Randy Lewis: For the Love of the Game

Randy Lewis at the Master

Randy Lewis oldest winner of the US Mid-Amateur playing at the Masters in 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a 15 year old I would watch his drives take off on a line drive for almost 200 yards before rising up to a peak, finally dropping at about 265 yards. Sometimes he would really smash one and hit the fence of the tennis courts (or even land in the courts!) located at the end of the range.   At that time, Dan Pohl was a local hero and one of the longer hitters on tour at around 280. 280 yards was LONG back then.  The choice between balls was not between the V1 and the V1 X. The choice was between the Low Traj or the Pro Traj.

I can’t remember if Randy played a Tony Penna or a MacGregor Eye-omatic, but I do know the number of degrees of loft was not stamped on the club. There were screws in the club face and the sign of a good driver was the grain running perpendicular to the clubface. There were no launch monitors to help you find optimum launch angle and spin. It was trial and error. And when you found a good driver, you were sure to keep it! The major choice to be made was between cherry or a darker walnut color.

I’d bet that if you looked at Randy’s old driver, the screws would be slightly protruding from the insert.  Randy made a habit out of hitting it on the screws.

The small town country club where we played was not worthy of any state championships.  It is essentially flat farm land turned into a golf course. In fact, the green-keeper at that time was a local farmer. (Much to his credit, however, he knew how to care for the greens. The greens were always good.) The practice facilities were almost non-existant. No target greens on the range. A single, crown-shaped putting green. No practice bunker. No where to play 30-100 yard shots.

All in all, it was an ok course. But not a course to help prepare someone for a world scene like the Masters! No, something else was needed to help Randy get to that level.

The love of the game. Maybe it was simply the love of the game!

It was the love of the game that would take him to the course nearly every day after work to practice. It was the love of the game that had him choose his vacation days to play in tournaments. It was the love of the game that left foot-prints on the putting green 3-feet from the hole when he was done practicing.

Maybe it is the love of the game that is needed to prepare someone for the Masters!

In 2011, Randy Lewis became the oldest winner of the US Mid-Amateur and is now fulfilling the dream of every 15 year-old playing golf in America: to play in the Masters. Nobody deserves it more than Randy.

There is no doubt that Randy no longer plays with his persimmon driver, his Macgregor irons or the Pro Traj ball.   I am sure that the flight of his drives has changed, but Randy’s love of the game certainly has not.

- Stephen Moskal, PGA

The Golf Grip: Fact and Fiction

the golf gripThe golf grip is one of the most important fundamentals of the golf swing and often the most difficult to teach and to learn. The reason for this is that everyone’s hands are unique. Length of fingers, width of fingers, width of palms all make for many different combinations of possible “proper” grips.

When learning the golf grip it is important to remember that the grip must be functional. Simply gripping the club according to basic generic principles like “more in the fingers than in the palm” or “in the fingers of the right hand” are destined to fail. The way a golfer grips the club must correspond to the way that the player swings the club, as the grip ultimately serves to square the club face and to add power. Some people use the hands more and others less in an effort to square the club and to give power. The way you grip the club influences what you can do.

Top Myths about the Grip

1)  Grip the club “in the fingers” of the left hand

It is very often said to grip it in the fingers of the left hand for better hinging. I have seen this cause many issues, especially for those people with big hands. Gripping in the fingers very often leads to excess “cupping” in the left wrist during the swing and often forces the hands too low at address and encourages the player to bend too much at the waist. It also makes the golf grip “weaker” because the hand can no longer use the functionality of the opposable thumb.

Read below to see some of the common myths and some facts about the golf grip.  Look at the pictures to see the whole story.

golf grip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2)  More knuckles showing equals stronger golf grip

Seeing more knuckles of the left hand does not always make the golf grip “stronger.” I often see students with the hand turned in so much (showing 3 or 4 knuckles) that the club shifts entirely to the palm. As a result, the grip is so “weak” that it slips at impact virtually every time. Just remember, more knuckles does not always equal “strong” in the golf grip.

proper grip

3)  Interlocking grip is the best for smaller hands

This is perhaps one of the more perplexing myths for me. Most people that try the interlocking grip find it most comfortable when the fingers interlock all the way to the base of the fingers. When someone has small hands, interlocking the fingers makes them open the palms to the sky so as to get the fingers locked in tightly. This results in a very poor, perhaps the worst, golf grip.  I see this often with junior golfers.

junior golf grip

Overlooked Facts About the Golf Grip

1)  The position of the arms influences the golf grip

The thing that I look at first when I see a bad golf grip is the position of the arms. I even like to tell students that you are not supposed to grip the club “with the arms.” By this I mean that if you take away the tension in the arms, the hands will more easily find a good grip. The most common mistake is to have the arms too straight. Some people have the arms so straight (especially the left arm) that they are hyper-extended and “bend the other way.” With arms in such a position, it will be virtually impossible to take a proper grip.

2)  Shaft lean and lie angle influence the golf grip

Because the correctness of a grip is determined by a position that enables proper hinging of the wrists all the while maintaining squareness of the clubface, the position of the club at the ground has a tremendous influence on the grip. A club that is pushed too far forward (toward the target) is going to create strong grip and a club that is leaning behind the ball will tend to create a weak grip. A club shaft that is too tall at address will have the person grip too much in the palms of the hands. The clubshaft too low will have someone take it too much in the fingers.  Learning how to properly position the club at the ball is imperative to gripping the club properly!

3) The design of the club can influence the golf grip (off-set clubs for example)

Because the club position at address is so important, the design of the club head has an influence on the golf grip. I am thinking mostly of the off-set models. Having the hands placed in front of the clubface with off-set clubs often makes it difficult for players to reconcile a slightly strong grip with a square clubface. I see this most often with higher lofted off-set drivers and some models of very off-set irons. I find few people who are able to have a proper grip with these styles of club. If you are using such clubs to help you correct ball flight problems, I suggest trying a more traditional, “blade-looking” club and working on your grip and swing in order to correct ball flight.

 

 

 

 

What is the Stableford point system?

Stableford point system

golf scorecard

Golf scorecard

The stableford scoring system is a way of scoring in golf where a player scores points based on his stroke-play score for each hole. The goal is to score as many points as possible. The player with the most points wins.

The points are earned according to the following scale.

 

Double bogey or higher: 0

bogey: 1

Par: 2

Birdie: 3

Eagle: 4

Double eagle (albatros): 5

The US PGA Tour event, The International (canceled in 2007 after 21 years) used a modified stableford system.

 

• Double Eagle: 8 points

• Eagle: 5 points

• Birdie: 2 points

• Par: 0 points

• Bogey: -1 point

• Double Bogey or Worse: -3 points

 

Stableford System and Handicap Play

A very important aspect of the Stableford System is that the traditional handicap system in golf can be easily applied so that players of different abilities can play against eachother as equals.

This is done by taking a player’s handicap and spreading it out across all the holes. This is done according to the handicapping of each hole as shown in the diagram below.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

Ex. 1) A player holds a handicap of 18. He has 18 strokes to be distributed. He will get one stroke on every hole. In essence, he can subtract one stroke from his score on each hole. A bogey for him on any hole turns into a par. In stableford, he will thus score 2 points for every bogey he makes.

A scratch golfer (0 handicap) must score a par in order to score 2 points in Stableford.

Let’s say the scratch golfer has 18 pars. He earns 36 Stableford points. If the 18 handicap player has 18 bogeys (18 over par), he too will score 36 points in Stableford. In this case, there would be a tie between the two players.  This is quite normal, as the scratch golfer would “give” the 18 handicap player 18 strokes in a handicapped stroke-play match.

Ex. 2) A player has a handicap of 24. He will automatically have one stroke on every hole. He will have a second stroke on the 6 most difficult holes. On those more difficult holes, a double bogey will score him 2 points in Stableford, as he will subtract 2 strokes from his stroke-play score on each of those holes. He will also scored two points in Stableford for every bogey on the other “easier” hole.

It is easy to imagine a scenario between this player and a scratch golfer as we did in example 1.

Ex. 3) A player carries a handicap of 4. He will receive only 1 point on the four most difficult holes. As a 4 handicap player, he is expected to be able to score a par “without help” on the 14 easiest holes.

Once again, it is easy to illustrate a match between this player and others.

The interesting thing about the Stableford point system is that it very closely reflects stroke-play scoring in golf.  By knowing a player’s handicap and how many points he scores in Stableford, we can essentially know what he shot in stroke play, AND more importantly, what he shot relative to his handicap. The “magic number” in Stableford is 36. In essence, 36 points in Stableford means that a player had 18 pars (18 x 2 points for a par). Knowing that the par for each hole is adjusted according to a player’s handicap, 36 points also means that a player shot his handicap.

Remember that in Stableford the better one plays, the MORE points he scores. So if a player scores more than 36 points, he has played better than his handicap. If he scores less than 36 points, he has played worse than his handicap.

Extra credit:

For anyone who has studied the details of the modern handicap system, you may notice that the Stableford system reflects the idea of equitable stroke control. The equitable stroke control system is set up so that a player cannot score more than two strokes over his handicap on any given hole. Inversely calculated, those two strokes are the two points for a par in the Stableford system.

How to select a driver

driverWith today’s technology, selecting the proper driver for your game has become extremely complex.  There are so many different choices already and the industry leaders are always looking for new ways to improve and market new products. These new products come out once (even twice a year) and of course add to the confusion.

To help make the search for a new driver easier, here are some helpful tips:

1) see a custom club-fitter

A real savvy and educated golfer might be ale to make sense of the choices on his/her own but it is becoming more and more difficult.  I’ve been playing this game for 30 years and I still like some help when I go looking for a new driver. Custom club-fitters are aware of the latest trends and of the new advances in technology. Your time and money spent with a qualified club-fitter will pay for itself in your choice of club and in your game.

2) understand the different components of the club and how each affects the performance of the club.

You are looking for a driver that optimizes the flight of your ball. The flight of your ball can be analyzed according to the following characteristics: initial launch angle, spin rate (which influences ball while in flight) and angle of descent. Of course, we are assuming a straight hit here.

- CLUBHEAD: the clubhead is what hits the ball. It is going to influence the initial launch of the ball through its loft and the spin of the ball by its composition and design. First determine what your general tendencies are in terms of launch angle and spin. If you have a hard time gettng the ball to launch, look to a higher lofted driver (10.5 degrees or even more). Look for a clubhead that will help you get optimal launch angle and spin rate.

- SHAFT: shaft technology has evolved tremendously over the past 10-15 years and there are up to 100 different shafts from which to choose. The advances in technology have helped make golf easier to play but it has made the process of choosing the best shaft rather complex. This makes the role of the club-fitter even more important.

To understand shaft technology we must understand the bending of the shaft during a swing. The way a shaft bends ultimately determines if it is suitable for you.

Shaft Flex – the flex of a shaft is considered to be its overall resistance to a weight at the end of the shaft. The traditional way of determing flex results in categorizing shafts into regular, stiff and extra stiff. The extra stiff shaft bends less than the regular. Other “degrees of flex” like “ladies” and “senior” have been introduced. Unfortunately, there is no universal standard to calibrate the stiffness of shafts. The regular flex of one manufacturer will not be the same as that of another manufacturer.

Kick point – the kick point of a shaft indicates where in a shaft the majority of the bend occurs during a swing. Shafts are designed to “kick” at three main parts of the shaft: low, mid or high. A “low kick point” shaft will bend near the head of a club and will have a tendency to hit the ball higher with more spin. A “high kick point” shaft will kick near the grip and will tend to lower ball flight and produce less spin.

-GRIP: the most important thing to know about the grip is that the size of the grip will influence how you hold it (how you grip it) and the way your hands will act during the swing. A thick grip, for example, will slow down the rotation of the hands and could prevent you from releasing the club completely. Bsically make sure that the grip is the right size.

Another element ot grip is the feel of the club in your hands. There are many different kinds of grips and they all have a slightly different feel to them. Find one that you like.

3) Looks matter

One of the final criteria for choosing a driver is how the club looks to you. This is particularly important for people that have played for some time. Over time our eyes become used to seeing a certain shape while looking down at a club. Having a club that is appealing to your eyes helps make you comfortable and can even help your confidence with it.

What is a slice and what causes it?

The golf ball is a sphere that spins around any number of different axes depending on how the club hits the ball.  A ball that one sees in flight is a ball that is spinning around one of these axes.  A ball that flies dead straight has pure backspin. (note: a flying ball cannot have topspin, as topspin would make the ball shoot to the ground) any other spin than pure backspin will make the ball curve either to the left or to the right. A ball that curves to the right (for a right-handed player) is commonly called a “slice” (or a “fade” if the amount of curve is only slight).

Look at the diagram below to see how a slice spin is created. Notice the relationship of the path of the club to the position of the clubface. Slice spin is created by having a clubface that is open relative to the direction in which the club is traveling.

This swing is often called “outside to inside.”  the sake of this article we will talk primarily about the outside to in swing as it is indeed the most common. Now that we understand how the club spins the ball, then let’s try to identify tendencies in the swing that create such club ball contact.

1) Weak Grip

A weak grip will cause a slice for virtually every golfer who is not a professional. Professional golfers manage to hit it straight (and even with a draw with a weak grip) but it is not easy. If you are slicing the ball, look first at your grip. Make sure that the club is positioned in the hand so that the base of the hand is on “the top of the club” and the thumb is slightly to the right of the top. You can rotate your hand over more to make it stronger, but don’t let the club shift to the palm of the hand as you do so (refer to our article “Grip: Myth and Facts”).

2) Shoulder plane too flat

When the shoulders turn back too flat (left shoulder stays too high), a slice is almost guaranteed. The reason for this is that the right shoulder gets pushed back too far and too low, forcing it to be thrown out over the top on the downswing.  This position occurs often when people try to get the club back inside and flat in an effort to swing back to the ball more from the inside. Remember, too flat going back will cause a steep, over the top downswing (and the slice!).

3) Cupping of left wrist during backswing

Indeed, Ben Hogan’s secret is the amateur golfer’s nemesis!  Hogan had a terrible hook while he was a young professional. One day he discovered that if he cupped his left hand at the top of his backswing it was virtually impossible for him to hook the ball. The reason is very simply because the cupping of the wrist opens the clubface, usually so much that most golfers have no chance of squaring the clubface before impact. A flat left wrist at the top of the backswing is one of the common checkpoints of a solid golf swing.

4) Moving upper body in front of the ball before impact (especially with the driver)

This problem stems very often from a poor setup position. Using the driver as an example, many players have the shoulders too level and slightly open at address. This makes it very difficult to “get behind” the ball properly during the backswing AND TO STAY BEHIND the ball on the downswing. Once the upper body moves in front of the ball before impact, the club will almost always stay open, creating the slice.

5) Shoulders too open at impact

A study of slicers done by Golf Digest (I think!) showed that virtually every slice has a common characteristic: the shoulders were too open at impact!  Shoulders too open at impact, of course, is more an effect than a cause in and of itself. So changing the shoulder position at impact demands changes in the swing prior to impact.  Thus, this information is only useful if you know how to troubleshoot yourself.  Nonetheless, you can benefit from this by taking practice swings all the while paying attention to your shoulder position through impact.  Many of the clues to troubleshooting can be found above.

How to Choose A Putter

How to Choose a Putter

how to choose a putter

Na Yeon Choi of Korea on the 18th green at Oakmont at the USGA Women's Open in 2010.

Deciding how to choose a putter has become more and more complex over the past 20 years. The main reason for this is the incredible amount of different putters out there and the fact that certain “styles of putting” have now become mainstream.

Here are some tips that will help you figure how to choose a putter that is best for you

5 Step Guide: How to Choose a Putter

 

1) Choosing a putting style/technique. Spend some time with a qualified golf professional to help you understand the different styles of putting and to help you identify how to choose a putter that will work best for you. The main “styles” to choose from are:

a) conventional
b) long putter
c) belly putter

 

By identifying the style that best fits your game, you eliminate 2/3 of putters from which to choose.

At this point it is important for you to understand that there are two major trends in putting technique: 1) the putter travels essentially straight back and straight through (Jack Nicklaus) 2) the putter follows an arc back and through (Ben Crenshaw/Tiger Woods)

Depending on the putting style you choose, you will be either putting straight back and through (long putter), putting on an arc (belly putter) or will need to choose between one or the other (conventional). As you can imagine, it is the conventional style that demands more reflection as you will be making more choices along the way.

For those who have decided to go with the conventional putting style you will have an extra step in deciding how to choose a putter. In essence, you will need to decide if you wish to putt straight back and straight through or if you wish to putt on an arc, as the balance of the putter (due to its design) will facilitate one technique or the other. You should take time to experiment with each method. Your decision on how to choose a putter should ultimately be based on a combination of which style appeals to you intellectually and the results of your trials. Of course, the advice of your golf professional could prove to be invaluable at this point.

2) Choosing a putter design based on aim. Your golf professional should have also given you some solid tips regarding proper setup position. One of the main ingredients to proper setup is the position of the eyes relative to the ball. The position of your eyes directly influences your ability to aim the putter face.
Aiming the putter face is one of the more complex components in deciding how to choose a putter. Indeed, the design of the club head and that of the hosel (the part of the club that connects the shaft to the club head) of the club influences your aim. Without proper aim, your putting stroke will always contain compensations. I have never found a real adequate explanation for this phenomenon, but suffice it to say that once you have chosen a style of putting, you should try putters with different hosels and head designs to find one that you aim the best.

To do this, you will need the help of someone else. Have a friend (or a professional) stand along the target line while you aim at a target. He will be able to tell you if your aim is accurate or not. Qualified club fitters often have a laser to make sure that your aim is perfect.

3) Choosing putter length. Finding the proper putter length is important as the length of the putter will influence your setup and the overall balance of the putter. For the long putter and the belly putter, the length of the putter is simply determined by your height.

For those choosing to putt conventional, a qualified golf professional will be of great help in understanding proper putter length.

Ultimately, putter length is determined by your setup position.
Here are a couple of tips on putter length for those of you doing this on your own:
a) you should have enough bend at the waist so as to allow your arms to swing freely
b) a good setup position will have your arms slightly bent at the elbows
c) your forearms should be lined up with the shaft of the putter
d) you should have about an inch of the shaft extended past your grip


4) Looks and feel matter.
 Once you have chosen a putter style based on the principles of aim , you will need to find one that feels and looks right to you. This is where trying different putters comes into play.

You should have narrowed your choices down quite a bit at this time. You are now ready to go to a golf shop and try out all the putters that fulfill the requirements based on your chosen style, setup position and aim. Feel and looks are different for everyone, much like choosing a nice suit or dress. As you try different putters, you will naturally find some that you like and others that you don’t like. Trust your initial reaction to each putter.

5) Price. Of course, you will always have to make the final decision regarding price. No one can make this for you. The cost of golf clubs most often reflect time and money spent on research and development and the time spent on the craftsmanship of the club. Clubs that are less expensive are often mass produced following a mold. The good news with modern clubs is that the mass produced clubs are the result of many years of technological development led by research and development that been dissimulated and shared. This means that even though the higher priced club usually reflects better quality, you can still trust a less expensive option when deciding how to choose a putter.

 

THIS POST: HOW TO CHOOSE A PUTTER

Golf Swing Analysis Software – Pros and Cons

Technology has changed golf, especially the way we LEARN golf – this is most evident in the advent and the widespread use of golf swing analysis software. In the past twenty years, golf swing analysis software has gone from “state of the art” technology to being so common that it is found on nearly every smartphone owned by a golfer.

video analysis software screenshoot

Video analysis software screenshot provided by Golf Swing X.

I remember watching golf on Saturday or Sunday afternoon (the only time it was on tv!) and then racing to the course to try to recreate the swings that I saw on tv. As one could imagine, by the time I got to the course, much of what I had seen was lost.

When VHS and 8 mm video cameras became more accessible, I could film myself but would have to go inside to hook up to a tv to watch. If I wanted to draw lines to check angles and planes (a function found in the most basic golf swing analysis software), I would use a dry-erase marker and a draw on the tv.

Side by side comparison with a pro (another standard function of swing analysis software), of course, was out of the question–unless I had two tv’s side by side!
With golf swing analysis software on my phone, I have all of the above right in my pocket. Huge advantage, right? Well, not always.
There is something about seeing a swing, converting the swing to memory and then trying to recreate the swing that is essential to learning the swing. This “something” is the ability to imitate. This mental effort of internalizing an image to then pull out for future use is the fundamental principle behind imitation, which is the primary way in which humans learn any skill from another person. Without the ability to imitate, we would not be able to learn any skill. Indeed, as children we learn virtually everything through imitation!

What good is golf swing analysis software?

When used properly, golf swing analysis software can be of tremendous help. let’s take a look at the main advantages:

Conceptual understanding

The use of video can help one understand what is meant by swing-plane, or what “taking it inside” means. In this sense, golf swing analysis software is a tremendous communication tool for TEACHING. Students of course benefit from a clearer understanding of what the instructor is saying.

Feedback

Whenever we are learning something we need to know if what we are doing is “correct” or not. The primary source of feedback that we have when we play golf is the flight of the golf ball: nice flight equals “good” and bad flight equals “bad.” While it is difficult to argue with the flight of the ball while actually playing a round of golf, when one is practicing (learning) the ball often is not an accurate reflection of what we have done during the swing. With golf swing analysis software, we can use the video for feedback. The video will tell us if we have made the proper swing adjustment that we are looking to make. The ball might not come out great, but the swing can still be good. This is part of the learning process in golf.

Image internalization

I would have loved to have been able to take what I saw on tv with me to the range, stored in a magical little video playback device that fit in my pocket! Worst case scenario, I could have looked at the swing, then tried to imitate. Looked back at the swing, then tried to imitate. I would have done that all day long given the opportunity. In this case, having easy access to the proper images helps internalize them making it easier for me to call upon those images while trying to imitate. The more you see it, the easier it is to copy.

To conclude: the pros to having golf swing analysis software far outweigh the cons. It just comes down to how you use it.

 

by Stephen Moskal
If you would like to have your golf swing analyzed by a pro send your golf swing video to video@golfswingx.com for a complimentary lesson.

This Post Title: Golf Swing Analysis Software – Pros and Cons

From Carnac to Grand ‘Ol Jack

Jack Nicklaus

Jack Nicklaus farewell at the old course at St. Andrews

Jack Nicklaus has been (and most likely will always be, with everything that has happened to you-know-who) considered the greatest golfer of all time.

The world of golf needs to start getting behind the “Greatest of All Time” in his efforts to build the game. We must start listening to his ideas. Are 12-hole courses the way of the future? Are bigger holes the solution? Noone really knows, but how often has Carnac been wrong in the past!  If he isn’t spot on with his ideas, we need to come up with some and we should probably have him involved in any think tank that we organize.
Here are my thoughts:

Responding to the 3 main reasons that people don’t pick up the game or drop out:

1) too expensive
2) too much time
3) too difficult

Too expensive
We cannont deny that golf is an expensive game to play. From green fees, equipment, lessons, travel and all that involves golf, it is an expensive game. Does it have to be as expensive as it is? NO. There are ways that we can make golf cheaper.

I think what influences the cost the most is the styke of courses that have been built in the past 15 years. It is time that we move away from the trend of “championship” courses and start building course that have a low initial investment and can be alot cheaper to maintain. One thing that has hurt the game the most is the success of the PGA Tour. Golf has been around alot longer than the PGA Tour and yet every new golfer is programmed to believe that the PGA represents the essence of the game.

In fact, nothing is farther from the truth!

The PGA Tour (and other international tours) makes up a very small fraction of golf. The very origins of the game can be traced to the most common of all trades: shepherds. (Don’t get spiritual on me now!) The fact that golf offers something to everyone from kings to shepherds is what makes it unique. Unfortunately in today’s corporate driven golf industry, the shepherds can no longer enjoy the game that they created!

Solution: we need to make courses that take little initial investment (no more watering the rough!) and designed in such way to cut down on yearly maintenance. Of course, this would mean no housing development around every hole. I would eliminate cart paths. Cart paths cost a fortune. I would not run irrigation through the fairways. Does anyone remember grass that turns brown in the summer and green again in the fall? Anyone remember the “Duel in the Sun”? We had better get used to it anyway. Water will become one of our most valuable natural resources and we won’t have the right to waste it on golf.

Courses like this will actually make golf more fun and interesting. Most courses that we play these days play exactly the same year-round. BORING! Good golfers know how to play all the shots in all conditions.

Too much time
Solution: The time problem can be solved in two words: Nine holes. It is time that the USGA and the PGA place an emphasis on 9-hole rounds. This has been a subject for many years now and noone seems to move on it. Many people have 2-1/2 hours to spare. Fewer and fewer people have 5-6 hours to spare. Of course, the championship-style courses contribute greatly to the 5-6 hour rounds that most of us experience on a regular basis.

Too difficult
Solution: Golf is difficult. Unfortunately there is no way getting around that. However, we can make an effort, again by the courses that we build, to make it as “little difficult” as possible.  220-yd forced carries over knee high grass or any other unnecessary hazard should be the first to go. I remember Hogan saying that rough is the first thing that keeps people from getting better at golf. He attributed his driving ability to playing in Texas with wind and no rough. Free the person from fear and he can learn the game more easily.

We could also encourage rules for beginners that include picking up after a certain number of shots and by encouraging mentor programs where experienced golfers volunteer to play with new golfers to show them the ropes. This of course would add to the enjoyment of all by allowing people to communicate with eachother.

Now these ideas are not exactly what Jack did this past Labor Day weekend. But my ideas entail the creation of new golf courses. Jack experimented with some great ideas to deal with the problem using existing courses. 12 holes is a great idea. That is more than enough golf for someone just getting started.  Most beginners that I take to the course can barely last the 9 holes that I suggest.

In any case, now is the time to find the answers. I personally trust Carnac, as he knows the answers without even knowing the questions!

True Linkwear golf shoes improved my game

True Linkwear Golf shoes

True Linkwear Golf shoes

I’ve worn a lot of golf shoes in my life – Adidas, Foot Joys, Nikes along with other brands but nothing is as comfortable as the True linkwear golf shoes. Usually after a round of golf, I would complain, cuss and scream about the aches and pains on my feet from wearing these other shoes.  Now after walking the course most mornings with my True Linkwear, I find myself stunned by my own silence – no complaints, no cussing, just comfort.  These shoes are amazingly comfortable and light – not to mention waterproof. I feel like I can walk 36 holes a day without a problem.

So in addition to the comfort of the True Linkwear shoes my game has improved. I have better balance. I find myself being stable and balanced at the address. I don’t slip through the swing and often maintain a nice finish. I’m hitting more fairways and find a lot more confidence on the greens. The truth is, practice and working with my golf teacher has really been the catalyst for my improved game, but I have to give some credit to the shoes.

 

Kelly Kraft Teaches Valuable Golf Lessons to Parents and Juniors

Kelly Kraft preparing a putt.

“Not a bad week for an unheralded player almost nobody wanted coming out of high school in Denton, Texas.”

That’s a quote from the Golf Channel article about Kelly Kraft winning the US Amateur over the weekend. I think that there is much more said here than one may first notice and there are several key lessons to be learned:

Lesson 1- never give up.
Golf is a game that is learned over time. You have to be patient when playing golf– not only during a single round or during a tournament but also throughout the entire learning process. Golfers develop at different rates. Arnold Palmer didn’t turn pro until after his US Amateur title at the age of 25.

Lesson 2- the key to success is to relax.
This is one of the fundamentals of peak performance. I teach my students what my “teacher” always told me: when you get completely relaxed, relax a little more. Of course, this is often easier said than done. But Kelly is an example of someone learning how to do this. Relaxing is something that can be learned. It goes hand in hand with being patient. If your child is wanting to play competitive golf, take him/her to see someone that can teach him/her to relax. No need for sports psychologists. Just learn to relax.

Lesson 3- The “raising a Tiger” model that has become popular really does not work.
This last lesson is perhaps the most important. This lesson is for junior golfers and especially THE PARENTS of junior golfers: champions are not MADE, they are nurtured. Juniors are being pressured at younger and younger ages to be elite athletes. Kids as young as 12 and 13 years old are feeling the stress to compete at tournaments to get “nationally ranked.” At a crucial age when they should be learning to have fun, learning the fundamentals a solid swing and game and simply developing a love for the game, they are being pressured to perform, something that is actually delaying their growth.

If you are a parent and you want your child to play golf through college and after college, look for programs where he/she can develop and grow. These programs are not always the top-ranked teams in the country. Each junior needs a unique environment. Find a school where the environment is focused on learning, both in the classroom and on the course. Also remember that most golfers’ games do not mature until the late 20′s or early 30′s. It is not realistic to expect a child of 14-15 years of age to be able to withstand the pressures that make grown men and women falter.

Simply because you are not “highly recruited” and a “Top-Ranked Junior” doesn’t mean that you have no chance. Just look at how Kelly Kraft has developed his game and is now the US Amateur Champion. The lessons he has learned will help him on and off the course.