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Golf Blog for the Average Golfer
Golf Tips and Golf Training Discussions

Golf Tips and Golf Training Discussions

This golf blog is focused at providing the average and beginner golfer with golf tips and information to help you have more fun learning, practicing, and playing golf, improve your golf playing ability, and save money on golf equipment and travel.

A Blog for Average and Beginner Golfers

A Blog for Average and Beginner Golfers

  1. We have made our migration to Florida to keep our golf techniques in shape over the winter, and to provide some lessons per pre-aranged locations and times.
    One of our first stops was at the World Golf Village near St. Augustine, FL. 

    The practice facilities at the World Golf Village Slammer and Squire golf course offer all day practice at the driving range, chipping facility, and putting green for $20. You can practice, go have lunch, and come back again later the same day for more practice. This facility provides a great way to get your winter game in shape before enjoying the many other courses in the area or heading further south. As should be expected, the facilities are excellent and the staff is very helpful. 

    Meanwhile, we have headed further south to check out some of the golf facilities and their cost vs. value.

    We will return to Michigan in the spring time to resume your lesson programs. 
  2. Finally, a break from the bitter cold!

    I must admit, I watched much of the cold and snow in the north and mid-west and east on the news from a comfortable location in south Florida. It was even cold down there from the local perspective.

    On my return to Michigan I was able to stop by Myrtle Beach. 
    Visits to one of the two PGA Super Stores, and the Golfsmith "Extreme" store, proved somewhat worthwhile.

    The February weather in Myrtle Beach had been generally unacceptable for golf, and March began the same way, but fortunately there were a couple of days that first week in March when the weather cooperated, minus some early morning fog. Finally, anxious golfers could flood the many courses available and ready for play. 

    I had one day available and it happened to be one of those better days between the cold weather fronts.  
    The other golfers that I was teamed with (I went as a single) and those others that I met while at the course repeatedly commented how this February was so unusually cold, and that they typically have pleasant February weather and can play golf on most days. 

    If you are in the Myrtle Beach area you have many courses to choose from at many different price-points.
    The golfing and area experience is much more than only Myrtle Beach. The 60-mile long "Grand Strand" provides golf courses, entertainment, beaches, parks, and great eating locations. These are lined up from above the Little River, SC area down to Georgetown, SC and beyond.

    I was staying in North Myrtle Beach, near the Barefoot Landing Resort. Although it has 4 renowned courses, a check of available discounted pricing provided great values at many courses in the area. I chose the Myrtle Beach National "Kings North" course, as the reviews were good and my staying location had a booking discount through the concierge that was better than the various online pricing discounts.  The MBN Kings North course is located close to Conway, SC, which is about 15 miles west of Myrtle Beach.  Although you proceed through a subdivision to access the course, there are no houses located along this specific course.

    I arrived at the course and saw a swarm of golfers getting ready to take advantage of the very nice and sunny near 60 degree weather. 
    Check in at the pro shop was relatively quick and simple. They took my voucher and set me up with a cart and playing partners. 

    I thought the course was in very good condition considering the weather of the past month. The fairways and greens were in good shape. There are many bunkers and "waste" areas. As expected, areas off of the fairways were brown and straw-covered.






    I took it easy the first few holes, as this had been my first 18 holes since before my hip surgery last year and I was not confident yet in swinging the driver. I started with hybrids off the tee and eventually moved up to the driver after a few holes. Shots were generally good, except for a few pulls to the left. I did not have any hip or leg pain issues. 






    My short game was OK. I did land in three near-green bunkers but made decent sand shots from each. My longer putts were fairly good but some of my mid-length putts were off the mark. I need to get use to those greens! Perhaps next time.













    My playing partners each owned 2nd homes in Myrtle Beach and had been wintering there for many years. They both were in the process of selling their homes in the north (differnet states) and becoming full-time Myrtle Beach residents. 



    Overall, the play at Myrtle Beach National Kings North was an enjoyable experience. There were a few holes that played a little slow, with some waiting, but understandable with the number of golfers on the course and the fact that it was cart path only on the back nine due to the recent rain.

    Now it's time to plan for springtime golf in Michigan and other northern venues.
    Be sure to get your game ready with some dedicated practice sessions. Don't just hit balls. Work on those areas that need the greatest improvement, and learn your typical distance for each club. 

    If you are in southeast Michigan/Brighton area (or northern New York state/Saratoga-north area), contact me if you would like some help with your game.

    Hit 'em straight.
    Phil
  3. Well, it has been a while! 

    Before I discuss winter golf lessons and winter practice, let me first mention what has been happening. 

    Since my post in July, 2013, I had a heart attack in late July of 2013 and received two stents, my mother, who lives several hundred miles from me, became very ill in spring of this year (2014) and I spent a few months with her before she passed away in late July.  If you are over age 60, I highly recommend that you receive your Shingles Vaccination.  

    In September of this year I had an operation on my left  hip to repair a torn labrum (the cartilage that sets between the top of the hip and the hip socket at the pelvis).  The operation was successful and I have been undergoing significant physical therapy. 

    Needless to say, I had many priorities in addition to golf during the past year-plus timeframe. I did provided a number of lessons, and have worked on developing my book, "Playing Golf Instruction Manual" into an e-book that can be distributed through multiple well-known outlets in addition to my own golf instruction courses website (I am still working on the proper format for the chapters of the book to be converted into the ebooks).

    Now, I can talk a little about winter golf lessons and practice. 
    I am providing winter golf lessons at Golf-O-Rama indoor golf simulator facility in Brighton, MI. 

    Although you can play simulations of numerous elite golf courses , such as Augusta National, St. Andrews, Pebble Beach, and others, for instructional and practice purposes we use the "driving range" program for the simulators as it provides important golf swing and ball flight information, such as ball speed, launch angle, loft, and distance. 

    For better golfers we can work on club gap management (know your distances for each club) as well as basic swing improvements.  For the new or inexperienced golfer, we can help you thoroughly enjoy golf as you learn proper technique, skills, and shots with every club, putter through the driver.  

    I can only provide limited indoor lessons this winter as I will be spending time in Florida during January and February.  I will, however, prepare several lessons that you can use indoors at your own home during the winter months that will help keep your game in tune and ready for play next spring, or for that pre-season trip to somewhere warm. 

    Hit 'em straight!
  4. Newly Added Location - Tags Adventure Golf Driving Range
    We are now also providing our golf lesson programs at Tags Adventure Golf Driving Range and Mini Golf complex.
    Tags is under new management and is undergoing a very nice upgrade. 

    We plan to offer a 4-day golf school program and our 10-lesson beginner program after the July 4 holiday.

    If you are in the Hartland area, or the northern Livingston County or Western Oakland County areas,  CONTACT me  to schedule your golf swing evaluation at Tags, or to discuss an appropriate lessons program that meets your needs.

    Hit 'em straight!  

  5. The golf season in Michigan got off to a somewhat slow start (it was snowing during the first two series of lessons I gave during April weekends this season), but now the golfing has begun to flourish.

    Most of my students are taking lessons that parallel my online book, "Playing Golf Instruction Manual"This 10-lesson learning program starts with some golf basics and then quickly moves to putting, then chip shots and pitch shots, before moving up to the full golf swing and the longer irons and woods.  Success has been 100 percent as the students see very quick improvement and begin striking the ball very well!

    With my more experienced students we are focusing on specific areas for improvement.  These vary with each student so the instruction is somewhat specific, but some common faults are evident among even the better players.

    One fault is assuring alignment.  Even the experienced players misalign fairly often for iron shots and for putts.

    Another fault occurs during the initiation of their forward stroke.  They get to the top of their backswing and tighten the right hand (right handed players) and think "hit the ball" instead of "swing the club".
    Once they get their weight shift correct and start swinging the club and not hitting at the ball they stay on plane much better and their accuracy and consistency significantly improve.


    If you are in the southeast Michigan area and want to improve your game please contact me to discuss your goals and a lesson plan that will meet them.

    If you are out of the area and are working on your game, my online golf instruction manual, together with the online training courses with video demonstrations, can help you improve your skills and overall golf game. 

    Have a great summer.

    Contact me if you have any questions.

    Hit 'em straight!
  6. Well, Happy 2013.

    Lots of snow and cold here in MI.  Nearly time to head south!

    Would you like a Valentine long weekend in Daytona Beach, FL?

    I have available a 4-night booking for a fully equipped, 1-bedroom Daytona Beach condo where you can enjoy some early season golf, and have a great Valentine's Day long weekend that your significant other will also enjoy!

    Daytona Beach Vacation

    The one-bedroom Wyndham Ocean Walk condo is available from Wednesday, February 14 through checkout on Monday, Feb 18. Enjoy the excitement of Daytona Beach, the Boardwalk, the great beach, great food, championship golf courses, and this lovely resort. Perfect for a Valentine long-weekend.

    Only one unit available during this timeframe, priced at only $699. It accommodates 4 persons but is best for two, especailly during the Valentine's timeframe.   To book contact me directly, or see http://www.golfinstructioncourses.com/golf-vacation for more info.

    Hit 'em straight.

    Have a great winter!

    Phil

  7. Hi, and Happy Holidays!

    Thank you for your orders. We are currently out of stock on the DVD "Chip Shots and Pitch Shots", and its printed booklet, and out of stock on the printed booklet, "Introduction to Playing Golf".  Both are expected to be available again in late January.

    The online e-book versions remain available.

    We still have a couple Golf Buddy World Platinum GPS Rangefinders in stock, and a few SwingSpeed Radar with Tempo Timer units in stock. Please order by end of day on Dec 18th to receive the 2012 holiday discount stated in the blog article below.

    Enjoy your entire holiday season, and Happy New Year!

    Hit 'em straight.

    Phil

     

  8. Here is a NEW item just added to the holiday gift list in blog article, below.

    It's a 51-page book, "Introduction to Playing Golf".  It is great for the novice or beginner golfer who needs to know about golf etiquette, basic rules, what to do when on the golf course, and how to save money practicing and playing.

    Add it to the list of four 2012 Gift Specials from the blog article, below.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Phil

  9. Hello to my faithful readers,

    2012 HOLIDAY SPECIALS

    Winter has pretty much set in here in MI, and now it's time for some holiday golf specials.

    Here are a few items that you will enjoy giving or receiving this holiday season.

    I have been able to lower the pricing on the Golf Buddy World Platinum GPS Rangefinder to ONLY $265. Endorsed by Rick Smith, this is a great price on a great product (includes free shipping).

    In addition, if by December 18 you use the discount code DEC182012, you can receive our student pricing on the Swing Speed Radar with Tempo Timer, or the SwingRite Golf Swing Training Aid.

    For all golfers we have placed the Chip Shot and Pitch Shot instruction program on a DVD and made it available for the holidays.  This instructional program will help you make accurate and consistent chip and pitch shots and score much better. The special holiday pricing is only $39.

    Check these items out for your holiday giving or receiving.

    Hit 'em straight!

    Phil Lawrence

  10. We are conducting our very special Intermediate Level Junior Golf program beginning the week of June 25.  Additional programs begin on July 9, July 16, and August 6.

    The session is for junior golfers who have already taken beginner golf lesson or who have played a number of times on the golf course and have a good grip and pre-shot routine and are ready to begin learning to improve their contact with the ball, increase their accuracy and distance, and begin learning how to effectively lower their scores.

    We limit our group size to only 6 students per session.

    Contact us if you have any questions or would like your young student to participate.

    Also, be sure to see the new e-book by Stephen Ladd, Golf Training For Juniors.

    Hit 'em straight!

    Phil Lawrence

     

  11. NEW! We now can provide for your junior golfers proven golf fitness and mental preparedness training that will help them play and compete at their best level. 

    This training was developed for and used by junior golf academies, and is now available for all junior golfers. 

    Golf Training For Juniors

    Stephen Ladd, a renowned golf fitness trainer, has  made this training readily available to golf instructors and their students.   To learn more about "Golf Training for Juniors", click here.

    Fathers' Day Specials - Fathers day is getting closer.  Take advantage of our Father's Day Specials and save money while learning how to improve your golf game. Use discount code FDJ061712See the specials on our golf swing speed page. (Or see the post, below).

    Hit 'em straight!

    Phil Lawrence

  12. I am a father, with 3 boys and 2 girls, and so far I also have 5 grandsons. Yes, I am old enough to be on Medicare! In fact, I am.

    It seams that when our children were young they always had something for me for Father's day.  Then their life started becoming hectic like mine was for 40 plus years. They had their college years, then work, and now their own careers or families. who are now in three different states.  Us older dads are now lucky to get a phone call or perhaps a card.  Unfortunately, we don't even get many opportunities to play some golf together.  Our true gift has been our children, watching them grow and mature.  Over the last 40 years I have lived several hundred miles from my parents and we could only get together about twice a year, once at Christmas and once during the summer.  More recently it has been less than that. Try to cherish whatever time you can spend with your Father / parents, or with your own children.

    If your father is still playing golf, or if you can talk your children into buying you a golf Father's Day gift, check out the specials that I am offering for Father's Day this year. 

    If you buy a SwingSpeed Radar with Tempo Timer, I will include the training program, "Improve Swing Speed and Tempo Time:, and the 48-page e-book, "Get More Distance".  Use the Father's Day Code FDJ061712 at check out and you will also receive a discount. In fact, the same code is valid until June 17 for a discount toward the "Playing Golf Instruction Manual", the Golf Buddy World Platinum GPS Rangefinder, and the Swingrite Golf Swing Trainer.

    I have been asked if I could place my training programs on a DVD.  A pilot of one of the programs has been very well received, so as time permits, I will work at placing others on DVD, and provide the parallel student manuals via a separate file, or e-book. Students will then be able to choose from either the DVD or the online self-learning / training programs (via the e-learning delivery website).

    Hit 'em straight!

    Phil Lawrence 

  13. We have initiated a new page on this site, "Charity-Golf-Outings".  It provides a schedule and information on golf outings in the Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario area that we have been made aware of (because someone in the organization has provided me the information).

    If you would like a fun golfing time while benefiting a local non-profit, check out the schedule and put your team together to help your favorite organization.

    Hit 'em straight.

    Phil

     

  14. It’s the second week of March and we are in one of the spring-time golf hot spots, Myrtle Beach, SC.

    Myrtle Beach Springtime Golf 

    I did not come here on a golf package, but rather simply as golfer looking for a location to play some golf at a very good value, provide a review of the courses I play, and to market some of the golf products I offer as well as work at getting ready for the upcoming season.

    After looking over the list of golf courses provided to me by the resort where I was staying, and comparing the contracted pricing that is offered at the resorts vs. other options, such as “Golf Now”, and local coupons, the result was slightly mixed, with price to play offered through the resort often the least cost option.

    As I also found, if you are a local resident, or a winter-time resident, there is even better discount pricing offered during winter and early spring-time.

     I had two golf days available so I asked some local golfers which of the reasonably priced courses I should play that I chose from the resort’s list of more than 60 golf courses.  A unanimous selection was Shaftsbury Glen, located near Conway, about 16 miles west of Myrtle Beach.  They said it is always in great condition and an example of what premium courses in the area offer.

    A second course cited that is here in Myrtle Beach/North Myrtle Beach, is Arcadian Shores, located across from the Tangier Shopping Mall near the intersection of US 17, Hwy 22, and Kings Highway. There were numerous other courses but either their current condition or their pricing did not move them to the most favorable category.

    Shaftsbury Glen

    Shaftsbury Glen is located on route 905, about 16 miles from Myrtle Beach.

    When I first approached the course area I was concerned about housing development around the course, but, as you can see in the pictures, below, the course layout is independent of the housing area. 

    There are three key features about this course; (1) every green is elevated and very well protected with significant bunkering, (2) the greens run very true, what you see is what you get, (3) from the tees the fairways are fairly wide, and provide the illusion of no danger, but don't miss the fairway! 

    Wide Fairways

    Fairway 

    For the near-scratch player, the course plays to nearly 7000 yards with a slope of 140. For us more challenged players, there are white, gold, and red tees that play at appropriate yardages (6,445, 5,989, and 4,976 yd.).

    6,935 from the blue tees

     From Blue Tees

    Elevated Greens

    Elevated Greens

    The clubhouse is quite stately and houses the pro-shop and pub/restaurant. The overall staff was very helpful. 

    I had an early PM tee time and the area around the bag drop was somewhat congested as golfers were waiting for their assignments and for carts coming in from golfers who were ending their rounds.  Once on the course, however, the play moved quickly with no wait time.

    I was teamed up with Chuck and Cindy, a couple from northeastern New York State. They stay in Myrtle Beach for 3 months each winter and play golf often. They have a good game.

    Approach Shots

    Approach Shot

    Shaftsbury Glen more than lived up to my expectations.  It was a pleasure to play. A decent drive followed by an accurate approach shot is important for a good score. I did find a number of the bunkers but they did not cause a problem.  The sand is light and getting your ball out and onto the green should not be an issue. Be sure to look for the best pricing available for the time of year that you are in Myrtle Beach.

    Arcadian Shores

    Arcadian Shores Clubhouse

    Arcadian Shores is a distinctly different course than Shaftsbury Glen.  I was told that Arcadian Shores at one time was a private club.  Every hole is lined with trees. 

    There is a large driving range and nice practice putting green just to the left of the clubhouse / pro-shop. It is located just south of Rte 17, near the Tangier Outlets at the South end of North Myrtle Beach. My Greens Fee was slightly more than the Shaftsbury Glen fee, but the course was close to where I was staying so there was little fuel costs.

    Driving Range

    Driving-Range

    I had a mid-AM tee time and found the bag drop area and cart assignment area to be a bit congested.  Although there appeared to be a lot of gofers, there was no wait time at the start, as groups were starting on both the front and back nine.

    I was placed with 3 lady golfers from Pennsylvania, Helen, Becky, and Charlotte.  They really enjoy playing golf. We started on the back nine.

    The overall course is very attractive with trees, significant bunkering, and water, and acceptable condition, but not as good of condition as I thought it would be.

    Fairway

    Fairway

    The course requires accurate tee shots, as most fairways are tree lined and bunkers protect dogleg corners.  Greens are well contoured and green speed was moderate.

    Greens

    Greens

    I was either putting poorly, or was not reading the breaks, because the ball was rolling differently than what I saw, even with short putts. Exact speed is important, as the hole placements were at tournament locations.  Soft lagged putts would roll away from the cup where-as putts with speed would roll far past the hole. 

    Course knowledge definitely has an advantage, as shot placement and green knowledge are important for good scores on this course.

    Approach Shots

    Approach Shots

    If you are in the Myrtle Beach area, the Arcadian Shores Golf course is a challenge worth playing.  Check current discounts for the best pricing available.

    Marathon, Florida 

    I once again participated in a golfing event at the Sombrero Country Club in Marathon, FL.  I would like to thank PGA Head Golf Professional Erik Zinn, and the Sombrero membership,  for their hospitality (see my review of the Sombrero Golf Course from Spring, 2011 golf blog, further below).

    I am now back in Michigan.  With the mild late winter and early spring weather, many Michigan golf courses are in full operation. The grass is already plush green and the greens fees are very reasonable.  I will be conducting this season's first set of golf instruction classes at the Tanglewood Golf Course Driving Range (South Lyon, MI), followed by on the course playing lessons.  We will be adding a new "shot-making" skills contest to our lessons this year.

    Contact me if you have any questions.

    Meanwhile, hit ‘em straight.

    Phil Lawrence

  15. Today in Michigan it was snowing and the temp is about 29 degrees F.  I could not wait for the winter to be over so I took a quick trip to Destin, FL.  Although I apparently took some cool and wet weather with me, it was still worth the time to get away for a short while. 

    There are many quality golf courses in the Destin / Panama City Beach area.  The other golfers I spoke with stated that the weather had been exceptionally good, even in January, but it recently turned wet and cool. 

    We looked at several golf courses and had one god day to play golf.  With budget in mind, we chose the SeaScape Golf Course at the SeaScape Resort, near Miramar Beach.  The greens fee before 8:30 AM was $39 plus tax, and $49 after 8:30.  It included a golf cart with accurate GPS that helped us better select our distances.  My Golf Buddy GPS demonstrated the same course layout and distance data.  We were only a couple of hundred yards from the Gulf of Mexico, so the wind played a factor for most shots. 

    SeaScape Golf Course - Destin, FL

    We found the course to be in relatively good condition, although the wet weather yielded a bit slower green speed than expected.

    Green

    The SeaScape Golf Course has a challenging layout, with plenty of water and bunkers. It has an adequate driving range, good practice putting greens, and a nice pro-shop.  This Par 70 course has 4 sets of tees, with the blue set at about 6148 yards and the white at about 5717 (per the score card).  Lesser distances are available from the gold/yellow tees (5091) and the most forward red tees (4530).

    There are other more plush golf courses in the area.  A few that are highly recommended include the Kelly Plantation Golf Course, The Regatta Golf Course, and the four golf courses at the Sandestin Resort, where the Senior PGA Tour once had and annual event.  Each of these courses, including the SeaScape Resort course, is within only a few miles of each other.

    One course that is only about 30 minutes north of Destin, east of Crestview, is the Blackstone Golf course, in Mossy Head, just north of Interstate US-10.  It was highly recommended to me by a fellow golf instructor (although I did not have time to play it myself on this trip).  The greens fees are very reasonable and it appears to have more terrain changes than those that are close to the Gulf.

    In early March I will be in Myrtle Beach and will report on a few of the more affordable courses for that popular spring golfing area.

    Don't forget about the current Golf Show special pricing on a few of our select golf products.  See the blog article below for details.  The code (FM201331) expires on March 31.  We also provide FREE SHIPPING to the continental US.

    Meanwhile, hit 'em straight!

    Phil Lawrence

  16. 1. Indoor Putting Practice  

    You can really improve your putting stroke over the winter months.  If you have at least 6 to 8 feet of tight knit carpet, like a hallway runner, you can putt from one end to nearly the other.

    Putting by itself, however, is not enough to gain improvement.

    You need to assure your set up is correct for each putt, assure that you are making a good stroke, and assure that your follow through is directly toward your target line.

    Use a coaster, (or if you really want a challenge, use a quarter or a nickel), as your target cup.

    Start with 3-ft putts and be sure to (1) take the club straight back or slightly to the inside (not to the outside of the target line), (2) maintain a smooth forward stroke that is about the same length past the ball as your back stroke away from the ball, and (3) follow through straight toward the center of your target / cup.

    After you make at least 10 to 12 of these, move back to the 5 to 7 ft range.

    Now the key to these mid-length putts is to maintain the same stroke mechanics as you did for the 3-ft putts, AND pick a small spot or mark or color point on the carpet that is about 15 to 18 inches away from the ball and in direct line with the center of the target.

    You want to follow through towards, and roll your ball directly over, that dot or spot.

    If you miss that spot you will likely miss your target. By doing this, you have changed that longer putt into an 18-inch putt.

    After you become accustomed to consistently rolling the ball over the spot, then all you need to do is adjust the length of your stroke for the distance of the putt.

    By next season you will be putting great and seldom miss those short and mid-range putts. 

    2. Golf Show Specials

    Many golf shows are taking place over the next two months. These golf shows are often the best place to make excellent value purchases on golf equipment and training aids.  Often the best prices of the year can be found at golf shows.

    Beginning today, and ending on March 31, 2012, we are offering a golf show discount on four of our most popular golf products.

    1. The Golf Buddy™ World Platinum GPS  (if you want a golf GPS, this is the one to buy)

    2. The SwingSpeed Radar™ with Tempo Timer (One of the highest rated golf training aids - measure and improve your rhythm, swing speed, and swing consistency)

    3. The SwingRite Golf Swing Training Aid (For over 40 years this training aid has helped golfers improve their swing, timing, and distance) 

    Use the Discount Code  FM201331 during the checkout process to receive your discount. We also provide FREE SHIPPING to the continental US. 

    4. The 315 page e-book book, "Playing Golf Instruction Manual" (from the basic setup and pre-shot routine, to maximizing your distance, this very graphic online training manual provides a step-by-step process for improving your golfing skills) 

    Keep practicing this winter.  Attend a golf show near you. Contact me if you have any questions.

    Hit 'em straight, 

    Phil Lawrence

  17. Happy Holidays

     

    Winter Training

    What will you work on this winter?

    I was at a local park area the other day (42 degrees F outside), as the adjacent golf course was already closed for the season. 

    I worked on wedge and 9-iron shots. I was measuring swing speed, tempo, distance, and dispersion, using the different clubs and different swing lengths (8 O'clock; 9 O'clock; full swing, etc.

    Golf Practice

    Once the snow gets here, I will work indoors on putting stroke consistency, accuracy, and distance control.

    If you are serious about improving your game, you can identify the areas that you need to work on, and develop an indoor practice routine that will focus on those specific areas.

    For some golfers, it might be simply always taking a proper grip and setting up correctly, while others it might be assuring your forward stroke mechanics begin from the floor up, with your hips and weight shift leading the stroke as your arms wait for the lag to develop.  Half swing speed or even less is good for this level of practice and repetition.   

    Make sure you are following a good example or model (such as in our "Set-up, Swing, and Success" training program) and do it correctly as you engrain the practice into your muscle memory.

    Meanwhile, have a great holiday and New Year.

    Hit 'em straight!

    Phil Lawrence

  18. Depending on where you live, this summer has been either great for golf, or somewhat hot to the point of, "I'm glad I made it through this round"!

    With the heat and now lack of rain in many areas, some courses are running dry and fast. Much different that the wet and cool springtime conditions.

    In working with students this season, I continue to find that even experienced golfers have repetitive flaws in their set-up.  What I see most is an alignment issue, mostly where the golfer lines his/her feet, hips, and shoulders with the target line instead of parallel with the target line. The result is a shot to the right of the target.

    The second is a grip issue, with many experienced golfers maintaining too strong of a right hand grip position, and thus hitting at the ball instead of swinging through the ball position. From a swing standpoint, I often see a failure to rotate the lower body properly and transfer their weight to the front foot .  So many golfers, especially men, still over-swing their arms without adequate lower body rotation.

    If you need help in these areas please contact me. 

    I have been using a dual video system for higher level instruction this season.   One camera is a high speed (up to 1000 fps) unit that better captures swing and clubface positions.

    The new "Playing Golf Instruction Manual" has been very well received.  Even golfers who are taking instructor-led lessons are using the chapters in the manual that address their most important areas for improvement.

    I have now also made the Playing Golf Instruction Manual available via Thumbtack.  Thumbtack is a company that links customers, in my case, golfers and golf enthusiasts, with potential service providers in their local area.  They have many categories. If you need a local photographer,  computer services, music lessons, or a plumber, handyman, or even a different golf instructor, there may be one offering their services at a reasonable price on Thumbtack. Check it out.

    Despite the very warm summer weather, most golf courses in southeast Michigan are in very good condition.  The rough areas have been turning brown, but the fairways and greens have been very well maintained and are in excellent shape.

    Keep cool and practice and play as often as you can. Contact me if you have any questions.

    Hit 'em straight,

    Phil Lawrence

  19. Finally, golf season appears to be in full swing everywhere in the country!  Marginal weather in many areas throughout the springtime has reduced much of the recreational play.

    Also finally, I have completed the golf instruction manual that I have been working on for several years. "Playing Golf Instruction Manual" is available in e-book format (8 chapters, 315 pages) and can be purchased from this website (see http://www.golfinstructioncourses.com/instruction-manual).

    Golf Instruction Manual

    I am very excited about being able to offer this very unique golf instruction to you. It includes all of the instruction that is in the online golf instruction courses, and also a chapter on wedge play, and a chapter on "playing the game" (equipment, rules, course layouts, decision making, shot placement, etc.). It also includes the worksheets / templates for you to use when conducting the learning exercises/drills.

    It is a great value as it represents numerous weeks of golf lessons, all in one package.  If you would like to view the 1st chapter, "Playing the Game", it is available for free through June 30, 2011.  This one chapter is great for any beginner or junior golfer, and a good refresher for experienced golfers. 

    Contact me and I will provide you with access to this 1st chapter.

    For Father's Day we are offering our students, previous customers, and our blog readers a substantial discount on three outstanding products, the Golf Buddy World Platinum GPS rangefinder, the SwingSpeed Radar with Tempo Timer, and the SwingRite golf swing trainer.

    For these items, use the Student Discount Code   D61911  for a 12% discount off the sale price listed on the website. This discount provides excellent pricing on these products based on national comparisons (discount expires June 30, 2011).

    Contact me if you have any questions.

    Hit 'em straight,

    Phil Lawrence

  20. With so many courses to choose from in the Orlando area, we had to pick one course to play on the one potentially dry day that we had available.  

     Orange-County-National

    We had wrapped up our work in Marathon, FL (see March 26 golf blog review of Sombrero Country Club Golf Course) and then stopped at the USGTF offices in Port St. Lucie to discuss online training for golf topics, and also a new golf instruction manual that I have drafted (more on that later this season).

    Following another meeting in the Orlando area, we only had one day to avoid the rain and storms and meet with a retired friend from Michigan who now lives in Orlando.

    After considering numerous courses, we decided on Orange County National, a public course in Winter Garden (a little west and north of Disney World).

    Orange County National was a recent Q-school host site that has two 18-hole courses and a very nice par 3 course.  It also has perhaps the largest, and one of the best, practice ranges available anywhere.

     Orange-County-National-practice-range

    Orange-County-National-Putting-green

    A somewhat favorable special rate, especially for my Orange County resident friend, helped in our decision to select Orange County National.

    We played the “Crooked Cat” course, which is somewhat a links-style venue that is long (7400 yd. from the Q-school tees) and has surprising trouble areas if you do not keep the ball in the fairway.   

    Each golf cart had state of the art GPS capability. The distances provided by the cart GPS were the same as those reported on my Golf Buddy Platinum GPS.  

    Orange-County-National 

    There are several sets of tees where you can choose the distance that you are the most comfortable. You do not have to be a Q-school contender to thoroughly enjoy Orange County National.  Despite the apparently large crowd of golfers, we played at a great pace without waiting and finished 18 holes in a little over 4 hours. 

    Orange-County-National-Crooked Course

    Our one available day did not provide us the time to also play the other course, Panther Lake.

    This is a big week in sports and golf. Congratulations to the University of Connecticut and Butler University, and the Texas A&M and Notre Dame Women, for their basketball successes this season. 

    Regarding the Masters, there are certainly several of the pros who are playing very well right now. I think this year’s match is there for the taking by any of the top 10 contenders.

    Next week we will be in Michigan, and based on the weather, be ready to start playing some "cool" golf.  

    Contact me if you are interested in a lessons program in the southeast Michigan area.

    Hit ‘em straight!

    Phil Lawrence

  21. If you want a complete late winter / spring or summertime vacation that the whole family can enjoy, including golf, ocean breeze, natural resources, great fishing, history, and plenty of sunshine, the Florida Keys has it all.

    Wait a minute. Golf in the Keys? Where?

    Sombrero Country Club

    Sombrero Country Club, Marathon, FL Sombrero Country Club, Marthon, FL

    If you look through past golf blog posts you will find information about two Florida Keys golf courses, a very nice 18 hole course in Key West, and a small par 3 course in Marathon.

    In addition to those courses, the Sombrero Country Club, also in Marathon, provides a very challenging 18-hole par 4 golf course that has a frequently visiting American Crocodile (not an alligator), several families of ground owls, and all of the usual south-Florida birds and inshore fish using the many ponds and water ways (aka water hazards).

    Sombrero Ground Owls American Crocodile

    There are 4 sets of tees with the longest stretching out to nearly 6500 yards. The front 9 has received significant work following hurricane damage several years ago.

    Some of the previously washed out areas have become unique natural hardpan–like rough that you can play from, or avoid with accurate tee shots and approach shots. 

    Front 9-Sombrero Golf Club  Sombrero Golf Front 9

    The Bermuda Grass greens are in great shape and run fast and true. There is significant water on the front 9.

    Sombrero Bermuda Green

    The back 9 is picture-perfect with multiple dog legs, long approach shots, and slightly elevated greens.   

    The finishing hole is a slight dog-leg left with a partially hidden green, as there is a hedge row with a creek that crosses the fairway and fronts the green.

    Finishing Hole Approach to 18th Green at Sombrero

    Your drive has to be long enough to allow for a reasonably good mid-iron or short-iron shot to the green, otherwise you must lay up to avoid a potentially big number.  

    Head Golf Professional Erik Zinn told me that the club offers two types of partial memberships for persons living in the area for only several / winter months of the year, and also offers reciprocal play to members of other golf clubs as well as for vacationing golfers who are in Marathon for only a short time. 

    There is driving range, and there is a well-equipped Proshop with rental clubs available for visiting golfers. Contact Erik to discuss tee time availability or to schedule a golf event. Sombrero Country Club website:  http://www.sombrerocc.com 

    I played as a guest of a member and was able to participate in one of the weekly member’s events.  The members are great. Some have their name on specific holes. 

    Hole No. 8 at Sombrero Country Club  Sombrero Golf Hole No. 8

    I played with one member who has had 7 holes in 1 at the same 160 yard par 3.  Let’s say that they have their shots pretty well dialed in and know the course very well!

    Blend your golf experiences in Marathon with a family stop at the Dolphin Research Center, some fishing with Captain Jeff Shelar  of  “Catch-em-All”  Fishing Charters,

    Dolphin Research Center, Marathon, FL Catch-em-all Fishing Charter

    sun soaking at Sombrero Beach or via kite-boarding at Bahia Honda State Park, and end your daytime hours by watching the sunset from the 7-mile bridge or the park at Key Colony, and you will have had one complete vacation in paradise. 

    Sunset-Marathon, FL

    Hit 'em Straight.

    Phil Lawrence  

  22. Continuing our trip south, we spent the day in Myrtle Beach. Although it has been clear, windy, and somewhat cool for the area, it was a beautiful day.

    It is definitely more green and spring-like that it was in New Bern, NC, which is about 150 miles to the north.

    We stopped by “The Pearl” golf course on highway 179, in Calabash, NC. It is just north of Myrtle Beach and near several other coastal golf courses.  The fairways and greens were an attractive green and appeared in very good condition. The surrounding rough was still brown and winter-like, but trees in the area were budding nicely.

    The Pearl has two 18-hole courses. One (the East; up to 6,793 yd) is tree-lined, and the other (the West; up to 7,006 yd) is links oriented and runs along the Calabash River. Both appeared challenging and had five tee box locations to help take the bite out and put the fun in.   

    The clubhouse/ restaurant/pro-shop is full service with friendly and helpful staff.

    Ideally we would have liked to experience both courses.  The online greens fee on March 2 was $50 for either course. The rates go up as the season progresses. Unfortunately we had to move on and did not have time to play.  

    We did spend some time at one of the driving ranges in Myrtle Beach. There was a constant march of golfers warming up for the season. A large bucket of balls was $15.

    Myrtle Beach Driving Range Myrtle Beach

    We are heading to south Florida in the AM and will be on the road all day (and probably all evening).

    For the Detroit area, the Golf Show is being held in Novi, Michigan this weekend. If you’re in Michigan be sure to attend as there are many good deals on equipment and supplies.  AND REMEMBER, we are still offering our key training aids and the Golf Buddy Platinum GPS at our show discount pricing.

    Stay tuned for our trip updates.

    Hit ‘em straight.

    Phil Lawrence

  23. Finally it is time to melt the ice and snow from my golf clubs and travel southward to kick off my 2011 golf season.  Currently I am in New Bern, North Carolina, where I just finished 18 holes at Harbour Pointe Golf Course.  Although the grass and greens are still in hibernation mode this far north (see pictures), the course was very enjoyable to play.  There are 4 sets of tees ranging from the gold at 6577 yards (slope 130) to the red at 4988 yards (slope 120).  (Blue at 6094 yd; White at 5642yd)

    The golf courses in this area have suffered from the overall economic downturn, and the fact that many golfers by-pass the area as they travel another 150 miles southward to Myrtle Beach, have created a situation where local golfers have these courses to themselves.

    The Harbour Pointe course is one of two golf courses in an older resort and developed community (Fairfield Harbour).  The area also provides an entry point to the Neuse River, leading to Pamlico Sound.  Over the last few years both courses have seen closures, but now the Harbour Pointe course is available for public play from Wednesdays through Sundays. It has minimal staff and services but is very attractive.

    Harbour Pointe Golf - Feb-2011 Harbour Pointe Golf

    Harbour Pointe Golf Harbour Pointe Driving Range

    At $20 for 18 holes with cart, this is a very “Price Friendly” golf course.  While we have been here the course has received very little play. We have had the entire course nearly to ourselves.  Other reasonably priced golf courses are also nearby.

    About 40 miles to the south is Atlantic Beach, Emerald Beach, and the well-known fishing ports of Beaufort and Moorehead City.  

    We will be heading farther south over the next few days and be in Florida later this week.  Stay tuned.

    Hit ‘em straight!

    Phil Lawrence

     

  24. Golf shows are in full swing across the country, even here in the frozen north and in the very snowy mid-sections.

    We are now providing our golf show specials. The NEW discount code (to place on your order form to receive the discount) is DJ120111.

    I know you are anxious to get out and start the season. Be sure to loosen up and get your swing in order before you start blasting away.

    There is no better time to check out products and make good buys than during golf show time.

    Hit 'em straight!

    Phil Lawrence

  25. Golf Training Aids; Game Improvement Activities; New Golf Clubs and Getting Fitted

    Recent 2011 publications have discussed how to increase golf swing speed, improve accuracy, and increase your power and distance for 2011.

    One article suggested a few important tools that golfers could use to help improve swing speed and distance. One of the tools highlighted was the swing speed radar with tempo timer (available from our website).

    A one-page article in another golf magazine stated that you need  to swing fast to hit more solid iron shots.  The article, written by a top 100 golf instructor, states, "Feel like you're "snapping" the club at the bottom".   

    If you have taken our training courses, you know that there is no better tool for you to use to help you get that snap at the bottom of you swing than the SwingRite Swing Trainer.  This training aid, which has been in use for more than 40 years, provides a click sound at the point during the swing where you release the club. (See how you can purchase the SwingRite and receive training on how to proper release the golf club.)

    A brief article in the February edition of Golf Magazine (page 99) outlines various methods for improving your golf game.  These varied from simply more time hitting balls at the driving range to improved fitness to taking golf lessons.

    Each had their own specific advantages. Following the results from 34 participating golfers, it appeared that strength training and core development were the activities that provide the greatest overall benefit to your game, leading to improved accuracy as well as greater distance.  

    There was also an article on "getting fitted" with new golf clubs.  The professional fittings were conducted using a launch monitor. The improvement was reportedly based on results tabulated over the first few months of actual use of the new clubs.  

    In that article, (page 64), the average handicap of the persons (all males) being fitted was 15.8 (a typical score of approximately 88 for 18 holes).  After being fitted, their improvement reportedly took their new handicap down to 13.7, or about a score of 86 for 18 holes.

    It was also indicated (page 64) that using data from 6000 male golfer participants, that after 7 to 12 months of use, 86% of golfers who were custom fit were extremely or very satisfied with their new clubs, and that 79% of golfers who were not custom fit were extremely or very satisfied with their new clubs.

    The bottom line: with the new technologies and better feeling clubs, it looks like most golfers who purchase new golf clubs are quite satisfied with their purchase.  Check out all the new golf clubs at your local golf show (and check out our Golf Show specials - use the current discount code, FM02331 on the order form during checkout to receive your discount).

    Hit 'em straight.

    Phil Lawrence

  26. Here in Michigan playing golf is basically shut down. Below zero wind chills and several inches or more of snow have closed even those courses that try to remain open in the winter.

    There are two elements of game improvement that I think are appropriate for a brief discussion, especially over the winter and heading into next golf season. 

    The first is maintaining some level of physical condition over the holidays and during the winter time. The second is whether everyone should get fitted for a new set of golf clubs.

    1. Maintaining Fitness Level

    Regarding a no-cost and simple process for maintaining some level of flexibility and fitness, I have suggested the  Joel Harper exercise program, "Firming after 50".  The upper body and the lower body workouts are all you need to maintain your flexibility and fitness. (Available from PBS (public) TV at http://www.dptvmedia.org/Joel-Harpers-Firming-After-50-DVD-p359.html.)

    2. Getting Fitted for New Clubs

    Many people will purchase new golf clubs for the holidays.  Are they the right equipment for you? 

    There are great holiday sales on golf club sets, specialty clubs, and other golf equipment.  (We provide great pricing on the products that we offer (e.g., golf gps, Swing Speed Radar, SwingRite). For the next several weeks, use our discount code DJ120111 during checkout to receive your customer appreciation discount. Currently this discount is available for all products.)

    Should you be fitted for your golf clubs by an experienced fitter?  Let me offer a brief real-world story that might help you with this decision.

    I have a golfing friend who typically shoots between 95 and 105 or higher.  He has a decent pre-shot routine and practice swing, but when he gets over the ball he develops a Charles Barkley like syndrome, as he significantly shortens his back swing and then chops at the ball with his forward stroke.

    He decided that he could improve his game if he was custom fit for new clubs.  He went to a well known fitter in the area who optimized the length, grip, loft, lie, shaft flex, swing weight, head design, etc.  for his particular swing.

    Since receiving his customized golf clubs he has yet to break 100.  He said that he likes the feel of his new clubs, but his shot dispersion, inconsistency, and score have not improved.

    For those of you who have taken our online golf instruction courses, you know that I emphasize that if your typical score is much above 90 you should improve your game through appropriate lessons and practice using your existing golf clubs before you get fitted for custom golf clubs.  

    I know this is contrary to what many golf instructors and golf fitters state.  I believe, however, that with appropriate lessons you will improve your swing plane and perhaps your swing speed. These improvements will likely change the shaft selection and perhaps other parameters that are used to determine a proper fit.

    For example, in the case of my friend, he consistently comes over the top because he swings hard with his right arm and shoulder.  He does not allow the swing to actually swing.  He hits at the ball primarily with his right hand.  He abbreviates his backswing and then starts his forward stroke with his arms instead of with his weight shift and hip rotation. 

    A one-hour lesson and a few days of practice time would help him get the top of his back swing to a proper position so he could rely on the swing of his left arm and his hip rotation to bring the clubface back to square with the target line.  This would increase his swing arc and his swing speed and keep his swing path inside the target line, regardless of which clubs he used.

    The first step toward improvement is to identify your weakest points and put a plan in place to make an improvement in those areas.  For many golfers, even experienced golfers, the weakest points are with their set-up and basic swing.  If you cannot determine what faults might be causing your weak or dispersed shots, then be sure to work with a golf teaching professional to make certain that you are placing yourself in a good position so you can make a good shot.  If you can work on your own, consider our online golf instruction courses, beginning with "Set-up, Swing, and Success".  If you are in Michigan, contact me.  I will be glad to help.

    Keep in golf shape and Hit 'em straight,

    Phil Lawrence

    Http://www.golfinstructioncourses.com  

  27. Holiday Discount

    SPECIAL HOLIDAY DISCOUNT Pricing for high value products, like a Golf Buddy GPS range finder, a Swing Speed Radar with Tempo Timer, the SwingRite golf swing trainer, or the SwingRite Home Run Hitter.

    Discount is from the Manufactrurers Advertised Price (MAP) that we must display. Holiday Discount is valid through Dec. 15, 2010.

    Phil Lawrence

  28. Keep your golf game going!

    Golfing has been great this autumn.  The weather in Michigan has cooperated. Courses have been maintained in great shape and the beauty of the colors of the foliage, the angle of the sun, and the deep green of the grass is stunning.  A true bonus is the greens fees. They are at their lowest of the season. You can play 18 holes with a cart for less than $20 at many very nice golf courses.

    Now in mid-November, most of the leaves are now off the trees and also off the fairways and greens.

    After a summer of golf one would think that our golf swing and our golf game is at its best, but this is not necessarily the case.  If you have reduced your practice time then you might not be as sharp as you were in mid-summer.  In addition, although the scenery is beautiful, the cool temperature might tighten muscles and reduce flexibility.  The effects are less distance and greater dispersion among shots.  Add a minor sore throat or a slight cold or autumn allergy and you can almost count on a few more errant shots. 

    There are two elements required to get back to your normal good game. The first is to continue a practice regimen.  Keep your swing in rhythm and maintain your touch with at least 10 to 15 minutes of practice each day and at least the same before you begin your round of golf.  The second is a strong mental focus.   Although the scenery is nice and the cold muscles are not responding as they perhaps should, a sharp focus on shot execution is required.  Remember, align, visualize the shot, go through your pre-shot routine, take your shot.  

    In the north country, enjoy these last few weeks of autumn golf and keep your game going strong. In more central and southern regions, you have the opportunity to play most of the year. Don't give up your practice time. Keep your game sharp all year long.

    If you are looking for a holiday gift for your golfing friends or family members, look at our SPECIAL HOLIDAY DISCOUNT Pricing for high value products, like a Golf Buddy GPS range finder, a Swing Speed Radar with Tempo Timer, the SwingRite golf swing trainer, or the SwingRite Home Run Hitter

    Keep practicing and hit 'em straight!

    Phil

  29. Golfing has been great these last few weeks.  The autumn weather in Michigan has cooperated. Courses are in great shape and the beauty of the colors of the foliage, the angle of the sun, and the deep green of the grass is stunning.  A true bonus is the greens fees. They are at their lowest of the season. You can play 18 holes with a cart for less than $20 at many very nice golf courses.

    After a summer of golf one would think that our golf swing and our golf game is at its best, but this is not necessarily the case.  If you have reduced your practice time then you might not be as sharp as you were in mid-summer.  In addition, although the scenery is beautiful, the cool temperature might tighten muscles and reduce flexibility.  The effects are less distance and greater dispersion among shots.  Add a minor sore throat or a slight cold or autumn allergy and you can almost count on a few more errant shots. 

    There are two elements required to get back to your normal good game. The first is to continue a practice regimen.  Keep your swing in rhythm and maintain your touch with at least 10 to 15 minutes of practice each day and at least the same before you begin your round of golf.  The second is a strong mental focus.   Although the scenery is nice and the muscles are not responding as they perhaps should, a sharp focus on shot execution is required.  Remember, align, visualize the shot, go through your pre-shot routine, take your shot.   

    In the north country, enjoy these last few weeks of autumn golf and keep your game going strong. In more central and southern regions, you have the opportunity to play most of the year. Don't give up your practice time. Keep your game sharp all year long.

  30. Golf Course Reviews

    Well, autumn is already in the air in Michigan. The cool wind and daytime temps in the 60's and low 70's is "refreshing" to say the least.

    This is the time for great golf. The green fees are lower, the courses are in excellent condition, the early color changes are just beginning, and there are good discounts on quality golf equipment.

    We recently played three courses and found each one to be good values and true challenges to your golfing ability.  Rolling Meadows Golf Course in the Whitmore Lake / North Territorial area provides challenge with tough pin placements on somewhat domed greens.   The course was in very good condition and the green fees with cart were in the $25 range.  Less $ if you prefer to walk.

    The 2nd course we played was the Huntmore Golf Club, just north of Brighton, MI.  This course has an impressive layout and requires a cart as the distance between several holes is quite far.  Five tee placements provide for distances from 7105 yards down to 5244 yards.

    This course is not for the faint of heart.  Good course strategy is required to score well, as errant shots are often not recoverable. Bring extra golf balls.  Smart play, however, can take the teeth out of the fairway challenges, but great putting is required on the greens.  To score well you must enjoy firm and very fast.  Play your approach shots under the pin to avoid down-slope or cross-slope putts.  Sign up for their e-club to receive discounted green fees (some in the $25 range).

    Our Golf Buddy GPS Rangefinder was very beneficial at the Huntmore, accurately displaying each hole layout and providing the distances to, and over, the many hazards.  Remember, for a limited time we are providing free golf instruction to persons who purchase a Golf Buddy Platinum GPS rangefinder.   That's an instructor-led session for persons in Southeast Michigan, or an online training course for persons in other areas. See http://www.golfinstructioncourses.com/golf-gps or contact me for more information.

    The third course we played was Indian Springs Metropark, located on White Lake Road, east of Pontiac.  The course conditions were excellent and the scenery was beautiful.  We also provided a review of this course last year (located further down in the blog articles). There is a large distance gap between the white tees and the senior gold tees, which are relatively similar to the forward red tees.  The white tees play at a little over 6400 yards while the gold tees are about 1000 yards less.   Regardless of which tee box used, the key to success at this course is a well positioned tee shot that allows an unrestricted approach shot to the green.  Greens were in very good conditions and putting speed was reasonable.

    Don't put your clubs away. Enjoy more golf this autumn.

    Hit 'em straight!

    Phil Lawrence

  31. In response to the blog article below, most readers do not believe that a penalty should be incurred based on the scenario described.

    In recent news, purchases of the golf buddy gps really like their new World Platinum unit.  We are now offering the online golf instruction course, "Chip Shots and Pitch Shots" with the purchase of each new Golf Buddy Platinum unit. 

    Contact me for more information.

    Hit 'em straight.

    Phil

  32. We usually focus on training or instructional subjects, or topics that will help you better enjoy your golf game, so this brief comment/article is a little stretch, but it may help you better focus on the Rules of Golf.

    As with most people watching the Dustin Johnson penalty event at the PGA Championship, my TV view did not allow recognition of the area that he was in as a bunker. And, if you play anywhere along Lake Michigan, there are many fescue areas that are thin on vegetation and heavy on sand!

    Regardless of that penalty, I thought he may be subject to a 2-stroke penalty for another reason. He requested and received protection from the elements from the bystanders.  

    When there was mention of a penalty I thought he was being called for that reason.

    Rule 14-2 states that "In making a stroke, a player must not:

    a.  Accept physical assistance or protection from the elements.

    During that subject sequence, the sun was shining like a sliver across his ball and he requested someone or some people to block the sunlight from shining on his ball, which someone did.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but the action is no different than asking someone to hold up an umbrella to block rain, or a large coat to block the wind.

    If the crowd happened to be naturally blocking the sun light, then there would likely be no penalty deserved or incurred. But once he mentioned the element and someone helped reduce or eliminate its presence, and he took the shot under that condition, then a penalty would be appropriate.

    If you would like to comment send me an e-mail to let me know what you think about this subject.  I will tabulate responses and provide a summary.

    Hit 'm straight.

    Phil Lawrence
  33. Despite the heat and high humidity, the seminar at the newly re-modeled Tanglewood Driving Range was very successful.

    Attendees learned about the kinematic sequence of the swing and methods to improve or maintain their golf fitness level. They also learned the value of optimizing swing tempo to achieve better shot consistency.  Individual instruction was provided for many of the attendees.

    The most common faults that I saw during the swing evaluations related to a few of the basics.  For both men and women participants, the right hand grip position was set right of the center of the shaft.  One participant unknowingly repeated a "split" grip, where there was a small gap between the right and left hands on the grip (only OK for a few situations).  In each case the ball flight was predictably to the right. Another common fault was a collapsed left arm during the swing, often combined with excessive wrist break, making it very difficult for the golfers to get on plane and deliver consistent shots. 

    In general, we worked mostly on squaring the clubface to the target line at impact (by improving the grip and the position of the club at the top of the backswing, and optimizing the release such that power during the swing is maximized at the position of the ball).

    The two tools that we used to help optimize swing consistency were (1) the Swing Speed Radar with Tempo Timer, to acquire actual speed and tempo time measurements, and (2) the SwingRite golf swing training aid, to help the participants learn how to deliver their swing's power through the ball position, (by improving rotation and not holding on to the club with their right hand), and improving their release and follow through.

    We thank Jerry Seal, owner of the newly remodeled driving range at Tanglewood, for hosting the seminar.  Tanglewood is a premiere golf course in the Southeast Michigan.

    More information about our golf seminars / clinics is available at http://www.golfinstructioncourses.com/golf-seminar.  

    If your organization would like us to provide a golf clinic or seminar, please contact us.

    Hit 'em straight!

    Phil Lawrence

  34. GOLF SEMINAR: AUGUST 15, at Tanglewood Golf Course, 53503 W 10 Mile Road, South Lyon, MI. 

    The seminar is FREE and will begin at 10 AM.

    For southeast Michigan golfers, we our providing the special golf clinic that discusses and demonstrates the benefits of the K-vest and Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) swing evaluation and fitness process, followed by methods to help you improve shot consistency, swing speed, tempo time, and distance. 

    It is about 90-MINUTES in length. Some personal assistance time may be available for attendees after the seminar.

    Phil

  35. JUST A LAST MINUTE REMINDER ABOUT OUR GOLF SEMINAR, BEING CONDUCTED AT COLLEGE FIELDS GOLF COURSE THIS SATURDAY, JULY 31.

    WE WILL DISCUSS AND DEMONSTRATE THE K-VEST AND TITLEIST PERFORMANCE INSTITUTE (TPI) GOLF SWING AND FITNESS EVALUATION PROCESS, AND DISCUSS RELATIONSHIPS REGARDING SWEEETSPOT CONTACT, SWING SPEED, TEMPO TIME, DISTANCE, AND CONSISTENCY.

    THE SEMINAR BEGINS PROMPTLY AT 12 NOON. COLLEGE FIELDS IS LOCATED AT 3800 HAGADORN RD, OKEMOS, MICHIGAN.

    WE HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE.

    Hit 'em straight!

    Phil

  36. Distance Measurement and Golf GPS

    As our students know, we focus heavily on knowing the distance and consistency that you hit each club, and we always focus on keeping the cost of practice and playing golf at an affordable level.

    All golf courses have some type of distance/yardage markers, such as posts, bushes, sprinkler heads, and the like, that indicate the distance from that specific location to the center of the green.

     Tee box hole info  Distance Marker Plate  150 Yard Distance Post

    In our training program we have demonstrated manual tape and rope measurement methods during practice sessions for measuring distances. These methods are very accurate and affordable, but are a bit time consuming and work best when you have a helper or partner learning or practicing with you.

    There are two electronic devices commonly used by golfers for measuring distance. These are Laser Range Finders, and Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

    Laser rangefinders are accurate and help identify distances to an object, such as a flag on a golf course, a post or tree, or a golf cart near a bunker, etc.,  They are limited in their capability, however, with regard to identifying features of the course, green size, etc.

    The use of GPS for golf has been available for several years. Most high end devices have seen good reviews with regard to accuracy and dependability.

    With competitive models, and now cell phone use models available, the cost of GPS use for golf has  become reasonable, especially when looking at the features that are available and how they can help you improve and better enjoy your game.

    GPS technology uses existing satellite signals to locate a position anywhere on earth where the signals can be acquired.  Nearly all golf courses are open areas where the signals can easily be acquired, thus providing for quick and accurate location identification.

    Golf GPS units have data available for most golf courses throughout the world.  The information is either already loaded on the GPS unit, or you can download it from an Internet web site.

    Some GPS manufacturers require a subscription to a download service, or require an annual subscription fee, while others do not.  New App's for Internet-capable cellular telephones now also provide GPS and other information for many golf courses.

    Some golf GPS devices can be used for all levels of play, practice, and competition, and are approved for use under the USGA "Rules of Golf", while specific units that provide slope or angle information are not allowed for sanctioned competition under the rules.

    Most newer models provide golf course information about the distances to hazards from each of the different tee locations, distances from fairway positions to the front, center and back of the green, and some provide information about the size and contour of the green.

    All models provide you with your current position and the distance to the center of the green.

    A significant advantage to using a golf GPS device is that you can repeatedly measure each of your golf club distances under golf course playing conditions. These data could be recorded for comparison with your practice distances to further help both your practice sessions and your on-the-course play.

    By popular request, we now have available select GPS units, the Golf Buddy World Platinum and the Golf Buddy Tour.

    We have looked at various models and decided that (1) the Golf Buddy provides the features that our students and blog readers could benefit the most, and (2) we could provide the Golf Buddy models to our students at the most competitive price.  Remember, as one of our students you could qualify for student pricing for most products, including a GPS unit.

    Golf Buddy World Platinum     Golf Buddy Tour

    In addition to our instruction on how to better manage your game using GPS, we include our online training course, "Improve Your Swing Speed and Tempo", and we include FREE SHIPPING to the continental US.

    Click on the link below to learn more about the Golf Buddy GPS units and how they could help improve your golf game and fun on the golf course. 

     Golf Buddy World Platinum and Golf Buddy Tour Models

    If you are one of our registered students, please contact us for your student price.

    Seminar: If you are in the Lansing / Okemos, Michigan area don't forget about our golf swing seminar on July 31 at College Fields Golf Course in Okemos, Michigan.  See previous blog article, below.

    Have a good summer golf season.

    Hit 'em straight!

    Phil Lawrence

     

  37. We have had significant interest in the golf swing evaluation process and the relationships between swing speed, tempo time, consistency and distance (See the golf blogs, below, of April 2010 and June 2009).

    I will be conducting a seminar / clinic with Maria Carroll, a Level 3 Certified Titleist Golf Fitness Instructor, PGA Tour Fitness Consultant, and Certified Personal Trainer, on July 31, 2010 at College Fields Golf Course in Okemos, MI.

    Maria will be discussing and demonstrating the K-vest golf swing evaluation process and I will be discussing the importance of consistency in swing speed and tempo time, and demonstrating the use of specific techniques to help you improve your consistency and distance.

    The seminar is FREE and will be held from 12 noon to 3 PM at the College Fields Golf Course Driving Range, Saturday, July 31.  College Fields is located at 3800 Hagadorn Road, Okemos, Michigan, just east of Michigan State University.

    There will be time allotted for some personal assistance after the demostrations. We hope to see you there.

    Hit 'em straight.

    Phil Lawrence

  38. Golf Swing Improvement -- K-Vest and TPI Golf and Fitness

    It has been a while, but I think you will all find this very interesting.

    All serious golfers strive to continuously improve their abilities. Even the best professionals have changed their golf swings with focus on improvement and consistency (more fairways hit, more greens in regulation, closer to the cup approach shots, etc. ).

    There are at least 4 schools of thought regarding swing changes.

    1. Leave well enough alone. That is, if you are doing well, don't fool with it, or, "if it ain't broke, don't go a fixin' it".

    2. Everyone has their own basic swing characteristics, for example, Jim Furyk,  Mike Weir, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Moe Norman, Jamie Sadlowski, and Jason Gore. Use that swing and work on ball flight, shot consistency and accuracy.

    3. Continually work on improving your swing. Fully study and evaluate swing positions, potential power leaks, ball flight characteristics, optimum equipment fitting, etc. and focus on improvements that will optimize performance and minimize any flaws.

    4. Hey! I don't have enough time to practice, more or less work on swing changes.  Let's just play some golf!

    The level of effort that you choose for working on improvement is personal. If you plan to compete with PGA tour professionals then you likely know the commitment that you must make. If you are competing with yourself to improve your game and lower your handicap, then either number 2 or 3, above, should start you in the right direction.

    I work with all age golfers of different skill levels, although most are the average golfers who play on an occasional basis.

    But, I spent most of my life in the world of industry where striving for continual process improvement is a daily requirement. So despite the fact that I am old, overweight, and have already had one heart attack, I want to continually improve my golf ability, and I want to find ways to better help my students with their game.

    With this in mind, I decided to go through a more technical evaluation of my swing and see how it compared to players on the PGA tour.

    K-Vest and TPI Swing Evaluation Process

    A process that has been reported to provide a scientific evaluation of the golf swing and compare each swing to the typical swing of tour professionals is the K-Vest and Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) swing evaluation process.  I had heard about this in the past but did not pay much attention to it. 

    During the winter I had fallen on ice and afterward had significant pain issues with my hips and legs. After an MRI, EMG, and other evaluations, my doctor sent me to physical therapy sessions.

    The PT sessions were conducted by Detroit Medical Center (DMC) Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan staff at Novi, Michigan.  Katie Shea, DPT, and PT assistant Alison were excellent. They provided specific therapy and a series of exercise routines that helped minimize the hip and leg pain. These were focused at strengthening my core muscles in the pelvic area. (FYI, stationary pedal biking helped me the most to minimize my hip pain.)

    A few weeks after I finished those sessions I was at a golf show and I met a physical trainer who is also TPI certified.  I decided to participate in a K-vest and TPI evaluation to better understand that process and to see if it could provide another step toward additional improvement and a higher level of play.

    My session was conducted by Maria Carroll. Maria is a certified Titleist Golf Fitness Instructor Level 3 and is a physical therapist assistant in Lansing, Michigan. She is also a certified PGA Tour Fitness Consultant, and certified personal trainer.  She specializes in golf rehabilitation for persons who have been injured and want to be able to play golf again. (Contact Maria at maly57@live.com).

    The K-vest / TPI evaluation is a two-part process. For part 1, you wear the K-vest. (Based on my session, the K-vest is comfortable and does not interfere with your swing.)

    K-vest Set-up

    As you swing, the K-vest measures the rotation and positions of your thorax area (upper body) and your pelvic area (lower body) and sends this information to a computer. The data is presented in a series of graphs and also in 3-D graphics.

    For each of 4 positions during the swing, the Address, Top, Impact, and Finish positions, there is a data range that is typical for tour professionals. Your swing position data is compared to these ranges. 

    Example: Generic graph

    K-vest Data Graph

    Additionally, the graphs compare the upper and lower body rotations during the swing.  There are suggested parameters as to when and where the lower and upper rotations should occur and be positioned during the swing. These parameters parallel the swing position ranges of top professional golfers.

    Thorax and Pelvic Movement 

    You can address the ball and slowly move through your swing positions and watch the computer screen 3-D graphics to see when you are within the suggested range and when you move out of the suggested range.

    In my case, at address I was 0° square to the target line (both hips/pelvis and shoulders/thorax).  Typical tour professionals have a slightly closed stance with their thorax / upper body in the 7° to 17° range.

    Stance Alignment

     The swing evaluation process also provides other data, such as your kinematic sequence (speed sequence from pelvis, thorax, arms, and club), and your spine rotation during the swing.

    Part two of the session provides the evaluation, further evaluates your flexibility, and recommends a course of action based on the findings.

    The K-vest / TPI findings

    Despite good golf shots, my ability to create a swing that is in the comparable range to that of the tour pros was hampered by my lack of upper body rotation flexibility, marginal hamstring and leg flexibility, and my overall lack of good physical conditioning (I'm not 30 years old any more!). 

    Pelvis / Hip Rotation Data

    I had more than enough hip and pelvic rotation, but not enough upper body rotation in relation to the pelvic rotation. I coined the phrase "swollen core" (i.e., a protruding, overweight abdomen), and told Maria that it was getting in the way of good upper body rotation.

    To better describe the upper body rotation vs. the overall rotation, Maria had me stand straight with my arms crossed with fingers touching my shoulders, and then trying to rotate my upper body without any hip rotation. This would provide the increased torque that would help increase swing dynamics.

    Maria said that the focus of an improvement program for me would be to work on (1) my upper body flexibility, (including shoulder rotation without rotating my hips), (2) my overall core strength, including hamstrings and legs, and (3) reducing my "swollen core", i.e., lose some weight around my mid-section.

    Interestingly, in a Golf Digest article, (Autumn, 2009 timeframe) Tom Watson suggested that as you become older and your flexibility decreases you must use your hips more to get the rotation that you need.

    Even though it was demonstrated that I have good hip/pelvic rotation, despite my age I should improve my upper body flexibility and my overall flexibility and strength.  This will help my golf swing and my overall health.

    For me, I see a two-fold benefit from the K-vest / TPI session and Maria's suggestions. The primary reasons for me to improve flexibility and physical fitness are to help avoid future injury, especially back injury, and to be able to continue playing golf and work at my own continual improvement.

    A second benefit of being familiar with this process, however, is that I can provide greater help to my students. I can pay better attention to their fitness level and stress the importance of maintaining good physical condition with the help of a certified personal trainer like Maria. I can also pay closer attention to the kinematic sequence of movement from the pelvis, chest, arms and clubhead.

    For example, I typically have students hold their lag position during the forward stroke, but a greater focus on the overall transition, including a delayed lag, may help students acquire a smoother, more consistent stroke. 

    A video of my K-vest swing evaluation and fitness session can be viewed via the training website. Contact us to receive a password to login and view the video.

    My Next Steps

    Maria's suggestions provided a personal exercise plan to help improve my flexibility and core strength. The exercises take about 40 to 45 minutes and are similar to, but more aggressive than, those that I was completing for my physical therapy sessions.  Contact Maria at maly57@live.com if you want to customize a K-vest and "get fit" program for yourself.

    Before you begin any exercise program consult with your personal physician to assure that you are healthy enough to begin a fitness program. Follow his/her direction.

    Unfortunately, my ability to sustain a very aggressive fitness routine has been hampered by repeated injuries to old sport injuries and other injuries, including issues with both hips.  At my age and marginal fitness level I have found that I must pursue a less vigorous effort in order to continually work at improving my physical fitness.

    Persons younger than me, or those who have maintained their fitness level better than I have, should not have any problems with the more intense fitness routine.

    There are two programs, however, that I found work well for me and that I am able to routinely complete.

    First, I have been able to resume the injury-focused personal exercise program that I was provided with by the DMC physical therapists.  That program was developed over several PT sessions, and those exercises are similar to the exercises that Maria offered during the fitness evaluation.

    For us older, or less fit persons, a second program that I have tried that provides me an excellent workout without excessive stress is available to everyone via public TV. The Joel Harper DVD series of workouts, titled "Firming After 50", (Upper Body and Lower Body workouts) demonstrates 3 fitness levels of activity and provides excellent cardio and core strength-building fitness programs.  (Available from public TV at http://www.dptvmedia.org/Joel-Harpers-Firming-After-50-DVD-p359.html.)

    Almost anyone should be able to complete those exercises, with permission from their personal physician.

    As my fitness improves I may be able to increase the level of effort and resume the more aggressive program.

    What should you do? Don't wait. Keep in golf shape and health shape. Start your own physical fitness activity program today. Make this golf season your best golf season ever.

    I do believe that improving my level of fitness will help me continue to enjoy playing golf and teaching golf.  A K-vest golf swing and fitness evaluation program like Maria offers can help better golfers understand their swing, improve their fitness level, and become even more competitive.

    An appropriate personal fitness program can help everyone better enjoy playing golf.

    Contact me if you have any questions or comments regarding this article or the online golf instruction training courses, or if you would like to view the video or participate in an instructor-led Golf Training Program in southeast Michigan.

    PS. Be sure to ask about our 2010 early season student specials for the SwingRite golf swing trainer and the Sports Senor's Swing Speed Radar with Tempo Timer, and about the new DVDs.

    Hit 'em straight!

    Phil Lawrence

      

  39.  

    Summer Golf Vacation for Everyone

    The heat and humidity of summer has finally reached south Michigan, but the overall summer has been relatively dry and pleasant. This means that the golfing opportunities have been outstanding.

     

    Here are a few golf courses that I have played recently that will satisfy whatever golf challenge you would like to make for yourself, from most challenging to forgiving -- and a couple of them won't take too big of a bite out of your wallet.

    Moose Ridge

    Let's look first at one of the most challenging.

    Moose Ridge golf course in South Lyon, Michigan is stunning from the clubhouse to the course layout, and presents a significant challenge for most golfers.

    Moose Ridge Golf Course

    A sign in the clubhouse request persons with a handicap greater than single digit to play from no more that the white (middle) tees (6080 yards; Slope 128)

    Moose Ridge Fairway

    Regardless of which tee you play, you are faced with undulating and sloped fairways, elevation changes, strategic bunkering, and little room for recovery from minor mistakes. That's why even the senior (Gold) tees carry a slope rating of 130.

     

    The greens range from small to large with pin placements in some of the most challenging locations. 

     Moose Ridge Par 3

    An approach to the center of the green is often your best choice.

    The day we played the greens were in excellent condition, but slower than expected (perhaps due to recent heavy rains) compared to when we played the course last year.

    This is a cart only golf course as the distance between many of the holes is long and the path travels up and down wooded trails.

    Excellent practice facilities include a driving range, bunker area, and large putting green.  The staff is very helpful, can provide services common to private country club courses if you desire (clean your clubs, etc.), and the menu selection and food in the restaurant is excellent.

    Greens fees, including cart, are $55 on weekends / holidays and $45 weekdays.  Seniors (55+) are charged $40 on weekends after 2PM, and $35 on weekdays. Phone 248-446-9030.

    Please see next post. 

  40. Summer Golf Vacation (continued) Timber Trace

    Timber Trace golf course is north of M-36 just west of Pinckney, Michigan.

    This course also requires carts as a number of the holes are a significant distance apart. The course is in very good condition and a pleasure to play.

    Tee and slope options present good challenge for all levels of play. (Championship tees are at 6838 yards / 129 slope; Middle tees are at 6104 yd / 122 slope; Forward tees are at  5726 yd / 118 slope (123 for women)). Greens are in excellent condition and pin placement can lead to significant challenge.

     

    Trouble along the fairways includes strategic bunkers, wetlands, and significant tree-lines. To score well you must stay out of the trees.

     Timber Trace Golf Course

    There are a couple of homes along the course that could get in the way of an errant shot. Various wildlife is usually present along this course.

    Timber Trace Wildlife

    Practice facilities are excellent and include a driving range, bunker area and putting green.  The clubhouse facilities are very good and the grill has good food at reasonable prices.

    Green fees are $45 on weekends/holidays and $35 weekdays.

    Senior (age 55+) rates are $25 weekdays and $35 weekends and twilight rates start after 2 PM. They are $25 on weekends and $20 weekdays. Phone 734-878-1800. 

     

     

     

     

     

    Indian Springs

    The Indian Springs MetroPark golf course is off of White Lake Road, near White Lake, Michigan (north of M-59, northwest of Oakland County Airport / Pontiac).

    Like most Huron-Clinton MetroPark Authority (HCMP) golf courses the teeth is in its length. The middle tees are nearly 6474 yards and the championship tees are at 6688 yards.  The course is in excellent condition with challenging but very playable fairways and greens. 

     Indian Springs golf course Indian Springs Golf Course

    Keep the ball in the fairway and you can score well.  Despite the length you can walk this course and have a very enjoyable day.

    Practice facilities are good and include a driving range and putting green.

    Green fees are $39 weekends / holidays ($26 walking) and $35 M - F ($22 walking). Weekday Senior (over 62) rates are $15 walking and $25 with cart. A MetroPark annual sticker or a $4 park entry fees is also required.  Phone 1-800-234-6534.

    The food at the grill is good (breakfast specials also available) but we chose to go to the nearby White Lake Inn, on Ormond Road, about 1-mile south of White Lake Rd. The food there is excellent and the experience on the outside patio overlooking the lake is very enjoyable.

     

    Please see the next Post.

  41. Summer Golf Vacation for Everyone (continued)

    Hunters Ridge

     

    If you do not mind a drive into farm country, then Hunters Ridge golf course will be a very nice golfing experience, at a very affordable price.

    Hunters Ridge is north of Howell, Michigan, north of M-59, on Byron Road.

    When you first approach this Jerry Matthews designed course it looks like you are in farmland, but once you get to the golf you find that you must concentrate on your shot placement or the ball will be eaten by the very deep (thigh -high) natural grasses or the wooded areas that are located all along the edges of the fairway.  Bring extra balls as you cannot find them if they go in the high grass.

    Hunters Ridge Golf Course Par 3

    The greens are excellent, very well protected, and very rolling.

    Hunters Ridge Guarded Greens Green Contours 

    Your shot placement and accuracy, and your green reading and putting skills will be challenged when playing Hunters Ridge.

    I played on a weekday afternoon and it was not until the 16th hole that I met up with two other golfers, Bill and Jack. We basically had the course to ourselves. They live in the area, knew the course well, and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and the beauty of the various holes.  They especially like holes 17 and 18, so I included a picture of 17 so you can see what they see.

      Hole 17. Long Par 3

    Weekday greens fee, including cart, is $25. The weekday rate for Seniors (over 50) is only $20 with cart. Phone 517-545-4653. 

    Hunters Ridge Clubhouse

    The clubhouse is an attractive Superior Log structure that houses the pro shop, snack bar, meeting area, and an outside patio.

    Practice facilities are good and include a driving range and putting green.

    Please see the next post. 

  42. Summer Golf Review, continued

    Huron Meadows

    Huron Meadows golf course is south of Brighton, Michigan, east of US-23 and north of Silver Lake Rd.

    It is in very good condition and is an excellent HCMP golf course.  Practice facilities are also excellent and include a driving range, a bunker practice area, a chipping and pitching practice green, and a large putting green.

    Huron Meadows Clubhouse and Practice Greens

     

     Although it appears fairly open, there are many elements in addition to length that present challenge. 

     

    Strategically located trees, doglegs, bunkers, and large greens with significant roll and tough pin placements present adequate challenge for most golfers.  Wildlife such as deer, foxes, coyotes, sandhill cranes, bluebirds, and geese abound.

    One of the very attractive and challenging holes at Huron Meadows is No. 9.

      

    Huron Meadows Par 4

    This 467 yard par 4 (white tees are 456 yd) requires a tee shot that must travel over a pond  and avoid the large tree on the right that protrudes partially over the fairway. Go too far left, however, and you are in pine trees, or worse, out of bounds.

     

    Most golfers cannot reach the green in two. Be sure to choose the tee box that is within your capability level. The forward tees reduce the angle and the distance over the pond.

    The green for No. 9 is very large with a lower and upper tier and sand traps on the right side and over the back.

    Huron Meadows

    There are good clubhouse facilities, including a meeting room, but the grill has a very limited menu.  There are a number of good restaurants a few of miles north of the course on Whitmore Lake Rd, paralleling US-23.

     Green fees are similar to other MetroParks, $39 weekends / holidays ($26 walking) and $35 M - F ($22 walking). Weekday Senior (over 62) rates are $15 walking and $25 with cart. A MetroPark sticker or a $4 park entry fees is also required.  Phone 1-800-234-6534.

    Golf Vacation Summary

    The variety of golf course experiences in southeast Michigan can offer you challenge and a great day of golf that will meet your expectations and your budget requirements.  What I find is that playing a course for the first time often makes you want to play it at least one more time. You know that you would play certain holes differently if you knew the course a little better, hence, a second chance.

    For each of the courses mentioned above your putting ability and your short game skills are important if you plan to score well. Tee shot accuracy is especially important at Moose Ridge, Hunters Ridge, and Timber Trace.

    Contact me if you or your friends or family members need some help in these shot-making areas, or consider one of our online training courses that address the area where you need help the most.

    Until next time. Hit 'em straight!

    Phil Lawrence

  43. Golf Competition - Support Your Charity

    All golfing eyes were on the rain-soaked U.S. Open, taking place last week at Bethpage Black golf course in Farmingdale, New York.

    An almost comeback by Ricky Barnes, and excellent play by David Duval, Phil Mickelson, and others to hang in there and make the event very competitive down to the wire, provided for a memorable tournament.  A very good job was managed by Lucas Glover to make the birdie when it really counted and have his name added as a U.S. Open champion.

    Fortunately there are certain other golf activities taking place that us mere mortals can participate. These occur every week and for some golfers it may be their most enjoyable golfing experience of the season.

    Last week I had the pleasure of attending a fund-raising event (golf outing) for the Novi Jaguars FC Scholarship Program. The Novi Jaguars FC is a youth soccer club in Novi, Michigan (30 miles west of Detroit). The teams and players developed by the organization are competitive with the best youth teams in the US. Many players go on to play soccer in college.

    A number of the soccer coaches are originally from the home areas of golf, i.e., Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.

    The organization strives to be certain that any young person in the Novi, Michigan area who wants to play soccer will have the opportunity to play and learn despite the high unemployment rate and very difficult financial issues in the area.

    During the event we volunteered to take the Swing Speed and Tempo Time measurements of those participants who would like to know that information. We took the measurements at the tee of the  designated Long Drive competition hole.

    The data and report might be insightful for the many of us golfers who are not playing in the US Open.

    Following is a review of the event and the data generated, with some additional information on golf swing speed, tempo time, and shot distances.

    Event Format

    ·         Recreational golf outing, Best Ball Scramble Tournament

    ·         Proceeds benefit the Novi Jaguars' FC Scholarship program

    ·         112 registered golfers; 64 participated in the measurement survey

    ·         Golfer ability ranged from "very good" to "just learning"

    ·         Conditions: Weather -- Sunny, low 70's;  Slight breeze directly toward tee box, occasionally with a left to right presence.

    ·         Location: Cattails Golf Course, South Lyon, Michigan

    ·         Fairway: Intimidating tree on left, smaller trees on right. 100 yd carry over swamp area required. Slight uphill fairway at typical ball landing area.

    Long Drive Competition

    PLEASE SEE THE NEXT POST FOR CONTINUATION AND MORE INFORMATION

  44.  

    Speed Measurement

    Swing Speed and Tempo Time was measured using a "SwingSpeed Radar™ with Tempo Timer", a device that uses Doppler Radar to make very accurate speed measurement.

    Swing Speed and Tempo Measurement

    Distance Measurement

    Distance was measured via a pre-marked rope that extended from the 200 yard center of the fairway to the 300 yard center of the fairway. The actual measurement was then taken and reported by our event coordinator/volunteer.

    Data (The data provided is based on the survey participants.) 

    • Swing speed range for men was 79 mph to 122 mph with the average being 105.
    • Swing speed range for women was 71 mph to 94 mph with the average being 79 mph  (Note: only 7 ladies participated in the measurement survey).
    • Tempo time range for men was 0.78 sec to 1.40 sec with the average being 1.03
    • Tempo time range for women was 0.88 sec to 1.47 sec with the average being 1.28 sec.
    • The longest drive for men, approximately 270 yards, came from a swing speed of 109 mph with a tempo time of 1.14 seconds.
    • The longest drive for women, approximately 215 yards, came from a swing speed of 94 mph with a tempo time of 0.88.

    Observations

    1. A  number of golfers did not participate in the measurement survey because they believed that the presence of the measurement device would break their concentration on the shot.

    Based on the data and observations, there did not appear to be any difference between the number of good drives (those in the fairway or playable near the fairway) vs. poor drives (those that significantly missed the fairway), whether the measuring device was present or not present.

    That is, even for those golfers who did not participate in the measurement survey, the number of poor drives was about the same as for those golfers who elected to participate in the measurement survey.

    2. For the 20 men participants who's driver shot landed in or near the fairway, the average tempo time was 1.02 sec with an average swing speed of 110 mph and an average distance of 243 yards.

    3.  Men with higher swing speeds may not have achieved the distance for which they had potential due to several factors. These include club head loft, club shaft flexibility, swing path, applied power / body position, ball selection, the location on the clubface where contact occurred with the ball, etc. 

    A number of high swing speed drives went very high in the air to the point of losing potential distance while others were lined, low-trajectory drives that did not have enough air-time carry to acquire a longer distance.

    PLEASE SEE NEXT POST FOR CONTINUATION OF THIS GOLF INFORMATION / DATA

  45. Comparison Statistical Information

    An analysis of data from a report in Golf Magazine demonstrated that a series of mid to low handicap men golfers with an average swing speed of 97 mph achieved an average distance of 239 total yards.

    Analysis of data reported in a specific robot swing testing study demonstrated that a swing speed of 105 mph and a launch angle of 12.25 degrees resulted in an average carry distance of 254 yards and an average total distance of 288 yards (robot was set up for perfect contact with the ball).

    According to data published by the Professional Golfers Association (PGA), the average driving distance for players on the PGA tour is about 285 yards, with an average of 64% of drives landing in the fairway. 

    Another report in a national golf magazine stated that a swing speed of 110 mph is required to achieve a 300 yard drive, which included carry in the air and roll on the ground.  It also stated that in addition to the speed of the swing, other important swing and equipment factors must be in place to achieve that distance. 

    Although it helps to be physically strong, you do not need to have the build and strength of a football tight end to have potential for very long drives. The ladies on the LPGA tour can routinely deliver 260+ yard drives.

     

    Why Measure Swing Speed and Tempo Time

    The measurement of swing speed and tempo time is important for those golfers who want to increase their ball striking consistency and their distance.

    For the purpose of this survey, swing speed is defined as the speed that the club head is moving as it contacts the ball.

    Tempo time is defined as the time it takes for your club head to leave the address position, proceed through the take away and back swing and then return to the impact position. 

    Although most professional men golfers have a tempo time less than 1.0 second, it is most important to maintain a tempo time that you personally are comfortable with so that you can consistently bring the clubface back to a square position to the target line at the point of impact. Rushing your take away and backswing can lead to very poor ball contact and bad shots.

    If you are just learning to play golf other elements of the your swing and playing might be more critical, (grip, posture, alignment, ball position, swing path, etc.), but eventually you will need to manage your tempo and may want ways to increase your swing speed without adversely affecting your accuracy and consistency.

    One measurement of swing speed and/or tempo time can only provide a starting point for discussion and evaluation. Typically, I like to start with a minimum of three sets of 10 shots per set.  The objectives are to 1st identify the swing speed and tempo time, and then to maintain consistency with the results being no more than 0.1 second of tempo time and 5 mph of swing speed differences from shot to shot.

    There is no incorrect or correct tempo time. Each golfer has their own tempo comfort level. 

    In the long drive competition at the Novi Jaguar's FC golf outing, the men's winning drive of 270 yards had a tempo time of 1.14 seconds and a swing speed of 109 mph. The fastest men's tempo time was 0.78 seconds, (with a 118 mph swing speed), which resulted in a similar length playable drive that did not land in the fairway.

    The overall objectives for measuring swing speed and tempo time are to assure that your swing is very close to the same tempo time with each club. A consistent tempo time will help you achieve very consistent distance for each club.  This helps you score better because if you know your distance for each club then you will have confidence in your shot length and end up close to your target.

    Swing speed will vary with each club based on the length of the club. The longer the club the slightly faster the swing speed. (E.g., 9-iron, 80 mph; 5-iron, 92 mph; Driver, 101 mph.)

    PLEASE SEE THE NEXT POST FOR MORE INFORMATION / CONTINUATION

  46. Getting More Distance

    Despite all of the commercial advertisements, there is no simple formula or easy fix for acquiring more distance. There are, however, proven methods to help a golfer increase swing speed, applied power, and driving distance, as well as iron shot distance. You learn, practice, and improve. See our training course, "Get More Distance".

    Elements that help all golfers gain more distance include primarily optimizing your set up and grip, your swing path, your angle of attack toward the ball, the position of your weight and your balance when contact is made with the ball, your release point of the golf club during your swing, and several other elements. 

    Equipment factors such as the loft of the clubface and the shaft flex and bend point in relation to your type of swing and your swing speed are also important, as is using a ball designed for your swing speed and optimum ball flight trajectory. 

    Summary

    Measuring swing speed and tempo time with a focus on improvement can help a golfer become more consistent and accurate with each of their clubs, increase their swing speed, and gain more distance.

    I hope you found this information interesting and of some benefit for your golf game. 

    Small non-profit organizations often provide significant benefit to community residents but generally do not receive charitable donations provided by large commercialized activities such as PGA tour events.

    Your participation in an event such as the Novi Jaguar's FC Golf Outing can be fun for all and, most importantly, provide funds for worthwhile organizations that help children learn and grow, and receive a better education.

    The Jaguar's golf outing raised several thousand dollars for their scholarship fund. Look for events such as this that are sponsored by your favorite charitable organization.

    Other Information

    The Cattails Golf Course is a very challenging course that is in excellent condition and is very affordable to play. Bring some extra golf balls. There are a lot of locations on the course to permanently misplace the one you begin with!  Cattails is located in the South Lyon, Michigan area, west of Novi and north of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    There are numerous golf courses in this area that provide a challenge to all levels of golfers and most provide very reasonable golf rates.

    Earlier this week I played Coyote Golf Club in New Hudson, Michigan and found that course to also be in excellent condition and also very reasonably priced, especially for us seniors. 

     Golf in Southeast Michigan

    Coyote Golf Club, New Hudson, MI

    Remember, if you are looking for a swing speed and tempo time measurement device, the Swing Speed Radar with Tempo Timer is our choice and can be purchased, with our online "Improve Your Swing Speed and Tempo" training course, from the website  www.golfinstructioncourses.com/swingspeed.

    If you would like a detailed program to help you increase your ball striking and improve your accuracy, consistency and overall distance, consider the online training course, "Get More Distance", also available from the www.golfinstructioncourses.com website.

    If you are a beginner or just learning to play golf, we suggest beginning with the "Improve Your Putting" training followed by the "Set-up, Swing, and Success" online golf instruction course.

    Until next time. Hit 'em straight!

    Phil Lawrence

     

  47. 2009 PGA Golf Merchandise Show 

    Everything new and many things old were at the 2009 PGA Golf Merchandise Show in Orlando, FL (Jan 29 - 31).

     2009 PGA Golf Show

    The newest equipment, golf training aids, clothing, golf course management tools, and swing analysis equipment and software were on display and demonstrated.

    Of primary interest from our golf training and improvement point of view were new artificial putting greens, golf swing and distance improvement devices, mats, nets, tees, putting and ball striking analysis software, and quality golf equipment for juniors and youth players.  We thank Sports Sensors, Inc. (Swing Speed Radar™) for letting us help and participate with them at this year’s PGA Golf Merchandise Show.   

    One important device that was demonstrated at the show has been well proven as a golf training aid for over 40 years. The “SwingRite” can be used to help you learn to release your golf club at the perfect time as well as improve your swing path and approach angle.  

    SwingRite Golf Swing Trainer  

    This training aid is a good tool to use with our swing instruction course and the “Get More Distance” training course. A short training segment, with video, on how to best use and benefit from this device will soon be available and included with the SwingRite when purchased from this website. 

    A unique putting mat called the KC Track Putting Mat leaves a ball track where your putt rolled. You can see if you are skipping your ball the first few feet, if you are pushing or pulling your putts, or if you have a good roll. By lightly brushing the mat in the opposite direction of the ball roll the tracks disappear. 

    The speed of this practice green can be quickly decreased or increased by simply stretching the length of the mat. These putting practice greens will soon be available on our golf instruction courses . com website.  

    There was a number of very good practice hitting mats at the show. One that we liked was the 5-ft X 5-ft “Real Feel” golf mat. These golf mats are already in use by many top golf instructors and at numerous golf clubs and academies.

    Real Feel Professional Golf Mat

    The mat has a density and thread thickness that lets the golfer take a normal divot-producing swing without a bounce-back from the mat. The contact with the ball followed by contact with the mat provides for “Real Feel”.  You can also use real tees.  These mats will also soon be available from our website.  

    From a fitness perspective a set of devices from Smart Body Golf helps increase strength of the muscles used during the golf swing. The weighted SONA Core Trainer combined with the Swing Fit Elite stretch bands golf system helps you to parallel your strength training with your golf swing. 

    Sona Core Trainer  Sona Swing Fit Stretch Bands

    In addition to all the new clubs from the major manufacturers, demonstrated at the show were many high end golf swing analyzers, swing plane devices, and golf simulators that are typically seen in golf stores and golf schools, and are often used by sponsored professionals.  

    These analyzers and devices are excellent and provide outstanding information but they are beyond the financial recourses of most individual golfers so I won’t discuss these items. 

    We will continue our focus on the use of specific products that can help the average golfer improve their ability at an affordable price.  We were able to initiate agreements with several equipment manufactures and are making arrangements for their products on our website. For some of these products we will include our own training that will help you best utilize the products to improve your golf ability. 

    We are very excited about the equipment that we will have available for juniors and young golfers. 

    Hit ‘em straight. 

    Phil Lawrence

  48. In many northern areas the golf season has now passed. Even the Indian Summer autumn season has come to an end as cold, wind, and wet weather arrives and sunshine hours dwindle. 

    It’s a good time to reflect on how we played this past season and what areas we need to focus on most to improve our scoring potential. For some, it might be getting the ball on or near the green in regulation. For others it might be improved putting, and for others, it might be driver distance and control. 

    My main issue, as I suspect is an issue for many golfers, is consistency. I can birdie the toughest hole on a golf course, have a good round going, and then get a double bogie on the easiest hole on the course.  This may be due to a mental lapse, poor judgment regarding club selection, poor shot positioning, misread greens, or a host of other reasons. 

    The important element is to determine if one or two patterns have developed, such as frequent misread greens, or weak chip shots, or iron shots off to the right or left, or weak or poor drives. By recognizing a common or frequent cause for poor position on the course, we can then focus our practice or learning time on those specific shots or clubs that will help us the most.  

    Our newest training course, “Get More Distance”, is designed to help improve ball striking and to increase applied power and distance for all clubs, especially the driver. If you are not getting good distance off the tee, then this training course will definitely help you increase your distance and consistency. 

    From the other end of the fairway, the “Improve Your Putting” training course will help anyone who has difficulty managing speed of putts and getting the 1st putt in the cup or close to the cup.  This is a great training course for new or beginning golfers, or for experienced golfers who 3-putt greens or miss more than 50% of their putts that are less than 10-ft. 

    In those areas where golf can be played year round there is still a lag in the action. This is often the time to find great deals on this years close-out clubs, golf balls, apparel, and other golf items and gifts. 

    If you plan a Florida get-away this winter, be sure to read the Blog of March 20, 2008 (scroll down, below).  It highlights a number of Florida golf locations and activities along the east coast from Jacksonville to Key West. 

    Now, think about what area you want to improve and what steps you plan to take to make those improvements. Look at our training course offerings and consider taking the one course that addresses your most important area for improvement.  Don’t settle for mediocrity. You can improve with a training program that is focused on your needs. 

    Hit ‘em straight! 

    Phil Lawrence

  49. Well, the golf season is now in full swing in Michigan and the rest of the US, Canada, and Europe.

    Due to family issues I was unable to go to Scottsdale, AZ in May, so I have no report at this time on affordable courses in that area. Perhaps next year?

    I see two common areas of concern among the students and many other average golfers who are now trying to enjoy their time on the golf course.

    Putting - The first area of concern is in putting. Some golfers over-do the time it takes to line up a putt and make their stroke, only to still miss the putt. This often leads to aggravation, more tension, and even longer time for the next putt.  

    Taking too long builds tension and provides time for too many thoughts.

    Other golfers continually make the same basic mistakes and do not seem to understand what they are doing wrong or how to correct it.

    Without a focused pre-putt routine, you are simply guessing and likely setting yourself up for a number of 3-putt greens.

    To help all golfers establish a solid routine, assess their putt situation, and make a higher percentage of their putts, we have developed a new training course appropriately named “Improve Your Putting”.  Putting Green

    The training provides focus on technique, successful putting methods, and process for improving accuracy and distance control.

    The course includes 7 student booklets with learning exercises, and access to ten video demonstrations.

    If you are a beginning golfer there is no better place to start that to develop the feel for contact with the ball using the putter.

    Watch your scores quickly improve.

    Hybrid Clubs- The second area of concern is a combination of club selection and the lack of use of hybrid clubs.

    Many golfers choose the wrong club for the lie or distance situation. They still do not understand that hybrid clubs will help them hit the ball higher, straighter, and farther than typical mid and long irons.

    Let’s assume that you have a reasonably good drive but it is in the first cut of rough along the edge of the fairway. The distance to the middle of the green is 170 yards.

    The green has a pond along the right edge, a large sand trap along the front center and left side, and brush / woods over the back. It slopes from back to front and the cup is located in the front left, just behind the bunker.

    For a low handicap golfer this is not a difficult shot or club selection. Choose your 170 yard club, focus on left center of the green, staying away from the right / pond side, take your two putts, maybe one if you’re lucky, and be off to the next hole.

    For the average golfer who typically shoots 95+, this could be a scorecard wrecker.He/she sees the pond and the sand trap. The 170 might be a 4-iron or even a 3-iron or a fairway wood.

    If you have a reasonable swing, this might be an excellent shot for a hybrid. 1st, the lie in the light rough on the edge of the fairway provides a good situation for a hybrid club. The grass won’t catch the clubhead as easily as it might with the iron.

    The ball should quickly rise and land on the green with less roll distance than it would have if struck by a corresponding iron, thus keeping the ball on the green.   

    The hybrid is likely more forgiving, also minimizing the likelihood of going right, into the pond.

    If you are not convinced, or if you cannot acquire a hybrid at this time, then you could play the ball short of the green and to the right of the sand trap. This would provide you with a good angle toward the flag and perhaps an opportunity to chip or pitch a shot close and one putt for a par.

    There are many brands of hybrids available, and each brand has a variety of lofts. For example, a 21 degree hybrid might replace a 4-iron or a 3-iron. A 24 degree might replace a 5-iron. And don’t be afraid of trying a 29 degree. This is an excellent club for the 130 to 160 yard range, depending on your swing speed.

    Well, it’s time for me to go play some golf.  

    I am working with some students on their swing speed and swing tempo. (See the swing speed page.)There will be more details about hybrids, and some good example evaluations, in a future blog article.

    Hit ‘em straight.

    Phil Lawrence

  50. We finally had some decent weather here in Michigan. Still cool and windy, but many golfers have been out playing.

    And, the best of all, spring rates are in effect. We can play at fairly reasonable pricing, e.g., anywhere from the $20 to $35 range for 18 holes with a cart at many very nice courses.

    Aerated Green

    Some greens may only be in fair condition. Some are likely okay, while others are growing in, as many are aerated and/or recently dressed.

    IMPORTANT: You have not been playing for months, the weather, despite some sunshine, is cool and windy, and your unused golf muscles are like tightly wound rubber bands. This is the time of year to heed some warnings.

    Be sure to thoroughly warm up and get some practice in before you start blasting your shots on the course. You do not want an early season injury that continues to affect you over the summer months.  

    A quick practice routine might begin with some of your favorite general stretching exercises to loosen up. Then you can do some putting practice followed by some short chip shots with a wedge, followed by perhaps a 9 iron or an 8 iron.  Then move your way up to a mid-iron and a hybrid or fairway wood before bringing out the driver. 

    10-minutes of putting practice followed by only a few shots with each of the clubs mentioned will help you be ready to play and to get your round, and your season, off to a good start. 

    Golf Instruction

    Early in the season like this you might feel as if you have never hit a golf club before. A long lay-off can do that to the best golfers. Parts of your game might respond well, but other parts are simply not sharp.  For example, you might have your putting touch but can’t seem to chip it or pitch close. Or perhaps your driver feels like a hammer throw. 

    This is a good time to refresh yourself with some at-home fundamentals practice to help you re-acquire your rhythm, and your eye to hand to club coordination. Practice some drills that you may already be familiar with, or take the online instruction, “Set-up, Swing, and Success”, to help you quickly get back into your proper set-up and swing. 

    Hit ‘em straight!

    Phil Lawrence

  51. I was recently playing at a par 3 golf course in Fl and was paired with a senior couple.

    The lady golfer had a good swing and did well with her short irons, but struggled with her 4 and 5 irons, which were the longest clubs she needed at this par 3 course.

    As we discussed winter in Florida (see golf blog re: Florida golf), and other things, including golf, she stated that she has difficulty with the longer irons. I asked her if she had considered using a hybrid club. She said that she had heard about them but did not know what they were or how they could help.

    As I watched other seniors playing this course and others in Florida, I noticed that only a few persons had a hybrid club in their bag.

    Obviously, despite the PR about hybrids on TV and in various golf magazines, there are still a large number of golfers who do not know or understand the value of hybrid clubs.

    There is no doubt in my mind that if the lady that I mentioned above used perhaps a 29 or 25 degree hybrid instead of her 4 or 5 iron that she could have been on or near the green with most of her par 3 tee shots.

    What really makes a hybrid the club of choice in this situation?

    First, many golfers do not have consistent distance or accuracy with their longer irons. Many shots are off to the right, some are line drives low to the ground, and some are pulled left. Some shots are struck fat and have minimal distance.

    And although using a hybrid will not cure swing faults, it is typically an easier club to use than a long iron and it allows the golfer to get the ball quickly up into the air.

    Which brand of hybrid should you use?

    I do not recommend or endorse any one brand. I base my decisions on 2 factors, (1) result, and (2) price.

    First, hybrids are similar to all other clubs in that each one has a specific face angle that is used for specific distances. For example, if you hit a 5 iron 150 yards, then you need to use a hybrid that matches that distance for your swing. For you, this might be a 24 or 26 degree hybrid.

    It is important to know how far you typically hit each club or hybrid with some level of consistency and accuracy.

    The lady I mentioned earlier tried to hit her 4-iron like she hit her 8-iron (too steep of a swing for the 4-iron). When that did not work, she began to swing her 4-iron harder, to get the distance. The result was complete inconsistency.

    Here in early spring, last year's model clubs are often found on sale. Many hybrids will be available at almost reasonable pricing (examples in alphabetical order include: Adams Idea; Hippo; Nickent, Nike CPR; Ram).

    Talk to your golf store professional fitter about which hybrid(s) might be best for your needs. He/she should let you hit a few different hybrids with different degree of face angle to determine the distance and trajectory that you acquire with your normal swing. I suggest that you begin with something in the 24 to 29 degree range. Then choose the one that you need the most, for example, a 4-iron or 5-iron replacement.

    Hit ‘em straight.

    Phil Lawrence

  52. Florida Golf: Snowbird Retreat

    I must admit I am now a “snowbird”.   

    To define, a snowbird is anyone who leaves the ice, snow, and cold of the north to spend some time during the winter in Florida (or, I suspect southern Arizona, California, or Nevada).

    In most areas in Florida golf courses are plentiful. Some are in very good condition and others may not be in the be in the best of shape, but, when you just want to get out and practice or swing the clubs, they can be fun to play.  

    Many are unacceptably expensive for the average golfer with family responsibilities, or for seniors who have dwindling incomes, but there are courses where reasonable prices can be found if you are willing to do a little research and play in the afternoon, especially during the week.

    A schedule that could work for many snowbirds, or any golfer visiting Florida in the winter or spring, is some sightseeing or fishing in the morning and then play golf in the afternoon.  

    I will not provide a research project on Florida golf, as there already are considerable advertisements and other available information on golfing in Florida.

    I will mention a  few golf courses that are somewhat reasonable in price and may be a good challenge and fun to play, and a few activities along the east coast of Florida (north to south) that may be interesting to all family members.

    Jacksonville / St. Augustine area

    If you can spend any length of time in the St. Augustine area you should visit the World Golf Hall of Fame, located just west of I-95 exit 323. 

                    World Golf Hall of Fame

    I was impressed!  In addition to the history, information, and memorabilia presented at the Hall of Fame, the admission includes your try at one hole at St. Andrews via a golf simulator, admission to a movie at the onsite Imax Theater, and one round of play at an 18 green putting course.

    18-green Putting Course 

    18-hole Putting Course at the World Golf Hall of Fame 

     

    If you need to test your ego, for $5 you can take a couple of shots to a real island green that imitates a par 3 at the TPC Sawgrass.

    There is one golf course onsite adjacent to the Hall of Fame. The Slammer & Squire golf course is a top of the line course that provides a professional level golf experience. Another snowbird who played the course told me that; “The fairways are like fine carpet". He said that they are nicer than most of the greens that he plays on in his home state. 

    Slammer & Squire Golf Course      Slammer & Squire Golf Course    

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    For $20 at the Slammer & Squire Golf Course you can use the practice range for the entire day. There is also an excellent putting green and a chipping and sand trap practice green. 

    Section of the Practice Range at the Slammer & Squire

    Slammer & Squire Practice Range

    A short drive away in another area of the World Golf Village is the King and The Bear. This is also a very beautiful high-end golf course. 

    Although these two courses are out of my price range, I can appreciate their condition, challenge, and beauty. (NOTE: Summer rates are lower.) 

    There are a number of golf courses in the immediate area that are also very nice and quite challenging, yet can be played at a reasonable price, especially on weekday afternoons.

    These include; South Hampton; Cimmarone; St. Johns Country Club; Royal St. Augustine Golf and Country Club; St. Johns County Municipal Course; Magnolia Point; The Sanctuary Golf Course (in Georgia, north of Jacksonville). 

    The sun is now setting on this winter's practice in Florida. 

     Florida Sunset

    Because this entire blog article discusses these and the other courses that I visited along the eastern Florida coast, along with other activities enroute, from the Titusville area in the north to Key West in the far south, I placed the entire article in a pdf that you can download.  

    If you would like to see this entire picture-filled article we will e-mail it to you. Please CLICK HERE. 

    Hope you enjoy the article. Hit 'em straight!

    Phil Lawrence (e-mail: lessons @ golfinstructioncourses.com)

  53. Winter Golf Deals

    Right now, we are buried in snow and ice here in Michigan, (US), but there are many very nice warm-weather places to visit and play golf for a reasonable price.

    In late October / early November I had business in Boulder City, NV, and in Fontana, California, and had time to work in some golf.  A little bit of web surfing led me to the best deals in the area. Each location, (Boulder City/Las Vegas, NV, and LA, CA area), also had some high-end, high cost, golfing opportunities, if you are looking for that level of playing experience.  

    The warm weather was ideal, as temps were in the 70s and low 80s ºF, and as you can see in the pictures, the sun was shining bright.

    Boulder City, NV

     Boulder City

    The municipal courses in Boulder City were in good shape and uniquely challenging. The afternoon (after 2PM) prices were in the $50 to $60 range. 

    Although I was in the LA area during the time of the Santa Anna winds and the brush fires, I was able to get to a couple of golf courses. One course that I was able to play was very nice and very challenging, the views were spectacular, the service was great, and the price was within a reasonable budget at $39.

    If this winter you are in the Corona area east of LA, I suggest you try the very nice Eagle Glen golf course.  Be sure to keep it in the fairway and on the greens!  

    Eagle Glen Golf Course, Corona, CA 

    Eagle Glen 

    In late January I have to travel to Florida, so I will report on some reasonably priced golfing opportunities for winter golf in that area.

    In May, I will be in Scottsdale, AZ, and although it will be a long way from winter in that location, I will provide you with info on some of the reasonably priced courses that you might want to try if you travel to that area of the country.

    Right now, I think I will get out my putter and work at getting some contact with the ball and keeping the stroke in tune for the next time I get to play.

    Hit them straight!

    Phil

  54. Article 1

    Money Savings Tips

    Here are two money savings ideas.

    1. Don’t hang up your clubs when fall is in the air. This is a beautiful time to be playing golf, especially now that many of the courses have drastically reduced their rates. Many locations in Michigan offer 18 holes of golf with a power cart for around $25 or less. They throw in the sunshine, 70º temperatures, and beautiful fall foliage for free!

    Look for similar good rates at public courses near you.

    2. Did you want those new clubs, or a wedge, or a driver, but cannot pay the high price? Right now, in September, some of the best top brand name equipment has been significantly reduced.

    Big name drivers that were over $300 are now on sale for less than $200. Are they worth this much? That is for each of us to decide.

    I suggest that if you decide that now is the time to purchase a set of clubs, or a driver, or another wood or hybrid, at a season-ending price, you purchase from a location where there is a launch monitor. There you can hit several models or clubs and see what the results are for those particular clubs or club.  Is the shaft correct for you? Is the length correct? Is loft of a driver suitable for your swing speed, that is, are you getting a good launch angle that provides maximum carry distance?

    You won’t realize and true savings if you buy a club at a discount price and then leave it in the garage because it does not perform the way you expected.

    Hit them straight!

    Phil Lawrence

  55. Do What The Pros Do 

    A clip or comment that I read somewhere last week (5-Sept, 2007) suggested that late this summer Tiger Woods changed his set-up to a slightly more upright position. Apparently he had not been playing up to his standard as he was approaching the Fed-Ex tournament series, and, after some evaluation, decided his set-up had slipped to some degree.

    He addressed the issue by re-establishing one of his basic set-up fundamentals, namely posture at address. He set to a more erect position and has been able to better control the clubface and the ball. His performances at the Fed-Ex demonstrated his improvement compared to only a few weeks prior to that tournament.

    Now it would be nice if everyone had the same set-up, routine, and shot making capability of Tiger Woods, but that is not the case. Instead, we all have our own physical abilities and limitations, and we each set-up to the ball and swing the club somewhat different.  

    The important point is that a golfer as great as Tiger Woods can further improve his game by focusing on the basics, such as his set-up, and by making certain that he is in exactly the best position for him to strike the ball.

    When average golfers start playing golf it seams that they want to just start swinging the clubs and hitting balls, forgetting, or not knowing, that a proper set-up and pre-shot routine places them in a position to make the best swing they can.

    Hit them straight!

    Phil

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