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Category Archives: Golf Instruction

Golf is a Game of Skills

Playing consistent golf is more then just trying to develop a good looking golf swing.  Golf as a whole, requires individual skills sets in the grand scheme of things.  Golf as the game, can easily be broken down into these categories:

In each of these categories golfers have various skill levels.  The key to improving your scores is finding out which skills you need help with.  Retaining the services of a certified golf coach will not only help you figure that out, but will help you improve them.  To often golf lessons focus just on swing mechanics.  They spent to much time trying to build the most picture perfect swing on video.  Clearly if you have been following golf since it’s creation, you would see that no two touring professionals have ever swung the same.  They have developed certain essential skills in their swing to control the moment of impact, which in return, controls the flight of the golf ball.

In the following blogs I’ll be discussing these categories more and sharing some insights that will help you develop skills necessary to become skillful in those categories.  You may not need to read or even follow all of them but I’m very certain that you do need help in a some categories.

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Fear the Bermuda Triangle?

I’m starting to see a interesting phenomenon going on.  Golfers are really making me believe that they must think our putting green is like the Bermuda Triangle.  The only reason I can come up with is they have been so baffled by it’s mysteries that they tend to just skip it entirely.  Don’t they realize that improving at golf requires them to improve their shots on and around the putting green?  Since nobody ever seems to want to work on this essential scoring area, I can see why golfers handicaps haven’t actually dropped.

Literally for the last two weeks the weather has been magnificent and golfers are heading to the driving range in droves.  As you can see in the picture I provided, the putting green is right in the middle of the pro shop, access to the driving range and first tee.  Thus forming the mysterious Bermuda Triangle.  We must of had at least 200 people the last few weeks practicing, well so called practicing.  Maybe if the green was lucky, a few dozen golfers were actually on it.  Well, a few less then that, especially if you take out the golfers who walked over it to get to the driving range faster.

My question becomes why are golfers so infatuated with pounding golf balls trying to develop a better golf swing and not spending time improving their short game?  Maybe it’s because they have been so purplexed by the putting green that they just prefer to completely bypassed that part of the game during practice?  Maybe thinking that having 36 putts per round is the norm and having a few extra putts is ok?  Maybe the fear of blading another wedge across the green has them worried about what other’s would think?  Well that is ok if your not expecting to improve your golf scores.

Let me clue you in on a little secret which might make all the difference in the world.  Three of the four most important performance factors involve the actions that go on and around the putting green.  Simply receiving the key factors that go into each swing technique will help you on and around the green.  I would suggest you start learning how to read greens first.  Seriously, if you can’t read a golf putting green, how do you expect to hit a shot close or make any putts?  Being able to read a golf putting green will help you chip and pitch the golf ball closer to the hole.  Knowing what the golf ball will do on the putting green is another essential skill that encompasses golf.  Start taking the mystery out of the putting green by looking into what AimPoint Golf can do for your game.  If you’re serious about your golf improvement, then getting yourself into a golf lesson program or a comprehensive golf coaching program will certainly help you achieve that.  If your just looking to improve a specific skill, then find a performance enhancing golf clinic that focuses specifically on one of them.  You’ll be glad you did, once your scores start dropping.

Willing to lose a few pennies?

I’ve been working real hard in finding ways to help golfers learn how to play golf better.  During this process I’ve used some of the best golf swing analysis software such as TrackMan golf launch monitor to collect data.  What this piece of technology has done me is create some fun golf training exercises that are incorporated into unique golf lesson programs and comprehensive golf coaching programs that will help improve your golf swing as well as golf scores.

We constantly see unique golf swings of touring professionals on TV.  None of them swing the club the same way but do have similarities at impact.   This penny drill will hep you achieve a better impact position and will begin your golf improvement.  Here is how to practice this drill and develop a better golf swing.

  • This is a simple but difficult drill to become effective at but will certainly improve your contact with the golf ball.  Your going to need a bunch of pennies and let’s start off with a sand wedge for now.  Once you get good at smashing pennies with it, you can move into a longer iron.  All you need to do is lay some pennies on a mat.  From there try to crisply hit each penny.

    Make your pennies look like this.

    This will help you learn how to control low point and the leading edge of the club face.  Low point is one of the essential skills necessary to consistently hit solid golf shots.  Learn that and you are on your way to controlling your ball flight.  Now that you have practiced this some, go ahead and place a golf ball about an inch in behind a penny (see picture below) so that the penny is between the ball and target..  The golf ball should look like a beach ball now.  Your goal is to get the penny off the mat while allowing the ball to get in the way of the club working its way toward the penny.  What you’ll feel is a nicely compressed golf shot.

Where Will Your Driver Take You?

Every golfer is infatuated with creating more distance even though it doesn’t directly lead to improving your golf scores.  Hitting more fairways is always a better start to shooting consistent scores.  Every manufacture knows that hitting fairways is more important then overall distance, especially if the longer distance means longer in the woods.  They know that, we know that, then why do they focus their marketing techniques to create a major buzz on distance?  Maybe it has to do with their 2012 product line is now available and hitting projected sales is the big picture?

Honestly, if your driver is properly fitted to your swing and it’s a few years old, gaining a tremendous amount of distance isn’t in the cards.  To gain that additional distance comes from improving energy transfer in the golf swing.  So what you really need is a golf coach to help you with that and not a new driver.  The real and most important question is how consistent can you hit your current driver?  What if their was a way to improve the consistency of your current gamer?  I really think somebody has found a way and it’s slowly taking the professional ranks by storm.

TrueAim will help improve the consistency of your current driver.

The TrueAim concept was developed by two putting teachers who are friends of mine.  They took and used their knowledge in putter fittings and developed a driver fitting system to help a golfer learn how to aim the driver face more consistently.  They have merged the feel of where the club is aiming to being closer to where it actually is.  What that has done has improved the D-Plane of a golfers swing by bringing in the vectors closer together that control the spin axis.  Reduce the amount of spin axis an the golfer will improve accuracy and consistency.  It really is that simple.

When we first talked, I was very skeptical that a alignment decal would help a golfer hit more fairways and not have to purchase a new driver.  Being that they are friends of mine, I decided that it would not hurt to give it a shot.  After doing some extensive testing on myself with TrackMan and visiting my club fitter  to test the product on FlightScope (maybe you have seen my TrueAim videos on my youtube channel), I’m completely convinced that the product works.  So far I’ve tested 3 different players with various skills levels and the results have been nothing short of astonishing.  Each of us improved accuracy and two of us increased driver distance.  Seriously, who would of thought that a decal would make such a huge change?  I for one didn’t, but it is difficult to argue with what the TrackMan golf launch monitor data.  It nor I certainly don’t care what driver model your playing or want to play.  It just tracks the flight of the golf balls hit and displays the results.

For more information on TrueAim or to schedule a fitting visit www.DennisSalesGolf.com

TrueAim Testing video

The Importance of Rolling the Rock

Better players understand the importance of making more putts and how it directly affects your ability to score. The unfortunate things is that a majority of golfers don’t really work on or really try to improve their putting skills.  I call them putting skills because in putting, there are various skills golfers have to learn to dramatically improve their ball control skills.  Putting does involve more then just having good a putting stroke.

The golfers who have the ability to control the their golf ball on the putting green is usually the one who is extremely hard to beat.  That is because more shots are taken on the green with that one club then any other club.  Since there isn’t another club in the bag that gets that used much, golfers main focus should be a ensuring the have the essential skills related to mastering the putting green.

Let’s take a look at Tiger Woods for instance.  Before I get into that everyone should know that he is by far and away my favorite golfer and this is not going to be a bashing session.  For years he has been known for his uncanny ability to make the big putt.  The one who normally destroys competitors hopes on the putting green.  Now for the last two years his ability to make putts has changed.  The routine putts he used to make with his eyes closed, now can’t seem to find the bottom of the hole.  What has changed is that he now hits more fairways (4th), GIR (8th) but the one that really matters has slipped dramatically, putts gained per round. He now is ranked 178th on tour.

If putting means so much to how a golfers will score, then why isn’t it that more golfers spend more time on improving those skills?  Why is it that golfers fall into the manufactures trap of buying the latest and greatest driver promoting distance?  Why don’t golfers seek out professionals that understand the ins and outs of putting?  The only thing that I can figure is that golfers truly don’t care about their score but only about how far they hit the golf ball.  Maybe that is why golfers handicaps haven’t changed over the years?  They have their priorities in the wrong place and most likely because of what they are always seeing during advertisements.

For those of you who are serious about your game and want to shoot lower scores, then you need to take a long hard look into your performance on the putting green.  I know from using stat tracking programs for myself and my students that everyone has some type of deficiency.  Finding out exactly what that is will provide you the key to unlocking the scoring barrier that now faces you.  See the program that will start to transform your game www.dennissalesgolf.com/AimPoint.aspx

Transform Your Game

Master The Putting green

Your ability to improve golf scores starts first with improving the area that matters most in scoring.  That area I’m referring to is on the putting green.  Becoming a great putter doesn’t require plenty of physical strength, just sound putting instruction that encompasses everything.  It requires a golfer to learn how to read golf greens accurately so they where to aim the putter.  Once a golfer knows where to aim, they must make a stroke that sends the ball off on their intended line and at the correct speed, for the ball to take the break.

I’m pretty sure that everyone has received a golf lesson that included putting instruction which dealt with the mechanics of the putting stroke.  I’m also pretty sure that when it came to discussing green-reading it was pretty vague. Probably included the words “it takes experience to learn how to read greens” or “the ball break towards the water” and “the ball breaks away from mountains”.  What you have never been taught, is how to read golf greens so that the guess work of where to aim, is out of the equation.  Well that is until Mark Sweeney; the inventory of Emmy Award winning AimPoint Technologies, created the AimPoint green reading program.  This unique program teaches golfers how to precisely read greens.  AimPoint has helped LPGA Tour professional Stacey Lewis win her first major.  It has also helped many other touring professionals, college players, and many of golfers dramatically improve their putting statistics.  Now this program can help you just like it has helped thousands of other golfers around the world.

Once you learn how to read greens accurately, the next step is building skills that are directly related to  controlling how the ball is being rolled.  That starts with getting your ball control skills tested.  How good are you at those essential skills?  If your really consistent, then the putter you have is pretty well fitted to you.  If you have issues, then it could be directly related to your putter.  That is easily checked by somebody who truly knows how to fit a putter.  Once that issue is taken care of, you can get back to improving those ball control skills that great putters have.

How amazing would that be if you could find a program that would help you transform your game on the putting greens?  Help you with everything necessary to constantly amaze your friends?  Well, the green reading part can be taken care of if you attend a AimPoint Green Reading clinic, and I’ve now incorporated putting instruction into the mix in one great program.

Improve That Wedge Play!

When I ask students how far they carry each wedge, more often than not, they get it wrong.  Not understand how far a full swing wedge shot goes makes hitting it consistently close to a pin difficult.    One thing I’ll do with new golfers who enter my coaching program is go through wedge gapping with TrackMan.  I’ll ask them to tell me their carry yardages and then proceed to have them hit shots with each wedge.   This procedure helps provide the golfer a clearly understanding of their distances and gaps between wedges.  Once the data is collected we will go over the numbers to see a few important keys:

  • Ideally I would like to see consistent gaps with their wedge configurations.
  • What their best and worst distance is.  This improves course management when looking to lay-up.

Once we know their actual carry yardages, we will continuously test and try to improve distance control.  We will work with the approach practice module TrackMan offers.  This helps the student improve their practice session by being more specific when hitting to a target.  Once the student feels they have dialed in the distance, I’ll go ahead and test them with the approach test module.  Here TrackMan then grades each of the ten shots hit.  At the completion of the test, TrackMan provides us with a handicap for that distance, an average distance from the pin and a score.  Now we have a benchmark in place, and that particular student will have a specific task they must improve upon.

Incorporating TrackMan into your practice sessions is a great way to monitor your progression while having fun doing it.  The fun comes from competing with the other golfers who you train with.  That is the environment that helps accelerate the learning curve.  Practicing by yourself can get boring and becomes difficult to really push your limits.  If you improve the way you practice, you will get better results on the course.  A certified golf coach knows that and is dedicated to providing you the tools as well as the training to help you achieve your goals.

Simplest Way to Lowering Your Scores!

One thing most golf infomercials do is entice you to purchase a new driver by promoting increased distance of the tee.  These new drivers don’t necessarily come with shooting lower scores.  How can it, since that’s only a small percentage of the game?  I’m here to talk about the part of the game that takes up 40 percent of golf shots, used twice as much as any other club during the round and is never discussed on TV — PUTTING!

Improving your putting can easily lower your scores if you really think about it.  How many times could you have broken 90 or even 80 if you had made one more putt?  How about that putt you missed that cost you lunch against your buddies?  I’m sure you would want to have that one back because we all would.  Use this link to see how much more money tour players would have earned if they just made one more putt per round.  http://aimpointgolf.com/howmuchisoneputtworth.html

Now that I’ve got your attention let’s get down to business.  Improving your putting is rather easy once you understand exactly what it takes.  First thing — you must have is a properly fitter putter.  This is the BIGGEST factor that requires attention!  If the putter doesn’t fit you, you produce a compensated stroke that yields very little results.  A properly fitted putter allows you to:

  1. Get into the correct posture
  2. Create better aim and path
  3. Minimize excess body movement
  4. Improve distance control

Now that the putter is custom-fitted to your specifications, we have a better chance to hit what we are aiming at.

The next factor to becoming a better putter:

Getting you to read the greens better so that you can aim properly.  One thing is for certain, there are way too many myths in green reading and without getting the facts it’s almost impossible to improve.  I highly suggest looking into AimPoint green reading clinics.

This Emmy-award winning technology, which is used on the Golf Channel during PGA Tour events, is amazingly accurate and easy to learn.  These clinics teach you to understand certain features that affect your ball.  After understanding these features you won’t be standing behind the ball guessing where to aim it.  Use this link to learn more about AimPoint Golf green reading http://johngrahamgolf.com/blog/aimpoint-golf/

Teeing the ball up during practice.



Teeing the ball up during practice is far and away the best way to develop motor learning skills if you plan on changing something in your swing.  The reasoning is simple:  Why would I want my student, while learning something new, to do two things at once?

Hitting the golf ball solid already requires concentration and skill.  How could I expect my student to learn something new while executing the shot?

Having the golf ball elevated off the ground makes it easier to concentrate on the task at hand while building confidence by seeing the golf ball soar down the range.  Once this task is built into skill then the student can experiment with the golf ball resting on the ground.

While everyone wants to see instantaneous results, that’s not realistic. As instructors/coaches, we feel as if we have to give the student something else in order to produce some type of better result.   We need to stick to our guns; follow the plan set forth before changing to something new and the students must trust their professional to do what is best.

We, the student and instructor/coach, must stick to creating that new motor learning pattern until it’s consistent.  How long it takes is dependent on how the information is given and then how well the golfer is able to execute.  Just because they may find it difficult at first, it doesn’t mean that they quit.

Nothing in life is easy and why would anyone expect a complicated motion like the golf swing to be any different?  We as golf instructors/coaches need to communicate more effectively with the student and the student also needs to know that this road to better golf is a long bumpy one.

By committing to the plan set forth one will easily reach the goal that was set.



 

 

 

 

 

 

Training Aids for Practicing

With so many training aids on the market, advertising, “this is the one that will change your game!” it’s difficult to figure out which one is best for your needs.

This is my and only my view on training aids: Training aids should only be used as an aid to provide students with the feedback they require to feel the proper motion.  These training aids also shouldn’t be attached to the body in such a manner that they cannot fall out and only force the motion to happen. This destroys the creativity that individuals have because we are all created differently.

We all vary in our anatomy, strength and flexibility, which shows why nobody on any professional tour swings the same way.  Since that’s the case, why use a training aid that forces every golfer into a specific position?

Training aids that work best in creating new motor learning patterns are the ones that provide feedback when the motion is done correctly.  If the motion is done incorrectly, the aid should then provide the necessary feedback to let the user know they just made a mistake.  I only say this because many training aids give the illusion of hitting the ball better during practice and then golfers find it difficult to reproduce the same results on the course.

Do you want to practice better or play better on the golf course?  This is one of the reasons why golfers can hit the ball great on the range but have issues in taking their game to the golf course.  Most have this misconceived notion that they must get great results in practice in order to play well on the course.

Through extensive training, I have learned to use certain training aids less and vary targets more during practice to force students to concentrate on the process of executing good shots at hand rather than the rapid fire technique that so many people use.  What are you really getting out of that rapid-fire practice session?  Nothing, since golf isn’t played like that.  On the course we are forced to hit one shot at a time that continuously varies with various lie and situations.

Golfers need to learn how to practice like they play.