In the Spotlight: Lexi Thompson

A couple weeks ago I went to the practice round at The RR Donnelley Founders Cup an LPGA tournament at the Wildfire Golf Club in Scottsdale.   It was a perfect opportunity to observe high caliber golf and practice routines of the tour players.

The highlight of my experience was being able to chat with Lexi Thompson’s dad.   She is a rising star on the LPGA tour who just won her first LPGA tournament at the age of 16.   In 2011 Lexi also won the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters.   The LPGA used to have a rule that you could not hold Professional status if you were younger than 18.  Lexi Thompson is the reason that rule was changed.  She has already made an impact on golf and that is only the beginning.

Lexi’s dad shared with me his secret of why he believes she has reached her level of talent.   He said “she has two brothers that are good golfers, she is always trying to keep up with them, she learned to hit it far and always tried to win.”   It is important in the process of getting better to play with people that are at a higher level.   You can learn a lot from them and it also pushes you to strive for a higher standard.

I hope that you enjoy watching this clip of Lexi’s swing and continue to follow her career as she continues to develop her game as an LPGA star.

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.

Match Time in Tucson

Today, I am at the Accenture Match Play World Championship in Tucson, AZ at the Dove Mountain Ritz Carlton Golf Course. The WGC- Accenture Match Play was established in 1999 and has been at Dove Mountain since 2009.  The field is comprised of the top 64 players from the official world golf ranking.   I am surprised how few spectator there are here, it is a great course to watch a tournament at.

What is match play?  Match play can be played against an opponent or teams.  If you make the same score as your opponent the match remains at all square.  If you lose or win you will go one point up or down.  This format of play is great because it allows the player to concede the hole if they have a blow up.  You will also see players say a putt is “good” and then the opponent will not have to putt it.  After the hole is complete the players are allowed to practice putting on the green.  The match concludes when the number of holes or opportunities to square the match is less than the deficit of points the player is ahead in the match.

Today there are 16 matches.  Tomorrow there will be eight matches.  Saturday will be the quarter-finals and Sunday will host two semifinal matches including a championship and a consolation match.

This is one of the few opportunities to watch the excitement of match play on the PGA Tour.  If you don’t get a chance to visit Tucson this week it will be aired on the golf channel.   Match Play competition is deep seeded in the tradition of the game and I encourage everyone reading this post to play match play with your playing partners on the course this week. Until then, I have more golf to watch! Have a great day.

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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

Smash 101

In this video is a great tip that Martin Chuck demonstrated during a Tour Striker Golf School at The Raven.  Many people make the mistake of setting up too close to the ball on the driver.   This is due to the optical illusion of the club sitting on the ground versus when it  is up in the air (which is where it will be during the strike).   If the ball were teed up at the height of a tee ball tee,  it would be necessary to set up much further away in order to hit the sweet spot at impact.   This tip will help you get more yardage off the tee and keep your driver in the fairway.

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

In the Spotlight: Kyle Stanley

Today’s post is dedicated to Kyle Stanley.  Congratulations to him on his first PGA Tour victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open yesterday!  In a time of adversity, Kyle dug down deep to find greatness.

Who is Kyle Stanley? Kyle isn’t just a young kid that won a PGA event in Phoenix,  he has a record of excellence and will be someone that we will hear more and more about as he continues to shake up the PGA Tour.

Kyle Stanley has always possessed an incredible amount of talent.  When Kyle was 17 he went to TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) for the first time and his ball speed 186.  His ball speed today is 175.  In high school Kyle won 4 AJGA events and won the Southern Amatuer two times. When Kyle was a freshman at Clemson University he established 18 individual scoring records.  During his college career, Stanley was the only Clemson golfer in history to finish in the top 10 at 3 different NCAA National Events.  He joined DJ Trahan and Jonathan Bird in the Clemson history books as one of three to win 3 consecutive First Team All ACC awards.  As a sophomore in 2007,  he played on the Walker Cup Team.  In 2009, as a senior in college, Kyle won the Ben Hogan Award as the best amateur player.  After completing his last year of college golf Kyle turned Professional in 2009.

Last Sunday, 24-year old Kyle Stanley was brought to tears at Torrey Pines after a devastating loss after leading the Farmers Insurance Open by seven shots in the final round.   As he stood on the 18th tee box, he had a four shot lead and preceded to make a triple bogey and then lost in the playoff to Brandt Snedeker.   Did he crumble under pressure?  Not necessarily…

Though he could have and maybe should have gone for the hole in two shots,  he laid up which most would say is the right play in this situation.  He put a little too much spin on his approach shot which would have panned out differently if it landed a few feet further.   Instead the ball trickled into the water.   He ended with a three-putt from 45 feet away from the hole.  On his playoff hole, he lipped out his putt that would have kept him in the hunt.   It wouldn’t be fair to say that he totally blew it or that he wasn’t ready to win.  Kyle Stanley was READY TO WIN and he had a few tough breaks at Torrey Pines.

This week, Stanley got his redemption at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, our local PGA tour stop at TPC Scottsdale.

Similar to the change of events last week, the recovery from being 8 strokes behind is an unlikely occurrence.   At the 18th tee the mood was much different.   This time he was not trying to protect his win; he was determined to capture it.   As the group stood ready to address their shots a lunactic fan decided to swim across the lake and into the fairway.  He was tackled by 3 officers and dragged away.  After a few laughs the tour professionals, had to focus in and finish strong.   Kyle sank a 4 foot putt on the 18th hole to capture his first win on the PGA Tour.

Facts About Kyle Stanley 

(Resources:  The following information I got from pgatour.com and my friend Andrew Black, PGA professional from Mayacama Golf Club and Clemson PGM Graduate)

At the beginning of the year Kyle Stanley’s world golf ranking was 148th

Today’s World Golf Ranking is 52nd

FedExCup Ranking: 1st   with 846 FedEx Cup Points

Kyle earned an exemption to play his favorite course Augusta National in the Masters this  April.   His first opportunity to play in this major event.  

Kyle is also exempt to play in the Accenture Match Play Championship Feb. 22-26th at the Ritz Carlton Golf Club in Marana, Arizona.  

Scoring Average 68.47

Turned Professional in 2009

Born in Gig Harbor, Washington and still lives there 

College: Clemson University

Earnings from the Waste Management Phoenix Open: $1,098,000

Career Earnings:  3,492,361

Career Victories: 1

Height: 5 ft 11 inches  Weight: 165 Lbs.

Kyle Stanley’s Golf Instructors:  Mike Taylor and Dr. Milt Lowderas

Kyle has one sister and thanked his Mom and Dad during his victory speech at TPC Scottsdale.  

Other Fun Facts about Kyle Stanley 

Favorite Pro Team: Seattle Seahawks
He is superstitious about wearing the color blue
Favorite TV show is ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”
Favorite Athletes to watch: Kobe Bryant and LeBron James
Dream Foursome: His Dad, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus
On His Bucket List: To win all four major championships
Has made 4 hole in ones.

Check out What’s In Kyle Stanley’s Golf Bag

 

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

WEE RAVENS RECAP

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next Saturday 9AM-10AM

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FREE junior golf clinic

Ages 10 and under

Register online at http://www.ravenphx.com to reserve a spot, spaces limited

PGA Show HOT LIST

Last week the Jeff Ritter Golf Tour Striker Academy went to Orlando to take part in the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show.   This event includes the latest and greatest in the world of golf.  Personally, I have gone for the past eight years in a row and each year I discover something new and exciting.   Here is a list of my favorite finds for the PGA Show this year.

BEST NEW GAME

Birdee Golf  (click to view website) –  This is a new product making its first appearance at the PGA show.  It’s a fun game of badmitton golf that is great for juniors and adults.  It even floats in the water!   The founders of the product use it at their lake house in Minnesota.   I can see it being a hit at the Penn State Tailgating parties.

BEST FOR JUNIOR GOLF

Mini Zoo Covers-  http://www.out-of-boundsgear.com/

This was a find that I can’t wait to bring to junior golf.   I actually got one of these for my own golf bag.   They have a large selection of animals and can make ones specifically for you!  The next item I get from them will be an Alligator duffle bag to carry all of my junior golf teaching aids.

BEST FULL SWING TEACHING AID

New Products by Tour Striker  (Click to view Website)

This week Martin Chuck introduced more innovative products by Tour Striker including the Educator, the new Tour Striker Driver and the Tour Striker Impact bag.   The impact bag is not like any you have seen before,  attached to it is a plane board with impact visuals to show the objective of striking it like the tour players.

BEST SHORT GAME TEACHING AID

The New Belly Putter Fitting Tool by Coutour Golf–   I ordered one of these and can’t wait to get it at The Raven in a couple weeks!   Todd Sones has changed the game for many and slowly companies are beginning to strive to meet his standards on putters.   The new belly putter tool will help find the correct length putter for the individual either in conventional length or anchored to the body.

BEST TECHNOLOGY

iPAD/iPHONE APPS for Swing Analysis- There were several new products including the Swing Byte,  Swing Smart and the ES12 (by Earnest Sports) that will give you data of the club or swing and send it to your iPad or iPhone. If you haven’t seen it yet,  the Ping App is great for putting analysis.   These products will revolutionize the game is the data is found to be accurate.

SPECIAL CELEBRITY TRIBUTES

Congrats to MIKE MALASKA for winning the PGA National Teacher of the Year!

It was great to catch up with my old college golf buddy Sara “No H” Brown at the PGA show.   You may have seen her from her appearance on the Big Break.  Now she is playing on the Ladies European Tour and will be playing on the LPGA this year.  I’m proud of her for keeping her bright personality while having such success on the golf course and in the media spotlight!   Keep it up Sara!

These are my new shades from Sundog.  Every year I seek out the latest in the Paula Creamer Collection.   I have a hard time finding glasses that I really like and as golfers we need to protect our eyes and skin.   Click here to take a look at the women’s collection.

That’s only a glimpse at some of my favorite finds from the PGA show.  With hundreds of vendors it is always tough to sort through but I felt very satisfied with the products I came across.  Enjoy these new products in 2012!

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

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

Hit Your Mark

In line with my last blog that covered “what’s more important in putting? Speed or Distance,”  this is a post about Accuracy versus Distance on the full swing.

We have up to 14 clubs in our bag, each having a different purpose and acts as a tool for us to play our best golf.  Since being introduced to the game, golfers are told that they need to hit it far with the driver and close to the hole with the irons.   Yes, this is true, and if you succeed you will play great golf.  However, for most golfers we should be playing the opposite way.

This picture shows our view of the driver.  Golfers have a mentality that if they could get a couple extra yards of the tee, they will play better golf.  Golfers constantly buy a new driver every year to get a few more yards when they have a putter that a robot couldn’t make putts with.  This image shows the distance measured on a football field.   Let’s say that each 10 yard mark is equivalent to 50 yards.

The picture above shows the perception of how we should hit our irons.   It says that we need to hit them accurately and in line at the flagstick.   This picture shows the field goal of the football field and how we have to aim straight through the uprights to score.

Now, I am not saying that accuracy on the irons and distance with the driver is wrong, I am stating that it is not the objective.   What is distance without accuracy on your tee shot?  At times it is a ball that goes incredibly far out of bounds!   What is accuracy on your approach shots without distance control?   It can lead to short sided shots and inconsistently struck iron shots with thin and fat contact.  Take a look at the second picture.   If we could hit our driver more accurately through the imaginary field goal in the fairway,  then you will have a chance to go for the green.   This is actually the more important objective off of the tee.   Now look at the second picture.   If we could hit our irons the correct distance each time,  we will improve our ball striking aswell as hit more greens in regulation.  If you can master distance control with your irons and accuracy with your driver you will improve immediately.

Next time you are out on the course, additionally to keeping your score you can play a points game.   Every time you hit the fairway you get a point,  if you hit a green in regulation add a point,  if you two putt give yourself a point.   Track your progress over a few rounds and see if you are able to focus more on accuracy off the tee and distance control with your irons.

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

Wee Ravens Rock!

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Program Details

> Weekly coaching in a fun and inspiring atmospher dedicated to all aspects of player development
> Participation gift
> Equipment provided
> Children must wear comfortable clothes and sneakers
> 10:1 Student Teacher Ratio
> Maximum 20 Students
> Saturdays 9:00-10:00

Program Cost FREE!!!  (Spaces are limited, Sign up online)

Parents!!! While your little ones are learning about golf, enjoy our “no excuses” Golf Fitness Boot Camp convenientlly running at the same time! Both avid and non-golfers can enjoy this golf-centric fitness session that takes place outside within clear view of your little linksters! Visit our Event Calendar for Boot Camp Sign-up. $25 per class or $49 per month. 

What’s the CONNECTION with Belly Putters?

Belly Putters have hit the scene on the PGA Tour.  If the best athletes in the game have made the switch… should you?  

As a Coutour Certified Fitting Professional, I believe in “Fitting Through Instruction.”  This is a process where you first get the golfer in the correct setup by covering the proper fundamentals and then check to see if the equipment is allowing this motion to function soundly.   Fundamentals?  Yes, contrary to this common statement, “Putting is individualized, you can do anything to make it go in!”  There are key lines to look at in the putting stroke.  You can absolutely make the ball go into the hole if these lines are not present, however it will be more difficult and not as consistent.  I don’t know about you… But I like easy automatic consistency.

What are the Three Coutour Lines?

  1. Eyes Over the Ball
  2. Hands Under Shoulders
  3. Hips Over Heels

This trio allows the golfer to set up in a tucked-in position with the arms “connected” to the body.  When the arms are connected, speed control will improve along with the path of the stroke that it is now on-plane.  If these three lines are present in the setup then the golfer will have a better opportunity to make a stroke that is on-plane and in a pendulum motion.

The difference between the belly putter and the conventional length is that the belly putter is anchored to the body.  This means that all the same fundamentals shall apply. Many tour professionals will practice with a belly putter and use a conventional putter during play.  The catch is, if the belly putter is not the correct length, the entire setup will be jeopardized.  For a list of certified fitting professionals click here.   If you haven’t had the chance to, I highly recommend the January Issue of Golf Magazine.  The issue is dedicated to the movement of Belly Putters and it includes insight from my mentor Todd Sones creator of Coutour Golf (www.coutourgolf.com).

When choosing between a belly putter or a conventional putter you must first determine the right length (GET FIT-understand the setup) and then figure out which putter makes you believe you are a great putter (GET CONFIDENT-by getting the right club in your hands).   Now you must stick sternly to the fundamentals of your setup and establish a routine that allows you to consistently repeat it.

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