Golf Journal Is A Golf Gem

There’s a fabulous golf improvement device, sure to improve your game, and it only costs a couple of dollars.  Run, don’t walk, to your nearest office supply store and pick up a notebook and pencil.  It’s one of the greatest golf aids around — your own golf journal.
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Golf is an endless LEARNING experience, so take notes!  Capture a lesson, log a practice, note a particular success on the course.  A journal can be anything you want it to be!

Ever take a lesson, return to practice the following week and realize you’ve forgotten a lot?  Take time at the end of every lesson to review important points with your instructor.  Write them down – and write down your “homework” too.  You’re paying good money for this info – so keep it!
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To start with, make two sections in your notebook:

  • “Before I Hit the Ball” –  Use this area to collect notes on grip, stance, posture, aim, ball position.
  • “When I Hit the Ball” –  Collect info on the swing itself, things like club path, club face, weight transfer, etc.

With your instructor’s help, note your tendencies in both areas and specific drills to improve these tendencies.  Use drawings, squiggles, stick people.  Get creative.  With this basic framework you will have a working system to capture – and remember – golf information that is personal to you.  This will be very helpful when you go out to practice.

Log your practice sessions: what you’re working on, what’s successful, what’s not, ball trajectory, questions that arise.  All this info will be very useful, giving continuity to your practices and info you can share with your instructor next time you meet.
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Expand your notebook and make it yours.  Use it to keep all kinds of info, memories and reminders.  Some thought-starters:

  • Specific topics, like  “Chipping – What To Remember” or “Putting – Ideas that Work”
  • Equipment Wish List – clubs, balls, etc
  • People & Places – List of fun folks and great courses to play this summer!
  • Golf books to read, Golf blogs to look at
  • On-course journal – logging games played, where, with whom, highlights, etc.

The sky’s the limit with the information you put in your journal – and with the benefit you get out of it.  People who keep notebooks refer to them when they feel their swing getting off.  They can start to solve their own flaws – and be their own instructor!

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.


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.


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.

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 – these are the many good, bad and sometimes successful ways we get better at golf.

And then it’s crunch time. We stand over a ball with a lot of thoughts and it can be, well … confusing. Shoulder, grip, ball position, that darn right foot, whoops, what was that about the wrist, uh oh, we’ve started our downswing and who said what about the club face, here we go. Hit the ball. 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 some great suggestions here.

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.

Golf Driving Range at Miles of Golf

The driving range is an everybody-in kind of place. Beginners, pros, early birds and night hawks, grandma’s and kids, high schoolers and ladies leaguers.  The Miles of Golf Range is one of the top 100 in the country. new air max
Get smart about the facility – hours, tees, heaters, ball machines, debit cards, discounts, and more.  Being at home on the range is a practice plus.  And it’s fun.

All day & all night.  Range stays lit until about 1 hour after dusk.

3 ball machines. Make transaction right at the machine; no need to go into Shop.

  • Buckets –  Small 55 balls for $8; Medium 75 balls for $10;  Large 100 balls for $10
      • Purchase
        Cash – Exact amount, no change is given
        Credit Card – Buys large bucket only
        Miles of Golf Range Debit Card – 20-40% discounts

Purchase and reload in Pro Shop.  Ask to have it tagged for woman and/or senior if appropriate.

  • 20% bonus on purchase of range balls
  • Women discounted 40% from 11-1 every weekday
  • Senior women discounted 40% from 9-1 every weekday
  • Senior men discounted 40% from 9-11am
  • Kids get a free matching bucket when an adult buys one.  Through age 17.

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  • 40 Sheltered Tees
  • Heaters – Just spin the dial for 30 minutes of warm.
  • Mats – Hit off mat or use tees provided. There are many length tees, just lift mat & replace.
  • Grass Tees – Historically grass tees have opened as early as April 1 and as late as May 1. Location rotates daily.  Look for sign.
  • Practice Putting Green open to everyone.  Open in summer only. No chipping please.

There are sheltered tees upstairs at Miles of Golf, and they are open upon request.  Just ask the staff.  This aerie is a perfect party place. new balance 2001
Contact Doug Davis to arrange a rental.


Video Analysis in Golf Instruction

There we were, side-by-side – me, and my (way) better, younger, blonder, professional golf “sister.” It was an eye-opening, awesome, absolutely instructive moment, and one that I can view to my heart’s content because it’s stored on my computer. mens nike free 5.0
Few of us yearn to see ourselves on video, but according to the National Golf Foundation, golfers learn 3 times faster that way! Time to get before the camera?  Here are 5 reasons to give it a go.

  1. Power of the picture
    65% of us are visual learners.  We absorb and recall info best by seeing it, so for us video is a super-efficient teaching tool.
  2. Versatile video
    With slow motion, stop action, overlays of lines and angles, videos are extremely good at explaining elements of a swing.
  3. Teacher aid
    Video assists an instructor in diagnosing swing flaws and then working with a student to develop a plan to improve.
  4. Make the change, see the change, feel the change
    A new move our instructor suggests may feel awkward and strange. Video confirms the feeling of a proper move and helps a student correlate a feel with positive results. Practice is much more productive and change happens faster.
  5. Take it with you
    We can put our video on our smart phone and watch it before practice. It can live on our computers, an individualized teaching tool that lasts and lasts.

“Every picture tells a story don’t it” – and just maybe that story is all about golf game improvement! new balance 475

7 Tips to Start Practicing Golf Again

It’s official. February 2013 was the second snowiest in Ann Arbor since 1880. Yes, many dedicated players have been using the heated tees at Miles of Golf all winter, but some of us, well, we’re just thinking about restarting our golf game for the upcoming season.
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Jim Yuhas, Kendall Academy Director of Instruction and PGA Teaching Professional offers 7 solid tips for getting going again. Keep these in mind as you head out to practice at the range.

Leave big expectations at home
It’s been a while since we’ve focused on hitting a golf shot. Be kind to ourselves.

Leave the big clubs at home – bring only a 7 iron and shorter clubs
It’s easier to swing with correct rhythm, easier to create the correct sequence of events that delivers the club to the ball. Once we get the longer clubs out, the swing gets faster. It’s not how fast we swing, it’s how we swing fast.

Take extra time to loosen up
Start with half swings. It’s been months since we’ve executed a full turn at full speed, so all things in moderation. nike free sale
Focus on the proper grip, stance, and posture
It may sound trivial, but it’s an important aspect of good ball striking.

Believe in balance – practice holding the finish for at least 3 seconds
Balance is key to solid, consistent ball striking. As the season goes on and we get stronger and faster, good balance is more and more important.

Practice the short game – chipping and pitching
Early in the season, we aren’t as sharp and the weather conditions can be a little difficult. We miss more greens with our approach shots. A better short game will result in lower scores even though our full swing isn’t as dialed in as we’d like. Additionally, working on our short game will keep our swing speed under control. nike air max 96
Take time to take it all in
Enjoy the scene, the feel of clubs in our hands, the athletic motion of a swing, the sights and sounds of golf. Let’s take a minute to remind ourselves why we the game.

We’re back, the season is beginning!

Golf Stats Tracking – Numbers Tell the Story

Most players have a feeling about their golf game – “Consistent off the tee,” “Lousy chipper,” “Good putter,” etc. – but what are the FACTS?If we track some basic numbers during every round, our true golf game with all its strengths and weaknesses will come to light.(Annika Sorenstam did this for over 20 years.) There’s no better way to identify soft spots in our game, make a practice plan to improve them … and lower our scores!

Start with the Scorecard
Besides your score (!) some helpful golf stats to track are:

  • Fairways hit
  • Greens hit (in your regulation)
  • Number of putts

On the scorecard simply use the lines provided for other players’ names to write in the above categories.On each hole: X if your drive hits the fairway, X if you hit the green, and record the number of putts.

Other stats worth recording include driving distance (easy with GPS) and number of bunker shots, pitches and chips

Record all your games
A notebook or spreadsheet will do the job.

How do you stack up?
Watch the progress of your numbers over time.It’s also fun to see how we stack up against others.Peter Sanders of Golf Research Associates has tracked thousands of rounds and offers these averages for a golfer with a 20 handicap playing 18 holes: new balance 540

  • 6 out of 14 fairways hit
  • 4 out of 18 greens hit in regulation
  • 34 putts

GPS Devices and Rangefinders – Know Your Golf Game

My home course is familiar and friendly. On the 9th hole (if golf goddesses are smiling) I’ll lie two at the base of a steep little hill to the green – and my pitching wedge will get me there.I don’t know the exact distance, but experience has taught me what club to use – again and again.

This summer I’ve been using a rangefinder on this super-familiar course.Why bother?What’s the upside?

My 8 iron is my 100 yard club – I think.
Using a distance measuring device regularly helps determine the yardage of different clubs in your bag.It’s all about precision.Verify your thinking, dispel your misconceptions – pick the right club.

Practice using your distance measuring device.
Make it part of your routine.  Then, when you play an unfamiliar course you can use it easily and quickly.

Make a game of it
Before you take a reading, make a guess at the yardage.Get your partner involved, making a friendly game of yardage estimates.A nickel anyone?

Learn the differences:  Read “GPS Devices vs. Rangefinders
They are very different pieces of equipment and selecting one or the other can be complex and personal.Ease of use, accuracy, innovation, travel use, cost, annual fees, buzz factor – each device offers a mixed bag of pros and cons. new balance 1500

Kendall Academy at Miles of Golf

A Golf Instruction Gem Right Around the Corner

Did you know that Kendall Academy is home to 5 of Golf Digest’s top 15 golf instructors in Michigan? True!  Paul Haase (5), Dave Kendall (8), Jeff Goble (13), Jack Seltzer (14) and Tom Harding (15) are the fab five.  Kendall’s a golf instruction gem right in our own backyard. new balance nyc
With that in mind, 4 of us are planning a 3-day golf “get-away” – all the way to Kendall Academy on Carpenter Road!  Why go any farther?  Jim Yuhaz, Director of Instruction, will be our intrepid teacher. We’re headed to Kendall because it’s:

  • Custom-designed just for us – and our schedules
  • Flexible – instruction can adapt to our “unique” games
  • Inclusive – we four have different levels of golf experience
  • An awesome social outing for us!
  • Local. When it’s over, we know where to find Jim for a follow-up!

The founder and president of Kendall Academy, is the ever-affable, approachable Dave Kendall.  “Golf’s a social thing,” he says. “Being with friends and having fun is a large part of it.”  Right you are, Dave.  We’ll see you over there next week! footlocker nike free

Practice Like You Play on the Golf Course

Time to start the transition from practice to play!
Many of us have used the winter to improve and groove our golf mechanics. Love those heated tees! Now it’s time to start thinking about the golf course again. Let’s start to make our practices more like real play. And attention, you folks who put clubs in mothballs for the cold months, and you lucky souls who go south and play all year – making the range more like the course is a good move for everyone!

  • Visit your favorite course – in your head!
    On the range paint a picture of a specific hole. Bring the trees, bunkers, slope, etc. into focus – and don’t forget to add a dab of sunshine! Now plan your first shot. Determine the club, visualize the ball path, take your swing. Did you slice it right? Then go from there, visualizing the next shot from that position. You can have lots of fun with this drill. Picture your not-so-favorite hole and see what you can do with it!
  • Introduce some course-like stress into your practice.
    For example, select a target and try to hit it 3 times in a row. Keep at it until you do.
  • Use your pre-shot routine
    On the course a consistent routine is a player’s friend. It’s a comfort and confidence builder in times of pressure. So incorporate it into your practice! Step off the mat. Visualize your shot. Pre-season is the ideal time to develop the routine that works for you.
  • Master the mats and your alignment
    It’s easy to get on auto-pilot at the range, using the alignment of the mats to dictate our set up. Forget the mats! Put special emphasis on lining up on targets that are left and right. Alternate it.
  • Change it up
    Select different targets frequently. Move from club to club often. That’s more like course play. Hit some hybrids into a “fairway”. Try your using your wedge for 3 different distances. Hit long, hit short. Pull out your driver and give it a go. Get your brain – and your swing – working in a more course-like mode.

With some creativity we can make our practices more like real golf play. It’s time to make that transition – spring will be here before we know it.

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