Confidence…. Where are you?

 

We all know, in order to play good golf, we need to be confident. Confidence is something that is crucial to you shooting the scores you need when you’ve got a card in your hand, are in a tight matchplay knock out or you’re playing you mates for a small wager.

Unfortunately confidence isn’t something that grows on trees or can be found in the pocket of your golf bag- confidence is something you must work on- as much as you would your short game, driving or iron play.

Think about a top ten player in the world when they give a press conference after their round when they have not played well or not won and they maybe could have. You will find that they always speak positively about their games, they’ll say things like ‘I struck the ball well today’ or ‘I played well and the putts didn’t quite fall’ or ‘My game is close to being perfect’. These golfers are intentionally upbeat about the state of their golf games. They choose to focus on the positives. They know that dwelling on the poor aspects only leads to negativity and a lack of confidence next time they play.

 

Now think about the last time you talked through your round in the bar with your friends. I can pretty much guarantee that the first thing you discuss with them is your 3 putts, or your tee shot that went out of bounds or the one hole that you blobbed in what was actually quite a steady round. Or even, just simply how bad you are at golf.

When you think about it it’s actually quite ridiculous, to berate yourself for your mistakes and completely forget about your good shots. It’s totally backwards!

Do yourself and your golf game a favour- keep a 3 shot diary. A 3 shot diary that includes your best shots of each round- there will always be at least 3 shots that are positive, write them down- in as much details as you can. Recall things like the wind direction, your lie, the pin postition, your thoughts before and after the situation and everything you felt about the shot.

In time, you’ll have built up a log of lot’s and lot’s of very good shots- it’s great to be able to have a browse through your book and recollect your different successes. You will soon start to feel more positive about your golf game and your confidence will begin to grow!!

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Free Golf, a different look at the game I love.

 

Since I was a child I have been obsessed with water, especially water that moves. I’ve always loved being near the sea. I’ve always had a love of spending time in and near the ocean. In the last 5 years or so I have become addicted to bodyboarding and I try and get my hair wet as much as I can in the winter months whilst getting out on the golf course during the summer! I think I’ve been drawn to bodyboarding a lot as it’s such an easy escape; Having spent most of my youth playing competitive golf, getting out in the water and being able to enjoy a past time with no hard rules always feels like such an awesome freedom for me.

 

There are certain ettiquettes and respect you need to give when in a busy line up, especially at Bournemouth Pier- my local break- but you don’t have to do anything in any certain way. You don’t have to answer to anyone, it’s open and it’s your own, there isn’t a book with 45,000 rules in it like there is in the game of golf. Being out in the ocean one sunny, winters day got me thinking about the real reasons behind why I started playing golf and how I could take more of a free attitude to the golf course.

 

In the sport of surfing and bodyboarding there are 2 main categories of Professional surfer. At the top level, Pro surfers travel the world competing in the World Surf League. This is where the best in the business compete against each other for individual titles, league points and plenty of cash! Obviously a fair few similarities to the world of the PGA Tour then! We all understand that though, people enjoy watching the best in any sport in the biggest arenas when under the most pressure. It is amazing to watch the best athletes perform at their peak, competing for trophies and titles- it is where real legends of the sporting world are made.

 

The second type of Pro Surfer is the ‘Free Surfer’. This is a guy or girl who travels and surfs and surfs and travels. Often living a fairly simple lifestyle, camping and hosteling on and around the beaches of the world, scraping together enough money for flights to get to the next swell filled country by selling surf photos and videos and writing travel articles for magazines and websites. That sounds pretty good right?

 

Of course you have to be an amazingly talented and respected surfer, an interesting character and blaze a very unique and original trail for people to want to listen and watch what you have to say and what you do. However, the main thing you need for this lifestyle is a true love, a passion for what you’re doing. It isn’t about the money, I don’t think it can be, because there isn’t much available! Its about having the dedication to discover your own path and simply enjoy a sport for the simple love of doing it. Not to win, not to lose, not to prove a point or send a message, more to express, to feel and to discover. To discover yourself.

 

In contrast there isn’t a golfing equivalent, not that I’ve seen anyway. Do you know a golfer who just golf’s? For the sake of golfing? A golfer who dosen’t keep score, dosent play by a set of rules. Dosent try and win and dosent mind if he loses?

 

This seems to sum up the very individual but very different nature of both surfing and golf, they are activities that rely heavily on self motivation to improve. Both can be extreamly frustrating things to do when things aren’t working out your way. Both are very addictive, time consuming, artistic, poetic, natural and beautiful things to do. Both belong to you, both are your own.

The Par That Was’nae

The Par That Was’nae. (The Par That Wasn’t)

We used to sprint up the steps as fast as our little legs could take us. My brother and I would be full of excitement and steely, competitive determination. It was easy to tell that the first tee would be clear as we could see it from the bay window in my Grandmother’s front room. I used to sit and watch the golfers concluding their rounds on the 17th and 18th that were perched on the side of the hill, facing the house. I longed to be out on the golf course, even at that early age. I’d wait for the course to quieten then dash over to the first tee.

 

The links at Kinghorn, in Fife, seemed to always be illuminated by the summer sun and by the time in the evening that we would be allowed to play the wind that had swept briskly through the course during the day had calmed to a relaxed breeze. I don’t think I ever remember seeing a golf course look more inviting to my imagination in my life.

 

I had 2 clubs passed on to me from the garage, a cut down 5 wood which I used for every shot and a putter which I used to putt with but only because my grandma told me I couldn’t use my 5 wood when on the green. Kinghorn golf course is a unique lay out, a links course that sits high above the town. A fantastic character of quirky holes that dip in to rolling nooks and crannies and rise up to perched greens that, when playing them at my young age, might as well have been sat on top of Mount Everest.

 

I come from a family of Scottish golfers, my Mother and Father and their siblings grew up in Fife and the boys lived on the golf course during the summer months. My Grandma, too, was a keen golfer and a stickler for the rules and decorum of the game. The Golf club was always such a central part of our holidays. I admired the simple act of playing a ‘full round’ of golf. 18 holes- all the way round- seemed like such a mammoth task. It blew my mind when I found out my Uncle routinely played 2 or even 3 rounds in a day when time and the long daylight hours allowed.

 

At the age of 6, my elder brother being 9, we were limited to the number of holes we could play. Of course, I felt we were more than capable of doing at least 9 holes but under the watchful eye of my Grandma we were limited to playing a loop the first 4 holes. The 4th green at Kinghorn loops back round directly in front of the pavilion where there was a starters hut, alongside the 1st tee and some very old, stoney locker rooms. This meant that we could play the first 4 holes and have a go on the putting green afterwards if we were well behaved.

 

My grandma was firm but fair with us. My Mum would always brief us with a warning as we neared our Grandparents house that there was to be no messing around- ESPECIALLY on the golf course. I have a vivid memory of crossing the Forth Road Bridge into the kingdom of Fife and my mother turning round to us as we read our comics in the back of the car and saying ‘right, boys… I want you on your best behaviour’ or words to that effect. Unfortunately this was a tradition that continued well in to our 20’s and was always greeted with ‘oh for goodness sake mum…’ or words to that effect.

 

 

There were a lot of amazing shots that occurred during these loops of holes. Cracking drives that would run and scamper up the parched fairways for what seemed like 1000’s of yards. These long drives were always the most fun to do and, as a family, a good drive off of a tee soon became known as a ‘whammer jammer’. I used to fling myself into these drives with all of my might, routinely missing the ball and spinning 360 degrees and landing on my bum. Choosing to ignore any counter advice- so much for my Grandma’s classic tips of ‘keeping your head down’ and ‘keeping a smooth tick tock rhythm’ we just wanted to smash it and go find it!

 

As I’m sure you can relate to if you’ve had any dealings as a player or parent with junior golf, or even golf as an adult, there was plenty of frustration too. Memories of my brother and I trying to out do each other on every shot and lots of Grandma attempting to calm us down after each missed putt that ‘should’ve been a gimmie’. I’m sure It cant have been easy when looking after two hot headed red heads who had a slight tendency to be a bit boisterous- especially the younger of the two! The truth was we were playing golf for fun, wholey and truly for the fun of the game and we would love every minute.

 

On one of these evenings a very special moment arose. I moment that taught me pretty much every single golfing lesson I would every need to learn in one fowl swoop of a sand wedge.

 

We were playing the par 4 fourth hole back towards home and directly in to the warm, orange, setting sun that was fading cozily in to the ocean on the horizon. I remember standing on the tee and concentrating hard on smashing this ball further than my Brother’s drive. I connected with my tee shot a treat- scorching this wee 5 wood in to the air before catching a downslope or two and jumping over humps at speed. We walked up the fairway and my pace increased as I realized my drive was probably one of my longest ever.

 

I found my ball in the fairway which, on the 4th hole at the time, was literally about 400 yards wide- full of undulations and cool pockets of shady, summer-evening air. The 4th hole isn’t a long one and I’ll be honest, I don’t remember playing my 2nd shot at all. Although I know my club selection was a 5 wood and I know that I hit it ‘first go’ so it was a reasonably successful effort. I’m guessing it was fairly similar to my tee shot- fairly low and running but running in the right direction.

 

I walked up towards the green after waiting for my Grandma and Brother to hit their approach shots which I didn’t really take much notice of. I was in the zone now and I only had eyes for my ball and where it had came to rest. It soon became apparent that my ball had caught one of the many greenside swales and fallen in to the left hand green side bunker pin high with the hole.

Now, this filled me with a great worry because bunkers meant hard work. Bunkers meant annoyance with not being able to get the stupid ball out of the stupid sand. Bunkers meant James trying to give me tips that I would ignore because I knew how to do it. Bunkers. Were. Trouble.

 

It came to my turn and I was preparing myself by taking a few practice swings and trying to figure out how I was going to lift this ball out the sand and pop it onto the green. I had a few more swishes with Grandmas wedge that I borrowed to try and get out the bunkers and settled over the shot. I took a good gouge from the sand which exploded nicely and blew back into my face in that very linksy way. The ball popped over the head high lip and rolled nicely onto the green- to about 8 feet. This was possibly the greatest shot of my young life. In fact this was Definitely the greatest shot of my young life. I remember that feeling of sheer delight and disbelief and ecstasy and flabbergasted expressions on James and Grandma’s faces. I was smiling ear to ear.

 

The enormity of the occasion then hit me when I went to get my putter from next to the golf bag on the side of the green. I had this putt for par. My first ever par. My first ever, fully fledged, no messing, text book, stick that on the score card par. This putt was a must make.

 

It never left the center of the hole. I remember it starting a little left of the cup and curling to the hole as I jumped for joy shouting ‘PAR!!!!’ at the top of my lungs!

 

My Grandma looked confused, she did that thing where you point back down the fairway whilst counting shots. “1, 2,3…and how many did it take you to get out of the bunker? 4 or 5?”

 

I was offended. “No, no… I got it out first time- it was a par!” I said, beginning to get defensive.

 

“Come on Christopher” Grandma continued “I saw at least THREE splashes of sand from the bunker”

 

My jaw had dropped, my brow furrowed and my lip trembling slightly, I told her they were practice swings- I PROMISED they were practice swings. I really really promised.

 

“Well I’m sorry Chris, but you cannot ground your club in the sand before you play a shot from the sand” Grandma concluded as she marked me down for a 7.

 

With that sentence I was crushed. Momentarily fixed to the ground I attempted to argue my case. “B….B…But…It….It….Th..Th…They were practice swings….”

 

 

It’s now 22 years later now and I’m starting to be able to reflect on the incidents with a bit more of a positive out look. These things are life lessons- grandparents are here to teach us these valuable moral outlooks on life. I appreciate it now. It broke me at the time and stayed with me for years to follow but I can appreciate now.

 

I can categorically tell you now, I have never, ever touched the sand in a bunker before playing a bunker shot since that fateful, fateful day.

 

Grandma I thank you.

 

Chris

Growing The Game At Broadstone G.C!

Broadstone Golf Club Junior Section- Summer Coaching Package 2016- In association with Titleist Golf. 

Following a long winter of a distinct lack of golf I think you will all agree that we are very much looking forward to the summer months and getting back out on the golf course!

Each day brings us closer to the golfing season and closer to a string of Open events, Matches, Medals and Team Competitions. Which leads me to ask you all- how prepared are you? Or how prepared will you be when the time comes and you’ve got to nail a shot to win!

One of the processes I put in place last season was the Tuesday afternoon/evening junior roll up at Broadstone. For those of you who have recently joined the club or did not make it to one last year, the roll up was a way of you all to come and have a game in an informal, relaxed setting. All in all, I believe the roll up was a very positive thing to introduce but having spoken to and gathered feedback from you all its quite clear that the roll up could and should be much more efficiently used for your improvement and would benefit further from some quality, structured coaching and performance monitoring.

With this in mind, please see below- the newly developed Broadstone Junior Section- 2016 Coaching package.

Starting on Tuesday 12th April at Broadstone GC will be a chance for you all to have a 2 hour session per week of top quality, in depth group and one to one coaching. Set out in blocks of 5 weeks, each session will be focused around different aspects of your game. Mixing sports psychology techniques learned from Dr. Karl Morris and utilising the access we have to Flightscope, TPI Performance, Xplanar and the Titleist Vokey Pro programme as well as plenty of time on the golf course my aim is to bring a clearly laid out, fun and productive game improvement course for all Junior Members at Broadstone GC.

Before the beginning of the course all golfers will be asked to complete a goal setting and performance plan for the season. This will help to gather an idea of a starting point within the individuals golf game, enabling us to set a clear and definite goal for the year.

All groups will be limited to 6 Golfers and the entire programme will cost just £50 (£10 per session) To be paid in advance of the first week. All range balls and equipment included.

The first 5 week course will be on a first come first served basis; however, if the sessions are over- subscribed I will aim to put on a second package on a different evening.

 

WEEK 1- TUESDAY 12TH APRIL- 5PM-7PM

Understand YOUR technique.

 -(Classroom) 5pm-5.30pm– Ball Flight Laws and what effects Ball flight? How can you influence shot shape?

-(Range) 5.30pm-6.30pm– Flightscope examples and Shot Shaping challenges. Who can hit the biggest draw? Who can hit the lowest 4 iron and more importantly, how?

-(Range) 6.30pm-7pm– Data gathering summary, looking at the evidence on Flightscope and Understanding what the numbers mean.

 

WEEK 2- TUESDAY 19TH APRIL- 5PM-7PM

 On Course Tuition- Focus on shot shaping to aid course management.

 –          9 holes in groups of 3. Tee off at 5pm

–          How can we shape the golf ball to help lower scores?

–          When is the best time to hit a high, low, draw, fade on the golf course?

–          How do we build our individual misses in to our games?

–          Mental approach- it’s not the bad shots that harm us, it’s the reaction to bad shots that harm us- how to keep positive during rounds!

 

WEEK 3- TUESDAY 26TH APRIL- 5PM-7PM

Wedge Week with Titleist SM6 Vokey Wedges

 –          5-5.45PM– Short Game Work. At bottom of driving range,     finding YOUR favorite yardage.

–          Where is your ‘go to’ distance?

–          Using trajectory to control yardage

–          5.45- 6.30pm– Greenside Work

–          Understanding Bounce with Vokey Pro, experimenting with different wedges around the greens.

–          Bunkers, how to deal with different lies and situations

–          Fun Flop Shots! Using loft to help you out of nasty situations!

–          Practicing with consequence

6.30pm-7pm Summary and Putting contest

–          Putt to the picture, who can putt best with their eyes closed?? Trust me, there’s a lesson there!

 

WEEK 4- TUESDAY 3RD MAY- 5PM-7PM

On Course Tuition.

–          Groups of 3

–          Texas Scramble, let’s score! This is a great way to go as low as you can, working in a team and making some birdies!

–          But there is a twist!

–          One player nominates to play aggressively, one plays sensibly and one plays conservatively on each shot.

–          Who’s shots do you use the most? What can we learn from    these shot selections?

–          Focus on Green Reading, how does speed effect line with 3 different styles of play? Firm, reserved and lag?

–          When does the ‘percentage play’ trump the aggressive play?

 

WEEK 5- TUESDAY 10TH MAY- 5PM-7PM (Refreshments to follow play and lesson summary)

On Course Play- 9 hole S’ford with 1 Dozen Titleist Pro V1’s for winner!!

  • Competition!
  • How do we prepare?
  • Letting nerves help your golf
  • Routine and trust
  • Gain control by giving up control
  • Enjoyment & Improvement

 

END OF FIRST PROGRAMME

I hope this all makes sense and, more importantly, sounds like fun! Please can you let me know via email or phone if you would be interested in starting this course of lessons!

Many thanks!

Chris

 

 

What’s important when choosing a new club?

 

Not long ago we were having a discussion in the pro shop about what we felt was the most important factor in choosing a new golf club. Between the three of us we had fairly contradicting opinions so we decided we would find out more from our customers. We ran a poll via our social media platforms, which showed up some very interesting results.

The questions asked- what factor do you consider to be the most important when choosing a new golf club or having a club fitting?

-Distance

-Accuracy

-Looks

-Sound

The poll results changed a little bit throughout but ended up heavily biased towards accuracy. As we all know, accuracy is massively important in the game of golf but I thought I would put this theory to the test in my next few fittings.

In my next driver fitting I had a low handicap player who was a pretty long hitter, he was looking for added control and an increase in the ability to shape the ball both ways- fade and draw.

First, I worked with the player on his strike patterns, focusing on the importance on hitting the middle of the club face- a simple matter that is often very overlooked in golfers practice routines. His strikes were varied- quite drastically. In order for the player to find more consistency in his strikes I gave him a shorter than standard driver shaft, one which had a tad more weight than his current set up. Immediately the length and weight of shaft helped to control the strike and in turn gave the player a lot more control of his ball flight. The dispersion tightened dramatically. The player was able to call the shots- he was hitting high draws, low fades, big slinging hooks and Bubba Watson style fades at will. We then looked at his stock shot- his normal ‘fairway finding’ drive he would use on the course compared to his current gaming driver.

The results were fantastic, but the player was not happy. The clubhead speed, due to the shorter, heavier shaft had slowed enough to lose distance. There was a sacrifice in yardage for the gains the golfer saw in accuracy. We had to go back to the original statement made at the start of the custom fit. The player wanted more control, more ability to shape his drives and I felt we had achieved this but the golfer realised that he was not willing to give up the 10 yards he had lost!

This proved very interesting to me as I feel a lot of golfers say that they would gladly lose yardage to gain control but in reality would be reluctant to use equipment that wouldn’t maximize the distance they hit the golf ball. I only have to think of the reactions I get when, during a fitting, I suggest shortening a driver length- 9 times out of 10 golfers don’t want to shorten driver shafts, even when the evidence proves that this would show improvements in performance! Sometimes, gaining control and hitting more fairways can lead to a loss of distance.

However, we like the idea of having the potential to hit that one drive that goes further! And why wouldn’t we? You have to figure out whats better for you- long and wrong or short and straight? It’s all about building in a repeatable miss and learning more about your on course tendencies. Like always, it’s about what you want from your fitting and what you want from your golf clubs- but make sure you’re honest with yourself!

 

TaylorMade M2 Launch! Don’t Panic!!

I must admit, nothing gets me excited like a TaylorMade launch. Well, not quite nothing, I’m not a complete loser- but you catch my drift. In the golfing world and in the world of golf equipment product launches TaylorMade always gets the buzz going.

I felt the need to get this blog out fairly quickly to preempt a few classic comments I would bet my (very small) house on hearing in the pro shop in the next couple of days. I respect everyone’s opinion and maybe I’m biased with my TaylorMade background, maybe I just miss driving on various different motorways to various different golf clubs doing my old demo day routine (I don’t miss that, although I do miss eating in Premier Inn Restaurants on my own- that was great) but I do get sick of people bashing TaylorMade. I literally can’t help but stick up for them. I think it’s just ingrained in me, after my well trained years at TM, to come back with the very routed reply that would normally begin with ‘yeah…but’.

Probably one of the first one’s I’ll hear when M2 hits the shelves is ‘Oh here’s ANOTHER driver from TaylorMade- the M1 only just came out and now there’s this!!” Please don’t. Or alternatively there’s the old- ‘its been 2 months since the last driver came out from TaylorMade- its about time they brought a new one out’. Sarcasm, it is the lowest form of wit people. Hear me out.

Just so you guys know- the M2 Is ‘replacing’ the Aeroburner range, which has been out for over a year. Simply put, ‘M2’ is not out there to dislodge the ‘M1’ as a range, it’s a different product, at a different price point, for different golfers, with different needs. But all that consumers see is the classic, Americanised TaylorMade marketing campaign that plugs the M2 range as the latest and naturally but not necessarily greatest. The M1 is still the big chief. It’s the ‘main driver’. The M2 is the little brother. It’s the cheaper option, with fewer bells and only a few whistles.

Price point- that kind of leads me to my next point- you know that driver you’ve been picking up in your local golf shop, whistling in disbelief at the price tag and wondering what all the fuss is about with this new ‘un-metal Wood’? I’ve got some fantastic news for you! There’s now a cheaper one for you to try- amazing! And guess what? You get a choice of 35 shafts to choose from-at no upcharge. Bargain! Try to be more positive, yeah?

Cost might not come in to your head when looking at new clubs but for most of us it’s one of the first thing that we look at. Having price options is great- every company has them. In the car garage near my house there’s a cheaper Audi and a more expensive Audi and this company also release car’s regularly- can you believe that?? A car manufacturer that brings out cars for you to test-drive! More than once every 2 years!! The bare faced cheek of it. Ask yourself- As an Audi driver, do Audi expect me to buy every single new model of car that they bring to market? No. Do TaylorMade expect you to buy every driver? No. Do they want you to? Yes, ideally you would, but it’s ok if you don’t.

Having options to buy is great; it’s not a reason to complain about ‘another’ new club for you to try. Give it a go, book a fitting, see if it beats your old one. See if it beats your old one enough for you to buy it. Test it. Challenge the hype.

Do me a favour, go on any of TaylorMade’s social media pages- take a look at a recent thread, find one about the release of the M2. I give it three comments before someone says something along the lines of ‘oh fiddlesticks- I wish they would stop doing this, why TaylorMade?? WHY?? HOW COULD YOU?? I ONLY JUST BOUGHT MY R9!!! 6 YEARS AGOOOO!!!’ Please calm down, it’s ok, it’s a golf club, it will be out for a year- or very close to- then a new one will take over. That’s OK.

I know it can seem quite an aggressive life cycle- one year- but I think it’s pretty fair. As far as I can remember it’s been like that for a while. TaylorMade did buck the trend the year R1 merged, earlier than planned, in to SLDR. This came as a bit of a surprise. But since then, the release patterns have been consistently staggered, one model at one point (M1- November) then a follow up at a different price (M2- February). Naturally this makes it feel like the turn around of product and its lifecycle is shorter. It really is no different from the other brands out there. Our friends at Callaway have more drivers on the market than TaylorMade (so far) this year and by my calculations have also brought out a fair few more than TaylorMade have in the last 18 months? But, is it just me, or do the Callaway launches sneak by slightly quieter than TaylorMade’s. Now, is that a good or a bad thing? You decide.

If you like the idea of a company having a longer lifecycle in their product- there’s companies- or A company- (*cough cough….Titleist…cough cough*) that do that. That’s fine too!

For me, I’m just interested in the product. Does it perform? Who will like it and who will it help? I’m slightly upset that the company seemed to have u-turned on the ‘LOFTUP+’ idea as I saw that work well for a lot of golfers. Plus I still secretly still love my 14* SLDR. I guess I was suckered in to that marketing scheme as well- the swines!

All in all though, I’m happy for the marketing to work on me. Put it this way, since I read on Facebook that the M2 had been announced officially all I’ve done is read about it, watch videos on it and written this blog. Safe to say TaylorMade’s marketing has done it’s job again and got people talking about the range and I for one, cant wait to hit it.

THE M RANGE Available for fitting at Broadstone GC. Full options in all shafts and head options. Call 01202 692595 to book.

Cheers

@ChrisHGolf

Shaft Fitting- AMT Titleist

Just a quick little write up on the new AMT shafts from True Temper and my experience with them. The AMT or ‘Ascending Mass Technology’ is a great concept and one that is extreamly simple. For now, Titleist have exclusive use of this technology and I think that this gives them a great added selling point for their 716 range of irons. I have certainly seen the benefit in my newly bagged set of AP2 and CB Irons!

In a nutshell, AMT shafts are lighter in the longer irons and heavier in the short irons. They have the same, classic Dynamic Gold feel that most people are pretty familiar with just with an added bit of zip in the top irons! The lighter option in the long clubs helps to give the golfer launch and height for the longer clubs and the shafts getting heavier (3 grams per club) helps to add control and a solid feel down towards the more lofted irons and wedges.

As a club fitter, I believe that shaft weight is by far the most important factor in a shaft fitting. The head of the golf club is the engine and the club’s weight is made up by a properly fitted shaft option. In terms of shafts- weight has much more of an effect in performance than flex of a shaft. I think the reason for this is due to the fact the the player can feel the weight of a golf club a lot more than he or she can feel the flex of the shaft. Think of it this way, when you walk in to the pro shop and pick up a club- the first thing you feel is the weight. If a club was overly light or overly heavy that would be the first thing you would pick up on and judge the club on. Because you can feel weight- you have to be very sensitive to feel flex, even after hitting a club. During a fitting I’ll often test a lighter shaft, in regular flex, for a heavier shaft- also in regular flex and 9 out of 10 times the player will describe that shaft as feeling ‘stiffer’.

Interestingly, iron set’s having that change in weight from light to heavy really helps to give you the optimum flight in each one of your irons. For me, its about maximizing the performance and feel from each iron individually, like tour players do. Essentially, tour players will fit each iron on it’s own and step each loft and desired flight accordingly. This is something I will always try and achieve during club fittings and why I offer a yardage gapping session after every custom fit set of irons we sell at Broadstone GC.

As always, feel free to contact the Pro Shop for any further info or booking enquiries!

01202 692595

 

Game Golf!

Last month I was asked by our friends at Game Golf to write a small article for them to use in their marketing- Here it is in full!

For more info contact the Pro Shop on 01202 692835, we are the only green grass stockist of Game Golf in the area!

https://www.gamegolf.com/home/en-uk/?v=b8793bb

We have had Game Golf at Broadstone Golf Club, Dorset for about a year now and it has easily been our best selling ‘golf gadget’ in store. In this article I am going to give you a little insight some of the ways in which we use Game Golf to grow our business and improve the way we coach and work with our players.

Initially we were turned on to the idea of Game Golf after we spotted the devices being used and talked about on Social Media- straight away we knew that this was something we would be able to utilise. It has helped us separate ourselves from other local retailers and has given us a very unique selling point for us and our customers.

Here at Broadstone we have a very active membership, full of golfers with good handicaps that play round what Is seen as a very tough golf course. We have a strong scratch team, a very competitive ladies section and lots of members who take regular lessons and enjoy working on their games. As Professional Staff and competitive players ourselves we are always looking for any help we can get when working on our games and the way we approach lessons with our students. The insights that Game Golf give us have had a heavy influence on both the way we look at our own games and the way we give our lessons.

Before each lesson we teach to a student using Game Golf we will have an evaluation of his or her last 5-10 rounds. Firstly this involves an informal chat over the Ipad or Laptop where we go over our students recent performances and where we feel the ‘problem areas’ might be. Interestingly, the coaches view and the players view can sometimes be slightly different in the perception of these areas- it’s our job to identify where the problem(s) is/are, why it’s costing the player shots and how we go about fixing these areas. I feel that this is always such a good way to begin a lesson as it lets the student know we are really ‘on the same side’ and shows that we are willing to go the extra mile to get the golfer shooting lower scores. Another bonus is that more often than not there are plenty of positive stats to look at in a Game Golf review- this makes it easy for us to give plenty of praise to the things the player is doing well.

Once we have keyed in the specific areas that we need to work on, I will then take the student out on to the course, or to the range and simulate the situation the player is struggling with. If it’s a problem with accuracy off the tee I will use an imaginary fairway and test them to hit 10 balls on the fairway. If it’s a problem with approaches from the green out of the rough I will take them to a quiet part of the course and drop some balls in ‘common miss areas’ and talk them through the different techniques and approaches needed for each shot. The student is involved, they trust you because they know they are struggling with that area because it’s been proven to them! Their stats are their stats after all and you have them on board from minute 1 till minute X!!

Game Golf has been our number 1 selling Christmas gift so far this year (2015) and I have been selling a free consultation with every unit purchased and then up selling ‘Game Golf’ lesson packages as a way for the customer to gain the most out of his or her Game Golf unit- I can’t imagine teaching as effectively without it and I fully encourage all of my lessons to use these (extremely clever) state of the art devices!

We ‘ve also used GAME GOLF to aid our fitting process…..

Here at Broadstone we do a huge amount of custom fitting. 95% of our hardware sales are sold after a custom fitting session with our launch monitor. I’d like to tell you great example of how we secured and up sold to a customer of ours using Game Golf.

Phil is a Game Golf user and a good golfer who, at the start of the season, was looking for added distance off the tee with his driver. He’s a strong hitter with nice bit of club head speed who hit his current driver very well so it was going to be a fairly difficult fit to gain a massive amount of distance on! We went through our usual process on our launch monitor and managed to find a head and shaft combination that suited Phil well. We gained Phil a club extra distance(5-10 yards). He was happy but not £300 happy so he didn’t buy the club there and then as he felt that he wasn’t seeing a big enough distance improvement for him to make the purchase.

However, the interest remained evident with Phil and we came up with an idea for him to get a more thorough idea of what the new driver may do for him in a real life situation- out on the course. We know that launch monitors are helpful and we use ours on a day to day basis at Broadstone but we feel that the real test is when a golfer puts a new club into play. A lot of golfers like to ‘demo’ clubs on the course which can leave them guessing as to whether the trial club was actually any better than their current set up. This is how it works on tour, a pro will be fitted for a new club on the range, become happy with it there and then take it out on a practice round to put it through it’s paces. With Game Golf we can now we can make it work in the same way. Giving our customers a Tour Experience 7 days a week.

We set up Phil’s ‘spare’ tag as Driver 2 and asked him to play a round with it and then take a look at his driving stats. The newly fitted driver averaged 18 yards longer and straighter than his own. In turn, his GIR stats also improved for the round. ‘Good start’ we thought. Phil wasn’t going to rush the decision and took the newly fitted driver out for another 3 rounds in order to build a real, accurate set of numbers that he could review and make his own decision on from there. His total improvement was 15 yards, including his Longest Drive of his Game Golf career and the driver helped to up his GIR 10%-20% naturally this lowered his scoring average accordingly. Phil was sold and he bought the driver. We then went through the same process with his fairway woods, fitted and checked by Game Golf. Phil’s handicap has dropped from 8 to 6 this season and is still coming down!

Its been great to have this added string to our bow here at Broadstone and we have since added a ‘Demo’ set of tags and Game Golf unit for people to try for a round or two. We have sold other drivers, fairway woods and iron sets using the demo units in a similar way to Phil who, by the way, will be back to get his Irons fitted in 2016.

 

Love your short game

 

When was the last time you practiced your short game? When was the last time you practiced your short game effectively? Trust me there’s a huge difference.

I taught a lesson recently to a golfer who had been a member here for over 5 years and admitted that he had never used the chipping green! After showing him where the practice green was(!), we started working on his pitching!

This golfer was really struggling with his confidence around the greens. The technique needed some minor tweaks but was generally pretty sound. I felt the problem was mainly with his approach to his short shots. He described how he would immediately admit defeat when he missed a green, knowing that he would have no chance of chipping the ball close enough to have a chance of holing his par putt, especially during competiton play and when under any type of pressure. Alarm bells began to ring in my head, this player’s confidence was low and it needed building up. We hit 30-40 shots, looking at the technique needed for each shot but mainly focusing on how he wanted the ball to land and roll out to the hole. I asked the player to focus on his target and only his target. Out of the shots we hit the vast majority were inside 10 feet, a couple were long and a couple short, only one shot was mishit completely. After looking at this shot pattern it was clear that this player had a great short game, he just needed to practice it more to instill in his head the fact that, with confidence and by focusing on his target there was a great chance of executing the shot well.

The golfer was happy, I could see by his body language and the way he continued to hit these shots that he was getting more and more ‘cocky’ with each strike- adding more loft and flicking flop shots up in the air with a nice bit of spin! As I said before though, the confidence ‘issue’ became more evident when under the cosh- coming down the back 9 in a tight club match, monthly medal or even playing his friends for a friendly £5 bet!

We needed to add more pressure to the situation to get close to recreating a ‘real game’ situation. This is where it got interesting- I made a game with my student. We would have a closest to the pin competition- with a little twist. For every ball that I got closer to the flag than my student I would get £1 added on to the lesson price, for every shot he got closer than me he would get £2 taken off the lesson price. He was up for it and we chose a few different shots to play. This was where I could learn more about the player’s game, I could see the player tense up- he got more cautious in his approach, he reverted back to his old technique, tension crept in to his set up. He knifed his first shot through the green. 1-0. We went to the bunker where a similar thing happened, the player forgot his target- he lost his timing and there was little to no rhythm to his routine.

Now, as I’m hoping you all know, I’m not a mean guy and the idea of adding this pressure was not to add another £10 to the lesson! It was for me to see what happens in a real game situation. This was so valuable to me as a teacher. We were then able to focus on real improvements to the set up, routine and working on seeing the target and letting the short game ‘flow’. You need to learn to love your short game and the approach you take to it. You need to look forward to feeling nervous over a chip shot or 6 foot putt. You need to practice with real pressure on your shoulders.

By adding another dimension to your short game- you can learn to love the chance of showing off around the greens. Think of it as your chance to show how much better you are than the other guys or girls in your group. Be cocky, be a show off and love your short game.

Short game lessons available with Chris right now! Why not book with a friend and save yourself some money? Test yourself against your playing partners by booking a group lesson! £40 for 4 people for 1 hour’s tuition on the pitching green!