CHICAGO AREA GOLF “LINKS and TIPS”
Golf season has arived…clean off the clubs and golf shoes and get out on the course with family and friends for a few rounds or two, or three, or…. Practice makes perfect, so be sure to practice these helpful tips provided from seasoned pros at the following local golf courses….
Emily Burns, Cantigny Youth Links Golf Professional
27w270 Mack Road, Wheaton, IL
Start Kids Out Right
There comes a time when you notice your child outside in the yard making gigantic divots in your lawn, or perhaps shattering a neighbor’s window. Whichever the case, you now realize your son or daughter is attracted to golf, and even showing a talent for the game.
So, what’s next? Acquiring a set of properly fitted clubs is a good start. Fortunately, the cost is reasonable, and equipment companies have come a long way in catering to junior golfers.
Most junior clubs come in sets containing 3 to 7 pieces. Club sizes are based on the child’s height. Clubs with the proper length, weight and flex will make learning easier and more enjoyable.
I believe the most important club is the putter. More than 40% of the game revolves around the putting green, so consider focusing your child’s attention there. The key is to make it FUN! For example, try some putting games such as placing lollypops (or some other little prize) around the hole, in a ladder format. Start at the closest piece. When the putt is made, the child collects the prize and moves to the next marker.
PGA Pro: Randy Cochran
The Preserve at Oak Meadows:
900 N. Wood Dale Rd. Addison, 630-595-0071
272 Addison Rd. Wood Dale, 630-616-8424
18W201 W. 63rd St. Westmont, 630-810-5330
Who wants to hit it longer?
We all have physical differences. Let’s help you find which ingredients for longer hitting are in your wheelhouse.
- Silky speed is produced by great wrist break. So always allow a full wrist break on your backswing and through swing.
- Stable power is a product of the range of motion in your shoulders and hips.
- Balance and sound foot work allows you to use the ground to coil against and push off.
- Solid contact with your club face is imperative.
Gifted golfers can wind up and unwind using all four sources of power and speed. Many of us face limitations in one area or another, so we must focus on the strengths we do possess.
Try This! Take some swings without a ball and simply listen to the “whoosh” your club makes as you swing. Next, take the backswing longer and high over your back shoulder. You will begin to hear a louder and later “whoosh”. (Club head speed)
Note: Short swingers must create quicker acceleration and will hear their speed in their downswing, before the ball. Longer swingers will develop a smoother acceleration and hear their maximum speed past the ball. This is our goal!!
Pottawatomie Golf Course
Golf Course Manager & Golf Pro
845 N. Second Street, St. Charles
Starting Kids Off Right
Golf is a sport for families! When playing with young children or those new to the game, following the DisneyTM principle of viewing the world through the eyes of a child is appropriate. Kids who can only hit the ball 50 yards; a 400-yard par 4 hole will look like a mile. At Pottawatomie, playing from the front tees allows them to have better success. To even out the odds, golfers will a little more experience can play from the same tees and select a club that allows the ball to go the same distance as your child. The reward will come when your child shouts with pride and joy that they hit it farther than you. With junior golfers, spend time walking hole to hole to instill the great walk & talk aspect of the game in them. Pottawatomie offers an abundance of scenic views and challenges to spark a conversation. Introducing a new generation of players to the great game of golf will drive new life into this fantastic sport (pun intended).
Twin Lakes Golf Club
400 W. 59th St., Westmont, IL 60559
Twin Lake’t Tip…
You only need a few clubs!
You’re allowed to carry as many as 14 clubs in your bag, but you won’t need nearly that many when you’re first learning. Instead, start with a driver, a putter, a sand wedge and supplement those with a 6-iron, an 8-iron, a pitching wedge, and a fairway wood or hybrid with 18-21 degrees of loft. These are the clubs that are the most forgiving and easiest to get the ball airborne.
Golf Center Des Plaines
Justin Bentley, PGA Professional
GolfTec Des Plaines
353 N. River Road, Des Plaines
Putting is an art.
The ability to read small undulations in the green, start the ball on the proper line and ensure it has the correct speed can require the touch of a masterful artist. Putting, however, is also a science. Blowing putts 6 feet past on one hole then 4 feet short on the next can often feel like an unsolvable math equation. Sound familiar? Well, here’s a component of your putting that combines the best of both the art and science: angle of attack. The vertical measurement of how the club is moving through the ball at impact, angle of attack is just as important with the putter as it is with the driver. A stroke that moves too downward ¬into the ball can impart varied spin, and a stroke that’s too upward can create contact issues. Both can lead to lack of putting distance control.
The Poker Chip Drill
A general guideline for the putting stroke is to have the attack angle moving slightly upward at impact. This drill helps you do just that. Stack two poker chip ball markers and set up to them as if the ball were there. Make a stroke while trying to clip off the top one only. If you hit both ball markers, it’s likely your angle of attack is moving too far downward. If you miss them entirely, it’s likely your angle of attack is moving too far upward. Once you get the hang of consistently knocking off the top marker, replace with a ball and start hitting putts with the same stroke. After a little practice, your improved attack angle should help with distance control and make those frustrating three-putts a thing of the past!
Rules to Know Before You Play
A good score may be spoiled, or a match lost, due to a penalty incurred through ignorance or confusion concerning the Rules. Keep these in mind when you are out on the course.
Ball falls off tee A lot of players aren’t sure what to do when this happens. Simple: You get to re-tee without penalty. (Exception: You’ve already whiffed on the first shot. If the ball then falls off, you have to play it as it lies.)
Water hazards A water hazard is marked in yellow. If you aren’t going to attempt to play from the hazard — and unless you have a clean shot, we advise you don’t — you are facing a one-shot penalty. For a water hazard, a player has three options:
- Go to the designated drop area (not all hazards have this).
- Identify where your ball last crossed the water hazard, then drop as far back as you want from that spot and the pin.
- Play your next shot by dropping a ball nearest to the point where your last stroke was played. You can re-tee if it was your first shot.
Playing the ball Play the ball as it lies. Don’t improve your lie, the area of your intended swing or your line of play by moving, bending or breaking anything fixed or growing except in fairly taking your stance or making your swing. Don’t press anything down or build a stance.
Rake in bunker This is another area that causes confusion, but if your ball comes to rest against a rake, you are allowed to move the tool, as the USGA defines it as a “movable obstruction.”
Lost ball time You have five minutes to search for a ball. The clock begins when you start looking, not after you’ve hit your shot. After five minutes, the ball is considered lost. ON THE
Putting Green You may repair ball marks and old hole plugs on the line of your putt but not any other damage, including spike marks. You may mark, lift and clean your ball on the putting green. Always replace it on the exact spot.