Get Into The Groove


Remember that last swing thought you had before the winter that really seemed to work on most shots? Or if you’re like most golfers, the last 10 swing thoughts that worked… 

To get back into the season, these are my 3 keys to get the most out of your game early in the season (without taking a lesson):

1. Keep it simple!

Dumb it down a little or in some cases, a lot. Use your most valuable swing thoughts (collect 2-4), and alternate swings thinking about 1-2 (max) swing thoughts per swing. Odds are your swing is a little quick to hit from the top, or you have lost your tempo. Work with a metronome (around 40-50 bpm is a good swing tempo) and smooth out your swing. 

2. Get rid of the moving parts!

Stabilize your lower body, turn your upper body, and minimize your wrist hinge in the backswing to start. Then little by little, add some lag (cocking of the wrists in the downswing/maintaining the angle between your left wrist and the club shaft for as long as possible). Find a happy medium or what seems to work best concerning the amount of lag.

3. Work on your SHORT GAME!

Working on the short game (chipping, pitching, and putting) is the fastest, and easiest way to improve your game. It is also the first thing to go after a little time off from the game, that is, your touch and feel on and around the greens. So during your first couple rounds of the year, drop some balls around the greens (if you have time) and work on hitting certain targets, putts from 3-10 feet around the hole, or even chipping balls on the tee boxes.

Use these three tips, and I can almost guarantee you’ll improve and see your scores drop quicker!

Look out for my YouTube Lesson Series coming this Summer!

Michael Midgette, PGA
GOLF ACADEMY SWING TIPS
646-739-2227 
www.gbgigolf.com

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Drive for show, Putt for dough…?

If you’ve played this game long enough, or have even been paired up with some avid golfers, you have definitely heard the phrase, “Drive for show, Putt for dough.’ Well, whether if you have heard it or not, it’s really not that true. Yes, of course, putting does get the ball in the hole, however, if you are not in the fairway, setting up your approach shot properly, odds are you’ll be putting for par or bogey more times than you’d like.

In fact, while watching a PGA Tour event recently, they were reading statistics that players in the rough averaged almost half a stroke higher on a given hole, than players who were hitting the fairways. That’s equivalent to almost 9 shots a round!

I’m almost sure you’ve heard the phrase, “250 in the fairway is better than 300 in the rough.” This phrase definitely holds more truth than the previous one.

The importance of tee shots being in good position to set up an approach is extremely important, and here’s a great example:

This week, during the Shell Houston Open, I watched Player A, on a 368 yard hole, pull his hybrid out, knock it down the fairway, while his playing partner, Player B, who was known as a long hitter, pulled out driver and hit it about 40 yards from the green… in the right rough (and the rough wasn’t too penal). Player A knocked his approach on the green 20 feet below a back-right hole location, while Player B had a delicate shot to a flag with a big slope carrying golf balls away from the hole about 10 feet behind it. Player B actually hit a great shot, but because he was in the rough (lie was not bad at all), he was unable to spin the ball enough to get it to stop on the green, and subsequently the ball found the slope and rolled about 30 yards over the green.

Here are a few suggestions on driving the ball:

  1. You don’t have to always pull out the driver. If there is trouble you can reach, such as a fairway bunker or trees through the fairway on a dogleg, take out a shorter club.
  • There are a couple of reasons:
    • If you’re aware of the trouble, and know there’s a possibility of reaching it, you will subconsciously end up steering the ball off the tee, causing a mishit, or ending up in the trouble after all.
    • When you have a club in your hand that you know won’t put you into trouble, you will make a better, more aggressive swing, causing better contact and ultimately putting yourself in better position to play the hole.
  1. Keep your stats!
  • Unsure of how many fairways and greens your hitting? Keep track of that on your scorecard. “But Mike, we use the scorecard for our foursome, there won’t be enough room.” I have an idea, grab your own scorecard for this purpose.
  • Mark it like this:
Par  4  4  5  3
Length 390 405 512 159
Score  4  5  5  4
Putts  2  2  2  2
Fairways  ✓  X  ✓  —
Greens  ✓  X  ✓  X

 

You could even write down an R or L (Right or Left) on your missed fairways to keep track of where your misses are and to give you an idea of what you need to work on while you practice (Tip: you can do this for Greens in Regulation, too).

  1. Keep a consistent routine and a consistent swing thought process.
  • Consistency in your golf game doesn’t come from hitting thousands of golf balls. Consistency comes from hitting golf balls THINKING about the same thing. During your next round, I challenge you to think about one thing that works for you, WITHOUT ABANDONING IT because of a couple bad shots.
  • If you’re not sure what to think about, here’s a few that might work and I encourage you to try on the range:
    • Keep an even tempo.
    • Make a full swing and hold your finish until the ball lands.
    • Don’t try to kill the ball; make a smooth, accelerating swing THROUGH the ball, not AT the ball (try to feel like the fastest part of the golf swing is just after impact).
    • Feel like you’re only trying to hit the ball half as far as you normally do. This will encourage better contact and you’ll find the ball goes just as far.
    • Loose arms and grip (AS LOOSE AS POSSIBLE), stable lower body (feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart), and use your upper body (shoulders and torso) as much as possible to swing the club.

Utilize these tips, and you should be finding the fairway more often, hitting more greens, and lowering those scores.

P.S. A little short game and putting practice never hurt anyone either, don’t neglect that part of the game as a result of this article.

Michael Midgette, PGA

646 739 2227

getbettergolfinstruction@gmail.com

www.gbgigolf.com

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Carnoustie Golf Apparel Review

The good people at Carnoustie, the golf apparel company, sent over some samples for us to try out. The Carnoustie Golf Links has a long and storied history in the annals of golf. Its namesake apparel company take a traditional approach to style and cut.

When you think of a golf shirt, this is it in terms of style and cut – Carnoustie really nails it.  Long in the arms and waist, Carnoustie deals in that classic look. Solid colors and horizontal stripes dominate the 2017 collection. As for the fabrics, Carnoustie uses some wicking-type fabric – which works well on-course.
Carnoustie Golf Shirt
The pullover sent was whole different story. The XL, which is my size, was way too big under the arms and way too short at the waist.  A good pullover needs to get out the way during the golf swing. I’ve found the best pullovers are fitted under the arms and longer past the waist. Carnoustie’s version needs to go back to the design drawing board.
Carnoustie Pullover Blue
All in all, keep an eye out for Carnoustie gear – it’s worth a try.

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Little League For Golf

Timber Point GC Spring League Sign Up Available Today thru April 15th.

Sign-up Deadline is April 15, 2017

  • Ages 9-13 of all skill levels
  • 5 – 6 weak league for kids
  • Kids will play against similar skill and age
  • 1 match per week on Saturdays, 4pm to 5pm starts
  • 1 practice session per week on Monday at approx 6pm
  • Includes instruction from PGA Pro
  • $300 per player – that’s for everything
  • May 20th through July 8th
  • Uniforms!

Call Timber Point GC 631-581-2401 or visit TimberPointGolfCourse.com for any questions and payment.

Coaches and volunteers are welcome and greatly encouraged!

For registration go to: https://pgajlg.sportngin.com/register/form/251392624

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Long Island Golf & Travel Show 2017

Golf-Travel-Show-Long-Island

It’s been a long drought – since 2011 – but it’s finally over. Long Island is finally getting a pre-season golf show.

The people at North Coast Golf and Travel Shows are bringing their show to Suffolk Community College — from Friday, March 3rd to Sunday, March 5th.

The show is full of fun (and free) golf related features. Once inside you’ll have access to a huge hitting area to test out the latest in clubs, a long drive contest, and seventy-foot putting challenge.

Celebrity guest speakers are planned but have yet to be announced. We’ll post that here once we know more details.

Adult admission is $12 and it includes a one-year subscription to Golf Magazine. Note: Cash only. Kids 12 and under are admitted free. Check the website here.

Show hours:

  • Friday: 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m

Directions:
Suffolk County Community College Sports & Exhibition Complex
1001 Crooked Hill Road
Brentwood, NY 11717

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Top Golf: A Unique Driving Range

Architectural Photography by Michael Baxter, Baxter Imaging LLC

Architectural Photography by Michael Baxter, Baxter Imaging LLC

Anyone who has spent some time perusing golf social media accounts has probably heard of Top Golf by now. The very Instagramable driving range chain has been heavily promoting itself through social media, by reaching out to golf writers, social media stars and professionals. Top Golf recently opened a location in Edison, New Jersey, not far from the Outerbridge Crossing. I made the pilgrimage from my apartment in Brooklyn to see what the buzz is about.

That said, to call Top Golf a “driving range” might be something of a misnomer. As an avid golfer, I do not think I’d return for my regular practice session. Top Golf is more of a golf experience. They make some mention of attempting to be like a bowling alley, and I think that’s a fair comparison.

At Top Golf, you don’t make your way to a driving stall, and just wail away on 100 or so balls, and head home. Instead, you share a stall with whomever you arrived with, and using Top Golf’s technology, you aim for circular light-up targets down the range to score points.

Upon arriving at your stall, after a brief registration process to obtain membership cards (for a $5 fee), all of the players swipe into a computer mounted on the wall of the stall. You then select which type of game you wish to play. There are several varieties, with the most basic game having the objective of scoring the most points, with the furthest targets being worth more. The only other game my companions and I had the opportunity to try was the chipping game, in which you must shoot for a designated target at 25, 50 or 85 yards, and you lose points for hitting the wrong target.

backswing-top-golf

Top Golf Edison, NJ – Photo Credit: Frank Molfetta

The balls at Top Golf are not your standard driving range fare. The balls are equipped with ID chips. When the hopper releases a ball, it matches that ball to the player who is selected on the wall-mounted computer. When that ball lands in one of the targets, it is read by a scanning mechanism in the targets, and registers a score on the screen. The targets also have sub-divisions, with more points being awarded the closer you are to the flagstick in the center of the targets.

The balls certainly don’t fly as well as even traditional balls. My experience is the balls fly a club to a club and a half less than your normal club yardage. Hence my 100-110 56* wedge, was only flying to the 85-yard target with a full swing.

I went to Top Golf with two buddies who golf, and my girlfriend, who doesn’t. I would highly recommend Top Golf as an enjoyable night, even for people who don’t golf. Several factors made it enjoyable for non-golfers. First, Top Golf has waiter service at each stall, with cocktails, beer, wine and food. There are couches in some stalls and stools in others, with a table for drinks and food. Second, each driving stall comes equipped with a two sets of golf clubs—one men’s and one women’s—for use by those who do not have their clubs. Third, the competition keeps everyone engaged. Finally, they have TVs in the stalls, with various national and local sports channels available to watch.

There are several reasons I would not recommend this for your regular practice session. First, the range only goes to 215 yards. Second, the balls definitely have a different feel to them, and don’t fly the same as standard golf balls, even standard range balls. Third, it was not cheap during normal practice hours (evenings after work for me), with a bay running $50 per hour. Four people, including one complete beginner, we were able to smack 240 balls total during our two-hour session. Fourth, the atmosphere is very casual, with music playing and lots of non-golfers enjoying themselves, and hooting and hollering over their ongoing competitions.

Photo Credit: Frank Molfetta

Photo Credit: Frank Molfetta

Despite sounding like a cranky old man with that last point, I did really enjoy Top Golf for what it was, a golf experience, and I will certainly be back in the future. I also am hopeful that Top Golf continues to expand (hopefully to Long Island), as I think a fun experience like this could be a great way to grow the game of golf, a belief I was heartened in to see so many teenagers and young adults at the Top Golf in Edison.

Photo Credits:
Top Golf
Frank Molfetta

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Tip of the week: Try my 14/18 drill

mm-on-the-range
Find yourself constantly asking yourself, “Why do I hit it so well on the range and can’t hit it the same on the golf course?” You’re not alone. There are many reasons for this and you need ask yourself about how effective your practice is. Let me give you a way to practice more effectively, and this should help you transfer your range game to the course.

      1. Practice one thing at a time.

    a. Stop driving yourself crazy about those 4 tips you read. Pick one thing you know works for you and grind away (Psst, if you don’t know what to work on, take a lesson!)

      2. Commit, Commit, Commit.

    a. I always tell my students, “I’d rather you hit 45 balls with a purpose, than hit 135 balls working on nothing or 135 things.” Commit to what your coach has told you, or what you’ve established yourself, and do it!

      3. 14/18 drill

    a. Typically, in an 18 hole round, there are 14 fairways, and always 18 greens (hopefully). To start, simulate your fairway and make it as narrow or as forgiving as possible. Then pick another fairway, challenge your imagination, and move on. Do this 14 times and keep track of how many shots you hit “in the fairway.” Then, repeat with the greens portion of the drill, changing your target on each shot.

Work on these things when you go to range, dividing your time between all three of these ideas, and this WILL improve your game where it matters most…ON THE COURSE!

Michael Midgette, PGA
www.gbgigolf.com
Get Better Golf Instruction
“Let’s Play Better Golf”

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Tip of the week: Ball Position & Grip

Golf Ball on Tee - LongIslandGolfNews.com

GET BETTER GOLF INSTRUCTION

TIP OF THE WEEK

To supplement the first tip of “Alignment, Ball Position, and Grip,” here are a few things to ALWAYS pay attention to in order to create a little more consistency in your game:

Ball Position:

All wedges, short irons (8 and 9 Iron), and mid­irons (6 and 7 Iron) should be played directly in the middle of your stance.

  • Ball on the RIGHT in pictured below (shortest arrow).Long Irons and hybrids (3, 4, 5 Irons and hybrids) should be played one golf ball width forward of the middle of your stance.
  • Ball second from the RIGHT in the picture below.Fairway woods (3, 5, & 7 woods) should be played two golf balls forward of the middle of your stance.
  • Ball second from the LEFT in the picture below.The Driver should be played off of the inside of your front foot (left foot if you’re a righty, right foot if you’re a lefty)
  • Ball on the LEFT in the picture below (longest arrow).

Image_001

Right Handed Golfer Stance (reverse for lefty)

Grip:

Image_002

The single most important part of the golf swing is your GRIP!

  • From address, you should see two knuckles in your top hand.
  • The lines that both hands and thumbs form should be parallel to each other and be pointing at your back shoulder.
  • Both hands should look as they are a single unit, with little to no gaps, and must work together.
  • Thumbs should be placed on top of the grip.
  • Grip Pressure: Scale of 1 ­ 10 (1 = almost falling out, 10 = firm, white knuckled grasp) You should be gripping club around a 3 throughout the golf swing.
  • The better your ability to control grip tension level, the faster you will be able to improve. This technique for the grip allows for natural hinging of the wrists, and better feel for the club and swing.

To correctly modify, alter, or monitor your fundamentals, take a lesson with your local PGA Professional. If you do not have one at your local club or driving range, book a lesson with Michael Midgette, PGA at Skydrive in Farmingdale or Golf & Body in Huntington.

“The best players in the world have instructors, so should you.”

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The Woodmere Club – Course Review, Part 2

Catch up with Part 1 of The Woodmere Club Review.

Adding to the throwback nature of this links-style course, there are very few yardage markers – not a single sprinkler head is marked. So make sure to bring your rangefinder to Woodmere; you’ll need it. As an added bonus, I’m told that pace of play consistently has golfers done in 4 hours.

Teeing off that number ten, I get to see my second of three split tees, meaning two holes tee off side-by-side. I could see this working nicely on a private course where all the members are friendly.
hole11-and-hole16-woodmere
The third and final split tee box is the hole eleven (above, right tee) which shares it’s tee area with number sixteen (above, left tee). This split tee box is slightly different than the others as tall reeds and a decorative mini-windmill separate the holes. Eleven and sixteen are both par 3s and both are guarded by small ponds in front. I’ll also add a three-club wind knocked down three golf balls into said pond.

Hole sixteen also kicks off three of Woodmere’s best-known holes. Playing from the back tees, hole sixteen is a longish par three with a generous green. Water protects the front of the green, and the back includes three large bunkers. Take more club if you find yourself in-between.

hole-17-woodmere
Pictured above is hole number seventeen which is the first of two forced-carry tee shots over water. This par 4 plays 434 yards from the back tees. To carry to the fairway you’ll need at least 140 yards and at 200 yards off the tee you get a couple of fairway bunkers and less room across to land your ball.

hole-18-woodmere
The finishing hole (above) offers you one last chance to get wet. Just 100 yards will get you over the water; the real test is how far down the water-lined fairway you feel comfortable biting off. Once safely in the fairway, the ample sized green – framed by a wall of windows in the dining room – calls you home.

hole-18-woodmere-green-clubhouse

PS. In addition to serving Nassau County residents, I could see this being a great club for golfers from NYC – especially Queens. I understand golf-only memberships are available.

PPS. The author did make that birdie putt.


Image credits: Google Maps | darreno of longisalndgolfnews.com

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The Woodmere Club – Course Review, Part 1

Woodmere-Club-Front-Of-Club-House
Driving up to The Woodmere Club, one gets the sense of the club’s history and pedigree. The impressive colonial style clubhouse – with its sturdy white columns – welcomes you to the grounds. Inside, the clubhouse does not disappoint; the locker rooms are updated, and the various bars, ballrooms, and restaurants are all well appointed.

Established in 1908 as a tennis club, the golf course, designed by Jack Pirie, followed soon after. Over the years, a number of notable architects contributed to making the course what it is today: Seth Raynor in the 30’s, Robert Trent Jones in 50’s, and Stephen Kay in the 90’s.

woodmere-hole-1-marker
Playing alone on a windy day, my first day out this season, was a treat. The first three holes – two par 4s and par 3 – provided a decent warm-up for my rusty swing. Many thanks to James Hallquist, Woodmere Club’s general manager, for inviting me out.

Punctuating the front nine are three challenging holes in succession – starting with hole number five which plays 516 yards from the back tees. Getting there in two shots – even for long hitters – is a challenge given the yardage and the double dogleg. A well-guard two-tiered green makes this one tough par 5.

Next up is the number one handicap hole on the front; it’s the 441 yard, par 4. Again, you need two good shots. Two fairway bunkers on the right and the left necessitate some accuracy here. Unless you’re super long off the tee, you are looking at mid-iron into a tricky elevated green.

woodmere-hole-7-from-tee-boxThe final hole in this trio (pictured left, click for larger) is a short par 4, playing only 293 yards. While the scorecard tells me this is the easiest hole on the front nine, I can’t help but notice the large fairway bunkers on the right about 160 yards out. Carrying these bunkers is not too hard, plus you have plenty room on the left side of the hole. Still, I notice them. My tee shot landed somewhere left. Given how early it is in the season, the seventh green rolled nicely as did the rest of the course’s putt surfaces.

As I finished up the front nine, I was struck by the old-school nature of this course. Few trees, rolling fairways, and proximity to water give this course a true links-style golf feel. Stay tuned…part 2 is coming soon.

 

If you’re looking for a club in Nassau County, Woodmere is a try. Make sure to call James and tell him Long Island Golf News sent you.

 

Image Credit From Top to Bottom:

– Jerry Rosenberg
– darreno of longislandgolfnews

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