Goal setting for next season – preparing to play your best golf

With 2014 coming to a close soon, I’ve started to think about what I need to do to prepare for next season.

Long Game
Improving driving accuracy should help make a big impact in 2015. I’ve discovered that driving continues to hurt my scoring. When I’ve driven the ball well I’ve also scored well. When I have driven well scores got worse. I’ve got plenty of distances but accuracy really needs to improve.

Wedge Play
Another are of weakness was between 100 and 75 yards. I just wasn’t hitting enough greens or hitting it close enough. Improving my wedge play should save me a fair number of strokes.

Putting
Finally my putting needs to improve. My goal is to really improve my make percentage from 15 feet and in. This will mean I’ll need a more consistent and pure stroke and to improve my green reading skills. I’ve heard great things about AimPoint Express and will add that to my repertoire between now and April (the official start of the golf season) here.

Check out my golf app Scoring Zoneon the App Store.

Winter (Golf) is coming

A few weeks ago I was thinking about fall golf but temperatures are dropping in the northeastern part of the country. Luckily I have a trip to Florida coming up soon and I’ll definitely get a few rounds in.

I’ll be playing with an old set of mine that I had shipped down there on new and unfamiliar courses. So the question becomes how do I make the most of my golf time down there without putting too much pressure on myself.

The plan will be to not worry too much about my score. I have a golf app I’ve been developing and this will be a perfect time to test, tinker, and improve some of the features I’ve dreamed up.

Just going to keep it light and fun and we’ll see how it goes.

Confidence and Clubs

Confidence in golf is a fickle thing. Unless you practice a lot it comes and goes with the ebb and flow of my game. Good play creates it while bad play can quickly break it down.

For the past few seasons there has been one club in particular that has not been so good for my confidence. The 3 Wood.

It’s been a search for find a 3 wood I can feel confident playing especially on the days when the driver is not being kind. In contrast to the lack of confidence in the 3 wood I have one club I’m very confident with. My trusty 18 degree hybrid. It’s an older model from about 4 or 5 years ago but man nothing can kick it out of the bag.

It took a while but I finally found one I can feel confident in, one that just feels right. I had some conditions on the search. It had to be at least 20 yards longer than my trusty hybrid, inspire confidence at address and have the right launch and feel.

So naturally I called up my friend and PGA teaching professional Keith Handler at Sterling Farms Golf Course for a fitting session.

He grabbed a number of clubs and we headed down to the range. I decided I would be brand agnostic and go with the best performing, best feeling and most confident inspiring club.

After hitting balls with all of them and even trying some more exotic variants like the mini driver SLDR, a winner rose to the top. Luckily the session didn’t just end there.

Keith recommended I take it out in the golf course next time I play to get a real feel for it.

Next day I took him up on his advice. I took the club out on the course and almost every place I would hit my trusty hybrid I hit this new 3 wood.

Over the course of the round I came to feel really confident with this club. It performed even better than I expected.

Go get fitted. It really makes a huge difference and having a professional with you in the process makes all the difference. So club did I finally choose?

Callaway XHot 2 Pro 13.5 degree with the stock shift. For me this thing performs like nothing else.

New golf app: Scoring Zone

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE        

Seizo Mazer Brings New Golf App For iPhone Scoring Zone

Summary: Seizo Mazer, a well known golf blogger has introduced his new golf app – ‘Scoring Zone’ for iPhone. The critical differentiator for ‘Scoring Zone’ is its focus on proximity to the hole and accuracy for every shot in the scoring zone. Seizo has been helping people to play better golf through his blogs since the year 2009.

 

Aug 02, 2014: A new golf app, ‘Scoring Zone’ is ready for the golfers looking for ways to play better in the sport. The app has been launched by respected golf blogger, Seizo Mazer. He is already helping a number of golfers to play better golf via his golf blog ‘Journey to Scratch’ and the launch of the app is continuation of that mission.

When contacted, Seizo said, “I am extremely excited to announce the launch of my new app. This app provides insights into your game that traditional statistics miss. By focusing on the shots in the scoring zone, and the proximity to the hole in particular, a golfer will automatically start to approach those shots differently. This app will give you a new perspective on the scoring zone and key insights into your game. My blog has always had a focus on improvement and with the help of this app I am taking that mission one step forward.”

The new app tracks proximity to the hole and accuracy for approach shots to the green, short game shots around green and putting. It provides some stats that have been normally reserved for players at the highest levels.

‘Scoring Zone’ is compatible with iOS 7.1 or later for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, optimized for iPhone 5s.

Seizo’s focus on golf has helped players to become a better golfer. In his blogs, he has explored and written about every detail from the mental game to course tactics and strategy, to swing and training aids.

Get the app here.

Scoring Zone screenshot 1

Review: Powerchute

Powerchute
Powerchute

For the past month I’ve worked with a swing trainer called the Powerchute. I’ve given it an extensive test and the results are in.

What is the Powerchute?

It’s a swing training aid that aims to increase clubhead speed and lag, and improve timing and lag. In addition it strengthens the fast twitch muscles.

You attach the powerchute to your club and it becomes a small sail, that uses the wind created by your swing as the resistance you swing against. I was skeptical at first. I watched the videos on the website and Jack Nicklaus using it and I was still skeptical. It wasn’t until I took my first few swings with the powerchute, and then without it, that the wow factor hit me.

The first swing after you take the powerchute off your club is an amazing. The club feels lighter. The backswing feels normal, and then you start your downswing. My first swing without the Powerchute was so fast that it threw me almost off balance.

After using the Powerchute for a few months now, my old weakness: driving, has turned into a strength. Working with the powerchute daily has really helped with that trouble spot for me. I find that I’ve developed much better sequencing, even better lag, but more importantly I am able to use that lag properly. The resitance from the Powerchute has forced me to use my body and my hands properly to finish the swing correctly.

Over the last few months, the Powerchute has become my favorite swing trainer. I really enjoy heading down to the basement, where I have my golf practice area setup, to make some Powerchute swings. I feel that not only am I practicing solid fundamentals, but I am developing good golf fitness, and in the right muscles.

I can honestly say that the more I use the Powerchute, the more I want to use it. I’ve found new uses for it to help my game overall. It really is the only swing trainer I use now.

Golf Fitness

Now, to the fitness part of the powerchute. I’ve been told that the Powerchute, strengthens the fast twitch muscles that you use in the golf swing. These are the muscles needed to generate speed and power. The Powerchute achieves this by providing a plyometric workout. What are plyometrics? The following is from Wikipedia.

“Plyometrics (also known as “plyos”) is a type of exercise training designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve the functions of the nervous system, generally for the purpose of improving performance in sports. Plyometric exercises may also be referred to as explosive exercises.”

The golf swing is all about controlled explosive power. It requires finesse, touch, feel, and power. Plyometric training is a perfect fit for golf. A friend of mine trains using Kettle Bells to achieve this, and he happens to be a director of golf so I know that those are great exercies for golf.

I do find that the Powerchute provides a plyometric workout and a very good one at that. The faster you can swing with the powerchute, the more resistance you create, and the more you work out those fast twitch muscles.

Zen Chili Rating for Powerchute

5 Zens out of 5

• Improves power, lag. sequencing and fitness virtually automatically
•No need to think about it, swing it, feel it

5 Chilis out of 5

• Well made product that can take a beating. Ingeniously designed.

At first I found I struggled when I switched from Powerchute swings, to iron swings. They felt too fast. Over the past few months everything that’s gone into the driver has also gone in to improve my iron play.

Conclusion

The Powerchute has been amazing to work with. I was so skeptical at first, but it has improved my power with all clubs, my balance, and my fitness. I have zero hesitations about recommending it. It is worth every penny.  Check it out at: http://www.powerchutegolf.com/

A key to serious power and distance

I had a very interesting experience on the range yesterday and had a revelation as I was practicing.

I’ve tried a lot of different things to maintain a good tempo, but a quick thought came into my head that made for a really good swing thought.  “Lazy Explosion”.

It may sound a bit funny, but it really worked for me.  The feeling that resulted was one where the swing felt slow, especially the downswing, but the ball just EXPLODED off the club face and flew very far consistently.  When I was doing it right, I never felt rushed and it felt like power built up in a very subtle way.  Of course I still fought my tendency to swing hard, but this idea of a lazy explosion really cut through that most of the time.  I was compressing the ball way more than usual and it felt like it stuck on the clubhead for a split second, before blasting off into space.  Even though my irons are very stiff, with shafts designed for a lower ball flight, the ball flew higher, farther than I’m used to, with no balooning.

Obviously the swing itself wasn’t slow, but it felt that way.  In fact it felt like I had a lot of time between the top of the swing and the start of my downswing and the resulting shots were really exciting to watch.

Review: Mobitee (Android)

Mobitee is a golf GPS app available for Android and iOS devices that offers:

  • accurate distances
  • satellite views of the holes
  • fly overs
  • scoring for multiple players
  • club recommendations
  • No subscription fees

How does the application work in real life?

In order to start using Mobitee you need to create at least one golfer in the system.  The process is simple and painless and then you can start using the application.

On course Mobitee is an accurate GPS.  The target selector allows you to pick out any target and get the distance to it, in the same way that advanced gps units like the SkyCaddie SGX allow.

One of the nicest features of the application is a fly over of the hole.  It’s perfect for holes with blind shots.

As new courses are added, the application is automatically updated.  There is no need to manually download any courses, as they are downloaded automatically when you want to play them.

Overall, Mobitee is an excellent golf GPS.  It compares nicely to stand alone units.  While I can’t say that it is as accurate as something like a SkyCaddie,  it is accurate for most recreational use.  One glitch I ran into is that unlike traditional gps units, it’s best to turn off the setting for getting your location from wireless networks.  This setting can interefere with the performance of the gps and provide some wrong yardages.

Mobitee is priced at 24.90 for the full version.  A lite version is good for showing you up to the first 5 holes on each course.

One of my favorite uses for Mobitee is tournament or course preparation.  Because you can see each hole and move the pointers around you can plan your on course strategy.  It becomes like an interactive yardage book and it’s a lot of fun to do.  This way you can plan angles and shots into the greens and give yourself an opportunity to shoot a low score.

Mobitee has created a fun contest to win $250 just for downloading Mobitee Lite.

Mobitee Contest - Win $250

Tour Striker – Day 12 – Confidence Building

Over the past 12 days working with the tour striker I’ve seen a significant improvement in my ball striking. For a while and before re-acquainting myself with the TS my distance control was inconsistent.
I’m now much more consistent with my distance control and my I’ve added about 15 yards with each iron.
I’ve found that not only is the TS a great practice tool, but it is also a fantastic way to check your ballstriking.
The Tour Striker helps with consistency
Twelve days ago I was very inconsistent with the TS. If you take a look at the last few posts you’ll see me talk about the inconsistencies. Yesterday on the range my strikes with the TS really surprised me. Not only did the ball fly high and far and straight but it just felt great.
I’ve been working on the on practicing with each hand separately and wow is that a challenging drill. It’s really good though. I’m very pleased with progress I’m making with the Tour Striker.

Tour Striker – Day 3 of 30 – a plan comes into focus

This morning I headed to the driving range early.  Got there around 6:50 am, got set up and hit balls into the foggy morning.

I was encouraged by my practice session on Monday evening.  This morning it was a slightly different story.  I hit a couple of toppers which right away told me that I had too little shaft lean.  When I corrected that I hit a number of low flat stingers.  The balls took off low, stayed lower than 30 yards high and carried about 175 yards into the fog.  They felt solid.

I decided to reach out to Martin Chuck, the inventor of the Tour Striker to tell him about this month long test with his product as well as to get some advice on how best to take advantage of the time.

Based on his suggestions I will be working on the following over the next 30 days.

Tour Striker Practice Game Plan

1. Learn how to let the club land with forward lean. Do this with both hands and with each hand individually.
2. Monitor where you are touching the ground with hands together and individually. Seek to get similar results with the club landing inside the left heel.
3. Hit some “9 to 3” shots trying to get the leading edge of the TS as close to the ground as possible. Keep the left arm on the upper chest, don’t chase the target line.
4. Get use to anticipating the “thud” of touching the ground, not smashing, just touching.
5. Take this “9 to 3” into fuller swings with a focus on balance and rhythm.

I plan to take about a week with each of these guidelines (give or take a few days).

Low Flat Bombs

The exciting thing about hearing from Martin was that to cure my low flat bombs I need just a touch more shaft lean.  So things are not that far off.  All in all it was an encouraging session.  I had a lot of very solid strikes and my distance control feels somewhat more consistent.

I’ll be working to add that little bit extra shaft lean and see what happens with these low flat bombs.