Free daily and deployable golf help for those who don't want to pay an instructor - arm yourself with practice plans, drills, and custom insights. I answer all your questions, host live Q&A's, and tell it to you straight.
Here's what I believe: 1. Golf is challenging, but it doesn't need to be complicated - a simple, consistent methodology is best.
2. Infrequent and expensive lessons aren't optimal for improvement - light, regular refinements are better.
3. There's no magic pill (sorry) - I'll tell you what to do and how to make the most of your time.
If you're not practicing don't complain about not getting better.
When I was in high school, I used to hit balls in to a net every day, and head to the beach because that was the only place without snow.
I believe that winter can be a big-time refresher so that you come out with guns blazing in the spring.
It’s that time of year when lots of people start thinking about building their set for the spring. This episode is about my thoughts on some basics to go with if you’re a relative beginner grabbing some new clubs.
Be sure to subscribe and shoot me any questions or topics you’d like to talk about.
Preventing Injuries and Recovering
Flashback to a chat I had with videographer Craig Kotilinek last week about his sports injuries and some remedies that have worked well.
I've been really luck in my career to avoid major injury, but I've weathered some setbacks of my own. Fun chat on recovering and getting back in the action as soon as possible.
The Shanks Suck - But We Can Fix 'Em!
The shanks can come out of nowhere. They’re super scary and often paralyze golfers and suck the enjoyment out of the game.
The big problem is when they get into your head and you feel things spiraling out of control.
Solutions can be super counter intuitive. The way that you logically and naturally react to your first shank is probably the exact opposite of what you really should be doing.
I explain why this is…and how to fix them once and for all.
Got questions or want to be on the show?
Email me or hit me up through Twitter (@caseybourque) or social media and I'll make sure I help you out. Look for live Q&A sessions and call-ins. Subscribe on your favorite podcast platform to get Golf Essentials every day.
Heading to the PGA Show next week. So much to do in preparation for announcing KPI Golf to the world.
We’re going to be super busy next week meeting with vendors and solidifying contractual relationships.
Because we’re managing a bunch of golf courses, we represent a much more substantial book of business than stand alone golf courses. Vendors sharpen their pencils and compete for our business, which is super fun.
I also got out and played some really fun golf at the Ritz Carlton in Orlando today. Surprised myself with some decent golf on a spectacular day.
Lots of Sports are Mental
Sidechannel conversation with my good friend and master videographer Craig Kotilinek. Craig's day job is running CSK Creative, a videography and design agency here in Orlando.
On the side, he's an aspiring tennis player (recreationally).
I learned that he's had troubles in the past with his serve - specifically the toss.
He had the YIPS.
With an inconsistent toss, basically flinching on important serves, his game was severely limited. With some mental fortitude and some hard work, he's been able to overcome.
Lots of parallels between golf and tennis in this way...hope you enjoy the banter.
World Junior Golf Swing Contest
Brendon Elliott, PGA Member shares the details on his global junior golf swing contest. The panel of judges is incredible - Jack Nicklaus, Lauren Thompson, Francesco Molinari to name a few.
Registration is super easy here.
Record a 1-minute video of kids hitting golf balls, and send it in! The best of the bunch will be reviewed by this incredible panel personally!
Expert Opinions are Cheap
John Brown discusses the options that struggling and underperforming golf courses have. The first big misconception is that professional advice and exploratory conversations only come with hard sales pitches for club management contracts. This isn't the case at all.
The logic first step to take is to pick up the phone and call a consulting or golf management company. KPI Golf offers free phone consultations, investing hours in learning about the club's challenges and assessing best fit.
Of course, only so much information can be gathered over the phone. Often an on-site visit is necessary, however this can be done for surprisingly little cash outlay.
For less than the cost of a few covers in the restaurant, John says that he'll pay your club a visit and roll up his sleeves. He'll dig into financials, interview staff and members, conduct basic market research, and gather a clear picture of how the club is positioned.
After just a few days, the club receives an exhaustive presentation about where the club stands, competitive set, and recommended next steps toward improvement.
Long Term Consulting is Best
As a next step in a club's turnaround process, John highly recommends a long term consulting agreement. This is effectively standard consulting on a regular cadence that makes sense for the club - typically quarterly or annually.
This allows KPI Golf to dig deeper into the club's culture and learn more about the inner workings of the facility and marketplace. It also allows for performance reviews, planning sessions, and continuous improvement.
John emphasizes that there is no "set and forget" strategy that works. Long term consulting is a great, and inexpensive way to ensure that your club is continually evaluating performance, prioritizing highest impact activities, and holding everyone accountable for results.
John can be reached best through email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pre-Swing is Better than In-Swing
The quickest wins are in your setup and stance - nothing to do with your swing. Most people focus on "in-swing" faults and ignore the "pre-swing". I do the opposite.
Without good setup and alignment, your swing is doomed. Don't get it mixed up.
If you Haven't Been Playing in a While
Two things to look at when you're a little rusty: posture and grip.
Posture: Use a golf club to allow you to feel what a straight spine feels like. Take your stance with a club running along your spine and it'll remind you of what good posture is supposed to be like.
Grip: This one's simple, but nobody seems to focus on it. If you're slicing, rotate your hands around to the right around the handle of the club. This helps the release of the club, the toe will pass the heel through impact, and you'll hit it left. Once you do this, then work towards the happy medium.
Always focus on pre-swing before any in-swing stuff guys...it's easier to pull off and you'll see lasting results much quicker.
CSK Creative Founder Craig Kotilinek
I've known Craig for 8 or 9 years now here in Orlando. He's an extremely talented and accomplished videographer and business operator. CSK Creativeis a video production agency boasting clients like Golf Digest, Mercedes, The US Coast Guard, Total Wine and Wakeboarding Magazine.
Craig's shot famous figures like best selling author James Patterson, Jordan Spieth and Ms. Transworld Wake's Amanda Lewis.
Videography for Dummies
In this podcast, I do my best to squeeze as much knowledge out of Craig as I can. He shares a bunch of tips on how to produce better videos using simple equipment like just your iPhone.
We cover a lot, but some major points were:
Lighting is super important. Get your light source behind the photographer for best results. Use natural light where you can, rather than anything indoors.
Don't abuse the slow-mo feature. Trim up your videos to minimize the wait time, and dead space at the beginning and the end.
Watch the sound. Find quiet places with minimal background noise. If you're shooting indoors, be aware of air conditioning systems and other noises you may not otherwise notice.
Consider a second camera for backup footage. This is a great way to fill in gaps or add some variety.
Set up your background. Move your subject away from the background as well to push the back out of focus.
Frame your shots horizontally where possible. Unless you're shooting for a specific medium, horizontal is always best.
Don't shake. Mount your camera on a tripod when you can.
Add some background music. Great royalty-free music can add so much to a video.
Contact Craig and CSK Creative
If you're looking for some video work, or if you have any questions for Craig...I highly recommend reaching out.
CSK Creative - Orlando, Florida
Website | Email Craig | (407) 718-1112
KPI Golf Management owner and business partner John Brown Jr. shares some stories of over 45 years in the golf course ownership and management business.
It's not always sunshine and lollipops in the golf business!
This episode is all about me asking you how I can be better. I'm loving doing the podcast thing, and I want it to be 100% about bringing value to the community.
Let me know what I'm doing right and what I could be doing better. You won't hurt my feelings...that's how improvement happens.
Cheers and thanks for listening!
So, some old friends of mine from Maine and from Texas come here to Orlando every winter for a week to play golf and enjoy some sunshine.
They've been doing it for 30 years.
Well, last night was the first car accident ever. Fortunately nobody was hurt, but a close call nevertheless. A REALLY close call...and a lesson for all of you on guy golf trips.
During the round we played today, I found a little mid-round swing key that really helped.
It's all setup.
Basically, I was addressing the ball with my spine too "vertical". Just a touch of extra tilt, or as I think of it, bowing to the ball made a huge difference.
I felt free to rotate, more powerful, and I was striking the ball consistently on the middle of the club face.
Listen to the podcast and I hope it helps you out!
How Charlie Got into Television
Many don’t realize (myself included) how great a player that Charlie was in his early days. He’s still competing occasionally on PGA Tour Champions as well.
After Q-School one year, he ran into his good friend Gary McCord who told him he should get into television:
“You’re an idiot, you’re perfect for television”
Funny story, but sounds like it worked…
Moving Back to Myrtle Beach
So, Charlie’s ending his time at Golf Channel after more than 10 years. He’ll be moving his family back north, closer to where he grew up in South Carolina.
He’ll still do some occasional work with Golf Channel, but mostly some freelance broadcasting.
He’s also taking on a new gig with Golf Tourism Solutions in Myrtle Beach to help reinvigorate that area as a leading golf destination. He’s got some great things to say about Myrtle as a group golf destination…awesome for families, wide variety of golf, beaches, restaurants, live music…and apparently there are some good biscuits up there!
Welcoming Kelly Tilghman to South Carolina’s Golf Hall of Fame
Charlie tells some cool stories about growing up with Kelly in South Carolina and the long odds of the two of them making it in the golf broadcasting business.
He’ll be attending the South Carolina Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in just a few days where Kelly and Charles Warren will be honored. Charlie also makes it clear that he beat her to it, as he was inducted into SC’s Hall a few years back.
Friends in the Business: Feherty, Ian Baker Finch, Bill Macatee, Peter Kostis & Coach Lou Holz
Charlies shares a number of stories about his good friends and mentors in the television and golf business.
Although he’ll be stepping down with is move out of state, Charlie serves our local North Florida PGA Section as its Vice President. He shares some insight how he was able to convince his longtime friend Lou Holz to join us as a guest presenter at our most recent annual meeting.
Normally, Coach Holz would charge substantial fees for an hourlong presentation, but Charlie was able to make it happen by calling in a favor and perhaps trading off some Titleist AP3 irons and a custom Notre Dame wedge.
Just a fun chat with one of the best…hope you enjoy the podcast
Country clubs bringing in outside management do so in one of two major ways:
1. They recognize they need help and expertise to help them move forward optimally.
2. A firm offers to inject some capital over time in exchange for ownership stake in the club (equity vs. non-equity).
Problem with number 2 is that over time, when the capital improvement money “comes due”, the members are subject to cost cutting tactics that markedly deteriorate the quality of the experience and the club itself.
Members find that they no longer control the club. This is a far worse circumstance, and is often inescapable.
3 Drills to Get Sharp in the Off-Season
These 3 wintertime exercises helped me big time coming out of the gates in the spring back when I was in high school. I worked on my putting, chipping and full swing while our family was watching TV...and I won the Maine State Amateur that spring.
Here's what I worked on...
Putting Over a Dime
Find some good, true carpet to putt on. The faster the better.
Set yourself up by laying a dime on the ground (the hole), with a book behind at a 45 degree angle, and a few pillows to catch the balls.
Lay an alignment stick on the ground to make sure you're set up on track.
Hit 100 or so putts every night and you'll make some crazy progress in the winter months.
The book works great because it gets the balls out of the way. You can also hit putts at different paces. Nobody says you need to hit the 4-footer like a 4-footer. Hit it like a 20-footer and see if you can hear the dime click each time.
Coin Chipping Drill
Make sure you set up some pillows to catch the balls. Don't use a lob wedge...more like a 9 or 8-iron.
Lay down that alignment stick again. Hit some basic chip shots into the pillow.
Every once in a while...say every 10th chip, do the coin drill.
Lay 1 coin about 3 inches behind the ball, and another 3 inches ahead of the ball. The goal is to miss the first coin, strike the ball, and then also strike the 2nd coin. Chips should be hit with a slight descending blow - ball then turf.
This gives you some great feedback to make sure you're doing things right.
Swing in the Full Length Mirror
I'm not talking about 100% full swings. There's a ton of value in slow motion swinging in a full length mirror.
Check out your posture, and where the club goes throughout your swing. You'll notice what you're doing and how it looks compared to pictures you've seen and the guys playing golf on TV.
It's a great exercise to feel the positions where the club is balanced and how your body reacts.
Most importantly, focus on the lower half of your swing - 9:00 to 3:00. Get this part right and you'll be able to swing as hard as you want and hit the ball straight.
Just a few minutes each night will go a long way toward dominating in the spring...I promise.
Get Your Business Priorities in Line
I believe that the most successful businesses (golf or non-golf) take care of the most important things first...and at all costs. It's super upsetting to me to see operators ruining perfectly good businesses - especially golf courses - because they get it totally backwards.
It is our belief at KPI Golf that company culture is of the utmost importance.
When your teams are turning over frequently, it not only ads costs and reduces performance. It creates lousy work environments and attitudes for future staff members.
A revolving door makes it IMPOSSIBLE to grow your business.
We believe in taking very good care of the staff members that are performing at the highest level.
We also believe that motivators vary for every human being - some like money, others titles, others work/life balance, others upward mobility.
The trick is that it's always a moving target. People change their priorities as they progress through life. Communication and face-to-face time is the only way to learn what motivates your team.
The best companies in the world make company culture their #1 priority:
Priority #1: Company culture- positive working environment where staff knows and likes working with their colleagues every day. Collaboration is highly encouraged, and nobody is ever disparaged for bringing new ideas to the table. Hiring good people means that you're able to free them up to do what they do best.
Priority #2: The Customer- Yup, customer comes AFTER your employees. We've turned down deals where we knew that the customer was not going to be a good fit for the teams we had in place. Nothing comes ahead of your brand and your company culture - nothing.
Priority #3: Personal Interests- This could mean profits for ownership, vacation time, and prideful things. Leadership works for the employees, not the other way around.
The companies that make this priority shift will win.
Pull-Back and Safety Pull-Back
These two putting games are incredible in a lot of ways. First of all, they help make putting practice a lot more interesting. That's a big deal for some of you who find putting super boring.
The benefits of these two games are many...they help lag putting as well as those testy 4 - 8 footers. You'll simulate real round conditions including a little bit of pressure if you're playing with others or matching your personal best.
Here's how it's done:
In both games, you'll play 9 or 18 holes on the putting green.
Each hole is a Par 2 with a range of about 15 - 50 feet. Try to mix them up as much as possible.
Count all your strokes and see what you can shoot.
After you hit your first putt on each hole, any putt that doesn't go in the hole gets "pulled back" directly away from the hole 1 putter length (or 3 feet).
This means that even putts that miss by an inch become testy 3 1/2 footers.
Miss your second putt? Pull it back and knock it in. Miss again? Sorry, but keep at it until you hole it out...
Shoot even par in this game and you're REALLY rolling your rock.
This one is a variation of pull-back where you have a "safety zone". If your approach putt lands in the safety zone, you don't pull it back. You play it from where it lies and tap it in.
The safety zone is based on hitting a good approach putt - one that has a chance to go in with the proper speed. The zone is defined by any putt that reaches the hole (1 inch short is out)...and stays within your putter length (3 feet) of the hole. Imagine a 3 ft semi-circle behind the hole.
Safety pull-back is quite a bit easier, but it puts more emphasis on players who are good lag putters. Good lag putts are rewarded with tap-ins, whereas lousy distance control means you're grinding over 5 footers all day long.
Super Thankful - Time to Reflect
Just a regroup on why I'm bothering to deliver this podcast. It's two major reasons, both of which based on stuff that I've lived, experienced, and executed myself.
I come from a blue collar background, not from money and privilege. I believe that the strategies that have made me successful will help a lot of people in golf...whether as a player or as a golf course operator.
I welcome all commentary, good and bad, as well as any questions or topics you'd be interested in learning about.
Draw a Line in the Sand
Super simple pitching and bunker play drill for improving your consistency. It's all about impacting the ball or the ground in the same place every time.
Here's how it goes:
Draw a line in the sand about 4-6 feet long
Address the line as if it were the golf ball
Make a standard bunker swing, trying to "erase the line"
Impact the sand behind the line, exit the sand after the line
Repeat moving up the line until you've erased the whole thing
Review all your entries and exits for consistency - where did your club enter the sand and exit the sand? Is it staggered or is it consistent?
I promise that investing about 5 minutes daily into this drill will bring big improvements in your bunker play and pitching game.
Surviving The Next Round of Closings
Visiting my parents in Southwest Florida this week. Their golf community lost their golf course a couple years back and it's super sad to see.
All the residents came here for social golf, sunshine and fun...now they have to take their games on the road.
I talked with a group of them about strategies for underperforming clubs and how things could have been different.
There is No “Set and Forget” Strategy
The only way to perform optimally is to stay diligent and continuously prioritize highest impact activities.
There is no solution that allows for anything other than constant oversight and management. This is because conditions, economies, market positions, competition, and consumer preferences are always changing.
The only way to compete is to evolve with the times. Golf courses are quickly finding that they are not different.
The First Tactic Isn’t Always the Best Solution
John shares how his team’s initial assessment of this North Carolina club did not uncover the biggest wins.
Their focus was on membership and driving rounds and revenues for the first 6-12 months they owned the club.
Upon deeper inspection and market research, they determined that other areas of the club presented tremendous opportunity. The wins were certainly disguised as there was considerable costs to unlock these assets.
Good market timing, smart planning, and aggressive negotiation allowed the group to perform significant capital improvements at minimal costs.
The returns were exceptional. Listen to the podcast discussion to hear more.
A Test of Confidence - Preying on Weaknesses
Hammer has a wonderful way of revealing just how confident you are with your game. It's best played with other players of similar skill set, preferably with buddies who you can harass a little bit.
Knowing your opponent is key. You should be able to strategically add pressure where they'll feel it most. For instance, if you know your opponent is a lousy bunker player or putter, you can hammer often in these areas and expose these weaknesses (and make money).
The Rules of Hammer:
• The game is match play (gross or net, team or individual)
• Each hole starts with an established bet (i.e., $1, $2, $5, etc.)
• At any point, any player can "hammer" the other team, which doubles the bet on the hole.
• The receiving team can accept the challenge and play the hole out for double, or forfeit the hole (and current bet) immediately.
• Hammers can be launched at any time, including after players have holed out
• Hammers must be accepted or declined immediately - cannot wait until you get to your ball, etc.
• Players/Teams cannot hammer consecutively - the other team much hammer back before you can hammer again.
• Each hole starts fresh from a hammering perspective - either team can hammer first
• Teams can agree to increase the best as the round goes on. Presses do not impact hammering capability.
Hammer has components that are a lot like poker. You need to sniff out the other player's level on confidence in certain shots, or capitalize on incomplete information (i.e., maybe you saw their ball roll up next to a tree and they didn't)
Length of Backswing = Length of Shot
Sounds super obvious, but so many players fail to deploy this simple method:
Let the length of your backswing determine the length of the shot
Most players that struggle with short game either aren’t making consistently solid contact with the ball, or, they don’t control distance very well. This simple strategy helps on both fronts.
They either take a short backswing, and then hurry the downswing to hit the ball hard. Conversely, they might take a long backswing and decelerate the club through impact.
Better Tempo, Less Tension, Less Stress
For short shots, make a short backswing. For longer shots, make a longer backswing. It’s that simple.
If you truly focus on this, you’ll be able to swing the club with exactly the same tempo for all length shots. You can relax your hands and arms, and the club will bottom out at the very same spot every time.
Best part is that it works when you’re nervous – including with your putting. I promise your distance control will improve dramatically, but you’ve got to try your best to move away from the bad habits you’ve built up to this point. Could take a little time and effort.
Big Changes for Tournament Players
If you're planning on playing some real competitive golf, moving forward the rules have changed quite a lot. You should rely on more trustworthy sources than me to get the details about what you're allowed and not allowed to do.
In my experience, knowing the rules will only help you in tournament play...it'll never hurt you.
Casual Golfers Can Continue What You're Doing (kinda)
Casual players shortcut a lot of the rules anyway, so there won't be huge impact for this crowd. That said, even if you're just playing some club golf or money games with your buddies, there are some rules that you should be able to take advantage of come crunch time.
Again, it never hurts to know what's going on.
Download the USGA Cheat Sheet
What Happens When We're Nervous?
What is it about pressure that causes our body to react so strangely. You may not even be all that nervous about the outcome, and for some reason, you can't swing the same way, your putting goes bad, and you can't even think straight?
It happens to all of us.
First of all, golf is hard. We tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves. Pressure to product perfection, when we know that perfection isn't ever possible.
So how can we deal? How can be pull off good shots when we need them the most?
Start With A Positive Vision
I attended a golf clinic with 6-time Major Champion Winner Nick Faldo a few weeks back. It was unique because the clinic was intended for elite junior golfers who are trying to compete at the highest level. Nick let us into his mental game in an amazing way.
One big takeaway from the session was that he liked to watch an imaginary player (i.e., Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer for him) hit the shot before he did. This produced a beautiful vision of the shot before he stepped in and attempted it himself.
Have a Plan B
Nick also noted that through all his practicing, he was able to have a plan B, C, and D swings that he could fall back to when needed. This eased the pressure on his "A" swing for sure. He was extremely self aware, knowing which swings would produce certain shot shapes - and more importantly, which shots they wouldn't produce.
Very helpful when you're in a big tournament under lots of pressure.
Use Your Imagination
Fred Couples used to imagine that last perfect shot he hit with the club he was pulling out of the bag. When he was hitting a 5-iron, he thought back to the pure shot he hit with that club weeks before and tried to reproduce that feeling.
For me, when I've been really nervous at certain points in golf tournaments, I like to imagine I'm on a totally different golf course, on a comfortable hole at home. This really helps if you can really try to role play all the way through the shot.
There are lots of tricks...try them all and see which ones work best for you!
Turn a Weakness into a Strength
I used to absolutely fear a 50 yard wedge shot in golf tournaments. I'd do all I could to avoid them. Mostly that meant laying up to 100 yards leaving a full wedge into the green.
While that might be a good way to avoid embarrassment, it's not the way to become the best player you can.
A Turning Point in My Wedge Play
At some point, I read Dave Pelz's Short Game Bible. and my golf life changed forever. With some basic practice, I was able to turn my biggest fear into a huge strength.
Instead of worrying about skulling shots over the green or laying the sod over the ball, I was thinking about holing those same half wedge shots.
Your First Step Toward Confidence
The first step is to get to know a basic half wedge shot, and how far the ball tends to carry. Do this the next few times you hit the range.
Grab your favorite wedge...perhaps your 56 or whatever. Hit about 20 balls with a swing that takes your hands back to 9:00 (about hip height) and follows through at the same height (3:00 position on a clock).
Try to swing with the same relaxed rhythm and repeat the same motion every time. Note the CARRY distance that the shots tend to fly.
Do this for a few days with each of your wedges, and you'll effectively be adding new clubs in your bag. This is the beginning of learning exactly what kind of swing and club produces these short range shots with precision.
This clip is from a clinic I did back in Phoenix for some relative beginners about hitting fairways woods.
A lot of players struggle with this clubs - they're long, unforgiving, and you've got to be dead on to hit great shots. I hope these few tips help you out.
Creative Sources of Revenue
When I go to Germany every summer, the days are very long. The sun rises around 4:00 am and sets around 10:30 pm. Golf courses over there have come up with a very creative (and simple) solution for bringing in revenue during those odd hours of the day when nobody is working.
The first thing I noticed in Germany, is that they deploy an incredible amount of trust in people. Basically, if you want to play golf really early or really late, you can just come and walk on the golf course. No carts of course.
They've got a lock box where you fill out an envelope and leave your green fee for the staff to retrieve when business opens.
Funny, you would think the place would be overrun with freeloading walk-ons, but it's not. The culture that exists is one of pride in their club, and nobody would ever want to risk being branded a thief or a cheat.
I'm not saying this strategy would work everywhere, but it's absolutely a plan that some clubs should consider seriously.
They're Just Numbers
Many of the so-called barriers that we try to reach in golf are simply arbitrary numbers. I get that it sounds cool to say that you shot 69 instead of 70, but at the end of the day, it's just 1 shot.
Focus on What You Can Control
Winning golf tournaments and the scores you shoot themselves are results. Both, in many ways are out of our control. I suggest focusing as hard as you can on the things that you can control...like executing the proper shots at the right time.
The results will take care of themselves.
More Players the Better
Stymies is a vicious competitive putting game that is best played with as many people as you can wrangle up. Find 10 people and you'll have a blast.
It's a total strokes game played on the practice putting green...usually with some fun people that don't mind beating each other up a little bit.
How you Play:
1. Draw straws to determine who goes first - it's super important to keep the order
2. After the first hole, use golf's honor system to set order of play - low score on previous hole leads off
3. Player with the honor chooses the hole
4. All players putt in order, leaving their ball in place
5. If a ball strikes another ball, the player who putted incurs a 1-stroke penalty
6. The player farthest from the hole ALWAYS goes first.
7. No finishing out whatsoever - including 1" putts - in fact, the point is to get in everyone's way if you don't hole out.
8. Low score wins
We used to play this game for $1 per stroke...which can get pretty hefty.
Go with what you feel comfortable with, but I highly suggest some value per stroke to keep everyone engaged the entire time on every shot...otherwise, people get silly when they know they've lost.
How do you Feel About Gambling on the Golf Course?
I'm down for a friendly wager playing golf with some friends, but is there a point where it goes too far? The USGA rules on amateur status say there is.
I've got some experience at a country club where gambling was pretty heavy and it definitely impacted how people treated their handicaps and participation in member tournaments.
I'd love to hear your take on the subject. Hit me up and share your thoughts...
Dealing with the Yips
I suspect that there are many more people out there facing the yips than we realize. I hope that this deep dive discussion brings value for you, and brings ideas and solutions that will help you climb back to a place of confidence and enjoyment of the game.
The yips is a putting affliction that strikes without notice. Those who have never had them can't ever empathize with the challenges golfers face when hands are trembling and flinching at impact.
It can be devastating. In fact, I almost quit golf because of them.
In this episode, my good friend Robert and I share our feelings and the challenges that we've both faced. I give him some tips and exercises to build his confidence back up so that he can hit the spring golf season running.
We're Living in a Bubble
Based on the fact that the economy has been great over the past 9 years, AND we've got a huge wave of Baby Boomers playing more golf than ever, golf should be thriving.
In fact, if your home course isn't killing it right now, look out when the market turns.
Now is the time to grab market share and prepare for the storm ahead.
The Best Marketing Asset for Golf Courses
By far, the best (and underutilized) marketing asset for golf courses is golf instruction. Prices for lessons are going up because the interests of individual instructors is not aligned with the interests of the clubs they serve.
$150 lessons don't appeal to newcomers or old timers at all. These are the groups that golf courses need to attract and retain respectively.
Those first to market with golf lessons brought in-house and offered for free will win the lions share of the marketing spoils that'll come with it.
But nobody's moving out of their box...until the day comes when the music stops...
From a Player's Perspective
The advantages for golfers when multiple golf courses team up is obvious. We get more holes to play golf on for our money.
What's really cool is that when one course is closed for business because of a tournament or course maintenance procedure, we've got other options. Not only that, golf is just more fun when you have more variety...otherwise it's just too easy right?
From an Employee's Perspective
Local clusters of golf courses are a marvelous thing for employees. First, there's not nearly the "glass ceiling" effect from a career standpoint as compared to working at a stand alone facility. This means more options, more diversity and more upward mobility.
At a stand alone club, if you're working under a career general manager, you'll probably never become the general manager yourself.
As a result, multiple golf courses grouped in synergistic clusters are able to recruit stronger talent and retain staff longer than single clubs ever could.
From an Owner/Operator's Perspective
Beyond the 2 big reasons listed above, owners reap the biggest rewards from golf course clustering under centralized management.
When it comes to buying products and supplies, clustered golf courses represent a much larger book of business, and therefore can negotiate advantageous contracts and pricing.
Additionally, there are often opportunities to share supplies and equipment between facilities. For example, 5-6 golf courses could easily share a greens aerator, golf carts for events, or even key staff members as needed.
There are enormous opportunities for economies of scale and cost containment under the right circumstances - even beyond the tremendous scale that can be achieved through a proficient golf management company.
A Revolution in Clothing Retail
Super cool conversation with Nik Bando, Founder & CEO of Bogeybox Golf Club.
So, Nik figured out that he (along with what turns out to be a ton of other men out there) hates to go shopping - especially for clothing. I'm definitely included in that group.
His solution is one that plays on a beautiful blend of technology and white glove personalized customer service.
In a nutshell, here's how it works:
• You register at bogeyboxgolfclub.com by letting them know you sizes, style preferences, and types of clothing you're interested in.
• You determine how often you want to "shop" - could be weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually or anything in between.
• A human selects articles of clothing based on your preferences, packs them up and sends them to you for free.
• When the box arrives, you try stuff on, keep what you like and send back the rest.
• Over time, the system gets "smarter" and learns what you like and don't like
• At any time, you can request item changes, rush orders, alternate selections, etc.
• Super easy - shop while you're eating Dorito's watching football.
Big Benefits to Golfers
I get that there are lots of creative online retailers out there. There are a bunch of reasons why I'm liking this methodology and this company.
Here's what I love about this business model:
They don't want to send you anything that you don't love
It's that simple. They lose crazy money in shipping costs if they bombard you with crap that you never want to buy. This is systematically different than any other method of buying clothing online.
I love that they have some skin in the game...and by the way, we as customers don't. If stuff doesn't fit, or it's not what you want, there's literally nothing at stake for us as buyers. They're putting their money where their mouth is in terms of how in tune to your tastes they'll become.
I love it...and I believe I'll be doing a lot of business with these guys honestly.
Another Big Reason Nik and BBGC are Super Cool
I was totally taken off guard by this, but Nik is a personal friend of Gary Vaynerchuk. In fact, Gary is an original investor in BogeyBox Golf Club. By the way, Gary and his team sees thousands and thousands of startup pitches every year...and this is one that he got behind.
I personally believe 1000% in Gary Vee's methodologies, I'm executing against them as we speak, and I have a ton of instant respect for someone who's spent years working alongside Gary at Vayner Media.
Really glad to have connected with Nik and I'm excited about what these guys are doing...for no other reason than the business model just makes sense for most guys that I know.
KPI Golf Management’s John Brown discusses a Hilton Head area private golf course that was struggling with membership attrition in the Hilton Head market. They were losing more members than they were selling.
He outlines the market research that he conducted, how he achieved buy-in from club ownership, and the details of how he executed his plan.
The turnaround was substantial - moving a club that was on the ropes to a place where they are healthy and operating at a tremendous profit.
Chipping and Pitching Struggles
Lately I've been struggling a bit with my chipping and pitching. I've felt like it's been a challenge to make clean contact consistently from poor lies and tight lies. Basically, if the ball isn't sitting up perfectly, my confidence hasn't been too high lately.
So, tonight I spent some time on some short game and found a small, simple thought that really seemed to help.
Through a few drills, I learned that I was shifting my upper body center laterally in my swing. This means that my body was sliding off the ball to the right, making it really difficult for me to get the club back to the ball consistently...especially on important or delicate shots.
The solution was pretty basic - quiet my body during the swing.
My focus was on 100% rotation rather than allowing my body to slide laterally - like turning in a barrel.
I took a little extra time in setup to be sure that my alignment was good, and the ball positioned correctly. Before taking the club back, my focus shifted to my chest or sternum. I tried to feel like my core was turning without shifting position.
Whether reality or not, the feeling I had was that the club was moving around my body in a perfect circle and the club was bottoming out in the same place every time.
I had a lot of fun experimenting with different lies and shots to test myself.
So, next time you're out working on your chipping and pitching, give that thought a try if you're having trouble making consistent contact - a quieter body with more rotation rather than sliding.
Hope that helps!
$300/Hr Golf Lessons aren't Helping Anyone
Golf Digest just ran an article on the nation's top golf instructors under 40. I get it that these are the elite instructors catering to elite clientele (meaning rich people already playing lots of golf), and that they'll likely be the ones replacing the world's leading instructors in a few years.
BUT, ultra expensive golf lessons aren't doing a thing to help the industry, golf facilities, and 99% of the people out there.
I understand that everyone has the right to earn a great living, and I'm not disparaging these instructors for charging what they do. Good on them for having the marketing prowess to be getting those rates. By the way, don't kid yourself...it's all about marketing.
A Voice for the Common Instructor
I'm much more interested in hearing about teachers and coaches focused on inclusion. The ones teaching in schools, in underprivileged populations, etc. I want to hear stories about instructors bringing people into the game who would never had considered playing golf otherwise. Additionally, I love to hear about solutions around keeping our senior or handicapped population engaged in the sport longer.
Golf Lessons are the Ultimate Gateway Drug
KPI Golf is all about the principle of FREE GOLF LESSONS. We believe that facilities fighting for their lives are going to eventually realize that instruction is a grossly underutilized marketing asset. Paying instructors ought to be considered a marketing expense rather than bringing on a sole proprietor who's going to be serving their own best interests.
Free golf lessons are the absolute best way to bring in newcomers, and to retain senior golfers longer. As a facility, the biggest impact will come for those who are first to market with this idea. Imaging the marketing impact of promoting free golf lessons all the time for everyone at your club.
I Believe the Golf Instruction System is Broken
I'm sorry, but golf lessons are too long, too complicated, too expensive and too far in between.
If you share this belief, and you know someone deploying creative solutions, I want to have them on my podcast.
Email me: email@example.com
Bringing Golf Opportunities for Amputees that Never Existed
Sports Science Solutions and K-Motion are teaming up to develop some incredibly helpful solutions. Biomechanics technology and the resulting data is allow the group to develop specific processes adapted to particular amputees.
So, depending on the nature of a person's amputation, their systems will provide a course of action for that person to optimize their results in golf. This is ground breaking because it's going to allow many, many people to participate in golf who never had access to the game before.
Visit https://sportssciencesolutions.us for more information.
or email Casey Cox directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
They Don't have Grainy Greens in New England
Where I grew up, our bent grass greens don't have any grain to speak of. I just never thought about the effects of grain...ever.
So when I came down to play college golf in Florida, it drove me nuts. In fact, I blame grain for my nearly career ending bout with the yips. This episode is all about helping you putt better on grainy greens based on what I've learned over the years.
Does Grain Really Matter?
Yep. Grain kind of acts like wind for full shots. You can be into the grain, with the grain and cross grain. In all cases, if you don't account for it, you won't putt very well.
How Do I Read for Grain on the Green?
1. Light and Dark Areas - Look at the shades of green on the green (that sounds funny). Lighter shades are down grain and faster, darker shades are into the grain and therefore much slower.
2. Look at the Hole - On bermuda greens especially, the edge of 1/2 the hole will be clean, and the other half will be dirty, or beaten up over the course of the day. The grain is running from the clean edge toward the "dirty" edge.
3. Where's Water Flowing - Grain tends to push in the same direction as water runoff.
4. Toward the Strongest Sunlight - Some believe that grass tends to grow toward the southwest, or the direction where the most intense sunlight is coming from. Could be a rule of thumb.
Hope that helps you putt better!
Finish this Challenge and I'll be Super Impressed.
I learned this drill when I was back in college playing at Florida Southern.
Lee Janzen, former US Open Champion and FSC alum came back to practice with the team a few times. Lee's always been an incredible putter, and this was a drill he worked on every day.
There are few reasons why I love this drill:
1. You don't hit the same putts over and over again
2. You're simulating real golf circumstances
3. You're simulating pressure
4. You're working on your entire pre-shot routine
5. It's a great benchmark for how good your short putting is
Truthfully, you probably won't appreciate this drill until you try it a few times and realize how frustrating it can be.
If you miss any one of the 24 putts, you have to start all the way back at the beginning. I think you've got to be a pretty good short range putter to accomplish this.
Sharpen Up Indoors Over the Winter:
So, if you're up north in the snow, this is a great use of your time indoors. While you're watching football, grab a coin and see if you can get through this drill before the 4th quarter ends. You'll be super sharp when the snow melts.
Message me if you're able to accomplish this drill...I want to keep a short list of top putters in the crowd in case I'm short a player in my next scramble.
This special swing clinic was part of a private session offered to some elite International Junior Golf Tour players playing at Bella Colina in Orlando.
The coolest part about it was that the content was designed for top level players. Nick got into details that I'm sure he normally wouldn't with the general public.
In this session, we're able to get a peek into the practice routine and mindset of a 6-time major championship winner and former #1 player in the world.
He discusses strategies for improving consistency day in and day out. Practice habits to give yourself a better chance of feeling good and dialing in your golf swing more often.
Nick covers some intricate details of the swing sequence and downswing triggers to experiment with in practice. Also, how to deploy those triggers on the course to your advantage.
One of the best parts for me was the discussion about playing under pressure. He advised a strategy of choosing world class players to mimic. Basically, use them to visualize the shot you want to hit, let them hit it first in your imagination, then step into the ghost and hit the shot yourself. Amazing psychological play.
There's a little wind noise in this session due to the recording device, but it's totally worth it in my opinion.
Longtime friend John Brown joins us to talk about the business of golf - namely golf courses and their survival.
We tap into his 40+ years of golf operations experience. John shares a bunch of insights into where the golf industry is heading and how golf clubs are going to need to aggressively compete for market share in the coming years.
John is one of only several hundred designated Master PGA Professionals in the country, and he's achieved national recognition on multiple occasions as the golf industry's leading "turnaround specialist".
He's known for revitalizing country clubs that are underperforming or even in distressed situations. As golfers, we all care very much about the golf courses that often become the center of our social lives and communities.
Unfortunately, even despite a recent economic "tailwind", many clubs are struggling with declining golf participation and increasing operational costs.
For this reason, in the coming weeks, John and I will be formally launching KPI Golf Management together. Our mission is to help underperforming golf courses win.
In this chat, John shares some specific strategies to help food and beverage operations, procurement processes, financial auditing, marketing, and instruction.
A Golf Clinic for Elite Junior Players
This clip is part of a private clinic that was conducted for 1 hour and 20 minutes for elite junior golfers.
I felt so lucky to be a part of listening to Nick Faldo talking about real competitive topics, tournament preparations, practice methods...rather than the watered-down version for large audiences of general public.
He made a point to mention earlier in the session that playing tournament golf is an entirely different sport than casual golf...requiring different approaches.
Note: There's a little bit of wind noise in the audio file, but my opinion is that it's well worth it!
Takeaway: Rely on Facts
The theme of this session from Nick was to rely on factual data rather than feelings and opinions.
Top players all benchmark distances on their wedges especially - 20, 30, 40 yard shots up to whatever the full swing would be with each club. There are multiple swings, clubs and shots for each yardage.
He subscribes to the "clock face" method of calibrating swing length and shot carry distance.
Super cool to hear it all from a former world #1 player and 6-time major championship winner.
Do it in Practice Before Bringing it to the Golf Course
We know that opening the club face will yield a slice, and closing the face will hook the ball...but how much?
I feel it's super important to fall back on a game plan, or at least to have practiced the shots before you deploy them on the golf course. I totally get that nobody has time to invest 8 hrs a day to hit every possible shot, but here's what I mean.
We need to learn (by hitting a few shots in practice) about what the ball tends to do under certain circumstances...so that we can be more confident hitting the same shots on the golf course.
Simple Benchmarking Really Helps
What does "opening the club face" mean? Is is 5 degrees? 10 deg? 45?
Here's what I do to make it consistent, or to benchmark my setup:
Hold the club directly in front of you in the playing position, equidistant from each of your feet.
Turn the club in your hands until the grooves of the club point to your left toe (or your right toe for a hook).
Take your grip.
That's my benchmark slice and hook position - super simple
Calibrating the Curve and Other Things
Next time you're on the range with a little time, set up an alignment stick toward a target in the middle of the range.
Grab your 7-iron with the club face in the benchmarked slice position.
Set up to the target and hit 4-5 shots with your open club face. We know the ball will curve to the right. The key is to observe where the ball starts, where it finishes, how high it goes, how far it goes, if it tends to run out when it lands, etc.
Do the same for the hook position with your 7-iron and note the differences. The ball should go lower, farther, and run out more when it lands. Valuable info to have.
Experiment with Every Golf Club in your Bag
Do this with every club in your bag. You'll note that the longer clubs (i.e., driver, woods, long irons) react differently than the shorter clubs. Clubs with less loft will probably curve more than the short ones...but everyone is different.
This is an incredible exercise to get to know your tendencies and to learn all the different shots you're capable of hitting.
Data-Driven Decisions in Athletics
Today, I'm talking with Casey Cox at Sports Science Solutions about the absolute cutting edge of using biomechanics data in sports.
Now, I know what you're thinking - high-tech diodes, bones and muscles, it's all too technical for me.
But, that's the coolest part. While these guys are using data for elite golfers and hockey players, they're also doing incredible things to dummy it all down for the average guy.
This conversation really took me off guard in a good way, mostly because I admittedly don't know much at all about biomechanics. As you probably know by now, my teaching style is way on the other end of the spectrum with an emphasis on simplicity.
They've got labs at their facilities, but they can also hook you up and measure what you're doing while you're in the wild - meaning you're actually out playing your sport and doing what you do.
Casey talks about the details of how their solutions are helping people prevent injuries and optimize their athletic performance. They're working with NHL hockey players and teams, golfers, and other athletes.
I was really surprised to hear how intuitive it was for the users to make immediate improvements in their technique. Normally this kind of high-tech stuff is reserved for the science geeks, but he gives a bunch of great examples of how hockey players and golfers have deployed changes in minutes achieving almost instantaneous benefit.
These guys are dealing with elite athletes on an individual basis or entire teams and large groups of people all at once. The data that they are collecting is allowing coaches, trainers and the athletes themselves to make more informed decisions and to accelerate faster to peak performance or greater longevity.
I'm now convinced that this is absolutely where the industry is headed.
After you hear the episode, if you've got specific questions for Casey or would like to learn more about his work, here's how you can reach out:
Call: (207) 423-8274
Email Casey Cox Directly: email@example.com
I Believe that Traditional Golf Lessons are Best for the Instructor, not the Student.
Learning to play golf is a lot like learning a language. Everyone is bad in the beginning, and the the benefits you derive are directly proportionate to the efficiency of the work you put in. That’s fancy talk for “you can’t fake it”.
So, I can speak a bit of German. I’ve learned bits and pieces over time talking at home (my wife is German and she speaks to our kids) and spending 2 months in Germany every summer.
Here’ the thing. My last day in Germany every year is 100 times better than the first. I’m immersed in the culture and my vocabulary and pronunciation improves dramatically…every year.
Then I come home, forget everything I learned and fall back to where I was.
Over time, my German has plateaued. I get good in the summer, neglect it for 10 months, and fall back to where I was. In the aggregate, I’m not getting much stronger.
Here's how old school, traditional golf lessons work.
We take a 1-hour lesson, gain some knowledge, inspiration, invest some practiced with a trained eye.
Lessons are spread out weeks/months apart (mostly because you got lots of info, and paid lots of money)
We don’t practice as much as we should in between sessions, and fall backwards. Then repeat.
I’m not suggesting that you don’t take lessons or not to spend money on instruction. I’m saying that you should take the time and money you would be spending and spread it out over as much time as possible.
Rather than one 1-hour lesson per month, go to your instructor and request weekly 15-minute sessions instead.
Watch what happens over the course of a few months or your golfing season.
My Parents are the Best Humans in the World
This is a segment of a keynote presentation I did at Golf Academy of America in Orlando. I talk about a phase of my college and amateur golf career where I had a debilitating bout with the putting yips.
I told my dad over a pizza that I was going to quit golf forever.
For context, quitting golf for me at that time was not really feasible.
I had earned a golf scholarship at Florida Southern College - by the way we won the Division II NCAA National Championship that year. I was also the defending champion of the Maine State Amateur...at the age of 19. There were a ton of expectations around my golf...my life was all about golf.
My parents matter in this equation for one simple reason - they were cool with what I wanted to do. That's it.
No convincing. No discussions on the costs of my education. No chats about what all their friends at our home club would think.
It was cool either way. I had support.
Fast forward the tape 4 years to me wiping my face full of tears, thinking of that slice of pizza with my dad, standing with my brother Jake on the 1st tee at Shinnecock Hills in the US Open Championship.
Cheers my friends.
Scrambles are a Whole Different Animal - You Can Cheat!
So, I'm teeing it up in a scramble golf tournament tomorrow. I wanted to share some thoughts, especially for beginners on how to navigate your day and have a great time.
First rule is to inoculate the group. Here's what I mean. Don't act like a rock star if you aren't one...they'll all see right through you. Better to own your "beginner-ness" and bring value to the group in some strategic ways.
Second rule is that certain kinds of cheating is allowed. Bring all the clubs you want. Change out balls for distance and feel. If you hit a shit shot, pick it up and nobody cares.
If you're a Beginner, Don't Worry About the Long Ball
The long ball isn't the way you're likely going to bring value. In fact, as the day goes on, it's totally cool if you don't even bother to hit your tee shot if there's already someone out there in perfect position. Here's a quick driver tutorial if you need one...as well as my latest driver podcast rant.
Laser Focus on the Short Game
The short game - putting and chipping is where you've got your best shot to be the hero. Roll one in the hole from 20 feet and you'll bring a roar from the gallery, high fives and laughs for the whole day.
Reverse engineering, when you get to the golf course, don't spend the whole warmup time on the range. Hit a few balls, but go to the putting green and hone your putting and chipping skills. Let the big boys handle the long ball...short game is your best chance to contribute.
And as a last Resort...
Depending on the group and the game, think about some other things you can bring along to deliver value. Here's a quick list:
• Music (speaker and phone)
• Funny clothes
• Extra clubs - there's no 14 club limit in a scramble
Just be yourself, be humble, and you'll have the time of your life.
Big-Time Misconceptions about Sidehill Lies
After you’ve been playing golf for some time, you’re bound to hear this rule of thumb:
If the ball is below your feet, play for a slice. If the ball’s above your feet, play for a hook.
Well, that statement is only half true. Literally.
Ball Above Your Feet: Play for a Hook
In the case where the ball is above your feet, it will indeed tend to hook. That’s because when you set up the club with the toe of the club higher than the heel, the club face itself does actually point to the left. Try it by imagining hitting a shot with your sand wedge with the ball waist high. The club face is “looking” well to the left.
Now, try that same imaginary shot with your 3-iron. You should notice that the face isn’t pointing as much to the left. So, the degree that we account for the hook depends on the loft of the club we’re using AND the severity of the slope we’re talking about.
In practice, find a side slope and hit some shots with different clubs. Use an alignment stick to make sure you’re aiming in the exact direction you think you’re aiming. Take note of how much hook you can expect with each club. It’ll be different as you progress through the bag.
Ball Below Your Feet: Play it Straight
On the other side, when the ball is below your feet, the converse is not true. You can play these shots straight away without accounting for a slice. This is because even on the most severe sideslips, you’ll never address the ball with the toe of the club lower than the heel of the club. You might flex your knees in the address position, but you won’t tilt the club up to the extent that it’ll affect ball flight. Play it straight!
So, the old rule is misleading many golfers for exactly half the sidehill shots they hit. Hope that helps you!
Look for Feedback Every Time You Practice
Here's your hour of practice broken down for you.
We're starting off on the range with a great drill to help your arms stay connected with your body as you rotate. We run into a lot of problems when we lift our arms away from the body during the swing. Start off with some short swings with a towel stretched across your chest, held under both arms. Try to make small 9:00 swings without losing either end of the towel in the backswing or the follow through.
This drill does a great job of giving you the feeling of staying connected. Do the drill at home in your spare time as well.
Next, we're going to experiment with hitting shots of different trajectories. Use an alignment stick on the range to ensure that we're aiming in the exact direction that we think we're aiming. Always be very diligent with your setup and club face. Start with your sand wedge and hit a normal shot at the target. Next, with the same club, try to hit one low at the target. Then, hit one high. Do this for each club in your bag...or skip clubs if you prefer.
Try to notice what your tendencies are. Perhaps when you try to hit the high shot, the ball tends to hook...or when you hit the low one, it tends to go out to the right. This is really helpful information when you get onto the golf course. When there's trouble left, you can use the shot that you know won't hook the ball.
Then we're heading over to the bunker to work on the standard bunker shot for 10 minutes. Lay the club open so that the grooves are pointed at your left toe. Simple 9:00 swings will do the trick.
Finishing on the putting green, use your alignment stick with a perfectly straight 4-5 foot putt. With the help for alignment, make sure that your putter face is square to the target, as well as all your body lines and shoulders. Make smooth strokes, trying to hole 25 consecutively...or pick a number in line with your experience level.
One of my strongest presentations to date. Lots of continuing dialogue and positive feedback from the audience on this one...Here's my keynote speech at The Golf Academy of America’s Orlando Campus. The talk is geared for the students (all ages) at the school getting educated on careers in the golf industry - golf instruction, golf operations, tournament play, and golf management.
The first 20 minutes is mostly my personal background and stories - growing up in Maine, how I got into golf, and the work that I put into my game. Also, how I was able to raise some money to play on the Canadian PGA Tour, qualify for the US Open, and make a cut to earn a check on the PGA Tour.
In November of 2009, my life changed course dramatically. I moved away from traditional golf operations at green grass facilities. That's when I began building a personal brand and startup companies for myself - which would never have worked without my time in the "trenches" as a practitioner in the biz...executing and empathizing . I believe strongly that the future will place enormous importance on personal brand and an online presence in particular.
I then get into statistics and outlook on the golf industry and where my partner John Brown and I see things heading. With our new venture, KPI Golf Management, we're aiming to help underperforming golf courses turn around their operations and fight for their existence.
I touch on how to deep dive into club budgets through detailed financial auditing as well as procurement strategies that deliver quick wins for facilities.
There are a variety of strategies we'll deploy to help us accomplish this. All of which are taking into account overall macroeconomic trends (we've been riding a huge tailwind in recent years) as well as generational shifts in the game (baby boomers are playing more than half of overall rounds).
John and I believe that the traditional method of structuring golf instruction is broken. The way the lessons have been delivered over the years have been designed to serve the instructor first, not the student or the facility.
I explain why we believe that golf lessons should be offered for FREE. Lessons are the ultimate gateway drug for newcomers to the game, as well as an incredible means of retaining older golfers longer before they age out of the system.
I also tell a few stories about my playing experiences in the US Open, and inform the group of my 6-year mission to earn a round of golf with Gary Vaynerchuk in New York...
This episode is all about bunker play. In basic terms, we handle bunker shots a lot like pitch shots, but there are a few important variables we'll need to learn to account for.
First, everything is determined by the lie. Learning to assess what you're capable of from different lies comes with practice and simple trial and error.
If the ball is sitting down, we need the club to dig into the sand. If we've got a good lie, we'll want the club to slide into the sand.
Digging: We need the club to do more digging when the ball is sitting down.
Sliding: We need the club to avoid digging when we're in soft sand.
Bounce angle is part of the anatomy of a sand wedge where the leading edge of the club is raised off the ground. We can moderate bounce by opening or closing the face.
Open Club Face: More bounce, less digging, soft sand, good lies.
Square Club Face: Less bounce, more digging, hard sand, poor lies
I like the comparison of a peeler taking the skin off of a carrot - we don't want the club to dig so much that it stops dead. Conversely, we also don't want the club bouncing off the sand, or the peeler failing to grab any skin at all.
My bunker line drill is a great way to practice and learn about how consistent you are with impacting the sand (or turf).
Practicing by setting up square to a target, opening the club face, and hitting a few shots will reveal how far to the right the ball tends to come out. Transposing that angle to the other side...meaning aiming that much to the left will mean the ball comes out at the flag.
Here's your 1-hour practice blueprint for the day. The goal is to make best use of the limited time you have at the course. Here's what we're doing:
1. Ladder Drill (15 mins) - Short and mid-length putting with variability in distance. The game adds in some degree of pressure and challenge to keep it interesting. This is a great game to play with your buddies. Use one golf ball, hitting only one putt at a time with focus. Over time, if you set the drill up with the same distance increments, it'll serve as somewhat of a benchmarking tool for how your putting is improving.
2. Basic Up and Down Game (15 mins) - Play 9 or 18 holes of simple up and downs. Grab your 7-iron, your putter and one ball. Choose a different starting point and different hole each time. Mix up the distances, but keep them realistic. We're trying to work on the common chips and putts we're going to have on the course. Shoot even par and you're in great shape.
3. Alignment and Stance (30 mins) - On the range, we're working on ensuring that we're actually aiming where we think we're aiming. Be precise. Lay down a club parallel to your target line as a guide, then work your way from your wedges, to mid-irons, long iron, woods, then back again. We need to set up the same way every time if we plan on hitting consistent shots every time.
Enjoy...reach out if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Today we hear from Carson in Rochester, New York. He's a 13-year old who's been playing golf for a couple years. As he's moving into junior tournament play, his questions and maturity are off the charts.
• Judging and handling tough lies around the green
• Self awareness
• Practice habits
• Strategies for handling tournament pressure
• Aggressive vs. conservative play
• Distance wedges: Feel vs. Numbers approach
• Launch monitors and carry distances
• Making the most of your time indoors during the off season
If you want to be on a show or you have questions, hit me up on social media or shoot me an email at email@example.com
Cy Cyr has arguably become one of the world's top golf photographers...and we've know each other since we were 5 living in Maine. I wanted to know how I can be taking better pictures with my phone...and he didn't disappoint. Cy's been in the room with everyone in golf - Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Rory McIlroy...you get the idea. He shoots for Golf Channel, Golf Digest and others...so he knows his stuff.
In this episode, Cy shares some great stories through his career with the likes of Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus. I pick his brain a little bit to help the rest of us pull off some better photos at our family functions, friends, golf swings, and other stuff.
Cy also recommends a couple free phone apps that he uses to enhance his photos before publishing.
Check out Cy's work at cycyr.com.
His work in corporate & portrait photography, golf course photography, product photography, and his portfolio of famous athletes he's worked with is stunning.
In particular, I love his night photography work. He's been out to golf courses like Pebble Beach, Hazeltine and Royal Troon in the middle of the night to produce some stunning stuff.
This wedge play technique changed my golf life.
I was able to turn an absolute fear of 30, 50, 60 yard wedge shots into a strength of my game. These shots require a special approach that brings distance control and consistent impact with the golf ball every time. I'm super passionate about this part of the game, and I think this lesson is one that's going to help every single player out there.
In this episode, I start things out with some data to help convince you this is an area of the game that you really need to focus on. Dave Pelz figured out some important things using the scientific process - that these shots are the biggest correlation to money earned on the PGA Tour and they require their own kind of technique.
For me personally, I absolutely feared these shots for a very long time - to the point of nearly quitting golf. Once I figured a way to make consistent contact and control the distance of these shots, wedge play became the hallmark of my game.
The golf swing has many different sources of power - weight shift, body turn, coil, release of the club, hand action, etc. To control distance, we want to soften things up and limit our power to a single source. When we do this well, we're able to calibrate distance and make some great things happen around the greens.
I'll fill you in on setup and swing technique to get you started in the right direction.
• Narrow stance
• Noodle arms
• Your unique rhythm
• Rotate without coil
• Maintain soft pressure throughout
• Ball comes off like a marshmallow
• Consistent impact every time
This technique is the absolute foundation of so many things we're going to talk about around the greens - pitching, bunker play, and even chipping.
Listen in and get in touch if you've got questions.
Anyone looking to get their kids into golf, this episode is for you. We're talking with Brendon R. Elliott, PGA founder of Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf in Central Florida.
Brendon is the National PGA Award winner for Junior Golf Development in 2017...out of 28,000 professionals, he's the man when it comes to kids learning how to play golf.
I learned this concept from the great Dave Pelz - Better shot selection in terms of where you’re choosing to land the ball will improve your chances of success. Always try to land pitch shots into troughs and avoid hills...here's why.
Probably the most common question that I haven't gotten to yet. Here's an easy way to think about your golf swing setup and how far from the ball you should be standing. It's super important to nail this down every time if you're going to be consistent.
Here's your hour of practice time broken down into drills and an approach that I think will be super helpful for your game. We're mixing it up with the full swing, starting in on calibrating wedge distances, and giving you some putting challenges to keep things interesting.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Here's what you need to know about driving the ball like a champ. There are some tendencies that we all fall into that'll sabotage our chances for success. An easy pre-swing checklist usually does the trick.
Physics don't lie. The ball goes where it goes for a reason. In this episode, we're reverse engineering impact and how the ball behaves. Where does it start? Is is curving? Are your misses mostly right or left? What do your divots look like? It all tells a story...and once you know how to read, you'll be armed to fix yourself and improve faster.
There are only 2 factors that determine the direction that the golf ball flies - swing path and club face angle. For most full shots, where the club face is "looking" is by far the most important. So, how do you better control the face, and by rule, the direction that the ball travels? Get ready for an easily deployed deep dive into your hand placement on the club.
If you're thinking of about playing golf, or investing some energy into getting better...especially as a 20 or 30-something, I'm gonna try to convince you. There's a one-time opportunity to tap into golf largest of all time attention "land grab". 60% of golfers are baby boomers who are wrapping up their careers or running companies...golf is your chance to get into the room with them.
Golf Essentials is Casey Bourque's way of meeting you where you are with a "tell it like it is" methodology for feeling better about playing golf - answering all your questions, live Q&A sessions, practice planning, drills, tips, and insights to make the best use of the limited time you have at the course.
Casey explains the approach and principles that took him from a small town in Maine to playing in the US Open Championship