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