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Short Game: The Value of Distance Control

October 20, 2011

I recently wrote an article for PGA Magazine about distance control with your wedges – see below for the full version of the article.


The importance of teaching students the value of distance control around the green:
One of the most important aspects of the game we all love is creating a consistent low point and compressing the golf ball, as this helps golfers maximize control and distance of their golf shots. We know the short game is more about touch and feel than the long game, but the way the club works through the hitting area is virtually the same. To help my clients understand impact, I teach them forward shaft lean and the importance of compressing the ball through chipping, then pitching and finally punch shots. The first drill I use is chipping balls with the non-target hand until they get the handle of the club moving past the ball before the club head in order to create crisp contact. Then I ask them to switch hands and do the same with the target hand. Only once they are making solid chip shots with both hands on the club will we progress into pitching, and even then single-handed drills are effective to help build a more solid and repeatable impact position. Finally, I like to test the improved short game technique with short punch shots that incorporate hitting golf balls with a 7-iron under a five-foot target that’s placed 15 feet in front of the hitting area. Only when all three of these skills are mastered will we move on to other areas of the swing.

The business impact of teaching students the value of distance control around the green:
I have found that my clients’ all-around games improve quicker by teaching chip, pitch punch before other aspects of the swing. The client’s ability to control ball flight around the greens improves due to better contact. The increase in more predictable contact also allows clients to hit chip and pitch shots closer to the hole, leading to shorter putts and lower scores. Clients see instant improvement in their games by adopting the chip, pitch, punch mentality, which allows our relationship to grow and increases the likelihood of repeat business and referrals.

As always please feel free to leave comments.


Putting: An Efficient Way to Set-Up to the Ball

October 18, 2011

Putting is an area of the game overlooked by many golfers, partly due to lack of knowledge and partly due to lack of excitement.

I have created a video (see link below) that outlines a repeatable and efficient set-up routine to help golfers set-up to the ball in the correct manner. There are many other areas of putting that I will discuss at a later stage, but having an effective set-up will lead to better results on the putting green. I also briefly mention the importance of having the correct length putter, but again will hold off on the details for now as I will dedicate a more specific post about putter fitting in the future.

Main Set-Up Aspects:

  1. Eyes over the top of the ball
  2. Hands hang underneath the shoulders
  3. Forearms are parallel
  4. Hips sit directly over the heels

Please leave a comment if you find the post helpful and/or have alternative opinions.

Swing Practice vs Playing Mode Practice

October 12, 2011

Is practice a lost art? What is practice and how can it help people play better golf?

Last week I had the great opportunity to observe a couple of local instructors give lessons to adults and juniors. The teaching academy is based at a public course and the teaching bays are in the middle of the open public bays. As I was observing the lessons I began noticing a pattern to people’s practice/warm-up  tendencies.

– Most of the golfers I observed did not stretch or warm up in any way
– Most of the golfers started hitting balls with long irons or drivers first
– From my observations, most of the golfers did not have a specific target in mind
– Not one golfer alternated from a driver to a medium iron to short iron or any combination of clubs
– The driving range was  80% full for the 3 hours I was there and the putting green was never more than 25% full at anytime in that 3 hour period.

Is the information above ground breaking? No, of course not. However, it does serve as a fresh reminder to encourage all golfers to re-evaluate their practice habits prior to playing a round. Now let’s discuss the difference between swing  practice and playing mode practice.

Swing Practice:
Swing technique practice should be specific and not something that should be worked on prior to playing a round of golf. Many of you might be in the middle of swing changes and excited to unleash them on the course, however, the more you can separate your swing practice and playing mode practice, the more prepared you will be when playing the course and the quicker swing changes will be groved. The less golfers concentrate on swing movements while playing golf, the more time and energy they can spend on picking out specific targets and course managment stratagies.

Playing Mode Practice:
I want my clients to focus more on playing the course, making smart course management decisions and concentrating on targets. Prior to a round, be sure to spend at least 50% of your practice time in playing mode. Warm up yput body then begin to get your mind and body in “playing mode”. Most rounds of golf are not filled with hitting multiple 7 irons and drivers in a row so when I hear “Coach, I’m finding it hard to take my range game to course” I dive into my client’s practice habits. Some part of your  practice sessions should consist of playing holes on the range. Pick specific targets of fairways and greens and if you miss the fairway with your drive, hit your next shot from an uneven lie to a different target,  do the same for chip and pitch shots. Be critical about your targets and think outside your comfort zone when selecting targets as that’s exactly what happens on the course and the more time you can spend practicing this way, the more prepared you will be when playing.  Putting practice is obviuosly vitally important but that area of the game will be discussed in a future blog.

Example: 1 week before playing a tournament.

Day 7 – Swing Practice 50%, Playing Mode Practice 50%

Day 6 –  Swing Practice 50% Playing Mode Practice 50%

Day 5 –  Swing Practice 40% Playing Mode Practice 60%

Day 4  – Swing Practice  40% Playing Mode Practice 60%

Day 3  – Swing Practice 25% Playing Mode Practice 75%

Day 2 –  Swing Practice  25% Playing Mode Practice 75%

Day1  – Swing Practice 0% Playing Mode Practice 100%

Warm Up: 100% Practice Mode prior to teeing off.

Obviously the example above would take place in an ideal world, but the purpose is to help golfers practice playing the game as well as swing technique.

Please let me know if you think these techniques are helpful or if you have similar practice habits.

GolfTEC San Diego

October 6, 2011

As I’m still in the early stages of my “blogging career” I want to be sure everyone understands GolfTEC and how our teaching technology and systems help our clients play better golf. I think there is a skepticism about teaching indoors for the obvious reasons that we play golf outdoors and we don’t have the ability to see ball flight.  I have to admit that when I was first looking at moving my teaching career indoors, I was a little unsure about how people could improve as much indoors as outdoors.  What I found early on was that removing the ability to see the ball fly actually helped clients stay more focused on current swing changes and practice habits. Obviously a time comes when clients have to take their changes to the range and the course, but given the correct  swing changes combined with specific practice habits, the transition can be seamless.

GolfTEC’s Five Factors:

Fact Based Diagnosis (the usage of motion sensors)

Sequential Lessons (cause and effect swing philosophies)

Advantaged Retention Tools (clients have the ability to review past lessons online)

Video Based Practice (clients have the ability to practice using our video and motion technology)

Precision Matched Clubs (we make sure all clients are specifically fit for clubs and golf balls)

Please view the following video for a closer look at our teaching studio in La Jolla, CA.

Introducing Andrew Marr Golf Instruction

September 30, 2011

Friends, Coaches, Instructors, Golf Enthusiasts

After making the big move from Philadelphia to San Diego to teach the game I grew up with, I decided to entertain the notion of establishing a blog.  Well today is the day I officially unveil my golf instruction blog and life thoughts to the world.  My personality is a combination of fun, intense motivation and extreme competitiveness so I hope to bring those traits to this as frequently as possible.

Growing up in Troon, Scotland gave me the opportunity to play some of the world’s best golf courses almost every week.  Scotland, and Troon in particular, did not offer kids in those days summer camps or retreats so golf was a huge draw for us young lads (and lassies) as greens fees were fairly inexpensive. As a better player in my club (Troon St. Meddans), I had the opportunity to play with older, more experienced players and it certainly made me grow up quickly in order to be accepted.  I owe Scotland and my family a huge debt of gratitude for introducing me to the game which has become my career and life.

Troon Lochgreen

The main theme of my blog will be golf instruction and coaching in its purist form; my hope is to give my readers the chance to  share information that will help them play better golf. Every day, discoveries and breakthroughs with my clients keep my adrenaline flowing so I will be including success stories and those of a more challenging nature. I do also want to be sure to connect the love of my game with other passions in my life such as people, micro brews, food and travel, Scottish soccer, The Philadelphia Phillies and The Philadelphia Eagles.

I also want to invite other coaches and instructors to be leave comments as often as possible as I will never pretend I have all the answers and always embrace new ideas or points of view.

Please feel free to friend request me on Facebook and/or follow my twitter handle @andrewmarrgolf

Let the learning begin……………………………………………..