Bushnell Hybrid Pinseeker Laser Rangefinder and Golf GPS System


Shoot­ing 90 has always rec­om­mended golf GPS sys­tems over laser rangefind­ers as the pre­ferred yardage mea­sur­ing device for high hand­i­cap golfers. Golf GPS sys­tems make it eas­ier to hit greens in reg­u­la­tion as they give you the dis­tance to the front and back of the green. While laser rangefind­ers will give you the exact yardage to the flag, going for the pin on every hole will often leave the high hand­i­cap golfer in green side trouble.

The Bush­nell Hybrid Pin­seeker Laser Rangefinder pro­vides the best of both worlds. It’s a laser rangefinder and a golf gps sys­tem in one.

The GPS gives the yardage to the front, cen­ter, and back of every green, allow­ing the high hand­i­cap golfer the abil­ity to think of their approach yardage as a range, increas­ing the odds of hit­ting more greens in reg­u­la­tion. The Bush­nell Hybrid Pin­seeker comes pre­loaded with over 25,000 North Amer­i­can courses and there is no sub­scrip­tion fee.

The laser rangefinder uses Bush­nell Pin­seeker tech­nol­ogy to pro­vide accu­racy within plus or minus one yard. This pro­vides the exact yardage on the holes where the time is right to go for the pin. 5x mag­ni­fi­ca­tion makes it easy to lock in on your target.

Con­sider the Bush­nell Hybrid Pin­seeker if you are in the mar­ket for a new golf GPS system.

How to Fix a Slice — Driver Setup


Swing­ing your dri­ver is dif­fer­ent than swing­ing any other club in your bag. Today’s mod­ern dri­vers and golf balls are designed for a high launch angle. The dri­ver is the only club that you want to hit the ball on the upswing. Most golfers know that tee­ing the ball high and hav­ing it for­ward in your stance is an impor­tant part of the setup for a suc­cess­ful drive.

Still, most high hand­i­cap golfers still strug­gle with how to fix a slice, even though they are tee­ing the ball cor­rectly and have it plenty for­ward in their stance.

The prob­lem could be as sim­ple as hav­ing the club head in the wrong posi­tion. Many golfers will setup with the ball for­ward in their stance and then put the club head directly behind the ball. This will nat­u­rally angle your shoul­ders to the left, which will pro­mote an over the top, out-to-in swing. This type of swing results in either a pull or the dreaded slice.

In the video below, Rob Bernard explains a sim­ple setup tip for your dri­ver to get the club head in a bet­ter posi­tion. Work on imple­ment­ing it dur­ing your next ses­sion at the prac­tice range.

Practice with Purpose


Many begin­ner and high hand­i­cap golfers will go to the dri­ving range and hit balls on a reg­u­lar basis. This is a great habit to get into as the fastest way to improve your game is through reg­u­lar prac­tice. The prob­lem is many golfers will hit the major­ity of the range balls with their dri­ver, rifling through shot after shot. Their prac­tice does not have any real focus. Struc­tured, pur­pose­ful prac­tice is needed so you will be able to con­sis­tently exe­cute shots when on the course.

Weekly time at the prac­tice range is the time to work on swing mechan­ics, espe­cially if you are still build­ing a con­sis­tent swing. Rep­e­ti­tion of proper swing tech­niques is needed to have a con­sis­tent swing on the course. On the course is not the place to work on your swing. Work­ing on your swing while on the course will undoubt­edly lead to mishits, frus­tra­tion, and high scores.

Video is the eas­i­est way to get instant feed­back while imple­ment­ing new swing tech­niques while on the range. Video gives you the extra set of eyes that are crit­i­cal in find­ing areas of your swing to improve. It’s essen­tial to use video if you want to get as much out of your time at the range as possible.

There are sev­eral apps which allow you to record and ana­lyze your swing. Two of my favorite apps are UberSense Golf  and V1 Golf.

None of us have all of the time we would like to prac­tice, so we have to make the most of the time we have on the range. That means prac­tic­ing on areas of your game that need the most atten­tion, the areas in which break­downs are lead­ing to high scores. Accu­rate stat track­ing is one of the eas­i­est ways to deter­mine which parts of your game to work on at the range.

You can make stat track­ing as basic or detailed as you’d like. For many years now, in addi­tion to my score, I track other stats on my paper score­card. I track fair­ways in reg­u­la­tion, greens in reg­u­la­tion, putts, and penalty strokes for each hole. I’ll then look at my rounds for the week before my weekly prac­tice ses­sion and imme­di­ately know areas that I strug­gled in. I also input these stats into a spread­sheet so I have an idea on how I’m per­form­ing in areas on a his­tor­i­cal basis.

Another way I have tracked stats in the past is on my smart­phone. Most of the golf GPS apps also allow you to track sev­eral stats includ­ing shot dis­tance. These apps do a great job of track­ing your stats and many have web sites where you can fur­ther ana­lyze them. I have one word of cau­tion on using your smart­phone to track a lot of stats while on the course. Do not let your phone dis­tract you from apply­ing your full con­cen­tra­tion to your upcom­ing shot. I see a lot peo­ple, myself included at times, spend­ing too much time on their phones.

Tech­nol­ogy is mak­ing stat track­ing eas­ier than it has ever been. GAME GOLF is a stat track­ing sys­tem that is far less intru­sive on the course than man­u­ally enter­ing stats on a smart­phone. By installing a tag at the end of each of your clubs and wear­ing a receiver on your belt, you sim­ply touch the tag of the club to the receiver before each shot. All that is required on the course is to remem­ber to “tag” your receiver before each shot.

Besides work­ing on your swing and spe­cific areas of your game, you’ll want to prac­tice real round sce­nar­ios. Here are a few exam­ples. Try get­ting the ball from tee to green. Work on hit­ting your dri­ver in the fair­way and then hit­ting your approach shot on the green. Another exam­ples is get­ting up and down from just off the green. Chip a ball on the prac­tice green and then sink the putt. Repeat these sce­nar­ios sev­eral times. By prac­tic­ing real round sce­nar­ios, you’ll find it eas­ier to take your game from the range to the course.

The ama­teur golfer has lim­ited time for prac­tice. It is impor­tant to make the most of it. I hope you’ll fol­low tips in this post to prac­tice with purpose.

Improve Your Pitch Shot


As begin­ner and high hand­i­cap golfers improve their game, they become increas­ing pro­fi­cient in get­ting near the green in reg­u­la­tion. They are putting in a lot of work on their full swing and that is show­ing results in get­ting near the green in one stroke on a par 3, two strokes on a par 4, and three strokes on a par 5. Many times this leaves an awk­ward 20 to 50 yard pitch shot left to the green.

Ama­teurs often strug­gle with the pitch shot. The biggest rea­son for this is that the pitch shot is not a full swing dis­tance for their sand wedge. Ama­teurs are some­times not sure the best way to con­trol dis­tance. Many try to vary the dis­tance of their shot by chang­ing the pace of their swing. This is extremely chal­leng­ing and requires a great deal of feel. A bet­ter way to con­trol the dis­tance of your pitch shot is to keep your nor­mal pace but vary the length of your swing.

Prac­tice your pitch shots with vary­ing swing lengths. Know how far you hit your pitch shot when you take your hands back to waist high and back through to waist high. Do the same for other ref­er­ence points, like tak­ing your hands back and through to shoul­der high, for exam­ple. By prac­tic­ing your pitch shots with dif­fer­ent length swings on the range, you will have much more con­fi­dence pitch­ing on the course. The rea­son is sim­ple. You will know how long your swing has to be to hit your pitch shot far enough to reach the hole.

Check out the video below as Thor Lokey explains vary­ing your swing length to dial in your pitch­ing distances.

The Wedges You Need in Your Golf Bag


The rules of golf state you can have no more than four­teen clubs in your bag. You can have any com­bi­na­tion of woods, irons, wedges and put­ters as long as the total num­ber does not exceed four­teen. Many golfers have three woods, a hybrid or two, six to eight irons, two or three wedges, and a put­ter. What clubs are in your bag depends on your cur­rent abil­ity and per­sonal preferences.

The wedges you carry in your bag play a vital role in your suc­cess. The short game is arguably the most impor­tant piece in becom­ing a bet­ter golfer. The wedges in your bag can either be the same model as your irons and an exten­sion of the set, or they can be a sep­a­rate set all their own.

Begin­ner golfers many times use wedges that are part of their iron set which is per­fectly fine. Almost all sets of irons include a pitch­ing wedge, with most hav­ing a loft angle between 46 and 48 degrees. Most iron sets have options for addi­tional wedges, includ­ing a sand wedge. Some begin­ner and high hand­i­cap golfers have the pitch­ing wedge as the only wedge in their bag, but it is highly ben­e­fi­cial to have a sand wedge in your bag. Sand wedges typ­i­cally have loft angles between 54 and 56 degrees. A sand wedge also has a wider sole and a higher bounce angle. The bounce angle lifts the lead­ing edge of the club off the ground. The design of the sand wedge along with proper tech­nique, allows you to hit sand shots from green side bunkers close to the hole. A sand wedge also lets you use a full swing to hit shots closer to the green instead of using a pitch­ing wedge with a shorter swing.

There is usu­ally eight degrees of loft angle between a pitch­ing wedge and a sand wedge. This leaves a sig­nif­i­cant gap between the full swing yardages of each club. Hav­ing to hit a yardage in between those would require using a pitch­ing wedge with less back­swing. Dial­ing in the dif­fer­ent yardages you can hit each of your wedges with vary­ing swing lengths takes con­sid­er­able prac­tice time. Using a gap wedge is an eas­ier short term way to hit the yardages in between your pitch­ing and sand wedges. A gap, or approach wedge, has a loft angle between 50 and 52 degrees and allows you to uti­lize a full swing to fill the yardage gap between your pitch­ing and sand wedges.

One final wedge that is avail­able for golfers is the lob wedge. A lob wedge has a loft angle of 58 to 60 degrees or more and is designed to get the ball in the air quickly allow­ing you to stop it on the green with min­i­mal roll out. A lob wedge is com­monly used by advanced play­ers as it can to dif­fi­cult to hit con­sis­tently. Advanced golfers some­times replace their gap wedge with a lob wedge while oth­ers carry four wedges.

The ideal num­ber of wedges for a high hand­i­cap or begin­ner golfer aspir­ing to play bogey golf is three — a pitch­ing wedge, a gap wedge, and a sand wedge. Mas­ter these three wedges and your short game will drive your suc­cess in becom­ing a bet­ter golfer.

Should You Be Fitted For Golf Clubs?


Many begin­ner and high hand­i­cap golfers strug­gle with when and if to get cus­tom fit­ted for golf clubs. Should a golfer who is buy­ing their first set of clubs and just start­ing out in the game get cus­tom fit­ted for clubs? Many say golfers should wait until they can con­sis­tently repeat a swing. But what exactly does that mean? What level of repeata­bil­ity does one have to reach? We’re all going to have the occa­sional mishit.

There are many mea­sure­ments and obser­va­tions that are part of a cus­tom club fit­ting. Some mea­sure­ments are sta­tic such as your height and arm height. Other mea­sure­ments per­tain to your swing and are more dynamic, or fluid.

It is not the best idea to buy a set of clubs off the rack with no fit­ting what­so­ever. You will cre­ate bad swing habits that may be dif­fi­cult to cor­rect later on if you adapt your swing to clubs that do not fit you.

At the very least, get fit­ted for shaft length, shaft flex, and lie. Start­ing with clubs that phys­i­cally fit you will allow you to build a cor­rect, con­sis­tent swing over time.

As time goes by, your swing will improve and at some point you will ben­e­fit from being refit­ted. You will have the con­sis­tent swing that can then be ana­lyzed for spin rate, launch angle, and ball speed. This infor­ma­tion can be used to deter­mine the exact right clubs for your game.

If you are look­ing for a new set of clubs, be sure to make a fit­ting part of the process. It will be highly ben­e­fi­cial to your game. Any club fit­ter, whether they are a big retailer like Golf­smith or Golf Galaxy, or a smaller pro shop at your local course, will do a free or very inex­pen­sive fit­ting when you are buy­ing a new set of clubs.

Takeaways from the Match Play Championship


For an event that many argue its very exis­tence, the WGC-Accenture Match Play Cham­pi­onship pro­vided a very excit­ing Sun­day after­noon of golf. Jason Day out­lasted Vic­tor Dubuis­son to win the final match in 23 holes. Day squan­dered a three hole lead on the back nine, includ­ing being two up with two holes to play, only to with­stand prob­a­bly the great­est back-to-back up and downs in the his­tory of golf from Dubuis­son on the 19th and 20th holes.

On the 19th hole, being played on hole #1, Dubuisson’s sec­ond shot bounced over the green and into the desert, prompt­ing Nick Faldo to exclaim “He’s ruined!”. He then pro­ceeded to hit an unbe­liev­able chip shot from next to a jump­ing cac­tus to within 5 feet. He made the putt, send­ing the match to the 20th hole.

The 20th hole was played on hole #9. Ear­lier in the match on the 9th hole, Dubuis­son hit his approach shot left into the desert and ended up con­ced­ing the hole. He again hit his sec­ond shot left on this hole into the desert and under a branch. He hit his next shot through the branch to within 7 feet. He once again made the putt to send the match to the 21st hole.

After halv­ing the next two holes, Day won the 23rd hole with a birdie.

There are a few things a high hand­i­cap golfer can take away from this match.

First off, both Dubuis­son and Day had very good short games the whole day. So good, it prompted Greg Nor­man to tweet the following.

It is so impor­tant to have a solid short game, yet this is an area that many high hand­i­cap and begin­ner golfers do not prac­tice near enough. Ded­i­cate weekly prac­tice time for pitch­ing and chipping.

Both golfers showed tremen­dous men­tal strength. Dubuis­son stated he only slept one hour the night before because he was ner­vous about play­ing Ernie Els in the morn­ing. He must have been phys­i­cally drained after 41 holes of golf on Sun­day but it only showed on a few shots. His men­tal deter­mi­na­tion was strong the whole day. Day won the 9th hole and then did not win another hole until he won the match by win­ning the 23rd hole. He blew leads of 3 up on the back nine and 2 up with 2 holes to go. He had Dubuis­son all but dead on each of the first two extra holes only to see Dubuis­son make mirac­u­lous shots to extend the match. He could have col­lapsed but didn’t. He instead played the best golf of the two on the extra holes.

One last take­away from Sun­day is some­thing not to do. Don’t try to be a hero and hit a mirac­u­lous shot you can’t pull off. Dubuis­son only attempted those two shots because he had no choice. It was attempt the shot or lose the match. I’m a big believer in mak­ing your own luck but even with that the golf­ing gods were smil­ing on Vic­tor. He actu­ally con­ceded the 9th hole ear­lier in the match when he was in the desert. Unless play­ing the last hole in their flight of the club cham­pi­onship, a high hand­i­cap golfer has no rea­son to attempt a shot that they have lit­tle chance of pulling off. Take the unplayable lie and move on.

Lay Up on a Par 5


You’ve just crushed a drive down the mid­dle of the fair­way on a par 5. The aggres­sive side of you wants to knock it on the green in two and make a 15 footer for eagle. Of course, mak­ing it on the green in two on a par 5 rarely hap­pens for a begin­ner or high hand­i­cap golfer and more often puts you in a bad posi­tion, either in a haz­ard, bunker, or green side rough. You should be very selec­tive in the times you go for the green in two on a par 5. If the green is sur­rounded by haz­ards, your best play is to lay up, which sim­ply means to hit a shot shorter than you are capa­ble of.

When lay­ing up, instead of going for the green in two, you hit your sec­ond shot to a safe part of the fair­way with a remain­ing dis­tance that leaves you a full wedge shot. The advan­tage to lay­ing up is that most of the time you will be closer to the hole in three shots by lay­ing up instead of going for the green in two. Develop a layup dis­tance that you can repeat­edly shoot for. The dis­tance I usu­ally lay up to is 100 yards, but choose the dis­tance that is best for you based on your wedge play.

By lay­ing up, you are also tak­ing dan­ger­ous shots out of play. You may not need dri­ver off the tee if you are play­ing three shots to get on the green. You may be able to reach the green with a 3 wood, mid iron and wedge. Along with leav­ing the dri­ver in the bag, you are also tak­ing a higher risk sec­ond shot with a fair­way wood out of play. Lay­ing up and tak­ing three lower risk shots gives you an excel­lent chance at hit­ting a green in reg­u­la­tion and hav­ing a putt for birdie.

There will be times when being aggres­sive, going for the green in two on a par 5, will be the best play. You may have hit a boom­ing drive right down the mid­dle of the fair­way and have a clear sec­ond shot to a green with min­i­mal haz­ards sur­round­ing it. These are the times to be selec­tively aggres­sive, go for the green in two if you have the dis­tance to make it, and try to score low. The rest of the times play it safe and lay up on par 5’s.

Learn to Chip Around the Green


The short game prob­a­bly has a big­ger gap in abil­ity between low and high hand­i­cap golfers than any area in golf. The abil­ity to get up and down is crit­i­cal in improv­ing your game. How many times does a high hand­i­cap golfer take three or four shots from beside the green to get the ball in the hole?

The need to be able to shoot a vari­ety of shots is one of the chal­lenges high hand­i­cap golfers face in hav­ing a good short game. The chip, pitch, flop, and sand shots are all part of a well-rounded short game. In this post, we will be talk­ing about the chip shot.

Around the green, many begin­ner and high hand­i­cap golfers exclu­sively use their pitch­ing or sand wedge, attempt­ing to fly the ball most of the way to the hole with a lofted shot. Some­times it is best to play a chip shot. A chip shot con­sists of bump­ing the ball up in the air just enough to get it on the green and rolling. The big ben­e­fit of a chip shot is that it is much eas­ier to con­trol both the direc­tion and dis­tance when your ball is rolling opposed to fly­ing through the air.

Chip shots can be made with a vari­ety of clubs includ­ing your 7 iron, 8 iron, 9 iron, and wedges. Use your wedges for chip­ping when your ball is closer to the hole as they will pro­vide more spin and your ball with roll less. Your less lofted clubs are for longer chip shots where you need your ball to roll a greater distance.

The stance and swing for a chip shot dif­fers from a reg­u­lar shot. The ball is played off the inside of your back foot with the han­dle of the club for­ward of the ball. Prob­a­bly the most impor­tant thing to remem­ber about a chip shot is that you strike down on the ball allow­ing the loft of the club to get it in the air. Many ama­teurs make the mis­take of try­ing to scoop the ball into the air.

In the video below, Dun­can Smith, an instruc­tor at the IMG Acad­emy in Braden­ton, Florida, shows us how to prop­erly setup and exe­cute a chip shot.

While the setup and exe­cu­tion is the same for all of your chip shots regard­less of what club you choose, it is impor­tant to prac­tice chip­ping with all of your wedges all the way down to your 6 or 7 iron. The club you choose will depend on how far away from the hole you are.

In the video below, Peter Finch of the Traf­ford Golf Cen­tre in Man­ches­ter, Eng­land, shows us the spot drill. This is an excel­lent drill to prac­tice chip­ping with each of your clubs.

Spend a seri­ous amount of time chip­ping dur­ing your prac­tice ses­sions. Becom­ing a suc­cess­ful chip­per will most def­i­nitely lower your scores. The short game offers high hand­i­cap golfers the biggest impact on their game with more practice.

Managing First Tee Nerves


High hand­i­cap golfers often strug­gle on the golf course. Unfor­tu­nately many times the strug­gle starts on the first tee. Nerves result in a bad drive, start­ing the round off on the worst pos­si­ble note.

Most golfers will have at least a few nerves on the first tee even in a four­some com­prised of all peo­ple they know. Add peo­ple to the group that you’ve never met and the nerves get much worse. The audi­ence watch­ing your first drive dou­bles if you have the group behind you show up early to the first tee.

There’s a few things you can do to hit a good shot off the first tee despite your nerves.

Get to the course thirty min­utes prior to your tee time to hit a small bucket of balls on the range and take some prac­tice putts. Hit­ting a small bucket on the range gets your mus­cles ready for golf.

It also pro­vides impor­tant infor­ma­tion for your upcom­ing round. Pre-round shots on the range will tell you what shot you have brought to the course. You’re not always going to have your pre­ferred ball flight every time out. High hand­i­cap golfers sim­ply do not have that level of con­sis­tency. Your ball flight may be dif­fer­ent this time out. The first tee is not the place to dis­cover what ball flight you have brought to the course. Find this out on the range. Just keep in mind the pre-round small bucket of balls is not for fix­ing a swing issue. Save fix­ing swing issues for your weekly prac­tice sessions.

Tak­ing a few putts on the prac­tice green will give you a gen­eral idea for the speed of the greens. Don’t putt 10 foot putts one right after another. Hit sev­eral 20 to 30 foot putts to work on your lag putting. Get­ting the speed of the greens nailed down is the key to keep­ing your num­ber of three putts to a minimum.

It’s OK to leave your dri­ver in the bag on the first tee. Shoot­ing 90 is a big advo­cate of learn­ing to hit your dri­ver. You may be learn­ing how to fix a slice, mak­ing good progress with your dri­ver, and find­ing suc­cess with it on the course. That said, it’s still the most dan­ger­ous club in a high handicapper’s bag. With nerves on the first tee, you may have prob­lems find­ing the fair­way or putting the ball in play with your dri­ver. That’s OK. Use your “go to” club off the first tee, whether that’s a fair­way metal, hybrid, or even a long iron. Save your dri­ver for the rest of the round. The worst thing you can do for your round is to put your first drive in a bad place.

Don’t hit first or last in your group off the first tee if you can help it. There’s a lot of pres­sure on you when you hit first. Every­one is pumped up for the round and all eyes are on you. There’s sim­i­lar pres­sure in hit­ting last. Every­one has hit and they’re now wait­ing for you. It’s twice as bad if every­one striped one down the mid­dle of the fair­way before you. Tee off sec­ond or third in your four­some off the first tee.

Tee up your ball on the same side as trou­ble. If you have woods down the left side, tee up on the left side of the tee box. This gives you the best angle to hit your drive away from the trees.

I’m not sure golfers ever get over first tee jit­ters. The best we can do is learn to cope with them. Hope­fully apply­ing these tips will help you do that.