Toptracer – Driving Range Reimagined

The driving range. The place we go, usually alone, to hit shot after shot with, say, a 7 iron, groove our swing, good or bad, maybe switch to another club, hit some more, tell ourselves we’re practicing with a purpose.

Prepare to adjust your whole idea of a driving range.
Toptracer technology is now installed in all the practice bays and on the grass tees at Miles of Golf. If you watch golf on TV, you’ve seen the highlighted ball flight. That’s the technology. And it’s free!

Something for everyone.
At the range, Toptracer Range offers an amazing number of choices, from games of skill (and fun), to simulated world-renowned courses. Grab a beer/wine and enjoy!

For golfers aiming to improve and learn more about, say that trusty 7 iron, there’s distance and carry, ball speed, launch angle and height, and you can keep all those stats on your phone.

We’re pretty excited, so here’s a quick look and easy-start guide.

TIPS FOR YOUR FIRST VISIT – IT’S EASY

In the practice bays there are monitors, on the green tees you use your phone. You can play as a guest or as yourself.

Before you head to the range
  • Load Toptracer Range App on your phone
  • Open the App, select “Sign Up” and create your profile
At the range

The monitors in the bays are as simple as press a button. If you’re on the grass tees …

  • Select “Play Now”
  • Select “Play Mobile”, then select “Locate Position”
  • Follow the directions on your screen & you’ll be ready to play!
Bring a friend and play “Closest to the Pin”

It’s a friendly challenge game. You’re practicing distance control, understanding exactly how far you hit each club, AND getting a feel for Toptracer Range. Maybe check out some of the other challenge games.

Try “What’s in Your Bag”

You tell Toptracer what club you’re hitting, and it traces and tracks all of your stats. All shots are stored for easy access. Grab a beer if you find this too humbling.

NEXT TIME YOU GO

On your next visit, maybe you want to invite 3 friends to play Pebble Beach. Or you want to understand the data details of the ball when you hit driver. Speaking of driver, you can challenge your friends to see who hits it farthest. Or maybe you’re thinking of the possibilities of league play.

Toptracer Range can be a platform for an all-friends, all-fun outing with drinks and snacks, or the virtual golf instructor who never forgets a shot. Like golf itself has always been, it can be both a social hoot, or a very personal endeavor. Take a swing at it at Miles of Golf.

The Good Golf Partner – A Fine Art

There’s a personal pantheon of folks I love to play golf with. They have that spot-on combo of thoughtfulness and golf smarts. Some have a great game of golf and others are almost beginners. What they have in common is the fine art of being a good golf partner.

After you’ve trekked together over hill and dale, missing shots, finding hazards, taking penalties, are there smiles for the mission accomplished? That’s what a good partner brings to the game.

Here are some good partner habits worth acquiring…

Be on Time
There’s so much to think about on the first tee – “Where is my partner?” shouldn’t be in anyone’s mental mix. Get to the course early with plenty of time for all the pre-game details. Orderly and unrushed – that’s a great way to start a round together.

Be Quick
We’re not talking speed golf here, just an ever-efficient mindset. Gauge yardage, select a club, read greens while others are playing – when it’s your turn, you’re ready. Be smart with your cart too.

Attitude is everything.
No matter how you’re playing, keep it upbeat. Stressed out? No sharing. Your bad mood is no one’s idea of a good day on the golf course.

4 Eyes Are Better Than 2
Always track the path of everyone’s ball, and join in the search when a ball is lost.

Be Prepared
An extra ball marker, energy bar, the tab for the snack cart, the tip at the pro shop – those are the little kindnesses a good partner has at the ready and offers up at just the right moment. The small, thoughtful gesture goes far on the golf course.

Just Don’t Offer Up Any Unsolicited Golf Advice
The reasons are too numerous, and the consequences too complex to mention. Unless you’re a golf pro, keep your personal “6 Sure Steps to a Better Golf Swing” all to yourself.

And last, but surely not least …
Raise a glass to the good golf partner, she of generous gestures and bullet
proof humor. Long may we appreciate what she does for our golf game!

This article was first published in May 2012.

Huron Valley Women’s Golf Club Details

3/9/2021.  For up to date information about leagues, please visit http://hvwgc.org/leagues/league-summary/

Experienced golfers (handicap 53.9 or less) looking for some friendly competition and beginners (no handicap required) on a quest to improve their game can find a league appropriate for them through the Huron Valley Women’s Golf Club (HVWGC) in Southeastern Michigan.

Competitive and Starter leagues begin in the spring and run through the glorious Michigan summer on a variety of golf courses in and around Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County and the surrounding areas. Leagues play on a variety of days using both 9- and 18-hole formats.  Subbing is allowed for members.

HVWGC, a non-profit established in 1991, complies with the USGA Rules of Golf and the World Handicap System.  The Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) provides handicap services through GHIN, the USGA Golf Handicap Information Network.  Our members really know and learn how to golf!

Golf Shoes – Cleated or Spikeless?

At the 2010 Masters Fred Couples sported golf shoes that looked alarmingly like sneakers and the world took notice. They alleviated his long-term back pain, he claimed. They looked so stylish, said everyone. And thus, spikeless golf shoes came walking into our lives.

Shopping for golf shoes? Here’s the lowdown on cleated vs. spikeless shoes.


CLEATED SHOES
Today’s soft spikes are designed to grab the turf and not let go. Through your weight shift, in the wet, on a slope – when the going gets tough cleats offer stability and confidence.

Benefits

  • Superior traction
  • Excellent stability in wet conditions including morning dew
  • Spikes can be changed – like new!

Drawbacks

  • Replacing spikes gets costly
  • Spikes clog with debris and have to be cleaned
  • No walking on hard surfaces
  • Heavier that spikeless shoes

SPIKELESS SHOES
Research and FitBits everywhere say that the average golfer walks 6-8 miles during a round. You’ll do your feet a favor by selecting a light, comfy shoe – and that’s often a spikeless style. Ditto if the day is dry, and the course is relatively flat. And the ease and convenience of wearing just one pair of shoes from home to course to clubhouse to home again – well, that’s big.

Spikeless Benefits:

  • Wear them on or off the course
  • Stylish
  • Spikes never need changing
  • Easily cleaned/don’t choke with debris
  • Cushioned comfort

Drawbacks:

  • Lugs cannot be changed
  • Less traction than soft spikes
  • Much less traction in wet conditions. Hello, Slip and slide.

The Takeaway
Rain or shine, ride or walk, a quick 9-and-dine or a competitive tournament – golf world is different every day. And the ideal footwear might be different every day too. So cleated vs. spikeless, can we just say, “l’ll take one of each”?

 

Chip Shot – A Plan

“Just a chip and a putt” – it sounds so easy. But in a blink of an eye, it’s a chip and a putt and another putt. Or a chip and a chip and a putt and a putt and oh, another putt. You see where I’m headed – the downward slope to a hellish score. All because of a simple shot, done poorly.

My friend chips with great technique and consistent results. I want what she’s having.

And so, a goal – become a better chipper this summer. The stroke itself is so simple – see Sandy’s video here. With those visuals and a 6-step plan, I’m off to pursue a ship shape chip shot. I think there are at least 4 strokes waiting to leave my life.

  1. Know the basic mechanics cold. Take a lesson, watch a video, do it again.
  2. Practice. Boring? Bring it home. Chip to a laundry basket in the backyard.
    Grab a friend and play closest to the basket. Wine can help.
  3. Track chips. Mark hole with a check when a chip shot lands on green in satisfactory distance/placement to the pin, and with an X when it’s a miss. Compare shots over several rounds to get an idea of how chipping affects score – and to see improvement over time.
  4. Get to course early and groove your chip shot.
  5. Feel the pre-shot swoosh. In the rough, run the club head through the grass several times to get the feel of it before setting up for the shot.
  6. Putt! Golf isn’t a game of givens; creativity is often rewarded. On the fairway just short of the green? Don’t automatically reach for the lob wedge. Is a putt a better percentage shot than a chip? Sometimes, yes.

“A chip and a putt” – that’s what I’m going for.

Keep a Golf Journal – Swing Thoughts Simplified

Golf lessons, friends’ advice, magazine how-to’s, golf on TV, our own experiments, and practice, practice, practice, practice – these are the good, bad and sometimes successful ways we get better at golf.

And then it’s crunch time. When we stand over a ball, the incoming, ongoing tumble of thoughts can be, well … confusing. Shoulder, grip, ball position, that darn right foot, whoops, what was that about the wrist, hello, we’ve started our downswing and who said what about the clubface, here we go. Heck.

It helps to write the good things down.

Golfers keep notebooks for many reasons – to set goals, keep stats, list practice ideas, track progress, chronicle an amazing afternoon or one awesome shot.

There are many good and personal ideas for keeping a golf journal. Read Sandy Wagner’s suggestions.

But I’m here to say that keeping a golf journal is a way to keep swing thoughts simple,

Five years ago I took a lesson on the bane of my golf existence – the fairway wood. After a half hour, eureka, I’d learned my 3 keys to hitting it. I wrote them down. Every April after a long Michigan winter I reread them in my notebook.

And then it’s crunch time – I’m standing in the fairway over the ball. I mentally check those 3 points, that’s all that’s in my head. And then I hit with confidence, clarity and (some) success.

And when it’s good I send a mental fist bump to the guy who taught me and told me to write it down.

Take a Step Toward Walking the Course

walkingLove, love the golf cart – that mini-car of camaraderie and competition. The cross-course quickness, the searching and circling for lost balls, the charging up ahead to see what’s what – love it all! The wind in our hair! Stowed snacks! Scorecard and pencil at the ready.

Walking the course brings another rhapsody – about building fitness and health, and being one with the golf course. No doubt about it, 18 holes (6 miles, estimated) is a long walk. But take heart, there are ways to bring fitness and the close-to-the-course feel to any round, even when carts are required.

TIPS TO BECOME A WALKING GOLFER

  • Walk the front 9, ride the back 9.
  • Take turns walking. Let your cart partner drive to the next hole or ball while you hoof it. Then switch places. Many of my super-smart golfer friends do this – love it.
  • Keep it light. If you’re walking, use a pushcart. Only bring the clubs and balls you need.
  • Love your feet. Be sure you have comfy, light supportive shoes.
  • Water! Bring it, drink it. Staying hydrated is smart.

Even 30 minutes a day of walking can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, increase energy and stamina, reach weight-loss goals and improve bone strength according to the American Council on Exercise. Find opportunities to incorporate fitness into your round – it’s a winning golf strategy!

Respect for the Golf Course

Ever watch an outstanding golfer taking care of business around the course? It’s a thing of beauty and inspiration – and we’re not talking about awesome swings and low scores. As we head into the heart and heat of the summer season, let’s hear it for the players who treat the course with care.

It’s not easy being green … a golf course takes a tremendous beating. A properly repaired ball mark takes only a day to mend – it’ll be a 3-week scar if we don’t do it right. Those lifeless sods of turf on the fairway are sad testament to players who didn’t take 15 seconds to replace and repair divots. Bunkers – there IS a proper way to rake them. And cart damage – don’t get us started down that path!

USGA has good tips on course care: Being a Good Player Does Not Make You a Good Golfer

Golf’s a game of R-E-S-P-E-C-T – for traditions and honor, for partners and competitors, for the meaningful moments and indescribable pleasures the game gives us. Let’s give back by taking care of business around the course. Leave it better than we found it, smooth the way for all who follow us, and gladden the hearts of grounds superintendents everywhere.

3 Take-Aways From the LPGA Volvik Championship

JutanugarnCongratulations to Volvik winner, Ariya Jutanugarn, who posted a third consecutive LPGA Tour win. Our games will never, ever reach the heady heights of the women who played in our local LPGA event, but take heart. There’s info and insights from the week we can apply to our own games, however humble they may be.

3 Take-Aways from the Volvik Championship

  1. Be flexible – Make a game plan to fit the situation. Jutanugarn is one of the longest hitters on the tour, but Travis Pointe held too many risks for her usual game. “It’s really hard for me because I can’t hit my driver and I really have to have a good game plan,” she said.
  2. Learn to play with pressure. Known for her final round meltdowns and 10 missed cuts last year, Jutanugarn has worked on her mental game. ”I didn’t know how to control when I got very nervous,” she said. Rather than simply relying on her pre-shot routine, Jutanugarn’s coaches have taught her to focus on slower tempos and less tension in the shoulders. Find a go-to shot that feels comfortable. Jutanugarn birdied 4 of the last 6 holes!
  3. Good sportsmanship is never out of style. Finishing her winning round, the victor was swarmed by other players spraying her with water. Runner-up Christina Kim remarked, “There really hasn’t been a player like her in my generation. The way she powers the ball, it’s remarkable. And she has such imagination around the golf course and incredible touch. She’s kind and she’s got a beautiful smile. Honestly, I can’t say enough about her.”