The gluteus maximus – glutes, to you and me – are the largest muscles in the body and are extremely important to the golf swing.
Sitting down on them for long periods can cause them to be inactive and underused, which results in them weakening. This is not great news for the golf swing as they are a powerful hip extensor – along with the hamstrings – so are crucial for sports and athletic movement and performance.
Stronger glutes aid in golf performance as they:
Help to stabilise the hips and pelvis
Pelvic and hip stability is important in the golf swing as it helps to reduce lateral or excessive lower body movement, particularly in the backswing.
As the upper body and shoulders rotate into the backswing, the pelvis should stay stable to allow internal rotation into the hip. This allows the golfer to create coil and elasticity in the backswing, which can be used to generate speed to the club in the downswing.
Stability is also key for posting into the lead leg on the downswing as the upper body continues to rotate through impact and beyond.
Maintain posture through the swing
Being able to hinge at the hips and maintain this position as you rotate around it through the swing is linked to glute strength.
Maintaining posture allows the golfer the space needed to be able to use the legs to generate power and be consistent in striking the ball.
Generate power through extension in the downswing
The ground is a major power source for the speed produced in the golf swing and this has to come from the legs initially. Having the ability to transfer this force from the ground relies on a big push into it from the legs.
The force then comes back through the legs and results in a powerful extension of the hips – from the glutes – which is subsequently transferred into the trunk and golf club.
So if you feel you have spent far too much time sat down over the last few months and you want to maximise your golf performance, check out this 10-minute glutes workout that you can do at home.
About Rachael Tibbs
Rachael Tibbs is a TPI L2 certified golf fitness professional based in Leeds, specialising in golf-specific strength and conditioning.
She is currently offering a progressive and structured programme aimed at improving glute and core stability – why not check out her 16-week online programme?
Forget what Bryson DeChambeau is doing for a moment – hitting 250 drives a day at maximum speed – and remember that a strong short game is the key to shooting lower scores. Most amateur golfers would be better off working on those more delicate shots.
Mastering the basics will go a long way to improving your performance on and around the greens – but what are they and how else can you become more proficient in this crucial area of the game?
PGA Master Professional Keith Williams offers five ways to improve your short game.
1. Nail the fundamentals
For distances of 25-40 yards, remember that a smooth, co-ordinated swing action is key to gaining both the distance and direction control needed to get the ball close.
Generally speaking, the backswing and follow through distances should be approximately equal, and the speed of the swing one of smooth acceleration. In other words, there should be no panic and sudden effort to try and hit the ball.
Set up with the weight slightly favouring the lead foot and retain this position throughout the swing. You should feel that the hands, arms, and upper torso work together and that you turn through impact to face the pin. I like to see players standing ‘tall’ and balanced on the forward foot, with the hands and arms positioned opposite the middle of the body.
2. Use less loft pitching from fluffy rough
Assuming you’re fairly close to the green, shots out of the fluffy rough can be quite intimidating. In this situation, you require elevation and distance control of both the airborne and roll aspects of the shot.
My advice would be to not always choose your most lofted wedge. Instead, use a mid wedge (50-54 degrees). Position the ball off the inside of the back foot, with your weight slightly favouring the lead foot.
Next, open the clubface slightly so that the bounce of the sole of the club is more exposed. You want to execute a smooth, simple pitching swing – approximately waist-high back will be enough.
Avoid trying to help the ball out of the grass. Instead, allow the clubhead to descend smoothly and contact the grass fractionally behind the ball – yes, behind it!
If you make contact with the ball first, you’re likely to thin or top it. The idea is to allow the club to move down under the ball. What you’re looking to do is ‘gather it up’, to send the ball up softly and control its route to the flag.
Watch the pros and you’ll see they have this wonderful smooth swing action, with the hands, arms, and body working in harmony.
3. Work on your bunker basics
If you have a decent lie in a bunker, you should have nothing to fear.
Select your most lofted wedge (usually 56-60 degrees). Your stance must be wider than normal, and the knees should be more flexed to help you feel you’re slightly squatting down into the ground. Get a good footing in the sand itself. Now ‘open’ (left for right-hander) your stance just a little and position the club ever so slightly opposite (to the right).
Get your weight towards the front foot and keep the ball forwards in your stance (inside forward heel). You want to use the bounce of the club correctly so that it travels down, under the ball, and through the sand efficiently to help elevate the ball softly upwards and on its way towards the flag.
You’ll need a longer swing than for a pitch shot, as the impact into the sand will slow down the speed of the club. Think of the hands as swinging from shoulder height back to shoulder height through.
It requires smooth acceleration, and you should keep your weight forwards and turn the body to face the flagstick as you swing through.
4. Groove a centred strike
It’s crucial to strike your putts from of the centre of the clubface, as this will impact distance and direction. To improve your strike, I recommend trying this drill.
Start three feet away from the hole with three balls. Before hitting the first putt, position two tee pegs, one on each side of the putter head, just wide enough for the club to pass through during the stroke.
Then, position each ball in the centre of the putter face and make your normal stroke. If you hit the ball cleanly, then you’ve struck the ball in the sweet spot of your putter. If you catch a tee peg on either the heel or toe of the putter, your stroke is incorrect. In this instance, you won’t get the best roll and you’ll lose control of the ball.
Carry on moving away from the hole in three-foot increments up to 15 foot, each time marking out the putting gate with your tees. It can come as a surprise to learn how your strike is sometimes off-centre. However, this drill is really effective in helping you to groove a better stroke. Give it a go and you’ll soon start holing more putts.
5. Putt from the apron
It’s almost always a safer and more reliable strategy to use a putter from the apron, assuming it’s a decent grass surface.
In this situation, try to make a longer and smoother putting stroke to allow for the grass on the apron being a few millimetres longer than the green itself. Employing this strategy can have a dramatic effect on your putt speed if you have quite a length of apron to go over.
This is something you need to practise, as getting the knack of judging the two speeds – apron and green – is the secret. However, you should find it to be a more consistent and reliable way to get down in two.
As much as we’d all like Rory McIlroy’s practice facility in our own back garden, most of us have to take a trip to the driving range. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could hit balls at home?
Well, you can with a golf practice net, and whilst it’s always nice to see your ball flight when it leaves the clubface, this is the next best thing.
Think of all the times you’ve deliberated over going to the range, only to let the moment pass – which is just no good if you want to get better.
Here, we’ve selected the best golf nets that you can use at home all year round. Whether you’re looking for a low-cost chipping net or full swing driving bay, these nets can help make you a better, more consistent player.
This 50cm chipping net, which features a pop-up construction for easy set-up, is perfect for indoor and outdoor use. It also comes with a carry bag for storing and transporting to and from your practice area. At £14.95, it’s not going to break the bank. Who knows, it might end up being the most important equipment purchase you make this year.
This is not just any old chipping net, but one featuring the PGA Tour logo that’s sure to give you that added inspiration. With its 20” diameter hoop, it’s not designed to try and catch your attempts at a Tiger Woods stinger; it’s better used to get a feel for short shots prior to teeing off, or for messing around with in the garden. When you’re finished, it’s easy to fold down to a compact size.
Now we’re talking. This is the driving net all serious golfers should have in their back garden. Measuring 7ft high by 10ft wide, it won’t allow even your wildest shots to escape. It’s manufactured from highly durable materials, so you can hit thousands of balls and be sure that it will last. It’s easy to assemble and once it’s up, you’ll have no excuses for being rusty.
Here’s a net for every aspect of your game – driver, iron play, and chipping. The beauty of this product – which measures 214cm (height) x 305cm (width) x 153cm (depth) and features a lightweight fiberglass frame – is its three different target nets, which allows you to play games and challenge your accuracy. The frame and ground sheet are easy to set up, and it even comes with a set of driving and chipping tips to help you get started.
All the sports performance gurus out there will tell you that you need to practise with a purpose – and this net will help you do just that. It features five target pockets, so you can challenge yourself with any number of short game exercises. Not only does this mean you can create a bit of pressure for yourself, but the targets can also be used to help you understand how to flight various chips and improve your feel for where to land certain shots. It expands to 65cm x 67cm x 70cm and folds down to 30cm x 30cm for convenient storage.
If you’re willing to spend more than £400 on a new driver, why not invest in a serious piece of kit to practise hitting it in? This is no ordinary net – it’s a 3m x 3m x 3m steel construction that can be used for a variety of sports with absolutely no worry of any balls escaping. So, as well as crunching drives at a target, the multi-talented athletes out there can use this robust product to practise pretty much any sport that involves hitting a ball.
There can’t be many nets out there that have quite so many targets to go at – 18 in total. With the Longridge Full Swing Practice Net, you won’t ever get bored of setting yourself goals and playing games to improve your accuracy and ball striking. It can be used for chipping, driving and iron play, and measures 305cm wide x 213cm high x 151cm deep.
For anyone looking for a pop-up net that won’t break the bank, this should be perfect. You can use it in the garden, in the office, or take it down to the short game area at your club in its lightweight, compact carry bag. The dartboard style targets are simple and, for many golfers, this is all that’s required.
This lightweight and portable chipping net may have a target, but it offers quite a generous space to chip in to. Therefore, you can play plenty of different games and adjust your difficulty level. The blue colour works well, too, and helps you focus on your target. Plus, because of this net’s size, there’s no reason you can’t use it indoors – although we’d always recommend using air balls, especially if you value your furniture.
We’re probably guilty of saying this every spring, but has there ever been a better time to invest in a shiny set of new irons?
Many of us will have spent the first three months of the year counting down the days until the golf courses reopened – but now we’re back in full swing, excuse the pun.
If you’ve popped into a golf store or had a browse around your pro shop, you’ll have probably noticed a new set of irons or two.
The temptation to invest in a new set of sticks is just too great – you need to scratch the itch.
To help you narrow down your search for a model that will suit your game, here, we look at the best golf irons of 2021.
Whether you’re new to the game and require a model offering plenty of forgiveness, or a scratch player demanding superior feel and distance control, there are some excellent models to choose from. Let’s check them out.
TaylorMade SIM2 Max Irons
TaylorMade has introduced two new game improvement irons this year – SIM2 Max and SIM2 Max OS. The former is a fraction smaller, with the larger head of the OS featuring even more offset.
The key piece of new technology sees the introduction of a ‘Cap Back’, which is made from high-strength stainless steel and lightweight polymers. The ‘Cap Back’ acts as a bridge to help the topline achieve optimum performance.
Meanwhile, the THRU-SLOT Speed Pocket on the sole allows more flexibility lower down on the clubhead and more speed generating distance. This flexibility gives the club its forgiveness, so mishits won’t be severely punished.
This feature will no doubt appeal to high handicappers and game improvers who struggle to strike the ball consistently out of the middle.
Titleist T200 Irons
The T200 irons are engineered for the player seeking distance, but they’re also one of the most versatile sets in Titleist’s line-up, offering a range of benefits to a broad range of golfers.
The head construction features Max Impact Technology and a forged L-Face to deliver improved feel and maximum ball speed performance, whilst a polymer core dampens vibration for improved sound and feel.
Compared to the T300, the T200 irons are slimmer and feature slightly less offset, which will appeal to better players. That said, they are sure to appeal to the improving player in search of game-improvement performance in a compact shape.
Callaway Apex MB Irons
Built for the best players in the game, the Apex MB irons were one of five new sets launched by Callaway at the start of the year. They feature a classic shape and style, with a traditional, thin top line, refined sole, compact blade length, and beautiful chrome finish.
Precision grooves are designed to promote the high level of control and consistent spin that muscleback players demand. In addition, a new weight in the centre of the clubhead allows swing weights to be precisely dialled in without sacrificing performance.
The Callaway Apex MB irons could well be the perfect fit for the better player seeking the ultimate in feel and shot-making.
TaylorMade P7MB Irons
Rory McIlroy’s weapon of choice is also a big favourite on Tour, so we’re talking about a set that’s designed for the accomplished ball striker.
The thin top line, minimal offset, and narrow sole won’t appeal to everyone, even if they do combine to make the P7MBs one of the most stunning sets on the market. These irons contain such features because they’re designed to provide workability and a superior feel.
They’re forged from 1025 carbon steel with a machine-milled face comprised of the most aggressive score lines in a TaylorMade iron for the ultimate in shot-making and control.
For those in search of true muscleback irons, the P7MB irons are well worth a try.
Wilson Staff D9 Irons
The powerful Wilson Staff D9 (‘D’ stands for distance) irons have been engineered with Power Hole 2.0 technology. This means that holes have been placed on the leading edge around the bottom of the sole to deliver more face flexing.
The new arrangement of power holes increases deflection and provides more energy transfer at impact to increase ball speed. The ultimate result is greater distance performance.
Elsewhere, Wilson has positioned the D9 iron with its lowest ever centre of gravity to improve launch and spin. For the user, this means more stopping power and greater workability.
Wilson Staff’s game improvement model is also a wallet-friendly option for higher handicap golfers. So, with those distance gains, you’re also going to save a few pounds versus if you bought from one of the other big brands.
Mizuno MP-20 Irons
No search for a new set of blades is complete without reviewing Mizuno’s offerings. The MP-20 irons’ design has been inspired by some of their finest blades, and feedback from Mizuno’s Tour players has led them to create one of the thinnest ever top lines.
The tapered topline and cambered sole allow a fuller spread of weight, which enhances vertical stability and forgiveness on strikes from high or low on the face. Meanwhile, a clever mix of satin and chrome on the clubhead has been introduced to stop any unwanted glare.
Only the most precise ball strikers will benefit from the distance consistency it will provide. But if you’re that player, the MP-20 irons should feature on your must-try list.
Ping G425 Irons
The Ping G425 irons are a contender for the best game improvement irons of 2021. They feature Variable Face Thickness design, which improves ball speed performance and launches shots further and higher.
This is commonly found in metalwood design, and the performance benefits will particularly appeal to game improvers in search of extra ball speed and carry distance. In addition, a tungsten toe screw and hosel weight expand the perimeter weighting to create impressive forgiveness levels.
The irons also boast a streamlined look. They’re smaller than the G410 irons overall, so have a slightly more compact appearance. At the same time, they should inspire confidence for those who need it.
Titleist T300 Irons
The Titleist T300 irons are built for maximum speed and forgiveness and offer a hot feel and high ball speed. As such, they’re perfect for game improvement.
Titleist’s Max Impact technology allows the face to be thinner, thereby improving launch, speed, and feel through the inclusion of a silicone polymer insert. A dampener behind the face also helps soften the feel, while a sole with more camber is designed to improve turf interaction and maximise forgiveness.
If you’re an improving player who’s in search of extra distance and more consistency, these irons can help you take your game to the next level.
Cobra Radspeed Irons
The clue is in the name with Cobra’s modern-looking new distance irons, which certainly catch the eye.
One of the main innovations sees 10g and 3g of mass positioned on the toe and heel extremities to create the best combination of speed, low spin, and stability for optimised performance.
Meanwhile, a 3D printed medallion reduces weight to lower the CG and reduces vibrations at ball impact to deliver a softer feel and more feedback response to the golfer.
What’s more, each iron has an electronically enabled sensor built-in to the top of every grip. This system is powered by Arccos and can be paired to your smartphone so you can track your performance and learn how to play smarter golf.
Callaway Apex Pro Irons
Callaway has every level of golfer well catered for with its comprehensive range of irons for 2021, with the Apex Pro irons aimed at the better player and single figure golfer.
These irons boast an Artificial Intelligence-designed Flash Face Cup and urethane microspheres in an all-new forged 1025 hollow body construction. Meanwhile, a Tungsten Energy Core includes up to 90 grams of tungsten per iron to improve launch characteristics while simultaneously improving forgiveness.
It ticks every box in terms of control, flight, and playability – and if you want all that in a classic looking club, you best give the Apex Pro irons a try.
Playing golf in the driving rain is hard enough, and it’s nigh-on impossible when your grips are drenched, and your glove is wet through. A reliable waterproof golf bag is worth its weight in gold, because if you can keep your clubs dry, you’ll be able to focus on what matters – hitting good golf shots.
In recent years, manufacturers have worked hard on their waterproof offerings, acknowledging that the UK golfer is faced with interchangeable weather conditions all-year-round.
Quite simply, if you’re going to buy a golf bag – stand or carry – you need it to be waterproof. Therefore, you should be paying attention to the fabric it’s made from and finding out whether it has sealed seams and zippers.
Of course, you also want a bag that ticks the other boxes: comfort, style, and usability.
There are models to suit all tastes and preferences, and you’re sure to find one that you like here.
This is our selection of the best waterproof golf bags of 2021.
This bag provides year-round protection with its fully seam-sealed waterproof design. Organisation is made simple with its four-way divider top system, whilst an integrated lift handle makes the lifting and transportation of this lightweight and stylish bag much easier. It also features five pockets: a velour-lined valuables pocket, ball pocket, cooler pocket, full-length apparel pocket, and an accessory pocket.
Sun Mountain’s extensive range of golf bags is so impressive that choosing one is very difficult. However, because you’re searching for a waterproof option, this is one you must check out. It’s new for 2021 and is so light and comfortable to carry – less than 4.5 pounds – Sun Mountain is confident it will tempt some trolley users back to carrying. It’s packed full of brilliant features, with incredible attention to detail applied in every department.
Mizuno doesn’t just manufacture premium irons – its latest bag range is also hugely impressive. Not only is the BR-DRI bag available in an array of eye-catching colours – the blue, silver, and red models are particularly smart – but it delivers excellent functionality. It’s lightweight and features six protected pockets, comfortable double shoulder straps, an external umbrella loop, and a matching rain hood. You shouldn’t need it, but for extra peace of mind, it also comes with a one-year waterproof guarantee.
Titleist bags always look easy on the eye – it’s probably the iconic Titleist font. This bag backs up its good looks with a wide range of impressive features. You have high-grade aluminium legs and advanced hinged bottom for stability and durability, whilst dual-density foam ensures long-lasting comfort. There are some fantastic colours to choose from, too – as well as the brand’s popular red and black combinations, there’s the striking blue/black/grey and charcoal/grey/apple options.
This bag features StaDry™ waterproof technology and seam-sealed waterproof zips to keep your golf clubs and accessories dry. It’s also constructed with abrasion-resistant materials for long-lasting durability. The bag has 14-way top cuff with full-length dividers for better club management, whilst seven forward-facing pockets provide plenty of storage space. So, if you need to remove all your wet weather gear, you have ample room in your bag if you go for this one.
Normally you’d associate trolleys and GPS devices with being ‘feature-packed’, but this cart bag is most certainly that. As the name suggests, it’s constructed from waterproof fabric, which is also durable and lightweight. In addition, it features thermo-sealed and heat-welded seams, easy‑open Japanese YKK zips, a waterproof rain hood, an internal umbrella sleeve, and seven spacious pockets.
This aptly-named bag features eight seam-sealed pockets (12 in total) and two ventilated mesh slip pockets for airing damp items. Meanwhile, the 15-way top offers the ultimate protection for your clubs, whilst integrated handles make transporting easy. It’s available in three colours and, whilst the light grey/black/white is really smart, by going for the scarlet/black or azure, you’ll be doing your bit to brighten up the fairways on those miserable, wet days.
BIG MAX has been one of Europe’s leading golf trolley manufacturers for more than 20 years, and it boasts an extensive range of innovative golf bags. The AQUA Tour 3 is 100% waterproof and is described by the brand as the ‘ultimate cart bag’. To assist you around the golf course, it has a glove, towel, and umbrella holder, plus a dedicated battery pocket. A single-padded shoulder strap makes it comfortable to carry short distances.
Callaway’s Hyper Dry is said to be 50% more waterproof than any of its previous models and boasts a multitude of features to keep all your gear dry, secure, and easy to access. It features eight pockets, including an insulated cooler pocket, and because it’s fully seam-sealed, it’s guaranteed to keep the elements out. Great attention has also been given to how the clubs are protected in the bag, with the inclusion of a new, non-stadium top that allows wedges to sit flush, eliminating hang. In addition, the 15-way top with individual full-length dividers and separate putter well prevent the shafts from knocking together.
TaylorMade’s Storm Dry features lightweight, waterproof construction, heat-welded seams, and thermo-sealed zippers to withstand the elements. The synthetic leather cuff and 14-way divider system, which has three full-length dividers and an integrated putter well, is designed to prevent snagging as you place or retrieve your equipment. Meanwhile, its trolley lock base system ensures your clubs stay firmly secured during the course of a round.
We take a trip through time and look back at the 10 most famous moments in Open Championship history. Where does the time go?
1. Seve’s jig
Seve Ballesteros, St Andrews, 1984
Golf’s archives are littered with iconic Seve moments – but this one might just top the lot.
When the “People’s Champion” – donning that smart navy sweater -holed a 15-footer at the last, he jigged on the spot and punched the air in delight.
It’s a celebration that still gives you goosebumps. Give it a go when you win your weekend roll-up… if you haven’t done so already!
2. Miracle man
Ben Hogan, Carnoustie, 1953
The American travelled to Scotland four years after his near-fatal car crash to compete in his one and only Open Championship – which, of course, he won.
The reigning Masters and US Open champion opened with a 73, and improved with each round, capping off a solid tournament with a birdie on the final hole and a course-record 68.
It was his ninth and final Major, and despite promising to return, he never did.
3. Wet wet wet
Jean van de Velde, Carnoustie, 1999
Who can forget this one? Van de Velde surrendered a three-shot cushion on the final hole and lost in the subsequent play-off.
Paul Lawrie took advantage, but it’s hard not to picture the hapless Frenchman wading around Barry Burn every time the 1999 Open is mentioned.
It was heartbreaking. Even now it’s hard to watch – go on, though, have a look back. Why the 2-iron… why?
4. Par for the course
Nick Faldo, Muirfield, 1987
Ah, yes, that bright yellow sweater. This wasn’t just the year of Faldo’s iconic jumper, however – the 116th Open will forever be remembered as the year Muirfield was ‘Faldoed’.
The Englishman carded 18 pars on his final round for a one-shot victory over Paul Azinger and Rodger Davis.
It was far from boring; when Faldo was asked a question, he did what he had to. Major number one of six was secured in professional style.
Tiger Woods, Royal Liverpool, 2006
Woods has three Open titles to his name, but his last, 13 years ago, was surely the most emotional.
Two months after his father, Earl, had passed away, no one knew for certain what kind of Woods would show up on Merseyside.
The great man put on a masterclass, however, and plotted his way around Hoylake with unerring precision.
A great outpouring of emotion followed on the final green, before Woods held the Claret Jug aloft.
6. Rocca’s heroics in vain
Constantino Rocca, St Andrews, 1995
Surely not, not from down there. Of course he holed it, this is the sort of thing that happens at The Open.
Rocca needed a birdie on the final hole to force his way into a play-off, but when he fluffed his chip shot into the Valley of Sin, the challenge looked done and dusted.
However, he followed up with one of the most extraordinary putts in Open history, finding the bottom of the cup from 65 feet.
It was a putt worthy of winning the Claret Jug. Sadly for the Italian, John Daly had other ideas.
7. The ‘Duel in the Sun’
Tom Watson & Jack Nicklaus, Turnberry, 1977
This was the year Watson edged Nicklaus in the thriller later dubbed the ‘Duel in the Sun’.
The Americans had made the final round a two-horse race and they quickly went about trading blows on a fiercely hot day.
Despite being three shots behind at one stage, Watson regrouped and took the lead for the first time on the 17th. He closed with a 65 to pip his great rival by a single stroke.
Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson played out their own epic battle at Royal Troon in 2016 – but has there ever been a greater duel than this one from 42 years ago?
8. Sanders’ agony
Doug Sanders, St Andrews, 1970
Sadly, Sanders’ missed putt is memorable for all the wrong reasons. The hesitation, the bending down to wisp away a wisp of dirt, and the desperate follow-through after he pushed his short putt for victory agonisingly past the hole.
Every time you watch it back, you somehow hope for a different outcome – unless, of course, you’re Jack Nicklaus. The Golden Bear won the 18-hole play-off the next day.
Tiger Woods, St Andrews, 2000
This was Woods’ first Open Championship victory – and his greatest. Quite simply, the 24-year-old was unstoppable in compiling rounds of 67, 66, 67 and 69 to win by eight shots.
En route to the second leg of the “Tiger Slam”, Woods never found a bunker. There have been plenty of dominant Tiger displays over the years, but this was one of his very best.
History repeats itself… almost
Padraig Harrington, Carnoustie, 2007
What is it about Carnoustie? Well, a treacherous 18th hole adds to the drama, and it’s witnessed plenty of that over the years.
Harrington must have had Jean Van de Velde on his mind as he stuttered down his final hole. He held a one-shot lead, before finding the water twice and racking up a double-bogey six.
However, the Irishman dodged a bullet when Sergio Garcia bogeyed the final hole, and he then came through a four-man play-off to become the first Irish winner of The Open since Fred Daly in 1947.
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