troydenton, Author at Troy Denton, PGA Professional - Golf Instruction - Page 2 of 2

How Jason Dufner Won the PGA Championship

jason-dufner A few weeks ago Jason Dufner won the last major of 2013 – the PGA Championship. His total score of 10 under par was good for a 2 stroke victory over Jim Furyk. His calm demeanor and mellow attitude over the four day championship was the talk of the tournament and ultimately his key to victory.

So what can we take from Dufner’s “non-emotional” victory? In most rounds of golf you have probably have had lots of “highs” and lots of “lows.” The emotional roller coaster that golf can take you on is definitely what makes it such an interesting sport.

A “high” during your round occurs after you’ve done particularly well. Maybe you hit a few great drives in a row, chipped in, made a birdie, or even holed out from the fairway (like Dufner did during one of his rounds). It’s great to be in this state of mind – but it’s easy to get over-excited and lose focus.

On the other hand, there are points in your round when you can feel very “low”. These times often occur after a poor shot or a series of poor shots. Maybe you hit it in the water, out of bounds, or just made a high number. It’s easy to get stuck at a low point and not recover for the rest of your round. Golf is already a tough game and being in a poor frame of mind doesn’t make it any easier.

Somewhere between the two extremes of being on a “high” and being “low” is an ideal spot to be during an entire round of golf. This is the emotional state that Dufner managed to stay in during the entire championship. His idol is Ben Hogan – the ultimate “non-emotional” golfer.

When a good golfer has a good round of golf going – it’s almost a “boring” round of golf. Nothing too special – keeping the ball in play, getting it on the green in regulation, then two putts. If this player happens to have a few birdies in the mix – then it turns into a pretty nice round.

The important thing to take away here is not to let yourself get too “high” or too “low” during your round. Yes, you should celebrate your great shots – but don’t let them affect your strategy moving forward. Similarly, don’t let bad shots or bad breaks get you down. Stick with what you know and stay positive that you’ll start to hit good shots again. This will help you keep your emotions in check and score consistently better.

Track How Far You Hit Each Club This Month, Learn Why

clubs If you’re like most amateurs, you probably have a rough idea of how far you hit each of your clubs – but you don’t know exactly how far each one goes. You might base your average distance on one great shot you hit with each club – but that doesn’t mean you’ll hit it that far each and every time. This causes inconsistency in your golf game, which leads to second guessing yourself (and we all know that second-guessing is the last thing you want to do before hitting a golf ball).

Tour players are truly great at knowing how far each club in their bag goes. They know it down to the exact yard. So why is this important for you? There are a host of reasons – the main one being that your score will dramatically improve if you do! The better you know your distances, the more accurate you can plot your way around a golf course, and the better you will score. Avoiding water, bunkers, and out-of-bounds is how you’ll stop making those big numbers which can ruin a round.

Once you know how far you hit each club you’ll have a much better chance of hitting more greens per round. Being short or long on your approach to a green is often more detrimental than being the correct distance, but either left or right.

Another reason for knowing how far each club goes is to make sure the distance gaps between each club are correct. If your seven iron only goes about 5 yards further than your 8 iron – it’s time to take your clubs in to get fitted. Having gaps like this is especially common when it comes to long irons, hybrids, and fairway woods. Most amateurs keep replacing these clubs and when switching between different manufacturers, it’s tough to determine the actual distance gaps between them.

When it comes to knowing your distances, your short game (from within 130 yards) will benefit the most. Sticking it close to the flag from this distance is certainly the key to better scores.

So how do you know how far each club goes? There are a variety of ways to do this. By far, the best way to do it is through the help of technology. There are terrific launch monitors like Trackman and FlightScope that can tell you exactly how far you hit each shot. These usually require the help of a golf professional.

The more low-tech method is to get out to the driving range and hit every club in your bag enough times to get a solid average distance for each one.

However you do it, make sure to be honest with yourself and don’t let your pride get in the way. The better you know your game, the better you can score and the more fun you will have.

Learn From The Open Champion: Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson In Phil’s post-round interview he summed up the reason for his terrific 5-under par 66 on the last day of The Open Championship. “I putted soooo good” Mickelson said.

Phil managed to birdie 4 of his last 6 holes in the final round of his win at The Open, and attributed it to his terrific putting. So let’s see what we can take away from Phil’s spectacular final round.

If we look at some PGA Tour stats – the percentage of putts made from within 10 feet by the leading tour player (in this stat) right now is 89.95%. So let’s just say that the average tour player makes about 80% of putts under 10 feet. That’s a pretty good stat. What percentage do you think you make from this distance?

If we think about why tour players have such a good stat here is because their lag putting is terrific – they leave themselves makable putts when outside of 10 feet. When a tour player has a 30 – 40 foot putt – there’s a great chance that they will knock it very close and two putt.

So what do you need to work on? If your lag putting (putts from a long distance to the hole) is poor – then place most of your practice time focusing on longer putts. Try to roll them within a three foot circle of the hole – and always try to get them just past the hole.

However, if your lag putting is pretty good and you struggle with short putts – then place more emphasis on this distance. Work on keeping your club face square, striking the dead center of your putter (not on the toe or heel), and especially work on your nerves while over short putts.

The emphasis on putting well can’t be underestimated. Tour players know that when they are putting well, their chances of winning are much, much greater. This means that if you putt well, your chances of scoring lower are much greater too.

So next time you head out to the golf course, either before your round or if you head there for a practice session, make sure to dedicate the majority of your time to the putting green and working on your weaknesses.

Phil Mickelson’s victory is definitely a result of his preparation and dedication to his game – especially his putting.

Rule 18 – Ball At Rest Moved

There are many rules in Rules of Golf that allow for some “wiggle room”. Rule 18 – Ball At Rest Moved is one of those rules.

Here is a little breakdown of that rule and how to proceed under this rule when it applies.

ball-movedIf a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced. However, in order to apply this rule it must “be known or virtually certain” that an outside agency has moved the ball. If not, you must deem the ball lost and proceed under Rule 27 for a lost ball.

Except as permitted by the Rules, when a player’s ball is in play, if a player, his partner or either of their caddies – lifts or moves the ball, touches it purposely (except with a club in the act of addressing the ball), or causes the ball to move, or the equipment of the player or his partner causes the ball to move, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke.

If the ball is moved, it must be replaced, unless the movement of the ball occurs after the player has begun the stroke or the backward movement of the club for the stroke and the stroke is made.

Under the Rules there is no penalty if a player accidentally causes his ball to move in the following circumstances:

  • In searching for a ball covered by sand, in the replacement of Loose Impediments moved in a Hazard while finding or identifying a ball, in probing for a ball lying in water in a Water Hazard or in searching for a ball in an Obstruction or an Abnormal Ground Condition – Rule 12-1
  • In repairing a Hole plug or ball mark – Rule 16-1c
  • In measuring – Rule 18-6
  • In lifting a ball under a Rule – Rule 20-1
  • In placing or replacing a ball under a Rule – Rule 20-3a
  • In removing a Loose Impediment on the Putting Green – Rule 23-1
  • In removing movable Obstructions – Rule 24-1

If a player’s ball in play moves after he has addressed it (other than as a result of a stroke), the player is deemed to have moved the ball and incurs a penalty of one stroke. The ball must be replaced, unless the movement of the ball occurs after the player has begun the stroke or the backward movement of the club for the stroke and the stroke is made.

The most common situation we see on TV is Rule 18 – 5: Ball Another Ball. If a ball in play and at rest is moved by another ball in motion after a stroke, the moved ball must be replaced.

For the complete reading of the Rule, I suggest you checkout the USGA’s Online Rules of Golf.

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