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.

justin-rose_1706getty_630

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
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