Baseball Hands!

A friend of mine is a very athletic.  She plays multiple sports and has recently taken up golf.  One of her best sports is baseball.  Her technique to play baseball is fundamentally sound and she has enjoyed much success playing the sport.  This is where the challenge begins.

Image from: http://www.qcbaseball.com/skills/hitting_grip1.aspx

I have watched her play golf and her address to the ball is very good.  Her stance is good.  She has a deliberate lower body motion, although sometimes she likes to take a step like in baseball. She has good hip rotation and a strong follow through.  Unfortunately, she always hits the ball right.  I mean right, about 45 degrees off the tee.  It is not a slice, but travels straight right.

I have watched her hands and according to winnbaseball she loads her hands and delays contact through the ball….just like baseball players should.  “It is EXTREMELY important not to let the hands come forward in the process of the stride.  The knob of the bat should remain over the back foot  until after the stride foot has landed.”  Well, her golf swing definitely has this delay component in it.

Interestingly QC Bseball says, “Remember relaxed muscles will react quicker than tense muscles. So if you want to have a quick bat, relax those hands which in turn will help you relax at the plate.”  This is similar in golf and is a positive aspect when comparing the baseball and golf swing.

Well back to the problem.  I have suggested that my friend rotate her grip to the right to allow the club face to close during contact.  This has helped some and she hit a few balls straight and long.  But, this is not a permanent fix.  She loves golf and is trying to improve all the time, so this is where I need some help.

Before anyone asks, my first suggestion was to take lessons from one of the local pros and she has, but she wants to work on this current problem a bit before going back for another.

Therefore, does anyone have any suggestions, tips, or drills that will help fix my friends baseball hands?

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

Eagles Eagles Eagles

Eagles Greatest HitsWhat is cooler than getting an eagle!  Ok, a hole in one for sure……I know a double eagle!  But back to reality.  Eagles are a goal of mine every year.  I try to make five eagles every year.  Last year I only had three! But with my new driver and three wood, I hit the ball a bit longer so I am anticipating more opportunities to make eagle. I already had one opportunity this year and missed.

For shorter hitters like me (250 yards of the tee) eagle opportunities are difficult, however I have a plan!  On par 5s that I need a I great drive, I focus on smooth clean contact.  I do not over swing because I usually lose distance because something is out of sync.  Smooth and controlled is the way to go!

Next is my approach shot.  If I am not hitting my three wood, I use one more club than needed! Yup, that is my secret?  The reason is to make sure I swing smooth and controlled.  This type of swing ensures I stay on target and I have enough distance to actually reach the green.  Through the years, experience has shown that I have routinely under clubbed hitting into the green from 215 – 230 yards out.

Last trick is to sink the putt.  While putting, I hit the ball one foot past the hole; instead of six inches on a normal putt?  This extra strength on my putt ensures I do not leave my it short!  And we all know how much that sucks!

Well this is my plan to increase my eagles this year.  What do you think?

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

Shots of the Week From Texas

I realize these shots are a week old, but I found them when reviewing the shots of the week from PGA.com.  This week, the shots are from out of the sand, from the fairway, from the tee and the final putt on the green.  All are excellent.

PGA.com Shots of the Week

As a learning point, watch the players heads.  None move during impact.  It reminds of the famous quote  “Keeping the head still is golf’s one universal, unarguable fundamental.” – Jack Nicklaus

Golfhabits.com has a very good article called Keeping the Head Still.  It is worth a read.

It was plus 15 today and the snow is almost gone.  Maybe the driving range will be open this weekend.

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

Are You Ready?

Are you ready for golf season?  Are you ready physically?  Are you ready mentally? Are you ready with the right equipment?  Are you ready?  Are you ready?  Are you ready?

As the last of the snow leaves northern Canada, many golfers are frantically running around asking the these questions over and over.  The anticipation of playing soon is raising their anxiety level because after 5 months putting on their carpet, it will soon be time to hit the links.

Preparing for a golf season is something unique to each player.  Everyone has different ideas on how their season will unfold; they have dreams of the elusive hole-in-one; breaking 100 or 90 or 80 or even 70; or winning their local club championship (or flight).  So how does someone prepare for success in the upcoming season?

Some focus on fitness.  At Golfsmith.com, Brian Hill from Demand Media suggests that working on your upper body, core, lower body and flexibility is the way ahead. Callaway Director of Fitting and Instruction, Randy Peterson, talks about looking after your equipment, starting early and working on your short game in the early stages of the season.  At mindbodygolf.com, Rick Williams, a PGA member, tells how he uses various tools to keep fit and flexible during the off-season.  All of these suggestions and hundreds more can help prepare you physically for the upcoming season.  Personally, I believe staying fit for golf is a year-round process, but everyone has to decide for him or herself what level of commitment they are willing to put forth.

However, is fitness the only area that needs preparation?  How about being mentally ready for the up coming season?  Mental preparation is as important as physical preparation to succeed in golf.  Napoeon Hill‘s famous quote:   What ever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve is so true for golf!”  So what exactly does all this mean?

Dreaming of success on the links gets everyone excited.  At golf-mental-game-coach.com  suggests that preparing for a round of golf (which can be applied to the season) each player should establish their rhythm, preview their round, and have a game plan.  These three points can be very important to lowering your score.  At the Heart of Golf, Rick Semple lays out an off-season process to use mental imagery that will prepare anyone for swinging the clubs successfully at the start of the season.

If you are like most golfers, all of this can be overwhelming.  There appears to be no right or wrong answer.  However, preparation can be boiled down to one simple concept: managing expectations.  That is it.

Managing one’s expectations is the basis to an awesome golf season.  Before the season starts it is helpful to establish a couple of goals.  Make them reasonable, but something you have to work at to achieve.  Think big and do not worry about the details; they will take care of themselves.

For example, this year’s goal is to break 80.  Start to focus on this idea.  Just quietly think about breaking 80.  Do not dwell on the details, but just mull it around for a little while.  Next ask what part of your game you should work on to achieve this goal; your swing, short game, off the tee, etc.  Once you have selected the focus area, break it down further.  For example, if you have a tendency to three putt, work on your lag putting.  Finally, write down what you have been thinking.

Go through this process a couple of times.  After a short while, a realistic game plan for the season will unfold.  You will have managed your golf expectations, written it down (thus making it real) and reduced the mental anguish not changing anything, but expecting different results.

Golf is fun.  Each player has different goals, expectations, and aspirations. Regardless, golf is meant to be enjoyed.  How are you managing your expectations this year?

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

To Tee or Not to Tee

Every year I receive golf tees as a stocking stuffer.  It is one of those gifts that I love because I always need them.  As I continue to get my equipment ready for summer, I realized that I have three different lengths of tees.  Not that really bothers me, but I actually wondered if it really makes a difference.

At ehow.com, they explain how to pick a length of tee.  They focus on the size of the club being used and the size of the club.  They suggest:

  • 2 1/8″ tees are used for your irons, hybrid clubs, and low profile woods.
  • 2 3/4″ tees are used for drivers under 360cc.
  • 3 1/4″ tees are used for drivers over 360cc.
  • 4″ tees are the longest tees allowed in play, they will give you the maximum impact angle while driving.

Sandtrap.com conducted a poll on the length of tee used by golfers.  2 3/4 inch was first with 44% of the vote and 3 1/4 inch was second with 34% of the vote.  I would suggest that the longer tees are used more because of the increase in driver size over the past 10 years.

Image from:  http://blankmetees.com/innovations.htmlThis is all very interesting.  The length of tee is important, but there are no real rules.  I believe that the 4 inch tee may not be the length of choice because of how high the ball would sit, but again I have never tried it.

For my driver, I use a 2 3/4 inch tee.  For my irons, hybrids or 3 wood, I use broken tees.  I collect them around the course and use them all the time.  Rarely will I use a new tee.   I have tried just about every design and style of tee.  I always go back the standard old fashion tee.  Seems to work best for me.

Overall, it really does not matter.  What does matter is that the length of tee is right for you.  Experiment and try different lengths.  Let me know how you made out.

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