Drills For Skills

A lot of people never know what to work on when they head off to the Driving Range. Here is a YouTube playlist of some of my favorite drills.

I try to get my students to work in sets of 5 balls. If you go to the gym, you do sets and if you hit balls and work on a feel or exercise, you should do sets as well.

I’ll challenge my students to do “5 set of 5 balls” on the bunker drill and grade the set. If they are mid to high handicap players, success would be 3 decent shots out of 5 balls. If they couldn’t manage three acceptable shots, then add another set to that particular drill.

A “Practice Plan” is very important. Aimlessly going to the range is futile and doesn’t have direction or measure growth.

Enjoy the drills and get in your “sets.”

Martin Chuck is the Inventor/Instructor of the Tour Striker Training Products and Tour Striker Golf AcademyClick Here to learn more about programs with Martin Chuck, Jeff Ritter and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix!

Play Average… and Get Better

In golf, sometimes a simple change in outlook is all you need to lower your scores.  I want to share with you a great piece of advice that I received from renowned sports psychologist, Dr. Rick Jensen.  Since adapting this mindset, I have experienced enhancement in the quality of my practice which has led to significantly more enjoyment in my game.

A simple change in approach will allow you to step out of your own way and into a new world of improvement.  Expectations in golf for many can be unrealistic and set the student up for failure.  In Dr. Jensen’s book, “Easier Said Than Done,” he utilizes the scenario of a golfer who is convinced that they have a wonderful game on the range but cannot carry it over to the course.   He adventures further to say that the majority of the time; the golfer will play exactly the same in both arenas.  However, the success is measured on a different scale.   The averages of the player’s contact, dispersion and consistency on the driving range will be constant with the averages on the golf course.

This is a lesson on AVERAGES. Here is the piece of advice that changed my game forever.

The lesson is simple.   “Half of the time, you will hit shots that are below average, half of the time you will hit shots that are above average.  But no matter how good you are, you will always hit below-average golf shots 50% of the time.”

Fifty percent is certainly a lofty number of repetitions to hit shots that do not meet our standards.  Rather than exert energy into every ball that doesn’t sound, feel and fly upon perfect execution… we need to step away, shrug our shoulders and say, “That was one of my below average shots… half of my golf shots will ALWAYS fall into that category.”   The same rule will apply to the number one player in the world, however, where his average lands on the scale, is what makes him the best.

This mind set, should get you to focus more on moving your average up instead of worrying about a mishit shot here or there.  I would like to thank Dr. Rick Jensen for teaching me such a simple yet valuable approach to evaluating your performance.  I am excited to read his latest book called, “Drive It To The Top.”   Until then, start playing AVERAGE golf today… and I guarantee you will get better.

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

New Kikks for 2012?

Looking for a new look on the links for the 2012 season?  Look no further than the new shoe line from Kikkor Golf.  Combining a youthful look, comfort, and exceptional traction control, a new pair from Kikkor Golf should be at the top of any golfer’s wishlist.

Not quite ready for that new pair this year?  Check out this article from Golf Infuzion Magazine on the importance of having good traction control and changing your golf spikes.

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.

Splashdown!

So you’ve hit your ball in a water hazard.  What comes next?  Today’s JRG/TSGA blog will help you with your options from a yellow staked (or painted) water hazard, or a red staked (or painted) lateral water hazard.  An easy way to remember your options is using the Rule of 3 and Rule of 5.

—-Water Hazard – Rule of 3—–

1.  Play the ball as it lies with no penalty.

2.  Play from the previous spot with a one-stroke penalty.

3.  Drop a ball behind the hazard, keeping the point where your ball crossed the hazard line directly between you and the hole, with no restriction on how far back from the hazard you drop, with a one-stroke penalty.  Knowing this option can help you immensely.  Instead of dropping 5 yards behind the hazard, leaving yourself a tricky 50 yard shot over water, go back further until you find a comfortable distance for a full wedge shot.

—-Lateral Water Hazard – Rule of 5—-

1.  Play the ball as it lies with no penalty.

2.  Play from the previous spot with a one-stroke penalty.

3.  Drop a ball behind the hazard, keeping the point where your ball crossed the hazard line directly between you and the hole, with no restriction on how far back from the hazard you drop, with a one-stroke penalty.

4.  Drop a ball outside of the hazard within two club-lengths and not nearer to the hole than the point where it crossed the hazard with a one-stroke penalty.

5.  Drop a ball outside of the hazard within two club-lengths and not nearer to the hole than a point on the opposite side of the hazard the same distance from the hole, with a one-stroke penalty.  This one sounds a little tricky but it’s really not.  If you crossed the hazard line 50 yards from the hole, you have the option to go on the opposite side of  the pond 50 yards from the hole, and take your drop there.  

The next time you find yourself in a hazard, don’t drop your head!  Identify what kind of hazard you’re in, use the Rule of 3 or Rule of 5, and take advantage of the options given to you!

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.

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.

Turn for Days!

All golfers want to hit the ball farther, period.  Questions related to gaining distance are some of the most common that golf instructors hear day after day.  Many times the answer to that question is to turn more in the backswing.  In top left of the above picture, 8 of the top 10 players in driving distance from the PGA Tour last year are shown at the top of their backswings.  Notice anything similar about their lower body positions?  Every player pictured has straightened their rear leg to some degree in the backswing, enabling their hips to turn, which helps their shoulders turn as well.  When a young Tiger Woods came on the scene hitting driver past everyone in the 1997 Masters, many golfers and instructors began using his restricted hip turn as a model for more distance.  Straightening the rear leg became a “death move”, and was described as so in golf magazines and instruction shows.  Keeping the flex in the rear knee and restricting hip turn can seriously inhibit the ability to make a full shoulder turn for most golfers, and rob them of extra yards.

If you’re looking to pick up some extra distance, take a cue from the bombers on tour and start letting your knees change their flex in the backswing, and starting turning like you’re a kid again!

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.  Click Here for more information on private and group coaching with Aaron and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff.

Slicefixer Part II

Here’s three more slice-busting tips to look over while you’re eating those Thanksgiving leftovers!  If you missed Part I you can find it here.

1.  Stop Lifting, Stop Slicing


Here’s two very different top of the backswing positions.  The red line represents the plane of the shoulders, while the yellow line  is the position of the left arm.  Amateur slicers don’t take their hands and arms in enough on the backswing, and often look like the right picture at the top.  His arms have lifted off of his body, and he has begun the big over-the-top move that everyone reads about in golf magazines.  Our drawer has kept his arms on his body, as evidenced by the yellow line being slightly under the red line.

2.  Don’t Scoop

Hopefully by now you’re starting to see some of the pieces that promote draws instead of slices in these pictures.  I’ve inserted a new golfer on the right to highlight the backwards leaning clubshaft found in many slicers.  You’ll see our drawer on the left leaning the clubshaft forward at impact, or keeping his hands in front of the clubhead through the hit.  This not only promotes solid contact, but it keeps the path of the club swinging out to the right, instead of weakly cutting across the ball like our golfer on the right.

3.  Understand Why it Slices!

I often show this picture to students as I feel it proves an important point.  We’re told as golfers that slices are caused by an open clubface at impact.  Then the slicer is told to release, roll, or close his or her clubface in hopes of hitting that draw.  The top shot tracker as you can see is our slicer with a clubface that is pointing 2.1 degrees OPEN or to the right of the target.  The bottom shot, the drawer, has the clubface 2.3 degrees OPEN to the target!  So why does the slicer’s ball slice, when the clubface is more closed relative to the target than the drawer’s?  The secret is in the bottom numbers in the picture.  The slicer is swinging across the ball to the left 5.5 degrees, imparting some serious left to right spin on the golf ball.  The drawer’s path is out to the right 4.6 degrees, and the ball curves gently from right to left.  Almost identical clubfaces at impact, one ball draws, one ball slices.  This simplistic view of the face to path relationship is important for golfers of all levels to understand.

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.  Aaron is strongly influenced by PGA Tour instructors Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer, as well as many others.  Click Here for more information on private and group coaching with Aaron and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff.

Slicefixer!

For years the dreaded slice has been a root cause of frustrations for golfers, and often leads to players quitting this great game altogether.  “Stop Slicing” articles are commonplace in golf magazines, yet the banana ball still plagues the general golfing public.  In today’s and Saturday’s blog posts, we’ll examine pictures of a “slicer” and a “drawer”, and learn six things to help take away the big left to right shot from your game.

1.  Straight Back, Straight Through???

The golfer on the left (drawer) has turned his hips and allowed his hands and arms to swing on an inward path while the golfer on the right (slicer) is simply lifting his hands and arms in a straight back manner.  Many players try to create width in their backswing and try to swing their arms back in a straight line like the golfer on the right, which causes them to cut across the ball and leads to a slice in many cases.

2.  Slide Your Way to a Draw

Notice how our slicer on the right has kept the majority of his weight back away from the target while the drawer has pushed much of his weight and his hips forward of the red line?  Slicers tend to hang back on their rear leg for a variety of reasons and inadvertently hit across the ball.  Drawers of the golf ball like Tom Lehman tend to keep their front knee flexed the longest and their hips sliding towards the target the longest.

3.  Lengthen the Triangle

Here’s the drawer on the left continuing to push his weight and hips towards the target and keeping his arms straight into the follow through.  Compare that to the arms of our slicer on the right.  He has bent his arms and pulled the grip end of the club in towards his chest.  This is a common picture I see with my higher handicap students, and causes the club to pull across the ball to the left putting that dreaded slice spin on the ball!

Check out Saturday’s JRG/TSGA Blog for three more ways to beat your slice!

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.  Aaron is strongly influenced by PGA Tour instructors Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer, as well as many others.  Click Here for more information on private and group coaching with Aaron and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff.

“En Guard”

 

En Guard

The picture of “Zorro” the legendary sword fighter is a great mental image to take to the course. While most country clubs wouldn’t let you past the gate in this Halloween outfit the “Zorro” technique will help you set your preshot routine in action and score better on the course. Here’s how and why!

En Guard! Challenge the target: prior to hitting a shot, stand on the target line a few steps behind the ball. Raise your club (sword) to the target and sight the ball with the club to the optimal target for the shot at hand. This may not be the flag if it is in a “sucker” location. Raising the “sword” inspires two things; one, stop talking, focus and start your routine and second, draw in a precise target where you want the ball to end up.

Every great player has a physical queue that sets their preshot routine into motion. Arnold Palmer tugged on his waist band. Mark O’Meara adjusted the velcro on his glove. I’m suggesting that you raise your sword to do battle and conquer the target!

Martin Chuck is the Inventor/Instructor of the Tour Striker Training Products and Tour Striker Golf Academy. Click Here to learn more about programs with Martin Chuck, Jeff Ritter and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix!

Belly Up!

The buzz in the golf world lately has been around the use of belly putters on the PGA Tour, and the success many players have had using them.  Keegan Bradley (pictured above) and Webb Simpson both have had breakout years on tour by anchoring the putter into their midsection.  Six of the thirty participants in this years TOUR Championship wielded  some kind of “non-traditional” putter.  Even Phil Mickelson has given it a try in competition and says he will continue to practice with it while switching back to his traditional length putter for tournament play.  If the belly putter can help the best players in the world, how can it help the everyday golfer?

1.  No Push, Pull, or Drag

By anchoring the putter into your belly, you automatically take any pulling or dragging of the grip end with your left hand (for a right-handed golfer) out of the equation.  Conversely, the right hand and any pushing action through impact can also be eliminated.  This frees up the putter head to swing freely or “release” into the follow through.  Tiger Woods has often talked about this feeling of “release” throughout his career, and Stan Utley’s putting teachings talk about the grip end of the putter moving very little while the putter head swings back and through.

2.  Setup for Success

Assuming you have a belly putter that is the correct length for you, setting up to the golf ball consistently becomes easier.  Just take your setup standing up straight, anchor the putter, bend from the hips, and let the putter head fall to the ground.  Your distance from the ball should be the same every time, as well as the location of your eyes.

3.  Ignore the Clichés

For a long time, long putters and belly putters were associated with “old guys” and golfers who had the proverbial “yips”.  They are now associated with major champions and good putters.  If you struggle with your putting, or are just looking to improve, give the belly putter a shot.  Stop by the Raven Golf Club Phoenix after Christmas and get yourself fit for a new belly putter!

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.  Click Here for more information on private and group coaching with Aaron and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff.