Birdies (Eagles?) at Tiffany Greens

As Jim Colbert walked up the 18th fairway in the first round of the 2000 T.D. Waterhouse Championship at Tiffany Greens Golf Club in Kansas City, the crowd roared. Colbert, who spent much of his youth in Kansas City, had birdied the first eight holes of the back nine, tying a Senior PGA Tour record for consecutive birdies.

The crowd sensed history and Colbert wanted to oblige. No Senior PGA player ever had birdied every hole on a side.

Colbert’s 12-foot birdie putt lipped out, leaving him with a course-record 61, but missing his goal.

“When people asked me about the back nine,” he said that day, after shooting the best round of his life, “I wanted to say, ‘I birdied it.’

“That’s golf in a nutshell right there. I shot 11 under, and I was mad. That’s the game for you.”

As my buddy, Neal, and I walked up the 18th on our day at Tiffany Greens, I could hear the crowd roaring. I hadn’t birdied a hole all day, but I just needed to lose the hole by less than five strokes to win the day against Neal. I took a seven (I had a couple of penalty strokes) while Neal took a five.

I accomplished my goal.

It was a great day for Neal and me. We’ve been friends for more than 20 years. Neither of us are good golfers, but the beautiful mid-80s day in early July gave us the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and a nice round of golf on one of our city’s best public courses.

“It’s a fun course to play, regardless of how well you play,” general manager Steve Meyer said. “We’re not catering to the guys on the PGA Tour. But we’ve got some really good golfers out here, and it’s still challenging and fun.”

There’s no way I’ll ever feel like Colbert did that day, either with my game or the sense of approval from a large gallery. But one of the beautiful things about golf is that “average Joes” (or Davids or Neals, for that matter) can walk the same path and play the same course as the great ones. With Tiffany Greens’ very reasonable rates, anyone can have the opportunity.

“Our prime rates $58 for 18 during the week, $68 on the weekend, including carts,” Meyer said. “The rates go down at 3 p.m. The best time to come is after about 2 p.m., especially on weekdays.”

There are also memberships available for $2,800/year, which includes unlimited golf with a cart, unlimited range balls, club storage and discounts at the pro shop. The course hosts a couple of dozen corporate tournaments each year.

It’s certainly true of all golf courses that any level of player can play, but Tiffany Green is challenging for the good player, and manageable for the novice. Ranging from just over 7,000 yards from the “Tiffs,” which is what they call their longest tees, to 4,310 from the reds, the course plays to the level of the player.

The wide fairways are forgiving for the golfer who has trouble hitting it straight, but there are enough challenges for the Jim Colberts of the world to find it entertaining. There’s plenty of water in play as well.

The par-3s are the course’s signature holes, as three of the four par-3s are over water.


I’m not sure what grows from golf balls at the bottom of lakes, but there will be a bumper harvest this fall, thanks in no small measure to our foursome.

Neal and I were joined by Nick and Noah, and we may have set a record for balls in the water on the day we played. They had an excuse, as Nick was playing his first round ever and Noah wasn’t too experienced either. Neal and I have been playing for decades, but we looked like beginners at times.

Tiffany Greens has been around for a little more than 20 years, opening to the public in 1999. The Robert Trent Jones-designed course has matured well, with plenty of trees and rolling fairways. The greens are challenging, yet fair. The course is in immaculate condition, making for a very enjoyable day.


But the highlight—other than “hearing” the roar of the gallery walking up 18—happened as I was teeing my ball on No. 14. As I was putting the tee into the ground, Neal started shouting, “Eagle, eagle.”

Two thoughts ran through my mind. First, I was just teeing off; Neal was a bit early with his encouragement. Second, had he not been watching me play for the first 13 holes?

But he kept saying it. Finally, I looked up and about 30 feet above my head was an American Bald Eagle. He was close enough we could see the hairs on his white head. We quickly forgot the rough rounds we had had to that point. We had seen our national bird closer than either of us ever had before.

You never know what you might encounter at beautiful Tiffany Greens Golf Club. You might see a string of eight straight birdies, and even an eagle on occasion.

Business is Booming at Sunflower Hills

Jeff Johnson has been around Sunflower Hills for a long time. When the PGA Master Club Professional arrived at the course in 1981 there was no Kansas Speedway and no Legends shopping area. And he’s never seen a Tuesday like one in mid-June.

“Tuesdays are normally our slowest days of the year,” Johnson said. “A recent Tuesday was our busiest day of the year. It was a combination of the mild forecast and people wanting to get out and play. I’ve been here for 40 years, and I can’t ever remember a Tuesday as busy as that one.”

Sunflower Hills Golf Course

Johnson credits the Covid bump that boosted business in 2020. When Covid restrictions forced people into isolation, a round of golf was the perfect solution. It was not only great exercise, it could be done with extensive social distancing. If you play like I do, you’re way more than six feet away from anyone else, except for the tee and the green.

Sunflower Hills Golf Course
“I think people rediscovered the game of golf a little bit last year when golf was one of the few activities you could do,” Johnson said. “It’s a great game to play. People felt a lot safer outdoors and on a golf course rather than at a ballpark. We also see a lot of return play. The course is in great condition, which brings people back. We’re developing a lot more loyal customers.

“We used to get a lot of traveling groups who would play different courses each week. It seems like we’re up higher on their lists these days.”

Part of the reason Sunflower Hills is rising on golfers’ lists is the condition of the course. The topography helps the course drain, so when the heavy runs come, as they did in mid- to late-May, the course was playable. “When it was really wet, it helped the grass grow quite a bit,” Johnson said. “But we were able to do a really good job of keeping up the mowing.

“One of the advantages we have is that the ground drains very well. When other courses are somewhat unplayable, we’re very playable. We only had two spots we had to worry about. Two spots on 180 acres is not bad.”

The 7,032-yard course (from the blue tees) is laid out well. With par-5s second on each side, the layout allows groups to spread out and reduces the back-up. The par-3s aren’t tremendously difficult, so they don’t slow play much either.

That’s particularly important when the course is packed, like it will be in August for the 41st annual Wyandotte County Open. It’s the longest-running tournament of its kind in the Kansas City area. There will be eight flights comprising 120 golfers. There will be six men’s flights and two women’s flights.


Golfers will be using a new fleet of E-Z-Go golf carts, complete with long-lasting lithium batteries and GPS units. It’s clearly a case of the good getting better. Johnson, who has been at the course for almost its entire history, is proud of what Sunflower Hills has become.

“I’ve seen a lot of highs and a few lows, but the course has matured very well over the years,” Johnson said. “The thing that makes Sunflower Hills challenging is that very rarely do you have a level lie. The comments we get from visitors are that it’s a very nice golf course, especially for our very reasonable rates. And we get a lot of visitors.”

Golf Courses Open During COVID-19 / Coronavirus Response

Open For Play: Kansas City Courses

First off, we hope you all are safe and are following CDC and local guidelines for helping to contain the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. We also hope you’re keeping your sanity with home lockdowns, kid home-schooling, and of course, the economic impacts. Thankfully, a fair number of our local Kansas City golf courses are open, but a few remain closed. Its hit and miss and our experience so far tells us that those that are open are very busy on every golf-able day.

Here is the list as we know it now (updated as of April 15). Please check with the golf course directly to confirm their status and any rules they’ve imposed for your safety such as online/phone payments only, not touch check-in procedures, golfers/group limits, walking golfers only,etc. The rules vary course to course so be informed before you head out.

We’ll do our best to keep updating this list, but if you know of any changes to this list or a course’s status, please let us know as things are constantly changing.

 

Golf Course Current Status
Adams Pointe OPEN
Blue Springs Golf Club OPEN
Country Creek OPEN
Creekmoor OPEN
Drumm Farm OPEN
Dub’s Dread OPEN
Eagle Bend (Lawrence) closed
Eagles Landing OPEN
Excelsior Springs OPEN
Fairview (St. Joseph) closed
Falcon Lakes OPEN
Falcon Valley OPEN
Fred Arbanas closed
Gardner Golf Course OPEN
Heritage Park Golf OPEN
Hillcrest Country Club OPEN
Hodge Park OPEN
Ironhorse Golf Course closed
Leavenworth Golf Club OPEN
Minor Park 
OPEN (as of 4/13)
Oak Country OPEN
Overland Park Golf Club OPEN
Painted Hills OPEN
Paradise Pointe OPEN
Prairie Highlands OPEN
Royal Meadows OPEN
Shamrock Hills OPEN
Shiloh Springs OPEN
Shirkey Golf Club OPEN
Shoal Creek OPEN
St. Andrews Golf Club OPEN
Stone Canyon OPEN
Sunflower Hills OPEN
Swope Memorial OPEN
Sycamore Ridge OPEN
Teetering Rocks OPEN
Oak Country Golf Club OPEN
Tiffany Greens OPEN
Tomahawk Hills OPEN
Trails West (Leavenworth) OPEN
Winterstone OPEN

 

Practice Pitching Like the Pros

In this week’s pro tip, golf pro Jason Rudolph, explains why and how to practice a critical part of the short game. If you want to shoot lower scores and practice like a pro, then read on.

A typically under-estimated part of every golfer’s game is the short game. Practiced ability in pitching, chipping and putting is what always separates decent players from the really good players. After spending over five years at Torrey Pines Golf Course watching and talking to numerous PGA Tour players, I can say that this is the one area of their game that they work on the most. The best comment I have ever heard from a tour player was from David Duval. A reporter asked him why he spends so much time around the greens. His comment was “I can hit the driver just fine, but from 100 yards and in is where I will win or lose a tournament.”

If you want to improve your game and start shooting lower scores, work on this area of your game. One way I practice pitch shots at different yardages is to set targets. Starting at 25 yards, I’ll lay down a small towel on the ground. Then I will go about every 15 yards and put another target out until I have six targets on the ground from 25 to 100 yards. When I start hitting, I will take aim first at the 25 yard mark and work my way up to 100 yards, hitting about 25 balls at each target. Some of you may not have time to hit that many balls during a typical practice session, so perhaps you can start at 10 balls to each target. Another challenge could be that you just cannot run out on the range (and into the line of fire) to set targets if there are other golfers on the range. If that’s the case, try to find other targets at varying distances, like a drain, the edge of the teeing ground, a brown patch of grass. A laser range finder works well for this drill whether you are setting out towels or finding existing targets to use.

Make sure you use proper technique for pitching and make note of how many balls you put on or near your targets. If you start using a routine like this and do purposeful and deliberate practice, you will hit more greens and find you have a lot more makeable putts after shots from 100 yards and in – and that, will lead to lower scores. Of course, this drill only covers part of the short game. Don’t forget to spend time practicing chipping and putting too.

 

Dave Pelz – Games To Make You A Better Putter

Find the Right Putter for Your Game

In a round of golf, more strokes are played with the putter than any other club. Most people know they need to practice putting, but the challenge is with how and what exactly to practice. In his book, Dave Pelz’s Putting Games, Dave Pelz outlines how golfers should go about assessing their overall putting skills and playing a number of games (or drills) focused on improving areas of weakness. For this edition of the KC Golfer Magazine Pro Tip, we spent some time with his book to give you a feel for how it can make you a better putter.
His book starts off with explaining that there are seven areas of putting and not all amateur or professional golfers are weak or strong in the same areas. He says it is therefore important to know exactly which of these seven areas you need to practice:

  • 3-foot putts
  • 6-foot putts
  • Makeable putts (10 to 20 feet)
  • Breaking putts (with at least 6 inches of break)
  • Intermediate putts (20 to 30 feet)
  • Long lag putts (35 feet or more)
  • Three-putt avoidance

Dave Pelz explains that it will do your game little good to routinely practice 3 foot putts if you cannot lag a long putt to stop within a reasonable distance of the hole. He also points out that most amateurs can benefit more by avoiding three-putts than they can by making more putts of any length. As a former NASA research scientist, Pelz backs these claims and others with extensive research through observing, charting, and tracking players of all skill levels.

Dave Pelz’s Putting Games, therefore, is not a book about the putting stroke or how to putt. He says to check out his book, Dave Pelz’s Putting Bible, for that information. This book focuses on assessing your game and employing the games that make putting practice fun and effective. While there are six chapters, the heart of the book is centered on three chapters covering Performance Games, Games for Stroke Mechanics, and Games for Touch and Feel.

Performance Games are those that help a golfer assess their abilities and identify strengths and weaknesses in their golf games. These games should all be played to get a well-rounded assessment. With some help (a friend to retrieve balls and help with measurements) and a wide open practice green, you can move through all the Performance Games in about an hour. Otherwise, if you have to share the surface with other golfers or need to do your own measuring, charting, and retrieving, it might be best to split the Performance Games across a couple of sessions or more. Each of the seven games assesses your performance against each of the seven areas described earlier. Once armed with that knowledge, it then becomes a matter of selecting and playing the specific games from either of the other two sections to improve your putting.

Games for Stroke Mechanics are particularly useful for golfers needing to improve their short (3- and 6-foot) and makeable putt performance. The games focus on four stroke fundamentals, as Pelz calls them. Those four fundamentals are:

  • Putter aim (practiced through the Aim Game)
  • Matching your path to your intended line (Path Game)
  • Putter face angle (Face-Angle Game)
  • Ball contact (Impact Game)

Games for Touch and Feel are more focused on the mental side of putting. They involve the ability to see the line on breaking putts and having the right feel and confidence to stroke long putts the correct distance to leave a short, high percentage second putt. These games help golfers improve in these areas:

  • Imagining the speed on breaking putts of 6 – 10 feet (Short-Touch Game)
  • Controlling distance on putts from 10 – 30 feet (Makeable-Touch Game, Intermediate-Touch Game, and Feel-for-Speed Game)
  • Lag putting to minimize second putt distance (Lag-Touch Game)
  • Learning to optimize putting rhythm (Rhythm Game and Preview Game)

Pelz is quick to point out that on long putts, there are too many factors like wind, surface imperfections, and the like which influence long putts. And so, he has a scoring system based on putts that finish at or beyond the hole and within a specific range. He uses a 34-inch range to score a long or lag putt as in the “Good Zone.” He then provides a scoring map for these kinds of putting games with different scores based on the distance from the hole that a putt finishes.

Throughout the book, Pelz provides details on how well a professional golfer performs on a given game and contrasts that with amateurs of varying skill levels. That provides a solid benchmark against which a golfer can assess themselves as well as goals to which to aspire. He ends with some words of caution of games NOT to play. Those games, Pelz says, provide the wrong kind of feedback and ingrain poor habits. In particular, he calls out the game “Aces” – a game that rewards long made putts but doesn’t factor in leave distance. He also says putting to a small diameter hole, something some golfers feel improves their touch, can be counterproductive by encouraging golfers to die their putts at the hole rather (which leads to short putts too), rather than stroking them firm enough to reach the hole and finish within a very high percentage second putt length of 17 inches.

Overall, the book is entertaining, simple and straightforward with some good principles based in Pelz’s own golfing research. As the author of numerous books and articles and a teacher who has worked with almost 200 golfers on the PGA and LPGA Tours, Pelz knows what he is talking about. He has several games and drills that can be performed in small areas – perfect for improving your game at home through the off-season.

Kansas City Golf Show – Abundance

Kansas City Golf Show

A record number of free golf rounds and unprecedented numbers of golf equipment choices highlighted the three-day Kansas City Golf Show on Feb. 17-19 at the Overland Park Convention Center.

At the door, visitors received whole host of gifts and giveaways including rounds of golf at the Lake of the Ozarks, a week pass to this year’s Digital Ally Open on the Web.com Tour, and three local rounds of golf from Great Life KC, owner and operator of 18 area golf courses.Great Life

Balmy weather all weekend put the 7,000 visitors to the show in the mood for golf. Some 100 exhibitors were on hand, including a whole section for golf club testing, fitting and sales.

“You could hit as many balls as you wanted with as many clubs as you wanted and it was included in the admission,” said Brian Beaky, a show representative. “People were there to fit you with custom-made clubs.”

There was also an abundance of used clubs at the show, which Beaky said were particularly popular with golfers who arrived at the show on the first morning. They were looking for certain clubs and prices, all under one roof.

Numerous local and out-of-town golf courses and resorts had booths at the show again this year, offering discounted rounds and memberships.

Demo Tee

Everyone at the show was eligible to receive free green fees on seven different course and those who bought a ticket online got an additional course added.

The show also featured drawings for prize as well as several chances to win prizes on putts, chips and virtual long drives. “If you go to the golf show and don’t win anything you are not trying very hard,” Beaky said.

Overhead

 

The show is the largest consumer golf show in the Midwest, Beaky said. Its rising popularity shows that golf is not on the wane, he added.

“Six or seven years ago, the game was struggling to draw golfers, but in the past two or three years we have seen the attendance numbers growing,” Beaky said. “People are coming back to golf.”

Digital Ally Open 2016 – Excitement from Start to Finish

The Digital Ally Open came to Overland Park August 4th through the 8th.  Champion Wesley Bryan prevailed in a three-man playoff that capped a week of fun and excitement.   Bryan actually ended up taking home three items during the award ceremony on the 18th green following play – his trophy, first place winner’s check, and a brand new PGA Tour card by way of winning his third title this season on the Web.com Tour.

To read more about the tournament, visit the PGA Tour’s coverage of the event here.   What follows are our favorite images of a fun-filled week of professional golf right here in KC.

Opening Signage

The Web.com Tour Came to the Links of Lionsgate in Overland Park.

RickLamb Tee

Rick Lamb tees off on #5 en route to a birdie that put him one stroke off the lead Friday.

 

 

 

PeterLonard-Drop

PGA Tour winner Peter Lonard with a drop from the fencing that closely surrounded the 18th green.

BenCurtis with Ball

Ben Curtis, winner of the 2003 British Open, signs a ball for a young fan.

Teater-Bunker

Josh Teater from the bunker on #17 – he would finish in a tie for 15th.

StandardBearerWSouvenirs

A young standard bearer shows off his souvenirs – including one from Major Winner, Ben Curtis.

OllieFromFairway

Rookie Ollie Schniederjans from the fairway with the homes of Lionsgate providing a backdrop. Schniederjans is currently 2nd on the Web.com money list.

John Rollins - final hole

Three-time PGA Tour winner taps in on the 18th hole early in the week.

 

WesleyBryan-ForTheWin17

Wesley Bryan with a short putt to clinch his third win this season and an automatic promotion to the PGA Tour.

WesleyBryan-Celebration1

Wesley Bryan – putter drop after winning a three-man, two-hole sudden death playoff.



WesleyBryan-GreetedAfterWin

Wesley Bryan greets wife, father, and caddie immediately following the win.

 

TrophyArrival

The winner’s trophy was flown in aboard the Children’s Mercy Hospital helicopter which landed on the 18th fairway.

 

TrophyRaised

Winner Wesley Bryan raises the trophy with tournament officials, including Kelly Eddy, Executive Director, to his right.

WinnersCheck

Bryan gladly accepts his check, and…

PGA Tour Card

…a newly minted PGA Tour Card.

Callaway - Winners bag

The all-Callaway winners bag included a 9-degree Great Big Bertha driver, Apex Pro irons, MD3 wedges and an Odyssey putter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WinterStone Still A Blast, Despite No More Blasting

There’s still a limestone mine below WinterStone Golf Course in Independence, but there are no more rumbles under the feet of players in mid-afternoon as in years past.

Mining has moved to an adjacent site, leaving only occasional faint sounds of blasting, according to WinterStone club professional, Kane Chapman.winterstone2

But having a golf course over an active mine was more of a novelty than anything else on a course that can hold its own to any in the Kansas City region for natural beauty, intriguing design and challenging golf.

WinterStone, opened in 2003 in northwest Independence and unfolds over rolling, wooded terrain in a country setting.  The holes on each nine ascend gradually to a crescendo, before meandering back down to the clubhouse.

“Players comment about how this course is a little different than others in the area,” Chapman said. “It reminds them of the Ozarks, with all the elevation changes.”

Designed by noted golf course architect Craig Schreiner, WinterStone has ample landing areas off the tee, but demands accuracy in fairway and approach shots, often from sidehill lies.

winterstone7“There are not really any truly blind shots,” Chapman said. “Just about everywhere you hit from where you can reach the green, you can also see the flag. There are no big surprises.”

Creeks and a pair of lakes bring water into play on seven holes, requiring long drives off two of those holes to keep the ball dry.

The course has four sets of tees, ranging from 4,976 to 6,752 yards. The lengths can be deceiving, however, as frequent uphill shots require an extra club or two.  The course carries a 73.6 course rating from the gold tees, or back tees, and a 133 slope rating.

“The course looks like it should set up better for the better players, but we have players of all skill levels that really enjoy playing the course,” Chapman said. “The fairways have some generous landing areas, but if you miss them you could have some issues.”

Players can count on good lies on the zoysia fairways and true putting on the bent grass greens. The course is noted for its fine condition.  Additionally, there are few, if any courses, that have a more convenient practice range than the one found just a few steps from the WinterStone clubhouse.

WinterStone has competitive green fees, with twilight discounts after 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Discounts are also offered seniors, over age 55, and to junior players. Annual fees for play with or without a cart, and reduced for juniors and seniors are also offered.  Added to all that, lessons are available from the course’s professional staff.winterstone1

The course also has The Club card, which permits golfers to play WinterStone and five other courses for $34.99 per month plus a $20 daily fee, including cart. The other courses are Tiffany Greens, Dub’s Dread, Eagles Landing, Deer Creek and Alvamar. Tee times can be made up to four days in advance.

WinterStone is the place to turn to for corporate, charitable and other tournaments and special events. The course will provide a tournament price that includes golf, carts, scoring, rules of play, sponsor placement signs on holes, and awards ceremonies.

out_from_pavThe Pavilion, a snack bar and lounge with table seating for 120 next to the clubhouse, will post digital scoring on flat screens for tournaments and host awards ceremonies and meals before or after the event.

With an elevated and picturesque view of the golf course, the Pavilion is the perfect place to spend a little “debrief time” following your round.  It can also be rented for wedding receptions and other events, with room for up to 150 people.  Surrounded by windows, The Pavilion can be used open-air or enclosed for climate control.

WinterStone is located at 17101 E. Kentucky Road just east of Highway 219. Its website is winterstonegolf.com and the phone number is 816-257-5755.

Tee Off 2014 – Drivers

Grip it and rip it is outdated.  In this age of adjustability and drivers with more settings than your old VCR, perhaps the new terminology ought to be Set it, Grip it, and then Rip it.  Its been ten years since TaylorMade brought us the R7 with its changeable weights, and just five years since Nike debuted a driver with an adjustable hosel to change lie and face angle.

Today, it seems almost all drivers feature some degree of adjustability, although those that don’t still pack in plenty of technology and features.  What follows is a review of some of the top drivers in terms of performance and popularity.

Perhaps the driver receiving the most buzz this year is the TaylorMade SLDR.  Their “Loft Up” ads and tagline are the result of the need for golfers to buy a driver with a bit more loft than they are typically used to because of the low and forward center of gravity (CG).  TaylorMade set the CG low and foward, as opposed to low and back, to promote low spin off the club face.  Low spin, for higher swing speeds and at the right loft, means more distance.  The club also features a 20-gram moveable weight mounted on a track along the sole.  Moving the weight to the toe promotes a fade while moving it to the heel will help create a draw flight.  Added to all this is the Loft-sleeve that has been featured on other TaylorMade models and allows loft and lie adjustments to one of twelve different settings.

Remember the Callaway Big Bertha – the driver that revolutionized metalwoods and started the era of increasing driver head sizes?  Well, it’s back.  The 2014 version of the Big Bertha is a 460cc version that piles on new technology designed to create a longer, straighter ball flight – something almost all golfers are looking for.  The adjustable hosel can add up to two degrees of loft or reduce it by one degree.  Along the back of the club is an 8-gram weight that, like TaylorMade’s SLDR, is mounted on a track allowing the weight to be locked in one of multiple positions.  Unlike the SLDR, though, the track is along the trailing (back) edge of the sole, placing weight in a more traditional place to promote a higher ball flight.  Golfers will need to work with a fitter to get the settings just right for their particular swing speed and shot shape, but once dialed in, the Big Bertha will yield long fairway splitters.

The Nike VR_S Covert 2.0 has perhaps the most unique design of all the drivers this year, representing improvements over the original Covert driver.  Like its predecessor, the 2.0 version features a cavity back design with a sizeable wedge removed from the back of the clubhead to position weight at the toe and heel and promote a straighter ball flight from a more stable head through impact.  The end result is a very forgiving club that provides a significant amount of forgiveness.  While introduced in a striking red finish, Nike recently revealed a matte black version.  The hosel allows the club to be adjusted from 8.5 degrees of loft up to 12 degrees.

Ping has a pair of drivers worth noting as well.  The Ping G25 and i25 drivers are aimed at different types of golfers and bring a host of features to their respective designs.  The G25 is a distance driver with a matte black finish on a slightly elongated head shape.  Its a fairly high launching, mid spin driver meant to help golfers launch the ball high and straight and should be very appealing to golfers with slower swing speeds.  Its hosel allows a half degree of loft adjustability.  The i25 is a very low spin driver that provides a low piercing ball flight with plenty of distance.  For its shape and design, its a straight driver that still provides some ability to work the ball left or right, as needed.

These manufacturers have many more options available, as do numerous other clubmakers.  The new drivers of 2014 have kept improving on the technology of their predecessors, allowing anyone with the knowledge to dial up their desired ball flight.  Just remember to set it – before you grip it and then rip it.

Avoid The Laid Off Backswing

The golf swing is dependent on correctly doing the previous move. Therefore, a solid takeaway promotes setting the club correctly at the top of the backswing, which in turn promotes returning toward impact with the club on the correct plane, path and face angle.

Many players create a poor position at the top of the backswing. While the goal is to set the club correctly at the top of the backswing, many players allow the club to get across the line or laid off at the top. Both positions can lead to undesirable results. The club should point to the target at the top of the backswing.

top-backswing-across_the_line

 

When the club points to the right of your body and the right of your target the club has come across the line. The prototypical swing positions the club pointing toward the target and parallel to the target line at the top of the backswing. Many players pick the club up too steep during the backswing, resulting in the top position across the line. Blocked shots to the right and hooks are a common result for getting the club across the line at the top of the backswing. The picture to the right demonstrates the club across the line at the top pointing to the right of the target.

 

Many recreational players allow the club to reach a laid off position at the top of the backswing. The club is laid off when the club points away from the golfer and left of the target line at the top of the backswing.

top-backswing-laid_off

From a laid off position the hands must rotate quickly through impact. Shanks often result when the hands do not rotate quickly enough. A shank results when the hosel of the club head strikes the ball causing it to squirt off to the right. Additionally, players often pull the shot causing the ball to start to the left of the target.

The following tips are designed to get the club set in the proper position at the top of the backswing.

 

 

Set up to the ball correctly. Check your alignment and be sure your body is lined up parallel to the target line. If you set up with your body open to the target line it can encourage a laid off position at the top of the backswing. On the other hand, if your body is lined up to the right of the target line it can encourage an across the line position at the top of the backswing. Position your feet, knees, hips and shoulders square to the target line.

The proper take away also helps position the club correctly at the top of the backswing. A flat and inside take away can lead to a laid off backswing. Try to avoid the club head getting behind the hands during the takeaway. Place an object such as a head cover about a foot behind the ball positioned just inside the target line. Take the club head back low to the ground without touching the object behind the ball. Also, avoid the object on the downswing. This drill will help swing the club on a vertical swing plane, rather than a horizontal swing plane. In addition, it will help position the club correctly at the top of your backswing instead of pointed across the line or laid off to the target line. Be sure the club points to your target at the top of your backswing. Practice with a friend standing behind your or in front of a full length mirror to check for the correct position.

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.