It seems that often times we may arrive at the golf course just in time to pay our greens fees and walk or ride to the first tee.Yet, we can all agree that it is always advisable to warm up before we participate in an athletic event.This prevents injury by preparing our muscles, indeed our entire bodies, for the exertion we are about to undertake.Similarly, we admire those elite athletes who can quiet the mind and focus on the task at hand.You can do the same to get yourself physically and mentally prepared to practice and play by following a few simple steps that will help your get the most out of your golf lesson.
1.Arrive a few minutes early.This relieves stress and allows you to get into a golf mentality.
2.Check in.Make sure we know you are here.
3.Warm Up.Hit some balls but always remember to do some stretching first.It would be more important for beginning golfers to do some stretching exercises.Consider bringing your Swing Wave, Swing Guide, PowerSwing Fan or other training aid to loosen up.We have many players who bring their training aids to the range routinely. Ask your instructor about what training aid might best suit you for those aspects of your game that we are currently working on.
4.Be prepared to take notes.Feel free to bring a note pad or notebook.
5.Have a list of questions prepared and speak freely with your instructor about 1) what your goals are or should be; 2) what you would like to improve upon; and 3) how your play is progressing.
6.Ask questions during the lesson.Interact with your instructor.Be sure you understand the information being imparted.Ask again and again until you have a full understanding of the subject.Honest feedback is the best way to ensure that the learning points of the lesson are just that: learned!
7.If you would like, ask for a copy of your swing on a DVD so you can view it at home.There would be a nominal additional fee but some students learn best visually.The technology is here to serve you!
8.Hit balls after your lesson.It is so essential to practice what you have just learned.Take the time to really concentrate on the elements of the lesson.Let it become second nature as soon as possible.Help your game progress through immediate practice.
9.Persevere. Sometimes learning something new seems to have you take a step backward.Remember that fundamentally sound golf has stood the test of time.Conscientious practice is the key to progress.
10.Above all, have fun.Golf is a game.We play it for fun and enjoyment. There are many definitions of “fun.”It can be just as much fun to compete and score well as it is to play a casual round or to just be able to hit some solid shots. It all depends on the player and your attitude.The key is to have fun.
Preshot Routine and Setup
By Bob Dugan, Stony Hill Golf Professional
How you set up to the ball is in great measure responsible for where your ball comes to rest. Your set-up must be correct for you to achieve your best result and optimum ball flight.The following is a sure-fire procedure intended to get you into the proper set up for each of your clubs.Practicing this procedure diligently at home and on the range will secure better results on the golf course. (Note: I have written this instructional tip for right handed players.Left handed players please make the reverse adjustments).
1.Start with your feet together with the ball in the center of your stance.
2.Maintaining a balanced stance, move the left foot first then the right foot so that the ball proportionally “splits” your stance according to the following chart:
Lob Wedge thru 7 Iron
6 Iron thru 7 Wood
5 Wood thru 3 Wood
3.Turn your left toe 30 degrees toward the target.This help you get into the finish position.
4.With no flex in your knees, create your best spine tilt.This should be approximately 30 to 35 degrees.Try not to have a rounded back.
5.Now you are ready to add a small amount of knee flex – not much, just enough to feel that you are in an athletic and balance position.
6.Let your arms hang.Don’t reach out.Let them hang perfectly relaxed.
7.Finally, take your grip.The big key here is to make sure you see enough of the logo on your left hand.You want to feel as though your right shoulder is lower than your left. After you complete your grip, you may need to move in or out to get the correct depth from the ball.Remember: Don’t reach out.
8.Practice. Practice. Practice.The nice thing is that you can work on your pre-shot routine and set up at home.Use a mirror to check your positions.
I look forward to seeing you for a tune-up.So give me a call to set up a lesson so you can continue on in the 2007 season renewed in your confidence to strike the ball well!
The Mental Approach To Playing The Game
By Paul Miner, PGA
Without the proper mental focus towards the game, all the talent and ability in the world will take you only so far.Only recently has this area garnered the attention it deserves.If truth be told, the mental approach has been written about since the turn of the century. Here are some techniques and suggestions that can help to develop a better mental approach to the game.I believe that this can only be learned.Remember, “every swing has a purpose and there should be a purpose to every swing.”Make each swing count. ·Develop an effective warm-up routine.Sharpen your focus on the range.Become target oriented when practicing. ·Feel good about your appearance and the equipment you use.Be professional. ·Fun First!Stay away from the golf course if you are not mentally prepared to enjoy your round. ·Early season preparation = late season success. ·Approach your game in the spring by setting and realizing your goals.Be realistic! ·You are only as good/bad as your last swing – every swing is a new beginning – always try! ·Never keep score when playing by your self.I have seen too many world records set when golfers play by themselves and then expect to duplicate this when playing with others.Use this time to improve your ball striking capabilities. ·Make it fun and competitive when playing by your self.Try to play different shots.Shape your shots. ·Is your glass half full or half empty on the golf course?Be positive! It is only a game! ·Never take any shot for granted.I have seen the highest scores made from the easiest shots. Play every shot as if it were your last.“Quit” should not be in the vocabulary of a golfer. ·Expect the unexpected.Luck goes both ways: good as well as bad. ·In competition, always play with what you have got that day.Play to your strengths. ·Be creative on the golf course.Sometimes it pays to gamble. ·Know and play by the rules. ·Mentally prepare yourself before every shot: VISUALIZE – FOCUS – EXECUTE ·Do not sweat the small stuff.I have met very few golfers who have ever thought they got breaks on the golf course.Accept the results and move on. Remember! The proper state of mind equals the proper mental approach.
Quick Tips and Suggestions
Ball Above Your Feet
By Bob Dugan, Stony Hill Golf Professional
1.Uphill Lies… Play the ball forward in your stance and take one more club (Example: use a 6- iron instead of a 7- iron).
2. Downhill Lies…Play the ball back in your stance and take one less club (Example: use a 7 iron instead of a 6 iron).
3. Ball Above Your Feet…Choke down on the club 1-2 inches, aim right and move the ball back slightly in the stance.
4. Ball Below Your Feet …Flex your knees a little more than normal, aim left and take one more club (Example: use a 6 iron instead of a 7- iron).
5. Hitting Into The Wind… Play the ball back in the stance.Take at least one extra club (less loft) and make a little shorter back swing and forward swing.Swing with no more than a 60% effort.
6.Driver Tip…Next time you’re at the driving range try this.Find a mat that has a 2 ¾-3 inch rubber tee in it. Make some swings trying to hit just the rubber tee and not the mat.This will teach you to sweep the ball off the tee. Most mistakes with the driver occur because people hit down way too much.
7.Short Game Beginner Tip… If the grass is short always putt the ball when off the green.Next, go to the chipping shot.Save the pitch and lob shots as a last resort.
8.Beginner/Advanced Tip… While practicing at the range, imagine yourself standing inside a barrel.Make some swings and feel like you are turning but never touching the sides of the barrel (thus, not swaying).
9.First Tee Tip… Make a few warm up swings.Tee the ball up, stand behind the ball looking down the fairway, and imagine the shot flying right down the middle of the fairway.Swing easy and let it happen.
10.Greenside bunker shot (short sand shot)… Play the ball off your left heel.Open your stance.Try to hit about 2 inches behind the ball and make sure you finish your swing.
11.Long Sand Shot (from the fairway)… The first goal is to get out of the sand.Play the ball back in your stance and play a club with more loft than you would usually play.Make sure you hit the back of the ball first and finish the swing.Once you master getting out of the bunker you can work on getting more distance from the shot.
12.Topping the ball... It may sound simple but sometimes you’re just too far from the ball.Move in closer at the start. Tension is also a big factor.If during the downswing you are afraid to hit into the ground (take a divot) you may add tension into your arms just before contact.This causes your arms to retract.Relax!You may also try keeping your head steady to help minimize topping.
13.Fat Shots… First check your ball position.It may be too far forward in your stance.Sometimes we hit it fat (hit the ground first) because our weight is still on our right side at impact.You need to try and get at least 70 % of your weight onto your left side at impact. Make sure your right heel is off the ground before you make contact with the ball.
14.Grip Tip… Make sure your left hand (right hand players) is in a strong enough position (see your logo). Try and match your right palm to your left hand palm.
Hit Short of Trouble
15.Hitting over trouble... If you are unsure then you are best to lay up.When you lay up make sure you have no chance of hitting into the trouble. Take a club that if you hit the shot really well your ball won’t get to the trouble.
16.Hitting to an elevated green… You must make sure that you take at least one extra club.(Example: use a 7 iron instead of an 8 iron).
17.Backswing Tip… Keep your knees flexed and always keep your left heel on the ground.
18.Downswing Tip…Start with your lower body.Feel like you’re turning your hips, so you face the target after the hit.
19.Hitting Out Of A Divot… Play the ball back in your stance and take one less club than normal (Example:use an 8 iron instead of 7 iron).
20.Driving Range Practice Tip… Always start with a short iron SW-7 iron to warm up, hit at least 10-15 balls at half pace.
21.Driving Range Practice Tip… Always hit balls to a target.
22.My last Tip For Now!… Having trouble with your golf game or don’t understand any of the info above?Call us and take a lesson. We teach year round.
The Mental Approach To Golf Instruction
By Paul Miner, PGA
·When taking a lesson, be inquisitive.Ask lots of questions.Record key thoughts and comments.The three keys to learning are visualization, (you are wasting your money without having a video lesson), understanding, and implementation. ·You can only consider a lesson successful if you understand, and can implement the “how” and “why” of what you have been taught. ·Evaluate your lesson and instructor by your own standards and not those of others.Was he/she good for you?Were you comfortable?Did the instructor communicate his/her message properly and professionally?Remember, a good instructor realizes that their way is not the only way.And you should too. ·Sometimes a band-aid won’t fix a cut that requires six stitches.Commit to the long haul… Quick fixes don’t work.
Most importantly, playing golf is a privilege.It provides us with a lifetime of thrills, friendships and excitement.Preparing oneself mentally can add enjoyment for years to come.Remember!Golf is only a game.Play it with passion.
Putting – Hints, Tips & Drills
By Bob Dugan, Stony Hill Golf Professional
Good putting starts with sound fundamentals.The following checklist andputting drills will help you develop good habits.Make sure your putter type, length and lie are correct for you.
1.Set Up Check List ·Use a straight line on your ball to aim your putter.Use a ball marking tool; ·Your feet should be shoulder length apart; ·Assume a normal golf posture; ·Have your arms hanging comfortably (don’t reach); ·Get the ball forward in your stance.Try a 20/80 position; ·Try to get your eyes over the ball and the aim line.Many people stand too far away from the ball; ·Try to make an even paced stroke.Don’t jab at the ball. Have the stroke be long and smooth; ·Keep your head steady! ·Make sure the back swing is long enough and the finish comparable; ·Hold the finish.
2. Pre-Round Putting Warm Up.
You should spend at least 10-15 minutes putting before each round to get the feel of the greens.Start with long putts (10-15 feet away) and end the session making a few short ones.
3. Distance and Control
Set up near your ball (the same distance from the hole.)Make some practice strokes while looking at the hole.Set up to your ball, then putt the ball toward the hole while looking at the hole, not the ball.This will help you with your distance control and increase your feel.Try different length putts.
Using 5 balls, place the balls in a straight line at one-foot intervals from the hole.Putt each ball into the hole starting with the first ball.Move the line of balls around the hole to get different breaks and also up hill and down hill lies.This drill will breed confidence in your putting skills.
Using 6-8 balls, place the balls in a circle at two to three-foot intervals about three to four feet away from the hole.Traverse around the circle, putting each ball into the hole.Remember to learn from each putt as the breaks to and around the hold will be different.
Posture – Grip - Alignment
By Paul Miner, PGA
It all begins and ends here.Once your swing starts in motion, your “PGA” (good or bad) will affect the positions and angles in your swing, and ultimately the position of your club face at impact.Never take these fundamentals for granted.
Tension free = Mistake free
Tension at address is a potential swing killer.To understand the needed grip pressure, visualize holding a live bird tightly enough where it won’t fly away and loose enough where it wouldn’t be injured.Another example of proper grip pressure is if 10 is the very tightest you could grip a club and 1 is the very lightest, 4 would be in most cased the desired pressure.If you cannot feel the clubhead in “your hands,” you have too much tension.
Chin up to allow the shoulders to coil “around your chin.”
Another important fundamental often overlooked in a proper set up is to assure that your chin is “up” and not “down” at address.This allows your shoulders to swing around your chin and assume the proper plane.Keeping your chin down or tucked blocks the shoulders from turning properly, causing the shoulders to move too much under your chin creating a more vertical swing path that is void of the proper turn.
Balance is the key that makes any golf swing great. Not power. Not perfect form.Balance.
Balance to the golf swing is what an engine is to a car.Stay centered with your weight between the shoulders, knees and feet.This will assist you in maintaining good balance throughout the golf swing.
The “Y” formed by your arms and club shaft at address must “initiate” the take-away.This will allow the weight shift to occur naturally and in proper sequence.If the backswing starts with a slide or lower body kick, it will result in a sway.Once this occurs, the ability to rotate (coil) you shoulders has been eliminated.Remember, the club has a much further path to travel to a parallel position at the top of your swing (a fully rotated position) than your body does.This is why the upper body, not the lower body, should initiate the backswing.
Remember!The best players in the world play with the least amount of motion.The most important fundamental of the golf swing occurs before the swing starts in motion.
What’s In Your Bag And Why?
By Bob Dugan
We spend a lot of time working on our game but we sometimes overlook assessing our equipment.Wear from normal practice and play, plus rapid advancements in golf club design, fabrication and materials, can sometimes combine to diminish the effectiveness of our game.Ask yourself some simple questions to help your equipment keep pace with the effort you put into your game.
1.Is your bag set up to allow you to play your best golf? 2.Are you still trying to hit long irons? 3.Do you own a gap wedge, sand wedge or lob wedge? 4.Is your putter the correct length for you? 5.When was the last time you had new grips put on your clubs?
1. Is your bag set up to allow you to play your best golf?
Each club in your bag should provide both a distance need and a situational need on the course.Sometimes you may find that you are not ever playing a particular club or you might rely too heavily on one club because you have confidence in it even though it is not the right club for the distance needed or the shot shape needed.Reevaluate.Many believe that a club belongs in the bag only it the player can hit it well 75% to 90% of the time.
2. Are you still trying to hit long irons?
We find fewer and fewer players actually hitting 3 irons and 4 irons.For most players, hybrid clubs (made by all major manufacturers) are easier to hit than the long irons.Hybrids place you closer to the ball and result in higher launch and more consistent distance.Hybrids are a versatile club and are easier to play out of the rough, out of fairway bunkers, and out of dicey lies in the fairway.Some professionals even use them for long putts just off the green.
3.Do you own a gap wedge, sand wedge or lob wedge?
The wedge game is often ignored aspect of the game by high handicappers.Hitting an ideally lofted shot closer to the hole is much easier when you have a selection of wedges and you have practiced a variety of shots on the range.Find a set of wedges that feel good to you and work well with your swing (some of us are sweepers and some of us are diggers).Just as in your irons always consider the shaft, length, bounce, loft and lie and grip to custom fit the wedge set to you.
4.Is your putter the correct length for you?
It is difficult to see whether your putter is toe up or heel up from the player’s vantage point.Check out our putter fitting page or better yet, see one of our professional club fitters to check the lie angle of your putter.If the putter is too long for you, your may find that the toe is in the air.Similarly, if the heel is in the air the putter may be too short.A properly soled putter is essential for imparting a true roll to the golf ball.With good posture, balance, aim, and alignment and, of course, a quality putter, your putting game can improve dramatically.
5.When was the last time you had new grips put on your clubs?
As simple as it sounds, many players wait too long to replace worn or cracked grips.Grips wear out and become slick from play and they dry out and become hard and brittle over time.You can extend the life of your grips by cleaning them periodically with warm soapy water.However, depending upon frequency of play or just the passage of time, grips will need to be replaced to maintain effective control of the club.The grip is the only physical connection you have with the club.Be sure you like the feel and texture of the grip you select.There is a wide range of grip sizes (ladies, regular, midsize and jumbo).Grips can be stretched smaller and made bigger with one or several wraps of tape.Be sure to have your grips sized properly to your hands by our professionals for optimal control of all of your golf clubs.
If you have questions about any of the above it is time for a tune up lesson an equipment check up or both!You may be able to improve your game with some equipment adjustments or changes.Here at Stony Hill Golf and Performance ClubWorks we are committed to having our players demo clubs.It is the only true way to assure that you are playing the correct head, shaft, grip, loft configuration.
With the help of your instructor and our professional club fitters we can create the perfect combination for you.
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