After all this time, it is still very common for golfers to hit two or three great shots to the green, and then take four more shots to get the ball in the hole. Yet, there is little time spent on practicing this part of the game. If people were content with this pattern, I wouldn’t comment at all! But I see many people who are frustrated. Just a little time spent on the short game would help improve both the mood and the scores.
Find two or three clubs in your bag to use as your short game tools. A 7 or 8 iron for a low, running shot, a Pitching Wedge for a medium trajectory, and a Sand Wedge or Lob Wedge for a high shot (pitch) that doesn’t roll much.
Chipping Mechanics Review:
Here’s my take on the set-up and motion (and I’m speaking in right-hander language- sorry, lefties)
· Make your stance narrower than hip-width (to decrease side-to-side movement)
· Have a slightly open stance, left foot back a couple of inches (but shoulders square)
· Weight on left (60% or 70%), I like the ball in the middle (can be 1” back, but keep it consistent)
· Maintain the “y” position: the big stick is shaft and left arm a straight line at address, impact and follow through, the little stick is the right arm
· The motion is a “mini-swing” or a portion of the swing, so everything goes together: turn, arms and wrist hinge*, not just one or two of these. The most common mistake is to have your arms going back and to have no turn. Under pressure, this leads to the chunked shot.
Tip: First thing, check the lie. The lie can make you tighten up with worry, if the ball is sitting down or if its position makes your stance awkward. Find your footing, relax your shoulders so that your turn happens- we will tend to not turn if we have tension. If everything is going together, in an unhurried fashion, the shot will work out- even if it’s not 100% perfect. Yay!
Check point: The “toe-up” position in first half of the take-away is your key to the clubface position (proper loft) at impact. Your chip may not require your swing to get as far as toe-up, but the club should be on its way to toe-up (not hooded, or shut).
· Look at lie (ball sitting) and stance (slope) first
· Check these: wet/soft or dry/firm surface? wind? carry and roll required into the hole
· Picture tossing, to a spot, with the exact trajectory you need, and see the ball go in
Have fun lowering your scores!
*Wrist hinge is required for pitches with high lofted clubs: bigger carry, bigger turn, arm swing and wrist hinge simultaneously
It's a good time to think about putting well, even though we haven't had nice warm weather yet. Plant the positive seeds.
The following is a stream of consciousness (from a mind-map) of my thoughts and feelings of putting well.
When I’m Putting Well These Things Are Happening, or I sense them:
pre-shot routine the same
present tense focused, not ahead of myself no thoughts of score
believing I can make the putt
seeing the line to the hole while over the ball in “real time”
slow motion, time is slow, time doesn’t matter
only “feeling”words and “positive” key words and phrases, such as “let it go,” or “you can make this” or “feel it”
(no “oh no” thoughts, such as “ooh, this green is fast”, If one of those thoughts sneaks in, it’s time to take a deep breath, relax, I tell myself, “you can do this. You’ve done it a million times” - that type of self-talk)
only describing what is in front of me, what is needed… as though I’m caddying for myself or telling my caddy what I’m doing and what I’m intending to do- first-person
PS: A student of mine confessed, when she read this *list, that often, as she walks up to her ball, facing a long putt, that she has thoughts of three-putting, or, her inner voice says something like, “Wow, that’s a long putt,” and immediately she feels tension (and, thus, feels negative and then usually three-putts). So we edited that initial thought to a positive one. Admitting it, though, was the first step
In the Rain, Wind, Cold...
Adapt, Accept, Get ready earlier, Prepare
Wear more layers of clothing, be comfy. I once played a tournament round in my pajama bottoms with rain pants over top. I was so comfortable, all day, in the pouring rain and played well.
Hand warmers in pockets or inside your golf mitts/cart gloves can be a life-saver - and of course, wear a toque to keep you warm and hold your hair down.
Sunglasses for wind protection
Bring a Thermos of tea? Be warm from the inside out.
I worked with three sport psychologists during my career. They all said that adverse conditions are to your advantage because EVERYONE ELSE will be complaining about it...
I thought about that today and remembered this:
1. I obtained my LPGA Tour Card on a very windy day, when it appeared that I was “out of the tournament” after an 88 in round three (yes, 88). I shot even par the last day, and moved up about 40 spots.
1. (b ) My lone LPGA Victory was on a cold and windy day. I was two under par and was tied for low score that day… on a course that regularly produced mid-sixty-type scores
2. "Par is your friend." Par (your par) on a hole is an extremely good score on a windy day. Use that to your advantage, be patient, and know that the weather is going to add 4 or 5, maybe more, strokes to the average score of the field.
3. Keep the demons at bay, know that it’s tough for everyone, don’t fall into the traps of complaining about it…
4. Grab at least one more club than you normally would, into the wind- maybe two or three, if you add in Cold and Rain to the equation. (take more club, play the ball back in your stance, and swing easier). Downwind, allow for plenty of roll once the ball comes down.
5. Keep relaxing, keep breathing, keep smiling, keep being patient. Slow yourself (mind) down, get present. You can still play your best golf in these conditions.
6. A cross-wind can move a well-struck ball 10 to 20 yards sideways, allow for this and change your targets.
7. Allow for wind when pitching, chipping, high chips down-wind will lose their spin and have much more forward roll after landing. Shots into the wind will lift more than you expect and will stop quicker. (This took me a long time to “get”)
8. Another positive, on practice days, is that people will scatter and you’ll most likely have the course to yourself. You will definitely have the practice areas to yourself.
9. Did I mention relax? Remind yourself of this throughout the day :-)
Team Canada member captures fourth career collegiate title at El Caballero CC
Matthew Cudzinowski, from Golf Canada Website
Team Canada’s Christine Wong, a junior at San Diego State University, carded a final-round 6-over 78 to capture individual medalist honors at the Bruin Wave Invitational at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif., for her second win of the season and her fourth career collegiate victory.
Wong, who led the tournament through 36 holes of play, struggled like so many other competitors on Tuesday, as players battled chilly temperatures and 10-15 mph winds throughout the day to finish out the tournament. The Richmond, B.C. native posted six bogeys and a double-bogey on the day to finish with a three-round tally of 3-over 219, besting Pepperdine freshman Alina Ching of Honolulu, Hawaii by four strokes for the title.