Next time you’re on the driving range, and you’re feeling a little “off”, try this: close your eyes and take a practice swing. You won’t believe what you can learn. It will test your balance, give you a sense of your swing plane, and it will automatically force you to loosen your clench on the grip. In addition, if you perform this drill in balance, I bet it will smooth out your tempo and quiet any excess upper body movement…all good things. Then, open your eyes, repeat the feeling and swing!
Erika Larkin, PGA
Director of Instruction, Stonewall Golf Club, Gainesville VA
Here is a quick review of the basics for a high, soft shot you can use near the green:
Remember, a slow smooth tempo, relaxed grip pressure and proper club selection (a lob wedge over a sand wedge if you have one will help off tighter lies) will really help you execute this shot more successfully.
Start with a narrower stance which will to encourage a steeper swing. Choke down on the grip and this will give you more control and help you get a little closer to the ball which will also encourage steeper angles= higher ball flight. Use a middle ball position and let the handle of the club point to your belt buckle. Without a big arm swing, try to hinge your wrists early on the backswing and then gently let the club fall down to the ball while you turn your body to the target. When you finish the swing, your clubface should be still pointing to the sky as if you could rest a water glass right on its surface. This is definitely a touch shot. When judging distance think of the “feel” you have for an underhand toss, then transfer the feeling to your swing.
Now go grab your sand wedge or lob wedge and practice! Hit different length pitches, picking out your landing spot. Better pitches= shorter putts and your score will thank you!
Erika Larkin, PGA
Director of Instruction, Stonewall Golf Club, Gainesville VA
The Virginia Golf Trail is proud to announce a tournament series benefitting the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program. The tournament series will comprise of 7 events with the 7th event being the season ending Pro-AM event. So without any further ado here are the details for the first event.
The Federal Club, Glen Allen, VA
June 22, 2011
Starting Times Begin at 8:30 • $100 Per Person
Individual Gross & Net 80% of USGA Handicap (Must have current USGAhandicap and be verifiable)
The Top 15 finishers from both divisions are eligible to participate in the 7th event, a season ending PRO-AM.
Schedule of Events
• Starting times begin at 8:30
• Callaway Golf Demo on range throughout day
• Hors d’oeuvres following play
• Awards Presentation
• Additional Skill Contests and activities throughout the day
To register for the event please download the VAGT Entry Form and fill it out!
We are at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center this weekend (February 11-13). Come out if you are in the area and visit our booth. Enter our drawing for a 3 day 2 night golf vacation on the Virginia Golf Trail.
Upcoming shows include Toronto (March 4-6) and Pittsburgh (March 11-13)
Don Kramer, PGA
Director of Sales
A simple tip when it comes to escaping greenside bunkers can simply come down to club selection. Depending on the type of sand and playing conditions can make all the difference in how you should approach the shot. When playing on firm, packed bunkers, it is ideal to use a wedge with less bounce. Less bounce will allow the club to dig just enough into the bunker to lift the ball in the air as opposed to “bouncing” off the hardpan causing the common “skull” over the green.
When entering a bunker where the sand is loose or fluffy, the ideal club should have a higher degree of bounce. This will allow the club to splash the sand lifting the ball out of the bunker as opposed to a club with lesser bounce that would continue to dig too far into the sand resulting in the ball never escaping the bunker. Next time you find yourself entering a greenside bunker remember this tip and never fear a bunker shot again.
Remember, feel the sand with your feet and the bunker shot will become an asset not a liability.
Credit: Mike Gooden, PGA
Lakeview Golf Club
With the golf season rapidly approaching, it’s time for us to “knock the rust off” of not only our clubs, but also our golf games. With that in mind, we need to keep in mind that we are not necessarily going to be hitting the ball as well as we would during the prime of the golf season. Whether in the middle of the golf season or getting back into golf, golfers must understand their limitations and learn to play within those limitations. Too many times I see golfers try to do more than they are able, instead of playing perhaps more conservatively and more within their own capabilities. For example, many players, when faced with a 270 yard shot, instinctively reach for the 3 wood or 5 wood and try to hit it as far as possible. Many times this results in an offline shot into the woods (for most players it is more difficult to control the longer clubs in the bag), or perhaps even a “topped” shot. As a result, the player is now faced with either another lengthy shot to the green, or a shot out of trouble.
If you are faced with a similar situation and have difficulty hitting longer clubs, try one of the following:
- Play to your favorite yardage – if your favorite shot is from 120 yards, then play to that yardage (in this case hit a shot approximately 150 yards to leave you with 120 yards to the green)
- Cut the yardage in half for each shot – instead of hitting a more difficult club, use the club you would hit from 135-140 yards and use it twice to get to the green.
When you do this, you will be hitting a club you are generally more confident with and can generally hit more consistently. As well, you will most likely find that your scores will come down because you won’t have to punch out of the woods as frequently.
In the game of golf, patience is crucial. You can pick and choose times to go for it and times to play more conservative. But be sure to think through each shot when you play. Enjoy the great game of golf and be careful not to take it or anything else for granted. Thank you and if you have any questions, please call us at Heritage Oaks Golf Course or consult your local PGA Professional.
Credit: David Johns, PGA Head Golf Pro – Heritage Oaks Golf Course
Stafford, VA – Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, Stafford County and Virginia Tourism Corporation today announced the creation of the Virginia Golf Trail, a collaboration of the Commonwealth’s public and private golf courses, hotels, wineries, restaurants, historic, cultural and recreational amenities. The Virginia Golf Trail will enhance the Commonwealth’s reputation as a premier golfing destination by connecting the state’s diverse courses with rich history and amenities across the state.
The goal of the trail will be to enhance the golfing experience for visitors and drive incremental tourism dollars to the Commonwealth by selling more golf rounds, lodging room nights and visitations to tourism-related attractions and businesses.
At a press conference at Cannon Ridge Golf Club in Stafford, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling said, “Tourism is big business in Virginia, contributing $19 billion to our economy every year and employing more than 210,000 people. The new Virginia Golf Trail program gives visitors more reasons to come to Virginia. They can play 18 holes in the morning and tour a historical site, relax on the beach or take a hike in the mountains in the afternoon. The Virginia Golf Trail is a great addition to our state’s tourism portfolio, and I have no doubt it will help boost our state’s economy.”
Golfing on the trail is expected to begin next spring. The trail’s total annual economic impact to Virginia, when fully developed, could generate $66.6 million per year and create 652 jobs, according to an economic and fiscal impact study conducted by Chmura Economics & Analytics.
Cannon Ridge Golf Club in Stafford will serve as the home of the Virginia Golf Trail. It’s central, convenient location in the Celebrate Virginia project along I-95 in Stafford makes it the ideal location for the trail headquarters. Gary Schaal, former president of The PGA of America and a leader in South Carolina’s golf industry for 30 years, will be the President of the Virginia Golf Trail. Schaal is managing partner of Cannon Ridge Golf Club.