Online Lesson Review

There’s no doubt that hav­ing a golf coach is the fast track to improv­ing your game but very few of us have the time and money required to make that a real­ity. While there is a lot you can do on your own to improve your game, we’re some­times blind to many things with our game and this is no where more notice­able than with our swing.

While ana­lyz­ing your own swing will lead to improve­ment, it doesn’t com­pare with a golf teach­ing pro­fes­sional tak­ing a look. This is espe­cially true if you are new to the game. Have a teach­ing pro­fes­sional get you started in the right direc­tion. Even if you’ve been play­ing for years, we some­times slip back into poor fun­da­men­tals that we are blind to see. Have a teacher get your swing back on track.

For years instruc­tors have used video to help them improve their stu­dents’ swings. Now smart­phones have made it easy to record video of your own swing. The abil­ity to eas­ily upload these videos to the Inter­net has also opened the door for a rel­a­tively new form of golf instruc­tion – online golf instruction.

The idea is sim­ple. Shoot video of your own swing, upload it to a web­site, and have a golf pro­fes­sional review it and offer ways for you to improve. It’s been some­thing I’ve been con­tem­plat­ing for some time, so when Brant from offered to review my swing, I jumped at the chance.

Get­ting started at is very easy. I took two videos of my swing, one from behind down the tar­get line and fac­ing me per­pen­dic­u­lar to the tar­get line, filled out the online form and uploaded the videos. Within a few days my online les­son was ready!

Your les­son con­sists of two parts. The first is a writ­ten review with obser­va­tions and sug­ges­tions on areas of your swing to work on. Brant also included links to YouTube videos fea­tur­ing him­self demon­strat­ing proper technique.

The sec­ond part of your les­son is a video analy­sis of your swing. Areas of improve­ment from the writ­ten review are fur­ther ana­lyzed with your swing com­pared along side swings by pro golfers. My swing was com­pared frame by frame with Rory McIlroy’s and Luke Donald’s.

I felt the com­bi­na­tion of the writ­ten review, video analy­sis, and YouTube videos com­ing together to rein­force the three areas of improve­ment for my swing did a great job of empha­siz­ing what steps I need to take to improve.

Check out today for online instruc­tion for your game!

Two Areas of Fitness to Improve Your Golf

Many of us do not get enough exer­cise in our lives. The most handy excuse we give is that we sim­ply do not have enough time in our busy lives. In real­ity, we prob­a­bly lack the required dis­ci­pline and desire to lead as healthy of lifestyles as we should. It may be unre­al­is­tic to think we will imple­ment a full blown golf fit­ness pro­gram. Most ama­teur golfers sim­ply do not have this level of com­mit­ment to their golf games.

There are two areas of per­sonal fit­ness that golfers can focus on with lit­tle time com­mit­ment that will have the most pos­i­tive impact on their game, flex­i­bil­ity and endurance. Lift­ing weights is not one of them. Big mus­cles do not directly trans­late into hit­ting the ball far­ther and cer­tainly aren’t required for a con­sis­tent swing. Hit­ting your shots far­ther is achieved by increas­ing your club­head speed. Oth­er­wise bean­pole six­teen year olds could not hit 300 yard drives.

Flex­i­bil­ity is key in get­ting the proper rota­tion and turn in your golf swing. Many high hand­i­cap and begin­ner golfers do not have enough rota­tion in their swing. They com­pen­sate their lack of rota­tion by either sway­ing and swing­ing too much with their arms. Both of these actions can lead to an over the top, out­side to in swing which often results in a slice. Full rota­tion in your golf wing is ben­e­fi­cial in cre­at­ing a con­sis­tent, inside to out swing.

Increas­ing your flex­i­bil­ity will make it eas­ier to increase your rota­tion in your swing. While stretch­ing every­day is ideal, increased flex­i­bil­ity can be real­ized by stretch­ing as lit­tle as twenty min­utes three times a week. Pilates and yoga are two of the most pop­u­lar meth­ods to stretch today. The ben­e­fit of Pilates or yoga is that in addi­tion to increas­ing your flex­i­bil­ity, both also strengthen your core mus­cles (with­out lift­ing weights!). A strength­ened core pro­motes bet­ter bal­ance which helps with con­sis­tency in your swing.

Endurance is an area of fit­ness that most ama­teur golfers over­look. It is espe­cially over­looked by those who ride a cart. Why do I need to worry about endurance when I don’t even walk my round? You’d be sur­prised how many golfers tire by the end of their round because they’re sim­ply not in shape. Walk­ing more through­out your day is a great way to build your endurance and improve your over­all fit­ness. The eas­i­est way to increase the num­ber of steps you take a week is to begin walk­ing your golf round. Walk using a pull cart instead of rid­ing a pow­ered cart. There are also many other areas of your life you can increase your walk­ing. Take the stairs instead of the ele­va­tor. Do you have a dog? Take him for reg­u­lar walks. He’ll love you for it and you’ll be cre­at­ing a health­ier you.

Take at least a total of an hour a week to stretch your body. Find ways to include more walk­ing in your daily life. Your golf game will thank you for it.

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.