How to Read Greens

After the August e-tip I received quite a few questions about “How to Read Greens?”

Thought I’d write this practice tip on some ways to learn how to read greens and some helpful hints/drills that will help you read greens better.

Reading greens is not difficult if you have learned through a “trial and error/ trial and succeed” type process. Let me explain with a few examples I have witnessed and put into my teachings from some of the best putters in the world.

First – You need to test your putting. Remember – good putters have the following – 1. Square face at impact, 2. A good putting path, and 3. Good speed.

To test these, it is pretty simple –

  1. Checking Putter Face Alignment – Place a yardstick on the ground (flat ground). Put a golf ball at the end and on top of the yardstick (for example on the one inch mark). Set up to the ball and putt down the yardstick. You should have no problem keeping the ball on the yardstick. If you have a problem, you need to work on your putter face squareness at impact.
  2. Good Putting Path – Place two tees in the green about 10 feet from the hole. The tees should be apart the distance of your width of your putter plus 1/4 inch. In other words, you are making a “gate” to putt through. Now place a ball in the middle and just in front of the tees. Putt toward the hole. You should not hit the tees. If you do, you need to work on your path.
  3. Good Speed – This is the most important factor to reading greens. Take 10 golf balls – go 20 to 30 feet from a hole. Putt toward the hole. At least 7 of 10 golf balls should be made or should come to rest within 12 inches PAST the hole. If you cannot get these results, you need to check the following – Are you hitting the putt in the middle of the putter face? This is very easy to check – place a piece of masking tape on the face of the putter or pour some babypowder on the face of your putter. Putt a few golf balls. Check the marks on the face of your putter – they should be on the sweet spot of the putter face (typically about 1 quarter size circle in the middle of the putter). If not, you need to check your putting fundamentals and repair them to get a majority of your putts to hit the sweet spot of the putter. Remember – missing the sweet spot by as little as 1/4 inch can make a putt come up 10 feet short from 30 feet on average speed greens….

If you are having issues with any of these putting fundamentals – before you start to work on reading greens, you need to fix your fundamentals. Please refer to our past e-tips, our Total Game Overview instruction and our 7 Principles of Golf Improvement (Volume #4) – You can see more at:

Okay – now that you have checked the 3 keys to good putting (and passed them) – let’s talk about how to teach yourself to read greens.

Reading greens is an “art” that is acquired through a process of what I call “trial and error/trial and succeed”. Let me explain.

First – remember – 60% of break occurs within the last 3 feet of a putt. But, there is an issue here. That 3 feet should be 2 feet before the hole and up to 12 inches past the hole (with good speed). Problem is if we don’t have good speed. For example, if you hit a putt too hard – goes 3 feet past the hole if missed, 60% of the break will occur past the hole. Meaning, only 40% of the break will occur between the ball and the hole, 60% of the break after – very hard to read with consistency – in fact, impossible to read with consistency, if you don’t have consistent/good speed.

So – if you want to be a good reader of greens, you MUST FIRST HAVE GOOD SPEED CONTROL on the greens.

Second – How to you teach yourself how to read greens?

I believe the best putter in the world is Tiger Woods – if you question that, just watch him putt under pressure, or count how many putts he makes in a given round… he makes more “long” putts in a given round than most professionals make in a tournament. I saw a stat last week – Tiger won the Western Open a few weeks ago – he made 49 of 50 putts from 8 feet and inside – WOW!!! To be the best putter – you must be the best “reader” of greens…

Now, how did Tiger teach himself to read greens??

Let me tell you what I have seen being around Tiger and watching him in the past on the putting green (I have put most of these practices in my preround routines also…)

  1. The first thing he does when he gets to a tournament/round of golf is he works on the speed of the greens. The speed of the greens will change – even from day to day. He putts mid to long putts to “learn” the speed of the greens. He continues to putt these putts until he has developed consistent speed. (You must get used to the speed of today’s greens – especially when playing public/private type courses that might be mowed one day, not the next, or even if the greens are being played in the morning/afternoon or evening – the pace of the greens will change.)
  2. Next – he takes two golf balls and does the tee drill as described above (putting between tees to check his putter path). He does this for a few minutes to make sure his putter face and path are good.
  3. Now – he goes to the reading greens part. He takes ONE ball. Goes about 10 feet from the hole. He reads the putt, and putts the ONE ball toward the hole. If he makes the putt he goes to another spot (typically 90* from where he is to the same hole). If he misses the putt – here is the part most golfers DO NOT DO. He goes back to the same spot, reads the putt again, and putts again. He continues to do this until he makes the putt. He does this from all 4 “corners” around the hole – so typically he will have a left to right putt, right to left putt, downhill putt and uphill putt. After making all 4 putts from around the hole (only one ball, reading the putt each time and putting until he makes it) he goes to a different hole and now putts from about 15 feet. He does the same “four corner” drill. After making the 4 putts from 15 feet – he does the same from about 20 feet on a third hole.

Let’s talk about this drill Tiger is performing (to be honest, I have seen many professionals/good players do this drill in practice many, many times – in fact, I watched Dr. Gil Morgan do this drill for about 2 hours one day…). This drill is teaching the player how to read greens. The reason it is teaching him to read greens is because he is putting only one ball – reading every putt and when he misses a putt – he goes back to the same spot, reads it again and putts it again. He does this over and over until he makes the putt. This is the “trial and error/trial and succeed” method I described above.

Tiger (and any other golfer performing this drill) is teaching is eyes to match his mind to match his stroke… In other words, he is training his eyes to tell his brain what the putt is going to do (reading the putt) and then testing it. If it is a success – he goes on. If it is a failure – he does it again – this process is a process of training the eyes to read the greens.

What else does this drill do:

  1. Many golfers are good at reading some putts, not others. The putts that “match” their stroke or “eye” (for example, most right handed golfers putt right to left putts much better than left to right putts) are much easier than ones that don’t. This drill works on all types of putts – as you are circling the hole, you will work on different breaks and uphill/downhill putts.
  2. The drill builds a “positive” thought over the putt. Most golfers will putt at a hole, miss a couple of putts and go on. You are not moving to another putt until you make the previous putt – leaving with a positive thought.

We putt on many different types of surfaces. Bermuda, Bent, Zoysia, Poana, (weeds..dirt..). All these surfaces putt and read different (some have grain, some don’t – some can be affected by wind, some aren’t – some are faster when dry, some aren’t. The key is to teach yourself how to read greens by a “trial and error/trial and succeed” type process. The process is set up to improve your reading of greens and ultimately your overall game by lowering your number of putts each round.

Lastly – couple “tricks of the trade” –

These “tricks of the trade” are used by many good players and will enhance your green reading:

  1. Circle the hole when you are reading the putt. In other words – read from behind ball, then go on the otherside of the hole and read from behind the hole – when you return to the ball to putt go the opposite way you came to the hole. In other words, circle the hole so you can see the putt from all angles. Many professionals will tell you your “feet” will help you feel the slope of the green and will enhance your green reading.
  2. Watch what the other putts are doing on the green (and chips). When you are on the green, watch what the other golfer’s putts (and chips) are doing – how they are breaking – how fast or slow they are, etc… Let the other golfer’s shots “educate” you. If you don’t think the good players do this – you are greatly mistaken. A few years ago, Jack Nicklaus was paired with Arnold Palmer at the Masters. On one of the greens Jack was lined up to putt his ball, back off, looked at Arnold Palmer and said “Come on Arnie, you’re practically standing on my line”. (Palmer was trying to “sneak a peek” down Jacks line when he was putting to give him a read).
  3. For many – on mid to long putts – go to about 5 feet from the hole – pick a spot on the green you think the putt needs to travel over to make it, hover your putter over that spot and practice stroke from there. Do not touch the green with your putter as it is a penalty, but practice putting on your line from about 5 feet will give you a much better feel for the break around the hole (which is typically the majority of break…)
  4. Shade your eyes when you are lining up a putt. Many wear hats which help, some wear sun glasses (actually one of big reasons I wear mine) because getting the glare off your eyes will help you see the putt better. As they say, wide open eyes read better than eyes half closes (squinting).

Good Luck – Remember – Always Practice with a Purpose

Fastest Way to Lower Your Scores – The Putter

What is the fastest way to lower your scores??

Let’s review a stat or two (very telling…). 43% of scoring occurs on the green (with the putter). Meaning if you shoot 90, you will average close to 40 putts per round. If you shoot 80, you will average 35 putts per round. There is no question, the quickest (and for most, the easiest) way to lower your scores is to work on your putting. In this e-tip, I am not going to discuss the proper fundamentals (we have discussed many times and talk about these in many of our instructional videos) – but rather common faults many have with their putting.

#1 – Improperly fit putter.

Many golfers have improperly fit putters. For most, the putter is too long for their set up and many times the lie angle does not fit. To determine proper length of a putter for you, do the following:

  1. Bend over (at the waist) like you were going to putt. Bend comfortably (no stress on your back).
  2. Hang your arms down comfortably (like you are going to putt) with slight (nature) bend in your arms (at the elbows).
  3. Measure the distance from the top of your upper hand to the ground (may need someone to measure). Add one inch. This is a good approximation of the proper putter length for you.

Lie Angle – Set up over your putter (like you are going to hit a putt). Have someone hold your putter in that position. When the putter is set up, slide a card (business card…) under the toe of the putter and under the heel of the putter. It should be even from the toe to the heel. If not, the putter’s lie does not match your setup. You may need to bend to match your set up.

#2 – Improper Set Up The proper set up is to have the ball slightly forward in your stance and under your eyes.

Problem – if the ball is too far back in your stance – you will hit the ball on a downward blow causing it to “jump” on the green – you want overspin on the ball – caused by an upward blow at impact.

Problem – if the ball is not under your eye line it will be difficult to perform the proper putting stroke and when you set up over the ball, you will not be looking down your putting line (you will be looking at your putting line).

#3 – Hand Dominance

Test – Have both hands free. Clap a small/light clap. Determine which hand is moving and which is still. The hand that is moving is your dominant hand. The hand that is stationary is your non-dominant hand. If both are moving – you do not have a dominant side. (For most, you will clap one hand into a stationary hand…)

Issue – ideally you want your trail hand in your putting to be your dominant hand. For example – if you are a right-handed putter, ideally your right hand should be your dominant hand.

Why? Because, it is much easier to control your putter on line when your dominant hand is your trail hand. It is much harder to “wave” your putter off line when your dominant hand is your trail hand…

If you trail hand is your dominant hand – GREAT. If your lead hand is your dominant hand or if you don’t have a dominant hand – we recommend the following. 1. Practice one hand putting with your trail hand until it becomes more comfortable to putt with that hand than your lead hand. 2. May want to experiment putting cross-handed to “give your trail hand more emphasis” in the putting stroke.

Remember – the trail hand runs the putting stroke… the lead hand basically goes along for the ride…. #4 – Improper Grip

What type of grip do you hold your club with (how are your hands on the club)? Are your hands on your putter the same as your full swing grip?

They should not be…

Why? The reason your grip should be different is the following – you are “training” your body/hands to release the club when you are gripping your irons/woods, etc.. You do NOT want to release your putter. Meaning – you need to have a different feeling on the club (a different grip) on your putter.

Examples – I recommend trying the following –

  1. Reverse overlap – putting the entire trail hand on the club and overlap one finger of the lead hand over the trail hand (this is the most popular grip with professionals).
  2. Cross handed – put your right hand on top, left hand on bottom of the grip.
  3. Whatever is comfortable for you (this is no “wrong putter grip”) as long as it is different than your full swing grip.

Remember the following facts about putting (and practicing putting):

  1. There are only 3 things to work on when practicing putting – face alignment, path and speed. Everything in putting is affected by these 3 points. If you are not practicing at least one of these topics, you are not practicing your putting…
  2. Your trail hand should “run” the putter – if not, your putting will be very inconsistent.
  3. You should have VERY LITTLE body movement when putting – basically only your shoulders and arms.
  4. You cannot be TOO OPEN in your putting stance (within reason) – but 1* closed is too closed. Check your alignment often to make sure you do not have a closed stance.

Good Luck!!

PLEASE don’t hesitate to call or email us anytime!! Remember – ALWAYS PRACTICE WITH A PURPOSE

Winter Stretching- Hamstring Stretch

One of the issues we deal with in each and every school is trying to put students into the correct address position. Poor flexibility makes this a difficult task. We always work within the capabilities of the student but the bottom line is tight, rigid bodies have a hard time getting into the correct position, not to mention swinging the club correctly. This is the motivational part – increasing your range of motion will improve your ability to setup correctly and swing the club more efficiently and powerfully.

The first stretch I want to share with you targets the hamstrings. You need some wall space (no hanging pictures nearby) and you may want to have a pillow on-hand. Take your shoes off but wear a pair of clean socks (you’ll understand in a minute). From a sitting position next to the wall, lie on your back, turn your body and place your heels on the wall. Straighten your legs and move in as close to the wall as you can. Use the pillow if you feel any strain in your neck. You should feel a moderate stretch in your hamstrings. Inhale slowly to the count of 4, pause for a second and then exhale slowly to the count of 4 and repeat this for 10 – 15 breaths. Use the slow, deep breaths to relax into the stretch.

After the first set you should feel your hamstrings loosening up a little. If you feel you are up to it scoot in a little closer to the wall until you feel a little added tension in your hamstrings and repeat the 10 – 15 breaths one more time.

The goal is to be able to do the stretch with your bottom and the back of your legs completely against the wall.

Winter Stretching – Back and Glute Stretch

This combination stretch can be done prior to or just after the hamstring stretch we covered in the previous newsletter. The starting position is lying on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. If your neck feels strained use a pillow or places your hands behind your head.

Cross your feet at the ankles and raise your knees towards your chest. If possible reach up and grab just below the knees and gently pull in towards your chest. Hold the stretch for 10 breaths (inhale slowly to a count of four, hold for one second, and exhale slowly to a count of four). Lower your feet to the ground and uncross your ankles when finished.

The second part of this stretch begins with crossing your right ankle over your bent left knee. If possible extend both arms straight out from your shoulders, 90 degrees from your torso. Make sure your left foot has not slid away from your buttocks. If you need an added stretch push your right knee towards the floor until you feel the stretch in your right buttocks. Hold the stretch for 10 slow breaths. Switch legs and repeat.

Good Luck, Watch upcoming e-tips for more stretching articles.


Golf Exercises for Flexibility

Flexibility and Exercises for the Moe Norman Single Plane Golf swing

90/90 Flexibility Test

1 – Get into golf posture
2 – Lift up your trail elbow to 90 degress to the ground (same position as backswing)
3 – Forearm should run parallel to the back (same angle)

1 – In the same posture (golf posture), try to pull your arm backward
2 – Try and pull back until your forearm is 90 degrees to the ground.
3 – As you are pulling back, do not lift our of your golf posture

How To Play In The Wind

This time of year (the fall) – it seems the wind seems to pick up (especially if you live in the “flat” states as we do.).  You have a choice when playing in the wind – you can either “fight” the wind or not. Let’s talk about what we mean in some different situations.

Wind Into Your Face: (When you are hitting shots directly into the wind).

First – remember – when you hit a golf shot, the lift on the shot is produced by hitting down into the ball, the hitting down action produces spin which lifts the ball. When you are hitting into the wind – you DON’T want more spin. This will produce too much lift and a “ballooned” shot which will go up and come down short of your target.

1. For every 1 mph of wind into your face add 1 yard. If 10 mph into your face, add 10 yards… Meaning a 10 mph wind into your face is what is called a 1 club wind.

2. Swing EASY. It is recommended to take 1 more club than you need after taking the wind into effect. For example, if you hit a 7 iron 150 yards, have 10 mph into your face, you would play it as 160 yards (a 6 iron) than add 1 club (a 5 iron). Take 1 more club after factoring the wind so you will swing easy – this easy swing will produce less spin and thus the ball will not balloon up.

3. Ball position – back up in your stance slightly. It is recommending to back the ball up in your stance slightly in order to help you hold the angles of impact and to help keep the loft off the club… meaning – make sure you hold angles of impact and don’t break down or “cast” the club.  This casting increases loft of the club at impact and will also cause the ball to balloon.

4. Hold impact angle (firm leading wrist) as long as possible. As stated in #3 – this angle will help keep the ball down and not balloon into the wind.

Downwind (Hitting Shots with the Wind):

1. As with the wind into your face – factor wind the same way (except this will add distance to your shots). For every 1 mph of wind downwind – take 1 yard off your shot. Meaning, if you have 10 mph of wind downwind – take one less club than normal. If you typically hit a 7 iron 150 yards and have 10 mph wind downwind – hit an 8 iron (or very easy 7 iron…).

2.  Ball position is the same as normal shots (with no wind).

3. When hitting downwind, the wind will take some of the spin off the shot. Meaning, if you typically hit shots that spin or hold greens, downwind shots will not hold as well (less spin). Play shots accordingly – meaning these shots will bounce further when they hit the green and roll out a little more.

4. Severely Downwind Shots…  If you have a lot of wind downwind – say 30 to 40 mph downwind – this wind tends to “knock the shots out of the air”. Or in other words, push the ball down to the ground. The reason for this is that amount of wind takes most of the spin off the shot and pushes the ball down. To calculate (a lot by experience) – if 40 mph downwind, you may only take 20 to 30 yards off the shot rather than 40 yards as that much wind will reduce flight of the ball.

Other Points with Downwind Shots –

There is a greater affect the longer the ball is in the air.  Meaning – a 6 iron will be affected by the wind a lot more than a wedge. Both will go further than normal – the 6 iron a longer as it is in the air longer…

Crosswind (Hitting shots with wind right to left or left to right):

1. We typically recommend to “ride the wind”.  Meaning, for example, if the wind is blowing right to left and you are right handed, play the shot right of the hole and let the wind blow back to the target. This riding the wind will typically allow you to play the “normal” yardage shot (for example – if you hit a 7 iron from 150 yards, a crosswind 7 iron will still be 150 yards) unless the wind is very severe.  If you choose to play into the wind – meaning if right to left wind and you play shot left to right, the shot will react more like an into the wind shot (as described above).

2. When playing a cross wind shot line up accordingly. For example – if a right to left wind – line up slightly to the right and hit the ball as straight as possible – and let the wind do the “work” for you. Try not to push or pull the shot into the wind… typically causes side spin on the shot which is hard to control in normal situations, not to mention windy conditions.

Other Points to Consider When Playing Wind Shots:

1. Wind DOES affect putts. There is wind close to the ground also. Play the wind accordingly when putting. Into the wind – hit a little harder, etc…

2. You might consider playing a slightly harder ball when playing in windy conditions… a harder ball will spin less and be affected less by the wind.

3. Play more fairway woods or hybrids when possible (especially when into the wind). These clubs produce less spin which will be affected less by the wind.

4. Always remember to swing EASIER when in windy conditions – for many it is “instinctive” to swing harder – swinging easier produces less spin and thus the shots will be affected by the wind less.

Good Luck!!

PLEASE don’t hesitate to call or email us anytime!!


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What does every golfer want more of?


One of the top questions I receive at schools, during our webinars or through emails is:

“How do I create backspin/more backspin?”

I have written many times about the factors of creating spin (type of club, type of golf ball, speed of swing, etc..) but there are a few other factors you might be overlooking….

1.  You must Hit Down on the Ball to Create Spin.

You may have heard this many times, but it is a KEY to creating back spin. Many golfers try to “lift” the golf ball and often release early or “cast” the club prior to impact. To create spin you must hit down on the ball – this descending blow will allow the golf ball to rise up on the club face and grab the grooves of your golf club thus creating spin.

Check – make sure you are taking a divot through the golf shot. In other words, your divot should start at the front edge of the golf ball and go forward.

2.  Keep Your Grooves Clean.

If you are hitting down on the ball, and the ball is rising up the face of the club, the only way the ball can grab the grooves is if the grooves are free of dirt/clean. If they are not clean, it is basically the same as hitting a club with worn out or no grooves. This seems very basic, but it is surprising how many golfers will hit short game shots wanting/needing maximum spin with dirt in their grooves.

Check – make sure your clubs are clean (grooves clear) in between shots.

3.  Hit the Middle of the Club Face and You Are Accelerating

You must be making solid, accelerating contact on your golf shots to create spin. If you are missing the sweet spot (hitting toward the toe or heel) or de accelerating during the shot, you will have difficulty creating spin.

Check – hit a few shots and check the marks on your club face. They should be on the sweet spot (center) of the club face. Make sure when you are hitting a pitch type shot, your through swing is longer than you back swing. When hitting a chip type shot, make sure you are holding your angles (wrist) through impact.

Again, these might be a few factors to create spin you have over looked. But I can guarantee to create your maximum spin, they are factors everyone should think about and check often.

Learn more about backspin at a Graves Golf Academy School.  Follow this link for more information: SCHOOLS

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Putt Your Way To a Great Swing

Hope many of you got to see my webinar last Wednesday – April 15th.

During that webinar I discussed how working on your short game (putting, chipping and pitching), if done properly, can and will dramatically improve your long game.

Had GREAT response during and after the webinar. To be honest, didn’t surprise me as it is the same response I get when I present this same topic during our schools and camps.

What does surprise me is how many don’t understand this concept – working on proper short game fundamentals will improve your long game.


So – thought would talk about the first (putting) and how working on putting can help your long game.

Fundamental #1 – Hands Leading

In every shot in golf – your hands should lead at impact. In other words, your hands will be ahead of the golf ball at impact including putting. Then why do most average golfers set up with their hands behind the ball when putting?

When you set up over a putt, your hands must be ahead of the golf ball. The butt end of your putter grip should be forward of your belly button – in fact, for most, half way (or more) between your belly button and your lead hip.

If your hands do not lead when you putt, it is guaranteed your hands will not be leading in your full swings. If your hands are not leading, you are training your body to make impact with the golf ball with the hands behind the ball. (Aka casting in the full swing).

Fundamental #2 – Face Square at set up and Impact

How are you checking to make sure your club face (putter face) is square at set up and impact?

It is strongly recommended you use a check system to make sure your putter is square at set up and impact (square to where you are trying to hit the ball).


It is surprising how many golfers do not have a square face and compensate during the stroke.

The picture above shows using the GGA putting system – string and mirror checking the putter face angle.

And – can almost guarantee – problem squaring your putter face, same problem squaring any club face…

Fundamental # 3 – Hands Down the Line

How do you check to make sure your hands go “down the line” past impact?

Your hands should go down the line and toward the intended target through impact.

Most golfers struggle with this fundamental. Their hands go in and up through and past impact. Your hands should go down the line through impact. As you see in the picture below the putter face is still square past impact and down the line. This check will make sure your hands are going “down the line” toward your target.


Here is another picture of the putter face down the line:


In the full swing, your hands must go down the line through impact. You can have an on plane golf swing – but if your hands do not go down the line, it will cause impact with a club face coming to impact at an angle (out to in, etc..). This is a start to working on getting your club face and hands down the line.

These are 3 putting fundamentals you can check that, if done correct, will not only greatly improve your putting, but will also help your full swing.

More information about our putting system:  CLICK HERE

Watch upcoming practice tips about how proper chipping and pitching fundamentals can also greatly improve your full swing.

Contact me with your putting questions below:

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The Important Clubs

This time of year I (Tim) typically get a chance to play in a few tournaments. Seems each time I play those rounds that “mean a little more”, it always reminds me of what is really important in the bag. Meaning – what is really important to scoring.

Thought I’d talk a little about these “important” clubs, how much you should be practicing with these clubs and some general fitting facts about these clubs.

1.  The most important club in the bag….. The Putter.

Most of you probably already knew this, but how many of you really put this in to practice.

For the average golfer, over 40% of your scoring is with your putter. In fact, it can be close to 50% for many golfers.

25% of your practice time should be with your putter. I suggest practicing it first (during practice sessions) as to not forget or “short change” your practice time with this most important club.

Use a putting string/mirror, etc. during your practice B sessions (sessions working on fundamentals).

When practicing before playing (warming up) I suggest practicing first (before hitting balls) (for speed/feel) and last (just before going to first tee) (for speed/feel and accuracy).

A perfect putter fit will be a length and lie that will allow you to get your eyes over the ball (creates ideal stroke) and does not hurt/stress your back. Example: 34-inch putter for a 6 ft tall individual on average with “good” back.

2.  Second most important club in the bag….  The Driver.

You hit your driver up to 14 times a round (on average). It is hit more than any other club in your bag besides your putter.

If you are hitting your driver poorly, golf is not fun and obviously negatively affects your scoring.

Driver is not only a distance issue, but as important, an accuracy issue.

25% of your practice time should be with your driver. You should practice your driver after you are warmed up and not too tired.

Use an alignment aid every time you practice for not only alignment, but ball position. Many of the times golfers have difficulty with their driver – it is an improper ball position issue.

When practicing before playing (warming up) I suggest practicing after hitting a few wedges, irons, etc. giving yourself enough time after warming up to hit a few drivers “good”. Do not hit too many, before playing is not the time to “fix” the driving – if you are struggling with the driver, find the longest club in your bag that you have confidence in that day. Maybe your fairway wood, etc…  If struggling, maybe only use the driver on the “open” holes, and the “confident” club on the tighter/harder holes.

Do not be a “hope” player with the driver. A “hope” player sets up over the shot and “hopes” it will be hit well. If you are “hoping”, hit a club you have more confidence in. Work on the driver later… The driver will always show your “swing faults” the most – as it is the longest club you will swing the fastest. It is a club that can be hit very well with a good single plane swing and a club, that when you have confidence in, can be the funnest club to hit…. (When Moe was asked what his favorite club was – he never hesitated and answered – “My Driver” – every time!)

A driver should be fit for length (depending on your height vs. arm length), shaft flex (gives you proper ball flight), loft (gives you maximum fly and roll), and grip size (allows for maximum speed and optimal feel).

3.  Third most important club in your bag – The Lob Wedge (Your Most Lofted Wedge).

The lob wedge is typically a 58* or higher lofted wedge. For some, they might only carry a 54 or 56* wedge in the bag. The most lofted wedge is critical for good scoring.

For most, this wedge is used within 50 yards of the green (some up to 75 or 80 yards) – depending on swing speed.

This wedge gives maximum spin and feel and is the club that will “save” you many shots if you know how to use it.

It is used for chipping (maximum fly, minimal roll), pitching and flop shots. It is used from all different lies (tight, medium and thick grass), etc…

When practicing, it should be the first club you practice after the putter.

You should practice with this wedge (and your other wedges) 25% of your practice time.

When practicing before a round, this is the club you use to “loosen up” with. Just after putting, hit his club to warm up – start short and work up to maximum distance with this club. A few short shots, then a little longer, little longer, etc. until full swing. After a few full swings – work into the rest of your clubs.

Your most lofted wedges (sand and lob wedges) should be steel shafted (for weight and feel) and a forged type head (for maximum feel and spin). It is very difficult to score well without forged type steel shafted sand and lob wedges.

All wedges should be fit for length, shaft flex, grip size and lie angle (lie angle is critical). If the lie angle is not fit properly in your wedges you can and will dig the heel or toe of the wedge into the ground and the club head will twist at impact. Making hitting these clubs with accuracy very difficult.

You should NEVER purchase these clubs (or any) “off the shelf”. They must be fit to you to maximize and optimize their use.

4.  Fourth most important club – The Rest of the Bag

Yup – everything else in your bag, is the 4th most important club(s).

Think about it, if you add your putting, most lofted wedge play and your driver together, you are talking about close to 60% of your shots. If you include all your wedges – you are typically talking about 65 to 70% of your scoring.

Meaning – all the other clubs add up to about 30% of your scoring.

Believe it or not, you can actually be a poor iron (and hybrid) player and score pretty well. In other words, have a great short game and hit it pretty well off the tee, you will score pretty well… Not necessarily what we want, but because of the way golf is scored (putting counting as much as a full swing, etc..) – those with good short games typically score well. Those with a good short game and driver the ball well – can score very good.

Practice these clubs (the rest of the bag) 25% of the time.

When practicing fundamentals always use an alignment and ball position aid for the different clubs.

When practicing before a round – start warming up with the clubs after putting and the most lofted wedge. Many (including myself) like to work through these clubs in an “even” or “odd” system. Even system, hit a wedge a few times, 8 iron a few times, 6 iron a few times, 4 hybrid a few swings, etc…  Working up and making sure you give the driver enough in your warm up session. Don’t get “stuck” on one club. There are always good and bad days…  Keep working up through the bag in your warm up session.

All clubs in “the rest of the bag” should be fit for length, lie angle, shaft flex and grip size. (Some hybrids and fairway woods are fit for lie angle, not all). ALL irons must be fit for proper length and lie angle for your height and arm length or it is impossible to hit these clubs with accuracy and maximum distance. Proper shaft flex gives you optimal height and distance and proper grip size maximizes your release to optimize distance and accuracy.

Hopefully this will give you a guide to the “important” clubs in your bag and some guidelines to practicing with these clubs.

Check out our Club-Fitting form on the website here:

If you have additional questions about these clubs, fitting of these clubs, etc… please don’t hesitate to contact me at or

I am always happy to help everyone to make sure they have a perfect fit for all your equipment.

Contact me for your club fitting questions here:

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Fun On Course Games

This time of year I like to get on the course as much as I can. Many times I get out after work, before work, late evenings, pretty much any time I can squeeze in a few holes. Most of the time I am playing by myself as I like to “sneak” out and get in a little practice when I can.

When I’m out there (on my own), I sometimes play a few games that have helped my game over the years. Thought I’d share a few of these games with you.

1.  Two Ball Worse Ball Game

Moe told me one time, this was one of his favorite on course games.

It is played with 2 golf balls. Tee off with one ball, then a 2nd ball. Go to the worse shot of the two. Play that ball and another from that position. Again, go to the worse shot and play two balls from there. (This game is typically played the easiest with 3 golf balls). Play the worse of the two shots, and another, then pick up the good shot from before…. Do this with every shot, no matter whether it is a driver, second shot, chip or putting – always play two and go to the “worse” ball for the next.

In other words, you are always playing your worse shot of the two. When you hole two putts from the same location you are done with the hole.

Keep score – see what you can do…. It is not an easy game, but a very fun game and a “test of your consistency” game.  It is also a great game to help you deal with pressure. After you have hit a good shot, you have to hit another…

Moe told me shooting under par in the Two Ball Worse Ball Game was a great goal…

2.  Plus Two Game

This on course game involves taking two more clubs every time you have a shot into the green.

In other words, tee it up like normal. Then when you get over your 2nd shot, if you can get to the green, take 2 more clubs. Example – say you need an 8 iron for the 2nd shot, hit a 6 iron. If you need a 7 iron, hit a 5 iron/hybrid, etc… Every time you have a shot into the green, take two more clubs. On the par 3s – this will be off the tee, etc…

This is a great game to teach you feel, and for many, helps with your swing. When you have more club then you think you need, you will “ease up”, swing smooth, etc. and actually gives you a chance to get to the hole every time…

3.  “I Wouldn’t Want That Shot” Game

This is my favorite on course game. It’s a “short game” game of course….

It’s pretty simple and a great game to work on your short game and different shots in your short game.

Play a hole like normal. After you complete the hole, take your golf ball and walk to the front edge of the green.

Look at the green and the surrounding edge of the green (the bunkers around the green, hills around the green, rough around the green, etc.) Look for a spot that you would say to yourself “I wouldn’t want that shot” …  Maybe it’s a deep bunker. Maybe it’s high grass short side of the pin, etc… A difficult up and down shot.

Then, roll your ball into that spot. Roll it into the spot like a golf shot that rolled into that spot.

Try to get it up and down. If you don’t, try again. I keep trying until I get it up and down. (If you want to “cheat” a little and put a 2nd or 3rd ball in your pocket to drop in the spot… that is okay).

This game is a great game to work on your short game and put you in on course short game situations. These are very difficult to practice at most golf course practice areas as they don’t have areas like this to practice.

I actually try and keep count as to how many I can get up and down in the number of holes I am playing.

Don’t make this ridiculously hard on yourself, but situations that are a “little difficult” – if you can manage these situations, the normal ones will seem easy….

These games are somewhat challenging, but great games to work on course and help your golf game.

Have fun and keep up the good work!

Check out this training aid for more on Course Fun… The Throw-A-Hole.  The Throw-A-Hole (TAH) allows you to simulate holes anywhere on the green.

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