Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Green at Eighteen

The green at eighteen does interesting things to a player. The last putt of a round can really make one think a great deal of things. Yesterday I took first place at a golf tournament at Southgate in St. George after finishing the last few holes in heavy precipitation. During my final putt on eighteen, the round flashed before my eyes. A number of things had happened. The second place competitor had holed out three times in front of me. The first time he did so from a lateral hazard fifty yards away from the green for birdie. The next time he dropped one in from forty-three yards for par right after he had hit one into the water. His final hole out was for eagle from one-hundred-seventeen yards. With four holes left to play I was down five strokes to him. Believe me, it's no pleasant thought knowing that you have to make up at least one stroke a hole and then some. But I kept my head down, played strong, and my competitor made some mistakes. I ended up winning the tournament by two. On the finishing green, I thought to myself: what was the source of such determination?

The Weather Starts to Clear as I Finish Out on 18

I realized a portion of it had come from this blog. You see, by explaining to others how to improve their game, I solidified a great deal of mine. Through the rain on the last few holes, I kept reminding myself of the fundamentals. On drives I made sure to close my face and keep my body aimed to the right to hit long and straight. Approaching the green I kept control over my trajectory and made sure I was aimed appropriately. From there, all I had to do was judge the greens (which at Southgate proves to be quite difficult).

I also realized how much I've grown as an individual. In the short thirteen months of my golf career, my nerves have been tested multiple times. I've been forced to play in countless clutch situations, and this was the first time I had kept my head down and won. A few months into my career I played at the Utah Jr. Open at Glen Eagle golf course. I had a one stroke lead going into eighteen, and had never been so excited. For those of you who don't know the eighteenth at Glen Eagle, it plays as a par five with an island green. Anyways, I had hit my drive perfect and left myself with about two-hundred-ten yards. It was makable in two. But deciding I was in the drivers seat and the tournament was mine to lose, I laid up to a three quarter wedge distance. It didn't matter though, because I chunked my wedge shot and ended up short in the water. I did the same thing when I went to the drop zone. On that one hole I had lost the tournament and two balls. Gaining seven strokes on four holes proved how far I've come. That's why these thirteen months have meant a great deal to me. Comment below and tell me what's happened to your game in the past year.

See you on the green at eighteen,

Zane

Friday, May 8, 2015

Playing Darts With Driver

We all want to crush our drives. We want to be the guy who has to walk another thirty yards past our playing competitors to reach our ball. We want to be the guy who gets Tiger Woods looks. But we also want to find every fairway. Hitting the ball a good four hundred yards does us no good if it ends up in a water hazard or trees. This post will cover how to both pulverize your ball and place it in the center of the fairway.

To hit our ball far, we have to understand what causes more distance. This is where most golf magazines fail to aid the average player. They build up distance to be a feat that solely comes from the wight room. Wrong. The easiest way to add yards to your drive comes from a ‘releasing’ mechanism that your hands produce. I only weigh 110 pounds, but my average drive is about 265 yards. I hit farther than plenty of more muscular individuals because I know the key to efficiency. So what’s the secret to efficiency?

Simply put, it is the action of rapidly changing the club face from open to closed while keeping one’s hands in an almost stationary position. If you watch replays of professional golfers, you will see this move in all of the big hitters. Contradictory to what most people think, our bodies and arms do not contribute much to our overall swing speed. Little parts of our body, like our hands, can rotate fastest and do the most for our overall distance.

Rory McIlroy With Driver Courtesy of RollYourRock

Now you know how to bomb your tee shot. But with a swift action like rapidly closing the face of your club, accuracy can falter quite a bit. There is no simple way to fix accuracy, but there are some things you can do to minimize your misses.

My first suggestion would be to swing slower. While this may take a few yards off your total distance, your overall result will turn out to be much better. When you don’t try to kill the ball, you give yourself some time to think about closing the club face. Just thinking about doing so will make you hit a straighter shot.

My second suggestion seems to work the best for most people. All you have to do is imagine that every part of your body is pointing to the right of your target for as long as possible. I’ve noticed that when people try to really go after their drives, their body starts to move faster than their hands. This leaves their hands behind and creates a whip like effect where they cut across the ball massively. When you point your body to the right as long as possible, your simply countering this and producing a shot that flies as straight as a dart.

Talk to you after eighteen,


Zane

Monday, May 4, 2015

El Nuevo Numero Uno ~ El Primero Nueve

Over Spring Break, my family and I traveled to Los Cabos. This gave me the chance to play a world top one-hundred course, Cabo del Sol. Simply put, there is a new number one at the top of my favorite courses list. The next two posts will describe my experience of playing Cabo del Sol.

Once I arrived at the course, I was greeted kindly by the staff. They took my clubs and directed me towards the pro shop. Let me tell you, the clubhouse had the most beautiful architecture in the world! Any how, after we paid for the round, we headed out to the range. This was the only part of my experience that wasn't up to par. I wish they had set up the range so we were hitting down from the mountain and towards the ocean, as opposed to the other way around. But this small detail did not matter after I stepped up to the teeing ground on the first hole.

The first hole is a medium length par four that plays uphill. The tee shot demands one to carry a hand full of bunkers and hit a fairly straight shot as desert lies on both sides of the hole. On the approach, one must once again carry a bunker, but it's not to worry because the green slopes towards the player. My tip: hit your drive to the left fairway and play less club than anticipated on the approach.

Hole 1

The second hole is a stunning par five with sand everywhere. The tee shot is played downhill, but to an upward sloping fairway. The approach either demands a player to lay up short of the dog leg, or hit uphill over more desert to try and find the green in two. My tip: play your drive center fairway and lay up short of the dogleg. I held back and still made birdie!

Hole 2

The third is a short, fun, downhill par four that gives players the chance to make eagle. The drive is either played short of a bunker that seeps into the fairway or hit aggressively over it in hopes of finding the green. If one lays up short, the approach is quite simple to a green that yet again slopes towards the player. My tip: Take driver off the tee and put one on the green!

Hole 3

Hole four is a downhill par five where the player sees the ocean as a backdrop. The driving area narrows where most people land their ball, so accuracy is imperative off the tee. The second shot demands a decision: lay up short or carry the desert to a small elevated green with a right to left break. My tip: only go for the green in two if you have an iron in your hand. Anything else has the potential to roll off the back and end up in trouble.

Hole 4 From the Tee

Hole 4 From the Fairway

The fifth commences the ocean front holes at Cabo del Sol, and also plays as the toughest hole on the course. Off the tee, one must decide wether they will lay up short and leave themselves with a lengthy approach, or challenge the desert! The second shot does not bring any trouble into play, just your nerves. My tip: Challenge the desert off the tee because you are going downhill. Oh, and never miss long when the flag is in the back location! An up and down is next to impossible then.

Hole 5

Hole six is the first of two back to back par threes that play as beautiful devils. Completely exposed to the wind, irons must be kept to a low trajectory here or else they will end up in the ocean to the left or long grass to the right. My tip: Read Taming Tremendous Trajectory.

Hole 6

The seventh is the second of the two par threes and plays slightly easier. Off the tee, one doesn't need to worry about trajectory as much as the sixth, but they must have a keen eye on the green. My tip: play to the center of the green because it's many undulations can cause unanticipated bounces.

Hole 7

Hole eight is a par four that heads back up the mountain and forces the player to carry the desert on both shots, but don't worry, it's no where near as intimidating as it sounds. The tee shot can either be played to the left or right of two small fairway bunkers. Finding the fairway is crucial to success here. The second shot is played uphill to a green that is receptive on the front side and harsh on the back. My tip: play your tee to the left of the fairway bunkers for a better angle at the hole, and then hit an approach shot that rolls up onto the green.

Hole 8

The front nine comes to an end with a longer par four that plays slightly downhill. Sand comes into play on both sides of the hole, so once again, finding the fairway is key. The approach tends to be taken with a mid to long iron, and can be played anywhere except the front left of the green, where a deep bunker lies. My tip: hit something off the tee that guarantees a fairway, even if you are playing from farther back.

Hole 9

That's all for the front nine, read below for information on the back,

Zane

Thursday, April 30, 2015

El Nuevo Numero Uno ~ El Ăšltimo Nueve

*Note: This post is a continuation from El Nuevo Numero Uno ~ El Primero Nueve

The back nine at Cabo del Sol starts out with a par four that plays downhill. Off the tee, one must keep their distance in check because the fairway narrows in a hurry. The second shot is played over a granite rock outcropping and bunker to a green that slopes from back to front. My tip: take hybrid off the tee and make sure you clear the rocks on your approach. My dad failed to do so and suffered the consequences greatly.

Hole 10 From the Tee

Hole 10 From the Fairway

Number eleven is a unique horseshoe-shaped hole that leaves many decisions up to the player. One can either hit their tee shot safely to the right where minimal desert has to be cleared, or take a more aggressive line at the hole and carry uphill over more desert. The approach from the right side of the fairway can have numerous outcomes due to the undulations of the green, but an approach from the left side has a better chance at getting closer. My tip: play to the left fairway and give yourself a chance at birdie.

Hole 11

Hole twelve is a par five that plays uphill and is only reachable for some players. The fairway from the teeing ground is easy to hit, so no pressure here. Trouble comes into play when deciding how far to hit one's layup shot, or whether or not one should go for the green in two. This is because six bunkers and a cactus lay short left of the hole. My tip: lay up to a yardage that won't get you into any trouble but will still allow you to flirt with the pin on your next shot.

Hole 12

The thirteenth hole is a downhill par three where one must hit their tee shot over the expansive desert and river short of the green. It is the only par three at Cabo del Sol that doesn't hug the ocean, but it is still as lethally beautiful as the other three par threes. My tip: Take one less club and make sure your yardages are correct.

Hole 13

Hole fourteen is similar to hole eight in that it is played uphill and requires the player to hit over the desert on both shots. However, hole thirteen does play different because a river bisects the fairway and forces the player to carry over it. The drive is best played to the center of the fairway. This leaves a good angle to the green that slopes towards the player. My tip: Be assertive with both shots. This is a hole that preys on the timid.

Hole 14

The fifteenth at Cabo del Sol plays as the course's last par five. The entirety of the whole is played downhill, and provides a great opportunity to get on in two. But to do so, the drive must be played aggressively over a stash of four bunkers. The approach after this shot is downhill to a green that is shaped like an infinity sign. My tip: Play over the bunkers on your drive, but make sure you don't miss left on your approach. The bunker is deeper than you are tall!

Hole 15 From the Tee

Hole 15 Green Side Bunker

Hole number sixteen is the beginning of what Jack Nicklaus called the "best three finishing holes in all of golf." This hole is a downhill par four with trouble looming left and right off the tee for wayward shots. The approach is difficult because of three bunkers protecting the green and the ocean long. My tip: play a club off the tee that will not miss the fairway. If you are going to miss on you approach, miss to the right. The green slopes from right to left and there is more room on that side.

Hole 16

Hole seventeen is the course's signature hole. It is a par three where one must hit over a fair amount of beach and ocean to find the green. My tip: both the tee box and the green are elevated off the shore by a good fifteen feet, so even though the beach is not OB, make sure you do not leave yourself short of the green.

Hole 17

The final hole at Cabo del Sol is a par four with a sweeping left to right dogleg that hugs the ocean. The tee shot is played to a fairway that slopes slightly towards the ocean. The approach is to a green where any shot right or long will end up in the ocean. My tip: keep your ball in play! Even if it means you take three shots to get to the hole. Eighteen can provide both joyous and daunting memories for every type of player.

Hole 18

After my round was over, I went back to my hotel and played a round of pool golf. Who said Cabo doesn't have an island green?

Island Green for Pool Golf With View of 7th Hole in Background

Catch up with you after eighteen,

Zane

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Greatness of The Game Challange

It's six forty-five in the morning. The temperature is thirty degrees, but with the eight mile per hour winds and the sixty-eight percent humidity, it feels like 25 degrees. It's freezing. Yet, one thought keeps racing through my mind. Golf. The exhilaration of hitting a perfect drive and having the ball fly off the face of the club never leaves my mind. So on a day where quarter finals prevail, I took my one wood out and hit a couple shots.

My Drive at 6:45


So why do this and for what purpose? The First Tee announced that April 15 is going to be the National Day of Golf this year. Until then, I am declaring a challenge to all my readers to prove the greatness of the game. Read below to see what you can do to make a difference in the world of golf and e-mail me your results at: zschemmer18@pcstudents.us!

Beginning Players: I understand that some of you out there may not have even picked up a club before. Now is your chance to give it a try. I'd personally start out small with a putter, and work up to a wedges, irons, and woods from there. That's how Tiger Woods started, and the strategy seemed to work for him.

Handicap 25+: From my understanding, you're the typical weekend golfer. You play so you can spend time with your buddies because they enjoy the game. In fact, the only reason you probably have a handicap is because your friends encouraged you to get one. Because of this, I believe the biggest impact you can have on golf is playing a round during the week without your friends. Who knows, by playing an extra practice round, you might beat your buddies the next time you play with them.

Handicap 10-25: This is the game improvement category. Most players with this handicap are shooting lower daily. They desire nothing more than to join the elite few with a handicap of zero. To do so, they look for new swing changes. One study I've found proves that longer you hit a drive, the lower your score will be (obviously taking a eight iron into a green versus a six iron will help one greatly). With this, I would like you to film yourself hitting your longest drive of the year. Good luck!

Handicap 0-9: You are the scratch golfer. You are better than most everybody on the course. By definition you are Tiger Woods, and have therefore contributed a great amount to the game. Thank you so much for all of this, but I ask of you one more task: top all of your achievements. Don't ask me how, because even I can't possibly imagine what you will do. But considering your devotion to the game's greatness, I know you will be able to come up with something.

Remember, these are only suggestions. Feel free to try anything that will make the game better for you. And don't forget to e-mail me your results! Catch up with you after eighteen,

Zane

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ambitious Aim

As we all know, the closer one is to the hole, the easier it is to sink a shot. This is simply due to the greater margin of error we encounter as we get nearer to the hole. When one is three inches away, they have about fifty degrees to either hook or slice a putt. When one is three hundred yards away, however, this leeway is condensed down to less than a tenth of a degree. YIKES! On top of this, long distance shots force our ball to stay in the air for a greater amount of time. This allows the ball to exaggerate it's curve. Even the great Jack Nicklaus stated, "A perfectly straight shot with a big club is a fluke." So how can we get it close when so much is against us?

Believe it or not, I have seen more issues with aim than any other swing flaw (it puts us in the position like the individual below). I never understood why a person who hits a fade would line up far to the right of their target, keep their club on the same path, and become baffled to see their shot end up two holes to the right. When I ask where they are aiming, they point to a tree or an object out in the distance to their left (a pretty good line if you ask me). But their feet never end up pointing there. Why?

Video Courtesy of AFV Animals

As humans, it goes against our nature to hold a golf club and align our bodies with a long distance target. What ever pros on television tell you, you shouldn't listen to them. We all know they are at a level of superiority. They are too incredible to be human and can therefore align themselves with a target that is displaced by a few hundred yards. So if we can't set ourselves up with a long distance target because it doesn't feel natural, what should we do?

The first step to perfect alignment is visualizing your shot. While this may sound silly, your imagination plays a major role in what type of shot you are going to hit. Close your eyes and visualize either a left to right or a right to left shape. I recommend that you select the shot shape you hit best. Open your eyes up and account for your fade or draw by determining how far to the left or right you are going to aim. Once this is accomplished, you must set up a short distance target.

A short distance target is one that you can see while standing over your ball. This is easy to do on a tee box because you will have previous player's divots. Simply dig your tee into the ground in line with a divot and your desired landing area. Remember to take into account your fade or draw! When you step up to hit, make your feet parallel to the ball and your short distance target.

Once you have positioned yourself in the fairway, things can become a little tougher. Repeat what you did on the tee, but now must pick an area on the ground with a slightly different shade of grass to be you short distance target. When stepping up to your ball, keep a keen eye on that section of turf because it's aid is imperative to your success.

With all said today, you should be able to take an ambitious aim right at the flag on eighteen. Play well,

Zane

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Taming Tremendous Trajectory

A common problem we have with long irons is trajectory. Being able to get the ball up into the air fast and have it plop down softly can be tough when you are 200 yards out. But what about the times when you desire a lower shot, such as the times where you are playing into the wind? How can you control the two by making the same swing at the same speed? Today, we are going to discuss the simplest way to tame our trajectory.

Soldier Hollow opened for the first time this past weekend. My dad and I got a tee time in the morning to try and avoid the wind, but it was still present. As we approached the par 3 seventh (seen below), the wind ceased and allowed for a clean shot. Considering the hole played 221 yards with the front pin location, I was quite happy. Now all I had to do was decide my shot shape and trajectory. I naturally draw my four iron, and that seemed appropriate for the shape of the hole. Perfect. Now came the real question. To fly, or not to fly my four iron? Considering the hole was tremendously down hill and the roll out of my shot would naturally be less, I chose to lob my four iron into the air. I stepped up, and gave it a go. Once it left the club face, I knew it was perfect. It started at the brown hill to the right of the green and landed five feet to the left of the hole. The ball only rolled out ten inches. I took birdie on the long hole, and headed off to the eighth tee box with confidence coursing through my blood stream.

Image Courtesy of robvox

If the wind had been present, I would have played my high four iron at a much lower trajectory. But how can one easily tell when a ball will come off their club face high or low? The secret is how you grip the club.

When one hits a shot low, it is because they were unable to release the club with their right hand at the time of impact. This creates too much club head lag and thus produces a low shot. This simply means the key to hitting one high is the release of your right hand. The opposite applies for a low shot.

To hit a low shot, one should increase the distance between their right and left hand. Do this within reason because you still want your pinky fingers to interlace. As you may have guessed, a high shot is produced when the space between your hands is kept to a minimal. The closer together your fingers are, the higher your shot will fly. This is due to the surface area of the grip that your hands occupy. The less space your right hand takes up, the less control it has over the club. And when your right hand has less control, it releases a lot sooner.

Tame your trajectory on eighteen,

Zane