Golf Tips Newsletter - Issue 224 - December 26, 2012


Hope You All Had a Blessed Christmas!

In This Issue:

- Tom's Featured Tip: Aiming Accuracy
- Tom's Bonus Tip: Spin Back Shots
- Product Review: Provoto Putting Systems
- Lesson Comments:
- Sponsors: Batavia Country Club, Chestnut Hill Country Club
Plum Creek Driving Range and PGA Golf Simulator
GCC Golf Management Program, Provoto Putting Systems

Plum Creek Will Be Open All Winter - Come on down to play or practice. Call 585-993-0930 or email Mark at to reserve your simulator time! Great money saving monthly specials, check them out here:

NEW - Indoor Lessons Package now available
Details:  Indoor Lesson Package  Please call me at 716 474 3005, email me at  or visit my website at   for more information.

Driver Fitting
It doesn't make sense to spend big bucks on a new driver if it's specifications don't allow you to get the most out of your swing. Also keep in mind that you'll get a totally objective fitting through me because I have no vested interest in selling you a new club.

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Tom's Featured Tip:  Aiming Accuracy

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!

When I give lessons, I always emphasize starting the ball on the intended aimline, however for certain lessons it's sequenced in at different times.

One of the first things I address at any lesson is correct swing mechanics.

For ball-striking, putting, and chipping lessons, this framework is usually established at the first lesson; then the student - with the help of lesson follow up notes - can usually continue to practice the mechanics correctly on their own.

For the full swing, it often takes a couple of lessons to establish the framework for the swing pattern; then - with the help of lesson follow up notes - the student can usually continue to practice the mechanics correctly on their own.

After the mechanics are established for the shorter swings - putting, and chipping - aiming accuracy is addressed.

So let's talk about how we can practice aiming accuracy.

For the sake of this article I'll define aiming accuracy as "starting the ball on the intended aimline", not necessarily where it ends up. Where it ends up is a swingpath to clubface alignment element that gets individual attention after aiming accuracy is developed..

We can practice developing aiming accuracy with the use of training aids that you can either purchase or make yourself.

First of all, for putting and chipping you can get double bang for your practice time, because you can practice stroke mechanics and aiming accuracy at the same time. The stroke mechanics are easy enough to learn, so aiming feedback training aids can be introduced early into your practice regimen in order to allow you to practice both skills simultaneously.

As a matter of fact, for putting, you can get triple bang for your practice time by practicing stroke mechanics with your "core" putting stroke, while stroking putts through a narrow gap between two objects: tees, ends of 2" x 4"s, etc. This drill should progresses from making the gap a couple of inches wide to just wider than a ball.

A training aid that I use for aiming accuracy in my putting lessons is the Putting Fork Pro. The good news is that it's the best device I've ever used for practicing the "three for one bang for your buck" drill mentioned above:
  1. your putting stroke mechanics
  2. your "core" putting stroke length and feel
  3. and aiming accuracy
The bad news is that the Putting Fork Pro appears to be unavailable. Their website has been down for quite awhile now, and I have no idea why.

The good news is that you can create the same effect with a couple of tees - or the butt ends of a couple of short 2" x 4"s set up to form a gap. Just position a flat ball marker 18" away, straight back from the gap, and stroke putts until you can strike them straight through 8 times out of 10 with the gap being about 1/4" wider than the ball. Start with the gap wider, then make it progressively narrower.

If you can't do it consistently, something is wrong. Change something - your stance, your grip, or perhaps the style of putter you are playing - until you can strike the putts on your aimline consistently. For putting, perhaps more than any other stroke, it's imperative that you be able to first start the ball exactly where you want it to go, then get the right speed.

Line trumps speed on short putts, speed trumps line on long putts.

For chipping through the full swing, I use a different training aid for aiming accuracy.

I use two vertical objects (posts) positioned in front of the student. Visualize short, narrow goalposts without a crossbar and you'll get the picture. The posts should always be positioned as close to the student as the particular swing being practiced allows. The objective is for the student to get the shot started between the posts.

For chipping, I introduce the training aid early, because for short, simple strokes like chipping and putting, you can combine stroke practice and aiming practice.

Short posts work well for chipping practice, long posts work better for full swing practice.

Here's what I have used for vertical posts outdoors, you can do the same: for chipping, you can use broken shafts with the grips still on, alignment rods (48" fiberglass driveway markers - $2.00 at Home Depot, Valu) with pipe insulation wrapped around them, or full shafts with the grips removed and a swimming pool noodle stuck over the top. You can either cut the noodle short, or leave it full.

Here's what I use indoors at Plum Creek: Aim Posts.  The pieces on the ground show how it breaks down for storage. A couple of the pieces are glued together, others are assembled when I need to use them.

You can get all of the PVC pieces at Lowes, Value, or Home Depot for a couple of bucks. Swimming pool noodles cost a dollar at the dollar store, so stock up when they're available. Plan on busting a few up with full swings that are a bit off the mark.

Always wrap the post with pipe insulation or a pool noodle. Sooner or later your ball will hit the post accidentally, and an unwrapped post could be dangerous if it shatters or deflects the ball.

Here's a youtube clip of a player with a great swing using unwrapped alignment rods. Full Swing Aimline Practice  I saw a video clip of Rickie Fowler doing this with full 5 iron swings. Unless you are a professional, please do not try this. I'm only showing it so that you can get the concept of how to use the appropriate training aid for yourself - which would be with something enclosing the rod - like a pool noodle.

Ken Green had his own drill for aiming practice. Years ago, when he was on tour, he used to hit golf balls out of his living room through sliding glass doors that were open about a foot, onto an adjacent golf course. Please don't try this either, for obvious reasons.

Make it a point to set some sort of feedback device up for all your practice, it's necessary to gauge improvement.

Make next year your best golf year by doing something now!

Love your practice, enjoy your golf,


Tom's Bonus Tip: Spin Back Shots

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 !

Here are three quick tips on how to spin the ball back with your scoring irons:
  1. Execute a solid, downward "ball first" strike on the ball
  2. Make sure you have good, clean grooves on your clubs
  3. Use a "spin" ball type, not a "distance" ball
Love your practice, enjoy your golf,


Product Review:  Provoto Putting Systems

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 !

A couple of weeks back I spoke with Wayne Sanders, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Provoto Putting Systems, and I ended up obtaining their Champion 10 Foot "Rock N' Roll" Putting System  for my indoor putting lessons at Plum Creek.

I had been considering this system for some time, and I finally made my decision because of it's functionality as well as it's beauty and craftsmanship. It's like a piece of fine furniture that doubles as a great putting practice aid, and it looks great in the pro shop.

I'm a very good putter because I discovered the secret to putting - it's hours of practice, and Provoto has essentially brought a high quality practice green indoors.

The features that I liked most about the particular putting green that I ordered are:
  • A very smooth, consistent putting surface.
  • It's beautifully framed in high quality American hardwood.
  • The matching platform also looks great, and accomodates right or left handed players.
  • Mine stimps at about 9.5, which is a good speed for lessons. A faster surface is available if you play on consistently fast greens.
  • You can adjust the incline and break, and there's a level installed on the hole end to check levels.
  • Hole reducers were provided for an extra challenge.
  • There's a channel next to your setup area to line up several balls for quick access.
  • There's an automatic ball return so that you can keep rolling putts without ever needing to bend over and empty the hole. That's a back saver.
It also folds easily for vertical storage, but if you get one you'd probably leave it set up just because it looks so great! If you don't leave it set up, it only takes two or three minutes to set it up and start rolling putts.

It's not the cheapest practice green on the block, and it's not the most expensive. I'm going to say that you get great value because it's a very useful practice tool, and it's very well made. Can you find cheaper practice greens - yes. Do they last very long - not usually. And this one makes you want to stop and roll a few putts every time you walk by it. It motivates you to get real, meaningful practice indoors.

From what I've experienced with it so far - and I've used a lot of different indoor putting greens - I love it, it's the real deal.

Best of all, Wayne has agreed to give anyone that heard about Provoto through this newsletter the same discount that he would give a teaching pro - that's 30% off!

You can order through their website by going to their Provoto Putting Systems home page  clicking on their catalog link, and selecting the green you want to purchase. After you decide on features, you add it to your cart. Then you'll find the field for "Discount Coupon" near the bottom of the page. Enter PGApro in that field and your product cost will be discounted 30%.

In case you're wondering, I'm not making any commission on sales of these putting greens. I recommend them because I have confidence in the product. All savings are being passed on to you, so enjoy.

Love your practice, enjoy your golf,


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 at
for more information.

Outdoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Indoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Driver Fitting Rates:



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

Provoto Putting Systems   readers get a 30% discount on putting greens. Click on their catalog link, and select the green you want to purchase. After you decide on features, add it to your cart. You'll find the field for "Discount Coupon" near the bottom of the page. Enter PGApro in that field and your product cost will be discounted 30%.

GCC Golf Management Program   click for information on GCC's degreed program for anyone interested in a career in the golf industry or teaching golf.

Batavia Country Club   Open - weather permitting, call first. Live bands on Fridays.

Chestnut Hill CC   Open - weather permitting, call first.

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