[ TomTuckerGolf.com Tips ] Issue 24 - Date 08/01/12
IN THIS ISSUE:
- Tom's Featured Tip: More On Swing Evolution
- Tom's Bonus Tip: Putting Tips
- Lesson Comments: http://www.tomtuckergolf.com/testimonials.html
- Sponsors: The Batavia Country Club, Chestnut Hill CC
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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 :-)
Tom's Featured Tip - More On Swing Evolution
Last week, I wrote about the evolution of a full swing. I had several questions about
where practice should go after the swing has evolved to an acceptable "one sided miss"
It's a little bit difficult to answer that specifically, because it depends greatly on
the students' actual or perceived weaknesses in their game, so I'll lay out a few
thoughts and you can pick whatever direction suits you best.
First and foremost, students need to track these statistics (at least) when they
play for score:
Greens in regulation
Putts per hole
Three Putts per round
Up and Down percentage
Birdies on par 5's
That gives you a starting point for areas for improvement.
If you don't have full confidence in your short game and putting, you put a
tremendous amount of pressure on your full iron shots into a green. Then
negativity starts to flow downhill if you miss the green.
Vince Lombardi once said - "You defeat defeatism with confidence".
Confidence flows from good practice sessions.
So I always concentrate on various length pitch and chip shots after a
"one sided miss" swing is attained in the students full swing.
Putting is always practiced, so I won't mention any more on that subject - other
than it's mechanics first, then the development of a perfect "core" stroke length and
tempo, then "feel" drills. That's the formula for excellence in putting, don't vary the
Mental exercise and concentration also play a role.
I'm currently reading "The Unstoppable Golfer" by Dr. Bob Rotella, the hottest golf
sports psychologist on the planet at the moment. After I'm done I'll pass along a
few of his pearls of wisdom.
Here's one - he promotes thinking about your game in the evening as a golf mental
exercise. Thinking about your good shots, visualizing your swing, basically thinking
positive thoughts about various aspects of your game.
Simply watching good swings is also helpful.
I have viewed Al Geiberger's swing too many times to mention in his famous
Sybervision DVD's, and now the Stack and Tilt guys got his endorsement,
and they include a Visualization DVD in their Stack and Tilt 2.0 series.
I think I'm developing hypnotic eye burn from watching those swings, but seriously - it
really helps your own swing enormously to sit silently and watch and concentrate.
I'll close this tip with a "concentration" quote from Yogi Berra:
"What do I think of when I'm concentrating? I don't know.
I can't think when I'm concentrating." :-)
Tom's Bonus Tip - Putting Tips
This almost seems like "pay attention" shouldn't need to be said, but my observations
from a golf trip last weekend motivated me to say it anyway.
A lot of players are tuned in to "going to school" on putts taken by other players
in their group that are on the same line as their putt, but not enough players pay
attention to other putts also.
If your putt is off to the side of another players putt who plays before you, pay
as close attention - if not more - than to a putt that's on your own line. If the putt rolls
out more or less than it seems like it should, it provides important information on the break
you can expect with your putt.
It their putt has a big break, you can decipher a lot of break and speed information on
your putt also - especially if you observe if they struck their putt firmly or softly.
We should all know that firmly struck putts break less than softly struck putts, and
that the last few feet of a putt really tell the tale on break.
Paying attention to details like this can help you pick up a stroke or two during a round.
Don't Force - Or Inhibit - Your Putting Stroke Release
Your natural stroke may result in the putter head opening and closing before and after
impact, or it may not. Accept your own natural release, whether it's an opening and
closing release, or more of a momentum - straight back and through type release,
and it will be much easier to put a stroke on the ball that has consistent roll. Pay
close attention to staying down and through on your putts, and maintaining the same
tempo for whatever stroke length your brain chooses for your putt at hand.
A Short - or Maybe Not So Short - Golf Story
I mentioned in the tip above that I went on a golf trip for the weekend, and it
was everything but uneventful.
A friend and former co-worker of mine, Frank Broderick, has been organizing this
trip to the Conley Resort Inn in Butler, Pennsylvania, annually since 1994, and
he usually gets between 50 and 72 attendees.
It's a fun time - lots of golf, lots of laughs.
I had not been able to attend since 2001 due to commitments and a Junior Golf Camp that
I ran at the Batavia Country Club. However, since my situation changed last fall,
this year I had the time, and I attended with my youngest son Tim. In the past I have
often taken either of my sons - Tom or Tim, and this year Tim could make it.
I think he may be a jinx.
When Tim and I last attended in 2001, the resort literally burned down. In July 2001,
they had a huge fire that required response from about 14 hose companies for the fire,
which destroyed the pro shop, the restaurant, and many interior rooms.
In a crazy way, it reminds me of when Nero fiddled while Rome burned, because
most of the golfers (that'd be us) continued to play the course - which wraps around
the resort - while the huge blaze ripped through the main buildings.
What the heck, we had everything that was important to us with us - our clubs and our
It even made the national evening news, as news helicopters showed the place burning
down while golfers continued to play the course.
I distinctly remember being on the tee on hole 7, a par 5, when a buddy of mine - Kenny
Black - had a huge chunk of ash come down on his head in his downswing. He promptly
hooked the ball out of bounds. Unbelievably, he had the audacity to ask for another free
swing. We all agreed that he should have stopped in his downswing and told him to quit
whining, but eventually we relented.
This year, with Tim accompanying me for the first time since the place burned, we had
about 12 holes under our belt during Thursday's practice round when the sky really lit up
with lightening, and thunder started to roar through hot afternoon air.
We decided to head back to our rooms, and luckily I just got inside the door when
the sky opened up with rain that came in sideways due to micro burst force straight
line winds that were bending mature trees over like they were saplings.
The end result was downed trees and tree limbs, and a power outage for
two days, which was more than inconvenient since it killed the AC and all toilet facilities.
Frank made arrangements for other lodging Friday, power came back on Saturday,
and the management did a great job clearing fallen trees and debris off the course so that
we got our morning stroke play and afternoon scramble round competitions in on Friday and
Saturday. Putting was a bit difficult, because the green speeds were very inconsistent
due to heavy rain and no cutting, but everyone still had a great time.
And to be honest, it was easier to tolerate a little intermittent rain during the Friday
and Saturday rounds than the brutal heat which usually prevails there in July.
I also get a new putter out of the deal, here's how.
I had been playing a putter all weekend that I had only played one round with previously, a
Callaway White Ice No. 2 putter. I bought that putter after I asked a friend if I could try his,
and promptly drained a 20 footer. I had one ordered off Ebay within two hours. My normal
preference is for a mallet style head, but I wanted to try it out.
So ... on Saturday I'm playing a round with a gentleman named Mike Mooney from
Montana, and he's putting "lights out" - in fact he shot 72 and bested his old personal
best score by 3 strokes.
He was using a Ping Wack-E i Series putter, and when we were backed up on a hole I
asked him if I could try a putt with it. So I stroked a 30 footer and as it neared the hole
I started muttering "don't do it to me" - but it did - it dropped. Mike asked me why I said
that, and he laughed when I told him the story about how the Odyssey putter got in my bag.
Here's where things really get a little goofy - unless you appreciate an addiction to owning
cool putters. In my round with Mike, I shot two under, the day before I shot even par. Even
so, within ten minutes of arriving home Sunday, I had a Ping Wack-E i series putter
purchased off Ebay, and it should be in my bag by Thursday!
I think that qualifies for getting a new putter out of the deal, doesn't it? :-)
BTW, for those of you that are thinking "how can this dude expect to putt
well with a new putter in his hands every week?" - well you can. If you have a
good command of your "core" putting stroke length and tempo, it only takes about
20 minutes on the practice green to get a feel for a new putter. (I'm not referring to
a new putting style like belly or face-on putting, just to a new putter.)
I conduct lessons at The Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
there's a link with info here: http://www.tomtuckergolf.com/
Lessons are available for all ages and skill levels, please contact
me - Tom Tucker - at (716) 474 3005 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information.
Batavia Country Club - http://www.bataviacc.com Need a new pair of
golf shoes or a new Callaway Wedge? Great Pricing ! Puma /Callaway /BCC
Chestnut Hill CC - http://www.chestnuthillcc.com Low greens fees, great course!
All the best,
Teaching Pro, Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
WGTF "Top 100 Golf Teacher"
USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
Cell: (716) 474-3005
Success Loves Preparation