Specialty Chip Shots, Strategic Management, and Re-Gripping a Club

Big day today at the Academy! In Advanced Elements of the Short Game, we talked about performance rituals. According to the article Performance Rituals by Bill Cole, “Even if you don’t view what you do as a performance, you can use routines to help you relax, focus, and prepare mentally and physically for an upcoming event.”

Even if it looks funny, it's important to employ the same pre-shot routine before every stroke.
Even if it looks funny, it’s important to have the same routine before every shot.

Part I of our two-part Playing Ability Test was yesterday at Moon Valley Country Club. Surprisingly, several of my classmates don’t have a pre-round routine, and some of them don’t even have a pre-shot routine. It’s one thing not to take a practice swing before hitting a full shot, but I don’t know how you get a feel for shots 80 yards and in without first “feeling” the shot. I shot a 1-over 73 by sticking to my game plan. I’ll admit it was tempting to pull the clubs my fellow competitors were using off certain tees, but I knew it would get me in trouble if I did. It got them in trouble a few times! One of the ritual success strategies we discussed is coming up with a game plan before you play. If you can’t play a practice round prior to a big event, it’s not a bad idea to go to the golf course’s web site for a hole-by-hole description or view the holes using Google Earth. PGA Professional Jay Friedman reminded us to “stay in the moment” and that you never know when the next one might go in. They all count as one stroke.

Advanced Elements of the Short Game is just what you would expect – a review of what we learned last semester with a bunch of specialty shots added in. It’s about adding a few more arrows to our quivers. Here’s something I didn’t know: it’s scientifically proven that chipping with a lower-lofted club (such as an 8-iron) is better than an equal mishit with a more lofted club (such as a 60-degree) because carry and roll varies less on those mishits and because roll-out is easier to gauge than carry and spin. So chip with your 8-iron rather than your lob wedge! That’s why the Golf Academy mantra is, “Putt when you can, chip when you can’t putt, and pitch when there’s no other option.” Jay showed us YouTube clips of the bladed wedge shot and the hybrid chip, both of which I highly recommend practicing so you can reproduce them under pressure.

Here are a few tips for executing the bladed wedge shot:
* Grip down on the club close to the steel
* Play the ball slightly forward
* Use your putting grip and putting stroke
* Hit the middle of the ball with the leading edge of the club

Understanding Golf Operations
The conversation has shifted to leadership and strategic management. Strategic management is an organized structure for orchestrating the development of activities. There are three models: goal-based, issue-based, and organic-based. PGA Professional Fred Barr put up a slide on The Challenge of Leadership. You may have seen this:

* Be strong, but not rude
* Be kind, but not weak
* Be bold, but not a bully
* Be thoughtful, but not lazy
* Be humble, but not timid
* Be proud, but not arrogant
* Have humor, but without folly

Once again, Fred stressed that you can’t manage a golf course on your own. You have to take care of your team!

Golf Club Assembly and Repair
Then I thought my head was going to explode. Who knew there were so many variables when building up the size of a grip?

There are three parts to a golf grip - the
There are three parts to a golf grip – the mouth, the core, and the grip cap.

There are three parts to the grip: the mouth, the core, and the grip cap at the end. Grips come in different-sized cores (the wall thickness of the grip) and go on butt-sized shafts of varying sizes. The size of the core and the size of the shaft affect the size or build-up of the grip. For example, to increase the size of a standard men’s golf grip, you can buy an oversize grip or put a smaller grip core onto a larger butt shaft. There’s a joke here somewhere, but I’m too tired to make it because my head’s still spinning!

Here’s something I can remember: the average weight of a men’s standard grip is 50 grams. I can’t wait to get more into club building and repair over the coming weeks.

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