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An Online Tip From Dave Pelz
Learn the All-Important Lob Shot
A perfectly executed flop shot is a thing of beauty. But it's also a dangerous option, because you can catch it thin or heavy as easily as you can hit it flush, especially if your technique is rusty.
When I hit flops I always opt for a high-lofted wedge (usually my 588 Rotex II 64-degree model), and grip it with the face slightly open. I position the ball in the middle of my stance, aim slightly left of the target, and make a fuller-than-normal swing. This isn't complicated. It's mostly a matter of trust and, of course, practice.
If you're not hitting at least a dozen flop shots every time you visit the range, your technique is probably not ready for prime time. To know for sure, take the following test: Find a realistic flop-shot situation, something in the 20-yard range that requires you to carry an obstacle and gives you little room between the pin and the green's edge. You want a situation that looks something like the shot I'm facing in my backyard practice area in the photo on this page. Next, hit four flop shots straight at the pin, then hit four garden-variety pitches to the safest area of the green, alternating between flop and pitch with each ball. After hitting all eight balls, you'll know which shot more reliably gets you closer to your target. You'll also know if your flop shot is ready for the course. And there's one more benefit of this test: It lets you feel the difference between a regular pitch swing and a flop swing, improving your comfort level with the latter.
SOME NOTES ON LOFT
Chances are, you don't carry a 64-degree wedge, like I do. If that's true, you're doing yourself a big disfavor. I'm a huge fan of the 64-degree lobber. Think it's too much loft? Consider:
• Greens are only getting faster, and unless you can stop shots as quickly as a Tour player can—and how many of us are that good?—you'll need maximum height to keep the ball from rolling off the green and into trouble.
• Superintendents at Tour venues are being pressured to keep greens in better shape. To protect the putting surface, they're tucking pins near the edge more and more often. It's just a matter of time before this trend reaches your course. Your best defense? Pin-seeking shots that fly higher and land softer.
Hey, these are just the facts. So arm yourself. Higher wedge lofts can help your game, as I proved three decades ago by introducing 60-degree wedges. We all want higher pitches with less effort. Give a 64-degree wedge a shot. It'll save you strokes for years to come.
Watch this PELZ CORNER videro to learn more about hitting high-launching, soft-landing Lob Shots:
Play the Best Golf of Your Life:
Join Us at a 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 help 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, Oregon, 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:
Chateau Elan Winery & Resort, Atlanta, GA
Centennial Golf Club, New York, NY
The HomesteadTraverse City, MI
Pronghorn Resort, Bend, OR
Lansdowne Resort, Washington, DC
Strawberry Farms Golf Club, Newport Beach, CA
Boca Raton Resort & Club, Boca Raton, FL
PGA National Resort & Spa, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Catching Up With Dave Pelz
It’s been a busy summer so far for Dave Pelz. His itinerary has included two trips to Chambers Bay and a lot of hard work developing a new line of learning aids. Pelz and Phil Mickelson went on an early scouting mission to the U.S. Open venue to learn the slopes, speeds and nuances of the enigmatic first-time host of the national championship.
Social media caught wind of the trip when a local sports reporter made several live tweets from Chambers Bay. Mickelson started the Open strong, opening with a 69, but struggled to a T-64 at the challenging venue and told media he looks forward to contending at the British Open Championship in July, to be played at the Old Course at St. Andrews Links.
Pad 9-Hole Challenge
Dave Pelz also recently kicked off the Pelz Putting
Pad 9-Hole Challenge in the three Dallas-area PGA Tour Superstores. Anyone who wants to can come into a Dallas-area
PGA Tour Superstore and compete in a 9-Hole Putting Challenge on a platform designed by Dave Pelz for putting fun, improvement and competition.
Top qualifiers at each store may compete in an end-of-month Putting Challenge for prizes. Watch the video below to learn more about this exciting event.
Click here for full details on this promotion. Watch Dave Pelz’s invitation video below. He hope to see at a Dallas-area PGA TOUR Superstore.
ALTERNATIVE PUTTING: WHAT DO YOU THINK?
As you may know, Dave Pelz is no shy when it comes to experimenting. In a recent GOLF.com article, Dave discussed a number of non-anchored strokes TOUR professionals and amateurs could consider when the anchoring ban goes into effect in January 2016. “Just because the USGA has ruled against anchoring doesn't mean you have to toss your long putter in the bin. Use it as you normally would— just don't intentionally hold your top hand or the club against your chest, nor create an anchor point with your left forearm,” Pelz says.
Would you try one of these putting styles it helped your putting?
LONG PUTTER - Even though your fixed point is gone, you can still execute a reliable, straightback- and-through stroke using this technique.
SIDESADDLE - A surprising number of my students who try this method love it! One advantage is that it lets you look straight at the hole when you set up, making it easier to aim your putter.
FOREARM PRESS - This stroke requires a midlength putter and can be performed righthand low (photo, below left) or lefthand low. As you grip the club, press the top end of the grip against the inside of your left forearm, then secure it by clamping your right hand against the grip and your left arm. This establishes a legal, "below-the-elbow" fixed point. Matt Kuchar has been using a grip similar to this for several years, and he has seven PGA Tour titles to his name.
Exceptional Times and Views at The Homestead
You’re invited to very special Pelz school opportunity at an amazing summer destination. The Homestead on Lake Michigan showcases unmatched natural beauty in a mystically tranquil setting. The Leelanau Peninsula is blessed with sandy beaches, massive dunes, timbered ridges and pastoral farms surrounded by Lake Michigan’s impossibly clear waters.
These unique natural resources and breathtaking views led to the creation of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the National Park that now surrounds The Homestead, recently recognized again by the viewers of ABC’s Good Morning America as the “Most Beautiful Place in America”.
“The Homestead is a special place,” says Dave Pelz. “People who’ve been to Northern Michigan know it’s the ultimate golf vacation destination. The Homestead embodies everything that’s beautiful and fun about the region. The views of the dunes and the gorgeous lake, the terrific golf course at Manitou Passage and the perfect family resort and beachfront all combine for a little slice of heaven. You have to get up here this summer!”
Click here to book a one, two or three days of expert Pelz instruction. The five-acre Dave Pelz designed learning is unmatched in beauty and in providing realistic shot values for golfers who are serious about improving their scores.
Weekly, through Aug. 14
One-Day Clinics Bring Pelz Instruction
To a Course Near You
The Pelz One-Day Clinic is the ideal introduction to the chipping, pitching, putting, sand and wedge skills you need to be a better golfer. The short game makes up two thirds of the strokes you play in a typical round of golf. If you’re not improving in that all-important scoring range, you’re probably seeing your handicap stuck in neutral.
Sign up for a one-day clinic near you and get your game in gear. Come learn the practical, proven methods your game is missing. You’ll be glad you spent the day “changing the way you look at Up and Down.”
Join us at one of these upcoming locations:
Centennial Golf Club, New York, NY May 17 - Aug. 28
Highlands Ranch GC, Denver, CO July 22 - 25
Blue Bell CC, Philadelphia, PA July 30 - Aug. 1
Pinehills GC, Boston, MA Aug. 5 - 8
Erin Hills GC, Milwaukee, WS Aug. 13 - 15
Cog Hill Golf Club, Chicago, IL Aug. 19 - 29
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:
What do YOU Want to Improve Most in Your Game?
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 U.S. Open next month!... 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.
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:
SPECIAL OFFERS FOR PELZ STUDENTS:
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:
BOCA RATON RESORT & CLUB
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private balcony or terrace, Daily breakfast buffet per person, Complimentary bag storage, Complimentary unlimited practice balls during stay. Click here for more information.
CHATEAU ELAN WINERY & RESORT
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.
Pelz Online Tip Archive
How to Unplug a Plugged Bunker Lie
There’s nothing quite as fun—or rewarding—as pulling off a difficult shot with all your friends watching. Case in point: Blasting it close from a plugged lie in the lip of a greenside bunker. I’m sure you’ve faced this shot before, because most amateurs tend to come up short on their approach shots, and if your ball lands in the lip area of a bunker it’ll often plug (bunker sand is softest near steep lips, since nobody walks there). I’m also sure that you sometimes take more than two shots to get up and down from this situation. But not anymore! This lie only looks difficult. You can knock the ball close to the hole and save par using the technique below.
Step 1: Create the most secure stance possible so that you don’t slip on the uneven terrain. You can see from the photo that, for me, this means setting my left foot outside the bunker.
Step 2: As you set up, close the face of your sand wedge (or other wedge, depending on the distance to the pin and the lip height) well past square to a very shut angle. Set your stance parallel
to your target line.
Step 3: Cock your wrists fully in your backswing, and then power your wedge into the sand just behind the ball with as much force and clubhead speed as you can muster. Don’t hold back on this one!
Because you start off with a closed clubface, the toe of your wedge will enter the sand first and then square up (as pressure from the sand increases). This causes the clubhead to “flip” into the ball and produce an upward trajectory and a lot of splash (check how much sand I take in the large photo above). As a result, the ball will carry onto the green with some “knuckleball” roll. Practice this technique first, then bring it out on the course to save a few strokes from a seemingly bad situation—while also impressing your friends. And next time, use one more club to get over those front bunkers!
Managing U.S. Open-Style Rough
Three Techniques for Escaping Rough Without Damaging Scores
I’ve noticed a trend through the years that when U.S. Open time rolls around, superintendents and green committees across the country often join in the fun and let the roughs at their courses grow a little longer and more lush.
Where you once could play simple chips from around the green, you now have to carefully search for your ball in grass so thick and tall you can barely see your shoes! Heavy rough around the green calls for you to use an arsenal of shots you might not be used to playing- maybe even shots you’ve only ever seen Tour professional hit.
When these conditions are mimicked at the courses you play in the region, it’s important that you be prepared for it.
I’d like to suggest a few shots that can help you better manage these seasonal conditions.
1) When the ball is fairly close to the green (only six to 12 inches outside of the deep rough line), sitting with a decent lie in grass that is tall but not too thick, try the “Drop Shot”. Play the ball well back in your stance (off of your back ankle). Take a narrow stance, leaning as far forward as good balance will allow. Maintain that forward lean to the top of your backswing and cock your wrists fully.
Drop the club into the back of the ball with a vertical, descending blow. The clubhead should slide between the blades of grass without cutting much grass, making reasonably clean, solid contact. There does not need to be much of a follow through (I told you this was a different skill set!). The ball will come out low and somewhat softly, so don’t try this if you have several feet of rough between your ball and your escape route.
2) The “Chop Shot” can be used when your ball is more than a foot into a deep cut of rough, and there is significant grass for the ball to get through. You need more force in this instance, which requires a wider, more solid stance and a more powerful lob wedge swing. With the ball just inside your back ankle, lean slightly forward and keep your weight there throughout the swing.
The backswing is a little longer and the wrists should cock fully for plenty of power. The idea is to “chop” through the shot. Deliver a descending blow that cuts the grass behind the ball on the approach, trying to take a divot in front of it. You won’t actually take a divot, but you’ll generate enough power to get out of the rough. Accelerate the clubhead through the grass to a solid finish, at least two feet past impact. You won’t throw any grass out, but you’ll see a good cut in the rough where the clubhead plowed through it.
3) If you find your ball so deep in the rough you fear you might not be able to escape in one shot, neither the Drop nor Chop shots will work. In this case I suggest you try the “Rip Shot”.
To “Rip” the ball out with your lob wedge, you use a basic philosophy: If you can get the club through and out of the grass, the ball will come too! With the ball positioned in the center of your stance, choke down so your lower hand is near the bottom of the grip. Stand a little closer than normal to the ball, and bend at your knees to reach it. Then make a big backswing (with your left arm at least getting to parallel) so you can rip it through impact.
With your clubface turned slightly open (the heel of the club should lead into the grass), you must accelerate down and through impact, making sure your club does not even come close to decelerating! By gripping down on the shaft even strong acceleration through impact won’t create tremendous club head speed, and the ball will come out fairly softly. As the ball and probably some grass start out of the rough, make sure you continue your arms and shoulders on through (well past) impact. Remember, you must rip the club through the grass to make sure the ball gets out too.
Before you play on a course with this kind of “tough” rough, a few practice swings with each of these shots will prove beneficial. You’ll find you at least get the ball out consistently, and the more your practice - the better you’ll become at controlling distance and direction on the shots.
Good Scoring to You,
Pelz Online Tip Archive
Read Putts in Reverse to Hole More Putts
Another Perspective Could Be All You Need to Putt Better
You just never feel confident that you've determined the proper line for any putt.
After studying the dynamics of reading greens and how putts break for the better part of three decades, I've developed a simple and uncomplicated method that will help you improve in both areas. Here's how it works:
Step 1: Walk from your ball to a spot behind the hole that's on a direct line between the ball and the cup. From this vantage point, imagine the last three feet of your putt and how the ball will roll as it slows down and curves at perfect speed into the hole.
Step 2: With this last three feet of curve in mind, picture the ball rolling backward to where your putt starts. Connect the two to get the curving track that the ball will roll on once you stroke the putt.
Step 3: Walk back behind your ball and then slide from the ball-hole line [yellow] over to what I call the AimLine™ of the perfect ball track [green]. Look down the AimLine™ to see where you must start the putt in order for it to curve into the cup.
Step 4: Move to the ball and "feel" your practice stroke rolling the ball at perfect speed to allow it to break along the perfect ball track. Step in, square your putterface to the AimLine, pull the trigger and... voila.
Why it Works
You'd aim a rifle by getting one eye looking directly down the barrel through the sights.You wouldn't aim it from the side.This phenomenon also applies to putting; you can't see the aim direction or imagine the break trajectory if your eyes are positioned away from the starting line of the putt. Aligning your putts with your eyes on the AimLine™ is the same as looking down the barrel of a rifle. It lets you "see" your stroke target and makes it easy to aim your body, stroke and putt.
Good Putting To You,
--- Dave Pelz
Buried, But Alive
Try the 'Cock and Pop' On Buried Lies in Sand
When faced with a badly buried lie in the sand (See Photo 1), you have to adjust your expectations for the result of the shot. If you can get the ball on to the green with a chance to one-putt, that’s a big win. A buried lie is a hideous sight- the ball is plugged almost entirely below the surface and it’s really easy to hit a low, ugly screamer over the green.
Dial In Your Greenside Bunker Swing
Since it’s impossible to create a lot of backspin, most golfers think they can’t get it close. You can. Next time you are faced with one of those lies, try the “Cock and Pop”- it’s a shot I learned from my good friend and Champions Tour pro Tom Jenkins.
In the Cock and Pop method, you’ll play the ball off your back foot and close the clubface at address so the toe of the club will enter and dig into the sand first (See Photo 2, right). When you take your backswing, you’ll take the club back just a short distance, but you’ll cock your wrists as much as possible before making your descending blow (See Photo 3, right).
Pop down on to the ball and don’t make a significant “full” follow-through as you would in normal sand swing. Just pop down on it! (See Photo 4, below left) The resistance of the sand will square the clubface as it flips the ball on to the green. Expect a lower trajectory than from a normal blast.
Try a few Cock and Pop shots from buried lies the next time you practice. Your shot pattern will be more spread out than normal, but trust the technique and you’ll be surprised at how often you give yourself a chance of getting up and down when it looks impossible.
Great Escapes to You,
There’s Only One Sweet Spot
Improve the Accuracy of Your Putting Stroke For Sweet Results
(April 2010) If you take a close look at your game, you'll find that you make most of your two-foot putts, but begin to miss a significant number of putts somewhere between three and six feet from the hole. Everyone does.
There's a combination of things that lead to putting inaccuracy as you get farther from the hole. Where you aim your putterface and how firmly you stroke the putt are major factors. Then there's the break due to the slope, and the speed and quality of the green. But you know all this: After a few years of playing the game, your aim became instinctive, you developed the touch to create the proper energy in your stroke for good putt-speed control, and the knowledge of just how much your putts tend to break at the speeds you roll them became ingrained in your DNA.
A factor you may not be paying attention to, however, is the quality of your impact.
The precise location of the strike on your putterface influences both the amount of energy transferred to the putt and its starting direction. There's only one small point on any putterface that's truly "sweet" — the point on the strike area that results in zero putter-head rotation and maximum energy transfer at contact.
To see if you're stroking putts on the sweet spot, place a piece of impact tape on the face of your putter and roll 30 different-length putts on the practice green. If your impact pattern is less than 3/8 inch in diameter and near your putter's sweet spot, that's good. If it's larger, or centered away from the sweet spot, you need to practice with a feedback device called the "Teacher" clip (visit pelzgolf.com) to train your putting stroke for solid impact. And I promise: Groove a sweet-spot stroke and you'll see sweet putting results!
Good Putting To You,
--- Dave Pelz
Build Winning Habits in the Sand
Find Your “Go-To” Sand Shot and Trust It
(March 2010) You're one up in your match on the 18th hole. Your approach shot found a greenside bunker, but your opponent has opened the door by dropping his approach in the water. All you need to do to win your match is to get out of the sand and into the hole in three shots. Your lie in the sand is good, the flag is tightly guarded (the green slopes down to the flag with water four steps behind the hole), and there's plenty of green out to the right. Thirty people including your three best friends are watching the final hole of your championship match. Don't blow it now!
In this situation, you need to play your “Go-To” shot. Go-to shots aren't the greatest shots you can possibly hit, but the ones just good enough to insure that you win. You need go-to shots all the time in golf, so let's take a look at your options here.
1st Option: Blast at the Pin
Plentiful backspin can be applied from good lies in sand, so you can stop this one quickly. The pros usually blast shots out high and soft, stopping within 10-feet of the hole, even on downslopes. But why go at this pin (with the water lurking in the
background), if you don't need to.
2nd Option: The Safe Blast
All amateurs should play this shot out to the right, to the fat part of the green. It's silly to play at this flagstick and risk a penalty.
3rd Option: Chip it Clean
If blasting from sand is a weakness in your game, picking the ball cleanly off the sand with a 7-iron is a good option when the bunker lip is low. There's plenty of room for this shot here.
4th Option: The Putt
The safest escape for many golfers facing a smooth, no-lip exit from sand is to putt the ball out. A putting stroke should never hit behind the ball and with a little practice you can almost always get out. The question then becomes, can you get down in two more strokes?
FIND YOUR GO-TO SAND SHOT
To identify your go-to shot from sand, hit 10 balls with each technique outlined above. Count how often you fluff and leave shots in sand, or skull balls long. It's not how many good ones you hit; keep track of the bad ones. Your "go-to" shot is the one that gives you the lowest bad-shot percentage. You never know in this game when you'll need to play safe, and it's good to know how, when you need to do it!
Good Putting To You,
--- Dave Pelz
Dave Pelz Explains Proper Sand Technique
The Pelz Golf Institute has conducted a comparative analysis of professional vs. amateur play from sand. The results paint a vivid picture of where amateurs (at varying handicap levels) are skill-wise compared to the pros, and what they need to do to effectively improve their games.
Working with the PGA TOUR ShotLink staff (using their data collection hardware and software), we tracked hundreds of amateurs’ play under tournament conditions at the annual golf.com World Amateur Handicap Championship.
I’d like to share one aspect of this research with you: how pros deal with greenside sand shots compared to amateurs, and how understanding this difference might help your sand game.
The data shows Pros leave greenside sand shots, on average, less than 10 feet from the cup (on the green, with a chance for one-putt), while amateurs leave the same shots 19 to 26 feet from the hole, many of which are in the sand again or in some other kind of trouble.
Pros accomplish hitting behind the ball in sand by standing farther behind the ball (positioning the ball farther forward in their stance) while using their normal wedge swing. Use this as a “reference swing”.
Amateurs have watched do the opposite: they keep the ball in the normal place in their stance, and change their swing to hit behind the ball. This causes awkward swings that have different shapes, speeds and follow-throughs, and yields a variety of inconsistent results.
My suggestion for your future sand play is as follows: from a grassy spot outside the bunker always make a normal wedge swing and note where your divot occurs (somewhere near the center of your stance). Now assume this same swing will serve as your sand swing.
As you step into the sand, position the ball forward in your stance (up at the instep of your front foot) so your same normal divot will start in the sand behind the ball. This will cause your club to hit behind the ball as consistently as you hit normal wedge shots solidly from grass. If you also lay your wedge face open in the sand, the club will scoot under the ball, spinning it up and onto the green.
Aim your sand shots to a spot on the green (not necessarily at the flagstick) that leaves you extra space to stay out of trouble. It makes sense that Tour pros aim dead at the flag since they usually hit it to less than 10 feet. When you practice as much as they do, you can aim there, too! For now, aim to spots that give you more green to work with and take hazards (shot-adding situations) out of play. I think it will save you strokes!
Good Scoring to You,
Pelz News Archive
Dave Pelz Invites You to a School in 2011 ...
Make This Your Year!
(Jan. 1, 2011) Dave Pelz spends his working life developing and communicating ways to help golfers play better. What’s most important to him? The next score you shoot. Take advantage of Dave’s 35 years of innovative instruction and proven methods by joining our staff at an upcoming school.
We recently unveiled our 2011 schedule of schools in Florida, California, Georgia, Colorado, Michigan and Ireland. Visit our school pages and find the date and location that works for you. We’re ready to help you turn your scoring goals into reality. What you learn at the Dave Pelz Scoring Game School will help you improve and refine your scoring skills for as long as you play golf.
Our schools are so much more than a golf vaction, they’re the start of your new beginning in golf. Let us show you how to play your best and keep improving long after your three days with us. Click here to find and enroll in the school that changes YOUR GAME forever.
We are now selling gift certificates for upcoming schools and clinics. Surprise the golfer in your life with “The Gift of Lower Scores”. Call 800-833-7370 or click here for gift certificates.
Dave Pelz Promotes New “Golf Without Fear” Book
Dave Pelz has been on the road talking to the media about his latest instruction book “Dave Pelz’s Golf Without Fear”. He recently appeared on The Charlie Rose Show and The Golf Channel describing the book and how he organized the content to help golfers identify and improve on the shots they fear the most. “I’m really excited about golfers reading this book and discovering ways to turn the shots that cause them the most anxiety into shots they play confidently,” says Pelz. Currently, “Dave Pelz’s Golf Without Fear” is the number-one golf book being sold on amazon.com. To learn more about this book or to buy a copy, click here.
Click here to watch Dave’s interview with The Golf Channel’s Scott Walker.
Click here to listen to Dave Pelz talk to Jay Busbee of Yahoo! Sports as they discuss "Dave Pelz's Golf Without Fear", Pelz's work with Phil Mickelson and his application of research to help golfers understand the game and play better, heard on Busbee's "Devil Ball Golf" golf blog. Listen to the conversation here.
Pelz Talks Teaching, Great Players, Grooves on pgatour.com
Dave Pelz sat down with Brian Wacker of pgatour.com to discuss his work and insights on the game. Pelz tells pgatour.com who he thinks the best short game players in the world are and what amateur golfers can learn from watching the pros practice. He also expresses his thoughts on how the USGA groove ruling affects amateurs.
Here’s a brief excerpt of the conversation:
Click here to read the full article.
Pelz Offers Elements of Practice to SynLawn Owners
(Aug. 1, 2010) Backyard Putting Greens Meet Practical Golf Improvement
For years, golfers have asked Dave Pelz which backyard putting green system is the best. After years of research and immersion in the synthetic putting turf industry, Pelz has
discovered that SYNLawn putting greens can provide the most realistic and effective
backyard practice options. Pelz’s goal in his endorsement relationship with the company is to help SYNLawn provide even better designs and systems for backyard practice.
Pelz developed a system of games and drills called “Elements of Practice” (EOPs) for SYNLawn Putting Green owners. Each of the EOP games are designed to focus on
fundamental aspects of the short game and putting as well as common challenges golfers face on the course. EOP games will help golfers with skills such as lag putting, short putts, chipping, pitching and even sand play. It all depends on the design of your green and your practice goals - but you can turn your backyard into a golf pratice paradise!
For more inofrmation, call 866-796-5296 or visit www.synlawn.com.
Odyssey Names Dave Pelz ‘Brand Ambassador’
The Number One Putter in Golf Teams with Putting Authority
For Callaway Golf Company recently announced a formal relationship between its market-leading Odyssey brand and world renowned short game and putting instructor Dave Pelz.
The agreement brings together a former NASA scientist whose unparalleled dedication to putting and short game instruction has yielded 19 Major Championships, with an innovative manufacturer that is #1 in Wins, Usage, and Top-10 Finishes across the world's major professional tours.
"We are thrilled to welcome Dave Pelz to our very elite group of brand ambassadors that include Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Johnny Miller, David Leadbetter, Annika Sorenstam, and one of Dave's students, Phil Mickelson," said George Fellows, President and CEO, Callaway Golf. "Dave's canon of putting research and accomplishments as an instructor are unequaled. His knowledge and contributions to Odyssey's growth will be significant."
The collective goal of Odyssey and Pelz is a long term commitment to lower the scores of all golfers, and putting is central to that mission. Odyssey's dedication to the craft of making the world's best putters, combined with the scientific approach and putting expertise of Pelz, creates an excellent blend to the collaboration.
"Odyssey approaches putter manufacturing with the same approach I've committed to researching and teaching putting over the years. While I've had many opportunities to endorse putter brands before, this is the first time I've ever done so because Odyssey is special," Pelz says. "They put the golfer first and focus on providing tools that best
facilitate lower scores. Odyssey's dedication to innovation and commitment to quality make me excited about what we can do together to help golfers play their best in the future. I'm thrilled to join their team."
For information on Odyssey's innovative product line, please visit www.odysseygolf.com.
Still Confused About the New Groove Rule?
Read Dave Pelz’s golf.com Article Explaining the Topic
You’ve probably noticed a lot of talk about wedge grooves during telecasts of the PGA Tour’s early-season events. The Tour is the first organization conducting events under the USGA’s new rule for the grooves on iron faces that essentially has players using V-grooves instead of the U- (or box-) grooves most of them have been playing the past 20 years.
While most amateurs can continue to play with their current wedges, the pros have made the switch with varying degrees of adjustment and success.
To brush up on the groove issue and get some grip tips on maximizing spin on your short game shots, read this GOLF Magazine article Dave wrote last March. You’ll learn a lot and find some teachniques for better wedge play.
Here’s the introduction to Dave’s article:
We all need backspin. Without sufficient spin, stopping shots near the pin is very difficult (think about how many times your "good" short-iron or wedge shots have landed on the green and then proceeded to roll off the back). The bad news is that spin is becoming harder to get. Manufacturers keep lowering short-iron and wedge lofts (meaning they travel farther, but come in lower and harder) and the USGA has installed a new rule that will limit the spin capabilities of future wedge designs.
The good news is that you're already making swings capable of producing shots with good backspin (at least occasionally). But your swing alone isn't enough. That cracks just one-third of the backspin code. You also need the right ball and the right face grooves. Nail these factors and your spin potential will fly off the charts.
To read the entire article, just click here.
Chicago Tribune Writer Reviews The Pelz Clinic
(Aug. 2010) Chicago Tribune writer Teddy Greenstein recently attended the Pelz One-Day Clinic at Cog Hill Golf Club, just outside of Chicago, IL. Read his impressions of the instructional day and his new-found prospects for improving a shaky chipping game here.
Greenstein writes "Our student body included a father-son team from the North Shore, a husband-wife combo who described their ages as 'retired … no, rejuvenated' and a police officer who grew up playing at Joe Louis Golf Course in Riverdale.
I told them I would contact them in September to check on their progress — and see if they felt the investment (time and money) was worth it.
As for me, I hit the best chips of my life after learning the proper setup.
'Fantastic,' Holesha said after observing a few. But that was just practice. I won't know if I've been cured of the chanks (chipping yanks) until I hit the course."
Read the full article here.