Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Holidays!

I want to extend my very best wishes to all members for a special holiday season. 

The Landings Golf Professional Staff and I would like to thank you for visiting with us to work on your golf skills, course strategy and game development through our lesson and group programs. I'm currently planning many wonderful new and returning programs to complement The Landings Club experience. 

Over the next few weeks, information will be available on the Club's website ( and other avenues for some very exciting new programs including:
  • Junior Programs
    • Spring After-School
    • The Landings Club Junior Big Break
    • Middle School & High School Practice Sessions
    • Play Series 
  • Golf Fitness
    • Revamped TPI screens
    • Group programs
    • TPI Mini
    • Swim & Swing
    • Get Fit for Distance Core Golf
  • Golf Schools
    • Short Game
    • Read & Putt Southern Greens
    • Member & Guest Golf School Experience
    • Using a Belly or Long Putter
  • Special Guest Speaker & renown sport psychologist Dr. Rick Jensen on Monday, February 27
  • Dinner with the Pro
  • PGA Get Golf Ready Levels 1 & 2
  • Complimentary Video Sessions with Tad Sanders & Mike McNutt
  • Golf Talk on March 30

This is only the beginning of a wonderful year! Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kiawah Island Club Event Recap

One of my favorite aspects of being a golf professional is giving back to the game and helping educate adults and juniors in its life lessons. 

As a member of the LPGA Teaching & Club Professional Division, I had a really neat experience Tuesday at the Cassique Crouse at the Kiawah Island Club. At this event, nine LPGA members and associates teed it up to each play 100 holes of golf to raise money for the LPGA Foundation. This fantastic foundation helps support LPGA*USGA Girls Golf. We each had mats to hit our shots from to minimize divots on the course and played anywhere from 3-5 balls per hole per person (lots of ball marks and balls on the greens). Due to daylight, it was from a shorter distance. 

We raced around the course and tried to better ourselves on the 2nd 18 and had lots of fun. I had a feeling someone would get a hole-in-one and sure enough, Carole Clarke did.  The greens were rolling quickly and we didn't line up our putts but rather played speed putting. My birdie tally wasn't as high but it was fun, great weather, a good cause and the Club took great care of us with breakfast and lunch. It was just an overall neat experience.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Big Brothers Big Sisters Clinic Photos and Recap

As I announced earlier, on Saturday, December 3, The Landings Club hosted a special golf clinic at Deer Creek Golf Course for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Coastal Empire.

It was an amazing event! We were able to make five matches (5 Bigs and 5 Littles) with children ages 10-14. We had great weather and the kids enjoyed working with Deer Creek Head Professional Ty Weller & Kate Gordon of Big Brothers Big Sisters on putting, chipping and swinging. We even walked one hole, playing alternate shot and doing a Golf Scavenger Hunt.

Thank you to everyone who participated! Enjoy a sampling of photos below. If you want to see more, you can visit the full Facebook photo album by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Golf Instruction Gifts

Wow, the holidays are here already!  Today, I was playing golf with the Medal Tee ladies and one player had a terrific new Garmin wristwatch (sold at Marshwood) that shows yardage without having to point and shoot the range finder. 

It made me think of some fun thoughts for holiday gift ideas, so here is my Top 10 List of Golf Instruction Gifts that might help you find the perfect gift for a family golfer!

10.  Skill Assessment (an hour of swing, short game, putting and sand assessment to help guide golfers in their development)

9.  "Easier Said than Done" by Dr. Rick Jensen (awesome book by our former guest speaker on how to get the shots on the range to hold up on the course)

8.  Ball of Steel (great putting aid to help center contact and acceleration)

7.  Tour Tempo (terrific metronome I use a lot with students for swing, short game and putting, as well as
developing swing speed for more distance off the tee)

6.  Course Assessment (an hour of course play to observe technique, strategy and other golf areas to help with ideas to lower scores)

5.  The Light Refresher Program (either 4 half hour or 4 hour lessons that include 1 session each of putting, short game, swing and course)

4.  Orange Whip Trainer (great training tool to help develop tempo, speed, lag and more)

3.  Lessons with a Friend (2011 individual rate and 2nd person is still just $10 extra... split the cost for great savings!)

2.  Practice Series (attend Nicole Weller's Practice with a Purpose session Tuesday afternoons... learn effective drills and get feedback on skill areas)

1.  Series of Lessons (Buy 5 up front, 6th Lesson Free... either half-hours or hours)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

2011 LPGA Teaching & Club Professional Summit Wrap-Up

Just back in from the LPGA T&CP (Teaching and Club Professional) National 2011 Summit and WOW, what an experience.  Held at Grand Cypress in Orlando, we had two day chock-full of seminars while the LPGA Tour was prepping for the CME Titleholders.  How fun to be in class and also see Lexi Thompson practicing in the background and Michelle Wie passing our room in her practice round with no one else around.  Very cool to be up close with the players!

The summit was sold out with 200 professionals and also 280 attendees at the Hall of Fame Induction for Kay McMahon, Jane Read, Carol Johnson and Patti Benson.  Huge dinner, great evening.  The daily sessions included Nancy Quarcelino, the famous Pia Nilsson & Lynn Marriott, Dr. Rick Jensen, Stack & Tilt's Andy Plummer & Mike Bennett, Cindy Miller, speeches by LPGA T&CP President Dana Rader and LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan, as well as Todd Anderson, Cheryl Anderson and more.  What a great two days of exchanging ideas, networking, catching up with colleagues and learning new concepts. Check out these pictures from the summit.

Golf Gurus Pia Nilsson & Lynn Marriott

Dr. Rick Jensen
LPGA T&CP Attendees Watching a Session
Stack & Tilt Session
Cindy Miller Session
My Mentor, Nancy Quarcelino

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Golf Fitness Speech Recap

We recently held a complimentary Golf Fitness Speech highlighting the importance of warming up for better golf and health. 

It was well attended with nearly 80 people and I really enjoyed teaching with Brigitte and Jennifer from the fitness center. Also in attendance were our two special guest speakers, Tommy Schaff and Tim O'Neil from Savannah, both of whom play on mini-tours such as the Nationwide, Hooters and Etour. They gave great ideas on how to get the muscles warmed (cardio) and stretched (various key body parts) before AND after the round as well as ways to loosen up the swing at the range. 

Participants even stretched with the instructors near the end of the session. I plan on revamping our TPI (Titleist Fitness) program in the near future - please keep an eye out for news on TPI!  

Please click here to see images from our speech.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Exciting Golf Clinic for Big Brothers Big Sisters

I hope you all will come out and support a special golf clinic for the local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters! Here is the press release to give you more information. I hope to see everyone there!

SAVANNAH, Ga., November 1, 2011 – Continuing its outreach and support for local community organizations, The Landings Club has created a special afternoon of golf instruction just for participants in the Savannah-based Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Coastal Empire, to be held Saturday, Dec. 3, at Deer Creek Golf Course. 

The clinic is scheduled from 1-3:30 p.m. at Deer Creek’s state-of-the-art practice area, which was developed as part of the 2009 renovation of the Tom Fazio-designed golf course and this year celebrated its 20th anniversary.  A variety of instructional stations are to be set up at the facility, each featuring a member of The Landings Club's PGA Professional Teaching Staff, focusing on individual parts of the golf swing. 

The Big Brothers Big Sisters clinic represents one of many events coordinated by the members and staff of The Landings Club.  The generous Club members consistently raise funds and provide resources for organizations such as the American Cancer Society, the Hoskins Center at Memorial Health University Hospital and America’s Second Harvest food program. 

“We are looking forward to passing along some of our passion for the game of golf to our friends at Big Brothers Big Sisters,” said Steven Freund, executive director of The Landings Club.  “Golf has a way of making a positive influence on the lives of children, which goes together with the objectives of Big Brothers Big Sisters.” 

For more than a century, Big Brothers Big Sisters has worked to improve the general health, lives and future of thousands of children. Big Brothers Big Sisters is a donor and volunteer supported mentoring program for youth, providing needed support to children in communities across the nation through professionally supported one-to-one relationships.  Its mission includes promoting self-esteem in youngsters, expanding their awareness of life’s opportunities and providing guidance and support through long-term, one-to-one mentoring with caring adults. 

For more details about the Big Brothers Big Sisters event at The Landings Club, contact Nicole Weller, head golf teaching professional, at 912.695.5211.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Transfer-Oriented Drill

I just had a great experience with a new drill I thought I'd share with golfers... it's a very 'transfer-oriented' drill, which means it helps you practice by doing it in a more realistic play setting, not just hitting balls. 
  1. Take a club and hit 3 shots in a row to your target (I would highly suggest at least a 15 yard wide fairway between two flags or objects).
  2. Take the same club and hit 3 GOOD shots in a row to your target.  Good is up to you.  What is good enough to play... mediocre?  Make them as good as you'd be happy with on the course.
  3. Take 3 different clubs and hit 3 GOOD shots in a row to 3 different targets. 
  4. Take 3 different clubs and hit 3 GOOD shots in a row to 3 different targets for various natural lies (not placed nicely on a tuft of grass... unrealistic!). 
Don't cheat yourself on the rules!  They're designed to make sure you achieve what you want to achieve.  If you give yourself leniency at the range, will that be acceptable on the course?  It's a fun drill that will keep you focused and transferring your skills from just hitting balls to actually playing and expecting good shots at the range!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ready, set, stretch!

I see great potential for better golf by players who actually go through proper stretching methods before ever hitting shots at the range.  It's important to start with some cardio to get the blood flowing into the muscles (ride a stationary bike, walk or jog on a treadmill or outside, do jumping jacks or just step from side to side while swinging your arms).  

Stretching a cold muscle is like taking a rubber band out of the freezer and expecting it to perform at full potential immediately. I foresee injuries! Proceed to dynamically stretching various main body parts (neck, shoulders, forearms, back, legs). Those who stand still and hold stretches (static) may not perform as well as a movement-oriented stretch (dynamic). 

Together with the Oakridge Fitness Center, we've just partnered up to create a complimentary Golf Fitness speech on Thursday, November 10 from 4:15-5:00pm for the first 100 people who sign up at Oakridge. The bonus surprise will be two local mini-tour professionals who will be our guests speakers to discuss what they see on tour and how they prepare as well. Don't miss out on meeting some fine players! 

Participants will also be able to learn why and how to warm-up properly, plus try some of the stretches led by myself and fitness staff (Brigitte and Jennifer).  Hope to see you at the Stretch Speech!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Upcoming Fall Events

It's been a lot of fun creating new and exciting venues for our Landings membership. For juniors and families, please save these exciting upcoming dates:
  • Haunted Halloween Putting (10/29)
  • Family Glow Golf (11/5)
  • 1st Annual Landings Sports Fest (11/6).
More details will be listed on the Landings Club website. We know fall can be very busy for families between sports, school and weekend activities, but we encourage all members to get out into the fresh air and play sports. Some help tips to remember for a healthy and fun time: 
  • Drink eight ounces of water every 30 minutes during an activity
  • Start each day with a healthy breakfast for energy that will last throughout the day
We look forward to seeing you out at the events... enjoy the start of fall!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How Is Your Putt?

We often think our putting isn't as good if we don't make many putts. I found a very interesting link that will shed some light on what the Tour players are probably going to be achieving on the putting greens. Remember, also, that the pros we see on television are the best of the best that week and are probably draining more than the rest of the field. We see the best but forget there are other players that week struggling and missing putts also. I look forward to your thoughts on the following link:!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Golf Digest Demonstration Video

Check out the new video by Golf Digest that demonstrates one of my putting exercises!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Want to Learn Golf?

We've been working on some neat new programs for all members interested in learning to play golf, whether golf, tennis or social. If this sounds like you, visit our website to see more information about PGA Get Golf Ready (5 classes for $99!) and learn the game with modified 'It's OK Hints' out on the course.

Other ideas to have fun learning golf include various formats like scrambles, alternate shots or Par Strokes Scoring - we use some of these with our Farm Team program. And for juniors, SNAG Golf, U.S. Kids Golf and PGA Sports Academy are really neat to get started. You can see the SNAG equipment, much of what we have, at There have been some fun ways for new golfers to learn the game that other industry leaders are doing as well.

I just saw an article in which Jack Nicklaus is going to host some 12-hole tournaments and it will include 8" holes (usually just over 4" wide) and a faster pace of play so everyone can have a nice time afterwards - teams will be penalized an extra stroke for every 5 minutes above the 2.5 hour time frame. However you get started in the game, make sure you have FUN and learn all about the skills, as well as the how to's of the game at the range and out on the course!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

How Do You Learn?

It's always a great quest to explore how a person will best learn an idea that can help with a golf skill or game management key. People either learn through visual, auditory or kinesthetic means and while using all 3 systems, are usually very good at one.

Visual people like colors, video, pictures, demonstrations, visual aids... Auditory people learn by listening to words, instruction, tempo and rhythm and counting / word drills... kinesthetic people learn by touch and feel, hands-on drills, movement drills.

For those who are visual learners, using video in lessons to provide feedback can be important. Many golfers can benefit from seeing where body or club parts actually are (most can't believe where the body/club parts actually are, as they feel different). Remember, what we feel in the golf swing usually isn't' real. Golf professionals should use video to point out the key that is desired, not just point out all the mistakes. That can be discouraging and form a negative impression.

Visit with the golf staff today about seeing how the swing or motion looks and then have the golf professional video a few moves in slow motion or in a certain position to show you the before and after. The staff has the ability to use at least 3 different angles (face on, down the line and from behind), as well as a close up of grip. If taping by yourself with a camera or cell phone app, make sure that the camera on the down the line view is between the target line and hands on the middle of the shaft about hand-height and from the face-on view, near hand height. If not, the views and planed can be distorted and off.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth to you?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Golf Wrap-Up

What great golf this summer!

Scott Stallings's win at The Greenbrier, Yani Tseng at the Women's British Open, the upcoming PGA Championship almost right in our backyard in Atlanta... So much amazing golf! With a wave of new faces on the tours, it's been interesting to see who is coming up and who can hold their positions on the leaderboard.

We're seeing a new young side of golf talent on Tour starting to shine - enjoy watching the next few weeks of golf and take time to encourage a youngster to get caught up on the action too. All efforts to continue the game and grow the tradition is applauded!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Kudos to former Landings Golf Professional-turned-PGA Tour Professional Kris Blanks for his play this past week at the RBC Canadian Open.

Kris tied for 1st and lost in a playoff but had some great shots during the week. I'm sure he had a few shots that didn't turn out as expected either which leads me to my point that during play, golfers hit all kinds of shots that can still be great for scoring. Great golf doesn't have to have perfect shots.

In my former position, my famous line amongst my students and Girls Golf program was "It's the right shot, it just happened again at the wrong time". Even the best laid plans of mice and men (and golfers!) can go astray. Play golf and get the ball into the hole... it doesn't have to be perfect (hence the title of famed author/sports psychologist Dr. Bob Rotella's book Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect).

See if you can disassociate the quality of the shot from the result of the shot and notice what happens to your score when you are just trying to get it into the hole without any judgment on how it made it there... looking forward to your results. Have a nice time on the links!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Youth Camp Wrap-Up

What a week of junior campers... it was awesome! We had 4 juniors age 3, 18 juniors age 4-6 and 30+ juniors age 7-17. Thank you to all parents and grandparents and the golfing membership for your support of the program!

The key aspect was having fun with the kids... getting them involved, working on developing skill but not demanding perfection. In the hot weather, working towards perfection can be tough! With the younger juniors we even hit marshmellows instead of balls, used SNAG golf balls that stuck to targets and even used rhymes to help them remember some [putting and swing concepts. Most young golfers tend to be cross-handed when swinging of putting and we intermittently and gently reminded them to just switch hands every few shots or so.

We find that reminding them every shot gets frustrating and believe or not, even though it's unconventional, the juniors find a way to make it work, have a good time and they foster an interest in the game. have fun working with your children and grandchildren and they'll amaze you with some unconventional moves that get the ball towards and even in the hole. They'll have time as they get older to work on more detail that they can handle with their attention, for the average youngster... let the FUN begin!

For tips on working with a junior golfer or proper clubs to make the experience more fun, chat with a Landings Golf Professional, use Stick to Sports: Let's Play Golf as a guideline and visit the staff at Oakridge for club fitting ideas. We are here to help!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Swing Technique

Twitter, Facebook, Skype, LinkedIn, Video Streaming, Mozilla, Ipod, IPad, IPhone... what a lot of digital product we have to flood our minds! Sometimes I think as golfers we can do the same with our swing technique.

Just keep it simple and basic. Go back to those basics of grip, stance, aim, posture and a swing motion that moves away from the target and returns the swing back towards the target with great balance. How we each do this is what makes it unique. Check with a pro to make sure your grip is being held in the fingers (not the palm!) and that you are aiming your club head to the target (not your body). Those are two biggies I see often.

Stop by and say 'Hi' if you need a quick 5-minute walk-by!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Great Golf Reads

It's always fun to learn new ideas that make golf so much more fun. If you'd like to read about some new golf ideas for YOUR game, visit the Landings Golf Shops for some great reads.

Deer Creek has several wonderful books: Every Shot Must Have a Purpose (Pia Nilsson & Lynn Marriott), The Game Before the Game (Nilsson & Marriott) and Drive to the Top (Dr. Rick Jensen) and Easier Said than Done (Dr. Rick Jensen... great book on transferring talents from the range to the course!).

Plantation is carrying Drive to the Top (Jensen) and The Art of the Short Game (Stan Utley). You'll also find some really fun items for juniors, including books at Deer Creek by Susan Greene (Consider It Golf, Count on Golf and The ABC's of Golf) and at all shops, an innovative new June 23rd release called Stick to Sports: Let's Play Golf (golf sticker book for ages 4-8+).

Don't forget to help juniors stock their golf equipment with clubs (Oakridge), gloves/hats/shirts/shoes and some especially fun character head covers at Deer Creek. All neat golf items that make golf a great experience!

How to Read Southern Greens Class is a Success

Wow, what a great turn out for our first 'How to Read Southern Greens: Putt and Chip on Grain' class this past Friday. 10 members attended the 1.5 hour class with John Phillips and myself and it was a really fun time for both instructors and students. We even had some putting and chipping challenges that made for some exciting moments.

If you're from the North and have trouble with reading southern greens for slope and speed, please consider this class... it's a perfect session to help you become a better putter! Also, if you have children or grandchildren who are interested in learning golf or developing their games, summer is the perfect time to enroll them in some camps or lessons with our staff.

We have so many fun opportunities for them, plus they can also benefit from the fun games and notes in the new junior golf sticker activity book, Stick to Sports: Let's Play Golf (ages 4-8+), available in all golf shops starting June 23rd. Keep it in the fairway and best wishes for 1 putt greens!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Warming Up is Important

I've been hearing about some recent golf injuries from golfers excited to get out and start hitting without warming up. Be careful to warm up your body (your golfing machine, so to speak) before you play or hit balls.

Start with a few minutes of cardio (pending on doctor approval) to get the heart rate up and blood moving into the muscles so you can actually stretch them. Stretching and holding a cold muscle is like taking a rubber band out of the freezer and expecting it to stretch to full capacity on the first pull... a great way to snap the band! 

Warm up the muscles, do some dynamic (movement) stretching instead of static (holding) stretching and then make some swings without a golf ball.  Let that swing just move with some rhythm back and forth. You can start small and increase each swing in length.  Feel free to join a Golf Stretch & Flex class at the Fitness Center and they can show you how to warm up appropriately and stay stretched during the round. 

I would rather see someone warm-up their golf machine / body instead of hitting poor shots or risk injury before a round. Stay stretched for great golf!

Feel free to email any questions you'd like to

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Benefits of Sunscreen

It's summer and time for some fun in the sun but make sure you are using sunscreen!

I've had many people ask me what type of sunscreen I use since I'm outdoors all day. I use Banana Boat Sport 100. I know after a certain number, like 50, it doesn't make that much difference but I like the thickness of this particular tube of sunscreen. The 30 and 50 are very watery. I've tried others (Coppertone, Neutrogena, etc.) but I am really enjoying this one. I've heard good things about Bull Frog too.

The most important thing is to make sure it has both UVA and UVB blockage. Check with your dermatologist and try to wear sun protective clothing when possible. I wear capris as long as possible and try to get sleeveless shirts that have more of a cap sleeve to cover the top of the shoulder. Nice wide brims, Oakley Half Jacket sunglasses, high collars on the shirt - those are some things that also help.

Check at our golf shops for clothing that has SPF built in. Other companies like Coolibar and Sun Precaution have great long sleeve and other items as well. Be safe in the sun!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Spring Greens

What a great late Spring - such nice golf weather! I've noticed that some of the greens are speeding up and that golfers are challenged with the speed.

A few tips...
  1. Read the grain. This is HUGE in assessing speed. Light color grass will be lightning fast and darker color grass a bit slower. It all depends on where the grass is growing.
  2. Get a feel for the putting green speed before you play by just putting to open spaces on the green (no holes yet) with the sole purpose of getting a feel for fast, medium or slow. Brad Faxon does this, as do I. Once I get a feel for the speed, then I work a bit with putting towards holes.
Visit one of the Golf Professional staff for some tips on distance drills you can work on for your putting. Most golfers miss more long and short than left or right... get the right speed and see your putts and scores drop!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tips for Better Course Play

Tip to playing better on the course: Make sure to keep your practice and warm-up separate before a round.

Practice entails detailed work, changes, observations and specific focus while warm-up involves loosening up the swing, finding the rhythm, warming up the swing key you developed in practice and loosening up your body.

Practicing before a round can make one tired and put too many thoughts in the mind, like cramming for a test! The one question I ask while I warm up is "Does my swing feel loose and balanced" and if not, I keep stretching and swinging until it does or is close. Keep the mind free of too many swing thoughts!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Quality of Your Shot

Watching golf shots both on television and in person via myself and students, I'm often reminded that the scorecard doesn't have a space to describe the quality of shots taken during a round and that shots sent along with poor quality can still turn out OK.

Frustration often comes about from wanting to have a great result with great quality, but golf is an interesting game - both poorly-struck and well-struck shots can still be rather effective! I once wrote an article called "Golf Blackout" for the TWATL. It described not remembering how your ball ended up near the flag but rejoicing in the fact that you now have just a 5-foot putt.

It brings to mind that the first of my 4 and a half hole-in-ones (great story - feel free to ask me about it!) hardly made it off the ground but my Dad and I watched it hit the flag stick and drop in. Not great quality but I decided to take the hole-in-one anyway! It's a reminder to me to play the game, not just a picture-perfect swing or shot.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Shot Committment

Many golfers aren't fully committed to their shot as they start their swings.

Do you ever have second thoughts but then swing or putt anyway? It can be pretty confusing to your body and mind, as to what to do.

Make sure you have a green light in your mind about what your shot plan is. Red and yellow lights can lead to some very off-shots as your body tries to do both of the wavering ideas!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Master's Sunday Reflection

Wow, what a Master's Sunday! We learned that golf is a game of "if's" for everyone, pro or amateur:
  • If Tiger had only had a few more holes to catch up and had kept his streak going from the front nine...
  • If Rory had been able to manage the ball on Sunday like he did Thursday-Saturday...
  • If Adam Scott hadn't hit his shot into the crowd on 15 and had hit it by the flag for birdie instead...
  • If Angel Cabrera and Jason Day had dropped just 2-3 more putts during the day...
  • If Charl Schwartzel hadn't finished birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie...
The phrase "that's how the ball bounces" seems to sum up golf at times. We wonder why the pros can miss small little putts or seemingly easy shots as we cheer and groan and coach them in front of our television sets. Then when its our turn, we also experience the ups and downs of one of the most wonderful games out there.
We are all part of a very neat fraternity and sorority of golfers... thank you for being a part of the tradition and future of the game!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Master's Tournament Wrap-Up

As an LPGA and PGA member, I had a very fortunate opportunity to spend the day on Friday at Augusta watching The Master's Tournament. What a gorgeous place and memorable experience! Television just doesn't do the greens, hills and conditions justice - the course has even more slope up close than what I see on the screen. It's immaculate, well-run and the pros just seem to touch the ball and it starts well on its way.

If you ever want to go to a professional event, decide if you want to (A) see as many players as you can (position yourself in a good spot close to the green or a tee and camp out there to see them come through) or (B) see the golf course and some players (walk backwards from 18 to 1).

Top 5 Things I Learned at The Master's:

  1. Every great player starts behind the ball to size up the shot, do some rehearsal swings to get a feel for the lie and intended swing. They never skip that part.
  2. As I watched a player chip a shot INTO the bunker, hit his sand shot that stayed in the bunker again and then just made it out on his next try (ultimate double bogey), top players persevere and go through good and bad shots just like us. This player ended up shooting even par that day. He hung in there!
  3. The egg salad sandwiches are my absolute favorite there. I had 5 (they're so thin and tasty!) but many also rave about the pimento or the chicken breast. You can leave the concession buildings with several drinks, 3-4 sandwiches and M&M's for under $10. The Master's keeps the prices very cost-effective for food. And the sandwich paper is green so if it floats into the wind, it will blend in with the grass color!
  4. The pros are like surgeons when moving away loose impediments from their golf balls so they don't cause them to move. I was 3 feet away from Alvaros Quiros on the right of #9 about 15 yards into the trees and he had to move away both a leaf and a pinecone next to his ball in the pine straw. It took about 2 minutes and lots of cautious testing before the pinecone was displaced. The crowd all sighed a sigh of relief and even he laughed and let out a breath after his loose impediment surgery!
  5. 90% of a player's shot is talking over options with the caddy, looking at the green mapping on their notepads, looking at their lie and the wind, shaping their shot with hand gestures to describe what they see or want to do and rehearsing the motion. 10% is setting up and letting it go. (Many amateurs spend less time planning and more time standing over the ball with many thoughts). The pros seem to make their decision and commit to the plan in the pre-shot routine and then just set up and launch it. Amazing and consistent routines! Work towards making a well-decided plan, commit to it, test the swing and then trust it!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Shoes Make All the Difference

In the movie Forrest Gump, Lieutenant Dan was very adamant about making sure his soldiers had good socks as part of their equipment. Similarly, in golf it's really important to have shoes that fit well.

After a seminar with Titleist Performance, my eyes were opened to the difference between shoes that promoted comfort and shoes that promoted stability. Interestingly enough, many top players are experimenting with shoes, as they are the only equipment that can provide that well-needed balance to stabilize the swing from the bottom up. When I look at a golf swing and see someone who has balance or stability issues, I next check out the shoes. Most have gone for comfort, so I recommend the next pair a person looks at is one that is comfortable but perhaps more stable.

At the seminar, we took out the insides of the shoe and if we could bend them down to where the heel touched the toe, that was built more for comfort. Some bent a little (mid stability) and the older classics with the steel plate didn't bend at all. Find a shoe that fits you well but is also providing you with stability... it could make a big difference in your swing!

I like Ecco and Footjoy (Dry Joys with and without Boa Lacing) for me and although I still wear 3 pairs of older (and unfortunately out-of-production) FJ Classics, the Icons for men and DryJoys for ladies are some of the more stable FootJoy shoes. LoPros are very soft and comfortable and are less stable. See what works best for your golf game and make your feet happy too!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Damage Control

The hot topic phrase of the day today is Damage Control.

I've been discussing this idea with students as part of their game to help lower their scores. Golf is about putting the ball into the hole in the fewest strokes. Often times we get so caught up in the emotional 'how we executed the shot' that I think we forget the ultimate goal of putting it in the hole. Sure, it's more fun when we also move the ball well with that perfect sound or feel, but not required to be a great golfer :)

So I encourage students to work on their damage control of their shot and their score. Play to minimize mistakes (they will happen) and play to minimize poor misses. Damage control means playable misses and sometimes scraping for your low score. You can save several shots just by analyzing the best and worst miss potentials and then planning for the best miss, just in case the ideal shot doesn't occur. See how damage control can fit into your game plan!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Now is the Time for Golf

Looking forward to the spring season in full gear... it's just about here!! That means The Master's, green grass, beautiful flowers, warmer golf days, pollen and a fresh start to the game for some.

For those people who are looking forward to getting started in the game, this is the perfect time! You can learn through a private lesson series or a group program that goes over not just the skills but also the nuances of the game--how to walk with your clubs the cool way, where to park the cart, how to drive a cart, what kind of equipment is needed, etc.

During lessons, students can use loaner equipment and even take a training manual home full of nice photos and great reminders. There are also fun ways that are less traditional to enjoy starting to play on the course, including the Par Strokes scoring format for new golfers, playing from much shorter tees like the US Family Tees at Deer Creek and more. Have fun learning this wonderful game of golf!

Many of the golf professionals on the island began golfing as juniors and are chock-full of tips and shortcuts that can help you get started and enjoy being outside playing golf right now!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Helpful Websites

I always love picking up new ideas from seminars and workshops and wanted to share a few that I'm using that can also be beneficial to you!

Visit to see what has immensely helped my green reading since July.

Also check out Just signed up and will be using this a lot--very cool tool to help a golfer see exactly where the game improvements are.

I look forward to your comments. Have fun!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Golfing Weather

The warmer weather has been peeking out and we've enjoyed some perfect golf days mixed in with some sneaky cold days. 

As a suggestion to be better prepared for the weather, I recommend flipping on to or the Weather Channel on tv to see not only what the temps will be but the windchill.  The Weather Channel is the first channel on for me in the morning and seeing it 68 degrees with a 10-20mph north wind has me bringing my jacket and sweater with me to work. 

If you are online, you can go to and type in 31411 and then go to hourly.  They have a detailed report of upcoming weather temps or windchill (or heat index) and precipitation percentage in the detail tab. 

Feel free to stop by the shop sometime when I'm in the office and I'll be happy to show you how to see this so you can be totally prepared for the weather and not be surprised by the windchill! 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Knocking the Rust Off Your Golf Game After a Cold Winter

Our Golf Instruction Program offers a wide variety of workshops, lesson packages and school at various prices and times.

We are offering a wonderful Member-Guest Golf School experience March 25-26, our annual junior Easter Camp in April, Spring Short Game/Putting and Long Game School, Couples Golf Schools, Get-Started-in-Golf schools and more. Each Club also hosts weekly workshops to help keep your skills in shape.

Also consider an on-course session for a pro to see where your game actually is and then develop a fun program to help you get tuned up and save shots on the course.

If you are interested in working on your putting this year, I've brought back a great learning tool from the PGA Show called a Ball of Steel by Eyeline Golf. It weighs 5 times the normal golf ball and quickly helps a golfer learn to strike the center of the putter face instead of the toe or heel. It's amazing after using it a few times and then going back to your lighter ball how easy it is to accelerate and focus on center contact. Feel free to stop by and try mine or we have them in the Deer Creek Golf Shop now as well. Give it a try today... it's fun and something new!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Your Kid Ate a Divot

I'm reading a great new book by a professional I met at an AMF meeting during the PGA Show. He was kind enough to give me a copy of his latest work and it's a great mixture of anecdotes, followed at each chapter's end by a golf philosophy / psychology tip. I high recommend it if you are looking to improve your game with great reminders about a golfer's outlook on playing and learning the game.

The book is called Your Kid Ate a Divot by Jeff Ritter and I've seen it on Amazon or Enjoy! We may use it in one of our new Book Practice Sessions (for more details, please contact me about this fun, new one-hour sessions!).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

PGA Show Inside Look

Here's a quick "inside look" video from the PGA Show. This video mostly gives you a peek at the show floor but also some wrap-up thoughts on the workshops.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

PGA Show -- Day 5

Friday was an incredibly busy day at the PGA Show. All the Landings professionals were busy with various meetings.

I stopped by the PGA business area (a special area for all PGA members to relax, eat, meet, check email and network) to coordinate schedules with Ty after a very interesting video shoot with Golf Digest. They had some of the 2010 'Best Young Teachers' shooting tips for the magazine.

From the time I entered to the time I left, it was roughly 1.5 hours. A make-up artist worked on my hair and make-up and they had various clubs from each teacher's staff for use. I did a series of still poses and then ran through my 2 tips with a total of about 8 re-takes due to noise or movement or wording or completely blanking out on words!

My tips were "How to Fix a Toe Shot" and "How to Fix a Heel Shot". I listened to and met 4 other pros who had gone before me or were going after me. Everyone was so nice and encouraging!

The mid-afternoon saw me at many teaching aid booths (lots of putting and swing aids, new inventions, fitness, video/3-D tech equipment) and Ty and I met Nancy Lopez - she's SO nice! We wrapped up with the US Kids Top 50 Best Teachers. I sat next to Suzy Whaley, who was so funny and down-to-earth.

It was a great week of networking, learning and being involved with the golf industry!

PGA Show -- Day 4

Thursday was the first day of the PGA Merchandise Show. Many other Landings Golf Professionals are on site as well, looking into new products that will work well at The Landings for membership.

My day started out with a very informative LPGA T&CP workshop from 8-12 with Sea Island gurus Mike Shannon and Gale Peterson. I spent the afternoon walking the many isles of the Show and running into colleagues, some members and making new acquaintances.

My interests lie mostly in product for junior golf programs and instructional learning aids but I also toured some attire booths and other product. Many of our pros also looked at range, attire, tournament, range finder, shoe and teaching equipment. There were lots of areas for shoe analysis (Happy Feet) and massage for those tired feet and shoulders!

I also met with a rep from Tagteach, which I'll be using in my teaching. Friday is a busy day and I'll be walking the show for booths I didn't fit in Thursday (Eyeline Golf, Golf Around the World, SNAG...). Also taping some tips for Golf Digest and receiving the US Kids Golf Top 50 Award before heading back to Savannah with Ty for Saturday lessons. I wasn't able to upload my videos and photos to our communications department but will get that footage to them so it can be posted for you to see the experience first-hand! I hope you enjoyed the commentary and thoughts from what goes on during a typical PGA Merchandise Show week!

PGA Show -- Day 3

Wednesday brought the AMF annual meeting with another fantastic presentation by Dr. Rick Jensen on adaptation within the current golf industry.

AMF provided information on new interactive member opportunities for sharing ideas and strategies--the goal is to get information from one who has it to one who needs it within the organization. Sat in on a post-meeting by Tagteach... get ready, this will be coming to the Landings. What a great new way to teach based on behavioral science!

The PGA Demo Day had 91 vendors representing all kinds of new clubs and training aids. First day of the PGA Show tomorrow--some of our Landings Club Professionals are ready to dive in and meet with vendors, attend meetings and see new product. I'll be attending an LPGA workshop, wandering the Show, meeting with Tagteach and wrapping with a dinner. Busy day!

PGA Show -- Day 2


Wow, what a day! While they had to unfortunately cut the afternoon short due to incoming storms with possible tornadoes, we had a great, great day.

Listened to presentations by Michael Breed on putting, Lynn Marriott & Pia Nilsson on coaching, Mike Bender on transfer practice, Jim Estes with amputees Ken Green and Ret. Lance Cpl. Tim Lang, Bobby Clampett, 2010 PGA Teacher of the Year (from Sea Island) Todd Anderson, Dr. Gary Wiren and Bob Toski (who at 84 years old runs, jumps, jigs, hits ball off his knees and has a great sense of showmanship and humor).

Surprise visit by Nick Faldo at the end... he came to hit balls at his facility in shorts and came to check out the group and say hi. Both he and Michael Breed look a lot taller than on tv! Sat next to Suzy Whaley and ran into many Golf Magazine Top 100 Teachers including Carol Preisinger, Nancy Quarcelino, Eric Alpenfels, Lynn Marriott, Pia Nilsson and our very own JD Turner! Summit sponsors included Golf Magazine, Golf Pride, Golf Tex, Sky Caddie and Taylor Made.

Off to the AMF annual meeting and massive PGA Demo Day tomorrow... perfect timing. Here comes the rain!

PGA Show -- Day 1


An amazing first day at the 2011 PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit at the Faldo Institute in Orlando. Emcee'd by Michael Breed from the Golf Channel, presentations included Charlie King, Lynn Blake, Derek Shelton (Tampa Bay Rays baseball hitting coach on how baseball players create power... very interesting!), a technology roundtable on video/3D/Ipod/Ipad tablets/Droids and more, a session on Psychology and Emotions in Sports Performance, Aimpoint (VERY cool putting concept sweeping the nation) and a very neat trailer of a new golf movie based on Dr. David Cook's book Seven Days on the Links in Utopia (starring Robert Duval and Lucas Black) to be released in August.

Probably the best and most memorable presentation I've EVER seen was Lou Holtz - incredibly inspiring and heartfelt. Day Two tomorrow but bad storms anticipated so we'll see what the day brings!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Tips From Nicole

Click to watch!
 Chipping  Putting Bunker Shots

Quick Tip with Nicole Weller
The Landings Club is currently providing the tip of the week for Golf America Television. These instructional tips feature The Landings' Head Teaching Professional Nicole Weller and renowned golf instructor JD Turner. "We're excited about the partnership between The Landings Club and Golf America," says Executive Producer Alan Hunter, "both Nicole and JD offer an instructional style that is unique and very easy to digest."
About Golf America Television Show Currently in its 7th year of production, Golf America is a weekly show available in over 65 television markets throughout the US on Fox SportsNet, Sun Sports, SportSouth, TUFF TV and on local broadcast stations around the country.

Monday, January 17, 2011

How Are Your Grips?

It's a great time to check in on your golf equipment--warmer weather will soon be here (please hurry!).

This blog was prompted by my recent observations of golfer's grips on their clubs. I've noticed many that are very slippery and shiny, so time to change those out. If they are worn, that can cause a golfer to squeeze tighter so the club won't fly out of the hands. Pressure is something we definitely don't want in a swing and I'd rather the ball fly farther than the club! Please have the staff at Oakridge check your club grips for a fresh start to the 2011 spring golf season. You may want to have them also check the loft and lie angles on your irons.

Did you know that even 1 or 2 degrees difference in the angle of the club head can make your golf ball go right or left more than you want?

I'm going to inventory my equipment in the next few weeks and see what needs to be replaced, changed or updated, including my rule book and local rule sheet, worn towel and gloves, golf balls and more. I'm encouraging spring with some spring cleaning!

Feel free to email any inquiries to me ( about your equipment or stop in and check with the Golf Professionals.

We trust that our cars will perform well when we accelerate and brake, so the same holds true for the performance of our golf equipment!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Indoor Golf Helps Ward Off Winter Blues

We've had some chilly days in Savannah! While I've been visualizing warm thoughts while on the teaching tee, it brings back memories of practicing and incorporating golf into my life during the cold season. Sometime stuck indoors during the snowy Massachusetts winters, I would do other things for golf indoors since the ground was covered with snow--cabin-fever was definitely evident in the early part of the new year.

For those of you here who love golf but don't enjoy getting out during the very cold weather, here are some ideas to keep your golf going!

(A) Putt indoors on a low, tight carpet or even a flat floor. My Dad and I used to putt in the basement on the concrete to a brick placed the skinny way against the wall about 15 feet away. We could either slam it into the brick or play a very soft touch roll that just touched the brick. We each putted 3 sets of 10 putts every night for 3 months to see how many putts we could hit the brick with that night. We kept track on a spreadsheet (by hand, back in those days, no Excel!) and after 2,000 putts, he had hit 1 more brick than I had throughout the winter. After all those ups and down, it came out pretty even. Lots of fun and nice and warm indoors!

(B) Swing or chip indoors in a safe place. Dad and I used to have enough space to swing indoors and keep the motion going. We used to imagine our shots and actually play the course behind the house (Heritage Hill C.C. was an incredible Executive Course similar to the one at Augusta National... very, very neat!). We even had a carpet off which to chip balls into a net. You can do this with whiffle balls or short-flyte balls that won't cause damage and use a trash can, basket, chipping net, hat, etc. Just little swings and the balls are soft, so no damage. It keeps the swing going and you can really have some fun with point games.

(C) Make a putting course in your home. Make up a little course throughout the house and know the 'teeing area' and the 'hole'. Really the place from where you'll start putting and the end target, like 'Facing the end table and putting to that dining room chair front left leg'. Some of my friends used to have quite the courses in their homes, even putting it down the stairs (cushions set up at the bottom so it didn't hit the wall), around the dogleg (wall) and into the foyer where they had a cup tipped over sideways as the hole.

Be creative, enjoy creating indoor games and keep the game warm over the winter!