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Ballantyne Magazine Golf Tips
By Marc Lapointe: Director of Instruction
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get Square Away
Get Square Away
By Andrew Kiger : Staff Instructor
Stay centered
Stay Centered Video Golf Tip by Andrew Kiger

By Julie Cole

Golf Tip by Julie Cole Golf Tip by Julie Cole

When faced with a short 3-5 foot putt under pressure to win a match many players of all levels “flinch” or try to “steer” the ball into the hole often with frustrating results. This is caused by a fear of missing which leads to “looking” or moving your head and eyes during the stroke.
One way to prevent steering is to keep the position of the cup in your mind’s eye as you make the stroke. Your vision stays on the ball, but your mind responds to the mental picture of the hole.

If you have 5 minutes to practice before you play try this simple drill. Place a ball on a coin 3 feet from the hole. The objective is to control your eyes so that you can see the hole peripherally out of the corner of your eye while looking at the ball on the coin. Stroke the putt and before looking to see if it went in, continue looking at the coin on the ground.

Perceived “pressure putts” require trust and quiet eye control.

Timeless golf tips - series 3
by julie cole, managing partner
Test yourself and see if know these skills and your game will improve.

With putting being nearly half of your score it is important to spend time learning to read the greens. These are some facts that the greatest golfers in the world have learned about reading greens.

1. The biggest influences on break in order are Slope amount, Putt length,
Angle of slope, Stimp (see description below), Ball speed and Grain.

2. Grain grows downhill 99 percent of the time. It will also grow toward the setting sun and where water will drain off the green.

3. The amount of break will increase “triple the amount” when you increase the length of the putt from 5 feet to 10 feet.
What is stimp? A stimpmeter is a device that measures the speed of a green. The Stimpmeter is an extruded aluminum bar, 36 inches long, with a V-shaped groove extending along its entire length. Balls are rolled down the stimpmeter onto the green. The end result from the ball accelerating down the stimpmeter ramp is a speed of 6.00 ft/s. The distance that the ball travels is the stimp speed (i.e. 10.5 ft roll means a stimp speed of 10.5)
Green reading takes time and effort to learn. Begin by walking around the hole to feel the break with your feet and to visually see the slopes. Stand on some different slope angles on the green with your eyes closed. Notice where your weight feels in your feet. The greatest putters in the world have this sense of feel in their feet.

Then learn to dissect the break on long putts into thirds. The first third of the putt, middle and final third of the putt near the hole. Each of these three areas will have an influence on the roll of the ball.

Develop Feel for the 20-50 YRD PITCH SHOTS around the greens.
When you observe a basketball player shooting a foul shot, they make a few bounces of the ball, they look at the basket and shoot. This routine is used to visualize the ball going in and getting the feel of the arc of the shot. They are not looking down at the ground or at the ball and then trying to shoot. They are imagining the entire shot, feeling and seeing it in their “minds eye” go through the hoop.

All of the short game shots around the greens must include a mental picture of the flight, loft, landing area and roll of the ball. A practice swing imagining the flight and roll of the ball is essential to a great short game and developing feel around the greens.

Use the following technique to practice FEEL around the greens.
Find a practice green and drop 5 balls around the green. Attempt to get each ball up and down but use a practice swing with each. Make the practice swing and finish looking at the target imagining the height, landing area and the ball rolling to the hole.

Keys to success: Always allow your head and body to turn through to the target. (your eyes will be up, right knee and hips turned toward the target, balanced). If your head is “Down” you won’t finish to the target. Take some practice swings with a smooth tempo, brush some grass and then turn through the shot. Allow your eyes to follow an imaginary flight of the golf ball onto the green and roll “all the way into the hole”. Think of throwing a ball and how you would finish the toss. Topping a golf ball is not a “head-down” problem but an incorrect impact position of the clubhead to the golf ball. The wrists scoop or collapse at impact due to trying to lift the ball. Lean the shaft forward at address and then pivot all the way through the shot.

Full Swing: Cure That Slice
There are 6 different playable ball flights associated with the path of the clubhead and clubface at impact. Slicing is a very common problem with many golfers. If you are one of the many who slice use the following formula to change the ball flight.

Set-up error:
1. Top-left hand tends to be weak, meaning the “V” pointing toward your chin and the grip in the palm. A weak grip will cause the clubface to be “open” creating a high right golf shot.
CURE: (right handed player) Place the club under the pad of the left hand and more in the fingers, with the “V” formed between your thumb and index finger pointing toward the right shoulder (stronger grip). You should see two to three knuckles on the top of your left hand. Place your right hand in the fingers with the “V” also pointed at the right shoulder to help to “square” the clubface.
Right Way  Right Way
2. Ball Position: to far forward causing the shoulders to be open and an outside-in golf swing.
CURE: Move the ball position to center of stance and square the shoulders.
IN-Swing Error:

3. On the downswing your shoulders and arms are opening to the target and the club is moving outward causing an “out-to-in” golf swing where you are cutting across the ball. If you keep aiming left and opening your shoulders to cure a slice the error continues to get worse. Golfers with this problem often complain of not having a follow-through.
CURE: On the driving range intentionally learn to hit a hook or draw to cure a slice. Generally the less-lofted clubs are easier to intentionally curve, because less backspin is imparted to the ball and more sidespin is created. On the range select a target and practice this drill. With a 6 iron, make the above grip and ball position change. Next align your body (shoulders and feet) 30 degrees right of your intended target and your clubface at the target. Hit balls off a tee until you see the ball moving right to left either in a gentle draw or hook. You will have the feeling that your “back is to the target” longer in the downswing. With practice the direction of the ball will begin to change.

Right Alignment  Wrong Alignment
Right Alignment                 Wrong Alignment
Timeless golf tips - series 2
by julie cole, managing partner

An interesting golf statistic is approximately 50% of your first putts will be from 30 feet from the hole. Learn distance control first and then you can pick the line or break of the putt. If the ball is rolling at the right speed more shots will be holed.

Speed control drill: on the practice green find a fairly straight putt. Place some tees in the ground behind the hole about 17 inches past the cup to form a semi-circle. Pace off 30 feet from the hole (10 large steps). Take 10 balls and attempt to putt them past the hole but inside the semi-circle of tees. After some practice keep score: 5 pts. for holing it, 3 pts. for past the cup and inside the semi-circle, -1 for short or long.

Pitching 20-50 yards: Most amateurs struggle with distance control when faced with less than a full swing. Rather than adjusting the set-up or swing, players often change swing speed at impact to add or subtract yards. This leads to a great deal of inconsistency.

Practice the following drills to increase your distance control:
Walk off various yardages from 20-50 yards. Use a sand wedge and lob wedge. Swing different lengths with both clubs and vary your yardages by trying to land the ball the correct distance. The secret to more distance control is to adjust your address position from a full swing: narrow your stance, play the ball in the middle of your feet, weight slightly more left and grip down an inch on the club, which will generally decrease your yardage by 10 yards.

Make some practice swings with the hands swinging chest-high to chest high with an even tempo, clipping a tee out of the ground. Think of matching the swing on both the backswing and follow-through. Check the follow-through to assure your hands and arms are back to chest-high and your pivot is turned toward the target at completion. (A complete turn will include your hips facing the target, right knee facing the target and your eyes looking where the ball will land.)

After successfully clipping some tees out of the ground add a golf ball. Match your swing lengths on both sides and hold the follow-though. Get used to an even tempo and balanced follow-through before varying the length of your swing. “Never stay down on these shots!!” Let your head and body turn through to the target.

Sand Saves:
The objective in the sand is NOT hitting the ball but taking enough sand that the ball flies out with the sand!

Incorporate the following drill into your practice routine. At the practice bunker use your club to draw a small round saucer shape in the sand.
Address the back of the “saucer” positioned just inside your left heel.
Set your sand wedge at the back edge of the saucer. Take your swing knocking the saucer of sand out of the bunker and follow-though to a full finish.

If the “saucer of sand” moves fully out, then place a golf ball in the center of the saucer and swing again. With a good follow through and the right amount of sand the ball will be flying out.
Use a slight swing adjustment in the sand: Make a “V” shaped swing using your wrists to cock the club up sooner in the backswing and then make a full follow-through to the target. Train your hands and arms to get the clubhead into the back of the saucer and make a complete follow-through.

Sand Drill
Sand Drill Sand Drill

Full Swing:
A powerful base of support from the ground up- through your feet is essential for good balance and stability throughout the golf swing. Watch all of the best ball strikers in the world and you will see a braced right leg and foot. I like to feel like I am “gripping-in” with my right foot, right leg and knee to keep from over-swinging and swaying in the backswing.

Drill: Place a golf ball on the outside of your right foot and set-up to swing. Take some swings to feel where your weight is at the top. If your right knee is still flexed, weight solidly inside the right foot you probably have a good base of support. Hit some golf balls with the ball under the outside or your right foot.

Try this test of Hall of Famer Mickey Wright. In a practice swing, stop the club at the top, with a deliberate effort to feel most of your weight on the inside of your right foot, leg, knee and then put the swing in motion by shifting the weight back to the left foot. Finish in balance on the follow-through. A solid position at the top will produce balance and timing in your golf swing.

Chip Chip

Chip Chip

Timeless golf tips - series 1
by julie cole, managing partner

Putting: Are you still looking at the ground where the ball was resting - after you putted? Keep your eyes on the back of the ball, putt and wait 2 seconds before looking. Test: On the putting green place a coin or ball marker under the golf ball. Putt the ball to see if you are still looking at the coin.

Chipping: Many high handicappers struggle with solid contact on chipping, often hitting the top of the ball or behind the ball. Test: Place a tee in the ground one inch in front of the golf ball. At address, position the ball slightly right of center, weight 60% on your left foot and point the grip end at your left hip pocket. Take a short swing and clip the ball off the ground taking the tee out of the ground with the shot. If the shaft has remained forward of the club head at impact you will have a solid lofted golf ball and knock the tee out at the same time. "Lead with the handle!"

Full Swing: Many high handicappers start their swings by snatching the club away too quickly. Instead, think of moving the grip end of the club first. The grip end should still be pointing at your center when the club head is two feet up into the takeaway.

Mental Tenacity for the golf course: If you are always thinking about your score and adding it in your head, your anxiety will build. Next time you play, divide your scores into six, six and six instead of adding your score after nine holes. Play only six holes at a time.

Read the full article:
Carolina Golf Journal
Vol. 3, No. 1 Spring 2012
“Timeless Golf Tips – Series 1” by Julie Cole (Vol. 3, No. 1 Spring 2012, p. 14-15)

By Julie Cole: Director of Instruction

Players of all skill levels often listen to the advice of others to "keep your head down"! This advice usually occurs after topping or skulling a golf shot. Topping the golf ball happens from an outside-in golf swing or scooping the wrists at impact.

One of the most important moves in your golf swing is to follow the flight of the golf ball. If you keep down, you will have a difficult time shifting your weight forward and hitting fully through the shot. All of your athletic ability and swings energy should be directed to the target.

Let your head turn with your follow-through and then work on solid contact into the golf ball.  

HYBRID Chip to beat the yips!
By Julie Cole: Director of Instruction

Hybrids continue to gain popularity in replacing long irons and helping golfers hit long shots to greens and escape the rough. But many golfers have not learned to use the hybrid for chipping around the green. Chipping can be a difficult shot for many weekend golfers, finding themselves sculling the chip or unable to control the distance.

Click Here to Read More: Hybrid Chip

Perfect Pitching - two club drill
by julie cole: director of instruction

One of the best pitching drills Julie uses with her students is the TWO CLUB DRILL. The drill is so effective that it can fix four of the most common faults. If you have the following errors this drill is for you: hitting behind the ball, distance control, solid contact, and topping.

Click here to read Julie's golf tip on how to the the
Perfect Pitching Two Club Drill
Pitching Two Club Drill

Improve Your Golf Swing During the Off-Season
(Over the Winter Practice to Break 100 90 80)

Learning and practicing throughout the winter is a productive way to improve your golfing skills. Instead of putting your clubs away, build a lesson program into your schedule now that will get your golf game in great shape come spring.

At Dana Rader Golf School, we suggest the following ways to winterize your golf game:

> Begin a specific golf fitness program that sustains you through the holidays when the average person gains 10 pounds.

> Schedule a lesson with one of our instructors. They will discuss your golf goals with you, assess your golf swing, and provide a recommended golf program designed specifically for you.

> Plan small but attainable goals for practice, remembering short, more frequent practice sessions are more effective than long hours of practice and long intervals between practice sessions. We suggest planning an hour each week to practice the short game and full swing, and then one day a week to play at least nine holes.

Dana Rader Golf School has all-weather hitting bays and is open to the public for practice during the winter months.

Call Dana Rader Golf School today at 704-542-7635 to make an appointment for your personal consultation. Or visit



Tips for Parents The parent's role in the healthy development of today's junior golfer, both as a player and as young person, is of importance for anyone whose child is either beginning golf or is already playing the game and aspires to progress into new competitive arenas. This video highlights four areas that will enhance the relationship and communication between the junior golfer and their parents. It will assist in creating an environment where they will learn how to win and keep their motivation high as well as learn life skills that can contribute to their physical and emotional well being.
>> Watch the video

7 Tips to Prevent Dehydration in Children

Warm weather has finally arrived in most parts of the country. It is extremely important to keep kids hydrated!

The following tip is from 7 Tips to Prevent Dehydration in Children:

Children love to play outside, especially when the weather's warm. Parents, however, should know that active children do not adjust to hot temperatures as well as adults. Their body surface, as a proportion of their overall weight, is much greater than an adult's. So they produce more heat during physical activity and they sweat less than adults. This reduces their ability to get rid of body heat and could lead to dehydration.
In addition, kids often don't drink enough to replenish the fluids they lose during prolonged activity since they're too busy having fun. This can lead to severe dehydration and potentially life-threatening heat illnesses. That's why they need adult supervision and plenty of fluids readily available.

At Dana Rader Golf School, we carefully structure and supervise our junior programs and provide water to students for their safety. Please discuss with your child the importance of hydration.

Please click here for the full article.

Have a fun, safe and successful season!

Chalk Up Another Win for the Long Putter
By: Stan roach, club fitting specialist

Unless you have been living under the "Proverbial Rock" you have been witnessing the"Belly Putter Craze" on the PGA Tour.

Four of the past five PGA Tour events have been won by players using non-conventional-length putters, including two victories by Webb Simpson and his belly putter, and Keegan Bradley, who became the first to win a major championship using a long putter (belly version) at the PGA Championship. In all, seven Tour events have been won by players using a long putter.

Securing the grip end of the 40" to 45" putter to the front side of your belly button and keeping your normal putting stance and posture will give you a more consistent putting stroke. They show all the Players making putts and winning tournaments, but what they don't show is all the Players being fit for these longer style putters just like the standard size putters.

Standard length for putters was determined to be 35" not because most players were a certain height, but because the putter at 35" was perfect a length to stand up in the bag properly. This brings me to the question - Have you been fit for your putter?

If you are interested in a Belly Putter, don't just pick one off the rack. Stop wasting your time and money trying one putter after another or switching from a standard grip to a "Jumbo" grip and back. Come see me at the Golf School for a proper fitting. I have been doing this for 21 years, and I can get you making more putts and having more fun doing it.