Opportunity for all visitors to receive a free round of golf

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NationalGolfShowEvery visitor to the National Golf Show will receive a free round of golf at the fantastic Nailcote Hall.

The midlands venue hosts the Open Par 3 Championships and annual Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship, meaning the complimentary rounds will see golfers treading the same fairways as the great Tony Jacklin, a host of former Ryder Cup players, European Tour stars and celebrities such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Jasper Carrott and Len Goodman.

To collect their free round all visitors have to do is visit Nailcote Hall on stand S24.

And the complimentary visit could be put to good use as practice for the new series of Open Par 3 Championships taking place at Nailcote Hall, the winners of which will be rewarded with a place alongside top professionals in the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship.

Golfers will also have the chance of winning a fantastic golf break at Nailcote Hall as a daily prize on the show’s nearest-the-pin competition.

Free golf for every visitor makes the golfing extravaganza even better value for money with advance tickets costing just £7.50 and coming with a host of exclusive promotions to redeem at the event including a £50 voucher from Your Golf Travel.com and a further 10 per cent off the Watch Hut’s show prices.

The National Golf Show takes place from April 15-17 and a strong focus on visitor participation will mean golfers are greeted by a host of opportunities to swing a club, with free tuition from fully qualified coaches and the chance to win fantastic prizes on a variety of innovative fun and games among the show’s main features.

All the latest equipment from big brands will be available to test and buy as well as the latest training aids and apparel, with the show bringing together all elements of the golfing world.

For more information or to buy tickets call 0844 581 0801 or go to www.nationalgolfshow.com.

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A “Lesson Learned” can help you hit green more often

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Mark Will approaches green

Mark Will approaches green

Well first of all, congratulations to Mark Wilson.  Two wins in three starts this year! How’s that for a pretty good percentage?  He overcame a tough field under tough conditions to win.  A well-deserved kudos to one of the good guys on Tour.

This past week certainly was a very trying week on the PGA Tour.  Here in the desert at the Waste Management Open at the TPC of Scottsdale, the players had to deal with some unique and uncharacteristic conditions.  In fact, it was so cold that the Wednesday Pro-Am was cancelled, so cold that we had frost delays because of frozen fairways and greens, and of course, played always have to deal with the totally enclosed green at the wild and exciting stage of the 16th hole.
This week’s A Lesson Learned is about preparing to hit a high pressure shot with unusual conditions like the pros had to do on the 16th Hole.  This hole is very unique for the Tour players.  There are many 165 yard par 3 holes on Tour, the difference this week is that most of them are not completely surrounded by stands two and three stories high with 20,000 people watching every move and cheering and booing for good and bad shots.  If you pay attention to most of the players as they reach the 16th hole, they will acknowledge the large crowd initially and then go about their business.  They will stick to their routine, choosing their 7, 8, or 9 irons, making their practice swings and then focusing very intensely on the target.  It is very easy to get distracted on this hole, so being very aware of their target is very important.  The area on the 16th hole is very tight and does not allow for much of misguided shot.  A wayward shot here on the 16th will definitely cause the fans around the hole to get on the pros and lead to quite a bit of ribbing from them as they approach the green.  This is not a whole lot different then what most of the amateurs face from their normal weekend golf game.
So in reality, this next week when you arrive at a short-to-medium par three, you are under the same sort of pressure that the PGA Tour Pros were under this week. You’ll choose your 7, 8, or 9 iron, you’ll be surrounded by all your friends, aiming for a green everyone expects you to hit, but with trouble all around and another group waiting on the tee. Yes, it’s pressure because you need to make sure you hit a quality shot to avoid embarrassment from your group and the group waiting to play after you.  Sound familiar?
Here is my advice.  Try to stay within yourself.  Do not attempt to hit anything you do not normally hit on the course.  Stay focused on your routine, make the same number of practice swings and make sure to stay focused on your target.  Be aware of your Goal!  ON THE GREEN!  Do not let your mind wander to your playing partners or the people waiting to hit after you.  You have the mechanics for this shot, you’ve probably hit it a thousand times.  Realize the biggest interference here for success is the mental pressure you are placing on yourself. Stay within your pace, your normal routine and think only of the shot – none of the ancillary items.
Remember Tour Professionals get just as nervous and as distracted as we do when we play golf.  Sometimes they handle it better then we do and sometimes they do not.  What we need to understand is to stick to our routine and be focused on our goal or target and watch things fall into place.

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Golf Digest Chairman to receive Lifetime achievement award announced

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golfdigestcoverGolf Digest Chairman/Editor-in-Chief Jerry Tarde, whose passion as a youth to make his niche at the world’s leading golf publication evolved into a career of advancing the public’s appreciation of the game, has been named the recipient of the 2011 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism.

Tarde, 54, a native of Philadelphia and a resident of Fairfield, Conn., will be honored April 6, at the 39th Golf Writers Association of America Annual Spring Dinner and Awards ceremony at Savannah Rapids Pavilion in Augusta, Ga. Tarde is the first editor of a publication to receive the award, which since 1991 has honored journalists in print and broadcasting.

“Jerry Tarde’s love of golf is reflected in the quality of his work behind the scenes to present his staff and a special golf publication at the highest level,” said PGA of America President Allen Wronowski. “We are long overdue to raise a toast to editors, those individuals who have toiled for generations to make writers look that much better. For Jerry’s lifetime passion for the game, his care in preserving its traditions and for helping us all realize how golf can better serve the next generation of players, we are very proud to present him this award.”

Introduced to golf at age 13 at Juniata Municipal Golf Course in Philadelphia, Tarde worked in the golf shop and later became a PGA apprentice professional under then-head professional Joe Hunsberger. He counts his greatest golf accomplishment in 1986, when he teamed with former USGA Executive Director Frank Hannigan to win the Somerset Hills Country Club Member-Guest in Bernardsville, N.J.

“I was wearing shorts and tennis shoes, and using a Pelz Three-Ball putter,” said Tarde.

Tarde, who became editor of Golf Digest in 1984, is the 22nd overall recipient of the PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism and the fifth affiliated with the magazine to be so honored.

“This is an unexpected and undeserved honor,” said Tarde. “The previous winners were writers, plus several were TV legends. I’m not either. I’m just an editor, one of the guys back in the office who screws up good copy and sticks headlines on stories that writers have to apologize for. Occasionally we get it right. So, I’m accepting the award for all the green eyeshades who love golf and try to get it right.

“Like a lot of golf writers, I’m proud of working in journalism for so many years and still keeping as friends the people we’ve published some very tough stories about. There’s a civility about golf that’s old-fashioned, but worth keeping around.”

Tarde’s career path was paved in 1972, when he finished reading a U.S. Open piece by former award recipient Dan Jenkins that appeared in Sports Illustrated. “I decided at age 16 that I wanted to be the editor of Golf Digest,” said Tarde, who was a Golf Digest intern prior to his 1978 graduation from Northwestern University.

He became an assistant editor soon after, and was promoted to magazine editor in 1984 at age 28. “Looking back, it was a silly stroke of luck. I was surrounded by very talented people like Jenkins and Nick Seitz, Peter Dobereiner and Charley Price, so I couldn’t go too wrong. I’ve been fortunate to work for two great owners: The New York Times Company and Conde Nast.”

Today, Golf Digest has a circulation of 1.65 million readers, and international affiliates total 30 editions. Tarde’s title expanded in recent years to chairman and editorial director of Golf Digest Publications, which also include Golf World and Golf Digest Index.

Among Tarde’s signature achievements with Golf Digest was the recruitment of some of the most talented journalists in the country as contributing editors, including Thomas L. Friedman, David Owen, Dan Jenkins, Tom Callahan, Jaime Diaz and John Feinstein. He also signed exclusive contracts to many of golf’s premier players – Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa.

Tarde and Golf Digest’s team of writers he assembled have won more than 200 awards from the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA) and have earned six nominations for National Magazine Awards. Golf Digest won the 1991 Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association for a series Tarde edited about discrimination at private golf clubs. That series also led Tarde to become one of the founders of the National Minority Golf Symposium. He also is a trustee of The First Tee program and a long-time member of the USGA’s Bob Jones Award Committee.

PGA Lifetime Achievement in Award in Journalism Recipients:

1991 Dick Taylor 1992 Herbert Warren Wind 1993 Jim Murray 1994 Frank Chirkinian/Bob Green 1995 Dan Jenkins 1996 Furman Bisher 1997 Jack Whitaker 1998 Dave Anderson 1999 Ken Venturi 2000 Jim McKay 2001 Kaye Kessler 2002 Nick Seitz 2003 Renton Laidlaw 2004 Bob Verdi 2005 Al Barkow 2006 Ron Green Sr. 2007 Jack Berry 2008 Marino Parascenzo 2009 Art Spander
2010 Dave Kindred
2011 Jerry Tarde

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What is better? Hybrids or Traditional clubs?

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Mike Davis - Director of Instruction

Mike Davis

Michael Davis, PGA

Mike Davis, Director of Instruction at Royal Links Golf Club, explains the benefits of hitting hybrids over traditional long irons.

© 2011 PGA.com All rights reserved.

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How does Bubba Watson hits driver off the fairway?

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Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson

Congratulations to Jonathan Byrd on opening the 2011 PGA Tour season with a great playoff win.  This is my third year in a row writing the first “A Lesson Learned” of the year, and I always feel fortunate to not only take the opening shot, but to almost always get a great event to analyze. This year, in fact, may have been the best.With so many amazing shots and rounds, it was hard to pick any one item that really stood out. Graeme McDowell’s final round 62 tied a course record and came close to getting him another win. I have a feeling he’ll be a part of future “Lessons Learned” down the line. Robert Garrigus played great golf, I hated to see him lose on a short missed putt in the playoff. And the unfortunate rules violation by Camilo Villegas is another lesson we can all learn from.

But there was one shot that seemed to set the golf world abuzz. On Thursday, the first round of the year, Bubba Watson hit driver, driver, putt for an eagle on the famous 18th hole at Kapalua Resort. What a way to start the year!

I’ve hit that same shot and I can tell you, that’s a tough shot, made even tougher by the downhill lie he had, but he sure made it look easy. I guess as the commercial says, “These Guys Are Good.”

You’re going to find yourself in situations like that throughout this year. You will feel the need or have a great opportunity to hit a career shot from the fairway – to reach a green that’s a long ways away and only your driver will do it. The good news is, it can be done. If the situation demands it, and you just need to go for it, let me give you two quick points to remember.

1.) Tempo is key.  You want your arms to stay in synch with your body turn.  If your arms get too fast, you’re going to swing too steep. With a driver in your hand, you’re going to have a very hard time getting the ball up with a steep angle of attack. I use a verbal drill to help me slow it down. Try “Fred-dy Coup-ples” to keep it smooth.  (As opposed to a “Tom Kite” which will result in a fast swing.)

2.) Keep the ball forward in your stance, similar to how you would hit a driver off the tee.  I keep mine just inside my front instep.  Many players want to move it back a little from the fairway, however, I feel this again often creates steeper angles of the swing.

So slow it down, keep an even smooth tempo and remember to keep your ball poitioned in a spot that will encourage a shallow swing path. If you do these things, you may find yourself with an opportunity to hit a career shot this year as well.

Here’s to a great golf season for everyone.

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Playing golf each day in snowbound states – just released

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IndoorGolfGame

Indoor Golf Game

A Nutmeg State winter can be particularly harsh on the golfer who doesn’t fly south  to satisfy the urge or, even worse, is directed to the basement to whack away into a net or putt on a mat. But golf season will arrive months earlier than usual this year when virtual golf simulation lands in North Madison. Golfers will only need to travel as far as B-FIT Express Clubs to play (well, virtually) some of the highest-profile golf courses in the world.

Jon Wilson, PGA golf professional as well as owner and director of The Sound Approach Golf Academy, is the pro behind the new venture, which is expected to open in January. The name, at least right now, is Vintage Fitness and Golf Club.

Naturally, the target audience will include the golf enthusiast who may have to drive far to find access to a practice area, but “it’s also going to be a great vehicle for the newer player to get introduced to the golf course in regard to course management,” Wilson says.

Golf can be intimidating

While new golfers are excited and enthusiastic about those first few times on the course, the experience can also be intimidating. “What golf simulators have allowed is for individuals to gain that experience to have a little bit more comfort and confidence, so when they do go to the golf course, they’ve had several rounds and have encountered different situations.”

The other target audience for the new business is younger golfers. “In my opinion in the area we have a plethora of junior golfers who clearly are showing heightened interest in the game by the numbers in my Golf Academy,” Wilson noted.

Nine high schools in the area have golf programs. Says the pro, “In the winter, if they had an opportunity to practice and enhance their golf game, I am sure they’d take advantage of it.”

Accuracy of ball tracking important

In fact, the Daniel Hand High School’s Golf Team captain will be assisting from the beginning.

Wilson examined the systems of four golf simulator manufacturers and decided to go with Innovative Golf Systems (IGS). While there are many similarities among competitors, the accuracy of the ball tracking was important to Wilson, who has had considerable experience with simulators in the past, including owning an indoor facility in Norwalk.

“The IGS simulator’s ball tracking device uses cameras that take anywhere from 400 to 700 images per second and is much more realistic with real-time flight. And, being a newer company, they know they have to stay on the cutting edge of technology. They’re constantly tweaking, moving forward, and doing more,” he said. “We’ll have the latest software update at any particular time.”

Tee times available online

Other companies offer only 12 to 24 courses to start and, if you want more, you upgrade and pay for the additional courses.  IGS includes more than 60 courses to start and upgrades are automatic and free.

Golfers will be able to book tee times online and see a full schedule of availablility. There will be block times where lessons will be given, and individuals can use a PayPal account or credit card to book tee times and schedule lessons. Booking can be done through Wilson’s website. There may also be a link through B-FIT’s website,  as well as a website strictly for new business that can be utilized to reach the same schedule.

The new facility has an indoor putting green which is, well, green in the environmental sense.

“It’s really important that if you’re going to use an artificial surface, it’s got to be as green as possible. That’s difficult when you’re using an artificial, a synthetic, but there are a lot of issues with regard to artificial surfaces,” Wilson says. “The big issue is that some companies use a polymer that’s rubber-based. Rubber is oil-based and continues to give off fumes and carcinogens, as well as what rubber tends to do when it is exposed to sunlight – it tends to melt and absorb the heat so the playing surface can be hot.”

Infill FDA approved

The infill for putting green at the new facility, however, is 100 percent FDA approved. “There’s no lead, no rubber, and it’s 20 years before it starts to break down,” according to Wilson.

“For those who are waiting to use the simulator, it’s something to do.”

It will be suggested that people arrive 15 minutes to a half hour before their tee time so that they can start on time. There’s a five minute introduction on how to use the system.

“If they want to come a half hour to 45 minutes ahead of schedule, there will be golf-specific fitness equipment there for people to do a little workout, a little warm-up, stretching, they can get themselves ready,” he adds.

Unfortunately, the typical golfer, Wilson finds, “will drive to the golf course for an 11 o’clock tee time and show up at 10:50, literally run into the golf shop to register and pay their greens fee, and then jump on the golf course and they’re not ready to play. They’re so far from that.”

More vintage than high tech

The plan is to add more exercise equipment which is “more old school, more vintage rather than high-tech machinery.”

There will probably be a rack for putters for those who just want to come in to use the putting surface.

“I think everyone who comes in won’t always have a set of clubs so we want to make sure that if someone wants to come in and practice, they brought the wrong car and forgot the clubs, we will have extra equipment there.”

Wilson plans to be on site as much as possible along with other instructors, and he hopes that other golf professionals in the area will use the simulator to give lessons.

He has already had inquiries from individuals who would like to form a golf league. As the golf professional for the Shoreline Golf Society, which has 76 or so members, two-thirds of whom stay in Connecticut in the winter, he says this group is perfect for a league.

“They would have to make up their own teams and the league would play. There can either be a dedicated time that the leagues would have access or they can play have 6 or 7 days to get their round of 9 holes in depending on what fits their schedule.”

Leagues can include adults or high school kids.

The hours of operation will be slightly different than what B-Fit’s are.

Early bird special available

“If you go to any golf course at any time in the golf season, even at 5:30 in the morning, you’ll have 10 cars in the parking lot ready to get out first thing.”

For those wee hours, there may be an early bird special.  As with a “real” golf course, the fees will differ depending on day and time. Pricing will be in the ballpark of $40 for one hour of golf.

While the new digs will be for anyone who is interested in the game, those who are avid golfers will probably be the first to take advantage of the simulator and use it on a regular basis. Soon, though, all of the coaches of the area teams will be contacted to get the word out to the captains who will, in turn, notify the team members.

“Every PGA golf professional’s primary responsibility is growing the game. I feel putting in this golf studio is my part in trying to grow the game in the off season,” he said.

For more information on Innovative Golf Systems, please visit www.igolfsys.com, and for additional information on B-FIT Vintage Fitness and Golf Club, please visit www.jonwilsongolf.com. A simulator demo can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujxYUVdrfm8

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Video on ball trajectory

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Southern California PGA Section Teacher of the Year Kip Puterbaugh explains that for low trajectory shots, the handle of the club should lead the club head at impact. Tri-State PGA Section Teacher of the Year Eric Johnson goes on to demonstrate that for higher trajectory shots your arms and shaft should line up at impact, you should increase club speed and always finish in a higher position.

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Getting Lessons from a Legend

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TomWatsonLessonsofaLifetime

Tom Watson - Lessons of a Lifetime

TW, the original, is one of the all-time great golfing legends. And the legend continues to grow, as we all witnessed at Turnberry and even this year at the Masters. That a champion golfer would be asked to produce an instruction video is no surprise and traces its history all the way back to Bobby Jones’ Hollywood golf instruction videos produced in the 1930′s. “Lessons of a Lifetime” was obviously made by very intelligent man who has spent a lot of time thinking about the golf swing. And it takes a certain amount of introspection and humility to admit that despite having won 8 majors, he didn’t completely understand the golf swing until 1994 when he says he discovered “the secret”.

There is a grainy video on YOUTUBE where while at an exhibition obviously conducted for an outing or pro-am, TW tells the audience that he didn’t know how to swing a golf club until 1994. The audience is heard laughing. This guy’s won 8 majors, ha ha, they were thinking. It wasn’t until a few moments later when he elaborated further that they suddenly understood he was quite serious. Let me just say this as an avid golfer used to paying an hourly rate of $100-120 for golf tune-ups: this is the best instruction I have received, probably ever. I didn’t say best video, I said instruction, period, live or on tape.

Take a look at the simplicity of his swing. Compare it to the many videos you can find on the web of Ben Hogan. While they differ in plane–Tom is more upright–both are exemplars of simplicity and efficiency. I have Hogan’s book, Five Lessons. I used to refer to it often. It was trail blazing in its analysis, the new benchmark for golf instruction. I would put TW’s CD’s in the same camp, except his instruction is far far easier to understand.

There’s something cryptic about Hogan’s supination and pronation thesis– gives me a headache frankly, and I’ve been a single digit handicapper for close to 40 years! These are fantastic golf lessons set in a bucolic setting at the Greenbrier. I could go on about how TW’s approach is so much simpler and useful compared to today’s back breaking contortions advocated by the guru’s.

But I will stop here: Tom Watson is 60 and his golf swing still works effectively at the highest levels of golf. Most former golf champions his age, spend their mornings in traction to relieve back pain before going off to do a few small appearances here and there. Tom Watson’s lessons are well worth half the price of one lesson with your local pro. Hogan’s “Five Lessons” is back on the book shelf. I don’t think I’ll be needing it anytime soon

Review by
Mac McAdams “Mac”

Tom Watson Lessons of a LifeTime Golf 2 Disk DVD

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Visually Jim Furyk’s swing may not be great, but more than effective when it comes to wins

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Jim Furyk

Jim Furyk is just like so many of us from the standpoint he makes a perfect practice swing and then when he goes to hit it, his actual swing looks nothing like his practice swing. Fortunately for Furyk, his actual swing with the ball is pretty darn efficient too.
Celebration

At the TOUR Academies, we don’t use Jim Furyk’s backswing as an example of an effective use of the swing plane and body motion very often; however, when Jim changes direction on the downswing and through impact he is as good a candidate as any of them.

What makes Furyk so effective with his swing is how he looks at impact. At the end of the day, the only thing that really counts in the golf swing is how your return to impact. This is of course is where all the information is transferred to the golf ball and tells it where to go.

In theory, could Jim Furyk simplify his swing in how he uses the swing plane? Yes, however, it’s his ability to repeat his golf swing and get into a good impact condition that really sets him apart.

When learning to get into a good impact position like Jim Furyk, there are three big components you must control. These components are the clubface, club shaft and clubhead.

Let me begin with the clubface because controlling the clubface in the golf swing is extremely important as the clubface will primarily determine starting direction and curve. The clubface to a large degree is controlled by the grip; the stronger the grip, the more the clubface will close where the weaker the grip, the more clubface will open.

In addition to the grip, the clubface is controlled through the use of the left hand (for a right handed golfer). The main purpose of the left hand in the golf swing is to align the clubface at impact. Assuming a good grip if the left hand arrives at impact in turned position where the knuckles are facing the sky — the clubface will be open. Conversely, if the left hand is in a rolled position where the knuckles are facing down to the ground — the clubface will be closed. Ideally, the back of the left hand should be relatively facing the target at impact to produce a square clubface.

The next component of concern is the club shaft. The key to the club shaft is it must return to impact leaning forward. In fact, this could be the only thing that all PGA TOUR players do the same in the golf swing. Show me a TOUR player that’s not returning the club shaft forward at impact in the full swing and I will show you a TOUR player that is not making any money. I can’t express enough the importance of learning to return the club shaft forward as this is a real fundamental towards solid ball striking.

If the club shaft is forward at impact then the clubhead is accelerating and moving down. This is defined as clubhead lag as a result of the clubhead trailing the hands through impact. With clubhead lag a player can hit every club in their bag, from consistent iron play to great wood play just like Jim Furyk.

To accomplish a club shaft that leans forward at impact and clubhead lag, your trail wrist must be bent. For a right-handed golfer, if your right hand is bent back at the wrist then you have created an angle between the right forearm and the club shaft. This angle is defined as hinging the wrist and should be created during the backswing. The key, once hinged is to hold on to this angle as long as possible during the downswing resulting in a forward-leaning club shaft at impact. If you lose this angle, then the club shaft will return leaning away from the target resulting in a clubhead that is ascending and beginning to slow down. This is one of the most common errors in the golf swing for the amateur player and can lead to very inconsistent contact.

So, as you can see, the hands are extremely important to controlling these big three components. The left hand controls the clubface and the right hand controls the club shaft and clubhead. One of my favorite sayings in golf instruction comes from an old instructor/scientist Homer Kelley. Homer introduced the idea of “Educated Hands” where if the hands were not educated, then more information would just simply be more confusion.

When you’re working to improve your impact zone, don’t be afraid to start with small swings. At the TOUR Academies, Day 1 of golf school is all about educating your hands with smaller motions. We do a lot of small impact zone swing where a student learns to control the clubface, club shaft and clubhead just like the best players in the world. Once this solid impact condition is established, then it’s a lot easier to make the swing bigger and still achieve this same repeatable impact.

Just Because

Well it is hard to believe that Year 3 of the blog is in the books. Once again this year, I have really enjoyed providing insight each week to what the best players are doing. I hope these tips have helped your game and have lead to lower scores.

It has been an exciting and interesting 2010 for the game of golf. From the off the course episodes concerning the world’s No. 1 player Tiger Woods to Jim Furyk — who very quietly won three times including the very lucrative FedExCup. With Woods on the sidelines much of the year, we saw the youth take a giant step forward led by Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and so many others. The PGA TOUR is strong and is filled with great players of all ages from all over the world.

So as we roll into the Ryder Cup and the Fall Series, I say thank you again for reading my blog this year and I will see you in January after Kapalua for Year No. 4.

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