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December 14, 2018

Even though we live in an area where the weather can sometimes makes it impossible to go to the range or play golf over the winter, we can still satisfy our itch to work on our golf games during the off-season. If you are a die-hard golfer who is unable to get away to a warmer climate this winter, you will need to find other ways to work on your game! Believe it or not, the winter season is the perfect time to improve a few neglected areas of your golf game including: putting, chipping, pitching practice, and even working on your full swing and setup from the comfort of your home.

Putting - All it takes is a smooth indoor carpet or a putting mat made of artificial turf with a hole. I highly recommend the putting mat pictured in this article, please let me know if you would like more information about it. If you do not have a nice mat like this one, you can always putt into a glass at the end of hallway, or you can purchase a metal putting cup. A great drill while putting indoors is to try to make three putts in a row from three, four, and five, all the way up to ten feet. The goal is to make three in a row before you can move to the next distance. Another drill is to put a quarter on top of your ball and keep your eyes on the quarter as it drops to the ground after you've hit the putt and completed your stroke. A training aid to help your putting path, such as alignment sticks for a putting track (pictured above), is also very helpful. Do you have a pre-putt routine? If not, now is the time to make develop one. I use a black sharpie line to help square up my putter head, this makes putting alignment just about automatic.

This awesome putting green from EyeLine Golf has one of the best rolling surfaces out there. It is the perfect size for your home or office. It is 2 feet wide and 10 feet long with one cup. Measuring 9 to 11 on the Stimp, it is a tour quality putting surface! 

Click Here for more information or to purchase this putting mat

Chipping and Pitching - As a junior golfer I would try to chip into a small net off of a mat in our finished basement. This was great practice because it forced me to have a good setup, become more accurate, and use proper technique because if I missed the net I ran the risk of breaking something! We also had a ping pong set in the basement and I soon discovered that a safer way to work on my chipping was to use ping pong balls. The damage you can do is little to none and you can get a great feel for creating backspin. Focus on a good setup with a narrow stance and weight forward, slight hinge during backswing to get the club up, strike down on the ball to pinch it off of the carpet, and maintain a firm left wrist position through impact. For pitching, give yourself a small obstacle to go over in order to force you to hit the ball higher with more hinge during the backswing.
Full Swing - If you have the space, set up a net and hitting mat in your basement or garage. Swinging in front of a mirror is one of my favorites; you get instant visual feedback on how you are doing. You should have an idea of what positions to look for during your backswing and downswing. Mirror work is also good for developing better posture at address. Work on a contrast drill in order to help your posture. First, setup with too much knee flex and a rounded back on purpose. Next, setup with no knee flex and standing very tall with your upper body. Now setup in between those two extremes and have a slight knee flex, bend over from the hip flexors while keeping your back flat and relaxing your head so your eyes are able to comfortably look down where the ball will be located. Our brains need contrast in order to develop these skills and the mirror will give you visual confirmation of what an athletic setup should look like and what the wrong way looks like as well.

This type of training can sometimes be more valuable than hitting a large bucket of balls on the range. So don't wait until the snow melts or the weather improves, you can do a lot to improve your golf game during the cold months. It's the consistency of doing a little something every day that makes the difference. You should also be setting your golf related goals for the 2019 season in order to motivate you to begin making a commitment for improvement. Contact me any time to setup a time for an assessment and game improvement planning session. I'm excited to help you achieve your goals and become my next success story!

Still looking for that special gift for the golfer in your life? Ask about gift certificate options for lessons and give the gift of lower golf scores!

"There's a difference between interest
and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you do it
only when it's convenient. When you're committed to something, you
accept no excuses - only results."

~ Kenneth Blanchard

April 2, 2018

Spring always signals new beginnings both in life as well as on the golf course. So will 2018 be the year that you accomplish your goals of breaking 100, 90, 80, or perhaps winning the club championship? Odds are that a major breakthrough will only happen if you significantly improve one or more aspects of your golf game. However, this does not necessarily mean that hitting the ball farther or spending more time on the practice area are the only answers to improving at this mysterious game we call golf! So, how do we get off to a great start this season? A thorough evaluation of the items listed below will ensure that you are addressing all areas of your game and making the necessary improvements this season. Here are my top 5 tips to get your game ready for the spring:

  1. Check your equipment. Do your clubs need to be re-gripped? How do the faces of your wedges look, are the grooves worn down? Take the time to schedule a club fitting in order to make sure you are playing the right clubs for your swing and your game. If you are not hitting your driver consistently or far enough, you may benefit from a driver fitting to increase the launch angle and reduce backspin. I use a FlightScope Launch Monitor that enables me to give you the necessary feedback to fit your equipment properly and also determine if you have any major yardage gaps in between clubs.

  2. Get your mental game in check. Take some time to read some books on how to practice and how to think both on the golf course and while you practice. There are some great books out there written by Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott that I would highly recommend along with Dr. Rick Jensen’s books. One of my personal favorites is “Golf is Not A Game of Perfect,” by Dr. Bob Rotella.

  3. Practice putting. Putting is something we can all improve on at any age or handicap. Practicing with the use of training aids like a putting arc or a mirror has proven to be very effective. Also, improving your speed control from longer distances or lag putting will help reduce or eliminate those dreaded 3 putts.

  4. Fitness. It is important to get your body ready from a physical conditioning standpoint to be ready for the spring season. I would highly recommend finding someone who is TPI Golf Certified. I recommend Dr. Chris Leib; he is a personal trainer in Ardmore. Fitness is important to prevent injuries and to help you hit it further!

  5. Lessons. It is important to find an instructor that you are comfortable with and will teach in a simple and concise way so you are not overwhelmed. Taking lessons or participating in group coaching programs should be fun and if you put in the time to practice in between coaching sessions, you will see improvement quickly.

So get to work on these five items and I can guarantee you that you will enjoy the spring golf season more and play to your potential.  As I always remind my students, playing better golf is more fun!

“Golf is a science, the study of a lifetime, in which you can exhaust yourself but never your subject.”

~ David Forgan

April 5, 2017

We all realize that repetition of a skill will improve performance.  So practice is an essential ingredient in maintaining and improving your golf game. However, I have rarely come across an individual that practices correctly or has 8 free hours in a day to spend practicing! Practicing properly and with a purpose is the key to improvement. I recommend that you divide your time up about 50/50 between full swing on the range and time spent at the short game area. When practicing, there are 3 stages of training. The first is the warm-up; second is block practice; and the third is random practice.

Warm up. Warming up is just that and nothing more. Swing the club to loosen up and find your rhythm and balance. This is what you should do before playing a round of golf or at the beginning of your practice session. Before a round of golf, pick targets and hit different clubs. Get your body and mind ready for your round. This is not the time to work on swing changes!

Block Practice. This type of practice refers to the traditional way that we see golfers on a range practicing. Hitting twenty 7 irons at one target until you start feeling good about your swing! With this type of practice, the brain will tend to go on autopilot and golfers generally do not transfer what they are working on to the golf course. The reason it is difficult to take your range game to the course is because only doing block practice will not challenge the golfer to go through the problem solving process that we go through on the course. At the same time, all golfers need to make sure that they have a good setup and are performing their proper swing technique. It is similar to a mechanic checking to make sure the engine is working properly. Once all is in order, then the player can progress to random practice.
Random Practice. Now the real learning begins and discipline is very important. Every single shot during a round of golf is different; no two shots are ever the same. They may be similar, but are always different. We need to duplicate the problem solving process that we go through in practice in order for our range game to transfer to the golf course. The process that we go through on the course looks like this: 1) read 2) plan 3) do. In step 1, we are reading the lie, wind direction, and getting our yardage. In step 2 we are planning the shot to play and we have to choose a club, shot shape, and trajectory. In the final step, we execute the shot. Try to establish a routine in practice that mirrors this 3-step process.

Do not to hit the same shot two times or more in a row. Jump around with club selection, shot shape and distances. Keep it interesting and play a game. One great range game is called imaginary fairway. Create an imaginary fairway about 30 yards wide using flags or trees. Hit 14 drives, but the catch is that you must hit one different club to a different target in between each tee shot. This is more realistic to playing a round of golf. Keep track of your total fairways hit out of 14 and try to improve that score next time.

Our adult group-coaching program, Golf 180, has proven that the most effective way to train is by practicing in a manner that will help you transfer your skills to the golf course. The results speak for themselves: out of 31 players going through Golf 180 last season, a total of 26.4 strokes were dropped. That's an average of 0.85 strokes dropped from their handicap indexes with one golfer dropping 7.2 strokes off of their index! Goals were met or exceeded and personal best record scores broken. The different drills and games were fun and engaging. Most importantly, it got students practicing properly on a regular basis.

The discipline that you show in your practice will soon become evident on the golf course. Practice smart, you will enjoy your time on the range more and your golf game will be more enjoyable because you will shoot lower scores.

"The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important"

~ Bobby Knight

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