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One of the most underrated areas of playing the game is choosing where to start your ball. Whether you are hitting a tee shot or an approach shot, this selection process is vital to scoring low scores. Through the use of Trackman we have been able to take our students onto the course and develop different strategies of how to play certain holes or plan for windy conditions. Take for example, if we have a relative straight hole with 35 yards of fairway to work with but have water guarding the right side and OB down the left we have to develop a sound swing that will successfully get that ball in the fairway. We first must stand on that tee shot and decide which shot shape gives us the most confidence. If we commit to playing a draw then I want to see Trackman’s Data showing an in to out path of around 3-4 degrees with a slightly open club face. With a face/path ratio of around 3 degrees we will hopefully see a spin axis of around 6 degrees (hoping for center contact). This will curve the ball with draw spin roughly 15 yards. Now we have committed to a certain shot and have confidence we can put that ball in the fairway. If we divide the fairway in half, we have 17 yards from the middle to work with and still be in the short grass. We then figure out if we’d rather come in from the left, middle, or right side of the fairway. Once this has been determined we are now ready to select our start line. Aim the club towards our defined target on our start line not on our finishing point and trust that ball will go there.

Start lines for approach shots are equally important. Again with the help of Trackman, we are able to figure out within a yard of how far we are carrying the ball with each club in our bag. Throughout our practice sessions we work hard to determine how far each club goes. Then we break it down to carry distances with a draw, fade, punch shot, and full shot. This becomes tremendously important when we have to carry a bunker or cover tiers on the green.

A lot of golf is played by instincts and feel so if our gut is saying to hit a certain club our brain has to be able to analyze what distance we need to hit it and make sure we are not risking bogey or worse. Armed with this knowledge will save you many strokes in the course of a round or tournament. Remember choosing a good start line can be the difference between winning and missing the cut so give yourself the best chance to make the right decision. - Rob Corcoran, PGA Professional.

Rules around the Green The best advice I can give you is that there are no rules when it comes to scoring around the greens. There are so many options when trying to get the ball close to the hole from just off the green. Many times shot selection is determined by your lie, distance to the hole and what obstacles are between you and the pin. Lets take the first shot selection criteria – Lie. I believe this is the most important factor because this will determine how clean you can make contact with the ball. If we are just off the fringe on nice grass perhaps we can putt the ball or give it the bump and run. If we are against the collar and the rough maybe a lob wedge putting stroke and hit the middle of the ball with the leading edge. Or sitting down in the rough we need a lot of loft to pop the ball out onto the green. Next, we choose a club based on out distance from the hole. If I’m on the just off the very front edge of the green and the pin is back the low percentage play would be to take a lofted club like a sand or lob wedge and try to perfectly fly it exact distance and gauge how much it will run out. Unless you have many hours a day to dedicate to perfecting this shot I would recommend against it. The basic rule of thumb on these shot is Minimizing Air time and Maximizing Roll Time: Club Air Roll 6 Iron 20% 80% 8 Iron 30% 70% PW 50% 50% SW 60% 40% LW 80% 20% Lastly when choosing a club we assess all obstacle in between us and the hole. For example, we could be just off the green with a perfect lie but there are sprinkler heads impeding a straight line to the hole thus eliminating the use of a putter. Other obstacles include bunkers, ponds, tiers in the green. When faced with these situations choose the club that will clear all trouble with easy and give you the highest percentage of getting up and down in 2-3 strokes. In conclusion, there are no rules of which club to use. The ultimate goal is to shoot the lowest score and however you feel that goal can be accomplished is how the shot should be played. - Rob Corcoran, PGA Professional.

Let your Arms swing in a circle The golf swing is a very complex and difficult action to repeat day in and day out. Having played the game for 20 years I still show up each day at the golf course searching for that one magical key that will end my ever existing search and put an end to mis hitting the occasional shot. The fact of the matter is that there is no magical swing tip or key that will make the ball go perfectly at the target each time with the correct trajectory and right amount of spin Have you ever come to the golf course after shooting a terrific round of golf the day before and just can’t seem to hit the shots you want to. Well let me just say that it happens to everybody (Except maybe Tiger). We are human being made up of muscles and cells that are constantly dying and rebuilding so it is virtually impossible to have the same feel day after day after day. Here are a few tips to help get you on track. First and for most the set-up must be free of any tension. If you watch the pros on television it always looks like they are swinging so easy at the ball. Well the tour average for swing speed with the driver is 113 mph while the average weekend golfer is around 90 mph with the driver. Often times it looks as though the amateur is swing harder than the pros. Why is this? The biggest difference is that the tour pro allows the club to swing freely while the amateur forces the club to swing. Fact: 85% of the speed is created from the shoulders down with 60% of the speed being generated by the hands. In order to control that speed the arms play a vital role in harnessing that speed so that the club reaches its maximum velocity at and past the point of impact. So many time I see my students lifting the club away from the ball which inhibits a full shoulder turn and consequently they lever the club on the way down trying to hit the ball and lose all sorts of potential speed. The cure- Allow the lead arm ( arm closest to the target) to swing the club freely in the backswing over your right shoulder this will allow you to swing forward from the inside and along your target line. The key here is to let your arms work, allowing your hands and shoulders to function in their proper roles. This will bring you up to a nice high balance position with your right arm resting comfortably over your left shoulder. Remember it is the overall feel of the entire swing that produces straight and consistent shots. - Rob Corcoran, PGA Professional.

Rob Corcoran
Hamptons, NY / Viera, FL


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