After the thunderstorms finally passed on Wednesday afternoon at Kiawah Island, players scrambled to practice — it’s been difficult because of the multiple weather delays Monday-Wednesday.
I walked the back nine with K.J. Choi, Charlie Wi and Aaron Baddeley (appreciate it, guys!)the best way to get to know a course. I took pictures of all the holes from the tees. I’ve done my best to upload as many as I can in the gallery below, but I’ll put the rest on Flickr and/or Facebook.
I also took a few videos, too. Here’s one of Aaron Baddeley showing Charlie Wi how to hit a wedge out of the deep rough…watch and learn, folks.
Next, K.J. Choi, an excellent bunker player, gives Charlie a lesson (yes, he got a few on Wednesday). Apparently, K.J. “loves” teaching people how to hit bunker shots, according to a guy who works with Australian Steve Bann, K.J.’s swing instructor. He said, “Wait, you have to watch this…” Unfortunately, I couldn’t understand what he was saying because they were speaking in Korean. Afterward, Charlie translated the gist of it: K.J. uses all his energy to hitting the sand (about an inch or two) behind the ball and the follow-through is a by-product of the momentum.
K.J. gives a “sandy area” lesson:
Here now, K.J. uses a hybrid to putt his ball from one of the run-off areas. It’s tough to use a putter because of the paspalum grass — it’s kind of sticky and grabby because it stands straight up.
Random bunker talk — remember there are no BUNKERS at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island this week. They’re being played as “sandy areas” and you can ground the club and you don’t have to rake. It’s very strange because there are tons of actual bunkers and it’s kind of ridiculous that you can “test the surface” (which is normally a penalty if you ground your club in a bunker). I understand that there are sandy areas that are tough to define, but there are a lot of normal bunkers on the course. This is a major championship. Absurd.
Also, the fact you don’t have to rake the bunker after hitting your shot creates a lot of gray area. Caddies are going to rake, but they’re probably not going to do as thorough of a job as usual in some circumstances. There’s also the possibility of players telling their caddies NOT to rake or to do a sloppy job. Hopefully everyone will be considerate and there won’t be any major problems.
Another K.J. Choi short game clinic:
Finally, the photo gallery, which includes pictures of each hole from the back tees (I hope I didn’t miss one). Click on the images to enlarge and click that next image for the actual size.