Where It Starts: Setup and Ball Position

The golf swing is dependent on completing the previous move correctly. Therefore, the swing starts with the correct set up. Everything you do before you swing the club will have a positive or negative consequence on the golf ball. Setting up correctly to the golf ball addresses many problems and corrections to the golf swing.

Similar to many other sports, the golf swing starts with an athletic set up. Begin by standing with your feet approximately shoulder width. Bend your knees slightly and bend at your waist to create the proper spine angle. The goal is to produce a swing that will move around your spine. The arms and club swing around the spine, which should remain fixed throughout the swing. The correct posture creates less knee flex and more bend in your waist (stick your butt out). A common fault occurs by bending too much in the knees and not enough at the waist. This creates an upright posture. Allow your feet to get wider when setting up with a longer club. For example, you will set up slightly wider with a driver than a pitching wedge. A wider base will provide more stability throughout the rotational movements of the swing.

Setup - Head On and Down LineThe arms and shoulders will form a triangle when you set up to the golf ball. This positions your elbows close to each other. This part of your set up is important because you try to keep this triangle intact as you swing the club.

The right hand is lower than the left hand when you place your hands on the grip. Therefore, your right shoulder should be slightly lower than your left shoulder in your set up. This is known as “shoulder tilt.” Shoulder tilt promotes a downward angle of approach to hit the ball in the air.

Ball position is a variable that changes depending on club selection. The correct set up and ball position will have a direct effect on the outcome of the shot. Better players are well aware of ball position and how can potentially affect the distance, direction and trajectory of the golf ball. If the ball is positioned to far forward players might create thin or topped golf shots. If the ball is positioned too close the hosel will strike the ball producing shots that go sideways to the right. The ball should be positioned so it gets in the way of the club head traveling down through the hitting zone.

Ball position starts in the middle of your stance with a short iron. The swing is slightly steeper with a short iron. Steeper swings will create a bigger divot. Ball position moves slightly forward as each club gets longer. Each club should be a half inch longer than the previous club. Essentially you start with the ball in the middle of your stance with the shortest club, and move ball position to the inside of the left foot as each club gets longer. This is an incremental movement to adjust for the half inch in length.

The driver is the longest club in the bag and should be positioned of the inside of the left foot. Longer clubs produce a slightly flatter swing. That is why long irons, hybrids and fairway woods produce a very small divot, if any. It is basically a flatter, sweeping motion through the ball. However, it is still important to swing down and clip the grass to produce a shot that travels in the air.Ball Position-short iron and driver

Matt Keller is a PGA Golf Professional with over 15 years of experience. Matt is a graduate of the Penn State PGM Program. Throughout his career he has worked at courses in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida and Delaware. Matt has conducted thousands of golf lessons to players of all ages and ability levels. Currently, he is a PGA Professional at Cripple Creek Golf and Country Club located near Bethany Beach, DE.

New Innovations Among 2013 Irons

Innovations in the world of golf equipment is perhaps not as easy to detect in the irons as they are in drivers, putters, and other equipment. But they are still there. Drivers have such cool features as adjustability, multiple materials, and ever-lengthening shafts. Putters have face inserts, grooves, yes, ever-lengthening shafts (although with the recent USGA and R&A proposed rule, long shafts might quit being so common in putters). But don’t sell the 2013 lineup of new irons short when it comes to innovation. Throughout this review of some of the major manufacturers’ top offerings, you can find a lot of new technologies – all designed to help you play better golf.

The Callaway X-Hot and X-Hot Pro irons follow the rest of the X-Hot line of woods and hybrids by delivering on the promise of more distance. The face has gotten even thinner on these irons – a thinner face flexes more, meaning a ball rockets off with more speed and thus, more distance. x-hot-iron-1They also lowered the sweet spot to help amateurs get better performance from where they tend to hit the ball while launching the ball higher. Add in a lightweight True Temper Speed Step shaft and the irons are truly built from the ground up to provide more distance. Why do you want more distance in your irons? Well, would you rather hit an 8-iron into a tucked pin with bunkers all around, or a 7-iron? The “Pro” version packs in a few forgiveness features over the earlier RAZR X Tour model with stronger lofts (less loft) and more offset throughout the set. Better players might not necessarily want that kind of help, but Callaway has plenty of other models that can appeal as well. The Pro really delivers mid-handicappers another option with a sleeker head and not much compromise on forgiveness.

The AMP Cell and AMP Cell Pro irons from Cobra pack in a lot of technology in a good-looking package, although the Pro version is significantly different than the AMP Cell. The AMP Cell comes in the typical four Cobra colors: blue, orange, red, or silver. We really liked the understated, but tech-y look of the silver while others might appreciate the color features in a blue, orange, or red set. The face of these irons is made of a lighter stainless steel that is plasma welded to a heavier stainless body. That lighter steel improves the COR (coefficient of restitution) or spring-like effect to produce more distance. The face also has their E9 face technology – improving performance and helping the ball fly more consistently when contact is made from one of nine different spots on the face. Finally, that weight saved in the face is re-distributed around the body of the clubhead to create more forgiveness. Few irons pack as much into them while maintaining a solid look and feel. The Pro version, on the other hand, is a forged blade making it significantly different from the AMP Cell, as we mentioned. It was designed with the help of Rickie Fowler as a true Pro-style iron. Unless you hit it like Rickie, you might want to consider a club with more forgiveness.cobraamp-colors

Mizuno’s JPX 825, including the JPX 825 HD and JPX 825 Pro, represent an acknowledgement from Mizuno that often golfers look for different things in the long to mid irons as they do their short irons. Mizuno has long been known for selling mixed sets of models, and now their sets are taking on bit of that flavor as well. jpx825and825proIn the JPX 825, for example, the 4 through 7-iron utilize their MAX COR technology that essentially means a thin, hot face is incorporated to help the long irons hit the ball, well, long. The 8-iron through pitching wedge incorporate less distance-providing features in favor of more precision – something they call Mid COR technology. Mizuno worked on various portions of the clubhead to perfect the sound and feel of the clubs while enlargening the sweet spot through their pocket cavity and heel/toe weighting. Whereas the JPX 825 is a cast club, the Pro version is grain-flow forged. And like its sibling, it too has more distance and forgiveness features in the 4 to 7-iron while the short irons are engineered more for precision and scoring. It has the same “triple-cut” sole, though, which makes both models perform well from a variety of lies. Finally, the HD version is the other end of the spectrum, with features to provide maximum forgiveness with a 4 and 5 hybrid making up the longer end of the set and deep pocket cavity irons filling out the rest.

rbladez_6_heel_bend_hero_wideThe TaylorMade RocketBladez and RocketBlades Tour and Max models provide one of the newest iron technologies for 2013. Borrowing from their other clubs and using technology previously seen in drivers and fairways woods, the RocketBladez feature the SpeedPocket, a two millimeter wide slot in the sole of the club just behind the face. That slot allows the face to flex and rebound at impact to provide more distance. The slot is filled with a polyurethane that quiets vibration, improves feel, and keeps debris out of the SpeedPocket. Like other irons, the sweet spot has been lowered to help out where most amateurs need it, on thin shots. The SpeedPocket is only in the 3 to 7-irons to maximize distance. In the shorter clubs where distance is less important than precision, there is no SpeedPocket. The Tour version of this club carries the same features in a slightly smaller clubhead that cuts through heavy lies and delivers a trajectory preferred by better players.

If new irons are in your future, you owe it to yourself to check these out. These aren’t all the irons available, and not even all the irons from these manufacturers. Whatever clubs you decide on, make sure you get properly fit – some folks will fit you for free, but even if they don’t, a little extra expense is truly worth it.

–Tim Carrigan, KC Golfer Magazine and Golf Writers Association of America

Deer Creek: More Than A Golf Course

Deer Creek Golf Club, located at 7000 W. 133rd St. in Overland Park, is one of the more challenging courses in Kansas City.  Its location just south of 135th and Metcalf makes it a convenient stop for many of the area’s golfers.  Additionally, the 18 hole, par 72 course serves as a very popular setting for special events such as weddings, anniversaries, and reunions. So before we discuss the beautiful golf course and its challenging layout, attention must first be paid to the fantastic event hosting at Deer Creek.

Course Facilities

Catered Events at Deer CreekThe course’s facilities include two banquet rooms, each of which can accommodate up to 240 attendees.  “Each room . . . includes the use of a patio and beautiful views of the golf course.  Our smallest room, Lakeview, is a great space for smaller meetings or can be used as a bridal room for weddings,” says Ashley Dowgwillo, an event coordinator at Deer Creek.  “Our beautiful outdoor ceremony site provides couples with the ability to have their entire event at our facility.”

Wedding ceremonies often take place adjacent to the course’s meandering waterways while the reception is held in one of the rooms overlooking Deer Creek.  The wooded scenery serves as backdrop for those celebrating a life-defining moment such as the solemn exchange of vows.  Many events take advantage of the scenery, including the numerous bridges and other locations throughout the golf course as a backdrop for memorable photographs.  In addition to the great facilities, world class dining is also available for special events, something you don’t often see from a golf course. Wedding at Deer CreekThe cuisine is prepared by executive chef Tony King who has been well-received at the Overland Park golf course and has hosted several special events for nearly 14 years.

“The most common type of events held in our facilities include, but are not limited to . . . wedding receptions [and] ceremonies, rehearsal dinners,  Bar & Bat Mitzvahs, holiday parties, expos, corporate meetings and graduation parties,” says Dowgwillo.  The rooms also have a dance floor where newlyweds can dance the night away with their family and close friends.

The Golf

The golf course is a par 72 Robert Trent Jones Jr. design that winds along and across many waterways, including its namesake, Deer Creek.  The first hole is a par 4 of moderate length with a sharp left dog leg that requires good placement of a tee shot to avoid fairway bunkers and set up a shot to the green.

The third is the number one handicap hole with an elevated tee looking down on a fairway with bunkers and out of bounds right, and a brushy creek to the left.  That creek turns and crosses the fairway just in front of the green, requiring another precision shot to get on in regulation.

The fifth is perhaps one of the most interesting holes on the course.  The short par 4 requires a long iron or, for shorter hitters, a fairway wood off the tee.  The tight fairway is bordered by a wooded hillside to the left and more creek on the right that again turns and runs in front of the green.  Long hitters not adverse to taking on risk can attempt a long fade over the trees to the elevated green, but that is a difficult shot that can end badly if not executed to perfection.

The back nine opens with a hole that anyone who travels down Metcalf south of 135th has probably seen.  From an elevated tee, the fairway progressively narrows as it reaches the green.  For this reason, some golfers opt not to hit driver off the tee in order to keep their ball in the wider part of the fairway between out of bounds left (otherwise known as Metcalf Road) and the creek on the right.  The small two-tiered green requires accurate distance control to land the ball on the same level as the pin.

The long par 3 fifteenth is perhaps the bane of many Deer Creek golfers.  The large, elevated green is fronted by a deep creek and features bunkers ready to swallow tee shots that have the length to carry the creek, but not the accuracy to land safely on the putting surface.

Like front nine, the back wraps up with a par 5.  A solid drive on 18 will position many golfers in the fairway, well short of a deep arm of the creek crossing the fairway.  From there, most golfers will go for the green, hitting fairway wood at a chance to get home in two and end their round on a high note.  There are few things better in golf than wrapping up a round with a birdie (or maybe eagle) on the final hole.

And when you are done – don’t forget the great food and beverage that await you at the clubhouse.  On most days, they even fire up the grill and offer the kind of fare you might cook up in your own backyard.

Contributing to this article:

Marv Dumon: https://plus.google.com/u/0/117189782571989548599?rel=author