Upcoming PGA Tournaments, Spring 2018

Here’s a list of the upcoming PGA events over the next few weeks. I’m personally rooting for Ted Potter Jr., Brian Harman, and Kevin Kisner. And it’s always fun to see just how badly Smylie Kaufman can do – it’s good to know he’s out there, taking it easy for all us sinners.

Date Tournament TV
5/24 Fort Worth Invitational Colonial CC CBS, Golf Channel
5/31 Memorial Tournament Muirfield CBS, Golf Channel
6/7 FedEx St Jude TPC Southwind CBS, Golf Channel
6/14 U.S. Open Shinnecock Hills FOX, FS1
6/21 Travelers Championship TPC River Highlands CBS, Golf Channel
6/28 The National TPC Potomac CBS, Golf Channel
7/5 Greenbrier Classic Old White TPC CBS, Golf Channel

 Full PGA Schedule

College Practice Plan: The Spreadsheet

Here’s a screenshot of the spreadsheet I’ve been using for the College Practice Plan, as outlined by YouTuber Scratch Golf. My version is one I created in Apple Numbers, and put on the icloud, so I could share it between my laptop and iPhone. Scratch Golf has a version on Google Docs that you can download: http://bit.ly/2Eqw3GF.  It’s nice to be able to update my progress via cellphone right there at the driving range, and then review it later that night at home on the larger screen.

For the week of April 29 – May 5, I only tried four drills. I fell short of the putting drills’ stated goals, so I marked those cells in orange to indicate I tried it, and I put in a number to show how many successful attempts I had made. For the drills I fully and successfully completed, I marked “Yes” and colored the cell green.

On the Irons drills, for the 9-iron for example, the drill states to hit 30 balls using “6 trajectories”. Those trajectories are: straight shot, high fade, low fade, high draw, low draw, and low straight shot, or “stinger”.  I only attempted to hit straight shots because I am a high handicapper. One of my goals this summer – and this is something this practice plan can help me with – is to develop a high fade with my mid-irons, and to generally understand the mechanics of draw and fade better.

I will be blogging about each of these drills in the coming weeks as I get a chance to try them, but for now, I just wanted to share this spreadsheet.

Spreadsheet for use with the College Practice Plan

College Practice Plan: 20-Foot Putt Drill

The YouTube channel “Scratch Golf” has a video on practicing golf and tracking your weekly progress using a plan utilized by college golf programs in the US. Who knows if any colleges actually use this plan, now or ever, but it’s been pretty rewarding enough for me, regardless of its origins. Having completed the initial drill, “3-Foot Putts”, I moved on to the “20 Foot Putt Drill”. From the previous drill, I had 6 tees in a circle around hole, each 3 feet from the hole. I removed one of the tees, paced off 20 feet, and put that tee back in the ground. I now had a setup for putting 20-foot putts into a 3-foot radius around the hole.

Remove one of the six tees from the 3-foot circle from the previous drill to create an opening into the circle.
Place one tee 20 feet out from the 3-foot circle

The routine went like this:

* Take 3 golf balls, and try putting as many as you can into the 3-foot radius circle around the hole.

* Don’t use more than 3 to 5 balls, because it can get crowded within the circle

* If any single putt doesn’t end up within the circle, start all over again.

* Keep trying until you get 20 in a row 

Record your results on a spreadsheet. I tried for nearly an hour and only managed to get 8. I marked an 8 besides this drill on my spreadsheet, and colored it orange. If I had gotten all 20, I would have marked it green. The beauty of having to start over is that each putt has an increasing sense of urgency the closer you get to 20.  Eight is a pretty mediocre number, but I now have a baseline number to start improving upon as I practice this drill each week.

I am really loving having some structure to my practice using this plan, and recording the results will show me where I’m improving from week to week. I’m also spending more time on my putting because I want to hit those numbers and mark my spreadsheet green. If I were just casually putting around, I would have practiced far less.

College Practice Plan: 3-Foot Putt Drill

I recently ran across a channel on YouTube called “Scratch Golf“. There I found a video on practicing golf using a college golf team practice schedule. As was mentioned in the video, for those of you perhaps outside the US, college golf in the US is basically amateur golf played at a very high level, and most golfers on the PGA tour came through the college system (one notable exception is Ted Potter, Jr, one of my favorite golfers). The plan presented by Scratch Golf included a spreadsheet with a list of weekly drills covering putting, chipping, pitching, iron play, and driving. It was such a compelling video and well laid-out plan, I decided to give it a shot. What I want to describe in this post is my experience with the first drill, the 3-Foot Putt Drill.

The drill goes like this:

  • Put six tees in the ground in a circle around the hole, 3 feet away from the hole. Use your putter as a guide – putters are typically between 34 and 36 inches, so they are perfect for this.
  • Place a golf ball by each of the tees, slightly off to the side so that you won’t hit the tee.
  • The objective is to hit 25 3-foot puts IN A ROW. If you missing a putt – you have to start over.
Using a putter to measure out 3 feet to place tees
The completed tee ring.

The pressure can really mount up once you get over 18, and get into your 23, 24th, and 25th putts. The pressure you feel is a great simulation for situations you may find out on the golf course, where perhaps you need a short putt to get a birdie, win a match, tie your personal best, NOT score a triple bogey on the hole – whatever myriad of pressure situations we find ourselves in out on the course.

I spent nearly an hour and a half on this drill, and only succeeded in getting 17 in a row at best. But thanks to the structure and gamification this drill offers, I spent nearly 90 minutes working on 3-foot putts – something I would have never done if I were out there just casually putting around.

Vintage 70s Golfer Look

No era was better for golf fashion than the 70s.  Or was it the worst? I can’t decide, but if you show up to the golf course looking like this, you’re certainly going to get some feedback! This outfit is a bit ridiculous, but a subtle nod to the 70s could be accomplished with just the Wayfarers and the Lacoste polo.

Otto Caps Striped Hat Band Fisherman Bucket Hat

 

Ray-Ban Unisex RB 2132 New Wayfarer Sunglasses
Lacoste Men’s Short Sleeve Pique Classic Fit Polo Shirt, Spin Yellow

Nike Dri-Fit Men’s Plaid Flat Front Pants Golf Tartan Trousers

Men’s Genuine Leather Dress Belt for Work Business and Casual Occasions – Classic, Fashion, and Functional

 

FootJoy DryJoys Tour Cleated Golf Shoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Odyssey White Hot Pro 2.0 Blade Putter in the Top 10 on Amazon Right Now

Odyssey White Hot Pro 2.0

The Odyssey Hot Pro 2.0  blade putter is in the Top 10 in Amazon right now, in the  Sports & Outdoors > Sports & Fitness > Golf > Golf Clubs > Putters category. This sounds like it should be a good thing – and overall I think it is – but you have to keep in mind Amazon’s best seller’s list is just an indication of what products are hot right now, not necessarily what products are the best. For example, this same Top 10 list of putters has a “Two-Way Putter – Left and Right Hand” which is nothing more than a putt-putt putter that no serious golfer should be using. The Odyssey putter, however, is no gimmick and is worthy of your attention.

It has a rating of 4.7 of 5.5 stars, and 85 customers have given the putter a review on Amazon. Furthermore, 85% of the people who bought this club rated it a 5 out of 5, while 13% rated it 4 out of 5. So 98% of everyone who’s bought this club have been well pleased.

The Hot Pro 2.0 is available in lengths of 33″, 34″, and 35″. The 33″ is probably good if you are 5’8″ or shorter. The 35″ might feel right if you are over 6’2″ or so. But it also depends if you are more of an upright putter of the ball, or like to bend over substantially. It features a white insert on the face, designed to give you a softer feel and a pleasant sound with striking the ball. The “full shaft offset” keeps hands ahead of the ball through impact to promote an upward strike. This gets your ball rolling more quickly, instead of skidding along the green for the first few feet of the putt. Bill Choung details this phenomenon in his article entitled “Putting: Rolling Versus Hitting“:

Equipment Solution: The only way to reinforce the correct setup is to make sure that the putter length and lie angle are optimal.

A few other features on the Odyssey of note:

  • Laser milling insert cutting process achieves tight tolerances for consistent performance
  • Crank Neck hosel design further allows for enhanced visualization throughout the stroke
  • Sleek finish limits glare and enhances durability

If you like the classic design and beauty of blade putters, you’d be hard pressed to find a more high quality putter than this Odyssey White Hot Pro 2.0 #1. Personally, I’m still using an old Ping Anser II, but the grip is basically shot, and this Odyssey putter is definitely on my radar.

Practice Your Putting with Purpose


If you really want to get the most out of your putting practice sessions, you must practice with purpose. To actually improve at putting, you must arrive at your putting practice session with a plan, taking a structured approach. Mindlessly knocking balls around isn’t really going to help you much. Presented here are three drills or “mini-games” that can help you develop your putting mechanics, grant structure to your practice sessions, and boost your confidence. So let’s take a look at each one in detail…

1-FOOT PUTTS

Why on earth would you practice 1-foot putts? Those are easy peasy, and you can’t learning anything from them, right? Humor me for a moment.. put several balls in a circle about a foot from the hole. Then putt every single one of them into the hole. You should easily sink all of them. So what’s the point? Do you know how good it is for your confidence to sink every single putt, to see it drop into the hole, to hear it rattle around in the bottom of the cup? This is a confidence building exercise designed to strengthen your golf psyche. Get used to seeing, hearing, and feeling the golf ball go into the hole. It’s a basic exercise that you should continue to practice forever. So give it a shot; make it your warm-up drill when you first step onto the putting green.

PUTTING TO THE ROUGH?

Putting can be broken down into two fundamental components – line and ball speed. If you hit the ball along the right line with the appropriate speed, it’s going to go in. Of these two, speed is the more important parameter. Misread the break by one foot, but hit the ball with good speed, and you’ll be left with a one foot putt. But read the break correctly and hit the ball at the wrong speed, and suddenly you’re left with a putt that’s either 5 feet short or 10 feet past the hole.

So we need to hone in on the speed of our putts. One great way to learn how to control your ball speed is to putt to the rough. Ok, not the rough, but the fringe around the green. Here’s what you want to do:

  1. Place 5 balls or so at various spots on the green, ranging between 5 and 20 feet to the fringe.
  2. Putt each ball in turn, aiming to get it as close to the fringe as possible without actually touching the fringe.
  3. After each putt, close your eyes, and try to imagine in your mind’s eye where the putt is going to come to a halt.
  4. Look up, and see how close your guess was.
  5. Don’t stop until you can roll every ball within 5 inches of the fringe without going off the green.

What we’re developing here is a feel for distance, and over time, your guesses will get better and better.

Here’s a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)

While line is secondary to speed, we mustn’t ignore it. Starting the ball on the right line and actually hitting your chosen line is something you’re going to learn through trial-and-error feedback. Here’s an exercise you can do to refine this skill:

  1. Place a quarter on the green.
  2. Place a ball 18 inches from the quarter, and roll it over the quarter with your putt.
  3. Progressively move back to three feet, six feet, nine feet – all the while aiming to roll the ball over the quarter.
  4. Every time you miss or even roll the ball off the side of the quarter, reset back to 18 inches.
  5. Listen to your body’s feedback every time you miss, and make adjustments to your stance or putting stroke.

Once you feel like you’ve grooved your putting stroke and are making lots of easy roll overs, take note of your mechanics. Perhaps even have a friend film you with their cell phone, and review your posture, distance from the ball, eye to ball position, and so on.

So there you have it – three drills you can take to the pratice green next time. Running through these drills will give your practice time structure and purpose, and will help you develop confidence, a good feel for ball speed, and a knack for putting the ball exactly on the line you want.