Posts Tagged ‘Putting’

Putting Tips From GCA Coach David Ogrin

In this Wednesday Waggle we’re going to get some putting advice from our good friend, PGA Tour winner and Golf Channel Academy coach, David Ogrin.

Perhaps you’ve seen one of his segments on The Golf Channel. We’re fortunate to have him full time here in San Antonio at The Golf Channel Academy at San Pedro. One of his recent posts caught my eye and I’d like to share it with you.

Today, I have Ogie’s permission to use one of his recent Facebook posts talking about putting. This is addressed to instructors, however, parents and their junior golfers have some excellent takeaways here. Without further ado, in David Ogrin’s words:

“On this putting thing, here would be my preferred way to teach it.

1. Give them your game theory. HIGH SIDE CORRECT SPEED IS NEVER A THREE PUTT. MAXIMUM BREAK, MINIMUM SPEED.

2. Teach them the mechanics. THUMBS ON FLAT OF PUTTER. STRAIGHT BACK, STRAIGHT THROUGH. YOU ARE PERFECTLY DESIGNED BY INSTINCT TO DO THIS.

3. Teach them how to read greens. UPHILL OR DOWNHILL? DOES HILL TIP LEFT OR RIGHT? WHAT SIDE OF HOLE DO YOU AIM?

4. Play for $1 per hole, 9 hole matches until they beat you. PUTT, PUTT, PUTT, PUTT, PUTT, PUTT, PUTT

5. If a student can beat me putting, and I know exactly where I stand on the golf ladder, that student has a chance. THREE FEET 100%, EIGHT FEET 50%, 33 FEET TWO PUTTS

Thanks again Coach Ogrin for the excellent advice!

Dad and Mom, print this out. Hit it with a highlighter. This is valuable information on the basics of putting. To win any golf tournament, the player must make putts and they must make more putts than everyone else.

This is a huge key for winning golf tournaments. Please grasp the inherent value here.

See you on #1 tee ready to make some putts… Sam

Junior Golf: Make Three Changes For More Fun

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at three simple changes you can make to freshen up your junior golfer’s routine.

It’s the middle of summer and the same ol same ol may be more tedious than exciting. The good news about summer is that there is all this extra time available for your daughter/son to play in tournaments and work on their golf skills.

The bad news is that doing the same routines for days and weeks on end can become drudgery for even the most dedicated students of the game, so let’s make things fun again. Let’s change things up.

Here are 3 simple ways to put a new twist on the summer golf experience:

1. Book a tee time at a course your youngster has never played. The thought of playing a new course always fires everybody up.

2. Learn a new putting drill. PGA Tour winner and The Golf Channel Academy at San Pedro Director of Instruction, David Ogrin offered this one: practice distance control by putting to the edge of the practice green from 20 to 30 feet away. Because you’re not trying to make the putt, you’re able for focus on how the greens are rolling and get a feel for distance. A great first/lag putt makes for an easier second putt. We want to avoid 3-putts at all costs. Feel free to vary the distance to the edge of the green.

Check out Coach Ogrin’s video.

3. Check how far his/her clubs are going. All this good summer work has many positive results including increased strength and better form which can certainly result in increased distance. It is imperative for your child to know how far they hit each club. To see that the 7-iron is flying 5 yards farther is exhilarating for any golfer!

See you on #1 tee excited about your golf game… Sam

Junior Golf: Did Brooks’ Putting Win the U.S.Open?

In today’s Monday Mulligan we will take a look at Brooks Koepka’s historic repeat victory in the U.S. Open.

Winning one U.S. Open is a lifetime goal for any golfer, but winning a second, in a row, puts a golfer in rarified air. Brooks is only the 7th golfer to win in consecutive years since the first U.S. Open in 1895.

The U.S. Open is different. Please make this point to your junior golfer: that even though there was plenty of controversy surrounding this Open, involving some players actions, some players comments and the USGA, there was still going to be a winner on Sunday! Controversy is a distraction and avoiding distractions is a key to being competitive. Focus on your own game and be positive.

When I close my eyes and think about the U.S. Open I use this Jack Nicklaus quote: “”A difficult golf course eliminates a lot of players. The U.S. Open flag eliminates a lot of players. Some players just weren’t meant to win the U.S. Open. Quite often, a lot of them know it.” And to paraphrase another of his quotes: “When I think of the U.S.Open I see a very long golf course with high rough, fast greens and tough pins. It should be different from every other course we see during the year.” No whining please.

So what were the keys to BK’s won? There’s a long list but we’ll just cover a few things here. It starts with being in a position to win on Sunday. At one point there were about a half-dozen guys within a couple of strokes of the lead but most of them either played themselves out of contention or couldn’t make the couple of late birdies to get into a playoff.

When it was obvious Brooks had won, the Fox announcers talked about the keys to his success. Yes, he hit some stray shots. And he made a bogey or 2. But he made clutch putts! During his final 9 holes he made several 8 to 10 footers for pars! Those were serious pressure putts and he made them.

Time and time again, after every tournament you’ll hear the announcers compliment the winner on his putting. Dad and Mom, your child must be an excellent putter if he/she is to have any chance of winning a golf tournament.

Surely the winner must hit some fairways and hit some greens. But making putts is the key to victory. You have to make a putt to make an up and down. You must make a putt to have a sandy. You have to make putts, period. Sometimes you have to make a putt to have a “good” bogey. Yes, there is such a thing because it’s way better than a double bogey.

Photocredit: golfchannel.com

And your son/daughter must make some birdie putts and some par putts. And in theory, to win, they need to make just about everything from 10 feet and in. Make 100% of the 3-footers. Yep, ya gotta make putts to win.

Congratulations to Brooks Koepka!

See you on #1 tee dreaming of winning the U.S. Open… Sam

Junior Golf: Short Game Practice Pays Off Big Time

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will look at how focus in one particular area of your daughter’s/son’s golf game can really pay off.

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Photocredit:GolfDigest

Time and time again as you listen to the PGA and LPGA tournament broadcasts you will hear the announcers repeat things that must happen if a player is to have a chance to win any golf tournament.

Some of those golden nuggets are:
You must putt well to win
You must make a couple of 20 to 30-foot putts to win
You have to make up-and-downs to win
You need a good greenside sand/bunker game to win

What do these items have in common? They are all part of golf’s short game. Every golf instructor worth her/his salt will tell you that the fastest way to lower your junior golfer’s score is to improve their short game. This includes chipping, putting and greenside sand/bunker shots.

Here’s a perfect example from last weekend Player’s Championship. Si Woo Kim became the youngest player in history to win the prestigious Player’s Championship at just 21 years of age. His final round stats provide a different picture than you might expect. Kim missed 10 greens and made par every time. That’s a 100% rate folks, short game perfection. The shot repertory included an amazing hybrid from just off the green, pitch shots, chip shots and beautiful greenside bunker shots. And he made every 1 of the 10 putts that followed resulting in a 3-shot winning margin!

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Photocredit:DailyMail

Periodically you’ll hear of a pro that’s in contention on Sunday that’s made everything all week from 3 feet and in or from 5 feet and in or even from 10 feet and in. Next you might hear that he/she is leading the field in par saves, up-and-downs or sand saves. Mom and Dad, these are not accidents. The great players have the great short games that are necessary for a victory.

Chipping, putting, sand shots around the green are fun and easy to do and the chipping and putting can be practiced at home. Golf Channel Academy has a ton of input and instruction in this area as does almost every show on GC. Take advantage of them. Download the app. Go online to the big golf sites and see what’s on sale. Take some action. You can practice your short game too! Make it a family affair!

See you on #1 tee ready to see your good short game… Sam

Junior Golf: Have More Fun, Change Something

As we get the new year off and running, let’s use this Wednesday Waggle to have more fun and change something. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

Rock singer Cindy Lauper’s song, Girls Just Want To Have Fun, really applies to all of us. Most of the time our junior golfers are eager to get out on the course and play a few holes, have some fun. But there’s the drills that need to be done to develop new and proper habits and techniques so your son’s time on the golf course actually has an opportunity to be fun.

Some drills/practice regimens are more fun than others and all of them can get monotonous at some point. Chipping and putting are easy places to start. There are a ton of very short videos on the Golf Channel Academy App (free), the golf magazine sites, many manufacturer’s sites and on Utube.

Where to start? Simple, ask your son if he would prefer to improve his chipping or his putting. If he says putting, but you feel like his chipping is not as good as his putting and you, in your wisdom, would prefer he work on chipping, get his attention by saying this, “Good chipping really improves your putting!” He says, “How’s that, Dad?” Your response, “Good chipping leaves the ball closer to the hole, so you have shorter putts. And you’re good at making those!” (image DWQuailGolf.com)image

There’s so much information. Look for something that is practical and addresses an area that can be improved in your sons golf game. If you’re in a cold climate, perhaps an indoor putting drill would work. Or chipping whiffle balls off a matt in the garage into a bucket. Get creative, do something, something new and different.

See you on #1 tee using those new skills… Sam

Junior Golf: Change Is Good

In this Monday Mulligan we will look at change and why, in the great majority of cases, change is good. (image jennleforge.com)image

Charlie Strong, head football coach at my alma mater, The University of Texas, was fired Saturday and replaced by Tom Herman. This is a rather obvious example of good change because Coach Strong had 3 consecutive losing seasons, which is totally unacceptable at UT, and he had to go. We’ll see how Coach Herman does, but in any case, a change had to be made and made now. The losing could not be tolerated any longer. Optimism is once again in the air at The University of Texas football program.

Another great outcome of change was Ryan Moore’s dramatic improvement in his finishes on the PGA Tour, after changing golf balls. He went from middle-of-the-pack to Top 5 or Top 10 finishes and played his way onto the Ryder Cup squad where he clinched the winning point. Talk about positive results from change!image

So Dad and Mom, change something for your junior golfer. I’m not talking swing changes here. I mean a new ridiculous head cover that causes her to smile every time she looks at her bag! Or buy some colored golf balls. Or buy a different brand of golf balls, proper compression of course. Shop for new golf shoes. Perhaps get 1 of the new floppy hats which provide great protection for the ears and back of the neck. And there’s always some new practice aide that can be used in the backyard or even in the house. We are big fans of putting aides. They are an excellent way to shave off some strokes. Let’s use change to have fun!image

Inject a little fun in the game. Smiles are relaxing and we all know our kids can use some more relaxation on the golf course. (images global golf and roxy)

See you on #1 tee smiling… Sam

Junior Golf: Love Your Golf Ball

In this Monday Mulligan we will continue our look at golf balls and why your daughter needs to really like/love the ball she plays with. It’s her most important piece of equipment so let’s treat it as such. (image jennleforge.com)image

Yes, if your girl is a beginner and struggling to make contact with the ball, please buy some inexpensive balls until she starts smacking the ball on the clubface, hopefully near the middle, and is getting it up into flight. Then it is the time to get some education for both of you in the world of golf balls.

Last post we talked some technical things and most of the balls for your beginner to intermediate skill level young lady would be the common 2-piece variety. At this stage of her golf development what would cause her to enjoy/like/love a particular ball? The easiest benefit to see is increased distance. 1 ball may stand out as going farther than the other balls she has hit. Buy some. Let her enjoy her new length. As she get used to this ball, ask her how it feels when she hits a good shot. If she says it feels good or I barely feel any contact, you have a ball to stick with for a while, at least until the more sophisticated area of spin levels comes into play.

Another thing that simply makes golf more fun is the color of the golf ball. I can assure you that my wife Linda, really enjoys playing with colored golf balls. It’s easy to see that it makes golf more fun for her. There are bright yellow, bright green, pink, deep-rose colored balls and more. Ask your daughter if she would like to play with a color other than a white golf ball. Buy her some. Please be aware everyone’s eyes are different. I personally still see white balls quicker than any other color. Then yellow and green and frankly the pink, deep-rose colors are very hard for my eyes to pick up.

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A hybrid type of ball is the Callaway Chrome Soft Truvis Ball offered in red/white and yellow/black. These are easy for my eyes to see and the color pattern looks kind of like a soccer ball. They are pricey at $39.99 per dozen and may not be appropriate for your girl’s swing speed. It is incredibly easy however to see the spin with this ball. Buy 1 sleeve for putting and chipping practice. (image golf balls.com)

The bottom line here is buy her a sleeve each of several of the top brand names like Titleist, Callaway, Bridgestone, Nike-while you can get them, Srixon and TaylorMade. At some point she will tell you which 1 stands out to her. And buy her some colored balls for fun. Who knows what her final choice will be, but at least she has had the chance to audition a variety of quality golf balls. You’re putting her in a position to succeed!

See you on #1 tee with a golf ball you love… Sam

Junior Golf: Memories Of Arnold


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In today’s Wednesday Waggle I’ll share a few family memories of times we were around Arnold Palmer.

He is everything and more than was said about him. Tom Watson mentioned that professional golfers should send Arnold Palmer a commission on every dollar that they earned. There are thousands of tribute articles available where you can get a comprehensive discussion of how Arnold changed almost everything about professional golf…the excitement, bringing the game to the masses with Arnie’s Army, increasing the endorsement money, revitalizing the British Open, bringing attention to the importance of golf as a world-wide sport, loving his fans, increasing purses and of course his amazing charity work. The list is endless and professional golf will be eternally grateful! (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)

My Dad was very involved in running The Texas Open for many years including 1960-62 when Arnold won it all 3 years. Dad got to know Arnold at Fort Sam Houston in 1960. The 1st time I actually met him was in 1961 when, after finishing a round at Oak Hills, Arnold was talking to my parents as I walked up. Dad introduced me and Arnold said, “Hi Sammie, nice to meet you,” and we visited a few minutes and he moved on. Different times back then, no giant structures, pretty much the only grandstands that were around #9 and #18, both of them par 3’s. You had open access to all the pros and while some weren’t very talkative, many were.

Sitting at #17 green was my friends and my favorite spot because once the guys putted out you could watch them hit to #18. The tee box was right next to the 17th green. So 17 is a hard dogleg left with a forest in the middle of the way. Arnold was long enough to cut the corner but when we heard a ball crash into the middle of the trees. This was my hero’s group coming up and my heart sank as I watched Arnold go to the ball on the bare dirt with about 30 trees between it and the green. Well, don’t ya know, he hit a low roller out of there up to about 3 feet from the pin and made a birdie. Major excitement!

Arnold won The Texas Open again in 1962 and I know he came back to play in the 1968 PGA Championship at Pecan Valley. He and Dad got to say “Hi” again and I so wanted Arnold to win this event. You may recall he rope-hooked his drive into the woods on the 72nd hole but managed to hit a miraculous 3-wood close enough for a decent birdie look which would have tied him with Julius Boros. The putt didn’t drop and Arnold finished 2nd.

imageThe last time I saw Arnold in-person was at a Senior Tour event at Oak Hills in 2004. One of my life goals was to get a photo of S3 with The King and I had no idea how I was going to do it. When I read that Arnold said he always liked Oak Hills, where he won 2 Texas Opens, and wanted to play it 1 more time, I couldn’t believe it! We went on Pro-Am day because there are light crowds and access to players is good. There was a slight backup on #11 tee and The King was gracious enough to let S3, then 10 years old, sit in his lap. It’s a lifetime event photo, a true treasure! Thank you, Arnold! The King is gone but he has given our family a lifetime of memories.

See you on #1 tee honoring The King… Sam

 

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Junior Golf: Amazing Finish But I ‘m Also Sad

In this Monday Mulligan we’ll look at the amazing finish to The Tour Championship and FedEx Cup. And as great as that was I’m also sad that my #1 sports hero of all-time, Arnold Palmer, passed away. I’ll share some of our family’s personal memories with The King on Wednesday. Today let’s look at what happened in Atlanta!image

Sunday began with most of the golf pundits just about ready to concede both events to DJ, Dustin Johnson. Why not, he was playing well, had a great year and just needed a good final round and he would be very hard to beat. Well, guess what, golf happened! (photo jennleforge.com)

He played poorly, in fact, the worst round of the day for the 30-man field, a 73 and with 6 holes to play there was no way for him to win the TC. There were 3 guys who were fighting it out and it was great golf and exciting TV.

Kevin Chappell, was leading but a poor drive on #17 left him with a bogey. Being in the last pairing right behind Rory McIlroy and Ryan Moore, Kevin had some idea of what was happening ahead.

Let’s back up. Ryan was slowly catching Kevin all day long. DJ played poorly and was out of contention. Rory was a few shots back and was not a threat, yet. Well, Rory holed out for an eagle on #16 to seriously get back in it. He parred #17 and birdied #18 to finish -12. His playing partner Ryan finished 4, 3, 5 to also be -12. So Kevin went 3, 5, 5 to make it a 3-way tie at 12-under. Let the playoff begin.

Who could have won outright? The rough was notoriously tough and Chappell’s poor drive on #17 cost him a bogey. A par would have meant a win. An expensive shot. Ryan had maybe an 8-footer for a birdie on his 72nd hole that would have put him at 13-under par and an outright winner. He missed it and I think that was the only putt under 10-feet he missed all day! Wow!

Playoff holes were 18, 18, 15, 16, 17 and 18, sudden death! Rory hit a 360-yard drive on the 1st playoff hole leaving only 213 yards to the pin. He promptly hit his 2nd shot to 6 & 1/2 feet and it seemed like it was over. Kevin hit a poor approach and missed his birdie putt and he knew he was done. Ryan had almost the exact same putt he had missed just moments earlier and he stroked it right into the middle of the cup for a birdie, forcing Rory to make his eagle putt to win.

The announcers mentioned that Rory really wasn’t taking any time with the putt and he was just stepping up and hitting it. Perhaps he should have taken more time because he missed it. So he and Ryan played 18 again, then 15 and then the par 4 16th. After an awkward chip, Ryan made a 20-footer for a par. Rory had 14 & ½ feet for his birdie and he made it! Had Kevin or Ryan won the tournament, DJ would have won the FedEx Cup. Rory, by winning the last event of the year also won the FEC, congratulations, Rory! (photo pga.com)

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It was amazing to watch. I mean Kevin Chappell went 66, 68, 68, 66 and finished 3rd. That’s great golf on a tough course! Ryan Moore kept making shots and would not make a bogey. And he made a ton of putts. Fabulous grit and determination! And Rory, who at some point must have known that he would have to win it because Ryan was not going to hand the victory to him, hit 1 more great shot than Ryan to claim his win on the 4th playoff hole!

What does this mean to your junior golfer? Every shot counts. Never give up. Give your best effort on every shot every time. Take a breath. Enjoy the thrill of the moment because these moments are rare.

See you on #1 tee ready to give your best effort on every shot… Sam

Tour Championship Begins

And they’re off! The best 30 players on the PGA Tour have day 1 of The Tour Championship under their belt. And there were some surprises. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

Hideki Matsuyama shot a 66 to tie for the lead with Kevin Chappell and pre-event favorite Dustin Johnson. The low 11 scores feature plenty of high-powered players including Jason Day 1 shot back, then Jordan Spieth, Paul Casey and Rory McIlroy 2 shots back and finally Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar 3 shots back.

Notables who were in the back of the 30-man field were Bubba Watson at 2-over par, Patrick Reed at 3-over par and Phil Mickelson and Jimmy Walker, 4-over par. There are still 54 holes of golf to play, no 36-hole cut. The time to start shooting better scores would be now.

1 of the strategic truths of golf tournaments is that you can’t win an event during the 1st round but you can lose it. This means that if you shoot a terribly high score, putting too many strokes between you and the leaders, you have given yourself a slim to no chance to catch up and possibly take the lead.

This is an interesting field. Maybe ⅓ have won Majors/been on Ryder Cup teams/have won multiple events, about ⅓ have won maybe 1 event/no Majors or Ryder Cup but have been relatively successful and perhaps ⅓ who are young and very talented trying to elevate their success and status.

While statistically almost anyone in the field could win, the history is different. Look at the previous winners. Big names! Dominant players either historically or for the year they won. Billy Horschel is perhaps the only up-and-coming player to win and he put together a smoking hot final month of play culminating with winning The Tour Championship and FedEx Cup. He just wasn’t going to be stopped!

 

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If we can skip ahead to Sunday and look at the leaderboard before the final round begins, keep in mind what the great Jack Nicklaus said about competition during final rounds of big events. To paraphrase Jack, “I’d look at the leaderboard to see who had a chance to win. The guys who had never won a Major or big event I didn’t pay much attention to them because the pressure was too great. It was the guys who had won Majors or multiple Majors that I had to keep an eye on. They’d already done it. They’d been there.” (photo bmw-golfsport.com)

Encourage your junior golfer to stay calm and keep big numbers off the scorecard during Round 1. A bogey here and there is just fine, but the doubles, triples and quads are round killers, if not even tournament killers. There’s a time for high risk shots but remember that there are only a few pros who go for everything all the time. Safe shots are a good thing!

Set the TiVo. This should be good!

See you on #1 tee looking for the safe zone… Sam

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