Importance Of Deliberate Practice

I work 40 hours a week here at Westridge Golf Centre, and on top of that practice working to improve my own game in my free time. Whilst working or practicing, I see lots of members and non members come up to hit balls on the driving range to work on their swing, trying to get themselves hitting the ball better in preparation for next week’s skins match amongst their mates, or the club monthly medal. It’s all very good hitting 150 balls on the range twice a week, and saying that you have put lots of work hard work into to improving your game…….but have you???

 

This is where the phrase “deliberate practice” comes into the conversation. This term was used by psychologist K. Anders Ericsson where his research talks about how humans achieve mastery in a certain skill. In relation to golf, deliberate practice is about improving by pushing your practice beyond your comfort zone. This doesn’t mean just turning up at the range and smashing loads of balls in the hope that you might just start hitting the ball better! Only by practicing with purpose and a bit of pain will you improve. I’m now 29 and have been a Professional for 7 years and have won 4 events in this time, but my last victory was 3 years ago. Over this time I have realised what separates me and everybody else from world class performers is how they approach every day trying to get better! My practice sessions were pathetic, I would get a bucket of balls and start with a short iron working my way up to the driver, not trying to accomplish anything but figure out why the good shots were good and the bad shots were bad! I would have my reasons as to why these were happening, and how I would go about trying to replicate the good shots and eliminate the bad without having any real evidence to support my theories. Soon 1 hour passes by, I had run out of balls and I wouldn’t have achieved anything during the session. This is when I realised that something had to change during my practice in order for me to get better! I analysed my game and now practice specific things in order for me to improve.

When you practice, you need to work on things that are unique to you. Don’t get fooled into trying the latest tip that you read in a golf magazine or see on the internet! You need a personalised plan that stretches you out from your comfort zone. Only you and your coach (If you have one) will know what this is. So when you next go up the range to practice ask yourself, what shots and situations on the golf course make you uncomfortable? What you would like to do well on the golf course? Once you have figured these out, devise a plan to practice specifically on those areas. These can be anything from trying to get the ball closer from 120 yards away, to driving it straighter, or just hitting punch shots with a 7iron in order to control your ball flight for windy conditions. But remember the practice is specific to what you want to achieve in order for your game to improve! Don’t get frustrated if your hitting a lot of bad shots during the practice session, this is a good sign your achieving deliberate practice and not just falling back into old habits and achieving nothing! When trying to get better sometimes you have to take 1 step backwards in order to take two steps forward as they say.

During a lesson I will tell you the areas of your game that you need to improve, and give you technical instruction on how to improve these through deliberate practice on the range. If this is something that interests you and you would like to book please call 613131 and we can discuss this, as well as my new coaching packages for 2019, which offer you monthly lesson prices with daily free range credit included!!! Thank you for taking the time to read my latest blog and I hope to see you soon.

 

Christopher Reed

PGA Professional

Westridge Golf Centre

Advantages Of Using Hybrids Over Long Irons

Why use a hybrid over a long iron? This is a question I get asked alot when im in the shop, on the range, or teaching! When you watch the PGA Tour pros hit 2, 3, or 4 irons, you can see that these players have the swing technique to hit their conventional long irons almost as high as regular golfers hit their wedges. Average handicap golfers cannot generate enough height with their long irons because they have a much lower swing speed than pros or low handicappers, and the recreational golfer does not have the technique to consistently hit down and through the ball, and keep their head behind the ball at impact with low lofted irons.

So how does this relate to yourself you may ask? Well, PGA Master Professional Dennis Clarke has devised the following guideline:

  • If you hit a 7-iron 140 yards or less, a 6 iron should be your longest iron. The 3, 4 and 5 should be hybrids.
  • If you can hit your 7-iron 150-160 yards, think about nothing longer than a 5 iron and look at 3 and 4 hybrids.
  • If you can hit your 7-iron 160-170 yards, think about swapping your 3-iron for a hybrid.
  • If you can hit a 7-iron more than 170 yards, you can use any set make up you choose.

 

Properly designed hybrid clubs that have the same loft as their long iron counterparts make it much easier to get the ball up in the air to fly, because hybrids are much thicker than conventional long irons. This greater face-to-back dimension of the hybrid replacement heads allows the centre of gravity to be positioned much further back from the face. This, in turn, results in a much higher trajectory for a shot off a hybrid club compared to a traditional long iron of the same loft. In other words, at equal lofts, the hybrid with its centre of gravity farther back from the clubface, will help the golfer get the ball up into the air on a higher trajectory than a long iron.

Please feel free to pop up and try some hybrids on the range and see how much easier hybrids are to hit than long irons. Alternatively, book in for a lesson with me on Trackman, and see the difference in numbers, and how your game can be improved by knowing the correct set make up for yourself going forward. Thank you for reading my blog and I hope to see you soon.

 

Christopher Reed

PGA Professional

Westridge Golf Centre

Simple Tips on How To Shape The Golf Ball

You’ll find that most golf courses feature at least a few holes that require you to fade or draw the golf ball. How many times have you found yourself in a bit of trouble off the tee and the only path to the green is a fade or a draw around a tree or some other sort of obstacle? Shot shaping is not just reserved for single figure handicappers and professionals. Higher handicappers can hit consistent controlled draw and fade shots by making some simple adjustments to their set up and swing thoughts. The tips below in this blog I hope will help you towards achieving your desired shot shape, whether that is the ball curving right to left (Draw), or left to right (Fade).

 

Draw Shot Method:

  • Set up so that the clubface is aiming slightly to the right of your target at address.
  • Aim your feet, hips and shoulders further to the right than the clubface. This will give the clubface a closed position in relation to the swing path, imparting draw spin on the golf ball.
  • Swing along the line of your feet, hips and shoulders, starting the ball out to the right and allowing the closed clubface to curve the ball back to the left.

 

 

Fade Shot Method:

  • Set up so that the clubface is aiming slightly to the left of your target.
  • Aim your feet, hips and shoulders further to the left than the clubface. This will give the clubface a open position in relation to the swing path, imparting cut spin on the golf ball.
  • Swing along the line of your feet, hips and shoulders, starting the ball out to the left and allowing the open clubface to curve the ball back to the right.

 

 

If you follow these simple steps in your set up and swing by practicing them regularly, it should help you to see a difference in how you’re able to shape the golf ball. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, I hope it has been of some assistance. If you would like to book a lesson with myself please call 01983 613131. Thank you

 

Christopher Reed

PGA Professional

Westridge Golf Centre

How To Hit The Low Punch Shot

A Punch shot is one that is played with the intent of lowering the golf balls trajectory in flight through a couple of changes to a golfers normal stance and swing. Why would you want to hit a lower shot you may ask? The most common reasons are as follows:

  • To lesson the effects of a strong wind on the golf ball in flight. If you are hitting into a headwind or strong crosswind the ball will be more affected the higher it flies, so the golfer might choose to play a punch shot to reduce the effect of the wind on the ball.
  • When the golfer needs to get the ball underneath something that is in the normal line of flight for the club chosen. Most of the time this will involve trying to hit the ball underneath overhanging tree branches.
  • Some golfers find that playing a punch shot gives them more control and accuracy. So sometimes for this reason they will choose to play it more often than not during a round.

So what technical changes are required to play this shot?

  1. Take more club than you would normally use from a particular yardage. For example if you are 150 yards from the green and would normally use a 7iron, take a 6iron or maybe even a 5iron to play a punch shot. When doing this take into account the strength of wind which you are playing into, as this will determine how much the shot is going to be affected.
  2. Set up with the ball further back in the stance than you normally would do on a standard shot. The middle of your stance should be the most forward you should have the ball position when playing a punch shot.
  3. Make sure your hands are ahead of the golf ball at address and at impact. You can help achieve this by feeling like you forward press your hands before the takeaway, or by playing the ball further back in the stance if necessary.
  4. Feel as though around 60 percent of your weight is on your left foot at address and throughout the swing.
  5. Make a smooth swing on the ball with limited weight shift (Think of swinging with mostly your arms than the body). Take the club back around three quarters of your normal backswing length, and after impact cut your follow through shorter than normal. It is important to maintain a smooth tempo throughout the swing as you are trying to reduce the amount of spin on the ball. The harder you swing the more spin will be produced which is not a good combination when trying to keep the ball low and under the wind.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest blog. The combination of the stance and swing changes mentioned above should produce a lower ball flight which penetrates through the wind and holds its line better. Also these tips should help you when trying to play under tree branches on the course. If you would like to book in for a lesson with myself please call 01983 613131

 

Christopher Reed

PGA Professional

Westridge Golf Centre

Dan’s Weekly Top Tips

Maximizing your drives through “Spin Loft”

Some of you may know that recently I have been away on a Trackman Advanced training course. This has given me a broader understanding of Trackman and the numbers it produces. One of the key numbers that sticks out in my mind, is one that would benefit many golfers in maximising their distance and can also be used on irons and wedges to maximise spin rate. The parameter is called “Spin loft”. Firstly I am going to talk to you about what spin loft is and then talk you through how you can get this number to maximise your driving distance.

(watch out for my next blog, as I will explain how you can use spin loft to maximise your spin rate with your wedges and irons)

What is “Spin loft”?

Spin loft is the angle created between your angle of attack and your dynamic loft (assuming that the clubface to path number is zero). The higher the “spin loft”, the more spin you’re going to put on the golf ball and the lower the smash factor (how well you strike the golf ball). This is why if we can increase our spin loft for wedges we can maximise spin and if we can minimise our spin loft for our driver, we can maximise our distance as it increases our ball speed and reduces our spin rate.

Please see the image below, to give you a visual on how this looks. The image is used with an iron, however, works exactly the same with a driver and any other club in your bag.

Maximising my distance through “spin loft”

By now you might be thinking “if I just decrease the loft of my driver, then that will decrease the spin loft” Yes, that will decrease the spin loft, however, that will also decrease the launch angle which will hit the ball nowhere. In order to achieve maximum distance, we need to have a high launch and low spin rate and max ball speed.

So how can you do this?

Rather than reducing the loft of the club, let’s just improve the angle of attack which then brings the bottom line up in the picture up. By doing this we can maintain that high launch we are after, whilst reducing spin and increasing smash factor.

There are other ways of reducing spin loft, however, this is the first key simple way to do so. If this doesn’t give you more distance or your struggling to understand. Then book in a 45 minute golf lesson with myself and we can go through some things and get you maximising your driver.

Thank you very much for reading my blog, my next one will be along shortly.

If you wish to learn more then call me on 01983 613131 and book yourself in for a golf lesson.

Have a great week golfing.

Daniel West