Tuesday Tip – One-Handed Putting

Frogger_PutterOne problem amateurs, and even some pros have, is breaking the wrists in their putting stroke.  Another bad putting habit many have is jerking the putter, or swinging with bad transition timing from backstroke to follow through.  This drill helps fix all of those issues, and can greatly improve the way both arms and hands work together.

One-Handed Putting

The next time you are on the practice putting green, start the practice session with one handed putts on both arms.  Pick a number of strokes, 5-10-25, and putt that many right-handed, then putt that many left-handed.

Using one hand with the putter is a great way to prevent a jerky motion and promote a smooth stroke.

Putting with one hand also makes it much more difficult to break the wrists (wrist in the case of one hand).  The dreaded “flip” stroke is almost impossible with one hand.

After getting a great feel for the stroke, the tempo, and the feeling of one-handed putting, put both hands on the grip and try to keep the same feel in both hands as they stroke together.  The hands should each have the same stroke and feel, but work together as one piece or unit.

Tuesday Tip – One Shot Ahead

Bandon_Preserve_TopThe great Tom Watson offers the golf tip, “think one shot ahead.”  This is such a simple tip which could save countless strokes off a golfer’s game.  Not only that, there are no swing adjustments, lessons, or new equipment to buy.  Instant stroke saver!  Let’s look at a couple of situations.

Tee

You’re on the tee of a tricky par-4 hole.  The approach to the hole is guarded by many bunkers short right of the green, and the flag is tucked behind them.  The best approach to this green would be one which takes as much of those bunkers out of play as possible.  The best angle to do that is from the left side of the fairway.  Thinking one shot ahead, knowing that the best approach is from the left side of the fairway, the proper club to hit off the tee or the proper shot to hit is one which places that ball in the position above.  Whether that’s driver, a long iron, or other club, that’s the ticket.

Trouble

A bad shot has resulted in a position behind some trees.  There’s no shot at getting to the green.  Where is the best position to hit the NEXT shot?  One must analyze the situation and make that call.  Usually the best place to hit from is one which is not IN trouble; one which provides a clear shot at the target or green.  Knowing that going toward the green may result in a next shot which is still in trouble, it may be the best shot to go backward, or sideways away from the trouble to a shot which is clear.

TNGCPutt

We have a simple 100 yard approach to a difficult green.  The green has a very severe slope from back to front and the pin is just past middle.  From 100 yards we are thinking of the best place for the NEXT shot.  There is no way we want to be long or above the hole on this tough green.  The best next shot is a putt from below the hole.  We must calculate the proper club to hit the green, but be below the hole.  With the pin just past center, there are about 10 yards between the pin and the front edge.  Therefore a 90-95 yard approach is the best for this situation, leaving the next shot 5-10 yards below the hole where the putt can be aggressive and more safe.

Conclusion

Think about where the best position is for the NEXT shot, and hit the current shot to that position.

Check Your Spikes

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 8.19.32 AMUnless you are a PGA Tour pro, most golf courses only allow soft spikes.  Steel spikes are gone.

Soft spikes help protect the putting surfaces and keep them rolling smooth, which is to the benefit of everyone.

The problem with soft spikes though, is they are… well… SOFT.  Being soft means they wear out rather easily.  We may not notice that they are wearing out, as the effect is gradual.  We may not notice a little slippage, which increases over time.

Slippage means an unstable base, loss of power, and changes in swing positions.  None of these things are good for one’s game, accuracy, or power.  A solid base is a must, the foundation of a good golf swing.

Now that January is here take stock in your gear.  Check your spikes. It is not uncommon for regular golfers to go through several sets of spikes per season, especially those who mostly walk the course.   Replace your spikes if they’re worn, and watch your stability and power increase back to a level you may have forgotten!

Golf Tips for the New Year

GoldenHorseshoe-Gold-h16We’ve recovered from the parties on New Year’s eve and the smorgasbord of great football on New Year’s day.  2015 is here and it is time to think about our golf games and how we can improve this coming season.  Here are a few suggestions.

Play Smarter

Amateur golfers give up many strokes by attempting low percentage or what is often referred to as “hero” shots.  Phil Mickelson may be able to thread a 4-iron through a tiny hole in the trees from a fairway bunker, but the odds of you pulling it off are next to zero.  Take high scores out of the equation and play smarter.

The rest of today’s tips fall under the play smarter heading, but are worth mentioning individually as well.

Putting

Most amateur golfers waste a TON of strokes on the green.  This season concentrate on speed, making sure that your lag putts end up in tap-in range.  Eliminate the three and four-putts.

Hit More Fairways

Fairway percentage isn’t terribly important for PGA Tour pros.  Just look at their stats.  They hit the ball so far, that if they miss the fairway they’re only a sand wedge to the green.  But most amateurs don’t have that game to fall back on.  Take whatever club is necessary off the tee to get the ball in the fairway, even if it is a short iron.

Hit More Greens

Most amateurs do not get up-and-down very well, resulting in higher scores when greens in regulation are missed.  Forget aiming at short-sided flags or flags tucked behind bunkers.  Aim for the fat part of the green and use the above putting tip to save even more shots.  Two or more possible saved shots in one!

Conclusion

None of the above tips require lessons or swing changes and they can make an instant impact on your scores.  Put these tips in play for 2015 and watch your golf scores drop, along with more par and birdie putts!

Tuesday Tip – Short Game Walk

Golfers often kneel down behind their ball and look at their putts in order to read the breaks on the green.  Sometimes looking at the shot from behind the hole helps as well, called “reading it from the other side.”  Walking the putt from ball to hole also helps golfers get the feel of the slope, helping them to detect if the putt is downhill or uphill.

Troon_North_Golf_06

Why not use some of these simple techniques in the short game, so long as they don’t slow down play?

Short Game Walk

Arguably there is likely more terrain to read in the short game (chipping and pitching) than when putting.  Around greens there are often false fronts, hills, slopes, bumps, humps, bunkers, and all sorts of other areas which can greatly affect the direction and distance the ball will travel.

For instance, chipping into an upslope will certainly kill the distance.  Conversely, chipping onto a downslope will increase distance.  Side-slopes?  Those will knock the ball offline greatly.

GrandCyprus_04

Take a short walk along the proposed chip/pitch line and check out the ground.  Look at how the ball will bounce and where you intend to land it.  Take note of the feel of the ground too. Is it soft or hard?  The harder the ground, the bigger the bounce.

Check out the length of the grass in the intended line as well.  Obviously shorter grass will not kill the shot as much as long grass.

Conclusion

A quick walk in the line of your short game shot could be a big stroke saver.  Knowing where to land the ball and how far the ball will travel is invaluable information.

Three Last Minute Frogger Stocking Stuffers

You could still snag a few last minute golf gifts at your local Dicks or Golf Galaxay. It’s not too late to make the golfer on your Christmas list happy. Here are three great stocking stuffers below.

Amphibian Ball Towel

The tiny Frogger Amphibian Ball Towel fits in the golfer’s pocket and provides a wet and dry surface for cleaning golf balls, clubs, or just wiping the sweat off one’s upper lip when setting up for a winning putt.

Amphibian Ball Towel

Green Monsters Golf Tees

Frogger Green Monsters are extremely durable golf tees made from one of the world’s most renewable resources, bamboo.

tees_all-tees

Frogger Divot Repair Tool

Do your part to keep the course in great condition so we can all enjoy the game without those darn pitch marks in the green which knock our putts offline!  Pick up a Frogger HOP! Divot Repair Tool.  The tool has a super-strong magnet and ball marker which always finds home in your pocket.

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Three Great Golf Training Aids for Christmas

This is the LAST weekend before Christmas!  It’s not too late to pick up some awesome gifts for the golfer on your holiday gift list.  Today we are featuring three fantastic golf training aids.

Arc Angel

The compact and easy to setup Frogger Arc Angel is a putting training aid which helps golfers groove their putting plane and sink more putts.  Arc Angel folds up and stores easily in the golfer’s bag, and comes with an instructional DVD.  Golfers can use a golf club as the alignment stick (photo below), or the Frogger Alignment Sticks (below).

arc-angel-setup

Swing Hero

Golfers who grip the club too tightly suffer bad scores as a result of the “grip of death.”  Gripping the club too hard leads to distance loss, bad accuracy, and bad scores.  That all equals less fun.

Swing Hero helps golfers get the feel of the proper grip pressure, and can also help golfers change grips to reduce slices, promote draws, or promote fades.

Alignment Sticks

Golf is a game of physics and geometry.  When a shot travels 250 yards, the originating angle being off by a degree or two at impact can result in dozens of yards of inaccuracy.

Many golfers practice and setup with alignment sticks to make sure their setup is aligned properly.  There are countless drills and benefits to having Frogger Alignment Sticks in the practice bag.

Tuesday Tip – Same Swing, Different Club

golf-finish-by-tonykorologosMany amateur golfers make the mistake of thinking they need to swing harder for longer shots.  More often than not, swinging harder will produce all sorts of problems from poor strikes to bad accuracy, to….  less distance!  Yes, less distance.

There are 14 clubs (the legal number of clubs a golfer can carry) in the bag for a reason.  Some clubs go longer than others.  When faced with a longer shot a golfer should use the proper club and put the same swing, with the same tempo, on that club that he/she would use for a shorter club.  That’s why there are different clubs.

The longer the club is, the longer the shaft is.  The longer shaft produces a wider swing arc and therefore gets the club head moving at a faster speed than one with a shorter shaft.  Therefore the same swing one might make with a 7-iron would have a higher club head speed than it would with an 8-iron.

Some golfers may also think that the swing for a longer club should be harder than for shorter clubs.  Once again, the swing should be the same.  It is not necessary to “swing harder” for a 4-iron versus a 6-iron.

So the next time you need to hit the ball farther, don’t swing harder.  Use the same swing with more club!

Friday Fun – Two Ball Practice Round

balls-on-greenOnce in a while we golfers find ourselves out on the course as a single player, with nobody else around.  This is a great time to practice some shots, and experiment with different clubs and strategies on the course.

Two Ball

Provided that there’s nobody else around and the pace of play is not impacted, play a practice round with two balls.  Mark each ball in some unique way to be sure you know which ball is making what score.

In my case I’ll mark the first ball with a big letter C on it.  The C stands for conservative.  This ball will be the conservative ball.  On all the holes this ball will be used in a conservative strategy, such as playing irons off the tees on par-4’s, playing for 3-shots into par-5’s, and aiming for the fat of the green instead of the pin.  Putting will be conservative as well, such as lagging to insure two putts rather than hitting harder putts trying to hole it.

The second ball will be the A ball.  As you may have guessed, the A ball is the aggressive ball.  Play with this ball will be taking chances, going for par-5’s in two, aiming at tucked pins, etc.  Putting will be more aggressive as well.  Try to hole them all.

How Will It Come Out?

In the end which ball will card the best score?  Which style of play will be the most enjoyable?  Results will vary and hopefully you’ll learn a little bit about your abilities, and how you make your best scores.

Tuesday Tip – Hard Packed or Wet Sand

Sand TrapWe will all run into the hard packed or wet sand situation at some point in our golfing adventures. The sand may be hard packed because of lack of maintenance, or it may be packed due to hard rains the night before, or possibly even the course’s sprinkler system.

Previous rain or the course’s sprinklers will obviously be causes of wet sand, which from a shot perspective presents the same issues as hard packed sand.

Regular Sand Shot

In a regular sand shot we are taught to open our sand wedge up and take quite a bit of sand with the ball. Depending on the distance the shot needs to carry, we may aim one inch to several inches behind the ball. The design of the sand wedge’s bottom allows the club to dig in just enough, then bounce through. This keeps the club from digging in too far and stopping.

The result is that the ball comes out soft, accompanied by a hand full or two of sand.

Hard Packed or Wet Sand

The above technique does not work for hard packed or wet sand. If the player were to open up the sand wedge in those conditions, the bounce of the club and hardness of the ground would cause the club to bounce too much. The increased bounce causes the club to strike the ball with the blade.

Bladed shots are among the worst shots in golf. The ball will either fly 100 yards too far, or it may not clear the lip of the bunker and might embed.

To properly hit the hard packed or wet sand shot, only open the sand wedge slightly, or perhaps not at all. In fact, sand wedge may not even be the right club. Perhaps try a gap wedge or pitching wedge.

Try to skim the club over the top of the sand and keep the finish lower than a typical high sand shot finish. The ball will come out lower, perhaps with more spin.