There are numerous quality golf instruction options in Arizona and in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Nearly every golf course will offer some kind of lesson option while others offer single day or multi-day golf schools.
Indoor instruction has also grown in popularity as learning the game in air conditioned comfort can be a better option for many people. It also allows for easier use of technology to assist in the evaluation of you game.
The key for most players is to find an instructor that is not only knowledgeable but one that communicates best to your type of learning. Most instructors are pretty good about making adjustments to fit a students needs but there is nothing wrong with testing out a few different instructors to find the best fit for you. Good instructors will always ask you questions about your game and goals. If you are looking for instruction in the Carefree – Cave Creek – North Scottsdale area, feel free to contact Dale Samar, Life Member, PGA. He teaches indoor lessons at Sticks Golf & Cigar Lounge in Carefree (cigars not allowed in hitting bay area).
Something else I want to mention. Recently, a guy on an instruction video I saw said something to the effect of “whatever you know about chipping is wrong” or “if you are chipping with the ball at the back of your stance, it is wrong.” I don’t think there is ever anything related to the technique of hitting the golf ball that can be considered “Wrong.” There are certainly techniques that are probably better or worse for many players or more likely consistent than others but if the ball ends up where you wanted it to go, it is “right.” I’ve never heard of a golf pro teaching the “Jim Furyk” backswing but with his results, nobody can say it is “Wrong.” Sometimes you just have to “Hit It”…because there are more ways than one to be “Right.”
Ball Position in Your Stance
I’ve always had a lot of questions about proper ball position in relation to a player’s stance. While there are several theories on the proper ball position, one thing is certain – you need to be consistent. In fact, several years ago while standing in front of the 4th tee box at the Scottsdale TPC during the Phoenix open, I saw three well known players play the 133-yard par-three with three completely different ball positions. One player played it off his left heel, one in the exact center of his stance, and one played the ball off his right heel. While I can’t be certain of which club each player used, I can only assume be the distance that it was a PW or SW. Who were these three players you ask? — John Daly, Nick Faldo, and Nick Price. In any case, if you need a starting point, I always go with Ben Hogan’s recommendation – short irons in the middle of your stance, mid-irons slightly ahead of middle and long-irons/woods are more toward your left heel (forward heel for right handed players).
Gain More Consistency With Your Golf Shots
Know Your “Lie” and Keep Yourself Honest – A common question to golf professionals is: why am I so inconsistent? While there can be dozens of legitimate reasons, one common denominator that I see is that the lie of a ball is very inconsistent. Let’s face it, golf courses are not always very flat. Because the ball is only about 1 ½ inches thick, a subtle change in topography can have dramatic effects on the shot. If the ball is even a half an inch above your feet, you may hit it “fat” if the ball is a half an inch below your feet you may hit it “thin”.
A good pre-shot routine should include evaluating the slight variations in slope that are standard on even the flattest of golf courses. By making yourself aware of these variations and slopes, you can make the proper adjustments to hit better shots. For tips on how to make the proper adjustments, visit your favorite golf professional or stay tuned for an upcoming video.
Developing Feel on the Putting Green
I get a lot of questions about developing “feel” on the putting green. Feel simply means properly reading greens and controlling distance. Developing proper distance control can start on the practice green prior to your round. A good way to measure green speed and subsequently control distance is to find a relatively flat part of the practice green. Take your backswing along the aiming line so your putter lines up with the inside of your back foot and complete the putt. Do this twice more – all three of the putts should go about the same distance (distance for individuals will vary depending on greens and your unique tempo). Next, take your backswing a little further back so the putter heel lines up with the outside of your back foot and complete the putt. Again, do this twice more – all of these putts should go a little further than the first three but again should be somewhat equal in length. For the final three putts, go three or four inches beyond your back foot. If your putts went 6, 12, and 18 feet, you’ll know exactly which backswing you should use for putts of similar lengths on the course. You can also try this same drill on an uphill putt and a downhill putt to better know how to adjust during your round. For tips on reading greens, please see your local PGA Golf Professional or stay tuned for my upcoming video.
Chipping is as Simple as Putting
Controlling the distance of a chip can be a mystery for many players but it can actually be very easy especially from within about 10 feet of the green. Using a 7 or 8 iron, grip down to the lower part of the grip and make the same putting stroke you would for a putt of equal distance. The club will pop the ball in the air and the ball will roll most of the way to the hole. For additional consistency, keep most of your weight on your leading foot (left foot for most of you).