Finding the Putter that Fits

putter

Yes, the long drive that splits the fairway is a thing of beauty, and a perfect approach is satisfaction guaranteed. But it’s on the green where strokes are quickly won – and lost – and the tale of the golf day is told. In an even par round of golf 50% of the strokes are putts!

What type of putter compliments my particular stroke? Why do I miss putts the way I do?  What do I need to work on to improve? Good questions – and we got answers during a putter fitting with Ken Johns, Miles of Golf Putter Fitting Specialist. With SAM Lab technology and years of experience, Ken zeroed in on our putting particulars.

Everyone needs a putter that fits. Spend some minutes with an experienced club fitter who can expertly evaluate your physique, posture and stroke. Or go for a putter fitting session with state-of-the art technology that analyses the distinctive features of your stroke, identifies areas for improvement and suggests the putter best suited to your game.

GETTING FIT – A BASIC FIT
An experienced club fitter looks at height, arm length, posture at set-up, hands, grip and stroke to suggest a putter that fits well. The right putter is a confidence booster – and who doesn’t need some confidence around the cup?

GETTING FITTER – BEYOND THE BASICS WITH SAM LAB PUTTER FITTING
Sam Lab technology enables us to look closely at multiple variables in a golfer’s putting including face, path, rotation and tempo. Head style of a putter should compliment the golfer’s stroke and SAM Lab picks up vital info about stroke path and rotation that no natural eye can see. Am I swinging straight back and through or arcing? Am I always aiming – and missing left? Am I rotating the face too much? How about swing tempo? Sam Lab is a fountain of information.

A VISIT TO THE MILES OF GOLF CLUBORATORY FOR A SAM LAB PUTTER FITTING
One golfer, one experienced club fitter, one hour and the latest technology yielded the following personal putting info.

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  • Consistently aiming left of target
  • Set up too closed, leaning over too much
  • A straight back, straight through stroke
  • Too much rotation, opening and then closing the club face too much at impact
  • Too small a grip
  • A very slow and too long backswing
  • Good loft!
  • Plenty of info for future putting practice – personalized “putticulars”

Recommended For Me:

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  • Odyssey 330 mallet, 33” with medium grip, 74 degree lie angle and 45 degree toe hang

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.
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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.

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

mogrange 014ALL ABOUT THE BALLS
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

MILES OF GOLF RANGE DEBIT CARD – Best Bang for the Buck
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.

mogrange 015TEEING IT UP

  • 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.

mogrange 013UPSTAIRS AT MILES OF GOLF
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.
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Contact Doug Davis to arrange a rental.

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How To Keep Your Golf Grips Dry

Grippy, not slippy!

June was remarkably rainy (4th rainiest on record in Ann Arbor area) and July is starting out distinctly damp.  Super-thick rough and rescheduled outings are facts of life this sodden summer – but wet golf grips, now there’s a problem we can do something about.
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A slippery grip is a lousy connection to the club. So, whether it’s the morning dew or an afternoon cloudburst, here are 7 tips to keep your grips nice and dry.

  1. Don’t be timid about the towels. Grab some extras and stow them IN YOUR BAG where they stay dry.
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  2. Keep off the (Wet) Grass. I always admire my savvy friends who never let the grip of an extra club lie on the wet, dewy grass.  They place it on a towel or prop it up on a tee while making their next shot.  Everyone should have golf-smart friends who lead by example.
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  3. Gloves galore. An extra glove or two in your bag is peace of mind.  If the glove you’re wearing gets wet, just swap it out.
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  4. Cover up. Most bags come with a rain cover.  Use it!  A cover keeps rain from seeping down into the depths of the bag, to those hard-to-dry places where your grips lie.
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  5. Invest in a golf umbrella and holder for your cart. This rig keeps the umbrella over your bag, keeping things dry.  Plus, you don’t have to put the umbrella down on the ground when you make a shot.
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  6. Look the part. I love the way the pros’ caddies keep a towel under the umbrella, hanging it from the spokes, high and dry and ready to give a grip a good rub.
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  7. Rain Gloves. For really wet conditions, get a hold of a pair of rain gloves.  Footjoy makes a nice pair and for about $20 you can really get a grip on your clubs and your game.

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Learning to Play on the Golf Course

Play Your Way
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The beauty of golf is that players of very different skill levels can play together and have a marvelous outing.  The key is maintaining a good pace of play and keeping it fun for all.  Maybe you are a new golfer, just learning the game or, a seasoned golfer eager to take a new player out on the course.  Here are 7 suggestions to help ensure a great time for everyone in your group – and the group in back of you too!

  1. Who doesn’t love a scramble?! Everyone plays from the best ball position every shot.  Team spirit, low stress.
  2. Create a Forward, Forward Tee. Tee it up at the 150 marker at each hole.
  3. Get Me Outta Here.  If you land in trouble – bunker, woods – just place your ball back in the fairway.
  4. Time Out. If your mind is melting in frustration or boredom, sit out a hole.  Help your group by looking for balls, minding the flag, etc.
  5. Tee for Me. Tee your ball up in the fairway.  It’s easier to hit and everyone loves a well-struck ball.
  6. Pick It Up. Put your ball in your pocket after 8 to 10 shots – or fewer if you’re using too much time.
  7. Play Five Shots Only Golf. On each hole take one tee shot, one fairway shot, one chip and two putts.  Place the ball where you like for each shot.  You’re practicing all kinds of shots.

The inspiration for this post came from the blog, Women On Course – Tales From the Tee.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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!

Fun and Games for Golf Outings

Everybody’s played longest drive or putt, closest to pin or line, etc.  Lately we’ve come across some extra-special games that we’ve collected for our readers.
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Tried and True Games For Individual Holes

  • Longest drive on fairway
  • Closest to line
  • Longest Putt
  • Closest to pin (Par 3, first shot; Par 4, second shot)

Golfer Assistance – Free or for Purchase

  • Mulligans
  • Hand Wedges – 2 per player.  Each player gets to toss her ball out of trouble anywhere on course
  • 24” of paper tape – use anywhere on course, especially on green to finish putt without an additional stroke.  Rip off portion used … until it’s all gone!
  • Pro hits a drive for each team, or for each player on one hole

Why Didn’t We Think of This?!

  • Multiple Pin Placement – A green is set up with multiple holes/flags, say 3.  Team may use the pin that best suits their team
  • Use worst ball on a designated hole
  • Kamikaze Putting – pre-event fun
    Give each event participant a numbered range ball and gather everyone around a practice green.  At signal, everyone tries to putt out to a selected hole.  Players run and get another ball to putt until someone is successful.  Winner gets a prize.
  • Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day Outings
    Each player adds her handicap and par for her “number.”  Give each player a small American flag on a small flagstick.  When player has reached her “number” in the round of play, she plants her flag.  As play progresses, more and more flags appear on the course.  Draw a winner from those who finish play with their flag.  It’s a great effect to see flags around the course.

There’s lots of room for creativity – and for more ideas to add to this post.  Please do!
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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:

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  • 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.

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Teeing is Believing – Again and Again

Teeing off – does anything on the course offer up such an exquisite blend of promise and anxiety?  A new fairway before us with a wealth of possibilities!  Not all of them good, as we know, and folks are watching.  Tee it up!

We posted 9 Notable Things to Know and Do Around the Teeing Area a while ago.  Inspired by new experiences, and an entertaining new book, On Par, by Bill Pennington, we’ve got a few more things to say.
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Level-Best
Do you place your tee nosed right up to – and in the middle of – the imaginary line between the markers?  An uneven and divot-dinged place, perhaps.  Seek level ground, as far back as 2 club lengths, because it’s easier to hit a good shot when your feet are level and level with the ball.  As Pennington says, “You’ll never miss the 3 feet.”

Marker Madness
The markers aren’t there to help you line up.  Deploy whatever personal lining-up routine you have – but ignore where the markers are pointing you.  The mowers probably placed them there.

Ball Falling Off Tee
When we tee up the ball, it is not yet in play – we haven’t tried to hit it, we haven’t made a stroke.  Along comes the wind, or we accidently knock it off at address or with a practice swing.  No penalty – we have not intentionally tried to hit it.  See USGA Section II, Definitions,“Stroke” and Rule 11-3.
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Wrong Tees
Is it the scent of freshly cut grass or the heady mix of friendship and competition?  Every year one of our group drives a ball from the incorrect tee.  We don’t notice at first, then we do and are sad … and then inspired because she takes her penalty – 2 strokes! – re-tees in the right place and keeps on smiling.  She’s our club champion in more ways than one.