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.

The “Wax On Wax Off” Attitude



To see the full article click here to go to Golf Infuzion Magazine.   You can find articles monthly from the JRG / TSGA staff;  Jeff Ritter, Martin Chuck, Aaron Olson and Megan Padua.

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.

Think…PLAY!

If you watch professional golf on TV you’ve probably heard a post round interview with a tour player who talks about “thinking” his way around the golf course.  You’ve also probably heard someone talk about letting go and just “playing.”  To play great golf, there has to be a balance of the two.  Let’s examine thinking and playing and how they work together in a round of golf.

THINK (Compute, Decide, Weigh Options)

Here’s a list of things that I would think about in a round of golf before I hit a shot.

How far am I from the hole?

What kind of lie do I have?

Where’s the wind coming from?  How strong is the wind?

What kind of shot should I hit?

What club should I hit?

Where is my target?  The flag?  20 feet left?  The front edge of the green?

All of these things add up to a final answer that gives you the best chance to succeed with the shot you are about to hit.  Sometimes laying up on a par 5 is the best decision.  Sometimes going for it on a par 5 is the best decision.  Whatever you decide, it’s time to PLAY!

PLAY (Execute, Perform, Go)

Playing a golf shot takes all of the thinking that you have done and puts it on stage.  Once the computations are made, you must accept the possible outcomes and execute the shot.  I sometimes tell players to think like an adult, and play like a kid.  Junior golfers are often fearless, and don’t worry about the possibility of a bad shot.

They just let it go.

This is a great mindset to have, but it doesn’t mean you should shoot at every flag, or make bad decisions.  You can make a “reckless” golf swing at a “safe” target 30 feet left of the flag.  That’s how I define playing golf.

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.

Who is….

If someone asked you, “Who is the #1 golfer in the world right now?”

What would you say?

The answer is Luke Donald.

In fact, Luke has held the #1 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings for the past 9 months.

The World Golf Rankings has been in operation for 24 years. The standings list is updated every Monday after competition.  The rankings are established based on the results from the tournaments of the leading six professionals tours combined with the strength of the competitive field at the event.  The four major championships and the Players Championship are ranked separately because their “ranking value” is greater.   The data is maintained over a two-year cycle and a minimum of 40 events is required.

Over time who has held the #1 spot?

BERNHARD LANGER (3 weeks), SEVE BALLESTEROS (61 weeks), GREG NORMAN (331 weeks), NICK FALDO (97 weeks), IAN WOOSNAM (50 weeks), FRED COUPLES (16 weeks), NICK PRICE (44 weeks), TOM LEHMAN (1 week), ERNIE ELS (9 weeks), DAVID DUVAL (15 weeks), VIJAY SINGH (32 weeks), TIGER WOODS (623 weeks), MARTIN KAYMER (8 weeks), LEE WESTWOOD (22 weeks) and now LUKE DONALD (40 weeks)

(All data has been aquired from http://www.officialworldgolfranking.com/home/default.sps)

Here’s a little more information about the Current #1 Golfer in the World.

About Luke Donald

His scoring average is 72.75

Out of 219 total tournaments in his career on the PGA Tour…

He has made 169 cuts, won 4 events, and came in second place 12 times

Luke has finished in the top twenty-five 111 times.

His career earnings equal: $25,408, 326

He attended college at Northwestern University

Turned professional in 2001

Luke is 5 foot 9 inches, 160 lbs and his birthday is 12/7/1977

He started playing golf when he was 8 years old with his dad in Spain.

He has an active lifestyle and has a passion for painting.

“I don’t overpower courses, I think my way around the golf course,  using good strategy,  using good technique, and precision.  I am a precision player that is consistent and up there contending to win.”  -Luke Donald

(This information was gathered from http://www.pgatour.com/)

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

Grip It and Rip It

Today’s blog post is for an avid student of the game from New York that sent along some clips of his full swing to me for review.  He also included pictures of his grip.  Thank you Phil, for providing today’s topic,  I hope this tip helps you control the clubface better to hit more accurate shots.

Here is Phil’s Grip for full swing shots in the left hand.

The key to a creating leverage and allowing the face to rotate naturally is to hold the grip in your fingers and under the pad of the left hand.  Phil your grip is very much in the palm of your hand, which means you have a lot of potential to hit it longer, straighter and with ease! In the putting stroke, I would like your grip completely in your palms and the shaft running through your forearms, but this palm position is a killer to the full swing.  The goal for putting and full swing is very different, therefore a completely different grip is required.  The following is a drill that I use with students to get their grip more in their fingers and less in the palm for full swing shots.

In this picture the student is pinching a tee in between the gap of the left hand (for a right handed golfer).  This pinch forces the grip to get more into the fingers.  My preference is to see a slightly stronger left hand and a neutral right hand.  Try taking the grip with your left hand to the side of your body and then hinge the club up.  The up and down hinge motion is like a hammer,  this is the same motion you will use to hit the golf ball.  Finally, add a couple of waggles to loosen tension and get the hands ready to move.  In athletic motion you never want to freeze of the ball,  you always want a little bit of motion to get you started.   Best of luck Phil and please keep those great questions coming.

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

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