In the Swing

By staff November 1, 2006

JACARANDA WEST COUNTRY CLUB has certainly gotten a lot of ink over the years, but if you haven’t played its championship course since it was redesigned by Chip Powell in 2004, it’s time you visited.

There are now 77 bunkers spotted over the 18-hole layout (measuring 65,72 from the black tee markers and 5,746 from the white tees). Each is strategically placed, so there’s a very high premium on accuracy, especially since water hazards also lurk and will surely swallow up an off-line drive or approach shot.

Golfers of all handicap levels, but particularly single-figure players, will appreciate the TifEagle Bermuda greens, since they’re slick enough to give you the feeling of putting on bent green surfaces so common “up North.”

Jacaranda demands that you wear proper golf attire (no jeans or tank tops), including soft spikes. Tee times can be booked two days in advance, and golf and social memberships are available. 1901 Jacaranda Blvd., Venice, (941) 493-2664.


If you feel you’re among foreigners because you can’t understand what your playing partners are talking about on the course, it’s time to learn the common language of the links: “Golf-speak.” This crash course should help you become more of a golfing linguist and impress your fellow SarasotaCounty golfers.       

Appearance: You earn an appearance point when you win the previous hole and earn the honor on the following tee.

Bullet: Low-flying shot that bores into a strong headwind.

Carry: Distance measured from the place where the club contacts the ball to the point it first hits the ground.

Hole-out: Hitting the ball into the hole from anywhere on the course.

Knife: Short for one-iron.

Lie: The angle the club’s shaft makes with the ground when the club is soled or sitting in its natural position, or the position of the ball (i.e., uphill lie).

Snap hook: A bad shot that flies severely from right to left, usually hit by a player who tries too hard to wind the ball around a hole that curves or “doglegs” left.

Toe: The part of the club-head farthest from the golfer when he or she stands at address.


I’ve worked on instructional articles and books with golf’s most elite tour professionals and teachers. Ironically, however, the best tip I ever received for curing the problem of “topping” fairway-metal clubs was given to me by Class A professional Mike Toale, based at Village Green Golf Club, right here in Sarasota on Beneva Road.

Should you ever run into a slump and start hitting fairway clubs along the ground, chances are you are changing your spine angle during the swing, as opposed to the position it was in when you originally bent over at address. This fault causes the club to rise up at impact, so that instead of hitting the back center portion of the ball you hit the top of it.

To cure this problem, try this drill Mike teaches to students.

Place a tee peg in the ground. Select a fairway-metal club. Next, simply swing down and through, trying to brush the tee and knock it out of the ground. After about 10 shots, you will learn the art of staying down during the swing.


Want to win more matches without changing your swing? Learn the rules of golf set down by the United States Golf Association. To get off to a good start, know how to take relief from a cart path.

Situation: Player A finds her ball on a cart path, which she knows is considered an immovable obstruction. She also knows that, in this course situation, a free drop is allowed by the rules.

Common mistake: Player A correctly considers the area of nearest point of relief before dropping the ball within one club-length from that point and no nearer the hole. After the drop, the lie is such that she has to keep one foot on the cart path to play the shot. She decides to play the shot anyway, because the lie is so good. The ball lies on one of the few areas of grass in a very sandy area.

Player A is not allowed to keep one foot on the path after her drop, according to Rule 24-2. This breach costs her a two-stroke penalty.

Correct procedure: When taking relief from a cart path, you must take complete relief. In short, both of your feet must be off the cart path.


Four of Clubs is a golf game bound to make you concentrate so intently that you’ll feel like you’re playing chess on the course. This is a fun game that will also help you improve your shot-making. Here’s how it works:

Put simply, players must play with only four clubs and improvise many shots. A player might choose, for example, a driver, seven-iron, pitching wedge, and putter as his set. It’s up to the player to choose what four clubs to play with, based on figuring out how many different type shots he can hit with them. The player with the low score at the end of 18 holes wins.

Specialty of the Clubhouse

With the holidays approaching and the golf season getting into full swing with friends and fellow members who’ve been away for awhile, it’s the right time to present a unique champagne “VGC” drink—a favorite libation of Tony Lema, the legendary golf professional who loved Florida and champagne. After every win on tour, he opened bottles of bubbly.


Half ounce lemon juice

Dash of sugar syrup

Dash of grenadine

Half ounce vodka

Half ounce gin


Shake with crushed ice and strain into a champagne glass. Fill with champagne.

John Andrisani is the former senior instruction editor of Golf Magazine and the author of nearly 30 books, including his latest, Tiger’s New Swing.

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