Golf Tips Newsletter - Issue 285 - February 19th, 2014
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Prepare to play your best golf by doing something now!

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In This Issue  

- Tom's Featured Tip: Practice and Golf
- Tom's Bonus Tip: Golf and Spirituality
- Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
- Sponsors: Batavia Country Club   Chestnut Hill Country Club 
Plum Creek Driving Range and PGA Golf Simulator 

Click here:  INDOOR GOLF LESSONS  for details on how to improve your game over the winter.

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Golf lessons - Outdoor and Indoor - are available at Plum Creek, please call me at 716 474 3005, email me at, or visit my website at   for details.

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Tom's Featured Tip:
Practice and Feedback

For the sake of simplicity, all advice on swings and drills is provided from a right handed perspective; lefties .... well, you know what to do!

So .... it's that time of year when all golfers start to think about their game for the upcoming season.

I know that's true because my email inbox is filling up with lesson requests. On that note, my book is filling up fast and I'll have limited number of slots for new students this year, so if you are thinking about lessons make a decision sooner rather than later.

Practice and Feedback

Those two words should go hand in hand, but often the feedback portion is ignored.

But before I talk about feedback, let me mention that if you are playing competitively at any level - high school, college, or professional - you should log four hours of practice for every hour of competition that you play.

That doesn't necessarily mean four hours of range practice per se, but it could mean that. It also covers practice rounds where you actually practice as you play the course ie: maybe playing two drives, or two or three balls on your approach shots, stroking two or three lag putts from the same spot or from different spots on the green, hitting different irons to the same distance on par three's and working the ball high or low, left to right or right to left, etc. Your feedback comes in the form of your result.

Observe, adjust, repeat.

Make practice rounds true practice rounds.


When you practice at the range, always use some sort of feedback mechanism to identify and correct problems.

Feedback can take many forms. When I give instruction, my eyes and ears provide feedback because I am hyperfocused on detail. Sometimes I also employ video from my iPad, or feedback from the simulator or some other tools that I use during lessons. But the most reliable feedback for me during lessons comes from my experience and knowledge base, combined with my visual and audible observations. Then a cycle of correction and observation continues until the student executes the specific swing segment we are working on.

If you practice alone, use good training aids for feedback. Keep in mind that if the training aid does all the work for you, you don't gain anything. If it guides you through a motion, it may be worthwhile. Use tees as gates for clubhead and ball path (putting) and for swing path (driver). You can also use pool noodles as guides for correct swing path to prevent too much outside in or inside out swing path.

Feedback for good ball striking is absolutely critical, especially for indoor winter practice off mats.

I read a tip from another professional that I think got it backwards for ball striking. He said to use talcum powder sprinkled ahead of the ball, so that when you take a divot you'll see a puff of powder. To me, seeing and feeling the divot is strong feedback in itself, and sprinkling the powder behind the ball would provide better feedback. If you're scraping or striking the ground before striking the ball, that puff of smoke is giving you strong feedback. It means that you're hitting it fat and that you need to make adjustments.

You can also place a golf towel on the ground (or mat) a couple inches behind the ball to make sure you are missing the towel on your downswing, thus grooving a good strike angle.

Video is a useful tool when used correctly. For face on video, I like the camera at the solar plexus level. For a down the line view, I like the camera at the same height, in line with the target line. Some instruction says to position the camera in line with the student but I find that the target line gives me better perspective.

There are too many training aids that provide logical feedback to mention, and you can use your imagination to invent your own.

The point it - use something to give you feedback on the range, and hit balls at a slow pace. Don't rifle a bucket of balls out in five minutes. Take your time and make every swing count for something.

Range practice without feedback is like eating pancakes without the maple syrup. It doesn't quite get the job done.

Love your practice, enjoy your golf, own your swing,


Tom's Bonus Tip:
Golf and Spirituality

For the sake of simplicity, all advice on swings and drills is provided from a right handed perspective; lefties .... well, you know what to do!

I have a couple of golf students that are deacons in the Roman Catholic Church. One is Henry Moscicki, and he gives great homilies at the Resurrection Parish in Batavia, NY, my home parish. Another deacon is Eric Bessette, and he's at the Transfiguration Parish in Pittsford NY. Eric informed me that he would have a seven iron in the pulpit for a homily he was giving last Sunday, so my wife and I - being Roaming Catholics - drove over to hear him speak. Once again, another outstanding homily.

Eric compared the complicated rules and technical nuances of the golf swing, with the overwhelming number of religious rules and laws that need to be abided by for Catholics to live in conformance with their religion. He showed this video during the homily to enlighten the congregation about the "simplicity" of the golf swing: :-)

Eric pointed out that the scribes and Pharisee’s often fell into the same trap as the golf pro in the video. They would lose sight of the main objective of all those rules and laws; which was to draw people closer to God - the spiritual equivalent of hitting the golf ball far and straight.

Eric closed with: If we keep this all in our hearts - that from God's point of view "Everything comes from love", and always recognize and keep in perspective the purpose behind God's rules and laws, we'll put together a pretty good spiritual golf swing.

One that will let us hit our spiritual golf ball both far and straight.

Pardon the spiritual digression this issue - I don't roll in that direction nearly as often as I should - but the concept behind this homily made too much sense to me to not share it.

There's actually a golf message here too.

That message is to learn the mechanics of your own swing, then to have the mindset to just hit the ball far and straight when you execute a shot - without encumbering your brain with technical thoughts of your swing mechanics. They should already be ingrained enough to provide a good foundation for your swing.

Love your practice, enjoy your golf, own your swing,


Golf Lessons

I conduct lessons at The Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
there's a link for Plum Creek info here:

Lessons are available for all ages and skill levels, please contact
me - Tom Tucker - at (716) 474 3005 or email me at
for more information.

Outdoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Indoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Driver Fitting Rates:



Plum Creek Driving Range and Simulator  Outdoor range and play indoor golf on any of our 40 Simulator Courses. Call 585-993-0930 or email Mark at to reserve time for simulator play or practice!

Batavia Country Club   Pro Shop at Batavia CC open 9am - 4pm daily for memberships, gift certificates, merchandise, apparel, and equipment. Phone orders accepted as well.

Chestnut Hill CC   Great rates, 20 minutes East of Buffalo, NY .

All the best,

Tom Tucker
Teaching Pro, Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
WGTF ' "Top 100 Golf Teacher"
USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
Cell: (716) 474-3005

"There are no substitutes in the quest for perfection!"
~ Ben Hogan