Posts Tagged ‘practice techniques’

Junior Golf – Practice Your Weakness, Maintain Your Strengths

January 8th, 2011

Junior Golf - Weak LinkWhen I think of Junior Golf, I think of the future. What things can I do to ensure that they learn to love the game and play it for a lifetime?  Surely, if they are interested in competing, I am happy to help them down that road as well.  I think we can all agree that one of the boundaries to the game is its difficulty.  There are many things being written about making golf fun and helping juniors build golf skills but this post will be for the slightly older junior that has made a choice to spend extra time on this sport.

As always, this is just my opinion and part of my observation as a coach of juniors and as a coach of a 3 time NJCAA National Championship squad.  I think as golfers, we can agree that the individuals playing the game will tend to notice things they are good at and things that need more work.  How many times as a coach have you had a junior student come to you and say, “I really need help with my (“X”) but not on (“Y”) cause I do that pretty well.  Sometimes they have made a correct assessment and sometimes they haven’t.  Part of our job as the coach is to help them determine what skills are appropriate for that particular scoring level or the scoring level they are striving for.  This is one place that I think Shot by Shot can really help.  Shot by Shot is an analysis program that will help the junior golfer and the coach direct the practice.

Many times, I will watch junior golfers practice and they will be practicing the one thing they do really well. It could be anything from their short game to the their driving.  While this makes for great fun while practicing, how much is it improving their skill set.  Golf is a game which requires skills that need to be called upon one at a time from a vast array of possibilities.  This requires the student to be proficient in many things so they can call upon them when needed.  Some skills are used much more often than others but the lesser used skills need to be practiced as well.

I constantly remind my junior golfers to practice their weaknesses and maintain their strengths.  I think the meaning of this statement is quite clear.  I hear them say too often that, “I practiced my putting so much that my I lost my wedge play.”  I think it’s important for them to know that they can’t ignore the skills they do well.  I recommend that they use a rotating practice schedule that has a majority of the time focused on those skills that need a little work but never ignores the skills they are doing well.  Don’t forget to cover all the bases from the fitness levels to the mental game.

Is this schedule organic? You bet it is. We are constantly upgrading it to reflect current conditions and measuring those skills to help define the plan.  Can it be done without a measuring program? Of course it can but I think my junior golfers like to see the charts and graphs that Shot by Shot provides.  Plus it gives me a chance to see if what I am seeing as a weakness is actually hurting their game.  Many times I have had a belief of a weakness that, for what ever reason, didn’t seem to appear during their practice or competitive rounds.  As coaches, we need to be aware that the practice ground and the field of play are very different animals and need to be treated as such.

I encourage you to chat with your junior golfers about their game as often as you can.  Provide them a schedule to follow that touches on all parts of their game but focuses on the skills that need the most time.

Imagine the chain in the above picture as your players set of skills.  If you put the pressure of a tournament round on that chain, I think we can all agree where the chain might break.

The goal is to create a chain of skills of equal strength.

Please pass this on to your junior golfer via Facebook by clicking on the share button or email if you think they find some value in this post.

Thanks for reading.

Golf Swing – A Great Analogy by Andy Gordon

October 28th, 2010

Andy Gordon GolfDuring the off season, I spend lots of time communicating with Golf Professionals from all over the world. We share ideas, drills and other information on how to improve ourselves and our students.  One of those Golf Professionals is Andy Gordon. He currently is located in Valencia, Spain and he wrote a short little blog post that I wanted to share with everyone.

I consistently look for nice analogies to compare the golf swing to similar every day events.  His analogy is a new favorite of mine.

I hope you enjoy it.


Putting – The Tee Drill?

September 19th, 2010

Tee target DrillTo the left is a picture of a drill where you try to roll the ball through a gate.  I’m using it to discuss another drill that I see often to help people work on their focus and targeting.  It goes something like this.  Instead of aiming at the hole, place a tee in the ground and see if you can hit it with the ball.  Because the tee is so much smaller compared to the hole, it will make the hole seem so much larger.

Let’s look at the reality.  Is this Tee Drill really that much harder than making it in a hole?  We know the hole is 4 and 1/4 inches across.  We also know that the ball is 1.68 inches in diameter.  The width of tee stem is .19 inches so if we double the width of the ball and add the width of the tee we get 3.55 inches.  Hitting the tee is nearly as wide as the hole itself with only a .70 inches difference.  This is the case for a die in the hole speed.  As the speed of the ball increases the width of the hole that will actually capture the moving ball decreases.

If we have an 8 stimp green and roll the ball a speed that would go 6 inches past, the capture width of the hole shrinks to 3.8 inches. With a speed that would go 1 foot past, the capture width of the hole becomes 2.6 inches.  The next time you are working on that tee drill realize that hitting the tee (3.55 inches wide) with a speed that goes a foot past is actually easier to hit than making a putt (2.6 inches wide) with the same speed(assuming a stimp of 8).  Obviously, as the stimp increases, the ball will be rolling slower so the hole becomes wider assuming the same distance past the hole.

The point of this post is just to show you that the tee drill isn’t really different than putting at the hole.  It may look a lot smaller but in reality it can be wider than the hole.  Who’d a thunk it?

Best Putting Drill

June 29th, 2010

I’ve used this Putting Station for years and had always planned on writing a blog post about it so here we go.  First here’s a picture of the station:

Improve your Putting

Improve your Putting

Here’s how to set this up.  If you don’t have one, go down to Home Depot or Lowes or any hardware store and get yourself a chalk line and some chalk.  That is what I used to create the red line on the ground.  You can snap a line for a straight putt or a braking putt but it’s best for this station to use a straight putt.  The two tees by the ball create a gate for the stroke to keep your contact in line with the sweetspot and helps to reinforce good aim.  They should be positioned just outside the toe and heel of your putter.  Line on the putter and line on the ground should over lap.  Make sure there is line showing beyond the back edge of the putter( it makes it much easier to line up that way).  If you don’t use a line,  intersect the line with the leading edge of your putter.  One thing this picture does not show is the putter.  The putter and ball should begin even with the first set of tees.  So, at address, the putter is right between the gate with the ball just in front of that.  The picture above is just of the tools needed for the putting station and not an accurate depiction of where the ball should go.

The other two tees a few inches in front are just beyond the width of a golf ball straddling the line.  These tees should be quite close to the width of the ball.  These tees are used to test your face angle control.  Only putts starting exactly on the line with a square face will propel the ball through the gate and on its way.

Work on this station for putts within 6 feet.  It can be used beyond that but I don’t recommend it.  You want to practice makes and distance control.  This station should be set-up in a way that every ball that gets through the second gate with decent speed goes in.

This will really show you how well you are managing the face of the putter.  That’s where the money is made.


How to Shoot 67

May 22nd, 2010

Here’s a picture of Jordan Spieth’s scorecard from today (Saturday, May 22, 2010):

Jordan Spieth's Stats for Saturday

Jordan Spieth's Stats for Saturday

Does this ball striking look familiar?  I see this type of ball striking stats in my own game and the game of some of my junior and tournament golfers.  The stat I don’t see often, with this type of ball striking, is the 24 putts needed.  This clearly shows how well he either, chipped/pitched and/or putted.  How many of you are capable of shooting 67 when hitting 4 fairways and 9 greens?

How many of you are disciplined enough to spend time away from the range and focus on your short game even after a day like this? All the time and preparation that wedge play and putting takes, shows it’s true benefits on days like this.  To be able to score well on our off days is the sign of a golfer that can win a four day tournament.

This is powerful reminder of where your practice needs to be focused at the higher levels.

As a reminder, this is from a high school golfer.  Youngest to have chance to win a PGA Tour event in a long time.