Welcome Letter from your Professional, Andrew
Thank you to the DSGA Board for allowing me to advise and assist the DSGA. I have been in the golf business since 1997 with much of that time in player development and consulting roles to help grow leagues and participation. Additionally, I am a certified “Back-to-Golf” Instructor. If I can help any of you to better your golf game, please contact me at (972) 890-7086 or email@example.com. I am giving discounts to DSGA members and your significant others. I look forward in meeting everyone this season! - Andrew
Tips for a better 2019:
I’ve learned a lot by watching my amateur golfers over the years and I’ve come up with a list of “best practices”. But first, I want to share with you something important to keep in mind.
Three killers to good scoring:
1. Do your best to avoid penalties by hitting the ball in Penalty Areas or Out of Bounds. Out of Bounds is by far the most severe penalty.
2. Do your best to avoid 3 putts. If you have just a few minutes before your tee time and can’t hit the range, practice a few putts between 3 and 10 feet. Start feeling more comfortable with that length and hopefully you can take it to the course.
3. Avoid “double chipping”. Every player has a “scoring zone” which is comfortable level. If you really like hitting your wedge from 80 yards, do your best to always lay up to that distance. If you fail to get the ball on the green from this distance, you will almost certainly shoot a higher number on this hole. Here is an example: You only have 80 yards to the middle of the green for your second shot on this par 4 and pull out your trusty wedge. If you hit this on the green and 2-putt for par, you’ve done well. You might get the occasional birdie and hopefully very few bogeys. If you, however, miss the green with your second shot, par is very unlikely and the odds are greater for you to get double bogey than you will even bogey (think about how many times that you’ve hit a bad shot and gotten mad at yourself…frustration and maybe anger sets in.)
Now, here are what I like my students to learn about “best practices”.
1. More club. Do you know why must bunkers are short of the green? Most architects know that amateurs under-club and try to swing too hard. Commit yourself to taking one extra club than you normally would and swing about 75% of your power. This should lead to more greens in regulations.
2. Putting, chipping, versus pitching. Always putt when you can (Texas Wedge), even if you are just off the green. If you are just off the green, always go with the “straightest face” you can. This means the less loft on a club means less spin and more control around the greens. I would only use a sand-wedge or higher loft when you can’t putt or can’t chip.
3. Backspin counters sidespin. Every shot that gets airborne has backspin. Sometimes that ball is tilted on its axis and we confuse this with topspin, especially on a hook shot. If you get to the course and can’t hit your driver because of that wicked slice, try adding loft and hitting a fairway wood. If that doesn’t work, try a hybrid. Remember, the more loft you have, the more control you have.
4. Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent. You can always improve your putting, even in 5 minutes. I recommend Dave Pelz’s 10 Minutes a Day to Better Putting. If you have an hour, try breaking it up this way: 10 minutes putting. 10 minutes wedges, 10 minutes irons, 10 minutes of metal woods, 10 minutes of chipping and pitching and another 10 of putting. A small bucket should do well. Mix up the targets. If you have longer than an hour, spend a great deal of time on middle irons (5, 6 and 7)
5. When should I take a lesson? If you have one bad round, shake it off…we all do. 2 bad rounds, practice as soon as you can. Often the pros will practice immediately after their round because the mistakes are fresh in their mind. If you have 3 bad rounds, give me a call and let’s see if we can figure out what is going on. I’ve helped many players just by talking with them on the phone.
6. Learn the new Rules. You might be surprised how most of them can be used to your advantage.
Good luck in 2019 and if I can be of any help, please let me know.
See you in the fairway!
What do you think is the number one thing you can do to improve your golf game?
The number one thing that a player can do is continually work on the fundamentals of Grip, Aim and Setup during “deliberate practice sessions.”
- Grip the club naturally. It’s got to be consistent and comfortable. For most shots, the shaft of the club should run through the hands of the lead hand under the palm and in the fingers of the trail hand.
The setup includes knee bend, posture and weight distribution. The main thing about this to remember is to remember “athletic ready”. Knees slightly flexed, bend towards the ball from the hips and weight should be in the balls of the feet.
Aim and Alignment. The club should be aimed at your intended starting line and the body should be aimed parallel to your intended path of your club. Pay special attention to the shoulders as they have the biggest impact on path of the club.
Why do you think this is the most helpful thing you can do, or why do you think it has the most impact?
I think following these fundamentals are extremely important because under pressure, a player will resort to what feels right. Practicing these until they become routine gives the player the best chance of accomplishing this.
One final thought, I previously mentioned “deliberate practice”. Deliberate practice means practicing with a purpose.
See you in the fairway!
Placing and Replacing
One way of remembering the distinction between placing and replacing is through this convenient summary;
Placing is putting a ball on a spot for the first time;
1) Putting the original ball on a new spot (e.g. when the original lie has been altered, Rule 20-3b, as above, or when ‘Preferred Lies’ applies).
2) Putting a substituted ball on a new spot (e.g. Rule 20-3b when the original ball has been lost).
3) Putting a substituted ball on the original spot (e.g. Rule 18-1, when the ball at rest was moved by an outside agency and has been lost).
Replacing is everything else;
1) Putting the original ball back on the original spot (e.g. on the putting green, or when it has been lifted because it interfered with another player’s stroke).
2) Dropping the ball (or a ball), required to be replaced, as near as possible to an estimated spot not precisely known (e.g. Rule 20-3c, as above).
So confusingly, there are some situations in the Rules of Golf when replacing a ball may mean dropping it at the estimated spot, as in Rule 20-3c when the player does not know the exact spot where there ball was at rest. For example, unless the ball was at rest on the putting green when it was moved, e.g. by an outside agency, Rule 20-3c trumps Rule 18-1, which states, “If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced.”