Taking Your Golf Swing From the Driving Range to the Golf Course

Don’t be a golf driving range bunny forever!

Yes you need to work on your golf swing.  A great short game won’t do you a lot of good if it takes you nine shots to get to the green!  Agreed, BUT you need to avoid becoming an absolute headcase about every little detail of your golf swing.

There have been and continue to be some great golfers with golf swing faults.  You need to understand your swing faults, how they affect your ball flight and golf swing. You then need to learn to manage them.  Your swing will never be perfect!  The game isn’t perfect!  Bad lies, bad bounces and the ball that bumps off line on a perfect putt.

Sure there probably are some swing faults you have that need immediate and continued attention, (you’re never cured) and maintaining or controlling your swing faults is part of your overall golf game management strategy. BUT, lets get past the golf swing motion and get on the golf course!

I have two things that might help.  One is this Special Report you can download from here entitled, How To Take Your Golf Swing From the Driving Range to the Golf Course.

Also, I have a video taken by Brendan DeVore of Be Better Golf of our playing four holes at Pendleton golf club.  Hope you like it!

Take a Lesson from Matt Kuchar

Take a Lesson from Matt Kuchar

Watching the PGA Tour today, The Valero Texas Open,  Matt Kuchar made a mistake we can all learn from.  You get greedy dreaming of that perfect shot you’re going to pull off to save the day.  I remember Chick Herbert telling me; “Lopez, never put yourself in a position to have to hit a great shot.”

Matt Kuchar on number 14 a par 5, was not in a position to have to hit a great shot and tried to do one anyway!  It cost him a possible opportunity to win the tournament.  He was two shots back at the time with still five holes to play.  Patients my man, patients!

His tee shot was in the left rough.  You have a par five with a large bunker on the right with the flagstick on the right side of the green.  More importantly it looks like the fairway tilted toward the right causing the ball to bounce toward the bunker and increasing the chances of the ball rolling into it.

If I were his caddy, I would have insisted that he hit an iron for his second shot and leave the ball about 100 yards short of the green.  Matt Kuchar is good at that 70 – 100 yard shot and it would guarantee a par with a possibility of birdie.  Greed got the best of Matt Kuchar and he chose a golf club that he thought he could reach the green with and instead, hit the ball in the bunker.  He caught the bunker shot a little heavy leaving it short and fanned it three times from there for a bogey.

The entire fiasco of events started with the second shot.  None of the rest would have happened, had he left the ball short of the green in the middle of the fairway with an easy wedge shot in his hands.  You might consider that the problem happened when his tee shot was in the rough, but I would still insist that it was the second shot that was miscalculated. 

After making bogey he was done from there.  Now had this been the last hole and he’s one shot behind etc. etc. etc. maybe taking the chance was worth the risk.

Learn from Matt Kuchar’s mistake and consider playing safe, especially early in the round.  Don’t be tempted to gamble it all on one shot that might eventually cost you several more strokes.

Playing Golf at Belleair Country Club in Florida

playing-golf-florida

Thanks to my pal Phil Auerbach and the head golf professional Jim Slattery, PGA I enjoyed paradise even if it was only for four hours.  Wow what a facility!  Belleaire Country Club, Florida’s First Golf Club. In fact, the Philadelphia Phillies were there playing an outing before starting spring training.

The golf course condition was magnificent, right on the water and the greens rolled fast and pure.  I’m sure you guys in Richmond are really happy to hear about this considering snow is forecast for today!  ha ha ah he he he.

Phil hit the ball right out of the park all day long.  I haven’t seen drives like that in years!

Phil has a great website we’re going to get to work with, Golf Coach Direct.  Phil is on the edge of the envelope with technology.  His system allows us to have you load up your swing video for analysis.  Set up an appointment for us to meet on line.  Then with technology similar to Skype but better, we can converse with each other, see each other swinging the golf club and reviewing the video simultaneous!

I’ll be setting up a few members to try this out very soon.

Practice Golf Approach Shots Or Around the Green?

One of our very valued members asked about the Blog entry concerning Matt Kuchar http://www.quickfixgolf.com/2012/10/16/is-your-golf-swing-picture-perfect-does-it-need-to-be/  where I mention that Matt did so well from 10 – 15 feet and in and getting it closer than most of the field from 100 yards out.

I like it when a member or student asks questions.  It makes me re-think what I said and make sure I am getting my point across accurately.  Sometime I could be wrong.  Ask my wife, she’ll tell you! 

Well our member asked, “I seem to recall you saying practice your six footers and your lag putts. How does that square with the statement below?”  Well here’s my statement:

Maybe you need to adapt your practice habits to concentrate on 75 to 100 yard shots and 10 – 15 foot putts. Up and in from 100 yards out. Oh yea, he’s also rated 3rd in scrambling from the rough

My answer:

Yes Matt had tremendous success from the 10 – 15 foot range. Better than the field! But in overall putts made vs. putts missed, the 5 to 6 foot range is the only distance that players have conversion numbers as high as 90+ %.

Example:
Putts made within 5 feet Louis Oosthuizen 98%
Putts made form 10 – 15 feet Y.E. Yang 40.83% 
I guess he was putting out the Ying Yang!  Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!

Now, one might argue that attempting to get the ball to within six feet from 75 to 100 yards is unrealistic BUT I’m considering that you will actually have, (especially amateurs) more potential save putts from chips and bunker shots, little lobs shots from around the green, where you do have an opportunity to get the ball within six feet. Your score will lower quicker by chipping up within six feet and making it, than from the 100 yard distance.
Once I felt confident enough that my shots around the green, (long lag putts, chips, bunker shots, lob shots) were getting within six feet and I could make the six footer, THEN I would concentrate on the 75 yard shot to within six feet and make it.  I would not practice a ton of 10 – 15 foot putts. Go for the 98% not the 40%.
 
Only an opinion, but I think around the green is more important to the golfer that hits maybe 6 or 7 greens in regulation. Improve the swing a little more and move up to 8 greens in regulation on average, maybe 9?  But, you have more than half of the greens where you have the opportunity to pick up a shot by saving par from off the green.  For that to happen more times than not, you need to get it within six feet. The best can’t do better than 40%.

Still the overwhelming comment on tour is, “you make all your money 80 yards and in.”  The rest, (in my estimation) is just don’t hit it in the garbage.  Move the ball around the obstacle course until you get near the green.  Then like a good bull fighter, take out the red cape, your sword and let him have it!

Will Your Golf Swing Work Under Pressure?

OK, so it wasn’t the US Open, but having the honor and opportunity to do a “beat the pro” day for the Richmond Henrico Rotary Club was fun and adds that element of pressure you need, to see if you’re swing will perform under pressure.  The pro has to hit about 30 shots in a row of the same shot, (with the buys back there watching probably hoping you will top it so they feel better about themselves) and of course no one can hit 30 in a row close to the hole.  You have some close ones, some really bad ones and a bunch in the middle.

I like it because it gives me a chance to meet the guys and gals personally and shake their hand.  It is the amateurs that make this game great not the pros.  If folks didn’t like the game so much, that they are willing to part with their hard earned cash to play the game, I wouldn’t have a job.  Or maybe I would have to get one!

Every golfer has several swings.

Swing 1: Your swing on the driving range practicing
Swing 2: Your swing when playing a casual round of golf with a friend
Swing 3: Your swing when playing in a Captain’s Choice tournament with your buddies watching you, praying for you to hit a decent shot and take them off the hot seat.
Swing 4: Your swing when playing in a real golf tournament such as a State Golf Organization like the VSGA we have here in Virginia.

Tiger said that you have to work on a swing change on the range.  Then prove you can take it to the golf course.  Then use it in a golf tournament and then use it in a major.  There is a significant difference in each step.  Questions is: “Why does it fall apart under pressure?”

I might have the answer.  Yes, I say might.  Who really knows?  My contention is you can only think about one thing at a time.  Your focus should be on the shot you want, picturing it in your mind, seeing it happen before it does.  You should NOT be thinking about a swing motion position.  You must nag your swing change into submission so that it is natural to you, (your body wants to go there) before testing it on the golf course.  Nothing wrong with testing it on the golf course while you’re working on it but don’t expect consistent results until it’s second nature.

Like Arnold Palmer used to say, “if you don’t bring it with you when you come, you ain’t gonna get it while you’re here!”

Of course confidence is a big factor but confidence comes with consistent performance, so which is first?  One can be falsely overly confident in their abilities only to be disappointed.  In my old gambling days we searched out theses individuals and called them a sweat roll.  An over analysis of one’s self which leads to a great payday for those who know how to exploit it.

Every golfer has to have their own pre-shot routine and thoughts which meld with their personality.  Here’s what I do, which may or may not help you.

Step 1: I read the defense.  The golf course is the defense.  Is there trouble on the right or left, short or behind the green that I MUST avoid.

Step2: Choose the shot pattern I want.  Let’s pretend the trouble is on the right. Maybe I’ll set the golf club face about 2 degrees closed at address as an insurance policy to make sure the ball doesn’t go right, (you move the ball with your golf club face, not your swing).

Step 3: Picture the shot you want in your mind’s eye.  Actually see it fly in your mind and feel what the shot will feel like when you hit it.  That doesn’t say you will always pull it off.  Golf is a game of miss-hits.

Step 4: Get behind the golf ball and align yourself, the ball and your target line, all in a straight line.  Set your golf club face where you want to go, (then close it two degrees).  Align the rest of your body according to the path you want to hit the golf ball.

Step 5: Now go hit it and only think about the shot you wanted and perform.  Your golf shot should be an instant reply of what you already envisioned.

If you do NOT even come close to what you hoped for make a note.  Do NOT try and fix it on the golf course!  Keep taking notes, keep trying to perform what it is you want to perform, make the assessment after the round.

This seems like a lot to do but once it’s a habit, it’s not.  Keep in mind that there might be some golfers behind you pulling their hair out, so please keep that in mind.  Get a rhythm going during your pre-shot routine so it becomes repetitive.

Hope this helps and please consider this. Once you set up a plan give it time to take effect.  Be patient!  It took Tiger 18 months to implement all the changes Butch Harmon added and Butch is NOT one to change much.

How To Use A Yardage Book To Lower Your Golf Score

Here’s a webinar we did on the yardage book at Pendleton Golf Course just south of Fredericksburg VA.  Yes I know you spent $400 on the latest range finder but I still prefer the yardage book and here’s why.  I want to read the defense from a birds eye view.  Like a quarterback has to read a defense, golfers must do the same by looking for what the obstacles the golf course has is in store to capture your ball.

The yardage book at Pendleton is exceptional because it shows contours.  Mucho Importante!  No unexpected bad kicks because you see the contour drawn in the book.

Nothing wrong with using your range finder too, but don’t drive the golfers behind you nuts with a six hour round.  Please take a minute to watch this informative webinar that will lower your golf score even with the swing you got.

By the way, Jim Mason, Director of Golf at Pendleton is offer his yardage book at half off.  Regular $6.25 now only $3.50.  You only need to buy it once, if you take care with it and keep it handy in your golf bag for the next round.

 
 

How Do Touring Pros Prepare To Play Golf

We finally started our first webinar.  Yea!!!!!!  There will be more to come and quick!  This first webinar featured the topic, “How Do Touring Pros Prepare To Play Golf.”  So much of golf instruction is primarily focused on golf swing faults and fixes.  There is so much more to golf than that.  You can have your swing humming on the driving range, get out to the course and literally fall part!

I’m sure you’ve heard that this game is 90 percent mental.  It is for sure, once you get your golf swing under control.  Swinging in perfect rhythm will come and go but you can maintain control over how you go about your management of yourself, your game and the golf course strategy.

To ask for an invitation to one of our webinars just send me an email to bobbylopez@quickfixgolf.com

Here it is, hope you like it and find it useful for your golf game. By the way, this was our first webinar so there certainly were some glitches. While you’re working on your game, we will be working on our webinar skills and I promise you will see a significant improvement with our second webinar. Next week’s topic will be “What Does The Shaft Actually Do During The Golf Swing and How Do I Determine What Shaft I Should You Have?”

Webinar starts at 7 PM EDT Mondays.

Having Trouble with Golf Club Selection?

Having Trouble with Golf Club Selection?

There is more to club selection than just, “what did you hit Bill?”.  Back in the old days, most all the golf clubs were uniform.  A six iron had about 36 degrees of loft, (today’s average is 32) and the length was about the same, even if the golfer was 6″ 3″” tall.

I remember when Ping first came out with their golf clubs with the number on the back of the golf club.  Golfers at that time thought is was unfair for the opponent to know what golf club the golfer was hitting.

Most golfers have no idea exactly what they hit their six iron vs. their seven.  They guesstimate and in a lot of cases exaggerate their ability, because they think of that one great shot they hit instead of working with an average distance and with a swing tempo they can handle.  A consistent swing tempo is critical to developing golf club selection that is effective and dependable.

Here’s a road map you might consider:

1) Choose one golf ball you like and can afford and stick to it.
2) Go to a par three late in the afternoon when there sin’t a lot of play and hit a six iron to a green with about six balls and average out the distances to the pitch mark.
3) If you can’t do that try an open field or a quite driving range with your own golf balls.
4) Have your lofts and lie checked on your golf clubs.  Your lofts must be consistent, (most likely four degrees difference in loft per golf club) in order to have a consistent difference in distance per golf club.  Most say it’s about 10-12 yards per club.

Watch this video for further information on this topic.

Not At Home On The Range

Not At Home On The Range

One of our fine members/students sent over this article from the Wall Street Journal about how golf instruction needs to include on course scenarios.  I couldn’t agree more which is why we changed our lesson  program this year to include more on the golf course experience.

Not many golf professionals offer on the golf course lessons.

The range is great for reprogramming swing motions but now you have to carry it over to the real thing.  Both on to the golf course and under competition.  Even if it’s only your $2 Nassau with your buddies.

Here’s the article http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203986604577257420695000272.html

Send me your impressions bobbylopez@www.quickfixgolf.com

Today Was The First Day Of The New On Course Format – Hosted by Birkdale.

Boy we had a great day at Birkdale Golf Course.  I’m looking forward to our Saturday session at Pendleton.  I can NOT fully express my thanks to the fine folks at Acumen Golf for allowing us to use Birkdale as our Chesterfield golf course site.  If you haven’t been out to Birkdale, you will be very impressed with the improvements.  The new owners have put together a great professional staff headed up by Chris McNeil PGA Head Professional  along with a fantastic organization for outings.  They’ve also made some upgrades in the club house eating area with a BIG screen TV and a comfortable area to watch the game after you’re done playing.
The day on the golf course was fantastic and the golf course is in great shape.  Yes some of the greens have been recently aerated and of course this is the time of year when maintenance is done on the greens BUT any work being done was NOT a factor in our play.  I thought the greens rolled well for this time of year.  The fairways are totally Bermuda and in great shape.  Tee boxes have been seeded with either a Bent or Rye and it adds a classy touch.
Here’s what happened on our first day.
1) We started out at the putting green, working on those very important short putts.  One excellent feature of the practice putting green at Birkdale was the access to special holes that were smaller than the regulation cup.  A wonderful training tool to practice putting at these smaller holes, so that the real cup looks large by comparison.
2) Next step was long putts.
3) We hit some balls on the range then off to the first tee.
4) I play from the back tees but you can play what ever tee that suits your game.  You will have a good challenge where ever you tee it up.  I will be providing a Special Report on recommended course strategies, shortly.
We played the entire 18 holes and I can not wait to play it again.  I am convinced that this new format is the BEST way for me to see you perform on the golf course. You also have the opportunity to observe what I do, both with the golf swing as well as that important short game and club selection.  When you play with better golfers you will improve just by observing.
If you’re interested in playing Birkdale on your own, just call 804-739-8800 and then enter 100.  They have some great off season rates right now and remember to take advantage of the special small holes on the practice putting green.  Oh yes, we had lunch after playing.  I had the Buffalo Wrap and it was great.  They have FREE coffee.  You know how Cubans like coffee!One thing we learned from this on course session is that alignment WILL have an effect on your golf swing motion. Why?  Because your eye has no idea that you are improperly aimed so you will do whatever it takes to get the ball to go to the intended target.  Example; you align yourself to the right with your feet, (or closed) and open in the shoulders, (to the left).  This improper position will cause you to swing across yourself or “over the top” being that your eye knows that the hole is left of you.

To work on alignment skills try this drill.

Watch for further Blog entries on our, Play Golf With A PGA Pro!