Tour Caddies Preparing For a Golf Tournament

Today Tour Caddies Do A Lot More Than You Might Think

I was very fortunate that Derek Sanders, Gene Sauer’s caddie and a golf professional in his own right, allowed me to tag along while he and other fellow caddies were scoping out the greens early in the morning before others get on the golf course.  I BIG thank you to Derek for giving us this insider look!

Derek uses the Aim Point system as many other caddies are using to calculate breaks in the greens according to the slop measured by a level in percentages.  Very interesting.

Some caddies get so good at calculating the slope that they can literally straddle the line and tell you if it’s a 1.5 degrees or 2.5 for instance.

Now before you run out to sign up for Aim Point system keep in mind one thing.  This is only one method for calculating the break and many tour players do not pay as much attention to these calculations as the caddies do.  Ball speed is the key and depending how fast you roll the ball the break off the slope will adjust accordingly.  So many successful tour players are “feel” players so they shy away from raw digital readings and go with their gut.

I have to admit I am that way as well.  I use the I’ve been here before” method.  I figure I’ve seen almost every putt there is and I’ve putted it before and remember where it went last time.  First thing I determine is the speed. Speed is everything in my mind. Then I consider how much slope and how much the ball will bend at the speed I’m going to roll it.

I’m mostly concerned with putts 6 feet and in.  Long putts are not on my radar.  Just want to get them close.  If it goes in I laugh!

Here’s the video and I hope you find this interesting.

I think I found the Best Golf Putter Ever?

I think I found the Best Golf Putter Ever?

best-golf-putterSomething caught my eye at the PGA show this year, 2015.  I saw a sign that said, “the only no torque putter!”  Yea right.  How you can have a no torque putter when the club shaft is on the inside of the arc.  Of course the face balanced putter, (that’s where the face is pointing skyward when you balance the shaft on your finger) alleviates some torque or I should say allows you to swing the putter on a more straight back and forth motion.

The Axis putter is designed so that the face of the putter is balanced toward where you’re going, the target!  Dynamite!  With Luis’s heel weighted design the club face will not open up on you like a traditional putter.  It didn’t take more than a few rolls on the carpet in his booth that I gladly handed over my Visa card so you can try mine when I get back to Richmond.   Click on this link to watch a video from the inventor Luis Pedraza that better explains the concept.

I also tried to do a personal interview with Luis for you but again the sound is not the greatest so turn your sound levels up.

Wisdom from the PGA Senior Tour

Wisdom from the PGA Senior Tour

I say wisdom from the PGA Senior tour because at this age, you should have some.  I wish all of our student/members could have joined me for what was a perfect day.  The weather was perfect! Being it was Wednesday, you would have had the opportunity to see exactly how these tour players practice.  That’s the key!  How they practice on the PGA Senior Tour.

I’m not talking about the number of hours because workaholics they’re not.  That’s for the young bucks on the regular and tours.

gene-sauers-puttingOne key addition to the group was Gene’s new caddy.  Gene’s caddy Derrick is a former PGA pro himself and used to caddy for Brad Faxon on the Senior Tour.  Well, Gene has had problems with putting so why not take the caddy of who was thought to be the best putter on tour.

Here’s what we worked on yesterday at the Senior Tour.

Ball striking:  About two hours spent hitting balls with most of the work from 100 yards.  We moved Gene’s ball up in his stance.  He was hitting it a little heavy.  Yes, even tour players can make such simple adjustments that one would think so fundamental, that it doesn’t need attention.  Not true!

Bunkers:  Maybe spent about 1/2 hour.  Worked on buried lies and a new method Derrick came up with which I will add to the one day school and bunker workshops.

Putting:  You can see the arc tool we used in the picture above.  We worked a lot on keeping Gene’s chest moving through the stroke.  He has a tendency to lock up a bit at impact and then pull the putt to the left and sometimes close the club face when his chest stops moving, also sending the ball  to the left.

I can’t thank Gene enough for allowing me to spend the day with him and Derrick.  My ability to get “behind the ropes” on the Senior Tour will bring you true practical suggestions to improve your golf game with the same methods players are using on tour.



Improve My Short Putts

Improve My Short Putts

This game of golf is played from 4 to 5 feet and in, short putts.  Maybe even 6 feet and in.  If you perform poorly on short putts you will find it difficult to be competitive.  Maybe I should say it would be difficult to be so skilled at the rest of your golf game that could afford to loose strokes from up close on short putts.

What do you have to do to be successful at short putts?  Control your putter face.  The ball will go where the putter face is pointed.

If You Can’t Putt – You Can’t Play Golf

If You Can’t Putt – You Can’t Play Golf

Very few golfers invest the time and effort to work on their putting and when they do it looks more like an ADD attack.  Disorganized, disoriented and without a specific purpose.

CheckPoint Golf Systems has developed a system that will discipline your practice efforts, give it purpose and a means of measuring the results which is very much the key.

putting-class We held a workshop on putting this past Saturday at Pendleton Golf Club and the CheckPoint System was a big hit!  We used the great charts that come with the system so that golfers could mark down which putts they made and which ones need more work.  If you can’t measure it why do it?  CheckPoint provides it all with the system.  Not just a bunch of strings it’s a system for honing in on the one facet of the game of golf that has the most influence on the bottom line, your golf score.



Why not join us at Pendleton for the next putting class.  Give us a call at 804-378-7456 if you would like to join us.  For members check the online reservations system for dates and times.

Improve Your Putting – Yes Putt Your Way To Success!

Improve Your Putting – Yes Putt Your Way To Success!

It never fails that one finds the driving range packed and the putting green wide open.  Why?  I guess hitting the snot out of a golf ball is fun.  However, the way you score, is putting the ball in the hole!  There is no worse feeling than hitting a great drive and then a decent iron shot to the green.  At this point you probably covered over 400 yards of real estate, only to take three more putts to move the ball 30 feet.  It just doesn’t make sense.

My opinion is that:
1) Most golfers do not appreciate how important putting is
2) Most golfers do NOT know how to practice putting effectively

Checkpoint Golf Systems offers a complete putting practice kit you can carry in a small bag.  The systems includes both the short putt and the long lag putt.  We covered the entire putting system head to toe in our webinar which you can watch a copy of below.

We use this system in our one day golf school so join us. For more about our one day golf school…….



Here’s the great part.  Practicing on the putting green is FREE!  When you talk about more bang for your buck, you can’t beat free vs $10 or more per basket of range balls.  Of course you need to practice both but in balance.  At the very least, practice the same amount of time on the putting green as you do on the driving range.

Here’s the complete webinar which will help yo on your putting.

Another Slap at the Belly Putter

Another Slap at the Belly Putter

You already know from some of my past Blog posting that I am NOT a fan of the belly putter or any kind of golf clubs or putter that one can brace against or anchor to their body for support.  Of course the Belly Putter has helped some golfers.  No kidding!  Part of the challenge of putting is not having the ability to brace the golf club on your chest which tends to alleviate path problems and possibly nervous hands, (the yips).

belly-putterThe USGA ruled that the bracing or anchoring of the belly putter on your body would no longer be legal in 2016.  An appeal was attempted and it’s a no go.  The ruling moves forward.

Below is a communication that all PGA professionals receive and I thought I would share it with you.  It’s from the President of the PGA Ted Bishop.

PGA-Teaching-Pro-LogoI am writing to inform you that the United States Golf Association (USGA) has decided not to extend the implementation date of Rule 14-1b (anchoring) for amateur golfers beyond Jan. 1, 2016. Last month at the USGA Annual Meeting in Pinehurst, N.C., PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem and I outlined our proposal for a “grandfather” period to provide amateurs with more time to adapt to playing without an anchored stroke.

Both the PGA of America and the PGA TOUR have consistently shared strong feelings about this matter with the USGA and we appreciated the opportunity to formally present our views before the USGA’s full Executive Committee.

While we are disappointed with the USGA’s decision not to extend the implementation date beyond Jan. 1, 2016, I know that all PGA Professionals are committed to helping amateur players choose a permissible putting stroke that will help them continue to enjoy the game well into the future.

Indeed, PGA Professionals go to work every day knowing that we are the most respected instructors in the game. This is a new challenge and opportunity that we will embrace, and along with helping PGA TOUR players, we will assist golfers of all abilities in advance of the implementation date of Rule 14-1b.

Finally, we believe that one of the profound outcomes that emerged from the discussion of “anchoring,” is that both the PGA of America and the PGA TOUR have a more meaningful seat at the Rules table for future decisions affecting the game. We strongly believe that such enhanced communication among our respected organizations is essential to the long-term viability of golf.

Ted Bishop, PGA
38th President
The PGA of America


Say Goodbye To Achor Putting!

Say Goodbye To Achor Putting!

Yea!  Yea!  Yea!   Yes I’m against the anchoring of the putter and now the rule banning such usage will take effect in 2016.  One can still use the longer putter configuration, you just can’t anchor it against your chest or anywhere else.

To be honest, I as also against the putting style Sam Snead developed when he lost his stroke.  Standing behind the ball was equally unfair in my opinion and luckily that too was taken off the table.

Play the game the way it was meant to be played I say. 

Say Bye Bye To Your Belly Putter!

Well it looks like the Royal and Ancient and the USGA make the right decision for once!  No anchoring the putter to your body. I’ve hated that from the beginning and complained about it to all my students for years.

Anchoring the putter against your body is a very distinct advantage.  Now, the long putter is OK with me as long as you hold it out in front of you and not against the body.  In fact on the radio show we had on ESPN years ago I complained about it.  You can hear it here.

Here’s some links to the latest press on this issue.

The Independent in Dublin
The Golf Channel
The Australian Press
Bradley and Simpson say they wouldn’t fight belly putter ban
CBS Sports – Golf to ban anchoring of belly putters, long putters
Dave Peltz

I’ll add more of these as they become available.

Is Tiger’s Problem the Belly Putter?

Is Tiger’s Problem the Belly Putter?

Many are discussing the problems Tiger is having winning another major.  Changing swing coaches, swinging to hard on the golf course, maybe trying to hard and more.

Could it be that more players are using the belly putter and the long putter than ever before?  Could it be that golf companies are making more of long putters and making them better as well?  I went in a golf shop the other day and I noticed a considerable difference in the choices for belly putters and the like.

It’s also not just an old man’s putter to overcome nerves.  Younger plays on tour are using them.  Younger players are also putting cross handed.  Jack Nicklaus said that if he had it to do over again, he would have putted cross handed.

Let’s take a look at Tiger’s putting stroke on video and see if we can find any clues.