Posts Tagged ‘Golf Tuition’

Indoor Golf – The future?

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

GC2 Launch MonitorThere are plenty of golfers who describe themselves as ‘fair weather golfers’. However, is this the reason behind the growth in indoor golf over the last ten years?

Or is it due to advances in technology or the reduction in the amount of time available in modern society but there’s no doubt that we will see more indoor golf clubs opening in the next decade.

We asked ‘Director of Golf‘ Harry Varney at CityGolf in London’s busy square mile, on the benefits of using a Sim and on how the industry will evolve.

Indoor Golf – The History…

Golf Simulators have been around in one form or another since the 70’s.

The first simulators were very simple and TV based using a joystick or gaming control but as both the software and screen technology developed in the 80’s, it was not long before the handheld games were replaced by the golf mat and golf club.

Early on, the sensors measured the movement of the hands and fed the information to the video game. However, the overall experience was rudimentary, to say the least.

It wasn’t until the mid-late 90’s that we started to see real advancements made.

Relying on a battery of environmental sensors, the new software tracked each shot, from impact to how the ball bounces visually on screen.

In this way, the golfer has a detailed analysis of the entire flight of the ball which can be used for practice or training.

There are several types of measurement system used in golf simulation to achieve this, such as Simulator Mats, Sonic Sound systems, Optical Sensor arrays, Radar and Camera ball tracking systems.

Indoor Golf – The TechnologyGC2 Launch Monitor 2

Golf has always found itself at the heart of ‘gaming’ with some of the first computer games simulating Putting…

However, it was the invention of the PlayStation that really saw the potential of indoor golf albeit using a ‘controller’ rather than an actual golf club.

At the moment, there are lots of different ‘Sims’ on the market including TrackmanGolfzon and probably the most well known, GC2 launch monitor. The latter, being preferred by CityGolf.

This industry-leading technology that redefined performance analysis outdoors has also proven to be a game changer for indoor simulation.

Powerful enough to drive the world’s most cutting-edge commercial simulation studios, the GC2 is as flexible as it is accurate.

Two high-speed, high-definition cameras give you a true measurement of performance without compromise, delivering the most realistic virtual golf experience possible.

We chose to go with the GC2 product, as we felt this had an edge of all the other as it calculates over 10k images of ball and its position on impact!” said Varney

The GC2 gives you exceptionally precise understanding of both the club head speed and ball trajectory, meaning we can also provide a very accurate ‘ball fitting’ service too”

Varney went on to say….”In addition, of the four GC2 Sims we use, we have two advanced GC2 HMT (Head Measurement Technology) meaning we can cater to both the beginners and single figure handicap“.

Indoor Golf – The BenefitsCeltic Manor

The advantages of using a golf simulator is the ability to conveniently play and practice in a controlled ambience.

Often this means the ability to play without any pressure while still bringing many of these competitive and social aspects into the simulated game.

For those who live in a cold and wet climate or in urban areas (that’ll be most of us), golf simulators offer the ability to play and practice year-round or within the confines of their locale.

The next important advantage is the player’s ability to see each facet of their swing.

Many golf simulators measure: angle of attack, angle of the club face, club head speed, spin, club path (inside out or outside in), and more.

These measurements help both students and teaching professionals identify exactly what a player needs to know to improve their swing.

You also get to choose where you want to play, including some great UK courses. Courses available at CityGolf include Celtic Manor, The Belfry and Haseltine Golf club (the home of the 2016 Ryder Cup).

Indoor Golf – TeachingHarry Varney City Golf

Sitting chatting to Harry, I soon find myself forgetting that I am not on a standard golf range and concentrate purely on what he is telling me.

In addition, he is quick to tell me why he and his colleague Liam McGrossan, ‘Director of Instruction’, have a different approach to teaching.

Firstly, the first hour’s consultation rarely involves hitting a club but concentrates more of what ‘your’ understanding of the game is.

He tells us that most teaching Pro’s, immediately start critiquing your swing, long before it is understood how much you know about both the dynamics of the golf swing and the physics of the game.

To be fair, this is a fresh approach and given that I am slumped into a big leather sofa, while sipping a coke as I learn this, I really can see why Indoor Golf has taken off.

Coupled with the fact that often, that if you work in London, the chance of getting to the range or out for nine holes after work midweek, in today fast world of living, is difficult to achieve.

Indoor Golf – Custom FittingCustom Fitting City Golf

Getting ‘Custom Fit’ for your clubs is vital towards improving as a Golfer.

Just as a suit is made to measure, so it is fits an individual’s body shape, a Custom Fit is vital towards ensuring that the correct equipment is matched to the each individual to suit their personal needs.

The team at CityGolf have extensive knowledge and experience and are committed to helping each individual find the best equipment for them.

The guys are adamant they have repeatedly seen the benefits that personalised equipment does for a Golfer towards improving distance, accuracy, shot making, and overall enjoyment of Golf.

The cost of this service starts from as little as £50 and last an hour.

Indoor Golf – EntertainmentCityGolf Gym & Bar

Putting the technology, the courses and the teaching to one side, there is another advantage to golf simulators….

In most indoor golf centres, there will a couple of ‘simulators’ available to book but in the bigger clubs like CityGolf there could be six or more.

Thus meaning you could realistically hold an entire golf event in one place, with all your golf mates and you, all playing the same course.

Not only does this mean additional availability for the visitor but it means indoor clubs like CityGolf can hold events and fun nights, regardless of the weather conditions. You can have a beer while you play.

Yep, many Golf Studios also have a bar or refreshments on site; it can make for a very entertaining evening. Consider it….

Hire two golf simulators for an afternoon or evening (from £60ph each) and invite seven golf buddies to join you. You’ll find that three hours flies by.

You’ve played a Texas Scramble at Wentworth, enjoyed a drink and not a speck of rain in sight and you’ve still got change out of £50.

Of course, if you book an evening out at a golf studio, you’re even beating the lack of daylight.

Indoor Golf – CityGolfHarry Varney - City Golf Sim

And finally, having visited CityGolf and seen their set-up, we were impressed!

As such, from April 2016, ALL TSGers are invited to try their facilities and receive a FREE one-hour Performance Analysis’ (worth £90!)

Yep – that’s a FREE golf lesson in the City of London.

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For more information on the benefits of Indoor Golf and claiming you free lesson at CityGolf go to: www.citygolflondon.com or call 020 7796 5960

Alternatively, email the guys at harry@citygolfclubs.com or liam@citygolfclubs.com

Opening Times: Mon-Fri – 6.30am – 9.30pm

Pro Tips – Fix Your Swing…

Saturday, October 10th, 2015
Fix Your Swing 1

Fix Your Swing fig.1

Has your playing partner ever said after a bad shot, “You need to fix your swing! You’re bending your left arm!”?

Well, the good thing about this swing fault is,  it’s very easy to see! So if you heard it, there is a strong possibility you did it. (Note: This is for right handers. If you’re a lefty, it will be your right arm)

Fix Your Swing – What causes it…

The left arm bending can cause a whole host of shots, but mostly I see either a topped shot or a slice.

Why does this happen? Above Right, I’ve ‘set-up’ to the ball and bent my left arm. As you can see the club has raised and therefore, I am going to hit the top of the ball from the bottom of the club.

Great! We now know why we ‘top’ it, but how can the left arm cause a slice?

Fix Your Swing – The Set-up…

Fix Your Swing 2

Fix Your Swing fig.2

If you bend the left arm in the backswing, after a few missed shots or topped shots, your brain will react and find a way to get the club to the bottom of the ball.

The brain’s fix is to get you to dip the upper body down to the ball. When the body does this in motion, it make the shoulder plane steep and throws the club over plane.

Apologies, some technical jargon there but below you can see from a good set up, I’ve dipped the upper body.

I’ve also lost my height, and you can see the club has moved well out in front of my body. The only place to go from here is to swing across the ball.

Fix Your Swing – How do I send it straight…

Fix Your Swing 3

Fix Your Swing fig.3

The Grip…

  • Firstly ensure the grip is in the fingers of the left hand
  • Have a look at the thumb on your left hand – make sure it is “short” i.e. tucked up close – as shown right.
  • Both of these will help engage the muscles in the forearm effectively, allowing you to hold the weight of the club in the swing easier

The Swing…

  • From waist high in the swing, we need to make sure the wrists hinge (and not the elbow). A thought that works well is to feel yourself push down on the handle of the club.
  • This will push the clubhead up and cause the wrists to hinge. Pushing down on the handle engages triceps which will keep that left arm straight!
  • Fix Your Swing 4

    Fix Your Swing fig.4

    As you swing to the top, keep pushing down on the handle and turn the right shoulder behind you

The swing section today is quite detailed as failing to hinge the wrists and failing to turn will both cause the left arm to bend.

Fix Your Swing – Practice makes perfect…

Work on this, one swing at a time! Practice the wrist hinge, until you’ve got it and it feels less of a conscious thought.

Make a lot of half swings doing this, so the arm stays straight…..

Then get the shoulders turning!

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By Andy Clissold – TSG Head Pro

Pro Tips – Cure your shank and topped shots….

Saturday, September 12th, 2015

Ever topped your shots or suffered from not hitting the ball flush on the sweet spot? Well let’s discuss how we can cure your shank.. however, don’t despair, it’s something we have all done, especially when we first start playing the game, I know I did!

There are many reasons why you could shank the ball but let’s go through the most common reason and something that you can easily fix yourself at the range.

Cure your shank – The Problem…

At some point in your swing, you stand up. People will often say “you lifted your head” or “you looked up” and to some degree they are right.

However, when you hear someone say this, they actually mean you looked at the target before you struck the ball – which does not have a direct link to hitting these horrible shots.

Cure your shank

Cure your shank – are you standing up?

Cure your shank – What do I mean by “standing up”?

During your swing, your hips push forward towards the ball.

As you do this it straightens your spine angle, you come out of your posture and “stand up”.

To the right,  I’ve shown the address position and what I mean by standing up.

If you do this in the swing, you are moving towards the ball and often you find the hands (therefore the club) move towards the ball, causing the hosel of the club to contact the ball.

By going towards the ball and lifting up, you are effectively not allowing the club to bottom out at the ball, and this can mean you hit the ball from the bottom of the face and/ or the top of the ball.

Cure your shank – How do we fix it?

To fix the problem, we need to maintain our posture in the swing so that we do not move towards the ball. As I mentioned earlier – the reason you come out of posture is because the hips move forwards towards the ball. This is the root of the problem.

cure your shank and stop topping the ball

Cure your shank and stop topping the ball!

To keep the hips back, get your golf bag and place it against your bum. Make some swings and keep your bum back on the bag throughout – as shown right.

To start with just do this without the ball.

Once you start feeling your bum staying back, hit some shots. But when you hit some shots, feel the right bum cheek stay on the bag on the backswing, and the left bum cheek stay on the bag on the way through.

I’ve changed the thought slightly when you hit the ball just to make sure you still keep the hips turning whilst keeping the bum back.

Cure your shank  – Other things to consider…

Often when a golfer makes this movement, it is because they have a weak core and/ or their hamstrings are tight.

Nowadays, many of the tour players are doing Pilates or Yoga to strengthen their core muscles and help maintain posture when they practice and play for hours on end.

I think this just shows the importance of maintaining posture and may be something worth considering to help your golf. Speak to a personal trainer before undertaking any exercises yourself!

Now read about how to cure that slice

By Andy Clissold – TSG Head Pro

Pro Tips – Cure that Slice…

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

Fed up with wayward drives? Need to cure that slice? How about we get it fixed then…

In this month TSG Pro Tips,  I am going to cover a common lesson I give to all my students. Often when I see a golfer slice the ball, the clubface is wide open at impact (pointing right).

So today, let’s get that clubface pointing more at the target and stop that ball going right and cure that slice.

The good thing about what I’m going to cover here is that the fault comes from the takeaway – the reason I say this is, is that is often easier to fix, than breaking down the swing bit by bit and rebuilding.

Pro Tips - Cure That Slice 1

Pro Tips – Cure That Slice fig.1

Part One – How to cure that slice…

OK, let’s make some ‘takeaways’ checking the arc you make in the mirror behind you at your driving range. Whether you’re driving or playing your irons, swing the club to waist high and see what the club looks like.

Is it “open” where the toe end of the club is pointing behind you? (See right)

I’m going to give a quick explanation of how this causes your slice and then we will get it fixed!

When the clubface gets in this open position it will often stay open to the top. Now from here, you will often find the golfer tries to square the face with the shoulders.

What they in fact do, is make the club swing left and the face stays open. This club swinging left, face open combination is always going to give a horrible slice.

Part Two – How to cure that slice…

If we can get the club face in a better position as you swing back, then you won’t want to make the reaction where the shoulders swing the club down, therefore swinging the club left….

Pro Tips - Cure That Slice 2

Pro Tips – Cure That Slice 2

So how do we fix it?

When you take the club away, I’d like you to swing to waist high and have the leading edge of the club parallel to your spine angle (See right)

A simple feel to get the is to imagine the club face is looking at the ball as you swing the club back.

Do this till you get the feel for it and the face in a better position, then try hitting some half shots (waist high to waist high). If you do it correctly you should see the ball fly straighter.

Once you’ve hit a few half shots, take the ball away and create the same feeling into a full swing. If it feels different or odd – it’s probably correct!!

Now you have a feel for the full swing, hit some full shots, practice as much as you can at the range, and watch that ball fly straight…..and that’s how you cure that slice!

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By Andy Clissold – TSG Head PRO

Pro Tips – First Tee Nerves…

Monday, April 20th, 2015
First Tee Nerves

First Tee Nerves

It’s a balmy Saturday in Summer and you are about to play in your first TSG official event. How are you feeling on the first tee? Are you suffering from first tee nerves? Just want to get it away? Make sure you don’t top it?

You are not alone…

If any of these thoughts sound familiar then lets get you feeling more comfortable on the first tee. The first thing to realise is everyone feels it! If you ever get the chance to read an interview with a tour player, they will tell you they too get first tee nerves. The difference is they are trained on how to hold those nerves.

Addressing your first tee nerves…

What we are going to talk about in this blog is a really good visualisation technique to improve your confidence. It is something you can do at home, five minutes a day that will transform the way you think about your golf.

Firstly you need to get yourself relaxed, so have a few deep breaths and close your eyes.

It is important to build the picture first and uses ALL your senses; imagine the first tee, you’re walking up to the first tee, feel your legs moving, the weight of your bag, you can see your mates, hear the crunch of the gravel, smell the freshly cut grass, taste the coffee on your tongue as you take a sip.

And now on the tee…

Now you’re on the tee, as above, hear, see, feel, smell, taste everything, from you putting your bag down, getting a ball out your bag, teeing it up.

From this point, I’d like you to imagine yourself feeling confident, standing tall!

Go through your routine and picture a pure, high drive down the middle. (Be realistic with this, there is no point imagining a shot you can’t hit!).

Feel yourself being confident as you stand to the ball and feel a really good swing, hear and feel the connection with the ball. Imagine seeing your shot flying into the middle of the fairway – your friends saying “shot”….no first tee nerves here!

The more times you do this, you brain will think its real, believe it has actually happened! So when you come to do it for real, your brain believes you can hit a good shot, in fact, it won’t expect anything else.

Give it time and be patient….

First time you try this you may find it is not overly effective, but visualisation is a skill that you need to work at.

As I said, five minutes a day is all it will take and over a week or two the images will become more and more vivid and real. The more real the image, the better for helping improve your first tee nerves and building your confidence.

So FIVE minutes while you’re waiting for the bus, FIVE minutes a day not using Facebook – do some visualisation and start nailing those first tee shots!

By Andy Clissold

Pro Tips – Practice at the golf range ….

Monday, February 16th, 2015

This is the first in a series of monthly columns by TSG Head Pro, Andy Clissold…

Golf Range Practice

Golf Range Practice

What happens when you go to practice at the golf range?

I’m guessing it’s a large bucket of balls and repeatedly hitting 7 iron and driver? Am I right? While this can be good when you have just had a lesson or have something technical to work on, but simply hitting balls won’t improve your golf.

I will briefly run through how to practice after a lesson and then go on to how to not only make your practice more enjoyable but also more effective for your golf.

Practicing after a lesson…

Yes, you do need to hit 7 iron, driver or whatever club your pro has told you to use, do the drills, and engrain the movement. This is what we call block practice – hitting the same shot, same swing, over and over.

It’s really good for getting the swing engrained and making a change but as soon as you are faced with a variable – an awkward lie, a longer club, a different wind direction etc., it can be counter-productive to keep making the same swing. When we play golf – we don’t hit the same shot twice…so why practice the same shot twice?

I like to have my pupils spend 50% of their practice session doing block practice after a lesson, to get a feel for the movement and make the change. The other 50% of the practice session, I like them to do variable practice.

Practice at the golf range

Practice at the golf range

Variable practice at the golf range…

If you don’t have lessons but love to get down the range between games – spend all your practice time doing this. Especially if you are playing well!

Variable practice is hitting different shots, creating different scenarios for each shot, playing games! This practice relates much more to playing golf and can create pressure like you will get on the golf course.

What can you do to have variable practice Sessions…

I am going to give a few drills you can do next time you practice but don’t be frightened to use your imagination – I’d love to hear any suggestions or variations you have tried yourself…

  • Drill 1 – Pick a target and a club – depending on your level, aim to hit, for example, 4/10 balls within 40ft of the target. Once you hit the goal, increase the number out of 10 or decrease the target size (i.e. 40ft down to 30ft). This will help you improve your focus and get you zoned in.
  • Drill 2 – Get 3 balls, aim straight and try to start one ball left, the next one right, and the third – straight! This will start to give you good clubhead control.
  • Drill 3 – Short game – play “Par 18”. Hit 9 completely different chip shots i.e. 3 chip and runs, 3 difficult chips to a tight pin, 3 average chips. Do one shot at a time and don’t repeat the same shot twice. The idea is to chip the ball to the hole and putt out. Record your score. The idea of Par 18 is each “hole” is a par 2 so you want to get up and down. Record your score and keep trying to improve on your score – a great one to do with a friend (loser buys the beers?).
  • Drill 4 – This next drill is great for better players but also good for higher handicap players to learn how to get out of trouble. 4 balls – 1st ball draw, 2nd ball fade, 3rd ball high, 4th ball low. Good for lower handicap players to shape the ball into pins. For higher handicaps you will learn how to hit different shots and maybe instead of chipping out the trees – you can produce your own Seve magic!

By Andy Clissold

The Social Golfer appoints first TSG Head Pro…

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
Andy Clissold - TSG Head Pro

Andy Clissold – TSG Head Pro (Photo: Cranham GC, Essex).

 

xxx

Andy Clissold announced as first TSG Head Pro ….

Andy’s new role will be to provide coaching and tuition to all the TSG members and will include running online Q&A tuition sessions and webinars. He will be organising on-course ‘coaching events’ whereby TSGers, of all playing standards, will be given the chance to play with him for three or four holes in a round, for no more than your green fee. He will also be offering his own golf lessons and golf coaching packages to the membership.

What else will our new TSG Head Pro be doing …

As TSG Head Pro he will also be working closely with the TSG team to develop the overall usability of The Social Golfer Network; which caters to 4k+ UK golfers and 8.5k+ registered users worldwide.

Furthermore, Andy will be the main contributor of monthly Newsletter PRO Tips  and will be a core part of the TSG official events team, which currently runs The TSG Masters, TSG OPEN and TSG Matchplay Championships.

Our new TSG Head Pro’s pedigree …

Essex based Andy began his golf career as a Pro Shop Assistant at Blakes Golf Club in Epping in 2006. He subsequently worked as Assistant Professional at Bentley Golf Club as he went on to complete his foundation degree in golf at Birmingham University. He has since worked as a teaching Pro at City Point Golf Studio, London. He currently coaches at Ingrebourne Links and Crowlands Heath GC.

Commenting on his new role, Andy said “I have been aware of The Social Golfer platform for some time but it was only when I sat down with the team that I truly understood the potential of the site. Social media has made a huge impact on the way we all interact with each other and sport and I am honoured to be given this  opportunity to be the first TSG Head Pro and help shape the future of golf in the UK and beyond  –  I can’t wait to get started”.

Ian Mullins, owner of TheSocialGolfer.com said “We have worked with a number of PGA Pro’s since our launch but Andy immediately understood what we are trying to achieve at TSG and has already contributed greatly to the ideas pool. With 66% of golfers in the UK NOT belonging to a golf club, Andy’s contributions will allow us to provide our members with added value to their annual membership fee. We are really looking forward to Andy be a valuable asset to the team”.

The announcement comes on the back of TheSocialGolfer.com recently reaching its first 1m hits in a single calendar year and breaking through the 100k page hits in a single month. With over 900 events posted and 4500+ rounds played on the site last year alone, 2015 is looking like it will be another great year for the website!

By Ian Mullins