Thursday, June 11, 2015

Starting with Tiny Letter....

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Friday, April 10, 2015

WGC Match Play at Harding Park

Great news that the WGC Match Play event is coming to Harding Park April 27th-May 3rd.  This will be a very exciting week as each player will play at least 3 matches instead of the usual one-and-done which will give everyone a better chance to see their favorite player and will create more intense competition.  However, this means that Harding will have to close to public play beforehand to get the finishing touches on the golf course.

Course Closure Dates- April 18- May 6.

All facilities will be closed during this time which means no golf lessons until May.  My Swaggle calendar opens up 4 weeks in advance so I will look forward to getting back on the lesson tee with everyone in early May.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Harding Park Update

Good news!!!! TPC Harding Park practice facility is back up and running.  The repair to the netting around the driving range has been finished and is good as new!

The weather has been spectacular and I am very happy to get back to work.  As of now I am available Fridays and Saturdays at Harding, Thursdays and Sundays at Eagle Ridge in Gilroy.  The Harding times have been booking up quickly a couple of weeks out so try to get in early.

Because of the down time at Harding I am happy to extend out the deadlines on LivingSocial and/or Amazon local vouchers.

Thank you everyone for your patience and I look forward to working with you soon.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Starting with Golf

One of the reasons golf is such a great game is that it can be a social activity or individualistic. You can play it by yourself as a solitary being walking through the early morning dew with the smell of freshly cut grass wafting across the grounds. Or maybe one prefers strolling the beautiful fairways late in the evening while the warm air stills and the sky turns a brilliant combination of red and orange as the sun begins to set. 

Golf is also a great way to socialize with your friends and a place to make new contacts as well.   It might be heading to the practice range to hit a few balls with a friend or grabbing some lunch with three buddies then heading out for a competitive round on the links. Or maybe it's the ultimate social golf outing; playing in a fundraiser golf tournament. A mix of a hundred or so golfers wearing outrageous outfits, maybe partaking in a libation or two, but everyone having a great time ready to spend the day with friends and the excitement for what the day may bring. Looking forward to the possibility of the perfectly stuck golf shot or the hole out from far off the green or just knowing that you have the day off from work in a beautiful setting.  

However, getting started playing golf is not always the easiest thing in the world. It seems to be much more enjoyable when doing it with a friend or a group. The golf course can be an intimidating place to those not used to being there. Where is one supposed to go first? Who is in charge?  It often feels as though everyone else knows what is going on and it can be an embarrassing or uncomfortable prospect to be the only one cluelessly walking about. But on the whole golfers are very helpful and inclusive people. They want to share their knowledge and feel that they are helping. Remember, that everyone started in the same place and we all remember very vividly our first days on and around the golf course as a novice. And helping someone else through that initial process is actually very satisfying. 

There is definitely a different language and culture around the golf course so it's important to have help from someone that has been there before like a PGA professional.  When getting started it is very important to have good fundamentals that will carry you through your golf life. So get started the right way and join a group or take some friends and sign up for a few starter lessons with a PGA Pro.  Forming and/or deepening friendships around a common activity can keep you motivated and engaged and make the entire process much more enjoyable. 

Golf is truly a game of a lifetime. A game where a beginner can play with an expert, where young and old can walk the fairways together. A game where pure enjoyment can be felt playing alone, with family and friends or with a complete stranger. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bunker Play

Becoming a better bunker player out of green side bunkers first starts with understanding how the golf club must work through impact to get the ball up and out of the sand and onto the green.

The fault I see in most players that struggle out the bunker is the effort to try and "lift" the ball out of the  sand to get it up and over the lip.  Generally, its because of a short backswing and a big follow through.

The fault here is that often times a big follow through allows a player's weight to go backwards away from the target resulting in the club making contact with the sand too far behind the ball and actually starting to come up as it's getting to the impact area.

Remember that all good solid shots require the club to be traveling down as it goes through the impact area, even out of green side bunkers.  When the club enters the sand too far behind the ball (say 8" to a foot) then the result is either a heavy shot where the wedge digs into the sand and the ball doesn't get moved but a few feet or the wedge skips off the sand and blades the ball into the bank of the bunker right in front of you.

Depending on the weight of the sand (light and fluffy or heavy and packed) the wedge should enter the sand between 1 and 3 inches behind the ball and continue down as it goes through the impact area only coming up after the ball has come out of the sand.  That is why you rarely see professionals taking big follow throughs as the come out of green side bunkers because it is easier to get proper contact with the sand and a descending blow with a shorter follow through.  

Good bunker players are good because they can control how far behind the ball they hit each time, in other words how much sand they take with ball to control trajectory and distance and spin.

One of the best ways to practice this is with the Bunker Line Drill.  Draw a straight line in a practice bunker and straddle the line favoring it slightly towards your front foot.  Take practice swings with the goal of initially hitting the sand on the front edge of the line.  Really good bunker players are very consistent with hitting the front edge of the line.

 Practice this for awhile and see how good you can get at it before putting a ball down.  When you can get really consistent hitting the front edge of the line getting out of bunkers will seem easy.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Great Putting

Just finished watching Golf Channel Academy featuring Brad Faxon on putting.  Very interesting listening to his thoughts on  putting and how to improve as a putter.  He opened the segment saying that he would much rather be a good putter than a good ball striker. Not many people say that. It really does get overlooked how important putting is to your golf score.  There is no way to shoot low scores without holing putts no matter how good ball striking is and making putts keeps those scores from going too high when ball striking is not good (unfortunately most of the time!).

It was nice to hear Brad get more into the art and feel of the putting stroke than just pure mechanics.  As players and teachers it is easy to get focused on mechanics while practicing/teaching and often that mentality gets carried onto the golf course.  Getting locked up by mechanical thoughts on the golf course can certainly rob a person of feel, because of added tension, which can lead to poor speed control, which leads to misread lines and three putts, especially on long putts.

When a player that is really wrapped up in mechanical thoughts on the golf course misses a couple of makeable putts early in the round confidence can go right out the window.  There is a feeling that the "system" isn't working and the player is lost for the rest of the day trying many different ideas to hopefully make something!

That doesn't mean there is no time for mechanics but that "practice" truly needs to be left for the practice green and forgotten once on the golf course and playing for score.  Once on the golf course there should only be "feels" when putting.  Maybe its relaxing the hands, or slight forward press to start the motion, or make sure to follow the ball with your eyes right after contact to the hole.  Those types of thoughts are good because you can still stay relaxed and it can actually help you stay in your routine throughout the day.  Remember you don't need to stay still or keep your head just need to watch the ball.  If you do that, all other movement will be ok.

So remember to leave time in your practice to just make putts.  Great putters aren't born they are made.  There are no great putters that don't spend a lot of time on the practice green making putts.....from all lengths!!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Look Long Term

This is a post from my good friend Thomas Petersson.  He is currently playing on the Asian Tour, but has basically been on the road for the past 4 months. Being on the road that long can really mess with your head. It is easy to lose focus on long term goals and focus just on immediate results, like missed cuts for example.  That's why it's important to write down your long term/ultimate goals and look at them periodically, then adjust short term goals and course of action when necessary to stay on track toward the ultimate prize.  Like Thomas says, its important to trust the Process!  It is easy to let the ego take over when you aren't performing the way you think you should be and that can sabotage everything you are working towards.  This is the difference between being a process-oriented golfer and an ego-based golfer.
Well said and good luck TP!

You can follow Thomas at and 

"After enjoying two weeks off following my last stretch of tournaments, I am now ready to head out on another one. This time it's three events in a row on the Asian Tour, starting in Chiangmai, followed byNew Delhi and Manila

As a professional golfer, it is essential to have a long term mindset when it comes to golf and golf practice. This became very obvious during my last 4 events; an interesting month of golf for me as I narrowingly missed all 4 cuts. It wasn't that I played poorly, but I wasn't able to make anything happen during the tournament rounds. And that was frustrating. The first tendency is to panic; to ask yourself: what is happening, what can I do differently, how can I make more birdies tomorrow? But when you take a step back, you realize that you have to approach it from a long term perspective. 

When designing a practice regimen, you have to look at three things: 1. Where are you right now? 2. Where do you want to be? 3. What are you going to do to get there? And this is what people refer to as "the process". When you surround yourself with people you trust; with teachers you like and that inspire you and help you remember what's important and what's not; when you can trust that the things you are working on are the right ones; then you can trust "the process". The process of getting better. To reach beyond your current ability. To push through fears and doubts, to reach a level that was previously unattainable. 

This means that even though you are really happy or very disappointed with a round of golf, you have to let that round go and focus on what you need to do to get better. That's why you still practice after a round even though you just shot 63 and couldn't miss a shot. And that's also why you practice after a round of golf you were not very happy with. Because you know where you're at, and you know where you're going. 

So even though I was disappointed with the short term results of my last stretch of tournaments, I take great pride in the fact that I stayed patient and that I kept my cool. I have my drills, that are measurable, and I can see that I am improving. By trusting this process of getting better, I can even out the very emotional highs and lows that come from playing professional events, and take refuge in the really satisfying feeling of knowing that I am improving. And now I can't wait to tee it up in my next events. "