John Rahm: Low Scores Start with Maxing Out Your Drives

By John Rahm

There might be some par 4s where it makes sense to tee off with a 3-wood or an iron, but it’s rare to see me using anything but driver. I’m more comfortable with it. When it comes to scoring, I’d rather hit it as far down the fairway as I can and have a wedge in my hands for the next shot—even from the rough—versus a middle iron from the fairway. My strategy seems to work. I’m second on the PGA Tour in birdie average (4.5 per round) and third in strokes gained/off the tee. My goal with the driver is pretty simple.

I want to load up in the backswing and then use the ground in the downswing to generate as much power as possible. It’s a short-and-fast swing, with my legs and torso doing most of the work, so there’s not a lot that can go wrong. If you’re like me and would rather hit driver every chance you get—I bet you do!—here are some tips to help simplify your swing and make it your most effective scoring club. —With Ron Kaspriske


GET YOUR HANDS OUT OF THE SWING
This backswing position you see (below) is a checkpoint for me. I want to make sure I haven’t whipped the clubhead inside the target line with my hands. Taking the club back like that is a real power-and-accuracy killer, and if I think about what my hands are doing, I assure you my driving won’t be good. Instead, I want my torso, arms and club moving back together. You’ll know you made a good backswing if you feel it in your right hip. That’s the main thing for me. I want to load into that hip. If I don’t, it feels more like a stack-and-tilt swing where your weight stays on the left foot. You can’t hit it far from that position. Instead, I want to feel my weight on the inside of my right foot and thigh. When it gets there, I’m ready to swing down.

Jon Rahm
Photo by Giovanni Reda“If I think about what my hands are doing, I assure you my driving won’t be good.”

PUSH DOWN AND TURN HARD
To start the downswing, I want to push into the ground with my legs, which lets me turn hard and left with my hips and then the upper body. When I do this, it feels like the club is just being pulled into a great impact position. Again, I’m not trying to hit the ball with my hands. One thing to remember: You’ve got to keep turning—even after impact (below). I feel like I’m powering the club through the ball with my body rotation. In other words, don’t stop until you can’t turn anymore. For me, this produces a fade that feels really solid coming off the clubface. I guess you could say I just think aim left and swing hard left. Do that, and the ball gets out there a good way. Then just grab your wedge and go make birdie.

Jon Rahm
Photos by Giovanni Reda‘My advice for amateurs? Play the ball farther forward and tee it higher. Take advantage of that driver.’

Source: GolfDigest.com

5 quick tips to conquering the downhill chip

By David Leadbetter

Usually the area around a green is level with or lower than the putting surface. But sometimes you’ll find your ball on a mound near the green, leaving you with a downhill chip. Sure, it was a lucky break that the hill kept your ball within chipping distance. But now what? This atypical lie presents a challenge for a lot of golfers, because it drastically reduces the chance of popping the ball up and landing it softly on the green—especially if you have a tendency to try to help the ball in the air with a scooping, wristy action. You need to make some adjustments to pull off this shot.

“KEEP YOUR KNEE FLEX IF YOU WANT TO POP THE BALL UP.”

First, you can’t afford to make contact with the ground behind the ball, or you’ll blade it across the green. So play the ball slightly back of center in your stance. Another thing that will help you make ball-first contact is to lean the handle a little toward the green, so your hands are closer to the flag than the clubhead. I also recommend gripping down on the club—your most lofted wedge—for more control.

Next, the way you swing is important, too. Maintain flex in your knees throughout the swing (above). Remember to keep the shaft leaning forward through impact and abbreviate the follow-through. A time-honored swing thought for this shot is to swing down the slope with the clubhead.

All of this might seem like a lot to remember, so boil it down like this: Ball back, hands ahead, and swing down the slope. Do that, and you’ll get just enough loft on the ball to stop it near the hole. — with Ron Kaspriske

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The first step in fairway-bunker play: Clearing the lip

By Scott Chisholm

You’ve run down the fairway-bunker checklist in your head—take an extra club, dig into the sand with your feet, grip down on the handleaim a little right of the target—all the things you’ve been told that will help execute this shot. You’re confident this is going to work out, and you make a swing that reflects that self-assurance.

What happens next? Thud. Your ball smacks into the lip of the bunker and rolls back into the sand. So much for best-laid plans. Though I applaud the analytical approach to escaping fairway bunkers, you can’t ignore the first step—which is to clear the lip!

If you find it difficult to get out of fairway bunkers in one shot, I’ve got two options for you, and you’re not going to like the first one. You can simply take your sand wedge or lob wedge and play back into the fairway like it’s a greenside-bunker shot. (See? I knew you wouldn’t like that option.)

Your other choice is to take a longer club and try to reach the green, but you need to adjust your swing. The reason you’re hitting the lip is probably because you’re swinging down into the ball on too steep an angle. The steeper the downswing, the lower the ball will fly. I’m guessing you’re doing this because you’ve been told that ball-first contact is crucial to this shot—especially if you hope to reach the green in regulation. But to clear the lip, you have to come into the ball on a shallower approach. Ball-first contact still applies, but try to swing into the ball from inside the target line. That will take some steepness out of your downswing and deliver the original loft of the club as it strikes the ball. Unlike a shot from the fairway, you don’t want your golf shaft leaning toward the target at impact. Too much shaft lean is going to make the ball fly lower.

So here comes the part where I tell you how to clear the lip and reach the green. You know, the “gimme one thing” tip. I want you to think about your lead leg (left for right-handers) matching the position of the club’s shaft at impact. And that position should be as straight up and down as possible.

Essentially, you’re trying to post up on that lead leg during the downswing, which will let the club’s shaft return to the ball in that ideal upright position. This is crucial to striking the ball with enough loft so it doesn’t carom off the lip, and with enough force to reach the green.

Think, leg straight, shaft vertical—and you’ll stripe it.—with Ron Kaspriske

SCOTT CHISHOLM is a Golf Digest Best Young Teacher based at Rolling Green Golf Club in Springfield, Pa.

Source here

 

Jack Nicklaus: Why You Lose Your Grip

By Jack Nicklaus and Roger Schiffman; Illustrations by Jim McQueen

WHAT I WROTE IN 1973

Loosening the hands at the top of the swing is a major fault of weekend golfers and a sure shot-wrecker. The answer lies not in putting a stranglehold on the club, but in maintaining a consistent firmness in the hands. If you haven’t swung the club back adequately by turning your body, loosening your grip will be instinct’s way of getting it there.

TODAY

It’s never a good thing to let go at the top. If I do it a little today, it’s because my body won’t turn like it used to. But I never, ever tried to turn. Never consciously made a shoulder turn. I let the club turn me. I let my body coil through inertia, with the momentum of the club pulling me back.

It should be a flow back, but only go as far back as your body will allow. If your swing is a little shorter as you grow older, that’s fine. When you try to force a bigger turn, you move off your plane; you lift your hips, your shoulders, your head; and yes, you loosen your grip.

When I was playing really well, I might have let go a little with my right hand, but never my left. Keep that left-hand pressure constant, and you’ll be much more consistent.

Jack Nicklaus writes only for Golf Digest. In this series he looks back at his classic lessons published in the magazine.

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It’s Wedding Wednesday!

At Twin Ponds, we pride ourselves in our elegant event venue for weddings and banquets. With our experienced background we know that planning can become stressful for the bride or the banquet planner. So every Wednesday we’ll be posting a little bit more about ourselves as well as some tips and tricks for your special occasion!

The 4 Running Lists Every Bride Should Maintain at All Times

By Erin Celletti

Budgets, guest lists, important dates, to-do lists, and more can flood your mind and make what should be a fun and exciting time feel quite the opposite. Don’t worry—thanks to digital documents and smartphones, you can stay up-to-the-minute organized in an easy way, keep everything you need to know on you at all times—and ultimately save your sanity. Enjoy wedding planning a little bit more by keeping these four running lists.

Guest List & RSVPs

Once the dreaded initial draft of the guest list has been decided upon, create a Google Doc or something similar that is editable and instantly saved and shared and that includes names, guests, and addresses. You’ll be grateful you’ve done this on a few occasions: once it comes time to assemble and mail invitations, as you track RSVPs as they come in, and when it becomes time to make the seating arrangements.

To-Do

All Type-A’s out there, rejoice—this one’s for you. Every single bride should keep a running list of tasks, even if she has enlisted the help of a wedding planner or coordinator. If you usually think nothing is more satisfying than crossing things off your to-do list, it’s 10 times better for overwhelmed brides-to-be. Whether you prefer to go old-school and use a trusty notebook or keep an app for your planning needs, as long as you have one, you’ll be organized and accomplished daily.

Gifts Received

While traditionally your maid of honor or bridesmaid will be tasked with writing down what you receive and from whom at your bridal shower, you will likely receive gifts outside of that occasion too. As a gracious and thankful bride, keep a running list so that writing out thank-you cards is a bit less overwhelming. It’s also great to save this list as an upcoming reference for when you’re a wedding guest!

“Day Of” List

It will be here before you know it, and to keep your wedding morning focused on beauty, mimosas, and excitement, you’ll need to make sure you have every single thing you need for the night before, day of, and morning after you say “I do.” You may be surprised how much stuff you will need on hand for your big day, from the more obvious items like your gown and undergarments to other details like reception decor, toothpaste, and makeup remover. Be sure you are prepared! Nothing is worse than a last-minute errand or snafu to throw off your positive pre-wedding vibes.

Source: https://www.brides.com/story/wedding-to-do-lists-for-brides

Some of the best chippers in history do these two things for extra-crisp chips

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

Top Teacher Andrew Rice has two thoughts to help your improve your chipping strike: Rotate and Rise.You probably think “staying down” is a good idea when hitting chip shots. It’s not. Staying down limits rotation and alters the radius of your swing, which has an adverse effect on strike quality. When it comes to short shots, strike is king.Study the best chippers in history—players like Seve Ballesteros and José María Olazábal—and you’ll notice they shift pressure forward onto their front foot during the backswing. This positions the body for the proper descending strike. In the downswing, they elevate or stand up slightly through impact. This might go against the grain, but getting “taller” in your downswing will encourage your chest to rotate through impact—an important element of a crisp chip strike. During practice, work to coordinate a subtle shift forward followed by a gentle rise through impact. Your swing thought: Rotate and Rise. Do that, and you’ll lift to your up-and-down percentage. — Andrew Rice 

Source: https://www.golf.com/instruction/2019/02/20/two-keys-to-improving-your-chipping-strike-golf-tip-chunking-shots?fbclid=IwAR2KLdsV9bQTuX16HG5EAjd5P-RXdW01fWEWdubhF097IrCAC1ba3k5efGc

Escape Any Bunker: How to Get Over a High Lip

By Stacy Lewis
This might go against your instinct when you’re in a bunker with a high lip, but the last thing you want to do is try to help the ball over the lip. When you try to force it up and over, it almost always comes out lower and slams into the face. Instead, do what I do.
First, try this drill. The biggest difference between hitting out of a normal bunker and one with a high lip is the amount of sand you need to take. To get the ball up quickly, your club should strike a lot more sand, and this drill will help teach you how much. Draw a circle in the bunker about four inches in diameter around your ball. Now get in your address position, playing the ball off your front foot. Before swinging, pick the ball up so all that’s left is the circle. We’ll get back to that, but first, two more things about address: Dig your feet in so you have a solid base, and open the face of your wedge before gripping the club. I know opening the face can freak out some amateurs, but don’t be scared. In a bunker, your wedge is designed to work when it’s open like this. In fact, you should keep the face open throughout the shot.
“DON’T BE SHY: TAKE PLENTY OF SAND TO GET OVER A HIGH LIP.”
Now here’s a key thought: When you swing, think about putting your hands into your left pocket as you come through. You can see me swinging toward my left pocket here. This forces the club to exit low, left and open, and cutting across the ball like this helps get it up quickly.
Back to the goal of the drill. I want you to make the circle disappear. To do that, you’re going to have to hit the sand a few inches behind where the ball would be, and swing through it with some effort. That’s the feeling you want moving through the sand in a high-lip situation. Practice the circle drill with my swing thought of getting into that left pocket, and you’ll make this shot a lot easier than it looks. — with Keely Levins
Stacy Lewis is a 12-time winner on the LPGA Tour, including two majors.
Source: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/escape-any-bunker-how-to-get-over-a-high-lip

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This Lost Art Will Save You Strokes

By A.J. Avoli
Over time, a simple method for getting the ball from off the green to the flagstick fell out of favor.
I rarely see anyone chip like the late Hall of Fame golfer Paul Runyan. That’s a shame because this technique will make you more accurate around the greens with a lot less practice. Once you master the setup and learn to make a rhythmic stroke—like putting—you’ll start getting up and down more often. Let me show you how to chip old school. —With Ron Kaspriske
SCENARIO + SELECTION
Although you can use this shot in a lot of spots, it’s not all-purpose. Use this technique when you are no more than five yards from the green in the fringe or rough. Because this shot requires a stroke of consistent length and speed, the only thing you need to judge is which club to use to get the ball pin high. Visualize a small spot on the green where you think the ball should land to roll out to the hole. Then read the rest of the distance like a putt.
So which club to use? Take a little time on a practice green with your pitching wedge, 9-iron and 8-iron to see how far the ball carries and rolls using a stroke of the same length and speed. You can experiment with other clubs, too, but I’ve found sticking to these three brings about the most consistency.
SETUP + STROKE
Start by aiming the clubface at the small target where you want the ball to land. Remember, you have to read the green like a putt. That means if there is a slope, you might be playing the shot away from the cup. Now hold the club with medium grip pressure with its heel just off the ground (above). That’s really important to ensuring the club glides along the turf instead of digging into it.
You’ll notice the shaft is nearly vertical, with the handle leaning slightly toward the target and your weight favoring the left foot. Your arms should be relaxed, slightly bent and aligned parallel to the target. Ball position normally is just right of center in your stance, although you can alter it slightly as you experiment with how that changes the amount of carry and roll.
The stroke is as simple as it gets. It’s like a putting motion—the shoulders and arms do most of the work, and there’s no wristy movements. Focus on swinging the club with the same rhythm and force. The handle of the club should be swung no farther than the distance between your thighs. It’s a short swing equal in length on the backswing and follow-through.
The stroke should be aggressive or slightly accelerated, and always hold your finish to ensure a steady pace. If you’re struggling with that, say any two-word phrase with the first word coming on the backswing and the second word on the follow-through. A suggestion? Tick-Tock. Even better? Great-Chip or Hole-Out. I think you get the idea.
A.J. Avoli is one of Golf Digest’s Best Young Teachers. He is director of instruction at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif.
https://www.golfdigest.com/story/this-lost-art-will-save-you-strokes?fbclid=IwAR1w-6ZWIxxKRj9V8eXCv1atQ6O9Itf6L5hJ97PdH1JACyv2D4_VUbPwGX4

It’s Wedding Wednesday!

At Twin Ponds, we pride ourselves in our elegant event venue for weddings and banquets. With our experienced background we know that planning can become stressful for the bride or the banquet planner. So every Wednesday we’ll be posting a little bit more about ourselves as well as some tips and tricks for your special occasion!

Who Should Be There During Your First Look?

By Jen Glantz

Your wedding is a jam-packed day of special moments, but if you and your partner have decided to do a first look, that initial day-of meeting right before you and the love of your life commit to forever may be the most significant.

It’s usually a scene of intense emotion, from tears of joy to smiles of hope for the future. For some couples, it’s an experience they want to share with those who are closest to them, while others would rather keep the sacred interaction completely private.

Read on to find out the different options you have for your first look, and how to handle communicating your preference with your bridal party and close family members.

Make It One-on-One

As soon as you look into your partner’s eyes, it feels like you’re the only two people in the world, but if you want to be the only ones in the room literally, say so. Just let vendors (planners, photographers, and videographers), bridal party, and family members know well in advance. If they object, tell them you’ve been waiting a long time for this and have always envisioned it as an intimate few minutes exclusive to you and your fiancé. Then, fill them in on other special wedding day festivities they will get to witness or be a part of — helping you into your dress, tearing it up on the dance floor, or participating in a grand exit. Giving them something fun or meaningful to look forward to will distract from the disappointment of missing out on the first look.

If you still want the exchange documented, ask your photographer and/or videographer to set up a camera in the space beforehand and enable timed shots or a continuous recording.

Ask Only a Few Vendors

If you want to keep things look low-key, but want a heavier hand in securing the first look is properly documented and able to go off without a hitch, you may ask a few vendors to be present. Do you have both a photographer and a videographer? Have them work together ahead of time to find the perfect location, set up the lighting, and orchestrate anything else they need to ensure the first look is captured flawlessly.

A day-of coordinator or a wedding planner can also help facilitate by making sure the person you’re marrying is positioned with his or her back to you, so there’s that epic moment of surprise after he or she has turned around.

Have Loved Ones Nearby

There’s a good chance that your close family members have made mention that the first look is something they’d absolutely love to observe. If they haven’t — and you haven’t specifically spoken to them about a request for privacy — you can bet you’ll spot more than a few hiding in the bushes trying to get a peek anyways. To spare them the thorns, have your photographer or planner help you designate a nearby spot that will allow them to be spectators without you noticing them there. Alternatively, if you don’t mind being aware of their presence, you can position them at a close enough distance that their reactions are captured in the video and photos.

Again, no matter what your ultimate plan ends up being, be sure to let everyone know before it’s go-time. That way, everyone involved is prepared and onboard.

Source: https://www.brides.com/story/who-should-be-there-during-your-first-look