Thumbcaddy´s Blog

February 8, 2012

What Surprising Changes Are In Store for Golf?

Filed under: — admin @ 11:12 am

The younger breed of golfer seems to hit the gym more often. Perhaps they will prove fitter and more robust when teeing off. Perhaps we will see more Tigers or Nicklaus’s. And then again, perhaps we will see more holes-in-one as a game standard. Wouldn’t that be something!

By the Numbers

The number of golfers and golf courses has been declining in recent years. That, along with a considerable dip in golf customer spending, have created an aura of concern if not downright fear in some circles. Any talk of golf dying remains extreme and premature. No, golf is not dying—changing, yes—but not going away. There will still be plenty of newbies looking to correcttheirgolfgrip in the years to come.

Less than half a century ago, it seems there were only a handful of golfers who could come off the tee by 250 yards. A decade ago, the tour average seemed to hover around 280 yards, with more than a dozen power drivers who made 315 yards look easy. Will we need new golf courses in the near future for those who hit 450 yards? Or 600 yards? Naturally, such long drives add to the odds against holes-in-one. So, with a more athletic crowd of youngsters, there’s less likelihood of the game starting to look too easy.

Perhaps the business numbers in golf will reverse their current trend when have our next superstar. Something might be said for the humility of someone like Tim Tebow. Different sport, I know, but “not thinking you’re above the law”—law of decency, law of courtesy, etc.—could give a superstar potential longevity. Tiger could make a comeback. With the amount of humble pie he’s eaten, I wouldn’t be opposed to it. Maintaining your stats might be just as much concentration and focus as skill, and, like the song says, “guilty feet have got no rhythm.”

 

Going Co-Ed

Should men’s and women’s golf be merged? What a novel idea! Certainly, a few women have crossed the lanes to tackle men at their own game. For one, the money is better. For another, the competition is stiffer, allowing even the best woman to stretch their talents. Consider Annika Sorenstam and Michelle Wie. Both of them have tried, but didn’t always make the cut.

But last November, 2011, British golf got a public relations boost by the merger of the English Golf Union (EGU) and the English Women’s Golf Association (EWGA). Men voted 86% in favor and women voted 100% in favor. And let’s face it. People tend to get better when they are challenged. I don’t know if women will ever become as good as the men in this sport, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the next golf superstar turned out to be of the fairer gender.

January 31, 2012

How to Master the Game of Golf (Even If You’ve Been a Klutz)

Filed under: — admin @ 11:08 am

Golf requires finesse. A minor difference in grip or swing can create a gargantuan improvement or a monumental disaster. Because of this, you need to start out small and slow.

When you’re coming off the tee, accuracy is far more important than power. Once you have accuracy, then you nudge up the power to the appropriate amount.

The Swing

It all comes down to your swing. And your grip greatly affects your swing. So, make certain you’re holding the club properly and then make certain your hands don’t slip during the swing, or that you inadvertently re-grip at the top of the backswing.

Take the backswing nice and slow, cocking your hands in preparation for the swing.

Your hands should lead the way, while you rotate your hips toward the ball for additional power. For proper form, your left wrist will aim at the ball the moment the club touches it. As you swing past impact, your wrists should uncock as you hit the ball. Then, as you finish the swing, your weight should shift to your leading foot, while your trailing foot points toes to the ground and toward the drive. The trailing arm should swing close to the body with the majority of force coming from the turning of your body.

The idea is to take all these tidbits of data on position and motion, and practice them until they feel natural. And, of course, it’s not going to feel natural until you’ve done it dozens, if not hundreds of times. That is the best way to improveyourgolfswing.

 

Your Attitude and Health

Taking golf seriously is perhaps the wrong approach. You need to relax. Seriousness creates tension and tension throws off your swing. Relax and have fun with it.

In addition, don’t do anything that would adversely affect your focus and the smoothness of your swing. If you’re a coffee drinker, consider cutting back or eliminating it altogether. Caffeine can make you jittery and that’s bad news for accuracy on the follow through.

 

The Grip and Assistance

Okay, we’ve already mentioned your grip. But it is important enough to bear repeating. How you hold the club and how you maintain that grip throughout the swing remains perhaps the single most important aspect of your game. Half a degree off in your grip could slice your drive into oblivion.

All-time great, Jack Nicklaus once commented that we shouldn’t be afraid to take lessons to improve our game. By the same sentiment, we shouldn’t be shy about using any aid that could help with our grip, our swing and our game.

January 12, 2012

The Minimalist Guide to a Golf Game Gone Wrong

Filed under: — admin @ 1:54 am
Even with the correct golf grip and swing, you’ve been tossing massive divots with every tee off the deck, and it’s been costing you in distance and accuracy. You’ve been bouncing off of trees, splashing water hazards and grinding into the grit of one bunker after another.

If you ever find yourself longing for the 19th hole and a quiet drink to soothe your battered ego, you might benefit from the following tips. These don’t address your game as much as your attitude. As with any fine piece of art—and a great golf game is a work of art in every sense of the word—attitude is critical.

Perhaps the biggest killer for any activity is the attitude of “importance.” This is ego run amok in your head. While the most certain cure for anything related to ego is humility, this is not necessarily the easiest.

There are numerous “tricks” to deflate the “importance” of a shot or a round. The key is to mold your most important piece of equipment—your body—into something with greater accuracy and power. Don’t let your mind stand in the way.

Water Hazard
One way to counter the emotional impact of hitting the drink with your drive is to imagine how clean your ball will now be.

If that doesn’t work, imagine your golf ball to be a space capsule which has splashed down in the ocean. Now, you’re making history. The object here is to take the natural tendency to make a stroke important and apply that importance in a more positive direction—one of celebration rather than shock or distress.

When you play the ball again, you’re launching it on its second space mission—to the Moon or Mars—all with NASA-like precision. The right attitude could cut two or three strokes off your round.

Bunker
Another definition of “bunker” is a stronghold during warfare to protect from bombs and shelling. So, your ball is now protected.

And when you’re ready to “shoot back” at the “enemy,” you do it with an artillery expert’s accuracy—right on target.

The Rough
Now, you’re Special Forces—highly trained—and on target in enemy territory, jungle or forest. Your impossible mission is to retrieve the valuable object and send all the way to headquarters.

Can’t see the pin because of a dogleg? Merely visualize the fairway, the green and the hole and visualize the precise slice or hook needed to sink the ball in one shot. Then let your finely trained body instinctively follow through to the target.

Out-of-Bounds
Challenge! Feel the thrill of gargantuan challenge course through your veins. There is a scene in the film, Chariots of Fire, where Eric Liddell, during a race, falls off the track after being bumped, gets up, and with Herculean faith advances from his rare last-place position to win the race, as if on the wings of angels. It’s not golf, but it’s pure inspiration.

Now, go out there and work some miracles.

January 7, 2012

The Zen of Golf

Filed under: — admin @ 1:54 am
Do you take your golf seriously? If you do, then you need a break. If you want to improve golf swing and deliver the best drive you need to be relaxed—not serious. The golf doctor recommends you take a few humorous moments to find your Zen—that point of neutral balance wherein holes-in-one are made.

The Laws of Golf
The point of having laws is not to make you grumpy, but humble. With humility come great things… until you brag about them.

No matter how bad your last shot was, the worst is yet to come.
Humbling thought, that.

Your best round of golf will be followed almost immediately by your worst round ever. The probability of the latter increases with the number of people you tell about the former.
Remember what we said about bragging? Honest! You can still have fun without bringing ego into the mix.

Brand new golf balls are water-magnetic. Though this cannot be proven in the lab, it is a known fact that the more expensive the golf ball, the greater its attraction to water.
By the same token, you don’t want the cheapest golf balls, either—for obvious reasons. Not too much; not too little; just right, in the middle.

Golf balls never bounce off of trees back into play. If one does, the tree is breaking a law of the universe and should be cut down.
But don’t take it seriously.

Golfers Also Have a Life
Golf cannot be an island apart. The rest of your life must exude bliss so the next round you do not miss.

I just got back from a pleasure trip. I took my mother-in-law to the airport.
Whatever adds to your bliss.

I wish my brother would learn a trade, so I would know what kind of work he’s out of.
And if you can find bliss in this, you’ve become a master.

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.
And while those others remain, simply think on the coming bliss when they do go.

He who smiles in a crisis has found someone to blame.
There’s no bliss in this; I merely wanted to see if you were paying attention.

Golf Insults
No matter how much you love the game, you can never be too attached to it. Being attached makes it “important;” and making it “important” makes it serious—a grievous sin. So, take the insults and jibes with heavenly bliss. If somebody wants to kick your butt, turn the other cheek.

Golf is what you play when you’re too out of shape to play softball.
But which brings more bliss—a home run or a hole-in-one?

Why do golfers always carry two pairs of trousers with them?

Just in case they had a hole in one.
Yes, that’s right. Feel the bliss!

What’s the difference between a bad golfer and a bad skydiver?
A bad golfer goes: Whack… “Damn!” A bad Skydiver goes: “Damn”… Whack!
Count your blessings.

November 29, 2011

Are You a Golf Swing Idiot?

Filed under: — admin @ 10:01 pm

If you’re just starting out with golf, we can’t blame you for being enthusiastic and paradoxically frustrated. In order to improve your golf game, you need first to improve your golf swing.

 

Common Mistakes

Any beginner will attempt to crush the ball in order to slam it the distance. Work on control, first. Concentrate on making contact with the ball. Practice proper form, backswing, forward and follow-through.

Don’t rush the backswing. Pull it back slowly. Impatience will only throw off your aim, and it doesn’t take much to turn a good drive into a nightmare.

You’re not competing with Mother Nature, but you cannot ignore Her either. Test the wind before each swing. Snatch a small piece of grass and toss it in the air to see which way the wind is blowing. Adjust your stance accordingly.

Don’t let others rush you. Because someone is behind you don’t feel compelled to hit the ball right away. So what if they have to wait. Let them. And let them pass if they get too rowdy. Taking practice swings before you actually hit the ball can prove crucial to gauging the shot properly.

 

Your Health

Pump up on coffee or energy drinks? Wrong! You don’t need caffeine jitters throwing off your accuracy. You need to be alert, yes, but also relaxed—not pent up.

Stay loose and limber. Don’t let your body become stiff. Exercise regularly to keep in shape, but don’t overdo it, either.

 

Bad Attitude

Do you take your golf seriously? If you do, then you’re committing another major “golf sin.” This game is supposed to be fun, not serious. Seriousness makes you tense and stressed. These adversely affect your body, your stance and your swing. Superior skills are borne out of good attitudes.

Don’t get upset when you land in a water hazard, sand bunker, the rough or even out-of-bounds. Take each event as an opportunity to learn something new about yourself and the game. Concentrate on remedying a minor glitch rather than laying blame on something, someone or yourself.

Relax! You’ll not only live longer, but a little humility will let the answers come to you. Just keep the feeling of solutions washing through you and stay alert so you’ll be able to catch one when it becomes available.

 

The Grip

All elements of your game work together and all are important, but perhaps none is more important than the correct golf grip. This is where it all starts. If you don’t have a good golf club grip, nothing else will help. Of all the golf training aids, one that helps you with your grip might be the most important thing to happen to your game.

November 23, 2011

5 Things to Help You on the Greens

Filed under: — admin @ 8:28 pm

5 Things to Help You on the Greens

 

Make your routine, routine!

If you look at any great player, he or she has a routine for every shot. And when it comes to putting, better players know that sticking to a routine is necessary for making consistent strokes. Now, what kind of routine should you have? That’s up to you. Consider looking at the putt from different angles, making practice strokes from behind the hole or even counting your steps to get a numeric value in your head as far as distance is concerned. No matter what routine you develop, the most important aspects are don’t waste too much time (a minute or two) and always be sure to do it before every putt. Make your routine, routine!

 

Practice the Right Putts 

While practicing 50-footers may be fun, you’re not likely to have many of them during your round. Odds are, the vast majority of your putts will be from 15 feet and in. So, start with a 15-foot putt and work your way in toward the hole. To test yourself, see if you can make three in a row from each length. Finally, if time permits, go ahead and roll that 50-footer if you’d like. But don’t be surprised if you never have to putt one that length the entire day.

 

Change It Up

Has your putting game disappeared? If so, no worries. It happens to all of us once in a while. The key is getting your confidence back, and one way to do it is to try a new grip. New grip styles help take the focus off your actual stroke and sometimes can actually help rid your stroke of the dangerous “yips.” Most of all, don’t be fooled by what others may tell you. No matter how odd your new putting grip may look, if it works, then stick with it.

 

Relax!

A general rule of thumb in golf is, if you’re tense when you hit a shot, you’re going to get even tenser when you see the results. The same goes for putting. If your arms and hands are tense, and you’re virtually choking the putter, you’ll become ineffective at making a smooth, steady stroke. To release some tension, take a few practice strokes and really concentrate on feeling the weight of the club head, and attempt to lag it behind the ball on the forward stroke. This will promote better speed and directional control and will significantly increase your feel.

 

Use the Tools Given to You 

If your putter and golf ball have alignment aids, don’t be afraid to use them! Confirming your aim helps you focus more on the stroke and leads to more solid putts. Just remember to align the mark from behind the ball, and make sure it’s aiming at either the hole or where you want the ball to initially start rolling. Taking advantage of any alignment aid will only increase your chances of holing putts..

Approach Shots

Filed under: — admin @ 6:51 pm

Approach Shots

Here’s the good news: You’ve just hit your drive to within 150 yards of the green. If you’re like most golfers, that means all you have left is a 7- or 8-iron (that is, if you have a perfect lie, of course).

But this is golf, and bad breaks happen. Just because you’re 150 yards out doesn’t mean that you have one of those easy, unobstructed shots you practice at the driving range. You might be in a divot, in the bunker or behind a tree. Don’t worry—this blog highlights a number of different shots and situations in which you may find yourself. Hopefully, after you read it, you’ll be able to find the green as a result!

Fairway Bunker

To escape fairway bunkers, you must make good ball-first contact. Rather than hitting the sand first, like a greenside bunker shot, you want to hit the ball first as if the ball was in the fairway. If you take some sand after the ball, like a normal divot, that’s fine. When you hit the sand first, the club slows down tremendously and will result in a shot that comes up well short of the green.

To make good ball-first club contact, you must adjust your setup accordingly. First, place the ball slightly back in your stance. When the ball is back, the club will hit the ball first before bottoming out and hitting the sand. The other setup key is to grip down slightly on the club about half an inch. Doing this makes the club slightly shorter and more difficult to hit the sand too soon during the swing. As a result, take one extra club (if you’d usually hit an 8-iron, try a 7) so you can make a controlled swing.

Fairway Divot

Finding your perfect drive in a fairway divot is one of golf’s unluckiest breaks. When you find yourself in this situation, change your expectation. You may not be able to go for the pin, so accept a shot that hits somewhere on the green. If possible, play a low punch shot from this lie and let it run up to the green or land just on the front.

In golf, you never want to “scoop” the ball, but especially for this shot, you must hit down on it to escape the divot and get it airborne! To hit down on it, place the ball slightly back in your stance and your hands slightly ahead of the ball. You want your backswing to be a little more upright so you hit down on the ball. Make sure your wrists are relaxed so they hinge a little earlier in the backswing. Make a three-quarters swing and hit down on the shot..

 

In The Rough

Ball Up
Now and then you get a lie in the rough that sits up. Initially, it seems like it’s a pretty good lie—even better than a perfect lie in the fairway. Then you hit it, and it flies 20 yards over the green. What happened? Well, some grass between the ball and club took away the spin and caused it to fly farther than usual.

To avoid hitting it 20 yards past your target, take one less club. If you typically use an 8-iron, hit a 9-iron and so on. Second, move the ball slightly back in your stance from its normal position. If you make good contact, you’ll get the spin you need for the ball to travel the close to normal distance.

Ball Down
When the ball sits down in the rough, you need to make good contact. If you hit the tall grass first, it slows down the club, and the ball comes up short of the green. Since the ball is sitting down, you must hit down to make good clubface contact. That fires the ball out of the rough.

To make sure you hit the ball first, place the ball back slightly in your stance at address so your hands are slightly ahead of the ball. You want a slightly steeper downswing than normal, so feel your wrists hinge so the club points at the sky early in the swing. This will help you hit down on the ball. Really try to feel as though your left hand leads through impact. If you can keep your left hand ahead at impact, you’ll make good contact. Since the ball is sitting down, the grass will grab the club and slow it down, so expect your follow-through to be a little shorter than normal. Don’t try to force a full finish!

Obstructed Views

Over A Tree
If you find yourself with a tree between you and the green, don’t worry! The good news is that, since you’re 150 yards out, you have a relatively short club for this shot. So first figure out if your 150-yard club will get over the tree. If you think it can and it will land, at worst, near the front of the green, go for it. Short of the green is usually safe, so if it gets over the tree but comes up a little short, that’s fine.

To hit the ball high over the tree, play it slightly forward in your stance. Make a normal backswing and downswing. Finish with a high release allowing the ball to fly higher.

 

Under or Around a Tree
If the tree is too high (or too close), you have to hit it under the tree. For this shot, you have to choose the right club. A 5-Iron can work great here. Its low loft keeps the ball low, but high enough to get airborne out of the rough. One of the hardest things to judge is how big your swing needs to be. After all, it’s a low shot, and the ball will run a good amount when you hit it. For example, a 150-yard shot needs to fly only about 130 yards (so it rolls another 20).  These shots require a smaller swing which generates less speed and spin. This will keep the ball low and most importantly, under that tree!!

 

A Tip For Staying on Plane

Filed under: — admin @ 1:03 am

A Tip For Staying on Plane

 

What’s it mean to be “on plane,” you ask?

Being on plane essentially means swinging the club at an angle that’s optimized for consistent, straight shots. Many golfers tend to get too steep, meaning they hit a lot of sliced shots, fat shots and shots from off the toe of the club. With the driver, a swing that’s too steep is likely to produce a lot of scuff marks on the top edge of your driver—a mark no one wants to see.

On the flip side, the opposite error is swinging on too flat of a plane. This is the type of mistake more accomplished players make. Generally, this mistake comes with the opposite set of errors. Instead of being too steep, the plane is too shallow, causing hands to sometimes easily over-rotate and close the clubface excessively through impact. In other words, the flatter you are, the more likely you are to hook it. Better players can relate to hitting good drives, but struggling with hitting it left with the irons—a common trait of a swing that’s too flat.

To get in the right position, first start with a video camera. Set the camera up so it is facing directly across from you as you address the ball. Then, pause the video at the top of your swing and inspect whether your club shaft bisects your right shoulder. If it does, you’re on plane at the top, and all you need to do is swing naturally to get the club back down to the ball at impact. If you’re too flat or too upright, you’ll see immediately what to fix. Practice holding the proper position at the top and ingrain it into your memory. If you find yourself hitting it fat and to the right, you’re probably too steep. If you hook the ball too much, remember that you’re probably swinging it too flat.

November 22, 2011

No More Pop Ups

Filed under: — admin @ 2:49 pm

No More Pop Ups

 

We have all done it and it is undoubtedly, one the most embarrassing tee shots in golf, a drive that pops straight up, barely clearing the tee box.

It is not just a matter of teeing the ball too high. The pop-up is a frustrating mis-hit most often caused by an excessive forward weight shift on the downswing and a club that approaches the ball on a very steep angle. The steep descent de-lofts the clubface to such a degree that the top of the club effectively becomes the leading edge. The result? Not only a humiliating pop-up, but one of the most hated marks in golf: a scuff on the crown of the club head and I have a few!!

Eliminating the pop-up can be as simple as fine tuning your setup. It’s important to make sure your address position encourages a longer and bigger backswing arc, which will automatically shallow out your swing plane and reduce the steepness of your downswing. You’ll also find that the correct setup facilitates a correct and consistent backswing weight shift. In addition to the plane errors discussed above, a poor weight shift to the right side during the backswing can increase the likelihood of a pop-up.

An easy adjustment you can make to your setup to keep the pop-up at bay is to open wide. A wide stance is needed because in order to create a bigger backswing arc, there must be room for it.

Quick Drill

Make abbreviated swings with your feet placed wider than shoulder width. Each swing should move from 2:00 to 8:00 (as if a large clock sits behind you). Concentrate on maintaining a higher position at the top of your swing (hands at 2:00) and a lower position at the finish (hands at 8:00). This will train your body to make a fuller backswing and shift your weight to your back foot on the backswing and to your forward foot on the downswing, instead of the other way around.

November 21, 2011

Are You Too Old To Start Playing Golf?

Filed under: — admin @ 2:38 pm

Are You Too Old To Start Playing Golf?

 

You’ve just retired. You’ve never been much interested in golf but now that you have some time on your hands, you’re wondering if you should pick the game up. Your friends play a lot and you feel a bit left out. So the big question for you is “Am I too old to start playing golf?”

 

In short – no way! Of course, you’ve got to be realistic about the skill level you may actually achieve but golf is a game for everyone…young and old, beginners and experts. You’re never too old to pick up the great game of golf. You’ll have the wonderful opportunity to spend time with your friends and spouse on the golf course and perhaps travel to play beautiful courses across the country and the world.

 

There are two things you need to do to get started:

 

1. Take some lessons. Don’t just go to the driving range with your golfing buddies and have them give you some tips. You might get your game to a level where you can get on the course but you will soon get frustrated. Trust a golf professional so that you can learn solid golf fundamentals. Every golf course has a staff golf professional that can give you private lessons. You could take a golf clinic but I’d suggest you take a handful of private lessons so that you can get the special attention you need to get started the right way.

 

2. Learn golf etiquette. New golfers sometimes feel intimidated by the informal rules and etiquette associated with golf. While there is no reason to be intimidated, it is essential to learn basic etiquette so as not to upset others that you might play with. Most golfers are very patient with beginner golfers that will hit the errant shot. However, they will get frustrated if you are oblivious to your shadow on the tee and green, walking or moving while they are preparing to hit, or other etiquette miscues. Simply talk to one of your golfer friends and they can give you the short list of etiquette. Better yet, walk with your friends for a couple of rounds and watch how they act. You’ll get some great exercise and learn the game as well!

 

When you are ready to play, consider playing when a course is less crowded – usually late afternoon on weekdays. That way you won’t feel stressed about slowing down play. When you are just starting out, it’s also OK to simply pick up your ball if you’re struggling on a hole. Don’t slow down play. Not only is it disrespectful to other golfers, it also will stress you out. Simply pick up your ball and wait to play with your group on the next hole.

 

Don’t worry about your score when you’re just starting out. Simply enjoy the game and the challenge. You’ll get bit by the golf bug before too long…it only takes one of those well-struck shots to get you coming back for more. Golf is a great game and it does not discriminate on the basis of age!

 


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