Friday, April 30, 2010

Tom Morton on News 10 to Discuss the 2010 Golf Expo

Check out the following link to see Tom do some television spots early on Friday morning talking about the 2010 Haggin Oaks Golf Expo. There are two different videos you can find from this link:

If you did not come out to Golf Expo on Friday make sure you make it out on Saturday or Sunday as it is by far the best one we have ever had!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Keep Your Swing "On Track" for Solid Contact & Maximum Distance

One thing that I see all the time out on the lesson tee is the tendency for people to be very quick with the start of the downswing, especially when going for "extra" distance. This type of motion can lead to the club getting "off track", also known as "casting", as well as the upper body lurching forward on the downswing, resulting in a loss of distance and direction.

Swing thought: Making a reasonable shoulder turn, keep your back to the target as long as you can on your downswing. As the lower body starts the downswing, feel your arms fall at a speed close to a gravity drop. You should begin to feel your downswing path coming much more from the inside with a shallower angle of approach into the ball.

Drills: Tee to ball. Place a tee into the grip end of your club. Begin the downswing by pointing the tee at the ball. This will help establish a proper downswing path.

Gravity drop: Extend your arms out at shoulder height. Let them fall by force of gravity down to your sides. This is the same feel that you should have as you start your downswing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

NCPGA Match Play Championship ~ Day 2

The sky opened up for my third match of the tournament and the rainy, soggy conditions became as much of a competitor as was my actual opponent...Neither of us played too well in the tough conditions through the first 9 holes and I found myself 2 down...As I joked with my competitor, it was the battle of the "least worst"...We began to play a bit better as the back 9 went on and as the rain subsided, but it seemed that whenever he would do something well that I would too and when he made a mistake, I would do the same, thus I remained 2 down heading into the 16th hole...My opponent hit is second shot on the par four 16th to about 3 feet and I knew that if I didn't make birdie my day was over...I focused and managed to almost knock the shot in the hole, hitting it to about 6 inches away, another tie, still 2 down going into the 17th...My opponent putted his 3rd shot on 17 to a few inches from the hole for an easy par so as I sat over my 20 foot birdie putt I knew it was either make or go luck would have it, I knocked it in to extend the match to the 18th...On the par 5 18th hole my opponent hit two nice shots to about 15 yards away from the green in perfect shape while I had hit my drive into the fairway bunker and ended up laying back to about 85 yards, in the rough...I hit another solid approach to about 3 to 4 feet away and my opponent chipped past to about 7 to 8 feet...If he made it I was done but his putt just slipped past the hole for a gimme par...This was it, a chance to halve the match and extend it to extra holes if I could knock this birdie putt down...the putt looked like it had a fair amount of right to left movement but I never like to play too much break on shorter putts so I split the difference and aimed at the right edge of the hole...turns out, the putt didn't move at all...yep, I missed the short putt and the match was over...Time to jump in the car and drive the 3.5 hour trip home...plenty of time to reflect on continued lessons, both for myself and for my students...Below are a few items that I think are good things to learn from my experience above:

**In wet, tough conditions always be prepared with the appropriate gear (extra gloves, rain gear, umbrella, extra towels and a ziplock bag to keep some of these things dry)
**Keep focused on the shot at hand as opposed to the tough conditions around you
**In match play, stay focused on yourself and what you can control as opposed to waiting for your opponent to make a mistake (as this may never happen!)
** Remember that golf is a crazy game and that you are never out of it (I was reminded of this by the close finish of the match when I was down most of the day)
**In tough weather conditions it is easy to lose your tempo and balance...stay focused on these two items on every shot and just let the club swing
**When the weather is bad, hitting a lot of greens in regulation is difficult, a reminder as to how important a quality short game is...make about 60+% of your practice time on the short game (putting, chipping, pitching, bunker play, etc)
**Lastly, stay positive and have a great time, afterall, it is a game that is meant to be fun...sometimes during the heat of the battle this can be forgotten...I say it is better to lose than never to have played at all!

Oh yes, not to be forgotten...on shorter are better off just playing them straight and hitting the putt with confidence to the back of the cup!

Monday, April 19, 2010

NCPGA Match Play Championship ~ Day 1

Just keeping everyone up to date on the NCPGA Match Play event that I am participating in...It was a fun and exciting day today where the nerves and excitment flowed early on which made me think of many of you when you play in events or tournaments...The lesson to be learned here is that if you stick to your routines and focus on each shot at a time those nerves will subside...I was able to do this and ended up having a nice day, defeating my first opponent 5 and 3, while also winning my afternoon match 7 and 6...I get to go through the nerves all over again as I play one of our best players in the Nor Cal Section at Monterey Peninsula Country Club first thing in the morning...I am looking forward to it and will keep everyone updated on the experience and will give some tips when playing and preparing for important events...Check back soon!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Rules Quiz...Test Your Knowledge of Some Interesting Rules Questions

Practice Swing Accidentally Moves Ball in Play

Q. While making a practice swing, a player accidentally moved the ball in play with the club. What is the ruling?

A. The player incurs a one stroke penalty, and must replace the ball to its original position. If the player fails to replace the ball, a total penalty of loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play will be incurred.

Ball in Play Moved by Wind or Gravity

Q. A player replaces his ball on the putting green and the ball is at rest. Without addressing the ball the player steps away to read his putt.

The ball moves either due to the wind or the slope of the putting green. How should the player proceed?

A. The player must play his ball from the new position without penalty.

If the ball was moved into the hole then the player is deemed to have holed out with his previous stroke (Decision 20-3d/1).

Note: It is not relevant whether the player had removed his ball-marker before the ball was moved by the wind or gravity as the player's ball was in play when it was replaced (Rule 20-4).

Ball Deflected by Player's Equipment

Q. What is the ruling if my ball in motion is accidentally deflected by my equipment?

A. In either form of play (match play or stroke play) the player incurs a one-stroke penalty and must play the ball as it lies.

Stones in Bunkers

Q. What is the status of stones in bunkers?

A. Stones are by definition loose impediments regardless of their location. Thus, when the ball and the stone lie in or touch the same hazard, the stone may not be removed. However, a Committee may adopt a Local Rule stating that stones in bunkers are movable obstructions. Unless this Local Rule is put into effect by the Committee, players may not remove stones in bunkers without penalty.

Ball Lying Against Rake in Bunker

Q. My ball lies against a rake in a bunker, am I entitled to relief?

A. Yes. A bunker rake is a movable obstruction (see Definition of "Obstuctions") which the player may remove in accordance with Rule 24-1.

If the ball is touching the sand in the bunker (or another part of the course) then the rake may be removed in accordance with Rule 24-1a.

If the ball is resting solely on the rake (i.e. not also touching a part of the course) then Rule 24-1b permits the player to lift the ball, remove the rake, and drop the ball as nearly as possible to the spot directly beneath where the ball lay on the rake (but not nearer the hole).

Ball Thought to be Embedded is Lost

Q. I hit my ball right down the middle, I know it`s there, it must have embedded in the soft ground. Am I allowed to drop a ball without penalty where I think it might have come to rest?

A. No. If the ball can not be found, the player must proceed under Rule 27-1, incurring the stroke-and-distance penalty. There is nothing in Rule 25-2 that permits a player to take relief for a ball that is thought to be embedded without identifying it first. The soft mushy earth is not an abnormal ground condition unless casual water is present, in which case Rule 25-1c applies.

Reaching Across Hole to Tap in Short Putt

Q. A player reaches across the hole to tap in a short putt (the hole is between the player and the ball). Is this a breach of Rule 16-1e, Standing Astride or on the Line of Putt?

A. No. The line of putt does not extend beyond the hole. There is no penalty for making a stroke in this manner, provided the ball is fairly struck at and not raked into the hole.

Club Broken During Stroke, Practice Stroke, or Practice Swing

Q. A player breaks the shaft of his 4-iron when the follow-through of his stroke causes the shaft to make contact with the trunk of a tree. May the player replace the club during his round?

A. Yes, the player may replace the club -- see Rule 4-3.

The player's club is unfit for play and this occurred during the normal course of play (see Decision 4-3/1).

The broken club may be replaced provided the player does not unduly delay play and provided he does not replace the club by borrowing a club selected for play by any other person playing on the course.

The player does not need to replace the broken 4-iron with another 4-iron; he may replace it with any conforming club.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Short Game Paramount this Week at Augusta National...What Can You Learn by Watching this Week?

The reality is for most players the quickest way to lower your score is with the short game. Here are seven examples of why the short game is so important, just as it is every week on all major professional golf tours, especially this week at Augusta National.

1. Putting -- The one club you will likely use on ever hole is the putter. Roughly 30-40% of your score is going to be with the flat stick. To me, this is a staggering number and one we shouldn't take lightly. Although it seems the masses of amateurs are paying more attention to this area of the game, it is still not where it needs to be. Learning the proper fundamentals of putting and building a repetitive putting stroke like Anthony Kim is something we should all strive to do.

• How many putts per round are you currently taking?

• What percentage does this make of your final score?

• Are you spending that percentage of your practice time on this area of the game?

In 2009, TOUR average for total putts per green was 1.78 with Steve Stricker leading the way at 1.72.

2. Chipping - This by definition is a shot with "minimum air, maximum roll". This is a shot that takes place roughly from 0-10 yards from the green. A short little motion with very little wrists but yet can give so many of us fits. What I like about chipping is it is a great shot to learn how to set-up with the club shaft forward and return it forward to impact supported by the turning of the shoulders.

In 2009, a TOUR player on average would get the ball up and down 85.51% of the time from 10 yards on in. Where are you?

3. Hinge & Hold -- One of my favorite shots and one we have discussed over the years in the blog. Tour players are so good with this shot as we saw from Kim this week when the ball came to rest in the rough. This is a shot you can hit from roughly 0-20 yards and once again, a short motion but different then chipping because of the wrist hinge during the backswing. This wrist hinge steepens the angle of approach into impact resulting in more spin.

In 2009, a TOUR player on average would get the ball up and down 64.74 percent of the time from 10-20 yards.

4. Toss Shot -- A very close second when it comes to my favorite shots and one that generally speaking needs the most work for the amateur player. This shot builds upon the Hinge & Hold by adding more arm swing in both directions allowing for more speed. What's neat about a Toss Shot, it's your first opportunity with the short game to begin to change the club shaft angle at address. Where the two shots before see the club shaft mostly forward at address, the Toss Shot gives you the option to not only lean it forward but also neutral or even slightly back depending upon the situation. These options result into three different trajectories and spin that can be played from roughly 20-60 yards.

In 2009, a TOUR player on average would get the ball up and down 50.53 percent of the time from 20-30 yards.

5. Pitching -- A pitch shot is the logical extension of the Toss Shot. At some point a shot will call for more power than you can generate with the Toss Shot. The difference between the two shots is when Pitching you want to turn your shoulders and coil your upper body during the backswing, where in a Toss Shot, the shoulders will remain quite allowing for just an arm swing with a wrist hinge. A Pitch shot is an extremely important shot as it covers a wide range of distance from roughly 60-110 yards.

6. Lob Shot -- This shot produces the highest trajectory and should be the last choice when selecting from these menu of options. Hitting competent Lob Shots certainly requires practice. Because this shot involves maximum air, minimum roll, there is little margin for error. What's key with this shot is to open the club face and lean the club shaft slightly away from the target at address. These two set-up components will result into more loft and expose the bounce of the club. Approach the Lob Shot more like a Toss Shot where you create a long arm swing with a wrist hinge during the backswing with the body turning towards the target on the downswing.

7. Bunkers -- Of all the shots above -- which one do you think would apply best to the greenside bunker? The answer is the Lob Shot because with Bunker shots we need to utilize the bounce of the sand wedge. Bounce is the difference between the leading edge of the club and trailing edge as measured in degrees. Most sand wedges will have 10-14 degrees of bounce, these degrees of bounce are your friend and when applied properly will slide the club head through the sand rather than dig. With the club face open and club shaft slightly back, you should be all set to create a long and lazy motion resulting in high spinning greenside bunker shots.

In 2009, a TOUR player on average would get the ball up and down 49.44 percent of the time from a greenside bunker.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Tom Morton Finishes Tied for 8th in Nor-Cal PGA Event

Tom Morton finished tied for 8th place today in the Northern California PGA Pro Series 4 event held today at Half Moon Bay Golf Links. With today's finish Tom also qualifies for the Nor-Cal PGA Match Play Championship that will begin play on April 19th. The scores from today's event are as follows:

Pos Player
T1 Steve Watanabe -3 69
T1 Steve Pellegrine -3 69
3 Kevin Lozares -2 70
T4 Michael Cook -1 71
T4 Eric Lippert -1 71
T6 Rick Leibovich E 72
T6 Mitch Lowe E 72
T8 Jeffrey Anderson +1 73
T8 Steve Hummel +1 73
T8 Jason Schmuhl +1 73
T8 David Solomon +1 73
T8 Edward Newland +1 73
T8 Kenneth Powell +1 73
T8 Kris Moe +1 73
T8 Tom Morton +1 73
T16 Greg Rodgers +2 74
T16 Bobby Siravo +2 74
T16 Hae Lee +2 74
T16 Michael Paul +2 74
T20 Gary Bashford +3 75
T20 Matthew Mores +3 75
T20 Matt Dito +3 75
T20 Doug Hanson +3 75
T20 Todd Southard +3 75
T20 Matt Plumlee +3 75
T20 Paul Wyrybkowski +3 75
T27 Mick Soli +4 76
T27 Rodney Wilson +4 76
T27 Joseph Carlton +4 76
T27 Joe Moulton +4 76
T27 Mike Beveridge +4 76
T27 Shawn Kelly +4 76
T27 Jeremy Hirschman +4 76
T27 Berne Finch +4 76
T35 Jason Boldt +5 77
T35 Tim Weiss +5 77
T35 Jeffrey Sanchez +5 77
T35 Terry Myers +5 77
T35 Dennis Tuhn +5 77
T35 Tim Huber +5 77
T35 Jerrel Grow +5 77
T35 Tim Loustalot +5 77
T35 Scott Steele +5 77
T44 Charlie Gibson +6 78
T44 Chase Stigall +6 78
T44 Don Winter +6 78
T44 Bob Klein +6 F78
T44 Robert Poole +6 78
T44 Peter Kim +6 78
T44 Dale Taylor +6 78
T44 Willie Toney +6 78
T44 Casey Reamer +6 78
T44 Ryan Farb +6 F 8
T44 Joel Rhea-Munroe +6 78
T44 John Snopkowski +6 78
T56 Grant Haney +7 79
T56 Joe Dolby +7 79
T56 Shaun McCarty +7 79
T56 Thomas Fong +7 79
T56 Jeff Johnson +7 79
T56 Doug Acton +7 79
T56 Mark Favell +7 79
T56 Neil Larkin +7 79
T64 Dana Banke +8 80
T64 Chad Maveus +8 80
T64 Jody Dartez +8 80
T64 Matt Barksdale +8 80
T64 Thomas Braun +8 80
T69 Joseph Gile +9 81
T69 Avery Cook +9 81
T69 Eric Jones +9 81
T69 John Abendroth +9 81
T69 Eric Goettsch +9 81
T69 Mark Sherman +9 81
T69 Joe Riekena +9 81
T76 Ray Otis +10 82
T76 Michael Robason +10 82
T76 Kristoffer Nicholson +10 F82
T76 Raymond Briggs +10 82
T80 Chad Lake +12 84
T80 Grant Geertsen +12 84
T80 Dan Schwabe +12 84
T80 Chris Appling +12 84
T84 Brad Braden +13 85
T84 Colin Campbell +13 85
T84 Robie Kramer +13 85
T84 Walter Thompson +13 85
T88 Travis Grisham +14 86
T88 Morgan Wright +14 86
90 Freddy Villarta +15 87
91 Jeff Palmer +16 88
T92 Justin Lippold +17 89
T92 Tim Flanagan +17 89