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Dave's Daily Tip:      4/19/2015

The grip recommended for all finesse shots – chips, pitches, distance wedges, and sand – starts with your hands in a square position, and keeps them there through impact. A neutral grip will help you significantly to move your hands, wrists, arms, and body in the best-synchronized motion, so you can hit a high soft straight shot. Most people call this a fairly weak grip: The V’s formed by the thumb and forefingers should point to the center or left (nearer the target) side of your chin with the palms parallel to each other and perpendicular to the target line.

Read more about this in Dave Pelz's Short Game Bible, Chapter 4.

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What do YOU Want to Improve Most in Your Game?

In speaking with many of our students recently, we’re reminded that every golfer has his own set of goals and needs for improvement. In the past few days, we’ve heard from folks who are “clueless about green-reading”, worried they might have the chip yips and some who are ready to start hitting wedge approaches to “kick-in” range. Three of them would like to win The Masters this week... We all have something in our short game and putting that could be better. What are your goals right now? Email us at askpelz.com and let us know what Short Game and Putting goals you would like to achieve in 2015.

If you have any questions or need any support with your game, don’t hesitate to reach out. We look forward to seeing many of you at an upcoming School or Clinic session.

Why You Need a “Finesse” Swing

Do you use the same swing for your driver that you use for, say, a 40-yard wedge shot? I'm not talking about the size of the swing and its energy and intensity -- these factors change as you move from full swings to half-wedges. I'm talking about mechanics. In other words, do you see your 40-yard swing as a "knock-down" copy of your driver motion, or a motion that's completely different? Most weekend players are "one-swing" golfers. They hit 5-irons using miniature versions of their driver swing, knock half-wedges with small 5-iron swings, and roll putts as if they're mini-chips. Unfortunately, adhering to the one-swing theory limits your expertise to only one area.

My research shows that you need three swings to go low: a "stroke" for putting, a "finesse" motion for your short game, and a "power" swing to blast the ball as far as you can on full shots. Intuitively, you've probably learned that good putting is all shoulders, arms and hands but no body. And as for your power move, I'll bet you understand the need to coil your upper body against the resistance of your lower during your backswing—something you'd never do on the green.

That means you've got two swings down. What about the third? Here's where the lines are blurred, which is why your short game suffers. Half-wedges, chips and pitches require more movement than a putting stroke but zero coil. Why? Coil creates power, and you don't need power from short range. You need control. You get it by making a shorter, rhythmic, synchronized backswing. The photo at the far right shows me at the top on a 40-yard pitch. Notice how I've rotated my shoulders and hips together—I don't need any resistance (or energy storage) between my upper and lower body. This is ideal—and completely different from your power swing. At the range, practice these two motions based on the type of shot you're trying to pull off:

THE POWER SWING: Keep your hips and lower body motionless while turning your shoulders and swinging your arms and the club in slow motion to the top of your backswing. Hold for a count so you can sense the coil -- and energy storage -- between your upper and lower body. Now rotate your hips toward the target in slow motion and pull your upper body along through impact.

THE FINESSE SWING: Rotate your hips and shoulders together. Do it in slow motion, stopping about halfway back. Then rotate everything through impact at the same time and at the same speed until you reach the finish. You shouldn't feel any coil between your upper and lower body at any point in your motion.

Once you learn the difference between power and finesse, there's nothing the course can throw at you that you can't handle. And with these two swings down cold -- along with a good putting stroke -- you'll become a complete player. That's when golf gets really fun!

Watch a Dave Pelz instructional tip from his Cleveland Golf “Pelz Corner” series. Dave discusses Distance Control in this video:

Play the Best Golf of Your Life:
Join Us at a Spring or Summer School

What matters most to us? Improving your scores and enjoyment of the game! Our staff spends every day working with golfers to turn their plans and goals into proven abilities that foster a lifetime of lower scores. We strive to make every golfer’s golf experience rewarding, fun and keenly targeted on serious improvement. Make 2015 your best year in golf. Get the most out of the game: have the most fun, hit your best shots and shoot your best scores!

If you’re not playing to your peak potential, visit an upcoming school and our expert staff will help you discover the best route to lasting improvement. Golfers lose 80 percent of their shots to par inside of 100 yards. If we can get you playing better chips, putts, pitches, sand and wedge shots, your scores will certainly improve. “If you’re playing better and your scores are improving, the game is fun,” says Dave Pelz. “We focus on the shots that most affect your scores because we know your scores will improve if your shot patterns improve in this critical scoring zone.”

Join us at an
upcoming school in Florida, Georgia, California, New York, Maryland or Michigan. We’re ready to help you learn the short game and putting skills that bring confidence, consistency and skill to your game. Sign up today for Three Days That Will Change Your Game Forever.

Click here to learn about our “Bring a Friend” discount for three-day school enrollees.

Click here to see our full offering of upcoming schools, including:

Cimarron Golf Resort, Palm Springs, CA
Boca Raton Resort & Club, Boca Raton, FL
PGA National Resort & Spa, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Chateau Elan Winery & Resort, Atlanta, GA
Chardonnay Golf Club, Napa, CA
Centennial Golf Club, New York, NY
The HomesteadTraverse City, MI
Pronghorn Resort, Bend, OR
Strawberry Farms Golf Club, Newport Beach, CA
La Cantera Hill Country Resort, San Antonio, TX

PELZ Corner Returns on ClevelandGolf.com

Season Two of Dave Pelz’s series of video instruction tips called Pelz Corner just debuted on Cleveland Golf’s web site. The Pelz Corner greeting reads: “Here you'll learn all aspects of the game from 125 yards and in. From golf tips to short game technology, Dave Pelz will provide you with instruction and insight geared towards improving your game. Enjoy.”

Check out the first video of the season, “Hold Your Finish for Better Putting.”

In Season...
Napa Schools Return
to Scenic Chardonnay Golf Club

If you’re looking for an exceptional golf getaway, join us in May in California's sensational Wine Country. Chardonnay Golf Club in Napa Valley, Calif. is an incredible and unique golf property and an ideal location for Dave Pelz Scoring School sessions. May 15 - 23 is an incredible time to visit the Wine Country and to enjoy a one of a kind golf trip in incomparable Napa Valley. Sign up for a school or clinic at Chardonnay today!

Join us at Chardonnay, a very special golf club set in the incomparable hills of Napa Valley. With scenic holes meandering through more than 150 acres of vineyards, Chardonnay is a secluded “pure golf” property featuring numerous serene lakes and creek crossings. Several areas of the property are designed as wildlife preserves and are dedicated to maintaining wildlife habitat among the vineyards and fairways.

Located Southeast of the city of Napa, at the gateway to the world-renowned Napa Valley wine district, Chardonnay is truly a one-of-a-kind Wine Country setting. Read more about this exclusive school location here.

Your Sidesaddle Opinions Are Strong

Last month we asked readers if they would ever try the Sidesaddle putting style. Here’s a small sample of your responses:

I stopped playing golf a few years ago due to a serious injury. I have attended the Pelz short game clinic twice but ultimately switched to side saddle putting. I actually had finished a putting lesson at my club when I told my teaching pro that the few times I putted side saddle I was more effective--and I showed him by placing a ball down and sinking a 30 footer and he told me to stick with side saddle. When I did play, I was much better on putts under 15 feet by putting side saddle.

I, myself, have not tried sidesaddle putting. But, my younger brother has and uses it to this very day. After reading the book "Seven Days in Utopia" I thought that my brother could benefit from this technique given that his putting was, well, not the best. Well, he read the book, bought a sidesaddle putter and off to the practice green he went. Well, let me tell you, his putting improved dramatically. I kid you not. Although he doesn't make every putt, his line and lag have improved 10 fold. I've always told him to just think about having a ball in his hand and how he would naturally roll it to the target. The sidesaddle putting technique really improved his touch on the greens.

Why not sidesaddle. It's a very natural feeling motion. I've experimented with it - even used it for a few rounds. My experience was is that it's a very comfortable way to putt. Distance control is easier (like rolling a ball towards the cup). Facing the target (squaring up) is an athletic posture that offers a natural (and tremendous!) view of the line. If equipment manufacturers start offering more putters designs specifically targeted for sidesaddle putting - I believe it will help most people willing to buy into the concept. For me, it's a much more natural feel than the belly/long putter concept. If it were within the rules to design a "chipper" designed for sidesaddle - I'd try that too!

If someone wants to putt side saddle, I have no problem with that. I believe that the biggest problem with the Sidesaddle would be getting your eye on line to the target, but if you pick out a intermediate target 3-6 inches from the ball, that might not be a problem. I prefer to use a shorter putter and get my eyes out over the ball. I believe you get a better sense for the distance or how hard to hit the ball when your eyes are over the ball.

I developed huge fear of the 4 foot putt several years ago. For the last 3 years I have putted Sidesaddle from 4-5 feet in on every putt that means something. I get called " not serious", cheater, but I make a large majority of them. I don't feel it helps on putts longer than that. I guess if I practice the sidesaddle I will be making much more than most of them. What it does mostly is give you a vision of the ball and the hole together. What an advantage.

Thank you for bringing this up. I have sent the picture to everyone who has made fun of my putting. I am legit again. If it matters, I am an 6.9 exact.

The SYNLawn Advantage

A recent article on GOLF.com features the relationship Dave and Eddie Pelz have forged with SYNLawn Golf and how, together, the two brand have revolutionized the arena of backyard golf practice:

Dave Pelz’s backyard short-game playground is well-known in the world of golf. It has a level of prominence that only makes sense for the backyard of the man who authored The Short Game Bible. What isn’t well known, however, is how Pelz assembled his distinctive backyard.

There’s a company behind the grandeur: SYNLawn. Back in the summer of 2008, Pelz was looking for a turf company to purchase the most realistic turf he could find. He had already been affiliated with other synthetic turf companies. So he called SYNLawn for the job.

SYNLawn, which can be found in all 50 states as well as Canada, specializes in outdoor turf, landscape and playground surfaces with a successful golf branch. That’s why Pelz was interested. The turf led to building one green, which led to another and another and then many surrounding areas of fringe, fairway, and first-cut lengths of turf.

“It took months, maybe even a year,” says John Knox, manager of the SYNLawn golf brand. “They had to do some demolition back there...we moved a lot of dirt back there. Dave has some intricate designs that we don’t normally do.”

But SYNLawn made it work for Pelz, and now 100 percent of his backyard is SYNLawn products, even the sand seen in the bunkers.

Pelz's backyard is unique and far from the normal SYNLawn project. The typical job is a 1,000 square-foot green, which costs between $13,000 and $17,000. The price depends on specifics in design like humps, bunkers, fringe locations, etc. -- many adjustments that allow the owner creativity for however he or she wishes to transform their lot.

Watch a video of Dave describing his relationship with SYNLawn and the evolution of the “World’s Greatest Backyard.”:

“We go there, physically take the measurements and look at integrating the putting green into the design of the backyard,” Knox said. “If [the customer] wants a hump, or if they want a tier, these are various things we build into the base.”

That base is made of stone, and requires a specific level of excavation to drain precipitation correctly. Depending on the region -- the level of digging depends on the frost line -- there is a day of excavation and initial laying of the stone work. It will take one more day to finish the stonework before a final day of laying the turf in place.

In just a few days, a typical backyard can become a golf refuge. From there, maintenance is minimal. Knox says the leaf blower that already owns a place in the garage is all that’s needed to clean the turf. Any precipitation flows through pores in the turf and through the stone as well. Anything left on the turf is then blown away to keep the green clean.

“If leaves get on it, blow it off,” he says. “Literally that’s it.”

Nowadays, Pelz is not only an ambassador of the turf product but also a partner of the company. (His son now runs SYNLawn distribution in Austin, Texas.) Pelz even created a product of his own to layer beneath the turf to make the greens more receptive -- and act more similar to actual soil -- for longer-range approach shots.

His addition isn’t for everyone -- admittedly, not all SYNLawn clients have as much area as Pelz had to work with -- but the idea of a backyard green is catching on with others.

Just last week, a well-known golfer called in and eventually wrote a $70,000 check. It was six-time major champion Tom Watson.

Watch the video tour of Dave Pelz's backyard golf paradise here:

Putting Tutor More Popular Than Ever

Hardly a business day goes by without our staff being asked about the Putting Tutor. A number of high-profile (and successful) players on the PGA and European Tours use the device regularly and many are seen with it on Golf Channel’s “On the Range” segments.

The Putting Tutor helps golfers improve their aim while groove a pure putting stroke with no excessive rotation or opening or closing of the club face. Additionally, the Putting Tutor helps golfers improve their greenreading skills. If you’re making a pure stroke that allows the golf ball to pass through the Tutor’s marble gates (without dislodging any) and the putt rolls on your intended line, you will see how well you read your putt and how well you controlled the putt’s speed. Once your stroke is solid, you simply adjust your aim and work on playing the right amount of break and making the putt at the proper speed.

Watch this video with co-developers Phil Mickelson and Dave Pelz to see the Putting Tutor in action. If you’re ready to try this groundbreaking learning aid, order yours here.

Pelz Students Deserve Special Treatment:

Our three day schools are hosted at some of the finest golf resort’s in the country. Check out some exclusive package offers currently available if you book your school visit soon. It’s always a great idea to extend your stay and get in some rounds of golf at these awesome locales:

Uniquely Boca Inclusive Package from $349 per night

Experience the best of everything the Resort has to offer with this incredible inclusive package; the activities are endless and the savings are unprecedented. Ideal for a family staycation or even just a romantic evening away.

Uniquely Boca Package Includes: Parking, Breakfast, Late checkout, Inclusive of resort fee, 25% Off Golf Greens Fees (excluding cart), 25% Off treatments at Spa Palazzo, 25% Off Tennis Court Time, 25% Off Camp Boca. Click here for more information.

The Gold Golf Package provides the perfect South Florida golf vacation with options for players of all skill levels at an incredible savings. The Gold Package includes the choice of one round per person each day at the newly updated Palmer course, or The Haig, Squire, or Estates courses. Advance tee times are recommended.

PGA Gold Golf PACKAGE INCLUDES: 1 round per person per day at The Palmer, Haig, Squire, or Estates course, Upgrades available to The Champion course for a surcharge, Nightly deluxe accommodations in a standard hotel room with private balcony or terrace, Daily breakfast buffet per person, Complimentary bag storage, Complimentary unlimited practice balls during stay. Click here for more information.

A deluxe overnight room in the Inn at Château Élan, two rounds of golf plus cart and range balls on the Château course or Woodlands course and breakfast for two the following morning in the Versailles Restaurant or Golf Grille. Tee times are recommended at the time of booking. Click here for more information.

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