Driver v’s 3 Wood   We all love to hit the driver, well I have some GREAT NEWS for driver lovers. Although quite often you are recommended not to hit the driver from the tee, Data from 30 million shots by Shotscope users shows that we may as well hit the driver off the tee after all!! Accuracy off the tee using DRIVER (% of fairways hit) 8 Handicap – 52% 14 Handicap – 46% 20 Handicap – 41%   Accuracy off the tee using 3 Wood 8 Handicap – 53% 14 Handicap – 48% 20 Handicap – 42% You can see from the above that on average you only gain 1-2% in accuracy in using a 3 Wood over a driver off the tee, but what about the difference in distance?   Distance off the tee with Driver (Average) 8 Handicap – 242 yards (+28 yards more than 3 Wood) 14 Handicap – 222 yards (+28 yards more than 3 Wood) 20 Handicap – 213 yards (+18 yards more than 3 Wood)   Distance off the tee with 3 Wood (Average) 8 Handicap – 214 yards 14 Handicap – 194 yards 20 Handicap – 195 yards So with nearly 30 yards extra distance with the driver, and only 1-2 % loss in accuracy over the 3 Wood, the stats suggest you pull out the driver and smash it down there!! I would still suggest you pick and choose which holes to pull out the big stick on, but if you are in doubt, maybe choose a club that almost guarantees you hit the fairway.Either a hybrid, or even an iron!
    LEAVING PUTTS SHORT You will have heard the saying “Never up, never in” before, but did you know that from 5 feet and longer, handicap golfers leave a staggering 84% SHORT!! That means the ball has ZERO chance of going in 84% of the time!! (Data taken from the Shotscope database of 30 million shots) There are a few reasons why we leave so many putts shorts – Poor strike. A ball struck from the heel/toe or bottom of the putter will not travel the same distance as one struck from the centre of the face, even with the same length and pace of stroke. This is often the case in higher handicap players. Lack of confidence. A fear of three putting, particularly on fast/slopey greens, gives a negative mind-set, leading to tension, which will give indifferent strokes.   The ideal pace of putt should take the ball 12-18 inches past the hole if it misses. The ball has the best chance of dropping at this speed, even if it’s not dead centre of the hole! Ways you can improve your distance control on the greens- Tee peg drill. Place a tee peg in the ground, either side of the putter head (heel and toe) Leave a small gap, with just enough room to move the putter back and through without hitting either tee peg. (Golf ball boxes can also be used instead of tees).If you avoid the tees, you will be striking from the centre of the putter face. Practice putting looking at the hole. Line the putter head up behind the ball as normal, then turn your head so you are looking at the hole as you make your stroke, like you would when bowling. This will improve your feel, and distance judgment. Place the flagstick, or a club on the ground 18 inches directly behind the hole. Try to get the ball past the hole, but not so far that you hit the flagstick/club. Let’s see if you can get the ball rolling at a better pace towards the hole? Please let me know how you get on after trying these drills…….I’m off for some indoor putting practice!!
How dirty are your grips? You all know by now that we offer a re-gripping service, and recommend you replace your grips once a year (or every 40-50 rounds) but how often do you clean them? You will be amazed how much dirt and grime comes out of the grips when washed.You should do this every 6-8 weeks. Grips are usually made of a rubber compound, and will deteriorate over time, but regular cleaning will have them feeling like new again, and prolong their life span. Most of us “Never have time”! but none of us have that excuse at the moment, so go grab your clubs and get cleaning!! Four easy steps, and using materials we all have in the house – 1. Fill the sink with hot water and add some washing liquid. 2. Scrub each grip with a firm brush. 3. Rinse off with clean water 4. Dry with a towel Once cleaned, feel how tacky they are again, and if not (Like in the last photo – either hard or shiny still) you know they need re-gripping! Clean grips feel like new grips!! ** DO NOT WASH “WINN DRI-TAC” OR MOST LARGER PUTTER GRIPS THAT HAVE A SOFT LEATHER FEEL TO THEM** Ready to clean Scrub with firm brush Rinse with clean water Dry with a towel Still look like this? -Time to re-grip!
  ⛳ Lockdown Learning- Day One Course Strategy – NOT TAKING ENOUGH CLUB As you can see from the image, when club golfers miss the green,on average, 80% of the time, they are short of the green!! That is a staggering number….you think you know how far you hit each club?? The main reason for this is not taking enough club. I always encourage players to take a club that with a good hit, will get you to the BACK of the green.Therefore a slight mishit should get you to the middle, and a bigger mishit, still on the front of the green! A poor strike is often a contributing factor, so taking an extra club will often help. Other factors to take into account- 1.Lack of commitment to the shot also comes into play. 2.The type of clubs you are using may not be helping you.A shiny chrome finished blade may look great in the bag, but a more forgiving cavity backed iron might be more suitable for your game. 3.With all of the technology in the game today, you can easily find out EXACTLY how far you hit each club, just ask me how! One final stat that backs up the recommendations, is that 72% of the trouble (sand/water) is placed at the front of the green, so with the other 28% behind the green, it’s often best to miss long! (All data taken from Shotscope-with over 30 million shots recorded) Take MORE Club, take LESS shots !!
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  Part 1. Does the way you think effect the way you play, oh yes it does! 1. Incorporate Visualisation Into Your Practice and On The Course:  If you think hard about the things we do each and every day, the simple, automatic things, our brains rehearse each action, through visualising it before it happens.For most things that are done without conscious thought, it happens so quickly, you don’t even realise its being done.Think about something new though, perhaps something that involves risk, you mentally rehearse it through visualisation first, a dry run, if you like.This is very powerful, and when used correctly, can make a huge difference to your performance in practice, and out on the course.   Look at some of the research carried out below, results are staggering! Visualisation has been thoroughly tested by many research facilities including Harvard University and Stanford University, and virtually all studies report improvements in performance. A study that was done in the 80’s with the Soviet Olympic Team preparing for the Games showed that the athletes that made the greatest improvements spent up to 75% of their time working on the mental aspects of their sports.  The least progress came from athletes that just focused on physical training. The researchers at the Olympic Training Centre in Colorado Springs,  put visualization to the test with 30 teenage golfers.  The 30 golfers were divided into 3 groups and were asked to practice their putting each day for a week.  The first group was instructed to practice physically putting the ball but without any visualization.  The second group was instructed to visualize sinking each putt just before putting.The third group was instructed to visualize before each shot, but instead of visualizing the ball going in the cup they were told to imagine the ball missing left, right, and coming up short.  The results after the week were incredible.  The First (physical practice) group improved by 11%.  The second (visualization group) that imagined the ball going in to the cup improved accuracy by 30%.  And for the group that visualized the ball coming up short, their accuracy declined 21%!! If you want to immediately perform better on the course then visualisation is a must.  Master it and watch your performance improve rapidly!
    The rulemakers of the game (R&A and USGA) have recently suggested that golf clubs around the world adopt “Ready Golf”. What is it ?, why you should embrace it, and other ways you can get around the golf course quicker and easier, making both your own, your playing partners, and others on the course, games more enjoyable! So what is “Ready Golf” in the eyes of the powers that be ? The name gives us a clue, but really means, even if is not your turn to play, and you are ready to play, then play! (as long as it is safe to do so) Current rules gives the player who scored lowest on the previous hole the “honour” of going first from the next tee, and after that, the player furthest from the hole has the right to play first. Please note these rules would not apply to a “Match Play” game, as the strategy involved would not allow it.  Under Ready Golf rules players are encouraged to – Hit a shot when safe to do so if a player farther away faces a challenging shot and is taking time to assess their options Shorter hitters playing first from the tee or fairway if longer hitters have to wait Hit a tee shot if the person with the honour is delayed in being ready to play Hit a shot before helping someone to look for a lost ball Putting out even if it means standing close to someone else’s line Hit a shot if a person who has just played from a greenside bunker is still farthest from the hole but is delayed due to raking the bunker When a player’s ball has gone over the back of a green, any player closer to the hole but chipping from the front of the green should play while the other player is having to walk to their ball and assess their shot Marking scores upon immediate arrival at the next tee, except that the first player to tee off marks their card immediately after teeing off These are all sensible suggestions, and personally I have always used these kind of strategies when playing socially, they are all common sense to me! I understand the rules and traditions of the game, but things have to change and develop for the game to progress! When accompanying golfers around the course (particularly beginners, but not limited to) I tend to see a lack of preparation, and thinking/planning for what lays ahead.Some of these things of course come with experience, and take a while to adopt or learn.One of the issues I see is that more experienced players generally don’t feel they are in a position to inform playing partners that have adopted bad habits on the course, or if they do, it’s done in the moment when they are frustrated, then often get taken the wrong way! There is no doubt I prefer to be “hands on” and out on the course with people to explain the hows and why’s of my suggestions below, but if just a few of you start to follow my ideas, then you will certainly benefit from them! The following suggestions will apply to most novices, but please, even if you are an experienced player,read on, you may learn something new, or I may have missed something very relevant! Before the round begins – Be prepared. Mark all of the balls in your bag with a unique mark (initials, face,) so you can easily identify your ball on the course. Ensure you have (in your RIGHT HAND pocket- for right hand players) plenty of Tee pegs, at least one ball marker, and a pitch mark repairer, NOTHING else! The reason for the right hand pocket is for easy access.Have you tried getting something out of your left pocket with your glove on ? if you have, you will know what I mean!! For ladies, who may not have pockets, just keep everything needed together, in a place easily accessible. Ensure that you have everything ready BEFORE you get to the first tee. On the course From the tee, play in order of hitting distance, shortest to longest.This applies to mixed games as well, allow the ladies in the group to go to their tee, and play, if it is safe to do so, then ladies, move to the side so you are safe before the men play.This of course would not apply if any of the ladies outdrive the men!                 Please learn how far you hit the ball.You should wait until the fairway/green is clear before playing, but when was the last time your driver went over 300 yards? or 5 iron carried 230 yards in the air? If you have hit your tee shot 120 yards, you won’t have to wait for the green to clear 280 yards away!  PAY ATTENTION to where ALL of the balls in your group are hit to ! Please, please,please, forget about the tee peg, and concentrate on the BALL.Tees cost cents, balls cost euros! (or pounds and pence as I know it !) Mark the spot in your mind where you think the balls went, then head to your ball (without walking ahead of partners balls unless it is safe to do so) Play your shot, then head over to help look for any lost balls. Think about your next shot before you arrive at the ball.Club selection, intended direction etc can be planned before you get there.Once you arrive, you can check the lie, adjust club if needed, then aim and fire! Leave your bag/trolley/buggy at a point closest to where you will exit towards the next tee, once the hole is completed, you can move swiftly on without delay. On and around the green If you take other club/s with you to chip or escape from a bunker, along with your putter, please only leave them in one place, ON THE FLAGSTICK.That way, if you forget, whoever puts the flag back in will pick it up.No more lost clubs, no more running back to the previous green in a panic! When you are playing social golf, agree at the start that all putts inside 12-18 inches will be “given” especially if it is your 7th or 8th shot! Pick your ball up, add a shot, and let the next player putt out. There are no doubt other pointers than could be suggested, but if you at least adopt the ideas here, it should ensure that you and your playing partners will have a more enjoyable game. If I have missed anything out, please get in touch.Your feedback is always welcome!   Happy Golfing Mario   Mario Luca PGA Golf City Sports
  Here is a statement that I hear all the time….. “I go to the range and practice twice a week, and I usually hit the ball pretty well, but then I play, and I am terrible! I just don’t understand it ?, I must just be a great range player, but can’t do it on the course!” Does this sound familiar ? If so, please read on……..   If you are anything like the average club/social player you believe that you should practice, as everyone tells you that you should, and you feel bad if you don’t get to the range to bash 60 balls before the next round. But are you practicing effectively ? Practice definitely does not make perfect, but it does help make permanent, so if you are practicing bad habits, then you are just ingraining them, not a great recipe for improvement! For me there are two main types of practice, BLOCK and RANDOM. BLOCK Practice 99% of golfers tend to block practice, which unless you are working on something specicfic, usually after a golf lesson, then it is not the best way to practice, in my opinion.Don’t get me wrong, if you are working on a new grip, posture, or on any part of the swing, which will have a direct influence on your ability to strike and/or control the golf ball, then block practice is very important, as long as you are focusing on the quality of the session, rather than quantity.Practice drills given by your coach are vital tools in understanding and feeling the new position/movement, and pressure free shots on the range are the way to work on that new action. The amount of coaching sessions I have taken midweek, having given the pupil one or two (maximum) key points to work on, then seeing the very same player trudging off the course at the weekend, scorecard in pieces, having played in the medal! If you have played this game for any length of time at all, you will have quickly realised that new learnings take TIME, and ideally should be developed in a pressure free way, where there is no end product to worry about (score) or any real consequences to hitting bad shots (lost balls etc..) This is when you should be BLOCK practicing, until you feel you can do what you need to the majority of the time, without too much thought.Then it is time to try things on the course! RANDOM Practice Lets compare a practice session to a round of golf, let’s see how similar they are….. Typical Practice session A few quick stretches (maybe!) A few gentle pitches 30 x 7 Iron shots 20 x Driver shots Maybe finish with a few more wedges A Typical round of Golf (Dependant on course played and skill level) Hole 1. Driver,wedge out the rough, 6 iron, bunker shot, putt, putt. Hole 2. Driver, Fairway wood, 9 iron, putt, putt, putt Hole 3. Hybrid, bunker shot, putt, putt. and so on throughout the rest of the round……. So these are pretty similar aren’t they ???? NO, THEY ARE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!!!! The next time you play a round on the course, do exactly what you do on the range!! You will see after hitting yout fifth pitching wedge down the first hole, that it won’t work! So, why practice in this way? It makes no sense. I recommend that if you only practice once or twice a week, particularly if you do not take lessons, then you MUST start RANDOM practice. Its always a good idea to warm up with some stretches (more details in later post) then play a round of golf on the range.Picture yourself playing your home course, or a favourite of yours, even play around Augusta National! Try not to hit the same club twice in a row, always pick a different target, and go through your usual pre-shot routine that you use on the course.If you hit a slice out to the right, which would have gone into the trees, play the next shot like you would have to, maybe a low chip out, or a big fade with a 5 iron….you get the idea.There is no right or wrong, you choose the shots, use your imagination. You will also find it will also make the session a lot more FUN, which isn’t it supposed to be fun?!! You are then lining up your practice sessions the same way you play on the course.It may not make you an Open champion, but you will slowy come away from being just a “Great range player” and start to see some improvement on the actual golf course! I hope this helps you with your game, any feedback is always appreciated, so please feel free to get in touch, Happy Golfing Mario Luca PGA Golf City Sports  
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