Bend Those arms for better putting
One of my "hobbies" is coaching a middle school golf team. Along with this comes a lot of teaching regarding their golf swings. One of the things I have noticed with them - as well as with many amateur golfers - is the tendency to extend their arms fully while putting.
Maybe they think this is a simpler pendulum swing or it just seems to occur naturally. The problem is that having fully extended arms makes it more difficult to power your stroke as well as to be consistent in controlling distances.
Having your arms fully extended gives you less strength to power your stroke. Just try to lift something with your arms fully extended. If the object is heavy you will find it much easier with your arms against your chest and bending your elbows (like a two-handed curl). Less strength will mean less control. Try to hit a longer putt with your arms fully extended. I think you will find it difficult to move the putter back slowly and in full control. Just this week I was playing with a good golfer that was struggling with his putting. I noticed that his arms were fully extended and when he putted his motion was not slow and smooth but rather quick and jerky. I suggested to him the change below and he started rolling it much better.
Instead, I would recommend "anchoring" your arms (elbows up to your shoulder) against your chest and maintain the bends in your elbows. Here is how you can find the right setup for you. Stand with you putter in hand and your arms fully extended and parallel to the ground. Now gradually bend your elbows and bring the grip end of the club closer to your chest. Stop as soon as your elbows rest against the side of your chest. Now bend over gradually at the hips until your putter lies level on the ground. You should find stroking your putts with precision and control much more easily done.
The anchoring of your arms against your chest effectively eliminates some variation making the stroke simpler and more repeatable. That is certainly something we need to putt well.
If you struggle with your putting such as averaging two putts per hole, try the above method. You should reduce the number of putts you take and your scores will get lower. Hopefully you will enjoy the game even more as that is why we play.
As far as the middle-schoolers, playing a sport for the first time can be difficult. It takes some time to learn the new motions. It's easier if they have played other sports. However, golf can be challenging to learn and even more challenging to become proficient. Practicing the right things is important. Simplifying things can speed up the improvement process.
I hope you have success in your game.
We Want you!!
Where are all the left-handed golfers and why are they not playing in the National Association of Left-handed Golfers tournaments?
Participation in some state lefty tournaments continues and there are a few new states that are holding events. But participation in the National tournament continues to lag.
This year the tournament is at the beautiful Avondale Golf Club near Coeur D'alene, Idaho. Early entries are not coming in as fast as expected. Having the tournament out west for the first time in several years has resulted in drawing more from the west and northwest regions which is great. But tournament entries for this great and fun event should be much higher.
The NALG has a great history (see the History menu item on this website) that goes back to 1936 - yes that's 87 years ago! My first national tournament was held in Chicago in 1996. The next year the tournament was held in Las Vegas at the relatively new Paiute Resort. Sports Illustrated took a picture of 144 lefties swinging in sync on the range. I believe there were 288 entrants with half of the group teeing off in the morning and half in the afternoon.
In recent years, the participation has be under 50 players. Everyone that comes says that they have a great time and they say that they enjoy seeing the friends they have made each year when they return.
But we have to do a better job "getting the word out". I know that lefties I run into usually don't know that there is a state or national tournament for them. When I see them I give them a poker chip ball marker with our name and website address hoping they will keep us in mind and join us for an event. They know that these events are not just for the scratch golfer. Take a look at the Membership menu item to see comments made by our members as to why they join the NALG.
NALG Chairman Sid Miner (with board support) is actively working to enhance awareness of our existence. Not only that, he is putting in lots of energy to make each event enjoyable for all. Thanks to Sid for all his hard work!
In wrapping up this Blog post I would just like to say that you have a personal invitation to join these events. Please come and make a new friend!
The following is a true story.
During a practice round prior to the 2000 National Association of Left-handed Golfers (NALG) tournament in Myrtle Beach, I hit a tee shot right and over the Legends Moorland 17th green. I could not find my ball and could not believe that I had hit it far enough to go into the thick brush, but apparently I had. (I discovered two days later when I played another set of tees in the tournament that the gold tees were mis-marked by 10 yards! This was before we had rangefinders.)
That day I was playing with Buck Buckner, the eventual NALG champion, and two brothers from Washington State. One of the brothers waded into the thick brush when he spotted a ball. I stuck my head in between the vines near where he was and spotted a golf club grip standing vertical. When I reached in I discovered that it was an intact club and a nice Callaway sand wedge at that.
There was no way this was your typical case of forgetting to pick up your clubs when leaving a hole as you could not have played a ball within 15 feet of that spot. I figured someone had to be quite upset and must have tossed the club into the brush. Since the wedge had a 1996 vintage shaft, I figured it might have been there for quite a while. The pro shop did not report a wedge missing that day or recently.
That's where the story begins.
After examining the club I noticed one of those little name labels on the shaft. Some of the address numbers were missing but the name and city were readable. I figured I could determine the rest of the address through an internet search upon returning home.
Sure enough, after less than five minutes I found the missing numbers and sent a letter off to the club's owner. After a return phone call, I now have the rest of the story.
The owner was playing golf at the Legends resort two weeks prior to me. The 17th hole is a devilish par 3 playing about 170 yards. Her was a 14 handicapper and was playing some of the best golf of his life. The previous day he shot 79 at Oyster Bay. Starting on the back nine on this infamous day, he was playing very well until he came to his 8th hole, the 17th at the Moorland course.
He pulled his tee shot into the bunker short and left of the green. His first attempt at a sand shot left the ball in the bunker. Being positive not to repeat the error, his next shot sent the ball flying over the green into the thick brush. He dropped a new ball where it entered the hazard-marked brush and chipped back to the green. He thought he hit a good chip only to walk up and see the ball keep rolling back into the same bunker he started in. This is the same hole that I saw one of my fellow players on a past Myrtle Beach golf trip putt the ball off the green into that bunker. This green is pretty slippery and sloped towards the bunker. Obviously, the owner wasn't very happy. In fact, he was starting to get steamed!
But it only got worse!
His next shot from the bunker, you guessed it, flew over the green again and into the woods. At this point, the steam let loose along with his sand wedge. His playing partners recall hearing the sound of a low flying helicopter followed by some rustling in the thick brush. You have to picture that the distance from the bunker to the woods has to be at least 40 yards. Not a bad toss!
His next challenge was to try to find the forsaken club. Seeing the dense brush and poison ivy, he didn't look very long and couldn't get to the clubhouse fast enough to clean up.
After receiving my letter, the owner could not believe that his club had been found. He was sure that his club would NEVER be found again. It was very deep (actually only about 15 feet) into the well-camouflaged thick swampy brush.
He vowed never to buy another sand wedge as a penalty and reminder to himself. He indicated that he never throws clubs. The frustrating chain of events just got to be too much. As it turns out, the day after I actually found his club, his wife bought him a new Cleveland sand wedge on Father's day.
After his return home, his playing partners were having a heck of a time telling their friends what transpired. Now, with the finding of the lost "helicopter", their stories will only get better. This story alone was worth the cost of sending the club back to him. (He did thank me for returning the club by sending dozen new Pro V1's.)
So now it looks like he now has two sand wedges. I am willing to bet that is one more than he will ever need.
I have been writing a golf column for the Kokomo Tribune for over 20 years now. I also read the newspaper pretty much cover to cover.
I am one of the rare engineers that can spell. (I hope you don't find any spelling errors here. :-) Misspellings in the newspaper, magazines and books stand out to me and disrupt my reading.
One word that I see multiple times that stands out to me when I read it is the word grateful. It seems to me that the word should be spelled "greatful"! After all, you would use the word when you are feeling "great" about something or someone. Why would the word be spelled grateful? According to the dictionary the word grate means to rub hard or wear away. If I was really full of grate I would be worn down and irritated. It just seems like the word should be spelled "greatful".
We all know that the English language has words, spellings and pronunciations that may not make sense. I guess I am looking at the word as a compound word which is why I think of combining great and full should be "greatful". The word "grateful" is certainly not the combination of grate and full even though that is how my brain wants to process it!
In any case I am "greatful" for you coming to this website and blog. Have a GREAT day!
Welcome to our new blog. The audience for this blog is all the left-handed golfers out there especially those that are a member of the National Association of Left-handed Golfers (NALG).
I titled this blog "Golf...from the right side". If you are a left-handed golfer how many times have you heard that you stand on the "wrong" side of the ball. Now you have proof - as is shown in the image accompanying this blog - that you stand on the "right" side of the ball!
If you are like me, you automatically convert left to right, right to left, etc. when you read golf instructional articles. When I give instruction, I try to avoid those terms. I prefer front, back, lead, etc. as they work for all golfers.
I hope to post items related to what is going on in the NALG or lefty golf. Take a look through our web site. In addition to our National Tournament there are many state lefty events. If you don't see one for your state, we can help you get one started.
Information has just been released about our 2023 National Tournament which will be held in beautiful Idaho. I hope you will consider entering as we always have a great time!
If you have ideas for the website or this blog just add your comments.
Until next time - enjoy Golf... from the right side!
I confess! I am an avid golfer. I also play left-handed. Since I now manage the National Association of Left-handed Golfers website, I thought I would start a Blog...this blog! What will I have to say? Stay tuned and find out.