Golf Tips Newsletter
Issue 549 - Wed. March 20th, 2019
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USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
WGTF "Top 100" Teacher
IGPA Certified Golf Psychology Coach


If you don't take action, you'll never improve.
Prepare to play your best golf by doing something now!

Tom's Featured Tip: Tiger's Costly Mental Error; Rubber Bands For Better Putt Striking
Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
Sponsors: Plum Creek Driving Range 
Batavia Country Club
Chestnut Hill Country Club 

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Tom's Featured Tip: Tiger's Costly Mental Error; Rubber Bands For Better Putt Striking

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

Tiger's Costly Mental Error

Tiger Woods' second round on Friday at the Players Championship was off to a great start through his first seven holes. But Tigerís round was ruined at the island green 17th hole, where he hit two shots in the water and dropped way down the leaderboard.

Woods opened his round on Friday with two pars, and then made back-to-back birdies at holes 12 and 13 (his fourth and fifth holes of the day). Another birdie followed at the par-5 16th, where Tiger just missed a chip-in for eagle.

Then disaster struck at the par-3 17th.

With the hole playing 146 yards, Tiger sent his tee shot deep and left onto the green and watched it bounce a few times onto the exit area path, before trickling into the water which was marked with a yellow penalty area line,.

He then chose to hit his third shot from the drop area to the left of the tee box, a fairly challenging 90 yard shot, given the angle to the hole. His low trajectory shot didn't spin enough to hold the green, and that shot also found the water.

His fifth shot held the green, and he then two-putted for a quadruple bogey seven, which moved his score from -3 to +1, and he never recovered enough to challenge the lead.

The Error - Not Knowing The Rules

I'm almost embarrassed to point this out, but it seems that Tiger forgot that he could have dropped near where where the first shot crossed the yellow line demarking the water. He would have had a relatively simple pitch or putt to possibly save a four - or even make three on the hole.

I lay the blame on Tiger, because ultimately it's the player's responsibility to know the rules, but the caddy has to shoulder some blame also. I'm sure that Tiger was seeing red after the first ball went into the drink, but that's when a clear thinking caddy needs to step in.

Rule 26-1

"Under penalty of one stroke, if the ball enters into a water hazard, (yellow stakes and/or lines) or a lateral water hazard (red stakes and/or lines), the player may play a ball from as near as possible to where the original was last played (Rule 26-1a), or drop a ball behind the hazard keeping the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard between himself and the hole (Rule 26-1b). Under this option, the player must drop the ball behind the water hazard (see Decision 26-1/1.5). An additional option available only for a ball in a lateral water hazard is to drop the ball within two club-lengths of the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the lateral water hazard or a point equidistant from the hole on the opposite margin of the hazard from where the ball last crossed into the hazard. However, it may not be dropped nearer the hole. If the player can drop the ball meeting the conditions of this last option, it may be dropped on the putting green side of the water hazard."

I would take it all back if Tiger said that he preferred the 90 yard shot from the penalty area, but that would be pretty hard to believe, especially since his short game around the greens has been outstanding lately.

It's too bad because I think Tiger had momentum going into that hole that was completely lost after the quad.

Live and learn, but know the rules well enough to take advantage of them when the opportunity presents itself.

Rubber Bands For Better Putt Striking

I have written quite a few newsletter articles on practicing and refining your ball striking, but an often overlooked part of the game is improving your ball striking as it applies to putting, which I call putt striking.

In order to feel a consistent roll out on your putts, it's important to execute a good putt strike. This is accomplished by having the putter face square to your putting stroke path at impact, and striking the ball in the center of the putter face, the sweet spot.

When those two factors are consistently present, all you need to worry about is the power you apply to the stroke to get the ball to roll the desired distance.

You can groove a good path by simply setting up a couple of 2"x4"'s as rails and making a lot of stroke repetitions, with or without a ball.

You can get feedback on whether or not you are hitting the sweet spot on your putter face with the aid of two rubber bands.

Position the rubber bands 1/2" apart, with the sweet spot of the putterface centered between the rubber bands. When you practice your putting with the rubber bands on the putterhead, you'll know when you miss the sweet spot. It's the best (and least expensive) training aid that I personally use for "putt striking" practice.

I guarantee that your putt striking will improve dramatically afer just a few practice sessions with the rubber bands in place.

Try this, you'll really love it.


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:



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   (585) 343-7600
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.

FISH FRYS AT BCC and other delicious dinner specials with soup and salad bar - Fridays, 4pm - 9pm

Chestnut Hill Country Club   (585)-547-3613
Only minutes from Buffalo, open to the public.

Tee times online or by phone in season.

All the best,

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

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