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YouTube Golf Gems Worth a Look

By Matt Hombach

Premium computer monitors and high-speed Internet connections have made viewing videos online a quick and easy entertainment option -- with serving as the main clearinghouse of online videos. From classic TV show and movie clips to homemade manifestos and masterpieces, almost anything can be found on the popular site.

What may surprise viewers is the sheer volume and interesting mix of golf-related videos available on YouTube. Next time you’re trapped at your desk on a sunny spring afternoon, turn to the Internet for a taste of what is happening outside. 
Some highlights:  

Phil’s Famous “Backflip” Flop Shot

This clip from 1992 features a much younger and slimmer Phil Mickelson showing off an amazing reverse flop shot. Facing away from the flag and green, Mickelson opens the face of his sand wedge and actually hits a towering flop shot backwards over a large trap and within a few feet of the pin. 

While this shot was filmed as part of a golf instructional show, it is still pretty spectacular and definitely worth a look.  

Mounds of Masters Memories

With the Masters just a week away, many golfers can only dream of azaleas and ultra-fast greens that are the hallmark of the famous Augusta National Golf Course. A couple of quick searches on YouTube will bring up a treasure trove of great clips from Masters past. From Jack Nicklaus’s birdies at No. 16 and 17 in 1986, to Tiger Woods' first win in 1997 and his famous Sunday chip-in on 16 in 2005, they’re all just a few clicks away.

Arnold Palmer Playing Tennis and Selling Cars

One rare clip that popped up after a YouTube search for “Arnold Palmer” featured the King in a 1974 television commercial for Cadillac. Instead of looking cool on the course in tailored slacks, Palmer is featured wearing short shorts and covering the baseline on the tennis court. There are also a number of old Cadillac commercials on the site featuring Lee Trevino and other golfing greats that are worth a look. 

Tons of Tips and Amateurs Looking for Advice

Perhaps the most surprising find on YouTube related to golf was the number of average golfers who video themselves hitting balls and then post it, looking for swing advice. From teens to retirees, there are hundreds of duffers who feel the need to share their swing with the world and ask for advice in the comments section of the site.

In addition, there are tons of enterprising golf pros who have posted short instructional clips on the site that range from the informative to the absurd. There are classic instructional clips featuring Ben Hogan and Nicklaus, and there’s also a die-hard golf pro from Arizona who gives a video lesson on hip turns from his basement.   

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

YouTube features more than 70,000 videos related to golf. Some final unexpected finds worth viewing include an amazing compilation of mini-golf trick shots by some enterprising college students (search under amazing golf shots), a clip of John Daly covering “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” with Hootie and the Blowfish and finally, Robin Williams’ classic bit on how a drunken Scotsman invented the game of golf.

Guns and Gators in New Orleans

With most of the big names in golf absent from the roster at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, most of the drama at the tournament was not golf-related.

On Tuesday of tournament week, famed Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme was grazed by a stray bullet as he was getting set up in a catering tent on the course. According to Col. John Fortunato of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, the bullet was likely fired randomly into the air within 1.5 miles of the course and was not aimed at the chef.

The celebrity chef initially thought he was stung by a bee, but when he examined the wound, a .22 caliber bullet dropped out of his shirt. To Prudhomme’s credit, he shrugged off the small arms fire and went right back to work cooking for the pros after getting patched up.

The day after the random gunshot, Davis Love III got a special visitor between the ropes during his Pro-Am round. After hitting his approach shot to the green, Love was greeted by an 8-foot alligator that tromped out of a nearby creek. After apparently checking to be sure Love wasn’t wearing alligator skin shoes, the free-ranging reptile was on his way. Love took the whole thing in stride and snapped a few photos with his cell phone camera before walking away, shaking his head.

Issue 3.15: April 10, 2008