Taming The Downhill Lie Bunker Shot


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , | Posted on Thursday, October 15, 2009

Everyone is talking about social media. Just about everybody has a Facebook account. Everyone is twittering including top players Ian Poulter and Christina Kim.

Social Media has also crossed over into the golf world. Social golf sites are popping up all over the internet. I have explored sites such as oobgolf.com and The Golf Space. Golf forums are popular as well with Golf Rewind and The Sand Trap leading the way when searching "golf forums" on google.

My favorite social golf website is Stracka.com. I feel it is the easiest the navigate and the most interactive site that I have been a part of. Through Stracka you can post your scores, pictures, and videos and leave comments and analysis.

In my last post, I talked about the plugged bunker shot being my nemesis. One of my fellow Strackonians Sylla reminded me that there may be something even trickier. The downhill lie bunker shot.

There is nothing worse than having a downhill lie and trying to get it up on to the green and have it stop somewhere around the hole. I added the comment, "imagine if there was water behind the hole." Now you have that added pressure of not hitting it into the drink. No bueno.

Here's a video that may give you some insight on how to get out of this messy situation. See if they work for you. If you have any other tips, feel free to leave a comment. We are all just trying to have fun and improve.

Have a good one and always hit your target.

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My Nemesis: The Plugged Bunker Shot


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , | Posted on Monday, October 12, 2009

So I was playing a round the other day and I was really rolling along. I had a great warm up session on the range and it had transferred into my play on the front nine. I shot a 43 and I thought that this was the day that was going to break 85.

I bogeyed the 11th and the pared the 12. Still doing well. For my standards at least. We got to the par 4 13th and that's when it all fell apart. I hit a decent tee shot that just ran off the fairway. I walked up to my ball and saw that I had a good lie. I was bout 160 yards out. A strong 7, solid 6 iron for me.

I was in between clubs. I am more comfortable hitting a 7 iron. Once I get to my 6, it gets a little bit dicey. There was water to the left and the pin was sitting behind a bunker guarding the front of the green.

I decided to go with the 7 and tried to swing close to my maximum to get it there. I stepped up to my ball and gave it a good whack. It looked good for a really long time. Right on line. This is going to be good. And then...poof! Bunker.

We drove up to the green and I got my first look at the lie. Not good. Plugged and on the up slope. Ouch! What do I do now? I had no idea how to play this shot but I obviously had to give it a try.

I set up to the ball and took my swing. Thump. The ball went about two feet and ran back down to my feet. I could feel the collar of my shirt starting to burn. I took my second attempt and it got to to the lip of the bunker and again ran back down to my feet.

I couldn't believe. I was paired with two guys I had never played with before and I could see them getting uncomfortable. It almost seemed like they were sorry for me. Being paired with strangers is nerve racking enough and now this happens.

I took my third swipe and managed to get it out but still had about a 45 foot putt, which I proceeded to three putt. So do the math. An eight. ARRRRGGGGHHH!!! And the round was going so well. After that, I was pretty much done. I shot a 52 on the back nine to finish with a 95. How disappointing.

As soon as I got home I got on my lap top and began looking for tips on how to play a plugged bunker shot. If I had that shot in my bag I wouldn't have had that meltdown and saved a decent round(again of course by my standards).

I try to learn something from each round that I play. The two things I learned were...

1.) Prepare better for each shot - I've heard it time and time again. When you are between clubs, go with the longer of the two. If I had prepared better I probably wouldn't have gotten myself into the bunker.

2.) Learn to let it go - After the disastrous 13th, I carried those two horrible bunker shots with me for the rest of the round. I couldn't think of anything else. All teachers and pros say take one shot at a time. This is something I have to work on.

Here's a great video that explains how to play the plugged bunker shot. I wish I had watched it before I went out to play my round. Hopefully you will see it before you get in this situation. That way you won't end up building snowmen in the dead of summer like me.

Have a good one and always hit your target.

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Golf Wins Bid To Be In The Olympics!


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted on Friday, October 9, 2009

It's official! Golf is in the 2016 Olympics. It comes at a perfect time during the play of the Presidents Cup. Golf is growing as a global sport. So it is only fitting that International Olympic Committee award golf with the opportunity to showcase itself on the grandest stage in sport.

There was a very strong presence by some of the top players in the game who voiced their opinions including Padraig Harrington, Suzann Peterson, and Michelle Wie. They also brought in via a satellite feed from the Presidents Cup Ernie Els and Tiger Woods to make their plea for the bid.

I was especially impressed with Wie's presentation. While the other golfers were reading off of a piece of paper, Wie spoke from her heart. She talked about the opportunity for young golfers all over the world to dream. To dream of playing golf in the Olympics.

The Olympics is built around dreams. Rio had a dream that they would one day host the Olympic games and it happened. Every athlete that has ever competed in the games started with a dream. As young children they watched their heros on the the television and hoped that one day, they too would be standing on the podium.

Young kids all over the world now have something to look forward to in the game of golf. Representing ones country is an honor that anyone would be lucky to part take in. Maybe I will dream about playing golf in the Olympics.

I am originally from Trinidad & Tobago. While I have spent the majority of my life in America, I hold dual citizenship. That would give me seven solid years to get my 17.4 handicap down to a scratch. If I practice every day I know I can do it. I could represent Trinidad & Tobago in the Olympics...Right? Well at least I can dream.

Hmm...Maybe I should give Stephen Ames a call.

Have a good one, and always hit your target.

"I can dream about doing something that neither Tiger nor Ernie (Els) have ever done, and that is to make the final putt to win an Olympic gold medal. If this dream comes true, somewhere in the world there will be another 4-year-old who sees me on that podium and perhaps starts her own Olympic dream." — Michelle Wie

Tiger Woods - The Billion Dollar Man


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in | Posted on Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Move over Lee Majors. Being the Six Million Dollar Man just isn't good enough anymore. That's because we now have the One Billion Dollar Man. Tiger Woods. That's right Tiger has eclipsed the billion dollar mark in total earnings from tour play, appearance fees and endorsements.

At the beginning of the season Woods had already accumulated over $895 million. Earning over $10.5 for the regular season and a cool $10 million for winning the Fed-Ex cup put him over the top. Along with the $100 million in off course revenue, I would say it was a good year for the Woods camp.

What is so amazing about this is the consistency he displays in his endeavors. Whether it is a tournament or a commercial shoot, Woods is sure to deliver. This is what makes him such a phenom. You know what to expect with Woods. Greatness.

In a year in which Woods failed to win a major, he was still the most consistent player. Rarely was he out of contention and in the back of the minds of his fellow players. It seems as though every step he takes is paved with gold.

Despite all that he achieved this year, there are some who are convinced that the gap is narrowing between Woods and the rest of the field. One such case was how Y.E. Yang held off Woods at this years PGA Championship. It was the firs time in a long time that Woods held a 54 hole lead going into the last round and lost the tournament.

We will have to wait until next season to see how close the gap has narrowed as far as play on the course. Off the course, I can't see anyone coming close. While Woods earned over $100 million, Phil Mickelson was in second with $53 million. Personally I would like to see other players contend more often. It seems to bring out the best moments in Woods. The moments we love to talk about and remember.

Have a good one and always hit your target.

My Monday Night Golf Fix With Michael Breed


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , | Posted on Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday night is my favorite night of the week. Monday is golf instruction night with Michael Breed and the Golf Fix. I look forward to watching this show because of the high energy and great golf tips that are presented.

Golfers are encouraged to phone or email in their questions for suggestions on how to correct their particular swing flaw. Breed also answers questions about rules and the history of the sport. So while you are provided with instruction, you are learning about all aspects of the game.

What I love about this show is the creativity that Breed uses to explain his drills. I am a highly visual person. I would rather copy someone than have them tell me how to swing a golf club. This is what Breed does. He uses some very interesting props which range from clothes hangers to the floaty things children use in pools which he calls "Happy Harry". He can even show you how to use a tee to improve your golf swing.

Nothing comes between me and my television from 8:00 to 8:30 PM on Monday nights. And on the rare occasion that I have to miss this broadcast, there is always a replay at 11:00PM. Look for Michael Breed and the Golf Fix on Monday nights. These tips will definitely help you to lower you handicap.

Have a good one and always hit your target.

5 Must Have Golf Shots That Will Lower Your Handicap


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , , | Posted on Sunday, October 4, 2009

In order to become a good golfer it is important to hone your skills with the short game. Everyone likes to bomb it out there, but the fact remains that the majority of your shot during a round will be from a hundred yards and in. Yet many golfers, when they get to the range, automatically pull out the big stick. We have all heard the saying, "drive for show, putt for dough." But most hackers still focus in on the driver.

The pros spend countless hours on their shorts games. The understand that success comes from being able to recover from an errant tee shot. Special attention is paid to their up and down percentages. This statistic is a good indicator to whether or not a golfer is playing well or not.

The following article gives us 5 shots to work on. These are the shots that drive us crazy. We think about all the things that could go wrong. And they usually do.

The key is practice, practice, practice. Something we all need but really don't like to do. But by becoming proficient with these shots, you will definitely lower your score. Something we all want to do. So get out there are and start practicing and the results will soon follow.

Enjoy the article and video, and have fun lowering your scores.

5 Golf Shots You Must Have

By: Norman Stanley In that glorious battle between you and the golf course designer there are certain weapons you need in your armoury. The obvious ones are a set of golf clubs and a golf ball and you are set to engage the enemy, the bumps and hollows of the fairway, the three inch rough and the sneaky pin positions. However a set of clubs and as many balls as you can carry are not enough to win this battle consistently so a few tricks of your own are required and this is where you will find them.

The lob shot.

Arguably the hardest shot in the whole golf game the lob shot is fraught with danger but can reward you with close to the pin birdie opportunities or even up and down par saves. Practice is required as a miss hit will leave the ball in exactly the same place or sixty yards over the green. Set up slightly open to the target with the ball slightly forward in your stance and the club a little open, take a three quarter swing and accelerate through the ball fast, the combination of speed and open club face will pop the ball high into the air with gallons of backspin so it will land softly and stop or even roll backwards a little.

The Pitch Shot.

The shot from sixty to seventy five yards out which can float your ball to the green and roll up to the pin. You can use any wedge for this shot but usually a pitching wedge or sand iron would be selected. This is a wristy shot with not much arm or body movement. Set up with the lower body open but the shoulders and club face square to the target. Take the club back fairly steeply keeping it on plane and only around three quarters of the way back, i.e. you arms should reach a point at where they are parallel to the ground, the down swing is a mirror of the back swing and will finish at about three quarters of maximum so the club shaft will be pointing straight up.

The Bump and Run

A shot played mostly on links courses where there may be a lot of wind but you can utilise it anywhere to keep the ball low beneath the breeze or where you want to just run it up to the green. A low shot is usually safer than a high, lofted shot for most amateurs and the bump and run is a low risk shot. Use any club for this from a putter to a five iron. To play the shot set up square to the target line, place the ball back in your stance and swing in a putting motion with little to no body motion. The length of back swing will affect the distance the ball travels so practice with a few different clubs to get a feel for it. My favourite club is my trusty seven iron and having used it for a few seasons I now have a pretty good idea of the back swing needed to get the ball where I want it.

The Chip Shot

From a few feet off the green or even on the putting surface a good chip shot can be a par saver, allowing you to roll the ball close if not in to the hole. This shot could be described as a jumpy putt as the motion is the same and the idea is to get the ball rolling not flying. This is, like all these shots a feel shot and preparation and practice are required. To play the chip shot stand slightly open to the target and place the ball to the rear of your stance, keep the wrists firm and putt. The trick is to select a club which will give you a short flight and the roll you need to get to the pin. Practice will allow you to gauge this for your swing but as a rough rule of thumb a nine iron will fly approximately as far as it will roll and as you go up the cubs the ratio will change so a seven iron will roll about one and a half times as far as it flies.

The Greenside Bunker Shot

The evil course designers like to protect the hallowed greens with these nasty, horrible sand traps knowing that for the amateur player and pros as well they can wreck a scorecard in seconds but you can leave your partners in the beach as you fly softly to the pin with a bit of practice. To play a bunker shot first and foremost dig your feet in, this gives you a solid base and allows you to get a feel for the sand, set up open to the pin with an open club face, aim a little left of target and use your arms and wrists for a wide swing, keeping a firm grip on the club, and accelerating all the way to a high finish. You have to imagine the ball is the yolk of a fried egg and you want to slice it off the surface so the club will enter the sand slightly before the ball. The bounce of the sand wedge will cause the club head to glide through the sand creating a wave upon which the ball will ride and fly softly out. Do not wimp out on this shot as anything less than full commitment will leave you in the bunker

You will have noticed all these shots are in the short game area and the reason for that is because that is where most of your strokes are played and wasted. Drive for show, putt for dough as the saying goes but the short game is vital to maintaining a healthy score card. Practice these five shots and see your handicap tumble, leave the driving range to the muscle heads and play the golf of winners.

Article Source: http://www.bettergolfarticles.com

Dave Fletcher is a weekend hacker and part time tutor with particular interests in the mental game and short game wedge playTop Name Golf Wedges