5 tips to help you keep your golf resolutions in 2019

Written by: T.J. Auclair

The new year has arrived and a lot of you golfers out there might be uttering the words, “new year, new me.”

Most of us make New Year’s resolutions and, unfortunately, most of us fail to see them through for all 365 days.

If your resolution involved improving your golf game in 2019, here’s a list of things you can do every day/week — even if you’re in the bitter cold like a lot of folks right now — to help you achieve those goals.

And, once it warms up in your area, you can take all five of these drills outside.

5. Exercise. Yeah, we know. That’s what we should be doing every day anyway, right? But when it comes to golf, you don’t want to be tight. There are a number of stretches you can do right from your desk while reading emails that will benefit your arms, shoulders, neck, back, hips and legs for golf season.

Even better, place one of those handy, elastic, tension bands in the top drawer of your desk.

4. Take 100 swings per day in your house or garage… without a golf ball. The best players in the world visualize the shot they want to hit before they hit it. With a drill like this one, you’re going to be forced to visualize, because there’s no ball there to hit. If you’re able, place a mirror in front of you and pay attention to the positions of your address, takeaway, the top of your swing and impact position as well as follow through. Do it in slow motion. Become an expert on your swing.

3. Work on your chipping. Can’t do it outside? No worries. You can purchase a chipping net, or even put down a hula-hoop as a target. Get a few foam golf balls and a tiny turf mat to hit the balls off of.

Will it produce the same feel as a real golf ball? Of course not. But what it will do is force you to focus on a target and repeat the same motion over and over. After a long layoff, “touch,” is the first thing that goes for all golfers.

This will help you to work on some semblance of touch all winter long.

2. Practice your putting. Anywhere. All you need is a putter, a golf ball, a flat surface and an object — any object — to putt at. If you’re so inclined, rollout turf can be purchased for around $20 with holes cut out.

Since the greens are where you’re going to take most of your strokes, doesn’t it make sense to dial that in whenever possible? It can be fun too. Does your significant other, roommate, or child play? Have regular putting contests.

The feel you gain during those sessions may not seem like much, but man will they come in handy when your season begins on the real grass.

1. Make a weekly appointment with your PGA Professional. Even in areas of the country that are suffering through the cruelest of winter conditions, you can always find a place to hit golf balls inside. Contact your local PGA Professional to find out where places like this in your area exist. You might be surprised at all the options you have.

With your PGA Professional in tow, you can work on your swing throughout the winter months and keep your game sharp. How nice would it be to be on top of your game as soon as the courses in your area open in the spring?

 

Written by: T.J. Auclair
Source: https://www.pga.com/news/golf-buzz/5-tips-help-keep-your-golf-resolutions-in-2019

Make the Ones You Hate to Miss

By: Jamie Lovemark

A six-footer is by no means a gimme, but it’s still short enough that it stings when it doesn’t go in. To make more of these, start by locking in your speed. It’s the most important part of every putt. And when you assess speed, don’t just factor how fast the ball needs to roll to get to the front of the cup. Think about it: You’re not trying to be so precise with your putting that the ball falls in on its last rotation. So forget the front of the cup. You should be looking at a spot 1½ feet beyond the hole. You’ll still be in tap-in range if you miss, but now you know the ball is going to get there every time.

Once you’ve determined that spot, then you can read the break. Start by walking to the hole, and try to picture the line in your head, keeping in mind that it continues 18 inches past the cup. Typically a putt of this length isn’t going to break that much—unless your course is Augusta National.

To get my speed down, I often practice with a small silicone cover over the top of the hole. The ball rolls right over it. If you don’t have one, you can just putt over the location of an old cup like I’m doing here (see bottom photo). The point is to get the ball to stop at a consistent distance beyond the hole. After I hit a putt that rolls over the cup and stops where I want it to stop, I’ll put a dime down to mark that end point. Then I’ll stroke putts over the hole trying to get every one to stop on a dime, so to speak.

DEVELOP A SHOT CLOCK
Having a pre-shot routine is important, but that doesn’t mean only doing the same things before every putt. Just as important is the amount of time you take to do those things. It will make a big difference if there’s a consistent duration from setup to stroke—it gives you good rhythm and confidence. Another thing you should do before you hit a putt is to take one last look at your line of putt all the way to the hole and then back to your ball—but do it quickly. The longer you stand over the ball, the more likely you’ll start to psych yourself out that you might miss. Good putting is a lot more mental than physical. Not a lot can go wrong with your stroke on a six-footer—it’s a fairly short and quiet motion. If you can relax and trust in what you’ve done prior to the putt, your chance of rolling one in will go way up.

BE AN ATHLETE, NOT A ROBOT
If you struggle with these makable putts, it’s probably because you’re too focused on using perfect mechanics. I’ve got news for you, guys like me on the PGA Tour rarely set up and make a textbook stroke, yet the tour average for putts made from six feet last season was 70 percent. What I’m saying is, there are a lot of ways to get the ball to go in the hole.

Putting is extremely personal, but everyone should feel comfortable over the ball. I like when my arms hang freely, and I have a slight roundness to my back. As for the stroke, I don’t think about the length the putter moves back and through. Instead, I try to be as athletic as possible, meaning my process is to look at what I have to do—then react. If you’re shooting a basketball, you don’t think about how hard your arm has to move for the ball to reach the basket, you just look at the rim and let it fly. Try putting with that same mind-set. —With Keely Levins

 

Source: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/make-the-ones-you-hate-to-miss
Written by: Jamie Lovemark

12 Days of Golfmas Ends Tomorrow

Just 2 days left to save on golf rounds, club credit, gift cards and pro shop merchandise.

or In-Store

Hidden Creek will be open for purchases starting today through Sunday for in-store purchases.

10AM-2PM

What are your golf goals for 2019?

Comment below!

Also, don’t forget about our holiday sale.. ending in just a few days!
Save on golf rounds, club credit, gift cards and pro shop merchandise.

or In-Store

Hidden Creek will be open from 10AM-2PM on January 4th, 5th and 6th for in-store purchases.

We’ve extended our holiday sale for 12 Days of Golf-mas!

 

Shop our sale online and in store for 10 more days!

  • $100 Gift Card for $80
  • $50 Gift Card for $40
  • 4 Rounds of Golf w/ Cart Anytime for $100
  • Purchase a $100 or more in Club Credit, get 15% off
  • 20% off all in-stock inventory
    • In-store sale only

Shop our Holiday Sale for 4 days only!

 

  • $100 Gift Card for $80
  • $50 Gift Card for $40
  • 4 Buddy Passes for $100
  • Purchase $100 or more in Club Credit, Get 15% Off
  • 20% Off All In-Stock Inventory (in-store sale only)

 

Membership Special

Don’t forget about our special membership pricing. This offer expires on December 31st! You can purchase your 2019 membership at a reduced cost through our online store or by visiting the Pro Shop.

Be A Better Lag Putter And Control Your Distance

By: Butch Harmon

In golf, your instincts can get you into trouble. A good example is when you have a long putt. The tendency is to think you have to hit the ball harder than normal. That mind-set leads to a short backstroke and a fast flick on the downstroke. The result is usually poor contact—and a putt that never gets to the hole.

A better technique is to lengthen your backstroke but keep the pace of the motion the same. That produces more energy at impact—the longer stroke gives you smooth acceleration—and a better chance of catching the ball flush. It’s just like trying to get more distance on a full shot: Hitting the ball in the middle of the clubface is the best thing you can do to transfer energy into the ball. And the best way to lose energy? You guessed it—make a wild swing and mis-hit the shot.

To become a good lag putter, you might have to reconsider the way you think about the stroke. If you believe you should lock your arms and hands and simply rock your shoulders, you’re going to struggle from long distance. Lag putts require some play in the elbows and wrists. I’m not saying you should purposely hinge them, but you should let them react naturally to the motion. Lock those joints, and you can only make so much swing.

So get into your setup with a nice light grip, and maintain that pressure throughout the stroke. That will let you keep some softness in your hands and arms for a longer motion that has more momentum—and more power. Your lead wrist will naturally have a little cup or backward bend in it at address. Feel like that wrist flattens on the backstroke (above), and then the trail wrist flattens through impact. That’s how you create speed without forcing it.

“IF YOU’RE A STIFF-WRISTED PUTTER, YOU’LL STRUGGLE FROM LONG RANGE.”

PUTTING WOES? GET A NEW LOOK I’ve used the same putter for 20 years. I love it. The simple design and the dark finish against the white ball help me square it up. That’s not to say we always get along. If your putter goes cold, do what I do: Switch to something totally different. I’ll go to a big mallet head for a few rounds; for you, maybe it’s a blade putter. Point is, give your brain and body a new experience. You might end up sticking with the substitute—but keep your old pal close by.

 

Source: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/be-a-better-lag-putter-and-control-your-distance

 

Jason Day’s 3 Keys to Better Golf

By: Jason Day

There are times when we all make this game too complicated. That’s why I started this article with a simple thought: Send it, then hole it. I’m not saying golf is easy, but I find that if you simplify your keys to executing all the main shots, you’ll stop playing golf swing and start playing golf. The goal is to advance the ball and drop it in the cup in as few strokes as possible. That’s really hard to do if you’re bogged down with swing mechanics. Instead, have a clear plan for what you want to do on the next shot, get your alignment right, and then make a swing or putting stroke that’s smooth and balanced. I guarantee if you keep it that simple, you’ll give yourself a better chance of playing good golf. On this page, I’m going to give you some keys to hitting all the main shots. Easy stuff to remember so you can put more focus on your round and not your swing. Like my coach, Col Swatton, says, “Understanding that the golf course is where you should play, and the range is where you practice, is your first step to lowering your scores.” — With Ron Kaspriske


PUT YOURSELF IN POSITION FOR A GOOD DRIVE
With a driver, I’m thinking only about hitting the ball as hard as I can in the center of the clubface. If you want to do the same, remember these keys before you take the club back: 1.) Get in a good setup. Start with a wide stance, a slight knee bend, your weight equally distributed on both feet and not in the toes or heels, and let your arms hang naturally as you tilt toward the ball from the hips. 2.) Always check ball position. If it’s too far back in your stance, it will kill your chance of the club coming into it square and on the correct path. The same is true if it’s too far forward. I like the ball lined up just inside my left heel. 3.)Think, slow takeaway. A lot of amateurs take the club back too fast, and that causes them to decelerate on the downswing. Do the opposite. By keeping my tempo smooth and taking it back slower, I can be aggressive through the ball without my timing being off.

TREAT YOUR IRONS WITH CARE
No matter what iron I’m swinging, my process stays the same. Here are my keys: 1.) Set up neutral. I want to hit the ball high, low, left and right, so I try to be as neutral as possible with my setup and grip. If you set up to hit only one type of shot, that’s fine, but you might struggle if the situation calls for something other than your stock ball flight. 2.) Shorten your swing. Good iron play is about hitting down on the ball with the center of the face. I find that’s easiest to do if you go with a three-quarter shot instead of a full swing. Put the ball an inch back in your stance, cut your backswing down, and focus on solid contact—not hitting it as hard as you can. The ball will go five to 10 yards shorter than with a full swing, so remember to club up. 3.) Finish like a statue. To improve your tempo and rhythm, make a swing that lets you get into a balanced, wraparound position like I am here.

GO BIG AROUND THE GREENS
Whether it’s a fringe chip or a pitch in tall grass, my three short-game keys don’t change. 1.) Focus on a spot in front of the ball. To avoid hitting it fat, you want the low point of the swing to be after it strikes the ball. This technique will help you get a nice, clean strike. 2.) Minimize wrist action. My chipping and pitching swings don’t have a lot of hinge. In fact, there’s very little elbow or wrist bend all the way through the shot. That makes it easier to make good contact and keep the clubface square with the target. 3.)Use the big muscles. It’s tempting to hit these shots using mostly your hands and arms, but your consistency will improve if you put some body into the shot. My shoulders rotate toward the target on the downswing, and my sternum is in front of the ball by the time the club strikes it.

PUTT WITH COMMON SENSE
My process on the greens has helped me become one of the best putters in the game. This is one area where the right type of practice will allow you to focus on line and speed when you play.

My keys: 1.) At address, get your eyes directly over the ball, and make sure your hands aren’t leaning the shaft too much forward, back, in or out. Your eye-and-hand positions greatly affect accuracy. 2.) Focus on path and face. A smooth-and-controlled stroke will help make sure the face is square with your putting line at impact. If you can’t roll it on the right line, nothing else matters. 3.) Overestimate. Amateurs often fail to give their putts enough break or speed to reach the hole. Varying your putting scenarios in your warm-up will help get a better feel for line and speed that day. But when in doubt, overestimate both. Give every putt a chance to go in, and you can bet some of them will.

Source:https://www.golfdigest.com/story/jason-days-3-keys-to-better-golf

Nine changes in the new Rules of Golf you absolutely need to know for 2019

 

By: Ryan Herrington

As Jan. 1 approaches, it’s time to consider what New Year’s resolutions you’ll be making to help your golf game in 2019. For those who haven’t come up with any, here’s a suggestion: Learn the Rules of Golf. (No, really learn them this time.) Perhaps you’ve tried, only to find that by February, the copy of the rules book you picked up is covered with as much dust as that Peloton you bought to get into shape. Yet here’s the thing: There’s no better time than now to give it another shot because a new, modernized version of the rules goes into effect on New Year’s Day.

In the most sweeping revision in more than 60 years, officials from the USGA and R&A, golf’s governing bodies, have reorganized the rules to make them easier to understand and apply. The number has been cut to 24 from 34, and the language simplified to make it more practical. Roughly 2 million copies of the Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf were published and circulated this fall. If you haven’t gotten one, you can find it online at usgapublications.com, as well as with explanatory videos at usga.org/rules. The free USGA Rules of Golf app has been updated, too.

To help you keep this resolution, here are nine changes to the new rules you should know.

I. Accidents happen
The controversy over Dustin Johnson’s ball moving on the green during the final round of the 2016 U.S. Open exposed the old rules for being too harsh when it came to what many considered tickytack infractions. New language, first adopted through Local Rules since 2017, states there is no penalty if you accidentally move your ball (or ball marker) on the green. Put the ball back, and you’re good to go. The same applies if you’re searching for a lost ball and mistakenly move it.

II. The fix is in
Golfers often complained about the silliness of letting players fix a ball mark on the green, but not a spike mark. What’s the difference? With no good answer, officials now will let you fix everything without a penalty. You can also touch the line of your putt with your hand or club so long as you’re not improving it.

III. A lost cause
To improve pace of play, golfers now have just three minutes to search for a missing ball rather than five. Admit it, if you hadn’t found it in three minutes, you weren’t finding it anyway.

IV. Knee is the new shoulder
The process for dropping a ball back in play is revamped in the new rules. Instead of letting go from shoulder height, players will drop from around their knee. This is a compromise from an original proposal that would have let golfers drop from just inches above the ground. To preserve some randomness with the drop, officials went with knee height instead. Why change at all? Primarily to speed up play by increasing the chances your ball stays within the two-club-length drop area on the first try.

V. No longer at touchy subject
Hitting a ball into a water hazard (now defined as “penalty area”) should come with consequences. But golfers don’t have to be nervous about incurring an additional penalty for a minor rules breach while playing their next shot. You’re free to touch/move loose impediments and ground your club, eliminating any unnecessary worry. The only caveat: You still can’t put your club down and use it to improve the conditions for the stroke. You can remove loose impediments in bunkers, too, although touching the sand in a bunker in front of or behind the ball is still prohibited.

VI. Damaged goods
We all get mad on the course, and sometimes that anger is taken out on an unsuspecting driver or putter. Previously, the rules were confusing on when or if you could play a club you damaged during a round, and it led to instances where some players were disqualified for playing clubs with a shaft slightly bent or some other damage they didn’t realize the club had. Now you can play a club that has become damaged in any fashion. If you caused the damage, however, you can’t replace the club with a new one.

VII. Twice is … OK
A double hit is almost always accidental, and the outcome so random as to hardly be beneficial. So golfers are now spared the ignominy of adding a penalty for hitting a ball twice with one swing. It counts as only one stroke. Somewhere T.C. Chen is smiling.

VIII. The end of flagstick folly
Another nod to common sense eliminates a penalty for hitting a flagstick left in the hole while putting on a green. Taking out and then placing back in flagsticks can often cause undo delay in the round, and the flagstick is as likely to keep your ball out of the cup as it would help it fall in.

IX. O.B. option
Courses may implement a Local Rule (not for competition) that offers an alternative to the stroke-and-distance penalty for lost balls or shots hit out-of-bounds. A player may drop a ball anywhere between where the original ball was believed to come to rest (or went out-of-bounds) and just into the edge of the fairway, but no nearer the hole. The golfer takes a two-stroke penalty and plays on instead of returning to the tee. This way, the Local Rule mimics your score if you had played a decent provisional ball.

Image by: Rob Carr/Getty Images
Source: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/nine-changes-in-the-new-rules-of-golf-you-absolutely-need-to-know-for-2019

Simplify Your Tee Shots

By: Daniel Berger

I’ve had a successful PGA Tour career, including a pair of wins, by keeping things as simple as possible. Yet, in the numerous pro-ams I play, I notice everyday golfers tend to make things more complicated than they need to be, and their games suffer. One area to simplify is off the tee. For amateurs, it’s the most critical part of the game to avoid big numbers. Keeping it uncomplicated will result in better consistency, which allows you to pay more attention on your approach shots and short game. Here’s your first tip: Swing with the thought of putting the clubface on the back of the ball. This will help keep your body from lunging ahead of it, which causes those toey slices no matter what club you’re using. Read on for more. — With E. Michael Johnson

GET READY FOR TAKEOFF
If we’ve learned anything over the past decade, it’s high launch with low spin is key to maxing driver distance. Most everyday players, however, have a negative angle of attack, with some hitting downward several degrees. That causes a low, spinny tee shot—not great for producing distance. Here’s a simple fix: Adjust your tee height. The people I play with in pro-ams tee the ball too low. You can’t possibly hit up on the ball if it’s only an inch off the ground. Tee it so two-thirds of the ball is higher than the crown of the driver (above), and adjust the ball’s position so it’s in line with the big toe on your front foot. Now drop your right shoulder slightly at address. You can see (below) how this helps get it in the proper position at impact. These simple adjustments at address will automatically improve your tee shots, and they’re so easy to make.

GROOVE THE RIGHT PATH
Swinging on an in-to-out path in relation to the target line is something most amateurs really struggle to do in the downswing, but it’s vital to making solid contact. I’m a big fan of the Orange Whip training aid to help with this. With its weighted end and flexible shaft, the Orange Whip keeps the arms and body moving in the proper sequence for that desired in-to-out path. For me, it’s not about where the club is at any given moment. It’s about feeling the proper motion. Another key is getting your chest behind the ball during the backswing. If your chest hovers over the ball, you’ll likely pitch forward on the backswing, eliminating any chance of being in the proper sequence on the way down. To help, set your lead shoulder so it’s pointing a little right (closed) of your target line at address. It gives you a head start for an in-to-out downswing.

GO SLOW TO FIND SOLID
The biggest problem I see amateurs have off the tee is, they don’t make solid contact very often. In trying to squeeze as many yards as they can out of their tee shots, they lose control of the swing. Their hands and legs are moving all over the place, and there are too many motions going on to find the center of the face. You need to back it down. A great drill is to swing a 7-iron at 30 percent of your max speed, and keep doing that until you’re hitting solid shots most of the time. Then increase to 50 percent, 70 percent and eventually full speed. This builds the feeling of controlling your swing. If you can’t find the center of the face at less than half speed, you have no chance full throttle. You can do this drill with any club, and I think you’ll be surprised to find how far you hit it without swinging out of your shoes. Better tee shots are as simple as that.

Source: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/simplify-your-tee-shots