How To Achieve Your Golf Milestone

Are you the type of golfer that likes to achieve milestones? Generally, this means breaking 100, 90, or 80 on the scorecard. But, does breaking these challenging scores once really mean you have achieved your golf milestone. I realize that breaking through the wall opens a plethora of opportunities for our game, but amateur golfers get confused on what achieving a golf milestone really means. It is not about achieving the score, but sustaining it over the long haul.

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Opening a Bee’s Nest

As many of you know, I like to pose questions on Twitter and talk about them in a blog. Yesterday, I posed a question about the best golf score milestone and the response I received was very unexpected. Overall, I am very happy about the extended conversation and feedback; I hope that in the future my questions garner the same results. Continue reading

Really Look to Learn in Golf

How many golf videos do you watch in the off-season? Do you watch the golf videos or do you ‘watch’ the golf video! I look at plenty that show great shots into the green, shots off the tee, and putts made from miles away! But to learn something, it is important to really look at the video!

Watch Jason Day’s swing in slow motion:

Now for an amateur:

What did you see? Did you notice anything that would help your game? There are so many moving parts in Day’s perfect rhythm that it is difficult to dissect anything that might be helpful for you game. The amateur’s swing is less smooth, but something helpful could still be found if you really look!

To break down any swing, I have a system. It is a 5 part process that works well for me and I use it whether I am watching Jason Day’s swing or any amateur. I believe I can learn something from every swing. Here is what I do:

  1. First, determine what I want to improve. As an example, I want to generate more power during contact. I would look at Day’s swing (several times) to find a single point of interest. In this case it would be Day’s hips.
  2. Then, I would only focus on that particular part of his swing. I already know that I am having trouble with my hips not sliding forward in my swing; so I would narrow my focus to Jason Day’s left hip.
  3. Next, I try to breakdown Day’s left hip motion into different segments. Breaking down each swing into segments helps find something I can hopefully duplicate. In Jason Day’s swing, I would break down his left hip into: stance, backswing, top of the swing, down swing, contact, and follow through. I might seem like a lot to focus on, but the process gets easier from here.
  4. I pick out two segments of my biggest challenge. In comparison to my swing, I would focus on Day’s left hip position at the top of his swing and during contact. These two positions, if I could duplicate, would greatly enhance my power off the tee!
  5. Lastly, I practice and practice and practice. I start with movements without a club. When I feel comfortable, I start using a club to develop a feel for my new changes. After I am comfortable, it is time to hit golf balls!

This 5 step process works very well for me! I allows me to focus on small changes of my swing with big results. I can use this process while watching any player at any. It takes practice, but after a few tries, you might be surprised on how quickly you notice small aspects of anyone’s swing that will help your game.

Regardless of who you are watching, if you really look, you will learn something.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


Chipping to Lower Your Golf Score

Chipping to lower your golf score is the goal of all golfers! For most amateurs chipping the ball during a round of golf, having a tap in putt helps lower their score very quickly. Recently, one of my normal playing partners shot 78 by getting up and down 6 times out of 7 during his round of golf. Although capable of shooting in the 70s most of the time, he has been plagued with challenging putts as a result of not chipping the ball close to the hole when given the opportunity. His challenge is one that most amateurs face every time they hit the links!

Previously, posts on club selection, chipping drills, and course management have outlined some of the concepts of chipping the ball close to lower your golf score. These are great points, but do not really discuss the mechanics of chipping. The “how to” chip is fundamental to beginner and intermediate players because saving strokes around the green is important to breaking 100, 90, or 80.

Derek Hooper has a fantastic video on chipping. Additionally, he is a great resource for other golfing techniques because he explains the golfing process in a manner that is clear and easy to follow.

The video discusses how to consistently chip close. However, three points during the video need to emphasized.  For consistent, successful chipping, pay attention too:

Keeping Your Head Still – Most miss hits are caused by extra movement in the upper body. As amateurs, we have the tendency to try and help the ball to the hole. The extra movement in the upper body will change the contact position of the club on the ball (resulting in topping or sculling the ball), hitting the ball fat (club hits the ground before the ball) or scooping the ball (sometimes known as a chilli dip). Keeping your head still will prevent additional upper body movement, thereby increasing the effectiveness of your chipping.

Weight Distributed on the Lead Foot – Having 80% of your weight on your lead foot is critical to solid chipping. The important aspect of this weight distribution is to keep your knees bent slightly and to have your weight distributed over the whole lead foot. Sometimes, amateurs will lean so the weight is on either the inside or outside of their foot. To build a strong foundation, keep the weight evenly distributed on the lead foot.

Keeping your Hands Ahead of the Ball – On contact, the hands need to be ahead of the ball slightly. Also, while following through, avoid breaking your wrists! It is important to let the hands lead the chip because it promotes crisp, solid and repeatable contact. Locked wrists also ensure that the ball is contacted first before the follow through, which allows for spin to be placed on the ball.

It is important to practice chipping. It is more important to practice focused chipping. By following these chipping tips, strokes will be saved during your round. Chipping the ball effectively is a great way to lower your score and have more fun while playing golf!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!



Golfing in the Rain

Well my first two days of the golf tournament were postponed. In the last 36 hours our area received about 80 mm or rain.  Our course is under water and it is draining very slowly.  It is unlikely we will be able to play on Friday, so the entire event will be delayed one week.  Of course I am disappointed, but at least the event is not cancelled all together. But, as always, each experience is a learning one; so now we talk about playing golf in the rain.

IMG-20130710-00061Many golfers dislike the rain. Personally, it does not bother me because I believe I have a fool-proof system to keep the important aspects of my equipment and body as dry as possible. The first important point has to do with equipment. I carry the following when I suspect it is going to rain:

  • Plastic cover that actually covers my entire golf bag;
  • a 64 inch umbrella that can be attached to my golf cart (which I push so it does not hurt my shoulder);
  • clear plastic freezer bags to keep my score card dry;
  • spare socks in a clear plastic bag;
  • spare clothes in the car for after the round;
  • two towels so I can hang them under the umbrella; and
  • a hat and rain suit.

All of these things keep me very dry unless it is really pouring, then I just have to suck it up and be grateful I can still golf. When making a shot, expect on the green, by routine is very simple:

  • I point my clubs into the wind because it cuts down on spray;
  • I remove my club while under my umbrella and wipe the grips (if required) with one towel and my hands with the other;
  • I normally do not take a practice swing, so I walk out behind the ball and visualize;
  • step up and hit the ball;
  • walk back under the umbrella, wipe my grips and replace the club; and
  • seal up my plastic cover and move on.

When putting, I use a slightly different routine:

  • I take out my putter and wipe the grips and my hands;
  • I take the umbrella with me – my clubs are covered with plastic;
  • stand behind the ball and read my line;
  • adjust my ball still holding the umbrella;
  • place the umbrella at the one o’clock position with the top facing the wind. It is usually about 6-10 feet away; and
  • make my putt and collect it from the hole. If I miss, I go mark the ball (if required) before retrieving my umbrella.

Playing in the rain will mess with a golfer’s normal routine. However, I have found that by following my routine, the rain does not bother me as much as others. Following a routine is the best way to break 100 or lower your score; following a routine in the rain only helps more. A couple other things to consider when playing in the rain:

  • most shots will need an extra club due to lack of roll and the rain hitting your ball during flight;
  • greens will play slower than normal;
  • if you are wearing a rain suit or outer clothing, your swing will feel different. Focus on contact not swing mechanics and this will help ensure solid ball striking;
  • course management may have to be adjusted due to the rain reducing the distance your ball carries; and
  • the noise of the rain hitting your umbrella, rain suit or the ground may affect your concentration – just ignore.

Golfing in the rain can be difficult, but if you develop a routine, understand the impact of the wet weather, and focus on what you already do well, your score should remain the same.  If not, always remember you could be working!

If you have any suggestions on how to improve my routine, I would love to hear them.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!