Mark Your Golf Ball

Mark Your Golf Ball

PGA Pros receive a monthly magazine with insider information that I like to share with my golfing friends when I feel it might be beneficial to them.  This is one of those situations.

Make Sure to Mark Your Golf Ball!

This article was by Larry Startzel, PGA Professional.

At a recent stroke play event, a player pulled his tee shot toward a lateral water hazard.  When he got to the area, he found two golf balls a few feet apart with identical markings. Both balls were the same brand and had the same number association logo on the side.  One ball was just outside the hazard and the other was just in the lateral hazard.  Neither ball had an identifying mark on it. Next time, mark your golf ball!

golf-rules-change-2014Twice in the rules (Rule 6-5 and Rule 12-2) it is stated: “The responsibility for playing the proper ball rests with the player.  Each player should put an identification mark on his ball.” This situation is a perfect example of why the Rules encourage such an action. Mark your golf ball.

Although there was a plentiful and highly competent Rules staff at the event, players were encouraged to invoke Rule 3-3 (Doubt as to procedure) if they encountered a difficult situation and an official was not readily available.

With this in mind, the player announced his intention to play two balls under Rule 3-3.  He dropped one ball from the lateral hazard and played the other ball outside the hazard.  He holed out with both balls and completed the round reporting the situation to an official in the scoring tent.  Usually proceedings under Rule 3-3 in stroke play saves a player from having a Rules problem when in doubt of what to do.  This situation, however, had a twist to it.

Here’s why.  Decision 27-10 states that if two identical balls are found in the same area and the player cannot identify one as his, then his ball is deemed lost – i.e. neither ball is considered to be his.

Thus, the player should have returned to the tee and played under stroke and distance.  Since he did not and then played from the next teeing ground, he was disqualified for a serious breach of Rule 27.  What they call on tour a “trunk slammer.”

Make sure you mark your golf ball with a clear identifying mark on your golf ball and show it to your competitors on the first tee.  If you’re changing balls during a round make sure you announce that to our competitors as well.

Bottom line, mark your golf ball!



The True Meaning of Golf

The True Meaning of Golf

In continuation of our last post where I was preparing to play golf with my old golf team teammate from High School Max Castro, I ended up learning a lesson well overdue.  No it wasn’t about my golf swing, course management or even that I needed to change the shafts in my golf clubs again, it was lesson on the true meaning of golf.

The last time I saw Max was 1967.  I guess that makes this officially 47 years and by the picture it shows!  Max was a very good high school golfer and went on to be an All American at the University of Miami.  University of Miami no longer has a golf team due to the Title 9 requirements and please don’t get me started on that!

I remember the days of playing golf with Max and his Dad who was a great gentleman and taught Max and I as well as Max’s little brother Rick a lot of lessons that still hold true 47 years later. That’s where we get the true meaning of golf.

Max Castro All American

My wife Renita, Max’s wife Marsha, Max and Fatso having dinner at Carrabbas

Max said it all when he said, “how would think that a couple of Cuban kids that grew up on public golf courses in Miami would be playing golf where we are today.”  Max is a member at a very exclusive private country club in Tampa called Palma Ceia.  It is the golf course where Gene Sarazen invented the sand wedge.  Built in 1916, Palma Ceia has deep golf traditions and the number of great players that have played there is staggering.

Max said, “my Dad told me that when he was young, if he and his pals walked in front of Palma Ceia C. C. the cops would pick them up and cart them back to Ybor City!”  Ybor city is the Cuban section of town.  Max is actually not a Cuban.  His Dad was born in Tampa and his Grandfather was from Asturias Spain.

Anyway back to golf, you know how I prepared to play with Max on Saturday from the last Blog post.  Well Saturday I got to the golf course about 10:00 AM for a 1 PM starting time.  Of course I knew that I hadn’t played any golf since about September and with the weather this winter, I hadn’t hit many balls at the range either.  I was like a kid cramming for a final exam over night.  Plus I put on some weight over the winter working on the computer all day looking at the snow outside so I have some serious work to do on that when I get back to Richmond.

The one and only set back at Palma Ceia was there was no driving range.  Then Max came along and like usual, Max was the king of the house and walked around the club house like he owned it. He had a shag bag and we drove out to a hole where we could hit some drivers to warm up. I also have to thank the new pro Joe Hodge, Director of Golf at Palma Ceia for his kind courtesies. 

As well as I hit the ball the night before at the Chi Chi Rodriguez driving range near my sister in laws house, I was confident that everything would be OK.  Not the case.  Let this be a lesson to all golfers, even if you’re a pro with too many years experience you can’t just put together a golf game in one day and play your best.  In some ways I’m glad I didn’t play my best.  It was that round of golf that taught me the true meaning of golf. 

It was the wonderful opportunity to share time with a good friend, playing a game that you both enjoy and has been a significant part of our lives.  Share a cold one together, jokes all over the golf course that continued to the course deck with Max’s regular gang of players.  In earlier times I would have been miserable about my play that day and made everybody else miserable in the process.  The competition of golf meant more to me than the camaraderie.That’s how is was on tour.  Dog eat dog and you’re grinding with everything you’ve got to make the cut and a get a pay check.  Plus in the old days it wasn’t that much money.

The golf course was beautiful and actually a difficult golf course to play for the first time.  Sure I hit some really good shots and made some good up and downs but the next day my hip hurt so bad I thought I couldn’t get out of bed.  I was pushing my right hip to give it that extra pop and it did the opposite.  My lower body was way ahead and caused me to bleed some shots off the the right which I don’t remember ever doing, (I’m sure I have but not in this century). It killed my distance too because my swing was out of sync.

The greens were small, (remember this course was built in 1916 and updated by Donald Ross) and where I hit a really perfect punch shot that landed two feet short of the stick, the ball ends up behind the green almost in the water.

Well here’s the true meaning of golf.  I made the decision, (once I knew that I was in serious trouble from playing my career round) that I was not going to do anything to spoil my visit with Max, the beautiful golf course he invited me to play or to his golfing buddies who were a lot of fun and fine gentlemen.

Of course part of all this is our ages now!  Like Max said, he could hit it around the corner on the first hole at Biltmore and reach the green in two (par 5) with an iron and that was with the old ball and steel shafts and wooden club heads.  “Now I can’t even reach the green in two with all the technology and a three wood!”  It doesn’t matter.  Our minds think we’re still young and we can still measure up to the way we played in our early 20’s with limber backs and quick hips.

Maybe those days are gone but I can still see the twinkle in Max’s eyes when he did hit a good shot and I’ll never forget how Max said, “man that was really sweet” when I hit a seven iron up by the hole that I caught dead solid perfect..  That’s the true meaning of golf, thank you Max.  Thank you very very much.

How To Prepare To Play Golf

How To Prepare To Play Golf

I’m down here in sunny Florida, (just kidding it’s drizzling) and today I play golf with my old High School team mate Max Castro. I must prepare to play golf effectively for any hope of success.  Max was a very very good golfer in High School and decided to follow his Father’s foot steps as an Optometrist which was a very smart move. He has a very successful business.  You know what they say about the golf business, to make a small fortune in the golf business, start off with a big one!

prepare-to-play-golfI haven’t be able to even hit balls back home because of the weather so I made an effort to prepare to play golf as best I could for today’s round.

There’s a driving range with lights down the road at the Chi Chi Rodriquez golf course, (I’m staying in Palm Harbor just north of Tampa) so I went over to the range, after driving enough hours to give anybody a sore back, and bought the two biggest baskets they had,  I’m guessing about 125 balls each.  All in an effort to prepare to play golf.

I started out by just hitting balls with my 58 degree wedge, (heaviest club in the bag) about 50 yards with a BIG swing in slow motion.  After a about 25 of those I repeated the same motion with a 54 degree wedge and tried taking the golf club back as slow as I could.  It never ceases to amaze me how if you take the golf club back as slow as you can, you still can’t help but accelerate on the way down.  So, why do we all take the golf club back to fast?

After about 25 of those I started up the bag,  PW, then 8 iron, then six iron all while taking the golf club back as slow as I could and accelerating on the way down NOT the way back.  One thing I noticed is when you do swing the golf clubs back a little faster you definitely have to make that transition from one direction, (going back, to going down) to the other. That transition has a significant effect on which golf shaft you should have.

Once I made it to my four iron I was surprise at how well I could accelerate after taking the golf club back slowly.  We’ll see if I can take back slower on the golf course!

I started hitting five woods so I could enjoy some success with the longer clubs.  The additional loft of the five wood vs. the three wood helps your swing tempo.  You should attempt to swing your five wood just as you did your six iron.  The golf club is longer so the club head will naturally be going faster.

Yes I finally made it to the driver and after hitting that I went backwards to the five wood, four iron, six iron, eight iron and then back to the 58 degree wedge with a BIG swing in SLOW motion.

We’re playing at 1 PM which is perfect.  It’s now 9:30 AM and I will head out to the golf course and be there by 10:30 AM.  After going in to see the pro and thank him for his courtesies, I will get to work on the putting green.  Starting with 6 foot putts and in and then roll 25 and longer putts.  Hopefully they have a chipping area and maybe even a practice bunker.  If all that starts to feel right then I can head to the range and start the same process I did last night except that I will end my warmup with my driver last being that will be the first shot I hit for the day.

If you are accustom to NOT making an effort to prepare to play golf in an organized manner as just described, no wonder it takes you three or four holes to get going.

Get back to you tonight when I get home!

New Golf Video Drills

New Golf Video Drills

I’m in Crestview Florida right this minute heading to Tampa Florida.  I’m going to be filming some new golf video drills for our members only section of the website under Golf Drills Library.

If you have any suggestions for new golf video drills you might be interested in please let me know so I try and include your request.  For instance more dills on:

Over the top
SlicingKnock down shots
Hitting it fat

You name it.  Just email me at

Here’s a sample golf video drills for you that will help you get your body turning at the proper angle.  Remember the body turn is the camshaft of the engine in the golf swing.

Golf-Drill-Shoulder-Rotation from Bobby Lopez on Vimeo.

The new golf video drills will be a bit more in detail and listed differently.  For instance: If you have a problem with your body tilt at the top of your back swing, (what used to be called a reverse pivot, I will list three or four different drills that attack that one single issue.  Maybe drill one works for you, maybe drill two etc.  Sometimes a drills works better in harmony with other drills.  Do drill one on Monday, drill on Tuesday.  Go back to drill one on Monday.  Bottom line is you need to nag your swing fault in to submission and must choose the right weapon, golf video drill, to do it with.  A drill is described as  re-programing repair motion.

Weight lifters will follow a similar method.  They may use two or three different exercises all geared toward increasing their bicep strength.  The all serve a similar purpose and attack the issue from a different angle.

Should I Check My Lie Angles

Should I Check My Lie Angles

You bet ya! That should be one of the first things you do for this new season. If you worked on your golf swing over the winter, (and I hope you did or you’ll get a spanking and the golf course is going to be the one to give it to you), you might have a slight change in swing path. Your lie angles should accommodate your swing path.

should-i-change-my-lie-anglesYou’re going to hit two things. The ball and the ground. How the sole of your golf club travels through the ground is vital. Any resistance by the toe or the heel of the golf club will flip the club face open or closed.

The better the quality of your golf club head the easier it is to bend.  In the same breath, the easier it is for your lie angles to move through regular use.  Buying golf club heads is somewhat like buying jewelry.  The 1030 carbon steel metal is softer and easier to bend but far more expensive.  Twenty three carrot golf is softer than lets say fourteen carrot. For the very advanced player, the forged or carbon steel head can also be ground on the sole to even further accommodate the players swing path through impact.  Some players may want a little shaved off the toe or heel.  Maybe beveled a little more on the leading edge.

lie-anglesThe more mass produced golf clubs use 431 stainless steel which is produced by melting the metal and pouring it in a mold.  That process tends to make the steel harder and more difficult to bend.  You also need to be careful when bending any molded golf club because you might end up with two piece in your hands.  It can happen, but it might be worth the risk if you want your lie angles right which equals straighter more consistent golf shots.

A serious word of caution!  In many golf establishments, you can ask to have your lie angles checked, they ask you to hit a few balls of a lie board, (a hard plastic surface to determine where golf club is at impact, and they immediately offer a suggest for upright or flat based on the mark on the bottom of your golf club.

One MUST consider the path you’re swinging the golf club on!  For instance, if you’re over the top, (swinging outside in) the force of the swing bows the shaft and forces the golf club head downward making it appear as if you need a more upright golf club.  This is a false reading and most likely, (if you do bend your golf clubs upright) you will be doomed to swing outside in for ever in order to get a decent golf shot with the upright configuration.

Make sure the individual that checks your lie angles is a qualified teacher.  You can ask questions like, does my swing path effect my lie angle.  See if you get a similar answer to what I just described for you. 

You’re about to start the 2014 season.  Hit some balls and make sure you’re comfortable with your swing and then get your lie angles checked.


Golf Rules Change 2014

Golf Rules Change 2014

The USGA and R & A make changes in the rules every two years.  You should know the new golf rule change 2014 goes into effect January 1st, 2014.  I’ll mention a few here but for a full review of all the changes you can go to:  While you’re there, why not pick up a copy of the rules and keep it handy in your golf bag.  You might need it if you’re stuck playing golf with that one member at your club that’s a stickler about rules. 

golf-rules-change-2014One important change I think is Revised Decision 27-2a/1.5 which now allows a player to advance as much as 50 yards forward without forfeiting his/her right to go back and play a provisional ball.

How about a golf rules change 2014 because of the new technology age. Decision 14-3/18 allows players to access weather reports on their cell phone during a round of golf, for safety matters and in search of any approaching thunderstorms.  Sounds like a good cover when they’re actually looking at some swing video of Paula Creamer.

Here’s one I like!  Decision 18/4 addresses HDTV, and digital recording visual media that might show a golf ball not coming to rest or to have been deemed to have moved.  It will now be considered that if the movement was not discernible with the naked eye at the time, no penalty will be enforced.

I’ve got abetter idea.  Tell the idiot that’s sitting in his sofa watching the tournament to butt out!  I’ve also always wondered, how do these knuckle heads find the right phone number to call to say they saw a violation of the rules on TV?  Did he call the club house?  Does he have the officials on speed dial? Imagine how many Dolphin fans would have called immediately about the Pittsburgh Steelers going out of bounds!  They are just fans and should not influence the game.

I believe a rule should be enforced at the time of the infraction.  Even in football, after the review and next play is snapped that’s it.  Ya no mas! It’s over and get over it!  Why should the officials or anyone else be able to walk up to a player three or four holes later and say, hey pal back on number four you did so and so.  We’re tagging you with two a strokes penalty!  Heck they have an official with every group.  Where was that guy when it happened?  Why don’t we tag him with a couple of beauties right in the kisser!  That’s two strokes he won’t forget soon.

You can see all the golf rules change 2014 at



How To Get Your Kid Started in Golf

How To Get Your Kid Started in Golf

Get Your Kid Playing Golf for Success

Whether you have a young child that you want to get started in golf and you’re looking for junior golf lessons, or you have a student golfer who shows potential to go on to a college career in golf, we can help.

We’re seeing a drop off in contact sports like football due to sever head injuries.  Golf is not only a safer sport but it also opens door for the future in business contacts. Here’s how to get your kid started in golf.

how-to-get-your-kid-started-in-golfFirst lets address the younger golfer getting started for junior golf lessons.  Here is a golf webinar that will help, headed by PGA Pro and 25 year veteran of serving junior golf lessons, Jim Mason. (Webinar Below)

At Quick Fix Golf we have enjoyed serving some high school golfers that have moved on to college careers as well as award winning Golf All Metro Awards from the Richmond Times Dispatch.

junior-golf-webinar from Bobby Lopez on Vimeo.

How To Get Your Kid Started in Golf – by Jim Mason PGA Pro


Phil Mickelson’s Callaway Big Bertha Alpha

Phil Mickelson’s Big Bertha Alpha Driver

callaway-big-bertha-alpha-driverThis is a quote from Phil Mickelson about his new Big Bertha Alpha Driver.  Phil says: “This year I have the best driver I’ve ever hit Big Bertha Alpha that lowers my spin rate just like my three-wood. I drive it longer and straighter with my driver than I did with my three-wood,” he added. “It’s

a whole different weapon in my arsenal now and if I drive the ball well, like I have been in practice and in the off-season, heading into this 2014 season it could be the best year of my career for that simple reason.”

What he’s actually referring to here is the face adjustment on the Callaway 3 Deep Fairway Wood.  Because the COR rules only apply on golf clubs up to 12 degrees of loft, the Callaway 3 deep fairway wood is 13 degrees and it’s HOT!

Due to the way the golf clubs is designed the launch angle and ball spin are reduced so it reacts more like a weak driver than a three wood.  Far more difficult to hit off the ground but fantastic off the tee.  You can see all the options available for the big Bertha Alpha Driver on our web site here.

Make you appointment now to try the new Big Bertha Alpha out for yourself in our official Callaway fitting system.

You can see the complete ESPN article and interview with Phil here.