiskey die-hards need a book, our advice to you is the same you’ll find in any magazine article on wine, food or spirits: don’t take anyone’s word for it, go out and try the diverse world of whiskey for yourself. There are many Scotch and bourbon tastings occurring across the country where you can sample a wide variety of whiskey. The last bit of advice – if you do try to prove the old adage about shots of whiskey in a bottle matching the number of holes on a golf course, do so with at least a couple of friends to share it with. It will be more fun, and there’s a better chance you’ll make it back to the clubhouse.

Finally, as we opened with a quote, we’ll leave you with a few of our favorite whiskey quotes.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill: “The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable, we had to add whisky. By diligent effort, I learned to like it.”

MLB pitcher Tug McGraw on his salary: “Ninety percent I’ll spend on good times, women, and Irish Whiskey. The other ten percent I’ll probably waste.

Late Night Show host Johnny Carson: “Happiness is having a rare steak, a bottle of whisky, and a dog to eat the rare steak.

Movie Star Errol Flynn: “I like my whisky old and my women young.

Comedian W.C. Fields: “Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.


Exceptional Golf with Great Greens – Landings at Spirit Golf Club

Landings at Spirit

All golfers know certain parts of the game are really a lot of fun – like big tee shots that seem to fly for miles or precise iron plays to escape from trouble and save a score. But when determining whether you have a successful round, it’s your performance on the greens that you’ll ultimately replay in your mind. That’s why when you play a course like The Landings at Spirit Golf Club with some of the most impressive greens in the area, you’re sure to play a round of golf to remember. The Landings is a links-style course located parallel to the runway at the Spirt of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield, Missouri. It keeps the old Scottish feel of true links courses with double greens on holes 2 and 8, 4 and 6, and 3 and 7. Most of the greens have at least two tiers. And they can be as fast as any in the St. Louis area. The Landings “The greens are really the equalizer for the course,” course general manager Chris Canby says. “In the summer they’re around a (Stimp meter reading of) 10 or 10 1/2. They may speed up a little more during the day as they dry out or if it’s windy. Our greens – there are not very many around that are as fast.” In total, the bent grass greens on the 18 holes at The Landings at Spirit occupy about 5 acres, which Canby says are about double the space occupied by greens on a typical St. Louis golf course. He says the interesting layouts of the multi-tiered greens draw players to the course. Ball placement on approach shots is very important at The Landings, as golfers try to stay below the hole. If you want to test the speed of the greens and the challenge of the multi-tiered putting surfaces of the course, you can take advantage of The Landings at Spirit’s practice facilities. The Landings Canby says the course has a putting green that occupies three-quarters of an acre, mimicking the surfaces and tiers you’ll find on the course. There’s also a chipping green, a 6-foot depth bunker, and a long bunker that are available to use during practice. The Landings features five sets of tees, all named after military planes. The tips/Hornet tees play 6,788 yards. If that sounds a bit short to you, keep in mind that the greens serve as an equalizer, as does the variable wind. With a links-style design on the golf course and its location in a valley, wind conditions can change the way The Landings at Spirit plays from day to day. “You could play number nine, for example, a great par-4, into the wind one day and hit driver, 5-iron,” Canby says. “But the next day there might be no wind, and you’d hit driver, 8-iron. It’s often a three-club wind here.” The middle/Phantom II tees play 5,898 yards, while the forward/Super Cub tees play 4,416 yards. The nearly 2,400-yard difference between the tips and the front tees really make the course play differently, Canby says. The Landings “You can play the full 6,800 yards, all the way down to the front tees for juniors or women or seniors who just want to have some fun,” Canby says. “There’s certainly a lot of opportunities to follow the PGA Play Forward campaign. Here, there’s a good opportunity for a guy who normally shoots around 90 to shoot 82 or 83 when moving to the right set of tees.” Canby says the 11th hole is The Landings at Spirit’s signature hole. Number 11 plays 553 yards from the tips, making it the second longest hole on the course and the toughest handicap hole on the back nine. “It’s a long par-5 that often plays into the wind, with out of bounds to the right, and a three-tiered green protected by mounds,” he says. “When the pin is in the back right, you can’t see the flag if you’re off the fairway.” Number 18 is another interesting hole, offering a dog leg left, where the cut is protected by a waste area and fairway bunkers on the left side. The Landings The front of the green has a pot bunker guarding it from shots bouncing onto the green as well. The par-4 18th hole plays 415 yards from the tips and 323 yards from the middle tees, so it’s potentially drivable for someone willing to risk cutting the corner. The course’s first hole has a drivable green, too, which is not common in the layout for most golf courses. Number one plays 359 yards from the tips and 300 yards from the middle tees. Canby says there are several par-4s on The Landings at Spirit that have drivable greens. “I’ve watched guys wait for number one to clear, because they can bounce one on,” he says. “If you give a young guy an opportunity to score a 3 or a 2 on the first hole, it’s gets people to come back because it’s fun to play.” The Landings at Spirit has a few specials it runs throughout the season. Foursomes who book online can receive a discount on green fees. And the course offers a frequent player discount, where after you pay for six rounds, you receive the seventh round for free. Canby says 3,000 golfers took advantage of the frequent player discount last year, a season in which The Landings at Spirit hosted 32,000 rounds of golf. The Landings “It’s hard to go out and get 10,000 new golfers,” Canby says. “So I’ve found it’s easier to find 3,000 to 4,000 players who like the course and encourage them to come back more often.” The course offers membership options too, including a regular membership that includes unlimited golf, use of a cart, and range balls. Another type of membership allows the player to play golf for free but pay a cart fee each time. Weddings and other gatherings and receptions are common at The Landings at Spirit. Canby says the facility hosts 20 to 30 weddings per year. And a full time chef is available for special offerings for food during the weekends. You can reach them online at or by calling 636.728.1927.

Jack Nicklaus’ Masterpiece: Stonewolf Golf Club


When Steve Stricker gives a putting lesson, you listen.

When Lee Trevino demonstrates ball-striking in windy conditions, you watch.

When Ernie Els demonstrates swing mechanics, you practice.

And when Jack Nicklaus designs a course, you play it.

If you ask ten established hall-of-fame golfers to name the best player of all time, nine of them are likely to respond with “Jack”. The 10th is probably an imposter. Jack Nicklaus had an indelible impact on the game of golf; even to most non-golfers, this is common knowledge.

Most people fail to realize, however, that Jack has continued sculpting the game over a decade after the dust settled from his extensive career. He has been designing golf courses around the globe for over 30 years—exclusively since his retirement from tournament play in 2005.

In the process, he has established himself as one of the world’s top course designers. His unique perspective of the game can be seen in some of the most notable, well-designed golf courses in the world.


One such course is Stonewolf Golf Club in Fairview Heights. Stonewolf is not only the sole Jack Nicklaus signature course in the St. Louis area, it is one of only four shared between Illinois and Missouri. The course’s character embodies the Golden Bear’s passion for the game, and his desire to instill that same passion in golf’s posterity:

Designing a golf course is my total expression. My golf game can only go on so long, but what I have learned can be put into a piece of ground and that will last beyond me.

Whether you’ve won six green jackets, or recently bought one on sale at Burlington Coat Factory, Stonewolf promises a unique golfing experience. Still not convinced? Then just take Jack’s word for it:

[Stonewolf Golf Club] lends itself to some challenging and beautiful golf holes. What we have created is a golf course that is challenging enough for the good player, but not too difficult for the average player.


With this promise in mind, Stonewolf provides five yardage variations off the tee: (from shortest distance to longest): Front, Silver, White, Blue, and Black. Of course, with varying degrees of difficulty comes different ratings/slopes for each. Specifically (respectively): 67.8/115, 65.6/117, 68.4/123, 70.2/127, 73.5/137. The “Front” tee box has a par 71; the four remaining tees play as a par 72. From the back tees, the course plays right around 7,000 yards, while it is just shy of 5,000 yards from the front tees.

If you’re looking to conquer Stonewolf’s toughest challenge, you’ll have eight holes to prepare. Number nine is a lengthy par four and the number one handicap hole: with tee boxes ranging from 447 yards from the “tips” to just over 300 yards from the “front” tees. This hole encapsulates what it takes to be a great golfer—a complete game combined with a good head on your shoulders.

This hole challenges just about every aspect of your game—physical and mental components alike. And if you’re not long off the tee, you’ll be looking at a long iron/fairway wood for your approach shot, which is into a bunker-guarded, angled green. Walk away with your par, and Jack will be proud.


Stonewolf’s rolling expanse is predominantly comprised of zoysia grass, with bent grass being utilized on the greens. Zoysia grass offers a range of benefits from low maintenance to superb playability. On weekdays, Stonewolf offers five different rates; specific rates can be found on their website at Weekday rates are broken down into five categories: regular, twilight (2:00-3:29PM), late twilight (3:30-4:59PM), late late twilight (5:00-5:59PM), 6PM and after (9 holes only), and an “all day” fee.

Discounted rates are also available for residents and seniors. Furthermore, season passes are offered for added savings. On the weekend and during holidays, the same five rates are offered, along with a 6th (mid-day) rate for tee times between 11:00am and 1:59PM. The course is open year-round, closing only on New Year’s Day and Christmas.

The Stonewolf staff understands that a worthy golf course is more than just a well-designed 18-hole layout. There’s a service experience factor to consider and the folks at Stonewolf work hard to make sure that experience is a memorable one. Aside from Stonewolf’s accommodating and professional personnel, its value-added amenities enhance the course’s already high perceived value, while fostering and enhancing customer loyalty.


For players looking to take their game to the next level, lessons are offered for golfers of all ages and skill levels in either group or individual settings with Stonewolf’s experienced club pro, Chris Bagwell.

On top of that. the Stonewolf clubhouse offers an array of golf gear from top brands like: Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, Callaway, Antigua, Ahead, Cleveland/Srixon, and Bridgestone. Additionally, event space is available for weddings, banquets, meetings, etc.

If an endorsement from a legend like Jack Nicklaus doesn’t convince you to visit this course, perhaps the promise of a memorable experience will. When you’re deciding where to take your game next, remember what Jack said and give Stonewolf a try.  Just check them out online at or call 618-624-4653.