Golf Tips Newsletter - Issue 368 - Wed. September 30th, 2015
To View In Your Browser   Click Here


Prepare to play your best golf
by doing something now!

To comment or respond to this newsletter, please click here

In This Issue  

Tom's Featured Tip: Stroke Savers
Tour Greens: Tour Quality Synthetic Greens
Tom's Bonus Tip: Gripping Down On The Club
Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
Sponsors: Plum Creek Driving Range 
Batavia Country Club
Tour Greens Western New York 
Genesee Community College Golf Management Program 

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

Check out Plim Creek's Simulator Course Play Specials: Call 585-993-0930 or email Mark at to reserve your simulator time!

Buy Gift Certificates for Lessons   Sample Gift Certificate

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.

Subscribe -   If you like this newsletter, please do me a favor and forward it to your friends so that they may subscribe, thanks!

The Unsubscribe link is at the bottom of this newsletter.

Tom's Featured Tip: Stroke Savers

For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.

I had a conversation with a new student last week that motivated me to write about this topic.

A 67 year old gentleman sent me an email saying that he has decided to take lessons for the first time in his life. He said his average score is around 85, that he has been working on having a consistent draw, and that he knows he has room for improvement.

At his request, we set up a nine hole playing lesson so that I can evaluate his swing, then we'll go from there.

He also asked for "5 or so suggestions from you on what my priorities should be to knock the most strokes from my average score."

After I read his email I called him to discuss his comments and to get started.

During the discussion I gave him one suggestion in particular that he said would help him shave strokes right away.

Here's what we talked about, and please note that this doesn't apply to only senior golfers.

We talked about how, as you age, certain changes take place in your body that can't be avoided no matter what you do. We talked about how your reaction times and movement patterns are affected by myelin deterioration, and most importantly for golf - how this deterioration affects your precision.

Precision Considerations - Swing Length and Style

Of course it's true that regular practice will help maintain your optimal level of swing precision, but aging will diminish that level regardless of what you do. That's why top level players can't compete at the same level as they age, even if they keep themselves in peak physical condition.

I mentioned that you can mitigate some precision loss in your own game by sensible shot selection and playing the right type of equipment.

For shot and club selection, I gave the student this example from my own game adjustments that I made two years ago when I was 67.

I noticed that the percentage of acceptable contact with my full swings with my wedges was dropping, so I decided to change my club and swing selection for shots inside 110 yards. Instead of taking a comfortable full swing with a pitching wedge for a 110 to 115 yard shot from a tight lie, which is a high precision shot, I started taking punch 9 iron swings or a chip shot swing with an 8 iron.

I have generally been producing excellent strikes with these swings. My birdie percentage has gone up because for my game, these clubs get the ball closer to the hole more often than a full swing pitching wedge.

Note that I don't do this all the time. If the lie is very comfortable to my eye I'll hit a wedge, but I would say that my go-to shot for 100 yards is now some short of a shorter swing punch shot if the green will accept that sort of shot.

I also started chipping greenside more with an 8 iron than a wedge for shots that need some run out for the same reason. Chipping with a wedge requires more precision than chipping with an 8 iron.

The rule of thumb is: the more loft on the club, the more precision is required for perfect execution.

The guiding principle here is which club will produce a better result if you mis-hit both clubs? The answer is usually the club with less loft.

That's why (unless you get the yips) most players can maintain excellence in their putting late into life. It's a shorter stroke with a flat club (very minimal loft).

Precision Considerations - Equipment

When I think about it, it seems logical to me that the irons equipment history of a player who attains a decent level of competence as they age should look like this:
  • Beginner level, any age - super game improvement irons, an oversized head with a wide sole. A player might stay at this level all their life, and there's no shame in that as long as you enjoy the game. This player may gravitate to a game improvement iron, which has a smaller head than a super game improvement iron, but a larger head than a "players" iron head.

  • Advanced level, young to middle age - "player" irons with a smaller head and a more compact sweet spot. This is a player at a low handicap level.

  • Advanced level, senior player (anywhere from about age 55 and up) - this is where I think the player should strongly consider moving away from a "player" iron style to a game improvement iron style. Game improvement irons are a fit between super game improvement irons and "player" irons.

  • Shaft flex considerations may or may not need to take place as you age. Most players think that as swing speed is lost that automatically means changing the shaft flex on your clubs. Very often it does, but sometimes simply shifting from steel to graphite does the trick. Swing speed isn't the only consideration for shaft flex, it's not how fast you swing the club, it's how you swing the club fast.
The reason that I suggest moving away from a "players" iron head style, is that a good game improvement iron head is larger in size, has a larger sweet spot, and a wider sole than a "players" iron head. These three aspects allow a swing with less precision to still produce a good result, whereas an imprecise swing with a "players" iron will produce a much poorer result.

As I said before, I believe in the guiding principle of selecting the club or swing that will yield the best result with a mis-hit.

One factor that prevents a better aging player from dropping away from "player" irons is ego.

What will people think if they see me switching away from "player" irons?

I play often with a young player who plays game improvement irons, and he regularly breaks par with them. I played last week with another player of the same caliber that is now playing game improvement irons, he used to play Mizuno blades. He's in his fifties, and I didn't notice any drop off in his play at all, he still plays to a low single digit handicap.

On the ego side, I was playing in a scramble recently and we had a 75 yard shot from the rough to a green that had a lot of room from the near edge of the green to the pin. The other three (younger) players had hit lob wedges, and the closest one was about 20 ft from the pin. My ego said to hit a sand wedge, my brain said hit a punch 9 iron and let it roll out. As I grabbed my 9 iron, one of the guys remarked to another " I can't believe he's hitting a 9". Obviously I wouldn't be telling this story if the shot didn't go as planned. We ended up with an 8 ft. putt for a birdie which we made. I fought my ego on that one when I heard the remark, because what matters in golf is what produces the best result, not how it's produced.

Give your ego permission to take a back seat to production in your golf game.

So the bottom line is this - when you do your end of season analysis of your game, think about if any of the above suggestions would make sense for you. You don't have to make a full swing with every club every time.

I personally have taken action to improve my own game and my lessons as follows:
  • my Ping G30 game improvement irons have been ordered through the Batavia Country Club, and I should be playing with them by the time you read this newsletter (hopefully).

  • I am setting up a "scoring club full and half swing development" lesson that will be ready to go for indoor winter lessons at Plum Creek.
When my lesson plan is finished, I'll announce the new lesson availability in this newsletter.


Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


Tour Greens: Tour Quality Synthetic Greens For Superb Short Game Practice

Would you like to be able to practice with purpose in your own back yard?

Would you like your short game to progress from bad to good, or from good to great?

Would you like to get the ball up & down with more frequency?

Would you like to have a short game practice area in the privacy of your yard for practice and for friendly competition with your kids, your wife, and your friends?

Click here  for photo galleries and more information.

If the thought of having a beautiful tour quality practice green in your yard appeals to you, you're in luck.

In addition to my golf instruction business, I am also the exclusive Western New York sales associate for Tour Greens Western New York.

With Tour Greens you can experience the ultimate home short game practice solution.

Click here to read what Tour Pro's Fred Couples, Rich Beem, Boo Weekly, Blake Adams, and Chris DiMarco  have to say about their Tour Greens.

You all know me well enough to know that I don't affiliate with any product that I don't have a passionate belief in. These greens are the real deal. They are extremely durable - and they LOVE Western New York weather!

For more information please click here:, or feel free to call, text, or email me to discuss your needs.


Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


Tom's Bonus Tip: Gripping Down On The Club

For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.

When you need to grip down on the club, like for a chip shot or hitting from a moist lie, don't forget to move a little closer to the ball. If you don't, your posture will change, and that will disrupt your normal swing plane for that club.


Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


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   Great rates, the best greens in WNY. Golf Digest Four Star rating for public courses to play in New York State. Tee times online or by phone in season.  (585) 343-7600

Tour Greens Western New York  Practice with purpose in your own back yard on your own synthetic practice green. Our greens LOVE Western New York weather!

Genesee Community College Golf Management Program   Click on link for more information if you or anyone you know is interested in a dynamic career in the golf industry, or in teaching golf.

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