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Suzy Whaley Club Fitting If you are a seasoned golfer or even a new golfer, chances are you’ve heard about club fitting – but you may wonder if you should consider custom fit clubs.  Many golfers think club fitting is for the tour professionals and not amateur players.  I like to ask, if you have a size 8 foot, would you wear size 10 shoes?  Most likely not, yet many golfers appear content playing with equipment that is not custom fit for them and their golf game.

Research shows that 92 percent of golfers don’t play with the right clubs for their swing – so this means once you get custom fit, you will see an immediate improvement in your game.  Women more than men, tend to “accumulate” handed-down clubs – which many times are too long and too heavy – not to mention have larger and usually worn grips.  Treat yourself to the experience of club fitting to make sure your clubs are right for you.  Your session may cost between $50 and $100 (depending on full fitting or just a few clubs) but most Professionals and fitters will credit the fitting fee toward a purchase, if you buy new clubs.

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We just saw a great weekend of golf as the 79th Masters concluded.  For many people the Masters tournament signals the official start of the golf season, although people in southern climates celebrate the spring as the end of their busy winter season.  You may be thinking about starting off your 2015 season by taking advantage of the new equipment offerings – but there are so many options, where does one begin? 

If you are in the market for a few new clubs or an entire set, you first need to think about set composition.  This means thinking about which clubs you plan to put in your bag to get to your 14 club limit.  This was the “norm” since 30 years ago, irons were sold in sets of eight - most people used a driver, 3-wood and 5-wood, pitching wedge, sand wedge and putter.  Maybe that is what the “composition” of the 14 clubs in your bag look like.

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You are a “new” golfer -- looking for a guide to playing the game? Or have you been playing golf forever but still feel like a “new” golfer at times? The Den Caddie has some tips to help!

Question:   Golf seems so serious, do I have to be serious?
Answer:  It is okay to play golf for FUN!

Here are some tips for new golfers from the PGA and Get Ready Golf

1. It’s okay to not keep score. 
2. It’s okay to play from the shortest tees or start at the 150-yard marker. 
3. It’s okay to give yourself a better lie by rolling the ball around a little. It’s okay to tee the ball up anywhere when you are first learning. 
4. It’s okay to only count swings when you make contact with the ball. 
...
18. It’s okay to PLAY GOLF JUST FOR FUN! 

Click this link to read more: PGA and Get Ready Golf: 


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One of the best ways to get more distance off the tee is to use a driver that has been custom fit for your swing. The most common objective golfers desire during a golf lesson is more distance, yet a surprising 68 percent of all golfers have not been fit for their driver.

The start of the 2015 golf season included new driver offerings from all major golf manufacturers. Every company offers game improvement clubs with adjustable loft, increased center of gravity and club characteristics designed for all skill levels and swing speeds. While most “new driver lists” and company videos explain this technology for men, by getting custom fit, you can get a properly weighted shaft in a length designed to produce great results based on your swing speed. In other words, club fitting applies to women in addition to men.



Most drivers on the market today feature a 460 degree cubic centimeter clubface to help you generate more speed and thus more forgiving to miss-hits. This means if you hit a shot off center or near the toe of the club head, you will likely still produce an airborne shot (vs. a shank from hitting a toe shot on a smaller wooden head 30 years ago.)
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In the previous Forecaddie posts, we’ve covered putting, the short game and mid irons. The full swing is really not much different from the mid irons. Begin by making sure the basics are the same every time. Review your grip, stance and alignment and make sure your set up is the same every time.

GRIP: Check to make sure you hold the club more in the fingers and not in the palm of your leading hand. (Hint: If you wear out your golf glove in the pad of your hand, chances are you are holding the club more in your palm.)

STANCE: Take a good athletic swing with your feet about shoulder-width apart. This helps you create a firm base and keeps you balanced. A stance that’s too wide doesn’t allow you to make a full turn with your body and the opposite is true if your stance is too narrow, it will cause you to lose your balance.
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EWGA Forecaddie Mid Iron Swing Tips

The past few Forecaddie topics have centered around the short game – putting, chipping, pitching and sand play.  If you practice and get comfortable with the short game, the short irons (8, 9, pitching wedge and sand wedge) may become your favorite clubs to hit since they have more loft designed to hit the ball up in the air and stop quicker on the green.

EWGA Mid Iron Swing Tips

The Mid Irons (5, 6 and 7 irons) are designed with slightly longer shafts than your short irons, but also have loft designed to get the ball in the air.  Many people make the mistake of “sweeping” at the ball and trying to lift the ball in the air.  Learn to hit down on the ball and let the clubface and loft do the work for you.  Hitting down will actually get the ball in the air.  Make sure the ball position is in the middle of your stance so this will help you hit down on the ball at impact.  If the ball position is too far toward your forward foot, you hit the ball on your upswing and will lose distance. The opposite is true if the ball position is too far toward your back foot, you trap the ball on your downswing and don’t get the full advantage of letting the club loft help get the ball in the air for you.

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As you know, Get Golf Ready is the industry-wide adult player development program designed to get more players into the game in a fast and fun manner. Get Golf Ready offers five group lessons, generally starting around $99, to teach golf skills used while playing, taught by PGA or LPGA Professionals in a casual, friendly setting.

If you have friends who don’t play but want to learn, Get Golf Ready is the perfect solution. Help your friends find a host facility by visiting GetGolfReady.com to find a location near them. Many facilities will offer classes for small groups, so don’t be afraid to form your own group and ask the Professional to create a class schedule especially for your group (usually after work or on weekends).

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Now that we have covered chipping, pitching and bunker shots, it’s a perfect time to finish the short game secrets with putting.  To get your putting on track, play the ball slightly forward in your stance, under your left eye (for a right-handed player – right eye for left-handed player) and swing like a pendulum from your shoulder, not with the forearms and wrist.   



A good drill to use to make sure you aren’t a “wrist putter” is to hit a few putts wearing a golf glove with a popsicle stick (wooden coffee stir stick, golf pencil, or golf tee) just inside the cuff of the glove.  When you make your putting stroke, if you break your wrists, the stick will hit you in the wrist.  Practice a smooth putting stroke without breaking your wrist and getting jabbed by the stick, pencil or tee. 
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The last two blogs have concentrated on chipping and pitching.  Remember, practicing your short game 50 percent of the time will help you gain confidence and lower scores at the same time.  Plus it makes you a great teammate for the EWGA Par 3 Challenge!  



This week we will focus on bunker shots.   For this shot your club head goes above your hands on the backswing since you hinge your wrists to make a longer swing, but it stays below your hands on the follow-through.  Like the chip shot, the club shaft will be slightly forward at impact and the club head will be low and pointed left of the target on the follow-through.   

Here are some bunker play secrets:

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Keep your network of friends strong to keep you strong.  Visit www.ewga.com and learn about all the other positive gains of membership.  EWGA has the friendship part covered!

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We talked last week about the importance of practicing the short game to see immediate improvement in your golf scores and I shared some chipping secrets (remember, this is a swing where the club head stays low, below your hands on the backswing and follow-through.)

This week we will focus on pitching. For this shot your club head goes above your hands on the backswing since you hinge your wrists to make a longer swing, but it stays below your hands on the follow-through. Like the chip shot, the club shaft will be slightly forward at impact and the club head will be low and pointed left of the target on the follow-through.





Here are some pitching secrets:

  • Use most lofted club – PW or SW
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If you are getting excited to play in the new EWGA Par 3 Challenge, chances are you want to focus on knocking the rust off your short game.  This is the most important part of a golfers game, yet most people don’t practice chipping, pitching, bunker shots or putting like they should.  The general rule of thumb is to practice 50 percent of the time on these areas.
  

The quickest way to see immediate improvement in your golf scores is to practice the short game.  Learn and own a 50-yard shot – it’s  imperative for women to get great at it - and own it.  You will be amazed at the increase in confidence and that will carry over to other areas of your swing and game.  Even if you play with golfers who crush it past you, once you get that 50-yard shot in your tool box, you can beat those who hit it farther than you with your new and improved short game.

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As part of EWGAs themed “I Heart Golf Month” in February and with many parts of the country suffering from cold and snow, it’s a great time to prepare for your 2015 golf season from the warmth of your house.  While waiting for courses to re-open in the spring, there are many fitness and exercises you can do that will benefit both your body and your golf swing in the off-season. 

EWGA member and fellow LPGA Professional Karen Palacios-Jansen has created a perfect blend of fitness exercises designed to help your golf game, called Cardiogolf.  Cardiogolf is a way for golfers to improve their swing mechanics and fitness levels at the same time.  You can work on these exercises in your home, at the gym or outside before you play. 

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I am about halfway through the February Golf in Winter book club selection, Wonder Girl: The Magnificent Sporting Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias, and am struggling with what my final opinion will be of Babe. Mildred, her real name, was a small town girl from Texas from the wrong side of the tracks who was more gifted athletically than anyone before the Williams sisters in the 20th century.  A multi-event Olympic track and field gold medalist, a basketball star, and a gifted golfer were just a few of the sports where she excelled.  What couldn't she do?  By all accounts, she was a wreck socially.  She was a narcissist for sure. She cared more about promoting herself and entertaining her admirers with often salty and vulgar language than about her team.  On the one hand, I understand she came from nothing and fought for everything she earned.  In a time when the silent cowboy was the hero and let his gun do the talking, Babe was the exact opposite.  She proclaimed to everyone, she was wonderful, marvelous. It got so bad that she became the example Mothers gave to their daughters of how to not act.  I cringe during the descriptions of her dealings
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Save the day - Saturday, March 14 

Kick-off Brunch at Locust Hill Country Club
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The 2015 Golf Season is off to a great start – both the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tours are back in swing, as well as the Champions Tour (Senior men) with the Legend’s Tour (Senior women) beginning their season in March.

After a successful start in Hawaii, the PGA TOUR is having a great west coast swing.  It’s always fun to watch the Waste Management Phoenix Open that draws hundreds of thousands of spectators for the week.  This event showcases the enjoyment that people can experience through the game of golf.  Spectators embrace the fun surrounding the sport – many who don’t even play golf – but observe a unique fan experience.  The fans and the Professionals alike enjoy the atmosphere at the 16th hole.    Where else do spectators get to reward good shots or be vocal over shots that miss the green?  It’s fan experiences like this that help promote golf as a fun game.

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It was a very busy time in Orlando last week at the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show. The week began with Demo Day on Tuesday followed by three days of everything you can imagine on the show floor. There are new golf balls from Bridgestone, Callaway and Titleist; many new golf equipment offerings including drivers, irons, hybrids, wedges and putters. For the gadget folks, there are new stat tracking devices, new enhancements to range finders and all kinds of new technology in golf grips – some that simply screw on and off your club. Golf shoe manufacturers are constantly designing shoes designed for comfort, stability and style along with features for weather (moisture wicking, cooling, etc.) My favorite is the Golf Board – the machine that looks like a giant skate board that you ride with your clubs down the fairway.

For a deeper look at some featured products, visit Golf

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This is the biggest week for people in the golf industry as thousands of people converge on the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando for what is referred to the Major of the Golf Business - the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show.

The week begins Tuesday with the Thirteenth Annual PGA Show Demo Day at Orange County National Golf Course. This huge demo day provides a great opportunity to see, feel and test in real conditions, the latest in technology advancements by the leading manufacturers in the golf business. Golf equipment companies are all in one place; showcasing the newest drivers, woods, irons, wedges, putters, balls, shafts, grips and the latest in club fitting.

 
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Did you know that the Orange County Chapter will celebrate our 20 year anniversary in May!   We will  have lots of opportunities to celebrate in the month of MAY.
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Do you think about golf in January? How do you keep “golf-focused” during the off-season? If you live in a climate where the grass turns white in the winter, chances are golf is not really on your mind right now.

When I lived in Iowa and Minnesota (where the grass does turn white in the winter), I couldn’t wait to watch golf on TV in January, February and March. There was something about seeing the lush green grass, players wearing golf shirts and watching the TOUR from great locations such as Hawaii, California, Arizona, Florida and Texas. This was “back in the day” when golf was only on TV during the weekends and the only coverage was for two hours as the leaders played the last four holes.

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