No Restrictions Golf
Inexpensive training aids.
These are in no particular order but there are a number of ways in which to improve without spending a fortune on training aids. A number of these can be found around your home, others are inexpensive purchases.
1) Good old fashioned match sticks. You know the wood ones. Take two and tape one on either side of your putters sweet spot just bigger than the size of the golf ball. Wider for beginners at first. Gradually make them closer together as your putting gets better. When you miss one trust me you will know.
2) Two by fours. Multiple uses. First putt between them to work on putter path and face angle.
Stand one on edge parallel to your target line just outside the golf ball. Promotes a proper path. One can be used behind the ball to promote a proper takeaway. Can also be used 6-8 inchs behind the ball to promote a steeper angle of attack while chipping.
3) A volleyball, beach ball or child’s play ball to be used between the legs for proper leg action.
4) A carpenters chalk line, available at any hardware store. Lay a chalk line on the green for putting.
5) Fiberglass poles can be used in a number of ways. Alignment aids, chipping aid, full swing drills etc. Old shafts can be used as well.
6) Full length mirror can be used indoors to work on posture grip and swing positions.
7) Baby powder on the face of a club to indicate impact.
8) Laundry baskets or similar to chip or pitch into.
9) ½” pvc and one ½” tee three sections cut into 24” sections makes and excellent alignment aid and ball position locater.
10) Have a popsicle then save the stick. Put under the lead hand glove against the wrist to prevent flipping or wrist breakdown.
11) Large construction cone available at the hardware store can be put on the toe line to give feedback on the back swing and downswing.
12) A length of wood dowel and a bungee cord can be fastened around the hips shoulders or forearms to aid in alignment.
13) Your golf bag to pitch over, chip over, or can be used behind you to aid in proper posture.
14) Back to the two by four’s, bury one in the sand to help with bunker play and to encourage a shallow angle of attack.
15) Tennis racket to help learn the proper release and as a visual to help learn face angle rotation on the golf swing.
These are some suggestions and by all means if you have additional uses please email me. I am always curious about the creative ways you all have for working on your game but more importantly how I might be able to incorporate your ideas into my lessons.
One of the most common questions I get asked is - how do I handle first tee jitters? The answer is simple: embrace the fact that you are nervous. I love that excited but nervous feeling I get in my stomach before teeing off in a big event. It’s a good thing!! It only becomes a problem when we let that feeling overwhelm us making it difficult for us to perform. It has been my experience that the “jitters” become too much to handle when a couple of things occur. You are worried about what people will think or you are overly worried about the result.
Both are very easy to deal with and I can tell you how in three little words: Pre Shot Routine!!! You need to have one. A good pre-shot routine will help quiet your mind. Even if you have never really worked on one we all have some sort of routine. We all approach shots in a similar manner so rely on that. Focus on a specific target and make it as small as possible. If the target is the right side of the fairway then pick a patch of grass or a specific spot in which you want to land the ball. If your natural shot is a draw and you have a tree picked out go one step further and pick a leaf on that tree. Also take a few deep breaths prior to your shot or even yawn to get extra oxygen into your system.
When we stand over a shot it may seem like all eyes are on you but in reality each player is only concerned with his own shot. So relax and remember golf is a game that is meant to be fun and enjoyed, not stressed over.
Do your clubs need a scrub?
Have you ever watched a tour pro closely before he/she hits a golf shot. Better yet, have you ever watched their caddie after a shot? One thing you will notice is that they meticulously clean their clubs. Not just the head of the golf club but the grips get wiped down as well.
Grooves on a golf club serve a very important purpose. They grip the ball and impart spin. On the more lofted clubs and especially your wedges this is very important for stopping a ball on the green. On the longer clubs back spin helps reduce or negate side spin. The more debris you have in the grooves, the less backspin you can generate; and in many cases cause unpredictable ball flight, but certainly one that will not stop once hitting the green.
The grip end should get a little TLC as well. Oils and dirt from our hands tend to build up after time reducing the tackiness of the rubber. One side note: for slightly worn grips, a good tip to restore some of the tact to your grip is taking some fine grade sandpaper and give them a quick once over. A little soap and water and you should be good as new. There are a number of towels, brushes, or towels with brushes built in that can make the process a little less painful. Remember to wipe down your clubs after every shot.
Impressive, Humbling, Awe, Pride, and Humility
What do all of these have in common? They are all words to describe what I saw and/or felt for the two days while getting my Accessible Golf Certificate. When I arrived in the meeting room, I was greeted by the staff and a few of the other participants. One in particular stood out – Sgt. Charles Eggleston, an outspoken friendly man that tells it like it is, opinionated; but has a heart of gold. What's special is what I found out later. He is a 4 time Purple Heart recipient, up for the Congressional Medal of Honor, and survived a deadly attack in Mosul where 6 soldiers died. He was also pronounced dead only to survive the attack. His back is mainly comprised of titanium and he has undergone numerous surgeries and still has a way to go in rehab. You should see him hit a golf ball.
Once everyone arrived we did the usual introductions and then got into the program. Day one and the first part of day two was mostly technical - learning how different injuries affect the body, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and what inclusive really means. We covered a lot of ground quickly and there was a lot of information sharing. The class was comprised of mostly golf professionals and one or two therapists. Dana Dempsey (one of the therapists) was very knowledgeable, asked fantastic questions, and really added to the experience. We even got a chance to go out and play a few holes on Tuesday.
Tuesday morning really got moving as former PGA pro Jim Estes took over the class. With a degree in Bio-Mechanics and a great understanding of the golf swing we really got an education on teaching all types of golfers but the focus was on disabled students. The afternoon was an eye-opener as we watched several people with various disabilities hit golf balls and it really helped us understand new and different ways to teach this great game. I was very fortunate to spend some valuable one-on-one time with Tom Houston, who I think with the right number of strokes would kick my butt on a golf course. Tom plays from an adjustable chair he designed and has a beautiful golf swing. Chris lost his left leg and still hits his 5 iron 200 yards. Jerry had his first experience hitting balls from Tom’s chair and I have never met anyone so excited about improving his game. Charles took a number of tips from several of the instructors and has great power when he connects. The highlight for me was hitting balls blind, deaf, and with my dominate arm bandaged up. Taking instruction from my peers really gave me a different perspective.
To sum it all up, I had a great two days and I want to personally thank the staff: Gary Robb, Patti Kleban, Tammy Smith, LPGA/PGA professional Judy Alvarez, and PGA professional Jim Estes. Without their hard work and experience this would not have been possible.
The next time you encounter a person with a disability remember they are just that: a person first. Treat them like you would treat anyone else.