Sunday, March 13, 2011

A wife's reaction

One Saturday last summer I left home about 7:30 am to play golf with some friends.  On the way out the door may wife yells down the stairs to me “what time will you be home?”   I thought for a second and replied “probably about 1:30, I’ll have lunch at the club.”

Well, when I finally rolled in the door at 11:45pm she greeted me at the door.  With a not too impressed look on her face.  You know the one I'm talking about.  I immediately started to explain.

“We finished our game about 11:30, had lunch, and I started home, when alongside the road I saw this attractive woman with a flat tire on her car.  I stopped to help, got the tire changed.  She offered money, but I refused.  So, she suggested that I at least allow her to buy me a beer. She said, there’s a pub just up the road, we can grab a beer there and I'd be able to clean up.  I agreed to stop, I mean I was thirsty. We had a beer, then another beer, then a couple more, and I realized that this woman was not only pretty, she was very friendly, and a good companion to spend time with. Before I knew it, we were in her bedroom having sex. And that is why I am so late getting home.”

My wife looked me in the eye and said “Don’t shit me; you played 36 holes, didn’t you?”

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shaping Golf Shots

Shaping golf shots is important to lower your scores.  If you can master the various trajectories of the golf ball, then you should be able to play under the worst of conditions and circumstances.  Most golfer strive to hit the ball straight.  This is a huge mistake.  Straight is the hardest shot in golf.  I mean think about this.  There is always spin on the ball, its not like throwing a knuckle ball.  So, a fraction off center the ball may spin left or spin right, depending on the club face.

Most pros on tour have a preferred shot shape.  More than likely its a draw, since its the shot shape that is more powerful and travels farther.  Although, there are plenty of guys out there that hit big high long fades.  Just look at Freddy Couples, for instance.  The point here is that if you have a shot shape, don't waste your time trying to hit it straight.  Work with what you have, there's no doubt it is more consistent that a straight shot will every be.

So, how to do you shape the ball from left to right, or right to left.  Personally, with my swing I know there are many things I can do to change the shape of the shot.  Its just something I've learned from reading and practicing to see what works for me.   I wanted to attach the video of the all time greatest player, Jack Nicklaus, demonstrating his one swing approach to changing the balls flight.  It really simplifies the entire concept, and provides a great baseline.


It wouldn't be a stretch to imagine that Jack knows what he's talking about. 

Cheers,

RP

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mayakoba Golf Classic

So, I've been away for a week to Mexico, but on my travels I was able to catch a little golf.  Our resort was about 10-15min walk down the beach to Mexico's only PGA tour stop, the Mayakoba Golf Classic.

So, anyone who has ever been to a PGA tour event knows that they are extremely strict when it comes to taking pictures.  Well, we were able to snap a few photos while standing on the beachfront which the par 3 15th hole extends to.  Obviously,  we were careful not to take photos during the players routine.  Anyhow, have a look at these few photos. 

Yeah, that's me beach side and green side.  Absolutely, the best way to take in a PGA event.





Once I get back to reality, I will get back to regular posts.


Cheers,

RP

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Its Funny because its True

Just over two years ago my wife (fiance at the time) and I were on a road trip of Canada's east coast.  Beautiful country I might add.  Our trip started with a night in Montreal, then onto the Fundy National Park (where we got engaged that morning), to Shediac New Brunswick, and then to Prince Edward Island where the story beings. 


Veiw from a tee box on the back nine.

So, we are in PEI, apart from say Myrtle Beach, PEI is a golfer's paradise.  You flip open the yellow pages.  No, No, who am I kidding, the yellow pages of my generation is Google.  So, if you Google 'golf + PEI' you are going to end up with thousands of hits.  And if you try it right now, the first thing that comes up is "Canada's #1 Golf Destination".  Which is completely true.  The courses to chose from are some of the best the country has to offer, no doubt.  Well, ever since the 1998 Export A Skins Game I have wanted to play the Links at Crowbush Cove.  That event, practically put PEI on the golfing map and Crowbush was the most renowned at the time. 

We booked a tee time, a mid-afternoon round.  Taking advantage of the twilight rates.  I can't quite remember the cost exactly, but it was somewhere around $200 for the two of us to play with cart, and rent clubs. 

I believe my wife has the ability to be a fantastic golfer.  She shows new improvements each time she's out.   She can smash it.  I mean she can hit her 5iron consistently right up the middle about 130yrds, not bad for a beginner.  Well, like I said this was over two years ago, and she was just starting out.  And like most beginners they think this game is easy, and want to hit it far. 

So, the first hole at Crowbush is a par 4 pretty much straight away.  Oh, I forgot to mention.  Since we were teeing off in the prime season, we were paired with another couple.  A very nice couple in their 40's from Red Deer, Alberta.  I stress very nice!  We hit the tee getting to know each other with small talk and the starter gives us the go ahead.  I tee off first and hit a decent drive up the left hand side that ends up in the rough.  The gentleman tees off hitting to the right and it trickles into the bush and we drive up to the ladies tee.

The ladies tees are elevated and there is a small marsh just in front.  I can see my wife is slightly intimidated.  And I can't blame her really.  She's about to play a beautiful course, it is her 2 or 3rd time golfing ever, she's playing with two people she met just 3 minutes ago, clubs she's never used before and we can't afford, and there's water right in front of her.  So she insists the lady go first.  So, the lady tee's it up and sploooosh!! She plunks one in the water.  I could see the sigh of relief in my wife's face.  She knew her expectations had just been lowered.  The lady quickly tees up another ball and catches it good and it clears the marsh easily and ends up in the middle of the fairway.  My wife is up.  With no hesitation she tees it up confidently.  No practice swings, and bang!  She chili-dips one of the end of the tee box that rolls down into the water.  She looks back at me, and I can see she wants another ball so I toss her a pinnacle and tell her to take her time.  With the pressure on now, sure enough the second one finds the water too.  Not to mention the third one too.  You can imagine what the other couple is thinking at this point, "This is going to be a long day".

I tell them to drive ahead up to their balls and my wife will tee off from the other side of the marsh.  So, they take off and we head around to the other side of the marsh.  I can see she is dejected.  "Don't worry about it hunny, we aren't out here to break any records, just have some fun.  Hit a few shots, pick your ball up, have a drink.  Just enjoy yourself."  Yes, she was dejected, but she is a very determined woman and I can see she mean business this time, as she grabs another pinnacle from the cart.


She tees it up just inside the fairway.  She smoked it.  It took off hot, about 20 feet off the ground screaming up the right hand side.  Before I could get the words out of my mouth, it takes one hope and hits the man we are playing with high in the leg.  Crap!!!!  What do you do?  What do you say?  At this point everyone in the group is thinking, "This is going to be a long day!"


A birdie try on the back nine.

Well, as it turns out.  The man escaped unscathed.  I played reasonably well.  So, did my wife.  She even made her first par on the 6th hole.  We had a great time.  The scenery is like no other place on earth.  We both loved it, and the rest of our trip. 

Cheers,

RP

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Golf Trivia Challenge

I got this trivia game in an email earlier this week.  Have a go at and see how much you know about golf. 

In the end it will give you a score.  I was 5 under par.

http://www.cincinnati.com/golf/golfquiz/html/brand.htm

Cheers,

RP

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Reading the Green

Most golfer's over there career will never put any thought into what green reading is all about.  They will just instinctively go through a thought process (or not) before taking the ball back.  Since reading Dave Pelz's book the "Putting Bible", I have come to realize that there can more of a process than just determining speed and line.  I just wanted to refresh the art and science of reading greens to make more putts.

Green reading is the task of determining how the green itself affects the ball on its journey to the hole.  First off, green reading takes time and through experience playing many rounds on many different golf courses, under many different conditions and circumstances will play a significant role in your ability to read greens over time.  In other words the more you do it, the better you will get.  The science of green reading takes these experiences and quantifies them with regard to how the ball actually reacts to the speed, slope, grain, and weather conditions (wind and rain).  Of the determining factors in the science of green reading, speed is arguably the most important because the overwhelming effect it has on both the slope, grain and weather.

Everyone will develop their own personal method of green reading, but the following are some general points to mews over.

1)  As you approach the green begin to notice the general lay of the green.  Imagine water being poured near the hold and watch where the water will drain.  If it is raining or has recently notice the areas that remain wet, notice drainage, low and high points.  This will take some visualization.

2)  As you begin to approach your ball and mark it (or whatever your routine may be)  start to determine the amount of speed required to get the ball to the hole, determine whether the putt is uphill or downhill.  How much will the ball break based on the speed required?  Which way is the grass growing (grain)?

3)  When it comes to speed I have found that its important to get the exact distance to the hole.  Since, you can't carry a measuring tape on the course, pace off your putts.  It better to know the putt is exactly 28ft, rather than 25 to 30ft, it will do wonders for your confidence and your lag putts.

4)  An important factor to remember when reading break is that the slower a ball is rolls the more affected it is by slope and grain (This is usually nearer the hole).

5) Once you have determined the distance, speed, break, and grain begin your pre-shot routine.  Take a few practice stokes, visualize the putt rolling in on the line you have chosen. 

All this should take about 30seconds, I mean we are not pro's and pace of play is important on most golf courses, so don't over do it.

To close out I want to touch on a concept that I believe is an important part of reading putts.  Remember this age old adage "No putt can go in, if it doesn't make it too the hole".  What I mean here is make sure you give it a chance, get it to the hole.  Well, Dave Pelz outlines in his book the "Putting Bible" that the optimum speed for a putt to drop is to role it 17inches past the hole.  I won't go into the science, physics, logic behind it (That's for you to find out by reading his book), but he has proved it through testing and testing again.  It seems like a weird statement to make doesn't it, "hit the ball 17inches past the hole and it will have the best chance at rolling in".  Why not die it into the hole?  Well, just think about how many putts you leave short., I bet is significantly more than you roll past the hole.

After I started writing this post I realized that this topic was not a 4 or 5 paragraph post, but more like a 15 to 20 pages in a book on putting.  So, check out Dave Pelz's stuff if you want more info. 

Like most of my posts, yes this one too ends abruptly.

Cheers,

RP

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Club Fitting Part 1: Shafts

Steel shafts, rifle shafts, graphite shafts, and multi-material shafts, which is right for me?  Well, I'm not trying to answer that question for you, but I do intend to give you the information you need to understand the pro that is fitting you for your new clubs, and inevitably new shafts.  So, lets have a look at some of the terms used when talking about shafts.

FLEX - Flex is generally the most understood element of shafts.  Most golfers understand the rating of Ladies (L), Senior (S), Regular (R), Stiff (S) and, Extra Stiff (XS), but most golfers don't know where they fit in.  Something, I've noticed is that most people (more to men than women) thing they need stiffer shafts than then actually do.  They are only cheating themselves.  Different manufacturers have different specifications on flex, so be aware.
There are two methods of measuring shaft flex: a) the shaft deflection board and b) frequency analyzer.  Stiffness is how the shaft reacts when weight is applied.  Frequency or vibration measurement (similar to tuning a musical instrument) looks at how fast a club will vibrate with that particular shaft. The stiffer the shaft the faster the vibration.
Finding the correct flex for you is of the utmost importance, as it directly affects distance and direction.


WEIGHT - When shaft weight is  referred to it is the actual weight of uncut shaft before installation.  It is almost always measured in grams (g).  Most graphite shafts have this written on them somewhere.

Of specific not is the potential for club head speed and distance is increased with overall lighter shafts, but there are other factors you must considered.


KICK POINT - The term kick point refers to the point where the shaft bends during the golf swing.  It directly affects the trajectory of the shot.  A shaft with a high kick point will result in a low shot trajectory. A low kick point will result in a high trajectory.  For the experienced golfer kick point will affect the feel of the shaft.  Obviously, swing mechanics will be the ultimate determining factor in shot trajectory, however this is the general rule. 

Another term often confused with kick point is bend point, they are similar, but yet very different.  The kick point is the highest point (high being toward the grip) the shaft bends when the grip is held in place and pressure is applied to the club head, similar to the golf swing if you think about it.  Whereas, the bend point is the highest point (Again, highest being toward the grip) when equal pressure is applied to both ends of the shaft.  When measured these two points will be similar, but never exactly the same.


TORQUE - Torque is the twisting of the shaft. It is often assumed that this is specifically at impact, but it actually refers to the twisting that occurs during the golf swing.  The more torque or twisting a shaft has, the softer it will feel. Measured in degrees a shaft with a 3 degree torque will feel much stiffer that one that has 5 degrees.  All shafts have torque, and it varies depending on club construction an shaft type (steel vs graphite vs etc.).   Most steel shafts have about 3 degrees of torque.

Torque can have a slight effect on ball trajectory. The lower the torque, the lower the trajectory.


LENGTH - The length of the shaft is measured from the top of the grip to the base of the heel of the club as it lies on the ground.  While increasing the length of the shaft will most likely increase the distance of your shots, this is NOT the best approach.  I mean you don't see Phil Michelson hitting an 85in driver right?
To measure the correct length of shaft for you stand tall and have someone measure from the crease of your wrist and hand to the floor.  Do this for both hands and take the average.  The average club length is taken from your 5 iron, which is the exact mid iron in your bag. So, with this in mind your 5 iron should have a shaft length of:
  • 37 inches for a measurement of 29 to 32 inches
  • 37 1/2 inches for a measurement of 33-34 inches
  • 38 inches for a measurement of 35-36 inches
  • 38 1/2 inches for a measurement of 37-38 inches
  • 39 inches for a measurement of 39-40 inches
  • 39 1/2 inches for a measurement of 41 inches
These measurements you took are also used to determine the proper lie angle, but I'm not going discuss that today.  If you want to look further into this, check this link out. http://www.golf-components.com/custom-golf-club-fitting.html

There are a few other terms you may hear along the way, such as alignment, parallel or tapered tip, and puring, however I don't believe they are something the average golfer needs to be dramatically concerned with.  Besides, it is something I have never bothered to learn too much about, so I don't want to waste your time babbling on.

By no means am I professional club fitter or what have you.  However, I have done my research over the years and learned many things.  There are tons of great resources on the internet, books stores and pro shops, I highly recommend you use these resources at your disposal when buying you next set of clubs.

Just to finish this off I called this post "Club Fitting Part 1: Shafts", which insinuates Part 2 will follow.  Well, it will I just don't know when.  What it will entail, well I don't know that either.  Check back later.


Cheers,


RP

Monday, February 7, 2011

Getting the Itch?!?! Is Simulated Golf the Answer?

No, I am not talking about sexually transmitted disease.  Nor am I referring to that feeling of a new wool sweater.  I'm talking about that feeling when the cold winter months seem to drag on and you  being to think to yourself "GOLF! GOLF!!! GOLF!!!!!!"  Now for me, the itch has come earlier than normal this year.  Maybe its because winter seemed to come early this year as well, but in all honesty I'm blaming it on this golf blog I started in late December 2010.
In order to temporarily make the itch subside a few friends and I were out last week playing golf at the local simulator.  It was fun no doubt, but really kind of like calamine lotion on a good dose of poison ivy.   The itch was back the next day.  The simulators have come a long way, and I can only imagine where they will take the technology in the future.  But quite honestly, they still need to come a long way with the short game.  In our night out not one of us made a put over 10 feet, and that's with 10 foot gimmee's in play.  The short game is base far too much on touch and feel, and I can't see anything in the near future that can begin to replicate the golf course.

When it comes to hitting driver and irons into the green, I must say 'I think" the simulator was near bang on.  It definitely reacted to our shaped shots, or unintentionally shaped shots.  And distance seemed to be about what I would normally be.  Still though, miss the fairway and end up behind a tree.  Well, you may as well take 3 penalty strokes.  That said, it was nice to take full swings, get some practice and at least have some semi-reliable feedback at this time of the year.

The atmosphere is what you make it, but you put a bunch of guys together, add beer, food and golf and three is sure to be a good time.  Since that's all I expecting, the whole experience was a positive one.  If you get a chance to try simulated golf, give it a chance, develop your own opinion.  And at the very least you will enjoy the company of good friends, good beer and well potentially good food.

Cheers,

RP

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The lighter side of Golf

For those of you that know me,  I love to joke around.  But honestly, when it comes to the golf swing there is no joking around.

This video really puts all that in to perspective. 


See what I'm saying.

Cheers,

RP

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Identifying your Strengths and Weakness

As I mentioned in my last post (Course Management: 7 out of 10 rule) being able to identify and understand the strength and weaknesses of your golf game a crucial to course management.  Most individuals that have played the game for any length of time might be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses quite easily. However, simply keeping some basic statistics over the course of a few rounds you will have concrete evidence to base your decisions on.  I'm not talking about any elaborate stats like you see on  the PGA tour.  Just keep track over 5 rounds or so (obviously, the larger the data set the more reliable it is) the number of fairways hit, your greens in regulation, your up and down from around the green, and putts.  This information should begin to tell you where your strengths and weaknesses lie. 

So, how can this help you on the course.  Well, first off I want to mention that most people spend the majority of their practice time, practicing their strengths (its just more enjoyable to do something your good at).  However, if you spend say 50% of your practice time on your strengths and 50% on your weaknesses you will see that statistics you've been keeping will begin to morph and your scores will lower as you become more of an all round golfer.

On the course, you can use the information to make educated decisions.  For example, say the strength of my game is the short game, and my weakness is my long irons and fairway woods.  Well, if I'm faced with the decision to go for the par 5 in two (as was the case in the video in my previous post) what is the thought process?  Well, at this distance it would be a stretch to get it there, and there is trouble on the right and left side of the green.  Can I hit the centre of the green 7 out of 10 times.  No, at least five of those times I'm left or right and making a big number.  So, why not take less club hit a controlled shot to the front of the green where I can rely on the strength of my game (the short game) to get up and down for birdie, and a worst par.  This is playing  the percentages and knowing how to score.

Eliminate the big numbers on your score card by knowing your strengths and weaknesses and using course management to play the percentages.

Cheers,

RP

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Course Management: 7 out of 10 Rule

Course management is absolutely my favorite topic when it comes to improving ones handicap.  Possibly, because I used to be brutal at it, and once I grasped a few key concepts I started to lower my scores just through smart play.  It doesn't take practice, but just knowledge and logical thinking.

In my mind the main idea behind course management is to eliminate the big numbers by playing the odds with shot selection.  The video I have attached below demonstrates this concept quite well.


The key to the 7 out of 10 rule any many of the concepts behind course management is to know your strengths and weaknesses.  Obviously, not everyone can hit a draw like the guy i the video above. Later this week or at least in my next post, I will talk about understanding the strengths and weakness of your golf game. 

Cheers,

RP

Monday, January 31, 2011

New Golf Book

I got this joke in an email a few years back.  It is hilarious, and I never forgot it.  Check it out.

Chapter 1 – How to Properly Line Up Your Fourth Putt.
Chapter 2 – How to Hit a Nike from the Rough, when you Hit a Titleist from the tee.
Chapter 3 – How to Avoid the Water When You Lie 8 in a bunker.
Chapter 4 – How to Get More Distance off the Shank.
Chapter 5 – When to Give the Ranger the Finger.
Chapter 6 – Using Your Shadow on the Greens to Maximize Earnings.
Chapter 7 – When to Implement Handicap Management.
Chapter 8 – Proper Excuses for Drinking Beer Before 9:00 a.m.
Chapter 9 – How to Rationalize a 6 Hour Round.
Chapter 10 – When Does A Divot become classified as Sod.
Chapter 11 – How to Find That Ball That Everyone Else Saw Go in the water.
Chapter 12 – Why your Spouse Doesn’t Care That You Birdied the 5th.
Chapter 13- Using Curse words Creatively to Control Ball Flight.
Chapter 14 – When to Let a Foursome Play through Your Twosome.
Chapter 15 – How to Relax When You Are Hitting five off the Tee.
Chapter 16 – When to Suggest Major Swing Corrections to Your Opponent.
Chapter 17 – God and the Meaning of the Birdie-to-Bogey Three Putt.
Chapter 18 – When to Regrip Your Ball Retriever.
Chapter 19 – Throwing Your Clubs: An Effective Stress-Reduction Technique.
Chapter 20 – Can You Purchase a Better Golf Game?
Chapter 21 – Why Male Golfers Will Pay $5.00 a Beer from the Cart Girl and Give her a $3 Tip , but will balk at $4.50 at the 19th Hole and stiff the Bartender.


Bobby Rusher is the author of "How to Line up your Fouth Putt" and "When to Regrip your Ball Retriever" and I have to give credit where credit is due.  His stuff is hilarious.  Check it out, at http://www.4putt.com/

Cheers,

RP

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Since when are TV viewers PGA rules officials?

TV viewers have been calling tour players on rules violoations for years.  This is not something new.  It just seems to be something that has become more prevalent lately.  There are probably several reasons why this is so, and the main reason being that the television and media coverage has expanded over the years.  To the point that we now have a 24/7 channel totally devoted to golf.  So, you can see how the number of these occurrences are on the incline, but as I see it the real question is 'Should players be penalized for something caught on television coverage?'

There are few different points of view I'd like to discuss.  First off the rules of golf!  Golf is a game of honour, and we see guys bit the bullet of the rules all the time.  But lets face it the rules are harsh, and sometimes unrealistic.  Just ask Craig Stadler, who placed a towel on the ground to keep his knees from getting wet while hooking a shot back into the fairway in the 1987 tour stop at Torrey Pines.  The fact is that they are RULES and they are not flexible.  They are explicit, and are meant to be adhered too. This is part of what makes the rules of golf great, they are not debatable.  They are about as black and white as rules get in sports. 
Secondly, does Heath Slocum really get as much television coverage as Tiger or Padraig?  The answer is NO. Not unless he is in the lead and even then it might be questionable.  That said, the top ranked players literally have thousands of television viewers or should I call them rules officials following them shot by shot, round after round.  Does this make it fair?  Definately not. 

I wanted to keep this rant fairly short, because it is a topic which can be debated extensively and certainly it will be over time.  What it seems like to me is that if PGA rules officials are missing these rule violiations, this should not be the case.  With regards to the rules of golf, well certainly the rules off golf were not developed with TV cameras and instant replay in mind.  Taking this into consideration I think is becomes very apparent that some changes are in order.

Cheers,

RP

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tips for Playing Golf in the Rain

Most people avoid the golf course at all costs when rain is in the forecast, but if you are serious about golf it can be a great chance to test your skills.  If watch the PGA tour events at all, you may notice that the pro's often go real low with their scores in the rain.  Well, there are are few reasons for this, like the greens soften up allowing them to fire at the pins or the ball won't roll as far, meaning it may stay in the fairway.  While those are true playing in the rain doesn't often result in lower scores for the average amateur.  Playing in the rain doesn't have to be difficult if you are prepared.  With this thought in mind here are a few tips for playing in the rain and optimizing your score.


1)  BE PREPARED - Get the proper rain gear.  An umbrella and waterproof jacket and pants are a must if you want to fend off the weather.  Rain gloves can also enhance your chances of minimizing the rains affects.  A rain hood for you  bag will help as well.   I really, can't stress this enough, BE PREPARED.  It is your best defence against the elements.

2) MANAGE YOUR GAME ACCORDINGLY -  As I mentioned, when its raining the ball doesn't roll as far, it also won't spin as much.  The distance and trajectory is affected as well.  You will likely have to take more club.  And don't be afraid to grip down for more control.  More importantly during poor weather than any other time, but you must play to your strengths!

3)  DEVELOP YOUR MENTAL TOUGHNESS - Don't expect to play well in the rain, if its your first time.  You have to learn how to fight the elements, and the more you play in the rain the better you will become.  Stay positive and play within yourself!

4)  KEEP YOUR GRIPS DRY - Always, wipe your grips dry and keep them out of the rain as much as possible.  As part of this tip, I will say BRING AN EXTRA TOWEL, its all part of BEING PREPARED.  Maintaining your grips is important too.  You don't want to have grips are slippy to begin with, the slightly  bit of water can send the club flying.  The grips I currently have on all my clubs (Golf Pride Decade Multi-Compound Cord) are just about the best wet weather grips I've ever had.  I highly recommend them.  They are extremely tacky, and seem to resist and repel water.  That said, you still have to keep them dry to the best of your ability.  If you are PREPARED, this shouldn't be much of a problem.

5) BE PATIENT - Don't start rushing.  I know it is easy to do, but take your time.  Use shelters when they are available.  Focus on your game not the weather.  I will say it again, but the more PREPARED you are for the weather the easier it will be to focus on your game.

Just to bring these tips back in full circle, part of the reason pro's are able to  battle elements and post good scores during the rain is simply because they are PREPARED.   Obviously, they have all the apparel and gear at their disposal, but it certainly doesn't hurt having a caddie to help you out as well.

So, next time you see its suppose to rain during your round, don't call to cancel it.  Embrace the challenge.  Remember golf is only a game, and as long as you are prepared you can still have fun with it, no matter what mother nature throws at you.

Cheers,

RP

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Swing Plane

Swinging the golf club on plane is a term most golfers have heard, but I've noticed its something that most golfers don't really understand what swinging the golf club on plane really means.  This Hank Haney video describes what the swing plan really is.  Its important to note that the plane is player specific.

He talks about different teachers and their thoughts on the correct swing plane.  Players like Ben Hogan advocate a swing plane from your shoulders to the ball.  It seems that this school of thought has been changed slightly over the years.  Haney and many teachers now advocate a swing plane of the shaft line. Without a doubt both can be successful, but only if the plane is maintained throughout the swing.

I believe working on your swing plane is an important part of practice, and swing maintenance.  Watching your swing in a mirror is an easy way to see if your staying on plane.   Or you could work with a partner, or even better take and review a video during practice.  Anytime, I am looking at my swing plane, I always start with looking at my setup and posture.  If the setup and posture are not correct, there are likely swing plane compensations taking place.  So, it is vital to make sure these two are in line before looking at your swing plane. 

Lastly, something I find helps me when practicing my swing plane is visualization.  I will picture an invisible circle around my body.  Or a sheet of glass.

Check of the video and practice your swing plane from time to time as part of your swing maintenance.

Cheers,

RP

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Greatest shot Ever?!?

After my last post I got thinking of some the great shots tour pros hit.  What are some of the great shots that they might draw when faced with the seemingly impossible? 

A couple examples are: 
  • Phil from the pine needles at the masters;
  • Constantino Rocca's 70 foot putt at the Open;
  • Freddy's ace on 17th at the TPC at Sawgrass.  Or should I call it what it was, a Par; and,
  • Tiger from the fairway bunker on the 18th at Glen Abbey;
These are just some that come to my mind.  I'd love to hear what you think is the greatest shot of all time.

Here's a video of what I think might be the greatest shot of all time.

Cheers,

RP

Monday, January 10, 2011

Positive Thinking and Great Shots

Enough can't really be said about how positive thoughts can influence your performance on the golf course.  Certainly, there are different levels of positivity.  I mean, playing well breeds confidence and thus positive thinking.  A belief in yourself and your abilities can go a long way in producing great golf shots.  Looking back to the 2010 Master's provides us with a great example of this.  Freddy Couples took a run at a 3rd green jacket.  I'm sure he hass heard it for a long time now, how he's too old, over the hill, and can't compete with the likes of Tiger and Phil.  But coming into the 2010 Master's Freddy was playing well. Albeit winning on the Champions tour, but winning nevertheless.  Winning promotes confidence, positive thoughts, and Freddy was on a high.  Not only that, but for Fred just stepping on the grounds at Augusta National can only bring back many years of positive memories.   

I'm sure there are courses that we all feel fondly about.  Seldom, are those places we played poorly at, even if it the most picturesque place on the planet.  And there are certainly tee shots that you feel good about or vice versa.  The expression commonly used is "it suits my eye".  The point here is that we can over come situations / shots that don't suit our eye, simply with positive thinking. 

Something I do to help me make the tough right to left downhill slider for birdie.  Is during my routine, I will think seemingly impossible of a 25 footer that rolled in.   Really, the scenerios are endless.  If I'm lying two beside the green and I need to make a miraculous pitch to get it close and save par. I'll think of the time I chipped between two trees, over a bunker and it landed softly and rolled up next to the hole.  If I'm standing on the 18th and I need a birdie to win the match. I'll think of a time I hit a drive up the middle, landed my approach safely on the green and drained the putt, that clinched the victory.

If you have played the game for any length of time, then you've hit a shot at sometime that made you say to yourself, 'Wooowww how did I do that?, I can't believe it, That was amazing!'  (Hopefully, you didn't say that aloud to your playing partners).  Think now, of a shot, or two, or three, or how ever many you can.  These are your shots that you should put in your memory bank.  Use them whenever you feel the need, and soon you will be replacing these positive thoughts with new positive thoughts.

Cheers,

RP

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Golf Buddies

Last summer I was out for a round with my good buddy Scott.  We were both playing reasonably well, and were very competitive all day long.  It gets to the par four 18th hole and I've got to make a birdie to beat him.  I hit a great drive up the right side that ended up just about 105 yards to the pin.  A perfect sand wedge for me.  

Of course Scott being the good competitor he is, bangs his up the middle just past me, and with a better look at the hole location. 

We march up the fairway together, with regular chatter.  No one mentions what is on the line.  No less than pride and a pint in the clubhouse, of course.  We get to our balls and sure enough I'm away.  

I survey the situation, the pin is tucked back right behind a deep bunker.  The same light right to left breeze continues to blow.  I thought to myself, I've got to fire at it! I've got to put some pressure on him!

I pull out my sand wedge and begin my routine. I setup over the ball, ready to hit.  The breeze picks up slightly and I step off the shot.  As I reassess the situation, I notice my wife standing on the balcony of the clubhouse drinking a martini.  I shrug it off and as the breeze settles I run through my routine once again, setting up to the ball.  I hesitated to take the club back.  And I stepped back yet again.  By this point I'm sure Scott was bothered to no end. He asked, "Why on earth are you taking so long?"

"My wife is up there watching me from the clubhouse," I said. "Holy crap Man!," said Scott, "you ain't got a chance in hell of hitting her from here."

Cheers,

RP

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The #1 fundamental - A Good Grip

So, I decided I'd take this whole blogging endeavour to the next level and create my first video blog.  The first one better be a good one, right!?!  Well, I apologize the video equipment here is not exactly up to Hollywood standards.  Taking that into account and I figured the content better be worthwhile. 

Since, this is my first video blog, why not discuss what I believe to be the # 1 fundamental in the development of a good golf swing.  A good grip sets you up to make many of the correct moves to make solid contact with the ball. 

video
Alright, so before it ever comes up in the comments section or where ever.  I realize the video is in my basement, and I am not 'Walking on the Golf Course'.  Well, it's January, its cold, and in order to walk on the golf course I'd need a set of snowshoes.  So, my basement it is!  Besides, it as good of a place as any to practice during the winter months.

I have found a good way to formulate comfort for a grip change is to grip the club for 10-15 minutes while watching TV.  Use the three checkpoints I provide in the video to ensure you've got the club held correctly and your on your way.

Anyhow, enjoy the video and I promise that there are more to come!

Cheers,

RP

Monday, January 3, 2011

Practicing with a Purpose and feedback

When you head to the driving range what are your intentions?  Are you going to work on weight shift, balance, your grip, a specific drill?  Well, that's the point of this short blog.

So, many amateurs hit the driving range with one thought in mind.  How am I hitting it today?  This quite possibly could be the biggest mistake you are making in improving your game.  Practicing with a purpose is vital to lowering those scores.  You most certainly can't do it on the course, from my experience the uncertainty in your thoughts leads to poor shots, and frustration.  Practicing with a purpose is one thing, but its important to practice with feedback.  It's the sure fire way to ensure your practice is effective.  The following are a few ideas for practicing with feedback.

1)  Go to a teaching professional (I know that's obvious, that's why I listed it as # 1).

2)  Use teaching aids.  There are hundreds of gimmicks out there, some work some don't.  If you can find the tools that provide sensory feedback, then typically they will help your game.  A simple mirror can provide the instant feedback you may require.  I've come across a few putting aids that help. Putting tracks for instance, help develop a repeatable stroke.  (you can make your own rather cheaply too)

3)  Take video of your swing at regular intervals, and compare.  With the advancements in digital photography, its become easier and easier to do this.  All you need is someone to hold your phone and push the record button for a few seconds.

4)  Use games in  your practice sessions.  Not only will it keep practice entertaining, but you can use the results to measure your improvement.  (In an upcoming blog post, I will list a few that I like to use).

5) Ask a fellow golfer for their opinion.  I wouldn't consult with a newbie, but someone who has been playing regularly might be able to help.

Its my belief that if you are practicing without a purpose and feedback, you a wasting your time.  And really, you could be developing bad habits.  So, next time you head to the driving range or practice green develop a strategy for your session. 

Cheers,

RP

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Simple Drill to improve contact

First off, Happy New Year!  Like most of you, I'm not doing a whole lot of anything today, mending a headache is about it.  So, while I was surfing some you tube videos this morning I came  accross this video. 

Check this lesson out from Canadian Tour Teaching Pro Sean Foley.  In case you haven't heard he's the new big thing on tour, and is currently working with Tiger.
This is a great drill I have used to work on balance, but I never thought of it as a way to work on weight shift and contact.  When you think about it, balance in a golf swing will result in better shots, or in these terms solid contact.  Anyhow, enjoy!

Cheers,

RP