Get Better STAT!

I’m proud to say that, I played golf for Penn State in college.  The best golfer to graduate from the Penn State Women’s golf team is currently on the LPGA Tour, her name is Katie Futcher.   My college coach, Denise St. Pierre,  shared this visual with me, it’s the one that Katie uses. Ever since I have used it to evaluate my game. 

If you did not get a chance, my last two postings were titled “the need for speed” and “hit your mark”.
In this visual, the red box represents the fairway and the circle represents the green.  In conjunction with the accuracy/distance blog,  the red line down the middle of the fairway represents the accuracy line (how accurate are you hitting your tee shot?)  The end of the box bisects the middle of the green. This portion of the box will represent your distance control on the green. Since the diagram is a circle, every green will not look like this,measure your statistics as if the center of the circle is in relation to the hole.  From here, plot each shot you take during the round.

This is an example of 9 holes,  the numbers with astricks  *  represent your approach shots.   At the end of your round you can evaluate which area you tend to miss a shot.  

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Megan Padua is a PGA Certified Instructor, LPGA Member, TPI Level 2 Junior Golf Certified, a TPI Level 1 Golf Professional, Coutour Certified Putter Fitting Professional,  and a Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix

A Public Split

Hank Haney and Tiger Woods

There’s a bit of a buzz around the golf world with the news of Hank Haney’s book release chronicling their time spent together as player and coach.  Scheduled to release the week before The Masters in, Haney’s book should give great insight on the day to day practice regimen that Woods has been noted for, but never allowed the public to see.  Only Hank and a handful of others have ever been inside of Tiger’s inner circle, and it will be interesting to see Woods’ reaction to what Haney feels is a “fair” representation of their relationship together.

There are a few people out there calling Haney unprofessional, unethical, and untrustworthy for breaking the client/patient privacy agreement.  Haney claims that he didn’t even have a contract with Tiger regarding their coaching agreement, so no harm done.  I for one am very interested to find out what’s in the book, and commend Haney for telling a story that many would like to hear.  Is he capitalizing financially on his relationship with one of the most popular figures on the planet?  Of course he is, and I don’t blame him for one second.  What are your thoughts?  Will you read it?  Do you think it’s unethical?

Aaron Olson is Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix. In addition, he is Assistant Director of Nike Junior Golf Camps hosted at the Pebble Beach Resorts on the Monterey Peninsula.  Click Here for more information on private and group coaching with Aaron and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff.

Fats and Tops No More!

Today’s post will focus on two large pieces that I focus on with students who are having trouble controlling their low point, or where the club is bottoming out and hitting the ground.  I talked last week about the order in which a player should learn how to play the game, or where a player should look first when they are struggling to make solid contact with the golf ball.  The easiest way to check this or practice this first fundamental to playing the game of golf is to scratch or paint a line on the ground, and see if you can take small divots on the forward or target side of that line.  If you’re having trouble doing this, or not hitting the ground at all, here’s two tips to get you on the right track.

Where’s the Weight?

Often times golfers shift their lower body, upper body, or their overall weight profile too far back or away from the target in the backswing, and fail to return their centers of gravity far enough forward in the downswing.  The golfer on the left in the picture below is a great example of this.  He has shifted everything back behind the ball, severely complicating contact.  The golfer on the right has kept his weight centered, and turned his shoulders in a circle without moving them back behind the ball.  He is poised in a position to make contact with the ground slightly ahead of the golf ball, over, and over again.

Weight Forward

Now let’s take these two golfers just past the impact position.  Our higher handicap golfer on the left has failed to transfer his weight back to the golf ball, and hasn’t made contact with the ground at all.  Although he makes contact with the golf ball and gets this shot airborne, it’s not a reliable way to move your ball around a golf course.  Our centered golfer on the right has continued to push his lower body weight onto the target side of the golf ball, helping ensure a correct downward strike, and a nice shallow divot in the green light zone!

Golf Impact

 

Lean it Forward!

We’ve covered the weight portion which helps control the low point of the golf swing, but there’s one other major piece that I look for when a golfer is hitting fat or thin shots and struggling with contact.  You can see in the picture above how there’s a nice angle formed between the right forearm and the clubshaft in the lower handicap golfer on the right.  He hasn’t scooped, flipped, or tried to lift the ball up into the air like the golfer on the left.  Now let’s fast forward a few frames and take a look at the picture below.  Our green light divot golfer on the right has maintained that angle, and by doing that helped control the low point of his swing.  The scooper on the left has dumped out that angle, and combining that flipping motion with his weight behind the golf ball has bottomed his swing out well behind the golf ball.  To combat this move, most golfers will start to lift up or pull their arms apart so they don’t hit it fat.

Handle Forward

Armed with a better understanding of these concepts, see if you can better control your low point during your next range session.  If you’re one of those golfers who moves off of the ball in the backswing, try to keep more weight on your front foot and make a centered shoulder turn.  If you’re a flipper or scooper at impact, setup with the handle of your club leaning a little more forward, keep pushing your weight towards the target, and hit some half shots trying to maintain that angle through impact.

Aaron Olson is a Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix. In addition, he is Assistant Director of Nike Junior Golf Camps hosted at the Pebble Beach Resorts on the Monterey Peninsula.  Aaron has been fortunate to learn from PGA Tour Instructors Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer.  Click Here for more information on private and group coaching with Aaron and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff.

Trim Golf

2012 is almost here! What will be your new year’s resolution?

With the Trim Golf attitude, You can shave strokes off your game in 2012.

Dropping strokes on your game is a lot like losing weight.   It’s not always easy but if you can take off a little here and a little there you will eventually notice a difference over time.

My college golf coach, created a goal for us by coming up with a group called “The One Shot Club”  it was our mission to be a part of it.   The concept is, if each player could drop one stroke, as a team we would drop 5 strokes and that could be the difference between winning and losing.   There are many different areas where you can drop this stroke.   However, if you could drop one stroke in each area,  you would maximize your improvement.   What if you improved your putting by one stroke this year?  What if you improved your mental game by one stroke,  your  fitness ability by one stroke, your short game by one stroke, What if you saved one less drive from flying out of bounds?   Instead of trying to drastically improve one area of your game focus on how you can get just one stroke better.  

This year, I want you to take a look at what you want in your game, set a goal and make it happen!  Take out a piece of paper, write it down, and plan all the areas that you can trim one stroke.  We know that you can do it!

Megan Padua is a Coutour Certified Putter Fitting Professional, a PGA Certified Instructor, LPGA Member, TPI Level 2 Junior Certified and a Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix

Green Light Divots!

One thing that I feel separates better players from poorer players is the ability to hit the ground in the same spot every time, and to hit the ground forward enough to ensure solid contact, consistent trajectory, and a predictable curve.

I’ve been fortunate enough to learn from two brilliant instructors, Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer, and their way of measuring the golf swing, named Stack and Tilt.  Andy and Mike presented this ability to control where the club hits the ground as Fundamental #1, and it’s a great place to start assessing your game.  I am also thrilled to be working alongside Martin Chuck, inventor of the Tour Striker Training Aid.  Martin’s teachings, along with the Tour Striker, promote a forward leaning shaft, the correct angle descent into the ground, and a consistent low point in front of the golf ball.

At all of our golf schools we test the players ability to do this by scratching or painting a line on the ground, and have the students hit balls to see how their low point control is.

The picture below is from our last Tour Striker Golf School at the Raven Golf Club – Phoenix.  This is a divot patch from one of the students at the beginning of the school.  Notice how some are back behind the line, in the red light zone, while some are right on the yellow line, and others are in front of the line, in the green light zone.  Our goal by the end of the school is to get every divot in front of the painted line, all in the green!

Compare the higher handicap picture above, to the lower handicap picture below.  Notice the consistency of the divot pattern in the green light zone!  As handicaps get lower, the ability to control the centers of the swing and angle of the shaft at impact lead to consistent contact.  To make this point more clear, check out the video at the bottom of the page, and notice where the club is hitting the ground.



Next time you go out to the range, scratch a line in the ground and see how your low point stacks up.  You can even do this without a ball in your backyard, just OK it with your husband or wife beforehand!  If you’re hitting behind the line in the red light zone frequently, or not hitting the ground at all, then you’ve got some work to do.  Check out next Wednesday’s blog where I discuss some important factors in controlling the bottom of your golf swing, so we can move all of your divots into the green light zone!

Aaron Olson is Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix. In addition, he is Assistant Director of Nike Junior Golf Camps hosted at the Pebble Beach Resorts on the Monterey Peninsula.  Click Here for more information on private and group coaching with Aaron and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff.

Divvy Up!

At The Raven Golf Club – Phoenix, we are very fortunate to have a large grass driving range to hit golf balls from.  The divot etiquette is something that you may or may not be familiar with.  If you can make a small adjustment to the way you practice, you will help keep your course in great condition.  Remember that the goal is to hit the golf ball and then the ground.  This video will introduce the appropriate process for preserving grass while practicing on the driving range.

Megan Padua is a Coutour Certified Putter Fitting Professional, a PGA Certified Instructor, LPGA Member, TPI Level 2 Junior Certified and a Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix

1,2,3… Routine is Key (Part 2)

Practicing your golf game is about a lot more than hitting a whole jumbo basket of balls! The quality of your practice is not measured by the amount that your hands ache at the end.  Developing effective practice is about having a purpose to everything you do.

I believe that some of your best practice is in front of a mirror, understanding how your body works. The pre-shot routine is a series of steps that get the golfer prepared to execute the golf shot.

“Do you want to hit the shot the same everytime? This is how you can measure to the ball and give yourself the best chance of repeating the motion each and every time.”

The pre-shot routine covers many of the fundamental components of the setup and can seem like a lot of thoughts when you are first introduced. However, the pre-shot routine requires practice just like your golf swing does.   Once your routine becomes a repetitive process, you will no longer have to think about any of those components.

This video is an example of a pre-shot routine;  here is a list of the process that this golfer went through.

1. Practice Swings- Take 1-2 swings to loosen up

2. Grip; Check to make sure the left hand grip is in the fingers then place the right and on and it covers the thumb of the left hand.

3.  Pick a Target; Then walk in from three feet out, this assures that you will set up parallel to your target line.

4. Feet Together- This step squares your body to your alignments.

5. Bow to the ball- This sets your posture and distance from the ball (measure to the ball).

6. Set the Left foot- According to the club you have selected, what is the ball position that you want?

7. Set the Right foot for stance width.

8. Waggle to relieve tension.

9.  Hold the finish!

In the great book “Every Shot Must Have A Purpose” by Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott,  they talk about a “Think Box” and a “Play Box”.   This is the idea that when you are behind the ball you can socialize but when you cross the decision line, you must commit to your pre-shot routine and all outter influences come to a stop.

These essential components of your setup will effect the way you strike your golf ball.  If you can commit to a pre-shot routine you will be able to commit to executing your golf shot.     The pre-shot routine varies depending on the individual.  Many debate that taking practice swings or having a routine will take too long, however, this routine will actually allow you to commit to your shot and execute it more efficiently.

Megan Padua is a PGA Certified Instructor, LPGA Member, TPI Level 2 Junior Certified and a Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix

Over or Under?

Practicing your short game by yourself can get tedious at times, so here’s a fun way to add variety and control to your shotmaking around the greens.  Grab yourself a pool noodle and two dowels and build yourself a “limbo” bar.  From there, practice hitting both low and high shots with different wedges, ball positions, clubface angles, and handle locations.  Try to hit shots under the noodle, over the noodle, and for a challenge try to hit the noodle itself.  You’d be amazed at how many shots you can hit with one club using these variables.

One thing I like to do to keep my ball position and stance width in check around the greens is to use a sleeve of balls as a measuring tool.  Notice the ball position in the left pictures for the lower shot vs the ball position on the right for the higher shot.  It’s very easy to get the ball too far back in your stance for a basic chip shot and start stabbing at the ball, so using the sleeve is an easy way to stop that from happening.

Practicing this way around the greens gives you an awareness of what your hands are doing at impact and gives you a feel for using the leading edge of the golf club vs. the bounce.  Teach yourself how to hit these shots with the noodle and I guarantee you’ll start to see more up and downs on the golf course as well!

Aaron Olson is Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix. In addition, he is Assistant Director of Nike Junior Golf Camps hosted at the Pebble Beach Resorts on the Monterey Peninsula.  Click Here for more information on private and group coaching with Aaron and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff.

Perfect Pitching!

Jeff Ritter demonstrates a simple tip for improving contact on your pitch shots! For more great video lessons, check out the JRG/TSGA Channel on Youtube!

Jeff Ritter is a coach, author and speaker specializing in peak performance and life inspiration! In 2010 he was named by Golf Digest Magazine as one of the “Best Young Teachers in America!” Click Here for more information on private and group coaching with Jeff Ritter, Martin Chuck and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff.

Download the Jeff Ritter Golf App FREE from iTunes!

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