Why an 11-year Old Is Better Than You…and It’s Okay!

First off, I am simply amazed that an 11-year old can have the skill set to work through qualifying and make it to a United States Open. Astonishing! Now onto my rant…

Over the last week, I have heard many arguments from people in and out of the golf business ripping this young girl and her parents for “letting” her play in this event. By her, as you know, I mean Lucy Li. She has become a golf sensation overnight and drew some of the largest crowds on the opening round of the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst. Why do people care so much? Why is it such a hot-button item?

Jealousy, perhaps.

Lucy_Li_WomensOpenFirst, This is not something new as we have seen it in the past with the likes of Lexi Thompson and Morgan Pressel. Secondly, Last I checked she earned her way into the event by qualifying. I am not sure why people are so up in arms about it.

I would love to hear the comments of the naysayers on this topic. Tell me the harm of “letting” her play? You cannot argue her age because it is only a number. She obviously has the skills to be on this stage. So let’s check that one off the list. What’s next? Maturity? I’d say if you can focus as she has to get to this level and handle the media pressure and coverage then you’d have to be quite mature. I’m sure I’ll get the ol’ “She just needs to be a kid”. Why can’t she? It’s just one golf event. Plus, she is having fun, right? That’s what kids are supposed to do. Others have done it, went back to school, and ultimately have succeeded in Professional Golf by turning pro in their teens. Lydia Ko has done quite well both before and after she turned pro, and she is barely old enough to drive.

But we are not talking about the future. We are talking about the present and the tremendous opportunity this young lady has. Let’s not take it away because we are being envious that she has developed these skills and can demonstrate them at the highest level when needed.

The “doubters” out there (and there always are) need to be happy for this young lady that she gets to experience this great opportunity. Who knows if it will be the only one. Years down the road, how cool will it be to tell her grand kids that just for once, on a hot week in June, she got to experience one of the ultimate thrill rides in golf; A United States Open at Pinehurst!

Why an 11-year Old Is Better Than You…and It’s Okay!2021-03-19T10:41:05-04:00

How To Set-up To Uneven Lies

hillygolfcourseUnfortunately, Golf is not played on a flat lie. Most people would like it – but it is just not possible. Even on the “flattest” courses you will still have lies that are uneven. You have basically four types of lies besides a flat one: Uphill, Downhill, Sidehill (ball above feet), Sidehill (ball below feet). Then, there are varying degrees of the lie to make it more or less difficult. For practical purposes, lets look at the basic setup adjustments for the uphill and downhill as that will help you get started in the right direction.

The one constant that most players forget to adjust for in the setup of these shots is Spine Tilt. The most important thing is to try and get your body feeling like you are on a flat lie (even though its not). You want to get your shoulders as parallel to the ground as possible. So, how do you do this you may ask?

(We will assume a Right Handed Player)

On an uphill lie, in order to get this “Flat Lie” feeling you would need to tilt your spine back (behind the ball and more towards your right side). Also, you will have to make sure your lower body weight is slightly into your left side (think of the weight going into the hill) to maintain balance and control through the swing.

On a downhill lie, the spine needs to be opposite. You will feel it is tilted more into your left side which would make your shoulders more parallel to that particular lie. Weight still needs to be balanced so work on getting your lower body centered. If you feel a little extra weight into the front leg that is okay as you will be needing to transfer your weight properly through impact to the finish.

If you can setup and maintain a solid posture no matter what lie you have been presented with then you will notice cleaner contact and more flush golf shots off these lies. It would help to go out onto the golf course and try these shots several times before attempting them during a round. Your body needs to get comfortable with the different setup so it can execute when needed.

Remember, if you can visualize playing every shot as a “flat lie”, that will help you remember how to position your spine and ultimately improve your posture in every situation.

How To Set-up To Uneven Lies2021-03-19T10:41:05-04:00

How Jason Dufner Won the PGA Championship

jason-dufner A few weeks ago Jason Dufner won the last major of 2013 – the PGA Championship. His total score of 10 under par was good for a 2 stroke victory over Jim Furyk. His calm demeanor and mellow attitude over the four day championship was the talk of the tournament and ultimately his key to victory.

So what can we take from Dufner’s “non-emotional” victory? In most rounds of golf you have probably have had lots of “highs” and lots of “lows.” The emotional roller coaster that golf can take you on is definitely what makes it such an interesting sport.

A “high” during your round occurs after you’ve done particularly well. Maybe you hit a few great drives in a row, chipped in, made a birdie, or even holed out from the fairway (like Dufner did during one of his rounds). It’s great to be in this state of mind – but it’s easy to get over-excited and lose focus.

On the other hand, there are points in your round when you can feel very “low”. These times often occur after a poor shot or a series of poor shots. Maybe you hit it in the water, out of bounds, or just made a high number. It’s easy to get stuck at a low point and not recover for the rest of your round. Golf is already a tough game and being in a poor frame of mind doesn’t make it any easier.

Somewhere between the two extremes of being on a “high” and being “low” is an ideal spot to be during an entire round of golf. This is the emotional state that Dufner managed to stay in during the entire championship. His idol is Ben Hogan – the ultimate “non-emotional” golfer.

When a good golfer has a good round of golf going – it’s almost a “boring” round of golf. Nothing too special – keeping the ball in play, getting it on the green in regulation, then two putts. If this player happens to have a few birdies in the mix – then it turns into a pretty nice round.

The important thing to take away here is not to let yourself get too “high” or too “low” during your round. Yes, you should celebrate your great shots – but don’t let them affect your strategy moving forward. Similarly, don’t let bad shots or bad breaks get you down. Stick with what you know and stay positive that you’ll start to hit good shots again. This will help you keep your emotions in check and score consistently better.

How Jason Dufner Won the PGA Championship2021-03-19T10:41:05-04:00

Track How Far You Hit Each Club This Month, Learn Why

clubs If you’re like most amateurs, you probably have a rough idea of how far you hit each of your clubs – but you don’t know exactly how far each one goes. You might base your average distance on one great shot you hit with each club – but that doesn’t mean you’ll hit it that far each and every time. This causes inconsistency in your golf game, which leads to second guessing yourself (and we all know that second-guessing is the last thing you want to do before hitting a golf ball).

Tour players are truly great at knowing how far each club in their bag goes. They know it down to the exact yard. So why is this important for you? There are a host of reasons – the main one being that your score will dramatically improve if you do! The better you know your distances, the more accurate you can plot your way around a golf course, and the better you will score. Avoiding water, bunkers, and out-of-bounds is how you’ll stop making those big numbers which can ruin a round.

Once you know how far you hit each club you’ll have a much better chance of hitting more greens per round. Being short or long on your approach to a green is often more detrimental than being the correct distance, but either left or right.

Another reason for knowing how far each club goes is to make sure the distance gaps between each club are correct. If your seven iron only goes about 5 yards further than your 8 iron – it’s time to take your clubs in to get fitted. Having gaps like this is especially common when it comes to long irons, hybrids, and fairway woods. Most amateurs keep replacing these clubs and when switching between different manufacturers, it’s tough to determine the actual distance gaps between them.

When it comes to knowing your distances, your short game (from within 130 yards) will benefit the most. Sticking it close to the flag from this distance is certainly the key to better scores.

So how do you know how far each club goes? There are a variety of ways to do this. By far, the best way to do it is through the help of technology. There are terrific launch monitors like Trackman and FlightScope that can tell you exactly how far you hit each shot. These usually require the help of a golf professional.

The more low-tech method is to get out to the driving range and hit every club in your bag enough times to get a solid average distance for each one.

However you do it, make sure to be honest with yourself and don’t let your pride get in the way. The better you know your game, the better you can score and the more fun you will have.

Track How Far You Hit Each Club This Month, Learn Why2021-03-19T10:41:05-04:00

Learn From The Open Champion: Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson In Phil’s post-round interview he summed up the reason for his terrific 5-under par 66 on the last day of The Open Championship. “I putted soooo good” Mickelson said.

Phil managed to birdie 4 of his last 6 holes in the final round of his win at The Open, and attributed it to his terrific putting. So let’s see what we can take away from Phil’s spectacular final round.

If we look at some PGA Tour stats – the percentage of putts made from within 10 feet by the leading tour player (in this stat) right now is 89.95%. So let’s just say that the average tour player makes about 80% of putts under 10 feet. That’s a pretty good stat. What percentage do you think you make from this distance?

If we think about why tour players have such a good stat here is because their lag putting is terrific – they leave themselves makable putts when outside of 10 feet. When a tour player has a 30 – 40 foot putt – there’s a great chance that they will knock it very close and two putt.

So what do you need to work on? If your lag putting (putts from a long distance to the hole) is poor – then place most of your practice time focusing on longer putts. Try to roll them within a three foot circle of the hole – and always try to get them just past the hole.

However, if your lag putting is pretty good and you struggle with short putts – then place more emphasis on this distance. Work on keeping your club face square, striking the dead center of your putter (not on the toe or heel), and especially work on your nerves while over short putts.

The emphasis on putting well can’t be underestimated. Tour players know that when they are putting well, their chances of winning are much, much greater. This means that if you putt well, your chances of scoring lower are much greater too.

So next time you head out to the golf course, either before your round or if you head there for a practice session, make sure to dedicate the majority of your time to the putting green and working on your weaknesses.

Phil Mickelson’s victory is definitely a result of his preparation and dedication to his game – especially his putting.

Learn From The Open Champion: Phil Mickelson2021-03-19T10:41:05-04:00

Rule 18 – Ball At Rest Moved

There are many rules in Rules of Golf that allow for some “wiggle room”. Rule 18 – Ball At Rest Moved is one of those rules.

Here is a little breakdown of that rule and how to proceed under this rule when it applies.

ball-movedIf a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced. However, in order to apply this rule it must “be known or virtually certain” that an outside agency has moved the ball. If not, you must deem the ball lost and proceed under Rule 27 for a lost ball.

Except as permitted by the Rules, when a player’s ball is in play, if a player, his partner or either of their caddies – lifts or moves the ball, touches it purposely (except with a club in the act of addressing the ball), or causes the ball to move, or the equipment of the player or his partner causes the ball to move, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke.

If the ball is moved, it must be replaced, unless the movement of the ball occurs after the player has begun the stroke or the backward movement of the club for the stroke and the stroke is made.

Under the Rules there is no penalty if a player accidentally causes his ball to move in the following circumstances:

  • In searching for a ball covered by sand, in the replacement of Loose Impediments moved in a Hazard while finding or identifying a ball, in probing for a ball lying in water in a Water Hazard or in searching for a ball in an Obstruction or an Abnormal Ground Condition – Rule 12-1
  • In repairing a Hole plug or ball mark – Rule 16-1c
  • In measuring – Rule 18-6
  • In lifting a ball under a Rule – Rule 20-1
  • In placing or replacing a ball under a Rule – Rule 20-3a
  • In removing a Loose Impediment on the Putting Green – Rule 23-1
  • In removing movable Obstructions – Rule 24-1

If a player’s ball in play moves after he has addressed it (other than as a result of a stroke), the player is deemed to have moved the ball and incurs a penalty of one stroke. The ball must be replaced, unless the movement of the ball occurs after the player has begun the stroke or the backward movement of the club for the stroke and the stroke is made.

The most common situation we see on TV is Rule 18 – 5: Ball Another Ball. If a ball in play and at rest is moved by another ball in motion after a stroke, the moved ball must be replaced.

For the complete reading of the Rule, I suggest you checkout the USGA’s Online Rules of Golf.

Rule 18 – Ball At Rest Moved2021-03-19T10:41:05-04:00

Adjusting Your Equipment For Different Courses

british-openSomething that all great players have in common is that they know their game – well. One of the things that you’ll see players doing next week at the British Open is altering their set of clubs to fit the challenges that “links golf” poses.

Some characteristics of “links golf” are firm, windy conditions with the courses having lots of contours. This type of golf is not conducive to the 64° lob wedge or the 20° hybrid – because those clubs get the golf ball in the air very quickly where the wind can play havoc and move it off your target line.

The players next week will most likely put more long irons in their bags and perhaps even stiffer shafts to help flight the ball down and keep it out of the wind.

Although you may not be playing in the British Open, you can copy this approach for your own game. Are you playing a course that requires you to add an extra lob wedge (like Phil Mickelson did that this years U.S. Open)?

Maybe you even want to change to a golf ball that spins more (or less) – depending on the conditions that week.

Whatever the case may be, I challenge you to evaluate your own game and experiment with changing your equipment throughout the year for different courses and conditions. See what works, what doesn’t – you’ll know your game better and become a better player because of it.

Adjusting Your Equipment For Different Courses2021-03-19T10:41:05-04:00

The Length of a Tee

wooden-golf-teesThere are many different kinds of tees available for golfers to choose from. They all help you do the same thing – elevate the ball from the teeing ground. Before the days of wooden tees, golfers used to use sand – forming a little pyramid to place the ball atop of.

The type of tee used is irrelevant when compared to the proper height. For long irons, hybrids and fairway woods, it is best to tee them as close as possible to the ground. You want to think of it as a “perfect lie”. For drivers, teeing the ball high enough so that the equator of the ball matches with the top of the driver is a great starting point.

That is for “standard” shots. You will need to adjust the tee up or down if you’re a better player and trying to flight the ball either lower or higher. The all too common mistake that most amateurs make is that they are inconsistent with their tee hieghts.

I want you to try this next time you’re practicing: Start with your 9 iron and adjust your tee height from flush with the ground to a few inches above. Make a mark on the tee where you hit the ball the best. Now do the same for the rest of your clubs (perhaps alternating as you go through your bag). You’ll now have a really good idea of the height that works best for you with each club.

Before you know it, it will become second nature on the course and you won’t even have to think about it. Understanding what works best for your game will better help you lower your scores.

The Length of a Tee2021-03-19T10:41:05-04:00

Rose’s are Red, White, & Blue: How You Can Learn From the U.S Open Champ

JR picPerseverance can be overlooked from time to time. We see a top player succeed and sometimes think, “hey that’s pretty easy, this guy has got it made.” When we reflect further we find out that these top players were once beginners, were once struggling golfers. Sometimes, even AFTER they turned Professional.

Take Justin Rose for example. He burst out onto the scene as a wide-eyed 17 year old and captured our hearts by famously holing out on the 72nd hole in the ’98 British Open to finish tied for 4th. What most casual golf fans don’t realize was that after he turned professional he missed 21 straight cuts. He struggled big time. Going back and forth to European Tour Qualifying School over the next several years.

Everybody has that turning point at one time or another whether it be golf or at another situation in life. Some players never get to that point as they give up much too soon. Rose decided he was going to be a great player and knew it in his heart that he had the grit and determination to accomplish his goals.

Fast-forward to Sunday of the 2013 U.S. Open and we all got to witness the poise and focused mind of this champion golfer. Rose played rock solid throughout the entire day and especially when the pressure was on during the final few holes. This is something that all golfers can learn from. Golfers trying to improve their game need to take a page from Justin and stick it out through the hard times. Often, most players give up way too soon and try the next great tip, or change equipment, or find a new instructor that they believe has the “magic potion”.

Ask any really good player how many times they have struggled while trying to achieve their goals and ALL of them will reference a time, probably more than one. Get out of your head about it, suck it up, and keep moving forward.  It may seem like that rainbow will never appear through the stormy days but I promise it will in one way or another.

Enjoy this great game because there are a lot of worse things in life than hitting a poor golf shot. Keep a positive mind about it and you’ll see better days ahead.


Rose’s are Red, White, & Blue: How You Can Learn From the U.S Open Champ2021-03-19T10:41:05-04:00

Rose Parades to Victory at U.S Open

Justin RoseOn the Golf Channel, Justin Rose was chosen as the “pick” to win the US Open for a couple years now. They chose him based on a variety of statistically categories when put together over a 4-day tournament would give him the decided advantage. Well, they were right! People that thought Justin Rose winning was a surprise weren’t looking at the numbers too closely.

Do any of you keep statistics on your golf game? You don’t need to go in depth like they do on the professional tours but keeping some simple stats can help clarify your weaknesses so you know what to practice. Most players that want to shoot lower always tend to lean toward the “I need to work on my golf swing” ideology instead of realizing there may be greater struggles that influence their final score.

Next time you are out on the course keep a few simple stats to help guide you along the way.

1. Mark your scorecard if you hit the fairway or missed it. You can do this by using a “1” for hit and “0” for missed. – All Holes except Par 3’s

2. Do the same for Greens Hit in Regulation (GIR) – All holes

3. For a missed GIR you will want to mark a “1” if you got the ball Up & Down in Par or less or a “0” if you didn’t.

4. Finally, write in how many putts you had per hole.

You can go even more in depth if you want by marking the side of the fairway you hit/missed, The side of the green you missed, length of putt you started with, club selection, etc. There are a variety of other stats you could keep but may not be necessary at this point.

You might be surprised by the outcome over a few rounds of golf. You can start to narrow down the areas you are giving away strokes to and improve on them. These stats are a great “call-out” to your trouble areas so you can acknowledge them sooner rather than later.

Keep working hard on the game and enjoying every minute of it!

Rose Parades to Victory at U.S Open2021-03-19T10:41:06-04:00

Rule 6 – The Player

tigerWith the upcoming US Open at Merion close by it is important to understand rules that will influence the play of these top players and the responsibility that they have.  Rule 6 outlines a variety of different items that the Player needs to be responsible for before, during, and after the round.   Some of these are showing up for the proper starting time, having a caddie, marking your golf ball, and signing the correct scorecard.  These are extremely important because any breach of Rule 6 could add penalty shots to a player’s score and even end in disqualification.

Roberto Di Vicenzo is probably the most well-known (Although he’d rather not be) for signing an improper scorecard which cost him the Masters.  He says that not a day goes by he doesn’t think about it.   Most recently, Tiger Woods 15th hole gaff on Friday of the 2013 Masters almost ended in disqualification as he signed his scorecard after taking an illegal drop.  Since the committee knew about this and deemed it wasn’t an illegal drop at first glance he was able to be assessed a 2-shot penalty and remain in the competition.  In that same event, the youngest ever competitor, Guan Tianlang was penalized for slow play under Rule 6.  There are a ton of examples from the professional ranks of “messing” up Rule 6 so it is important for you to know your responsibilities as a player when you tee it up in your next event.

The rules can be tricky at times because there are so many and a variety of different “decisions” that take it even further.  The best thing you can always due is to read all literature provided to you before an event and observe any “local rules” that are in place for that particular course.  When in doubt, ask the rules official for the event so that you can proceed under the correct procedure.   Knowing the rules will make your time on the golf course less stressful and could even help you out in many situations.


Rule 6 – The Player2021-03-19T10:41:06-04:00

Practice Like Jack & Tiger

tigerjackJack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods both got to where they are right now through doing things the right way. Of course they are naturally talented athletes, but they also work(ed) at their sport. They train(ed) hard and make valuable use of their time – especially when it comes to practice. Most amateurs can learn a lot from Tiger and Jack’s practice routines.

We all don’t have 8 hours a day to practice golf, so when we do have the time – let’s make it worth it. This involves practicing smarter instead of harder. Tiger puts more focus on the weakest part of his game at that time – a lesson every amateur should learn. If you are taking 40 putts per round but hitting your woods and irons just fine, then don’t spend time beating 7-irons down the range. Head to the putting green and spend 70% of your time there.

Jack Nicklaus would often focus on his fundamentals when his swing went south. He would work with his instructor on the basics – grip, aim, and posture. Jack found this the best way to get his groove back after a bad round. You too, can learn from this by not trying to overcomplicate your practice session. Instead of trying to cram in every drill you just read in Golf Digest into one practice session, ask your swing coach to give you one or two good drills that focus on your specific swing flaw. Practice just those few drills and don’t deviate from the plan. This ensures that not too many thoughts are entering your mind while practicing.

Another great aspect of Tiger’s practice routine is his focus on the target. Most amateurs simply go to the range and swing for the fences without a target in mind. Pick a target for each shot and change targets often. This makes sure you are doing something to actually help you game as opposed to just getting exercise from swinging a club!

Next time you’re at the driving range, go through your pre-shot routine on every shot and see how long it takes to hit a bucket of balls. Probably much longer than it typically takes you to finish a bucket – but this is a much more effective way to practice since you’re actually doing the same thing you do on the golf course.

Some tour pros will even “play” a round of golf on the range. They will start with a driver, pick a target, then hit it. From there they will go through the hole in their mind and hit whatever the next shot requires – maybe an 8 iron to a tight pin position. The more you can simulate a real round of golf on the practice range – the better your practice session will become.

Figuring out an ideal practice routine is individual to every golfer. Just make sure that you’re accomplishing something each time you go out – and keep your short game a top priority. Improving in this area will probably drop the most amount of strokes in the quickest amount of time.

Practice Like Jack & Tiger2021-03-19T10:41:06-04:00

Golf Rules: Cleaning the Ball

Knowing the rules of golf is not only beneficial in preventing penalty strokes, but also helpful in those sticky situations when you are unsure of how to proceed. Today we are going to talk about cleaning the golf ball – most amateurs don’t exactly know to what extent they can clean their ball during a round of golf. It might surprise you when it’s legal to clean your golf ball.

wet_golf_ball The most obvious time permitted to clean your golf ball is between holes – when the ball is not in play. The other obvious time is on the putting green – after you have marked your golf ball. Cleaning it in both these times is permitted.

Another time permitted is when local rules permit the “Lift, Clean and Place” rule. This situation usually occurs when the course has seen a lot of rain or inclement weather.

There are a few special circumstances in which you must proceed with caution when picking up your ball.

  • If you are determining if the ball is unfit for play – you can not clean your ball.
  • If you are determining if the ball is yours (identification) you are permitted to only clean the ball “to the extent necessary for identification”
  • If you have to mark your ball somewhere besides the putting green (if it is interfering with another player’s stroke) then you are not permitted to clean the ball and must replace it back to it’s original spot exactly as it was before.

What is the penalty for breach of this rule? It’s a one-stroke penalty and the ball must be replaced.

So next time you find yourself in a situation where you might have the opportunity to clean your golf ball, remember to first assess your circumstances. And don’t forget – a clean golf ball flies further and straighter than a dirty golf ball!

Golf Rules: Cleaning the Ball2021-03-19T10:41:06-04:00

Masters 2013: How To Mathematically Win The Masters


Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters, and he did it by the book. With all the story lines at this years Masters – from 14 year old Tianlang Guan and his slow play penalty / making the cut, to having the world exposed to Rule 33-7 – how Adam Scott won the Masters involved no secret formula.

Adam did what pretty much ever Masters champion has done to put on the green jacket. He hit 76.39% of the fairways (Field Average: 60.2%) and putted like a champion (1.67 Putts Per Green). He also only found one greenside bunker all week.

The stat that you shouldn’t be surprised at is his Fairway’s Hit (57.14%) compared to the field average of 65%. Hitting fairways at Augusta National has never been a key to victory.

So what can we learn from these numbers? If you want to win a Masters you better hit a boatload of greens and putt like it’s no ones business. That’s pretty much true for every Tour event, but is key if you want to own a new piece of clothing at the end of the week.

The everyday golfer can, and should take something away from this: Focus on your short game. Hitting big drives makes you feel good – but shooting the lowest score in your group will probably bring more satisfaction.

I encourage you to take a page out of Adam Scotts 2013 Masters victory and focus this year on your putting and wedges; I guarantee if you improve in those areas so will your scores.

Masters 2013: How To Mathematically Win The Masters2021-03-19T10:41:06-04:00

Master Edition: Navigating Fast Greens


It’s Masters week. One of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about the Augusta National Golf Club is their beautifully manicured golf course. They spend millions of dollars every year to keep it looking great.

The most famous course element is the greens at Augusta. They are fast, undulating, and require a large imagination to navigate. Most of us will never play on greens that quick, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something to learn from watching the best in the world trying to solve their mystery.

There are a few tips when putting on faster greens.

  • Play more break. The faster the greens the more every subtle slope becomes a factor.
  • Putt to a “target” rather than the hole. Pick an imperfection on the green that is on your intended line and putt to that, it’ll help you focus.
  • Focus on both speed and line – don’t become too obsessed with one or the other.
  • Use your imagination. Use the slopes of the green to your advantage. Perhaps you need to aim sideways on a putt just to get it close – trust gravity.
  • Be smart. Downhill putts will be fast, if you are afraid of the putt and leave it short, you will now face that same putt all over again.

Those are a few keys that will get you started when putting on greens you’re not familiar with. If you want to fine tune your stroke, let’s setup a putting lesson and make sure everything looks great for the coming season.

Master Edition: Navigating Fast Greens2021-03-19T10:41:06-04:00

Practicing During Your Round

RIFElsDefining what “practice” on the golf course is can be confusing if you are unfamiliar with the rules. It is okay to practice during a round of golf as long as you adhere to The Rules of Golf 7-2:

A player must not make a practice stroke during play of a hole. Between the play of two holes a player must not make a practice stroke, except that he may practice putting or chipping on or near:

    1. the putting green of the hole last played,
    2. any practice putting green, or
    3. the teeing ground of the next hole to be played in the round, provided a practice stroke is not made from a hazard and does not unduly delay play (Rule 6-7).

Strokes made in continuing the play of a hole, the result of which has been decided, are not practice strokes.

Exception: When play has been suspended by the Committee, a player may, prior to resumption of play, practice (a) as provided in this Rule, (b) anywhere other than on the competition course and (c) as otherwise permitted by theCommittee.

Knowing the rules can help you lower your score throughout he round (as long as you’re not holding up play!)

Practicing During Your Round2021-03-19T10:41:06-04:00

Play The Hole Backwards

Whether you are a tournament golfer or just out on the weekends to play with your buddies, having proper strategy on the golf course can help you minimize mistakes and shoot lower scores.  One way to do that is to try to play the hole backwards in your mind.  This is a common practice of the top tour players in the world.  Here’s why:

timclarkplayingBy knowing how the green is set-up (i.e pin location, slope of green, bunker/hazards, etc) you can decide where it is best to play from with your approach shot into the green.  If the pin is back right, for instance, and your normal shot is a fade, then it would be ideal for you to be on the right center of the fairway.  This would give you the best angle into the green to use your comfortable go-to shot.  There are a variety of scenarios but you need to picture how you would normally play the shot with your skill level.

Now, using the previous situation, you know you want to be right center on the fairway to use your fade shot into the green.   This would lead you to choose which is the best club to hit off the tee.  It would depend on how far of a distance you wanted into the hole with your next shot.  Also, it will give you an idea on which part of the tee box to tee off on. (Most right handed players wanting to play a fade should look at teeing off on the right portion of the tee box to open up the hole a little more).

If you are a tournament golfer you may do this during a practice round and keep notes so you are prepared for the tournament.  If you are a weekend player, you may just take the hole as it appears and try your best to visualize what you would like to do on that hole at that time based on the information you have.

Of course, the execution of the shot is key and the players that can visualize the hole backwards and then execute on that plan tend to shoot great scores and not get themselves in trouble.  Try this next time you are out playing and you will be amazed how you can think your way around the golf course more strategically, which in turn produces less “big numbers” on the scorecard.


Play The Hole Backwards2021-03-19T10:41:06-04:00

Experiment Around The Greens

tiger memorialAs most players already know, a sound short game can be the difference between a really poor round and an average round.  It can always cover up a poor ball striking day by allowing you to save par from tough positions.  Execution is key, but you must have a strategy in place that will help with the execution.  Many players struggle with which shot to play and often times try to hit the “miracle” shot instead of placing the ball 10-12 feet from the hole and having a putt at it.

This is where club selection plays a large role.  If you are comfortable with one club around the green that is fine and feel free to use it a majority of the time.  However, there are instances where you need to be using a different club.

Common Scenario – You are just short of the green in the fairway and the pin is on the back portion of the green.  The green has several bumps and the pin is on the top level.  Your normal comfortable club is a sand wedge.  However, to be effective with the sand wedge you would have to play a very low skipping shot that hits into the hill and has a lot of spin to help it roll out just a bit.  If you hit into the green with the “normal” wedge trajectory the ball won’t have a lot of room to land near the pin and will probably roll off the back of the green.  This is a very tough shot if you don’t practice your short game a ton.

Possible Solution – Choose a less lofted club like a 9-iron and try to get the ball spending more time on the ground than in the air.  You could use the putter, as well, but only if you had little fairway to go until your reached the green.  With a 9-iron you could carry the ball about a 1/3rd onto the green and let it roll the rest of the way.  This is the safer play and will give you a better opportunity to make the next putt.

The main point to make this scenario or any other one work, is that you must practice with different clubs around the green to learn the technique and how hard you need to hit those shots to go the desired distance.  Don’t make the mistake of never practicing with your 9-iron and then pull it out on the back-9 when the match is on the line.

Practice – Go to your local golf facilities short game area and throw 5 balls down just off the green any distance you want.  Next, choose 5 different clubs.  Try to hit one ball with each club and see the results.  You will notice that each club will carry and roll different distances.  You can start narrowing it down to 1 or 2 clubs that you like from that particular situation.  Rinse and Repeat.  From then forward, when you are practicing your short game you can know use those same clubs from the different positions and feel more comfortable because you have already gone through the experimental phase.

Remember, there is nothing wrong with using just 1 club around the green but you must be able to hit ALL the shots to do so.  Help yourself out a little and practice with a few different clubs from time to time just to have a “go to” shot from certain situations.  This will help you stay confident because you have seen the shot before during practice so you know you can execute when the pressure is on!

Enjoy the process of learning and hope to see you out soon!



Experiment Around The Greens2021-03-19T10:41:06-04:00

Match Play – A Fun Tournament Format

Luke Donald Match PlayIf you’re a member at a country club, then you might already be pretty familiar with match play. You’ve probably already played quite a few tournaments where some sort of match play was involved. The casual golfer (unless quite competitive) however, usually doesn’t have a reason to play a “match play” event. So as the PGA Tour is currently playing the “World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship” lets take a walk through the USGA’s definition of what match play is so that you’re more familiar with this type of format.

This particular tournament can be thought of as an NCAA bracket or a “Match Play Tree” whereas the players are slotted in the bracket based on their world ranking number. A typical USGA match play event usually starts with a stroke play qualifier to determine what “seed” or ranking you will be given. This tournament begins with the top 64 players in the world.

Match play is basically a competition between two players to determine who wins the match. Strokes are not tallied up, rather the player who has the lowest score on a hole, wins that hole. Therefore that player is “1 up”. Let’s say that same player has the lowest score on hole 2 – he is now “2 up”. This goes on until one player runs out of holes. For example if a Player A is “4 up” after the 15th hole, then Player B can no longer win, because not enough holes exist. Therefore, Player A wins “4 up with 3 to play” or “4 & 3” for short.

In the event that both players finish 18 holes at “all square” then the match goes in to a sudden death playoff. The players play hole-by-hole until someone wins the next hole. So if both players tie the “19th” hole, but Player A wins the “20th” hole – then Player A wins the match at “20 holes”.

One fun fact is that players can “concede” a hole – if a player hits his tee shot into the woods, he could simply turn to his opponent and say “you’ve won this hole”. Then both players would proceed to the following hole.

The main difference that you might see on TV this week between match play and stroke play is that players don’t have to “finish” the hole. You might see a player make birdie, then the losing player will simply pick up his ball and walk to the next hole. This is perfectly legal.

Match Play – A Fun Tournament Format2021-03-19T10:41:07-04:00

Shafts Explained

shafts-explainedMany amateur golfers don’t seem to realize the importance of having golf clubs that are properly fitted to their game. One important piece of the fitting process is getting the right shaft to match your swing.

So let’s talk about the flex of a golf club shaft. The flex of a golf club basically refers to the ability of a golf shaft to bend as forces are applied to it during the golf swing. Those forces are generated by you the golfer – whether you have a fast, slow or powerful swing speed.

There are generally five types of shaft flex: ladies, senior, regular, stiff and extra stiff. If you have a flex that doesn’t match your swing speed then you’re probably losing distance and/or accuracy. An incorrect shaft flex becomes more noticeable the longer the club gets (ie. with the driver).

Ideally, we want a square club face at impact. As the shaft flexes throughout the swing, the position of the club face can change. An incorrect shaft flex can cause the club face to become open or closed delivering the club head incorrectly resulting in an off center hit. A properly fit shaft can help to reduce the inconsistencies listed above and result in more accurate shots that maximize your distance potential.

Here are a few quick guidelines on some of the characteristics of what an incorrect shaft flex might be doing to your game.

If you tend to hit shots that are low, going right (possibly with a fade or a slice), and don’t ever seem to be hit very solid – then your shaft might be too stiff. Stiff shafts are typically meant for players with high swing speeds or strong, quick transitions in their swing.

If you tend to hit shots that go left, if you tend to have a closed club face at impact or if your shots tend to fly higher than they should – you might have a shaft that is too flexible. More flexible shafts are generally meant for players with slower swing speeds or smoother, more fluid swings.

With the technology that is available for club fitting today, there are many other numbers and calculations to take into effect when fitting a player for the correct shaft. What I have described above is just a general overview of shafts and how their flex can have such an impact on your game. If you unsure if the shafts in your clubs are fit for your game, then let’s schedule a time to evaluate and make sure your equipment is fit for you.

Shafts Explained2021-03-19T10:41:07-04:00

Rule 26-1: Ball In Water Hazard

Meaning of “Known or Virtually Certain”

The PGA Tour is getting ready to head to Pebble Beach. This is a great time to remind everyone of the sometimes confusing “ball in hazard” rule. Let’s take a closer look at determining if your ball is even in a water hazard or not.

When a ball has been struck towards a water hazard and cannot be found, a player may not assume that his ball is in the water hazard simply because there is a possibility that the ball may be in the water hazard. In order to proceed under Rule 26-1, it must be “known or virtually certain” that the ball is in the water hazard. In the absence of “knowledge or virtual certainty” that it lies in a water hazard, a ball that cannot be found must be considered lost somewhere other than in a water hazard and the player must proceed under Rule 27-1.

When a player’s ball cannot be found, “knowledge” may be gained that his ball is in a water hazard in a number of ways. The player or his caddie or other members of his match or group may actually observe the ball disappear into the water hazard. Evidence provided by other reliable witnesses may also establish that the ball is in the water hazard. Such evidence could come from a referee, an observer, spectators or other outside agencies. It is important that all readily accessible information be considered because, for example, the mere fact that a ball has splashed in a water hazard would not always provide “knowledge” that the ball is in the water hazard, as there are instances when a ball may skip out of, and come to rest outside, the hazard.

water-hazardIn the absence of “knowledge” that the ball is in the water hazard, Rule 26-1 requires there to be “virtual certainty” that the player’s ball is in the water hazard in order to proceed under this Rule. Unlike “knowledge,” “virtual certainty” implies some small degree of doubt about the actual location of a ball that has not been found. However, “virtual certainty” also means that, although the ball has not been found, when all readily available information is considered, the conclusion that there is nowhere that the ball could be except in the water hazard would be justified.

In determining whether “virtual certainty” exists, some of the relevant factors in the area of the water hazard to be considered include topography, turf conditions, grass heights, visibility, weather conditions and the proximity of trees, bushes and abnormal ground conditions.

The same principles would apply for a ball that may have been moved by an outside agency (Rule 18-1) or a ball that has not been found and may be in an obstruction (Rule 24-3) or an abnormal ground condition (Rule 25-1c).

Rules definition is courtesy of usga.org

Rule 26-1: Ball In Water Hazard2021-03-19T10:41:07-04:00

Start Thinking About Your Set Makeup

How you organize your set makeup this year can really take some strokes off your scorecard. Take the time to evaluate which clubs you need in your bag and which ones you don’t.

Here’s how to get started:

  • Go through a typical round of golf and count the number of times you use each club (example: Driver 14 times, Putter 32 times, etc..)
  • Now determine how confident you are with each club
  • If your stuck, let’s setup a time to do a “bag audit” and find the best solution for your game
  • Remove or replace the clubs that are not helping you score

What most people will find is that they need to add a new wedge, or don’t need those 4 & 5 irons anymore. Your club makeup is more than likely going to change, and making that change now allows you time to adjust your game and body to the new set makeup.

Having the correct clubs in your bag can take a bunch of strokes off your score and help to rebuild confidence in the areas that were lacking in 2012.

Start Thinking About Your Set Makeup2021-03-19T10:41:07-04:00

Posting A Tournament Score for Your Handicap

What Determines A Tournament Score In Terms Of Posting For Handicap Purposes?

The USGA Handicap System™ is based around the concept of a player’s potential, and scores made in a tournament setting can provide a very good indication of such potential. One of the procedures within the System deals with identifying players who have at least two exceptional tournament scores in their scoring record

An exceptional score is defined as a score with a differential of 3.0 or more below the player’s current Handicap Index®. This brings up the issue of which scores should be posted as tournament scores. There are a number of factors when determining whether a score should be posted as a tournament score. One is whether the score is made in a competition organized and conducted by a Committee in charge of the competition. Another is whether the competition identifies a winner(s) and is played under the principles of the Rules of Golf.

Essentially we are looking to identify significant events where a player would have much more riding on the outcome of the round compared to a casual round of golf. So a club championship, member-guest, etc. would be the type of event meeting this requirement. In addition, qualifying round(s) for significant events such as local, regional or state championships would all typically meet the requirement for a tournament score.

Regular play days at a club and any non-competitive events such as social outings should not be identified as tournament scores, as they do not carry the same significance as formal events. The number of total eligible tournament scores in a player’s scoring record is one of the factors used in determining if a player qualifies for a handicap reduction, and if so, the amount of reduction. Over-designating tournament scores will actually reduce the effectiveness of identifying those who perform exceptionally in the more significant events.

The ultimate decision of whether to designate a competition as a tournament score is up to the Handicap Committee in consultation with the Committee in charge of the competition. If a club or committee is unsure whether a competition should be considered a tournament score, they can contact the authorized golf association or the USGA Handicap Department for guidance.

By Scott Hovde, Assistant Director, Handicap and Course Rating Administration for the USGA

Posting A Tournament Score for Your Handicap2021-03-19T10:41:07-04:00

A New Year, A New Year to Shine

The calendar has now turned to 2013. It is a great opportunity to hit the “reset” button on your golf game and make a resolution to do what it takes to improve your skills.

Do you keep any statistics on your golf game? This is a new chance to start keeping records so that you can track your progress throughout the year.

If keeping stats isn’t your style, what about making an effort to focus on certain parts of your game? Do you want to improve your bunker play? Spend more time this year in the practice bunker and less time on the range hitting balls. If you only have an hour to practice, take 20 minutes of that time and spend it hitting bunker shots? Make a conscience effort to turn your weaknesses into strengths.

The only way to improve your skills is to be honest about what parts of your game needs improvements and what parts can wait. If you are three-putting more than you like, start with that – spend more time on the putting green.

Don’t be embarrassed to practice the parts of your game that need the most help. This time next year you’ll be happy you allocated your practice time appropriately and kept your resolution to improve.

A New Year, A New Year to Shine2021-03-19T10:41:07-04:00

The Importance of Lag Putting

During these months where the days are shorter and temperatures are lower, it is a great opportunity to focus closer to the hole.  You can groove your golf swing and make those necessary adjustments, but a majority of players have trouble with their putting.  Especially their long putting.  Don’t discount this part of the game as the stats do not lie.  The closer you are to the hole, the more likely you are to make the next putt.  What does that mean?  If you can lag your long putt inside a couple of feet the percentages go up substantially that you will make the next one.

There are tons of various data sources that discuss putting statistics and make-percentage but they are all relatively close.  The reality is that most players make every putt inside of 2 feet.  Somewhere in the 98% range.  When you move back to 3 feet that drops several percentage points to roughly an average of 90%, give or take a few points.  The alarming stats start to come in as you get 5-6 feet away from the whole.  The make-percentage drops considerably to nearly 50% and your 8-9 footers somewhere in the 35% range.  The fact that if you are outside of 10 feet you make only 1/4 of your putts and anything longer than 15-feet is 10% or less.

Now, these are just numbers and not perfect for every situation and player but these are Tour Player averages.  They are a lot lower for the average handicap amateur.

So what does this mean?  You can sit all day and work on your 3-8 footers (and you should practice them), but most amateurs are well outside of 15-20 feet on their approach shots into the green.  If you work on your long putting it will limit your 3-putts (and 4-putts for some) and give you a chance to instantly drop several shots off your score.

Imagine having 18 birdie putts from 60-feet… How confident are you in your ability to get all of them down in 2 putts or less?  Sometimes it doesn’t matter how great you hit it if your putting is not on point.

PRACTICE – The simplest drill you can do for your long putting is to pick a distance of 20 feet to start with and try to putt 5 balls inside of a putter length.  If you accomplish this then you move to 30-feet, if not, try again from 20-feet until you complete it.  Work your way from 20 feet all the way to 60-footers and test yourself on these.   Try uphill, sidehill, and downhill putts for variety.  If you do this a couple times a week through the off-season you will be amazed at how much more comfortable you are reading the greens and the speed of these long putts and rolling it close.  You might even surprise yourself and start holing a couple of these putts too!

If you need any assistance with your putting please let me know.  Have a wonderful holiday!

The Importance of Lag Putting2021-03-19T10:41:07-04:00

Don’t Lie to Yourself

Do not let anyone lead you to believe that not having properly fit golf clubs is fine.  It is extremely important to make sure your equipment is right for your body type and swing style.  One of the important items with clubfitting is the “Lie Angle” of the club.  This, in essence, is how the clubhead is positioned as you strike the ball in the impact area.  Terms you may have heard are “Upright or Toe-Up”, “Square”, or “Flat or Toe-Down”.  Let me give so more insight into these terms and how you can test your own golf clubs.

First, the definition of “lie angle” of any clubhead is the angle between the center of the shaft and the sole.

The lie angle affects the accuracy of the shot. The lie angle is said to be fit properly when the sole of the club arrives parallel to the ground.  If the lie angle is incorrect then there can be some accuracy issues.  If a clubhead is too upright, the heel of the club will tend to dig into the ground first and cause the clubface to close.  Conversely, if the toe of the club digs into the ground (too flat) it will cause the clubface to open.  Lie Angle is generally discussed more with the irons as the more loft a club has it will tend to fly off-line further.

One of the best ways to check if your club has the right lie angle is to perform a simple test:

1. Draw a straight line on a ball with a marker

2. Put the ball down so the line is perfectly vertical

3. Hit the golf shot

When you look at the shot afterwards, you will receive valuable feedback.  If the line on the club is pointing straight up and down then you know your lie angle is fit properly for that club.  If the line is pointing to the toe of the club then your club is too upright and needs to be flattened.  Conversely, if it is pointing at the heel of the club then it needs to be more upright.  This is a good test to do when you are out practicing.

If you need a full audit of your irons and wedges or you are looking into some new equipment and would like to get custom fit please let me know.

Have a great holiday season and I look forward to working with you on your game soon.

Don’t Lie to Yourself2021-03-19T10:41:07-04:00

The Long and Short of It

As many of you may have heard, the USGA and R & A are proposing a ban on an anchored stroke with a golf club to be effective in 2016.  Some of you may be wondering what this all means and what the highlights of this rule change would entail.

First, it is important to note that this is a “proposed” rule change and it won’t officially be declared a change until sometime in the spring after further evaluation and discussion is considered.  There is a lot of controversy over this rule change as many players have been anchoring putters for years and even some younger players have only known to putt this way.  Also, this is not a ban on those long or belly putters but just as to the way they will be able to be used.

Here is the main reason for the change from USGA Executive Director Mike Davis.

“One of the most fundamental things about the game of golf is we believe the player should hold the club away from his body and swing it freely.”  He goes on to say, “We think this is integral to the traditions of the game. Golf is a game of skill and challenge, and we think that is an important part of it.”

Further support has been garnered from Tour Players such as Steve Stricker who states, “Any time you can take your arms and hands out of it, especially your hands, I think when you anchor it in your chest it is a huge advantage.  There’s going to be a lot of upset people, a lot of guys that have putted with a long putter for a long time, and I have a feeling they’re going to have something to say about the rule.”

This has been a hot topic over the last few years due to 3 Major Champion winners using this style; Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley, and Ernie Els.  Other notable players that have had success recently have been Adam Scott and Carl Pettersson.  Phil Mickelson has even dabbled with an anchored stroke during a cold spell he had in the past year.

There is no doubt this proposed rule will continue to be a huge talking point over the next several months and years before it becomes effective on January 1st, 2016 (pending that the rule is officially accepted next year)

The good news for all players if you still have 3 full seasons to continue using this style in any sanctioned event you play and can work a new style into your game going forward.

If you do have any questions on this or want to discuss your options and current putting style further please contact me.

The Long and Short of It2021-03-19T10:41:07-04:00

Winter Rules

Distance control is a vital part to playing sound golf.  If on a warm 70 degree day with no wind and a flat lie you know you hit your 7-iron 167 yards then you have a great opportunity to control your distances into the greens.  Some players of lesser experience may have a range they hit their irons based on if they hit the center of the face or not.  On average, when the weather is under 60 degrees, you will lose approximately 10-15% on your club distances.  This is important to note as if you are trying to land the ball in a particular spot or carry a hazard then you can make sure you take enough stick.  If you play the same course throughout the year this is extremely important as you may know your distances on most holes, especially the par 3’s.  Give yourself an extra club into those greens and it will do wonders to keeping your scores consistent on varying weather days.

In addition, a lot of players tend to take their eyes off of the ball after it lands on the ground as they assume it is in a safe spot.  During the winter months, leaves and/or snow can cause you to lose a ball when you think you had a spot on it.  It is important to watch the ball until it stops as best as you can and pick something out in that area you saw it finish in.  Not only will it help you find the ball but it will also speed up play so you don’t have to bring the entire search party over to help.

Finally, remember that you are probably not practicing nearly as much as you do during the “main season”.  If this is the case, it is recommended to play the safe shot whether it be off the tee, into a green, or around the green.  Your body might not be conditioned to pull off a highly difficult shot and could put you in more trouble than normal.  Most of the time, the safe play keeps you in position to score on each hole.  The more fairways and greens you can hit, even if your distance or accuracy might be off, will give you a better chance to keep your score relatively stable and potentially shoot some lower scores than normal.

Please use these tips not only in the winter months but as a general rule of thumb when you are in a situation you are not comfortable or confident in.  These will keep you in play more often and give you a chance to have more fun on the golf course in all conditions.


Winter Rules2021-03-19T10:41:08-04:00

Tool Time

If you are thinking about re-tooling your golf equipment then this is a great time to make the adjustment.  Since you are probably not playing as much, mostly due to the cooler conditions, this would be a wonderful time to “tinker” with your bag.  You might want to try out different golf shafts in your driver, look into a better club head for your irons, or finally get the putter fitting you have been talking about.

During the “main” season it is difficult to make equipment changes because it can take an extended period of time to get used to the switch.  The change may be better for your golf swing but your body and mind need to get on the same page.  Tour players are always looking through their equipment and how they can tweak theirs slightly to make a huge improvement.  However, rarely do you see the top players make glaring changes around the big events.

Take an audit of your golf bag and look at the clubs that may be:

  1. Worn or Outdated
  2. Don’t feel great when you hit it
  3. You’re not confident with it in your hands
  4. The weighting feels off
  5. Hard to hold (i.e Slippery)

These are a few indicators that you may need a simple solution such as a grip change or a full overhaul of one or more golf clubs.  Give me a call and we can take an audit of your golf bag together and find the right solutions to help you improve your game for the following season.



Tool Time2021-03-19T10:41:08-04:00

Why Should I Get a Handicap?

For the casual to average golfer, most players do not see a need to have a USGA handicap.  They feel that they do not play often enough to bother with it.  Golf is a game that is played as an individual and the only way to truly compete against yourself is set goals to improve.  Sure, you can go out and have a spectacular round of golf but what about the yearly goal that most golfers have, “I want to get better.”  This can often be a blanket statement because what does it mean to get better?  Is it making more 5-footers, not having any hazard penalties per round, or just keeping it in play?

The fact is that one of the best ways to see if you are improving as a total golfer is to keep a handicap.  As you enter scores, either 9 or 18 holes, you will start to see your true game in front of your eyes.  Some players may not like where their handicap is, but that gives the player a chance to challenge himself or herself to lower it.

Also, if you plan on playing any local tournaments, it is important to have your handicap.  This is the best way to even out the playing field and make it fair for all players.

There is a ton of information on handicapping and the best resource would be to visit the United States Golf Association website and the section on Handicaps.  You can visit the link here – http://www.usga.org/Handicapping.aspx?id=7792

If you have any questions on setting up your handicap please do not hesitate to ask.  I look forward to your questions.


Why Should I Get a Handicap?2021-03-19T10:41:08-04:00

Keep Up The Pace

Pace of Play has been a huge issue over the last 5-10 years with the addition of longer golf courses with more challenging design elements.

Trust me, nobody wants to play a 5 1/2 hour round.  It is not fun and takes up most of your day to complete.

There are a few key points to keep in mind when you are playing a round of golf that can help you speed up play without hurting your game.

1. Play “Ready golf – “Ready Golf” is a term used in golf that refers to playing your shot when you are ready even though you may be closer to the hole.  In tournament golf, it is normally the player further from the hole that plays their shot first.  However, when you are playing a recreational round it is good practice to play your shot when you are ready to hit.  Your playing partners may be farther but if they are searching for a ball, assessing their lie, or trying to decide on a club to use then it is best to go ahead and play as long as they are not in danger of being hit with a wayward shot.

2. Choose Your Club Wisely – Many of you are playing courses that are “Cart Path Only” or you have to park in designated areas and cannot pull right up to your ball.  In this case, estimate your distance to the hole as best as you can and choose a club you think should work.  In addition, bring 2 other clubs with you just in case you misjudged the distance, lie, and/or wind.  (i.e – If you chose a 7-iron then also bring the 8-iron and 6-iron to the ball).  This will save valuable time walking back to the golf cart.

3.  Abandon a severely Lost Ball – If your ball went into a heavily wooded area or maybe near a water hazard then give it a look for a minute or two and drop if you cannot find it.   If you are keeping your handicap and worried about the rules, then hit an extra ball from that spot as a provisional so you do not need to walk back.  Chances are, if you are deep in the trees and find it you are going to have a tough time getting out in 1-2 shots so do yourself a favor and play on with another ball.

4.  Putting – There are a few things with putting that can be done to improve the speed of play.  First, look at the break of the green as others are walking up or reading theirs.  Don’t wait around until it is your turn and then do a full analysis of the green.   Have an idea before it is your turn and then confirm it when you are up.  Secondly, don’t sweat over the 2-footer.  99% of the time you will make that putt so it is not necessary to mark the ball, clean it, put it down, and then putt it.  If you want to putt it then just finish it up after your initial putt was hit.  Those valuable minutes will pay off with a quicker round.

5. Tee it Forward – The last, and probably most important Pace of Play suggestion is to Tee it Forward.  This initiative was started to give you an opportunity to challenge yourself based on your “real” handicap. Most players play from the tees too far back from their skill level and end up shooting high scores because the course overpowers them.  If you played from a tee more forward than normal, you will still be challenged greatly but it gives you a chance to hit short clubs into holes rather than having to hit a hybrid or fairway wood all the time.

To learn more about Tee It Forward  please click here – Play Golf America’s Tee it Forward Program

If you follow this advice it will help make your rounds more enjoyable and not feel like an eternity.  If you have any questions or would like to know how improving your golf game can help speed up play then please give me a call.


Keep Up The Pace2021-03-19T10:41:08-04:00

Know Your Off-Season

Golf can be a year-round game in some parts of the world, but is important to know what your “main” season is so that you can prepare, implement, or maintain your game.

In the Northeast US, for instance, it is a given that you won’t play much golf between November 1st – April 1st.  This is an opportunity to assess your goals and give your body a break from the constant play and practice.  For some, that means to add a new fitness routine, work with their coach at an indoor studio to enhance technique, or put the clubs in the garage and not touch them all winter.

Whatever the case may be, it is ideal to know when your off-season is so that you can gear up and gear down at specific times.  If you are working on a swing adjustment and never have an off-season then your expectations might be unrealistic when you venture out to the golf course.  However, if you knew that for a few months you would play sparingly then you could work on some of those weaknesses when time permitted and give yourself ample time for them to become more natural in your game.

I am not implying that you have to take off.  Some players want to play year-round and there is nothing wrong with that.  For the player that wants to improve their game each year it is vital to know when you are going to make changes, are implementing changes, or simply maintaining your game and playing a lot of golf.

Every player will be different but if you know what is right for you then you can have a clear mindset as you are preparing for the following season and start it off on a good path.


Know Your Off-Season2021-03-19T10:41:08-04:00

What Do You Know About Pressure?

Golf is one of those games that you really don’t know how good someone actually is until they have some pressure put on them.  Most good players can hit quality range shots and even light it up playing 9-holes with their buddies.  A true test of pressure is competition.  This past weekend at the Ryder Cup you saw a ton of players under pressure.  Some handled it well (like most of the Europeans on Sunday), and others had struggles coming down the stretch.  These are the top players in the world and they have trouble at times when the pressure begins to be poured on.  The easiest suggestion is to challenge yourself and don’t be afraid to fail.

As golf instructors and coaches, we here it all the time, “I don’t want to play in that event because I’ll make a fool of myself”.  The problem is that if you never challenge yourself to be in an uncomfortable position then it is hard to reach your potential.  A player that may have a 22 handicap and wants to get it down to the ‘teens can do a lot more than just improve their skills.  Although that will help, playing in a few club or local tournaments will get them understanding how their body and mind react in certain situations.  You can’t tee up another ball for fun or give yourself the 4-footer after a hard chip.  Competition makes you focus and execute each shot.

Often times, players tend to fail in their first few events but then something magical happens; they evolve as golfers.  Each player matures at various levels and times but it is the player who puts themselves in uncomfortable and challenging positions that learns the most in a short period of time.  When you understand your tendencies and can play a tournament on a different course set-up and with players you don’t know then you have taken the next step in the game of golf.  You have evolved your mental toughness and had to execute shots that were not necessarily in your wheelhouse.  These players that put it all on the line to see where they are really at in the game of golf can achieve levels that they never thought were possible.

Next time you have the opportunity to play in your club championship or even a Captain’s Choice event around the area, I recommend to sign-up.  Not only are these events fun, but it will give you a chance to look yourself in the mirror and see if you can pull off the shots you have poured so much of your time into practicing.  It is often the most challenging of events that brings out your best.

Are you curious about your potential?

Please let me know if tournament golf interests you and we can discuss this more in depth and help you on your way to becoming a better player.

What Do You Know About Pressure?2021-03-19T10:41:08-04:00

Why you should befriend Rule 3-3?

Often times the rules can be tedious or irrelevant for most players just enjoying a casual round of golf. Most of the time it is often recommended that if you are not keeping your handicap to discard some of the rules to keep up with the pace of play. An example of this would be losing your ball off the tee. The way the USGA rules are written, you would need to head back to the teeing area and hit again from that spot. Since 99% of golfers do not have “Spotters” or Spectators watching for these incoming shots, it is oftentimes considered okay to drop a ball in an area near where you think you lost it, take a 1-shot penalty, and move on. It will save a tremendous amount of headaches each and every round and keep your round moving along.

However, there are times when the rules are a must. What if you don’t know them? What if you are playing in your club championship or member/guest and encounter a situation that you are not sure how to handle? What if there is not a rules official nearby?

Enter Rule 3-3: Doubt as to Procedure. At the end of the article is the full definition. Thanks to the USGA for providing this information. (To see the full rule book please visit their website at http://www.usga.org)

The simple definition of this rule is that, in Stroke Play, you are allowed to play a second ball if you are not sure of how to proceed in a particular situation. Take the necessary steps for full relief (i.e. A Drop or Placement of the Ball) and play the ball until it is holed. Also, you must play the original ball until that is holed. If you score the same then it won’t matter but if the scores are different make sure you get the correct ruling BEFORE you sign your scorecard.

Knowing some rules can be vital to playing successful golf, especially tournament golf, on the local and state levels where there will most likely not be rules officials in close proximity. When in doubt, Rule 3-3 can be an extremely helpful rule to make sure you and your fellow competitors are keeping in line with the USGA Rules of Golf.

3-3. Doubt As To Procedure
a. Procedure
In stroke play, if a competitor is doubtful of his rights or the correct procedure during the play of a hole, he may, without penalty, complete the hole with two balls.
After the doubtful situation has arisen and before taking further action, the competitor must announce to his marker or fellow-competitor that he intends to play two balls and which ball he wishes to count if the Rules permit.
The competitor must report the facts of the situation to the Committee before returning his scorecard. If he fails to do so, he is disqualified.
Note: If the competitor takes further action before dealing with the doubtful situation, Rule 3-3 is not applicable. The score with the original ball counts or, if the original ball is not one of the balls being played, the score with the first ball put into play counts, even if the Rules do not allow the procedure adopted for that ball. However, the competitor incurs no penalty for having played a second ball, and any penalty strokes incurred solely by playing that ball do not count in his score.

b. Determination of Score for Hole
(i) If the ball that the competitor selected in advance to count has been played in accordance with the Rules, the score with that ball is the competitor’s score for the hole. Otherwise, the score with the other ball counts if the Rules allow the procedure adopted for that ball.
(ii) If the competitor fails to announce in advance his decision to complete the hole with two balls, or which ball he wishes to count, the score with the original ball counts, provided it has been played in accordance with the Rules. If the original ball is not one of the balls being played, the first ball put into play counts, provided it has been played in accordance with the Rules. Otherwise, the score with the other ball counts if the Rules allow the procedure adopted for that ball.
Note 1: If a competitor plays a second ball under Rule 3-3, the strokes made after this Rule has been invoked with the ball ruled not to count and penalty strokes incurred solely by playing that ball are disregarded.
Note 2: A second ball played under Rule 3-3 is not a provisional ball under Rule 27-2.

Why you should befriend Rule 3-3?2021-03-19T10:41:08-04:00

Choose Your Side

Strategy on the golf course can often times be just as important as a well struck shot.  As most players know, golf is a game of misses.  If you can be strategic with your approach then you have a better chance of staying in play and keeping the high numbers from popping up on the scorecard.  One way to do that is how you start the hole.

First, It is important to know the shot shape you normally hit.  If you are a high handicapper and the majority of the time you hit a 20 yard slice, then assume that will happen most often.  The worst thing you can do is try to be someone you’re not.  Trust your instincts and normal swing.  For more experienced players you may choose your shot shape based on the obstacles in your way for that particular hole.  One you decide on the flight you want the ball to travel on you must trust it.

Next, use that previous analysis to choose the side of the tee box you want to tee of on.  Most players don’t put much thought into this and tee off in the middle (and sometimes ahead of the markers).  If you normally hit a draw (for a right-hander), then tee off from the left hand side of the tee box.  You will notice this opens the hole up for you more on that side and you can play your draw more freely.  This is a general rule and it is important to look at every hole differently depending on the course you are playing, wind conditions, distance, landing area, etc.  However, the majority of the time if you play a draw (or hook) tee it up left and if you play a fade (or slice) tee it up right.

Try this next time you are out playing and it will give you a better perspective of each hole and free you up to make a solid golf swing.  If you need any further assistance please do not hesitate to ask.

Choose Your Side2021-03-19T10:41:08-04:00

Improve Your Wedges from 50 Yards and In!

Pitch Shot Most amateurs can get it around ok from tee to green, but when it comes time to hit a 30 yard shot over a bunker or a 50 yard shot to a pin on a back tier of a green, many seem to struggle. PGA Tour professionals work hard at these shots for long hours to make sure they can get up and down from any situation and any distance. It’s these types of shots that can really save a good round from turning into a bad one. So to help with your pitch shots from within 50 yards, we’re going to talk about developing your own system to gauge distances.

Most players don’t realize that knowing exactly how far you hit each club is a huge scoring advantage. The same is true for your short game shots – knowing how far to hit each shot is crucial. It’s a well known trick to compare the hands of a clock to the amount of backswing you should take on short pitch shots. Different instructors call this method by different names, but the entire goal of this process is to help you develop a system to know your distances.

Imagine as you address the ball that you have a large clock in front of you. Learn to swing your left arm (right arm for left handers) to the various “hours” of the clock. The 9 o’clock position is most popular – your left arm should be parallel to the ground. Your left arm and the club should form a 90 degree angle. After you’ve mastered that position, try the 8 o’clock and 7 o’clock positions.

Once you have the backswing down, make sure to follow through to a similar “time” on the clock. So a 9 o’clock backswing would have a 3 o’clock follow-through.

Distances will vary from player to player as in full shots, but once you have them established you have a great method to rely on. When you find yourself 30 yards from the flag you can say to yourself, “OK, this is my X o’clock shot,” and you know for sure that if you swing your arm to that position, the ball is going to go about 30 yards.

A few other things to note while practicing these shots:

  • Try to keep the majority of your weight on your front foot. This helps to create a downward blow and avoid hitting behind the ball.
  • Keep the pace of your swing consistent throughout. Rushing this swing will only result in negative results.
  • Make sure to face your chest directly at the target and not around your body. The hands should finish in about the middle of your chest.

With a little practice, you can master these distances and start improving your game in no time. You’ll soon find yourself playing these shots with much more fun rather than angst.

Improve Your Wedges from 50 Yards and In!2021-03-19T10:41:08-04:00

Finish Your Swing

While looking at some of the players during this week’s PGA Championship, take notice at how they are able to hold their finish while watching the ball in the air. Being able to hold a finish is typically the result of a good balanced swing. Good rhythm an tempo can dictate how well you finish your golf swing – and almost always help you hit the ball better.

How many times have you noticed that you can’t hold a finish or fall back on your trailing foot? This might be because of poor weight shift, a swing that is too long, or simply a swing is off-balance. So here is a little drill that will help you achieve better balance and a better finish:

Take a few practice swings with your feet together. Your feet must not have any space in between them, simply try to swing with your feet together first. Then once you can do that, try hitting a few balls with that same stance. Work on this drill until you can successfully swing in balance and strike the ball without falling over.

This should help you develop a feeling for proper weight shift and balance – both of which will help your finish and the consistency of your strike.

Try that drill out and let me know how it goes. Just remember to smile for the cameras while in your finish…

Finish Your Swing2021-03-19T10:41:08-04:00

Hone Your Pre-Shot Routine for More Consistent Play

If you have ever been to a PGA Tour event and followed a player throughout his round, you probably noticed him going through his pre-shot routine before almost every shot he hits. Some players have very unique routines that they might go through while others might have a few simple things they do before they hit their shot. Either way they do it, what matters is the actual process that they go through. This process is what clears their mind and prepares them to make a great swing. The key point to remember about a pre-shot routine is that it stays consistent. The consistency of this routine will make your body and mind familiar with what is about to happen, therefore will make a better environment to hit the ball whether you are under pressure or not.

So what does a good pre-shot routine consist of? It can be any number of things to get you ready to hit the ball – the most common being alignement, grip, practice swing, and waggle. You’ll often seeing players lining up behind the ball and looking at their target. Jim Furyk will often pick out a spot in front of the ball to align his clubface before each shot. One or more practice swings are common to get the feel for your lie, slope, stance, and the type of club you are using. A grip check is often done to make sure your best grip is in place. Then finally, you might take a few waggles to relax a bit more and feel the clubhead. Jason Dufner has a very pronounced waggle that he takes before each shot he hits.

Each pre-shot routine is unique and yours should be too. Just make sure it’s not too long and it makes you feel comfortable. Stick with it and make it consistent – you’ll be glad you did.

Hone Your Pre-Shot Routine for More Consistent Play2021-03-19T10:41:09-04:00

Forget the Bad Shots

Frustration is probably one of the biggest round-killers you could have. I’m sure there have been a few times while you were out on the golf course that a string of bad shots has caused you to get so frustrated that you just can’t seem to focus and get back on track. Bad shots are sometimes tough to forget – and the more you think about them the worse you will play. Remembering these bad shots causes frustration that can continue to build throughout your round – until something happens, like a good shot, that causes you to forget everything else and get back on track.

Many times once golfers hit the turn at the 10th hole, they say to themselves, “it’s a fresh nine, let’s forget the front 9 and play better on the back 9”. Well this is all a state of mind – there is no difference between the 9th hole and 10th hole that will magically make you play better! It’s simply all in your head.

So the best way to combat the frustration that comes with bad shots is to simply forget them. If you hit a bad shot, try to completely forget it ever happened and focus on making the next shot the best one you have ever hit. Tour players usually excel at this because they don’t let one bad swing ruin their round – they simply forget about it and move on to the next shot.

So the next time you find yourself in a bad frame of mind on the golf course because of a few bad swings, forget they ever happened and focus on making the next shot your best one ever. Keep a short term memory and stay in present – and DO remember the good shots!

Forget the Bad Shots2021-03-19T10:41:09-04:00

Proper Alignment Means Better Shots

Setup Position You’ve probably heard somewhere that you need to align your feet “parallel left” of the target. If you have ever watched a tour professional on the driving range you might have seen two sticks or golf clubs laying on the ground while they practice. One club is aiming at the target, very close to the ball and the other club is parallel, laying right in front of their toes. This is a great way to visualize how your body is aligned in relation to the target line. It helps to “square up” your body and start your swing off correctly.

However, the one thing that some people overlook is to make sure that their hips, shoulders, and eyes are also parallel to that line. It’s very easy to let your upper body do it’s own thing, even though your feet can be properly aligned. Now there are definitely situations where you might want your shoulders open or closed, but for the most part, having your feet, hips, shoulders and eyes in alignment is ideal. This will ensure that you are set up to make a repeatable golf swing.

The best way to make sure you are in correct alignment is to have your golf coach (hopefully me) or a friend check your upper body once you get in position to hit a golf ball. An extra set of eyes can point out things that you might not “feel” in your set-up position.

Proper Alignment Means Better Shots2021-03-19T10:41:09-04:00

Practice Smarter, Improve Faster

Golf is one of the only sports where your practice conditions are completely different from where you actually play the game. Think about basketball – you practice on the same court where you play the actual game. Baseball is practiced on the exact same field where the game is played. Football is practiced on the same field as the game. The list can go on.

Range Bucket This presents a problem for the common golfer – their practice sessions do not represent the way they actually play the game. A practice range typically has perfectly flat lies with fairway cut grass. What percentage of the shots that an amateur golfer hits are from a flat lie in the fairway? Not that much. A bucket of balls is dropped on the range and a golfer proceeds to hit one after one – again, not the way the game is played.

So here are a few tips to help make your practice sessions more like the way you actually play the game, while improving your game faster:

Practice like you play by simulating conditions of the course. Pretend you are playing a round of golf while on the range. Use only one ball at a time and play each shot with a different club as you would on the course. Start with a driver off the tee and hit each club that you would on each hole. Change your positions to simulate different conditions such as uphill, downhill, and sidehill lies. Don’t forget to do this around the greens too. You may find yourself in many tricky positions while on the course, so practicing them will definitely improve your score.

Keep sharp focus on your target while hitting every shot. Make sure to change targets often and try to hit each one. It’s very easy to get distracted while on the practice tee and hit shots aimlessly out into the range. Focus on your target whether you are hitting full shots, low bump-and-run shots around the green or even bunker shots. This makes you work harder on each shot to make each one more meaningful.

Work on your pre-shot routine before heading to the first tee. This will get you in a good frame of mind before teeing off, plus it’s a vital part of your game. A good pre-shot routine helps to calm your nerves when you get under pressure.

Apply these few tips to your next few practice sessions and watch your scores – and your confidence improve.

Practice Smarter, Improve Faster2021-03-19T10:41:10-04:00

Make Every Putt Inside 5 Feet

When was the last time you had a round where you made every putt inside of 5 feet? Odds are, you probably haven’t had one of those rounds in a long time, if ever. So try to add up the amount of strokes you would have saved yourself. Even half that amount might sound like a pretty good score, right?

The top tour players are solid from this distance. Usually, the winner each week on the PGA Tour will be 100% from this distance and in for that week. That’s a terrific stat. You might not have the time to dedicate to your putting like they do, but here is a quick and easy drill to help you with short putts.

Start 3 feet from the hole and insert two tees into the ground, just outside the heel and the toe of your putter. This will form a “gate” to swing the putter-head through. Hit about 5 putts swinging the putter-head through this gate making sure not to hit the tees. From 3 feet your putter should be on pretty straight line going back and towards the hole. Then hit 5 putts with just your right hand. This adds a degree of complexity to the drill and provides you with more feedback as to where the putter-head is. It also helps to develop a good sense of touch.

Once you have completed this drill at 3 feet, move back to 4 feet. Then do the drill at 5 feet. By the time you get to five feet the putter-head should start to release a little bit as you finish. Make sure to keep your head steady as this will help to keep the putter swinging through your “gate”.

If you manage to make the majority of your putts with this drill then you are well on your way towards becoming a more confident putter from inside 5 feet!

Make Every Putt Inside 5 Feet2021-03-19T10:41:10-04:00

Warm Up For Your Round

Please tell me if this sounds familiar. Tee time is 9:30am. You pull into the parking lot at 8:53am, take your bag out of your car, put your shoes on, and walk into the golf shop at 9:02am to check-in. You grab a small bucket and proceed to the practice range to “warm-up”. What transpires over the next 20 minutes could be the equivalent of 3 golf lessons. Your whole round and demeanor is based on those precious few minutes. If you start off great then you are confident and ready to play and if it is anything less than spectacular, there are doubts. Many doubts.

This is where a shift needs to be made.

I understand if you can’t get to the club earlier as there are other obligations but if you can, I would recommend splitting up your “warm up” time into 2 parts: 1.) the part where you stretch your body and 2.) the part where you focus on a target and stay confident. This is not a time for dramatic swing changes! Your swing will not change in that period of time and it will only cause harm when you step on the first tee.

Now I know this is starting to sound familiar to some of you. The question now is how I change it.

Step 1 – Show up, if possible, with ample time to warm-up. Ideally, give yourself at least 30 minutes.
Step 2 – Stretch for about 5-10 minutes focusing on your lower body, core, and neck/shoulders. Hit some short pitch shots to warm up the swing.
Step 3 – Work through your bag in even or odd numbers (9, 7, 5, etc.) hitting only a few balls with each club and focusing on your aim and target. Your swing should not be the focus.
Step 4 – End your full swing warm-up with the club you will be hitting on the 1st tee trying to visualize the hole and the shot you would like to hit. If you have never played the course before then simply hit your fairway wood or driver and focus on the target and your pre-shot routine.
Step 5 – Go over to the practice putting green and roll some short and long putts to get a feel for the green speed and break.
Step 6 – Clear your mind and focus on having a fun round and enjoying each shot. There are a lot worse places to be so you have to forget about your “warm-up” whether good or bad and focus on the round ahead and hitting quality shots each and every time.

There will be variations to this program depending on your certain situation and facility and you can change it to fit your personal needs. However, keep in mind that the warm-up is just that, a chance to warm up your body, not a place to re-invent the wheel.

Stay focused and have fun during your next round and you will amazed at the results you can achieve.

Warm Up For Your Round2021-03-19T10:41:10-04:00

Re-Grip for the Season

Why You Should Re-Grip
Grips are made of materials that age and wear as a function of time. Ozone, heat, dirt, and oils from your hands all age your grips and cause the natural degradation of the grip. The traction that a fresh grip provides lets you hold the club lightly without the subconscious fear of losing the club during your swing. This relaxed state promotes proper swing mechanics and wrist action. While a worn grip causes you to grasp the club tighter, causing arm and wrist tension that inhibits proper swing mechanics.

How Often?
As a rule of thumb, you should regrip once every year. Regardless of whether you play golf every day or only twice a year, ozone, heat, dirt, and oils are constantly at work breaking down the materials that make up your grips. Granted, frequent play and personal preference may dictate regripping sooner, but normally there’s enough degradation of the material after a year to warrant fresh grips. Keep in mind that grips lose a significant amount of their original feel long before they become hard and glazed over. Because it happens slowly over time, most golfers fail to notice it. That’s important to remember because just a tiny, imperceptible slip at contact will be magnified to many yards by the time the ball reaches its target. Many people find that getting in the routine of regripping every spring as the golf season “officially” begins is the easiest way to remember.

How to Choose the Right Grip
There is no one grip that is right for all golfers; thus grip selection varies widely with individual needs and preferences. A good starting point in selecting grips is to explore the Golf Pride Grip Selector. Once you’ve narrowed your decision check out the grip selection at your local golf retailer or on-course shop, or seek the advice of a professional club-builder.

***The Information and content in this article was provided by www.golfpride.com.

Re-Grip for the Season2021-03-19T10:41:11-04:00

It’s Never Over – Augusta 2012

What an exciting Masters Tournament it ended up being. There was a double eagle, 2 holes-in-one, a dramatic Triple Bogey and another new Masters Champion. Predicting the Masters Tournament outcome is proving to be more difficult each and every year. There are many things the average player could learn from this years Masters, but I would like to address what happened on Hole 4 with Phil Mickelson.

I think the best thing the average player could take away from August this year is to stay in the moment. I think Phil Mickelson lost focus of the overall picture and it very well could have cost him a fourth Green Jacket.

Phil was able to rebound and finish a couple shots out of the playoff but had he stayed in the moment and played the higher percentage shot he could have captured the years first Major. This situation was very similar to the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot. Phil sliced his tee shot into the tents left of the fairway and preceded to try and play a very low percentage “hero” shot from U.S. Open rough. We all respect how Phil plays the game, and it is tough to question a four time Major winner, but had he managed himself better under tough low percentage shots could his major total have been 10?

When you find yourself in a situation that requires the “hero” shot to succeed – ask yourself “what is on the line”? Making a guaranteed bogey or risking making triple may be the difference in you shooting your lowest round ever. Make sure that the next time you are faced with an improbable situation you way your options against the overall goal of the round.

It’s Never Over – Augusta 20122021-03-19T10:41:11-04:00

Become a Master

This week is the start of the Masters. It is what every golf fan and player has been waiting for all winter. So what can you take away from the Masters this week to help you improve you game? Let’s take a look at how the average PGA Tour player prepares for a course like Augusta – and the responsibility of playing with a chance to dawn the green jacket.

Preparation begins weeks, if not months ahead of time for the average tour professional. They might play the course in early March just to get reacquainted with tee shots and green complexes. They take notes of any changes and can prepare for shots they might face during tournament week.

Altering their equipment is another major force in preparation for Augusta. Perhaps they add a hybrid, or adjust the loft on their putter. They let the course dictate the clubs in their bag.

When the average player gets to a tournament they are out of their element. They start trying to act like a tour professional – getting there an hour early, hitting lots of golf balls, putting for 30 minutes. They think this is what they “must do” in a tournament.

For your next event try some of these tips:

  • Make sure your equipment is ready to go
  • Know the golf course, don’t play it blind (you should have an idea of what to expect on every hole)
  • If you don’t have a pre-round warm-up let’s get one. I will help you get the most out of your warm-up so you can play your best.

This should be an exciting Masters – and all because each Professional is prepared to play his best.

Become a Master2021-03-19T10:41:11-04:00

Draw on Your Golf Ball

Putting is not always the easiest. Some days the hole looks like a manhole cover and other days it looks like a thimble! Here is a great tip that allows your good days on the greens to be better and your bad days on the greens to be more consistent.

Take a Sharpie marker and draw a straight line on your golf ball. You have seen PGA Tour Players do this all the time. After you have marked your ball on the green, replace it with the line aligned with your intended putting line.

This will give you a great visual as to how and align your body and putter to the putting line and not the hole.

Now just make your stroke so that you send the ball down the intended putting line and allow it to break into the whole. If you do this correctly you will be able to see the line on your ball stay perfectly straight and not wobble when rolling across the green.

Watch this great video on Brad Faxon (one of the greatest putters of all time) and see how he puts this into practice. Notice how he focuses on the PUTTING LINE and not the HOLE.

Draw on Your Golf Ball2021-03-19T10:41:11-04:00

Embrace Your Slice (or Draw)

Golf can be a hard game. It can be even harder if you don’t know your strengths and weaknesses. One of the things that make good players great is that they KNOW their game. They know if they are a long hitter, they know if they can rely on their short game and they know what types of shots they’re capable of pulling off on the course.

If you slice the ball, or “power fade” it – you need to embrace that part of your game on the course. Off the course I would recommend trying to straighten that slice (which will lead to more consistency).

I want you to try this the next time you tee it up – Don’t look at the flags! For all 18 holes I want you to aim towards the left side of the green and fade / slice it back to the center of the green (and vice versa if you draw it).

Guess what will happen. You will have many more putts at birdies and pars and will hit more greens. Being in the middle of the green will mean that you will always have a chance to make a putt.

Try this the next time you play and I promise that you will shoot one of your better scores of the year.

Embrace Your Slice (or Draw)2021-03-19T10:41:12-04:00

Determine Your Eye Dominance

If you don’t know what your dominant eye is you may be costing yourself many strokes per round. Knowing which is your dominant eye allows you to setup correctly to the ball and hole more putts.

If you are “right-eye” dominant you will see the hole to the right of its true location because you’ll set up with your right eye too far inside the ball and the target line. This will cause you to push your putts to the right and most likely adjust your stroke accordingly (outside to in) to then pull the ball back online.
This means that you can have a perfect read and still miss!

According to Dr. Lawrence Lampert, Vision Specialist and author of the book The Pro’s Edge: Vision Training for Golf,

The proper position for consistent alignment in putting, chipping, and bunker play is to have your eyes directly over the golf ball, square to your target line, with your dominant eye over the back tip of the ball.

Learn which of your eyes is dominant to account for this optical illusion by taking the test below:

  1. Hold your arms out in front of you and make a triangle by overlapping the space between index finger and thumb with the same space on your opposite hand. Make a peep sight with the webs of your thumbs, and stare at an object in the distance.
  2. Look at an object through the triangle hole made by your hands, preferably something round like a door knob.
  3. Focus on the object, not your hands.
  4. Now close one of your eyes. If you still see the object with your left eye open you are left eyed. If you still see the object with your right eye open you are right eyed.
Determine Your Eye Dominance2021-03-19T10:41:12-04:00

The Smart Play Pays Off

They call it the “smart play” for a reason. The way that Bill Haas won this past week’s Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club proves that you don’t need the “hero shot” to win on the PGA Tour (or to shoot your best scores).

Here was the scene:

A playoff between Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley and Bill Haas was tied after the 1st playoff hole (#18). The second playoff hole (#10) was a drivable par 4 (315 yards) with the pin on the back of the green; both Phil & Keegan hit 3 woods short right of the green. Bill hit driver pin high but left of the green. All three players had virtually no shot at the pin, they would of all needed to drop it from Snoopy One (the blimp) to stand a chance of ever holding the green. Here is what happened next –

Phil aimed at the pin and tried the super flop but couldn’t get enough spin on the ball to hold the green. His ball rolled past the pin and off the green into the back bunker.

Keegan Bradley aimed at the pin and hit an awesome bunker shot that had some spin but still couldn’t hold the green. His ball rolled past the pin and onto the fringe.

Bill Haas thought his shot was a little too risky and knew his margin of error was really small (maybe 1 out of 20 getting it up & down). He elected to aim at the front of the green, taking all of the trouble out of play but leaving himself about a 45-foot putt.

Bill went on to make his 45-foot putt and win the tournament.

What is the lesson we can all take from this PGA Tour playoff?

Next time you are faced with a shot that is almost impossible, think like Bill Haas and don’t wait for a miracle – play the percentages and stay within your limits. You can still make birdie or par with your putter.

Know your strengths and weaknesses. Play smart and lower your scores.

The Smart Play Pays Off2021-03-19T10:41:12-04:00

Ladies 2012 Clinic Schedule is up!

It’s Back!  The Gear Up Fore Golf Series has returned once again and this year will be proudly conducted at Wildwood Green Golf Club.  Each month will start a new series and we will run on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays depending on the month.  Every month the rotation will be the same so if you wanted to sign up for multiple months you will have an idea of what is covered each week.

Below is the schedule for the 2012 Season. Please contact me with any questions.  Sign up online by clicking HERE!

3-Week Kick Off Series Agenda

Week 1 – Full Swing

Week 2- Pitching/Chipping

Week 3 – Putting

4-Week Spring/Summer Agenda

Week 1 – Full Swing Set-up

Week 2- Full Swing Fundamentals

Week 3 – Pitching/Chipping

Week 4 – Putting

Kick-Off Clinics (Each Series is 3 Weeks Long – 6:00 PM Start) – $75 for each series

Series 1:    Monday March 12th, 19th, & 26th @ 6:00pm

Series 2:   Thursdays March 14th, 21st, & 28th @ 6:00pm

Series 3:    Saturdays – March 17th, 24th, & 31st @ 11 AM


Spring Series (Each Series is 4-weeks long) – $99 for each series

Series 4:    Monday April 2nd, 9th, 16th, & 23rd @ 6:30 pm

Series 5:    Thursday April 5th, 12th, 19th, & 26th @ 6:30pm

Series 6:    Monday April 30th, May 7th, May 14th, May 21st @ 6:30pm

Series 7:    Thursday May 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th @ 6:30pm


Summer Series (Each Series is 4-weeks long) – $99 for each series

Series 8:    Monday June 4th, 11th, 18th, & 25th @ 6:30pm

Series 9:    Thursday June 6th, 13th, 20th, & 27th @ 6:30pm

Series 10:  Monday July 9th, 16th, 23rd, & 30th @ 6:30pm

Series 11:   Thursday July 12th, July 19th, July 26th, & August 2nd @ 6:30pm

Series 12:  Monday August 6th, 13th, 20th, & 27th @ 6:30pm

Series 13:  Thursday August 9th, 16th, 23rd, & 30th @ 6:30pm

Ladies 2012 Clinic Schedule is up!2021-03-19T10:41:13-04:00

Prepare like a Tour Player

The PGA Tour season has roughly a two month “off season;” and what the players choose to do with their time can make or break them for the coming season. So what can the average player learn from these Tour Players and how can it help you improve?  Now, this winter in Raleigh, North Carolina has been very fortunate for us golfers.  We have seen plenty of days in the 50’s and 60’s with minimal rain.  This is still, technically, the “off-season” as many players but their clubs up for the skis or more family time.

The key component is preparation: setting a goal and establishing a plan to reach that goal. Many players will schedule some time with their instructor and evaluate what they did good that season, and what areas of their game need improvement. Then they make a plan of how to improve. The players that execute their plans most efficiently are usually the ones you see have a great season – or a breakout / comeback year.

I recommend sitting down and taking a serious evaluation of your game. Find the areas of the game that you can improve the most and execute a plan.  Be realistic about your time commitments so that you stick to the plan.

Here are some areas that will help golfers of all skill levels improve the fastest.  These are the main things that Tour Players focus on.  Work with your instructor to find out the proper course of action to improve your game in the shortest amount of time.

  1. Course Management – Do you need to hit driver every hole?  Make sure you are taking enough club on certain holes to avoid trouble short of the green. A player needs to know where you can and should miss the green. Ex: If you know you can miss the green right and you normally fade the ball, be aggressive – if you over cut it then you won’t be in trouble.
  2. Make more putts – You have heard this 1,000 times so maybe now is the time to listen.  It is no secret, you make more putts, and you shoot lower scores. Think of how many “make-able” putts you miss (or even turn into 3 putts!) Now imagine making those – talk about dropping your handicap, who cares about adding 10 yards to your driver!
  3. Know Your Limits Around the Green – Get good with one club at a time. If you chip with a bunch of different clubs, try just using one.  Get comfortable with using that club to hit chips, pitches, bump & runs, etc…  And stop trying to hit the impossible “Mickelson” flop if you don’t know how – it will just add 3 or 4 extra shots that hole!

Schedule a lesson today and let’s talk about how you can improve your game for the season.

Prepare like a Tour Player2021-03-19T10:41:13-04:00

Improve your putting right now!

Think of all the golfers that are better than you in the Raleigh area – and I’m not talking about 1 or 2 strokes (unless you are scratch), I’m referring to the guys / gals that are 5, 10, 20 strokes better.

Brian Ondrako is a PGA Certified Professional in Raleigh, NC

Do they have more confidence? Yes.

Do they know their strengths & weaknesses? Maybe.

Everyone wants to hit it like a tour player, most will never be able to – but what everyone can do (and even better than Tour players) is putt.

This is how Tour players think –

“I know I make a lot of putts inside 15 feet, and lag putt really well (most Tour players fall into these two categories) so I am not afraid of missing shots. I can then aim at more pins, and because I know I can putt – this allows me to make a more relaxed, stress free swing that doesn’t focus on failing to pull off the shot. This allows me to drive the ball better and think about how I should be playing the course, not about how I should be fixing my swing.  Because I can putt I know I am going to play well – I am more relaxed before my round and more confident that there will be a positive outcome involving my round.”

It all boils down to the putter. When was the last time you took a lesson just for your putting stroke?  When was the last time you even got out to your local golf course like Wildwood Green and practiced?

If you don’t have time to get to the putting green, here are two ways to improve indoors:

  1. Buy The Putting Edge. This is the best and fastest way to get a better putting stroke.
  2. If you don’t want to spend the money – Set up two drinking glasses (turned upside down) about 10 feet apart and attach a piece of string to the glasses using tape. Put a quarter on one end to represent the hole and putt from the other end. Place the golf ball directly under the string so that the ball follows the path of the string when you putt. This will help you with alignment, feel, and the beginnings of a consistent stroke.

The Putting Edge allows you to feel a proper putting motion and helps to establish proper alignment. Using the glasses and string allows you to focus on alignment and “squaring up” your body to the putting line.

Contact me to schedule a 30 minute putting lesson and we can work together to lower your scores faster then you ever thought possible.

Improve your putting right now!2021-03-19T10:41:13-04:00

A December to Remember

I can’t remember the last December in Raleigh, North Carolina that was this mild with the weather. Rarely have we had a brutally frigid day. This is great if you can get out to practice your golf game and play on the golf course. Remember, as your time is valuable with the weather and shorter days, be sure to work on every aspect of the game.

Winter Golf in Raleigh, North CarolinaHow can you do that?

What If you only had 1 hour to practice?

Start with putting and move up to your driver. Here is the plan.

10- minutes on putting: Either working on your stroke from short range for centered hits and a square face or lag putting for speed and line.

10-minutes on chipping: Use 1 club from 3 different distances. Work on hitting a certain spot and less about the total result

10-minutes on pitching: move over to the range and pick out 3 different yardages to land shots to. How crisp you hit it is the most important. Work on contact. Also this doubles as your full swing warm up

10-minutes on hitting: Pick 3 different clubs and hit 5-6 balls with each. Again, focusing on contact and not so much on mechanics.

10-minutes “playing”: play your favorite 9 holes in your mind. Pick a solid target and work on pre- shot routine and alignment.

10-minutes of your pick: wherever you struggled this year put some extra time in on that area.

Remember, the average player is practicing on a limited basis in the winter so you need to hit all main areas so you are ready when you get the chance to play. Also, you won’t be so rusty come spring.

Keep practicing and grinding everyone. It only gets easier!

Brian Ondrako is a PGA Certified Professional and teaches golf at Wildwood Green Golf Club in Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information on golf lessons or to contact Brian please click here

A December to Remember2021-03-19T10:41:13-04:00

Wildwood Green Membership Drive

Wildwood Green is celebrating its 25th Anniversary
and have an exciting new “25” Membership Offer!

This 25th Anniversary Membership drive features the following:
-$25 Initiation Fee, which is normally $4000 for our Regular Membership
-$25 Gift Certificate or $25 Credit towards a Professional Service
-Opportunity for a $25 per month dues credit through December 2013

With a twelve month commitment you are able to join Wildwood Green Golf Club for only $25 down. That’s right, pay a $25 Initiation Fee and start playing today! Along with your reduced initiation fee you will receive a $25 gift certificate or credit on a Member Only Professional Service. Use this credit towards a popular Range Plan or Cart Plan or towards great apparel or equipment in the Golf Shop. If you become a member and then sponsor a new member you will receive a $25 credit on your monthly dues through December 2013!
After the first twelve months your membership is on a month by month basis and there are never any assessments or minimums at Wildwood Green. Regular Memberships begin at $178 a month and weekday memberships begin at $118 a month.

The staff looks forward to reaching our goals this season and becoming more private. Wildwood Green will be offering better events throughout next year and we will continue to build on the increased member participation.

Join Today and Enjoy these Member Benefits:

-10 day Advanced Booking
-Member Only Events and Socials
-Member’s only Range Club
-Reduced Accompanied Guest Fees
-Discounted group clinic and lesson prices
-Reduced Carolinas Golf Association Handicap fees
-Personal Locker and Club Storage spots available

Please contact me and let me know that you’re interested and I will have a staff member get in touch with you.

Brian Ondrako is a PGA Certified Professional and teaches golf at Wildwood Green Golf Club in Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information on golf lessons or to contact Brian please click here

Wildwood Green Membership Drive2021-03-19T10:41:14-04:00

What Luke Donald teaches us

If you have been extremely busy In Raleigh or unmotivated to watch golf this season then you missed one of the more impressive golf seasons in years. No, there wasn’t a player who won 10 times or 3 major championships, but Luke Donald dominated. Putting a stamp on the #1 player in the world tag for many more months and maybe years to come depending on what the field does in 2012. Luke won both the PGA Tour and European order of Merit title this past year which is something unprecedented in the world of golf. The fact that this is the first time the feat has ever been achieved goes to show the true consistency of Luke’s game.

So what could the average player learn?

You could learn that being flashy and bombing the ball isn’t necessarily the key ingredients to shooting low scores. I see if far to often on the practice tee. Players pumping up their swing to bomb their driver. Then, they get on the course and pull out the driver on the 350 yard par 4 and hit it right through the dogleg. One of the reasons are a lot of new players have not taken the time to study the game and understand that a key ingredient to consistent low scores or no high numbers is ball placement, short game shots, and putting. If you can get a handle on these three areas you are going to be so far advancement you won’t believe it yourself.

Think of how many times the ball travels into a hazard, whether it be bunker or water hazard. How many times do you hit it out of bounds? These shots normally happen from hitting your driver and normally because you have swung too hard and lost control.

Try this next time you’re playing. Do not hit your driver at all. Maybe limit your 3-wood play. You would be amazed how much lower your stress is if you hit most of the fairways and set yourself up for a 2nd shot into the green to actually hit the green. And it doesn’t matter if you miss the green either. This is where sound short game fundamentals and feel come into play. You could miss all 18 greens and still have a great shot to break 90 if you had just a decent short game.

Think outside the box on this. Forget the ego in the parking lot and hit smart decisions. Play golf the way it was intended to be played with plotting your way around the course and making good decisions. People want it to be a bomber’s paradise but that fantasy rarely comes true for the average player. Get your mind right and you’re going to play a better game of golf.

Brian Ondrako is a PGA Certified Professional and teaches golf at Wildwood Green Golf Club in Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information on golf lessons or to contact Brian please click here

What Luke Donald teaches us2021-03-19T10:41:14-04:00

Leesville Road HS captures State Title!

Congrats to Raleigh, North Carolina’s own Leesville Road High School for capturing the Men’s Golf State Championship for 2011.  Held at Pinehurst #6, Leesville Road was one of the favorite’s coming in after a dominating season where they won basically every match they participated in.   I know how hard they worked throughout the season to achieve this goal.  Continued success down the road guys!

Leesville Road HS captures State Title!2021-03-19T10:41:14-04:00

Certified Professional Test Passed!!!

Today, I passed my PGA Certified Professional test.  I have been studying hard for the last 6-8 months to prepare and educate myself on all the information that I would need to know for the test.  I’m happy all the hard work has paid off.  The education I received will further help me coach my student’s on all aspects of their golf game.

For those that are wondering, being a PGA Certified Professional is a step-up in the Professional Golfer’s Association of America.  The easiest way to explain it is to compare it to receiving a Master’s Degree in a given field.  Now, my next step is to prepare over the next several years to go for my Master Professional status with the PGA.

In the meantime, I hope to get the opportunity to work with old and new students this season and help you all achieve phenomenal results!

It’s gonna be a great season.

See you all out there!

Certified Professional Test Passed!!!2021-03-19T10:41:14-04:00

My New Home @ a Historic Gem…

If everyone hasn’t been informed yet, I have recently moved my instruction over to Hillandale Golf Club in Durham, NC.  I will also be overseeing Hillandale Logothe Club Repair operation as well as doing some Clubfitting.  The Hillandale Staff has been extremely accommodating with this transition and I am excited for the season to fully begin.  If you haven’t been over to play Hillandale in a while you need to stop back!  The course is fair in length and is fun for all skill levels.  They have one of the best Pro Shops in the country and can get you set up with the newest equipment at the most competitive price.

If you want to find more information on Hillandale and the services we offer please check out the website at www.hillandalegolf.com or call at (919) 286-4211.

My New Home @ a Historic Gem…2021-03-19T10:41:14-04:00

Michael breaks through for first title!

Michael de Montbrun trophy

Congratulations to Michael de Montbrun of Leesville Road High School for capturing the 2011 Tar Heel Junior – 12 Oaks Event.  Michael has worked hard on his game over the past year and this title just goes to show that if you put hard work in you will reap the benefits of it.  Good job Michael, 2011 is starting off on a great note for you.

Michael breaks through for first title!2021-03-19T10:41:15-04:00

LPGA legend Nancy Lopez


She was extremely nice and said she is working hard on the game…so who knows, maybe a comeback.

LPGA legend Nancy Lopez2021-03-19T10:41:15-04:00

Ms. 59!


Annika helping out little linksters golf at the pga show

Ms. 59!2021-03-19T10:41:15-04:00

Pga demo day



At the pga demo day in orlando doing a little browsing of all the new toys…

Pga demo day2021-03-19T10:41:16-04:00

Prepare for take-off…

What are you doing to better your golf game today?  At this very moment.  Now for some that may be unrealistic if your working a full time job but could you still be helping your hand in the office?

The answer, of course, is yes.

I stress fitness, nutrition, and practice regularly and it applies here as well. 

Did you drink a coffee this morning or did you opt for the nutritious alternative of a veggie egg white omelet?

Are you going to go out for a big lunch and half a brewski to take the stress of the day away or will you do a 30 minute jog and eat a turkey sandwich you brought to lunch?

How will you spend the evening?  Will you sit in front of the tv to see what reality star blows up next or do you read a book?

These questions may seem simple but what happens is we let days and weeks pass by without thinking about it and before we know it we have wasted valueable time and know we are less flexible and maybe added a couple pounds.

The idea that needs to be stressed is to have a plan of attack each day or week and stick to it no matter how difficult.  You will be shocked how much better your quality of life and your golf game become.

Prepare for take-off…2021-03-19T10:41:16-04:00

Goal Setting 101

It is easy to play this game and get frustrated when things done go well.  It’s tough, however; to be mad when there is no achievable goal in mind.  Let me explain further what I am speaking of.

It is difficult to know where you want to go in the game of golf without having a REACHABLE goal……Hitting the ball consistent, or putting better, or being more accurate are not reachable goals.

How can you track what hitting the ball consistent means?  How do you know if your putting better?  How is your accuracy better?  Go the extra step and write down exactly what you mean.  And then own it!  Then we you succeed you know you’ve truly succeeded.

So, let’s get more defined.  Let’s taking accuracy for example.  How can we make it more defined?

How about: I want to hit MORE fairways, or I would like to hit MORE greens in regulation, or I would like to limit my hazard penalties.  See these are all achievable.  If you normally hit only 3 out of 14 fairway a round and with practice and lessons you can now hit 7 then that is a goal reached.

This should also be down with your score too.  It doesn’t matter how you get there.  If your goal is to break a 100 then go and break 100 whichever way possible.  If that means hitting iron off the 18th tee to avoid water then do it.   There are only numbers on the scorecard.  Who cares how it is done.

Set your goals and work hard to achieve them.  If they are achieved, then you can look in the mirror and be proud.  If they weren’t achieved then you still have to look in that same mirror and question why?  Was the goal too extreme to begin with or did you not work hard enough?

Set your goals and get it done!  You’ll be happier on the course and be able to track improvements.

Goal Setting 1012021-03-19T10:42:30-04:00

Lighten your Grip for more POWER!!!

I notice a lot of my students tend to grip the club incorrectly in terms of pressure. Gripping the club too tight causes your body to tense up not only in your hands but throughout your arms and into your shoulders and chest. Gripping too tightly can be caused by nerves, poor placement of hands on the club, and worn or incorrect grip size. Check all of these factors when assessing your pressure. Here is a simple test to get it right:

1. Take your Grip

2. On a Scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the hardest you can grip the club try gripping it at a 10.

3. Now, try gripping it at a 1

4. So after you have the feel of those 2 extremes, I want your pressure to be somewhere between 3-5 on the scale.

This will let your hands move more properly in the swing and increase your clubhead speed and body naturally.

Swing changes and equipment are important and must be worked on continually but for some instant clubhead speed you have to try this drill.

Lighten your Grip for more POWER!!!2021-03-19T10:41:16-04:00

Spring into the season!

I come to you on another breezy day here in Raleigh, NC but starting to warm into the normal spring weather. Good news is that April is just around the corner and the warmer weather shouldn’t be far behind. Anytime the Masters is close it makes us all giddy for our golf. I wanted to briefly inform you about some new things that are going on with my golf instruction that will surely be a benefit to your game this year and beyond.

New and Improved Website: As most of you know I have been changing my web page around yearly to make it more user friendly and informative. This year I will be adding a variety of different video lessons and tips that you can view from the website but also on your smart phones if you choose to. I will still be “blogging” periodically and adding written notes and tips but the video will be a lot quicker to thumb through and help you improve your game faster! The NEW website template will be up shortly and all updates should be done by April 1st. Continue to check back!

New State-of-the-Art 1200 fps (frame per second) video camera: This camera is one of a kind and can capture your swing perfectly so that we can see the club at any position without sacrificing the quality. This camera will help us look more closely at problem areas and will give you a better visual during our instruction sessions.

Addition of V1 Branded Academy/Personal Locker Room: I have upgraded my video analysis software to V1 Pro and have added a new feature that they just developed called the “Branded Academy”. This enables me to record a lesson review of your golf swing using helpful lines/circles, audio instructions, pro swings, and even add drills to the video. After I record that video for you, you will receive an email from me and be able to log into your Locker Room from my website. This gives you the opportunity to see all past lesson reviews I have sent and you can view them right on your smart phone as your out on the practice range. Having this capability will give you instant access to a lesson review whenever you would like.

Check out the section called “Online Academy” to view a sample video.

Please feel free to contact me for more information on these topics and your feedback is always appreciated.

Thank you for your continued patronage and trust in me with your golf game!

Look forward to seeing you in 2010!

Spring into the season!2021-03-19T10:41:16-04:00

2010 Website Changes….

I hope everyone had a great 2009!  I’m looking forward to working with you all on your golf game in the coming year.

I wanted to thank everyone who has visited the site and provided feedback for further improvement.  Over the next month or 2 the website will be going through a lot of changes for the coming year.  Please be patient as some parts of the “new” site will launch before others.  I think you all will enjoy some of the new features that myself and my web designers (Golf Web Design) will be adding.

Please do not hesitate to reference further comments to me regarding ideas for the site and I will take them into consideration.

I hope everyone has a great holiday season and I’ll see you next year!

Happy Holidays!

2010 Website Changes….2021-03-19T10:41:17-04:00

Raising the Bar for Next Season

This is about the time of year in Raleigh that the clubs start to be hung up in the garage for the skis.  That’s fine.  Some players still come out throughout the winter to practice and improve their golf game.  That’s fine too.  Either way I see tendencies come Spring time when the weather starts to warm up.  Most players are not prepared for the new season and the main reason comes down to only a few small things.

1. Fitness – Whether you want to believe it or not during the winter is when we have a couple big holidays involving many delicious desserts and are accompanied by exciting football games.  This is all well and good but if you don’t do specific things daily to keep your fitness up you will not have the stamina, strength, or flexibility you had the previous season.  This might take weeks or months to get back.

Recommendation – Research a program that takes about 20-25 minutes to complete daily.  This could be involving core strength, flexibility, balance, etc.  I promise you will not only feel better but be ready to tee it up when March comes around.

2. Swing Mechanics – Nothing says just because it is cold you can’t practice.  However that also means you don’t necessarily have to be outdoors to do it.  The percentage of players that continue to play and practice throughout the winter won’t need to do this as much but it still might be beneficial.  Standing out in 40 degree weather with a cold wind trying to practice golf isn’t the best thing for your game.  It is probably more harmful than helpful.

Recommendation – Choose a part of the swing you have had issues with and focus on that for the off season.  Come in for 1 golf lesson and we can discuss practice you can do in your house or office.  Then, all winter you will have the correct knowledge on how to effectively improve your game and be able to focus more intently on one area.

3. Increase your Knowledge – Take the cold weather coming in as a positive instead of a negative.  Most likely you will spend more time indoors during the winter months which will leave time to do activities you normally don’t do during the summer; like reading.  The opportunity to read a good book or two will do wonders to improve your mental game and start you out next season with a better frame of mind.

Recommendation – Choose a book like Dr. Bob Rotella’s “Golf is Not a Game of Perfect”, or Tim Gallowey’s “The Inner Game of Golf”.  There are tons of books out there that will set your mind in a positive direction and have a direct impact on lowering your scores next season.

There are a variety of off-season activities you can do to improve your golf game going forward.  Use the ones listed as a starting point and go from there.  As always, let me know if you have any questions on your golf game.  Have a great day!

Raising the Bar for Next Season2021-03-19T10:41:17-04:00

My Trip to Wisconsin

I’d have to say that my recent trip to Wisconsin was definitely one of the best times I have had in recent memory. Besides the fact that my brother Nick got married which was pretty cool to see, we had the opportunity to play 2 of the top golf courses in the country. The group of four included myself, my brother Nick, our friend Erick Arbe, and our friend Jordon Arnold.

Firstly, we played Erin Hills just west of Milwaukee. They will host the 2011 U.S. Amateur and the 2017 U.S. Open. We played from the “Back Black” tees that measured out at a shade under 8,400 yards. The wind also was gusting at 30 mph on average. It was an unbelievable course and I have never hit that many 3 woods into Par-4’s in my life. One of the longest holes, the par-5 first hole, played at 672 yards into a gusting wind. Not how you want to start your round!

On Friday, we played Whistling Straits and specifically the Straits course. This was my 3rd time playing the masterpiece but I have not played it since 2003. The Straits course will host next years PGA Championship and a future Ryder Cup. There is no mistake why that course is ranked top 5 in the country. Every view is breathtaking and every shot challenges your nerves and feel. Truly a magnificent design by Pete Dye.

I added a few pictures in case anyone has never been up there. If you get the opportunity to play there do not pass it up or your will regret it. Both courses, although owned by different individuals, have remarkable character to them and a challenge that you don’t see most places.  I hope ya’ll enjoy!

My Trip to Wisconsin2021-03-19T10:41:17-04:00

Ondrako Quick Clues: Teeing Strategy

Here’s some advice when your on the golf course that I learned a long time ago from my Uncle Bill, a PGA Member and former Tour Player.

Analyze the hole that you are playing and the shot you would like to play before you plug a tee in the ground.

If you are playing a dogleg left and are trying to hit a draw around the corner then tee up your ball on the left side of the tee box.  Conversly, if you trying to hit a fade for a dogleg right then tee the ball up on the right side of the tee box.

This leaves a lot of area and room to work the ball in case a mishit happens.  Most players will double-cross themselves in these situations so if you leave yourself room for the mishit it can still work out.  Plus, you can visualize the hole for a draw a lot easier from the left side of the box.

Remember: Analyze the hole set-up and the shot you want to hit before you tee the ball up.  Then, use your judgement as to which side of the tee box to use.  Don’t just toss the ball in the center of the box.  Strategy will open you up to use your mishits more often and if you hit it how you want then the ball is in perfect position!

Great Golfing everyone.  Keep up the practice!

Ondrako Quick Clues: Teeing Strategy2021-03-19T10:41:17-04:00

Ondrako Quick Clues – Pre-shot Routine

Pre-shot routine is never taken seriously…..especially on the range.  If you can practice your pre-shot routine effectively on the range then it will take pressure off of your game when you’re on the course and in the heat of the battle.  Here are some tips for an effective routine.

Brian’s 10 Commandments for Pre-shot Routine:

  1. Pick your target
  2. Pick a shot shape to hit
  3. Choose a club
  4. Visualize your target
  5. Pick a point a foot or 2 in front of the ball on the target line (easier to align to a closer target)
  6. Take your grip
  7. Step into the address position and place the clubface behind the ball square to the target
  8. Set your feet and body
  9. Take one last look at the target in the distance
  10. Fire at will!

Keys to remember:

–          Be confident with your target choice

–          Trust your set-up and swing

–          When in doubt, back off of the shot and start over

Remember, this is a routine….if you practice it on the range it will free you up more on the golf course.  Try it yourself and be creative.    Let me know if you need further assistance.  Take care.

Ondrako Quick Clues – Pre-shot Routine2020-05-08T08:50:44-04:00

The Shortest Road to a Bad Round of Golf…

Trust me.  This isn’t a riddle of any sort.  In fact, it is discussed regularly in the golf world.  The distance between your ears has a heck of a lot to do with the score you post in a given round.  I’ve seen this dozens of times with my students.  Once they step on that first tee, or see water for the first time, or miss one shot……it’s a slippery slope downhill.  Check the comparison between the descriptive words below:

Section A: Relaxed, Calm, Confident, Smooth, Positive,  Self-reliant, Fearless, Determined, Motivated            

Section B: Tight, Flustered, Scared, Rushed, Negative, Unsure, Cautious, Unwilling, Drained

Now, tell me what section B describes?………………..

um…ah…..um……..I’ll take Players who are on the golf course for $800, Alex.


The Shortest Road to a Bad Round of Golf…2020-05-08T08:50:44-04:00

When in doubt…..Chip out!

So let me know if this sounds familiar…..You’re playing a great round.  You got a couple stroke lead on your playing partners and you step on the tee after you drained a big putt on the previous hole.  The momentum is flowing in your favor….and then….you flat out bomb a drive but slowly it drifts and drifts and drifts into the woods.  Now what do you do?  You technically have 2 options…but realistically there is only one solution you should consider….GET THE BALL BACK IN PLAY!!!


When in doubt…..Chip out!2020-05-08T08:50:44-04:00

Brian’s Basics: Pitching

Pitching is a shot used frequently from within 5o yards of the green.  It is a shot that travels more in the air than it does on the ground.  In terms of difficulty, the chip shot (see chipping section) is easier and should be your first course of action if you cannot putt.  However, the pitch shot has many great uses.  If you need to hit over water or a bunker it will come in quite handy.  Also, you can produce some spin with this shot and get it to react once it hits the green.  This shot will also be a miniature version of your full swing so some of the set-up techniques will look familiar.


Brian’s Basics: Pitching2020-05-08T08:50:45-04:00

A Game Where We Don’t Think! Who would have thought?

Let’s Play a Game:  Pick which one doesn’t belong

1. A Michael Jordan Jumper to win the game

2. A Pete Sampras drop shot

3. A Joe Montana Touchdown Throw

4. A Golfer with a conscience

The answer of course is number 4.  But why?


A Game Where We Don’t Think! Who would have thought?2020-05-08T08:50:45-04:00

Full Swing: Body Rotation Drill

I was asked a question yesterday by my good friend Aaron who resides in Buffalo.  He asked, “Brian, how much is my lower body supposed to turn in the backswing.”  That is an interesting question because all players bodies rotate slightly different based on flexibility and body make-up.  However, here is a simple drill that will help you train your body to turn properly.  This will also increase your flexibility.


Full Swing: Body Rotation Drill2020-05-08T08:50:46-04:00

Short Game Tune-Up Practice

Spring is almost here and before you go tanking it full throttle on the course, make sure you get out a couple times to practice and freshen up those muscles.

Here are a few tips to challenge you as your trying to get back from the winter hibernation….


Short Game Tune-Up Practice2020-05-08T08:50:46-04:00

Off-Season Workout Ideas

As the winter nears to a close and the days are slowly getting longer and the weather is in the midst of warming up I am often asked by my student’s this question “How do I get ready for the upcoming golf season.”  The best answer I can give you is to work on your fitness.  The golf swing is important, of course, but during this time when your not playing alot and maybe doing other activities with family and friends, it is an ideal time to work on your strength and flexibility.  I hear too many stories of golfers stepping onto the first tee after a winter lay-off and pulling a muscle because they havn’t been used for sometime.  Don’t make that mistake as the season is beginiing.  Be ready for it by using a few suggestions I have listed below.
Off-Season Workout Ideas2020-05-08T08:50:47-04:00

Indoor Putting Drill

This simple putting drill can be performed in the privacy of your home and is used to get the ball rolling (no pun intended).


Indoor Putting Drill2020-05-08T08:50:48-04:00

Hot weather and HotLANTA!!!

What a difference a few days make….snow 10 days ago and then a blistful mix of sunshine and warmth.  This past week has been absolutely what we have been looking for here at Triangle Golf Center.  All the hard work we have put in over the last several months seemed to pay off when we were infused with golfers of all different ages.  We Thank You all for the support.  I was itching to get out and start giving some more lessons and thats just what happened.  I think most people have realized the truly brutally cold weather is behind us for now.  The clubs have been polished off and its open season on golf courses once again.  I can’t be more stoked for it.  In other news, I finally got a chance to clean the rust off my own clubs and hit a couple balls farther south….

Hot weather and HotLANTA!!!2020-05-08T08:50:02-04:00

I thought I left NY to get away from the snow!!!

Well I’m sure the youngsters are all happy.  5 glorious inches of snow here in Raleigh.  Just when you think March is gonna start the turn into Spring we get pelted with all of this white mess.  Good news for us golfers is it won’t last for long.  Reports are for a steamy weekend dipped into the 70’s.  Just in time for Daylight Savings Time.


I thought I left NY to get away from the snow!!!2020-05-08T08:50:03-04:00

Marchin’ into spring…

What a week.  A little cold here in NC with signs of warmth on the way.  The week started off with a trip to the Carolinas PGA Annual Meeting and Merchandise Show.  It was a great chance to hear all the upcoming news for 2009 and see alot of new products as well.  I had a chance to meet up with some collegues from college and fellow professionals I have met over the last few years.  All in all it was a great trip down to Myrtle Beach (wish I had the chance to tee it up).


Marchin’ into spring…2020-05-08T08:50:03-04:00

Mid-Month Breakdown

Wow…Already the middle of February in ’09…..Years flying by quickly.   For us North Carolinians, we have been blessed with some lovely weather to start off the month.  So we are thankful.  The golf facility I operate, Triangle Golf Center, has seen an abundence of new faces and we hope it is because of all the services we are offering to better peoples golf games and a sign that consistent warm weather is on the way.


Mid-Month Breakdown2020-05-08T08:50:03-04:00
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