Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2010 PGA Merchandise Show - Demo Day

Today was spent at Orange County National Golf Club and the incredible 360 degree driving range (see video) to take a sneak peak at the latest and greatest in golf equipment technology. There looks to be some exciting new product introductions coming soon to the Haggin Oaks Golf Shop, including the new Nike Vr line of clubs which will be available tomorrow in fact. I was fortunate enough to spend some time at the Nike Golf area today and meet two fantastic players, former Open Championship winner and Ryder Cup hero, Justin Leonard and the #3 World Ranked LPGA Tour Player, Suzanne Petterson (see pictures below). It was a wonderful first day and I am looking forward to three more days of seeing new products and educational activities to bring back to all of you! Please comment on this blog if there is anything you would like me to talk about or look for while at the largest golf show in the world. The Orange County Convention Center is over a mile wide and they say when you walk the entire show floor, through all of the ailes that it is the distance of a marathon! I will have daily updates and photos of some of what I am previewing.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

An Excerpt from Extraordinary Golf by Fred Shoemaker

"If an average golfer takes 90 shots in a round, and each shot takes about two seconds, that adds up to only about three minutes of actual play. The pre-shot routine takes anywhere from 5 to 10 seconds, which adds another ten seconds or so. That leaves more than three hours and forty-five minutes of time between shots in a typical four hour round - about 95 percent of the round. This is time where you are simply out on the course, walking (or riding) to your next shot.

The traditional method of teaching golf focuses almost exclusively on the 5 percent of swing time and ignores the other 95 percent of the round. I've come to realize that the people that are most likely to improve beyond what is ordinary are people who have mastered the time between shots. I'm not talking about strategy or positive thinking or simply "doing things differently". I'm talking about a new way to "be" out on the course. I'm talking about being a golfer. The best and most lasting changes take place when a person is essentially "being different"."

This is a fantastic book and a great read that I highly recommend to anyone looking to create real change both on and off the course.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Two Rules to Know for Winter Golf

Winter golf can be very different from summer golf in terms of conditioning of the golf course. Here are a couple important rules to remember to increase your enjoyment and to help the rules of golf work for you rather than against you...

Rule 25-2. Embedded Ball
A ball embedded in its own pitch-mark in the ground in any closely mown area through the green may be lifted, cleaned and dropped, without penalty, as near as possible to the spot where it lay but not nearer the hole. The ball when dropped must first strike a part of the course through the green. "Closely mown area" means any area of the course, including paths through the rough, cut to fairway height or less.

25-1. Abnormal Ground Conditions: Casual Water"Casual water" is any temporary accumulation of water on the course that is not in a water hazard and is visible before or after the player takes his stance. Snow and natural ice, other than frost, are either casual water or loose impediments, at the option of the player. Manufactured ice is an obstruction. Dew and frost are not casual water.

A ball is in casual water when it lies in or any part of it touches the casual water.

a. Interference:
Interference by an abnormal ground condition occurs when a ball lies in or touches the condition or when the condition interferes with the player's stance or the area of his intended swing. If the player's ball lies on the putting green, interference also occurs if an abnormal ground condition on the putting green intervenes on his line of putt. Otherwise, intervention on the line of play is not, of itself, interference under this Rule.

b. Relief
Except when the ball is in a water hazard or a lateral water hazard, a player may take relief from interference by an abnormal ground condition as follows:
(i)Through the Green: If the ball lies through the green, the player must lift the ball and drop it, without penalty, within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief. The nearest point of relief must not be in a hazard or on a putting green. When the ball is dropped within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, the ball must first strike a part of the course at a spot that avoids interference by the condition and is not in a hazard and not on a putting green.
(ii) In a Bunker: If the ball is in a bunker, the player must lift the ball and drop it either:
(a) Without penalty, in accordance with Clause(i) above, except that the nearest point of relief must be in the bunker and the ball must be dropped in the bunker or, if complete relief is impossible, as near as possible to the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole, on a part of the course in the bunker that affords maximum available relief from the condition...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

USGA Launches New Rules Of Golf Application

The United States Golf Association has announced the launch of the official application for the 2010-2011 editions of “The Rules of Golf,” “Decisions on The Rules of Golf” and “Rules of Amateur Status” for the iPhone and iPod touch.

The Rules of Golf App is designed for golfers who want instant access to the official Rules and Decisions. With this application, which features simple navigation and a convenient word and phrase search function, users can quickly answer questions about every Rule, Definition and Decision. The new technology is the only Rules application approved by the USGA.

Users can also e-mail the USGA directly from the application with a Rules question. This mobile App now gives golfers a new way to seek answers from the USGA, which answers more than 15,000 Rules questions each year.

The iPhone was the ideal initial platform for the application given the vast distribution of iPhone applications. The USGA plans to extend the application onto the BlackBerry and Google Android operating systems later this month.

Users can purchase and download the Rules of Golf App in the iTunes store for $3.99. The direct link for users with iTunes, an iPhone or iPod touch is

Monday, January 18, 2010

Keep Your Swing Sharp During Rainy Days

As I look outside and notice that it is raining cats and dogs an idea for a topic popped into my head. Most golfers are pretty crazy about improving and finding new ways to stay sharp, even during inclement weather. Here are a couple quick ideas to help cure your golf fix and make you better at the same time:

1. Take an old long iron (like a 3 iron that hopefully you have replaced with a hybrid by now) and have it cut down to half the size and have a trainer grip added to it. You now have a club that you can make practice swings with in the house without the worry of knocking down some lights or severely hurting the family pet. The "short club" allows you to better understand the relationship between the club face and your hands as you can see the club face during the whole swing with the shortened shaft. The grip trainer also ensures that you grip the club correctly.

2. Look into getting a training aid that you can swing around the house and will add value when you actually hit the course. A great new training aid is the "Orange Whip" that we offer in the Haggin Oaks Super Shop. This swing trainer has multiple purposes that I have seen make an incredible difference in my students' motions, both in the full swing and in the short game. Take a look below at some of the ways it can be used.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ball Flight + Technology = A Proper Fit

There still seems to be a myth by many golfers that it is not the golf club or golf ball but rather all about the golfer themselves as to whether that perfectly straight, smashed drive happens on a regular basis. The more people can understand the proper ball flight that achieves maximum distance, the more people can begin to crush this myth and their drives.

Let’s first take a look at what happens at impact between the golf club and golf ball:

1. The golf club’s shaft reacts to the force applied by the golfer swinging it and “releases” the club head..

2. At moment of impact, the specific features of the club head’s design, such as loft, lie, center of gravity (CG), and moment of inertia (MOI), initiate ball flight.

3. The golf ball reacts to the forces applied by the shaft via the club head. The ball “launches” in the direction and with the spin that the impact forces have applied.

4. The attributes in the golf ball take effect and ball flight is determined.

I know many of you are thinking that this is WAY too technical, but this is reality and the very reason proper clubfitting requires not only the ability to see ball flight but also a trained club fitting professional using the most state of the art technology to read much of the data needed to maximize numbers 1 through 4 above. At Haggin Oaks we are fortunate to have TrackMan in the Player Performance Studio which is the most state-of-the-art launch monitor in golf today. With this incredible technology we are able to gather a lot of important data regarding a golfer’s launch angle, ball speed, spin rate, land angle as well as many other important variables that will maximize the moment of impact and thus the golfer’s ball flight.

The chart below clearly illustrates visually what proper ball flight is and what effect it has on a golfer’s distance. Which one are you?

If you fall into Ball Flight numbers 2, 3 or 4 above do not worry as you are definitely not alone, and you can be helped. The three most important pieces that are needed to drastically improve your ball flight are: top fitting professionals, technologically advanced launch monitors and the ability to see the ball flight. It is time to bust the myth that fitting is not critical. If you experience a clubfitting that has these three important pieces your golf game will be changed for life.

Choosing the Right Golf Coach is as Easy as 1-2-3

The game of golf can be very intimidating, both when one is just learning the game and for those that have played for some time. Taking golf lessons is a great way to improve your game and help to alleviate the intimidation factor. Choosing the right golf coach is a very important part of the process and a detail people often do not spend enough time on. Utilizing the “3 F’s” can help simplify and speed up the selection process and allow the student to have a great experience while improving their game.

1. Fun: Golf is a recreational activity and something that someone chooses to do that perhaps takes them away from their family or work, thus it should be a lot of fun to make the time away well worth it. The student should take a few minutes and speak to the potential golf coach, whether in person or over the phone, before signing up for lessons and get a feel for their excitement and attitude towards the learning process. Does the golf coach get really excited when discussing what they do with their students or does it seem like it is just another task they perform during the day? Does it appear that the coach mixes up what they do during a series of lessons, i.e., short game, full swing, playing lessons, etc.? Get a feel for the golf coach’s personality and demeanor so that it is a fit with yours to ensure you will have fun. After all, golf is a game that IS fun!
2. Focused: During the pre-screening process a student should make sure that the golf coach has a plan in mind for your game. Just because the coach hasn’t seen you hit a ball doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have a general plan of attack for someone of your skill level (beginner, intermediate or advanced). Have the coach talk through what plans they have developed with their other students of like abilities. Does the coach start the lessons around the green and work back to the full swing in order to build the proper foundation? Does the coach understand the different types of learning styles (auditory, visual and kinesthetic) and focus the information to the student in the appropriate way to ensure the best chance for success? Does the coach ask about what your goals and objectives are so that the lessons can be focused on achieving them? Having a coach with a clear focus and plan for YOUR game gives you the best chance to be your best!
3. Follow-Up: When talking to your potential golf coach discuss what kind of communication and follow-up takes place in between lessons. Does the coach keep track of what happens during each session? Will you be receiving an email after each lesson delivering the notes and thoughts about what was discussed? Does the coach promote communication between student and teacher as a mandatory piece to achieving your goals, both during and in between lessons? Does the coach ask you to follow up in regards to how practice or play is going in between sessions either by email, phone or in person? Follow up keeps the student and coach connected and ensures that both YOU and the coach are always moving in the same direction.

A great golf coach wants to be your “total golf guardian” and views the relationship between student and coach as a lifetime commitment. Take the time before choosing a coach and utilize the “3 F’s” to make sure the coach is a fit for you. It will be well worth the extra time and your golf game will thank you for it!