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Category Archives: Junior Golf Coaching

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.


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.

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.

Using K-Vest for Pitch Motion

K-Vest is such a great universal tool in helping golfers improve.   I find it especially helpful in building a consistent set-up while we focus our attention on another task.   Here I’m using it with a junior, what we are trying to focus on is creating a solid pitch motion.  Having K-Vest working in the background allows the student to develop the skill of getting into the same set-up.  That then provides them a greater chance of being able to create a fundamentally sound pitch motion.  What it does between us is it keeps the unnecessary shatter out of the equation.  Now the conversation remains on developing pitch motion as well as keeping his mind focused on the new feelings he’s generating.

I’ve found that multi-tasking this way and keeping the dialogue to what’s necessary really helps the student figure out exactly what they need to do.  Ensuring that they hit the essential skill associated with a pitch motion and allowing them to add their own unique twist to the equation works best.  I have yet to see any two touring professionals create the same motion.  At the same time I have yet to see them not perform some of the essential skills necessary to control the golf ball.

Building Consistency to Develop a Great Stroke

We all have heard and know by now, great putting starts with getting into a constant set-up.  The hard thing for all golfers to do is consistently getting into that same set-up so it affects their ability to create a dependable stroke.  Being able to learn how to put yourself into that set-up gives you a chance to develop the other essential skills necessary in becoming an expert putter.

I like using my K-Vest system to assist golfers get into the same set-up each and every time.  Having them go through their entire routine and listening for the audio feedback before they can start the stroke is easily the fastest way to accelerate the learning curve.

Being able to get a golfer into a great set-up, starts with having a putter fitted you.  From there the process goes like this:

  • I position the golfer so their eyes are over the ball
  • Hands under the shoulders with the elbows slightly bent
  • Weight balanced

Set K-Vest “Mesh” mode and now that golfer can rest assured that they must strive to hear the music in order to pull the trigger.  At the beginning it is difficult but with practice the golfer can and will work on developing that consistent set-up.  Once they have developed that consistency we can observe the other essential skills associated with expert putters.

Technology is a great way to accelerate the learning process.  Watch a junior golfer quickly and effectively get into the same posture at address.